On the run, bin Laden lived in 5 houses

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Osama bin Laden lived in five safe houses while on the run in Pakistan and fathered four children - two of them born in government hospitals, his youngest widow has told investigators.

The details of bin Laden's life as a fugitive in Pakistan are contained in the interrogation report of Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada, bin Laden's 30-year-old Yemeni widow. They appear to raise fresh questions over how bin Laden was able to remain undetected for so long in Pakistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, despite being the subject of a massive international manhunt.

Details from the report were first published by the Pakistani newspaper Dawn.

The Associated Press obtained a copy on Friday.

Afghan village policeman kills 9 comrades

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A member of a U.S.-backed Afghan village police force killed nine of his fellow officers as they slept Friday in a volatile eastern area, officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

The gunman opened fire with his assault rifle after waking up at 3 a.m. ostensibly to take over guard duty at a small command post for the Afghan Local Police in Paktika province, killing everybody inside, including the post's commander, according to officials. He then took their weapons, piled them in a pickup truck and sped away.

It was the latest in a growing number of attacks by Afghan security forces against their own people or against international troops in Afghanistan in recent years, some the result of arguments and others by insurgent infiltrators.

Provincial police chief Dawlat Khan Zadran said the incident took place in Yayakhil town of Yayakhil district.

Bowal Khan, chief of Yayakhil district, identified the gunman as Asadullah and said he goes by one name, as do many Afghans.

Khan said his own brother was among those killed, along with the commander of the post, identified as Mohammad Ramazan, and two of the commander's sons.

Feds, 5 states to push for Great Lakes wind farms

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- The Obama administration and five states announced an agreement Friday to speed up consideration of plans for offshore wind farms in the Great Lakes, which have been delayed by cost concerns and public opposition.

Under the deal, state and federal agencies will craft a blueprint for speeding regulatory review of proposed wind farms without sacrificing environmental and safety standards. The Great Lakes have no offshore wind turbines, although a Cleveland partnership announced plans last year for a demonstration project that would place five to seven turbines in Lake Erie about 7 miles north of the city, generating 20-30 megawatts of electricity.

Offshore wind projects have been proposed elsewhere in the region, including Michigan and New York, stirring fierce debate.

Critics say they would ruin spectacular vistas, lower shoreline property values and harm birds and fish. New York Power Authority trustees last September abandoned a plan for private companies to place up to 200 turbines, each about 450 feet high, in lakes Erie and Ontario. The Canadian province of Ontario in February 2011 ordered a moratorium on wind energy development in its Great Lakes waters to allow more study of environmental issues.

Suu Kyi committed to win, says Myanmar vote unfair

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Friday that Myanmar's landmark weekend elections will be neither free nor fair because of widespread irregularities, but vowed to continue her candidacy for the sake of the long-repressed nation.

Suu Kyi said opposition candidates had been targeted in stone-throwing incidents, campaign posters vandalized and members of her party intimidated during the run-up to Sunday's closely-watched parliamentary by-elections.

During a news conference on the lawn of her crumbling lakeside residence in Yangon, the 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate said government officials were involved in some of the irregularities and that they go "beyond what is acceptable for democratic elections."

"Still," she said, "we are determined to go forward because we think this is what our people want."

The vote to fill several dozen vacant legislative seats comes after months of surprising reforms carried out by Myanmar's nominally civilian, post-junta government, including the release of political prisoners, truces with rebel groups and a dramatic easing of media censorship. The poll is a crucial test of Myanmar's commitment to change, and Western nations have held out the possibility of lifting some sanctions if all goes smoothly.

Magic Johnson making fans smile as highest-profile member of Dodgers' new ownership

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Magic Johnson is about to learn $2 billion only buys you so much. Now he'll need to bring the Los Angeles Dodgers the same success he brought the Lakers.

News that Johnson and his partners agreed to purchase the team sparked a groundswell of excited chatter and optimism Wednesday that the man who ran "Showtime" could restore luster to the once-proud franchise.

The amount Johnson and his partners are paying would be mind-blowing if it was just for the team itself. But it also gives Johnson's group the right to reel in future riches from TV and real estate associated with the Dodgers.

"A big part of the purchase price is all those other things," said David Carter, executive director of USC Sports Business Institute. "You've got a great piece of property you can develop and make a game-day experience around Chavez Ravine. A likely billion-dollar cable (television) rights deal that will come out of it makes it a very unique sale."

Neo-Nazi killing of gay man moves Chile's government to push for anti-discrimination law

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Prosecutors in Chile asked for murder charges Wednesday in the death of a young gay man whose attackers brutally beat him and carved swastikas into his body.

Daniel Zamudio died Tuesday night, 25 days after he was attacked. The case has prompted a national debate in Chile over hate crimes, with President Sebastian Pinera saying from Asia that his government won't rest until a proposed anti-discrimination law is passed.

Four suspects have been jailed on attempted murder charges, some of whom already have criminal records for attacks on gays.

Hours after Zamudio's death, prosecutor Ernesto Vazquez formally requested that the charges be changed to premeditated murder, carrying maximum life sentences if convicted. He said the attack was clearly motivated by homophobia.

Gay activists weren't satisfied. The leader of Chile's Gay Liberation and Integration Movement, Rolando Jimenez, said the suspects should be charged with torture as well.

Olympics security officials review security strategy after French terror attacks

LONDON (AP) -- Britain has planned for a dizzying array of security nightmares surrounding the Olympics, including a coordinated attack like the London transit bombings, a dirty bomb or a cyberattack.

In the wake of France's deadly shootings, one scenario weighing heavily on the minds of security officials is the self-starter operating with little or no help from others.

And, they admit, there are limits to what security personnel can do.

"You cannot exclude something similar," said Denis Oswald, head of the International Olympic Committee's coordination commission for the London Games.

"Every Olympic venue will be specially protected, but of course, when you are in the street, people waiting for the bus waiting to go to an Olympic venue could be a target."

Mohamed Merah - a 23-year-old Muslim extremist who says he trained in Afghanistan - claimed responsibility for killing paratroopers, Jewish children and a rabbi in a weeklong shooting rampage in the French city of Toulouse. Police shot him dead last week after a 32-hour standoff.

Analysis: Romney, Obama gaffes add to cynicism about presidential campaign and what's beyond

WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a week like this, is it any wonder voters are cynical?

Within five days of each other, both the president and the campaign of his leading Republican opponent have had to deal with their own "oops" moments of candor.

President Barack Obama was caught on an open mic telling Russia's president that his dealings with the country on missile defense may be different after the elections, raising the specter of a hidden agenda.

A few days earlier, Mitt Romney's top aide suggested his boss's primary-season positions may shift in the fall campaign, altered as easily as erasing an Etch A Sketch.

Both campaigns tried to explain away the significance of the statements on their own side, while exploiting the missteps on the other side

Testone, Ledet take on Zeppelin, Mariah on 'Idol'

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Elise Testone and Joshua Ledet successfully channeled icons of the opposite sex on "American Idol."

Shaking her wavy blond hair and sporting a pair of tight bellbottoms, Testone delivered a faithful rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," while Ledet soared by embracing Mariah Carey's vocal acrobatics on Badfinger's "Without You" during the Fox singing competition's idol-themed performance round Wednesday night.

"You made everybody get up," Jennifer Lopez told Testone. "It was crazy."

The 28-year-old teacher from Charleston, S.C., and the 19-year-old student from Westlake, La., both earned standing ovations from the panel - as did three other finalists: 16-year-old student Jessica Sanchez of San Diego with Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams"; 21-year-old pawn shop worker Phillip Phillips of Leesburg, Ga., with Jonny Lang's "Still Rainin'"; and 17-year-old student Deandre Brackensick of San Jose, Calif., with Eric Benet's "Sometimes I Cry."

Amazon CEO plans to raise sunken Apollo 11 engines

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Long before Jeff Bezos became an Internet mogul, he was enthralled by the mysteries of space.

As a 5-year-old, Bezos, along with half a billion people around the world, watched in awe as American astronaut Neil Armstrong took the first step on the moon in 1969.

More than 40 years later, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com will attempt to haul from the dark depths of the Atlantic at least one of the mammoth rocket engines that helped boost the Apollo 11 astronauts into history.

Using high-tech sonar, an expedition spearheaded by Bezos has discovered what he claimed were discarded engines from the mission lurking 14,000 feet deep.

In an online announcement Wednesday, Bezos said he is drawing up plans to recover the sunken engines, part of the mighty Saturn V rocket that launched Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their moon mission.

It was not immediately clear when Bezos' team spotted the Apollo engines. Bezos offered few details about the discovery and did not say how he knew the engines were from Apollo 11. The cost of the recovery was not disclosed, but Bezos said it will be done with private funds.

Review: Sea of rights limits March Madness digital

NEW YORK (AP) -- Madness is one way to describe my experience with March Madness Live, a service for watching the annual college basketball tournament on computers and mobile devices.

Don't get me wrong. The features were great, and video quality was decent. But it wasn't easy figuring out how to get the games I was entitled to watch for free.

CBS and Turner Sports were smart to continue offering live video coverage beyond the TV. After all, many of the tournament's early games took place during the workday, when many people aren't near TVs or don't want to make it too obvious they're goofing off.

