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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

RIP Davy Jones, Monkees Singer And Pop Idol

Wasif Chudhary




Davy Jones, lead singer of '60s pop sensations and television band The Monkees has died at the age of 66 in his hometown of Indiantown, Florida, according to the Martin County medical examiner's office. He suffered a heart attack.
The Monkees were created initially to be a sort of "safe" Beatles by record and TV producers in 1965, but ended up making hit singles, a cult TV series, and a film, 1968's Head, which would prove to be one of the first salvos of the psychedelic era. The film stands even today as one of the freakiest artifacts of that era.

The group broke up in 1971, and reunited in the mid-'80s around the time Nickelodeon began re-airing their series. They went on a few tours, sans Michael Nesmith who never warmed up to reunion plans.

The list of the Monkees hits, staples of oldies radio, is immense. "I'm A Believer", written by Neil Diamond, was one of their most enduring, along with their stomping debut "Last Train to Clarksville". They also could make the girls swoon with cuts like "Daydream Believer" and "The Girl I Knew Somewhere". Just ask Marcia Brady...

NFL to open season on a Wednesday night to avoid Obama speech

Wasif Chudhary






The NFL will begin its 2012 NFL season on a Wednesday night in order to avoid conflicting with President Obama's nominating speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Roger Goodell made the announcement that the regular season will begin Sept. 5, one day earlier than the traditional start on the first Thursday of the month. The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants will host the opener.
It will be the league's first Wednesday game since 1948.
Obama is scheduled to make his nomination speech on Thursday, Sept. 6 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
This marks the third time in five years that presidential politics and the NFL opener have overlapped. In 2008, the league moved up its Thursday opener between the Giants and Washington Redskins to 7 p.m. ET in order to avoid conflicting with John McCain's nominating speech at the Republican National Convention.
Last year, Obama did the adjusting, switching a scheduled jobs speech to 7 p.m. so it wouldn't bleed into NBC's coverage of the Green Bay Packers-New Orleans Saints game.

U.S. announces diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea

Wasif Chudhary




The United States announced a major diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea Wednesday.
Under an agreement reached in direct talks in Beijing last week, North Korea has agreed to allow the return of nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, and has agreed to implement a moratorium on long-range missile tests, nuclear tests, and nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment activities, the State Department said. In return, the United States will provide North Korea with a large food aid package.
"To improve the atmosphere for dialogue and demonstrate its commitment to de-nuclearization, the DPRK has agreed to implement a moratorium on long-range missile launches, nuclear tests and nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment activities," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a press statement Wednesday. "The DPRK has also agreed to the return of IAEA inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment activities at Yongbyon and confirm the disablement of the 5-MW reactor and associated facilities."
Despite the stunning breakthrough, "the United States still has profound concerns regarding North Korean behavior across a wide range of areas," Nuland's statement cautioned, but added that "today's announcement reflects important, if limited, progress in addressing some of these."
In return, the United States will "move forward with our proposed package of 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance along with the intensive monitoring required for the delivery of such assistance," she said.
U.S. envoy on North Korean affairs Glyn Davies last week held the first face-to-face talks with his North Korean counterpart Kim Kye Gwan since the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il in December.
Davies' Feb. 23-24 discussions in Beijing asserted several points, Nuland's statement said. Among them, "the United States reaffirms that it does not have hostile intent toward the DPRK" and that U.S. sanctions are not targeted against the livelihood of the North Korean people.
Arms control experts welcomed the signs of progress from Washington's efforts to engage Pyongyang, despite years of tumultuous, on- and off-again negotiations that have seen many harrowing setbacks.
"Today's announcement is an important step toward a verifiable freeze of the most worrisome North Korean nuclear activities," Daryl Kimball, of the Arms Control Association, wrote in an analysis of the announced agreement. "President Barack Obama and Amb. Glyn Davies ... need to maintain the momentum in the weeks and months ahead."

Leap year: 2012 is a Leap Year

Wasif Chudhary




A leap year consists of 366 days, as opposed to a common year, which has 365 days.

During Leap Years, we add a Leap Day, an extra – or intercalary – day on February 29. Nearly every 4 years is a Leap Year in our modern Gregorian Calendar.
Why do we need Leap Years?
Leap Years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds (a tropical year) – to circle once around the Sun.
However, the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year, so if we didn't add a day on February 29 nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days!

Uma Thurman is pregnant with baby No. 3

Wasif Chudhary




Uma Thurman is pregnant with her third child -- her first with businessman boyfriend Arpad Busson.

The news, courtesy of People and the Daily Mail, comes as Thurman gets set to hit the small screen in the five episodes of the NBC series "Smash," starring Katharine McPhee and Debra Messing.

The "Bel Ami" and "Kill Bill" actress, 41, has two children with actor ex-husband Ethan Hawke: 13-year-old Maya and 10-year-old Levon.

Thurman and Busson, 49, have been together since 2007, with a short split in 2009.

As for "Smash," look for Uma playing "a famous and somewhat difficult movie star," according to EW.

7th L.A. school employee arrested on sex-related accusation

Wasif Chudhary




A seventh L.A. school employee has been arrested on sex-related accusations.

The latest case involves a teacher who has been arrested on suspicion of having sex with a 17-year-old female student, police said Tuesday.

There has been a flurry of arrests of Los Angeles-area schoolteachers and employees in recent weeks. Officials said they believe the cases were a result of increased awareness following the high-profile arrest of teacher Mark Berndt at Miramonte Elementary School.

Berndt has been charged with photographing blindfolded and gagged students who were allegedly fed spoonfuls of his semen.

Last week, authorities announced the arrest of a Roosevelt High School Spanish teacher on suspicion of having sex with two teenage boys. Gabriela Cortez, 42, was arrested on suspicion of unlawful sexual intercourse.

