Yahoo!, Microsoft near search deal: WSJ

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Yahoo! and Microsoft are close to forging a partnership on Internet search, and an agreement could be reached as early as Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The deal, which would unite the companies against Web search market leader Google, involves Yahoo! agreeing to use Microsoft's new Bing search engine on its own sites, the newspaper said.
The Journal, citing "people familiar with the matter," said the deal between the Internet portal and software giant, which has been under discussion for months, could be reached as soon as Wednesday "but could be delayed."
Under the agreement, Microsoft, which made a failed 47.5-billion-dollar takeover bid for Yahoo! last year, would have access to the volume of search queries that run through Yahoo!'s search engine, the newspaper said.
In exchange, Yahoo! would remain a force in search-advertising sales and would handle selling text ads that appear next to the search results for its sites and some Microsoft sites, it said.
The Journal said financial arrangements and other terms were not immediately available.
All Things Digital, a technology blog owned by the Journal, said the deal is "less sweeping than originally conceived" and does not involve upfront payments by Microsoft to Yahoo!
"This makes the deal much smaller than ones previously envisioned, which included Microsoft taking over both Yahoo!'s search and its text-based search advertising businesses, in exchange for large payments and guaranteed revenue," it said.
The limited scope of the partnership may have contributed to the tepid market response to the report. Yahoo!'s share price gained 1.51 percent to 17.48 dollars in after-hours electronic trading.
Yahoo! chief executive Carol Bartz refused a week ago in releasing the company's quarterly results to comment on talks with Microsoft but gave her stamp of approval to Bing, which has been generally well-received.
"I think Bing is actually a good product," Bartz said. "Microsoft deserves kudos for Bing."
Bartz replaced Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang as chief executive six months ago amid stockholder fury regarding the failed talks with Microsoft, which wanted to merge the companies' online search resources to better battle Google.
According to Comscore, Google has a 65 percent share of the lucrative search market, followed by Yahoo! with 19.6 percent and Microsoft with 8.4 percent.

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From A-Z Sport

Monday, July 27, 2009


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Sunderland sign Marseille captain



Sunderland have signed Marseille captain and Albania midfielder Lorik Cana on a four-year contract.
The 25-year-old is manager Steve Bruce's third new signing of the summer following the arrivals of Paulo Da Silva and Fraizer Campbell.
"I'm delighted to have brought Lorik to the club, especially given the number of clubs who had expressed an interest in signing him," said Bruce.
"He brings tremendous experience both at club level and internationally."
Cana, who turns 26 on Monday, has 31 caps for Albania and captained Marseille to second place in the French league last season.


"He is a great addition to our squad," added Bruce, who is believed to have spent about £5m on Cana.
"To captain a side of Marseille's stature says a lot about the player and his character, and I'm sure he'll go on to be a fantastic signing for Sunderland."
Cana joined Marseille from Paris St Germain in 2005.

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Austria Results

Sunday, 26 July 2009
SK Sturm Graz
3-0(HT 3-0)
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
SV Kapfenberg
3-2(HT 1-1)
Austria Karnten
SV Mattersburg
2-1(HT 0-0)
Rapid Vienna
Saturday, 25 July 2009
SV Ried
1-0(HT 0-0)
SV Red Bull Salzburg
Friday, 24 July 2009
LASK Linz
4-5(HT 4-3)
FK Austria Vienna
Sunday, 19 July 2009
SV Red Bull Salzburg
2-1(HT 0-1)
FK Austria Vienna
Saturday, 18 July 2009
LASK Linz
4-0(HT 4-0)
SV Mattersburg
SV Kapfenberg
0-1(HT 0-1)
SV Ried
Friday, 17 July 2009
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
3-1(HT 0-1)
Austria Karnten

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Europa League Fixtures

Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Bnei Yehuda v Pacos Ferreira, R3, 17:00
Thursday, 30 July 2009
AA Gent OFF Roma, R3, 19:00
APOP OFF Rapid Vienna, R3, 19:00
Bnei Yehuda OFF Pacos Ferreira, R3, 19:00
FK Sarajevo OFF Helsingborgs, R3, 19:00
Futbolo Klubas Vetra v Fulham, R3, 18:00
Metallurg Donetsk OFF Interblock Ljubljana, R3, 18:00
Thursday, 6 August 2009
Aberdeen OFF Sigma Olomouc, R3, 19:00
Fulham v Futbolo Klubas Vetra, R3, 20:00
Helsingborgs OFF FK Sarajevo, R3, 19:00
Interblock Ljubljana OFF Metallurg Donetsk, R3, 19:00
Omonia Nicosia OFF FC Vaslui, R3, 19:00
Rapid Vienna OFF APOP, R3, 19:00
Roma OFF AA Gent, R3, 19:00

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Thursday, 23 July 2009
AA Gent
1-0(agg 2-2)
Naftan Novopolotsk
AA Gent win on away goals rule
Bangor City
0-1(HT 0-1)(agg 0-3)
FC Honka
Puustinen (39)
Crvena Zvezda
4-0(agg 5-0)
Rudar Velenje
Derry City
Deery (57)
1-0(HT 0-0)(agg 2-1)
Skonto FC
Dinamo Tbilisi
3-1(agg 4-3)
Sporta Klubs Liepajas Metalurgs
FC Dacia Chisinau
0-1(agg 0-3)
MSK Zilina
FC Dinaburg
0-1(agg 0-5)
Bnei Yehuda
FC Flora Tallinn
1-4(agg 2-4)
Brondby
FC Iskra-Stal
0-3(agg 0-4)
Cherno More Varna
FC Lahti
2-0(agg 2-1)
Nogometno Drustvo HiT Gorica
FC Spartak Trnava
1-1(agg 1-2)
FK Sarajevo
FC Vaduz
Noll (24)Burgmeier (105)
2-0(HT 1-0)(agg 2-1)
Falkirk
Bookings:Burgmeier (27)Colocci (35)Stuckmann (41)Kempe (107)

Bookings:Barr (27)Scobbie (30)Finnigan (39)Flynn (63)
After Extra Time
FK Qarabag
Sadygov (45)
1-0(HT 1-0)(agg 1-0)
Rosenborg
Fram Reykjavik
0-2(agg 1-3)
Sigma Olomouc
Galatasaray
2-0(agg 3-1)
FC Tobol Kostanay
Gandzasar Kapan
0-2(HT 0-2)(agg 0-8)
NAC
Lurling (14)De Graaf (34)
Bookings:Khachatrian (21)Khanishvili (64)Sakhokia (76)

Bookings:Kwakman (55)Reuser (87)
Sent off:Khachatrian (90)

HJK Helsinki
1-3(agg 2-3)
Futbolo Klubas Vetra
Havnar Boltfelag Torshavn
1-4(agg 1-8)
Omonia Nicosia
Helsingborgs
Ekstrand (90)Sundin (101)
2-2(HT 0-2)(agg 4-3)
FC Zestafoni
Dvali (30)Gelashvili (32)
KSP Polonia Warsaw
4-0(agg 5-0)
Juvenes/Dogana
Kauno Futbolo Beisbolo Klubas
1-1(agg 1-1)
Sevojno
Sevojno win on away goals rule
Larissa
1-1(agg 1-3)
KR Reykjavik
MTZ-RIPO
1-2(agg 1-5)
Metallurg Donetsk
Maccabi Netanya
3-0(agg 3-0)
Sliema Wanderers

