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Saturday, 29 November 2014

The number of people killed by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 6,928, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.

Ebola outbreak: West Africa death toll nears 7,000

The toll has increased by over 1,000 since the WHO's last report on Wednesday, but it includes unreported deaths from earlier in the outbreak.
Experts say the infection rate is more significant that the death toll, as it reflects how the virus is spreading.
Infection rates are decreasing in Liberia, but are high in Sierra Leone.
There have been over 16,000 reported cases in Guinea, Sierra and Liberia.
Latest Ebola death tolls
Liberia: 7,244 cases, 4,181 deaths
Sierra Leone: 6,802 cases, 1,463 deaths
Guinea: 2,123 cases, 1,284 deaths
Mali has reported seven deaths from Ebola and 10 confirmed cases.
More than 4,181 people have died of Ebola in Liberia but while the country has recorded the highest number of cases, the rate of infection is slowing.
The outbreak was also now "stable" in Guinea, the World Health Organization (WHO) said last week.
The disease is now spreading fastest in Sierra Leone, with 6,802 cases reported in total.
Nigeria and Senegal are both clear of the quarantine period and no new cases or deaths have been reported.
Ebola is spread only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person showing symptoms, such as fever or vomiting.
People caring for the sick or handling the bodies of people infected Ebola are therefore especially vulnerable.


At least 15 people have been killed and 14 others injured during an attack in the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang, state media has reported.

China is enforcing a security crackdown in Xinjiang and Uighur activists say that in doing so its is fuelling the violence

Xinjiang violence: 15 reported killed in attack

It said that the violence started when a group of "terrorists" attacked civilians in Shache county, 200km from the regional capital of Kashgar.
Xinjiang is home to the Muslim Uighur minority group.
There has been a wave of violence in the region, with more than 150 people being killed so far this year.
China has blamed the unrest on Uighurs pushing for the region's independence.
China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported that the attackers on Friday threw bombs out of a vehicle before they stabbed people on a street lined with food stalls.
Eleven of the dead are reported to be the attackers.
An attack in the same region in July left nearly 100 people dead, including 59 assailants, state media said.
Confirming reports about incidents in Xinjiang is difficult, because access is tightly controlled and information flow restricted.
China is enforcing a security crackdown in Xinjiang, and Uighur activists say that the government's repression of Uighur culture and religious customs is fuelling the violence.
Earlier this week, the authorities announced plans to hire 3,000 former soldiers to patrol residential areas in the region.

The Prime Minister of Taiwan, Jiang Yi-huah, has resigned after his ruling pro-China party suffered stiff defeats in local elections.

Taiwan premier Jiang Yi-huah quits after poll loss

The Kuomintang party (KMT) appears to have lost control of districts across the country, including the mayor's office in the capital, Taipei.
Saturday's polls were widely seen as a referendum on relations with China.
KMT supporters had argued for good relations with China, which views Taiwan as a renegade province.
China and Taiwan, a close US ally, have been ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.
The defeat suffered by the KMT reflects voter dissatisfaction over the government's handling of food safety scandals, low wages and the widening wealth gap. It also reflects worries over its pro-China policy. Although trade deals with China have brought benefits to Taiwan, there is a sense that they have helped mostly companies, not ordinary people.
For them life has not got better since KMT President Ma Ying-jeou came into office in 2008. Instead, there are worries that closer ties with China will ultimately hurt Taiwan's independence - by making the island too economically dependent on its neighbour and vulnerable to pressures to reunify.
The KMT will now face an uphill battle in the 2016 presidential and legislative races. The question now is whether China will try to find ways to work with the DPP, a party it has long distrusted due to its support for Taiwan's independence. And will the DPP soften its stance ahead of the presidential vote?
Either way, a stalemate is likely in the short-term.
Bowing out
Mr Jiang told reporters he was stepping down in order to take responsibility for the defeat.
Moments later, President Ma Ying-jeou, who is also KMT chairman, apologised to supporters "for making everyone disappointed".
"I've received the message people have sent via these elections," President Ma told a news conference. "It's my responsibility and I will quickly offer a party reform plan to address everyone's demands. I won't avoid responsibility."
The race in the capital was watched with particular attention as a test of Mr Ma's pro-China policy.
In the event, an independent opposition-backed candidate, Ko Wen-je, claimed victory over the KMT's Sean Lien.
Mr Lien publicly bowed in defeat along with his solemn-faced supporters. "We congratulate Mr Ko," he said in his concession speech. "I'm sorry I didn't win this election."
Lin Wen-chih, 48, a film producer who voted for Mr Ko, told AP: "We want to send the nationalists [KMT] a warning. Taiwan is an independent country. We don't want the nationalists to take measures that would have it eaten up [by China]."
More than 18 million eligible voters were registered to vote, choosing from among 20,000 candidates who were running for more than 11,000 positions.
Dependence fears
Some voters distrust the KMT, regardless of whether the deals signed with Beijing are good for Taiwan, the BBC's Cindy Sui in Taipei reports.
KMT supporters, on the other hand, feel that Taiwan needs good relations with its biggest trade partner to breathe new life into the island's ailing economy.
They feared a victory by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) could cause relations with China and Taiwan's economy to regress, our correspondent says.
The DPP supports Taiwan's formal independence from China, something Beijing strongly opposes.
In 2016, Taiwan will hold the more important presidential and legislative polls.
Taiwan began allowing truly democratic elections - with opposition party candidates and universal suffrage - in the late 1980s.

Pope Francis has stood in "silent adoration" in Istanbul's Blue Mosque alongside the city's top Muslim cleric on the second day of his Turkey visit.

