New Zealand's Prime Minister apologized to Kim Dotcom

Prime Minister John Key has apologised to Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom after the Government's foreign intelligence agency illegally spied on the internet tycoon.

After hearing the news, the country’s Prime Minister apologized to Dotcom and all New Zealanders.

“I apologise to Mr Dotcom, I apologise to New Zealanders because every New Zealander that sits within the category of having permanent residency or is a New Zealand citizen is entitled to be protected from the law when it comes to the GCSB, and we failed to provide that appropriate protection for him,” Prime Minister John Key said, according to TVNZ.

Prime Minister John Key (L) &  Kim Dotcom (R)
The country’s laws dictate that the GCSB doesn’t have the right to spy on citizens or permanent residents – a category that Dotcom belonged to.

However, the agency didn’t take the time to verify his residency status, instead relying on incorrect information provided by the Organized and Financial Crime Agency.

“My own view is the agency has let itself down very badly, it essentially failed at the most basic of hurdles, there are a number of times when it could have resolved the issue, and in fact New Zealanders were entitled to believe the agency would have performed a lot better,” the Prime Minister added.

He blamed the incident on “human error” because, apparently, Dotcom was granted a visa under old legislation, which would have allowed the GCSB to track him. However, in the meantime, the law changed, and the government “got it completely wrong.”

Key also asked the spy agency to make sure that no one else was illegally monitored because of such an error since the new legislation kicked in.

Anyway, Dotcom accepted the apology, but urged Key to show his sincerity “by supporting a full, transparent & independent inquiry into the entire Mega case.”

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Germany vs Italy EURO 2012 Highlights Video, Match Report

Watch EURO 2012 Semi-final Germany vs Italy HD Highlights video, Match Report, Goal Video and Photos Played at Venue: National Stadium - Warsaw on 28 June 2012.

Mario Balotelli secured Italy a place in the Euro 2012 final against Spain as his goals defeated Germany in Warsaw.

EURO 2012 Semi-final Germany vs Italy Results 

Germany vs Italy EURO 2012 Match Report

Striker Mario Balotelli struck twice to seal Italy's 2-1 semi-final win over Germany on Thursday to leave the Germans' Euro 2012 ambitions in tatters while the Azzurri march on to the final.

The 21-year-old Manchester City star broke German hearts with a first-half header and sublime strike as Joachim Loew's inexperienced team -- the youngest of the 16 at Euro 2012 -- failed to cope with Cesare Prandelli's street-wise Italians.

A late penalty from Mesut Ozil proved no more than a consolation score for the Germans whose 16-year wait for a major title continues.

Italy are now into Sunday's final in Kiev to face defending champions Spain with the Italians bidding to win their first European crown since 1968.

Victory at Warsaw's National Stadium means Italy maintain their impressive record of having never lost to Germany at a World Cup or European Championships on their eighth meeting at a major tournament.

Having dropped three of his forwards for last Friday's 4-2 quarter-final win over Greece, Loew again tinkered with his starting line-up, but this time it back-fired as the Germans lacked an effective Plan B when things went wrong.

Mario Balotelli of Italy.
Arsenal-bound Lukas Podolski was hauled off at half-time, striker Mario Gomez also made way for 34-year-old veteran Miroslav Klose after the break, while Toni Kroos barely troubled the Italian defence from the right wing.

Germany had a couple of golden chances early on, but the Azzurri soon asserted themselves and after Riccardo Montolivo tested Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Italy took the lead on 20 minutes.

Antonio Cassano ghosted through two German defenders and crossed for Balotelli to beat his marker Holger Badstuber and slam his header past Neuer.

It was the first time since the Euro 2008 final Germany had fallen behind in a European Championship match after their ten wins in qualifying and their four wins so far at Euro 2012. The perplexed looks in the German ranks told their own tale.

Rattled, the Germans tried to reassert themselves with Mesut Ozil and Gomez both squandering half chances, but Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon stood up to the challenge in goal before the Azzurri struck again.

A sublime pass from Fiorentina's Montolivo split the German defence and gave Balotelli all the space he needed to curl his shot past Neuer on 36 minutes.

With the Germans now reeling, Reus was quickly into the action after replacing Podolski and tested Buffon with a well-struck free-kick with an hour gone.

But the Italians were not to be denied their first European final since their Euro 2000 defeat to France when Claudio Marchisio fired wide on 67 minutes and again eight minutes later.

