Miami Heat-Boston Celtics series getting physical

The physical nature of Game 1 between the Heat and Celtics on Sunday nearly got the best of Mario Chalmers.
Moments after a timeout in the second quarter, the Heat’s backup guard found himself in the middle of a scrum in front of the Celtics’ bench. Harsh words were exchanged. Delonte West was given the game’s first technical foul. Before things could escalate, LeBron James rushed over from the Heat’s bench and pulled Chalmers away.
If Game 1 was a primer for things to come, more dust-ups and physical confrontations are in store for a second-round NBA playoff series between two teams built upon a physical style of basketball.
With emotions teetering on a knife’s edge, poor judgment and lapses in concentration can make a significant difference — just ask Celtics forward Paul Pierce.
For the Heat, channeling its energy constructively will be a point of emphasis in Game 2 on Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“We know it’s going to be words said and plays made that might not be basketball plays throughout the course of this series, which we know is going to happen, but we’ve got to understand that we’ve got to continue to play the game and not get caught up in the aftermath of everything,” James said.
James’ quick reactions during that timeout likely saved Chalmers a technical foul or worse. Pierce wasn’t so lucky. He lost his poise twice after two hard fouls by James Jones and Dwyane Wade, received technical fouls for retaliation both times and was ejected from the game.
On Monday, Pierce avoided suspension for Game 2 when the NBA announced no further punishment would be levied for his actions. He pushed his face into Jones’ face on one instance and was kicked out of the game after shouting profanity at Wade.
“It’s the playoffs — both teams are going to be chippy,” Wade said. “They took some hard fouls on us, we took some on them and that’s the nature of it.”
Forward Chris Bosh said he expects things to intensify as the series moves forward, especially when one of the teams is facing elimination.
Bosh scored seven points on Sunday but helped limit his counterpart, Kevin Garnett, to six points on 3-of-9 shooting.
“We don’t expect K.G. to have a game like he had last night but we also don’t expect C.B. to have a game like he had,” James said.
On Monday, a practice day for both teams, the Heat rested its starters and mostly focused on reviewing film of Game 1. Coach Erik Spoelstra said he would like to see less jump shots from his team but conceded that success or failure of the Heat’s midrange game would be an important factor in the series.
“Half-court execution was satisfactory at times but we still need to be more committed to executing our triggers and try to get more opportunities in the paint,” Spoelstra said. “It’s tough against a team like that.”
Wade, who led the Heat with 38 points Sunday, was 5 of 8 from midrange. After reviewing film, he said his open looks at the basket were a byproduct of the Celtics’ defensive focus on James.
Wade expects the Celtics to adjust their approach in Game 2.
The series’ overriding theme, physical basketball, will likely not change, though.
Both teams expected a physical series between Eastern Conference titans.
“We’re physical teams; we’re defensive-minded teams,” Spoelstra said. “We play a similar style of basketball and it’s the playoffs.”
On Monday, Wade made light of questions about the tough tone of Game 1.
It featured 40 fouls, including five individual technicals.
“I haven’t been in the second round in a long time but I’m assuming this is how it is, Wade said. “But maybe I’ve been out of the loop for a little while.”

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Kings Staying Put for Now, But Arena Is Key to Future

Sacramento will hold onto the Kings for one more season, but its chances of keeping them long term rest solely on the city’s ability to approve, finance and build a new arena — a goal the city has failed to meet many times in the last decade.
The Maloof family, which owns a controlling interest in the Kings, announced Monday that it would not apply for relocation, as it had been preparing to do. The Maloofs had negotiated a deal to move the Kings to Anaheim, where they would have shared the Honda Center with the Ducks.

“Out of respect to Kings fans and the regional business community, we have decided to remain in Sacramento for the 2011-12 season,” the family said in a statement.

The Maloofs’ announcement, which was greeted with relief and elation by Kings fans, came with a heavy caveat. If city and regional leaders cannot complete plans for a new arena “in a timely fashion,” then the team will move before the 2012-13 season, with the support of N.B.A. owners. The league’s relocation committee, a subset of other team owners, has signaled it will approve the relocation under those circumstances.

“I would tell you that the Maloofs will have a lot of support for wherever they choose to go,” Commissioner David Stern said in a conference call.

The Maloofs had until Monday to apply for relocation for the 2011-12 season.

