Tuesday, August 23, 2011

President Barack Obama: 'Gaddafi's rule is over'

President Barack Obama said that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's "rule is over" and that while some uncertainty remained it was clear that "the future of Libya is in the hands of its people".

In his first appearance since the rebel push towards Tripoli, Mr Obama interrupted his Martha's Vineyard holiday to appeal to Col Gaddafi give himself up and prevent further bloodshed in Libya.

He urged opposition forces to build a democratic government through "peaceful, inclusive and just" measures.

"For over four decades, the Libyan people had lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights," he said.

"Now the celebrations that we've seen in the streets of Libya shows that the pursuit of human dignity is far stronger than any dictator."

He stressed that "true justice will not come from reprisals and violence, it will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine their own destiny" while promising that the US would "be a friend and a partner" to a new Libyan regime.

"We do not have information that he's left the country," said Colonel Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman.

The situation was "fluid" and American defence officials were closely monitoring events.

He ruled out the deployment of any US troops as part of a UN or Nato force.

"There will not be US boots on the ground," he said. "If there is going to be some kind of transitional mission that involves any kind of foreign troops, there wouldn't be US ground troops."

The apparent collapse of the Gaddafi regime came at an awkward moment for Mr Obama, who has been lambasted for taking a break in Martha's Vineyard at a time of economic crisis.

The White House had stressed that he would be spending a lot of his time working on a speech about jobs scheduled for the start of September.



Libyan opposition figure tells how Gaddafi son escaped

ELEANOR HALL: Ibrahim Sahad is the secretary general of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya and he was a high ranking military and diplomatic officer in the Gaddafi regime until he resigned in 1981.

The World Today first spoke to Ibrahim Sahad the day after protests started in Benghazi, back in February. Now after 32 years in exile, he recently returned to Benghazi, where recently he has been working closely with the Transitional National Council.

He spoke to me this morning from Benghazi.

Ibrahim Sahad, there's been some resistance from Gaddafi forces in Tripoli overnight. How much of the capital is now within opposition control?

IBRAHIM SAHAD: Well I think the majority of the capital is now under the control of the freedom fighters. They are getting some resistance in some areas where just pockets of resistance is still there.

Of course there is still the issue of Gaddafi himself, where is he about? And this is a very important issue. Also I would like to see his sons dealt with in a more secure way.

ELEANOR HALL: What do you mean a more secure way?

IBRAHIM SAHAD: Well I would say that the way they dealt with Mohammad last night was not adequate. They left him at home and they left few guards to take care of that and then we see that he escaped. This is the issue.


Libya: battle for Tripoli turns bloody as Gaddafi holds out to the end

Col Muammar Gaddafi's forces are staging a desperate and bloody stand in the Libyan capital Tripoli as the despot carries out his threat to fight to the bitter end.

Having gained control of much of the capital's streets following their lightning-quick advance over the weekend, rebel fighters were drawn into a dramatic siege at the heavily-fortified Bab al-Azizia compound as well as skirmishes in a number of districts.

Gaddafi, who has not appeared in public for three months, is widely believed to be holed up in Libya, and directing his remaining soldiers and tanks to fire at will on his opponents.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Taylor Swift Suffers 'Wardrobe Malfunction' On Tour Stop

Taylor Swift is well-known for favoring floaty, feminine frocks (phew, how's that for alliteration?). Her signature style backfired on her unexpectedly, however, during her tour stop in St. Louis on Sunday.

Swift took the stage that evening to perform her hit "You Belong With Me," dressed in one of her trademark gowns. A wind machine on stage must have been ill-placed, because the singer stepped in front of it--and it blew her dress's swishy skirt right up, fully exposing her rear end!


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Monday, August 15, 2011

Pregnant Flight 93 victim honored by husband's lasting tribute

Ten years after her death on Sept. 11, 2001, Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas still inspires people. That's not an accident. Her husband, Jack, insists that her legacy be a living one.

Lauren -- along with 39 other passengers and the flight crew -- died when United Flight 93, having been hijacked by terrorists, went down in a field near Shanksville, Pa. It was the flight that fought back against the attackers, preventing the plane from reaching its target in Washington, D.C. The heroism of those passengers -- and their battle cry, "Let's Roll"-- lives on as part of the tragic story of 9/11.

