Arsenal thump Wigan with Vermaelen double

Arsenal shrugged off their disappointing defeat to Manchester City to thrash Wigan 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday to secure a vital third victory of the English Premier League season.
With leaders Chelsea boasting a 100 per cent record after five games, Arsenal knew they could not afford to slip up against their below-par visitors and two goals from center back Thomas Vermaelen set them on their way.
Croatian international striker Eduardo claimed the third with a deflected shot and Cesc Fabregas wrapped up the victory in injury time.
It was Arsenal's second victory since their 4-2 thumping at Eastlands last weekend, having come from two goals down to beat Standard Liege in the Champions League in midweek.
Vermaelen headed Arsenal in front midway through the first half and grabbed a decisive second just after the break after a neat one-two with Emmanuel Eboue.
Eduardo hit the post before scoring the third with the ball helped on its way by Eboue and over the line.
Spain star Fabregas converted Niklas Bendtner's cross at the death.
In other action, Aston Villa moved up to fifth with a 2-0 home win over Portsmouth who are rock bottom after six straight defeats.
James Milner and fellow England international Gabriel Agbonlahor scored for Martin O'Neill's men at Villa Park.
Hull's dismal run continued with a 1-0 home defeat to promoted Birmingham with Gary O'Connor scoring the only goal.
Burnley, who went up with Birmingham, beat Sunderland 3-1 in an entertaining early kick off with David Nugent scoring a double, while Bolton and Stoke drew 1-1.
Liverpool were playing West Ham in the late evening kick off ahead of Sunday's key fixtures which include the Manchester derby and Chelsea taking on Tottenham Hotspur in a capital derby.


South African official lied about Semenya gender tests

PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) -- The president of Athletics South Africa has admitted that he lied about gender tests on runner Caster Semenya before her gold-medal win at the World Athletics Championships last month.
The national sports body has always denied that it agreed to the tests before the race in Berlin, Germany -- an event that kicked off international controversy over the 18-year-old Semenya's gender.
But after South Africa's Mail & Guardian newspaper printed e-mails on Friday showing that ASA President Leonard Chuene was aware of the tests, he held a news conference to apologize.
"I now realize that it was an error of judgment and I would like to apologize unconditionally," Chuene said on Saturday, according to South Africa's SAPA news agency.
After receiving the results of the tests, the South Africa team doctor requested the 18-year-old
Semenya be withdrawn from the 800-meter race she ended up winning, Chuene said.
But Chuene said he refused to do it because the sport's international governing body did not request withdrawal. He also said withdrawing Semenya might have looked bad.
"If we did not let her run, we would be confirming that she is not normal," Chuene told the news conference in the capital, Pretoria.
The e-mails printed by the Mail & Guardian are an exchange between team doctor Harold Adams and ASA General Manager Molatelo Malehopo, with Chuene copied in.
"After thinking about the current confidential matter I would suggest that we make the following decisions," Adams wrote on August 5, more than a week before the Berlin race.
"1. We get a (gynecological) opinion and take it to Berlin. 2. We do nothing and I will handle these issues if they come up in Berlin. Please think and get back to me ASAP."
An e-mail response from Malehopo to Adams, sent the same day, says: "I will suggest that you go ahead with the necessary tests that the IAAF might need."
The controversy over Semenya erupted after she crushed her rivals in the 800 meters and secured victory in one minute, 55.45 seconds -- the best women's time in the world this year.
Semenya's masculine build and dominant performance fueled existing questions about her gender, and the International Association of Athletics Federations -- which oversees the sport worldwide -- ordered tests on her.
Reports in two newspapers last week said the results of the tests showed Semenya has both male and female characteristics. The IAAF declined to confirm those reports and said a decision in the case would come in late November.
IAAF said it sought tests on Semenya's gender before the Berlin championships because questions had been raised after her winning performance at the African junior championships in July.
South Africans have rallied behind Semenya, angrily dismissing reports about her gender. Semenya's relatives and the South Africa team manager have maintained she is female.
This week,
South Africa's minister for women, children and people with disabilities wrote to the United Nations to complain that Semenya had not been treated in line with international protocols on gender and quality.
Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya sent a letter to the
U.N. Division for the Advancement of Women, urging it to investigate, SAPA reported.
"The questioning of her gender is based on a stereotypic view of the physical features and abilities attributable to women," she wrote in the letter, according to SAPA. "Such stereotypes demonstrate the extent of patriarchy within the world's sporting community."
The process of gender verification has undergone big changes since it was first introduced for international competition in the 1960s, the IAAF said.
The first mechanism involved "rather crude and perhaps humiliating physical examinations," which soon gave way to mouth swabs to collect chromosomes.
There were too many uncertainties with mouth swabs, so the IAAF abandoned them in 1991 and the International Olympic Committee discontinued them in 2000.


