Undaunted by civil war a lone Libyan swimmer pays way to world championships

SHANGHAI – Libyan swimmer Sofyan Elgidi finished last in his heat in the 100-metre butterfly at the world championships Friday. To him, getting here was all that mattered.

Elgidi is the only swimmer representing his country in Shanghai. Because of the turmoil in his country, the 19-year-old has no coach or team manager with him.

“I’m basically here by myself,” he told The Associated Press after his swim in the morning preliminaries. “It’s very hard, but it has to be done. That’s all I can say. You’ve got to get through. You can’t let anything stop you.”

Elgidi finished in 58.38 seconds, more than six seconds behind the top qualifier for the semifinals, Tyler McGill of the United States. He ended up in 57th place out of 66 starters.

Though Elgidi has lived in Egypt with his immediate family for the last three years, he said the civil war in his homeland has wreaked havoc with his training and preparations. His plans to train in the United States were put on hold when fighting broke out this year.

“It was the biggest distraction,” he said. “I really can’t do anything. I had to fend for myself.”

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But he was determined to make it to Shanghai at all costs. Because he grew up in Canada and has a Canadian passport, he was able to get a visa for China. He paid for airfare himself.

“Anything for swimming,” he said. “This is my first world championships.”

His thoughts, however, haven’t strayed far from his family in Libya. He said his uncles and two of his grandparents are in Tripoli. He doesn’t speak to them often. The last time he was in the country was November, months before the government protests began.

“They’re not saying anything basically,” he said. “They can’t say anything because they’re monitored on the phones.”

He’s optimistic about competing for his homeland at the 2012 London Olympics.

“After everything clears up in Libya, I’ll hopefully get focused and stay on track,” he said. “I’m just with the country.”

Yahoo reaches financial terms on Alibaba spinoff of pay service, deal disappoints investors

SAN FRANCISCO – Yahoo Inc. has settled a dispute tarnishing a key investment in China, but the truce didn’t bring much peace of mind to the embattled Internet company’s disillusioned shareholders.

The complex agreement announced Friday revolves around the spinoff of an online payment service formerly owned by China’s Alibaba Group, an emerging Internet powerhouse partially owned by Yahoo.

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Alibaba spun off the payment service, Alipay, earlier this year in a move that Yahoo shareholders didn’t learn about until it was disclosed in a May 10 regulatory filing in the U.S. Yahoo’s shares have lost a quarter of their value since that bombshell, reflecting investor concerns that the spinoff had diminished the value of Yahoo’s 43 per cent stake in Alibaba.

The settlement will require Alipay to share nearly half its profits with Alibaba. It will culminate in Alipay writing a check of $2 billion to $6 billion to Alibaba if it becomes successful enough to pursue an initial public offering of stock within the next decade. A big chunk of that money eventually could flow to Yahoo and Alibaba’s other major shareholder, Japan’s Softbank Corp., which also signed off on the Alipay agreement.

The terms confirmed what investors had suspected all along: Yahoo won’t make as much money off of its Alibaba investment as it would have if Alipay hadn’t been spun off into a separate company controlled by a group led by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma.

Instead of owning all of Alipay, Alibaba now owns a 37.5 per cent stake in the service. Alibaba’s potential windfall from an Alipay IPO has now been capped at $6 billion, a ceiling that might look low if Alipay can realize its ambition of becoming the China’s equivalent of PayPal, which has steadily risen in value since eBay Inc. bought it for $1.5 billion in 2002.

The chief financial officers of Yahoo and Alibaba did their best to sell the Alipay settlement as good deal for all parties involved, but Wall Street didn’t appear to be buying the rationale.

After initially jumping on news of the deal, Yahoo shares had slipped 33 cents, or 2.4 per cent, to $13.17 in afternoon trading Friday.

“Alipay agreement: better than nothing, but not that great,” J.P Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth wrote in a Friday note that summed up the market’s sentiment.

The sour reaction keeps the pressure on Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, whose inability to turn around the company or boost its stock after two and half years on the job has spurred talk on Wall Street that she might be replaced before her contract expires in January 2013. Yahoo has consistently indicated that Bartz has the support of the company’s board, which hired her despite her lack of Internet experience.

Bartz, 62, also has had a rocky relationship with Alibaba’s Ma, another source of worry for Yahoo shareholders. That’s because Alibaba has emerged as a prized asset while Yahoo’s own revenue has been falling during Bartz’s tenure. Anmuth estimates Yahoo’s stake in privately held Alibaba is worth about $4.76 billion, accounting for more than one-third of Yahoo’s current market value of $17 billion. Yahoo’s value has shed $7 billion since the news of the Alipay spinoff.

