Iran test fires missiles in riposte to U.S., Israel

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran has test fired nine missiles in response to what it says are threats from Israel and the United States, according to state-run Iranian media and a U.S. military source.
The new version of the Shahab-3 missile is capable of reaching its main regional enemy Israel, Iran says.

The new version of the Shahab-3 missile is capable of reaching its main regional enemy Israel, Iran says.

The Islamic Republic News Agency and Press TV reported that the naval forces of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Wednesday test-fired a Shahab-3 missile during war games in the Persian Gulf.

The exercise comes a month after Israel conducted a military drill in the eastern Mediterranean involving dozens of warplanes, and the latest Iranian activities prompted concern from Israel and condemnation from the United States.

Iran occasionally tests missiles, but this firing comes amid international tensions over its nuclear aspirations.

"The war game was aimed at improving the combat readiness of Iran's armed forces. The 2,000-kilometers-range Shahab-3 missiles were tested to demonstrate Iran's capability in hitting its enemies accurately at the early stages of their probable attacks against the Islamic Republic.

Terry stays as club captain

John TerryNew Chelsea manager Luiz

New Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has confirmed that John Terry will remain as the London club's captain.

Terry has been the Blues' permanent captain for the past four years after being given the armband when Jose Mourinho took charge.

During his time as skipper, Terry has led Chelsea to two Premier League titles, a UEFA Champions League final and successes in both the FA Cup and Carling Cup.

Scolari will retain the centre-half as his skipper for next season, with Terry's England team-mate Frank Lampard as his understudy.

"I like him as a captain," said Scolari of Terry live on Sky Sports News. "I like him as a player and as a leader.

"Yesterday, he came to my room and he said I'm the captain John Terry and I said I know you and we spoke!

"The captain is John Terry and the second captain is Lampard, but we want more captains on the pitch."

Regarding potential arrivals at Stamford Bridge before the close of the transfer window, Scolari is keen to assess the players currently at his disposal.

He added: "I don't know now how many changes I need because I need to train and I need to know the players because when you are on the outside, you have one idea, but when you are inside this group, you need to know the group, you need to know the characteristics and quality.

"After this, it's possible to say how many changes I want or we need, or we do not need."

Iranian shelling reported in northern Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iranian artillery shells rained down on villages in northern Iraq Wednesday where Kurdish rebels were thought to be operating.

A security official with Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government in Sulaimaniya confirmed the information.

The early-morning shelling hit border villages in Qandil mountains area in Sulaimaniya province and there were no reports of casualties.

Authorities say the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan is based in the region.

Reid to be new Thai coach

Peter Reid to tie up deal with Thais.Former Sunderland and Leeds United manager Peter Reid will be unveiled as the new coach of Thailand at the end of July.

The Bangkok Post reported on Tuesday that Reid and ex-Canada coach Holger Osieck were the front-runners to replace Chanvit Phalajivin, who resigned last month after failing to lead Thailand to the final round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup.

But after Osieck, who led Urawa Reds to victory in the Asian Champions League last season, decided against returning to Asia, Football Association of Thailand president Worawi Makudi announced the coup late on Tuesday.

"I had a chance to consult Sir David Richards, the chairman of the FA Premier League, on our search for a new national coach during my overseas trip. He recommended Reid as a suitable choice, given his vast experience," Worawi is quoted in The Nation.

"Then, I held talks with Reid about the possibility we could work together. He didn't take much time to consider our offer because of his affection for our country."

Reid, who led Sunderland to promotion twice during a seven-year spell, has not held a manager's position since leaving Coventry in January 2005.

Worawi revealed 52-year-old Reid would be officially unveiled at the end of July and would sign a four-year deal.

Reid will be tasked with preparing Thailand, who are currently ranked 111th by FIFA, for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and will be assisted by a local Thai management team.

Benitez sorry to see Crouch go

Peter Crouch is moving to Pompey.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez says he wanted to keep Peter Crouch as the striker moves closer to a move to Portsmouth.

Crouch has completed a medical at Fratton Park and the finer points of his £11million move back to the south coast are almost complete with Pompey likely to formally confirm the move on Thursday.

But Benitez has pre-emptied Crouch's final departure from Merseyside by saying: "He is a good professional and a nice person, and we would have wanted him to stay. We offered him a new contract."

He added: "But sometimes you have to understand the player. He wanted to play a lot more, and with Fernando Torres now first choice, that was always going to be difficult.

"I can understand Peter's situation. But he did very well for this club and we always supported him when people doubted the decision to bring him to Anfield."

Benitez made it clear that he will now try to sign a replacement striker, and refused to rule out a possible move for Spanish star David Villa.

He said: "We have Torres, Andriy Voronin, Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel and Steven Gerrard, who can play as a second striker.

"But we will try to bring in another option. Villa is a player we know all about and he is on our list. But maybe it will be difficult."

Benitez now hopes to complete the drawn-out saga of Gareth Barry's move from Aston Villa, which the club still hope to have sealed by the weekend.

Whether that will be in time for Liverpool's first pre-season friendly at Tranmere on Saturday is debatable. But Benitez would wish to have the midfielder on board for the training camp in Switzerland which starts on Sunday and includes three matches before a return to the UK ahead of the trip to play Rangers in Glasgow on July 26.

Riise: I made the right move

Riise: I made the right moveJohn Arne Riise is convinced he made the right decision to leave Liverpool and join the Giallorossi.

Following seven predominantly fruitful seasons with the Reds, the Norwegian, who has 71 caps, left Merseyside to embark on a new challenge in the Eternal City with Roma last month.

However, it was widely regarded that Riise’s Liverpool career was starting to grow stale after indifferent displays, in particular his own-goal gaffe against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals which ultimately cost his side a place in the final.

"Roma are the right choice," Riise told La Roma.

"I need a new adventure, a new challenge on a professional level and a lifestyle change."

"I have been well received, just like in a real family. (Coach Luciano) Spalletti is a man who loves his job, asks for 100 per cent from his players, and he knows how to obtain this."

Riise also told Roma fans what they can expect from him on the field next season.

"I'm someone who likes to run a great deal, make tackles and work for the team," he concluded.

By Mohd Sham (

Robinho ready to buy out contract?

Robinho: Ready to buy out?Robinho is ready to break away from his contract under the Webster ruling and leave his club with a token US$16 million sum.

Despite being tied to the club for another two years, the Brazilian starlet, who moved to Real from Santos in 2005, is said to be unhappy and disillusioned ever since the Los Merengues viewed him as a pawn in a player-plus-clash deal for Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo.

With Chelsea and new boss Luiz Felipe Scolari now looking to snag him to London, Robinho might take advantage of the Webster ruling and break away from Real’s books.

His apparent decision stems from Article 17 of FIFA's transfer regulations, which stipulates that any player who signs a deal when aged below 28 is able to unilaterally break that contract after just three years.

Spanish paper Marca believe that Robinho’s potential buying out decision could leave Real with a paltry US$16 million compensation, a stark reality to the estimated US$80 million Robinho is priced at by Real.

His choice to buy out his contract would follow in the footsteps of FC Porto midfielder Paulo Assunção, who decided to break his contract with the Portuguese Champions and he is now on the verge of completing a move to Atletico Madrid.

By Mohd Sham (

YouTube ordered to reveal its viewers

NEW YORK (AP) -- Dismissing privacy concerns, a federal judge overseeing a $1 billion copyright-infringement lawsuit against YouTube has ordered the popular online video-sharing service to disclose who watches which video clips and when.
A judge ordered YouTube to produce data on which of its videos get viewed most often and by whom.

A judge ordered YouTube to produce data on which of its videos get viewed most often and by whom.

U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton authorized full access to the YouTube logs after Viacom Inc. and other copyright holders argued that they needed the data to show whether their copyright-protected videos are more heavily watched than amateur clips.

The data would not be publicly released but disclosed only to the plaintiffs, and it would include less specific identifiers than a user's real name or e-mail address.

Lawyers for Google Inc., which owns YouTube, said producing 12 terabytes of data -- equivalent to the text of roughly 12 million books -- would be expensive, time-consuming and a threat to users' privacy.

The database includes information on when each video gets played, which can be used to determine how often a clip is viewed. Attached to each entry is each viewer's unique login ID and the Internet Protocol, or IP, address for that viewer's computer.

Stanton ruled this week that the plaintiffs had a legitimate need for the information and that the privacy concerns are speculative.

Stanton rejected a request from the plaintiffs for Google to disclose the source code -- the technical secret sauce -- powering its market-leading search engine, saying there's no evidence Google manipulated its search algorithms to treat copyright-infringing videos differently.

Chelsea step up for Eto'o

Florent Malouda could move to Barca.Chelsea are ready to dispense with Florent Malouda and US$44 million in order to land Barcelona's Samuel Eto’o.

