Monday, July 25, 2011

FIFA Bans Mohamad Hammam From Football For Life

Monday, 25th July 2011

Mohamed Bin Hammam was banned for life by soccer’s governing body after being found guilty of bribing voters in his attempt to defeat incumbent Sepp Blatter for the presidency of FIFA.

The decision came after a two-day hearing in Zurich that Bin Hammam didn’t attend. It follows a six-week investigation by former U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation head Louis Freeh into allegations Bin Hammam offered stacks of $40,000 to members of the Caribbean Football Union.
“Mr. Bin Hammam is hereby banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level, administrative, sports and any other, for a period of life,” Petrus Damaseb, deputy chairman of FIFA’s ethics committee, said at a news conference yesterday.
Bin Hammam, a 62-year-old Qatari, rejected the findings and maintained his innocence.
“We did not do anything wrong,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek program today. “We played in compliance with the rules and regulations of FIFA. I did not provide money for distribution, or for buying votes or for bribing. I paid the expenses of the congresses, the travel expenses, daily allowances.”
Bin Hammam said the decision was certain even before his case went before the ethics committee. He said he was being punished for standing against Blatter for the presidency.
‘Full of Revenge’
“Exactly, there is nothing else,” he said. “The ban for life has already been written before the investigation started. I was expecting it actually. The ban for life, that shows how much these people are angry, how much they are full of revenge.”
Earlier, Bin Hammam’s lawyer said his client would take the legal fight further.
“He will continue to fight through the legal routes that are open to him,” Eugene Gulland told reporters. “The FIFA ethics committee has apparently based its decision on so-called circumstantial evidence which, as our case has clearly demonstrated, is bogus and is founded on lies by senior FIFA officials.”
Bin Hammam’s exit follows the resignation last month of Jack Warner, a FIFA vice president, who was accused of helping Bin Hammam’s bribery effort; he denied wrongdoing. FIFA has been struggling with bribery accusations against board members and corruption allegations involving the staging rights for its $4 billion World Cup after Russia and Qatar were selected to host the 2018 and 2022 events.
Senior Official
Bin Hammam is the most-senior soccer official to have been expelled. He and Warner, as well as two lower ranked Caribbean officials, were initially suspended following an internal inquiry on May 29, three days before FIFA’s presidential election. Blatter was voted in for a fourth four-year term after Bin Hammam withdrew from the race before his suspension.
FIFA yesterday suspended Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, the two Caribbean officials, for one year, Damaseb said. FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer of the U.S., who informed the ruling body of the bribery, was also warned for comments he directed at Caribbean soccer officials.
The corruption claims have hurt FIFA. Sponsors, former players and fan groups have all demanded the organization change the way it governs itself. Blatter said future World Cups would be chosen by representatives of all 208 member associations, not by the 24 senior executives who have decided up until now. He’s also promised a raft of other measures as part of a “zero tolerance” approach to wrongdoing.
“The decision was in keeping with the declared policy of the committee to show zero tolerance towards unethical behavior,” Damaseb said, adding he’ll ask FIFA for further investigations into other Caribbean soccer officials at the May meeting.

Mupok Aku

Norway Under Attack

Monday, 25th July 2011

Police name 'rightwinger' Anders Behring Breivik, 32, as suspect behind Oslo bombing and youth camp massacre

