Sunday, November 27, 2005

Football fans stage Best tributes

Football clubs across Britain staged their tributes on Saturday to the late George Best, who passed away aged 59.
Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend Best died in a London hospital on Friday after weeks of ill health.
The Premier League asked referees to conduct a minute's silence before all games this weekend, including United's trip to West Ham on Sunday.
But a minority of Liverpool and Leeds fans failed to observe the silence and the tribute had to be cut short.
At the City of Manchester Stadium in the game between Liverpool and Manchester City both sets of fans applauded as Best's name was read out.
But some fans of United's bitter rivals Liverpool disturbed the minute's silence, which did not last the full 60 seconds.
Referee Alan Wiley followed Premier League instruction in cutting the silence down to barely 20 seconds once it became obvious a minority of the visiting supporters were not going to respect it.
The conduct of some of their fans earned jeers from the City fans and their manager Rafael Benitez admitted it was disappointing.
"It is a pity," said Benitez. "It was only a few people and most of them did applaud but it is a pity, you can't say anything else."
City boss Stuart Pearce added: "I have no idea which group of supporters it was but the vast majority paid tribute to a legend of the game who gave a lot of pleasure to a lot of people and that is the important thing.
George Best's imprint on our national game will never fade Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick
"You have to look at the positives rather than dwell of the actions of a handful of people in a crowd of 47,000."
It was a similar scene at Millwall's New Den where a section of the Leeds fans also led to the tribute being cut short.
Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell said: "They are magnificent fans, but a few people let us down and we are all disappointed.
"It was the minority and it's always the minority that ruins society in this country I'm afraid and it's about time that we stood up to that."
Elsewhere crowds fell silent at 1500 GMT to honour one of the country's greatest ever players.
Celtic and Wolves, who Best supported as a boy, were two of the clubs who opted to have a minute of applause in tribute to the Northern Ireland legend.
A Celtic spokesperson said: "George Best was universally recognised as a player with a unique footballing talent and we feel it is appropriate to hold a minute's applause."
At Portsmouth, where Best was often seen due to his close friendship with chairman Milan Mandaric, the fans applauded and chanted his name throughout the minute's applause.
An emotional Mandaric had tears in his eyes at the tribute from the Pompey fans.
Fans gathered at United's Old Trafford stadium to pay their own respects, laying flowers, shirts and written tributes by the statue of Sir Matt Busby, the manager when Best helped the side to the European Cup in 1968.
People in Belfast continued to honour their home town hero with queues building up outside Belfast City Hall to sign books of condolence opened by the Lord Mayor.
Floral tributes also continued to pile up outside the Best family home in the Cregagh area of the city, where his father continues to live.
Story from BBC SPORT: 2005/11/26 18:58:42 GMT© BBC MMV

