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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Australia beat Canada by 7 wickets

Shane Watson
The 7-wicket victory on Wednesday for defending champions Australia over Canada with as many as 15.1 overs to spare may have reinforced Ricky Ponting's views that associate nations do not belong in the World Cup. But Ponting would have to admit that his bowling worries are far from over.
Not even the fact that openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin set a new record for Australia as far as opening partnerships in the World Cup go, or that their unbeaten run in World Cups extended to 34 matches, would have helped there.
Canada may have eventually set Australia a modest 212 to get at the Chinnaswamy Stadium but it was not before the Australians were given quite a scare by 19-year-old Hiral Patel who starred as Canada raised the quickest first 50 runs (4.4 overs) in the 2011 World Cup. The pocket dynamo was finally out for a 45-ball 54 (5x4, 3x6), caught on the third man line while attempting a fourth six but in the course of his entertaining knock he showed up the Australian attack.
If Shaun Tait can't get you, neither will Brett Lee nor for that matter Mitchell Johnson, at least not initially. All three Australian pacers, termed time and again as a very potent and complementing combination by skipper Ricky Ponting, bowled upwards of 145kmph on Wednesday only for the small-made Patel to send each of the quick men to the cleaners.
For the second match in succession, against yet another unfancied team, the Australian attack was found wanting, lacking in direction and purpose. If Tait conceded 17 off his first two overs, Lee went for 32 from three and Johnson only slightly better with 20 off three. Patel simply relished the room he was provided by all three bowlers, cutting fiercely, upper cutting with disdain and driving with a fair bit of class. Neither the bowlers nor Ponting seemed to have a clue as to how to stop him even after Lee had sent back the other opener John Davison, in his last ODI innings, with a bouncer that took the glove. The same bouncer to Patel was hooked for six and had the batsman not uppercut Watson straight to Johnson on the edge of the fence, Australia could have been looking at a far bigger chase.
With the bat too, the start was a little unusual with both Watson (94, 90b, 9x4, 4x6) and Haddin (88, 84b, 11x4, 2x6) scratching around. It was the batting Powerplay, taken ahead of the bowling one which never came about, and the overs that followed that raised the tempo and brought a quick end to the proceedings. Canada have now finished their World Cup engagements while Australia travel to Sri Lanka.
score card
Canada innings (50 overs maximum) R M B 4s 6s SR
H Patel c Johnson b Watson 54 58 45 5 3 120.00
JM Davison c †Haddin b Lee 14 19 12 3 0 116.66
ZE Surkari b Tait 34 130 69 2 0 49.27
A Bagai*† c †Haddin b Tait 39 74 55 6 0 70.90
AS Hansra c Lee b Krejza 3 8 4 0 0 75.00
Rizwan Cheema b Lee 2 12 2 0 0 100.00
NR Kumar c Tait b Johnson 7 26 18 0 0 38.88
K Whatham b Lee 18 57 41 2 0 43.90
HS Baidwan c Ponting b Krejza 17 17 14 3 0 121.42
WD Balaji Rao b Lee 5 10 12 0 0 41.66

H Osinde not out 2 6 3 0 0 66.66

Extras (lb 4, w 11, nb 1) 16

Total (all out; 45.4 overs; 213 mins) 211 (4.62 runs per over)
Fall of wickets1-41 (Davison, 3.5 ov), 2-82 (Patel, 11.3 ov), 3-150 (Bagai, 28.2 ov), 4-157 (Hansra, 29.6 ov), 5-157 (Surkari, 30.4 ov), 6-161 (Rizwan Cheema, 31.3 ov), 7-169 (Kumar, 36.3 ov), 8-195 (Baidwan, 41.2 ov), 9-204 (Balaji Rao, 43.6 ov), 10-211 (Whatham, 45.4 ov)

Bowling O M R W Econ

SW Tait 8 1 34 2 4.25 (1nb, 4w)
B Lee 8.4 0 46 4 5.30 (2w)
MG Johnson 10 0 43 1 4.30 (3w)
SR Watson 6 0 22 1 3.66

JJ Krejza 10 0 44 2 4.40 (2w)

SPD Smith 3 0 18 0 6.00

Australia innings (target: 212 runs from 50 overs) R M B 4s 6s SR
SR Watson c Osinde b Baidwan 94 129 90 9 4 104.44
BJ Haddin† c †Bagai b Davison 88 124 84 11 2 104.76
RT Ponting* c Davison b Osinde 7 30 15 0 0 46.66

MJ Clarke not out 16 29 17 3 0 94.11

CL White not out 4 3 3 1 0 133.33

Extras (lb 1, w 2) 3

Total (3 wickets; 34.5 overs; 159 mins) 212 (6.08 runs per over)
Did not bat MEK Hussey, SPD Smith, MG Johnson, B Lee, JJ Krejza, SW Tait
Fall of wickets1-183 (Haddin, 28.5 ov), 2-185 (Watson, 29.3 ov), 3-207 (Ponting, 34.2 ov)

