martes, 24 de mayo de 2011

Incredible pictures of volcanic ash released as dozens of flights are axed and ... - Daily Mail

By David Derbyshire and Ray Massey

Last updated at 5:52 AM on 24th May 2011

  • President Obama cuts short Ireland stay to avoid effects of ash cloud
  • Aviation sector says it is better prepared than last year
  • British officials warns of further disruption in the week ahead
  • Click here to see live video of volcano eruption viewed from space

These amazing images show why tens of thousands of families are facing air travel chaos as a thick cloud of volcanic ash descends over Britain.

The towering plume of Icelandic ash, smoke and steam hit Scotland and Ireland last night, bringing disruption to airlines.

U.S. President Barack Obama flew from Ireland to London last night - a day early - to ensure the cloud does not delay his state visit.

Electrical storm: Ash is hurled miles into the air by the eruption, creating thunderstorms around the volcano

Electrical storm: Ash is hurled miles into the air by the eruption, creating thunderstorms around the volcano

Ash from the Grimsvotn volcano hanging in the sky over Iceland. The ash has spewed 12 miles into the atmosphere

Ash from the Grimsvotn volcano hanging in the sky over Iceland. The cloud has spewed 12 miles into the atmosphere

Stunning: As the volcano erupts, huge dark ash and storm clouds gather across the Icelandic skyline

Stunning: As the volcano erupts, huge dark ash and storm clouds gather across the Icelandic skyline

The Irish visit was the first stop on a six-day European tour - and he left as British Airways cancelled all flights between London and Scotland until 2pm today.

Between 30 and 40 BA flights will be affected from airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and London City to and from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The airline runs 80 flights a day between these airports.

Royal Dutch Airlines KLM cancelled the 16 flights scheduled for this morning to and from Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

The airlines said customers on any cancelled flights will be able to claim a full refund or rebook on to alternative flights – and that all other flights will operate as scheduled.

At least 36 flights were cancelled in Scotland last night and today, as airports across Britain were put on stand-by for imminent disruption.

By noon today, the Met Office forecasts that the cloud will have swept south, covering most of England and Wales with low concentrations of ash. Medium concentrations of ash – the level where aircraft need permission to fly from the CAA – may affect Newcastle airport.

The warnings come a year after debris from the Eyjafjallajkull volcano spread across Europe, creating the biggest no-fly zone since the Second World War. But the Civil Aviation Authority has stressed that, unlike last year's six-day ban, a complete shut-down of British airspace will not happen this time.

Looking up to the darkened sky because of the ash cloud, Sunna Agustdottir, seven, carries a new-born lamb to shelter at the family farm in Longumyri, Iceland

Looking up to the darkened sky because of the ash cloud, Sunna Agustdottir, seven, carries a new-born lamb to shelter at the family farm in Longumyri, Iceland

Wearing a face mask, Anna Hardadottir, a farmer of Horgsland, leads a horse through the ash pouring out of the erupting volcano. It has spewed an ash cloud about 15 miles into the sky

Wearing a face mask, Anna Hardadottir, a farmer of Horgsland, leads a horse through the ash pouring out of the erupting volcano. It has spewed an ash cloud about 15 miles into the sky

A footprint outside a petrol station giving an indication of how deep the ash is and, right, a dead bird lies on Higway One near the town of Kirkjubaejarklaustur in the  south-east of the country

Farmers hurry to get their sheep into shelter. The thick cloud of ash blocked out daylight at towns and villages at the foot of the glacier where the volcano lies and covered cars and buildings

Farmers hurry to get their sheep into shelter. The thick cloud of ash blocked out daylight at towns and villages at the foot of the glacier where the volcano lies and covered cars and buildings

This is because tests following the experience of last April have shown that many flights can still take place when the ash is in 'low' or 'medium' density.

There will be a blanket ban on all flights only when the cloud is at its highest concentration of ash. Andrew Haines, chief executive of the CAA, said: 'Our number one priority is to ensure the safety of people both onboard aircraft and on the ground.


New procedures will govern the closure of UK airspace this time.

A CAA spokesman explained that interested parties had agreed on a system whereby ash levels are graded as low, medium or high.

'Airspace will not be closed and we will notify airlines when the Met Office predicts there are medium or high levels of ash present,' the spokesman said.

'If an airline has done a risk assessment as to how it will fly safely in medium or high ash levels and as liaised with aircraft manufacturers and engine makers, then they will be able to fly if the CAA considers it acceptable.'

'The new arrangements that have been put in place since last year's ash cloud mean the aviation sector is better prepared and will help to reduce any disruption in the event that volcanic ash affects UK airspace.'

Some 500,000 passengers on 9,000 flights come in and out of UK airspace every day. The latest crisis was sparked by the eruption of Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano, which has been spewing out a 13-mile high tower of ash since Saturday.

The Met Office said the ash reached the northern coast of Britain around 6pm yesterday.  

The whole of Scotland was forecast to be covered by a 'high concentration' of ash by 6am today, while lower concentrations will cover Ireland, parts of mid and north Wales and Northumbria.

Airports in Newcastle, Glasgow, Belfast and Edinburgh could all be hit.

Loganair has cancelled all its flights due to depart between 6am and 1pm today. Its services are mostly within Scotland, but some cancelled flights are to Birmingham and Belfast.

As well as President Obama's early flight, the Barcelona football squad will also travel to London earlier than scheduled for Saturday's Champions League final against Manchester United at Wembley.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said: 'There have already been some modest delays to flights, particularly those crossing the Atlantic ... and there could be further disruption later in the week, but we are doing everything we can to keep this to a minimum.'

The ash billows into the sky from the Grimsvotn volcano, under the Vatnajokull glacier in south east Iceland

The ash billows into the sky from the Grimsvotn volcano, under the Vatnajokull glacier in south east Iceland

The huge puffs of ash from the active volcano could ruin many people's plans to jet off as it starts to drift into Europe

The huge puffs of ash from the active volcano could ruin many people's plans to jet off as it starts to drift into Europe

Chaos in the sky: Aerial view of the eruption of the volcano Grimsvotn in the south-east of Iceland which has forced shut its main international airport

Chaos in the sky: Aerial view of the eruption of the volcano Grimsvotn in the south-east of Iceland which has forced shut its main international airport

Covered from head to toe with ski goggles and face mask this farmer's son - preparing to herd his sheep to shelter - looks like he is on the set of a science fiction film set

Covered from head to toe with ski goggles and face mask this farmer's son - preparing to herd his sheep to shelter - looks like he is on the set of a science fiction film set

A British Airways jumbo jet was grounded in Canada on Sunday following fears the engines had been contaminated with volcanic ash during a transatlantic crossing. But BA said the move had been 'precautionary' and that no evidence of volcanic ash had been found.

In April last year, UK airspace was shut for six days when volcanic ash hit the British Isles.

Under the old 'zero tolerance to ash' rules planes were grounded for fear that particles from the volcano could clog up engines.

The ban – which cost up to 2billion and led to disruption for ten million passengers  – was only overturned after pressure from airline chiefs who insisted their planes could fly safely through low concentrations of volcanic ash.

Under new rules ash concentrations will be measured and graded. Most planes will be able to fly in 'low' and 'medium' densities of ash, but barred if ash levels are high.


One could be forgiven for thinking that someone up there, or rather down there, doesn't like aeroplanes flying overhead. Just 13 months after the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajkull spewed forth a vast cloud of ash and grounded 100,000 flights over the North Atlantic, another of the country's huge volcanoes, Grimsvotn, is threatening to do the same.

Nordic myth has it that Iceland is home to races of elves and subterranean trolls, guardians of the hot springs, geysers and volcanoes which have created its extraordinary landscape. Big volcanic eruptions – which have caused terrible famines in the past – were traditionally taken as a sign that the gods were unhappy.

