Monday, May 4, 2009

Charlie Rose Show: A conversation with Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank

A conversation with Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank
Current Affairs, Business on Friday, May 1, 2009

Today's News NJ Endorces Mayor Steve Lonegan For GOP Nomination

Mayor Steve Lonegan is a principled and independent leader

By now, Mayor Lonegan is running for the Republican nomination.

But we were rooting for him all along.

As one of the few Republican candidates to recognize the problem of a failing state economy, immigration and understand the promises to bring jobs to our state and take a principled stand against wasteful state spending, Lonegan has often openly defied his Party's moderate base.

That independence and willingness to cross party lines is attractive to a generation tired of corrupt politics and bickering in the state house.

More importantly, Mayor Lonegan's unparalleled fiscal policy experience puts him head-and-shoulders above the other Republican candidates in the field.

Lonegan not only criticized the failed Gov. Corzine toll increase plan but was arrested at a rally.

In short, Mayor Lonegan has the experience and credibility necessary to lead our State in the right direction without tarnishing New Jersey’s image around America.

It's not just that Mayor Lonegan policies [and] ideas often appeal to people on both sides of the political aisle.

Mayor Lonegan has also brought a much-needed sense of honesty and candor to the 2009 election season.

During his visit around the state, Mayor Lonegan campaign wasn't afraid to give straight answers or admit that he disagreed with students on certain issues. After all, there's a reason they call him the principled leader.

His personality is reflected in his steadfast and moral courage in taking on the teacher's union and standing up for children in urban school districts through advocating school choice.

Still, it's refreshing to see a leader who is willing to stand up for his principles, even when those principles become unpopular.

Today’s News NJ Editor and Owner, Daryl Mikell Brooks

Post Racial Baggy Pants Laws? Or bi

Can the style of clothing now send young men to jail? According to one of the newer additions to the criminalized-for-no-good-reason list: baggy pants.

I don't like the way how young men or older men wear their clothing hanging off of their behinds but to give these young men a fine and jail sentences for their clothing is an outrage.

In a proposed bill in Kentucky you will be fined for a thousand dollars for wearing pants below the waist. In Missouri, the parents could spend 90 days in jail. This is an expression as all generations went through of their own style. I don't like their style as I am sure that my elders were not to happy with the styles of the 60's and 70's with the mini-skirts and tube tops and hot pants. But it did not merit a criminal charge against any of us who went through this expression of one's self.

Are we going to arrest the blue collar worker if we are able to see the crack of their behinds while they are working? If you have a plumber at you home and are able to his behind, is this a cause for alarm to call the police and have him arrested for breaking the law. Of course not. When the young and old females are walking down the street and you can see the cleavage from their breast and the low-rider jeans and thongs is this going to cause them to be arrested? Anything that shows any part of the body that is deemed unapproved for public vision is this going to be a cause for alarm and people are going to be fined and imprisoned for this? What about the beach, are we going to go back to the days where you were covered so that your body was not exposed at all.

Is this a law that is meant for everyone, or only for a certain group of young men and boys, or is it for our minority and poor youth, who use this style as their expression? Does this now give a reason for minorities to be harassed by law enforcement, for no cause, except for the clothing on their body.

Is this another way that the budget is going to be fixed, the government on a state and local level will fix their budgets by fining people who cannot afford to be fined and put into prison for not paying their fines are have to many offenses against them for their clothing and now have a criminal record for breaking a foolish law?

What is next are we going to wear uniforms in the streets to show what area we are from, what our stature in life is, what neighborhoods we live in to show if we belong in this area or not. Are we going to be robbed once again of our identify and our style of expression through our hair or make-up. Is this a signal to us to wake up and look at the concentration camps that are being set-up around the United States of things to come?

Where is the Black Caucus and Urban League and not to mention the NAACP, Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson, why are they not out fighting against this new injustice that is coming out against our people? And this is being done because there is some people that are offended regarding the way someone dresses.

How much legal slavery are we going to stand for? Is this going to fix the economy and put the American people back to work, is this going to stop the foreclosures in this country and not to mention is this going to stop the drugs from coming into our communities? Should we not be more concerned about fixing these things, then being concerned over how someone is dressing?

