Armstrong tell-all light on details

Reactions: Oprah interview as it happenedMovie bio already in the worksYes, yes, yes, Oprah gets her payday
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LANCE ARMSTRONG says he “deserves” to compete again and will fight his lifetime ban from sport, saying that he’s received the “death penalty” while other cheats have got off lightly.

Breaking down in the second part of a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, the self-confessed liar, bully and narcissist accepted he should be punished for doping throughout his seven Tour de France victories, but not as harshly as he has been. The US Anti-Doping Agency stripped Armstrong of his titles and banned the one-time hero from sanctioned sporting events for life in October.

In what was billed as a tell-all confessional, Armstrong did not give information about who supported his doping, who he doped with, and who helped cover it up.

After the first part of the interview, televised on Friday, the boss of cycling’s besieged world governing body, Pat McQuaid, trumpeted that Armstrong had proved there was “no collusion or conspiracy” between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the American cyclist. Mr McQuaid based that statement on Armstrong’s emphatic denial that he donated six-figure sums to the UCI to cover up positive doping tests.

Armstrong lamented he is banned from entering sporting events such as the Chicago marathon. “I got a death penalty and they got six months,” he said, comparing himself with riders who had given evidence about him to USADA and incurred a lighter sanction in return.

Armstrong went on to say that nothing was as bad as receiving a cancer diagnosis.

Anti-doping and sports officials have been scathing about the lack of detail he has shared.

International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound is suspicious about Armstrong’s motives. “If he’s going to sell the fact that he’s contrite . . . he’s going to have to do some more rehearsals,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Live: Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix

No one could have predicted that scoreline. Finally, the eastern(ish) half of Sydney has cause to celebrate their football team this season. Next up, Sydney FC travel to AAMI Park to play Melbourne Victory. That will certainly test the Sky Blues’ new-found confidence. Can’t wait.
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Full-time: Del Piero on the sideline: “Really happy but 7-1 is like 1-0. It’s three points and we concentrate on the next one.” On Griffiths, he says: “Nice, he play very good… we are very happy with him on our team.”

Joel steps up to return the favour. On the vibe among his teammates, he says: “It’s definitely up there. Confidence is high. It helps when Del Piero is on song. For myself especially … he’s a genius.” More generally, he adds: “We worked well off the ball and I think it showed …  Felt like a first day at school for me today. Probably could have got more minutes to be honest.”

93rd minute: Ifill puts the ball into the stands, Alex Smith tries to curl one in. Both to no avail as time winds down on a humiliating defeat.

89th minute: There’s no mercy rule in this game unfortunately for Wellington. Brockie, though, plays in Ifill, whose shot, from an awkward angle, somehow hits the underside of the bar. Brockie gets the second (or third) ball but can’t shoot past Janjetovic. The keeper has had a lot to do tonight despite the scoreline.

88th minute: Durante seizes on a loose ball but thumps it straight at Janjetovic. Emerton doesn’t do much better at the other end, shooting from an acute angle and finding the side netting.

84th minute: YAU GOAL! From broken play, Yau plays a one-two through a deserted Phoenix defence. It’s all too easy, and his right-foot stunner mocks poor Paston in goal. That smacked of capitulation by Phoenix.

83nd minute: The sting has gone out of the game somewhat, until Del Piero’s number is called. He’s being replaced by Powell. Standing ovation. He acknowledges the crowd.

79th minute: The words “carnage” and “entrails” are being used in the commentary box to describe the damage wrought on the sorry Phoenix. But what word for this… ? Sigmund GOAL! Ifill crossed from the right and Sigmund had no marker to contend with. We’ll use the words “desperate consolation”. Doesn’t quite have the same sense of dismemberment, however.

75th minute: Correction. It was poor Durante bamboozled by the dancing feet of The Artist known as ADP. Ifill has a crack at a volley from a speculative ball and it swerves violently wide. Looked an act of frustration but more likely he feels, what the hell?

