quinta-feira, 31 de janeiro de 2008

'Israel wants to attack us again'


The Winograd Committee's findings prove that Israel intends to attack Lebanon again, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said Thursday.

In an official statement released by the Lebanese prime minister, he said that the report calls for Israel to prepare for the next war, which shows that it "has not learned from its defeat."

Saniora said that if the Lebanese people are united, they can repel such an offensive.

He went on to claim that the report "ignores Israel's crimes" against his country.

It was the first Lebanese response to the final war report since its release Wednesday afternoon.

Later Wednesday, Lebanese Chief of Staff General Michel Suleiman said that the report showed Israel admitted to initiating the 2006 war.

On Wednesday, hours after the report's publication, Hizbullah said that Winograd's findings proved that Israel suffered a defeat in its military campaign.

"The report confirms what was known by Hizbullah for a long time: Israel completely failed in achieving its goals, and the Israeli military suffered a defeat," Agence France Presse quoted the group as saying.

Netanyahu: PM 'failed leader' who is shirking responsibility


day after the Winograd Committee published its final report, opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu used the opportunity on Thursday to blast Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, calling him a failed leader who refuses to take responsibility for badly managing the Second Lebanon War.

"No government in Israel has ever decided to go to war with so much national and international support, including from the opposition" Netanyahu said during a press conference following a meeting with Likud party members.

"No government has ever gone to war with such an advantage over the enemy. Since the Independence War, no government has ever been given so much time to win on the battlefield. But as the Winograd Committee wrote, for the first time Israel didn't win a war," Netanyahu said.

With this assessment, the opposition leader went on to praise the country's soldiers, saying that they were not the ones to blame, but rather the "amateur government [was] responsible for the failure."

"The committee decided that the three captains were personally responsible," Netanyahu continued. "Two took responsibility, but the third, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, refuses to do so.

"He refuses to take responsibility [and] refuses to do what most of the public expects him to do."

The opposition leader also once again called on Labor chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to follow through with his primary campaign pledge and quit the coalition.

"[Barak] knows that the public expects him to ensure that this failed leadership does not
continue," Netanyahu said.

"أداء لويس لحود كان بدرجة ممتازة"

أبطل مجلس شورى الدولة في قرار اصدرته الهيئة برئاسة القاضي ضاهر غندور والمستشارين القاضيين طلال بيضون وانطوان الناشف، المرسوم الرقم 17112 تاريخ 7/ 6/2008 القاضي باعفاء المهندس لويس لحود من مهماته مديراً عاماً لوزارة الزراعة ووضعه في تصرف رئيس مجلس الوزراء بناء على اقتراح وزير الزراعة.
وذكرت حيثيات القرار انه "تبين من ملف هذه المراجعة امام مجلس الشورى انه قبيل صدور المرسوم المطعون فيه، حصل خلاف بين وزير الزراعة والمستدعي لحود على آلية تأمين ادوية لمكافحة امراض النحل، وكان رأي المستدعي يتضمن إعلان مناقصة عمومية بينما كان رأي الوزير تأمين هذه الادوية من طريق اجراء اتفاق بالتراضي، فعاد المستدعي واقترح مجددا اجراء مناقصة عمومية".
واضافت ان " المستندات المرفقة بلائحة المستدعى ضدها الدولة على التقرير والمطالعة تعود الى صفقة اجريت عام 2003، مما لا ينفي حصول خلاف شخصي بين الوزير والمدير العام، بسبب صفقة ادوية مكافحة امراض النحل قبل اقتراح وزير الزراعة من خارج جدول الاعمال على مجلس الوزراء وضع المستدعي لحود في تصرف مجلس الوزراء.
وبما انه لا يمكن فصل المرسوم المطعون فيه عن هذه الوقائع السابقة واللاحقة له لارتباطها به وباسباب صدوره، وبصرف النظر عن واقعة الخلاف بين الوزير والمدير العام حول صفقة شراء ادوية لمكافحة امراض النحل، فانه من الثابت في الملف ان التدبير المطعون فيه اتخذ بنية زجرية ضمن ما سمّي المبادرات الاصلاحية لإقامة نظام توظيف للقيادات العليا، في حين ان تقدير الهيئة العليا لتقديم الاداء للمستدعي كان بنسبة 85 في المئة وبدرجة ممتازة، اضافة الى اقتراح وزير الزراعة على مجلس الوزراء من خارج جدول الاعمال وضع المستدعي في تصرف رئيس مجلس الوزراء من دون اي ملف مرفق".
وذكر القرار "ان المادة 66 من الدستور اولت الوزراء ادارة مصالح الدولة وناطت بهم تطبيق الانظمة والقوانين، كل في ما يتعلق بالامور العائدة الى ادارته، مما يجعل الوزراء مؤتمنين على المصالح العامة التي انيط بهم امر ادارتها وملزمين احترام الانظمة والقوانين وتطبيقها في ما وضعت له من اهداف وغايات، وكل تجاوز لهذه الاهداف والغايات والانحراف عنها يشكل اساءة الى السلطة ويصبح غير جدير بالحماية ويتعين ابطاله". وقال: "اذا كان يعود الى السلطة الاجرائية، استنادا الى احكام القانون، وضع بعض الموظفين في تصرف رئيس مجلس الوزراء او الوزير المختص بهدف اجراء اصلاح اداري او لضمان حسن سير العمل في الادارات العامة، فان استعمال هذه السلطة في ما يخرج عن هذا الهدف، كأن يكون سبيلا لتحقيق مصلحة خاصة او شخصية، يفقد هذا العمل مشروعيته، لان السلطة او الوسيلة التي استعملتها الادارة لم تتجه الى تحقيق الهدف الذي وضعه القانون، فتكون قد استعملت وسيلة مشروعة للوصول الى غرض غير مشروع".
واعتبر القرار "ان الوزير استند الى وقائع واسباب قانونية غير صحيحة واتخذ القرار ليس لتحقيق مصلحة عامة ابتغاها القانون، مما يشكل تحويرا للسلطة ويقتضي بالتالي إبطاله لهذا السبب ايضاً".

تدقيق في أشرطة مصورة والاستماع إلى مراسلين ونحو 30 موقوفاً

وسط جمود تام للجهود والوساطات المتصلة بالأزمة الرئاسية المفتوحة على موعد 11 شباط وانتظار عودة الامين العام لجامعة الدول العربية عمرو موسى الى بيروت والمتوقعة مبدئيا بعد 3 شباطـ، ما لم يطرأ ما يعدل هذا الموعد، تواصلت المساعي الحثيثة لاحتواء مضاعفات الاحد الدامي وسط اجماع سياسي على ابراز اهمية التحقيق القضائي – العسكري الجاري في ظروف المواجهات التي حصلت في منطقة مار مخايل ومحيطها.
وبرزت في هذا السياق سلسلة اتصالات اجراها امس رئيس الحكومة فؤاد السنيورة برؤساء الطوائف الاسلامية والمسيحية في اطار "الحض على التهدئة والتعقل وعدم الانجرار وراء اسلوب الشحن والتوتير"، معتبرا ان احداث الاحد كانت "كابوسا" حل علينا جميعا". واشاد بالموقف الذي اتخذته القيادات في المجلس الاسلامي الشيعي الاعلى وقيادات حركة "امل" و"حزب الله" للدعوة الى ضبط النفس والتنبه الى اخطار الانجرار الى الفتنةِ، داعيا الى انتظار نتائج التحقيقات التي تجريها قيادة الجيش والاجهزة القضائية "فاذا كان هناك من تقصير او اخطاء فان القوانين والمؤسسات التي نعيش في ظلها قادرة على التصحيح".
وعقب عودته امس من زيارة لموسكو، اجرى رئيس "اللقاء الديموقراطي" النائب وليد جنبلاط اتصالا برئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري معزيا اياه بالضحايا التي سقطت يوم الاحد باسمه وباسم الحزب التقدمي و"اللقاء الديموقراطي" كما اتصل بقائد الجيش العماد ميشال سليمان مجددا "دعمه التام للمؤسسة العسكرية وثقته بأنها سوف تنجز التحقيق كاملا في حوادث يوم الاحد الفائت".
ودعت "كتلة الوفاء للمقاومة" امس قيادة الجيش الى "المضي بجدية في التحقيق وتحديد المسؤوليات واحالة المرتكبين ايا كانوا على القضاء حتى تبقى هذه المؤسسة منزهة عما يريد أعداء الوطن زجها فيه واستدراجها اليه". واعتبرت ان "القوة الامنية التي تصدت للمواطنين المدنيين باطلاق النار عليهم كان لديها بالتأكيد اكثر من خيار متاح للتعامل مع احتجاج الناس يغنيها عن التورط في القتل المباشر"، معلنة "أن هناك تكرارا لاستسهال القتل الرسمي للناس وهو أمر لم يعد في الامكان تحمّله او الصبر عليه".
في غضون ذلك، عقد النائب العام التمييزي القاضي سعيد ميرزا اجتماعا حضرته المحامية العامة التمييزية القاضية جوسلين تابت ومفوض الحكومة لدى المحكمة العسكرية القاضي جان فهد وقائد الشرطة العسكرية العميد نبيل غفري. وتخلل الاجتماع عرض للمراحل التي وصل اليها التحقيق في حوادث مار مخايل.
وتسلم فهد تقارير الاطباء الشرعيين الذين عاينوا جثث الضحايا والجرحى والتي تحدد عدد الاصابات والمسافة التي أطلقت منها الرصاصات، كما واصل الاستماع الى افادات مراسلين اعلاميين يعملون في محطات تلفزيونية غطوا الحادث بنقل مباشر.
وقالت مصادر متابعة للتحقيق ان عدد المحتجزين على ذمة التحقيق لا يزال 30 مدنيا ولم يتخذ القاضي فهد قراره بعد في صددهم، كما يجري الاستماع الى افادات عسكريين وشهود كانوا في منطقة الحادث ويستدعون تباعا.
وقالت مصاد قانونية ان ستة مناصرين لحزب "القوات اللبنانية" أوقفوا في عين الرمانة وهم ضمن الموقوفين الثلاثين في الحادث.
وتحدثت معلومات عن اتسام التحقيقات الجارية بقدر عال من الدقة والاحتراف والتصميم على التوصل الى كشف كل الملابسات والوقائع المتصلة بالمواجهات التي حصلت. ومع أن هذه المعلومات لم تشر الى أي موعد محتمل لاتضاح نتائج التحقيقات، فان بعض الاوساط السياسية المطلعة قال ان الجدية الواضحة التي تطبع التحقيقات توحي بامكان توقع موعد قريب لانجازها. وتردد ان من جملة الاعمال التي يركز عليها التحقيق التدقيق في اشرطة التقطتها كاميرات مصورين تلفزيونيين وصحافيين تولوا تغطية المواجهات، فضلاً عن أشرطة لكاميرات مراقبة منصوبة في محيط المنطقة. وان التدقيق في عدد من هذه الاشرطة أظهر ان عسكريين تمركزوا على سطوح مبان وقيل خطأ انهم قناصة، كما ضبطت أسلحة في محيط منطقة المواجهات يجري التأكد مما اذا كانت أطلقت منها النيران.
وذكر في هذا المجال ان الضباط والعسكريين الذين استمع اليهم لم يدلوا بمعلومات عن مشاهدتهم ضحايا تسقط في مواجهات الاحد. واذا كان الطبيب الشرعي أثبت ان الضحايا سقطت برصاص مباشر من مسافة تراوح بين خمسة وعشرة أمتار، فان هذا مدى كاف يتيح رؤية اي شخص مصاب.
وعزي انتشار افراد من الجيش فوق سطوح مبان مشرفة على منطقة التوتر الى تداعيات اطلاق نار من خارج بقعة تجمع المتظاهرين مما اقتضى اتخاذ اجراءات احترازية مقابلة.
وأعلن ان بعض مواقع للجيش تعرضت بعد حوادث مار مخايل لاعتداءات كان آخرها فجر الاثنين حيث تعرض موقع الجيش في سانت تيريز بالحدث لقنابل صوتية.



