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The minutes that mattered

4th minute Storm halfback Cooper Cronk is just beaten to a threatening kick in the in-goal area by Jarryd Hayne but manages to pin the Parramatta fullback to earn a line drop-out. 5th minute The Storm capitalise on their second set in the Parramatta red zone when mid-season club-switcher Brett Finch, perhaps drawing on his knowledge of the Eels’ defensive shortcomings, slips a well-timed pass to second-rower Ryan Hoffman for the first try, converted by Cameron Smith. Storm 6-0 9th minute Relief is at hand – at least for a little while – for the besieged Eels when Storm second-rower Adam Blair is penalised for stripping possession from opposite number Nathan Hindmarsh in a two-man tackle. 23rd minute Nearly … but not quite. Eels centre Krisnan Inu climbs high to reel in a spiralling bomb a few metres short of the try line but after hitting the ground with a thud, his Hail Mary pass to support wouldn’t be hailed by anyone, let alone the kindest Mary, and the attacking movement came to nought. 24th minute Cronk cranks up Parra’s pain another notch when he slices through the defensive line on a diagonal run and finds Blair hurtling through in support to score Melbourne’s second four-pointer. Cameron Smith misses the difficult conversion attempt from out wide. Storm 10-0 29th minute Rookie five-eighth Daniel Mortimer splits the Melbourne defence near the halfway line before the cover defence converges. Eric Grothe threatens the line on the next play but Hayne’s last-tackle not-quite-a-bomb is a fizzer, easily taken by Storm winger Steve Turner. 33rd minute The Eels again look like finally getting on the scoreboard when they spread the ball and Grothe steps his way to within spitting distance of the line, but the last pass from centre Joel Reddy was ruled forward. The electric Eels of the past couple of months are looking decidedly acoustic. 38th minute Parramatta’s ”Mr Perpetual Motion jnr” Hindmarsh comes up with a trademark show of dedication when he rushes up on Cronk as the Storm No.7 is looking to thread through an attacking kick on the last play, deep in enemy territory. Hindmarsh’s harassment forces the ball loose. 39th minute The tale of Parramatta’s first half is summed up by Hindmarsh just moments after his efforts to force the ball loose from Cronk. Hindmarsh spills the pill in the play-the-ball and another Eels attacking raid falls short. 44th minute Bench forwards have to make an impact or there’s little point bringing them on. Feleti Mateo gave the Eels much-needed oomph when he split the defence before being nabbed close to the line. He backed up to cause more havoc on the next play to leave Melbourne at sixes and sevens. 45th  minute Following on from Mateo’s efforts, Parra went wide and after Ben Smith dodged a bullet pass by ducking at the last second, Grothe stepped infield much like an Eels winger with the same name and number on his back in a semi-final 25 years ago, beating four defenders to score. Storm 10-6 49th minute Greg Inglis had been relatively quiet but he swung the momentum back south of the border, down Melbourne way, when he reeled in a Cronk bomb while a handful of Parramatta players watched it unfold as if they were watching the trophy slip from their grasp. They were. Storm 16-6 55th minute Slater opened up the sweetest of 16-point leads after Adam Blair made the initial bust before popping a clever pass for the flying Storm fullback to slide over. Smith added the extras from near the sideline. Storm 22-6 59th minute It wasn’t quite in the league of Scott Sattler’s famous cover tackle in the 2003 decider but Storm winger Steve Turner put Luke Burt into touch with a superb diving effort when the Parramatta No.2 looked headed for the left corner. 67th minute Melbourne centre Will Chambers was denied a try by referee Tony Archer after he leapt high to catch a short line drop-out. Archer correctly ruled Chambers caught the ball before it had travelled 10 metres. Refs are such killjoys, sticking to the rules – which they usually do. 70th minute The blue-and-gold clad spectators stopped inching towards the exit signs when centre Joel Reddy latched onto a high kick from Daniel Mortimer and Burt added the extras from out wide. Storm 22-12 72nd minute Eels fans were suddenly scrambling back to their seats after Fuifui Moimoi – sent back on to the field by coach Daniel Anderson for one last shot at glory – hurtled through the Storm’s defence to score, after the approval of video referee Bill Harrigan. Storm 22-16 76th minute Archer pinged Moimoi for stripping possession from Slater in the play-the-ball. Fuifui blew up. Replays showed he lost the ball when Hayne’s leg glanced his arm as he ran back onside. Refs are such killjoys. Inglis kicked the sealing field goal on the next set. Storm 23-16
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I could not have scripted this: Dogs-bound Turner has tears and cheers