Neither Bartz nor Ma participated in Friday’s conference call, raising questions about whether the tensions between the two executives are so bad that they can’t even be diplomatic toward each other in a public forum.

In prepared statements, both Bartz and Ma hailed as positive developments for their companies.

The conference call with analysts was handled by Yahoo CFO Tim Morse and Alibaba CFO Joseph Tsai, who joined with Ma to form the company that now owns Alipay. Ma and Tsai pledged 50 million shares of Alibaba stock to back a $500 million promissory note to cover part of the future payments that Alipay is expected to make to its former parent company.

Tsai stressed Alipay had to be spun off to comply with Chinese laws forbidding foreign investments in an online payment service operating in the country.

If Yahoo and Softbank had still held indirect stakes in Alipay through Alibaba, the service wouldn’t have been licensed in China. Given that, Tsai said, Yahoo shareholders should be happy to have a chance to share in Alipay’s profits and IPO under the new arrangement that leaves Alibaba with a 37.5 per cent stake in the payment service instead of full ownership.

“If you own 100 per cent of a business that doesn’t have a license to operate, that’s 100 per cent of zero,” Tsai said.

Alipay so far has primarily processed payments on Taobao, a rapidly growing electronic commerce site owned by Alibaba. That “preferential” relationship has called for Taobao to pay Alipay just enough to cover its costs. Those terms will remain intact under the new agreement. That means if Alipay hopes to become a thriving business on its own, it will have to become a major payment provider on other websites. Tsai said Alipay so far brings in just $60 million in annual revenue from payment processing on sites other than Taobao.

“It’s really too early to think of a liquidity event for Alipay,” Tsai said. “But we believe given the size of the market in China…Alipay could have potential value.”

If Alipay remains privately held, the agreement allows Yahoo and Softbank to demand Alipay to go public or be put up for sale in 2021 if the payment service is worth at least $1 billion at that time.

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AP Technology Writer Barbara Ortutay in New York contributed to this story.

Feds want Supreme Court to hear Abdullah Khadr extradition stay case

TORONTO – Canada’s ability to comply with its international obligations could be compromised if a decision staying the extradition of Abdullah Khadr is allowed to stand, the federal government said Friday.

In asking the Supreme Court of Canada to take up the case, Ottawa argues the lower courts were wrong to prevent an “admitted” terrorist from facing trial in the U.S.

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“This case raises issues of national importance that require consideration by this court,” Ottawa states in its leave-to-appeal request obtained by The Canadian Press.

Principles of fundamental justice “should not be used to impose the technicalities of our criminal law on a foreign partner.”

In an interview, Khadr’s lawyer Dennis Edney said he was “not surprised” Ottawa was seeking leave to appeal.

When it comes to the Khadr family, the government has consistently fought “strong” Appeal Court rulings only to lose before the Supreme Court, Edney said.

“All this at the expense of the public purse,” he said.

Last August, Ontario Superior Court Justice Christopher Speyer decided there were sufficient grounds to send Khadr to the U.S. based on self-incriminating statements he’d given the RCMP.

However, Speyer stayed the extradition, saying the United States had violated fundamental justice with its involvement in Khadr’s “shocking” mistreatment during 14 months detention in Pakistan.

Extraditing him would only serve to reward what he called the Americans’ “gross misconduct,” Speyer said.

In May, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld Speyer’s ruling.

Judges are not required to sacrifice important legal rights and democratic values to ensure a proceeding against an alleged terrorist goes forward, the Appeal Court decided.

In its memorandum of argument to the Supreme Court, Ottawa says Speyer failed to weigh the impact of extraditing Khadr versus the effects of stopping the extradition.

“The unique circumstances of terrorist crimes militates in favour of always conducting a balancing between the benefits of granting a stay against the benefits of ensuring that alleged terrorists face trial,” the memorandum states.

Ottawa also maintains the Appeal Court wrongly expanded the limits of extradition judges.

“It has done so in vague terms that will lengthen ‘expeditious’ extradition proceedings, potentially frustrating Canada’s ability to comply with its international obligations,” it says.

In a prepared response to Ottawa’s memorandum, Edney calls the feds’ appeal case “entirely devoid of merit.”

“Its present application fails to identify even an arguable ground of appeal, much less a legal issue of public importance,” Edney says

“Another appeal . . . would be a waste of this court’s resources.”

In October 2004, the U.S. paid Pakistani intelligence agents $500,000 to kidnap Khadr.

He was prevented from speaking to consular officials and beaten until he co-operated with Pakistani intelligence.

