Ukraine rivals trade blame after violence

Ukraine’s shaky truce has been rattled further as warring rivals traded blame over the bloodiest day in the restive east since a ceasefire was signed on September 5.

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Gunfire erupted around the airport in the main rebel-held city of Donetsk on Monday, a day after six civilians were killed in shelling near a market, and international observers came under fire.

Government forces and pro-Russian separatists accused the other of violating the ceasefire, the first backed by both Kiev and Moscow since fighting erupted across Ukraine’s industrial heartland in April.

Despite the surge in violence, President Petro Poroshenko unveiled legislation offering parts of the separatist east limited self-rule for three years, under the terms of the truce signed in Minsk.

The proposals would also extend Russian-language rights in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, allow them to strengthen ties with neighbouring Russia and to hold local elections in November.

Poroshenko insisted his proposals guaranteed “the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of our state”, although rebel leaders have said they still want nothing less than full independence.

Kiev also plans to offer amnesty to some separatist militants as part of the peace plan aimed at halting a conflict that has cost more than 2,700 lives and sent at least half a million fleeing their homes.

The legislation is expected to be submitted to parliament on Tuesday, when politicians are also set to ratify an agreement for closer trade ties with the EU which Russia opposes.

Poroshenko has called the planned simultaneous ratifications by the Ukrainian and European parliaments a “historic moment” that will define his country’s westward-looking future.

The decision by his predecessor, Kremlin-backed Viktor Yanukovych, to spurn the same EU pact set off months of street protests that led to his ouster. Russia retaliated by annexing Crimea and backing the eastern uprising.

However, in what some see as a concession to Moscow, a free trade deal under the pact with the EU will be delayed until 2016.

On the ground, tensions were still high after Sunday’s violence, which left an unconfirmed number of soldiers dead or injured.

“The government in Kiev is only using the ceasefire to regroup its forces and attack us again,” the “prime minister” of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, told reporters.

“We will not allow that,” he said.

Kiev in turn accused the pro-Russian separatists of firing on Ukrainian positions around the airport, which is still in government hands after a fierce battle in May.

93-year-old former Auschwitz worker charged over murders

The charges relate to the around 425,000 people believed to have been deported to the camp in occupied Poland between May and July 1944, at least 300,000 of whom were killed in the gas chambers.

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The accused helped remove the luggage of victims so that it was not seen by new arrivals, said prosecutors in the northern city of Hanover.

“The traces of the mass killing of concentration camp prisoners were thereby supposed to be covered for subsequent inmates,” prosecutors said in a statement.

His main role was to count the banknotes gathered from prisoners’ luggage and pass them on to the SS authorities in Berlin, they added.

Prosecutors said the accused was aware that the predominantly Jewish prisoners deemed unfit to work “were murdered directly after their arrival in the gas chambers of Auschwitz”.

A regional court must now decide whether the accused will go on trial.

The German office investigating Nazi war crimes last year sent files on 30 former Auschwitz personnel to state prosecutors with a recommendation to bring charges against them.

The renewed drive to bring to justice the last surviving perpetrators of the Holocaust follows a 2011 landmark court ruling.

For more than 60 years German courts had only prosecuted Nazi war criminals if evidence showed they had personally committed atrocities.

But in 2011 a Munich court sentenced John Demjanjuk to five years in prison for complicity in the extermination of Jews at the Sobibor camp, where he had served as a guard, establishing that all former camp guards can be tried.

More than one million people, mostly European Jews, perished at Auschwitz-Birkenau, operated by the Nazis from 1940 until it was liberated by Russian forces on January 27, 1945.

Chanderpaul thwarts Bangladesh once again

Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s phenomenal run of form against Bangladesh continued with the veteran West Indies batsman unbeaten on 63 in guiding his team to 4-208, an overall lead of 427, at stumps on the third day of the second and final Test at the Beausejour Stadium on Monday.

