Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Odemwingie leaves Liverpool red faced

Nigeria goal poacher Peter Odemwingie added to the pressure on Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish with the weekend winner for West Bromwich Albion at Anfield.

He snatched the lone goal 15 minutes from time as the 'Reds' once again flopped at home to lie an embarrassing eighth on the English Premier League table -- 37 points adrift of leaders Manchester United.

QPR and Morocco midfielder Adel Taarabt had a mixed day against former club Tottenham Hotspur at Loftus Road, scoring the winner midway through the first half and being red carded in the closing stages.


PETER ODEMWINGIE (West Bromwich Albion)

The Nigeria forward scored the only goal of the game as the Baggies ended their 45-year wait for a win at Anfield with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool. There were 15 minutes left when the Baggies, who had been under persistent pressure, saw Odemwingie strike after being played in by Democratic Republic of Congo midfielder Youssuf Mulumbu.

ADEL TAARABT (Queens Park Rangers)

The Morocco midfielder scored what could be a priceless goal for Rangers in their battle to avoid Premier League relegation, securing a 1-0 win over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur -- his former club -- with a superb 25-yard free-kick in the 24th minute at Loftus Road. He was sent off for a second bookable offence 12 minutes from time but QPR held on.


The Senegal striker's impressive scoring run since joining from German club Freiburg in January continued as he made it 11 goals from 10 matches during a 3-0 win at home to Stoke that took the Magpies into fourth place. Cisse struck in between two goals from Yohan Cabaye when the French midfielder turned provider in the 18th minute, allowing the forward to beat Asmir Begovic with a first-time shot.



Having gone five games without scoring, Gabon star Aubameyang found the net twice in Saint-Etienne's 4-1 win at Caen to take his tally to 13 league goals this season. The 22-year-old set up his side's opener in the 40th minute with a left-wing cross that was turned in by Caen defender Aurelien Montaroup, before making it 2-0 on the hour with a 20-yard shot that goalkeeper Alexis Thebaux could only help on its way into the net. Aubameyang sealed victory in the 83rd minute with a header from Ivorian team-mate Max Gradel's dinked cross.


Senegalese international Camara scored the only goal of the game as Montpellier edged Valenciennes 1-0 to preserve their two-point lead over Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the table. Camara found the target in unorthodox fashion in the fifth minute, deflecting a fierce cross from his Moroccan team-mate Younes Belhanda inside the left-hand post from close range with his knee.


Mali striker Maiga scored for the fifth game in succession but saw his side slump to a 6-1 defeat against Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes. Maiga got his name on the score-sheet in the 12th minute, cancelling out Javier Pastore's opener for the hosts by beating PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu to Marvin Martin's raking pass and scoring with a brave header. It was his ninth league goal of the season.


JOEL MATIP (Schalke 04)

The Cameroon midfielder's long ball put Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar away to score Schalke 04's equaliser on 38 minutes in their 1-1 draw at Augsburg after the hosts took an early lead. Schalke are third in the Bundesliga table, which carries an automatic Champions League qualification place, but only two points clear of Moenchengladbach with two games left this season.



The Morocco centre-back was largely at fault for the incident that should have proved decisive in Udinese's 0-0 draw at Chievo. Benatia hesitated and lost the ball in midfield leading to a Chievo break that resulted in a penalty. Cyril Thereau's spot-kick was saved by Samir Handanovic and Benatia's blushes were spared. He improved in the second half and was quite solid, but is no longer the rock he was in the first half of the season.


The Ghana midfielder provided one moment of ingenuity in the first half when his clever back-heel to Pablo Armero could have resulted in more of a chance but it went begging. Asamoah otherwise looked lost in midfield where Chievo controlled matters in a goalless stalemate. Asamoah's loss of form, like Benatia's, is a major reason that previously flying Udinese are now struggling.


The Ghana midfielder was a passenger at times in a disapointing all-round performance from his team in the 1-1 home draw with Bologna. Muntari did not give one of his better performances although he helped the side get a grip of the match in the second period when they started to take the ascendancy.



