jueves, 31 de marzo de 2011

Ex-MP jailed over false expenses claims - AFP

LONDON — A former Labour MP who made false expense claims has been jailed for 16 months.

Jim Devine is the third former lawmaker to be jailed over the expenses scandal.

The 57-year-old was found guilty last month of submitting fake claims for cleaning and printing work worth worth £8,385.

Sentencing him at Southwark Crown Court, Judge John Saunders criticised the ex-lawmaker for continuing to make false claims even after the scandal had erupted and expenses were under public scrutiny.

"Mr Devine set about defrauding the public purse in a calculated and deliberate way," said the judge.

"These offences constituted a gross breach of trust which, along with others, had had the effect of causing serious damage to the reputation of parliament.

"Mr Devine made his false claims at a time when he well knew the damage that was being caused to parliament by the expenses scandal, but he carried on regardless."

Devine, who has been declared bankrupt since his conviction, had told his trial that he was acting on advice given with a "nod and a wink" by a fellow lawmaker in a bar in parliament.

Dozens of parliamentarians were caught out in 2009 after The Daily Telegraph published details of claims, revealing how taxpayers' money was used for lawmakers' widescreen TVs, furnishings and even an ornamental duck house.

Under the old expenses system, lawmakers could claim thousands of pounds towards buying, furnishing and renovating a home in the capital. The system has now been changed.

John le Carré's humourless Booker refusal could get even more embarrassing - Telegraph.co.uk (blog)

John Le Carre is a master of espionage fiction

John Le Carre is a master of espionage fiction

Yesterday, the Man International Booker Prize committee announced this year's finalists. Their list included John le Carré, still producing cracking thrillers at 79.

Le Carré, sadly, was in no mood to be nominated, and issued a rather humourless statement. "I am enormously flattered to be named as a finalist. However I do not compete for literary prizes and have therefore asked for my name to be withdrawn."

A few prizes are clearly undesirable. The Bad Sex Award, for instance, or the Razzies for the worst of cinema. But the £60,000 International Booker, for most of us, would not be one of them.

Even better was the Prize's response. Most committees would happily remove a nominee who didn't actually want to win. Not so the International Booker. Rick Gekoski, the chair, replied cheerily: "John le Carré's name will, of course, remain on the list. We are disappointed that he wants to withdraw from further consideration because we are great admirers of his work."

It's a hilarious stand-off. Le Carré's policy allows him to remain at an dignified distance from the mucky world of prizegiving. But there is no dignity in this sort of squabble, and every passing exchange reduces it further. By calling Le Carré's bluff, they have put the author in a difficult position.

What will happen if he wins? Will he refuse the cheque, only for the organisers to find a crafty way to give it to him anyway? I envisage anonymous cash through his letterbox, or taxi drivers saying "that's alright, mate" with a wink. It could be from one of his novels.

AIB to require additional €13.3bn - Irish Times

irishtimes.com - Last Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2011, 18:23


AIB will need another €13.3 billion to cover losses arising from unexpected shocks in the economy, according to today's "stress test" results from the Central Bank.

The bank will also be forced to merge with the Educational Building Society under Government plans to restructure the Irish banking sector.

The additional €13.3 billion for AIB will bring the bank's bailout total to €20.5 billion and sees the bank accounting for more than half of the €24 billion total capital bill arising across the banking sector from the latest tests.

AIB's higher share of the latest total reflects the Central Bank's belief that the bank will account for the biggest proportion of loan losses in Irish finance over coming years.

According to the Central Bank's assessment, AIB's losses on residential mortgages could reach €3 billion under a worst-case stress scenario. On the same worst-case basis, AIB's losses on development loans could rise to €4.5 billion between 2011 and 2013.

The stress tests involve applying higher levels of capital to protect against losses, considering greater stress in the general banking environment, applying conservative loan loss and recovery assumptions and adding in further buffers above the numbers resulting from the Central Bank review.

Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan said the new-look AIB, which will incorporate EBS, will be a "largely domestically-focused bank".

In a statement, AIB said it appreciated the State's continued support for its business. It also said it was working on "initiatives" to meet customers' needs and address mortgage problems.

John Rentoul: "Yes, we would make two-thirds of the cuts" - The Independent (blog)

Yes, we would make two thirds of the cuts, eagle eyeGratified to see Evan Davis (right), in his interview with Ed Miliband on the Today programme, use the same analysis of Labour's policy on the deficit as my post on Tuesday. He asked Miliband to accept that Labour planned to cut spending by two-thirds as much as the Government intends to do: 63 per cent of the cumulative total cuts planned by 2014-15.*

Miliband's response was to say that the Tory-led Government wants to go £40bn further and faster than the deficit reduction planned by Alistair Darling before the election. Davis, who knows his numbers, got him to clarify that this was £30bn of extra spending cuts and £10bn of extra tax rises.

Actually, if we refer to table 1.1 from the Budget Red Book again (below), the actual amounts are £29bn of extra spending cuts and £9bn of extra tax rises, making £38bn per year by 2014-15 more than Labour had planned.

The difference between Labour and Tory plans to cut the deficit is significant. And yet George Osborne's plans bring public spending as a share of national income by 2014-15 back to only the same level as in 2007-08.

Yes, we would make two thirds of the cuts, eagle eye

*I said in my previous post that I could not find any figures to support Boris Johnson's claim that Labour planned to make 80 per cent of the Coalition's cuts. The Mayor's press office was unable to help either.

Tagged in:

'We thought it would never happen': Harry - Toronto Sun

LONDON - Britain's Prince Harry revealed on Thursday his family thought his elder brother William would never take the plunge and marry Kate Middleton.

He also said they would be thinking of their mother, the late Princess Diana, on the big day, April 29.

"We all thought that it was never going to happen for him. But it has happened, and I think everyone's going to be very proud of him," he told reporters.

"I think he's done the right thing. He's waited, and he's done it when he feels right, and it's a huge step."

William first met his future bride in 2001 while they were students at St Andrew's university in Scotland. Speculation about whether he would pop the question went on so long she eventually became known by the tabloid press as "waity Katy," before William finally proposed during a holiday in Kenya last November.

Harry, who is third in line to the throne, said he was looking forward to welcoming Kate into the royal family.

"She's a fantastic girl. She really is," he said.

He joked: "I'm really looking forward to getting her under my wing — or she'll be taking me under her wing probably."

Harry spoke about the wedding as he prepared for a challenging trek in the Arctic with a group of wounded servicemen who are hoping to reach the North Pole.

Turning his attention to Diana he ventured: "Myself, my brother and my father, there will be all sorts of people and the rest of the family that will be no doubt be thinking about it."

He added: "And I hope she would be very, very proud that the big day has come upon him."

Harry, who is best man, admitted that, with only a month to go, he has still to write the speech he is due to give with two of William's close friends.

"The speech will be like any normal best man's speech. Between the three of us we will make sure people know the good times and the bad times that he's had since he was a nipper," he said.

Harry said his speech will take "the mickey out of him," but will inevitably have to be toned down for the occasion.

"I will tell a few stories, but I think my grandmother (Queen Elizabeth) will be there, so I'll have to be selective."

In a separate interview he gave to BBC television from the Arctic he quipped: "We are going to make sure we dig him in the ribs a few times and embarrass him — make him lose some hair."

STATBOX-Cricket-India v Sri Lanka - World Cup final - Yahoo! Eurosport UK

Facts and figures relating to the World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka (0900 GMT) at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on Saturday.

Head-to-head record:

India lead 67-50 (NR: 11)

In the World Cups: Sri Lanka lead 4-2

In the sub-continent: India lead 59-46 (NR: 9)

Results in last five head-to-head ODIs

22 Jun 2010 (Dambulla): Sri Lanka won by seven wickets

24 Jun 2010 (Dambulla): India won by 81 runs

16 Aug 2010 (Dambulla): India won by six wickets

22 Aug 2010 (Dambulla): Sri Lanka won by eight wickets

28 Aug 2010 (Dambulla): Sri Lanka won by 74 runs

* At the Wankhede, they are tied at 1-1. India won the first encounter by 10 runs in 1987. In 1997 Sri Lanka beat India by five wickets.

