Thursday, September 22, 2011

Navigator in Russia crash was 'lightly drunk' Official report finds navigator in June air crash that killed 47 people was slightly over the legal limit for alcohol.

The navigator's blood alcohol content was just over the legal limit for driving in Britain and many US states [AFP]

The navigator of a Russian plane that crashed in June, killing 47 people, was legally drunk, an official report has said.

Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee said the navigator "was in a light state of alcoholic intoxication" as the crew attempted to land the plane, in a report posted on its website on Monday.

The RusAir Tu-134 jet crashed into the tops of trees, overturned and slammed into the ground while trying to land in fog at the airport in the northern city of Petrozavodsk, the first in a string of Russian air accidents in recent months.

The report said the experienced navigator, 50, was "excessively active", with data recorders showing he had told the chief pilot several times to speed up the landing.

At one point, he told the pilot: "Sasha, turn quicker, come on!" the report said.

'Excessive self-assurance'

The navigator's body was found to have 0.81 grams of alcohol per litre of blood, which would have caused a "light" level of drunkenness, likely to make a person less self-critical, the report said.

His blood alcohol content was just over the legal limit for driving in Britain and many US states, although Russia has a zero tolerance policy for drivers.

The navigator had 25 years' experience and had logged more than 13,000 hours on Tu-134 flights, said the

It added the navigator's behaviour was a contributing factor in the crash, but found that the main cause was the incorrect decision not to abort the landing as the plane descended into thick fog with no sight of the runway.

It blamed a "lack of discipline and excessive self-assurance of the crew members".

The question remained why the navigator had been permitted to fly.

A pre-flight medical examination of the crew appeared to have been done "as a formality", the report, with all of the crew recorded as having exactly the same pulse rate.
Forty-four people died on the scene of the crash and three died later in hospital.

Among the dead were a citizen of the Netherlands, a Swede and two Ukrainians. Five people, including a stewardess, survived the crash with serious injuries.

The report's findings come as an investigation continues into the crash of a plane carrying a top ice hockey team earlier this month, the latest in a string of air disasters in Russia, where many smaller airlines use outdated Soviet-era planes.

The latest crash prompted Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, to order his government to shut down unreliable airlines and raise penalties for air safety violations.

Deadly fighting rages through Yemeni capital At least fifteen people, including two women, reportedly killed in Sanaa as death toll increase.

Battles between pro-Saleh troops and anti-government fighters have left scores of people dead [Reuters]

Deadly fighting has spread across Yemen's capital as tribesmen joined battles between rival military units, raising fears among residents the country is descending into civil war.

At least fifteen people were killed in the battles that rocked the north of Sanaa on Thursday, the defence ministry's website and tribal sources said.

The clashes, now in their fifth consecutive day, reached the doorsteps of the US and British embassies in Sanaa, witnesses said.

The escalating tensions between troops loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, and opponents of his regime collapsed efforts on Wednesday by international mediators to promote a Gulf-initiated peace deal aimed at halting the political impasse that has gripped Yemen for months.

Factional fighting

At least four civilians were killed when they were caught in the crossfire of the fighting that broke out early Thursday between Republican Guard troops commanded by Saleh's son Ahmed, and dissidents loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, witnesses and medics said.

They said two women and a man were shot by snipers positioned on rooftops near and overlooking Change Square, the base of the anti-government protesters.

Another man died from wounds sustained when a mortar shell smashed into the square. Nine people were also wounded in the blast and several tents set up by protesters caught fire, according to witnesses.

Medics said hundreds had been wounded, adding that most of the casualties were civilians caught in the crossfire or gunned down by Saleh loyalists.

"I can no longer open my store for fear of stray bullets, whether from the opposition or government forces. Every day there are many casualties due to the stray bullets," said 25-year-old Mohammed al-Jabiri, who owns a mobile phone shop in Sanaa.
Soaring violence
Fighting which had been concentrated since Sunday in the city centre and at Change Square spread on Thursday to Sanaa's Al-Hasaba district, where gunmen loyal to powerful dissident tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar traded fire with followers of Saghir bin Aziz, a tribesman loyal to Saleh, witnesses said.

For more on Yemen, visit our Spotlight page
Bin Aziz, who is from Yemen's most influential tribe Bakil, is also a Republican Guard officer and a member of parliament.

Witnesses said men loyal to Hemyar al-Ahmar, Sheikh Sadiq's brother, joined the battles and that shells were being fired from the building of Yemen's interior ministry towards his house and that of another brother Hussein al-Ahmar.

United Nations envoy Jamal Benomar told the AFP news agency late on Wednesday that the deteriorating security situation, and the reluctance of both sides to reach a political resolution, raises "the risk of civil war breaking out".

Gulf Cooperation Council chief Abdullatif al-Zayani is expected in New York on Friday to discuss the Yemeni crisis with GCC foreign ministers and international diplomats who are gathered at the UN for the annual General Assembly meeting, a Yemeni diplomat said, requesting anonymity.
The latest violence is the worst incident of bloodshed since a similar massacre killed 52 people in mid-March.
Saleh, who has been in power for 33 years, has since January faced protests over nepotism and corruption from reform activists inspired by the Arab Spring.
He left the country three months ago for Saudi Arabia where he has been recovering from a June 3 attack on his presidential compound.

Rains trigger deadly floods in China At least 1.2 million people evacuated from homes following floods and landslides in the wake of heavy rains.

The government estimates that the floods have caused economic losses to the tune of $2.7bn [Reuters]

At least 14 people have been killed in China after a week of heavy rains triggered floods and landslides across the country, the government says.

The ministry of civil affairs said in a statement late on Monday that the rain had forced authorities to evacuate more than 1.2 million people from their homes.

"Constant strong rainfall has caused serious flood disasters in Sichuan (southwest), Shaanxi (north) and Henan (central China)," the statement said.

More than 120,000 houses have collapsed and economic losses from damaged houses, crops and land is estimated to have reached $2.7bn, it added.

Work teams are helping with relief efforts, distributing thousands of tents, cots, blankets and clothing, the ministry said.

Over the weekend, officials in Sichuan's Dazhou and Guangan regions ordered the evacuation of over 600,000 people as major tributaries to the Yangtze - China's longest river - exceeded danger levels, the Xinhua news agency said.

The Jialing river was recorded 23ft above alert levels, and waters were expected to rise to their highest levels since record-keeping began in 1847, the statement added.

China is hit by big downpours every summer. Last year saw the nation's worst flooding in a decade, leaving more than 4,300 people dead or missing.

Bolivia wildfires expected to break records Controlled burns rage wildly, fanned by drought and wind

A local helps to extinguish a forest fire that jumped a controlled burn area [Getty]

For the farmers of Bolivia, September signals the beginning of the planting season. In order to prepare their fields, it is a common practice for farmers to use a technique called "slash and burn". This involves cutting and burning forests or woodlands to create fields.
However, this technique has gone horribly wrong. An ongoing drought across the region, coupled with high winds, has caused these fires to spread uncontrollably into the forests. Over 40,000 fires are now burning across millions of acres of the nation’s heartland.
Around the city of Santa Cruz, located 550 kilometres to the southeast of the capital of La Paz, farmers are fleeing their ranches in fear that more strong winds will bring the destructive wildfires to their fields and livestock.
Doctors and pediatricians are reporting a 30% increase in cases of respiratory illnesses, due to the heavy smoke which is lingering over the area. The most susceptible are the young and elderly.
Forest fires are not uncommon in Bolivia. In 2010, the government declared a state of emergency last August when the number of fires jumped from 17,000 to over 25,000 in just three days. Over 3.7 million acres were lost as well as nearly 60 homes. This year's fires have already broken last year's record, and are on course to break the all-time record of 2004, when 50,000 fires were recorded.
Local government officials are vowing to raise fines for uncontrolled burns. Even though yearly wildfires are common, the country is poorly equipped to handle them due to insufficient water-bombing aircraft.

