Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gunfire celebrations at Gadhafi HQ

"It's over" cry rebels as Gaddafi HQ overrun

Joyful Libyan rebels overran Muammar Gaddafi's Tripoli bastion on Tuesday, seizing weapons and loot and destroying symbols of a 42-year dictatorship they declared was now over as they set about hunting down the fallen ruler and his sons.

"It's over! Gaddafi is finished!" yelled one fighter over a cacophony of celebratory gunfire across the Bab al-Aziziya compound, from where Gaddafi orchestrated eccentric defiance of Western powers and disdain for his own people for four decades.

The Western powers who backed the revolt with air power held off from pronouncing victory although a swift return to order is high on their priorities, given fears that ethnic and tribal divisions among the rebels could descend into the kind of anarchy that would thwart hopes of Libya resuming oil exports.

Rebel National Council chief Mustafa Abdel-Jalil cautioned: "It is too early to say that the battle of Tripoli is over. That won't happen until Gaddafi and his sons are captured."

Armed men broke up a gilded statue of Gaddafi, kicking its face. Some seized the golf buggy the leader often used.

Another rebel sported a heavily braided, peaked military cap of a kind favored by the colonel, who seized power in 1969. He said he had taken the hat from Gaddafi's bedroom after a brief few hours of resistance by a loyal rearguard died away.

Abdel Hakim Belhadj, a rebel commander, said he did not know where Gaddafi or his sons were: "They ran like rats." Other rebel officials said they believed the 69-year-old "Brother Leader" was probably still not far away.

Reuters correspondents in Tripoli said there still appeared to be some hostile fire around the city center as darkness fell and looting continued. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "We're in the death throes of this regime ... But it's still a very difficult and dangerous time. It's not over yet."

The Russian head of the International Chess Federation, who had visited Tripoli in June, told Reuters that Gaddafi had called him on Tuesday. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said Gaddafi told him he was in the capital and was "prepared to fight to the end".

Gaddafi had few places to make a stand. His home town of Sirte, on the Mediterranean coast between Tripoli and rebel Benghazi, was expected to welcome rebel forces shortly, Abdel-Jalil said.

"It really looks like it's pretty much over," said David Hartwell, a Middle East analyst at IHS Jane's in London.

"There might be a few diehards who would keep going until he is captured or killed, but not many. And if Gaddafi didn't have many places to hide before, he has even fewer now."


"House to house! Room to room!" chanted some men, calling for a search of the sprawling complex of bunkers and tunnels in a mocking echo of the words Gaddafi used six months ago when he threatened to crush early stirrings of the Arab Spring revolt.

Inspired by neighbors in Tunisia and Egypt, Libyans who rose up in the east found protection from the air forces of Western governments who abandoned a short-lived rapprochement with Gaddafi to drive him from power and who now want to see order imposed and a swift restoration of Libyan oil exports.

After a meandering ebb and flow across the desert, rebel forces galvanized by Western advisers, NATO air strikes and, it is widely assumed, Western special forces, swept into the capital at the weekend end to be greeted by many residents.

Rebel leader Abdel-Jalil said NATO bombs had helped his men breach the walls of the Bab al-Aziziya on Tuesday. "I thank all the countries that have helped us," said the young man wearing the braided cap. "Now we should work together as Libyans."

In the east of the country, government troops were pulling out of areas that are key to oil production, rebels said.


The U.S. State Department, in a signal of the kind of activity likely to gather pace in diplomatic meetings over the coming days, said it was seeking the immediate release of up to $1.5 billion of frozen Libyan government assets to the rebels.

In Tripoli, ordinary Libyans, or at least those with guns and guts to risk the chaos in Bab al-Aziziya, were helping themselves to the bounty Gaddafi's inner circle had amassed in villas dotted around the city center compound.

Flat screen televisions and hi-fi, as well as a vacuum cleaner and Cuban cigars, were all being hefted away along with the sort of trophy rifles and handguns favored by the elite.

One man shouted angrily at those taking away loot: "People have died and you are stealing!"

For many, as in other Arab nations where autocrats have been overthrown this year, the most important benefit was not tangible: "Gaddafi is now gone and we are free," said Turqi, a shopkeeper in the capital where civilians have kept indoors during three days of sporadic sniper fire and skirmishing.

In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman said he believed Gaddafi was still in Libya and remained a threat. He also said the United States was monitoring chemical weapons sites in Libya given worries that groups hostile to Western interests could try to seize stocks once accumulated by Gaddafi.

There were growing concerns for civilians in Tripoli, after days of siege and fighting in which officials suggested hundreds of combatants might have been killed or wounded. Aid agencies said they hoped to get supplies in soon.

At a private house several miles from the center, wounded from the fighting were being treated, to the sound of gunfire.

"We need medication and stretchers, this situation is a disaster," medical student Shuaib Rais told Reuters.


After Gaddafi's son and long-time heir-apparent Saif al-Islam confounded rebel claims of his capture by appearing to journalists at the Bab al-Aziziya compound early on Tuesday, several analysts said the credibility of the disparate opposition movement had suffered a serious setback.

Though the basis of Saif al-Islam's claims that his father's supporters were winning the war was also threadbare, confusion among the rebels, who seemed to have allowed two of Gaddafi's sons to escape on Monday, embarrassed their supporters.

Noman Benotman, senior analyst at Britain's Quilliam think tank and an associate of Gaddafi's former spy chief, said: "Gaddafi is banking on the rebels making a mess of Tripoli and causing chaos. He is relying on them to behave badly.

"They want rival militia zones to start springing up ... It's critical for the rebels to get their act together."

The lack of clear control has revived talk that the sprawling, thinly populated desert state could fall into the kind of instability that has beset Iraq since Saddam Hussein's overthrow. Gaddafi loyalists and anti-Western Islamists could exploit Libya's ethnic, tribal and political divisions.

Rebel officials say they have a force ready to impose order in the capital, as they have generally done in parts of the country they have taken since February. But it is not yet clear how they will handle Libya's traditional east-west divisions if they consolidate their grip on the country.

The uncharacteristically efficient rebel advance into Tripoli, coordinated with an uprising inside the city, seemed evidence to some analysts of the military advice and training Western and some Arab powers, including Qatar, have provided.

Many assume special forces are also active on the ground.

Outside powers, including U.S. President Barack Obama, have been at pains to characterize the revolt against Gaddafi as quite different from the Western assault on Saddam, saying it is a home-grown uprising inspired by other Arab protest movements that overthrew Western-backed autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt.

Aid, some of it in the form of Libyan state funds seized from accounts controlled by Gaddafi, and advice will be plentiful, foreign governments have assured the rebel leadership in Benghazi as it contemplates moving to Tripoli.

But all have ruled out sending in ground troops to bolster a new government that faces considerable difficulties in setting up a new administration, given Gaddafi's four-decade reliance on informal governance and a personality cult.