For Jack, the sudden death of his wife carried additional grief. Lauren, 38, was pregnant, and Jack, suddenly without his family, was thrust into a world of pain and loneliness, engulfed by a dark depression. It was Lauren's spirit, in many ways, that gave him the strength he needed to fight his way out of it.

When Lauren turned 30, Jack remembers, she wanted to do something adventurous: skydiving. Jack says Lauren encouraged him to try it as well. And he did.



The Biggest A-List Celebrity Homes for Sale


From Harrison Ford to Sean "Diddy" Combs to the late Elizabeth Taylor, there are true mega-star homes on the market right now, and these incredible properties reflect the success of their owners. You can own a piece of A-list real estate as long as you're able to pay the price.

Interestingly, when it comes to the most famous celebrities, real estate may be one of the few non-inflated things you can buy. You can buy a mid-1970s Rolex Submariner 55XX series for under $5000, but the same watch, except that it was worn by actor Steve McQueen, went for over a quarter of a million dollars.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Man arrested for breaking into Prison

An ex-con has been arrested for allegedly sneaking onto the grounds of Folsom Prison, possibly to try to

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Five Surprising $100K Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree

The rising cost of getting a college degree has put attending a traditional four-year college or university out of reach for many people -- and a handful of experts have recently made headlines by saying that a college degree simply isn't worth the massive debt a young person typically incurs in its pursuit.

For now, in many fields, a college degree is required for entry -- you simply won't get in the door for a job interview without one. But there are a number of careers that don't require a degree and where income potential is very high. According to compensation experts at PayScale, there are five fields in which most workers don't have a college degree -- and in which the top 10 percent earn more than $100,000.*

For many of these fields, all that's required is a high school diploma and on-the-job training; others require some technical or vocational training.

1. Nuclear Power Reactor Operator (90th Percentile Pay: $128,000; Median Pay: $86,200)

D'oh! Are you prepared to follow in Homer Simpson's career footsteps? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of nuclear power reactor operators is expected to grow faster than average due to new plant construction and new rules to prevent operator fatigue.

Workers with vocational degrees will have advantages in finding jobs as well as more advancement opportunities. These workers typically undergo extensive on-the-job training.

Find nuclear power jobs.

2. Director of Security: Physical, Personnel, Grounds, et. al (90th Percentile Pay: $123,000; Median Pay: $68,700)

A director of security manages teams, systems and procedures that protect people and property against harm, fire, theft, vandalism and illegal activity. Duties may vary from one employer to another, but attention to detail is key -- in addition to protection, security personnel often must write detailed reports, interview witnesses and testify in court.

The key to a high salary in this position is stick-to-itiveness. Many people enter this profession in security guard jobs, and according to the BLS, opportunities for advancement are good because turnover is high. Guards with management skills (or advanced training) will move up in the field, or they may open their own security agencies.

Find security director jobs.

3. Licensed Massage Therapist (90th Percentile Pay: $112,000; Median Pay: $52,200)

This career really lets you reach out and touch someone. Massage therapists can specialize in more than 80 different types of massage, including Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, reflexology, acupressure and sports massage. The BLS predicts employment in this field will grow faster than average as more people learn about the benefits of massage.

This is a great career for people who need a flexible or part-time schedule -- many therapists work part-time or are self-employed. Most states require formal training before granting a massage license.

Find massage therapist jobs.

4. Elevator Mechanic (90th Percentile Pay: $109,000; Median Pay: $72,900)

You'll move up in this career. This is another job with great prospects. Elevator mechanics are typically less affected by construction slowdowns, since much of the work involves maintenance and repair -- and not just to elevators. These workers also assemble, install and replace escalators, chairlifts, dumbwaiters, moving walkways and similar equipment.

According to the BLS, most elevator mechanics belong to a union and enter the occupation through a four-year apprenticeship program.

China launches first aircraft carrier on maiden sea trial

BEIJING (Reuters) - China launched its first aircraft carrier for a maiden run on Wednesday, a step likely to boost patriotic pride at home and jitters abroad about Beijing's naval ambitions.

