Yen resumes fall after G20, U.S. holiday thins trade

LONDON (Reuters) - The yen resumed falling on Monday after Japan signaled it would push ahead with expansionist monetary policies having escaped criticism from the world's 20 biggest economies at the weekend.


Industrial metals also dipped and European shares were soft on lingering worries about the economic outlook, especially for the euro zone. While the risk of an inconclusive outcome in Italy's forthcoming election added to investor concerns.


However, activity was curtailed by the closure of markets in the United States for the Presidents' Day holiday.


The yen, which has dropped 20 percent against the dollar since mid-November, fell further after financial leaders from the G20 promised not to devalue their currencies to boost exports and avoided singling out Japan for any direct criticism.


The dollar rose 0.5 percent to 93.95 yen, near a 33-month peak of 94.47 yen set a week ago. The euro added 0.3 percent to 125.40 yen, to be midway between Friday's two-week low of 122.90 and a 34-month high of 127.71 yen hit earlier this month.


Strategists said the yen was likely to stay weak, though its decline could lose momentum until it becomes clear who will be taking the helm at the Bank of Japan when the current governor steps down on March 19.


"The yen probably will weaken a little further in anticipation of more aggressive easing under a new leadership team at the Bank of Japan," said Julian Jessop, chief global economist at Capital Economics.


Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is poised to nominate the new governor in the next few days. Sources have told Reuters that former financial bureaucrat Toshiro Muto, considered likely to be less radical than other candidates, was leading the field.


Meanwhile the euro dipped slightly against the dollar when European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said the currency's recent gains made any rise in inflation less likely and added that he had yet to see any improvement in the euro zone economy.


Speaking before the European Parliament, Draghi said the euro's exchange rate was not a policy target but was important for growth and stability, adding that appreciation of the euro "is a risk".


The comments left the euro down 0.2 percent at $1.3334.


Elsewhere in the currency market, sterling hit a seven-month low against the dollar, after a key policymaker made comments about the need for further weakness and recent poor data which has kept alive worries of another British recession.


Sterling fell 0.25 percent to $1.5476 having earlier touched $1.5438, its lowest since July 13.


DATA LOOMS


A big week for data on the outlook for the world's economy weighed on other riskier asset markets following the recent dire fourth-quarter growth numbers for the euro zone and Japan, along with Friday's soft U.S. manufacturing figures.


In European markets, attention is focused on the euro area Purchasing Managers' Indexes for February and German sentiment indices due later in the week which could affect hopes for a recovery this year.


Analysts expect Thursday's euro area flash PMI indices, which offer pointers to economic activity around six months out, to show growth stabilizing across the recession-hit region, leaving intact hopes for a recovery in the second half of 2013.


Concerns over an inconclusive outcome in the Italian election on Sunday and Monday have added to the weaker sentiment as a fragmented parliament could hamper a future government's efforts to reform the struggling economy.


The worries about the outlook for Italy were encouraging investors back into safe-haven German government bonds on Monday, with 10-year Bund yields easing 3.5 basis points to be around 1.63 percent.


"Political uncertainty will keep Bunds well bid this week," ING rate strategist Alessandro Giansanti said, adding that only better than expected economic data could create selling pressure on German debt in the near term.


Italian 10-year yields were 4 basis points higher on the day at 4.41 percent.


EARNINGS HIT


European equity markets were taking their lead from corporate earnings reports which have been reflecting the sluggish economic conditions across the region.


Danish brewer Carlsberg , which generates just over 60 percent of its sales in western Europe, became the latest to report a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit, sending its shares to their lowest level in almost a month.


The 5.8-percent drop for shares in the world's fourth biggest brewery helped send the FTSEurofirst 300 index <.fteu3> of top European shares down 0.2 percent. Germany's DAX <.gdaxi>, France's CAC-40 <.fchi> and Britain's FTSE-100 <.ftse> ranged between 0.4 percent up and 0.15 percent lower.


Earlier, the G20 statement and subsequent comment from Prime Minster Abe indicating a renewed drive to stimulate the Japanese economy lifted the Nikkei stock index <.n225> by 2.1 percent, near to its highest level since September 2008.


MSCI's world equity index <.miwd00000pus> was flat as markets extended a two-week period of consolidation that has followed the big run-up in January, when demand was buoyed by the efforts of central banks to stimulate the world economy.


Data from EPFR Global, a U.S.-based firm that tracks the flows and allocations of funds globally, shows investors pulled $3.62 billion from U.S. stock funds in the latest week, the most in 10 weeks after taking a neutral stance the prior week.


But demand for emerging market equities remained strong, with investors putting $1.81 billion in new cash into stock funds, the fund-tracking firm said.


CHINA RETURN


In the commodity markets, traders played catch-up after a week-long holiday last week in China, the world's second biggest consumer of many raw materials, which had kept activity subdued, with worries about the economic outlook weighing on sentiment.


Copper, for which China is the world's largest consumer, dipped to a near three-week low at $8,125.25 a metric ton (1.1023 tons) on the London futures market. Benchmark tin and nickel also touched three-week lows.


Gold managed to edge away from six-month lows as jewelers in China returned to the physical market after the Lunar New Year holiday but a lack of demand from U.S. markets saw the precious metal slip back to be down 0.1 percent to $1,607.06 an ounce.