Motherwell
Murphy (16, 19, 34)Slane (25)Forbes (pen 28, 50)Hutchinson (37)McHugh (72)
8-1(HT 6-0)(agg 8-2)
Flamurtari
Roshi (64)
NK Slaven Koprivnica
8-2(agg 12-2)
FK Milano
Olimpi Rustavi
0-1(agg 0-4)
Legia Warsaw
Szalachowski (8)
Pacos Ferreira
Cristiano (84)
1-0(HT 0-0)(agg 1-0)
FC Zimbru Chisinau
Petrovac
3-1(agg 4-3)
Anorthosis Famagusta
Petrovac win 3-1 after extra time
Rabotnicki Kometal
Bobi (20)Filho (35, 79)Petkovski (86)
4-2(HT 2-0)(agg 5-3)
Crusaders
Owens (69)Donnelly (90)
Randers FC
1-1(agg 2-1)
Futbolo Klubas Suduva (Marijampole)
Rijeka
3-0(agg 3-1)
FC 03 Differdange
Santa Coloma
1-4(agg 1-7)
Basle
Almerares (88)
Siroki Brijeg
1-1(agg 2-3)
SK Sturm Graz
Slavija Sarajevo
3-1(agg 3-1)
AaB
Szombathelyi Haladas
0-0(HT 0-0)(agg 0-3)
Elfsborg
Tromso
4-1(HT 1-0)(agg 4-1)
Dinamo Minsk
Ujpesti
1-2(agg 1-4)
Steaua Bucuresti
Valletta
0-1(HT 0-0)(agg 1-2)
St Patricks
O'Brien (80)
Vllaznia Shkoder
0-3(agg 0-8)
Rapid Vienna
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Crusaders
Rainey (89)
1-1(HT 0-0)
Rabotnicki Kometal
Bozinovski (50)
Sliema Wanderers
0-0(HT 0-0)
Maccabi Netanya
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Birkirkara
0-0(HT 0-0)(agg 0-1)
NK Slaven Koprivnica
Bnei Yehuda
3-0(HT 1-0)(agg 4-0)
Simurg
Boltfelagid B36
0-2(HT 0-2)(agg 0-4)
Olimpi Rustavi
Dinamo Tirana
2-0(HT 1-0)(agg 3-4)
FC Lahti
FC Irtysh Pavlodar
2-1(HT 2-1)(agg 2-2)
Szombathelyi Haladas
FC Okzhetpes Kokshetau
0-2(HT 0-2)(agg 2-3)
FC Zimbru Chisinau
FC Zestafoni
Dvali (5, 39, 42)Gelashvili (44)Benashvili (86, 90)
6-0(HT 4-0)(agg 11-1)
Lisburn Distillery
Futbolo Klubas Vetra
3-0(HT 3-0)(agg 5-0)
CS Grevenmacher
Inter Baku
1-3(HT 1-2)(agg 2-5)
FC Spartak Trnava
KSP Polonia Warsaw
0-1(HT 0-0)(agg 2-1)
Buducnost Podgorica
Keflavik
2-2(HT 0-1)(agg 2-5)
Valletta
Linfield
0-3(HT 0-1)(agg 0-7)
Randers FC
Olsen (19)Lorentzen (51)Berg (78)
Llanelli
0-3(HT 0-2)(agg 1-3)
Motherwell
Sutton (8, 24)Murphy (72)
MTZ-RIPO
2-1(HT 0-0)(agg 3-2)
Sutjeska
Mika Ashtarak
1-1(HT 0-0)(agg 2-4)
Helsingborgs
Nomme Kalju
0-0(HT 0-0)(agg 1-2)
FC Dinaburg
Renova
1-1(HT 1-1)(agg 2-3)
Dinamo Minsk
Rosenborg
3-1(HT 1-1)(agg 6-1)
Nes Soknar Itrottarfelag
Rudar Velenje
3-1(HT 1-0)(agg 6-1)
Trans Narva
Siroki Brijeg
0-1(HT 0-0)(agg 2-1)
Banants Yerevan
The New Saints FC
Evans (12)
1-2(HT 1-1)(agg 2-4)
Fram Reykjavik
Ormarsson (17)Tillen (pen 66)
UN 97 Kaerjeng
1-2(HT 0-1)(agg 1-7)
Anorthosis Famagusta
Vllaznia Shkoder
Shtubina (43)
1-1(HT 1-0)(agg 3-2)
Sligo
Keane (85)
Thursday, 2 July 2009
Anorthosis Famagusta
5-0(HT 2-0)
UN 97 Kaerjeng
Banants Yerevan
0-2(HT 0-1)
Siroki Brijeg
Buducnost Podgorica
0-2(HT 0-0)
KSP Polonia Warsaw
CS Grevenmacher
0-2(HT 0-2)
Futbolo Klubas Vetra
Dinamo Minsk
2-1(HT 0-1)
Renova
FC Dinaburg
2-1(HT 0-0)
Nomme Kalju
FC Lahti
4-1(HT 2-1)
Dinamo Tirana
FC Spartak Trnava
2-1(HT 2-0)
Inter Baku
FC Zimbru Chisinau
1-2(HT 0-0)
FC Okzhetpes Kokshetau
Fram Reykjavik
Tillen (pen 33)Juliusson (48)
2-1(HT 1-1)
The New Saints FC
Evans (23)
Helsingborgs
3-1(HT 0-0)
Mika Ashtarak
Lisburn Distillery
Whelan (88)
1-5(HT 0-4)
FC Zestafoni
Gelashvili (12, 36)Grigalashvili (24, 39)Aptsiauri (54)
Motherwell
0-1(HT 0-1)
Llanelli
Jones (28)

Bookings:Jones (4)Griffiths (30)Howard (45+2)
NK Slaven Koprivnica
1-0(HT 1-0)
Birkirkara
Nes Soknar Itrottarfelag
0-3(HT 0-1)
Rosenborg
Olimpi Rustavi
2-0(HT 1-0)
Boltfelagid B36
Randers FC
Berg (36)Sane (47)Nygaard (81)Lorentzen (83)
4-0(HT 1-0)
Linfield
Simurg
0-1(HT 0-0)
Bnei Yehuda
Sligo
Cretaro (pen 88)
1-2(HT 0-0)
Vllaznia Shkoder
Smajlaj (69)Keane (og 75)
Sutjeska
1-1(HT 0-0)
MTZ-RIPO
Szombathelyi Haladas
1-0(HT 0-0)
FC Irtysh Pavlodar
Trans Narva
0-3(HT 0-1)
Rudar Velenje
Valletta
3-0(HT 1-0)
Keflavik
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Aston Villa
Gardner (27)
1-1(HT 1-1)(agg 5-2)
FH Hafnarfjordur
Bjornsson (30)
Bookings:Harewood (40)Delfouneso (72)

Bookings:Valgardsson (45)
Bellinzona
2-1(agg 4-4)
Dnipro
Besiktas
4-0(agg 6-1)
Siroki Brijeg
Brondby
2-0(agg 6-0)
FC Haka
Cherno More Varna
2-0(agg 3-1)
Maccabi Netanya
Crvena Zvezda
3-3(agg 5-5)
Apoel Nicosia
Apoel Nicosia win on away goals rule
Debreceni VSC
2-3(agg 3-7)
Young Boys
FC Midtjylland
Reid (pen)Poulsen (pen)
0-1(HT 0-0)(agg 1-1)
Man City
Califf (og 90)Evans (pen)Petrov (pen)Hamann (pen)Corluka (pen)
Bookings:Poulsen (94)

Bookings:Elano (52)Richards (76)
Man City win 4-2 on penalties
FC Moscow
2-0(agg 4-1)
Legia Warsaw
FC Vaslui
3-1(agg 5-1)
Sporta Klubs Liepajas Metalurgs
FK Austria Vienna
2-0
WIT Georgia Tbilisi
Grasshoppers
0-0(agg 0-6)
Lech Poznan
Gyor ETO FC
1-4(HT 0-2)(agg 2-6)
VfB Stuttgart
Hajduk Split
0-2(HT 0-1)(agg 0-2)
Deportivo La Coruna
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona
1-2(agg 1-2)
Litex Lovech
Hapoel Tel-Aviv
3-0(agg 3-0)
Vojvodina
Hertha Berlin
1-0(HT 1-0)(agg 3-0)
Interblock Ljubljana
Kalmar
4-0(HT 1-0)(agg 5-2)
AA Gent
Lillestrom
2-4(HT 1-2)(agg 3-7)
FC Copenhagen
MSK Zilina
2-1(agg 4-2)
Liberec
NK Slaven Koprivnica
2-0(agg 2-1)
Aris Salonika
Napoli
5-0(HT 1-0)(agg 8-0)
Vllaznia Shkoder
Omonia Nicosia
2-2(agg 3-2)
AEK Athens
Rennes
2-0(HT 1-0)(agg 3-2)
Stabaek
Rosenborg
5-0(HT 1-0)(agg 6-2)
Djurgardens
SK Sturm Graz
1-1(agg 2-2)
FC Zurich
FC Zuric win 4-2 on penalties
SV Red Bull Salzburg
0-1(HT 0-0)(agg 4-2)
Futbolo Klubas Suduva (Marijampole)
St Patricks
Gavin (86)Quigley (90)
2-1(HT 0-0)(agg 4-3)
Elfsborg
Ishizaki (63)
Viking Stavanger
1-2(HT 1-1)(agg 1-2)
FC Honka
Zrinjski Mostar
0-2(HT 0-0)(agg 0-3)
Braga
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
FC Nordsjaelland
Bernburg (90)
2-1(HT 0-1)(agg 4-2)
Queen of South
Harris (2)
Bookings:Pibebe (19)(55)Christensen (78)

Bookings:Adams (19)
Lokomotiv Sofia
1-1(agg 1-2)
Borac Cacak
Thursday, 14 August 2008
AA Gent
2-1(HT 0-0)
Kalmar
AEK Athens
0-1
Omonia Nicosia
Apoel Nicosia
2-2
Crvena Zvezda
Aris Salonika
1-0
NK Slaven Koprivnica
Borac Cacak
1-0
Lokomotiv Sofia
Braga
1-0
Zrinjski Mostar
Deportivo La Coruna
0-0(HT 0-0)
Hajduk Split
Djurgardens
Oremo (38)
2-1(HT 1-0)
Rosenborg
Dnipro
3-2
Bellinzona
Elfsborg
Ishizaki (pen 24)Karlsson (29)
2-2(HT 2-0)
St Patricks
Quigley (pen 57)Dempsey (82)
Bookings:Bajrami (31)

Bookings:Murphy (54)Harris (59)Guy (66)Ryan (78)Ryan (88)O'Cearuill (90)
FC Copenhagen
3-1(HT 1-0)
Lillestrom
FC Haka
0-4(HT 0-1)
Brondby
FC Honka
0-0
Viking Stavanger
FC Zurich
1-1
SK Sturm Graz
FH Hafnarfjordur
Gudmundsson (45+1)
1-4(HT 1-3)
Aston Villa
Barry (4)Young (6)Agbonlahor (38)Laursen (64)
Bookings:Nielsen (8)Sverrisson (81)