The Ivorian striker scored an important equaliser for Levante against the club who still own his registration, Sevilla, in the 1-1 draw between the clubs. The goal was his 14th in the league this season, making him top scorer for a Levante side that remain fifth and in contention for qualification for European competition next season.


The Algerian midfielder scored his sixth goal of the season as his Valencia side romped home 4-0 winners over Betis. Feghouli played a starring role in the victory and was responsible for Betis going down to 10 men in the second half when he was pulled down by Jose Dorado with a free run at goal.


The Nigerian striker played in Granada's important 1-0 victory over Getafe that all but guarantees the participation of the Andalusian club in the first division for a second season after their promotion last summer. Granada have fielded a number of African players this season, including Algerian Hassan Yebda, Senegalese defender Pape Diakhate and fellow Nigerian Ighalo Odion, but Uche was the only one involved at the weekend.

Official: Sudan planes drop 8 bombs on South Sudan

Sudan continued with its aerial bombardment of South Sudan on Tuesday, dropping eight bombs overnight, an official said, as South Sudan's president said the attacks amounted to a declaration of war by Sudan.

South Sudan's military spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said that Sudanese Antonovs dropped eight bombs overnight between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. in Panakuac, where he said ground fighting had been ongoing since Sunday. Aguer said he has not received information on whether there were casualties from the attack because of poor communications.

On Monday, Sudanese warplanes bombed a market and an oil field in South Sudan, killing at least two people after Sudanese ground forces had reportedly crossed into South Sudan with tanks and artillery.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan last year as a result of a 2005 peace treaty that ended decades of war that killed 2 million people. The countries have been fighting over the sharing of oil revenues and a disputed border.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir on Tuesday during a visit to Beijing told China's president that attacks by rival Sudan amount to a declaration of war on his country.

There has yet to be a formal declaration of war by either of the Sudans, and Kiir's remark, made during talks with President Hu Jintao, signals a ratcheting up of rhetoric between the rival nations which have been teetering on the brink of war.

Kiir arrived in China late Monday for a five-day visit lobbying for economic and diplomatic support. He told Hu the visit comes at a "a very critical moment for the Republic of South Sudan because our neighbor in Khartoum has declared war on the Republic of South Sudan."

South Sudan broke away from its neighbor and became independent last year. The two countries have been unable to resolve disputes over sharing oil revenue and determining a border. Talks broke down this month after attacks started between the two countries with South Sudan invading the oil-rich border town of Heglig, which Sudan claims it controls.

Following international pressure, South Sudan announced that it has withdrawn all its troops from Heglig but Sudan claimed its troops forced them out.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has vowed to press ahead with his military campaign until all southern troops or affiliated forces are chased out of the north.

In a fiery speech to a rally Friday, after he declared the liberation of Heglig, al-Bashir said there will be no negotiations with the "poisonous insects" the Sudan People's Liberation Movement. At the time he also said, he would never allow South Sudanese oil to pass through Sudan "even if they give us half the proceeds."

Landlocked South Sudan stopped pumping oil through Sudan in January, accusing the government in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, of stealing hundred millions of dollars of oil revenue. Sudan responded by bombing the South's oil fields.

Earlier this month, South Sudan government spokesman Barnaba Marial Benjamin said Chinese and American investors want to build oil refineries in the South in the next six to seven months.

Benjamin said the refineries will help South Sudan process fuel for local consumption. South Sudan will also build a pipeline to the Kenyan coast and another to Djibouti to be able to export its oil, he said. He said both projects were meant to make South Sudan independent of Sudan's fuel infrastructure and processing plants.

Kiir on Tuesday told Hu that he came to China because of the "great relationship" South Sudan has with China, calling it one of his country's "economic and strategic partners."

China's energy needs make it deeply vested in the future of the two Sudans, and Beijing is uniquely positioned to exert influence in the conflict given its deep trade ties to the resource-rich south and decades-long diplomatic ties with Sudan's government in the north.