Centuries ago, the eruption of Grimsvotn – which lies in the south of the island – would be a sign that the trolls were very displeased (indeed, in 1743 an eruption of the same volcano killed a quarter of the Icelandic population). Today, this spectacular eruption is creating a massive headache for the aviation authorities, airlines and travellers.

This latest shot shows the ash cloud (the reddish colour) swirling into the atmosphere after spewing from the Grimsvotn volcano

This latest shot shows the ash cloud (the reddish colour) swirling into the atmosphere after spewing from the Grimsvotn volcano

Stretching 13 miles into the stratosphere, as this ash cloud casts a rather familiar pall across the British Isles and north-west Europe, the fear is that the coming bank holiday weekend, one of the busiest travel periods of the year, will be severely disrupted.

The nightmare scenario is that Britain faces the prospect, yet again, of aircraft being grounded for days – or even weeks. This is a far larger eruption than that of last year, and the biggest eruption in Iceland for 50 years. Last year, ten million passengers saw their flights cancelled or delayed as a no-fly zone operated across much of Europe for a week. Potentially, this year's eruption could be even worse.

Grimsvotn, Iceland's most active volcano (a measure of the frequency of its activity, although not necessarily the severity of its eruptions – on average the mountain erupts every five years), started spewing ash on Saturday. It is a 'sub-glacial volcano', lying under a 600ft-thick pancake of ice, or the Vatnajokull glacier, which the recent eruption has simply burnt straight through.

The trouble with Iceland is that it sits bang on the join between two of the Earth's tectonic plates – the North American plate and the Eurasian Plate. Currents deep in the Earth are pulling these plates apart. Molten rock – or lava – rises up to fill the resulting cracks and fissures, resulting in Iceland's spectacular volcanic landscape.

An infra-red image showing the plume of smoke spreading out from south-east Iceland. The pinkish-red part shows the fallout from the eruption, the brown is normal cloud cover. Britain is braced in case it begins to drift east.

Last year's disruptive eruption and this one are not related; Eyjafjallajkull and Grimsvotn are less than 100 miles apart, but they lie on different faultlines and are fed by separate chambers of molten rock underground.

It is, say geologists, pure coincidence and bad luck that led to such similar incidents so close to one another. Indeed, a large eruption of Grimsvotn in 2004 passed without incident, as the prevailing winds carried the ash far away from the busy air corridors crossing the Atlantic.

In the case of the current eruption, the initial signs are not good. According to Dr Dave McGarvie, a volcanologist at the Open University, Grimsvotn is erupting 'ten to 100 times more material into the air per second than Eyjafjallajkull'.

Dr McGarvie explains that while last year's eruption was, after an initial period when ice and lava mixed, largely 'dry', the Grimsvotn lava is involved with 'intense and explosive interactions with water'.

How are we going to get home? Tourists leave the Islandia Hotel yesterday in Nupur as ash continue to pour out of the erupting volcano

How are we going to get home? Tourists leave the Islandia Hotel yesterday in Nupur as ash continue to pour out of the erupting volcano

Sample: Ash is collected awaiting examination at the command centre in Kirkjubaejarklaustur as authorities prepare to deal with the effects of the eruption

Sample: Ash is collected awaiting examination at the command centre in Kirkjubaejarklaustur as authorities prepare to deal with the effects of the eruption

Basically, molten basalt rock at a temperature of 1000c or more is meeting glacial ice and cold water. The result is an explosion of steam that is driving fine ash particles – fragments of solidified lava – high into the air. It is these abrasive ash particles that pose a danger to aircraft, with the potential to wreck the delicate, rapidly whirling innards of their engines.

This is not simply a theoretical risk; in June 1982, a British Airways Boeing 747 lost all power while flying through a plume of ash generated by an Indonesian volcano. It was only through great skill and some luck that the crew managed to restart the engines and land the plane safely.

So what are the prospects of a repeat of last year's disruption? Although the initial signs are alarming, there are subtle differences between the two eruptions that mean the airlines (and passengers) may just get away with it. The Eyjafjallajkull eruption produced a very fine, glassy ash which stayed in the atmosphere for days. 

Grimsvotn's basaltic lava is heavier, clumpier and forms larger ash particles which should fall from the sky much more quickly. And the eruption already seems to be literally running out of steam – the plume is only half the height it reached at the weekend. Last year, some airlines criticised aviation authorities for being overcautious. But research by engineers at Copenhagen and Reykjavik Universities shows that the risk to plane engines was higher than many assumed and that the ban was almost  certainly the right thing to do in the circumstances.

Since then, however, there has been a careful reassessment of the rules governing aviation and volcanic ash. Aircraft are now allowed to operate in ash concentrations of up to 4mg per cubic metre provided a thorough inspection takes place after landing.  'Engines are quite tolerant of this stuff,' says Dr Colin Brown, of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, adding that ash concentrations which nearly destroyed BA009 over Indonesia in 1982 approached 2000mg per cubic metre.

Huge eruption: Smoke plumes from the Grimsvotn volcano about 120 miles east of Rejkjavik

Huge eruption: Smoke plumes from the Grimsvotn volcano create a stunning scene about 120 miles east of Rejkjavik

Awesome power: Keflavik airport has been closed to air passengers as of 8.30am this morning following the eruption

Awesome power: Keflavik airport has been closed to air passengers as of 8.30am this morning following the eruption


What happens now depends on three things. How long the volcano continues to erupt (this could be days or just hours); how the airlines decide to interpret the ash guidelines issued by the Civil Aviation Authority – which is unknown – and, lastly, the weather.

With a fair wind and a bit of geological luck, holidaymakers might manage to get away as planned this weekend.

But if, like the millions of Britons who enjoyed the blissfully silent skies of April last year, Iceland's trolls and elves decide they too appreciate the silence of plane-free skies, we could be looking at yet another week of travel nightmare for millions.

lunes, 23 de mayo de 2011

Malaysian Grand Prix Free Practice 3 - ASIA

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Greece May Want Bailout Fund to Buy Its Debt - Wall Street Journal

ATHENS—Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said Saturday that Greece was exploring the possibility of having a European bailout fund buy its debt if the government is unable to access capital markets again next year.

"The markets continue to disbelieve in our country," Mr. Papaconstantinou told reporters. "We have to plan our next steps for 2012, for 2013."

This could mean turning to the European Financial Stability Facility if the Greek government is still unable to issue debt in capital markets in 2012 as planned. The remark was the first public indication from a Greek official that Athens is preparing for ...

Town steels itself for more job cuts -

A STEEL town devastated by massive job losses is facing a crippling double whammy.

Just days after Tata Steel announced plans to shed 1,200 of its 4,000 workers in Scunthorpe, two local councils are also making cuts.

The Tory-run North Lincolnshire Council is expected to outline job cuts on Wednesday.

Labour councillor Mick Grant said: "I have heard it is big figures. What has happened at the steelworks is a tragedy and will have a knock-on effect on the local economy."

Lincolnshire County Council is already axing 700 jobs to save £57million.

Staff there have started industrial action and North Lincs workers are expected to follow suit.

Delta's electric coupe is a cracker -

QW Delta

We Brits can still design the best cars. Just drove Delta ­Motorsport's E4 electric coupe round Silverstone, and thought it a cracker.

Good for 150 and 200 miles on a single charge, it has clever weight-saving using a carbon composite chassis, with twin Oxford University-designed electric motors hurling it to 60 in less than five seconds.

Funded with help from the Technology Strategy Board, it's proud proof that Britain's small car firms still lead the world.

Statoil Rethinks UK Oil Investment After Tax Hike - Wall Street Journal

(Adds CBI reaction in the 17th paragraph.)

