Monday, 2 January 2012

Breaking News

Breaking News

Shaheen Tae-Kwon-Do Academy.mp4

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 08:05 AM PST

baby dance.mp4

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 07:55 AM PST

British Darth Vader fighter dies aged 89

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 07:36 AM PST

Former Olympic fencer Bob Anderson, who staged fights in Star Wars and From Russia With Love, has died at the age of 89.

Anderson fought light saber battles as Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, two of the original Star Wars films.

In the non-fight scenes, Vader was played by David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones.

The British Academy of Fencing confirmed Anderson died on 1 January.

It was Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars trilogy, who revealed Anderson was behind the fight scenes in a 1983 interview with Starlog magazine.

"It was always supposed to be a secret, but I finally told George (Lucas) - the director - I didn't think it was fair any more," he said.

"Bob worked so bloody hard that he deserves some recognition. It's ridiculous to preserve the myth that it's all done by one man."

Robert James Gilbert Anderson was born in Hampshire in 1922. He served in the Royal Marines during World War II and represented the UK in fencing at the 1952 Olympics and the 1950 and 1953 World Championships.

His first foray into the film world was in the 1952 swashbuckler The Master of Ballantrae, starring Errol Flynn.

He was soon in demand and went on to work on films including Die Another Day, The Princess Bride, The Legend of Zorro and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Fencing Academy president Philip Bruce paid tribute on its website: "He was truly one of our greatest fencing masters and a world-class film fight director and choreographer and both the fencing community and film world will miss him."

Anderson is survived by his wife Pearl and three children. Funeral details have not yet been announced.

Up to 50,000 flee South Sudan tribal turmoil: U.N.

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 07:34 AM PST

Up to 50,000 people have fled tribal violence in a remote border area of South Sudan, the United Nations said Monday, in the latest episode of upheaval to hit the new African nation.

South Sudan became independent in July last year under a 2005 peace deal with Khartoum to end decades of civil war. But the new nation is struggling to build state institutions and stop rebel and tribal bloodshed that has killed thousands.

Monday, some 6,000 armed members of the Lou Nuer tribe attacked the remote town of Pibor in Jonglei state bordering north Sudan after days of clashes with the rival Murle tribe, U.N. sources said.

Lise Grande, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, said tens of thousand of civilians had fled Pibor and other nearby towns to escape the violence.

"We are worried about their conditions. They are without water, shelter and food. They are hiding in the bush. I think it is between 20,000 and 50,000. This is an estimate only," she told Reuters. She had no information about casualties.

South Sudan's armed forces are sending reinforcements to Pibor, army spokesman Philip Arguer said. "They attacked the town this morning. Civilians were evacuated from Pibor three days ago," he said, without giving further details.

U.N. sources said around 3,000 soldiers and 800 policeman were on their way to Pibor. Cattle raids, they said, had sparked the latest violence.

Left rages as Sarkozy finds best friend in crisis

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 07:31 AM PST

With the French economy tanking, President Nicolas Sarkozy is pursuing an unorthodox campaign strategy: depict the crisis as so bad and so global that his untried opponents could not deal with it, and hope the picture holds until election time.

The list of French problems - from record-high unemployment to bleak growth prospects, the threat of a rating downgrade and increasingly wobbly-looking deficit-reduction plans - would have many leaders in preservation mode, seeking to limit damage.

But Sarkozy has taken a different tack, seizing in a December 31 speech on fears over an economic crisis he described as "planetary," "unprecedented" and "the worst since World War 2."

The opposition Socialists, whose challenger for the April 2012 presidential election, Francois Hollande, has a clear lead over Sarkozy in opinion polls, criticized it as an underhand way of masking his failures while capitalizing on public anxieties.

"There was an admission of weakness," Manuel Valls, a spokesman for Hollande, said after Sarkozy's speech. "This is Nicolas Sarkozy's approach ... it's to play on fears and fears of the crisis."

Analysts say Sarkozy's underlying message was that without his leadership, France would be in a far worse position than now, given the unprecedented global nature of the crisis in which France's problems are only a symptom.

For opponents, the implication is that they are not strong or seasoned enough to lead France through the storm.

Pascal Perrineau, a political analyst, summed up the strategy in a comment to Les Echos daily: "If the crisis is bad, Sarkozy is beaten; if the crisis is very bad, he is elected."

Valls maintained that Sarkozy had brought France to the brink of recession. "We've got a million more people unemployed since his five-year term began," he told a news conference.

Sarkozy vowed in his New Year's speech to use a January 18 meeting with unions, just three months before election day, to come up with some kind of agreement on improving labor market flexibility as a way to stem unemployment.

But Socialists sniffed at his chances of achieving reform so close to the election.

"I don't think anyone is fooled, everyone knows he is a candidate and everyone knows that you cannot do in four months, on jobs, unemployment and job security, what he did not do in the first four years of his presidency," said Valls.

In his New Year address, a solemn Sarkozy urged the French to be stoical as he called for a new tax on imported goods to help shore up a welfare system which now relies mostly on social fees taken out of workers' paychecks.

"The strategy we've been pursuing for the past 20 years is to cut labor costs to be more competitive. Has that produced any salary increases until now? No. Will it increase salaries in a crisis? Obviously not," said Socialist Party spokesman Benoit Hamon.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, head of the hardline Left Party, called Sarkozy's initiative a "bad joke."

"If we want to avoid firms moving away, we need to stop companies moving abroad to profit from 'social dumping', by which products cost less abroad because work is less paid and produced in awful environmental conditions," he told France Info radio.

