lunes, 30 de abril de 2012

Google Street View spied on passwords, emails, texts - New York Daily News

Google Street View had an eye on more than just city streets — it also once collected emails, passwords, Internet search histories, medical records and more from millions of people around the world, new documents show.

An FCC report released Friday reveals Google spent over two years between 2008 and 2010 quietly capturing a mountain of personal information by tapping into unsecured wireless networks through its Street View cars, which drive around capturing snapshots to populate the search giant's massive map database.

The FCC file, previously only released in heavily redacted form, also shows what Google had previously denied — that the data gathering was intentional, and that several employees within the company knew about it for years.

When first questioned about its collection of personal data by European authorities in 2010, Google originally denied the practice, but later claimed it accidentally recorded what was likely just "fragmented" data from users on unprotected WiFi networks.

"Quite simply, it was a mistake," the company said in an official blog post.

Google later acknowledged Street View had in fact captured significant personal data, and announced changes to its practices to avoid it happening again in the future, according to the report.

Google Street View staffers told the FCC they did not know the information was being collected and the company maintained it did not sign off on the collection of that kind of data, the Los Angeles Times reported. However, records show the engineer behind the project showed his work to his colleaues and at least one senior manager.

Identified only as "Engineer Doe" in the report, the part-time Street View employee also apparently wrote a report for his team detailing what kinds of information the project would capture.

Engineer Doe's report shows he considered violation of privacy to be a concern, but dismissed it because Street View wouldn't be collecting information on "any given user for an extended period of time."

According to the FCC report, Engineer Doe thought the data might be useful to understand more about how people interacted with Google Search, but abandoned the project when a member of the search team told him "it had no use or value."

Google initially fought the FCC from making the full report public, according to the LA Times, but ultimately made a copy public after news outlets formally requested the uncensored version.

"We decided to voluntarily make the entire document available except for the names of individuals," Google spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said in a statement to the L.A. Times. "While we disagree with some of the statements made in the document, we agree with the FCC's conclusion that we did not break the law. We hope that we can now put this matter behind us."

The FCC found that the data gathering was not technically illegal, but fined Google $25,000 for obstructing their investigation.

Pirate Bay: Internet Providers Ordered By High Court To Block File Sharing Website - Sky News

The Pirate Bay hosts links to download mostly-pirated free music and video

Millions of people use the file-sharing website The Pirate Bay

6:37pm UK, Monday April 30, 2012

Tadhg Enright, Sky News

Five internet providers have been ordered by the High Court to block users' access to the illegal file sharing website, The Pirate Bay.

Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media have been told to stop customers from using the Swedish based site over the next few weeks.

A spokesman for Sky said that it is company policy to comply with court orders.

"As and when clear and legally robust evidence of copyright theft is presented, we will take appropriate action in respect to site blocking," the spokesman said.

The internet allows people to share data easily so really the music and film industries are fighting a losing battle. Their focus needs to be on providing great, legal alternatives.

Technology journalist Tom Dunmore

A sixth internet provider, British Telecom, has been granted an additional period to consider its position.

It follows a decision by the court in February that both the operators and users of the website are infringing the copyright of music companies.

The decision is a victory for the British Phonographic Industry - which represents music companies - which has been campaigning against the sharing of copyrighted material online.

BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said: "The High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale.

"Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them.

Supporters of The Pirate Bay website demonstrate after four men convicted of copyright infringement

Pirate Bay supporters after the conviction of the website's founders

"Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists."

Founded in 2003, The Pirate Bay has more than five million registered users and is estimated to offer access to more than four million files.

It has survived raids on its servers by Swedish police and legal challenges in countries all over the world.

Four men, including the website's founders Gottfrid Svartholm and Frekrik Neij, are appealing their conviction by a Swedish court on charges of assistance to copyright infringement.

Technology journalist Tom Dunmore told Sky News: "It's going to be increasingly difficult for The Pirate Bay to get anywhere but the thing is with these peer sites is that it's not about shutting one down because others will pop up again.

"The internet allows people to share data easily, so really the music and film industries are fighting a losing battle.

"Their focus needs to be on providing great, legal alternatives.

"They're starting to appear now. Subscription services like NetFlix and Spotify that offer decent value and the sort of breadth of choice that you can get on the illegal sites."

Boris Johnson swears on camera about investigative work of BBC journalist - The Independent

With the campaign to run City Hall entering its final 72 hours, Mr Johnson sought to swat aside questions about his dealings with News International by accusing Tim Donovan, the political editor of BBC London, of talking "fucking bollocks" following a report about the London Mayor's attempts to secure sponsorship from Rupert Murdoch's empire.

The outburst, which was broadcast by the BBC in a lunchtime news bulletin, followed an earlier incident last month in which the Conservative incumbent called his Labour opponent Ken Livingstone a "fucking liar" in a lift following a dispute over their tax arrangements.

Mr Johnson's latest brush with controversy followed a report by Mr Donovan which focused on the Tory candidate's meetings with senior NI figures in 2010 shortly after he had dismissed the News of the World phone hacking scandal in front of the London Assembly as "codswallop".

Mr Johnson continues to lead Mr Livingstone in the opinion polls. A survey for the London Evening Standard, which today came out in favour of Mr Johnson, gave him a 52 per cent to 48 per cent advantage.

But he faced criticism from opponents after details were revealed of his meetings with James Murdoch, the heir-apparent to the Murdoch throne, and NI chief executive Rebekah Brooks in the wake of an announcement by Scotland Yard that it was reviewing new claims about phone hacking published by the New York Times in September 2010.

The London mayor, who dismissed the allegations which later led to the closure of the NOTW as "politically motivated" and has questioned the level of police resources being devoted to the phone hacking scandal, went on to hold discussions with Mr Murdoch about NI's proposal to open an academy on land owned by the London Development Agency, a body overseen by Mr Johnson.

On a separate occasion, Mr Johnson had lunch as a guest of Mr Murdoch and Ms Brooks during which NI's sponsorship was sought for the mayor's cable car project across the Thames. In each case, no deal was secured.

When asked yesterday about criticism that such meetings were inappropriate given the mayor's supervision of the police, an irritated Mr Johnson said: "I think it's right to work with the private sector to get contributions that will be for the benefit of London... I'm very proud that over the last four years that we've got more than £100m in sponsorship.

"You've got to get this on air. Come on, this is the most important thing. Stuff Donovan and his fucking bollocks."

BBC London today broadcast the footage, recorded as Mr Johnson made his way to the final hustings of the campaign, in its lunchtime bulletin with the expletive bleeped out.

Mr Livingstone's campaign called for Mr Johnson to publish all emails and details of other contacts between himself and NI. A spokeswoman said: "There are serious questions for Tory Boris Johnson over his refusal to press the Metropolitan Police over hacking and his dismissive response to those who have raised this issue with him over the last two years. He needs to open the books and publish all the email and other contact between him, News International and the Murdochs."

Mr Johnson's campaign did not respond to a request for a comment about his outburst. His deputy mayor, Kit Malthouse, told the BBC this weekend that there had been no ongoing police investigation when the meetings with NI were held. Mr Malthouse said: "Boris has behaved with complete throughout this issue. He was a victim of phone hacking himself."

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X: a comparison of specs and features - Northern Voices Online

The first one is a great smartphone and the other is going to be a market leader when introduced in the market. Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X comparison of specs and features will help people select a better smartphone for them.

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X comparison may look like a little premature. But the fact that due to leaks from Korean tech giant we know a lot of expected features in the forthcoming Galaxy S next generation smartphone, we can safely compare the two smart phones. HTC One X is already making waves in the Android smartphone market after being launched. Reviewers are praising it for its great features, design and specifications.