The long-awaited debut of the vessel, a refitted former Soviet craft, marked a step forward in China's long-term plan to build a carrier force that can project power into the Asian region, where seas are spanned by busy shipping lanes and thorny territorial disputes.

"Its symbolic significance outweighs its practical significance," said Ni Lexiong, an expert on Chinese maritime policy at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.

"We're already a maritime power, and so we need an appropriate force, whether that's aircraft carriers or battleships, just like the United States or the British empire did," he said in a telephone interview.

The carrier "left its shipyard in Dalian Port in northeast Liaoning province on Wednesday morning to start its first sea trial," said the official Xinhua news agency, describing the trip as a tentative test run for the unfinished ship.

The aircraft carrier, which is about 300 meters (984 feet) long, plowed through fog and sounded its horn three times as it left the dock, Xinhua said on its military news microblog.

Xinhua said that "building a strong navy that is commensurate with China's rising status is a necessary step and an inevitable choice for the country to safeguard its increasingly globalised national interests."


Police: 71-year-old man tags power poles

For years, deputies thought a street gang may be responsible for tagging hundreds of Florida Progress utility poles all over Clearwater and Dunedin. They have now charged a 71-year-old Dunedin man with the crime.


Player with Down Syndrome kicked off team by rigid age limit

For two consecutive years, the most beloved member of the Hobbton (N.C.) High football team was Brett Bowden, a student with Down Syndrome who would suit up and cheer during every varsity game, eventually earning the right to lead the team onto the field and run a touchdown play after every game. He even scored one official touchdown in a game.


U.S. Blocks $1 million Italian Supercar

Italian automaker Pagani was to begin selling its $1 million, 700 horsepower Huayra supercar in the U.S. later this year but federal safety regulators have said "Not so fast."

Pagani had applied for an exemption from federal auto safety rules requiring child-safe "advanced" airbags, arguing that complying with the rule would have caused "substantial economic hardship," according to documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Anne Hathaway Responds To 'Dark Knight Rises' Catwoman Reaction

Anne Hathaway as Catwoman

It was the photo that launched a thousand blog posts, tweets and message-board debates. Last week, the Web was ablaze when Warner Bros. released the first photo of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle in "The Dark Knight Rises."

MTV News was immediately on the case, offering up our own analysis, as well as thoughts from a few experts on what the photo of Hathaway in costume, riding what looked to be Batman's motorcycle, meant for the character and her assumed transformation into Catwoman.

Check out our photo analysis of Hathaway's Catwoman.

Now, in knowing how tight-lipped the "Dark Knight Rises" stars are sworn to be about the films, when we caught up with Hathaway as she promoted the upcoming movie "One Day," we didn't expect her to offer any commentary about the photo — but she surprised us.


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Bernanke Signals Fed Dissenters Won't Impede Further Stimulus

Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled he may expand record monetary stimulus over the most opposition of his tenure to revive the faltering recovery and reduce unemployment stuck around 9 percent.

The central bank said yesterday that officials "discussed the range of policy tools" to strengthen growth and are "prepared to employ these tools as appropriate" while pledging to keep the benchmark interest rate near zero until at least mid-2013. Three policy makers dissented from the decision for the first time since Bernanke, 57, became chairman in 2006.



Buck's homer not enough as Marlins fall to Braves

MIAMI - The Florida Marlins could not take advantage of John Buck's game-tying three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.

Buck's blast to deep left field off reliever Anthony Varvaro tied the game at 3 and was the Marlins' fourth hit of the game.

After the Braves were retired in order in the eighth, the Marlins had a bases loaded situation with one out.

"I thought we were going to win the game in the bottom of the eighth inning," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "The bases are loaded, just put the ball in play, we just couldn't put the ball in play."


London riots: 'we can't cope', police admit

A gang of boys and girls, most no older than 15, and some apparently as young as eight, broke into a row of shops in Bethnal Green, in the East End. As they left carrying piles of clothes, a police car drove past. It did not stop.

Forty minutes after the first 999 calls were made, two police vans arrived at the scene, already too late.

On a night of untold destruction that left businesses and homes across the city in flames, it counted as a small incident. But the detail said so much about how life in Britain's capital city had changed over the course of the past four days. As rioters looted and burned their way through London's shopping centres and high streets for a third successive night, Scotland Yard's 6,000 street officers were hopelessly outmanoeuvred. In many cases, they were simply outnumbered.

