Friday, February 18, 2011

The level of drinking in Britain is among the 20 highest in the world, research suggests. 

The average Briton drinks more than 13 litres of pure alcohol a year, higher than the European average and equivalent to nearly 500 pints of beer, according to figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Beer accounts for 43 per cent of the alcohol drunk, with 30 per cent wine and 21 per cent spirits. The report also shows that deaths from liver cirrhosis have risen in recent years, and that one in 15 men in the country is an alcoholic.

It warns: “Alcohol consumption is the world’s third largest risk factor for disease and disability; in middle-income countries, it is the greatest risk.

“Alcohol is a causal factor in 60 types of diseases and injuries and a component cause in 200 others. Almost four per cent of all deaths worldwide are attributed to alcohol, greater than deaths caused by HIV/Aids, violence or tuberculosis. Alcohol is also associated with many serious social issues, including violence, child neglect and abuse, and absenteeism in the workplace.”

IBM's Watson, the newly crowned Jeopardy champ, is now fielding your toughest questions at

Have you got any questions for the IBM team that created Watson, the world's first computerized Jeopardy champion? Well, now's your chance. IBM's engineering team behind the Jeopardy super computer will be answering the ten most popular Watson-themed questions submitted to this thread at on Tuesday, February 22 at noon Eastern. The answers will be posted on Reddit's blog as well as Reddit's r/IAmA section.

What is Reddit?
Reddit is a community-driven social news/question-and-answer site where users can post news links or submit their own questions and comments to be answered by others. Similar to Digg, all posts can be commented on and users can also vote them up or down. In the case of the Watson questions, the more popular a post is, the more likely it is to get answered.

Robert Latimer, the Saskatchewan man sentenced to life in prison for the mercy killing of his severely disabled daughter in 1993, said he would do so again if he had to in his first interview since being released from prison.

In the CBC-Radio Canada interview, Latimer, who now lives in Victoria where he must abide by strict parole rules, slammed what he considered an "inflexible and malicious" justice system that showed "a real eagerness to do as much damage to me, especially, as they possibly could."

The mercy killing of his 12-year-old daughter, Tracy, vaulted Latimer to national prominence and launched a debate over euthanasia. Tracy suffered severe pain from cerebral palsy, and could not walk, talk or feed herself. Latimer decided to end her suffering by pumping exhaust from his truck into the cab, asphyxiating Tracy.

A man in his 20s has been arrested over dissident republican activity.

He was detained in a raid on a house in Barntown, Co Wexford after bomb making parts were discovered.

GardaĆ­ said the components could have used for improvised explosive devices, possibly pipe bombs.

The raid, by members of the Special Detective Unit and local officers in Wexford, took place at 8am.

The man is being held at Wexford Garda station under section 30 of the Offences against the State Act.

Florence Cassez

(Mexico) Cassez Florence is a pretty young woman, French, walking gracefully. Oui, c'est VRA But it is also scavenging, carrying weapons of organized delinciencia therefore bandit. It's true.

We find it difficult to explain how a girl of such good physical condition came from France to Mexico to their work of scavenging and more criminal activity than any country in the world are punished.

I can not silence her good looks is like a point of time, work for it, but after their activities, any sensible citizen rules: "To prison!" And that is what justice has decided to Mexico, where Florence made his misdeeds. He has been sentenced to 60 years in prison, their crimes are serious. Victims have to think and feel according to the decision, but given the game time, I tell myself that the same 50 which gives 60 to 70 years. Will freedom?

The curious thing about this case is that in France have taken it very seriously and want the authorities to move to France and serve his sentence there.

Do not argue the defense lawyers speeches or tricks to get away with it. That M. Sarkozy leave things alone and that authorities in Mexico not to shrink before the talk of the Gauls. Maybe if instead of being a pretty girl was an ugly man the situation would be different.

I imagine that within the prison, any prison, life must be very nice. Florence Gassez probably lived more comfortable with your partner, Ismael Cisneros Vallarta, head of the kidnap gang "The Zodiac."