Although Los Angeles is already home to the Lakers and the Clippers, Stern indicated that Anaheim — 30 miles away — was a viable home for a third franchise.

The decision to stay is a victory for Kings fans, who rallied support for the team over the last few months, and for Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former N.B.A. guard, who secured $10 million in sponsorships from local businesses to demonstrate the city’s commitment.

Johnson also made what Stern described as “a very good presentation” to N.B.A. owners last month, in which he laid out a plan for increased sponsorships, ticket sales and a regional effort to build a sports and entertainment complex.

The Kings play at Power Balance Pavilion, formerly known as Arco Arena, which was built in 1988. It is one of the league’s oldest buildings and lacks the level of luxury suites and other amenities that an N.B.A. team needs to remain competitive, especially in a small market.

By the team’s count, 11 proposals to build a new arena have failed over the last 11 years. Even as they announced their decision, the Maloofs expressed skepticism that something would get done by the March 1, 2012 deadline.

Stern sounded hopeful about the Kings staying in Sacramento at a new arena. But given the history, he said, “I think it would be fair for many of the people on this call to be skeptical about whether or not there will finally be a successful path.”

PLAYOFF RATINGS ARE UP Television viewership for the playoffs is up nearly a third from last season. First-round games on ABC, ESPN and TNT were watched by an average of 4.15 million people, up from fewer than 3.2 million last year. To this point of the playoffs, TNT has drawn the highest average rating ever for games on cable. ESPN’s first-round ratings were the highest since it began televising the playoffs in 2003, and ABC’s were the best since 2004. (AP)

PLAYER’S WIFE CHARGED Authorities said the estranged wife of Golden State guard Charlie Bell was charged with assaulting him with a box cutter at his home near Flint, Mich. Kenya Bell, Bell’s wife, faces charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence. Bell sustained minor injuries. (AP)
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Libyan rebels deny al-Qaida involvement

BENGHAZI, Libya, May 2 (Xinhua) -- The Libyan opposition denied there is any involvement of al-Qaida terrorists in the Libyan rebel forces.

Commenting on the killing of leader of al-Qaida terrorist network Osama bin Laden, the opposition spokesman Abdelhafld Ghoga said "there is no al-Qaida in our ranks."

Libya has been witnessing nation-wide unrest for two months after the anti-government protests broke up in mid February, which demand the country's leader Muammar Gaddafi to end his 42 years rule.

The ground fighting between insurgents and the Libyan government troops has been in a stalemate for weeks, and the front- line is now between Brega and Ajdabiyah, about 100 km west to Benghazi.

Gaddafi has been accusing the insurgents as al-Qaida terrorists, warning the infiltration of the terrorist group could turn the northern African country as second Afghanistan.

The spokesman called for more intensified airstrikes from NATO to attack the Gaddafi troops which blockade the western city Misrata.

The heavy shelling and artillery bombardment in Misrata has made the humanitarian situation in the city worsening, the media reports said.

Meanwhile, Ghoga did not rule out the possibility of using chemical weapon by Gaddafi forces after the death of Gaddafi's second youngest son Saif al-Arab and his grandsons in NATO's air strike in Tripoli on April 30.
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Watch the 'Thor' premiere here, hosted by Isaiah Mustafa!

hor is bringing the hammer down tonight for the film’s red carpet premiere in Hollywood, and you can watch it live here on EW via, with host Isaiah “Old Spice Guy” Mustafa speaking with stars Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Kat Dennings, Rene Russo, Idris Elba, Clark Gregg, and director Kenneth Branagh, as well as Hemsworth’s brother Liam, and his future costar in The Avengers Jeremy Renner — who also appears in Thor in a quick cameo as Marvel hero Hawkeye.
So what will Mustafa be asking? “I tend to be more of an off-the-cuff type of person,” he tells EW, “rather than scripted questions…. I’m sure they’re going to have all kinds of fun stories for me.” So the famously buff Old Spice spokesman won’t be asking Hemsworth about his fitness regimen for the film? “He’s a big guy,” Mustafa laughs. “I’ve met him before. He has a brother also who’s just as big as he is. I think big dudeness just runs in their family.”
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Why Was Bin Laden Buried At Sea So Quickly?