BRETT FINCH and Cooper Cronk were slumped against the far wall of Melbourne’s dressing room, hugging the NRL premiership trophy. Greg Inglis was resting against a different wall, motionless and expressionless from fatigue. Dallas Johnson’s cauliflower ears were bleeding, his nose was flattened and he was having a glass of white wine. Ryan Hoffman was off-his-head delirious.And right down the back of the room was Steve Turner after his last emotion-charged game for Melbourne before his departure to the Bulldogs next season, soaking up his last night in a Storm dressing room, coming to grips with his departure from the premiers after six years on their flank.”Toughest player I’ve ever seen,” Hoffman said. ”We’re going to miss him. He’s been a mate, a great footballer, one of those close friends you feel lucky to have.”If anyone deserves to go out on a high note, it’s Steve Turner. With all his injuries and everything – he’s the toughest teammate I’ve had, I’ll stand by that.”For a winger it might sound surprising, but that’s what I think of him. His nickname is Zapper, he fills the joint with energy. He’s upbeat and we’re going to miss him.”In the middle of the revelry is Will Chambers. He’s off to rugby and the Queensland Reds.”It’s amazing right now, I’m lost for words,” he said. ”I’ve got to soak it up. I’m with my mates. That’s a game I’ll remember for a lifetime and cherish for a lifetime. I’m going out on the best possible note. I’m not sad to be going, this is the perfect way to go out. I just want to thank rugby league for giving me a feeling like this.”Storm players mobbed Turner at full-time. Everyone wept. ”I’m sure I’ll cry when we have our ‘preso’ night on Friday night,” Turner said. ”I could not have scripted this. To go out on the highest possible note with a group of players I’ve gotten to know like brothers for the last six years, it’s a fairytale for me and something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. I really love this club and I’m so grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me.”It can’t have ended so well. It’s sad but life goes on, you keep moving on. The salary cap didn’t allow me to stay here but there’s no use complaining. The Dogs are a club on the way up.”Turner’s bond with Storm coach Craig Bellamy runs deeper than the normal player-coach relationship.”Yeah, I heard what he said about me being like a son,” Turner said. ”Craig dug his heels in three years ago with all the Gold Coast stuff and he’s always backed me 100 per cent. I’m very thankful and grateful to have played under such a wonderful coach for six years. I’m going to enjoy the week but I’m sure there will be a few hugs and tears when we get to the end of the week on Friday night. They’re good tears, they’re all good.”
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Search for 40 missing Aussies

AUSTRALIA’S response to the devastating Sumatran earthquakes went into full swing yesterday as embassy officials continued their search for up to 40 missing Australians.An Australian search and rescue team worked through Padang and the surrounding areas, including Pariaman, the worst affected district, to assess the damage and rescue needs.Officials have identified more than 2000 sites that need to be assessed. Japanese, British, Swiss and Singaporean search and rescue teams were also on the ground.Australian aid – including medical kits, basic goods, blankets and tents – was passed to the Indonesian Red Cross for distribution to survivors.Aid had also arrived from 13 other countries, but was yet to reach some of the worst affected areas.Australian Defence Force personnel were also on the ground to assist.The 7.6-magnitude quake toppled buildings and is believed to have killed more than 1100 people in Padang, home to nearly 1 million people on the coast of Sumatra on Wednesday. A second less powerful quake struck inland on Thursday.Several thousands people remain trapped in rubble, the United Nations and Red Cross believe.Hopes of finding people alive continued to fade as the stench of rotting corpses permeated the city.All 13 Australians registered as being in Padang at the time of the quake have been found safe.However, up to 40 Australians believed to be in Sumatra were still unaccounted for, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.Embassy officials continued to scour hospitals in and around Padang to find Australians who may have been killed or injured.”The good news is the Australians who we knew were in the Padang area at the time of the earthquake have now all been accounted for,” Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said.Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla toured the area yesterday, his entourage aggravating traffic chaos caused by blocked and damaged roads.Meanwhile, HMAS Kanimbla sailed from Sydney Harbour bound for the area. It is expected to reach Sumatra in about 10 days.Commodore Ian Middleton, the navy’s surface forces commander, said Kanimbla would provide Australia’s long-term back-up to the area.”The Air Force got in there with the immediate response,” he said.”What the Kanimbla is providing is the back-up longer term to clean up, and reconstruct if necessary.”
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Bodies washed from graves by tsunami

LALOMANU, SAMOA: The bodies keep turning up. Four more were found at Lalomanu, the worst-hit area of the coast yesterday morning, and in the afternoon two more were recovered.The six bodies included two babies while a skeleton was unearthed when the waters scoured out the site of an established grave.With remaining bodies deteriorating rapidly in the hot weather, emergency workers donned masks, gloves and breathing apparatus. A victim identification team was flown into Samoa from New Zealand. Tony Hill, the Western Samoa Commissioner for Fire and Emergency Services, said the search would continue today to avoid the possibility of victims lying undiscovered.Two days after the waves tore through island settlements, fear lies just below the surface. At 11am yesterday Sydney time, word spread along the waterfront of an earthquake off Tonga and that a second tsunami was on its way. A horde of people, including adults with babies in arms , packed into every available vehicle, and made the rush for high ground although no tsunami alert had sounded.Saofaigo Talameli, 17, returned with eight other family members to camp under a tarpaulin at exactly the place where their house had stood on the waterfront. Hearing about the possibility of a second tsunami, she looked to the hills where the family had sprinted before, but in the end she stayed.Away from the bloated corpses, the coconut palm groves of Western Samoa might seem like an eden. It has become anything but for Lauvao Paulo, a 34-year-old farmer from the village of Smalamna.When the tsunami struck, Mr Paulo was one of 15 living in a waterfront house. Among them were five children as young as a year old and an aunt with one leg.With barely minutes to spare, the family evacuated, the adults carrying young children. They sprinted for the high ground, but the aunt, Sala Salogo, had to make the best of it on crutches.But she was not fast enough. The wave, between four and six metres high, which struck the south coast of the main island, Opolu, swept her up and drowned her.Ms Salogo was just one of Western Samoa’s confirmed dead as the official death toll surged towards 100 and Mr Paulo and his extended family have joined the thousands of survivors sheltering under tarpaulins.Like most of the tsunami survivors, Mr Paulo’s family had no insurance cover and are depending on handouts of food, water and clothing. The local priest came to pray with Mr Paulo and bring him comfort.Members of the family are having to go to the nearest coconut groves for their ablutions. Those interviewed expected they might have to live in these conditions for months.In many of the hundreds of houses that were flattened, there were anywhere from 10 to 20 occupants. Tolina Aaulai was at home with 16 other people. Timoteo Isaako, 27, the mother of five children, was in a house with 13 others. These large groups lost everything and have nothing to fall back on.Ioni Isaako, 30, whose extended family was sharing accommodation with a family of Mormans, agreed that their fate would have to be decided by others.The relief effort, aided by timely plane loads of essential supplies, was in full operation yesterday. The Southern coast was a hive of activity as powerlines were re-established and trucks, graders and excavators were put into continuous use.An Orion P3 surveillance aircraft from New Zealand flew missions off the coast and a police patrol boat continues a search for floating bodies.Onshore, scrawled across a sedan that had been ruined by the tsunami, were the words: ”Lest we forget – life goes on.”
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A-League starting to play the field as it outgrows its Oranje crush

Thank god for the A-League. After a week which underlined why the Dutch way is often a dull way, the domestic competition has demonstrated – in Adelaide, in Brisbane, in Townsville, in Robina, and in Newcastle – why beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Open, adventurous, and spirited. A league which, in general terms, reflects what Australians like about football is looking pretty good at the moment.There’s the uncertainty. There’s the spontaneity. There’s the honesty. And, yes, there’s the immaturity. The A-League is not all things to all people, but in just its fifth season it continues to make a compelling case. That is, given time, it will become a competition to be proud of. Maybe one of the top five in Asia, despite the strictures of a salary cap.What it needs in the meantime is to be nurtured. Which means all those with a stake in the game – whether they be fans, coaches, the media, players or administrators – need to keep a sense of perspective. Let it breathe, and it will grow.Suffocate it, however, and who knows what might happen. Which is why it was so encouraging to see Aurelio Vidmar, the young Australian coach in charge of Adelaide United, ditch his Dutch system for the match against Sydney FC on Friday night. A small step, but a big statement.Pim Verbeek’s strident criticism of the domestic league has had a ripple effect. Most obviously, in terms of the career choices of players such as Jade North, Scott Chipperfield, Jason Culina and others. Less obvious is the implied message to the coaches. That their teams are tactically naive, technically inept and perhaps even unfit. It’s a message disseminated with great enthusiasm by the usual suspects, mostly Euro snobs in the press box and in the grandstand. Those who see things in a different light are blamed for rewarding mediocrity.Let it be said, the A-League is not mediocre. The clubs, by and large, have an environment every bit as professional as many clubs overseas. What’s not in doubt is that professionalism, as a concept, a way of life, is still a novelty to many Australian players. They will act like professionals when they learn to think like professionals. In a competition only five years old, clearly there is still some way to go.To get there, however, we can’t discard our football culture. That is, a culture which has evolved through the prism of many different ideas and styles. Chances are, the 35 players in the frame to go to next year’s World Cup will have been taught, or influenced, by coaches from a kaleidoscope of backgrounds. Why, then, the new orthodoxy that tells us we should now wed our future to just one?Dutch football has many fine attributes. But it’s not perfect. One of the first things then FFA technical director Rob Baan said when he arrived three years ago was he wanted to see kids out in the parks, learning football in an unstructured way, because Dutch football no longer encouraged or created true creativity.Baan has since left, having claimed credit for a new blueprint that has enshrined the very system he railed against. A system brought sharply into focus by last week’s dreary scoreless stalemate between Netherlands A and Netherlands B – the team formerly known as the Socceroos. A system which has Verbeek replace a holding midfielder with an attacker as he chases a result against Oman, only to then withdraw Brett Emerton into a defensive role in order to keep his beloved 4-2-3-1 formation intact.Is that really the way forward? Not if you listen to the disaffected fans as they streamed out of the SFS, or Etihad Stadium. Which is why Vidmar’s teamsheet against Sydney was such a poignant moment. The Reds fans had had enough of gunshy 4-2-3-1, and he knew it. Finally he reacted, and Adelaide suddenly looked like a team that could score again. Around the country, other coaches have begun to consult their own conscience, and perhaps even the mood of their own players, instead of slavishly following the Dutch manifesto. The spirit of independence, and tolerance, is alive and well. And the A-League’s future is going to be better for it.