Crude oil markets were mostly steady after the weak U.S. industrial production data on Friday [ID:nL1N0BF44A] was seen dampening demand, while tensions in the Middle East lent some support.


"We continue to see a mixed picture out of the United States. Industry output was lower than expected but that shouldn't affect the general upward direction," Olivier Jakob, analyst at Geneva-based Petromatrix, said.


Brent crude was down 20 cents at $117.46 a barrel after posting its first weekly loss since the first half of January. U.S. crude slipped 24 cents to $95.62.


(Additional reporting by Marius Zaharia and Ron Bousso; Editing by Philippa Fletcher and Alastair Macdonald)



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Jerry Buss, Lakers' flamboyant owner, dies at 80


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jerry Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers' playboy owner who shepherded the NBA team to 10 championships from the Showtime dynasty of the 1980s to the Kobe Bryant era, died Monday. He was 80.


He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Bob Steiner, his assistant.


Buss had been hospitalized for most of the past 18 months while undergoing cancer treatment, but the immediate cause of death was kidney failure, Steiner said. With his condition worsening in recent weeks, several prominent former Lakers visited Buss to say goodbye.


"The NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come," NBA Commissioner David Stern said. "More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend."


Under Buss' leadership since 1979, the Lakers became Southern California's most beloved sports franchise and a worldwide extension of Hollywood glamour. Buss acquired, nurtured and befriended a staggering array of talented players and basketball minds during his Hall of Fame tenure, from Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard.


"He was a great man and an incredible friend," Johnson tweeted.


Few owners in sports history can approach Buss' accomplishments with the Lakers, who made the NBA finals 16 times during his nearly 34 years in charge, winning 10 titles between 1980 and 2010. With 1,786 victories, the Lakers easily are the NBA's winningest franchise since he bought the club, which is now run largely by Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss, two of his six children.


"We not only have lost our cherished father, but a beloved man of our community and a person respected by the world basketball community," the Buss family said in a statement issued by the Lakers.


"It was our father's often-stated desire and expectation that the Lakers remain in the Buss family. The Lakers have been our lives as well, and we will honor his wish and do everything in our power to continue his unparalleled legacy."


Buss always referred to the Lakers as his extended family, and his players rewarded his fanlike excitement with devotion, friendship and two hands full of championship rings. Working with front-office executives Jerry West, Bill Sharman and Mitch Kupchak, Buss spent lavishly to win his titles despite lacking a huge personal fortune, often running the NBA's highest payroll while also paying high-profile coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.


Always an innovative businessman, Buss paid for the Lakers through both their wild success and his own groundbreaking moves to raise revenue. He co-founded a basic-cable sports television network and sold the naming rights to the Forum at times when both now-standard strategies were unusual, further justifying his induction to the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.


Buss was a "cornerstone of the Los Angeles sports community and his name will always be synonymous with his beloved Lakers," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "It was through his stewardship that the Lakers brought 'Showtime' basketball and numerous championship rings to this great city. Today we mourn the loss and celebrate the life of a man who helped shape the modern landscape of sports in L.A."


Johnson and fellow Hall of Famers Abdul-Jabbar and Worthy formed lifelong bonds with Buss during the Lakers' run to five titles in nine years in the 1980s, when the Lakers earned a reputation as basketball's most exciting team with their flamboyant Showtime style.


The buzz extended throughout the Forum, where Buss used the Laker Girls, a brass band and promotions to keep Los Angeles fans interested in all four quarters of their games. Courtside seats, priced at $15 when he bought the Lakers, became the hottest tickets in Hollywood — and they still are, with fixture Jack Nicholson and many other celebrities attending every home game.


Worthy tweeted that Buss was "not only the greatest sports owner, but a true friend & just a really cool guy. Loved him dearly."


After a rough stretch of the 1990s for the Lakers, Jackson led O'Neal and Bryant to a three-peat from 2000-02, rekindling the Lakers' mystique, before Bryant and Pau Gasol won two more titles under Jackson in 2009 and 2010. The Lakers have struggled mightily during their current season despite adding Howard and Steve Nash, and could miss the playoffs for just the third time since Buss bought the franchise.


"Today is a very sad day for all the Lakers and basketball," Gasol tweeted. "All my support and condolences to the Buss family. Rest in peace Dr. Buss."


Although Buss gained fame and fortune with the Lakers, he also was a scholar, Renaissance man and bon vivant who epitomized California cool his entire public life.


Buss rarely appeared in public without at least one attractive, much younger woman on his arm at USC football games, high-stakes poker tournaments, hundreds of boxing matches promoted by Buss at the Forum — and, of course, Lakers games from his private box at Staples Center, which was built under his watch. In failing health recently, Buss hadn't attended a Lakers game this season.


Buss earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at age 24 and had careers in aerospace and real estate development before getting into sports. With money from his real-estate ventures and a good bit of creative accounting, Buss bought the then-struggling Lakers, the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and both clubs' arena — the Forum — from Jack Kent Cooke in a $67.5 million deal that was the largest sports transaction in history at the time.


Last month, Forbes estimated the Lakers were worth $1 billion, second most in the NBA.


