New Year's revelers have a blast

CNN-The New Year got under way with blasting horns and fireworks shot from the Sky Tower as revelers partied Friday morning in Auckland, New Zealand.

Similar celebrations were moving like a wave from east to west as midnight struck across the globe, starting at the International Date Line in the mid-Pacific Ocean.

Throngs danced to pounding rock 'n' roll music and cheered a spectacular 12-minute fireworks display over the picturesque Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. A giant bell was rung before a huge crowd in Seoul, South Korea.

In New York, security promised to be tight for Thursday night's traditional celebration in Times Square. After the Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane over Detroit, Michigan, security forces are on high alert.

"We want people to have a happy experience. But we are also concerned about a terrorist event. We have to do that after 9/11," New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

As happens every year, police are searching garages and subway tunnels for bombs, trash cans are being removed, and mailboxes and manhole covers are being sealed. Detectives were asking hotel and restaurant personnel if they had noticed any suspicious people or activity, and radiation detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs were being deployed.

Snow was falling on the square Thursday morning.

See images from Times Square

On Wednesday, a search of a suspicious van led to a partial evacuation of Times Square and the Nasdaq building, but the van turned out to pose no threat.

In the years before terrorism was a concern inside the United States, the Times Square celebration was a rowdy affair, fueled by copious amounts of alcohol, often transported via backpack. Today, alcohol and backpacks are banned from the area on New Year's Eve, and revelers are herded into 2,500-person pens, but the mood is festive nonetheless.

New Yorker Julio Ortiz-Teissonniere, a CNN iReporter, said he's too jaded to take part in the spectacle, but that wasn't always the case.

"When the ball drops, it's like an earthquake," he said. "The amount of people screaming and stomping -- it's amazing."

It's a tense time for police.

"When the ball drops, you get a feeling of relief that you made it through another year," Kelly said.

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Google includes real-time data in search results

Google has introduced so-called "real-time web" results into its search engine.

It means that Google will display information from news organisations, blogs and platforms, such as Twitter, as soon as it is published.

Google said it was "the first time" that a search engine had integrated the real-time web into its results page.

The feature will also be available on phones, such as the iPhone and handsets running the Android operating system.

"Our users will get the results as they are produced," said Google fellow Amit Singhal at an event in Mountain View in California.

"There is so much information being generated out there that getting to you relevant information is the key to a product like this."

Google announced that it would now index status updates from Facebook and all public information from MySpace. Earlier this year, it also struck a deal with Twitter to index messages or "tweets".

The real-time data will be displayed in a constantly updating stream within the normal results page.

The firm also showed off a visual search tool called Google Goggles that allows a user to take a picture with a mobile phone to perform a search.

The tool compares the image against a stored database and then returns relevant information.

"It represents our earliest efforts in computer vision," said Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering at the same event.

He said Goggles could also be used to read barcodes to retrieve information.

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Chavez welcomes Ahmadinejad in Venezuela

CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received a warm reception Wednesday from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, wrapping up a three-nation visit to Latin America to shore up support against the United States.

Ahmadinejad arrived Tuesday night on a flight from Bolivia, where he spent a few hours meeting with President Evo Morales. The Iranian leader met Monday with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

On Wednesday afternoon, Chavez gave Ahmadinejad a warm welcome with full military honors. Wearing a dark suit with a blue shirt and red tie, Chavez stood at attention in front of Palacio de Miraflores as a military band played the national anthems for both countries.

The two men then reviewed the presidential honor guard, clad in bright red uniforms with gold piping and tall black hats with a red plume on top.

"We are here to welcome you, brother Ahmadinejad. Leader. Brother. Comrade," Chavez said.

Ahmadinejad, in return, called Chavez "my valiant brother."

"A brother," he said, "who is resisting like a mountain the intentions of imperialism and colonialism."

Afterward, the two men shook hands and hugged.

Ahmadinejad was met with demonstrations in Brazil on Monday and again Wednesday in Venezuela.

He has already visited Gambia, on the African continent, on this trip and will stop in Senegal on his way back to Iran.

The Iranian president hopes to strengthen economic ties with the five countries. But more significantly, he aims to bolster political ties with sympathetic governments as he tries to counter U.S. and European efforts to curtail Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Ahmadinejad also wants to improve Iran's image after the brutal repression of demonstrators who objected to the outcome of the presidential election in June. Ahmadinejad was re-elected, but many Iranians believe the election was rigged.

In Venezuela, the two leaders were expected to discuss agreements in areas such as energy, investment, trade and science. Experts from the two countries were reported to be reviewing 70 new accords.

Chavez is among Ahmadinejad's top supporters in Latin America, both leaders finding common ground in their opposition to U.S. foreign policy. Both men referred to "imperialism" several times in their statements Wednesday.

With its burgeoning nuclear program, Iran is interested in largely untapped uranium deposits in Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia, the three nations Ahmadinejad visited this week.

Iran's alliance with Venezuela presents a challenge for U.S. national interests.

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, in a September column in the Wall Street Journal, said that "Mr. Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have created a cozy financial, political and military partnership rooted in a shared anti-American animus."

During a visit to Iran that month, Chavez highlighted a series of joint ventures, including the construction of ethanol plants in Venezuela and gas exploration in Iran by Venezuela's state-run oil company. He also said he aimed to build a "nuclear village" with Iranian help.

In October, Chavez said Iran was helping to find uranium in Venezuela.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace estimated in December that Venezuela could have 50,000 tons of unmined uranium. Brazil also has a nuclear program and is said to sit on one of the world's largest uranium reserves.

While some analysts believe Chavez could want to eventually export uranium to Iran, it might not be technically feasible.

"It's like everything Chavez does," said Robert Pastor, who was a national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s. "It's more symbolic than real."

Brazil also is not likely to export uranium to Iran, said Bernard Aronson, assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs from 1989 to 1993.

"That would be a bridge too far," he said. "It would be too high a cost."
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Russia train crash 'caused by bomb'

A bomb blast caused the Russian train crash in which at least 26 people were killed, intelligence officials say.

The Nevsky Express derailed with nearly 700 on board as it ran through remote countryside between the capital Moscow and the second city, St Petersburg.

Investigators found "elements of an explosive device" at the scene of Friday's attack, a statement said.

Officials said a second, less powerful device went off on Saturday near the site of the first, but no-one was hurt.

There was no immediate confirmed claim of responsibility for the blast on Friday evening, which hit a train popular with government officials and business executives at peak travel time.

"Criminology experts say, on the basis of preliminary information, that an improvised explosive device, equivalent to 7kg (15 lb) of TNT, had gone off," said Alexander Bortnikov, head of Russia's domestic intelligence service.

At least three of the 14 carriages left the tracks as the train reportedly approached speeds up 200 km/h (130mph).

Russia's prosecutor-general has opened a criminal case on terrorism charges, Russian news agencies say.

If terrorism is confirmed as the cause, observers say the derailment would represent the deadliest attack outside the volatile North Caucasus region for five years.

'Attack on elite'

Pavel Felgenhauer, defence correspondent for Russia's Novaya Gazeta newspaper, told the BBC News website the key suspects for investigators would be "either militants from Russia's North Caucasus region or nationalist extremists, pro-Nazi groups".

"I think we can expect the Russian authorities to come up with some names soon, because this attack is politically very embarrassing.

"This is an expensive, high speed train, used by an elite which has been pushing to transfer parts of government functions to St Petersburg. We already have reports of several high-ranking government and local officials among the dead.

"Whoever is responsible, this attack clearly seems aimed not so much at the public, but directly at the ruling class."

'Loud bang'

Hundreds of rescuers and officials worked through the night at the scene near the town of Bologoye, about 400km (250 miles) north-west of Moscow.

Some reports say as many as 39 people have died.

The train was reported to be carrying around 650 passengers and two dozen or so staff.

About 90 people are in hospital, some taken there by helicopter.

Many of the injured are said to be in a serious condition.

According to some reports, the scene of the crash, in wooded countryside, was so remote it took emergency services two hours to get there.

Passengers spoke of a loud bang just before the derailment.

