Senin, 12 April 2010

Arimura beats Park in playoff to take Studio Alice Ladies

MIKI, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Chie Arimura defeated South Korea's Park In Bee with a par on the first playoff hole at the Studio Alice Ladies Open on Sunday.

Arimura picked up her first win of the season and seventh of her career while sending the 2008 U.S. Women's Open champion to her third runner-up finish in three starts on the JLPGA Tour this year.

On the first extra hole " the 405-yard, par-4 18th, the 22-year-old Arimura sank her winning putt from three feet after Park missed the green with her second shot and ended up with a bogey.

The two players shot 2-under 70s to complete 54 holes of regulation play tied at 5-under 211 at Hanayashiki Golf Club in Hyogo Prefecture.

"This is the first time I've won a close contest. I'm glad I holed my final putt under intense pressure. I feel a sense of growth as a player," said Arimura, who won five times and finished third on the money list in 2009.

"Last year, Sakura (Yokomine) won this tournament in a playoff and went on to claim the money title. So I hope to repeat that scenario," she said.

Monday qualifier Kaori Nakamura earned a surprise third-place finish at 2 under after a 71.

U.S. LPGA star Ai Miyazato had a 70 to share fourth a shot further back with Ahn Sun Ju (68) and Song Bo Bae (72).

Earlier in the week, Yokomine withdrew from the tournament for health reasons after slumping to a 78 in the opening round.

Moscow judge gunned down

MOSCOW " A judge who sentenced neo-Nazis to prison for hate killings was gunned down Monday, marking the latest murder in a surge of violence against activists and officials opposed to Russian nationalists.

Moscow City Court judge Eduard Chuvashov was shot contract-style in the stairwell of his apartment building in central Moscow, Russia's top investigative body said.

The murderer used a silencer and left no shells, but investigators obtained footage from surveillance cameras showing a tall Slavic man, about 30-years-old, coming out of Chuvashov's apartment building shortly after the killing, it said.

"We have definitive leads," investigator Pyotr Titov said in televised remarks.

A leading rights group pointed the finger at a far-right ultranationalist group with alleged ties to Kremlin-backed youth movements, saying it may have links to the murder and incited hatred for Chuvashov on the Internet. A nationalist leader denied the accusations.

Chuvashov, 47, presided over several high-profile cases that involved hate killings committed by neo-Nazis and skinheads.

In February, Chuvashov presided over the trial of the White Wolves, a gang of mostly teenaged skinheads who kicked and stabbed their victims to death, often videotaping the attacks and posting them online. They were convicted by a jury of the killings of six Central Asian people and Chuvashov sentenced them to up to 23 years in jail.

Russia has experienced a surge of xenophobia and racially-motivated assaults in the years after the Soviet collapse, and the number of neo-Nazi groups has mushroomed.

As the nation struggles through an ongoing economic meltdown, nationalist groups have targeted dark-skinned migrants from ex-Soviet Central Asian nations and Russia's own North Caucasus region, accusing them of stealing jobs from ethnic Russians.

Chuvashov began receiving threats during the trial, a Moscow-based hate crime monitoring group, Sova, said.

The group's deputy director, Galina Kozhevnikova, said a leader of ultranationalist group Russky Obraz wrote in his blog in January that Chuvashov advocated the killing of ethnic Russians.

Alexander Baranovsky, who allegedly wrote the post, said that "nationalists are a very useful bogey man that can be accused of any big crime these days."

"Nationalists never had any complaints about Chuvashov; the way he judged the (White Wolves) trial was normal," Baranovsky said.

Russian anti-racist activists and rights groups also claimed that Russky Obraz had ties with Young Russia, one of several government-funded groups known for street rallies and harassment of Kremlin political opponents.

Young Russia and its leader, a member of the Russian parliament, has denied such links.

So far this year, 12 people have been killed and more than 70 wounded in racist attacks, the Sova center said. In 2009, a total of 71 people were killed and 333 wounded, it said.

Sova's Kozhevnikova said that Russian far-right nationalists are increasingly targeting officials and activists who oppose violent nationalism. "They are facing more and more danger these days," she told the AP.

Making surgery scalpels from sound waves

American beauties are bigger and stronger in a recession, research finds

Scientists discovered the link after comparing the measurements of popular actresses, and Playboy Playmates, to annual economic data.

When the US economy suffered, the top beauty icons tended to display features such as being older, taller, or heavier, with larger waists or smaller eyes. For men these traits were believed to signify strength and independence.