Portsmouth 0-2 Chelsea

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard marked his record-breaking 160th consecutive Premiership appearance with a goal as the champions beat managerless Pompey.
Lampard has not missed a league match for the Blues since September 2001 and celebrated by slotting in Chelsea's second goal with a 67th minute penalty.
Hernan Crespo had put Chelsea ahead when he scored from six yards after diverting in Paulo Ferreira's shot.
Lomana Lua Lua had a shot tipped over but Pompey rarely threatened.
The match had kicked off after a tribute to George Best, who died on Friday, and fans applauded the football legend before chanting his name.
Best was a frequent visitor to Fratton Park because of his close friendship with Pompey chairman Milan Mandaric and the south-coast club's owner was close to tears during the tribute.
Portsmouth were playing under the temporary charge of Joe Jordan after Alain Perrin's departure as manager and they started by trying to deny the champions time and space on the ball.
LuaLua's trickery up front was their main threat but Chelsea always looked comfortable against the strugglers.
The home side's failure to close down Damien Duff almost cost them a goal after the winger's 20-yard shot brought a scrambling save from keeper Jamie Ashdown.
Ashdwon's counterpart Petr Cech was also called into action and he impressively tipped over a LuaLua 22-yard strike at full stretch. But Portsmouth's resistance was then broken after 27 minutes with the poacher's goal from Crespo, who went off injured shortly afterwards.
I think Robben is more talented, but Duff's work-rate makes up for it From TB
A 12th league win of the season seemed inevitable for the Blues who had not conceded a Premiership goal in the second half this season.
That statistic rarely looked like being ended, although Portsmouth were more ambitious after the break with the vociferous crowd doing their best to raise their side.
But Pompey were left breathing a sigh of relief after an unmarked Ricardo Carvalho mistimed a header, although it was only a temporary reprieve.
Dejan Stefanovic brought down Joe Cole and Lampard sent Ashdown the wrong way as he slotted in to extend the visitors' lead.
Lampard's outing passed the previous record of 159 consecutive league appearances set by keeper David James while at Liverpool.
Portsmouth caretaker manager Joe Jordan on leaving out Laurent Robert: "If I'm in charge for next game, I'll approach that in the same way meaning that I'll pick the team I think can get a result for Pompey.
"All the players at my disposal will be assessed and that will include Laurent Robert and everyone at the club."
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho: "Portsmouth had a very difficult time with Joe Cole because he played fantastic. He deserves to come out of the game as a hero and the people did not recognie the work he did.
"It was a clear penalty and he didn't deserve the reaction he got because he is a very fair player.
"I think we fought very well. The team were very intelligent in the second half the way we controlled the game and we waited for the right time to kill the game off."
Portsmouth: Ashdown, Priske, O'Brien, Stefanovic, Griffin, O'Neil, Diao, Hughes (Viafara 78), Taylor, Silva (Todorov 63), LuaLua. Subs Not Used: Westerveld, Vukic, Vignal.
Booked: Diao, Hughes, Griffin, Stefanovic, Taylor.
Chelsea: Cech, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Terry, Gallas, Joe Cole (Geremi 83), Gudjohnsen, Essien, Lampard, Duff (Wright-Phillips 79), Crespo (Carlton Cole 38). Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Del Horno.
Booked: Carlton Cole.
Goals: Crespo 27, Lampard 67 pen.
Att: 20,182
Ref: P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Story from BBC SPORT: 2005/11/26 19:13:15 GMT© BBC MMV

Hussey ton keeps Windies at bay

Third Test, Adelaide, day three (stumps): West Indies 405 & 68-2; Australia 428
Mike Hussey smashed an unbeaten 133 to help Australia recover from a batting collapse against the West Indies in the final Test at Adelaide.
The hosts slumped to 295-8 thanks to explosive bowling from all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who claimed 6-84.
But Hussey and Stuart MacGill (22 not out) piled on 93 for the ninth wicket to steer Australia to 428 all out
By stumps, West Indies were 68-2 in their second innings, with a lead of 45 and Ramnaresh Sarwan unbeaten on 53.
West Indies made a terrible start to their reply when Devon Smith, who has made just 22 runs in his last five innings, was caught by Ricky Ponting at second slip with the total on two.
Then Wavell Hinds was stumped by Adam Gilchrist off Shane Warne shortly before the close of play, leaving Sarwan and nightwatchman Daren Powell to survive through to stumps.
Bravo dominated in the morning session, taking three quick wickets after Fidel Edwards had dismissed Brad Hodge for 18.
He bowled Andrew Symonds for nine with a ball that darted back in and had the dangerous Gilchrist caught by Shivnarine Chanderpaul at cover.
And Bravo's dismissal of Warne came from a sensational diving catch from his own bowling after two close lbw shouts had been turned down.
Australia were left reeling until Hussey steadied the lower order with some fine shots.
The guys bowled well with the old ball but I think we let them off the hook when we took the new ball Dwayne Bravo
Hussey batted for nearly five hours, faced 215 balls and hit 13 boundaries and three sixes to register his second Test century in just his third match, and his first in the middle order.
He was dropped by Sarwan at slip on 88 and by Bravo on 116 when he drove the ball firmly back to the bowler but was otherwise untroubled on a flat pitch.
Hussey thanked MacGill for helping him to a century.
"I honestly didn't think I had the chance to score a hundred but I have to give a lot of the credit to Stuart MacGill," he said.
"I wasn't really sure which direction which we were going to go.
"He really grabbed the situation, grabbed the game and gave us a very clear focus on exactly how we were going to go about it."
Six-wicket hero Bravo said the tourists tried too hard to finish Australia off.
"I didn't think I was going to get six wickets but I knew I was going to do something spectacular today," he said.
"The guys bowled well with the old ball but I think we let them off the hook when we took the new ball.
"We let it slip but we are batting in the second innings now so we have to try our best to put a good total on the scoreboard and make it game on."
Story from BBC SPORT: 2005/11/27 08:10:16 GMT© BBC MMV

