Sunday, 13 October 2013

USA Basketball.

US forward LeBron James (L) chats with US guard Kobe Bryant (R)

US forward LeBron James (L) chats with US guard Kobe Bryant (R) during the men's preliminary round basketball match USA vs Nigeria of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the basketball arena in London. The United States team of NBA stars set a record for most points in a single Olympic men's basketball game by defeating Nigeria 156-73 on Thursday in a preliminary round game


Chinese guard Wang Shipeng (L) is challenged by Spanish forward Pau GasolChinese guard Wang Shipeng (L) is challenged by Spanish forward Pau Gasol during the Men's Preliminary Round Group B match Spain vs China at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Spain won 97-81

Junior Eldstal extends contract with Sarawak

Junior Eldstal extends contract with SarawakThe wonderkid, Junior Eldstal has revealed that he has extended his stay at Sarawak for one more year.

The news was made public first by Eldstal’s close friend, and Sabah football legend Scott Ollerenshaw who tweeted that the Swedish-born star had rejected many other options given to him, and signed a one year contract extension with the Crocs.

Scott also said that the 22-year-old is excited of the prospect of playing the 2014 Malaysian Super League (MSL).

Echoing the excitement was Eldstal himself who revealed that he was “humbled by the offers received, but the right place for him now is with Sarawak.”

The Sabahan added that the Crocs is a “great club with great aspirations” as he reconfirmed Scott’s news that he has already signed for a one year deal with Sarawak.

It is widely believed that Eldstal decided to sign the deal after taking into considerations what Sarawak has done for him.

A few weeks ago, it was highly rumored that he will not play for the Crocs next season, with Johor Darul Takzim said to be the front runners to capture the upcoming defensive midfielder.

Nonetheless, the confirmation by Eldstal will now silence many about his future as the Crocs gear up to meet Pahang in Kuantan next weekend in the 2013 Malaysia Cup semifinal.

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard will return to Goodison Park early from international duty, having been released from the USA squad. Howard helped his country to a 2-0 win over Jamaica in Friday's World Cup qualifier. With his country having secured their progression prior to that clash, Brad Guzan will take over from Howard in goal for Tuesday's trip to Panama. "Brad Guzan has earned the opportunity to start against Panama," national coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "He has been outstanding for Aston Villa all year, and he has been huge in the games he has played for us in World Cup qualifying. "As I said before, we have one of the best situations in the world when it comes to our goalkeepers." Howard will now travel back to Merseyside ahead of Everton's visit of Hull City on Saturday. ; The 34-year-old has been an ever present in the Premier League this season, helping Roberto Martinez's side into seventh place.

Jones hails Hodgson for West Brom chance
Billy Jones has thanked former West Brom manager Roy Hodgson for turning his Premier League dream into a reality.
Hodgson lured the right-back to The Hawthorns from Preston in June 2011, a transfer that followed the Lancashire club's relegation to the third tier of English football.
From League One to the top flight in an instant, Jones has not looked back and has flourished at West Brom to become a mainstay in the team, playing every minute in the Premier League this season under Steve Clarke, who took charge when ;Hodgson became England boss in 2012. ;
And Jones has expressed his gratitude to Hodgson for spotting his potential to become an established Premier League player.
"Roy was massive for me," Jones told the Birmingham Mail.

"To Roy and Dan Ashworth - the main people involved in that move - I have to say thank you.
"I'd just been playing at Preston, a team that had been relegated from the Championship to League One.
"They saw enough to give me the chance of playing Premier League football.
"It was crazy. It therefore turned out to be a good season for me, even though we got relegated."
"I know when I signed I can just imagine how it must have looked to fans: What are the Albion thinking, signing this lad who's just been relegated to League One with Preston when we’ve just finished 12th and want to improve?
"I'm grateful and thankful I got that chance.
"And I knew when I signed that the hard work would start again to get those chances to get into the team and stay there."

Everton goalkeeper Howard released from USA squad

Everton goalkeeper Howard released from USA squad
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard will return to Goodison Park early from international duty, having been released from the USA squad.
Howard helped his country to a 2-0 win over Jamaica in Friday's World Cup qualifier.
With his country having secured their progression prior to that clash, Brad Guzan will take over from Howard in goal for Tuesday's trip to Panama.
"Brad Guzan has earned the opportunity to start against Panama," national coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.
"He has been outstanding for Aston Villa all year, and he has been huge in the games he has played for us in World Cup qualifying.
"As I said before, we have one of the best situations in the world when it comes to our goalkeepers."
Howard will now travel back to Merseyside ahead of Everton's visit of Hull City on Saturday. ;
The 34-year-old has been an ever present in the Premier League this season, helping Roberto Martinez's side into seventh place.