American agents also interrogated him in Pakistani detention and got him to admit he had procured weapons for al-Qaida.

An American intelligence agency sponsored Khadr’s “kidnapping, beating and ‘disappearance,’” Edney says in arguing against a Supreme Court hearing.

The Pakistanis freed Khadr without charge and he returned to Canada in December 2005.

Khadr is the oldest son of the late Ahmad Said Khadr, who was closely associated with Osama bin Laden.

He is also is the brother of convicted war criminal Omar Khadr, who is currently held at Guantanamo Bay and who has also been the subject of losing appeals by Ottawa to rulings in his favour.

Colts coach doesn’t expect Manning to be on field at start of training camp

INDIANAPOLIS – The pain in Peyton Manning’s neck will keep him off the practice field early next week.

Indianapolis still isn’t sure how long it will take to get the four-time MVP back.

Colts coach Jim Caldwell said Friday that the Colts will be cautious with their franchise quarterback, who had neck surgery in May, and will not push him too hard. Camp opens Monday at Anderson University.

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“Obviously, he’s not ready right now, but nobody works harder and is more dedicated than him,” Caldwell said. “When he’s ready, we’ll turn him loose.”

Caldwell did not provide a timetable for Manning’s return.

It’s the second time in four years the Colts will open camp without Manning.

In 2008, Manning missed all of training with an infected bursa sac in his left knee, which required two surgeries. He struggled during the first half of the season, but led the Colts to nine straight wins to make it back into the playoffs.

He also had neck surgery in March 2010 but recovered and did not miss any practices at camp.

The only other time Manning has missed even a portion of training camp was in 1998, when he was one week before signing his first contract.

Teammates said they aren’t concerned that Manning won’t be throwing right away.

“I’ve told him to be as cautious as he needs to be because the last time I checked, we don’t count preseason games,” Pro Bowl centre Jeff Saturday said. “I can tell you this, there’s not a player that works harder than he does.”

The questions about Manning’s health have been increasing ever since he had the surgery.

In June, Archie Manning, Peyton’s father, said his son’s rehab wasn’t going as quickly as expected. A month later, at the family’s annual passing academy, Peyton Manning barely threw and said he was being cautious with his rehab because lockout rules prevented him from working out with Colts team trainers.

Last week, team owner Jim Irsay acknowledged Manning might not be ready when practices begin Monday, a position he reiterated just hours after the lockout ended.

“You don’t want him doing too much too soon and you don’t know on recoveries,” Irsay said. “A lot of times eight weeks is enough. But to get a full recovery, it’s going to be a little longer in this case.”

Caldwell said the coaches have not had a chance to see where Manning yet, and he’s not sure when they will.

Manning is still locked into negotiations for a long-term contract that could keep him in Indy for the rest of his career. In February, the Colts tagged Manning as their exclusive franchise player, meaning he would make about US$23 million this season if he signed the one-year offer.

Until he signs one or the other, Manning couldn’t practice anyway.

Irsay has promised to make Manning the highest-paid player in league history, but even he acknowledges that’s a very high price with a salary cap slated at $120.3 million. Indy hopes that by lowering Manning’s salary cap number, they will be able to sign more of their free agents.

The team also confirmed Friday that it had agreed to new deals with kicker Adam Vinatieri and safety Melvin Bullitt. On Thursday, the Colts also lost linebacker Clint Session to Jacksonville, which signed him to a five-year deal worth more than $29 million.

Two key players were still out there: Running back Joseph Addai and left tackle Charlie Johnson, two players who would help protect Indy’s biggest investment.

“We’ve been in a lockout, and when you think about that, it’s very difficult to get that (Manning’s deal) done in two, three days,” Caldwell said. “It’s going to take a couple days, and it will be done at some point in time. When it is, we’ll be ready to go.”

Manning isn’t the only player the Colts have been getting medical checks on.

Pro Bowl tight end Dallas Clark has been cleared for full participation and will wear a splint on the wrist he injured last fall, the team said. Other key players cleared to practice are receiver Anthony Gonzalez (knee), tight end Brody Eldridge (knee), cornerback Kelvin Hayden (neck) and cornerbacks Jerraud Powers (foot, arm) and Kevin Thomas (knee).

The team also said that receiver Austin Collie has not shown any lingering symptoms of the two concussions that forced him to finish last season on injured reserve. He is expected to be a full participant in practice next week.

“I feel good, I’m excited to get back into it,” Collie said. “At this point, everything is great.”

Except, of course, the status of Manning.

“Whenever he’s ready, he’ll come back,” Caldwell said. “He gets himself ready faster than most people.”

