June 12, 2010

World Cup kick-off marred by Mandela family tragedy

South Africa celebrated the kick-off Friday of the first ever World Cup tournament to be held on the African continent but the nation's icon Nelson Mandela, now 91, had to cancel his appearance at the opening ceremony in front of 90,000 at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg.

The reason: His 13-year-old great granddaughter, Zenani Mandela, was killed in a car crash after attending Thursday's night World Cup kick-off concert in Soweto.

According to a statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, "Zenani was travelling in a car returning from the World Cup Kick-Off Concert at Orlando Stadium when the accident occurred. There was only one car involved and no one else was injured."

The Mandela Foundation said the family had asked for privacy. Zenani, who celebrated her birthday two days ago, was a granddaughter of Zinzi Mandela, Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's daughter.

Ex-wife Winnie was also in the car.

The driver had been arrested and police were investigating a case of culpable homicide.

Meanwhile, South Africa played Mexico to a 1-1 draw in the World Cup opener in front of a raucous and emotional home crowd.

The Bafana Bafana, ranked No. 83 in world football standing, had a dream start when Siphiwe Tshabalala put them in the lead in the 55th minute. Mexico, ranked 17th in the world, managed to equalize 24 minutes later with a Rafael Marquez goal.

In the other later Group A match between France and Uruguay, the result was 0-0 which means all four teams in the same group have a point each.

June 10, 2010

Is Bret Michaels replacing Simon Cowell as Idol judge?

SPECULATION is rife that Poison band rocker Bret Michaels will be replacing Simon Cowell as a judge on the Fox singing talent show "American Idol".

Acerbic British judge Cowell said farewell to his last "Idol" season last month. He has been searching for a new judge to replace him on the panel in the next series and has revealed that Michaels could be the likely candidate.

Recently Entertainment website PopEater.com asked its readers if they had to pick either Madonna, Bret Michaels, Diddy or Howard Stern for Cowell's spot - who would they choose?

(All four have either spoken out or been rumoured for the position.)

More than 42K voted in PopEater.com's poll, and 50 percent chose Michaels, with second place going to Stern, who garnered 19 percent of the vote. The Poison rocker has hinted that his future lies with "Idol" and it appears now to have confirmed that an "offer" had materialized.

Bret Michaels with "Idol" finalists Casey James
PopEater.com has reported Michaels as saying: "That offer has already been made, and we're just trying to consider putting everything in. I've got a VH1 show I'm shooting called Life As I Know It, which will air in the fall.

"Then it would either be Rock Star at the beginning of the year, or I'd start Idol (and) then we'll start shooting when they start their season again.

"I'd be honoured to do it. I feel there's one area I shine in, it's giving musicians unbelievable advice. When you talk about being a judge, Simon did an amazing job. He cut to the chase with his brutal honesty. Mine would be less brutal and with more advice along with the judging.

"Fans would be blown away by the advice. I would love to do it and I could give killer advice."

Michaels, who was recently hospitalized suffering from brain hemorrhage, took the Idol stage for a duet with finalist Casey James during the season's finale on May 10 and was an instant hit with the studio audience who gave him a standing ovation as he walked out to sing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn".

June 1, 2010

Global outcry over Israeli raid on Gaza aid ships

The deadly Israeli raid Monday on a convoy of Gaza aid ships in which at least 10 people were reported killed has sparked global shock and outrage.

The fallout from the bloody ending to the high-profile Freedom Flotilla aid mission to blockaded Gaza is heaping worldwide condemnation on Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short his visit to Washington as Tel Aviv scrambled to contain the fallout.

According to AFP report, most of the dead were Turkish.

Turkey, once Israel's closest Muslim ally, has recalled its ambassador and frozen military ties with the Jewish state.

United Nation chief Ban Ki-moon was "shocked" by the Israeli assault on the convoy which was carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinia activists through international waters.

Latest reports say the Freedom Flotilla has been directed to the port of Ashdod and more than 80 activists had been arrested.

The convoy was carrying more than 700 passengers who were on a mission to deliver aid to Gaza which had been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.

New Plans To Plug Gulf Oil Well

There's no end in sight yet as thousands of gallons of oil spew uncontrolled into the Gulf of Mexico each day.

Reports estimated that at least 20 million gallons are now believed to have leaked into the ocean since BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20 and sank. Eleven workers were killed in that incident.

After many efforts to stop a gushing oil well in the Gulf have failed, BP plans a new approach while the White House sends more resources.

The British oil giant has acknowledged failure in its "top kill" attempt to plug the underwater well. Company officials said it could take a week to implement the next bid -- placing a cap over the leak.

The disaster has already closed stretches of coastal fishing waters, endangering the seafood industry and tourism, and threatening a catastrophe for Louisiana marshes, home to many rare species, according to news reports.


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