عودة فرنسية؟

أما على صعيد الازمة الرئاسية، فنقل أمس مراسل "النهار" في باريس عن مصادر ديبلوماسية فرنسية تشكيكها في فاعلية القرارات التي اصدرها مجلس الجامعة العربية على المستوى الوزاري الاحد الماضي. وقالت إن وزير الخارجية الفرنسي برنار كوشنير يرى ان الوضع في لبنان بات بالغ الخطورة في ضوء الحوادث الدامية التي حصلت الاحد وأوقعت عدداً من القتلى والجرحى، وانه يشكك في امكان خروج لبنان من المأزق السياسي الحالي في ظل المطالب التعجيزية والمناورات السياسية والعرقلة السورية، على رغم التصريحات السورية عن التجاوب مع المبادرة العربية. وأضافت انه على رغم ذلك لا تزال باريس تسهّل مهمة عمرو موسى وهي في طور تقويم جديد للمواقف في لبنان بعد فشل المبادرات السابقة وتطمح الى وضع جميع حظوظ النجاح بجانب المبادرة العربية. وأوضحت ان باريس لن تبقى مكتوفة في انتظار تطورات أمنية قد تفلت السيطرة عليها من الايدي المحلية والاقليمية وتصل شرارتها الى مجمل المنطقة. وقالت ان باريس تسعى الى العودة الى الساحة اللبنانية بزخم جديد لانعاش مبادرة فرنسية – عربية وابتداع اشكال جديدة من الحل وفق معادلة يتوافق عليها الجميع وضمن توازن اقليمي يساعد على الحل. وفي ضوء هذه الافكار تعمل فرنسا على ازالة الخلافات والعوائق التي حالت دون التوصل الى تسوية، وتقوم من أجل ذلك بمساع في اتجاهات اقليمية ودولية عدة لتأمين عودة الثقة والمفاوضات بين اللبنانيين حول تشكيل حكومة والتوصل الى صيغة مناسبة لا يكون فيها غالب او مغلوب.
ولفتت المصادر الى ان باريس لم تحصل حتى الآن على اجوبة واضحة من سوريا عن اسئلة وجهتها اليها تتعلق بالتحفظات السورية عن الاستحقاق الرئاسي وتأليف حكومة وحدة وطنية وخفض الضمانات والشروط، على رغم اعلان باريس وقف الاتصالات السياسية مع دمشق، فان ذلك لم يمنع قصر الاليزيه من الاعتماد على وساطات تعمل على تسهيل التوصل الى ارضية توافقية بين الافرقاء.

Damaged undersea cables cause internet and phone disruptions

Dubai: Damage to two major undersea cables caused Internet and phone disruptions throughout the UAE and the world on Thursday.

The damage to the fiber optic cables, which connect western Europe to the Middle East and Asia, occurred off of the Egyptian coast.

“du has been informed that the cuts on both FLAG and SEA-ME-WE4 cables occurred at approx 12km north of Alexandria. This incident has impacted international and regional telecom services from operators across the Gulf, Egypt Middle East and India. The two cables are 400m apart at this point which suggests that a ship has dragged its anchor through both cables,” said Osman Sultan, du’s CEO, in an emailed statement.

The statement also said that the repair process has started on both lines. No timeframe has been set for the repairs, but initial estimates indicate it will take at least two weeks to repair the FLAG cable.

Some businesses in the UAE have reported outages, but others have said there has been only “a minimal impact” on Internet services.

Beckham dropped from friendly squad: reports

London: Former captain David Beckham has been left out of coach Fabio Capello's first England squad for next week's friendly against Switzerland at Wembley, British media reported on Thursday.

The LA Galaxy midfielder has not played a competitive match since England's 3-2 defeat by Croatia in their final Euro 2008 qualifier last November, but had been training with Arsenal in a bid to maintain his fitness.

An FA spokesman declined to comment on the reports and said the squad for the game on February 6 would be announced later.

Beckham had been hoping to earn his 100th cap against the Swiss. The reports said Capello, who also dropped the player for a spell when in charge of Real Madrid, has not ruled the 32-year-old completely out of his future plans.

Bush breaks poll fund-raising tour to talk about Iraq

Las Vegas: Sandwiching a war speech in between Republican fundraisers, President George W. Bush is making clear that his priority is to keep Iraq secure, not just to get troops home.

His Iraq update here scheduled for later yesterday was tucked into an agenda of political events across four states. The private affairs will raise $4.7 million (Dh17 million) for his party by week's end.

The president is on a three-day tour with dual purposes: to raise money for Republican candidates and to plug some themes from his modestly aimed State of the Union address. The theme of the day: war and the threats to the United States. In California on Wednesday, Bush promoted his trade agenda and headlined fundraisers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The rest of his travels involve states that he carried in the 2000 and 2004 elections, Nevada, Colorado and Missouri.


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Bush's Iraq theme is that his military build-up there a year ago - unpopular as it was - succeeded by reducing violence and giving Iraqi politicians some room to work.

Yet he won't commit to more US troop withdrawals, and may even slow or stop the ones under way to preserve the gains in security. He is asking the country, again, for patience.

In comments here, Bush will tell the nation that it cannot afford to turn its back on Iraq now, echoing a theme of his State of the Union address on Monday. He also will prod Congress again to permanently extend a law allowing the government more freedom to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists.

Turkey to relax headscarf ban in universities

Students may soon be allowed to wear the Muslim headscarf in Turkish universities, a watershed for a devout, growing middle class that has long complained of discrimination against its faith.

Turkey's popular Islamist-rooted government and a nationalist opposition party agreed on a compromise this week to lift a 1989 ban on female students wearing the headscarf in higher education, a move unthinkable only a few years ago.

The amendment is expected to be approved by parliament early this month.

As recently as 1997, Turkey's army generals, acting with public support, ousted a government they deemed too Islamist.


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"Lifting the headscarf ban in universities is a big step for Turkey, even if the reform is insufficient. It will mean a lot of women who suffered from the ban will be able to study again," said Neslihan Akbulut of women's rights group AKDER.

Turkey's secular establishment, which includes generals, judges and university rectors, sees the headscarf as a symbol of radical Islam and a political challenge to the Nato member's separation of state and religion. Turkey is 99 per cent Muslim.

The Turkish republic was founded as a secular state by Kemal Ataturk in 1923 from the crumbling Islam-based Ottoman Empire.

Thousands of women have in the past two decades chosen not to go to university because of the ban, have studied abroad or have been expelled from their studies for wearing a garment that covers their hair as a sign of piety.

The headscarf debate goes to the very heart of Turkey's complex identity. It is a young democracy that is struggling to balance the demands of an increasingly prosperous but pious Muslim population and a traditional urban pro-Western elite that sees Islam as backward and a threat to the status quo.

sexta-feira, 25 de janeiro de 2008

Gracias a todos


Bueno, este es mi último blog desde Melbourne. Antes de nada, quería disculparme por no haberlo enviado ayer, pero os podreis imaginar que llegué un tanto tarde al hotel y no tenía ganas de hacer nada. Lo siento de verdad, pero espero que este útimo blog antes de salir para el aeropuerto os sirva.

Me imagino que hay muchas preguntas sobre el partido. Creo que las respuestas son las que di ante la prensa. Digo me imagino porque aún no he podido ver nada de prensa. La respuesta a la pregunta sobre qué tal el partido, tiene una respuesta muy simple. Tsonga me ganó y me ganó muy bien. Ninguna excusa, nada que decir, sino simplemente felicitarle por el gran partido que hizo. Yo creo que el tenis es como una balanza y cuando un jugador juega muy bien la balanza se inclina hacia ese lado y hace que el otro no pueda jugar bien. Eso es lo que ocurrió en mi partido con un Tsonga MUY inspirado.

Igualmente, estoy muy contento por el comienzo de año que he tenido. La final de Chennai y unas semifinales en el Abierto de Australia mejoran mi comienzo de temporada del año pasado. La gente que me sigue y apoya no creo que esté decepcionada porque yo no lo estoy. Claro que quería ganar, claro que me hubiera gustado estar el domingo en la final, pero... Creo que no hay que hablar más del partido porque todo esta dicho en la prensa.

Así que anoche, cuando acabé todo mi trabajo post-partido, nos fuimos al hotel. Toni, Rafa Maymo, Benito, yo y Carlos Costa, mi manager, que había venido también. En el coche decidimos (era tarde ya) pararnos en un McDonalds (lo sé, lo sé) y llevarnos la comida al hotel. Yo me pedí dos hamburguesas de pescado, patatas y cola. No suelo comer estas cosas y menos durante el torneo, pero ayer acabé aquí y nos apetecía.

Estoy saliendo ahora para el aeropuerto. Me voy para Mallorca a descansar unos días y comenzar una mini pretemporada. Entrenar fuerte para estar muy en forma para los torneos siguientes que empiezan ya.

Quiero aprovechar para agradecer a mucha gente todo el apoyo que me han dado estas semanas. A los periodistas españoles que se han desplazado hasta Melbourne para seguir el torneo. Son muchos días y en un sitio muy lejano, con horas complicadas (Pedro, Miguel, Joan, Juan José, Sebastián y Zubi). Ya les agradecí en la sala de prensa, pero con el ruido no creo que se enterasen. Y también a los muchos espectadores que había en los partidos y los entrenamientos con banderas de España y de las Islas Baleares. No sé si han venido desde allí o viven aquí, pero notamos su presencia y quería agradecérselo.