After spending many years hunting down the world's most wanted man, why did the U.S. bury Osama bin Laden at sea within 24 hours of killing him?
The reason is bound up within Islamic practice and tradition. And that practice calls for the body of the deceased to be buried within 24 hours, according to a U.S. official, who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security matters.
"We are ensuring that it is handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition," confirmed the official. "This is something that we take very seriously. And so therefore this is being handled in an appropriate manner."
But the lingering question is why at sea? The official said that finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, so the decision was made to bury bin Laden at sea. Furthermore, one suspects that the U.S. would not have wanted there to be a physical grave site for fear of it turning into a place of worship for bin Laden's followers. There are rumors, however, that the U.S. asked Saudi Arabia to take the body (bin Laden was born in Saudi) but they allegedly refused.
(More on See pictures of bin Laden)
It's also believed that DNA testing would have been carried out beforehand (though CNN is reporting that DNA matching is under way on samples from the slain terrorist leader) to verify that the body was that of bin Laden, as well as being proof against any conspiracy claims that could emanate to suggest that his death didn't take place. The exact location of the burial was not revealed. (via ABC)

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US forces kill Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan

US President Barack Obama

Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
For over two decades, Bin Laden has been al-Qaeda's leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al-Qaeda.

Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There's no doubt that al-Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must - and we will - remain vigilant at home and abroad.

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not - and never will be - at war with Islam.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Canada receives the news of the death of Osama bin Laden with sober satisfaction. Sadly, others will take his place.

This does remind us why Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been deployed to Afghanistan. Through their operations there to cut off terror at its root, our men and women in uniform have made an enormous contribution to Canadian security at home and abroad.

Former US President George W Bush

This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.

Former US President Bill Clinton

This is a profoundly important moment not just for the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in al-Qaeda's other attacks but for people all over the world who want to build a common future of peace, freedom, and co-operation for our children.

I congratulate the president, the National Security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al-Qaeda attacks.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

After September 11, 2001, we gave our word as Americans that we would stop at nothing to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. After the contribution of millions, including so many who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, we have kept that word.

New Yorkers have waited nearly 10 years for this news. It is my hope that it will bring some closure and comfort to all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.

House Speaker John Boehner

This is great news for the security of the American people and a victory in our continued fight against al-Qaeda and radical extremism around the world.
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Real Madrid & Barcelona protests dismissed by Uefa

Uefa has rejected the complaints lodged by Real Madrid and Barcelona following their ill-tempered Champions League semi-final first leg at the Bernabeu.

Real claimed that their opponents were guilty of "unsportsmanlike behaviour", and Pepe should not have been sent off.

But Uefa ruled there was "no common strategy to provoke" by Barca, and upheld the decision to dismiss Pepe.

Barcelona's complaint about Real boss Jose Mourinho was rejected because he is already under investigation.

Both clubs, however, will face the charges brought against them by European football's governing body.

A Uefa statement read: "FC Barcelona have been referred to the proceedings already brought against Mr Mourinho, which will be heard by the control and disciplinary body on Friday 6 May.

"No new disciplinary proceedings are therefore to be opened against Jose Mourinho on the basis of the complaint lodged by Barcelona."

The row between the two Spanish clubs flared following a fiery encounter which was won 2-0 by visitors Barcelona. The second leg takes places at the Nou Camp on Tuesday.

Both clubs hwere charged charged by the governing body over incidents that occurred during the match.

After the game, which Barca won 2-0, Real coach Jose Mourinho suggested the Catalan club is favourably treated by referees.

Real responded by claiming Barca tried to mislead the referee by play acting, leading to both clubs complaining to Uefa.

The decision to reject their complaints were taken by the vice-chairman of Uefa's disciplinary panel and can be appealed against within three days if the clubs wish to do so.
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Opinion: Bin Laden may be dead, but his ideology lives on