Look for These 3 Law School Trends in 2012

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 07:29 AM PST

You likely made a New Year's resolution or two yesterday, vowing to eat healthier, exercise more, or spend less money.

Across the country, law schools are making big plans for 2012, too.

There are three emerging trends in legal academia that have slowly gained traction over the past few years and will likely dominate much of the discussion surrounding law schools in the coming year. So as we ring in the new year, what are some factors law schools should keep in mind when making their resolutions—and what will they mean for law students?

1. Accelerated law programs: Law schools are responding to student concerns about the time and cost (both in terms of tuition and the opportunity cost associated with foregoing a salary for three years) required to complete a law degree. As a result, a number of schools have developed accelerated programs that allow students to complete law school in two rather than three years.

Northwestern Law School is currently the only top 14 law school to have a two-year program, but other top schools have considered such programs. (Southwestern Law School and the University of Dayton School of Law offer similar programs, too.) I expect a number of leading law schools to follow Northwestern's lead in the coming months and years.

As accelerated law programs multiply, you may consider taking advantage of one of these options—but they are not for everyone. While the cost savings can be enticing, you have to be sure that you are prepared for the academic challenges.

Northwestern, for example, requires that applicants to its accelerated J.D. program have at least two years of "substantive" work experience to ensure students will be able to handle the rigor of the fast-track program. Another potential disadvantage to seriously consider is missing valuable summer internship opportunities, which often lead to full-time jobs.

[Law jobs exist where students don't look, one dean says.]

Accelerated combined degree programs are also rapidly gaining popularity. For example, students can now complete J.D./M.B.A. programs at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Northwestern Law School, Yale Law School, and Duke Law School in three years instead of the traditional four years. Yale Law School's Accelerated Integrated J.D./M.B.A. is unique in that it keeps students' summers free for internships, avoiding a typical drawback of accelerated programs that require students to take classes during the summer.

2. Debate over the LSAT: In recent years, there has been increased debate regarding the fairness of the LSAT and its ability to accurately predict one's aptitude for practicing law. While even opponents of the LSAT acknowledge that there is a strong (though certainly not perfect) correlation between one's LSAT score and one's law school GPA, they believe that the test and the current law school grading paradigm do not most accurately evaluate the skills required for professional success in the legal arena.

The most outspoken challengers of the LSAT are University of California—Berkeley Law School professors Marjorie Shultz and Sheldon Zedeck, who advocate replacing the LSAT with a new test that better measures an applicant's potential for success in the practice of law.

There are an increasing number of schools—though still a very small minority—that have received exemptions allowing them to admit students without LSAT scores, which is typically a requirement for law school accreditation. For example, Northwestern's J.D./M.B.A. program allows students to be admitted with a GMAT score in lieu of an LSAT score.

[Find out how to study for the GMAT.]

The concerns of Professors Shultz and Zedeck about the LSAT are legitimate and do need to be addressed. Nevertheless, until an alternative metric that can be applied to all students and equally (or hopefully better) predicts law school success is available, we are unlikely to see the LSAT disappear.

3. Fewer law school applicants: The number of people taking the LSAT was down 9.6 percent in 2010-2011 (155,050) from 2009-2010 (171,500), according to LSAC. Preliminary year-end numbers for 2011 show a similar trend in law school applications, which have decreased 9.9 percent, down to 78,900 from 87,500 in 2010.

For the last five years, law school admissions have been extraordinarily competitive due to the stagnant economy. A decline in the number of applicants is welcome news, as it means that the competition may be slightly less fierce this year. However, current law school application levels are still very high by traditional standards, so gaining admission to the top 14 schools will remain very challenging

UK's Cameron to tackle "excess" City pay

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 07:25 AM PST

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday he would clamp down on "excess" pay in London's financial sector as part of what he said should be bold measures to boost the country's fortunes.

"While a few at the top get rewards that seem to have nothing to do with the risks they take or the effort they put in, many others are stuck on benefits, without hope or responsibility," he said in a New Year message.

"So we will tackle excess in the City just as we're reforming welfare to make work pay and support families."

Cameron said the London Olympics and Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee later this year would provide an "extraordinary incentive" to restore pride in the country's abilities.

But he also said many people were worried about the outlook for jobs and prices in the year ahead.

"I get that," he said. "I know how difficult it will be to get through this -- but I also know we will."

He said the coalition government's measures to cut Britain's deficit were giving some protection from the "worst of the debt storms now battering the Eurozone" in the short term.

"We have gained security for now - and because of that, we must be bold, confident and decisive about building the future," he said.

Police probe reports of attack on Islamic center

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 07:25 AM PST

A Molotov cocktail was tossed at an Islamic center in one of three attacks in New York City, authorities said early Monday.

The three attacks in Queens were at the Islamic center, a bodega, and a private house on Sunday night, officials said.

Molotov cocktails were used in all the attacks, resulting in some damage but no injuries, the New York Police Department said.

In a fourth incident, a fire damaged part of house, but it was too early to tell whether it was a result of a Molotov cocktail and was related to the other incidents, police said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo condemned the attacks in a statement Monday, saying such acts "go against everything we stand for as New Yorkers and Americans."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations called for police to increase security around mosques.

"Attacks on our nation's houses of worship must be condemned by all Americans and should be investigated and prosecuted using all available law enforcement resources," said Ibrahim Hooper, the national communications director for CAIR.

