kin of mumbai attack victims welcome

Relatives of victims of the 2008 Mumbai attack victims on Wednesday welcomed the execution of the lone surviving attacker, Ajmal Kasab, saying justice has been finally delivered. In Varanasi, Sunita Yadav, wife of victim Upendra Yadav, expressed her gratitude to the authorities for carrying out the execution.

Daily Bollywood News:Bipasha Basu - Bollywood will remain a hero-centric business

Women are active in show business like never before, but will they surpass the status Bollywood heroes enjoy? Never, says Bipasha Basu, who feels there is minimum opportunity for female actors in the Hindi film industry

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

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3rd Match, Group B: South Africa v New Zealand at Centurion

South Africa require another 149 runs with 9 wickets and 35.3 overs remaining

New Zealand 214 (47.5 ov); South Africa 66/1 (14.3 ov)

JH Kallis 35* HM Amla 21* SE Bond 5.3-0-27-0 DL Vettori 1-0-3-0

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In Nassau - Jett Travolta testify on day son Jett died

NASSAU, Bahamas (CNN) -- John Travolta spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday about his desperate efforts to save his teenage son's life after he suffered a seizure at the family's vacation home in the Bahamas in January.

Travolta testified in the criminal trial of a paramedic and former Bahamian senator, who are charged with a plot allegedly designed to extort $25 million from the actor.
Travolta and his wife, actress Kelly Preston, have remained secluded for most of this year. Friends have described their deep grief over the death of 16-year-old Jett Travolta.
Jett was found unresponsive by a nanny at the home on the island of Grand Bahamas, where the family was spending a New Year's holiday, he said.

A family friend with a medical background helped in urgent efforts to revive Jett, Travolta said.

"We continued CPR and my wife was holding his head," said Travolta. His wife sat in the Nassau courtroom, sometimes crying as she watched the testimony.

Travolta said he initially told the ambulance driver to rush them to an airport where his private jet was parked. Travolta, who is a pilot, said he wanted to fly his son to a West Palm Beach hospital instead of driving him to one in Freeport.

The paramedic, however, asked Travolta to sign a statement releasing the ambulance company from liability.

"I received a liability of release document," he said. "I signed it. I did not read it. Time was of the essence."

Travolta said that while he and his wife were riding in the ambulance with their son, they decided to divert to the hospital.

At the hospital, Travolta was told his son "wasn't alive," he said.

The defendants -- paramedic Tarino Lightbourne and former Bahamian Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater -- allegedly tried to get Travolta to pay them $25 million to not make public a medical document about his son's death.

The judge told Travolta to return to the stand for more testimony Thursday.

Michael Jackson Make Feel album photo

Michael Jackson – Bad ’’Smooth Criminal Video’’

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hugo Chavez says: military helped Zelaya return to Honduras

NEW YORK — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says the ousted Honduran president sneaked back to his country with the help of Honduran military personnel.

Chavez says ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya traveled by plane, in the trunk of a car and in tractors from Nicaragua to Honduras in a secret operation aided by supporters in the military.
He says that Zelaya told him in a telephone conversation that he would return to Honduras even if it cost him his life.

Chavez made the comments Wednesday at the Lincoln Center before the premier of Oliver Stone's documentary titled "South of the border."

The 75-minute documentary features interviews with Chavez as well as other South American leaders who Stone says represent "sweeping changes" in the region in recent years.

Iran to ask - for nuclear fuel at talks next week

Iran's president says his country will ask the six world powers at nuclear talks next week for imports of highly enriched uranium — material that the U.S. fears Tehran wants to use to arm nuclear warheads.

Iran vehemently denies having nuclear weapons aspirations and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his country was seeking to buy uranium that is highly enriched — or near that level — to fuel a small research reactor.

He also made clear that Iran is seeking uranium that is enriched only to 20 percent — the threshold for the high-enrichment level but substantially below the 90 percent-plus grade needed for nuclear warheads.

"We are interested in purchasing it, and we'd like to offer that as an issue to expand discussions on the table for the next meeting," he told the AP on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

That request could put the U.S. and its five negotiating partners in a bind at the Oct. 1 talks in Geneva. Until now, Iran has produced only low-enriched uranium, but it could use refusal of its request as a pretext to start producing high-enriched material.

Ahead of the negotiations, the foreign ministers of the six nations — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany — were meeting Wednesday on the sidelines of the General Assembly to discuss how to get Iran to stop uranium enrichment. Russian news agencies cited an official in the Russian delegation as saying Moscow does not rule out new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

U.N. sanctions on Iran are meant to prohibit exports of sensitive nuclear material and technology. The international community is unlikely to give Iran enriched uranium closer to weapons-grade level at a time when it wants Tehran to stop enrichment.

In the enrichment process, uranium oxide is processed into uranium hexafluoride, which then is spun to varying degrees of enrichment, with low-enriched uranium used for nuclear fuel and upper-end high-enriched uranium used for nuclear weapons.

Security Council refusal to waive the sanctions could give Tehran a plausible reason to turn to its own facilities and produce high-enriched uranium.

Since Iran's program was discovered seven years ago, it has put thousands of centrifuges online to churn out enriched uranium. But the International Atomic Energy Agency says the more than a ton of enriched material it has amassed is all below the 5 percent level and well below the 20 percent highly enriched mark.

Still Iran's accumulation of well over 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of low-enriched uranium gives it more than enough material to produce enough weapons-grade uranium through further enrichment for one nuclear weapon.

Ahmadinejad, who has ruled out any compromise on enrichment at the Geneva talks, touched on the issue of enrichment levels in his comments to the AP, saying Iran was enriching only "to the grade of 3 1/2 percent ... basically for our power plants."
Such low-enriched uranium can only be used for nuclear fuel — something Iran says it will need as it expands an ambitious civilian nuclear network.

But low-enriched uranium can be processed reasonably simply into higher grades, all the way up to weapons grade, stoking international fears of Tehran's ultimate aims — and three sets of Security Council sanctions since 2006 meant to crimp Iran's program.

Tehran's small and creaky research reactor has not figured highly in international concerns. But — unlike Iran's planned reactor network that Tehran says will be fueled on enriched uranium below 5 percent — it runs on fuel enriched to just below the 20 percent, highly enriched threshold.

In announcing the import request, Ahmadinejad suggested the more than 30-year-old 5-megawatt reactor, which Tehran says is needed for medical and scientific research, had used up its reserves of 19.75-level fuel, adding "we cannot produce that (level) at this moment."
"It appears that fuel is running out," said David Albright, whose Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security has closely tracked Iran's nuclear program for signs of covert proliferation. "But they can't buy any because of the Security Council sanctions, so they would need an exemption."

Such a waiver is unlikely, said a senior Western diplomat whose country is on the 35-nation IAEA board and who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment.
But refusal could provide Iran with a pretext to reconfigure its enrichment program at the central city of Natanz to move to the next level — producing uranium at or near the highly enriched 20 percent level.