When they eventually arrived at riot scenes in force, such as during Monday night's first clashes in Hackney, the police were forced to retreat as youths bombarded them with bottles and stones and set cars ablaze. Not even the deployment of armoured vehicles to protect neighbourhoods such as Clapham in the south and Ealing to the west could prevent the destruction from spreading.



Blood test detects fetal sex much earlier in pregnancy

New technology can tell pregnant women whether they're having a boy or girl as early as seven weeks into a pregnancy — months earlier than usual, according to a study in today'sJournal of the American Medical Association.

While the technology could help families at high risk of having a baby with rare genetic diseases, some experts also worry that couples could misuse the blood tests in order to abort a fetus based on gender.

The technology works by detecting "cell-free fetal DNA," or DNA from the fetus, which floats freely in a pregnant woman's blood, says author Diana Bianchi of the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. Her analysis of 57 studies from peer-reviewed medical journals showed that these blood tests, common in Europe but not in theUSA, can reveal a fetus' sex only a week or two after a pregnant woman misses her period. Women usually learn the sex through an ultrasound, at 18 to 20 weeks.



Visa Unveils Merchant Incentives to Speed Shift to Mobile-Payment Systems

Visa Inc. (V) unveiled plans to encourage U.S. retailers to shift to checkout systems that let consumers pay using their mobile phones, as the biggest payment network aims to jump ahead of rivals and curb credit-card fraud.

The company said it will let merchants that switch to credit-card readers supporting so-called EMV technology forego costly annual security certifications. Starting in 2015, it will also stop requiring banks to reimburse most merchants for some types of credit-card fraud, which can be prevented by using EMV systems, Visa said in a statement yesterday.

Visa wants to boost sales of new terminals and accelerate the move to transactions made via cell phones with near field communication chips, an emerging standard in mobile technology. When tapped on the new readers, enabled mobile phones can function like credit and debit cards. Research firm Crone Consulting LLC estimates that only about 200,000 of 6 million store terminals now accept such contactless payments.



Wisconsin Democrats fail to take back state Senate

Democrats have fallen one seat short of taking back the Wisconsin state senate Tuesday, a result that will disappoint organized labor nationally.

According to the Associated Press, State Sens. Dan Kapanke andRandy Hopper were recalled, while Sens. Robert CowlesAlberta DarlingSheila Harsdorf and Luther Olsen held onto their seats.

Republicans controlled the state senate 19 to 14; they now have a 17 to 16 edge. Two Democrats face recall elections next Tuesday, so there is a chance those gains could be undone.

The recalls were sparked by Republican legislation to end collective bargaining for public employees in the state, a move that inspired major protests in February and March. Democratic lawmakers fled Wisconsin to avoid voting on the bill; Republicans passed it without them. The recall campaigns on both sides began soon after.



He can't wait for Philip Rivers to come to Los Angeles

From San Diego — I'm sold on the guy. I can't remember the last time I've been so impressed.
You're gonna love him.
Our new quarterback is the bomb, and maybe throws it better than anyone else.
The Los Angeles Chargers are so lucky to have Philip Rivers. Put him at the head of the parade when the Chargers come rolling down Figueroa sometime between Feb. 1 and May 1 next year and maybe no one will take notice the Spanos Goofs still own the team.

Los Angeles specializes in eccentric owners, everyone from Georgia to Donald to Jim & Jerry and now the McCourts, so the Goofs ought to blend right in anyway.

The folks in San Diego have yet to grasp it, but it's going to happen. If Tim Leiweke has everything in order and can put a shovel in the ground next May to begin building a new stadium, then he's going to need a signed lease from the team moving here.

As gold prices rise, so does curiosity


For the second day in a row, the price of gold has reached a new high, sparking new and increasing curiosity about the precious metal.

Gold trading on COMEX closed at $1,740 Tuesday, after increasing 29.80 points. Spot gold prices continued to rise throughout the evening, exceeding $1,750 per troy ounce.

Whether your collection includes a giant nugget or something smaller, gold retailers say there is money to be made.