Processor: When it comes to processor it will be very difficult for any smartphone manufacture to match the power that HTC has packed in the little body of One X. It is equipped with a 1.5 GHz quad Nvidia Tegra 3 core processor with 4 high-performance CPU cores and 1GB of RAM. The One X, which also runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, features the company's much-touted HTC Sense 4.0 interface for nice navigation. For the graphical power, the device mounts GeForce GPU. Anyway, HTC Sense 4.0 is one of the most highlighted features with the HTC handset. On the other hand Galaxy S3 is expected to set a standard for the Android smartphone for the next one year or so. For Samsung Galaxy S3 it is expected that Samsung will put a very powerful quad-core ARM A9-based Exynos 4212 chip designed by Samsung themselves. Meanwhile a report suggests that the Exynos 4212 will be clocked at a staggering 1.8GHz. If this turns out to be true, the Galaxy S3 will probably feature the fastest CPU of all smartphones.

Storage: Samsung Galaxy S3 will certainly come with two storage options 16 and 32 GB, though some reports suggest a third option of 64 GB. HTC One X comes with two storage options of 16 and 32 GB. Unfortunately the HTC handset doesn't sport a microSD slot for further memory expansion. 32GB is the available memory for the owners of the HTC handset, but HTC is offering 25 GB of free cloud storage being provided by HTC-DropBox. Galaxy S3 is expected to come with a SD card expansion slot. Regarding the RAM, we already know that HTC One X has 1 GB of RAM while Samsung Galaxy S3 is rumored to come with 2GB of RAM.

Display: When it comes to display, Galaxy S3 is expected to come with a bigger screen than its current variant Galaxy S2 which comes with 4.3 inch screen. Reports suggest that Galaxy S3 is expected to come with 4.6 or 4.8 inch AMOLED HD Plus display running at a 1280 by 720 pixel resolution. If this rumor turns out to be correct, it means that the S3 display will feature a regular RGB matrix. On the other hand HTC One X comes with a huge 4.7 inch Super LCD 2 display running at a native 720p resolution. While the display is definitely nothing to shrug at, it is still not a worthy competitor for Samsung's current crop of Super AMOLED HD displays.

Camera: HTC One X comes with a very impressive 8-megapixel cameras and 1.3-megapixel rear cameras for video chatting. Korean tech giant Samsung's Galaxy S3 is expected to come with even a better 12MP camera and at least a 2 mega pixel front facing camera for video chatting.


Bin Laden complained of Al-Qaeda 'disaster' - Bangkok Post

Osama bin Laden bemoaned "disaster after disaster" inflicted by US drone strikes on Al-Qaeda before he was killed and even mulled changing his terror group's name, a top US official said Monday.

Local residents stand at the demolished compound of slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in northern Abbottabad on April 25. Bin Laden bemoaned "disaster after disaster" inflicted by US drone strikes on Al-Qaeda before he was killed and even mulled changing his terror group's name, a top US official said Monday.

President Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan said Al-Qaeda was losing "badly" under a huge US assault, was a "shadow" of its former self and that its core leadership would soon be "no longer relevant."

Brennan said in a speech in Washington that the Al-Qaeda leader's frustration poured out in documents seized from his compound by US Navy SEAL special forces who killed him a year ago.

"He confessed to 'disaster after disaster,'" Brennan said, saying that some of the captured material would be published online this week by the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point.

On the eve of the anniversary of bin Laden's death, Brennan argued that a relentless US drone campaign and other pressure had left Al-Qaeda seriously weakened, and unable to replace wiped-out leaders.

"Under intense pressure in the tribal regions of Pakistan, they have fewer places to train and groom the next generation of operatives, they're struggling to attract new recruits.

"Morale is low," Brennan said in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, which was briefly interrupted by a Code Pink anti-war demonstrator who was hauled out of the room by a burly policeman.

Brennan said that the documents gathered at bin Laden's lair in Abbottabad, outside Islamabad, show that the late Al-Qaeda leader urged his subordinates to flee Pakistani tribal regions for places "away from aircraft photography and bombardment."

Things got so bad for the group which plotted the September 11 attacks in 2001, the deadliest terror strike in US history, that bin Laden considered changing the group's name, he said.

"In short, Al-Qaeda is losing, badly. And bin Laden knew it," he said, adding that bin Laden had complained at the Obama administration's decision to stop using the phrase "war on terror."

Brennan's speech will likely prompt new claims by Republicans that the Obama campaign is exploiting the anniversary of the bin Laden raid to boost the president's prospects of reelection in November.

Senior Obama aides are clearly using the president's decision to launch the high risk raid as an implicit comparison to the character of his presumptive Republican rival Mitt Romney.

Brennan also claimed that the administration's tactics against Al-Qaeda had made it harder than ever for "core" Al-Qaeda to plan and execute large-scale, potentially catastrophic attacks.

"Today, it is increasingly clear that-compared to 9/11, the core Al-Qaeda leadership is a shadow of its former self," Brennan said.

"Al-Qaeda has been left with just a handful of capable leaders and operatives, and with continued pressure is on the path to its destruction.

"And for the first time since this fight began, we can look ahead and envision a world in which the Al-Qaeda core is simply no longer relevant."

Brennan's speech amounted to the administration's most comprehensive public survey about the state of the struggle against Al-Qaeda.

He spent considerable time defending strikes by unmanned US drones in nations like Pakistan, crediting them with dismantling Al-Qaeda's top leadership and causing bin Laden's distress.

Brennan said the strikes were legal, ethical and proportional, and added that Obama had instructed his officials to share more details about the secret war.

Despite lauding the administration's achievements in hammering top Al-Qaeda leaders and the group's capacity, Brennan also warned that global terror threats were still potent, particularly those emanating from Africa.

"As the Al-Qaeda core falters, it continues to look to its affiliates and adherents to carry on its murderous cause," Brennan said, warning that the group's merger with the Shebab group in Somalia was "worrying."

He said that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) remained a threat, despite the strike that took out radical US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who directed its external operations.

Did you know?

You can introduce your kids to edutianment reading with our Student Weekly magazine: Thailand's only all-English entertainment and education magazine for teens and all ages.

Manchester City v Manchester United – live! | Barry Glendenning - The Guardian

Carlos Tevez speaks

In an interview that has provoked much mirth among football fans the length and breadth of the country, Carlos Tevez has told the Manchester Evening News that he hopes to stay at Manchester City because he wants to "work hard and win things" because "that's all that matters to me as a player and a person".

In response to misguided cynics who suggest his sole motivation for moving to City was financial, Tevez was happy to set the record straight. "It was the project and the dream that made me come to City in the first place," he revealed. "I've been here since the start of that project and I share the same vision as Sheikh Mansour." According to Danny Taylor, of this parish, Tevez made similar noises in an interview conducted with the club's website in December 2010. Afterwards it transpired he'd handed in a transfer request a few days previously.

Some match pointers

• City scored six goals from just seven shots on target in their 6-1 win at Old Trafford earlier this season

• United have caught an opponent offside fewer times (36) than any other side; City are in second place with 39

• City have taken 77 from a possible 81 points in their last 27 top-flight home matches

• Wayne Rooney has committed the most without receiving a yellow card (24) in the division

• No Premier League team has ever won a return fixture after losing by five or more goals in the initial encounter

• There have been six red cards in Premier League meetings between these sides, and five of them have been shown to United players

Hello there

As the great Irish folk singer Christy Moore once said, how's it going there everybody, you're very welcome to this evening's cabaret. We've a potential thriller/woefully damp squib (delete according to half-full/emptiness of your glass) in store; a Manchester derby some martyrs to hyperbole are describing as the most important Premier League match ever played. The result will almost certainly go a long way towards determining the outcome of this year's Premier League title race, while simultaneously signalling a seismic shift in the English football landscape. Considering the amount of money they've spent in such a short space of time, it's only a matter of when, not if, Manchester City win the title, but their city rivals United will be ruthless in their determination to delay the inevitable for as long as possible.

The build-up to this evening's game has been relentless and this excellent preview piece by our chief football writer Danny Taylor will tell you all you need to know about the relationship between two clubs who, for all their cross-city sniping at each other down the years, haven't actually played many matches with anything more important than local bragging rights at stake. Tonight, both sides the stakes could hardly be higher, with the Premier League title on the line and both clubs very much in charge of their own destiny. A win or draw for Manchester United would leave them sin a seemingly unassailable position with just two games left to play, while victory for Manchester City will bring them level on points with their rivals, but with a crucially significant advantage in the form of their superior goal difference.