ENGLAND : Baines confident of England progression

Baines confident of England progression
Leighton Baines is confident England will secure qualification for the World Cup when they face Poland on Tuesday.
Roy Hodgson's men welcome Poland to Wembley for their final qualifying match knowing a victory will ensure their place at Brazil 2014.
England are aware that anything less than a win will likely see them face a play-off to qualify ,as nearest challengers Ukraine are taking on minnows San Marino in their last game.
But Baines is hopeful they will take all three points against Poland and wrap up Group H.
"The magnitude of the game is something we are aware of," the Everton defender said.
"The job is half done so we have to finish it off on Tuesday.
"We've approached these games like any others. There will be no special plans, we're focused on what we need to do.
"We're focused on the game and it's nice to know safety net of play-offs is there, but hopefully it won't be needed.
"Poland have some big players, but we know if we are at our best we can get the result we need."
Baines played the full 90 minutes in Friday's 4-1 win over Montenegro and is expected to start again with regular left-back Ashley Cole set to miss out due to a rib injury. ;
And the 28-year-old is pleased to be gaining more time on the pitch in international football.
"The more experience you get at this level the better. It's been good to be involved in more qualifiers," he added.

Ronaldo dodges suggestions he was booked deliberately against Israel

Ronaldo dodges suggestions he was booked deliberately against IsraelCristiano Ronaldo has refused to reveal whether or not he got himself deliberately booked in Portugal's 1-1 draw with Israel in a bid to ensure his availability for the Seleccao's impending World Cup play-off.
The result, coupled with Russia's 4-0 win over Luxembourg, means Portugal, currently three points behind Fabio Capello's men, are all but certain to miss out on automatic qualification from Group F and are likely to feature in the play-offs.
Ronaldo was booked late on in the game in Lisbon for dissent, leading to speculation that he may have picked up a yellow card on purpose so he could miss his country's final group qualifier against Luxembourg on Tuesday.
However, the Real Madrid star has denied he deliberately earned a caution so he could take a clean disciplinary record into the play-offs.
"Fifa is always very attentive to those situations," said the 28-year-old.
"The play-off is the most important and I don't want to be out. I will be at those two matches."
When asked about potential opponents in the play-offs, Ronaldo highlighted France - who look set to finish second behind Spain in Group I - as the main threat.
"France are the strongest we may face," he continued. They are the only ones I do not want to face."

We have proven many wrong, says Sarawak's Junior Eldstal

Exclusive: We have proven many wrong, says Sarawak's Junior EldstalWhen Sarawak were relegated last year, plenty of critics jumped on the bandwagon to collectively dismiss the team as being mere pushovers. But one year later, they are now the reigning Premier League champions and are into the semi finals of the Malaysia Cup competition.

Their performances have been amazing and Junior Eldstal believes that they have silenced all those people who doubted the team prior to the season.

"From the start, we've had a lot of doubters. But I always knew how far Sarawak could go in all competitions, and what we could potentially achieve," he told Goal Malaysia.

"So I think that our performances have proven many people wrong."

The Crocs are now preparing to take on Pahang in the semi finals of the Malaysia Cup. The first leg will be played in Kuantan on the 19th of December and Junior asserted the fact that preparation for that clash is well on course.

"We are all focused and ready for that game against Pahang. As usual, we are just preparing for this game like we do for any other game. We train hard physically, and work on our tactical side of the game. Most importantly, we consume good food and have good rest whenever necessary.

"Pahang are a difficult team to play against and we are certainly studying how they play as well. If we can get a good result in the first leg, then we have all to play for at home in the second leg."

Pahang themselves have had a storming Malaysia Cup campaign, and Junior even pin-pointed several names that must be kept at bay, in order to defeat them in the semis.

"They have a very strong team, especially Gopinathan on the flanks. And they put in a lot of balls into the box as well, and Matias Conti is an incredible finisher as well."

Sarawak finished the Premier League season being unbeaten throughout the campaign, and they have also scored 15 goals at home in four Malaysia Cup matches thus far. Their performances in Kuching have been scintillating and Junior was quick to credit the massive home support as being one of the key factors behind their top showings.

"Yes, we do have an incredible record at home and it's because our fans have been thoroughly amazing. Its always difficult for any team to travel and play us at home. But at the same time, we are always hungry to score and not concede; which plays a big part in our form."

Alonso says his focus is Mercedes, not Vettel

Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso (C) of Spain walks in the paddock with his agent Luis Garcia Abad (L) and his press officer Roberta Vallorosi after the qualifying session of the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit October 12, 2013. REUTERS/Issei KatoRed Bull's Sebastian Vettel is sure to win this year's Formula One title and Ferrari's focus is now on finishing ahead of Mercedes in the constructors' championship, Fernando Alonso said on Saturday.
Vettel enjoys a 77 point lead over the Spaniard and can secure his fourth successive championship if he wins the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday and Alonso fails to finish in the top eight.
While Vettel qualified on the front row on Saturday, Alonso will start in eighth place.
"If Sebastian doesn't win the championship here, he will win in India or in Abu Dhabi," said the Ferrari driver, referring to the next two races of the four remaining after Japan.
"It's not our more important point of the weekend to be honest. We will not race, try to finish in the first eight to try to keep alive the championship," he continued.
"We will race, try to score as many points as possible and try to finish in front of the Mercedes. That is a very important goal for us. If we can keep the championship open until India it will be OK, but it will not change too much for us."
Ferrari are second overall and one point ahead of Mercedes in the constructors' standings with five races remaining. Red Bull are 118 points clear in the constructors'.
Both the Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, qualified ahead of the Ferraris at Suzuka with the Briton third on the grid and the German sixth.
Vettel starts alongside Australian team mate Mark Webber, on pole for the first time in a year, and can be expected to run away with the race if his misbehaving KERS energy recovery system does not let him down.
"The race is about trying to beat the Ferraris and also the Lotuses," Hamilton agreed. "We want to beat both those teams. The Red Bulls, we're not really in their league at the moment."
"When you start the race, your mind's set on winning but if those two Red Bulls get into the first corner first and second, they'll be gone... they've got so much time in their pockets."
Alonso said his qualifying had been much as expected, with Ferrari clearly off the pace, although there was hope for the race.
"We are not in a position to fight with anyone," he said. "We have some problems in terms of pace and performance that is not going to change now in the remaining races because we will put zero new parts in.
"It is not frustrating any more to be honest," he added. "It is four years that we are one second behind Red Bull (on Saturday).
"We were seventh in Korea, we didn't have the pace. We arrived here five days later and we didn't expect any miracle. We expected to be eight tenths or one second behind Red Bull and we are eight tenths."