Buss also helped change televised sports by co-founding the Prime Ticket network in 1985, receiving a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006 for his work in television. Breaking the contemporary model of subscription services for televised sports, Buss' Prime Ticket put beloved broadcaster Chick Hearn and the Lakers' home games on basic cable.


Buss also sold the naming rights to the Forum in 1988 to Great Western Savings & Loan — another deal that was ahead of its time.


Born in Salt Lake City, Gerald Hatten Buss was raised in poverty in Wyoming before improving his life through education. He also grew to love basketball, describing himself as an "overly competitive but underly endowed player."


After graduating from the University of Wyoming, Buss attended USC for graduate school. He became a chemistry professor and worked as a chemist for the Bureau of Mines before carving out a path to wealth and sports prominence.


The former mathematician's fortune grew out of a $1,000 real-estate investment in a West Los Angeles apartment building with partner Frank Mariani, an aerospace engineer and co-worker.


Heavily leveraging his fortune and various real-estate holdings, Buss purchased Cooke's entire Los Angeles sports empire in 1979, including a 13,000-acre ranch in Kern County. Buss cited his love of basketball as the motivation for his purchase, and he immediately worked to transform the Lakers — who had won just one NBA title since moving west from Minneapolis in 1960 — into a star-powered endeavor befitting Hollywood.


"One of the first things I tried to do when I bought the team was to make it an identification for this city, like Motown in Detroit," he told the Los Angeles Times in 2008. "I try to keep that identification alive. I'm a real Angeleno. I want us to be part of the community."


Buss' plans immediately worked: Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar and coach Paul Westhead led the Lakers to the 1980 title. Johnson's ball-handling wizardry and Abdul-Jabbar's smooth inside game made for an attractive style of play evoking Hollywood flair and West Coast sophistication.


Riley, the former broadcaster who fit the L.A. image perfectly with his slick-backed hair and good looks, was surprisingly promoted by Buss early in the 1981-82 season after West declined to co-coach the team. Riley became one of the best coaches in NBA history, leading the Lakers to four straight NBA finals and four titles, with Worthy, Michael Cooper, Byron Scott and A.C. Green playing major roles.


Overall, the Lakers made the finals nine times in Buss' first 12 seasons while rekindling the NBA's best rivalry with the Boston Celtics, and Buss basked in the worldwide celebrity he received from his team's achievements. His womanizing and partying became Hollywood legend, with even his players struggling to keep up with Buss' lifestyle.


Johnson's HIV diagnosis and retirement in 1991 staggered Buss and the Lakers, the owner recalled in 2011. The Lakers struggled through much of the 1990s, going through seven coaches and making just one conference finals appearance in an eight-year stretch despite the 1996 arrivals of O'Neal, who signed with Los Angeles as a free agent, and Bryant, the 17-year-old high schooler acquired in a draft-week trade.


Shaq and Kobe didn't reach their potential until Buss persuaded Jackson, the Chicago Bulls' six-time NBA champion coach, to take over the Lakers in 1999. Los Angeles immediately won the next three NBA titles in brand-new Staples Center, AEG's state-of-the-art downtown arena built with the Lakers as the primary tenant.


After the Lakers traded O'Neal in 2004, they hovered in mediocrity again until acquiring Gasol in a heist of a trade with Memphis in early 2008. Los Angeles made the next three NBA finals, winning two more titles.


Through the Lakers' frequent successes and occasional struggles, Buss never stopped living his Hollywood dream. He was an avid poker player and a fixture on the Los Angeles club scene well into his 70s, when a late-night drunk-driving arrest in 2007 — with a 23-year-old woman in the passenger seat of his Mercedes-Benz — prompted him to cut down on his partying.


Buss owned the NHL's Kings from 1979-87, and the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks won two league titles under Buss' ownership. He also owned Los Angeles franchises in World Team Tennis and the Major Indoor Soccer League.


Buss' children all have worked for the Lakers organization in various capacities for several years. Jim Buss, the Lakers' executive vice president of player personnel and the second-oldest child, has taken over much of the club's primary decision-making responsibilities in the last few years, while daughter Jeanie runs the franchise's business side.


Jerry Buss still served two terms as president of the NBA's Board of Governors and was actively involved in the 2011 lockout negotiations, developing blood clots in his legs attributed to his extensive travel during that time.


Buss is survived by six children: sons Johnny, Jim, Joey and Jesse, and daughters Jeanie Buss and Janie Drexel. He had eight grandchildren.


Arrangements are pending for a funeral and memorial services.


___


Associated Press writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.


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Borneo tension linked to rebel deal




STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • More than 100 Filipinos arrived by boat on the Malaysian coast last week

  • They say they represent a sultanate that once ruled the area

  • The move seems to be a response to a recent peace deal in the Philippines

  • The leaders of the sultanate appear to have felt left out of the accord, an expert says




(CNN) -- The peculiar standoff on Borneo between Malaysian security forces and a group of men from the southern Philippines has its roots in a recent landmark peace deal between Manila and Muslim rebels, according to an expert on the region.


More than 100 men from the mainly Muslim southern Philippines came ashore in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo early last week demanding to be recognized as representatives of a sultanate that has historical claims on the area.