We'll bring you all the pre-match news and comment from 7pm, but in the meantime, why not pass the time by perusing our gallery of Manchester derbies down through the years, reading our Manchester correspondent Jamie Jackson's thoughts on how a calmer, more mature Wayne Rooney has put his side on the verge of their 20th title, or digesting Roberto Mancin's latest comments about howe the title race is so over, he's not sure Manchester City will even bother turning up for tonight's fixture.

Alternatively, you could read this preview of the tactics likely to be employed by both managers for tonight's ding-dong at the Etihad Stadium penned by Michael Cox of Zonal Marking fame, or take a moment to gaze at this relaxing picture of a peculiar looking neutral snoozing in a deckchair ahead of the big match while wearing Manchester City coloured Converse trainers and a Manchester United coloured straw hat.


UK's Cameron in crossfire as Murdoch pressure mounts - Reuters

LONDON, April 30 | Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:49pm EDT

LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron defended his embattled culture minister on Monday, saying he had seen no evidence he had acted improperly in a scandal over News Corp's failed attempt to take over British pay television operator BSkyB.

Cameron has resisted opposition demands for an immediate inquiry into the conduct of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt after allegations emerged of his close contacts with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp media empire.

"I have seen no evidence to suggest that in handling this issue, the secretary of state acted at any stage in a way that was contrary to the ministerial code," Cameron told parliament, referring to Hunt.

A slew of emails released last week appeared to show Hunt's office as an enthusiastic supporter of the bid, contradicting his official role as an impartial judge of the deal's impact on media plurality. Murdoch withdrew the $12 billion bid in July.

In a dramatic exchange in parliament, opposition Labour party leader Ed Miliband asked Cameron why he had not started a probe into Hunt, who was responsible for overseeing the bid.

"The prime minister is defending the indefensible and he knows it. Protecting the culture secretary's job .... and we all know why," Miliband told Cameron, was sat next to Hunt throughout the raucous session.

"The culture secretary has to stay to protect the prime minister. The prime minister has shown today he is incapable of doing his duty, too close to a powerful few, out of touch with everyone else," Miliband added.

The prime minister had to shout to be heard over the jeers. "Weak and wrong," Cameron replied, ruling out an investigation.

Hunt's departure would turn the spotlight onto the prime minister and his own once close ties with News Corp, scrutiny he can ill afford as his Conservative Party slumps in the polls after weeks of gaffes and policy blunders.

Cameron potentially faces further embarrassment as former Murdoch confidante and News Corp executive Rebekah Brooks prepares to reveal text messages and emails between herself and the prime minister, a former friend and part of the so-called "Chipping Norton" set.

The group includes Cameron, Brooks and other political and media elite who live in and around the well-heeled Oxfordshire town of Chipping Norton, giving rise to accusations of cronyism and suspicions that Britain is run by an exclusive clique.


Cameron says a judge-led inquiry into media ethics, known as the Leveson inquiry, should be allowed to examine the evidence.

That inquiry is expected to summon Hunt to give evidence in about three weeks, and Cameron has faced accusations that he is pre-empting its findings by saying he has "full confidence" in his culture secretary, a fellow Conservative.

Miliband and others accuse Cameron of a cover up, a charge that is gaining traction among the prime minister's critics given that he has so far ruled out a separate probe into Hunt.

Critics argue that finding out whether Hunt broke the ministerial code is beyond the remit of the Leveson inquiry - a stance shared by the inquiry itself - but on Monday Cameron insisted it would not be a good idea to have a "parallel" probe.

Hunt's special adviser Adam Smith last week resigned after emails, released by Murdoch's executive son James during his appearance at the Leveson inquiry, appeared to show that Hunt's office had leaked confidential information to News Corp.

Cameron's critics are incredulous that Smith, a junior official, acted alone in his contacts with News Corp on the BSkyB bid, one of the biggest in British media history.

The prime minister's cosy ties with the Murdochs and News Crop ended after accusations last year that a News Corp-owned newspaper hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl, sparking a parliamentary inquiry, criminal investigations and arrests.

The parliamentary committee tasked with looking into phone hacking took evidence from Rupert and James Murdoch last year, and on Tuesday is set to publish its long awaited, and possibly politically incendiary, report.

"There's continuing, ongoing pressure and at some point the boil is going to have to be lanced," said Ivor Gaber, political journalism professor at London's City University. "There is pressure building on them and it will continue on both the Murdochs and Cameron. It's continuing to unravel."

Brothers diagnosed with 'Benjamin Button' age-reversing disease -

Matthew, right, and Michael on holiday in Spain in1982

The brothers' parents, Anthony Clark, 63, and his wife Christine, 61, said it was terrible to watch their grown sons deteriorate before their eyes and described feeling "powerless" to help them.

Mr Clark drew parallels between the disease and the 2008 fantasy drama, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, in which an old man played by Brad Pitt gradually gets younger.

"It's a devastating disease. Both of them are very childlike now," he said.

"Matthew went out the other day and bought himself a train set and a Mr Potato Head.

"We will be out walking and things which might interest a toddler interest them, the other day we were walking home when Michael saw a balloon and pointed it out to us.

"He also has these awful episodes where he screams and shouts and says 'I don't know what I'm doing' because the disease effects his memory he can't remember much of who he was.

"In the mornings we have a routine where we have to get a board game out and let him play with that so that he comes out of his 'state' as we call it.

"It is like an adult having a toddler's tantrum. It's obviously worse for him but it is terrible for us too. There's nothing we can do to help and we feel absolutely powerless."

Mr Clark, who is retired from the prison service, said the men's lives began to unravel when their symptoms started to become more pronounced.

They initially stopped replying to texts or returning phone calls but when Matthew had lost his job, he was so confused he sat in a room with just a candle at night and no food or electricity for two weeks because he didn't know how to claim benefits.

"He was as helpless as a child," his father said.

Michael, who had been discharged from the RAF the previous year after damaging his knee, was eventually evicted from his flat because he stopped looking after himself and doing basic household chores.

He slept in a park for three weeks before finding a soup kitchen which sent him to the Salvation Army. Staff there realised something was wrong and sent him to a doctor, who carried out an MRI scan and diagnosed the disease.

Mr Clark said: "When they asked him if he had any siblings he said he had a brother and they ran tests on Matthew and discovered he had the same thing.

"At first we were told doctors thought no one else had this condition and then we found out there are 100 adults in the UK, but no one had heard of it occurring in two siblings.

Mr and Mrs Clark, from Lincoln, retired to Benidorm in 2007 but returned to the UK in January to care for their sons.

They said were receiving no support and needed a more suitable house. They are keen to move to Hull where they have family who could help.

Leukodystrophy refers to a group of neurological disorders caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve fibres in the brain.

When the nerve endings are damaged, the brain stops sending out correct messages and the body is unable to perform basic functions such as walking, talking and swallowing.

The genetic disorder can be passed down from a parent but can also mutate spontaneously.

The Myelin Project funds research into the disease in an attempt to find treatments and, ultimately, a cure, but the illness is so rare that little is known about it. Although 37 strands have so far been identified, there are believed to be many others.

Lynda Carthy, chief executive officer of Myelin in the UK said it was often misdiagnosed as the symptoms can resemble those of a stroke, Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson's.

"It is so complex because no two patients are the same," she said. "I know of around 100 sufferers in this country but in certain circles it can be seen as a curse or an embarrassment and the stigma stops people coming forward.

"There is an estimated one in three billion chance of two people who carry the gene deficiency meeting and becoming partners. There is no cure and it will eventually end in death as the brain shuts down."

The 1992 film Lorenzo's Oil, starring Susan Sarandon and Nike Nolte, explored fate of 14-year-old American Lorenzo Odone, who had Adrenoleukodystrophy, and his parents' quest to find a cure.

With the help of a British scientist, they invented an edible mixture of olive and rapeseed oil extract which appeared to halt the destruction caused by the disease, but it is only effective for that particular strain of Leukodystrophy, known as ALD, and must be applied before the symptoms emerge.

