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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Future Connector: Evander Holyfield

World-famous American boxer Evander Holyfield is famous for his gladiatorial battles-of-the-ring with the likes of Mike Tyson, Michael Moorer and Lennox Lewis and more than two decades after beginning his career, Holyfield is still fighting.

There are also rumors that Holyfield, who boasts a record of 43 wins from 55 bouts, is about to match up with retired Danish boxer Brian Nielsen later in the year.
But, it isn't only boxing that Holyfield has his eye on.
The former heavyweight champion and Olympic bronze medalist, who famously had part of his ear bitten off by Tyson during a world-title fight in 1997, has also become a bit of an environmentalist, turning his Atlanta, Georgia estate into a renewable energy playground by building a solar farm along side an organic garden at his ranch.
As one of only three men in history to have been crowned world heavyweight champion three times in a career, the one dubbed 'The Real Deal' hopes to make green history with his actions.
Here's your chance to send in your questions to boxer Evander Holyfield.
Do you want to know what his most memorable match was? Why does he enjoy boxing? How has his efforts on the environmental front gone?
Please leave your questions below and be sure to include where you're writing from. CNN

Argentina police arrest 'Lord of Death killer'


An Argentine man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering at least six people after making a pact with a spiritual figure known as San La Muerte (Lord of Death), police say.
Marcelo Antelo was captured after a shootout in the capital, Buenos Aires.
The 22-year-old had apparently promised to kill one person a week in return for protection and prosperity.
San La Muerte is said to have a large following in the country's prisons and shanty towns.
The BBC's Daniel Schweimler in Buenos Aires says the spirit's followers ask for favours, such as to win a fight or protect a harvest, but they also use it to request the death of an enemy.
The figure evolved in poor communities in the north of Argentina, where characters from traditional indigenous religions merged with elements from Roman Catholicism, our correspondent adds.
The authorities are charging Mr Antelo, also known as Marcelito, with six murders, but say they are investigating possible links with a number of other unsolved killings.
"The murderer had made a pact with San La Muerte, by which he had promised one murder each week to obtain protection for him and his family," police sources told AFP news agency. BBC News

Spain breaks up male-sex trafficking ring


Spanish police say they have broken up a sex trafficking ring which brought mostly young Brazilian men to Spain to work as prostitutes.
Authorities arrested 14 people on suspicion of running the group and 17 alleged male prostitutes.
The victims and their clients were plied with cocaine, viagra and other recreational drugs.
Police say it is the first time they have dismantled a trafficking operation involving male prostitutes.
The suspected sex workers were in their 20s and were mostly from northern Brazil.
'Threatened'
They were reportedly told that they would get legitimate jobs in Europe as dancers or models, but were instead left with debts of around 4,000 euros (£3,300) - the cost of travelling to Spain.
Others knew they would be working in the sex industry but did not know that they would be expected to work 24 hours a day and would be moved from province to province. BBC News

Police: Rage followed Facebook message

HANFORD, Calif., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- A California man allegedly went into a jealous rage after seeing a Facebook message from his girlfriend to another man, officials told ABC News.

Anthony Lozano, 36, was charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment, the report said. Police say he allegedly threatened the 23-year-old woman's life, bound and tortured her while holding her hostage for four days in their Hanford home. At one point, police allege, he pulled her around the home by her hair.

The woman managed to escape the home and call police, ABC said. The couple's 3-year-old child and an older child of the woman's were at home but not injured, police said.

According to Sheriff's Cmdr. Dave Putnam, Lozano held his girlfriend captive beginning Tuesday of last week after he discovered a Facebook conversation between her and another man. UPI

Ford to counsel its own to diversify

DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. auto giant Ford agreed in a court settlement to advise its workers not to lean too heavily on the company in their investment portfolios.

The deal, which requires court approval, would have Ford providing free financial counseling to about 150,000 workers and retirees, who sued the company when their investments collapsed during the prolonged industry-wide slump, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.

Ford workers, past and present, lost billions of dollars from 2000 through 2006 and claimed Ford should have restricted their 401(k) investments in the company.

The suit was filed in April 2006. Workers, by then, had lost more than $6 billion in their retirement plan accounts related to Ford investments, the newspaper said. UPI

Zsa Zsa back in hospital

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Nonagenarian celebrity Zsa Zsa Gabor was back in a Los Angeles hospital Tuesday, her publicist said.

John Blanchette, publicist for Gabor, said her husband Prince Frederic Von Anhalt made an emergency call at 10:42 a.m. and Gabor was taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center by ambulance, the Los Angeles Times and KTLA-TV reported. Von Anhalt said Gabor, 93, was "unresponsive".

Gabor has been hospitalized several times in the recent weeks after breaking a hip in a fall at her home. 