The Pope's visit to Istanbul is rich in religious symbolism - the city was capital of the Byzantine empire

Pope in "silent adoration" in Istanbul Blue Mosque

The Pope later visited the Hagia Sofia - a church turned into a mosque and then a museum.
On Friday, he called for an interfaith dialogue to counter fanaticism and fundamentalism during a visit to the Turkish capital, Ankara.
The Pope's trip is only the fourth visit by a pontiff to Turkey.
There are about 120,000 Christians in Turkey - most of the country's 80 million citizens are Muslims.
Healing schism
At the Blue Mosque, one of the greatest masterpieces of Ottoman architecture, the Pope turned east towards Mecca, clasped his hands and paused for two minutes as the Grand Mufti of Istanbul, Rahmi Yaran, performed a Muslim prayer.
The Pope then visited Hagia Sofia - which for almost 1,000 years was the most important Orthodox cathedral, then for nearly five centuries a mosque under the Ottomans, and is currently a museum.
Istanbul was the Byzantine capital, known as Constantinople, until the Ottoman conquest in 1453.
The pontiff has celebrated Mass at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.
As he arrived in Istanbul, the Pope was met by the leader of the Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I.
Francis and Bartholomew have a strong personal relationship, and discussions are expected to focus on healing the schism in the Christian Church in 1054 that divided Rome and Constantinople.
For a city that passed from the Byzantines to the Ottomans, a place where religions, empires and cultures collided, the Pope's message of interfaith dialogue has profound resonance, says the BBC's Mark Lowen in Istanbul.
In Ankara on Friday, the Pope stressed this message. He also called for a renewed Middle East peace push, saying the region had "for too long been a theatre of fratricidal wars"

Thailand's Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn has asked the government to strip his wife's family of their royally bestowed name.

The prince sent a letter to the interior ministry asking that his wife's family to be stripped of their royal name

Thailand crown prince strips wife's family of royal name

It comes after seven of her close relatives were arrested in a purge of officials allegedly involved in corruption.
Princess Srirasmi Akrapongpreecha is Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn's third wife, and the pair married in 2001.
The move is widely expected to be a first step to divorce.
He was already known to be estranged from the princess, although they continued to attend official functions together.
The purge of Princess Srirasmi's family over the past 10 days has been widely reported in Thailand.
However, until now the severity of the lese majeste law criminalising any critical comment about the monarchy meant that no Thai media had pointed out the family connection.
The princess's uncle, a senior police general, was arrested over accusations of amassing vast wealth through smuggling and gambling rackets.
Four of her siblings and two other relatives have also been held.
The office of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn has now sent a letter to the interior ministry ordering her family to be stripped of the royal name he bestowed on them when he married her.
The dramatic downfall of Princess Srirasmi comes at a very sensitive time, analysts say, with the 86 year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej in poor health.
As the Crown Prince's wife, she would have been expected to become Queen when he succeeds his father, a potentially very powerful position given the exalted status of the monarchy in Thailand.
The pivotal position of the monarchy in Thailand's political order makes the succession an extremely sensitive issue, many aspects of which still cannot be reported from inside the country.
The world's longest-reigning monarch, King Bhumibol has been on the throne in Thailand since 1946.

Wales claimed only their second ever win over South Africa with a display of guts and cool control in Cardiff.

Autumn internationals: Wales v South Africa

Wales (3) 12
Pens: Halfpenny (4)
South Africa (3) 6
Pens: Lambie (2)
Wales claimed only their second ever win over South Africa with a display of guts and cool control in Cardiff.
Leigh Halfpenny kicked all of Wales' points, converting four of his five penalty kicks before going off injured.
South Africa were limited to two Pat Lambie penalties as Wales largely contained the Springboks attacking threat.
The tourists had a late five-metre scrum but the Wales pack disrupted the set-piece to seal a famous win.
Much of the build-up to the match featured Wales coach Warren Gatland fielding questions about whether he was under pressure because of losses this series to Australia and New Zealand, taking his record to just one win in 27 matches against the southern hemisphere big three.
This win, to add to Wales' previous victory over South Africa in 1999 - also at the Millennium Stadium - provided a perfect riposte and kick-starts their build-up to next year's World Cup in England.
Opposite number Heyneke Meyer had not been under quite the same scrutiny, although their 29-15 defeat by Ireland in their opening tour game had raised some questions that were answered in subsequent wins over England and Italy.
Both sides were missing players because of injuries and recalls to clubs, as this match took place outside World Rugby's official international window.
With George North concussed, Liam Williams stepped into the vacant Wales wing slot, given the opportunity to redeem himself after conceding the last-gasp penalty try that denied them victory in June's second Test in Nelspruit.
Gatland had also suffered a run of injuries among his loose-head props, while Paul James had to depart back to Bath, but he could still call on British and Irish Lion Gethin Jenkins to fill the number one shirt.
Hooker Richard Hibbard had also been recalled to Gloucester, while South Africa had to change their entire back three with wing Bryan Habana and full-back Johan Goosen returning to France and JP Pietersen departing for Japan.
Wales full-back Halfpenny and Springboks fly-half Lambie exchanged early penalties, with Halfpenny unfortunate to hit the outside of the post with a later effort.
Space for the backs to work in was at a premium in a hotly contested first half, with both sides up quickly with some typically fierce defence.

