Poll: Pick your winners for France v Germany, Brazil v Colombia

After a short break, the World Cup picks up again tonight with the quarter-finals.

France will take on Germany at midnight and Brazil will take on Colombia at 4am tomorrow morning (Jul 5) for the right to move on to the semi-finals of the World Cup.

We want to know who you think will survive to fight another day.

Err, no prizes though. 

Take the poll below, or click here!

 

Use an iPhone or Galaxy? Prepare for more checks if you're flying into the US

Shoes, iPhones and Galaxy phones may be subject to more stringent checks at US airports.
Shoes, iPhones and Galaxy phones may be subject to more stringent checks at US airports.

Airlines with direct flights to the United States have been told to tighten screening of mobile phones and shoes in response to intelligence reports of increased threats from al Qaeda-affiliated militant groups, US officials said on Thursday.

The officials singled out smartphones including iPhones made by Apple Inc and Galaxy phones made by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd for extra security checks on U.S.-bound direct flights from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

US security officials said they fear bombmakers from the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have figured out how to turn the phones into explosive devices that can avoid detection.

They also are concerned that hard-to-detect bombs could be built into shoes, said the officials, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Intense scrutiny on gadgets

A US official said that other electronic devices carried by passengers also are likely to receive more intense scrutiny.

Airlines or airport operators that fail to strengthen security could face bans on flights entering the United States, the officials said.

The US Homeland Security Department announced on Wednesday plans to step up security checks, but they offered few details on how airlines and airports will implement them.

An official familiar with the matter said the United States believes that while it is possible there may be some additional delays at security checkpoints, at most major airports passengers will not be seriously inconvenienced.

The official said most passengers taking long-distance flights arrive well in advance of scheduled departures, leaving time for extra screening. But he said the United States could not rule out disruptions in countries where airport infrastructure and security procedures are less sophisticated.

Bomb makers

US security agencies fear bombmakers from AQAP and the Islamist Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, are collaborating on plots to attack US - or Europe-bound planes with bombs concealed on foreign fighters carrying Western passports, the officials said.

AQAP has a track record of plotting such attacks. Its innovative bombmaker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, built an underwear bomb used in a failed 2009 effort to bring down a Detroit-bound airliner, and his devices were implicated in other plots.

There was no immediate indication US intelligence had detected a specific plot or timeframe for any attack.

US officials say the United States has acquired evidence that Nusra and AQAP operatives have tested new bomb designs in Syria, where Nusra is one of the main Islamist groups fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

- AFP 

Congrats Nicolas Cage, you're a granddaddy!

Actor Nicolas Cage became a grandfather earlier this week when his son Weston and his daughter-in-law had a baby boy.
Actor Nicolas Cage became a grandfather earlier this week when his son Weston and his daughter-in-law had a baby boy.

Nicolas Cage is officially a grandfather. 

Weston Cage - the actor's first son - welcomed a baby boy, Lucian, with wife Danielle on July 1, reported Us Weekly. 

Nicolas Cage's first son, Weston (right) and wife Danielle Cage. PHOTO: Twitter / Danielle Cage

When Weston, 23, spoke to Us Weekly earlier this year about his wife's pregnancy, he said his 50-year-old dad was "ecstatic".

"He was elated immediately when he met Danielle," added the musician. 

Cage has another son, Kal-El, 8, with third wife Alice Kim. Weston is Cage's son with former girlfriend, actress Christina Fulton. 

Source: Us Weekly

Cole: Cowell should have sacked me to my face

Cheryl Cole was sacked from the US X Factor after arriving at the first round of auditions in a bizarre purple and orange outfit.
Cheryl Cole was sacked from the US X Factor after arriving at the first round of auditions in a bizarre purple and orange outfit.
Cole says Simon Cowell was right to let her go because she "wasn’t well in the head".
Cole says Simon Cowell was right to let her go because she "wasn’t well in the head".

British singer Cheryl Cole has said Simon Cowell was right to sack her from the US version of The X Factor in 2011 but insists that he should have told her to her face.

"I can talk about this because I'm okay about it now. But I went through hell and it literally drove me mad," she told Elle UK in a wide-ranging interview

The 31-year-old was axed from the US talent show a few weeks into shooting the series and before it went to air, reported the BBC.

"Now I can say that Simon was right to get rid of me," she told the magazine

"I wasn't well in the head when that was going on, so it wasn't going to work. But he wasn't right not to tell me to my face," said Cole, who famously wore a garish combination of purple pants with an orange top to the first audition.