Jimenez bicycle kick rescues Mexico World Cup bid

Mexico's Raul Alonso Jimenez (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring the second goal against Panama during their Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup CONCACAF qualifier match, at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, on October 11, 2013
Mexico won a new chance to qualify for the World Cup after a splendid bicycle kick by Raul Alonso Jimenez helped his team defeat Panama.
Jimenez scored his wonder goal five minutes before the end and just two minutes after entering the game to give the home side a 2-1 victory at a packed Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.
The victory gives Mexico command of the fourth spot in the CONCACAF regional group, which would give them a playoff game with Oceania champions New Zealand.
The United States and Costa Rica have secured two of the three direct qualifying spots with one round left to play on Tuesday.
Honduras hold the third spot with 14 points, three ahead of Mexico, and need only to draw at last-placed Jamaica on Tuesday to clinch the final direct entry from North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Mexico, who face Costa Rica on Tuesday, still have a slim chance of avoiding the New Zealand clash and qualifying outright as the third-place finishers in the six-nation group. But there is still a slight chance they could be knocked from fourth place by Panama, who host the United States in the final set of matches next week.
Mexico opened the score against Panama at the 40th minute wih Manchester United forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez lobbing a pass to Oribe Peralta who didn't miss his chance inside the area.
But Hernandez missed a penalty in the second half after his weak attempt was saved by goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
His miss was followed by a costly mistake by keeper Guillermo Ochoa, whose failure to secure the ball inside the area allowed Luis Tejada to tap it in from close range in the 80th.
But Jimenez came in for Jesus Eduardo Zavala and revived Mexico's hopes.
Mexico have qualified for 14 of the last 19 world cups and last missed it in 1990 when it was banned for fielding overage players in a youth tournament.

Coleman hails performance of young Wales side

Coleman hails performance of young Wales sideWales manager Chris Coleman hailed the mental fortitude of his injury-ravaged side following Friday's 1-0 home win over Macedonia.

Simon Church's 67th-minute winner proved the difference as Wales moved off bottom of Group A in FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying, despite Aaron Ramsey's missed penalty with five minutes to go.

And Coleman praised his players after the squad had been decimated by injuries in the build-up to the Macedonia clash.

"I thought we were brilliant," he told reporters. "It was a difficult game for us and we were missing a lot of players but to a man we stood our ground, although we rode our luck a bit.

"We played some good football and I thought our lads were absolutely magnificent.

"We had to stay strong with a lot of young players and they kept their focus and got the win and that's what they deserved."

Ramsey admitted afterwards that he offered Craig Bellamy the chance to take Wales' late penalty as the veteran was playing in his last home international before retirement.

"I did offer him the pen," said the Arsenal midfielder.

"But he said 'no you take it, you're the captain,' but I wish I did give it to him now!"

On the game itself, Ramsey underlined the importance of claiming the three points in Wales' penultimate qualifier.

"It's a big win for all of us," he said.

"We've been disappointing against the bigger teams in the group so it was important for the players, the fans and the manager to get the win and we managed to do that so we're delight

Argentina 3-1 Peru: Lavezzi double continues Albiceleste streak

Argentina 3-1 Peru: Lavezzi double continues Albiceleste streakArgentina capitalised on Colombia's earlier draw with Chile to ensure top spot of the South American section of World Cup qualification with a 3-1 victory over Peru.

