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Kuznetsova faces Dementieva in final

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Svetlana Kuznetsova improved her chances of reaching the number one spot later this year by reaching her second final of 2008 in Dubai.

The world number three from St Petersburg overcame Jelena Jankovic, the world number four, 5-7 6-4 6-3 in the semifinals.

She will now face compatriot Elena Dementieva, who put out Italy’s Francesca Schiavone, in an all-Russian final on Saturday.

In the first set I was playing the right shots but at 5-3 I lost concentration and let her get back, Kuznetsova said.

The same happened in the second set when I got to 3-0. I let her get back. I tried to change that and as the match went on and on I went better and better. In the third set I served better too.

Jankovic was still pleased with her overall improvement, having finished last year exhausted, and begun this year with limited preparation. I started this year healthy but not well prepared because of a back problem. But then I started getting all the injuries probably, because I wasn’t well prepared.

My whole body was falling apart, but now that’s not the case — I am just tired.

Kuznetsova will play the 13th all-Russian WTA Tour singles final when she takes on Dementieva, the former US and French Open runner-up, in the final.

It is also the second all-Russian final in successive weeks, following Maria Sharapova’s victory over Vera Zvonareva in last week’s final in Doha.

The unseeded Dementieva joined her compatriot in the final by winning 5-7 7-5 6-2 against Schiavone, the Italian who on Thursday created a sensation by ending Justine Henin’s four-year unbeaten run in Dubai.

Dementieva said: For sure it was two very difficult matches (against Ana Ivanovic) and today, and I lost a lot of energy. But we are not playing the final until the night and it will be enough time. E-mail to a friend

Kuznetsova faces Dementieva in final – found here.

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February 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Buddy Miles, drummer for Jimi Hendrix, dead at 60

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Buddy Miles, a drummer who played with Jimi Hendrix and sang in the claymation commercials featuring the California Raisins in the 1980s, died Tuesday. He was 60.

Miles, who had been suffering from congestive heart failure, died in Austin, publicist Duane Lee said.

Miles, who was born in Omaha, Nebraska, was performing with his father’s jazz-influenced combo by the age 11. He then went on to play for The Delfonics, The Ink Spots and Wilson Pickett, according to his Web site.

He co-founded the band Electric Flag in 1967. He also co-founded the Band of Gypsys with Hendrix and Billy Cox, the Web site said.

Miles was drummer on Hendrix’s landmark Electric Ladyland album before officially joining Band of Gypsys a few months later. Miles is best known for Them Changes, a song he wrote and performed.
Buddy Miles, drummer for Jimi Hendrix, dead at 60 – found here.

February 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oil hits record high above $103

SINGAPORE (AP) — Oil prices briefly surpassed $103 a barrel for the first time Friday as persistent weakness in the U.S. dollar and the prospect of lower interest rates attracted fresh money to the oil market.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange jumped to a new trading record of $103.05 a barrel in electronic trading before slipping back to $102.07 a barrel, down 52 cents, by midday in Europe.

On Thursday, the contract jumped $2.95 to a record settlement price of $102.59 a barrel.

Prices were supported by comments Thursday from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who said the American economy is not immediately threatened with stagflation, a combination of economic weakness and rising inflation.

Investors chose to see the comments as confirmation of their beliefs that the Fed will continue cutting interest rates to try to shore up the economy.

It seems that further interest rate cuts, additional dollar weakness and more investment buying will anchor oil to higher prices, energy risk management firm Cameron Hanover said in its daily report. It can’t go on forever, but it looks like it can go on for a while.

Lower U.S. interest rates tend to weaken the dollar, and crude futures offer a hedge against a falling dollar.

Due to the weakening dollar and the rising fear of inflation, investors have put money into commodities, oil included, said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with Purvin Gertz in Singapore.

Commodities, as tangible assets, do not face as much inflationary threat as opposed to holding a currency, Shum said. Even though the value of money is changing, the asset continues to have an intrinsic value.