Both have tried to win Beijing's favor, but China has been careful to cultivate ties with each nation. Like others in the international community, China has repeatedly urged the two sides to return to negotiations.

Ukraine's jailed ex-PM goes on hunger strike

Jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has gone on hunger strike after prison guards allegedly beat her, her lawyer said Tuesday.

Last Friday Tymoshenko, who suffers from a severe spinal condition and needs hospital treatment, was taken to a clinic in the eastern city of Kharkiv where her prison is located, but was moved back to jail a day later after refusing treatment.

Tymoshenko's lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko said prison officials kicked Tymoshenko in the stomach while taking her to the hospital by force. Tymoshenko refused to be treated at the Kharkiv clinic because she doesn't trust government-appointed doctors.

When prison officials entered her jail cell, Tymoshenko "naturally got scared, began resisting, after which she received a punch in the stomach and passed out," Vlasenko said, adding that she still has a large bruise on her stomach after the incident.

Vlasenko said Tymoshenko has been refusing food since Friday night.

Prosecutors confirmed that Tymoshenko had been taken to the hospital against her will, but claimed that prison officials had acted within the law and insisted there was no evidence to support the allegations of beating.

"The person got packed, dressed and then lied down on the bed and said 'I will not go anywhere'," Kharkiv regional prosecutor Henadiy Tyurin told reporters in remarks confirmed by his office. "According to the law ... the prison service has the right to use physical measures: she was picked up, carried to the car and taken to the hospital."

Prison officials declined immediate comment.

Tymoshenko, 51, the country's top opposition leader is serving a seven-year prison term on charges of abusing her powers during gas negotiations with Russia. The West has strongly condemned the verdict as politically motivated and threatened to freeze cooperation with Ukraine.

Tymoshenko denies the charges and argues they, and others, are part of a campaign by her longtime foe President Viktor Yanukovych to bar her from politics. Yanukovych narrowly defeated her in the 2010 presidential race.

Yanukovych denies the allegations and says his government is merely fighting corruption.

Witnesses recall chaos after Breivik attack

A police official on Tuesday described the chaos that reigned in Oslo after a bomb exploded outside the government headquarters on July 22, allowing the attacker to slip away and carry out a youth camp shooting massacre.

Eight people were killed by the bomb and 69 were killed on Utoya island in twin attacks that jolted Norway. The confessed attacker, right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, has said he thought he would be killed by police before reaching Utoya.

Testifying in Breivik's trial, police operations leader Thor Langli said the initial reports he received after the blast suggested there were two suspects, and two other bombs about to explode.

Langli recalled standing next to the head of an anti-terror squad in Oslo when he received a call about the second attack at the Labor Party's youth camp on Utoya, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Norwegian capital.

"I saw on his face that it was something serious," Langli said. "And while I was watching him he said out of the corner of his mouth: 'Shooting on Utoya.'"

Another report came in that about 50 people had been shot on the island. The anti-terror unit was dispatched to Utoya. When it arrived, some 70 minutes after the first reports of Breivik's rampage, 100 people had been shot.

Breivik has said the victims had betrayed Norway by embracing immigration.

The self-described militant nationalist testified last week that he had expected to be shot by police after the bombing. But no one stopped him as he walked to a getaway car parked near the bomb site, and drove to Utoya.

"I estimated the chances of survival as less than 5 percent," Breivik said last Thursday.

Langli said he first got a report of a suspect with a "non-Nordic" appearance leaving the scene. He then got another report of a Nordic-looking suspect, which made him believe there were two suspects.

When he heard about the Utoya shooting, he started thinking the bomb and the massacre were the actions of the same person.

"I thought there was a connection. But I didn't have any evidence for that," Langli said. Turning to Breivik, he added: "I could not imagine there being two people with so many crazy ideas."

Two psychiatric examinations conducted before the trial reached opposite conclusions on whether Breivik is psychotic — the key issue to be resolved during the trial.

