Sunday, 6 October 2013

Southampton 2-0 Swansea City: Lallana & Rodriguez maintain super Saints start

Southampton 2-0 Swansea City: Lallana & Rodriguez maintain super Saints startSouthampton moved into the top five of the ;Premier League thanks to a battling 2-0 win over ;Swanseaat St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday.
The hosts impressed in the opening 25 minutes and took a deserved lead through Adam Lallana, but Swansea gradually came back into the contest and were unlucky not to equalise before the break as Nathan Dyer hit the post.
Swansea dominated the second half, but for all their possession they struggled to create chances as the home side added a second in the 83rd minute thanks to substitute Jay Rodriguez.

By John Stammers

It's sign of just how far Southampton have come that they were far from their best - both up-front and in defence - but still secured a 2-0 win against Swansea on Sunday afternoon. Adam Lallana handed them the lead after just under 20 minutes but it was the Swans who had the better chances for the remainder of the game, Artur Boruc frustrating Michu, Wilfried Bony and Jonjo Shelvey on separate occasions with Nathan Dyer also hitting the post.

;After withstanding plenty of nervy moments, with Victor Wanyama particularly impressive in midfield, Jay Rodriguez relieved the pressure with a late second goal after some terrible Chico Flores defending making the points, and another clean sheet, theirs.
Mauricio Pochettino made only the one change from their win over Crystal Palace as Danny Fox comes in for Luke Shaw, who missed out through illness.
Swansea were in Europa League action on Thursday and Michael Laudrup unsurprisingly rotated his squad by making five changes.
Michel Vorm, Angel Rangel, Dyer, Jonjo Shelvey and Jose Canas returned to the starting XI, with Jonathan De Guzman and Leon Britton among those who missed out.
The visitors started the match brightly as Dyer looked to attack down the right, but Pablo Daniel Osvaldo was presented with the first chance as he held off Chico Flores before shooting over from a tight angle.
Southampton began to take control and break the deadlock 19 minutes in. Steven Davis played a controlled half-volley into the area for Lallana and the wide man burst away from Ben Davies before slotting past Vorm.
Swansea had three good chances to equalise in quick succession as Artur Boruc palmed away Michu’s header and a deflected Shelvey effort.
Their best chance came 10 minutes before half-time, however, as Dyer cut on to his left foot and fired a powerful effort on to the post.
The visitors continued to threaten after the break, but still they failed to find the net as Southampton academy graduate Dyer sliced a shot wide inside the area, while Wilfried Bony nodded Rangel’s cross over Boruc’s goal.
As the match progressed towards the hour mark, Swansea were the only side that looked like scoring, but they were finding it increasingly difficult to break through their hosts’ defence.
Despite Swansea’s superiority, Southampton were the next side to have the ball in the net as Victor Wanyama knocked in a corner, but referee Mike Dean disallowed it, seemingly for a marginal push elsewhere in the area, much to the hosts’ fury.
However, that soon dissipated as they doubled their lead in the 83rd minute.
Chico failed to deal with a long ball from defence and substitute Rodriguez bullied him off the ball before stroking a shot into the bottom corner, and they held on for a fourth straight Premier League clean sheet to cement a fine start to the campaign.

Norwich 1-3 Chelsea: Willian screamer seals victory

Norwich 1-3 Chelsea: Willian screamer seals victoryLate strikes from Eden Hazard and Willian fired Chelsea to a 3-1 victory over Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho's side, who have now secured their first away win in the Premier League this season, looked to be heading for a draw after Anthony Pilkington had cancelled out Oscar's fourth-minute opener.

But Hazard's goal, which was aided by poor handling from John Ruddy in the 85th minute, was added to 60 seconds later by Willian, whose first-time curled effort from the edge of the area wrapped up the three points for Chelsea.