Her publicist said she had returned home from the hospital two weeks ago, saying she wanted to spend her final days there. Before going home she had asked to see a priest, who administered last rites. UPI

Plane loses engine, returns to airport

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- A Qantas flight was forced to return to San Francisco International Airport early Tuesday when the jetliner's engine exploded in mid-air, officials said.

The Boeing 747, carrying 212 passengers, had departed for Sydney, Australia, at 11:10 p.m. Monday when, 45 minutes into the flight, the No. 4 engine on the plane's right side exploded, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The explosion made a hole in the engine's external casing, the Chronicle reported.

The pilot declared an emergency, and as a precaution, dumped fuel over the Pacific Ocean, and returned to the airport, the Chronicle reported.

Airport fire trucks surrounded the aircraft when it arrived about 12:45 a.m., the Chronicle said. UPI

Clinton holds advance summit meetings

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was meeting with several principals in advance of Wednesday's Middle East peace negotiations, an aide said Tuesday.

"Secretary Clinton has begun the first of several bilateral meetings, preparatory meetings in -- you know, as we relaunch direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians," department spokesman Philip Crowley said. "As we stand here, she is meeting with (Palestinian) President Mahmoud Abbas. Later on this afternoon, she'll have meetings with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, and then later this evening, she'll meet with Quartet representative Tony Blair and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu".

The Quartet consists of United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia. UPI

Police say drug use not factor in fall

LAKE DELTON, Wis., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The ride operator at a Wisconsin amusement park where a girl was severely injured in a 100-foot fall was not tested for drugs or alcohol afterward, police say.

Charles Carnell, 33, of Wisconsin Dells has been charged with first-degree reckless injury for the July 30 accident and could receive a prison sentence of up to 25 years if convicted, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. Teagan Marti, 12, of Parkland, Fla., who fell 100 feet, is still in a Wisconsin hospital and could be permanently paralyzed.

Carnell was the "dive master" on the Terminal Velocity ride at Extreme World Amusements. He told police he "blanked out" and failed to check to make sure the net had been deployed before Teagan jumped from a tower. UPI

Georgia man dies after goat attack

ATHENS, Ga., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- An 88-year-old Georgia man has died a week after a goat attacked and chased him outside his home for almost an hour, authorities said.

Madison County Coroner Michelle Cleveland said Vestal Davis of Colbert died Saturday at Athens Regional Medical Center, the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald reported.

"He became paralyzed from the injuries, and that just affected the rest of his body system," Cleveland said. "He just couldn't fight that off and so he just slipped away".

A sheriff's deputy responded to a call last week from Davis's home that a man was attacked by a neighbor's goat. UPI

Stinkbugs descend on eastern U.S.

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Stinkbugs, known for emitting a foul odor when disturbed, are in Pennsylvania and New Jersey -- and may be preparing to settle in for the winter, experts say.

Eating their way across fields and orchards in both states, the pests often spend the winter bedded down in the walls and insulation of homes, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday.

"We're expecting an epic year for stinkbugs," research entomologist Richard Cooper said. "I'm just concerned that this won't be big news until it's too late for people".

"When they're knee deep in stinkbugs, they're going to want to know what to do about it".

August and the first half of September are the best time to attack stinkbugs, just before they head indoors, entomologist George Hamilton of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University said. UPI

700 workers abandoned in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Hundreds of workers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, have been abandoned by their employer and left to live in squalor and filth, a source told Gulf News.

As many as 700 employees of Saqr Engineering and Contracting, some of whom say they have not been paid for eight months, have been abandoned in two labor camps in an industrial area of Dubai with backed up toilets and without fresh water or electrical power, the newspaper said.

The chairman of the company has "fled the United Arab Emirate, leaving me and these workers in trouble," said a silent partner, who requested anonymity.

The workers are from Nepal, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

The chairman took off, allegedly, at the beginning of Ramadan, a Muslim holiday that includes a month of fasting during daylight hours. UPI

Castro admits 'injustice' for gays and lesbians during revolution


Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said he acknowledges the persecution of gays and lesbians during the Revolution in his country, according to a newspaper interview published Tuesday.
Throughout the 1960s and '70s, Cuba sent openly gay men to labor camps without charge or trial.
"They were moments of great injustice, great injustice!" Castro told journalist Carmen Lira Saade from the Mexican daily La Jornada. "If someone is responsible, it's me".
His comments came in the second installment of a two-part interview. The first half of the interview -- a wide-ranging, five-hour conversation at his home -- was published Monday.
"We had so many and such terrible problems, problems of life or death, that we didn't pay it enough attention," Castro said of the way gays and lesbians were treated.
In 1979, Cuba decriminalized homosexual acts and more recently, there have been efforts to legalize same-sex unions.
The former leader, whose popular Revolution seized power in 1959, ruled the island nation until ill health forced him to transfer power to his younger brother Raul Castro in 2006.
In the La Jornada interview, Fidel Castro also talked about the impact of the five-decade U.S. embargo on Cuba.
"The biggest problem was always medicine and food, which is true even today," he said.
While the embargo prevented Cuba from trading with much of the world, it also encouraged the country to be more creative, Castro said. CNN