Their claims touch on an unresolved territorial question between the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as Manila's efforts to improve relations with Islamic insurgents in the country's south after decades of violence.


Malaysian police and armed forces soon surrounded the village in the eastern Sabah district of Lahad Datu where the men had gathered. Police officials said they were negotiating with the group in an effort to persuade its members to return to their homes in the Philippines peacefully.


The Philippine government also urged them to come back to the country, saying it hadn't authorized their voyage. There was no indication of a resolution to the standoff on Monday.


The men claim to be the Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu, which once encompassed Sabah, and say they don't want their people to be sent away from the area, Malaysian authorities said. There are conflicting claims about to what extent the men are armed.


Eroded power


Over the weekend, comments appeared in the news media from representatives of the sultanate, whose power is now largely symbolic, saying that their followers who had gone to Sabah planned to stay where they were.


"Nobody will be sent to the Philippines. Sabah is our home," Jamalul Kiram, a member of the sultanate's ruling family, told reporters in Manila on Sunday, according to Agence France-Presse.


The sultanate's claim to Sabah plays a long-standing and important role in the Philippine government's relationship with the country's Muslim minority and with neighboring Malaysia, said Julkipli Wadi, the dean of the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines.


Established in the 15th century, the Sultanate of Sulu became an Islamic power center in Southeast Asia that at one point ruled Sabah.


But the encroachment of Western colonial powers, followed by the emergence of the Philippines and Malaysia as independent nation states, steadily eroded the sultanate's power, according to Wadi.


It became "a sultanate without a kingdom" to rule over, he said. Sulu is now a province within the Republic of the Philippines.


But the sultanate has nonetheless retained influence over some people in the southern Philippines and Sabah who still identify themselves with it, according to Wadi.


Excluded from a peace deal


The members of the sultanate's royal family, although riven by internal disputes over who the rightful sultan is today, appear to have felt isolated by the provisional accord signed in October by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has fought for decades to establish an independent Islamic state in southern Philippines.


Malaysia, a mainly Muslim country, helped facilitate the agreement.


Kiram was cited by AFP as saying that the sultanate's exclusion from the deal, which aims to set up a new autonomous region to be administered by Muslims, prompted the decision to send the men to Sabah this month.


Dispatching the boat loads of followers to Lahad Datu served to make the sultanate's presence felt, according to Wadi.


"The whole aim is not to create conflict or initiate war, it is just to position themselves and make governments like Malaysia and the Philippines recognize them," he said.


Historical ties


The economic, cultural and historical links between Sabah and the nearby Philippines islands, as well as the porous nature of the border between the two, means that many of the Filipino men have friends and relatives in Lahad Datu.


But the historical connection still fuels tensions between Malaysia and the Philippines, with Manila retaining a "dormant claim" to Sabah through the Sultanate of Sulu, according to the CIA World Factbook.


According to the official Philippine News Agency, Manila still claims much of the eastern part of Sabah, which was leased to the British North Borneo Company in 1878 by the Sultanate of Sulu. In 1963, Britain transferred Sabah to Malaysia, a move that the sultanate claimed was a breach of the 1878 deal.


Malaysia still pays a token rent to the sultanate for the lease of Sabah, according to Wadi.







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Burger King Twitter account hacked









Burger King has apologized for today's hacking of its Twitter account in which someone changed the feed to look like that of McDonald's.


"We apologize to our fans and followers who have been receiving erroneous tweets about other members of our industry and additional inappropriate topics," Burger King said in a statement, adding that it had worked with Twitter administrators to suspend the account after the bogus tweets were discovered.


The hackers substituted the McDonald's logo in place of the familiar one for Burger King and sent tweets promoting the music of controversial Chicago rapper Chief Keef, some vulgar tweets and other tweets making outrageous claims about Burger King employees and practices.





Around 11 a.m. today came the first apparently fake tweet on the @BurgerKing feed, announcing, "We just got sold to McDonalds! Look for McDonalds in a hood near you." Similarly, the account's description was changed to read, "We just got sold to McDonalds! Look for McDonalds in a hood near you."


The account sent more than a dozen tweets over the next hour, including a link to a video by Chief Keef.


"We caught one of our employees in the bathroom doing this …" read one of the tweets, accompanied with a photo of someone injecting himself with a syringe.


By 12:15 p.m., the account had been suspended, but not before jokes about the hack were racing across Twitter.


"Somebody needs to tell Burgerking that 'whopper123' isn't a secure password," Twitter user @flibblesan cracked.


McDonald's took to Twitter to assure its fast-food competitor that it was not behind the hack. "We empathize with our @BurgerKing counterparts," McDonald's said via the actual @McDonald's account. "Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking."


The McDonald's image used on the hacked @BurgerKing account was the same picture of the new Fish McBites used on the @McDonalds account.


No official news of a Burger King sale to McDonald's has been reported today, which is Presidents Day, a federal holiday and also a holiday for many businesses.


Twitter acknowledged earlier this month that some 250,000 user passwords had been compromised, though it was not clear today if the one belonging to @BurgerKing was among them.


rmanker@tribune.com


Twitter: @RobManker





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Time to refer Syrian war crimes to ICC: U.N. inquiry


GENEVA (Reuters) - United Nations investigators said on Monday that Syrian leaders they had identified as suspected war criminals should face the International Criminal Court (ICC).


