Friday, 28 December 2012

Iran's Ahmadinejad sacks only female government minister

DUBAI - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday dismissed his only female cabinet minister, Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, after she criticised her colleagues for failing to provide funds to import vital medicines.
Appointed in 2009, Dastjerdi was the first woman government minister since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979. While seen as politically conservative, the gynaecologist has advocated a greater role for women in society.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leaves after a meeting with Vietnam's National Assembly's Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung in Hanoi November 10, 2012. REUTERS/Kham
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leaves after a meeting with Vietnam's National Assembly's Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung in Hanoi November 10, 2012. 

Reports have emerged in recent weeks of shortages of some critical medicines for treatment of cancer, multiple sclerosis, blood disorders and other serious conditions.
Last month, Dastjerdi said only a quarter of the $2.4 billion earmarked for medicine imports had been provided in the current year and there was a shortage of foreign currency for the shipments.
"Medicine is more essential than bread. I have heard that luxury cars have been imported with subsidized dollars but I don't know what happened to the dollars that were supposed to be allocated for importing medicine," she said on state television.
Iranian officials blame the shortages on sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union. The government has come under heavy criticism itself for failing to manage the needs of Iranians properly.
Ahmadinejad's political rivals accuse him of exacerbating the effects of sanctions through poor management and cronyism.

New Japan PM to send envoys to South Korea amid territory dispute

SEOUL/TOKYO - New Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will send envoys to meet South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye next month, a spokeswoman for Park said, a sign of Japan reaching out to its neighbour despite feuds over territory and wartime history.
Japan's relations with South Korea frayed badly in August after outgoing President Lee Myung-bak visited a disputed set of islands known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in Korea. Koreans also harbour bitter resentment of Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945.
Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo December 26, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo December 26, 2012. 

The hawkish Abe, who wants to recast Japan's wartime history in less apologetic tones, led his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to a landslide victory in the December 16 lower house election, putting the conservative party back in power after a three-year hiatus.
The spokeswoman did not say who the envoys will be, but Abe told reporters last week he planned to send former finance minister Fukushiro Nukaga "to improve and develop Japan-South Korea relations". Abe visits on January 4.
Public broadcaster NHK reported on Friday that LDP senior lawmaker Takeo Kawamura would join Nukaga in the delegation.

Djokovic cheesed off

ABU DHABI: Novak Djokovic on Thursday denied reports that he had bought up the world's entire supply of donkey cheese, a delicacy which retails for around US$500 per pound in his native Serbia.
World number one Djokovic was reported to have purchased the cheese, known as pule, from the only farm which supplies it and that it would be served at a chain of restaurants which he owns in Serbia.
"I did not expect this story was going to get so much attention, and everywhere in the world too," said Djokovic.
"It is not completely true that we have bought the whole supply of donkey cheese, even though it was the first time in my life I heard that donkey cheese existed.
"There is a certain farm in Serbia that produces it and, as I understand it, it is the only farm in the world to do so, which is very interesting."

Second Penang Bridge concessionaire to recover RM4.5b construction cost within 10 yrs

KUALA LUMPUR: Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd (JKSB) aims to recover the construction cost of RM4.5bil for the Second Penang Bridge within 10 years of the bridge operation.
Its managing director, Datuk Dr Ismail Mohamed Taib, was positive that the construction cost would be recovered within the timeframe due to rapid development in the surrounding areas.
He also noted that the Batu Kawan and Balik Pulau areas would benefit from the Second Penang Bridge as economic activities become more focused in the districts with the new bridge.
"The (Federal) government wants the development in the Penang state to be balanced. Currently, it is concentrated on the north of Penang, which is George Town and Butterworth," he told Bernama.
The Second Penang Bridge, which connects Batu Kawan on the mainland and Batu Maung on the island, when completed by September 2013 will be the longest in Southeast Asia with a total length over water of 16.9 km.
It will be a seismic-resistant bridge when completed, able to withstand tremors of a 8.2 Richter-scale earthquake with an epicentre about 300km away.
JKSB targets to achieve 90 per cent progress by the end of 2012 and expects the bridge to be open to the public by November 2013, said Ismail.

Red Giants tie Kubala for AFC Cup

Red Giants ikat Kubala untuk AFC

Former Perak imports, Michal Kubala be sheathed Selangor jersey for the AFC Cup next year.
After Ramez Dayoub and Forkey Doe strengthen Selangor for the Malaysian Laegue, Selangor has met the quota for import players with the AFC Cup, there are two players from Europe.
"We have to get Michal Kubala and another defender from the Czech Republic for the AFC Cup later.
"They are already in Kuala Lumpur and will be with the team after we returned from Orissa." said Selangor coach, Irfan Bakti.
Selangor is now in Kedah to action today friendship with Perlis and Kedah will meet on Dec. 30.
Kubala, who scored 14 goals last season for Perak today has undergone medical tests and will contract for six months training with The Red Giants next week.