Russian television channels broadcast a recording of a mobile phone call from the train driver to the emergencies ministry.

"There was an explosion under the locomotive," he said. "I do not know what we hit. We are derailed. The locomotive and carriages, I do not know yet what else, everything is in smoke. "

Federal prosecutors' spokesman Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass news agency that a crater found at the site was 1.5m (5ft) wide and 0.7m deep.

"Indeed this was a terrorist attack," he said.

In 2007, a bomb on the same line derailed a train, injuring nearly 30 passengers.

Two men suspected of having links to Chechen rebels were accused of planting a bomb next to the track.

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Death toll past 100 in Baghdad bombings

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- At least 132 people were killed and 520 wounded in twin suicide car bombings in central Baghdad Sunday, officials said -- the deadliest attack on civilians in Iraq this year.

Two car bombs detonated in quick succession near Iraqi government buildings about 10:30 a.m. Sunday, as the Iraqi work week began, an Interior Ministry official said.

Among the wounded were three American security contractors, the U.S. Embassy told CNN. The embassy would not give any more details.

One of the bombs exploded outside Baghdad's governorate building. The second was outside the Justice Ministry, about 500 meters (1,600 feet) away. The Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works, which is about 50 meters from the Justice Ministry, also sustained severe damage.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki surveyed the carnage shortly after the explosions.

"The cowardly attack that took place today should not affect the determination of the Iraqi people from continuing their battle against the deposed regime and the gangs of criminal Baath party and the terrorist al Qaeda organization, who have committed the most heinous crimes against the civilians,'" al-Maliki said in a statement.

Plumes of smoke billowed from the sites of the attacks as victims fled, some with blood streaming down their faces. The streets were strewn with debris, including charred cars and chunks of concrete from damaged buildings. Some government buildings and others in the area were heavily damaged.

The bombings came a day after the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, visited the country for the first time, and on the same day Iraqi officials were due to try to break a logjam holding up a new election law. Iraqis are supposed to go to the polls January 16, but parliament still has not passed the legislation, putting the balloting in limbo. The original deadline for parliament to pass the law was October 15, because Iraq's electoral commission says it needs 90 days to organize the process.

Iraq's parliament failed Wednesday to reach agreement on a new electoral law, so the issue was supposed go to the Political Council for National Security on Sunday. It is not clear if the bombings will derail the political council's discussions.

Al-Maliki vowed to punish "the enemies of the Iraqi people who want to spread chaos in the country and derail the political process and prevent the parliamentary elections from taking place as planned" in January.

He said holding the elections as scheduled would send the strongest response and message to the "enemies of the political process who are supported from the outside."

Susan Rice, the ambassador, completed a two-day visit to Iraq on Saturday that included a condolence stop at the Foreign Ministry, where a huge bombing killed more than 100 in August.

Security was tightened around Baghdad in the wake of the August 19 attack, which Iraqis dubbed "Bloody Wednesday." Blast walls were erected around the city and more checkpoints were set up.

Iraqi journalists grilled officials on TV on Sunday, demanding to know how the new attacks could have taken place given the new security measures.

An Iraqi official said the government was working to bolster security, but regional cooperation was needed to help fight suicide bombers.

"We are calling on international and U.N. envoys to come and find out why Iraq is being targeted this way," said Ali al-Dabbagh, the Iraqi government spokesman.

The spokesman said Iraq's setbacks are mainly caused by a fledgling intelligence that has "not been completed."

The European Union condemned "this terrorist attack" and sent its condolences to the families of the victims, the Swedish presidency said in a statement.

The Foreign Ministry, near the site of Sunday's blasts, was one of six places attacked on August 19. That day's attacks killed at least 100 people and wounded hundreds more. The area is close to the heavily guarded Green Zone that also houses the U.S. Embassy.

The August attacks shook confidence in the abilities of Iraqi security forces who took over securing urban areas from U.S. troops over the summer.

The Iraqi government has blamed Syria for harboring former Baath party members, who it said planned the August attacks, and asked for their handover.

Relations between the two neighbors were strained after the bombings. Each withdrew its ambassador from the other's country.

Security in the capital was tightened after the August bombings, and a decision to normalize the situation in Baghdad by taking down blast walls was reversed and checkpoints increased.

Iraqi and U.S. officials have warned of a possible increase in violence ahead of the country's national elections.

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DNA leads to suspect after 19 years, FBI says

(CNN) -- A suspect has been arrested in the 1990 abduction and attempted murder of an 8-year-old Texas girl, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Houston, Texas, office said.

The victim, Jennifer Schuett, is now 27. She recently shared her story with CNN in hopes of someday bringing her attacker to justice.

Schuett fought tears as she spoke at a news conference in Dickinson, Texas.

"This event in my life was a tragic one," she said. "But today, 19 years later, I stand here and want you all to know that I am OK. I am not a victim, but instead, victorious." Video Watch Schuett's teary remarks »

She continued, "I hope that my case will remain as a reminder to all victims of violent crime to never give up hope ... With determination and by using your voice to speak out, you are capable of anything."

Dennis Earl Bradford, a 40-year-old welder, was arrested at 6:50 a.m. Tuesday in Little Rock, Arkansas, authorities said. He was on his way to work, and his wife was in the car with him.

DNA and other forensic testing led to him, authorities said. His DNA profile was in the FBI database due to a 1996 arrest in Arkansas. Video Watch police announce the arrest »

Schuett was abducted from her bedroom, raped and left for dead August 10,1990. She spoke with CNN two weeks ago.

CNN normally does not identify victims of sexual assaults. But Schuett decided to go public with her story -- and her name -- to increase the chances of finding and prosecuting her attacker.

"It's not about me anymore," she told CNN in September. "It's about all the little girls that go to sleep at night. I know there are so many girls out there who have been raped and hurt. You have to fight back."

"I remember everything; I've always wanted to remember everything so I can find the person that did this," Schuett said. "If I had blocked this out of my memory, the investigation wouldn't have come this far. I'm a fighter."

Schuett says she was alone in her bed when a man crept in through a window. She remembers waking up in a stranger's arms as he carried her across a dark parking lot.

She said he told her he was an undercover cop and knew her family.

He drove her through the streets of Dickinson, Texas, pulling into a mechanic's shop next to her elementary school.

"Watch the moon. The moon will change colors, and that is when your mom will come to get you," she recalled him saying. "Oh, it looks like she is not coming."

Schuett said he drove her to an overgrown field next to the school and sexually assaulted her.

She passed out. When she regained consciousness, she was lying naked on top of an ant hill with her throat slashed from ear to ear, and her voice box torn.

She was found at 6 p.m. on a hot August day after lying in the field for nearly 12 hours. She was rushed to a hospital in critical condition.

"Three days after the attack, I started giving a description. The doctors told me I would never be able to talk again, but I proved them all wrong," Schuett said. She believes she got her voice back so she could tell her story.

Houston FBI Special Agent Richard Rennison is one of the lead investigators in the case, along with Dickinson police Detective Tim Cromie. Read the affidavit

Both men were discussing the case when Rennison received a memo from the FBI's Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) team seeking child abduction cases that had gone cold and could be retested for DNA evidence. Schuett's was one of the cases selected.

Rennison, who has 10 years of experience in child abduction cases, said he has never seen a case like Schuett's.

"This is the only one that I can think of that the victim has suffered some traumatic injuries and survived," he said, "The main reason the CARD team picked this case was because she was alive. In cases of child abduction, it is rare that the child is recovered alive. Frequently, you recover a body. And most times, you never find them."

The investigators found evidence collected 19 years ago, which was retested. It included the underwear and pajamas Schuett was wearing, as well as a man's underwear and T-shirt, which were found in the field where Schuett was left for dead.

The clothes were tested in 1990, but the sample wasn't large enough for conclusive results. But now, modern techniques allow DNA to be isolated from a single human cell.

They were still awaiting the results when CNN featured Schuett's story in late September.
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Serb gay pride parade off on lack of security assurances

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Gay and human rights activists in Serbia have called off their September 20 Pride Parade after being urged to move venues for safety reasons, organizers said on Saturday.