STOCKHOLM (Dow Jones)-- Norwegian oil and gas firm Statoil ASA (STO.OS) has postponed more than $10 billion of investments in the U.K. following a recent tax hike on oil production.

Statoil, Norway's largest oil producer, said it has postponed development of the Mariner and Bressay field projects in the U.K. North Sea, which it entered in 2007. The firm was about to award contracts for front-end engineering and design for Mariner late last week, when the tax change prompted it to put plans on hold.

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne last ...

Northern Irish policeman killed by car bomb - police - Reuters UK

Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.

At least 8 UN staff killed in north Afghan city - Reuters

Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.

Disaster forces Japan royals to skip Prince William's wedding - Reuters

Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.

Clinton says US pressing Bahrain on dialogue - Reuters

Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.

Red meat 'raises bowel cancer risk' -

New findings meant the charity could now say there was "convincing" evidence that eating fibre-rich foods like fruit and vegetables protects against bowel cancer. A previous report in 2007 only said this was a "probable" effect.

The same report concluded there was convincing evidence that being physically active reduces bowel cancer risk.

Teresa Nightingale, general manager of the WCRF, said of today's report: "We estimate that about 43 per cent of bowel cancers cases in the UK could be prevented through these sorts of changes. That is about 17,000 cases every year."

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Britain, after breast and lung cancer. It causes about 15,000 deaths a year.

UK's Clegg Refuses to Step Down as Party Leader - Wall Street Journal

LONDON—U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Sunday shrugged off suggestions that he step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats in the wake of his party's humiliating losses in local elections and voters' rejection of the party's plan to reform the U.K.'s electoral system.

Mr. Clegg promised a "louder Lib Dem voice in government," saying he believed voters needed to hear about his party's successes in being "a moderating influence" as a junior partner in its coalition with the Conservative Party.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr. Clegg said the Liberal Democrats were committed to remaining in ...

FOCUS: UK Vote To Raise Coalition Tensions, Threaten Austerity - Wall Street Journal

By Michelle Abrego and Jenna Layne Voigt


LONDON (Dow Jones)--The U.K.'s coalition government faces its first major test of voter support Thursday, and the results are likely to place added strain on the relationship between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties.

Opinion polls suggest that while both parties will suffer setbacks in local and regional government elections, the Liberal Democrats will suffer most. And it also appears likely that the junior coalition partner will fail to achieve a long-cherished change to the voting system.

That combination will likely leave Liberal Democrat activists increasingly concerned about the ...

MPs angry as David Cameron agrees £650million aid programme and military co ... -

DAVID Cameron caused fury by unveiling a £650million aid programme and agreeing to pass bomb technology to Pakistan to patch up links.

MPs warned of a risk to British soldiers' lives if the Inter-Services Intelligence agency passed equipment and training to the Taliban.

And Tories were angry as Pakistan is blowing £1billion on six new submarines, while the UK suffers cuts.

Mr Cameron defended the £650million aid, saying it would let four million more children go to school.

Tory MP Philip Davies said: "If they can afford subs, they can afford education."

M&S's Bolland May See Bonus Hit by Retail Conditions, FT Reports - Bloomberg

Marks & Spencer Group Plc (MKS) Chief Executive Officer Marc Bolland's compensation, which could be as much as 15 million pounds this year ($24.3 million), may be limited by tough conditions in U.K. retailing, the Financial Times reported, without saying where it got the information.

Bolland's remuneration, which includes long-term incentives, cash, shares and share awards, and salary, will be revealed when the group's annual report is published in the next few days, the FT said.

Bolland's bonus could potentially be up to two and a half times his 975,000-pound salary, which would bring him about 6 million pounds, the FT said. However, the total amount set aside for staff bonuses -- 30 million pounds at the half-year stage -- indicates that bonuses are unlikely to reach the maximum level, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the situation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blanche Gatt in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at

US and Britain set up joint security body: reports - AFP

LONDON — A new joint security body set up by Britain and the United States is to be unveiled at the start of President Barack Obama's two-day visit to London later this week, Britain's newspapers reported Monday.

The "National Security Strategy Board" will be chaired by British National Security adviser Peter Ricketts and his US counterpart, Tom Donilon, and is being established to help coordinate long-term foreign policy agendas.

Details of the initiative are due to be announced on Tuesday, as Obama arrives in Britain to begin a two-day official state visit.

"The new board will allow us to look ahead and develop a shared view of emerging challenges, how we should deal with them and how our current policy can adapt to longer-term developments," an adviser to British leader David Cameron told The Times.

"It reflects a welcome further development of our close relationship on foreign and defence business," he added.

The board, which is expected to meet several times a year, will address the response to the ongoing "Arab Spring" uprisings as part of a broader brief to examine rogue states and the threat from international terrorism.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague maintained Sunday that the "special relationship" between the two countries remained strong despite suggestions in Britain that Obama was not as UK-friendly as some of his predecessors.

"It is very special. I think the longer a US administration is in power the more they appreciate that," he said.

"You can see that in government," he added. "The co-operation that I see every day in intelligence matters is without parallel in the world.

"So is our nuclear co-operation. Our armed forces are working together with intimate closeness."

Arnie has two more secret kids - The Sun

RANDY Arnold Schwarzenegger has at least two more secret love children, a Brit actress alleged yesterday.

Jane Seymour, who moves in the same social circles in Malibu, claimed it was common knowledge.

She said: "I heard about two more children. I met someone who knows him well.

"I was not remotely surprised by their separation. He was obviously jumping the gun before everyone else told the world the news.

"And from what I gather there will be lots of information coming people's way."

Jane, 60 - star of Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman - spoke after Arnie admitted he secretly had a son by ex-housekeeper Mildred Baena, 50. The Terminator star's wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver, 55, has now left him.

Meanwhile, it emerged another woman has contacted Schwarzenegger's lawyers demanding a DNA test. She believes he fathered her eight-year-old daughter during a brief fling.

Mildred's son, now 13, had no idea the ex-California governor, 63, was his dad, it was said.

But Arnie lavished gifts on the lad and even took him on holiday with his family.

The teen spent time at the actor's house with Schwarzenegger's family, including youngest son Christopher, 13 - who was born just five days earlier.

And last year the movie hero put a 40,000 deposit on Baena's family home in Bakersfield, California. He is also said to have given the boy a pass to Universal Studios and was godfather to his older brother.

Neighbours of the family say the boy referred to Baena's current boyfriend, Alex Aguiar, as his dad.

But she put her ex-husband's name on his birth certificate.

Maria is said to have hired A-list divorce lawyer Laura Wasser.

She could pocket 246million ($400million) in her divorce, despite apparently having a pre-nuptial agreement.

That would be four times the size of Elin Nordegren's settlement when she split from golfer Tiger Woods.

Codemasters Teases Dirt 3 Gymkhana With Ken Block -

Drifting - a Rally staple over loose tracks and otherwise a Japanese obsession - was truly popularised in India by The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. However, an even more advanced discipline, dubbed Gymkhana, has piqued the interest of auto enthusiasts elsewhere in the world. Codemasters has incorporated this emerging automotive fad in the latest instalment of the DiRT franchise. The upcoming racing game DiRT 3 (D3), which we were the first ones to preview, gets Rally driver and Gymkhana expert Ken Block to walk you through this promising addition to the DiRT franchise.

Unfortunately, the preview code didn't allow us to partake in the Gymkhana madness, but as we count down to the 24th May release, Codemasters has released a video where Ken Block goes apeshit crazy with his souped-up Ford Rally car on a Gymkhana course improvised out of London s Battersea Power Station. For those who came in late, the new racing discipline pits drivers against time in a multi-surface obstacle course, where they are expected to string together 180/360 degree spins (doughnuts), massive drifts, crazy jumps, and other flamboyant driving manoeuvres otherwise not seen in regular racing events.