* Both teams finished second in their respective groups. Sri Lanka (WWWW,NR,WLW) lost to Pakistan and had a washed out tie against Australia. India (WWWLWWTW) lost to South Africa and tied against England.

* Besides the hiccup against Pakistan, Sri Lanka beat Canada by 210 runs, Kenya by nine wickets, Zimbabwe by 139 runs and New Zealand by 112 runs. They thumped England by 10 wickets in the last eight before defeating New Zealand again in the semi-finals by five wickets.

* India have had a more bumpy ride as they enjoyed two comfortable wins -- beating Bangladesh by 87 runs and West Indies by 80 runs -- were stretched before beating second tier teams Ireland and Netherlands by five wickets, tied with England and suffered a three-wicket loss to South Africa. However, a five-wicket win over four-times champions Australia and a 29-run win against Pakistan in the knockout rounds will have boosted them.

* As the Indians have been tested, they are likely to withstand pressure better than Sri Lanka, whose middle order, till the semi-finals, had faced a total of 29 balls in six games.

* The top order of both the teams dominate the run scoring charts. Sri Lanka have their top three batsmen in the Top 5 run scorers of this World Cup, with Tillakaratne Dilshan (467 runs) leading the tally. Kumar Sangakkara (417 runs) and Upul Tharanga (393 runs) at numbers four and five respectively.

* For India, Sachin Tendulkar is once close to being the leading run scorer as he is three runs behind Dilshan (464 runs). India have two more batsmen in the Top 10, with Virender Sehwag (380 runs) and Yuvraj Singh (341 runs) at numbers six and eight respectively.

* India have two more batsmen, Gautam Gambhir (296 runs) and Virat Kohli (247 runs) at numbers 15 and 20 respectively, they have no other batsmen in the Top 30.

* India will need to take wickets as the Sri Lankan top order have stunning averages -- Sangakkara topping the league with 104.25, and Dilshan (66.71) and Tharanga (65.50) not doing badly either.

* Sri Lanka will have to curb the rate of run flow at the top of the batting order with Sehwag scoring at a strike rate of 123.37.

* On the bowling front, Zaheer Khan (19 wickets) and Yuvraj Singh (13 wickets) have led the way for India. Muttiah Muralitharan (15 wickets) and Lasith Malinga (11 wickets) have provided Sri Lanka the breakthroughs when they needed it. Dilshan (seven wickets at an average of 14.14) has bowled very well in the last few matches

* Where Sri Lanka seem to have a distinctive edge is in the economy of their bowling figures. Ajantha Mendis at 3.14 RPO, Dilshan at 3.80, Muralitharan at 4.00, Rangana Herath at 4.27. Harbhajan Singh with an economy of 4.41, heads the list for India but is at a lowly 36th ranked place.

* More teams batting first (11-6) have emerged victorious at the Wankhede.

£50k reward over shot girl, five - BBC News

A youth thought to have been targeted by the gang who shot a five-year-old girl and a man in south London has contacted police.

Thusha Kamaleswaran and the man, 35, were hit in the chest and face respectively at the Stockwell Food and Wine shop, Stockwell Road, on Tuesday.

A £50,000 reward has been offered for information. It happened as three youths on bikes chased two others.

Now Det Ch Insp Tony Boughton said one of those targeted had contacted them.

The 35-year-old man, named locally as Roshan Selvakumar, and Thursha are in a critical but stable condition.

Thusha is currently under sedation and her parents are keeping a bedside vigil, a family friend said.

Velluppillai Navaratnam, 49, from Croydon, south London, said: "It has been a very difficult time for family and friends.

"The parents of Thusha are at the hospital now. We are all praying for her to get well soon."

"Start Quote

For an innocent five-year-old child to receive such horrific injuries is utterly despicable"

End Quote Dave Cording Crimestoppers

Crimestoppers and the Association of Convenience Stores have now offered the reward about the "heinous" crime.

Dave Cording, director of operations at Crimestoppers, said: "For an innocent five-year-old child to receive such horrific injuries is utterly despicable.

"A reward of up to £50,000 is being offered to anyone who can supply us with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible.

"This is a heinous crime. I hope the offenders will be swiftly brought to justice."

Police revealed on Thursday that Thusha's brother, 12, and sister, three, were also in the shop at the time of the shooting, but they were unhurt.

'Horrific incident'

The victims were hit when one of three youths on bikes opened fire on two other youths who were hiding in the shop after being chased.

The two teenagers had been chased from Broomgrove Road, across Stockwell Road, and into the shop.

After the shots were fired, the three attackers were chased by their intended targets from the shop along Broomgrove Road and into the Stockwell Park Estate.

James Lowman, of the Association of Convenience Stores, said: "Our thoughts are with the victims and their families after this horrific incident.

"We want to help the police, through Crimestoppers, to catch those responsible and we hope that by funding this reward we will play a part in securing more information to support the police investigation."

The reward was offered under a new scheme to discourage people from committing violence in small shops.

Det Ch Insp Tony Boughton said: "I appeal to those who have information or were involved in this shooting to come forward and assist us with this investigation.

"This is a terrible incident where an innocent child has been seriously injured.

"We want to hear from the local community, who might have seen these youths cycling around the estate between 9pm and 10pm.

"These criminals have seriously injured two innocent bystanders and must face the consequences of their actions."

The two youths who hid in the shop and the three who chased them and fired shots were all described as black.

Do Not Anger the Alpha Android - BusinessWeek

Google cracks down on the chaos of Android Land; some mobile partners aren't happy


Playtime is over in Android Land. Over the last couple of months Google (GOOG) has reached out to the major carriers and device makers backing its mobile operating system with a message: There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more partnerships formed outside of Google's purview. From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google's most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google's Android group.

This is the new reality described by about a dozen executives working at key companies in the Android ecosystem. Some of those affected include LG, Toshiba, Samsung, and even Facebook, which has been trying to develop an Android device. There have been enough run-ins to trigger complaints with the Justice Dept., according to a person familiar with the matter. The Google that once welcomed all comers to help get its mobile software off the ground has become far more discriminating—especially for companies that want to include Google services such as search and maps on their hardware. Google also gives chip and device makers that abide by its rules a head start in bringing Android products to market, according to the executives.

When Android hit the scene in 2008, Google had a tantalizing pitch: Android was "open source." That is, Google would do the hard work of developing the code, and hardware and software makers were free to use the system at no charge. Carriers and device makers relished the idea of not paying royalties. Android became the people's mobile software, a free zone that contrasted with the closed worlds of the iPhone (AAPL) and BlackBerry (RIMM). HTC, Motorola (MMI), and Acer could avoid spending billions developing their own operating systems and customize Android with unique services. Carriers got a raft of slick new devices to sell. Consumers enjoyed more choice. And Google's search-advertising business could tap the vast mobile phone market.

Android's share of the smartphone market surged from 9 percent in 2009 to an industry-leading 31 percent worldwide. "I don't think we've seen anything like Android in terms of gaining share," says Bill Gurley, general partner at the venture capital firm Benchmark Capital.

As Google introduced Android updates, each named after a sweet, devices of varying capabilities flooded the market. Some are polished smartphones that used the "Gingerbread" version of the software; others are clunky tablets released before the latest "Honeycomb" update was ready. It isn't easy for consumers to keep up—and the same goes for software makers, who have to retool apps for every version and device to give their products a consistent look and feel.

Google's Rubin, a mobile industry veteran, anticipated such market fragmentation. That's why when Google prepares a new version of Android, it selects a chipmaker and a device maker so that the first smartphones and tablets show off all the bells and whistles. With the first version, for example, Google worked in tandem with Qualcomm (QCOM) and HTC. That first Android smartphone turned HTC into a worldwide brand, and Qualcomm's chips now power 60 percent of Android devices, according to Strategy Analytics. With the latest version, the lucky duo was Nvidia (NVDA) and Motorola. "We know we won't get it first every time," says Rob Chandok, senior vice-president for software strategy at Qualcomm. He says Qualcomm has sped up its testing procedures to try to get new versions of Android onto its chips within three weeks of getting the code.

Edward Stobart - Telegraph.co.uk

"I fought against the rough-looking driver," he recalled. "A lot of them looked no better than tramps. It took quite a few years before people saw where we were going and what we were trying to achieve."