The announcement followed a meeting with Prime Minister Mirko Cvektovic, who said the police had recommended the move after threats from ultranationalists and others.

A previous event ended with running battles on the streets of Belgrade.

"We were told in the meeting with Prime Minister Cvetkovic that the gathering is impossible for security reasons and that we should choose another location," said Dragana Vuckovic, member of the Pride Parade organizing team.

"Taking the Pride Parade to another location is simply not acceptable," Vuckovic said. "Pride parades are traditionally organized in the main streets of big cities and the message is that groups kept on the fringes of a society need to be integrated."

Serbian President Boris Tadic had promised on Friday to protect marchers.

A government source, who did not wish to be identified, said the decision to move the march to a venue usually used for music gigs was prompted by concerns police might not be able to contain violence toward marchers.

The Yugoslav Committee for Human Rights, an organization of lawyers, accused the authorities of having capitulated.

"The prosecutor's office has openly acknowledged that they are incapable of finding the legal grounds to prosecute the hooligans who openly call on murder, violence and human rights violation," YUCOM said in a statement.

The only public event staged by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists in Serbia was in 2001 and ended in clashes, with dozens of gay activists and policemen injured by nationalists, neo-Nazis and soccer hooligans.

In February 2008, a government-backed rally to protest the independence of Kosovo, turned into scenes of vandalism, with attackers setting the U.S. Embassy on fire, stoning other diplomatic missions and foreign businesses, storming shops in central Belgrade and clashing with police.

(Reporting by Gordana Filipovic; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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Disney's studio chief Dick Cook resigns

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook stepped down on Friday from his post to pursue "new adventures" after privately telling staff he felt he no longer fits in at the No. 1 U.S. entertainment company.

Cook, who fondly described his 38-year rise from Disneyland ride operator to head the Hollywood studio in 2002, said in a statement that he had been contemplating his departure "for some time now" and felt it was the right time to move on.

Cook, 59, told his staff on Friday that he felt like "a square peg in a round hole," according to a source familiar with Cook's statement. The source did not elaborate.

His departure was not the result of a conflict with Chief Executive Bob Iger or the company's corporate side, the source said. A Disney Studios spokeswoman said the division was not ready to announce a successor.

The studios division struggled in recent quarters with a slide in DVD sales due to the recession and changing technology and a spate of unprofitable films.

After taking over as CEO in 2005, Iger cut the studios' staff by 20 percent and refocused the division on a smaller slate of high-concept family-oriented franchises.

The strategy worked for a couple of years -- producing megahits like "Pirates of the Caribbean," "National Treasure" and "The Chronicles of Narnia" -- but the studio has been slow to cut costs and leverage hits from other divisions.


The respected industry figure left days after he said at a glittering Disney exposition in Anaheim, California that the studios' upcoming slate of films was "the best in our history."

Cook presided over the integration of Pixar Animation Studio, the "Pirates" franchise that went on to gross more than $2 billion at worldwide box offices, and a roster of "big event" films and technological innovations.

Under his watch, Disney became the first studio to push digital 3D technology with "Chicken Little" and got top directors to make 3D to revitalize an industry that was losing ground to video games, piracy and digital home entertainment systems.

In a statement, Iger praised Cook's "outstanding creative instincts and incomparable showmanship."

His departure coincides with Disney's efforts to absorb Marvel Entertainment, whose creative and production staff likely will function independently from Disney as has Pixar's team.

Larry Gerbrandt, a principal at consultancy Media Valuation Partners, said Cook's resignation could be tied to Disney's $4 billion acquisition last month of the comic book publisher and movie studio, and Disney's reliance on its Pixar division.

"If Disney is not going to develop a significant slate of completely original films, but relies primarily on Pixar and Marvel, then Dick's role becomes far less important," he said.

(Reporting by Gina Keating and Alex Dobuzinskis, Editing by Ron Popeski)

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South America: Brazil beats Argentina to reach World Cup

ROSARIO, Argentina (AP) -- Brazil qualified for its 19th consecutive World Cup, outplaying Argentina 3-1 Saturday night in a match that left its South American rival in a precarious position.

Luisao put the five-time World Cup champions ahead in the 24th minute, and Luis Fabiano scored in the 30th and 67th. Jesus Datolo got Argentina's goal in the 65th.

Brazil (8-1-6) leads South American qualifying with 30 points, while Argentina (6-5-4) is fourth with 22 points with three matches remaining. The top four teams advance to next year's tournament, while the No. 5 nation goes to a playoff against the No. 4 nation in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Brazil became the seventh nation to join host South Africa in next year's 32-nation field, following Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, North Korea and South Korea and the Netherlands

The defeat could cost Argentina coach Diego Maradona his job. The Albiceleste play at Paraguay on Wednesday, then close South American qualifying at home against Peru on Oct. 10 and at Uruguay three or four days later.

Argentina benefited from Colombia's 2-0 victory over Ecuador on Saturday. Had Ecuador won, it would have moved ahead of Argentina.

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Michael Jackson's death was a homicide, coroner rules

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The Los Angeles County coroner has ruled that Michael Jackson's death was a homicide involving a combination of drugs.

"The drugs propofol and lorazepam were found to be the primary drugs responsible for Mr. Jackson's death," said a news release issued Friday by the coroner. "Other drugs detected were: midazolam, diazepam, lidocaine and ephedrine."

The release said Jackson died from "acute propofol intoxication," but said "other conditions contributing to death: benzodiazepine effect."

Lorazepam, midazolam and diazepam are benzodiazepines.

Federal and state agencies also have launched independent investigations into "matters uncovered" by Los Angeles police while looking into Jackson's death, authorities said.

been conducting a criminal investigation of Jackson's death, requested at an interagency meeting last week that federal and state agencies pursue their own investigations, according to statements issued Friday by California's attorney general and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The full and final autopsy report and the complete toxicology report "will remain on security hold at the request of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County district attorney," the release said.

Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician, told investigators that he had given Jackson three anti-anxiety drugs -- lorazepam, midazolam and diazepam -- in an effort to help him sleep in the hours before he stopped breathing, according to a police affidavit made public earlier this week.

Murray also told detectives he administered a dosage of the anesthetic propofol, diluted with lidocaine, to Jackson a short time before he stopped breathing, the affidavit said.

The 32-page sworn statement was written by Los Angeles Police detective Orlando Martinez to outline probable cause for warrants to search Murray's offices, home and storage rooms in Texas and Nevada.

Murray told detectives he had been treating Jackson for insomnia for six weeks, giving him 50 mg of propofol, the generic name for Diprivan, diluted with the anesthetic lidocaine every night via an intravenous drip, the affidavit said.

Worried that Jackson might become addicted to the drug, Murray said he tried to wean Jackson from it, putting together combinations of other drugs that succeeded in helping him sleep during the two nights before his death.

But on the morning of June 25 other drugs failed to do the job. Murray recounted the events to detectives in an hour-by-hour account that was detailed by Martinez:

• About 1:30 a.m., Murray gave Jackson 10 mg of Valium (diazepam).

• About 2 a.m., he injected Jackson with 2 mg of the anti-anxiety drug Ativan (lorazepam).

• About 3 a.m., Murray then administered 2 mg of the sedative Versed (midazolam).

• About 5 a.m., he administered another 2 mg of Ativan.

• About 7:30 a.m., Murray gave Jackson yet another 2 mg of Versed while monitoring him with a device that measures the oxygen saturation of his blood.

• About 10:40 a.m., "after repeated demands/requests from Jackson," Murray administered 25 mg of propofol, the document said.

"Jackson finally went to sleep and Murray stated that he remained monitoring him. After approximately 10 minutes, Murray stated he left Jackson's side to go to the restroom and relieve himself. Murray stated he was out of the room for about two minutes maximum. Upon his return, Murray noticed that Jackson was no longer breathing."

Efforts at CPR proved fruitless. Jackson was pronounced dead at UCLA Medical Center at 2:26 p.m.

Murray's lawyer, Ed Chernoff, declined to comment on the coroner's announcement.

Agents from the California attorney general's office also will investigate physicians whose names have come up in the course of the Jackson death probe, Attorney General Jerry Brown said.

