Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fake Russian Invasion News Report Panics Georgians

The opposition in Georgia has condemned a fake television report about the invasion of the former Soviet Republic by forces from neighbouring Russia. Georgia President Mikheil Saakhasvili has defended the report, following widespread panic caused by the broadcast.

Russian warplanes were seen flying over the country in a fake news report aired nationwide late Saturday by Georgia’s commercial Imedi television network.

A nervous looking presenter said Georgia had been invaded by Russian troops and that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was among those killed. But Imedi was showing old footage about the brief war between Georgia and Russia in 2008 over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Viewers had been cautioned the report was fake, but many apparently did not see that warning.

Soon panic broke out with people seen running in the streets of the capital Tbilisi, where the network said Russian tanks had arrived.

Local media reported a record number of calls to emergency services and several incidents of heart attacks and fainting among shocked viewers, but officials said no deaths had been reported.

Israel: Obama Shows His Teeth, Netanyahu Steps Back?

On Friday, President Obama did not hold back in condemning the humiliation caused to Vice President Joe Biden with the Israeli announcement of 1600 new housing units in East Jerusalem. He issued a stern warning to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding that he take “specific actions” to show he is “committed” to the U.S.-Israel relationship and to the peace process. (The contents of the ultimatum and the list of demands have not been revealed by Washington.)

On Sunday at his weekly Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu called the approval of the construction of new housing units in East Jerusalem as a “harmful” incident that “should not have happened”. He said:

There was a regrettable incident here that occurred innocently.

We opened the newspapers this morning and read all kinds of commentary and assumptions regarding the crisis with the US. I recommend not to get carried away and to calm down.

However, he did not give any signal about the Palestinian demand for the cancelation of this approval. Instead, he said that he had appointed a committee to investigate the events leading up to the decision to ensure that this did not happen again.

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building committee has canceled two meetings planned for this week, since any more decisions on construction might result in further tensions with the United States. (The Interior Ministry has said that the meetings were canceled due to technical reasons.)

Meanwhile, Washington claims Netanyahu’s hand is getting weaker with current partners. A US official said yesterday that the Israeli leader’s rightist coalition leaves him in a “perilous” situation. For instance, Ze’ev Elkin from Likud urged Netanyahu not to deviate from his policy on East Jerusalem construction, saying Israel must keep the capital undivided and under its sovereignty.

Elsewhere, Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Saturday evening signed an order to extend a security lockdown in the West Bank to prevent Palestinians entering Jerusalem after a weekend of protests and rioting in the city.

LaDainian Tomlinson Joins New York Jets on Two-Year Deal

by Evan Brunell

Star running back LaDainian Tomlinson agreed to a deal with the New York Jets as first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The agreement was later confirmed by Tomlinson's agent, Tom Condon. Tomlinson signed a two-year pact worth $5.2 million with an additional $500,000 in incentives.

"He wanted to go a team that he thought had a chance to compete for the championship," Condon told the AP.

Tomlinson had also been in negotiations with the Minnesota Vikings, but opted for New York.

Union-Tribune writer Kevin Acee points to the bright lights of New York and the appeal of playing under offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer as the selling points that caused Tomlinson to don green and white. Schottenheimer is the son of former Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, who was close to Tomlinson.

Tomlinson leaves San Diego after showing wear and tear this past season, posting career-low numbers in carries and yards. His legacy in town is complete, however, as he holds 28 team records. He is also the NFL's eighth-leading career rusher (12,490) and third-leading touchdown scorer (153).

"LT" had his best season in 2006, rushing for 1,815 yards, posting an additional 506 yards through the air and totaling 31 touchdowns.

He is expected to back up Shonn Greene and should tally plenty of touches in New York's run-first offense. The Jets were seeking a backup after releasing Thomas Jones, who later signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

'Mission: Impossible' star Peter Graves dies

Peter Graves, the star of the "Mission: Impossible" TV series, died on Sunday (March 14). He was 83.

Graves was found dead at his home Sunday at his home in Pacific Palisades, the L.A. Times reports. The paper says he appears to have died of natural causes.

Graves is probably best known for playing secret agent Jim Phelps in "Mission: Impossible," which ran on CBS from 1966-73 (Graves joined the show in 1967). His other TV credits include the 1950s show "Fury," "The Winds of War" and more recently, a recurring part on "7th Heaven" and guest spots on "House" and "Cold Case."

In the movies, he brilliantly spoofed his straight-arrow image in "Airplane!," delivering outrageous lines like "Have you ever been in a Turkish prison?" in perfect deadpan.

He's survived by his wife, Joan Endress, and three daughters.

Magic win 8th straight 109-95; Wizards skid hits 7

WASHINGTON — Dwight Howard had 28 points and 15 rebounds, and the streaking Orlando Magic wore down the back-to-back-to-back Washington Wizards 109-95 Saturday night.

Howard became a one-man show early in the second half, and he and Jameer Nelson made the alley-oop look routine as the Magic won their eighth straight game, the franchise's longest winning streak since April 2006.

Andray Blatche was Washington's one-man spotlight, scoring 32 points on 14-for-23 shooting as the Wizards lost their season-high seventh straight game. Washington wrapped up a stretch of three games in three nights with a road trip in the middle, a rare scheduling quirk caused when a game was postponed by a February blizzard.