Odone died aged 30 in 2008 and his parents later founded the Myelin Project to promote research into diseases which destroy myelin such as multiple sclerosis and the leukodystrophies.

Man, 38, arrested on suspicion of murdering hairdresser in a brutal knife ... - Daily Mail

  • Ivan Esack questioned by Kent Police over brutal stabbing this morning
  • He is said to have resigned from the force two or three years ago after a drugs-related incident
  • The 38-year-old is now a football agent and co-owns the salon where his wife was killed
  • Paramedics battled to save Natalie throughout the morning

By Emma Reynolds


A former detective has been arrested over the murder of his estranged wife after she was stabbed to death at her hairdressing salon this morning.

Ivan Esack, 38, was questioned by Kent Police today following the vicious stabbing of wife Natalie at Esack Hair and Beauty in Ashford, at around 9am.

Now a football agent and co-owner of the 'high end' hairdressers with his wife, Mr Esack used to be a detective for the force.

Dramatic tale: Natalie Esack, left, was found covered in stab wounds at her salon this morning, an hour before police arrested her estranged husband Ivan, right

It is believed that the couple had been married for eight years but had recently been living apart.

They are not believed to have any children together.

Police discovered the seriously injured woman, who is in her 30s, at 9.40am and paramedics fought in vain to save her throughout the morning.

Officers searching for the killer arrested Mr Esack at his home in Ashford an hour later.

The house was being searched by forensic teams today and a post mortem on Natalie's body was expected to take place tomorrow.

A spokesman for the investigating force confirmed it was Mr Esack who had been arrested.

They said earlier: 'Kent Police has confirmed that a woman has died following an incident at a business in Ashford High Street this morning.

Shocking violence: Police launched an investigation after finding the seriously injured woman at the salon at 9.40am

Shocking violence: Police launched an investigation after finding the seriously injured woman at the salon at 9.40am

'Police were called to the High Street by the South East Coast Ambulance Service at 9.40am.

'A 38-year-old Ashford man was arrested at 10.40am at an address in the town on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody.'

The family of the victim has been told of the news, police said.

One man working near the hairdressers said he heard 'shouting and screaming' before police arrived at the scene, according to a local paper.

It is understood the victim and one of her employees were in the salon at the time of the attack and there were no customers.

Police confirmed Mrs Esack was stabbed with a knife - dispelling rumours she had been attacked with hairdressers' scissors.

Officers remain on the scene while forensic investigations are carried out and a nearby road is cordoned off.

An ambulance and a stretcher were left outside the salon all morning, and staff were seen sobbing. 

Tragic: The hairdresser, who was in her 30s, died from her stab wounds after ambulances waited outside the salon throughout the morning

Tragic: The hairdresser, who was in her 30s, died from her stab wounds after ambulances waited outside the salon throughout the morning

At about 11.30am, the stretcher was taken back to the ambulance with resuscitation equipment and oxygen tanks on it before driving away.

The air ambulance also landed near the old market site.

Mr Esack is the owner and director of IAE Football Ltd which, the website says, 'is an agency representing professional footballers and coaches throughout the United Kingdom.'

Crystal Palace striker Wilfred Zaha, who has been linked to a move to Premiership clubs including Manchester United, is pictured on IAE's website.

Before becoming a football agent, he worked for Kent Police. It is understood he resigned from the force two or three years ago following a drugs-related incident.

Popular shop: A man working near the hairdressers said he heard 'shouting and screaming' before police arrived on the busy street

Popular shop: A man working near the hairdressers said he heard 'shouting and screaming' before police arrived on the busy street

However, Mr Esack does not appear on the list of official football agents licensed by FIFA.
He claims on his company website to have passed an agent's exam and to have been issued with an FA licence, but the FA does not issue licences to agents - it is FIFA who do that.

Police investigating the murder today took away a a black Vauxhall estate from outside Mr Esack's modern red-brick detached home.

Neighbours in the quiet cul-de-sac in Ashford, Kent, said Natalie Esack had recently moved out and had not been living there following the break-up.

The neighbour, who would not give her name, said: 'I met them both at a Neighbourhood Watch street party last summer. She was quiet but he was more outgoing and talkative.

'They seemed a pleasant couple. He told me he wanted to be more involved in politics and become a councillor. He said he was working for the Tory MP Damian Green.

'He told me he was an ex-policeman.

'They always had nice cars. He drove a black Mercedes. I often saw him walking their dog in the mornings, a Doberman.

'Natalie was very pretty, she had long dark hair. I'm very shocked to hear what has happened to her.'

In a profile on himself, Mr Esack says he is 'a former police officer, who spent several years working as a criminal investigator for one of the country's largest police forces.'

The profile adds: 'During my time as a police officer I encountered many different people from a whole range of interesting and diverse backgrounds.

'However, my first love has always been football and it has been my ultimate dream to be involved in the football industry. In January 2010 I left the police force and embarked on the tough process of obtaining my player's agent license.

'I'm pleased to say that I was successful in passing the agents exam at the first attempt and obtained the necessary insurance and signed the code of conduct, which resulted in the Football Association issuing my license.

'Why I'm an agent? My main motivation in being a football agent is that I care passionately about the game and I feel I have the life experience to advise and look after the everyday needs of professional footballers and coaches.

'Honesty and integrity, is a vital ingredient in any working relationship and I can personally guarantee that I am a person that people can trust and confide in with confidentiality assured at all times.'

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Khalil Dale: Red Cross had contact with kidnappers who executed British doctor - Daily Mail

  • Police discovered Khalil Dale's head and body wrapped in plastic in the southwestern city of Quetta
  • Note on body said he had been 'slaughtered for not paying a ransom amount'
  • ICRC condemned death as a 'barbaric act',
  • Pro-Taliban militants are active in the province where he was killed
  • 'I utterly condemn the kidnapping and killing of Mr Dale,' said William Hague

By Keith Gladdis, Imtiaz Hussain and Ian Garland


The Red Cross bosses of slaughtered doctor Khalil Dale have confirmed they had contact with his kidnappers and refused to pay a ransom to free him.

The 60-year-old British aid worker was found beheaded and riddled with bullets on a roadside in Pakistan on Saturday.

His head and body were discovered wrapped in a plastic bag with a note addressed to the chief of police, which read: 'This is the body of Khalil who we have slaughtered for not paying a ransom amount'.

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Experienced: Dale had worked for the ICRC and the British Red Cross in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq before coming to Pakistan

Experienced: Dale had worked for the ICRC and the British Red Cross in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq before coming to Pakistan

Khalil Dale, 60, was taken at gunpoint in January while he was working with the Red Cross in the south-west city of Quetta.

Sean Maguire, of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has confirmed that the organisation had been in contact with the kidnappers but refused to reveal any details.

He said the organisation had a policy of not paying ransoms.

Mr Maguire explained: 'We said that we had some contact with the abductors but we wouldn't want to give succour to future kidnappers by saying we countenanced paying a ransom.

'We did everything possible to try to get Khalil out and we are very sad that our efforts failed.

'We put every effort that we could into liberating him and it is deeply, deeply unfortunate that we did not manage to free him. His death, to our mind, is senseless and barbaric.'

The Pakistani High Commissioner in London, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, also condemned the killing as barbaric.

'No word can describe the dastardly act of killing an innocent person who was all his life working in aid of the helpless and destitute," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He said the authorities in Pakistan were now trying to establish who was responsible.

'We are investigating because these things happen in that area. We are trying to find out who they actually are, whether they are Pakistani Taliban or Afghani Taliban. They could be anybody because the game has become so murky in that area,' he said.

Local police said the Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for the killing.

Tragic: Pakistani police officials carry the covered body along a street in Quetta

Tragic: Pakistani police officials carry the covered body along a street in Quetta

David Cameron last night described the killing of Mr Dale, a Muslim convert who was also known as Ken, as a 'shocking and merciless act'.

The Prime Minister said: 'I was deeply saddened to hear today about the  brutal murder of Khalil Dale – a man who was killed whilst providing humanitarian support to others.