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After captain Denesh Ramdin declined to enforce the follow-on despite a first innings lead of 219 when the tourists were dismissed for 161 in the morning session, the home side slipped to 4-100 before an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 108 between Chanderpaul and Jermaine Blackwood (43 not out) killed off any prospect Bangladesh had of precipitating a complete batting collapse.

Chanderpaul, now in his 21st year as an international cricketer, has yet to be dismissed in this series and has totalled 645 runs – with just one dismissal – in his last seven Test innings against Bangladesh, including the current effort, dating back to the 2012 series on the Indian sub-continent.

This was his 66th half-century in Tests, and having been left unbeaten on 85 and 84 in his two previous innings in the series, the 40-year-old left-hander would appear to have considerable time on his side to get the 37 runs required for a 30th Test century going into the fourth day of the scheduled five-day match.

Fast bowler Kemar Roach failed to add to his five-wicket tally from the previous afternoon and it was left to spinner Sulieman Benn, who claimed the last two wickets, to ensure that the West Indies had a huge advantage at the start of their second innings.

Only Mahmudullah offered any significant resistance, the all-rounder being ninth out for 53, his second consecutive half-century and fourth score of over 50 in Tests against the West Indies. He was supported by Shafiul Islam in a 45-run eighth-wicket partnership that held up the home side’s progress for an hour until the tailender edged a delivery from fast bowler Shannon Gabriel to Ramdin, one of five catches in the innings for the wicketkeeper.

Building on that substantial platform, Kraigg Brathwaite and Leon Johnson put on 76 for the first wicket before the debutant was bowled driving at left-arm spinner Taijul Islam for 41. Having put on 143 in the first innings, they had come within 24 runs of being the first West Indies opening pair ever to compile century stands in both innings of a Test.

Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo fell cheaply and when Mahmudullah claimed his second wicket by having Brathwaite caught at slip for 45, West Indies were in need of some stability.

Chanderpaul and Blackwood provided it to put the West Indies in complete command by the end of the day.

‘World lost precious time in Ebola fight’

The European Union has urged the international community to make up for “precious time” lost in the response to the deadly Ebola outbreak in west Africa.

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“We are behind the curve and for a reason,” EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said on Monday at a special meeting in Brussels to devise a Europe-wide response to the outbreak ahead of UN meetings later this month.

“When the warning signs were there, it took some time for the international community to pay attention. Precious time was lost.”

The outbreak has killed at least 2400 people in west Africa since it erupted earlier this year.

European countries “can present a very strong commitment” at the UN to help the countries hardest-hit, Georgieva said.

She urged member states to add to the 150 million euros ($A210 million) already pledged by the EU last week.

At the Brussels meeting, called by France, a dozen countries offered to boost aid.

More than half of the deaths have been recorded in Liberia, where President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has warned the outbreak is destroying the country’s social fabric.

“We must isolate the disease, but not the country,” said Tonio Borg, the EU’s Health Commissioner, referring to international airlines that have cut links to the affected countries, which also include Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama is expected to ask Congress to approve his request for $US88 million ($A95 million) to fund Washington’s response to the crisis.

Malaysia on Monday said it will send more than 20 million medical rubber gloves to African nations stricken by the Ebola virus.

Purrfect politics: Stop Tony Meow to give historians paws for thought

Browser extension Stop Tony Meow has been selected for preservation by the National Library of Australia, as part of its archive documenting cultural, social, political life.

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For those unfamiliar, the web plug-in’s function is all in the name: it replaces any image it can identify as Tony Abbott with one of a kitten.

Pandora, the web archive established and curated by the National Library of Australia, has preserved more than 39,000 websites since its creation in 1996.

Created to “document the cultural, social, political life and activities of the Australian community and intellectual and expressive activities of Australians”, it has previously archived federal election coverage, political party websites and Royal Commission hearings.

For developer Dan Nolan, it was a “weird” but wonderful surprise for Stop Tony Meow to join such lofty company.

Mr Nolan said they were told about the decision several days ago, almost one year after the idea for the app was dreamt up by his co-creator Matt Kelsh.