Monsoon rains swamp much of Asia The monsoon rains have caused chaos across much of Asia

Monsoon rains cause flooding in Sarabun, Thailand [Gallo/Getty]

The devastating floods in Pakistan have overshadowed the fact that many other parts of Asia have also been suffering from too much rainfall over the past few weeks. The list of countries affected is extensive and includes China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and of course India.
Over 250 people have died in the flooding in SE Pakistan and despite the fact that the rain has now eased somewhat, the floodwaters are still reluctant to recede. Run-off from the higher ground will add to the problems for many days to come.
Widespread heavy rain has also hit eastern and northwestern China recently, disrupting transport and tourism. Shangdong Province has suffered for 5 successive days now and the rain is not expected to ease for at least another 3 days. Shaanxi and Huayin have also been submerged by the extensive downpours.
In the case of India, not only has the northwest been badly hit, the eastern state of Orissa has also suffered, as floods caused major destruction, forcing thousands of people to leave their villages and take up refuge in relief camps. More than 65,000 people have been affected by the adverse conditions.
Meanwhile, at least 2,000 houses were damaged in northern and central Vietnam as a result of heavy rains and flooding since the weekend. Six people have been killed in that time.
Similarly, Thailand continues to struggle with this season’s monsoon rains. More than 80 people have died and there are still flood warnings in force across 14 provinces. Some of the dams are at 95% capacity and it is possible that the floodwaters could extend into Bangkok. Media reports suggest that some of the dams could be opened by the Thai government to release the flood waters.
This is creating much cause for concern in neighbouring Cambodia where 4 people have already died as a result of flooding.
Rising floodwaters have already hit four provinces close to the Thai border with another three also under threat. Officials in Phnom Penh are bracing the city against a similar fate with the Tonle Sap and Mekong river currently full to overflowing. The rainy season does extend right through October (which is, on average, the wettest month) so it seems likely that conditions could get worse before they get better.

Pakistan swamped by severe flooding Once more the province of Sindh is inundated

Last year's monsoon rains caused the death of over 2,000 people in Pakistan

It's not unusual for Pakistan to endure flooding during the monsoon rains. Almost every year, somewhere is inundated and homes are flooded, but the last two years have been exceptional.
This year, Pakistan's Meteorological Office had forecast the monsoon rains to be ten percent below average, but for some parts of the country, the flooding has still been extreme.

The worst hit area this year has been in the southeastern Sindh province. More than 200 people are known to have died and 200,000 have been made homeless.
You might expect that the more rain that falls, then the more flooding there will be, but it's not quite that straightforward. The amount of flooding that an area suffers from depends on a number of things, including the topography of the land, the land type (cement or soil), and how much rain the area normally receives.

August is normally the wettest month for Pakistan, but the monsoon rains don't fall uniformly across the country. The heaviest rains are usually seen in the northeast, with Islamabad recording an average August rainfall of 258mm (10 inches). This contrasts starkly with the rainfall in the south, which is a desert region. Jacobabad, in Sindh Province, only receives a paltry 35mm (1.4 inches) in the whole of August.

This means that in the south, the ground is baked hard by the sun. This reduces the land's ability to absorb water, so it will take less rain to cause flooding.
In the Sindh province, the city of Badin reported over 145mm (5.7 inches) rain for two days running. This is a serious amount of rain, which would cause flooding in any part of the world. In the dry southern state of Pakistan, it caused devastating floods which marooned several villages and washed away thousands of acres of crops.

There was a slight reprieve in the rains for a few weeks, before they returned towards the end of the month. Since then, the rains have been relentless, with yet more daunting rainfall statistics being seen throughout the province.
The cause of this year’s flooding could well be the La Nina conditions which have established in the Pacific Ocean. La Nina often brings a wetter monsoon season for Pakistan and India, and would explain why this year’s rains have been so heavy in some parts of the region.
In June it was believed that the La Nina conditions were over. The Pacific waters had returned to normal and gradually its impact on the weather around the globe was expected to decrease. However, this didn’t happen, and La Nina surprised scientists by returning to the Pacific. This could well explain why the rains were so much heavier than expected, and the La Nina conditions will continue to have implications on the weather around the globe over the coming months.

There is also another problem for the province of Sindh this year, which was caused by last year's floods. The extent of the flooding in 2010 caused the mighty Indus River to punch holes in its banks and submerged vast plains on either side of it. The damage to dykes and embankments was so bad, that it's reported that the Indus has actually changed its course, meaning that the villages that are now at risk of flooding are villages that have rarely had to face flooding before.

The monsoon rains in Sindh are expected to ease in the next few weeks, as the monsoon starts its annual retreat. However, until the rains finally clear, there can be no guarantee against further flooding in the region.

Thai park crocodiles at large after floods Park owners scramble to recapture reptiles after they made a break for freedom, 100km southeast of capital Bangkok.

Million Years Stone Park says it has the largest population of salt water crocodiles in Thailand [EPA]

Dozens of crocodiles have escaped from a zoo and reptile farm in Thailand after floods swept their habitat, a park spokesman said.
Suthawut Temtub said on Tuesday that 28 crocodiles from Million Years Stone Park and Crocodile Farm, which is 100km southeast of the capital, Bangkok, had been recaptured since breaking away from the park enclosure on Sunday night.
He said the farm houses more than 2,000 crocodiles, ranging from 2 to 4 metres in length, and it was not yet known how many were missing.

Heavy downpours over the weekend caused flooding in Thailand's east, including areas around Pattaya.
Farm workers and locals had joined in the search for the missing reptiles.
Thai television ran images of large crocodiles being returned to the farm with their jaws tied shut and carried by up to six men.
Crocodiles can be dangerous to humans and notices are usually put up on farms and zoos warning visitors.
On its website, the Million Years Stone Park says it has the "largest population of salt water crocodiles in this country" as well as smaller fresh water crocodiles and other exotic animals.
Crocodiles are bred for their skins which can be used to make handbags and shoes.

Mexico City suburb submerbed Residents of Cuautitlan Mexico wait for flood waters to recede

In recent days flooding in Mexico has displaced thousands of residents. [AFP PHOTO]

Mexico's state governor, Pena Nieto, is describing the community of Cuautitlan as a "lagoon". 6000 residents of this northern suburb of Mexico City have been living in flooded houses since last weekend.
The flooding started early Saturday morning after heavy rains caused a nearby river to overflow its banks, forcing 1200 families to seek shelter on higher ground. Many of the homes experienced water levels to their rooflines with the highest flooding in some locations reaching five metres.
While some minor flooding does occur in Cuautitlan during the summer rainy season, a natural disaster of this magnitude has never occurred here before. Residents have long been complaining that the inadequate and overwhelmed drainage system for the city was partly to blame for the damage to their community.
With dams closed to stop water flowing to the Cuautitlan River, waters have begun to slowly recede, but not as fast as they could. On Tuesday more rain fell across the region. only delaying the clean-up and recovery efforts. Mexican soldiers have been deployed to help the residents to safety and salvage personal belongings.
Floodwater has also covered about 110 hectares of agricultural land around the community.
To the northeast of Cuautitlan, along the Mexican coast, just south of Texas, another potential flooding event is looming.  Tropical storm Nate is currently churning in the Bay of Campeche. The forecast trend for Nate is to slowly intensify over the following days and make a turn to the northwest, possibly making landfall in the state of Tamaulipas early next week.

Typhoon Roke adds to Japan's woes Typhoon Roke's track across Japan and its likely effects

Typhoon Roke over Japan [NASA]

Yet again, Japan finds itself on the receiving end of massive natural forces. Typhoon Roke is following hard on the heels of Typhoon Talas which, earlier this month, caused the deaths of at least 67 people.

At 0700 GMT Wednesday Typhoon Roke was located close to Kakegawa and it was expected to track northeast, close to Tokyo, before moving out into the Pacific. Its track is expected to be close enough to Hokkaido to threaten parts of the island with major rainfall.

Rainfall totals from the islands of Kyushu, Shikoku and western Honshu have mostly been between 100 and 150 millmetres over the last 24 hours but in a few locations they have totalled in excess of 400 millimetres.  Taken in isolation this torrential rain would be enough to cause concern about the risk of flooding. But Japan has experienced so much rain over the last few weeks that water levels are very high and this rain is sure to cause very serious flooding issues.

