F1 Considering Takeover Bid From Murdoch’s News Corp.


Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and an Italian-based investment firm have combined for a possible bid to take control of Formula One, it was revealed Tuesday.

Formula One’s owners have been approached by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. about a potential joint takeover bid with the investors behind Ferrari, the sport’s oldest team.

In a joint statement, News Corp. and Exor said said they are discussing the “possibility of creating a consortium with a view to formulating a long-term plan for the development of Formula One in the interests of the participants and the fans.”

Exor, controlled by the Agnelli family who run the car giant Fiat which in turn owns Ferrari, has confirmed it is exploring the prospect of putting together a takeover bid with News Corporation.

“Over the coming weeks and months, Exor and News Corporation will approach potential minority partners and key stakeholders in the sport. There can be no certainty that this will lead to an approach to Formula One’s current owners.”

CVC maintains that it is not actively trying to sell F1, but a statement opens the door to future takeover talks.

Any takeover would involve changes to the Concorde Agreement, a commercial arrangement involving the racing teams, CVC and the sport’s governing body, the FIA.

This agreement says that the sport should be shown on free-to-air television where possible.

However, the agreement runs out at the end of 2012, and the signatories are in the process of negotiating a new one.

Ecclestone said: “You would think if somebody wanted to buy it they would approach the people who own it to see if they want to sell it. Personally, I know CVC don’t want to sell, so it’s going to be a bit difficult. I can see CVC in for the long haul, absolutely, 100%.”

However, reiterating the “ridiculous” offer line, Ecclestone added: “If somebody came along and offered them a lot more money than it’s worth, they would obviously say: ‘Sit down, let’s have a chat.’ But I get the distinct feeling that’s not going to happen. I can’t understand why a company as big as News Corp need to keep looking for partners.
First it was Carlos Slim, and now we’ve a new one.”

If any bid is made, a potential sticking point is the Concorde agreement, the arrangement that binds together the teams, the governing body – the FIA – and CVC. A clause in the agreement stipulates transmission of races must be via free-to-air broadcasters, rather than subscription services such as Murdoch’s Sky network.

Catholic Church Gives Blessing To iPhone Confessions


Catholic Church Gives Blessing To iPhone Confessions – The Catholic Church has approved an iPhone app that helps guide worshippers through confession. The program is called “Confession”. Last week, it went on sale through iTunes for $1.99.

The app is described as the perfect aid for every penitent. It offers users tips and guidelines to help them with the sacrament. Now senior church officials in America have given it their seal of approval. The app takes users through the sacrament wherein Catholics admit their wrongdoings and allows them to keep track of their sins.

In addition, it also allows to examine their conscience based on personalized factors such as age, sex and marital status, but it does not mean that it will replace traditional confession entirely. Instead, it encourages users to understand their actions and then visit their priest for absolution.

According to Patrick Leinen of developer Little iApps, their desire to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology.”

The launch of the said app comes shortly after Pope Benedict XVI gave urging to Christians to embrace digital communication and make their presence felt online. However, he warned them to keep in mind that digital communication was part of a bigger picture.

The Confession’s developers, who are based in India, said they took the Pope’s words to heart when they were preparing the application for public consumption.

6 WWF Volunteers Abducted in India


6 WWF volunteers abducted in India -Heavily Armed gunmen have kidnapped six volunteers of World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) from Manas national park in north-eastern India, according to officials.

The official said that the victims are three men and three women, all Indian nationals, were carrying out an elephant and tiger census when they were abducted by 20 masked rebels last Sunday. The identity of rebels is not known, but official says that a huge manhunt has now been launched by the police.

“We are concerned about the incident and we are in touch with the parties for the safe rescue of the missing people,” Dipankar Ghosh, head of the eastern Himalaya programme of WWF-India, told AFP.

The incident came within a few hours after the All Bodo Students Union (Absu) announced their intention to renew their campaign for a separate state for the Bodo people. The violent movement for separate state started in 1987 which involved bombing public transport and other crowded places. More than 2,000 people lost their lives in the campaign before Absu and other Bodo groups settled for an autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council within Assam in 2003.

Security forces in the western part of the state covering the BTC has assigned by the Assam government for high alert.

