Monday, June 17, 2013

US Open 2013: Justin Rose wins first major at Merion

 Justin Rose

US Open, final leaderboard

  • +1: Rose (Eng)
  • +3: Mickelson (US), Day (Aus)
  • +5: Dufner (US), Els (SA), Horschel (US), Mahan (US)
  • +6: Donald (Eng), Stricker
  • Others: +9: Westwood (Eng)
  • +11: Laird (Sco), Harrington (Ire), Poulter (Eng)
  • +13 : Woods (US), Donaldson (Wal), Lawrie (Sco)
  • +14: McIlroy (NI)
  • +15: Garcia (Spa), Scott (Aus)
Justin Rose clinched his maiden major title to become the first Englishman for 43 years to win the US Open.
The 32-year-old won by two shots from now six-time runner-up Phil Mickelson and Jason Day on a gripping final day.
Rose, also the first Englishman to win a major since Nick Faldo in 1996, fired a level-par 70 to end one over as overnight leader Mickelson carded 74.
Australian Day took 71 as England's Luke Donald (75) collapsed to six over on the treacherous Merion course.

Rose, the world number five, looked up to the sky with tears in his eyes after he tapped in his final putt, and admitted later to thinking of his father and long-time mentor Ken, who died from leukaemia in 2002.
Mickelson, celebrating his 43rd birthday, needed to birdie the last to force an 18-hole play-off on Monday, but the four-time major champion could only make a bogey five.
"It wasn't lost on me that today was Father's Day," said Rose of his gesture when he was presented with the trophy on the 18th green.
"A lot of us come from great men and we have a responsibility to our children to show what a great man can be. 

"For it to all just work out for me, on such an emotional day, I couldn't help but look up to the heavens and think that my old dad Ken had something do do with it."
Rose, who was born in Johannesburg but brought up in Hampshire, burst onto the wider scene as a 17-year-old amateur when he finished in a tie for fourth in the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale.
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He went on to miss 21 consecutive cuts when he joined the paid ranks, before winning his first professional event in 2002. His biggest victory to date was the WGC Cadillac Championship last March.
Rose's previous best major finish was tied-third in the US PGA behind Rory McIlroy last year, while he has had six other top-10s in majors.
He becomes the third UK winner of the title in four years after Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (2011) and Graeme McDowell (2010).
The last Englishman to lift the US Open was Tony Jacklin, who won by seven shots at Hazeltine, Minnesota, in 1970. Five other Englishmen won the US Open pre-war, while a host of Scotsmen won early editions of the event.
Rose first hit the front at the eighth hole as the lead changed hands countless times on a tumultuous final day.
Mickelson was seemingly finished after two double bogeys in his first five holes, but the mercurial home favourite holed his second shot for an eagle at the 10th to regain top spot and reignite his challenge. 

Justin Rose

The pair duelled down the notorious final stretch - with Hunter Mahan also sharing the lead at one point - but Mickelson was unable to avenge his Ryder Cup singles defeat by Rose last year and clinch a first US Open title.
"For me, it's very heart-breaking," said Mickelson, who had previously finished second at the event in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2009. "This was my best chance on a golf course I really liked. I felt like this was as good an opportunity as you could ask for and to not do it hurts."
Former world number one Donald, who played alongside Rose, fell away early with three straight bogeys from the third and then a double bogey on the sixth.
Open champion Ernie Els (69) and Americans Jason Dufner (67), Hunter Mahan (75) and Billy Horschel (74) ended tied-fourth.
World number one Tiger Woods's challenge was already over before the final round and he ended 13 over after a 74, while second-ranked McIlroy took 76 for 14 over.
"I did a lot of things right. Unfortunately I did a few things wrong, as well," said Woods, chasing a 15th major title and first since 2008. "I struggled with the speed (of the greens) all week."

Monday, May 13, 2013

David Cameron to rush out law for EU vote

David Cameron to rush out law for EU vote

 David Cameron will propose laws tomorrow to guarantee that the public is assured an in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union before the end of 2017.