What's changed is that there's now a fee to watch the games via March Madness Live, with some exceptions. Fans may detest having to pay for something that used to be free, but $3.99 for all 67 men's games is a good deal. It's a one-time fee, so you don't get charged again for the iPad if you've already paid for access on the computer.


Destruction as Syrian forces take opposition town

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian activists said Wednesday a government offensive in northern Syria during which troops overran a major opposition stronghold has left behind scenes of destruction, with corpses in the streets, homes burned to the ground and shops that have been pillaged and looted.

The reports of 40 people dead in Saraqeb since Sunday come as Arab leaders meeting in Baghdad remain deeply divided over how to help solve Syria's yearlong crisis. President Bashar Assad said he has accepted a six-point U.N. plan to resolve the conflict, including a cease-fire, but the opposition is deeply skeptical that he will carry it out.

The fall of Saraqeb, a large town on the main highway linking the northern city of Aleppo with the Syrian capital, was the latest in a string of opposition strongholds to fall to ruthless assaults by the better-equipped Syrian military. Most of those strongholds and areas around them have since seen renewed flare-ups in violence, reflecting the resiliency of the uprising and the military's inability to firmly put down the revolt.

Urban Meyer turns up heat on player competition in 1st spring as Ohio State's football coach

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Urban Meyer won't tolerate anybody on his first Ohio State team who won't compete.

When Ohio State's spring practices kick off on Wednesday, Meyer plans on turning the most mundane of conditioning or technique drills into an all-out competition between teammates. However, that doesn't mean fisticuffs.

"When you get away from Mommy and Daddy, it's a tough world out there," said the ex-Ohio State grad assistant who won two national titles at Florida. "The people that work in corporations and do a really good job usually have corner offices and trips to Cancun and bonuses. If (you don't do a good job), you don't. I think a lot of times kids aren't taught that."

So Meyer is making that one of his cornerstone philosophies as he takes over an Ohio State team that lapsed to 6-7 a year ago and closed the season with four consecutive losses - including a defeat in the Gator Bowl to Meyer's former employer, Florida.

One team wins a scrimmage and it gets an icy electrolyte drink as it leaves the field. The losers? They get to quench their thirst from a garden hose. Give up a sack and you run extra sprints after the practice; sack the quarterback and you get better food, a better jersey, kinder treatment.

Spanish police arrests al-Qaida suspect, says he distributed videos urging terror attacks

MADRID (AP) -- Spanish police on Tuesday arrested a suspected member of al-Qaida who was key to the terror group's Internet propaganda and recruiting operations, officials said.

The suspect arrested in the eastern city of Valencia "administered one of the world's most important jihadist forums", dedicated to recruiting and indoctrinating Islamic terrorists, Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said.

The name of that forum and the suspect's name were not given, only his initials, M.H.A. He is Jordanian-born with Saudi citizenship.

"He was known within the organization as al-Qaida's librarian," Fernandez Diaz said, without specifying what that term meant in this case.

The suspect worked at home "8 to 15 hours a day" for al-Qaida and for two offshoots, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the minister said.

Lions Gate shares up on 'Hunger Games' huge debut

When the film and television production company bought Summit Entertainment in January, the deal brought bankable teen franchises "The Hunger Games" and "Twilight" under one roof.

The first of four planned "Hunger Games" films broke the record for a non-sequel over the weekend with a $153 million haul in the U.S. and Canada. That beat expectations and gave it the third-highest opening weekend ever. And the "Twilight" finale is set for release in November.

These two movies could generate about $450 million in profit combined, estimates Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz. The adventures of bow-wielding heroine Katniss Everdeen alone could translate to 6 to 7 years of higher earnings, Creutz says, adding that Lions Gate may post its first profit in five years for the fiscal year that ends March 31.

OECD pushes for $1.3 trillion eurozone crisis fund

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The 17 countries that use the euro need to build a (EURO)1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) firewall to help the struggling currency union return to growth, the head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Tuesday.

Angel Gurria, the secretary-general of the Paris-based international development body, said existing plans for a (EURO)500 billion ($664 billion) European rescue fund were not enough to restore market confidence in the eurozone.

"The mother of all firewalls should be in place," Gurria told a news conference in Brussels, where he was flanked by Olli Rehn, the EU's economic affairs commissioner, who has also been pushing for a larger bailout fund.

A permanent rescue fund of at least (EURO)1 trillion would give governments the breathing space to focus on kickstarting growth and restoring the competitiveness of their economies, Gurria said, pointing to a raft of economic reforms that individual countries should enact.

Pakistani court to charge bin Laden's family

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A Pakistani court is set to charge five members of Osama bin Laden's family with illegally entering and living in the country, their defense lawyer said Monday.

The al-Qaida chief's family has been in Pakistani detention since last May, when U.S. commandos raided the house where they were living in the northwest army town of Abbottabad and shot and killed bin Laden.

Pakistan was outraged by the raid because it was not informed beforehand. Officials have insisted they did not know the al-Qaida chief was living there, and the U.S. has not found any evidence that they did.

A Pakistani court will charge three of bin Laden's widows and two of his daughters on April 2 when the hearing against them resumes, said their lawyer, Mohammad Amir. The court gave the five women copies of the case and evidence against them on Monday, he said.

Japan reactor has fatally high radiation, no water

TOKYO (AP) -- One of Japan's crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and hardly any water to cool it, according to an internal examination Tuesday that renews doubts about the plant's stability.

A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the No. 2 reactor's containment chamber for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant a year ago. The probe done in January failed to find the water surface and provided only images showing steam, unidentified parts and rusty metal surfaces scarred by exposure to radiation, heat and humidity.

The data collected from the probes showed the damage from the disaster was so severe, the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant, a process expected to last decades.

Tuesday's examination with an industrial endoscope detected radiation levels up to 10 times the fatal dose inside the chamber. Plant officials previously said more than half of melted fuel has breached the core and dropped to the floor of the primary containment vessel, some of it splashing against the wall or the floor.

New York City-funded group teaching homeless how to invade apartments

It’s breaking and entering for dummies.

Picture the Homeless, a Bronx nonprofit that has received at least $240,000 in taxpayer money in the last five years, is giving a crash course on squatting — and city-owned buildings are a prime target.

Two weeks ago, board member Andres Perez held a teach-in on how to wrest “control” of vacant apartments. He called it “homesteading.”

“The best time to enter a building is in the late hours,” he advised a group of about 20, who gathered in front of the half-empty East New York, Brooklyn, housing complex Arlington Village.

Obama warns North Korea against rocket test, says it would isolate regime

Warning North Korea from its doorstep, President Barack Obama said Pyongyang risks deepening its isolation in the international community if it proceeds with a planned long-range rocket launch.

"North Korea will achieve nothing by threats or provocations," Obama said during a news conference Sunday in Seoul, South Korea, where he was to attend a nuclear security summit.

Obama spoke fresh off his first visit to the tense Demilitarized Zone, the heavily patrolled no-man's land between North and South Korea, where he peered long and hard at the isolated North.

"It's like you're in a time warp," Obama said. "It's like you're looking across 50 years into a country that has missed 40 years or 50 years of progress."

Toddler found high on heroin during mother's arrest in Washington, deputy says

A two-year-old boy has been taken into protective custody after police found him apparently high on heroin in the backseat of his mother's car in Everett, Wash., just north of Seattle, KOMO-TV reported.

Deputies arrested the boy's mother Camie Bena and her boyfriend after stopping their car Thursday night, a Snohomish County Sheriff's Office spokesperson told the station Friday.

While the boyfriend was arrested on a warrant and other charges, deputies found a needle loaded with heroin in Bena's purse, along with other drug paraphernalia.

Facebook takes steps to address privacy concerns

NEW YORK (AP) -- Facebook has taken steps in recent days to address more worries about privacy, warning employers not to ask prospective employees for their passwords and trying to clarify its user "rights and responsibilities" policies.

But the latter effort backfired when tens of thousands of users, mostly in Germany, misunderstood the clarifications and blasted the company, even though nothing substantive had changed. Their discontent showed that, no matter what Facebook does, privacy concerns are still the biggest threat to users' trust and to its growth.

"There is such an incredible level of scrutiny now about anything any company does about privacy," said Jules Polonetsky, director of the Future of Privacy Forum, an industry-backed think tank in Washington. "We are treating every single thing that touches privacy as a five-alarm fire. The risk of all these five-alarm level outbursts is that people will become inured about privacy and miss real privacy issues because of crying wolf when nothing is actually going on."

Newly discovered Mozart piece performed

VIENNA (AP) -- A piano work experts attribute to Mozart as a child prodigy was performed for the first time Friday since it was found last year after apparently being left in an attic for centuries.

The lively 84-bar passage - marked "allegro molto," or "very quick" - was played Friday on the composer's piano in a room of his Salzburg home by virtuoso Florian Birsak.

The Mozarteum Salzburg Foundation, which staged the event, said the manuscript was found last summer as part of a 160-page book of handwritten piano music as the musty attic of a house in Tyrol was being cleared from centuries of detritus.

Houston full autopsy report to offer more details

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Whitney Houston's full autopsy report may offer more clues about whether the singer suffered a heart attack before her drowning death, officials said Friday.

The full report, which is expected to be released in a few weeks, may include test results and physical descriptions of the singer's heart that will show whether she suffered a heart attack, Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said. The report is being compiled and Winter said he did not have access to its findings, which might show whether there were any obvious signs such as discoloration of her heart that would suggest Houston had a heart attack before slipping underwater in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 11.

