Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weather today Doha Qatar

Today's High:38 C
Winds:From the North West
5 kph
Tonight's Low:31 C
37 C
16 kph
28 C
38 C
18 kph
29 C
39 C
18 kph
27 C

Sepahan out of Asian Champs League Iranians bow out of competition on aggregate despite defeating Qatar's Al Sadd as Suwon Bluewings also book semis berth.

Mamadou Niang scores to seal the deal for Al Sadd as Sepahan crash out 4-2 on aggregate [AFP]

Iranian giants Sepahan paid the penalty for forfeiting their Asian Champions League quarter-final first leg match as they went out of the competition despite beating Qatari side Al Sadd 2-1 in the second leg on Wednesday.
Sepahan - the 2007 finalists - had originally won the first leg 1-0 but were then penalised for fielding an ineligible player and the Qatari outfit were handed a 3-0 victory to eventually run out 4-2 winners on aggregate.
However Sepahan showed great character in shaking off that disappointment and had Al Sadd reeling after scoring twice in the first-half through Emad Mohammed and Hassan Jafari.
They couldn't, though, put away their chances after that and the hosts sealed their place in the last four when veteran Senegalese striker Mamadou Niang scored four minutes from time.
Bluewings through
Al Sadd - winners of the trophy just once in 1989 - will play Korean side Suwon Blue Wings in the semi-finals as they needed extra-time to progress at the expense of another Iranian team Zobahan, winning 2-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate.
The two-time Champions League winners secured their place in the last four through a 99th minute penalty by former Croatian international defender Mato Neretljak.
On Tuesday Lee Dong-Gook scored four as South Korea's Jeonbuk Motors dismantled Japanese rivals Cerezo Osaka 6-1 to advance to the last four.
Trailing 4-3 from the first-leg, Jeonbuk dominated throughout as they dispelled last week's crushing away loss to Cerezo with a scintillating second-half performance in Jeonju.
Before the game the Koreans' coach Choi Kang-Hee had urged his players to banish the memory of defeat in Osaka - a game which they led three times - and his team responded with a barrage of goals to take a 9-5 aggregate victory.
They will play Saudi outfit Al-Ittihad, who lost 1-0 to Seoul FC on the night but went through 3-2 on aggregate.

Mancini: 'Tevez won't play for me again' Man City boss says he will not play striker again after he refused to play during Champs League defeat against Bayern.

Tevez has come under heavy criticism from manager Mancini and British press after his actions at the Allianz Arena last night [GALLO/GETTY]