After the price of gold broke the 1,700 mark on Monday, some local jewelry shops reported an increase in business. Neil Sackmary, a certified gemologist at Nevada Coin & Jewelry told FOX5 his shop has been inundated with customers.

"Gold is so crazy that it's bringing people in like you wouldn't believe," he said.

The price spike this week is a reflection of a trend in the gold market. The price for a single troy ounce is up more than $161.40 over the past month. Over six months, the price rose $345.40, with a one year gain of $509.50.



Gavin DeGraw Released From Hospita

After suffering a brutal attack early Monday morning in New York, Gavin DeGraw has been released from the hospital and is said to be on the road to recovery.

A rep for the "I Don't Wanna Be" singer confirmed that DeGraw was discharged Tuesday evening (August 9) from Bellevue Hospital, where he was being treated for a concussion, broken nose, black eyes, cuts and bruises sustained when a group of unknown assailants attacked him in Manhattan's East Village.

The attack is still under investigation, and no arrests have been made, but the 34-year-old took to Twitter to say a few words about the incident and to let his fans know that he plans to get well soon.

"Hi my friends," he tweeted to his more than 60,000 followers. "Honestly, I don't remember much. I only know I can recover from here. Thank u all for your genuine concern. I love u guys."



'Bewitched' reboot in the works at CBS

In the latest classic TV title getting considered for a reboot, CBS and Sony are developing a script for remake of the classic sitcom Bewitched. This is still in very early stages, but it's definitely a project worth keeping an eye on.

Sony ushered the return of Angels and the producers of the clunky film version (which starred Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell) are on board. Can you imagine the 2011 pitch of this show, about an ordinary suburban businessman who discovers his wife has magical powers? "It's Harry Potter meets Desperate Housewives!" Here's a blast from the past:



Monday, August 8, 2011

Under Siege In Somalia

Hawa Abdi is an obstetrician and gynecologist who in 1983 established a one-room clinic near Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. Over time this small operation evolved into one of the largest camps and medical facilities for internally displaced people in the war-torn country. Today the camp houses 90,000 people, mostly women and children. She works alongside her two daughters, also doctors, under perilous conditions. Here she recounts an episode in 2010 when Islamist militants invaded her camp and held her hostage for several days.

I ignored their call, so they came to my gate unannounced: six members of the Somali insurgent group Hizbul Islam, with a request to speak with me in person. Their militia had controlled our area for the past year—the latest in an endless line of transitional leaders, warlords, and regimes I'd seen since the collapse of Somalia's government. I was examining a severely malnourished child, who hadn't eaten for at least four days, when I heard the news; I was not willing to abandon my patient for a conversation with people whose only clear goals were to rob, to take over, or to kill.



London riots: Theresa May flies back from holiday

Mrs May, who has been in contact with other senior politicians and police leaders while overseas, will return to London this afternoon for further talks with Metropolitan Police Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin and other officers.

More than 100 people were arrested overnight and early this morning after a series of ''copycat'' riots broke out across several boroughs in north, south and east London following earlier trouble in Tottenham, north London.



Lieberman wants Israel to cut PA ties over 'planned bloodshed'

TEL AVIV // Israel's foreign minister yesterday demanded that Israel cut off all its contacts with the Palestinian Authority, which he accused of preparing for unprecedented "bloodshed" as part of its bid to gain international recognition of its independent statehood.

Avigdor Lieberman, the second most-powerful official in the predominantly right-wing ruling coalition, told reporters that he planned to raise his demand for curtailing ties with the Palestinian leadership at a meeting of the so-called inner cabinet, which includes the coalition's top eight ministers. He did not say when the meeting would take place.

"The Palestinian Authority is getting ready for bloodshed on a scale we haven't seen," Mr Lieberman, the head of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, said. "The more they speak about non-violent action, the more they are preparing for bloodshed."

The top Israeli diplomat, however, provided no proof of his assertions, although his spokesman later claimed they were drawn from intelligence reports and statements by Palestinian officials.

Mr Lieberman's comments reflected a growing anxiety on the part of Israel about the repercussions of the Palestinian plan to gain the UN's recognition of statehood without first reaching a peace accord with Israel. The Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu has been intensively lobbying other countries to reject the Palestinian move, fearing it would weaken its hand in future negotiations over the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel.