"We've sought to learn the lessons of the failures of Iraq, which have very much influenced our thinking -- trying to make sure we don't make the same mistakes again," said British International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell.

Earthquake Strikes East Coast

An earthquake sent tremors from the nation’s capitol to New York City Tuesday afternoon, the result of what officials said was a 5.8 magnitude earthquake based in Virginia.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

It is not clear how far the earthquake spread, but tremors were felt throughout New York City office buildings and as far north as Concord, N.H.

The streets of downtown Washington filled with thousands of people on Tuesday afternoon as buildings from the capital to the White House were evacuated.

A mild shake and tremble could be felt shortly before 2 pm. The movement lasted no more than 30 seconds in downtown Washington.

Fire alarms sounded throughout the downtown business district in Washington on an otherwise bright and sunny afternoon. There were no obvious signs of damage or disruption.

Hundreds of Afghans slam UN in vote row

Aitzaz favours army’s deployment in violence-hit Karachi

Former Interior minister and key member of the Pakistan People’s Party Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan

favoured army’s deployment in violence-hit Karachi and said it is not unconstitutional and nobody should be afraid of an army operation, as it would be carried out under the Sindh civil administration.
Aitzaz, a former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, told reporters at the Lahore High Court, that Karachi was economic hub and vital for country’s progress and if there would be a law and order problem, it would disturb the whole country. He pointed out that people were being kidnapped, tortured and then killed.
He cited the example of the UK and India where armies were called whenever civil rulers felt that only army could help out in resolving the problem. Aitzaz said that the army was a national institution and subordinate department of the federal government.
The former minister said that peace could not be restored in Karachi until an operation was conducted to de-weaponise the city. He said that politics and extortion had mixed up in Karachi owing to which economic problems were also emerging.

US ambassador to Syria visits town in Deraa in unannounced visit

The US ambassador to Syria on Tuesday visited a town in the south of the country where 15 people were killed last week, an embassy spokesman said.

“Ambassador Robert Ford went this morning to Jassem, 65 kilometres (about 42 miles) south of Damascus as part of his routine diplomatic duties,” the spokesman, who declined to be named, told AFP.

Ford returned to the embassy after the visit, the spokesman added.
Jassem is in southern Deraa province, epicentre of anti-regime protests that broke out in mid-March, where according to activists 15 people were killed on Friday by security forces when they opened fire to crush a demonstration.

Ford in July angered Syrian authorities when he visited the flashpoint central city of Hama, along with the French ambassador to Syria Eric Chevallier.

The July 8 visit came after two huge protests in Hama during which almost half a million people rallied each time against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to activists.

During the visit to Hama the US envoy met several protesters and the embassy later issued a statement saying Ford had wanted to see for himself developments on the ground and that the visit was not aimed at incitement.

The ambassador “wanted to see with his own eyes what was happening on the ground,” said at the time US embassy spokesman JJ Harder, as “the lack of uninhibited access for international media makes this even more important.”

“Happily,” Ford “did not witness violence from either the government or the protesters,” he said at the time.

Damascus swiftly denounced the move as an incitement to violence and a meddling in Syria’s internal affairs.

“The presence of the US ambassador in Hama without previous permission is obvious proof of the implication of the United States in the ongoing events, and of their attempts to increase (tensions), which damage Syria’s security and stability,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Syria’s interior ministry claimed that Ford had met “saboteurs” in Hama “who erected checkpoints, cut traffic and prevented citizens from going to work.”

Ford “incited these saboteurs to violence, to demonstrate and to refuse dialogue” with Assad’s government, the interior ministry said.