Manchester City star Carlos Tevez on Wednesday denied refusing to come off the substitutes bench during his team's European Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich.
City manager Roberto Mancini angrily said Tevez was "finished" at the club after accusing the Argentinian of refusing to appear in the second half of Tuesday's game with the Premier League team trailing 2-0.
But Tevez denied Mancini's comments in a statement on Wednesday.
"In Munich on Tuesday I had warmed up and was ready to play. This is not the right time to get into specific details as to why this did not happen. But I wish to state that I never refused to play," Tevez said.
The 27-year-old striker blamed his failure to appear on "confusion" on the City bench and apologised to the club's fans for "any misunderstanding."
"I would like to apologise to all Manchester City fans, with whom I have always had a strong relationship, for any misunderstanding that occurred in Munich," Tevez said.
"They understand that when I am on the pitch I have always given my best for the club.
"... there was some confusion on the bench and I believe my position may have been misunderstood.
"Going forward I am ready to play when required and to fulfil my obligations."
Mancini had indicated Tevez - who is reportedly one of the highest earners in English football with weekly wages of more than $313,000 - would never play for the club again in the aftermath of Tuesday's defeat.
"If I have my way he will be out. He's finished with me," Mancini said.
"He refused to come on the pitch. What I said to Carlos is between me, him and the team but I am really disappointed because it is Carlos.
"Can you imagine a Bayern Munich, Milan or Man United player doing this?" he said.
"He refused to warm up and again refused to go on the pitch.
"If a player has a lot of money to play for Manchester City ... he can't (refuse to play), never."
Chairman's decision
Mancini later added he would be speaking with Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak in the next few days to decide what to do with Tevez.
"In the next days, we will speak with Khaldoon," said Mancini. "It is normal. He is the chairman. He decides everything.
"I cannot accept this behaviour from him (Tevez). I decide the substitutions, not Carlos."
Roberto Mancini
"I cannot accept this behaviour from him (Tevez). I decide the substitutions, not Carlos."
Ex-players and media commentators were united in support behind Mancini's hardline stance on Wednesday, with former Liverpool Graeme Souness describing Tevez as a "disgrace to football."
"He (Tevez) is one bad apple," Souness told Sky Sports.
"He's a disgrace to football. He epitomises what most people think is wrong with modern football.
"It is totally unacceptable. He's a football player and he is paid to play.
"He is refusing to help his team-mates. It's all about him, him, him."
Personal reasons
Tevez has cited family reasons for wanting to leave City [GALLO/GETTY]
Former City manager Mark Hughes, who signed Tevez before being replaced by Mancini in 2009, said the player's personal situation was behind his apparent unhappiness in Manchester.
Tevez has repeatedly signalled his desire to leave the club, citing a desire to be closer to his family in South America.
"The problem with Carlos is he missed his family," Hughes said.
"That's why he said if it was possible he wanted to leave the club, he had this situation with his family.
Yet sympathy was in short supply in the columns of British newspapers on Wednesday, where several commentators applauded Mancini for signalling the end of Tevez's career in Manchester.
"He should never be considered for the squad, never train with the first team. If he can be sold, profitably, then let him go. If not, let him rot beyond the reserves," Daily Mail chief sports writer Martin Samuel stated.
The Guardian's Richard Williams meanwhile accused Tevez - a "grotesquely over-indulged 27-year-old infant" - of committing a "crime against the game."
"If the outcome is an immediate transfer to Abu Dhabi, then that is exactly what he deserves: a career played out in a football desert," Williams wrote.

Georgia overpower Romania at World Cup Georgia pick up their first win of the Rugby World Cup with a comfortable 25-9 victory over Romania in Pool B.

The clash was the first ever World Cup match between two teams from eastern Europe [GALLO/GETTY]

Georgia openside flanker Mamuka Gorgodze scored his side's only try as they won just their second rugby World Cup match ever when they beat Romania 25-9 in their Pool B match at Arena Manawatu on Wednesday.
The loss consigns the Romanians to bottom place in their pool and marks only the second time in their seven World Cup appearances that they have failed to win a match at the tournament.
Despite both sides claiming it was their own final, the match never reached any great heights with both teams intent on spoiling their opponent's ball to halt any momentum and accepting the consequences.
Referee Dave Pearson was an influential figure, awarding 14 penalties in the first half.
In control
Georgia flyhalf Merab Kvirikashvili took full advantage of Romania's transgressions in the first half, slotting four penalties to give his side a 12-6 lead at the break after Romanian flyhalf Marin Danut Dumbrava was successful with two of his three penalty attempts.
Both sides missed early second half penalty attempts before the Georgians finally built some phases through quick ball that led to Gorgodze crashing over for a 56th minute try, which Kvirikashvili converted to give his side a 19-6 lead.
The flyhalf put the result beyond doubt when he added his fifth penalty before Romania's Florin Adrian Vlaicu slotted his side's third penalty of the match.
Georgia replacement Malkhaz Urjukashvili completed the scoring with another penalty in the dying minutes.

Draw for United after Basel comeback Tough times for both Manchester clubs in the European Champions League as Real Madrid breeze past Ajax.