To make matters worse, weather forecasts suggest another 200 to 250 millimetres of rain will fall in eastern parts of the country before Roke eventually leaves the land and tracks into the Pacific.

Winds, too, are a significant hazard. Sustained winds of 165 kph, strong enough to cause structural damage, are expected to decrease to around 100 kph. The combination of very strong winds and saturated ground will also weaken tree roots, so there may be more fallen trees than would otherwise be the case.

In March this year Japan suffered the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami.  The Fukushima nuclear plant,which was badly damaged,is thought to be at risk from Roke. There is concern that torrential rain could cause radioactive seawater at the plant to overflow into the sea or groundwater.

Disruption ahead of Roke has seen evacuation warnings issued to more than 1.3 million people. Sadly, despite the warnings, four people have already died as the result of floods and two are reported missing. Flights and bullet trains have been cancelled and the car manufacturer, Toyota, has been forced to suspend production in most of its plants.

Although some may feel that Japan has suffered enough the effects of tropical storms in 2011, it should be pointed out that the typhoon season runs until January. Unfortunately Japan may well experience more dreadful weather conditions before the year is out.

Weather today's global

Doha Qatar
Today's High: 39 C
Winds: From the North East
8 kph
Tonight's Low: 30 C
39 C
6 kph
29 C
42 C
South East
10 kph
29 C
43 C
South West
13 kph
31 C

Stich serves up response to Murray's comments Following Andy Murray's suggestion that players could strike, Wimbledon winner Michael Stich defends tennis calendar.

 Stich says the players of his era played just as much tennis and never complained [GALLO/GETTY] 

Tennis great Michael Stich has given complaining tennis stars some stick after Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal criticised the hectic tennis calendar.
The former Wimbledon champion says that top players threatening to strike in protest at a crowded schedule should stop living in a dream world.

Rumblings of discontent have surfaced in recent weeks with world number four Andy Murray claiming on Monday that leading players were "not afraid" to consider strike action.

The jam-packed calendar has long been an issue and leading players will meet at the Shanghai Masters next month to discuss their grievances.

However, Stich believes they have little to complain about.
"They have a shorter season than we used to have. I played singles and doubles and you look at guys like Stefan Edberg they played singles and doubles at grand slams and they never complained"
Michael Stich
"I don't think it's a big issue," the German, who won Wimbledon in 1991, told the BBC.

"I think the players forget that all the tournaments out there provide them with jobs.

"They are not playing more than 10 or 15 years ago. It's just like they are running after exhibitions, they are trying to make more money and don't even fulfil their commitments to the smaller tournaments some times.

"They have a shorter season than we used to have. I played singles and doubles and you look at guys like Stefan Edberg they played singles and doubles at grand slams and they never complained, they loved it, it was their job."
In response to Andy Murray's recent complaints, Stich had some firm words.

"Murray doesn't even play four rounds of Davis Cup throughout the year. It's not down to the tournaments and the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals), it's down to the players themselves. Perhaps they need to look out for their bodies and pick their tournaments better?

"They seem to want to play less but have more prize money and have more influence on the schedule. It's not a dream world out there it's a job and if you take that on you have to deal with the situations you find."

It's a partnership

Stich, who also won the Wimbledon and Olympic doubles titles, said crowded tournament schedule allowed lower-ranked players to earn a living.

"They should never forget that it's a partnership," said Stich.

"If they go on strike they should think what about if the tournaments went on strike because then they wouldn't have a job, no income and no career.

"They should get into discussions that are reasonable, which is happening, but to go on strike is not a good solution." 

Currently, top-ranked players are obliged to play all four grand slams, eight Masters Series events, the ATP World Tour finals should they qualify and a handful of smaller ATP tournaments. On top of that they also have Davis Cup commitments to their countries.
Stich believes players like Murray should take more responsibility over their tennis schedule [GETTY] 
Things came to a head this month at the U.S. Open when bad weather forced players in the bottom half of the draw, which featured both Murray and Rafa Nadal, to play three singles matches in three days just to reach the semi-finals.

While there was little any one could do to stop the rain, Murray said he felt the sport's organisers needed to listen to the concerns of the players over the schedule.

"If we come up with a list of things we want changed, and everyone is in agreement but they don't happen, then we need to have some say in what goes on in our sport. At the moment we don't," Briton Murray said on Monday.

"We'll sit down, talk about it with the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and International Tennis Federation (ITF), see if they will come to a compromise and, if not, we'll go from there.

"We just want things to change, really small things. Two or three weeks during the year, a few less tournaments each year, which I don't think is unreasonable."

Last November ATP chief Adam Helfant announced that the season would be trimmed by two weeks and a seven-week off-season will be in place from 2012.

This year world number two Nadal could find himself playing in December in the Davis Cup final with the 2012 season beginning less than a month later.

Barcelona need Qatar investment The president of Barcelona Sandro Rosell believes his club needs the backing of Qatar group to compete with rivals Real.

Barca need funding from Qatar Sports Investment so they can chase the world's best players such as Neymar [GETTY]

There seems to be little room for ethical and moral considerations in the big business of football these days.
Barcelona are shifting their allegiances from a charity to the wealth of Qatar as they look to maintain their status as one of the world's most powerful football clubs.

Barcelona's president Sandro Rosell has urged members to back the club's lucrative sponsorship deal with Qatar Sports Investment or risk the cash being invested elsewhere, including potentially in great rivals Real Madrid.
Barca members will vote on the record five-year deal, worth as much as $232 million, at a general assembly on Saturday amid criticism officials have compromised the club's ideals for material gain.
The Spanish and European champions were one of the few sides in world soccer not to have a corporate logo on their shirts, instead displaying the name of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), for which they paid the organisation $2 million a year.
"If this money doesn't go to Barca it will be reinvested somewhere else. Let's hope it's not in our biggest rival (Real)"
Barca president Sandro Rosell
However, since the Qatar deal their shirts have carried the name "Qatar Foundation" on the front, with UNICEF relocated to the back below the player's name.
"I would vote yes to Qatar Foundation," Rosell was quoted as saying in local media.
"This income is a necessity for the club," he said.

"If this money doesn't go to Barca it will be reinvested somewhere else. Let's hope it's not in our biggest rival (Real)."
The extra money would come in handy if Barcelona were to compete against Real Madrid in the signing of Brazilian teenage sensation Neymar.
Staying, for now

The well-regarded Santos striker has again dismissed reports he has reached a deal with Barcelona or Real Madrid but it is believed he will soon be seeking European football.
At the moment he is happy to stay with Santos at least until next year's Olympics in London.
Neymar says he feels honoured to be linked with the Spanish powerhouses but is happy for now to be playing in Brazil, near his family and friends.
Neymar said on Monday "it has already been decided'' that he "won't leave" Santos until at least the midyear transfer window in 2012.
The 19-year-old Neymar has been touted as a future Brazil star and is expected to lead the team in the 2014 World Cup on home soil.
There have been daily reports, particularly in Brazil and Spain, speculating about Neymar's future.

Villarreal notch up first win of the season The Yellow Submarine finally end their disappointing start to the Primera Division season with a home win over Mallorca.

