miércoles, 31 de agosto de 2011

Consumer sentiment hits 2009 low point - Irish Times

The Irish Times - Wednesday, August 31, 2011

US consumer confidence plunged in August to its lowest level since the 2007-2009 recession, after a bruising battle over the US budget slammed stock prices and pushed the nation to the brink of default.

Yesterday's data kept alive concerns the nation could slide back into a recession and spurred investors to buy government bonds on bets the US Federal Reserve would try something to help growth.

"What we are effectively going through is a crisis of confidence," said Tom Porcelli, an economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

The private-sector Conference Board said its index of consumer attitudes sank to 44.5, its weakest since April 2009, from a downwardly revised 59.2 the previous month. Economists had expected a smaller drop. – (Reuters)

Bellamy poised for Reds return - Eurosport.com ASIA

Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy flew into Liverpool on Wednesday afternoon ahead of a potential deadline day move to rejoin his former club.

Press Association Sport understands the 32-year-old was given special dispensation to leave Wales' training camp at Celtic Manor to head off for talks with the Reds.

It is believed Bellamy took a short flight from south Wales to Merseyside where it is anticipated he will undergo a medical while Liverpool and City thrash out the terms of any deal.

Bellamy left Anfield in 2007 after just 12 months in a Red shirt - having scored nine goals in 42 matches - but is poised for a surprise return if an agreement can be reached in time.

The Wales international has a year left on his contract with City, where he has been a virtual outcast since Roberto Mancini took over in December 2009, and although the club are keen to get him off the payroll the financial deal has to be right for them to allow him to leave.


Jedward cause mayhem in BB house - The Press Association

Jedward created chaos in the Celebrity Big Brother house as they ran amok as "punks", angering other contestants.

The pair threw chairs into the pool, flipped mattresses in the bedroom, and tossed soup around the kitchen during their rampage.

The Grimes twins' behaviour was blasted by housemates, with Paddy Doherty ranting in the diary room and Kerry Katona calling them a "pair of numpties".

Jedward - dressed in black - hatched their plan for mayhem at lunchtime, telling Big Brother they were going to be "rebellious" punks and were "not going to take any rubbish from anyone".

After a pillow fight, they dumped items in the pool and then headed into the bedroom where Amy Childs and Darryn Lyons were asleep. John and Edward woke them as they flipped mattresses in the air.

Amy grumbled: "They don't have any respect for anything."

They then moved on to the kitchen, fighting with washing-up liquid and soup.

Kerry ordered the duo to tidy up the mess they had created, while Paddy exploded in the diary room following the trail of destruction. He branded the pair "sausages".

Later in the afternoon the twins sheepishly began to clear the mess as the house got back to normal.

Too Much Too Young? - Sky News (blog)

Martin Brunt August 31, 2011 3:11 PM

The boss of the Barnardo's charity said the court had over-reacted in its treatment of an 11-year-old who was caught nicking a waste bin from a smashed up store during the riots, but what do you think?

The youngest rioter in London took the bin after others had smashed the windows of Debenhams in Romford, causing £6,000 worth of damage, on the night of widespread trouble.

Five days earlier he'd admitted trying to set fire to a bus, slashing seats with a Stanley knife and then smashing his way through the glass exit door when the driver wouldn't let him off.

The bus was moving at the time.

For the bin theft he was given an 18-month youth rehabilitation order, which will include a variety of restrictions on his freedom. He could end up in care.

The district judge told him if he'd been a bit older (that's the boy, not the judge) he would have sent him to prison.

The boy's lawyer said it was all the fault of his dad who was "known to police" and had recently been in prison.

His father did not "give him boundaries" and allowed him to come and go as he pleased.

His mother was doing the best she could, said the lawyer.

Hospital error girl talks of fight - The Press Association

A schoolgirl left paralysed from the waist down by a devastating hospital error has spoken of her fight to live a normal life.

Sophie Tyler, 17, of Risca, near Newport, South Wales, will never walk again after an epidural was mistakenly left in place for more than two days.

It followed her admission to Birmingham Children's Hospital in May 2008 for routine surgery to remove gallstones.

A medical law expert is now calling on hospital bosses to ensure lessons are learned from the devastating error.

They have admitted liability in a move which opens the way for a full settlement providing Sophie with financial support for the rest of her life.

Mother Sue Tyler has spoken of how the tragic error transformed her daughter from a normal outgoing teenager overnight.

Sophie spoke of how the horror at learning she would never walk again simply left her feeling "numb".

"Numb is how I felt. In the beginning it did not really sink in. It did not seem real at all," she said.

"That came later when I got home. Then a lot of people, friends and family, were really really good to me, but to be honest I didn't want to see anyone. I shut myself off from the world, it was just the family at that point."

Medics initially told Sophie and her family it was possible she might regain some or all of her mobility, but that proved false.

Benayoun set for Chelsea exit - The Press Association

Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun looks set to leave Stamford Bridge as the transfer deadline approaches.

Benayoun has seen just one minute of action for the Blues this season and looks to be surplus to requirements following the arrival of Juan Mata from Valencia.

It has been reported that Benayoun would be included in an offer from the Blues for Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric and Newcastle have also been linked with the Israel captain, who moved to Stamford Bridge from Liverpool last summer on a free transfer. Benayoun wrote on Twitter: "negotiating with several team (sic) ...news soon."

Arsenal defender Armand Traore is set to join QPR after having a medical on Monday. Left-back Traore has made just one Barclays Premier League appearance for the Gunners in the last 15 months - Sunday's 8-2 defeat to Manchester United - and appears to be surplus to requirements at the Emirates Stadium despite the club's lack of defensive cover.

Should he come through the tests he should become the third signing of the Tony Fernandes era. Since his takeover of the Loftus Road club, Fernandes has bankrolled the signings of Joey Barton and Luke Young while Shaun Wright-Phillips could also join from Manchester City before Wednesday night's transfer deadline.

Real Betis have confirmed the signing of Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz on a one-year loan from Manchester City. Thirty-year-old Santa Cruz joined City from Blackburn in 2009 but has struggled to tie down a first-team berth with the big-spending Barclays Premier League club and returned to Rovers on loan for the second half of last season.

Meanwhile Espanyol have reached an initial deal with Manchester City to take Vladimir Weiss on loan for the coming season and midfielder Jean Makoun has left Aston Villa to join Olympiacos on a similar deal.

Banking reforms 'could jeopardise recovery' - BBC News

A senior business leader has warned that changes to banking regulation expected to be recommended by an independent commission led by Sir John Vickers might damage the economy by if they result in the banks lending less.

The report, due next month, is expected to recommend next month that banks' retail operations be kept apart from their more risky investment activities.

But John Cridland, the director general of the CBI believes that the reform are badly timed.

