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Juve ignite title challenge with Milan victory

Posted by arnon_k On October - 31 - 2010 2 COMMENTS

Injury hit Juventus stunned AC Milan 2-1 at the San Siro on Saturday to finally ignite their scudetto hopes.

Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Del Piero scored the goals that took Juve up to fourth in Serie A, just two points behind Milan and three off champions Inter Milan, who won 1-0 at Genoa on Friday, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late consolation.

Juventus’s win came amid a crippling injury crisis, made even worse as Juve lost Giorgio Chiellini in the warm-up and Paolo De Ceglie and Jorge Martinez during the game.

They ended it with right winger Simone Pepe playing at left back and defensive midfielder Momo Sissoko at right midfield.

Del Piero’s goal was his 179th for Juventus and means he becomes their record goalscorer, with one more than Giampiero Boniperti.

Juve boss Luigi Delneri was understandably delighted.

“We’ve got seven lives, we’ve reclaimed an important position (one that earns Champions League qualification) but we can’t rest on our laurels,” he said.

“We’re in the league to try to win but our aim is to improve from one Sunday to the next.”

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri said they had not deserved to lose.

“We played well, we created many chances but we gave away some opportunities by losing the ball too easily,” he said.

“We’re talking about a game in which the result doesn’t reflect the game on the pitch, but that’s football. We didn’t deserve to lose.”

Ibrahimovic came close to giving Milan an early lead but his curler smacked back off the bar.

But Quagliarella opened the scoring on 24 minutes when he met a deep De Ceglie cross with a towering header into the top corner.

Milan’s Andrea Pirlo had a free-kick deflected just past the angle of post and bar before Juve countered at pace on 29 minutes after a slip by Alessandro Nesta, but Christian Abbiati scrambled Del Piero’s scuffed shot around the post.

Milan finally threatened in stoppage time as a great cross from Pato into the area picked out Ibrahimovic but the Swede’s header was weak and Marco Storari made an easy save.

Ibrahimovic then took down a cross from Pirlo on his chest before firing over.

Five minutes into the second period the Swede had another chance, teed up by Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng but Felipe Melo headed his shot clear.

But despite those chances it was Juventus who struck again after Pepe crossed into the box and Sissoko beat Luca Antonini to the ball bringing it down on his chest before it got stuck in his feet.

The chance seemed to have gone begging after the Mali midfielder swiped at thin air and fell over, but he got back up, prodded the ball back to Del Piero and he fired through a crowd of defenders to score.

Eight minutes from time Ibrahimovic met Antonini’s cross from seven yards to head past Storari.

Earlier in the day, Roma went seventh ahead of Sunday’s matches after a 2-0 success against Lecce in the capital saw them earn a third home win in a row.

Argentina centre-back Nicolas Burdisso and Montenegro forward Mirko Vucinic scored the goals but both teams finished with 10 men after the dismissals of Francesco Totti and Ruben Olivera.

But Roma were counting the cost of Totti’s dismisal as he will now miss next week’s Rome derby against leaders Lazio.

“Of course it will hurt us a lot, not just for what he does on the pitch but for what he means to all of us,” said Burdisso.

Burdisso opened the scoring on 62 minutes as he rose in the box to head John Arne Riise’s deep cross into the top corner.

Vucinic settled the game on 76 minutes after being released down the left by Totti, firing low into the far corner past goalkeeper Antonio Rosati.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil looked likely Sunday to welcome his former cabinet chief Dilma Rousseff as his elected successor after a runoff in which she was the unassailable favorite.

All surveys showed Rousseff, 62, with a dominating 14-point lead over opposition rival Jose Serra, the 68-year-old former state governor of Sao Paulo.

If her victory is confirmed, Rousseff will become Brazil’s first female president, taking charge of the biggest economy in Latin America as it enjoys a new era of prosperity built during Lula’s eight years in power.

The country’s 135 million voters were being called out to decide the race. Voting is compulsory.

In the first round, on October 3, Rousseff fell just short of the majority of ballots needed to avert the runoff, scoring 47 percent to Serra’s 33 percent.

Analysts said the second round was certain to result in a Rousseff win.

“Everything indicates that candidate Rousseff will be elected president,” said Guilherme Carvalhido, a political science professor at Veiga de Almeida University in Rio de Janeiro.

“The numbers by the polling institutes converge and there is also a consolidation of votes, and this has reduced the number of undecideds,” he said.

Rousseff and Serra wrapped up campaigning Saturday in Belo Horizonte, the main city in the southern state of Minas Gerais and the second biggest electoral college in the country.

Rousseff, who grew up in the city, told supporters: “I am going to work for a united Brazil, I am going to work for all Brazilians without exception.”

Serra, in a separate part of Belo Horizonte, told a crowd he was going to build upon the policies of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Lula’s predecessor who introduced the fiscal policies underpinning Brazil’s financial stability.

“We will not do the work of a man, a party or a single government,” he said.

Carvalhido said “the only possibly surprising factor in this election could be the number of abstentions.”

“The proportion was 18 percent in the first round and there is a risk it could be 25 percent of more in the second round,” he said.

That likelihood was compounded by the fact that many Brazilians were taking advantage of a long weekend extended into a public holiday next Tuesday.

A final televised debate between the two candidates late Friday failed to inject any new information or changes into the direction of the election.

Both Serra and Rousseff stepped back from the insults they had traded in earlier debates, and focused on economic and social issues without scoring any major points against the other.

Both are bureaucrats respected for their management skills, but lack the commanding charisma of Lula.

Serra won respect for his stint as a health minister during which he championed generic copies of HIV drugs for seropositive patients.

Rousseff, who owes her advantage in the election to support from hugely popular Lula, was a former guerrilla in the 1970s imprisoned and tortured for belonging to a violent underground group opposing the then-military dictatorship.