David Cameron to rush out law for EU vote

Mr Cameron will spend much of this week in the US

 The Conservatives will take the highly unusual step of publishing “draft legislation” which would write into law the pledge made by the Prime Minister earlier this year.
The draft Bill will be published amid growing pressure from Tory MPs and ministers for a referendum to be guaranteed in law.
The development, which emerged in Washington tonight, came after Barack Obama effectively backed Mr Cameron’s attempts to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU before ordering a referendum.
The president called for Mr Cameron to be given time to “fix” the EU, as he warned that Britain would lose influence if it ever left the single market.
The endorsement was hailed as a coup by Downing Street, 48 hours before a parliamentary vote called by Conservative MPs who are demanding that the referendum pledge is written into law.  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Venezuela MPs in punch-up over disputed election

Venezuela MPs in punch-up over disputed election

Several legislators were left bloodied and bruised, with both opposition and pro-government lawmakers accusing each other of starting the fight.
A measure was earlier passed denying MPs the right to speak until they recognised Nicolas Maduro as president.
Official results show he narrowly beat opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who has demanded a full recount.
The National Electoral Council (CNE) - which has rejected Mr Capriles' demand - on Monday said Mr Maduro had won by 1.49 percentage points, or fewer than 225,000 votes.
This came after the council had amended the final result, taking into account votes cast abroad.
In all, 99.79% of the votes have now been counted.
Earlier figures had shown a victory of 1.8 percentage points for Mr Maduro, who stood in the poll as the chosen successor of the late President Hugo Chavez. 
'Being silenced'

Opposition lawmaker Julio Borges with facial bruises after clashes. Photo: 30 April 2013 Julio Borges appeared on TV with facial bruises after the clashes
On Tuesday, the opposition said a number of its lawmakers were attacked and hurt in the parliament - the National Assembly.
One of the MPs, Julio Borges, later appeared on a local TV station with facial bruises.
"They can beat us, jail us, kill us, but we will not sell out our principles," Mr Borges was quoted as saying.
"These blows give us more strength."
The opposition said it was being "silenced" by National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello.
"I am going to ask you: Mr Deputy, do you recognise Nicolas Maduro?" Mr Cabello asked one of them. "If you say no, you don't get to speak in the assembly."
Pro-government representatives blamed the opposition for starting the clashes.
"Today again I had to defend [Hugo Chavez's] legacy," lawmaker Odalis Monzon was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Mr Capriles has demanded a vote-by-vote recount, but the CNE said it would be legally impossible to carry out.
It has, however, agreed to carry out a partial audit, which is expected to take until June. During the audit, 56% of the votes cast will be examined.
The CNE says the remaining 44% had been checked immediately after the election.
On Monday, Mr Capriles said Mr Maduro had "illegitimately stolen the presidency",
He has until 6 May to lodge his request with the Supreme Court contesting the election result.
Mr Capriles said he had "no doubt that this will end up before an international body".
Both Mr Capriles and Mr Maduro have urged their supporters to turn out for separate demonstrations on 1 May, sparking fears the two camps could clash.
Mr Maduro on Monday said he had changed the route of his march because he "did not want problems".
But the opposition says it continues to be targeted by the government, citing the arrest on Saturday of retired Gen Antonio Rivero as proof.
The opposition politician has been charged with criminal instigation and criminal association, after prosecutors blamed him for outbreaks of post-election violence.
Relatives of Gen Rivero says he is on a hunger strike in protest. 

Greeks stage 24-hour anti-austerity general strike

Greeks stage 24-hour anti-austerity general strike

The 24-hour action is expected to severely disrupt public services, including transport and hospitals.
The organisers are demanding an end to spending cuts and tax rises.
The government says the measures are badly needed to lead Greece out of a deep financial crisis and six straight years of recession.
The cabinet of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras says the policies are part of continuing moves to ensure more bailout money from international creditors.
Cautious optimism The 24-hour strike officially began at midnight on Tuesday to mark labour day. May 1 is technically not a public holiday in Greece this year, as that has been moved to next Tuesday - after Orthodox Easter.
The BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens says public transport will be disrupted, ferries halted and hospitals will work on skeleton staff.
But he says it remains to be seen how big Tuesday's rallies will be, as there have been far fewer strikes and protests this year, and there is a feeling the civil unrest is beginning to die down.
Nevertheless, demonstrations are planned across the country, with police on alert for a repeat of past violence.
The two largest unions - GSEE and ADEDY - have said that the action will focus on demands to end austerity.