"What's happened since Vickers produced his interim report before the summer is that we've had a radical slowdown in the world economy," he told Today presenter Evan Davis.

"And we're going to have a major problem if growth stagnates and at that point my businesses trying to get cash from their banks is critical and anything which makes it harder for the banks to keep the wheels of the economy well oiled is not good timing."

His comments come after the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, criticised the banks over their opposition to reforms, designed to reduce the chance of future banking failures. He says the sector is using the crisis in the eurozone as a reason for putting off changes.

But the Liberal Democrat MP John Thurso, who sits on the Treasury Select Committee, said immediate banking reform was "absolutely essential" for the economy.

"One of the core problems is the complete lack of competition at the moment, and the failure of banks to actually offer finance that small and medium enterprises either cannot get the finance, or the finance that they are offered is at a price they cannot afford," he told the programme.

"And we are haemorrhaging, and part of that is because banks can make so much money playing the capital casinos that they don't have money available to deploy in the traditional commercial and retail banking sector."

Get in touch with Today via email , Twitter or Facebook or text us on 84844.

Graphene 'could help boost broadband internet speeds' - BBC News

Graphene, the strongest material on Earth, could help boost broadband internet speed, say UK researchers.

Scientists from Manchester and Cambridge universities, have found a way to improve its sensitivity when used in optical communications systems.

Their discovery paves the way for faster electronic components, such as the receivers used in fibre optic data connections.

Graphene was discovered in 2004 and has been hailed as a "wonder material".

Optical communications

"Start Quote

Many leading electronics companies consider graphene for the next generation of devices"

End Quote Prof Kostya Novoselov University of Manchester

The material's use in photo-electrical systems is not new.

Scientists had previously managed to produce a simple solar cell by placing microscopic metallic wires on top of graphene sheets and shining light onto them.

Its superconductive properties meant that electrons could flow at high speed with extreme mobility.

However, early graphene solar cells were not very efficient, as the material was only capable of absorbing about 3% of visible light, with the rest shining through without being converted into power.

The latest research, overcomes that problem by using a method, known as plasmonic enhancement, to combine graphene with tiny metallic structures called plasmonic nanostructures.

As a result, its light-harvesting performance is increased by a factor of 20.

"The technology of graphene production matures day-by-day, which has an immediate impact both on the type of exciting physics which we find in this material, and on the feasibility and the range of possible applications," said Prof Kostya Novoselov, one of the lead researchers.

"Many leading electronics companies consider graphene for the next generation of devices. This work certainly boosts graphene's chances even further."

His colleague Professor Andrea Ferrari from the University of Cambridge added that the results showed the material's "great potential in the fields of photonics and optoelectronics".

Details of the team's work have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

Wonder material

Graphene was discovered in 2004 after scientists used sticky tape to isolate a single, atom-thick layer of graphite - the same material used in pencils.

It has been identified as the thinnest, strongest and most conductive material in the world; properties which many believe could revolutionise electronics.

Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, both originally from Russia, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in 2010.

Outbound space probe looks back at tiny Earth and Moon - Register

Outbound space probe looks back at tiny Earth and Moon

Space snap puts things in perspective

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Pic NASA's space probe Juno, outward bound for Jupiter, has sent pack a pic of the Earth-Moon system from 6 million miles away.

The Earth and Moon, seen from the Juno spacecraft 6 million miles out. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

I can see the pub from here

According to NASA, Juno was further away than the Moon within a day of being launched on 5 August. Despite its speed, the craft will take another five years to reach its Jovian destination 1,740 million miles further on. The pic above was snapped using the probe's camera, known as JunoCam, as part of engineering checks by NASA ground controllers.

"This is a remarkable sight people get to see all too rarely," said Scott Bolton, top boffin on the Juno push. "This view of our planet shows how Earth looks from the outside, illustrating a special perspective of our role and place in the universe. We see a humbling yet beautiful view of ourselves."

Juno will be the first solar-powered spacecraft to go so far from the Sun: previous missions to the outer solar system have required nuclear power sources. NASA reckons that large modern solar panels, combined with a planned track that will keep Juno in sunlight at all times and avoid the worst of the radiation hazards around Jupiter, will do the trick. This is the more so as Juno has "modest" power needs, being intended to power up its instruments for only six hours of each 11-day orbit around the giant planet.

The probe, following in the recent tradition of crewing space missions with suitable toy figurines (established first in the Register's own space programme) also carries three specially-crafted aluminium Lego people (well, technically deities in two cases).

The NASA photo release is here, and there's more on Juno here. ®

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Darling To Expose 'Volcanic' Brown Government - Sky News

4:10pm UK, Wednesday August 31, 2011

Former Chancellor Alistair Darling is reportedly set to detail tensions within Gordon Brown's government at the height of the financial crisis in a forthcoming memoir.

Gordon Brown with Alistair Darling

Mr Brown and Mr Darling in March 2010 ahead of the General Election

According to extracts seen by Labour Uncut, Mr Darling will claim Mr Brown's moods became increasingly "brutal and volcanic" in 2008.

'Back from the Brink: 1,000 Days at No 11' is said to detail a complete breakdown in trust between the Prime Minister and Chancellor.

Mr Darling reportedly singles out Ed Balls and Shriti Vadhera as key allies of Mr Brown, who he says were running what amounted to a parallel Treasury within Government.

He claims to have refused to have Ms Vadhera in his team, describing her as "only happy if there was blood on the floor - preferably that of her colleagues".

Alistair Darling's memoirs should give Ed Miliband some concerns about Ed Balls' suitability to be shadow chancellor.

Conservative party chairman Baroness Warsi

Yvette Cooper was accepted as chief secretary to the treasury in January 2008, but Mr Darling reportedly says she was put there to "keep an eye" on him.

He also allegedly confirms the widely reported rumour that in 2009 Mr Brown tried to sack him as chancellor and offer him another junior role in cabinet.

Mr Darling threatened to walk out of government and Mr Brown, severely weakened by the economic crisis and plummeting poll ratings, relented and let him remain at No 11.

Karen Duffy, the publicity director of publisher Atlantic books, said she was unable to comment on the accuracy of the reports.

Gordon Brown, Ed Balls and Peter Mandelson

Mr Brown & Mr Balls are allegedly accused of running a parallel Treasury

"We're not confirming or denying," she told Sky News, because the contents of the book must remain confidential because they have agreed a deal with a newspaper ahead of publication next week.

Conservative party chairman Sayeeda Warsi seized on the claims as proof that key Labour figures put party infighting above the nation's interests.

"Alistair Darling's memoirs should give Ed Miliband some concerns about Ed Balls' suitability to be shadow chancellor," she said.

"Ed Balls recently claimed that he 'did his politics on the record', but he has already been shown to have been at the heart of the plot to oust Tony Blair.

"Now Alistair Darling accuses him of running a shadow treasury operation within his own government.