He cuts inside then jinks back behind the defender, in this case Bertos, on the fringes of the box. Del Piero just takes his time with way too much space and class. Another perfect curling shot gives Paston no chance. Finally, the resilient Del Piero fans in Turin have something to cheer at some ungodly hour.

70th minute: FOUR GOALS DEL PIERO!!!!!!

65th minute: Griffiths gets a good reception when he’s brought off for Yau. Silence for Huysegems when he makes way for the talismanic Ifill. Lochhead’s cross is headed into the arms of Janjetovic by Brockie as he falls away across the goal line.

60th minute: Sanchez goes for a jinking run but his final shot is off target. Boyd makes amends somewhat by forcing a foul when cutting back inside the Sydney defence. The two subsequent corners come to nought. Del Piero this time gets the ball through but Culina is ruled offside.

 59th minute: Bertos delivers a great cross from the right, and the ball breaks for Tyler inside the box. The youngster needs to pull the trigger but hesitates while looking to shoot off his less dominant foot.

55th minute: Identical situation for Del Piero. Plenty of space coming out of defence and his pass is just intercepted. One of these might bisect the defence yet. The Italian grasps his head. McLenahan on for Calvano.

52nd minute: Fabio on the break, in an advancing three-on-three situation. He blasts the ball on the angle but Paston gets a right hand to the ball. Parried away. Del Piero was unmarked on the inside. Missed chance for 6-0.

51st minute: Del Piero again with swathes of space out of defence and into midfield. He threads the needle and Durante only just gets a boot to the pass that would have found Griffiths with just the keeper to beat.

46th minute: Brockie fouls Fabio just after the restart.  Sigmund brings down Del Piero from behind to earn a yellow card. The Italian is sprawled out on the pitch. Herbert may have given them the word in the sheds: get serious, get physical. Glancing header from Griffiths a shade off target from a Culina free kick. It followed good build-up work from Sydney with Culina ever-present.

Half-time: Don’t know about the players, but I need a breather. Most uncharacteristic, Sydney. Most uncharacteristic. Five goals in a half? Tell ’em they’re dreamin’. Back soon.

46th minute: Two minutes of added time. Del Piero hasn’t been allowed this much space in a while and he looks likely every time he’s on the ball. The early goals opened up a game that was already likely to be a bit fast and loose.

44rd minute: Whoever prayed to Jude, the patron saint of hopless causes, has obviously been listening. At this rate, with Sydney’s goal difference narrowing very quickly, they could be in the top six by 7.30 tonight. Bertos delivers a free kick from the right but Janjetovic tips it away.

40th minute: I had to double check the scoreboard. Five-nil? Wake me up. Meantime Grant has a bash to bring the stats closer to parity. It’s now 13-8 in terms of shots on goal. The surprise? Phoenix are leading on that count.

39th minute: HAT-TRICK DEL PIERO! Pandemonium!! Calmly cut back in from the left, curling right-foot shot gives Paston no chance. Bertos was mesmerised.

34th minute: Frankie’s animated on the sideline but he must be pleased. Sydney, on the break via Griffiths, surge forward. Grant plays a one-two in the box his cross is saved and play moves rapidly down the other end where Boyd has another shot on goal. Again Janjetovic saves well.

30th minute: They’re shell-shocked. No one in their right mind could have forseen this. On their knees. And that’s just the Sydney FC fans giving thanks to whatever diety inspired this madness. Huysegems butchers another chance, heading tamely into the side netting. Sanchez launches a bomb, saved by Janjetovic, and then Brockie directs a his curling header straight at the keeper. Wellington have had plenty of shots on goal but they’re lacking the kind of grace attending the locals tonight. Now Boyd puts one wide.

26th minute: IMPOSSIBLE. It’s 4-0! Culina right-foot volley from the corner of the box. Sydney fans are delirious. Including last week’s late brace, Sydney have now scored 6 goals in 35 minutes.

