viernes, 30 de septiembre de 2011

UK pensioner faked his own death in Honduras - Reuters UK

LONDON | Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:53pm BST

LONDON (Reuters) - A British pensioner was jailed for six years on Friday after pleading guilty to faking his own death in Central America to try to pocket a 520,000-pound life insurance payout.

Anthony McErlean, 66, had impersonated his wife to claim he had died after being hit by a truck in Honduras in 2009, the Press Association reported.

A fake witness statement was produced to back up his bogus tale, claiming the crash happened as he was changing a tyre.

The made-up witness said he was travelling with McErlean to take wildlife pictures, and that following the crash, farm workers took his body away to a small village called Santa Rosa De Aguan.

But police were alerted by the Insurance Fraud Bureau, which had been contacted by suspicious officials at Ace European insurance company, who did not pay out a penny to McErlean.

Detectives arrested McErlean and found him with a credit card in the name of Green. It emerged he had not only faked his own death but had been claiming pensions relating to his late father-in-law from a previous marriage, who died in March 2007.

McErlean, from Kent, pleaded guilty to a charge of fraudulently making a claim to Ace European insurance firm when he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court on June 13.

He also admitted two counts of theft from a pension fund from the Port of London Authority totalling some 27,000 pounds, and 40,658 pounds from the Department of Work and Pensions.

(Stephen Addison)

Flying Magic Carpets To Become Reality? (VIDEO) - Huffington Post

The "magic" in this plastic flying carpet is pure technology, nothing wizardly or genie-liscious about it. Shove off Aladdin, move over Solomon, technology is catching up with fantasy, the BBC reports.

The prototype flying carpet is described in the journal Applied Physics Letters: "We use integrated piezoelectric actuators and sensors to demonstrate the propulsive force produced by controllable transverse traveling waves in a thin plastic sheet suspended in air above a flat surface, thus confirming the physical basis for a 'flying' carpet near a horizontal surface. Experiments are conducted to determine the dependence of the force on the height above the ground and the amplitude of the traveling wave, which qualitatively confirm previous theoretical predictions."

In plain English, "We've created a flying carpet! Don't stand on it yet please, you'll break it. Give it a few years -- or decades."

So don't get too excited about the prospect of zipping around on your own private magic flying carpet or Back To The Future II style hoverboard quite yet. The prototype is flimsy, connected to large batteries and moves just centimeters per second.

The device's creator, Princeton graduate student Noah Jafferis tells the BBC he is "working on a solar-powered upgrade that could freely fly over large distances." Because there are no moving components in the flying carpet, Jafferis believes this technology has an edge over competing technologies like hovercraft, prop planes and jets.

Though existing materials do not yet allow feasible use by human riders, Mars exploration rovers using this technology could be a possibility.

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Thurlbeck to fight sacking claim - The Press Association

The News of the World's former chief reporter has broken his silence over the phone-hacking scandal to insist he played "no part" in the matter that led to his sacking.

Neville Thurlbeck, 49, was fired by News International earlier this month after being arrested in April on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voicemails while working at the now-defunct Sunday tabloid.

He issued a strongly-worded statement in which he vowed to fight his unfair dismissal claim against his former employers "to the end".

Mr Thurlbeck's alleged role in the scandal has been closely scrutinised since details emerged of a June 2005 email headed "for Neville" which contained transcripts of illegally intercepted voicemail messages.

The email, which surfaced in April 2008, appeared to contradict News International's previous stance that phone hacking was confined to a single "rogue reporter".

Speaking out for the first time since his name was linked to the scandal through the "for Neville" email, Mr Thurlbeck said: "At the length, truth will out. I await that time with patience, but with a determination to fight my case to the end."

The Sunderland-born journalist alleged that his former employers withheld the reason for his dismissal for nearly a month. He said he found out why he was sacked from Scotland Yard but did not reveal any details for legal reasons.

In a statement issued by his law firm DWF, he went on: "I took no part in the matter which has led to my dismissal after 21 years of service. I say this most emphatically and with certainty and confidence that the allegation which led to my dismissal will eventually be shown to be false.

"And those responsible for the action, for which I have been unfairly dismissed, will eventually be revealed."

Mr Thurlbeck has lodged employment tribunal papers against his former employers. A hearing in his case planned to take place at the East London Tribunal Service was cancelled on Friday.

Ig Nobel Prizes to Honor Year's Funniest Scientific Research - Fox News

Update: Read about all the winners of the 2011 awards here.

Every year in Norway, Nobel Prizes are awarded to scientists who have made outstanding contributions to human knowledge. Also taking place every year, but at a far less formal ceremony in Cambridge, Mass., "Ig Nobel" Prizes are given to scientists who have made outstanding, but also hilarious, contributions to the field.

The 2011 awards will be handed out Thursday night -- and if they're anything like last year's honorees, this year's are bound to be a hoot. 

For instance, Richard Stephens, a psychologist at England's Keele University, won the 2010 Ig Nobel "Peace Prize" for proving that swearing relieves pain. Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse of the Zoological Society of London won the engineering prize for securing petri dishes to the front of a helicopter to collect samples of whale snot in order to study disease in the mammals.

In past years, the ceremony awarded research on why woodpeckers don't get headaches, how best to deal with the word "the" in indexes, the discovery of dead gay duck sex, and even the development of a chemical process for turning tequila into diamonds.

All these research projects were scientifically rigorous and significant enough to have been published in peer-reviewed academic journals — a requirement for consideration by the Ig Nobel Prize selection committee.

"The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology," states a press release from Improbable Research, an organization that publishes a magazine called Annals of Improbable Research and administers the prizes.

Nominees from around the world will attend the 21st annual ceremony, as will hundreds of intrigued spectators. Check back with Life's Little Mysteries for continuing coverage of the event, and the strange science it highlights.

  *   2010 Ig Nobel Prizes: Fruit Bat Fellatio and Other Crazy Science
  *   The 6 Craziest Animal Experiments
  *   The Surprisingly Strange Physics of Water 

Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Kindle Fire: 95000 Orders On Day One - InformationWeek

It's not exactly iPad territory, but Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet is off to a solid start in terms of sales, according to one analyst firm.

eDataSource, which tracks consumer purchases, estimates that Amazon received about 95,000 pre-orders for Kindle in the first 24 hours after the product was unveiled Wednesday. That's a good bit lower than the 300,000 iPads that Apple sold in that gadget's first day on the market, but still respectable--particularly given that the Kindle Fire won't actually ship until Nov. 15.

The research firm builds its estimates by tracking email traffic, social media messages, and other electronic communications. The market watcher estimates that sales of the three other new Kindles that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced this week--the $79, non-touch Kindle Wi-Fi, the $99 Kindle Touch, and the $149 Kindle Touch 3G--totaled about 25,000.

[ Take a visual tour of the Kindle fire. ]

"Despite the higher price point, the Kindle Fire outstripped sales of the other three new Kindle units combined," said eDataSource. Amazon officials did not return a call seeking comment on Kindle Fire sales. Bezos said he expects that sales of the new Kindles, including Fire, will be in the "millions."

Kindle Fire's impact on the tablet market won't be limited to Apple, as other players will also feel the heat generated by Amazon's decision to price the device at just $199. Best Buy this week revealed significant price cuts on RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook. The $699 64-GB model is now $499, the $599 32-GB model is now $399, and the 16-GB model, originally priced at $499, is now $299.

Kindle Fire is also cheaper than Barnes & Noble's $250 Nook Color, a fact that could lead the brick-and-mortar book seller to lower its price, according to some analysts.

Kindle Fire boasts some impressive specs for a device that comes in at under $200. The LCD screen displays 16 million colors in high-resolution, at 169 pixels per inch.

In-plane switching technology provides wide viewing angles. A dual-core processor, reportedly from Texas Instruments, provides quick responsiveness. The device weighs 14.6 ounces, making it possible for most people to hold in one hand.

Kindle Fire also provides out-of-the-box integration with Amazon subscription services for movies, TV shows, games and music. And it boasts a new browser called Silk that splits rendering tasks between the tablet and Amazon's big iron EC2 servers in the cloud. Amazon said the approach makes browsing faster than traditional approaches.

Noticeably absent, at least until the next version, is a microphone and camera. Kindle Fire is also currently available only with Wi-Fi connectivity. Amazon has not said whether it plans to release a follow-up model with 3G or 4G cellular reception.

Managing the password proliferation from mobility, partner access, and online apps requires a cohesive strategy. But our research on the state of ID management shows troubling trends. That and more in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek. Download it now. (Free with registration.)