Hackers target emails of UK's Gordon Brown: report

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 07:20 AM PST

British police have found evidence that private investigators working for newspapers hacked into the email account of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown while he was finance minister, The Independent newspaper reported on Monday.

Hundreds of other people may have also had their emails intercepted, perhaps as many as were caught up in the phone hacking scandal at News International's now defunct News of the World tabloid, the paper said.

Detectives were looking at evidence from about 20 computers seized from private investigators, the newspaper reported.

The team at London's Scotland Yard police headquarters were looking into the possibility that several newspaper titles commissioned private detectives to access computers, The Independent said, citing an unnamed source.

The Brown emails under scrutiny dated from the time he was Britain's finance minister before he became prime minister in 2007. Former Labour advisor and lobbyist Derek Draper was also targeted, The Independent said.

The Metropolitan police would not comment on the report.

"We are not prepared to give a running commentary on this investigation," a spokesman said.

News International, the British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, also declined to comment.

The group closed the News of the World in July 2011 after evidence emerged that investigators working for the title hacked into the mobile phone voicemails of celebrities, politicians and even murder victims.

It is the only newspaper that has admitted phone hacking, although some journalists and celebrities have said the practice was widespread in the tabloid press.

China unrest over mosque demolition in Ningxia

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 07:16 AM PST

Reports from the Ningxia region of northern China say hundreds of Muslim villagers have fought with riot police who tore down a mosque.

Hong Kong-based human rights monitors said the trouble erupted on Friday after police declared the mosque an illegal structure.

The monitors say 50 people were injured and more than 100 detained.

Chinese officials confirmed a mosque was pulled down. They said there were injuries and some people were detained.

Reports of the incident have only just emerged. The details remain sketchy and accounts of the scale of the trouble vary.

The incident is said to have taken place in Taoshan village, near the town of Hexi in Tongxin county of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, a sparsely-populated semi-desert area in northern China.

A party official in Ningxia told the BBC that the mosque in Hexi was an illegal structure, so they knocked it down.

According to the Hong Kong Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy (ICHRD) about 1,000 police officers clashed with villagers when they arrived to demolish a newly-renovated mosque.

But a policeman who only gave the name Ma, told AFP new agency: "Two police officers and two villagers got injured and several villagers were taken away by the police, but I don't know how many."

The Hui ethnic group - who mostly inhabit the region - are one of a number of Muslim minority groups in China.

In 2009, riots erupted in western Xinjiang province when nearly 200 people died after tensions flared between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese.

Indian cyberspace hit by Kim Jong-iI spam: IT sleuths

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 06:21 AM PST

NEW DELHI: Indian computer security analysts have detected and alerted internet users against "malicious spam mails" in the name of the dead North Korean leader Kim Jong-iI leading to hacking and crashing of vulnerable e-mails.

The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), country's national agency to respond to computer security incidents, has found the malware virus streaming into the Indian cyberspace.

"It has been observed that a spam campaign in the pretext of death of North Korean leader " Kim Jong iI" is making rounds for malware propagation. The malicious spam mails carry a fake name-- "brief_introduction_of_kim_jong_Ill_pdf.pdf".

"The said pdf file is exploiting vulnerabilities in Adobe reader and Acrobat, that once successfully exploited leads to remote code execution in the victim system," the CERT-In said in its latest advisory to computer and internet users in the country.

"The malware has been detected more than ten days after the death of the North Korean leader and it lures the internet user to fall into trap of reading his life and style of living. The spam generators are being detected," a senior internet investigator told PTI.

The CERT-In has asked all government and other Internet Protocol ( IP) addresses to avoid clicking on the link as it may lead to loss of valuable secret data including threat to personal financial details.

The North Korean leader died of a heart attack on December 17 at the age of 69 while travelling by train outside Pyongyang, the country's capital.

OGDC, shaky economy dent KSE

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 06:16 AM PST

KARACHI: Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) ended lower on Monday as investors sold shares of heavyweight Oil and Gas Development Co Ltd (OGDCL), while many remained on the sidelines on economic concerns, dealers said.

The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index fell 0.58 percent, or 65.65 points, to end at 11347.66 on volume of just 29.3 million shares.

"On the first day of the New Year, KSE closed in negative territory mainly because of OGDCL and overall volume remained dull in the absence of any major catalyst," said Samar Iqbal, a dealer at Topline Securities Ltd.

OGDCL fell 2.32 percent to 148.10 rupees.

Dealers said investors were also concerned about counbtry's bleak economic outlook. The current account deficit stood at $2.104 billion in July-Nov compared with $589 million in the year-earlier period.

The deficit is likely to widen further in the coming months because of debt repayments and a lack of external aid.

Islamabad has to start paying back an $8 billion International Monetary Fund loan in early 2012. Without additional sources of revenue, foreign exchange reserves may come under pressure.

Kvitova off to perfect start in Hopman Cup

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 06:13 AM PST

PERTH: World number two Petra Kvitova made a perfect start to 2012 as the top-seeded Czech Republic saw off Bulgaria at the mixed teams Hopman Cup in Australia on Monday.

Kvitova opened her new campaign with a straight-sets win over Tsvetana Pironkova as the Czechs took the Group A tie 2-1.

Although the 46th-ranked Pironkova was highly competitive, Kvitova had too much power, winning 6-4, 6-2 in 75 minutes.

Wimbledon champion Kvitova admitted there was added pressure on her heading into 2012 compared to 12 months earlier, when she was ranked 34th in the world.