Bookings:Barry (55)
Futbolo Klubas Suduva (Marijampole)
1-4
SV Red Bull Salzburg
Interblock Ljubljana
0-2
Hertha Berlin
Lech Poznan
6-0
Grasshoppers
Legia Warsaw
1-2
FC Moscow
Liberec
1-2
MSK Zilina
Litex Lovech
0-0
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona
Maccabi Netanya
1-1
Cherno More Varna
Man City
0-1(HT 0-1)
FC Midtjylland
Olsen (15)
Bookings:Corluka (37)Ben-Haim (69)

Bookings:Florescu (36)Reid (57)Heinze (88)
Queen of South
O'Connor (28)
1-2(HT 1-2)
FC Nordsjaelland
Kebebe (2)Bernier (32)
Bookings:Reid (56)O'Connor (58)

Bookings:Fetai (51)Bernburg (78)
Siroki Brijeg
1-2
Besiktas
Sporta Klubs Liepajas Metalurgs
0-2
FC Vaslui
Stabaek
Kjolo (38)
2-1(HT 1-0)
Rennes
Sow (77)
VfB Stuttgart
2-1
Gyor ETO FC
Vllaznia Shkoder
0-3
Napoli
Vojvodina
0-0
Hapoel Tel-Aviv
Young Boys
4-1
Debreceni VSC
Thursday, 31 July 2008
Apoel Nicosia
1-0(agg 1-0)
Pelister Bitola
Banants Yerevan
0-3(agg 0-10)
SV Red Bull Salzburg
Obster (67)
Bellinzona
3-1(agg 4-1)
Ararat Yerevan
Birkirkara
0-3(agg 0-7)
Hajduk Split
Boltfelagid B36
0-2(HT 0-0)(agg 0-3)
Brondby
Borac Cacak
3-1
FC Dacia Chisinau
CS Grevenmacher
1-5(agg 3-8)
FH Hafnarfjordur
Debreceni VSC
1-0(agg 2-1)
FC Shakhtyor Karaganda
FC Copenhagen
7-0(HT 3-0)(agg 11-0)
Cliftonville
FC Flora Tallinn
2-2(agg 2-2)
Djurgardens
Djurgardens IF win on away goals rule
FC Haka
4-0(HT 2-0)(agg 6-2)
Cork
FC Midtjylland
4-0(HT 2-0)(agg 10-1)
Bangor City
FC Nistru Otaci
0-0(agg 1-8)
Hertha Berlin
FC Zestafoni
1-2
Gyor ETO FC
FK Austria Vienna
2-0(agg 2-1)
FC Tobol Kostanay
FK Milano
1-2(agg 1-4)
Omonia Nicosia
Gomel
1-4(agg 1-4)
Legia Warsaw
IA Akranes
2-1(agg 2-4)
FC Honka
Interblock Ljubljana
1-0
Zeta Golubovci
Juvenes/Dogana
0-2(agg 0-5)
Hapoel Tel-Aviv
Kalmar
7-1(agg 10-1)
Racing Luxembourg
Lech Poznan
4-1(agg 5-1)
FK Khazar Lenkoran
MSK Zilina
1-0(agg 3-2)
MTZ-RIPO
Man City
Petrov (48)Vassell (90+1)
2-0(HT 0-0)(agg 4-0)
EB Streymur
Bookings:Fernandes (37)

Bookings:Niclassen (43)
Mogren Budve
0-3
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona
NK Slaven Koprivnica
4-0(agg 8-0)
Marsaxlokk FC
Olimpik Baku
1-1(agg 1-2)
Vojvodina
Partizani Tirana
1-3(agg 1-3)
Siroki Brijeg
Sporta Klubs Liepajas Metalurgs
2-0(HT 1-0)(agg 3-1)
Glentoran
St Patricks
Harris (40)Quigley (pen 70)
2-0(HT 1-0)
JFK Olimps
The New Saints FC
0-1(HT 0-0)(agg 0-2)
Futbolo Klubas Suduva (Marijampole)
Lukjanovs (85)
UE Sant Julia
0-5(agg 0-9)
Cherno More Varna
Viking Stavanger
2-0(agg 2-1)
Futbolo Klubas Vetra
Vllaznia Shkoder
0-0(HT 0-0)
FC Koper
WIT Georgia Tbilisi
1-0(agg 3-2)
FC Spartak Trnava
Zrinjski Mostar
3-0(agg 5-1)
FC Vaduz
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
FC Nordsjaelland
5-0(HT 1-0)(agg 8-0)
TVMK Tallinn

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Ibrahimovic comes through medical







Zlatan Ibrahimovic has completed his medical with Barcelona, despite a fracture in his left hand.
The injury was found during tests on Monday as the Swedish striker edged closer to moving from Inter Milan in a deal worth £40m plus Samuel Eto'o.
Barcelona's club doctor said: "It's a fracture we have to study how to fix so he plays as soon as possible."
Meanwhile Eto'o passed his medical with Inter and was set to sign a five-year contract with the Italian champions.
Former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb is being offered to the Italian club on loan as part of the deal.
Cameroon striker Eto'o successfully concluded initial negotiations with Inter on Thursday and was followed by Ibrahimovic flying to the Catalan capital from the United States, where Inter are currently on tour.
The 27-year-old Ibrahimovic, who has spent the last three seasons at Inter after moving from Juventus, hurt his hand in a pre-season friendly against Chelsea in Los Angeles last week.
Club doctor Ricard Pruna told the Barcelona club website that the medical staff would meet on Monday to decide what treatment was necessary.
Ibrahimovic earlier told Barca TV that securing the move would make him the "happiest man in the world".
"I am a professional footballer, very relaxed," he said. "I like making other people happy. If they are happy then I am too," he added.
Ibrahimovic was the top scorer in Serie A last season while Eto'o was equally prolific as Barca clinched an unprecedented treble after landing the La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League crowns.
But with Eto'o, 28, only having one year left on his current deal, Barca were willing to sell.
606: DEBATE
Reports suggest the Cameroon international will earn about £9.6m a season and brings an end to his five-year stay at the Nou Camp.
"I made history at Barcelona, but that chapter is over," Eto'o said on the Inter Milan club website.
"At Inter I am starting a new chapter and starting from zero. I am happy with this new adventure and hope everything goes well. I won a lot at Barcelona and I hope to do so in these colours."
Although Hleb is also set to join Inter, the Belarus international earlier told Sport Bild magazine: "I have a contract with Barcelona and am currently preparing for the new season with the team.
"My aim is to make the breakthrough here and be successful with this club."
Hleb's agent has even denied being contacted about a switch to Inter.

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One Fan Gets His Big Break With Rock Band's Expansion

Fans of the music video game Rock Band were abuzz this month when its creators announced that they will throw open the doors to the online store where it sells downloadable tracks for the game. But where most players will be logging on to the service to spend their money, at least one local software programmer sees a business opportunity.
Starting this fall, Rock Band Network will let aspiring musicians upload their songs as tracks that others can buy and download. Think of it kind of like Apple's App Store, a relatively open marketplace where anybody with some programming skills is invited to design and sell their own software applications for the iPhone.
For all the world's great indie bands and unsigned talent, there's a small catch: not every would-be rock star who knows how to play a real Fender Strat will take the time to master the software to get that song onto the game.
And so, for either a flat fee or a cut of sales, Towson-based programmer J.C. Cirri and his start-up, Rhythm Authors, will take a band's song and convert it into a game level. After it passes a bit of beta testing, any Rock Band player with a Web-connected Xbox can download it and rock out. Tracks will be priced at $1, $2 or $3. For every buck, an artist gets 30 cents -- or about half that if they're splitting it with Cirri.
Cirri says that most of the bands he has talked to are mostly interested in the exposure that an appearance in Rock Band might bring them; for now, at least, some find the prospect of being in the game more exciting than the potential revenue.
"Album sales have gone through the roof for bands that have been featured in Rock Band and Guitar Hero," Cirri said. "I see it as a new distribution channel for the music industry."
He's not alone. MTV, which owns the game studio that develops Rock Band, says it has heard from music companies including EMI, Sony and Universal about getting into the business.
Paul DeGooyer, MTV's vice president of electronic games and music, said they opened the game's marketplace because of an overload of material.
"We have more music licensed than we can get to, we have a backlog over a year's worth of stuff," he said. "We thought it would be great to be able to get the unsigned artists we like into the game."
While it's too early to say how much of a business this could turn into, there's apparently no lack of demand for Rock Band music content. According to the company, people have bought 50 million downloads for the game from a pool of about 530 songs.
Cirri might just have the right set of skills to turn this into a viable business. The former computer science major founded a fan site in 2006 dedicated to Guitar Hero. Originally launched as a place where he and his friends could track their high scores, ScoreHero.com became a meeting place for Guitar Hero-obsessed hackers who figured out how to create levels for songs that weren't included on the game's disc.
Back in the days before Metallica had its own version of Guitar Hero, you could poke around online and find unauthorized files that let you rock out to a hacked game level with, say, "Master of Puppets." To avoid lawsuits, Cirri banned people who uploaded copyrighted audio to his site, though bright users could figure out how to put that in on their own. Some of the hackers who congregated at ScoreHero were talented enough to land game-industry jobs.

