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Zimbabwe could seize companies

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Zimbabwe could seize companies)

President Robert Mugabe’s government says the bill is part of its drive to empower the country’s poor majority and eliminate traces of the colonial past.

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Legislators of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) kicked off debate on the bill, saying it was designed to enrich a few powerful individuals and win votes for the ruling ZANU-PF party in parliamentary and presidential elections due next March.

At the UN General Assembly in New York, US President George W. Bush denounced Mr Mugabe’s government as “tyrannical” and demanded freedom for the Zimbabwean people.

But African nations, closing ranks behind Mr Mugabe, insist on his presence at an EU-Africa summit in Portugal in December, Zimbabwe’s information minister said in response to the British prime minister’s refusal to attend if Mr Mugabe was there.

Repression blamed for exodus

Critics accuse the Zimbabwean government of causing the economic crisis by seizing white-owned farms and handing them to inexperienced black farmers, leading to soaring inflation and unemployment and crippling shortages that have forced hundreds of thousands to seek work and food abroad.

Mr Mugabe has denied charges of economic mismanagement and blames the crisis on Western sabotage.

The European Union has imposed targeted sanctions on members of his leadership group it accuses of rights abuses and election fraud.

A survey released in Johannesburg today showed political repression was an even bigger cause of Zimbabwean flight to South Africa than the economy.

Between two and three million Zimbabweans are estimated to have fled to South Africa.

“The government has cracked down on peaceful calls for reform and forced millions to flee their homeland…The United Nations must insist on change in Harare and…on the freedom of the people of Zimbabwe,” Mr Bush told the UN General Assembly.

Foreign conspiracy theory

The MDC’s Edwin Mushoriwa, leading parliament’s debate on the bill, told lawmakers: “What we are seeing is an attempt obviously to use this as a campaign tool to woo voters for the elections and to give money to a few people.”

Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana and ZANU-PF legislators defended the bill and accused its opponents of trying to perpetuate economic imbalances brought about by colonialism.

“If we do not dismantle the structure of colonialism that we inherited, then we have not given back all the country’s resources to its rightful owners, our people,” he said.

Mr Mugabe, 83 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has accused some foreign-owned firms of working with his Western opponents to topple his government by raising prices without reason.

He has threatened to seize foreign businesses.

Mr Mangwana tried to allay business fears by saying the government would work with industries to set timetables for foreign-owned firms to transfer majority ownership to locals.

“We are not going to indigenise in a day,” he said.

Fears for the economy

Mining and business officials said the law could accelerate the decline of an economy that has shrunk by at least 30 per cent since 1999.

“Zimbabwe is now seen as a high-risk destination because of uncertainty over security of tenure and lack of confidence in the rule of law,” Chamber of Mines leader Jack Murewa said.

Information Minister Sikhanhyiso Ndlovu told journalists Mr Mugabe had solid African backing to attend the December summit.

“If any pressure is put on Portugal not to invite President Mugabe, SADC will also not attend and the AU will not attend,” he said, referring to the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said last week he would not attend the summit if Mr Mugabe did because Mr Mugabe’s presence would divert attention from important agenda items.

The EU-Africa summit did not take place in 2003 after Britain and other EU states refused to attend if Mr Mugabe did.

Somalians on the brink of starvation flee

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Somalians on the brink of starvation flee)

More than 170,000 people have fled fighting in Somalia's capital in the past two weeks, as up to a million people face starvation.

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The humanitarian crisis already facing the country is worsening, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency.

With near-daily clashes between Ethiopia-Somali forces and Islamist rebels, the UNHCR said it was doling out its last stocks from Mogadishu to the displaced, but warned of tough conditions as host areas struggle with the influx.

Some 90,000 people have fled to Afgooye, 30 kilometres west of Mogadishu, which has already taken in some 150,000 displaced people since the beginning of the year.

In the Afgooye area, “people can no longer find space for shelter around the town itself,” UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva.

“Many families are simply living under trees.

Although several NGOs are trucking water to the sites, it's not enough to meet demand,” he added.

Traders stayed away from the volatile Bakara market, where forces have been searching for weapons.

Government troops patrolled strategic positions in the city, but insurgents have stayed out of sight.

President calls on residents

Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed urged Mogadishu residents to join the fight against rebels or risk getting caught in the ensuing crossfire.