"No wonder Labour left the nation's finances in such a mess when they put party political plotting above the national interest."

Lessons and False Lessons from Libya - Huffington Post (blog)

The downfall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime is very good news, particularly for the people of Libya. However, it is critically important that the world not learn the wrong lessons from the dictator's overthrow.

It is certainly true that NATO played a critical role in disrupting the heavy weapons capability of the repressive Libyan regime and blocking its fuel and ammunition supplies through massive airstrikes and by providing armaments and logistical support for the rebels. However, both the militaristic triumphalism of the pro-intervention hawks and the more cynical conspiracy mongering of some on the left ignore that this was indeed a popular revolution, which may have been able to succeed without NATO, particularly if the opposition had not focused primarily on the military strategy. Engaging in an armed struggle against the heavily armed despot essentially took on gaddafi where he was strongest rather than taking greater advantage of where he was weakest - his lack of popular support.

There has been little attention paid to the fact that the reason the anti-Gaddafi rebels were able to unexpectedly march into Tripoli last weekend with so little resistance appears to have been a result of a massive and largely unarmed civil insurrection which had erupted in neighborhoods throughout the city. Indeed, much of the capital had already been liberated by the time the rebel columns entered and began mopping up the remaining pockets of pro-regime forces.

As Juan Cole noted in an August 22 interview on Democracy Now!, "the city had already overthrown the regime" by the time the rebels arrived. The University of Michigan professor observed how, "Beginning Saturday night, working-class districts rose up, in the hundreds of thousands and just threw off the regime." Similarly, Khaled Darwish's August 24 article in The New York Times describes how unarmed Tripolitanians rushed into the streets prior to the rebels entering the capital, blocked suspected snipers from apartment rooftops and sang and chanted over loudspeakers to mobilize the population against Gaddafi's regime

Though NATO helped direct the final pincer movement of the rebels as they approached the Libyan capital and continued to bomb government targets, Gaddafi's final collapse appears to have more closely resembled that of Hosni Mubarak and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali than that of Saddam Hussein.

It should also be noted that the initial uprising against Gaddafi in February was overwhelmingly nonviolent. In less than a week, this unarmed insurrection had resulted in pro-democracy forces taking over most of the cities in the eastern part of the country, a number of key cities in the west and even some neighborhoods in Tripoli. It was also during this period when most of the resignations of cabinet members and other important aides of Gaddafi, Libyan ambassadors in foreign capitals and top military officers took place. Thousands of soldiers defected or refused to fire on crowds, despite threats of execution. It was only when the rebellion took a more violent turn, however, that the revolution's progress was dramatically reversed and Gaddafi gave his infamous February 22 speech threatening massacres in rebel strongholds, which in turn, led to the United States and its NATO allies to enter the war.

Indeed, it was only a week or so before Gaddafi's collapse that the armed rebels had succeeded in recapturing most of the territory that had originally been liberated by their unarmed counterparts six months earlier.

It can certainly be argued that, once the revolutionaries shifted to armed struggle, NATO air support proved critical in severely weakening Gaddafi's ability to counterattack and that Western arms and advisers were important in enabling rebel forces to make crucial gains in the northwestern part of the country prior to the final assault on Tripoli. At the same time, there is little question that foreign intervention in a country with a history of brutal foreign conquest, domination and subversion was successfully manipulated by Gaddafi to rally far more support to his side in his final months than would have been the case had he been faced with a largely nonviolent indigenous, civil insurrection. It isn't certain that the destruction of his military capabilities by the NATO strikes was more significant than the ways in which such Western intervention in the civil war enabled the besieged dictator to shore up what had been rapidly deteriorating support in Tripoli and other areas under government control.

I could achieve an outcome I desired in an interpersonal dispute by punching someone in the nose, but that doesn't mean that it, therefore, proved that my action was the only way to accomplish my goal. It's no secret that overbearing military force can eventually wear down an autocratic militarized regime, but - as the ouster of oppressive regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, the Philippines, Poland, Chile, Serbia, and scores of other countries through mass nonviolent action in recent years has indicated - there are ways of undermining a regime's pillars of support to the extent that it collapses under its own weight. Ultimately, a despot's power comes not from the armed forces under his command, but the willingness of a people to recognize his authority and obey his orders.

This is not to say that the largely nonviolent struggle launched in February would have achieved a quick and easy victory had they not turned to armed struggle with foreign support. The weakness of Libyan civil society, combined with the movement's questionable tactical decision to engage primarily in demonstrations rather than diversifying their methods of civil resistance, made them particularly vulnerable to the brutality of Gaddafi's foreign mercenaries and other forces. In addition, unlike the well-coordinated nonviolent anti-Mubarak campaign in Egypt, the Libyan opposition's campaign was largely spontaneous. However, insisting that the Libyan opposition "tried nonviolence and it didn't work" because peaceful protesters were killed and it did not succeed in toppling the regime after a few days of public demonstrations makes little sense, particularly since the armed struggle took more than six months. And it does not mean there were no other alternatives but to launch a civil war.

The estimated 13,000 additional deaths since the launching of the armed struggle and the widespread destruction of key segments of the country's infrastructure are not the only problems related to resorting to military means to oust Gaddafi.

One problem with an armed overthrow of a dictator, as opposed to a largely nonviolent overthrow of a dictator, is that you have lots of armed individuals who are now convinced that power comes from guns. The martial values and the strict military hierarchy inherent in armed struggle can become accepted as the norm, particularly if the military leaders of the rebellion become the political leaders of the nation, as is usually the case. Indeed, history has shown that countries in which dictatorships are overthrown by force of arms are far more likely to suffer from instability and/or slide into another dictatorship. By contrast, dictatorships overthrown in largely nonviolent insurrections almost always evolve into democracies within a few years.

Despite the large-scale NATO intervention in support of the anti-Gaddafi uprising, this has been a widely supported popular revolution from a broad cross section of society. Gaddafi's brutal and arbitrary 42-year rule had alienated the overwhelming majority of the Libyan people and his overthrow is understandably a cause of celebration throughout the country. Though the breadth of the opposition makes a democratic transition more likely than in some violent overthrows of other dictatorships, the risk that an undemocratic faction may force its way into power is still a real possibility. And given that the United States, France and Britain have proved themselves quite willing to continue supporting dictatorships elsewhere in the Arab world, there is no guarantee that the NATO powers would find such a scenario objectionable as long as a new dictatorship was seen as friendly to the West.

Another problem with the way Gaddafi was overthrown is the way in which NATO so blatantly went beyond the mandate provided by the United Nations Security Council to simply protect the civilian population through the establishment of a no-fly zone. Instead, NATO became an active participant in a civil war, providing arms, intelligence, advisers and conducting over 7,500 air and missile strikes against military and government facilities. Such abuse of the UN system will create even more skepticism regarding the implementation of the responsibility to protect should there really be an incipient genocide somewhere where foreign intervention may indeed be the only realistic option.