(Portugal) The proposals which proposed limitations on the salaries of public managers were bolted to the Parliament by the PS and PSD.

The PSD justified voting against the argument that the projects "would only bring more trouble." According to Mr Miguel Frasquilho this "is a measure blind" if the objective is "to attract qualified managers who can improve the management of public enterprises."

Left Block, CDS-PP and PCP show this Friday in Parliament draft legislation to limit the amount of remuneration of public officials and create rules for greater transparency in the State enterprise sector.

The Left Bloc meant that the salaries of public managers did not exceed those of the President of the Republic, presidents of regional governments or chambers, as organizations responsible for their appointment.

This position was shared by the CDS, which proposed, in addition to the fixed ceiling on pay equivalent to the salary of the President, that "the awards are only possible when and if it meets very specific management objectives."

The PCP, which already in 2005 proposed in Parliament to limit restrictions of the salaries of public managers, intended to set the amount of salaries of public officials elected to the state capital companies with 90% of winning the President and the allowances to a maximum of 40% of salaries.
Several thousand mourners turned out in Bahrain on Friday to bury three of those killed in what the island's top Shi'ite cleric called a "massacre" ordered by the Sunni ruling family to crush protests inspired by Egypt. Four protesters were killed and 231 wounded when riot police drove activists from a makeshift camp in Pearl Square in Manama, the capital, on Thursday. Dozens were detained.

The unrest has placed the United States in a now-familiar dilemma, torn between its desire for stability in a longstanding Arab ally and a need to uphold its own principles about the right of people to demonstrate for democratic change.

Revered cleric Sheikh Issa Qassem denounced the police attack on the square and said the authorities had shut the door to dialogue, but stopped short of calling for street protests.

"The massacre was on purpose to kill and to hurt and not to clear any demonstration," he said.

People interrupted his Friday prayer sermon in the village of Diraz, shouting "The people want the fall of the regime."

Qassem, an influential but cautious figure who normally shuns politics, disappointed some in the audience of thousands who had hoped he would appeal for protests to be stepped up.

The mostly Shi'ite demonstrators had hoped to turn Pearl Square into a base like Cairo's Tahrir Square, fulcrum of the popular revolt that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Shi'ites form 70% of Bahraini nationals ruled by the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty, the US State Department estimates.

Several thousand Shi'ites joined funeral processions in the island village of Sitra, south of Manama, for three of the dead.

Police stayed away, although a helicopter circled overhead. On Tuesday, one protester was killed at the funeral of another.

ABIDJAN — Security forces loyal to Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo were posted Friday outside the shut headquarters of subsidiaries of French banks, a day after they were requisitioned by the regime.

France on Friday condemned Gbagbo for announcing that he was taking control of these banks and stated that the decision was null and void "since it comes from authorities that are not legitimate."

In the Plateau business district, about a dozen soldiers were watching over the entrances to the SGBCI, the Ivorian subsidiary of France's Societe Generale, which was closed for business. A police truck was stationed nearby.

In front of the headquarters of the BICICI, subsidiary of French group BNP Paribas, more than a dozen policemen and paramilitary gendarmes were posted on guard. The BICICI has been shut since Monday.

Ordinary citizens were going about their business as usual outside the SGBCI building, headquarters of the biggest bank in the country, after a run on banks this week that led Gbagbo to announce Thursday that he would take control of the two French affiliates.

"We condemn the announcement by Laurent Gbagbo of the nationalisation of a certain number of foreign banks, including the subsidiaries of BNP Paribas and the Societe Generale," French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said in Paris.

A waist of money

How's that new year diet coming along:? Have you given up yet, or perhaps like me you never quite got round to starting one? And while we're on the subject of lapsed resolutions, what about that well-intentioned plan to divert more money into your savings account? Not going too well either, I'd wager.

In fact, fewer of us are managing to save anything given stagnant wage growth and the dismal failure of UK financial institutions to offer interest rates anywhere approaching the latest inflation increases.