Por último, deciros que leo los comentarios de la gente y aficionados que se publican en la prensa a través de los diarios digitales. Me gustaría responder uno por uno pero no me es posible. Gracias a los que me apoyan y a los que no, deciros que yo siempre lucho e intento ganar con trabajo y humildad. Si se gana intento saber ganar y si pierdo también intento saber perder.

¡Un saludo a todos y gracias!

Rafa

Brasileiros realizam 1,8 bilhão de downloads ilegais por ano

Aproximadamente 1,8 bilhão de downloads são baixados ilegalmente no Brasil ao ano, afirma relatório da Federação Internacional de Produtores Fonográficos (IFPI). O Relatório de Música Digital 2008, divulgado nesta sexta-feira, 25, indica que cerca de 60% dos arquivos baixados ilegalmente no Brasil são feitos por consumidores pertencentes a classes econômicas favorecidas. Segundo o relatório, o mercado fonográfico nacional sofreu perdas de até 50% no primeiro semestre.

A entidade anunciou no trabalho que o segmento de música digital cresceu 40% em 2007, mas denunciou que, para cada download legal, 20 músicas foram adquiridas de forma ilícita.

O relatório indica que a China é o país do mundo com maior percentual de usuários - cerca de 99% - que fazem downloads ilegais, enquanto na Europa a Espanha lidera a lista, com 35%.

Em 2007, a venda de música pela Internet e por meio de celulares alcançou US$ 2,9 bilhões, o que supõe 15% da indústria fonográfica, que em 2006 era de 11%.

No ano passado, foram feitos 1,7 bilhão de downloads de forma legal, 53% a mais que no ano anterior. Frente a esse número, porém, outros bilhões de arquivos ilegais foram baixados.

A IFPI assinala que, no continente europeu, a Espanha e a Holanda são, nesta ordem, os países onde mais são feitos downloads ilegais, com 35% e 28%, respectivamente, de usuários da rede que fazem isso regularmente.

Na América Latina, a pirataria se expandiu rapidamente. Calcula-se que no México 2,6 bilhões de downloads ilegais sejam feitos anualmente. No país, 64% dos downloads também são feitos por consumidores de classes econômicas favorecidas. O mercado fonográfico mexicano sofreu perdas de 25% no ano passado.

A nação com o maior percentual de músicas baixadas ilicitamente é a China, chegando a 99%, em relação a um mercado legal de apenas 50 milhões de euros - 1% do global.

A venda de música digital é o segundo segmento que mais cresce em comercialização - 15% da totalidade do negócio, e 30% nos Estados Unidos -, enquanto jornais e cinema representam apenas 7% e 3%, respectivamente.

A IFPI assegurou, em comunicado, que o crescimento do mercado de música digital não compensa a queda das vendas de CDs, e pediu aos Governos e à União Européia (UE) que solicitem urgentemente aos provedores de internet um papel mais ativo na proteção da música digital.

A Federação pretende que os provedores de serviços digitais controlem a música sem licença, afastando os clientes que reincidam nos downloads ilegais, e usando filtros para detectar os sites que os permitam.

O órgão elogiou o plano de luta contra a pirataria adotado pelo presidente francês, Nicolas Sarkozy, e os impulsos dados no Reino Unido, na Suécia e na Bélgica.

Segundo a Federação, atualmente há mais de 500 provedores legais de música na Internet, que oferecem cerca de seis milhões de canções, um número quatro vezes maior do que a música comercializada nas lojas físicas.

Petróleo fica em alta mesmo com recessão, dizem especialistas

Apesar da ameaça de recessão nos Estados Unidos, e a inevitável desaceleração do crescimento econômico mundial, os preços do petróleo vão continuar elevados e voláteis, podendo até subir ainda mais, pressionados pela crescente demanda em países emergentes como a China e a Índia nos próximos anos.

Essa foi a principal conclusão da Cúpula de Energia, evento paralelo ao Fórum Econômico Mundial, que reuniu autoridades, executivos de grandes empresas petrolíferas e analistas do setor energético. "O consenso é que os preços do petróleo não vão cair", disse à Agência Estado o presidente da Petrobras, José Sérgio Gabrielli, um dos participantes. "O que ninguém sabe é se eles podem subir mais, e quanto."

O economista-chefe da Agência Internacional de Energia (AIE), Fatih Birol, ressaltou que os preços do petróleo voltaram a subir para acima dos US$ 90 por barril nos últimos dias apesar das incertezas em torno da economia norte-americana e do recente estresse que assolou os mercados financeiros. "Esse é um sinal importante, pois mostra que mesmo com o risco de recessão, os preços continuam subindo de volta com facilidade", disse Birol. "Estamos diante de uma nova ordem energética mundial na qual a China e a India vão determinar a demanda de energia e as empresas petrolíferas estatais estão se tornando dominantes no lado da oferta."

A única opinião discordante sobre a tendência dos preços foi do economista Kenneth Rogoff, da Universidade de Harvard. Ele prevê que uma recessão nos Estados Unidos terá um impacto relevante no consumo de commodities em todo o mundo. "O preço do barril do petróleo deve cair para cerca de US$ 75 com a queda no consumo", disse. "E se o dólar não estivesse tão fraco e a inflação tão elevada a queda seria ainda maior, para um pouco abaixo dos US$ 70." Rogoff alertou, no entanto, que a "volatilidade nos preços vai continuar durante muitos anos".

Opep

A possibilidade da Opep elevar sua produção para aliviar o aperto entre a demanda e a oferta mundial foi, mais uma vez, descartada por um dos representantes do cartel presente no evento, o vice-primeiro-ministro do Quatar, Abdulla Bin Hamad Al Attiyah. "Nós vamos produzir a quantidade de petróleo que sabemos que as pessoas vão consumir, e não disponibilizar mais do que o necessário", afirmou.

Al Attiyah atribui os preços elevados à especulação nos mercados financeiros. Mas Birol discordou e aproveitou para alfinetar a Opep. "Os preços estão elevados porque o consumo está crescendo e a oferta é limitada", disse o economista da AIE. "A especulação apenas amplifica essa tendência."

A necessidade de pesados investimentos no setor, principalmente em energias alternativas e renováveis, também foi um tema de destaque no encontro. "Se não encontrarmos uma estrutura certa, que leve em conta o balanço entre o aumento da demanda e a necessidade de energia limpa, teremos sérios problemas no futuro próximo" alertou Birol.

Science of the bleedin' obvious

News headlines are usually dominated by science that makes us think about how we live, about our fragile world and our humble place in the universe.

But there are many projects that pass unnoticed, when they deserve a mention because they reassure us that science does not hold all the answers: we can work out plenty of things for ourselves without the help of mathematics, fancy experiments or expensive equipment.

Seatbelts help you survive crashes

A recent university study wowed readers when it concluded that failing to wear a seatbelt increases your chance of being killed in a car crash.


In many rural US communities, there is little or no enforcement of the law to wear a seat belt whilst driving. In more than half of the states, police officers can stop drivers for having a broken rear light or out of date tax disk, yet they can't say a word when it comes to wearing a seat belt.

Figures have shown that whilst around 20 per cent of Americans live in the countryside, they account for almost 60 percent of all roads deaths. What's more, those states with the highest rural fatalities also had the worst records for seat belt law enforcement.

But that's not the end of the story, some people argue. As well as being more likely to suffer a horrific injury because their not wearing a seatbelt, rural drivers have to wait longer for emergency services to arrive.

Couple this with quieter country roads making drivers more inclined to drive with a false sense of security, and you've got an accident, literally, waiting to happen.

People concerned about their health are more likely to take the stairs

When customers in a shopping centre were warned of the dangers of heart disease on posters at the foot of an escalator, the number of people using the staircase more than doubled.


A staggering 82,000 shoppers had their bi-pedal behaviour monitored by the University of Birmingham and sure enough, it seems the public could easily be manipulated into performing a minimal amount of exercise.

A senior lecturer in applied psychology, and co-author of the study, made the bold observation that certain members of the public responded to the signs.

He then took this a stage further by claiming that "if you can persuade people to take the stairs, then we might really have something in the war against obesity."

It's been claimed by some scientists that climbing stairs for seven minutes every day could reduce your risk of developing heart disease by about 60 per cent.

With most of us leading increasingly busy lives, public health officials in the UK appear to have taken the Birmingham study to their heart and if the rumours are to be believed, staircases could actually be the future.

Police raid flat of rogue trader Jerome Kerviel


French police this evening forced their way into the home of the rogue trader blamed for one of the largest scandals in the history of banking.

Plain-clothes officers required the help of a locksmith to gain access to Jerome Kerviel's apartment in Neuilly-sur-Seine, the upmarket suburb of Paris, at around 5.30pm.

The precise whereabouts of the 31-year-old remain a mystery, although his lawyer insists that he is not in hiding and is prepared to speak to the authorities.

It was revealed today that Mr Kerviel began his incredible deception after being deeply affected by the death of his father.

Neighbours in the pretty village in Brittany where Jerome Kerviel grew up said his father Charles, a local builder, died less than a year ago.

One said: "They are a close family and Jerome was very upset by the death of his father. I'm sure this must have had something to do with it."

The mayor of Pont-l'Abbe, Thierry Mavic, also implied that a marriage break-up may have affected the trader's behaviour.

The town official said Mr Kerviel was married "two or three years ago" - suggesting that he may now be divorced or separated.

Earlier today a friend of Mr Kerviel posted a handwritten note on the letter box of the trader's flat reading: "Don't search here. He has been seeking refuge elsewhere probably for some time now."

Neighbour Jacqueline Cuny said: "He used to leave early in the morning and come home late at night. He was a busy young man."

Sources say the trader and amateur judo instructor is "suffering trauma" at the wave of global publicity which has made his name one of the most searched-for terms on the internet.

"It's only natural that he might want to stay away from the limelight.

"He wants to deal with the authorities but does not want to become a celebrity. It's just not in his nature."

Société Générale announced this morning that the sums involved in the alleged fraud could be even greater than first thought.

A bank official confirmed that the size of the trader's positions had reached "several tens of billions of euros," a staggering sum for a bank whose market capitalization is €35.9 billion. The amount is even more stunning in comparison with the $15 million a year revenue attributed to the team in which Mr Kerviel worked.

One former colleague described the situation as a "like a mutating virus", adding: "Once you are in the maelstrom it is probably hard to stop."