Villarreal finally click into gear after a poor start to the season [REUTERS]

Villarreal scored in each half to beat Mallorca 2-0 on Tuesday for their first victory in Spain's Primera Division this season.
Giuseppe Rossi scored Villarreal's opener at El Madrigal stadium when he slotted under goalkeeper Dudu Aouate in the eighth minute.
Mallorca struggled to finish off their scoring opportunities, and Nilmar added Villarreal's second in the 52nd when he received Borja Valero's perfectly placed pass, rounded Aouate in one touch and rolled the ball home.
Previously, Villarreal had only earned one point from a possible nine and been held scoreless in three of their last four games, including their loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Struggling Mallorca
Mallorca have lost three straight games and only scored one goal this season. That goal was netted by now Villarreal midfielder Jonathan de Guzman, who faced his old team for the first time since transferring to the "Yellow Submarine" barely three weeks ago.
Also, Sevilla drew 0-0 with Osasuna, and Real Sociedad edged Granada 1-0.
Valencia host defending champions Barcelona on Wednesday while Real Madrid try to rebound from their loss at Levante when they visit the winless Racing Santander.
The undefeated Sevilla's second straight away draw lifted them one point behind league leaders Valencia and Real Betis.
Anxious to improve after Saturday's 8-0 drubbing by Barcelona, Osasuna created more chances in the early stages with only some good goalkeeping by Javi Varas keeping the hosts from scoring.
Sevilla tried to respond through the pace of Jesus Navas. The Spain winger blasted over the top in the 50th minute and shortly after watched his angled shot fly just past the far post.
Osasuna regained control of the game toward the end as Sevilla visibly tired at Reyno de Navarra stadium. But Varas stepped up again in the 64th to block Juan "Nino" Martinez's shot from inside in the area, and Belgian forward Roland Lamah sent his volley into the side netting in the 88th.
Elsewhere, right back Daniel Estrada's second-half goal earned Real Sociedad their second victory of the season.
After an evenly matched first half, Estrada caught Granada goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez slightly off his line in the 64th with an excellent shot from outside the area.
Granada's Allan Nyom had a great opportunity to snatch a draw, but the defender shot over from point-blank range in the last minute of injury time.

Also on Wednesday, Atletico Madrid host Sporting Gijon, and Athletic Bilbao are at Malaga.
The newly promoted Betis try to maintain their perfect record against Zaragoza on Thursday after Getafe hosts Espanyol.

Men get the boot in Turkish football Turkey's football association comes up with a solution for hooliganism by banning men from stadiums.

A thing of the past: Male Fenerbahce fans lose in a bid to combat crowd violence [GALLO/GETTY]

Turkey has come up with a radical solution for tackling crowd violence at football matches - ban the men and let only women and children in.
Under new rules approved by Turkey's football association, only women and children under the age of 12 will be admitted to watch games - for free - involving teams which have been sanctioned for unruly behaviour by their fans.
On Tuesday, women formed long lines around Fenerbahce's Sukru Saracoglu stadium, some carrying babies in the team's colours, for an opportunity to watch their club for free.
More than 41,000 women and children filled the stadium to watch the Istanbul side draw 1-1 with Manisapor, the club announced.
Fenerbahce was ordered to play two home matches without any spectators after its fans invaded the pitch during a friendly against Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk.
The federation changed its rules this week to allow women and children in.
Tuesday's game kicked off with Fenerbahce and Manisaspor players hurling flowers at the spectators. The visiting team was greeted with applause, instead of the usual jeering, the Anatolia news agency reported.
Fenerbahce captain Alex de Sousa said: "This memory will stay with me forever. It's not always that you see so many women and children in one game.''
Manisaspor midfielder Omer Aysan said: "It was such a fun and pleasant atmosphere.''
The fans were searched by all-women police officers.
"This really is a historic day,'' said Yasemin Mercil, a female member of Fenerbahce's executive board.
"For the first time in the world, only women and children will watch a game.''
"The women know all the chants. The same anthems, the same chants will be sung."
Yasemin Mercil
Fenerbahce exec board
"The women know all the chants. The same anthems, the same chants will be sung,'' Mercil said before the game.
Fenerbahce was sanctioned by the association in July following trouble by fans who also attacked journalists for what they regarded as critical coverage of a match-fixing probe that involves the league champion.
Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim is among 30 suspects detained in the case and the club faces the threat of being stripped of its title and possible relegation. It also lost its chance to play in this season's Champions League.
Women showed their support to Yildirim, with some wearing T-shirts emblazoned with his photograph.
"We have to thank the ladies for coming to support us,'' Fenerbahce defender Joseph Yobo told Lig TV.
"It's difficult playing without the fans.''

AC Milan held by Udinese Serie A title holders remain winless as 10-man Juventus draw 1-1 with Bologna to end their strong start.

Eighteen-year-old forward Stephan El Shaarawy equalised in the 63rd after replacing Alexandre Pato [AFP]

Teenager Stephan El Shaarawy saved AC Milan's blushes as he came off the bench to snatch an equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Udinese at the San Siro on Wednesday.
The result left Milan just a point above the relegation zone and means that neither of the two Milan giants have a victory after three games of the new season.
Inter Milan's 3-1 defeat at Novara on Tuesday, which led to coach Gian Piero Gasperini being sacked on Wednesday, means they are in the bottom three, a point behind Milan.
Genoa are the early Serie A leaders on goals scored after they beat Catania 3-0.
Lucky escape
In Milan the champions were hoping to avoid the pitfalls that befell their neighbours the day before but in the end were lucky to escape with a point.
In a quiet start the only clear chance came from an Alexandre Pato header that drifted well off target.
That was just about the Brazilian forward's only contribution before he limped off to be replaced by Italo-Egyptian teenager El Shaarawy, an Italy youth international who spent last season on loan at Serie B Padova.
Milan shot themselves in the foot on 29 minutes as goalkeeper Christian Abbiati spilled a Gabriel Torje cross from the left and Antonio Di Natale accepted the gift to shoot into an empty net.
Marauding full-back Pablo Armero then tested Abbiati's nerves with a rocket the keeper stopped at his near post.
The closest Milan came in the first period was a bullet free-kick from Dutch veteran Clarence Seedorf that beat Samir Handanovic but crashed back off the post.
In first half injury time Antonio Cassano teed up Antonio Nocerino but Handanovic was out quickly to block at his feet before Ignazio Abate fired the rebound wide.
The champions turned up the pressure after the restart and Handanovic had to make another crucial stop to deny Cassano a clear scoring opportunity.
Seedorf clipped the ball over the top and Cassano took it down on his chest before firing against Handanovic's legs from seven yards.
It was backs to the wall for Udinese and they crumbled on 63 minutes as Cassano slipped the ball to his right and El Shaarawy pulled the ball back across a wrong-footed Handanovic and inside the far post.
Wednesday 21 September
 AC Milan 1-1 Udinese
 Cesena 1-2 Lazio
 Chievo 1-0 Napoli
 Fiorentina 3-0 Parma
 Genoa 3-0 Catania
 Juventus 1-1 Bologna
 Lecce 1-2 Atalanta
 Palermo 3-2 Cagliari
That sparked Udinese out of their shell and they almost had the lead again 15 minutes from time when Di Natale teed up Giampiero Pinza who cracked a shot against the inside of the post, the ball rolling across the line before going wide of the far post.
In the closing stages Milan were indebted to Abbiati for holding onto a point.
First he scrambled across his line to claw away a header from Morocco centre-back Mehdi Benatia before moments later getting down quickly to save a snap-shot from Di Natale.
Rodrigo Palacio, a transfer window target for Milan, scored twice before Guinea midfielder Kevin Constant added the third to send Genoa top.
Juventus remain just behind after a 1-1 draw at home to Bologna.
Mirko Vucinic opened the scoring for the hosts before getting sent off before half-time.
Daniele Portanova scored the equaliser seven minutes into the second period.
Napoli dropped off the top after losing 1-0 at Chievo as coach Walter Mazzarri's team selection backfired spectacularly as he left out five first-team regulars.
Atalanta moved off the bottom following a 2-1 win at Lecce that means they even moved above Inter and out of the relegation zone despite starting the season with a six-point penalty.

Tonga keep World Cup dreams alive Tonga grab their first victory of the Rugby World Cup with a 31-18 victory over Japan to keep quarters in sight.

