Friday, July 30, 2010

JAMIE REDKNAPPS WEEKEND WATCH: No warn big clubs wish Evertons peculiarity player Steven Pienaar

He won"t be among the contenders for Footballer of the Year, but there hasn"t been too many more consistent players than Everton"s Steven Pienaar.

He travels all over the pitch, left and right, wants the ball and makes things happen.

Steven Pienaar

Man of the moment: In-form midfielder Steven Pienaar has been so consistent

He has good balance, can pass and dribble with both feet and scores goals. I"m not surprised other clubs are looking at him.

Jack in the box

On the subject of Everton, they are looking strong.

Even without the power and strength of Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini, they stood toe-to-toe against a Manchester United side who weren"t at their best, but who had a comfortable win in Milan five days earlier.

Jack Rodwell

Jack in the box: Rodwell"s brilliant third for Everton underlined his rising potential

Good to see Jack Rodwell scoring a brilliant third goal. I worry where the next superkids are coming from. He"s one of them.

Keeping it outRobert Green

The race to be England"s No 1 will continue throughout the season and all the way to the Finals in South Africa but a good run of form now does nobody any harm.

Robert Green, right, has kept four clean sheets in West Ham"s last four home games, behind a defence that had been leaking.

His save at 1-0 from George Boateng was match-winning on Saturday.

Striker light

Hull have not scored in six of their last seven away games and that suggests danger. Teams with goalscorers can see way out of what is looking a tense struggle at the bottom.

Carlton ColeDarren Bent

Too good, too bad: Carlton Cole showed his class while Darren Bent faltered

The return of Carlton Cole, for instance, helps West Ham and Sunderland have Darren Bent, even if they are out of sorts.

That was a poor miss by Kenwyne Jones at the Emirates, though.

Class actWayne Rooney

In a fascinating interview with Sir Alex Ferguson in a Sunday newspaper, the Manchester United manager reveals the generous nature of Wayne Rooney, right, saying that he always makes time for people.

It"s good to hear. Some players forget their responsibilities. They want the money, but they don"t want to make the time. If the best player can, why can"t the rest?

Hello JoseInter Milan coach Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho, right, hasn"t lost a home league game for eight years across his time at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan.

That"s some statistic and a sign of what Chelsea will be up against this week. When I was working on the Sky One programme Football"s Next Star, I got to spend time with him in Milan and saw close up his control and influence. He"s special, alright.

The Drog Bites!

...that said, for all of Inter"s qualities - and they are better than AC Milan - they do not have a striker with the power and form of Didier Drogba.

Didier Drogba

Beware of the Drog: Drogba is hitting form ahead of his reunion with Mourinho

Mourinho might end up regretting signing the giant Ivorian from Marseille, this week. Drogba has scored ten goals in his last ten Premier League games.

It will be fascinating to how Jose tries to stop him.

More...GRAHAM POLL: It"s about time Arsene Wenger took his Arsenal tinted spectacles offMARTIN SAMUEL: Jowell deserves an Olympic medal in utter madnessTHE LIST: Sportsmail"s top 50 English footballers who should be on Fabio Capello"s radar

Ageist understanding for the BBCs old hands

Their appointments were seen as the perfect response to accusations of ageism.

But just days after veteran news presenters Julia Somerville and Fiona Armstrong returned to our screens, the BBC has been embarrassed again after it emerged they were on only 30-day contracts.

The women were recruited to present on the News Channel after Director General Mark Thompson demanded that each department hire at least one woman over 50.


30-day contracts: veteran presenters Julia Somerville (left) and Fiona Armstrong

His edict followed the row over 66-year- old Arlene Phillips" departure from Strictly Come Dancing last year, which resulted in thousands of complaints.

In December, a BBC spokesman proudly declared that the arrival of Miss Somerville, 62, and Miss Armstrong, 53, was evidence the corporation "reflected the public we serve".

The pair made their first appearances on the channel last week. But both women have been handed only short-term, 30-day contracts, drawing a furious response from Joan Bakewell, the official Government "tsar" for older people.

She branded the appointments a "PR exercise" and suggested it was proof that an ageist culture existed at the broadcaster.