Pentagon orders civilians back to work despite shutdown

Federal workers demonstrate against the government shutdown in front of the US Capitol in Washington on October 4, 2013

Pentagon orders civilians back to work despite shutdownUS President Barack Obama and US Vice President Joe Biden walk on Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to get lunch at a nearby deli in Washington, DC on October 4, 2013

The Pentagon said Saturday it will recall most of its furloughed employees as a US government shutdown went into its fifth day with no signs of an end to the impasse.
President Barack Obama used his weekly radio address to demand that Republican lawmakers "end this farce" and approve a budget to keep the government running.
But Republican leaders charged it was the president's refusal to negotiate that was to blame for the continuing stalemate.
With public discontent building, the House of Representatives voted 407 to 0 to pass a measure to retroactively pay the hundreds of thousands of federal workers forced to stay home during the crisis.
And US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that most of the estimated 400,000 furloughed Pentagon employees will be called back to work next week.
"It's very good news," rejoiced Republican Senator John Thune.
"I think that was what most of us intended when we moved that military pay bill, was that it applied not just to people who were directly members of the services but also people who were employed by them to carry out important functions and missions."
Hagel said Pentagon lawyers had concluded the law allows employees "whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members" to be exempted from the shutdown.
"I expect us to be able to significantly reduce -- but not eliminate -- civilian furloughs under this process," he said.
The moves reflected deepening concern over the impact of the first federal government shutdown in 17 years, but both sides continued to point fingers at each other.
"Take that vote. Stop this farce. End this shutdown now," Obama exhorted the Republican-controlled House in his weekly radio and video address.
Eric Cantor, the number two Republican in the House, said the impasse could be worked out but Obama "seems to be unwilling to sit down and talk with us."
"It doesn't make any sense if the president has an ax to grind with the opposing party, why he would want to put the American people in the middle of that," he said.
Still, with no compromise in sight and aides on both sides saying no backroom negotiations were taking place, there were growing fears of a protracted crisis as a budget battle focused on Obama's health care law merges with a related, and potentially more damaging, fight over raising the US debt ceiling.
Obama is refusing to negotiate with Republicans over the budget issues until they pass a temporary bill to reopen the government and agree to raise the $16.7 trillion US statutory borrowing limit -- without which Washington could default on its debts for the first time ever starting on October 17.
"For as reckless as a government shutdown is, an economic shutdown that comes with default would be dramatically worse," Obama said.
The US government closed all but its essential operations Tuesday when Republican lawmakers refused to approve money for government operations without first delaying or defunding the new health care law, commonly known as Obamacare.
The US Senate has already approved a budget, and "there are enough Republican and Democratic votes in the House of Representatives willing to do the same, and end this shutdown immediately," Obama said.
"But the far right of the Republican Party won’t let Speaker John Boehner give that bill a yes-or-no vote."
Obama said he "won't pay a ransom in exchange for reopening the government. And I certainly won't pay a ransom in exchange for raising the debt ceiling."
But some Republican pragmatists who have signaled they would vote to pass a fresh spending bill worried that such a resolution was no longer achievable.
Secretary of State John Kerry, traveling in Indonesia, warned that the "reckless" political standoff threatened to weaken the US standing abroad.
"If it were prolonged, or repeated, people would begin to question the willingness of the United States to stay the course and its ability to," Kerry told reporters at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on the Indonesian island of Bali.
"But that's not the case and I don't think it will be the case."
Obama had been due to travel to Bali for an APEC leaders' summit starting Monday, but canceled the trip -- which would also have taken him to Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines -- to deal with the government shutdown.
Kerry insisted that Obama's so-called strategic pivot to the Asia-Pacific had not been weakened by the president canceling his trip.

Mass protest in Spain over crackdown on pro-ETA group

People hold a banner reading, "In support of Basque prisoners and exiles' rights" during a demonstration called by the pro-independence Basque collective Tantaz Tanta in the northern Spanish Basque city of Bilbao on October 5, 2013
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets Saturday in northern Spain to protest a crackdown on an association that aids jailed members of armed Basque separatist group ETA.
The protest in Bilbao came after police arrested 18 leaders of Herrira, a support group founded to help ETA prisoners and their families, in a series of raids on September 30.
The Spanish government accuses the group of "organising and supporting demonstrations that praised ETA prisoners and their ideals", and claims it replaced two other associations that had been banned, Askatasuna and Gestoras pro Amnistia.
The 18 leaders, who were charged with belonging to an armed group and funding terrorism, have since been released, four of them on bail.
"The arrest of so many of this organisation's activists and leaders saddens and outrages us," protest organisers said in a statement.
They accused the government of trying to "criminalise the defence of prisoners' rights and Basque political prisoners".
The arrests have angered the Basque community even beyond pro-independence circles. The president of the regional government, Inigo Urkullu, called them a "new obstacle" that "won't help smooth the way to peace".
ETA, blamed for killing 829 people in a 40-year campaign of shootings and bombings for an independent homeland, renounced violence in 2011.
But it has since refused to disarm, insisting Spain and France first agree to talks on issues including the fate of its 600 imprisoned members.