"Every season is different," she said. "One year ago I was 34, now I am two at the start of the season and everyone is seeing me on the court for the first time, and it's not always easy to play on the court.

"The first match for the year is always tough, but I played well."

Kvitova, who is hot on the heels of Hopman Cup rival Caroline Wozniacki, could secure the top world ranking within weeks.

Her team-mate, the world number seven Tomas Berdych, secured the overall tie with a hard-fought three-sets win over talented youngster Grigor Dimitrov, 6-4, 6-7 (9/11), 6-3.

The Bulgarians earned a consolation by staving off three match points to win a marathon dead mixed-doubles rubber 2-6, 6-3, 11-9.

Berdych had lost his only previous encounter to the gifted Dimitrov, but prevailed in what was a high-standard singles clash to start the year. (AFP)

Ron Paul’s big moment

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 06:09 AM PST

The obstetrician, numismatist and hater of the Fed and the UN who just might win in Iowa

PEOPLE who say that politicians are all the same may be in for a surprise next week. Heading the polls in Iowa, whose caucuses on January 3rd mark the true start of the Republican race for a presidential candidate, is a 76-year-old libertarian from Texas with a worldview so wacky and a programme so radical that he was recently discounted as a no-hoper. Even if he wins in quirky Iowa, Ron Paul will never be America's president. But his coming this far tells you something about the mood of Republican voters. A substantial number like a man who wants to abolish the Federal Reserve, introduce a new currency to compete with the dollar, eliminate five departments of the federal government within a year, pull out of the United Nations and close all America's foreign bases, which he likens to "an empire".

How did such a man rise to the top of the polls? One thing to note is that his support has a ceiling: in no state do more than about a third of Republican voters favour him, though in Iowa's crowded race that could be all he needs. Also, liking the man does not require liking his policies. During the candidates' debates of 2011, Mr Paul won plaudits for integrity. Where slicker rivals chop, change and pander, the rumpled Mr Paul hews to his principles even when they are unpopular. Unlike Newt Gingrich, who seldom misses a chance to play on fears of Islam, Mr Paul insists on the rule of law and civil liberties and due process for all—including suspected terrorists. Unlike Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, who adore Israel and can sound impatient to bomb Iran, Mr Paul has no great love for the Jewish state, even though this hurts him with the evangelical voters of Iowa. He opposed the Iraq war from the start and wants America to shun expensive foreign entanglements that make the rest of the world resent it.

These, however, are sideshows compared to the central belief that animates Mr Paul's politics. Born in 1935, he remembers the tail-end of the Depression and the shortages during the second world war. At five, he and his brothers were put to work helping their father run a small dairy from their basement. His job was to check that the bottles were clean. For each dirty one he spotted, he received a penny. Thus, he says in "Ending the Fed", the book he wrote after the financial collapse of 2008, was born a fascination with numismatics. This flowered into a preoccupation with the money supply and a lifelong conviction that governments must be prevented from debasing the currency.

Not all of Mr Paul's positions are unpopular. Like other conservatives, he defends the God-given right to keep and bear arms, "the guardian of every other right". He is pro-life, which he believes begins at conception. He champions home-schooling. But only he combines a general dislike of the overweening federal government with a particular, obsessive hatred of what he considers the corrupt system of money at its secret heart.

Pauline conversion

In 1972, though hard at work as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, he travelled 50 miles to Houston to hear the elderly Ludwig von Mises offer an "inspiring" denunciation of socialism. Several years later he dined with Friedrich Hayek. The good doctor's conversion to the Austrian school of economics turned him into a crusader who has come to see the operations of the Fed—indeed the entire banking system, with its reliance on paper money no longer backed by gold—as a dangerous confidence trick. The Fed has "ominous powers that Congress barely understands," he says. "Trillions of dollars can be created and injected into the economy with no obligation by the Fed to reveal who benefits." Though ending the Fed would take time, this is his panacea: it would end dollar depreciation, remove America's ability to fund endless wars and stop the growth of government.

One consequence of Mr Paul's rise in the polls has been a flurry of speculation about his true intentions. Having run for president twice before, he is not naive about politics. He has served a dozen terms in the House of Representatives, failing to find allies for his radical measures. He cannot expect actually to win the nomination, let alone become president. His real aim appears to be didactic: he wants the widest possible hearing for his ideas. And since the financial collapse of 2008, more Americans have indeed been listening. His quest for the Republican nomination that year gave him respectability and an audience he could not reach as the nominee of the Libertarian Party in 1988.

How long will Mr Paul stay in the race? Though the nomination may be out of his reach, he has dedicated supporters and the ability to raise lots of money through small donations. That could keep him going longer than most of his rivals, and perhaps give him enough delegates to shape August's nominating convention in Tampa. Or he could run as a third-party candidate. But that would help Barack Obama, embitter a mainstream party on which he has at last made a big impact and damage his like-minded ophthalmologist son, Rand, now a Republican senator.

As Mr Gingrich has learned, rising poll numbers bring extra scrutiny. The Christmas period has revived interest in a group of newsletters published under Mr Paul's name in the 1990s, some of which included toxic remarks about blacks and Jews. Mr Paul says that he neither wrote nor approved of those words, and that they do not reflect his opinions. That still leaves him with some explaining to do. It is true that in recent years Mr Paul has stuck to his core principles: sound money, small government, individual liberty and bringing the troops home. But the newsletters shed light on some of the unsavoury fellow-travellers he has collected on his long political road. In the end, Mr Paul's obsession with the Fed is an anti-government conspiracy theory. And in America, anti-government conspiracy theories attract a lot of wingnuts, some of whom have never read Hayek or von Mises.