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MPs urge rail franchise reforms


The rail franchise system is "a muddle" which allows train companies to "take advantage" of passengers and needs reform, a report by MPs has warned.
The Commons transport committee said operators were making profits in good times but forcing the government to step in when revenues fall.
And they charged "unacceptable" fare rises of up to 11% above inflation.
The Association of Train Operating Companies said four-fifths of passengers bought discounted tickets.
The MPs pointed to the "high profile failure" of operators GNER and National Express as evidence of underlying problems.
They urged the government to run East Coast trains itself after the Edinburgh to London route was hit by dwindling passenger numbers.
State ownership
The government is set to take the National Express-run franchise into state ownership after ministers refused its requests for its contract to be renegotiated.
But National Express said it continued "to meet or exceed all of its franchise commitments" and had "made significant improvements in the performance of the service taking it from the bottom to the top of the long distance operators".
"It is recognised the challenges facing East Coast are purely financial as a result of the recession," a spokesman said.
The franchise mess is beyond reform and the only real solution is a return to public ownership of railways
Bob CrowRMT general secretary
The committee of MPs said nationalisation could be a way of comparing the performance of the public and private sectors.
They also raised concerns about ticket prices.
Passengers had to go to "extraordinary lengths" to get cheap fares and fares had risen out of all proportion to the rest of the economy, the committee said.
However, tighter rules will now tie all prices to inflation plus 1% - and should mean most fares are cheaper by next January.
The committee's Labour chairwoman Louise Ellman said: "The fare rises we saw this year were excessive.
"Companies cream off profits in good times, but leave passengers to pick up the bill when hard times hit."
Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has now closed a loophole which allowed train companies to increase prices of certain journeys if average fares remained within rules.
'High profile failure'
Anthony Smith, chief executive of rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus, welcomed the report.
"Passengers tell us in no uncertain terms that they find the fares and ticketing system confusing and unfair," he said.
"Passengers don't mind who runs the railway. What they care about is their ticket offering value for money, sufficient services and punctual trains."
Shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers said the report was "scathing about the way Labour has run the rail franchising system".
"The government has failed to tackle the problems on our railways, creating a franchise system which resorts to pricing passengers off the railway to deal with overcrowding," she said.
HAVE YOUR SAY
The system is run in a fragmented fashion by companies whose principal aim is profit
Penny W, Exeter
Send us your comments
Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT union, agreed.
"The franchise mess is beyond reform and the only real solution is a return to public ownership of railways," he said.
However, Peter White, professor of public transport systems at the University of Westminster, told the BBC having longer franchises for companies could have "substantial benefits".
"For example, they could invest in improved ticketing systems such as smartcards," he said.
"But the problem is that if you've made a long-term franchise commitment and the company runs into difficulty, you must have some means of curtailing that franchise over a shorter period."
There should be more sharing of risk and more sharing of profits
Norman Baker Lib Dem spokesman
Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker backed longer franchises which he said would "end the bureaucratic costs of changing operators every few years".
"In order to have longer franchises there has to be a robust system to take account of the ups and downs in the economy. The present system doesn't do that," he said.
"There should be more sharing of risk and more sharing of profits. We need a thorough review of the franchise system because at present it is creaking at the seams."
Lord Adonis said reforms to improve the rail franchising system were being considered - including longer franchises.
"When the rail franchising system was examined by the National Audit Office last year they found that it was delivering good value for money, and steadily improving services," he said.
"The government will consider the committee's report and respond fully in due course."

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US interest rates to 'remain low'

US interest rates are likely to remain "exceptionally low" for some time, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke has said.
Testifying before the House Financial Committee in his twice-yearly report on monetary policy, he defended the Fed's policies in fighting the recession.
He said low interest rates and a stimulus plan had buoyed the economy.
He sought to reassure markets that government intervention could be withdrawn in a "smooth and timely" way.
'Persuaded'
Economic conditions meant interest rates would be kept at exceptionally low levels for "an extended period", between 0% and 0.25%, said the chairman and underlined that the Fed's main focus was to foster "economic recovery", said Mr Bernanke.
As well as the Fed's policy of low interest rates and extending credit to banks, Congress approved a $787bn economic stimulus plan in February, aimed at saving or creating 3.5 million jobs and encouraging consumer spending and rebuilding infrastructure.
The plan included tax breaks and money for social programmes.
Although the recession in the rest of the world led to a steep drop in the demand for US exports, this drag on our economy appears to be waning
Ben Bernanke, chairman, US Federal Reserve
Analysis: Steve Schifferes on Bernanke's future
"It is important to assure the markets that the extraordinary policy measures we have taken in response to the financial crisis and the recession can be withdrawn in a smooth and timely manner as possible," said Mr Bernanke.
Barney Frank, the head of the committee highlighted concerns over inflation. "If people think there's going to be inflation, then that's inflationary."
He said Mr Bernanke had addressed such concerns, adding that he was "persuaded by the chairman and others that we are able, in an orderly way, to undo what we had to do so that there will not be that inflationary impact".
Analyst Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer at Johnson Illington Advisors, said Mr Bernanke's remarks showed that if the job market improved, the Fed would not hesitate in changing its policy.
The Fed is saying it has "the tools for preserving price stability, which effectively means that they have the tools to reduce the levels of liquidity in the financial system before inflation takes hold", said Mr Johnson.
Recovery
Mr Bernanke cited signs that the financial markets had improved, and so had the US economy.
"Although the recession in the rest of the world led to a steep drop in the demand for US exports, this drag on our economy appears to be waning," he said.
However, he cautioned that the unemployment rate remained high and job insecurity, coupled with a fall in home values and limited credit, meant gains in consumer spending would be restricted.
Looking ahead, Mr Bernanke said the central bank expected output to improve in slightly in the rest 2009, with 2010 seeing a gradual recovery.
Rudy Narvas, an analyst at 4Cast in New York, said: "[Mr Bernanke] is still pretty dovish on the economy. He still believes that slack is going to remain at least through 2011."
But he added: "He is saying that they can raise rates even though the unwinding of the balance sheet hasn't finished yet, which is kind of important, because it suggests to us that they could begin raising rates by as early as 2011."

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US manufacturing jobs go to China

In the small town of Cary, near Chicago, you can see American industry being dismantled in front of your eyes.
Doug Bartlett's factory used to make electronic circuit boards. But orders collapsed as the recession took hold.
The factory shut in March with the loss of 87 jobs. Now the wrecking crew is in and the factory is being gutted.
"It hurts," says Doug. "You hate to see the people laid off."
Doug is selling off all the usable machinery. He blames the death of his business on unfair competition from the Chinese, accusing them of artificially devaluing their currency to undercut American goods.
"You have to stop the Chinese from cheating," he says.
"We're not only watching the dismantling of my company, we're also watching the dismantling of the circuit board industry in the United States and the dismantling of American industrial might."
Countrywide situation
The gutting of this factory is not an isolated incident. It's being repeated across the United States.

Mr Bartlett said it hurt to make people redundant
In the past 18 months nearly two million American manufacturing jobs have been lost.
Doug Bartlett tried to anticipate the downturn by merging what was left of his business with a local rival, Midwest Printed Circuit Services, banding together for survival.
More than 20 of his former staff are now employed at Midwest, including Mike Fennelly, who spent nearly 30 years working for Doug.
"He actually told me on my 28th anniversary at Bartlett that they were closing down the shop and they were merging up here. That was a shock," says Mr Fennelly.
"It was actually going to close the doors."
But even with the combined strength of the two companies, orders for circuit boards are still running at half the level they were a year ago.
"It's a dire situation," says the president of Midwest, Joe Fehsenfeld. "I'd like to see our government utilise our trade laws that are actually on the books as an effective measure that allows us to compete fairly.

Joe Fehsenfeld says the situation is dire
"We're not looking to be unfair. We're looking to compete fairly."
As for Doug Bartlett, he's conducting the last rites for a business founded by his father in 1952.
He enjoyed the boom years. But now, competition from Asia, whether fair or not, is turning out the lights across a swathe of US manufacturing industry.

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Liverpool agrees bank debt deal

Liverpool Football Club - which owes two banks £350m - has renegotiated its debt with the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Club owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are believed to have extended the £290m RBS debt for another year, but agreed to pay back £60m.
Negotiations between RBS, Wachovia and the owners have been prolonged, with fears the banks may call in the loans.
Latest accounts show Kop Holdings, the parent company of the Anfield club, lost £42.6m in the year to August 2008.
Annual figures showed that interest payments accounted for £36.5m of those losses.
New players
The club has continued to spend on new players as it looks to try and win the top prizes in the game, with Portsmouth defender Glen Johnson joining in a £17.5m move.
But the owners have failed to find the money to build the club's new stadium, with preliminary work on the Stanley Park venture halting during last season.
In June, Mr Gillett agreed to sell one of his major assets - his 80% stake in the NHL's Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team - in a deal which would ease financial pressures at the Premier League club.
Meanwhile Mr Hicks has been reportedly looking to sell off elements of his own sporting empire - which includes Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers and the NHL's Dallas Stars.
Liverpool was put on the market last year with a reported asking price of about £500m, but no sale was finalised.

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Iced coffees 'a meal in a drink'

Some iced coffees being sold on the high street contain as many calories as a hot dinner, a cancer charity warns.
The chief offender had 561 calories, others contained more than 450, and the majority had in excess of 200.
It is the combination of sugar, full-fat milk and cream which appears to push some of the cool coffees into the upper echelons of the calorie scale.
The World Cancer Research Fund, which identified the drinks' calories, noted healthier versions were available.
The "venti" or largest version of Starbucks' Dark Berry Mocha Frappuccino, a limited offer for the summer, contains 561 calories - more than a quarter, WCRF notes, of a woman's daily calorie intake.