Vince Carter and J.J. Redick scored 18 points apiece, and Brandon Bass added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Magic, who are 4 1/2 games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for best record in the Eastern Conference. Howard went 11 for 13 from the field and also had five assists.

Shaun Livingston had 18 points and eight assists off the bench for the Wizards, who aren't getting any kind of break in the schedule. They'll spend Sunday traveling, then play back-to-back games at Utah and Denver on Monday and Tuesday.

The Wizards sure didn't start the game like a team needing rest from playing an AAU schedule. They ran up and down the court with Magic, with Blatche dunking at one end and Howard dunking at the other. A series of superb possessions with good ball movement gave the Wizards a 14-0 run and a 35-20 lead early in the second quarter.


Chinese premier has tough words for US

BEIJING — China vowed Sunday to remain alert to any renewed signs of economic crisis and forcefully defended its currency, trade and more assertive foreign policies as helping global rebalancing, not undermining it.

Premier Wen Jiabao repeatedly took issue with United States, whose relations with Beijing have soured in recent months. To U.S. criticisms that China keeps its currency undervalued and thus harms U.S. exports, Wen said Beijing opposed "finger-pointing or taking strong measures to force" a readjustment of the yuan. Likewise, he said the recent White House reception to Tibet's exiled Dalai Lama and U.S. arms sale to Taiwan "caused serious disturbance in relations."

"The responsibility does not lie with the Chinese side, but the United States," Wen said in a wide-ranging news conference, his only regular meeting with the media all year. "With mutual trust both countries can forge ahead, but with mutual suspicion both countries will fall behind."

Wen, who is No. 3 in the Communist Party hierarchy and chiefly responsible for the economy, dwelled on China's strong bounce-back from the world economic crisis and whether the current global recovery could be sustained. He cited high unemployment rates, debt crises in foreign nations such as Greece and high government deficits abroad, while at home, he said, there are worries about inflation and businesses' over-reliance on the massive stimulus and loans China used last year to keep the economy running.

"All of these may cause setbacks in the recovery of the global economy and may even cause a double-dip," he said.


Storm leaves Northeast soggy, windblown and dark

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Utility crews pushed through fallen trees and windblown debris to reach downed power lines Sunday, working to restore electricity to more than a half-million homes and businesses after strong winds and heavy rain wreaked havoc in parts of the Northeast.

The storm, which battered parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut on Saturday with gusts of up to 70 mph, struck about two weeks after heavy snow and hurricane-force winds left more than a million customers in the Northeast in the dark.

Traveling was problematic on the rails and in the air. More than 500 passengers on a New Jersey Transit train were stranded for six to seven hours because of power supply problems, spokesman Dan Stessel said Sunday. Amtrak service between Philadelphia and New York was suspended for hours before limited service was restored, spokesman Cliff Cole said.

Lois Glassman, 62, of Manhattan boarded an Amtrak Acela train in Washington D.C. at around 4 p.m. Saturday. The train traveled seamlessly through Philadelphia but slowed outside a station in Edison, N.J., at about 6:30 p.m. Then the waiting began.

The conductor on the train kept the passengers updated, Glassman said, first blaming switching problem and power issues. The train didn't begin making its way toward New York until after 11 p.m., Glassman said.

"I've had a weary day," Glassman said.


Gay Air Force Sgt. Dismissed After Police Tell Military Of Marriage License

Former Air Force Sergeant Jene Newsome was discharged under the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy because police saw a marriage license at her home when they were there with an arrest warrant for her partner on theft charges. The Rapid City, SD police informed the Ellsworth Air Force Base, which then took action against Newsome.

Newsome and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a complaint against the department claiming police invaded her privacy.

Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender says Newsome was uncooperative, and the marriage license was relevant because it established the residency and the relationship of the two women.

Manny Pacquiao Beats Joshua Clottey Via Unanimous Decision

By Gareth A Davies
So Manny Pacquiao is human after all. Or at least he was not able to stop Ghanaian Joshua Clottey in front of 50,994 spectators, who filed into the Dallas Cowboys Stadium to enjoy the spectacle of his defence of the WBO welterweight title.

This was a shutout victory for Pacquiao in front of the third highest number of fans ever to attend a fight in the United States. It was a shutout from first to last. Clottey, tough man than he is, simply did not throw enough punches. You cannot win a fight, if you do not fight.

Pacquiao won 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109 on the judges’ cards. Pacquiao said: “It was not an easy fight, but I can’t believe it. I intended to start with a lot of jabs. I know he was waiting to counter punch me.”

Clottey said: “He has speed, but at the same time, I lost the fight. He is fast, he tried to open me, but I was taking my time, But I lost this fight…”

The Mayweather clan will have been watching Pacquaio’s latest testament to prize-fighting’s wealthy and complex tapestry. Roll on Mayweather-Mosley. Pacquiao must fight the winner.

“I want that fight, the people want to see it,” said Pacquiao. “But it is up to him. I am ready to fight him any time. He should win against Mosley. If he doesn’t beat Mosley I will fight him.”

Roach added: “Come on Floyd. The world wants to see this fight. Come on Floyd, come and fight us…his style is not difficult easy to study. But he needs to attend to business in his next fight [against Mosley on May 1 in Las Vegas].”