The investigators urged the U.N. Security Council to "act urgently to ensure accountability" for violations, including murder and torture, committed by both sides in an uprising and civil war that has killed about 70,000 people since March 2011.


"Now really it's time ... We have a permanent court, the International Criminal Court, who would be ready to take this case," Carla del Ponte, a former ICC chief prosecutor who joined the U.N. team in September, told a news briefing in Geneva.


But because Syria is not party to the Rome Statute that established the ICC, the only way the court can investigate the situation is if it receives a referral from the Security Council. Russia, Assad's long-standing ally and a permanent veto-wielding member of the council, has opposed such a move.


"We cannot decide. But we pressure the international community to decide because it's time to act," del Ponte said.


Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro, who leads the U.N. inquiry set up in 2011, said: "We are in very close dialogue with all the five permanent members and with all the members of the Security Council, but we don't have the key that will open the path to cooperation inside the Security Council."


His team of some two dozen experts is tracing the chain of command in Syria to establish criminal responsibility and build a case for eventual prosecution.


"Of course we were able to identify high-level perpetrators," del Ponte said, adding that these were people "in command responsibility...deciding, organizing, planning and aiding and abetting the commission of crimes".


She said it was urgent for the Hague-based war crimes tribunal to take up cases of "very high officials", but did not identify them, in line with the inquiry's practice.


"We have crimes committed against children, rape and sexual violence. We have grave concerns. That is also one reason why an international body of justice must act because it is terrible."


Del Ponte, who tried former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on war crimes charges, said the ICC prosecutor would need to deepen the investigation on Syria before an indictment could be prepared.


Karen Koning AbuZayd, an American member of the U.N. team, told Reuters it had information pointing to "people who have given instructions and are responsible for government policy, people who are in the leadership of the military, for example".


The inquiry's third roster of suspects, building on lists drawn up in the past year, remains secret. It will be entrusted to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay upon expiry of its mandate at the end of March, the report said.


Pillay, a former ICC judge, said on Saturday Assad should be investigated for war crimes, and called for outside action on Syria, including possible military intervention.


Pinheiro said the investigators would not speak publicly about "numbers, names or levels" of suspects.


SEVEN MASSACRES IDENTIFIED


The investigators' latest report, covering the six months to mid-January, was based on 445 interviews conducted abroad with victims and witnesses, as they have not been allowed into Syria.


"We identified seven massacres during the period, five on the government side, two on the armed opponents' side. We need to enter the sites to be able to confirm elements of proof that we have," del Ponte said.


The U.N. report said the ICC was the appropriate institution for the fight against impunity in Syria. "As an established, broadly supported structure, it could immediately initiate investigations against authors of serious crimes in Syria."


Government forces have carried out shelling and air strikes across Syria including Aleppo, Damascus, Deraa, Homs and Idlib, the 131-page report said, citing corroborating satellite images.


"Government forces and affiliated militias have committed extra-judicial executions, breaching international human rights law. This conduct also constitutes the war crime of murder. Where murder was committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population, with knowledge of that attack, it is a crime against humanity," the report said.


Those forces have targeted bakery queues and funeral processions to spread "terror among the civilian population".


Rebels fighting to topple Assad have also committed war crimes including murder, torture, hostage-taking and using children under age 15 in hostilities, the U.N. report said.


"They continue to endanger the civilian population by positioning military objectives inside civilian areas" and rebel snipers had caused "considerable civilian casualties", it said.


George Sabra, a vice president of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, asked about the U.N. report, told Reuters at a conference in Stockholm: "We condemn all kind of crimes, regardless who did it.


"We can't ignore that some mistakes have been made and maybe still happen right now. But nobody also can ignore that the most criminal file is that of the regime."


(This story has been corrected to fix name of Milosevic tribunal in 11th paragraph)


(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; additional reporting by Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm; Editing by Mark Heinrich)



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G20 steps back from currency brink, heat off Japan


MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Group of 20 nations declared on Saturday there would be no currency war and deferred plans to set new debt-cutting targets, underlining broad concern about the fragile state of the world economy.


Japan's expansive policies, which have driven down the yen, escaped direct criticism in a statement thrashed out in Moscow by policymakers from the G20, which spans developed and emerging markets and accounts for 90 percent of the world economy.


Analysts said the yen, which has dropped 20 percent as a result of aggressive monetary and fiscal policies to reflate the Japanese economy, may now continue to fall.


"The market will take the G20 statement as an approval for what it has been doing -- selling of the yen," said Neil Mellor, currency strategist at Bank of New York Mellon in London. "No censure of Japan means they will be off to the money printing presses."


After late-night talks, finance ministers and central bankers agreed on wording closer than expected to a joint statement issued last Tuesday by the Group of Seven rich nations backing market-determined exchange rates.


A draft communiqué on Friday had steered clear of the G7's call for economic policy not to be targeted at exchange rates. But the final version included a G20 commitment to refrain from competitive devaluations and stated monetary policy would be directed only at price stability and growth.


"The mood quite clearly early on was that we needed desperately to avoid protectionist measures ... that mood permeated quite quickly," Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters, adding that the wording of the G20 statement had been hardened up by the ministers.


