segunda-feira, 20 de setembro de 2010
The father of a victim of the Lockerbie bombing has been to Libya to visit the only man convicted of the atrocity.
Dr Jim Swire spent about an hour with Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in a Tripoli hospital last week. He believes Megrahi is innocent and wants a full inquiry.
Dr Swire lost his 24-year-old daughter, Flora, in the 1988 bombing of Pan AM flight 103 over Lockerbie, which claimed 270 lives, mainly Americans.
He said the Libyan, who has prostate cancer, looked better than he expected.
Megrahi was released from Greenock prison on compassionate grounds last year.
Dr Swire, who lives in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, was invited to Libya by Megrahi.
The two men last met in December 2008 when Dr Swire visited him in Greenock prison.
Commenting on the Libyan meeting he said: "One of the reasons I went to see him at his request was that I wanted to find out what his position was on still fighting the case.
"We have a common interest; to have the verdict against him re-examined".
Dr Swire said the meeting was helpful because it became clear that Megrahi would not pursue attempts to clear his name.
"I think he's exhausted by the effort," he said.
"He made very clear that he didn't want to associate with the media - he would never under any circumstances return to Scotland, and who can blame him".
The Colombian armed forces say they have killed a senior commander of the Farc rebel group.
They said the guerrilla leader Sixto Cabana was among 27 rebels killed in an attack on a camp near the Ecuadorean border on Sunday.
Mr Cabana, 55, was wanted in the US for alleged cocaine trafficking and was on the Farc's ruling general staff.
The US had offered a reward of $2.5m (£1.6m) for information leading to his arrest.
The Colombian Defence Minister, Rodrigo Rivera, said it was the most grievous blow to the left-wing rebel group in recent years.
The fighting in the Putumayo region happened near the town of San Miguel, where eight policemen died in a rebel ambush earlier this month.
Police commandos were dropped by helicopter after air force planes bombed a rebel camp in the jungle.
BRISTOL, England, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Coral reefs can be surprisingly noisy places and the noise level is a good indication of the reef's overall health, U.K. scientists say.
Researchers at the University of Bristol in England say coral reef inhabitants, such as fish and invertebrates, produce clicks and grunts that add up to considerable cacophonies, a university release reports.
Analyzing recordings of coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean near Panama, Bristol marine biologists found some reefs are noisier than others, and these differences provide useful information about the state of the reef.
Healthier reefs were louder, with a clear association between overall noise level generated and the amount of living coral, the researchers found.
"This study provides evidence that reef generated sound contains a real richness of information," Bristol University scientist Steve Simpson said.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. space shuttle Discovery has been placed on its mobile launcher in readiness to be moved to the launch pad for its upcoming final mission, NASA says.
Joined to its external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters, Discovery will be placed on its crawler transporter for its rollout to the launch pad Monday evening, expected to take about 6 hours, the space agency said.
Meanwhile in Houston, Discovery's six-astronaut crew continued mission simulation training at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
In Discovery's final spaceflight, the STS-133 crew, under commander Steven Lindsey, will deliver important spare parts to the International Space Station along with a Permanent Multipurpose Module.
The scheduled Nov. 1 launch will mark the start of the 35th shuttle mission to the station.
GREENVILLE, S.C., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- An analysis of hospital and physician care shows where a person lives affects quality of healthcare, a U.S. healthcare information firm says.
CareChex, a division of The Delta Group, which specializes in rating the quality of hospital and physician care, released two studies that demonstrate broad disparities U.S. healthcare quality by state and metropolitan area.
One study, 2010 CareChex Quality of Care by U.S. Geographic Area, shows broad disparities in care delivered across different states and major metropolitan areas -- and may explain the trend of U.S. "medical tourism," in which patients travel outside their community to receive higher quality care at a better price.
The second study, 2010 CareChex Patient Satisfaction by U.S. Geographic Area, identifies patient satisfaction with hospital care among states and major metropolitan areas.
Ohio, Michigan, Delaware, Massachusetts and Connecticut ranked at the top for overall quality of care.
The District of Columbia, Nevada, Hawaii, New Mexico and New York ranked at the bottom.