The late model Anna Nicole Smiths fuller figure was particularly popular to men during troubled times in the 1990s while as the US stock market soared in the mid-2000s the popularity of younger, more petite actresses like Reese Witherspoon grew.

Researchers also suggested actress Sandra Bullock's maturity at the age of 45 may have contributed to her popularity at the box office during a financially precarious 2009. Her film The Blind Side won her an Oscar for Best Actress.

By contrast in prosperous times the most popular actresses, such as Rita Hayworth and Judy Garland, had youthful features including large eyes, small chins and plump cheeks, while favourite playmates had extreme hourglass figures.

But studies looked at the facial features of famous actresses between 1932 to 1995 and playmates of the year between 1960 and 2000. The bust, waist, hip, weight and height measurements were also recorded. Figures were compared to economic data including unemployment rates, death rates and consumer prices.

Researcher Dr Terry Pettijohn, a psychologist at Coastal Carolina University, told the LiveScience website: "When you feel more threatened or insecure you will gravitate toward finding friends or partners that look stronger."

Abhisit Vejjajiva comes under renewed pressure to quit

Thailands Prime Minister came under intense pressure to quit today, as political and army leaders wavered in their support and post-mortem examinations of the bodies of dead anti-government protesters confirmed that they were killed by military weapons.

In the grimmest day of a turbulent year and half in power, Abhisit Vejjajiva was also threatened with the dissolution of his party and a five-year ban from politics.

However, he gave no indication that he was ready to step down now, suggesting that the political confrontation that has paralysed parts of Bangkok for a month will continue.

Anti-government Red Shirt protesters paraded through Bangkok today with the bodies of two of their 16 comrades who were killed on Saturday when soldiers attempted to disperse them from one of their vast encampments.

Meanwhile, post-mortem examinations appeared to contradict the Governments claim that they were not killed by soldiers.

Autopsies carried out at the Police General Hospital in Bangkok showed that nine of those examined were shot by high velocity weapons in the head, chest or stomach " confirming the impression given by video footage, which shows one unarmed protester dropping to the ground after being struck by a bullet which removed the top of his head.

A Japanese cameraman, Hiro Muramoto of Reuters, also died after being shot in the chest.

In a televised address, Mr Abhisit accused œterrorists of inciting the violence and denied that there were divisions over how to restore law and order.

œThe Government is unified and determined to solve this problem, he said.

However, the indications are that the Prime Minister has been gravely, and perhaps terminally, damaged by the botched operation, which has humiliated his army and redoubled the determination of his political enemies.

œIt should never have happened like this, Sunai Phasuk, of Human Rights Watch, said. œSending in soldiers rather than police is a problem to start with. But sending them in with live ammunition is always going to make it worse.

The command post of the advancing soldiers was hit by a volley of M-79 rocket-launched grenades, killing one colonel and seriously injuring two others and one general.

The Red Shirts insist that this, too, was the work of shadowy dark forces, rather than their members.

Queen Sirikit and Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn attended funeral ceremonies for the dead colonel tonight, suggesting that the monarchy is behind the Army.

But Thailands most senior general hinted at the resentment felt by some of the armed forces.

General Anupong Paochinda, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army, said that the solution to the stand off had to be political, not military, and expressed support for the principal demand of the Red Shirt protesters " the dissolution of Parliament and an early election.

œIf the issue cannot be resolved through political means, then Parliament dissolution seems to be a reasonable step, he said. œIf people want a government of national unity, then by all means, go ahead. I just want peace to prevail.

The Bangkok Post reported that members of Mr Abhisits own ruling coalition, apparently in the absence of the Prime Minister, met on Sunday to discuss the possibility of agreeing to elections in six months time in the hope that this will take the heat out of the demonstrations.

But the matter may be forced before then by todays ruling by Thailands Election Commission.

It orders the dissolution of Mr Abhisits Democrat Party, and the automatic disqualification of its leaders form politics for five years because of an undeclared 258 million baht (£5.2 million) donation received from a cement company.

The decision must be confirmed in court, which may take several months. But if it is upheld it will bring an abrupt end to Mr Abhisits political career.

'Expenses MPs' Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine get Legal Aid

The three MPs accused of fiddling their expenses have won their bid to get the public to pick up their legal bill.

Court officials confirmed today that David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine, who are all Labour MPs, will receive taxpayer-funded legal aid.

The three are due to go on trial later this year accused of theft by false accounting.