Tipsy Towns: Where Are America’s Drunkest Cities?

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 06:03 AM PST

Christmas is over, weary travelers are back home after family visits, and everyone is making plans for this weekend's conveniently timed New Year's Eve. So as America's cities gear up for arguably the biggest party night of the holiday season, which destinations are likely to pop a little more champagne to ring in 2012?

According to The Daily Beast's annual data-crunching, it seems that residents in two Massachusetts cities may be among the most generous drinkers. Boston and Springfield topped their "America's Drunkest Cities of 2011" list, which averaged statistics on binge drinking, drinks consumed per month and population data culled from market research firm Experian Simmons and Center for Disease Prevention and Control surveys.

Beantown nabbed the top slot with 15.5 average monthly drinks consumed per person and 20.1% of the population listed as being binge drinkers (the CDC defines binge drinking as when 5 drinks or more are consumed in 2 hours by men and 4 drinks or more consumed in 2 hours by women). Springfield followed closely behind, with 14.6 average monthly drinks consumed per person and 19.5% of the population listed as binge drinkers. Milwaukee, Wisconsin arrived at number 3 (it topped the same list last year), and notable college towns like Austin (7) and San Diego (9) helped round out the top ten.

Curiously, two of the largest, and presumably partygoing cities, New York and Los Angeles, didn't appear on the list. Even Las Vegas checks in midway at number 14, below that of fellow Nevada city, Reno, at number 4. So the top ten cities, as The Beast writes, may well be those where "every season is drinking season."

Or maybe not. For Bostonians who aren't pleased with the "drunkest" city labeling, take heart: earlier this year NewsFeed noted that Boston seemed to be the least drunk metro area, according to Men's Health research.

Below are the The Daily Beast's top ten.

1. Boston, Massachusetts
2. Springfield, Massachusetts
3. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
4. Reno, Nevada
5. San Antonio
6. Chicago, Illinois
7. Austin, Texas
8. St. Louis
9. San Diego, California
10. Tuscon, Arizona

Top 10 Hollywood Hookups and Breakups for 2012

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 05:59 AM PST

To co-opt Nina Simone's "Feeling Good," it's a new year, a new day and for some celebrities that means a new life, without their current partner or, better yet, with someone new.

For Katy Perry and Russell Brand, their union didn't even make it into the new year.

Brand filed for divorce last week, saying, "Sadly, Katy and I are ending our marriage. I'll always adore her and I know we'll remain friends."

"I think that's how we're going to start out the year -- with their breakup," Us Weekly senior editor Ian Drew predicted. There's no way they can stay together."

He's referring to their holidays spent on separate continents, where both were photographed sans wedding rings. Virtually newlyweds -- they married in October 2010 -- Perry and Brand are the first Hollywood couple casualty of the new year.

But there's won't be the only heartbreak in Hollywood this year. Click through to see our predictions
for nine other Hollywood's hookups and breakups in 2012.

Snipers, gunfire remain in Syrian cities - Arab League

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 05:54 AM PST

Gunfire is continuing and snipers are still a threat in Syria, the Arab League secretary general has said.

The Syrian military has withdrawn from residential areas and is on the outskirts of the country's cities, Nabil al-Arabi added.

The UN says more than 5,000 people have been killed in a crackdown on anti-government protests since March.

Arab League observers have been in Syria since Tuesday to monitor a peace plan by the league.

But there has been no let-up in violence, and correspondents say many demonstrators are becoming frustrated at the league's inability to stop it.

Mr Arabi has said the league would report on the monitors' work and decide if more was needed.

"There is gunfire. There must be a total halt to the gunfire," he said, quoted by AFP news agency, adding that it was difficult to tell who was firing on whom.

Snipers were still on rooftops threatening civilians, he said.

Los Angeles arson: Police detain 'person of interest'

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 05:48 AM PST

Police have been puzzled by what is thought to be the worst wave of arson to sweep the city since the 1992 riots

Los Angeles police say they have detained a "person of interest" as part of their investigation into arson attacks across the city in recent days.

The detention came as a dozen more suspicious attacks broke out in the early hours at garages around the city.

Department spokesman Captain Jaime Moore says 10 of the blazes were in Los Angeles and two in West Hollywood.

Police have been puzzled by what is thought to be the worst wave of arson to sweep the city since the 1992 riots.

Investigators released surveillance video on Sunday showing a man at a garage that was the scene of one of the car fires.

But Capt Moore said it was not known if that man was the "person of interest" detained by the authorities early on Monday.

No injuries were reported in the latest spate of attacks, which began at 01:30 (09:30 GMT) on Monday.

Dozens of fires have been started since Thursday, mainly in vehicles parked outside homes.

The former Hollywood Hills home of Jim Morrison, frontman of The Doors, was among the properties damaged.

Two people were arrested on Friday, but were behind bars when new fires were started on Saturday.

Police suspect the sheer number of fires could suggest the work of copycat firebugs.

Dozens of detectives have been assigned to the case, while a telephone hotline was set up and more than $35,000 (£22,500) in rewards offered for information leading to a conviction.

Clashes erupt between opposition supporters and police after teen’s funeral in Bahrain

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 05:43 AM PST

MANAMA, Bahrain — Riot police in Bahrain fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades as they clashed Sunday with hundreds of opposition supporters, some hurling Molotov cocktails, following the politically charged funeral of a 15-year-old boy.