In the early days he would polish the lorries himself after the drivers had gone home, often grabbing a few hours of sleep on the shelf of a filing cabinet in the office in between dashing out to hose down a dirty truck or volunteering to pick up a late load at night. When lorries needed to be replaced, he always bought new (at considerable personal expense) when others advised buying second-hand.

The company's rapid growth owes much to deregulation during the Eighties, but Edward Stobart had the vision to exploit the changing times. The decade saw a development of the motorways and expansion of large out-of-town supermarkets. Lorries soon took over from trains as the fastest and cheapest way to transport cargo. By 1985 the firm had expanded from eight lorries to 26 and annual sales of more than £1 million.

In 1986 Stobart brought in a new management team, including his younger brother William, and the firm moved to a new industrial estate on the north side of Carlisle, closer to the M6. This site had better vehicle facilities and warehouse capacity to cope with increased demand for an integrated storage and distribution service. The company continued to gain new business, and several more depots were opened. By the mid-1980s it was growing at about 25 per cent a year. By 2000 the company had more than 800 lorries and 22 depots.

It was Eddie senior who began the tradition of giving Eddie Stobart's lorries female names. The first three were named after the Sixties' model Twiggy and the singers Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton. Edward continued the tradition, with more recent vehicles being named after Ffion Hague (following a request from her husband, William), Paris Hilton, Trinny and Susannah and Fiona Phillips.

The policy of inscribing their names on the front of the cab helped to attract a 35,000-strong fan club of Stobart-spotters who log truck sightings on a club website, along with registration number, fleet number and girl's name. No doubt there are millions of parents who have relieved the tedium of a car journey by channelling their children's boredom into Stobart-spotting.

By the new century, Eddie Stobart diversified into retailing miniature Eddie Stobart lorries and other toys – a business worth £3.5 million – along with other merchandise emblazoned with the company's logo. There was even a paint colour called Eddie Stobart Green; a series of children's books featuring Steady Eddie, the big-hearted lorry; and an Eddie Stobart rail service, powered by Eddie the Engine, from the Midlands to Scotland. Tony Blair's youngest son, Leo, used to play with Eddie Stobart miniature lorries in 10 Downing Street.

Yet, by contrast to all the marketing razzamatazz, Edward Stobart avoided the limelight and rarely gave interviews to journalists, remaining the publicity-shy mastermind behind the enterprise. His business philosophy remained a simple one: "We never turn any customer away and we always do it at the right price. We are always smart, tidy – the best at everything. We have the smartest drivers and the smartest trucks and we do our job well, which is why people notice us and why we are a success."

One of four children of strongly Christian parents, Edward Stobart was born on November 21 1954 at his parents' house just outside Hesket Newmarket near Carlisle. Neither he nor his younger brother William showed any promise at school and both were hampered by a stammer. When he left school at 15 he had been labelled an academic failure by his teachers.

By 2002, with more than 1,000 lorries on the road, Eddie Stobart was facing problems because of the high cost of fuel. The company posted its first loss, and in 2004 Edward Stobart sold his 55 per cent interest to his brother William, who already owned 45 per cent, and his business partner Andrew Tinkler, of the railway infrastructure company WA Developments.

Stobart had many of the spoils that go with business success – a Ferrari and a huge house built at the firm's headquarters in Carlisle – but before he retired from the business he admitted that work was his real hobby: "I don't really do much else – I did have a speedboat, but I sold it."

Edward Stobart and his first wife, Sylvia, had four adopted children. He also had two children by his second wife, Mandy.

iPad Trash Talk from HP, Dell Sounds Like Sour Grapes - PCWorld

I love a good flame war between rival tech companies, but two recent attacks on Apple's iPad by HP and Dell executives failed to stir my emotions, except one: sympathy.

Reading the remarks of Dell marketing head Andy Lark and HP senior vice president Stephen Dewitt made me feel sorry for both companies. Apple's destroying them in the tablet market, and there's not a whole lot they can say or do about it.

Dell's Delusion

I feel pain for Lark, who for some reason said the following to CIO Australia about the iPad: "An iPad with a keyboard, a mouse and a case [means] you'll be at $1,500 or $1,600; that's double of what you're paying." As PC World readers pointed out, an iPad mouse doesn't exist, and if you add a keyboard and case to the priciest iPad, you still wouldn't crack $1,000.

But that misguided comment isn't my main concern. The bulk of Lark's comments are about how Dell has taken a "considered approach to tablets" because the company does most of its business in the enterprise market. I interpret that to mean Dell wants to create Windows tablets -- the company has been showing off a 10-inch concept device running Windows 7 -- but right now, the software isn't working in Dell's favor. Windows 7 just isn't designed for touchscreens, so Dell will not really be able to embrace tablets until Windows 8 comes around. Being powerless on the software front must be tough, especially while Apple is making its hardware thinner, lighter and faster.

HP's Palaver

DeWitt's iPad bashing is a little more obscure than Lark's comments. Speaking at a conference for HP's channel partners, DeWitt criticized the relationship Apple has with the companies that sell and service its products. "Apple's relationship with partners is transactional, completely. Apple doesn't have an inclusive philosophy of partner capabilities, and that's just absurd," he said.

I can't speak for Apple's channel partners, but it seems obvious to me why Apple might treat them as transactional: it can. The iPad 2 is selling out everywhere, and while DeWitt can talk all he wants about having an "inclusive philosophy," what really matters in the end is whether the product is selling. And the iPad 2 is selling.

Besides, Apple doesn't need channel partners nearly as desperately as they need Apple. Thanks to the Apple Store, the company already has its own point of sales, service and training. When an iPad breaks, Apple doesn't need the Geek Squad. Its Genius Bar does the job. That must be frustrating for a company like HP.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited for the competition that the iPad will face this year. Android 3.0 got a rough start in the Motorola Xoom, but it'll eventually come along; Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook deserves a chance, despite a lack of buzz; and HP's TouchPad promises a whole bunch of features that the iPad lacks. But until Dell and HP actually launch products that can go toe-to-toe with the iPad, all they can do is talk. And they're clearly running out of things to say.

Follow Jared on Facebook and Twitter for even more tech news and commentary.

Japan nuke workers tell of trying time online - CBS News

Japan Self-Defense Force members and others in protective gear prepare at a hospital in Fukushima, Japan, March 25, 2011, to transfer workers who stepped into contaminated water during their operation at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

(Credit: AP Photo/Yomiuri Shimbun)

Online postings and emails from workers at Japan's nuclear power plants have provided glimpses into their largely unknown lives in the nearly three weeks since the country's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

In the handful of messages posted on social networking websites and obtained by media outlets, workers acknowledge that they might not survive efforts to prevent a meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and ask readers to appreciate that trying to contain radiation leaking from the plant has prevented them from reconnecting with loved ones they haven't seen since the natural disaster hit.

Complete coverage: Disaster in Japan
In shadow of nuclear crisis, tsunami toll mounts
Biggest spike in radiation at Japan power plant

"My town is gone," a worker named Emiko Ueno wrote in an email that The New York Times published in print editions Thursday. "My parents are still missing. I still cannot get in the area because of the evacuation order. I still have to work in such a mental state. This is my limit."

The Times reported that a manager for Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant's operator also known at Tepco, distributed Ueno's email among employees, writing at the top to "please think about what you can do for Fukushima after reading this e-mail."

Also Thursday, the New Scientist published a translation of a portion of a message a worker identified as Morizo published to a Japanese blog site March 19:

It's probably a given that we employees are to handle the situation even if the consequences may be dire for us. So we are doing what we can as best as we can. We will be carrying a cross on our back for the rest of our lives... We are very sorry for the inconvenience we are causing because of the scheduled blackouts... We employees at TEPCO have not been able to make time to take care of our own health let alone check on our own families' safety.

The New Scientist also translated part of an email the Asahi Shimbun newspaper published Saturday from a 46-year-old woman who works at the nearby Fukushima Daini power plant that was less severely damaged in the disaster:

Most of the workers at both the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini power plants are local residents. Many of our homes have been washed away. I myself have been on duty at contingency planning headquarters since the earthquake hit. My own parents are missing. I do not know where they are. I have been wanting to go search for them, but my home that was washed away is in a mandatory evacuation area and I can't even enter the area. Even the Self Defense Forces will not go to search for them. My mental state has reached the absolute limit under these extreme work conditions. The Daini plant workers has been taking care of this plant and going out to support the Daiichi plant as well.