Wales make history

Wales had lost 16 consecutive games to the Springboks prior to this match in Cardiff.
The win ends Wales' run of 22 successive defeats against New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
It is only the second time Wales have beaten South Africa in 30 attempts and their first in 15 years.
South Africa had scored 15 tries in their last five games but failed to cross the line against Wales.
Wales' best moments came from chips ahead to turn the Springboks, the tactic enjoying particular success down the left wing.
Twice Williams came close to collecting the bouncing ball to plunge over the try line, but each time Lwazi Mvovo was there a split-second before, covering across to snuff out the danger.
South Africa almost broke the deadlock when Eben Etzebeth surged through the midfield, but he knocked on as the lock was scythed down by Halfpenny's thumping tackle on the 22-yard line.
Lambie missed a long-range penalty that would have sent the Boks into the changing rooms with a narrow half-time lead, leaving the match delicately poised at the halfway stage.
Halfpenny and Lambie again exchanged early penalties after the restart, with the Springbok stand-off showing his range by slotting from the halfway line.
Wales enjoyed the best period of the game after that, keeping the ball in hand to pressurise the visitors into conceding two more penalties that Halfpenny converted.
Through all of this, the Wales half-back partnership of Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar shone, using possession wisely and keeping a level of control that South Africa found hard to wrest away.
Meyer used his bench early, making four changes including putting Handre Pollard on at fly-half in place of Lambie.
But the Springboks coach was forced into another change soon after because of a worrying injury to captain Jean de Villiers, who was carried off having dislocated his kneecap, and replaced by Damian de Allende.
South Africa suffered a further blow when Cornal Hendricks was sin-binned for taking out Halfpenny in the air.
The Wales 15 was clearly shaken by the collision and left the field soon after, with Scott Williams coming on and Liam Williams switching to his preferred full-back position.
Spurred on by their man advantage, Wales laid siege to the Springboks line but met furious resistance as first Jamie Roberts and then Scott Baldwin were stopped just short.
In the closing minutes, South Africa earned a five-metre scrum that threatened to undo all Wales' hard work and deliver another gut-wrenching late loss to a southern hemisphere side.
But the Wales pack rose to the challenge, making a mess of South Africa's platform and allowing the ball to be cleared upfield.
Wales kept their heads and kept the Springboks at bay for the final few moments to seal a well-deserved, and long overdue, win.

case dismiss A court in Egypt has dropped charges against former President Hosni Mubarak over the killing of 239 protesters during the 2011 uprising against him.

Hosni Mubarak: Egypt court drops charges over 2011 uprising deaths

The Cairo court erupted in cheers when the judge said Mubarak should not have been a defendant in the case as the charges against him were added late.
Charges against seven senior ex-officials were also dropped. The decision could be appealed.
Victims' relatives waiting outside expressed dismay and frustration.
In a TV interview after the ruling, Mubarak said he had done "nothing wrong at all".
The former president, 86, is serving a separate three-year sentence for embezzlement of public funds.
He is currently being held in a military hospital, and is expected to serve at least a few more months of this sentence.
Mubarak, his former Interior Minister, Habib al-Adly, and six others had been convicted of conspiracy to kill and were sentenced to life in prison in June 2012, but a retrial was ordered last year on a technicality.
In all, some 800 people are thought to have been killed as security forces battled protesters in the weeks before Mubarak resigned on 11 February 2011.
However, the court documents at the retrial related to the deaths of 239 people and injuries sustained by 1,588, across 11 of the country's regions.
As well as the murder charge, Mubarak was also cleared of a corruption charge involving gas exports to Israel.
His sons Gamal and Alaa were also cleared of separate corruption charges by the same court on Saturday.As supporters cheered the verdict, his sons and co-defendants stooped down to kiss his forehead.
Mubarak's lawyer, Farid al-Deeb, told AFP news agency the verdict was a "good ruling that proved the integrity of Mubarak's era".
Later the former president gave an interview by phone to private Sada al-Balad TV.
"I did nothing wrong at all," he said, adding that he was "relying on God" as he waited for the second verdict in the case.


Thursday, 13 November 2014

US President Barack Obama is to hold talks with Myanmar's President Thein Sein, hours after accusing his government of backsliding on reforms.

US President Barack Obama is to hold talks with Myanmar's President Thein Sein, hours after accusing his government of backsliding on reforms.
Mr Obama is in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, for the East Asia summit, which follows Wednesday's Asean meeting.
In an interview with a Thai-based Burmese website ahead of his arrival, he said that progress had been made.
But he said reform momentum had slowed in Myanmar and that there had even been some steps backwards.
"Burma is still at the beginning of a long and hard journey of renewal and reconciliation," Mr Obama wrote in the interview with The Irrawaddy magazine.
In some areas there had been progress, he said, including "the release of additional political prisoners, a process of constitutional reform, and ceasefire agreements" relating to conflicts with Myanmar's minority groups.
But he said progress had not come as fast as many had hoped when the transition from military to civilian rule began in November 2010.
He cited restrictions on political prisoners, the arrest of journalists and the ongoing plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority displaced in Rakhine state after anti-Muslim violence.
"Even as there has been some progress on the political and economic fronts, in other areas there has been a slowdown and backsliding in reforms," he wrote.
Mr Obama is due to meet Thein Sein on Thursday night, after meetings with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Burmese parliament members and civic leaders, said AP news agency.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is set to be named as Burton Albion manager within 48

Hasselbaink, 42, left his post as boss of Belgian second division side Royal Antwerp in May and has said he hopes to get a manager's job in England.
He last worked in England as a coach at Nottingham Forest under Steve McClaren.
The former England manager, now in charge of Derby County, is reported to have recommended Hasselbaink to the Brewers.