The bank has filed an official complaint accusing Mr Kerviel of falsifying records and computer fraud.

They suspect he was taking massive risks in an attempt to boost his bonuses which, his salary included, amounted to a relatively modest £75,000 last year.

Investigating judges and police are expected to try to interview the 31-year-old at the earliest available opportunity, after the Paris prosecutors office opened a preliminary hearing into the scandal.

Iraqi prisoner abuse inquiry criticises army training


A report into alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British troops claims soldiers were given only "scant" guidance on how to treat civilian detainees.
Troops must be taught "a better understanding between right and wrong", according to the report issued today following a two-year inquiry.

However, the author, Brigadier Robert Aitken, said there was no evidence of endemic abuse.

Lawyers acting for Iraqi civilians dismissed the findings as a "whitewash" and said there was already clear evidence that abuse had been "rife". The father of an Iraqi man who died in British custody after suffering a catalogue of injuries said he did not "accept this report for a second".

The head of the army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, insisted lessons had been learned and he was "satisfied that the standards of behaviour are now understood by all our people".
"We have endeavoured to learn from our experiences and changed some of our processes of training and the way we prepare, educate and train our soldiers for these operations.

"We pride ourselves on the highest standards and I think we are only as good as our weakest link, and when anyone lets us down indeed I am disappointed and I am angry and I know we can do better and we must do better."

The report stated that "there remain some outstanding issues" to be addressed, adding that lessons from police investigations, legal advice and trials need to be better handled "so that trends in criminal behaviour or professional shortcomings can be quickly identified and remedied".

The inquiry was commissioned after the deaths of Baha Mousa, a hotel receptionist who died in British custody with 93 separate injuries, and 16-year-old Ahmed Jabber Kareem, who drowned after allegedly being forced to swim across a river.

The report was released as the defence secretary, Des Browne, said a review had concluded that "no further criminal lines of enquiry" would be pursed in regard to Mousa's death. Browne said the army was now doing everything possible to prevent further abuses.

In a written statement to MPs, he said the report was rightly critical.

"The army has already done a great deal to improve its procedures and I am satisfied that the army is doing everything possible to ensure that its personnel do not repeat the appalling acts that were perpetrated in these cases," he wrote.

"I believe that Brigadier Aitken has demonstrated this in his report but we must not be complacent."

At the time of the deaths, the British army was struggling to control the growing insurgency in southern Iraq in 2003 and early 2004.

Six out of seven soldiers charged in relation with Mousa's death were cleared but one soldier, Corporal Donald Payne, pleaded guilty to inhumane treatment. Two soldiers were acquitted of involvement in Kareem's death.

A court martial related to the Mousa case revealed confusion over the treatment of detainees, with senior officers apparently unaware that "hooding" of prisoners and sleep deprivation were banned under the Geneva conventions and British law.

Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers, which has represented Iraqis allegedly mistreated by British forces, said: "There is the clearest evidence from the court martial into the death of Baha Mousa, and other emerging evidence, that systematic abuse by UK soldiers in Iraq was rife.

"My firm alone is acting in cases apparently involving over 30 deaths in detention including executions.

"It was standard operating procedure to hood, stress and deprive detainees of sleep, water and food. Our clients have been subjected to torture, abuse and humiliation."

Mousa's father, Daoud, insisted his son was the victim of officially sanctioned violence.

"As a senior officer in the Iraqi army, I am clear that these terrible actions could not have taken place without support from senior officers within the British Army.

"They either knew, or ought to have known, what was happening. Either way, I hold them to account for what happened to my son. I do not accept this report for a second."

Aitken said in a 2006 hearing that he believed poor preparation had led to confusion over what interrogation practices were appropriate. He said there was a lack of detailed doctrine on how to handle prisoners of war.

Amnesty International UK's campaigns director, Tim Hancock, called for a fully independent report into the death of Mousa.

"We'd like to see Mr Mousa's family fully involved in a properly independent investigation to finally lay this matter to rest," he said.

"We also still need to know why members of the armed forces used techniques like hooding, stress positions and sleep deprivation when these had long been outlawed."

Aitken said in a 2006 hearing that he believed poor preparation had led to confusion over approrpriate interrogation practices. He said there was a lack of detailed doctrine on how to handle prisoners of war.

Now Labour faces third police inquiry

Gordon Brown was forced into the first unwanted and damaging cabinet reshuffle of his six months as prime minister last night after Peter Hain resigned his post as he faced the prospect of being questioned under caution by police investigating more than £100,000 of undeclared donations.
In what will be the third police investigation into Labour and political funding, the work and pensions minister could be prosecuted under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. Under the law anyone convicted of a corrupt or illegal act could face a fine or one year's imprisonment.

Hain was left with no choice but to tender his resignation after the Electoral Commission took the dramatic step of referring to Scotland Yard the failure to disclose 17 donations to his deputy leadership campaign. Hain, 57, who was also secretary of state for Wales, had a legal duty under the act to inform the commission of his donations.
He said he was leaving the government to dedicate himself full time to clearing his name. He was given only two hours' notice that the commission was going to issue a statement, but was not told what it said. Later, he rang Brown, and both rapidly agreed he had to resign.

One of the most independent minded figures in a sometimes grey cabinet, Hain had been hoping, as had Brown, that the commission would simply reprimand him for a serious administrative oversight.

But sources at the commission said unanswered questions about the degree of Hain's knowledge about the money meant the police needed to be called in.

There was anger within Labour circles over the commission's tough stance. One source pointed out that the independent body had issued a one line press release when David Cameron, the Conservative leader, was forced to repay £7,000 of foreign donations.

But the commission, which has no powers to impose any punishment, believed it could not simply issue a reprimand given the scale of the non-disclosure.

Shortly after he quit, Hain said: "I severely and seriously regret the mistake in declaring the donations late."

In a letter to Brown he added: "I made a mistake but it was an innocent mistake."

Members of the Hain campaign team have already hired lawyers to prepare themselves for what may be a lengthy police inquiry.

Amid signs of continuing falling-out within the campaign over responsibility for the debts, and responsibility for the failure to report donations, some members of Hain's staff were advised not to talk to one another in case they could be accused of colluding, or even preparing to pervert the course of justice.

The Metropolitan police confirmed an investigation had begun by detectives from its Economic and Specialist Crimes Command led by Acting Commander Nigel Mawer, who is already leading an inquiry over allegedly disguised donations to Labour.

The police are expected to focus on the use of a little known thinktank to channel £50,000 donations, the role of a campaign organiser, Steve Morgan, and responsibility within the campaign for declaring donations.

The prime minister moved quickly to implement a wider than necessary reshuffle, promoting young ministers rather than drafting in former cabinet heavyweights, such as the former home secretary Charles Clarke. The culture secretary, and a former pensions minister, James Purnell, 37, was promoted to work and pensions secretary. Andy Burnham, 38, previously Treasury chief secretary, was appointed culture secretary. He is replaced at the Treasury by the housing minister, Yvette Cooper, 38.

Paul Murphy, an experienced old hand, was asked to return to the Wales Office.

Brown will be furious that his efforts to offer a clean break after the 18 month cash-for-peerages inquiry has ended with the first criminal inquiry into a cabinet minister he appointed. He will also be hoping that the deputy leader, Harriet Harman, will not face a police investigation over her receipt of a £5,000 donation to her campaign.

Cameron accused Brown of failing to show leadership earlier. "It's the right decision, but it shouldn't have happened in this way," he said of the resignation.

Suicide inquiry police to re-examine 13 deaths

Senior detectives investigating a spate of young suicides in south Wales over the past year are to re-examine the files of 13 deaths in the area - including four cases that are officially closed.
Sources close to the investigation have told the Guardian that in the coming days detectives will look again at the files of 13 apparent suicides in search of similarities, amid concerns over the unexplained deaths.

In response to enquiries, South Wales police issued a statement saying: "We will be reviewing a number of cases of sudden deaths in the Bridgend area as part of the investigation process. At this stage, we can't confirm the number or further detail."

Philip Walters, the coroner with responsibility for Bridgend county borough, has identified 13 apparent suicides of people aged 27 and under.
Among the cases are five involving people aged between 21 and 27, three 20-year-olds, two 19-year-olds, an 18-year-old and two 17-year-olds. All are apparently unexplained and were within the space of a few miles.

Until now, officers have said only that they are investigating the apparent suicide of Natasha Randall, 17, who was found hanged in her bedroom at her home in Blaengarw, Bridgend, last week.

They said as part of their inquiries they would seek to establish Natasha's relationship with friends and would look through her computer as a matter of "routine".

Concern over possible links between suicide victims in the area have mounted this week after it was claimed that seven young people in the area who had hanged themselves were in some way connected.

Egyptian troops unable to push back Palestinians


Egyptian soldiers in riot gear using water cannon and rolls of barbed wire were unable to stop hundreds of Palestinians from rushing into Egypt today after a bulldozer tore down another section of the border fence.
Although Egyptian forces closed some gaps in the wall, several thousand people were able to cross in both directions. At least one crane was set up on the seven-mile border at Rafah to bring in goods more quickly, particularly bags of cement and barrels of fuel, which are still scarce in Gaza.

There were some tense moments as crowds pushed against the soldiers and occasionally threw stones. The Egyptians used water cannon briefly and there was some firing into the air.

For every gap that was closed, there were many more that remained open. The steel and concrete wall on the Palestinian side remains demolished for large parts of its length.

Although Egypt has been willing to let Palestinians into the Sinai over the past two days, it appears that Cairo hopes to reseal the border and re-establish a formal crossing point. Already Egyptian officials have prevented the Palestinians from travelling from the Sinai into the rest of Egypt or out through Cairo airport.

Most of the Palestinians went to shop for basic necessities, as the economic blockade has been increasingly tightened on Gaza over the past two years. Israel, which has not had troops on this border for two years, has announced a security alert for its citizens travelling in Sinai and said that it fears militants may have crossed into Egypt, with the intention of kidnapping Israeli holidaymakers.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that won elections two years ago and seized full control of Gaza last summer, has won considerable public support for demolishing the wall before dawn on Wednesday. Yesterday Hamas officials said they wanted a crossing at Rafah to remain open. For much of the past two years, the official Rafah crossing has been closed.

"We insist and urge our Egyptian brothers that there must be a mechanism to allow the passage of people and goods through the Rafah crossing in a legal and organised manner," said Taher al-Nunu, a Hamas spokesman.

Armed Hamas men were also at the border trying to control the crowd. Senior Israeli officials had suggested Egypt might, in future, take more responsibility for supplying fuel and food to Gaza, allowing Israel to "disconnect" from the 1.5 million Palestinians living there.

