Scotland says no to independence in historic referendum

Supporters from the "No" Campaign celebrate at the Better Together Campaign headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland September 19, 2014.
Supporters from the "No" Campaign celebrate at the Better Together Campaign headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland Sept 19, 2014.

Scotland has rejected independence in a referendum that leaves the United Kingdom intact but opens the door to wider autonomy following a huge turnout, preliminary results showed Friday.

The “No” camp was ahead by 55.42 percent to 44.58 percent for the “Yes” camp with 31 out of 32 local areas counted.

“No” campaigners across Scotland cheered as the results came in, while “Yes” activists watched dejected and in tears.

 Pro-Union supporters celebrate following the announcement of referendum polling results during a 'Better Together' event in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sept 19, 2014.

 Pro-Union supporters celebrate following the announcement of referendum polling results during a 'Better Together' event in Glasgow on Sept 19, 2014. Photo: AFP

Independence hopes dashed

The outcome dashes the hopes of the hundreds of thousands of Scots who voted to break away on Thursday in an unprecedented vote that ignited debate about governance in Britain but will reassure those worried about the economic risks of a break-up.

The financial markets rewarded the result with the pound rising against the dollar on the currency markets.

“We know that there’s going to be a majority for the ‘No’ campaign,” pro-independence First Minister Alex Salmond said in Edinburgh.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond conceded defeat on Friday over his bid to win independence and demanded the British government rapidly meet its promise of more powers for Edinburgh.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond conceded defeat on Friday over his bid to win independence and demanded the British government rapidly meet its promise of more powers for Edinburgh. Photo: Reuters

“Scotland has by majority decided not, at this stage, to become an independent country,” he said.

The result is a blow to the ambitions of a political lifetime for Salmond, although the strong result for the “Yes” leaves open the possibility of another bid for independence in future.

Well-fought campaign

There were some big wins for the “Yes” campaign, including Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s home city of Glasgow, but the margin was not enough to mitigate a flood of “No” votes across Scotland.

The indication was that better-off and rural areas had voted “No” while urban centres and poorer parts voted “Yes”.

The “Yes” camp had been behind by a huge margin for months but in the past fortnight enjoyed a surge in support in the opinion polls. In the end, it did not materialise.

“Clearly the ‘No’ side has won,” said polling expert John Curtice, a professor of politics at Strathclyde University.

The vote would have brought to an abrupt end a union with England stretching back to 1707 and has been closely watched around the world, giving heart to separatist movements from Catalonia in Spain to Quebec in Canada.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Queen Elizabeth II were both expected to make announcements later on Friday, with British media reporting that Cameron would acknowledge the number of “Yes” votes and promise further devolution.

The outcome will be a huge relief for Cameron, who many suggested could not have survived in the event of a “Yes” victory.

In a tweet after the BBC called the result, Cameron said simply that he had spoken to the leader of the “No” campaign, Alistair Darling, “and congratulated him on a well-fought campaign”.

He went on to ask for the voices of England to be heard. 

 

 

The historic decision gripped many Scots who previously took little interest in politics, including 16 and 17-year-olds allowed to vote in an election for the first time, divided families and lifelong friends between “Yes” and “No”.

There were queues outside polling stations on referendum day and many voters spoke emotionally about the most momentous political choice of their lives.

“Should Scotland be an independent country?” was the simple question facing voters in the nation’s 5,000 polling stations with “Yes” and “No” boxes below.

Crowds later partied through the night in Glasgow and Edinburgh, draped in the blue-and-white Scottish flags and setting off flares, as ballot boxes were brought in by helicopter and by boat from remote islands for the count.

A lot of the debate had focused on the economy, what currency an independent Scotland would use and whether it could be a member of the European Union.

Scotland’s Parliament, opened in 1999, holds some powers devolved from Westminster to set policy in certain areas of domestic policy, such as health and education. - AFP
 

Yee-haw! Driver doesn't recall how accident lands him in a field of donkeys

A man in New Mexico wakes up after an accident surrounded by donkeys in a field.
A man in New Mexico wakes up after an accident surrounded by donkeys in a field.