Claudio Pizarro had given the underdogs the lead but Ezequiel Lavezzi's double and Rodrigo Palacio's strike ensured that Alejandro Sabella's men picked up three more points.
The win ensured Argentina will finish the South American qualifying group on top as they rose to 32 points, five clear of second-placed Colombia, who wrapped up a spot at next year's finals on Friday.
Peru had entered the match in Buenos Aires knowing they could not qualify for Brazil 2014 and finished the game still on 14 points in seventh position.
The visitors started strongly, however, with Pizarro bursting onto a through-ball by Gianmarco Gambetta in the 21st minute and then finishing inside the far post of Sergio Romero's goal.
Peru's joy did not last long though as Lavezzi equalised two minutes later, tapping home from close range after Federico Fernandez's header from a corner was saved.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker put Argentina ahead in the 35th minute, after a flowing move down the right ended with Palacio cutting the ball back from the byline and Lavezzi had no trouble side-footing into the net.
Argentina almost had a third goal just before half-time as Sergio Aguero hit the back of the net only to be ruled out for offside.
Coach Alejandro Sabella and his Argentine players did not have to wait much longer to make it 3-1, however, with Aguero linking up with Marcos Rojo in the 47th minute and the latter crossed for Palacio to finish from close range.
Palacio hit the bar soon after with a delicate chip but the home side failed to add to their tally, while Peru were barely in the contest as they copped their fourth loss in five international matches.

Rooney salutes debut hero Townsend after England win

England's midfielder Andros Townsend runs with the ball during the World Cup 2014 qualifier between England and Montenegro at Wembley Stadium, London, on October 11, 2013
Wayne Rooney saluted Andros Townsend after the Tottenham winger made a memorable England debut in his country's crucial 4-1 win over Montenegro at Wembley.
Townsend was surprisingly handed his first England cap by Roy Hodgson in the must-win Group H tie and the 22-year-old repaid his manager's faith with a scintillating display on Friday.
Rooney bagged his sixth goal in five World Cup qualifiers early in the second half when Townsend's surging run and cross allowed the Manchester United striker to open the scoring after Danny Welbeck's shot was saved.
England briefly led 2-0 through a Branko Boskovic own goal, but nerves were jangling when Dejan Damjanovic pulled one back for Montenegro.
With England's World Cup hopes in danger following news of Ukraine's win over Poland -- a result that would have left Hodgson's men in second place if they failed to beat Montenegro -- Townsend rode to the rescue with a stunning strike before a late Daniel Sturridge penalty put further gloss on a memorable night for England, who now just need a win at home to Poland on Tuesday to book their place at next year's finals in Brazil.
And Rooney, whose strike was his 37th England goal, admitted he had been extremely impressed with the way Townsend refused to be intimidated by his shock call-up.
"It was some debut," he said. "In such a high-pressure game to perform like that was incredible."
Townsend's dream debut is the latest step in his long journey to the top of the game.
During four years at Tottenham, he has been loaned out to more clubs than he has made Premier League starts, with spells learning his trade far from the bright lights of Wembley at Yeovil, Leyton Orient, Milton Keynes Dons, Ipswich, Watford, Millwall, Leeds and Birmingham.
It was during another loan stint at QPR last season that he finally proved he could thrive in the top-flight and Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas was impressed enough to hand him a place in the starting line-up this season.
His refreshing lack of fear, so often a problem for England at Wembley, shone through as he took the attack to Montenegro and Rooney acknowledged it was thrilling to be being part of an attacking quartet with Townsend, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck.
Hodgson is often derided as an ultra-conservative manager, but he cut loose against Montenegro and his gamble paid off.
"It was great," Rooney said. "It was exciting. A lot of speed and the experience of Steve (Gerrard) and Frank (Lampard) behind us.
"The manager gave us the freedom and the platform to go out and express ourselves."
While the final score suggests a rout, England were made to work hard by Montenegro in the first half.
Rooney said his side knew they might have to wait to take their opportunity against Montenegro, a well-drilled and cautious outfit who had drawn their previous three meetings with England.
"It was a tough game," Rooney said. "I thought it was always a night when we were going to have to be patient and try to break them down.
"First half they defended deep, defended well. Getting the goal so early on in the second half was vital and I thought we fully deserved the three points.
"You saw a weight come off everyone's shoulders and we played some good stuff, created chances."
Meanwhile, England captain Steven Gerrard paid tribute to Hodgson for keeping a cool head after recent criticism of the team's perceived negative ply.
"The players and manager took a bit of criticism after the 0-0 draw in Ukraine and I thought his selection was very bold here," Gerrard said.
"He went for three forwards and an out-and-out winger, and it paid off. Well done to him for his bravery."