Montebello police alleged that she had lengthy sexual relationships with the boys between 2008 and 2010. One of the teenagers, now 18, reported the teacher last week to police in Montebello, where she lives, said Chief Kevin McClure. After learning of the allegation, school officials immediately removed her from the classroom.

In the latest case, Corey Hogan, 32, the band director at George Washington Preparatory High School, was arrested after the student and her mother told police that the girl agreed to have sex with Hogan at his home, the Hawthorne Police Department said.

The sex allegedly took place during the football season after Hogan gave the girl and other students a ride home, police said in a statement.

2002 Pentagon memo guided 9/11 remains disposal

Wasif Chudhary


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The disposal of human remains from the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, including the incineration and dumping of some portions in a landfill, was based on high-level Pentagon instructions, the Air Force's top general said Wednesday.

Gen. Norton Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, told a group of reporters that the actions taken by the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware were based on written guidance issued in March 2002 by David Chu, who was the Pentagon personnel chief under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Chu did not specifically mention dumping incinerated residue of 9/11 remains in a landfill, but his words might have been interpreted to allow that final step.

The Pentagon released a copy of the Chu memo, which was addressed to Thomas White, the Army's top civilian official at the time. The Army oversaw the Air Force's mortuary activities at Dover and elsewhere.

Schwartz said he only became aware on Tuesday of the fact that some portions of those remains were dumped in a landfill.

"To the best of our knowledge at this moment in time, we followed those disposition instructions" from Chu, Schwartz said. He added that "there is a requirement for us to validate that that is the case."

The Chu guidance did not mention disposing of any remains in a landfill. It said unidentifiable remains that were mixed with fragments of "non-biological material" from the attack site were to be "treated in the same manner as any biological tissue removed for surgical or diagnostic purposes (i.e. disposition by incineration)."

That appears to leave open the question of whether disposal in a landfill was permitted.

The disposal issue came to light Tuesday when the head of an independent panel, retired Gen. John Abizaid, released a report that assessed management problems at the Dover mortuary. His work was triggered by revelations last fall about the mishandling of remains of American war dead at Dover in 2010.

The Abizaid report mentioned in passing that the practice of dumping of some portions of remains in a landfill began shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The report said several portions of unidentifiable remains from the Pentagon attack and the site of the hijacked plane that crashed near Shanksville, Pa., were cremated, incinerated and dumped in a landfill.

Asked about the Abizaid report on Tuesday shortly after its public release, Schwartz and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said it was the first time they had heard of 9/11 remains being disposed of in a landfill.

At a previously scheduled breakfast interview with reporters Wednesday, Schwartz said the Air Force overnight had unearthed the Chu memo. He also said the Air Force determined that no remains from the Shanksville site were handled by the Dover mortuary, "as best we can tell." He added that the Air Force would endeavor to "nail down" with certainty that Dover dealt only with remains from the Pentagon attack.

Schwartz said it was still unclear how many remains portions from the Pentagon were incinerated and dumped in a landfill.

Confusion surrounds arrest of alleged al-Qaida figure Saif al-Adel at Cairo airport; may be case of mistaken identity - @BBCNews Submitted 1 hour ag

Wasif Chudhary


Confusion surrounds arrest of alleged al-Qaida figure Saif al-Adel at Cairo airport; may be case of mistaken identity - @BBCNews

Authorities say 11 people injured, 3 critically, in Harveyville, Kansas, storm - @AP

Wasif Chudhary


Authorities say 11 people injured, 3 critically, in Harveyville, Kansas, storm - @AP

Breaking: Misunderstanding about Top Al Qaeda leader reportedly arrested at Cairo airport.

Wasif Chudhary


REPORTING FROM CAIRO -- A senior Al Qaeda leader wanted for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa was arrested at the Cairo International Airport on Wednesday, after arriving on a flight from Pakistan, according to Egyptian security officials.

Mohammed Ibrahim Makkawi, once a confidant of Osama bin Laden, allegedly plotted the near simultaneous attacks on U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that left more than 200 people dead. A militant Islamist for decades, Makkawi is linked to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat following Cairo’s peace treaty with Israel.

Makkawi, a former Egyptian army officer, has often been described as a military and intelligence strategist and one-time chief of bin Laden’s security detail. He’s known by the alias Saif al-Adel, which in Arabic means the “sword of justice.”

He’s written terrorist manuals, including one reportedly called, "The Base of the Vanguard," and trained militants in Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan.

“Al-Adel is thought to be affiliated with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), and is believed to be a high-ranking member of the Al-Qaeda organization,” according to a wanted poster issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The U.S. has offered a $5 million reward for his capture in connection with the African bombings.

The wanted poster gives few other details about Al-Adel, listing his height, weight and build as unknown, and his birth date between 1960 and 1963.

The Associated Press has reported that the man arrested claims he’s not the Makkawi wanted by the U.S. and is a case of mistaken identity.

“Speaking to reporters at the airport, Makkawi said he was not the senior Al Qaida leader known as Saif al-Adel and that he had nothing to do with the terror group since 1989,” stated the news agency.

The official Egyptian news agency, MENA, reported that the Makkawi authorities have in custody is the terrorist leader. MENA quoted officials as saying that Makkawi had intended to turn himself in after decades on the run.

'That '70s Show': Where Are They Now?

Wasif Chudhary



Throw on some polyester and fire up the 8-track as we take a look at what the "'70s Show" cast is up to these days

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Emergency Landing in Newark: Plane Lands on Belly

Wasif Chudhary


Newark Liberty International Airport is operating normally this morning, resuming standard operations after flights were briefly halted last night because of a emergency landing by a United Express flight from Atlanta, The Associated Press reports.

The flight landed with a malfunctioning front landing gear, leading to a "tense" emergency landing around 7 p.m. ET that culminated with passengers exiting the Embraer E170 jet on its emergency exit chutes, The New York Times reports.

The incident began when an indicator light alerted pilots to a potential landing-gear problem on United Flight 5124, operated by United Express affiliate Shuttle America.