Villami Ma'afu stretches over the line for Tonga's first try [GALLO/GETTY]

Tonga beat Japan 31-18 in an open, entertaining and error-ridden clash on Wednesday to keep alive their slim hopes of reaching the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.
Tonga's hulking forward pack enjoyed total dominance during scrum time but they failed to make the most of their obvious physical advantage at the Northland Events Centre.
That lack of discipline and poor decision-making kept Asian and Pacific Nations champions Japan in the game.
Tonga must beat France in their final game with a bonus point and hope the Europeans lose to New Zealand heavily on Saturday to have any chance of reaching the last eight.
Chasing victory
"We just needed to get a win," Tonga captain Aleki Lutui said in a pitchside interview after avenging their 28-27 defeat by Japan in the Pacific Nations Cup in July.
"We are proud of our performance today but that's not the end of the road, we've got another game next week."
The Tongan forwards tore into the Japanese from the kickoff after Japan captain Takashi Kikutani spilled the ball from a huge hit in his own 22 in the opening play.
Six minutes of Tongan pressure followed before number eight Viliami Ma'afu drove over from short range after the Japan scrum had been wheeled towards the touchline under immense pressure.
The Japanese forwards looked rattled but bounced back from their early roughing up to snatch a try with their first attack in the 14th minute through Kensuke Hatakeyama.
The prop picked and drove over from the back of a ruck on the Tongan line and, despite appearing to make a double movement, was awarded the score by the video referee.
Tonga, however, replied instantly when lock Tukulua Lokotui was on hand to run in an easy overlap after the ball had popped out of the ruck on the Tongan side from the restart.
Flyhalf Kurt Morath converted from near the left touchline but Japan came roaring back in the see-sawing encounter.
Poor defending
Slack Tongan defending allowed Japanese inside centre Ryan Nicholas to break through and, after quick recycled ball and another slick handling move, flanker Michael Leitch was able to power over in the corner for their second try.
The two sides gave away 27 penalties between them and Morath was on form with the boot and slotted another in the 28th minute to extend the lead.
Morath's counterpart James Arlidge was having a far worse evening and, after failing to convert the opening two tries, he was sin-binned in the 31st minute after racing into an offside position to intercept a pass as Tonga threatened once again.
Morath kicked the three points to extend the lead to 18-10 but despite being a man down, fullback Shaun Webb kicked a penalty just before the break for Japan's "Brave Blossoms" to close the gap to five.
Tonga ran in their third try in the 54th minute when winger Fetu'u Vainikolo cut inside and barged through a poor tackle by Arlidge to score.
Morath converted to stretch the score to 28-13 as the Tongans threatened to cut loose.
But more ill discipline cost them as replacement prop Halani Aulika was shown a yellow card with 20 minutes to go after Tonga were deemed guilty of persistent offending by English referee Dave Pearson.
Japan made the most of the numerical advantage and centre Alisi Tupuailai cut back on a sharp line to crash over and close the gap to 10 points but Arlidge was again wayward with the conversion.
Morath's slotted his fourth penalty for a 31-18 lead in the 67th minute and despite late pressure and lock Lokotui being shown a yellow card, Japan could not close the gap to earn a bonus point.
"The game itself was so tough. We apologise for not being able to win," Kikutani said in a pitchside interview.
"We will keep up our good work against Canada, we will never give up."

Inter Milan sack Gasperini Coach sacked after one draw and four defeats in just five competitive matches in charge of Serie A side

The ex-Genoa boss suffered a disastrous 3-1 defeat last Tuesday by newly-promoted Novara [GALLO/GETTY]

As expected Inter Milan on Wednesday sacked Gian Piero Gasperini from his coaching role following the previous day's 3-1 Serie A defeat at newly-promoted Novara.
The club has been put in the temporary charge of assistants Giuseppe Baresi and Daniele Bernazzani.
Gasperini lasted only three months in the job, taking charge of three league games and one match in the Champions League, losing three and drawing one.
Former Chelsea, Juventus and AS Roma coach Claudio Ranieri was widely expected to replace him, with Italian media saying he was involved in negotiations with the club and would take charge of training on Thursday.
However, there was no immediate confirmation from Inter that they were talking to Ranieri.
Time's up
Earlier in the day Inter president Massimo Moratti had hinted that Gasperini's time was up.
Speaking to journalists as he arrived at his offices in Milan, Moratti was asked if Gasperini would be staying but replied: "I don't think so.
"It's a difficult situation, especially for him. I haven't thought about a replacement yet.
"I don't think it's a problem related to his relationship with the players. His is a difficult situation from every point of view. We'll see during the course of the day.
"I didn't like anything I saw last night."
The 53-year-old Gasperini was not even at training on Wednesday morning with Baresi and Bernazzani taking the session instead.
The coach was instead in talks with Inter technical director Marco Branca and sports director Piero Ausilio, according to press reports.
And that resulted in his sacking.
Losing streak
Inter failed to win a single game under Gasperini, who had courted controversy by favouring a back three rather than the traditional back four.
They lost away to Palermo (4-3) and Novara in the league while also being beaten at home by Trabzonspor (1-0) in the Champions League.
They were also held to a 0-0 draw at home to Roma in Serie A and lost the Italian Supercup to bitter rivals AC Milan in August.
Having been born just outside Turin, Gasperini began his playing career in the Juventus youth team, although he never made a senior league appearance, managing only a handful of cup outings.
He spent the majority of his career playing in the lower divisions before rejoining Juve as a youth team coach in 1994.
After nine years coaching various youth teams at the club he moved to the head coach role at Crotone, leading them to promotion to the Italian Serie B.
In 2006 in joined Genoa, leading taking them up to Serie A in his first season and then also leading them to their highest finish in 19 years in 2009 when they came fifth.
He was, however, sacked last November after a poor start to the season and remained out of work until Inter called him to replace Leonardo in June.

Indian elites' rude awakening

Anti-corruption movement reflects rising middle class's dissatisfaction with messy democracy as usual.

A string of bribery scandals have contributed to the perception of increasing corruption in India [Reuters]