At least one worker has apparently shown regret for responding to criticism against Tepco. Michiko Otsuki removed a March 15 post from Japanese social networking site Mixi that defended the nuclear workers, the Times reported.

"The people working at these plants are fighting without running away," Otsuki wrote, according to the Guardian newspaper of London. "Please don't forget that there are people who are working to protect everyone's lives in exchange for their own."

The New Scientist published Thursday a different quote from Otsuki's post:

"I know that [TEPCO] is being heavily bashed for this accident, but we are not running away. We are the ones putting our lives on the line, so please don't criticise us."

She added: "We are really scared for our own lives doing this. Please don't forget that."

To bomb and protect - Aljazeera.net

Protection via war is a perfect oxymoron.

Like all wars, the intervention in Libya is questionable. However, the absurdity of war needs no commentary.

The conduct of war for the ''protection of civilians'' provides further proof of how war makes no sense even when executed with the best intentions in mind.

However, the absurdity of ''protection'' calls for questioning the context of the current military intervention in Libya.

Of course, this might be one war where academic intervention gives no comfort to Libyans threatened with death at the hands of Gaddafi's murderous forces and lijan thawriyyah or revolutionary committees.

Nonetheless, it is still a war with many a paradox. That is, a war that inevitably solidifies the cynicism in many minds that the realist paradigm still prevails in international relations; as ever, might is right, the same logic which Gaddafi has deployed to save his dynasty and oppress his people.

The intervention in Libya confirms not the assumed diplomatic equation that ''legal'' war is ''right''. That is, the motivation behind the war may not be flawed, but the reasoning behind it defies logic.

Between Iraq and Libya

The war in Iraq was conducted in the name of democracy. The Libya war derives its mandate from UN Security Council resolution 1973 of March 17.

The authorisation to use force has a twofold agenda: to enforce a no-fly zone, and to protect civilians. Resolution 1973 thus sidesteps the twin problems of illegality and unilateralism present in the 2003 conflict.

To this end, it talks of taking "all necessary measures". This is obviously intended to defang and deny the Libyan state of its function as a repository of theoretical and practical monopoly over the legitimacy to kill (supposedly ''legally'') its own citizens.

Indirectly, the military-strategic drive to stop Gaddafi's forces from recovering Benghazi and Tobruk might have heightened the urgency for multilateral and UN-mandated intervention.

Gaddafi and his military chiefs no doubt feared the rebels' control of Tobruk, given its importance as a line of supply, communication and a bridge with the world – including Egypt.

But if one is to be guided by the benefit of hindsight of two messy wars – Afghanistan and Iraq – taking over the skies and dumping bombs are not sufficient to close the circle in conflicts aimed at promoting ''democracy'' (Iraq) or sacking ''mullah-ocracy'' (Afghanistan).

Invasion had to follow in both countries. Resolution 1973 gives no such mandate.

Here lies one flaw of the mandate to ''protect civilians''. The operative term here is ''protection'' – how much protection?

Is the mandate to protect civilians coupled with the possible survival of a weakened Gaddafi state in the western half of Libya reconcilable? What are the limits of and terms that must define ''protection''?

Living with the ''threat'' of dictatorship but not with the imminent physical danger to a population by its state may be one illusion that calls for redefining ''protection'' in light of the popular protests sweeping the Arab Middle East.

Protection and the Livingston Group

In an ideal world, protection should be instituted by prevention and principle, not war.

Many Western statesmen are guilty of failing on both counts. The rehabilitation of the Gaddafi regime was schemed in London and Washington.

Mutasim Gaddafi made it to Washington and was granted audience with the key architects of US foreign and security policy machines. The audience with senator Clinton was a quasi-signature of approval, unwittingly giving a murderous regime a second chance to re-enter the international arena.

Here lies one strength of the Gaddafi regime - having faced two rounds of sanctions and a previous bombing campaign under the Reagan administration - it proves to be durable.

That is one of the reasons why Gaddafi qualifies as a Houdini of political survival, and that is one of the reasons why he must not to be underestimated, even if he did commit political harakiri when he bombed his own citizens a few weeks ago. He may be more adept at surviving sanctions and pariah status than lots of other regimes.

Part of being a Houdini is mobilising human and financial resources to secure longer survival. The lobbying undertaken successfully by the US-based Livingston Group (TLG) on behalf of Libya was instrumental in the survival and rehabilitation of Gaddafi.

In particular, TLG's lobbying led to normalisation of US relations with the Gaddafi regime. TLG's work is summarised in a confidential 2009 memo titled "2008-2009 Full Normalisation Action Program: Moving the New Libya-US Bilateral Relationship Forward".

What is puzzling in all of this is not understanding TLG's reasons (business/fees) behind helping mend relations with a murderous and authoritarian regime; rather, it is the question of ''protection''.

Protection should have been through prevention. That is, enactment of principled policies aimed at isolation and boycott of murderous regimes.

Such prevention would have served as the best form of protecting the Libyans by withholding diplomatic recognition, legitimacy and military support.

Under the leadership of its chairman Bob Livingston, former speaker of the House, aided by Bill Zeliff, former congressman, TLG got Gaddafi off the hook – once fiscal arrangements were in place to compensate claimants of the Lockerbie bombing blamed on Libya.

In particular, their lobbying concentrated on what the memo describes as "securing relief from the punitive provisions of Section 1083, the ''Lautenberg Amendment''." Their Herculean task paid off on July 31, 2008, when the US Congress was unanimous in its vote in favour of S.3370, the Libya Claims Resolution Act.

Gaddafi won. His Libya secured "a full and unconditional waiver of Section 1083". He deployed his only resource  and money and seized the opportunity for opening Libya up for business, using US democratic channels and local ''soft power'' to serve the agenda of a brutal, autocratic, dynastic and unpredictable failed state.

Unanimous vote for Gaddafi?

The confidential memo brags about the feat in winning the vote for the waiver and enlisting Republican and Democratic support for the legislation, one of the last laws signed by George W. Bush before he vacated the White House. 

The memo states:

According to the confidential memo, a single dissenting vote could have derailed TLG's group, and with it the vote for the waiver. Unanimity was required, and that was TLG's objective.

To this end, Bob Livingston and Bill Zeliff, according to the same memo, actively worked on both Republican and Democratic senators and above all else  identified five senators whose objections or reservations could have defeated the legislation.

TLG in consortium with the Bush administration and business interests worked actively to "educate, persuade and neutralise the senators with the greatest concerns." Obviously they succeeded.

The intensive, effective lobbying involved contacting every congressman before the vote, and securing endorsement of House leadership from both parties, which included House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

TLG was so dedicated to the waiver that one of its members, former congressman Bob Clement, did not take a break whilst recovering from heart surgery. He was tasked with calling and lobbying members of the House of Representatives.

TLG was made up of well-connected individuals who knew how to navigate their ways through the labyrinth of power in the US.

It went all the way to the top, and its lobbying succeeded thanks to vital Republican support by senator Biden, chairman of the senate Foreign Relations Committee, and senator Levin, chairman of the senate Armed Services Committee. Both were co-sponsors of the waiver.

Who is protecting whom?

Resolution 1973 gives protection a new meaning. Who is actually protecting whom? In an ideal world protection should be attained through prevention: preventive disengagement rather than hollow and interest-driven brands of ''constructive engagement''.

This calls for rigorous standards of ethicism in international relations even if states are not known to run charities.

What is not known is whether the weaponry used by Gaddafi's forces was procured from Western powers, who rushed to normalise relations with Gaddafi. TLG's lobbying effort aimed at upgrading bilateral, defence and security relations.

As a result International Military Education Training funds for Libya were set at $333,000 and $350,000 respectively for financial years 2008 and 2009. So presumably some of that US military know-how provided to Libyan officers was used by Gaddafi in oppressing the Libyan people.

Business opportunity and Libya's top quality oil at least partly accounted for the compromise of the world's oldest democracy. America's democratic machinery was manipulated into giving Gaddafi a second chance.