Hazard and co help Wilmots prove critics wrong

Belgium's football coach Marc Wilmots celebrates his team's victory over Croatia during their World Cup 2014 qualifying match in Zagreb on October 11, 2013
Belgium's impressive 2-1 win over Croatia on Friday which assured them of their first appearance at a World Cup finals since 2002 would have been especially satisfying for their young coach Marc Wilmots.
The 44-year-old -- who appeared at four World Cups though he failed to play in the 1990 edition -- was not universally welcomed when he was appointed in June 2012 after an undistinguished time at both Belgian side St Truiden and then Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04 where he had shone as a player and won the 1997 UEFA Cup beating Inter Milan.
Pundits, fans and even members of the federation were sceptical he could turn the fortunes round of the 'Red Devils', whose glory days when they reached the 1986 World Cup semi-finals, where they fell prey to the magical talents of Diego Maradonna, were a distant memory.
However, now with a young generation of immensely talented players such as Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard, and his clubmate Romelu Lukaku, though, he is on loan at Everton, and when fit Manchester City central defender and captain Vincent Kompany as well as Atletico Madrid goakeeper Thibault Courtois they look like they could go far in Brazil next year.
"Without a doubt in terms of pure talent this squad is stronger than the one that reached the semi-finals in 1986," said former Belgian international right-back Georges Heylens, capped over 50 times and who played in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
Wilmots, capped 80 times, is credited with not only giving the young group confidence in themselves as well as enjoying a close relationship with his players but also at the same time being capable of instilling discipline to the squad.
However, while there are those who believe the present squad can emulate their predecessors such as Enzo Scifo, Leo Clijsters, Eric Gerets and Jan Ceulemans in reaching the last four, there are others who urge caution about what they can achieve in Brazil.
One of those is Robert Waseige, the last coach to guide Belgium to a major finals, the 2002 World Cup.
"While everything appears to be going well today, in football things can change very quickly," said the 74-year-old.
"First of all one has to get through the first round (the group stage) which is never easy and then if one has Brazil as second round opponents, the adventure can come to an end very quickly......thus I say calm down!"
Waseige knows from bitter experience what he is talking about as in 2002 his side -- captained by Wilmots -- were knocked out in the second round by Brazil.
That side was not the equal of the present one but Wilmots will be mindful of that experience and will no doubt talk about it to his young 'Devils' -- for the moment, though, he and they can bask in the moment of ending Belgium's absence from the top table of world football.

Australia sacks coach Osieck

Australia's national football team head coach Holger Osieck gives a press conference on October 10, 2013, 2013 in Paris
Australia coach Holger Osieck has been sacked after the Socceroos were thrashed 6-0 by France in an international friendly, reports said on Saturday.
Despite guiding them to the World Cup finals, the German's position was on the line ahead of Friday's match in Paris after the team was hit for six by Brazil a month ago.
The Sydney Morning Herald said he has now paid the price.
"The most embarrassing pair of results in Socceroos' history has ended the reign of coach Holger Osieck, who was dramatically sacked this morning," the newspaper reported.
It said Football Federation Australia chief David Gallop delivered the news to Osieck although there was no immediate official confirmation.
Calls have been growing for Osieck's head in recent weeks with former coach Guus Hiddink, who led the Socceroos to the 2006 World Cup, seen as a candidate to replace him.
Reports said three A-League coaches: Melbourne Victory's Ange Postecoglou, Western Sydney's Tony Popovic and Central Coast's Graham Arnold could also be in the running.
Asked by Fox Sports after Friday's game whether he was concerned for his future, Osieck replied: "That's not my call.
"I know two heavy losses to that extent always gives some food for discussion."

Vietnam firework factory blast 'kills 21'

Smoke billows following an explosion at a firework factory in the northern Vietnamese province of Phu Tho, on October 12, 2013
At least 21 people have died and scores more have been injured in an explosion at a fireworks factory in a military complex in northern Vietnam, an army official said Saturday.
Plumes of black smoke billowed from the Z121 military facility, around 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Hanoi, as fireworks exploded uncontrollably for several hours, witnesses said.
"Twenty-one people are dead and 98 others are injured -- most of them have sustained burns," a military rescue official told AFP by phone, requesting anonymity and raising an earlier toll of seven dead.
Local hospitals received many of the victims, some with horrific burns. The most critical cases were moved to a specialist burns centre on the outskirts of Hanoi.
"I couldn't recognise my daughter, she was burned from her face to the soles of her feet," one woman told state media. "She was pregnant, she couldn't escape the explosion quick enough."
Images posted on Vietnamese blogs showed charred frames of motorcycles, and nearby houses with roofs ripped off and windows blown in by the force of the explosions.
Some 2,000 local residents were also evacuated.
"The fire has now been brought under control," a police official in Phu Tho province told AFP, adding that an investigation into the cause of the accident had been opened.
"The first blast was at 7:55 am -- and then there were continuous explosions for some hours," Phi Xuan Trung, chairman of the local Khai Xuan commune, told the VNExpress news site.
"There was a strong smell of gunpowder, the ground was shaking many kilometres away," he added.
Residents in Thanh Ba district -- where the complex is located -- also said they felt the ground shake during the powerful repeated explosions.
"After the first explosion, my house was shaking and the door smashed open," eye witness Nguyen Nhu Quynh told VNExpress.
Loudspeakers urged people within 15 kilometres of the military facility to leave the area.
One local resident told AFP that locals have fled to the Viet Tri township, about 40 kilometres away.
"We have received warnings from authorities that there could be further explosions which could be very destructive," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In 2010, fireworks being prepared at Hanoi's My Dinh stadium for use in the city's 1,000th anniversary celebrations exploded, killing three foreigners and one Vietnamese national.
That explosion was blamed on carelessness during the transport of two containers of fireworks, local media reported at the time.
Fireworks are frequently used to see in the western and Vietnamese New Year, or on special occasions such as the country's national day in September.
Handmade firecrackers were traditionally used as a symbol of good luck to celebrate the Lunar New Year -- known locally as Tet -- and at weddings.
But, in 1994, the government banned the production and use of all firecrackers nationwide for safety reasons, changing instead to fireworks -- which are produced only in state-approved facilities.

