sábado, 31 de agosto de 2013

Mourinho: Wayne Rooney chase over - FOXSports.com

Jose Mourinho declared that Chelsea's transfer business was finished for the summer after the UEFA Super Cup defeat on penalties against Bayern Munich.

Chelsea have been busy strengthening their squad this summer but Mourinho had identified Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney as his main target.

He had hoped to bring in the England man but a couple of bids have been turned down and United have repeatedly stressed that he is not for sale.

Having turned his focus to other options and signed Samuel Eto'o from Anzhi Makhachkala this week, Mourinho now accepts that his pursuit of Rooney is at an end and he does not expect any more new arrivals before Monday's deadline.

Speaking after his side's 5-4 loss to Bayern on penalties in Prague, the Portuguese insisted he was happy with his current squad.

Questioned on whether there would be further signings, he told Sky Sports: "It's the end. We have a good group.

"Samuel will give us other kind of qualities in attack. He is an experienced player in a team that needs some experienced players."

Asked specifically about Rooney, Mourinho added: "For all parties, it's finished. One thing is to tell you through other people that you want, you want, you want very much, but at the end of the day...

"I feel everyone has the right to show his life, his future and I respect that."

Lemon: Some celeb pads not homely - Belfast Telegraph

Keith Lemon has confessed he felt uncomfortable visiting some celebrity homes for Through The Keyhole because they were so swanky.

The Celebrity Juice star is hosting a new revival of the TV series which gives a sneak peek into the homes of the stars.

But Keith revealed some of them didn't feel very homely.

"We went into one house for Through The Keyhole and you daren't sit down, it felt like a private members' place," he said. "You want it to feel like a home. You don't want to say to people, 'Don't sit there, don't touch that'."

He also revealed some houses had more obvious clues about their owners than others - as people had giant portraits of themselves on the walls.

Keith said: "If I were on Through The Keyhole, the panel would be able to guess it were my home because they would have seen it in Lemon La Vida Loca, my TV series.

"But they'd also be able to tell it were me from the big portraits of myself in the house.

"I'm glad to say that these other celebrities have as many pictures up of themselves around their houses that I have of me. And I thought I was an egomaniac!"

:: Through The Keyhole starts on ITV on Saturday, August 31

UK government says Greenwald partner practiced terrible security - Washington Post (blog)

Glenn Greenwald (Vincent Yu/AP)

Glenn Greenwald (Vincent Yu/AP)

David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald's Brazilian partner, did a terrible job of safeguarding classified documents leaked by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. At least, that's the view of the UK government.

In a written statement to a British court Friday, Oliver Robbins, deputy national security adviser in the Cabinet Office, said that the the UK government had managed to access some of the documents Miranda had been carrying in encrypted form.

While most of the files remained encrypted, it was possible to access a portion of files on the hard drive because a piece of paper containing basic instructions for accessing some of the data that included a password for decrypting one of the files was among Miranda's things.

Robbins said assessments by GCHQ had shown that the number of documents on the hard drive seized from Miranda was consistent with the number that Snowden would have had access to when working at the NSA and that he "indiscriminately appropriated material in bulk", and that at least some of that was being couriered by Miranda.

Robbins "believes the data may have already been obtained by one or more of the countries through which Snowden has passed since he fled the US," including China and Russia.

But the government's statement raises as many questions as it answers. For example, the government claims that Miranda was carrying 58,000 encrypted documents. Yet David Barrett of the Telegraph  quotes the government saying that so far, "only 75 documents have been reconstructed." If the government had the password used to encrypt the documents, they should have been able to unscramble all 58,000 documents. If not, how did they know how many files he was carrying?

One possibility is that the file encrypted with the recovered password had already been deleted. Deleted files can sometimes be reconstructed with forensic techniques, but it's not a fast or foolproof process.

5000 NHS patients put up in hotels - Telegraph.co.uk

The hotel includes an indoor heated pool and a "champagne bar" and one night with breakfast normally costs £94. Most rooms feature a balcony and are "beautifully decorated in elegant tones and wooden furniture creating a comfortable atmosphere", according to the hotel website.

King's College Hospital, which offers hotels for patients travelling from afar with early morning appointments, spent £2,150 on the four-star Church Street Hotel, London, where a standard double ensuite is £125 for a night.

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust sent patients with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and personality disorders to stay in hotels, the disclosures show, including one bill for £945 on accommodation at the four-star Croydon Park Hotel for one patient.

University Hospitals Bristol used hotels for cardiac patients, surgery patients, and paediatrics, as well as for long-term care of those recovering from bone marrow transplants.

Last year an inquest heard how a cancer patient died alone in a four-star hotel he was sent to by University College London Hospital, after underdoing rounds of chemotherapy.

Salford Royal trust uses hotels for patients with chronic pain, such as back or neck pain, while Royal Free hospital in London uses hotels for patients who need infusions or investigations over several days, and said it was cheaper for patients who don't need a hospital bed to stay in a hotel.

Some trusts said they offered hotels if patients have early morning appointments. Others said such accomodation could be cheaper than a night in the ward if a patient did not require 24-hour-care.

Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "It's a terrible waste of the NHS budget and taxpayers' money for health chiefs to resort to putting up patients in 4 star hotels.

"If the NHS did not squander cash so readily elsewhere it would not struggle to treat and accommodate patients on hospital grounds. The sick should be kept and cared for on wards, not carted off to expensive hotels that consume even more of the health budget."

Concerns were also raised about the well-being of patients who need hospital care but are left to recuperate in hotels.

Roger Goss, co-director of Patient Concern said the schemes were "an outrageous waste of taxes" and could pose a risk to patients, unless they were very carefully selected.

He said he was particularly concerned about the use of hotel accomodation for those with serious mental health problems.

Julia Manning, chief executive of think tank 2020Health said hotels could be a sensible use of NHS resources, and could work out cheaper and more comfortable for patients. However, she said the NHS should not be spending on the most lavish hotels, and should be very careful in the selection of patients, and keeping "high-risk" cases on site.

Martin Baggaley, Medical Director at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We only put patients in a hotel if it is necessary to do so. These are people who are ready to leave hospital. Arrangements are made locally for them to move into a hotel on a temporary basis. We think this is better than keeping people in hospital unnecessarily. We have never had any serious incidents occurring when we take this form of action."

The trust said such accomodation might be provided if a patient was well enough to return home, but was unable to, because they were homeless or their home was uninhabitable.

A spokesperson for King's College Hospital said hotel accomodation was provided for some patients who travelled hundreds of miles for liver services.

iPhone 5S release date slated for September 20 - Metro

A week in tech: iPhone 5S release date
The iPhone 5S is expected to be launched in September (Picture: Stuff)

Stuff, the world's best selling gadget magazine, fills us in on the hottest tech news from the week including the iPhone 5 release date and a Google Nexus 4 price drop. 

iPhone 5S release date slated for September 20

The iPhone 5S and budget iPhone 5C could be released on September 20 according to the latest whispers to come out of the iRumour mill.