23rd minute: GOAL! Del Piero. Penalty. Wild scenes here at SFS. Very lucky penalty to be given after Culina was clattered into in the box by Durante. They both appeared, at first glance, equally culpable.  But The Cove don’t care! First time this season they’re scored three in a game. And in 23 minutes no less. Joel Giffiths has had a bit of an impact.

The maestro toyed with the Wellington defenders in the box, turning this way and then that, before launching the perfect strike goal bound.

21st minute: GOAL! Del Piero. Here we go. Here we go.

19th minute: It’s end to end action. Ryall puts the ball into the net off a neat turn in the box but it’s a hand ball. Earlier, Fabio blazed over the bar with space to burn on the left.

16th minute: Del Piero is fouled but off the restart floats a wonderful ball to Emerton on the right. Emo finds Griffiths timing his run into the box to perfection but the header goes awry. Moments later, Huysegems volleys into the side netting at the other end.

14th minute: Rhyan Grant does well to block Jermey Brockie, who had got in behind the Sydney defence. Replays show Griffiths’ reaction to his goal: he jumped the hoardings but otherwise restrained himself. One goal a good return for under 10 minutes work in the sky blue.

12th minute: Janjetovic makes a simple save from a weak header.

Del Piero through ball released Griffiths, who beat the offside trap this time and got the faintest of touches to the ball. That touch was enough to beat the advancing Phoenix keeper Paston.

11th minute: GOAL to Griffiths on debut!

9th minute: Finally Griffiths gets a run on and Abbas puts him in the clear down the left again. Offside. Joel gives a rueful shake of the head. Strikers always thing they’re onside.

7th minute: Griffifths gets a first touch and it goes straight over the sideline. Ignominious beginning. Emerton then releases Fabio on the left and he’s brought down unceremoniously by young Tyler Boyd.

4th minute: Wellington dominating the early possession with Leo Bertos prominent. Stein Huysegems is put through on goal for a one on one with Janjetovic but he fluffs his shot. Weak effort.

Terry McFlynn with the armband. Tiago Calvano and Joel Griffiths come straight into the Sydney FC line-up.

Joel Griffiths hasn’t watched Sydney FC’s last two matches. He says he prefers not to muddy his “canvas” with preconceptions about how his new side plays. After all, the 33-year-old is onto his 10th professional club. He knows to play the ball to Del Piero’s feet and into space for Emerton. Given the Sky Blues’ disjointed recent displays, it’s probably a good approach as he makes his debut.

The Phoenix have been similarly discombobulated, thrown into a state of confusion by an owner dictating the game plan before hearing it from the coach. The all-new, all-attacking Phoenix is a work in progress. It’s the perfect time for Sydney to play the Wellingtonians. At stake is who sits where on the bottom three rungs of the ladder.

Join me for the live blog from 5.20. Kick-off is at 5.30pm.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Intel’s weak outlook unnerves investors

Intel Corp forecast quarterly revenue that disappointed Wall Street and a sharp increase in capital spending it plans for 2013 unnerved investors already concerned about slow demand for personal computers.
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Shares of the world’s leading chipmaker slid more than 5 per cent in after-hours trade on Thursday after it projected this year’s capital spending at $US13 billion, plus or minus $US500 million, exceeding many analysts’ estimates for about $US10 billion.

Intel said $US2 billion of its increased expenditures would go toward expanding a facility for researching future manufacturing technology. Some analysts worried that with PC sales already slow, expanding too quickly may create excess capacity that could hurt the bottom line.

“People are starting to freak out about the capex,” said Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon. “The concern is that if I spend a lot of money and I build up my factories, I don’t have enough demand to fill them. They have very high fixed costs, and it pulls your margins down.”

Outgoing chief executive Paul Otellini, who plans to retire in May after a successor is identified, said the investment in manufacturing would lower costs in the long run.

“The leading edge capacity is the lowest cost for us on a per unit basis,” Otellini told analysts on a conference call. “Regardless of what you think the size of the market is, the leading edge fabs are the single greatest asset that we have.”

Otellini said the higher capex is not intended to bankroll a foundry or contract chipmaking business, but he did not rule out manufacturing semiconductors for other chip companies as long as that did not empower a rival.