Former Bayern Munich midfielder and now Basel manager Thorsten Fink puts all memories of the 1999 European Cup final - where United struck two late goals to win - behind him [GALLO/GETTY]

A last-minute equaliser by Ashley Young spared Manchester United from humiliation against FC Basel in the European Champions League on Tuesday, as Manchester City were outclassed 2-0 by Bayern Munich.
Leading 2-0 at half-time at Old Trafford, United found themselves 3-2 down after some calamitous defensive lapses and were staring at a devastating loss until Young headed home Nani's cross in the 90th minute.
There seemed little danger at the interval as the hosts led through two goals by Danny Welbeck, both created by the evergreen Ryan Giggs.
The Swiss champions punished United in the second half, however, with Fabian Frei slamming home following a corner in the 58th minute before his fine cross set up Alexander Frei to equalise with a header two minutes later.
Panicking, United saw Antonio Valencia clumsily concede a penalty for a foul on Marco Streller and Alexander Frei stepped up to claim his second goal from the penalty spot.
Thorsten Fink's men were minutes from an unforgettable upset, but United refused to accept defeat and equalised at the death when Young claimed his first goal in Europe's elite club competition.
The result left Basel level on points at the Group C summit with Benfica, who won 1-0 at Romanian competition debutants Otelul Galati, with United two points off the pace and without a win after two games.
Reality check
City are bidding to prove that owner Sheikh Mansour's massive investment has turned them into continental heavyweights, but they were given a reality check by a Bayern team that have now gone 10 games without conceding a goal.
The visit to Bayern's Allianz Arena, which will host the final on May 19, was billed as their first major test in this season's competition and Roberto Mancini's side found themselves 2-0 down by half-time.
City goalkeeper Joe Hart could count himself unfortunate for both goals.
In the 38rd minute he saved from Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller, only to see Mario Gomez slot home the rebound, and Gomez followed up in similar fashion in first-half injury time after Hart had blocked Daniel Van Buyten's header.
Results & Fixtures
Tuesday September 27
 Bayern 2-0 Man City
 CSKA Moscow 2-3 Inter
 Lyon 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb
 Man Utd 3-3 Basel
 Napoli 2-0 Villarreal
 Real Madrid 3-0 Ajax
 Otelul Galati 0-1 Benfica
 Trabzonspor 1-1 Lille

Wednesday September 28

Zenit v FC Porto
 AC Milan v Plzen
 Arsenal v Olympiakos
 BATE Borisov v Barcelona
 Bayer Leverkusen v Genk
 Marseille v Dortmund
 Shakhtar v Apoel Nicosia
 Valencia v Chelsea
The second half told a similar story, with only Hart keeping the score respectable, while there were angry exchanges on the City bench after Carlos Tevez refused to come on as a substitute when instructed to do so by Mancini.
The other Group A game saw Napoli beat Villarreal 2-0 through goals from Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani to leave the Italian side second in the group on four points, two points behind Bayern.
Real easy
Real Madrid breezed past Ajax in Group D, comfortably winning 3-0 over a team against whom they netted six unanswered goals in the group phase of last season's competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema were the goalscorers for Jose Mourinho's side, who lead the group by two points from Lyon after the French side overcame Dinamo Zagreb 2-0.
Claudio Ranieri's first Champions League assignment in charge of Inter Milan saw the 2010 champions win 3-2 at CSKA Moscow, with Mauro Zarate netting a 78th-minute winner after the hosts had hit back to level from 2-0 down.
"Our mental strength was the key to our success," said Ranieri.
"CSKA played very well but there can be only one winner, and today it was Inter."
Stunned 1-0 at home by Trabzonspor in their first game, Inter now sit a point behind the Turkish side in second place in Group B, after Lille were held to a 1-1 draw in Trabzon.

Arsenal hold off Olympiakos

Gunners labour to a nervy win as Chelsea draw at Valencia and Barcelona romp to victory in European Champions League.

