rooney282

Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off as Wayne Rooney’s 100th club goal proved enough to give Manchester United a derby win.

United were dominant early on but Manchester City came closest to scoring when Stephen Ireland grazed a post.

Rooney followed up Michael Carrick’s shot to break the deadlock before Ronaldo was sent off for a second booking after inexplicably handling.

Richard Dunne almost levelled but saw his shot cleared off the line before Joe Hart kept out a late Rooney lob.

Hart, who had joined City’s attack for an injury-time corner, ran the length of the pitch as United broke and got back to his goal just in time to deny Rooney his second goal of the game.

The home side had come close to equalising seconds earlier when Patrice Evra did brilliantly to block Dunne’s effort but United were still convincing winners.

Although they were against 10 men for the last 20 minutes following Ronaldo’s dismissal, Dunne’s shot was the only time City came close to breaking down a well-organised United defence in that period.

And Sir Alex Ferguson’s side had been just as impressive going forward for the majority of the match.

The only blemish on an otherwise perfect day for Ferguson was Ronaldo’s red card, which came after an inexplicable handball by the Portuguese winger.

Ronaldo had already been booked for bringing down Shaun Wright-Phillips and, when he almost caught Rooney’s corner at the near post less than 10 minutes later, referee Howard Webb had no choice but to dismiss him.

It was a bizarre incident but did not take the shine off an impressive display by the visitors.

While City began nervously, United were into their stride from the start and could have been out of sight by the end of a one-sided first half.

Dimitar Berbatov, operating behind the marauding Rooney, tormented the City defence in the early stages, while Evra and Rafael da Silva were constant threats on either flank.

But, for all their possession, a goal continued to elude United.

Ronaldo nodded over from a corner, Hart brilliantly pushed a Berbatov header round the post and Evra blazed over when his own cross was cleared back to him in the box.

It took City over half an hour to create any sort of opening but, when it came, they should really have taken the lead.

ronaldo282A whipped Javier Garrido free-kick was only cleared as far as Ireland, who fired the ball goalwards with United keeper Edwin van der Sar out of position.

Ireland’s shot bounced towards Micah Richards, who was stood in front of the net, but instead of turning it home the defender left the ball and it hit the outside of the post.

That sparked City’s best spell of the first-half, with Robinho inches away from collecting Didi Hamann’s slide-rule pass in front of goal, but United remained dangerous and it was no surprise when they scored after 42 minutes.

The home side had plenty of opportunities to clear the ball but instead it fell for Carrick to fire in a low shot that Hart could only parry into the path of Rooney, who converted with glee for his 100th club goal.

Understandably, City boss Mark Hughes made changes at the break and, after moving Vincent Kompany into midfield, his side were instantly more competitive.

City were seeing more of the ball too but they still had to be alert to United’s threat on the counter-attack and Ji-Sung Park was twice denied by last-ditch tackles by Wright-Phillips and Dunne.

Ferguson’s side continued to get plenty of men behind the ball and even Ronaldo’s dismissal did not help the home side, who looked to have run out of ideas before Dunne’s late chance came and went.

The scoreline would have reflected the game far better had Rooney scored with his audacious injury-time lob and, in truth, the match perfectly illustrated the gulf in class between the two sides that City’s wealthy new owners Abu Dhabi United are hoping to narrow.

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ship

Somali pirates holding a ship full of military hardware have reached a deal with its Ukrainian owners to release it, reports say.

Gunmen seized the Kenya-bound MV Faina, carrying 33 tanks, grenade launchers and ammunition, on 24 September.

A pirate spokesman said releasing the ship was “a matter of time”, but gave no details of a ransom payment.

Attacks by Somali pirates have escalated sharply in recent months, causing international concern.

Last month they seized a Saudi oil tanker, the Sirius Star, carrying oil worth more than $100m (£65m). Negotiations are currently under way for the release of the vessel and its 25-man crew.

‘Technicalities’

SOMALIA PIRACY
Map showing areas of pirate attacks
92 attacks this year – most in the Gulf of Aden
36 successful hijackings
14 ships currently held, including the MV Faina carrying tanks
268 crew held hostage
Source: International Maritime Bureau, 2008

The MV Faina, currently anchored off the pirate hub of Harardhere, has a mostly Ukrainian crew of 21. Pirates had initially demanded a ransom of $20m.

“It is just a matter of time and a few technicalities before the ship recovers its freedom,” French news agency AFP quoted Sugule Ali speaking on behalf of the pirates.

“I can’t tell you what the ransom is but what can I say is that an agreement has finally been reached,” he added.

A Kenyan maritime official confirmed the deal and said the two sides were now “discussing the modalities of releasing the ship, crew and cargo”.

Kenya says the arms are destined for its military, rejecting reports they were bound for the government of semi-autonomous southern Sudan.

