10 January 2017

FIFA to expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2026

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, poses for a photo on the green carpet while arriving for the The Best FIFA Football Awards 2016 ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017.
FIFA will expand the World Cup to 48 teams, adding 16 extra nations to the 2026 tournament that is likely to be held in North America.
President Gianni Infantino's favored plan — for 16 three-team groups with the top two advancing to a round of 32 — was unanimously approved Tuesday by the FIFA Council.
It meets Infantino's election pledge of a bigger and more inclusive World Cup going beyond European and South American teams, which have won all 20 titles.

Iranians mourn as former leader Rafsanjani interred

Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who died Sunday after suffering a heart attack, flashes a victory sign to the crowd from a bus during the funeral ceremony for her father in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. Hundreds of thousands of mourners flooded the streets of Tehran on Tuesday, beating their chests and wailing in grief for Rafsanjani, who died over the weekend at the age of 82.
Hundreds of thousands mourned former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Tuesday, wailing in grief as his body was interred at a Tehran shrine alongside the leader of the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Rafsanjani's final resting place near the late Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, reflected his legacy as one of the pillars of Iran's clerical-dominated political system, as he served in later years as a go-between for hard-liners and reformists.

Roman Herzog, Germany's president in the 1990s, dies at 82

In this Nov. 23, 2015 file photo former German President Roman Herzog arrives for the official memorial service for former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in Hamburg, northern Germany.
Roman Herzog, who as president pressed Germany to embrace economic reform in the 1990s and also stressed the importance of remembering the Nazi Holocaust, has died. He was 82.
Current President Joachim Gauck announced Herzog's death on Tuesday, without giving details. In a message to Herzog's widow, he described the former head of state as "a distinctive personality" who "advocated readiness for reform and at the same time stood for preserving the tried and tested."

Militants attack checkpoint in Egypt's Sinai, killing 8

Militants attacked an Egyptian police checkpoint in the northern Sinai Peninsula on Monday using a stolen garbage truck packed with explosives, killing at least eight people and setting off clashes with security forces, officials said.
No one immediately claimed the attack, but it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group's Sinai affiliate, which has carried out scores of attacks on Egyptian troops and police in recent years.

Man arrested in the case of the 'HOLLYWeeD' sign

In this Jan. 1, 2017, file photo, the famed Hollywood sign is seen altered to read "HOLLYWeeD," in Los Angeles. Los Angeles police said in a statement that 30-year-old Zachary Cole Fernandez was arrested Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in connection with the vandalism. Police say Fernandez turned himself in with his attorney and was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing.
Los Angeles police have made a "HOLLYWeeD" bust.

Zachary Cole Fernandez, 30, was arrested Monday, just over a week after a prankster used white tarps to make the "HOLLYWOOD" sign read "HOLLYWeeD," the LAPD said in a statement.
Fernandez turned himself in with his attorney and was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing, police said.

Fans mourn death of California's famous 'drive-thru' sequoia

In this May 2015 photo provided by Michael Brown, John and Lesley Ripper pose in the Pioneer Cabin tunnel tree, a giant, centuries-old sequoia that had a tunnel carved into it in the 1880s, during a visit to Calaveras Big Trees State Park near Arnold, Calif., in the Sierra Nevada. The tree came crashing down on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, as a massive storm system stretching from California into Nevada swept through the area over the weekend. Park volunteer Joan Allday said the tree had been weakening and leaning severely to one side for several years.
Joyce Brown was 12 when her parents first took her to visit the "drive-thru tree," a giant sequoia in California famous for a car-sized hole carved into the base of its trunk.
Brown thought she had entered a land of giants as she walked underneath and around the ancient 100-foot-tall tree, which was toppled by a massive storm on Sunday.

Michael Chamberlain, father of baby killed by dingo, dies

This October 1990, file photo shows Michael Chamberlain, right, and then his wife Lindy when Lindy launched her book on the disappearance of her baby daughter Azaria in 1980. Chamberlain, who waged a long battle to prove his baby daughter was killed by a dingo in Australia's most notorious case of injustice, has died, Chamberlain's ex-wife Lindy confirmed Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. He was 72.
Michael Chamberlain, who waged a decades-long battle to prove his baby daughter was killed by a dingo in Australia's most notorious case of injustice, has died, his former wife said Tuesday. He was 72.
Chamberlain died suddenly, his ex-wife, Lindy Chamberlain, said in a statement. Michael Chamberlain's longtime friend and former lawyer, Stuart Tipple, told Australia's Fairfax Media that Michael died on Monday night as a result of complications from leukemia.

US Navy ship fired warning shots at Iranian boats

A U.S. Navy destroyer fired three warning shots at armed Iranian patrol boats as they sped toward the American warship at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, marring a recent period of relatively quiet interactions between U.S. and Iranian forces, the Pentagon said Monday.
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said a group of four fast-attack boats of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps navy had ignored multiple attempts by the crew of the USS Mahan to warn them away. The Mahan used an audible siren, flashing lights and a ship's whistle to warn the Iranians, and managed to establish radio communication. The initial warnings were not heeded, prompting the decision to fire three warning shots with a .50-caliber machine gun, Davis said.