Albright said even producing the relatively small amount of more highly enriched material that the Tehran reactor would need would be of concern because it would increase Tehran's know-how — and make producing weapons-grade material easier, should Iran choose to go that route.
"The international community is in a bind," he said. "It's not in their interest to make exemptions to the (U.N) resolutions that Iran refuses to abide by.

"At the same time, they don't want enrichment at Natanz to go above 5 percent."
Of additional concern, he said, would be the fact that the Iranians would be expected to turn any more highly enriched fuel into uranium metal, further perfecting that technology.

He said the Tehran reactor uses enriched uranium metal as fuel. But weapons-grade uranium is also turned into uranium metal — and then shaped into warhead form.

UN General Assembly Address - Obama, Gadhafi , Ahmadinejad

World leaders addressing the U.N. General Assembly underscored issues of domestic and international concern as the annual debate got underway Wednesday in New York.

President Barack Obama laid out his vision for U.S. foreign policy in a wide-ranging address.
He called for a "new era of engagement" among nations, saying the United States cannot solve the world's problems alone and urged other nations to share in the responsibility.

"But make no mistake. This cannot be solely America's endeavor. Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone. We have sought in word and deed a new era of engagement with the world. And now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges," he said.

He said the United States would withdraw all its troops from Iraq by the end of 2011; continue to support Afghanistan and Pakistan in fighting terrorists; and would continuing working for peace in the Middle East and a nuclear bomb-free world.

Following immediately after President Obama was Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Although he has led Libya for 40 years, this was his first time at the General Assembly, and he made up for lost time, speaking for more than an hour and a half.

Wearing his trademark long sweeping robes, he waved to the crowd and clasped his hands above his head like a prize fighter as he took the podium.

Mr. Gadhafi covered a range of subjects -- not always coherently. Waving a copy of the U.N. Charter, he railed against what he called the inequality of the institution, but then urged a permanent seat on the Security Council for Africa. He also called on former colonial powers to pay $7.77 trillion in reparations to African countries.

He defended the Taliban, gave his thoughts on the 1963 assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and on the H1N1 influenza pandemic, also known as swine flu.

"Perhaps this swine virus may be one of those viruses that was created in the laboratory and it went out of control because it was meant in the beginning to be used as a military weapon," Mr. Gadhafi said.

In addition to the United States, the four other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council addressed the General Assembly.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev welcomed President Obama's recent decision to abandon Bush-era plans for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. China's President Hu Jintao warned that the world remains under the impact of the financial crisis and that prospects for an economic recovery are still not clear. While French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for a sweeping overhaul of the world's financial system.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whose military has suffered heavy casualties recently in Afghanistan, reasserted his commitment to that country.

"I believe a safer Afghanistan means a safer world. But none of us can be safe if we walk away from that country or from our common mission and resolve. NATO and its partners from Australia to Japan and to other countries must agree new ways to implement our strategy, and I believe that we must ensure that 'Afghanization', that the army, the people, the police of Afghanistan assume greater responsibility for the security of their own country," he said.

Meanwhile, the presidents of Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina expressed their support for ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and called for his immediate return to the power.

"The international community demands that Mr. Zelaya immediately return to the presidency of his country," said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Speaking in the evening to a nearly empty room, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a lengthy discourse on religion, humanity, and what he sees as the world's ills - mainly capitalism, Zionism and liberalism. His speech was notable, however, for what it failed to mention - his government's controversial nuclear program.

Hu Jintao put forward call for building a harmonious world

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao put forward a four-point proposal on building a harmonious world on Wednesday, calling on the international community to work together for world peace and development.

During his speech at the general debate of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly, Hu said the trend towards peace, development and cooperation has grown stronger than ever in the world.

Meanwhile, he noted that the instability and uncertainties in the international landscape pose "severe challenges" to world peace and development.

In the face of unprecedented opportunities and challenges, members of the international community should continue the joint endeavor "to build a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity and contribute to the noble cause of peace and development of mankind," he said.

The Chinese president put forward his four-point view with regard to world peace and development.

First, the international community should view security in a broader perspective and safeguard world peace and stability.

"Security is not a zero-sum game, and there is no isolated or absolute security," he said.
Hu said countries should embrace a new security thinking of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination.

"While maintaining one's own national security, we should also respect the security concerns of other countries and advance the common security of mankind," said the Chinese president.

Second, the international community should take a more holistic approach to development and promote common prosperity.

"The deepening economic globalization has linked the development of all countries closely together," he said.

Without the development and equal participation of developing countries, there cannot be common prosperity in the world, nor a more just and equitable international economic order, he added.

"We believe that common development is an important way to redressing global development imbalances and achieving sustainable development," said Hu.

Responsible measures should be taken to counter the international financial crisis, firmly oppose protectionism and actively work for an early, comprehensive and balanced outcome of the Doha round negotiations, said Hu.

Third, members of the international community should pursue cooperation with a more open mind and work for mutual benefit and common progress.

Hu said climate change, food security, energy and resource security and public health security are all global challenges and no country is immune from them.

"The only way for us to meet these challenges and ensure harmony and peace is to engage in closer international cooperation," said Hu.

Fourth, the international community should be more tolerant to one another and live together in harmony.

"Mutual learning and tolerance among different civilizations is an inexhaustible source of strength for social progress," said Hu.

Countries should acknowledge differences in cultural tradition, social system and values and respect the right of all countries to independently choose their development paths, added Hu.

Hu arrived in New York on Monday for a series of UN meetings. He is also scheduled to attend a financial summit of the Group of 20 in Pittsburgh on Thursday and Friday.

Chinese president addresses UN General Assembly

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao addressed the UN General Assembly during its general debate on Wednesday to elaborate on China's position on major world and regional issues.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei has said Hu's speech would reflect China's views on the current international situation and major global issues.

Bagan may go to Fifa: Bhutia joins EB practice

Bhaichung Bhutia is yet to get the release order from Mohun Bagan, but on Wednesday, the Indian captain donned the East Bengal shirt and joined team practice at the club ground. According to East Bengal club’s football secretary, Santosh Bhattacharya, Bhutia has been granted permission by the AIFF-appointed arbitrator Amarendra Sharan to practise with them.

“The arbitrator has given him the go-ahead to practise with any club of his choice to keep himself fit till his row with Mohun Bagan is resolved,” Bhattacharya said.

Bagan, however, have decided to move Fifa if the arbitrator decides in favour of Bhutia. “If we are aggrieved at the decision taken by the arbitrator, we will approach Fifa. We have been maintaining that this is not an arbitration matter, but the AIFF is giving Bhutia special favour,” Mitra told The Indian Express.

Asked about Bhutia’s practice session with East Bengal, he said: “We won’t comment on that but we have been keeping a close watch on every development. Players’ contracts should follow Fifa guidelines and that’s why we have thought of approaching the world body on this issue,” he said.

Champions T20: meet set for Stage

Mumbai: The glamour quotient in cricket went up a notch with A.R. Rahman composing the theme for the Champions League T20, the first edition of which is to be held from October 8 to 23.