VIENNA, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Officials from 151 International Atomic Energy Agency members met in Vienna Monday to address security matters, work plans for the coming year and other issues.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog's general conference also will consider the IAEA's budget and resolutions on development, the IAEA said in a release posted on its Web site.
The IAEA's Scientific Forum will be held concurrently with the general conference, IAEA Deputy Director General David Waller said. This year's scientific forum will focus on battling cancer in developing countries, he said.
Nuclear technology now makes up a spectrum of activities, including power generation, industrial applications, and food and water security, he said.
"Nuclear technology, in my view, is the most powerful technology that we have. Its application covers mankind's every activity," said Kwaku Aning, secretary of IAEA's policy-making committee.
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers said Monday they have re-signed discarded quarterback Byron Leftwich just two days after releasing him.
The Steelers developed a newfound need for Leftwich after starting signal-caller Dennis Dixon was knocked out of Sunday's 19-11 win against Tennessee with a sprained left knee.
Dixon exited the game in the second quarter. The club hadn't updated his status by Monday afternoon.
Pittsburgh's original plan was to have Leftwich start at quarterback until Ben Roethlisberger finished serving his four-game suspension. But Leftwich, 30, sprained a knee in the final preseason and Dixon got the starting nod.
FLINT, Mich., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Accused serial killer Elias Abuelazam was arraigned in Flint, Mich., Monday on additional charges of murder and assault with intent to kill, prosecutors said.
Abuelazam, 34, was arraigned before 68th District Court Judge Nathaniel Perry III in the Aug. 2 stabbing death of Arnold Minor, and four counts of assault with intent to kill in the stabbings of Bill Fisher on June 26, Devon Rawls on July 28 and Etwan Wilson on Aug. 1, the Detroit Free Press reported Monday.
All of the attacks occurred in Flint.
Abuelazam now has six charges facing him, having been previously arraigned on a charge of assault with intent to kill in the July 27 stabbing of Antwoine Marshall, 26, of Flint.
The Israeli citizen is suspected of attacking 18 men across Ohio, Michigan and Virginia where Abuelazam once lived and still has family, The Washington Post said. Five of his alleged victims died.
PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Republicans and Democrats are virtually tied in Gallup's weekly poll of U.S. congressional preferences, the pollster reported Monday.
The generic ballot for Congress for the week of Sept. 13-19 showed Democrats leading Republicans 46 percent to 45 percent. The generic ballot has produced a virtual tie in two of the last three weeks, Gallup said on its Web site.
The organization's tracking poll shows Republicans ahead of Democrats 46 percent to 45 percent through September -- a slip from the GOP's 49 percent to 43 percent advantage in August. The tracking poll numbers were based on interviews with more than 5,600 voters so far in September and more than 7,000 in August.
Gallup said the so-called enthusiasm gap still favors Republicans with six weeks to go before the Nov. 2 general election.
SURREY, British Columbia, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- There were no injuries Monday when the British Columbia home of Radio India's managing director was shot up by "heavy firing," police said.
Surrey Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Maninder Gill, 47, his wife and two children were not hurt but shaken up after the shooting which occurred shortly after midnight, Vancouver's The Province reported.
"He said it was more than 10 shots. He described it as 'heavy firing,'" said Radio India host Gurpreet Singh, who talked with Gill.
Police had no one in custody.
Gill faces several charges, including aggravated assault and two counts of discharging a weapon, in an Aug. 28 shooting at a wedding at Surrey's Guru Nanak temple, the newspaper said.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. officials proposed new anti-fraud measures they say would require Medicare providers considered high risks for fraud to undergo stricter scrutiny.
Among other things, the rule proposed Monday by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would require Medicare providers with a "high risk" of defrauding the government to be subject to fingerprinting and possible background checks, MedPageToday.com reported.
The proposed rule, part of the Affordable Care Act signed in March by President Barack Obama, "strikes a balance that will permit CMS to continue to assure that eligible beneficiaries receive appropriate services from qualified providers whose claims are paid on a timely basis while implementing enhanced measures to prevent outright fraud," CMS said.