The Cameroonian front man who boasts the best minutes: goal ratio of all La Liga front men last season, has been deemed to be surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp and is seeking a move elsewhere.

Despite being available for a move, it was reported that the deadly striker’s wage demands were putting off interest from clubs but according to The Sun, West London outfit Chelsea are now ready to reignite their interest in Eto’o.

The paper claims that Chelsea are aiming to draft in a replacement for the departing Didier Drogba and are ready to use out-of-favour winger Florent Malouda as a sweetener along with a staggering US$44 million to prise the Barca striker.

Barcelona’s technical secretary Txiki Begiristain is said to be an admirer of Malouda but the possible move of Russian Andrei Arshavin to the Nou Camp could disrupt Malouda’s arrival.

By Mohd Sham (

Galliani won't break bank for Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho could join Milan on loan.AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani insists the Rossoneri will not pay over the odds for Barcelona playmaker Ronaldinho.

After a disappointing and injury-hit season, Ronaldinho has been told by Barca that he is not part of their plans as they make wholesale changes after two trophy-less campaigns.

There has been no shortage of interest for the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year and, while Galliani claims that Milan are leading the pack, he insists a deal for the Brazilian will only be completed if the price is right.

"It seems to me that Ronaldinho has placed Milan at the top of his desires, even if Chelsea has a lot of appeal," he said.

"We have to see how much the final cost will be, the transfer and then his signing-on fee. But I don't promise anything to the fans.

"In any case in attack we already have (Marco) Borriello, (Filippo) Inzaghi, Kaka, (Alexandre) Pato and not only those, so if we can get someone else then good, if not we'll stay how we are. We're already competitive.

"I'm not happy not making big signings, I'm a fan too, but a big transfer will only be done if there's the right conditions.

"Players who cost, between wages and other things, 20 million euros (US$31 million) a year, aren't compatible with Italian clubs' bank balances."

Galliani's comments come a day after Manchester City's executive chairman Garry Cook claimed the Premier League club had a "50-50" chance of signing Ronaldinho.

Galliani has also poured cold water on the idea that former Milan star Andriy Shevchenko would be leaving Chelsea for a return to the San Siro.

"If Sheva comes to Italy, he comes to us," he continued. "He was one of our targets but we have been told that he is not for sale."

The club's supporters have been angered by Milan's lack of movement in the transfer market, especially after what they perceive to be a poor season for the Serie A giants.

The Rossoneri finished fifth last campaign, missing out on a Champions League place, and the fans have laid the blame for their miserable year squarely at the door of club owner Silvio Berlusconi.

An online petition has been set up demanding that the Italy prime minister sells up and has over 1,700 signatories but Galliani has slammed the fans' actions.

"Everyone thinks a lot about the fans and not at the problems which club owners have with the Italian tax authorities," he added.

"I find this protest by the Milan fans a bit bizarre, Berlusconi is the one who has won the most in Italy and in Europe.

"And even this year he will make a huge sacrifice because Milan have kept onto all of their stars even though we are in the UEFA Cup.

Report: Portuguese police close McCann case

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Portuguese police are dropping their investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann due to a lack of evidence, media reported Tuesday.
A faded photograph of Madeleine McCann on a church notice board near where she disappeared.

A faded photograph of Madeleine McCann on a church notice board near where she disappeared.Two Portuguese newspapers said the Public Prosecutor's office intended to call off their search for the British girl before July 14, when the customary official secrecy period covering the investigation ends.Police could reopen the case if new evidence emerged, the papers said.

The papers -- Correio da Manha and Jornal de Noticias -- cited unidentified police sources.

Officials could not immediately be reached for comment before office hours Tuesday.

Madeleine McCann went missing in Portugal's southern Algarve region during a family vacation in May last year, a few days before her fourth birthday. Detectives named her parents, Kate and Gerry, and local man Robert Murat as formal suspects in the case. All denied involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.

The McCanns, who launched an international campaign to find their daughter, returned home to central England with Madeleine's younger twin sister and brother last September, a few days after they were named as suspects.

Clarence Mitchell, the parents' spokesman, told Sky News they were trying to confirm the reports but said he expected the search for Madeleine to continue.

"The police, if they are to shelve this without any charges, ... then we would hope, surely it's only common sense, they would continue to search for a missing child," he said.

He said private investigators for the McCanns were continuing to sift material and wanted access to the police files, and lawyers would discuss that possibility with Portuguese authorities.

He added: "Kate and Gerry will never give up the search for their daughter."

The case has drawn global interest. A few weeks after Madeleine vanished Pope Benedict XVI blessed the McCanns and a photo of their daughter during his weekly general audience at the Vatican.

Almeria move for Solari

Esteban Solari

Almeria have completed the signing of Esteban Solari from Mexican side Pumas, the Primera Liga club have announced.

The 28-year-old forward, who has previously played in Europe with Italian side Chioggia and Belgians Lierse, will join the Spaniards on a four-year contract.

A statement on the club website,, read: "UD Almeria has completed the deal to acquire the services of Argentinian forward Esteban Andres Solari for the next four seasons.

"Solari is a tall forward - he is 6ft 3in - with experience, pace and who opens up spaces perfectly in the opposition area.

"Last season he was the top scorer in the Mexican league with 25 goals for Pumas."

Upon completing the deal, Solari told the Almeria website that is was a dream come true for him to play in the Spanish top flight.

He said: "For me it is a big challenge to play in such a major competition as the Spanish league, but I face that challenge with responsibility.

"It's a dream to come to Span and I hope to live up to the confidence the club has shown in me."

Esteban is the younger brother of Internazionale player Santiago Solari, who played in Spain with both Atletico and Real Madrid.

Recreating the sound of Aztec 'Whistles of Death'

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- Scientists were fascinated by the ghostly find: a human skeleton buried in an Aztec temple with a clay, skull-shaped whistle in each bony hand.
Roberto Velazquez has devoted his career to recreating the forgotten sounds of his distant ancestors.

Roberto Velazquez has devoted his career to recreating the forgotten sounds of his distant ancestors.

But no one blew into the noisemakers for nearly 15 years. When someone finally did, the shrill, windy screech made the spine tingle.

If death had a sound, this was it.

Roberto Velazquez believes the Aztecs played this mournful wail from the so-called Whistles of Death before they were sacrificed to the gods.

The 66-year-old mechanical engineer has devoted his career to recreating the sounds of his pre-Columbian ancestors, producing hundreds of replicas of whistles, flutes and wind instruments unearthed in Mexico's ruins.

For years, many archaeologists who uncovered ancient noisemakers dismissed them as toys. Museums relegated them to warehouses. But while most studies and exhibits of ancient cultures focus on how they looked, Velazquez said the noisemakers provide a rare glimpse into how they sounded.

Chelsea confirm Deco deal

Deco heads to Stamford Bridge.English side Chelsea have confirmed they have signed Portugal midfielder Deco from Spanish giants Barcelona.

The talented playmaker had recently been told by the Catalan club he did not feature in their future plans and had been linked with a move to the Blues regularly in recent years.

And Chelsea tonight confirmed the 30-year-old has agreed the move to Stamford Bridge, becoming the club's first signing since Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was appointed manager.

The west Londoners announced the news this evening and are expected to confirm they have paid US$15.8million (£8million) to sign the two-time Champions League winner on a two-year deal.

The Brazil-born player's exit from the Nou Camp proved to be protracted due to the Catalans' valuation of around £11million for the player despite his age.

That price seemed to have deterred Inter Milan - who were also apparently interested - but Chelsea have managed to negotiate the price down.

Jose Mourinho, who coached him during their time at Porto, was linked with the diminutive schemer on numerous occasions during his Stamford Bridge tenure and was reportedly interested in signing him after taking over at Inter recently.

Deco's arrival is Chelsea's second signing of the summer after international team-mate Jose Bosingwa.

Comment: Ronaldo out, who comes in?

Who will be the new No.7 to rule the Theatre of Dreams when CR7 decides to finally make his 'dream' move to Real Madrid?

Assuming the charming and charismatic Portuguese flyer finally shuttles off to the Bernabau. Who will Sir Alex Ferguson bring in to replace the boy who he groomed into a superstar?'s Kelvin Leong gives his two cents worth advice to one of the greatest managers in the modern game. So listen up Fergie!

Lionel Messi - Barcelona & Argentina

Age: 21-years-old

With the whole mess over at Nou Camp with Pep Guardiola taking over the reigns from Frank Rijkaard and the constant bickering between board members, I reckon most players are unsettled and nervy over at the Catalan club.

A whole list of big names like Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Deco are all either on their way out or have left already. One name never brought up is that of Lionel Messi.

Blessed with lightning quick speed and a low center of gravity, Messi's style of play is similar to Ronaldo and he too likes to switch from left to right and drift just behind the chief striker.

