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Pistorius 'negotiating settlement'

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 19 Januari 2014 | 23.08

Oscar Pistorius in the dock during his bail hearing in Pretoria, South Africa, in August. Picture: Themba Hadebe Source: AP

PARALYMPIAN Oscar Pistorius's lawyers are reportedly negotiating an out-of-court settlement with the parents of slain girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The settlement could net them around 2 million rand ($209,000), News 24 reports.

Pistorius was charged with the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, after gunning her down in their Johannesburg home on Valentine's Day last year. Pistorius maintains his innocence, claiming he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.

The sprinter will go on trial on March 3.

Steenkamp's parents are said to have been financially straitened since the death of their daughter and are running a pub outside Port Elizabeth. It is understood they purchased the pub with money paid for interviews by foreign media.

Grieving.. June Steenkamp, mother of the late South African model Reeva Steenkamp arrives at the crematorium building to attend her funeral ceremony on February 19, 2013.

The couple are unwilling to say how much compensation they are asking from Pretorius.

The 27-year-old Olympic runner faces a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison if he is convicted on the main charge of premeditated murder in the shooting death of Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day.

Pistorius denies murder and says he shot Steenkamp in self-defence through a toilet door with his licensed 9mm handgun, thinking mistakenly that she was a dangerous intruder in his upscale Pretoria villa.

Prosecutors believe he intended to kill her, possibly after a loud argument in the middle of the night.

Victim... Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead by Oscar Pistorius on Valentine's Day.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Aussies romp home to seal series

Australia have sealed the Carlton Mid Series, winning the third one dayer with ease; after restricting England to 243 the Australians were untroubled in their chase.

Australia's Shaun Marsh and Brad Haddin celebrate victory at the SCG. Picture: Phil Hillyard. Source: News Limited

AUSTRALIA'S joy at trouncing England in the one-day series on Sunday night was tempered by the frustration of another animated on-field blow-up which has both captains calling for batsmen to take the word of catchers.

A second clean sweep is within reach just a fortnight after winning the Test series 5-0, with Australia cruising to a seven-wicket victory at the SCG in the third match of five.


Australia has produced a fantastic fielding performance in the third one dayer against the English, with David Warners ridiculous run-out accompanied by an unbelievable catch by Michael Clarke.

Man of the match David Warner (71 from 70 balls), captain Michael Clarke and wicket-keeper Brad Haddin will all be rested from the next match in Perth on Friday, while Shane Watson will not return until the last match in Adelaide.

George Bailey missed Sunday's match with a hip problem but declared himself fit to lead the team in Clarke's absence.

Shaun Marsh (71 not out from 89 balls) ensured the modest England total of 243 was run down with 10 overs to spare.

Warner's innings was as explosive as the confrontation which forced both umpires to come between remonstrating Australian fieldsmen and belligerent batsmen Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler.

The Australians were celebrating a low, diving caught and bowled by Dan Christian off Morgan, England's top scorer (54 in 58 balls), when the Irishman refused to walk.

As umpires Simon Fry from Australia and Ranmore Martinesz from Sri Lanka waited for video umpire Kumar Dharmasena to check the catch, the batsmen and fieldsmen confronted each other on the edge of the pitch.

Clarke was particularly animated with Morgan and then Buttler.

Michael Clarke, Eoin Morgan and Jos Butler had a fiery exchange following Morgan's uncertainty that he had been cleanly caught by Dan Christian.

"I would like to see it get back to a bit of old school cricket where you ask the fieldsmen did he catch it and if he says yes you take his word," Clarke said.

"I think we've got so much technology in the game these days that if you say yes when you don't catch it that's your reputation, that's the integrity of the game of cricket.

"In the case with Dan Christian he was asked if he caught it, he said yes, and the batsman still didn't go, and he's got every right not to go, the umpires are out there to make a decision.

"But I'd like to see it go back to respecting the opposition's decision."

Cook claimed he was frustrated by the inconsistent use of technology with low catches.

"It's all just a little bit confusing and that's what frustrates me," Cook said.

"I'd love to see it go back to the player says I caught it and you walk off, fine, but then it can look funny on the big screen. "

Morgan was booed off by the near capacity crowd of 37,823 while Buttler and Clarke continued their animated conversation, which appeared to have an amicable end.

It was the third ugly clash of the tour, with England batsmen and Australian fieldsmen confronting each other towards the end of the first and second Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Clarke was fined 20 percent of his match fee, about $3000, after the Brisbane Test when an inadvertently open stump mike picked him telling England's serial sledger Jimmy Anderson to "get ready for a broken f**king arm."