What is additionally puzzling as far as the mandate of ''protection'' is concerned is that hypocrisy that has now befallen those Arab voices who previously objected to Western intervention in Iraq now support it in Libya – such Yusuf Qaradawi.

There are other Arab citizens in need of protection from the world's financial institutions holding them ransom by having their authoritarian states on the bankroll of the International ''Misery'' Fund (IMF) or World Bank.

The children of Gaza need protection. So do dissident citizens in Bahrain, who have been protesting peacefully. If the new logic of protection persists, the world can expect the unexpected – more intervention in a number of the Arab League member states who supported intervention in Libya.

Nor are members of the Western powers arrayed against Libya paragons of virtue – some maintain racist immigration policies that ignore the new moral agenda of protection.

There is a hidden dirty war which casts doubts about the morality of Western interest and intervention in Libya.

The upgrade of relations even allowed the US to infiltrate the Gaddafi regime succeeding to recruit a few men, including foreign minister Musa Kusa, whose murderous history is known to all.

The Americans may have facilitated his escape to Tunisia two days ago, which would mean he has US support and ''protection''.

In these exciting but equally uncertain times, protection must not demote the agency of Arabs – they must be, so to speak, given the means of how to fish, and not the fish itself.

This must be heeded by democracy promoters and ''protectors'' of the revolutionary moment in the Arab World.

Libyans are valiantly fighting to earn freedom from tyranny and dynasty. But military intervention might have already wiped the shine off what they intended to be a verdict of people power against the legion of Gaddafi.    

Dr Larbi Sadiki is a Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter, and author of Arab Democratisation: Elections without Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009) and The Search for Arab Democracy: Discourses and Counter-Discourses (Columbia University Press, 2004), forthcoming Hamas and the Political Process (2011).

The views expressed in this article are the author''s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera''s editorial policy.

Grandparents to get access rights after divorce - Mirror.co.uk

By JAMES LYONS GRANDPARENTS are to be given a legal right to see their ­grandchildren after parents split up.

Separating couples will be expected to make suitable contact arrangements under changes announced today.

Parenting Agreements will explicitly set out rights which can be enforced in court.

The proposal is part ofa review of family law led by former top civil servant David Norgrove.

Deputy PM Nick Clegg said last year it was "crazy" millions of people lose contact with grandchildren after separation and divorce.

Other proposals include legal rights for children to decide which parent they want to live with, and a say in when they should see other family members.

Despite an increasing reliance on grandparents for childcare by many parents, they have no legal rights to access.

Research shows almost half never see their grandchildren again, with the parents of fathers faring worst after a split. Mr Norgrove said the plan ­reinforces "the importance of a relationship with grandparents and others whom the child values".

Obama Confident Qaddafi Will Step Down - RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

U.S. President Barack Obama said that he was confident that Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi would "ultimately" step down under intense international pressure.

Obama also said in an NBC interview that he did not rule out arming Libyan rebels as they seek to make territorial gains and overthrow Qaddafi.

On March 29, a Western-led conference on the future of Libya agreed to set up a contact group to lead international efforts to stabilize the North African country and hold Qaddafi "accountable" for his actions.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said at the end of the conference in London that the newly established Libya Contact Group would be chaired by the Gulf state of Qatar, where it will also hold its first meeting "as soon as possible."

Representatives from more than 40 countries and international organizations attended the conference.
Meanwhile, rebel forces, which had made big advances westwards amid coalition air strikes against Qaddafi's positions, were reportedly repelled on March 30 by government tanks and rockets from around Qaddafi's birthplace of Sirte.
Rebels were forced to retreat from the town of Nawfaliya, 150 kilometers from Sirte, to the coastal town of Bin Jawad further east.

compiled from agency reports

Libya Foreign Minister Defects As Rebels Lose More Ground - RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa is in Britain and says he is "no longer willing" to work for Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's regime.

A British Foreign Office statement said that Koussa "has told us that he is resigning his post."

The Foreign Office said Koussa flew into an airport near the capital on March 30. He has subsequently spent hours talking to British officials.

He arrived in Britain after a two-day stay in Tunisia, which Tripoli had officially described as a "private visit."

Several senior members of Qaddafi's entourage have defected since the uprising against his 42-year-rule began more than a month ago.

Washington quickly hailed Koussa's departure as a major blow to the Qaddafi regime.

Koussa's defection comes as rebels in Libya are retreating from former strongholds along the eastern coast after advances by forces loyal to Qaddafi, as world powers consider arming outgunned rebel forces.

Loyalists supported by tanks and artillery reached the outskirts of Ajdabiya, some 160 kilometers east of the rebels' main stronghold of Benghazi, after retaking the oil hubs of Ras Lanuf, Uqayla, and Brega.

Qaddafi's latest counteroffensive came after rebel forces on March 29 had advanced to within 100 kilometers of Sirte, aided by coalition air strikes. 

In the west, loyalists were still besieging the rebel-held town of Misurata.

The United States and Britain say they have not ruled out arming the rebels.

Meanwhile, reports say the CIA sent operatives to Libya earlier this month after the agency's station in Tripoli was forced to close.

compiled from agency reports

Olympic 2012 site in London sees security guard arrested for explosives - The Guardian

A female security guard has been arrested near London's Olympic stadium site on suspicion of possessing explosives, it has emerged.

The 40-year-old dog handler was held after her vehicle was searched in a car park off Pudding Mill Lane on Tuesday, but police said the incident was not thought to be terror-related.

Scotland Yard said the woman was arrested on suspicion of possession of a "very small amount of a substance" that was being forensically examined.

The suspect is currently being held in custody at an east London police station.

The arrest was made by the officers from the Olympic Site Support Unit following information received by police.

Officials said another car was stopped and searched on the M11, but nothing was found in the car, and the driver was not arrested. Searches were also carried out at residential addresses in Kent and London, but no further substances were found.

In a statement the Met insisted that the incident "did not represent a threat to the safety and security of the Olympic site."

A spokesman for the Olympic Delivery Authority said: "There are robust measures to ensure the safety and security of the Olympic Park. We are working with the police in their investigation. At no point has the safety and security of the Olympic Park been put at risk."

A spokesman for G4S, which provides security for the Olympics, said: "G4S take breach of operational processes very seriously and are assisting the police with their inquiries in relation to this incident."

The arrest came on the same day that building work at the £486m Olympic stadium was completed.

Ed Miliband's true-blue wedding hideaway - Telegraph.co.uk

"Ken Clarke, I love him, he's the only person I rate in politics at all," she said.

"I'm a big fan of Ken Clarke, he's the best prime minister we never had."

Built in 1837 on the site of the burned-down home of Admiral Lord Howe, one of Lord Nelson's inspirations, the Hall itself has long political associations, although none of them Labour.

It was once the home of Thomas Bayley, Mrs Skirving's great grandfather, a coal magnate and the Liberal MP for Chesterfield from 1892 to 1906.

Standing on the site of a Ninth Century pilgrims' shrine, the Hall has no ghosts "at the moment", jokes Mrs Skirving.

Its isolated location next to a 12th Century church outside Nottingham, has helped make it popular with celebrities as a quiet and low-key retreat.

Keira Knightley, the actress, and Jack Dee and Michael McIntyre, the comedians, are among recent guests while Sir Cliff Richard and the designer Sir Paul Smith are regulars, as was the late Dame Barbara Cartland.

Well known in the area for its restaurant, it is also a favourite for Miss Thornton's family, only 20 minutes drive from her childhood home.

But despite the hotel's A-list clientele, the event, a ceremony and meal for about 50 people, is likely to cost the couple – who have yet to chose the menu – less than £3,000. Although the hotel will be closed to other customers for the wedding, the couple are not expected to stay the night.

Despite her true-blue credentials Mrs Skirving is sure the future Mr and Mrs Miliband will feel at home.

"He's coming here as an individual, and every politician, or whoever they are, they are basically people at heart," she said.

"When he comes here it will be a small informal wedding, very low key, that's the sort if thing we do.

"The bit that I will enjoy is the security people, I always love anything like that, it just makes you feel important – never mind the next Prime Minister."