The federal drug administration also responded with its own independent investigations "into matters that the LAPD's investigation uncovered that may not be directly related to the cause of death," the agency said.

Last week Drug Enforcement agents executed a federal administrative search warrant at the Mickey Fine Pharmacy in Beverly Hills, California, looking for prescription records relating to Jackson, an agency spokesman said.

The pharmacy sits directly below the offices of Jackson's dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein. Shortly before his death, Jackson visited the building several times to see Klein.

Klein, who treated Jackson for decades, denied in a CNN interview last month that he had given Jackson dangerous drugs.

Attorney General Brown said that agents with his Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement "will review relevant records and documents."

The attorney general's office maintains a computerized prescription drug monitoring system that tracks controlled substances.
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Brazil tops worldwide H1N1 deaths, officials say

Brazil has confirmed 557 deaths caused by H1N1 flu, the highest total in the world, the nation's Health Ministry says.

The United States has counted 522 fatalities through Thursday, and nearly 1,800 people had died worldwide through August 13, U.S. and global health officials said.

In terms of mortality rate, which considers flu deaths in terms of a nation's population, Brazil ranks seventh, and the United States is 13th, the Brazilian Ministry of Health said in a news release Wednesday.

Argentina, which has reported 386 deaths attributed to H1N1 as of August 13, ranks first per capita, the Brazilian health officials said, and Mexico, where the flu outbreak was discovered in April, ranks 14th per capita.

Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and the United States have the most total cases globally, according to the World Health Organization.

The Brazilian Ministry of Health said there have been 6,100 cases of flu in the nation, with 5,206 cases (85.3 percent) confirmed as H1N1, also known as swine flu.

The state of Sao Paulo had 223 deaths through Wednesday, the largest number in the country. In addition, 480 pregnant women have been confirmed with H1N1, of whom 58 died. Swine flu has been shown to hit young people and pregnant women particularly hard.

Many schools in Sao Paulo have delayed the start of the second semester for a couple of weeks, and students will have to attend classes on weekends to catch up. Schools also have suspended extracurricular activities such as soccer, volleyball and chess to try to curtail spread of the disease.

Flu traditionally has its peak during the winter months, and South America, where it is winter, has had a large number of cases recently. The World Health Organization said this week that the United States and other heavily populated Northern Hemisphere countries need to brace for a second wave of H1N1 as their winter approaches.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other U.S. health agencies have been preparing and said this week that up to half of the nation's population may contract the disease and 90,000 could die from it.

Seasonal flu typically kills about 64,000 Americans each year.

A vaccine against H1N1 is being tested but is not expected to be available until at least mid-October and will probably require two shots at least one week apart, health officials have said. Since it typically takes a couple of weeks for a person's immunity to build up after the vaccine, most Americans would not be protected until sometime in November.

The World Health Organization in June declared a Level 6 worldwide pandemic, the organization's highest classification.
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Obama condemns Lockerbie bomber's 'hero's welcome'

WASHINGTON (CNN) The cheering, flag-waving welcome that the convicted Lockerbie bomber received in Libya after being released from a life sentence was "highly objectionable," President Barack Obama said Friday.

His spokesman, Robert Gibbs, also criticized the bomber's reception as "tremendously offensive," echoing a sense of outrage that senior British leaders also have expressed.

Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi had been serving a life sentence for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The bombing killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill freed al Megrahi after doctors concluded he has terminal prostate cancer and estimated he has three months to live. A plane returned the 57-year-old to Libya, and video of his reception Thursday at the airport drew harsh responses in the United States and Britain.

"The images that we saw in Libya yesterday were outrageous and disgusting" and are "tremendously offensive to the survivors that lost a loved one," Gibbs said.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said it was "deeply distressing" and "deeply upsetting" to watch video of the convict's return home.

"Obviously, the sight of a mass murderer getting a hero's welcome in Tripoli is deeply upsetting, deeply distressing," Miliband told BBC radio Friday morning. He added that personally, "I find it deeply distressing of course, as well."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had specifically asked Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi not to give al Megrahi a celebratory welcome, Brown's office at 10 Downing Street said.

Brown wrote a letter to Gadhafi, delivered to the Libyan Foreign Ministry on Thursday, asking the Libyans to act with sensitivity with regard to al Megrahi's return.

The letter was private and therefore won't be released to the media, a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

MacAskill released al Megrahi on compassionate grounds, saying he was going home to die. His decision was highly controversial, drawing criticism from the United States and dividing family members of the 270 Lockerbie victims.

Both Brown and Miliband made clear that the decision to release al Megrahi was for the Scottish government to make. But Miliband said Libya must now act responsibly.

"I think it's very important that Libya knows, and certainly we have told them, that how the Libyan government handles itself in the next few days after the arrival of Mr. Megrahi will be very significant in the way the world views Libya's re-entry into the civilized community of nations," Miliband said.

"It is in our interests to stand up for our own principles in the interests of international relations," he said. "Where Libya is willing to abide and engage in the international system in a way that does the right thing for those international principles, we will engage with Libya."

Al Megrahi always maintained his innocence, complaining that he had to spend years in prison for something he did not do.

"The remaining days of my life will have to be spent under the shadow of the wrongness of my conviction," he said in a statement issued Thursday through his attorney.

He also offered sympathy to the families of the victims.

Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie four days before Christmas in 1988 while traveling from London to New York. All 259 of those aboard the plane and 11 people on the ground were killed.
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Missing ship 'found' off Africa

A missing merchant ship with 15 Russian crew members on board has been spotted off the coast of West Africa, unconfirmed reports say.

The Arctic Sea had last been sighted in the Bay of Biscay on 30 July.

Reports citing coastguards suggested it had been seen some 400 nautical miles north of the Cape Verde islands.

However amid continuing uncertainty, a Russian official was later quoted in Russian media as saying "this information did not prove to be true".

Russian navy ships have been searching for the 4,000-tonne Maltese-flagged vessel, which had been carrying timber.

Observers have suggested the ship was hijacked, possibly because of a Russian commercial dispute.

Following the reported sighting, a spokesman for the French defence ministry told the BBC that the Arctic Sea was thought to be in international waters.

The spokesman said his information came from the Cape Verde coastguard, who said the ship was outside its jurisdiction.

However, the spokesman said there was a "high possibility" that the ship had been located. French intelligence officials also believe they have found the ship in the same area, he said.

The Russian ambassador to Cape Verde, Alexander Karpushin, told Associated Press news agency that a Russian frigate was heading to the area but had no information on the Arctic Sea's location.

However, Russia's RIA news agency later quoted Mr Karpushin as saying the information that the Arctic Sea was spotted "400 nautical miles north of the island of Santo Antao... did not prove to be true".

He cited a meeting with the head of Cape Verde's armed forces.

Five Russian warships and other vessels have been searching the Atlantic for the vessel.

Attack reports

Carrying timber reportedly worth $1.8m (£1.1m), the Arctic Sea sailed from Finland and had been scheduled to dock in the Algerian port of Bejaia on 4 August.

The crew reported being boarded by up to 10 armed men as the ship sailed through the Baltic Sea on 24 July, but the intruders were reported to have left the vessel on an inflatable boat after 12 hours.

There are also reports of the ship being attacked a second time off the Portuguese coast. However the ship's operators said they had no knowledge of the incident and Portugal said the ship was never in its territorial waters.

The last known contact with the crew was when the Arctic Sea reported to British maritime authorities as it passed through the Dover Strait.

On Friday, the European Union Commission spokesman Martin Selmayr said: "From information currently available it would seem that these acts, such as they have been reported, have nothing in common with 'traditional' acts of piracy or armed robbery at sea."

Nato was monitoring the situation due to the unusual nature and location of the attacks, but was not directly involved in the search.

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Helicopter and plane in NY crash

A tour helicopter and a light aircraft have collided near New York City and crashed into the Hudson River, the US Coast Guard says.

The collision occurred between Hoboken, in New Jersey, and Manhattan, just across the river.

Divers are searching for survivors. Reports suggest one person has been found; their condition is unknown.