The $6 million prize money event, including a winners’ purse of $2.5 million, featuring 12 teams from 7 countries, would kick-off on October 7 in Bangalore and be telecast in 160 countries.
The runners-up are to receive $1.3 million while the losing semi-finalists would be richer by $500,000 each.

Teams ending between fifth and eighth would receive $200,000 each with those finishing in the bottom four pocketing $100,000 apiece, it was announced.

Michael Hussey is confident Australia can spark up for the Champions Trophy

Michael Hussey is confident Australia can spark up for the Champions Trophy despite the short turnaround following their long tour of England. The Australians finished their one-day series against England in Durham on Sunday, losing the game but winning 6-1, and they resume training on Thursday ahead of their first match of the Champions Trophy.

Australia take on a weakened West Indies outfit at the Wanderers on Saturday and while the match shouldn't pose too many problems, Ricky Ponting has already aired his opinion that the England series was too long. But Hussey said a change of scenery would help to refresh the players.

"I guess it's new and exciting and all the best players around the world are here, so you spruce up a little bit no question," Hussey told AAP. "The one-dayers (against England) were good. I still think we've got a few areas we need to improve in if we're going to be right up there at the business end of this tournament. We've got to make sure we try to start a tournament well and try to get better and better each game."

Australia hold the Champions Trophy after winning it in India three years ago and they will need to finish in the top two in their group of West Indies, Pakistan and India to get to the semi-finals. Hussey said the Australians needed to concentrate largely on their own game.
"Although it's important to focus on what they're going to do and what they can do and their strengths and weaknesses, we've got to make sure we get our things right," he said. "I'd back us if we can get our things right, then we'll be pretty competitive with all teams around the world no matter who they are."

After arriving in Johannesburg, Ponting reiterated his thoughts on Australia's weariness after a four-month tour of England that began with the World Twenty20. He said any team was capable of progressing past the group stage.

"There are some tired bodies in our camp at the moment so we will have a rest today and start preparing tomorrow for our first match on Saturday," Ponting said. "The Champions Trophy is going to be a very tight tournament because there are some very good teams taking part and Sri Lanka have already caused a surprise [by beating South Africa]. I regard Sri Lanka as one of the top ODI teams and once they put on more than 300 runs it was always going to be hard work for South Africa."

Yuvraj Singh out of Champions Trophy “Blow for India as injury rules”

India have been dealt a blow after it was confirmed that their vice-captain Yuvraj Singh has had to withdraw from the Champions Trophy after breaking a finger during fielding practice on Wednesday.

He will be out for six weeks because of the injury to his right hand, and will be replaced in the squad by Virat Kohli.

Yuvraj is the third Indian players to have sustained an injury in the run-up to India's participation in the Champions Trophy – which begins against Pakistan on Saturday – following the withdrawal of Virender Sehwag [shoulder] and fellow opener Gautam Gambhir [groin].
Gambhir did not play in the practice match against New Zealand, while Sehwag did not make the trip to South Africa.

NASA's Three separate Missions found Water on the moon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Three separate missions examining the moon have found clear evidence of water there, apparently concentrated at the poles and possibly formed by the solar wind.
The reports, to be published in the journal Science on Friday, show the water may be actively moving around, forming and reforming as particles mixed up in the dust on the surface of the moon.

Carle Pieters of Brown University in Rhode Island and colleagues reviewed data from India's Chandrayaan-1 mission -- India's first mission to the moon -- and found spectrographic evidence of water. The water seems thicker closer to the poles, they reported.

"When we say 'water on the moon,' we are not talking about lakes, oceans or even puddles. Water on the moon means molecules of water and hydroxyl (hydrogen and oxygen) that interact with molecules of rock and dust specifically in the top millimeters of the moon's surface," Pieters said in a statement.

Jessica Sunshine of the University of Maryland and colleagues used infrared mapping from the Deep Impact spacecraft to show water all over the moon, while Roger Clark of the U.S. Geological Survey and colleagues used a spectrometer -- which breaks down light waves to analyze elements and chemicals reflecting them -- from the Cassini spacecraft to identify water.

"These reports of lunar surface water coincide with intense interest in water at the poles of the Moon," Paul Lucey of the University of Hawaii, who was not involved in the research, wrote in a commentary.

"There may be much 'wetter' regions to be discovered far from the sites that have been sampled to date," Lucey added.

"It is also possible that rare water-bearing minerals previously observed in lunar samples, but argued to be terrestrial contamination, might be indigenous. Perhaps the most valuable result of these new observations is that they prompt a critical reexamination of the notion that the Moon is dry. It is not."

Next month, NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite or LCROSS mission will try to detect water by deliberately crashing a large spacecraft onto the moon.

Greenland and western Antarctic Ice 'in Runaway Melt Mode'

WASHINGTON — New satellite information shows that ice sheets in Greenland and western Antarctica continue to shrink faster than scientists thought and in some places are already in runaway melt mode.

British scientists for the first time calculated changes in the height of the vulnerable but massive ice sheets and found them especially worse at their edges. That is where warmer water eats away from below. In some parts of Antarctica, ice sheets have been losing 30 feet a year in thickness since 2003, according to a paper published online Thursday in the journal Nature.
Some of those areas are about a mile thick, so they still have plenty of ice to burn through. But the drop in thickness is speeding up. In parts of Antarctica, the yearly rate of thinning from 2003 to 2007 is 50 percent higher than it was from 1995 to 2003.

These new measurements, based on 50 million laser readings from a NASA satellite, confirm what some of the more pessimistic scientists thought: The melting along the crucial edges of the two major ice sheets is accelerating and is in a self-feeding loop. The more the ice melts, the more water surrounds and eats away at the remaining ice.

"To some extent it's a runaway effect. The question is how far will it run?" said the study's lead author Hamish Pritchard of the British Antarctic Survey. "It's more widespread than we previously thought."

The study does not answer the crucial question of how much this worsening melt will add to projections of sea level rise from man-made global warming. Some scientists have previously estimated that steady melting of the two ice sheets will add about 3 feet (1 meter), maybe more, to sea levels by the end of the century. The ice sheets are so big, however, that it probably would take hundreds of years for them to disappear.

As scientists watched ice shelves retreat or just plain collapse, some had thought the problem could slow or be temporary. The latest measurements eliminate "the most optimistic view," said Penn State University professor Richard Alley, who was not part of the study.

The research found that 81 of the 111 Greenland glaciers surveyed are thinning at an accelerating self-feeding pace.

The crucial problem is not heat in the air, but the water near the ice sheets, Pritchard said. The water is not just warmer, its circulation also is adding to the melt.
It is alarming," said Jason Box of Ohio State University, who also was not part of the study.
Worsening data, including this one, keep proving "that we're underestimating" how sensitive the ice sheets are to changes, he said.

Indo-Pak ties with Bill: Zardari discusses

Seeking resumption of the composite dialogue process with India, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said such a move is in the best interest of the region.

Zardari, who arrived in New York on Sunday for the annual UN General Assembly session, made the remarks during a meeting with former US President Bill Clinton on Monday night.