Thousands of opposition supporters carrying Bahraini flags and chanting anti-government slogans converged on the island of Sitra, south of the capital Manama, to mourn the death of Sayed Hashim Saeed. They are demanding that police be tried for the deaths of some 40 people since protests began in February.

olice earlier tried to seal off the site of the funeral to prevent crowds from gathering.

The clash on Sitra marks the latest burst of violence in more than 10 months of confrontations and widespread street protests on the strategic Gulf island nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. The country's Shiite-led opposition is pressing for greater rights and reforms from the country's Sunni monarchy.

The opposition says the teenager died Saturday after a tear gas canister fired at close range hit him in the chest.

Jaffer al-Sheik, 40, who identified himself as a relative of Saeed, said after the funeral that the boy died while participating in a protest march. He said the canister fired by riot police caused burns on Saeed's chest arm and head.

The Interior Ministry has raised questions about the circumstances of Saeed's death, saying that burns on the boy's body could not have come from a tear gas canister. It has asked the public prosecutor to investigate.

A statement signed by six opposition groups condemned Sunday's attack on the funeral procession.

"We reaffirm our commitment to nonviolence," the statement said. "We call on the government to stop its policy of repression... and bring to trial those accused to respond to the legitimate demands of the Bahraini people."

Also Sunday, Bahrain's new police chief announced that the kingdom would hire an additional 500 police officers "from all sections of Bahrain society," according to a statement from the country's Information Affairs Authority. The official, Tariq Alhassan, said the extra officers would work only in communities from where they were recruited.

Bahrain's Shiites have long complained of systematic discrimination that largely keeps them out of state security forces and top government jobs.

The government has vowed to undertake reforms following the release of a report in November that outlined human rights abuses carried out by the government during this year's unrest.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Breast implants: UK to review risk assessment data

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 05:39 AM PST

A government review of data used to assess the risks posed by faulty breast implants is to be carried out, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said.

Mr Lansley said the review was due to conflicting data on implant ruptures.

He reiterated government advice that the implants, which 40,000 UK women have, do not require routine removal.

The implants by French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) were banned last year after they were found to contain a non-medical-grade silicone filler.

Last week, French authorities recommended that 30,000 women have faulty breast implants removed as a precaution.

The French government will cover the cost of the removals.

Mr Lansley repeated the stance, expressed by the UK government last week, that there was "no evidence" of a safety concern over the implants.

But he said he was concerned by the content and quality of some data, which required further analysis to answer issues around rupture rates.
Higher rate

The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has previously indicated that its data suggests the risk of rupture is only 1%, rather than the 5% estimated in France.

It relies on data from private providers concerning safety problems with implants. Of the 40,000 implant operations, 95% were carried out in the private sector.
Continue reading the main story
image of Fergus Walsh Fergus Walsh Medical correspondent, BBC News

Now that the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has ordered a review of the safety data on the banned PIP breast implants, we may be closer to solving a puzzle.

The puzzle is this - why did the French medical watchdog find that the implants have a 5% rupture rate, whereas the equivalent body here, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), found a 1% rupture rate - no worse than other makes?

Yesterday, a significant private health provider gave conflicting new evidence which revealed a higher rupture rate than their previous submitted data.

This prompted Mr Lansley to launch a review of the evidence.

Although this announcement means a further period of uncertainty for many women, the speed of the review should mean that they will have clearer answers about the safety of the implants within a matter of a week or so.

    Review of breast implant safety

On Friday a significant private health provider gave conflicting new evidence which revealed a higher rupture rate than their previous submitted data.

Mr Lansley said the NHS Medical Director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, had been asked to launch a review into PIP breast implants and scrutinise the data.

The group of experts will report back to ministers next week.

Mr Lansley said: "We are doing everything we can to ensure that women with these implants get the best possible advice.

"So far all the evidence from around the world suggests that women should not be worried and that there have not been abnormal levels of problems reported with these implants. But if any woman is worried, then they should contact their surgeon or GP."

In France, eight cases of cancer have been reported in women with the implants but authorities in the country say these are not necessarily linked to faulty implants.

One woman with an anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) cancer died. However, French and US experts have said there appears to be a small increased risk of this kind of rare cancer with any brand of implant.
'Unacceptable' delays

The authorities in France and Britain have said categorically that the PIP implants do not carry a breast cancer risk.
Continue reading the main story
What are the risks?

    The silicone inside the implants is not medical grade - but was intended for use in mattresses
    Tests have not shown any increased risk of toxicity from this filler compared to normal implants
    But mechanical testing has shown the implant covers have an increased risk of rupturing
    The gel inside can be irritative, increasing the risk of inflammation reaction - making removal more difficult
    There is no increased breast cancer risk
    One case of a rare form of cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) was recently reported in France
    French and US experts suggest there is a small but increased risk of this cancer for women with breast implants in general

    PIP breast implants: Your stories

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham backed the decision to review data but urged the government to reassure anxious women.

He said it was "unacceptable" some women were experiencing delays in accessing records from private cosmetic surgery companies.

"The government should work with all healthcare providers to ensure all women have access to their records without delay and without charge," he said.

PIP used non-medical-grade silicone believed to be made for mattresses, according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). This meant the low-cost devices were more likely to split.

PIP went into administration last year and the use of its implants was banned. At least 250 British women are taking legal action against the clinics that treated them.

More than 300,000 implants are believed to have been sold globally by PIP over the last 12 years in some 65 countries.