As a result, it reflected a substantial, but not complete, endorsement of Tuesday's proclamation by the G7 nations - the United States, Japan, Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy.


As with the G7 intervention, Tokyo said it gave it a green light to pursue its policies unchecked.


"I have explained that (Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe's administration is doing its utmost to escape from deflation and we have gained a certain understanding," Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters.


"We're confident that if Japan revives its own economy that would certainly affect the world economy as well. We gained understanding on this point."


Flaherty admitted it would be difficult to gauge if domestic policies were aimed at weakening currencies or not.


NO FISCAL TARGETS


The G20 also made a commitment to a credible medium-term fiscal strategy, but stopped short of setting specific goals as most delegations felt any economic recovery was too fragile.


The communiqué said risks to the world economy had receded but growth remained too weak and unemployment too high.


"A sustained effort is required to continue building a stronger economic and monetary union in the euro area and to resolve uncertainties related to the fiscal situation in the United States and Japan, as well as to boost domestic sources of growth in surplus economies," it said.


A debt-cutting pact struck in Toronto in 2010 will expire this year if leaders fail to agree to extend it at a G20 summit of leaders in St Petersburg in September.


The United States says it is on track to meet its Toronto pledge but argues that the pace of future fiscal consolidation must not snuff out demand. Germany and others are pressing for another round of binding debt targets.


"We had a broad consensus in the G20 that we will stick to the commitment to fulfill the Toronto goals," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said. "We do not have any interest in U.S.-bashing ... In St. Petersburg follow-up-goals will be decided."


The G20 put together a huge financial backstop to halt a market meltdown in 2009 but has failed to reach those heights since. At successive meetings, Germany has pressed the United States and others to do more to tackle their debts. Washington in turn has urged Berlin to do more to increase demand.


Backing in the communiqué for the use of domestic monetary policy to support economic recovery reflected the U.S. Federal Reserve's commitment to monetary stimulus through quantitative easing, or QE, to promote recovery and jobs.


QE entails large-scale bond buying -- $85 billion a month in the Fed's case -- that helps economic growth but has also unleashed destabilising capital flows into emerging markets.


A commitment to minimize such "negative spillovers" was an offsetting point in the text that China, fearful of asset bubbles and lost export competitiveness, highlighted.


"Major developed nations (should) pay attention to their monetary policy spillover," Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao was quoted by state news agency Xinhua as saying in Moscow.


Russia, this year's chair of the G20, admitted the group had failed to reach agreement on medium-term budget deficit levels and expressed concern about ultra-loose policies that it and other emerging economies say could store up trouble for later.


On currencies, the G20 text reiterated its commitment last November, "to move more rapidly toward mores market-determined exchange rate systems and exchange rate flexibility to reflect underlying fundamentals, and avoid persistent exchange rate misalignments".


It said disorderly exchange rate movements and excess volatility in financial flows could harm economic and financial stability.


(Additional reporting by Gernot Heller, Lesley Wroughton, Maya Dyakina, Tetsushi Kajimoto, Jan Strupczewski, Lidia Kelly, Katya Golubkova, Jason Bush, Anirban Nag and Michael Martina. Writing by Douglas Busvine. Editing by Timothy Heritage/Mike Peacock)



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Danica Patrick wins pole for NASCAR's Daytona 500


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Danica Patrick has won the Daytona 500 pole, becoming the first woman to secure the top spot for any Sprint Cup race.


It was the biggest achievement of her four-year NASCAR career.


Patrick went out eighth in the qualifying session Sunday and covered the 2½-mile superspeedway in 45.817 seconds, averaging 196.434 mph.


"Hopefully, there are good things to come," Patrick said.


She waited about two hours as 37 fellow drivers tried to take her spot. Only four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon even came close to knocking her off.


Gordon was the only other driver who topped 196 mph. He locked up the other guaranteed spot in next week's season-opening Daytona 500.


"It's great to be part of history," Gordon said. "I can say I was the fastest guy today."


The rest of the field will be set in duel qualifying races Thursday.


However the lineup unfolds, all drivers will line up behind Patrick's No. 10 Chevrolet SS for "The Great American Race."


"We say it's not really us, but she's got to do her part, too," team owner and fellow driver Tony Stewart said. "She did a really good job. I'm proud of all of us."


Patrick has been the talk of Speedweeks. Not only did she open up about her budding romance with fellow Sprint Cup rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr., but she was considered the front-runner for the pole after turning the fastest laps in practice Saturday.


And she didn't disappoint.


She kept her car at or near the bottom of the famed track and gained ground on the straightaways, showing lots of power from a Hendrick Motorsports engine.


The result surely felt good, especially considering the former IndyCar driver has mostly struggled in three NASCAR seasons. Her best finish in 10 Cup races is 17th, and she has one top-five in 58 starts in the second-tier Nationwide Series.


She raced part-time in 2010 and 2011 while still driving a full IndyCar slate. She switched solely to stock cars last season and finished 10th in the Nationwide standings.


She made the jump to Sprint Cup this season and will battle Stenhouse for Rookie of the Year honors.


But taking the pole will make her the talk of the town for another week. She also won the pole at Daytona for last year's Nationwide race.


This is considerably bigger.