JBNBlog: Sri Lanka to win World Cup - London Free Press (blog)

Here'a a fearless prediction JBNBlog has no business making (other than a belief in the power of friendship) " Sri Lanka will win the 2011 cricket World Cup. Sri Lanka is already in the final. Along with our happy & excited friends in London's small but mighty Sri Lankan community, it awaits the winner of the epic India-Pakistan semifinal.

Most of what I know about Sri Lanka's magnificent side is from this QMI Agency story on lfpress.com http://www.lfpress.com/sports/othersports/2011/03/29/17797316.html.

Other sports? Well! For our Sri Lankan friends & many other South Asians around London, cricket is The Sport. The World Cup is as huge for our friends as Sidney Crosby scoring for Team Canada was for me.

JBNBlog's cricketmania was strongly influenced by a stay in Mumbai at the same hotel where India's team was sequestered in 2007 before departing for a disastrous World Cup in the West Indies. (The same hotel was later attacked by terrorists). The Beatlemania scenes outside were the crest of the "Blue Billion" wave that swept India at the time.

It is a joy to see the intense Pakistan-India rivalry in cricket helping bring those great nations closer. Perhaps sport can truly lead to greater understanding. JBNBlog salutes both teams in the semifinal for showing the way.

Cricket can also lead to heartbreak as we witnessed over Christmas in Melbourne. Our gracious hosts were tormented each day as England humiliated Australia at the MCG on its way to winning The Ashes on Aussie soil for the first time in decades.

In looking for a more joyful result, JBNBlog is inspired by a Sri Lankan friend who was delighted to see his homeland defeat England on the way to the semis. England taught Sri Lanka cricket " & now we are showing what we've learned, the friend said.

So despite JBNBlog's great admiration for both India & Pakistan, the prediction here is Sri Lanka.

In making this prediction, JBNBlog is also inspired by our Feb. 2010 public statement that Spain would win the World Cup. That actually happened many months later " even if I had to check quickly to see if Spain had qualified for soccer's greatest prize in South Africa.

Open prison 'failing' before riot - The Press Association

An open prison where buildings were burnt to the ground during a riot was "failing" in its fundamental role, inspectors have found.

Around 40 inmates took part in a New Year's Day mutiny at Ford Prison near Arundel, West Sussex, which saw buildings torched after an attempted clampdown on contraband alcohol.

Inspectors, who visited a month before the riot, had "serious concerns" about the prison, which they found was failing to prepare inmates for life back in the community. They also found security was undermined by poor relationships between staff and prisoners.

More than 40% of prisoners surveyed said it was easy to obtain illegal drugs and staffing shortages meant many random drug tests could not be carried out within the necessary timescales. Alcohol breath testing at the jail was also found to be "unsophisticated".

Inspectors said alcohol remained an issue, having noted in a previous report that alcohol smuggling had become a "significant problem".

HMP Ford is a category D prison, which the prison service defines as being for offenders "who can be reasonably trusted in open conditions".

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said: "HMP Ford was not without strengths but it was clear during the inspection that the trust on which the smooth running of the prison depended was in short supply, and the prison was failing to deliver its fundamental resettlement role effectively."

A number of strengths were noted during the inspection.

HMP Ford was found to be safe for most prisons, while care for vulnerable prisoners at risk of suicide and self-harm was good. Positive efforts had been made to improve security, inspectors said, with fewer inmates absconding. And the report found the use of force was low and health care was good, and improvements were noted in inmates' work, training and education.

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: "Open prisons perform a vital role preparing long-term prisoners to lead a law-abiding life on release. Most do this effectively. (The) report on Ford reveals a worrying lack of urgency to deal with problems of poor resettlement, and the influx of drugs and alcohol, which were raised by the inspectorate in 2009."

Sirte, Gaddafi's Hometown: Why It Matters In the Fight For Libya - Huffington Post

Earlier this week, rebel forces in Libya fought their way to the outskirts of Sirte, a coastal city about the size of Tallahassee. The day before, pushing westward along the coast from Ajdabiya, they'd recaptured the oil towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf; Sirte, we were told, was the last major obstacle standing between them and Tripoli.

Sirte. Before Sunday, few of us outside Libya had heard of it. Now experts were saying that it was the key to Libya's hopes for democracy—the fulcrum on which Libya's fate would turn. Partly its importance could be explained by location, its proximity to the capital. But there were other reasons for its importance, too, reasons that reveal a lot about a conflict with complexity we're only beginning to grasp.

In 1942, as every Libyan schoolchild knows, a future authoritarian ruler was born in a tent outside the city. He went to school in the city itself; not that it was much of a city at the time. Even after he came to power, in 1969, Sirte was a quiet rural outpost in a country that was pretty provincial.

Then, in the late 1980s, he decided to make his hometown the new capital. So what if it was in the middle of nowhere? He was Muammar al-Gaddafi. Who would stop him?

He began moving government offices there, and ordered the construction of Soviet-style administrative buildings. He built a conference center whose unusual design brings to mind (given his origins the comparison is inevitable) a very large tent. Sirte would be his Brasilia—a fabricated city in the wilderness. It was a monument to an idea, that idea being the greatness of Gaddafi.

The plan never panned out. Even with its new hotels and wide, well-paved roads, Sirte was a dull backwater, and no one wanted to move there, not even the government officials employed to do Gaddafi's bidding. In a rare instance of Gaddafi not getting what he wanted, the officials stayed in Tripoli. But all those hotels, the conference centers, the infrastructure—all that remained intact. Charles O. Cecil, a retired diplomat who served in Libya in 2006, said that during his stay in the country many of these buildings stood half-empty, concrete-and-glass metaphors for the unfulfilled promises of Gaddafi's so-called revolution. A city built as a symbol of Gaddafi's power had turned out to be, quite literally, an empty symbol.

Well, almost empty. Sirte still carries symbolic weight. Even though it never became the bustling capital that Gaddafi may have imagined, Gaddafi did succeed in turning it into a sort of city-sized showcase for his image. In the two decades or so since he built it up, Gaddafi has entertained a cavalcade of foreign leaders there, and it was in Sirte that the African Union was founded in 1999. About ten years ago, when Gaddafi began talking about creating a United States of Africa, he named Sirte as the capital. (The unspoken implication was that the first President of Africa would be—who else?—Colonel Gaddafi.)

Why Dell Is Wrong About The iPad - InformationWeek

Speaking in an interview with CIO Australia, Dell executive Andy Lark said, "Apple is great if you've got a lot of money and live on an island. It's not so great if you have to exist in a diverse, open, connected enterprise; simple things become quite complex."

Lark believes that the high cost of the iPad (because, you know, peripherals are necessary) will cause business technology managers to stay far, far away from it as an enterprise computing tool. "An iPad with a keyboard, a mouse, and a case [means] you'll be at $1,500 or $1,600; that's double of what you're paying. That's not feasible," said Lark.

The first obvious problem here is Lark's math. The cheapest iPad costs $499. Let's say you add a $30 case, $70 keyboard/stand, and a mid-range case for about $50. That totals $649, which isn't anywhere near "$1,500 or $1,600." Even if you add those peripherals to the most expensive iPad, you're still only at $979.

By way of comparison, the Motorola Xoom costs $600 on contract. Peripherals, such as cases, stands, and keyboards are extra. If Lark doesn't think that the PlayBook, TouchPad, Galaxy Tab -- uh, the Dell Streak 7 -- and other tablets aren't going to also have peripherals that add to the cost, he's kidding himself.

But this bad math isn't the real reason Lark is wrong.

A company called SmithBucklin, which is a professional services company, just announced that it is giving its employees the iPad 2 both as a reward and as a way to enhance productivity. They'll each be given a 32-GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi (but can upgrade to a different model for an additional fee). They're also being given $50 for accessories.

Oh, by the way, SmithBucklin has 600 employees. Apple just scored an enterprise sale with a rough value of $360,000.

SmithBucklin isn't alone. Wall Street firms have already been eyeing the iPad as a productivity booster, as are other financially minded companies.

Case in point, I attended an open house run by Intuit recently. Nearly all the personal and enterprise applications and services on display by Intuit and its partners were available on the Apple iPad.

You know what I didn't see at any of the demo booths? Dell products.