Every five years, India wins fulsome praise from Western governments and pundits alike for the mere act of holding general elections. The sheer scale of the exercise in a vast and diverse country with a billion-plus population understandably elicits admiration from around the world.
However, as the ongoing movement against corruption demonstrates, Indians are far from content with just exercising the right to re-elect or throw out a government. They may find it humbling to be described as citizens of the world's largest democracy, yet they are also increasingly conscious of the inadequacies of their political system.
Indeed, over the last several decades, and especially the last few years, the urban middle classes - who now comprise a fourth of the Indian population - have come to view their political representatives and bureaucrats as unable or unwilling to deliver clean, transparent and efficient administration in step with economic development.
In the words of Vinay Sitapati, a doctoral student at Princeton University, "the new corporate middle class has little patience with the politics of dignity and identity that are ... central to Indian politics. For them, the state is about providing services for which they pay with their tax money."
"All the lofty talk about the majesty of institutions and the supremacy of parliament fails to impress middle-class Indians. "
Whether this dissatisfaction with electoral politics is shared uniformly across religious, caste and social boundaries, is open to debate. But if the findings of numerous opinion polls are any guide, large segments of the urban Indian population have lost faith in the institutions of governance.
The recent string of bribery scandals - notably, the 2G phone-licences auction, the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Taj Corridor and Adarsh Housing Society - have undoubtedly contributed to the perception about increasing corruption in India.
But even the 2010 Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International, the respected global watchdog, had given the country an integrity score of just 3.3 on a scale of 0 to 10, placing it in the same dubious league as Albania, Liberia and Jamaica.
'Zero legitimacy'
By most accounts, all the lofty talk about the majesty of institutions and the supremacy of parliament fails to impress middle-class Indians. Representative democracy and social justice too have little meaning when they regard the state as a rent-seeking behemoth incapable of preventing repeated terrorist attacks, modernising urban infrastructure, or providing efficient public services.
A recent State of the Nation survey conducted by CSDS, a Delhi-based think-tank, found 66 per cent of urban India believed the federal government is corrupt, compared to 58 per cent of rural India.
Furthermore, as many as 71 per cent of all those with college or higher education were aware of corruption, as opposed to just 49 per cent of the illiterate.
Hazare's team made history by getting parliament to
agree to its demands for an anti-corruption bill  [AFP]
As Ashis Nandy, a leading Indian social scientist who heads the CSDS, noted in a recent essay: "It is true ... that while the legitimacy of the democratic system is high in India, the legitimacy of the politicians is almost zero. In virtually every serious opinion poll conducted during the last 15-odd years, the politicians, along with the police and the bureaucracy, are ranked near the bottom."
The limited success achieved by last month's non-violent protests in support of the hunger-striking social activist Anna Hazare has kindled hopes that elected representatives and the executive will from now on be, just maybe, a little more responsive to middle-class sentiments and expectations.
Parliament was forced to adopt a non-binding resolution to take into consideration Hazare’s demands - to create a series of powerful ombudsmen, or Lokpals, able to penalise officials for corruption, and to write a "citizen's charter," setting out what services government agencies are required to provide.
But the optimism is tempered by a deep-seated belief that the blight of corruption is too complex and deeply entrenched to be eliminated by any legislative legerdemain.
While Hazare was on a 12-day hunger strike at New Delhi's Ramlila Maidan, it was obvious that the attention he attracted was a reflection of the national sense of disgust over the mind-boggling fraud figures rather than a sweeping endorsement of a specific piece of legislation, namely the Jan Lokpal bill.
Sanjeev Aga, a Mumbai-based commentator, summed up the attitude of a broadly sympathetic public best when he told the Indian Express newspaper: "To me the details of the Jan Lokpal draft matter less. Someone had to stand up, someone has! In civilisational terms, this is an inflexion point of far greater long-term import. India will not be the same again."
Mixed reactions
Those supportive of the anti-corruption movement say it has its heart in the right place even if its methods are controversial and its economic concepts somewhat woolly. More vitally, they consider Hazare and his core team to be paragons of sincerity and probity, qualities they do not normally associate with politicians.
On the other hand, critics of Hazare's movement on both the left and the right have attacked the Jan Lokpal bill as impractical and ineffective.
"It presumes that a multitude of Lokpals/Lokayuktas (ombudsmen) will cover about 14 million federal and state government employees," JS Bandukwala, a civil liberties activist in India's Gujarat state, wrote in a critique. "Assuming a modest figure of one complaint per 100 employees, we may have around 140,000 employees investigated every year."
The anti-corruption movement is seen as a reflection of public disgust over recent government scandals [AFP]
And in a recent blog entry, Sadanand Dhume, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a Wall Street Journal columnist, wrote: "Only in India can you try and fight a problem created by an unwieldy bureaucracy by proposing a fresh layer of unwieldy bureaucracy."
Many of Hazare's critics insist that the solution to corruption does not lie in legislation that creates an unaccountable army of inspectors with enormous powers but in "draining the swamp" - that is, the sources of corruption.
To its credit, the federal government has already launched an ambitious project to create a nationwide identity database under the leadership of Nandan Nilekani, an entrepreneurial icon and founder of the software company, Infosys.
Workers of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) are creating what will be the world's largest biometric database.
The objective of the UIDAI is to reduce the disparity impairing India's growth story by digitally tying every citizen to the prosperity boat, atlhough the project's success is by no means assured.
By allowing electronic transmission and verification of many social services, the identity system is expected to make it difficult for government officials to siphon off benefits.
In a recent TV interview, Nilekani urged Hazare's movement to look at the corruption issue in "a much more strategic and holistic manner and not by just passing some one law".
“You have to go back and look at the systems ... you have to fundamentally analyse and improve the systems themselves and make them much more streamlined, reduce interfaces, reduce discretion, make more technology interfaces," he said.
Anti-bribery law
Another respected member of India's corporate fraternity, Deepak Parekh, has championed the adoption of anti-bribery legislation along British lines.
Appearing in a recent episode of the Walk the Talk programme on India’s NDTV channel, he said: "If this [act] is enacted and implemented, it will reduce corruption in our country because of the fear of going behind bars for 10 years. This should be introduced in India so even in a passport office, the man knows the risks, the consequences. If he is caught, he is in deep trouble."
Earlier this year, Parekh was among a group of eminent Indian industry figures who wrote an open letter addressed to national leaders decrying "the widespread governance deficit almost in every sphere of national activity covering government, business and institutions".
"Some scholars who were initially sceptical of the Hazare team's motives now say the movement, if anything, has highlighted the importance of direct democracy and civil society. "
Some civil-society activists are wary of the Hazare movement's seeming faith in a single "super institution" [Lokpal] that doesn't have a proper system of checks and balances and is not accountable to the people.
Instead, they back the creation of adequately empowered multiple institutions to deal with governance issues at different levels - high levels, the middle- and lower-level bureaucracy, judicial corruption and public grievances.
As a complementary step, "existing institutions and laws must be strengthened to enable them to tackle corruption, and to protect those who blow the whistle on corruption", according to Aruna Roy, a veteran rights activist and a member of the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information.
As Indians debate the issue of corruption and how to minimise it it, they are relieved that all the dire warnings about imminent danger to democracy and Arab Spring-like chaos have proved to be overblown.
Politicians, along with the police and bureaucracy, rank near the bottom in most public-opinion surveys [EPA]
Some scholars who were initially sceptical of the Hazare team's motives now say the movement, if anything, has highlighted the importance of direct democracy and civil society.
The organisers have earned praise for their non-violent methods, their deft media management and use of social networking tools, and their readiness to accept parliament's assurances in good faith.
As Pratap Bhanu Mehta, an Indian political scientist, observed: "The fact that there was a platform where thousands could peacefully coalesce around the symbolism of Anna Hazare is not a mean achievement. These signal new forms of mobilisation in future: the combination of the media, urban India, middle-class support is a potent force."
Indeed, the urban middle class, which is the social base of the Hazare movement, has won accolades for its renewed participation in the country's civic life. Charges of social exclusivism and illiberalism levelled by leftwing academics and media mavens failed to take into account the deeper reasons that have prompted the middle class to put their faith in movement politics in their quest for cleaner governance.
"Because the logic of Indian politics is so village-heavy, the urban middle class has been gradually withdrawing from the electoral sphere," Ashutosh Varshney, a Brown University professor and expert on Indian politics, explained in a recent oped in the Indian Express. "It recognises the media and civil society as its own spaces, the voting arena as somewhat alien."
'Site of extraction'
Pointing out that over two-thirds, perhaps as much as three-fourths, of India's GDP is now generated in cities where less than a third of the country lives, Varshney says that for "politicians, the city has primarily become a site of extraction, and the countryside predominantly a site of legitimacy and power".
Nevertheless, scholars like Varshney and Dhume believe the anti-corruption campaign should convert itself into something like the United States' Tea Party movement to have a deeper, long-term impact on policy.
With a majority of Indians predicted to reside in cities within the next two decades, they say, the increasingly urban and affluent middle class should now return to electoral politics instead of inveighing against political parties and elections.
They also caution that the task of improving governance cannot be outsourced to civil society, just as one piece of legislation [the Lokpal bill] cannot put an end to the country's culture of bribery.
"Now the newly awakened need to go a step further and start voting, running for office, and backing candidates who embody their values," Dhume says. "With economic growth and urbanisation, the size and influence of this potential constituency will only grow."
Whether the anti-corruption movement is ready to become a part of the messy political system it so disdains remains to be seen.
But politicians and government officials who think smear campaigns and delaying tactics will defuse India's grassroots outrage, had better read the handwriting on the wall.

Moody's downgrades several major US banks

Bank of America among those affected, as credit rating agency says US government less likely to fund future bailouts.

Bank of America shares were down three per cent, at $6.69, following the announcement [Reuters]

Moody's Investors Service has lowered the debt ratings for three major US lending firms, saying that it is now less likely for the US government to step in and bail them out should they require emergency funding.
The credit ratings agency downgraded long-term debt ratings for Bank of America and Wells Fargo Bank NA, and cut Bank of America's short-term rating and Bank of America NA's long-term deposit rating.
The firm confirmed Citigroup's long-term rating, but downgraded its short-term rating.
The US government is "more likely now than during the financial crisis to allow a large bank to fail should it become financially troubled, as the risks of contagion become less acute," the agency said in a statement on Wednesday.
The action concludes a three-month review of the banks credit ratings, initiated in June after Moody's said they faced a potential downgrade.
Moody's downgraded Bank of America's long-term senior debt rating to "Baa1" from "A2" and its short-term debt rating to "Prime 2" from "Prime 1".
Bank of America shares were down three per cent (at $6.69) after the announcement, with Citigroup down 0.1 per cent (at $26.89) and Wells Fargo up one per cent (at $24.92).
The cost of insuring Bank of America's debt in the credit default swap market also rose after the announcement.
'Dangerous new phase'
The banks' credit downgrade comes as the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday that the the world economy had entered a "dangerous new phase" of sharply lower growth.
Olivier Blanchard, the IMF's chief economist, said late on Tuesday that the global economy's "recovery has weakened considerably", adding that "strong policies are needed to improve the outlook and reduce the risks".