Woman 'shot holding her baby son' - BBC News

A teenager holding her 11-month-old son was injured when she came under fire from a shotgun as she chatted to two friends in west London.

Jessica Chrichlow, 18, was taken to hospital with the two others, aged 17 and 19, after the attack in John Fearon Walk, near Queen's Park, on Thursday.

Det Ch Insp Mick Foote said the baby was unhurt but the teenagers were struck by shotgun pellets.

The gunman joined three other men and all four fled on bicycles, he said.

"Start Quote

It was a random, reckless act and we are fortunate we are not dealing with a fatal shooting here"

End Quote Det Ch Insp Mick Foote Metropolitan Police

No arrests have been made over the shooting.

London Ambulance Service said the 18-year-old woman, who was hit in the chin and neck, was taken to hospital as a priority while the two others made their own way there.

The injuries to the three victims are not life-threatening, police said. The 17-year-old has been discharged from hospital but the other two victims remain in the central London hospital.

Mr Foote said the victims were in a back garden talking to a group of boys when the gunman opened fire.

He said: "It appears a man on his own has gone towards the crowd and let off one single shot from a shotgun.

"He ran away from the scene and he joined three other guys who were on pedal cycles, one of them holding a holdall."

He added: "It was a random, reckless act and we are fortunate we are not dealing with a fatal shooting here."

Mr Foote said officers were working on the basis the shooting was gang-related.

"I do not believe the girls were the intended targets. What's particularly devastating is the young girl was carrying a young child," he said.

"This was totally unprovoked."

The suspects were dressed in dark clothing and had their hoodies tightly wrapped around their faces.

'Sweet girls'

Officers are appealing for witnesses who may have seen the suspects and particularly want to speak to the group of boys who were speaking to the victims at the time of the shooting.

Det Chief Insp Mick Foote: "A young girl was holding her own child"

The boys ran away just as the gunman approached and was about to open fire, police said.

Nearby resident Jenny Kantinda, 30, who said she knew the victims, said: "They were just sweet girls.

"We have had enough. The gang trouble has got worse, it's time police did something to help us.

"There are young children living here - are they safe? I don't think so."

Apple Needs iPhone 5 To Fend Off Surging Android - Forbes

Models display the latest smart phone by Taiwa...

'Droid phones come on strong

According to a recent survey by Nielsen, 43% of all U.S. smartphone owners have a Google Android phone while 28% of them own an Apple iPhone. [1]

This gap is certainly large enough for Apple to start worrying about. The most interesting aspect is that this gap has increased over the last 3 months with 56% of smartphone users picking Android phone over just 28% for Apple. The big loser in this game is Research in Motion with only 9% ownership in the last 3 months, but Apple is certainly taking notice of the market share that Android is munching.

With Apple's iPhone 5 launch expected early next month, this could provide a nice boost for Apple's iPhone sales that account for more than 50% of our $510 price estimate for Apple stock. Our price estimate is about 25% above market price.

Historically sales have jumped on new iPhone launch

Apple introduced iPhone 4 in June 2010 when it sold 1.7 million iPhones within the first three days of its launch. In the entire June 2010 quarter, it sold around 8.4 million iPhones. [2] This goes to show that the pent-up demand for the new iPhone is usually huge.

If we consider that Apple would be able to find the same amount of success with iPhone 5 launch, Apple should be able to take market share away from Android come October. We believe that the new iPhone could have faster processor, improved camera, improved graphics performance, faster network technology and potentially thinner and lighter design that could appeal to new iPhone users and drive existing ones to upgrade.

We also expect additional feature announcements related to the upcoming iOS 5 update and Apple's iCloud service. These features will be the key if Apple wants to increase its presence in the mobile phone market.

There has also speculation that Apple could unveil two different versions of iPhone. Some reports suggests a revamped iPhone 4 will be a low cost phone specifically targeted for emerging markets, which could certainly lift its market share. See our recent note: Speculation About New iPhone(s) Lifting Apple's Stock.

See our complete analysis for Apple stock here


  1. In U.S. Market, New Smartphone Buyers Increasingly Embracing Android, NielsenWire, September 26th, 2011 [?]
  2. Apple FY Q3 2010 earnings conference call transcript, SeekingAlpha, July 20th, 2010 [?]

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Jobs Tried to Settle Samsung Patent Dispute in 2010 - PCWorld

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs made contact with Samsung in July 2010 in an attempt to settle the patent dispute that has seen the two companies engage in a legal battle on four different continents, a court has heard.

Richard Lutton, a senior director at Apple and the company's patent attorney, told a Federal Court in Sydney that Jobs initiated contact but wasn't involved in the talks the two companies had about the Samsung Galaxy smartphone, Bloomberg reports.

"Samsung is an important supplier with whom we have a deep relationship. We wanted to give them a chance to do the right thing," Lutton told the court when under questioning by Samsung's lawyers.

The hearing concerns the fate of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and whether it should be allowed to go on sale in the country. Samsung has already postponed the Australian launch of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and launched a countersuit against Apple, saying that the iPad and iPhone infringe wireless patents owned by Samsung.

A ruling in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 case is expected next week. Earlier this week, Apple told the court that Samsung must have known that it was infringing its patents. "It must have been as plain as the Opera House to Samsung that the Apple patents were right in front of its eyes and they were wide open," one of Apple's lawyers told the court.

Samsung is expected to launch legal challenges against the next-generation iPhone as soon as it is launched, claiming that "for as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents".

Other legal disputes between Apple and Samsung are taking place in courtrooms all around the world including the Netherlands, the UK and Japan. In all, there are reckoned to be more than 20 cases between the two companies taking place.

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Tevez talk of the town but not at City - Reuters UK

MANCHESTER, England | Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:24pm BST

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini ignored the elephant in the room on Friday as he avoided questions on suspended Carlos Tevez and denied this had been a difficult week.

While Alex Ferguson praised his rival for his "strength of character" in dealing with Tevez, who Mancini has said refused to come on in Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich, the subject was off limits at a City news conference.

The club took the unusual step of reading out a statement beforehand to say that any questions relating directly or indirectly to Tevez would spell the end of proceedings.

"This decision has been made to protect the interests of all parties and safeguard the integrity of the investigation that is currently taking place," the statement read by chief communications officer Vicky Kloss said.

Mancini, who entered the room joking "Champions League final?" as he clocked the larger than usual press contingent, was happy to discuss the wonderful weather, his bike ride to work and Saturday's Premier League trip to Blackburn Rovers.

The Italian's only real reference to a week where he has vowed that Tevez is "finished" at the club while he is in charge, was to deny that this had been the hardest week of his managerial career.

"No, no, absolutely no. Why is it difficult? Some situations can happen in football, in your job," he said. "It's important that the past is finished.

"I don't have any complications. The only complication that we had two days ago is that we lost against Bayern Munich, only this. We started very well, we can do a fantastic season, I don't have this problem.

"It is normal that one player is not happy to leave the pitch in an important game or to stay on the bench, it's a normal situation for every manager."

Striker Edin Dzeko's behaviour in the midweek game also angered Mancini as the Bosnian threw off his shirt after being taken off. He has apologised for his actions and Mancini sought to draw a line under that and the rest of the week's events.


"It is finished," the Italian said. "I am the manager, our focus is regarding the Premier League, the Champions League and the FA Cup. Other things -- it is not my problem."

City have banned Tevez, who has denied refusing to play, for up to two weeks pending an investigation into his conduct which has triggered widespread condemnation.

While there was silence at City, there were plenty of Premier League managers making their views on Tevez known.

"The sooner he leaves the country the better," said Queens Park Rangers boss Neil Warnock, who was manager of Sheffield United when they sued Tevez's ex-club West Ham United for the cost of relegation as the London side had broken rules on third-party agreements when signing the Argentine.

Manchester United boss Ferguson complimented Mancini on his handling of the matter.

"I think that Roberto Mancini has come out and shown his strength of character, his strength of management and I think that is important," Tevez's ex-manager told a news conference.

"Strong management is important and there is nobody more important than the manager at a football club."

Not everyone has criticised Tevez with former United team mate Paul Scholes pointing out that he too had once refused to play in a League Cup tie in 2001.

"You think you should be playing and my head was all over the place," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "I realise it was stupid. I let the manager down and it was something I regretted. It's probably similar to Carlos Tevez's state of mind if it is true he refused to come on."

Ferguson said Scholes was remembering the incident differently and that his "wasn't exactly a refusal to play."