 Chelsea looked in good form until a penalty five minutes from time scuppered their lead [GALLO/GETTY]

Arsenal and Marseille set aside their poor league form so far this season with valuable home wins in their European Champions League group matches on Wednesday.
Arsenal edged Greek side Olympiakos 2-1 while Marseille, who have just one league win all season, pulled off an impressive 3-0 victory at home to German champions Borussia Dortmund.
Marseille top group F with six points from their two matches while Arsenal are second on four.
Elsewhere champions Barcelona eased to a 5-0 win away at BATE Borisov while AC Milan - who grabbed a last-gasp 2-2 draw with Barca in their opening group match - overcame Czech debutants Viktoria Plzen 2-0 at the San Siro.
Chelsea looked like they were on their way to making it two wins from two as they took a 1-0 lead away at Valencia, veteran midfielder Frank Lampard scoring an excellent goal on a rare start.
However, Valencia forced a deserved draw four minutes from time as Salomon Kalou was penalised for handball and Roberto Soldado made no mistake from the spot.
Roaring start
Tuesday September 27
 Bayern 2-0 Man City
 CSKA Moscow 2-3 Inter
 Lyon 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb
 Man Utd 3-3 Basel
 Napoli 2-0 Villarreal
 Real Madrid 3-0 Ajax
 Otelul Galati 0-1 Benfica
 Trabzonspor 1-1 Lille

Wednesday September 28

Zenit 3-1 FC Porto
 AC Milan 2-0 Plzen
 Arsenal 2-1 Olympiakos
 BATE Borisov 0-5 Barcelona
 B Leverkusen 2-0 Genk
 Marseille 3-0 Dortmund
 Shakhtar 1-1 Apoel Nicosia
 Valencia 1-1 Chelsea
Arsenal made a roaring start against Olympiakos, easing into a 2-0 lead early on thanks to goals by 18-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - the third youngest scorer for Arsenal in Champions League history - and recent Brazilian signing Andre Santos.
However, some dreadful Gunners defending allowed Olympiakos back into the match six minutes later as David Fuster made them pay.
Marseille owed their victory to Ghanaian star Andre Ayew, who scored a double, the first a fine shot from the edge of the box and the second a penalty.
Loic Remy netted in between for Didier Deschamps' side.
Barcelona had wrapped up the three points by half-time as they outclassed their Belarussian hosts.
The hosts hardly helped their cause with an own-goal to make it 1-0 and their goalkeeper Alyaksandr Gutor dropping the ball onto Lionel Messi's head for their third.
The Argentine maestro added another early in the second-half with a rasping drive to make it 14 goals in 10 matches this season.
Milan had made heavy weather of the first-half against their Czech opponents but goals by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio Cassano in the second-half gave them the breathing space they required.
Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg had earlier bounced back from their surprise opening defeat to APOEL Nicosia by beating 10-man Porto thanks to a double by Roman Shirokov.
APOEL, though, remain on top of the group as they drew 1-1 away at last season's quarter-finalists Shakhtar Doetsk.

Kindle Fire adds sizzle to tablet PC market

Device priced at $199 could help Amazon take a bite out of Apple's lead and also sell its digital goods and services.

China's diversified energy strategy

China is trying to attract investment from the GCC in its rural region in order to diversify their energy-security.

The Xinjiang region produces about 75,000 tonnes of oil daily and accounts for 14.4 per cent of China's total production [EPA]

China has hit upon an interesting strategy to bind together a foreign financed energy programme and the government's need to placate minority groups, some of whom have shown rebellious tendencies. It is offering 'Arab friends' an opportunity to participate in the Hu Jintao regime's pet programme of uplifting the country's backward western region, which can easily absorb billions of dollars in oil, electricity and wind energy, manufacturing, Halal food and agriculture development projects.

The recent conflicts faced by China across different levels shows Beijing can expect a lot of fights if it wants to grow and retain its oil reserves. There is political insurgency in its oil-rich western province of Xinjiang, and a major clash with neighbours on the South China Sea-Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines. India has also now joined the dispute by entering into a contract with a Vietnamese oil company for oil exploration in the disputed islands, something the Chinese foreign ministry is raging about. In fact, the China-US faceoff over Taiwan also has a dimension of energy-security because a future war, if ever, can affect the flow of Middle East oil supplies.