“Given there was wall-to-wall coverage of Abbott everywhere, he was kind of getting a bit sick of his face,” he said.

“He decided to throw out on Twitter whether someone could make a browser extension to replace pics of Tony Abbott with pics of cute kittens.”

Fuelled by the internet’s obsession with both politics and cats, Mr Nolan said the plug-in took off.

“We’re over 100,000 installs, which is pretty bloody impressive,” he said.

“It’s pretty heartening.”

But it seems the staff at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet may not be cat people – workers spent more than 130 pages of correspondence discussing the app.

The Department also charged more than $700 for Mr Nolan to access those pages when he filed a Freedom of Information request earlier this year.

Mr Nolan said he, Mr Kelsh and their third collaborator Ben Taylor had since stalled their attempts at obtaining the information.

“We ended up not proceeding down that line and ended the FOI process, out of bureaucratic frustration,” he said.

But given the recent news, Mr Nolan said it may be time to try again.

Hull’s new boys score but West Ham take a point

Debut goals from Hull’s club-record signing Abel Hernandez and Mohamed Diame, facing his former club, were cancelled out in the second half by Enner Valencia and then Davies’s turn-in.

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Hernandez, who arrived from Italian side Palermo on transfer-deadline day, marked his debut for the hosts with a brilliant headed goal from Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross in the 39th minute.

Ecuador’s World Cup striker Valencia, another Premier League new boy, equalised for West Ham five minutes after the restart with a long-range strike that stunned the home fans into silence.

A familiar face then came back to haunt the visitors when Senegal captain Diame, making his Hull debut after joining from the Hammers, took advantage of sloppy defending to curl past Adrian after 64 minutes.

The celebrations were short-lived, with defender Davies accidentally turning in Diafra Sakho’s shot three minutes later to give Sam Allardyce’s 13th-placed team a fourth point in as many games.

“It was a bit hair-raising for me when you go down twice and probably don’t deserve to, especially the second one when Mo Diame scored having just joined them,” West Ham manager Sam Allardyce told Sky Sports.

“But we showed great character, I did not think there was much between the two teams. We respect the point. It was a very good performance by the team who will only get better as they get to know each other more.”

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Both teams started the game sluggishly and it took Hernandez, keen to show the home fans why he commanded a 10 million pound ($16.23 million) fee, to bring the game to life.

The Uruguayan striker directed a powerful header into the corner of the visitor’s net to open the scoring and then nearly doubled his tally five minutes later but his fierce left-footed strike from 25 yards rattled against the crossbar.

Strike partner Nikica Jelavic headed in the rebound but he was correctly adjudged offside.

West Ham weathered the storm to half time and came out after the restart with greater impetus. It did not take long for Valencia to level the score with his first goal on his first start for the London club.

The Ecuadorian, who scored three goals at the World Cup, made some space for himself outside Hull’s area and curled a thunderous effort into Allan McGregor’s top corner off the underside of the bar.

It appeared to be a case of one-upmanship between the league’s two new South American strikers.

Diame then punished his former employers after collecting a sloppy throw-in from West Ham left back Aaron Cresswell to drive into the area and side foot into the corner to give the hosts a 2-1 lead.

The second-half had one more twist though when a tame Sakho shot rebounded off the shins of Hull defender Davies to level the score.

West Ham might have stolen all three points in the last minute when Valencia nearly scored again but his header hit Hull defender Michael Dawson and bounced off the crossbar.

Steve Bruce’s side are 10th in the league with five points, and the Hull manager said he could reflect on an encouraging display in a breathtaking second-half where both teams created good chances.

“The two goals, the first one in particular from their new striker, you just have to hold your hands up – it was a wonder goal and it made for a really good night of football. It was open, end-to-end and all credit to West Ham, they played some good football today,” Bruce said.

(Reporting By Sam Holden, editing by Alan Baldwin and Clare Lovell)

Axed NRL star Carney in demand in Europe

English Super League side Catalan Dragons are facing competition from rugby union for the signature of disgraced NRL star Todd Carney, according to head coach Laurent Frayssinous.