Fighting rages at Gaddafi compound

Libyan rebels say they have breached a gate at Gadhafi's Tripoli compound, as heavy gunfire breaks out and smoke is seen rising above the city.Rebel fighters entered Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's compound on Tuesday and managed to disarm some Gadhafi forces inside, rebels told a CNN crew nearby.
Battles continued in the extensive compound. Celebrations -- with rebels yelling "God is great" and "victory is here" -- mixed with the sounds of ferocious clashes. Clouds of smoke rose into the air.
Earlier, Mahmoud Shammam, minister of information for the rebels' National Transitional Council, said NATO had hit some targets inside the compound, Bab al-Aziziya. NATO would not comment on specific actions it was taking.
People were hugging each other and cheering in the streets, even as urban warfare raged.
"This neighborhood has gone wild," said CNN's Sara Sidner, near the compound.
A CNN crew near the compound could see the fighting, with bullets flying and snipers on buildings.
Rebels began to emerge from the comopund with medical files of members of Gadhafi's family, an indication that rebel fighters had indeed made it inside the compound.
"This neighborhood is definitely the center of where the fight is," Sidner said.
A 7-year-old boy standing outside his home, armed with a weapon larger than himself, told CNN he was now in charge of protecting his home because his father had gone out to fight.
CNN also saw people being treated for shrapnel wounds. They had weapons propped up along the wall. It was unclear what role they may have played in the fighting.
A nurse at a clinic said a woman, a civilian, was killed when she stepped outside her home and was hit by gunfire.
Some Gadhafi forces dressed like rebels and worked to infiltrate rebel forces. In the midst of the urban warfare, loyalties were not always clear.
A CNN crew at a hotel nearby heard loud explosions coming from the compound throughout the day, likely the sound of artillery shells being exchanged.
It was unknown whether Gadhafi himself was in the compound. Col. Roland Lavoie, a NATO spokesman, said Tuesday he doesn't have a clue" where Gadhafi is. He added that the 42-year-long regime is coming to an end, and that Gadhafi is "not a key player anymore."
Shammam said there were some reports that Gadhafi might be near the Algerian border, "but I'm not ruling out anything."
Russia's Interfax news agency, meanwhile, quoted the head of the World Chess Federation as saying he spoke with Gadhafi and his son Mohammed by phone, and that Gadhafi said he is "alive and well in Tripoli and not going to leave Libya."
The information could not be independently confirmed.
NATO said Tripoli was no longer "under Gadhafi control," and Shammamsaid his conservative estimate was that rebels controlled 85% of the capital.
The National Transitional Council has now established a small office on the outskirts of Tripoli, according to rebel sources. They are in hiding but in place to facilitate a transition once Gadhafi is ousted.
But there were numerous clashes around the city.
A CNN team at Tripoli International Airport, which was taken over by rebels Monday, reported hearing very heavy fighting coming from the main road into the city, north of the airport. Heavy shelling could be heard and there was black smoke in the area.
Two military installations lie along the road.
Saif al-Islam Gadhafi spotted in Tripoli Gadhafi's army 'not human beings' How soon can Libya export oil? Pockets of Gadhafi loyalists remain
Barack Obama
Moammar Gadhafi
Rebel officials told CNN that Gadhafi forces launched an effort to retake the airport, attacking from the south and the east. Rebels fired in return, launching missiles in the direction of the Gadhafi forces that were trying to advance.
The CNN crew also saw what appeared to be a mass exodus of residents from the capital.
And the fighting was hardly confined to Tripoli. Shammam said battles rage in several cities across the country. "We're fighting in three or four fronts right now," he said, adding, "our troops are limited."
The latest battles come a day after a central claim from the rebels -- that Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam was in their custody -- turned out not to be true. Saif al-Islam Gadhafishowed up at a hotel where international journalists are staying Monday night.
"The whole situation was confusing," Shammam said. "We admit that our communications were not clear."
He indicated that there may have been miscommunication among different groups of rebels. "We don't know if he was arrested and then escaped," Shammam said. "We have to clarify."
In a brief interview with CNN Monday night, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi said his father and severalof his sisters were safe in Tripoli, and that loyaltroops had "broken the back" of the rebels who moved into the capital over the weekend.
Another Gadhafi son, Mohammed Gadhafi, reportedly escaped from rebel custody, the Libyan ambassador to the United States said. It was unclear Tuesday whether Saadi Gadhafi -- the third son the rebels claimed to have captured -- was in their custody.
As the fighting raged Tuesday, those wounded faced a shortage of doctors, facilities and medical supplies.
One clinic "has 40 beds, and all of the beds are taken," said Robin Waudoof the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tripoli. "Some of the people have been treated or discharged and taken to other houses nearby in order to be treated."
The ICRC has been bringing supplies to the capital for months, Waudo said, because the organization knew "the fighting would come to Tripoli."
With rebels controlling much of the city, it was unclear what would be done to establish order. Shammam said rebels found a quick victory in taking over much of Tripoli and "were not fully prepared for taking the political situation under control... so give us a few days so we can organize ourselves."
About 30 miles west of Tripoli, tracer fire, anti-aircraft guns and artillery were seen and heard around Zawiya, a key city during the rebels' advance into the capital.
NATO confirmed Tuesday that it has been dropping leaflets in the Zawiya area. One set of leaflets warns residents to stay away from military activities, NATO said in a statement to CNN.
"The other leaflets were aimed at mercenaries fighting for Gadhafi, encouraging them to give up the fight and to leave Libya," NATO said. The leaflets are in Arabic and French.
A missile was fired from Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte and landed in the sea near the rebel-held city of Misrata Monday evening, NATO said Tuesday. The alliance said it had no reports of damage or injuries, but called the attack a "direct threat to innocent people."
"Although the surface-to-surface missiles in Gadhafi's arsenalare highly inaccurate, and are not designed to hit a specific target, they are a weapon of terror," NATO said in a statement. "Their use against an urban or industrial area is utterly irresponsible."
Gadhafi has had a firm grip on Libya since a September 1969 coup. The rebellion against him began in February and has been aided by NATO airstrikes that began in March, under a U.N. mandate to protect civilians.
If the Gadhafi regime falls, it would follow revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt this year in what is known as the Arab Spring. A spate of other countries in the region -- including Bahrain, Yemen and Syria -- have also seen protests by citizens demanding more freedom and a change in regime. In many cases, these demonstrations have been met with brute force.
The Libyan revolt gained momentum rapidly in the past two weeks, with rebel forces launching their push on Tripoli over the weekend.
Gadhafi took to the airwaves several times Sunday urging citizens, including women, to fight the rebels -- whom he called "very small groups of people who are collaborators with the imperialists."
But British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Tuesday that Gadhafi's downfall is imminent.
"As for the appearance of Saif Gadhafi overnight in Tripoli, let me be clear -- this is not the sign of some great comeback by the Gadhafi regime," Clegg said. "He, and indeed the remaining pro-Gadhafi forces, are now cornered. They are making their last stand, and it is only a matter of time before they are final

Obama on Libya: "This is not over yet"

U.S. President Barack Obama urges Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down as rebels tightened their hold on the capital Tripoli.

Biden meets Japanese tsunami victims

VIDEO: Gaddafi's son in Tripoli

Fighting intensifies around Gaddafi compound


Libyan rebels have reportedly entered the fortified compound of leader Muammar Gaddafi in Bab al-Azizya in Tripoli, amid intensified fighting with regime forces.

According to reports that could not be independently verified, rebels have entered the compound at least through one gate.

"It is very clear that there is a major battle raging within that compound," Al Jazeera's James Bays said, reporting from Tripoli.

Fighting also continued across the capital for a second day on Tuesday, and columns of grey smoke were seen billowing over the Bab al-Azizya area with the sound of gunfire and occasional explosions ringing out.

Opposition forces were concentrating their firepower on Gaddafi's compound, Al Jazeera reported.

The al-Mansoura district was the focus of fierce clashes between government forces and opposition fighters, two days after the rebels marched into the heart of the city, prompting scenes of jubiliation.

"Gaddafi troops are holed up in a series of pockets where they still seem to have strength, the main one of which is inside that sprawling Gaddafi compound," Bays said.

Gaddafi's forces are reportedly fighting back using heavy weapons including mortars and shells fired in the direction of Green Square, which rebels have renamed Martyrs' Square, casting doubts on opposition claims that much of the city was under their control.

The Libyan leader's whereabouts is unknown.

"The battle is certainly not over. The city is on a knife edge," our correspondent said.

There have been reports of NATO planes flying very low on top of Gaddafi's compound.

In a dramatic development, Saif al-Islam, the son of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, appeared in al-Mansoura early on Tuesday morning to refute claims that he had been captured by opposition forces and rally government loyalists.

"There is confusion among the ranks of opposition fighters on the ground," Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reporting from Tripoli said. "Some people are asking whether the National Transitional Council has been infiltrated."

The head of Libya's opposition National Transitional Council (NTC) on Monday announced the end of Gaddafi's decades-long rule.But the re-appearance of Saif, an influential figure who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, has raised fresh questions about the NTC leadership's grip on a fast-changing situation.Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reporting from Benghazi said: "Now we are seeing accusations, doubts, and confusion.

"It is going to be interesting to see how the NTC explains this debacle and how it seeks to reinforce and strengthen these alliances and enable the rebels to get to Tripoli itself."

The NTC held a joint press conference in Benghazi with Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister on Tuesday.

"We stand by NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil ... He established the path for Libya for the future," Davutoglu said.

Rebel checkpoints

The celebrations that followed the rebels push into central Tripoli on Sunday night, when an opposition force took control of the Green Square and claimed victory, gave way to caution and confusion on Monday as they were met by resistance.

Throughout Monday, there was gunfire near Gaddafi's compound in the west of the city. Rebels set up checkpoints throughout the neighbourhoods in an attempt to maintain law and order.

For the latest news, follow our Libya Live Blog
"While Gaddafi's forces have withdrawn from most areas of Tripoli, sleeper cells haven't," Khodr said.

Gaddafi supporters also remained in control of the Rixos hotel, where foreign correspondents have been based throughout the six-month conflict.

Snipers scattered across the city continued to wage resistance, while a rebel convoy was ambushed by Gaddafi loyalists using anti-aircraft weapons.