Russia says it won't deploy missiles near Poland

MOSCOW – Russia said Saturday it will scrap a plan to deploy missiles near Poland since Washington has dumped a planned missile shield in Eastern Europe. It also harshly criticized Iran's president for new comments denying the Holocaust.
Neither move, however, represented ceding any significant ground. A plan to place Iskander missiles close to the Polish border was merely a threat. And while the Kremlin has previously criticized Tehran for questioning the reality of the Holocaust, Russian leaders have refused to back Western push for tougher sanctions against Iran.
It still remains unclear whether Moscow will make any significant concessions on Iran and other issues in response to President Barack Obama's move to scrap the Bush-era plan for U.S. missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin told Ekho Moskvy radio Saturday that Obama's move has made the deployment of Iskander short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region unnecessary.
He described Obama's move as "victory of reason over ambitions."
"Naturally, we will cancel countermeasures which Russia has planned in response, one of which was the deployment of Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region," Popovkin said.
Popovkin's statement was the most explicit declaration yet of Russia's intention to scrap the plan after Obama's decision, which was announced Thursday.
Popovkin later added, however, that the final decision on the subject can only be made by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russian news agencies reported. Medvedev hasn't yet spoken on the issue.
Russia staunchly opposed the plan by the former administration of George W. Bush to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a related radar in the Czech Republic and said if the project went ahead it would respond by deploying the Iskander missiles in its westernmost Baltic Sea region.
Obama's decision to scrap the plan was based largely on a new U.S. intelligence assessment that Iran's effort to build a nuclear-capable long-range missile would take three to five years longer than originally thought, U.S. officials said. The new U.S. missile-defense plan would rely on a network of sensors and interceptor missiles based at sea, on land and in the air as a bulwark against Iranian short- and medium-range missiles.
Medvedev hailed Obama's decision as a "responsible move," but Russian officials have given no indication yet that Moscow could make concessions in other areas, including Iran. Washington is counting on Moscow to help raise pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program.
On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry harshly criticized Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his Friday's comments in which he again questioned whether the Holocaust was a "real event."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko called the Iranian remarks "absolutely unacceptable" and insulting to the memory of the World War II victims.
"It won't help create a favorable international atmosphere for starting and conducting an efficient dialogue on issues regarding Iran," Nesterenko said in a statement.
Officials from the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany are to meet Iranian diplomats in Turkey on Oct.1, for the first time since a 2008 session in Geneva foundered over Iran's refusal to discuss its uranium enrichment program.
Russia, which has close commercial ties with Iran and is building its first nuclear power plant, has condemned similar Ahmadinejad's statements in the past. Saturday's statement didn't necessarily mean that Moscow was prepared to toughen its stance on Iran in response to Obama's move to scrap the missile defense plan.
The U.S., Israel and the EU fear that Iran is using its nuclear program to develop weapons. But Tehran says the program serves purely civilian purposes.
Iran already has defied three sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions since 2006 for its refusal to freeze uranium enrichment. Russia, which holds veto power on the U.N. Security Council, backed those sanctions but used its clout to water down tougher U.S. proposals. Russian officials have said too much pressure would be counterproductive.
Russian intentions could become more clear after Obama meets with Medvedev at the United Nations and the Group of 20 economic summit in the coming week.
Medvedev's predecessor and mentor, Vladimir Putin, who is widely believed to be continuing to call the shots as Russia's prime minister, has praised Obama's decision but challenged the U.S. to do more by canceling Cold War-era restrictions on trade with Russia and facilitating Moscow's entry into the World Trade Organization.


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