Luxury brands target Nigeria's wealthy elite

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Glittering sapphire necklaces, designer suits against perfumed skin, the taste of freshly popped Champagne and the roar of a speeding Porsche: the five senses in Nigeria, brought to you by luxury brands now trying to tap directly into the country's market.

The wealthy elite in Nigeria - upstart business owners, oil industry executives and corrupt politicians - have a healthy appetite for top-shelf brands, but have previously had to shop for them in Dubai, London and Paris. Now though, sellers of luxury goods are opening stores in Nigeria where seemingly gratuitous displays of wealth are the norm.

"I feel that with some real infrastructure development and opportunity to create luxury environments for luxury brands to come in, this market has enormous potential to become a key luxury capital of Africa," said Ozwald Boateng, a top British fashion designer born to Ghanaian parents who recently showed a collection at Arise Magazine Fashion Week in Lagos.

"I have some very good clients here but I want to have more," said Boateng, who has a flagship store on London's prestigious Savile Row, where bespoke suits start at around $6,500.

7/7 Survivor competes for Paralympic spot

LONDON (AP) -- Martine Wright was running late for work.

Staying out to celebrate London getting the 2012 Olympics had caused her to oversleep. In the subway, she didn't reach her usual car, which dropped her off nearest to her exit. Instead, she jumped onto a closer one just as the door closed.

Moments later, chaos.

A white light flashed and she felt herself being thrown. An off-duty policewoman found Wright in the wreckage and held her hand. Wright looked up. She saw a sneaker; it had been blown off her foot and skewered on a piece of metal.

The marketing manager lost both legs on the morning of July 7, 2005, in the subway bombings that killed 52 commuters and all four suicide bombers.

She was in a coma for 10 days. Her body was swollen to twice its normal size. Her brother and sister saw her in the hospital; they told the police it wasn't her.

Doctors find clue in quest to predict heart attack

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Too often, people pass a cardiac checkup only to collapse with a heart attack days later. Now scientists have found a clue that one day may help doctors determine if a heart attack is imminent, in hopes of preventing it.

Most heart attacks happen when fatty deposits in an artery burst open, and a blood clot then forms to seal the break. If the clot is too big, it blocks off blood flow.

The problem: Today's best tests can't predict when that's about to happen.

"We don't have a way to get at whether an artery's going to crack, the precursor to a heart attack," said Dr. Eric Topol, director of California's Scripps Translational Science Institute.

Wednesday, Scripps researchers reported a new lead - by searching people's blood for cells that appear to flake off the lining of a severely diseased artery.

Smokey Robinson-backed Aussie pop group to tour US

DETROIT (AP) -- An Australian pop quartet's music really got a hold of Smokey Robinson.

Motown Records' signature vocalist loved Human Nature's take on the legendary label's standards so much that he signed on as the group's official presenter and helped facilitate a lengthy run for it at the Imperial Palace hotel in Las Vegas.

Now, the guys are heading out for their first U.S. tour, which kicks off Saturday in - where else - Detroit.

Human Nature (brothers Andrew and Mike Tierney and fellow high school classmates Phil Burton and Toby Allen) have released nine albums, five of which went to No. 1 in their native country.

They've opened for Celine Dion and Michael Jackson in Europe and Australia and performed the national anthem at the Summer Olympic Games in their home city of Sydney in 2000.

But it was their 2005 Motown tribute, "Reach Out," that attracted the attention of Robinson.

"They came to the studio one night in Los Angeles ... and sang for me a cappella with no music - just them singing - and blew me away, man. Just awesome," the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "I am so enamored with them."

FACT CHECK: More US drilling didn't drop gas price

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's the political cure-all for high gas prices: Drill here, drill now. But more U.S. drilling has not changed how deeply the gas pump drills into your wallet, math and history show.

A statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production by The Associated Press shows no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump.

If more domestic oil drilling worked as politicians say, you'd now be paying about $2 a gallon for gasoline. Instead, you're paying the highest prices ever for March.

Political rhetoric about the blame over gas prices and the power to change them - whether Republican claims now or Democrats' charges four years ago - is not supported by cold, hard figures. And that's especially true about oil drilling in the U.S. More oil production in the United States does not mean consistently lower prices at the pump.

Debut of Judd's 'Missing' on ABC lands in top 10

NEW YORK (AP) -- If your television show revolves around a search for someone missing, it helps to have Ashley Judd looking.

That's ABC's lesson from Nielsen's television ratings. Last Thursday's premiere of the network drama "Missing," starring Judd as a former CIA agent trying to find a teenage son who disappeared in Rome, landed among the 10 most popular series last week with 10.6 million viewers. The strong sampling came despite "Missing" competing directly with Fox's "American Idol."

Meanwhile, ABC's newish drama "The River," involving a family's hunt for a naturalist missing in the Amazon region, landed at No. 73 on Nielsen's list with an audience of 4.1 million. The man's family does not include Ashley Judd.

Sunday's season finale of "Walking Dead" was a smash for AMC with 9 million viewers, setting a basic cable record among younger demographics. Yet it's worth remembering there's still a difference between network and basic cable: Eight dramas on network TV had larger audiences last week, including reruns of "NCIS" and "NCIS: Los Angeles."

Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine' movie restored for DVD

Specialists worked for four months to individually clean each frame of the 1968 surreal tale by hand, the Beatles' holding company Apple Corps Ltd. said Tuesday.

The specialists chose not to use automated software because of the delicate nature of the hand-drawn artwork, the company added.

The colorful movie, a fantasy that features cartoon versions of the Beatles and images from some of their psychedelic songs, is currently out of print. It features some of the band's greatest hits including "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," `'Eleanor Rigby" and "When I'm Sixty-Four."

'X Factor' judge, singer Tulisa Contostavlos, in sex tape shocker

"X Factor" UK judge Tulisa Contostavlos was dragged into a new sex tape scandal Monday after an X-rated video went on sale online.

The film, from a high quality camera phone, shows a blonde performing a sex act for over six minutes.

An Internet firm put the footage online, charging $5.99 to download it. The site was suspended yesterday afternoon.

News of the video caused an Internet frenzy, with users posting reviews.

It is understood to have been filmed more than two years ago.

House Republicans unveil budget blueprint

WASHINGTON –  House Republicans teed off an election-year fight with the White House and their Democratic colleagues Tuesday, unveiling a much-anticipated budget which Rep. Paul Ryan said would move America away from a "dependent culture."

Democrats immediately blasted the plan as unbalanced, and favoring corporations over Medicare recipients.

The plan reprises a controversial proposal first pitched last year which would overhaul Medicare for those currently under 55. The plan would let those beneficiaries choose from a list of plans, including the traditional fee-for-service Medicare plan as well as private plans which the government would subsidize.

"We believe competition and choices should be the way forward versus price controls that leads to rationing," Ryan, R-Wis., said at a press conference Tuesday.

Jewish cemetery in Poland attacked by vandals

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Vandals have desecrated a Jewish cemetery in Poland, spraying swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans on tombstones and memorial plaques, an official said Monday.

The vandals also wrote "This is Poland, not Israel" on one sign at the Jewish cemetery in Wysokie Mazowieckie, a town in eastern Poland, according to the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland.

Police are investigating the attack, which occurred Sunday night in a town that has tried to preserve the memory of the Jews who once lived there. The cemetery, which was restored six years ago, is not fully fenced in and it was the first time vandals attacked it, said Michael Traison, an American lawyer who has raised funds to restore the cemetery.

Sean Penn's Haiti work earns humanitarian prize

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Actor Sean Penn is being honored by a group of Nobel laureates for his relief work in Haiti following the country's devastating January 2010 earthquake.

Penn is to receive the 2012 Peace Summit Award at the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. The event will be held in Chicago next month and is expected to draw such luminaries as Poland's Lech Walesa and the Dalai Lama.

Original Einstein manuscripts to be posted online

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Albert Einstein's complete archives - from personal correspondence with half a dozen lovers to notebooks scribbled with his groundbreaking scientific research - are going online for the first time.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which owns the German Jewish physicist's papers, is pulling never-before seen items from its climate-controlled safe, photographing them in high resolution and posting them on the Internet - offering the public a nuanced and fuller portrait of the man behind the scientific genius.

Only 900 manuscript images, and an incomplete catalog listing just half of the archive's contents, had been posted online since 2003. Now, with a grant from the Polonsky Foundation UK, which previously helped digitize Isaac Newton's papers, all 80,000 items from the Einstein collection have been cataloged and enhanced with cross referencing technology.

Report: Tablets helping improve news consumption

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mobile technology appears to be increasing the public appetite for news but it's far from clear whether the news industry will profit from that, a study issued Monday concluded.

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, in its annual state of the news media report, found encouraging signs within the 27 percent of Americans who say they get news on their smartphones or tablets.

These consumers are likely to seek out traditional news sites or applications, strengthening their bond with old newspaper or television news organizations. People with tablets tend to read longer articles and spend more time with news sites than they do on phones or desktop computers, said Tom Rosenstiel, Project for Excellence in Journalism director.

Many people already make it a habit to check their tablets before going to bed to see what is going to be in a newspaper the next day, he said.

