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Violence has long been a staple of US cable television shows, but most producers have been coy about sex -- until recently, when an explosion of explicit content flooded the small screen. The titillatingly-titled "Masters of Sex" is the most obvious example, but while there are no recent studies most industry watchers say fornication has never been as widely on display on TV. Many modern shows "contain sex and violence in ways that would have been unthinkable not too many years ago," added the academic from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). David Nevins, president of cable channel Showtime, said pay TV channels are more free to do what they want than free-to-air networks.
ADEN, Yemen (AP) — Militants stormed the Defense Ministry in the heart of Yemen's capital Thursday, killing 52 people, including at least seven foreigners, in a suicide car bombing and assault by gunmen. The brazen attack claimed by al-Qaida's local branch in Yemen follows a rise in U.S. drone strikes in this key American ally in the Middle East.
Nusa Dua (Indonesia) (AFP) - World commerce ministers engaged in feverish bargaining Friday, trying to salvage a trade package on the final day of a WTO meeting amid warnings that failure could permanently cripple the global trade body. New World Trade Organization chief Roberto Azevedo of Brazil is pushing for agreement on a modest package of measures at a conference on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. The main hurdle to emerge in Bali is India's insistence that it be allowed to stockpile and subsidise grain for its millions of hungry poor. Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has rejected calls for compromise but indicated he had no plans to break off the talks.
SUVA, Fiji (AP) — The monsoon rains have struck and the crowd remains huddled under a canopy, near plates of steaming food, as Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (vo-REN-gay ba-nee-ma-RA-ma) strolls down the red carpet to open a waterfront picnic park in Fiji's capital, Suva. News photographers scamper around him, but only after it is announced that they are invited to record the event.
Chad Henne completed 12-of-27 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns as the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Houston Texans 27-20, snapping a seven-game home losing streak. The Jaguars on Thursday improved to 4-9 in the National Football League season as they halted the franchise's worse losing streak at home by winning there for the first time since November 2012. "We had opportunities and our guys really believed in themselves," said Jaguars coach Gus Bradley. Marcedes Lewis, Cecil Shorts and Jordan Todman each caught touchdown passes for the Jaguars, who have won three in a row for the first time since 2010.
South African President Jacob Zuma: "Our people have lost a father. His humility, passion and humanity earned him their love." U.S. President Barack Obama: "He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time." Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus and anti-apartheid activist: "Like a most precious diamond honed deep beneath the surface of the earth, the Madiba who emerged from prison in January 1990 was virtually flawless ... Instead of calling for his pound of flesh, he proclaimed the message of forgiveness and reconciliation, inspiring others by his example to extraordinary acts of nobility of spirit." Former South African President F.W. de Klerk, on CNN: "He was a great unifier and a very, very special man in this regard beyond everything else he did. This emphasis on reconciliation was his biggest legacy." U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration.
Embattled Australian carrier Qantas' credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's to "junk" status Friday after the airline issued a shock profit warning and slashed jobs. Qantas on Thursday flagged a half-year loss of up to Aus$300 million (US$271 million) and said it would axe 1,000 jobs as it struggles under the weight of record fuel costs and fierce competition from subsidised rivals. Qantas shares closed 3.74 percent lower at Aus$1.03, having lost more than 10 percent on Thursday. The rating puts Qantas in what is known as "junk" status among professional investors, increasing the cost of financing for the carrier and restricting access for investors that do not put their money in lower rated companies.
By Jeff Mason and Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - America's first black president, Barack Obama, hailed Nelson Mandela on Thursday as a source of personal inspiration whose struggle against racism in South Africa jump-started his own involvement in politics. Speaking in the White House press room shortly after the announcement of Mandela's death, a somber-looking Obama said the 95-year-old former South African president left a legacy of freedom and peace. "I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life. "Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him," he said.
Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose has a warning for anyone who thinks he might be injury prone and ready to call it a career as an NBA player. ... I know I'm going to be all right," Rose said. Speaking at a news conference Thursday, Rose said he plans to get back on the basketball court as soon as he can. "The hard part that I had to go through in life, period, is living in poverty and not being able to get what I want," Rose said.
By Peroshni Govender and Pascal Fletcher JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africans woke on Friday to a future without Nelson Mandela, and some said they feared the anti-apartheid hero's death could leave their country vulnerable again to racial and social tensions that he did so much to pacify. As dawn broke and commuters headed to work in the capital, Pretoria, the commercial hub, Johannesburg, and Cape Town in the south, many were still in shock at the passing of a man who was a global symbol of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence. South Africans heard President Jacob Zuma tell them late on Thursday that the former president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate passed away peacefully at his Johannesburg home in the company of his family after a long illness. Despite reassurances from leaders and public figures that Mandela's passing, while sorrowful, would not halt South Africa's advance away from its bitter apartheid past, some still expressed a sense of unease about the physical absence of a man famed as a peacemaker.