In London, Brent crude futures fell 85 cents to $100.05 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Shum warned that a price bubble may be emerging in the crude futures market as investors ignored market fundamentals that have shown continuous increases in U.S. crude supply while several recent forecasters have lowered oil demand growth predictions for this year due to the slowing economy.

We’ve seen seven straight weeks of builds in crude oil inventories. The oil market fundamentals are softening and yet we see record highs being set, day in and day out, Shum said.

Shum warned of the possibility of a sharp correction at some point, though unlikely in the near term.

Right now, there’s a lot of trading based on emotion — emotions are high and that could keep crude oil at elevated levels, but the market faces the risk of a price collapse.

The Japanese government on Friday urged the oil cartel OPEC to increase output to help ease record prices.

The high crude prices are gradually damaging the global economy. This will damage the economies of oil-producing countries, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akira Amari said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries holds its next policy meeting on March 5. It is likely to decide to keep current production levels unchanged, or even cut production, according to reported comments by OPEC President Chakib Khelil.

Khelil noted that oil inventories were growing, and that the recent rally in oil prices has been driven by the U.S. dollar’s weakness and speculative trades amid geopolitical risks.

Several OPEC ministers are just itching for a reason, any reason, to cut output. A number of OPEC countries have become as addicted to high prices as the West has become to their oil, Cameron Hanover’s report said.

The ministers may not be able to find any reason to cut production now, especially if oil prices keep rising. If they cannot, they will plan another meeting in five weeks and will cut output at the first hurdle.

Crude prices are within the range of inflation-adjusted highs set in early 1980. A $38 barrel of oil then would be worth $97 to $104 or more today, depending on the how the adjustment is calculated. A direct comparison with daily Nymex prices is difficult because historical data, gathered before the crude futures contract was created in 1983, are based on average monthly prices posted by oil producers.

In other Nymex trading, heating oil retreated 1.30 cents to $2.8326 a gallon while gasoline futures fell 1.17 cents to $2.4840 a gallon. Natural gas futures slipped 7 cents to $9.373 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Oil hits record high above $103 – found here.

February 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Warner Bros. absorbs New Line

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — Media giant Time Warner Inc. said Thursday its Warner Bros. Entertainment studio would absorb its New Line Cinema unit, an independent studio that redistributed quirky films like Reefer Madness and made blockbusters like The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

New Line founder Robert Shaye and his co-chief executive, Michael Lynne, decided to leave the 40-year-old studio but were discussing possible future business deals with the conglomerate.

New Line has been our respective life’s work as well as our second family, Shaye and Lynne said in a joint statement. While we’re sad to be leaving, we’re enormously proud to have overseen its extraordinary growth.

New Line will maintain separate development, production and marketing departments but will integrate those functions with its new parent division to cut costs and improve profitability, Time Warner said.

The new alignment also will help the two companies coordinate film releases and let New Line benefit from the international and digital distribution contracts of Warner Bros., the company said.

As an example of lost revenue opportunities, New Line’s The Golden Compass made $70 million domestically through February 24 but raked in $261 million abroad, from which the studio saw limited benefit because it had to sell those distribution rights to various other companies.

The Warner Bros. international network will allow Time Warner to reap such sales directly.

The move marks the first major restructuring effort by Time Warner President and CEO Jeff Bewkes since he took over as chief executive January 1.

Bewkes is under pressure to boost Time Warner’s share price, which stagnated during the tenure of Dick Parsons, who took over as CEO in 2002 after a difficult merger with AOL.

Shares fell 51 cents, or 3.1 percent, Thursday to close at $16.02 but rose 11 cents in after-hours trading.

Media analyst Howard Vogel called the New Line move a relatively easy and simple step to improve efficiency at Time Warner.

But he said it signaled the departure of two industry veterans who had established New Line’s edgy lineup with hits such as A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984.

New Line was bought in 1994 by Ted Turner’s Turner Broadcasting System, which was acquired by Time Warner two years later.

They never intended to be part of Time Warner and Warner Bros., Vogel said of Shaye and Lynne.