If you don't want to wake up in a field of donkeys, don't drink and drive.

A man from New Mexico found out the hard way. After a night out carousing with his friend, they got into a car accident. 

The next thing the pair knew, they had woken up in pain, with some unexpected company. That's right, they were surrounded by donkeys.

What happened in between remains a mystery as both men have no recollection of what happened.

The driver called the New Mexico State Police to say he was lost and surrounded by animals seven hours after investigators could not find anybody near the crash site on Friday.

Both men suffered shoulder, hand and back injuries.

The driver was issued multiple citations, but the charges have not been released.

Sources: Huffington Post, New Mexico News

Tags: donkey, accident and drunk

WATCH man v train showdown: Guess who won?

James Heptonstall raced from one subway station to the next in London to prove that man can run just as fast as the train.
James Heptonstall raced from one subway station to the next in London to prove that man can run just as fast as the train.

Talk about running one heck of a race!

In a showdown between man vs machine, you'll be shocked to see which side emerged tops.

But first, here's some background.

Commuter James Heptonstall decided to push the limits. How? By proving that travelling by foot can be faster than taking the London Underground.

Heptonstall, a 30-year-old environmental consultant from Hampstead, raced from the Mansion House station to the next stop, Cannon Street. The 380-metre route, about one lap along the stadium track here, included navigating 75 stair-steps and two ticket barriers.

Just watch the YouTube video posted on Aug 12 and you'll know what he has to go through.

The scenes were recorded using a Go Pro camera mounted on his head. His friend also recorded the moment he started the showdown till the moment Heptonstall arrived.

 

 

 

 

Thanks to sheer determination - and some fleet-footed sprinting - Heptonstall ran so fast that he made it successfully onto the same train.

He even crashed into the subway station wall after not being able to slow down in time.

 

 

 

 

What do people think? Well, he was received warmly by commuters and his friend, who gave him a high five.

Way to go, dude!

Sources: Huffington Post, Telegraph

Tags: race, subway, london and train

M'sia uni student dies after lecturer's car hits her on campus

Tragedy on campus

A Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) student died after she was knocked down by a car driven by a lecturer in the campus grounds.

The incident happened at 5.20pm yesterday (Sept 18).

Fatin Farradia Yusof, 20, and her friends had been taking photographs and strolling in the compound of the Faculty of Communications and Media Studies.

The impact hurled the second year Diploma in Sports Science and Recreation student down the slope to a bus stop below, Bernama reported.

UiTM Communications and Media Studies Faculty dean Prof Dr Azizul Halim Yahya said the victim lost consciousness and was rushed to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang, Star Online said.

She died the same day from internal bleeding, he said.

Lost control of car

Meanwhile, the 58-year-old lecturer, whose car subsequently hit the road divider, has been warded at a private hospital for observation.

"She complained of a headache before the incident, which had caused her to lose control of the car," said Azizul.

District police chief ACP Azisman Alias confirmed receiving a report on the incident.

Sources: Star Online, Bernama

Singapore hopes F1 race gets tourism back on track

Singapore will be counting on its marquee Formula One race to help make up for a 30 percent drop in Chinese tourists this year.
Singapore will be counting on its marquee Formula One race to help make up for a 30 percent drop in Chinese tourists this year.

With big names like Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Jennifer Lopez, John Legend and many other internationally famous people coming, Singapore will be counting on its marquee Formula One race to help make up for a 30 percent drop in Chinese tourists this year.

The three-day event, including the night street race, clocks more than S$100 million in tourism receipts and opens a window on the country for a global television audience.


Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso are two fo the big names that are here in Singapore this week for the race. Photos: AFP

A steady stream of Chinese high-rollers into Singapore's two casinos helped the tourism industry grow at a compound annual rate of 10 percent over the last three years.