Furthermore, while it is certainly possible that Gaddafi would have continued to refuse to step down in any case, the NATO intervention emboldened the rebels to refuse offers by the regime for a provisional cease-fire and direct negotiations, thereby eliminating even the possibility of ending the bloodshed months earlier.

Indeed, there is good reason to question whether NATO's role in Gaddafi's removal was motivated by humanitarian concerns in the first place. For example, NATO intervention was initiated during the height of the savage repression of the nonviolent pro-democracy struggle in the Western-backed kingdom of Bahrain, yet US and British support for that autocratic Arab monarchy has continued as the hope for bringing freedom to that island nation was brutally crushed. And given the overwhelming bipartisan support in the United States for Israeli military campaigns in 2006 and 2008-09 which, while only lasting a few weeks, succeeded in slaughtering more than 1,500 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians, Washington's humanitarian claims for the Libyan intervention ring particularly hollow.

It's true that some of the leftist critiques of the NATO campaign were rather specious. For example, this was not simply a war for oil. Gaddafi had long ago opened his oil fields to the West, with Occidental, BP and ENI among the biggest beneficiaries. Relations between Big Oil and the Libyan regime were doing just fine and the NATO-backed war was highly disruptive to their interests.

Similarly, Libya under Gaddafi was hardly a progressive alternative to the right-wing Arab rulers favored by the West. Despite some impressive socialist initiatives early in Gaddafi's reign, which led Libya to impressive gains in health care, education, housing, and other needs, the past two decades had witnessed increased corruption, regional and tribal favoritism, capricious investment policies, an increasingly predatory bureaucracy and a degree of poverty and inadequate infrastructure inexcusable for a country of such vast potential wealth.

However, given the strong role of NATO in the uprising and the close ties developed with the military leaders of the revolution, it would be naïve to assume that the United States and other countries in the coalition won't try to assert their influence in the direction of post-Gaddafi Libya. One of the problems of armed revolutionary struggle compared to unarmed revolutionary struggle is the dependence upon foreign supporters, which can then be leveraged after victory. Given the debt and ongoing dependency some of the rebel leaders have developed with NATO countries in recent months, it would similarly be naïve to think that some of them wouldn't be willing to let this happen.

In summary, while Gaddafi's ouster is cause for celebration, it is critical that it not be interpreted as a vindication of Western military interventionism. Not only will the military side of the victory likely leave a problematic legacy, we should not deny agency to the many thousands of Libyans across regions, tribes and ideologies, who ultimately made victory possible through their refusal to continue their cooperation with an oppressive and illegitimate regime. It is ultimately a victory of the Libyan people. And they alone should determine their country's future.

UK travelers lose bid to fight eviction - Arab News

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Down the Karzai - The Sun

A SENIOR minister blundered yesterday when he accidentally revealed secret Government papers on Afghanistan.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell was pictured holding the document as he left Downing Street.

He had been at a meeting of the National Security Council, chaired by PM David Cameron.

The papers welcomed Afghan president Hamid Karzai's announcement that he will stand down in 2014, stating: "This is very important. It improves Afghanistan's political prospects very significantly. We should welcome Karzai's announcement in private and in public."

The document adds: "Afghan perceptions of violence are very important for their confidence in their future, and for their readiness to work for the Afghan government.

"Have we got the strategic communications on levels of violence right?"

A spokesman for the Department for International Development said the papers were "of a routine nature". He added: "They would have had a national security level marking of 'restricted' or 'confidential' if they contained anything of significant sensitivity."

Mr Mitchell is not the first prominent figure to accidentally show secret information. In 2009, Bob Quick was forced to stand down as Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer after he revealed details of an operation to foil an al-Qaeda plot.

He was pictured carrying the documents to a meeting at Downing Street. Police were forced to bring forward a series of raids following the gaffe.

The year before, then housing minister Caroline Flint was pictured entering Number 10 with a briefing paper predicting property prices were set to plunge.


Five essential Google Android apps - Calgary Herald

Google's popular Android OS (Operating System) is one of the leading systems found on many smartphones today.

Android phones come in a variety of prices, sizes and shapes. While many are touchscreen-based devices, there are some with QWERTY keyboards and other form factors to appeal to a wide user base.

Applications are the heart and soul of any mobile operating system and here are five essential Google Android applications that each Android user should consider checking out to enhance their Android owning experience.

Google Maps and Navigation

What most people don't know is that Android phones have a full-featured GPS built in. With Google Maps plus the Google Navigation apps installed, (they are free) users get location search, tracking and turnby-turn navigation right on their device. (www.google. com/mobile/navigation/).

Documents to Go $15.99

Smartphones are mini PCs so they should at least run mobile versions of Microsoft Office. Documents to Go can open, create and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on the go from within the Android OS. (www.dataviz.com).


Frequent travelers or those who need to pick up people from the airport often can use FlightTrack to get real-time flight updates and information as soon as the airport gets them.

Visual maps even allow users to see where a particular flight is flying at a specific time. (www.mobiata.com).


Rdio is a music subscription service that offers users unlimited access to five million songs accessible through their PC or smartphone. This service costs $10 US a month and is ideal for users with WiFi access. For $4.99 you get unlimited access but via your PC only. (www.rdio.com).


As smartphone screens get bigger (we have fourinch and larger screens now), it makes it easier to use smartphones as eBook readers. Kobo for Android offers users the ability to browse and buy eBooks and read them right on the device. Best of all, you can share excerpts, highlight text and even gain points and badges with the Kobo Reading Life social app. (http: //kobobooks.com/ android).

Dad kills daughters raped by Gaddafi's men - Independent Online

IOL news aug 31 afr libya


Imprisoned pro-Gaddafi soldiers lie on mattresses in a prison in Misrata.

A father slit the throats of his three teenage daughters in an "honour killing" after they were raped by Gaddafi loyalists during the siege of the port city of Misrata.

Allegations of the shocking executions are contained in a report by the respected Physicians for Human Rights group into war crimes and atrocities in the embattled city, which faced two months of being cut off from the rest of Libya.

The father is said to have carried out the "honour killings" because of the humiliation and shame the rape of the sisters - aged 15, 17 and 18 - in Tomina, on the outskirts of Misrata. The victims were not named.

The report, which refers to rape, mass arrests, murders and beatings, also contains allegations that civilians and children were used as human shields by Gaddafi's forces after Nato warplanes began to attack.

PHR was able to take a team of interviewers into Misrata from June 5 to 12, just after Libyan rebel forces expelled Gaddafi's loyalists, and their findings mirror those of other organisations.