New Line has several potential hits in production, such as the next film in the Rings series, The Hobbit, which is set for release in 2010, and Sex and the City: The Movie due to hit theaters in May.

Among Warner Bros.’ franchises are the Harry Potter series. It also made the recent movies Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and I Am Legend.

Time Warner’s other divisions include AOL, Time Inc., Time Warner Cable, Home Box Office, Turner Broadcasting System and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Warner Bros. absorbs New Line – found here.

February 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rogue trader cost MF Global $142M

NEW YORK (AP) — A rogue trader at MF Global rang up $141.5 million (93.6 million) in losses on the broker’s account this week, the company said Thursday, costing the company almost a fifth of its market value.

The Bermuda-based broker said on Wednesday morning it discovered Evan Dooley, a trader at the company’s Memphis, Tennessee, branch, trading wheat contracts in amounts that exceeded how much he was allowed to trade.

MF Global fired Dooley and liquidated the wheat contracts, which led to a $141.5 million (93.6 million) loss.

An entry-order system that should have blocked the trades failed, the company said.

Dooley had bought a few thousand lots of wheat futures contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade, MF Global said.

The price of wheat has surged in the past month because of constraints to global supply and swelling demand from China. E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Rogue trader cost MF Global $142M – found here.

February 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rogue trader cost MF Global $142M

NEW YORK (AP) — A rogue trader at MF Global rang up $141.5 million (93.6 million) in losses on the broker’s account this week, the company said Thursday, costing the company almost a fifth of its market value.

The Bermuda-based broker said on Wednesday morning it discovered Evan Dooley, a trader at the company’s Memphis, Tennessee, branch, trading wheat contracts in amounts that exceeded how much he was allowed to trade.

MF Global fired Dooley and liquidated the wheat contracts, which led to a $141.5 million (93.6 million) loss.

An entry-order system that should have blocked the trades failed, the company said.

Dooley had bought a few thousand lots of wheat futures contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade, MF Global said.

The price of wheat has surged in the past month because of constraints to global supply and swelling demand from China. E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Rogue trader cost MF Global $142M – found here.

February 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rogue trader cost MF Global $142M

NEW YORK (AP) — A rogue trader at MF Global rang up $141.5 million (93.6 million) in losses on the broker’s account this week, the company said Thursday, costing the company almost a fifth of its market value.

The Bermuda-based broker said on Wednesday morning it discovered Evan Dooley, a trader at the company’s Memphis, Tennessee, branch, trading wheat contracts in amounts that exceeded how much he was allowed to trade.

MF Global fired Dooley and liquidated the wheat contracts, which led to a $141.5 million (93.6 million) loss.

An entry-order system that should have blocked the trades failed, the company said.

Dooley had bought a few thousand lots of wheat futures contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade, MF Global said.

The price of wheat has surged in the past month because of constraints to global supply and swelling demand from China. E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Rogue trader cost MF Global $142M – found here.

February 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK’s Prince Harry fighting in Afghanistan

LONDON, England (CNN) — The UK’s Prince Harry has been serving on the frontline in Afghanistan and seen combat, the UK Ministry of Defense confirmed Thursday.

He was deployed 10 weeks ago and his fellow soldiers were sworn to secrecy.

The prince’s status is currently being reviewed, the Ministry of Defense said.

Harry is third in line to the British throne and serves with the Blues and Royals.

His main role has been as a member of a group called Joint Tactical Air Control, or JTAC.

As far as I’m concerned I’m out here as a normal JTAC on the ground and not as Prince Harry he said.

In a recent interview with CNN correspondent Paula Newton, Prince Harry said, At the end of the day I like to sort of be a normal person, and for once I think this is about as normal as I’m ever going to get.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: The whole of Britain will be proud of the outstanding service he is giving. For the last 10 weeks, he has joined the thousands of members of the British Armed Forces who have served with such distinction in difficult circumstances in Afghanistan since 2001.

In a pre-deployment interview with the British Press Association, he said: If I’m wanted, if I’m needed, then I will serve my country as I signed up to do.