More than half of its exports went to South America, including to Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Chile. In Brazil, some 25,000 women are believed to have had the implants, according to the AFP news agency.

Western Europe was another major market. In addition to the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany and Ukraine are known to have imported PIP silicon sacs.

Serena Williams wins on Brisbane International return

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 01:57 AM PST

Serena Williams marked her return to competition in Australia with a 6-2 6-3 win over Chanelle Scheepers in round one of the Brisbane International.

The 30-year-old former world number one last played down under when she won the Australian Open title in 2010.

It was her first match since she was fined for an outburst in September's US Open final defeat against Sam Stosur.

Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic beat Tamira Paszek 6-3 6-3 and faces Kim Clijsters in round two.

Williams had her service broken in the opening game against South African Scheepers.

However, she fired seven aces and took advantage of eight double-faults by Scheepers to secure victory in 68 minutes and book a match with Serbian Bojana Jovanovski in the second round.

"That was definitely not easy, I think she (Scheepers) played really well," said Williams. "I didn't expect that."

Ivanovic, another former world number one, took a shade under 80 minutes to dispose of Austria's Paszek and she said: "There were some nerves involved, particularly early on but I felt I played well. Obviously there is still some room for improvement but it was the first match and I'm happy."

Four-time world number one Clijsters, now ranked 13th, has beaten Ivanovic in all four of their previous meetings.

The 28-year-old Belgian defeated Simona Halep of Romania in the opening round, her first match since August following an abdominal injury.

Ivanovic squandered five match points in her last match against Clijsters in March. Asked about their latest meeting, the Serbian added: "It will be a battle and I just want to try and apply things that I have worked on and see how that plays.

"I just need to go out there and test myself and push and see how far I am from the top players."

Top seed Stosur was due to play later on Monday against Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus.

Ind vs Aus: India aim to bounce back against Australia at SCG

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 01:41 AM PST

SYDNEY: Crushed in the series-opener, India would aim to draw level when they go into the second cricket Test against Australia on Tuesday amid growing concerns over their famed batting line-up's ability to deliver in overseas conditions.

The 122-run loss in the opening Test in Melbourne was demoralising but the Indians have a reputation of being bad starters on tours before bouncing back.

And India would be aiming for another one of those turnarounds at the SCG, hoping that veteran Sachin Tendulkar gets his eagerly-anticipated but elusive 100th international century to lead the way.

Their fine past record at the SCG, which will incidentally host its 100th Test, should give the Indians the confidence that was dented by the thrashing at Melbourne.

Australia doesn't intend to depart from the tested theory of aggressive bowling in seaming, helpful bowling conditions which served England so brilliantly this summer and is likely to yield rich dividends to Michael Clarke's men this time around.

As the Indian batsmen refuse to let go deliveries outside the off-stump or look for bowlers to get into their fourth and fifth spells, the wait on team getting to their 300s is becoming interminably long.

The hosts have retained the same eleven that did duty in Melbourne, which means Nathan Lyon will get another opportunity to prove his worth. The Indians have not yet announced their playing eleven but indications are that Virat Kohli may be persisted with.

In 11 Tests since the series against South Africa in 2010-11, India has crossed 400 only once on foreign soil. There have been only two scores in excess of 300.

In the last 10 Test innings, their best was the just-about 300 they managed at Oval this summer. All those centuries and thousands of runs and those carefully built reputations are just about that much worth.

And they should not expect any respite at the SCG, where the 'Monkeygate' scandal put the two team's relationship on a razor's edge in 2008.

The two protagonists of the ugly drama -- Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds -- are not around this time and therefore it is expected to be controversy-free.

Australia have made public their plan to dry up runs for the Indians. Coach Mickey Arthur has mocked the Indians' inability to play through maiden overs.

It starts with the top where Gautam Gambhir can't help but go for those dab shots to deliveries leaving his off-stump and Virender Sehwag, who wouldn't just leave those away deliveries and let them go through to the wicketkeeper.

The middle order of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman would go the other extreme of playing maidens after maidens. The looks of Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are of batsmen who don't back themselves to spend long minutes at the crease.

Only Tendulkar was reassuring at the MCG but it's a moot point what a solitary batsman alone can do when it is taking 11 Australians to scratch together competitive scores.

The other issue with India is the roadblock they these days hit against the tailenders. Often, the top order of the rivals is accounted for only for the tail to wag for long hours. At MCG, the tail added no less than 221 runs for Australia.

A lot of it is being blamed on skipper Dhoni himself and his tendency to spread the field at the sight of tailenders. The runs consequently leak all around and before long, the tailenders grow roots at the crease.

An important psychological point often missed is that a defensive field makes the bowlers bowl defensively too. It's not a very sound theory when the wicket is as helpful as the MCG was or the SCG is likely to be.

Tendulkar averages 221-odd and Laxman 96-odd from their outings at the SCG. The conditions at the venue would now be vastly different even though sun would be out on all five days.

The pitch at the SCG these days is vastly different from its traditional sub-continent like surface. Spinners have taken only 12 of the 57 wickets in domestic competition at the SCG this summer.

Indian bowlers perhaps would do their job -- more so if they happen to bowl first in really difficult batting conditions the SCG is likely to offer on the first day.

Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma are likely to get better and Ashwin would have more purchase from the surface. Yet it would be folly to believe that the Australians, especially their top order, wouldn't have learnt from their mistakes of the MCG.