4 GOP-appointed justices control health law's fate

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Here's a thought that can't comfort President Barack Obama: The fate of his health care overhaul rests with four Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices.

His most sweeping domestic achievement could be struck down if they stand together with Justice Clarence Thomas, another GOP appointee who is the likeliest vote against.

But the good news for Obama is that he probably needs only one of the four to side with him to win approval of the law's crucial centerpiece, the requirement that almost everyone in this country has insurance or pays a penalty.

Libya sending ex-rebels abroad for police training

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) -- The Libyan government says it will send former rebels abroad to receive police training in an effort to rebuild the country's battered security forces.

The transitional government says more than 2,500 former rebels will be sent to Jordan and Turkey for the first round of training. No timetable was given.

Some 10,000 Libyans will eventually train in Jordan in several stages, the government said. More than 1,300 will be sent to Turkey, in accordance with signed agreements.

Clooney uses star power to shine light on Sudanese atrocities

George Clooney may be a pretty face, but if it helps draw attention to the Sudan, he says he's more than happy to become the poster boy for humanitarian activism.

The global superstar was arrested last week with his father, retired newsman Nick Clooney, outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington. That was after testifying on Capitol Hill and meeting with President Obama to discuss the carnage being committed by Sudan's brutal leaders against their own citizens.

Clooney, who grew up watching the battle between news and entertainment, said he has learned what it takes to sell a story.

"I saw my father in the '70s doing really good stories and then getting bumped because there was a Liz Taylor story that was going to be out. And the story that he did that had real some social value was going to get bumped," Clooney said in an interview taped for "Fox News Sunday."

Minnesota to vote on rescinding immunity for lawmakers facing drunken driving arrest

The Minnesota Legislature is expected to vote this week to rescind a get-out-of-jail-free card for state lawmakers who are arrested for drunken driving.

The provision, found in the state constitution, allows lawmakers "privilege from arrest" when they are pulled over by police. According to Article IV, Section 10, of the Minnesota Constitution, "the members of each house in all cases except treason, felony and breach of the peace, shall be privileged from arrest during the session of their respective houses and in going to or returning from the same."

Poll: Most Japanese favor break with nuclear power

TOKYO (AP) -- A new poll suggests that most Japanese favor phasing out nuclear power following last year's tsunami-generated crisis.

The poll, released Sunday by the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper, found that 43.7 percent of respondents believe Japan should gradually reduce its dependence on nuclear power and eventually do away with atomic energy altogether. Another 35.9 percent agreed with that position more than they disagreed with it.

'Kony 2012' director hospitalized after exhibiting bizarre behavior

director of a documentary about a notorious Ugandan warlord that went viral after its release this month was picked up by police Thursday in San Diego after several people reported a man running through the streets in his underwear, screaming, sources said Friday.

While San Diego police declined to provide the identity of the 33-year-old man, an official familiar with the case confirmed him to be Jason Russell.

Police said the man, who 911 callers said was interfering with traffic and acting irrationally, was not arrested and was transported to a local medical facility.

Fans, entrepreneurs among first buyers of new iPad

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Apple's latest iPad drew the customary lines of die-hard fans looking to be first and entrepreneurs looking to make a quick profit.

Many buyers lined up for hours, and in some cases overnight, as the tablet computer went on sale in the U.S. and nine other countries. They did so even though Apple started accepting online orders a week ago.

The new, third model comes with a faster processor, a much sharper screen and an improved camera, though the changes aren't as big as the upgrade from the original model to the iPad 2.

As with the previous models, prices start at $499 in the U.S.

"I don't think it's worth the price but I guess I'm a victim of society," Athena May, 21, said in Paris.

Dan Krolikowski, 34, was first in line at a Madison, Wis., mall. He arrived 14 hours before the store's opening and was buying an extra one to sell on the "gray market."

White rice raises T2 diabetes risk, claim academics

Every large bowl (5.6oz / 158g) eaten a day is associated with an 11 per cent increased risk, they concluded from a review of four studies, two in Western countries and two in Asian ones.

White rice tends to be converted rapidly in the body into sugars, a characteristic known as having a high glycaemic index (GI).

This causes blood glucose levels to spike quickly and then fall off, which can cause problems in those who are already diabetic.

It also means one is left feeling hungry sooner than if one had eaten a low GI food like porridge. That could prompt people to overeat and become overweight, which is known to raise the risk of developing T2 diabetes.

Fishing boat sinks in New Zealand, 8 presumed dead

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- A 7-year-old boy and a captain who was recently praised as a hero are among eight people believed dead after a fishing boat sank in rough weather off the coast of southern New Zealand.

The sole known survivor from Thursday's accident near Stewart Island was found clinging to a barrel in the ocean after enduring 18 hours in dark and cold conditions. He was taken to a local hospital suffering from severe hypothermia.

Rescue crews have recovered three bodies and hold out little hope of finding more survivors from the vessel Easy Rider due to poor sea conditions and a long delay before authorities were alerted to the accident.

The survivor, Dallas Reedy, 44, told police he was on the deck just after midnight when the boat was hit by a rogue wave, causing it to capsize almost immediately. He managed to cling to the overturned boat's hull for about two hours before it sank, according to Invercargill Police Inspector Lane Todd.

Meskipun murah tapi Notebook ini tidak Murahan

Sekarang ini sudah memasuki bulan ke tiga di tahun 2012, ini berarti kamu tentu telah mengetahui kalau di tahun ini tipe notebook Ultrabook akan menjelma jadi trend dan akan mengganti model-model terdahulu. Ultrabook Notebook Tipis Harga Murah Terbaik merupalah produk Acer pertama yang dilempar ke pasar Indonesia, keunggulan dari Ultrabook ini yakni mempunyai Desain yang tipis dan ringan tidak berbeda dari konsep pendahulunya tapi yang baru dari Acer Aspire S3 dan Ultrabook yang lain yakni performa yang baik tidak kalah oleh notebook-notebok model biasa.

Sekarang notebook sudah berkembang dengan pesat sehingga ada berbagai fitur dan spesifikasi notebook yang wah dan mewah ditawarkan didalamnya. Hal tersebut tidak bukan dikarenakan para produsen saling bersaing antara satu dan lainnya guna bisa menarik hati para pengguna notebook. Jika kita tengok Ultrabook Notebook Tipis Harga Murah Terbaik maka notebook tersebut sudah sangat ideal bagi anda yang tidak ingin ketinggalan gaya hidup sekaligus dapat mendapatkan kegunaan berupa kinerja yang handal untuk mendukung aktifitas sehari-hari.

Photo exhibit documents life inside North Korea

NEW YORK (AP) -- It's a simple scene that repeats itself around the world.

A man gently lifts a small child by the arms as they reach the top of the escalator inside a modern department store.

In this particular photograph, the man and the child are in Pyongyang, capital of the communist country where life's daily activities are largely a mystery to the rest of the world.

A photo exhibit that opened Thursday at a gallery in New York includes images such as these, as well as magnificent landscapes, drab cityscapes and visits by foreign dignitaries.

"Daily life is really what I try to focus on when I'm there. ... It's unscripted, it's candid," said AP Chief Asia Photographer David Guttenfelder, who took some of the photographs in the show, and who has made who has made many reporting trips to North Korea since 2010.

EU steps up banking sanctions against Iran

The organization that facilitates bank transactions around the world said Thursday it has been instructed to discontinue its communications services to Iranian financial institutions that are subject to European sanctions, effectively cutting them off from the global financial system.

SWIFT -- the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications -- said the move followed a decision by the European Council, which represents the 27 members of the European Union.

The new European Council decision prohibits companies such as SWIFT from providing specialized financial messaging services to Iranian banks under EU sanctions. In a statement, SWIFT said that as it was incorporated under Belgian law it had to comply with this decision.

Small businesses in homebuilding industry see signs that people are ready to buy

NEW YORK (AP) -- Charles Ruma is suddenly busy. His company, Virginia Homes, is getting five to 10 visits from prospective homebuyers each weekend. During the last three years, he was lucky to get five in a month.

Through the housing crisis, the challenges of big regional and national homebuilders such as Beazer Homes USA Inc. and Toll Brothers Inc. were widely broadcast. But the devastation in the industry also was acute for many private homebuilders and other small businesses that are part of the housing industry. Ruma is one of many smaller homebuilders now seeing early signs that the housing industry is recovering.

"It's very encouraging to see traffic coming out," Ruma says. Between the houses that the central Ohio builder signed contracts on in the second half of 2011 and the homes it expects to sell between now and July, he estimates that the company will have 21 closings this year. That would be Virginia Homes' best performance since 2009 when it sold 12 homes. The company sold just six in 2010 and seven last year.

Private firms bidding to run children's services

It is thought to be the first time children's services have been put out to tender to such an extent in England, according to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).

Virgin Care, part of Sir Richard Branson's group, is understood to be one of two profit-making companies bidding for the £130 million, three year contract.

The other is Serco, which already runs out-of-hours services and helps provides community health services for children in neighbouring Cornwall. Also bidding are Barnardo's and other charities.

Among the children's services that form the Devon contract are palliative care for the dying, therapy and respite care for disabled children, treatment for those who are mentally ill, and child protection.

Study: LinkedIn resumes more honest _ in some ways

NEW YORK (AP) -- A new study says people are less likely to lie about big things on resumes they post on the professional network LinkedIn compared with traditional resumes.