D3 will allow gamers to run amok around Gymkhana courses set around the Battersea Power Station and other locations around the globe. These courses will demand precision drifting manoeuvres in and around obstacles to let gamers exhibit their skills, chain together moves, complete challenges, or simply hang out online with friends. Think you're world class? Well, D3 will give you a stab at becoming an internet celebrity (not really) with its capability to upload your Gymkhana runs to YouTube.

The Codemasters' video embedded above features Ken Block executing crazy powerslides and doughnuts around a moving mechanical digger. However, the best Gymkhana video is undoubtedly the one where Block shows Top Gear's James May the eyeball spin-dryer. Considering it was shot with a budget of $2 million, it had better be.


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Internet storm as injunction footballer identified - Herald Scotland

THE floodgates opened last night on the footballer accused of turning to the courts to protect his privacy after a Scottish newspaper took the dramatic step of identifying him.

The Herald's sister paper, the Sunday Herald, was the first major UK publication to openly link the English Premier League player to claims he took out a gagging order to prevent allegations of an affair.

Though legal restrictions prevent English and Welsh publications and news sites from running full details, hundreds of thousands of Twitter users circulated the name and some posted photographs of the Sunday Herald which were viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

The Sunday Herald's exposure of the player, whose name was already in the public domain through thousands of references on Twitter, prompted an outpouring of support from internet users making a mockery of super-injunctions.

The court gagging orders have been criticised by politicians and lawyers, who warn they have run far beyond their intended purpose of protecting people's private lives.

Publicist Max Clifford said it was "inevitable" a newspaper would take the step of naming the player.

On the player's decision to seek a super-injunction, he added: "He is making the whole situation a farce and making the damage to himself increase. He has been very badly advised."

The Sunday Herald is published by a Scottish company and distributed exclusively in Scotland and as such the super-injunction is not applicable.

Huge numbers of people had been freely naming the man they believe is involved via Twitter, and the footballer has even begun legal action against the social network to suppress the information.

The married star is alleged to have had an affair with Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas, who has fought in vain to overturn the order preventing her from disclosing his identity.

However, Sunday Herald editor Richard Walker said the details of the alleged affair – which may or may not have taken place – were of no concern in deciding to publish the player's name yesterday.

"It's irrelevant to our story, and it's irrelevant to the point we raised," he said. "What's getting lost in this is what we printed: that the guy in question has been named in thousands of tweets. I don't know whether or not he's the man taking out the injunction, but I do know we can say in all certainty that he's the man being named on Twitter.

"It seems odd thousands of people can name him online, but if a newspaper states the truth it's not allowed."

Foreign media are baffled by the restrictions in Britain, and international publications have aired the player's name with scant regard for the English super-injunction.

Privacy laws in the UK are less clear than in some countries, but the response to the footballer's outing will put pressure on legislators to stem the perceived abuse of super-injunctions by the rich and famous.

Holloway's Blackpool sandcastle gets washed away - Times LIVE

The neutral's favourite team were left counting the cost of an attack-at-all-costs approach in their Premier League debut season when a 4-2 defeat at champions Manchester United sealed their fate on the final day of the season.

The match at Old Trafford mirrored the rest of Blackpool's campaign as they sought goals from the first minute, went behind, equalised, edged ahead and then caved in.

"Oh deary me, our castle was made of sand," the Seasiders' boss told a news conference, delivering the verdict in his classic matter-of-fact way with his instantly recognisable Bristol accent.

"It's over, the fat lady has finished singing and I don't like her tune."

Even United fans and the club mascot clapped Blackpool's players off the pitch as the team who had brightened up the Premier League with their fearless play and tangerine shirts went back to the division they had come from a year ago.

Holloway has won many admirers for his attack-minded philosophy and his off-the-wall comments that guaranteed his news conferences and television interviews were always lively affairs.

Only this week he had spoken of the fact his team's aim was just to outscore the opposition as they were no good at "shutting up shop" at the back.

"Our shop never closes," he had said. "It could be those late-night openings which cost us our position."


One of the best examples of late-night looting was by United at Bloomfield Road, where Blackpool had led 2-0 at halftime before succumbing 3-2.

Holloway refused to blame his players, saying he was proud of every single one of them and they approached this last match as they had every other one.

They went behind to a Park Ji-sung goal before going in front through Charlie Adam and Gary Taylor-Fletcher to give themselves hope at a ground where United have not lost all season.

But an own goal from Ian Evatt and cool finishes from Anderson and Michael Owen crushed their dreams and relegated them along with Birmingham City and West Ham United.

As Blackpool fans swung between celebratory chants of "we're staying up" to frantically checking their phones for updates on the other games, Holloway became increasingly less animated as he stood on the touchline in a sombre black coat.

He had spent the whole of the first half yelling instructions and wildly gesturing with his arms but once United were two goals ahead he simply watched on with his hands behind his back as if resigned to the inevitable.

He was asked if he took any comfort from the fact Blackpool had won so many people's hearts this season.

"They won't (remember us) next year will they," he said. "That's it, you are famous for two seconds and then you are gone."

With players like Adam now likely to leave the club, in the words of the machines in the amusement arcades on Blackpool's promenade, it is Game Over.

Cabinet distances itself from Huhne following more speeding points allegations -

The Foreign Secretary delivered a decidedly lukewarm endorsement of the Energy Secretary, saying: "The speeding points of Chris Huhne are not top of the things I am working on each day.

"He's denied the allegations; the police are looking into it. In the media those things are being questioned, but the police are looking into it and so what can we do? We have to let that process take place."

Asked whether Mr Huhne should step down from the Cabinet while the police investigation continues, Mr Hague replied: "It's his decision."

Meanwhile Labour has called for the Prime Minister to intervene. Tessa Jowell, the shadow Cabinet Office minister urged David Cameron to launch an independent investigation.

"That is what the Prime Minister should be doing," she told Sky News. "He should be getting a proper investigation independently to establish what the facts were and in the light of the facts decide the best course of action."

Downing Street sources said that it was unlikely this would happen while a police investigation was underway.

The suggestion that Mr Huhne's child could testify against him was made by a Sunday newspaper, which quoted a source as saying that one of their three children recalls the event and may be willing to speak to police.

The source said: "Chris has had virtually no contact with the children since he left Vicky. They are incredibly upset by his behaviour. One of them may be willing to talk about what happened over the penalty points. What they remember would support Vicky's version of events."

Miss Pryce's decision to release a copy of her driving licence adds weight to the suggestion that she will tell police, when interviewed on Tuesday, that she took points at her ex husband's behest.

The licence shows that the offence for which she took three points happened on March 12 2003. On that day Miss Pryce, 57, was recorded as being at a dinner which started at 8pm and finished at 10pm.

Mr Huhne is thought to have been on a flight from Strasbourg to Stansted, which landed at the Essex airport at 10.23pm, giving his wife little time to drive from central London to pick him up and suggesting that he drove himself home from the airport.

The release of Miss Pryce's licence was dismissed by sources in Mr Huhne's camp who said it proves only that Miss Pryce incurred points on that day and not that she was asked to take them by Mr Huhne.

Mr Huhne has also denied reports that he was ready to accept that he may have been driving his vehicle on the night Miss Pryce's points relate to. The Energy Secretary will tell the police he cannot remember what he was doing on that evening.

Separate reports yesterday alleged that Miss Pryce has told friends, and will tell police, that a female confidante of Mr Huhne's also took points on his behalf.