City are unbeaten in the Premier League this season, having dropped just two points in six games, and are behind neighbours United on goal difference

(Editing by Mark Meadows)

Shocking Photos Show Shark Victim's Rescue - Sky News

12:16pm UK, Friday September 30, 2011

Pictures of the moment a British man was pulled to safety after being savaged by a great white shark have been published.

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The photographs captured the rescue of 42-year-old accountant Michael Cohen, whose legs were savaged by the 9ft predator off the South African coast.

Officials said he was dragged to shore by two "good Samaritans" who stopped off at Fish Hoek beach, near Cape Town.

Meanwhile, it has emerged a seal also played a crucial role in preventing Mr Cohen suffering further injury.

It appeared to circle Mr Cohen and the rescuers as he was dragged back to shore - stopping the shark from striking again.

Michael Cohen being brought to shore

The Briton was rescued by two 'good Samaritans' (Pic: Noble Draper)

The animal's part was revealed in the rescuers' account of the attack, posted by South Africa's National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).

Hugh Till, 66, and Douglas Drysdale, 61, both volunteer preachers at a nearby prison, stopped at the beach on their way home.

They often look for whales from the shore at the same spot, but on Wednesday saw Mr Cohen swimming around 25 metres out to sea.

The men then noticed a dark shape heading directly for him - and, as it grew closer, realised it was a shark.

Michael Cohen being brought to shore

The men had seen the shark circling as Mr Cohen swam (Pic: Noble Draper).

They quickly parked their car and raced onto the beach but, by the time they arrived, the accountant had already been bitten.

The NSRI said: "Without hesitation, the two good Samaritans kicked off their shoes and plunged into the water and waded through the surf to reach the injured swimmer."

As they pulled Mr Cohen to shore, bystanders were screaming that the shark was returning and was just 10 metres away.

Then a "seal appeared and swam between the men and the shark and then kept circling the men, appearing to be fending off the shark".

Michael Cohen being brought to shore

One of his legs was lost and another badly damaged (Pic: Noble Draper).

It has been confirmed a seal was close by during the episode and eye-witnesses have also said it circled the group.

Mr Cohen was still fully conscious when he was returned to the beach and as tourniquets were tied to his ravaged limbs.

Paramedics gave him oxygen and his head was placed downhill in an effort to bring up his blood pressure.

Doctors have hailed the quick-thinking which saw two belts and the leg ripped from a wetsuit used as tourniquets to stem the flow of blood.

Michael Cohen being brought to shore

A seal is also said to have helped save the swimmer (Pic: Noble Draper)

Mr Cohen lost his right leg and part of his left foot in the attack and is being treated in the private Constantiaberg Medi-Clinic hospital.

More than seven litres of blood had to be used to stabilise him before he underwent surgery and he is still in a serious condition.

It has emerged power problems in Cape Town may have prevented a shark spotter from sounding an alarm before the attack.

Power company Eskom said the supply was off from just before 11am to just after 1pm because of a trip on the line.

British accountant Michael Cohen, 42, is reportedly fighting for his life in hospital after being attacked by a shark at a beach in Cape Town .

Mr Cohen was given seven litres of blood before surgery

However, NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon has said spotters repeatedly warned Mr Cohen not to go into the water after three sharks were seen.

Mr Lambinon also revealed it was not the first time the accountant had ignored shark warnings and gone swimming.

"They have spoken to him on previous occasions as well, but he still goes and swims," the spokesman said.

Mr Cohen, who is thought to live around 10 miles from the beach, lists open water swimming as one of his favourite sports on Facebook.

About seven people are attacked by sharks along South Africa's coastline each year, with an average of 10% resulting in death.

Zimbabwean visitor Lloyd Skinner, 47, was mauled to death as he swam off Fish Hoek beach in January.

Speed limit rise would increase deaths and pollution, admits government - The Guardian

The government has admitted that its proposal to increase the speed limit on motorways to 80mph would lead to more pollution and increase the risk of road deaths. Transport officials also told the Guardian that there would be no widespread roll out of 20mph limits in towns – a measure that is reportedly a concession to the Conservative's Lib Dem coalition partners.

Transport secretary Philip Hammond said the existing 70mph limit was "out of date", and that Britain needed to be "back in the fast lane of global economies". But the Department of Transport said that no impact assessment has been made of the proposed speed increase, only an "initial analysis".

That analysis indicated a 1% increase in all road deaths, meaning 19 more fatalities based on the 1,850 people killed in 2010, or 25 more fatalities based on the average of the past five years. The department could not provide an estimate of the increase expected in the 209,000 road injuries seen in 2010.

"Cars are much safer than in 1965, when the 70mph limit was introduced," said a DfT spokeswoman. "Traffic accident casualties have fallen by 75% since then. Setting the right limit means balancing all the effects. We are asking if the balance is still correct."

However, Ben Stewart of Greenpeace sais: "The more we learn about the new speeding rules, the worse it looks. This was meant to be the decade we finally made the big push to get off oil, instead we have a government driving hell for leather in the wrong direction."

The DfT's initial analysis of the pollution increase resulting from an 80mph limit is 670,000 tonnes CO2/year, described as "modest" by officials, as it represents 1% of the total emissions from cars, small vans and motorbikes on all UK roads.

But the figure is challenged by analysis from the government's official climate change advisers. The analysis published by the Climate Change Committee in a report to parliament in June 2011 showed the proposed increase could add emissions of up to 2.2m tonnes CO2/year, more than three times higher.

A CCC spokeswoman said: "Based on this analysis, and the need for deep emissions cuts over the next decade to meet legally binding carbon budgets, the CCC recommended that the aim should be to enforce the existing limit, rather than increase it."

Jillian Anable, a transport expert at the University of Aberdeen, said disagreement over important figures used by the DfT's models could explain differences. The DfT used data on the efficiency of cars at high speeds taken from "a very, very small study that has not been peer reviewed or verified", she said. Anable's own modelling indicated the rise to 80mph would cause a rise in emissions of 910,000 tonnes, 35% bigger than the DfT estimate. Sian Berry, from the Campaign for Better Transport, agreed the DfT underestimated the impact: "In practice, real fuel consumption will increase much faster than the DfT traffic models predict, so carbon emissions will be higher."

Anable said the rise in emissions should not be considered modest. "The transport sector does not have many big levers to pull in cutting emissions," she said. "Compared to other options, speed limit changes are very significant. We have finally seen a fall in transport emissions in recent years; a speed increase could directly counter that."

"When we do the consultation, we will publish an impact assessment," said the DfT spokeswoman, adding: "We have no plans to change the current arrangements regarding 20mph zones. Local authorities have the power to do that and it's right that they should do so."

Stewart said: "The DfT's number-crunchers appear to have misplaced 1.5m tonnes of CO2, while the increase in 20mph urban zones looks less a serious initiative than a public relations fig leaf for the Lib Dems."

Previous research has shown that a medium-sized petrol car increases its emissions by 15% when going from 70mph to 80mph, while diesel cars with engines of more than two litres increase their emissions by 25%.

Other work on the link between speed increases and deaths on those roads showed a 38% increase in death for a 10mph increase on US roads and that German autobahns, which have no speed limit, have a death rate 75% higher than that in the UK.

Other concerns raised include a fear that increasing the speed limit will actually slow journeys, and fail to deliver the £100m a year economic benefit Hammond has cited. "Numerous studies have shown that, at higher speeds, traffic flow becomes more unstable," said Berry. "Recent experience with the Highways Agency's managed motorway programme also backs this up – when traffic congestion builds up, cutting the speed limit to 50 or 60mph means everyone drives more steadily, and this helps to prevent jams and save time for everyone."

Support for the idea has been muted, though a poll for the Institute of Advanced Motoring in May suggested 70% of drivers would back the increase. But Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, was in two minds: "There are good reasons for making 80 the new 70, and good reasons not to. Drivers travelling that 10mph quicker might reach their destination sooner but will use about 20% more fuel and emit 20% more CO2."

The UK's highest profile petrolhead, Jeremy Clarkson, backed the speed increase on Friday: "An 80mph limit is good for the economy, polar bears and your soul," he wrote in the Sun. "It is also good for parents who will get home quicker to stop their children becoming glue sniffers. The limit should be 180mph." His support is a reversal of previous statements, as he wrote in 2002: "It is not fine to have an 80 limit in Britain because then, the police will turn a blind eye to those doing 95. And 95 on British motorways is too fast."

Wife of UK lawmaker convicted of kitten theft - Forbes

LONDON -- The estranged wife of a British lawmaker was convicted on Friday of stealing a kitten from the house of her husband's lover.

A jury deliberated for five hours before convicting Christine Hemming, 53, of burglary.