Television footage showed rescue craft heading to the site from both sides of the Hudson River.

"It hit the water like a stone," a woman told local television station NY1.

"I saw a piece of metal, I saw a helicopter, the helicopter went down, and that was it. I heard no noise, and no smoke or fire."

Other witnesses described seeing debris - including the plane's wing - falling into the water.

"We saw the helicopter propellers fly all over," said Hoboken resident Katie Tanski.

The helicopter was operated by Liberty Helicopters, a sightseeing company that flies tourists around sites such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Six people were believed to be on board, US media reports said.

The light plane took off from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, aviation officials said. It is not known how many people were on the plane.

The weather at the time of the collision, noon local time (1600 GMT), was said to be clear and mild.

In January, a passenger plane with 155 people aboard ditched into the Hudson River without loss of life, after apparently hitting a flock of geese.

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HSBC global profits halve to $5bn

Banking group HSBC saw pre-tax profits halve to $5bn (£2.98bn) in the first six months of 2009.


Rising bad debts in the US, Europe and Asia forced it to write-off $13.9bn - 39% more than the same period in 2008.

Earlier Barclays also announced pre-tax half-year profits of £2.98bn boosted by its investment banking arm.

HSBC is in the process of closing most of its retail lending operations in the US, having taken hefty losses from mortgages which went unpaid.

Its US consumer lending business, Household International, which is being wound down after being devastated by the credit crunch, saw a $2.9bn pre-tax loss for the period.

But HSBC gained from record investment banking profits of $6.3bn during the first half of the year.

BBC business editor Robert Peston said its profits were a story of "resilience in the face of extraordinary losses on loans".

"Of all the big banks in the US and UK, HSBC is the one that comes closest to being able to claim - without stretching credibility too much - that it's a proper commercial operation, not too reliant on finance or insurance from taxpayers," he said.

Unlike many of its peers, HSBC has not had to go to governments for extra cash.

It decided instead to ask existing shareholders for more money through a rights issue in April, which raised $17.8bn.


The bank said results were better than it had expected in an "unprecedented" economic climate.

Chairman Stephen Green added it was likely that "we have passed, or are about to pass" the bottom of the cycle in financial markets.

But he said: "The timing, shape and scale of any recovery in the wider economy remains highly uncertain."

HSBC has tried to increase its share of the the UK mortgage market, as rivals remain less willing to lend, or have withdrawn altogether.

The bank has committed £15bn for new mortgage lending in the UK - and said that £6.7bn had been lent during the first half of the year.

Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland will report their half-year results later this week.

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Scientists find new strain of HIV

Gorillas have been found, for the first time, to be a source of HIV.


Previous research had shown the HIV-1 strain, the main source of human infections, with 33m cases worldwide, originated from a virus in chimpanzees.

But researchers have now discovered an HIV infection in a Cameroonian woman which is clearly linked to a gorilla strain, Nature Medicine reports.

A researcher told the BBC that, though it was a new type of HIV, current drugs might still help combat its effects.

HIV originated from a similar virus in chimpanzees called Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV).

Although HIV/Aids was first recognised by scientists in the 1980s, it is thought to have first entered the human population early in the 20th Century in the region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The virus probably originally jumped into humans after people came into contact with infected bush meat.

SIV viruses have been reported in other primates, including gorillas.

Unusual case

French doctors treating the 62-year-old Cameroonian woman who was living in Paris said they initially spotted some discrepancies in routine viral load tests.

Further analysis of the HIV strain she was infected with showed it was more closely related to SIV from gorillas than HIV from humans.

She is the only person known to be infected with the new strain, but the researchers expect to find other cases.

Before moving to Paris, she had lived in a semi-urban area of Cameroon and had no contact with gorillas or bush meat, suggesting she caught the virus from someone else who was carrying the gorilla strain.

Analysis of the virus in the laboratory has confirmed that it can replicate in human cells.

Co-author Dr David Robertson, from the University of Manchester, said it was the first definitive transfer of HIV seen from a source other than a chimpanzee, and highlighted the need to monitor for the emergence of new strains.

"This demonstrates that HIV evolution is an ongoing process.

"The virus can jump from species to species, from primate to primate, and that includes us; pathogens have been with us for millions of years and routinely switch host species."

The fact the patient had been diagnosed in France showed how human mobility can rapidly transfer a virus from one area of the world to another, he said.

New problems 'unlikely'

Speaking to the BBC's Wold Today programme, Dr Robertson said there was no reason to believe that existing drugs would not work on the new virus.

"If some day we do manage to develop a vaccine, there's no reason to believe it wouldn't work," he said.

"There's no reason to believe this virus will present any new problems, as it were, that we don't already face."

Professor Paul Sharp, from the University of Edinburgh, said the virus probably initially transferred from chimpanzees to gorillas.

He said the latest finding was interesting but perhaps not surprising.

"The medical implication is that, because this virus is not very closely related to the other three HIV-1 groups, it is not detected by conventional tests.

"So the virus could be cryptically spreading in the population."

However, he said that he would guess it would not spread widely and become a major problem.

"Although the patient with this virus was not ill, there is no reason to believe that it will not lead to Aids," he added.

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Police Search Jackson Doctor's Home In LA

Police have searched the home of Michael Jackson's doctor as part of their investigation into the singer's death.

Michael Jackson and Conrad Murray

Officers swooped on Dr Conrad Murray's gated home in Las Vegas amid reports he gave the star a fatal dose of the powerful sedative propofol hours before his death.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) executed a search warrant for Jackson's medical records.

A separate raid took place across town at the doctor's offices.

Dr Murray's lawyer, Edward Chernoff, said: "The search warrant authorised investigators to look for medical records relating to Michael Jackson and all of his reported aliases.

"Dr Murray was present during the search of his home and assisted the officers.

"Investigators left Dr Murray's home around noon, seizing cell phones and a computer hard drive."

Last week, police raided the doctor's office in Houston searching for "evidence of the offence of manslaughter".

The results of toxicology tests on Jackson's body will be released this week, said the Los Angeles Coroner's office.

Pathologists reportedly discovered a deadly cocktail of prescription drugs in his blood.

Propofol is used in hospitals to induce unconsciousness in patients ahead of major surgery.

Police search Murray's home

Experts say the drug should only be administered by a trained anesthesiologist under strict medical conditions.

The possibility that Dr Murray gave Jackson the drug intravenously has sparked speculation that he may be charged over his death. reported that Dr Murray had told police in an interview he gave Jackson propofol via an IV drip.

It said police believe he may have fallen asleep while the drug was being administered, and woke up to find the singer already dead.

The star's family say they have "unanswered questions" about the death.
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Dealer Ran Cocaine Ring From Prison Cell

A convicted drug smuggler has admitted continuing to run an international cocaine ring by using a mobile phone from his prison cell.

Prisoner George Moon and the package which brought down his cocaine operation

The intercepted package which rumbled Moon's international operation

George Moon orchestrated the importation of drug packages from Panama and Venezuela into the UK and Ireland.

The 62-year-old ran the operation while serving 15 years at HMP Lindholme, near Doncaster, for supplying Class A substances.

Moon and five side-kicks pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court. They were among 13 people arrested in November 2008.

Two men are already serving sentences in Ireland and another, Leo Morgan, has just begun a 10-year prison term in Panama, also for cocaine offences.

The arrests followed an investigation by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which managed to intercept a two-kilo package of cocaine being couriered through Caracas International Airport, destined for an address in Cork.

Officers raided Moon's cell to find a mobile phone on which he had made hundreds of calls to Panama and Ireland, as well as a notebook containing the numbers of co-conspirators.

They believe he had been involved in organising the importation of at least 12 packages of cocaine, all sent via postal couriers.

Moon is currently serving a 15-year sentence for smuggling £3.5m worth of heroin and amphetamines into the UK from Holland by hiding it in a sport holdall in the back of a Heavy Goods Vehicle.

Moon and another man were also charged with smuggling contraband into a prison, in the form of sim cards and heroin.

It is thought that SOCA will now apply for a special order to be placed on Moon, which would make it a criminal offence for him to have possession of a mobile phone in prison.