'This was a shocking and merciless act, carried out by people with no respect for human life and the rule of law. Khalil Dale has dedicated many years of his life to helping some of the most vulnerable people in the world and my thoughts today are with his friends and family.'

The health programme manager from Dumfries, Scotland, was travelling home from a school in the troubled Baluchistan province in a clearly marked Red Cross vehicle when he was stopped and kidnapped.

He had been working in the country for a year after postings in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Friends said Mr Dale – who started his career as a nurse at Dumfries and Galloway Infirmary – had been planning to travel to Australia to marry his partner Anne, who he is believed to have met while working abroad.

He had previously returned to Scotland to look after his mother, Margaret, who died in 2007. 
Foreign Secretary William Hague said he learned of the death 'with great sadness', adding that 'tireless efforts' had been made to secure Mr Dale's release.

Mr Hague said: 'I utterly condemn the kidnapping and killing of Mr Dale, and send my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. This was a senseless and cruel act.'

Mr Dale's brother Ian, who lives in New Zealand, travelled to Pakistan ten days after he was taken to try to secure his release. At the time he said police had identified the group involved.

Brutal: A sharp knife was used to sever his head from the body, said the doctor who first examined him

Brutal: A sharp knife was used to sever his head from the body, said the doctor who first examined him

Speaking earlier this year to appeal for his release, Mr Dale's step-niece, Justine Barber, 41, described him as an honourable man doing an honest job.

She said: 'He is a lovely man whose lifelong ambition has been to serve those less fortunate.'
Friends of Mr Dale last night described him as 'an absolutely lovely guy' who had devoted his life to caring for others.

Mr Dale's step-niece, Justine Barber

Mr Dale's step-niece, Justine Barber

Retired nurse Sheila Howat, a former colleague, said: 'It's dreadful what has happened to him, really awful. The world has lost someone who really cared for others.

'I think the circumstances are absolutely barbaric and disgraceful. He did not deserve that end to his life.

'I knew him as Ken, and he was an absolutely lovely person, devoted to caring for others less fortunate than himself.

'He spent time in war-torn countries where help was needed and people were desperate, and that was Ken's goal in life.'

She plans to contact other friends of Mr Dale to arrange a memorial service in Dumfries where he was a member of Friends of the Earth and the Coalition for Peace and Justice.

Mr Dale – who was born in Yemen and was fluent in Arabic and Swahili – had been no stranger to danger.

On previous assignments with the Red Cross, he had been imprisoned and tortured and robbed at gunpoint.

In 1994, he was awarded an MBE for his humanitarian work in some of the world's hot spots.

A Red Cross spokesman said it 'condemns in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act'.

He added: 'We are devastated. Khalil was a trusted and very experienced staff member who significantly contributed to the humanitarian cause.'

Police said Mr Dale's body was found in an orchard near Quetta. Police chief Ahsan Mahboob verified details and wording of the note on his body.

Honoured: Mr Dale after being awarded the MBE at Buckingham Palace with his brother Ian and Ian's wife Janet and friend Andrea

Honoured: Mr Dale after being awarded the MBE at Buckingham Palace with his brother Ian and Ian's wife Janet and friend Andrea

One World Trade Center now New York City's tallest skyscraper - Chicago Sun-Times

Story Image

FILE- In this Dec. 16, 2010, file photo, an ironworker connects a steel plate to a column at One World Trade Center in New York. The Empire State Building is visible in the rear upper left. One World Trade Center, the giant monolith being built to replace the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks, will lay claim to the title of New York City?s tallest skyscraper on Monday, April 30, 2012, as workers erect steel columns that will make its unfinished skeleton a little over 1,250 feet, just high enough to peak over the observation deck on the Empire State Building. The milestone is a preliminary one. The so-called ?Freedom Tower? isn?t expected to reach its full height for at least another year, at which point it is likely to be declared the tallest building in the U.S. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Updated: April 30, 2012 12:38PM

NEW YORK — One World Trade Center, the monolith being built to replace the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks, will lay claim to the title of New York City's tallest skyscraper on Monday. Workers will erect steel columns that will make its unfinished skeleton a little over 1,250 feet high, just enough to peek over the roof of the observation deck on the Empire State Building.

The milestone is a preliminary one. Workers are still adding floors to the so-called Freedom Tower and it isn't expected to reach its full height for at least another year, at which point it is likely to be declared the tallest building in the U.S., and third tallest in the world.

Those bragging rights, though, will carry an asterisk.

Crowning the world's tallest buildings is a little like picking the heavyweight champion in boxing. There is often disagreement about who deserves the belt.

In this case, the issue involves the 408-foot-tall needle that will sit on the tower's roof.

Count it, and the World Trade Center is back on top. Otherwise, it will have to settle for No. 2, after the Willis Tower in Chicago.

"Height is complicated," said Nathaniel Hollister, a spokesman for The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats, a Chicago-based organization considered an authority on such records.

Experts and architects have long disagreed about where to stop measuring super-tall buildings outfitted with masts, spires and antennas that extend far above the roof.

Consider the case of the Empire State Building: Measured from the sidewalk to the tip of its needle-like antenna, the granddaddy of all skyscrapers actually stands 1,454 feet high, well above the mark being surpassed by One World Trade Center on Monday.

Purists, though, say antennas shouldn't count when determining building height.

An antenna, they say, is more like furniture than a piece of architecture. Like a chair sitting on a rooftop, an antenna can be attached or removed. The Empire State Building didn't even get its distinctive antenna until 1952. The record books, as the argument goes, shouldn't change every time someone installs a new satellite dish.

Excluding the antenna brings the Empire State Building's total height to 1,250 feet. That was still high enough to make the skyscraper the world's tallest from 1931 until 1972.

From that height, the Empire State seems to tower over the second tallest completed building in New York, the Bank of America Tower.

Yet, in many record books, the two skyscrapers are separated by just 50 feet.

That's because the tall, thin mast on top of the Bank of America building isn't an antenna but a decorative spire.

Unlike antennas, record-keepers like spires. It's a tradition that harkens back to a time when the tallest buildings in many European cities were cathedrals. Groups like the Council on Tall Buildings, and Emporis, a building data provider in Germany, both count spires when measuring the total height of a building, even if that spire happens to look exactly like an antenna.

This quirk in the record books has benefited buildings like Chicago's recently opened Trump International Hotel and Tower. It is routinely listed as being between 119 to 139 feet taller than the Empire State Building, thanks to the antenna-like mast that sits on its roof, even though the average person, looking at the two buildings side by side, would probably judge the New York skyscraper to be taller.

The same factors apply to measuring the height of One World Trade Center.

Designs call for the tower's roof to stand at 1,368 feet — the same height as the north tower of the original World Trade Center. The building's roof will be topped with a 408-foot, cable-stayed mast, making the total height of the structure a symbolic 1,776 feet.

So is that needle an antenna or a spire?

"Not sure," wrote Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the building.

The needle will, indeed, function as a broadcast antenna. It is described on the Port Authority's website as an antenna. On the other hand, the structure will have more meat to it than your average antenna, with external cladding encasing the broadcast mast.

Without that spire, One World Trade Center would still be smaller than the Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly known as the Sears Tower, which tops out at 1,451 feet (not including its own antennas).

Debate over which of those buildings can truly claim to be the tallest in the U.S. has been raging for years on Internet message boards frequented by skyscraper enthusiasts.

As for the Council on Tall Buildings, it is leaning toward giving One World Trade the benefit of the doubt.

"This is something we have discussed with the architect," Hollister said. "As we understand it, the needle is an architectural spire which happens to enclose an antenna. We would thus count it as part of the architectural height."

But, he noted, the organization has also chosen to sidestep these types of disputes, somewhat, by recognizing three types of height records: tallest occupied floor, architectural top and height to the tip.

Hollister also pointed out that, technically speaking, One World Trade Center isn't a record-holder in any category yet, as it is still unfinished.

"A project is not considered a building until it is topped out, fully clad, and open for business or at least occupiable," he said.

The debate doesn't quite end there.