Maxwell: Back for 'Summer' With New Album, Tour

It was certainly as hot as a summer's night when a hodgepodge of the entertainment media world packed the Sony Entertainment's New York City headquarters to hear the highly anticipated new music from soul singer Maxwell's upcoming album 'BLACKsummersnight.'

Maxwell answered a few questions about his hiatus and showcased the video for his new single 'Pretty Wings.'

Since his chart topping 2001 offering, 'Now,' the New York City native has been keeping a low profile, doing what he described at the event as "making music for myself and living a pretty normal experience." Last year, he turned up at the annual BET Awards, singing 'Simply Beautiful' in a tribute to legendary soul crooner Al Green. His first live performance in seven years proved just what the 35-year-old needed.

The surprise performance forced Maxwell to not only return to the studio to pen his latest offering but to also tour 33 dates – all of which sold out. The experience he says was "something for which I am beyond grateful. It actually made making this record even more precious."

The end product of nine songs is the first album in a trilogy and will arrive in stores on July 7. 'Pretty Wings' finds the crooner returning to the vintage sound that he does best.

'BLACKsummers'night' features a live 10-piece band made up of some of the musicians who accompanied Maxwell on the road in 2008, like 25-year-old saxophone phenom Kenneth Whalum, who has backed big names like Jay-Z and Diddy.

That decision should serve Maxwell, who has amassed 10 gold and platinum certifications in his decade-long career, well when he hits the road at big-name gigs like the 15 anniversary celebration of the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans on July 4. His tour will work its way around Milwaukee on June 20, followed by stops in Seattle; Vancouver, Canada; Las Vegas, Miami; and Los Angeles

The Brett Favre Saga: Episode II

At first, I just thought the NFL nation was running out of topics so they brought the Favre saga again with the fact that the Jets had released him. Then they said he asked for that release twice, and that he had hired a personal trainer. Later came reports of a misterious plane going from Mississippi to Minnessota or something like that, but even at that point I just thought it was the media exagerating.

Here's what New York Daily News said today:

One NFL source insists Brett Favre can't peacefully retire until he finds a way to get revenge on the Packers. He wants back into the NFC North so he can face the Packers twice. The Bears traded for Jay Cutler and the Lions drafted Matthew Stafford. Hello, Minnesota. "Favre can't stand Green Bay," the source said. "He wants to play Green Bay and say, 'I told you so.' His bitterness is creating this. I think he's calling Minnesota. I think Minnesota is talking about this as we speak. You haven't heard the end of Favre. No way. He is bionic. As long as somebody will let him in, he will play."

Now I'm starting to think it could happen again, as it happened last year...If he wants, he'll come back and the media is not going to stop. I can remember last year all the Peter Kings and Pete Priscos talking about him and him and HIM, ALL DAY LONG. It was boring and frustrating, and now he has opened that door, again; and unless tomorrow is Thursday, September 10, the media is not going to shut up.

I also think the Lions could consider him, he could mentor Matt Stafford this year (better than he did with Kellen Clemens, I hope)...but they already have Daunte Culpepper and I'm not sure they'd like to bring that headache to town. Yes, that's what he has become: a HEADACHE! Not as big as a "T.O. headache", but he's old, takes a lot of risks (resulting in turnovers) and brings a lot of media attention to town, specially if you're going to play the Packers twice.

So, as we're approaching to the second episode of this saga, I'd like to hear your opinion.

Oh, and if you're asking what does this have to do with the Colts, just remember who's got all the career passing records...

LeBron James brings back memories of NBA legend, Bill Livingston says

by Bill Livingston
I have covered Julius Erving and LeBron James in my career, so I am a lucky man.
The first time I saw Dr. J in person, a fan popped out of the stands in Philly and handed him a doctor's bag. So he could operate, get it? The first time I saw LeBron James, he was a 16-year-old high school sophomore. He was shooting 3-pointers in St. Vincent-St. Mary's warmups before a game against Central-Hower.

He still shoots too many threes. Otherwise, at 24, he has over Doc in almost everything.

Despite his work with an ice cube in the Dr. Pepper commercial, this Doctor never shot well from the outside until he had to because he couldn't go to the basket anymore. At mid-range, James is now probably better than Doc ever was for most of his career. And he even sometimes uses the Doctor's "old school" bank shot.