Interviewing dozens of survivors of the siege, the Boston-based group found widespread evidence of crimes against humanity, including summary killings, hostage-taking and use of mosques, schools and marketplaces as weapons depots.

"Four eyewitnesses reported that Gaddafi troops forcibly detained 107 civilians and used them as human shields to guard military munitions from Nato attacks south of Misrata," said the report.

"One father said soldiers forced his two young children to sit on a military tank and threatened the family, 'You'll stay here, and if Nato attacks us, you'll die, too'."

PHR obtained copies of military orders as evidence that Gaddafi ordered his troops to starve civilians in Misrata, while pillaging food caches and barring locals from receiving humanitarian aid. - Daily Mail

'Only one Yvonne suspect living' - The Press Association

Only one of the Libyans suspected of involvement in the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher is believed still to be alive, it has been reported.

The claim came after it was announced by rebel officials in Tripoli that one suspect, Abdulqadir al-Baghdadi, had been shot in the head. He was an official in the Libyan embassy in London at the time of the 1984 murder.

The Daily Telegraph reported that a junior official, Abdulmagid Salah Ameri, who was suspected of firing the fatal shots, had never been traced since he was deported along with other embassy officials after an 11-day stand-off and is thought to have died.

That left Matouk Mohammed Matouk as the last named suspect believed to be still alive, it added. The newspaper quoted Ali Tarhouni, the de facto deputy prime minister of the new government, saying: "We know where he is."

Questions remain about whether any suspect involved in the murder could stand trial in the UK, as Libya has a law that prevents it from extraditing its own citizens to other countries.

The developments come as British police hope to travel to Libya to investigate the murder of PC Fletcher, who was shot while on duty outside the embassy in London.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said officers would assess whether the news of al-Baghdadi's death would affect their investigation. He told the BBC: "This is the subject of a Metropolitan Police investigation that is going on and will go on into the future so I don't want to prejudge immediately what has been announced.

"Of course we will want to know a good deal more about what the NTC (National Transitional Council) say has happened in this case and I'm sure the police will want to know and assess themselves whether it affects their investigation in any way."

A spokesman for the rebel council in Tripoli said al-Baghdadi's death was probably the result of an "inside vendetta" within the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who is still being hunted after the crumbling of his regime.

Meanwhile it was announced that almost £1 billion of Libyan currency held in the UK will be released to the country's central bank after the United Nations Sanctions Committee approved the measure. Some 1.86 billion Libyan Dinar (£950 million) of newly printed banknotes were held in the UK under sanctions imposed on the Gaddafi regime.

Banks to tell families: cut back or face losing your home - Telegraph.co.uk

The organisation will telephone around 2,000 customers a week over the coming months and advise them how best to manage their finances should rates rise.

The company could also check with credit agencies to see which borrowers have mounting debts.

"Some people won't cope when interest rates rise, but for others there are remedies," said Richard Banks, the AKAR chief executive who is a former director of Alliance & Leicester.

"They need to think about what is their most important debt. It is not their credit card or renewing their Sky subscription, or going out for the latest mobile technology. It is their mortgage.

"We want customers to look at their finances and change their behaviour."

A spokesman for UKAR added: "We will ask them to tell us what their expenditure is and what they are spending it on, and we will then be able to help them prioritise their finances to avoid getting into arrears."

It is estimated that a one percentage point rise in interest rates will reduce the disposable income available to each UK household by £230 a year.

UKAR wants to ensure that borrowers have enough money to pay off their mortgages rather than spend their disposable incomes on lifestyle or luxury items.

If necessary, the organisation could put people in touch with charities who can offer further advice on financial matters.

But Experian, the country's biggest credit agency, said a company must always get a customer's permission to run a credit check.

The Information Commissioners' Office, which police's data privacy, said banks should be "upfront" about what credit checks they undertake or risk breaching the Data Protection Act.

Melanie Bien, of the independent mortgage broker Private Finance, described the checks as "unprecedented".

"I've never heard of banks doing credit checks midway through a mortgage deal before," she said.

"You qualify for your mortgage and then, halfway down, they are checking up on you. It is outrageous."

The spokesman said that it is not UKAR's role to dictate how people spend their money.

However he said that borrowers need to be made aware of their obligations to the nationalised banks. he said the credit checks was intended to be "positive" measure.

"There is a temptation to pay whoever is shouting loudest," he said.

"This is not a Big Brother thing, but we are taking a sensible pragmatic approach should people get into trouble.

Credit checks are carried out to check a customer's ability to meet their obligations."

Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley were nationalised in 2008 and 2009 respectively, and their mortgage books at the time were closed to new borrowers.

In total UKAR oversees 750,000 borrowers, with total loans of around £80 billion between them.

UKAR believes that customers have to a large extent been protected by low interest rates. Economists expect rates to rise at some point late next year as the UK's growth start to accelerate

Internet Could Run Ten Times Faster With Graphene - Huffington Post

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Cameron rejects claim politicians' behaviour was to blame for riots - The Independent

David Cameron and Ed Miliband clashed yesterday over whether the behaviour of politicians and bankers may have played a part in provoking this month's riots.

Downing Street played down the findings of an academic research project suggesting that lack of trust in politicians was a bigger factor in people's willingness to riot than other explanations such as lax moral values or poverty and the Government's spending cuts.

But Mr Miliband and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, made clear that they were open-minded about whether alienation from the political class may have played a role.

Mr Cameron, who regards the riots as a symbol of Britain's "broken society", yesterday began chairing a cabinet review of the Government's social policies to see what changes were needed as a result of the riots. It will include state benefits, schools, parenting, family policy and whether health and safety and human rights laws prevent "common sense solutions" to social problems. Commenting on the research by Essex University and Royal Holloway, University of London, Mr Cameron's official spokeswoman said: "One can speculate but we are not necessarily going to know exactly what the causes were. We have to have a very strong response in the wake of the public disorder." The broader impact would be considered during the review.

The Liberal Democrats said the perception that politicians, bankers and others at the top were "getting away with it" may have been a factor in the refusal of rioters to ignore the "rules of the game" too. Mr Clegg is believed to be sympathetic to the academics' warning that depriving rioters of their state benefits could backfire, alienating them further.

Labour sources said the academics' findings, revealed in The Independent yesterday, should be considered by the panel being set up by the Government to look into the reasons behind the riots. Yesterday the Labour leader rejected Mr Cameron's claim that the riots were caused by a breakdown in values. "There are issues of values but you've also got to address the issue of the values at the top of society, because the top of society sets an example for the rest and it hasn't been setting a good example in the last few years," Mr Miliband said during a visit to Lewisham.

Mr Miliband promised to force a Commons vote on the cuts in police numbers. Nick Herbert, the Policing Minister, accused Labour of "hypocrisy", saying the previous government proposed to cut £1bn a year from the police budget.