Four Israelis shot dead near Kyriat Arba in West Bank


A Palestinian gunman has killed four Israelis in the West Bank, Israeli police say.
Police said a vehicle had come under fire near the settlement of Kyriat Arba, close to the city of Hebron.
"We can confirm there are four dead at the scene," Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Reuters news agency.
The attack comes as Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are due to begin in Washington. BBC News

German Catholic Church rewrites sex abuse guidelines


The Catholic Church in Germany has issued tougher guidelines on the handling of reports of sex abuse.
The revised rules insist all allegations must be reported to prosecutors in an attempt to prevent cases being covered up.
But critics say the new advice does not go far enough to tackle the issue.
The Catholic Church in Germany and other European countries has been hit by repeated accusations of abuse.
Since the start of 2010, at least 300 people have alleged sexual or physical abuse by priests across Germany, the Pope's home country.
The new code firms up existing guidelines from 2002 which were criticised as being too weak.
The old guidelines had not required cases to be reported to law enforcement agencies, and had instead only "advised" it if the allegations were "proven". BBC News

On the trail of human trafficking: sex industry in Nepal


West Terai, Nepal -- Before venturing to this little-traveled quadrant of Nepal, I was interested to update my research on Katmandu's massage parlors and dance bars.
About four-and-a-half years ago, I gathered an extensive account of how commercial sex is sold with young Nepalese girls in Kathmandu, especially in the tourist area of Thamel.
In shelters, I heard numerous stories from young girls trafficked from rural areas into the clubs and parlors, where they were coerced to perform sex acts with tourists and locals alike.
Each dance bar has a distinctive musical theme -- American pop, Bollywood, etc -- and while one young girl dances on stage, others sit with men at tables trying to transact for sex. If the club is busy and a man does not transact quickly enough, a bouncer tells him to make way for someone who will.
Along with physical coercion, threats against family members ensure the trafficked girls do as they are told. Small amounts of money sent to parents by the victims also pressure some to remain in sex work as long as possible. CNN

Lohan assigns blame for troubles

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Troubled U.S. actress Lindsay Lohan says her career isn't finished and blames bad company and her dad for some of her woes.

"I think everyone has their own addictions and hopefully learns how to get past them," Lohan told Vanity Fair for its October issue. "I think my biggest focus for myself is learning how to continue to get through the trauma that my father has caused in my life".

Among other things, Lohan's estranged father, Michael, said the actress abused prescription drugs. She said she felt conflicted about seeing her dad in the gallery during a recent court appearance.

"The worst part of it is you turn around and you see your dad crying and normally you'd be, like, happy that your father's there," Lohan said. " But then he has to go and do an interview right after".

The 24-year-old star of "Freaky Friday", "A Prairie Home Companion" and "Mean Girls" spent nearly two weeks in a solitary jail cell for violating probation in a 2007 driving-under-the-influence case. Lohan had been at a drug treatment facility since her Aug. 2 release from jail until last week.

Lohan said her career hasn't tanked yet. UPI

Men held in Netherlands suspected of plotting terror, Dutch say


Amsterdam, Netherlands (CNN) -- Two men arrested at Schiphol International Airport in the Netherlands are being held on suspicion of plotting a terrorist act, Dutch authorities said Tuesday.
They are Yemeni citizens who were en route to the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, from Chicago, Illinois, officials said.
They were arrested Monday morning and authorities continued to question them Tuesday, Dutch prosecutors told CNN.
A U.S. law enforcement source said Monday the men may have been trying to test U.S. airport security by putting bottles with electronic devices attached in checked baggage.
But two U.S. government officials Tuesday said an initial U.S. investigation into the men shows no evidence of terrorism and no indication the men even knew each other. CNN

WikiLeaks' Assange questioned by prosecutors


(CNN) -- Swedish prosecutors questioned Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, for about an hour Monday, following complaints against him from two women, his lawyer said Tuesday.
"He maintains that he is completely innocent," lawyer Leif Silbersky told CNN.
Prosecutors may decide Wednesday about charges against him, prosecution official Karin Rosander, reversing an earlier statement by another official that a decision would come Tuesday.
New evidence has come to light, Rosander told CNN, which means the senior prosecutor needs more time to consider the case.
Rosander did not say what the new evidence was.
Assange was originally accused of rape by one woman and molestation by another, but Sweden's chief prosecutor ruled earlier this month that Assange would not be charged with rape. CNN

Police: Accused U.S.-born drug kingpin moved tons of cocaine to U.S.