Last year 4,000 mobile phones were seized from inmates of the UK's prison estate.

George Moon, 62, Lee Standeven, 24, Bilaal Khan, 27, Anthony Parry, 39, Harminder Singh, 25, and Abid Latif Hussain, 22, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import Class A controlled drugs.

Moon and Standeven also pleaded guilty to smuggling contraband into a prison.

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Massa injured in qualifying crash

Felipe Massa will not race in the Hungarian Grand Prix after the Ferrari driver was hurt in a high-speed accident during qualifying on Saturday.

Massa, 28, applied his brakes but went head on into a tyre wall at Turn Four after a piece of debris hit his helmet.

He was treated at the scene by medical teams before being airlifted to hospital, which is standard procedure.

Massa suffered a cut above his left eye which Ferrari called a "superficial" injury after confirming he was "OK".

A statement on their official website reads: "Felipe is conscious and has been brought to a Budapest hospital for routine examinations."

The incident delayed final qualifying by 20 minutes but Massa - who was provisionally 10th on the grid - took no part.

The 28-year-old - winner of 11 grands prix in his career - went off the Hungaroring track at around 125mph, with reports suggesting the debris had fallen off the rear of compatriot Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP car.

Barrichello told BBC Sport that he believed a rear bar or rear spring had fallen off - "something broke" - after qualifying in 13th, but made no mention of Massa's crash.

Brawn later confirmed that Barrichello's car was missing a part, or parts of its rear suspension.

Massa's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen said: "Felipe was just very unlucky. It was just an unlucky situation."

The incident comes less than a week after Henry Surtees, 18, was killed in a what was described as a "freak" accident during a Formula Two race at Brands Hatch.

The son of motorsport legend John Surtees was struck by a wheel which flew off a competitor's car.

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Alarming Africa male gay HIV rate

HIV rates among gay men in some African countries are 10 times higher than among the general male population, says research in medical journal the Lancet.

The report said prejudice towards gay people was leading to isolation and harassment, which in turn led to risky sexual practices among gay communities.

But the risks are not limited to gay men, as many of the infected also have female sexual partners.

The report called for greater education and resources in the fight against HIV.

The Oxford University researchers found that the prevalence of HIV/Aids among gay men in sub-Saharan African has been "driven by cultural, religious and political unwillingness to accept [gay men] as equal members of society".

Lead researcher Adrian Smith told the BBC there was "profound stigma and social hostility at every level of society concerning either same-sex behaviours amongst men, or homosexuality".

"This has the consequence that this group becomes extremely hard to reach," he said.

Mr Smith said that gay male sex had always been acknowledged as being particularly dangerous in terms of contracting HIV/Aids.

But gay men were also more likely to be involved in other high-risk behaviours, including sex work, having multiple partners and being in contact with intravenous drug use, he said.

Education crucial

George Kanuma, a gay rights activist in Burundi, told the BBC many men "hide their sexual orientation" to get married and have children, but continue to have sex with men.

"Most of them know that you can contract HIV/Aids or any infection when you are making sex with women, but not when you are having sex with another man," he said.

Mr Smith said there was "a desperate need for delivering a basic package of prevention for HIV", including ensuring supplies of condoms.

"There is also a need to sensitise, educate and train those involved in HIV, the interface with men who have sex with men, to educate those involved in care and prevention activities," he said.

The United Nations Aids agency estimates that 33 million people in the world have HIV, of whom two-thirds live in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Iran plane black boxes 'damaged'

Damaged black boxes have been recovered from a Caspian Airlines plane that crashed in north Iran with the loss of all 168 people on board, say officials.

Investigators who scoured scattered body parts and metal fragments for the data recorders hope they will salvage a clue as to the cause of the crash.

The wreckage was spread over a large area of farmland in Qazvin province, 120km (75 miles) north-west of Tehran.

The Tupolev plane was flying from the Iranian capital to Yerevan in Armenia.

Witnesses said the 22-year-old Russian-made aircraft, which had 153 passengers and 15 crew, nose-dived from the sky with its tail on fire.

Flight 7908 crashed 16 minutes after take-off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, officials said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered his condolences to the bereaved families and ordered a transport ministry investigation into the tragedy.

'Heads, fingers, passports'

Farsi Majidi, head of the investigating committee, told Associated Press TV News: "Thank God, we succeeded in finding two of the three flight data recorders or black boxes.

"Although they are damaged we are hopeful that we can extract information from them."

Eight members of Iran's national junior judo team and two coaches were on the flight, heading for training with the Armenian team.

Among the mainly Iranian passengers were about five Armenian citizens and two Georgians.

Search teams picked through an area 200m (660ft) wide in a field at Jannatabad village, where the plane gouged out a huge smoking crater.

A relief worker, standing next to a body bag of human flesh, told AFP news agency: "There is not a single piece which can be identified."

Mostafa Babashahverdi, a local farmer, told Reuters news agency: "We found severed heads, fingers and passports of the passengers."

Witnesses said the Tu-154 had circled briefly looking for an emergency landing site. One man described it exploding on impact.

"I saw the plane crashing nose-down. It hit the ground causing a big explosion. The impact shook the ground like an earthquake," Ali Akbar Hashemi told AP news agency.

At Yerevan's airport, one woman wept as she said her sister and two nephews, aged six and 11, had been on the flight.

"What will I do without them?" said Tina Karapetian, 45, before collapsing.

It was the third deadly crash of a Tupolev Tu-154 in Iran since 2002.

The BBC's Jon Leyne says Iran's civil and military air fleets are made up of elderly aircraft, in poor condition due to their age and lack of maintenance.

Since the Islamic revolution of 1979, trade embargoes by Western nations have forced Iran to buy mainly Russian-built planes to supplement an existing fleet of Boeings and other American and European models.

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Ronaldo Fulfils Real 'Childhood Dream'

The world's most expensive footballer Cristiano Ronaldo said he has fulfilled a "childhood dream" as he was unveiled by new club Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo unveiled as Real Madrid player
Around 80,000 fans were at the home ground, the Bernabeu, to welcome Ronaldo following his record transfer.

The current world player of the year was signed by the Spanish giants from Manchester United in a deal worth £80m.

The Portuguese international had passed a medical examination earlier in the day to complete his move.

Ronaldo with Portuguese football legend Eusebio
He told supporters: "I am just so happy to be here. For me, I have made my childhood dream a reality, which was nothing less than playing for Real Madrid.

"I didn't expect a jam-packed stadium - this is truly impressive."

Ronaldo then led the crowd into a cry of "Viva Madrid!"

The forward, who signed a six-year contract, has been given the number nine shirt - the same as Madrid great Alfredo di Stefano.

The 24-year-old was greeted by Di Stefano as well as Portuguese legend Eusebio and Florentino Perez, the club president whose re-election prompted his signing from United.

Ronaldo is the jewel in the crown of Perez's self-styled "spectacular sporting project".

After bringing "galacticos" David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo to the club during his previous term, Perez has spent around £185m on Ronaldo, Brazilian playmaker Kaka, French striker Karim Benzema and defender Raul Albiol.

He is hoping the signing of such high-profile players will help Real take the Spanish and European Champions League crowns from arch-rivals Barcelona.

He also aims to boost revenue via the sale of replica merchandise and marketing rights.

Madrid had been chasing Ronaldo since 2006. He won the third of three successive Premier League titles last season.

Fans had queued outside the Bernabeu from early on in the day to catch a glimpse of their latest star.
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New Diabetes Drug Will Help Weight Loss

A revolutionary drug for diabetes sufferers is being launched in the UK.


The majority of Type 2 diabetes sufferers are overweight

Victoza is for Type 2 diabetes and only needs to be taken once-a-day.

The drug, also known as Liraglutide, allows the body to only release insulin when blood sugar levels become too high.

It can also be taken at any time of the day and is used alongside other drugs.

Tests suggest the drug can also help with weight loss by making people feel "full" for longer, as well as slowing down the rate at which the stomach empties.

Victoza also lowers blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart disease.

It could help the two million people in the UK who suffer from Type 2 diabetes, many of whom are overweight or obese.