WWII heroine Nancy Wake, 98, dies

LONDON, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Nancy Wake, a World War II resistance fighter nicknamed "The White Mouse" for her ability to elude the German Nazis, has died at age 98, a friend said Monday.

The friend said Wake died at a London hospital where she was being treated for a chest infection, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The New Zealand native who grew up in Sydney was bestowed the Companion of the Order of Australia for her efforts with the French Resistance during the war. She also received the French Legion d'Honneur and three Croix de Guerre, a French Resistance Medal, Britain's George Medal and the U.S. Medal of Freedom

Wake was working as a journalist in France when the war started. She and her husband Henri Fiocca became active in the resistance movement in 1940. She spent three years helping Allied soldiers and airmen reach safety before having to flee to Spain and eventually England in 1943.



In Libya, Rebels Embrace the U.S. and Its Flag

Omar el Keish decided to bring along an American flag when he recently attended a revolutionary rally in Benghazi, Libya.

The 57-year-old airline pilot waved the big fluttering fabric with both arms, and rallygoers smiled and flashed the V for victory sign at the sight of Old Glory, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Libyans love America," Keish explained as he cut through a boisterous crowd that numbered in the tens of thousands. "They love the flag because it stands for freedom and democracy — exactly what they want for Libya."

In a region where America is often mistrusted and resented, rebel-held eastern Libya stands out as an island of pro-American sentiment. The ragtag forces that drove out Muammar al-Qaddafi security forces in February credit U.S. and NATO warplanes for rescuing Benghazi from a government counterattack in March.



Here's Looking @ Earth... Hurricanes Happening (Imagery)

In one image, NASA's Aqua satellite captured two tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific on August 5th, Tropical Storm Merbok and the largeTyphoon Muifa. NASA satellite imagery shows that Muifa is almost twice as big as Merbok. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured Typhoon Muifa near Okinawa, Japan, and Tropical Storm Merbok, farther east in the western Pacific at 4:35 UTC (12:35 a.m. EDT) on August 5, 2011. By having the storms side-by-side in one image, it is much easier to see how Merbok is a lot less organized than the more powerful Muifa. Muifa also has an eye, although cloud-filled, whereas Merbok does not. 

The Supreme Court and Jerusalem

At issue is the right of Naomi Zivotofsky to insist that the American passport she requested for her son Menachem from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv list "Israel" as his place of birth. He was born in Jerusalem in October 2002, about three weeks after President George W. Bush signed a bill directing the State Department to list "Israel" on the passports of American children born in Jerusalem if their parents requested it.
But the State Department denied the request, citing Bush's comments at the bill signing in which he said the law "impermissibly interferes with the president's constitutional authority to conduct the nation's foreign affairs ...."
Menachem's parents, Naomi and Ari Zivotofsky, are both American citizens and they sued the State Department the following September to compel it follow the law.


Exporting lives: history's lessons lost

Ten years ago, I arrived as a refugee by boat from Afghanistan and got Australia's protection.

In the past few decades, thousands of asylum seekers, like me, have made a treacherous journey to Australia, in search of freedom and lives free from fear and persecution.

But the rules have now changed. No asylum seekers coming by boat could seek protection from Australia under the Malaysian deal announced last month in which 800 asylum seekers will be swapped for 4,000 refugees to be resettled in Australia. The first group are about to be forcefully removed from Christmas Island and yet it faces a court challenge in Melbourne by David Manne over the legality of the transfer.



European Central Bank Said to Be Buying Italian, Spanish Government Bonds

The European Central Bank bought Italian and Spanish government bonds amid concern their rising bond yields may force the two countries to seek bailouts, according to five people with knowledge of the transactions.

The ECB isn't buying Irish or Portuguese bonds, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the deals are confidential. The ECB said last night it will "actively implement" its bond-purchase program, signaling it is ready to start buying Italian and Spanish securities to counter the sovereign-debt crisis. A spokesman for the central bank declined to comment today.



Tiger Woods' ex-caddie disputes details of his firing

AKRON, Ohio — Some breakups simply refuse to die. Of course, it doesn't help when there's a dispute about just how the breakup went down.

