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The largest saltwater crocodile in captivity has died in the Philippines.

Officials said the six-metre reptile, weighing more than 1,000kg, flipped over with a bloated stomach and was declared dead several hours later.

The crocodile, blamed for the death of at least one person, was caught in September 2011 and then became the star attraction of an eco-tourism park.

It was formally declared the world’s largest in captivity by Guinness World Records last year.

The crocodile, which was given the name Lolong, was captured in the town of Bunawan after a three-week hunt involving dozens of people.

The giant reptile, which measured 6.4m (21ft) and weighed in at 1,075kg (2,370lb), had begun to draw local and foreign tourists to the town.

Bunawan Mayor Edwin Elorde said Lolong had been off colour for a month.

“He refused to eat since last month and we noticed a change in the colour of his faeces,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper. “Our personnel also noticed an unusual ballooning of the reptile’s belly.”

Local vet Alex Collantes said that unseasonably cold weather could have affected the crocodile.

Mr Elorde told the Inquirer wildlife experts would conduct an investigation into the death and said he hoped Lolong’s body could be preserved.

“In that way, people can still look and marvel at him,” he said.

Australian media say the mantle of largest saltwater crocodile in captivity may now pass back to Cassius, a 5.48m reptile housed at a crocodile farm near Cairns in Queensland.

Pope resigning on Feb 28, conclave in March

Posted by Nuttapon_S On February - 11 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday he would resign on Feb 28 — the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.

The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning.

He emphasised that carrying out the duties of the pope — the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide — requires “both strength of mind and body”.

“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he told the cardinals. “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.

“However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of St Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary – strengths which, in the last few months, have deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants.

Pope Benedict called his choice “a decision of great importance for the life of the church”.

The move sets the stage for the Vatican to hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope doesn’t have to be observed.

There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner — the same situation when Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.

King recovering, but has bacterial infection

Posted by Nuttapon_S On February - 11 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
BANGKOK, Feb 11 —  His Majesty  King Bhumibol Adulyadej was reported to be recovering from pain in his knees but a blood test has shown that he has a bacterial infection.
The Royal Household Bureau said in a statement issued on Sunday that the team of royal physicians at Siriraj Hospital conducted a medical check-up and found that the swelling in the monarch’s knees has eased, and he felt no more pain in his knees.
His body temperature  has fallen after having a mild fever since late last month.
The 85-year-old king’s heartbeat, breathing and blood pressure were normal. His signs of fatigue have reduced.
He has regained his appetite slightly and has been sleeping well.
Doctors continue to provide him antibiotics to treat the infection and medication to complete the dose for treating his swollen knees. (MCOT online news)

Nigeria triumph at the Africa Cup of Nations

Posted by Nuttapon_S On February - 11 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Super Eagles soar to success with a first title in 19 years after a 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso at Soccer City.

Nigeria ended a 19-year Africa Cup of Nations title drought Sunday with a 1-0 final victory over Burkina Faso at Soccer City thanks to a superb late first-half goal from Sunday Mba.

It was a result that took winning coach Stephen Keshi into the record books as he equalled the feat of late Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary by winning gold medals as a player and a coach.

Among the rewards for the Super Eagles was a $1.5m first prize and a place at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, where they will face world and European champions Spain, Tahiti and Uruguay.

African champions

Nigeria conquered Africa for the first time in 1980, thrashing Algeria 3-0 in Lagos with all the goals coming before half-time, and the second title arrived 14 years later as they fought back to defeat Zambia 2-1 in Tunis.

Collecting the third title in Soweto was particularly sweet as they were robbed of the chance to defend the title there in 1996 because a political cold war with South Africa led to Nigeria withdrawing.

“Winning this is mainly for my nation – when I came on board a year and a half ago my dream was to make all Nigerians happy, and to construct a great Nigerian team, We are not there yet, it’s still in process,” said Keshi.

Referring to the tense final five minutes, he added: “You don’t want to know what was going through my head! To represent Africa in Brazil at the Confed Cup is an honour for Nigeria.”

Losing coach Paul Put said: “We showed Nigeria a bit too much respect in the first half – in the second half we tried to do everything possible. But you have to be big when you lose and small when you win.

“Possibly, we were a little tired after two matches that went to extra time, but I’m not going to look for excuses. The whole of Burkina Faso can be proud of their players.”

Favourites Nigeria were forced into a late pre-match change when striker and four-goal leading scorer Emmanuel Emenike was ruled out by a hamstring injury sustained in the semi-final rout of Mali and Ikechukwu Uche took his place.

Burkina Faso were able to retain the team that started against Ghana in a semi-final settled by a shoot-out after the red card given to midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa was rescinded when the referee admitted he erred.

It was only the third time the countries have met in the 56-year competition with Nigeria beating then-Upper Volta 4-2 in 1978 and Burkina Faso snatching a stoppage-time 1-1 draw in a Nelspruit group game last month.

The Mba goal gave the Super Eagles a deserved 1-0 half-time lead after 45 minutes that followed a predictable script with Nigeria dominating possession and chances while the Burkinabe underdogs relied largely on counter-attacks.

Mba, one of two home-based stars in the starting line-up, struck on 40 minutes with a penalty-box flick over Mohamed Koffi and a left-foot shot that flew into the far corner past stranded goalkeeper Daouda Diakite.

It was an opportunist goal by Mba and his second of the tournament, having struck a superb match-winner in the 2-1 quarter-final defeat of pre-tournament title favourites Ivory Coast.

Nigeria should have taken the lead much earlier as Diakite spilled a cross on 10 minutes into the path of Brown Ideye, whose shot at an unguarded goal was too high.

A combination of Nigerian midfield creativity and a couple of defensive howlers from the Burkinabe offered several half chances to the Super Eagles that were squandered.

Attacking mentality

The early second-half exchanges mirrored the first period with the Nigerians pressing for a second goal that would leave opponents fielding a lone striker in Aristide Bance with a mountain to scale.

Diakiate did well to push away a hard, low Ideye cross-cum-shot and Moses should have done better in a two-on-one situation that favoured the Eagles only to timidly surrender the ball with the Burkinabe goal in sight.

Although Spain-based Uche was a goal-scoring star of the qualifying campaign, he was making no impact on the final and gave way to Ahmed Musa nine minutes after half-time.

There was another Nigerian substitution not long after – this time enforced – with full-back Elderson Echiejile limping off to be replaced by Juwon Oshaniwa, while the Burkinabe introduced Wilfried Sanou for Florent Rouamba.

As the game moved into the final quarter there were chances at both ends with unmarked Musa slipping as he was poised to shoot inside the box and a Sanou drive at the other end finishing just wide of the far post.