The cockpit crew requested a flyby with the tower, which confirmed that the front landing gear did not appear to have deployed properly. The pilots declared an emergency and began to make preparations to land.

Relying on eyewitness accounts from Flight 5124 passengers, The Star-Ledger of Newark offers this account of the mood on the plane just before it landed:

Before attempting to land, passengers said the plane circled New York, with flight crew going row by row instructing passengers how to brace themselves for the arrival. During a flyby over Newark Airport passengers could make out the flashing lights of emergency vehicles, which included fire trucks from Newark Fire Department and the airport, lined up on the runway. They had been told the front landing gear would not deploy.

FULL STORY: Passengers face scary emergency landing at Newark Airport (The Star-Ledger)

The inside of the cabin was mostly calm as the plane made its final approach, said (passenger Angela Nickerson). Though there were nervous laughs by some, declarations never to fly again by others and the sobbing of children wondering aloud if they were going to die, she said.

With other runway activity halted and emergency crews awaiting the its arrival, Flight 5124 made its emergency landing. The rear landing gear deployed properly, and the pilots glided as long as possible with the nose up before gradually easing it down to the runway

The front gear did not properly deploy because of a "hydraulic malfunction," but the plane safely "skidded to a halt," according to CBS News.

The Times describes the scene, writing "after the landing, the aircraft lay on its belly on the runway, which was covered with foam."

The Record of Hackensack, N.J., says there were 69 passengers (including one infant) as well as four crew members. All exited via emergency exit chutes, but none were injured, Arlene Salac, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, says to the Record.

Many passengers say they were shaken by the ordeal, according to media reports from the scene. One passenger -- Steve Parowski of Franklin Lakes, N.J. – tells the Star-Ledger he was frightened enough to "just sent a text to my sons letting them know that I loved them."

In the end, however, passengers praised the pilots and cabin crew for their handling of the situation.

"Honestly, I've been in rougher landings when we had landing gear," passenger Nickerson says to the Times.

But while Flight 5124 felt the most dramatic impact, MSNBC notes "the incident caused a ripple effect as thousands of passengers were delayed or even detoured" as Newark briefly halted flight activity because of the emergency landing.

"The pilot said, we're going to Islip, we'll see what happens," Rich Hogan, a passenger on another flight scheduled to land at Newark, says to MSNBC. "(We) landed at Islip and stayed there for half an hour. They opened back up Newark, and we took off from Islip and came into Newark. We were about an hour and a half late."

Mass Effect 3 descends from space, gets stuck in a tree

Wasif Chudhary





Electronic Arts has taken video game marketing to scary new heights.
To commemorate the March 6th release of their highly-anticipated role-playing game Mass Effect 3, the company decided to launch a handful of advance copies into space. Literally. Like, they crammed them into weather balloons and shot 'em into the stratosphere.
The point? Each game contains a GPS tracking device; fans were told to follow those coordinates to find the games as they landed back on Earth. Locate a copy, and you've got a solid week with the game before it's in stores.
At least, that was the plan.
Mother Nature had her own plan, it seems. The first two copies sent into orbit, both launched from the San Francisco bay area, survived the insane round trip flight only to land in hard-to-reach spots a few hours away in Seaside, California. One copy wound up tucked away in a dense forest protected by overhead brambles and bushes while the other decided to hang out in the upper branches of a 150-foot tall tree.
A dozen or so diehard gamers spent two days trying to figure out how to get it down. Baseballs didn't work, nor did a slingshot. If ever we could use personal jetpacks, now is the time, science.
But alas, science has officially failed us. According to a post on the Mass Effect Facebook page, the tree recovery attempt ended in vain due to safety concerns (and a distinct lack of jetpacks). From the post:
"It is unfortunate, but we have to require all participants halt further investigations due to legal and safety reasons. We are floored at the support, involvement, and contribution of the ME3 community in the last 48 hours, it has been nothing short of an amazing adventure."
Despite the rough start, the Mass Effect 3: Space Edition promotion seems to be faring much better in other cities. Packages launched in Las Vegas, New York and London have been recovered. Berlin is up next.
Update: EA has sent word that the first Seaside package -- the one trapped under fierce brambles -- has been found by this dedicated group of gamers, who hacked and slashed their way through the dense underbrush. The tree package, however, is still stuck in a tree.

More: Turkey welcomes French court ruling that Armenian genocide law is unconstitutional

Wasif Chudhary


More: Turkey welcomes French court ruling that Armenian genocide law is unconstitutional

Top French court strikes down genocide bill

Wasif Chudhary



By REUTERS02/28/2012 18:13 PARIS - France's Constitutional Council ruled on Tuesday that a new law that would make it illegal to deny the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks nearly a century ago is unconstitutional, a move likely to help defuse a brewing spat with Turkey.

The decision by France's highest legal authority invalidates the law, which President Nicolas Sarkozy was due to ratify by the end of February, ahead of a parliamentary recess for the April-May presidential election.

Turkey has threatened to cut all diplomatic relations with France over the legislation, which has been approved by both houses of parliament but had been challenged by lawmakers who appealed to the Council to make a ruling.

In a statement, the Council ruled that the law, which would have imposed a 45,000-euro fine, a one-year prison sentence, or both, on genocide deniers, ran against the principles of freedom of expression written into France's founding documents.

Hearing today for suspect in deadly Chardon, Ohio, school shooting; he'll be in juvenile court

Wasif Chudhary


Hearing today for suspect in deadly Chardon, Ohio, school shooting; he'll be in juvenile court

Sources tell @CNBC quad-core iPad 3 with 4G LTE to be unveiled in New York next week

Wasif Chudhary


Sources tell @CNBC quad-core iPad 3 with 4G LTE to be unveiled in New York next week

Student in school shooting: ‘I went into panic mode’

Wasif Chudhary


Chardon High School classmates describe chilling scene inside Monday's cafeteria attack
TJ Lane, who attended a nearby vocational school, allegedly opened fire Monday morning in the cafeteria of Chardon High. Three other students — junior Demetrius Hewlin, who remains in critical condition, senior Joy Rickers, 18, and junior Nick Walczak, 17 — were wounded. Another student, Nate Mueller, had his right ear grazed by a bullet during the attack.

