Friday, 31 May 2013

Samsung to make a mini version of its Galaxy S4



Samsung has announced that a smaller version of its flagship Galaxy S4 phone, the mini, is on its way.
Samsung has announced that a smaller version of its flagship Galaxy S4 phone, the mini, is on its way.

(CNN) -- The Galaxy S4 mini, a slimmed-down version of Samsung's flagship smartphone, is on its way, the company announced Thursday.
Widely rumored after an accidental leak, the company confirmed that the mini will be one of the products rolled out at a Samsung event in London on June 20.
On the heels of a hot start for the Galaxy S4, which the company says sold 10 million units in less than a month, the Korean gadget-maker seems to be homing in on the rival iPhone with a handset that promises to be easier to grip than its bulkier cousins in the Galaxy line.
The mini will have a 4.3-inch display screen, comparable to the iPhone 5's 4-inch screen, and weigh 3.77 ounces -- a pip lighter than the iPhone's 3.95.
Hype over Samsung's Galaxy S4
Samsung unveils Galaxy S4 smartphone
Hype over Samsung's Galaxy S4
The Galaxy S4 has a 5-inch screen, while Samsung's Galaxy Note II "phablet" has a whopping 5.5-inch display.
"We want to give people more choices with Galaxy S4 mini, similar look and feel of Galaxy S4 for more compact and practical uses," J.K. Shin, CEO and president of Samsung's mobile division, said in a blog post.
The new phone will feature an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera (down from the S4's 13 megapixels) and 2-megapixel front-facing camera. It also will come with 8GB of internal memory, running up to 64GB if, as with the S4, the user adds an available memory microchip.
It will be a sleek 9mm wide (.35 inches), a hair wider than the iPhone 5's 7.6mm (.3 inches), and run the latest version of Google's Android operating system, Jelly Bean, with a 1.7 Ghz dual-core processor.
The device will come in either white or black. No price or release date was announced.
The announcement further illustrates the divergent mobile strategies of Samsung and Apple. While the Cupertino tech giant fine-tunes a single phone, Samsung floods the zone with a variety of models, ranging from low-end handsets to its more upscale Galaxy line.
"Samsung's overall smartphone strategy is about producing scores of iterations at various price points and screen sizes in order to saturate the market with as much of its hardware as possible," Natasha Lomas wrote for TechCrunch. "(It's) a strategy that, coupled with its massive marketing budget, continues to be extremely successful for the Korean electronics giant, making it far harder for other Android (makers) such as HTC to compete with their far more modest device portfolios."

Train mows down three elephants in eastern India



Indian villagers gather near the carcass of one of the elephants killed by the train in West Bengal.
Indian villagers gather near the carcass of one of the elephants killed by the train in West Bengal.

New Delhi (CNN) -- A train speeding through a forested corridor in India's West Bengal killed three elephants and another is in a critical condition, a wildlife official said Friday.
A baby elephant was among the animals killed in the pre-dawn collision in India's Jalpaiguri district some 620 kilometers (385 miles) north of the state capital Kolkata, said V.K. Sood, chief conservator of forests in West Bengal state.
Another elephant is still in a critical condition after the train plowed into part of a herd crossing the tracks, he said.
Concern over similar incidents had prompted railway authorities to restrict train speeds in the area to 25km an hour. However, the railway department has said a speed of 50km an hour was permissible in the area where the accident occurred.
Sood said an inquiry is now underway to determine the speed of the train that killed the elephants Thursday, he said, adding that investigators were also looking at the levels of visibility on the track at the time.
As many as 36 elephants have been killed by trains in the area since 2004, Sood said.
India's former rail minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said in a Railway Budget speech in February the department needed to make special provision to protect what he called "these gentle giants."
"The railway family is deeply grieved by some incidents of death of elephants on railway tracks passing through forest areas. Several measures have been initiated in consultation with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, which I am confident will substantially reduce such accidents and safeguard the lives of these gentle giants," he said.
He said the department had already proposed a bypass rail link around one reserve with a sizable elephant population.
Conservationists estimate that India has a wild population of some 25,000 Asiatic elephants but their habitat is increasingly under pressure as human settlements encroach on nature reserves.
India has recently witnessed a number of cases of wild animals entering urban environments. In one high-profile incident a leopard killed one person and injured two other after wandering into a residential area in northeast India.

How Ethiopian scientist unearthed 'world's oldest child'


These are the skeletal remains of "Selam," a three-year-old girl who died 3.3 million years ago. She is the earliest skeleton of a child ever found. These are the skeletal remains of "Selam," a three-year-old girl who died 3.3 million years ago. She is the earliest skeleton of a child ever found.

(CNN) -- It was another December afternoon back in 2000, spent like hundreds of others combing the rocky hills of the Dikika region, when Ethiopian scientist Zeray Alemseged heard one of his assistants nearby calling him.
"He said 'oh, doctor I see something there,'" recalls Alemseged, who'd been excavating the hot and dry landscape for over a year, helped only by a small inexperienced crew of locals. "And I went there and I see the cheek bone part ... sticking out of the rock. I turned it upside down and my jaw literally dropped."
Instantly, Alemseged realized this was an extraordinary discovery that could make scientific history.
"Right away I could tell this is a child of a human ancestor," says the paleoanthropologist. "You have this child in a block of sandstone, with the baby teeth still visible, very vertical forehead, small canine," he adds. "But it's so rare and so unbelievable that I just couldn't accept that was the case, that what I saw was the skeleton."