Miss Bakewell said: "Let us just say that I am keeping a beady eye on the situation.

"You can talk about this just being a PR exercise, but there is a culture at the BBC that you are not going to change overnight and I saw this as a step in the right direction, if a small step."

Last year, it was revealed Mr Thompson asked news director Helen Boaden to find older women newsreaders. It sparked speculation that Moira Stuart, Selina Scott, Anna Ford and Kate Adie may return, but all made it clear they did not want to.

Many respected female broadcasters have spoken out in recent years about the lack of older women getting top TV jobs.

Miss Ford, 65, left the BBC in 2006 claiming she was being forced out, while Miss Stuart, 60, left after more than 30 years when she was dropped from her newsreading role in 2007.

A BBC spokesman said last night: "We don"t comment on the details of people"s contracts."

David Beckham defeated by Lionel Messi as Barcelona star tops football earner charts on �570000 a week

Lionel Messi earned a staggering 29.7million in the last year, replacing David Beckham as the world"s highest-earning footballer.

A study by France Football magazine found that the England midfielder had finally been toppled after two years on the top spot, though he stays above Cristiano Ronaldo in second place.

The 200,000 a week after-tax deal that Ronaldo signed when he left Manchester United for Real Madrid makes him the biggest earner by football salary, but Messi"s burgeoning commercial deals and a 3.6m bonus for winning six trophies with Barcelona put him out in front.

Brazils statute celebration endorses Rousseff candidacy

Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:16am EST Related News FACTBOX-Positions of Brazil"s ruling party candidateFri, Feb 19 2010CHRONOLOGY-Key dates in Brazil"s presidential raceFri, Feb 19 2010Brazil"s Lula plans no 2014 election bid - reportFri, Feb 19 2010Serra holds lead in Brazil presidential race-pollThu, Feb 18 2010FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in BrazilMon, Feb 15 2010

BRASILIA, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Brazil"s ruling Workers" Partyendorsed chief of staff Dilma Rousseff on Saturday as itspresidential candidate in the country"s Oct. 3 election.


Delegates at the party"s national convention in the capitalBrasilia acclaimed Rousseff, who had been nominated byPresident Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

(Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa, Carmen Munari andFernando Exman; Writing by Raymond Colitt; Editing by Paul Simao)

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From Anzio beach and Monte Cassino to Rome - my Italian debate with the D-Day Dodgers

Anzio"s beachhead museum occupies part of a handsome Art Nouveau palace, a short walk from the seafront.

In January 1944 Allied forces landed in this once fashionable seaside resort - 30 miles south-west of Rome - in a carefully planned thrust designed to open up a route to the Italian capital. Storming the beach turned out to be relatively straightforward.

Getting into the museum today, however, can prove rather more of a challenge.

The cemetery overlooked by the monastery of Monte Cassino which was heavily bombarded during the Second World War

Haunting: The cemetery overlooked by the monastery of Monte Cassino which was heavily bombarded during the Second World War

I was hoping to find out more about the amphibious landing, codenamed Operation Shingle, which put some 40,000 soldiers ashore at Anzio in an effort to break the awful stalemate further south.

The liberation of Italy had ground to a halt in a bloodbath at Monte Cassino, 80 miles south of Rome - the key point on the Germans" winter defensive Gustav line.

The initial effort at Anzio went well, with little resistance from the occupying German troops. The element of surprise in landing was squandered, the Germans quickly recovered and Allied forces were suddenly bogged down in a new location.

More...Find more Italian getaways in our dedicated sectionRead Frank Barrett"s brilliant blogWhy Northern Italy"s lakes, mountains and exquisite art are the full monte

Over-optimistic planning, squabbling between British and American forces, gritty German resistance and inadequate resources had turned the military effort into a slow, miserable slog with a rapidly mounting death toll.

Throughout military history many overseas fighting forces have had cause to consider themselves a "forgotten army".

Those soldiers pinned down in Monte Cassino and the newly landed forces sheltering in the shell holes of the Anzio beachhead had very good reason to claim such a fate.

Within a few months their courageous fight would be eclipsed by the D-Day landings in Normandy.