The Steve McClaren link

Hasselbaink was part of McClaren's Middlesbrough side that reached the UEFA Cup final in 2006
The pair were first reunited at Dutch side FC Twente, with Hasselbaink working as part of McClaren's coaching team in 2008
From July 2011, he spent 18 months working at Forest despite McClaren resigning from his post at the City Ground only two months after Hasselbaink's arrival
Hasselbaink would become only the third black and ethnic minority manager in charge of a Football League club, joining Huddersfield boss Chris Powell and Keith Curle at Carlisle United.
In his solitary season as a manager, the former Dutch international guided Antwerp to seventh in Belgium's Pro League before turning down the offer of a new contract to return to his adopted county to further his career.
His playing career came to an end at the age of 36 when he retired after Cardiff City declined to offer him a new contract following the 2007-08 season.
As well as Chelsea, Hasselbaink also previously played for Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Charlton in the Premier League, scoring 129 top-flight goals in total.
Burton, meanwhile, have announced a profit of £94,824 for 2013-14, just over £7,000 down on the previous year's figure.
Chairman Ben Robinson said he was delighted by the overall situation, but disappointed that their appearance in the League Two play-off final, when they lost 1-0 to Fleetwood, had not been "the money-spinner we had hoped for".

Salford City: Class of 92's takeover alongside Peter Lim is approved

The acquisition of non-league Salford City by a group of former Manchester United footballers and their business partner Peter Lim has been approved.
Ex-United quintet Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, who agreed to take over the club in March, will have 50% ownership.
Lim, who has just taken over Valencia, has acquired the other 50% stake.
The Football Association and the Northern Premier League have both ratified the deal.
Salford City are currently third in Division One North of the Northern Premier League, six points behind leaders Darlington 1883 with two games in hand.
They play in the eighth tier of English football, alongside FA Cup giantkillers Warrington Town.
Singapore-based self-made billionaire Lim, 61, is estimated by Forbes to be worth £1.5bn, but withdrew a £320m bid to buy Liverpool in 2010.
When the link-up was announced in September, the Neville brothers, Giggs, Scholes and Butt said they have known Lim for more than 10 years, and expect "exciting times" for the club.

Euro 2016 qualifier: NI's Steven Davis misses Romania game

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis is out of Friday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania in Bucharest.
Jamie Ward and Ryan McLaughlin were already ruled out and Davis's absence because of a hamstring injury is a major blow to manager Michael O'Neill.
Midfielder Davis sustained the injury in Southampton's win over Leicester City last weekend.
Oldham midfielder Carl Winchester and Rochdale's Matty Lund were drafted into the squad by O'Neill on Tuesday.
Lund, receiving his first call-up, and Winchester, who won his only senior cap in 2011, were replacements for injured duo Ward [thigh] and McLaughlin [groin].

Northern Ireland's remaining Euro 2016 Group F qualifiers

Romania (away)
Friday, 14 November 2014
Finland (home)
Sunday, 29 March 2015
Romania (home)
Saturday, 13 June 2015
Faroe Islands (away)
Friday, 4 September 2015
Hungary (home)
Monday, 7 September 2015
Greece (home)
Thursday, 8 October 2015
Finland (away)
Sunday, 11 October 2015
Davis did link up with the Northern Ireland squad on Tuesday evening but was ruled out of the game on Wednesday morning after being assessed by the team's medical staff.
Stand-by player Stuart Dallas was ruled out by "fitness problems" on Tuesday.
Boss O'Neill is also without injured duo Jonny Evans and Shane Ferguson while Aaron Hughes is also rated doubtful.
Manchester United defender Paddy McNair was the only uncapped player named in the squad last week.
Northern Ireland have made a magnificent start to the qualifying campaign, winning their opening three games for the first time.
They lead Group F and are two points ahead of the second-placed Romanians.
West Brom midfielder Chris Brunt returns to the squad after missing the games against Greece and the Faroe Islands, but Hull defender Alex Bruce has a hamstring injury.
Northern Ireland squad: Goalkeepers: R Carroll (Notts County), A Mannus (St Johnstone), M McGovern (Hamilton Academical).
Defenders: A Hughes (Brighton), C Baird (West Bromwich Albion), G McAuley (West Bromwich Albion), R McGivern (Port Vale), C Cathcart (Watford), C McLaughlin (Fleetwood Town), L McCullough (Doncaster Rovers), P McNair (Manchester United).
Midfielders: C Brunt (West Bromwich Albion), S Clingan (Kilmarnock), C Evans (Blackburn Rovers), O Norwood (Reading), B Reeves (MK Dons), P McCourt (Brighton), N McGinn (Aberdeen), C Winchester (Oldham Athletic), M Lund (Rochdale)
Strikers: K Lafferty (Norwich City), J Magennis (Kilmarnock), B McKay (Inverness Caledonian Thistle), W Grigg (MK Dons).

Captain Wayne Rooney says he will never be an England legend like Sir Bobby Charlton unless he wins the World Cup

Manchester United forward Rooney, 29, needs seven goals to replace Charlton as England's all-time leading scorer.
"Obviously I'm not going to be as big a legend as Sir Bobby Charlton - he's won the World Cup," Rooney writes in the programme for England's Euro 2016 qualifier with Slovenia on Saturday.
"To eclipse that I'd have to win the World Cup."

England's leading goalscorers

Goals Appearances
Sir Bobby Charlton
Gary Lineker
Jimmy Greaves
Wayne Rooney
Rooney, who will be 32 when the World Cup takes place in Russia in 2018, is expected to win his 100th international cap at Wembley on Saturday.
The former Everton striker, who made his England debut aged 17 in 2003, is the country's fourth-top goalscorer with 43.
And he is confident he will surpass the record of 1966 World Cup winner Charlton, who scored 49 goals for his country.
He said: "The record has stood for so many years, there have been plenty of players who haven't been able to break it.