Yet Alemseged did not want to make news of his discovery public until he had a more complete picture of what he'd unearthed. So he kept it quiet as he meticulously prepared and analyzed the fossil.
"The skeleton was encaved in a block of sandstone matrix, which is very densely compact, very inured sand, so that I had to go remove the sand grain by grain," says Alemseged.
"So I took my time, and people advised me to employ technicians, and technicians can do that job, but I said 'no, it's going to take as long as it takes but I'm not going to delegate this work of the exploration of this unique child to anyone else but me.'"
Alemseged then spent years in the lab painstakingly picking away the sand grain by grain. By using a super microscope, he was able to see details in the teeth embedded in the skull that revealed to him the skeleton's age and the sex. He now knew the fossil was that of a three-year-old girl who had died 3.3 million years ago.
Finally, after more than six long years, Alemseged was ready to present to the world "Selam," the fossil known as "the world's oldest child."
"When the time came to go to the press conference," remembers Alemseged, "it was like a woman is pregnant and she is holding that baby for nine months and when the baby comes out, what happens is -- in spite of the pain, in spite of the long, tedious process of carrying the baby -- you see her smiling, you see her beautiful wonderful face trying to share the baby with her husband or the doctor.
"So I shared my baby with the audience but the different thing is that I was sharing a child that belonged not only to me but to humanity, to seven billion individuals."
My work is beyond nations, beyond nationalities, beyond continents -- it unites everyone on the planet.
Zeray Alemseged, Ethiopian paleoanthropologist
That press conference in 2006 turned Alemseged, who was just 31 when he'd discovered Selam, into a hero in the world of science.
Over the next few years, his work took him all over the world, winning him international admiration for his achievements. Today Alemseged is the director of anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences, a multifaceted scientific institution and museum where he combines his scientific research with his passion for public education.
"When I got involved in this type of research I decided to not only read what has already been discovered but also to make my own discoveries and I can proudly say that I have achieved that with the discovery of Selam and many other fossils," he says. "Those finds are finds that change textbooks, literally, so I am happy but I'm not satisfied -- I will be satisfied only if I could instill the same type of psychology, the same type of excitement, the same type of passion to the next generations of Africans."
Alemseged, a father of two, enjoys the opportunity to share his findings with the world and possibly inspire a new generation of scientists.
In recent years, he's teamed up with other scientists from his continent to create the East African Association for Paleoanthropology, a group holding regular conferences to bring together top scientists and researchers from the region and beyond.
And while his achievements have made him a success story that young Ethiopians can aspire to, Alemseged's efforts to create a positive impact on young Africans are just a small step toward his ultimate goals.
"I think both my family and Ethiopia are proud of me, but I still think that I still have so much to offer, not just to Ethiopia, but to Africa and to humanity in general," he says.
"My work is beyond nations, beyond nationalities, beyond continents -- it unites everyone on the planet. So when I achieve that, I'm sure Ethiopia and my family are or will be proud of me and I thank them for all of the opportunities they have provided me with also."