But Egypt shows no sign of accepting such a role, even though there is pressure in the Arab world on Egypt to ease the plight of the Gazans.

"They should get things back to normal according to previous agreements and understandings," the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, told an Egyptian newspaper.

The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, a rival of the Hamas movement, are due to meet on Sunday for their latest peace process talks. Gaza will be at the top of their agenda.

Israel, which last year labelled Gaza a "hostile entity", tightened its closure of the Gaza crossings a week ago to try to prevent Palestinian militants firing rockets into southern Israel.

However, it has since been forced to allow in some limited supplies of fuel and aid after widespread international criticism over the humanitarian crisis.

Yet the violence continued. Four Hamas militants were killed overnight in two separate Israeli air strikes in Rafah, southern Gaza. In East Jerusalem, an Israeli border police officer was killed in a drive-by shooting late yesterday. At around the same time, three Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank were injured in a knife attack. The two Palestinian attackers were shot dead.

quarta-feira, 23 de janeiro de 2008

Caveira com mais de cem mil anos descoberta na China


Um grupo de arqueólogos chineses desenterrou os fósseis de uma caveira humana que pode ter mais de 100 mil anos, o que a torna uma das descobertas arqueológicas mais importantes no país, informou hoje a imprensa estatal chinesa.

"É a maior descoberta na China desde que foram encontrados os restos do Homem de Pequim no início do século XX", referiu o director da Administração Estatal da Herança Cultural, Shan Jixiang, ao jornal oficial China Daily.

Shan acrescentou que este achado vem "lançar luz sobre um período crítico da evolução humana".

A descoberta só foi divulgada hoje mas os arqueólogos encontraram a caveira no mês passado em escavações localizadas em Xuchang, na província de Henan, no centro do país, onde trabalham há dois anos e meio.

Os restos arqueológicos incluem 16 peças de uma caveira quase completa que possui sobrancelhas proeminentes e testa pequena.

Segundo o director da equipa de arqueólogos que trabalha na escavação, Li Zhanyang, "o mais surpreendente é que a caveira ainda conserva uma membrana fossilizada no seu interior, o que permitirá aos cientistas estudarem o sistema nervoso dos antepassados do Paleolítico".

Os restos da caveira sofreram um processo de fossilização porque estiveram enterrados a cinco metros de profundidade, perto de uma fonte de águas com altos níveis de cálcio.

Além dos restos da caveira humana, um total de 30 mil fósseis de animais e outros artefactos produzidos com ossos e pedra foram encontrados nestas escavações nos dois últimos anos.

"Esperamos continuar este trabalho com descobertas de importância nesta zona", concluiu Li.

Na semana passada, outra equipa de arqueólogos chineses também descobriu aquela que considera ser a espada mais antiga alguma vez descoberta na China, com cerca de 2.500 a 2.600 anos, num túmulo em Jiangxi, no leste do país.

Banco de Portugal pode rever em baixa previsões para Portugal caso haja recessão nos EUA


O Banco de Portugal pode vir a rever em baixa as previsões de crescimento para a economia portuguesa, caso se confirme uma recessão nos EUA, disse hoje o governador do Banco de Portugal.

"Caso se confirmem as expectativas de uma possível recessão nos EUA, isso terá consequências na Europa, incluindo Portugal, o que poderá conduzir a uma ligeira revisão em baixa das recentes previsões económicas", afirmou Vítor Constâncio em declarações aos jornalistas, citado pela Bloomberg.

O boletim económico de Inverno do Banco de Portugal, divulgado a 8 de Janeiro, previa que Portugal crescesse dois por cento em 2008 e 2,3 por cento em 2009.

Os indicadores recentes apontam para uma probabilidade de "forte" abrandamento económico nos EUA ou até de uma recessão, acrescentou o governador do Banco de Portugal e membro do Banco Central Europeu (BCE).

O comportamento dos mercados bolsistas reflecte o aumento dessa probabilidade, numa altura em que os investidores estão a rever as suas expectativas, afirmou o governador.

BCE prevê menor crescimento na Zona Euro


O presidente do Banco Central Europeu, Jean-Claude Trichet, reconheceu hoje que o crescimento económico na Zona Euro poderá ser menos relevante do que se previa até agora, no contexto de uma crise financeira mundial.

O economista francês deu também a entender que não irá seguir a Reserva Federal norte-americana, que ontem baixou inesperadamente a taxa de referência em 0,75 pontos percentuais, para 3,5 por cento, na tentativa da acalmar os mercados e evitar a turbulência nos mercados financeiros internacionais.

A consequência imediata das declarações de Trichet traduziu-se na quebra generalizada dos mercados europeus, que até iniciaram as sessões em alta.

Tribunal anula colocação de mais de 60 funcionários em mobilidade especial

O Governo sofreu, na passada sexta-feira, uma derrota pesada na batalha judicial que está a travar com os funcionários colocados em regime de mobilidade especial.

O Tribunal Administrativo e Fiscal do Porto decidiu dar provimento a uma providência cautelar e anular a passagem para a situação de supranumerários a mais de 60 funcionários públicos da Direcção Regional da Agricultura e Pescas do Norte (DRAPN).

De acordo com o Sindicato dos Trabalhadores da Função Pública do Norte (STFPN), que interpôs a acção, o Tribunal entendeu que sem a aceitação do pedido de providência, os funcionários enfrentariam "uma situação de prejuízo de difícil ou impossível reparação e/ou facto consumado", para além de lhes poder provocar um "forte abalo anímico decorrente da sua inclusão na lista da mobilidade especial", "esvaziamento das suas funções profissionais" e uma "diminuição dos seus vencimentos".

A acção principal, onde será definitivamente decidido se os funcionários podem ou não ser colocados em regime de mobilidade especial da forma como a DRAPN o fez, ainda está longe de uma decisão, mas o juíz considera que, se não é possível concluir pela manifesta ilegalidade dos actos do Governo, também não é possível concluir o contrário.

Fonte oficial do Ministério da Agricultura e Pescas confirma ter tomado conhecimento da decisão do Tribunal, garantindo que irá ser cumprida com o regresso dos funcionários em causa ao seu posto de trabalho. É no entanto assinalado, pelos responsáveis do Governo, que, das 22 decisões relativas a providências cautelares interpostas pelos funcionários colocados em mobilidade especial, 18 foram favoráveis ao Executivo.

Os funcionários, na maior parte dos casos com o apoio dos sindicatos da Administração Pública, têm vindo a recorrer, individualmente ou em conjunto, dos despachos emitidos pelo Governo, alegando que o processo de selecção dos supranumerários não cumpriu os requisitos previstos na lei. As decisões já tomadas pelos tribunais apenas dizem respeito aos respectivos pedidos de suspensão através de providência cautelar e dizem todas respeito a medidas tomadas pelo Ministério da Agricultura e Pescas, aquele que está mais avançado no processo de selecção dos trabalhadores a colocar em mobilidade especial.

Também ontem, o Sindicato dos Quadros Técnicos do Estado defendeu a ilegalidade da decisão do Ministério da Cultura de limitar o número de funcionários a 2771, "sem que lhe tenham sido enviadas, pelos dirigentes máximos, quaisquer listas de actividades e de postos de trabalho necessários para as prosseguir", e alertou que os funcionários estão a ser aliciados "com uma licença extraordinária melhorada", ainda não prevista na lei.

Overland Park McDonald’s robbed

Two masked men held up a McDonald’s in Overland Park on Tuesday night, police said.

Officers responded about 10 p.m. to the call of an armed robbery at 151st Street and U.S. 69.

The suspects, wearing black masks, entered the business, and one of them brandished a handgun and ordered all the employees to the floor.

No one was injured, and the robbers left with an unknown amount of cash, police said.

One of the suspects was described as five feet nine inches tall and about 125 pounds. He was wearing a brown jacket and was armed with a handgun. The other was described as six feet tall and about 350 pounds and wearing a black jacket.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Overland Park Police at 913-895-6300 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.

Missouri inmates can obtain elective abortions, appeals court rules

Missouri inmates have the right to obtain elective abortions, a federal appeals court said Tuesday.

The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came on the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It throws out a policy by Gov. Matt Blunt’s administration and the Missouri Department of Corrections that restricted an inmate’s access to abortion.

Thomas M. Blumenthal, the St. Louis lawyer who brought the suit on behalf of an anonymous “Jane Roe” inmate, applauded the decision.

“This (abortion) is not a right that is lost at the jailhouse door,” he said.

In a written statement, Blunt said he was disappointed and noted that state law prohibits using tax money for abortions.

“Over the last three years, we have … enacted laws that reflect our profound respect for the inherent dignity of each and every life,” Blunt said. “I am hopeful and prayerful that we can further protect life by enhancing our laws to defend the dignity of human life.”

A Department of Corrections spokesman said the state would comply while considering appeals options.

“We will have to abide by the court order, as we have been,” said Brian Hauswirth. “That said, we have serious security concerns.”

“Jane Roe” received an abortion soon after filing the suit in October 2005. The lawsuit was then amended to represent all female inmates seeking elective abortions.

Roe left state custody in 2006, Blumenthal said.

A policy enacted in September 2005 had barred corrections officials from taking female inmates from a prison in Vandalia to St. Louis for elective abortions. Prison officials said security concerns and cost savings prompted the policy.

State officials estimated $350 for fuel and two guards.

While acknowledging that prison officials had made their point on the security question, appeals judges found other state arguments lacking. State officials had established no alternate means for inmates to obtain elective abortions, had overstated the impact on prison resources and had miscalculated the cost savings.

Pregnant inmates probably would take more trips out of the prison for prenatal care, the judges found.

But while the appeals judges affirmed U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple’s original ruling, they faulted his finding that the state’s policy violated Roe’s Eighth Amendment right to be free from “cruel and unusual punishment.”

State officials had not been indifferent to a serious medical need, the judges found.

Patty Skain, executive director of Missouri Right to Life, said the decision was unfortunate, but not surprising.

“We believe the majority of Americans don’t agree with the broad, sweeping effects of Roe v. Wade,” she said. “We just need to go to a time when we are a little more careful and cautions about how we value life.”

Semler blames resignation on lack of support from mayor and wife

Time after time in the seven months after he appointed Frances Semler to the Kansas City park board, Mayor Mark Funkhouser refused to ask her to resign.

In the end, though, Semler said his words — and those of his wife — led to her abrupt resignation.

Semler said in a letter faxed to the mayor’s office and media outlets late Monday that she could not continue on the park board because of the lack of support from Funkhouser and his wife, Gloria Squitiro.

“ENOUGH,” the letter started. It ended with “I feel BETRAYED.”