...you could have had one of these, and even a few fries
Take away the whipped cream and it has 457 calories. The smallest version, without whipped cream, provided 288.
But even some options with skimmed milk are high in calories. At Caffe Nero, the skimmed version of a Double Chocolate Frappe and a Mocha Frappe Latte contain 452 calories, WCRF said.
Costa Coffee's summer offerings are rather more modest but may still contain more calories than a chocolate bar. The Massimo Coffee Frescato contains 332 calories, while the primo-size, the smallest available, just under 200.
WCRF said it was highlighting calorie content, because after not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight "is the most important thing you can do to help prevent cancer".
In fact it suggests people should become as lean as possible without being underweight.
Earlier this year it estimated that 19,000 cancers a year in the UK could be prevented if people lost their excess weight.
Dr Rachel Thompson, Science Programme Manager for WCRF, said: "The fact that there is an iced coffee on the market with over a quarter of a woman's daily calorie allowance is alarming.
"This is the amount of calories you might expect to have in an evening meal, not in a drink.
"As a general rule, if you want to have a coffee, go for an unsweetened version with skimmed or semi skimmed milk as this is likely to contain fewer calories. It is also worth steering clear of ones that contain lots of cream or sugary fruit syrups as these tend to be higher in calories."
A spokesperson from Starbucks said its Dark Berry Mocha Frappuccino was only one "of over 87,000 beverage variations".
It noted these others included an ordinary coffee, containing four calories, an iced Americano, containing 11 calories, an iced caffe latte with skimmed milk, containing 68 calories "to more indulgent options on offer which our customers may choose from time to time".
In a statement, Costa said it took "the nutritional balance of all its food and drink very seriously.
"Currently we provide a nutritional breakdown for consumers on packaging. Full nutritional analysis of all our food and drink products is also available in all of our stores and on the Costa website.
"Costa seeks to provide customers with a choice of products across its drink and sandwich range, meeting all key health trends; allowing them to choose healthy options if they so wish."
Caffe Nero was not available for comment.

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Playful dolphin strands NZ woman

A New Zealand swimmer got into difficulty when a friendly dolphin stopped her returning to shore.
The woman had been swimming with the dolphin, called Moko, at Mahia Beach on the North Island. But the playful dolphin did not want the fun to end.
People at a nearby cafe eventually heard her cries for help, and rowed out to her rescue.
She was found, exhausted and extremely cold, clinging to a buoy. She said the dolphin had meant no harm.
The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, was wearing a wetsuit. But even that eventually failed to protect her from the winter cold.
Panic
She told the Gisborne Herald newspaper: "I went out by myself quite late, which probably was not the wisest thing to do.
"We were playing around for a while but then when I wanted to go back in, he just wanted to keep playing. I became exhausted and started to panic."

Moko took up residence at Mahia Beach, south of Gisborne, two years ago, and has become a major attraction.
During the summer, hundreds of people take to the water to play with him. But there are fewer people around in the winter, and residents believe he gets lonely and bored.
Moko, a three-year-old bottlenose dolphin, gained worldwide fame in March last year, when he was seen coming to the rescue of two pygmy sperm whales.
The whales - a mother and daughter - were exhausted and confused, unable to find their way past a sandbar. Moko was seen guiding them down a narrow channel to safety.
But scientists are concerned about Moko's welfare. In a recent study they found he had been scarred by boats and a fish hook.
They pointed out that of the 30 "lone" dolphins identified around the world, 14 had already been injured or had died as a result of their interaction with humans.

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Idol hopeful killed in accident


A former American Idol contestant has been killed in a hit-and-run car accident in New Jersey, officials say.
Alexis Cohen, 25, from Allentown, Pennsylvania, was made famous in 2008 after she directed an expletive-filled rant at the show's judges.
A spokesman from the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office said an autopsy indicated she had chest, head and abdominal injuries.
An investigation into the accident in Seaside Heights is under way.
Cohen, who lived with her mother and was studying to become a vet when she first auditioned, was seen by viewers describing herself as marching "to the beat of a different drummer".
She compared her voice to singers including Janis Joplin, Pat Benatar and Grace Slick, but the judges were left unimpressed by her performance of Jefferson Airplane's Somebody To Love.
"I don't think this is the route for you, sweetheart," Simon Cowell said before comparing her to the villainous Green Goblin from Spider-Man.
She later launched into a rant against Cowell saying, "Simon is a big fat bad word", before her swearing was bleeped out.
Clips of her outburst became a hit on file-sharing websites and she appeared on a number of US TV shows.
She returned to audition for American Idol in 2009 having had a makeover, but was still pronounced "horrendous" by Cowell.

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China-US economic talks to open


The first meeting of the Obama administration's US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue is due to get under way in Washington.
US President Barack Obama is to address the two-day meeting, to which China has sent Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councillor Dai Bingguo.
China is worried about the value of the US dollar.
It holds huge amounts of US debt - more than $800bn (£486bn) of US Treasury securities alone.
It fears President Obama's stimulus spending will stoke inflation in the United States, eroding the value of the dollar and making the US debt China holds worth a lot less.
Ties that bind
At these talks the US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be seeking to soothe those fears.
He has already tried to reassure the Chinese their assets will be protected.
But China is not convinced.
KEY ISSUES
Values of dollar and yuan
The US will press China to rely less on exports and more on domestic consumption
China will push for the US to make a priority of curbing inflation
Both sides will seek reassurances over accusations of trade protectionism
North Korea's nuclear programme
Climate change and clean energy
US manufacturers complain they cannot compete fairly with their Chinese competitors.
Some accuse Beijing of deliberately devaluing its currency to make its exports seem cheaper.
China is unlikely to concede any ground on this point. GDP growth might be picking up here but the country's exporters are still struggling.
China and the US are well aware they need each other.
Their economies are bound together tightly.
That does not mean they always agree when it comes to trade for example - far from it - but it does mean they accept the need to sort out problems in forums like this.
'Positive and productive'
Barack Obama and China's President Hu Jintao met on the sidelines of the G20 summit that was held in London in April.
This is the first meeting of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue group that the two leaders agreed to establish to tackle the global financial crisis and strengthen the world's financial systems.
As well as the economic talks, the meeting will address strategic subjects such as co-operation on nuclear issues concerning North Korea.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised China for being "positive and productive" in dealing with North Korea.
"We've been extremely gratified by their forward-leaning commitment to sanctions and the private messages that they have conveyed to the North Koreans," she told US TV network NBC.

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US urges Iran reply by September

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has urged Iran to respond to US diplomatic overtures by September.
His Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak indicated that military action remained an option on Iran, following talks between the two in Jerusalem.
Senior US officials are engaged in a drive to breathe new life into faltering regional peace moves.
US envoy George Mitchell met Egypt's Hosni Mubarak for talks and will meet the Palestinian president later.
He has already been in Syria, drumming up regional support for the new US initiative.
Both Mr Mitchell and Mr Gates - as well as two other senior US envoys - are meeting Israeli leaders as part of the bid to get the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has been stalled for six months, back on track.
US-Israeli relations have become strained since US President Barack Obama demanded a halt to all Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
Iran warned
Shortly after coming to office in January, Mr Obama made an overture to Iran, saying that if it and countries like it were "willing to unclench their fists, they will find an extended hand from us".
US OFFICIALS' WEEK OF DIPLOMACY
Special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell (to Syria, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Bahrain)
Defence Secretary Robert Gates (to Israel, Jordan)
National Security Adviser James Jones (to Israel)
Envoy to the Gulf states Dennis Ross (to Israel)
Profile: George Mitchell
Israel downplays settlement rift
But Israel says Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions remain its number-one concern and in recent weeks the US has expressed dismay about Iran's suppression of protests over disputed presidential elections.
On Monday, Mr Gates said the US offer to Iran was "not open-ended", and added that President Obama was hoping for a response, "perhaps by the time of the UN General Assembly" in September.
Mr Barak cautioned that "no option" had been removed in its handling of Iran - suggesting military force remained a possibility - though "priority should be given still to diplomacy and sanctions".
The two men struck a conciliatory tone, with Mr Gates speaking of a "good meeting" with Mr Barak, and reaffirming the "strong commitment" of the US to Israel's security.
Mr Barak said he was "extremely thankful for US support [on defence] - financial and technological".
Despite the apparent harmony, the two sides do not see exactly eye to eye on Iran, the BBC's Katya Adler in Jerusalem reported prior to the talks.
Robert Gates: "I reaffirmed the strong commitment of the US to the security of Israel""
Israel's government argues that until the perceived Iranian threat has been diminished there can be no Middle East peace. The Obama administration sympathises, but disagrees, our correspondent says.
On forging an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, Mr Gates said it would "not be quick or easy" but was the only way to provide both sides with "the safety and security they deserve" and was in the interests of all countries in the region.
Palestinian obstacles
As Mr Gates met his Israeli allies, Mr Mitchell was in Cairo meeting President Hosni Mubarak - a day earlier than initially scheduled, apparently at Mr Mubarak's request.
Their meeting now comes ahead of Mr Mitchell's meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Ramallah - and the Egyptians seemingly have plenty to discuss, reports the BBC's Christian Fraser in Cairo.
They are currently brokering reconciliation talks between the deeply divided Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas.
Despite several rounds of talks, the two Palestinian factions are still at odds on the most divisive issues, the shape of a future unity government, the remit of the joint security force and the system that would be implemented for any upcoming elections.
Palestinian leaders have also refused to meet their Israeli counterparts until settlement activity ceases.
All settlements are illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. Israel has settled more than 450,000 Jews in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
'Candid' talks
As well as Mr Abbas, Mr Mitchell was due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.
In Damascus on Sunday, Mr Mitchell met Syrian President Bashar Assad for what he called "very candid and positive" discussions on restarting long-stalled peace talks between Syria and Israel.
He said President Obama was determined to reach a comprehensive peace between Israel and all its Arab neighbours in order to guarantee "stability, security and prosperity".
Other senior US officials - National Security Adviser James Jones and the US envoy to the Gulf states, Dennis Ross - are also due to visit the region this week.
Mr Gates will follow his Israeli talks with a trip to Jordan for discussions with King Abdullah.