US Navy SEALs raid Somali militants: report

Islamist fighters loyal to Somalia’'s Al-Qaida inspired al-Shebab group perform military drills in a village in Lower Shabelle region, some 25 kilometres outside Mogadishu on February 17, 2011
US Navy SEALs staged a raid Saturday on a senior Shebab militant leader in southern Somalia though it was unclear whether he was killed, The New York Times reported Saturday.
The Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab had earlier claimed it was British and Turkish special forces that staged a nighttime sea and air attack on one of its bases, but Britain denied any involvement.
Leaders of the Islamist insurgents in the southern Somali port of Barawe said commandos rappelled from a helicopter and tried to storm a house belonging to a senior Shebab commander, but the assault failed.
According to the Times, the SEAL team approached and fired on the unidentified target's seaside villa by sea.
If confirmed, the pre-planned operation would mark the most significant US assault in Somalia since commandos killed key Al-Qaeda operative Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in the same area four years ago.
Although the Shebab leader was believed to have been killed during the assault, the SEALs had to withdraw before they could confirm the kill, a senior US official said.
"The Baraawe raid was planned a week and a half ago," a US security official told the Times.
"It was prompted by the Westgate attack," he added, referring to an attack by Shebab gunmen on a Nairobi shopping mall that left 67 people dead during a four-day siege.
A senior Somali government official told the newspaper that "the attack was carried out by the American forces and the Somali government was pre-informed about the attack."
Shebab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told AFP that commandos had stormed the beach by boat, but laid blamed on Britain and Turkey.
"The bungled operation was carried out by white people, who came with two small boats from a larger ship out at sea... one Shebab guard was killed, but reinforcements soon came and the foreigners fled," he told AFP.
"Where the foreigners had been, afterwards we saw lots of blood, so maybe we wounded some."

Tropical Storm Karen poised to make landfall

Tropical Storm Karen poised to make landfallThe weather begins to turn and beach fences are put in place in Grand Isle on October 4, 2013 in a mandatory evacuation ahead of Tropical Storm KarenRoy Santiny and his wife Jeanette board up their home as they evacuate from Grand Isle ahead of Tropical Storm Karen on October 4, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tropical Storm Karen was stationary in the Gulf of Mexico for several hours late Saturday with the center expected near or over southeastern Louisiana overnight into Sunday, forecasters said.
The storm is expected to bring rain and some coastal flooding before it moves just south of the Gulf Coast from Alabama to the Florida panhandle Sunday night and Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
At 0001 GMT, Karen was located about 115 miles (185 kilometers) south-southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana, packing maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (64 km/h).
A tropical storm warning remained in effect from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to the mouth of the Pearl River. All other warnings and watches have been dropped.
"Karen is expected to weaken to a tropical depression on Sunday and become a remnant low by Monday," the Miami-based NHC said.
The storm surge "will be accompanied by dangerous waves," with surge-related flooding dependent on the "timing of the surge and the tidal cycle."
Karen is forecast to drop between one to three inches of rain (up to 7.6 cm) over the central Gulf Coast and southeastern US region through late Monday.
"Isolated storm total amounts of six inches (15.24 cm) are possible," the NHC said.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said Saturday that 12 counties were under a local state of emergency and urged residents not to become complacent because the storm was weakening.
"As Tropical Storm Karen continues to disorganize, families should still use today as an opportunity to get ready," he said in a statement.
"Communities along the panhandle are expected to experience heavy rains, and storm surges are predicted for our coastal regions."
Oil prices rose Friday on falling production as companies evacuated staff from sensitive refining and production areas along the Gulf Coast.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama was briefed on disaster preparations and his administration recalled emergency workers who had been told to stay home due to a government shutdown linked to a bitter budget dispute.