The speculated date has arisen after TmoNews' mystery sources told the site that US T-Mobile employees have been forbidden to go on holiday from September 20-22.

Unbelievable bang for your buck – Google Nexus 4 drops to £160

Price drop: Google Nexus 4 (Picture: Stuff)
Price drop: Google Nexus 4 (Picture: Stuff)

Google has dropped £80 off the price of the 8GB and 16GB Nexus 4 models to £160 and £200 respectively.

That's an insanely good deal for a 4.7in quad-core handset with pure vanilla Android and guaranteed on-the-day updates.

The Nexus 4 earned a well-deserved 5 stars in Stuff's review, thanks to its gorgeous glass build and super slick performance, and you'd be hard pressed not to snap one up for this price.

Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch to be revealed on September 4

Coming soon: Samsung Galaxy Gear (Picture: Stuff)
Coming soon: Samsung Galaxy Gear (Picture: Stuff)

Samsung is set to unveil the Galaxy Gear smartwatch on September 4, according to an executive from the company.

Confirming reports that the Galaxy Gear would launch alongside the Galaxy Note 3, Lee Young-hee, executive vice president of Samsung Mobile, has announced that the Galaxy Gear will be revealed at Samsung's pre-IFA briefing in Berlin.

Apple to invite you and your friends to an iPhone-powered silent disco?


Party time: Apple's silent disco (Picture: Stuff)
Party time: Apple's silent disco (Picture: Stuff)

Apple has filed a patent that describes a method of creating, essentially, your very own silent disco using little more than a bunch of iOS devices and some headphones.

Apple's patent details a system that works slightly differently, because there is no central device acting as the DJ and broadcasting the same tune to every other user. Instead a collection of networked iPhones, iPod Touches or iPads will share tempo information, which means everyone in the group can listen to different music but at (roughly) the same BPM.

Kinect lets you look your Skype caller in the eye

Will you look me in the eye? (Picture: Stuff)
Will you look me in the eye? (Picture: Stuff)

One of the problems with Skype video calls is that you and your counterpart are rarely looking each other in the eye, because you're gazing at their on-screen image rather than directly into your webcam. It's all a bit jarring.

A new software prototype from the Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich aims to change that using facial recognition and the Xbox 360's Kinect camera. The camera and software isolate the caller's face and rotate it slightly, creating the illusion of eye contact. Only the face is moved, and done so seamlessly – the rest of the image remains untouched.

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Super Puma crash not due to technical problems, says CAA - BBC News

The fatal Super Puma helicopter crash off Shetland was not caused by airworthiness or technical problems, based on current information, the Civil Aviation Authority has said.

Helicopter operators are making arrangements to return their fleets to service after the suspension of flights was lifted.

The CAA said it considered the decision to resume flights as "appropriate".

The flight data recorder is being analysed by investigators.

A CAA spokesman said: "As the UK's aviation safety regulator, protecting the public is our fundamental purpose.

"Start Quote

We would not allow a return to service unless we were satisfied that it was safe to do so"

End Quote CAA spokesperson

"It was right that Super Puma operations were suspended in the immediate aftermath of the accident on 23 August, until further information was available.

"We have reviewed and assessed the evidence available, including the information already published by the Air Accident Investigation Branch and detailed information provided to us by the operators.

"Our team of specialists includes pilots who are experienced in flying the Super Puma AS332 L2 in the North Sea environment."

The spokesman added: "Based on all the information currently available, we do not believe that the accident was caused by an airworthiness or technical problem, and consider that the decision by the operators to resume Super Puma flights is appropriate.

"We would not allow a return to service unless we were satisfied that it was safe to do so. We will review the position if any new evidence comes to light."

'Duty of care'

None of the three North Sea helicopter operators had Super Puma passenger flights on Friday.

The Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) said a campaign to engage with the offshore workforce was under way.

Les Linklater of HSSG said: "Four people tragically lost their lives on Friday. However there are almost 16,000 people offshore currently, with over 12,000 in the most affected areas (central and northern North Sea).

"Today, there are over 250 people who have spent more than 21 days offshore, this is increasing daily and they and their families are wondering when they are going to get home.

"We have a duty of care to all offshore workers both in terms of their safety and their well-being; we must consider the cumulative risk of the 'time out'. We must avoid a further tragedy through the introduction of human factor-based risk such as fatigue, stress and other well-being concerns that increase the likelihood of a high consequence - low frequency event."

He added: "The individual helicopter operating companies will now work with their customers, to ensure the correct information and confidence-building communication is available, sensitive to the individual needs of the offshore workforce, before returning to full commercial passenger service."

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union, told BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme that he backed the decision to return the Super Pumas to service, in light of the evidence currently available.

He said: "You've got to weigh up, at the end of the day, the pressures on individuals who are stranded on rigs and want to get back, or who've been away from work for two to three weeks.

"Also, at the end of the day, we've got to look at the evidence that was put in front of us and at this moment in time there's no reason why the crash was mechanical."

'Back of my mind'

One offshore worker told BBC Scotland: "I am slightly concerned about how fast they are back out."

Another said: "Obviously there is a bit of concern because of what's been happening over the last couple of years, but basically (I will) try and put it to the back of my mind and just do what we are here to do."

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the Super Puma had appeared to show a "reduction in airspeed accompanied by an increased rate of descent".

The AAIB said it appeared the helicopter had been intact and upright when it entered the water.

Four people died when the Super Puma AS332 L2 went down close to shore on a flight to Shetland's Sumburgh Airport from the Borgsten Dolphin rig.

They were Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness, and George Allison, 57, from Winchester.

The crash was the fifth incident involving Super Pumas in the North Sea since 2009.

Aberdeen North MP Frank Doran has called for a public inquiry.

Britain plagued by late wasp invasion triggered by cold winter and late spring - Daily Mail

  • Wasp population increased on last few years
  • Swarms hit UK three weeks later than usual
  • Long winter allowed wasps to hibernate, while late summer provided abundant food
  • Dog almost died in Dundee after suffering more than 130 wasp stings

By Ellie Buchdahl


If you thought this glorious late summer sunshine was a perfect occasion for picnics, think again.

A plague of wasps has struck Britain - and they're heading for a hamper near you.

Experts today warned that the late spring and long winter have allowed the stinging insects a long and undisturbed hibernation.

Scroll down for video

Attack: Billions of wasps are hitting Britian as the late summer brings them abundant food supplies

Attack: Billions of wasps are hitting Britian as the late summer brings them abundant food supplies

Experts said that after a few bad years for wasps caused by a run of dreary, wet summers, this year's conditions had given the creatures a boost - contributing to a population explosion that is only starting to unleash its full effect.

Billions of the airborne menaces are emerging from their nests and taking to the skies for their annual feeding frenzy around three weeks later than in previous years.

A bumper crop of fruit this year is likely to keep the creatures going until they either die or go into hibernation after the Autumn.

And with plenty of insects to feed on and a dry end to the summer - not to mention all those sugary drinks lying around by people making the most of a sunny end to the summer holidays - the wasps are more than making up for their late arrival.

Victim: Susan Bruce with her seven-year-old Cocker Spaniel Betty, who were both attacked by a swarm of wasps

Victim: Susan Bruce with her seven-year-old Cocker Spaniel Betty, who were both attacked by a swarm of wasps

A swarm nearly claimed the life of one cocker spaniel in Tentsmuir Forest near Fife Scotland.

The seven-year-old dog, named Betty, went into anaphylactic shock when she was stung more than 130 times.

Owner Susan Bruce, 35, who is a vet with the PDSA animal charity in Dundee, said: 'It was terrifying. They really went for Betty. There were so many that she was completely covered.

'We tried to outrun them, but they got hold of Betty. There were so many wasps in her coat.

Danger zones: the UKWaspWatch site shows London as the area of the UK worst hit by wasps this year


'We tried to fight them off but they stung us too. It was particularly bad for Betty and she collapsed at the side of the path.'

Betty survived after being rushed to the vet, where she was treated with strong steroids and spent the night under observation.

When the vets later posted details of the incident on their Facebook page, several people replied, saying they had also been attacked by wasps.

The hotspot for wasps appears to be in London, according to pest controller Rentokil, which has set up an interactive website to allow users to log wasp sightings and rate them by severity.

Swarm: The insects are amassing in greater numbers and later than in previous years

Swarm: The insects are amassing in greater numbers and later than in previous years

The capital is followed by Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester and the South West of England, according to the UKWaspWatch site.

Stuart Roberts, chairman of the Bee, Wasps and Ants Recording Society, said: 'Only four weeks ago I was being asked where all the wasps had gone.

'Firstly, we had a really cold winter which meant that hibernation was more successful than usual.

'The worst thing the wasp queen can have is a warm winter because they fidget and use up the food reserves. I suspect this has had an effect on mortality.

Sticking around: The wasps are likely to remain on the scene until the end of the Autumn, when they die or go into hibernation

Sticking around: The wasps are likely to remain on the scene until the end of the Autumn, when they die or go into hibernation

'And of course, we have had some quite reasonable weather this year.

'This year I would say the wasps - like everything else in the insect world - are about three weeks late because of the lateness of Spring.

'The late Spring, I suspect, has meant they have just stayed in hibernation for longer, and have been delayed by the cold weather.

'And simply, a warmer drier summer is good for wasps because for a start if you have got a really dreary winter, the queen can't get hold of the food and you get massive mortality.

The comments below have not been moderated.

Four wasp nests this year plus a bunch of random teenage wasps loitering with intent. I hate them, they make a bee line for me (haha). They are evil.

Why wont my message post???

There is some very selfish do gooders here! Some people have luck of not attracting wasps, good for you, but dont for a sec think we all have it that nice. I for example can not go anywhere without the little parasites getting in my hair. They buzz around my face and land on me if I dont move. They are known to randomly sting people for NO reason... Fact! They serve a purpose in farming areas but within urban communities, the little parasites need destroying. They are malicious, vindictive, horrible creatures. For some they dont bother them but for some like myslef they torment the hell out of and spoil my summer. I dont think some people understand that. Bees are not aggressive for no reason and dont buzz around you irritatingly, so throwing bees into the argument is pathetic and pointless! Ones a parasite with little purpose and ones a very needed part of the ecosystem in many ways!

There is some very selfish do gooders here! Some people have luck of not attracting wasps, good for you, but dont for a sec think we all have it that nice. I for example can not go anywhere without the little parasites getting in my hair. They buzz around my face and land on me if I dont move. They are known to randomly sting people for NO reason... Fact! They serve a purpose in farming areas but within urban communities, the little parasites need destroying. They are malicious, vindictive, horrible creatures. For some they dont bother them but for some like myslef they torment the hell out of and spoil my summer. I dont think some people understand that. Bees are not aggressive for no reason and dont buzz around you irritatingly, so throwing bees into the argument is pathetic and pointless! Ones a parasite with little purpose and ones a very needed part of the ecosystem in many ways!

I know it's true. I just got stung on the neck while waiting for a bus.

I work at an Airfield in Wiltshire and we've had loads of wasps for the last 3/4 weeks. We've managed to capture and kill hundreds of them by putting out jars with a small amount of a sweet mixture of jam, sugar and water and a hole in the lid. They get in but can't get out.

The wasps are getting a hard, with no positive comments compared to the bees. I'm sure this wouldn't be the case if Dreamworks had produced The Wasp animated movie starring a cute, cuddly wasp. Bees are equally evil... - Dundonian Kev , Dundee. Fancy meeting up for a beer in the toon to discuss this further?

Re Shirley of Lonxons offering. Could it be that your husband had driven over a Hedgehog as opposed to "having driven through a swarm of wasps?". I was under the impression that it's the bee that dies when it's stung someone as when it flies off it leaves it's sting embedded within the flesh of the person it has stung and also the small bag of poison that continues to pump into the victim. The Wasp on the other hand can sting more than once and eventually escape without dieing as the sting is still intact as the wasp doesn't have a Barb on it's sting, "unlike the Bee". I suppose that the Wasps could be slightly different in Lonxon but doubt it very much for lot's of reasons. Nature Boy. Nottingham. UK

The wasps are getting a hard, with no positive comments compared to the bees. I'm sure this wouldn't be the case if Dreamworks had produced The Wasp animated movie starring a cute, cuddly wasp. Bees are equally evil...

FACT: Only the FEMALE wasp stings..... just saying.... doesn't change anything... just saying.... that's all...... yeah YOU know what I'm saying, right....

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Artist David Hockney's aide killed by loo cleaner after drink and drugs bender ... - The Sun

Rolf Harris charged with sex assaults in UK - The News International

LONDON: Rolf Harris, the Australian artist and entertainer, has been charged with nine counts of indecent assault on two girls aged under 16, prosecutors in Britain said Thursday.


The 83-year-old has also been charged with four counts of making indecent images of children. He is due to appear in a London court on September 23.


Harris has been a popular figure on British television screens for decades. He painted an 80th birthday portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, took part in her diamond jubilee celebrations last year, and has been honoured in both Britain and Australia.


"The Crown Prosecution Service has today authorised police to charge Rolf Harris with nine counts of indecent assault, contrary to section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 and four counts of making indecent images of a child contrary to section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978," England's state prosecutors said in a statement.


Harris was initially arrested on November 29 last year. Police passed their evidence to the CPS on August 12.