Americans still captive in global power games


Mexican authorities arrested Yanira Maldonado, a U.S. citizen, right, on May 22, for alleged drug possession. She and her husband, Gary, were traveling from Mexico back to the United States when their bus was stopped and searched. She was released on Friday, May 31 and is back in the U.S. Mexican authorities arrested Yanira Maldonado, a U.S. citizen, right, on May 22, for alleged drug possession. She and her husband, Gary, were traveling from Mexico back to the United States when their bus was stopped and searched. She was released on Friday, May 31 and is back in the U.S.
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Americans detained abroad
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Frida Ghitis: Dennis Rodman's plea on Kenneth Bae reminds us of Americans held abroad
  • She says a number of U.S. citizens are languishing in prisons as geopolitical pawns
  • She says they're held on trumped-up, dubious charges in Cuba, Iran and beyond
  • Ghitis: We must let families take lead on reaction but be ready to raise voice for captives' return
Editor's note: Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review. A former CNN producer and correspondent, she is the author of "The End of Revolution: A Changing World in the Age of Live Television." Follow her on Twitter: @FridaGColumns.
(CNN) -- The drama of an American woman who unexpectedly found herself in a Mexican prison has just had a happy ending. But the plight of many other U.S. citizens kept against their will in foreign prisons continues, as anxious relatives desperately seek for a way to gain their release,
Yanira Maldonado's sudden arrest on by Mexican authorities -- who alleged she was transporting drugs, a charge she and her family vehemently denied -- sparked a national outcry. It helped her case that Mexico has good relations with the U.S. Other captives, by contrast, have become the victims of complicated political and diplomatic battles between the U.S. and its foes.
Today, there are a number of American citizens languishing in prisons, some of them off the map, their survival at the mercy of powerful players with intricate agendas of geopolitical blackmail. For their families, the ordeal is emotionally devastating and becomes incalculably complicated as they try to figure out whose advice they can trust, how to avoid saying the wrong thing and how best to proceed to gain their loved ones' freedom.
Kenneth Bae, the Korean-American owner of a tour company, was just sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, convicted for "hostile acts" against North Korea. His sister, Terri Chung, said he was in North Korea as part of his job. "We just pray" she said, asking "leaders of both nations to please, just see him as one man, caught in between."
If Chung has reason for concern seeing her brother in the hands of a regime with little international accountability, the family of Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran six years ago, is not even sure who is holding him.
Levinson, a retired FBI agent, was working as a private investigator on a cigarette smuggling case when he traveled to the Iranian resort island Kish in March 2007. Almost immediately, he vanished.
With tensions running high between Washington and Tehran, the U.S. government believed Iranian intelligence took him as a potential bargaining chip. But Iran denies knowing his whereabouts. For years, there were no signs of life; many thought he'd died. Then more than three years after his kidnapping, the family received a wrenching video of the emaciated father of seven, his voice breaking, asking the U.S. government to acquiesce to his captors' demands: "Please help me get home."
His wife and son posted their own video, describing Levinson as a loving father and grandfather, begging his captors, "Please tell us what you want."
Six years after the kidnapping, Secretary of State John Kerry called on Iran and other international partners to help, even though during a 2011 congressional hearing, Sen. Bill Nelson said, "We think he is being held by the government of Iran in a secret prison."
Another American, Alan Gross, was arrested by Cuba in 2009 while working as a subcontractor for the U.S. government, bringing equipment to allow Internet access to members of Cuba's Jewish community. Diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks show the arrest came during times of heightened tensions between Havana and Washington.
Havana accused him of working for U.S. intelligence. He was convicted of "acts against the independence and integrity of the state" and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
A Cuban Foreign Ministry official explained that "(t)o demand that Cuba unilaterally release Mr. Alan Gross is not realistic." Clearly, Gross was a trading commodity. Havana wants to exchange him for five Cuban agents convicted in Miami in 2001, one of them in connection with an incident that ended in the deaths of four Cuban-Americans pilots shot down by the Cuban military.
The United States rejects the idea. Kerry declared that "Alan Gross is wrongly imprisoned, and we're not going to trade as if it's a spy for a spy."
Gross' family says Washington is not doing enough to help. The family has sued the contractor he worked for and the State Department, charging they sent him on his job without proper preparation, training or protection.
It's difficult for families to know how much to rely on the government's help and how much to reveal to the public. The family of James Foley, a freelance journalist captured in Syria in November, initially requested a blackout on the news.
The fear is that raising a captive's profile can make him seem more valuable to his captors and harder to free. That is a risk, especially in a kidnapping for ransom by nonstate groups.
But GlobalPost, Foley's employer, now says it is convinced that Foley was taken by the Syrian government's Shabiha militia and is being held by Bashar al-Assad's forces.
Also in government hands now is a California filmmaker, Timothy Tracy, arrested by Venezuelan authorities. His family says he was making a documentary about Venezuelan politics. The government says he was instigating unrest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
President Barack Obama, during his recent visit to Latin America, called the accusations, "ridiculous."
When a government is involved, a number of possible avenues of release emerge. In fact, the release can be used as a sign of respect for humanitarian norms or of good will, aimed at easing diplomatic tensions without losing face.
These and other family ordeals continue, with little public attention focused on the struggle of people held against their will, pawns in a game in which they wield no influence.
For those wanting to help, the best approach is to listen to families' wishes. If they want silence, that should be respected. Otherwise, we should all Tweet, post, write and talk more loudly about the ordeals of Americans held prisoner for political reasons.

Photos: Queen Elizabeth visits Woolwich



Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is greeted by officers on Friday, May 31, during a visit to the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery at Woolwich Barracks in London. These barracks housed British soldier Lee Rigby, who worked as a military recruiter as well as a ceremonial drummer. Rigby was killed the week before, a couple of hundred yards from the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Soldier's family to world: Keep calm, don't seek revenge


People and soldiers gather Sunday outside the Royal Artillery Barracks, near where British soldier Lee Rigby was killed May 22.
People and soldiers gather Sunday outside the Royal Artillery Barracks, near where British soldier Lee Rigby was killed May 22.