Tokyo May Day rally, 1 May 

 May Day rallies are being held across the globe - including here in Tokyo
They say that government measures have led to the country's record unemployment rate of 27%, including almost 60% among young people.
Mr Samaras has defended his policies, insisting that this year of recession will be the country's last.
Our correspondent says that more than 20 general strikes have failed to halt the cuts, and the government feels emboldened by the cautious optimism of its international creditors.
Nearly 3bn euros (£2.5bn; $4bn) of bailout money were approved this week, with another 6bn euros set to come on 13 May.
Since 2010, the European Union and the IMF have promised more than 200bn euros in lending for Greece. Talk of exit from the eurozone has receded.
However, our correspondent says the optimism has not reached the streets, where the mood remains dire given the record unemployment levels.
Other May Day action has been taking place across in the world:
  • Protesters demanding the execution of factory bosses over the deaths of hundreds in a recent building collapse in Bangladesh marched in their thousands in the capital, Dhaka
  • Rallies have been called in more than 80 cities in Spain
  • Thousands of Filipinos marched in Manila demanding the government protect jobs and improve worker contracts
  • Cambodian workers rallied in Phnom Penh, calling for higher wages
  • Some 55,000 marched in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, protesting at low wages and outsourcing
  • Trade unions held demonstrations in Tokyo, with calls for more youth employment one of the main focuses

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cuban opposition group Ladies in White collect prize

Cuban opposition group Ladies in White collect prize

Several Ladies in White made the trip to Brussels to collect the award

Members of the Cuban opposition group Ladies in White have collected the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in Brussels.

They were awarded the prize by the European Parliament in 2005, but Cuba barred them from leaving the communist-run island to collect it.
The abolition of exit permits by the Cuban government in January made it possible for the women to travel.
They were given the prize for their campaign to free 75 jailed dissidents.
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded annually by the European Parliament to individuals or organisations who have dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom. It is named after the late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.
In 2012, it went to Iranian activists Jafar Panahi and Nasrin Sotoudeh.
As she accepted the award on behalf of the group, Lady in White Laura Labrada said they had never lost faith that one day they would be able to collect the prize.
"We are mothers, wives, daughters and sisters of Cubans who find themselves in prison in Cuba for exercising the most sacred human right: to live according to one's own conscience," she said.
Ms Labrada collected the prize on behalf of her mother, co-founder of the Ladies in White Laura Pollan, who died in 2011

She was joined by other Ladies in White at the ceremony.
"You are the symbol of resistance against the Cuban government, and thousands of Cubans support you inside and outside the country," said the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.
But in Havana, the Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister, Abelardo Moreno, suggested that other Cubans were more worthy of the award.
"I ask myself, would it not be worth giving prizes to the work of Cuban doctors in Haiti, for example?" he said.

'No change'
The Ladies in White was founded by the wives, sisters and friends of 75 jailed Cuban activists, who were rounded up and sentenced to long prison terms in 2003 as part of a crackdown on the opposition movement.
Dressed in white, the women march in silence in the Cuban capital, Havana, every Sunday, defying Cuba's ban on organised opposition and street demonstrations.
They are routinely detained and their protests broken up, but they say their protests have yielded results. All 75 prisoners they campaigned for have been released.
The Ladies continue their protest, now demanding that the convictions of the 75 be officially overturned.

Before travelling to Brussels to collect the prize, Ms Labrada told the BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Havana that they still suffered harassment at the hands of the Cuban police.
"The arrests continue. It's true the time in detention is less, but we're still repressed, still detained - and in big numbers. Just for thinking differently... This has not changed," she said.
The Cuban authorities say that the group is in the pay of the United States and forms part of Washington's "decades-old effort to undermine Cuba's socialist revolution".

Lloyds' branch sale to Co-op falls through.

   Lloyds' branch sale to Co-op falls through.

The planned sale of 632 UK bank branches by Lloyds Banking Group to the Co-op group has fallen through.

The Co-op blamed the continued economic downturn and tougher regulatory environment imposed on banks.
Lloyds said it will now seek to sell the branches as a stand-alone bank through a stock market listing.
It had been hoped that the Co-op's purchase of the branches would create a bigger competitor to the main high street banks.
Lloyds' chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said: "We are disappointed that the Co-operative Group is unable to complete this transaction."