An opposition fighter told Al Jazeera: "We haven't been able to launch an attack we are waiting for more men and heavy weapons."

Elsewhere in the country, the US military said that its warplanes had shot down a scud missile fired from Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown, indicating that remnants of Gaddafi's forces were continuing to resist.

Rebel fighters in eastern Libya advanced towards the oil terminal of Ras Lanuf after taking the coastal town of Ageila from forces loyal to Gaddafi.

Moussa Ibrahim, the government spokesperson, claimed Gaddafi forces had control of at least 75 per cent of Tripoli. But rebels said Gaddafi supporters only held about 20 per cent of the city.

The tenuous nature of the rebels' grip on Tripoli has dampened rebel hopes of a swift victory and raised concerns that the city of two million people could be the stage for a protracted armed struggle.

Phone call with gaddafi female tv presenter who was brandishing a gun after she is captured وكالة عاجل ليبيا تجري أول مكالمة هاتفية مع هالة المصراتي بعد اعتقالها من قبل الثوار وهي موجودة الان بمنزل احد ثوار قرقارش .

China criticises foreign pressure on Syria

(Reuters) - China's foreign ministry on Tuesday decried foreign pressure on Syria following calls from the United States and Europe for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, saying the country's future should be decided internally.

All sides in Syria should exercise maximum restraint and abandon violence, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement on the ministry's website (www.mfa.gov.cn), repeating Beijing's standard line.

"Syria's future should be decided by Syria itself," Ma said.

"The international community's relevant actions ought to be conducive towards pushing the Syrian government's promises of reform, and encourage all sides to constructively participate in the political process, to help an early return to stability."

The U.N. Human Rights Council launched an international commission of inquiry on Tuesday into Syria's crackdown on anti-government protesters, including possible crimes against humanity, despite objections by Russia, China and Cuba.

The escalating bloodshed in Syria has led Arab states to break months of silence and call for an end to the violence, while the United States and Europe have expanded sanctions against Syria and called on Assad to step down.

While China generally avoids entanglement in the domestic affairs of other nations, it has actively engaged with the rebels in Libya, as well as the government of Muammar Gaddafi.

On Syria though, China has on several occasions called on the world not to get involved, and has kept a relatively modest profile in the tumult sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.

Analysts have said that China will carefully foster ties and trade with new governments across the region, presenting itself as a steadfast friend, and oil customer, of governments that ride out the unrest. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ed Lane)

Brangelina ranked third richest couple by Forbes

They may not be as famous in Europe as Posh 'n' Becks, Brangelina or even Jay Z and Beyonce, but the richest couple in the world are supermodel Gisele Bundchen and her American football playing husband Tom Brady, according to Forbes magazine.
The pair earned a grand total of $76m between May 2010 and May 2011 says the magazine, and it seems that Gisele was the household's main breadwinner (if they do actually eat bread).

The Brazilian raked in $45m during the year and is apparently on course to become the world's first billionaire supermodel. Her husband only contributed a meagre $31m to the family finances. But even if they were to lose all their endorsement deals the couple would probably still be able to scrape by on Brady's $18m-a-year salary from the New England Patriots.

Mr and Mrs Bundchen may have taken the prize this year but they faced stiff competition from pop's premiere couple, Beyonce and her rap star husband Jay Z. The pair have extensive business interests, but it seems Jay was slightly more successful with his last year. He contributed $37m of the $72m that the couple earned, although Beyonce was not far behind with earnings of $35m.

In third place came Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

As with Gisele and Tom Brady it was the lady of the house who earned the most. Jolie was paid $30m last year, while Pitt pulled in rather less - just $20m, although it was a quiet year for the actor.
Next on the list come David and Victoria Beckham, who between them earned $45m last year. Almost all of it was down to David, whose career on the pitch may be drawing to a conclusion but who still has plenty off clout off it. He made $40m last year thanks to endorsement deals with the likes of Adidas, while Victoria's fashion interests helped her rake in an extra $5m.

That $5m may not sound like much, but it helped elevate the Beckhams above the fifth-placed couple, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, who both earned $20m last year thanks to the success of the Twilight films in which they star.

Two Germans 'missing in Afghanistan'

Two German men who set off to climb snow-capped mountains in war-torn Afghanistan have been missing for several days, Afghan officials said on Tuesday.

"We are aware that two Germans have gone missing somewhere between Baghlan and Parwan provinces (north of the capital Kabul). We are investigating the incident," said interior ministry spokesman Siddiq Siddiqui.

The German embassy in Kabul was not immediately contactable, but the information was corroborated by the chief of Parwan police, who said the pair were both men.

"According to our reports, the two German nationals went missing in the mountains of north Salang area on Friday," Sher Ahmad Maladani told AFP.

"They had not informed police about their destination, they had left their driver and had climbed the mountains.

"Late in the Friday, the driver informed us that the Germans had not returned from the mountains."

Siddiqui, however, said the pair went missing two days ago.

Maladani said insurgents were not active in the area.

Press briefing on Libya

Qaddafi’s Final Hours


For more than 40 years, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi has dominated and terrorized Libya — his image plastered on what seemed like every wall and his goons posted on every corner. Late Monday, with rebel fighters in substantial control of Tripoli, he was nowhere to be found, and his regime seemed to be collapsing.

There may be more dark moments to come. We are in awe of the courageous Libyans who pressed their fight. The rebels — a ragtag band that overcame incredible odds, battlefield defeats and bitter internal divisions — have showed extraordinary commitment and resilience.

We urge them to now show restraint in these final hours and respect for all Libyans in the days and months to come. They have promised to build a democratic Libya. They must keep that promise.

There is little doubt that the rebels would not have gotten this far without NATO’s air campaign and political support from President Obama, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain. When critics in Washington and elsewhere declared Libya a quagmire, these leaders refused to back away.

The rebel army improved with advice from British, French and Italian special forces and arms from France and Qatar. NATO strikes on Libyan forces and military command centers did real damage. A naval blockade and international sanctions also squeezed the government.

There were times when the United States and Europe should have committed more assets. But Mr. Obama made the right decision to let Europe take the lead.

Libya will need even more support — as well as vigilant monitoring and likely frequent goading — in the months ahead. The challenges of building a stable and representative new country cannot be overstated.

The main rebel leadership group has struggled to secure areas under its control. It must make clear that reprisals against surrendering Qaddafi loyalists will not be tolerated.

When Colonel Qaddafi is found, he should be sent to the International Criminal Court to face justice.

A few of the rebel leaders are known, but it is unclear if any of them has the standing or the skill to unite the country. The rebels’ Transitional National Council and the military are both hampered by ethnic and tribal divisions. The council must reach out quickly to all groups and ensure that it represents all Libyans.

It will also need to move quickly to put together a plan to restore public order as well as electricity and other basic services. It must outline a reasonable timetable for democratic elections.

As we learned at a very high cost in Iraq, all parties must have a role in building a new political order or those excluded will turn to violence. Decision-making — including how to restart damaged oil wells and share oil revenues — must be transparent.