Bowling O M R W Econ

H Osinde 9.5 0 53 1 5.38 (2w)
HS Baidwan 10 1 41 1 4.10

WD Balaji Rao 7 0 46 0 6.57

Rizwan Cheema 3 0 23 0 7.66

JM Davison 4 0 29 1 7.25

H Patel 1 0 19 0 19.00


Four New York Times journalists missing in Libya

. Four journalists from The New York Times, including a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, have gone missing in eastern Libya, where rebels are battling Gaddafi's forces, the newspaper said on Wednesday.
The White House warned Middle Eastern governments meanwhile that American reporters should not be harassed or detained, and Britain's Guardian reported that a reporter for the newspaper had been freed from detention in Libya.
The New York Times said editors at the newspaper were last in contact with the four experienced war correspondents on Tuesday morning New York time.
The Times said it had received "second-hand reports" that members of its reporting team in the port city of Ajdabiya had been "swept up by Libyan government forces" but this could not be confirmed.
"We have talked with officials of the Libyan government in Tripoli, and they tell us they are attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of our journalists," the newspaper quoted Times executive editor Bill Keller as saying.
"We are grateful to the Libyan government for their assurance that, if our journalists were captured, they would be released promptly and unharmed," Keller said.
"Their families and their colleagues at The Times are anxiously seeking information about their situation, and praying that they are safe," he added.
The Times said the missing journalists included Beirut bureau chief Anthony Shadid, a two-time winner for foreign reporting of the Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious US journalism award.
The others are Stephen Farrell, a reporter and videographer who was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2009 and rescued by British commandos, and two photographers, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, who both have extensive experience working in the Middle East and Africa.
White House spokesman Jay Carney urged Middle Eastern governments on Wednesday to respect American reporters.
"Our overall stand is very firm that American journalists need to be allowed to do their work, not (be) harassed or detained," Carney said.
Carney referred questions about specific efforts to trace the four missing journalists from The New York Times to the State Department.
In London, the editor-in-chief of Britain's Guardian newspaper said that an Iraqi journalist working for the newspaper has been freed from detention in Libya and has safely left the country.
"Guardian's Ghaith Abdul-Ahad freed and safely out of Libya. Heartfelt thanks to all who helped free him," Alan Rusbridger said in a Twitter message.
Libyan authorities picked up the award-winning journalist and a Brazilian reporter, Andrei Netto, on March 2 in the coastal town of Sabratha, a town 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Tripoli, according to the newspaper.
The Brazilian was freed on March 10 but Libyan officials continued to hold Abdul-Ahad, despite protests from the newspaper.
Abdul-Ahad has worked for the Guardian since 2004, reporting from Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan, the daily said.
He has won the British Press Awards foreign reporter of the year prize, and was shortlisted again this year.

Israel navy seizes weapons boat 'en route to Gaza'

Israel's navy on Wednesday escorted into port a ship its commandos seized, saying it had arms from Iran bound for militants in the Gaza Strip, Israel's media reported.
Military specialists in the southern port of Ashdod would begin checking 39 containers on the deck of the "Victoria" to ascertain the exact amount and type of arms and munitions they contained, army radio reported.
Sappers would first check for booby traps, news website Ynet reported.
The military spokesman's office had no immediate statement.
The Liberian-flagged Victoria was intercepted Tuesday as it sailed about 200 nautical miles west of Israel's territorial waters.
It arrived at Ashdod in the early hours of Wednesday.
Top defence officials said earlier that its cargo included Chinese-made C704 anti-ship missiles, which would be a threat to Israeli naval patrols off the Gaza coast.
"(There are) two to four missiles, shore-to-sea missiles, of type C704, a missile with... a range of 35 kilometres (22 miles)," the deputy commander of the Israeli navy, Rear Admiral Rani Ben-Yehuda, told journalists.
"Anything within its range, of course, will find itself in danger."
Defence Minister Ehud Barak made an apparent reference to the same items.
"We suspect, we think, that among the weapons there is also the beginnings of an advanced system which could affect our freedom of action along the Gaza shores," he said.
During Israel's 2006 war with Lebanon's Hezbollah, guerrillas hit an Israeli warship off Beirut with an Iranian-made missile based on Chinese technology, killing four crewmen.
Israel said the Victoria had sailed from the Turkish port of Mersin, headed for Alexandria in Egypt, but that the arms originated in Iran and were destined for Gaza.
"On the boat we discovered many weapons destined for terror groups in the heart of Gaza," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We had clear evidence that the vessel was carrying weapons intended to harm Israel.
"The source of the weapons was Iran, which is trying to arm the Strip," he said, adding that Tehran had sent the arms through a "relay station" -- seemingly alluding to Syria.
Military spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich said the weapons were believed to have been loaded in the Syrian port of Latakia, but she stressed that Turkey was not involved.
"As far as we understand it, Turkey has no relevance or connection to this event," said Leibovich. "This was from Syria to radical components in Gaza."
Barak said Israel had been tracking the vessel for several days.
The ship belongs to a German company, but was chartered by French firm, the army said, noting that commandos had boarded with the crew's permission.
"It was a compliant boarding -- there was no resistance, no violence used whatsoever," said Leibovich.
"The capture of the ship was done deep at sea in accordance with international practices," said Netanyahu.
Leibovich said weapons had been found in at least three shipping containers and the rest would be searched at Ashdod, adding that there were "hundreds of containers" on board.
The military released photos showing masked soldiers, apparently on the Victoria, opening crates filled with heavy machine guns, ammunition and mortar rounds.
Israel has frequently accused Iran and Syria of smuggling weapons to Gaza's Hamas rulers as well as to the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah.
In November 2009, Israel said its navy had intercepted a ship carrying "hundreds of tonnes" of arms from Iran to Hezbollah in a raid dozens of miles off the Israeli coast.
The shipment was among the largest ever seized by Israel, dwarfing the 50 tonnes of weapons found aboard the Karine A seized in 2002 on its way to Gaza, which dealt a major blow to relations between the Palestinians and Washington.
In May 2001, the Israeli navy intercepted another boat, the Santorini, which was carrying 40 tonnes of rockets, anti-tank weaponry, mortars and automatic weapons for armed groups in Gaza.
Israel maintains a strict naval blockade on Gaza to prevent the smuggling of weapons into the territory.
Last year, the navy prevented a number of aid ships from reaching the coastal enclave.
In one incident, they stormed a six-ship flotilla in an operation that went disastrously wrong, with the deaths of nine pro-Palestinian activists from Turkey.