Not Me Cristiano Ronaldo: Lionel Messi nickname claims 'absolutely false

Cristiano Ronaldo has denied claims that he has an obscene nickname for Lionel Messi.
In a new book about the Barcelona forward, it is suggested that the Real Madrid player routinely refers to the Argentine with an offensive expression. 
Tensions between Ronaldo, 29, and Messi, 27, have long been rumoured.
"This is absolutely false and I have assured my lawyer takes action to sue those responsible," the Portuguese wrote on Facebook. 
"I have the utmost respect for all my professional colleagues, and Messi is obviously no exception."
Ronaldo ended Messi's run of three consecutive Ballon d'Or victories last year.
Furthermore, the pair are split by just one goal in their bids to become the Champions League's all-time record goalscorer. The Barcelona man last week moved level with former Real Madrid striker Raul on 71 goals.
Messi needs just two more goals to become La Liga's all-time top scorer, having netted 250 times in 285 games and is one behind Telmo Zarra's record for Athletic Bilbao in the 1940s and 1950s.
Ronaldo is ninth on the league's leading scorers list. However, the Real forward has scored 18 this term compared to the Barca attacker's seven

Ebola outbreak deaths pass 5,000 lives

Health experts argue that the rate of new Ebola cases is more significant than the total death toll

The number of people killed by the worst outbreak of Ebola has risen to 5,160, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
The frequency of new cases no longer appears to be increasing nationally in Guinea and Liberia but remains high in Sierra Leone, the health agency added.
The Ebola outbreak is thought to have infected more than 14,000 people, almost all of them in West Africa.
The deaths of three more people in Mali have been reported in the past day.
"Transmission remains intense in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone" and the frequency of new cases is still increasing in Sierra Leone, the WHO said in its situation report.
Health experts have argued that the rate of new cases is more significant that the total death toll, as it reflects how fast the virus is spreading.
More than 2,830 people have died from Ebola in Liberia, with more than 1,100 deaths in both Guinea and Sierra Leone, the WHO said.
Mali has reported four deaths from Ebola, while there were eight reported Ebola deaths in Nigeria, and one in the US.
Cumulative deaths up to 11 November

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

England v South Africa: Kyle Eastmond back in training

England v South Africa: Kyle Eastmond back in training

England look set to field an unchanged centre combination against South Africa on Saturday, after Kyle Eastmond returned to full training on Tuesday.
The Bath player had been in bed ill but England attack coach Mike Catt confirmed he has made a full recovery.
"He's had a day in bed but he trained with us this morning," Catt told BBC Radio 5 live.
"So he is fighting fit and ready to go. It's another Test match and the players need to perform. "
Despite the 24-21 loss to New Zealand last Saturday, Catt suggested the bulk of the back-line will be given another opportunity to gel against the Springboks. They looked very reassured in defence [against New Zealand]," he added.
"I think if we play the way we can play, Kyle will get more into the game and be able to create more things we know he is capable of creating."
Catt believes it would be unfair to drop either 25-year-old Eastmond or outside-centre Brad Barritt, 28.
"I think it would be very harsh to move those two players on," he said.
"It's about consistency. We've been very happy with Kyle.
"He's been in amazing form for his club.
"He thoroughly deserves a shot, so I think against South Africa we need to make sure we get our game-plan right, and if we get that right, we will see Kyle and Brad working exceptionally well together."
Another option England have is to select Bath fly-half George Ford and move Owen Farrell to inside centre, a combination that represented England at age-grade level.
The former England centre Jeremy Guscott told BBC Radio 5 live this idea "wouldn't work".
"You put Farrell into inside centre, you lose your get-go and dynamic power to get over the gain-line from someone like [Luther] Burrell or [Billy] Twelvetrees, and Farrell is not as great a distributor as Kyle Eastmond," Guscott said. "So in no way will Farrell work playing at 12, that is a definite no-no. They played together at [England] Under-20 level, but this is man's rugby, this is Test rugby."
But Catt says it could happen in the future.
"It's an option," he said. "But we are very blessed with 12s and 13s at the moment so we will select what is best for the team and what is right for the team."
Catt is expecting a significant reaction from the Springboks at Twickenham after their 29-15 defeat by Ireland in Dublin last Saturday.
"They are a very physical side," he said. "It will be interesting to see whether they carry on playing with width, or whether they revert back to their big men just running route-one lines.
"But whatever they throw at us we have to be prepared and ready to combat it. We need a reaction. It's time to deliver."

Ched Evans: Sheffield United allow training return at PFA request

Sheffield United say they allowed convicted rapist Ched Evans to train with them following a request from the Professional Footballers' Association.
Evans, 25, was freed last month after serving two-and-a-half years for rape.
A Blades statement  said: "After due consideration, the board has decided to respond favourably to the PFA's request to allow Evans to train at the club."
However, they are "not prepared at this time" to decide whether to re-sign the Wales international striker.

Ched Evans's career

Club Games Goals
Manchester City
Norwich City (loan)
Sheffield United
The League One club's statement continued: "The club acknowledges receipt of a request from the PFA to the effect that the club consider allowing Mr Evans, who is a PFA member, to train at the club's facilities.
"According to the request, this training would be with a view to enabling Mr Evans to get back to a level of fitness, which might enable him to find employment in his chosen trade.
"This request has come to the club, because it is the last club at which Mr Evans was registered before his conviction.
"The club agrees with the recent statements of the PFA, to the effect that professional footballers should be treated as equals before the law, including in circumstances where they seek to return to work following periods of incarceration.