The previous highest female qualifier in a Cup race was Janet Guthrie. She started ninth at Bristol and Talladega in 1977.


"That's a really big deal because qualifying for the Daytona 500 is really interesting thing," Patrick said. "If you're anywhere but the front row, it's really hard to see on race day. This just speaks volumes of Stewart-Haas Racing. It just shows what a great organization it is."


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Model: Getting what I don't deserve






STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Model Cameron Russell's TED Talk has been viewed more than a million times

  • She says, as winner of "genetic lottery," she has been able to have a modeling career

  • Her looks fit a narrow definition of beauty, she says

  • Russell: I work hard but my modeling career gives my views undeserved attention




Editor's note: Cameron Russell has been a model for brands such as Victoria's Secret, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Benetton and has appeared in the pages of Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and W. She spoke at TEDx MidAtlantic in October. TED is a nonprofit dedicated to "ideas worth spreading" which it makes available through talks posted on its website.


(CNN) -- Last month the TEDx talk I gave was posted online. Now it has been viewed over a million times. The talk itself is nothing groundbreaking. It's a couple of stories and observations about working as a model for the last decade.


I gave the talk because I wanted to tell an honest personal narrative of what privilege means.


I wanted to answer questions like how did I become a model. I always just say, " I was scouted," but that means nothing.


The real way that I became a model is that I won a genetic lottery, and I am the recipient of a legacy. What do I mean by legacy? Well, for the past few centuries we have defined beauty not just as health and youth and symmetry that we're biologically programmed to admire, but also as tall, slender figures, and femininity and white skin. And this is a legacy that was built for me, and it's a legacy that I've been cashing in on.


Some fashionistas may think, "Wait. Naomi. Tyra. Joan Smalls. Liu Wen." But the truth is that in 2007 when an inspired NYU Ph.D. student counted all the models on the runway, of the 677 models hired, only 27, or less than four percent, were non-white.


Usually TED only invites the most accomplished and famous people in the world to give talks. I hoped telling a simple story -- where my only qualification was life experience (not a degree, award, successful business or book) -- could encourage those of us who make media to elevate other personal narratives: the stories of someone like Trayvon Martin, the undocumented worker, the candidate without money for press.



Instead my talk reinforced the observations I highlighted in it: that beauty and femininity and race have made me the candy of mass media, the "once you pop you just can't stop" of news.


In particular it is the barrage of media requests I've had that confirm that how I look and what I do for a living attracts enormous undeserved attention.


Do I want a TV show? Do I want to write a book? Do I want to appear in a movie? Do I want to speak to CNN, NBC, NPR, the Times of India, Cosmo, this blogger and that journal? Do I want to speak at this high school, at that college, at Harvard Law School or at other conferences?


TED.com: A teen just trying to figure it out



I am not a uniquely accomplished 25-year-old. I've modeled for 10 years and I took six years to finish my undergraduate degree part-time, graduating this past June with honors from Columbia University. If I ever had needed to put together a CV it would be quite short. Like many young people I'd highlight my desire to work hard.


But hard work is not why I have been successful as a model. I'm not saying I'm lazy. But the most important part of my job is to show up with a 23-inch waist, looking young, feminine and white. This shouldn't really shock anyone. Models are chosen solely based on looks. But what was shocking to me is that when I spoke, the way I look catapulted what I had to say on to the front page.


Even if I did give a good talk, is what I have to say more important and interesting than what Colin Powell said? (He spoke at the same event and his talk has about a quarter of the view count.)




TED.com: Isaac Mizrahi on fashion and creativity


Like many young people I believe I have potential to make a positive impact in the world. But if I speak from a platform that relies on how I look, I worry that I will not have made room for anyone else to come after me. I will have reinforced that beauty and race and privilege get you a news story. The schoolteacher without adequate support, the domestic worker without rights, they won't be up there with me.


So what do I do? I am being handed press when good press for important issues is hard to come by. These outlets are the same outlets that spent two years not reporting a new drone base in Saudi Arabia while press in the UK covered it.


They are the same organizations that have forgotten New Orleans and forgotten to follow up on contractors who aren't fulfilling their responsibilities there -- important not only for the people of NOLA, but also for setting a precedent for the victims of Sandy, and of the many storms to come whose frequency and severity will rise as our climate changes.


TED. com: Amy Tan on where creativity hides


Should I tell stories like these instead of my own? I don't feel like I have the authority or experience to do so.


How can we change this cycle? The rise of the Internet and the camera phone have started to change what stories are accessible. And we now have the ability to build more participatory media structures. The Internet often comes up with good answers to difficult questions. So I ask: How can we build media platforms accessible to a diversity of content creators?


On a personal note, what should I talk about? Do I refuse these offers outright because of my lack of experience, because I'm not the right person to tell the stories that are missing from the media? Can I figure out a way to leverage my access to bring new voices into the conversation? Right now I'm cautiously accepting a few requests and figuring out what it all means.


I'm listening, tweet me @cameroncrussell


Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.


Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Cameron Russell.






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2 questioned in fatal shooting of Chicago woman

Janay McFarlane, 18, was shot on the way to a store, the same day Obama spoke on gun violence.









Two people are being questioned in connection with the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old Chicago woman who was killed Friday, the same day her sister attended President Barack Obama's speech on gun violence, officials said Sunday.