One has to wonder if Messi is irritated by the negative vibes going around the place and he did fire a warning shot last week when he said he wanted Ronaldinho to stay.

If Ronaldinho does finally make that protracted move to AC Milan, the coffers at Old Trafford should swiftly test the waters by stating their interest in Messi to the media and see how he reacts. If he wants a move, I don't think there is a bigger and better club to fit his style than the Red Devils.

Diego Capel - Sevilla & Spain U21

Age: 20-years-old

Breaking into the first team after the unfortunate death of his teammate Antonio Puerta at Sevilla gave Diego Capel added pressure to deliver. 38 appearances and a three goal return in his first season isn't a bad achievement is it?

Mind you, he was thrown into the first team without warning.

Sevilla's former coach, Juande Ramos, had to throw Capel into the deep end of the water to replace the deceased Puerta but now we all know why Ramos was so calm and collected about not going out to purchase a more experienced replacement.

He knew he had a gem in the wings waiting to be unleashed like a hungry beast searching for food. Looking a little plump and heavy akin to another former United favourite, Andrei Kanchelskies, his main strength is the ability to have the ball glued to his feet. Never one to go for the normal pass, Capel just loves taking on a string of defenders and leaving them to rot as he glides past them like a hot knife through butter.

The beast has been much talked about as the season progressed and it will not be long before he makes himself a legend somewhere.

Will he be United's next legend in the making?

Lucho Gonzalez - FC Porto & Argentina

Age: 27-years-old

One thing Lucho has over my other nominees is experience. At 27 years of age, he has played at the highest level on a club and international level.

Not the fastest of dribblers, his languid style of dictating play from midfield will mean Ferguson can switch all four midfielders around without compromising quality of play. Interchanging positions is one of the biggest assets of the United formation and Lucho will fit in immediately.

Packing a thunderous shot on the run and an excellent free-kick taker, he will be another option in the all-encompassing attacking armoury in Fergie's red brigade.

With fellow compatriot Carlos ‘The Apache' Tevez already enjoying cult status down at Old Trafford, he'll not be too worried about settling in with the gang and getting into the groove. Just don't hang around Anderson and Nani who seem to have majors problems keeping their hands off the many women hovering around them.

David Silva - Valencia & Spain

Age: 22-years-old

Xavi might have won Player of the Tournament at Euro 2008 but for me, the one player who stood out amongst the magnificent Spanish side was the smallest player on the team. David Silva.

When Silva first broke onto the Valencia first team, everyone compared him to Mestella's prodigal son, Pablo Aimar. Both players have a knack of weaving through traffic with the ball stuck to their small feet and at the end of the run, deliver that killer cross or needle-eyed pass for their forwards to finish the job. Silva even had the guts to take over Aimar's classic No.21 jersey when the Argentina was booted out of the club. Shows you what the boy is made of.

A lot of talk on the backpages of the papers in the past month were about Chelsea wanting to add the diminutive winger to their ranks to provide that much needed creative spark. The Glazers will need to move in fast before he ends up with one of their much hated arch rivals. Maybe even down the road at Thaksin's tom yum City!

A different style to Ronaldo's wizadry but will prove to be just as exciting for fans and elusive for markers. Sounds like batman!

So yes, I reckon any one of these four footballing wizards will lessen the pain and anguish felt by United fans when their superstar decides to seek a divorce from the club that gave him everything he has today.

Pakistani soldiers uncover Taliban 'kidnap jail'

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani paramilitary troops have destroyed several Taliban outposts and uncovered a jail where they kept kidnap victims, the interior ministry says.
Pakistani soldiers on patrol in the Kyber tribal district, where the government has launched an offensive.

Pakistani soldiers on patrol in the Kyber tribal district, where the government has launched an offensive.

The offensive against Taliban in Pakistan's tribal region entered its third day Monday and was almost complete, the ministry said.

Acting Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the Taliban kept kidnap victims in the "jail" while waiting for ransom payments.

The operation, launched Saturday, is the biggest push against extremists in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region since the country's civilian government took power in March.

It is taking place in the Khyber section of the tribal region -- located west of Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). And it comes as the new administration announced it would get tough with radicals in the region.
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* Pakistan launches Taliban offensive
* Pentagon: Taliban 'resilient' in Afghanistan

On Monday, a blast in the Khyber section destroyed a militant compound and killed several people. Malik said it was not a result of the security operation.

The blast may have been accidental or set off by militants as they fled the area, he said. It occurred at a weapons depot belonging to local militant leader Mullah Namdar, who is suspected of carrying out cross-border attacks inside Afghanistan.

Once the operation ends in the Khyber section, the government will target another area, Malik said. He did not disclose its location.

Schweinsteiger wants BPL move

Bayern Munich and German Euro 2008 star Bastian Schweinsteiger says he is drawn to the prospect of English football.

By Nick Horsburgh

Speaking before Germany's 1-0 loss to Spain in the Euro 2008 final, the 23-year-old winger admitted that it has been a personal dream to play in England.

"England does have a good appeal," said Schweinsteiger.

"It is now one of the world's best leagues and I heard all about it from Michael, Jens Lehmann and Thomas Hitzlsperger who have all played there.

"I have always wanted to play in England so we will see if it happens this year."

Bayern have already slapped an imposing 32 million U.S. dollar price to buy-out the player from his contract with the club, a matter which could discourage some teams from making a move.

However, Bayern are known for spotting chances to make a good profit and if a club approaches the German champions with a large enough deal, Schweinsteiger could see his English dreams realised.

Torres: Football was the winner

Fernando Torres was in dreamland after a stunning final performance by the Liverpool striker saw Spain claim the European Championships crown.

The 24-year-old tormented Germany and scored the only goal in Spain's 1-0 triumph in the Ernst-Happel Stadium in Vienna.

Torres, voted man of the match by UEFA, said: "This is good not just for Spain but for football, because the best team won and that is not always the case."

He added: "It has been a fantastic season for me - it was fantastic with Liverpool and now a fantastic end of the season for the national team.

"This is the first big trophy for me and I hope not the last.

"We are privileged to be in the national team and we have had a chance to live through a beautiful tournament.

"We are proud to see so many people enjoying it, and now we have the peace of mind that we have achieved what we set out to do."

Spain have often been viewed in the past as having suffered from divisions within the team, and Torres paid tribute to the togetherness of this squad who won the country's first major tournament since 1964.

Torres added: "I am happy because my job is to score goals and I have done my job tonight but this was a victory for the unity of the group - it doesn't often happen that a group gets along so well."

Xavi top Euro 2008 star

Spain midfielder Xavi has been named the best player at Euro 2008.He was voted the Castrol player of the tournament.

The 28-year-old Barcelona player was the heartbeat of Spain's midfield during the tournament.

There was no place for Cristiano Ronaldo in the 23-man squad of the tournament however.

The squad did include Manchester United's keeper Edwin van der Sar, Michael Ballack and Jose Bosingwa from Chelsea, Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas, Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, and Tottenham-bound midfielder Luka Modric.

UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh explained Ronaldo's absence was due to the fact Portugal did not progress further in the tournament.

Roxburgh said: This is entirely about the tournament and not about reputations or how well you started.

"Of course he was mentioned - and if Portugal had gone further, there's no argument he has been in this group because he's a fantastic player.

"He was in our Champions League all-star squad for the season, and the beginning of the tournament he threatened he was going to be in this one.

"But then it came abruptly to an end. When it comes to a squad of the tournament, those that go to semis and final dominate things like this."

UEFA's squad of the tournament: Goalkeepers: Buffon (Italy), Casillas (Spain), Van der Sar (Holland).

Defenders: Bosingwa (Portugal), Lahm (Germany), Marchena (Spain), Pepe (Portugal), Puyol (Spain), Zhirkov (Russia).

Midfielders: Hamit Altintop (Turkey), Modric (Croatia), Senna (Spain), Xavi (Spain), Zyryanov (Russia), Ballack (Germany), Fabregas (Spain), Iniesta (Spain), Podolski (Germany), Sneijder (Holland).

Striker: Arshavin (Russia), Pavlyuchenko (Russia), Torres (Spain), Villa (Spain).

Bill Clinton to meet with Obama, campaign official says

(CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton are expected to meet in the next few days, according to the chairman of Sen. Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful presidential bid.
Bill and Hillary Clinton greet supporters in New York on June 3, the day of the final primaries.

Bill and Hillary Clinton greet supporters in New York on June 3, the day of the final primaries.Terry McAuliffe said the former president was angered by media reports suggesting he bore a grudge against Obama after the sometimes bruising primary campaign and did not plan to actively support Obama in the general election.

"He was angry that these ridiculous stories were out here, and these supposed close friends of the president -- none of the close friends ever got called," McAuliffe said, referring to anonymous sources quoted in some stories. "What happens, a lot of time, is people like to pretend they're close so they can tell the reporters that they're close, but, you know, they're just talking."