She had denied the charge, but was caught on a surveillance camera crawling on her hands and knees under a window and entering the house of her husband's mistress, Emily Cox, a year ago. She was later filmed leaving the house with 4-month-old tabby kitten Beauty under her arm.

Hemming told the jury at Birmingham Crown Court in central England that she had gone to Cox's house to deliver mail to her husband but could not remember what happened next.

"It was just a blur. ... I left holding a kitten - there is no doubt about that - but I have no recollection of picking the kitten up," she said.

Hemming said she later tried to return the cat, leaving it in the yard of a house in Cox's neighborhood. It has not been seen since.

Hemming is separated from her husband, Liberal Democrat lawmaker John Hemming.

She will be sentenced next month.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

William and Kate open children's cancer ward - CBS News


Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, right, and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, center, are welcomed by the Queen's representative Deputy Lieutenant Air Vice-Marshall Clive Evans as they arrive at the Royal Mardsen hospital in Sutton, south London, Sept. 29, 2011. The Duke and Duchess are at the hospital to open the new specialist children's cancer treatment ward, the Oak Centre for children and young people.

Pictures: Prince William and Kate
Pictures: Kate's royal looks

Credit: AP Photo/Sang Tan

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Johansson on hacked nude photos: "It feels wrong" - CBS News

Scarlett Johansson attends the Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2012 fashion show on Sept. 25, 2011, in Milan, Italy.

(Credit: Getty)

(CBS) Scarlett Johansson says she felt wronged by the alleged phone hacking that led to nude photos of her surfacing online earlier this month.

The 26-year-old told CNN's David McKenzie that being an actress doesn't give people the right to invade her privacy.

Pictures: Scarlett Johansson

When asked why it was important for her to protect her privacy, she responded: "Just because you're in the spotlight, or just because you're an actor or make films or whatever doesn't mean you're not entitled to your own personal privacy. If that is sieged in some way, it feels unjust. It feels wrong."

She added that the unwanted attention that comes along with being a celebrity is "an adjustment."

"It's an adjustment, but there are certain instances where you give a lot of yourself and then finally you just have to kind of put your foot down and say, 'No, wait, I'm taking it back,'" she said.

The photos of Johansson appeared online on Sept. 14. The FBI is reportedly investigating the incident, along with the hacking of private photos from other celebrities' cell phones and email accounts.

Watch Johansson's response below:

EU legal threat over UK benefits - BBC News

The European Commission has threatened legal action against the UK, saying a test of eligibility for benefits discriminates against foreigners.

The "right to reside" qualification for benefits is automatic for UK nationals but assessed for other EU nationals.

The commission said this breached EU law and gave the UK two months to say how it would bring its rules into line.

The government said Britons "should be gravely concerned" at EU erosion of states' rights to run their affairs.

Ministers fear taxpayers could be forced into handing out more than £2bn to EU nationals, including so-called "benefits tourists".

A range of UK benefits - child benefit, child tax credit, state pension credit, jobseekers' allowance and unemployment support allowance - are given only to those with a "right to reside".

'Rising tide'

But the European Commission says the assessment of that for overseas nationals is a breach of EU social security co-ordination rules giving all citizens equal rights.

"The Commission may decide to refer the UK to the EU's Court of Justice," it said in a statement.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph on Friday, UK Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: "These new proposals pose a fundamental challenge to the UK's social contract.

"They could mean the British taxpayer paying out over £2bn extra a year in benefits to people who have no connection to our country and who have never paid in a penny in tax."

He added: "The EU settlement is supposed to protect the right of member states to make their own social security arrangements.

"But we are now seeing a rising tide of judgements from the European institutions using other legal avenues to erode away these rights, and we should be gravely concerned."

Teenage girls gunned down in street - The Press Association

Two teenage girls remained in hospital and a third was discharged after all three were gunned down in the street.

Scotland Yard said two of the victims, aged 19 and 18, were in a stable condition, while a 17-year-old girl was discharged from hospital.

Detectives hunting for a gunman were understood to be investigating if Thursday's attack was a botched drive-by hit. It was initially believed that only one shot was fired.

Scotland Yard said the teenagers were taken to hospital after the incident outside a property in John Fearon Walk, North Kensington, west London. One was initially critical, but her condition improved. An investigation is being led by Trident detectives, who deal with gang crime in the black community. No arrests have yet been made, police said.

A police spokesman said officers were alerted by the ambulance service at 7.17pm by members of the public. The victims - who had been out on the street after scorching temperatures throughout the day - received treatment at a central London hospital.

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the 18-year old was treated for gunshot wounds at the scene.

"She was taken to hospital as a priority, escorted by the air ambulance doctor," she said. "Two further patients reported to be female teenagers with gunshot wounds made their own way to hospital."

As a hunt for the teenagers' attackers was launched, police urged witnesses to come forward.

Karen Buck, MP for Westminster North, expressed her concern as she visited the troubled Mozart Estate where the attack took place.

The Labour politician, who has previously called for crackdowns on knife and gun crime, tweeted: "On Mozart Estate after reports of 3 girls being shot. Desperately worried about local gang and youth violence. We have to get a grip."

Leek soil linked to E. coli cases - BBC News

Soil stuck on leeks and potatoes may have been the source of an E. coli outbreak in the UK earlier this year, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

There were 250 cases scattered across England, Wales and Scotland between December 2010 and July 2011.

The Food Standards Agency said it was a "myth" that dirt did no harm.

The HPA stressed that the vegetables were safe to eat, but reminded people to ensure their food was washed.

Most of the cases were mild, but 74 people needed to go to hospital and one patient, who had underlying health problems, died.

The disease was caused by a rare strain of E. coli called O157 PT8 which is different to the strain that caused the widespread outbreak in Germany.

'Timely reminder'

Infected people were 40 times more likely to have been in a household where loose leeks were handled and 12 times more likely to have been in a household which bought sacked potatoes than people who stayed infection-free.

Dr Bob Adak, head of the HPA's outbreak control team, said: "The vegetables could have carried traces of contaminated soil.

"It is possible people caught the infection from cross-contamination in storage, inadequate washing of loose vegetables, insufficient hand washing after handling the vegetables or by failing to thoroughly clean kitchen equipment, utensils or surfaces after preparing the vegetables."

Dr Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at the Food Standards Agency, said: "It's sadly a myth that a little bit of dirt doesn't do you any harm.

"Soil can sometimes carry harmful bacteria and, although food producers have good systems in place to clean vegetables, the risk can never be entirely eliminated.

"This outbreak is a timely reminder that it is essential to wash all fruits and vegetables, including salad, before you eat them."

Seal 'helped rescue' swimmer mauled by shark - Ninemsn

A seal tried to ward off a great white shark from striking twice as a swimmer mauled off a tourist beach in South Africa was dragged ashore, the man's rescuers say.

Watch more: Shark bites legs off swimmer

British resident Michael Cohen was attacked within seconds of plunging into the water at Fish Hoek near Cape Town yesterday.

The 42-year-old had ignored warning signs — including a shark flag — saying the beach was closed.

Mr Cohen lost his right leg above the knee and his left foot in the vicious attack. He was pulled to shore by two bystanders.

Witnesses said a seal circled the men as the shark appeared to prepare for a second strike, the Daily Mail reports.

Hugh Till, one of the two men who ran to Mr Cohen's aid, was quoted saying: "It occurred to us afterwards how unusual it was for a seal to stick around in an area where a shark is, or where there is blood.

"It really did feel to us as though he was offering support to us, and was prepared to act as a diversion if the shark went after us as well."

His rescuers used a belt and wetsuit shorts to tie an improvised tourniquet around the stricken swimmer's legs to stop the bleeding.

Mr Cohen, an accountant who moved to South Africa with his family several years ago, reportedly was a regular swimmer at Fish Hoek and often ignored warnings to stay out of the water.

But South Africa's Daily News website, citing an official incident report, also said that the beach's shark spotter was unable to sound an alarm, after watching Mr Cohen enter the water, due to city-wide power cuts during the middle of the day.

Mr Cohen's femoral artery and vein both were severed in the shark attack and he required seven litres of blood on arrival at hospital.

He remains in a critical condition.

RIM PlayBook future iffy; prices slashed $200 at Best Buy - ABC News

Research In Motion's PlayBook could be the latest casualty in the heated tablet computer war.

The PlayBook's price was slashed by $200 Thursday at Best Buy, and technology analysts speculated that the company could halt manufacture of the devices even as the Canadian company denied any such plans.