Funkhouser, who is in Washington, D.C.,on city business with Squitiro, said in an interview that he wished Semler had talked to him before going public.

“Obviously, I wish she had called me,” he said. “I would have explained what I meant.”

Almost immediately after Semler’s appointment in June, calls for her resignation erupted because of her membership in the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, which has conducted armed patrols along the U.S.-Mexican border. Funkhouser repeatedly rejected calls for her resignation by minority and other civil- and human-rights organizations.

As a result, the National Council of La Raza and the national Southern Christian Leadership Conference announced they weren’t bringing conferences to Kansas City. The NAACP said it was reconsidering its plans to convene here.

Semler’s resignation means the two civil rights organizations may consider Kansas City in the future, and the NAACP convention should no longer be in peril, civil rights leaders and city officials said Tuesday. NAACP officials did not return telephone calls Tuesday.

Semler said in an interview with The Kansas City Star that she found recent comments by the mayor and his wife offensive.

She cited an interview in the Kansas City Hispanic News in which Squitiro said Semler had been warned against acting in a biased or bigoted way.

“That sounded like I was a child and I have been reprimanded,” Semler said. “And they never talked to me.”

Semler acknowledged that Funkhouser about a month ago instructed her not to attend a Minuteman convention scheduled for Feb. 1 and 2 at the Uptown Theater. She said she did not want to have her voice silenced on problems with illegal immigration.

A Minuteman leader said Tuesday that Semler would get at least one chance to address the attendees.

Semler also pointed to Funkhouser remarks quoted in a Mike Hendricks column last week in The Star. The mayor repeated his support of Semler, the only Northlander on the five-member volunteer park board, but also said he needed “the support of the conservative white folks north of the river in order to do what I want to do for the vulnerable people of color south of the river.”

That seemed to belie Funkhouser’s claim of not being a politician, Semler said. She said Tuesday that she had campaigned for Funkhouser for mayor because he wasn’t a typical politician. “I really believed in the man,” she said.

Funkhouser said some of his comments had been misconstrued.

“It’s pretty clear to me you can’t understand what a person thinks by reading the newspaper,” he said.

Funkhouser plans a methodical search to find a replacement for Semler. Several council members said Tuesday that he must consult with them and then pick a proven leader from the Northland.

Semler’s resignation “is a good first step toward the healing,” Councilwoman Beth Gottstein said. “Obviously, we’ve got a lot of work to do. This offers us an opening.”

Gottstein, Councilwoman Deb Hermann and others said they hoped Funkhouser would choose a Northlander.

Councilman Ed Ford said “hard-core Minuteman supporters” will feel betrayed, but most residents will be relieved and are ready to move on to more pressing issues.

“I actually felt sorry for Funk when (Semler) unloaded on him,” Ford said about Semler’s resignation letter. “As many arrows as he has taken for her, it just shows no good deed goes unpunished.”

Others weren’t feeling sympathy for Funkhouser.

Ed Hayes, Heart of America chapter director for the Minuteman, said he was angry at Funkhouser for not supporting Semler and the Minuteman organization sufficiently.

“She didn’t ask to be on the park board,” he said. “She would have made a difference if they had left her alone. Now she’s going to come make a difference for the Minutemen, I guarantee it.”

National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguía, a Kansas City, Kan., native, said it was too late to return the 2009 convention to Kansas City, but the city could be in the mix for future meetings.

She said her organization would be closely watching Funkhouser’s actions, particularly with minority residents and the future of City Manager Wayne Cauthen, an African-American.

The Rev. Nelson Thompson, head of the local SCLC chapter, which recommended the national pullout, said the group wouldn’t reconsider moving its convention to New Orleans this year. He was optimistic the group would consider Kansas City in the future.

However, he said the Semler resignation didn’t solve all the mayor’s racial issues.

“We also need to be vigilant over what happens with Wayne Cauthen,” Thompson said. “Semler was only part of the picture. We still have a lot of concerns about the mayor’s activities. … The main issue is the mayor’s attitude.”

Kansas City resident Mary Mittenfelner said she thought a drumbeat of opposition from civil rights groups drove Semler off the park board. “They harangued this woman out of her job, taking her constitutional right to have an opinion.”

Park Commissioner Aggie Stackhaus, who became friendly with Semler during their service on the park board, applauded Semler’s service.

“She did a great job,” Stackhaus said. “She read everything, she always did her homework. She really cared about the children and youth activities.”

terça-feira, 22 de janeiro de 2008

Panic sends world shares into dive

Battered by a fortnight of losses, world sharemarkets fell sharply yesterday.

The slump came amid signs that panic was taking hold among investors worrying about a US recession which could choke growth in the world economy.

American markets were closed for the Martin Luther King Day holiday, but investors took their cue from Europe where all the major markets had their biggest one-day fall since September 11, 2001.

Britain's FTSE 100 ended 5.5 per cent down, Germany's DAX fell 7 per cent and the French CAC 40 fell by almost the same margin.

"There is a wave of panic emerging as the fear unfolds," said Martin Slaney, head of derivatives trading at GFT Global Markets in London.

In New Zealand the NZX-50 index fell swiftly when the market opened yesterday.

It lost almost 4 per cent, but recovered to close down 39.7 points or 1.1 per cent at 3607.13.

Brokers said bargain hunters were seeking out stocks they believed had been oversold.

But the NZSX's record run of negative sessions extended to 14 days.
The local market outperformed most others in the Asia Pacific region.

Australia's ASX 200 was down 7 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost 8 per cent.

The Australian market's slip was the worst since 1997 and extended its decline from its November 1 high to more than 20 per cent.

"This has been a crash and it might take a year to get back to where it was last week," said fund manager Michael Birch, of Wallace Funds Management in Sydney.

"It might be the second half of the year before people have the confidence to weigh back in."

After Monday's rout in Europe and yesterday's losses elsewhere, all eyes were on the American market.

US stock index futures suggested a further sell off there when business resumed yesterday.

International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn did little to ease market fears, describing the US situation as serious.

"All countries in the world are suffering from the slowdown in growth in the United States."

Investor George Soros, who has made billions by identifying and exploiting macro-economic trends, said the world was facing its worst financial crisis since World War II.

In New Zealand, broker James Smalley of Christchurch firm Hamilton, Hindin Greene attributed the local market's resilience to two factors - to its lack of large financial stocks that elsewhere have been hit hard by US subprime-related credit issues, and the effect sharemarket problems were having on currency markets.


"One of the silver linings to this black cloud is that the New Zealand dollar is taking an absolute pasting," he said.

"If you're an exporter you're thinking you could start making money again."

The Kiwi dollar closed at US74.58c yesterday after touching a four-month low of US74.01c during the session.

It has lost 6 per cent of its value against the American dollar in eight days.

`Her death sucks'


JUST hours after Gabe Watson lost his wife Tina in a diving accident he asked the other passengers on the dive boat to gather below deck. He stood, looking down at the floor, and said: ``As you know, my wife died today. This really sucks.'

Then he walked away without saying another word. Later he was seen playing cards with passengers as the boat headed back to Townsville Port to deliver Mrs Watson's body.

Experienced American divers John and Tina Graves yesterday painted a picture of bizarre scenes on board the dive boat Spoil Sport in the hours after Mrs Watson died.

They were giving evidence at an inquest in Townsville into the unexplained death of Mrs Watson at the Yongala shipwreck on October 22, 2003.

Mr Graves told the inquiry, presided over by coroner David Glasgow, how Mr Watson asked all passengers on board the Spoil Sport to gather in the saloon.

He said Mr Watson's speech consisted of the two lines.

Mrs Graves recounted a conversation with Mr Watson while dive staff were trying to resuscitate his wife.

She said she saw Mr Watson leaning against her cabin door with another passenger and she sensed something was wrong.

She said she asked if everything was okay and Gabe told her there had been an accident and that they were `working' on Tina on another boat.

He told her Tina had grabbed his regulator from his mouth and he got a huge mouthful of saltwater, so he pushed her away and she sank out of reach.

Mrs Graves said he then paused before looking down and saying, `I can't believe I pushed her away'.

Mrs Graves said she left the room to grab a drink of water for Mr Watson and when she returned he was crouched outside the door.

He told Mrs Graves that he had tried to hold on to Tina but she was `too heavy' and had `just slid out of my hands'.

Mrs Graves said she was surprised at his answer because Tina was so petite.

Mrs Graves has completed diver rescue training, similar to the qualification held by Mr Watson.

She said she was taught that `you don't let someone slip away'.

Mrs Graves said all the divers were given a `very comprehensive briefing' from dive staff.

The inquest also saw about two hours of an interview conducted by Townsville police five days after Tina's death.

Tina's mother Cindy Thomas was not present while Watson detailed to police details of the dive.

Mr Watson said he began to feel Tina `sink' and tried to indicate to her to use her buoyancy compensator but when she squeezed the control nothing happened.

He said he realised something was wrong and attempted to get back to the anchor rope, but Tina was having trouble swimming so he tried to activate her buoyancy compensator.

Mr Watson told police that nearby divers who witnessed him leaning over and grabbing his wife's dive equipment
might have thought it looked `odd'.

"I was kind of thinking (it) just may look unusual if somebody's happened to look," he said.

"I was kind of thinking ... these people probably can see us ... or at least thinking something odd (was) going on."

Mr Watson told police he considered dumping Tina's equipment and taking her to the surface.

When asked by Townsville Sgt Glenn Lawrence why he didn't, he played down his rescue diver qualifications, stating he hadn't been taught to rescue others but only how to save himself and how to search for others.

He said Tina then knocked his mask and regulator from his mouth and by the time he righted himself Tina was sinking.

"I realised she was going down faster than I could catch up with her," he said.

Mr Watson said he then `shook' an Asian male diver who was on the anchor line to try to alert him to the emergency.

Police have not been able to track down this diver.

Mr Watson said he then ascended at a rate `border-line to me getting in trouble'.

But his dive computer showed he had risen to the surface at a controlled pace.

The inquest continues today.

The new T&G


THIS is the building that will soon rise out of the rubble. Just days after the former T&G building bit the dust, local property developer Laurence Lancini unveiled the vision for this prime parcel of real estate nestled in the heart of the CBD.

The 16 or 18-storey commercial building will span three street frontages on Ogden St, Flinders St West, with the main entrance on Stanley St.

It will include about 700sq m of retail space and between 11,000 and 13,000 sq m of commercial space.

It will also have the provision for 240 on-site car parks.

Mr Lancini said the architects, The Buchan Group, had designed the building to meet Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) standards.

"We are looking at doing a prestigious, A-grade office tower," Mr Lancini said.

"We are looking to have retail on the ground level, multiple levels of car parking and then between 10 to 12 levels of commercial space."