The Football League said that "while we fully understand the gravity of the offence", if a request was received from any of its member clubs to register Evans, they would "have no option but to accept it".
Evans, who maintains his innocence, has scored 59 goals in 167 appearances during spells with Manchester City, Norwich City and Sheffield United.
He was sentenced to five years in April 2012 for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in May 2011, having been found guilty by a jury at Caernarfon Crown Court. At his trial, he admitted to having sex with the woman but denied rape.
Evans was released from prison in October after serving half of his sentence. He has not offered any apology to his victim.
He has so far declined any request to be interviewed by the BBC, but released a video statement on his personal website, in which he said he wanted to play again.
An inquiry into his conviction is to be fast-tracked by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the body which examines potential miscarriages of justice.
Almost 157,000 people have signed a petition urging Sheffield United not to take the player back after the club chose not to renew his contract following his conviction. His deal expired during his incarceration.
Campaign groups have criticised the decision to allow him to train with his former club.
Rape Crisis England & Wales spokeswoman Katie Russell said: "Sheffield United has given no indication that they feel they have any responsibility towards the huge numbers of sexual violence survivors who follow their club or attend its matches.
"It has become clear that many people still consider rape in some contexts and circumstances more 'real', more harmful than others, and believe some rape survivors are therefore more 'worthy' of empathy than others."
End Violence Against Women Coalition spokeswoman Sarah Green said: "We are appalled that top football club Sheffield United are taking the first step to allowing an unrepentant convicted rapist back into their team this week.
"Footballers are critical role models for young men and women in particular, and the player concerned is now set to return to top-flight football when he has shown no remorse for his crime."
Sources maintain that Blades manager Nigel Clough is still to decide whether he wants the striker in his squad, and insist that allowing Evans to train with them does not necessarily mean he will be offered a fresh contract.
However, Clough has said that any decision on the convicted rapist is one for United's co-owners, Prince Abdullah Bin Musa'ad Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, and Kevin McCabe.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Rosetta mission: 'Looking good' for comet landing bid

Navigators must design a perfect delivery manoeuvre so that Philae's chances of success are maximised
European Space Agency officials say all looks good ahead of this week's historic bid to land on a comet.
Esa's Rosetta satellite will despatch its piggybacked Philae probe to the surface of the "ice mountain" known as 67P on Wednesday.
Controllers report both mothership and descent robot to be in excellent shape.
The landing commands on Philae have already been loaded, and an instruction was sent up on Monday evening to switch on and warm the probe.
The intention now is to leave it in an active state, ready for the separation. This is timed to occur at 08:35 GMT on Wednesday.
Touchdown should follow about seven hours later, with a confirmation signal expected back on Earth around 16:00 GMT.
But before the mission can get to this milestone, Rosetta must be primed to make its delivery run.
The satellite is currently moving on a long, slow arc around 67P at a height of about 30km.
At a predetermined time on Wednesday morning, it has to turn and head in towards the comet, releasing Philae on the path that will take it down to the targeted landing zone.
Executing this pre-delivery manoeuvre with high precision is the one really big issue vexing controllers.
They know their calculations for the thruster burn must be spot on. They know also that they will have very little time to assess its performance before giving the final "go" for separation.
"The point of separation is fixed in time, in space, velocity and attitude; and we have to reach exactly that point," explained Esa flight director Andrea Accomazzo.
"So, wherever Rosetta is, we have to design a manoeuvre to reach that point."

New rapid response tactics are needed to defeat the Ebola virus in Liberia, according to the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

New rapid response tactics are needed to defeat the Ebola virus in Liberia, according to the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).
More than 6,600 people have been infected in the country, but figures suggest the number of new infections has started to fall.
MSF says it now has more hospital capacity than patients and called for a shift in tactics.
It wants rapid response teams to tackle Ebola hotspots when they flare up.
Liberia has been the worst-hit country in the Ebola epidemic with nearly half of all cases.
However, it is the first to begin to turn around its fortunes - the rate of new infections is continuing to increase in Guinea and Sierra Leone.
The World Health Organization said it was feeling confident that it was getting the upper hand on the virus in Liberia.
MSF said that its treatment centre in the capital Monrovia had 250 beds but was treating just 50 patients.
Meanwhile a site in Foya, in the north of the country, has not had a single patient since 30 October.

At least 46 students have been killed by a suicide bomber at a school assembly in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum, police have said.

At least 46 students have been killed by a suicide bomber at a school assembly in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum, police have said.
A suicide bomber dressed as a student is believed to have caused the blast at the boys' school in Yobe state .
Police suggested the militant group Boko Haram carried out the attack.
Yobe state's governor has shut all public schools around Potiskum and criticised the government for not tackling the group.
In a statement governor Ibrahim Gaidam said: "Urgent action must be taken right now to restore a fast-waning public confidence by doing whatever it takes to stop the escalating violence."
Boko Haram has targeted schools during a deadly five-year insurgency aimed at establishing an Islamic state.
It is waging a sustained campaign to prevent children from going to school. It believes girls should not attend school and boys should only receive an Islamic education.
However thousands of people, not just schoolchildren, have been killed by the group.
On 17 October the Nigerian government claimed to have negotiated a ceasefire with Boko Haram.
But two weeks later the group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, denied these claims and said in a video: "We have not made ceasefire with anyone. We did not negotiate with anyone. It's a lie."
'Devastating attack' The explosion ripped through the assembly hall at the Government Science Secondary School.
Police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu told the BBC Hausa service the attack had left 47 people dead, including the suicide bomber. Another 79 were wounded.
Dozens of students were injured so severely medics were unable to save them.
Potiskum is no stranger to attacks - last week a suicide bombing there targeted Shia Muslims Schools in Yobe state have been frequently attacked by Boko Haram militants.
The state is one of three in Nigeria that have been placed under a state of emergency as a result of the group's activities.
Potiskum, one of the largest towns in Yobe, has been targeted before by Boko Haram.
Last week, a suicide bombing killed 15 people in the town.
The bomber joined a religious procession of the rival Shia Muslim sect, before blowing himself up.
Nigeria's police spokesperson told the BBC officers were making progress against the terrorists. "Our mandate is to secure safety and security," he said. "By and large we are making good successes."
The BBC's Will Ross says the authorities are unwilling to admit that the crisis in north-east Nigeria is worsening. The jihadists have taken over towns and villages and there have been some reports of the army fleeing rather than fighting.