India has suspended the composite dialogue in the wake of the audacious Mumbai terror attacks, blamed on Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit.

Briefing newsmen on the Clinton-Zardari meeting that lasted for over 40 minutes, Pakistan President's spokesman Farahtullah Babar said the two leaders discussed issues like militancy, Pakistan-US relations, Indo-Pak ties and the situation in the region.

In the context of Indo-Pak relations, Zardari said he believed that resumption of the composite dialogue was in the best interest of the region, the spokesman was quoted as saying by Pakistan's official news agency.

Pakistan, he said, was determined not to allow its territory to be used against any other country.

Zardari also expressed concern over US missile strikes in Pakistan's restive northwest, saying Islamabad should be provided with the drone technology so that it could itself combat the militants.

Also present at the meeting was Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

USA & China meet: made few commitments

The USA has failed to get a firm commitment on climate change from China. Both USA President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao offered each other diplomatic assurances but made few commitments.

The Chinese premier outlined some steps but provided no specific numerical targets for reducing greenhouse gas though the two leaders vigorously shook hands at the summit. The USA has slapped punitive tariffs on all Chinese-made tyre imports. The move had upset China at a time when Obama wants Beijing's help on climate change and nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea.

Obama said he was looking forward to visiting China in November, a trip that has long been expected as part of Obama's trip to Asia to attend a forum of Asia-Pacific leaders in Singapore.

Pachauri says - Obama not doing enough: Climate summit

The UN's top expert on climate change has taken on the US president for not saying and doing enough on climate change. Indian-born Dr Rajendra K Pachauri, Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told NDTV that President Barack Obama missed an opportunity to outline bold initiatives and show more leadership in the run-up to the Copenhagen summit on climate change.

"To be honest I expected much more from him. I thought he would make certain commitments and certain pledges to take some action and I do realise that there is separation of powers in the US government and unless you get legislation through the senate, it is not going to come into effect. But there is a lot the president could do using his executive authority," said Pachauri.

When asked if a major shift could be expected in US's climate change policies during Obama's reign, Pachauri said, "I am very hopeful that there will be an agreement in Copenhagen. I expect that by then the US would certainly have taken a few steps. But at the moment there is slow progress with respect to the negotiations and we have got very little time. So I hope this event today will inject momentum in the whole dialogue."

India promises enough security -2010 Games

Whether Delhi will be ready for the Commonwealth Games next year has India and the International Organizing Committee worried. But participating countries also want reassurance that Delhi will be safe for their delegates.

So at a 2-day conference that began on Wednesday, various Indian officials are doing just that. This is the second such meeting of its kind, the first was held 3 weeks ago, at which several countries had expressed their nervousness about security.

Speaking at the conference, Ajay Maken, the Minister of State for Home, said, "We want to allay fears of the world about the security concern, this is a meeting of the security commanders to assure them of security preparations".

Suresh Kalmadi, who is the head of the Organizing Committee, promised that "members of the participating countries will also be taken for site visits tomorrow".

At the last meeting on security, Kalmadi and his men said that there would be helicopter
checks at venues. They also shared details of the patrol units that will be posted along the routes taken by athletes and delegates to venues for the Games.

Ford Figo: is small car

Ford unveils its small car for India; goes head on with Hyundai and Maruti

Years of speculation, names and even the possibility of the entry being an international model, Ford have finally revealed their 'for India' designed small car at the hands of Alan Mullaly, Ford's Global head, here in New Delhi today.

Called the Figo, the new small car gets its name from the Italian word for "cool". Featuring Kinetic design elements, the car has a small front grille and a large air-dam, seen also on the current generation Fiesta hatchback sold in Europe. The large swept back headlamps, recessed fog lamps and the cleverly integrateed indicators are all hallmarks of a typical Kinetic design new generation Ford. The eye-catcher that runs from the indicator to the tail is angular, rather than a straight line, to reduce any visual heaviness that the car might have otherwise created.

The tail lamps may look pinched from the Fusion, yet the tail gate is all-new. The large wheel arches too hint at the Fusion. The reason why you also see elements from now what are previous generation models is because Ford has based this car on a previous generation Fiesta, that also underpins the Fusion and Fiesta saloon sold in India. It's one of the reasons why Ford, despite a US$ 500 million investment went for a tried and tested platform, and altered it to suit Indian conditions.

No detailed pictures of the interior are available yet, but we hazard that it will be based on the Fiesta saloon sold here. Engines are expected to be a 1.2-litre DOHC, aluminium alloy petrol engine called the Sigma, with about 70 bhp of peak power and around 10 kgm of peak torque. Based on the Duratec engine family that powers the Fiesta, this engine stays within the excise duty benefit range, just like the diesel engine.

This engine is the tried and tested 1.4 Duratorq found on the Fusion, Fiesta and Ikon with about 16 kgm of peak torque and 68 bhp of peak power. Both engines are said to be Euro-IV ready and have been homologated with the car for India. Which also brings us to its competition. Despite its dimensions that seem like a Volkswagen Polo, Ford wants to price it extremely competitively and take on the likes of Hyundai's i10, Suzuki Ritz and Swift.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

US remember: Martial Law

SAN FRANCISCO, California — Filipinos all over the US on Monday commemorated the anniversary of the 1972 declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines during the Marcos regime.

Filipinos on four US cities joined hands in this remembrance through series of events. Gabriela USA led the events in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York City.

A discussion about “Remembering the Victims, Honoring the Martyrs" with Rex Fernandez, human rights lawyer and legal consultant for Melissa Roxas, was held at the San Francisco State University Burk Hall in San Francisco, while a film showing of award-winning Filipino film “Dekada 70" was held at the Manila Terrace Community Hall in Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles.

Filipinos in Seattle, Washington held a symposium with a theme “Alala: To Remember" to learn more about the Philippines during a time of declared Martial Law, “over 20 years of a repressive regime and its lasting effects on a nation."

Gabriela USA in New York also led a short film screening and discussion about the life during the Martial Law era in the Philippines.

Bayan USA that includes Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, AnakBayan New York and New Jersey, and New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines also spearheaded the event held at the Bluestockings Bookstore in downtown New York.

Gabriela USA chair Raquel Redondiez said that the group remembers the thousands of victims killed and abducted under martial rule. “And more importantly, we reaffirm our commitment to seek justice for the victims of Martial Law, as well as those who have perished under Gloria’s Marcos-like reign," she said, adding that Filipino American women in the US and members of Gabriela USA remain vigilant against the return of the dark days of the Marcos tyranny.

Claudia Alexandra Paras, chair of Pinay, the Seattle-based member organization of Gabriela USA also remembered and honored the resilience of the Filipino people during the Martial Law. “As Gabriela members in the US, the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law is an important reminder of the resilience of our people," Paras said in a statement.

Los Angeles-based Terrie Cervas of Sigaw or Sisters of Gabriela Awaken also shared that the group is one with the nation in commemorating the Martial Law era. She said, “We will continue to fight for justice for our sisters like Melissa Roxas and Rebelyn Pitao, the most recent women victims of enforced disappearances and political killings under the Arroyo regime."