Mr Lancini said the building would be a first of its kind for Townsville.

"It will be the first building designed in Townsville that will meet all the current ESD requirements," Mr Lancini said.

"We are really focused on meeting all the ESD requirements, and building it to a five-star green rating.

"That will include the use of natural lighting and the correct energy uses."

Mr Lancini said the building was a `key' part in the CBD revitalisation.

He said every effort had been made to make the development aesthetically pleasing.

"I think if anyone says that this is an unattractive development than I don't know what more I can do.

" I think what we have designed is aesthetically pleasing," Mr Lancini said.

"From my point of view, we are very much focused on the revitalisation of the city centre."He said several tenants had already expressed interest in occupying the building.

"We are negotiating with several tenants at the moment but at this stage it is confidential," he said.

Once those negotiations are complete, Mr Lancini said he would submit the plans to Townsville City Council for approval.

It is expected the building will be completed by the middle of 2010.

Petrol attendant shot dead in robbery

A 29-year-old woman working at a petrol station at Onyaanya in the Oshikoto Region was shot dead by robbers early yesterday morning.

Regional Police Commander Ndahangwapo Kashihakumwa says three men arrived at the filling station at around 01h00, carrying jerry cans and asking for petrol.

They apparently told the attendant that their car had run out of petrol.

After paying for their petrol, they followed the woman into the office where the safe was and demanded money from her.

The petrol attendant ran away but was shot in the back, the Police commander said.

The woman's name has not been released yet.

Another person who was sleeping at the petrol station while waiting for a lift was tied up by the robbers, according to the Police.

An unknown amount of money was stolen from the filling station.

No arrests had been made by yesterday afternoon.

Son kills father with arrow

AN 80-year-old man at Omanyoshe village in the Ohangwena Region died instantly after his son allegedly shot him in the chest with an arrow.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Christina Fonsech said the incident happened on Saturday evening.

She said Junias Shilongo was shot after his son had a quarrel with his sister.

The son has been arrested.

Meanwhile, the Police have revealed the name of the petrol attendant who was shot dead by three robbers at Onyaana in the Oshikoto Region on Sunday morning.

She was 29-year-old Saim Ndapewa Alukolo.

She was shot in the back while trying to run away from the robbers.

No one has yet been arrested, Sergeant Fonsech said.

Double standards feared in handling of education fraud cases in Karas

THE manner in which theft cases involving staff members are handled at the Karas regional education office has raised eyebrows among some employees.

According to a well-placed source, the regional education office recently laid criminal charges against two employees who allegedly embezzled close to N$37 000.

It is alleged that the two had deposited cheques belonging to teachers into a third party's bank account.

In contrast, a Circuit Inspector's daughter, who allegedly embezzled N$35 000 at the Karasburg Senior Secondary School, only faced internal disciplinary measures, the source said.

According to minutes of the disciplinary hearing leaked to The Namibian, Estelle Titus was found guilty of misconduct for "failing to adhere to treasury instructions".

She allegedly failed to deposit school development fund fees into the regional education office's bank account.

Titus was demoted from full-time to part-time secretary.

According to the source, no criminal case was laid either against a school principal who had allegedly failed to bank N$2 368 into his school's development fund in 2005.

When asked for comment about the alleged disparities in handling theft cases, Education Deputy Director Celi Mostert said the onus lay with the school board to register a criminal case when school development fund fees were misappropriated.

"The school board is legally entrusted with the school development fund fees, thus the onus lies with it whether to lay a criminal case or not," she said.

Mostert said the latest embezzlement case had involved staffers at the regional education office, which had decided to order a criminal investigation into the case.

No success in search for Okahandja farm attackers

A GANG of men that on Tuesday morning last week violently attacked the widow of an Okahandja district farm owner who was murdered on his farm seven years ago remained on the run as a Police search for them continued yesterday.




The 56-year-old Eveline Kober, widow of murdered farm owner Leopold Kober, was attacked in her house at farm Bag-Bag northwest of Okahandja at about 04h00 on Tuesday last week, according to the Namibian Police's Public Relations and Liaison Division.

Mrs Kober was attacked by suspects who had entered her house after forcing open a window, the Police reported.

The attackers demanded safe keys from her, but did not manage to remove anything before they fled the scene, which they did after Mrs Kober had managed to alert her son, who lives in another house near her house.

According to a Police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Kauna Shikwambi, no one had been arrested by yesterday in connection with the attack.

Shikwambi said footprints followed from the scene of the attack indicated that three or four people had left the scene.

The attackers used a vehicle to flee, she said.

There was no description of the suspects available, she said.

Mrs Kober had to be treated in hospital in Windhoek after the attack.

According to Shikwambi it is suspected that a piece of wood found at the scene was used to beat Mrs Kober.

Bag-Bag was the scene of a gun attack that claimed the life of Mrs Kober's 68-year-old husband on November 1 2000.

Mr Kober was shot dead at a cattle post at the farm, where two men were lying in wait for him.

An AK-47 rifle belonging to the Namibia Defence Force was used to kill him.

The two men present when he was killed, Alfeus Kahira and Jeffrey Kaome, were both put on trial in the High Court, where they ended up accusing each other of firing the shots that killed Mr Kober.

At the end of their trial only Kahira, an Okahandja resident who worked as a welder and was then aged 42, was convicted.

He was sentenced to an effective 40 years' imprisonment on March 26 2003.

To the end he insisted that it was his co-accused, and not him, who had actually murdered Mr Kober.

SA power crisis set to bite in Namibia

SUNDAY'S announcement by South Africa's Eskom power utility that it is halting electricity imports to neighbouring countries like Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe has sent shock waves through the Namibian business sector and households.

NamPower said it would only respond to the new developments at a press conference scheduled for today.

Asked if there was reason for Namibians to worry, John Kaimu, Manager for Marketing and Corporation at NamPower, declined to comment.

"We will hold a press conference tomorrow," was all Kaimu was prepared to say.

However, the Van Eck coal-fired power station in Windhoek has been active again in the last few days.

It can generate 120 MW of electricity if run at full throttle, but that costs about N$1 million a day.

CONCERNS SET IN Concerned readers phoned The Namibian yesterday, worried that the severe power cuts being experienced in South Africa will soon occur here.

Callers to several radio stations also voiced their concerns.

"We will probably have to invest in our own generators in due course just to be on the safe side," the owner of a Windhoek vehicle repair workshop told The Namibian when approached.

Nampa-AP reported yesterday that nationwide power outages shut down basic services across Zambia and Zimbabwe for hours on Saturday and Sunday as anger mounted in South Africa over power cuts that have wreaked havoc in the continent's economic hub.

There was no immediate explanation for Saturday night's blackout, which hit Zambia and neighbouring Zimbabwe almost simultaneously in the early evening, and it was unclear whether there was any connection.

Power was restored in Zambia about eight hours later, but long-suffering Zimbabweans remained without electricity, water, telephones and traffic signals for much of Sunday.

Eskom said on Sunday that it had stopped supplying electricity to neighbouring countries in the face of the dire shortage in South Africa.

The power company only exported electricity when it had a surplus, according to Eskom spokesman Sipho Neke.

"When we don't have enough capacity for domestic use, we don't sell electricity, he told the South African Press Agency (Sapa) on Sunday.

"There is no surplus, so there are no exports," Neke added.

Of the electricity generated by Eskom, 95 per cent is used locally.

The balance is exported to Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

South Africa's peak electricity demand has grown tremendously in the past few years and has reached 36 700 megawatt (MW).

Eskom has a supply capacity of 38 500 MW.

If the difference between demand and supply is so marginal, with only 1 800 MW in reserve, which is below the internationally accepted reserve of 15 per cent, load shedding takes place.

Load shedding is carried out when electricity to some customers or areas is cut for several hours in order to satisfy peak demands in other areas.

This occurred again in South Africa on Friday, causing angry criticism from the business sector and private customers.

Enraged train commuters set six city trains alight near Pretoria on Friday evening after power blackouts delayed the trains by two hours.

Eskom has warned that the blackouts will continue this week.

Yesterday afternoon, the South African government said it would start electricity rationing to tackle the electricity crisis.

Nelisiwe Makubane, Deputy Director General of the Mines and Minerals Ministry, said the government was drawing up regulations along with Eskom that would be made public next week and should be implemented around 90 days later.

The 1 800 MW Koeberg nuclear power station north of Cape Town will be temporarily shut down this week to refuel it with new nuclear fuel rods.

Because of the power crisis, President Thabo Mbeki and Eskom management met on Sunday night to ascertain the extent of the problem and the company's remedial plans.

Mbeki will table the matter at a cabinet retreat in Pretoria from today to Thursday.

South African opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Sunday called on Eskom to cancel supply contracts with its neighbours while its domestic market was in such turmoil.

"Regardless of our contractual obligations, there can simply be no reason for South Africa to supply Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique when there is such a desperate lack of reserve capacity in our domestic market," the DA said.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has asked Eskom for answers about the electricity crisis.

It voiced concern at the negative effect of Eskom's power cuts on the provision of essential services and, by extension, human rights.

The trade union Solidarity created a website on Sunday (www.eskomstories.co.za), where businesses and ordinary South Africans can log their Eskom-related grievances.

NamPower told reporters at a briefing session last Friday that it might soon have to introduce load shedding in synchronisation with Eskom.

sexta-feira, 18 de janeiro de 2008

Cimeira luso-espanhola: encontro de Braga inicia novo ciclo de cooperação


José Sócrates e Rodríguez Zapatero estão hoje em Braga para a XXIII cimeira luso-espanhola, com espaço para um novo ciclo de cooperação, como o projecto Mobi e a utilização geoestratégica da plataforma ibérica de terminais de gás natural.

A cimeira, com Zapatero em final de legislatura, tem como ponto político alto a primeira reunião do Conselho Superior de Defesa e Segurança conjunto. A par deste fórum de coordenação, dominarão os temas económicos e o lançamento da sede do Instituto Internacional de Nanotecnologia em Braga.

Os dois chefes de Governo assinalarão o arranque formal do projecto que liga o Norte de Portugal e a Galiza, através do CEIIA - Centro de Excelência e Inovação para a Indústria Automóvel e do CTAG - Centro Tecnológico Automóvel da Galiza, no desenvolvimento, teste e produção do Mobi, um veículo eco-sustentável, de nicho, e pensado para a mobilidade urbana. O investimento é de 150 milhões de euros até 2015, entre fundos públicos e privados, com o lançamento de unidades-piloto de pequenas séries com capacidade até 10 mil veículos por ano. A incorporação de tecnologia ibérica será superior a 70 por cento, 800 novos postos de trabalho altamente qualificados serão criados bem como 20 novos fornecedores industriais na área da electrónica, ecomateriais - onde se tem destacado a Universidade do Minho - e novos sistemas de motorização.