McAuliffe said he spoke to Bill Clinton on Sunday morning. The former president recently returned from a trip to Europe.

Obama and Hillary Clinton appeared together Friday in Unity, New Hampshire, where the former first lady said of her ex-rival, "we may have started on different paths ... [but] today our hearts are set on the same destination for America ... to elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States."

Spain triumph Euro finale

Fernando Torres fired Spain to Euro 2008 glory against Germany and ended 44 years of underachievement with a 1-0 victory.

Torres struck in the 33rd minute at Ernst Happel Stadion and despite the efforts of Germany skipper Michael Ballack, they held on to their lead to spark wild celebrations in Austria's capital.

Heavyweights in European football who produce a constant stream of individual talents, Spain had not won a major tournament since 1964 but finally shook off their tag of being chokers, not able to cope with the pressure of the highest stage.

Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann could do little about the goal that Torres scored to put Spain ahead. Xavi threaded the ball through and the Liverpool man did superbly to escape the attentions of Philipp Lahm before dinking the ball over the outrushing Lehmann and into the net.

Spain had a chance to go 2-0 up soon after but the unmarked David Silva badly fluffed his volley after being picked out by Andres Iniesta inside the area.

After the break the Germans sparked into life, with Ballack hitting the side-netting of Iker Casillas' goal with a volley from the edge of the box soon after, before the Chelsea man and Bastian Schweinsteiger both fired in dangerous crosses.

The match threatened to boil over in the 65th minute when Silva and Lukas Podolski went head-to-head, but despite the appearance of a butt from the Spain man, he escaped a card.

Spain very nearly doubled their lead in the 67th minute when Sergio Ramos broke the offside trap to power a Xavi free-kick goalwards with his head but Lehmann diverted the ball for a corner.

From the corner Iniesta saw his shot cleared off the line by Torsten Frings, before the Barcelona man was denied by Lehmann with another effort soon after.

Luis Aragones' side still looked the more likely scorers over the closing stages and, with Germany producing nothing to worry Casillas in the Spain goal, the Iberian nation deservedly walked off with the Henri Delaunay trophy.

Wenger has no plans to meet Adebayor

Arsene Wenger has insisted he will not meet Emmanuel Adebayor next week for talks on the striker's future at Arsenal.

The Gunners boss is adamant the Togo international will still be at the Emirates Stadium next season and said he does not plan any further talks.

AC Milan are pursuing the striker and Adebayor yesterday claimed he will meet Wenger next week before deciding on his future - he is demanding a pay rise to a reported £120,000 a week.

But Wenger said he already met Adebayor some time ago and has no plans to meet him again.

The Arsenal manager said: "He's under contract and that's quite simple. I can tell you as manager of Arsenal FC I'm not worried.

"Of course I expect him to be at Arsenal next season - he's under contract."

Asked if he was going to meet the striker next week, Wenger replied: "No - I've already met him."

Child prostitutes sell themselves on Craigslist

SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- For more than two years, undercover cops on the Sacramento Police Department's vice squad have been working one of the most draining beats: trying to crack down on online child prostitution.
Girl arrest

Sacramento police have nabbed nearly 70 underage girls for child prostitution since 2005.Police have nabbed nearly 70 girls under the age of 18 since 2005. Most of the girls were released to foster or group homes. Those are just the official figures; investigators think there are many more child prostitutes out there.

It is no easy task.

"We're asking these girls to do a big thing ... which is to stop what they're doing," said Sgt. Pam Seyffert of the Sacramento Police Department. "Stop what's working for them. Surviving is basically what they're doing."

Sacramento police are working with the FBI as part of a nationwide campaign to combat underage prostitution called Innocence Lost. The goal of the program, which is now in almost 30 U.S. cities, is to decriminalize the girls and concentrate on catching the pimps who control them.

"It really makes me angry," Seyffert said. "I think everybody on the team has different reactions to it, but I just flat out get really angry that some guy thinks he can take this girl and basically deprive her of her freedom."

It is not uncommon for the officers on the unit to put in 30-hour shifts. Oftentimes, their work is heart-wrenching. Video Watch how investigators work to catch pimps »

Child prostitution is even tougher on the parents of these girls. Roslyn and Sergio's daughter had been missing for more than two weeks. They waited for hours at police headquarters in hopes that their daughter would be found.

Vice squad officers found her in a downtown apartment with Bruce William Carter, a 21-year-old man who police said had posed on the Internet holding fistfuls of cash. He pleaded not guilty to charges of statutory rape and was held in lieu of $35,000 bail.

The couple's daughter, who had just turned 17, was detained but not arrested.

"It hurt," said Roslyn, who appeared weary and a bit shell-shocked. "Because you don't want to see your children involved in things like this. You don't realize how dangerous the Internet is. Now, we got to keep her away from the Internet."

Police say most of the ads appear on Craigslist, the popular and free Internet classifieds site, under a category named "Erotic Services." Even though Craigslist has posted a bold disclaimer warning against human trafficking and the exploitation of children, law enforcement officials said it doesn't seem to deter girls from posting the ads or men who are searching for sex.

Casillas soaks up the pressure

Iker Casillas

Spain captain Iker Casillas feels it is his "responsibility" to help his side beat Germany in the Euro 2008 final on Sunday.

The Real Madrid goalkeeper was the hero against Italy, saving two penalties to guide Spain past the quarter-final stage, and has been a consistent performer throughout the run to the final.

Spain have finally managed a return to the title game for the first time since 1984 and Casillas says he and his team have to make to sure they lift the trophy.

"I feel a responsibility and tension ahead of the final," said the 24-year-old.

"I feel a responsibility not only for my team-mates but for all the millions of fans that are behind us.

"The most important thing is to get to a final and win it. Although it will not be easy."

La Seleccion have only managed to overcome the Germans once in a competitive game and that was back in 1984.

This is the third time that Spain have reached the European Championship final, compared to the six now reached by the Germans, and Casillas is well aware that his side face a team which always seem to perform in the big games.

"Germany have more experience and history in this type of game," he said.

"They are a national team that have always managed to get past the quarter-finals, something which we have struggled with until now."

Spain go in search of their second-ever major trophy without tournament top scorer David Villa, who is unavailable because of a thigh injury.

However, Germany also have their share of problems with captain Michael Ballack doubtful for the clash with a calf injury.

His absence might be seen as a blessing for Spain, but Barcelona defender Carles Puyol hopes the Chelsea midfielder will recover.

"Ballack is a very important player," said Puyol. "I don't know if he will able to play or not.

"But I am a footballer and I hope that he can play.

"I would feel sorry if he didn't make it because of injury but we also know that whoever replaces him will do a good job."

Iran exiles back armed opposition

Tens of thousands of supporters of the Iranian opposition have attended a rally in France organised by the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

It is calling for the lifting of international bans on their movement's armed wing, the People's Mujahideen.

The US and the EU list the wing as a terror organisation, although Britain lifted its own ban in the past week.

The Iranian opposition leader said banning the People's Mujahideen played into the hands of Iran's government.

Organisers said 70,000 people from across Europe attended the rally at an exhibition centre in the northern Paris suburbs, though there was no independent confirmation of the number.

Among those present were delegations from several European parliaments.

No legal justification

They heard an address from the Iranian opposition leader, Miriam Rajavi, calling on the European Union to remove the designation of "terrorist group" that it applies to the People's Mujahideen.

The EU and the United States both say that the People's Mujahideen - which took up arms against the Islamic republic in the 1980s and had sanctuary in Iraq under Saddam Hussein - falls under the definition of foreign terrorist organisation.

However the group's supporters say it has long since abandoned attacks that can be called terrorist, and argue that the ban in Brussels and Washington is intended to curry favour with Tehran.

This week the People's Mujahideen achieved a major breakthrough, when it was dropped from a list of terrorist organisations in Britain, and supporters now say there is no legal justification for maintaining the European ban.

France, which takes over as president of the European Union on 1 July, will have to decide whether to respond to the appeal.

Barry blasts O'Neill over Reds move

A201004571214701150A - Barry blasts O'Neill over Reds move
Gareth Barry still wants to join Liverpool and has blasted Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill for not persuading him to stay.

The England midfielder has made no secret of his desire for the regular Champions League football on offer at Anfield, but the Villa hierarchy rejected a reported £15million bid from the Reds earlier this month.

Barry told the News of the World: "My mind's made up, I want to join Liverpool. Villa kept saying they wanted me to stay but I have not heard from the manager for weeks."

He added: "There's no going back, it's time for me to move on. I'm desperate to play Champions League football and that's why I have to leave Villa."

O'Neill has been openly critical of Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez over his pursuit of the Villa skipper.

But despite O'Neill's public posturing, a scornful Barry insists nothing has been done to get him to remain at Villa Park.

He added: "It's seven weeks now since the season finished but while the gaffer's found time to be a pundit for the BBC at Euro 2008, he hasn't found the time to speak to me.