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Killed at prayer: man of peace dies in bloody suicide attack

MOHAMMED SARFRAZ NAEEMI was a thorn in the Taliban’s side. A highly regarded Muslim cleric, Dr Naeemi condemned the Taliban’s suicide bombers and established an alliance of religious groups to campaign against them.Dr Naeemi, the principal of Jamia Naeemi madrassa in Lahore, advocated peace and accused the Taliban of being anti-Islam.But he was silenced by the very tactics he opposed.On June 12, soon after the busy Friday prayers, a teenage suicide bomber walked into the madrassa office where Dr Naeemi was sitting and detonated an explosive jacket packed with nails and ball bearings.Dr Naeemi, 62, was among five people killed in the blast.It was a brutal illustration of what it can cost to stand up to extremism in Pakistan.”My father stood for peace, he was devoted to Islam and to Pakistan,” said Dr Naeemi’s son, Raghib, who has taken over as principal of the madrassa. “It was a horrible thing to see.”Raghib Naeemi, 36, who like his father is from the Sufi-influenced Barelvi school of Sunni Islam, has vowed to continue preaching peace. “I am on the same path of my father.”To his surprise, admissions have increased since his father’s death. “Students are saying they want to go to the madrassa where Sarfraz was murdered.”But the madrassa now operates with extraordinary security. Before Friday afternoon prayers at Jamia Naeemia, the three roads leading to the entrance were barricaded by police who searched all those who attended.Members of Lahore’s elite anti-terrorism commando squad, who wear black shirts with “No Fear” written across their shoulder blades, were among the 35 heavily armed policemen guarding the madrassa and mosque compound. The security included a vehicle parked near the entrance with a mounted high-calibre machine-gun. Two police snipers patrolled the roofs.Despite the heavy security, about 1000 worshippers were at the main Friday afternoon worship at Jamia Naeemia. Dr Naeemi was laid to rest in the grounds of the seminary he led. Many of the worshippers paid their respects at his tomb on their way out.One of them was Usman Aslam Bajwa. Tears welled in his eyes as he stood near the white marble tomb decorated with a garland of saffron flowers and the Pakistan flag. “He was a brave man,” said Mr Bajwa. “He spoke out against the suicide bombers but in the end they got him.”Matt Wade
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Dusty, dangerous work of winning hearts and minds

TARIN KOWT: As the sun lights the distant mountains, a cacophony begins. A caravan of monster trucks, armoured vehicles and tanks is brought to life and warmed – the first nip of Oruzgan province’s bitter winter is already in the air. Shouts rise over the din – barked instructions in Dutch and thick military Strine.Gunners push their heads through the hatches of armoured vehicles and adjust headscarves around their noses and mouths, flimsy shields against the pale fog of dust they are about to raise. Helmets are adjusted and weapons get a final once-over. Drivers run through checklists.MORE AFGHANISTAN STORIESThere’s a last-minute rush to the Portaloos – the only opportunity between sun-up and sundown to visit the toilet without the encumbrance of body armour. Perhaps the queues are extended by the odd bout of nerves. Not that anyone’s admitting that.The convoy of more than 30 vehicles heads ”outside the wire” to a site in the Mirabad Valley 25 kilometres from the vast Tarin Kowt military base – Kamp Holland. But the camp is deep in Taliban territory, so it will take almost the entire day to make the journey – tentative progress rewarded with the discovery and safe detonation of improvised explosive devices planted along the route.For months, Mirabad villagers have been visited by Australians – shadowy special forces moving in and out. But three weeks ago Australian troops began arriving in number by helicopter and overland and dug in to stay. Locals hid in their houses as officers sought out the elders and sat down with the council – the shura – to deliver the news they were here for the duration.With this latest convoy, members of Australia’s Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force (MRTV) are now well advanced in trucking in the personnel and hardware to establish a new patrol base at the site, which will be home to the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Kandak – an infantry battalion – and later will also host their Australian military mentors.When the base is established and operating, the mentoring task for Australians and other coalition forces is to step back to improve the capability of the Afghan National Army. ”That is ultimately a very obvious exit strategy,” the commanding officer of Australia’s Tarin Kowt operation, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Connolly, said.The Mirabad objective is to provide an outpost from which the Afghan soldiers and their coalition overseers can patrol and try to weaken the insurgent influence which has for the past seven years dominated the strategically important route stretching out to the east.Once the corridor is more secure, the next step will be to bring building contractors, development agencies and Afghan Government officials under the safety of the military umbrella to begin the community building – improving health centres and schools, constructing roads and bridges, extending irrigation and distributing seeds, putting the pieces together to nurture a healthier