If this sounds all too familiar, then fear not: we may have found just the account for you. The only problem is you have to move to South Korea to open it.

According to the Reuters news agency, Seoul's Hana Bank has an account called S-Line – apparently a common local expression used to describe an hourglass figure. The principle is this: if a customer loses more than 5% of their weight within a year, or holds a gym membership, the bank grants special interest rates. So the more calories you burn, the better the return on your savings.

I'm not sure if this is ingenious or just plain terrifying, but fitness-conscious South Koreans have taken the concept to their hearts – both in terms of affection and cardiovascular health – with more than 50,000 customers having invested around £220m into the account since 2008.

Egypt said on Friday it had received a request from the Iranian planes were two warships to transit the Suez Canal, in a move described by Israeli Foreign Minister and right-wing as "provocative."

A spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, told Reuters that "the request is sent to the competent authorities", adding that the transfer request to the Ministry of Defence and the Suez Canal Authority.

He did not say when the decision will be made on this request. And you need the vessels crossing the Suez Canal to get a permit from the foreign and defense ministries.

The Iranian state television said on Thursday that the ships Stabran the Suez Canal. This will be the first time, reflect the Iranian warships channel since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

He said Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday that Iran's intention to pass the boats in the Suez Canal on their way to Syria was a "provocation."

The Channel One television that the state-funded that Lieberman is a partner of the religious right in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative coalition, speaking on his own without prior arrangement and that the Ministry of Defense, "they prefer to ignore" is the approach of the vessels.

In Iran's move to distract the attention of the interim government in Egypt, which has close links with the United States and took office since 11 February, when President Hosni Mubarak stepped down at the behest of popular protests.

The canal corridor is vital and strategic trade between Europe and the Middle East and Asia as it is a major source of revenue for the Egyptian government
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April rose nine cents to $102.68 a barrel
World oil prices paused on Friday at the end of a volatile week in which simmering tensions in the Middle East and North Africa sent the market to a two-year peak above $104 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April rose nine cents to $102.68 a barrel in early afternoon deals as traders also shrugged off news of fresh monetary tightening in China.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March, slipped 15 cents to $86.21.

"As anti-government protests have spread from Tunisia and Egypt to the streets of Bahrain, Yemen and OPEC member countries Algeria, Libya and Iran, concerns about geopolitical risk and the potential for supply disruptions have returned aggressively to the global oil market," said Deutsche Bank oil analyst Soozhana Choi.

"While disruptions have not been reported thus far, immediate market fears centre on the fact that these five countries -- Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria, Libya and Iran -- represent ten percent of global crude oil production," she added.

Financial markets were additionally worried by Iran's reported efforts to send naval ships into the Mediterranean.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Caroline Wozniacki has regained the No. 1 ranking from Kim Clijsters after beating Shahar Peer of Israel to reach the semifinals of the Dubai Championships on Friday.

The 20-year-old Dane only lost her top ranking Monday, but will reclaim it when the new rankings are released next week after seeing off Peer 6-2, 6-4.

Wozniacki wrote on her Twitter page: "Won my match against Shahar Peer 6-2 6-4, playing the semis tomorrow and got my number 1 ranking back :))"

That prompted a reply from Clijsters: "Congrats :-) ha ha."

Wozniacki first rose to the top in October, replacing the injured Serena Williams, but she has yet to reach a Grand Slam final. She lost to Li Na of China in the Australian Open semifinals in January.

However, she was among the most consistent players in 2010. She won the most tournaments and appears in good form in Dubai, easily beating an ailing Anna Chakvetadze and then dropping only one game in her third round match against Japanese qualifier Ayumi Morita.

Her win Friday ended another strong run from Peer, who two years ago was barred from playing in Dubai because of her nationality. She is still given extra security and isolated from the other players in a guarded compound.

Last year, Peer reached the semifinals - beating Wozniacki on the way. The No. 11-ranked Peer lost to Serena Williams in the semifinals.