"Have Villa offered me anything to try to persuade me my future is at Villa Park, not Anfield? Not a thing."

Sandbagging effort fails to protect Missouri town

WINFIELD, Missouri (AP) -- A makeshift sandbag levee holding back the Mississippi River failed early Saturday, and authorities said part of Winfield, Missouri, was evacuated.
Floodwaters cover Highway 79 leading into Winfield, Missouri, on Saturday.

Floodwaters cover Highway 79 leading into Winfield, Missouri, on Saturday.

Water began flowing under the 4-foot-high barrier about 4:30 a.m. An alarm sounded, and the few residents remaining in the flood plain were ordered to get out.

"It was a valiant effort," said Chris Azar of the Winfield-Foley Fire Department. "It's unfortunate that we couldn't do more, but Mother Nature won. Now, just give it time for the water to recede."

On Friday, the Pin Oak levee that protected part of the town of 720 residents gave way, and within hours, the National Guard began constructing the makeshift levee around a cluster of about 100 homes. That new levee had a steel frame with layers of dirt, plastic and sandbags. Hundreds of volunteers had filled sandbags for the effort.

The new barrier appeared to be holding well until Saturday morning.

Azar said that at least 60 homes in the cluster were immediately affected by the new flooding, although authorities were still assessing the damage. Evacuees are mostly staying with relatives or friends, though a few were staying at a Red Cross shelter set up at the high school.

Many other homes in Winfield sit on a hill above the river and are well out of harm's way.

Winfield, 45 miles northwest of St. Louis, is in Lincoln County, which has been particularly hard hit by flooding caused by torrential rain that fell across the Midwest in early June.

Euro 2008: Key final match-ups

Torres vs. MetzelderA look at three major match-ups and battles which could well decide who will claim the title of European champions.

The over-achievers face the under-achievers in Vienna on Sunday evening as the workmanlike Germany take on flamboyant Spain at the Ernst Happel Stadium having battled their way to the Euro 2008 final.

Here are three potentially key battles which could decide the clash.


The injury-prone Real Madrid defender has improved as the tournament has progressed having missed much of last season, resulting in a lack of match-practice. Both he and partner Per Mertesacker had trouble containing the lively and unpredictable Turkish attack and will be tested again when they face Spain's Torres.

The Liverpool forward has so far been overshadowed by David Villa but with the leading scorer out with a thigh problem, 'El Nino' could lead the line alone supported by a stellar midfield.


If anyone can play with a cracked rib, it is the operose Werder Bremen midfielder.

His introduction as a substitute was vital in the semi-final against Turkey and his presence will be imperative if Germany are to have any hope of containing Spain's celebrated midfield. Fabregas could once again play a prominent supporting role and make his first competitive start of the tournament - he has only started the 'dead' group game against Greece - having thoroughly impressed in all of his substitute appearances so far.

Should Frings pay too much attention to the Arsenal talisman, however, doors will open for the likes of Xavi, David Silva and Andres Iniesta.


Poland-born Klose has a prolific scoring record at the World Cup but made no impact at Euro 2004. He has managed two goals - both crucial - in the quarter-final and semi-final against Portugal and Turkey respectively despite looking out of sorts.
Spain's defence is supposedly their weak link and Carles Puyol - only 180cm tall - will have to cope with the aerial threat posed by the Bayern Munich poacher, himself only 182cm.

Malaysian opposition leader accused of sodomy

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was accused Saturday of sodomy, police and politicians said, sparking speculation that he might be arrested on the same charge that led to his imprisonment a decade ago.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says sodomy charges are a "repeat of the methods" used against him in 1998.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says sodomy charges are a "repeat of the methods" used against him in 1998.

Anwar, who resurrected his political career after leading the opposition to spectacular gains in recent elections, denied the allegation, which he said was made in a police complaint filed by one of his male aides.

"The police report lodged against me earlier today is a complete fabrication," Anwar, 60, said in a written statement.

He contended that the report was engineered by "interested parties" to prevent him from exposing the national police chief and the attorney general for their alleged role in having him accused of corruption and sodomy in 1998.

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, was ousted from government 10 years ago amid those accusations. He was convicted on both charges, but Malaysia's highest court overturned the sodomy conviction and freed him in 2004.

Anwar said in the statement that he "recently obtained" evidence implicating Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan and Attorney General Gani Patail of misconduct and fabricating evidence against him in 1998. He said he will release the evidence soon.

"I believe we are witnessing a repeat of the methods used against me in 1998 when false allegations were made under duress," Anwar said.

Hitzlsperger: We would miss Ballack

Thomas HitzlspergerThomas Hitzlsperger says Germany will miss Michael Ballack's leadership and goal threat if he does not play against Spain.
Ballack is the big fitness worry for Germany heading into the clash at Vienna's Ernst Happel Stadion with the Chelsea man having been unable to train since Friday because of a calf problem.

It is touch and go whether Germany coach Joachim Low will be able to call on his skipper, and Hitzlsperger concedes that losing Ballack would be a blow to the team for a number of different reasons.

"He has proved over the years that he is such an important player, he has scored some important goals in the big games," said the Stuttgart player.

"He's proved it at Premier League level and showed his quality there. His main strength in my opinion is his ability to score so many goals, but he also has the presence that you need on the pitch.

"He is definitely a leader of the team who young players can look up to, and that's what we need tomorrow."

While Ballack has a wealth of experience at international level, Hitzlsperger concedes it is not the same for every player in the Germany squad, pointing out for many that Sunday's is probably the biggest match they have played in.

"It's the biggest game of my career, I've had some good games so far but this is the best moment of my career," the 26-year-old said.

"We are all very focused, we know how big this game is and for most players it's probably their first final at this level."

Ballack is not the only big-name player who may be missing on Sunday, with Spain already robbed of striker David Villa because of a hamstring strain.

Villa is the leading scorer at Euro 2008 with four goals, but Hitzlsperger believes Spain have more than enough talent to cope with the Valencia hitman's loss.

"He (Villa) is a very good player but the entire team is good and they don't only depend on one player like David Villa, even though he has scored the most goals for them," he said.

"They are such a good side that I think they can compensate if he's not playing.

"We have been talking about Spain a lot, they are a very good side and they have proved it in their five games, where they have always been the best team.

"We know they are a good passing side and we need to be careful and we need to close them down early, and I'm sure if we do that we have a good chance to win tomorrow.

"There's two good teams facing each other tomorrow, the Spanish team has been playing very well. We've had some difficulties but I think we deserve to be in this final, and I think it is going to be a very good game.

"It doesn't matter who are the favourites, it's about 90 or 120 minutes of hopefully good football."

Wildfires' smoke, ash chokes Northern Californians

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) -- Hundreds of lightning-sparked wildfires have turned the air of Northern California into an unhealthy stew of smoke and ash, forcing the cancellation of athletic events and other outdoor activities.
A satellite image taken Thursday shows most of Northern California obscured by wildfire smoke and ash.

A satellite image taken Thursday shows most of Northern California obscured by wildfire smoke and ash. Health advisories urging residents to stay indoors to limit exposure to the smokey air were issued Saturday from Bakersfield north to Redding, a distance of nearly 450 miles.

Air pollution readings in the region are two to 10 times the federal standard for clean air, Dimitri Stanich, spokesman for the California Air Resources Board, said Saturday.

Some areas are experiencing the worst air quality on record, with the smoke hanging down to the ground like a fog.

Air quality agencies are especially concerned about high readings of small-particle pollution. The tiniest particles can penetrate past the body's immune defenses, traveling deep into the lungs and the bloodstream.

"When you have it on the scale we are seeing now, it is very dangerous to the general public health," Stanich said. "This is a very serious problem."

Changing weather brought smoke-clearing breezes and brief relief to some areas Saturday, but it could also bring lightning storms similar to the ones that ignited fires across Northern California a week ago.

Thunderstorms could strike anywhere in the northern Sierra Nevada or the northern Central Valley on Saturday night, said National Weather Service forecaster Johnnie Powell in Sacramento.

Kazim happy with rise

Kazim happy with rise
Colin Kazim-Richards is happy with his stunning rise from the lower leagues in England to the Euro semi-finals.

Kazim-Richards was a key member of the Turkey squad which reached the last four of the Euros for the first time in their history in Austria and Switzerland, appearing in all five of their matches.

One of his best performances was reserved for Wednesday's semi-final against Germany, where the London-born forward flourished in a makeshift Turkey line-up shorn of a host of players through injury and suspension.

Not only did he hit the crossbar twice but he also gave the highly-rated German full-back Philipp Lahm a torrid time down the right wing.

Few would have predicted such a rise to prominence for Kazim-Richards while he was plying his trade in various English divisions with Bury, Brighton & Hove Albion and Sheffield United before switching to Fenerbahce in 2007, but the 21-year-old insists all those people who wrote him off only inspired him to get better.