“People in neighbourhoods must also fight the Shabab and chase them away.

“Otherwise they are the ones who suffer in crackdowns,” he said, referring to the radical armed wing of the main Somali Islamist movement.

Dozens of people, mainly civilians, have been killed and at least 170,000 displaced in some of the worst fighting since April, when Ethiopian troops swept aside the Islamists who had briefly governed much of the country, including Mogadishu.

Witnesses said Ethiopian forces indiscriminately shot civilians in a bid to clamp down on insurgents.

“When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers,” said Mr Yusuf, but the UN special envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, said such impunity was “unacceptable”.

Mr Ould-Abdallah raised the prospect of retribution for alleged war crimes that have long been ignored.

“People perpetuating crimes and violence are not being challenged before the International Criminal Court,” he said.

“I think the time has come to see what international justice can do to help Somalis,” he said in Nairobi, where he became the first top UN envoy to make such a call for trials before the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal.

The recent clashes have worsened the humanitarian crisis that has dogged the nation for 16 years, with areas just outside the city struggling to cope with the latest influx of displaced people.

One million faced with starvation

The Shabelle region – Somalia's breadbasket – has suffered its worst crop in 13 years, putting the lives of nearly a million on the edge of starvation.

Aid workers have also said that the few who remained in the worst-affected areas of Mogadishu are beyond the reach of the relief net and face dire conditions.

Dampening peace prospects, Mr Yusuf said future peace talks, if any, would exclude Islamists, some of whose elements have been accused of terrorism.

“I will hold dialogue and consultations and reach peace deals with any group that will denounce violence.”

In Mogadishu, government forces yanked two more radio stations off the air, a day after shutting Radio Shabelle, one of the largest broadcasters in the capital.

The government said stations that “exaggerate the (security) situation” will be shut.

Mr Ould-Abdallah condemned the closure, saying: “This is the kind of thing that should be avoided.”

The International Federation of Journalists said the move was “appalling” and demanded the channels be reopened “immediately and unconditionally.”

Bloody clan bickering and power struggles that intensified after the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre have scuppered many bids to stabilise Somalia.

Trade dominates Day Two talks

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Trade dominates Day Two talks)

Prime Minister John Howard says the leaders, who represent major trading nations such as the United States, Japan, China and Russia, will issue a statement later in the day on trade talks now under way in Geneva.

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The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is expected to pledge to ensure that the moribund Doha round of global trade talks enter their final phase this year.

Free trade talks

Asia-Pacific foreign and trade ministers meeting in Sydney have already agreed to accelerate global free trade talks.

US President George W Bush has called at APEC for more flexibility in world trade talks, saying the Doha round of talks in Geneva was a "once-in-a-generation opportunity".

APEC's 21-member economies account for half of global trade and nearly 60 per cent of the world's gross domestic product.

‘Close to deal’

Trade negotiators may be edging closer to a deal on the most divisive issues in the Doha talks, WTO director-general Pascal Lamy says.

"There is a strong sense that it's make-or-break moment.

“It may take a few weeks, but my sense is that there is a lot of focus and energy," Mr Lamy told CNBC in a taped interview.

Urgent negotiations

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, who is attending APEC, says she also sees a sense of urgency and motivation among negotiators.

The Doha Round, named after the Qatari capital where negotiations were launched in November 2001, was first meant to wrap up by the end of 2004.

The talks have struggled to overcome many countries' resistance to open their farm and manufacturing sectors to more competition.

‘Aspirational’ climate goals

The APEC leaders agreed yesterday to a "long-term aspirational goal" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but no binding targets.

They also said all nations, developing and developed, should contribute according to their own capacities and circumstances to reducing greenhouse gases.

Green groups say the "Sydney Declaration" was a failure without binding targets to cut greenhouse emissions.

Tight security

The leaders met behind a tight security cordon at the Sydney Opera House, after police say they feared violent street protests against the Iraq war and global warming.

But yesterday's anti-APEC protest march was peaceful, with only a few arrests.

The final day of the conference will proceed without President Bush, who flew out of Australia late on Saturday.

Mr Bush returned home early to prepare for a major report on the progress of the Iraq war.

Mexico back on F1 calendar

August 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Mexico back on F1 calendar)

Plans for a Grand Prix in New York have been dropped from the provisional calendar for the 2014 Formula One season, revealed to reporters on Thursday, but Mexico does return.