Somalia has not had an effective national government for 17 years, leading to a collapse of law and order both on land and at sea.

Pirates there are currently holding more than a dozen hijacked ships.

richard_speckRICHARD SPECK, 1966

It sounds like a recurring nightmare: an armed male intruder breaks into a women’s dorm and with a gun and a butcher’s knife, binds and gags all the residents. Then one by one, he kills them cruelly and with great brutality. All of that happened in Chicago on the night of July 14, 1966, in a dormitory that housed eight nurses who worked at the South Chicago Community Hospital. The perpetrator was Richard Speck, then 24, a drifter born in Illinois, raised in Texas, wandering from petty crime to petty crime and bar to bar. At the age of 19, he had the words “Born to Raise Hell” tattooed on his arm. His victims were all eulogized as saints, people who had committed their lives to helping others. He would be positively identified by one of his intended targets, Corazon Amurao, who survived the attack by hiding under a bed. Speck knew there were eight women in the dorm; he did not know that a friend was also staying over that night. So Amurao survived as the guest was led to slaughter. The jury found Speck guilty after a mere 49 minutes of deliberation and he was sentenced to the electric chair. In 1972, however, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the death sentence unconstitutional. Resentenced to hundreds of years in prison, Speck died in 1991. No one claimed his body, which was cremated and the ashes scattered to the wind.

shopping

The US holiday shopping season got off to an encouraging start, with sales on the day after Thanksgiving up 3% from last year.

Data from ShopperTrak showed sales rose to $10.6bn on Friday, although it was the smallest gain since 2005.

The Thanksgiving weekend marks the start of the holiday shopping season and is regarded as an important test of how willing US consumers are to spend.

Analysts said shoppers were responding to heavy discounts.

“Under these circumstances, to start off the season in this fashion is truly amazing and is a testament to the resiliency of the American consumer, and undeniably proves a willingness to spend,” said Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak.

However, Mr Martin added that spending was driven by steep discounts, which are likely to put retailers’ profit margins under pressure.

Sales in the South rose 3.4% and they increased by 3% in the Midwest.

On Friday, crowds of shoppers woke up before dawn and queued in the cold to snare the special deals offered by many stores.

A shop worker died after being knocked to the ground by bargain-hunters at a Wal-Mart store in New York’s suburbs.

Many retailers have suffered as consumers cut back their spending to cope with the worst economic crisis since the Depression.

US retail sales recorded the biggest monthly decline since 1992 in October as consumers cut back on spending.

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Spanish singer Ruth Lorenzo has said buenas noches to The X Factor, after receiving the fewest public votes in Saturday’s live show.

The 26-year-old bowed out with a final rendition of Bon Jovi’s Always.

Britney Spears also took to the X Factor stage to perform current hit single Womanizer, in her first UK television performance in four years.

Earlier, all of the five remaining contestants sang one of Spears’ hits and an American classic.

Lorenzo said: “I fought with all my heart, with everything I had. And this doesn’t end here.

“This is the beginning of my dream.

‘Friend forever’

“All I can say is thank you so much. I never ever dreamed of this ever.”

Her mentor, Dannii Minogue paid tribute to the Spanish bombshell, saying she had “an incredible vocal”.

“She was the most beautiful person to work with. She’s going to be a friend forever,” she said.

Earlier judge Simon Cowell praised her “determination and effort”.

With the show down to its final weeks, Lorenzo was chosen solely by public vote.

Her exit means Diana Vickers, Eoghan Quigg, Alexandra Burke and boyband JLS have all secured a place in the show’s semi-final.

Burke, 20, is now favourite to win the show, after singing powerful versions of Spears’ Toxic and Beyonce’s Listen.

Simon Cowell told the Londoner her performance of the Dream Girls song was the “best performance of the competition”.

“You make me very proud to be British,” he said.

Spears is on a whistle-stop tour of Europe ahead of the release of her latest album, Circus, on Monday.

She wore an all black outfit, with hotpants, fishnet tights and knee-high boots during her mimed performance – which received a standing ovation from the judges and studio audience.

Afterwards she said: “I love being here in London, it’s awesome.”

She told the remaining contestants: “Good luck and just keep doing it.”

On Thursday she performed at an awards ceremony in Germany, where she was named best international pop star. On Friday, she sang on French TV show Star Academy.

Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus also appeared on this week’s X Factor to play her latest single, 7 Things.

30clintoCHICAGO — Former President Bill Clinton has agreed to disclose publicly the names of more than 200,000 donors to his foundation as part of an accord with President-elect Barack Obama that clears the way for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to become secretary of state, Democrats close to both sides said on Saturday.

Mr. Clinton has kept his contributor list secret, as permitted under federal law, but he decided to publish it to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest with Mrs. Clinton’s duties as the nation’s top diplomat, said the Democrats, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the agreement with Mr. Obama’s team. Mr. Obama plans to announce Mrs. Clinton’s nomination on Monday, according to advisers.