"I pray to God that my career can keep going the way it's going," he said following the semi-final against Germany, which Turkey lost 3-2 following Lahm's dramatic 90th-minute winner.

"I think I've proved a lot of people wrong and I just hope that the people who keep doubting me, keep doubting me, because it motivates you.

"I hope that everyone isn't satisfied (with me) because I don't call them haters like some people do, I call them motivators. They motivate me to do well and keep proving people wrong.

"Look at someone who said to me two years ago that I will never be anything, but look at me now, I personally think I had a good game in the semi-finals of Euro 2008 against Germany, who can possibly go on to win the tournament."

Turkey's next major assignment will be the World Cup qualifiers. They begin their Group 5 campaign away to Armenia on September 6.

Kazim-Richards revealed the Turkish players had already turned their thoughts to those World Cup matches not long after the final whistle against Germany.

When asked about the belief in the camp, he said: "The belief is unbelievable even though we lost, and we were just saying that we can take this experience into the World Cup qualifiers, we are already talking about the World Cup now."

While Turkey's future looks bright, it also looks likely to be without the guiding hand of coach Fatih Terim who will now return to club management.

The former AC Milan and Galatasaray boss - nicknamed 'The Emperor' in Turkey - feels his players should hold their heads up high for what they achieved in the tournament, and in particular against Germany,

"I said I was proud of them, told them not to feel bad," said the 54-year-old.

"Yes, of course it's the end of the tournament, we are at day 47 with them and it's not easy to be together and have discipline when everybody else is on holiday.

"These players have been here to serve their country, what they did was impressive and I wished them a lot of success for future."

Nepalese prime minister resigns

Nepal's interim Prime Minister, Girija Prasad Koirala, has announced that he has resigned.

Correspondents say the move paves the way for the former rebel leader, Prachanda, who heads the Maoist party, to succeed Mr Koirala.

The Maoists emerged as the biggest party in elections in April to a new constituent assembly.

The Maoists signed a peace deal in 2006, ending a decade of civil war in which thousands of people were killed.

'Unfit for office'

"I announce in this house that I have abandoned the post of the prime minister," Mr Koirala told the constituent assembly on Thursday.

Prachanda could well become prime minister

He urged Nepal's fractious parties to "maintain the culture of consensus".

Mr Koirala has been struggling to keep his administration together after Maoist ministers submitted their resignations last week.

His interim cabinet has been beset by bitter disagreements.

The former Maoist rebels have accused Mr Koirala of clinging to his post after his party came a poor second in the April elections. They say the 83-year-old prime minister is unfit for office.

The political instability in Nepal has been exacerbated by constitutional changes pushed through in December which did not clarify how power would be divided between the president and prime minister once the new constituent assembly had abolished the monarchy.

In recent weeks it was finally agreed that the president would be largely ceremonial but would also be commander-in-chief of the army.

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Nepal says the political infighting has meant that the interim government has proved toothless in the face of a new wave of strikes over rising fuel prices and a growing tendency towards social anarchy.

Analysts say that Mr Koirala had been hoping to become president, but the Maoists have opposed that.

His Nepali Congress Party and the Maoists agreed this week that the candidates for president and prime minister would be decided by a vote in the assembly. That process still has to be agreed by other parties in parliament.

Mr Koirala was appointed prime minister in April 2006 when King Gyanendra was forced to abandon absolute rule in the face of weeks of growing street protests.

Later that year the Maoists, who had been fighting for a communist republic, declared an end to their insurgency. They joined the interim government in 2007.

The monarchy was finally abolished last month.

Adebayor holding Arsenal ransom

Emmanuel Adebayor

Emmanuel Adebayor has told Arsenal he wants a new US$237,000-a-week contract if they want him to stay in north London.

By Vincent Lai (

The 24-year-old is ready to decline a US$59 million move to the Nou Camp or the red half of the San Siro only if the Gunners quadruple his current salary.

The wage increase will make the Togo striker the highest earner at the Arsenal.

It is reported that Barcelona and AC Milan are willing to give in to his wage demands if he makes the move to Spain or Italy.

Arsenal supremo Arsene Wenger insists that Adebayor is staying at the Emirates, with the young striker having only signed a two-year extension to his current US$59,000-a-week deal last season.

Italian agent Vincenzo Morabito has claimed that a move to Milan is on the cards for the former AS Monaco and FC Metz striker, saying it was "70-80 percent complete".

But he said Arsenal would not part with Adebayor until a suitable replacement could be bought, with rumours linking the Gunners to Peter Crouch, Roque Santa Cruz and Germany forward Michael Gomez.

U.S. trains Iraqi women to find female suicide bombers

YUSUFIYA, Iraq (CNN) -- Female suicide bombers, who often slip through security checkpoints untouched because of cultural norms, are taking a more deadly toll than ever across Iraq.
A female suicide bomber struck northeast of Baghdad on Sunday, killing 16.

A female suicide bomber struck northeast of Baghdad on Sunday, killing 16.

But the U.S. Army has created a solution with "Daughters of Iraq," a program that trains Iraqi women to find female suicide bombers.

Women carried out eight bombings in all of 2007, according to the U.S. military. Halfway through 2008, the number of female suicide bombers is 20. A suicide attack carried out by a woman on Sunday in Baquba killed at least 16 people and wounded another 40.

"Daughters of Iraq" is a spinoff of "Sons of Iraq," which employs Iraqi men to run checkpoints and is credited with taking much of the steam out of the insurgency.

The goal of the women's program is twofold: to protect against female suicide bombers, and to provide much-needed income to Iraqi women with few chances for employment.

Agent plays down Nasri claims

Samir Nasri is not an Arsenal player just yet despite claims on the midfielder's website that his move was complete.

Nasri, who turns 21 later this week, is expected to join the Gunners at some stage in the next week but his agent Jean-Pierre Bernes insisted on Monday night the reports on the midfielder's site of a done deal were "premature".

Bernes told French newspaper L'Equipe: "Nothing has been finalised. It is premature to announce this. Discussions are continuing between the two clubs and the player."

The Gunners, in line with their usual policy, have made no official comment but the France international has long been a target of manager Arsene Wenger.

The posting on Nasri's website claimed the player had signed a four-year contract with the Barclays Premier League club.

It is understood the midfielder - who can play down the centre or on the wing - is likely to cost Arsenal around £12million, and would be their second major signing of the summer following the capture of promising Welsh teenager Aaron Ramsey from under the noses of Manchester United.

Wenger had made it clear he continues to have great faith in his current young squad - which finished third after leading the Premier League for long spells last season.

However, he also accepted they would benefit from the addition of some experienced "super-talent".

Wenger clearly believes Nasri has a bright future. Speaking earlier this month, he said: "At 21 years old his whole future is ahead of him and he has (quite) a margin for progressing further.

"He has, in any case, the qualities needed to assert himself at the highest level."

U.S. Embassy staff, soldiers killed in Baghdad blast

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An explosion rocked a municipal building Tuesday in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, killing six Iraqis, two U.S. soldiers and two civilian U.S. Embassy employees, officials said.
An Iraqi soldier removes razor wire to allow a vehicle to pass in Baghdad's Sadr City earlier this month.

An Iraqi soldier removes razor wire to allow a vehicle to pass in Baghdad's Sadr City earlier this month.

The U.S. military said troops detained a suspect in connection with the attack. The person was captured "fleeing the scene and tested positive for explosive residue," the military said.

The embassy official said the American civilians include "a direct hire civilian employee of the Department of State and a Department of Defense civilian employee."

The blast occurred during a meeting of the district advisory council in Sadr City, and U.S. troops were in the area, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said.

The U.S. military confirmed the deaths, saying an American-led coalition soldier and three council members also were wounded. There have been 4,106 U.S. service members killed since the Iraq war began.

Ten Iraqis were wounded in the blast, an Interior Ministry official said.

The military blamed Iranian-backed militants that U.S. officials call Special Groups for Tuesday's attack.

Wenger looks for Silva-lining

Arsene Wenger may look to compensate for Hleb's departure by bringing Valencia winger David Silva to the Emirates.

By Nick Horsburgh

With Aliaksander Hleb and Emmanuel Adebayor both looking set to leave North London, Silva would be a great asset to Wenger as he reshuffles the line-up.

If Adebayor leaves it is rumored that Theo Walcott will be moved into an out-and-out striker's position, leaving only injury-prone Tomas Rosicky or inconsistent Abou Diaby to fill the wide roles.

French playmaker Samir Nasri, soon to be 21-years-old, is all but confirmed for Arsenal and with Nasri providing the flair in the centre and Silva doing the same on the wing, the Gunners could prove a nightmare for defences.

It is no secret that Wenger is scouting potential signings at the European championship and Silva now appears to be his number one interest.