Congolese-born man accused by feds of war crimes: I never even killed a cat

MONTREAL – A Congolese man accused by the Canadian government of being complicit in war crimes, and facing deportation, says he’s never so much as killed a cat.

Abraham Bahaty Bayavuge says he was a simple computer technician in his native land and has denied any wrongdoing during a detention review Friday before the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Bayavuge is the fifth person arrested from a list of 30 alleged war criminals publicly posted last week by the Conservative government.

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But he scoffed at the attempt to depict him as a threat to society.

In the seven years he lived here, openly and freely between 2000 and 2007, he said the worst thing he ever did was get parking tickets for failing to move his car.

“Not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow, can anyone prove that I killed even one cat, one cat,” he told the hearing. “I wouldn’t take a human life, I respect human beings…

“In all my time in this country, the only thing I’ve gotten is tickets – for forgetting to move my car to the other side on street-cleaning days.”

At Friday’s detention hearing, commissioner Yves Dumoulin ordered that he remain detained because he is a flight risk; he is slated for deportation without any legal recourse left.

The government says it’s trying to secure travel documents from the Congolese embassy in Ottawa before sending Bayavuge home. A government spokeswoman in Ottawa would not speculate on when or where Bayavuge would be deported.

His next hearing before the IRB is scheduled for next Thursday.

Despite keeping Bayavuge detained Friday, the commissioner at the hearing also derided the notion that he is a threat to Canadian society – as depicted by Ottawa.

“I don’t really understand why he is considered a danger to the public now when (in the past) he didn’t present a danger to Canadian society and he was free throughout (the process),” Dumoulin said.

Ottawa says all 30 people on the wanted list are deemed inadmissible to Canada and are subject to deportation. They all are alleged to be complicit in war crimes or crimes against humanity, but details of exact crimes have thus far been vague and sketchy.

Bayavuge, 49, was arrested this week in Ottawa by Canada Border Services Agency agents. He testified Friday via video link from an Ottawa jail.

The hearing heard he tried every legal avenue to stay in Canada and when that didn’t work, he tried to convince authorities here that he’d moved to Arizona so they’d stop looking for him.

In 2010, after Bayavuge had run out of legal avenues, he began trying to apply for refugee status anew under a fake Congolese identity – complete with falsified documents.

He apparently gave the CBSA agents that fake name initially earlier this week, before admitting his true identity while under questioning. He eventually told agents that he was glad he didn’t have to hide anymore – but he didn’t want to go back to Congo.

Much of his last four years have been spent on the run: Bayavuge told agents that he’d frequently moved to avoid capture since 2007.

The married father of six made an emotional plea to be released so he could see his family, which includes three grandchildren.

The rest of his family was granted refugee status and he said he fears he’ll never see them again if deported.

“If I didn’t have kids, I’d leave Canada in a minute,” Bayavuge said.

“(But) when they tell me I don’t have a chance to come back to Canada, I don’t have a chance to see my wife, I don’t have a chance to see my kids, you don’t know what that means, you don’t know what that does to me,” he added, choking back tears.

Bayavuge lived in Montreal after arriving in Canada in 2000 via the United States.

The immigration board refused his application for refugee status in 2004, after it said it came across evidence Bayavuge worked as a member of the security services of Congo’s Kabila and Mobutu dictatorships.

A series of appeals did nothing to sway that notion.

For his part, Bayavuge counters that he was simply a civil servant – a computer technician who did nothing wrong and has never faced charges.

Members of the Congolese community in Montreal back up his claim.

“This man has never even been implicated for such crimes in Congo,” said Jean-Marie Mousenga, who had stayed in touch with Bayavuge since he went into hiding several years ago.

“Automatically, he was linked to all the crimes that were linked (to the government), yet he was just a basic citizen, a basic civil servant.”

Bayavuge vanished in April 2007 just as Canadian officials were preparing final details for his return to the Democratic Republic of Congo. After doing a risk assessment, they concluded he did not face any threats in Congo.

But Mousenga said Bayavuge’s family in Montreal fears the worst.

Human-rights advocates have criticized the federal government, accusing it of shirking its responsibilities by deporting instead of prosecuting the suspects.

Bayavuge said he has no doubt war criminals are in Canada, but he isn’t one of them. He challenged authorities to prosecute him for war crimes if they had any proof.

Four others have been arrested since CBSA released its list of 30 names – including Henry Pantoja Carbonel and Manuel De La Torre Herrera, both of Peru, who were arrested this week in Toronto.

Last Saturday, Arshad Muhammad of Pakistan was arrested in Mississauga. Last week, Cristobal Gonzalez-Ramirez of Honduras was picked up in Alberta.