Neither the Willis Tower nor One World Trade are as high as the CN Tower, in Toronto, which stands at 1,815 feet. That structure, however, isn't considered a building at all by most record-keepers, because it is predominantly a television broadcast antenna and observation platform with very little interior space. The tallest manmade structure in the Western Hemisphere will continue to be the 2,063-foot-tall KVLY-TV antenna in Blanchard, N.D.

As for the world's tallest building, the undisputed champion is the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, which opened in 2010 and reaches 2,717 feet.

Not counting about 5 feet of aircraft lights and other equipment perched on top, of course.

British PM 'deeply saddened' by death of abducted aid worker - The Express Tribune

Cameron says accused attackers of having no respect for human life and the rule of law. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday paid tribute to the kidnapped British Red Cross worker found dead in Pakistan, calling his murder a "shocking and merciless act".

Cameron said he "was deeply saddened" to hear about the death of Khalil Dale, and accused the attackers of having "no respect for human life and the rule of law."

"This was a shocking and merciless act," added the leader.

"Khalil Dale has dedicated many years of his life to helping some of the most vulnerable people in the world and my thoughts today are with his friends and family," he said in a statement.

London had tried tirelessly to secure the release of the 60-year-old since his kidnapping in Baluchistan province in January, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in an earlier statement.

"This was a senseless and cruel act, targeting someone whose role was to help the people of Pakistan, and causing immeasurable pain to those who knew Mr Dale," said Hague.

The Red Cross announced earlier Sunday that Dale, a health programme manager, had been found dead in Quetta, Pakistan, four months after he was abducted by armed men.

More than 1m cannabis plants seized in 2 years as police warn of 'significant ... -

Cannabis has long been the most commonly used illegal drug in Britain, with 6.8 per cent of adults and 17 per cent of young people admitting using it in the past year according to crime surveys.

But whereas in previous decades it was imported in resin form from Africa or Asia, most users now smoke a domestically-grown and stronger herbal type of the drug known as skunk.

When ACPO first started counting the number of farms detected by police forces across the country, in 2007-08, it found 3,032.

Latest figures for 2011-12 show the number now stands at 7,865.

In the past two years a total of 1,096,797 plants were seized with an estimated street value of £207m.

Police say there has been an increase in robberies, burglaries and violence linked to the farms, including the "taxing" or stealing of crops and people being kept in "debt bondage" by gang bosses and ordered to cultivate crops.

In order to spread the risk and make it harder for police to spot the farms, which usually use high-powered lights to grow the strong-smelling drugs, gangs are reducing the size of their sites.

Cannabis farmers are managing lots of small farms across residential areas, sometimes even in blocks of flats.

This also allows growers to claim the plants are for personal use if caught, but the report says the number of plants seized is often above 25 which is the threshold for commercial cultivation.

The greatest number of factories were found in west and south Yorkshire, the west midlands, London and the west country.

France: presidential campaign intensifies - euronews

With just a week to go before the vote that decides who will be the next president of France, both candidates have been rallying their supporters.

Sunday saw the Socialist candidate, challenger and favourite to win Francois Hollande in Paris, whilst incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy tried to boost his chances before May 6.

Dealing with accusations that he is trying to court far right voters, Sarkozy told an audience in Toulouse: "It's is not a question of the Right winning – that's stupid. It's not a question of the Left winning – that's ridiculous. It's a question of making sure France wins… and France is all the voters, however they cast their ballot."

Sarkozy has also been hit by allegations former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi funded his last presidential campaign in 2007 – a distraction for Sarkozy as he tries to close first-round winner Hollande's 10-point lead.

"I have been waiting for such a long time… for years. For years we've wanted change, we fought, we hoped… and now, the change is here… it's coming!" Hollande told his supporters at a rally in Paris.

One of Hollande's main aims is to make a new agreement with eurozone leaders that is not just about fiscal discipline, but also encourages growth.

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Hodgson to hold England talks - Sky News Australia

Updated: 15:16, Monday April 30, 2012

Roy Hodgson has been given permission by West Brom to speak to the Football Association regarding the vacant England managerial job.

FA chairman David Bernstein revealed the news in a statement on the governing body's official website on Sunday, adding that the West Brom manager is the only candidate that has been approached so far.

Hodgson's current deal at the Hawthorns is up for renewal at the end of the season.

In the statement, Bernstein said: 'I'm grateful to (West Brom chairman) Jeremy (Peace) and all at West Bromwich Albion for their co-operation in allowing us to approach Roy, who I have since spoken with.

'Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set out soon after Fabio Capello's departure.

'Further conversations will now take place with Roy and my Club England colleagues before any further announcements can be made.'

Hodgson has experience managing at international level after spells with Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Finland.

A West Brom statement said their negotiations with Hodgson regarding an extension to his deal are underway, but the manager was keen to hear the FA's proposal.

'West Bromwich Albion have today received an official approach from the Football Association to speak to head coach Roy Hodgson about the England manager's post,' the statement read.

'The club are currently in negotiations with Roy about a new contract - his current deal ends on June 30 - and remain very keen to bring these talks to a successful conclusion.

'However, Roy has expressed a desire to explore this opportunity and, accordingly, the club have granted him permission to speak to the FA.'

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who was the favourite to take up the post, is yet to be approached.

PM: Not even half way in euro crisis - The Sun

DAVID Cameron has shattered hopes of economic recovery by warning the euro crisis will last until after the 2015 election.

In a bleak assessment, the PM said Europe is still not even halfway through the chaos which has left it in meltdown.

As the Tories slumped to 29 per cent in the polls — their lowest since 2004 — he stressed Britain's hopes of growth are inextricably linked to Europe.

Speaking days after Britain slipped back into recession, the PM said: "I don't think we're anywhere near halfway through it because what's happening in the Eurozone is a massive tension between the single currency that countries are finding very difficult to adapt to. It's going to be a very long and painful process."

Most experts date the euro crisis back to late 2009. On the PM's time-scale, it would be at least another three to four years before Europe recovers.

Mr Cameron also raised doubts about whether the single currency can survive.

"The way it works in our United Kingdom is that different parts of it support each other. There isn't that in Europe and that's their problem," he said. Asked why the US economy is growing while Britain is back in recession, Mr Cameron said: "They don't have the Eurozone on their doorstep."

He told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show that last week's figures showing the economy shrank 0.2 per cent in the first three months of the year were "extremely disappointing". But he added: "What we absolutely mustn't do is throw away our plans for dealing with the debt."

His comments came as Scottish Roman Catholic leader Cardinal Keith O'Brien urged the PM to bring in a new "Robin Hood" tax to target the wealthiest.

Labour leader Ed Miliband, delighted at his party's 40 per cent poll rating, will today insist the recession was "made in Downing Street" and spell out his priorities, including fair deals on tax, jobs, energy, consumers and transport.

Redknapp backs Blackburn boss - Yahoo! Eurosport UK

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp believes Blackburn counterpart Steve Kean has done the best job possible, as Spurs returned to the top four in the Barclays Premier League with a commanding 2-0 victory over a poor Rovers side who remain marooned in the bottom three.

A Rafael van der Vaart tap-in and a fantastic free-kick from England full-back Kyle Walker secured a vital three points for Spurs, while Steve Kean's side did not have a single effort on goal, the first time that has happened to any team in the top-flight in eight years.

"It is difficult for them (Blackburn), they are struggling and he has got a tough job there. It has not been easy for him and how he has had to go through the year and keep them going, it must be so difficult. I wouldn't like to be in the position he has been in," Redknapp said.

"He hasn't been able to bring any players in and has got what he has got at the end of the day.

"Whether he was manager or (Manchester United manager) Alex Ferguson I think it would be difficult to get more out of them - he has got the best out of what he has had this season, that is my honest opinion on what I have seen of them."

The three points moved Spurs back into the top four, but Redknapp still believes it is all to play for in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

"It is going to be hard," he said.

"You never know, it is all to play for but we have got a couple of difficult away games and you just have to keep going. We have just got to keep going and see what happens, whoever saw Wigan pulling off the results they have pulled off?"