London (CNN) -- The family of the British soldier killed in broad daylight last week urged people angry over the slaying to remain calm and not seek revenge.
Attackers killed Lee Rigby a couple of hundred yards away from the Royal Artillery Barracks in the southeast London district of Woolwich.
"We would like to emphasize that Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others," the family said in a statement issued Friday by the Ministry of Defence.
The killing has sparked an intense investigation by police. They announced two other arrests in the case Friday, of men seized on suspicion of supplying illegal firearms. Authorities also moved a man arrested on the suspicion of killing Rigby from a hospital to a police station.
Rigby was run over by a car and then stabbed in a daylight attack on May 22.
Since the killing, anti-Muslim actions and angry social media sentiment have emerged in Britain.
But the family stressed that "it would not wish any other families to go through this harrowing experience and appeal to everyone to keep calm and show their respect in a peaceful manner."
Rigby -- who had served as an infantryman in Afghanistan and Cyprus -- "loved life and he loved people," the family statement said.
"He had many friends from different walks of life -- some with different religious beliefs and cultures. But this made no difference to Lee. He always treated others with the greatest of respect," the family said.
The death has been "devastating," and the family is grateful for the public's "overwhelming support," in Britain and all over the world, the statement said.
"We have been amazed by the messages of support we have received from all across the globe. We were deeply touched after visiting Woolwich on Sunday and would like to thank those who were in attendance for giving us the time and space to pay our own tributes to our beloved Lee."
The statement came as Queen Elizabeth II on Friday visited the barracks that housed Rigby -- who worked as a military recruiter as well as a ceremonial drummer. A makeshift memorial of flowers and tributes has swelled on the street outside the barracks in the days since his death.
The monarch met members of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery during the visit, which was scheduled before the killing. The troop's duties include firing gun salutes on state occasions and royal anniversaries.
"The queen privately met those who coordinated the barracks response last week to the death of Drummer Lee Rigby," Buckingham Palace said in a written statement.
An inquest into Rigby's death opened Friday at Southwark Coroner's Court and was quickly adjourned.
Detective Chief Inspector Grant Mallon, the senior investigating officer into the death, detailed the circumstances of Rigby's killing:
After working a day at the Tower of London, Rigby was returning to his barracks in Woolwich when a vehicle swerved and struck him. Two men came out of the vehicle and attacked him with cleavers causing him "extensive and serious injuries." The two men moved his "apparently lifeless body" and remained on the scene until police arrived, when "both were incapacitated and detained."
In all, 12 people have been arrested in connection with the killing.
• Michael Adebowale, 22, has been charged with murder and with unlawful possession of a firearm. He was discharged from a hospital Tuesday and has been held in custody since at a police station. He made an initial court appearance Thursday.
• A 28-year-old arrested on the suspicion of Rigby's murder is in custody at a south London police station. The man has been identified by family, friends and acquaintances as Michael Adebolajo. He was discharged from a hospital Friday and transferred to the police station. Police said he was "further arrested" at the station on the suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer, but didn't provide detail on that charge.
• Two men, ages 42 and 46, have been taken to a south London police station. One was arrested Friday in north London and the other in east London on suspicion of supplying illegal firearms.
• Six others have been freed on bail -- the most recent a 50-year-old man arrested Monday night on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.
• Two were released without charges.
Separately, a man who was arrested after he spoke in an interview about Adebolajo on BBC's "Newsnight" has been charged with two counts of dissemination of terrorist publications and one count of encouragement of terrorism. He is Ibrahim Abdullah-Hassan, also known as Abu Nusaybah. The charges are not connected to the Rigby murder investigation, police said.

Suffragette Emily Davison: Feminism's forgotten hero or middle-aged crank?



In a shocking instant, Suffragette Emily Davison is knocked to the ground by the King's horse during the 1913 Epsom Derby. Yet take a closer look and you'll see the majority of spectators are instead watching the race. In a shocking instant, Suffragette Emily Davison is knocked to the ground by the King's horse during the 1913 Epsom Derby. Yet take a closer look and you'll see the majority of spectators are instead watching the race.
(CNN) -- It is one of the most remarkable images of the 20th Century -- and no one is watching.
As the thoroughbreds stampede around the bend at Britain's most prestigious horse race, a lone woman darts onto the track.
In a shocking instant she is mowed to the ground by one of the animals galloping at more than 55 kilometers per hour, her hat rolling away as she is trampled beneath the pounding hooves.
Yet take a closer look at the famous 1913 photo of suffragette Emily Davison sprawled on the Epsom Derby race track, and you'll see the majority of spectators are not straining to see the tragic scene -- but the winning horse crossing the finishing line.
This Saturday marks 100 years since the feminist gave her life in a grisly -- and mysterious -- protest for women's right to vote, throwing herself in front of the King's horse during the most high-profile sporting event on the planet.
"Emily Davison's actions were of huge significance," Melissa Benn, British journalist and daughter of former Labour MP Tony Benn, told CNN.
"She cared enough about a principle - that women should have equal political rights - to sacrifice her health, her reputation with the establishment, her comfort, her safety and ultimately her life."
Feminism's forgotten hero?
But a century after her horrifying death, how many people would be able to name one of the women credited with helping bring about the vote for British females?
While 1950s U.S. civil rights protester Rosa Parks made history for her refusal to give up her bus seat, and Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi famously endured house arrest throughout the 1990s, the name "Emily Davison" has failed to gain such international recognition.
"Very few women - or men - would be able to name her," said Benn.
"A lot of it was due to the lack of widespread, mainstream media at the time -- limited photography, film, newspaper coverage. News was filtered through very few, limited sources -- and all of those were in the hands of powerful men."
Despite the huge coverage -- film technology was in its early days but the remarkable incident was captured on three newsreel cameras -- many newspaper front pages instead led on the winning horse.
"The big story in the papers the next day was the winning horse Craganour having the title taken off him for alleged rough riding," Michael Tanner, horse racing historian and author of the 'Suffragette Derby,' told CNN.
"The press treated Davison as a mad, middle-aged crank who had tried to destroy a pleasant day of sport for the masses."
Four days after she dashed beneath the pounding hooves, Davison died in hospital from her horrific injuries.
The 40-year-old passed away amid public condemnation, with the Queen Mother reportedly sending her apologies to the jockey that the race had been interrupted by a "brutal lunatic woman."
It's unclear whether Davison intended to commit suicide at the Epsom Derby. She was carrying a return train ticket and a banner, with some historians now suggesting she instead wanted to attach the banner to the royal racehorse Anmer.
She cared enough about a principle - that women should have equal political rights - to sacrifice her life
Melissa Benn
A militant campaigner
Born in London in 1872, Davison studied literature at Royal Holloway College before working as a teacher in an era when a woman's place was as a dedicated wife and mother in the home.
At 32 she joined the Women's Social and Political Union -- known as the Suffragettes -- a campaign group for women's right to vote, who carried out militant protests such as chaining themselves to railings and prison hunger strikes.
On the night of the 1911 census, Davison hid in a broom cupboard in the House of Commons so that when asked to fill out the form, the address of a woman without the vote would, ironically, be Parliament.
In 1999, Melissa Benn's Labour MP father, Tony Benn, fitted a brass plate to the crypt door to commemorate the audacious protest.
"What's interesting is how Davison's tactics so suit a later age -- which is more dramatic and media-savvy," said Melissa.
"There was certainly controversy about the suffragettes' methods -- many thought they were publicity-seeking and destructive and too elitist -- and there was tremendous dispute within the movement about their tactics."
Davison was arrested nine times for her demonstrations and even in prison was a force to be reckoned with -- throwing herself down an iron staircase and going on hunger strikes.
White funeral
While Davison's fatal Epsom Derby protest divided opinion, her coffin procession through the streets of London -- including a haunting sea of suffragettes dressed in white -- had the appearance of a "state funeral," said Tanner.
"It was arguably bigger than Margret Thatcher's funeral," he added. "The suffragettes held her up as a heroine. In death, she became a martyr."
Five years after Davison's death, in 1918, women aged over 30 won the vote in Britain. Ten years later the age was reduced to 21 -- equal with men.
"Her legacy today is an enfranchised female population: a growing number of women in mainstream politics; the first woman Prime Minister; a much more equal society," said Benn.
"But we still have a long way to go. Four fifths of Parliament are men -- it is a very masculine place."
Tanner however, argues that the outbreak of World War One the following year did more to help the women's movement than Davison's deadly protest.
"It was more of a result of the female contribution to the war effort, that the first movements were made to giving some concessions to women," he said.
One thing is certain, 100 years ago Davison paid the ultimate sacrifice in her for equality -- with a fearlessness that still resonates today.