U.S. Secretary of State makes unannounced visit to Kabul for talks with Karzai

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waves as he leaves, after completing his trip to Malaysia, from Subang TUDM outside of Kuala Lumpur, October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Afghanistan on Friday to advance negotiations with President Hamid Karzai on a bilateral security pact, weeks before an October 31 deadline for an agreement.
The deal will determine the presence of U.S. forces in Afghanistan after 2014.
U.S. officials, speaking en route to Kabul, emphasized that Kerry's visit was not about trying to close a deal on a Bilateral Security Agreement. Instead he would seek to build momentum for negotiators to reach a deal after 11 months of talks, they said.
"This is not about Secretary Kerry coming in to close a deal," a senior State Department official told reporters. "This is really about us building momentum for the negotiators and helping establish conditions for success of the negotiations going forward."

Pakistan army chief supports talks with Taliban

Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani salutes a guard of honour during a ceremony in Diyatalawa, on June 29, 2013
Pakistan's powerful army chief General Ashfaq Kayani Saturday said the army supports the government's policy of dialogue with the Taliban to end the insurgency wracking the country.
The main Pakistani political parties last month backed a government proposal to seek negotiations with the militants, who have been waging a bloody insurgency against the state since 2007.
But the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) faction, a loose coalition of militant groups led by Hakimullah Mehsud since 2009, responded with a list of preconditions.
These included a government ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops from the tribal areas along the Afghan border where the militants have hideouts.
"The national leadership has decided to give dialogue a chance to deal with the issue of terrorism and Pakistan army fully supports this process," Kayani said while addressing a passing out parade of cadets in Abbottabad, 112 kilometres (70 miles) north of the capital Islamabad.
"The nation and the political leadership have to determine the parameters for holding such a dialogue... this process should bring unity among the nation instead of leading to a division," he said.
During the televised address at the Pakistan Military Academy, the general said it was essential to find a solution to terrorism which he described as negating the basic ideology of the nation and the teachings of Islam.
"The military will be more than happy if a solution to the problem is found through dialogue," he said, adding that the use of force would be the last option.
Kayani, who is retiring from his post next month at the end of a second tenure as army chief, dismissed speculations that the failure of counter-insurgency operations forced the military to go for dialogue.
"This is far from being a truth," he said, pointing to the successful 2009 military operations in the northwestern town of Swat, which was cleansed of terrorists within four months.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday said his government was sincere about holding peace talks with the Taliban, after rebel chief Mehsud complained that no serious steps had been taken to open a dialogue.
Speaking after a security meeting in the troubled northwestern city of Peshawar, Sharif said progress was being made on the issue of opening negotiations.
His statement came a day after the broadcast of a BBC interview in which Mehsud said he was ready to sit down for talks but the government had "not taken any serious steps".

U.S. quietly observes coup law on Egypt aid, but shuns term

Soldiers sit atop army vehicles as they stand by Tahrir square in Cairo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El GhanyDespite withholding most military aid to Egypt until it makes progress on democracy and human rights, the U.S. government is still tying itself in knots over whether to describe July's army overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi as a "coup."
The administration's latest rhetorical gymnastics came to light when U.S. officials briefed Congress this week on their decision to withhold deliveries of fighter planes, tanks, helicopters and missiles - as well as $260 million in budget aid to Egypt.
During the briefing, the officials told congressional aides they had quietly decided to respect a law that bars aid to the Egyptian government in the event of a military coup - even though the administration decided over the summer it was under no obligation to decide whether or not a coup had taken place and so did not have to apply the law.
Congressional aides said officials from the State Department, Pentagon and Agency for International Development who discussed Egypt on Capitol Hill still refused to use what they wryly termed "the C word" to describe the ouster of Morsi, an Islamist and Egypt's first freely elected president.
"They made very clear that they were not calling it a coup," one House of Representatives aide said after a briefing.
The language issue illustrates what some analysts see as a tortured U.S. policy toward Egypt, where the desire to be seen as supporting human rights and democracy has clashed with a hope of retaining influence in a strategically vital country and not upsetting the Egyptian army.
"There are a thousand and one ways to describe the intersection between our interests and our values here," said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington.
Despite this week's aid suspension, President Barack Obama plans to keep providing some assistance to Cairo, including military spare parts, training for military officers and funds to promote health, education and economic development.
Transferring that money, however, will require Congress to give Obama authority to spend it, one reason he chose to try to avoid irritating lawmakers by respecting the law against giving aid to countries where a coup has taken place, officials and congressional aides said.
"They did not want to poke their finger in the eye of Congress," said an official.
U.S. lawmakers were annoyed earlier this year when Obama sidestepped a decision on whether to call the army's overthrow of Mursi a "coup." Such a designation would have meant automatically suspending about $1.55 billion in annual aid.
The State Department's avoidance of the term "coup" became fodder for late-night television comedy and raised questions about whether the United States was acting hypocritically by refusing to call a spade a spade.