World leaders can reinforce these messages by speaking out. President Obama on Monday rightly warned the rebels that “true justice will not come from reprisals and violence.” The release of frozen Libyan assets and the lifting of sanctions must be carefully managed.

It will be up to the Libyans to build their own future. The rebels’ victory — if followed by the democracy they promise — should inspire others to believe that the battle is worth fighting. And no autocrat, no matter how brutal, is invincible.

Calls for army grow as Karachi week toll hits 101

Pakistani politicians, industrialists and citizens stepped up calls Tuesday for the army to intervene to quell violence destabilising Karachi, where more than 100 have been killed in a week.

“We demand the armed forces take over the city, restore law and order and ensure safety to innocent people’s lives,” Khalid Tawab, vice president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), told AFP.

“Business activity has been disrupted because of incessant killing. People don’t want to go to market because of risks to life,” he said.

Ethnic and criminal violence blamed on gangs has killed 101 people in the last week, the latest bout in the worst criminal and ethnic violence to hit Pakistan’s largest city and financial capital for 16 years.

“At least nine people were killed since Monday evening, so far 101 people have been killed since Wednesday morning,” a senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to media.

Security officials said they had found the bodies of victims who had been kidnapped and tortured, stuffed into sacks and thrown on the streets with notes warning of more violence.

Two bodies trussed up in gunny bags, bearing torture marks and gun shots, were found dumped in Pak Colony and at Orangi Town’s Qasba Mor on Tuesday.

Separately, a resident of the Marwari Lane was kidnapped, shot at, and thrown in the Lyari river. He was shifted to the Civil Hospital subsequently.

In another incident, two people were injured when their car came under attack by unknown gunmen in the city’s Gulastan-i-Johar area.

A government official working in the health department confirmed the casualties.

On Tuesday, markets were closed, streets deserted and attendance at offices thin after the MQM called for a “day of mourning” against the killings.

The associations of transporters, wholesale and retail markets and fuel stations on Monday evening announced one by one that they would stay away from regular business on Tuesday, blaming police and security administration for failing to protect their businesses in such a situation.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday flew to Karachi and asked the provincial government to restore peace as quickly as possible.

Sharjeel Memon, Sindh provincial information minister, said a “surgical operation” was planned to end the violence.

The main ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which was elected in 2008 after nine years of military rule, insists that civilian authorities are capable of controlling the situation.

But members of other political parties are increasingly calling for army intervention, a sensitive issue in a country that has been ruled for more than half its existence by the military.

“We want to see law and order in Karachi improve. Anyone, including the army, who can get results and improve the situation should take control,” Wasay Jaleel, a spokesman for MQM, told AFP.

“We demand the army across the board to restore peace here,” ANP’s provincial chief Shahi Syed told AFP on Tuesday.

People on the streets also expressed dissatisfaction with the ability of the police and the paramilitaries, technically answerable to the interior ministry, to control the situation.

“The armed forces should be deployed in Karachi, because police and paramilitaries have failed to save our lives,” said Khalid Ali, 45, a shopkeeper in the main downtown market area that has seen some violence.

“We feel no enthusiasm for the coming Eid (religious festival). Please, soldiers take the city in their hands and return smiles to our children,” Noshaba Hameed, 37, a schoolteacher, told AFP by telephone from the east.

Rebels near Gaddafi's Tripoli stronghold: report

Rebels battling forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi were nearing the gates of his heavily fortified Bab al-Aziziya compound in the center of Tripoli on Tuesday, a correspondent for satellite news channel Al Jazeera reported.

The channel broadcast images of shells being fired and smoke rising over the city as the rebels sought to rout Gaddafi troops in neighborhoods still under his control.

Moammar Gadhafi's colorful history that has amused and infuriated.

Assad's supporters rally in Damascus


Popular, civil and youths activities continue across the Syrian governorates to express deep national belonging and unity of the Syrian people.

Huge crowds gathered on Monday evening in the main squares of Damascus, Aleppo, Sweida, Hasaka and Raqaa to express their support to the national and pan-Arab principles, maintaining Syria's sovereignty and independence and rejection of all attempts to sow chaos to undermine Syria's security and stability.In Damascus, thousands gathered in the Governorate Square expressing their love to Syria and insistence to work to build modern Syria and protect the national unity.

The participants denounced the killing and sabotage acts perpetrated by the armed terrorist groups against the Syrian people.
The participants told SANA that they want to send important messages that the Syrian people will not abandon their sovereignty and dignity and will confront the colonial schemes aiming at destabilizing the homeland.
They also hailed the important role of the Syrian army in restoring tranquility to the Syrian citizens. In Aleppo, huge masses crowded in Saadullah al-Jaberi Square expressing rejection of all attempts to destabilize Syria.The participants raised the national flag and chanted national slogans which emphasize the national unity.

In Sweida, thousands took to the street in Tishreen Square rejecting any attempt to undermine Syria's security and stability and stressing that all conspiracies will not affect the determination of the Syrian people who are capable to get out of the crisis stronger.

In Hasaka, large numbers of the governorate's inhabitants gathered at the President Square.

They stressed that the Syrian people are capable to overcome the crisis, hailing the important role of the Syrian army and the law enforcement forces in ensuring security for all the people who were terrified by the armed terrorist gangs.

In Raqaa, thousands of citizens participated in a march to express their rejection of the foreign dictations, the international double standards policy against Syria and to denounce the killing and sabotage acts perpetrated by the armed terrorist groups.

UN Human Rights Council launches new Syria inquiry

Int'l commission into Assad regime's violent crackdown which has killed more than 2,200 approved despite objections by Russia, China.

The UN Human Rights Council launched an international commission of inquiry on Tuesday into Syria's crackdown on anti-government protesters, including possible crimes against humanity, despite objections by Russia, China and Cuba.

The council condemned what it called "continued grave and systematic human rights violations by Syrian authorities such as arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the killing and persecution of protesters and human rights defenders".UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Monday more than 2,200 people have been killed in the five-month-old crackdown.

The 47-member forum easily adopted a resolution presented by the European Union, the United States and Arab countries including Saudi Arabia.The vote was 33 states in favor with four against and 9 abstentions. Libya's membership in the council was suspended earlier this year so it has no vote.

"The resolution is adopted," Uruguay's ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre who chairs the Council, announced after the vote on the second and final day of a special session on Syria.

The council launched the inquiry to establish the facts "and where possible to identify those responsible with a view of ensuring that perpetrators of violations, including those that may constitute crimes against humanity, are held accountable".

Syria's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui rejected the resolution as unbalanced.

"This once again confirms that there is a determination to politically condemn Syria and pass over any proposal for opening and reform that exists in this country," he said in an appeal before the vote for members to reject the resolution.

The delegations of Russia, China and Cuba all took the floor to denounce what they called interference in Syria's internal affairs and say that they would vote against the text. Ecuador also voted against the resolution.