ROY HODGSON TELLS GARY LINEKER TO ZIP IT


ABOVE: Roy Hodgson has slammed Gary Lineker’s Twitter outburst
“
I am stuck in my belief that it’s football players who win matches
”
Roy Hodgson
31st May 2013

By David Woods

ROY HODGSON has hit back at Gary Lineker's claim that his England tactics are outdated.

Ex-Three Lions skipper and TV pundit Lineker blasted Hodgson’s 4-4-2 approach in the 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday night.

He said on Twitter: “Don’t like England playing this system. So easy to play against. Brazil will thrash us if we
line up the same way. Predictable and dated.

“Even though results haven’t been great, felt tactically England were maturing, but this is a step back to.. dark ages of 2 lines of 4.”

But boss Hodgson claimed a much-praised Borussia Dortmund adopt a similar system.

He said: “Do I believe, from what we saw against Ireland, that we are on the right track? The answer is ‘yes’. I’m never surprised by what’s said. Other people will have other opinions.

“I am stuck in my belief that it’s football players who win matches and you need to get your best players on the field in positions that suit them.”

Hodgson had been expected to go for 4-2-3-1 at Wembley, but Rooney started up front alongside Sturridge.

“We were asking at least one of those front players, when we lose the ball, to make certain he drops down and helps out in midfield,” said Hodgson.

“Borussia Dortmund, in the games they played, adopted a very similar way of playing to the one we tried to play.

“I don’t know that our system has changed that much. Our attacking play, especially in the second half, was quite good. All that was missing was the icing on the cake of a second goal.”

Sunday’s friendly against Brazil was last night thrown into doubt.

A local judge ruled that Rio’s Maracana Stadium venue is unsafe and the match must be suspended.

It was not immediately clear whether remedial work could be completed in time or if the match would be switched to a new venue.

EXCLUSIVE: FORMER TOTTENHAM STAR BELIEVES GARETH BALE WILL GO


ABOVE: Gareth Bale is being chased by Real Madrid
“
He's been phenomenal this season and he's shown he can be a massive influence on games
”
John Scales
31st May 2013

By Jack Wilson

FORMER Tottenham defender John Scales reckons Welsh wizard Gareth Bale will quit the club this summer.

And Scales, who spent four years at White Hart Lane between 1996 and 2000, fears his departure will serve as a hammer blow to the Premier League as a whole.

Real Madrid are keen on taking Bale to the Bernabeu and are willing to shell out a huge £60m for his services.

Ex-England international Scales told StarSport: "I think Bale might end up leaving.

"He's still young and, if I were him, I'd be tempted to go and take the challenge.

"Of course, I don't want him to go. I hope he stays at Spurs and I don't want Spurs fans thinking I'm telling Bale to go and move.

"But he's been phenomenal this season and he's shown he can be a massive influence on games.

"Like [Luis] Suarez, it's testament to how well he's done that Real Madrid are interested.

"I worry for the Premier League that he'll leave."

Madrid seem to be leading the race for Bale's signature - but Scales believes that it's not just a one-club race for the talented 23-year-old.

"He might go to Bayern Munich because [Pep] Guardiola is there," Scales said.

"He might go to Spain or PSG or wherever.

"All the top clubs are interested in players that can change games like he can."

BRAZIL DATE IS DREAM COME TRUE FOR DANNY WELBECK


ABOVE: Danny Welbeck can’t wait to take on his Brazilian heroes
“
When I was growing up I was looking at Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo. I just loved watching them and their skills
”
Danny Welbeck
31st May 2013

By Dave Armitage

DANNY WELBECK has revealed he's always been Brazil nuts.