On USA: EU Antitrust fine Intel over $1.5 billion

US bases system builders are scratching their heads over the outcome of the EU Commission’s decision to fine Intel over $1.5 billion for what they consider “illegal” competitive practices that harm customers in the European Union.

Among the reasons for the large fine is that it is alleged that there were illegal practices to exclude cvompetitore from the x86 based processor market which included partially hidden or wholly, rebates to computer manufacturers who agreed to source virtually all x86 processors from Intel.

However, US bases system builders have stated they have seen no such activity that could be considered illegal, and that rebates, even aggressive rebates are quite normal in practice.

ICC ODI ranking: Dhoni continues to top

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni maintained his numero uno status while his deputy Yuvraj Singh continued to hold on to the second spot in the latest ICC ODI Players Rankings for ODI batsmen.

Apart from Dhoni and Yuvraj, master blaster Sachin Tendulkar (7th spot) and Delhi dasher Virender Sehwag (9th) are the other two Indians to feature in the top 10 ODI batsmen chart.
However, no Indian features among top 10 ODI bowlers with left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan languishing at the 17th spot in the list which is being headed by Sri Lankan Nuwan Kulasekara, followed New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori and Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh.

Yuvraj also occupies the second place in the all-rounders chart with 362 rating points behind Shakib (427), while South African Jacques Kallis is third with 332 points.

Meanwhile, Australia’s loss in the last match against England turned out to be a gain for India as Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men rose back to the second spot in the ODI team rankings.
Australia were unable to complete an unprecedented 7-0 clean sweep over England yesterday as Ricky Ponting's men went down by four wickets in the final ODI of the series in Durham.

As a result, Australia's brief return to the top of the ODI Championship table ended with the team falling to third again while South Africa regained the number one position.

However, should Sri Lanka beat South Africa in the opening fixture of the ICC Champions Trophy on Tuesday; the Proteas will drop to third allowing India to take up number one place and Australia second position.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has risen up to 13 in the ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen at the conclusion of his side's 6-1 series victory over England.

The 34-year-old has climbed three places in the rankings after playing in four of the seven matches in England averaging 58.25, after scoring a century and a half-century in his side's six-one series win.

In the Player Rankings for ODI bowlers, Mitchell Johnson has slipped four places to ninth after his performance in England despite taking 10 wickets in the series at an average of 26.40.

Rising above Johnson is fellow Australian Nathan Bracken and New Zealand's Shane Bond, who sit in sixth and seventh places respectively.

Australia's James Hopes has raised five places to assume joint 12th position with Pakistan's Shahid Afridi while Brett Lee has slipped just out of the top 20. Lee will be hoping it won't be a place he will hope he won't have to occupy for long if he puts in a good performance at the ICC Champions Trophy.

England's Graeme Swann has shot up 24 places to break into the top 50, after taking nine wickets in the five matches he played in his side's series defeat to Australia. Swann took match figures of 5-28 in the final ODI against Australia giving him a series average of 19.00.

Saina Nehwal: Back on the court after a month

Back on the court after a month, Saina Nehwal will battle it out against a tough field while the mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju will aim for a second title at the
"I'm playing the world number 10 and I have played her twice and the last time was in the Asian Championship. I lost in three sets. But I'm prepared this time and will give her a good fight," she said.

India's hopes will also rest on Jwala and Diju, who won the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold last month.

The seventh seeded pair will open their campaign against the Thai pair of Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thungthongkam and Diju said they are aiming for at least the semi-finals.
"I am aiming to reach at least the semi-finals. Winning the Chinese Taipei title has helped my confidence and I am enjoying my game now," Diju said.

However, his partner Jwala refused to set any targets. "I don't believe in setting targets. We have been training hard and are well prepared for the tournament. I just want to perform consistently," Jwala said.

"We are playing a Thai pair in the first round and they are really good. They were in the top five earlier but they haven't played in the last couple of tournaments.

"We played them in the first Indian Open two years ago. We lost in the first round. I know things are different now but they are very experienced and we cannot take them lightly," Jwala said.

Jwala will also pair up with Ashwini Ponnappa in women's doubles. Jwala-Ashwini will open their campaign against the seventh seeded Japanese pair of Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna.
"Me and Ashwini have been performing consistently. We reached the quarter-finals in Taiwan and I'm confident, we will be performing well in Japan too," Jwala said.

In men's singles, P Kashyap will spearhead the Indian challenge and has a relatively easy opener against qualifier Takuma Ueda of Japan.

In men's doubles, Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas will open their campaign against the Korean pair of Sung Hyun Ko and Yi Goo Kwon in the men's doubles event.

Asian Basketball: India suffer fourth defeat

CHENNAI: Thailand earned their first win in four matches when they defeated India 78-67 in a Level-1 match of the 23rd Asian Basketball Championship for women on Monday.

For India, it was their fourth consecutive defeat and will conclude their league engagements Tuesday with a game against Japan who have won two of their four outings.

Regardless of the outcome of their remaining league matches, both India and Thailand will be involved in a play-off against the top two teams from Level-2. The winners of the play-off games will earn the right to play in Level-1 at the next ABC competition.

Japan have won two matches (Chinese Taipei and Thailand) and lost to China and Korea in the first match Monday, while Thailand boasts off a win over India. The home team have thus far lost all their fourth matches.

The only time India were in front against Thailand was at the very start when they took a 4-2 advantage. However, once Thailand players got into their stride, the hosts were always under pressure and in a catch-up mode.

Yet, with Thailand leading 39-32 at half-time, the match looked very much in the balance. However, Thailand managed to score at virtually every opportunity in contrast to the Indians who missed point-scoring opportunities.

In the event, the Thais stayed in front and in the fourth quarter, had the proceedings under their control giving the Indians little leeway to make any effective play.

Indian skipper Geetu Anna Jose did mark her presence by scoring 23 points and showed flashes of brilliance that often caught the Thai defence on the wrong foot. However, with little support forthcoming, Jose played a lone hand in the Indian defeat.

India's best moments were in the third quarter when they matched Thailand point for point as the teams scored 17 apiece.

Earlier, defending champions Korea came up with a late burst to turn back a 35-42 defeat into a 82-68 victory to remain unbeaten in the league after four matches.


Level-I: Korea 82 (Jung Eun Park 17, Kwe Ryong Kim 16, Jung Eun Kim 15, Yeon Ha Beon 14, Sun Min Jung 13) beat Japan 68 (Yuko Oga 16, Kumiko Yamada 13, Yoshie Sakurada 13),

Thailand 78 (Juthamas jantakan 20, Juthathip Mathuros 16, Charothai Suksomwong 16, Naruemol banmoo 10) beat India 68 (Geethju Anna Jose 23, Prashanthi Singh 16, Anitha Pauldorai 13).

Level-II: Malaysia 81 (Siew Teng Ang 19, beng Fong Goh 11, Suik May Kew 10) beat Sri Lanka 45 (Premila M. Fernando 15, Inoka Sandama Lijuwan Pedige 13, Benica Thalagala 9).