Ian Sanborn, left, and Travis Carver came on TODAY Tuesday to describe the chilling scene inside the cafeteria where classmate TJ Lane allegedly opened fire Monday.

Monday, 27 February 2012

SouthFlorida man arrested for threatening #president of U.S. during #Barack #Obama's Miami trip: authorities

Wasif Chudhary


SouthFlorida man arrested for threatening #president of U.S. during #Barack #Obama's Miami trip: authorities

Blogging is difficult?

Wasif Chudhary


Well to me blogging is a bit difficult. But what is your opinion.

Teenagers escape secure mental health unit in Bromley

Wasif Chudhary




Three patients described as dangerous have escaped from a secure mental health unit in south London.

Danhi Smith, Ajay Jethwa and David Garcia-Maria absconded from an adolescent unit at the Bethlem Hospital on Sunday, police have revealed.

A fourth male also escaped, but returned to the hospital of his own accord later in the evening.

The men are believed to pose a danger both to themselves and others.

Danhi Smith, 18, is described as black, about 5ft 10ins tall, of medium build, with short black Afro-style hair.

He was wearing a pink and grey T-shirt, tracksuit bottoms and black trainers.

Ajay Jethwa, 17, is Asian, about 5ft 9ins tall and slim, with short black hair and a black goatee beard.

David Garcia-Maria, also known as Aziz Achaheb-Cedar, 16, is a Spanish-Moroccan male with short black hair.

Police said he has rotting teeth.

Members of the public have been urged not to approach the three, but to call police if they spot the men.

Photo: Firemen at the NYC Port Authority bus terminal responding to smoke

Wasif Chudhary


Nuclear Crisis Set Off Fears Over Tokyo, Report Says

Wasif Chudhary




TOKYO — In the darkest moments of last year’s nuclear accident, Japanese leaders did not know the actual extent of damage at the plant and secretly considered the possibility of evacuating Tokyo, even as they tried to play down the risks in public, an independent investigation into the accident disclosed on Monday.

The investigation by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, a new private policy organization, offered one of the most vivid accounts yet of how Japan teetered on the edge of an even larger nuclear crisis than the one that engulfed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. A team of 30 university professors, lawyers and journalists spent more than six months on the inquiry into Japan’s response to the triple meltdown at the plant, which followed a massive earthquake and tsunami last March 11 that shut down the plant’s cooling systems.

The team conducted interviews with more than 300 people including top nuclear regulators and government officials, as well as the prime minister during the crisis, Naoto Kan. They were granted extraordinary access, in part because of a strong public demand for greater accountability and because the organization’s founder, Yoichi Funabashi, a former editor in chief of the daily Asahi Shimbun, is one of Japan’s most respected public intellectuals.

An advanced copy of the report describes how Japan’s response was hindered at times by a debilitating breakdown in trust between the major actors: Mr. Kan; the Tokyo headquarters of the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power, known as Tepco; and the manager at the stricken plant. The conflicts produced confused flows of sometimes contradictory information in the early days of the crisis, the report said.

It described frantic phone calls by the manager, Masao Yoshida, to top officials in the Kan government arguing that he could get the plant under control if he could keep his staff in place, while at the same time ignoring orders from Tepco’s headquarters not to use sea water to cool the overheating reactors. By contrast, Mr. Funabashi said in an interview, Tepco’s president, Masataka Shimizu, was making competing calls to the prime minister’s office saying the company should evacuate all of its staff, a step that could have been catastrophic.

The 400-page report, due to be released later this week, also described a darkening mood at the prime minister’s residence as a series of hydrogen explosions rocked the plant on March 14 and 15. It said Mr. Kan and other officials began discussing a worst-case outcome of an evacuation of workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. This would allow the plant to spiral out of control, releasing even larger amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere that would in turn force the evacuation of other nearby nuclear plants, causing further meltdowns.

The report quoted the chief cabinet secretary at the time, Yukio Edano, as having warned that this “demonic chain reaction” of plant meltdowns could have resulted in the evacuation of Tokyo, 150 miles to the south.

“We would lose Fukushima Daini, then we would lose Tokai,” Mr. Edano was quoted as saying, naming two other nuclear plants. “If that happened, it was only logical to conclude that we would also lose Tokyo itself.”

The report also described the panic within the Kan administration at the prospect of large radiation releases from the more than 10,000 spent fuel rods that were stored in relatively unprotected pools near the damaged reactors. The report said it was not until five days after the earthquake that a Japanese military helicopter was finally able to confirm that the pool deemed at highest risk, near the No. 4 reactor, was still safely filled with water.

“We barely avoided the worst case scenario, though the public didn’t know it at the time,” Mr. Funabashi, the foundation founder, said.

'Plot to kill Putin thwarted'

Wasif Chudhary




RUSSIA has said it thwarted a plot by suspected Chechen militants to kill Vladimir Putin after this weekend's presidential vote.

State television showed the two men confessing to conspiring to kill the Russian strongman in a bombing attack that was revealed to the public less than a week before Mr Putin's likely victory in Sunday's election.

The plot's existence was confirmed by Mr Putin's spokesman as well as the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and its Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) counterpart. But some analysts raised suspicion over the timing of the news.

The purported confessions showed the two men saying they acted on the orders of Chechen Islamist militant Doku Umarov, the warlord who has claimed deadly airport and metro bombings in Moscow over the past two years.

Officials said the pair along with a third man who died while trying to prepare a bomb were all ethnic Chechens who were detained in Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odessa in January and early February.

It was not clear why the authorities had waited until just days were left before the March 4 poll to make their announcement.