(CNN) -- What role did Pakistan play in the operation against Osama bin Laden?
I would be surprised if Pakistan played a significant role in the operation to apprehend and kill Osama bin Laden, based on the fact that the drone strikes that the U.S. conduct in the tribal areas are done covertly, the authorities in Pakistan are not informed until the very last minute, because of the fear of information leaks.
An operation of this scale in the central urban heartland of Pakistan would mean that information would be kept on a need-to-know basis. Only a few people within the CIA would have known about this operation, it would definitely not have gone out to another country's intelligence agency, especially when there's so little trust with the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani intelligence service].
There has been a deterioration in relations at a strategic level -- the ISI leaked out the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad, and a person working out of the U.S. embassy was detained by the Pakistani authorities, allegedly working for the CIA.
The fact that the U.S. has been conducting drone strikes is an illustration of the fact that there has been little cooperation -- if not none -- with the Pakistani authorities.
We've seen the evolution of relations between Pakistan and America go from 'frenemies' to outright enemies.
Historically, have the U.S. and Pakistan had good ties?
The relationship has always been problematic, flawed, lacking trust. It goes back to during the time of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan: The U.S. and the West turned to Pakistan to provide and assist the Mujahideen in removing the Soviets from Afghanistan.
There was a strategic relationship, but following the Soviets leaving Afghanistan, that relationship went into suspension.
It was only restarted following 9/11: The Bush Administration turned to General Pervez Musharraf, the military ruler of Pakistan, who at that time had become a social pariah.
He was asked to round up the leadership of al Qaeda, of the Taliban, to prevent them from creating an infrastructure inside Pakistan. In return Pakistan would be rewarded with generous aid from the United States and other countries.
Musharraf was very skilled at saying all the right things, but doing virtually nothing, and that scenario continued, from 9/11, right up to the end of Musharraf's tenure as ruler of Pakistan in 2007.
It took a long time but the U.S. finally began to realise that the promises the Pakistanis were making were empty promises: Nothing of real tangible significance was achieved. Information that was being shared ended up being passed on to al Qaeda, and counterterrorism operations were therefore flawed.
The Obama Administration disagreed with the Bush Administration on issues like Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, but the one issue they absolutely built upon was on the drone strikes policy, because if they couldn't deal with al Qaeda on the ground, they would try to tackle them from the skies. Drone strikes were increased substantially under the Obama Administration, because there was this lack of trust.
The perception was that the U.S. would support Pakistan publicly while pressurising them privately. Over time we've seen the public support wane. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Pakistan last year, made it clear that she could not believe that the authorities in Pakistan did not know where bin Laden was.
What has the reaction been in the region to news of bin Laden's death?
Keep in mind the fact that there are protests when drone strikes take place in the tribal areas. This operation to take out Osama bin Laden was in the urban heartland of Punjab. This is the core of where the military establishment is from, so there is going to be a falling out.
Publicly, the Pakistanis will try to make out that they were aware of the operation, and that they played a role in it. Privately, they will be seething that this was done on their territory.
And there will be protests. The radicals and the extremists inside Pakistan --whose infrastructure has not been dismantled, as Musharraf had promised -- they will organize mass protests. There will be propaganda by the radicals and the extremists to try and exploit the situation.
U.S. interests, U.S. personnel, U.S. embassies and consulates will have to take extra precautions.
If bin Laden's death is of symbolic seismic significance, then the fallout in Pakistan will be equally matched.
There is always a reaction. But keep in mind that the reaction may not come from al Qaeda -- it may come from an affiliate, from the groups that have emerged or are emerging from al Qaeda's shadows: Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Pakistani Taliban, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
These groups have the infrastructure, the resources, the personnel and the desire to plot and plan mass casualty attacks, and they may be in a better position than bin Laden's al Qaeda to carry out a reprisal attack.
Will Osama bin Laden's death have a wider impact?
Al Qaeda central is not the group it once was: the drone strikes have been confining their operational space, one by one the leadership has been picked off, they don't have the ability to train people from the West as they once could.
Their resources are depleted, they are not able to replenish their ranks, so Al Qaeda central may not be able to cause a significant reaction, but other groups are potentially in a better position to do it.
There will be problems that will emerge from this -- the worry is that we don't know potentially what they could be, or when.
The silence is going to be the greatest fear, because it's not necessarily that these groups would want to carry out attacks regionally or globally imminently. They may wait, they may bide their time. We're talking about weeks, months.
Al Qaeda's affiliates have always had very long term thinking -- it's not about today or tomorrow, it's about next year.
They won't necessarily want to carry out something that will fail and humiliate the group further.
We also have to bear in mind that bin Laden has been killed, but his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri is still at large. He has very much taken on the mantle of issuing al Qaeda's messages: Audio, video, through the internet; and his protégé, Abu Yahya al-Libi is also out there.
They will certainly be issuing a message at some point, trying to create a rallying call for vengeance, to inspire their adherents and followers to take up arms.
Bin Laden may be dead, but his ideology still lives, and the message will continue to indoctrinate young, impressionable minds across the world.
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Americans Put on Alert Amid Warnings of Al Qaeda Retaliation