U.S. says captures al Qaeda leader in Libya, also raids Somalia

Senior al Qaeda figure Anas al-Liby is seen in an undated FBI handout photo released October 5, 2013. Anas al-Liby, indicted by the United States for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa, was captured in Libya by a U.S. team and is in American custody, U.S. officials said on Saturday. REUTERS/FBI/Handout via Reuters U.S. forces launched raids in Libya and Somalia on Saturday, two weeks after the deadly Islamist attack on a Nairobi shopping mall, capturing a top al Qaeda figure wanted for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, U.S. officials said.
Senior al Qaeda figure Anas al Liby was seized in the raid in Libya, but no militant was captured in the raid on the Somali town of Barawe, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Liby, believed to be 49, has been under U.S. indictment for his alleged role in the East Africa embassy bombings that killed 224 people.
The U.S. government has also been offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture, under the State Department's Rewards for Justice program.
CNN reported in September last year that Liby had been seen in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. It quoted Western intelligence sources as saying there was concern that he may have been tasked with establishing an al Qaeda network in Libya.
That CNN report quoted counterterrorism analysts as saying that Liby may not have been apprehended then because of the delicate security situation in much of the country, where former jihadists hold sway. It quoted one intelligence source as saying that Liby appeared to have arrived in Libya in the spring of 2011, during the country's civil war.
The Pentagon confirmed U.S. military personnel had been involved in an operation against what it called "a known al Shabaab terrorist," in Somalia, but gave no more details.
One U.S. official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the al Shabaab leader targeted in the operation was neither captured nor killed.
U.S. officials did not identify the target. They said U.S. forces, trying to avoid civilian casualties, disengaged after inflicting some al Shabaab casualties. They said no U.S. personnel were wounded or killed in the operation, which one U.S. source said was carried out by a Navy SEAL team.
The New York Times quoted witnesses as saying that the firefight lasted more than an hour, with helicopters called in for air support.
The Times report quoted a spokesman for al Shabaab as saying that one of its fighters had been killed in an exchange of gunfire but that the group had beaten back the assault.
The paper quoted said a senior Somali government official as saying that the government "was pre-informed about the attack."
It quoted an unnammed unnamed U.S. security official as saying that the Barawe raid was planned a week and a half ago.
"It was prompted by the Westgate attack," he added, referring to a militant assault on a Nairobi shopping mall two weeks ago in which at least 67 people were killed.
Earlier, al Shabaab militants said British and Turkish special forces had raided Barawe overnight, killing a rebel fighter, but that a British officer had also been killed and others wounded.
Britain's Defence Ministry said it was not aware of any such British involvement. A Turkish Foreign Ministry official also denied any Turkish part in such an action.
A Somali intelligence official said the target of the raid at Barawe was a Chechen commander, who had been wounded and his guard killed. Police said a total of seven people were killed.
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for al Shabaab's military operations, told Reuters that foreign forces had landed on the beach at Barawe, about 180 km (110 miles) south of Mogadishu, and launched an assault that drew gunfire from rebel fighters in one of the militia's coastal bases.
Residents said fighting erupted at about 3 a.m. (midnight GMT). "We were awoken by heavy gunfire last night, we thought an al Shabaab base at the beach was captured," Sumira Nur, a mother of four, told Reuters from Barawe on Saturday.
"We also heard sounds of shells, but we do not know where they landed."
In 2009, helicopter-borne U.S. special forces killed senior al Qaeda militant Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in a raid in southern Somalia. Nabhan was suspected of building the bomb that killed 15 people at an Israeli-owned hotel on the Kenyan coast in 2002.
The United States has used drones to kill fighters in Somalia in the past. In January 2012, members of the elite U.S. Navy SEALs rescued two aid workers after killing their nine kidnappers.
Shabaab leader Ahmed Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu al-Zubayr, has described the Nairobi mall attack as retaliation for Kenya's incursion in October 2011 into southern Somalia to crush the insurgents. It has raised concern in the West over the operations of Shabaab in the region.