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New Jersey had hoped to stage a race around a 3.2-mile street circuit with views of the New York City skyline but, instead, Mexico can look forward to hosting a first Grand Prix since 1992 at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.

A race in South Korea also features in the 21-event calendar.

A first draft of the 2014 provisional calendar has been distributed to teams ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix but must be approved at a meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council due to take place in Croatia on September 26-28.

If it is approved and all the races take place, the teams will face their longest season in the history of the sport.

In addition to the return of Mexico, where big and enthusiastic crowds have always greeted F1, the calendar includes an event in Russia at the winter Olympic venue Sochi.

As expected, the season will start in Australia on March 16 with Malaysia a week later.

The Korean Grand Prix has been moved from the end of season run of flyaway events to become the fourth race of the campaign, taking place in the week after the Chinese GP.

However, the event is likely to only be made official subject to the completion of a contract.

The Austrian Grand Prix is also due to return and has been given a provisional date of June 22.

The returning Austrian race is pencilled in for June 22, earlier than the original July 6 date.

The new Russian Grand Prix at Sochi will become a back-to-back with Abu Dhabi, while the Mexican Grand Prix is being twinned with the United States Grand Prix at Austin, Texas.

Draft calendar for the 2014 Formula One season:

March 16 – Australia (Melbourne)

March 23 – Malaysia (Sepang)

April 6 – China (Shanghai)

April 13 – South Korea* (Korea International Circuit)

April 27 – Bahrain (Sakhir)

May 11 – Spain (Barcelona)

May 25 – Monaco (Monaco)

June 8 – Canada (Montreal)

June 22 – Austria (Red Bull Ring)

July 6 – Great Britain (Silverstone)

July 20 – Germany (Hockenheim)

July 27 – Hungary (Budapest)

August 24 – Belgium (Spa)

September 7 – Italy (Monza)

September 21 – Singapore (Marina Bay)

October 5 – Japan (Suzuka)

October 19 – Russia* (Sochi)

October 26 – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)

November 9 – Mexico* (Mexico City)

November 16 – USA (Circuit of the Americas, Austin)

November 30 – Brazil (Interlagos)

* Subject to confirmation

India’s Lahiri lights up European Masters

August 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on India’s Lahiri lights up European Masters)

CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland, Sept 5 AFP – Unheralded Anirban Lahiri of India carded an eight under par 63 on Thursday to take a two-shot lead after the opening round of the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre.

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Ranked 178 in the world entering the prestigious EPGA event in the Swiss Alps, the 26-year-old from Bangalore built his score around two eagles, including a 140-yard second shot on the ninth that flew straight into the cup.

Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez – who set the course record of 61 on his way to winning in 2010 – and Englishmen Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood were two shots back.

“It’s nice to come back here with a bang as it was a tough pill to swallow last year missing the cut in the manner I did, so I’m delighted,” said Lahiri.

“I did not get off to a great start to be one over after four but then you never really expect to then have two eagles, so I tried just to build on the momentum of that.”

Two-time Ryder Cup winner Thomas Bjoern of Denmark was alone on five-under 66 after firing five birdies during a solid bogey-free round.

Six players, including Spanish veteran Jose Maria Olazabal, Scotland’s Stephen Gallagher and Thailand’s Pariva Junhasavasdikul were a further shot back on 67.

The day, however, belonged to Lahiri, who was lying in fourth place after an opening-round 66 last year but got caught out by a change in weather conditions on day two and ended up shooting an 81 to miss the cut.

“Playing here last year was a new experience for me as I went out in the second morning with about four layers on and after three to four holes I was sweating like a pig,” he recalled.

“The next thing I knew I had to peel off some clothes but then the clouds rolled in and the wind got up and I started then feeling like an icicle on the back nine.

“So that was a harsh lesson to learn and hopefully I can make amends this week.” added Lahiri, who only qualified for his first major at the 2012 British Open, where he not only made the cut but scored a hole-in-one during his third round.

Mowen’s rapid Wallabies rise continues

August 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Mowen’s rapid Wallabies rise continues)

Late-blooming Wallabies forward Ben Mowen’s amazing ride just gets better.

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After playing just five Tests in his debut season of Test rugby, the 28-year-old has been named Australia’s vice-captain for Saturday night’s Rugby Championship clash with South Africa.