Intel has agreed to manufacture custom chips on behalf of networking equipment company Cisco Systems Inc, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. An Intel spokesman declined to comment.

In the fourth quarter, Intel’s revenue was $US13.5 billion, compared with $US13.9 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected $US13.53 billion.

It estimated first-quarter revenue of $US12.7 billion, plus or minus $US500 million. Analysts expected $US12.91 billion.

Intel is used to being king of the personal computer market, particularly through its historic Wintel alliance with Microsoft Corp, which has led to breathtakingly high profit margins and an 80 per cent market share.

But it has struggled to adapt its technology for smartphones and tablets, a market dominated by Qualcomm Inc, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Nvidia Corp.

PC makers are struggling to stop a decline in sales as consumers hold off on buying new laptops in favor of more nimble mobile gadgets.

Microsoft’s long-awaited launch of Windows 8 in October brought touchscreen features to laptops but failed to spark a resurgence in sales that Intel and many PC manufacturers had hoped for.

Intel’s hefty investment plans reflect its confidence in the future, even as Wall Street worries about the chipmaker’s struggle to gain traction in the mobile market.

“Our core advantage really is our manufacturing leadership,” chief financial officer Stacy Smith told Reuters. “450 will give us a significant cost advantage relative to others.”

Intel is expanding its research fab in Hillsboro, Oregon, to develop technology for manufacturing chips on 450 mm silicon wafers, a complicated step up from the current 300 mm wafer standard.

Larger wafers can translate into big savings because more chips can be etched onto each of them. But building 450 mm plants is expected to be so expensive that only a few industry leaders, including Intel, Samsung Electronics and TSMC, are expected to have the necessary scale.

Some Wall Street analysts gave Intel high marks for expected operating efficiency this year.

“The revenue isn’t going to be there, but the margin and expense control is going to stabilise the bottom line,” said Cody Acree, an analyst at Williams Financial. “I think it’s probably a success if you can be flat in an industry that most people expect to be flat to down.”

Intel foresees first-quarter gross margins of 58 per cent, plus or minus two percentage points. Analysts on average expected gross margins of about 56 per cent for the current quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

It estimated a 2013 gross margin of 60 per cent, plus or minus a few percentage points. Analysts on average had expected 59 per cent.

Net earnings in the December quarter were $US2.5 billion, or 48 cents a share, compared with $US3.4 billion, or 64 cents a share, year-ago period.

Analysts had expected 45 cents, and said the surprisingly strong performance was partly due to a lower effective tax rate of 23 percent. This was below Intel’s forecast of about 27 per cent.

Still, shares of Intel fell 5.6 per cent in after-hours trade to $US21.43, after closing up 2.58 per cent at $US22.68 on the Nasdaq.

“This is a company that is continuing to spend money to participate in the market. That may concern some investors,” said Doug Freedman, an analyst at RBC Capital.


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Armstrong wants to compete again

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Shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong, shorn of cycling’s greatest prizes and expelled from sport, wants to compete again and doesn’t believe he deserved the ‘‘death penalty’’ of a life ban.

‘‘Hell yes, I’m a competitor,’’ Armstrong told talk show host Oprah Winfrey when asked in the second installment of their televised interview on Fridayif he wanted to compete again.

‘‘It’s what I’ve done my whole life. I love to train. I love to race. I love to toe the line,’’ Armstrong said.

‘‘Not the Tour de France, but there’s a lot of other things I could do.

‘‘I made my bed,’’ he said. ‘‘But if there was ever a window, would I like to run the Chicago Marathon when I’m 50? I would love to do that.’’

In the opening segment of the interview shown on Thursday, Armstrong confessed that his record seven Tour de France titles were fuelled by drugs, confirming much of the US Anti-Doping Agency’s findings about his use of blood-boosting EPO, blood doping, cortisone, testosterone and human growth hormone.

Despite that, Armstrong said he believed he should have a chance to return to competition.