Argentina's president to take month off for brain hematoma

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner listens to Uruguay's President Jose Mujica while he addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/FilesArgentine President Cristina Fernandez has been told by doctors to take a month off because of a subdural hematoma on her brain, her spokesman said on Saturday, forcing her to abandon campaigning for congressional elections this month.
The 60-year-old Fernandez was admitted earlier on Saturday to a Buenos Aires hospital that specializes in cardiovascular problems.
The president suffered trauma to the brain in August, her spokesman, Alfredo Scoccimarro, said. He did not elaborate.
Vice President Amado Boudou cut short a journey to France to return to Argentina and take over the president's duties.
Fernandez is in an electoral campaign for elections at the end of October that will determine control of Congress.
A subdural hematoma consists of the accumulation of blood under a membrane that covers the brain and usually occurs after a blow to the head.
The decision to discharge her suggests the hematoma is too small to be drained via surgery, said a doctor not involved in the treatment.
Fernandez, president of the South American country since 2007, had her thyroid glands removed last year after she was diagnosed with cancer, although later tests indicated no cancer was present.
Her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, died after a heart attack in 2010.

Egypt issues tough warning against anti-army protests

Supporters of deposed President Mohamed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood clash with anti-Mursi protesters during a march in Shubra street in Cairo October 4, 2013. REUTERS/ Mohamed Abd El Ghany
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian authorities said on Saturday anyone who protests against the army on Sunday when the country celebrates the anniversary of an attack on Israeli forces during the 1973 war will be regarded as agents of foreign powers.
Presidential spokesman Ahmed al-Muslimani was speaking to the state news agency in anticipation of demonstrations by the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been staging protests against the army's ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July.
Egyptian authorities tightened security around the country after clashes on Friday killed at least four people.
Mursi's supporters on Friday mounted their boldest demonstrations since troops crushed protest camps demanding his reinstatement on August 14. The four who died in Cairo were all Brotherhood supporters, security sources said.
Both opponents and supporters of the Brotherhood have called for more mass protests on Sunday, during celebrations of the anniversary of an Egyptian attack on Israeli forces in the Sinai during the 1973 war. Egyptian forces broke down Israeli fortifications in that attack and pushed across the Suez canal, though Israel later repulsed the advance.
"Protesters against the army on the anniversary of victory (October 6, 1973 war) will be carrying out the duties of agents, not activists," the presidential spokesman said. "It is not befitting to go from a struggle against authorities to a conflict with the nation."
State media said authorities had uncovered a plot by "terrorists" to target police installations during the celebrations on Sunday.
The Interior Ministry said security had been stepped up on highways, in all cities and at important installations.
Political tensions have gripped Egypt and hammered the economy since the army ousted Mursi, installed an interim government and drew up a political road map it promised would bring fair elections.
In a televised speech to the nation, Interim President Adly Mansour promised that a constitution would be written to accommodate "all Egyptians". He said free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections would be held shortly after the constitution is finished.
On Saturday afternoon, about 1,000 Mursi supporters tried to reach the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque area in northeast Cairo, where security forces crushed one of their protest camps in August. All but about 50 were turned back by police, who fired tear gas, security sources said.
Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said in a meeting with aides that security forces would not tolerate attempts to block roads or "spread chaos", the state news agency reported.
"The ministry will deal with the utmost firmness and decisiveness with any of those practices, and confront any lawlessness," it quoted him as saying.
The military boosted its presence around Tahrir Square - where hundreds of thousands of Egyptians demonstrated during the revolt that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 - after clashes on Friday in several cities.
Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said in a statement to the nation that "evil elements" still posed a danger but had lost much of their power, a reference to Islamist militants.
Beblawi said the road map was "taking its natural course" and that he hoped it would conclude soon. He said the economy was starting to improve and "there were clear signs and reassuring indicators".
Authorities have cracked down hard on the Brotherhood, which won every election after Mubarak's fall but became unpopular during Mursi's rule, with many Egyptians accusing him of trying to acquire sweeping powers and mismanaging the economy, allegations he has denied.
The Brotherhood accuses the military of staging a coup and sabotaging democracy by removing Mursi, the country's first freely-elected president.
On August 14, Egypt's military-backed authorities smashed the two pro-Mursi sit-ins in Cairo, with hundreds of deaths, and then declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew. Many of the Brotherhood's leaders have been arrested since.
Egyptian authorities face a rising number of attacks by militants in the Sinai, bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Palestinian group Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Fears are growing that an Islamist insurgency could take hold in other parts of Egypt, a key U.S. ally which has a peace treaty with Israel and controls the Suez Canal, a vital global trade route.
In September, a Sinai-based militant group inspired by al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a failed suicide bombing against the interior minister in Cairo.
On Saturday, security forces arrested two members of al Qaeda carrying hand grenades in the coastal city of Marsa Matruh, security sources said.
One of the men threw a grenade just before he was apprehended, wounding six policemen, they said.