Jamie Oliver: Hard-working migrants better than whingeing Brits - The Sun

Activists Say Incendiary Bomb Hit School in Syria - ABC News

A Syrian monitoring group, quoting local activists, said Friday that an incendiary bomb struck outside a school in northern Syria earlier this week, killing one man and injuring at least seven people.

Amateur video posted online showed several teenage boys and young men, some stripped down to their underwear, with burns over their bodies in a makeshift clinic. Some were moaning in agony.

A doctor speaking in one of the videos said seven people were killed and about 50 wounded. She also said that the bomb carried an incendiary substance.

"The strike hit the school not far from here," she said. "It was something similar to chemicals, maybe similar to napalm that causes big burns."

The most seriously wounded were taken to nearby Turkey, the doctor said. She gave her first name, Rula, and said she works for the Britain-based charity Hand in Hand for Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group linked to a network of anti-regime activists, said the attack took place Monday in the community of Urum al-Kubra in the northern Aleppo district. Rami Abdel-Rahman, the head of the Observatory, said local activists confirmed one dead and seven wounded in the attack.

Amateur video showed a bomb crater near the outer wall of a building that served as a school.

The BBC filmed the area shortly after the attack and interviewed survivors.

Transfer news Thursday recap: Starring Leighton Baines, Erik Lamela and ... - Mirror.co.uk

Few people on Twitter asking if Dawson will be the defender to miss out on a place in favour of Vlad Chiriches.

I am not Andy Brassell, and never will be, but Dawson has really come on leaps and bounds in the past five years. His positioning is mostly spot-on, apart from when he occasionally loses his head, and he has good strength and good ability in the air.

He's also more experienced than he looks, because he looks like a 12-year-old. He's actually 29.

So I think Dawson will at least be given the opportunity to demonstrate why he should keep his place, but with the knowledge that if he slips up, there is a youngster snapping at his heels.

It'll be that way across the park at Spurs this season, the only player who won't feel too much pressure is Soldado, and the best centre forwards have always been those who can relax in the knowledge that they are the star player and there is nobody threatening their place.

Look at the difference between Berbatov, for example, at Spurs and Man Utd.

Tamzin Outhwaite and Tom Ellis split - TV3.ie

  • Tamzin Outhwaite and Tom Ellis split

    Tamzin Outhwaite has split from her husband Tom Ellis.

    The 42-year-old actress and the 'Miranda' star - who have daughters Florence, four, and one-year-old Marnie Mae together - have called time on their seven-year marriage just 12 months after welcoming their second child into the world, but they have vowed to remain on friendly terms for the sake of their children.

    A spokesman for the couple said: ''Tamzin Outhwaite and Tom Ellis are sad to confirm they have separated.

    ''They continue to support each other as parents and will remain friends. They ask for sensitivity at this difficult time.''

    Just two months ago Tamzin - best known for playing Melanie Owen in 'EastEnders' from 1998 to 2002 - said she was ''very proud'' of her husband, who has daughter Nora from a previous relationship, and was convinced their marriage had lasted so long because they rarely bicker.

    She said in June: ''He's [Tom] doing really well and ... it's all pretty happy days at the moment. We're not big arguers.''

    Tamzin's marriage break-up follows the news her close pal Nicole Appleton's marriage to Liam Gallagher is over after it emerged the ex-Oasis singer had fathered a love child with American journalist Liza Ghorbani and had embarked on an affair with his band Beady Eye's aide Debbie Dwyther.

  • Mobile networks O2 and Vodafone are launching their 4G data services for the ... - Belfast Telegraph

    Mobile networks O2 and Vodafone are launching their 4G data services for the first time.

    O2's service will initially be switched on in London, Leeds and Bradford, reaching up to five million people from the launch, while Vodafone will roll its service out in parts of the capital.

    Both networks plan to have network coverage in 13 cities by the end of the year - London, Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield - and both plan eventually to provide 4G coverage to 98% of the population.

    The launches follow on the heels of EE, which has offered "super-fast" 4G mobile data in the UK since October last year.

    4G - fourth generation networks - can provide data to smartphone users on average six times faster than 3G connections, Vodafone said.

    Vodafone spent £802 million when it bid for part of the mobile phone spectrum to provide 4G, while O2 spent £550 million to buy a proportion of the lowest frequency spectrum.

    British grandmother faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia for smuggling ... - National Post

    JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia's highest court has upheld the death sentence for a British woman convicted of smuggling $2.5-million worth of cocaine into the resort island of Bali, a court official said Friday.

    The three-judge panel unanimously rejected Lindsay Sandiford's appeal on Thursday, said Supreme Court spokesman Ridwan Mansur.

    Sandiford, 57, was arrested last year when 3.8 kilograms of cocaine was discovered stuffed inside the lining of her luggage at Bali's airport. During the trial, she said she was forced to carry the drugs by a gang that threatened to hurt her children.

    She was found guilty in January by a district court and sentenced to face a firing squad. She lost an appeal three months later when the Bali High Court upheld the lower court's ruling.

    Prosecutors had initially sought 15 years in prison for Sandiford, but the court surprised many by issuing a death sentence. She still has the opportunity under Indonesian law to seek a judicial review of her case and also appeal for presidential clemency.

    "We are aware that Lindsay Sandiford's appeal to the Indonesian Supreme Court has been denied," Adam Rutland, spokesman for the British embassy in Jakarta, said in an email. "In line with our strong opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances, we will consider how to support any application for judicial review or clemency that Lindsay Sandiford chooses to make."

    Four other defendants — three Britons and an Indian — connected to the case were sentenced to jail terms ranging from one to six years.

    Indonesia has strict anti-drug laws and most of the more than 40 foreigners on its death row were convicted on drug charges.

    More than £450m wiped off value of Serco after alleged fraud in its prison contracts - Telegraph.co.uk

    In a further blow, Serco has reported a 3.1pc fall in pre-tax profits to £106.1m for the first half of the year. Revenues jumped 10.4pc to £2.1bn, helped by a record amount of work won in 2012. However, operating margins fell 23 basis points to 5.7pc due to increased investment in bidding for new work.

    Serco has an order book of £18.5bn at the end of June, slightly down from £19.1bn six months earlier.

    The prison contract probe comes after it emerged in July that Serco and its competitor G4S had overcharged the taxpayer by tens of millions of pounds for electronic tagging of criminals.

    Michael Hewson, senior market analyst at CMC Markets, said: "[The latest allegations have] raised the prospect that the company could struggle to shake off any reputational damage both scandals have done to the company's brand. There is also the concern that the company could well lose revenue if the UK government decides to reallocate the contract."

    After it emerged that some of Serco's employees had falsified documents to make it look like prisoners had been delivered to court on time, the company has agreed to be supervised by Ministry of Justice (MoJ) administrators while it fulfils the contract. The company is also overhauling management, strengthening internal audits and opening itself up to more intense scrutiny by the Government.