"We believe RIM has stopped production of its PlayBook and is actively considering exiting the tablet market," Collins Stewart tech analyst John Vinh said in a report. The chip analyst said manufacturer Quanta had laid off a "significant number" of workers from a factory that produces RIM's PlayBook.

RIM dismissed reports that its PlayBook was in danger of extinction as "pure fiction." RIM spokeswoman Jamie Ernst said, "RIM remains highly committed to the tablet market."

But NPD Group analyst Richard Shim, who closely watches the tablet market, said his firm sees a production gap as well. "Our supply chain research indicates they (RIM) don't have production plans for PlayBooks beyond this year."

The price of the 16-gigabyte PlayBook model, while still $499 on RIM's site, dropped to $299 at Best Buy. RIM says it had previously planned price cuts to boost retail sales but declined to comment on the specific $200 slash.

RIM's apparent PlayBook meltdown comes after Amazon on Wednesday blazed into the tablet market with the launch of Amazon Fire. The Fire's surprisingly low $199 price and tie-ins to Amazon's media and stores got a warm reception. Analysts expect Amazon to sell 2 million to 3 million over the December holiday season alone. Apple's iPad is forecast to take 73.4% of the market this year, according to researcher Gartner.

"From the start, RIM had a flawed product strategy for the PlayBook," said Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps. "They had first-class hardware, but their software was not consumer-ready."

RIM's misses with its tablet come on the heels of Hewlett-Packard's decision last month to pull the plug on its TouchPad tablet.

RIM, maker of BlackBerry mobile devices, recently reported it shipped 200,000 Playbooks to retailers in its most recent quarter, compared with 500,000 in the previous quarter. "It might even be worse (for RIM)," Shim said. "You don't actually know how many they've sold."

Cutting prices, however, is a sure sign that RIM has PlayBooks sitting in stores that won't sell, Epps said.

RIM shares sank 74 cents to close at $21.16 Thursday.

French govt forecasts 1.75pc growth in budget - Oman Daily Observer

Paris — The French government yesterday unveiled its draft austerity budget for 2012, in which it aims to slash the budget deficit from 5.7 per cent of gross domestic product to 4.5 per cent, even as the country's public debt is set to break new records.
The budget bill presented by Finance Minister Francois Baroin and Budget Minister Valerie Pecresse proposes to slash the budget deficit from 95.5 billion euros ($130.2 billion) this year to 81.8 billion euros in 2012 by scrapping a host of tax breaks and introducing new taxes.
Many of the measures were announced in August, when the government announced an austerity plan aimed at saving France's AAA credit rating.
The plan includes a tax on soft drinks and a 3 per cent extra tax on the rich, which is to be scrapped when the budget deficit is brought within the European Union guideline of 3 per cent of GDP.
France aims to meet the 3 per cent target in 2013.
A further 30,400 public service positions are also to be cut next year, as part of a programme to not replace one out of two retiring civil servants. That plan has been in place since 2007.
On Tuesday, teachers held a one-day strike to protest the policy, which has seen around 65,000 jobs in education axed.
The government forecasts the economy to grow by 1.75 per cent this year and next. Some analysts say the forecasts are overly optimistic, after the economy failed to grow at all in the second quarter.
The International Monetary Fund has forecast France's GDP to grow 1.7 per cent this year and 1.4 per cent in 2012.
"Even if it's difficult, it (1.75 per cent) is not unattainable," Baroin said.
While the budget deficit is set to fall in 2012, public debt will rise next year, after France increased its guarantees to the European Financial Stability Facility in line with a July accord on tackling the euro zone debt crisis.
Public debt is projected to reach 87.4 per cent of GDP in 2012, up from 85.5 per cent this year, which was already a record and is one of the highest in Europe.
Servicing that debt is expected to cost 48.8 billion euros in 2012, making it the government's biggest expenditure. Education currently consumes the lion's share of the budget.
France's national statistics office said Wednesday that the economy stagnated in the second quarter with zero per cent growth.
World markets have been rocked by rumours that France might be stripped of its top triple-A credit rating and that its banks were overexposed to the debts of weaker euro zone countries, especially Greece.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon on August 24 unveiled a 12-billion-euro deficit cutting package that raised taxes on the rich and closed tax
loopholes in the hope of preserving the envied rating.
The defence budget will grow 1.6 per cent in 2012 to 30.63 billion euros, excluding pensions.
France is hoping to reduce the costs of overseas operations in countries such as Afghanistan, where it is to start withdrawing its troops. — dpa

Rovers 'a credit to their league' - Irish Times

The Irish Times - Friday, September 30, 2011

EMMET MALONE at White Hart Lane

IT MIGHT be two defeats in two in this Europa League group campaign, but Shamrock Rovers boss Michael O'Neill saw last night's spirited performance at White Hart Lane as another stepping stone to bigger things in the months ahead, and even Harry Redknapp predicted that the Dubliners will "get a result somewhere" between now and mid-December when this grand adventure is due to wrap up.

This was not to be their night but, having soaked up relentless pressure both before and after the 16-minute second-half spell that yielded all of the game's goals and briefly led their celebrated opponents, the visitors emerged with considerable pride from what was always going to be one of their toughest tests.

"They were a credit to the League of Ireland," said O'Neill afterwards. "But the reality is that I'd have preferred it to stay at 0-0 until the 89th minute because if we did score I knew we were going to get a reaction from them.

"I thought we played well after the goal but the reality is that when you look at what they had on their bench, the various players they were in a position to throw at us, we were always going to find it difficult to hang on

"We'd still be disappointed with the goals if I'm honest but the lad (Andros) Townsend was electric from the time he came on and even shifting Billy (Dennehy) didn't really counter the threat he posed in the way that we would have hoped.

"Overall, though, I thought we did well without the ball in the first half and worked hard to stay in it late on so the players, I'm very proud to say, did themselves justice out there tonight. What we saw at the end, though, was a team that's coming to the end of their season against a team that's just starting theirs. The reality is that we would need to be as fresh as possible going into a challenge like that."

Perhaps the rest they will get when their title defence is out of the way might allow them to test the Londoners more severely when they come to Ireland two weeks before Christmas.

In the meantime O'Neill had only praise for his players, particularly goalscorer Stephen Rice and of course the fans who had travelled in such huge numbers for the game.

"It was fantastic support," he said. "I suppose it's the first time that a League of Ireland team has had the opportunity to play at this stage of any of the European competition and it's great to have that level of support. I think it added to the occasion too. It was good for them at the end as well, it was end-to-end stuff . . . even if it was at one end slightly more than it was at the other one."

Spurs, he added, are clearly among the favourites to win this competition if, that is, they actually want to. "Harry Redknapp has to prioritise competitions in the same way that I or any other manager has to, but when you look at what he's got you'd have to say that they are one of the top two or three teams in the competition and they must have a very good chance of winning it."

Redknapp, meanwhile, was relieved: "When we went one down obviously you're concerned," he said, "because you think that maybe it's going to be one of those nights but when we'd come in at half-time, to be fair, we could have been three up because we had hit the woodwork, their 'keeper was making saves and we were creating chances. To be honest, though, I thought we played well, we got at them, the tempo of it all was generally pretty good and in the end we took a few of our chances."

Amazon's $199 Fire sparks supply, margin questions - Reuters

Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:06pm EDT

(Reuters) - The rock-bottom price of the new Kindle Fire tablet computer is raising questions about Inc's ability to keep up with demand and the device's effect on the company's already razor-thin profit margins.

Amazon's billionaire Chief Executive Jeff Bezos unveiled the Fire on Wednesday at a lower-than-expected price of $199.

Bezos said Amazon is making "millions" of the tablets, without being more specific. However, he urged customers to pre-order the device early.

"When Bezos quipped that people should get their pre-orders in quick, that wasn't just a sales pitch," said Brian Blair, an analyst at Wedge Partners. "That was him warning this will sell out."

When the first Kindle came out in 2007, Amazon hadn't made enough and the e-reader sold out in less than a week. That meant the company missed out on sales and got the device into fewer customers' hands, limiting quick adoption.

"I hope they learned their lesson from the last time," said Vinita Jakhanwal, an analyst at IHS iSuppli, which tracks electronic component supply chains.

Amazon spokeswomen didn't respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Amazon has lined up about four to five million screens for the Fire in the fourth quarter, which is a "fairly significant" amount, Jakhanwal added.

However, the technology that is being used for the Fire's screen has been around for at least a year and already has been produced in high volume, reducing the chances of supply shortages, Jakhanwal said.

One of the components that was in shorter supply in the first half of 2011 was the 10-inch screen, mostly because of the iPad, according to Bradley Gastwirth of technology research firm ABR Investment Strategy.