The claims came after it was alleged that Mr Huhne had an earlier extra marital affair, before he left Miss Pryce for Carina Trimingham, an aide who was previously in a lesbian civil partnership. Mr Huhne has refused to comment on the claims.

The Cabinet minister will be interviewed by detectives this week and has repeatedly said he welcomes the police inquiry.

Miss Pryce too will be questioned by officers. But yesterday it was reported that she will attempt to be interviewed as a witness rather than a suspect.

Accepting penalty points on someone else's behalf is a criminal offence and could see Miss Pryce and Mr Huhne jailed for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Fight at air force base in Karachi still lingers on - Xinhua

ISLAMABAD, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The fight between a group of militants and the armed forces that broke out late Sunday night at an air force base in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi is still going on, reported local media.

According to the local media reports, at least seven people were killed by the terrorists in the attack that first broke out at about 10:30 p.m. local time Sunday night. The dead were five navy officers, one ranger soldier and one firefighter.

As for the casualties on the side of the terrorists, some local media reported that about five terrorists have been killed as two airplanes including one U.S.-made P-3C Orion aircraft which is mainly for reconnaissance purpose were damaged.

At least 10 to 15 terrorists armed with automatic weapons, rocket launchers and handgrenades are involved in the attack, said most of the local media reports. But one local media report put the number of the attackers at about 20 to 25.

No officials figures regarding the number of terrorists have been released as media people are not allowed to enter the area where the firing occurred.

Up till now, over 20 explosions have been reported within the Faisal base of Pakistan Air Force.

Local media reports quoted military sources as saying that the strategy of the armed forces who have completely surrounded the air force base is to capture the terrorists alive so that they can know who are behind these attack.

According to the latest reports, the terrorist have retreated into a building within the air force base and are holding an unknown number of hostages as human shield to fight back the navy commandos, rangers and other armed forces. Over 3,000 armed forces have reportedly been dispatched to the air force base which is under terrorist attack.

Helicopters are said being hovering over the area to monitor the situation there.

Shortly after the attack at the air force base was reported, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousurf Raza Gilani has ordered the interior minister to fly down to Karachi to bring the situation under control as quickly as possible with the help of the army and conduct an investigation into the incident.

Some local media reports criticized the army for the failure to prevent the terrorists from entering the air force base.

It is still an unanswered question as how these terrorist could manage to enter the heavily guarded military air base. Some local media reports that the terrorists entered the air force base through a sewage system while others said that they came into the air force base in black vehicles.

The latest news coming in quoted the Pakistani interior minister as saying that the terrorists have entered the air force base from three sides.

Not long after the blasts and firing were reported at the air force base, Pakistan Taliban (TTP) claimed the responsibility for the attack.

Sunday night's attack at a military air force is reported to be the biggest attack on the armed forces in Pakistan. Most local watchers believe that the attack could be related to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Both Pakistan and al-Qaida have vowed to the avenge the killing of the al-Qaida chief bin Laden by the U.S. special force in Pakistan early this month by threatening to launch attacks in Pakistan, the United States and the other parts of the world.

On May 13, Pakistan Taliban launched two suicide bomb attacks at an armed border police training center in the country's northwestern city of Charsadda, which reportedly killed 98 people and injured more than 140 others.

A few days ago, Pakistan Taliban planned a road-side bomb aimed at killing the people working for the U.S. consulate in Peshawar. However, due to the poor timing of the bomb, only two U.S. consulate employees were slightly injured in the bomb attack.

Local analysts said more attacks could follow in the near future. And something even bigger than the previously mentioned attacks could happen in Pakistan, said one local analyst, who declined to be named, adding that the targets could be important government organizations or important political figures.

Massive attacks on civilians or important infrastructure such as railways and airports are also possible, said the analyst, adding that the terrorists will not stop attacks until they have fully demonstrated their existence and muscles.

Princess Beatrice's Wacky Royal Wedding Hat Thingy Sells for Big Bucks on EBay - E! Online (blog)

As it turns out, Princess Beatrice isn't the only one with an affinity for crazy, bow-dacious hats.

The now-infamous fascinator the young royal wore to the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton sold for a whopping 81,100.01 pounds (roughly $130,000 dollars) on EBay when her auction ended Sunday.

So, who plopped down the big bucks for the rightful ownership of the over-the-top Phillip Treacy creation?

MORE: Princess Beatrice's Royal Wedding Hat Thingy—Yes, That One—Can Be Yours!

Sadly, we may never know—unless the buyer wears it, of course—since the auction winner was an anonymous bidder.

The good news, however, is that the money raised from the 10-day auction will be donated to UNICEF UK and Children in Crisis through Beatrice's Little Bee Initiative campaign.

Plus, we may never have to see that hat ever again. Whew.

What do you think: Did the buyer pay too much, or perhaps you bought it and wish to sound off in the comments? Let us know!

PHOTOS: Crazy Royal Hats: Special Wedding Edition

Why firms will take a shine to Chromebooks - ZDNet UK

With the appearance of the first Chromebooks — cloud-based laptops running the Chrome OS — ZDNet UK tracked down Google's Chrome for business expert, Rajen Sheth, to find out why he thinks this technology should matter to firms.

The week before Microsoft's major IT conference, Google announced the first production Chromebook models from Samsung and Acer.

For a monthly fee, you get laptop hardware and a browser-based operating system, Chrome OS, locked down to the cloud.

Partnerships with VMware and Citrix mean support for virtualised Windows applications, and Google says this concept offers better security and far lower management costs than running the real thing — an approach aimed straight at the heart of Microsoft's strategy.

We asked Rajen Sheth, group program manager for Chrome for business, exactly what organisations get with a Chromebook and why they'd consider switching from Windows.

Q: How does the Chromebook approach differ from thin computing or Sun's plan for the network computer — or just a netbook running a browser?
A: I think this is larger than the launch of just a couple of hardware platforms and a new operating system. It's a fundamental transformation in business computing.

There are three big trends that have revolutionised server-side computing in the past few years. First, the cloud — companies have gone from not even thinking about cloud applications to everybody having a cloud strategy. Secondly, the browser is many times faster in just the past few years. Clients in the browser can be richer than on the desktop. Finally, [there is] desktop virtualisation, moving applications off the desktop and onto the server so they can be accessed everywhere.

What's missing? The desktop. The benefits of the cloud stop there. Desktop management is very, very tough. Gartner reckons management for a desktop costs between $3,000 and $5,000 (£1,900 and £3,100) per year and higher for a laptop. The desktop takes administrative resource from the moment you buy it. Cloud is very simple to set up and administer. It updates itself all the time. You don't have to keep doing it.

And security. The desktop is very, very hard to secure from viruses and loss of laptops. People go through so much to try to recover that data, yet 60 percent of corporate data still resides on people's desktops. Chrome OS is transformational in simplicity for users and administrators, in security — it turns things like antivirus on its head — and in speed.

But when a business buys a Chromebook, what are they getting that's different from buying a notebook and running any browser on it?

The ultimate bottom line is that the total cost of ownership [of a Chromebook] can be less than half of what people pay right now.

The enterprise package is a combination of a Chromebook, the web-management console and full workplace support. Subscriptions start at $28 with constant software updates and, every three years, new hardware. Originally we were thinking a shorter term but a lot of our customers said there is definitely a fixed cost to moving to new hardware. Three years works well for them.

Dell will lease you a laptop for $30 (£17) a month but you're just getting the hardware. You have to get antivirus, you have to get backup software, you have to have management software. The ultimate bottom line is that the total cost of ownership [of a Chromebook] can be less than half of what people pay right now.

What is simpler to manage on a Chromebook than on a Windows notebook?
In a typical enterprise, adding an employee is a task that takes hours. With Chromebook, it's literally a matter of seconds. We're planning to make set-up a lot easier.