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The former Dally M medal winner has been forced to look overseas to continue his career after being sacked by all three of his NRL clubs, Canberra, Sydney Roosters and Cronulla, for varying forms of misconduct and is thought to have been offered a three-year deal with the French club.

Frayssinous said he has spoken personally to the 28-year-old Carney in a bid to tempt him to the south of France.

“We have been in contact for a few weeks and hopefully it will be done,” Frayssinous said.

“I am keen to have such a quality player in the Catalan team.

“He’s heard a lot of good things about the south of France but his manager has got a few options for him, from Super League and from union. We are one of those options. We’ll see in the next few days or weeks if it can happen.”

Cronulla tore up Carney’s contract, which had three years left to run, in June after an inappropriate photograph went viral on Twitter.

Carney, who played three State of Origin games for New South Wales in 2012 and made his Test debut in 2010, came close to moving to Super League in 2008 when he signed a 12-month deal to join Huddersfield but the move fell through when he was denied a visa.

The French appear to have less stringent regulations and the Dragons were able to sign another controversial Australian, Greg Bird, in 2009 after his proposed move to Bradford collapsed.

Bird, who now plays for the Gold Coast Titans, resurrected his career during a 12-month spell in the south of France, and Carney could now follow suit.

“I remember Greg when he came,” Frayssinous added.

“I was assistant coach and everybody was talking negatively about him.

“But that year we had the best end of the season. We were one game from Old Trafford and he was a big part of that, on and off the field.”

Frayssinous needs to find a replacement for stand-off Leon Pryce, who is joining Hull in 2015.

Another Australian, Scott Dureau, is set to return to Perpignan for the last year of his contract after an injury-hit season in 2014 and French international Thomas Bosc recently extended his contract, which leaves former Canberra and St George Illawarra playmaker Sam Williams facing an anxious wait to discover if he has a role to play.

“Sam is still an option,” Frayssinous said.

“I’m pretty happy with Thomas and Scott but it would be nice to have Todd. It would be very exciting for people to watch Todd Carney, even if they are not a supporter of the Dragons.”

Doosra not illegal, says inventor Saqlain

Retired spin king Saqlain Mushtaq has defended the controversial “doosra” delivery he invented, which has come under renewed scrutiny since fellow Pakistani Saaed Ajmal’s chucking ban last week.

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The doosra, which means “the second one” in Urdu, turns from legside to offside – the opposite direction to orthodox off breaks, and is considered difficult for batsmen to pick.

Saqlain is credited with its invention, adding to a list of Pakistani innovations in cricket including the batsman’s reverse-sweep and reverse swing bowling.

But the delivery has come to be regarded with deep suspicion by many, with critics suggesting doosra bowlers bend their arm beyond the permissible 15 degree limit.

Saqlain, who took 208 Test and 288 one-day wickets, says the naysayers were wrong.

“Who says doosra is illegal?” he asked on Monday.

“It can easily be delivered within the allowed rules. It is not an easy delivery to bowl but if a bowler becomes expert he doesn’t transgress limits.”

“You need to have strong muscles to bowl a doosra, then fitness matters, also grip, rhythm and follow through. If just one of these things is missing then you get out of limits.”

Saqlain will arrive in Lahore next week to start remedial work on Ajmal’s action, reported during the Galle Test against Sri Lanka last month.

The ban was imposed by the International Cricket Council.

Ajmal’s action was then assessed in a bio-mechanics lab in Brisbane, Australia which revealed he flexes his elbow up to 43 degrees for his off-spinner and 42 for his doosra.

Saqlain said he hoped to alter Ajmal’s action, though some believe Ajmal may be too old to change his ways at 36.

“I am quite hopeful of helping him. I am not making any guarantees but will see his reports and footage and then try my best.”

Ajmal, for his part, told reporters on Monday he was focused on his comeback as he began his remedial programme.

“I am sitting in front of you without any tension, whatever happened was disappointing but I am focused on staging a strong comeback,” he said.