    Serco has agreed to repay all past profits made on the contract since it was renewed in 2011, estimated to be around £2m, and will also forgo any future income from the agreement.

    Serco noted that there was "no evidence" that the misreporting was done with the knowledge or approval of management outside of the contract.

    The shares fell 11.2pc to close at 538.5p.

    Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones separated: Report - Daily News & Analysis

    Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have separated in what could spell the end of their nearly 13-year marriage, People magazine reported on Wednesday.

    Douglas and Zeta-Jones, both Oscar winners and among Hollywood's most high-profile couples, have in recent months vacationed separately, appeared at red carpet events without the other and are ostensibly living apart, the magazine said in its new issue, citing "two close confidants" of the couple.

    "They're taking a break," one person told the magazine, which added that neither star has filed for divorce nor moved toward a legal separation. Douglas' New York office had no comment on the report, and representatives of Zeta-Jones did not respond to requests seeking comment. Douglas, 68, and Zeta-Jones, 43, married in 2000 and have two children. Both have struggled with health issues in recent years.

    Zeta-Jones said in April that she was seeking help for bipolar disorder, her second-known trip to a healthcare facility for the condition since 2011 when she sought treatment for what aides said was the stress of coping with Douglas' advanced throat cancer diagnosis in 2010 and subsequent treatment.

    "The stress has taken a toll on their marriage," People quoted a friend as saying. The A-list couple decided to spend time apart shortly after Douglas returned from the Cannes Film Festival in France in May, where his Emmy-nominated movie about Liberace, "Behind the Candelabra," was screened. They first met in 1998 at the Deauville Film Festival in France, began dating the following year, got engaged on New Year's Eve of 1999 and co-starred in the 2000 release Traffic.

    Zeta-Jones, most recently seen in the summer release Red 2, had at that point recently returned from round of treatment to monitor her bipolar disorder, the magazine said. Douglas has won Oscars as a producer of the 1975 best picture One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and as best actor in 1987's Wall Street. Zeta-Jones won her best supporting actress Academy Award for the 2002 musical Chicago.

    (Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Philip Barbara)

    viernes, 30 de agosto de 2013

    Economy Is Being Eclipsed as Top Campaign Issue - ABC News

    President Barack Obama still calls shoring up the middle class his "No. 1 priority," but recent events overseas and at home are overshadowing the U.S. economy as a political issue.

    The civil war in Syria and alleged use by Damascus of chemical weapons, political turmoil in Egypt and revelations about the extent of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs are complicating Obama's efforts to keep the focus on the economy.

    And while the slow and uneven recovery is now 4 years old, its advance could be threatened by U.S.-led airstrikes against targets in Syria that might send already rising oil prices soaring.

    The eclipsing of the U.S. recovery by other pressing events could be a factor in next year's midterm election campaigns and in the presidential contests two years later. Also, as Obama slips more and more into lame-duck territory, his ability to shape the national agenda seems diminished.

    While the unemployment rate of 7.4 percent is still well above the 5 to 6 percent typical of a healthy economy, it has been tracking down steadily since it peaked at 10 percent in late 2009. House prices are on the rise and so is consumer spending. Big banks are reporting strong profits again and regulators are winding down investigations into reckless Wall Street lending practices.

    U.S. exports are inching up and the budget deficit is inching down. After four years of trillion-dollar-plus shortfalls, the deficit this year is expected to come in at just over $600 billion.

    Many European countries are clawing their way out of recession. Even Greece, the poster child for a troubled economy, is managing a rare budget surplus.

    Obama has been making campaign-style speeches around the country focusing on longer-term growth, education, housing affordability, infrastructure jobs and lifting the battered middle class. Republicans dismiss Obama's rhetoric as standard Democratic big-government fare and continue to emphasize what they see as government overspending.

    "I think it's a hard moment, not just for the Obama administration but the whole sense we have of how we can conduct government right now," said Wayne Fields, a professor who studies political rhetoric at Washington University in St. Louis. "Both foreign policy and domestic policy are interacting in really complicated ways around these issues."

    In recent months, the economy has looked "pretty good" for Obama, suggests Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University. "Not home-run good, but there's been incremental improvement in the economy."

    Yet even without the crisis in Syria, two looming financial showdowns threaten that recovery.

    The first is a possible partial government shutdown if Congress fails to pass legislation to keep the government functioning beyond the Sept. 30 fiscal-year end. The other is an expected new battle over increasing the government's borrowing authority. The Obama administration last week said that it would hit its borrowing limit in mid-October without a higher debt ceiling — earlier than widely anticipated.

    The national debt ceiling now stands at about $16.7 trillion. The overall debt keeps rising even as deficits come down because the government still spends more than it takes in.

    Republican lawmakers say they'll support a higher debt ceiling only with offsetting spending cuts.

    House Speaker John Boehner told a GOP fundraiser last week he'll push for "cuts and reforms that are greater than the increase in the debt limit."

    French Prez Hollande warns Syrian conflict threatens world peace - Northern Voices Online

    PARIS: Promising a stern response to the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war, French President Francois Hollande warned on Tuesday that the conflict in Syria is threatening world peace.

    Speaking at a conference of French ambassadors here, Hollande vowed that France would assume its international responsibilities and would take punitive action against the Syrian regime, which he said is the key suspect in having used chemical weapons in a bombardment near Damascus last Wednesday.

    At least 360 people died and hundreds were wounded in the attack in the outer suburbs of the Syrian capital and UN inspectors are currently gathering evidence on what appears to be the use of toxic nerve agents.

    Opposition sources say that as many as 1,300 may have died in the WMD attack but figures are difficult to corroborate. While no firm conclusion has been arrived at as yet, Western countries, including France, blame the chemical weapons use on the Syrian regime, and several important Arab nations and Turkey also point the finger at the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. The French leader told his nations ambassadors that "the world has been astonished after the confirmation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria," although he did not say where this confirmation came from.

    A UN mission is on-site to investigate other alleged cases of chemical weapons but the team has been diverted to the Damascus incident. "Everything leads us to believe that it is the regime that has committed this abject act which condemns it definitively in the eyes of the world," Hollande affirmed. He asserted that the Syrian regimes violation was even more striking as it chose to use arms that have been banned for 90 years by the international community and its conventions.

    Hollande also recalled that the conflict had caused more than 100,000 lives and was "spreading to the whole region," to Lebanon, with bomb attacks, to Iraq with growing violence and to Turkey and Jordan where increased flows of refugees were creating instability.

    "This (Syrian) civil war today threatens peace in the world," he warned. The President recalled the history of French action to try to find a solution in Syria and the support given to the Syrian opposition movement. Indeed, he said that after the latest actions by the regime, France has decided to increase by unspecified amounts its "military" aid to the Syrian rebels, all the while respecting European Union policies on military equipment. "Today, our responsibility is of a different kind. It is to find the most appropriate riposte to the abuses of the Syrian regime, once the UN mission of enquiry has completed the essentials of its work," he indicated.