Blackburn remain 19th in the table following the result and are three points from safety with only two fixtures remaining, but Kean was happy with his side's commitment at White Hart Lane.

"As far as our application and effort in the game, that was there," he said. "The normal part of our game that is normally good and of quality - getting the ball into the front two - was difficult. I don't think we got any type of quality into the box. We normally do and that was the disappointing factor of the game."

Wind farms linked to rising temperatures: Scientists concerned about impact on ... - Daily Mail

By Rosie Taylor


Wind turbines could warm local climates up to ten times faster than the natural rate, a study has shown.

Researchers found air temperatures around four of the world's largest wind farms had increased by up to 0.72C in a decade. In contrast, the Earth's average temperatures have warmed by only 0.8C since 1900.

Temperature increases as more wind farms are built may have a long-term impact on wildlife and regional weather patterns, with experts warning that the effects from large farms could alter wind and rainfall patterns.

In a spin: Researchers found air temperatures around four of the worlds largest wind farms had increased by up to 0.72C in a decade. In contrast, the Earths average temperatures have warmed by only 0.8C since 1900.

In a spin: Researchers found air temperatures around four of the world's largest wind farms had increased by up to 0.72C in a decade. In contrast, the Earth's average temperatures have warmed by only 0.8C since 1900.

Scientists at the State University of New York at Albany studied satellite data of the areas around the wind farms, in Texas, from 2003 to 2011.

Publishing their findings in the scientific journal Nature, they said: 'We attribute this warming primarily to wind farms.

'The temperature change could be due to the effects of the energy expelled by farms and the movement and turbulence generated by turbine rotors.

'These changes, if spatially large enough, may have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate.'

But they warned that firm conclusions should not be drawn until more research had been carried out.

Some scientists have suggested that giant wind farms, comprising hundreds of thousands of turbines, would not only alter the weather but could be used to control it.

Britain currently has about 3,500 wind turbines, but there are plans to increase this to 10,000 onshore machines and 4,300 offshore by 2020.

The world's wind farms last year had the capacity to produce 238 gigawatts of electricity at any one time – a 21 per cent rise on 2010.

Capacity is expected to reach nearly 500 gigawatts by the end of 2016 as more turbines are built, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

Flood-Hit Town Under Threat Again - Sky News

Tewkesbury Floods In 2007

Tewkesbury was badly hit by floods in 2007

6:40am UK, Monday April 30, 2012

A town devastated by flooding five years ago is on alert again after rain and wind continued to wreak havoc across the country.

Tewkesbury, in Gloucestershire, was one of the worst hit places during flooding in July 2007, with more than 1,800 households turned upside down when torrential rainfall forced them to move out of their homes and into temporary accommodation.

The town, the scene of the striking image of Tewkesbury Abbey surrounded by flood water in 2007, is on alert again, with the Environment Agency (EA) setting up an incident room as heavy rain continued to cause the River Severn to rise.

A spokeswoman for the EA said three incident rooms had been set up in the Midlands, including at Tewkesbury, while a further incident room was set up for the Wessex area as southern parts of the UK take the brunt of the bad weather.

The agency has warned of localised flooding across parts of southern and eastern England, Midlands and Wales, with a total of 27 flood warnings and 173 flood alerts in place on its website.

A spokeswoman said: "It's not unusual to experience heavy downpours and some flooding - mainly of farmland - at this time of year, but we're continuing to closely monitor the forecast and rainfall particularly in areas along the rivers Severn, Teme and Avon, including Worcestershire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

"Environment Agency teams are out on the ground continuing a close watch on river levels as well as checking defences and clearing any potential blockages to reduce the risk of flooding."

The latest downpours come at the end of a particularly wet week for England and Wales, in which 42mm (1.7in) of rain fell in the South East and 55mm (2.2in) in the South West, which has now had 166% of the average rainfall for April.

Many areas at risk of floods are currently in a state of drought, which is gripping the South East, East Anglia, the Midlands, the South West and south and east Yorkshire after two unusually dry winters in a row.

While some parts of Britain can hope for a reprieve today, the South West shows no sign of drying up with the wet weather set to continue.

Sky News weather presenter Joanna Robinson said: "Most other places will dry up, but south-west Britain will stay wet and windy, with gusts up to 60mph."

Thousands of homes were left without power in Wales over the weekend.

Around 1,200 homes in south Wales still have no electricity.

Earlier many homes were cut off in the West Midlands, as well as 2,000 in the south west, electricity supplier Western Power said.

Prince William, Kate Middleton celebrate first wedding anniversary - Firstpost

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Prince William, Kate Middleton celebrate first wedding anniversary
London: Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, on Sunday celebrated their first wedding anniversary. The royal couple were planning to make it a private affair, a spokesperson for St. James' Palace confirmed earlier this week.
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Rampant Chelsea hit QPR for six - Yahoo! Sports

Fernando Torres hit his first Chelsea hat-trick as the Blues stepped up their bid for a top four finish with a 6-1 demolition of west London rivals QPR on Sunday.

Torres has endured a mostly miserable 15 months since his British record £50 million move from Liverpool, but the Spanish striker looks revitalised after his crucial late goal in Tuesday's Champions League semi-final triumph against Barcelona.

He was far too hot for QPR's statuesque defenders to handle and scored twice in the first half and once after the break to seal his first treble since September 2009, when he scored three for Liverpool against Hull.

Early strikes from Daniel Sturridge and John Terry had set the tone as the Blues destroyed QPR with four goals in the first 25 minutes at Stamford Bridge and Florent Malouda completed their biggest Premier League win of the season.

Chelsea move above Tottenham, who host Blackburn later on Sunday, into fifth place and within one point of fourth placed Newcastle, who visit the Bridge on Wednesday.

With the FA Cup final against Liverpool on Saturday and the Champions League final against Bayern Munich next month, Chelsea are eyeing a glorious end to a difficult season.

In contrast, QPR, who netted late on through Djibril Cisse, are above the relegation zone only on goal difference and face a nervous finale as they try to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.

The match had started without the traditional pre-match handshake, which was scrapped to avoid affecting Terry's upcoming trial over charges of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

But Sturridge, one of six changes made by interim boss Roberto Di Matteo, quickly got the focus back on football.

Just 45 seconds after kick off, Sturridge opened the scoring with a ferocious strike from the left edge of the penalty area that flashed past Paddy Kenny at his near post.

Confidence was clearly surging through Chelsea after the epic win at the Camp Nou and Frank Lampard went close to increasing the lead when his delicate chip forced Kenny to tip over.

That was only a temporary escape for QPR as Terry got the second goal from the resulting corner, the Chelsea captain out-muscling Clint Hill to reach Juan Mata's corner and direct a downwards header past Kenny from close-range.

There was a real menace about Chelsea every time they came forward and Torres, preferred up front to Didier Drogba, reprised his decisive effort against Barca to effectively kill off QPR in the 19th minute.

Salomon Kalou played an exquisite pass from the right flank towards Torres, who made a perfectly timed run into the penalty area before rounding Kenny and slotting home from a tight angle.

While it was Chelsea's defensive resilience that earned the plaudits in Barcelona, this was a chance for their forwards to take the spotlight against opponents who looked totally out of their depth in the face of such incisive attacking.

The fourth goal arrived in the 25th minute when Nedum Onuoha's panicked attempt to head a Lampard pass back toward Kenny surprised the QPR goalkeeper, who had raced off his line in an attempt to deal with the danger.

As the ball slipped out of Kenny's grasp, Torres was able to pick his spot and slide his 10th goal of the season into the empty net.

After such a craven capitulation in the first half, QPR were happy to opt for damage limitation after the break.

But Torres was able to complete his treble with a cool finish from Mata's pass in the 64th minute, prompting Blues owner Roman Abramovich to exchange delighted high fives with friends in his executive box.

French midfielder Malouda came off the bench to sweep home Chelsea's sixth goal in the 80th minute before Cisse got one back for QPR with a hooked finish four minutes later.