Bahrain declares martial law after weeks of unrest

Bahrain has declared a state of emergency following weeks of unrest on the island kingdom, state television announced on Tuesday, saying the country's security forces would take charge for the next three months.
An order by the king "authorised the commander of Bahrain's defence forces to take all necessary measures to protect the safety of the country and its citizens," said a statement read out on television.
The royal order would come into force on Tuesday and would apply to all parts of the Gulf state, an oil and banking centre which has been roiled by protests pitting the Shi'ite Muslim majority population against the ruling Sunni elite.
"These measures will be implemented by the Bahraini defence forces, the general security forces, the national guard and any other forces if necessary," the televised announcement said.
It referred to the state of emergency as "an act of national safety", adding that it had been imposed after Bahrain's institutions, economy and citizens had come under threat.
On Monday, more than 1,000 Saudi troops rolled into the kingdom at the request of Bahrain's Sunni rulers, who have failed to quell the country's worst unrest since the 1990s.
Sectarian clashes broke out in different parts of Bahrain overnight, with both Sunnis and Shi'ites trading accusations that they had been attacked by gangs of youths.

Radiation from quake-hit Japanese nuke plant won't reach US: Obama

US President Barack Obama has said that he was not worried about radiation from the quake hit Japanese nuclear power plant reaching Hawaii.
Asked about whether he is worried about the radiation from Japan reaching the US shores, Obama said, "No. I've been assured that it...any nuclear release dissipates by the time it gets even to Hawaii, much less to the mainland of the US."
"I do think it's important for us to think through constantly how we can improve nuclear technologies to deal with additional safety concerns," Obama said when asked about the safety of nuclear plants in the US during an interview with a Pittsburgh television station.
"We constantly monitor - I asked this question of our nuclear regulatory commission. We constantly monitor seismic activity," he said.
Obama said all energy sources have downsides and none are foolproof, adding that the US learned that last summer during the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Earlier in the day, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Department of Energy has offered Japan an aerial measuring system capability, including detectors and analytical equipment used to provide assessments of contamination on the ground. In total, the DOE team includes 34 people.
"We have offered our Japanese friends disaster response experts, search and rescue teams, technical advisors with nuclear expertise, and logistical support from the United States military," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
The president is being kept up to date and is constantly being briefed by his national security staff.
The national security staff in the White House is also coordinating a large inter-agency response with experts meeting around the clock to monitor the latest information coming out of Japan, he said.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it has sent nine additional experts to Tokyo to provide assistance as requested by the Japanese government. Acting as part of a US Agency for International Development assistance team, the NRC has dispatched the experts to Tokyo to provide assistance as requested by the Japanese government, it said.
The first members of the team left the US Monday evening and were due to arrive in Tokyo Wednesday afternoon. The team includes additional reactor experts, international affairs professional staffers, and a senior manager from one of the NRC's four operating regions.

Gaddafi seen growing in confidence as rebels fade

As his armed forces roll over rebel fighters, Libya's Muammar Gaddafi has shaken off his delusional first response to the uprising and is reasserting his grip on the country he has ruled for more than 40 years.
After presidents in Tunisia and Egypt succumbed to popular revolutions, swift early gains by rebels in Libya made it look as though Gaddafi would be the next Arab domino to topple.
His initial reaction to the rebellion was defiant, but denied what was happening in plain sight on Libyan streets. There were no demonstrations, he told Western journalists. Nobody was against him and all his people loved him.
With his penchant for bedouin tents and heavily armed female bodyguards, Gaddafi has cut a bizarre and eccentric figure over the years, and his accusations that the rebel fighters were al Qaeda stooges high on drugs did nothing to dispel that view.
But another feature of his long period in power has been his readiness to use deadly force against his own people. That is what is happening now, as Gaddafi presses his counter-offensive and rebel hopes of Western military aid are fading.
As his forces advanced towards the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, a confident Gaddafi taunted Western countries that have backed a no-fly zone over Libya but shown no sign of actually imposing one.
"Strike Libya?" he said. "We'll be the one who strikes you! We struck you in Algeria, in Vietnam. You want to strike us? Come and give it a try."
And if Western nations do strike, "we will ally ourselves with al Qaeda and declare holy war," he told an Italian newspaper.
Long derided in the West as crazy, Gaddafi said French President Nicolas Sarkozy, one of a small number of Western voices to back a no-fly zone over Libya, was "suffering from mental illness".