"Arsene wasn't just in Vienna to cheer on Cesc [Fabregas] - he was there to take a good look at Silva," said an Arsenal insider.

"He is a player who would fit well in the Arsenal set-up, especially if Hleb goes."

Wenger is not the only manager interested in the Valencia star though, Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has apparently made contact with his old club regarding the player.

Valencia has reportedly set Silva's price tag at 31 Million U.S. dollars.

Ballack taking nothing for granted

Michael Ballack believes unpredictability makes the outcome of Euro 2008 semi-final in Basle too close to call.

The Turks have a mountain of injury and suspension problems ahead of their match with the highly-fancied Germans, but their never-say-die attitude makes them dangerous opponents.

"Turkey are certainly not better than us tactically, technically and in terms of individual players," said the Chelsea midfielder, who excelled in Germany's 3-2 win over Portugal in the last eight. "But they are unpredictable and they won't underestimate any of us."

He added: "Turkey have up until now always been brilliantly set up against their opponents and they almost have a bit of the German mentality about them.

"It will be a tough task, but we have a big chance of making the final."

Ballack is set to have Torsten Frings back alongside him in centre midfield at St Jakob Park, the Werder Bremen anchorman having returned to training after breaking ribs.

Indeed, Germany coach Joachim Low confirmed all 23 players in his squad were available for the match.

The situation is the exact opposite for Turkey coach Fatih Terim, who could be faced with the prospect of playing third-choice goalkeeper Tolga Zengin in an outfield position if he is needed off the bench.

The latest blow to befall the Turks came on Monday when UEFA turned down goalkeeper Volkan Demirel's appeal against his two-game suspension.

Volkan, Terim's number one stopper, was sent off in stoppage time of his side's dramatic 3-2 Group A victory over Czech Republic after pushing Jan Koller, and missed the quarter-final win over Croatia as a result. He had hoped to get the ban reduced in order to play against Germany, but UEFA have upheld their decision.

Comment: Who will end up at United?'s Kelvin Leong takes a look at the array of attacking options supposedly on United's transfer radar.

Sir Alex Ferguson has yet to force the issue with transfers but the Red Devils seem intent on landing one of the top striking talents in Europe.

Wesley Sneijder (Real Madrid)

With the Merengues pushing the envelope with regards to Portuguese winger, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ferguson has made an attempt to give Calderon and his men a taste of their own medicine by suggesting his interest in Dutchman, Sneijder, who was instrumental in the Netherlands' Euro cup run.

Not an out and out striker, Sneijder can play in the withdrawn role behind the target man and make the late runs into the box to support the chief striker.

Madrid are said to be willing to allow Sneijder to leave as they look to raise funds for their Ronaldo bid but the player himself has stated his intentions of staying with the Merengues so it looks a lost cause.

Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham Hotspur)

A US$49m bid from United has apparently been put through to the Daniel Levy and the Spurs board in recent weeks and the Bulgarian captain is keen to get back into Champions League football.

A classy striker with a slight resemblance of a famous United legend, Eric Cantona, Berbatov will prove to be an instant hit with the United fans.

The only thing holding the deal back is Ferguson's concerns as to whether the Bulgarian will cause disharmony amongst the squad if he does not start every game like he wants to.

Klaas Jan-Huntelaar (Ajax Amsterdam)

One of the best strikers in Europe not to be playing for a big club. Jose Mourinho of Internazionale has had his attempt to sign Huntelaar rejected as the Dutch forward prefers a chance to play in England or Spain.

Ferguson has been a long time admirer of the talented hitman who can lead the line and pile on the goals but will have to try and bid for the tall striker before incoming Ajax coach, Marco Van Basten takes over. Van Basten has been trying to persuade Huntelaar to stay with Ajax for another year or two.

Michael Owen (Newcastle United)

The injury-prone Englishman is said to be United's choice of replacement if Ronaldo does make the move to Spain but one has to wonder how much truth there is in this rumour.

Owen has never had a full season where he is healthy. Ferguson will not be want to bring in a player who is going into the last few years of his career and risk having him out injured for much of the season.

His rumoured transfer to United might just be an effort to send out a big-name signing message to the fans who are afraid of their club crumbling once their talismanic winger leaves.

Rafael van Der Vaart (Hamburg)

Another Dutch midfielder who has impressed at Euro 2008. Once touted as the messiah of the Dutch side, he has the vision and passing ability to pry open the tightest backline.

A lot of Europe's biggest clubs like Internazionale, Juventus and Barcelona are all said to be interested in his services so unless Ferguson is willing to get himself involved in a bidding war, chances of the Dutchman landing at Old Trafford looks odd.

Verdict - Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham Hotspur)

Berbatov wants a move to United and Spurs are willing to sell. Ferguson's patience while trying to bid for the other players might run on thin ice in the next two weeks as he looks to bolster his squad fast and this might just end up where it all started.

The Bulgarian was the first choice to arrive at Old Trafford and I very much expect him to.

I have a feeling United are not forcing the issue with Spurs yet so as to let Berbatov put in a transfer request which might just lower his price as Juande Ramos attempts to cash in on the temperamental forward before he throws up a fit and causes disharmony amongst the Lilywhites.

British hostages 'alive' in Iraq

Five British hostages who were seized in Baghdad more than a year ago are still alive, Iraq's most senior security official believes.

Mowaffak al-Rubai'e told the BBC: "We have a very good, strong intelligence telling us they are alive and we roughly know the area where they are.

"But we don't want to be aggressive in our approach, not to risk their lives."

Armed militants seized the men - a computer expert and four guards - at Iraq's Ministry of Finance in May 2007.

One of them has been named as IT consultant Peter Moore, from Lincoln, who was working for Bearingpoint, an American management consultancy.

The other four men, who were employed by a security firm to guard Mr Moore, have not been officially identified.

Nuclear inspectors in Syria probe

UN nuclear inspectors have arrived in Syria to investigate claims that it was building a nuclear reactor.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) four person team will spend three days examining the al-Kibar site in the desert in northern Syria.

The site was bombed by Israeli jets in September 2007. The ruins were bulldozed after the attack.

Israel and the US have said the installation was a nuclear plant in the making - a charge denied by Damascus.

Speaking on his departure, the deputy chief of the IAEA, Olli Heinonen - who is leading the team of inspectors - said they would meet their Syrian counterparts on Sunday evening.

After that, he said, they would start "looking for the facts".

Syria has welcomed the inspection but insists that it will be limited to the al-Kibar site.

Hiddink revels in Russian success

Russia's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink claimed his side were better than Holland "in all components of the game".

Hiddink's team bounced back from conceding a late leveller to Ruud van Nistelrooy - the Real Madrid striker forcing extra time by cancelling out Roman Pavlyuchenko's opener - to run out 3-1 winners after extra time through goals from substitute Dmitri Torbinski and man of the match Andrei Arshavin.

Hiddink, who before the match played down fears of being labelled a traitor back home, was understandably delighted with his side's showing.

"I'm extremely proud of the achievement of my team," he said.

"I have not experienced that very much in my career. If you see the game - and I don't know if I am still realistic and without too much emotions to analyse the game well - I think the team was superior in the control, in passing, but also technically and also in physical parts superior to the Dutch team, which is tremendous because I know how they prepare tactically and physically.

"I don't mean it (superior) as an arrogant word, but we were better than the opponents in all components of the game."

Hiddink also admitted he regretted accepting being labelled a traitor in Friday's build-up.

"In my concept, the word 'traitor' is a very bad word," he said. "But let's have it considered a little bit more light.

"Of course, in my position I would have loved to outclass the Dutch team and if we win - an unexpected win - then I'm very happy.

"But the word 'traitor' was not used by me. I don't like the word."

The result is the third time in as many quarter-finals that the pool winner has been knocked out by the team that finished second in their respective group following Portugal's defeat to Germany and Croatia's elimination at the hands of Turkey.

Russia only clinched their place in the last eight with Wednesday's 2-0 victory over Sweden, while the bulk of Marco van Basten's first-choice players had had over a week to recuperate since their stunning win over France with the coach having made nine changes for Tuesday's triumph over Romania.

But it was Hiddink's team who looked the more sprightly in the additional 30 minutes.

He said: "If you look at the preparation after a tough Swedish game and after a tough Greece game - especially after Sweden - we had two days to recover.

"I did not complain a lot, a little bit, about the short preparation time for this very difficult game.

"The short preparation time meant we could hardly work tactically but we did it yesterday and with meetings we have with team in the hotel.

"Regarding that but also regarding the end of 90 minutes going into the prolongation, then to do what they did... that's a tremendous, unbelievable achievement of the team."

Holland coach Van Basten was at a loss to explain how his team ran out of steam.

"We were unlucky because yesterday Arjen Robben had an injury so we couldn't start with him and then we didn't start well," said the 43-year-old.