That's just for setting up a user, not for creating policies. What management features do you have in Chrome — is that as rich as in Windows?
Right now, it's user and user management as well as authentication management and application management — deploying applications across your domain and pushing them to your desktops. Policy management for Chrome includes what the desktop looks like and does, and what people can do to the device. That's just the start.

There are a lot of different things we could add down the line...

Ancelotti sacked in Goodison corridor by ruthless Chelsea - The Independent

Chelsea sacked their Double-winning manager Carlo Ancelotti in a corridor at Goodison Park minutes after the club's 1-0 defeat to Everton yesterday.

It came as little surprise that Ancelotti was dismissed by the club he had led to the Premier League and the FA Cup just a year ago; his failure to maintain a sustained challenge to Manchester United, at home and in Europe, ultimately cost him his job. However, the speed of the sacking and the shabby way it was delivered were unexpected, the blow delivered not by owner Roman Abramovich but by the Chelsea chief executive, Ron Gourlay, immediately after Ancelotti had given a press conference to the media following the defeat to Everton. The Italian then joined the rest of the staff and players on a private plane for the flight back to London to say his goodbyes.

Ancelotti, 51, parted company with the players late last night at the club's training ground in Cobham, Surrey, where their cars had ben left before the trip to Merseyside. He then took some close members of staff out for a drink. He last night said: "I received the news of my sacking before the flight. I accept and I respect Chelsea's decision. I spent two fantastic years in this club. I think I did a good job. Now, I think about my future. I would prefer stay in England and in Premier League."

Earlier he had been told that results this season had not been good enough, after Chelsea finished second to Manchester United in the Premier League but trailed the champions by nine points. Chelsea also lost both legs of their Champions League quarter-final to United. A club statement said: "This season's performances have fallen short of expectations and the club feels the time is right to make this change ahead of next season's preparations."

Ancelotti, who is due to start a holiday in Italy today, will receive a pay-off of around 6m, as he has one year left to run on a three-year contract. His Italian assistants Bruno Demichelis, Luigi Lasala and Giorgio Ciaschini have also left the club and will be seeking compensation.

It is believed Chelsea will insist on a clause in compensation that will prevent him from working for any other Premier League club for 12 months.

The next move will depend in part on Guus Hiddink, who acted as caretaker manager in 2009. The Dutchman is currently employed by Turkey who have a key Euro 2012 qualifier in Belgium on 3 June 3. Hiddink is understood to be prepared to return as director of football, working with a coach underneath him and has suggested Marco van Basten, the former Holland and Ajax manager, and Frank Rijkaard, who has worked previously at Barcelona and Galatasaray.

Chelsea are also very interested in Andre Villas-Boas, the Porto coach who has won the league, cup and Europa League in his first season at the club, at the age of 33. Villas-Boas previously worked at Chelsea as a scout during the reign of Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese prodigy recently revealed he has a 13m buy-out clause in his contract, which would be well within the financial means of Abramovich.

Didier Deschamps of Marseilles is another candidate, while there is also speculation that a move for Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp is being considered. Rafael Benitez, the former Liverpool and Internazionale manager, has made it clear to Chelsea via third parties that he would be very interested in the job, and has been playing up his understanding with their 50m striker Fernando Torres.

Whoever comes in will have a hard job replacing Ancelotti, who was widely respected in the English game. Under his leadership Chelsea won the Premier League last season and Ancelotti's free-scoring team broke the record for the most league goals in a Premier League season with 103 and followed it by beating Portsmouth 1-0 to add the FA Cup.

However, Ancelotti's failure in the Champions League, losing both legs of a last -16 tie to Internazionale, was a blot on his copybook. The seeds for this season's failure were sown last summer, when Chelsea released five senior professionals – Michael Ballack, Joe Cole, Ricardo Carvalho, Juliano Belletti and Deco. Ballack told The Independent last year that Ancelotti did not want him to leave, although publicly the manager has always said he agreed with the decision.

The main arrival was the Brazilian midfielder Ramires for 17m, even though Ancelotti would have preferred to have signed the German player Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Ancelotti's position was further undermined in November when Abramovich intervened to sack the manager's right-hand man Ray Wilkins. In addition he promoted in Wilkins' place the little known Michael Emenalo to be his eyes and ears at the training ground. Chelsea promptly went on a run of nine league games which included four defeats, four draws and one victory, which effectively knocked them out of the title race. They dropped back to being 15 points behind United and although they managed to reduce the gap to three, they were still never quite in United's class. His fate was effectively sealed when Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by United when they lost 2-1 at Old Trafford on 12 April.

He looked stressed and distracted when he spoke to the media yesterday following the defeat at Everton. Asked what he planned to do now, when his fate had yet to be decided, he replied: "Relax. I am now on holiday, I just don't know how long that holiday is going to last."

A fairly low-key game at Goodison, in which Everton's Seamus Coleman was sent off in the 53rd minute, was settled by Jermaine Beckford's superb individual goal with 16 minutes to go.


domingo, 22 de mayo de 2011

Celebrities will have to prove "harm" in defamation cases -

CELEBS would have to prove "harm" to win libel cases in a shake up of defamation laws announced yesterday.

The overhaul would also crack down on "libel tourism" – stopping overseas claimaints using our courts.

Under the changes, anyone suing for libel would have to prove they had been caused "substantial harm". There would also be greater protection for people who expose issues of public interest.

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said the Bill was a "step in the struggle to get the right balance between freedom of speech and protection of reputation".

The Government is also looking at banning the media from naming anyone arrested before they are charged.

Asia Keeps Close Eye on Japan's Nuclear Problems - Wall Street Journal

Problems at nuclear power plants in Japan over the weekend are being watched closely across Asia, where governments are contemplating dozens of new nuclear reactors despite opposition from environmental groups that have long argued the facilities are unsafe in a region prone to natural disasters.

China, Vietnam, Thailand and other Asian nations have more than 100 nuclear plants on the drawing boards as part of a regionwide effort to diversify energy sources beyond their traditional reliance on oil, natural gas and coal. The plants are viewed as a critical part of Asia's scramble to keep up with demand as energy ...

Nick Clegg must find a backbone if he wishes to redeem himself -

The ring of steel erected to protect Nick Clegg in the city of Sheffield is a measure of how unpopular he and the Lib Dems have become.

What was until last May's election a party of protest is now a party protested against as it props up the cut-happy Conservatives.

Mr Clegg sold his principles for a chauffeurdriven Jag so, if he wishes to redeem himself, the Deputy PM must find a backbone. And he can start by telling David Cameron he will not back unfair cuts and NHS privatisation.

If he does not, the Liberal Democrats should expect to hide behind steel barriers for the rest of this Parliament.

Prof Robert Winston on "extraordinary" birth of white baby to white parents -

LEADING fertility expert ­Professor Robert Winston says the birth is "extraordinary".

"This is unbelievably rare and one of the first cases I've heard of in the UK," Lord ­Winston says. "The fact it's ­happened before in the same family – albeit generations ago – is significant.

"The genetic differences between black and white ­people are much slighter than we think. I can only think there's been a mild mutation.

"It may also be that the part of Africa the parents are from – Congo – is inherent to a certain genetic instability. There's been very little research.

"Events like this just go to show how ­similar we all are."

Pro-Gaddafi forces continue shelling Misrata - Xinhua

TRIPOLI, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have been shelling the rebel-held city of Misrata, 150 km from the capital Tripoli, according to Al-Jazeera TV.

The shelling started in early morning and is still continuing, using mortars and artillery.

Fierce fighting between the opposition and forces loyal to Gaddafi has raged for weeks in Misrata, the country's third largest city, which lies on the coast in the western part in the country.