"This is probably one of the main reasons why Amazon started off at the 7-inch form factor," he said.

Still, other specialized components may be in short supply and that could limit how many Kindle Fire's can be made quickly, Jakhanwal said.

Other components aren't known yet, according to Wedge's Blair. But he expects a re-run of 2007, with the Fire selling out quickly.

Colin Sebastian, an analyst at RW Baird, kept his Amazon tablet sales forecasts the same on Wednesday on concern about potential supply issues. He expects two million to three million units to be sold this year and four to six million next year.

Amazon has better data on consumer demand and supply chains than it did in 2007, said Scott Devitt, an analyst at Morgan Stanley.

"But the $199 price point could drive heavy demand, so supply issues are possible and something to consider," he added.

Part of Apple Inc's success with the iPad and other products was driven by the company's tight control of its supply chain, which ensured it got enough parts before rivals.

"Apple's supply chain, production and distribution capabilities provide a competitive advantage over Amazon, which may find it difficult to produce more than a few million Kindle Fires for the holiday season," said Gene Munster, an analyst at PiperJaffray.


The Fire's $199 price has Munster and others concerned about profit margins at Amazon too.

Amazon always competes aggressively on price, often sucking up losses when it enters new markets. The company is currently branching out in several new areas and its profit margins have suffered.

Apple enjoys gross profit margins over 30 percent on the iPad. That's partly because the company offers digital content cheaply to promote purchases of such devices. In contrast, Munster estimated that Amazon will probably lose about $50 on each Kindle Fire it sells.

Anthony DiClemente, an analyst at Barclays Capital, expects Amazon's pro-forma operating profit margin to be 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter, down 160 basis points from a year earlier.

Still, Amazon hopes to make up any losses on the Kindle Fire through extra purchases of the company's other products and services made by users of the device.

Morgan Stanley's Devitt cites the example of ebooks. The Kindle Fire may increase purchases of digital books, hastening the demise of physical bookstores, he explained.

That would "lead to an industry with fewer merchants and thus higher long-term margins," Devitt said.

(Reporting by Alistair Barr; editing by Carol Bishopric)

No easy resolution for Tevez affair -

Tuesday night's bust-up between Carlos Tevez and Roberto Mancini -- which resulted in the Manchester City boss announcing the striker would never again play for the club after he allegedly refused to come on as a substitute -- has opened a gigantic can of worms. Here are six thoughts on the matter.

1. The way the Tevez story unfolded is unprecedented. Yes, players have refused to play before. But virtually all previous cases have followed a different pattern. You've had cases where we only found out years later (Kieron Dyer at Newcastle under Bobby Robson). You've had cases where the club's reaction was comparatively muted and he was back on the pitch 10 days later, before being, eventually sold on (Benny Carbone at Sheffield Wednesday, who, after discovering he was going to be on the bench for one game, drove himself straight to the airport, bought a ticket, and flew home). And you've had cases where both player and manager deny the incident ever took place, though plenty of media reports suggest otherwise (Luis Figo at Inter in the Champions' League clash with Liverpool: ironically his manager at the time was one Roberto Mancini). And you have other cases which we've all heard about second hand but which remained in the sanctity of the dressing room: a private matter.

But this is different. This is a player allegedly taking a stand during a game and his manager throwing the book at him in public immediately afterward. City's immediate and steadfast reaction makes this case without precedent.

2. The stakes are higher in this case than any previous one. Tevez is scheduled to earn in excess of $60 million between now and the end of his contract. He has a book value -- given depreciation -- of somewhere between $30m and $45m (his initial transfer fee was never disclosed, some reports put it at $50m, others at $73m). Taking an "ethical stand" and following through on Mancini's threat would cost City a huge amount of money unless a buyer can be found.

3. Buyers aren't exactly beating a path to City's door to buy Tevez. This point goes together with the previous one. It's easy to say "we'll sell Tevez," tougher to say "to whom" and at what price. First off, very few teams can afford a player who makes more than $20 million a year. And those who'd be willing to take him, won't push the boat out in terms of how much they're willing to pay, especially given that he's going to be 28 before the end of the season and, therefore, won't offer too much in the way of transfer resale value. Throw in the fact that that, come January, he won't have played for more than three months and his repeated claims of "homesickness" and wanting to move closer to Buenos Aires and it's all a bit of a turnoff. Add this latest incident and he becomes a very, very tough sell. After all, he was up for sale all summer and nobody bit. Or, rather, Corinthians did make an offer, but the kind you take with a grain of salt: this is, after all, the club once run by Tevez's own adviser, Kia Joorabchian and the fact that it ultimately fell apart can lead you to wonder whether it was real or whether it was a way to flush out potential interest. Sure, there is always the possibility that an Anzhi Makhachakala situation could arise: some billionaire in Russia or the Gulf stepping forward and wanting Tevez as his own personal plaything. The question then becomes whether Tevez would ever consider such an offer, not least because those parts of the world are even further away from home than Manchester.

4. This was not premeditated and Tevez has no "endgame." This, incidentally, is another aspect that sets the Tevez case apart. In 1997, Nottingham Forest's Pierre Van Hooijdonk famously went on "strike" after the club refused to sell him. But that was clearly part of a plan, as he later admitted. He refused to play because he wasn't let go. And, in many ways, he did so from a position of strength: he was one of the club's best players and was integral to Forest's chances of staying up.

Unlike Van Hooijdonk, Tevez is not an in-demand player (not because he's not a great footballer, but for the reasons cited above) and he's not central to City's success (not anymore anyay, not after the arrival of Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri). If he did plan this in advance, he's a fool. Which is why, most likely, it was simply a case of a guy on the bench "snapping" and doing something he should never have done. Whatever the outcome, Tevez has hurt himself.

5. The legal route is impractical, if not impossible for City. There has been plenty of speculation that City might take legal action against Tevez for "breach of contract" and perhaps sue and get some massive compensation deal. The problem is that doing so would set the club on a path for years of litigation. And, even if the team won the case (and, remember, Tevez hasn't admitted culpability, the burden of proof remains) and was awarded compensation it would be the kind of enormous sum the club realistically couldn't hope to recover. In that sense, the Adrian Mutu case, who was found in breach of contract by Chelsea after testing positive for cocaine, is very telling. Mutu was suspended and a court, eventually awarded Chelsea some $26 million.

The problem is, Mutu doesn't have that kind of money. And -- guess what? -- neither does Tevez. So taking him to court is not just risky, it could also be a waste of time.

6. There is a solution, though not a fully satisfying one. City agrees not to sue and to loan Tevez in January. Tevez apologizes and pledges to take whatever loan move City offers. Mancini forgives Tevez and gives him limited playing time, just enough to keep him fit and showcase his skills between now and the winter transfer window. And then he goes out on loan, a bit like Emannuel Adebayor did last year.

It's not a great solution, but it at least allows Tevez to continue playing and makes it possible for him to get out of the club in January, which would mean that, for at least six months, his wages would be somebody else's problem (City, of course, may still need to subsidize part of them, but that's what happens when you sign a guy like that to such a huge contract.) At least Tevez would get playing time somewhere else. Think of it as a "shop window' and maybe, just maybe, somebody will be convinced he's worth bidding for next summer.

It's not a great way to resolve this issue, but, frankly, it's the most likely scenario. This is real life, Mancini's job isn't to teach Tevez morality, it's to do what's in City's best interest.

Debt crisis: as it happened - September 29, 2011 -

21.05 The bell just rang out on Wall Street, signaling the end of the day's trading.

It was a volatile day, with stocks spending time both in the red and the black. But most managed to hang on to the majority of their gains.

Traders felt that Europe was taking steps towards fixing the eurozone debt crisis - with Germany, Cyprus and Estonia ratifying EFSF changes - although fears remained that there was still much to be done before the global economy could return to stability. Better-than-expected US economics figures also did their part to raise optimism.

The Dow Jones ended the day 1.3pc up, the S&P 500 rose 0.81pc and the Nasdaq was off 0.43pc.

20.33 Estonia has now approved its EFSF agreement - the third country to do so today, after Germany and Cyprus.

If you scroll back down to 15.50 you can see one of the country's MPs calling the Greek people "lazy losers", so it is quite an achievment that this was passed without more debate...

That just leaves Austria, which decides tomorrow, Malta, the Netherlands and Slovakia.

20.04 The International Herald Tribune is running two debt crisis stories on their front page tomorrow.

"Victory for Merkel on euro zone aid," reads one headline, on the German chancellor's success in passing changes to the EFSF through tha nation's parliament today.

While the other says: "Easy fix? Probably not for today's debt crisis".