Met pressuring media to hand over riots footage

Newspapers and broadcasters face growing pressure from the Metropolitan Police to hand over all footage and pictures relating to the London riots.

Scotland Yard has threatened organisations with a court order forcing them to pass on material that may show "crime in action" if they refuse to comply. Media groups have rejected the demands, maintaining that the press is an impartial recorder of events rather than an evidence-gathering mechanism for the police. The police would have to convince a High Court judge that the police request outweighs the public interest of having a free press.

Other forces, including Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, began approaching local and national media a fortnight ago. The demands come after David Cameron urged the media to act "responsibly" and hand over material which would help track down rioters and looters.

He's Not an Immortal Time-Traveler, but He Plays One on TV - New York Times

People who watch "Torchwood," or actually any show, associate the characters on it with the actors. So when people see me at an airport or on the plane with them, they don't see John Barrowman, the actor. Instead, they expect me to have a lot of the same qualities as my character, Capt. Jack Harkness, the immortal, time-traveling guy and leader of a secret organization called Torchwood that saves the world from aliens.

I get it. But, man, I'm not that guy.

When the show was moved to the United States with Starz this year, I was flying back and forth from Britain a lot while I was looking for a home in the States.

I've actually had seatmates ask me to hold their hands during rocky flights. I oblige, but little do they know that I'm really the guy who wants to scream for my mom to hold my hand. I do find helping someone else calms me down. As does alcohol.

I fly Virgin Atlantic a lot and the service is always incredible. The attendants really believe in customer service. But they believe in it so much it was almost a problem for me.

The flight I was taking was really turbulent and an attendant could see that I was getting nervous. She came over to me and was being really solicitous. Passengers were looking at me kind of weird, like, "What's wrong with this guy?" I finally asked her if she could grab a magazine and pretend she was showing me something.

There's always that fear that some sci-fi fan is on board and will shoot video and plaster it up on YouTube with me whimpering like a 2-year-old girl. The producers might frown on that.

I do, however, love our fans, and don't mind signing autographs in airports or on planes. Several years ago, I was flying from London to Orlando. Most of the passengers were on holiday for Easter weekend. There were tons of children on board.

The attendant came up to me and said passengers saw me come on the plane and were talking about me. During the flight, the attendants were going to do some games and raffles with the kids. She wondered if I would help out and play the role of Captain Jack.

It was a lot of fun, especially when they asked me to make an announcement as Captain Jack. I got on the speaker and said: "Ladies and gentleman, this is Captain Jack Harkness. Welcome. Let me assure you, there are no aliens on board." I think I heard a couple of folks muttering, "Thank God."

The kid's drawing contest was pretty funny, since a few of them drew Captain Jack with the Easter Bunny. Maybe that will make it on a show.

Science-fiction fans have very strong opinions about things. Actually, everything. A lot of characters on our show have been killed. Well, actually, everyone but me and Eve [the actress Eve Myles] has been killed off. When Ianto Jones, my love interest, died last season, a lot of fans were really angry.

I was flying in Britain on a small puddle-jumper and was seated next to a fan. Everything was great and the guy seemed really polite. Then he started talking about Ianto, and wouldn't stop. I wanted to say, "Dude, seriously, Ianto's not real." But didn't.

I also wanted to throw myself out the window. But unlike Captain Jack, I'm not immortal, so that wasn't an option either.

By John Barrowman, as told to Joan Raymond. E-mail: joan.raymond@nytimes.com

Hewlett-Packard: One final run of HP TouchPads are on the way - Los Angeles Times


Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad tablet is set for one final production run.

After that, the TouchPad will be dead -- unless of course HP decides to bring it back to life, as mentioned as a possibility by an HP exec earlier today.

But, for now, the plan is to kill the HP TouchPad after this one last hurrah.

HP isn't saying how many TouchPads it will make in its farewell run, or when exactly the last gasp of tablets will land in stores, or even exactly which stores will sell the tablets (HP's online store is a safe bet).

Nonetheless, more TouchPads are on the way in the next few weeks at the same $99 (for a 16-gigabyte model) or $149 (for 32 gigabytes) to meet demand that persisted after the device had sold out across stores in the U.S. and Canada, HP spokesman Mark Budgell said in a company blog post.

"Since we announced the price drop, the number of inquiries about the product and the speed at which it disappeared from inventory has been stunning," Budgell said. "I think it's safe to say we were pleasantly surprised by the response."

Once HP cut the TouchPad down to as low as $99, the device sold out and inspired lines of people lining up outside Best Buy and other retailers, all of which is contributing to the firm's move to give its TouchPad another production run.

When the device first hit stores July 1, at a starting price of $499 (the same as Apple's iPad), it sat on store shelves and failed to lure any significant number of consumers. Afterward, the firm decided to end production of the TouchPad and all its other devices using the Web OS operating system.

"Despite announcing an end to manufacturing Web OS hardware, we have decided to produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand," Budgell said. "We don't know exactly when these units will be available or how many we'll get, and we can't promise we'll have enough for everyone. We do know that it will be at least a few weeks before you can purchase."

Budgell added a list of frequently asked questions to his blog post, addressing questions on topics such as the availability of accessories and why some retailers (such as Wal-Mart) aren't taking part in the price drop like everyone else. Budgell directs readers to ask retailers, not offering an HP-sourced answer himself). 

So, could more TouchPads, or even a newer, slimmer, faster, lighter TouchPad 2 arrive after the final run that wasn't supposed to have even happened? Now that HP has a TouchPad user base of possibly a few hundred thousand to either ignore or nurture, the answer to that question is even less clear than when the company announced it was discontinuing the devices Aug. 18.

It also remains unclear not only what HP has planned for the TouchPad and webOS, but also its PC business, which is the world's largest, yet also a unit that HP wants to either sell of spin off.

Despite all the uncertainty, the TouchPad seems to be a tablet that just won't die.

What do you think? Is HP making the right call in offering one final run of low-priced TouchPads? Should HP follow through and give up on the TouchPad? Or does all of this make a case for a newer, lower-priced TouchPad at a later date, maybe when HP knows what it's doing with its PC business? Sound off in the comments below.


HP executive: The TouchPad could be resurrected

HP TouchPad mania: TouchPads selling out in U.S. at $99.99

HP to kill TouchPad and stop making WebOS devices, may spin off PC business

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles


Photo: The Hewlett-Packard TouchPad tablet computer. Credit: Eric Risberg/Associated Press

He's a man on a mission: Hargreaves driven to prove United and Fergie wrong - Daily Mail

By Matt Lawton and Ian Ladyman

Last updated at 2:19 AM on 31st August 2011

Manchester City being Manchester City, they will  probably not get the credit they deserve for taking a chance on Owen Hargreaves. Money, after all, is no object to them. If they blow a few quid on a crock, what of it?