Police present 4 alleged target killers before media

North Nazimabad police arrested four criminals during spot-checking who were involved in target killings in the city Tuesday, Geo News reported.

SSP Central and SSP South held a news conference and presented the four alleged target killers in front of the media. The police officials said the four, Shahnawaz, Rafiq, Naeem Jan and Mustafa were arrested from North Nazimabad and during interrogation it was revealed that they belonged to the Akram Baloch group which is involved in the Lyari gang war.

The criminals also revealed that they had killed 13 people and dumped their bodies in various areas of the city.

According to SSP Central, mobile phone videos of people being tortured were also recovered from the criminals. The four continue to be interrogated and a case has been lodged against them.

Gaddafi forces hanging on in Tripoli

It's still not yet clear who is in control of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. On the one hand rebel forces are claiming victory. In the wake of a fierce fight back, one of Colonel Gaddafi's sons has claimed the government still controls the capital.

USA becomes Food Stamp Nation but is it sustainable?

Genna Saucedo supervises cashiers at a Wal-Mart in Pico Rivera, California, but her wages aren't enough to feed herself and her 12-year-old son.
Saucedo, who earns $9.70 an hour for about 26 hours a week and lives with her mother, is one of the many Americans who survive because of government handouts in what has rapidly become a food stamp nation.
Altogether, there are now almost 46 million people in the United States on food stamps, roughly 15 percent of the population. That's an increase of 74 percent since 2007, just before the financial crisis and a deep recession led to mass job losses.
At the same time, the cost doubled to reach $68 billion in 2010 -- more than a third of the amount the U.S. government received in corporate income tax last year -- which means the program has started to attract the attention of some Republican lawmakers looking for ways to cut the nation's budget deficit.
While there are clearly some cases of abuse by people who claim food stamps but don't really need them, for many Americans like Saucedo there is little current alternative if they are to put food on the table while paying rent and utility bills.
"It's kind of sad that even though I'm working that I need to have government assistance. I have asked them to please put me on full-time so I can have benefits," said the 32-year-old.
She's worked at Wal-Mart for nine months, and applied for food stamps as soon as her probation ended. She said plenty of her colleagues are in the same situation.
So are her customers. Bill Simon, head of Wal-Mart's U.S. operations, told a conference call last Tuesday that the company had seen an increase in the number of shoppers relying on government assistance for food.
About forty percent of food stamp recipients are, like Saucedo, in households in which at least one member of the family earns wages. Many more could be eligible: the government estimates one in three who could be on the program are not.
"If they're working, they often think they can't get help. But people can't support their families on $10, $11, $12 an hour jobs, especially when you add transport, clothes, rent." said Carolyn McLaughlin, executive director of BronxWorks, a social services organization in New York.
The maximum amount a family of four can receive in food stamps is $668 a month. They can only be used to buy food -- though not hot food -- and for plants and seeds to grow food.
Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all made efforts to raise awareness about the program and remove the stigma associated with it.
In 2004, paper coupons were replaced with cards similar to debit cards onto which benefits can be loaded. In 2008 they were renamed Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits though most people still call them food stamps.
Despite the bipartisan support for the program in the past, some of the recent political rhetoric has food stamp advocates worried.
Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich last year derided Democrats as "the party of food stamps". And Republican leaders in the House of Representatives propose changing the program so that the funding is through a "block grant" to the states, rather than allowing it to grow automatically when needed due to an emergency, such as a natural disaster or economic crisis.
In some parts of the country, shoppers using food stamps have almost become the norm. In May 2011, a third of all people in Alabama were on food stamps -- though part of that was because of emergency assistance after communities were destroyed by a series of destructive tornadoes. Washington D.C., Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon and Tennessee all had about a fifth of their population on food stamps that month.
"Food stamps have traditionally been insulated from politics," said Parke Wilde, professor of U.S. food policy at Tufts University. "But as you look over the current fiscally conservative proposals, the question is, has something fundamentally changed?"
Over the past 20 years, the characteristics of the program's recipients have changed. In 1989, a higher percentage were on benefits than working, but as of 2009 a higher percentage had earned income.
"SNAP is increasingly work support," said Ed Bolen, an analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
And that's only likely to get worse: So far in the recovery, jobs growth has been concentrated in lower-wage occupations, with minimal growth in middle-income wages as many higher-paid blue collar jobs have disappeared.
And 6 percent of the 72.9 million Americans paid by the hour received wages at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour in 2010. That's up from 4.9 percent in 2009, and 3 percent in 2002, according to government data.
Bolen said just based on income, minimum wage single parents are almost always eligible for food stamps.
"This becomes an implicit subsidy for low-wage jobs and in terms of incentives for higher wage job creation that really is not a good thing," said Arindrajit Dube, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, whose research shows raising the minimum wage would spur economic activity.
Until a couple of weeks ago Tashawna Green, 21, from Queens Village, New York, worked 25 hours a week at an $8.08 hourly rate at retailer Target. She is on food stamps, and says a good number of her former colleagues are too.
"It's a good thing that the government helps, but if employers paid enough and gave enough hours, then we wouldn't need to be on food stamps," said Green, who has a six-year-old daughter.
Of course, with an unemployment rate over 9 percent, some argue that those with any job at all are lucky.
Millions of Americans whose unemployment benefits have expired have to exist only on food stamps and other government aid, such as Medicaid healthcare support. [nN1E7660K4]
And even with unemployment benefits, said Jessica King, 25, from Portland, Oregon, her family juggles bills to ensure the electricity stays on. They are also selling some belongings on Craigslist to raise funds.
King's husband Stephen, 30, an electronics assembly worker, lost his job two months ago when she was seven months pregnant with their second child. It was the third time he has been laid off since 2008.
She said she was reluctant, initially, to go on food stamps.
"I felt the way our national debt was going I didn't want to be part of the problem," said King, who used to work as a cook at a faith-based non-profit organization.
"But I didn't know what else to do and I got to a point where I swallowed my pride and decided to do what was best for my daughter."