A costly hamstring injury to skipper James Horwill has seen Will Genia given the captaincy for the Suncorp Stadium encounter and Mowen promoted as deputy.

The No.8, who had consistently been overlooked by former coach Robbie Deans until this season, rates it an even bigger honour than gaining his first Test cap.

“It’s the proudest moment of my rugby career for sure,” Mowen said.

“I feel extremely privileged to be a part of this group, and then to get a responsibility like vice-captain it means the world to me.”

Virtually unwanted by the NSW Waratahs two seasons ago when they signed Rocky Elsom from the Brumbies, Mowen’s move to Canberra was the trigger for his rapid rise this year.

Brumbies coach Jake White stunned all and sundry when he named the recruit captain ahead of Wallabies front-rowers Stephen Moore and Ben Alexander before he’d made his ACT debut.

“It was a massive (surprise),” Mowen said. “I wasn’t expecting that at all and it’s a similar feeling to the one I have at the moment.

“It’s amazing when I look back at that decision (to leave NSW).

“I was enjoying my time at the Waratahs and they were a great bunch of guys. There were so many positives but the toughest thing was challenging myself outside that arena.

“Sometimes you just have to move out of your comfort zone and back yourself.”

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie also saw Mowen’s leadership attributes early on when he named him captain for his Waratahs debut in a trial against Queensland in 2008.

McKenzie said the Brisbane product’s captaincy experience, intellect and complimentary personality to Genia led to his promotion as vice-captain.

The Wallabies are aiming to keep intact their unbeaten record against the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium and also end the visitors’ current nine-Test winning streak.

Lineout caller Mowen said the biggest thing he’d learned in Test rugby was that every moment mattered.

“There are no small moments, everything counts and every moment could be the one that turns the tide and can win the Test.”

That was rammed home when Mowen was penalised for pulling back New Zealand lock Brodie Retallick in backplay in Wellington, which cost Australia a shot at penalty goal and a 9-7 lead.

Instead the All Blacks kicked their own three-pointer in a massive momentum shift on the way to a 27-16 result.

“It was a big lesson and I’m sure I’ve learned it.”

Growing sports revenues demand strategy, vision

August 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Growing sports revenues demand strategy, vision)

The 26 federations which took part in the 2012 London Olympics will divide up more than half a billion dollars in International Olympic Committee money, the largest amount ever dished out by the Olympic body.

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They shared less than $300 million only four years earlier at the Beijing Olympics, Andrew Ryan, general director of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) told Reuters on Thursday.

“This is a very significant increase,” Ryan said. “In Barcelona in 1992 that figure was less than $30 million in total and federations divided up about $1.5 million each.”

After what Ryan said was the “phenomenal success” of the London Olympics last year, federations, split in four groups, made no less than $14 million and as much as $47 million for athletics.

Rankings have been recalculated for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics, placing 28 sports – including new ones golf and rugby – into five groups.

“Sport is growing globally and international federations (IFs) see the same growth in their own revenues as in the revenues from the Olympics,” Ryan said.

“The IFs are ramping up their revenues.”

GROWING INCOME

He said income distributed from the Rio Games would again be in the $500 million range due to the long-term TV deals that have been agreed years before, the main source of the federations’ Olympic revenues.

But as Olympic revenues grow every four years so will international federations earnings.

Broadcasting revenues alone, the biggest source of income for the IOC, are predicted to top $4 billion until 2016.

“The future for federations is to think ahead, have a strategic plan. There will be casualties… those who fail to understand and modernise,” Ryan said.

One of the federations that failed to read the writing on the wall was wrestling which lost its spot in the 2020 Olympics in February.

The federation jumped into action, overhauling the sport and its administration in the past seven months to make a shortlist along with softball/baseball and squash for inclusion back in the Olympics and the Games’s financial gravy train.

“One of the consequences (of this growth) is that the gap between Olympic sports and non-Olympic sports is growing,” Ryan said.

An Olympic exit is certain to severely curtail a sport’s popularity, funding and reach. It means a cut in funding and a drop in overall broadcasting revenues, equipment sales, membership numbers as well as government funding in many countries and far less exposure.