Celebs enjoy the conversation at White House Correspondents' Association Dinner - Chicago Sun-Times

Story Image

Wolf Blitzer, Eva Longoria at the White House correspondents' dinner. Photo by Lynn Sweet

Updated: April 30, 2012 1:00AM

WASHINGTON — The White House Correspondents' Association dinner has swelled from a Saturday night affair to a multiday series of parties with Hollywood stars and celebrities of all types mingling with media executives, political powerhouses and reporters.

President Obama and first lady Michelle just show up for the dinner, which gets so much attention because the stars come and national news outlets whip up publicity — this they know how to do — as they compete for the big names.

In the line of duty, I sent tweets from parties, shamelessly took celebrity pictures (check them out on my blog, and lost 10 pounds so I could get in a little black cocktail dress last worn in 1999.

Most vivid image: The dinner is over but the occupants of one of the best-placed tables — George Clooney, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Steven Spielberg, Time's Richard Stengel — aren't moving. Clooney — who uses his superstardom to try to jolt the world to do more to stop the killings in Sudan — is locked in animated conversation with Panetta.

They are ignoring the cellphone camera-wielding gawkers who have formed a semi-circle around them — watching as if they were at a zoo.

A real mench: That would be Diane Keaton, absolutely gracious.

Some stars who are used to being heavily managed when it comes to dealing with the press seem a little shocked to realize that at the dinner, they have voluntarily subjected themselves to being approached by journalists and celebrity hounds they have no control over.

Keaton — dressed every inch as Annie Hall — the hat, the pinstriped pantsuit, the man's tie — was friendly, approachable and a good sport about posing for pictures and engaging in small talk with total strangers.

Eva Longoria of "Desperate Housewives" fame, in a knee-length white dress, walked over to hug Keaton.

Journalist Jodi Enda — at the next table — asked Longoria why she decided to attend the dinner.

Longoria — an Obama campaign co-chair — said, "I'm a political news junkie." And to that point, I came across Longoria at one of the pre-dinner receptions — and she seemed — in a bit of table-turning — to get a kick out of posing for pictures with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Just fun to watch them interact: Goldie Hawn and her daughter Kate Hudson.

The pre-party before the pre-parties: On Saturday the big pre-dinner event once again was the garden brunch hosted by a group of strategists and operatives: Tammy Haddad, Ted Greenberg, Kevin Sheekey, Hilary Rosen (who made some news recently with a remark about Ann Romney) Clarke Camper, Mark Ein, Alex Castellanos, Anita Dunn, Bill Knapp, David Adler, Steve McMahon and Franco Nuschese.

For the second year, Chicagoan Susan Axelrod — wife of Obama chief advisor David Axelrod — she is the founder of CURE —Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy — was honored at the brunch, started by Haddad 19 years ago.

Rahm report: When I ran into the tuxedoed Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the dinner, he was hanging out with California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Bin Laden files show al-Qaida and Taliban leaders in close contact - New York Daily News

Documents found in the house where Osama bin Laden was killed a year ago show a close working relationship between top al-Qaida leaders and Mullah Omar, the overall commander of the Taliban, including frequent discussions of joint operations against Nato forces in Afghanistan, the Afghan government and targets in Pakistan.

The communications show a three-way conversation between Bin Laden, his then deputy Ayman Zawahiri and Omar, who is believed to have been in Pakistan since fleeing Afghanistan after the collapse of his regime in 2001.

They indicate a "very considerable degree of ideological convergence", a Washington-based source familiar with the documents told the Guardian.

The news will undermine hopes of a negotiated peace in Afghanistan, where the key debate among analysts and policymakers is whether the Taliban – seen by many as following an Afghan nationalist agenda – might once again offer a safe haven to al-Qaida or like-minded militants, or whether they can be persuaded to renounce terrorism.

One possibility, experts say, is that although Omar built a strong relationship with Bin Laden and Zawahiri, other senior Taliban commanders see close alliance or co-operation with al-Qaida as deeply problematic.

Western intelligence officials estimate that there are less than 100 al-Qaida-linked fighters in Afghanistan, and last year the United Nations split its sanctions list to separate the Taliban and al-Qaida.

Both David Cameron and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton have said that some kind of political settlement involving the Taliban is key to the stability of Afghanistan once most western troops have withdrawn by 2014.

Some communications in the documents date back several years but others are said to be from only weeks before the raid on 2 May last year in which Bin Laden died.

"Questions and issues come up. They don't see eye to eye on everything but it's clear they understand they have an interest in co-operating [on attacks against Nato, Afghan government and Pakistani targets]," the source said. "Of those engaged in the conversation, two [Zawahiri and Omar] are still alive today and there is no reason to believe that either has substantially changed his views in the last year."

Zawahiri became leader of al-Qaida following Bin Laden's death.

The range of the al-Qaida senior leadership's interlocutors revealed by the documents has also surprised investigators, the source said.

Bin Laden appears to have been in direct or indirect communication with Nigerian-based militant group Boko Haram as well as many other militant outfits. As with the Taliban, the question of whether Boko Haram, which has been responsible for a series of suicide attacks and bombings in the last year, is in touch with al-Qaida or one of its affiliates has been hotly debated by analysts.

But documents in the cache show that leaders of the Nigerian group had been in contact with top levels of al-Qaida in the past 18 months – confirming claims made to the Guardian in January by a senior Boko Haram figure.

Other papers in the haul are now likely to be declassified. They include memos apparently dictated by Bin Laden urging followers to avoid indiscriminate attacks which kill Muslims and pondering a rebranding of al-Qaida under a new name.

The documents include memos stating broad strategic aims but little "hands-on" planning, according to sources.

Despite the correspondence with Omar and other groups, Bin Laden still appears to have been largely out of touch with the day to day working of his organisation. His communications were written on a computer in the compound in Abbottabad where he lived, loaded on to memory sticks and then sent from distant internet cafes by a courier. It was this courier who eventually led the CIA to the al-Qaida chief.

A reliable account of Bin Laden's life on the run can now be established, pieced together from the testimony, viewed by the Guardian, of one of Bin Laden's wives, the recollections of the ISI officers who interviewed her compiled by retired Pakistani army brigadier Shaukat Qadir, statements of militants detained by the US published by WikiLeaks and interviews with former US officials.

Following the collapse of the Taliban regime in November 2001, Bin Laden's wives and children fled Afghanistan , travelling first to Karachi, the vast Pakistani port city, where they spent several months. Bin Laden himself headed north into the remote Afghan province of Kunar after the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001. According to ISI officials quoted by Qadir, a senior militant detained by the ISI in 2006 told interrogators that Bin Laden had met Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Afghan insurgent leader, in Kunar at this time. ISI officials also maintain that Khaled Sheikh Mohamed told them that the al-Qaida chief was there.

Former American officials this weekend told the Guardian that there was considerable intelligence indicating that Bin Laden was in eastern Afghanistan and making occasional journeys across the border into Pakistan at this time.

By the summer of 2004, Bin Laden appears to have moved into Pakistan permanently. According to the testimony of his youngest, Yemeni-born wife, she and her two children were reunited with her husband in a house in a remote district of the rugged Swat valley, in northwest Pakistan, in March 2004, before moving to another safe house in a small town called Haripur, 20 miles from Abbottabad, that autumn. In early summer 2005 the family then moved into the newly constructed compound where they would spend the next six years. They were joined there by Bin Laden's second wife and her three children.

According to ISI officers interviewed by Qadir, the location had been scouted a year previously by senior militant Abu Farraj al-Libbi who then travelled to Swat to get Bin Laden's approval for the move. The al-Qaida chief insisted that the land for the house be bought, not rented, and sketched out a design for the construction – currently in the possession of the ISI.

The al-Qaida leader himself evaded detection while on the move by pretending to be an ailing Pashtun former militant, still on Pakistan's wanted list, who hoped to return home to die, Qadir has written.

Western security officials believe Bin Laden's oldest wife joined him in Abbottabad after being released in deal between Iranian authorities and a Pakistani militant group holding an Iranian diplomat.

By November 2010, the crucial courier had been identified and located. He then led the hunters to the Abbottabad house.

This article was distributed through the NewsCred Smartwire. Original article © The Guardian 2012