Four Consecutive Days of Exchanged Fire Between Cambodia and Thailand


Four Consecutive Days of Exchanged Fire Between Cambodia and Thailand – Throughout the weekend, not less than five people died in clashes and thousands of civilians have fled the area. The dispute has killed two soldiers and a civilian from Cambodia, one Thai soldier and a Thai civilian.

Cambodia says artillery and machine was heard around the 11th-Century Preah Vihear Temple which has already been damaged in the fighting. This is believed to be the worst fighting between the two neighbors for years.

In New York, Ban’s office said the UN chief was “deeply concerned” about the standoff. “The secretary-general appeals to both sides to put in place an effective arrangement for cessation of hostilities and to exercise maximum restraint,” it said.

Governor of Thailand’s eastern border province Si Sa Ket, Somsak Suwansujarit, said: “Almost 15,000 people spent the night at 38 temporary shelters and 23 schools near the border were told to close from Monday to Wednesday.”

However, it is still vague what really ignited the latest violence. Last December, seven Thais including a lawmaker were arrested by Cambodia near the border for illegal entry. Two of them were sentenced to jail terms for spying, which caused outraged among Thais nationalist, who protested for resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen asked the UN Security Council on Sunday to intervene to stop what he said was Thailand’s “repeated acts of aggression” against his country. He added, he would welcome intervention from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to which both countries belong.

On the other hand, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugusban claimed that Thailand does not invade any country they are just protecting their sovereignty.

Gay Rights Campaigner in Uganda Was Beaten To Death


Gay Rights Campaigner in Uganda Was Beaten To Death – Uganda gay rights campaigner, David Kato, has been beaten to death. Police have confirmed the death of David Kato but say they are still investigating the circumstances.

Last year Kato sued a local newspaper which named him as being homosexual. Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, with punishments of 14 years in prison.

Uganda’s local newspaper, Rolling Stone newspaper, published the photographs of several people it said were gay next to a headline stating “Hang them”.

As a matter of fact, an MP recently tried to increase the penalties to include the death sentence in some cases.

The witnesses to the incident said that a man entered Kato’s home near Kampala, and beat him to death before leaving.

His Sexual Minorities Uganda (Smug) group said Kato had been receiving death threats since his name, photograph and address were published by Rolling Stone last year. Not only that, several activist claimed they had been attacked after their photographs were published.

Following a complaint by Kato and others, a judge in November ordered Rolling Stone to stop publishing the photographs of people it said were homosexual, indicating it contravened their right to privacy.

For the meantime, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called for a swift investigation into his death. According to HRW’s Maria Burnett, David Kato’s death is a tragic loss to the human rights community.

David Kato had campaigned against Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which appears to have been quietly dropped after provoking a storm of international criticism when it was mooted in 2009.

Giffords Has Been Successfully Moved to Texas Rehab


Giffords Has Been Successfully Moved to Texas Rehab – The doctors treating US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords said that she was transferred from a hospital to a rehabilitation center flawlessly. Dr Randall Friese of Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital in Texas said she had smiled and shed tears on hearing applause from well-wishers.

Giffords has made a steady progress following several rounds of surgery. She was flown from Tucson, the largest city in her Arizona constituency, to William Hobby Airport in Houston on Friday afternoon, from where she was transported to the rehab facility.

The doctors of Memorial Hermann described her condition as spectacular with great potential recovery. The Democratic Congresswoman will undergo extensive rehabilitation in this institution. The doctors said she had moved limbs on her left side and showed good muscle tone, that she was aware of her surroundings and was interacting non-verbally with doctors and family members.

Last week, the Democratic Congresswoman was shot in the forehead in a mass shooting in Arizona. As of now, she continues to recover in hospital.

Since a part of Giffords’ skull has been removed to accommodate swelling on her brain, doctors have fitted her with a helmet bearing the Arizona state flag, at the request of her husband. Despite her condition, Giffords appeared to smile and shed tears on hearing applause from well-wishers by the side of the road during the drive from the Tucson hospital to the air from which she flew to Texas.

Meanwhile, the man responsible for the shoot out, Jared Loughner, has been jailed pending trial for the attack in Tucson, in which six were killed and 13 hurt.

Britain Holds The Entry Of Pastor Terry Jones


Britain Holds The Entry Of Pastor Terry Jones – The pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, Pastor Terry Jones, has been denied from his entry to Britain.