The disclosure of contributors is among nine conditions that Mr. Clinton signed off on during discussions with representatives of Mr. Obama; all go beyond the requirements of law. Among other issues, he agreed to incorporate his Clinton Global Initiative separately from his foundation so that he has less direct involvement. The initiative, which promotes efforts to fight disease, poverty and climate change, would no longer hold annual meetings outside of the United States or accept new contributions from foreign governments.

Mr. Clinton also agreed to submit his future personal speeches and business activities for review by State Department ethics officials and, if necessary, by the White House counsel’s office.

The former president’s web of business and charitable activities raised questions about how he could continue to travel the world soliciting multimillion-dollar contributions for his foundation and collecting six-figure speaking fees for himself from foreign organizations and individuals while his wife conducted American foreign policy.

Lawyers for Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama spent days crafting the agreement in hopes of addressing any concerns about Mr. Clinton’s activities. He had previously said he would do whatever the Obama transition team asked in order to make it possible for his wife to serve without questions. Mr. Obama’s team said it was satisfied that the concessions Mr. Clinton made should defuse any potential controversy. Until Saturday, only some elements of the agreement had become public.

Neither Mr. Obama’s office nor Mr. Clinton’s office would comment. The disclosure of Mr. Clinton’s full agreement on a Saturday night might have the effect of drawing less attention to it while keeping the focus Monday on Mrs. Clinton. Her nomination will be announced along with the retention of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and the appointment of Gen. James L. Jones, a retired Marine commandant, as national security adviser.

In the eight years since he left the White House, Mr. Clinton has built a new life as a businessman and international philanthropist, which has made him rich while he helped fight AIDS, malaria, malnutrition and other maladies around the world. Since its formation a decade ago, the William J. Clinton Foundation has raised more than $500 million to build a presidential library and to finance charitable programs.

Mr. Clinton has never revealed his contributors, but among those whose identities have become known over the years are the Saudi royal family, the king of Morocco, a foundation linked to the United Arab Emirates, the governments of Kuwait and Qatar and a tycoon who is the son-in-law of Ukraine’s former authoritarian president.

For his speeches, Mr. Clinton could command as much as $425,000 for one hour, often paid by foreign companies or individuals who might have an interest in American foreign policy. He gave at least 54 such speeches last year for a total of $10.1 million. Even as his wife was first approached by Mr. Obama about the State Department job this month, the former president was heading to Kuwait to speak at an economic symposium sponsored by the National Bank of Kuwait.

To eliminate any concerns, Mr. Clinton turned over to Mr. Obama’s team the names of all 208,000 individuals and organizations that have given money since 1997. The agreement will ensure that the foundation releases the names to the public as well by the end of December. The names will be divided into categories giving the general level of contributions rather than the precise dollar amount. Any future donors will be disclosed as long as Mrs. Clinton is in the cabinet.

The Clinton Global Initiative, now part of the foundation, will be incorporated separately to establish some distance from the former president in its day-to-day activities. Mr. Clinton will continue to host gatherings of the initiative and invite participants who pay registration fees, but will not solicit sponsorships, according to the agreement.

The agreement, most of which will become effective once Mrs. Clinton is confirmed, will prevent the Clinton Global Initiative from holding just the sort of meeting that it is sponsoring in Hong Kong starting Tuesday, the day after Mr. Obama’s scheduled announcement. The meeting was scheduled to be the first of a series around the world bringing together leaders of government, business and nonprofit groups to discuss education, energy, climate change and public health.

Four other initiatives under the umbrella of the Clinton foundation — focused on H.I.V./AIDS, climate change, development and sustainable growth — will continue to do work under agreements with foreign governments that provide financing, including Britain, France, Norway and Sweden. But if any of those countries increases its commitment or a new country decides to contribute, the foundation will notify State Department ethics officials.

train_robberyTHE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, 1963

The 15 thieves who held up the Royal Mail train between Glasgow and London on Aug. 8, 1963 netted 120 bags packed with the equivalent of $7 million and were were treated like folk heroes by the press and public. Although the operation took all of 15 minutes, the caper was not as smooth as people remember it. It wasn’t non-violent, for one thing (the driver of the train was conked in the head and never fully recovered from the trauma); nor was it as carefully executed (the thieves left fingerprints everywhere). The case has lived on in memory because of the further adventures of one of its minor players, Ronnie Biggs, whose escape from prison and long years of eluding justice were constant fodder for the British tabs. Readers were fascinated that a small-time hood could end up being part of the biggest heist in British history and be the only one to get away with it all. Biggs eventually gave himself up in 2001, returning voluntarily from Brazil to serve the 28 years remaining in his sentence. Despite pleas for leniency, Biggs, now 77, remains incarcerated and in failing health.