Cathy Moulton, from Diabetes UK, said: "Liraglutide widens the choice of treatment for people with Type 2 diabetes that not only offer improved blood glucose but also aid weight loss.

"Good diabetes management reduces the risk of developing serious complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation."

It is estimated that 500,000 people in the UK have Type 2 diabetes and don't even know it.
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Ousted president vows to return to Honduras

(CNN) A new standoff was brewing in Honduras as the country's recently deposed president vowed to return, while the new provisional government said it would arrest him if he set foot back in the country.

Political turmoil has swept this Central American nation of 8 million people following a military-led coup Sunday that ousted President Jose Manuel Zelaya. Troops entered the president's residence and sent him out of the country in exile. A veteran legislator, Roberto Micheletti, was sworn in that same day as provisional president with the support of congress.

Roberto Micheletti, the veteran legislator who was sworn in that same day as provisional president with the support of congress, was adamant that Zelaya would not return to power.

"He already committed crimes against the constitution and the laws; he can't return to be president of the republic," Micheletti told reporters Tuesday. "He can no longer return to the presidency unless a president from another Latin American country comes and imposes him with arms."

Micheletti added, "If there is an invasion against our country, we have 7½ million Hondurans ready to defend our territory and our laws and our homeland and our government."

However, Zelaya still vows to defy the provisional government.

"I am going to return on Thursday because they expelled me by force, and I am going to return as always: as a citizen and as president," Zelaya said at a U.N. news conference shortly after the world body unanimously adopted a resolution that he should be restored to power.

Zelaya, speaking to the U.N. General Assembly, called the resolution historic.

"Your servant has several accusations against him in Honduras," Zelaya said. "But nobody has given me a trial. Nobody has convened a tribunal."

Meanwhile, Micheletti's provisional government said Zelaya would be arrested if he returned.

"As soon as he arrives he will be captured, as we already have the arrest warrants ready," new Foreign Minister Enrique Ortez Colindres told CNN en Español.

Zelaya would face charges of violating the constitution, corruption and drug trafficking, among others, Ortez said.

The deposed president said he would travel to Washington to attend a meeting of the Organization of American States. He also is expected to meet Tuesday evening with Tom Shannon, the top U.S. official on Latin America.

Even as Zelaya spoke at the United Nations, his opponents held a large and noisy rally in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Crowd members waved blue and white Honduran flags and signs denouncing Zelaya.

Roberto Micheletti, the new provisional president, briefly addressed the crowd Tuesday afternoon. He vowed that the next national elections, slated for November, will be held as planned, and that a new president will be sworn in as usual in January.

Gen. Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, the top Honduran military commander who had butted heads with Zelaya, also spoke at the rally. By removing Zelaya, the armed forces were only complying with their constitutional duties, he said.

Before he spoke, the crowd chanted in support, "Armed forces! Armed forces!"

Zelaya supporters also were active Tuesday, with three major public-sector labor unions launching a general strike, a union official told CNN. About 100,000 workers joined the strike, said Oscar Garcia, vice president of the Honduran water workers union SANAA. That number could not be independently verified.

"It will be an indefinite strike," Garcia said. "We don't recognize this new government imposed by the oligarchy, and we will mount our campaign of resistance until President Manuel Zelaya is restored to power."

Also on Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said it was reviewing its aid to Honduras as it works with regional partners on a deal to restore Zelaya to power and quell political unrest in the country.

Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the U.S. was reviewing whether Zelaya's ouster met the legal definition of a "coup" before any decision was made.

"Because of the situation and the very dramatic nature of the events there and our profound concern about what's going on there, I think we're looking at a number of aspects of our cooperation," Kelly said.

The State Department has also issued a travel alert due "to the current unstable political and security situation in Honduras." The alert "recommends that American citizens defer all nonessential travel to Honduras until further notice."

In another development, two U.S. military officials in Washington confirmed to CNN that U.S. helicopters will fly over southern Honduras on a humanitarian relief mission Tuesday. The officials said there is great sensitivity to any public appearance by the U.S. military in the country.

The U.S. military also postponed some planned exercises with the Honduran military until the situation in the country settles down, according to the U.S. Southern Command.

"We have postponed certain activities," Maj. D.L. Wright, Southern Command spokesman, told CNN.

Wright said this decision would be in effect for at least two to three weeks, or "until the political situation settles."

Zelaya was overthrown early Sunday when the Honduran military arrested him and flew him to Costa Rica. Micheletti, president of the Congress, was sworn in as provisional president later Sunday.

The United Nations, OAS and most nations in the Western Hemisphere, including the United States, have condemned the ouster and demanded that Zelaya be restored to power.

The World Bank said Tuesday it would freeze funds to Honduras until the crisis is resolved, and the United States said it is reviewing its aid to the Central American nation. The U.S. joined many other nations in co-sponsoring Tuesday's U.N. resolution.

Zelaya had been at odds with the other branches of government over a referendum he wanted to hold Sunday. The Honduran Supreme Court had ruled that the referendum was illegal, and Congress had voted not to hold it.

The high court also had overturned Zelaya's dismissal of Honduras' top general, who said the military would not participate in the referendum. The court ordered that the general be reinstated immediately.

Zelaya disregarded those actions and vowed to hold the vote anyway. Micheletti also told Honduras' representatives at the United Nations and OAS to quit speaking against the new government or they immediately will be removed from their posts. They are not authorized, he said, to speak for the Honduran government.

In another development, two U.S. military officials in Washington confirmed to CNN that American helicopters will fly over southern Honduras on a humanitarian relief mission Tuesday. The officials said there is great sensitivity to any public appearance by the U.S. military in the country.

Three Black Hawk helicopters are scheduled to leave an air base at Soto Cano in Honduras and fly south to Nicaragua. They will be used to support the USNS Comfort, which is conducting a medical relief mission.
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Michael Jackson, pop music legend, dead at 50

(CNN)Michael Jackson, the show-stopping singer whose best-selling albums -- including "Off the Wall," "Thriller" and "Bad" -- and electrifying stage presence made him one of the most popular artists of all time, died Thursday, CNN has confirmed.

He was 50.

He collapsed at his residence in the Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles, California, about noon Pacific time, suffering cardiac arrest, according to brother Randy Jackson. He died at UCLA Medical Center.

Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office said an autopsy would probably be done on the singer Friday, with results expected that afternoon.

"Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of color," the Rev. Al Sharpton said. "To say an 'icon' would only give these young people in Harlem a fraction of what he was. He was a historic figure that people will measure music and the industry by."

Jackson's blazing rise to stardom -- and later fall from grace -- is among the most startling of show business tales. The son of a steelworker, he rose to fame as the lead singer of the Jackson 5, a band he formed with his brothers in the late 1960s. By the late '70s, as a solo artist, he was topping the charts with cuts from "Off the Wall," including "Rock With You" and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough."

In 1982, he released "Thriller," an album that eventually produced seven hit singles. An appearance the next year on a Motown Records 25th-anniversary special cemented his status as the biggest star in the country.

For the rest of the 1980s, they came no bigger. "Thriller's" follow-up, 1987's "Bad," sold almost as many copies. A new Jackson album -- a new Jackson appearance -- was a pop culture event.

The pop music landscape was changing, however, opening up for rap, hip-hop and what came to be called "alternative" -- and Jackson was seen as out of step.

His next release, 1991's "Dangerous," debuted at No. 1 but "only" produced one top-ranking single -- "Black or White" -- and that song earned criticism for its inexplicably violent ending, in which Jackson was seen smashing car windows and clutching his crotch.

And then "Dangerous" was knocked out of its No. 1 spot on the album charts by Nirvana's "Nevermind," an occurrence noted for its symbolism by rock critics.

After that, more attention was paid to Jackson's private life than his music career, which faltered. A 1995 two-CD greatest hits, "HIStory," sold relatively poorly, given the huge expense of Jackson's recording contract: about 7 million copies, according to Recording Industry of America certifications.

A 2001 album of new material, "Invincible," did even worse.

In 2005, he went to trial on child-molestation charges. He was acquitted.