This time, Wozniacki went up 3-0 in the first set and was never seriously challenged mostly due to the erratic play of the Israeli who had 34 unforced errors - more than twice that of the Dane. Wozniacki went up 4-0 in the second set, before Peer seemed to get her game going.

Peer reeled off two games to make it 4-2 and then closed the gap to 5-4 before Wozniacki completed the win with an overhead smash.
Kate Middleton's Fashion choices are in the spotlight since her engagement to Prince William. Now a famous dress from the University Middleton's years are the hottest item at an auction - a few weeks before the royal wedding.

The transparent dress modeled Middleton in 2002 at a charity fashion show at St. Andrews University, Scotland will go up for sale at Kerry Taylor Auctions in March. The knitted mesh slip was designed in 2000 by Charlotte Todd, who was a fashion and textile design student at the University of the West of England.

The piece was part of the Todd project entitled "The Art of Seduction."

"I like to call myself a royal matchmaker, Todd, 31, told The Associated Press. "It's definitely a show stopping dress. I would like to think I played my role in history and the history of fashion."

William reportedly 200 pounds (U.S. $ 317) paid for a front-row seat at the Charity Show, which was one of the first times he saw Middleton - then 20 years old.

The dress, which Todd said will cost about 30 pounds (U.S. $ 48) to make, was originally designed as a skirt. Middleton instead modeled as a strapless dress which revealed her black lacy lingerie.

Since 2002, Todd, who now works in an aquarium, the dress is kept hidden in a cupboard, not anticipating its importance.

"I would like to know what Kate thinks now and what the royal family thinks it, whether she was seeing those pictures," she said.
Apple Inc.chief executive Steve Jobs, on medical leave from the company he co-founded, attended a meeting of technology industry leaders with U.S. President Barack Obama in northern California on Thursday.

Jobs, a pancreatic cancer survivor, was joined by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google Inc Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and other members of the Silicon Valley elite for talks with Obama at a venture capitalist's sprawling estate outside San Francisco.

Jobs, 55, a high-tech visionary who has come to embody Apple's turbulent history and some of the industry's most cutting-edge products, stepped away from the company on medical leave last month. It was the third time in seven years that he has taken time out because of health reasons.

Obama's two-day West Coast visit was aimed at promoting technological innovation to help boost the struggling U.S. economy and reduce stubbornly high unemployment -- considered crucial to his 2012 re-election chances.

An annual celebration of the 1929 treaty that governs relations between Italy and the Vatican is taking an awkward turn, with Premier Silvio Berlusconi, engulfed in a prostitution scandal, due to mingle with the Vatican's No 2. official.

Berlusconi has come under criticism from the Catholic church as the scandal centering on his alleged encounters with a 17-year-old Moroccan girl have been unveiled. The 74-year-old leader was recently indicted on charges he paid for sex with the girl, and then abused his influence to cover it up.

Berlusconi denies the charges.

Berlusconi and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, will lead respective delegations at the ceremony Friday to mark the anniversary of the Lateran Pacts.
Federal authorities charged more than 100 doctors, nurses and physical therapists in nine cities with Medicare fraud Thursday, part of a massive nationwide bust that snared more suspects than any other in history.

More than 700 law enforcement agents fanned out to arrest dozens of people accused of illegally billing Medicare more than $225 million. The arrests are the latest in a string of major busts in the past two years as authorities have struggled to pare the fraud that's believed to cost the government between $60 billion and $90 billion each year. Stopping Medicare's budget from hemorrhaging that money will be key to paying for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder partnered in 2009 to allocate more money and manpower in fraud hot spots. Thursday's indictments were for suspects in Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, Chicago, Brooklyn, Tampa, Fla., and Baton Rouge, La.

They show that "health care fraud is not easy money," Holder said at a press conference in Washington.

A podiatrist performing partial toenail removals was among 21 indicted in Detroit. Dr. Errol Sherman is accused of billing Medicare about $700,000 for the costly and unnecessary procedures, which authorities said amounted to little more than toenail clippings. The podiatrist billed Medicare for 20 nail removals on three toes of one patient, according to the indictment. He charged Medicare about $110 for each procedure.