Thanks to the BBC's Nick Sutton on Twitter for posting the image online.

19.40 A tweet here from Zero Hedge, suggesting that there could be another Merkel/Sarkozy rendezvous on the horizon.

TwitterSweet: more rumors of a meeting. This one will FIX.IT. ALL: Sarkozy, Merkel May Meet Oct. 1 in Paris, Le Monde Website Says

19.18 With a little under two hours of trading left on Wall Street what was a promising day following better-than-expected economic figures has just turned south.

The Dow Jones is now up just 0.27pc, while the S&P 500 is off 0.35pc - it was as high as 1.22pc just a couple of hours ago - and the Nasdaq is down by 1.78pc.

In more bad news for the US, the government is being lampooned by bloggers after two federal employees were hurt when a backup of air pressure caused two toilets to blow up at the General Services Administration's regional headquarters in Washington.

"A new way to get government employees off their butts. Now we need to install the same equipment in the halls of Congress," wrote one Huffington Post blogger.

19.02 Daniel Hannan, Conservative MEP for South East England, has written a blog today on whether or not survival of the euro is in our best interest. Not necessarily, he says:

The prosperity of the eurozone plainly is in our interests: it absorbs around 40pc of our exports, and comprises countries which are our friends and allies. But the survival of the euro and the prosperity of its constituent nations are two very different things.

True, the break-up of the euro would involve costs. But it's becoming obvious that the costs involved in holding it together are much higher.

18.39 Austerity is the only way forward for Europe says Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovksis, a man who is well qualified to speak on recession.

The small nation was battered in the crisis of 2008, but has managed to push growth targets to 5pc this year after years of brutal austerity measures.

Speaking to AFP, he said:

QuoteWe had this debate in Latvia, that it's a bad idea to cut expenditure during a crisis, it's a bad idea to raise taxes, so let's wait until the economy stabilises.

But unfortunately this logic doesn't function for one simple reason. Financial stability is a precondition for economic growth. Our lesson is that you have to frontload this adjustment, do it quickly.

What's happening in Greece is that they are trying to delay this adjustment. But apparently they are not doing enough to convince markets and to convince pretty much everyone. These delaying tactics are not working.

18.09 More news from Fitch today. Earlier on they were warning that French banks could face a downgrade, and now they've bumped New Zealand down one notch to AA.

17.38 A quick update on Wall Street, which is fluctuating but remains up a healthy amount on the day. The Dow Jones is up 1.69pc, the S&P 500 by 1.22pc and the Nasdaq a more modest 0.26pc.

17.20 The pieces are all falling into place today to get the EFSF changes approved...

German chancellor Angela Merkel managed to push through the plan without needing to rely on support from the opposition, Estonia is making plenty of reluctant noises but at least taking steps toward ratifying the upgrade and now Cyprus has also passed the changes.

That just leaves Austria, which decides tomorrow, Estonia, Malta, the Netherlands and Slovakia.

16.43 The European markets have now closed. And while most of Europe can celebrate a day of modest gains, along with Wall Street during morning trading, London dropped into negative territory.

Good economic news from the US had cheered markets around the globe - with the exception of the FTSE.

The FTSE 100 ended the day 0.4pc off, but the CAC rose 1.07pc and the DAX was up 1.1pc.

16.32 After meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is set to talk to Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris tomorrow.

The meeting at 3pm GMT is a chance for the pair to discuss "the situation that Greece is currently going through". What else?

16.20 Talks between Greece and the troika started up again today, and the mood was "positive" according to a finance ministry statement.

QuoteThe climate was positive and creative after the tough measures that were decided.

16.14 An interesting and concise tweet from the BBC's business editor, Robert Peston, here: "Where economics is now". Accompanied with this image:

15.50 An Estonian politician has criticised the Greek public for being "lazy losers".

Lawmakers in the country have been debating proposed changes to the EFSF for days now, with some believing they could be unconstitutional. To get around this, a modified bill has now been put forward that sends any application for EFSF funding to parliament for approval.

Estonia's share of the EFSF would account for fractionally less than €2 billion. But the thought of handing out that cash has provoked anger. Reform party MP Tarmo Leinatamm said:

QuoteIt is very hard for me, and for all of us, to explain to Estonia's inhabitants who earn many times less why we should support citizens from EU countries where people earn 2,500 or 2,600 euros a month.

Juku-Kalle Raid, an MP from the coalition's junior party, Pro Patria and Res Publica Union, went one step further:

QuoteI think I will vote against it. It is really strange that Estonia, where incomes are lower than in Greece even after its cuts, should pay for these lazy losers.

15.25 Ratings agency Fitch has warned that French banks could be downgraded on concerns over exposure to eurozone debt.

BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Credit Agricole shares have been volatile recently, with traders optimistic that the debt crisis was in good hands one day, then fearful of a Greek default the next.

A Fitch statement said:

QuoteConcerns about French banks are mostly centred on their exposure to southern European countries. French banks have the most cross-border sovereign and non-sovereign exposure to Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.

While exposure to Greece, Ireland and Portugal is modest, inclusion of Spain and, in particular Italy, significantly increases the totals. The collective impact of negative market drivers and corresponding fundamental factors reinforces enhanced downside pressure on ratings of the large French banks, along with many of their European peers.

14.50 Markets are really rallying now, with the exception of the FTSE 100, which is up but only by 0.4pc, compared to the 2.3pc climb on the Dow Jones in New York and a 1.8pc rise in French stocks.

The good economic news from the US today was welcomed by traders.

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg Television that markets have already priced in a lot of bad news in recent months, with the Dow down 11pc since the start of July. He said:

QuoteI think our markets have fairly well priced in all but the most draconian of scenarios. Unless something really calamitous happens [such as a default of a larger European country like Spain or Italy], short of that I think we've pretty well priced things in.

14.35 Wall Street is now open for the day:

The Dow Jones is up 1.8pc at 11,203 points, and the S&P 500 climbed 1.7pc as trading opened.

And European markets are also trading higher this afternoon:

The FTSE 100 is up 0.6pc at 5,247 points, while the CAC added 1.9pc in France and the German DAX is up 1.8pc.

14.00 And a second piece of good news from the US - the number of people claiming unemployment benefits fell more than predicted.

The number of new applicants for benefits fell by 37,000 last week to 391,000, the lowest figure since April.

However, there's a but - the US Labour Department said the size of the fall was probably down to an unusual calender alignment, which made it harder to make an accurate year-on-year comparison...

13.45 The US growth figures for the second quarter have come in and they are in line with forecasts.

As forecast for economists, US GDP increased by 1.3pc in the second quarter, revised estimates show. That's faster than the 1pc growth estimated last month.

Exports and spending on services picked up, according to the Commerce Department numbers.

13.35 Reports of a disagreement between the European Commission and the group of leaders from the various member states (the European Council) over what to do about the eurozone crisis.

From Paul Mason of the BBC's Newsnight:

Twitter@paulmasonnews I am told European Commission at wits end with European Council, who "do not get it": Commission look for ways 2 avoid debt-deflation doom

13.15 Banks are coming under pressure to raise their capital levels even higher - Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member David Miles has said capital buffers should be more than double the minimum level set out by the latest regulations.

Mr Miles believes banks should hold 18 to 20pc of their risk-weighted assets in the form of equity, compared with the 7pc required under Basel III rules coming into force between 2013 and 2019.

13.00 Telegraph political commentator Janet Daley has responded to the resounding vote in favour of expanding the eurozone bail-out in Germany. The decision by parliament "ignores the people". She writes:

In the face of huge public resentment, Germany's political class has decided to put "saving the euro" above all other considerations.

Its obligation to its own national electorate has been deemed inconsequential in this hopeless last-ditch attempt to salvage an unworkable system.

12.20 Spain has had to abandon the stock market flotation of its highly lucrative national lottery, because of the opposition of banks and politicans.

Famous for its "El Gordo" (the Fat One) bumper prize each Christmas, state-owned Loterias planned to float a 30pc stake on the stock market, with the aim of raising €9bn for indebted Spain.

But banks are opposed to the plan because they feared cash-strapped Spaniards would put their money into lottery shares rather than depositing it in the bank, according to Reuters. The banks need that money to shore up their balance sheets.

The IPO was also opposed by the centre-right People's Party, who are expected to win the general election in November.

12.15 Of the 17 nations using the euro, 11 have already approved the vote. They are: Germany, Finland, Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Slovenia.

The countries who have yet to cast their votes are Austria, which decides tomorrow, Cyprus, Estonia, Malta, Netherlands and Slovakia.