Earlier this year, Cole won a payout from the producers of The X Factor USA after settling out of court. The sum was not revealed. And Cole is now back on The X Factor in the UK, judging alongside Cowell, Louis Walsh and Mel B.

Text message

She also revealed she sent a text message to Simon Cowell after she was dropped from the programme.

The expletive littered text said: "**** you, **** Fox, **** the orange and purple outfit. **** the big hair. **** the UK X Factor. **** you all. I hate you."

She told Elle UK: "I became so desensitised, you could say terrible things to me and I wouldn't even think about it.

"I'd read awful stuff about myself and not blink. I shut down because I didn't know what else to do."

She claimed she felt as though she was having a nervous breakdown last year.

"It only hit me at the beginning of last year that I'd completely lost myself. I'd look in a mirror and think, 'Who the hell is she?'" she told Elle.

Source: Elle UK, BBC

 

Wimbledon: Bouchard and Kvitova ready to go nuts at grand slam final

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard returns to Romania's Simona Halep during their women's singles semi-final match on day ten of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships on July 3, 2014. Photo: AFP
Canada's Eugenie Bouchard returns to Romania's Simona Halep during their women's singles semi-final match on day ten of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships on July 3, 2014. Photo: AFP
Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova celebrates winning the first set against Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova during their women's singles semi-final match on day ten of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest Lon
Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova celebrates winning the first set against Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova during their women's singles semi-final match on day ten of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 3, 2014. Photo: AFP

It was "a weird match with a weird ending" but all Eugenie Bouchard cared about was the split-second in which she saw Simona Halep's lunging service return spinning into the net.

It was the moment that confirmed her 7-6(5) 6-2 victory over the Romanian third seed at Wimbledon on Thursday.

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"It's not a surprise for me. I expect good results like this. I totally feel like I belong. But I still have another match so it's not a full celebration yet," said the remarkably self-assured 20-year-old who is the first Canadian to reach a grand slam final.

Now she will face Petra Kvitova in the final, after the Czech beat Lucie Safarova 7-6(6) 6-1.

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How do they match up?

Here's a quick comparison on the two finalists who have gone against all odds to get to Wimbledon finals.

  Kvitova Bouchard
Age 24 20
Height 6-0 5-10
Weight 154 134
Rank 6 13
Career Money-x $12,553,901 $1,738,730
2014 Money-x $654,679 $1,233,624
Grand Slam Finals 1-0 -
Wimbledon Finals 1-0 -
Career Titles 11 1
Wimbledon Titles 1 -
2014 Titles - 1
Career Record 322-144 160-84
2014 Record 24-10 36-13
2014 Record-Grass 8-0 6-1
Career Record-Wimbledon 25-5 8-1
Career Record-Grass 35-11 10-6
2014 Wimbledon
Matches 6 6
Opponents Avg. Rank 55.8 27.2
Three-Set Matches 1 -
Tiebreak Record 2-0 2-0

Table: Epoch Times

Will Bouchard win?

Bouchard has been on the fast lane to success since winning the junior title at Wimbledon in 2012.

In only her second year on the professional tour, she reached the semi-finals of the Australian and French Opens and is now a win away from living up her billing as the "next Maria Sharapova".

"I see it as a compliment to be compared to someone like Sharapova who has won five slams. She's a great champion," said Bouchard, who is seeded 13th this year, just like the Russian was when she captured hearts with her 2004 triumph.

Her calm and composed nature has helped her tremendously in trying situations, most recently against Halep where there were several distractions that stopped play.


Canada's Eugenie Bouchard returns to Romania's Simona Halep during their women's singles semi-final match on day ten of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships on July 3, 2014. Photo: AFP


Eugenie Bouchard of Canada reacts after defeating Simona Halep of Romania in their women's singles semi-final tennis match against at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 3, 2014. Photo: Reuters

Can Kvitova win Wimbledon for the second time?

What Kvitova cared about after securing a spot in the finals was that she was now two sets away from shedding her one-hit wonder tag.

Kvitova has been displaying toughness and skills that she hasn't shown since she won Wimbledon in 2011. She hits the ball harder than most women players and cuts opponents down with her left-handed serve.


Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova serves to Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova during their women's singles semi-final match on day ten of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships on July 3, 2014. Photo: AFP


Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic (R) embraces Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic after defeating her in their women's singles semi-final tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 3, 2014. Photo: Reuters

Being the Wimbledon 2011 winner at the age of 21 has added extra pressure on her but the Czech player remains positive.

"These three years was really up and down... but I'm definitely ready for a final and I'm going to try the best," said the 24-year-old, who went from carefree wannabe to angst-ridden champion.