A message could not be left at Sherman's office Thursday.

Riot police fired shots in the air and used tear gas against thousands of government opponents who also clashed with supporters of Yemen's longtime ruler on what protest organizers billed as a nationwide "Friday of Rage." At least four people were wounded.

Riots also flared overnight in the southern port of Aden, the country's second-largest city, with police shooting to death one demonstrator after cars and a local government building were set ablaze, officials said. Tens of thousands rallied in the southern city of Taiz, a hotbed of dissent.

It was the eighth straight day of protests in Yemen inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Demonstrators in the Arab world's poorest country are calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh - a key U.S. ally in fighting al-Qaida terrorists - who has ruled the country for 32 years.

Organizers using social media sites Facebook and Twitter in summoning people to the streets for the "Friday of Rage" following noon prayer, and tens of thousands responded in the major cities of Sanaa, Taiz and Aden.

A preacher at the Sanaa University mosque spoke out against torture and beating of demonstrators, telling many protesters who had gathered there: "We have been living for 30 years without purpose or hope."

You've heard the old warning about waving red in front of a bull.

A department store is eagerly waving white in front of hundreds of amped-up brides-to-be. The result is the chaotic tradition known as the "Running of the Brides."

Members of the cast of the Broadway show "Mamma Mia!" will be on hand for the event Friday in Manhattan.

Some brides with team members. Women have been known to strip down to their underwear - as in the store - while punching of deeply discounted dresses at the Filene's Basement / Syms event.

Organisers say dresses originally priced up to $ 10,000 will go for $ 249 to $ 699.
A hospital in southern China says surgeons have successfully rusty, 4-inch knife removed from the skull of a man who claimed that the stabbing had continued in that for four years.

An official of Yuxi City People's Hospital in Yunnan province said Friday that Li Fuyan, a 30-year-old man had severe headache, bad breath and suffering breathing problems, but never knew the cause of his discomfort.

The official said Li doctors he was in the lower right jaw stung by a robber said four years ago and broke the knife in his head without him realizing.

Surgeons worked carefully to remove the badly corroded sheet without breaking, said the official who would only give his surname. The hospital site also reported the successful operation.
Ann Pettway is charged with one count of kidnapping
in the abduction of Carlina Renae White, now 23.
A woman suspected of snatching an infant from a New York hospital in 1987, has been indicted on federal kidnapping, according to court papers released Thursday.

Ann Pettway was charged with one count of kidnapping in the abduction of Carlina Renae White, now 23, who was reunited with her biological mother in January. According to court documents filed in the case last month, Pettway allowed to take the girl out of a Harlem hospital after suffering multiple miscarriages.

Pettway said the grand jury "knowingly" seized the baby, according to a copy of the indictment by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Pettway turned himself in last month at the FBI office in Bridgeport, Connecticut, FBI spokesman William Reiner said. She faces up to 20 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $ 250,000 if convicted.

White tracked down her birth family in early January, said she had a nagging feeling throughout her life she was raised by a family where they do not belong. Ernie Allen, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said White's suspicions grew after the woman who raised her was unable to produce her birth certificate.

White's mother, Joy White, told the New York Post last month that she last saw her daughter when she was 19 days old. They took her to a hospital Harlem on August 4, 1987, because the baby had a high fever, a New York police official said. Carlina was admitted to the hospital, and her mother went home to rest. When she returned, the baby was gone.

"That was a big part of my heart that was just torn," Carlina White's biological father, Carl Tyson, told the Post in relation to her disappearance.

Pettway is scheduled for a hearing on February 24.
For two days, the technology corner of the web is consumed by a story: Apple's new subscription rules for the IOS ecosystem - that is, the iPad and other devices from Apple.

Why? The rules seem easy to reach than magazines and newspapers apps, changing the way almost all the content flowing through Apple's App Store and apps. What was once free for app developers will no longer be free. And it has some wondering whether Apple is evil.