But the study, from researchers at Cornell University, says people are actually more deceptive about their interests and hobbies - things that are more difficult to verify.

The study says that websites such as LinkedIn can lead to greater honesty when it comes to resume claims such as experience and responsibilities. That's because claims are more easily verified in a public, online setting, so liars are more likely to get caught.

Do any of us, however ill, have the right to die?

What kind of person puts cancer at the top of their wish list? Maybe a parent who has watched their child suffering and has begged God to give the disease to them. Other than that you would have to be seriously warped, mad even, to choose a brutal, life-threatening illness. Yet Tony Nicklinson says he wants to get cancer. Cancer is Tony’s best hope, unless he can persuade the High Court to let someone kill him and call it mercy not murder.

Mr Nicklinson, a 53-year-old father of two from Wiltshire has “locked-in syndrome”. Paralysed from the neck down after suffering a stroke in Athens six years ago, the former civil engineer is as helpless as a baby, though unlike a baby he is fully aware of every agonising limitation and indignity. “I cannot scratch if I itch, I cannot pick my nose if it is blocked and I can only eat if I’m fed... I have no privacy or dignity left.”

Self-Immolations in Tibetan Areas of China Making Situation More Delicate

March has long been a tense time for China and its Tibetan areas.  It is a month marked by key anniversaries in the Tibetans' struggle for more freedom.  And this year, a growing number of self-immolations protesting Chinese policies in Tibetan areas is making the situation even more delicate.

Security is tight in parts of China where many of the self-immolations have occurred.  In Sichuan province's Aba prefecture, rows of military trucks line major streets, as do barbed wire fences and scores of baton and shield wielding police.

Fire extinguishers are kept at hand just in case another self-immolation is attempted.

Despite this, the protests continue. 

Since March 16 of last year, at least 27 monks, nuns and ordinary people have set themselves on fire in protest. And more than half of those self-immolations have occurred since January of this year.

On March 10, an 18-year-old Kirti monk set himself on fire behind a military camp in Aba.

Experts: Not importing animals hurts U.K. science

Medical research in the U.K. is being jeopardized by activists who have persuaded transport companies to stop importing animals for scientific experiments, a former British science minister says.

Following campaigns by animal rights groups, several ferry companies and airlines, including British Airways, now refuse to carry mice, rats and rabbits intended for laboratory testing.

The Channel Tunnel, which links the U.K. to France, has long refused to allow any animals for medical research to be transported.

Only foreign airlines still carry such animals into Britain.

Paul Drayson, a former science minister, said that is "choking off vital research" into deadly diseases such as Alzheimer's and cancer.

WTO Case Filed Against China Over Rare Earth Metals

The United States, the European Union and Japan are accusing China of unfairly limiting its exports of so-called "rare earth" minerals that are key components of many high-technology products.

It is a contention that Beijing rejects.

The U.S., Japan and the 27-nation EU filed a complaint against China on Tuesday with the World Trade Organization in Geneva to seek a resolution of the dispute. They alleged that China, which controls 95 percent of the world's supply of rare earth metals, has imposed export restrictions that violate world trade rules.

U.S. President Barack Obama said that is an unfair restriction of trade, and he is warning China to stop. “And as they ramp up their efforts, our competitors should be on notice: You will not get away with skirting the rules,” said Obama.

The president said he is pursuing the trade complaint so American companies can compete fairly against foreign businesses in the production of goods that require the use of the rare earths. He accused China of violating trade rules by limiting export of the minerals.

Azerbaijan arrests alleged Iran-hired terrorists

Security services in Azerbaijan have arrested 22 people they say were hired by Iran to carry out terrorist attacks against the U.S. and Israeli embassies as well as Western-linked groups and companies.

The national security ministry said Wednesday that the 22, all Azerbaijan citizens, had been trained in Iran, its southern neighbor, by Iran's Revolutionary Guard. It did not specify when the arrests were made.

In February, Azerbaijan announced the arrest of another suspected terrorist group allegedly working for Iran's secret services, and in January it arrested two people accused of plotting to kill two teachers at a Jewish school in the capital, Baku.

In 2007, Azerbaijan convicted 15 people in connection with an alleged Iranian-linked spy network accused of passing intelligence on Western and Israeli activities.

Voters favor the release of teacher ratings but Q-poll finds voters consider controversial rankings ‘flawed’

New York City voters favored the release of controversial teacher ratings but also believe the numbers are “flawed,” a new poll finds.

The Quinnipiac poll, released Wednesday, shows 58% approved of the release of the rankings while 38% disapproved.

But at the same time, just one in five voters “trust” the results, with 46% saying the ratings were “flawed.”

An even higher percentage of parents with kids in public school — 52% — question the results.

“Those teacher evaluation rankings are suspect, voters think,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

'Long shot' bill would cut off Congress' pay if no budget deal is reached

It might be dismissed as an election year gimmick by the big shots who run Capitol Hill, but frustration over Congress' failure to pass a budget since 2009 has given surprising momentum to a bill that would cut off lawmakers' pay if they can't -- or won't -- pass a budget blueprint.

The "no budget, no pay" idea is still a long shot, but it's actually getting an official hearing Wednesday from the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee as part of a package of congressional reform proposals from a centrist group called No Labels.

The idea is simple. If Congress doesn't pass a budget and all 12 of the accompanying spending bills setting annual agency budgets on time, every lawmaker's paycheck would get cut off. No exceptions.

Sudan, South Sudan Presidents to Meet

Sudan and South Sudan on Tuesday initialed preliminary agreements on two of three contentious issues left over from their breakup last year.  Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is expected to travel to the South Sudanese capital, Juba, soon for a formal signing ceremony.

Talks that began early this month with a shouting match came to a close with a new spirit of compromise.  Delegations from Khartoum and Juba sat side by side and initialed accords that commit the two states to work together to settle outstanding border and citizenship issues.

The more difficult issue of oil was put aside until after the nationalities and border agreements are formally signed at a meeting of both countries' presidents.  It will be President Bashir's first visit to Juba since South Sudan gained independence last July.

Disabled archer headed to Olympics uses teeth to win medals, heal wounded soldiers

Jeff Fabry is one of the world’s best archers. He’s a five-time Special Games world champion, a three-time Paralympic medalist and he’s aiming for gold at the 2012 Olympics in London this summer.

What makes his talent unique is that Fabry, who has only one arm, has mastered the art of firing arrows with his teeth. Your dentist might advise against it, but Fabry, who will compete on the U.S. Paralympics Team in London, says his chompers are holding up just fine.

“I’ve been doing this for 13 years and my teeth still look and feel the same the first day I started. Everything is going good, luckily,” Fabry said.

But the road to firing arrows with precision was not a straight one. At 15, Fabry lost his arm and a leg in a motorcycle accident.

Recluse heiress Huguette Clark’s jewels to fetch millions at Christie’s auction

A reclusive heiress’ spectacular collection of jewels — which sat in a bank vault for more than 60 years — is expected to fetch millions at a Christie’s auction next month.

Huguette Clark, who died at Beth Israel Medical Center at age 104 last year, wore some of the baubles as a young debutante in the 1920s.

They include a 9-carat pink diamond ring that Huguette inherited from her mother, which is expected to bring between $6 million and $8 million at the April 17 sale.

Another whopper of a diamond ring comes in at 19 carats and was made by Cartier. The highest grade of white diamond, it carries an estimate of $2 million to $3 million.

FDA begins review of Cornerstone drug candidate

Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. said Tuesday that the Food and Drug Administration will review its marketing application for a drug that treats low levels of sodium in the blood.

Cornerstone said the FDA will make a decision on the drug candidate CRTX 80 by Oct. 29. The drug is intended to treat hyponatremia, a condition caused by a lack of sodium. It is associated with heart failure, and Cornerstone said about a quarter of all heart failure patients develop the condition. Other causes can include burns, use of diuretic medications, kidney disease, and cirrhosis of the liver.

Apple's rivals have 'wrong goals', says Sir Jonathan Ive

In a rare interview, he said Apple’s rivals were focused on novelty instead of creating better products.

“Most of our competitors are interested in doing something different, or want to appear new – I think those are completely the wrong goals,” he told The Independent.

“A product has to be genuinely better. This requires discipline, and that’s what drives us, and it’s not about price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different – they are corporate goals with scant regard for people who use the product.”

Sir Jonathan, 45, heads Apple’s small team of designers and through his partnership with Steve Jobs is seen as a key force behind its renaissance over the past decade. He was knighted in the New Year Honours List for services to design and enterprise.

Since designing the colourful iMac range, which made its debut in 1998, Sir Jonathan has moved Apple’s products in an increasingly minimalist direction, using aluminium and glass, and a monochrome colour scheme.

Obama announces WTO case against China over rare earths

The United States, the European Union and Japan are filing a challenge with the World Trade Organization against China's export restrictions on minerals that are crucial for the production of many high-tech devices, President Barack Obama announced Tuesday.

In a statement to reporters at the White House, Obama said the case seeks to force China to lift export limits on certain minerals known as rare earths.

China produces 97% of all rare earths, according to the European Union. The materials are used in products such as flat-screen televisions, smart phones, hybrid car batteries, wind turbines, energy-efficient lighting, electronics, cars and petroleum.

"We want our companies building those products right here in America," Obama said. "But to do that, American manufacturers need to have access to rare earth materials which China supplies. Now, if China would simply let the market work on its own, we'd have no objections."

Syrian government rejects Annan's proposals

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has rebuffed the efforts of the joint U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan to mediate an end to the violence, three U.S. administration officials told CNN on Tuesday.

The sources said al-Assad replied to Annan's proposals by saying he doesn't recognize Annan as the Arab League's representative and he will not do anything until the opposition lays down its arms.

Annan, a former U.N. secretary-general, had said earlier in a statement that he left "concrete proposals" with Syrian government officials after meeting over the weekend with al-Assad in Damascus. On Tuesday, before receiving the response, Annan met in Turkey with government officials and Syrian opposition members.

"Once I receive their answer, we will know how to react," Annan had said. "But let me say that the killing and the violence must stop. The Syrian people have gone through (a lot). They deserve better."

FDA panel supports continued testing of pain drugs

A panel of arthritis experts recommended Monday that the federal government allow continued testing of an experimental class of pain drugs for arthritis, despite links to bone decay and joint failure

The Food and Drug Administration's 21-member panel of arthritis experts voted unanimously that research on the nerve-blocking drugs should continue, with certain safety precautions. Reports of joint failure led the agency to halt studies of the drugs in 2010 before any of the medications could be submitted for U.S. approval.

Pfizer Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have asked the FDA to lift the moratorium on testing of their drugs. The FDA will weigh the advice of its panel before making a final decision.

Russia's Democracy Movement Looks Ahead

Vladimir Putin's election as president on March 4 dealt a blow to Russia's middle-class-based opposition movement.  After a winter of massive street protests, a protest on Saturday drew a comparatively small crowd.

Russia's democracy movement is searching for new directions after Vladimir Putin's election to a six-year term as president.

Ksenia Sobchak, a television personality turned activist, told demonstrators in Moscow that the movement has to clearly state positive goals.

She says that the movement has to get beyond chanting "Russia Without Putin." She says democrats have to say that they are for an independent court system, a diversity of opinion on television, and a restoration of direct elections for mayors and governors.

Protester Mikhail Makarov says that democracy advocates should spread the movement across Russia.

Activists file lawsuit to try to stop restart of Japanese nuclear plant

Scores of Japanese citizens filed a lawsuit Monday in an effort to block the restarting of a nuclear power facility as tensions remain over atomic energy in the country a year after the Fukushima Daichi disaster.

The suit, filed at Osaka District Court by a group of 259 citizens, seeks an injunction to stop the company Kansai Electric from bringing its nuclear power plants Oi Unit 3 and 4 back online, according to Green Action, an organization that campaigns against nuclear energy in Japan.

Injury forces Tiger Woods to withdraw from tournament

Tiger Woods was forced to withdraw from Sunday's final round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in Doral, Florida, after suffering an injury to his left leg.

Woods, grimacing after hitting his tee shot on the 12th hole, left the tournament just a day after telling reporters that his injury-plagued body "feels great."

The American golf star's participation in the opening major of 2012, April's Masters at Augusta, is now in doubt.

"I felt tightness in my left Achilles (tendon) warming up this morning, and it continued to get progressively worse," Woods said in a statement on his website.

"After hitting my tee shot at 12, I decided it was necessary to withdraw. In the past, I may have tried to continue to play, but this time, I decided to do what I thought was necessary."

Israeli Air Strikes Kill At Least 18 Palestinians

Israeli aircraft have killed three Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the latest round of fighting with militants who fired rockets into Israel for a third day.

Palestinian medics say Israeli airstrikes on Sunday killed a militant, a 60-year old man and a 12-year-old boy who was walking to school in the northern Gaza town of Jebaliya.

The Israeli military says it was targeting militants who fired at least a dozen rockets into southern Israel during the day. No casualties were reported in the rocket attacks.

Suicide attack at funeral kills at least 14 in Pakistan

A suicide bomber targeted a funeral in northwest Pakistan on Sunday, killing at least 14 people and wounding 37 others, officials said.

The blast took place just outside Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said city police official Kalam Khan.

While no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, authorities believe the target may have been members of the Awami National Party.

Tahun 2012 Masa-nya Ultrabook

Tahun ini digadang-gadang merupakan masanya Ultrabook, sebuah model teranyar dari komputer jinjing. Intel adalah perusahaan yang memprakarsai Ultrabook, mempunyai target Ultrabook akan memperoleh 40% pangsa pasar komputer jinjing di akhir tahun ini. Ultrabook Notebook Tipis Harga Murah Terbaik merupakan contoh produk Ultrabook yang akan ikut meramaikan pasaran Ultrabbok tahun ini.

Obama Hails Success of US Workers, Technology

U.S. President Barack Obama is stepping up his campaign to try to show Americans that economic progress is being made on the strength and ingenuity of U.S. workers.

During his weekly address Saturday, Obama hailed the increase in new jobs last month.  He spoke at a manufacturing plant where people are being hired.  

Puas Bekerja Menggunakan Notebook Murah

Semua orang menginginkan kepuasan pada waktu melakukan pekerjaan, kepuasan tersebut diantaranya mampu diciptakan dengan tersedianya notebook yang senantiasa bisa membantu semua kebutuhan pada saat menuntaskan pekerjaan. Betul, seperangkat notebook mampu mendatangkan jaminan kepuasan dikarenakan sekarang ini semakin berkembang orang yang mengandalkan sebuah notebook untuk bekerja. Dan kenyaman itu akan didapat dari sebuah Ultrabook Notebook Tipis Harga Murah Terbaik yaitu Acer Aspire S3.

Boko Haram Denies Involvement in Nigeria Hostage Killing

Nigeria's government says radical Islamic sect Boko Haram killed the two European hostages who died during a British-Nigerian rescue attempt Thursday. However, a spokesman for the militant group has denied involvement.

A pair of hostages -- one British, one Italian -- died Thursday during a failed rescue attempt in the sleepy town of Sokoto, in northwestern Nigeria. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said that Boko Haram militants were behind the kidnapping and killing of the two men.

Little is known about the radical anti-government sect based in the far northeast, though a mysterious spokesman known as Abul Qaqa regularly communicates by phone with journalists in Maiduguri, the sect's base.  He mentioned the hostages for the first time Friday.

Al Qaeda group threatens Yemeni troop executions

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is threatening to kill the 73 Yemeni troops it is holding hostage if the government does not release al Qaeda prisoners.

In a statement issued late Thursday, the group advised family members of the hostages to push the government to cooperate, but a senior security official in the southern province of Abyan, where the troops are being held, said the government would not give in to the group's demands.

"We will work on freeing the soldiers being held by the militants, but only by reasonable means. The government will not set free any militants. This will only make the terror crisis even worse," said the security official, who is not authorized to talk to media.

The official said three of the troops had already been killed.

The threat of more killings came as Yemen mourned the approximately 200 troops killed this week by al Qaeda in three Yemeni provinces.

Zimbabwe's PM Warns Military Will Disregard Election Results

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says the country's military leaders have told him they will not allow anyone but President Robert Mugabe to rule the country, regardless of who wins an election.

At a press conference Thursday in the capital, Harare, Tsvangirai said he and his MDC party do not want a war, and that is why they are insisting on constitutional reforms before any vote is held.

"We are not afraid, ladies and gentleman, of an election, but we will definitely not participate in a war," Tsvangirai said.  "It is because of this that the MDC will not be stampeded into a sham election that is not predicated on the necessary reforms."

Joseph Kony 2012: child at centre of viral hit defends film

Mr Acaye was taken prisoner by Joseph Kony's Lord’s Resistance Army when it attacked his home village of Koro, near Gulu in 2002. His brother was killed.

He was able to escape after “getting lucky” after three weeks, and found his way back to his village. He was found by the group behind the video, while sleeping on a veranda in Gulu. He was one of hundreds of children who walked every night from his village to Gulu to sleep for safety.

In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Acaye, who is now 21, said: “Until now the war that was going on has been a silent war. People did not really know about it.

Mueller grilled on FBI's release of al-Awlaki in 2002

Several congressional committees want the FBI director to explain why one of his agents ordered the release of Anwar al-Awlaki from federal custody on Oct. 10, 2002, when there was an outstanding warrant for the American Muslim cleric’s arrest.

“There are a number of committees interested in the facts of what happened early on with al-Awlaki, and we'd be happy to give you a briefing of what we know. We've done it before, we'll do it again,” FBI Director Robert Mueller told Republican Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia.

Wolf first wrote to Mueller in spring 2010, based on the Fox News’ ongoing investigation of al-Awlaki, who was killed last year in a CIA-led drone strike in Yemen, on Sept. 30. Fox News was told that the congressman, whose district once included the cleric’s Virginia mosque, was not satisfied by the FBI’s earlier briefings.

Senate rejects GOP measure to build oil pipeline

The Senate narrowly rejected a Republican-sponsored measure Thursday that would have bypassed the Obama administration's current objections to the Keystone XL pipeline and allowed construction on the controversial project to move forward immediately.

Fifty-six senators voted in favor of the amendment -- four short of the 60 required for approval. Eleven Democrats joined a unanimous Republican caucus in backing the plan.

The proposed 1,700-mile long pipeline expansion, intended to carry crude oil from Canada's oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast, has become a political lightning rod. Supporters, including the oil industry, say it's a vital job creator that will lessen the country's dependence on oil imported from volatile regions.

Opponents say the pipeline may leak, and that it will lock the United States into a particularly dirty form of crude that might ultimately end up being exported anyway.

Abducted Briton, Italian killed as rescue attempt launched

The suspected killers of Italian and British hostages who had been held in Nigeria have been arrested, an adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan said Thursday in a statement, according to the government-run Nigerian Television Authority.

Reuben Abati, the president's special adviser on media and publicity, said the killers will face the full wrath of the law.

The announcement came shortly after British Prime Minister David Cameron said the Briton and the Italian, who had been held hostage for 10 months in northern Nigeria, died Thursday in a failed rescue attempt. Their captors killed them "before Navy Special Forces could get them," an unidentified official said.

Nigerian security forces, with support from Britain, had launched an operation Thursday to free British citizen Chris McManus and Italian national Franco Lamolinara, Cameron said.

Despite Tensions, Sudan-S. Sudan Talks Continue

Talks continue between Sudan and South Sudan as they try to resolve simmering disputes over oil, borders, and citizenship issues.

A VOA correspondent at the scene, in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, says the talks are focusing on border issues, while the African Union mediation team seeks common ground on the more contentious issues of citizenship and oil revenues.

South Sudan has accused Sudan of charging excessive fees for the use of oil pipelines that run north to the Red Sea.  A source close to the talks told VOA the south is offering to pay about $0.69 a barrel, while Khartoum is demanding a package worth $36 a barrel.

Faith-based films made more money in 2011 than their left-leaning counterparts, report says

What’s a good recipe for box office and DVD sales success? It seems in 2011, pro-America sentiment mixed with conservative values and faith-centered themes equaled a hit.

This according to an annual study conducted by the Christian-focused entertainment advocacy group Movieguide, which found that in 2011, American audiences preferred movies with strong conservative content and values over movies with liberal or left-leaning values by an almost six-to-one margin.

The 760-page report claims that films with a conservative or pro-American edge, such as “Captain America,” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” “Soul Surfer,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Battle: Los Angeles” raked in significantly more box office green than more liberal films like “Red State,” “Super 8,” “J. Edgar,” “Glee” and “Ides of March.”

AQAP claims responsibility for Yemen attacks

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has taken responsibility for a series of attacks on Yemeni security forces in recent days that killed more than 180 troops.

The militant group issued a statement -- which CNN received a copy of Wednesday -- describing the attacks.

"The mujahedeen held a series of 'the cutting of the tail' military operations on the forces of Sanaa's government on the outskirts of the city of Zunjubar in Abyan state," the statement said.

The attacks were considered the bloodiest launched against Yemeni forces in recent days in which an estimated 200 troops were killed in three provinces.

Tropical Storm Irina kills 73 in Madagascar

At least 73 people are dead and more than 21,000 people homeless after Tropical Storm Irina struck Madagascar, an official with the nation's disaster bureau said Wednesday.

One person has been injured, and two more are missing, according to Setra Rakotomandrindra of the National Bureau of Natural Catastrophes.

About 21,235 people are homeless, he said, and a total of 67,911 people have been affected, mostly in the southeastern part of the island nation. The government was using tents to house those who need shelter, he said.

Afghanistan Blast Kills Six British Soldiers

Six British soldiers were killed when a massive explosion hit their armored vehicle in southern Afghanistan.

The soldiers were on patrol near the capital of Helmand province, Lashkar Gah, Tuesday evening when the blast happened. It was the single deadliest incident for British troops in Afghanistan since a helicopter crash in 2006 killed 14.

NATO said the troops were believed killed following an improvised explosive device attack. Afghan officials said the vehicle hit a landmine.

The deaths bring the number of British troops killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 404. Britain has had the second highest number of casualties in the 10-year war after the United States.

British Prime Minister David Cameron mourned the loss Wednesday, but said the mission in Afghanistan remained important for British national security.

4 killed in Afghanistan blast

Four people were killed and eight wounded Wednesday morning after a motorcycle bomb exploded in southern Afghanistan, Kandahar regional officials said.

Only civilians were injured in the attack that occurred in Kandahar province, the officials said.

Kandahar has been one of the areas that has seen protests and violence since news emerged, late last month, that U.S. troops mistakenly burned Qurans and other religious materials.

This time, Gina Ford’s taken it too far

Dear Gina, do you hear that awful racket? Why, I’ve never witnessed such a pitiful crescendo of controlled crying! I really think this is the point where you’re supposed to creep into the bedroom and offer some sort of comfort. No, no, not to the Contented Little Babies. They’ve been out for the count since 7pm, sharp, just the way you like it. What you are hearing is a generation of fraught new mothers, weeping and caterwauling at your recent suggestion – in The Contented Mother’s Guide – that they whip the cabbage leaves out of their bras, glam up for a date night and resume conjugal relations even before their stitches have healed. Ouch.

My friend Mandy had a baby girl on Saturday and, you know, Gina, when I called to say that a parcel was on the way containing a white furry gilet, cute frilly knickers and socks with satin ribbons, she was thrilled. That is, until I explained they were for her not the baby. Then she said something unrepeatable and slammed the phone down on me. New mothers, huh? No wonder they need help.

GOP candidates offer strong words on Iran

Republican presidential hopefuls and President Barack Obama traded barbs Tuesday over policy toward Iran.

In speeches before a powerful pro-Israel lobby group, Republican candidates promised a stronger line against Iran and a closer relationship with Israel if elected.

Three of the four candidates in the GOP primary spoke separately at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney used the exact same phrase: If they were president, there would be "no gap" between the United States and Israel.

Gunmen in disguise fool police, kill 27

Gunmen pretending to be an official security force opened fire on police at numerous checkpoints in Haditha, Iraq, early Monday, killing 27, authorities said.

Three of the attackers were killed in shootouts with officers, according to Khalid Salman, head of the Haditha local council

In addition to the 27 killed, three officers were wounded, Salman said.

At least 14 black SUVs with more than 30 gunmen disguised in SWAT-style uniforms entered the town at about 2 a.m., Salman said. The gunmen were carrying forged arrest warrants for senior police officers.

"Iraqi security forces believe that those attackers drove all the way down from desert areas close to Bayji, about 200 km (124 miles) north of Haditha," Salman said.

Undecided Voters Key to 'Super Tuesday' Vote in Ohio

ap_ohio_republicans_3mar12_eng_480 Perhaps the most important Republican primary contest on "Super Tuesday"is Ohio - a “swing” state that has voted both Democratic and Republican in presidential elections. And just days before Tuesday's vote, many Republican voters still have not decided which presidential hopeful they would like to see as their party's nominee.

“This is an incredible opportunity we have to exercise the rights that God has given us, but also our civic responsibility and our spiritual responsibility,” said Pastor Matt Keller, Sunday morning at Calvary Bible Baptist Church is Westerville, Ohio.

Dave Sexton, a student pastor, says a candidate's morality and traditional values are most important. He says he probably will vote for former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, but with reservations.

“I would love to see if there were a true both fiscal and moral conservative person running, and I don't know that we have that candidate in the race,” said Sexton.

Deciding when a right to life begins

max_2156455b It is fair to say that if you really wanted to antagonise the general public and have opprobrium heaped upon you from every angle, one good way would be to suggest that killing babies should be legalised. Babies, along with kittens and puppies and possibly Bruce Forsyth, have a special place in the collective consciousness as being untouchable. They engender atavistic emotional responses of protection and stewardship. Threaten babies at your peril. So it was particularly startling to read, in the Journal of Medical Ethics, an article arguing that babies are not “actual persons” and that they do not have a “moral right to life”. The authors concluded that, from a philosophical perspective, there is no difference between a foetus and a newborn baby. The logical extension of this, they argue, is that the killing of newborns should be permissible, just as abortion is.

60 years after liberation, Dachau survivor and American GI meet

survivors The way Ernie Gross and Don Greenbaum laugh and tell jokes with the ease of old friends, it's easy to assume the dapper octogenarians have known each other forever.

In reality, they only met a few months ago. Their familiarity doesn't come from shared memories of a childhood playground or a high school dance, but a far darker place: Both men spent a single day at the Dachau concentration camp on the day its 30,000 prisoners were liberated by American GIs in 1945.

Greenbaum, 87, and Gross, 83, don't think they met that day in Dachau but nevertheless share a bond. They met after Gross, who lives in Philadelphia, saw a mention in a local newspaper last November about Greenbaum, a Philadelphia native now living in suburban Bala Cynwyd.

"Ernie wanted to thank me for saving his life, quote unquote, even though there were 50,000 other men there with me," Greenbaum said, with a hint of unease, during an interview at Gross' home. "And we sat and had lunch together and discussed what happened 66 years ago."

Syrian Forces Pound Rebel-held Town as Some Aid Gets Through

reu_homs_aid_480_04mar12 Syrian government forces pounded the northern rebel-held town of Rastan Sunday along with several districts of the beleaguered city of Homs. Humanitarian aid reached some areas near Homs but not the battered district of Baba Amr, taken by government forces Thursday. 

A Red Cross convoy to the Baba Amr district of Homs has been unable to reach it, according to International Committee of the Red Cross spokesman in Damascus, Saleh Dabakeh.  He said, however, that the Syrian Red Crescent Society is distributing aid elsewhere in and around Homs.

"We are trying to get in, since actually Friday, and although we have authorizations to get in, we have not been able to get in yet," he said. "We have not been allowed to get in.  A lot of the population of Baba Amr has been displaced during the fighting. They left, a lot of them left, so they have gone to nearby neighborhoods and villages. So, today we were distributing at a village called Abel, SARC (Syrian Arab Red Crescent) volunteers have been distributing all across Homs. We have food, non-food items such as hygiene kits, we're handing [out] blankets, and SARC, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, is even I think giving baby milk and diapers, as well."

Romney wins Washington state caucuses

120302012442-romney-north-dakota-gi-story-top Mitt Romney won the Republican caucuses in Washington state, according to unofficial results early Sunday, giving the former Massachusetts governor a shot in the arm heading into Super Tuesday contests.

With 99% of the vote in, Romney had 38%. Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 25% and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had 24%. They were trailed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 10%.

At stake in the contest are 40 delegates.

"We're in a good second place, but the good news is we're doing very, very well in getting delegates," Paul told supporters in Seattle, when about half of the vote had been counted. "The enthusiasm for the cause of liberty continues to grow exponentially."

Washington's caucuses come just three days before Super Tuesday, when 10 states hold primaries and caucuses. And because of that, all four major GOP presidential candidates campaigned in the state, hoping a strong finish would carry over to Tuesday.

State GOP chairman Kirby Wilbur predicted a large turnout and estimated between 500 and 1,500 did not vote in Kennewick city because of overcrowding.

Ahmadinejad's sister loses in Iran vote

120303075946-watson-iran-elex-00012012-story-top Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's sister lost her bid for a seat in the nation's parliamentary elections, a result seen as a blow to the controversial leader and, according to one analyst, a "possible sign of fraud."

Parvin Ahmadinejad, running in her family's hometown of Garmsar, was defeated by a conservative rival in Friday's elections for the Majlis, Iran's parliament, the country's news outlets said Saturday.

More than 64 percent of eligible voters streamed to the polls in large numbers, and election officials praised the exercise, in which about 3,400 candidates vied for Majlis seats.

It's first time Iranians are voting since allegations of rigging in the 2009 elections triggered mass street protests against President Ahmadinejad's re-election.

Venezuela Releases Photos of Chavez with Castro

Venezuela has released photographs of its convalescing president, reportedly taken inside a Cuban hospital.  A smiling Hugo Chavez is seen walking in a couple of the pictures, and in others sitting and chatting with his mentor, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Mr. Chavez flew to Cuba last week to undergo surgery for removal of what he said was likely a cancerous tumor in the pelvic region. 

Last year, the 57-year-old Venezuela leader had surgery and chemotherapy in Havana to remove a cancerous growth from the same area.  Mr. Chavez later said he was cancer-free.

Official: Quran burning involved five Americans, one Afghan

120224043804-afghanistan-quran-riots-story-top The recent burning of Qurans at a NATO base in Afghanistan involved five American servicemen and a local translator, according to a NATO official familiar with the investigations.

The Qurans burned were among religious materials seized from a detainee facility at Bagram Airfield last week.

Throngs of outraged Afghans took to the streets following the incident, prompting U.S. President Barack Obama to apologize to his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, calling the burning an inadvertent error.

Furor over the burnings have fueled a string of protests and attacks that have left at least 39 people dead, including four American soldiers. Hundreds more have been wounded in the attacks.

Jewish basketball team wins playoff game after Sabbath rescheduling

jewishbball640 The boys basketball team from an Orthodox Jewish school in Texas has won the semifinal game that was rescheduled so it wouldn't conflict with the Sabbath.

Beren Academy beat Dallas Covenant 58-46 on Friday afternoon.

"We are very excited," Chris Cole, Beren Academy coach told FoxNews.com. 

"We look forward to tomorrow night, being able to compete in the championship," he said.

The game was originally set for Friday night after the sunset that opens the Sabbath. Beren students say their faith prohibits participation between sunset on Friday and sunset on Saturday.

Remembering Davy Jones

AP_The_Monkees_1966_480 Davy Jones, lead singer of the made-for-TV band The Monkees and first crush of millions of girls worldwide, died of a heart attack in Florida Wednesday. He was 66 years old.

Most of his fans first heard of Davy Jones in 1966, when the Monkees television program invaded living rooms worldwide. In reality, the then 21-year-old actor and singer from Manchester in the United Kingdom was a show business veteran. He got his start as a teen actor on British television, and later performed in the West End and Broadway casts of the musical “Oliver.”

While appearing in that show, Davy Jones found himself on The “Ed Sullivan Show” in the U.S. the same night that millions of people tuned in to see the Beatles’ American TV debut.  In later years, Jones often told the story of hearing hundreds of teenagers screaming as the Beatles played, and deciding then and there that he wanted to be a pop star.

Afghan clerics call on US to turn over prisons for Koran burnings

A council of Afghanistan's top religious leaders on Friday called on the U.S. to end night searches and hand over its prisons, saying that if Afghans had been in charge, Muslim holy books from a detention center library would never have been burned at an American base.

In a statement issued after a meeting with President Hamid Karzai, the religious leaders strongly condemned the Feb. 20 incident, which sparked six days of deadly protests. During the demonstrations, six U.S. troops were killed by Afghan security forces or militants disguised in their uniforms.

Device to silence incessant talkers created by Japanese scientists

SpeechJammer_2156040b Dubbed the SpeechJammer, the prototype device takes advantage of psychologists' discovery that it is virtually impossible to speak when your own words are being played back to you with a delay of a fraction of a second.

The gadget has been devised by Kazutaka Kurihara, a researcher at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and Koji Tsukada, a professor at Ochanomizu University in Tokyo, and is remarkably simple.

The hand-held device consists of a microphone that is pointed at the speaker and records that person's voice. It then transfers the sounds to a speaker and replays them back in the same direction with a delay of about 0.2 seconds.

BMA calls for 'active stand' against health bill

healthBill2_2147984b The call-to-arms is contained in a strongly-worded letter from the BMA to 22,000 general practitioners, which argues the Health and Social Care Bill will be "irreversibly damaging to the NHS".

It marks a move from the BMA opposing the Health and Social Care Bill to advising members to do something about it, if it receives Royal Assent.

The letter, by Dr Laurance Buckman, chair of the BMA's GPs' committee, describes the Bill as "complex, incoherent and not fit for purpose".

It warns the legislation will be "almost impossible to implement successfully, given widespread opposition across the NHS workforce".

Saudi Arabia, China Eliminated from World Cup Race

reuters_saudi_australia_soccer_eng_480_29feb12 Saudi Arabia, usually one of Asia's football powers, is out of contention the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil after a loss to Australia in Melbourne, Wednesday. The team, known as the "Green Falcons," is a three-time winner of the Asian Cup, but finished third in its round three qualifying group this year. China has also been eliminated from the race to compete in the World Cup.

Saudi Arabia needed to beat Australia in Melbourne to guarantee passage to the next round of World Cup qualification. At half-time, the visitors held a 2-1 lead and their fans were in full voice.

But three goals for Australia in the space of three minutes in the second half ended Saudi Arabia’s hopes of moving one step closer to the next World Cup finals, to be staged in Brazil in 2014. The Saudis also failed to reach the last World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

The bridal fitness challenge: week 4

Mark-Anthony-measu_2131499b For some reason this has been the toughest week to date (apart from the first during which I thought my body was about to collapse in on itself).

After my weekend off, I am aching. Waking up at 6am is getting harder, even though it’s becoming lighter earlier. And crucially, I am still not “addicted” to fitness.

Friends, colleagues and even a former teacher (who got in touch on Facebook after reading this diary), assured me that my newfound gym habit would become one I wouldn’t be able to kick after the six weeks were over.

Well four weeks in, and I am still waiting. In fact, if anything, I am starting to panic about regressing back to my fitness levels a month ago once the body plan is over.

What am I going to do without Ross and Michael – my motivating trainers - spurring me on every morning at Mark Anthony’s sanctuary of a gym?

Should I now try Zumba? Or perhaps dance lessons so the boy wonder and I can perform a cringe-worthy highly choreographed first dance - which our chums would only too gleefully upload onto YouTube?

Trying to silence my panicked thoughts, I carry on with the regime, subjecting my body to a different set of exercises each morning.

Amazingly, the trainers do manage to keep each set fresh and interesting– having now worked out each core part of my body at least three times now in this month of gyming.

Ross delights in telling me how much he has increased the weights by each time we return to an exercise we have done before. Instantly I always reply “No! I can’t do it,” as half of the battle is psychological for me. Tell me its harder, my muscles instantly don’t want to play ball, as brain emits a defeated vibe.

But an ever-smiling Ross, calmly orders me to do another 12 tricep dips, while correcting my erratic breathing.

The weight loss seems to have evened out now. I am still refusing to weigh myself, as I want to measure my progress at the end of the six weeks. Plus the real sign of success is if I have managed to lower my body fat percentage by at least a couple of per cent.

Being an absolute foodie – I am craving butter, salt and red meat. Porridge, sushi, chicken and ‘superfood salads’ are getting a little repetitive now – but I do feel I have managed to reduce my rather large appetite a little.

Only time will tell if I can keep up the good work. Here’s hoping the fitness addiction I have been so faithfully assured of, will finally take a hold of me this week.

The Telegraph