Os dois chefes de Governo deverão aprovar o modelo de funcionamento do mercado ibérico do gás natural (Mibgás) proposto pelos reguladores, mas o passo é mais do que um dado técnico. Com um mercado integrado, a Península Ibérica será a maior plataforma europeia de terminais de gás natural liquefeito e, com isso, a entrada alternativa de gás natural para a Europa face à Rússia. Esta "virtude" geoestratégica, que implica mais gasodutos, é um "salto qualitativo" segundo meios diplomáticos.

Criado na cimeira de Badajoz, e à semelhança das parcerias da Espanha com Paris e Berlim, o Conselho Superior de Defesa e Segurança luso-espanhol reúne, sob a presidência de Sócrates e Zapatero, os ministros dos Negócios Estrangeiros e Defesa e os chefes militares. Temas para este fórum: o diálogo político estratégico sobre questões de segurança e defesa, NATO, Magrebe, África, indústria de defesa, sector em que o país vizinho é produtor.

O novo ciclo de cooperação transfronteiriça, no âmbito do QREN, com secretariado-geral em Badajoz, é marcado pela assinatura de um protocolo que determina que todos os projectos com impacto ambiental fronteiriço sejam avaliados previamente por ambos os países. Primeiro objectivo: projecto da refinaria de petróleo prevista para a Extremadura.

Portugal e Espanha assinarão também um convénio que permitirá a pesca artesanal nos Açores, Madeira e Canárias para 38 barcos para cada país, até às 12 milhas, no máximo de 36 em simultâneo. O acordo vigora entre 1 de Fevereiro e 30 de Novembro. Aos espanhóis interessa a captura de atum, aos portugueses o peixe-espada preto.

Em matéria social, a "guerra" dos médicos espanhóis é tema. Madrid espera que seja alterada a autorização de circulação com matrículas espanholas no raio de 60 quilómetros em relação à fronteira. Quanto a Portugal, vai propor que os espanhóis passem a contribuir para o financiamento do ensino da língua portuguesa em Espanha, dada a dimensão do esforço: 40 mil espanhóis estudam português. Por fim, é aprovado um novo memorando de cooperação laboral e assuntos sociais para 2008, visando os trabalhadores sazonais.

Amanda Holden’s Not So Silent Witness


SAYS Amanda Holden: “Can I just say, when they said I found a dead body, they said I was 39. I’m 36. I was more traumatised by the fact they got my age wrong than the fact I’d found a stiff.”

Adding: “Obviously, somone did lose their loved one and I don’t mean to be flippant. But I did say, ‘Oh, I could take over from Amanda Burton in Silent Witness now’, because I wasn’t fazed by it, purely because I didn’t think it was real.”

Comforting for the family of the deceased to know that the man died not in vain, leaving behind a legacy of a half decent anecdote and a job opportunity for Ms Holden…

Brit says she's really happy


TROUBLED BRITNEY SPEARS dons ripped tights and a man’s shirt and tie to go on a midnight shopping trip in LA - and insists she is “having a great time”.

The pop star, 26, pulled faces at photographers, right, after getting designer shop Kitson to open for her.

Flanked by her adviser SAM LUFI and and Danish playboy CLAUS HJELMBAK, she told a journalist pal on the phone: “I’m great! I’m really happy.”

Spears is said to have spent £5,000 in the designer shop walking away with a slew of items, including a blue £132 Great China Wall sweatshirt, a £45 bottle of Agent Provocateur perfume, a £230 L.A.M.B. handbag and a £42 Blue Anchor hoodie.

Britney, who had a breakdown earlier this month, also discussed Hjelmbak’s pre-Oscars party next month. She agreed to host the bash, saying it would be “fun”.

Kylie Minogles guys on Google


IT’S usually blokes who are caught checking out girls on t’internet – mouse firmly in the left hand.

But I’m delighted to discover KYLIE MINOGUE is also a fan of clicking out the opposite sex.

The singer, who is back in the dating saddle, has admitted using web search engine Google to find out if celebrity men she fancies are single.

Sister DANNII has been known to do the same. When Kylie was asked if she also indulges, she blurted out: “I can’t lie. I did it with a friend and she would out me. I can’t tell you who, though.”

Gordon Smart, maybe? If only.

Giggling Kylie added: “I simply cannot reveal this information at this time.”

But the pint-sized pop stunner then admitted on Aussie radio that she has been investigating one famous face - and my money is on Brit TV star MATHEW HORNE who she met when they filmed The Kylie Show last November.

The ITV1 variety special to celebrate Kylie’s 20 years in pop music saw E4 host and actor Mathew appear with her in a series of comedy sketches, as her assistant.

Well, when I Googled Mr Horne to see what Kylie might discover, something rather interesting happened.

Mathew’s MySpace page came up with the quote: “She’s so hot, she’s making me sexist.”

An apt description for Ms Minogue, if you ask me.

Another site I found was entitled: “Pls tell me Mathew Horne is not gay.” The plot thickens.

But I still reckon Mathew could well be the lucky, lucky fella - he admitted on Never Mind The Buzzcocks the other week that he had sent Kylie flowers and his phone number.

One star we can cross off the list of possible Kylie targets is MACCA.

She flatly denied it is the wobbly-eyebrowed knight she is checking out, despite comments about the chemistry between the pair when they duetted on JOOLS HOLLAND’s Hootenanny show on New Year’s Eve.

She hardly needs check online to find out Sir Paul’s current marital status.

Kylie said: “It seems that anyone I’m near, I’m dating - and recently it was Macca. But it was such a thrill to perform with him. I was looking at him and thinking, ‘Legend!’”

Well, I bet Macca was looking back at Kylie and thinking: “No More Lonely Nights.”

The pint-sized pop stunner has been single since finishing with OLIVIER MARTINEZ last year. She is 40 in May and hot property for one lucky bloke out there.

So get on to Google, lads, and Kylie could be yours for Valentine’s Day next month.

Lily Allen has lost her baby


POP star LILY ALLEN was “distraught” last night after losing her baby.

The singer, 22, had a miscarriage after returning from a romantic holiday with boyfriend ED SIMONS, 37. A source said: “They are in a state of shock.”

The heartbroken singer was eagerly looking forward to her first child - and turned her back on her party lifestyle in order to be the perfect mum.

Singer Lily, 22, and boyfriend Ed Simons, 37, were last night being comforted by family and friends after she had a miscarriage.

Lily and the Chemical Brothers star had just returned home after a romantic holiday in the Maldives when she tragically lost her baby.

A source said: “Lily and Ed are in a state of shock.

“The bad news has been really difficult for them to take and they are absolutely heartbroken.

“Lily’s entire outlook on life changed after she found out she was pregnant. She was looking forward to being a mum and starting a family with Ed.

“She had turned her back on her party girl image and had turned over a new leaf.

“They are surrounded by friends and family are offering support. It is a really difficult time for them.”

The couple have enjoyed a whirlwind romance since they began dating a few months ago.

Lily - who first saw Ed perform when she was a 12-year-old fan at Glastonbury festival with her comedian dad KEITH - fell for him at a Chemical Brothers gig in London’s Trafalgar Square in September.

And in December The Sun exclusively revealed she was pregnant with her first child. Since then she had re-arranged her work schedule to fit around the birth.

Lily had a huge global hit with her debut album Alright Still, and is due to release her second album later this year.

The singer recently told how her pregnancy was a huge surprise.

She said: “I’ve looked forward to being stable my whole life. My parents are amazing, but it has been a whirlwind upbringing.

“I have got my eye on the prize, which is having kids and getting married and cooking dinner and doing homework with my children.”

Lily burst on to the pop scene in summer 2006 with her upbeat single Smile. Her debut effort went straight to No1, while her album reached No2 and is up for a prestigious Grammy award this year.

She also inspired a new generation of female singers, including Brit-nominated KATE NASH.

Her spokesman said: “We can confirm that Lily Allen has suffered a miscarriage. She and her partner Ed Simons will be making no further comment and we ask that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.”

quinta-feira, 17 de janeiro de 2008

Chacina deixa 7 mortos na zona norte de SP

Sete pessoas, das quais uma mulher, foram mortas, e outras duas ficaram feridas na primeira chacina do ano em São Paulo. O crime ocorreu em um bar no Jardim São Luís, na Zona Norte, por volta das 2h40. O dono do estabelecimento, que se escondeu atrás do balcão, foi poupado. Os assassinatos aconteceram quase 16 horas após a morte do coronel José Hermínio Rodrigues, responsável pelo patrulhamento da região, executado com 5 tiros na manhã de quarta-feira.

O grupo estava no Bar Bad Boy, na Avenida Pedro de Souza Lopes, quando pelo menos três homens chegaram e atiraram com pistolas calibre 380 e 9 milímetros. As vítimas foram atingidas principalmente na cabeça.

"Vi da janela de casa que eles chegaram a pé, atiraram, andaram mais para a frente, recarregaram as armas, voltaram, atiraram mais e foram embora. Foi muito tiro", conta um copeiro, de 43 anos, que mora nas proximidades.

No local morreram seis homens e uma mulher. Outros dois baleados foram encaminhados ao pronto-socorro do Hospital Municipal São Luiz Gonzaga e seguem internados.

No total, havia dez pessoas no bar, incluindo o dono. Entre os mortos, há uma faxineira de uma padaria próxima; um lixeiro, conhecido como Rambinho; um carroceiro, conhecido como Pretinho; um vendedor de uma loja de tênis; um surdo-mudo conhecido como Mudinho; e um cobrador de ônibus. Após atirarem nas nove pessoas, eles se afastaram do local, recarregaram as armas, voltaram e dispararam novamente.

Os dois feridos, um deles um taxista, foram levados ao Pronto-socorro do Jaçanã, em estado grave. Testemunhas contaram que, mesmo baleado, o taxista telefonou para a mulher e avisou que estava sendo levado ao hospital.

A região em que ocorreu a chacina é de responsabilidade do Comando de Policiamento de Área Metropolitano 3, que abrange quatro batalhões e era comandado pelo coronel José Hermínio Rodrigues, morto com pelo menos seis tiros, na manhã de quarta-feira, na Avenida Engenheiro Caetano Álvares, no Mandaqui. Rodrigues era um dos oficiais que investigava a possível participação de policiais militares nas chacinas ocorridas na Zona Norte.

Em 2007, foram oito chacinas com 35 mortos nessa área da Cidade. Ao todo, houve 12 crimes como este na Capital no ano passado.