Ireland rejects PM's plan to scrap senate

A pedestrian walks past a polling station during the Seanad (senate) referendum in Dublin, Ireland, on October 4, 2013
Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny vowed to push forward with reform of the upper house of parliament after voters rejected his plan to abolish the senate to save the bailed-out eurozone nation money.
In a surprise blow for Kenny after he personally led the campaign to ditch the senate, voters in a referendum on Friday narrowly opted to keep the 60-member house, according to results announced late Saturday.
Final results revealed that 51.7 percent voted in favour of keeping the senate, or Seanad Eireann, while 48.3 percent wanted to scrap it. Turnout was just 39.2 percent with about 1.2 million voters.
"Sometimes in politics you get a wallop in the electoral process. I accept the verdict of the people," Kenny told reporters outside Dublin Castle after the result was announced.
"The process of change in politics is something that we want to continue with.
"And now that the people have given a very clear decision in respect of the Senate, I think it's important to assess how best the Senate can contribute effectively to that process of reform and I'll reflect on that over the period ahead."
Opinion polls had suggested voters would likely back Kenny's proposal to scrap the senate, which had the support of the coalition government parties and some of the opposition.
The prime minister had described the upper house as elitist and undemocratic, saying its closure could save the nation 20 million euros ($27 million) a year.
Opponents said the senate, which was created in 1937, should be reformed instead of abolished.
Micheal Martin, leader of the opposition Fianna Fail party, urged Kenny to press on with "real reform of our parliament and government".
"This result is complete rejection of the Government’s strategy of talking about reform but simply increasing their own power," he said in a statement.
Many Irish blame their country's politicians for failing to properly manage the "Celtic Tiger" economic boom, which ended in Dublin entering a European Union-International Monetary Fund bailout in November 2010 after a decade of growth collapsed.
Voters also backed the creation of a new Court of Appeal in a separate referendum Friday. It passed by 65.2 percent in favour to 34.8 percent against.
Dublin hopes the new court will alleviate the pressure on the heavily backlogged Supreme Court.
Austerity and slashed growth forecasts
Slashed growth forecasts
Kenny had taken many by surprise, even those in his own Fine Gael party, when he announced in the run-up to the last general election that he would put plans to scrap the upper house to the people.
He pointed out that other small EU nations had scrapped their upper houses to save money.
But critics accused Kenny's party of hiding behind a promise of savings to centralise power in the government's hands -- and closing the door on wider political reform.
Historically, many senators tend to be politicians who failed to gain a seat in a general election or those hoping to win a seat in the lower house at a future election.
The upper house is the less powerful house of parliament, often reduced to rubber-stamping legislation from the lower house.
Its ability to delay bills passed by the lower house for 90 days is its most powerful function, but that has only occurred twice in 75 years.
The referendum vote came ahead of another austerity budget in Ireland on October 14, almost three years since it entered the EU-IMF bailout.
The IMF on Friday slashed its growth forecasts for Ireland after predicting weaker consumer demand and export growth.
The IMF, which formed a central part of Ireland's 85-billion-euro international rescue, said it expects the Irish economy to grow by 0.6 percent this year, down from a previous forecast of 1.1 percent.
Ireland's economy went through a period of turmoil in the run-up to the 2008 global financial crisis and after, amid soaring government debt, a property-market meltdown, a banking crisis and surging unemployment.
Ireland had been known as the "Celtic Tiger" economy for its double-digit growth spanning a decade from the mid-1990s.