Kazakhstan 75 (Natalya Kuzmicheva 20, Lyudmila Sedova 14, Anastassiya Alishauskaite 13) beat Uzbekistan 70 (Alla Krasovbkaya 14, Irina Polunina 14, Yelena Khusnitedinova 10).

Lebanon 60 (Chada Nasr 16, Chantele Anderson 15, Nayla Alameddine 13) beat Philippines 35 (Chovi Borja 19, Cassandra Tioseco 9).

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Monday, September 21, 2009

MTV Europe Music Awards: US artists lead Gaga received five nominations

US pop artist Lady Gaga and rockers Kings of Leon have each received five nominations for this year's MTV Europe Music Awards.

The two acts will go head-to-head in three categories - best song, best live act and best world stage performance.

Beyonce secured four nods including best female, while rapper Eminem and punk rockers Green Day each secured three nominations each.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Berlin on 5 November.
Lady Gaga's Poker Face and Kings of Leon's Use Somebody will go up against Beyonce's Halo, Black Eyed Peas' I Got A Feeling and David Guetta's When Love Takes Over for the title of best song.

Eminem, Jay Z, Kanye West, Mika and Robbie Williams will compete for best male, while Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lady GaGa, Leona Lewis and Shakira will fight it out to be crowned best female.

'Exceptional performances'

German glam rockers Tokio Hotel are the only non-US artists to be nominated in the best group category alongside Black Eyed Peas, Green Day, Jonas Brothers and Kings of Leon.
Other acts to be nominated include U2 for best rock, La Roux and Pixie Lott for best new act, Muse for best alternative, and Coldplay for best world stage performance.
La Roux and Pixie Lott will also compete against Florence and the Machine, The Saturdays and Tinchy Stryder to be named best UK and Ireland new act.

The winner will then compete head-to-head against the victors from other countries to take the title of best European act.

Of the 13 categories, 11 will be chosen by MTV viewers, who will be able to vote for their favourite acts online.

MTV's Bruce Gillmer promised the awards ceremony would feature "exceptional live performances by some of the biggest and most exciting musical acts in the world".
Green Day, Leona Lewis and Tokio Hotel have all confirmed they will be performing on the night at Berlin's O2 World.

Champions for once: aim to be Proteas

Zeecric Bureau

Centurion: South African cricket team is on cloud nine! Primarily, they indeed are the world champions, as far as the ODI rankings are concerned. And secondly, they are hosting a big-budgeted highly prestigious mega event, that is, the Champions Trophy.

However, for Graeme Smith and his men, it is important to also win the tournament. They are a team, which are devoid of winning a major ICC tournament till date. Though they have won some major series over the past two years, against England and Australia, winning the Champions Trophy would definitely add an extraordinary feather to their caps.

“These are things we have worked for. Two to three years ago we started a plan and we wanted to be number one in both forms of the game, and we are the only team bar Australia to achieve it. For us to have those trophies in the cabinet is a credit to how we play the game, how we’ve been successful around the world.”

It is almost after 5 months that South Africa is playing
an international game, and considering the fact that it is Champions Trophy, a mistake and lack of form of even the minutest of magnitude cannot be afforded.

“This is our first challenge in two-three months, so we walk straight in after that to a big day, big game, big tournament,” Smith said.

South Africa will play the opener match against Sri Lanka at the Centurion.

Opener Herschelle Gibbs’ absence from the game might not be a major set-back for the team if Hashim Amla, who will partner Smith, can replicate his performance of the recent Test matches he played.

As far as the bowling is concerned, the team has the right combination of the pace and spin. Johan Botha and Roelof van der Merwe are the prime spinners Smith intends to use in the match. “Over the last year and a half, Botha has become one of the best ODI bowlers,” Smith said. “He’s become an integral part of this format and it will be no different here tomorrow. He knows the ground well and has played a lot of cricket here. With Roelof, he forms a good combo.”

Priyanka won over at Toronto

Mumbai: This year, Bollywood babes have decided to take the Toronto film Festival at a storm first it was Rani, who walked the red carpet, it is pretty Priyanka’s turn.

The bombshell was at the Toronto film festival for the screening of her film What’s your Rashee. A Priyanka fan says “You are so good doing 12 parts in the film that I thought you are capable of playing every role in the film including the one played by Harman Baweja,”
He adds “You could have easily played the father, grandfather, uncle, mother and aunt — and the even the mafia man.”

Priyanka giggle away this comment and informs “Wouldn’t that have been wonderful”
She adds “I am overwhelmed and at the same time very happy to be here…This city is known for its love of the movies. And then Toronto was the location (along with Calgary) of my first film Hero, I am back in Toronto after six years and it feels like home-coming.”

Discovery passes through Fort Worth: Space shuttle

FORT WORTH — Onlookers at Naval Air Station Fort Worth were treated to a visit from the space shuttle Discovery on Sunday.

The Nasa space shuttle news, being ferried atop a modified 747 aircraft from California to Florida, stopped in Fort Worth for refueling. It originally landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Sept. 11 after storms prevented landing in Florida, NASA reports. The seven-member crew finished a 14-day mission to deliver supplies and materials to the international space station, NASA said. The shuttle left Fort Worth at about 4:50 p.m. for an overnight stay at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport.

Kimberly Davis of Fort Worth said about 25 people were there to watch Discovery’s local landing. "It was great to see the kids connect with the space program," she said.

An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale in northeastern states of India

An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale rocked parts of Assam and other northeastern states of India on Monday afternoon.

The tremors were felt at 2.26 pm. No casualties were reported immediately. The epicentre was plotted along the India-Bhutan border, 125 km northwest of Guwahati.

Preliminary reports say cracks developed in apartments and concrete structures in Guwahati.
This is the fifth and the highest intensity earthquake to have rocked the northeast since Aug 13, according to the Regional Seismological Centre of Shillong.

Salman Khan Wanted makes one-man-army

Though National award-winnerPrakash Rajs flamboyant villainy andAyesha TakiaAzmi's endearing cuteness do miraculously find a place in the plot, this is the hero's vehicle like very few masala-maar-ke products in recent times.

Welcome to the world of the one-man-army

Salman Khan adapts his goon's name Radhe from Tere Naam where he mixed violence with vulnerability in a heady brew. The mix in Wanted is far more brackish and tangy.

Wanted is an old-fashioned bone-cruncher with guns and goons creating a kind of orchestrated anarchy that was done with far more élan in Ghajini. In Wanted the violence is far cruder and guttural. The hero is on a sort of society-cleansing spree where the mode of conduct adopted by the villains and heroes become the same.

Director Prabhu Deva retains the crude edges from theoriginalTelugu material Pokiri. The villains are vicious and foul-mouthed. They are quite often seen in Khaki and very often represent the kind of unfettered anti-socialism that can only be contained by a law-sanctioned vigilantism that Salman practices in the last-quarter of this blood-thirsty tale. By the time he goes shirt-less the script has whipped itself into a sweaty stupor.