Nawaz’s nephew to spearhead the next generation of politicians.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif is backing his nephew Hamza Shahbaz to become the president of party’s Punjab chapter in a move that would ‘formally introduce’ the family’s next generation in national politics.
Hamza, who is one of the two sons of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, is currently a Member National Assembly (MNA) and the only youth member of the Sharif family active in politics. His younger brother Salman Shahbaz runs a business in Lahore while Nawaz Sharif’s sons too are uninterested in politics.
“Mian sahib (Nawaz) wants to groom him as the party’s future leader…He thinks Hamza can be his successor in the long run,” said a senior party leader.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was scheduled to hold intra-party elections of its provincial chapters during Ramazan but deferred the exercise to overcome internal differences.
Interestingly, Hamza’s father Shahbaz Sharif is also interested in becoming president of the party’s Punjab chapter but Nawaz is opposed to the idea. Most PML-N leaders cite ‘injecting new blood’ in the party as the sole reason for elder Sharif’s plan to prefer Hamza over his father but some have a different opinion.
They say Nawaz might be preempting what could be the rise of his younger brother as a leader who can ultimately replace him as party chief. There have been reports recently that the military is ready to back the PML-N if somebody other than Nawaz leads it.
Shahbaz has been holding ‘overt and covert’ meetings with military chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in recent months but it is not known whether Nawaz is in favour of such interactions. The Punjab chief minister has even called for the army’s intervention in restoring peace in Karachi. His party, however, opposed the idea the next day, saying sending army to Karachi would be harmful both for the country and the military.
A PML-N spokesperson told The Express Tribune on Monday that elections for the party’s provincial chapters will now be held in September.
Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan, party’s newly elected information secretary, said several names and options are under consideration for the positions of party’s provincial heads. He however denied that there are any differences in party ranks.
Published in The Express Tribune

ANP renews demand for military action

Awami National Party (ANP) again called for army deployment and demanded indiscriminate action against terrorists in Karachi, where a renewed spate of violence left over 90 people killed in few days .

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Amir Haider Hoti said that new law will be introduced soon to revive the commissioner system in the province.

Interacting with reporters during a weekly cleaning drive in Peshawar, senior KP minister Bashir Bilour said that efforts were being made to weaken Pakistan by creating unrest in Karachi. The government, he said, should not make it an issue of ego and deploy army in Karachi at the earliest. Separately, speaking to newsmen outside the Parliament House, ANP leader Afrasiab Khatak said there was no clear policy of rangers in Karachi. He said that action should be taken against criminal groups after deweaponising the city

Libyan conundrum

The six-month long uprising in Libya seems to be concluding in the favour of the rebels who fought against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule under the umbrella of NATO air power. Major parts of Tripoli, Libya’s capital city, are now under the control of the rebels. Two sons of Gaddafi are under arrest while Gaddafi’s whereabouts are unknown so far. The western leaders and the US are calling for Gaddafi to quit.

It looks like the long chapter of Gaddafi’s rule has finally come to an end and there are rumours that he has fled to Algeria or might be planning to go south where his tribe lives. Nevertheless, it is clear that

Gaddafi’s days in power are now numbered and maybe in this world too. There are lots of speculations in the international media about the future of Libya. Who is going to rule the oil and gas-rich country after Gaddafi? This might be the beginning of a new round of conflict. Amongst the opposition forces there is the National Liberation Army in eastern Libya under the National Transitional Council (NTC) based in Benghazi, which is trying to break through towns still controlled by Gaddafi’s supporters on the route to the capital Tripoli. The NTC and its army have been labelled western-sponsored. There is also the ‘western’ army advancing on and entering Tripoli from the west, south and the sea. These two forces could be potential rivals in a faction-ridden opposition when it comes to power in a post-Gaddafi Libya.

In case a civil war breaks out in post-Gaddafi Libya, the whole enterprise will come under question. The supporters and participants of NATO action in Libya will have to bear their share of responsibility for the following chaos. The stakes of Britain and France are huge in Libya while the US has less to lose as it has maintained a low posture throughout the rebellion and NATO operation in the country. Although British Prime Minister David Cameron has put forward the name of Mustafa Abdul Jalil as the chairman of the new Libyan Authority, the situation is uncertain and it remains to be seen who will emerge on top. The situation in Libya is highly fluid and unstable. There might be a political backlash against the Western interventionists once the dust settles, as happened in Iraq.

The United Nations Security Council resolution that led to an intervention in Libya needs reassessment. According to the critics of the west and the US, the so-called ‘humanitarian’ intervention in Libyan internal affairs looks disconcertingly like an old style imperialist intervention. The solution to the crisis in Libya could have been a political settlement, as the South African proposal envisaged, but the military option was preferred by the opposition and their Western backers. The stakes in Libya are very high. It is one of the few self-sufficient countries in Africa and its oil reserves are proven to be the tenth largest in the world. Gaddafi has been a thorn in the eye of the imperialists throughout his long rule. The uprising in Libya may have been inspired by the Arab Spring, which has overturned governments in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt. However, the way it was supported from outside has disregarded the country’s sovereignty, which is controversial in international law. After Libya, who knows whether similar attacks are not in the offing on Syria and Iran. That points to new troubles in the world

Journalist shot, injured in Peshawar

A senior journalist working for a Pushto-language news channel was shot and wounded in Peshawar on Monday. His condition, however, is said to be out of danger, eyewitnesses said.

“Three armed people on motorcycles and others in a car attacked us and shot at Hazrat Khan Mohmand,” Nisar Khan, a journalist who was accompanying the senior reporter, told reporters outside the emergency ward of the Lady Reading Hospital where Mohmand was brought for treatment. The attack took place right under the nose of police and near the heavily guarded building of the Peshawar High Court. The area is regarded as a “high security zone” as key sensitive government offices are located on the road. “The men on the motorcycle intercepted us and two of them opened fire at the reporter. They also threw bricks at him further injuring him,” Khan said. Mohmand was lucky to escape enough, as no bullet hit him, however, he received head injuries after the attackers hit him in the head with bricks, Khan said.

Scientists find lager beer's missing link — in Patagonia


German lager yeast appears to have originated on beech trees in southern Argentina. But how did it get to Europe 600 years ago?

How did lager beer come to be? After pondering the question for decades, scientists have found that an elusive species of yeast isolated in the forests of Argentina was key to the invention of the crisp-tasting German beer 600 years ago.

It took a five-year search around the world before a scientific team discovered, identified and named the organism, a species of wild yeast called Saccharomyces eubayanus that lives on beech trees.

"We knew it had to be out there somewhere," said Chris Todd Hittinger, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a coauthor of the report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

Their best bet is that centuries ago, S. eubayanus somehow found its way to Europe and hybridized with the domestic yeast used to brew ale, creating an organism that can ferment at the lower temperatures used to make lager.

Geneticists have known since the 1980s that the yeast brewers use to make lager, S. pastorianus, was a hybrid of two yeast species: S. cerevisiae — used to make ales, wine and bread — and some other, unidentified organism.

Searching through collections of wild yeasts from Europe, researchers — including Hittinger and his collaborators — tried to identify lager's missing link but again and again were stumped. "There were a few candidates, but none fit particularly well," Hittinger said.

So he and his colleagues began "sampling more systematically," collecting soil and bark, sap and abnormal growths called galls from trees on five continents.

Team member Diego Libkind of the Institute for Biodiversity and Environment Research in Bariloche, Argentina, found S. eubayanus in galls on southern beech trees in Patagonia. The galls were particularly rich in sugar, which yeast like to colonize and consume.

Patagonian natives used to make a fermented beverage from the galls — a definite clue that the scientists were on the right track, Hittinger said.

When the team brought the yeast to a lab at the University of Colorado and analyzed its genome, they discovered that it was 99.5% identical to the non-ale portion of the S. pastorianus genome, suggesting it was indeed lager yeast's long-lost ancestor.