But that would be unfair when there is still a risk involved for Roberto Mancini. He has to select a 25-man squad like every other manager in the Barclays Premier League and he wants  Hargreaves to be among the names he submits.

Talking to members of the City hierarchy yesterday, they considered it a 'no-brainer'; the chance to sign a major talent for nothing and to recruit a player fiercely determined to succeed after  missing the last three years because of injury.

Give him a chance: Owen Hargreaves looks set to be given an opportunity by Manchester City

Give him a chance: Owen Hargreaves looks set to be given an opportunity by Manchester City

It is those injuries that appeared to put off many managers, and not even the interview he gave in these pages on Saturday — when he declared himself healthy, hungry and more than ready to return — could convince them otherwise.

Some may have encountered difficulties when it came to convincing their chief executive or chairman but some most definitely listened to the wrong advice.

Is Hargreaves fit?

Well, West Bromwich Albion made the midfielder two offers after having him examined by their medical staff and City were still keen on Tuesday night after sending him for an intense medical.

But it was not just the state of the body that impressed them; it was the state of the mind.

Internet hit: Owen Hargreaves took to YouTube to prove his fitness

Internet hit: Owen Hargreaves took to YouTube to prove his fitness

Hargreaves has always been a competitor but here is a player who will be more determined to succeed than any other member of the City dressing room.

A 30-year-old driven by a desire to make up for lost time, win another trophy and prove a few people wrong in the process.

Hargreaves is not the kind of guy to air his grievances in public. What, in his considered opinion, would be the point?

But if he does complete his move to the Etihad Stadium and then force his way into Mancini's side, he will take enormous satisfaction in showing Manchester United that he was worth another go; that, having spent three years fighting to get back on his feet, he deserved another chance.

As he told Sportsmail, he offered to play for  nothing this season and said to Sir Alex Ferguson he would play 40 games. Ferguson, however, responded by telling him it was time to bring through some younger players and those younger players, in fairness to United's manager, have started the season well.

Good times: Owen Hargreaves won the Premier League title with United in 2008

Good times: Owen Hargreaves won the Premier League title with United in 2008

But there might just come a point this season when United could use a player like Hargreaves in the same way they could have used him in those two Champions League finals with Barcelona.

United have missed the ability Hargreaves possesses as a holding midfielder; that ability to pass with precision and fluency but also to protect the back four. Hargreaves, at his best, is a destructive force.

It is why Ferguson paid Bayern Munich 17million for him and why Fabio Capello is said to be so excited by Tuesday's developments.

The England boss has maintained a level of contact with  Hargreaves during his absence and there has been encouragement from his staff to secure the best move.

Bad times: Hargreaves' Manchester United career was hampered by injury problems

Bad times: Hargreaves' Manchester United career was hampered by injury problems

It is a long-term ambition of Hargreaves' to return to international football. 

Euro 2012 is his major target and he is sure to be there if he can rediscover the form he produced prior to suffering that serious problem with his patella tendon.  

Now, however, there are more  immediate goals. City wanted a replacement for Patrick Vieira, a winner with maturity and Champions League experience as well as quality, and Hargreaves wants to prove he can be that man.

But he must also have one eye on the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on October 23.
That day, if by then he is in Mancini's team, he will certainly be a man on a mission.

How will he fit in at City...

Is signing an  injury-prone  30-year-old released by your biggest rivals the way forward for a club trying to win the Barclays Premier League?


Hargreaves featured in only 27 Premier League games after signing for Manchester United in 2007.

He averaged 61 minutes per Premier League match.

He missed 125 Premier League games in his four seasons there.

Hargreaves has earned 42 international caps since making his debut for England in 2001.

87 per cent of his passes at international level were successful, more than Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes.

This is a 'win-win' signing for City. The deal being discussed last night is so weighted in City's favour they will lose a relatively small amount if Hargreaves turns out to be incapable of playing regular football. If, on the other hand, he does play 20 or so games this season City feel they will get value for money.

Why didn't they just sign someone like Scott Parker from West Ham?

City manager Roberto Mancini has spent a fair amount of money already this season and his board are wary of falling foul of football's financial fair play guidelines that come into force next year. In short, Mancini has been told his spending for the summer is over. This deal is his way of getting another player for as little money as possible.

How will Hargreaves fit into Mancini's system?

Essentially he will be Nigel de Jong's understudy. Mancini likes to play with a traditional holding midfield player and while De Jong will remain his first choice for the big games, a fit Hargreaves will find himself playing in the FA Cup and some of the less glamorous domestic games.

Hargreaves was released by Manchester United because he was never fit. Has there been a miracle on that front?

Hargreaves still has it all to prove but he underwent a three-hour medical on Tuesday in Manchester and one source told us he was found to be 'in great nick'. If that is the case City may look back on the day they found themselves a bit of a bargain.

Fergie's resurrection of club Busby built - ESPN

When the BBC aired a film about the 1958 Munich air disaster earlier this year, it provoked a mixed response from fans and critics. The production of 'United', a new tribute to the great Manchester United side that was decimated by a plane crash more than half a century ago, was praised for keeping the legend of the Busby Babes alive for a wider audience. However, actor Dougray Scott's portrayal of Sir Matt Busby left the family of the team's iconic boss incensed. Among other issues, his son Sandy condemned the failure to depict the United boss in a tracksuit, saying: "The film-makers have put my dad in an overcoat and a trilby hat. He looks more like a gangster than a football manager."

• Documentary: Munich Air Diaster - I was there

But it is difficult to imagine Sandy Busby ever being incensed about anything. With a cheerful demeanour and an infectious enthusiasm about all things United, Sandy spends an hour discussing the legacies of his father and Sir Alex Ferguson, while also giving a vivid and emotional account of how February 6, 1958 and its aftermath unfolded for him.

Talking to Busby Jnr about Munich is a poignant experience. He describes how the city of Manchester was united in shock and grief as news emerged that the plane carrying a team of some of the world's most promising players, along with club staff and journalists, slid off an icy runway as United returned from a European Cup quarter-final victory over Red Star Belgrade.

"I was coming back from Blackburn Rovers, where I was on the books, late in the afternoon and on all the newsagents' placards was written 'Manchester United in plane crash'," Sandy tells ESPNsoccernet. "I ran into the nearest telephone cubicle, phoned home and my aunty who was staying with us at the time was screaming her head off for me to get home."

What followed was an anxious wait for news about who had perished and who had survived; Busby Jnr flew out to Munich to be with his gravely ill father, who was twice read the last rites in hispital before eventually pulling through. Sandy recalls how his dad had "tears streaming down his face" upon hearing of the players who had died - Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor and Billy Whelan. The name of 21-year-old Duncan Edwards - described by Busby Jnr as "the greatest" and a "giant of football" - was added to the list of 15 days after the crash.