The head of the British Army, Chief of the General Staff Sir Richard Dannatt, said Harry’s deployment had been kept secret after striking an agreement with the media. Watch Prince Harry on the front lines in Afghanistan

British and international media — including CNN — had agreed not to report Harry’s deployment because of security concerns for him and his unit. The military confirmed the operation after a U.S. Web site broke the news blackout.

Dannatt said: What the last two months have shown is that it is perfectly possible for Prince Harry to be employed just the same as other Army officers of his rank and experience. Watch how a top secret operation deployed Prince Harry

His conduct on operations in Afghanistan has been exemplary. He has been fully involved in operations and has run the same risks as everyone else in his Battlegroup.

In common with all of his generation in the army today, he is a credit to the nation.

Dannatt added that he and senior commanders will now be reviewing Harry’s deployment.

Last year, the military ruled Harry could not be sent to Iraq because publicity about the deployment could put him and his unit at risk.
UK’s Prince Harry fighting in Afghanistan – found here.

February 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bush: We’re in a slowdown

(CNN) — President Bush on Thursday said he does not think the country is headed into a recession, but admitted it is in a slowdown.

When asked if he was concerned about the economy having an effect on Republican John McCain’s presidential campaign, Bush said, I’m concerned about the economy because I’m concerned about working Americans, concerned about people who want to put money on the table and save for their kids’ education.

We’ve acted robustly and now it’s time to see if this program will really work, he said, referring to the economic stimulus bill he recently signed into law.

The government hopes the measure, which will send most Americans tax rebate checks by May, will either prevent a recession or make one relatively brief.

The package also includes tax breaks for equipment purchases by businesses, as well as payments to disabled veterans and some senior citizens.

When asked what advice he would give to the average person facing the prospect of gas prices hitting $4 per gallon, Bush stopped the reporter and said, What did you just say? You’re predicting $4 a gallon gas?

That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that, he said at the Thursday news conference.

Bush said Congress must make tax cuts permanent because of economic uncertainty.

Bush also urged Congress to vote on an update to the terrorist surveillance bill, which allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on foreigners without a warrant.

A temporary update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act expired more than a week ago.

The law expired, the threat to America didn’t expire, the president told reporters.

Bush has been pressing Congress to pass a permanent update, arguing that its delayed passage hurts national security.

The Senate passed a bill, but members of the House have taken issue with a provision in the Senate version that grants retroactive immunity from prosecution for telecommunications companies that assisted the government in its surveillance program.

Critics said the program violated the law, and phone and Internet companies face as many as 40 lawsuits related to their participation. The House has balked at passing the immunity measure.

Bush defended telecommunications companies that helped U.S. officials monitor terrorist communications, saying it is patently unfair for the companies to be sued by opponents of the program.

You can’t expect phone companies to participate if they feel like they’re going to be sued, he said. Watch Bush urge Congress to move ahead with FISA

The program is critical to national security, he said.

It’s in our interest because we want to know who’s calling who, Bush said.

Democrats have said that the existing 1978 law gives the government all the authority it needs to carry out surveillance and that passage of the final bill can wait until the House and Senate reconcile their differences.

Both the House and Senate versions of the bill would allow U.S. intelligence to tap into phone and Internet traffic overseas without obtaining a judge’s warrant, even if the calls were routed through communications centers in the United States.

The president also repeated his objection to sitting down with leaders of countries such as Iran and Cuba, nations accused of abusing human rights and stifling democracy.

The move has been an issue between Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

It is extremely counterproductive, sends chilling messages to our allies. … It would be a mistake, Bush said. Having your picture taken with someone like Raul (Castro) lends the status of our country to him. Castro, brother of Fidel, is the new president of Cuba.

Bush said he intends to meet with China’s president during a trip to Beijing to see the summer Olympic Games, which begin in August.

The Bush administration has accused China, a major U.S. trade partner, of human rights abuses. Bush didn’t elaborate on what issues he might bring up.

When asked if Obama’s recent comments about Iraq were naive, the president was quick to shoot down the question.