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Nigerian Islamist attacks spread


Islamist militants have staged three co-ordinated attacks in northern Nigeria leaving dozens dead, meaning about 150 have been killed in two days.
A BBC reporter has counted 100 bodies, mostly of militants, near the police headquarters in Maiduguri, Borno State, where hundreds are fleeing their homes.
Witnesses told the BBC a gun battle raged for hours in Potiskum, Yobe State and a police station was set on fire.
Some of the militants follow a preacher who campaigns against Western schools.
ANALYSIS

By Caroline Duffield, BBC News, Nigeria
Tensions are never far from the surface in northern Nigeria. Poverty and competition for scarce resources, along with ethnic, cultural and religious differences have all fuelled sudden violence.
But the latest violence is not between communities, it involves young men from religious groups, arming themselves and attacking local police.
Fringe religious groups in Nigeria have claimed links to the Taliban before - individuals have also been accused of links to al-Qaeda. But Nigeria is very different to countries like Mali or Algeria, where groups such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb operate.
The idea of radical Islamist militants gaining a serious foothold in Nigeria is usually dismissed, because of the strength of local identities and traditions.
Islamists behind Nigerian unrest
The preacher, Mohammed Yusuf, says Western education is against Islamic teaching.
There has also been an attack in Wudil, some 20km (12 miles) from Kano, the largest city in northern Nigeria.
A curfew is in force in Bauchi, the scene of Sunday's violence.
Sharia law is in place across northern Nigeria, but there is no history of al-Qaeda-linked violence in the country.
Nigeria's 150 million people are split almost equally between Muslims and Christians and the two groups generally live peacefully side by side, despite occasional outbreaks of communal violence.
Militants chanting "God is great" attacked the Potiskum police station at about 0215 local time (0115 GMT) - the same time as the raid was launched in Maiduguri.
The police station and neighbouring buildings in Potiskum have been razed to the ground, eyewitnesses say.
There are unconfirmed reports of more deaths in Maiduguri, as well as a jailbreak in the town.
Fringe group
In Wudil, three people have been killed and more than 33 arrested. The senior police officer in Wudil has been wounded.

The police many arrested after Sunday's violence in Bauchi
Security is said to have been beefed up in Plateau State, to the south of Bauchi, where hundreds were killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians last year.
The security forces have confirmed Monday's attacks but have not released any casualty figures.

Medical sources have told the BBC that two police officers have been taken to hospital in Potiskum.
Mr Yusuf's followers in Bauchi are known as Boko Haram, which means "Education is prohibited".
They attacked a police station on Sunday after some of their leaders were arrested.
Correspondents say the group is seen locally as a fringe group and has aroused suspicion for its recruitment of young men, and its belief that Western education, Western culture and science are sinful.

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Today's Headlines&coloumnists

TODAY'S HIGHLIGHTS Pelosi Vows Passage of Health-Care Overhaul Defying skeptics in her party, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Sunday to overcome lingering obstacles and pass health-care reform in the House, restoring momentum to President Obama's top domestic priority and order to her own unruly Democratic caucus. (By Shailagh Murray and Paul Kane, The Washington Post)
Murray and Paul Kane, The Washington Post) Infectious Diseases Study Site Questioned Tornado Alley May Not Be Safe, GAO Says (By Carol D. Leonnig, The Washington Post) Worries About A Kurdish-Arab Conflict Move To Fore in Iraq (By Anthony Shadid, The Washington Post) In Gubernatorial Race, It's About Who's More Pro-Gun Background Check Loophole Puts Fine Point on Policies
Pelosi Vows Passage of Health-Care Overhaul

Defying skeptics in her party, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Sunday to overcome lingering obstacles and pass health-care reform in the House, restoring momentum to President Obama's top domestic priority and order to her own unruly Democratic caucus.
"When I take this bill to the floor, it will win," Pelosi (Calif.) said on CNN's "State of the Union." "This will happen."
The speaker, who has struggled to overcome a series of recent setbacks, raised the stakes by planning to restart talks Monday among bickering Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee, one of three House panels with jurisdiction over health care and where the bill stalled last week. Democratic leaders are newly confident that these differences can be resolved, possibly in time to bring a House bill to the floor before lawmakers depart Friday for the August recess, although Pelosi did not commit to a timetable.
The chaos underscores the difficulty of transforming a major sector of the U.S. economy in a single piece of legislation, and also the perils of rushing Obama's first-term priorities through Congress before concerns about the 2010 midterm elections take hold. "What we don't want is for the process to bog down here," senior White House adviser David Axelrod said on the same CNN program. "We want to keep moving forward, and I believe we will."
Although the Senate will not vote on its plan until after Labor Day, a Senate Finance Committee deal this week would reassure several dozen anxious House Democrats who are wary of the more liberal course their leaders have taken on health care. Feeling burned by a tough vote on climate-change legislation that is languishing in the Senate, these House Democrats sparked an uprising last week that Pelosi is struggling to contain.
A health-care victory in the House this week would be a stirring moment for Obama and allow more breathing room for the Senate, where finance negotiators are trying to write a bipartisan bill that must be melded with a separate health committee version. A defeat would be a devastating setback for Obama and Pelosi. Regardless of the outcome, rank-and-file Democrats are bracing for an intense August at home as their constituents are hit with a wave of advertising from business groups opposed to the legislation and liberal interest groups supporting it.
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"I think the people are shellshocked," said Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.), linking the recent passage of the $700 billion financial bailout, the $787 billion economic recovery package, climate change and other major bills approved this year. "So much is happening so quickly that what is happening is people are blending it all together," said Arcuri, who was elected in 2006.
Most troubling in the short term is how few in the caucus of 256 House Democrats understand the emerging 1,000-page bill. Leaders organized a five-hour seminar for Monday to brief lawmakers. "The bill is so complex," said Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), a co-author. When staff members agreed to hold the session, Rangel said, "response was overwhelming."
The House and Senate are working on proposals that would expand coverage to up to 50 million people over the next 10 years, at a cost of about $1 trillion. Obama has insisted that the legislation be deficit-neutral and that it begin to "bend the curve" of skyrocketing health-care costs. To that end, Congress is seeking to cut up to $500 billion out of Medicare and Medicaid while improving their efficiency. The remainder would be covered by tax increases.
But as they forge ahead, some lawmakers -- particularly the roughly 80 House Democrats elected in the past three years -- are suffering from political fatigue. By the time the three House committees took up health care a month ago, the chamber had already logged nearly 600 votes and approved at least 40 major bills. It also had just survived a bruising debate over creating a cap-and-trade system to curtail climate change, which produced a 219 to 212 victory for Pelosi.
The climate-change win was initially cast as a major Pelosi victory, because of her investment in securing the necessary votes.
Now, however, a significant bloc of Democrats is balking at moving to the health-care debate so soon after a vote that many freshman and sophomore lawmakers consider the most controversial they have cast. Some even fear that the climate-change vote has put health-care reform, a far greater priority for many Democrats, in grave danger.

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Welcome to Green-Tea.com!


Many Chinese and Japanese people have been drinking green tea for centuries for all the positive aspects that it brings to your health.
This has spread to people worldwide and it is now the second most popular beverage in the world.
Green tea is said to have many health benefits, including lowering your cholesterol, boosting your immune system and helping to prevent cavities and tooth decay.
Recent Blogs
Discussions of food normally were focussed on its nutritional conten and its flavor. Recently, however, more attention is being paid to the role of food in bio-regulating functions. Foods that possess this regulatory function are called "functional food." Dr. Inaba(#20) classifies food by function. If we classify green tea and green tea catechin according to this table, they possess the following functions : (1) bio-defensing function by preventing cancer through fortification of the immune system, (2) disease-preventing function by preventing high blood pressure or diabetes, (3) disease-recovery function by inhibiting the rise of cholesterol, (4) physical rhythm-controlling function by stimulating the central nervous system with caffeine and (5) aging-suppressing function by roviding the body with antioxidants.

Dr. Okada(#17) has noted the fact that tobacco growers use an exudat of green tea to prevent crop damage by the tobacco mosaic virus an verified that green tea catechin suppresses the growth of this virus. I addition, Prof. Shimamura(#18) has determined that green tea catechin and theaflavin (an oxidized form of catechin) present in black tea have a stron effect on the influenza virus. Green tea catechin and black tea theaflavi directly act on the influenza virus and inactivate it. It appears, therefore, that gargling with green or black tea is very effective in preventing influenza. This effect is increased by keeping the green tea catechin and the virus in contact as long as possible.

Dental techniques have improved greatly in the past few years, but once teeth have been damaged by cavities they can never be restored to their original condition. It is of the highest priority, therefore, to prevent cavities from developing in the first place. By the end of the 19th century, it had been determined that cartes are caused by cariogenic bacteria. The cariogenic bacteria first produce non-watersoluble glucan from sugar or other foods, and this glucan adheres to the tooth enamel as hard plaque. Next, they feed on sugar to generate acids such as lactic acid in the plaque. These acids then dissolve the tooth enamel. That in brief is the mechanism of cavity production.

Green tea deters food poisoning It has long been known from experience that green tea has the ability to kill bacteria. Consumption of strong green tea, for example, is often recommended as a good treatment for diarrhea.Dr. Hara(#13) has shown in his research that catechin is a powerful sterilizing agent for many types of bacteria that cause food poisoning.

Tea contains caffeine which, when taken in the proper quantity, simulates every organ in the body. It has a particularly strong effect on the central nervous system, heart and liver. This reaction is even more pronounced when one is sleepy or tired. A cup of tea or coffee will help clear a dull mind after rising in the morning or after a prolonged period without sleep. The power to stimulate and awaken the mind comes from caffeine. It is also said that the amount of caffeine contained in normal servings of green tea can stimulate the skeletal muscles and facilitate muscular contraction. For this reason, it is quite helpful to drink tea or coffee in the middle of work to refresh the mind and restore the body.

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Orphan

Devastated by the loss of their unborn baby, Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) decide to adopt a child. At the orphanage, both feel drawn to a little girl (Isabelle Fuhrman) named Esther, and soon the couple take their new daughter home. But when a dangerous series of events unfolds, Kate begins to suspect that there is something evil lurking behind the child's angelic exterior.

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Beckham clashes with another fan


England midfielder David Beckham was involved in another confrontation with a fan during Los Angeles Galaxy's match on Saturday.
Beckham, 34, exchanged words with a man in an England shirt during the Galaxy's 1-1 draw with the Kansas City Wizards.
Beckham, who was fined following a clash with a fan last week, claimed the spectator insulted his wife Victoria.
"He shouldn't actually be wearing that shirt because what he was saying about my wife was a disgrace," he said.
The former England captain was fined $1,000 (£600) by Major League Soccer last Friday following a confrontation with fans during a recent friendly against AC Milan.
Beckham, who missed part of the Major League Soccer season earlier this year when he joined the Italian giants on loan, was booed by a section of the home crowd during the game.
At half-time, he approached one group of fans and appeared to challenge them to meet him on the pitch.
Security staff intervened, and police arrested a fan who left the stands.
Beckham joined Milan on loan because he was keen to satisfy England boss Fabio Capello's demand that he play at the highest level to remain in contention for international selection.
He is England's most capped outfield player, with 112 appearances, and is keen to play on until the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

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Senators praise Obama pick to be US envoy to China

Sunday, July 26, 2009




WASHINGTON: Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said Thursday he would work with the Chinese government to shore up the global economy and to persuade the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to abandon its nuclear weapons effort if he is confirmed as ambassador to China.
  
US President Barack Obama chats with Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, whom he nominated as the next US ambassador to China, at the White House in May. [Agencies]
Huntsman also promised the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to pursue human rights issues and to encourage China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He said he was encouraged by the recent relaxation in tensions between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.
Huntsman indicated he intends to emphasis the opportunities for trade in emissions control and renewable energy technologies in his talks with Chinese officials on global warming.
"I know what a market opportunity this is going to be for us," Huntsman said.
He noted the US and China together account for nearly half the world's greenhouse gas emissions. If the two countries cannot tackle the problem, "no one is going to do it for us," he said.
Senators were so lavish in their praise for Huntsman that the nominee quipped he hopes he does as well at his funeral.
Committee chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., said the nomination of Huntsman -- a Republican -- by President Barack Obama honors the best tradition of bipartisanship in foreign policy.
Huntsman is considered a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012. He is a former ambassador to Singapore, has led trade missions to China and has two adopted daughters, one from China and one from India.
After the hearing, Huntsman was mobbed by Chinese news media. He answered their questions in Mandarin. When a Utah reporter asked him what he had said, he replied: "I told them Utah was the best state in the United States."

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Alberto Contador wins Tour de France again



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PARIS (AP)—Alberto Contador won the Tour de France for a second time Wednesday, and Lance Armstrong capped his return to the race with an impressive third-place finish.
Mark Cavendish of Britain collected his sixth stage win of this year’s Tour in a sprint after the 101.9-mile course ride from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to the Champs-Elysees.
Over nearly 3,500 kilometers and 21 stages of races over three weeks, Contador repelled many challenges in the mountains, excelled in the two time-trials—winning a pivotal race against the clock in the 18th stage—and won the first Alpine stage.
Contador, the 2007 champion, also had to battle a rearguard action within his Astana team, where the comeback of Armstrong to the Tour after 3 1/2 years of retirement raised questions about who would be the team leader.
Contador began the Tour on July 4 as the pre-race favorite. At only 26 years old, the Spaniard is already one of cycling’s greats, having won all three Grand Tours of France, Italy and Spain.
He had to sit out last year because of a doping scandal at Astana that erupted before he joined.
Armstrong, the 37-year-old seven-time Tour champion, is the second-oldest rider to reach the Tour podium. Raymond Poulidor of France was 40 when he placed third in 1976.
Cavendish set his own record by becoming the first rider to win six Tour stages in a sprint. But Thor Hushovd of Norway beat the 24-year-old Briton for the green jersey given to the Tour’s best Tour sprinter.
“It’s amazing. I’m so happy to be here,” Cavendish said. “Six stage victories on the Tour—all my dreams have come true.”

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Whale wedged on cruise ship bow

A rare whale was discovered wedged on to the bow of a cruise ship when it docked in a Canadian port.
The 70ft fin whale, a threatened species in Canada, was found when the Sapphire Princess docked at the Port of Vancouver, the cruise company said.
It said it had "strict whale avoidance" measures and it was unclear where, when or how the whale became stuck.
Tourists looked on as the dead whale was examined by fisheries department staff.
The cruise ship had arrived from Alaska about 0630 local time on Saturday.
"We are not aware that any whales were sighted as the ship sailed through the Inside Passage to Vancouver," Princess Cruises said.
The whale was on top of the bulbous bow, the part of the bow that goes through the water, Princess Cruises said.
Captain unaware
Its whale avoidance measures include altering course and reducing speed if whales are spotted nearby.
The captain was unaware of the whale's presence until the ship docked, said a spokeswoman from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans quoted by the Vancouver Sun.

The whale could have been struck north of Vancouver Island since fin whales are not normally found in the Johnstone or Georgia straits, Lisa Spaven added.
She also said "vessel strikes are a very real threat to fin whales," but were hard to quantify as incidents often went unreported.
The fisheries department will need to conduct a post-mortem examination to find out if the whale was dead or alive before the collision.
According to the Vancouver Star, two tugboats were hired by the fisheries department to nudge the whale from the bow.
It was then moved to a barge.
Ten years ago another cruise ship arrived at the same port with a whale on the bow, the newspaper said

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One killed in China steel riot


Thousands of Chinese steel workers rioted at news of a takeover deal, beating one manager to death, a Hong Kong human rights group has said.
About 100 people were hurt in violence in the north-eastern city of Tonghua after workers heard that Jianlong Steel would buy a majority share.
They were reportedly frustrated at financial problems during Jianlong Steel's temporary control last year.
Jianlong general manager Chen Guojun was beaten to death, the group said.
The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said 30,000 steel workers clashed with riot police on Friday in the north-east province of Jilin.
The centre reported that Mr Chen was paid about three million yuan ($440,000) last year, while Tonghua's retired workers received as little as 200 yuan a month.
The South China Morning Post quoted a police officer as saying the workers would not allow emergency medical staff to enter the building to help Mr Chen.
The Tonghua workers also reportedly blocked highways and smashed three police vehicles in Tonghua city, the centre said.

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Pakistan holds pro-Taliban cleric


A radical cleric who brokered a failed peace deal in Pakistan's Swat valley has been arrested, officials say.
Sufi Mohammad was held in Peshawar in the north-west after being warned not to hold meetings there, officials said.
Provincial information minister Iftikhar Hussein told a news conference Sufi Mohammad had been detained for encouraging terrorism and violence.
The cleric negotiated a peace deal in February, widely seen as allowing the Taliban to take control of the valley.
Militants were allowed to impose Sharia law in the district in exchange for an end to two years of fighting.
However the deal later collapsed when Taliban fighters failed to disarm and moved into neighbouring districts.
"Instead of keeping his promises by taking steps for the sake of peace, and speaking out against terrorism, he did not utter a single word against terrorists," Mr Hussein told a news conference on Sunday.
He said that the influential cleric's stance "encouraged terrorism. It encouraged violence".
"He has been involved in activities which help militancy and militants and sabotage government efforts to combat them," Mr Hussein said.
Banned group
The government's military operation to remove insurgents from the region displaced some two million people in Pakistan's north-west.
Pakistan's military says it has killed more than 1,600 militants in the offensive. The claim cannot be independently verified.
Sufi Mohammad is the founder of a banned militant group, Tehrik Nizam Shariat Mohammadi (TNSM).
He is also the father-in-law of the Taliban leader in the Swat valley, Maulana Fazlullah.
In June, two of Sufi Mohammad's aides - who were under arrest - were killed when militants attacked a convoy transporting prisoners to Peshawar, military officials said.
Maulana Fazlullah's whereabouts are unknown. The government says he was seriously hurt in an air strike but the Taliban have denied this, saying he is "alive and healthy"

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Brazil and Paraguay in power deal


Brazil has agreed to triple its payments to Paraguay for energy from a massive hydro-electric dam on their border, ending a long-running dispute.
Under the accord, Brazil will pay Paraguay $360m (£220m) a year for energy from the jointly-operated Itaipu plant, one of the biggest in the world.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called it a "historic agreement" after talks in Paraguay.
The deal is a political victory for Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo.
His left-wing government had campaigned on an election promise to gain more revenue from the plant.
Bitter dispute

Under the deal, Paraguay has also won the right to sell excess energy directly to the Brazilian market, rather than exclusively through the state-owned power utility Eletrobras.
The joint project was begun in the 1980s when both countries were under military rule.
Paraguay - one of the poorest countries in South America - only uses a 5% share of the electricity produced at the plant and said it was obliged to sell its surplus to Brazil at unfair prices.
The Brazilians argued that they covered most of the cost of constructing the vast project, and that their smaller neighbour had to pay its fair share.
The deal came after months of wrangling between the two sides, but could still face criticism from opposition leaders in Brazil, analysts say.

