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July 31, 2007

US basketball: Cleveland Cavaliers and partner Flash Seats sue Ticketmaster

US basketball: Cleveland Cavaliers and partner Flash Seats sue Ticketmaster

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The U.S. NBA team the Cleveland Cavaliers and its partner Flash Seats filed a federal lawsuit on Monday in Ohio against leading ticket seller Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster is being accused of violating anti-trust laws. According to TicketNews.com, Flash Seats provides an electronic, paperless ticketing system to Cavaliers season ticket holders, and the lawsuit is moving “to stop Ticketmaster’s ongoing campaign to utilize its substantial market power in ticketing service to exclude actual and potential competition.”

The Cavs and Flash Seats allege that Ticketmaster is “coercively seeking to enforce its primary-ticketing contracts” (relating to the direct sale of tickets to the public) with the Cavaliers and other customers, by allegedly trying to make the Cavs “use only Ticketmaster’s own secondary-ticketing program (relating to the resale of tickets) or none at all.”

Ticketmaster President and CEO Sean Moriarty, in response to the lawsuit filed Monday by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Flash Seats, said the Cavs “breached their contract” with Ticketmaster when the team turned to Flash Seats for the handling of secondary ticket sales.

“The Cavaliers’ and Flash Seats’ lawsuit aims to deflect attention from the fact that the Cavaliers and Ticketmaster fairly negotiated a contract for Ticketmaster to serve as the team’s exclusive primary and secondary ticketing company,” Moriarty said in a prepared statement.

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US Chief Justice John Roberts hospitalized

US Chief Justice John Roberts hospitalized

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, 2005.

Chief Justice John Roberts was hospitalized after having a seizure in his summer home in Maine. A statement released by Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg stated that Justice Roberts took a minor fall from the seizure, and has been transported to the Penobscot Bay Medical Center. In addition, she said that Justice Roberts has undergone a, “thorough neurological evaluation, which revealed no cause for concern.”

Justice Roberts, 52, had a similar incident in 1993, when he suffered a “isolated, idiosyncratic seizure,” according to White House doctors.

The Justice was returning from a boat ride at around 2 p.m. EDT (UTC-4) Monday when he fell on a dock near his home in Port Clyde on Maine’s Hupper Island, Arberg said. He was taken by boat to the mainland, and transferred to an ambulance, said St. George Fire Chief Tim Polky. Doctors have determined that this incident was caused by “a benign idiopathic seizure.” Both descriptions, according to Arberg, hint that doctors could not determine the cause of the seizures, or link them to any known condition.

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UN to send troops to Darfur, Sudan

UN to send troops to Darfur, Sudan – Wikinews, the free news source

UN to send troops to Darfur, Sudan

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Map of Darfur, Sudan.

At least 26,000 United Nations (UN) troops will be sent to the Darfur region of Sudan in Africa under resolution 1769 in an attempt to stop violence from spreading and to protect civilians from the fighting. The force includes at least 19,555 troops and nearly 7,000 civilian police officers in a force being called the “United Nations-African Union Mission” (UNAMID). The UN Security Council voted unanimously to send troops to the region.

At least 200,000 people have been killed in four years of fighting in the region and more than two million have been displaced.

Troops will be sent to the region under Chapter 7 of the UN charter which states that the UN “shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

Language authorizing the troops to seize illegal weapons caches and mentions of possible future sanctions if Sudan does not co-operate was removed during negotiations. The resolution does allow troops to monitor weapon caches.

“If any party blocks progress and the killings continue, I and others will redouble our efforts to impose further sanctions. The plan for Darfur from now on is to achieve a cease-fire, including an end to aerial bombings of civilians; drive forward peace talks … and, as peace is established, offer to begin to invest in recovery and reconstruction,” said the new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Tuesday while visiting the UN headquarters in New York.