The easy answer is no, Apple is not evil. That is, unless the development of new models of industrial dislocation and a money trail of evil. If so, then Apple is the devil. It is very good at making money.

The essence is this: Apple has said it plans to offer app developers the ability to service its new subscription billing into their applications. In return, Apple has a 30 per cent of all sales in this way. It's the same percentage that Apple has cut the paid app sales.

Furthermore, Apple will only cut 30 percent of those subscriptions as subscribers to sign up for them in the app itself. When a user signs up for a subscription outside the app (via a different mechanism that a company can offer if they wish), Apple takes nothing.

Essentially, this is a bet by Apple, that his system is so good, users will choose to use it on an out-of-app experience of a company can offer. And that's a smart bet. Apple's system comes with direct access to over 100 million active accounts linked to credit cards. This system will provide one-click purchase of subscription services.

But here is where things get a bit hairy. Apple is also required companies to use its registration system to offer prices at or below subscription prices they offer anywhere else. And if those companies do not offer subscriptions anywhere else, they now have to offer in the app too - again, using Apple's system. A system that will give Apple a 30 percent cut.

A decision on a cross-party probe into massive telecom scandal in India who rattled the federal government could be taken as early as next week, an official said Friday.

India's opposition parties have been vociferously demanding the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set up a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) for a broader investigation into the alleged multi-billion dollar scam.

Several high-profile company executives interviewed by the federal police in connection with the alleged sales below cost of radio waves in 2008.

Researchers have also arrested A. Raja, who quit as minister when the scandal battered telecom Singh coalition government.

Politicians, bureaucrats and corporate officials in the probe have denied any wrongdoing.

Indian Parliament is due to meet for its main budget session from Monday. Opposition calls for a cross-party investigation into the awarding of the 2008 mobile phone licenses paralyzed from the previous meeting.

Conventionally, a joint parliamentary committee announced when parliament is in session, Parliamentary Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Sheyphali Sharan, said. . A decision on the opposition demand, therefore, is expected in two to three days, she explained.

Prime Minister Singh of India, considered the architect of economic reforms the country has come under intense attack by his critics for his handling of corruption in government.

"I'm not afraid to appear before a committee, including a JPC," Singh told a press conference on Wednesday as he sought to defend his administration against a barrage of accusations.

He insists violators will be punished.

According to the government audit, the Treasury lost up to 31 billion U.S. dollars from the 2008 sale of the second generation of wireless spectrum. The damning audit report came on the heels of allegations of massive fraud in the sports and real estate.

Researchers have been probing complaints of financial crime in the Commonwealth Games hosted by India in October last year.

And various politicians, military officers and bureaucrats are the subjects of a separate investigation for allegedly taking apartments meant for war widows.
Gov. Jerry Brown has found an unlikely new best friend in his efforts to work with Republicans and fix California's budget mess.

Brown and first lady Anne Gust Brown officially welcomed Sutter, a 7-year-old Welsh corgi, as the state's top dog this week. The stocky, sable-colored canine with a milky white belly and marble-shaped eyes has been accompanying California's first couple to work at the state Capitol every day.

The dog has emerged as the warm-and-fuzzy counterpoint to the often blunt demeanor of the veteran Democratic politician, and his scratch-me-on-the-belly playfulness has disarmed even the governor's most persistent political foes during the sometimes-testy discussions over how to close the state's $27 billion deficit.

"Sutter and I have developed a relationship," said Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton, one of the legislative leaders with whom Brown has to negotiate on the state budget. "I met him down at the governor's conference room. As we got to talking, I noticed there was a fur ball under my seat. He was very calm, laying there, sleeping. I think he was looking at me to be a protector of the taxpayer's dollars."

In announcing earlier this week that Sutter would become California's official first dog, Anne Gust Brown told reporters gathered on the steps of the Capitol that "he's going to herd the budget vote." The breed of dog is best known for its herding skills.

"He gives snuggles. He warms up the Republicans. As you see, Senator Dutton is very fond of him," she said.