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Darling warns banks on loan rates

Alistair Darling: 'We did not stabilise the banking system out of some charitable act'
The chancellor is to quiz bank bosses over how much they charge small firms for loans, saying he is "extremely concerned" their rates may be too high.
Alastair Darling said the cost of loans seemed to have risen, despite the UK's record low base interest rate of 0.5%.
He told the BBC that banks had a duty to restore lending levels, saying the government did not rescue the banking sector "out of some charitable act".
He has called a meeting with bank executives in Downing St on Monday.
'Do their part'
"The public will not understand it if they [the banks] don't seem to be doing their part," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.
"I want them to rebuild their balance sheets... but at the same time, because of the particular circumstances we're in now, because of the fact we've got this recession, we also need them to lend money," said Mr Darling.
"And that's why we re-capitalised them to do that, and that means they've got to live up to the promises that they made."
It is hugely important that Mr Darling keeps tabs on the banks to ensure they are lending money to firms, and at fair rates
Stephen Alambritis, Federation of Small Businesses
A number of banks needed emergency funding from the government due to the credit crunch.
They included Lloyds, which owns Halifax and Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which includes NatWest, and Northern Rock.
Others, such as Barclays and HSBC have not needed any government cash.
'Increasing efforts'
Mr Darling's comments come after a report by financial website Moneyfacts said banks had increased the interest rates they charge for personal mortgages nearly fourfold in recent months, despite the base rate remaining at a record low of 0.5%.
Angela Knight, the chief executive of the British Bankers' Association (BSA), said banks had to pay a lot more than 0.5% for the funds they themselves borrowed in the wholesale money markets, and they had to pass this on to customers.
She said that despite this, the banks were now "stepping up" to meet the increased demand for small business loans.
BBA figures due out on Monday are expected to show that industry-wide lending to small firms rose by £391m in June. This compares with the £153m rise in May, £287m increase in April, and £271m gain in March.
However, Stephen Alambritis, chief spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said the chancellor was "quite right to haul in the banks".
"It is hugely important that Mr Darling keeps tabs on the banks to ensure they are lending money to firms, and at fair rates," he said.
"Firms need to be able to reap the benefits of the historically low base rate."
Economic recovery'
Mr Darling also reiterated that VAT will definitely return to 17.5% from the current 15% level at the end of the year. The rate of VAT was reduced to 15% on 1 December 2008 to help boost retail sales.
Turning his attention to the wider economy, the chancellor said he was sticking to the prediction that the recovery will start "at the turn of the year", with modest growth being seen in 2010.
Official figures showed last week that the UK economy continued to contract between April and June, although at a slower rate than between January and March.
The economy shrunk 0.8% last quarter, compared with a decline of 2.4% from January to March.
Are you facing financial difficulties running your small business? Have you had to lose your business? Tell us your experiences using the form below.

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Ericsson buys key Nortel assets


Sweden's Ericsson has won an auction for the wireless assets of bankrupt Canadian telecoms firm Nortel Networks.
Ericsson is paying $1.13bn (£688m) for the businesses, which analysts say will enable it to substantially increase its North American presence.
The units were put on sale by Nortel after it was forced to apply for bankruptcy protection in January, blaming the impact of global recession.
Nortel is now effectively in the process of being broken up.
There had previously been hope that it could emerge from bankruptcy protection as a slimmed-down firm.
'Sad story'
"An orderly disposal of the assets of Nortel is the best outcome for the stakeholders," said Nortel official Richard Lowe.
Telecoms analyst Jeff Kagan said the sale was "a sad story for Nortel, and a happy story for Ericsson".
"Rather than competing with Nortel, Ericsson has won," he said.
Nortel employed about 30,000 people worldwide at the start of this year.

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Sarkozy falls ill while jogging


French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been taken to hospital after becoming ill while jogging, his office said.
Mr Sarkozy's chief of staff said the president was "doing well" and talking normally with medics at the military hospital, AFP news agency reported.
Earlier, aides told AFP that the 54-year-old president was suffering from a "minor" nerve complaint.
He had immediately been seen by his doctor after "feeling faint", his office said.
The incident happened at Mr Sarkozy's weekend retreat near Versailles, outside Paris, and he was taken to a military hospital, AFP said.
The Elysee Palace had no further official information.
AFP reported that Mr Sarkozy had suffered a vagal nerve attack, adding that it could involve a brief loss of consciousness and change in the heart rate.
The vagal nerve is a major nerve that runs from the abdomen to the brain and controls many functions.
Mr Sarkozy is regularly seen running and is a keen cyclist.
The Elysee Palace said earlier this month that his last medical examination - on 3 July - showed normal results for cardiovascular and blood tests.
Shortly after his election, his first medical bulletin showed him to be in "good" health.
He campaigned for greater transparency of presidential health bulletins during his presidential campaign, yet a brief hospital stay in late 2007 was not revealed until three months after it happened.
Several French presidents have been accused of glossing over health problems, notably the late Francois Mitterrand, who concealed that he was seriously ill with cancer

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US urges Syria on Mid-East peace

The United States has called for Syria's "full co-operation" in trying to achieve a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement.
Speaking after talks in Damascus, Barack Obama's envoy George Mitchell said discussions with Syria's president had been "candid and positive".
Mr Mitchell said restarting peace talks between Syria and Israel was a "near-term goal".
He later arrived in Israel, to try to revive Israeli-Palestinian talks.
Mr Mitchell's visit to Damascus was his second since June, amid a renewed US push for peace since President Obama took office earlier this year.
The envoy's trip comes ahead of a string of visits to Israel this week by leading Obama administration officials, at a time when US-Israel relations are unusually strained.
'Historic endeavour'
Mr Mitchell said he had told Syrian President Bashar Assad that Barack Obama was "determined to facilitate a truly comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace".
Naturally, in the context of friendly relations between allies, there isn't agreement on all points
Benjamin NetanyahuIsraeli prime minister
"If we are to succeed, we will need Arabs and Israelis alike to work with us to bring about comprehensive peace. We will welcome the full co-operation of the government of the Syrian Arab Republic in this historic endeavour," he said.
Correspondents say the visit was not expected to bring a breakthrough, but Syrian officials have been encouraged by Washington's new willingness to listen.
Damascus is a major player in the region, because of its support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, its backing for Hezbollah in Lebanon, and its close links with Iran.
This made Syria a pariah in the eyes of the Bush administration, which cut virtually all ties with Syria.
The BBC's Lina Sinjab, in Damascus, says President Obama's commitment to talks with all parties is welcomed in Syria but not with much enthusiasm.
Getting back the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights is a priority in Damascus, our correspondent says.
Syria was expected to lobby Mr Mitchell on the issue of the Heights, a strategic mountainous area seized by Israel in 1967.
Syria's official news agency quoted President Assad as stressing to Mr Mitchell "the Arab right to recover occupied lands through achieving a just and comprehensive peace."
Direct talks between Israel and Syria broke down in 2000 over the scale of a potential Israeli pull-back on the Golan Heights.
Sticking points
The diplomatic flurry comes at a time of strained relations between the US and Israel.
The BBC's Middle East correspondent Katya Adler says Mr Obama has been leaning on Israel's government unusually hard for an American president.
Washington has called on Israel to stop all Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank, but Israel says it will not curb what it calls "natural growth" there.
Mr Mitchell arrived in Israel later on Sunday and met defence minister Ehud Barak in Tel Aviv.
In an effort to kick-start stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks, the envoy is due to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Monday and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.
Shortly before Mr Mitchell's arrival in Israel, Mr Netanyahu said he hoped to reach an agreement with the US.
"This relationship is important and strong. Naturally, in the context of friendly relations between allies, there isn't agreement on all points, and on several issues we are trying to reach understanding," he said.
As well as Mr Mitchell, US defence secretary Robert Gates and National Security Advisor James Jones are also due to hold talks in Israel.
Our correspondent says Iran and its nuclear programme will certainly be discussed.
Israelis say that is their top priority but arguably the focus of the visits will be the possibilities for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and also the wider Arab world, she notes.

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