An 18-year-old man and a 20-year-old man are considered persons of interest in the homicide investigation and are being questioned by North Chicago police and officials from the Lake County State's Attorney's Office in connection with the death of Janay McFarlane, according to a statement released this afternoon by North Chicago police.


The men were arrested after McFarlane was shot at about 11:30 p.m. Friday on the the 1300 block of Jackson Avenue in the northern suburb.








McFarlane, 18, of the 8900 block of South Lowe Avenue, was in North Chicago visiting family and friends and was walking with friends when she was shot, according to her mother Angela Blakely. McFarlane was walking with friends, one of whom may have been the intended target, said Blakely.


When police responded to a call of shots being fired in the area they found McFarlane fatally shot, police said. They canvassed the area and were tipped off to the men who were taken in for questioning, according to police.


McFarlane was killed just hours after her sister, Destini Warren, 14, had attended President Barack Obama's speech against gun violence Friday.


Blakely, the mother of both girls, said that the family had been anticipating the President's visit to the school where Destini is a freshman.


Leading up to the visit, McFarlane frequently mentioned the recent death of Hadiya Pendleton, 15, whose own shooting death a mile from the Obama's home spurred the President's visit.


"It's terrible, it's terrible the only thing I can remember is my daughter telling me, 'Mommy, it's so sad about Hadiya. That makes no sense,' " Blakely said. "She always asked me a lot of questions about death."


The speech resonated even more when her family got the call from McFarlane's father in North Chicago, who told Destini that her sister was dead, she said.


"It was like real painful," said Destini, her voice choking back tears.


chicagobreaking@tribune.com


Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking





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Israeli lawmakers to investigate Australian spy mystery


JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli lawmakers announced plans on Sunday to investigate the 2010 jailhouse death of a reported Australian immigrant recruit to the Mossad spy agency.


The statement by Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee followed calls by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a cabinet meeting to dim a growing media spotlight on the affair he saw as at risk of jeopardizing national security.


The case kept under wraps for two years then publicized by Australian television last Tuesday involves a 34-year-old immigrant, Ben Zygier, said to be a Mossad operative held on suspicion of security offences, who died of what has been labeled an apparent suicide behind bars.


In a terse communique, the legislative panel's subcommittee on intelligence said it has "decided to conduct an intensive examination of all aspects of the incident involving the prisoner found dead in his (prison) cell in December 2010."


While unlikely to have any immediate political consequences the investigation may lead to a wider inquiry with potentially broader repercussions.


Netanyahu's government has restricted reporting in Israel on the case, now overshadowing his victory in a national election held last month, using court gag orders, military censorship and direct requests to news editors.


Such steps have done little to douse demands for the authorities to come clean about the circumstances of Zygier's imprisonment and how he was able to kill himself in a highly-supervised isolation cell.


Without citing the case specifically, Netanyahu said on Sunday he "absolutely trusts" Israel's security services and what he described as the independent legal monitoring system under which they operated.


"We are an exemplary democracy," Netanyahu said in remarks aired by Israeli broadcasters.


"But we are also more threatened, more challenged, and therefore we have to ensure the proper operation of our security branches," Netanyahu also said.


"Therefore I ask over everyone: Let the security services continue working quietly so that we can continue to live in safety and tranquility in the State of Israel."


The few Israeli officials who have spoken of Zygier's case have not denied that he was linked to Mossad, which in early 2010 was accused by Dubai of using Australian passport-holders to assassinate a Palestinian arms procurer in the Gulf emirate.


BETRAYED MOSSAD MISSIONS?


Media reports have speculated that Israel suspected the Melbourne-born Jew of betraying or threatening to divulge Mossad missions, perhaps to Australia's security services, as they probed passport fraud.


Civil liberties groups and some Israeli lawmakers have demanded to know whether Zygier's rights were violated by his months of incarceration under alias.


In an apparent reversal from previous statements, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said on Thursday his ministry had known about Zygier's jailing as early as February 2010. On Wednesday he said Australian diplomats in Israel only found out about the detention after his death in custody later that year.


Avigdor Feldman, an Israeli lawyer with whom Zygier consulted in Ayalon prison, said last week that that meeting was arranged by a "Mossad liaison" and that his client had denied "grave charges" for which he awaited trial.


Feldman also said that Zygier's family, which has declined all comment on the affair, knew about his detention. The incarceration was approved by several Israeli courts.


Two senior cabinet members, Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon, told Israeli media on Saturday the case was rare but lawful.


"There are extreme situations...to do with our security and even the need to preserve human life, when we need to take an extreme step such as this," Yaalon told Channel Two television.


Meridor said that publishing the prisoner's identity would have risked "serious harm to security." He did not elaborate.


Tzachi Hanegbi, a lawmaker from Netanyahu's conservative Likud party said he had never been informed of Zygier's arrest as chairman of the parliamentary defence panel at the time.


"This requires explanation," Hanegbi said. "Usually, every significant subject, whether it is impressive achievements or embarrassing failures, is laid out before the subcommittee."


Former Mossad director Danny Yatom told Reuters the agency was under no legal obligation to brief oversight lawmakers in such circumstances.


(Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan and Dan Williams; Editing by Jason Webb)



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