Brown will take all the help he can get.

He needs some Republican votes in the state Assembly and Senate to put a five-year tax extension before California voters in a June special election. He also has called for about $12.5 billion spending cuts, a proposal that has produced resistance from Democrats.

A pan-Arab satellite channel has broadcast a purported message from an Italian woman who was abducted by suspected Islamic militants in Algeria's remote southern desert.

Satellite channel Al-Arabiya is broadcasting the short audio message of the woman speaking in French.

The speaker identifies herself as Maria Sandra Mariani and says, "I am the Italian woman who was abducted on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, near Djanet in Algeria."

The message broadcast Friday says she is being held by Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM. The group is active in the area and has often abducted foreign tourists.

The Italian Foreign Ministry is not commenting directly on the message and says it will continue keeping its efforts in the case secret.
A German prosecutor told The Associated Press he has a murder investigation against a key witness in the trial of John Demjanjuk opened.

The probe is based on evidence Nagorno Alex may have been involved in the massacre on the Nazis' Treblinka concentration camp in occupied Poland.

Prosecutor Hans-Joachim Lutz told the AP Friday Witnesses say 94-year-old Nagorno participated in mass executions of Jewish prisoners in 1941-1942. He tries to determine whether there is enough evidence for the charges.

Nagorno has testified in the Demjanjuk case, he served as a guard with Demjanjuk in the Flossenbuerg concentration camp in Bavaria.

He also told the court he knew nothing of Treblinka, testified he had heard the name, but "why, I do not know."
Police found an AK-47 rifle and ammunition in the house of a South African terror suspect accused of threatening the U.S. and Britain, prosecutors said during a bail hearing Friday.

At the hearing, Brian Roach's lawyers said he would plead guilty to attempted extortion, but not for terror charges. She also said the 64-year-old was not looking to bail.

Roach is accused of sending e-mails threatening to foot and mouth disease in the U.S. and Britain circulated unless the government paid him $ 4 million.

Prosecutors have said police have no evidence that Roach had found the means to his threats.

Roach, who owns an engineering firm outside Johannesburg, and has business interests in Zimbabwe, is accused of saying in emails that he wanted the money to compensate white Zimbabwean farmers for lost land, and accused U.S. and British governments not doing enough to help the farmers.

About 4,000 white farmers have been forced from their farms since 2000 in what the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe calls a campaign to get more land in the hands of the impoverished blacks. Many of the beneficiaries, though, are top politicians close to Mugabe.

South African researchers worked with American and British officials about the case and arrested Roach on February 12 after a seven month study.
Ugandans voted Friday in a presidential election that the term of the incumbent, who is in power 25 years could be extended.

A new term would become President Yoweri Museveni further five years.

This is the third consecutive time the opposition front-runner Kizza Besigye has run against the incumbent.

The candidate - a former doctor for Museveni - lost presidential bids in 2001 and 2006.

A total of eight presidential candidates, said Margaret Wokuri, a spokeswoman for the opposition Inter-party cooperation.

Besigye's party said it expected because, an accusation the government has dismissed as trying to undermine the vote.

"We plan to have our own tally and release it in 24 hours," said Wokuri. "We can not trust an electoral commission was appointed by the ruling party. We have our own control mechanism."

Museveni, the leader of the National Resistance Movement party led the country since he was a rebel group in line with the government overthrown in 1986.

He was once praised for stabilizing and Uganda to help combat the AIDS epidemic, but has faced mounting criticism over corruption and lack of political transition in the country.

Parliament removed presidential term limits in the East African country six years ago, which essentially established the office of unlimited duration.

