— Switzerland and Slovakia earned Europe's final two automatic berths for next year's World Cup on Wednesday night, while Argentina tried to beat out Uruguay and Ecuador for South America's last certain spot in the 32-nation field.
Costa Rica played at the United States, which clinched its sixth straight berth last weekend, and the Ticos hoped to stay ahead of Honduras and gain the final automatic place from North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Portugal, Greece, Slovenia and Ukraine finished second in their groups and joined Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Ireland and Russia in the European playoffs. They will be drawn into four pairs on Monday, and the winners of home-and-home, total-goals matches on Nov. 14 and 18 will qualify for next year's 32-nation field.
By the end of Wednesday, 23 of the 32 nations will have been determined for next year's tournament in South Africa.
In addition to the U.S., Mexico had ensured a berth in CONCACAF, while Denmark, England, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Serbia and Spain had clinched automatic berths in Europe. Brazil, Chile and Paraguay had earned berths from South America, and Australia, Japan, North Korea and South Korea won Asia's spots. Ghana and Ivory Coast joined host South Africa, which qualified automatically as host.
LONDON — Bloggers and Twitter users thwarted a legal attempt Tuesday to stop Britain's media from reporting the questions posed by a lawmaker in a parliamentary debate, spotlighting the power of new media to influence public policy.
The case involving lawmaker Paul Farrelly had threatened the rights of journalists to report anything debated in Parliament. British law allows the media to report any comments made in Parliament without fear of running afoul of Britain's often draconian privacy and libel laws.
Farrelly had posed written questions to the government Monday that concerned Trafigura, a Netherlands-registered oil trading company accused of dumping waste at sites throughout Abidjan, the main city in the Ivory Coast, but Trafigura's lawyers had obtained an injunction from Britain's High Court that prevented The Guardian newspaper from reporting any details of Farrelly's questions.
The Guardian honored the injunction, but put a story on its Web site Monday and in Tuesday's editions of the newspaper reporting that it has been prevented from discussing parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds – without naming the players in the case.
The blogosphere erupted in outrage. Bloggers and users of the social networking site Twitter exchanged data on who the case may involve. Through a series of postings that implied – but didn't directly link – the Guardian to its long-running dispute with Netherlands-based Trafigura, the blogosphere pieced together the basic facts of the question and the law firm that sought the injunction, London-based Carter-Ruck.
International commodities trader Trafigura said yesterday it had reached a settlement with thousands of people in Ivory Coast who said they had fallen...
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