A security guard who was in the Norwegian government high-rise struck by the car bomb testified Tuesday he had barely focused a security camera on the license plate when the vehicle exploded. Tor Inge Kristoffersen described the scene in downtown Oslo as a "war zone."

Svein Olav Christensen, an explosives expert working for a defense agency, showed pictures of the bomb site to the court. The 950-kilogram (2,000-pound) fertilizer and diesel bomb had ripped holes in the concrete platform underneath the vehicle, and also in the subterranean floor below.

Breivik has said he was disappointed when he found out that the building had not collapsed. Christensen said the bomb would have had to be "much larger" to bring down the structure.

The trial is scheduled to go on for nine more weeks.

Key witness to testify against former Senator Edwards

The campaign aide who wrote a tell-all book about efforts to keep former Senator John Edwards' extramarital affair concealed during his 2008 presidential bid was expected to return to the stand Tuesday to testify against his former boss.

Andrew Young is the federal government's key witness in the criminal campaign finance case against Edwards, who failed to capture the Democratic presidential nomination. The former aide, who began testifying on Monday, was granted immunity.

Edwards, a two-time presidential hopeful who was the Democrats' vice presidential nominee in 2004, saw his star fall amid revelations that he cheated on his cancer-stricken wife and impregnated his mistress during the 2008 campaign.

He faces possible prison time if convicted of federal election law violations, including charges of conspiracy, accepting illegal campaign contributions and making false statements.

Prosecutors say Edwards, 58, manipulated Young into soliciting more than $900,000 from two wealthy donors to hide the affair and pregnancy and avoid destroying his campaign.

They say Young was so dedicated to Edwards that he agreed to falsely claim paternity of mistress Rielle Hunter's baby at Edwards' request.

But the former senator's defense on Monday said Young pocketed most of the money and used it to help bankroll a $1.5 million home for his family.

Young thought Edwards was his "ticket to the top," the defense said. When things soured, he recruited others to testify against Edwards in the criminal prosecution, according to the defense.

Defense attorneys said Young called three witnesses in the past two weeks to find out what they would say at the trial, behavior that is frowned upon but not illegal.

Prosecutor David Harbach acknowledged that Young and his wife mixed their money with the payments meant for Hunter and spent some of it on a new home.

On Monday, Young told jurors how he met Edwards during the U.S. Senate campaign and became his right-hand man for the two presidential bids.

Young has admitted that parts of his 2010 book about Edwards, "The Politician," are untruthful, Harbach said.

"You will not like him," Harbach told jurors. "But remember this: Mr. Young is an exhibit as much as he is a witness."

Zimmerman being tracked by sensitive GPS device

Wherever George Zimmerman went after he was released on bond from a Florida jail, a sensitive GPS device will pinpoint his location for authorities and alert them if he drifts even a few feet away from where he is allowed.

Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, went into hiding Monday as he awaits trial. He must pay an $8-a-day fee to use the device, which is generally used to track people charged in domestic violence cases.

Local bail bondsmen whose clients have worn the same device used to pinpoint Zimmerman said it is highly sensitive and can send messages to authorities in real-time. Zimmerman had to put up the customary 10 percent of his $150,000 bond to leave jail.

Seminole County Sheriff's officials are offering few details on how Zimmerman will be specifically monitored, other than to say the device he is wearing has the same 24/7 capabilities it uses to track accused domestic violence offenders. Zimmerman may be residing outside of Florida for safety reasons.

The monitoring program has been in use since 2003 in Seminole and provides "real-time monitoring of an offender's movements and is capable of monitoring anywhere in the U.S.," according to a sheriff's office news release. In 2009, the agency said using the devices saved $950,000 by keeping people out of jail.

"It does help us out as far as keeping track of people, there's no doubt about it," said David Engel, who has been running a bail bonds business with his wife in Sanford since 1992. "It does not come off. It's locked on their leg. If it ever came off it would send a signal. They're not very strong, but it can't just fall off."