"Markets have clearly become more sceptical about the ability of many countries to stabilise their public debt ... Fear of the unknown is high"
- Olivier Blanchard, IMF's chief economist
The IMF expects the US economy to grow just 1.5 per cent this year and 1.8 per cent in 2012, down from its June forecast of 2.5 per cent in 2011 and 2.7 per cent next year.
As a result, the international lending organisation has sharply downgraded its economic outlook for the US and Europe through the end of next year.
To achieve even that still-low level of growth, the US economy would need to expand at a much faster rate in the second half of the year than its 0.7 per cent annual pace in the first six months.

Last month Standard & Poor's cut the long-term US credit rating by one notch to AA+ with a negative outlook, amid fears about budget deficits.
Eurozone outlook lowered
The IMF has also lowered its outlook for the 17 countries that use the euro. It predicts 1.6 per cent growth this year and 1.1 per cent next year, down from its June projections of 2 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively.
The gloomier forecast for Europe is based on worries that euro nations will not be able to contain their debt crisis and keep it from destabilising the region.
The IMF says the two big issues are the Eurozone and the anaemic US recovery [GALLO/GETTY]
"Markets have clearly become more sceptical about the ability of many countries to stabilise their public debt," Blanchard said. "Fear of the unknown is high."
Overall, the IMF predicts global growth of 4 per cent for both years. Stronger growth in China, India, Brazil and other developing countries should offset weaker output in the United States and Europe.
Financial turmoil and slow growth are feeding on each other in both the United States and Europe, IMF officials say.

Europe's debt crisis is causing banks to reduce lending and hold onto cash. Sharp stock market drops in the United States over the summer have hurt consumer and business confidence and will likely reduce spending.

That slows growth, which leads many investors to shift money out of stocks and into safer investments, such as Treasury bonds.
In Europe, slower growth will make it harder for stressed nations to get their debt under control.
US and European policymakers must act more decisively to cut budget deficits, the IMF said.
European banks need to boost their capital buffers more quickly and beyond new minimum levels set to come into force in 2019, the IMF said.

UBS trader charged with fraud in London

Man alleged to have lost bank $2.3bn in unauthorised trading appears in UK court charged with false accounting.

Kweku Adoboli was remanded in custody on charges dating back to 2008 [Reuters]

A UBS trader who is alleged to have lost $2.3bn in unauthorised trading at Swiss bank UBS has appeared in court in London charged with fraud and false accounting.
Kweku Adoboli, 31, wept in the dock at a City of London courtroom as presiding magistrate Carolyn Wagstaff told him he would be in custody until he appears at the same court again on September 22.
The charges said Adoboli filed false accounts between October 2008 and December 2009, and from January to September 2011.
Swiss and British regulators launched a probe to be conducted by a company independent of UBS to examine how the unauthorised trading occurred and remained hidden, and assess the strength of the bank's controls to prevent a repeat.
A packed courtroom looked on as Adoboli, the son of a retired United Nations official from Ghana, was ushered out of court to a waiting prison van surrounded by photographers.
Adoboli was represented by a lawyer from Kingsley Napley, the same firm that acted for Nick Leeson, the British trader whose losses brought down Barings Bank in 1995.
'False accounting'
Adoboli was arrested at UBS's London offices at 3:30 am (02:30 GMT) on Thursday. Within hours, the bank announced it had lost $2bn through unauthorised trading.
"City of London Police has since charged the 31 year old with fraud by abuse of position and false accounting," a spokeswoman said.
Police said the investigation was ongoing "and officers continue to work in close collaboration with the Serious Fraud Office, the Financial Services Authority and the Crown Prosecution Service".
The massive losses could force UBS to reduce the size of its investment banking unit and carry out sweeping job cuts, according to reports in Switzerland.
The incident could also prompt major management changes, said local media and analysts.
The bank, which had to be bailed out by the Swiss state after it was badly burnt by the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007 to 2008, had hoped to reap the benefits of 3,500 job cuts it announced last month.
Now thousands more jobs could be slashed from its global workforce of 65,000, news reports said.
Having plummeted by more than 10 per cent when the losses were revealed on Thursday, UBS shares rallied on Friday, closing up more than five per cent at $11.70.
Volatility of ETFs
Adoboli worked as a director of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in the equities department of the bank's London offices near Liverpool Street station.
ETFs are shares that can be traded and that track movements in other indexes, meaning they are highly susceptible to short-term volatility in prices.
The Serious Fraud Office said it had recently warned about the "inherent dangers" of ETFs "because they are not transparent".
The case comes three years after Jerome Kerviel ran up losses of $6.75bn at French bank Societe Generale through a similar type of trading to the transactions in which Adoboli specialised.
The latest case has raised questions over the level of regulation of the financial sector in Britain, which was tightened following the Kerviel affair.
"I don't think it's a breakdown of the whole financial system," said Manoj Ladwa, a senior trader at ETX Capital.
"The problem is within UBS because their risk management systems weren't quick enough to pick up that this trader had built very big positions within a very short period of time."
Following the arrest, ratings agencies Moody's and Standard & Poor's said they were considering lowering UBS's credit rating.
Moody's said its review of the rating will focus on "ongoing weaknesses in the group's risk management and controls that have become evident again".
S&P's pointed out that the trading loss also "comes at a time when UBS' profitability has been pressured by factors such as low client activity, and the strong Swiss franc".

Sick Gulf residents continue to blame BP

Many people living near the site of the BP oil spill have reported a long list of similar health problems.

Oil, tar balls, tar mats, and dead animals are still common sights along the Gulf of Mexico [Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera]