I believe Sen. Obama better stay focused on his campaign with Sen. Clinton, neither of whom has secured their party’s nomination yet, he said, adding that the Republican nomination has not been decided either.

The president, who recently returned from a trip to Africa, also asked lawmakers to pass a bill that reauthorizes his emergency plan of AIDS relief.

He urged the American people to be generous and compassionate in supporting programs to treat AIDS, and said he’s pleased that a House committee has passed a bill reauthorizing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR.

The plan has provided $15 billion since the president unveiled it in 2003. The new House proposal would greatly increase that amount.

During negotiations, House leaders reached an agreement with Bush on Wednesday to temper abstinence messages in promoting the program. The Senate is crafting its own proposal.

The president said Congress must act to approve the full funding requested for U.S. troops in Iraq.

It seems that no matter what happens in Iraq, opponents of the war have one answer: retreat, Bush said. Watch Bush describe his strategy in Iraq

When things were going badly in Iraq a year ago, they called for withdrawal. Then we changed our strategy, launched the surge, and turned the situation around.

Bush praised the success of the surge of American troops, saying it has decreased violence, including American casualties.

The president ordered nearly 30,000 additional troops to Iraq in January 2007 to help pacify Baghdad and the surrounding provinces.

The Bush administration has touted a reduction in the sectarian violence that wracked Baghdad throughout 2006 — and an accompanying drop in the U.S. death toll — as signs of the surge’s success.

Thousands of extremists have also been killed, since the United States sent more troops, Bush said.
Bush: We’re in a slowdown – found here.

February 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kenya’s rival politicians strike power sharing deal

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) — Kenya’s rival politicians have agreed to form a coalition government after weeks of wrangling on how to end the country’s deadly postelection crisis, mediator Kofi Annan said.

President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga had been negotiating for weeks about sharing power following the disputed elections in late December.

Annan, who had been leading the mediation effort, told reporters at a press conference: We have come to an understanding on the coalition government.

The Associated Press reported that Mr Annan offered no further details, saying: All I can say is that we do have an agreement.

Annan’s announcement came after crisis talks with Kibaki and Odinga that were also attended by African Union chief Jakaya Kikwete, the president of Tanzania.

The two leaders are expected to sign a document formalising the deal later in the afternoon.

Odinga and Kibaki have been at odds since facing off in a December 27 election that international monitors describe as flawed. Kibaki claimed victory and took the oath of office despite reported irregularities. Violence that followed has killed at least 1,000 and displaced 300,000.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had been overseeing talks between the two sides meant to bridge the divide, but he suspended those talks on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Odinga told reporters that his supporters would not take to the streets — for now — in the kind of mass action that has previously led to violence.

We will delay mass action until further notice, he said.

The deal comes after Annan met privately with Kibaki and Odinga.

It is a crisis situation that we are trying to manage, and we need to understand the urgency and the need for speed, Annan said Tuesday. I trust the two leaders understand this and will work with me expeditiously to resolve the crisis the country is in. Time is of the essence.

Kibaki’s win in the December voting was immediately called into question with election observers from the European Union saying they doubted the legitimacy of the count. Analysts said it was probable that both of the main parties had been involved in electoral fraud.

The fighting that followed the vote broke down along tribal lines. Members of Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe and the Luos, the tribe of Odinga, have been in the middle of the ethnic clashes.

More than 270,000 displaced Kenyans remain in 200 camps; 12,000 others are being looked after in Ugandan camps and estimated half million overall are in need of emergency shelter, water, food and medical care, according to John Holmes, U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, who briefed the U.N. Security Council on Monday.

Holmes visited the region earlier this month.

Common threads among all the displaced groups were their urgent need for safety and security, particularly for women and children, with some disturbing accounts of continuing abuses in and around camps, he said in a written statement.

I heard dreadful stories of murder, of rape and burning, he added. The ethnic basis of much of what happened was tragically clear.
Kenya’s rival politicians strike power sharing deal – found here.

February 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment