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Yankees great Turley dead at 82

Written By kom nampuldu on Minggu, 31 Maret 2013 | 20.49

Bob Turley, who spent eight seasons pitching for the Yankees and won the Cy Young Award in 1958, died yesterday in Atlanta. He was 82 and suffered from liver cancer.

Ironically, Turley died two days after the death of longtime major league catcher Gus Triandos. The two were part of a 17-player trade — still the largest trade in professional sports history — between the Yankees and the Orioles in November 1954.

Turley had pitched one season for the Orioles in 1954, their first in Baltimore after the franchise relocated from St. Louis, while Triandos began his career with the Yankees before spending the next eight seasons in Baltimore.

"I'd have crawled to New York," Turley, who went 14-15 for an awful Orioles team, told the Baltimore Sun years later. "What did I learn from that '54 season? That I never wanted to be on a loser for the rest of my life."

He did his best to make sure that didn't happen.

Joining a staff that already included Whitey Ford, Turley — the hard-throwing right-hander known as Bullet Bob — was with the Yankees from 1955 to 1962, compiling an 82-52 record and a 3.64 ERA and helping the team win three World Series.

His finest season came in 1958 when he went 21-7, throwing 19 complete games and six shutouts. Turley followed that up by helping the Yankees battle their way back from a 3 games to 1 deficit against the Milwaukee Braves in the World Series. He threw a shutout in Game 5, recorded a save in Game 6 and won his second game in three days pitching in relief in Game 7. In the clincher he allowed two hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings.

Turley, who also pitched for the St. Louis Browns, Los Angeles Angels, and Red Sox, had a 101-85 record in 12 major league seasons.

dburke@nypost.com


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Ohio St. comes up short again

LOS ANGELES — Ohio State was so close to reaching its second consecutive Final Four last night against Wichita State, the players and coaches could taste it.

A 23-6 Buckeyes second-half run had melted what had grown to a 20-point Wichita State lead with 11 minutes remaining to just three points — one tantalizing possession — with 2:49 left.

But the Buckeyes, who rode an 11-game winning streak into the game, would get no closer, falling 70-66 to the Shockers in the West Region final at Staples Center.

"I told these guys, you get so close to going to your second straight Final Four and everybody remembers the last game,'' Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "I'm not going to. I'm going to remember this season, because I'm very, very proud of what these guys have accomplished this year.''

Ohio State (29-8) reached their fourth consecutive Sweet 16 and second Elite Eight in a row with terrific shooting — something that abandoned it last night.

The Buckeyes, who entered averaging 82 points in their previous three tournament games and were 23-of-46 from 3-point range, shot 31.1 percent overall and 5-of-25 from 3-point range.

Leading scorer Deshaun Thomas finished with 21 points, but had just nine on 4-of-13 shooting in the first half. He was 0-for-6 from 3-point range. Point guard Aaron Craft was stifled, scoring nine points on 2-of-12 shooting.

"The way we shot the ball coming into the Elite Eight and Sweet 16, man, everything was falling,'' Thomas said. "But nothing was falling.''

Craft credited Wichita State for doing "a phenomenal job'' on defense.

"They got a shot-blocker down there [Carl Hall] that blocked quite a few shots [six] in the first half, and that really kind of had us on our heels,'' Craft said. "We didn't score in transition at all, and that's been our calling card throughout this run, getting stops and scoring in transition.''

Matta said he was "just looking for somebody to put the ball in the bucket'' during the Buckeyes' extended scoring droughts. They went 0-for-7 to start the game.

"We had dug ourselves in such a hole,'' Matta said "We were compromising a lot of different things. They countered what we were doing. They went small, in essence, four or five guards at times. I mean, it was just trying to find somebody to make a shot."

mark.cannizzaro@nypost.com


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Pope makes plea for Mideast peace in Easter Sunday Mass

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis delivered a plea for peace in his first Easter Sunday message to the world, decrying the seemingly endless conflicts in the Middle East and on the Korean peninsula after celebrating Mass along with more than 250,000 faithful.

After the Mass in St. Peter's Square, Francis shared in the crowd's exuberance as they celebrated the belief that Jesus Christ rose from the dead following crucifixion. Aboard an open-topped popemobile, Francis took a lighthearted spin through the joyous gatherers, kissing babies and patting children on the head.

Getty Images

Pope Francis greets the faithful prior to his first "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica during Easter Mass on today.

One admirer of the pope and the pope's favorite soccer team, Argentina's Saints of San Lorenzo, insisted that Francis take a team jersey he was waving at the pontiff. A delighted Francis obliged, briefly holding up the shirt.

Since the start of his papacy on March 13, Francis has repeatedly put his concern for the poor and suffering at the center of his messages, and the Easter speech he delivered from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica reflected his push for peace and social justice.

He said he wished a "Happy Easter" greeting could reach "every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons." Francis prayed that Christ would help people "change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace."

As popes before him have, he urged Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks and end a conflict that "has lasted all too long." And, in reflecting on the two-year-old Syrian crisis, Francis asked, "How much suffering must there still be before a political solution" can be found?

The pope also expressed desire for a "spirit of reconciliation" on the Korean peninsula, where North Korea says it has entered "a state of war" with South Korea. He also decried warfare and terrorism in Africa, as well as what he called the 21st century's most extensive form of slavery: human trafficking.

Francis, the first pope from Latin America and a member of the Jesuit order, lamented that the world is "still divided by greed looking for easy gain." He wished for an end to violence linked to drug trafficking and the dangers stemming from the reckless exploitation of natural resources.

Earlier, wearing cream-colored vestments, Francis celebrated Mass on the esplanade in front of the basilica at an altar set up under a white canopy.

The sun competed with clouds in the sky Sunday, but the square was a riot of floral color in Rome, where chilly winter has postponed the blossoming of many flowers. Yellow forsythia and white lilies shone, along with bursts of lavender and pink, from potted azalea, rhododendron, wisteria and other plants.

Francis thanked florists from the Netherlands for donating the flowers. He also advised people to let love transform their lives, or as he put it, "let those desert places in our hearts bloom."

The Vatican had prepared a list of brief, Easter greetings in 65 languages, but Francis didn't read them. The Vatican didn't say why not, but has said that the new pope, at least for now, feels at ease using Italian, the everyday language of the Holy See.

Francis also has stressed his role as a pastor to his flock, and, as Bishop of Rome, Italian would be his language.


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Man tried on Cartier watch and ran out the door with it: cops

A man tried on a pricey watch at a Midtown luxury store — then ran out the door with it, police said.

The suspect, captured on surveillance camera, entered the Tourneau Watch Store on 57th Street near Madison Avenue about 2:50 p.m. yesterday, cops said.

He asked to see Cartier's Ballon Bleu model, which is valued at $8,100, and tried it on, according to authorities. The watch has a sapphire crystal, and its strap is made of pink gold and steel.

The sticky-fingered shopper then took off — running east on 56th Street towards Park Avenue.

Police are asking anyone with information about the heist to call Crime Stoppers' hotline at 1.800.577.TIPS, or to send tips via the Crime Stoppers' Web site.

The suspect shown in surveillance footage from the Tourneau Watch Store


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Man fatally shot in throat in the Bronx

New York City police are investigating a fatal shooting in the Bronx.

Police say officers responding to a 911 call about an unconscious man found 28-year-old Bronx resident Craig Brewington unresponsive at an address on Barker Avenue early Sunday morning.

Authorities say he had a gunshot wound to the throat and was pronounced dead at the scene.

No one has been arrested, and police say the investigation is ongoing.


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Yankees great Turley dead at 82

Bob Turley, who spent eight seasons pitching for the Yankees and won the Cy Young Award in 1958, died yesterday in Atlanta. He was 82 and suffered from liver cancer.

Ironically, Turley died two days after the death of longtime major league catcher Gus Triandos. The two were part of a 17-player trade — still the largest trade in professional sports history — between the Yankees and the Orioles in November 1954.

Turley had pitched one season for the Orioles in 1954, their first in Baltimore after the franchise relocated from St. Louis, while Triandos began his career with the Yankees before spending the next eight seasons in Baltimore.

"I'd have crawled to New York," Turley, who went 14-15 for an awful Orioles team, told the Baltimore Sun years later. "What did I learn from that '54 season? That I never wanted to be on a loser for the rest of my life."

He did his best to make sure that didn't happen.

Joining a staff that already included Whitey Ford, Turley — the hard-throwing right-hander known as Bullet Bob — was with the Yankees from 1955 to 1962, compiling an 82-52 record and a 3.64 ERA and helping the team win three World Series.

His finest season came in 1958 when he went 21-7, throwing 19 complete games and six shutouts. Turley followed that up by helping the Yankees battle their way back from a 3 games to 1 deficit against the Milwaukee Braves in the World Series. He threw a shutout in Game 5, recorded a save in Game 6 and won his second game in three days pitching in relief in Game 7. In the clincher he allowed two hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings.

Turley, who also pitched for the St. Louis Browns, Los Angeles Angels, and Red Sox, had a 101-85 record in 12 major league seasons.

dburke@nypost.com


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Ohio St. comes up short again

LOS ANGELES — Ohio State was so close to reaching its second consecutive Final Four last night against Wichita State, the players and coaches could taste it.

A 23-6 Buckeyes second-half run had melted what had grown to a 20-point Wichita State lead with 11 minutes remaining to just three points — one tantalizing possession — with 2:49 left.

But the Buckeyes, who rode an 11-game winning streak into the game, would get no closer, falling 70-66 to the Shockers in the West Region final at Staples Center.

"I told these guys, you get so close to going to your second straight Final Four and everybody remembers the last game,'' Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "I'm not going to. I'm going to remember this season, because I'm very, very proud of what these guys have accomplished this year.''

Ohio State (29-8) reached their fourth consecutive Sweet 16 and second Elite Eight in a row with terrific shooting — something that abandoned it last night.

The Buckeyes, who entered averaging 82 points in their previous three tournament games and were 23-of-46 from 3-point range, shot 31.1 percent overall and 5-of-25 from 3-point range.

Leading scorer Deshaun Thomas finished with 21 points, but had just nine on 4-of-13 shooting in the first half. He was 0-for-6 from 3-point range. Point guard Aaron Craft was stifled, scoring nine points on 2-of-12 shooting.

"The way we shot the ball coming into the Elite Eight and Sweet 16, man, everything was falling,'' Thomas said. "But nothing was falling.''

Craft credited Wichita State for doing "a phenomenal job'' on defense.

"They got a shot-blocker down there [Carl Hall] that blocked quite a few shots [six] in the first half, and that really kind of had us on our heels,'' Craft said. "We didn't score in transition at all, and that's been our calling card throughout this run, getting stops and scoring in transition.''

Matta said he was "just looking for somebody to put the ball in the bucket'' during the Buckeyes' extended scoring droughts. They went 0-for-7 to start the game.

"We had dug ourselves in such a hole,'' Matta said "We were compromising a lot of different things. They countered what we were doing. They went small, in essence, four or five guards at times. I mean, it was just trying to find somebody to make a shot."

mark.cannizzaro@nypost.com


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Kobe passes Wilt on all-time points list

Kobe Bryant passed fellow Lakers great Wilt Chamberlain for fourth place on the NBA's career scoring list.

Bryant made a pull-up jumper from the free throw line with 7:54 remaining in the second quarter of last night's 103-98 Lakers win over the Kings in Sacramento to eclipse Chamberlain's mark of 31,419 points.

Bryant had 19 points — on top of 14 assists and nine rebounds — to finish the night with 31,434 lifetime points.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the NBA's career scoring list with 38,387 points, Karl Malone is second with 36,928 and Michael Jordan is third with 32,292.

4TH AND RISING: Kobe Bryant (above, shooting over the Kings' John Salmons) moved past Wilt Chamberlain for fourth place on the NBA career scoring list during the Lakers' 103 -98 victory last night in Sacramento. Michael Jordan is 858 points ahead in third place.

AP

4TH AND RISING: Kobe Bryant (above, shooting over the Kings' John Salmons) moved past Wilt Chamberlain for fourth place on the NBA career scoring list during the Lakers' 103 -98 victory last night in Sacramento. Michael Jordan is 858 points ahead in third place.

The 34-year-old Bryant is in his 17th season.

Dwight Howard added 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Steve Blake scored 15 points for the Lakers (38-36), who stayed even with Utah (38-36) for the eighth and final playoff spot. Los Angeles plays host to 10th-place Dallas (36-37) in a critical tilt Tuesday night.

Mavericks 100, Bulls 98

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left and the Mavericks nipped the Bulls.

The Mavericks trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter, but Nowitzki scored Dallas' last eight points in a 15-1 run over the final 3 1/2 minutes of the game. He finished with a season-high 35 points.

After Jimmy Butler missed two free throws with 15.9 seconds remaining, Nowitzki connected on the winning 3 with Luol Deng running at him. The Mavericks (36-37) are within 1 1/2 games of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Rockets 98, Clippers 81

In Houston, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Francisco Garcia scored 15 points apiece to lead the Rockets over the Clippers.

Houston was playing without shooting guard and leading scorer James Harden (right ankle sprain).

Point guard Chris Paul was the only Clippers starter to play in the final quarter, finishing with 19 points and seven assists.

Pacers 112, Suns 104

In Phoenix, Paul George scored 25 points to lead all five Indiana starters in double figures and the Pacers won their fourth straight with a victory over the Suns.

Indiana's seventh win in eight games lifted them a half-game ahead of idle Knicks for second in the Eastern Conference.

Thunder 109, Bucks 99

In Milwaukee, Kevin Durant scored 30 points and Russell Westbrook had a triple-double for the Thunder. Durant shot 10 of 19 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free throw line. Westbrook had 23 points, 10 assists and 13 rebounds.

Grizzlies 99, T'wolves 86

In Minneapolis, Marc Gasol scored 21 points as the Grizzlies pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Timberwolves and end a five-game road losing streak.

Warriors 125, Trail Blazers 98

In Oakland, Calif., Stephen Curry scored 39 points and the Golden State Warriors moved one step closer toward ending their five-year playoff drought.

76ers 100, Bobcats 94

In Philadelphia, Jrue Holiday scored 10 straight points down the stretch and Evan Turner for the 76ers.

Hawks 97, Magic 88

In Atlanta, Ivan Johnson scored a season-high 21 points off the bench as the Hawks pulled away.

HEAT, SPURS IN KEY CLASH

The Heat (57-15) take a two-game lead in the NBA standings over the Spurs (55-17) into their matchup today in San Antonio.

Miami has won 28 of its last 29 games overall. But San Antonio has won 28 of its last 30 games at home.

"It's always good to play the best, to play against the best," LeBron James said.

The only other meeting between the clubs this season was Nov. 29 in Miami, a strange game in that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich sent key players Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Danny Green home before the game.


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Utah tops Deron again

SALT LAKE CITY — Deron Williams had hoped to quiet his former fans with a win Saturday night.

Instead, it was the Jazz, and the hometown fans, who had the last laugh.

Thanks to road-weary legs, a 3-point shooting barrage from Jazz guard Randy Foye and sloppy ball-handling, the Nets found themselves on the short end of a 116-107 loss in front of 18,008 at Energy Solutions Arena.

"They play really well in this building," Williams said after finishing with 21 points and 11 assists in 35:30. "That's the main thing, and Foye went nuts in that third quarter, and we never really recovered.

NOT TODAY: Deron Williams' shot is rejected with authority by the Jazz's Gordon Hayward during the Nets' 116-107 loss last night in Salt Lake City.

AP

NOT TODAY: Deron Williams' shot is rejected with authority by the Jazz's Gordon Hayward during the Nets' 116-107 loss last night in Salt Lake City.

"If you get down to a Jazz team by 20 in this building, it's very hard to come back. I've been on the other side of it, so I know."

After the Nets (42-31) took a 54-52 lead at the half, Foye went off, going 7-for-8 from behind the 3-point arc and finishing the game with 26 points on 8-for-9 shooting from long range to pace the Jazz (38-36), who shot 55 percent from the field as a team.

The Nets fell behind by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter, and while they tried to make a run late, cutting the deficit to as few as seven, they dug themselves too big of a hole to climb out of.

"Our defense wasn't good enough," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "I think their offense had a lot to do with it. Fatigue has a little bit to do with it. Joe [Johnson] not [playing] has a little bit to do with it.

"But the bottom line is we allowed them too many points inside, and Randy and Mo [Williams] made threes."

The loss dropped the Nets — without Johnson for the fourth straight game as he nurses a right quadriceps contusion and a sore left heel — to 4-3 on the West Coast portion of their eight-game, 17-day road trip, and sending them back East on a sour note.

In addition, it also put a severe dent in their chances of catching either the Knicks or Pacers for the second and third seeds, respectively, in the Eastern Conference. The Nets are five games back in the loss column behind the Atlantic Division-leading Knicks and four behind the Pacers with just nine games remaining.

But the story of the night was Deron Williams returning to face his former team for the second time in Utah. He acquitted himself well, but it wasn't enough to keep him from dropping to 0-4 against the Jazz since the blockbuster trade that sent him to the Nets in 2011.

In an ironic twist, former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who regularly attends home games, was in the building to watch his former team go up against his former point guard. Williams said after the game he hadn't even known Sloan was in the building.

Williams received a mixture of cheers and boos when he was introduced —a far cry from the thunderous round of boos he received a year ago. Before the tip, he exchanged handshakes with several of his former Jazz teammates, including Utah's starting big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.

Once the game began, Williams was hit with a chorus of boos whenever he touched the ball, though the fans seemed to forget about doing so as the game went on, to the point where it barely was audible in the second half.

"It wasn't as bad as last year," Williams said. "Maybe next year I'll get some boos and a couple cheers.

"There's no animosity," Williams said. "I had a great time in Utah. I don't have anything bad to say about the fans. They're going to react the way they want to react and think what they want to think, and I can't really change that. I've just got a lot of love for them."

But one thing Williams doesn't have, still, is a victory over his former team.

"I haven't won against the Jazz yet," he said. "I want to get a win. Maybe next year is the year."

tbontemps@nypost.com


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Devs get clocked again in final ticks

SUNRISE, Fla. — If only games lasted 59 and a half minutes, the Devils would have swept this Florida trip.

Instead, for the second straight night, Martin Brodeur conceded a tying goal in the final seconds and the Devils went on to lose — this time 3-2 to the Panthers on Dmitry Kulikov's goal at 1:43 of overtime.

"We've got to figure out a way to close these games, that's the bottom line," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We're leaving some points on the table. You hope it doesn't come back to haunt you."

Kulikov's shot from the right circle beat Brodeur on the far side and was his first goal of the season.

Minutes before, with the Panthers net empty, Shawn Matthias' second goal had tied the game at 2-2 with 27 seconds left in regulation. He grabbed a rebound in front of the crease and wristed it past Brodeur.

For the Devils, it was eerily reminiscent of Friday night's heartbreak in Tampa, where Alex Killorn equalized with 15 seconds remaining and the Lightnight went on to win 5-4 in a shootout.

"It's unfortunate that we're not able to close out games," Brodeur said. "Both times with less than 30 seconds and we can't get it done, and after that we don't win in overtime or the shootout. It's disappointing, but we keep getting points and that's the only thing positive about it."

Steve Bernier scored two goals and Brodeur stopped 27 shots for the Devils, who have lost three straight.

Tied at 1, Bernier scored his second goal at 7:57 of the third on a power play. Henrik Tallinder took a shot from the high slot and Bernier deflected it into the net to give the Devils a 2-1 lead.

Bernier hadn't scored a goal since March 2 at Buffalo and this was his first multi-goal game since Feb. 3 at the Islanders.


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

School principal killed, six children wounded in grenade attack in Pakistan

Written By kom nampuldu on Sabtu, 30 Maret 2013 | 20.49

KARACHI, Pakistan — A man armed with a gun and grenades attacked a school in southern Pakistan during a prize distribution ceremony on Saturday, killing its principal and wounding six children before fleeing.

Police officer Masir Mehmood said the attacker struck as dozens of children were gathered outside at their private school in Karachi to receive the results of their annual exam.

TV showed panicked relatives of the wounded children, who were between the ages of 8 and 10, crying outside the school in the port city's Ittehad Town neighborhood.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Another police officer, Asif Ijaz Sheikh, said the slain principal was a local leader of the Awami National Party (ANP). He said police were still investigating the identity of the attacker, who threw two grenades and then opened fire on Khan and children who were standing near him.

Karachi has been the scene of scores of bomb and gun attacks in recent years, most blamed on militants.

Gangs controlled by various groups, including the city's two main political parties the Muttahida Quami Movement and the ANP, have also been blamed for targeted killings of their rivals.

The MQM primarily represents the Urdu-speaking descendants of those who came to Karachi from India soon after the birth of Pakistan. The group's main rival, the ANP, represents ethnic Pashtuns from Pakistan's northwest.


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Dance instructor in Zumba paid-sex case could face prison

PORTLAND, Maine — The dance instructor who used her Zumba fitness studio as a front for prostitution could face up to 10 months in prison after pleading guilty Friday in a case that captivated a quiet seaside town known for its beaches and picturesque homes.

The agreement that followed two days of plea negotiations spares Alexis Wright from the prospect of a high-profile trial featuring sex videos, exhibitionism and pornography. She's scheduled to be sentenced May 31.

Wright quietly answered "guilty" 20 times when the judge read the counts, which include engaging in prostitution, promotion of prostitution, conspiracy, tax evasion and theft by deception.

"We're very satisfied with it. It's an appropriate outcome, given the gravity of her actions," Assistant Attorney General Darcy Mitchell said after the brief court hearing.

The 30-year-old Wright was accused of conspiring with insurance agent Mark Strong Sr. to run a prostitution business in which she kept detailed records indicating she made $150,000 over an 18-month period. She was also accused of using a hidden camera to record sex acts without her clients' knowledge.

She was originally charged with 106 counts. All the counts in the agreement were misdemeanors, including three counts relating to welfare and tax fraud that were reduced from felonies.

Strong, 57, of Thomaston, was convicted this month of 13 counts related to promotion of prostitution and sentenced to 20 days in jail. He was originally charged with 59 counts.

The scandal became a sensation following reports that Wright had at least 150 clients, leading to a guessing game of who might be named publicly in the coastal town of Kennebunk. Attorneys who have seen the client list say it included some prominent names. Those who have been charged so far include a former mayor, a high school hockey coach, a minister, a lawyer and a firefighter.

Working together, Strong and Wright represented an unusual pairing.

Wright had attended college classes and ran dance classes for the local parks and recreation program before opening her studio in Kennebunk. But she was also engaging in paid-sex acts in the studio, in her apartment and in her office, law enforcement officials said.

Overseeing the operation and watching the sex acts live on his office computer 100 miles up the coast was Strong, a married father of two who ran a successful insurance agency in Thomaston.

It came as no surprise that Wright would seek a plea agreement because evidence presented in Strong's trial was so overwhelming. A video played for jurors showed Wright engaging in sex acts with a man who then inquired about her rate before leaving $250 cash on her massage table.

After the man left, the video showed Wright pocketing the money.

There was plenty of electronic evidence because the two kept in touch via text and email and because Wright videotaped the clients and Strong watched live via Skype. Videos showed them speaking openly of ledgers, payments and scheduling.

Under the plea agreement, prosecutors will seek restitution of $57,250 from Wright after she's released from jail.

Defense lawyer Sarah Churchill said Wright is married and employable, and she expects Wright will be able to enter into a payment plan. Churchill left the courtroom without talking to reporters.

Residents of Kennebunk were frustrated by the media coverage of the scandal.

Names of purported clients trickled out as they were charged, leading to speculation about who else might be on the list. But residents soon grew weary of the media's attention, especially after it became clear that only a few of clients were locals.

So far, 66 people have been charged as clients, York County Deputy District Attorney Justin McGettigan said. The state will continue to pursue charges against additional people identified on Wright's ledger if the evidence is strong enough to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt, she said.

Things have largely returned to normal in Kennebunk. And on Friday night, a free dance was being held at Wright's old Pura Vida Studio, where Zumba continues under new management and a new name, Danceworks.

Jeremiah Ouellette, manager of New Morning Natural Foods Market, across the street from the fitness studio, said residents have put the prostitution episode behind them.

"I think people have really lost interest," Ouellette said Friday evening. "People really don't care anymore."


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Nelson Mandela better from pneumonia, South African official says

JOHANNESBURG — A South African official says Nelson Mandela is breathing "without difficulty" after having a procedure to clear fluid in his lung area that was caused by pneumonia.

South African presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Saturday that 94-year-old Mandela that the fluid had been "tapped," allowing the former president to breathe more easily.

Maharaj described the fluid problem as a "pleural effusion."

He said Mandela is suffering from pneumonia, using a different term for his ailment. Officials have previously said Mandela, who was taken to a hospital on Wednesday night, has a recurring lung infection.

AP

Nelson Mandela


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North Korea warns of 'state of war' with South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea warned Seoul on Saturday that the Korean Peninsula was entering "a state of war" and threatened to shut down a border factory complex that's the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

Analysts say a full-scale conflict is extremely unlikely, noting that the Korean Peninsula has remained in a technical state of war for 60 years. But the North's continued threats toward Seoul and Washington, including a vow to launch a nuclear strike, have raised worries that a misjudgment between the sides could lead to a clash.

AP

North Korean army officers punch the air as they chant slogans during a rally at Kim Il Sung Square in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea yesterday.

North Korea's threats are seen as efforts to provoke the new government in Seoul, led by President Park Geun-hye, to change its policies toward Pyongyang, and to win diplomatic talks with Washington that could get it more aid. North Korea's moves are also seen as ways to build domestic unity as young leader Kim Jong Un strengthens his military credentials.

On Thursday, US military officials revealed that two B-2 stealth bombers dropped dummy munitions on an uninhabited South Korean island as part of annual defense drills that Pyongyang sees as rehearsals for invasion. Hours later, Kim ordered his generals to put rockets on standby and threatened to strike American targets if provoked.

North Korea said in a statement Saturday that it would deal with South Korea according to "wartime regulations" and would retaliate against any provocations by the United States and South Korea without notice.

"Now that the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK have entered into an actual military action, the inter-Korean relations have naturally entered the state of war," said the statement, which was carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency, referring to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Provocations "will not be limited to a local war, but develop into an all-out war, a nuclear war," the statement said.

Hours after the statement, Pyongyang threatened to shut down the jointly run Kaesong industrial park, expressing anger over media reports suggesting the complex remained open because it was a source of hard currency for the impoverished North.

"If the puppet group seeks to tarnish the image of the DPRK even a bit, while speaking of the zone whose operation has been barely maintained, we will shut down the zone without mercy," an identified spokesman for the North's office controlling Kaesong said in comments carried by KCNA.

South Korea's Unification Ministry responded by calling the North Korean threat "unhelpful" to the countries' already frayed relations and vowed to ensure the safety of hundreds of South Korean managers who cross the border to their jobs in Kaesong. It did not elaborate.

South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said the country's military remains mindful of the possibility that increasing North Korean drills near the border could lead to an actual provocation.

"The series of North Korean threats — announcing all-out war, scrapping the cease-fire agreement and the non-aggression agreement between the South and the North, cutting the military hotline, entering into combat posture No. 1 and entering a 'state of war' — are unacceptable and harm the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula," Kim said.

"We are maintaining full military readiness in order to protect our people's lives and security," he told reporters Saturday.

The two Koreas remain technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. Naval skirmishes in the disputed waters off the Korean coast have led to bloody battles several times over the years.

But on the streets of Seoul on Saturday, South Koreans said they were not worried about an attack from North Korea.

"From other countries' point of view, it may seem like an extremely urgent situation," said Kang Tae-hwan, a private tutor. "But South Koreans don't seem to be that nervous because we've heard these threats from the North before."

The Kaesong industrial park, which is run with North Korean labor and South Korean know-how, has been operating normally, despite Pyongyang shutting down a communications channel typically used to coordinate travel by South Korean workers to and from the park just across the border in North Korea. The rivals are now coordinating the travel indirectly, through an office at Kaesong that has outside lines to South Korea.

North Korea has previously made such threats about Kaesong without acting on them, and recent weeks have seen a torrent of bellicose rhetoric from Pyongyang. North Korea is angry about the South Korea-US military drills and new UN sanctions over its nuclear test last month.

Dozens of South Korean firms run factories in the border town of Kaesong. Using North Korea's cheap, efficient labor, the Kaesong complex produced $470 million worth of goods last year.


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Ed Fountaine’s Spot Plays

Dubai World Cup

Meydan Race Course, ninth race. Group 1. Purse: $10,000,000. 1¹/‚„ miles, Tapeta, 3-year-olds and up. Post: 2:05 p.m.

LOWDOWN: Hunter's Light is the "house horse," owned by the Godolphin stable of Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai. The 5-year-old is 9-for-17 in his career, he is coming off two romping victories over this course this year, and is 4-for-4 at the distance.

TV: HRTV, TVG

FLORIDA DERBY: Gulfstream Park, 12th race. Grade 1. Purse: $1,000,000. 1¹/‚ˆ miles, 3-year-olds. Post: 6:19 p.m.

LOWDOWN: Seeing as many of this year's Kentucky Derby preps have been won by horses with sharp recent form, let's shoot for the moon with Pick of the Litter, coming off a runaway victory over this track on Feb. 27, when he broke his maiden by 7 1/2 lengths in a solid 1:49 1/5 for the nine furlongs. Pick of the Litter is trained by Dale Romans and ridden by Jesus Castanon, who teamed up with Shackleford to miss winning the 2011 Florida Derby by a head at 68-1.

TV: NBC Sports Group, HRTV, NYRA Channel 1994

LOUISIANA DERBY

Fair Grounds, ninth race. Grade 2. Purse: $1,000,000. 1¹/‚ˆ miles, 3-year-olds. Post: 6:44 p.m.

LOWDOWN: Palace Malice, off from August to January, has run two solid races this year for Todd Pletcher and Dogwood Stable. He was second going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park in his return, then a game third, beaten just a half-length after making a strong rally in the stretch, in the Feb. 23 Risen Star over this track. As a son of Curlin, Palace Malice should appreciate the added distance.

TV: NBC Sports Group, HRTV, NYRA Channel 1994.

ed.fountaine@nypost.com


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Smith, pressure defense too much for Oregon

INDIANAPOLIS — He was, in a word, Russdiculous.

They play with their hair on fire, all these Louisville Cardinals do, from start to finish. It sometimes seems as if there are six of them, six Cardinals, playing this time against five Oregon Ducks. They play as if they were trying to make the damn team.

Picture, if you will, five Charlie Hustles on the court at all times. Five piranhas at feeding time. Five Lawrence Taylors getting after the quarterback. Five whippets charging for the basket.

Rick Pitino took Providence College to a Final Four once with manic offense. Now, after a 77-69 victory over Oregon in the Sweet 16 Friday night, he stands 40 minutes from back-to-back Final Fours with relentless defense, and a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

One of those parts, this Russdiculous kid out of Brooklyn and Archbishop Molloy High, a fearless, fun-loving kid named Russ Smith, who beat Oregon defenders off the dribble at will, played under control and showed up as the best player on the court.

Or maybe we should call him Russsickulous.

"I'm terribly sick," Smith said. "I just kept coughing. But we go through scouting a lot, and I talk to Coach a lot about where can I find any gaps or where can I look good on the court, what could I do to help the team win.

"And Coach always gives me the answers, and I just try to go out there and just find any gaps and any spaces I can to create shots for myself and my teammates."

A kid who effortlessly scored 31 points and imposed his will and swag on the night.

Who made Kentucky Fried duck of Oregon.

One coach, screaming himself hoarse, standing the whole time, except during timeouts, on his way to the Georgia Dome, and the Hall of Fame.

If Pitino is the calm, his No. 1-seeded Cardinals are the storm. They come at you in waves, an army of Pitino cult followers that more often than not saps you of your will and leaves you fatigued and worn to a frazzle. It is a deep team, a selfless team, a together team, and Pitino loves coaching it. And this time, a John Calipari Kentucky machine won't be standing in the way.

This time, he has a Russdiculous talent playing at the top of his game.

Oregon had all that against it, all that and a sea of red everywhere the Ducks looked cheering loud enough it might have made the Cardinals think they were back home inside the KFC Yum! Center.

The Ducks made the Cardinals sweat anyway.

They wouldn't turn the ball over at the alarming rate many expected. They wouldn't quit when they appeared ready to go.

It was 24-8 before the Ducks even knew what hit them with nine minutes gone. A shot clock violation only 2:24 into the game was the first hint they were in big trouble. Pitino had made it sound as if he dreaded playing this so-called greatest 12 seed of all time. Except the Ducks appeared as passive and slow on defense at the start that you could have mistaken them for a 16 seed.

Dominic Artis, a freshman guard out of San Francisco, stopped the bleeding. Artis drilled a pair of 3s and a running bank shot and the Ducks were within 29-21. It was as close as they could come in a half that ended 45-31. Smith had 16 points by then, on only 10 shots.

Pitino substituted so freely you wondered whether some of his players had downed too much prune juice at the team meal. Peyton Siva, his senior quarterback, sat for 15 minutes in the first half. So Kevin Ware (4-for-4 shooting) — out of the Bronx, by the way — played 15 minutes and displayed nothing but poise under pressure.

The lead ballooned to 16, before the Ducks stormed back. And when they closed to within eight, well, that got Louisville's attention.

It looked over.

It wasn't over.

Because here came the Ducks again. Damyean Dotson hit a J and all of a sudden it was Louisville 70, Oregon 64. Ware hit a running bank on the right side. Wayne Blackshear stole the ball from Artis. Smith penetrated and his bounce pass to Chane Behanan became a dunk. Then Smith sank a pair of free throws.

Then it was over.

steve.serby@nypost.com


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School principal killed, six children wounded in grenade attack in Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan — A man armed with a gun and grenades attacked a school in southern Pakistan during a prize distribution ceremony on Saturday, killing its principal and wounding six children before fleeing.

Police officer Masir Mehmood said the attacker struck as dozens of children were gathered outside at their private school in Karachi to receive the results of their annual exam.

TV showed panicked relatives of the wounded children, who were between the ages of 8 and 10, crying outside the school in the port city's Ittehad Town neighborhood.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Another police officer, Asif Ijaz Sheikh, said the slain principal was a local leader of the Awami National Party (ANP). He said police were still investigating the identity of the attacker, who threw two grenades and then opened fire on Khan and children who were standing near him.

Karachi has been the scene of scores of bomb and gun attacks in recent years, most blamed on militants.

Gangs controlled by various groups, including the city's two main political parties the Muttahida Quami Movement and the ANP, have also been blamed for targeted killings of their rivals.

The MQM primarily represents the Urdu-speaking descendants of those who came to Karachi from India soon after the birth of Pakistan. The group's main rival, the ANP, represents ethnic Pashtuns from Pakistan's northwest.


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Dance instructor in Zumba paid-sex case could face prison

PORTLAND, Maine — The dance instructor who used her Zumba fitness studio as a front for prostitution could face up to 10 months in prison after pleading guilty Friday in a case that captivated a quiet seaside town known for its beaches and picturesque homes.

The agreement that followed two days of plea negotiations spares Alexis Wright from the prospect of a high-profile trial featuring sex videos, exhibitionism and pornography. She's scheduled to be sentenced May 31.

Wright quietly answered "guilty" 20 times when the judge read the counts, which include engaging in prostitution, promotion of prostitution, conspiracy, tax evasion and theft by deception.

"We're very satisfied with it. It's an appropriate outcome, given the gravity of her actions," Assistant Attorney General Darcy Mitchell said after the brief court hearing.

The 30-year-old Wright was accused of conspiring with insurance agent Mark Strong Sr. to run a prostitution business in which she kept detailed records indicating she made $150,000 over an 18-month period. She was also accused of using a hidden camera to record sex acts without her clients' knowledge.

She was originally charged with 106 counts. All the counts in the agreement were misdemeanors, including three counts relating to welfare and tax fraud that were reduced from felonies.

Strong, 57, of Thomaston, was convicted this month of 13 counts related to promotion of prostitution and sentenced to 20 days in jail. He was originally charged with 59 counts.

The scandal became a sensation following reports that Wright had at least 150 clients, leading to a guessing game of who might be named publicly in the coastal town of Kennebunk. Attorneys who have seen the client list say it included some prominent names. Those who have been charged so far include a former mayor, a high school hockey coach, a minister, a lawyer and a firefighter.

Working together, Strong and Wright represented an unusual pairing.

Wright had attended college classes and ran dance classes for the local parks and recreation program before opening her studio in Kennebunk. But she was also engaging in paid-sex acts in the studio, in her apartment and in her office, law enforcement officials said.

Overseeing the operation and watching the sex acts live on his office computer 100 miles up the coast was Strong, a married father of two who ran a successful insurance agency in Thomaston.

It came as no surprise that Wright would seek a plea agreement because evidence presented in Strong's trial was so overwhelming. A video played for jurors showed Wright engaging in sex acts with a man who then inquired about her rate before leaving $250 cash on her massage table.

After the man left, the video showed Wright pocketing the money.

There was plenty of electronic evidence because the two kept in touch via text and email and because Wright videotaped the clients and Strong watched live via Skype. Videos showed them speaking openly of ledgers, payments and scheduling.

Under the plea agreement, prosecutors will seek restitution of $57,250 from Wright after she's released from jail.

Defense lawyer Sarah Churchill said Wright is married and employable, and she expects Wright will be able to enter into a payment plan. Churchill left the courtroom without talking to reporters.

Residents of Kennebunk were frustrated by the media coverage of the scandal.

Names of purported clients trickled out as they were charged, leading to speculation about who else might be on the list. But residents soon grew weary of the media's attention, especially after it became clear that only a few of clients were locals.

So far, 66 people have been charged as clients, York County Deputy District Attorney Justin McGettigan said. The state will continue to pursue charges against additional people identified on Wright's ledger if the evidence is strong enough to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt, she said.

Things have largely returned to normal in Kennebunk. And on Friday night, a free dance was being held at Wright's old Pura Vida Studio, where Zumba continues under new management and a new name, Danceworks.

Jeremiah Ouellette, manager of New Morning Natural Foods Market, across the street from the fitness studio, said residents have put the prostitution episode behind them.

"I think people have really lost interest," Ouellette said Friday evening. "People really don't care anymore."


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Third water pipe bursts in Hoboken

Written By kom nampuldu on Jumat, 29 Maret 2013 | 20.49

A third water pipe burst in Hoboken Friday morning, said United Water officials.

The latest rupture occurred at Park Ave. between 13th and 14th streets just before 8 a.m. and is not nearly as large as two previous water main breaks a day earlier.

All Hoboken residents are advised to continue to boil their water for at least one minute.

The pipes burst within hours of each other below Willow Ave. in what officials say are unrelated incidents.

The breaks caused much of the city to lose water pressure on Thursday and prompted officials to issue the boil-water advisory.

To read more, go to MyFoxNY


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Drone industry worries about privacy backlash

WASHINGTON — It's a good bet that in the not-so-distant future aerial drones will be part of Americans' everyday lives, performing countless useful functions.

A far cry from the killing machines whose missiles incinerate terrorists, these generally small, unmanned aircraft will help farmers more precisely apply water and pesticides to crops, saving money and reducing environmental impacts. They'll help police departments find missing people, reconstruct traffic accidents and act as lookouts for SWAT teams. They'll alert authorities to people stranded on rooftops by hurricanes and monitor evacuation flows.

Real estate agents will use them to film videos of properties and surrounding neighborhoods. States will use them to inspect bridges, roads and dams. Oil companies will use them to monitor pipelines, while power companies use them to monitor transmission lines.

With military budgets shrinking, drone makers have been counting on the civilian market to spur the industry's growth. But there's an ironic threat to that hope: Success on the battlefield may contain the seeds of trouble for the more benign uses of drones at home.

The civilian unmanned aircraft industry worries that it will be grounded before it can really take off because of fear among the public that the technology will be misused. Also problematic is a delay in the issuance of government safety regulations that are needed before drones can gain broad access to US skies.

Some companies that make drones or supply support equipment and services say the uncertainty has caused them to put US expansion plans on hold, and they are looking overseas for new markets.

"Our lack of success in educating the public about unmanned aircraft is coming back to bite us," said Robert Fitzgerald, CEO of The BOSH Group of Newport News, Va., which provides support services to drone users.

"The US has been at the lead of this technology a long time," he said. "If our government holds back this technology, there's the freedom to move elsewhere ... and all of a sudden these things will be flying everywhere else and competing with us."

Since January, drone-related legislation has been introduced in more than 30 states, largely in response to privacy concerns. Many of the bills are focused on preventing police from using drones for broad public surveillance, as well as targeting individuals for surveillance without sufficient grounds to believe they were involved in crimes.

Law enforcement is expected to be one of the bigger initial markets for civilian drones. Last month, the FBI used drones to maintain continuous surveillance of a bunker in Alabama where a 5-year-old boy was being held hostage.


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Fire destroys home, kills pets of Newtown massacre survivors

NEWTOWN, Conn. — A Newtown home destroyed by a fire this week was owned by a couple whose children survived the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December.

The News-Times of Danbury reports that Wednesday afternoon's fire left Hans and Audra Barth and their three children homeless. The American Red Cross has put them up in a hotel.

Two of their children attended Sandy Hook Elementary School, including a first-grader in teacher Kaitlin Roig's classroom. Roig has been called a hero for barricading her students in a bathroom as the shooter killed 20 other first-graders and six educators.

Friends say the family lost everything in the fire, and their pet dog and several baby chickens died. St. Rose of Lima Church is taking donations.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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2 injured in SoHo car wreck

Two people were seriously injured in a two-car accident in SoHo this morning, authorities said.

The collision happened around 6:50 a.m. on Houston and Mott Streets, the FDNY said.

A man in his 40's and another unidentified victim were both taken to Bellevue hospital in serious but stable condition, the FDNY said.

G.N. MIller

Rescue crews were on the scene this morning after a two-car accident in SoHo.


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John Edwards' daughter says family worked through his affair

John Edwards' eldest daughter is working through forgiving her dad for his affair with Rielle Hunter.

"Yes, it was hard [to forgive him], but we worked through it," Cate Edwards said in an interview on "Today" this morning.

"I think it's easier to stay angry than it is to forgive someone. Forgiveness is the tough thing," she explained.

Cate, 31, also said that she considers Edwards' daughter with Hunter, Francis Quinn, to be part of their family and thinks of her as her sister.

Edwards' eldest daughter, who was by her father's side during last year's trial over whether he misused money from two wealthy donors to hide Hunter while he ran for president, also said she didn't fault her dad for the trial.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"He made those mistakes, there's no question. But I never thought he did anything illegal," she said.

After Edwards' case ended in a mistrial, the former presidential candidate indicated he still had things he wanted to do, but Cate said she "highly doubts" he'll run for public office again.

Cate also talked about her mother, Elizabeth Edwards, who died in 2010 after battling cancer.

Cate said she thinks her mom forgave her dad, but she admitted she didn't really know. But she noted that her dad was there for her mom at the end.

She also said she misses her mom especially during March Madness, noting that her mom was very superstitious during the games.


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Eva’s bag & ‘shoo’ combo

Eva Mendes takes a playful swing at fotogs last night at the premiere of her movie "The Place Beyond the Pines" at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema on the Lower East Side. The 39-yearold actress stars in the film with her beau, Ryan Gosling..

Dave Allocca/Starpix

Eva Mendes


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Novak credits veterans

Just 11 days ago, the Knicks were teetering on the brink of disaster, having lost the first four games on their West Coast road trip.

Coming off a loss in Los Angeles to the Clippers, the team headed to Utah, a place where they hadn't won since 2005.

All signs pointed to an 0-fer on the trip, but Kurt Thomas, the oldest player in the NBA, wouldn't let it happen. Though the veteran scored six points, his toughness and defensive presence propelled the Knicks.

Having Thomas gut out 27 minutes on a foot that would be diagnosed as broken after the game galvanized the Knicks, who are now enjoying a six-game winning streak entering Friday night's game against the Bobcats at the Garden.

"That's been one of our greatest advantages this season," Knicks forward Steve Novak told The Post while taking part in a promotion at a Chelsea McDonald's. "We have guys who have won championships. People say, 'They're too old. They can't do it anymore,' but the [veterans'] leadership has calmed the team in tough times. They say, 'Look, this is how seasons go.' "

The Knicks hold a 2 1/2-game lead over the Nets in the Atlantic Division, and with just 12 games remaining (11 for the Nets), and appear to be in prime position to capture their first division title since 1994.

"That's been our main goal, one that we set before training camp even started," Novak said.

Though it's just a small sample size, the Knicks appears to be returning to their early season form, when they surged to an 18-5 start.

Novak said he feels the "Next Man Up" mantra has helped the team through their rough patches.

"We've faced adversity, but we've had guys step up," he said. "For me, I think it was big that when we weren't playing our best, we didn't get down. We're getting ready for the playoffs, and that's the greatest sign of who we are."

jdemarzo@nypost.com


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Bx. dirt-bike raps tossed

Bronx prosecutors tossed the top charges against the man previously accused of fleeing cops on a dirt bike — a chase that ended with the death of his friend.

Assistant DA Elizabeth Brandler said her office dropped reckless-endangerment and resisting-arrest charges against Adalberto Gonzalez, whose pal, Eddie Fernandez, was killed when a cop car hit the motorcycle in the August incident.


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Kim Jong Un says his rockets ready 'to settle accounts with the U.S.'

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Friday that his rocket forces were ready "to settle accounts with the U.S.," unleashing a new round of bellicose rhetoric after U.S. nuclear-capable B-2 bombers dropped dummy munitions in joint military drills with South Korea.

Kim's warning, and the litany of threats that have preceded it, don't indicate an imminent war. In fact, they're most likely meant to coerce South Korea into softening its policies, win direct talks and aid from Washington, and strengthen the young leader's credentials and image at home.

But the threats from North Korea and rising animosity from the rivals that have followed U.N. sanctions over Pyongyang's Feb. 12 nuclear test do raise worries of a misjudgment leading to a clash.

Kim "convened an urgent operation meeting" of senior generals just after midnight, signed a rocket preparation plan and ordered his forces on standby to strike the U.S. mainland, South Korea, Guam and Hawaii, state media reported.

Kim said "the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation," according to a report by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

Later Friday at the main square in Pyongyang, tens of thousands of North Koreans turned out for a 90-minute mass rally in support of Kim's call to arms. Men and women, many of them in olive drab uniforms, stood in arrow-straight lines, fists raised as they chanted, "Death to the U.S. imperialists." Placards in the plaza bore harsh words for South Korea as well, including, "Let's rip the puppet traitors to death!"

Small North Korean warships, including patrol boats, conducted maritime drills off both coasts of North Korea near the border with South Korea on Thursday, South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a briefing Friday. He didn't provide more details.

The spokesman said that South Korea's military was mindful of the possibility that North Korean drills could lead to an actual provocation. He also said that the South Korean and U.S. militaries are watching closely for any signs of missile launch preparations in North Korea. He didn't elaborate.

North Korea, which says it considers the U.S.-South Korean military drills preparations for invasion, has pumped out a string of threats in state media. In the most dramatic case, Pyongyang made the highly improbable vow to nuke the United States.

On Friday, state media released a photo of Kim and his senior generals huddled in front of a map showing routes for envisioned strikes against cities on both American coasts.


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Marilyn Monroe's 'letter of despair' among hundreds of historical docs to be auctioned

NEW YORK — Marilyn Monroe's letter of despair to mentor Lee Strasberg, and Dwight D. Eisenhower's heartfelt missives to his wife during World War II are among hundreds of historical documents being offered in an online auction.

Monroe's handwritten, undated letter to the famed acting teacher is expected to fetch $30,000 to $50,000 in the May 30 sale.

"My will is weak but I can't stand anything. I sound crazy but I think I'm going crazy," Monroe wrote on Hotel Bel-Air letterhead stationery. "It's just that I get before a camera and my concentration and everything I'm trying to learn leaves me. Then I feel like I'm not existing in the human race at all."

The 58 Eisenhower letters, handwritten between 1942 and 1945, range from news of the war to the Allied commander's devotion to his wife, Mamie. They are believed to be among the largest group of Eisenhower letters to survive intact and could bring up to $120,000, said Joseph Maddalena, whose Profiles in History is auctioning the items.

They are among 250 letters and documents being sold by an anonymous American collector. Selected items will be exhibited April 8-16 at Douglas Elliman's Madison Avenue art gallery.

Also included is a typed, undated draft letter from John Lennon to Linda and Paul McCartney that reflects the deep animosity between the two Beatles around the time of the foursome's formal 1971 breakup. The two-page letter is unsigned and contains corrections. A photographic logo on the stationery shows Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono within a circle with their lips almost touching.

"Do you really think most of today's art came about because of the Beatles? I don't believe you're that insane — Paul — do you believe that? When you stop believing it you might wake up!" Lennon writes. It's expected to fetch $40,000 to $60,000.

Other highlights include two large photo albums that Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini exchanged prior to War World II.

"When Mussolini and Hitler visited each other before the war, they would each have their photographers document their trips," Maddalena said. "They really documented the regalia, the flags, the uniforms, tanks and all the pomp and circumstance, and them speaking and reviewing the troops."

The leather-bound albums, containing hundreds of images, have a pre-sale estimate of up to $50,000.

The sale is the second of several planned online auctions of the anonymous collector's artifacts. The entire collection contains 3,000 items.

The handwritten letter from Marilyn Monroe reportedly expresses suicidal thoughts to her mentor, Lee Strasberg.The letter is among a collection of historical documents to be sold at an online auction by Profiles in History.

The handwritten letter from Marilyn Monroe reportedly expresses suicidal thoughts to her mentor, Lee Strasberg.The letter is among a collection of historical documents to be sold at an online auction by Profiles in History.

AP

The handwritten letter from Marilyn Monroe reportedly expresses suicidal thoughts to her mentor, Lee Strasberg.The letter is among a collection of historical documents to be sold at an online auction by Profiles in History.


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Pope Francis makes first bishop appointment by choosing Buenos Aires successor

Written By kom nampuldu on Kamis, 28 Maret 2013 | 20.49

AP

Pope Francis blesses the faithful at the end of the Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican today.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has made his first bishop appointment, naming the bishop of Santa Rosa, Argentina as his successor as archbishop of Buenos Aires and the top churchman in Argentina.

Archbishop Mario Poli had been an auxiliary bishop in the Argentine capital in 2002-2008 while the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was archbishop.

The 66-year-old Poli, trained in social work, made news recently when he publicly dressed-down a priest who had posted a Facebook greeting on the birthday of former Argentine dictator Jorge Videla.

Argentine media say Poli is very much a priest in Francis' vein, less political and more pastoral.


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BlackBerry sold a million new phones internationally in fourth quarter

TORONTO — Research In Motion Ltd. said Thursday that it sold about 1 million of its critically important new BlackBerry 10 devices and returned to profitability in the most recent quarter.

The earnings provide a first glimpse of how RIM's new touch-screen Z10 is selling internationally and in Canada since its debut Jan. 31. Details on the U.S. launch are not part of the fiscal fourth quarter's financial results because the Z10 just went on sale in the U.S. last week.

In the quarter that ended March 2, RIM earned $98 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with a loss of $125 million, or 24 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 36 percent to $2.7 billion, from $4.2 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected $2.82 billion.

"I thought they were dead. This is a huge turnaround," Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said from New York.

Misek said the Canadian company "demolished" the numbers, especially its gross margins. RIM reported gross margins of 40 percent, up from 34 percent a year earlier. The company credited higher average selling prices and higher margins for devices.

"This is a really, really good result," Misek said. "It's off to a good start."

Chief executive Thorsten Heins said he implemented numerous changes at the company over the past year and those changes have resulted in RIM returning to profitability.

The company also announced that co-founder Mike Lazaridis will retire as vice chairman and director.


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Wells Fargo distances itself from 'Harlem Shake' video filmed in Atlanta bank

ATLANTA — Wells Fargo bank officials say a viral video filmed inside an Atlanta bank branch was not approved or produced by the company, and employees participated on their own time.

The video, one of many depicting the "Harlem Shake," features characters dancing in the lobby of a Wells Fargo branch. One wears a diaper and has a pacifier, and another is dressed in a beer can outfit. The video has nearly 150,000 views on YouTube.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the video by Atlanta actors Emmanuel and Phillip Hudson was filmed at a Lenox Road branch in the city's Buckhead area.

A spokesman for the Hudsons' management company, Archive Entertainment, said the video involved about a dozen people and took about an hour to make after the bank closed March 8.


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Bx. teen in foster care dies after fight

A Bronx teen girl in foster care died yesterday, but her death does not seem suspicious, police sources said.

Khailaysha Bunch, 17, was found unconscious after a fight with another person in foster care about 3 p.m. in her Castle Hill home on Effingham Avenue near Lacombe Avenue, sources said.

EMS rushed her to Jacobi Hospital, but she could not be revived.

Bunch had a pre-existing medical history, which may have led to her death, sources said.

The medical examiner will determine whether there is any criminality.


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Warrants released in Newtown school massacre investigation

Douglas Healey

The Connecticut home of gunman Adam Lanza.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The madman behind the Newtown school massacre and his mom had enough weapons and ammo in their suburban home to launch a small war, according to documents released today.

Among the items State Police seized in their search of killer Adam Lanza's home were a bolt-action Enfield .32 caliber rifle, a Savage .22 caliber rifle, a .22 caliber pistol and hundreds of rounds of ammunition for a variety of weapons.

Other items seized include three Samurai swords, a 6-foot, 10-inch spear and a deadly collection of large knives.

Reuters

Adam Lanza

Witness told cops that Lanza was an avid gamer who played "Call of Duty" among other games, had a gun safe containing at least four guns and had attended Sandy Hook Elemetary School, which the witness described as his "life."

A search of the home receipts and emails documenting the purchase of firearms and ammo, and books, including "Look me uin the Eyey - My Life with Asbergers [sic]," "Born on a Blue Day, Inside the Mind of an Autistic Savant," and "The NRA Guide to the Basics of pistol shooting."

Cops found journals and drawings made by Adam Lanza, as well as "three photographs with images of what appears to be a deceased human covered with plastic and what appears to be blood."

Other items found include a New York Times article from February 2008 about a school shooting at Northern Illinois University, and a holiday card containing a Bank of America check made out to Adam "for the purchase of a C183 (Firearm.)"

Also seized from his bedroom was "one military style uniform."

The documents also provide chilling details in matter-of-fact language of what first responders found when they entered the school.

"Numerous school children and school personnel were located deceased from apparent gunshot wounds in the first three classrooms located of the main hallway...Investigators also located a teenage white male dressed in military style clothing , wearing a bullet proof vest, lying deceased on the floor in the middle classroom. "

The Connecticut prosecutor leading the investigation said Lanza took his own life within five minutes of shooting his way into the building.

State's Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III says Lanza killed all the victims inside Sandy Hook Elementary School with a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle before taking his own life with a Glock 10 mm handgun. He says Lanza also had another loaded handgun with him inside the school as well as three, 30-round magazines for the Bushmaster.

A loaded 12-gauge shotgun was also found in the passenger compartment of the car Lanza drove to the school containing 70 shotgun rounds.

Families of the Sandy Hook shooting were briefed last night by Conn. state police on what was recovered from Lanza's home and car, the Connecticut Post reported.

The warrants had been sealed under an order that expired Wednesday, and prosecutors have made few details available, despite pressure to do so.

Newtown massacre search warrants

Gov. Daniel P. Malloy had expressed concern about leaked information appearing in the news, and state lawmakers have requested a more complete accounting of the case as they address gun control and other issues raised by the shooting.

A Danbury Superior Court judge on Wednesday granted a request by the prosecutor overseeing the investigation, State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, to withhold some details. Sedensky asked to redact the name of a witness, saying the person's safety might be jeopardized if the name were disclosed. He also asked that the release not include other information such as telephone numbers, serial numbers on items found and a few paragraphs of an affidavit.

Lanza shot his mother to death inside their Newtown home on Dec. 14 before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he massacred 20 first-graders and six educators. He killed himself as police arrived. Authorities have said it will take until June or later for the investigation to be completed.

It was reported previously that Lanza showed interest in other mass killings and authorities found literature on other massacres at his house.

Malloy announced last week that additional information would be released at his request. Malloy expressed concern that some information about the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook disclosed by a top state police commander at a recent law enforcement seminar in New Orleans was leaked.

"Like many others, I was disappointed and angered to learn that certain information about the Newtown shooting had been leaked, specifically with concern for the victims' families who may have been hearing this news for the first time," the governor said in a statement.

Newtown was in the news again this week after robocalls from the National Rifle Association urged residents to pressure their state legislators to vote against proposed stricter gun laws.

"It's ridiculous and insensitive," Newtown resident Dan O'Donnell fumed to a local television station.

"I can't believe an organization would be so focused on the rights of gun owners with no consideration for the losses this town suffered."

With AP

AP

Connecticut State Police lead a line of children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown after gunman Adam Lanza opened fire inside the school on Dec. 14.


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Brooklyn knows passing Knicks, Pacers an uphill battle

PORTLAND, Ore. — The red-hot Nets still are stuck in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, and are 2 1/2 games behind the Knicks and Pacers for second place.

Getting past one of those teams would allow the Nets to avoid the Heat — who easily swept the Nets in the three meetings between the two teams this season — until at least the Eastern Conference Finals.

But, to do so, the Nets, who pounded the Trail Blazers 111-93 last night, still need to make up three games in the loss column on the Knicks and two on the Pacers, who both won last night, with just 11 games remaining in the regular season.

"I mean, it's going to be tough," Deron Williams said. "It's going to be tough. Two-and-a-half games back early in the season isn't a big deal, but now with this amount of games left, you have to win a lot of games and then hope for some help.

"New York's not giving any help right now. It seems like every time we drop one, it seems like that's when they lose theirs, or win one."

Though the specter of having to face the streaking Heat, who had their 27-game winning streak snapped last night against the Bulls, is something everyone in the East wants to avoid as long as possible, but Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said it's going to happen at some point.

"You've got to play them," Carlesimo said. "They're not going to be more tired in the third round. The only reason to avoid them is to hope that somebody else is going to knock them off. There's two chances for somebody else to knock them off.

"But I think the reality, for most of us, is that it goes through Miami. If you're going to win the East, you're going to have to go through Miami."

* Last night's game at the Rose Garden brought back many fond memories for Carlesimo, because Portland gave him his first NBA head-coaching job after hiring him away from Seton Hall in 1994.

Carlesimo coached the Trail Blazers for three years, making the playoffs in all three, and remembered the day Portland played its first regular season game inside the arena on Nov. 3, 1995, a 92-80 loss to the Vancouver Grizzlies.

"Every person in the organization had a screwdriver and a wrench and we were bolting seats down," Carlesimo said. "I think we played at 7 in those days, and [we were working on it] at 6:10."

tbontemps@nypost.com


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Sports Shorts

HOOPS: Surgery today for World Peace

Lakers forward Metta World Peace, the team's best perimeter defender, is scheduled to have surgery today to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He'll miss a minimum of six weeks. Without him, the Lakers managed to slip past the Timberwolves, 120-117, and remain in eighth place by one game over the Jazz, who also won last night. Kobe Bryant had 31 points and seven assists.

Northwestern hired longtime Duke assistant Chris Collins to replace the fired Bill Carmody, hoping Collins finally can lead the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament and into the upper echelon of the Big Ten. The son of 76ers coach Doug Collins spent the past 13 years on Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils' staff

Connecticut has signed women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma to a five-year, $10.86 million contract to keep him at the school through the 2017-18 season.

Shaka Smart and VCU have agreed in principle to a deal to keep the coach at the school. The deal extends a contract already scheduled to run through 2020.

Tom Boerwinkle, the former Bulls center who had a franchise-record 37 rebounds in a 1970 game, has died after a lengthy illness. He was 67.

NFL: Raiders release veteran DT Kelly

The Raiders released defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, cutting ties with the longest-tenured player. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2004, he became a mainstay, signing a $50.1 million, seven-year contract in 2008.

The Cowboys have signed safety Will Allen and linebacker Justin Dur ant to free-agent contracts after restructuring the contract of backup quarterback Kyle Orton and releasing receiver Anthony Armstrong to clear enough salary-cap space.

The Ravens have agreed to a three-year deal with former Raiders safety Michael Huff. He played his entire seven-year career in Oakland and was released last week.

ETC.: U.S.-Mexico gets big rating

The scoreless tie between the United States and Mexico more than doubled the previous high viewership for a World Cup qualifier on an ESPN network.

The game Tuesday night was watched by 2.385 million people on ESPN. The company said the previous high was 1.191 million viewers for a 2009 U.S.-Mexico match.

The Flames have traded star Jarome Iginla to the Penguins, the team announced late last night. The 35-year-old Iginla, who was in his 16th season with the Flames, is in the final year of his contract.

The Cardinals have agreed with ace pitcher Adam Wainwright on a five-year contract extension worth $97.5 million, according to multiple reports.


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Despite eye problems, Evans leads Nets to an easy victory

PORTLAND, Ore. — Apparently, Reggie Evans doesn't need to be able to see to be effective.

Dealing with a virus that spread from one eye to the other and left him struggling to see out of both, Evans had the first 20/20 game of his career, finishing with a season-high 22 points — which also tied his career-high — to go along with a career-high 26 rebounds as the Nets rolled to an emphatic 111-93 win over the Trail Blazers last night in front of a sellout crowd of 20,127 inside the Rose Garden.

"If it was golf, it would be a problem," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said with a big smile afterward. "But a basketball is a pretty big ball. He can see the basketball. ... That's all he has to see.

BIG NIGHT: Reggie Evans, who scored 22 points and had 26 rebounds, shoots over LaMarcus Aldridge during the Nets' 111-93 win over the Trail Blazers last night.

Getty Images

BIG NIGHT: Reggie Evans, who scored 22 points and had 26 rebounds, shoots over LaMarcus Aldridge during the Nets' 111-93 win over the Trail Blazers last night.

"He's relentless. You see when he's not on the floor ... all of a sudden, it's an adventure. You get a little spoiled. You just assume, when he's on the floor and there's a miss, it's going to be a one-shot possession [for the opponent]."

The win moved the Nets (42-29) to 4-1 through five games of their eight-game, 17-day Circus Trip, and allowed them to keep remain 2 1/2 games behind the Knicks and Pacers in the battle for second and third place in the Eastern Conference.

"I thought they executed very well," Carlesimo said. "That's a very, very good win."

But Carlesimo, in his wildest dreams, couldn't have predicted the kind of offensive display he received from his starting power forward last night. Evans has forged a long career in the NBA, despite having a very limited offensive game, because of his ferocious rebounding ability.

That wasn't the case last night, however, as Evans — who was matched up against Blazers All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge — executed a variety of nifty moves in the post to get one high-percentage shot after another. His best move of the night, however, came against Blazers rookie center Meyers Leonard, who Evans managed to get to leap high into the air on a shot-fake, only to slip by him and flip the ball over the front of the rim and into the basket.

"I guess you could say I just had it going," Evans said with a smile after going 9-for-13 from the field. "I wish could have done better with my free throws (4-for-12), but whatever the defense gave me, I took it. Whether I hit my teammates diving or at the 3-point line, I just took whatever the defense gave me."

Evans did most of his damage in the first quarter, when he had nine points and 10 rebounds as the Nets put together one of their best quarters of the entire season. They shot 56 percent from the field (including 57 percent from 3-point range) in the first quarter, while outrebounding the Blazers 18-3 and outscoring them 16-0 on second-chance points.

From there, the Nets basically had the game on cruise control, maintaining a lead of more than 20 points for virtually the entire second and third quarters.

The Blazers managed to cut the deficit to as few as 14 points midway through the fourth quarter, thanks to a spirited push by their reserves, but Carlesimo put the starters back into the game and the lead quickly went back up to 20 points, officially putting it out of reach and sending the fans to the exits.

"When the starters came out, we gave up some points really quick and they got back into the game," said Deron Williams, who had six points and 10 assists. "But we pretty much dominated from start to finish."

Brook Lopez finished with a game-high 28 points to lead the Nets, who missing Joe Johnson for the second straight game. Johnson suffered a right quadriceps contusion in Saturday's loss to the Clippers when he ran into Blake Griffin, an injury that also held him out of Sunday's win in Phoenix and could potentially force him to miss the games tomorrow in Denver and Saturday in Utah.

But whether the Nets have Johnson or not, they will be hoping to build on the momentum they have created through the first five games of the Circus Trip — one that many predicted would define their season — as it finally begins to come to a close.

"It's a good start, but we've got to have a good ending," Williams said. "We've got two more games left [this week], we're ready to get home, but we've got to continue to focus and continue to play."

tbontemps@nypost.com


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'Blade Runner' appeals bail conditions, wants to race again to earn cash

PRETORIA, South Africa — Lawyers for Oscar Pistorius appealed against some of his bail restrictions Thursday, saying the Olympic athlete might eventually need to return to track competition to earn money.

Pistorius' lawyers say the double-amputee runner, who is charged with murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend on Feb. 14, is being treated as a flight risk by his bail restrictions even though a magistrate ruled last month that he was not when he released Pistorius on 1 million rand ($108,000) bail.

Lawyer Barry Roux said that Pistorius' current bail restrictions amounted to "house arrest." Prosecutors say they oppose any relaxing of Pistorius' bail restrictions.

Roux said that Pistorius has no desire to return to track now, but "this might and this will change." He said Pistorius should be allowed to travel for international meets under "controlled" circumstances, where he would require advanced permission from police and would have to give details of his travel schedule before he left South Africa.

Pistorius was not present in court Thursday.

Roux also argued against the ruling that Pistorius is not allowed to return to his home in a gated community in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria, where he shot Reeva Steenkamp dead in the early hours of Valentine's Day.

The bail ruling prevented him from returning to his home or speaking to residents, but his lawyers say he must be allowed to consult with residents in order to prepare his defense against the murder charge against him.

Pistorius says he killed Steenkamp accidentally when he fired shots through a door in his bathroom in the pre-dawn hour,s fearing there was an intruder in his house. Prosecutors say he shot the model and reality TV star intentionally after they argued, and they have charged him with premeditated murder.

Pistorius was not required to attend his appeal hearing and there were also none of his family members present at North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The judge said he would rule on Pistorius' appeal later Thursday.

Pistorius' bail appeal was being heard by the judge at the high court a day after the athlete's older brother, Carl Pistorius, went on trial for culpable homicide for the death of a woman motorcyclist in a 2008 road accident. Carl Pistorius pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the main charge of culpable homicide and not guilty to two alternative charges relating to driving recklessly and inconsiderately.


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Nelson Mandela back in hospital with lung infection

JOHANNESBURG — Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa's first black president, has been admitted to a hospital with a recurring lung infection, South Africa said Thursday.

Mandela, 94, has become increasingly frail in recent years and has been hospitalized several times since last year, most recently earlier this month when he underwent what a presidential spokesman described as a "successful" medical test. The Nobel laureate is a revered figure in South Africa, which has honored his legacy of reconciliation by naming buildings and other places after him and printing his image on national banknotes.

"I'm so sorry. I'm sad," said Obed Mokwana, a Johannesburg resident. "I just try to pray all the time. He must come very strong again."

The Nobel laureate was admitted to a hospital just before midnight Wednesday "due to the recurrence of his lung infection," the office of President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

"Doctors are attending to him, ensuring that he has the best possible expert medical treatment and comfort," the statement said. It appealed "for understanding and privacy in order to allow space to the doctors to do their work."

It did not identify the hospital. In December, Mandela spent three weeks in a hospital in the South African capital of Pretoria, where he was treated for a lung infection and had a procedure to remove gallstones.

Zuma wished Mandela a speedy recovery, referring to him affectionately by his clan name, "Madiba."

"We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved Madiba and his family and to keep them in their thoughts. We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery," the presidential statement quoted Zuma as saying.

Mandela spent a night in a hospital and was released on March 10 following a medical test. At that time, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Mandela was "well."

In February 2012, Mandela spent a night in a hospital for minor diagnostic surgery to determine the cause of an abdominal complaint. In January 2011, he was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for what officials initially described as tests but what turned out to be an acute respiratory infection. He was discharged days later.

He also had surgery for an enlarged prostate gland in 1985.

Under South Africa's white-minority apartheid regime, Mandela served 27 years in prison, where he contracted tuberculosis, before being released in 1990. He later became the nation's first democratically elected president in 1994 under the banner of the African National Congress, helping to negotiate a relatively peaceful end to apartheid despite fears of much greater bloodshed. He served one five-year term as president before retiring.

Perceived successes during Mandela's tenure include the introduction of a constitution with robust protections for individual rights and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a panel that heard testimony about apartheid-era violations of human rights as a kind of national therapy session. South Africa still struggles with crime, economic inequality and other social ills.

Mandela last made a public appearance on a major stage when South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.

He had spent more time in the rural village of Qunu in Eastern Cape province, where he grew up. He was visited there in August by Hillary Clinton, who was U.S. secretary of state at the time.

Doctors said in December that he should remain at his home in the Johannesburg neighborhood of Houghton for the time being to be close to medical facilities that can provide the care he needs.


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Parts of Berlin Wall removed to make way for luxury apartment complex

Written By kom nampuldu on Rabu, 27 Maret 2013 | 20.49

BERLIN — Work crews backed by about 250 police removed parts of the Berlin Wall known as the East Side Gallery before dawn Wednesday to make way for an upscale building project, despite demands by protesters that the site be preserved.

Residents of the area expressed shock at the move, which followed several protests including one attended by American celebrity David Hasselhof.

Police spokesman Alexander Toennies said there were no incidents as work began about 5 a.m. to remove four sections of the wall, each about 1.5 yards wide. That will make way for an access route to the planned high-rise luxury apartments along the nearby Spree River.

Getty Images

Policemen stand guard next to a section of the Berlin Wall that has been removed to make way for a luxury apartment complex.

The East Side Gallery is the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall. Construction workers removed a first piece earlier this month as part of a plan to make a road to a new luxury apartment complex . The public outcry brought a halt while local politicians and the investor said they were looking for a solution to keep the rest of the wall untouched.

The investor, Maik Uwe Hinkel, decided to remove four more 1.5-yard wide parts of the wall, according to Toennies.

"The constructor had the right to do this and he informed us a few days ago about his plans. Last night we were told that he wanted to remove the wall pieces early this morning," Toennies said.

Plans to remove part of the 1.3-kilometer stretch of wall sparked protests whose main message was that developers were sacrificing history for profit.

At least 136 people died trying to scale the wall that divided communist-run East Berlin from West Berlin. Over the years, the stretch has become a tourist attraction with colorful paintings decorating the old concrete tiles.

"I can't believe they came here in the dark in such a sneaky manner," said Kani Alavi, the head of the East Side Gallery's artists' group. "All they see is their money, they have no understanding for the historic relevance and art of this place."

By mid-morning the six-yard gap was covered by a wooden fence and protected by scores of police. Passers-by and a handful of protesters stared in disbelief.

"If you take these parts of the Wall away, you take away the soul of the city," said Ivan McClostney, 32, who moved here a year ago from Ireland. "This way, you make it like every other city. It's so sad."

In an emailed statement, Hinkel said the removal of parts of the wall was a temporary move to enable trucks to access the building site. He said after four weeks of fruitless negotiations with city officials and owners of adjacent property he was no longer willing to wait.

The East Side Gallery was recently restored at a cost of more than 2 million euros ($3 million) to the city. The wall section stood on the eastern side of the elaborate border strip built by communist East Germany after it sealed off West Berlin in 1961. At least 136 people died trying to scale the wall until it was opened on Nov. 9, 1989.

The stretch of wall was transformed into an open-air gallery months after the opening and is now covered in colorful murals painted by about 120 artists. They include the famous image of boxy East German Trabant car that appears to burst through the wall; and a fraternal communist kiss between Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East German boss Erich Honecker.


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‘Game of Thrones’ actor’s ear bitten off in brutal attack

"Games of Thrones" actor Clive Mantle was brutally attacked and had the top part of his right ear bitten off during a dispute at a Newcastle, England hotel.

A spokesman for Mantle's agency told the BBC that he believes that the six-foot, five-inch actor was pinned on the floor and attacked after asking other guests at the Newcastle Travelodge to keep the noise down.

"He is very shaken and shocked by what has happened, you don't expect this kind of thing to happen in a hotel," the spokesman said. He adds that surgeons at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary have sewn the 55-year-old English actor's ear back on.

HBO

Clive Mantle is best known for his role as Lord Greatjon Umber on the first season of 'Game of Thrones'

Mantle's agent Bryn Newton added to the UK Mirror, "Right now he wants to get his ear back to normal. He's got to have about three operations on it. It's a dreadful thing. The ear will have to be rebuilt to save it."

"He's gutted about not being able to go back on stage, he's gutted it happened at all. It's just a rotten, upsetting thing."

Recalling the incident, Newton told the publication, "On the first occasion, he'd said 'can you keep the noise down please?' He was very polite. It was 4:30 in the morning and he was very tired. He returned to bed but when he went back outside there were two drunken Scotsmen.

"He said to them 'If you don't keep the noise down I am going to call security.' That's when they set about him. Even though he is a big guy they got him on the ground.

"One of them bit the top part of his right ear off. It was savage. Fortunately, someone heard the commotion down the corridor and came out to help him and called hotel management."

Mantle is best known for his role as Lord Greatjon Umber on the first season of the HBO series.

A 32-year-old man has been charged with wounding with intent and is set to appear in a UK court next month. Two other men were reportedly involved the attack. One has been released on bail, while the other was not charged.

A police investigation is currently under way.


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California city becomes first in country to use 'smart meters' on homes as channels for free citywide Wi-Fi

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The city of Santa Clara flipped on a big Internet switch this week, becoming what it says is the first in the country to use wireless, digital "smart meters" on homes as channels for free citywide outdoor Wi-Fi.

"This is just one of the major benefits our community will enjoy as a result of our advanced metering technology," said John Roukema, director of Silicon Valley Power, the community's utility provider. "Now our residents, visitors and local workforce can get Internet access while waiting for a train, shopping downtown, getting their car washed or relaxing in their yard."

Like cities around the US, Santa Clara's electric meters are being systematically replaced, house by house, with high tech ones, eliminating the need for meter readers to manually check each one every month but raising concerns about health effects, privacy and cost.

The new meters send electricity and water usage reports via wireless network, but in Santa Clara, a city of 118,000 in the heart of the Silicon Valley, they also have an unusual separate channel that provides free, outdoor Internet.

Sascha Meinrath, director of the Washington, DC-based Open Technology Institute, said using meters as Internet channels is a "a real Faustian bargain," a smart use of technology that will require "privacy protections that are second to none."

"If they do privacy right, residents have nothing to do but rejoice," he said. "If they don't, you could see some serious malfeasance down the road."

Many communities already have pockets of limited free Wi-Fi, but until now those services are mostly either centered around public hotspots like parks, hospitals or libraries or offered by major tech firms like Google, which provides Wi-Fi throughout its headquarters city of Mountain View.

Google also recently rolled out New York City's biggest contiguous free public Wi-Fi in the Chelsea neighborhood, where the company has a campus.

"Being online is no longer the luxury that we once considered it to be. It's essential. Society at large requires an internet connection," said Zach Leverenz, CEO of Connect2Compete, a national organization which joined with the FCC last week to roll out a nationwide initiative called "Everyone On." Their goal is to provide free digital literacy training, affordable Internet service and low-cost computers to the 100 million people nationwide who do not currently have Internet access at home.

"The costs of digital exclusion — of not having access to Internet at home — are rising every day," said outgoing FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, an advocate of free Wi-Fi as he launched the "Everyone On" campaign. "Offline Americans are missing out on opportunities in education, health care, and employment."


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