Add to this the supply uncertainties caused by the Arab Spring, and you can see why the world's biggest consumer of energy is investing in military hardware as much as it is on laying pipelines (to Myanmar and Kazakhstan), building storage capacities, buying overseas oil assets (Venezuela, Central Asia and Africa) and developing domestic fields. The first half of 2011 has seen the country's reliance on imported crude oil rising one per cent to reach 54.8 per cent. Imports rose to 146.63m metric tonnes in the first seven months, up 8.4 per cent year on year.
Uncertainties on the external front, helpless dependence on suppliers and supply routes and delicate political relationship issues in energy - these are enough ingredients for a government's nightmare. But Chinese leaders seem determined to fight back.
Invited investors
This is where the Arab factor comes in, and the story opens in a domestic scene. Arab governments and businesses are being invited to invest in what is being called in recent weeks as the 'golden energy triangle' covering a massive area of 133,800 square kilometres, more than double the size of France and about 80 per cent larger than the size of United Arab Emirates. The plan also reflects Beijing's worries about the domestic side of energy security, which is no less risk prone as the external side.

The 'golden triangle' plan, being rolled out in small parcels in recent weeks, involves building a comprehensive energy production and supply base across four provinces: Ningxia, Shaanxi, Gansu and Inner Mongolia. That the area has a large Muslim and Mongolian population is not being glossed over. In fact, the governor of Ningxia, Wang Zhengwei, recently made a virtue of it.
China is actively trying to attract investments from the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) in the four provinces in the 'triangle', not just to develop these backward areas, but also to bring about bonding between Chinese Hui Muslims and those in the oil-rich countries. Several Chinese leaders and officials made detailed presentations inviting Arab investments in the 'golden triangle' area during a five-day China-Arab States Trade Conference at Yinchuan, capital of the western province of Ningxia, between September 20 to 24.

The purpose is simple, and perhaps the cue comes from the GCC - let economic development overcome any tendency towards religious fundamentalism and anti-government sentiment. Economic backwardness is believed to be an important reason behind signs of rebellion in sections of people in the western region (Tibet, another western Chinese province, is a case apart and does not fit into such neat socio-economic framing). What could be a better funding source for this plan than oil?
Separatist movement
Also important for Beijing is to keep Hui Muslims in these areas detached from the Uighur Muslims of Xinjiang, which is the scene of a decades-old separatist movement and two bloody riots in recent weeks. As the government in the border Chinese town of Kashgar said recently, separatist Uighur leaders get their training and arms from terrorist bases in Pakistan. Those arrested after the riots, which killed 41 people, have admitted their links with Pakistan, the Kashgar government said.

This could be the reason, and the only plausible one, why the region producing the highest amount of oil and gas in China - the western province of Xinjiang - has been kept out of the 'golden triangle'. The State-run People's Dailyquoted the government's 3rd natural resources evaluation survey saying Xinjiang's total oil and natural gas resource reserves exceeds 30bn tonnes. The region is producing 75,000 tonnes of crude oil daily, accounting for 14.4 per cent of the country's daily crude oil output. An independent estimate suggested that Xinjiang's Tarin Basin alone has proven reserves of over one billion tonnes of crude and 59bn cubic metres of natural gas.

But Xinjiang, bordering Taliban areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan (besides the disputed Pakistan Occupied Kashmir), is far too volatile to attract foreign investments. Neither would Chinese leaders like separatist Uighur leaders to develop new links with Muslims in the Arab world. Beijing wants to deal with this region separately, and delink it with the overall western development strategy.
This is not to say Beijing does not want to develop the vast resources available in Xinjiang, which also shares the border with Russia and eight countries of Central Asia. Some experts have suggested China wants to develop its energy links with Central Asia as the region can serve as a trans-shipment area for Middle East oil should war ever break out over Taiwan (China claims it owns Taiwan) or its oil related disputes with neighbours like Vietnam in the South China Sea. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, two Central Asia republics, are capable of helping China reduce its dependence on Middle East oil because they have large petroleum reserves of their own.