"It just seems like an incredible coincidence that these monsters were discovered today," independent military analyst Alexander Golts said.

Channel One said the three plotters went to Ukraine from the United Arab Emirates via Turkey with "clear instructions from representatives of Doku Umarov".

"They told us that first you come to Odessa and learn how to make bombs," Channel One showed a man identified as Ilya Pyanzin as saying.

"And then later, in Moscow, you will stage attacks against commercial objects, with the subsequent assassination attempt against Putin," the man said.

The state television footage showed a video of Mr Putin getting into his car being played on the laptop computer belonging to second suspect Adam Osmayev - a man the report said had lived for a long time in London.

The hidden-camera footage of the Russian prime minister's movements was shot "so that we had an understanding of how he was protected", Mr Osmayev said.

"The end goal was to come to Moscow and to try to stage an assassination attempt against premier Putin," he said. "The deadline was after the election of the Russian president."

The report said one of the two detained men had told Russian and Ukrainian investigators that some explosives had already been hidden near the Kutuzovsky Prospekt avenue that Mr Putin passes daily to reach the government White House.

It quoted an unidentified Russian FSB official as saying that the explosives would have created a "serious blast... powerful enough to tear apart a truck".

Mr Putin's spokesman confirmed that the two men detained were involved in an alleged plot to assassinate the Russian strongman. "I confirm this information but am not commenting now," ITAR-TASS quoted Dmitry Peskov as saying.

An FSB official told the RIA Novosti news agency that the suspected plotters were all Chechens who belonged to one of Mr Umarov's armed groups.

Mr Putin's career is linked closely to the brutal but ultimately popular second campaign in Chechnya that he launched while still serving as Boris Yeltsin's prime minister in 1999.

The region remains wracked by violence to this day and Mr Umarov is still at large despite repeated attempts by Russian forces to kill him.

The news came just days after Mr Putin told a campaign rally that the "battle for Russia continues" and some analysts saw said the plot could do no harm to his election chances.

"This is a new cause for mobilisation around Putin and it has been put forwards as another argument in his favour," said Alexander Konovalov of the Institute for Strategic Assessments.

The alleged assassination attempt against Mr Putin is at least the sixth reported by the Russian media since he first became president 12 years ago.

The last was reportedly planned for his June 2007 visit to Istanbul for a regional summit.

With Country’s First Oscar, Pakistanis Have Something to Celebrate

Wasif Chudhary




Pakistanis celebrated on Monday after a filmmaker from Karachi won the country’s first Academy Award, for a documentary about the victims of gruesome acid attacks

The filmmaker, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, and the co-director, Daniel Junge, won the Oscar in Los Angeles on Sunday night for the best short documentary for their film, “Saving Face,” which follows a British plastic surgeon as he repairs the horrific damage done to women who have been attacked with acid, often by jealous or vindictive husbands.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani led the tributes to Ms. Obaid-Chinoy, 33, saying that she would be given a “high civil award” for her achievement.

It was the second big victory for a film produced in the region. The award for best foreign-language film went to the Iranian movie “A Separation,” also a first for a country that is often at odds with the West.

Speaking by telephone from Hollywood, Ms. Obaid-Chinoy said that she was “dazed” by her success. “It reinforces the fact you can be anyone, come from anywhere and as long as you do quality work it gets rewarded,” she said.

She said she was congratulated backstage at the awards ceremony by Angelina Jolie, who has frequently traveled to Pakistan to highlight the plight of refugees and the poor.

“Saving Face” focuses on the efforts of Dr. Mohammad Jawad, a British plastic surgeon who traveled across Pakistan to repair the faces of women who had been burned by acid.

In one scene, a weeping patient tells him that she was attacked by a husband who threw battery acid on her, a sister-in-law who doused her with gasoline and a mother-in-law who struck the match that set her on fire. “I cannot understand this,” says Dr. Jawad, himself straining with tears. About 100 such attacks are reported to the police every year, the filmmakers said, although many more go unreported.

But Ms. Obaid-Chinoy emphasized that the film also focuses on courageous lawyers and legislators who introduced a strict law last year that mandates a sentence of life in prison for those convicted of committing acid attacks.

“This is a film about hope,” she said. “It shows that Pakistan has a problem, but that there are people on the ground who are tackling it.”

Ms. Obaid-Chinoy, who previously won an Emmy for a documentary about young Pakistani recruits to the Taliban, began her career in 2002 with New York Times Television, where she produced an award-winning documentary about the children of Afghan refugees. She said that she hoped her Oscar would inspire other Pakistani filmmakers. “This shows that someone from their ranks can do it,” she said.

Neither the Iranian nor the Pakistani film celebrated at the Academy Awards was entirely shorn of political context. In his acceptance speech, Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian writer and director of “A Separation,” referred to mounting speculation that Israel was preparing to attack Iran’s nuclear complexes.

“At a time of talk of war, intimidation and aggression,” he said, Iran had spoken though a “glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics.”

In Pakistan, the Oscar victory coincided with concern that the government was planning to restrict free speech through stringent new regulation of the vibrant electronic media, including a ban on television satires of politicians.

At a news conference in Islamabad, Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan sought to dispel the concerns. No regulation would be imposed without first consulting the television stations, she said.

Statement from family of deceased student Daniel Parmentor

Wasif Chudhary
Statement from family of deceased student Daniel Parmentor: 'We are shocked by this senseless tragedy. Danny was a bright young boy who had a bright future ahead of him. The family is torn by this loss. We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time' - via NBC News

And the award for best breakout star goes to... Angie's right leg: Miss Jolie's lithe limb attracts attention, mocking and 10,000 Twitter followers Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2107113/Oscars-2012-Angelina-Jolies-right-leg-attracts-attention-mocking-10-000-Twitter-followers.html#ixzz1nbRVU2H0

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Whole lotta leg: Angelina Jolie flashes more than a peek of her pin as she walks the red carpet at the 84th Academy awards in Hollywood last night

While the 36-year-old sashayed down the red carpet before the ceremony, stealing the spotlight from Best Actor nominee Brad Pitt with her leg-baring antics, social networking sites were quickly heating up with thousands of comments about 'Angie's right leg.'


