— 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.
PARIS — Lance Armstrong considers the 2010 Tour de France course "tough" because of the cobblestones sections and three punishing summit finishes in the Pyrenees.
The seven-time Tour champion attended the unveiling of the route and had lunch with French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday.
He also said more cyclists will have a chance to win thanks to the elimination of the team time trial.
"I think it will be much more open than last year because the TTT really eliminated some people last year and you won't have that again," Armstrong said. "Whereas this year you had three or four guys who could win the Tour, this year you'll go into the tough sections with 10 guys."
Armstrong finished third at this year's Tour after an intense rivalry with Astana teammate Alberto Contador, the eventual winner.
Switzerland and the United States have signed a treaty to increase the amount of tax information they share to help crack down on tax evasion, Swiss officials said Wednesday.
The agreement follows a model set out by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development designed to make it harder for taxpayers to hide money in offshore tax havens.
U.S. tax authorities will be able to request information on Americans suspected of concealing Swiss bank accounts, the Swiss Finance Ministry said.
The treaty forbids so-called 'fishing expeditions,' meaning U.S. authorities have to provide specific details on the person they are seeking further information about and can't simply ask for wholesale lists of Americans with Swiss accounts, the ministry said.
The agreement, which comes into force immediately, won't be retroactive.
Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) has been demanding Swiss social collaboration platform Amazee change its name, and has now also filed an appeal against its plan t...