NEW YORK, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Cleveland outfielder Shin-Soo Choo won major league baseball's Player of the Week honors Monday.
Tulowitzki won the National League award for the second straight week thanks to his powerful performance for the Rockies, who are battling to make the NL playoffs.
Tulowitzki hit .346 and cracked six homers last week, the most in baseball for the second straight week. He pounded out 17 RBI, gained 28 total bases and scored nine runs for Colorado.
Choo won the American League nod after posting a career night against Kansas City Friday when he knocked three homers and drove in seven runs.
NEW YORK, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis said Monday a magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed he has a strained hamstring.
Revis told The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger the injury could prevent him from participating in the Jets' next game Sunday night against the Miami Dolphins.
"It's about getting back to 100 percent," Revis told the newspaper. "That's the main goal. I'm not going to touch the field unless I'm 100 percent".
Revis sustained the injury Sunday in the Jets' 28-14 win over the New England Patriots.
Jets Coach Rex Ryan also said he's unsure if the all-pro defender will be able to play in upcoming division road games against Miami and Buffalo.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- When revealing the 2009 distracted driving statistics Monday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned the instances likely are far higher.
Distracted driving-related crashes killed 5,474 people and injured another 448,000 across the United States, LaHood said in a Transportation Department release Monday, the day before a 2010 Distracted Driving Summit.
In a Sunday op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel, LaHood said researchers believe the epidemic of distracted driving is likely far greater than now known. Police reports in many states don't routinely document whether distraction was a factor in vehicle crashes, making it difficult to know the extent.
"These numbers show that distracted driving remains an epidemic in America, and they are just the tip of the iceberg," LaHood said. "Tomorrow, I'm convening our second Distracted Driving Summit in the hopes that we can continue to draw attention to the dangers of distracted driving and work together to save lives".
DUSSELDORF, Germany, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- German bank WestLB said it was considering a merger with landesbank BayernLB, which would put the bank in compliance with a government bailout agreement.
Both BayernLB and WestLB were given billions of dollars in government aid during the financial crisis.
The European Union then ordered WestLB, which lost $690 million in 2009, to find a new owner.
A merger with BayernLB, which lost $3.4 billion last year, would create the third largest bank in Germany and possible trigger a round of mergers by other public banks.
Sources said WestLB is also discussing a merger with Helaba and Deka Bank in Frankfurt and Berliner Landesbank, but a WestLB spokesman only confirmed the discussions with BayernLB, The New York Times reported Monday.
OXFORD, Miss., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Ole Miss students and alumni are hotly divided, struggling to find a new mascot replacing antebellum plantation caricature Colonel Reb, school officials say.
The white-bearded, cane-toting Colonel Sanders in Confederate drag hasn't been the Rebels' official team symbol since 2003 -- the school finally yielding to decades of complaints of racial insensitivity -- but allegiance to Colonel Reb is as divided as the old North and South, The New York Times reported Sunday.
"There's no more of a noble cause than continuing the tradition of Colonel Reb," said Levi West, Colonel Reb's doppelganger. "Everyone loves the guy".
"These are new times, we need a new image. But we also just need a mascot," said Ellison Brown, 21, an African-American junior from Jackson.
As far as merchandising goes, this summer Ole Miss announced a ban on the sale of anything with Colonel Reb's image on it and the university says it will hold a student-run election to select a new mascot, the Times reported.
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Indianapolis police say they may bring additional charges against a woman arrested and charged with neglect in the deaths of her two children.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Linda Jackson told The Indianapolis Star investigators "are not looking at any additional suspects" in the deaths of a boy, 3, and girl, 5, found "in a stage of rigor mortis in the front living room".
Firefighters found the children's bodies at Manchester Village Apartments about 8:45 p.m. Sunday, the newspaper said.
Jackson said autopsies had been completed but officials were conducting more testing to determine cause of death.
There were no signs of trauma or gunshot wounds, the Star said.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Students who "multitask" in class or while studying -- texting, typing, studying all at once -- aren't being as efficient as they think, U.S. researchers say.