James is much bigger and close to as quick, which is preposterous. But so is much else about his physical gifts. James rebounds better than Erving in his NBA phase, James passes far better, and James has a much better ratio of assists to turnovers.

Dr. J faced enormous pressure, as the "face" of the ABA, when his contract was sold to an already good NBA team in the first year of the merger. He had to prove the guys who had used the red, white and blue ball could play. James faced enormous pressure from his rookie year on, as people wondered if anyone that young could possibly be that good.

Doc made the greatest shot I ever saw in person with his reverse layup to beat three Lakers in Game 4 of the 1980 Finals. James played the greatest game I ever covered in person when he single-handedly beat five Pistons in Game 5 of the 2007 East finals.

I have great memories from both. LeBron is only going to make more of them.

Hundreds of workers with disabilities Rally at the state house saying "Shame on Corzine's proposed budget cuts." April 30

NJ nonprofits were stunned to learn his budget included a $3.8 million cut they say will likely mean a loss of 1,000 jobs for people with disabilities and the firing of 50 job coaches and drivers who ensure their clients report to work every day. The program currently gets about $30 million from the state.

BY Media dis&dat.
When Gov. Jon Corzine announced his budget ax would spare the "most vulnerable" residents of New Jersey, nonprofit agencies that prepare the disabled for jobs assumed their programs would be safe.

Instead, they were stunned to learn his budget included a $3.8 million cut they say will likely mean a loss of 1,000 jobs for disabled people and the firing of 50 job coaches and drivers who ensure their clients report to work every day. The program currently gets about $30 million from the state.

"We thought he couldn't have been aware of (the cut)," Nils Richardson, president and chief executive officer for the Association for Choices in Community Supports and Employment Services in New Jersey, said of the governor. "So many jobs will be lost by the most vulnerable."

Workers and agency representatives plan to rally at the Statehouse April 30 to demonstrate to Corzine and the Legislature what the loss of funding would mean.

The protesters -- representing 6,500 workers with disabilities who are in employment programs -- will try to convince lawmakers to restore the money. Inside the Statehouse, the Assembly Budget Committee will be discussing the Department of Labor and Workforce Development's proposed budget.

Disabled workers and the agencies that assist them have already sent thousands of letters to lawmakers, and every day this week a handful of workers has distributed fliers to people outside the Statehouse.

"Their safety net is being taken away," said Mark Lasky, who runs the Occupational Center of Union County, a job training and placement center in Roselle that serves about 240 people with various disabilities.

Employment programs for the disabled "send a staff person who initially spends an intense amount of time on-site, then they fade out" as the employee grows more proficient, Lasky said. Fewer dollars would mean agencies would have to cut back on the length of time they supervise someone getting used to a new job.

"With these budget cuts, if we get someone a job, there is possibility they might not succeed," Lasky said.

When people with disabilities fail to thrive in a job, Lasky's agency allows them to return to work in one of its workshops or its on-site packaging operation, which has sales of about $1.5 million a year.

"If the cuts stick, we may not have ability to take the people back," Lasky said.

Employment program providers have urged lawmakers to restore the cuts by tapping New Jersey's share of the federal stimulus package.

"The federal stimulus funds are designated to help states avoid critical cuts, to save jobs and to save businesses," Maureen Walliser, president of Hudson Community Enterprises, told the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee during a March 24 hearing. "Our requests fully qualify on all counts."

The Corzine administration yesterday defended the cut to the employment programs, noting nearly all state programs are taking a 10 percent hit "to help
close a looming $7 billion shortfall," Treasury spokesman Tom Vincz said.

Labor Commissioner David J. Socolow will work with the employment agencies to ensure they are operating as cheaply as possible so state money funds as many job openings as possible, Vincz said.

"It's premature to make a judgment about specific reductions and how they will (affect) the community at this stage," Vincz said.

Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, (D-Camden), chairman of the Assembly budget committee, said he understands both sides of the debate, and will do his best to reach a compromise.

"These difficult economic times required Governor Corzine to make difficult choices in his proposed budget," Greenwald said. "Any cut that restricts individuals with disabilities from earning a living and contributing to New Jersey's economy is concerning. Our goal should be to ensure the highest quality of life for New Jerseyans with disabilities. As with other proposed changes, this is something we will continue to evaluate throughout the budget process."