‘‘I don’t expect it to happen,’’ he acknowledged.

‘‘Frankly, this may not be the most popular answer, but I think I deserve it,’’ he said, telling Winfrey that former teammates who implicated themselves in testifying against him received lesser punishments.

‘‘I deserve to be punished,’’ Armstrong said. ‘‘I’m not sure that I deserve a death penalty.’’

Thursday’s first installment of the interview was a ratings winner for Winfrey, with its estimated 3.2 million viewers in the United States making it the second-most-watched show ever on her fledgling OWN network.

However, it left many still sceptical of Armstrong’s motives and methods, doubtful that he felt real remorse.

Genuine emotion seeped through on Friday. Armstrong struggled to keep his composure as he described telling his 13-year-old son Luke: ‘‘Don’t defend me anymore’’ when his transgressions caught up with him last year.

‘‘When this all really started, I saw my son defending me and saying, ‘That’s not true. What you’re saying about my dad is not true.’

‘‘That’s when I knew I had to tell him,’’ Armstrong said. ‘‘And he’d never asked me. He’d never said, ’Dad, is this true?’ He trusted me.’’

Armstrong recalled the days in October, after USADA released the report documenting its case against him, that led to his stepping down as chairman of the Livestrong cancer charity he founded and then leaving the board entirely.

‘‘I wouldn’t at all say forced out,’’ Armstrong said.

‘‘I was aware of the pressure.

‘‘It was the best thing for the organisation but it hurt like hell… That was the lowest.’’

He discussed the financial fallout, in particular the stampede of sponsors away from him with sportswear giant Nike in the lead.

‘‘And you could look at the day or those two days or the day and a half where people left. You asked me the cost,’’ he said.

‘‘That was a $75 million day.’’

Armstrong, who told Winfrey he’s in therapy, said he doesn’t know how his story will turn out – perhaps one of the most painful admissions for a man so determined to stay in control.

‘‘I do not know the outcome here,’’ he said. ‘‘And I’m getting comfortable with that.’’


Lance Armstrong during the Oprah Winfrey interview.

Cool change eases bushfire crisis

Cooler and calmer weather has helped NSW firefighters strengthen containment lines around troublesome bush and grassfires, enabling warnings to be downgraded across the state.
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At midday today 142 fires were still burning, 29 of them uncontained. But the Rural Fire Service (RFS) said the weather change from the searing temperatures and strong winds of yesterday is in firefighters’ favour, enabling all alerts to be wound back to just advice level by midday today.

This morning there were five watch and act alerts in place, including for the Warrumbungle fire near Coonabarabran in the north, where 51 homes have been destroyed and 54,000 hectares burnt through.

Two homes were lost yesterday in the Millingandi fire in the Bega Valley in the state’s south.

RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers told reporters today the priorities now were to take advantage of the milder weather to reduce the number of fires and find and promptly tackle any new fires.

Today more than 1000 firefighters were battling blazes and reconnaissance flights were checking for new fires sparked by a lightning band that crossed the state yesterday.

An RFS spokesman said just before midday today that no homes were under threat but the Warrumbungle fire could threaten properties if the weather turned unfavourable again.

He said conditions were expected to ease further over coming days with firefighters taking advantage to consolidate and construct containment lines, while hoping for rain.

‘‘It’s pretty much all hands on deck and take advantage of some good weather while we’ve got it.’’

Other fires of concern being targeted were a grassfire near Boorowa in the state’s west, a bushfire at Aberdare near Cessnock in the Hunter Valley and the Deans Gap fire in the Shoalhaven.

Just north of Sydney, about 50 firefighters were battling a blaze in the Ku-ring-Gai Chase National Park which has burnt more than 200 hectares and closed access roads.

The fire was not threatening properties but campers at The Basin camping ground were taken out by ferry and smoke from the blaze was impacting Terrey Hills, the northern beaches and the north shore.


Aerial water bombing at a bushfire at Aberdare, near Cessnock, yesterday. Picture: Peter Stoop