Pakistan have considered off-spinners Atif Maqbool and Adnan Rasool to replace Ajmal in the short-term. Both are prolific performers at domestic level – but both also have suspect actions.

Israeli teacher in nude Web photos to return to classroom

A week after nude pictures of an Israeli high school teacher were posted online, the mother of two plans to return to class Tuesday as debate here swirls over issues of privacy, law and digital decorum.

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The woman, who teaches 12th grade at a privately run school in the city of Ashkelon, has filed a police complaint against a teenage student who allegedly posted the purloined pictures. An attorney for the teacher, whose name has not been disclosed publicly, said the school initially demanded her resignation while taking no action against the student. School officials contend the teacher was never suspended and was free to return to work.

The high school is one of several in Israel replacing textbooks with computer tablets. The teacher lent her tablet to a pupil who had forgotten hers. Another classmate snooping around the photos file found several nude pictures, snapped them with his cellphone camera and passed them on.

The teacher was further shocked to learn that images long deleted from her phone were on the school-issued device, which pulled them from the cloud as she synced it with her phone and electronic mail as instructed by the program’s computer managers, who reportedly did not mention any information sensitivity issues.

More than 6,800 people have signed an online petition supporting the teacher’s right to privacy and urging education authorities to discipline the violator and implement programs for preventing sexual harassment. “Teachers are people too,” the petition states.

The case may serve as a test for Israel’s recently tightened legislation on privacy protection and sexual harassment, both expanded to keep up with the challenges of fast-moving technology. In January, the parliament, or Knesset, voted to make online circulation of intimate images without the subject’s full consent an act of sexual harassment that can carry a five-year jail sentence.

Being a minor does not protect the 17-year-old student from criminal law, according to the teacher’s attorney, Orit Hayoun, who expects the police to investigate the case and the school to discipline the offender and stand by its employee.

Returning to work “takes a great deal of courage but sends a vital message to women,” the attorney said. “Offenders should hide, not the victims.”

The attorney said that although depicting his client naked, the pictures were innocuous. “We don’t live in the dark ages,” she said.

Batsheva Sobelman is a Los Angeles Times special correspondent.

©2014 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Champagne will stand against Blatter

Long-time FIFA incumbent Sepp Blatter will have at least one rival for next year’s presidential election as former senior FIFA executive Jerome Champagne confirmed he would contest it.

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The 56-year-old Frenchman, who worked closely with Blatter between 2002 and 2005 when he was deputy secretary-general, on Monday said on Twitter he had sent a letter to FIFA headquarters in Switzerland that he would be a candidate confirming his initial declaration in London back in January.

Champagne had said at the time of the original declaration that he did not think he could beat 77-year-old Blatter, who has been in charge since 1998, if he ran but he had a chance if UEFA chief Michel Platini was a candidate.

Since then, though, Blatter has declared himself as a candidate despite stating beforehand he would not stand again and Platini pulled back from the brink even though he declared in Brazil prior to the World Cup finals in June that he could no longer support Blatter.

Champagne, a former diplomat who worked on France’s successful bid for the right to host the 1998 World Cup before joining FIFA as an international adviser, said he was delighted that a debate had begun about the future of FIFA and football and thought more candidates would throw their hat into the ring.

“First and foremost, debating about issues is a normal process in an institution based on democratic principles,” said Champagne in a letter to football federations posted on his website.

“Then, this debate is particularly indispensable for football. We have to take clear and informed decisions on whether we want to continue with the current economic polarisation, and the sporting imbalances it brings in its wake, or be willing to rebalance the game in our globalised twenty-first century.”

Champagne, who is funding his own campaign, helped to organise Blatter’s victorious election campaign in 2002 and later worked as FIFA’s director of international relations before leaving the organisation in 2010.

He has since worked as an independent football consultant, helping Kosovo to gain recognition from FIFA and working on a potential rapprochement between Israel and Palestine.

The election itself takes place next May at the FIFA Congress.