Gaddafi's increasingly defiant response to the uprising comes as Western nations have shrunk from taking concrete action to help the rebels. But his handling of the crisis seems also to be conditioned by his background.
"Gaddafi is firstly a military man," said Tara O'Connor, managing director of Africa Risk Consulting.
"He postured until his perceived enemy showed its hand. The West's prevarication and Gaddafi's preparedness to use overwhelming force will see him secure his hold on power.
"What will follow is a wave of brutal repression to 'cleanse' Libya of resistance groups and to discourage any further popular support," she told Reuters.
Gaddafi had forgotten that his role as leader was to serve and protect his people and had turned them into his enemy.
"In this, he keeps faith with Africa's few remaining dinosaurs -- Robert Mugabe, Omar Bashir and Teodore Obiang Nguema," O'Connor said, referring to the leaders of Zimbabwe, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea.
Nigel Inkster, an analyst with the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said Gaddafi now appeared to be growing in confidence.
"Yes, Gaddafi has his own frame of reference but actually to date that frame of reference has worked pretty well for him and after a rather uncertain start it seems in the short term to be working for him again," he told Reuters.
Opposition figures in Benghazi were under no illusion about what might happen once a reinvigorated Gaddafi prevailed in the absence of Western assistance for the rebels.
"He will kill civilians, he will kill dreams, he will destroy us more and more, and it will be on everybody's conscience that they haven't interfered," said Dr Jalal Al Gallal, of the opposition National Libyan Transitional Council, in an interview with the BBC on Wednesday.
Gaddafi's ability to push back the rebels on the battlefield has been based on superior military force, which is now being brought to bear after initial advances by the opposition.
Difficult fighting in the town of Zawiyah has shown that the rebels are hard to beat if it comes to street fighting. But Gaddafi apparently has the resources to sustain his military machine even if the country's oil revenues have now dried up.
He has tens of billions of dollars in cash hidden in Tripoli that will allow him to keep fighting despite an international freeze on Libyan assets, The New York Times reported, with some of the funds recently moved from Libyan banks to the leader's own compound in the capital.
With his record of supporting international terrorism and taunting the United States, Gaddafi was called "the mad dog of the Middle East" by President Ronald Reagan.
But that is not the full story on the Libyan leader, according to psychiatry professor and former CIA staffer Jerrold M Post. Writing in Foreign Policy magazine, he suggested Gaddafi was "crazy like a fox" -- mad on the surface, but actually shrewd and cunning.

US drones start hunting drug lords in Mexico

Drawing upon their success in strikes against al Qaeda and Taliban, the US has started sending drones deep into the Mexican territories to locate and pinpoint drug lords.
The Pentagon began flying high-altitude, unarmed drones over Mexican skies last month as the fight between security forces and drug gangs have left thousands dead in an almost year-long war.
The US security would turn over the intelligence data to Mexican law enforcement agencies, American military officials were quoted as saying by the New York Times.
The paper said US President Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderón, formally agreed to the surveillance flights during a White House meeting on March 3, but have kept it secret because of legal restrictions in Mexico and the heated political sensitivities there about sovereignty.
The Pentagon has flown a number of flights over the past month using the Global Hawk drones -- a spy plane that can fly higher than 60,000 feet and survey about 40,000 square miles of territory in a day. They cannot be readily seen by drug traffickers -- or ordinary Mexicans -- on the ground.
The drones gathered vital information leading to Mexico's arrest of several suspects in last month's killing of US immigration and customs agent Jaime Zapata.
Mexican and US officials said that their joint efforts had led to the capture or killing of at least 20 high-level drug traffickers, including 12 in the last year alone, the NYT reported.
In addition to expanding the use of drones, the two leaders have agreed to open a counter-narcotics "fusion" centre, the second such facility in Mexico, where Mexican and American agencies would work together, the officials said.

China suspends new nuclear plants

China has put a temporary halt on its ambitious program for establishing nuclear plants across the country. It has suspended the approval process of new projects and ordered safety checks on existing ones.
The State Council, which is presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, has also put a hold on ongoing pre-construction works in plants that have already been approved. China has six nuclear plants in operation, seven under construction and plans for establishing 33 more plants.
The government is revising the safety standards of nuclear plants in view of the radiation leaks in plants in Japan, the State Council said. New approval process will begin only after the new norms are worked out.
It said all reactors in operation in are safe and the country remains unaffected by radioactive leakages following explosions at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant caused by Friday's 8.9-magnitude quake and ensuing tsunami.
The radioactive leakages will be diluted by air and sea before reaching the country and will not affect China, it said. China's top quality watchdog has already strengthened monitoring of radioactive substances amid leakages in Japan.
"Safety is our top priority in developing nuclear power plants," the State Council said while calling for a comprehensive safety check and enhanced management over existing plants.
The government has ordered the National Nuclear Safety Administration to step up monitoring of radioactive substances and issue alerts timely, said the statement. It has already begun nationwide radiation monitoring.