This is why it is building railways, roads, and pipelines linking Xinjiang to Central Asia and Russia on one side, and to its own energy-hungry industrial heartland on the other. A 900-km long Sino-Russian pipeline connecting the Russian town of Skovorodino in the country's Amur region and the Chinese city of Daqing became operational in January this year. Russia will annually pump 15 million tonnes of crude oil to China from 2011 to 2030, according to an agreement on the pipeline between the two countries.

Chinese companies are being pushed to seek out oil and gas companies for collaboration as a means to counter diplomatic challenges that may be thrown up by the United States and other governments. The latest move involves launching a joint venture between the London-listed oil and gas engineering and construction company Petrofac and China Petroleum Engineering & Construction, which will be based in Sharjah. The two firms worked jointly on a maintenance and repair contract for the Rumaila oil field in southern Iraq recently. "Together, we have considerable resources and world-class engineering and construction expertise," Maroun Seeman, group chief operating officer of Petrofac said, "and our collaboration should enable us to capitalise on the significant opportunities in China and internationally."

Put simply, China faces challenges in the area of energy security, and is applying a range of solutions. They involve foreign countries and companies in its defensive and offensive strategies.
S. Kumar is a China correspondent with the Times of India.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

Philippines cleans up after deadly typhoon

Government begins clean-up and damage assessments after Typhoon Nesat leaves at least 21 people dead and dozens missing.

Typhoon Nesat pounded the Philippine capital causing thousands to evacuate to temporary shelters [Al Jazeera]

A massive clean-up operation is under way in the Philippines after Typhoon Nesat battered the capital Manila and the main island, Luzon.

The death toll rose to 21 with 35 still missing after heavy rain and powerful winds triggered storm surges, the national disaster agency said on Wednesday as the typhoon moved over the South China Sea and towards northern Vietnam and southern China.

"People have to realise now, with the changing climate, typhoons are getting stronger, the pull of the monsoon is getting stronger"
- Graciano Yumul, PAGASA
supervising under-secretary 
Nesat is due to reach the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, on Sunday evening.
There were more than 65,800 people in about 190 evacuation centres across the country, and many others sought refuge with friends and family, the agency added.

It put initial estimates of damage at $2.3m, including extensive damage to agriculture. The department of agriculture said it may also release its preliminary damage estimates on Wednesday.
The agency estimated that 195,705 individuals across 38 provinces were affected by the typhoon.

Meanwhile, financial markets, government offices and some schools reopened after being closed by the typhoon, and train services resumed after power supplies were restored in the capital.
Crops damaged
The storm passed across the Cagayan Valley, which was expected to account for about 10 per cent of the country's fourth-quarter rice crop.
The government had cut rice imports this year to about 860,000 tonnes from a record 2.45 million tonnes in 2010, amid plans to make the country self-sufficient in its national staple in coming years.
Most deaths reportedly occurred in and around Manila, according to Philippine officials [AFP]
But any major damage to crops could force it to import more supplies, at a time when rice prices are rising.
There was flooding across provinces in the north of Luzon and authorities maintained warnings of storm surges and flash flooding.
"People have to realise now, with the changing climate, typhoons are getting stronger, the pull of the monsoon is getting stronger," Graciano Yumul, who supervises the country's weather bureau, PAGASA, said in a television interview on Wednesday.
The sea wall at Manila Bay was badly damaged by strong storms, which swamped Roxas Boulevard and other waterfront areas.
As Nesat departed, weather officials said that another storm was developing in the Pacific Ocean that could pick up strength and become a typhoon as it approaches north Luzon.
"Our initial track line shows it may hit northern Luzon. But it may be too early to tell because it might still change course," Yumul said.

