China may extend new reporting rules
A Chinese official hinted Thursday that relaxed restrictions on foreign journalists - brought in specifically for next year's Beijing Olympics - could be extended beyond the end of the Games.
China liberalized restrictions at the beginning of the year, exempting foreign journalists from having to apply for permission to travel and conduct interviews. The new rules were part of the country's pledge to increase media freedom - a promise that helped Beijing win the hosting rights.
"But no document says that when this new regulation expires on October 17 next year we are going to return to the previous regulations," said Cai Wu, minister of the State Council Information Office.
"If practices show that it will help the international community know better about China, and it is in the interests of China's efforts of reform and opening up, it is not at all necessary for us to change a good policy," he added.
Despite the new rules, foreign journalists and monitoring groups complain that harassment and detentions continue.
Wild Oats ups its lead
Sydney yacht Wild Oats XI increased its lead over the fleet Thursday, edging towards a third straight win in the Sydney to Hobart race.
Just over 28 hours into the race, Wild Oats, skippered by Mark Richards, was 219 nautical miles (405 kilometers) from the finish line at Constitution Dock in Hobart, covering about two-thirds of the race distance.
Computer forecasts based on current conditions indicated the super maxi would finish the race shortly after midday Friday (Australia time).
Matsui getting offers
Genoa and several other European clubs are offering to acquire Le Mans and Japan midfielder Daisuke Matsui, sports dailies here reported Thursday.
"Offers for the next season? There are various ones," the 26-year-old Matsui, who has been with the French first division side since 2004, told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday, according to the Sankei Sports. "I feel it is about time to think about it. It would be good if this would help me step up," the former J-League Kyoto Sanga player was quoted as saying.
Sankei quoted Matsui's associate here as saying that Genoa, who are struggling to remain in Italy's Serie-A, are among the interested clubs.
Miami woes continue
NEW YORK, New York
The Philadelphia 76ers extended their home-court domination of the Miami Heat with a 96-85 victory on Wednesday.
Andre Iguodala scored a season-high 28 points as Philadelphia scored their 13th home win in 15 tries against Miami. The loss dropped the Heat to 8-21, the worst record in the Eastern Conference and the second worst in the NBA.
Philadelphia (12-16) led by as many as 19 points in the second half but had to fight off a Miami comeback bid in the fourth quarter.
Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 27 points but was frustrated with his team's struggles.
"It's tough to lose," he said. "But it's tougher to be the worst team in the Eastern Conference."
Australia takes lead
Stuart Clark and fellow paceman Brett Lee claimed four wickets apiece as Australia dismissed India for 196 runs to take a big lead after the second day of the first cricket test yesterday.
Clark (4-28) took two wickets from three balls either side of the tea break and Lee (4-46) cleaned up the tail end to close out an outstanding innings for the Australian bowlers on a deteriorating Melbourne Cricket Ground wicket.
Lee and Gilchrist combined again to see off Zaheer Khan for 11.
"We're playing against a quality Indian side here, they're a brilliant batting lineup," Lee said.
"When Stuey Clark can knock over Sachin Tendulkar and Dhoni in the space of a couple of balls, it just makes our job a lot easier."
China may extend new reporting rules