They are accused of stealing almost £60,000 in allowances through false mortgage applications, rent claims and invoices for services.

The cost of preparing their defence and of their legal representatives is likely to run into six figures, depending on the length of the trial.

But it could spiral far higher as the men threaten to take their battle to have the case against them thrown out to the Supreme Court.

Lord Hanningfield, who is accused of making false claims for travel allowances, has not made an application for legal aid, the court official added.

The three MPs have brought together some of the countrys most eminent barristers, who can charge hundreds of pounds an hour, to fight their cases.

They have already told judges they should be dealt with by parliamentary authorities instead of the courts.

Julian Knowles, QC, said that the defendants would claim to be protected by parliamentary privilege, covered in the 1689 Bill of Rights.

There is now likely to be a protracted legal argument over whether the men should face trial at all later this year.

The opening shots will be fired during a two-day hearing before Mr Justice Saunders at Southwark Crown Court that starts on May 27.

An HM Courts Service spokesman confirmed an application for legal aid for the three men was granted last Friday.

There has already been speculation that the total cost of prosecuting the four could exceed £3 million.

Scotland Yard said its inquiry into the expenses scandal has cost £508,500 so far, with the final bill likely to be considerably higher.

Mr Knowles, a leading junior barrister who represented the three MPs at their first magistrates court appearance, declined to comment.

A spokesman for Edward Fitzgerald QC, who is due to represent at least two of the MPs at the crown court, said he was not aware that a decision had been made on legal aid.

Mr Chaytor, 60, the MP for Bury North, is accused of falsely claiming rent on a London flat he owned, falsely filing invoices for IT work and renting a property from his mother, against regulations.

Mr Morley, 57, the MP for Scunthorpe, is accused of falsely claiming £30,428 in interest payments between 2004 and 2007 towards a mortgage on his home that he had already paid off.

Mr Devine, 56, the MP for Livingston, is said to have wrongly submitted two invoices worth a total of £5,505 for services provided by Armstrong Printing Limited.

He also faces a second charge that he dishonestly claimed cleaning and maintenance costs of £3,240 by submitting false invoices from Tom ODonnell Hygiene and Cleaning Services.

Lord Hanningfield, 69, the former leader of Essex County Council, faces six charges of making dishonest claims for travelling allowances.

The politicians could face up to seven years in jail if found guilty of stealing taxpayers cash. Each defendant will be tried separately.

Teoh Beng Hock inquest: Have no fear, Dr Pornthip, says AG - Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR: Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has guaranteed the personal safety of Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand in the wake of claims that she had been pressured not to attend the Teoh Beng Hock inquest when it resumes on April 20.

Abdul Gani told The Malay Mail that Dr Pornthip, who had reportedly said she would not testify at the inquest due to "political pressure" from the government, should not be stopped from giving evidence.

"I've not not seen or heard anything about this threat. No one should stop her from giving evidence, not even the government," said Abdul Gani, who called on Dr Pornthip to contact him to explain what was preventing her from testifying.

"I can assure her protection and that she would not be harmed."

"We want her to come to give evidence. No one should stop her from doing so." Dr Pornthip, popularly known "Dr Death", reportedly said that she might face problems if she came here, including the possibility of being denied entry.

The pathologist had reportedly claimed to have been advised by high-ranking officials from the Thai ministry not to go to Malaysia for the inquest next week, alleging that the Justice Ministry had received information from the Thai Foreign Ministry that she may even be denied entry.

Dr Pornthip, 54, the director-general of the Justice Ministry's Central Institute of Foreign Science, had reportedly said the Thai Foreign Ministry received "signals" from the Malaysian government through "informal channels", suggesting that her presence at the inquest would not be welcomed.

œIt was conveyed to me by certain senior Thai government officials that there had been political pressure from certain Malaysian government circles to block my presence in court, so much so that it might interfere with my current important forensic mission in southern Thailand, she was reported as saying.

Dr Pornthip had also reportedly said she was involved in ongoing forensics work requiring her to go to Kelantan to investigate a case related to the killings in southern Thailand.

She had claimed that when she tried to get permission to enter the State in January, she could not do so after a "signal" from the authorities forbidding her from crossing the border.

œGiven our well-intended assistance in the Teoh case has now turned into a political issue, I have no choice but to choose my work in south Thailand, she was quoted as saying.

Abdul Gani said if Dr Pornthip is refused entry, she should seek help from his Thai counter parts to get legal assistance.