A dour yet determined woman, she softened her image ahead of the elections with a cosmetic makeover.

She told supporters she was “confident” of taking over from Lula when he steps down at the end of the year, having completed the maximum two consecutive terms permitted under the constitution

Death toll hits 101 as govt warns against recklessness

Posted by arnon_k On October - 31 - 2010 3 COMMENTS

The number of people who have died in the floods has risen to 101, as the government warns people to be more careful in the water.

Some of the deaths could have been avoided, officials suggested yesterday, as one agency started an inquiry into why so many people have died.

Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanavisit said 90 of the total were found drowned while officials were investigating whether the other 11 died in flood-related incidents.

Chatree Charoencheewakul, secretary-general of the Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand, said most of the deaths were caused by drowning and electric shock. “People should be aware of the dangers of flooding. Many people are careless in the water, despite the fact that they can’t swim.

“Some are careless when using electrical equipment or while fishing in the floods,” he said.

He said most of the deaths were in areas where flooding is rare, such as Nakhon Ratchasima and Lop Buri.

People in such areas may lack swimming skills. “In some cases, an older brother went to the aid of a younger one, a father tried to help his son and they all drowned,” he said.

“This is not a small issue but a national concern. The Disease Control Department and the institute are studying the cause behind the large number of deaths resulting from the floods,” he said.

He said the institute will teach Thais how to swim, particularly children.

Playing in the water, fishing, and messing around while drunk are three of the more unusual causes of drowning which have taken the lives of flood victims.

While most of the 94 deaths recorded by the institute as of Friday are attributed to drowning, the causes in some cases relate to accidents caused by carelessness or having too good a time.

Deaths have been recorded in 20 provinces. In Nakhon Ratchasima, for example, where 18 people have died, three are fishing-related deaths – one person fell off a boat, another fell in the water and a third was drowned after his fishing line got tangled around his leg. Two died after suffering muscle cramps, and one while swimming in a weir.

In Nakhon Sawan, where 12 people have died, four were fishing, one death was drinking related and one victim was electrocuted. One person died while collecting morning glory.

In Lop Buri, 11 people have died, including two people whose car was washed away and a third person who drove his motorcycle into a tree. One person was electrocuted after his house was flooded, and another died in a drinking related accident.

In Ayutthaya, seven have died, including a 50-year-old man who was drinking and gambling, and tried to race across a flooded area with his friends as a dare. He drowned. In Buri Ram, where six people have died, a child fell out of a tree into flood waters, two teens drowned in a weir, two children died in a flooded ricefield, and one person died helping his child. In Nonthaburi, where five people died, two died of electrocution, and one child, aged 2, drowned in a flooded area behind his home.

In Kamphaeng Phet, where four have died, three deaths are related to fishing. One person collapsed and fell in the water. In Saraburi, where four people died, a 59-year-old woman drowned after the boat she was on capsized. In Rayong, where two people have died, a man died while swerving to avoid flood waters. He hit a tree. The other victim died when a flood catchment area in a golf course collapsed.

New video puts more pressure on court

Posted by arnon_k On October - 31 - 2010 1 COMMENT


The Constitution Court is under pressure after a new video came to light in which judges are allegedly shown discussing leaks of sensitive information from their office.

The video, uploaded to YouTube on Friday, allegedly shows former court employee Pasit Sakdanarong and two judges discussing ways to fight off the adverse impacts from alleged fraud involving the recruitment of court officials.

In the video, the three discuss ways to head off plans by the Puea Thai Party to release a set of videos allegedly featuring fraudulent acts by judges involved in the recruitment scam.

The conversation was recorded at the office of a judge, apparently by a camera secretly brought in by a person identified as Mr Pasit.

The footage was uploaded by a person using the login “ohmygod3009”.

The same login was used to post five controversial video clips related to the Democrat Party’s alleged attempt to lobby the Constitution Court late last month over a case involving the misuse of a 29million baht election grant.

The first five videos were widely circulated in Thailand on Oct 16, one day after Puea Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit told reporters of the existence of the clips.

He showed reporters the footage the next day. Puea Thai MP Jatuporn Prompan first mentioned the existence of the clips late last month and said he would submit them to the court.

The video released on Oct 29 allegedly features a meeting of three people, two of them cited in the conversation as Constitution Court judges and another one as Mr Pasit, the former secretary to the Constitution Court president.

At the time the new video was recorded, those present at the meeting knew from Mr Jatuporn’s remarks that conversations had been secretly recorded at the court, although the tapes had not yet been released.

Mr Pasit flew to Hong Kong on personal business on Oct 13 and is believed not to have returned to Thailand.

He was dismissed as secretary to court president Chat Cholaworn on Oct 18 after video related to a case of misuse of an election grant brought against the Democrat Party was made public.

The audio of the new conversation is clear and there are subtitles indicating who is who and what is being said.

At one point, one of the three mentions the leaking of exam papers to applicants who were close to court judges, including the son of a judge.

They are also heard wondering how footage featuring the alleged exam fraud had fallen into the hands of the Puea Thai Party.

They say that if the videos related to the alleged fraud involving the recruitment of officials are released, they will dismiss them as being doctored and will shift the blame to a former court official.

They are heard to say that the clips involving the alleged fraud were transferred to a computer notebook belonging to a Constitution Court judge.

Constitution Court judge Jarun Pukditanakul said yesterday he was not aware of the existence of the new video and did not know any details.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s spokesman and Democrat MP Thepthai Senpong said Mr Pasit was the key to the issue as his decision to flee to Hong Kong coincided with moves by the Puea Thai Party to release the videos.

“It’s all a plot to discredit the Constitution Court and lead to the dissolution of the Democrat Party,” he said.