Tourist arrivals dropped nearly 3 percent in the first half of this year - the first such decline since the casinos opened in 2010. Singapore is on pace to record the biggest drop in Chinese tourist arrivals since it landed a spot on the F1 circuit seven years ago.

"This year, Singapore is certainly banking a bit more on the F1 event to come back into the limelight after weak tourism numbers in the first half," UOB economist Francis Tan said.

While the haul from the race itself represents a tiny portion of the expected 2014 tourism receipts of as much as S$24.6 billion, it marks an opportunity for Singapore to sell itself as a country that works hard and parties as hard.

"Every year, the race season in September brings about an influx of international tourists and media exposure for the country," said Cassandra Tan, an analyst with Euromonitor.

The Four Seasons Hotel, for example, expects business volumes this weekend to rise 25 per cent over a non-race weekend.

Singapore Airlines is betting on the event to drum up interest in its premium brand as it sponsors the race for the first time.


Photos: Reuters, ST

WINNING BACK CHINESE TOURISTS

The drop in Chinese tourists has hit Singapore's casinos, analysts say.

Tourists from China were also wary of traveling to the region because of political unrest in Thailand, the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines flight and a new Chinese law that clamps down on ultra-cheap tour packages.

Combined VIP volume for Genting Singapore's Resorts World Sentosa and Las Vegas Sands' Marina Bay Sands fell 10 per cent in the first half of this year, Macquarie Research estimated. China typically accounts for at least half of the VIP gamblers in Singapore.

Singapore relies on tourism for about 4 percent of its economic output. It expects international visitor arrivals to rebound and grow 5 per cent to 8 per cent in 2014.

With more than 15 million tourists last year, Singapore has cause for optimism, industry analysts said.  

"Any country would be happy to have three times its population visiting per year in tourist numbers," said Jonathan Galaviz, a partner at consultancy Global Market Advisors. - Reuters

Sevilla sparkle as Europa League returns with goal glut

Sevilla's Colombian forward Carlos Bacca (R) tries to control the ball during their UEFA Europa League football match against Feyenoord Rotterdam.
Sevilla's Colombian forward Carlos Bacca (R) tries to control the ball during their UEFA Europa League football match against Feyenoord Rotterdam.

Sevilla’s love affair with the Europa League was immediately rekindled as last season’s champions and three-times winners began this year’s group stage with a 2-0 home victory over Feyenoord on Thursday.

On-loan midfielder Gerard Deulofeu’s set-pieces proved too hot to handle for Feyenoord as two of his first-half free kicks were turned home by Grzegorz Krychowiak and Stephane Mbia as a new-look Sevilla side comfortably cruised home.

Europe’s second-tier competition, so often derided for lacking the sparkle of its Champions League cousin, was ushered back into action with some stand-out individual displays and a glut of goals across its opening 24 group games.

There were hat-tricks from Dinamo Zagreb’s El Arbi Hilal Soudani, PAOK Salonika captain Stefanos Athanasiadis and Steaua Bucharest’s Claudiu Keseru, whose teams all enjoyed emphatic home wins.

Ex-European champions Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven also got off to winning starts, while Napoli, whose manager Rafa Benitez was heavily criticised after his side failed to make it through a Champions League playoff, came back from a goal down to beat Sparta Prague 3-1 at the San Paolo.

Premier League Everton enjoyed a victorious return to the European stage after a five-year absence with a 4-1 home victory over VfL Wolfsburg, but Tottenham Hotspur were held to a drab 0-0 stalemate at Partizan Belgrade.

Numerous changes

There have been numerous changes at Sevilla since they beat Benfica on penalties in Turin to lift the trophy in May, with some of last season’s heroes departing for new challenges at more glamorous clubs.

Yet even without the likes of midfield playmaker Ivan Rakitic, who left for Barcelona, and left back Alberto Moreno, who joined Liverpool, Sevilla looked sharp and purposeful and well worth their Group G win.