12.00 A tiny bit more politics - it seems German Chancellor Angela Merkel won the vote on expanding the eurozone bail-out programme (see 10.20 post) without needing to rely on the support of the opposition.

She secured a narrow majority from her own side, with 315 members of the coalition voting in favour, more than expected.

11.45 It's back to business as usual in Berlin, says Sky's economics correspondent and Telegraph contributor Ed Conway:

Twitter@EdConwaySky So Germany's brief flirtation with edge-of-seat politics comes to an end as EFSF is approved with a comfortable majority

11.20 So it's a sigh of relief for Chancellor Angela Merkel, with a resounding majority in Germany for the expansion of the bail-out fund. However markets have taken the announcement in their stride.

The euro rose 0.9pc against the dollar, and markets in France and Germany extended their gains slightly, trading up 0.8pc and 0.7pc respectively.

However the FTSE 100 carried on as it was, pointing lower. Our markets reporter Rachel Cooper tweets:

Twitter@cooperrachel German parliament backs more powers for European bail-out fund, but #FTSE 100 underwhelmed - down 25 points to 5191

11.13 BREAKING The German parliament has backed the expansion of the European bail-out fund.

Reuters reports 523 politicians voted in favour of it, 85 opposed and three abstained.

11.00 German MPs are casting their votes now so we should have an answer shortly. New ITV business Editor Laura Kuenssberg is in Germany and reports "Merkel looks jolly".

Twitter@ITVLauraK Merkel looks jolly - they have to put ballot papers into ballot boxes, so unlike ayes and noes at westminster might take a while to count.

10.40 European markets are showing a mixed picture this morning:

The FTSE 100 is still down, off 0.6pc at 5,187 points. However the CAC is up 0.5pc in Paris and the DAX has climbed 0.5pc in Germany.

10.20 Just to recap, here are the key measures the Germans are voting on today - as agreed by European leaders at a summit in July and now subject to the agreement of national parliaments:

Expanding the power of the EFSF (bail-out fund) so that it can buy government bonds in the secondary market and lend money to governments to recapitalize banks.
An extra €109bn (£95bn) for bailing out Greece
Private investors, ie. banks and insurers, agreeing a debt 'swap' with Greece, which amounts to a 21pc cut in the value of the debt they hold.

10.15 The debate in the German parliament is dragging on, so it will be a bit later than 10.15 when the vote arrives (thanks to ITV's Laura Kuenssberg for this info via Twitter).

10.00 Noone could accuse Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou of not trying - after his meeting with German business leaders and Chancellor Merkel on Tuesday, tomorrow he's off to France to catch up with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

09.45 Some good news! Unemployment in Germany fell more than expected this month, with 26,000 fewer unemployed people compared with the 8,000 drop expected by economists.

That takes the country's unemployment rate to 6.6pc, down from 7pc in August.

09.30 And speaking of doom - Telegraph commentator Jeremy Warner has called on the eurozone's leaders to acknowledge that the euro is at the root of the region's problems.

As it stands, the single currency has become a doomsday machine, driving Europe and the rest of the world ever closer to financial collapse.

Angela Merkel this week insisted that this is not a euro crisis at all, but a debt crisis. She's half right: the imbalances at the heart of the eurozone are part of a global problem which affects Britain and the US almost as badly as Spain or Ireland.

But what the euro has done is fan the flames, as well as removing the mechanisms with which free-floating currencies can correct such problems.

09.15 Doomsday scenario of the day - Europe's debt crisis will lead to an economic slump, a financial meltdown and social unrest in the next year, investors surveyed by Bloomberg say.

Some 72pc of the 1,031 investors, analysts and traders from around the world believe one country will exit the eurozone within the next five years. And 40pc expect a euro-nation to go it alone in the next year.

And the icing on the cake? Three-quarters of investors expect the eurozone to go into recession in the coming year.

09.10 The German parliament is due to deliver its vote on expanding the bail-out fund at about 10.15 this morning.

08.55 The private letter sent to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi by the leaders of the European Central Bank, ordering him to take action on the country's debts has been published in the newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Courtesy of the BBC's Robert Peston on Twitter, read a translation here of the seven direct orders dished out by the ECB, shortly before the central bank started buying Italian debt in order to drive down the country's borrowing costs.

I won't recite the whole thing here, but here is the summing up by the ECB's Jean-Claude Trichet and Mario Draghi:

QuoteWe regard as crucial that all actions listed in section 1 and 2 above be taken as soon as possible with decree-laws, followed by Parliamentary ratification by end September 2011. A constitutional reform tightening fiscal rules would also be appropriate.

What will Italian voters make of the ECB over-ruling their democratically-elected government in this way?

08.45 While all eyes have been on the eurozone, with the occasional Glance at the US, our International Business Editor, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, today reports that a funding crunch has reached Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

While China dances to its own tune, fears are growing that a global relapse could strike as the country's debt excesses come back to haunt it.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns that emerging markets face the risk of "sharp reversals" in capital flows if Europe fails to contain its debt crisis.

The process has already begun. The currencies of Brazil, India, Indonesia, Korea, South Africa, Turkey, Poland and Hungary have all plunged over the past month, some by 10pc or more, dashing the hopes of a "decoupling" from the travails of the Old World.

08.10 Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minster, is in Poland today for talks with other European leaders including Angela Merkel, where he will give a major speech on the EU.

He is expected to say:

QuoteThe danger we face is of change leading to fragmentation. That we become divided, turning away from each other, both within the European Union and with our partners who are not, or not yet, members of it.

His remarks contrast pretty strongly with those of the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who says in this week's Spectator that "the EU does have too much power".

He also described the euro as a "burning building with no exits".

Another harmonious day for the Coalition then.

08.05 As predicted, markets have opened lower:

The FTSE 100 was off 36 points, or 0.7pc, at 5,181 shortly after trading started.

07.50 Time for a look at this morning's business pages:

The Telegraph: Banks urged to cut bonuses and dividends

The Times: Wrangle over £500m bait for Northern Rock bidders

The Financial Times: Business lashes out at Tobin tax plans

The Guardian: FSA demands seat in board meetings of highest-risk City firms

07.40 Looking ahead to the market opening in Europe, here is what the futures traders are betting:

The FTSE 100 is set to fall 0.8pc, while the CAC is expected to trade 0.5pc down in France and the German DAX to lose 0.6pc.

07.35 We'll also be getting some important economic statistics from the US later today - GDP figures for the second quarter, and unemployment numbers.

Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, has made some unusally outspoken remarks about the problem of unemployment in the US. he said the numbers of long-term unemployed has become a "national crisis".

QuoteThis is unheard of. This has never happened in the post-war period in the United States. They are losing the skills they had, they are losing their connections, their attachment to the labor force.

He called on the government to do more to address the problem of long-term unemployment. Some 45pc of Americans who are out of work have been so for six months or more.

07.25 Raw materials prices have fallen again, with the outlook for global growth weakening, as investors struggle to see where demand will come from.

Copper fell 5.9pc to $6,821 a metric tonne, and other industrial metals including aluminium and zinc also declined.

Commodities are heading for their wors quarter since 2008, Bloomberg reports today, on concern the failure to contain the eurozone debt crisis will hurt growth in the rest of the world.

07.20 The big event on the eurozone calender today is in Germany, where parliament will vote on giving more power to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), aka the bail-out fund.

These are the measures agreed back in July - but many German politicians are concerned agreeing to the expansion will open the door for even more financial support for Greece and other indebted nations.

Finland's parliament approved the expansion of the EFSF yesterday, becoming the ninth country in the euro area to do so, and briefly lifting some uncertainty over the issue, which has been dogging financial markets since late July.

07.15 Asian shares have had a lacklustre day, as investors were held back by doubts about Europe's ability to stem its worsening debt crisis.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1pc after falling 1pc earlier, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.8pc. Trading in Hong Kong was suspended due to an approaching typhoon.

Investment sentiment was hindered by remarks from German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday afternoon suggesting that the second bailout package for Greece might have to be renegotiated.

Several European leaders want banks to take bigger losses on Greek bonds, but France and the European Central Bank oppose the idea.

On Wall Street yesterday, the Dow Jones fell 1.6pc to close at 11,010.90 and the S&P 500 lost 2.1pc.

The declines followed three days of gains.

Stocks rose earlier this week on hopes that Europe was moving closer to resolving its debt problems.

07.10 Good morning and welcome back to our live coverage of the continuing global debt crisis. Log on throughout the day for the latest news and views.

Read all our latest news on the financial crisis, or take an in-depth look at events over the past month.

Debt crisis live: archive