    "The chemical massacre in Damascus cannot go unanswered and France is ready to punish those who took the infamous decision to gas innocent people." Hollande said that in the past days he has had multiple contacts with Frances Western allies and with Arab nations "to envisage all options." The French presidency is summoning a special "Defence Council Meeting" on Wednesday to discuss the situation and Hollande said that the parliament would be informed in a short period of time. (KUNA)


    Fergie and Josh Duhamel welcome their baby Axl Jack - CNN

    Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela, Petal Blossom Rainbow and Buddy Bear Maurice. Those are the names chef Jamie Oliver and his wife, Jools, chose for their four children, seen here when the couple's son, Buddy, was a baby in September 2010. Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela, Petal Blossom Rainbow and Buddy Bear Maurice. Those are the names chef Jamie Oliver and his wife, Jools, chose for their four children, seen here when the couple's son, Buddy, was a baby in September 2010.
    We suppose magician Penn Jillette, seen here with his family and magic partner Teller in April 2013, really wanted magical names for his kids. His son's name, Zolten, is actually his wife Emily's maiden name, while his daughter's name is more creative: Moxie Crimefighter. "I love that it's a purely American word ... and I love that it stands for old-fashioned spunk and energy," <a href='http://celebritybabies.people.com/2007/06/13/cbb_exclusive_p/' target='_blank'>Penn said</a> in 2007. We suppose magician Penn Jillette, seen here with his family and magic partner Teller in April 2013, really wanted magical names for his kids. His son's name, Zolten, is actually his wife Emily's maiden name, while his daughter's name is more creative: Moxie Crimefighter. "I love that it's a purely American word ... and I love that it stands for old-fashioned spunk and energy," Penn said in 2007.

    (CNN) -- Don't be surprised if Fergie is singing "Sweet Child O' Mine" today.

    The Black Eyed Peas star gave birth to a boy in Los Angeles on Thursday, a rep confirms to CNN. She and her husband, actor Josh Duhamel, named their new addition Axl Jack.

    Little Axl weighed in at 7 pounds and 10 ounces and was delivered via C-section. He is the first child for both parents. "Everyone is fine, everything is well. All good in Hollywood," the rep tells CNN.

    Growing their family is "something that we've wanted for a very long time," Duhamel, 40, told E! in May. "We're both over the moon about it."

    As far as the name, it sounds as if Axl was indeed inspired by rock, and perhaps Guns N' Roses front man Axl Rose.

    "[The name is] kind of traditional, kind of not," Duhamel explained to People magazine, noting that his 38-year-old wife "is a little rock and roll, so she's a little bit more daring in that department than I am."

    Nevertheless, Axl Jack is "a name that we both really love, and I think will suit this child."

    Although Axl is the couple's first human child, the newborn does have a furry sibling waiting for him to come home. The pair's dog, Zoe, has already been prepped by the Dog Whisperer himself, Cesar Millan, for the baby's homecoming.

    Kate makes first official post-baby appearance - USA TODAY


    Prince William fired the gun to start today's Anglesey ultra-marathon.

    But it was Duchess Kate who got things going with a bang as she delighted runners and fans with her surprise appearance.

    This is the first time that new mom Catherine has been seen at an official public event (she was snapped shopping for groceries earlier this week) since leaving the hospital after Prince George's birth July 22.

    Baby Georgie remained at home at their rented farmhouse with his granny as babysitter.

    William and Catherine sent runners off for the annual Ring O' Fire Anglesey Coastal Ultra-Marathon, a 135-mile run that circumnavigates the Welsh island. It's part of their long goodbye to the place where they have lived since 2009.

    It had to be a little bittersweet for the couple, who will soon leave Anglesey and move back to London with the little prince.

    Kate's appearance wasn't a total surprise. Palace officials had hinted she might appear with William at some public event in Wales before leaving for good, and three hours before the marathon started, media officials tweeted she would be there.

    The two met volunteers and some of the runners and their families before the start of the event.

    Slender as she was before her pregnancy, Kate was dressed in an olive-green tweed short jacket by Ralph Lauren, a dot-patterned Zara top, cropped skinny black jeans and her favorite wedge shoes. He was just as casual in a blue sweater over a blue shirt.

    British reporters on the scene reported she told well-wishers she met that the baby prince was doing well, sleeping better at night, that he loves bright-colored objects, and that granny Carole Middleton was staying with them in Wales to help babysit.

    Looking relaxed, they joked with each other and with people they met, at one point accepting a gift of diapers. We can always do with more of these, Will laughed.

    The Daily Mail reported an insider said that initially she wasn't going to attend the event but "she was also keen for the chance to thank the people of Anglesey herself for the warmth and hospitality they have shown her and the Duke."

    Kensington Palace announced this week that Will would officially start the marathon, leading to some initial confusion on Twitter about whether the 31-year-old second-in-line to the throne would be running in the race himself. He is not, even though he may want to.

    Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Snowdonia Mountains, the marathon is staged over three days and follows the rugged and spectacular Anglesey Coastal Path around the island, home to the RAF base where Will has worked as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot since before his marriage to the former Kate Middleton in 2011.

    The couple and little George spent their first few weeks after the birth at her parents' estate in Bucklebury outside London, but they have been back in Wales for a couple of weeks. They're finishing up final duties and packing up their rented farmhouse to move into a huge new residence at Kensington Palace by October.

    In between, they're likely to spend some time at Balmoral, the royal family's summer holiday estate in Scotland, visiting the baby's great-grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

    The couple also are scheduled to appear together in London on Sept. 12 at an awards ceremony staged by the Tusk Trust, a wildlife conservation charity of which Will is patron. A new conservation award has been named in his honor.


    FactCheck: Britain and the global power players 2003 v 2013 - Channel 4 News (blog)

    factFiction3 FactCheck: Britain and the global power players 2003 v 2013 The claim

    "Maybe I am just an old war horse from the past but I think it has a profound implication for our country. I think it diminishes our country hugely."

    Paddy Ashdown, BBC News, 30 August 2013   

    The background

    Parliament's vote against military action in Syria has sent Britain plunging "towards isolationism", says former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown. The move "diminishes" our position in the world, he said.

    Lord Ashdown isn't the only one questioning our new world order.

    "I think there will be a national soul-searching about our role in the world," Chancellor George Osborne predicted on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

    But what is our role in the world, and how much has it changed since Tony Blair led us into the Iraq war in 2003? FactCheck investigates.

    The analysis

    Critics say the move makes Britain look "weak".  So how do we measure up against the other key members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia and the US?


    We spent $60.8bn on defence in 2012 – up 4.9 per cent since the Iraq war kicked off in 2003. We are the fourth biggest spenders on defence behind the USA, China and Russia (in that order).

