Pune, Rajkot get nod NEW DELHI, India (AP): The western cities of Pune and Rajkot will provide the franchises to fill in for the suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League over the next two years. The Board of Control for Cricket in India said the new teams will be temporary replacements after the Super Kings and Royals were suspended this year by a Supreme Court-appointed committee over corruption and spot-fixing. New Rising Consortium-owned Pune and mobile phone manufacturer Intex-owned Rajkot were selected in a reverse-bidding process in which bidders were asked to discount their annual revenue share of US$6 million. New Rising gave up that revenue entirely and also committed to pay US$2.4 million per year to the BCCI. Intex will pay US$1.5 million per year. McCullum stands by evidence DUNEDIN, New Zealand (AP): New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum says he stands by the evidence he gave at the perjury trial of former teammate Chris Cairns, although Cairns’ acquittal has raised questions over whether he was believed by a jury in London. McCullum was the prosecution’s leading witness in the trial of Cairns, the former New Zealand allrounder who was alleged to have lied in a libel action against Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi, who accused him of involvement in match-fixing. In evidence, McCullum said he was approached by Cairns in 2008 and encouraged to become involved in match-fixing. Cairns’ legal team sought to discredit McCullum’s evidence by pointing out he took three years to report the alleged approach, then changed elements of his story on later occasions. On the eve New Zealand’s first Test against Sri Lanka in Dunedin, McCullum faced the media yesterday for the first time since Cairns’ acquittal. Few questions at the conference related to the Test match; instead, McCullum was quizzed on his evidence and the fallout from the Cairns trial. Swansea sack Monk SWANSEA, Wales (AP): Swansea has fired manager Garry Monk after nearly two years in charge, following a dip in form that has seen the team win just one of their last eleven Premier League games. Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins says he made the decision because of “a drop of performance levels and run of results over the last three months.” Jenkins says “when you take into account the excellent campaign we had last season when we broke all club records in the Premier League, nobody foresaw the position we would be in at this moment in time.” Monk was with the club for more than 11 years, first as a defender and then manager since February 2014 when he replaced Michael Laudrup. Barcelona aiming for third Club World Cup title TOKYO, Japan (AP): Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez spearhead Barcelona’s attempt to win a third Club World Cup title when the European champions arrive in Japan next week. Luis Enrique’s squad will play their first game on December 17 in Yokohama, just five days after hosting Deportivo La Coruna in the Spanish league. The tournament begins on Thursday in Yokohama. Barcelona and Copa Libertadores winners River Plate are favourites to reach the December 20 final. Barcelona won the tournament in 2009 and 2011 and the Spanish league leaders are clear favourites to continue Europe’s domination. The tournament, which features the top clubs from FIFA’s six continental confederations plus the champion of the host country, returns to Japan for the first time since 2012. It was hosted in Morocco the previous two years.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Sunni Arabs formed the backbone of Saddam’s government, and the Bush administration hopes to pull them away from the insurgency that has ravaged the country with daily bloodshed. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Shiite religious coalition dominating the current government, traveled to the northern Kurdish city of Irbil for the meeting with Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish region. “Today, we held preliminary consultations,” al-Hakim said at a joint news conference with Barzani. “All the details need to be studied and we need to evaluate the previous alliance and study its weaknesses and strengths. Then we will try to include the others.” A Kurdish coalition that includes Barzani’s Kurdish Democratic Party and President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan is now the junior partner in a government led by al-Hakim’s United Iraqi Alliance. Preliminary results from the Dec. 15 vote have given the United Iraqi Alliance a big lead, but one unlikely to allow it to govern without forming a coalition with other groups. Final results are expected early next month, but the Shiite religious bloc may win about 130 seats in the 275-member parliament – short of the 184 seats needed to avoid a coalition with other parties. The Kurds could get about 55, the main Sunni Arab groups about 50 and the secular bloc headed by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a Shiite, about 25. “Our goal is to have a partnership government that enjoys a wide base of support,” al-Hakim said. Asked about claims by Sunni Arab groups and secular Shiites that the Dec. 15 poll was tainted by fraud, al-Hakim said “we have agreed on this with our brothers in the Kurdish coalition. It is impossible to annul the elections results or to hold new elections. We don’t accept this.” More than 10,000 people, some carrying photos of Allawi, demonstrated in central Baghdad in favor of a government that would give more power to Sunni Arabs and secular Shiites. Marchers chanted “No Sunnis, no Shiites, yes for national unity!” They are demanding that an international body review more than 1,500 complaints, warning they may boycott the new legislature. They also want new elections in some provinces, including Baghdad. Two Sunni Arab groups and Allawi’s Iraqi National List have threatened a wave of protests and civil disobedience if fraud charges are not properly investigated. But the United Nations has rejected an outside review, and al-Hakim said his bloc and the Kurds also were against it. The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq considers 35 of the complaints serious enough to change some local results. It said it began audits Tuesday of ballot boxes taken from about 7,000 polling stations in Baghdad province. “This audit is not a random sampling of boxes or a re-count. It is a targeted review of specific ballot boxes taken from about 7,000 polling stations the IECI opened across Baghdad,” the commission said, adding it was “in keeping with the IECI’s policy of taking all complaints seriously and of conducting exhaustive investigations where warranted.” Meanwhile, the American military said two U.S. pilots died in a helicopter accident in western Baghdad on Monday night. The accident was under investigation; the military said no hostile fire was involved. At least 2,172 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. In the Shiite holy city of Karbala, municipal workers doing maintenance work uncovered remains that police believed were part of a mass grave thought to date back to 1991, when Saddam’s regime put down a Shiite uprising in the south. The remains – discovered Monday – were sent for testing Tuesday in an effort to identify the bodies, said Rahman Mashawy, a Karbala police spokesman. He did not say how many bodies were found, and the police claim could not be independently verified. Human rights organizations estimate that more than 300,000 people, mainly Kurds and Shiite Muslims, were killed and buried in mass graves during Saddam’s reign, which ended when U.S.-led forces toppled his regime in 2003. Saddam and seven co-defendants are now on trial for the deaths of more than 140 Shiites after a 1982 attempt on Saddam’s life in the town of Dujail, north of Baghdad. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., visiting Iraq on Tuesday, said he met with the chief judge overseeing Saddam’s trial. Specter said he was disappointed in how the court has allowed the former leader “to dominate” the trial. “You have a butcher who has butchered his own people, a torturer who has tortured his own people,” Specter said. “The evidence ought to be presented in a systematic way, which would show that there’s been quite an accomplishment in taking (Saddam) out as opposed to letting him … control the proceedings.” Specter also said a U.S. general told him that recently announced U.S. troop reductions had been in the works since April and that more are on the way. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BAGHDAD, Iraq – The Shiite religious bloc leading Iraq’s parliamentary elections held talks Tuesday with Kurdish leaders about who should get the top 12 government jobs, as thousands of Sunni Arabs and secular Shiites protested what they say was a tainted vote. Meanwhile, workers in the Shiite holy city of Karbala uncovered remains believed to be part of a mass grave dating to a 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein. The talks between the majority Shiites and the Kurds were seen as part of an effort to force the main Sunni Arab organizations to come to the bargaining table. All groups have begun jockeying, and the protests are widely considered to be part of an attempt by Sunni Arabs to maximize their negotiating position. The discussions come at a critical time for Iraq, with the United States placing high hopes on forming a broad-based coalition government that will provide the fledgling democracy with the stability and security it needs to allow American troops to begin returning home.