Indian sets balloon flight record

Indian Vijaypat Singhania has claimed a new world record for the highest flight in a hot air balloon, after a voyage lasting several hours.
The 67-year-old textile tycoon soared past 21,000 metres (69,000 feet) but fell just short of his original target.
He travelled in a pressurised cabin attached to a balloon as high as a 22-storey building.
The previous record of 19,811 metres (64,997 feet) was set by Per Lindstrand in Plano, Texas, in June 1988.
Mr Singhania's son, Gautam, announced the news to the waiting media.
He said: "As you can see we are very happy. The team is also excited because they have worked very hard on this project for a very long time."
Colin Prescott, leader of Mr Singhania's British technical team, said the official height was 21,290.89 metres (69,852 feet), subject to certification.
High hopes
A band played and hundreds of people watched as Mr Singhania's 48-metre (160 ft) balloon took off from Mumbai (Bombay) at 0645 (0115 GMT), the BBC's Monica Chadha reported from the city.
Management student Parag Sharma arrived at the venue at 0515 because he was so excited about seeing a hot air balloon for the first time.
"I had never seen one before so I thought this was a good opportunity. It is awesome, the balloon was gigantic," he said.
Current record: 64,997ft (19,811m)
Target altitude: 70,000ft (21,336m)
Balloon capacity: 1.6m cu ft
Total height: 160ft (48.8m)
Gross weight: 1,820kg (1.8 tons)
Pilot flies in 560kg sealed aluminium capsule approx 2.7m x 1.4m (9ft x 4ft 6in)
Fitted with 18 burners, three fuel tanks, sat-phone; camera; two VHF radios; GPS; life-support system; safety-release system and parachute
Ascent: 3 hours
Descent: 1.5-2 hours
National television carried live coverage of the voyage, which ended with Mr Singhania's safe return to Earth some five hours later.
During the ascent, air temperatures plummeted to around -93C (-135F).
His wife Asha told of her relief and joy at the success of the trip: "When I heard that he had broken the record, I became numb in mind and heart," she said.
Mr Singhania's craft comprised a pressurised aluminium capsule with a specially designed multi-coloured balloon and 18 burners.
The balloon was connected to a parachute that would have been released automatically in case of any emergency.
A helicopter carrying a technical team followed the balloon closely and was in constant touch with Mr Singhania throughout the flight.
'Passion and obsession'
Colin Prescott explained that the team had "decided to quit while ... ahead" once they had crossed a height of 69,000 feet.
"He [Vijpayat Singhania] wanted to go to 70 but what's a thousand feet?
"It's easily a new world record, so we are all very excited."
Before taking off Mr Singhania, who chairs Indian textile giant Raymond Group, told the BBC that flying was in his blood.
"I thought let us do something important in life, therefore I went about preparing for this world record."
Asked what motivated him to set new records, he said flying was "a want, a passion and an obsession" for him.
"The father of Indian aviation, JRD Tata used to say, 'You don't have to be crazy to get in to aviation, but it helps'... you could say the same for me," he said.
Mr Singhania is the only Indian to have won the aviation sports gold medal from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) that ratifies aviation records, for a 24-day world air race covering 34,000km in 1994.
Story from BBC NEWS: 2005/11/26 12:11:01 GMT© BBC MMV

Switzerland votes on GM crop ban

Imogen Foulkes BBC News, Berne
Switzerland is holding a vote on a proposal to ban all genetically modified crops for a five-year period.
Supporters of the proposal, including many farmers, say a ban would allow more time to assess the possible risks of GM crops before introducing them.
But the country's influential biotechnology industry has been campaigning hard against a ban.
It says Switzerland must not turn away from new developments which could harm domestic scientific research.
Consumer boycott
The Swiss have long been suspicious of genetically modified crops and have so far resisted them.
Only one tiny experimental GM crop of wheat has ever been grown on Swiss soil, by scientists at the University of Zurich.
Many Swiss farmers want to keep it that way. Their small steep plots do not yield huge harvests, and in order to make a living they have been building up a niche market for organic produce.
They fear the introduction of GM crops could undermine that.
Surveys show Swiss consumers would not buy GM produce.
The EU lifted its own moratorium on GM crops last year. Switzerland, although not a member of the EU, is under pressure to do the same.
The country's biotechnology industry is warning a ban on GM crops could be damaging because it would impose restrictions that might prevent Swiss researchers from keeping up with the rest of the world.
Story from BBC NEWS: 2005/11/27 03:48:15 GMT© BBC MMV