Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Federer jumps to second round in Dubai Tennis Championships

Roger Federer survived a second set scare against in-form world number 40 Michael Llodra before booking his place in the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Federer blazed through the first set but was then pushed to the limit by Llodra, a finalist in Marseille last week, as he sought to level the match. Federer saved a set point before winning 6-0 7-6 (8-6).

The Swiss told, "It's always great to start off a tournament by winning the first set 6-0. After that I really had to make sure I controlled Michael as much as I could because he is a very dangerous player."

Federer's travails were nothing compared to those of third seed Andy Murray, who looked rusty in his first match since his Australian Open semi-final defeat as he beat German qualifier Michael Berrer 6-3 4-6 6-4.

Monday, February 27, 2012

WikiLeaks publishes millions of emails stolen from US think tank

Notorious whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has published five million emails from a geopolitical analysis company that Reuters likened to a “shadow CIA.”

The emails, stolen in late December from the U.S.-based company, could reveal private information on Stratfor readers and subscribers, the details of sensitive sources, and even throw light on the intelligence-gathering community, Reuters reported.

According to a WikiLeaks statement accompanying the posting of the documents, they reveal the inner workings of the intelligence publisher, which works with companies such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and various government agencies.

"The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods," the website reads. It cites a Dec. 6, 2011, email from CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

Read more:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nelson Mandela admitted to hospital with abdominal ailment

South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was admitted to the hospital Saturday following an abdominal ailment, the government said.

"Madiba has had a longstanding abdominal complaint and doctors feel it needs proper specialist medical attention," President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

"We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him of the love and good wishes of all South Africans and people throughout the world."

A government official assured the public that Mandela's hospital stay was not an emergency and did not involve surgery.

"People need not panic. This was planned. Mandela has had abdominal pains for sometime," said Keith Khoza, a spokesman for the ruling African National Congress.

Mandela - affectionately known by his clan name Madiba -- last appeared in public in the closing ceremonies of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Despite his rare appearances, Mandela, 93, retains his popularity and is considered the founding father and hero of South Africa's democracy.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Madonna gives shout-out to dad in Michigan as she preps for 'a Midwestern girl's dream'

The Material Mom took to the podium at a Thursday news conference to talk about her halftime show for Sunday's Super Bowl XLVI and said that she's freaking out a bit about performing for such a large audience, with the broadcast expected to draw more than 100 million viewers in the U.S.

"I am so excited to be here and kind of nervous. This is a Midwestern girl's dream," she said.

"So if I speak fast or run out of breath, you'll know why. I have to say over 25 years of performing that I've done, I have never worked so hard or been so scrupulous or detail-oriented or freaked out as much as I have. I want to make the most amazing show for the Super Bowl."

The former suburban Detroiter talked up her Midwestern roots a great deal and said she will dedicate the performance to her father, Silvio Anthony Ciccone, who is a winemaker in Suttons Bay.

"Because I was raised in the Midwest, and he is the personification of Midwestern values," she said. "He gave me the work ethic that I have. If I'm a hard-working girl, that never stops. It's because of him. Of all the things that I've ever done in my life, this would be the thing he's most excited about."