They opened the scoring after eight minutes as a devilish, inswinging free kick from Deulofeu found Krychowiak at the far post and he turned the ball into the net.

It was a case of deja vu on 31 minutes when they doubled the lead as the playmaker on loan from Barcelona curled in another precise set-piece that Mbia rose to head powerfully into the net.

Feyenoord offered little threat and their performance is unlikely to relieve the pressure on coach Fred Rutten, who replaced Ronald Koeman in the close season, but has won only one of his opening five Dutch league matches.

Steaua Bucharest made the most eye-catching start

Among the five former European champions in this season’s Europa League group stage, Steaua Bucharest made the most eye-catching start, thrashing AaB Aalborg 6-0 in Group J with Keseru ​(below, left) scoring three goals in 12 second-half minutes.

Photo: AFP

The two other three-goal hauls both arrived in the first half.

Dinamo Zagreb’s Soudani (below) scored with two headers and a calmly-taken effort from close range in a 5-1 win over Romanians Astra to cap a superb week for Algeria forwards following Yacine Brahimi’s hat-trick for Porto in the Champions League.

Picture: Reuters​

PAOK’s Stefanos​ Athanasiadis had wrapped up his hat-trick in 28 minutes as the Greek side beat Dinamo Minsk 6-1 in Group K.

Paok's Stefanos Athanasiadis (L) and his teammate Razvan Rat (R) celebrate. Photo: AFP

Serie A’s Inter had to be patient in Ukraine against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Group F before Danilo D’Ambrosio grabbed the only goal after 71 minutes, while PSV’s Luuk de Jong scored a first-half penalty in a 1-0 home win over Estoril in Group E.

Napoli beat Sparta Prague in Group I thanks to a penalty from Gonzalo Higuain and two second-half goals from Belgium’s Dries Mertens after Josef Husbauer had given the visitors an early lead.

Celtic almost pulled off a surprise victory at Austrian champions Salzburg in Group D after Scott Brown put them 2-1 ahead in the second half but Jonatan Soriano netted with a superb free kick to snatch a draw for the hosts. - Reuters

Full results:

Borussia Moenchengladbach 1-1 Villarreal 
Apollon Limassol                  3-2  FC Zürich 
Club Brugge                         0-0 Torino
FC Copenhagen                    2-0 HJK Helsinki 
Partizan Belgrade                 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Besiktas                              1-1 Asteras Tripolis 
Salzburg                              2-2 Celtic  
Dinamo Zagreb                     5-1 FC Astra 
PSV Eindhoven                    1-0 Estoril 
Panathinaikos                      1-2 Dinamo Moscow 
Qarabag                              0-0 Saint-Etienne 
Dnipropetrovsk                     0-1 Inter Milan 
Belgium  Standard Liege      2-0 Rijeka 
Sevilla                                2-0 Feyenoord
Lille                                   1-1 FC Krasnodar
Everton                              4-1 VfL Wolfsburg 
Young Boys                       5-0 Slovan Bratislava
Napoli                               3-1 Sparta Prague
Steaua Bucharest              6-0​ Aalborg 
Rio Ave                             0-3 Dynamo Kiev 
PAOK                               6-1 Dinamo Minsk
Fiorentina                          3-0 Guingamp 
Metalist Kharkiv                 1-2 Trabzonspor
Legia Warsaw                   1-0 Lokeren 

Everton return to Europa League in style with 4-1 win

Everton defender Seamas Coleman (R) celebrates scoring their second goal with Leighton Baines (L) during their UEFA Europa League against Wolfsburg at Goodison Park.
Everton defender Seamas Coleman (R) celebrates scoring their second goal with Leighton Baines (L) during their UEFA Europa League against Wolfsburg at Goodison Park.

Everton marked their first appearance in Europe since the 2009/2010 season with a 4-1 Europa League win over Wolfsburg on Thursday.

The Merseysiders were ahead after just 15 minutes at Goodison Park when Ricardo Rodriguez put through his own goal after deflecting a Steven Naismith shot.

close-range header from Seamus Coleman (below) made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.