"The DNA evidence is strong," said Gavin Sherlock, a geneticist at Stanford University who has studied lager yeast but was not involved in this study.

But Sherlock wondered how S. eubayanus could have traveled the nearly 8,000 miles from Argentina to Germany.

"We all know that in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue," he said. "Lager was invented in the 1400s. It's not really clear how that progenitor would have gotten from South America to Europe."

Scientists may yet find colonies of the yeast in Europe, he said. Another possibility is that lager yeast originated a bit later than previously thought, added Barbara Dunn, a senior research scientist who works in Sherlock's lab.

"It certainly could have existed somewhere else," Hittinger acknowledged. "Just because somebody hasn't found it doesn't mean it doesn't exist."

The beech forests where the team found S. eubayanus are cool, with an average year-round temperature of 43 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit, Hittinger said.

Genes that permit the yeast to thrive in such a chilly environment probably provided S. pastorianus' ability to ferment at relatively low temperatures — conditions not too terribly different from those prevalent in the Bavarian cellars where monks created the golden brew in the 15th century, Hittinger said.

The researchers compared the DNA of the wild Patagonian yeast with that of lager yeast used in breweries to see what changes had evolved over the years. They found changes in genes that regulate sugar and sulfite metabolism, processes that contribute to the fermentation and preservation of beer.

Scientists could exploit such knowledge to improve biofuels, Hittinger said.

And, of course, tinkering with yeast genes might make wine or beer taste better too, said Hittinger, who is "a lager man" himself. Coauthor Mark Johnston, a molecular biologist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, prefers ales.

"Even though we both stand by our original preferences, we both have a new appreciation for where lager came from and the complexity of the processes that made it what it is today," Hittinger said.

Gadhafi son reappears in Tripoli, claims father is safe

Two of Moammar Gadhafi's sons, who had been reported captured over the weekend, were free early Tuesday as forces loyal to the embattled Libyan leader battled rebels trying to consolidate their hold on Tripoli.
Saif al-Islam Gadhafi showed up at the Rixos Hotel, one of the remaining strongholds of pro-Gadhafi forces, in a convoy of armored Land Cruisers. In a brief interview with CNN's Matthew Chance, he said his father and several of his sisters were safe in Tripoli, and that loyal troops had "broken the back" of the rebels who moved into the capital over the weekend.
Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who is wanted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, had been reported captured on Sunday along with two of his brothers. Another of those siblings, Mohammed Gadhafi, was reported to have escaped Monday, according to the Libyan ambassador to the United States.
There was no immediate explanation from the National Transitional Council, the rebel leadership that had announced their capture Sunday.
The younger Gadhafi said news of his arrest had been a trick by the rebels, and that he had been traveling around Tripoli in his armored convoy the entire time. He said that government forces had lured the rebels into a trap in the capital, and that Gadhafi loyalists "have broken the spines of those rats and those gangsters."
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC's chief prosecutor, had said Sunday that he would seek Saif al-Islam Gadhafi's extradition following his capture. Asked about the warrant for his arrest, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi told reporters, "To hell with the ICC."
The rebels had most of Tripoli under their control late Monday, but pitched battles continued at various points around the city and Moammar Gadhafi's whereabouts remained unknown. Gun battles in the area around the longtime Libyan strongman's former Bab al-Aziziya compound echoed until after nightfall Monday.
"The real moment of victory is when Gadhafi is captured," NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil told reporters in Benghazi.
Gadhafi has held power in Libya since a September 1969 coup. The rebellion against him began in February and has been aided by NATO airstrikes that began in March, under a U.N. mandate to protect civilians.
The revolt gained momentum rapidly in the past two weeks, with rebel forces launching their push on Tripoli over the weekend. In a statement to reporters from his vacation on the Massachusetts resort island of Martha's Vineyard, U.S. President Barack Obama said that while situation remained fluid, it was clear that "Gadhafi's rule is over."
"The pursuit of human dignity is stronger than any dictator," he said.
On Sunday, Gadhafi took to the airwaves several times urging citizens, including women, to fight the rebels -- whom he called "very small groups of people who are collaborators with the imperialists."
"Get out and lead, lead, lead the people to paradise," he said.
Under Gadhafi, Libyans lived "as slaves," a 23-year-old Tripoli woman, who agreed to be identified only as Noura, told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360." Though Gadhafi is the only Libyan leader she has ever known, his ouster "will be the best thing that ever happened to me," Noura said."I will thank Allah for every moment I will live without him, without his control and without his sons' control as well," she said.If the Gadhafi regime falls, it would follow revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt this year in what is known as the Arab Spring. A spate of other countries in the region -- including Bahrain, Yemen and Syria -- have also seen protests by citizens demanding more freedom and a change in regime. In many cases, these demonstrations have been met with brute force.
But pro-Gadhafi forces were still fighting into the early hours of Tuesday. Tracer fire, anti-aircraft guns and artillery could be seen and heard around Zawiya, about 30 miles west of the capital, which was a strategic steppingstone for the rebel advance into Tripoli over the weekend. NATO warplanes flew overhead at times, and ambulances raced through the town after the fighting erupted.Gadhafi's forces also fired at least three missiles at the rebel-held city of Misrata, east of Tripoli, on Monday evening, the NATO alliance reported. NATO said it had no reports of damage or injuries, but called the launches a "direct threat to innocent people."Although the surface-to-surface missiles in Gadhafi's arsenal are highly inaccurate, and are not designed to hit a specific target, they are a weapon of terror," NATO said. "Their use against an urban or industrial area is utterly irresponsible."
At least one missile was a Soviet-era Scud, launched from near Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, said a U.S. military official who spoke on condition of anonymity Monday evening. NATO forces destroyed another of the missiles on the ground over the weekend, and another of the short- to medium-range missiles was fired at rebel forces last week but exploded harmlessly in the desert, a senior NATO official said.
U.S. and NATO officials said they were concerned forces loyal to Gadhafi might stage a last-ditch attack against civilians. Senior levels of NATO were watching closely for any sign of a massing of Libyan government forces or the movement of weapons such as rockets or artillery, said a senior allied official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of sensitive intelligence matters.
Former U.S. diplomat Nicholas Burns told CNN that it was "imperative" that Gadhafi be found quickly and the fighting brought to an end.
"The danger here is that this insurgency could continue, the fighting could continue, as long as Gadhafi believes he's still in power," Burns said.
The rebels on Monday also arrested Hala Misrati, an anchor from Libya's state-run television. Misrati had brandished a gun on air over the weekend and said that staffers at the television station were prepared to become martyrs.
"With this weapon, I either kill or die today," she said Sunday.
Rebels said they found her in her car near a coffee shop Monday, and pandemonium ensued when word got out that Misrati had been arrested. Witnesses said Misrati was unharmed but would not be speaking to reporters. A cordon of soldiers quickly formed to isolate her from media representatives, other rebels and gawkers.