Studies at Indiana University found that multitasking -- juggling cellphones, e-mail, texting, the Internet -- handicaps learning and steals a little bit from each task being performed, a university release said Monday.
"Why is multitasking, texting a problem? It has an impact on students' ability to understand and absorb, code, store and process information -- and learn," David Pisoni, IU professor of psychology, said.
"Memory and attention are limited. Students don't realize that when they study and engage in other activities, that multitasking comes at a price".
Pisoni, who teaches a course in human memory, says he wants students to understand the workings and limits of memory and the brain's limited ability to process information so they can apply what they've learned to how they learn.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych will deliver a speech on Ukraine's democratic path at the 65th session of the UN General Assembly during his visit to New York on September 21-24.
This will be Yanukovych's second trip to the United States. The Ukrainian president, who took office in February, first visited the country in April for a nuclear security summit in Washington.
The Ukrainian president is expected to address the General Assembly with a statement concerning the freedom of expression in his country.
Ukraine's opposition led by former |Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and several international organizations, including Reporters Without Borders, have accused the Yanukovych government of suppressing media freedom in Ukraine.
In September, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns expressed concern over alleged violations of journalists' rights in the country.
Piracy activists have carried out coordinated attacks on websites owned by the music and film industry.
The assault temporarily knocked the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) offline.
The attacks were declared on notorious message-board 4chan and were reportedly in retaliation for anti-piracy efforts against file-sharing websites.
The group has declared it will continue to target other sites.
Next in their sights is the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which it has said will come under attack on 20 September.
More than 600 antiquities have been returned to the Iraqi National Museum after they were found in boxes in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office.
The missing historical artefacts, some dating back thousands of years, had been smuggled out of Iraq at various times and ended up in the US.
They were moved back to Iraq in early 2009 but went missing after that.
Antiquities Minister Qahtan al-Jubouri blamed "inappropriate handover procedures" for their disappearance.
It is not clear exactly how the artefacts disappeared from view after being returned to Iraq.
But the 638 items were found on Sunday packed in cardboard boxes in a storage room for kitchen equipment in the offices of Prime Minister Maliki.
The objects include jewellery and clay tablets as well as bronze figurines.
"It's a very important collection," said Amira Eidan, the director of the Iraqi National Museum.
A fire has broken out at a university in Moscow's center, a spokesman for the local emergencies service said on Tuesday.
The fire engulfed the balks of the Moscow Humanitarian-Economic Institute at Leninsky venue late on Monday, Yevgeny Bobylev said. It has reportedly covered the area of 400 square meters.
There have been no reports on victims or injured. The university building has been under reconstruction.
Firefighters are working at the scene.
Spain will extradite the commercial director of a nightclub in the Urals city of Perm where over 150 people died in a fire last December, Russian investigators said on Monday.
The deadly fire, the worst in modern Russia's history, swept through the Lame Horse nightclub in Perm, 1,400 kilometers east of Moscow, on December 5, 2009, when an indoor firework display malfunctioned.
Konstanin Mrykhin was arrested in Spain in late August. He is wanted in Russia on involuntary manslaughter charges.
Mrykhin was the organizer of the firework show, which was in violation of fire regulations. He is believed to have fled Russia immediately after the blaze and was detained at his house in Barcelona.
Charges were brought against eight other people. The club's co-owner Anatoly Zak, executive director Svetlana Yefremova and art director Oleg Fetkulov were also charged with manslaughter.
The Perm region's fire watchdog chief Vladimir Mukhutdinov was accused of abuse of office, while inspectors Dmitry Roslyakov and Natalia Prokopyeva face charges of negligence.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the corn harvest had gotten off to a fast start with 18 percent done as of Sept. 20.
From 2005 through 2009 for this week of the year, U.S. farmers have completed 10 percent of the corn harvest, the USDA said in its weekly crop report.
Thirteen percent of the acreage in cotton has been harvested, compared to a historic average of 10 percent for this week of the year. Eight percent of the soybean harvest is complete, in line with historic averages.
The peanut harvest is also close to the five-year average with 6 percent done. The sugar beet and rice harvests are well ahead of historic averages with 11 percent and 64 percent done, respectively.