The sales of the branches, known as Project Verde, was demanded by European regulators as the price for being bailed out by the UK government during the financial crisis.
The Lloyds statement said: "The Co-operative Group's board has decided that they can no longer proceed with a purchase of the Verde business given their view of the impact of the current economic environment, the worsened outlook for economic growth and the increasing regulatory requirements on the financial services sector in general."

During the summer the branches will be branded as TSB Bank, and the group will operate as a separate business within Lloyds ahead of a sale.
The Co-op's chief executive, Peter Marks, said: "After detailed and thorough consideration of all aspects of the Verde transaction, we have decided, at this time, that it is not in the best interests of our members to proceed with the transaction.

"Against the backdrop of the current economic environment, the worsened outlook for economic growth and the increasing regulatory requirements on the financial services sector in general, the Verde transaction would not currently deliver a suitable return for our members within a reasonable timeframe and with an acceptable level of risk."

The BBC's business editor, Robert Peston, said the Co-op's decision was a blow for the Treasury, which has been backing attempts to create powerful competitors to the UK's big high street banks. He said that the Co-op will now review the future of its banking business.

Challenger banks Lloyds, which is 39%-owned by the government, had a deadline of November 2013 to complete the sale in order to meet European Commission competition rules. But there have been reports over the past few months that the Co-op was going cool on the acquisition.
A flotation is unlikely to be possible until the second half of 2014, which would mean the UK government and Lloyds asking Brussels to extend its end-2013 deadline for the sale.
Co-op agreed in 2012 to buy the branches.
This involved the potential transfer of 4.6 million customers, including 3.5 million in England and Wales and the remainder in Scotland.

Customers in England and Wales had already received letters telling them of the move and giving them the option to stay with Lloyds. This information is still relevant, as customers of the branches being sold will still become customers of the new TSB Bank.
The aborted takeover would have created Britain's seventh-biggest bank with about 5% of personal current accounts and mortgage market and about 10% of the branch network.
A Treasury spokesman described the Co-op's move as "a commercial matter." However, he stressed that government remained committed to encouraging so-called "Challenger" banks to increase competition on the high street.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston blast victim identified as Chinese student