Israeli woman and soldier killed in two knife attacks

Two Israelis have been killed in separate knife attacks in Tel Aviv and the occupied West Bank.
The first attack in Tel Aviv targeted a soldier. A Palestinian from the West Bank city of Nablus was arrested.
An Israeli woman was later stabbed to death near the Alon Shvut Jewish settlement in the West Bank. The assailant was shot by a security guard.
The stabbings come at a time of heightened tension between Israel and the Palestinians.
At the weekend, Israeli Arabs threw stones at police in mainly Arab towns in Israel after police shot dead a young Arab man, who had attacked them with a knife.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to "defeat terrorism" against Israel, saying those citizens who denounced the Jewish state should go and live in the Palestinian territories instead.
'Serious condition' The West Bank attack took place at the entrance to the Alon Shvut settlement.
The attacker tried to run over people in his car, hit a concrete barrier then got out of the vehicle, reports said.
He then stabbed the 26-year-old woman, named by Israeli media as Dalia Lamkus, along with two other Israelis at a bus stop. The two injured men were taken to hospital.
The attacker was shot several times by a security guard and was taken from the scene in a serious condition, emergency services said.

Red Bull back rivals' calls to open up F1 engine development

Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner has threatened to join with rival teams to tear up restrictions on engine development from 2016.
Renault, Ferrari and Honda want an extra step of development during the season to try to catch Mercedes.
Talks over the issue broke down at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
"There are no guarantees we can close that gap significantly to Mercedes but not having the opportunity to do so seems pretty unpalatable," Horner said.
Teams are currently only allowed to develop their engines during the winter.
Change in 2016 would require only majority agreement, whereas unanimous agreement is needed for a relaxation of the rules for 2015.
Horner said: "I think that's the only option because with a majority vote '16, '17, '18 can be open, which is ridiculous because it just means we're all going to end up spending a lot more money over a longer period of time, whereas it should be opened to allow Renault, Ferrari, Honda to close the gap."
World champions Mercedes argue the current rules allow plenty of scope for development, saying 92% of the engine design can be changed for next season.
They have, though, offered a limited relaxation of the in-season restrictions for next year, with a proposal for a small number of extra changes to be allowed mid-season. But rivals Renault, Ferrari and, from next year, Honda, want more.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said: "I don't think it's the way forward trying to unsettle the system and saying if you don't agree for '15 , we are going to turn the whole thing upside down, [and have an] engine war.
"You're looking a bit too narrow on your own team's performance and not considering what is going on around you in F1."

Novak Djokovic sweeps past Marin Cilic at World Tour Finals

Novak Djokovic sweeps past Marin Cilic at World Tour Finals

Novak Djokovic swept past US Open champion Marin Cilic on a day of one-sided matches at the ATP World Tour Finals on Monday.
The world number one began his campaign for a third straight title at the O2 Arena with a 6-1 6-1 win in 56 minutes.
Djokovic joins Stan Wawrinka at the top of Group A after the Swiss earlier thrashed Tomas Berdych by the same score.
The two singles matches required a combined one hour and 54 minutes.
"It's been a great, great match," said Djokovic. "I haven't played here for 12 months, it's great to be back. It was a great performance.
"Marin, as a US Open winner, has a lot of confidence, but I managed to neutralise his serve and get a lot of balls back in play, and that was part of the tactic."
That Djokovic won the second match of the day was hardly a surprise, such is his dominance at the venue and over the opponent.
He is unbeaten at the O2 since 2011, has won his last 27 matches indoors and went into Monday's encounter with a 10-0 record against Cilic, who was making his ATP Finals debut.
The Croat had taken sets off Djokovic three times in 2014 and must have felt optimistic after the seven-time Grand Slam champion edged through a nervy first service game.
A little over half an hour later, Djokovic had reeled off seven straight games with his familiar combination of brilliant athleticism and precision hitting.
That Djokovic won the second match of the day was hardly a surprise, such is his dominance at the venue and over the opponent.
He is unbeaten at the O2 since 2011, has won his last 27 matches indoors and went into Monday's encounter with a 10-0 record against Cilic, who was making his ATP Finals debut.
The Croat had taken sets off Djokovic three times in 2014 and must have felt optimistic after the seven-time Grand Slam champion edged through a nervy first service game.
A little over half an hour later, Djokovic had reeled off seven straight games with his familiar combination of brilliant athleticism and precision hitting.

First 20 Things to Remember When You Think You’re Not Good Enough.

Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is simply believing you’re worthy of the trip.
Truth be told, you can’t berate yourself into a better version of yourself. And even though I know this, I sometimes still fall victim to my own negative thinking. Sometimes I’m downright rude to myself. I make a mistake, or fall short of my own expectations, and instead of treating it as a learning opportunity, I beat myself up about it.
I’m sure you can relate. We’ve all been there. We all have bad days and moments of self-doubt.
Sometimes the pressure coming from peers, family, work, and society in general is enough to make us feel completely broken inside. If we don’t have the “right” job, relationship, lifestyle, and so forth, by a certain age or timeframe, we assume we’re just “not good enough.”, and like I said, we aren’t immune either.
So what can we do about it?
Here’s how I handle it: Every time I catch myself thinking I’m not good enough, I immediately write down an opposing thought that debunks my negativity. I’ve been doing this for the past several years and it’s made a tremendous difference in my life. I challenge you to do the same.
If you need a little extra inspiration, here are some things I’ve come up with – 20 good reminders when you’re feeling “not good enough”:
  1. Nobody is doing better than you because nobody can do better than you. – YOU are walking your own path. Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel. Forget what everyone else is doing and achieving. Your life is about breaking your own limits and outgrowing yourself to live YOUR best life.
  2. Where you are right now is a necessary step. – Sometimes we avoid experiencing exactly where we are because we have developed a belief, based on our ideals, that it is not where we should be or want to be. But the truth is, where you are right now is exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go tomorrow.
  3. Everything is coming together… maybe not immediately, but gradually. – When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose. Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you. Pain is part of growing. Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you. When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.
  4. It is your resistance to “what is” that causes your suffering. – Remember, happiness is allowing yourself to be perfectly OK with “what is,” rather than wishing for and worrying about “what is not.” “What is” is what’s supposed to be, or it would not be. The rest is just you, arguing with life. Think about that for a minute. This means your suffering only ever occurs when you resist how things are. You cannot control everything that happens to you; you can only control the way you respond to what happens. In your response is your power
  5. Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace. – Choose to be miserable and you’ll find plenty of reasons to be miserable. Choose to be peaceful and you’ll find plenty of reasons to be at peace. Think about it. Are you skilled at making yourself miserable? With those same skills you can make yourself motivated, effective and fulfilled. Do so.
  6. You are always good enough to try, and that’s what’s important in the end. – Everything you achieve comes from something you attempt. Make the attempt. Trust me, twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. Give yourself a chance.
  7. There’s always something small you can do. – There is absolutely nothing about your present situation that prevents you from moving forward, one tiny step at a time. Remember, vision without action is just a daydream; vision must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, you must step up the stairs. And all you have to do is take one step at a time. Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take that step.
  8. Failures are really just lessons that need to be learned. – No day is ever wasted when you live it with purpose and presence. Value and enjoy the journey, even when there are detours along the way.
  9. Yesterday’s impossibilities may be possible today. – Experience is the hardest kind of teacher; it gives you the test first and the lesson afterward. But this is really a blessing. It means you’re growing stronger and more capable with every passing day. So don’t you dare give up on today because of the way things looked yesterday. Don’t even think about it.
  10. What “might happen” can only stop you if you let it. – Rather than worrying about what might happen, move forward and use your energy and intelligence to deal with what does actually happen.
  11. The quality of your vision drives the quality of your life. – It’s up to you how you visualize things and what you focus on. Forget what you don’t like. Focus on what excites you. If you see a possibility, explore it. If you have a dream, live it. Those who are passionate and excited about what they’re doing have an advantage that is nearly impossible to conquer. Be one of these people.
  12. You don’t need to get everyone’s approval first. – Stop listening to what the world says you should want. Start listening to who you are. Truth be told, there are only a few people in this world who will stay 100% true to you, and YOU should be one of them.
  13. What you’re capable of achieving is greatly based on how much you want it. – When it means enough to you, then you can do it. When you are willing and committed and persistent, you will get yourself there, every time. Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural outcome of consistently applying your focused effort to what you want. The fatigue might be there sometimes, but you must understand that putting it aside is the single most important factor in succeeding.
  14. Your best bet is to give yourself no other choice. – It’s amazing what you can do when you have no other choice. In fact, achievement consists mostly of giving yourself no other choice. You are more than good enough; you just have to own it – you have to own everything you are and everything you’re up against. If you believe your troubles are too powerful, then you’ll never allow yourself to rise above them. Stop fretting. Quit worrying. Don’t complain. You know what you must do. So do it.
  • You have to work hard on yourself too. – Self-respect, self-love, self-worth… there’s a reason they all start with “self.” You can’t receive them from anyone else. Earn the respect of others by having the audacity to respect yourself. Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with pots of gold at both ends. It’s your responsibility, above all, to see your own value. And this responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and deciding for you; it means learning to use your own brains and intuition to make things happen – hence, grappling with hard work. 
  • You are stronger than whatever is troubling you. – Use each setback, each disappointment as a cue to push on ahead with more determination than ever before. When something bad happens, you can either let it define you, let it destroy you or let it strengthen you. The choice is yours. So pump yourself up! You are a lot stronger than you think you are. You may not be where you want to be yet, but look how far you’ve come. Celebrate the fact that you’re not where you used to be.
  • For everything you’ve lost, you’ve gained something else. – Appreciate what you have today. Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. No regrets, just lessons. No worries, just acceptance. No expectations, just gratitude. Life is too short. The story of your life has many chapters. One bad chapter doesn’t mean it’s the end. So stop re-reading the bad one already, and turn the page.
  • You have made the best of some tough situations. – Smiling doesn’t always mean you’re happy with everything. Sometimes it just means you’re strong and smart enough to accept it and make the best of it.
  • Your scars are symbols of your strength. – Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with. A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed. It means you conquered the pain, learned a lesson, grew stronger, and moved forward. A scar is the tattoo of a triumph. So don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage. Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear. You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them. You can start seeing your scars as a sign of strength and not pain.
  • You are still here trying. – If you have no other testimony right now, you have this one: “I’m still here trying.” Be positive, patient and persistent. The more you feel like quitting, the more there is to be gained by continuing to do all three. Because the strongest people aren’t the people who always win, but the people who don’t give up when they lose.
  • Afterthoughts

    The wisest, most loving, and well rounded people you have ever met are likely those who have known misery, known defeat, known the heartbreak of losing something or someone they loved, and have found their way out of the depths of their own despair. These people have experienced many ups and downs, and have gained an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, understanding and a deep loving wisdom. People like this aren’t born; they develop slowly over the course of time.
    And you’re getting there.

    The floor is yours…

    So, which of the points in this post do you resonate with the most? What makes you feel “not good enough?” How have you coped with this negativity? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights.

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