In July 2008, after three years away from the spotlight, Jackson announced a series of concerts at London's O2 Arena as his "curtain call." Some of the shows, initially scheduled to begin in July, were eventually postponed until 2010.

Michael Jackson was born August 29, 1958, to Joe Jackson, a Gary, Indiana, steelworker, and his wife, Katherine. By the time he was 6, he had joined his brothers in a musical group organized by his father, and by the time he was 10, the group -- the Jackson 5 -- had been signed to Motown.

He made his first television appearance at age 11.

Jackson, a natural performer, soon became the group's front man. Music critic Langdon Winner, reviewing the group's first album, "Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5," for Rolling Stone, praised Michael's versatile singing and added, "Who is this 'Diana Ross,' anyway?"

The group's first four singles -- "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There" -- went to No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart, the first time any group had pulled off that feat. There was even a Jackson 5 cartoon series on ABC

In 1972, he hit No. 1 as a solo artist with the song "Ben."

The group's popularity waned as the '70s continued, and Michael eventually went solo full time. He played the Scarecrow in the 1978 movie version of "The Wiz," and released the album "Off the Wall" in 1979. Its success paved the way for "Thriller," which eventually became the best-selling album in history, with 50 million copies sold worldwide.

At that point, Michael Jackson became ubiquitous.

Seven of "Thriller's" nine cuts were released as singles; all made the Top Ten. The then-new cable channel MTV, criticized for its almost exclusively white playlist, finally started playing Jackson's videos. They aired incessantly, including a 14-minute minimovie of the title cut. ("Weird Al" Yankovic cemented his own stardom by lampooning Jackson's song "Beat It" with a letter-perfect parody video.)

On the Motown Records' 25th-anniversary special -- a May 1983 TV extravaganza with notable turns by the Temptations, the Four Tops and Smokey Robinson -- it was Michael Jackson who stopped the show.

Already he was the most popular musician in America, riding high with "Thriller." But something about his electrifying performance of "Billie Jean," complete with the patented backward dance moves, boosted his stardom to a new level. Video

People copied his Jheri-curled hair and single-gloved, zippered-jacket look. Showbiz veterans such as Fred Astaire praised his chops. He posed for photos with Ronald and Nancy Reagan at the White House. Paul McCartney teamed with him on three duets, two of which -- "The Girl Is Mine" and "Say Say Say" -- became top five hits. Jackson became a Pepsi spokesman, and when his hair caught fire while making a commercial, it was worldwide news.

It all happened very fast -- within a couple years of the Motown special. But even at the time of the "Motown 25" moonwalk, fame was old hat to Michael Jackson. He hadn't even turned 25 himself, but he'd been a star for more than half his life. He was given the nickname the "King of Pop" -- a spin on Elvis Presley's status as "the King of Rock 'n' Roll" -- and few questioned the moniker.

Relentless attention

But, as the showbiz saying has it, when you're on top of the world, there's nowhere to go but down. The relentless attention given Jackson started focusing as much on his eccentricities -- some real, some rumored -- as his music.

As the Web site notes, he was rumored to sleep in a hyperbaric chamber and to have purchased the bones of John Merrick, the "Elephant Man." (Neither was true.) He did have a pet chimpanzee, Bubbles; underwent a series of increasingly drastic plastic surgeries; established an estate, Neverland, filled with zoo animals and amusement park rides; and managed to purchase the Beatles catalog from under Paul McCartney's nose, which displeased the ex-Beatle immensely.

In 1990s and 2000s, Jackson found himself pasted across the media for his short-lived marriages, the first to Elvis Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie; his 2002 claim that then Sony Records head Tommy Mottola was racist; his behavior and statements during a 2003 interview with British journalist Martin Bashir done for a documentary called "Living With Michael Jackson;" his changing physical appearance; and, above all, the accusations that he sexually molested young boys at Neverland.

The first such accusation, in 1993, resulted in a settlement to the 13-year-old accuser (rumored to be as high as $20 million), though no criminal charges were filed, notes.

He also fell deeply in debt and was forced to sell some of his assets. Neverland was one of many holdings that went on the block. However, an auction of material from Neverland, scheduled for April, was called off and all items returned to Jackson.

Interest in Jackson never faded, however, even if some of it was prurient. In 2008, when he announced 10 comeback shows in London, beginning in July 2009, the story made worldwide news. The number of concerts was later increased to 50.

Seventy-five thousand tickets sold in four hours when they went on sale in March.

However, when the shows were postponed until 2010, rumors swept the Internet that Jackson was not physically prepared and possibly suffering from skin cancer.

At the time, the president and CEO of AEG Live, Randy Phillips, said, "He's as healthy as can be -- no health problems whatsoever."

Jackson held open auditions for dancers in April in Los Angeles.

He is survived by his three children, Prince Michael I, Paris and Prince Michael II.
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Video of church's 'casting out' gay 'demon' in teen sparks anger

The boy writhes uncontrollably on the floor, but the church members remain calm, if increasingly loud. They're trying to drive a "demon" out of him.

"You homosexual demon, get up on outta here!" they say. "You demon, loose yourself!" "You sex demon ... you snake!"

The shouts, the convulsions, the references to homosexual spirits -- they are all captured on a video posted on YouTube by the Manifested Glory Ministries. The video has sparked anger among gay youth advocacy groups and put the small church from Bridgeport, Connecticut, in the middle of an ongoing national debate on gay issues.

Patricia McKinney, pastor of the nondenominational church who describes herself as a prophet, said she has even been receiving death threats as a result of the video, but doesn't understand the outrage.

"I believe in deliverance, I believe in anointing, I believe in the power of Jesus," she said in a phone interview with GC USA. "I've been threatened already, I've been attacked, and it doesn't make any sense to us. Really, what they're doing, they're putting me out there on the mat."

McKinney says she doesn't refer to the events of the video as an exorcism, but rather a "casting out of unclean spirits." She said this isn't the first time that an event like this has taken place at her church, but it is the first one centered around homosexuality.

McKinney said the boy approached the church and told her he wanted to be a pastor, but was struggling with his sexuality. "We allow [gay people] to come into our church. We just don't allow them to come in and continue to live that lifestyle," she said.

"God made Adam and Eve," she said. "He made a woman to be with a man, and a man to be with a woman."

Robin McHaelen, who worked with the 16-year-old boy at the center of the video in her position as executive director of True Colors Inc., a gay youth advocacy and mentoring program in Connecticut, said the video was taped in March. She would not identify the teen.

McHaelen said she doesn't think the church acted maliciously -- but that's part of her problem with the video.

"None of the people in this video were intending to hurt this kid," she said. "They performed this ritual in an attempt to rid him of feelings that he didn't want to have."

The boy is the fifth teen True Colors is aware of that has undergone an event like the one documented in the video. But unlike the boy, not all the teens approached a church or religious organization.

The event, McHaelen said, reflects a culture and society that doesn't believe a person can be both Christian and gay.

"That's what makes me so sad and so mad," she said.

McHaelen said she talked to the boy since the incident and said he's feeling very conflicted and confused in trying to reconcile who he is with his religion.

"He's 16 and having the feelings that he's having, the relationships he's having, and then [he's] being tormented by 'What if I'm going to go to hell because of what I feel and who I am?'" she said.

McHaelen notified the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, as she's mandated to do in her position when she suspects abuse or neglect of a minor. However, she told CNN the department will be looking into whether or not abuse or neglect occurred by the parents and family of the boy, not the church. The department declined to comment Thursday.

Isaiah Webster, Director of Communications for the National Youth Advocacy Commission, said he was deeply saddened by the timing of the video and the accompanying uproar.

"It's very, very sad that this still takes place in society," he said. "It's also very sad that it comes about during this week, [as the] 40th anniversary of Stonewall is this weekend."

The so-called "Stonewall Riots" are believed by many to have kicked off the gay liberation movement.

"That is really something to celebrate," Webster continued, "and it's unfortunate that young people still have to endure things like this."

McHaelen said that as an advocacy group, she doesn't think True Colors can take any legal action against the church, and said she would rather engage in an open dialogue with its members.
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