The Florida pastor said last year that he was praying about whether to burn Qurans to protest the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

According to the statement released by a Home Office spokesperson: “The government opposes extremism in all its forms which is why we have excluded Pastor Terry Jones from the UK. Numerous comments made by Pastor Jones are evidence of his unacceptable behavior.”

However, Pastor Jones gave his opinion in a telephone interview: “Just as a human being, I believe it is restrictive, against my right to travel, against my right to my opinion, to express my opinion, against basic principles of freedom of religion and freedom of speech.”

The US controversial pastor had planned to go to Britain on February 9 and to spend a week to 10 days there with his church group. He has also been invited to speak at several rallies in England and also do some book signing.

Terry Jones is the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, threatened last September to burn the Holy Book of Islam, the Quran. But he changed his mind after his proposal attracted sharp criticism from Muslim around the world as well as from U.S. officials.

The pastor has written a book, “Islam Is of the Devil”, which ranked at number 960,762 on Amazon.com.

Walmart Fire Forces Evacuation


Walmart Fire Forces Evacuation – a Walmart in Brevard County was evacuated on Wednesday morning, after a fire broke out at the McDonald’s restaurant inside the store. The fire started at about 9:20 a.m. at the Walmart at 8500 N. Wickham Road.

According to the reports of Brevard County Fire Rescue, there was a power outage at the store, and McDonald’s employees discovered the fire, which started at the UPS power back-up system being used for the computers, when power was restored.

Employees used fire extinguishers to fight the blaze until fire crews arrived.Fire officials said that the fire was contained to a work area that stored computers and paperwork. Brevard County Fire Rescue crews made use of fans to ventilate smoke from the store, which was evacuated.

The store’s manager said that the store was closed for about an hour. The McDonald’s will remain closed Wednesday for an investigation and clean up.

Representatives from the Florida Division of Hotels and Restaurants were at the scene to assess the damage, which is estimated about $25,000.

Giffords Will Be Brought To Rehabilitation Clinic For Continues Recovery


Giffords Will Be Brought To Rehabilitation Clinic For Continues Recovery – A hospital spokeswoman said that Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had stood aided by medical staff. She has made steady progress after several rounds of surgery.

Giffords’ mother has also said that her daughter has made remarkable progress since the January 8 attack at a constituency event outside a store in Tucson. The congresswoman was shot in the forehead in a mass shooting in Arizona

Giffords is set to be moved to a rehabilitation center on Friday. Avoiding further medical complications, Giffords will be transfered to Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston, where her husband Mark Kelly works for NASA as a space shuttle astronaut.

Mark Kelly said in a statement released by Gifford’s congressional office: “I am extremely hopeful at the signs of recovery that my wife has made since the shooting.” He said at University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, where his wife has undergone a series of operations, had established her to the point she could move into the rehabilitation phase of recovery.

Giffords’ love ones had preferred the rehabilitation clinic because of its national reputation for treating serious penetrating brain injuries and its relative closeness to Tucson.

Meanwhile, Jared Loughner has been jailed pending trial for the attack in Tucson, in which six were killed and 13 hurt. He was indicted on Wednesday on three counts of attempting to kill federal officials, relating to Ms Giffords and two of her aides wounded in the assault.

The indictment does not include a charge in the death of John Roll, a federal judge. The Arizona US attorney described the initial indictment as the beginning of federal legal action against Mr Loughner.

Katie Price Left Alex Reid


Katie Price Left Alex Reid – The couple tied knot in Las Vegas last January as they were celebrating the cage fighter’s win on Celebrity Big Brother.

The glamorous model released a statement saying: “Alex and I have had a number of difficulties over the past few months. I accept that these were in part caused by my marrying too quickly—we all make mistakes and this was one. However, Alex changed from the man I fell in love with.” She added: “some of his behavior became difficult” for her to understand and “caused issues”.

Katie Price and Alex Reid, started dating months after she announced her separation from Peter Andre in May 2009. Reid proposed to Price months later after her divorce from the singer was settled.

Price claimed she had supported her husband’s ambition to attract more media attention, but his desire to promote himself contributed to the couple’s alienation.

They have failed to resolve their differences because the issues between them are too deep rooted. The reality TV star added: “I am deeply upset that my relationship with Alex has failed but I know it is the right thing for my children and I that we separate. My children are my absolute priority in this and they are being shielded from what is happening.”

Nonetheless, Katie Price refused to acknowledge the reports that she had talked about money with her divorce lawyers.