Engel isn't involved with Zimmerman's case, but said his experience with clients who have used them has been relatively seamless because the devices are so hands-off.

The device is much like a cellphone, with a small box, receiver and battery charger, fixed to his ankle with a thin strap.

Computer software that is synched to the device enables "inclusionary zones" to establish where a person can go. It also can report whether the user is being compliant with release conditions like curfews. Zimmerman has been asked to observe a curfew between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The tracking devices are most often used to make sure suspects in domestic violence cases don't come near alleged victims, Engel said.

It will likely be inconvenient for Zimmerman, however: The tracker must be worn all the time, even while bathing.

Mena Trombino, manager at MacDonald Bail Bonds, said people who have worn the devices after posting bail have rarely complained.

"The only time we ever had anybody complain was when one guy had to wear it to work," she said.

Engel said the technology is so sensitive that the monitoring computer has been alerted by the wearer unknowingly drifting a few feet into a restricted area while driving to the grocery store, for example.

It's because of that that people generally don't try to circumvent the system, though it has happened.

"They can get cut and we do have people cut them," Engel said. "(Authorities) call us and let us know. So it's better for us when they have them on."

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Explosion hits central Nigeria's Jos: emergency agency

An explosion hit Nigeria's central town of Jos on Sunday, an emergency agency said, hours after a car bomb 200 kilometres northwest in Kaduna killed at least 16 people.
"NEMA confirms that an hour ago an explosion occurred in Tudun Wada area of Jos. Security personnel moved to the scene as injured are being evacuated," a spokesman for the national emergency management agency (NEMA) said.
Jos sits on the dividing line between Nigeria's mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south and religious and ethnic clashes regularly flare up.
Earlier on Sunday a bomb exploded in the northern town of Kaduna after security officers stopped the vehicle carrying it from approaching a church, witnesses and police said.
At least 16 people were killed but the final death toll is likely to be higher, an emergency agency spokesman said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the Kaduna attack, but the apparent targeting of a Christian place of worship will stir memories of a string of deadly assaults by Islamist militants Boko Haram on Christmas Day last year.

Man dies after stabbing at London BlackBerry party

A man died on Sunday after being stabbed in the neck with a broken bottle at a London party hosted by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd last week, the company and police said on Sunday.

"We are deeply saddened to hear our colleague has died as a result of the attack on Tuesday 3rd April," RIM said on its UK Twitter page. "Our thoughts are with his family and those close to him and we ask for the respect of their privacy at this difficult time."

Police said the man, identified as Phillip Sherriff, 37, was fatally wounded at Pulse nightclub in central London and died Sunday morning in hospital. Ashley Charles, 25, was remanded in custody on Saturday and charged with attempted murder.

A murder investigation has been launched.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp in Toronto; Editing by Richard Chang)

Hudson star power to complicate murder trial

Accustomed to wearing Vera Wang gowns on red carpets, singing at the Grammys or autographing her weight-loss memoir, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson will take on a new role under a very different spotlight — in Chicago's drab criminal courts building at the trial of the man charged with murdering her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew.

The Hollywood star's presence, and the accompanying media hubbub, is bound to affect the proceedings, which begin Monday. That's when presiding Judge Charles Burns plans to start questioning would-be jurors one by one, trying to weed out anyone who could be swayed by Hudson's celebrity status.

Hudson is expected to be at the trial every day once testimony begins, court officials say, and she's on the 300-name list of witnesses who could testify. While the judge will warn prospective jurors to avoid watching TV coverage of the trial, they may see Hudson on "American Idol" on Thursday.

Legal experts widely agree on the No. 1 challenge at trials involving megastars: It's identifying 12 jurors able and willing to assess guilt solely on what they hear in court.

Hudson will need to refrain from overt displays of emotion as potentially starstruck jurors' eyes dart back at her, said Gerald Uelmen, a defense attorney at O.J. Simpson's murder trial.

"The risk is that jurors may be watching her rather than testifying witnesses, and they could be influenced by how she reacts," he said. "She would be well advised not to engage in any facial expressions or outbursts. That could be grounds for a mistrial."