She has faced some criticism in recent weeks over her dull taste in red carpet attire during the promotional tour for her film In The Land Of Blood And Honey, choosing matronly gowns and drab colour tones over her previously sexed-up image.
But Angelina Jolie enjoyed a return to her old cheeky, provocative self last night at the Oscars, flashing acres of long, lithe leg in a daring thigh-high slit gown.
The actress' apparent determination to show off her enviable limb attracted the desired attention from fans, fellow guests and television viewers - but not all of it was positive.

Daytona 500 now set for 7 p.m. start

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- NASCAR president Mike Helton says the Daytona 500 will start Monday night at 7 p.m.

Heavy rain soaked Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, forcing NASCAR to postpone the event for the first time in its 54-year history.

The 500-mile race initially was rescheduled for noon Monday. It was still raining Monday morning.

Carl Edwards, runner-up to Tony Stewart in last year's championship race, will start from the pole. Former IndyCar star Danica Patrick will make her Daytona 500 debut.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

US military officials say elevated levels of chlorine found in coffee, some fruit at military dining facility in Afghanistan - @NBCNews

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US military officials say elevated levels of chlorine found in coffee, some fruit at military dining facility in Afghanistan - @NBCNews

More: Fire broke out on Costa Allegra ship near Seychelles; all passengers are safe - @AP

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More: Fire broke out on Costa Allegra ship near Seychelles; all passengers are safe - @AP

Pakistan Vs England 3rd T20 will begun after 50 minutes

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Pakistan and England will once again come against each other in the last and decider T20 in Dubai today. Series is leveled at 1 each.

More: Superintendent says 1 gunman in Ohio school shooting - @wkyc

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More: Superintendent says 1 gunman in Ohio school shooting - @wkyc

More: Report from @wkyc says both gunmen from the Chardon, Ohio school shooting are in custody

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More: Report from @wkyc says both gunmen from the Chardon, Ohio school shooting are in custody

At least 4 students hurt in shooting at Chardon High School, shooter still at large

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CHARDON, Ohio -- At least four students have been injured in a shooting this morning at Chardon High School. The shooter has not been found.

Geauga County Sheriff's spokesman John Hiscox confirmed there had been a shooting in the school, but would give no details shortly after 8 this morning.

A local official confirmed the number of students. A local official said three boys and a girl were injured. Four ambulances, from Chardon, Kirtland, Burton and Chesterland, are waiting at the door of the high school at 8:15 a.m.
Little information has been made available. Chardon police and sheriff's officials said the school was on lockdown. Parents are crowding just off school grounds.

The shooting happened in the cafeteria, according to a waiting parent, Jessica Bryant, whose daughter, Allison, a freshman who had seen it and texted her.

A city official said they don't know where the shooter is, and parents were being told at 8:21 that it might not be safe to remain near the school. Maple Elementary school across the street was being evacuated.

Police are blocking streets near the school as they go through the building in search of the shooter. A teacher saw the shooting and chased the gun-wielder, who escaped.

At 8:30, students were being evacuated from the school and are going to Maple Elementary. Many, scared, could be seen holding hands and crying.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Saudi academic to be first Arab member of NASA research team

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an American space agency, has accorded its membership to a Saudi academic Dr. Majdah Aburass, making her the first Arab woman to join its research team of scientists. Dr. Aburas holds a doctorate degree from the University of Surrey in environmental studies and biotechnology, specializing in oil pollutions.

Aburas, who is currently a faculty member at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah and researcher in environmental sciences, ecology, sustainable development ─ where she lectures on different disciplines such as microbiological pollution, physiology of microorganisms, industrial microbiology and ecological pollution ─ will join the team at NASA to support and create a series of projects for the development of the Gulf region. She was also appointed as a member of the science division at NASA’s regional office.

Muhammad Ibrahim al-Rashid, president of NASA affiliate the Gulf American Foundation for Space, Technology and Environment, told Arab News that Aburas was appointed as a member of the regional research team over her national initiatives to protect the environment. “It was the result of her continuous work for the environment to solve its problems,” he said.

Aburas told Al Arabiya that she is proud of this appointment and credits her achievements to King Abdullah. She says “King Abdullah’s reign is considered as the golden era for women in Saudi; he is a true leader and a visionary. His latest verdict to allow women to participate in the Shoura Council and the municipal polls was historical and ensures equitable and effective representation of women in decision-making structures,” she added.

As for her new role, she said her appointment came as a result of a collaboration with NASA on a project that she hopes will be implemented in the near future. She said she will be based at NASA headquarters for a month in The United States. where she will have the chance to work closely with other NASA researchers.

Aburas had played an important role in raising the level of public awareness by designing and carrying out innovative environmental education programs and campaigns on a national level, one of them was named “green nation, a green flag”. She was the first woman selected to be as an environmental ambassador. She is also a member of numerous social organizations such as the Jeddah Governorate Higher Women’s Committee, National Research Center in Egypt, King Fahd Research Center, and the Governorate Urban Observatory Council.

There is no estimated start time for the Daytona 500 but it takes 2.5 hours for the track to dry once the rain stops - @breakingweather

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There is no estimated start time for the Daytona 500 but it takes 2.5 hours for the track to dry once the rain stops - @breakingweather

Breaking:Afghanistan defense and interior ministers cancel this week's Washington visit.CNN reports

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#Afghanistan defense and interior ministers cancel this week's Washington visit, @BarbaraStarrCNN reports

Army IDs remains of last missing soldier in Iraq

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S military says it has identified the remains of the last American service member unaccounted for in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Ahmed Kousay al-Taie was an Army interpreter who was born in Iraq and lived in Ann Arbor, Mich. He was kidnapped at gunpoint in October 2006 when he sneaked off base on a motorcycle to visit his Iraqi wife in central Baghdad.