“Every year by just being an Olympic sport it brings in hundreds of millions of dollars,” Ryan said. “It is serious. It is not just the few millions (in Olympic revenues), it is the hundreds of millions they would lose by being out of the Games.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

New Yahoo logo slims down

August 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on New Yahoo logo slims down)

Web giant Yahoo has updated its logo with slimmer letters, while keeping its familiar purple colour and exclamation mark.

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“We knew we wanted a logo that reflected Yahoo – whimsical, yet sophisticated,” Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer said in a blog post. “Modern and fresh, with a nod to our history. Having a human touch, personal. Proud.”

On the Yahoo home page, visitors will see the familiar exclamation mark dancing along the letters before settling at the end of the name at a slight angle.

The updated logo comes as the internet pioneer continues a quest to re-invent itself after being eclipsed by Google in the world of online search.

Mayer says the Yahoo team “didn’t want to have any straight lines in the logo. Straight lines don’t exist in the human form and are extremely rare in nature, so the human touch in the logo is that all the lines and forms all have at least a slight curve.”

As a result, the design has “thicker and thinner strokes – conveying the subjective and editorial nature of some of what we do,” Mayer said.

She added that the new logo evokes the “Yahoo yodel” by making the final O larger than the first.

“We wanted to preserve that and do something playful with the OO’s,” Mayer said.

“We wanted there to be a mathematical consistency to the logo, really pulling it together into one coherent mark.”

The unveiling generated considerable reaction on social media and tech blogs, much of it unfavourable.

Silicon Valley gossip blog ValleyWag called the new logo “ugly”, and the news blog TechCrunch noted that users still preferred the old design.

“Yahoo! turned the logo refresh into a month-long event, a purple smoke and mirrors affair to mask inactivity with marketing,” wrote Sam Biddle on ValleyWag.

ECB ‘cautious’ about eurozone recovery

July 16th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on ECB ‘cautious’ about eurozone recovery)

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi has sought to temper hopes that the eurozone is about to rebound strongly, insisting that the nascent recovery remains extremely fragile.

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“I am very, very cautious about recovery. I can’t share the enthusiasm,” Draghi told a news conference on Thursday after the ECB held its key interest rates at their current record lows for the fourth consecutive month.

And the central bank “stands ready to act” should the situation suddenly deteriorate again in face of, for example, geo-political risks related to the situation in Syria, Draghi said.

“Certainly we are alert to geopolitical risks that may come out of the Syrian situation and economic risks that may derive from emerging markets situation,” the central bank chief said.

Earlier, Draghi had revealed the ECB’s latest updated growth and inflation forecasts for the 17 countries that share the euro.

And while the projections were fractionally more optimistic with regard to growth this year, they were more cautious about the outlook for next year.

Draghi says that the central bank’s staff projections see the eurozone economy shrinking by 0.4 per cent this year and then growing by 1.0 per cent next year.

In the bank’s previous forecasts in June, the economy had been expected to contract by 0.6 per cent in 2013 and grow by 1.1 per cent in 2014.

Looking at price developments, area-wide inflation was projected to average 1.5 per cent this year and then 1.3 per cent in 2014, compared with the previous forecasts of 1.4 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively.

Following six quarters of negative output growth, real gross domestic product (GDP) in the eurozone increased by 0.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2013.

Monster volcano uncovered on Pacific floor

July 16th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Monster volcano uncovered on Pacific floor)

Geologists say they’ve uncovered a stupendous volcano that is the biggest in the world and rivals the greatest in the Solar System.

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Dubbed Tamu Massif, the volcano is part of the Shatsky Rise, a deep plateau on the floor of the Pacific located around 1600km east of Japan, they said.

It comprises a single, immense, rounded dome in the shape of a shield, formed of hardened lava from an eruption around 144 million years ago.

It covers around 310,000 square kilometres (119,000 square miles) – the equivalent area of Britain and Ireland combined – and slopes upwards to a height of around 3.5km above the sea floor.

“Tamu Massif is the largest known single, central volcano in the world,” the team reported in the journal Nature Geoscience.

In area, “it is … approximately the same as the British Isles or Olympus Mons on Mars, which is considered the largest volcano in the Solar System.”

It adds: “Although Olympus Mons seems to be a giant because it is more than 20km in height, its volume is only around 25 per cent larger.”

Olympus Mons, in addition, has relatively shallow roots, whereas Tamu Massif delves some 30km into Earth’s crust.