I've seen iPads by the dozen at every major trade show I've attended in the last 12 months. They weren't being used by teenagers for gaming. They were being used by professionals who need a portable computing product.

Like it or not, Dell, the iPad is already in the enterprise.

Get up to speed on IT innovations in cloud computing, virtualization, security, and more at Interop Las Vegas, May 8-12. Register now.

Japan urged to extend nuclear exclusion zone - Aljazeera.net

The UN nuclear watchdog has suggested Japan consider widening an evacuation zone around a tsunami-damaged nuclear plant as radiation continues to leak into seawater near the plant.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Thursday radiation measured at the village of Iitate, 40km from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, exceeded a criterion for evacuation.

Radioactivity in the seawater has reached more than 4,000 times its legal limit, the Reuters news agency reported.

"We have advised (Japan) to carefully assess the situation and they have indicated that it is already under assessment," Denis Flory, the IAEA's deputy director general, said.

Concerns over radiation spreading beyond Japan grew again after Singapore detected radiation nine times the limit in cabbages imported from Japan while the United States reported small levels of radiation in milk samples on its west coast.

Japan has ordered those within a 20km radius from the plant to leave and is encouraging those living in a 20-30km ring to do the same, and if they do not, to stay inside.

Tens of thousands of people, including farmers and their families have been evacuated from the exclusion zone around the plant.

Another 130,000 who live in a 10km band beyond the exclusion zone have been advised either to leave or stay indoors.

There is no indication how long they will be homeless.
TEPCO, the company that runs the plant, said it was inevitable it would have to scrap four of its six reactors at the plant. Scrapping the damaged nuclear reactors may take decades, said Japan's Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency.

Prime minister criticised

The IAEA's suggestion came as the opposition criticised Naoto Kan, the prime minister, for failing to expand the evacuation zone.

Greenpeace this week said it had confirmed radiation levels in Iitate village high enough to evacuate, but Japan's nuclear safety agency has rebuffed the environmental group's call.

Meanwhile Nicolas Sarkozy, president of nuclear-dependent France, was due to arrive in Japan on Thursday, the first leader to visit since a devastating earthquake that was followed by a tsunami sparked the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.

Sarkozy, who chairs the G20 and G8 blocs of nations, was due to meet Kan to show support for Japan's efforts to end its nuclear crisis.

France has flown in experts from its state-owned nuclear reactor maker Areva CEPFi.PA, while the United States has offered robots to help repair the crippled plant north of Tokyo.

Further assistance is expected as the US military on Wednesday ordered a Marine unit specialising in emergency nuclear response to deploy to Japan and assist local authorities in addressing the massive crisis, officials said.

Some 155 Marines from the service's Chemical Biological Incident Response Force are scheduled to leave the United States on Thursday and arrive in Japan on Friday, a US defence official told the AFP news agency.

The CBIRF team, trained in identifying chemical agents, monitoring radiation levels and decontaminating personnel, would not participate in the frenzied efforts to stabilise the reactors of the nuclear plant.

The nuclear plant was also hit by several explosions, triggering fears of a catastrophic meltdown as radiation has wafted into the air and seeped into the ocean.

US military personnel are currently barred from penetrating an 80km radius around the stricken plant, far exceeding the 20km exclusion zone imposed by the Japanese government.

Japan is also facing a humanitarian calamity triggered by the earthquake and tsunami, which has left more than 27,500 people dead or missing.

Experts warn that tsunami survivors mourning lost loved ones and struggling to replace shattered homes and workplaces also face daunting mental health concerns.

Carmaker Tesla Sues BBC's 'Top Gear' TV Show Over Electric Roadster Test - Bloomberg

A Tesla Model S electric car sits on display in the Tesla Motors Inc. auto plant. Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) sued the British Broadcasting Corp.'s "Top Gear" show alleging libel and malicious falsehood.

Tesla claims the show, one of the broadcaster's most successful programs, faked a scene that appeared to show Tesla's Roadster car running out of energy, according to papers filed at the High Court in London yesterday.

Tesla, which has lost money every year since it was founded in 2003, is seeking to become the leader in battery-powered cars, aided by supply agreements with Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Daimler AG. (DAI) The Palo Alto, California-based company said last month its fourth-quarter net loss widened to $51.4 million from $23.2 million a year earlier as it increased investment in the Model S, an electric sedan due in 2012.

In the Top Gear report, first broadcast in December 2008, presenter Jeremy Clarkson said that, even though the car is "biblically quick," and "the first electric car you might actually want to buy," its range is limited.

"Although Tesla say it will do 200 miles, we worked out that on our track it would run out after just 55 miles and if it does run out it's not a quick job to charge it up again," Clarkson said, according to a transcript of the show included in the filing.

The report showed the car being pushed into a hangar, according to the suit. Tesla said the Roadster that was pushed into the hangar hadn't run out of power and didn't need to be pushed. Top Gear's allegation that the car's range is 55 miles is defamatory because it suggests Tesla "grossly misled potential purchasers of the Roadster," the filing said.

International Audience

Top Gear has a U.K. audience of around 6 million viewers and an international audience of 350 million, the broadcaster says. It is viewed in more than 100 countries and has been the most-viewed show on BBC2 for a decade.

This is the second time in less than a year the program has become involved in a High Court lawsuit. In August, the BBC sued News Corp. (NWSA)'s HarperCollins to block it from disclosing the real name of the "Stig," the race driver who tested cars on the show with the visor of his helmet down to hide his identity.

"We can confirm that we have received notification that Tesla have issued proceedings against the BBC," the broadcaster said in an e-mailed statement. "The BBC stands by the program and will be vigorously defending this claim."

Nigel Tait, a partner at London law firm Carter-Ruck, said in a message that he made the claim on behalf of Tesla.

The case is: HQ11D01162, Tesla Motors Limited & ors vs. British Broadcasting Corp.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Lumley in London at jlumley1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

Stunning Victoria's Secret supermodel Doutzen Kroes reveals her perfect bikini ... - Daily Mail

By Jody Thompson
Last updated at 8:58 PM on 26th March 2011

She's one Holland's most famous exports - and Victoria's Secret supermodel Doutzen Kroes revealed why as she sunned herself on the beach in Miami today.

The 26-year-old showed her perfect curves in a multi-coloured leopard print bikini top and denim hotpants as she sashayed along the sand with her sandals in her hand.

Incredibly, the beauty only gave birth to her first child in January - and showed not even one extra ounce of baby weight.

Scroll down to see behind the scenes of a shoot Doutzen did for Marie Claire...

Incredible figure: Truly yummy mummy Doutzen Kroes was showing her perfect figure on Miami Beach - just over two months since giving birth

Incredible figure: Truly yummy mummy Doutzen Kroes was showing her perfect figure on Miami Beach - just over two months since giving birth

Stunning: the supermodel has literally pinged back into shape following the birth of her son Phyllon in January 

Doutzen is currently enjoying some truly special family time with her husband and new baby at Miami Beach's exclusive W Hotel.

Yesterday, she was seen topping up her tan in the tangerine Missoni two-piece, the star once again flaunted her bikini body that has snapped back into shape following the birth of her son.

Curvy: Doutzen shows off the figure that has made her the fifth highest-earning supermodel in the world

Curvy: Doutzen shows off the figure that has made her the fifth highest-earning supermodel in the world

The beauty, who has also been the face of Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger and Versace among others, and her Dutch DJ husband Sunnery James called their son Phyllon Joy Gorr.

Doutzen - who is so famous in her home country she has a waxwork figure in the Amsterdam branch of Madamme Tussaud's - married James in November last year at Eastermar in The Netherlands, where she was born.

R&R: Victoria's Secret model Doutzen Kroes settled into a bit of poolside lounging in a sexy two-piece at the W Hotel in Miami yesterday

R&R: The model settled into a bit of poolside lounging in a sexy two-piece at the W Hotel in Miami yesterday

Meanwhile her husband Sunnery James took the reins of parental duties, doting on the couple's newborn son.

He was spotted cuddling the tiny baby nearby, adorably kissing and snuggling the bundle of joy who was being kept in the shade and out of the sun.