With mordant wit, Italian campaign veterans took to referring to themselves as "D-Day Dodgers".

Soldiers on the lookout for enemy snipers at Cassino in 1944

"Like the Somme": Soldiers on the lookout for enemy snipers with bayonets fixed at Cassino during the 1944 battle

Some 65 years later it"s sad to report that, unlike Normandy with its wealth of memorials and museums, with high-tech screens and displays explaining the intricacies of the military campaign, the hard-fought Italian campaign receives scant attention. Casual visitors to the area would barely realise that it had ever taken place.

There is a museum run by the council but it keeps quixotic opening hours - mornings and evenings on odd days and weekends. When I arrived it was, of course, closed. A recce round the back revealed a janitor behind a desk. "Museo?" I enquired hopefully.

"No, no, domani [tomorrow]. Come back tomorrow." Alas, I replied, I would be back in Britain. "Not possible to visit now?" I asked.

"Presidente!" shouted the janitor, "Presidente!" The museum is situated in one room of the palace and the janitor wandered the palace and the janitor wandered into a large marbled ballroom. I tagged along at his heels as he continued to bawl: "Presidente! Presidente!"

Frank Barrett

Thought provoking: Frank Barrett was touched by the stories of horror which marked the bloody campaign

By now I found myself at the entrance of the museum so took the opportunity to stroll in for a look. The janitor smiled at me and shrugged his shoulders.

While the Anzio museum has been worthily created with the best of intentions, it is more a collection of memorabilia.

"We are not a cold conglomeration of junk," says the leaflet about the museum.

Actually, this is just about what it is: more Steptoe"s front room than something that ought to capture the emotion of another hugely brave endeavour in a terrifyingly ferocious campaign.

The march north from Monte Cassino to Rome took Allied forces six months of hard slog and cost many thousands of deaths. Today, retracing in the opposite direction the main line of the Allied thrust in 1944, the same journey down the A1 motorway takes just over 90 minutes.

For those who fought there - British and Commonwealth soldiers, Americans, Poles, French and even a Brazilian force - Monte Cassino became a byword for military horror, something to stand beside the hell on the Somme or at Passchendaele.

Two armies opposing each other yards apart and constantly under attack, it was an awful throwback to the trench warfare of 1914-18. A friend"s father who fought at Monte Cassino was fond of recollecting the moment when it got so bad during one of the regular stand-to"s that the order came down to fix bayonets. ""Fix bayonets?" I said. "You must be ruddy joking.""

On a warm sunny February morning the town of Cassino, which was deliberately bombed flat in 1944, is as bright and cheerful as the weather.

High above the town sits the historic Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino: the monastery was also razed in a few hours of sustained carpet bombing - which proved only to make both locations easier for the Germans to defend.

It is hard to know which is more surprising: the fact that the monastery has since been painstakingly reconstructed or that visitors can arrive and leave without really learning anything about the extraordinary events that unfolded here.

The Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino

Risen from the ashes: The Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino was painstakingly rebuilt after being razed in a few hours

On the internet there is a website for a Monte Cassino "war memorial": a private museum that is "temporary closed". An explanation in halting English says that it "wait to reopen in another location". As in Anzio, this is hardly the tribute the Allied forces deserve.

There is worse, however, to come at the Cassino War Cemetery, the largest Second World War cemetery in Italy, with the graves of 3,985 identified casualties and a large memorial to a further 4,045 with no known graves.

Like all the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries, Cassino"s is hauntingly beautiful - and immaculately maintained. When I visit, the gardeners are completing a substantial renovation programme.

It would be no exaggeration to describe the cemetery as by far the most beautiful place in the rather charmless town of Cassino.

The Commission, however, reports that the cemetery has been the target for local vandals.

"Unfortunately, even with the support of local police, due to regular theft and damage to the cemetery register and visitors" book, it is only possible for these to be accessible during the hours when the gardeners are present."

The indifference to the events of the last war must be linked to the country"s own unhappy part in the conflict. As a close ally of Nazi Germany, Italy"s enthusiasm for the war quickly evaporated after the defeat of its forces in North Africa and the Balkans.

Mussolini"s overthrow in July 1943 led to the Italian government signing an armistice with the Allies in September 1943.