Pro-government forces in Misrata shelled a medical clinic Sunday, killing one person and wounding 15 others, according to a doctor who was not identified for security reasons.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: poll shows Socialist Party could still win French election -

The poll found that former Socialist party leader Francois Hollande would be the new favourite candidate on the left, 10 points ahead of current party boss Martine Aubry.

It predicted that either candidate would score 23 percent in the first round of the election, with Sarkozy one point behind Hollande or level with Aubry, and far-right leader Marine Le Pen in third place at 20 percent.

Compared with a CSA poll on April 28, that indicates a one or two point gain for Mr Sarkozy from the Strauss-Kahn affair. The poll of 1,007 people also found that 57 per cent of those questioned believed the sex assault case might have been a set-up to frame Strauss-Kahn by his enemies.

Simple jogging test may reveal risk of heart attack - Times of India

LONDON: Are you middleaged and worried about having a heart attack? Well, a simple jogging test could reveal your risk, says a new study.

Researchers at the University of Texas have carried out the study and found how fast a middle-aged man could run a mile may determine their risk of heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years.

For the study, researchers collected information from 11,000 men who underwent a clinical exam and a treadmill exercise test at Cooper Clinic in Dallas between 1970 and 1990.

Nine Libyans Killed in NATO Attack Are Buried - Wall Street Journal

Firing rifles in the air and vowing revenge, Libyan mourners Saturday buried nine men they said were Muslim religious leaders and medics killed in an aerial attack by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in a city on the front line of the insurgency against Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

The government said Friday's predawn bombing killed clerics who were part of a private peace initiative by 150 religious and tribal leaders and said they were spending the night in a guest house in Brega en route to the rebel-held city of Ajdabiya in eastern Libya.

But a cleric who said he was ...

Leicester puncher Tuilagi to miss Premiership Final -

LEICESTER boss Richard Cockerill is braced for the loss of Manu Tuilagi for next week's Premiership Final against Saracens.

Tuilagi will spend his 20th birthday in front of an RFU disciplinary panel today, having been charged with punching Northampton's Chris Ashton in the semi-final.

"He reacted poorly and threw a punch. You can't do that," said Cockerill.

"The rules say if you strike, or punch a player, you get a red card. I expect he will get a sanction." Cockerill does not expect one himself for the final on May 28, despite heavy criticism of his behaviour against Saints.

He raged at some refereeing decisions, but claimed he had "no case to answer", as "I was not aggressive to anyone".

BlackBerry PlayBook UK pricing and release date confirmed -

Reviews in the US have been mixed, with many reviewers critical of the fact that the PlayBook's native email and calendar apps will not work unless the device is paired with a BlackBerry smartphone.

The Wall Street Journal said: "Unless you are constantly glued to a BlackBerry phone, or do all your email, contacts and calendar tasks via a browser, I recommend waiting."

However, the BlackBerry brand still has plenty of loyal users and those who feel confident in RIM will be keen to get hold of the tablet. Bloomberg, whose review of the PlayBook was one of the more positive ones, said: "The PlayBook makes BlackBerry relevant again."

Apocalypse when?: May 21 and other doomsday dates on film - Los Angeles Times

Got plans for May 21, 2011? Cancel 'em!

According to Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping of the Family Radio organization, Saturday is the first day of the "end of days," leading to the final, absolute, this-is-really-it, end-of-the-world doomsday on Oct. 21, 2011. Keep both dates free.

Of course, many people don't take predictions like this very seriously. Maybe it's because they've grown up watching the end of the world predicted every other year on film. It's not so long ago that Judgment Day was going to happen on Aug. 29, 1997. (As predicted by that prophet James Cameron in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day"). That date was later revised to July 25, 2004, in "Terminator 3," and finally to April 21, 2011, in "Terminator: Salvation."

None of these Judgment Days has happened. Here are some other cinematic Judgment Days that didn't make the translation to reality.

--Patrick Kevin Day, Jevon Phillips and Noelene Clark

Rescuers: distressed whales move away from coast - Fox News

Rescue workers say dozens of pilot whales that risked becoming beached on a Scottish island have moved to deeper water.

The charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue says the pod of 60 whales seems to be trying to leave the area.

The group's Dave Jarvis said Saturday that rescuers will follow the whales in a boat to make sure they do not harm themselves along the rocky coastline.

Rescue workers and fishermen have been trying to prevent the whales from beaching and dying on the rocky shores of Loch Carnan in Scotland's Western Isles. Several of the animals already have head injuries.

The pod arrived at the loch Thursday afternoon and came close to beaching Friday morning, but were driven back into deeper water.

The loch is an inlet on the island of South Uist.

Turkey earthquake kills three - The Nation, Pakistan

Turkey earthquake kills three

An earthquake that shook northwest Turkey last night killed at least three people and injured nearly 100. The 5.9-magnitude quake struck at 11.15 pm local time was centred in the town of Simav. The tremor was felt as far as the Aegean tourist city of Izmir, the northwestern city of Bursa, Istanbul and the city of Edirne, close to the Greek and Bulgarian borders. There were no immediate reports of damage in the ancient city of Epheseus, which lies just outside Selcuk, about 55 miles south of Izmir. The quake was followed by about 50 aftershocks, the strongest with a magnitude of 4.6. Local authorities warned of more aftershocks in the coming days. Most of Simav was without electricity and telephone lines were down, reports said.

An average couple bickers 2455 times a year -

London: Ever wondered how many rows does an average British couple have? Well, a survey says couples bicker 2,455 times a year.

The Sun cited the survey as saying that single biggest reason for an argument is not listening to what the other person is saying. This leads to around 112 rows a year.

There are other reasons too.

Getting annoyed over spending leads to 109 disputes and money in general causes further 108 arguments.

Snoring provoked 102 rows while 80 verbal altercations were about a partner walking mud into the home, the media report said.

There is more.

Reasons not to be ignored are driving too fast and what to watch on television. They cause arguments more than once a week.

Sex, either lack of it or the timing, leads to 88 conflicts a year. There are 69 arguments if one person has failed to say "I love you" enough.

The survey was of 3,000 people by esure home insurance.

"Bickering on a daily basis is all part of being in a normal, healthy relationship. The normal co-habiting couple will have to put up with each other's daily annoyances - even if they can prove to be very irritating," a spokesperson of the insurance firm was quoted as saying.

Prince William's friend Joss Stone joins Sir Mick Jagger's 'super-group' -

She has asked me to send her all that I know about the alleged affair, which is said to have happened before her relationship with Huhne.

The Cabinet minister must, meanwhile, look back to the visit of Pope Benedict in September with nostalgia. Then, all he had to worry about was meeting Cardinal Peter Turkson, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Asked about his faith by The Tablet, Huhne said: "I was brought up as a member of the Church of England; I still am." Ending the interview with a mea culpa, he said, piously: "Like most Christians, I am a sinner."

Kate Middleton's public life

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's spokesmen stress their desire for privacy, but Nicky Haslam, a friend of Prince William's stepmother, is not impressed.

"You can't have a private life if you are part of the Royal family," the interior designer tells me at the Spear's Design for Living Awards in Mayfair. "If you want a private life, don't marry into the Royal family, go and live quietly in Anglesey."

The Duchess of Cornwall's chum adds: "I'm sick of all this private-life stuff. It's like all these film stars who go on about wanting a private life. It's a double-edged sword."