At the base, the issue is how the Indian batsmen can turn around the corner. The last two days have been spent pondering; the next two in lead-up to the Test would be used in practicing those ideas at the nets.

There is no example better than that of Tendulkar himself who has spent hours facing the out-swingers at high speed from the bowling machine during nets on this tour.

Indians would have to force the Australians to bowl to their strength rather than fall for their plan. In that alone rests the chance of a revival. Otherwise, it's a depressing start to the New Year for the tourists.


India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane, Abhimanyu Mithun, Pragyan Ojha, Wriddhiman Saha, Rohit Sharma.

Eurozone manufacturing decline eases, PMI survey says

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 01:37 AM PST

Activity in the eurozone manufacturing sector fell for the fifth successive month in December, but showed a slight improvement on the previous month, a closely-watched survey suggests.

The Markit eurozone manufacturing PMI was 46.9 in the final month of 2011, up from November's 28-month low of 46.4.

Markit said production levels and new orders fell in all 17 member nations.

Employment picked up in Germany, France and Austria, but fell across the eurozone as a whole.

Markit said manufacturing growth in the final three months of last year was the weakest since the middle of 2009.

"Eurozone manufacturing is clearly undergoing another recession," said Markit's chief economist Chris Williamson.

"Despite the rate of decline easing slightly in December, production appears to have been collapsing across the single currency area at a quarterly rate of approximately 1.5% in the final quarter of 2011."

No country in the eurozone saw an increase in manufacturing activity in December.

Austria recorded the highest score of 49, followed by France on 48.9 and Germany on 48.4.

The survey also found that input prices across the eurozone fell for the third straight month.

Authorities identify 'person of interest' in park ranger's shooting

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 01:33 AM PST

A massive manhunt was under way early Monday for a man wanted for questioning in the shooting death of a park ranger and a shooting that left four injured in Washington state.

Federal and local authorities described Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, as a "person of interest" in the shooting of park ranger Margaret Anderson at Mount Rainier National Park on New Year's Day.

He is believed to be heavily armed and wearing body armor, according to authorities who scoured the rough park terrain looking for him.

"This is probably somebody who is experienced with the outdoors," Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer told CNN affiliates KOMO and KIRO of Seattle.

Barnes is also wanted in connection with a shooting Sunday in the Seattle suburb of Skyway that left four people wounded, the affiliates reported, citing the King County Sheriff's Department.
Park ranger Margaret Anderson, 34, was fatally shot in Washington\'s Mount Rainier National Park on Sunday.
Park ranger Margaret Anderson, 34, was fatally shot in Washington's Mount Rainier National Park on Sunday.
Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, is a \
Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, is a "person of interest" in the shooting of park ranger Margaret Anderson at Mount Rainier National Park on New Year's Day.

The park shooting began with "a normal traffic stop" around 10:30 a.m. PT (1:30 p.m. ET), Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Lee Taylor told CNN. But the suspect didn't heed a request to pull over, prompting a ranger to radio ahead requesting assistance.

Anderson, 34, responded to that call and set up her patrol vehicle as a roadblock. When the gunman arrived at the roadblock, he got out of his car and shot her, Taylor said.

Anderson managed to call for help, alerting Pierce County Sheriff's deputies that she had been shot, Troyer said.

Deputies "tried to get to her, and they were fired upon," Troyer said. "They managed to get a small team together to get to her, and get her out of the line of fire. Medic checked her and, unfortunately, she was dead."

The suspect then ran into the spacious national park, whose border is about 50 miles southeast of Seattle, authorities said. The park -- the centerpiece being the 14,410-foot Mount Rainier, which is considered an active volcano -- comprises 235,625 acres in the Cascade Range.

Investigators found evidence of weapons and body armor in the suspect's car, Troyer said.

Authorities used helicopters equipped with infrared cameras late Sunday and early Monday to try to track the gunman in the park, KOMO reported. More than 150 law enforcement officers were involved in the search, authorities said.

The park was locked down after the shooting. Taylor said authorities evacuated "most of the people ... safely," with more than 100 people "holed up in our primary visitor center" with food, water and five law enforcement officers standing guard.

"We don't want to try to have those people get to their vehicle and caravan down the park road where it could be dangerous, being sniped at by a gunman," Taylor said Sunday night. "So for now, they are going to sit tight in the visitor center."

Between 4 to 5 feet of snow is on the ground.

"There's a lot of snow on the ground, (and) it would be difficult to move through quickly," Taylor said. "And it's heavily forested."

Anderson was the mother of a 4-year-old and 1-year-old, and the wife of a fellow park ranger, according to Taylor.

A ranger at Mount Rainier for the past four years, Anderson "was on the job not for money or for glory, but out of a love for wild places and the national parks," Taylor said.

"She was a person with a quick smile, a very gentle person, a very competent ranger," Taylor said. "This gunman took the life of somebody who had a great deal to live for and was making great contributions to society by being a national park ranger."

Kenya boat capsize near Lamu 'kills many'

Posted: 02 Jan 2012 01:29 AM PST

A passenger boat has capsized off the Kenyan coast, killing at least seven people and leaving more than two dozen missing, aid workers and officials say.

The authorities are looking for survivors, but a high tide is hampering rescue efforts. Some 70 passengers are believed to have been on board.

Some 25 people have been rescued and 23 managed to swim to shore, the Red Cross says.

The boat capsized near the resort town of Lamu near the border with Somalia.

The boat was going to Mokowe, ferrying passengers to get a bus to Mombasa, a senior policeman told the BBC's Network Africa programme.