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Full-page ad begs son to come home

'No pressure' ... A mother has paid for the full front page of Melbourne's leading Chinese newspaper, to ask her son to visit and promising she won't pressure him to marry.

A MOTHER has taken out a full-page ad in a Melbourne newspaper, urging her son to come home for Chinese New Year.

The anonymous mother, who lives in Guangzhou, China, posted the desperate appeal to her son 'Peng' on the entire front page of the Chinese Melbourne Daily, after pressure on him to marry had driven him away.

"I've called you many times, but you don't answer. Maybe you will see this," she writes.

"Your mother and father won't force you to marry again. Come home for Chinese New Year!"

Peng lives and works in Australia, after successfully completing a course of study there, Want China Times reports.

After repeatedly be urged to return to China and marry, Peng had stopped answering his overbearing family's calls. The pressure to bring home a partner during the Lunar New Year is so great, some young people will even hire a boyfriend or girlfriend for a day, to satisfy their parents.

Online shopping site Taobao offers stand-in suitors at an hourly rate, the South China Morning Post reports.

On the Chinese social media platform Weibo, some users were sympathetic to Peng's plight, anticipating their own parental showdowns on the Lunar New Year, which falls on January 31 this year.

One user wrote, "Isn't this even more pressure? Forced to marry, now forced to go home."

Others had less empathy: "Not marrying is an act of extreme selfishness. What use is this kind of son?" 

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Cook ponders ODI captaincy

Alastair Cook looks on as Australia win game three in Sydney. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images) Source: Getty Images

Australia have sealed the Carlton Mid Series, winning the third one dayer with ease; after restricting England to 243 the Australians were untroubled in their chase.

ENGLAND'S disastrous three-month tour of Australia could bring an end to Alastair Cook's captaincy, after the opening batsman revealed he would reconsider his leadership role after losing the one-day series.

On the back of their five-nil Ashes triumph, Australia claimed the limited overs series in emphatic style on Sunday at the SCG by hammering England by seven wickets with 10 overs to spare.

The win gave Australia an unbeatable three-nil lead in the best-of-five match series as England's tour sunk further into the mire.


After the match Cook said he would review his role as England skipper after the tour is over.

Michael Clarke, Eoin Morgan and Jos Butler had a fiery exchange following Morgan's uncertainty that he had been cleanly caught by Dan Christian.

``I think I am going to have to make a decision on that stuff after we take stock after the next two games,'' Cook said.

``We are going to have to sit down and talk about a lot of things.

Not wanting to be outdone by Michael Clarke's men, one Australian fan has taken a classic crowd catch - and he didn't spill a single drop of beer.

``I think there will be some changes, I think English cricket needs a little bit of a change as well.

``Obviously in the last few months we haven't played the cricket we are capable of and we have to look at the reasons why but this is not really the time and place to discuss that.''


After the Sydney Test two weeks ago Cook was backed to remain as skipper by the England and Wales Cricket Board and stated his own desire to remain in the role but he indicated things might have changed since then.

``I don't really want to get dragged into it. It's been two weeks since someone has asked me that question and a lot has happened in two weeks,'' he said.

``We have kept losing games of cricket and I haven't been able to turn it around.''

Cook's demeanour after his side's eighth straight loss to Australia at least indicated he could step aside as captain of the One Day International side.

``We deserve the stick we get because we haven't won anything,'' he said.

``I have a job to do to try and turn this around and try and win one of these games, I am going to leave everything out on this pitch.''

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Comet-chasing probe to wake up

Long shot... An artist's impression of the Rosetta probe with Mars in the background. Rosetta is on a quest to hunt a comet in the depths of the Solar System and shadow it around the Sun. Source: AFP

ONE of the most ambitious missions in the history of space goes into high-risk mode today when Europe rouses a comet-chasing probe from years of hibernation.

"The most important alarm clock in the Solar System" will end the scout Rosetta's long slumber, gearing it for a historic rendezvous in deep space, the European Space Agency says.

Launched almost a decade ago, Rosetta is a billion-dollar bet to prise open the secrets of comets.

Clusters of ice and dust - which explains their nickname of "dirty snowballs" - comets are believed to be remnants from the very birth of our star system.

"Unlocking these time capsules, looking at the gas, the dust and particularly the ice they're made of, provides great clues to the origin of our Solar System and, potentially, even of life," said astrophysicist Mark McCaughrean.

"This time capsule has been locked for 4.6 billion years. It's time to unlock the treasure chest."

To team up with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Rosetta was launched in 2004 on a trek of seven billion kilometres around the inner Solar System.

Liftoff... On March 2, 2004 an Ariane V carrying the three-tonne probe Rosetta blasted off from Kourou, French Guiana.

Like a game of cosmic billiards, the probe zoomed three times around Earth and once around Mars, using the planets' gravitational pull as a slingshot to gain velocity.

"We had to go around the Sun five times on different orbits to gain speed," said Paolo Ferri, ESA's head of solar and planetary missions.

By June 2011, the probe reached its intended furthest point from the Sun - at 800 million km so distant that our star had shrunk to a tepid dot.

While pursuing its path towards the comet, Rosetta at this point closed all its systems for a 31-month energy-saving sleep - the Sun's light just too dim to nourish the craft's two 14-metre solar arrays - panels so big they could cover a basketball court.

At 9pm AEDT its onboard computer is scheduled to end hibernation - a "wake up, Rosetta!" moment that ESA has turned into a Youtube video competition.

At that point, nerves at mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, will be stretched.

It will take Rosetta nearly six hours to fire up and test all its systems. It is so far away that, provided everything is OK, the "all systems nominal" radio signal will take 45 minutes to reach home.

"The coming months are going to be even more complex," said Prof Ferri.

Rosetta will progressively carry out braking and steering manoeuvres designed to get it on track with Comet "C-G."

In August, the craft will be inserted into an orbit just 25 kilometres above the comet, using 11 cameras, radar, microwave, infrared and other sensors to scan its surface.

In November, it will send down a fridge-sized robot laboratory, Philae, designed to harpoon itself to the crumbly comet surface and carry out experiments.

"We want to know everything about the comet -- magnetic field, composition, temperature, everything," said Amalia Ercoli-Finzi, in charge of one of the 10 instruments aboard Philae.

Over the last quarter-century, 11 unmanned spacecraft have been sent on missions to comets, most of them flybys.

Successes include the US Stardust probe, which brought home dusty grains snatched from a comet's wake, and Europe's Giotto, which ventured to within 200 km of a comet's surface.
But Rosetta should - in theory - cap them all in terms of its sampling size and proximity.

The Solar System has thousands and possibly millions of comets, which loop around the Sun in orbits ranging from a few decades to millennia.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is named after a pair of Soviet astronomers who in 1969 became the first to spot it.
It was designated for the mission because it once had a very elliptical, or egg-shaped, orbit.

This meant that it spent billions of years in the depths of the Solar System, preserved by deep chill, and relatively little time exposed to the warming and weathering effect of the Sun.

The track changed in 1959, when the comet was nudged onto a different path when it flew close to Jupiter, the biggest planet of the Solar System. It now returns every 6.6 years.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Schu's lucky charm found at crash site

Lucky charm ... This photo taken on October 1, 2006 shows Ferrari's German driver Michael Schumacher celebrating on the podium after winning the Chinese Grand Prix, while wearing his lucky bracelet on his right wrist. Source: AFP

FORMULA One champion Michael Schumacher's lucky charm has been found at the scene of his tragic skiing accident.

Rescuers reportedly found the African bracelet buried in the snow, German newspaper Bild reports. Superstitious Schumacher wore it at all times, even during Formula One races.

After the lucky charm was discovered missing at the hospital, his rescuers offered to scour the site of his accident to recover it.

The champion driver's condition continues to be described as "stable", although his manager Sabine Kehm added that the 45-year-old remains in a medically induced coma in hospital since an off-piste fall in the French Alps nearly three weeks ago.

"Unfortunately I have to repeat that any information regarding Michael's health not coming from the doctors treating him or from his management must be treated as pure speculation,'' Ms Kehm said.

"I also repeat that Michael's family is very happy and confident with the work of the team of doctors treating Michael, and they trust them completely.''

Investigators probing the crash have ruled out faulty skis, inadequate signage and excessive speed as reasons for the accident, in which he slammed his head against a rock.

Schumacher appears to have skied on a partially covered rock, lost his balance and fallen on another rock further down, according to the prosecutor in charge of the investigation.

The impact was so strong it split his helmet in two.

Schumacher dominated Formula One before retiring in 2012, winning more titles than any other driver and enjoying 91 Grand Prix victories between 1994 and 2004.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

‘Fish oil saved our son from brain damage’

On the mend... Grant Virgin awoke from a coma and started speaking days after his family began treating him with fish oil. Picture: CNN Source: Supplied

A TEENAGER who was left with severe brain damage after a brutal hit-and-run has made an amazing recovery, which his parents attribute to fish oil.