While many Italians chose to fight on with the Germans, others were conscripted by them as forced labour. Some Italians chose to resist and were subsequently massacred, such as the 5,000 on the Greek island of Kefalonia.

Green concerns fuel Hara CO tracking commercial operation

Poornima Gupta SAN FRANCISCO Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:41pm EST

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Online software start-up Hara, which makes software to track energy usage and carbon footprints, has added grocery retailer Safeway Inc to its list of customers.

The multiyear contract with Safeway follows Hara"s deals in recent months with media giant News Corp and tax software provider Intuit Inc.

Hara said on Wednesday it will provide the software to help the retailer measure, analyze and reduce the chain"s energy usage in about 1,800 stores.

The Redwood City, California-based firm, initially funded in 2008 by Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, is catering to a growing market for carbon and energy accounting software, which has attracted the attention of some big players like SAP and Oracle Corp.

Hara Chief Executive and co-founder Amit Chatterjee said some estimates project the market for carbon tracking software and services could expand to $4 billion by 2015. The market was estimated at around $132 million in 2009.

"We are closing about a deal a week in terms of market momentum," he said.

Giving a boost to firms like Hara, and the market for carbon accounting software, is the new guideline from the Securities and Exchange Commission that urges public companies to disclose risks associated with climate change in their annual reports.

Chatterjee said business inquiries also jumped soon after the world"s largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it will start asking suppliers to start providing environmental impact data, such as tracking carbon emissions.

The nascent carbon tracking market is expected to receive a huge boost if the United States implements any kind of "cap-and-trade" legislation that will gradually reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by industry, by requiring companies to have permits to spew their emissions.

Hara"s software first collects information on a company"s use of electricity, water, gas and chemicals and compares it with outputs of greenhouse gases, solid waste and waste water.

It then devises a strategy to manage and reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

"Hara adds value by giving us not only reliable insight into the size and makeup of our energy usage and carbon footprint, but also a solid road map for achieving further cost reductions and better carbon management," said Joe Pettus, senior vice president of fuel and energy at Safeway.

Apart from the big software firms, Hara also competes with a few other smaller players such as Carbonetworks and Enervity.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta, editing by Matthew Lewis)

London Fashion Week: Blondes are out in force as Pixie Lott Sienna Miller and Peaches Geldof attend catwalk shows

Do blondes have more fun? Three fashion fans certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves at London Fashion Week, as the event got into full swing.

Sienna Miller, Pixie Lott and Peaches Geldof filled the quota with making appearances throughout the day to support their favourite designers .

British actress Sienna Miller - who has her own label with sister Savannah - went to check out the competition at Matthew Williamson"s show at Lawrence Hall in Westminster.

Sienna MillerPixie Lott

Blonde ambition: Sienna Miller and Pixie Lott both attended shows atLondon Fashion Week today - Sienna at Matthew Williamson and Pixie atPPQ

 Sienna Miller

Sisterly love: Sienna and Savannah at the Twenty8Twelve Autumn Winter 2010 presentation at Two Temple Place

Dressed down in cream shorts with detailed bow, the 28-year-old kept it simple, completing the ensemble with a cropped black jacket over a studded tee.

Miss Miller posed for pictures with modeling legend Twiggy atthe event, which was Williamson"s second time showing in London sincehis return to the capital"s Fashion Week last September.

The Spanish-inspired collection featured an eclectic mix of fox fur and futuristic prints with Matador-style suits, embellished trousers and heavy-set suede jackets.

Matthew Williamson Matthew Williamson Matthew Williamson

Ol�: Matthew Williamson"s Spanish-inspired collection at Lawrence Hall

MissMiller, who counts Williamson as one of her best friends, said of the show: "I think it"s really exciting, because he"s totallyevolved. The last couple of seasons he"s been heading in a totally newdirection and I think this is cementing it."

Williamson was only too happy to return the favour as he later attended The Factory Girl star"s own Twenty8Twelve show.

Savannah, 31, designs the clothing line with her younger sister - and the two paired up at the presentation, held at the opulent 2 Temple Place, originally built for the first Viscount Astor.