Western states give way on UN Syria sanctions

Five Western nations softened their sanctions call against Syria to gain support in the UN Security Council [Reuters]

Western powers have dropped earlier calls for immediate sanctions against Syria by the UN Security Council in the face of veto threats from China and Russia, as activists reported more civilian deaths in the country.
Put together by Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, with backing from the United States, the scaled-back draft resolution, which was obtained by reporters on Tuesday, is aimed at breaking a deadlock at the Security Council.
The resolution, if passed, would have the 15-nation council voice "grave concern" at the situation in Syria and demand "an immediate end to all violence".
"If you look at that resolution, really what it appears to be doing is buying time," Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, speaking from Amman, Jordan, said.
If Damascus fails to heed the council's demands, the Security Council would still "adopt targeted measures, including sanctions", the resolution says.
Last month, an earlier draft resolution was circulated, calling for sanctions against Bashar al-Assad, influential members of his family and close associates.
It said at the time that the drafting countries wanted a vote as soon as possible, but that vote never came.
Veto-wielding council members Russia and China, as well as Brazil, India and South Africa, opposed the previous European and US draft sanctions resolution.
Western diplomats said that the new resolution would hopefully be more palatable to those five nations, also known as the "BRICS" bloc of key emerging market economies.
They said the new resolution was still quite strong, even though it does not include any punitive measures.
"We want to send a strong and unified message to ensure that the Assad regime does not remain deaf to the demands of the international community," a European diplomat told the Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity.
"We want to get the council to approve something quickly," another diplomat said, adding that the new draft was "pretty threatening".
The second diplomat said the Europeans hoped to be able to get the council to approve the new draft resolution very soon, possibly within the next 24 hours.
Separately, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that the BRICS, which US and European diplomats say are becoming increasingly obstructionist, were not looking for fights but wanted multilateral solutions to urgent problems.
'Continued crackdown'
Meanwhile, rights groups said that violence on the ground was continuing.
Syrian forces killed at least six civilians in raids on dissidents on Tuesday, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"Three civilians were killed and seven others were injured during an assault by the army and security agents against the Homs district of Bayada," it said.

AJE's Jane Araf on the potential sanctions
The attack came after soldiers who had abandoned the government forces burned a tank in the area, the rights group said.
Government forces killed two civilians during raids in the northern town of Jabal al-Zawiya, and another civilian was killed and five wounded in a dawn operation in southern Daraa province, where the protests began in mid-March.
Powerful guns, some mounted on tanks, were used on people in Rastan, Talbisseh and Tir Maala, all in central Homs province, the Observatory added.
"At least 20 people were wounded, seven seriously, when soldiers using heavy machine guns on tanks began to open fire at sunrise in Rastan," it said.
The Local Co-ordination Committees, which organise protests on the ground, reported a "massive deployment" of security forces in Rastan.
The opposition Syrian National Council, meanwhile, announced plans to meet in Istanbul this weekend to try to unify the fragmented coalition.
"We will meet on October 1 and 2, in principle in Istanbul," spokeswoman Bassma Kodmani told reporters. "Then we will talk about setting up committees."
The council, which was set up in August, consists of 140 people. Half of them live in Syria and their names have not been made public for security reasons.

Tribesmen shoot down Yemeni warplane

Ali Abdullah Saleh's return to Yemen has infuriated many who thought they had seen the last of him [EPA]

Opposition tribesmen have shot down a fighter jet outside the capital Sanaa and captured its pilot as tens of thousands of Yemenis continue to protest against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's return from Saudi Arabia.

A military official said the aircraft, a Russian-made Sukhoi fighter, had been shot down on Wednesday while conducting a routine mission.

A tribal source told the Reuters news agency that fighters shot down the plane using anti-aircraft weapons and detained the pilot when he jumped from the wreckage in the mountainous area of Naham.

The tribesmen are believed to be allied to leading dissident General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and are battling Saleh's elite Republican Guard for control of the area.