The plot is essentially a one-liner. One-man army takes on a city filled with scums. The villains are everywhere in Mumbai. It was Hyderabad in the Telugu original. But what difference does it make? Cities change, morality doesn't. The two-legged predators are everywhere. In boats and trains. In pubs and warehouses. One khaki-clad spitting and foul-mouthed villain (played with despicable authenticity by Mahesh Manjrekar) even infiltrates a decent woman's house and threatens to sleep with both mother and daughter. Ouch.

Mercifully the daughter Ayesha Takia has Salman for a boyfriend. But the poor police commissioner (Govind Namdeo, in a positive role for a change) is unlucky with his daughter. She gets kidnapped, raped and MMS-ed by the arch-villain. It's a mean world out there. Thank God for the screen hero.

While Vinod Khanna is wasted and Manoj Pawa's role as the overgrown boy-in-a-bubble next door doesn't quite fit into the scheme of things, Prakash Raj as the villain gives celluloid diabolism an interesting new twist. He looks zonked, menacing and ironical. His confrontation with the police commissioner is written with that polished panache that brings a twist to pulp frictions.

But make no mistake. This is a made-to-order film for Salman Khan. As a one-man army Salman springs into every frame with that trademark mix of a bored swagger and agile comicality. His romantic moments with Ayesha have a lived-in credibility except when the songs take over.

That's the cue to run for cover. Strictly for fans of action flicks, and Salman in that order.

F.C Barcelona vs Atletico De Madrid 5-2 All goals & La Liga BBVA 2009

F1: BMW Sauber refuses to rule out team boss role

Peter Sauber has refused to rule out talk that he could take up the role of team boss of the BMW Sauber team following its takeover by the Oadbak group.

The consortium will take control of the team from BMW at the end of the season after the German car giant announced it was to quit the sport, and will hope to line up on the grid despite missing out on the 13th slot in the field to Lotus.

The FIA has already announced that it is looking to expand the field to 14 teams in order to allow the team to remain on the grid, with BMW Sauber having been awarded the '14th place' on the grid which will allow it to fill any vacancy on the grid.

Sauber, who was team principal for the Hinwil-based outfit prior to selling up to BMW, revealed to the Swiss newspaper Blick that he has been heavily involved in the talks that have seen Oadbak take control and could even return as principal if it was what the new investors wanted to see.

"We are probably going to meet again next week and then I will be able to better answer this question,” he told the 'paper. "If the investors want me as the team head then I will do that.

"That doesn't mean I want to do it, but the fact is I assured these people before the sale that I am at their disposal if they need me, no matter for what role."

Sauber also revealed that the team could enter the 2010 season as Sauber-Ferrari – although no decision has yet been taken – and that talks over potential drivers would begin 'shortly'.

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Virender Sehwag skips down as Delhi Daredevils captain

Virender Sehwag has stepped down as captain of Delhi Daredevils, the franchise said on Monday. Sehwag, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, said he wanted to focus on his batting. Gautam Gambhir will lead Delhi in next month's Champions League Twenty20, and is expected to remain captain in next year's IPL, with wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik as his deputy.

"I would like to thank GMR [the franchise owners] for their understanding in accepting my request to step down," Sehwag said. "Personally, I would like to concentrate on my own batting and contribute to the team."

Sehwag - who recently had said he had no desire to lead India - informed the franchise of his decision immediately after the IPL's second edition in May this year. But given the team's great success in the tournament - they topped the league table and lost to eventual champions Deccan Chargers in the semi-final - the owners believed the decision was impulsive and decided to give him more time.

"We thought he [Sehwag] had made a statement in the heat of the moment," a team official told Cricinfo. "We consulted him once again, about a month later. He stuck to his stand. So after deliberations we started to look for a successor and zeroed in on Gambhir."

Sehwag, 30, welcomed the franchise's decision to appoint Gambhir as his replacement because he felt his long-time Delhi and India opening partner had shown great leadership abilities in the past. Gambhir has an aggressive and thinking mind and brought the same attributes to his captaincy when Delhi won the Ranji Trophy under his leadership in 2007, and during the second edition of the IPL, when he was in charge during the few games that Sehwag sat out.

"Gautam did a great job of captaining Delhi and also during IPL 2 in South Africa this year," Sehwag said. "He has shown very good leadership skills and will bring fresh energy into the Delhi Daredevils."

Gambhir, on his part, said he would draw from his experience of leading Delhi on the domestic circuit. "I am delighted at my selection as captain of Delhi Daredevils and I am committed to deliver my best," Gambhir said. "I have led Delhi in the past and it was an enriching experience. Hopefully, I can put into practice all that I have learnt.

"I have always looked up to Viru [Sehwag]. He has been a guide and friend for me. It is always difficult to fit into the shoes of someone as illustrious as him. I can always turn to him for any advice, as also to the other seniors in the team. We have had great camaraderie in the side and this will help us reach greater heights."

Gambhir had a spectacular last season with the bat and has been shortlisted for the ICC Cricketer of the Year and the Test Player of the Year awards.

Sehwag, on the other hand, returned to action on Sunday for the first time after the shoulder injury, which he picked up during IPL 2 - one which forced him to miss the World Twenty20, the ODI series in West Indies, tri-series in Sri Lanka and the forthcoming Champions Trophy in South Africa. Unfortunately, he failed to score, while leading Mukesh Ambani's Reliance I in the JP Atray corporate tournament in Mohali.

Troops - needed to avoid Afghan failure

The situation in Afghanistan is serious and growing worse and without more boots on the ground the United States risks failure in a war it's been waging since shortly after the terror attacks of September 2001, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, says in a confidential report.

"Resources will not win this war, but under-resourcing could lose it," McChrystal wrote in a five-page Commander's Summary. His 66-page report, sent to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Aug. 30, is now under review by President Barack Obama.

Details of McChrystal's assessment were first reported late Sunday by The Washington Post. The newspaper posted a link to the report on its Web site, with some operational details withheld at the request of the Pentagon.

"Although considerable effort and sacrifice have resulted in some progress, many indicators suggest the overall effort is deteriorating," McChrystal said of the war's progress.
While asserting that more troops are needed, McChrystal also pointed out an "urgent need" to significantly revise strategy. The U.S. needs to interact better with the Afghan people, McChrystal said, and better organize its efforts with NATO allies.

"We run the risk of strategic defeat by pursuing tactical wins that cause civilian casualties or unnecessary collateral damage. The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves," he wrote.

In his blunt assessment of the tenacious Taliban insurgency, McChrystal warned that unless the U.S. and its allies gain the initiative and reverse the momentum of the militants within the next year the U.S. "risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible"
The Pentagon and the White House are awaiting a separate, more detailed request for additional troops and resources. Media reports Friday and Saturday said McChrystal has finished it but was told to pocket it, partly because of the charged politics surrounding the decision. McChrystal's senior spokesman, Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, told The Associated Press on Sunday the report is not complete.

Obama is re-evaluating whether the renewed focus on hunting al-Qaida that he announced just months ago has become blurred and whether more forces will do any good.