    Since 2003, our military expenditure as a share of GDP has remained unchanged at 2.5 per cent and our spending as a share of GDP ranks us 57th in the world.

    We have the 22nd largest population in the world, with 63m people - up from 60m in 2003. And our GDP per capita has climbed from $21,310 in 2003 to $37,500 in 2012 - 34th in the world.

    But during that time the number of active military personnel has plummeted from 212,000 in 2003 to 165,650 in 2011 (and further since), according to World Bank data.

    US, China, France and Russia

    The US is by far the biggest military spender - with a bill 10 times that of Britain's at $682bn last year. It spends 4.6 per cent of its GDP on defence - up from 3.7 per cent in the early days of the war on terror in 2003.

    But its share of global defence spending has fallen below the 40 per cent mark for the first time since 1991, according to the think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

    On a global scale, defence spending took its first annual tumble since 1998 last year, dropping 0.5 per cent to $1.75tr, said SIPRI.

    China has meanwhile pushed up its spending by 175 per cent since 2003 to an estimated $166bn in 2012, but as a share of China's GDP it's still only 2 per cent.

    China has the largest population in the world - which in 10 years has grown by 61m (not far off the UK's entire population right now). They now have a population of more than 1.3 billion.

    Yet since 2003, China's military might has declined by 21 per cent to 2,945,000 active personnel.

    Indeed, the US military is the only one to have expanded in size. FactCheck however, knows that size isn't everything - it's spending and what they are spending their money on, which counts.

    Russia and America, for example, spend far more as a percentage of their GDPs than the 2.5 per cent average that the UK adheres to.

    But it's much less than Saudi Arabia's 9.1 per cent of GDP or Jordan's 9.5 per cent of GDP in 2012. The CIA's full list of spending puts it into perspective.

    30 factcheck graphic FactCheck: Britain and the global power players 2003 v 2013

    The verdict

    Sizing up the big five UN Security Council members, FactCheck found that Britain spends a tenth of the amount America does on defence and we have the smallest standing military force among the five.

    All five members consistently back up their position financially. It's no surprise that the US spends the most on defence in the world, followed by China, Russia, the UK and until recently France (perhaps surprisingly, France's position at number five was usurped by the Japanese last year).

    We might spend more than the French – now at number six – but they've cut their defence spending by 3.3 per cent since 2003.

    We've increased ours by 4.9 per cent over the same period. Our standing military force has been cut by more than 20 per cent in the last decade and is two-thirds the size of France's.

    Paul Flynn, MP for Newport West, accused Paddy Ashdown "and other strutting make-believe Napoleons" of mourning the loss of an expensive "world policeman role".

    He's right it's expensive, and the truth is that we don't have too many boots on the ground to share around. But being small has never stopped us being mighty - and perhaps that's what Lord Ashdown means.

    By Emma Thelwell

    (Sources for graphic: CIA, SIPRI, World Bank)

    UK took three weeks to act over data at New York Times, says Guardian - The Guardian

    The British government took over three weeks to act on authoritative information about the whereabouts of a trove of secret British intelligence data leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, despite now claiming the information risks "grave damage" to the security of British intelligence and armed forces, the Guardian said on Friday.

    Guardian News and Media's editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, hit back at Downing Street's claims made in the high court that it "urgently" needed to access leaked intelligence data seized at Heathrow airport earlier this month from the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist reporting on US and UK mass digital surveillance programmes.

    Rusbridger said that on 22 July, two days after the Guardian complied with a government request to destroy computer hardware containing encrypted GCHQ files from Snowden, a former CIA employee, executives at the newspaper directed the UK government towards the New York Times and ProPublica, US publishers with whom the paper had shared secret material from GCHQ.

    It took a further 23 days until the British embassy in Washington contacted Jill Abramson, the US paper's executive editor, by phone about the data. A meeting followed the next day. Since then there has been no further contact with the New York Times, the Guardian said.

    On Friday in the latest stage of a high court challenge by David Miranda, Greenwald's partner, over the legality of his arrest on 18 August as he carried leaked data through Heathrow, the UK's deputy national security adviser, Oliver Robbins said in a written submission: "We urgently need to identify and to understand the entirety of the material … in order to assess the risks of sensitive intelligence sources and methods and the threat to intelligence agency staff should their identities or details of their operational tradecraft be obtained by hostile actors."

    David Miranda's lawyer David Miranda's lawyer Gwendolen Morgan outside the high court after it granted extended powers to police. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

    But Rusbridger said government delays in following up further UK intelligence files in New York "belied the picture of urgency and crisis painted in court".

    "The government wanted the judge to believe that they have at all times behaved with the utmost urgency because of a grave threat to national security represented by newspapers working responsibly on the Snowden documents and their implications for society," he said. "But for most of the time since early June little has happened. On July 22 the Guardian directed the government towards the New York Times and ProPublica, both of whom had secret material from GCHQ. It was more than three weeks before anyone contacted the NYT. No one has contacted Pro Publica, and there has been two weeks of further silence towards the NYT from the government. This five weeks in which nothing has happened tells a different story from the alarmist claims before the court. The government's behaviour does not match their rhetoric in trying to justify and exploit this dismaying blurring of terror and journalism."

    A spokesman for the Cabinet Office declined to comment pending the ongoing legal action. The New York Times declined to comment on whether the UK authorities asked it to destroy the data.

    The high court granted the Metropolitan police extended powers to investigate whether crimes related to terrorism and breaches of the Official Secrets Act have been committed. Appearing for Miranda, Matthew Ryder QC said his client accepted the terms as part of "a pragmatic approach" to the dispute ahead of a full hearing into the legality of Miranda's detention and the seizure of his data which is expected in October.

    Following a ruling by Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, the police will now investigate whether possession of the seized material constitutes a crime under the Terrorism Act 2000 which prohibits possessing information that might be useful to terrorists and specifically "eliciting, publishing or communicating" information about members of the armed forces, intelligence agencies and police which terrorists could use. They are also considering possible crimes under section one of the Official Secrets Act 1911 which deals with communication of material to an enemy and "various offences" under the Official Secrets Act 1989.

    David Miranda and Glenn Greenwald David Miranda, left, with his partner, the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald. Photograph: AP

    In his statement, Robbins claimed the encrypted material included personal information of UK intelligence officers, any compromise of which would result in a risk to the lives of them and their families and the risk they would become recruitment targets for terrorists and hostile spy agencies. The hard drive seized from Miranda contained approximately 58,000 highly classified UK intelligence documents, the compromise of which "would do serious damage to UK national security and ultimately risk lives".

    He said a piece of paper with the password to part of the encrypted files was discovered along with the hard drive and Robbins criticised Miranda and his associates for "very poor judgment in their security arrangements with respect to the material rendering the appropriation of the material, or at least access to it by other, non-state actors, a real possibility".