local economy in the heart of one of Afghanistan’s most impoverished provinces.The philosophy of counter-insurgency argues these are the elements required to win this war – a campaign for ”hearts and minds” as it would once have been known, though that term has been so devalued that it is being deleted from military parlance.As debate rages in Australia and internationally about the effectiveness and the cost of such a strategy – and evaluated against a tighter, targeted counter-terrorism assault on al-Qaeda leadership – there’s palpable frustration within the Tarin Kowt base about perceived ignorance at home of the nature of the fight forces here are engaged in.”You’ve got to approach a counter-insurgency as something that requires patience and takes a long time to get an effect,” says Colonel Connolly. ”But when you can look at it over a period of time, I am very confident we are getting an extremely positive effect. We have moved a long way. I’m quite dismayed by the people who claim that we are making no progress. Three years ago you could not have dreamt of being able to operate in Chora [a former Taliban stronghold] the way we do now.”While the area is still dangerous, it’s considered secure enough to move to the next phase. After consultation with the community on their wish list of priorities, army engineers are completing plans to build a women’s park, cold food stores and to upgrade the health centre.”People are secure enough to say ‘this is what we would like’,” says Colonel Connolly.Until recently, being seen to co-operate with coalition forces was too dangerous. Anxiety about reprisals is running high in Mirabad as Australian soldiers sit down to talk with the shuras.”It has been an insurgent safe haven for a very long time. They’ve become used to their tribal structure virtually being replaced by the Taliban hierarchy … I’m trying to say to them ‘Well, here is your opportunity to go back to the way you were’.”Now I can sense that there are a lot of old men who sit in those shuras whose body language says yes, they are keen. And talk to them individually and they are desperate to take up our offer, but when they are in public they won’t even say it because they are scared … terrified of what might happen to their family if they show support.”Counter-insurgency involves a very high level of threat, says Colonel Connolly. ”We’re involved in fighting regularly.” In Mirabad, he says, already ”we are getting stronger and stronger interaction with the local population”. And meeting intense efforts from insurgents to stop them.”Every day we continue to patrol in very small groups, which involves a certain amount of risk but gets the best reaction out of the local population.”And it is something that will take time – to create the development behind the security that we bring with us, so that we establish a local community that is starting to prosper and supports its government and is happy to stand on its own two feet.”Jo Chandler is visiting Afghanistan with AusAID.
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Pressure piled on Karzai over poll

KABUL: Foreign envoys have stepped up a diplomatic offensive to break the deadlock in the disputed Afghan presidential election and avoid a divisive second round.Senior diplomats shuttled between Hamid Karzai and his rival Abdullah Abdullah encouraging them to strike a power-sharing deal to break a two-month-long political hiatus after an expected announcement of the final election result was postponed on Satuday.An inquiry into electoral fraud delayed its ruling on whether to disqualify thousands of allegedly rigged ballot boxes, but officials have said it is poised to cast out enough votes to deny Hamid Karzai outright first-round victory.Diplomats fear Mr Karzai could refuse to accept such a ruling or a second-round run-off against his former foreign minister, plunging the country into chaos. Mr Karzai has said the allegations of widespread fraud by his officials in the August 20 poll are exaggerated and he has complained that the inquiry into his votes is politically motivated.World leaders are now urging the two candidates to consider a possible power-sharing deal and the rivals have been engaged in intense bargaining, according to officials in Kabul.During the past few days Mr Karzai has spoken by phone to the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.Dr Abdullah spoke to Mrs Clinton and was visited by Senator John Kerry, the chairman of the US Senate foreign relations committee.Mr Kerry told CNN that President Barack Obama should not send more troops to Afghanistan until it worked through the results of the presidential election. ”It would be entirely irresponsible for the President of the United States to commit more troops to this country when we don’t even have an election finished and know who the president is and what kind of government we’re working with,” Senator Kerry said.Mohamed Mohin Murstal, an MP campaigning for Mr Karzai, said international pressure was directed towards creating a unity government. ”They want us to establish a strong government, a coalition government,” he said.”Mr Karzai has agreed that after the results are announced, he will give the opportunity for all political personalities to be involved in government – but not before.”Dr Abdullah has said he will not discuss a coalition before the results are announced, but has said the situation could change after that.Telegraph, London
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Police seek criminal charges in balloon boy case