The Army issued a statement Sunday saying that the military's mortuary in Dover, Del., had positively identified a set of remains as belonging to al-Taie.

Army officials said they had no further details on the circumstances surrounding his death or the discovery of his remains.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Police arrest a man on suspicion of attempted murder after a woman was stabbed in the stomach in Reading http://t.co/mA10yLPl

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Police arrest a man on suspicion of attempted murder after a woman was stabbed in the stomach in Reading http://t.co/mA10yLPl

DFAIT: Canada suspends all meetings at Afghan ministries . All embassy workers are in secure location. #Afghanistan

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DFAIT: Canada suspends all meetings at Afghan ministries . All embassy workers are in secure location.
We will try to update you about the progress.

Trumpet player Maurice Andre dies aged 78

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World famous classical trumpeter Maurice Andre has died aged 78, it has been announced.

From the 1960s onwards the French musician was recognised as a virtuoso of Baroque music.

Born in 1933, Andre worked as a miner before his father - an amateur trumpeter himself - encouraged him to take up the instrument professionally.

Andre went on to make more than 250 recordings before he retired in 2004.

He recorded standard pieces featuring the trumpet, including many works by Scarlatti or Bach.

But he was also known for performing many transcriptions of works for oboe, flute, and even the human voice.

Praying for rain in Paraguay

Wasif Chudhary
Maize yellowed by the droughtThe government estimates about 250,000 small-scale farmers are at risk

Related Stories

A severe drought is threatening the livelihood of thousands of small farmers across Paraguay. The BBC's Vladimir Hernandez visited one family to see how they are affected.
Rosa is hoping for a miracle. She has barely seen any rain since October and has lost almost all of her crops.
She and her husband, Gregorio, earn some cash from their field of six hectares. But crucially most of their crops are used to feed themselves and their two children.

Trains now running between Liverpool Lime Street and Crewe after earlier derailment but long delays expected

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Trains now running between Liverpool Lime Street and Crewe after earlier derailment but long delays expected

Israel inks $1.6 billion arms deal with Azerbaijan

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Israeli defense officials on Sunday confirmed $1.6 billion in deals to sell drones as well as anti-aircraft and missile defense systems to Azerbaijan, bringing sophisticated Israeli technology to the doorstep of archenemy Iran.
The sales by state-run Israel Aerospace Industries come at a delicate time. Israel has been laboring hard to form diplomatic alliances in a region that seems to be growing increasingly hostile to the Jewish state.
Its most pressing concern is Iran's nuclear program, and Israeli leaders have hinted broadly that they would be prepared to attack Iranian nuclear facilities if they see no other way to keep Tehran from building bombs.
Iran denies Israeli and Western claims it seeks to develop atomic weapons, and says its disputed nuclear program is designed to produce energy and medical isotopes.
In Jerusalem, Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Iran's nuclear program will take center stage in his upcoming talks with U.S. and Canadian leaders. Netanyahu is to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa on Friday and with President Barack Obama in Washington on Monday.
Speaking to the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday, Netanyahu said a U.N. nuclear agency report last week buttressed Israel's warnings that Iran is trying to produce a nuclear bomb. The agency said Iran has rapidly ramped up production of higher-grade enriched uranium over the last few months.
Netanyahu said the report provided "another piece of incontrovertible evidence" that Iran is advancing rapidly with its nuclear program.
It was not clear whether the arms deal with Azerbaijan was connected to any potential Israeli planes to strike Iran. The Israeli defense officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not at liberty to discuss defense deals.
Danny Yatom, a former head of Israel's Mossad spy agency, said the timing of the deal was likely coincidental. "Such a deal ... takes a long period of time to become ripe," he told The Associated Press.
He said Israel would continue to sell arms to its friends. "If it will help us in challenging Iran, it is for the better," he said.
Israel's ties with Azerbaijan have grown as its once-strong strategic relationship with another Iranian neighbor, Turkey, has deteriorated, most sharply over Israel's killing of nine Turks aboard a ship that sought to breach Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2010.

Rain likely to delay the start of the Daytona 500, possibly cause it to be canceled. Rainy for Monday too.

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Rain likely to delay the start of the Daytona 500, possibly cause it to be canceled. Rainy for Monday too.

NATO says no personnel killed in grenade attack on base in Kunduz, Afghanistan; unconfirmed reports of several injured - @BBCWorld

 Wasif Chudhary

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NATO says no personnel killed in grenade attack on base in Kunduz, Afghanistan; unconfirmed reports of several injured - @BBCWorld

More: At least 2 demonstrators killed in northern Afghanistan in 6th day of protests over Quran burning, Afghan officials say - @AP Submitted 10 mins ago by editor

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More: At least 2 demonstrators killed in northern Afghanistan in 6th day of protests over Quran burning, Afghan officials say - @AP


Quran Protest:7 US military trainers wounded as protesters in Kunduz, Afghanistan throw grenade at their base, provincial police chief says - @Reuters

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7 US military trainers wounded as protesters in Kunduz, Afghanistan throw grenade at their base, provincial police chief says - @Reuters

Explosion outside NATO base in northern Afghanistan, no word on casualties, NATO says - @Reuters

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Explosion outside NATO base in northern Afghanistan, no word on casualties, NATO says - @Reuters

Nelson Mandela discharged from hospital and is returning home, South African Presidency confirms -

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Nelson Mandela discharged from hospital and is returning home, South African Presidency confirms -@PresidencyZA