The finals will air on July 5, 9pm Singapore time.

- Reuters, Wall Street Journal, Epoch Times, YouTube

2 killed in overpass collapse in Brazil World Cup city

Rescue workers inspect a bus trapped underneath a bridge that collapsed while under construction in Belo Horizonte, July 3, 2014. An unfinished overpass collapsed in the Brazilian World Cup host city of Belo Horizonte on Thursday, killing at least two people, emergency officials said.
Firefighters and policemen work at the site where several vehicles were crushed by a viaduct that collapsed in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on July 3, 2014.
Rescue workers try to reach vehicles trapped underneath a bridge that collapsed while under construction in Belo Horizonte July 3, 2014. An unfinished overpass collapsed in the Brazilian World Cup host city of Belo Horizonte on Thursday, killing at least two people, emergency officials said.

An unfinished overpass collapsed in the Brazilian World Cup host city of Belo Horizonte on Thursday (July 3), killing at least two people, emergency officials said.

Television images showed the front of a passenger bus crushed by the overpass, which was located about two miles (3 km) from the Mineirao Stadium where World Cup games are being played.

Other vehicles were also crushed underneath the wreckage, officials said.

Two people died and 19 were injured, a spokeswoman for the Minas Gerais state health department told reporters.

A fire department spokesman said there was still one person trapped in a car, and possibly more.

The cause of the collapse was unclear.

The overpass was part of a network of bus lanes that Brazil planned to have ready for the World Cup, but was not finished on time.

“We were travelling normally and then there was a terrible noise,”Renata Soares, who said she was on the bus at the moment of the accident, told Brazilian news outlet GloboNews TV.

“I am sure that more people in other cars were underneath the debris.

A World Cup semi-final match will be held in Belo Horizonte next Tuesday.

The stadium has already hosted five games. Heavy government spending on the World Cup and long delays in infrastructure projects have spurred violent street protests in Brazil over the past year, although they have died down in recent weeks.

Last month, one worker died after a 90-tonne beam fell during the construction of a monorail train project in São Paulo.

Source: Reuters

X-Men director asks judge to throw out sex abuse case

X-Men director Bryan Singer on Thursday asked a judge in Los Angeles to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an anonymous British man accusing the film-maker and an entertainment executive of sexually abusing him as a minor.
X-Men director Bryan Singer on Thursday asked a judge in Los Angeles to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an anonymous British man accusing the film-maker and an entertainment executive of sexually abusing him as a minor.

X-Men director Bryan Singer has asked a judge in Los Angeles to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an anonymous British man accusing the filmmaker and an entertainment executive of sexually abusing him as a minor.

The lawsuit accuses Singer and entertainment industry executive Gary Goddard, 60, of coercing the British man into sex acts as a minor with the promise of helping him in an acting career. 

Singer’s attorney, Marty Singer, asked US District Judge Dean Pregerson to throw out the suit filed in May, saying that it was improperly filed anonymously by a British citizen, who was identified in court papers as John Doe No. 117.

Singer, 48, also demanded in court that the plaintiff pay US$300,000 (S$374,000) for Singer’s expected legal fees. 

Goddard last month asked for the suit to be dismissed.

This is the second sex abuse lawsuit against Singer that was filed ahead of the release of his film X-Men: Days of Future Past. 

Source: Reuters

Why J-Rod will trump Neymar

Story of two No. 10s — Rodriguez is blessed with teammates on the same wavelength but Neymar is burdened by a nation’s hopes

James Rodriguez (left) and Brazil forward Neymar.
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Rare diamond at expo

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Facial recognition software to protect $250 million worth of diamonds

Latest facial recognition technology helps spot known criminals at gem expo

SPARKLER: The 50.55-carat diamond is nicknamed The White Fire for its colourless quality and purity.
EXCITED: Models showing off jewellery in a fashion show during the opening ceremony yesterday.
EXCITED: Member of Parliament Dr Lily Neo (left, in grey), guest-of-honour at the Singapore International Jewelry Expo, admiring the 50.55-carat diamond.

Screens scan faces captured on CCTVs placed strategically at entrances.

Stern-looking security men scrutinise every visitor, whose faces are in turn matched against known suspects.

Such a scene, showcasing the latest security technology, is often seen in movies. But it is now being played out at the Singapore International Jewelry Expo 2014.

At stake is $250 million worth of fine jewellery, gemstones and watches on display at Marina Bay Sands, including a single diamond worth $12.5 million.

Read the full report in our print edition on July 4. Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

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