Syrian forces kill five at protesters' funeral - Pakistan Daily Times

Syrian forces kill five at protesters funeral

BEIRUT: Syrian security forces killed at least five people after opening fire on a massive funeral procession for eight anti-government protesters slain the day before, a human rights activist said. A rights group has raised Fridays death toll to 44 most in the northern province of Idlib and the central region of Homs making it one of the deadliest days since an uprising against President Bashar Assads regime began two months ago. The government, meanwhile, put the toll at 17. The continuing bloodshed, which has claimed at least 900 lives, raises questions whether international sanctions and harsh words from the US and its allies will dissuade the Assad regime from using extreme force to crush the biggest challenge ever to its 40-year rule. Despite the violence, tens of thousands of people took part in the funeral for eight of those killed on Friday in Homs, local activists said. The funeral procession came under fire as the people marched from the Tal al Nasr cemetery, leaving two dead and dozens wounded. The latest deaths bring to at least 900 the number of civilians killed in the government crackdown, according to the National Organisation for Human Rights (NOHR) in Syria, whose chief Ammar Qurabi is currently in Turkey. ap

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Online bids for 'fashion roadkill' hat reach £80000 - The Independent

It threatened to upstage Kate and William on their wedding day, being compared to an upright toilet seat and a set of fallopian tubes. But last night, barely three weeks after being dubbed "fashion roadkill", the hat worn by Princess Beatrice was on course to sell for more than £80,000.

The Philip Treacy-designed headwear has attracted more than 100 bidders since it was put up for auction online. They include Duncan Bannatyne of Dragon's Den, as well as anonymous US bidders, whose fixation with the monarchy led to a flurry of late bids on Friday. And from Australia, the children's TV performers The Wiggles offered £17,500 for a chance to own one of the most polarising pieces of headwear ever seen. "We wear some pretty crazy costumes on stage but this hat beats them all," said Wiggles frontman Anthony Field.

Bidding is set to close today, after which the hat will be carefully dispatched to one "lucky" winner. However lucrative the auction proves, Clarence House insists the profits will bypass its own coffers, heading instead to the Little Bee Initiative, a charity founded by Princess Beatrice to raise money for Children in Crisis and Unicef.

The headwear, originally the subject of hostility and ridicule, has become a cultural sensation on the internet, appearing on the heads of numerous celebrities, including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Lady Gaga. Meanwhile, the "Princess Beatrice's ridiculous royal wedding hat" Facebook page has more than 142,000 endorsements.

Experts believe the hat's popularity in cyberspace could help its value to rise. "It is a piece of headwear forever immortalised online," said Harriet Quick, features editor of Vogue magazine. "As a piece of fashion, it is surreal, tangentially bizarre, different and eccentric. But it could also become extremely profitable."

For all the criticism levied at his creation, Treacy, whose hats also adorned the heads of the Duchess of Cornwall, Victoria Beckham, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and 31 other wedding guests, remained defiant. "The hat is a symbol of positivity," he said. "I hope people all over the world will be generous and the hat will benefit many."

Huhne Under Pressure Over Speeding Claims - Sky News

6:52am UK, Sunday May 22, 2011

Pressure is mounting on Energy Secretary Chris Huhne after Sunday newspapers have published more allegations surrounding a speeding ticket controversy.

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According to the Sunday Times, Liberal Democrat Mr Huhne has conceded he may have been driving his car on the day it was caught by a speed camera.

Essex Police have been looking into allegations that in 2003 he persuaded his then wife, Vicky Pryce, to accept speeding penalty points on his behalf so he could escape a driving ban - a charge he has previously denied.

The newspaper said it had obtained what it said was the driving licence of estranged wife Ms Pryce.

It is said to contain an endorsement for speeding on the same day the Energy Secretary is alleged to have been caught by a speed camera on the M11 motorway.

Mr Huhne is expected to tell police he "cannot be sure" if he was - or wasn't - driving that day after returning home from Stansted airport.

In 2003, as a member of the European Parliament, Mr Huhne routinely caught flights from Strasbourg to the airport in Essex.

Energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne

The Energy Secretary has promoted bicycle riding

Read more about the formal investigation by Essex police.

Ryanair has been asked to provide their passenger records as lists would confirm whether or not Mr Huhne was in Essex at the time.

The Sunday Telegraph also claims Ms Pryce is expected to tell police that another woman also took points for Mr Huhne on her licence.

Meanwhile, Mr Huhne has been under fire following the disclosure that he faces a complaint about his general election expenses.

Two former Liberal Democrat councillors in his Eastleigh constituency in Hampshire have submitted a formal complaint to the official elections watchdog alleging he made a "false declaration" of his expenses.

The allegation is based on a recording of a local party meeting where treasurer Anne Winstanley is heard saying that the elections "have cost more than we declared".

Mr Huhne strongly denied the charge, insisting his expenses were in order.

As hours tick by, "Judgment Day" looks a dud | - Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO | Sat May 21, 2011 8:55pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - With no sign of Judgment Day arriving on Saturday as forecast by an 89 year-old California evangelical broadcaster, followers were faced with trying to make sense of his failed pronouncement.

Harold Camping, the former civil engineer who heads the

Family Radio Network of Christian stations, had been unwavering in his message that believers would be swept to heaven on May 21.

His Oakland, California-based network broadcasts over 66 U.S. stations and through international affiliates. With the help of supporters it posted at least 2,000 billboards around the United States warning of the Judgment Day.

In New York, retired transportation agency worker Robert Fitzpatrick was inspired by Camping's message to spend over $140,000 of his savings on subway posters and outdoor advertisements warning of the May 21 Judgment Day.

As he stood in Times Square in New York surrounded by onlookers, Fitzpatrick, 60, carried a Bible and handed out leaflets as he waited for Judgment Day to begin.

By his own reading of Bible, which was slightly different than Camping's, Fitzgerald expected the great worldwide event to begin at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.

When the hour came and went, he said: "I do not understand why ...," as his speech broke off and he looked at his watch.

"I do not understand why nothing has happened."

Camping, who previously made a failed prediction Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1994, had said doomsday would begin at 6 p.m. in the various time zones around the globe.


That meant it would begin in Asia and Oceania, but with midnight local time having come and gone in those areas, taking them well into May 22, and no indication of an apocalypse, Camping seemed to have gone silent.

During the day, his Family Radio played recorded church music, devotionals and life advice unrelated to Judgment Day.

The headquarters of his network was shuttered on Friday and Saturday, with a sign in the door that read "This Office is Closed. Sorry we missed you!"

Camping, whose deep sonorous voice is frequently heard on his radio network expounding the Bible, could not be reached for comment.

The shades were drawn and no one answered the door at his house in Alameda, California.

Sheila Doan, 65, who has lived next door to Camping since 1971, said he is a good neighbor and she was concerned about Camping and his wife because of the attention his pronouncement has received.

"I'm concerned for them, that somebody would possibly do something stupid, you just don't know in this world what's going to happen," she said.

Tom Evans, a spokesman for Camping, said earlier this week that at least several tens of thousands of people listen to Family Radio's message.

The network is heard in more than 30 languages through international affiliates, according to Family Radio.

In recent weeks, dozens of Camping's followers had crossed the United States in recreational vehicles emblazoned with the May 21 warning. Volunteers also handed out pamphlets as far away as the Philippines, telling people God had left clear signs the world was coming to an end.

In Camping's description of Judgment Day, the Earth would be wrenched in a great earthquake and many inhabitants would perish in the coming months, until the planet's total destruction on October 21.

On Saturday, some atheists in different parts of the country held celebrations and get-togethers to mark the failure of Camping's May 21 prediction to come true.

In Oakland, the same city where Camping's network is based, over 200 people gathered at an atheist convention where speakers joked about the Judgment Day pronouncement and a vendor sold jewelry with the words "Good without God."

Cara Lee Hickey, 32, a Christian turned atheist, said Camping's prediction got people talking.

"I've heard a lot of name-calling, but most of it is from other Christians calling him a false prophet," she said.

(Additional reporting by Erik Tavcar, Jonathan Allen and Noel Randewich; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Jerry Norton)