Ocean surveyors had until now surmised Tamu Massif to be a vast system of multiple volcanoes, a kind that exists in about a dozen locations around the planet.

The realisation that it was a single volcano of truly massive size only came to light when the team, led by William Sager at Texas A&M University, sought an overview.

They assembled data from rock samples, taken from an ocean-floor drilling project, and a chart of the seabed, provided by deep-penetration seismic scanners aboard a survey ship.

Put together, the findings suggest mega-volcanoes found in other parts of the Solar System have cousins on Earth, says the paper.

“The Earth variety is poorly understood because these monsters found a better place to hide – beneath the sea,” it argues.

In an email exchange with AFP, Sager said it seemed unlikely that Tamu Massif was still active.

“The bottom line is that we think that Tamu Massif was built in a short (geologically speaking) time of one to several million years and it has been extinct since,” he said.

“One interesting angle is that there were lots of oceanic plateaus (that) erupted during the Cretaceous Period (145-65 million years ago) but we don’t see them since. Scientists would like to know why.”

Other volcanic leviathans could be lurking among the dozen or so large oceanic plateaux around the world, he thought.

“We don’t have the data to see inside them and know their structure, but it would not surprise me to find out that there are more like Tamu out there,” he said.

The name Tamu comes from Texas A&M University, where Sager taught for 29 years before moving to the University of Houston this year, he explained.

Egypt’s interior minister survives blast

July 16th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Egypt’s interior minister survives blast)

Egyptian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim has survived an assassination attempt unhurt and vowed to go ahead with his “war on terrorism”.

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An explosion was set off as the minister was on his way in a motorcade from his house in Nasr City in eastern Cairo to the Interior Ministry building in central Cairo, the state-run Middle East News Agency quoted a security source as saying.

Twenty-one people, including 11 policemen, were injured, said health authorities.

Ibrahim appeared on state television shortly after the attack, condemning it as “cowardly.”

He said the attack, the first of its kind in Egypt in years, marked a “new wave of terrorism.”

“The incident is a return to terrorism of the 1990s,” he told the independent newspaper al-Masri al-Youm.

“I do not rule out the possible involvement of foreign sides with domestic elements to stir a kind of terrorism in Egypt,” he said, without elaborating.

During the 1990s, Egypt saw a series of attacks against government officials and foreign tourists.

Those attacks were blamed on radical Islamists fighting the government of then-president Hosny Mubarak.

Thursday’s explosion was caused by a bomb planted near Ibrahim’s house and was detonated by a remote controller, according to the Interior Ministry.

Human remains were found on the scene, raising the possibility that the attack could have been carried out by a suicide bomber, said the ministry. State media had initially reported that the explosion had been caused by a car bomb.

TV footage showed several charred cars and stores damaged in the aftermath. No one has claimed responsibility.

Russia holding UN ‘hostage’ on Syria: US

July 16th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on Russia holding UN ‘hostage’ on Syria: US)

The US has accused Russia of holding the UN Security Council “hostage” over the Syria chemical weapons crisis.

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With the White House pushing Congress to approve military strikes on Syria, US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said she could see no way to seek Security Council approval for action against President Bashar al-Assad because of Russia’s blocking.

Amid mounting tensions between Washington and Moscow, Power said Russia’s protection of Assad has put the whole Security Council system of handling international crises under strain.

“Even in the wake of the flagrant shattering of the international norm against chemical weapons use, Russia continues to hold the council hostage and shirk its international responsibilities,” Power told reporters as Russia hosted US President Barack Obama at the Group of 20 summit.

Power, who took over as US envoy to the United Nations one month ago, said the UN Security Council system, in which the five permanent members – Russia, the United States, China, France and Britain – can veto any resolution, had failed the Syrian people.

“Instead the system has protected the prerogatives of Russia – the patron of a regime that has brazenly staged the world’s largest chemical weapons attack in a quarter century,” Power said.

The envoy spoke after US officials briefed other UN members on evidence that Assad’s forces carried out an attack using banned poison sarin gas near Damascus on August 21.

She said the evidence “overwhelmingly” points to an attack by Assad forces.

The United States says more than 1,400 people died in the attack, which the Assad government, supported by Russia, has blamed on Syrian rebels.