Steve Williams fanned the flames of his dismissal by Tiger Woods a little more Sunday after he helped Adam Scott to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational crown — first by calling it the best week of his caddying life, then offering a new version of his firing.

Disputing published reports, Williams said Woods fired him over the phone and not in a face-to-face meeting. A sitdown took place later at the AT&T National, but that was weeks after getting the sack.

"I was told on the phone that we needed to take a break," Williams said. "In caddie lingo, that means you're fired. Simple as that."

Williams, 47, had toted Woods' bag since 1999, a stretch that included 13 majors and 49 other PGA Tour victories. It became a partnership that went beyond the golf course, with each man serving in the other's wedding parties.

Red Sox come back to beat Yankees in 10, retake AL East lead

Dustin Pedroia tied the game in the ninth with a sacrifice fly and Josh Reddick won it for Boston in the 10th with an RBI single.

With men on first and second and one out, Reddick laced Phil Hughes' offering down the left-field line to give the Red Sox a 3-2 win over the New York Yankees.
"Got a first-pitch curveball over the plate and didn't really miss it," Reddick said.

Marco Scutaro went 4-for-4 with an RBI and run scored for Boston, which sits a game ahead of the Yankees in the AL Eaststandings.

Boston starter Josh Beckett gave up one run on six hits over six innings.

Daniel Bard (2-5) tossed a perfect 10th to pick up the win.

Brett Gardner and Eduardo Nunez 
hit solo homers for the Yankees, who have lost 10 of 12 against Boston this season. With only six games left against the Red Sox this year, the Yankees have lost the season set against their rival for the first time since 2004.

MOVIE REVIEW: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Human see, human do. This sums up the tenuous depth of character in Rupert Wyatt's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, an uninspired but competently made prequel to 1968's Planet of the Apes. For a film about the downfall of modern civilization, it's somewhat necessary to care about those who are slowly making our apocalypse a reality. Yet, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is content to veil the more complex moral and ethical questions behind a simplistic cause-and-effect plot. The wonderfully realized special effects and action scenes are just momentary bumps in the road for an otherwise talky melodrama between dim-witted people and absurdly smart primates.

Mankind's DOA status starts at the top of the Hollywood food chain. James Franco delivers his best sleepwalking impression as Will Rodman, a hotshot young scientist experimenting on apes to find a cure for Alzheimer's in San Francisco. During a particularly important meeting with corporate handlers, Will's primary test subject, Bright Eyes (one of the many nods to the original), is violently killed in a tragic mishap, rendering moot all his promising data. Will discovers that Bright Eyes died protecting her newborn baby, who's inherited his mother's incredible genetic cocktail. Will takes the young chimp home, names him Caesar, and builds a friendly sanctuary with ropes and beams in his suburban house. He even dresses Caesar in human clothes and lets him swing free atop the Redwoods. To say this situation is a recipe for disaster would be an understatement.



'Harry Potter' Tops 'Twilight' at Teen Choice Awards

You can add another feat of magic to resume of Harry Potter: he beat "Twilight" at the Teen Choice Awards.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," last summer's penultimate installment in enormously profitable Potter series, was named Choice Movie, Sci-Fi/Fantasy at the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday night at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles, halting a seemingly unstoppable streak of the "Twilight" movies winning nearly every possible award at previous Teen Choice ceremonies.

This time around, the boy wizard movie beat the latest teen vampires 'n' werewolves movie, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," in several categories, also including Choice Movie Liplock (Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson's fantasy kiss beating out Kristen Stewart's smooches with both Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner), Choice Movie Villain (Tom Felton over Bryce Dallas Howard)

While the Potter saga won seven awards and received a special tribute at the end of the night, Harry's victory was not complete: among other "Twilight" triumphs, Lautner beat Radcliffe for Choice Movie Actor, Sci-Fi Fantasy.


Tottenham and Broadwater Farm: A tale of two riots

Parallels with the Broadwater Farm riots are flawed, says Andrew Gilligan. Despite the riot, Tottenham has changed dramatically for the better since 1985.

