Sunday, April 11, 2010

Criplling power outages continue in country

LAHORE: Countrywide load shedding continued today as load shedding hours have been cut by two hours in Lahore after protests.

The traders of Rawalpindi have also announced protest today.

The power crisis has aggravated in the country as the cities undergoing 10 to 12 hours power outages, while the rural areas suffering 16 to 18 hours load shedding.

The power crisis has badly hit the routine life and business activities in the counry.

Date Night takes early lead at box office

NEW YORK: "Date Night," a romantic comedy starring sitcom staples Steve Carell and Tina Fey, narrowly claimed an early lead at the weekend box office in North America, according to preliminary sales data.

The 20th Century Fox film earned $9.3 million during its first day of release across the United States and Canada on Friday, just ahead of last weekend's champion "Clash of the Titans" with $8.4 million, said tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

The studios will issue estimates for the three-day period on Sunday morning, and Warner Bros.' "Clash of the Titans" could well repeat at No. 1 if male youngsters outnumber the couples targeted by "Date Night." Both are on track to earn in the mid-$20 million range for the weekend.

"Date Night" stars Carell ("The Office") and Fey ("30 Rock") as a suburban couple pursued by crooks in a case of mistaken identity. The film was directed by Shawn Levy ("Night at the Museum") and generally liked by critics.

"Clash of the Titans," the latest action film to jump on the lucrative 3D bandwagon in the wake of the success of "Avatar," has earned $92 million after its first eight days. Friday sales slid a hefty 68 percent from opening day, in line with expectations for the epic.

Rounding out the top five were former champion "How to Train Your Dragon" with $7.1 million in its third weekend of release; and the Miley Cyrus drama "The Last Song" ($3.6 million), and filmmaker Tyler Perry's sequel "Why Did I Get Married Too?" ($3.5 million), both in their second weekends.

PM GIlani to meet President Obama today

LONDON: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani will meet US President Barack Obama today to discuss the issues pertaining to the national security and stability during his visit to Washington.

Talking to media men here yesterday Gilani said “The United States and the whole international community  is well aware that Pakistan's nuclear assets are in safe hands.”

He said stability of Pakistan would dominate agenda of his meeting with president Obama. “We will discuss the matters about our security and stability in the meeting,” Gilani told reporters.

On a question about his meeting with Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, Gilani said “No such meeting has been scheduled.”

Israel's Olmert says he never took bribes

TEL AVIV: Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he rejects the "innuendo" linking him to a new corruption case.

Israeli newspapers on Sunday quoted Olmert as saying, "I never took bribes."

He told Israeli radio, "I reject the innuendo and the suspicions it implies. They are baseless."

Last week, a longtime Olmert confidant and five others were arrested in a multimillion-dollar bribery scandal. The money allegedly changed hands to promote several real-estate projects, including a large development in Jerusalem that required a radical change in zoning laws.

Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem when the bribery allegedly took place. It is not clear whether he was implicated because there is a partial gag order on the case.

Olmert is standing trial on separate corruption charges.

Israel, Hamas fail in war probes: HRW

RAMALLAH: Human Rights Watch says Israel and Hamas have failed to conduct credible investigations of alleged war crimes during last year's Gaza war.

The group reviewed the investigative efforts in a 62-page report released Sunday. It urged the international community to pressure both sides to launch independent investigations before a July deadline by the United Nations. It's not clear if Israel and Hamas could end up before an international tribunal if the deadline is ignored.

U.N. investigators have alleged that both sides committed war crimes during three weeks of fighting. They have said Israel used disproportionate force and that Hamas indiscriminately fired rockets at civilians.

Both sides have denied the allegations.

Gaza conjoined twins die

RIYADH: Two-week old conjoined twins born in the Gaza strip died in Riyadh after doctors said their condition was too delicate to operate, a Saudi official said.

Frail health and bacterial infection killed Ritaj and Rittal Abu Assi, Health Minister Dr Abdullah al-Rabeeah announced in a statement published by the official Saudi news agency.

The twins were born in Khan Yunis on March 27 joined at the chest and sharing a defective heart and other organs.

They were sent to the King Abdulaziz Medical City's special conjoined twins centre on Tuesday for a possible separation operation.

But after examining the twins, doctors said a day later that their organs were too damaged and their health too critical to undertake the operation.

Chelsea cruise to FA Cup final

LONDON: Holders Chelsea moved a step closer to the club‘s first Double by seeing off a stubborn Aston Villa side 3-0 to reach the FA Cup final for the second successive year. The Blues will now meet the winner of Sunday‘s clash between Tottenham Hotspurs and relegated Portsmouth.

A clinical second-half display secured Chelsea‘s place in the FA Cup final and kept alive their hopes of a Premier League and FA Cup double.

Didier Drogba broke the deadlock midway through the second half before late goals by Florent Malouda and Frank Lampard made the score line look more emphatic than was deserved.

Villa had responded to losing 7-1 to the Premier League leaders a fortnight earlier with a performance of industry and desire and their manager Martin O‘Neill will also believe his side should have had a first-half penalty when Jon Mikel Obi clumsily felled Gabriel Agbonlahor inside the area.

Didier Drogba poked John Terry‘s drive past Brad Friedel to open the scoring.

Florent Malouda doubled the lead sweeping Michael Ballack‘s cross home at the far post before Frank Lampard‘s low drive compounded Villa‘s agony.

O‘Neill was hoping for his first FA Cup final in 40 years as a player and manager but instead it will be Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, in his first season in the English game, who will lead his side out against Tottenham or Portsmouth on May 22.