As Americans celebrated the news that Usama bin Laden had been killed following a decade-long international manhunt, they also faced renewed warnings that Al Qaeda and its affiliates may seek to exact revenge for the killing of their longtime leader.
U.S. officials, while congratulating the CIA-led SEALs team that took down bin Laden, sent out a wave of alerts overnight about the possibility of retaliation.
"They want to avenge this," Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Fox News.
Authorities have sent a notice to diplomatic personnel around the world telling them U.S. "diplomatic facilities" are now on "high alert" after bin Laden's death. The notice described the security situation as "severe," though it noted "no specific security threats have been identified."
The New York and Los Angeles police departments have both issued alerts to officers in the field, telling them to be particularly vigilant in light of bin Laden's death.


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Following bin Laden’s death, al-Qaeda affiliates poised to produce new leaders

NAIROBI — With the death of Osama bin Laden, a constellation of al-Qaeda franchises stretching from Africa to the Middle East, and linked by ideology and allegiance to his core values and tactics, are poised to produce their next generation of leaders and operatives, according to terrorism experts.

Yemen, in particular, is likely to become a prominent refuge and operational arena for al-Qaeda loyalists, possibly creating an even bigger challenge for the Obama administration, they said. The poor and unstable Middle Eastern nation is home to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, known as AQAP, which has tried to attack the United States twice since 2009.
“Bin Laden leaves behind a number of groups that have been deeply influenced by him. He has built a movement that will outlast him,” said Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research in Singapore. “Yemen will become an even more significant theatre than Afghanistan and Pakistan in the coming months and years.”

But Yemen will not be the only area of concern for the United States and its allies.

In Somalia, al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab is seeking to overthrow the struggling American-backed transitional government and turn the region into a Taliban-like Islamic emirate.

In North and West Africa, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has murdered westerners and staged suicide bombings. Kidnappings for ransom are growing, infusing large sums of cash into the group’s coffers. The group is believed to have perpetrated last week’s bombing of a popular cafe in Marrakesh that killed 16, mostly foreigners.

Bin Laden’s death arrives as Yemen is facing its biggest political crisis in more than three decades. President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a vital American ally in counterterrorism, is clinging to power as momentum builds on the streets and in Arab capitals for his ouster, inspired by the populist rebellions that have gripped the region. Saleh has agreed to step down within 30 days after a formal agreement is signed that grants him and his family immunity, but so far the talks have been bogged down by mistrust and disagreement over core demands in the deal.

U.S. officials are deeply concerned about a post-Saleh government. His sons and nephews control crucial security agencies, including American-trained counterterrorism units. For weeks now, those units have remained inside their barracks, as key military officials have defected to the opposition and divided the security forces.

AQAP militants have reportedly taken over areas in the south, deepening their presence especially in Shabwa and Abyan provinces. And Houthi rebels seized Saada province in the north, further weakening the central government. Even before the political turmoil, Yemen had grappled for years with the northern rebels and a secessionist movement in the south, and diminishing oil and water reserves. Meanwhile, rising food prices and a sinking Yemeni rial are exacerbating tensions.

Such instability probably will allow AQAP to bolster its presence, observers say. Earlier this year, Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, described the affiliate as posing “the most significant risk to the U.S. homeland.” On Christmas Day, 2009, the group dispatched a Nigerian man to try to blow up an American airliner headed to Detroit; last year, it tried to blow up Chicago-bound cargo jets with printer cartridges filled with explosives.

AQAP and other franchises, say terrorism experts, were part of a grand plan by bin Laden to enlarge al-Qaeda’s reach and leave a self-sustaining legacy. Such affiliates received little, if any, financial and material support from al-Qaeda’s central command in Afghanistan and Pakistan — or any directives. They operated independently, conducting their own fundraising, recruitment and strategizing. Often, bin Laden and his associates would step in to offer rhetorical and theological encouragement

“Bin Laden’s biggest achievement was his ability to work with different leaders and disparate groups,” Gunaratna said. “He was more like a politician when it comes to collaborating with other groups. In doing so, bin Laden was able to replicate core Qaeda tactics and operations in other theaters, so that many new al-Qaedas emerged.”
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