North Korea warns of 'all-out war'

In a photo taken on July 27, 2013 North Korean soldiers march through Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang, during a military parade marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean war armistice
North Korea on Saturday issued a fresh warning of an "all-out war", urging the United States to stop military drills and what it described as "nuclear blackmail".
In a thinly veiled threat to strike the United States, the North's National Defence Commission (NDC), chaired by leader Kim Jong-Un, said the US government must withdraw its policy of hostility against the North if it wants peace on both the Korean peninsula and the "US mainland".
"(The United States) must bear it in mind that reckless provocative acts would meet our retaliatory strikes and lead to an all-out war of justice for a final showdown with the United States," a spokesman of the NDC was quoted as saying in a statement carried by Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency.
"We emphasize again that the United States must withdraw various measures aimed to isolate and strangulate us. Dependent upon this are... peace and security, not only on the Korean peninsula but the US mainland as well."
The comments come after a two-day joint naval drill between Japan, South Korea and the US, which included an American nuclear aircraft carrier, sparked a series of angry responses and threats from Pyongyang.
On Friday, the North slammed the naval drill as a "serious military provocation" and vowed to "bury in the sea" the American carrier taking part in the exercise.
The latest bellicose statement from the NDC demanded that the US lift sanctions against the North, stop the "constant nuclear blackmails" and various war drills.
It rejected as "intolerable contempt" a US demand that it should show tangible commitment towards abandoning its nuclear programmes if it wants substantive talks with the United States.
"The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is an inalterable policy goal of the DPRK government," it said, but added that getting rid of such weapons should also include a total removal of US nuclear threats against the North.
The US and South Korea have long demanded that Pyongyang show tangible commitment to ending its nuclear weapons programme before the six-party talks, which have been stalled for several years, can resume.
Later Saturday, South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye warned the North was a "serious threat" to the region.
Speaking in Jakarta, where she met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on a state visit, Park told reporters: "North Korea's nuclear weapons development poses a serious threat to peace and stability in the region, including the Korean peninsula".
"We cannot accept North Korea as a nuclear state," she said.
The North has said for years it wants denuclearisation of the whole Korean peninsula and that it is developing a nuclear arsenal to protect itself from the US military, which occasionally sends nuclear-powered warships and aircraft capable of carrying atomic weapons.
In February the North carried out its third underground nuclear test in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, sending tensions soaring and raising fears of possible conflict. It also launched a rocket in December that Washington said was a disguised ballistic missile test.
As well as the two Koreas, China and the US the six-party talks also involve Russia and Japan.

Nazi war criminal memorial service to be held in Rome: lawyer

Former German SS officer Erich Priebke during his trial at the Rome military justice court on July 30, 1996
The memorial service for Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke will be held in Italy, his lawyer told AFP Saturday after Argentina, where the former SS officer wished to be buried, refused to accept his body.
"The ceremony will be held Tuesday" in a church in Rome, said lawyer Paolo Giachini.
Priebke died Friday in Rome aged 100 after serving nearly 15 years under house arrest for a World War II massacre at Italy's Ardeatine Caves that killed 335 people, including 75 Jews.
Giachini had initially said Priebke would be buried near his wife in Argentina, where he fled after the war, but officials in Buenos Aires have refused to accept his remains.
The lawyer did not say whether Priebke would be buried in Italy after the memorial service.
Rome's Mayor Ignazio Marino said he would allow only a "strictly private" ceremony -- and not in the city centre.
The day after the service, Italy will mark the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Jews from the Roman ghetto to Auschwitz.
Priebke was sentenced to life in prison in 1998, four years after being arrested in the Argentine ski resort city of Bariloche, where he had lived for more than 40 years.
Because of his age and ill-health he was allowed to serve out his sentence under house arrest at Giachini's home.
The Ardeatine Caves massacre was carried out in March 1944 in retaliation for an attack by the Italian resistance movement on SS soldiers. Victims of the massacre were executed with a bullet to the neck.
Priebke never expressed remorse for the killings, insisting he had only obeyed orders.
"My death would not have allowed for those innocents to be saved," he said at an appeal hearing in 1998.
The Argentine foreign ministry said on Twitter that "Foreign Minister Hector Timerman has given the order not to accept the slightest move to allow the return of the body of Nazi criminal Erich Priebke to our country."
The move was welcomed by Jewish groups in Argentina, which has the largest Jewish community in Latin America with about 300,000 members.

France charges Al-Qaeda suspect deported from Pakistan

French commandoes stand guard outside the National Police College in Saint-Cyr-au-Mont-d'Or, on October 15, 2012
A French-Algerian man suspected of Al-Qaeda ties and deported from Pakistan this week has been charged with terror offences, French judicial officials said on Saturday.
Intelligence officials believe Naamen Meziche was once connected to Al-Qaeda's so-called "Hamburg cell", which planned the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Deported on Tuesday, he was charged and remanded in custody in Paris on Friday for criminal conspiracy in relation with a terrorist enterprise, with a view to carrying out criminal acts, the source said.
Meziche had been in Pakistani custody since being arrested in May 2012 in the southwest of the country along with three other suspected French jihadis, who were sent back to France in April and charged on the same count.
Born in Paris in 1970, Meziche left France in the early 1990s for Afghanistan, then Germany where he is alleged to have come into close contact with the "Hamburg Cell".
He has been known to intelligence officials for more than a decade, though he has no criminal record in Europe.
French law gives authorities broad powers to detain and prosecute a suspect for intending to carry out terrorist acts or contacting organisations suspected of terrorism.
Though Meziche is suspected of being a long-time Al-Qaeda member, no proof has yet emerged of his involvement in any specific act of terror, and security officials are divided about how big a player he is.
One French anti-terror officer told AFP this week Meziche was "a big fish -- right in the... heart of Al-Qaeda".
But another source close to the case said it was "hard to say if he is an active player or a bit of a has-been".