Boston blast victim identified as Chinese student

Mourning, resolve and quest for answers after deadly Boston Marathon bombs

A 29-year-old woman, remembered by her mother for her "heart of gold." A Boston University graduate student from China who'd gone to enjoy the marathon's finish with two classmates. An 8-year-old boy, cheering on runners with his family.
All of them, gone.
Their lives were snuffed out by twin blasts at the tail end of Monday's Boston Marathon. Thirteen others -- out of 183 hospitalized -- had limbs amputated, according to hospital officials. The question is: Why?
The victims: Promising lives lost in tragedy
More than a day later, authorities don't have an answer. Unlike after the September 11, 2001, attacks, no one claimed responsibility for this terrorist attack. No one had been identified as a suspect. The attack came out of nowhere, with no threat. Just horror.
As Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston office, put it Tuesday afternoon: "The range of suspects and motives remains wide open."
The two identical pressure-cooker bombs -- each with the capacity to hold six liters of liquid, according to a Boston law enforcement source -- blew up seconds and a short distance apart on Boston's Boylston Street. They contained BB-like pellets and nails, the FBI's DesLauriers said, causing even more damage.
Photos obtained by CNN, which were in a bulletin sent to federal law enforcement agencies, showed parts of a pressure cooker, a shredded black backpack and what appear to be metal pellets or ball bearings. Such evidence -- including a partial circuit board -- are headed to an FBI facility in Quantico, Virginia, where authorities will try to determine how the devices worked and cull out clues identifying the person or persons responsible.
More on the investigation into the bombings
Whatever investigators find, whenever they find it, it won't take away the pain. Scores who are not grieving loved ones are faced with a lengthy physical recovery. There's the psychological battle as well -- living with the memories of the deafening blasts, the carnage, the fear as they searched for loved ones.
Ron Brassard was one of them. One second, he was laughing and smiling. The next second, there was a roaring blast, originating from about 10 feet away, and he looked down to see a "puddle of blood." He later discovered a "chunk of the leg was just not there." His wife was hospitalized, too, and a friend lost both her legs.
Brassard told CNN's Anderson Cooper he is angry. But he's also not about to let this terror change him, any more than it already has.
"You can't let people control your life like that," Brassard said from his hospital bed. "You just can't."
The pressure wave from Monday's explosions in Boston's historic Copley Square whipped the once limp international flags straight out, as if they were caught in a hurricane.
Some runners said they thought the first blast was a celebratory cannon. By the second, there were no such illusions.
The scene on the ground was sheer horror. Blood and unconscious people were everywhere.
So, too, were people who went to help.
Boston heroes run to help
Some were spectators, like Carlos Arredondo. An affiliate of the Red Cross, he tended to a man who'd lost two of his limbs.
Dr. Natalie Stavas, a pediatric resident at Boston Children's Hospital, was near the home stretch of the race she was running with her father when she heard the blasts.
Despite having run 26 miles, she went over barriers and past policemen, until one stopped her. Stavas told CNN she told him she was a doctor and pleaded, "You have to let me help, you have to let me through."
She said she performed CPR on the first person she encountered. For the next two, she worked to halt their bleeding. Stavas stressed that there were hundreds of others doing whatever they could.
"It was horrific. It was the worst thing I've ever seen," Stavas said. "It was unbelievable."
Nails, metal beads found in patients
While authorities have given no indication they know who was behind the attack, they have offered details on the devices used.
DesLauriers, from the FBI, said the bombs were possibly placed in pressure cookers hidden inside a backpack or another black nylon bag. Another law enforcement official told CNN it was "likely but not certain" the bombs were on a timer, not set off remotely by a cell phone.
Experts see hallmarks of 'lone wolf' devices
Another federal law enforcement official said both bombs were small, and initial tests showed no C-4 or other high-grade explosive, suggesting the materials used in the attack were crude.
And deadly.
Those killed include 8-year-old Martin Richard, a resident of the city's Dorchester neighborhood whom babysitter Caitlin Doyle recalled as "just all-around a wonderful kid (with) a big, bright smile that no one could ever forget."
There was 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, who was "fun, outgoing (and) always there to help somebody," her grandmother Lillian Campbell said.
Lastly, there was the Boston University graduate student from China -- whom the school and Chinese consulate declined to identify by name. According to a LinkedIn profile, she graduated from a Chinese university with a degree in international economics and was set to earn her master's degree in mathematics and statistics in 2014 from B.U.
Others survived, thanks largely to the work of emergency personnel and volunteers on-site and scores of professionals in several world-class hospitals nearby.
Doctors removed more than a dozen nails from one patient, and three had been struck with metal beads slightly larger than BBs, said Dr. Ron Walls, the emergency medicine chairman at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Back in Copley Square, in the heart of Boston, investigators on Tuesday continued searching for any hint that might lead them to the perpetrator.
Authorities also pleaded for the public's help. Did they know of anyone who made a threat involving April 15 or the marathon? Did they hear explosions in a remote area, possibly as a test run? And did they spot anyone near the finish line dropping off what ended up being the two bombs?
Obama calls attack 'terror'
By 5 p.m. Tuesday, the FBI had gotten more than 2,000 tips, DesLauriers said. They'd also begun poring over scores of photos and videos from the scene.
"We are doing this methodically," he said, "... and with a sense of urgency."
At one point, 11 Boston-area hospitals had 23 people in critical condition and 40 listed as serious. There are still some fighting, with more surgeries planned. But there is progress. In fact, according to a CNN tally, at least 100 of the 183 people who received treatment were able to go home by Tuesday night.
How Boston and America recovers over the coming days, weeks and months remains to be seen.
As has happened before after such terror attacks, Tuesday saw authorities responding to alerts and threats -- in places like Dallas, Cleveland and New York -- that all proved to be unfounded.
Security in Los Angeles and New York has been stepped up in light of the Boston attack, and authorities in London are reviewing measures for that city's upcoming marathon.
Back in Massachusetts, one question is what becomes of the Boston Marathon -- the world's oldest annual marathon, dating to 1897, drawing more than 20,000 participants. Rather than shutting it down, officials promised to build the race back up.
"Next year's marathon will be even bigger and better," Gov. Deval Patrick.
That sense of defiance was echoed by Mayor Thomas Menino. Residents and visitors to the city might have to deal with more checks at transit stations and elsewhere. They might have to get used to seeing more authorities out and about. But they shouldn't change their attitudes, said the mayor.
"This tragedy is not going to stop Boston," Menino said. "We will not let terror take us over."