"Are we doing the right thing?" he asked during one of a series of interviews broadcast Sunday. "Are we pursuing the right strategy?"

A spokesman for Afghanistan's Defense Ministry said Sunday the Afghan government would not second-guess international military commanders on the need for more troops, but said that the greatest need is actually on the other side of the Afghan-Pakistan border.

"The focus should be on those points and areas where the insurgency is infiltrating Afghanistan," he said, referring to the Pakistan border region where Taliban and al-Qaida fighters hide and plan attacks.

In Congress, the war has taken on a highly partisan edge. Senate Republicans are demanding more forces to turn around a war that soon will enter its ninth year, while members of Obama's own Democratic Party are trying to put on the brakes. Obama said in the Sunday interviews that he will not allow politics to govern his decision.

Nor has the president asked his top commander in Afghanistan to sit on a request for U.S. reinforcements in a backsliding war.

"No, no, no, no," Obama responded when asked whether he or aides had directed McChrystal to temporarily withhold a request for additional U.S. forces and other resources.
But he gave no deadline for making a decision about whether to send more Americans into harm's way.

"The only thing I've said to my folks is, 'A, I want an unvarnished assessment, but, B, I don't want to put the resource question before the strategy question,'" Obama said. "Because there is a natural inclination to say, 'If I get more, then I can do more.'"

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last week he expected McChrystal's request for additional forces and other resources "in the very near future."
Other military officials had said the request would go to McChrystal's boss, Gen. David Petraeus, and up the chain of command in a matter of weeks. The White House discounted that timeline, but has remained vague about how long it would take to receive the report and act on it.

In the interviews taped Friday at the White House, Obama mentioned concerns about the "mission creep" that befell former President George W. Bush's attempt to build and prop up a viable democratic government in a country unaccustomed to central rule and sensitive to foreign meddling.

Obama said he's asking this question now of the military regarding his plan: "How does this advance America's national security interests? How does it make sure that al-Qaida and its extremist allies cannot attack the United States homeland, our allies, our troops who are based in Europe?"

"If supporting the Afghan national government and building capacity for their army and securing certain provinces advances that strategy, then we'll move forward," the president continued. "But if it doesn't, then I'm not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan or saving face or, in some way, you know, sending a message that America is here for the duration."

Obama spoke on CNN's "State of the Union," ABC's "This Week," NBC's "Meet the Press," and CBS' "Face the Nation."

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LPGA title - Birdie on 18 helps Choi earn her first

Choi capitalizes on Miyazato's late bogey at Samsung World Championship

SAN DIEGO - Na Yeon Choi blew her best chance for the first LPGA Tour win of her career.
Her second chance worked out just fine.

After losing a seven-stroke lead Sunday, the South Korean rallied to shoot 1-under 71 Sunday to win the Samsung World Championship on the 18th hole.

"I can't believe that I won," Choi said. "Throughout the second half I thought I was going to lose it again."

Choi finished at 16-under 272 and held off runner-up Ai Miyazato of Japan, who shot a 69, the low round of the day at Torrey Pines.

Choi began the final round with a two-stroke lead, got birdies on two of her first four holes and made a 10-foot eagle putt on the sixth hole to extend her lead to seven strokes.
It looked then as if Choi, who has won four times on the Korean LPGA Tour, would cruise to her first LPGA Tour victory.

But Miyazato, playing in the group in front of Choi and Jiyai Shin of South Korea, made two quick birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 to cut Choi's lead to five.

"I played really good," Miyazato said. "I was very patient."

Choi missed a 2-foot putt on the ninth hole for a bogey, cutting the lead to four heading into the back nine.

She continued to struggle with two consecutive bogeys, and Miyazato tied Choi at 16-under with a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 16. Miyazato took the lead shortly after, when Choi three-putted for bogey on No. 14.

Choi has been working with a sports psychologist on her mental game and was repeating some of the lessons she has recently learned.

"Mentally I felt I was very weak," Choi said. "I kept telling myself to be positive. I wanted to be positive about everything."

On the 18th hole, it was Miyazato's turn to make a mistake. With 203 yards remaining for her second shot, Miyazato's 5-wood approach hit the bank in front of the 18th green and rolled into the water. She dropped in front of the pond but could not get up and down for par.
"Mentally I felt I was very weak," Choi said. "I kept telling myself to be positive. I wanted to be positive about everything."

Choi's second shot on the 18th reached the front left of the green and her third shot came to rest 5 feet below the pin. Choi, who had missed several putts of equal or less distance, converted the birdie for the victory -- no easy task.

"I felt like I had just turned professional today," Choi said when facing the putt for victory. "I was so nervous."

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N.Y. – Gov: David Paterson ignores pressure to step aside

National Dem leaders concerned that Paterson won’t win re-election 2010

ALBANY, N.Y. - Gov. David Paterson isn't scrapping his plans to run for the office he inherited 18 months ago despite growing pressure from Washington and intervention by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has contacted the governor and the White House over his concern.

A senior Democratic adviser close to Paterson said Sunday that the state's first black governor is still planning to run and is focusing on the state's fiscal crisis. The adviser spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak for Paterson.

The governor's office has refused to comment since reports Saturday night revealed the Washington-based effort to persuade the governor to drop out of the 2010 race. That would pave the way for the far more popular Andrew Cuomo, the state's first-term attorney general.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said Sunday on his radio show that he has spoken to the White House and Paterson about his concern that Democrats do what is best for the people of New York. He wouldn't say whether he was advising Paterson to drop out.

Obama has not spoken to Paterson about the race, said a senior White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive political problems. But it's no secret that Democrats — in New York, in Washington and at the White House — are very concerned about Paterson's re-election bid.

The White House has not ordered Paterson to leave the race and would not do so, the official continued, saying only the governor can make the decision about what's right for him, the party and the state. But Obama's concern of losing the governor's office in such a key state has been communicated to Paterson and his advisers, the White Office official said.
Another senior Democratic adviser in New York said those seeking Paterson's withdrawal are suggesting he could land a Washington job in the administration. The adviser spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to speak for Paterson or the New York congressional delegation.

Deficit of more than $2 billion

Paterson is scheduled to present a plan later this month to the Legislature to deal with a deficit of more than $2 billion, which likely will require politically unpopular cuts in funding for some of Albany's most powerful special interests.

Last week, the Marist College poll found 20 percent of New York voters approved of Paterson's performance as governor, a mark slightly lower than his 21 percent approval rating in June. Only 24 percent of Democrats felt he was doing well. Seventy percent of voters said Paterson isn't a viable candidate for 2010, including 65 percent of Democrats.

In comparison, Cuomo's job approval rating is 69 percent. Sixty-seven percent of New Yorkers felt he should run for governor, including 77 percent of Democrats.

As lieutenant governor, Paterson moved to the governor's office in March 2008 with Eliot Spitzer's resignation amid a prostitution scandal. Since then, his popularity has plummeted and the state's economic situation has deteriorated, with job losses mounting and the unemployment rate rising to its highest level in 26 years.

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