Mukesh Ambani named a director of Bank of America

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has been appointed as a director on board of Bank of America -- the first non-American on the board of the one of the largest financial institutions in the world.
"BofA's shareholders will benefit from the global perspective Ambani brings to our board.
He has demonstrated expertise in risk management and strategic planning across a diverse range of businesses, including energy, information and communications technology, and retail networks," BofA chairman Charles O Holliday Jr said in a statement.
Ambani is a member of the Indian Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry. Among others, he is a member of the Indo-US CEOs Forum, the co-chair of the Japan-India Business Leader's Forum, and India-Russia CEO Council.
The business tycoon also serves on the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum.
"I am delighted to join the board of BofA. It is a privilege and a great honour for me, as the first non-American citizen to join the board of one of the world's largest financial institutions. I look forward to contributing to the growth and progress of BofA," the BofA statement quoated Ambani as saying.
BofA chief executive officer Brian T Moynihan said the management team looks forward to benefiting from Ambani's judgement and experience. Ambani would stand for election at annual meeting of shareholders of BofA.

Another Air India pilot caught for forging marksheet, grounded

. A second Air India pilot has been found to have got his flying licence by allegedly submitting forged marks certificates and was grounded, making him the fifth pilot to be caught for using fraudulent means to procure a license. ( Why most fail pilot exam )
The state-owned airline has de-rostered the pilot, identified as Arjun Giare, pending enquiry for allegedly submitting a forged Class 10 certificate to show that he met the minimum age limit to become a pilot. The airline earlier suspended Capt JK Verma, who is under arrest, on similar charges.
The pilot, identified as Arjun Giare, "has been taken off duty pending enquiry. He is not flying now," a senior official of the national carrier said.
After the arrest of IndiGo pilot Capt Parminder Kaur Gulati on charges of producing fake marks card last week, the DGCA, while examining documents submitted by about 1,700 pilots to get licences in the past one year, detected that Capt Swaran Singh Talwar (MDLR) and Capt Meenakshi Singhal (IndiGo), besides Air India's Verma, had submitted forged result cards.
All these four cases are now being investigated by the police which has so far arrested Gulati and Verma. Police said Talwar and Singhal are "absconding".
Sources said that in November 2000, Giare's licence was cancelled by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on similar charges. He was also reportedly caught when he appeared for his Instrument Pilot Rating at the Fort Worth Aviation testing centre in the US.
The de-rostering of Giare came after the government ordered investigation into all pilot licences issued in the past and proposed to set up an expert committee to look into the current examination system.
Civil Aviation minister vayalar Ravi on Tuesday informed Parliament that he had asked Directorate General of Civil Aviation to examine all the licences issued in the past. Till date, about 4,500 Airline Transport Pilot Licences (ATPLs) have been issued.
Ravi also proposed to set up an expert committee in the Ministry to examine the current examination system, the need for introducing e-technology and new procedures and processes besides evolving an effective system of cross- verification of documents filed by candidates for various licences in DGCA.

Berlusconi had sex with underage Moroccan 13 times: Prosecutors

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi paid to have sex with an underage Moroccan 13 times at his sprawling villa in a Milan suburb, according to prosecutors.
The prosecutors said this in Milan after closing a probe of three people close to the beleaguered leader. They are accused of arranging for prostitutes to have sex with the 74-year-old billionaire politician.
In an eight-page document, the prosecutors accuse the suspects of exploiting Karima El Mahroug between September 2009, when the Moroccan, whose nickname is Ruby the Heart Stealer, was 16, and May 2010.
El Mahroug says she has never had sex with Berlusconi or worked as a prostitute.
The prosecutors are seeking a trial for Nicole Minetti, a councillor in the northern Lombardy region; Emilio Fede, a news anchor for a television channel owned by Berlusconi; and Lele Mora, a powerful Italian talent agent.
All the three are accused of procuring the sexual services of El Mahroug and 32 other women. They have denied any wrongdoing.
The legal age of consent in Italy is 14 but it is a crime to use the services of a prostitute younger than 18 years of age.
Berlusconi will go on trial in April for having sex with a minor and abusing the power of his office to cover up the alleged crime. If convicted of the two crimes, he could be sentenced to up to 15 years in jail.

Pakistan court indicts Raymond Davis for double murder

Raymond Davis, a US official arrested after gunning down two men in Lahore, was finally indicted on Wednesday by a Pakistani court, a media report said.
The sessions judge court charged Davis on two counts of murder at a hearing held at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, Geo News reported.
According to a report on Monday, the Lahore high court dismissed petitions claiming diplomatic immunity for Davis after the foreign ministry admitted that they have no record of his diplomatic status.
If convicted, Davis could face a death penalty.
Davis, 36, shot dead two Pakistanis on a motorcycle in Lahore on Jan 27 following what he described as an attempted armed robbery. He claimed that he acted in self-defence.
The Raymond Davis affair has strained ties between the US and Pakistan. The US says Davis has diplomatic immunity and should be repatriated. But Pakistan has maintained that the case is in court and it will be decided as per the law of the land.