FORT COLLINS, Colorado: Police have searched the home of the family in the ”balloon boy” saga after the sheriff said he was pursuing criminal charges in a case that has sparked suspicions of a hoax.The boy’s parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, met investigators for much of Saturday afternoon amid questions about whether Mr Heene perpetrated a publicity stunt when his six-year-old son, Falcon, vanished into the rafters of his garage while the world thought he was zooming through the sky in a flying saucer-like helium balloon.Sheriff Jim Alderden did not say who would be charged or what the charges would be. His deputies later showed up at the Heenes’ home in Fort Collins with a search warrant. They declined to say what they were looking for.Mr Alderden did not call the hours-long drama on Thursday a hoax, but he expressed disappointment that he could not level more serious charges in the incident, which sent police and the military scrambling to save Falcon as millions of worried television viewers watched.”We were looking at class three misdemeanour, which hardly seems serious enough given the circumstances,” Mr Alderden said. ”We are talking to the district attorney, federal officials to see if perhaps there aren’t additional federal charges that are appropriate in this circumstance.”Suspicion that the balloon saga was a hoax arose almost immediately after Falcon was found hiding in a cardboard box. Mr Heene, a storm chaser and inventor whose family has appeared on the reality show Wife Swap, and his wife had said one of the boy’s older brothers had told them Falcon was aboard the home-made balloon when it took off.Mr Alderden initially said there was no reason to believe the incident was a hoax. Authorities questioned the Heenes again after Falcon turned to his father during a CNN interview on Thursday night and said ”you said we did this for a show” when asked why he did not come out of his hiding place.Falcon got sick during two separate TV interviews on Friday when asked again why he hid.Associated Press
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Israel will rely on war crimes vetoes

JERUSALEM: Israel will rely on the support of the permanent United Nations Security Council members Britain, France and the US to block the progress of a report accusing it of committing war crimes in Gaza.The report, by a South African judge, Richard Goldstone, was formally adopted by the UN’s Human Rights Council on Friday, and passed on for deliberation to the more powerful Security Council.The Human Rights Council’s resolution threatens strong action against Israel by the Security Council and the International Criminal Court should there be no serious internal investigations of evidence of war crimes cited by the Goldstone fact-finding mission.But the Security Council is considered unlikely to take action, as the US has indicated it will use its veto over the council’s agenda to block discussion of the report.Israeli leaders reacted angrily to the Human Rights Council’s vote and the accompanying resolution condemning Israeli violations of human rights in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, and criticising Israel for failing to co-operate with the fact-finding mission.The Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in discussions at the weekend that Israel should fight the criticism and make intense diplomatic efforts to ensure support for its opposition to the report.”The countries that voted in favour of the report voted against peace and for terror. We will delegitimise the delegitimisation [of Israel],” Mr Netanyahu said. ”War crimes? Israel’s only real crime is that it does not enjoy an automatic majority in the UN.”Israeli media reported that Mr Netanyahu told colleagues: ”I was an ambassador to the UN and I know well that an automatic majority against Israel can be mustered for even the most absurd decisions, and we know well how absurd this decision is. The report accuses us of war crimes, when, in fact, the truth is the precise opposite.”Israel’s security cabinet was due to discuss the Goldstone report yesterday to approve a Government-wide plan to deal with the repercussions of the Human Rights Council’s vote.Senior Israeli political sources were reported as saying that Mr Netanyahu was not ruling out forming an internal inquiry into Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza in December and January, as demanded by Justice Goldstone.A Foreign Ministry spokesman said: ”The council’s decision harms the efforts to respect human rights in accordance with international law, as well as attempts to promote the Middle East peace process. The decision provides encouragement for international terrorist organisations all around the world and harms world peace.”Of the 47 members of the rights council, 25 supported the measure, including China, Russia and India; six opposed it, 11 abstained and five cast no vote.On Saturday, the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, boycotted an event held by the Chinese embassy in Tel Aviv to mark the 60th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China.On Friday, Justice Goldstone himself criticised the council’s endorsement of his report.He told the Swiss newspaper Le Temps before the vote that the wording of the resolution was unfortunate because it included censure of only Israel, and not Palestinian groups which his fact-finding mission also believed had committed war crimes.
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