The Manchester United star got up close and personal with the revered yellow and blue kit long before this Sunday’s Maracana date.

Welbeck has played in arguably the world’s most famous stadium a hundred times – before he woke up.

It might be the stuff of dreams, but this time it’s for real.

Welbeck, speaking on behalf of England team sponsor Vauxhall, said: “Me and my mates always had Brazil kits as kids – I suppose that just shows the power of the name Brazil.

“When I was growing up I was looking at Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo. I just loved watching them and their skills.

“They have always had great teams, great players and won World Cups and stuff.

“So to get the chance to go and play over there is something special.

“As a little kid you always look at Brazil. England is your first team, but there is something about Brazil that is cool so it will be good.”

Welbeck revealed that he’s actually turned out for ‘Brazil’ in a proper tournament – and, like his famous heroes, got to the final stages.

He explained: “Me, my mate Marcell and Cameron Stewart, who is now at Hull, had a three-a-side team and played in the Joga Bonito tournament run by Nike. I was 15 or 16 at the time.

“We bought Brazil kits and started playing in them. We actually got to the finals which were played at Highbury, but we lost.”

It’s been a highly successful but somewhat strange season for Welbeck, who has scored more goals for England this campaign than for United.

He’s only scored once for his club in the league but banged in three for his country.

United still went on to win the title and Welbeck is confident England will book their ticket for the Brazil World Cup next year despite a stuttering qualifying campaign.

Welbeck said: “We are still in a healthy position in the group.

“There is always that perception that you should be winning every game with England, but you can see from the Premier League week in week out how the results don’t always go how you think. The so-called lesser teams are beating the stronger teams and in a game of football strange things can happen in any 90 minutes. I am sure we’ll finish it off right.”

Welbeck added: “It is vital that we qualify for Brazil. It is a stage everyone wants to be on and every professional footballer wants to be playing in a World Cup. No one wants to miss out – and we’re no different.”

With 16 England caps and another title in the bag at United, Welbeck has shown he has the big-match mentality and says his goal record this season is something he’s looking to improve on.

“Talk of me scoring more for England than United is a bit unfair, but it is an area I want to improve,” he said.

“At Manchester United I have been playing all of my games from the wings anyway.

“If I need to help the team out by playing in other positions, I will do it, but I am aiming to get a better goal return from on the wings.”

Welbeck knows he can’t take his foot off the pedal next season with so much at stake.

He added: “I know I need to have a good Premier League season first and foremost but I want to make sure I have made a strong stake to be vying for a striker’s role at the World Cup as well.

“Playing regularly, scoring goals, having a good season, playing consistently. I know I will need to do all those things if I want to playing at the World Cup.”

Welbeck feels he’s standing up well to the pressures of being a high-profile star for both club and country.

“I feel I have coped pretty well. There is a lot of focus but you can’t think about that. You have to try and be yourself and not worry about what people are saying.

“People only see things they want to see and they don’t want to see the other side.

“They only see an expensive car or something else and it gets blown out of proportion.

“That is something you cannot change so there is no point worrying too much about it.”

Vauxhall are the official lead partner for England and all the Home Nations. For information go to: www.vauxhallfootball.co.uk

THAT GOAL JUST A BLUR TO JOHN BARNES


ABOVE: England goalscorers John Barnes (left) and Mark Hateley celebrate the win over Brazil in 1984
“
To score a goal like that is very difficult against modern defenders
”
John Barnes
31st May 2013

By Paul Brown

JOHN BARNES made his name at the Maracana with a wonder goal which brought him worldwide fame.

But the former Liverpool winger, 49, reckons it will be almost impossible for any of Roy Hodgson's boys to follow suit on Sunday.

Barnes dribbled through the heart of the Brazil defence before rounding the keeper and slotting home one of England's greatest goals in a 2-0 win in Rio in 1984.

He said: "It was iconic because it was against Brazil in the Maracana.

"But it was a friendly.

If it had been a World Cup match, somebody would have tackled me round my neck.

"To score a goal like that is very difficult against modern defenders.

"If I was the Brazil manager back then, I would not be very happy with some of the challenges.

"But I think the defenders would be a bit better now so it would be harder to do that, unless you were a Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi - and I wasn't a Ronaldo or a Messi!"

Barnes played for England 79 times, at the time a record for a black player, but insists he scored better goals at club level.

He said: "I scored a better goal for Watford against Rotherham. There was one I scored against QPR too.

"I don't remember anything I actually did in scoring that goal in Brazil."

THIS JOB HAS STOPPED ME GOING POTTY, SAYS MARK HUGHES


ABOVE: Mark Hughes with Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes (left) and owner Peter Coates
“
My intention, for my own sanity, is to repair my reputation at Stoke City
”
Mark Hughes
31st May 2013

By Ian Baker

MARK HUGHES insists he had to take the Stoke manager's job - for his own sanity.

The Welshman, 49, desperately wants to put a shambolic 11-month period at QPR out of his mind, after being left to stew for the last six months.

Hughes was axed as Loftus Road chief with his side in deep trouble in November.

Now the former Wales, Blackburn, Manchester City and Fulham boss has a point to prove to himself and others.

He said: "I'm delighted, it's a real opportunity. I'm pleased it's at a club like Stoke and they've deemed I'm the right fit. "I felt the only way I could answer people was by getting a position that gave me an opportunity to work hard and show that what they were saying was incorrect.