Japan scrambles to pull nuclear plant back from brink of disaster

Japan's nuclear crisis appeared to be spinning out of control on Wednesday after workers withdrew briefly from a stricken power plant because of surging radiation levels and a helicopter failed to drop water on the most troubled reactor.
In a sign of desperation, the police will try to cool spent nuclear fuel at one of the facility's reactors with water cannon, which is normally used to quell riots.
Early in the day another fire broke out at the earthquake-crippled facility, which has sent low levels of radiation wafting into Tokyo in the past 24 hours, triggering fear in the capital and international alarm.
Japan's government said radiation levels outside the plant's gates were stable but, in a sign of being overwhelmed, appealed to private companies to help deliver supplies to tens of thousands of people evacuated from around the complex.
"People would not be in immediate danger if they went outside with these levels. I want people to understand this," chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano told a televised news conference, referring to people living outside a 30 km (18 miles) exclusion zone. Some 140,000 people inside the zone have been told to stay indoors.
Workers were trying to clear debris to build a road so fire trucks could reach reactor No 4 at the Daiichi complex in Fukushima, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo. Flames were no longer visible at the building housing the reactor.
High radiation levels prevented a helicopter from flying to the site to drop water into the No. 3 reactor -- whose roof was damaged by an earlier explosion and where steam was seen rising earlier in the day -- to try to cool its fuel rods.
The plant operator described No 3 as the "priority". No more information was available, but that reactor is the only one at Daiichi which uses plutonium in its fuel mix.
According to US government research, plutonium is very toxic to humans and once absorbed in the bloodstream can linger for years in bone marrow or liver and can lead to cancer
The situation at No 4 reactor, where the fire broke out, was "not so good", the plant operator added, while water was being poured into reactors No 5 and 6, indicating the entire six-reactor facility was now at risk of overheating.
Nuclear experts said the solutions being proposed to quell radiation leaks at the complex were last-ditch efforts to stem what could well be remembered as one of the world's worst industrial disasters.
"This is a slow-moving nightmare," said Dr Thomas Neff, a physicist and uranium-industry analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Japanese Emperor Akihito, delivering a rare video message to his people, said he was deeply worried by the country's nuclear crisis which was "unprecedented in scale".
"I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times," the emperor said.
Panic over the economic impact of last Friday's massive earthquake and tsunami knocked $620 billion off Japan's stock market over the first two days of this week, but the Nikkei index rebounded on Wednesday to end up 5.68 percent.
Nevertheless, estimates of losses to Japanese output from damage to buildings, production and consumer activity ranged from between 10 and 16 trillion yen ($125-$200 billion), up to one-and-a-half times the economic losses from the devastating 1995 Kobe earthquake.
Damage to Japan's manufacturing base and infrastructure is also threatening significant disruption to the global supply chain, particularly in the technology and auto sectors.
Scores of flights to Japan have been halted or rerouted and air travellers are avoiding Tokyo for fear of radiation. On Wednesday, both France and Australia urged their nationals in Japan to leave the country as authorities grappled with the world's most serious nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986.
In a demonstration of the qualms about nuclear power that the crisis has triggered around the globe, China announced that it was suspending approvals for planned plants and would launch a comprehensive safety check of facilities.
China has about two dozen reactors under construction and plans to increase nuclear electricity generation about seven-fold over the next 10 years.
In Japan, the plight of hundreds of thousands left homeless by the earthquake and devastating tsunami that followed worsened overnight following a cold snap that brought snow to some of the worst-affected areas.
While the death toll stands at around 4,000, more than 7,000 are listed as missing and the figure is expected to rise.
At the Fukushima plant, authorities have spent days desperately trying to prevent water which is designed to cool the radioactive cores of the reactors from evaporating, which would lead to overheating and possibly a dangerous meltdown.
Until the heightened alarm about No.3 reactor, concern had centred on damage to a part of the No.4 reactor building where spent rods were being stored in pools of water, and also to part of the No 2 reactor that helps to cool and trap the majority of cesium, iodine and strontium in its water.
Japanese officials said they were talking to the US military about possible help at the plant.
Concern has mounted that the skeleton crews dealing with the crisis might not be big enough or were exhausted after working for days since the earthquake damaged the facility. Authorities withdrew 750 workers on Tuesday, leaving only 50.
All those remaining were pulled out for almost an hour on Wednesday because radiation levels were too high, but they were later allowed to return.
Arnie Gundersen, a 39-year veteran of the nuclear industry who worked on reactor designs similar to Daiichi plant, said 50 or so people could not babysit six nuclear plants.
"That evacuation (of 750 workers) is a sign they may be throwing in the towel," Gundersen said.

In the first hint of international frustration at the pace of updates from Japan, Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he wanted more timely and detailed information.
"We do not have all the details of the information so what we can do is limited," Amano told a news conference in Vienna. "I am trying to further improve the communication."
Several experts said the Japanese authorities were underplaying the severity of the incident, particularly on a scale called INES used to rank nuclear incidents. The Japanese have so far rated the accident a four on a one-to-seven scale, but that rating was issued on Saturday and since then the situation has worsened dramatically.
France's nuclear safety authority ASN said on Tuesday it should be classed as a level-six incident.
Officials in Tokyo said radiation in the capital was 10 times normal at one point but not a threat to human health in the sprawling high-tech city of 13 million people.
Many Tokyo residents stayed indoors. Public transport and the streets were as deserted as they would be on a public holiday, and many shops and offices were closed.
Winds over the plant were forecast to blow from the northwest during Wednesday, which would take radiation towards the Pacific Ocean.