Time out: As Doutzen flaunted her incredible post-pregnancy figure, her husband Sunnery James took the reins of parental duties, doting on the couple's newborn son, Phyllon Joy Gorr

After the family's relaxing day, the trio later ventured out for a stroll taking in the sights of the Florida city.

In a simple brown dress and beaded sandals, the supermodel looked effortless.

Earlier in the week she returned to the front of the camera, shooting a campaign on Miami Beach.

She showed off her jaw-dropping post pregnancy body as she modelled an array of tiny shorts and matching sweaters, whilst filming an advertisement for Repeat, the Swiss cashmere label, her first job since giving birth.

Afternoon delight: After the family's relaxing day, thy later ventured out for a stroll to take in the sights of the Florida city

Afternoon delight: After the family's relaxing day, thy later ventured out for a stroll to take in the sights of the Florida city

She wore her hair free-flowing for the shoot and barely any make-up to reveal what appeared to be a a pre-existing glow.

And while Doutzen was clearly hard at work on the job, she still had her baby on her mind.

Stunning: In her simple brown sun dress and sandals the supermodel looked effortless

Stunning: In her simple brown sun dress and sandals the supermodel looked effortless

But in order to quell any separation anxiety, mother and son were reunited on set.

The supermodel received a visit from Sunnery, who along with a nanny, had little Phyllon in tow.

She's certainly taken to motherhood, writing on her Twitter page after her baby's arrival: 'Thank you all for your sweet messages! Becoming a mom is the best thing that ever! All I can do is stare...'

Taking to his own Twitter page meanwhile, her DJ/producer husband Sunnery James added: 'We're in love with him!

'Can't describe this feeling! Phyllon is in our life.'

The loved-up couple's first child came just two months after they married in an intimate ceremony. 

The blonde bride walked down the aisle in a empire-line dress by Spanish designer Pronovias with just 30 guests in attendance.

The couple started dating in August 2009 and announced their engagement in January last year.

Clearly a hard worker, Doutzen was still also working whilst she was three months pregnant.

Kroes is one of the world's highest paid supermodels - making No.5 in the annual list of top-earning models by Forbes magazine last year.

Between mid-2009 and mid-2010, she earned $6million through her lucrative contracts with L'Oreal and Victoria's Secret, among others.

She currently writes a column about her jet-setting life in the Dutch edition of Marie Claire magazine.

In an interview last year, The 5ft 9ins beauty said she didn't get as much catwalk work as she'd like to because she was too curvy.

Kroes - who has a 34-24-24 figure - said: 'I have to work really hard. My body - I have a voluptuous body. I am not one of those skinny girls.

'I like to enjoy life. I am a totally healthy girl that eats but eats in moderation and I take care of myself.'

Incredible: Just this week Doutzen flaunted her post-pregnancy stomach as she returned to the front of the camera, shooting a campaign on Miami Beach

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not debate this issue live on our message boards.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Nice pair of legs! - Sweet Cherry, Sunny London, 25/3/2011 22:39 Yes, and a nice ass too!

She looks wonderful, but good grief, her husband is HOT!!!

Wow! Slim yet bumps and lumps in all the right places!! I can feel a girl-crush coming on...

Whilst there is no doubt this woman has been exceptionally lucky in her pregnancy given she doesn't seem to have any visible stretch marks etc and her midriff bears no evidence of her pregnancy, there is no reason why the vast majority of women habitually overeat during their pregnancies. For example, the tone and size of their arms and legs really shouldn't change if they eat sensibly and exercise throughout. This whole thing about gaining 2 stone as well as a child is ridiculous!

Smokin' !!!

Her JOB is to look good. I'm sure she works out hard and eats well.

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miércoles, 30 de marzo de 2011

Dell Says Apple iPad Will Fail In Enterprise - Huffington Post

Andy Lark, Dell's global head of marketing for large enterprises and public organizations, sat down with CIO Australia and made some predictions about the iPad.

Apple's successful tablet will ultimately fail in the business market, Lark said, because of its hefty price tag and because of Apple's "proprietary" ecosystem.

"Apple is great if you've got a lot of money and live on an island. It's not so great if you have to exist in a diverse, open, connected enterprise; simple things become quite complex," said Lark, according to CIO.

He then quoted some figures that don't quite add up. "An iPad with a keyboard, a mouse and a case [means] you'll be at $1500 or $1600."

Macgasm breaks down the cost of an iPad with peripherals, in U.S. dollars: $499 for an iPad, $69 for an Apple-approved wireless keyboard attachment, $29 for an iPad dock, $69 for a Smart Cover. The grand total comes to $666, far short of Lark's estimate. If you swapped the $499 base model for a 64GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3G, the total is still shy of $1,000.

Perhaps he was talking in Australian dollars? "Even the top-end, 64GB iPad 2 WiFi [+] 3G (at $AU949) paired with Apple's Bluetooth keyboard and a leather Smart Cover only comes to less than $1,130," writes SlashGear.

Nevertheless, Lark continued to speak confidently about Dell's "multi-OS" strategy for winning the enterprise market with tablets built on the Android and Windows Phone 7 platforms.

Shot girl, 5, is one of Britain's youngest gun crime victims - Telegraph.co.uk

Kirubakaran Nantheesparan, a family friend of the shop owners, witnessed the shootings. She said: "They were screaming at each other and throwing the bottles. Then I saw one pull out a gun and fire the shots.

"I saw the gun right next to me. I heard the shots fired. At first we thought they had been hit by bottles but there was too much blood. We didn't know that the girl had been shot. She was lying down in the shop in shock.

"The girl was lying on the ground and the mum ran over to her. She screamed 'call the police, call the police', there was so much blood. It was everywhere.

"She's a little girl. She was in shock and on the ground, not saying anything."

Local resident Mareh Silva, 34, was coming out of the shop with friends at about 9pm and said she saw three black youths, faces covered with scarves and balaclavas drop their bikes outside.

"I looked in and saw a lot of blood on the floor but I didn't want to look at what had happened and I was very scared," she said.

Stockwell Road was sealed off at both ends while forensic officers searched for evidence.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Boughton said that the male victim lived in a flat above the shop while the girl was with her mother visiting the store owner, whom they are related to.

Mr Boughton said: "This is a very serious case. They (the victims) could have died and may still do. If you fire a gun into a crowded shop, there is a chance you will kill someone.

"The assumption is at the moment is that the firearm is fired through the open door because there is no damage on the outside."

Syria president dismisses protests as 'foreign conspiracy' - Telegraph.co.uk

Dismissing demonstrations in Deraa, the port city of Latakia and other parts of the country as the work of a small group of "conspirators", he hinted that Israel was behind the unrest in an attempt to plunge the country into sectarian chaos.

But Mr Assad also issued a warning that carried with it an implicit threat to those who dared to return to the streets. "We don't seek battles," he said. "But if a battle is imposed on us today, we welcome it."

If the president meant to scare off would-be protesters, it is far from clear he succeeded. "He talked to us like the father talks to his children," said one resident of Damascus. "But what Deraa and Latakia and elsewhere have shown is that we have a voice. This speech will not silence us."

For days Mr Assad's aides had been predicting that he would use a television address to make good on a pledge, communicated through a spokesman last week, to offer substantial reforms and lift the state of emergency his Ba'athist regime imposed when it came to power in 1963.

But the speech was twice postponed, leading to speculation of a power struggle in the ruling family.

By confounding the expectations generated by his own minions, Mr Assad's address – which contained only the vaguest mention of eventual reforms – suggested that hardliners led by his brother Maher, the widely feared head of the presidential guard, are now in the ascendancy.

For many Syrians, the president's reversal echoes a historical parallel. In 1980, Mr Assad's father and predecessor, Hafez, abandoned attempts to offer concessions to an uprising led by Syria's Muslim Brotherhood, and instead allowed his brother Rifa'at to crush the revolt.

He duly did so – first by ordering his commandos to massacre between 700 and 1,100 Brotherhood inmates in the notorious Tadmur prison and two years later presiding over the brutal pacification of the city of Hama, the centre of the revolt. An estimated 20,000 died as Rifa'at al-Assad's forces pounded entire suburbs. Many Syrians fear that Maher, his equally hawkish nephew, would be prepared to do the same to restore order.

Additional reporting by a correspondent in Damascus who cannot be named for security reasons.