Even though no one predicted the Tottenham riot, a surprising number of people already seem to know what caused it. For Chris Williamson, the Labour shadow communities minister, it was the Conservative Party. "Why is it the Tories never take responsibility for the consequences of their party's disastrous policies?" he asked. To Ken Livingstone, Labour's candidate for the London mayoralty, "the economic stagnation and cuts being imposed by the Tory government inevitably create social division". Ken, predictably, was also the first politician to use the riot for electoral purposes, crow-barring three condemnations of his rival Boris Johnson into a 300-word statement.

Families of 22 Navy SEALs killed come forward

(CBS News)  

In Afghanistan on Sunday, U.S. recovery teams removed the wreckage of the Chinook helicopter shot down by the Taliban in Wardak province, as well as the remains of the 30 Americans who were killed.

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports that the families of the group of men lost - which included 22 elite Navy SEALs - are beginning to come forward in their grief.

The pictures they provide show young men, many with children, from across the United States -- Nebraska, Iowa, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Michael Strange was a Navy SEAL on his third tour in Afghanistan.



Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to remain at post

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has told President Obama he plans to remain in his job through the fall of 2012, keeping in place Obama's longest-serving economic adviser after the first-ever U.S. credit downgrade and renewed fears of a second recession.

Geithner, who has been battling financial crises since 2007 as a top Federal Reserve official and then Treasury secretary, considered leaving the administration after Congress raised the federal debt ceiling and reached an agreement with Obama to tame the national debt.

But several developments have made his departure more difficult. The debt ceiling was raised with only hours to spare. The deal to tame the debt fell short of what Geithner and Obama wanted. The economy has suddenly taken a turn for the worse. And on Friday, Standard & Poor's downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time.

Geithner told the president Friday that he would remain in his post. Hours later, he had to go to the White House to meet with Obama again and tell him the nation would likely lose its triple-A credit rating.

"Secretary Geithner has let the president know that he plans to stay on in his position at Treasury," Treasury spokeswoman Jenni LeCompte said in a statement. "He looks forward to the important work ahead on the challenges facing our great country."

White House press secretary Jay Carney said: "The president asked Secretary Geithner to stay on at Treasury and welcomes his decision."



Thursday, August 4, 2011

Citi, OPIC and Bank Danamon Support the Rapid Growth of the Microfinance Sector in Indonesia with $20 Million Term Funding

AKARTA, Indonesia, Aug 03, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Citi Indonesia, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Bank Danamon announced the closing of a USD 20 Million term loan to fund the growth of Bank Danamon's Microfinance program, Danamon Simpan Pinjam (DSP), and to promote the financial inclusion of microentrepreneurs and small businesses in Indonesia. This loan will be the first from Citi and OPIC for the microfinance sector in Indonesia, and is a part of Citi's and OPIC's $250 million joint global initiative to support microfinance lending in emerging markets worldwide.

"Microfinance has tremendous potential not only to help tackle unemployment and promote financial access in Indonesia, but also as one of the engines of the country's economic growth," says Kunardy Lie, Head of Global Banking Citi Indonesia. "This loan shows the continuation of our commitment to Indonesia economy. Through Danamon Simpan Pinjam, which focuses on small traders, micro-entrepreneurs and the value chain for entire businesses [that has a wise and prudent regulatory structure], we are confident that it will come to a progressive programme that enables small businesses in Indonesia to grow further," he added.


Nato sends fresh forces to Kosovo amid trade row

PRISTINA: Nato began to deploy fresh forces to Kosovo yesterday as prime minister Hashim Thaci accused Belgrade of encouraging the territory's Serb minority to oppose Pristina in a bitter trade row.

A top US commander in the Nato peacekeeping force also alleged hardliners were forcing Kosovo Serbs to mount blockades as part of the dispute with the ethnic Albanian-dominated Pristina government.

Serbian officials "are inspiring those who block the roads by being among them or leading them. They are followed and protected by armed paramilitary forces," Thaci told his cabinet.

"This time it is definitively confirmed that the government of Belgrade is behind the illegal actions of traffickers, paramilitaries and the parallel structures" in Kosovo's majority Serb north, he charged.

In an effort to ease tensions, Nato has started deploying fresh forces to Kosovo, with the first plane of additional troops landing at Pristina airport last afternoon, a photograper said.

Nato said on Tuesday it had asked for an extra battalion to be deployed.