Japanese media have became more critical of Kan's handling of the disaster and criticised the government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co for their failure to provide enough information on the incident.
"This government is useless," Masako Kitajima, a Tokyo office worker in her 50s, said as radiation levels ticked up in the city.
Kan himself lambasted the operator for taking so long to inform his office about one of the blasts on Tuesday. A Kyodo news agency reporter quoted the prime minister demanding the power company executives: "What the hell is going on?".
Nuclear radiation is an especially sensitive issue for Japanese following the country's worst human catastrophe -- the US atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
The full extent of the destruction was slowly becoming clear as rescuers combed through the tsunami-torn region north of Tokyo where officials say at least 10,000 people were killed.
There have been hundreds of aftershocks and more than two dozen were greater than magnitude 6, the size of the earthquake that severely damaged Christchurch, New Zealand, last month.
About 850,000 households in the north were still without electricity in near-freezing weather, Tohuku Electric Power Co. said, and the government said at least 1.5 million households lack running water. Tens of thousands of people were missing.

25 of 61 pirates arrested by Navy at sea are children below 15 yrs

From Sierra Leone and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan, the term "child soldier" has been used to denote the conscription of children below the age of 15 into armed conflicts. Now, "child pirate" is likely to gain similar currency.
Indian authorities have been confounded to find that as many as 25 of the 61 pirates, apprehended after a gun-battle with naval warships in Arabian Sea on Saturday, are children below 15.
"At least four of them are just 11 or so. It seems younger and younger children in Somalia are being pushed into piracy, which is proving immensely lucrative in the lawless country...the established pirates, who have got rich, are no longer sailing out on raids," said an official.
Though there were a few youngsters among the 43 pirates nabbed in the earlier two encounters with the Navy on January 28 and February 5, this is the first time so many children below 15 have been apprehended.
With India's legal system is grappling with the absence of a specific provision dealing with piracy in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the presence of "child pirates" will further complicate matters. All the 61 pirates were handed over to the Yellow Gate police station in Mumbai on Wednesday.
So far, the Mumbai Police has been taking recourse to booking pirates nabbed by Navy and Coast Guard under provisions like rioting, trying to damage government property and attempt to murder as well as Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Arms Act.
The government is now scrambling to bring a specific anti-piracy law, which seeks to fuse the provisions in IPC with United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), after pirates began to operate nearer Indian shores.
Pirates from Somalia, ravaged by decades of civil war and without a unified central government for around two decades, spread their wings much beyond the Gulf of Aden after 30 to 40 warships from different countries began to patrol that region.
The defence ministry's latest annual report, tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, said, "The threat of piracy and terrorism to international trade and safety of the sea lanes of communication has emerged as a major problem. The spread of piracy to areas close to our western seaboard has made this a cause of greater concern."
With the Navy on "an all-out offensive" against the pirates, prosecuting the ones who are apprehended is proving a major challenge. UNCLOS does define piracy as a universal crime while giving nations the right to seize and prosecute pirates, but many countries are yet to incorporate the convention in their own laws. Dealing with "child pirates" is bound to prove even tougher.

184 held worldwide in paedophile ring bust, 230 children rescued

Police in several countries have arrested 184 alleged members of an online paedophile ring and rescued 230 children in "the biggest case of its kind", Europol said on Wednesday.
"Six-hundreds-and-seventy suspects have been identified, 184 arrests have already been made and 230 children, the victims of these terrible crimes, have been identified and rescued from further harm," the policing agency's director Rob Wainwright told journalists in The Hague.
"We expect these numbers to rise further," he said, adding: "This is already the biggest case of its kind we have ever seen."
Dubbed Operation Rescue, Europol said the probe started three years ago, and targeted an online network, its server based in the Netherlands, with almost 70,000 members worldwide at its height. It has since been taken down.
The suspects were members of an online forum, boylover.net, that promoted sex between adults and young boys.
Europol said the website operated as a forum where members connected without committing an offence. Having made contact on the site, they would then use other channels, like e-mail, to exchange images and films of children being abused.
"I can confirm that this is one of the most successful police operations in recent years in what is probably the largest online paedophile network in the world," Wainwright said.
In the course of the investigation, the agency sent more than 4,000 intelligence reports to police authorities in more than 30 countries.
Countries involved in the operation included Australia, Belgium, Canada, Greece, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Spain, the UK and the United States. The operation is continuing and more arrests are expected, said Wainwright.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