Norway was today coming to terms with one of the worst atrocities in recent European history as police revealed that 92 people died in the attacks in the centre of Oslo and on a nearby island summer camp, apparently the work of a lone gunman.
The killings, it now seems clear, were carried out by a 32-year old Norwegian, named by local media as Anders Behring Breivik, who had expressed far-right views, and had dressed as a policeman to carry out his bomb attack on government buildings in central Oslo before heading to the island of Utøya, where he shot at least 85 people.
Survivors of the island attack, which took place barely two hours after a huge bomb was detonated close to the offices of Norway's prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, described how the gunman moved across the small, wooded Utøya holiday island on Friday firing at random as young people scattered in fear.
Teenagers at the lakeside camp organised by Stoltenberg's ruling Labour party fled screaming in panic, many leaping into the water or climbing trees to save themselves, when the attacker began spraying them with gunfire.
"A paradise island has been transformed into a hell," Stoltenberg told a news conference on Saturday morning.
He said he did not want to speculate on the motives of the attacks, but added: "Compared to other countries I wouldn't say we have a big problem with rightwing extremists in Norway. But we have had some groups, we have followed them before, and our police is aware that there are some rightwing groups."
Police spokesman Roger Andresen said of Behring Breivik, who was arrested by anti-terrorism officers at the scene of the shooting: "He is clear on the point that he wants to explain himself."
Andersen said the suspect also posted on websites with Christian fundamentalist tendencies. He did not describe the websites in any more details.
Norway's national police chief, Sveinung Sponheim, told the national broadcaster NRK that the suspected gunman's internet postings "suggest he has some political traits directed towards the right, and anti-Muslim views, but whether that was a motivation for the actual act remains to be seen".
A police official said the suspect appears to have acted alone in both attacks, and that "it seems like this is not linked to any international terrorist organisations at all." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because that information had not been officially released by Norway's police.
"It seems it's not Islamic-terror related," the official said. "This seems like a madman's work."
The attacks are the worst in Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings when 191 people were killed.
Police initially said about 10 people were killed at the camp on the island of Utøya, but some survivors said they thought the toll was much higher. Police director Øystein Mæland told reporters early on Saturday they had discovered many more victims.
"It's taken time to search the area. What we know now is that we can say that there are at least 80 killed at Utøya," Mæland said. "It goes without saying that this gives dimensions to this incident that are exceptional."
Mæland said the death toll could rise even more. He said others were severely injured, but police did not know how many were hurt.
Witnesses and survivors of the island attack described scenes of horror and panic.
"I just saw people jumping into the water, about 50 people swimming towards the shore. People were crying, shaking, they were terrified," said Anita Lien, 42, who lives by Tyrifjord lake, a few hundred metres from Utøya. "They were so young, between 14 and 19 years old."
Survivor Jorgen Benone said: "It was total chaos … I think several lost their lives as they tried to get over to the mainland.
"I saw people being shot. I tried to sit as quietly as possible. I was hiding behind some stones. I saw him once, just 20, 30 metres away from me. I thought, 'I'm terrified for my life,' I thought of all the people I love.
"I saw some boats but I wasn't sure if I could trust them. I didn't know who I could trust any more."
Another survivor, a 16-year-old called Hana, told Norway's Aftenposten: "We had all gathered in the main house to talk about what had happened in Oslo. Suddenly we heard shots. First we thought it was nonsense. Then everyone started running.
"I saw a policeman stand there with earplugs. He said, 'I'd like to gather everyone.' Then he ran in and started shooting at people. We ran down towards the beach and began to swim."
Hana said the gunman fired at people in the water.
Police seized the gunman, named by local media as Anders Behring Breivik, and later found undetonated explosives on the island, a pine-clad strip of land about 500 metres long.
Breivik's Facebook page appeared to have been blocked by late evening.
Earlier, it had listed interests including bodybuilding, conservative politics and freemasonry.
Norwegian media said he had set up a Twitter account a few days ago and posted a single message on 17 July saying: "One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests."
About 10 police officers were outside the address registered to his name in a four-storey red brick building in the west of Oslo.
The Norwegian daily Verdens Gang quoted a friend as saying he became a rightwing extremist in his late 20s. It said he expressed strong nationalistic views in online debates and had been a strong opponent of the idea that people of different cultural backgrounds can live alongside each other.

Mupok Aku

Amy Winehouse Passes Away At the Age of 27

Monday, 26th July 2011

Metropolitan police confirm death of singer notorious as much for her off-stage excesses as her music

Singer Amy Winehouse has been found dead at her house in north London She was 27. The award-winning artist, famous for hits including Rehab from the critically acclaimed album Back to Black, was discovered by police in the late afternoon. Her death was being treated on Saturday night as "unexplained" but sources said she had died of a drugs overdose.
The Metropolitan police said: "We were called by London Ambulance Service to an address in Camden Square shortly before 16.05hrs following reports of a woman found deceased. On arrival officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene."
Winehouse was last seen with her goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield, earlier last week when the teenager performed at the iTunes festival.
Tributes began to pour in to one of the most celebrated and troubled British artists of recent times. Mark Ronson, who produced Back to Black, said: "She was my musical soulmate and like a sister to me. This is one of the saddest days of my life."
Singer and actress Kelly Osbourne wrote: "i cant even breath right now, im crying so hard i just lost 1 of my best friends. i love you forever Amy & will never forget the real you!"
Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood dedicated his show on Absolute Radio and the reunion performance by his former group the Faces in Hurtwood, Surrey, to Winehouse. "It's a very sad loss of a very good friend I spent many great times with," he said.
Two regulars at Winehouse's local pub, The Hawley Arms in Camden, paid tribute. "Some people might think it shows disrespect to come out drinking tonight but she was such a part of Camden she made it her home and she always got involved," said Mary Gallagher. "Amy even worked behind the bar here. She was such a lovely person and, to be honest, I don't think fame agreed with her. She was an ordinary girl at heart."
Gloria Woods, 26, who works for a record label, said: "There will never be another voice like that in our generation."
A spokesman for the late singer said: "Everyone involved with Amy is shocked and devastated. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."
Winehouse's father, Mitch, returned from New York, where he had been due to perform at the Blue Note jazz club. He said: 'I'm coming home. I have to be with Amy. I can't crack up for her sake. My family need me."
Flowers, teddy bears and candles were left outside her home in Camden Square. One card read: "You will not be forgotten by Camden. We all love you and will continue to love you. Your legend lives on."
Winehouse had suffered a well-publicised battle with drink and drug abuse that saw her withdraw from all of her scheduled performances last month after a series of erratic performances. She started her 12-leg European tour in Belgrade but was booed off the stage after appearing to forget her lyrics. She then pulled out of performances in Istanbul and Athens before she cancelled the tour as fears for her health grew.
A statement released by her spokesman at the time said that she would be given "as long as it takes" to recover. "Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best," it read.
Winehouse rose to fame with her debut album Frank in 2003, which was feted by music critics in the UK and nominated for the Mercury music prize, but it was her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, that catapulted her to stardom and led to five Grammy awards. The album became the third-highest selling album of the 2000s.

Mupok Aku

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