Assad says will not negotiate with armed rebels - magazine

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Russian state television RU24 in Damascus in this September 12, 2013 handout photo by Syria's national news agency SANA. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters/FilesSyrian President Bashar al-Assad told a German magazine he would not negotiate with rebels until they laid down their arms, and said his most powerful ally Russia supported his government more than ever.
In an extensive interview with Der Spiegel, Assad said he did not believe it was possible to solve the conflict in Syria through negotiations with the rebels, comments that might dampen hopes among Western powers for a political solution.
"In my view, a political opposition does not carry weapons. If someone drops his weapons and wants to return to daily life, then we can discuss it," he was quoted as saying.
The Syria conflict started as a peaceful protest movement against four decades of Assad family rule but turned into a full-scale war after a government crackdown. More than 100,000 people have been killed.
The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution last week that demands the eradication of Syria's chemical weapons and endorses a plan for a political transition in Syria.
Washington blames Assad's government for a August 21 sarin nerve gas attack on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds. The Syrian government and its ally Russia said anti-government rebels carried out the attack.
Assad told Der Spiegel that U.S. President Barack Obama had "not even a whisper of proof" that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons.
"He has nothing to offer other than lies," said Assad, contrasting Washington's stance with that of the Russians, who he viewed as "real friends".
"They understand much better what this is really about here... The Russians are much more independent than you in Europe, where you all orientate yourselves so much towards the United States."
"(Russian President Vladimir) Putin is more determined than ever to support us... He knows from his own fight against terrorism in Chechnya what we are going through here."
Assad said he was not worried about his own fate, which was why he and his family had stayed in Damascus through two and a half years of conflict, and he felt the Syrian people were rallying behind him as they saw the devastation wrought by the rebels.
He said Syria would hold presidential elections two months before his current term ends next August and he could not yet say whether he would run. "If I do not have the will of the people behind me anymore, I will not run," he added.
Assad said his government may have made errors in the severity of its initial crackdown, but he still stood by its decision to "fight terrorism, to defend our country".
Assad said the Syrian crisis had been prompted by forces outside the country, in particular al Qaeda fighters. Financial aid from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as logistical aid from Turkey, was sustaining the conflict, he said.
"We have here al Qaeda with fighters from 80 countries," he said. "There are tens of thousands of fighters that we are dealing with."
Last week, Al Qaeda-linked fighters fought rival Syrian rebels near the border with Turkey, underscoring divisions between the factions battling Assad.
Those divisions have hurt their fight against Assad's better equipped and organised forces and made Western powers more reluctant to intervene.

Are Samsung's new luxury wireless speakers a sound investment?

The Samsung Shape 7 Wireless Speaker System in white
The Shape M7 system is clearly designed to take on Sonos, currently the best premium wireless home speaker maker, but can it really mount a serious challenge in such a discerning market?
Even before specifications and features are listed, the fact that Samsung hopes to sell each individual speaker for $399 puts it on a direct collision course with Sonos.
So, what will music-loving consumers get for their money? Firstly, the choice of a black or white, wedge-shaped speaker unit which is capable of connecting to other devices via Bluetooth, wi-fi and NFC. Syncing the speaker with the device of choice is pretty simple and then it can play whatever's stored on a phone.
However, for those that want stereo sound, or a multi-speaker, multi-room set up, things start to get a little more complicated.
If you want two or more speakers, you are also going to need the Samsung hub. A $49 box that must be plugged directly into the home router. Then you'll need to install the app. But once downloaded and the system configured, you will be able to play the same music in every room in the home simultaneously, or push completely different playlists to each speaker.
Sonos also offers a 'bridge' to help manage multi-room set ups but its speakers also have an Ethernet connection so that one can be plugged directly into the router instead, serving as both a speaker and a hub, and saving customers extra expense.
However, when Samsung's system launches, initially in the US on October 13, the app, and therefore the speakers, will only be able to support a small number of music streaming services -- Amazon Cloud Player, Pandora and Rhapsody. Notice that it doesn't currently support Spotify.
To get around this pretty big limitation, in single room streaming mode at least, a speaker will be able to play whatever is playing on a smartphone. However it does have one neat trick up its sleeve, a speaker can be used as a TV soundbar, as long as that TV happens to have been made by Samsung.
Sound bars and wireless speakers are clearly growing in popularity, but so is the choice of different products from different companies at every price bracket. Samsung is taking a gamble by challenging Sonos and, for the time being, its system, from the file formats it supports, through to the need for a hub, its less-than-polished app and its inability to stream Spotify or Rdio, make it second best.
Compare that with Sonos' offering, which supports pretty much everything from Apple's iTunes to BBC Radio.
During a private press event in New York on Thursday evening to launch the event.

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