ICC World Cup : Duminy anchors South Africa into last eight

JP Duminy
JP Duminy agonisingly missed out on his first World Cup hundred by a run but his sparkling effort propelled South Africa into the quarter-finals with a crushing 131-run win over Ireland on Tuesday.
The 273-run target proved a bit too steep for the Irish as they never recovered from a couple of early jolts, and were ultimately shot out for a paltry 141. South Africa became the first team from Group B to reach the last eight.
"We wanted to qualify ... and have three good matches in the knockout phase. We've done the first part of that and we're excited to be there," captain Graeme Smith said during the presentation ceremony.
Speedster Morne Morkel and spinner Robin Peterson picked up three wickets apiece as South Africa made regular inroads to block Irish hopes of an upset.
Duminy also chipped in with a wicket with his part-time off-spin but it was definitely not enough to compensate his missing a deserved hundred while unselfishly trying to gather more runs for his team.
In the last over of the South African innings, the left-hander, on 99, skied the ball as Ireland's John Mooney ran back to complete a stunning catch to deny him the century.
Although he looked dejected to fall so close to the three figure milestone, Duminy had no regrets about his tactics.
"Definitely happy to try to hit it out of the ground (just before ton)," the 26-year-old said.
"In this sort of games, one or two runs can make a difference whether you win or lose so my goal was to try to hit it out of the ground."
On a cloudy day at Eden Gardens, the Proteas were struggling on 117 for five before the left-handed duo of Duminy and World Cup debutant Colin Ingram steadied the ship with a 87-run partnership off 79 deliveries.
Duminy (99 off 103 balls) then combined with Johan Botha and added 65 runs for the seventh wicket to take South Africa to a competitive 272 for seven.
Ireland, who have impressed all in the World Cup with their dogged performance, picked up regular wickets with some smart bowling and electric ground fielding, after opting to bowl first.
The run-outs of Smith (7) and Jacques Kallis (19) and the early dismissal of Hashim Amla (18) put the South African middle-order, without the injured AB de Villiers, under stern test.
Wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk, who was promoted to number three, survived two dropped chances for a 41-ball 42 and took good advantage of the fielding restrictions to hit seven boundaries and one six.
The Irish spinners - George Dockrell and Paul Stirling - were the most impressive as they stifled South Africa, giving away just 82 runs between their 20 overs, while picking up two wickets.
score card

South Africa innings (50 overs maximum) R M B 4s 6s SR
HM Amla c Dockrell b Rankin 18 20 17 1 1 105.88
GC Smith* run out (Mooney) 7 43 18 0 0 38.88
MN van Wyk† b Dockrell 42 48 41 7 1 102.43
JH Kallis run out (†NJ O'Brien/Porterfield) 19 43 31 3 0 61.29
JP Duminy c KJ O'Brien b Mooney 99 139 103 6 1 96.11
F du Plessis c Johnston b Stirling 11 21 19 0 0 57.89
CA Ingram b Johnston 46 55 43 7 0 106.97

J Botha not out 21 47 28 1 0 75.00

RJ Peterson not out 0 1 0 0 0 -

Extras (b 2, lb 3, w 4) 9

Total (7 wickets; 50 overs; 213 mins) 272 (5.44 runs per over)
Did not bat M Morkel, DW Steyn
Fall of wickets1-24 (Amla, 4.4 ov), 2-52 (Smith, 9.4 ov), 3-84 (van Wyk, 15.5 ov), 4-95 (Kallis, 20.3 ov), 5-117 (du Plessis, 26.3 ov), 6-204 (Ingram, 39.4 ov), 7-269 (Duminy, 49.4 ov)

Bowling O M R W Econ

WB Rankin 10 0 59 1 5.90 (1w)
DT Johnston 10 0 76 1 7.60 (1w)
JF Mooney 8 0 36 1 4.50

GH Dockrell 10 0 37 1 3.70

PR Stirling 10 0 45 1 4.50 (1w)

AR Cusack 2 0 14 0 7.00 (1w)

Ireland innings (target: 273 runs from 50 overs) R M B 4s 6s SR
WTS Porterfield* c Smith b Morkel 6 8 8 1 0 75.00
PR Stirling c Kallis b Morkel 10 15 11 2 0 90.90
EC Joyce lbw b Botha 12 46 24 2 0 50.00
NJ O'Brien† c †van Wyk b Kallis 10 23 16 0 1 62.50
GC Wilson lbw b Peterson 31 60 48 4 1 64.58
KJ O'Brien c Amla b Peterson 19 39 24 2 0 79.16
AR Cusack c Smith b Peterson 7 23 11 1 0 63.63
JF Mooney c †van Wyk b Kallis 14 49 28 1 0 50.00
DT Johnston c †van Wyk b Duminy 12 14 16 0 1 75.00
GH Dockrell c †van Wyk b Morkel 16 19 12 3 0 133.33

WB Rankin not out 0 3 2 0 0 0.00

Extras (w 4) 4

Total (all out; 33.2 overs; 154 mins) 141 (4.23 runs per over)
Fall of wickets1-8 (Porterfield, 1.6 ov), 2-19 (Stirling, 3.3 ov), 3-35 (NJ O'Brien, 8.5 ov), 4-51 (Joyce, 11.5 ov), 5-92 (KJ O'Brien, 21.3 ov), 6-92 (Wilson, 21.5 ov), 7-107 (Cusack, 25.5 ov), 8-123 (Johnston, 29.5 ov), 9-137 (Mooney, 32.4 ov), 10-141 (Dockrell, 33.2 ov)

Bowling O M R W Econ

DW Steyn 4 1 13 0 3.25

M Morkel 5.2 0 33 3 6.18 (2w)
JH Kallis 6 1 20 2 3.33

J Botha 8 0 32 1 4.00 (1w)
RJ Peterson 8 0 32 3 4.00

JP Duminy 2 0 11 1 5.50