Troops are expected to be in the region no later than December of this year but may take up to a year to fully deploy. This will be the largest peacekeeping force ever deployed and cost over US$2 billion per year to keep the force in the region. The resolution does not allow for more than 26,000 troops to be deployed.

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UK PM Brown meets with US President Bush at Camp David

UK PM Brown meets with US President Bush at Camp David

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, walk past an honor guard Sunday, July 29, 2007

United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown met United States President George W. Bush at Camp David in Maryland for their first formal talks since Brown took office in June.

Gordon Brown arrived at Camp David on Sunday, July 30. Monday, they addressed the press in a joint press conference. According to reports, the talks focused on Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, world trade and climate change, amid speculation whether the two leaders could work together. Correspondents say they appeared relaxed as they faced reporters after their talks.

Cquote1.svg Everybody is wondering whether or not the Prime Minister and I were able to find common ground, to get along, to have a meaningful discussion. And the answer is, absolutely. Cquote2.svg

—President Bush

Both reiterated a commitment to fighting terrorism, which Prime Minister Brown called “a crime against humanity”, and discussed ways of making sure that the two countries’ security systems are “properly aligned” and share information.

President Bush spoke of waging an ideological struggle between those who “believe in freedom and justice and human rights and human dignity, and cold-blooded killers who will kill innocent people to achieve their objectives” and said that defending the “young democracies” of Afghanistan and Iraq was a way to defeat “an ideology of darkness” with a “more hopeful ideology”.

“It’s very important for us to make it clear to those who are in harm’s way that these missions will be driven not by local politics but by conditions on the ground,” the President added.

Cquote1.svg It’s in Britain’s national interest that with all our energies we work together to address all the great challenges that we face also together: nuclear proliferation, climate change, global poverty and prosperity, the Middle East peace process, […] and most immediately, international terrorism. Cquote2.svg

—Prime Minister Brown

Iraq

Prime Minister Brown acknowledged a responsibility to support the Iraqi government and said the U.S. and the U.K. had a threefold aim: security for the Iraqi people, political reconciliation, and a stake for Iraqis in their future.

The Prime Minister spoke of a step by step transfer of control to the Iraqi government and security forces, with the British forces moving from a combat to overwatch mode in three of the four provinces under their responsibility. He said military commanders will determine when a similar transition will be made for the remaining province – Basra and that the recommendation will be placed before parliament. The head of the British military said last week that that the transfer is likely by the year end.

Seven of Iraq’s 18 provinces, mostly in the Shia dominated south and the Kurdish north, are now formally under the control of Iraqi government and security forces. On being asked if U.S. deployment will continue till after the presidential elections next year, President Bush reiterated that this was going to take a long time, and said he will not prejudge a report by U.S. Commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, on how the recent troop ‘surge’ has altered the security situation.

UK Prime Minister proposed setting up a Basra economic development agency to bring jobs and businesses – “economic hope” for the region, and offered financial support for the project.

Darfur, Iran and the Middle East

President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown address the press Monday, July 30, 2007

Both leaders expressed strong concern over the situation in Darfur, and agreed to step up pressure to end the violence in the region by expediting a U.N. resolution mandating a U.N.-African Union peace force.

Meanwhile, at the U.N. Security Council, a revised draft resolution is being circulated today that drops language critical of Sudan government forces and scales back the peace-keeping force’s mandate to monitor arms violation, following Sudan’s objections. The peacekeeping force is to assume responsibility by the year’s end but it will take up to a year to be fully deployed.

“We’re agreed on encouragement for early peace talks, a call to cease violence on the ground, an end to aerial bombing of civilians, and support for economic development if this happens, and further sanctions if this does not happen.”, Prime Minister Brown said.

Prime Minister Brown expressed support for President Bush’s “bold initiative” in the Middle East peace process and said the two leaders agreed that sanctions against Iran were working and that they were prepared to toughen sanction with a new U.N. resolutions.

Trade and aid

Both leaders expressed support for measures to combat poverty, lack of education and healthcare, particularly malaria and HIV/AIDS, including ways to bring public and private sectors, faith groups and civil society to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Prime Minister Brown, who has already spoken to several leaders around the world regarding the Doha round of trade talks, said contact between world leaders will be stepped up to quickly reach an agreement, which both leaders stressed was an important goal that they were optimistic of attaining.

Climate change was an important issue and needs to be tackled in the context of sustainable development as well as energy security, Prime Minister Brown said, and said that this agenda, agreed at this year’s G8 in Germany, would be discussed in meetings over the next few months.



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New Zealand\’s copyright bill report strikes criticism

Filed under: Archived,New Zealand — admin @ 5:00 am

New Zealand’s copyright bill report strikes criticism

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Zealand
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A report by Parliament’s commerce select committee has been released on the bill seeking to amend New Zealand’s current copyright law. InternetNZ has voiced their disappointment in the report and the bill.

Currently under New Zealand law it is illegal, but common, for example, to copy a CD’s music for playing on a digital music player. The Copyright (New Technologies and Performers’ Rights) Amendment Bill now makes this legal as long as there is only one copy for anyone in the same household, the original CD is kept and it is not sold. The bill had previously included time restrictions for this, but they have now been removed.

Cquote1.svg …copyright law in New Zealand needs to be completely re-thought in the context of modern technology and the Internet. Cquote2.svg

—Keith Davidson.

The report also wishes the bill to be amended to give more power to the copyright holders. The proposed amendment would allow the copyright holders to decide whether or not they wish their works to be exempt under the new, proposed law. The only condition is that the consumers are informed of this decision.

Commentators have cried out against this, they state that there is not much of a point if they can decide not to be applicable to the law. The Internet Society of New Zealand (InternetNZ) executive director, Keith Davidson, has said, “The removal of the two year expiry is good, but what’s the point of offering format shifting to the public when the music industry can opt out of allowing it?”

It will also be illegal for people to try and bypass security that disables copying, like that found on DVDs. A conviction would pose either a NZ$150,000 fine or five years in jail.

Davidson says that InternetNZ does not support the bill in its amended form by the committee. “Overall, the Bill as reported back does contain improvements on the draft. […] The Committee is recommending legislation that is not fit for purpose.”

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Cricket: India defeat England in second Test

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Cricket,England,Europe,India,Sports — admin @ 5:00 am

Cricket: India defeat England in second Test

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

India have beaten England by seven wickets in the second Test cricket match of the Indian tour of England at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, England.

Despite the loss of three wickets on the final day, the Indian batsmen comfortably reached the 73 run target set by England.

India lead the three-match series 1-0 after the first Test ended in a draw, and England must win the final Test at The Oval to avoid their first home Test series defeat since 2001.

The start of play was delayed on the first day as the outfield was wet following heavy rain. Before play finally got underway after lunch on Friday, India won the toss and captain Rahul Dravid chose to field first.

Zaheer Khan made two breakthroughs early in the England innings to dismiss Andrew Strauss and captain Michael Vaughan. R P Singh then trapped Kevin Pietersen lbw to reduce England to 47-3. Although Paul Collingwood and Alastair Cook shared a partnership of 54, India’s bowlers found some swing and reduced England to 169-7 at the close of day one.

On the second day England were soon bowled out for just 198, with Zaheer Khan leading the bowling attack with 4-59. In response, the England bowlers did little to trouble the Indian batsmen, and Dinesh Karthik and Wasim Jaffer soon reached half centuries. The breakthrough came just before Tea when Jaffer was caught off Tremlett’s bowling, while Karthik followed just after the interval. India soon surpassed England’s first innings total, and Sachin Tendulkar scored a fifty and his 11,000th run in Test cricket. A partnership of 97 was brought to an end when Rahul Dravid was caught by Ian Bell, and bad weather forced the close of play soon afterwards with India on 254-3.

England struggled in the field on day three as India’s lead passed 100. Sourav Ganguly scored fifty and shared a partnership of 96 with Sachin Tendulkar. After lunch, Tendulkar was dismissed by a controversial lbw decision, nine runs short of his century. After V. V. S. Laxman was dismissed for 54, India’s tail-enders did not add much to their total and they were eventually bowled out for 481, leading England by 283 runs. Monty Panesar took 4-101 and Chris Tremlett took 3-80. Play ended for the day sixteen overs into England’s second innings, with England still 240 runs behind on 43-0.

Michael Vaughan scored 124 runs on day four and shared a 112 run stand with Paul Collingwood (63), and Andrew Strauss scored 55. However England’s last seven wickets fell for just 68 runs with Zaheer Khan taking 5-75. England were all out for 355, leaving India to chase a target of just 73 in their second innings. Three overs of India’s second innings were played before the close of play on day four, with India on 10-0, needing just 63 runs for victory.

Indian bowler Sreesanth was fined half of his match fee for colliding with England batsman Michael Vaughan during the fourth day’s play, breaking the ICC Code of Conduct which prohibits “Inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players during play”. The match was also marred by incidents of sledging.

On the final day India were hardly troubled in reaching their target although Chris Tremlett took three wickets, including that of Sachin Tendulkar for just one run.


2nd Test: 27 July – 31 July, Trent Bridge, Nottingham, England
England Flag of England.svg vs Flag of India.svg India
198 (65.3 overs)
Alastair Cook 43 (111 balls)
Zaheer Khan 4-59 (21.0 overs)
(scorecard) 481 (158.5 overs)
Sachin Tendulkar 91 (197 balls)
Monty Panesar 4-101 (33.5 overs)
355 (104.0 overs)
Michael Vaughan 124 (193 balls)
Zaheer Khan 5-75 (27.0 overs)
73-3 (24.1 overs)
Wasim Jaffer 22 (45 balls)
Chris Tremlett 3-12 (7.1 overs)
Result: India win by seven wickets

England: A J Strauss, A N Cook, M P Vaughan (capt), K P Pietersen, P D Collingwood, I R Bell, M J Prior (wkt), C T Tremlett, R J Sidebottom, M S Panesar, J M Anderson

India: W Jaffer, K D Karthik, R Dravid (capt), S R Tendulkar, S C Ganguly, V V S Laxman, M S Dhoni (wkt), A Kumble, Z Khan, R P Singh, S Sreesanth

Man of the Match: Z Khan (India)

Umpires: I L Howell (South Africa) and S J A Taufel (Australia)
TV umpire: N J Llong
Match referee: R S Madugalle (Sri Lanka)
Reserve umpire: N A Mallender

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Alan Turing Building opens at University of Manchester

Alan Turing Building opens at University of Manchester

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The atrium of the Alan Turing building
Image: Bill Lionheart.

The School of Mathematics, University of Manchester finished moving in to its new building Monday. The building is named after one of its most widely known academics, Alan Turing, one of the founders of computer science and a Reader in Mathematics at Manchester.

Although Turing is one of the city and university’s most famous sons, there are very few things named in his honour. The city council was criticised for naming an uninspiring piece of by-pass Alan Turing Way, and a statue erected by public subscription bears a plaque pointing out the failure of the computing industry to contribute.

The new building deliberately attempts to provide a conducive atmosphere for mathematical collaboration with a design that aims to promote chance encounter in public spaces. It also aims to save energy with solar panels fitted to the roof.

The building also houses the Astronomy and Astrophysics Group, and the Photon Sciences Institute.


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Scholarships awarded to isolated pacific islanders in Micronesia

Scholarships awarded to isolated pacific islanders in Micronesia

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Habele Outer Island Education announced Tuesday that it will be awarding over US$3,500 in tuition assistance scholarships to students from the Outer Islands of Yap State, in the Federated States of Micronesia.

The fund is a South Carolina based 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, administered by unpaid volunteers, including many returned Peace Corps Volunteers who have served time in Micronesia’s public schools.

The scholarships were awarded to two female high school students from the Atoll of Ulithi. These students will be traveling to the neighboring Republic of Palau to attend classes at the private all-girls Bethanaia High School.

Habele was incorporated in 2006, and began informal scholarships three years earlier in 2003. In addition to providing scholarships to students who attend private schools, the organization also gathers and distributes donations of school supplies to the public schools in the Outer Islands of Yap.

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July 30, 2007

Taliban report killing another South Korean hostage as deadline passes

Taliban report killing another South Korean hostage as deadline passes

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Monday, July 30, 2007

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A Taliban spokesman has stated that a South Korean hostage has been executed after a deadline had passed on Taliban demands to the Afghan government.

“We shot dead a male captive because the government did not listen to our demands,” Qari Mohammad Yousuf, Taliban spokesman told Reuters news agency by phone. “We killed one of the male hostages at 6:30 this evening because the Kabul administration did not listen to our repeated demands,” he continued.

AFP have quoted a Taliban spokesman as saying, “Finally tonight at 8:30 we killed one of the Koreans named Sung Sin with AK-47 gunshots.” There isn’t, as of yet, an explanation for the apparent 2-hour time discrepancy of the claimed killing.

Yousuf indicated that the Taliban have threatened to kill more hostages if their demands for the release of Taliban prisoners by Afghan officials were not met. A new deadline was not imposed. Yousuf told Reuters that Sung Sin’s body had been dumped by the side of a road. The Taliban has also demanded the withdrawal of South Korean troops from Afghanistan.

If the death is confirmed, Sung Sin would be the second South Korean hostage killed by the Taliban since the capture of the 23 Christian aid volunteers on July 19. On July 25, the Taliban shot and killed Bae Hyung-kyu, a 42-year-old pastor. His body was subsequently found in the desert area of the southern province of Ghazni, near where the aid workers were captured.

Ghanzi Govornor Marajudin Pathan stated that officials were aware of the Taliban’s killing, but that a body has not yet been recovered, although police have begun searching. He could not specify on a timetable for the recovery of Sin’s body.

“Ghazni is a very vast area, so we really don’t know where the body is,” Pathan said.

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  • “Taliban execute one Korean hostage; reports of release denied” — Wikinews, July 25, 2007

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Shinzo Abe\’s LDP suffers set-back in Japanese elections

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Elections,Japan,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Shinzo Abe’s LDP suffers set-back in Japanese elections

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Japanese House of Councillors election, 2007
     – Liberal Democratic Party
     – New Komei Party
     – Democratic Party of Japan
     – Japanese Communist Party
     – Social Democratic Party
     – The People’s New Party
     – New Party Nippon
     – Others

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) could claim victory in Sunday’s House of Councillors elections. The House of Councillors is the upper house in the bicameral National Diet of Japan. Of the 242 seats, DPJ went from 82 to 109 seats, making it the largest party in the House of Councillors.

This gain came largely at the expense of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which went from 119 seats to 83. Also losing seats was LDP’s coalition partner, New Komeito Party (NKP), which lost 4 councillor seats and now holds 20.

Shinzo Abe on November 18, 2006

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that while he takes the result of the election “very seriously,” he does not intend to resign his post.

“We must take these results very seriously and reflecting on what we must reflect on,” Abe said at a news conference. “I want to fulfill my responsibility to proceed with reform to build the nation and promote economic growth that the people can feel.”

The election result will not force the government out of power, since the LDP holds 296 of the 480 seats in the House of Representatives. Nonetheless, Abe said that he would reshuffle the cabinet. “Voters said we must reflect on our shortcomings and refresh the line-up,” Abe said. “I plan to reshuffle the Cabinet and top party posts at an appropriate time.”

“The election expressed the frustrations of the people. He really needs to accept the results of the election and think about the future. This might include quitting,” 38-year-old civil servant Akihiro Kodaira told Reuters.



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