Talor swift is Invited by Kevin Mcguire

Lots of guys want to go on a date with Taylor Swift. So, what makes 18-year-old Kevin McGuire from Somerdale, New Jersey any different from the pack of Swift's would-be suitors? Well, there are a few things, which I'll go over in a minute. But, suffice to say, McGuire, who recently asked Swift via Facebook to be his prom date in June, stands out for the response he got. Swift declined the offer...but asked him to accompany her to a prestigious awards show in April, instead!
How did this all happen? The backstory: McGuire has had a painful struggle with leukemia since he was 13 years old. He went into remission in 2010, but sadly relapsed and is currently battling cancer for a second time. His older sister, Victoria, impressed with her brother's bravery and character, started a Facebook campaign with the hope of granting his greatest wish--convincing Swift to attend prom with him. "All throughout Kevin's treatment he kept his character intact, remained playing basketball, and even started varsity football as a freshman," Victoria McGuire explained on Facebook. "Kevin is the kindest, most noble 18-year-old a person could even fathom meeting, and through out his ups and downs Kevin never even questioned 'why me?' "Nothing, and I mean NOTHING brightens Kevin's day more than Taylor Swift," she continued. "Kevin DESERVES more than anyone a special event in his life." Kevin McGuire's photo on the Facebook campaign Victoria's idea caught the attention of local news, who interviewed her about it. "[Kevin] said 'who would want to go to the prom with me? I am going to be bald, my appearance is going to change,'" she told an NBC affiliate. "We both looked at each other and I said, 'What if I got Taylor Swift to go to the prom with you?'" After the campaign attracted responses from nearly 90,000 people, Swift herself responded to McGuire's sister's plea on her own Facebook account Friday afternoon. She politely declined his offer to go to prom, but asked, "I was wondering, the ACM Awards are coming up.. Would you be my date?" The startled teenager told local news after reading the post in a bed at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia that he didn't know what to say. "I was just trying not to throw up." (He recovered enough composure to accept the invitation, provided he's feeling well enough when the date arrives.) The Academy of Country Music Awards will take place April 1 in Las Vegas. Kevin, you're not old enough to gamble yet, but you're already a big winner.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Freak accident: Newark, NJ, woman critically hurt after tire flies off passing car, strikes her windshield -

Wasif Chudhary
Freak accident: Newark, NJ, woman critically hurt after tire flies off passing car, strikes her windshield -

Brazilian girl, 14, dies after falling 98-feet from Eiffel Tower amusement park ride in Vinhedo

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Brazilian girl, 14, dies after falling 98-feet from Eiffel Tower amusement park ride in Vinhedo

First edition of Sun on Sunday set to be printed

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The Sun on Sunday is to be printed later, ready to hit Britain's streets for the first time.

About three million copies are expected to be printed at Broxbourne Newsprinters in Hertfordshire.

An article in Saturday's Sun describes a "stunning line-up of columnists" for the new paper, including model Katie Price and chef Heston Blumenthal.

News International closed its Sunday paper, the News of the World, last year amid the scandal over phone hacking.

The editor of the weekly edition of the Sun, Dominic Mohan, will also be in charge of the new Sunday edition.

Under the headline "the Sun will come out tomorrow", Saturday's paper described the launch of the 50p title as a "brilliant new era for the Sun".

It said it would be launched with a TV advert later on Saturday, featuring readers from Edinburgh, London, Dublin and Manchester singing lines from the song Tomorrow from the musical Annie.

Marketing director Robin Painter said: "It shows how excited the great British public are about the new Sunday edition of the Sun."

'Old favourites'
Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, "fashion expert" Nancy Dell'Olio, political writer Toby Young, along with Price and Blumenthal will also be columnists on the paper, it said.

The paper will also feature "old favourites" such as Dear Deidre, Mystic Meg, Bizarre and TV Biz, it added.


The Sun said "thousands of copies" had been ordered for British forces overseas, which will be flown to bases in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Copies will also be flown to the Falkland Islands, it said.

Media commentator Steve Hewlett said the new enterprise was likely to be a commercial success.

"The News of the World used to sell 2.6 million copies or thereabouts. When they closed it 1.3 million ended up with other newspapers, the Mirror being the primary beneficiary, but the Star and the People (benefited) as well. But 1.3 million disappeared," he told the BBC News Channel.

"The Sun starts from a position of being the biggest selling daily tabloid - 2.7 million copies sold a day and a readership of six to seven million - so from that platform, if the Sun get the package right, it ought to work."

Mr Hewlett described the move to launch the title as a "weekend's welcome distraction" for News International chief executive Rupert Murdoch, amid the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics and police investigation into phone hacking.

The probe has led to 30 arrests so far, among them 10 current and former senior staff at the Sun.

Mr Murdoch tweeted on Friday: "The Sun: great speculation, sweeps, etc on Sunday's sale. I will be very happy at anything substantially over two million!"

Two missing in blast at Brazil's Antarctic base

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An explosion caused by a fire left one soldier wounded and two missing Saturday at a Brazilian naval base in Antarctica, and forced dozens of researchers to evacuate, the military said.
The Brazilian Navy said the fire broke out in a room housing energy generators of the Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Base, a research station located in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The wounded soldier, said to be in stable condition, was first treated at the nearby Arctowski Polish Antarctic station and later transferred to the Chilean Eduardo Frei military base, a navy statement said.

Military personnel were trying to bring the fire under control, it said.

Some 30 researchers, one alpinist and a representative of the environment ministry who were at the Brazilian base at the time of the accident were evacuated by helicopter to the Chilean Eduardo Frei base and were to be flown by the Argentine Air Force to the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas, the Brazilian Navy said.

According to the Chilean Air Force, a total of 42 Brazilians and two Spaniards were evacuated to Punta Arenas.

It added other people affected by the fire had been taken to the Eduardo Frei base which was providing medical support.

Two Argentine Navy vessels and two others from the Polish Antarctic station were in the area, providing support along with three Chilean helicopters, and Brazil's Polar Research Vessel Almirante Maximiano was en route to the area after sailing from Punta Arenas.

The Comandante Ferraz base conducts biological science research, especially on coastal and shelf marine ecosystems.