September 24, 2009

A Perfect Australian Dust Storm

It could be a scene from a Hollywood disaster movie. But this is for real as Australians witnessed this unprecedented event.

Sydney residents woke up Wednesday to see the city blanketed by a colossal dust storm. The city was just a red glow.

According to one Australian weather commentator, it was like seeing "earth, wind and fire" all wrap up together to make a perfect dust storm.

Reports said the outback mining town of Broken Hill was completely blacked out.

The dust storm swept across eastern Australia, disrupting transport. International flights were diverted from Sydney.

Reuters reported that ferries on Sydney Harbour were suspended and commuter motorists warned to be careful on roads as visibility was dramatically reduced.

Health authorities urged people with asthma or breathing difficulties to stay indoors. The dust set off smoke alarms in some buildings in Sydney's central business district.

Weathermen said a major cold front in New South Wales state caused severe thunderstorms and gale-force winds, which whipped up the dust from the drought-stricken inland and spread it across Australia's most populous state.

The 100 kilometre per hour plus winds also fanned bushfires in the state.

Reuters reported that the blanket of dust stretched hundreds of kilometres along the coast from Sydney, from the coal port of Newcastle in the north to the steel city of Wollongong in the south, and hundreds of kilometres inland to farming towns like Dubbo and Tamworth.

September 15, 2009

Dirty Dancing Star Patrick Swayze Dies At 57

Actor Patrick Swayze died Tuesday following a 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

Patrick Swayze's wife Lisa told ABC News' Barbara Walters that she and his brother Donny Swayze, were by his side when he died at his ranch on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

Swayze, best known for starring in the blockbuster films "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost," was diagnosed with cancer in January 2008.

The actor achieved true stardom, starring as the gyrating dance instructor Johnny Castle in 1987's "Dirty Dancing" opposite co-star Jennifer Gray.

For that, Swayze earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role, along with a cult-like following of fans.

He received another nomination for his 1990 blockbuster "Ghost," in which he starred alongside Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg.

He was named by People magazine as the "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1991.

September 11, 2009

Afghan War Faces Growing Scepticism

Approximately 800 civilians have been killed in the Afghan war in the first five months of the year, a 24 percent jump from the same period in 2008.

US envoy to Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke, defending the objective of the Afghan war, told the BBC that western troops were needed to fight the war there because of the "direct threat" by the Taliban.

Meanwhile, Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was alarmed by growing scepticism about the fighting in Afghanistan, according to the BBC.

Mounting allied casualties, a rising Afghan civilian death toll and claims of widespread electoral fraud have led to growing opposition to the campaign in Western countries.

September 7, 2009

Could It Be Bye, Bye Maradona?

Brazil have every reason to be jubilant. A convincing 3-1 victory over Latin arch-rivals Argentina on Saturday means that the Brazilians are assured of a place in the World Cup finals in South Africa.

Pity Diego Maradona, the Argentine coach. Now he's left with the fear that Argentina will not make it to the World Cup finals next year.

It will be a shame if their Barcelona whizzkid Lionel Messi will not strut the stage in South Africa.

Brazil's win in Rosario caps another feather for their coach Dunga who led the Samba boys to win the Copa America in 2007  and the Confederations Cup this year.

It was thought that Dunga would be sacked after a poor showing in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Dunga survived. He has led Brazil to 10 wins in a row since.

Despite the debacle on Saturday, it was reported that Maradona would not quit.

Argentina cannot afford to lose again in their World Cup qualifier match. This Wednesday they will face Paraquay who are expected to qualify even if they lose to Argentina.

Another defeat could leave the Argentines out of the World Cup, a nightmare for a football-crazy nation that once regarded Maradona as the greatest player in the world.

But as a football coach, the legendary Maradona has yet to prove his mettle and management skills.

September 6, 2009

Chelsea Banned From Buying New Players Until 2011

English soccer club Chelsea have been banned from signing new players until 2011 after they were found guilty of inducing a player to break his contract with another club.

FIFA ruled that the Chelsea freeze was because the club had induced French teenager Gael Kakuta to breach his contract with French club Lens in 2007.

The London club will likely appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and have its transfer ban reduced.

As for Chelsea fans, they will probably feel that the club was unfairly singled out and penalized.


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