Since an uprising against Assad erupted in March 2011, Russia and China have vetoed three western-proposed resolutions that would have aimed to increase pressure on Assad, without imposing sanctions.

The Russian president said this week he would be ready to consider Security Council action if he could be convinced that Assad forces staged the August 21 attack. Power said she did not believe Putin would budge however.

“We have seen nothing in President Putin’s comments that suggest that there is an available path forward at the Security Council,” the US envoy said.

The Obama administration is seeking approval from lawmakers for military strikes, which could be joined by France.

Power’s comments reinforced Obama’s stance that he was ready to order strikes without UN approval. And she stressed US exasperation at the repeated blocking of Security Council resolutions and statements.

The resolutions had been proposed hoping that “our common security and our common humanity might prevail,” she said.

“Unfortunately, for the past two and half years the system devised in 1945 precisely to deal with threats of this nature did not work as it was supposed to. It has not protected peace and security for the hundreds of Syrian children who were gassed to death on August 21. It is not protecting the stability of the region.”

America’s Cup rivals vow fierce battle

July 16th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 上海性息 - (Comments Off on America’s Cup rivals vow fierce battle)

The time for talking is done in the America’s Cup, with the final races shaping up to be a blood match launched Saturday on San Francisco Bay.

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Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill and Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker barely glanced at one another during a press conference on Thursday at which they each predicted racing will be fierce for yachting’s prized trophy.

“They probably both want to kill each other,” Emirates Australian wing trimmer Glenn Ashby quipped when asked what the rival skippers, both of whom he has sailed with, had in common.

Spithill said that in a shocking turn of events, defending champion Oracle has become the underdog due to penalties imposed on the US team as the result of a cheating scandal.

“We found out only four days out from the Cup who our race team could be. We lost one of our key guys, and we start out Saturday two points behind,” the Australian said. “So yes, I think we are the underdog.”

Oracle was docked two points for cheating during preliminary regattas. One Oracle sailor and two shore team members were banned outright and one sailor suspended four races after the team made illegal modifications to prototype boats it sailed in the America’s Cup World Series.

Software billionaire Larry Ellison’s outfit was also fined $US250,000 ($A274,000).

“We have the fight of our life on our hands,” Spithill said as he looked ahead to the 17-race series that starts on Saturday against the backdrop of Alcatraz and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

“There is a real hunger now given what has transpired,” he added. “Something has clicked and come Saturday everyone is going to be fired up on our boat.”

New Zealand will also bring its sailing passion to the Bay for the Cup finals, Barker promised.

“We have done everything we can. The team is in very good spirits and excited now we can finally get to go racing,” Barker said.

“Whether you think you are the favorite or the underdog, it is two teams going racing.”

Despite the expulsion of primary wing trimmer Dirk de Ridder and grinder Matt Mitchell’s four-race suspension, Oracle can still rely on the talented Spithill, who became the event’s youngest champion, aged just 30, with Oracle’s defeat of Swiss team Alinghi in 2010.

Further strengthening their ranks is American tactician and 11-time world champion John Kostecki, a 1988 Olympic silver medallist and 2001-02 Volvo Ocean Race winner. Oracle’s other helmsman is British four-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie.

Their challengers, Team New Zealand, romped to a 7-1 victory over Italy’s Luna Rossa in an underwhelming Louis Vuitton Cup to progress to the showpiece for the fifth time in the past six contests.

Despite the farcical nature of the challenger series, which featured just three teams compared to the 11 that competed in 2007 and prompted complaints from unhappy sponsors, the Kiwis gained valuable in-competition experience that could give them a further head start over their beleaguered rivals, who have relied solely on training runs thus far.

“We have the two most technically advanced pieces of yachting machinery coming against each other for the first time in a tight space; if that’s not cool, what is?” Ashby asked rhetorically.

However, Oracle attracted criticism for the decision to race the AC72s — expensive, 22-metre (72-foot) wing-sail catamarans that can travel faster than 80 km/h). Prohibitive costs kept many competitors away and their temperamental handling sparked concerns over safety.

“We’ve been sitting here listening to a lot of stuff, now it is time to get out there on the water,” Spithill said. “I expect next week to be the toughest week of my life.”

This is the first time in the Cup’s 162-year history that the races are being held “in-shore” to allow race-track style viewing for spectators on the shoreline.

Two races are scheduled for Saturday.