    He said the government believes the data may have already been obtained by one or more of the countries through which Snowden has passed since he fled the US. They include China and Russia, where Snowden is currently living.

    A separate statement made by the Met police counter-terrorism officer handling the police investigation, detective superintendant Caroline Goode, added that disclosure of the 58,000 documents on the hard drive "would be gravely injurious to UK interests". She said only 75 have so far been decrypted and reconstructed into a legible format.

    Gwendolen Morgan, solicitor for Miranda, disputed the evidence presented by the authorities.

    "The Home Office and Metropolitan police have lodged evidence with the court in which they make sweeping assertions about national security threats which they said entitled them to look at the materials seized, but they have said that they cannot provide further details in open court," she said. "Mr Miranda does not accept the assertions they have made and is disappointed that the UK government is attempting to justify the use of terrorist powers by making what appear to be unfounded assertions."

    Irish poet Nobel winner Seamus Heaney dies at 74 - The Seattle Times

    DUBLIN —

    To all lovers of the perfectly weighed word, Seamus Heaney offered hope on this side of the grave.

    Heaney, 74, died Friday in a Dublin hospital some 18 years after he won the Nobel Prize in literature and gained global recognition as Ireland's greatest poet since William Butler Yeats.

    He left behind a half-century's body of work that sought to capture the essence of his experience: the sour smells and barren beauty of Irish landscapes, the haunting loss of loved ones and of memory itself, and the tormented soul of his native Northern Ireland.

    As one of the world's premier classicists, he translated and interpreted ancient works of Athens and Rome for modern eyes and ears. A bear of a man with a signature mop of untamed silvery hair, he gave other writers and fans time, attention, advice - and left a legacy of one-on-one, life-changing moments encouraged by his self-deprecating, common-man touch.

    "He was a wonderful nature poet, a love poet, and a war poet. He certainly addressed the darkness of what we call `the troubles'," said Michael Longley, a Belfast poet and longtime Heaney confidant, who recalled chatting happily with Heaney over whiskey and pints of beer earlier this month at a western Irish literary festival.

    "I told him I'd been re-reading his early works from the 1960s, and I just couldn't believe that as a young man he was capable of writing such miracles. He continued to write miracles throughout his life," Longley said. "He was a poet of extraordinary complexity and profundity, so it's surprising and remarkable that he also could be so popular. ... It's not popular poetry. Seamus made it popular."

    His most quoted lines came from "The Cure at Troy," a 1991 adaptation of a Greek play by Sophocles set in the Trojan War. His version, rooted in a Northern Ireland that he hoped could reach "the far side of revenge," sought to draw a line under a conflict that featured Irish Republican Army hunger strikes and the IRA killing of hundreds of police officers.

    "A hunger-striker's father

    stands in the graveyard dumb.

    The police widow in veils

    faints at the funeral home.

    History says, Don't hope

    on this side of the grave.

    But then, once in a lifetime

    the longed for tidal wave

    of justice can rise up,

    and hope and history rhyme."

    Scores of world leaders have borrowed those lines for their peacemaking proclamations.

    John Hume, a Northern Ireland leader of the Irish nationalist side who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998, said Heaney's work offered "a special channel for repudiating violence, injustice and prejudice, and urging us all to the better side of our human nature."

    Bill and Hillary Clinton, who met Heaney during their several visits to Northern Ireland in the 1990s, and mined "The Cure at Troy" to close speeches, praised him as "more than a brilliant artist."

    "His mind, heart, and his uniquely Irish gift for language made him our finest poet of the rhythms of ordinary lives and a powerful voice for peace. And he was a good and true friend. We loved him and we will miss him," the Clintons said in a statement.

    Heaney rarely turned down requests to speak, and kept globe-trotting to university lectures and cultural seminars, despite a 2006 stroke that forced him, temporarily, to slow down. Audiences sought to hear his readings in person, delivered in his melodic baritone. He inspired respect and love.

    "We cannot adequately express our profound sorrow at the loss of one of the world's greatest writers," said Heaney's London publisher, Faber & Faber. "His impact on literary culture is immeasurable. As his publisher we could not have been prouder to publish his poetry over nearly 50 years. He was nothing short of an inspiration to the company, and his friendship over many years is a great loss."

    The eldest of nine children from a farming village, Heaney went to Catholic boarding school in Northern Ireland's second-largest city, Londonderry, a bitterly divided community that soon became the crucible of "the troubles," the quaint local euphemism for a four-decade conflict over the British territory that has claimed more than 3,700 lives.

    His early work was rooted in vivid description of rural experience, such as in 1966's collection "Death of a Naturalist," when his poem "Digging" describes his father's labor cutting turf bricks from a bog - and concludes with his own decision to work with a pen, not a shovel.

    "Between my finger and my thumb

    The squat pen rests.

    I'll dig with it."

    As Northern Ireland's sectarian divisions exploded into civil war in the early 1970s, Heaney's writing grew more sociological and political as he dug into the slippery psychology of his homeland.

    In 1972, the most deadly year of Northern Ireland's conflict, Heaney left his academic post in Queen's University in Belfast to settle in the Republic of Ireland. That year, he published "Wintering Out," a collection of poems that offered only oblique references to the bloodshed.

    His follow-up 1975 collection, "North," offered much more direct commentary on the conflict. His poem "Whatever You Say, Say Nothing" became a Northern Ireland catch phrase for the art of concealing one's loyalty - whether Irish Catholic "Pape" or British Protestant "Prod" - in response to strangers' probing questions.

    "Smoke-signals are loud-mouthed compared with us:

    Maneuverings to find out name and school,

    Subtle discrimination by addresses

    With hardly an exception to the rule

    That Norman, Ken and Sidney signaled Prod

    And Seamus (call me Sean) was sure-fire Pape.

    O land of password, handgrip, wink and nod,

    Of open minds as open as a trap."

    Heaney was the fourth Irishman to win the Nobel Prize in literature, joining Yeats, Samuel Beckett and George Bernard Shaw.

    Heaney's focus on the approaching inevitability of death was evident in his final collection of poems, "Human Chain," published in 2010. One stanza reflected on the recent death of a longtime friend:

    "The door was open and the house was dark

    Wherefore I called his name, although I knew

    The answer this time would be silence."

    In 2011, he donated the files of his life's work to the National Library of Ireland, including all written and typed manuscripts and revisions from 1963 to 2010, his scripts of university lectures, and his myriad projects translating the work of non-English poets from ancient Greece to modern Poland.

    And in one of his final public appearances this month at an event celebrating Yeats, he initially described "Human Chain" as "my last book" - then, with a wry chuckle, switched his words to "my latest collection." While hundreds had brought copies of his works seeking his signature, he unusually declined.

    Heaney is survived by his wife, Marie, and children Christopher, Michael and Catherine.

    Funeral arrangements were not announced.



    Heaney archive, http://bit.ly/1dtsN8x