Photo: AFP

Leighton Baines (below) added the third from the penalty spot two minutes after the break with Kevin Mirallas firing home a smart fourth two minutes from time after a fine pass from substitute Samuel Eto’o.

Photo: AFP

Rodriguez grabbed a consolation for Wolfsburg with a curled free-kick past Tim Howard in the Everton goal in injury time.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez is perhaps a rarity among Premier League managers in welcoming the mountain of extra fixtures that a successful run in the Europa League can bring about and he received an early reward with the  comfortable 4-1 win.

“We have worked hard for 12 months to earn the right to play in the Europa League – the more competitions the better,” he said after the match..

The English side top Group H after rivals Lille and Krasnodar drew 1-1 in France.- AFP

Full results:

Borussia Moenchengladbach 1-1 Villarreal 
Apollon Limassol                  3-2  FC Zürich 
Club Brugge                         0-0 Torino
FC Copenhagen                    2-0 HJK Helsinki 
Partizan Belgrade                 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Besiktas                              1-1 Asteras Tripolis 
Salzburg                              2-2 Celtic  
Dinamo Zagreb                     5-1 FC Astra 
PSV Eindhoven                    1-0 Estoril 
Panathinaikos                      1-2 Dinamo Moscow 
Qarabag                              0-0 Saint-Etienne 
Dnipropetrovsk                     0-1 Inter Milan 
Belgium  Standard Liege      2-0 Rijeka 
Sevilla                                2-0 Feyenoord
Lille                                   1-1 FC Krasnodar
Everton                              4-1 VfL Wolfsburg 
Young Boys                       5-0 Slovan Bratislava
Napoli                               3-1 Sparta Prague
Steaua Bucharest              6-0​ Aalborg 
Rio Ave                             0-3 Dynamo Kiev 
PAOK                               6-1 Dinamo Minsk
Fiorentina                          3-0 Guingamp 
Metalist Kharkiv                 1-2 Trabzonspor
Legia Warsaw                   1-0 Lokeren 

 

SUV crashes after teen sets driver's armpit hair on fire

Light my (armpit) fire?

Talk about teenagers playing silly pranks.

In this case, the teens were lucky to be alive after the sports utility vehicle (SUV) they were in crashed  because a passenger set the driver's armpit hair on fire.

The accident happened on Sunday.

Ada County Sheriff's Office said the five young people in the Ford Bronco were hurt and received medical treatment.

Two of the passengers, ages 15 and 16, were thrown from the vehicle, but none of the five suffered life-threatening injuries.

Goofing around

A 16-year-old boy was goofing off in the front seat and lit driver Tristian Myers' armpit hair while the 18-year-old was driving.

The crash happened at about 5.30 am, KTVB.com reported.

Deputies cited Myers with inattentive driving, while the 16-year-old was cited for interfering with the driver's safety.

The passenger's name wasn't released.

Deputies also said none of the teens was wearing a seatbelt. There was evidence Myers was driving too fast, USA Today reported.

Driving erratically

Meyers originally told police he swerved to avoid hitting an animal.

A police statement said: "It wasn’t until a short time later, after deputies talked to all the teens, when a different story emerged — that the teens in the front of the car were goofing around prior to the crash."

"There was also evidence Myers was going too fast and driving erratically prior to the crash, which led to citation for inattentive driving."

A court date will be scheduled later.

Sources: USA Today, KTVB.com 

 

Tags: lit, armpit, fire and swerve

Spurs boss blasts Belgrade ‘racist’, ’anti-Semitic’ banner after Europa League clash

Tottenham Hotspur's coach Mauricio Pochettino reacts after the Europa League Group C soccer match against Partizan Belgrade.
Tottenham Hotspur's coach Mauricio Pochettino reacts after the Europa League Group C soccer match against Partizan Belgrade.

 Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino blasted an anti-Semitic banner unfurled by Partizan Belgrade fans as “unacceptable” and “disrespectful” after European football was again embroiled in a racism row.

A huge banner bearing the words “Only Jews and Pussies” was displayed throughout Thursday’s Europa League match between the two teams in the Serbian capital.

“I didn’t see but the club is aware. And if it is true, that it is very disrespectful,” Pochettino told the British media after the game which ended in a 0-0 draw.

North London club Tottenham have long enjoyed close links with the Jewish community.

Disrespectful, unacceptable

“It is a shame as it was a great atmosphere. It is very disrespectful, unacceptable and a massive problem for us.”

Partizan were kicked out of the UEFA Cup in 2007 for hooligan-related problems and the club is certain to face more sanctions following Thursday’s incident.

On the pitch, Tottenham, in their fourth Europa League campaign, made no fewer than 10 changes from the side that drew with Sunderland in the Premier League at the weekend, with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris the only survivor.

Harry Kane almost gave the north Londoners a dream start to their bid to get out of Group C, his first minute attempt hitting the bar.

But despite looking dangerous on occasions Tottenham lacked the killer touch and were unable to find a way through Partizan’s defence. - AFP

Full results:

Borussia Moenchengladbach 1-1 Villarreal 
Apollon Limassol                  3-2  FC Zürich 
Club Brugge                         0-0 Torino
FC Copenhagen                    2-0 HJK Helsinki 
Partizan Belgrade                 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Besiktas                              1-1 Asteras Tripolis 
Salzburg                              2-2 Celtic  
Dinamo Zagreb                     5-1 FC Astra 
PSV Eindhoven                    1-0 Estoril 
Panathinaikos                      1-2 Dinamo Moscow 
Qarabag                              0-0 Saint-Etienne 
Dnipropetrovsk                     0-1 Inter Milan 
Belgium  Standard Liege      2-0 Rijeka 
Sevilla                                2-0 Feyenoord
Lille                                   1-1 FC Krasnodar
Everton                              4-1 VfL Wolfsburg 
Young Boys                       5-0 Slovan Bratislava
Napoli                               3-1 Sparta Prague
Steaua Bucharest              6-0​ Aalborg 
Rio Ave                             0-3 Dynamo Kiev 
PAOK                               6-1 Dinamo Minsk
Fiorentina                          3-0 Guingamp 
Metalist Kharkiv                 1-2 Trabzonspor
Legia Warsaw                   1-0 Lokeren 

Source: AFP

 

Father bit baby girl on forehead, shook and hit her till she died

Aurimas Medvedevas, 23, killed his daughter by hitting and shaking her violently, a UK court heard.

A deep cut to the liver. Five rib fractures. Bleeding on the brain and eyes. Bruises and abrasions on the body. Two bite marks on the head.

These are the injuries a two-month-old baby girl suffered at the hands of her father.

The infant had been left in the care of her father while her mother was at work on Sept 5 last year.

The dad, Aurimas Medvedevas, 23, killed his daughter by hitting and shaking her violently, a UK court heard.

The mother, 22-year-old Dzesika Urbikaite, found her daughter dead in her cot when returned home, reported BBC News.

Died accidently

The Lithuanian man initially denied hurting the baby, but later claimed baby Aukse died accidentally after falling off the bed and hitting the cot.

He changed his story again after that, saying he had shaken his baby and thrown her on the bed, from which she fell to the floor, Mirror reported.

The prosecutor said Medvedevas had not accounted for all the injuries, including the bite which matched his teeth imprint, reported Sky News.

Said the prosecutor: "For reasons known only to him but which may well be rooted in the pressures of home life and his own inability to cope with the change in his circumstances, he took hold of his own baby, he bit her on the head, he struck her repeatedly and he shook her hard.

"As a result of all that she died, not immediately, but a few hours later. As he committed those acts of violence against baby Aukse he must have intended to kill her or cause her really serious harm. That is murder."

Sources: BBC News, Sky News, Mirror

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