Grant Virgin was left with a horrific list of injuries after being struck by the car in September 2012, including a torn aorta, a traumatic brain injury, compound bone fractures and spinal fractures. Doctors said the boy, then 16, probably wouldn't live through the night.

But Grant's mother, JJ, wouldn't accept their recommendation "to let him go".

"It's like, how dare you not fight for my son's life?" JJ told CNN. "It really took us ... getting very aggressive and assertive to save our son's life, because they weren't going to do it."

From then on, Grant's family vowed to try everything they could to bring him back – even if it meant going against doctor's orders.

Grant underwent multiple surgeries to stabalise his body, but he remained in a coma with severe brain damage.

That's when a friend suggested the Virgins try progesterone, an unorthodox treatment associated with reduced inflammation in the brain and improved brain function.

Won't give up... JJ Virgin vowed to try everything she could to bring her son back. Picture: CNN

Grant's parents started rubbing progesterone cream onto their son. Soon after, JJ says, he woke up and began speaking simple words and phrases: "Let's go" or "I love you", repeated over and over.

Heartened, the Virgins thought fish oil might help speed his recovery after learning that the brain's cell wall is partly comprised of the same omega-3 fatty acids.

"If you have a brick wall and it gets damaged, wouldn't you want to use bricks to repair it?" Dr Michael Lewis, founder of the Brain Health Education and Research Institute, told CNN. "By supplementing using (omega-3 fatty acids) in substantial doses, you provide the foundation for the brain to repair itself."

While previous results were patchy, JJ said she put Grant on an aggressive 20-gram-per-day regimen of fish oil – the highest dose ever known to have been administered.

"If someone said to me, you know what, you can give him fish oil, you can give him better nutrition, you'll get maybe 5 per cent (improvement), I'll take that," she said.

Two days later, JJ was shocked to receive a late-night call from her son.

Incredible recovery... Grant has recovered physically and his brain function is improving each day. Picture: CNN

"I get this call like midnight, and I'm asleep, and I wake up the next morning and go, 'Did Grant call me and did we have this whole conversation?" she said.

"I just remember waking up the next morning going, 'I must have dreamed that, that couldn't have possibly happened.'"

The family drove to the hospital the next day and found that Grant was not only able to talk, but focus his eyes and recognise people – just two months after doctors had written him off.

Grant is still a long way off making a full recovery and his family doesn't expect him ever to return to his previous level of ability. But they say he is progressing every day.

"I think one of the saddest things is to get to a place and have someone tell you, 'You should just let your son die,' and you don't have the information to make the right decision," JJ said.

"There is such hopelessness about brain injury and there shouldn't be."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Putin: 'It's OK, we like Elton John'

While speaking to a group of volunteers for the upcoming 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that gays should feel welcome. putin explained, however, that gays visitors should leave the children in peace. Photo: AP/RIA Novosti Kremlin

PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin has said that Russia does not discriminate against gays and that millions of Russians love pop icon Sir Elton John "despite his orientation", as he sought to defuse calls from gay rights activists to boycott the Winter Olympics.

In an interview with foreign journalists less than three weeks before the opening of the Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Mr Putin reiterated that Russia would welcome all athletes and visitors, regardless of their sexuality.

"People have different sexual orientation. We will welcome all athletes and all guests of the Olympics," he said.

By way of example, he praised Sir Elton, who is openly gay, as "an outstanding person (and) outstanding musician".

"Millions of our people sincerely love him despite his orientation," Mr Putin said.

Gay rights activists have criticised the Russian strongman for a recent law banning the dissemination of so-called "gay propaganda" to minors.

Sir Elton himself spoke out against the law during a sold-out Moscow concert last month.

Can you feel the love?... Russian President Vladimir Putin says there are plenty of Russians who like Elton John "despite his orientation."

"I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the (homosexual) community here in Russia," he said.

"In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating. Harmony is what makes a happy family and a strong society."

The 66-year-old Briton has a long history of performances in Russia, beginning with a groundbreaking concert in 1979 that made him a household name in the then-Soviet Union.

He ignored calls to cancel his December concerts in the wake of the "gay propaganda" law, saying Russia's gays and lesbians would feel abandoned if big-name performers did not come for visits and offer them support.

Mr Putin said the law "does not offend anyone".

"People with non-traditional sexual orientation cannot feel like they are second-rate because they are in no way discriminated against: not professionally, not career-wise, not when it comes to recognition by society," he said.

'An outstanding person' ... Vladimir Putin says he is a fan of Sir Elton John.

The Russian strongman also downplayed planned no-shows at the Olympics by Western leaders including US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More
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