Some tribes have aligned with protesters seeking to oust Saleh, who unexpectedly returned to Yemenlast week from Saudi Arabia during a wave of violence in the capital that left more than 100 people dead.

Saleh's return has infuriated many Yemenis who thought they had seen the last of him when an attempt on his life in June forced him to fly to neighbouring Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, but he defied the odds on Friday by landing in Sanaa.
Ally turned foe
Saleh is now opposed by former allies such as Mohsen and the influential al-Ahmar family that heads his own Hashed tribal federation.
Before his return, protesters trying to expand their camp in Sanaa were caught up in a battle between Saleh's forces and soldiers loyal to Mohsen.

For more on Yemen, visit our Spotlight page

At least 100 people, mainly protesters, were killed.

While violence has dipped since Saleh came back, tensions are still high and many fear the lull will eventually give way to an even bloodier confrontation, if not all-out civil war.
Organisers were trying on Tuesday to build up the numbers of demonstrators by planning less risky routes through the capital after the violence that had kept some off the streets.

Saudi Arabia and the US supported Saleh in the past to contain an active al-Qaeda wing that has taken root in Yemen, but growing lawlessness is fanning fears of a civil war that could shake one of the world's top oil-producing regions.

Gulf nations seeking to broker a power transition have expressed concern over Saleh's repeated failure to sign agreed deals.

Libyan fighters 'capture' Sirte airport

NTC fighters are preparing to take control of Sirte airport with the help of NATO [AFP]

Forces loyal to Libya's interim government say they have captured the airport in Sirte, the birthplace of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Fighters belonging to National Transitional Council said on Wednesday they were in control of the airport after intense fighting in the coastal city, one of the last of two bastions of support for the deposed Libyan leader.
Sirte has withstood a siege by NTC fighters hitting it with tank and rocket fire as well as NATO air raids.
But intense sniper and artillery fire from pro-Gaddafi forces has so far prevented NTC forces from taking Sirte, despite more than two weeks of fighting and two full-on assaults.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from the city, said the latest seizure by NTC forces marked the capture of a strategic site.
"Anti-Gaddafi fighters seem to be in control of Sirte airport, a very strategic location; they have been receiving help from NATO," she said.
But our correspondent said that NTC fighters have not been able to hold territory inside Sirte.
"They are outside the town, there have been major clashes since Saturday but they couldn't maintain territory [and] they had to retreat," she said.
"One has to remember that Gaddafi has supporters in Sirte, he has fighters, mercenaries. volunteers and they are all armed."
Concern for civilians

Amid the fighting, the UN and international aid agencies have expressed concern over conditions for civilians trapped inside.

Our correspondent said:"People that are trapped in Sirte have told us that the situation is dire, there is no electricity or water. The hospitals have no medicine and no staff.
"The NTC are concerned about the people that are trapped in Abu Hadi, they are from across the country. They don't have water or electricity, it seems like they have been used as human shields.

"There is a an urgency for the fighters to take over Sirte as soon as possible."

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It has been more than a month since NTC fighters captured the capital Tripoli, and Gaddafi remains defiantly on the run, pledging to lead a campaign of armed resistance against the new leaders.
Lack of co-ordination and divisions on the front have hampered NTC attempts to capture Sirte and the other bastion of Gaddafi's control, Bani Walid.
Gaddafi is believed to be holed up near the western town of Ghadamis near the Algerian border under the protection of Tuareg tribesmen, a senior NTC military official has said.
"There has been a fight between Tuareg tribesmen who are loyal to Gaddafi and Arabs living there [in the south].
"We are negotiating, the Gaddafi search is taking a different course," Hisham Buhagiar told the Reuters news agency.

Many Tuaregs, nomads who roam the desert spanning the borders of Libya and its neighbours, have backed Gaddafi since he supported their rebellions against the governments of Mali and Niger in the 1970s and allowed them to settle in Libya.
Buhagiar said Gaddafi's most politically prominent son, Saif al-Islam, was in Bani Walid, and that another influential son, Mutassem, was in Sirte.