"I feel that's what I've got here. My intention, for my own sanity, is to repair my reputation at Stoke City and stay here for as long as I can."

Better Hughes has brought his long-term sidekicks Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki on to his coaching staff - and claims he has learned valuable lessons from QPR.

He added: "Whenever I've left a position, I've always gone through the process of, 'What I have done and how I could have done things better'.

"I also look at things I have done okay and acknowledge that as well. That's the process I go through, what I've done since I left QPR.

"But there are a lot of things that were difficult from the moment I walked through the door and things that didn't really change for the short space of time I was there.

"Good managers have gone in there and found similar situations that are difficult to overcome. So I wasn't the only one.

"But I'm not trying to exonerate myself from blame because, with hindsight, you think 'I'd have done it a different way'.

"But there was a desire from the ownership to progress quickly and as a consequence everyone was part of that."

Hughes' appointment has not gone down well with Stoke fans with one even driving around the city with a "Hughes Out" banner prior even to his official arrival.

And Hughes insists they have every right to have reservations.

But he said: "The only way I can answer fans is by winning matches. It's very simple.

"I can understand them. You have to understand that for the last six months they have been told that my ability as a manager is in question and really I haven't taken any path in terms of recourse to that.

"I have not added my own point of view to that but that was my decision. The intention is to move the club forward on all levels.

"They will understand we're working with the same aims to make Stoke a successful Premier League club and I'm sure they'll realise that quickly.

"If I do my job here well, I hope that will change people's perception and understanding of my abilities as a manager. I believe I am a good manager and a good fit for Stoke City."

Stoke chairman Peter Coates revealed he had not spoken to any other candidate about the job, believing from the start Hughes was the right man.

And he insisted Hughes' controversial agent Kia Joorabchian played no part in the bid to bring the Welshman to the Britannia Stadium.

Coates said: "His name has never been mentioned. He had no dealings with this particular transaction that's taken place with his contract, none whatsoever.

"I think there's a bit of a question mark over the Carlos Tevez deal, that set the ball rolling on that. We don't see him being an issue for this football club.

"We liked Mark. We look at what people have done and if I look at his CV the one blot is QPR which we have addressed."

STOKE WILL LET ASMIR BEGOVIC JOIN LIVERPOOL OR CHELSEA


ABOVE: Asmir Begovic enjoyed a fine season for Stoke
“
If top clubs come in for your players, I do not think you can deny them the opportunity
”
Asmir Begovic
31st May 2013

By Jack Wilson

ASMIR BEGOVIC will be allowed to join Liverpool or Chelsea after Stoke chairman Peter Coates admitted he wouldn't stop the Bosnian leaving.

Keeper Begovic, 25, put in some fine performances for Stoke and was one of the main reasons they weren't relegated from the Premier League.

Begovic would command a fee of around £15m and Liverpool and Chelsea are interested in snapping him up.

Coates said: "Asmir is a super professional player.

"We like him very much. He is a top, top goalkeeper - I think he is as good as anybody in the Premier League.

"But he is also ambitious. If top clubs come in for your players, I do not think you can deny them the opportunity."

Although he won't be sold on the cheap.

Coates added: "But it would depend very much on the money being right. We are not looking to sell him.

"We are not expecting to sell him. We expect him to be our goalkeeper next season.

BRAZIL-ENGLAND GAME IN DOUBT


ABOVE: Roy Hodgson faces an anxious wait
“
If the appropriate paperwork can be lodged, there remains the prospect of the game going ahead
”
Judge Adriana Costa dos Santos
31st May 2013

By David Woods

ENGLAND are today anxiously waiting to hear if their friendly with Brazil on Sunday will go ahead.

The match was thrown into doubt last night when a local judge ordered it to be "suspended" over safety issues at Rio's famous Maracana Stadium.

It has recently undergone a £230m, three-year upgrade to a 78,000-seat venue for the 2014 World Cup Final.

But there are fears that the stadium is not yet capable of handling the game against Roy Hodgson's men, with concerns over fire, hygiene and engineering.

Judge Adriana Costa dos Santos said: "At this moment we have no news that the restrictions were amended to a level of safety that would be expected at this stage.

"Therefore, due to the laziness of the people responsible, in this case the defendants, we cannot allow the stadium to be re-inaugurated without proof it is safe and hygienic.

"If the appropriate paperwork can be lodged, there remains the prospect of the game going ahead."

Late last night the race was on to save the fixture, with Rio's State Government quickly lodging an appeal against the judge's decision.

Like Wembley, the Maracana is one of the world's iconic football venues.

Nearly 200,000 people watched the 1950 World Cup final between Brazil and Uruguay - the largest official football stadium attendance.

England's first visit to the Maracana since 1984 is scheduled to launch the refurbished stadium and test its facilities in a big-match situation before the World Cup

BARCELONA INTERESTED IN CHELSEA STAR BRANISLAV IVANOVIC


ABOVE: Branislav Ivanovic celebrates Chelsea's Europa League win
31st May 2013

By Jack Wilson

CHELSEA defender Branislav Ivanovic has found himself top of the Barcelona wish-list.

And he could form part of a double swoop as team-mate David Luiz is also being lined up by the Catalan giants.

Sources in Spain suggest that Barca were keen on moving for PSG's Brazilian centre-half Thiago Silva - but they have been put off by a high asking price.