Alex Rodriguez On Steroids Since High School?

Here we go. It's two weeks until Selena Roberts' book about Alex Rodriguez hits shelves, but the media blitz begins today with the New York Daily News taking the first look at the ugly details.

There's enough scandal and intrigue in just one little newspaper page to fill ... well, a book. Among the tales contained in the forthcoming tome: more accusations of HGH use, this time with the Yankees (and Kevin Brown), A-Rod's nasty poker habit, his "out-of-town floozies", conspiracies with players on opposing teams to pad stats, and allegations from former teammates—and Jose Canseco!—that Alex was on steroids as early as his high school career.

Rodriguez put on 25 pounds of muscle between his sophomore and junior years, and word was that his connection was a dog kennel owner. A former high school teammate told Roberts the future No.1 MLB draft pick was on steroids and his coach knew it. Another student said the son of coach Rich Hofman admitted he saw Rodriguez use steroids.

Hofman said it was news to him. "Whatever he was doing, he was doing it somewhere else," he said.

The Daily News also says the Roberts book "dishes up a highly unflattering portrait of A-Rod as a needy me-firster who had to have his ego constantly stroked." Gee, really? SPOILER ALERT! Did you know he's also bad tipper at Hooters! Plus, he just looks like the kind of guy who would kick puppies for fun.

But the coup de grace of the entire volume has to be the nugget about A-Rod's new nickname, given to him by his Yankee teammates in 2005: "Bitch Tits." Yeah, this is going to be a good two weeks.

A-Rod took steroids while with Yankees, and as teen, claims new book [New York Daily News]

'Idol' winner David Cook's brother dies of cancer

Adam Cook, the eldest brother of "American Idol" winner David Cook, has died from brain cancer. He was 37.

David Cook announced the Saturday death at the 12th annual Race for Hope 5K in Washington, D.C., where he was serving as grand marshal. The singer says the cause of death was a brain tumor.

Adam Cook was a lawyer from Terre Haute, Ind., who battled cancer for more than a decade. He famously cheered for his singing sibling in the audience of the popular Fox signing competition's seventh season in 2008.

Julie Henricks, a friend of the Cook family, said Adam Cook died at his Terre Haute home, where hospice nurses were helping Cook's wife, Kendra, care for him.

Henricks said she received a text message Saturday night from Kendra Cook saying that the family had gathered for a bedside vigil as Adam's condition worsened.

She said Adam Cook, an attorney also survived by the couple's 7-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, had decided to stop his chemotherapy treatments early this year after they failed to help his advanced brain cancer.

"He was so sick and so worn out he just made that decision. That was his choice. It was because he was just so tired," said Henricks.

Adam is the eldest of Cook's brothers. A younger sibling, Andrew, also tried out for the show but didn't make it to Hollywood.

The death was first reported by

John Edwards accused of using campaign money to cover up Rielle Hunter affair

Reportedly, John Edwards is being investigated for using campaign money to cover up the Rielle Hunter affair. Rielle Hunter was a videographer who worked for the Edwards campaign. She later had a child that some say belongs to John Edwards. Edwards eventually admitted to the affair, but denies paternity. The Daily News reports:

The feds are investigating whether former Sen. John Edwards broke any laws - besides those of decency - when he cheated on his dying wife with a campaign staffer.

The US attorney apparently wants to know if the 2008 Democratic presidential candidate paid off mistress Rielle Hunter by siphoning cash from his campaign war chest or programs he set up to help the poor.

Hunter gave birth to a daughter in February 2008, just as the affair was hitting the headlines. Her sister claimed the child is Edwards' and that he paid to keep the unemployed videographer away from reporters.

Read more: "Feds eye John Edwards' possible use of campaign cash in cover-up of Rielle Hunter affair"

NY Times Company will file to close the Boston Globe

The New York Times Company will notify federal authorities Monday that its plans to shut down the Boston Globe after negotiations with Unions failed to deliver desired cuts.

According to reports, The Boston Globe will cease publication within weeks, if not sooner.

The New York Times Company (the owner of the Boston Globe) had previously said that The Globe c=would bleed $85 million this year unless a deal was reached with the union to cut costs. The NY Times Company acquired the Boston Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993.