"We didn't play football as we did in the first three matches. I don't know why.

"They were a little bit nervous, I think. In the second half we tried something with Robin van Persie instead of Dirk Kuyt so we could be a little more dangerous.

"But the Russians played very well. We had a lot of problems with their attackers Pavlyuchenko and Arshavin."

The Oranje had been mightily impressive in storming to top spot in the 'Group of Death' with thumping wins over Italy and France, and tipped as potential winners by many pundits.

Van Basten, who made no secret when he took over four years ago that Euro 2008 was the main goal during his tenure, will now step down from his role at the national helm to become Ajax coach.

And he conceded it was not the swansong he had hoped for, or the ending he hoped to provide for retiring goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

"I feel sorry for Edwin van der Sar because I really had to give him a very nice finale to his career with the national team," said Van Basten.

"We didn't succeed in that and I feel sorry for Edwin because he is a great goalkeeper and he deserved to win with this team a tournament like this."

Van Basten was big enough to admit his side had been beaten by the better - and fitter - side on the day.

"They went 1-0 up. We tried everything. In the end we reached 1-1 which gave us a little bit of hope," he said.

"But we had to change Khalid Boulahrouz because he wasn't good enough physically and we also brought in (Ibrahim) Afellay to play some more football which helped us.

"In extra time we had problems physically. Three or four players couldn't give any more. The Russians were at that moment stronger.

"We tried everything but couldn't hold onto 1-1 and they made two good goals and in the end deserved the victory. They played very well and I wish them good luck in the last part of the tournament.

"They were better than we were today."

United's Owen interest worrying

Former Magpie Malcolm MacDonald has voiced his concern that United will buy Owen to compensate for Ronaldo’s loss.

With Mike Ashley’s cost-cutting policy taking effect at St. James’ Park MacDonald is concerned that Ronaldo’s departure could open the door for Owen to make a lucrative move to the Red Devils.

Owen has only a year left on his contract at Newcastle and if contract negotiations fall though MacDonald fears Sir Alex will be waiting to poach the striker.

"If Sir Alex Ferguson does lose Ronaldo, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he came to Newcastle for Owen,” said MacDonald.

"He'll have plenty of money, and what price he'll look at Owen's situation at St James's Park and wonder if he can pick him up on the cheap?

"Because of his goal-scoring record, Sir Alex must know that Owen would be a great short-term signing for him, and he must know that Owen, with the support and service he would get at Old Trafford, is more than capable of chipping in with 20 goals.

"This would certainly go some way to compensating for any loss of Ronaldo."

Ashley is known to be keep to start bringing down the Magpies' astronomical wage bill as he seeks to avoid another season in the Premiership mire.

Owen has picked up his bumper cheque despite going through injury hell in the North East, but his return to form towards the end of last season reminded the football community why Newcastle splashed out £16m to sign him from Real Madrid in the first place.

However, Supermac similarly worries that Owen could leave on a free transfer next summer. He continued: "The rules make it easy for footballers these days, as they all seem to come down on the side of the players.

"Michael Owen's not a kid or a mug and he has to do what is best for himself."

MacDonald played 197 times for the Magpies, scoring 95 goals in his 5-year stint at the club.

Ronaldo wants "dream" Real move

Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed he will follow the example of Scolari and seize a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Ex-Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari will take over at Chelsea next month having decided midway through the country's European Championship campaign he wanted to move back into club management.

Ronaldo, who has been the subject of long-standing interest from Real Madrid, said he cannot pass up a "great opportunity".

"It [moving to Real] is a dream, a step forward, you can call it what you want," Ronaldo said in The Times.

"For me it is a great opportunity and, as Scolari says, that train passes by only once and we have to take advantage of it.

"That is why he took advantage of his change. Other people have to take advantage of opportunities, too."

Asked whether he was concerned his actions would upset United manager Sir Alex Ferguson the winger added: "It is my opinion. That is why I don't mind if people get upset.

"It is my decision. It is what I want. I don't know what I have to say to him. I have to say what I want and what I think."

Inter to out-bid Real for Ronaldo

Italian champions are allegedly preparing to out-bid Real Madrid for the signature of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Speculation on the future of Ronaldo has been rife throughout the summer, but the focus has been on the debate between Madrid and Ronaldo's current club Manchester United.

Now though, its seems that another major European club will join the race for the Portuguese winger.

New Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho has made no secret about his desire to sign former Chelsea colleges Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, along with Deco, a crucial part of his Champions League winning Porto side.

Mourinho may well be able to add Ronaldo's name to his list of potential signings if reports of the Nerazzuri's big-money offer are true.

The move may seem unlikely considering Real's clear desire to sign the player, but it may not be as improbable as it seems.

Both Mourinho and Ronaldo share the same agent, Jorge Mendes, which could greatly simplify the negotiations between the former Chelsea boss and the Old Trafford star.

There is also said to be a great mutual respect and friendship between the two, which encourage Ronaldo to settle on a move to Milan instead of Madrid.

For their part, Manchester United continue to vehemently deny that they are willing to sell Ronaldo.

With a big money offer from Madrid almost a certainty, and the possibility of another massive bid from Massimo Moratti's Inter, it may be impossible for the English champions to hold out much longer.

Hiddink relishes going Dutch

Dutchman Guus Hiddink is relishing a clash against Holland after guiding Russia to the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.

Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrei Arshavin grabbed the goals in the 2-0 win at Innsbruck's Stadion Tivoli Neu, setting up the last-eight clash for the weekend.

Since starting to compete as Russia, in 1992, it is the first time they have made it out of the group stages of a major tournament.

"I know the way we play we get respect because we play with the concepts that football should be played, like Holland," said Hiddink, who was Holland's manager in the mid-1990s.

"I don't know if they fear us but they have five days more rest, which is an advantage.

"It's a special game because I know the players, the coach and more people within the squad I worked with.

"I'm very proud of my team and the progress they have made in the last few days. They play modern football.

"The only criticism you can make is that we don't score enough of the opportunities we created. Nevertheless, this team have made tremendous progress."

Arshavin was back from suspension and was at the heart of Russia's fluent attacking, unlocking Sweden's defence to start the move that led to Pavlyuchenko's 24th-minute opener.

The second goal came just after the break, with Arshavin sliding home after a flowing move.

"Arshavin is a player who can decide very fast where he can create danger, he's a very smart player," Hiddink added. "There was a lack of match fitness but that is the reason why I took him in the 23-man squad - he can make a difference."

Sweden had only needed a point themselves to make it out of Group D but defeat could now signal the end at this stage for some of their older players, including Henrik Larsson.

"A new generation is coming through," said coach Lars Lagerback. "We had a number of younger players in this squad, but it's about picking the best players regardless of their age.

"It's not about age and experience, but the quality of the players."

Lagerback feels Russia could be the surprise package of the latter stages.

He added: "It's difficult to say but they are a very good team, the defeat against Spain didn't show all their qualities. The chance is always there.

"They were better than we were today. We became passive in the first half. In the second half we tried to lift the team higher up the pitch but unfortunately they scored a second goal and it was more of an uphill struggle.

"It's very sad, we haven't experienced this since the tournament in 2000 in Belgium and Holland. I have a very bitter feeling about it."

Scolari wary of Ballack's qualities

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has warned his players to pay "special attention" to German captain Michael Ballack.

Scolari has poured lavish praise on the midfield maestro he will be managing at Chelsea next season.

Ballack was the man who booked the Germans their ticket to the last eight with a thunderbolt free-kick in the 1-0 win over Austria on Monday.

And Scolari believes the elegant 31-year-old is the player most likely to wreck his team's Euro dream.

"Ballack is an important player, a great player," said Brazil's 2002 World Cup-winning coach.

"He has a lot of technical qualities and is one of the great players in the tournament. Maybe he has hit peak form over the last two years.

"Ballack is excellent, one of the athletes who has been a highlight of the tournament so far along with four or five others.

"He deserves special attention."

Germany's stuttering form in the pool stages means Portugal will probably start as slight favourites.

That is what Germany have been saying any way, with Ballack in particular piling the pressure on the side who lost the Euro 2004 final to Greece on home turf.

Simao Sabrosa is taking those mind games with a pinch of salt.

"They are trying to pressurise us, that is normal. But pressure is what we are used to," said the Atletico Madrid winger.

"For us, it doesn't register because we are concentrating on the game.

"We are always on an equal footing. We know our value, our qualities but we also know that Germany have been playing together since 2000. So they have a strong group.

"Since the last World Cup, the base Portuguese team has disappeared and we are creating a new team. That speaks for itself.

"We will try to make this the game of our lives."

Scolari will revert to his favoured line-up after resting most of his key players for Portugal's final Group A game, a 2-0 defeat to Switzerland.

With a week's rest, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Carvalho should be fresher than their German counterparts, whose first-choice team will be playing their second match in three days