Prosecutors say William Balfour, the 30-year-old estranged husband of Hudson's sister, shot the family in a jealous rage because Julia Hudson was dating another man. Jennifer Hudson, also 30, and Balfour grew up in the same South Side neighborhood.

The bodies of Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and brother, Jason Hudson, 29, were found shot to death in the family's home on Oct. 24, 2008. The body of her nephew, Julian King, was found days later in a vehicle several miles away.

Balfour's attorneys have said the evidence is circumstantial, though prosecutors say proof he committed the crime will include gun residue found on his car's steering wheel.

Adored by many Chicagoans, Hudson will pose a stark contrast to Balfour, a short man with a long criminal record. He was a one-time Gangster Disciples gang member and known by his street name, "Flex," according to court documents.

The dilemma posed by Balfour's trial became clear last week, when 150 potential jurors filled out their questionnaires in court. Nine of the 66 questions dealt with Hudson's career: Would-be jurors were asked if they'd ever seen her Academy Award-winning film "Dreamgirls" and if they belong to an organization for which Hudson is a spokesperson, presumably a reference to Weight Watchers.

It was obvious many potential jurors had heard of the killings, some gasping when the judge first read the name of the case.

And when Burns asked if anyone felt they couldn't hear the evidence "without sympathy, bias or prejudice" to step up, he looked on with apparent alarm as five, 15, then 20 people rose. He finally told everyone to sit down and disregard the question, for now.

The history of high-profile trials — from Simpson's to Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray — suggests it's hard to dim the celebrity glow. But Burns, known as a competent but quick-tempered judge, wants to ensure the buzz doesn't undercut Balfour's right to a fair trial. He's made it clear he won't tolerate disruptions. He's barred tweeting from inside court because he fears feverish typing would distract jurors. He's imposed gag orders on attorneys.

Cameras also won't be allowed in the courtroom, though that won't stop the media circus outside. Chicago isn't a paparazzi hot spot, but cameramen are likely to swoop in from New York or Los Angeles, said Ray Murray, an associate journalism professor at Oklahoma State University who studies paparazzi.

"Going in and out of the courtroom won't be fun for her," Murray said. "They look like cannons, some of these cameras, and if you're going through what she's about to go through, you can imagine that would rattle her."

The brush with celebrity may be irresistible for jurors, as there's a tendency to feel a protective bond with movie stars and singers almost as if they're family, said prominent defense lawyer Gerry Spence.

There could be "a sort of underlying sense, a subconscious sense, that they have attacked somebody in (the juror's) family," said Spence. "And they think, '(He) shot Jennifer's (mother, brother and nephew) and I'm going to get him.' "

The defense could ask Burns to bar Hudson from court — possibly on grounds she is a potential witness — which would be a rare but not unheard of request. But Uelmen says the judge would be reluctant to tell a daughter she can't attend the trial of the man accused of killing her mother.

Hudson's publicity firm did not respond to requests for comment.

Judges don't insist jurors be blank slates, they merely want to know if jurors can set aside their biases and preconceptions, said Laurie Levenson, a law professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles.

"You certainly don't want a juror who hasn't heard of Jennifer Hudson, for instance," Levenson said. "That would raise other serious questions, like, where's this person been living — under a rock?"

Attorneys won't necessarily share the judge's goal of weeding out bias.

"The fact is," Uelmen said, "neither side is looking for unbiased jurors — they're looking for jurors who lean their way."

Tulsa police: Shooting victims chosen at random

Tulsa police say there was no connection between the suspects and victims in a series of shootings that terrorized the city's black community.

Police Chief Chuck Jordan said Sunday the victims "appeared to be totally random."

Three people were killed and two seriously wounded in the shootings early Friday. Jordan says the two who survived have been released from the hospital.

Police have said there is a connection between the shootings and the shooting of a suspect's father by a black man two years ago.

All the victims of the shooting spree are black. Police previously described the two suspects as white.