Approximately 14 million people are registered to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he did not much like a new border tax proposed by the United States, calling it a cash grab designed to a budget crisis.
The U.S. government wants to slap a $ 5.50 inspection fee to Canadians in the country to travel by air or sea. Canadians crossing the U.S. land would not have to pay the fee.
"I think it is clear that the U.S. government is casting around for ways to generate revenue," Harper said Thursday. "I think this is not a convenient way to do that."
"We want to ensure that trade and travel between our countries is easier, not harder, and we do not need additional taxes on that kind of economic activity," he added.
In the House of Commons, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said the passenger fee was "just a draft idea."
Cannon noted that the measure was the 2012 U.S. budget recently revealed and that the 2011 budget is not over Congress.
Currently, visitors from Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean countries are exempt of "passenger inspection fees." It is an exemption of the countries have enjoyed since 1997.
The budget includes a new U.S. proposal to lift that exemption - a move that a proof of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates would bring in an additional 110 million U.S. dollars annually.
Income from fees would be used for U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection functions support, says the document.

Canada and the U.S. are currently in talks to set up a North American security perimeter. The proposed fee is a sticking point in negotiations should be. Aviation groups against
Several aviation industry groups also came out against the proposed fee.
"An extra tax on air passengers, the ability of Canadian carriers to compete with low-cost operations in the border airports fall ...," said Board of Canada National Airlines President George Petsikas.
"Indeed, the announcement of an additional cost advantage for the border region facilities should make clear the need for commercial aviation in Canada to reduce cost structure," Petsikas said in a statement.
A group of Canadian airports echoed those comments.
"We share the concern of our tourism partners who would drive an extra fee on Canadian travelers to take to their cars and to fly out of U.S. border airports," said Canadian Airports Council President Bill Restall.
There was no police in the area, but a helicopter hovered above keeping a watchful eye on the procession that stretched a half a mile down a road.

The crowd chanted praises to the people killed in the protests calling them martyrs and also leveled a strong message calling for death to Bahrain's ruling family.

Demonstrators also gathered in an area of the village of Karzakan for a funeral for another victim, about 7 miles west of the capital city Manama, witnesses said.

In total, six people have died since protesters took to the streets Monday demanding reform and the introduction of a constitutional monarchy in Bahrain.

The tiny but strategically critical island nation of Bahrain is an American ally and houses the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.

On Thursday, police stormed protesters gathered in Manama's Pearl Roundabout, a landmark circle in the city center.

Witnesses described a blunt show of force by police who fired pellets, rubber bullets and tear gas to force out protesters who had been rallying and, in some cases, camping out throughout the week. 

Emergency overnight loans from the European Central Bank remained exceptionally high for the second day running on Friday, reinforcing fears that a euro-zone banks could face serious problems with financing.

ECB figures showed banks borrowed over 16 billion euros in high cost of emergency overnight funding - the largest amount since June 2009. The amount compared to the 1.2 billion euro loan for the numbers spiked to more than 15 billion on Thursday.

The ECB gives no breakdown of the loans figures and declined to comment when asked to explain the sudden spike.

Traders were unsure whether the jump was due to a serious financial issue or a bank had an error earlier in the week by not borrowing enough regular weekly subscription of the ECB.

"One can assume that a bank or a group of banks that are not easy money on the open market to get a good rate," said one trader.

Anti-government protesters in Yemen called for more protests after the Friday noon prayers, possibly ushering in a second week of unrest in the Middle East nation.

It was unclear whether an appeal for calm by the country's most influential religious cleric, Sheikh Al-Zindani Abdulmajeed would be followed. On Thursday, he said religious clerics in the country were called for a government of national unity.

Of an official government source expressed his surprise at the attention of the turmoil was over the globe to generate a number of accusing the media of "false, misleading and biased information," the state-run Saba news agency reported Thursday.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that "at least four photo journalists were attacked, beaten and had their cameras confiscated" by pro-government supporters at the protests.

The developments come a day after a person was slain and more than two dozen injured in protests in Yemen, witnesses and an opposition legislator reported.

A 18-year-old protester died in Aden on Thursday when police fired to disperse demonstrators, said Aref al-Qubati, a participant who said the victim was a friend. It was the second fatality reported in the past two days in Aden, where the authorities cut off power to the Al-Mansoora area and fired in the air to break up the crowd of about 3,000.