The shutdown has restrictions under law, and the NY Times Company said that they would file at the opening of business Monday, the required 60-day notice of the planned shutdown under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification law.

Reports suggest though that the move could be a negotiation tactic, but either way, it’s a serious escalation in negotiations. If the Globe closes, it will be the largest failure of a US newspaper
to date.

Obama: Wall Street will play less dominant role

Wall Street is not going to play as dominant a role in the economy as regulations reduce "some of the massive leveraging and the massive risk-taking that had become so common," President Barack Obama says.

The changes in the role of Wall Street and the huge profits that came from that risk-taking could mean other adjustments as well, Obama said in an interview in this week's New York Times Magazine.

"That means that more talent, more resources will be going to other sectors of the economy," he said. "I actually think that's healthy. We don't want every single college grad with mathematical aptitude to become a derivatives trader. We want some of them to go into engineering, and we want some of them to be going into computer design."

The Obama administration is trying to restore more regulations on the financial sector to avoid some of the risk-taking that helped cause the current economic problems.

"Wall Street will remain a big, important part of our economy, just as it was in the '70s and the '80s," he said. "It just won't be half of our economy."

Obama said he expects that government efforts to fix the economy will cause long-term changes.

"What I think will change, what I think was an aberration, was a situation where corporate profits in the financial sector were such a heavy part of our overall profitability over the last decade," he said.

Obama said he's confident that people will regain trust and confidence in the financial system, but he believes it will take time.

"I think it's important to understand that some of that wealth was illusory in the first place," he said.

Condoleezza Rice Echoes Nixon, Blunders into Possible Conspiracy Admission

f her six-minute confrontation with students in a Stanford University dorm is any indication, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is ill-prepared for life outside the bubble of the Bush administration.

As recorded on video by student Reyna Garcia, Rice began by incorrectly referring to the 9/11 hijackers as “tyrants.” Then, despite the clear language of recently released memos, she insisted that the excesses at Abu Ghraib were “not policy” and that no one at Guantánamo had been tortured. Next, she mischaracterized the Red Cross conclusions about the Bush administration’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and went on to deny that waterboarding is torture.

Then, increasingly agitated, Rice took a turn for the worse. Responding to the charge of torture, she said, “The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligation, legal obligations under the convention against torture… I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency. And so by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.”

For John Dean, former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon, Rice’s remark sounded eerily similar to Nixon’s famous line: “When the President does it, that means that it’s not illegal.” Dean also said that Rice’s words could be construed as meaning she was part of a conspiracy to carry out a program that was illegal.

“She tried to say she didn’t authorize anything, then proceeded to say she did pass orders along to the CIA to engage in torture if it was legal by the standard of the Department of Justice,” Dean said. “This really puts her right in the middle of a common plan, as it’s known in international law, or a conspiracy, as it’s known in American law, and this indeed is a crime.” Specifically, Rice admitted to violating section 2340A (c) of the U.S. Code regarding conspiracy to commit torture.

LeBron awaits after Hawks win 1st series since '99

The Atlanta Hawks lingered on the court, savoring the cheers as red and silver streamers drifted down from the rafters.

This celebration was a decade in the making. It won't last more than 24 hours.

King James is waiting.

The Hawks won a playoff series for the first time since 1999, getting a clutch performance from Joe Johnson and solid contributions from most everyone around him, knocking out Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat with a 91-78 victory in Game 7 Sunday.

Josh Smith, who contributed 21 points and nine rebounds to Johnson's 27-point effort, is the lone player remaining from a team that went 13-69 four years ago — the nadir in a stretch of nine straight losing seasons for the Hawks.

"It feel like the monkey's off Atlanta's back," Smith said. "Not just the team's back. The whole city."

Having eliminated the NBA's leading scorer, the Hawks now must face the favorite for MVP. LeBron James would be quite a handful by himself, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are a much more talented team than the one led by Wade, who often seemed like the only player on the court for the Heat.

Atlanta opens the second round on the road Tuesday night.

"Now we have to start focusing on Cleveland," coach Mike Woodson said. "I haven't given much thought to it, being so into Miami, but we will start that soon."

Smith, for one, is looking forward to the challenge.