"I am not aware of any party in the government wanting to prevent her from entering the country. There is no such thing, tell me who said that.

"If she wants to enter (through) Kelantan, she can seek mutual legal assistance. She can go through the formal way if she wants to come here."

He said while Dr Pornthip can refuse to testify at the inquest and cannot be forced to come as she is in Thailand, she should be present to testify and finish what she had already started.

"Please do come, as you have already given evidence midway," he said, adding that he was waiting for Dr Pornthip to e-mail him on the matter.

Lawyer urges Dr Death to attend hearing

DR PORNTHIP should continue her testimony.

Lawyer Art Harun said it was only fair that she does this as she had given her professional opinion that there was an 80 per cent chance of homicide in Teoh's death.

"She had made the opinion public and stood by it. It is only fair that she comes to argue her stance and allow herself to be cross-examined." Art said, according to the law of evidence, only Dr Pornthip can tender her evidence.

"If they are tendered through other people, the report will not carry much weight as the maker is not there to confirm the report or answer cross-examination questions."

Teoh, who served as political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on July 16, last year, a day after he was called in for questioning over allegations of corruption at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office in Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam.

Dr Pornthip, who was appointed by the Selangor State government, is one of three pathologists testifying. The others were Dr Shahidan Md Noor from Sungai Buloh Hospital and Dr Peter Venezis, appointed by the MACC for a second post mortem on Teoh's body in November.

Teoh's family welcomes Abdul Gani's assurance

GOBIND: Welcomes A-G's offer of protection for pathologist

KUALA LUMPUR: Teoh Beng Hock's family lawyer, Gobind Singh Deo, welcomes the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail's willingness to help Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand in testifying at the inquest.

"I welcome the A-G's statement and I think arrangements should be made to convey the message to the Selangor State government," Gobind told The Malay Mail last night.

He said an email exchange between Abdul Gani and Dr Pornthip is, however, not proper in this case. As an  officer of the court, Abdul Gani should speak to the lawyers of the State government to get to the root of the  problem.

"I think the A-G should speak to the lawyers " to get their consent."

Gobind said if Dr Pornthip's trip to Malaysia is cleared and assurances be given to her, he does not see a problem with her testifying.

"If she cannot be here physically, alternative ways to adduce evidence exist. I leave the matter to the State government lawyer, Malik Imtiaz, and I will provide assistance if required."

Although Dr Pornthip's testimony is important, he said the basic facts of his case had been established through other witnesses.

"Her evidence would help to further clarify some of her findings which she made earlier and her evidence, too, would give a greater insight of the second post-mortem report."

"The A-G's statement is much better than that of (Minister in the Prime Minister's Department) Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who called Dr Pornthip a liar, which reflects his ignorance and arrogance."

RAGUNATH: Government must ensure safety of witness

Gobind said Nazri should have first investigated allegations by Dr Pornthip and not interfere in the court process as he was in no position to determine the weight that ought to be given to Dr Pornthip's testimony.

In a statement earlier, Gobind stated that it was through Dr Pornthip's effort that Teoh's body was exhumed for second post-mortem " the results of which has given a whole new dimension to the circumstances surrounding his death.

Gobind said this is not the first time Dr Pornthip has complained of harrassment in her handling of Teoh's inquest.

Meanwhile, Bar Council president K. Ragunath, said if Dr Pornthip's claims were true, this amounted to witness intimidation.

"She needs to clarify what the government pressure is. She is a witness, and the courts should enquire from her lawyers the basis for her fear and she has to explain.

"The government has to ensure it protects witnesses. Kesavan said, since Dr Pornthip is an expert witness, she cannot be compelled to appear in court as she is not a subpoena witness.

Nazri slams Thai doc

PETALING JAYA: Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has lambasted Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasun, for refusing to attend Teoh Beng Hock inquest on April 20, citing "political pressure" from the Malaysian government.

"Dr Pornthip is making excuses. This is her way of running from responsibilities. She is saying a lot of things now so as not to appear at the inquest," he told The Malay Mail last night.

Nazri said the pathologist has nothing to worry about her safety, as the government will assure her security.

"I wonder how she could come up with the idea the government wants to stop her from testifying. The government would be happy to see her appear at the Teoh Beng Hock inquest.

"Isn't this is a clear indication that Dr Pornthip is afraid to wrap up her testimony after what she said at the inquest some time ago?"

Nazri wondered if Dr Pornthip was creating controversy and was unable to support it with credible evidence based on scientific analysis.