Mexico City, Mexico (CNN) -- Authorities in Mexico revealed additional details Tuesday about an accused American-born drug kingpin detained Monday who they say moved tons of cocaine into the United States.
Masked security forces in black uniforms and helmets, rifles in hand, escorted Edgar Valdez Villarreal and some of his accused associates before news reporters and photographers during a news conference Tuesday morning.
Investigators have described him as one of the most ruthless drug traffickers in Mexico.
"The capture of Valdez Villarreal is a high-impact blow against organized crime," said Alejandro Poire, a spokesman for Mexico's president on security issues. "This is an important step in the national security strategy".
Valdez was responsible for smuggling about a ton of cocaine a month into the United States, authorities said Tuesday. They also displayed automatic rifles, ammunition and bags believed to contain drugs -- items they said police seized as they arrested him Monday.
Authorities said they're continuing to investigate to try to learn more about Valdez's organization. CNN

Pakistan says it's not aware of India's $20M offer for flood relief


Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- India offered another $20 million in aid to its rival neighbor Pakistan on Tuesday, but an official in the flood-ravaged country says he has no knowledge of the aid.
Abdul Basit, spokesman for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, said Tuesday he is not aware of such an offer by India.
Basit says India was formally notified that Pakistan would accept an earlier offer of $5 million through the United Nations -- but not directly from India.
Basit said Pakistan did not accept the aid directly from India because "that is our government's policy." However, Basit said, Pakistan has received aid directly from other countries. CNN

North Korea wants resumption of nuke talks

The announcement came at the end of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's second visit to China this year, China Daily reported Tuesday.

Kim's five-day trip included a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao during which Kim said his country remains committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

He said he wished to coordinate with China in pushing for an early resumption of the six-party talks with South Korea, the United States, Japan and Russia.

Kim's visit to China concluded Monday. UPI

Obama ready to ease technology export regs

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The Obama administration is ready to ease rules on exporting sensitive U.S. military products and other technology, administration officials said.

President Barack Obama is to announce Tuesday plans to consolidate some enforcement activities into one agency and develop a list that better defines which product or technology sales would be restricted, The Washington Post reported.

Different federal agencies have developed "very different control lists, with agencies fighting over who has jurisdiction," through the years, Obama said in remarks released by the White House and scheduled for delivery by video to an export conference Tuesday. "Decisions were delayed, sometimes for years, and industries lost their edge or moved abroad".

The departments of State and Commerce are developing lists that would more clearly delineate restricted products and technologies and classify them in one of three sensitivity-based tiers, the Post said. UPI

Bird hits plane, forces return to airport

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- An Alaska Airlines 737 plane was hit by a bird at 1,000 feet and was forced to return to Los Angeles International Airport, officials said.

Flight 707 to Vancouver, British Columbia, returned to the airport Monday shortly after takeoff, KNBC-TV and KCBS-TV, Los Angeles, reported reported.

Ground officials said the bird strike caused no damage to the fuselage.

It is as yet unknown whether the bird struck the aircraft's engines or windshield, KCBS-TV said. UPI

Grenade explodes outside Thai TV office

BANGKOK, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- A grenade exploded outside the main office of Thailand's National Broadcasting Service Tuesday, a government spokesman said.

Spokesman Panitan Warranayagorn told the Bangkok Post the blast damaged a van and four cars but caused no injuries.

Police said they believe it was launched from a nearby tollway.

A series of explosions have rocked the Thai capital in recent weeks.

Last Thursday a grenade injured a security guard at a shopping complex.

On July 30, a man in his 30s was injured when a grenade hidden in a plastic garbage bag detonated. UPI

Liberals lead protracted Aussie election

CANBERRA, Australia, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The Liberal party inched ahead in Australia's yet undecided election race after Ken Wyatt won his seat, making him the first aboriginal member of Parliament.

The center-right Liberals now have 73 seats in the House of Representatives while the center-left Labor Party has 72. Despite Wyatt's win, the Liberals remain short of the 76 seats needed to form a government on their own.

For that reason, 10 days after Australians went to the polls, negotiations continue among the two parties and several independent candidates -- dubbed "the kingmakers" by national media.

Who the four independent and one Green Party members of Parliament eventually back will decide whether Labor leader Julia Gillard, 48, the country's first woman prime minister, continues to run the country.

Three of the four independents have formed an informal alliance and will back one candidate together, making them the most important and the ones with whom Gillard and Liberal leader Tony Abbott, 52, are in extended discussions.

Meanwhile, Wyatt, 57, takes his seat as the Liberal representative for Hasluck in Western Australia.

Wyatt brushed aside racist hate mail he has received since winning the seat and said it was time for Australia to move forward. UPI