Only 7 stadium pass to play at night

FAM decided seven stadiums allowed to hold a Malaysia League match at night and the rest will be played in the afternoon.
According to the Chairman of the Local Competition (JKPT) FAM, Datuk Hamidin Mohd. Amin, according to the rules 2013-2014, every stadium should have floodlights with more than 1,000 lux brightness level if you want to hold the match in the evening.
"I would like to say that the play in the evening no one, Olympics, Asian and any championship tournament held in Malaysia this afternoon just as accustomed to play at night," he said at a press conference at Wisma FAM, Kelana Jaya, yesterday.
Stadium irregularities had to hold the match in the afternoon.
"Some of the stadiums that will be held the evening of the match is the Selayang Municipal Council Stadium, Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium, Tan Sri Hassan Yunos, MBPJ Stadium, Stadium Hang Jebat Stadium and Perak Stadium.
"However, the Perak Football Association has appealed that they will try to provide floodlights in accordance with standards set out in the next one or two months, and they will compete in Lumut Stadium temporarily until the problem is over," he said.
Matches will take place at 4.45 pm in the evening while the match was conducted in the normal as before 8.45 pm.
"This is not a punishment to those who do not meet the standards but there should be a standard so that it is equivalent to the brightness level internationally by 2015 the 1.200 lux.
"We do not want to be the status quo, but we are concerned that some of the stadiums are not the property of the team but there should be cooperation between the management team and the stadium."

AC Milan's Stephen El Shaarawy believes he would have struggled to break into the first team, had it not been for the club's financial crisis.

Football News: Stephan El Shaarawy

The former Genoa youngster found himself on the outskirts of the AC Milan senior team just one season ago, during which manager Massimiliano Allegri picked the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio Cassano to lead the line for the Rossoneri. However, the departures of a host of star names in the summer has forced the Milan boss to rely on less established names, and El Shaarawy has emerged as the club's on-form striker after scoring 14 goals in 18 Serie A appearances. 
Speaking to La Stampa, the 20-year old admitted that he never foresaw such a quick change in fortune, and he hoped his rise would open the eyes of other managers to offer their younger players more opportunities.
"It's all a bit unexpected, a year ago, I would never have believed that I would be Serie A top scorer now," El Shaarawy stated.
"The economical crisis has helped me, and lot of youngsters have been given a chance to display skills and they've taken advantage of that. We just needed some space - it makes no sense to go and buy players abroad when you already have good players at home."

Romeu would welcome Villa to Blues

Football News: David Villa

Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu would welcome the signing of David Villa if the Spain international ends up moving to Stamford Bridge during the transfer window.
Chelsea have been closely linked with a move for the 31-year-old striker, who has been in and out of the Barcelona starting line-up this season since returning from his long injury lay-off after breaking his leg.
Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said earlier this week the Nou Camp outfit had no intention of letting Villa leave in January, but Romeu would be delighted if his fellow Spaniard did make the switch to Chelsea.
"I don't know that Villa's situation is, but if a great player like him comes, the record goalscorer with the national team, he would be welcomed and we would be happy," Romeu, who earlier this month underwent surgery on a serious knee injury, was quoted as telling Spanish radio show Esports Cope.

Welbeck: Red Devils in a great position

Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck, Man United

Manchester United's Danny Welbeck admitted he was still trying to find his footing in the new season, but was pleased with the team's good form.
As Wayne Rooney's strike partner for Manchester United in the previous campaign, Welbeck made 23 Premier League starts for the team, scoring nine goals. However, the arrival of former Arsenal captain Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez's return from injury has limited the Englishman to just six starting appearances in the 2012/13 season.
Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson has often shuttled Welbeck out to the wing, but the club's academy graduate told United Review that he was still relishing his playing time with the team.
"It’s [the season] been a bit stop-start. I’ve not been playing in my favoured position up front – I’ve been on the wing in most games – so it’s been different to last season, when I played mostly as a striker," Welbeck admitted.
"But I’m enjoying it, the team is playing well and we’re in a great position in the league, which is the most important thing."

Rodgers calls for Reds to show "steel"

Football News: Liverpool vs Stoke

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has called on his players to find their steely side in order to cut out the inconsistencies which have dogged their season.
In the last three matches the Reds have surprisingly lost at home to Aston Villa, hammered Fulham 4-0 and then capitulated at Stoke having been a goal up.
Instead of being within touching distance of the top four, which was the main aim this season, Liverpool are 10th and looking an increasingly distant eight points back.
The lack of bite was a concern at the Britannia Stadium, where the Merseysiders invariably have a bad time having failed to win there since the Potters promotion to the Barclays Premier League, and Rodgers admits they have to toughen up physically and mentally.
"If you are going to affect the top of the league, which is what we want to do in years to come, you have to have more steel than that," said the Reds boss.
"But if you concede goals like that it is going to be difficult to win games anywhere.

Cech: Blues defending better as a team

Rafa Benitez of Chelsea speaks to his player David Luiz

Petr Cech declared Chelsea were back to their best after they combined successive Premier League wins with clean sheets for the first time in more than a year.
The 1-0 victory at Norwich on Boxing Day made it six points from six over the Christmas period for the European champions, who have also yet to concede in that time.
Not since games against Wolves and Newcastle in November last year had Chelsea enjoyed back-to-back league wins and clean sheets at the same time, while they had been shipping goals at an alarming rate before Rafael Benitez's arrival as interim manager.
That was simply unacceptable for goalkeeper Cech, who has spent most of his Stamford Bridge career playing behind one of the stingiest back fours around.
And having previously laid into his team-mates for gifting the opposition too many chances this season, the 30-year-old was quick to praise their rediscovered resilience.
"We were conceding too many goals, playing really open," Cech said, hailing the recent shift as "a very good sign".
"Suddenly, we are defending as a team much better - that is the key.
"Now we are back to our ways when we are difficult to score against."
Part of Chelsea's problem had been that their back four was being left exposed by the apparent unwillingness by their team-mates to track back.
Cech added: "I think we need the whole team to defend.
"We have really attacking-minded players. Sometimes, we were not making the right choices in terms of defensive transitions and that is what has improved. We are passing more and organising."
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