Snowden warns of government spying in first Russia video

An image grab taken from a video released by Wikileaks on October 12, 2013 shows US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden speaking during a dinner with US ex-intelligence workers and activists in Moscow
US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden warned of dangers to democracy in the first video released of the fugitive since Russia granted him temporary asylum in August.
"If we can't understand the policies and programmes of our government we can't grant our consent in regulating them," Snowden said in one of the short video clips posted on the WikiLeaks website Friday night.
The anti-secrecy group said the videos were filmed Wednesday when Snowden met with a group of four retired US ex-intelligence workers and activists now seeking to promote ethics within the profession.
Snowden, a former National Security Agency computer administrator, is wanted in the United States for espionage and other charges after leaking details of vast US telephone and Internet surveillance programs.
Dressed in a black suit and blue shirt with no tie and looking at ease, Snowden reiterated the dangers of NSA surveillance, saying indiscriminate spying was a "far cry" from legitimate programmes.
"It's a sort of dragnet mass surveillance that puts entire populations under a sort of eye that sees everything, even when it's not needed," he said.
"People all over the world are realising that these programmes don't make us more safe, they hurt our economy, they hurt our country, they limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships, to associate freely."
The videos show Snowden and the four former US government employees chatting and smiling over dinner at a luxurious room in an unidentified location.
During the evening, former ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern gave Snowden an award -- a symbolic candlestick -- that acknowledges integrity in the profession.
"We are confident that others with similar moral fibre will follow his example in illuminating dark corners and exposing crimes that put our civil rights as free citizens in jeopardy," WikiLeaks quoted McGovern as saying.
Also present were a beaming WikiLeaks employee Sarah Harrison, a British national who has accompanied Snowden since he arrived in Russia, and his Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena.
One of the attendees, former Department of Justice ethics advisor Jesselyn Radack, said Snowden looked "very healthy."
"He was funny and engaging, he did not seem worried, he did not seem to have lost weight or appear pale or sick in any kind of way," she said in televised remarks, predicting that more people might follow his example.
"I really think he's had a wonderful effect for the US and for the world," she said. "Courage is contagious."
The 30-year-old spent over a month stuck in transit at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport before being granted asylum on August 1 despite repeated protests from Washington.
Since then his whereabouts have been a mystery. His pro-Kremlin lawyer Kucherena says Snowden is learning Russian, travelling and may soon get a job.
Earlier this week his father Lon Snowden arrived in Moscow and reportedly had an "emotional" meeting with his son.

African Union gives world court untimatum over Kenya case

Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (second-left), and Cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura (second-right) attend a hearing, at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, on August 8, 2011
African nations on Saturday said that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta should not show up for trial at the International Criminal Court before a response is given to demands his case be adjourned.
"What the summit decided is that President Kenyatta should not appear until the requests we have made is actually answered," said Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus after a special African Union meeting.

Iraq car bomb 'kills 12'

Iraqi anti-terror police stand guard at a checkpoint in Baghdad, on January 6, 2011
A car bomb exploded in a crowded street in a city north of the Iraqi capital on Saturday, killing 12 people, police and a doctor said.
The blast in Samarra came as people shopped ahead of the Eid al-Adha holiday, and also wounded 13 people, the sources said.

Penyokong Lokman Adam beralih sokongan?

Calon bagi jawatan naib ketua Pemuda Umno, Lokman Nor Adam kecewa apabila mendakwa dimaklumkan bahawa ada kalangan bahagian yang sebelum ini bersamanya, dikatakan telah beralih sokongan kepada calon lain.

NONESelain Lokman (kanan), tiga lagi calon yang bertanding jawatan tersebut ialah Ketua Pemuda Umno Tenom, Jamawi Jaafar; Ketua Pemuda Umno Perak, Khairul Azwan Harun dan Ketua Pemuda Umno Lenggong, Mohamad Iruan Zulkefli.

Dalam SMS kepada Malaysiakini, Lokman yang juga exco Pemuda Umno mendakwa bahawa dari semalam lagi, beliau dimaklumkan bahawa banyak bahagian yang sebelum ini menyokongnya, dikatakan berpaling kepada calon lain.

Lokman mendakwa sistem pemilihan baru yang melibatkan 76,000 perwakilan di seluruh negara, akan memihak kepada mereka yang mempunyai sumber kewangan yang kuat.

"Saya akan meneruskan perjuangan saya walaupun keputusan nanti tidak menyebelahi saya," tulisnya dalam SMS tersebut.
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