"It's going to be very tough. The crowd is going to be very hostile. We have to go up there ready to play," he said. "But I'm very confident. You can't be passive. You've got to be aggressive."

As if the top-seeded Cavaliers needed any extra advantage, they've been resting for more than a week since eliminating Detroit in a four-game sweep. The Hawks, on the other hand, had to tough it out through a series that went the distance but produced very little drama.

No game was closer than 10 points. There wasn't a lead change after the first quarter in any of them. The clincher pretty much stuck to the party line, the Hawks pulling away to a 13-point lead at halftime and stretching the margin as high as 29 points in the final period.

Blanketed by two and sometimes three defenders, Johnson had endured a largely disappointing series and got off to another sluggish start, missing his first five shots. But he came through when the Hawks needed him most, suddenly finding his range from beyond the 3-point arc.

The one that really got him going came early in the second quarter. Johnson pulled up near the tip of the winged Hawks logo at center court — a good 7 to 8 feet short of the stripe — and let it go.


"I was just trying to be more aggressive," said Johnson, who finished 6-of-8 outside the arc. "I haven't put up a 3 that long in a while. I said, 'Forget it,' and just launched it. Making that got me into a little rhythm."

The startled Wade looked off toward the stands in disbelief, as if he couldn't believe Johnson actually shot it from so far out, much less made it.

"When Joe is hitting 40-foot 3s," Wade said, "it's one of those nights."

The Miami star scored 31 points, but the majority of those came after the Hawks had already built a comfortable lead. Bothered by back spasms throughout the series, he didn't have enough help from his young teammates to get through to a star-powered matchup against James — his Olympic teammate — in the second round.

Still, it was quite a comeback year for Wade and the Heat, which bounced back from a dismal 15-67 record to make the playoffs as the fifth seed in the East.

"I'm very encouraged by this season," Wade said. "We've got something to build on."

Mike Bibby might have been the Hawks' most valuable player in the series, averaging just under 15 points and five assists. He even stood up to Woodson when the coach complained about Smith putting up an errant 3-pointer from the corner.

When Woodson called his point guard over, Bibby shot back with an expletive. "Y'all tell him to move," Bibby growled. Woodson simply turned away, rubbing his goatee and smiling slightly.

Everyone was smiling at the end. Even Woodson and Smith, who've endured their share of dustups over the years.

"We've had a lot of ups and downs, boy, but I still wouldn't give him away for anything," Woodson said. "He's probably caught more hell from me than anybody on this team. I respect him for that."

Nuggets 109, Mavericks 95

At Denver, Nene scored 18 of his career playoff-high 24 points in the first half and the Nuggets won the first day game in the Pepsi Center's 10-year history.

Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points, including a dunk off J.R. Smith's behind-the-back assist that rocked the arena in the closing minutes. Smith added 15 points.

Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 28 points and 10 boards and Josh Howard, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry each scored 15.

Game 2 is Tuesday night.

Crawford's 6 steals ties record as Rays edge BoSox

Carl Crawford noticed the buzz, but had no clue what the fuss was all about.

The four-time AL stolen base champion was too busy doing his job for the Tampa Bay Rays, who beat the Boston Red Sox 5-3 Sunday to win another series between the division rivals that played for the pennant last season.

Crawford tied a modern major league record with six stolen bases. He would've taken a run at breaking the mark had he known before postgame interviews that he had a chance of make history.

"I probably would have broken it if I knew. I'd have definitely tried," Crawford said.

Crawford swiped No. 6 in the eighth inning. He didn't see a message acknowledging the feat displayed on a large video screen in right field.

"I didn't even try," he added. "I don't know if that will ever happen again."

The way Crawford is hitting, and the way the Rays are imposing their will on the bases, there's no telling.

The two-time All-Star was 4 for 4 with an RBI, raising his average to .317. He's yet to be caught stealing this year and leads the majors with 17. And, after swiping eight as a team Sunday, the Rays have a major league-best 40 overall.

"A game like today definitely helps pick up your confidence," Crawford said. "It makes you feel like you can do more to help your team."

The 27-year-old joined Eddie Collins, Otis Nixon and Eric Young as the only players to steal six bases in a game since 1900. Collins did it twice in 1912, while Nixon accomplished the feat in 1991 and Young in 1996.

"We don't really talk stats during the game. Everybody's focused on the game, so nobody said nothing," Crawford said.

So, what about the message on the scoreboard that caused a stir among the crowd of 32,332?

"Oh, that's what they were cheering about," Crawford said. "I thought they were just cheering. I didn't look. I was paying attention to the game."

James Shields (3-2) pitched into the eighth inning, and Tampa Bay's bullpen shut down the Red Sox after Kevin Youkilis' two-run homer off J.P. Howell made it 4-3 in the eighth.

Carlos Pena, Jason Bartlett and Michel Hernandez drove in runs off Brad Penny (2-1). Crawford's second infield single, coming after Bartlett stole third, drove in an insurance run in the eighth.

"He had a spectacular day," said Boston manager Terry Francona.

"The best way (to contain him) is to keep him off base," he added. "Two of the throws, we can't got any faster than that. He outran them."

Tampa Bay won three of four, outscoring the Red Sox 30-15 in Boston's first trip to Tropicana Field since losing Game 7 of last year's AL championship series.

The Rays improved to 5-2 against their AL East rivals, winning a series for the first time since taking two of three from Boston when the teams met at Fenway Park the opening week of the season.

The Red Sox won 12 of 13 before taking on Tampa Bay. They were outscored 19-2 in the first two games, then avoided a sweep with a 10-6 victory on Saturday night.

"I think everyone is over this. We have 140-something games left," Boston's Dustin Pedroia said. "I don't think anybody's hitting the panic button. ... We're going to be fine. We're confident in our ability."

Tigers 3, Indians 1

At Detroit, Justin Verlander struck out 11 to lead the Tigers.

Verlander (2-2) gave up two hits in seven innings. In his previous start, he fanned nine in seven shutout innings against the Yankees.

Curtis Granderson hit a go-ahead double in the seventh off Cliff Lee (1-4). Lee went 22-3 last year and won the AL Cy Young Award.

Royals 7, Twins 5

At Minneapolis, Jose Guillen homered and drove in four runs for Kansas City.

Scott Baker held the Royals hitless until Willie Bloomquist had a leadoff single in the seventh inning. In 2007, Baker took a perfect game into the ninth against Kansas City.

Guillen's three-run homer helped the Royals overcome a 4-0 deficit.

Mariners 8, Athletics 7, 15 innings

At Seattle, Jose Lopez blooped an RBI single in the 15th inning and the Mariners, after pulling off a pair of late rallies, won the longest game in the majors this season.

Kenji Johjima hit a tying homer in the ninth off Russ Springer, and Ichiro Suzuki's two-out single in the 13th capped a three-run comeback for Seattle. A throwing error by Dana Eveland (1-2), who started Friday night and pitched 4 2-3 innings, set up the winning run in a game that lasted 5 hours, 2 minutes.

Jason Vargas (1-0) got the win in his first big league appearance since July 2007.

Blue Jays 4, Orioles 3

At Toronto, Vernon Wells and Alex Rios homered as the Blue Jays finished off a three-game sweep. Baltimore has lost six in a row.

Scott Richmond (4-0) won his fourth straight start. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 10 major league starts, including five in 2008.

Rangers 5, White Sox 1

At Arlington, Texas, Ian Kinsler hit his eighth career leadoff homer — matching a Rangers record — and Matt Harrison (2-2) pitched five scoreless innings to beat former Texas prospect John Danks (2-2).

Wolverine slashes US competition

The action adventure film X-Men Origins: Wolverine has slashed its way to the top of the North American box office, early figures show.

The comic book prequel took $87m in its opening weekend despite an unfinished copy being leaked on the internet a month before its release.

Globally, the movie took another $73m in ticket sales.

The film, starring Hugh Jackman, tells the story of mutant James Logan seeking revenge for his girlfriend's death.

Chris Aronson of Twentieth Century Fox called the opening figure "fantastic" after estimating a $70m opening.

1. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - $87m
2. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past - $15.3m
3. Obsessed - $12.2m
4. 17 Again - $6.4m
5. Monsters vs Aliens - $5.8m
Source: Media By Numbers

He also noted box office takings may have been affected by other issues including the swine flu outbreak that shut cinemas in Mexico and a high profile basketball game in the US.

Aronson added he was confident the film would still continue to perform well, despite the release of other big budget films in May including Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation and The Da Vinci Code sequel, Angels and Demons.

"When there are quality films to be seen, the marketplace will expand to accommodate everybody," he said.

Elsewhere on the chart, romantic comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner, opened at number two with $15.3m.

Last week's number one, stalking thriller Obsessed, fell two places to three, while Zac Efron comedy 17 Again remained at four.

Animated film Monsters vs Aliens climbed back up the chart to five.

Nepal's Maoists say peace process 'in peril'

Nepal's ruling Maoists warned Monday that the Himalayan nation's peace process was "in peril" after the country's president attempted to stop them sacking the powerful army chief.

The ultra-leftists fired General Rookmangud Katawal for refusing to integrate former Maoist rebel soldiers into the regular army under the terms of a 2006 peace deal that ended a decade of civil war.

But President Ram Baran Yadav, a member of the main opposition party, has told the army chief to stay.

Maoist spokesman and cabinet minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara told AFP that this was tantamount to a "constitutional coup" and vowed to fight back with street protests.

"The president is... violating constitutional norms. The president's move has put the peace process in peril," he told AFP. "Our party has taken the president's step as a constitutional coup and we will fight against it."

"The executive power to sack and appoint an acting army chief lies with the government and not the president. We will stick to our decision."

He said that the decision to sack the head of the army -- traditionally a bastion of Nepal's elite and former monarchy -- was necessary to bring the military under civilian control.

The row is the worst crisis to hit Nepal since the peace deal was signed and follows months of worsening tensions between the ex-rebels and their former foes in the military.

The Maoists want their fighters, currently confined to United Nations-supervised camps, to be given jobs in the regular army.

But the army has refused to take in the 19,000 hardened guerrillas, whom it views as politically indoctrinated.

The army also accuses the Maoists of not fulfilling commitments to dismantle the paramilitary structure of their feared youth wing and not returning property grabbed during the civil war, which left around 13,000 dead.

The Maoists view the refusal to allow their army in as part of a wider campaign to undermine their government, formed after the ex-rebels scored a surprise win in elections last year.

Since the elections, the Maoists have managed to carry through with their pledge to abolish the monarchy but complain Nepal's traditional ruling elite are blocking other key reforms -- such as on land ownership and the armed forces.

Centrist parties, however, have also been opposing what they see as an attempt by the Maoists to assume dictatorial powers.

Amrit Bohara, a senior member of the UML Communist Party, said his group had quit the coalition because the Maoists had taken a "unilateral decision" in sacking the army general.

"They breached the politics of consensus and their behaviour has endangered the peace process," he said.

The opposition Nepali Congress party described the army chief's sacking as "undemocratic and autocratic."

Maoist spokesman Mahara said Prime Minister Prachanda would address the nation on the crisis at 3:00pm (0930 GMT).

The sacking provoked demonstrations Sunday, with police maintaining a heavy presence. For now, however, Maoist officials said they had no plan to call out their rebel fighters -- who still have access to their weapons.

"The PLA is still intact, although we have no plans to bring them out from the UN-monitored camps," former People's Liberation Army deputy commander Barsha Man Pun said.

A military official meanwhile told AFP that army generals had met to decide their next move.

"The command structure of the Nepal Army is still intact," an army source said.

European economy 'will shrink 4%'

The eurozone and EU economies will contract by 4% this year the European Commission has forecast, in a massive revision from its earlier prediction.

And unemployment in the 16 countries using the euro is expected to rise to 11.5% in 2010, and to reach 10.9% in the 27-nation EU next year.

In January, the commission said the eurozone would shrink by 1.9% in 2009 and grow by 0.4% in 2010.

Now it puts eurozone GDP growth for next year at -0.1%.

Countries needed to focus on cleaning up banks' toxic assets, the commission said.

"The European economy is in the midst of its deepest and most widespread recession in the post-war era," said EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia.

"But the ambitious measures taken by governments and central banks in these exceptional circumstances are expected to put a floor under the fall in economic activity this year and enable a recovery next year."

The commission also expects inflation to fall well below the European Central Bank's target this year and next.