Just weeks after BP's oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, 2010, Fritzi Presley knew something was very wrong with her health.
The 57-year-old singer/songwriter from Long Beach, Mississippi began to feel sick, and went to her doctor.
"I began getting treatments for bronchitis, was put on several antibiotics and rescue inhalers, and even a breathing machine," she told Al Jazeera. The smell of chemicals on the Mississippi coastline is present on many days when wind blows in from the Gulf.
Presley's list of symptoms mirrors what many people living in the areas affected by BP's oil spill have told Al Jazeera.
"I was having them then, and still have killer headaches. I'm experiencing memory loss, and when I had my blood tested for chemicals, they found m,p-Xylene, hexane, and ethylbenzene in my body."
The 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf last year was the largest accidental marine oil spill in history, affecting people living near the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
Compounding the problem, BP has admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic dispersants, which are banned by many countries, including the UK. According to many scientists, these dispersants create an even more toxic substance when mixed with crude oil.
Dr Wilma Subra, a chemist in New Iberia, Louisiana, has tested the blood of BP cleanup workers and residents.
"Ethylbenzene, m,p-Xylene and hexane are volatile organic chemicals that are present in the BP crude oil," Subra explained to Al Jazeera. "The acute impacts of these chemicals include nose and throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, lung irritation, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea and vomiting."
Subra explained that exposure has been long enough to create long-term effects, such as "liver damage, kidney damage, and damage to the nervous system. So the presence of these chemicals in the blood indicates exposure".
Testing by Subra has also revealed BP's chemicals are present "in coastal soil sediment, wetlands, and in crab, oyster and mussel tissues".
Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, and skin and eye contact. Symptoms of exposure include headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitisation, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, genetic mutations, cardiac arrhythmia, and cardiovascular damage. The chemicals can also cause birth defects, mutations, and cancer.
Joseph Yerkes, from Okaloosa Island, Florida, was in BP's oil clean-up programme for more than two months, during which time he was exposed to oil and dispersants on a regular basis.
"My health worsened progressively," Yerkes said. "Mid-September [2010] I caught a cold that worsened until I went to a doctor, who gave me two rounds of antibiotics for the pneumonia-like symptoms, and he did blood tests and found high levels of toxic substances in my blood that he told me came from the oil and dispersants."
Since then, his life has been overrun with health problems and trying to get compensation from BP for his health costs and lost livelihood.
"They've [BP] not paid me a dime, and I'm scared," Yerkes, whose lawyers were told by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which was set up by BP to administer compensation payments, that his health claim was "compensable". Yerkes added, "I'm moving out of my house into a one-bedroom apartment, and have sold just about everything I have. BP is starving us out."
Yerkes has begun cutting out parts of the detoxification programme his doctor had prescribed for him because he can't afford it. He then began getting sick again.
"If they [BP] don't do what they agreed to do, I'm in trouble. "
- Joseph Yerkes 
"I don't know what I'll do now," Yerkes added, "Because I've spent $50,000 on medical, treatments, supplements, and having to move from the Gulf. If they [BP] don't do what they agreed to do, I'm in trouble."
His memory loss has become so bad that Yerkes has tried to adjust his life around it by leaving himself notes. Some days, his body aches so much, and his nausea is so severe, he is unable to get out of bed.
"I consider myself a tough person, but this has been the hardest thing I've ever had to go through," he said.
'Dying from the inside out'
Presley lives three blocks from the coast with her daughter, 30-year-old Daisy Seal, who has also become extremely sick.
Both of them had their blood tested for the chemicals present in BP's oil, and six out of the 10 chemicals tested for were present.
Daisy Seal has had skin rashes, respiratory problems, and two miscarriages, which she attributes to chemicals from BP's oil and toxic dispersants [Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera]
"I started having respiratory problems, a horrible skin rash, headaches, nosebleeds, low energy, and trouble sleeping," Seal told Al Jazeera. "And I now feel like I'm dying from the inside out."
Seal, who already has an eight-year-old son, has had two miscarriages in the last year.
"In 'Generations at Risk', medical doctor Ted Schettler and others warn that solvents can rapidly enter the human body," Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist, and Exxon Valdez survivor, told Al Jazeera. "They evaporate in air and are easily inhaled, they penetrate skin easily, and they cross the placenta into fetuses. For example, 2-butoxyethanol [a chemical used in Corexit, an oil dispersant] is a human health hazard substance; it is a fetal toxin and it breaks down blood cells, causing blood and kidney disorders."
"Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber," Ott continued. "Spill responders have told me that the hard rubber impellors in their engines and the soft rubber bushings on their outboard motor pumps are falling apart and need frequent replacement. Given this evidence, it should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known."
Dr Rodney Soto, a medical doctor in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, has been testing and treating patients with high levels of oil-related chemicals in their blood streams.
These chemicals are commonly referred to as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
VOCs released in BP's oil disaster are toxic and have chronic health effects.
Dr Soto, who is Yerkes' doctor, is finding high levels of toxic chemicals in every one of the patients he is testing.
"I'm regularly finding between five and seven VOCs in my patients," Dr Soto told Al Jazeera. "These patients include people not directly involved in the oil clean-up, as well as residents that do not live right on the coast. These are clearly related to the oil disaster."
While there are many examples of acute exposures, Dr Soto's main concern is that most residents who are being exposed will only show symptoms later.
"I'm concerned with the illnesses like cancer and brain degeneration for the future," he told Al Jazeera. "This is very important because a lot of the population down here may not have symptoms. But people are unaware they are ingesting chemicals that are certainly toxic to humans and have significant effect on the brain and hormonal systems."
The toxic compounds in the oil and dispersants are liposoluble, meaning they have a high affinity for fat, said Dr Soto.
Dr Soto continued: "The human brain is 70 per cent fat. And these will similarly affect the immune cells, intestinal tract, breast, thyroid, prostate, glands, organs, and systems. This is also why this is so significant for children."
Exceeding thresholds
In March the US National Institutes of Health launched a long-range health study of workers who helped clean up after BP's oil disaster.
According to the NIH, 55,000 clean-up workers and volunteers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida will be checked for health problems, and participants will be followed for up to 10 years.
The study is funded by NIH, which received a $10m "gift" from BP to run the study. BP claims not to be involved in the study, which will cost $34m over the next five years.
But the study focusses mainly on people who participated in the clean-up.
John Gooding, a resident of Pass Christian, Mississippi, began having health problems shortly after the oil spill started. He has become sicker with each passing month, and has moved inland in an effort to escape
Mississippi resident John Gooding moved away from the coast to minimise his exposure to toxic chemicals [Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera]
continuing exposure to the chemicals.
"I can't live at my home address anymore because it's too close to the coast," Gooding told Al Jazeera. "I'm hypersensitive to the pollution, and there is a constant steady chemical smell coming off the Gulf. Even both my dogs had seizures and died."
Gooding suffers respiratory problems, seizures, and myriad other heath effects. He has filed a claim with BP in hopes of being compensated for his health problems, but it has been denied.
BP hired attorney Kenneth Feinberg and his Washington-based firm, Feinberg Rozen, to manage their compensation fund. BP has paid the firm $850,000 a month to administer the $20bn compensation fund for Gulf residents and fishermen affected by the disaster.

The fund was set up after negotiations between BP and the Obama administration, but over recent months there have been growing concerns among the Gulf Coast's residents that Feinberg is limiting compensation funds to claimants in order to decrease BP's liability.
Feinberg told citizen journalism group Bridge the Gulf that he will be calling on "independent experts" to review the validity of the approximately 30 health claims that are currently "in limbo". Feinberg was unable to name the independent experts, and did not elaborate on the process used to pick them.
In a previous interview, Feinberg said he had received approximately 200 health claims and denied them all for lack of documentation.
"As long as we have people making excuses for them [BP], they'll continue to get away with it," Gooding told Al Jazeera, while walking along a Mississippi beach covered in tar balls and dead birds.
Gooding is visibly sick, and chemicals that are used in oil dispersants have been found in his blood, but he won't go to the doctor.
"I don't want to put my family in debt, so I'm weighing my options," he said, "I don't have health insurance, but I do have life insurance."
"We were recently in DC with those people protesting the Tar Sands pipeline," he said. "I was telling those people living near the proposed pipeline, 'We are your future, because when you have oil spills, this is what your life is going to look like.'"
Dispersants will continue to be used
The US Coast Guard held an Area Contingency Plan meeting in Biloxi, Mississippi on September 7 to discuss the lessons of the BP disaster.
Oil and sheen on a beach in Mississippi, September 2011 [Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera]
Al Jazeera asked Coast Guard Captain John Rose, a sector commander, what has changed regarding the Coast Guard's dispersant use policy since April 20, 2010.
"We were pre-authorised to use it before, but now we have to get permission from the higher-ups. But it is still in the plan for how we will respond to oil spills in the future," he said.
During the meeting, Captain Rose continuously referred to the use of dispersants as a "scientific tool" that is "effective in keeping oil from reaching beaches and wildlife".
Charles Taylor, a resident of nearby Bay St Louis, stood up and announced, "I've had bloody diarrhoea nonstop for 45 days, I'm anemic and dehydrated. I've had VOC tests done and have ethylbenzene, m,p-Xylene, and methelpentates in my blood".
None of the Coast Guard personnel would address Taylor's concerns, saying that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss BP.
Taylor asked Captain Rose and the other Coast Guard personnel on the panel, "How much money has BP given you folks? Because it appears to us, who are having health problems, you are being silenced from addressing the dispersant and health issues".
Inadequate compensation
Untold numbers of Gulf Coast residents continue to struggle with health issues and lack of adequate compensation from BP.
Joseph Yerkes is concerned about his future. "I'm financially destroyed, and my health is bad," he said. "I'm having to cut off parts of my treatment because I can't afford it all, and I'm just trying to survive."
"I'm one step away from being homeless, and not being able to support my daughter and myself," Yerkes added.
Follow Dahr Jamail on Twitter: @DahrJamail
See a photo gallery of the current oil leaks in the Gulf of Mexico.