On hearing the full extent of the tragedy, Sandy remembers his distraught father stating "well that's it, I'm finished with football," before being convinced to continue in memory of the Babes by his wife. It was a decision that would further shape Manchester United's future as Busby went on to build another great side which, led by George Best, Denis Law and Munich survivor Bobby Charlton, won the European Cup in 1968.

"When my father became manager in 1945, the club were in financial difficulties but his idea was to build a young side that would take the club straight to the top, which they had succeeded in doing until the disaster," Sandy explains. "The great Liverpool manager Bob Paisley said that team would have won everything for the next ten years.

"My dad never lost his faith in blooding young players but he realised he couldn't wait for them in the same way as he had done before. He had to go out and buy a few players to help rebuild the team. When they finally won the European Cup, I think a big weight was lifted off his shoulders. After the game was over, he and Bobby Charlton were hugging each other with tears in their eyes and I'm sure they were thinking about the boys who had died. They lost eight players and two others never played the game again. So what an achievement it was to build a new team and to win the European Cup."

The 4-1 victory over Benfica at Wembley proved the pinnacle of Busby's illustrious 24-year career with United and his move upstairs a year later left a void at Old Trafford that remained unfilled until another ambitious Scottish manager travelled down south from Aberdeen in 1986: Alex Ferguson.

"The managers that followed my dad didn't think quite command the same respect as him. He was still around the club and, though it was tough for him to take a back seat, he said that when he took over as manager he told the directors 'nobody interferes with my football teams' and he promised to do the same. It was hard for him, especially when the club weren't doing well, He got himself upset as he only wanted one thing: success for Manchester United Football Club.

"Then of course along came the great one, Alex Ferguson. I'm not just saying it now because he's had success, but my father turned round and said 'I think we've got the right one' when he first came. The first two years didn't go too well but he was building even then. My father was the foundation of Manchester United, Sir Alex was the resurrection."

Things did not immediately go to plan for Ferguson and after three trophyless years in the job, he was thought to be an FA Cup third-round defeat to Nottingham Forest away from being fired. United won the game and the Cup that year to begin two decades of near-ceaseless silverware. Busby Jnr, though, is not convinced the board would have pulled the trigger had Ferguson's side lost to Forest.

"I don't think the board had any intention of giving him the sack. He went in there and shook the carpet, the club was a bit stagnant and there was nothing coming through until he arrived. People think that Alex came out of the blue but he had had so much success up in Scotland, he took Rangers and Celtic on and won, and even beat the great Real Madrid in the Cup Winners' Cup final. His CV was impressive when he came down. Gradually he bought certain players in and the league title came."

While the bosses before him struggled with the shadow of Busby looming over them, Ferguson thrived on it. Sir Matt's office was a place that the young United manager frequented when he needed advice and it's possible that it is also where Ferguson's antipathetic attitude towards the press was moulded.

"They got on very well," Busby Jnr says. "Alex now and then went to visit my dad in his little office and he'd knock on the door and they'd speak. During Alex's bad spell, he told my dad that the back pages were giving him some stick. My dad always had a clever simple reply and his reply was 'Alex, why do you read the back pages? Don't read them, just get on with your job. After my dad died, he said he missed the smell of my dad's pipe when he walked along the corridor."

The similarities between Ferguson and Sir Matt Busby went beyond the pair's Glasgow roots, with Sandy recognising that shared traits, including an insatiable will to win and an emphasis on family, played a big role in their respective triumphs. The biggest point of comparison, of course, being their vision for Manchester United to blood the country's best youngsters, giving them an opportunity to shine and reaping the rewards of their superior abilities.

"I used to run the United souvenir shop and when Alex first walked in with [assistant] Archie Knox, they came in and shook hands with us and wished us all the best and I think he bought every book in the shop, he immersed himself in all things Manchester United. From the laundry women up to the chairman, he knows everybody and it's a happy family atmosphere. My dad used to do that, too. They are similar in their knowledge of players and in the way they treat them. And also the way they treat people. They give people respect and they get respect.

"The group of players that Sir Alex brought through obviously brought comparisons with the Babes and I think they were very similar. That was another thing Alex did, building up the training ground at Carrington. I remember him saying that he wanted to build the most modern, state-of-the-art training ground there is, for both the first team and developing young players. The new complex is unbelievable. And they're expanding again now.

"It was the same with my Dad - the first thing I can remember my dad doing when he took over at United was transforming the Cliff training ground. It was a broken down place and the first thing he did was to get some floodlights put in so on Tuesdays and Thursdays the young players could come and train and the coaches could get together. He put that in place; Sir Alex put Carrington in place.

"I'd guess that maybe the differences come in the dressing room. My father had a very easy way of telling a player that he wasn't doing too well or he'd made a mistake. I think Sir Alex is a bit different and gets quite highly charged in the dressing room. But they are very similar - family always came first for my dad and it does for Sir Alex too. At Manchester United he's resurrected that feeling."

The barren 26-year spell between Busby's last league title and Ferguson's first exemplifies how difficult it can be for a club to replace a manager who permeates every pore of a club. It is a situation that directors, players and fans are nervously bracing themselves to face again when Ferguson finally decides to end his record-breaking association with United. With the Red Devils' return to prominence coinciding with the prosperous Premier League era it may seem unlikely that they can ever now be knocked off their pedestal and it is certainly difficult to conceive that they could meet the same fate as the 1974 side, who were relegated six years after the club claimed European glory. But for Busby Jnr, Ferguson's potential retirement should certainly be met with caution.

"I think he should stay for as long as is possible. Someone was recently asking me, 'who do you think they'll get next?' I said that if I were a director at Manchester United I'd put a gun to his head and say you've got to sign a new contract for the next ten years. He'll keep going for a while yet. He's a fit man, he looks after himself.

"I'd fear for them when he leaves. Where are they going to find another Matt Busby or Alex Ferguson? It will be very, very hard for a new manager to come in. If a scout went after a young player and said 'Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson are interested', the young player wouldn't need to think twice. Those two names are synonymous with success and it was like that with my dad.

"During my dad's time, his achievements were second to none. His idea and dream was starting to fill the team in with young boys. He hit the jackpot with the Babes but then came the disaster, and he had to go again. Now, of course, you've got Sir Alex, winning the 19th league title was remarkable and I know my dad will be over the moon up there. I think Alex would love to beat Paisley's record of three European Cups. I remember the first one he won, coming back on the plane from Barcelona. He was coming down the aisle and he said, 'Sandy, I still can't believe it'. He was like an excitable little lad. It means everything to him."

Follow me on Twitter - @marklomasESPN

Sandy Busby features in the documentary 'MUNICH AIR DISASTER: I WAS THERE', on Monday, August 29 at 2100 (BST) on National Geographic Channel.