Instead, they have realigned their sights and Ivanovic and Luiz are on their agenda.

Barca may move for either one of the two, although Jose Mourinho will be hugely unlikely to let them both leave Stamford Bridge.

However, he has been told that he will need to raise his own cash and the pair would both command high transfer fees.

Ivanovic and Luiz are comfortable with the ball at their feet and would fit in with Barca's passing style.

Serbian captain Ivanovic, 29, was signed by Luiz Felipe Scolari for £10m back in 2008.

He netted the winning goal in the Europa League final with Benfica and has made himself a mainstay in the Chelsea line-up.

Worried Luiz, meanwhile, has demanded showdown talks with Mourinho to establish whether he has a future under the new Blues boss.

REAL MADRID WON'T SELL CRISTIANO RONALDO TO MANCHESTER UNITED OR CHELSEA…EVEN FOR €1,000M

REAL MADRID WON'T SELL CRISTIANO RONALDO TO MANCHESTER UNITED OR CHELSEA…EVEN FOR €1,000M

ABOVE: Cristiano Ronaldo may leave Real Madrid in the summer
31st May 2013

By Jack Wilson

MANCHESTER UNITED and Chelsea shouldn't plan on signing Cristiano Ronaldo this summer - because Real Madrid president Florentino Perez won't even sell him for €1,000million.

Perez made the crazy claim yesterday and pledged to do everything he could to ensure the Portuguse star, 28, doesn't opt for a move to the Premier League.

"Cristiano Ronaldo has a two-year contract and is the best player in the world. I wouldn’t sell him. not even for €1,000m," Perez told Spanish radio.

"I'll do everything in my power to renew Cristiano Ronaldo's contract.

"He has two more years left, he's the best in the world and we would like to boost the team with him as the leader.

"I would like him to stay here until the end of his sporting career.

"He’s a born winner and he wants to win titles and lots of Ballon d'Ors and Real Madrid is the place to do it."

REAL MADRID WON'T SELL CRISTIANO RONALDO TO MANCHESTER UNITED OR CHELSEA…EVEN FOR €1,000M

ABOVE: Cristiano Ronaldo may leave Real Madrid in the summer
31st May 2013

By Jack Wilson

MANCHESTER UNITED and Chelsea shouldn't plan on signing Cristiano Ronaldo this summer - because Real Madrid president Florentino Perez won't even sell him for €1,000million.

Perez made the crazy claim yesterday and pledged to do everything he could to ensure the Portuguse star, 28, doesn't opt for a move to the Premier League.

"Cristiano Ronaldo has a two-year contract and is the best player in the world. I wouldn’t sell him. not even for €1,000m," Perez told Spanish radio.

"I'll do everything in my power to renew Cristiano Ronaldo's contract.

"He has two more years left, he's the best in the world and we would like to boost the team with him as the leader.

"I would like him to stay here until the end of his sporting career.

"He’s a born winner and he wants to win titles and lots of Ballon d'Ors and Real Madrid is the place to do it."

RAFA BENITEZ WANTS TO RAID LIVERPOOL FOR MARTIN SKRTEL, DANIEL AGGER AND LUCAS LEIVA


ABOVE: Rafa Benitez has just taken charge of Napoli
“
Benitez is hoping the offer of Champions League football and a Serie A title challenge will be enough to lure the quartet to Napoli
”
31st May 2013

By Jack Wilson

RAFA BENITEZ is planning a TREBLE raid on old club Liverpool.

The new Napoli boss wants to bring Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel and midfielder Lucas Leiva to Italy.

And if signing those three, who all played under Benitez in his six-year reign at Anfield, isn't enough, he's also eyeing up Barcelona star Javier Mascherano.

Mascherano starred under Benitez at Liverpool before being sold for £20m in 2010.

Benitez is hoping the offer of Champions League football and a Serie A title challenge will be enough to lure the quartet to Napoli, according to sources in Italy.

Benitez brought Agger to Liverpool in 2006 and is known to be a huge fan of the Danish centre-half.

Skrtel's future at the club is uncertain - the Slovakian has been linked with a move to Arsenal - while Brazil international Lucas has had a torrid time with injuries over the last couple of years.

Benitez, who spent seven months of last season in charge at Chelsea, was appointed the Napoli manager on Tuesday.

MANCHESTER UNITED AND CHELSEA TARGET ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI TO STAY AT BORUSSIA DORTMUND


ABOVE: Question marks hang over where Robert Lewandowski's future lies
“
In the coming days we'll be sure to end this speculation about his future
”
Jurgen Klopp
31st May 2013

By Jack Wilson

ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI will not be joining Manchester United or Chelsea - because he's staying at Borussia Dortmund.

That is the claim from Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp, who has seen his biggest asset linked to some of Europe's top clubs.

Real Madrid were said to be interested and Bayern Munich were reported to have struck a deal with Dortmund, claims that Klopp has dismissed.

"There is no official offer from Bayern Munich for Robert, which leads me to believe he will play with us next season," Klopp told German newspaper Bild.

"In the coming days we'll be sure to end this speculation about his future.

"It's funny that people are talking as if he were already closed the deal. Jupp Heynckes [the Bayern boss] is saying that, the agent says that, but we have no offer for him."

Lewandowski struck four for Dortmund in their 4-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Madrid.

However, they fell short at the final hurdle when they were defeated 2-1 by Bayern in the final at Wembley.
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