Balotelli made way for Antonio Di Natale on 70 minutes and with time running out, the Udinese forward missed a golden chance with the German defence all at sea.

A handball by Federico Balzaretti in the 92nd minute gave Germany brief hope as referee Stephane Lannoy pointed to the spot and Ozil blasted home the spot-kick, but it was too little, too late.

The Azzurri can now dream of denying world and European champions Spain a third consecutive major title on Sunday.

19:25' Mario Balotelli Scores Goal Video - Germany 0 - 1 Italy

Well-created goal from the Italians as Cassano wriggles free on the left and crosses for Balotelli to head past Neuer from five yards.

35:35' Mario Balotelli Scores Goal Video - Germany 0 - 2 Italy

Stunning goal! A pinpoint long ball from Montolivo deep in his own half split the German defence, Balotelli beat the offside trap, collected the ball and then rocketed a magnificent right-footed shot past a helpless Neuer and into the top corner.

90' Mesut Ozil Penalty shoot Video- Germany 1 - 2 Italy

Handball by Federico Balzaretti & Penalty to Germany, Ozil converts with a fine spot kick to goal.

Germany vs Italy EURO 2012 Extended Highlights Video

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New Zealand Judge Rules Megaupload Search Warrants Were Illegal

New Zealand police acted illegally when armed officers raided Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's Auckland mansion earlier this year, a High Court judge ruled on Thursday.

Judge Helen Winkelmann said the search warrants police used when they raided the Internet millionaire's property as part of a US probe into allegations of massive online piracy were too broad to be considered reasonable.

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (L) stands next to his
wife Mona as he talks to members of the media after he
left the High Court in Auckland February 29, 2012.
She also found computer data seized by police during the raid had been unlawfully copied and sent to authorities in the United States, who accuse Dotcom of racketeering, money laundering and copyright theft.

"The police relied on invalid warrants when they searched the properties and seized the various items, the search and seizure was therefore illegal," Winkelmann said in a judgement released Thursday.

US authorities allege Megaupload and related file-sharing sites netted more than $175 million and cost copyright owners more than $500 million by offering pirated copies of movies, TV shows and other content.

Chief High Court Judge Justice Helen Winkelmann.
Dotcom and his three co-accused, who were all arrested in the January 20 raid, deny any wrongdoing and have vowed to fight the charges, which carry potential jail terms of up to 20 years.

Winkelmann will hear final submissions from both legal teams representing the accused and the police next Wednesday before issuing orders.

In a separate legal move, the US District Court in Virginia is scheduled to hear a motion from Megaupload's lawyers Friday to dismiss the case against the company and its executives.

The motion will argue that the US Justice Department and FBI had no right to take action against Megaupload because the Hong Kong-registered company has no presence in the United States.

Police said in a statement that they were considering the judgement and deciding what further action is now required.

Source: Justice Helen Winkelmann in her judgement.

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Sheryl Sandberg Named To Facebook Board of Directors

Facebook's No. 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg, has become the first woman on the social-networking company's board of directors.

Sandberg was lured from Google in 2008 to become Facebook's chief operating officer. Besides being the first woman, she is the first Facebook executive other than founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the board.

There had been calls for the company to add women to its board ahead of its initial public offering of stock in mid-May.

In announcing the move Monday, Facebook Inc. didn't say whether it came in response to calls to add women. But as the No. 2 to Zuckerberg, she was a logical choice.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer.
"Sheryl has been my partner in running Facebook and has been central to our growth and success over the years," Zuckerberg said in a statement. "Her understanding of our mission and long-term opportunity, and her experience both at Facebook and on public company boards makes her a natural fit for our board."

Sandberg has been largely responsible for building Facebook's advertising business. She also often serves as Facebook's public face, appearing at conferences and important meetings, while Zuckerberg often prefers to stay in the background and focus on Facebook's products.

Sandberg's appointment is somewhat symbolic. She is already a highly influential executive at Facebook, which is unlikely to change with her board appointment. That said, Zuckerberg still controls Facebook and its board due to his holding more than half of its voting stock.

Sandberg, 42, joins Zuckerberg, Netflix chief Reed Hastings and entrepreneurs Marc Andreessen, James Breyer and Peter Thiel. Also on the board are Donald Graham, CEO of The Washington Post Co., and Erskine Bowles, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina system.

Sandberg also serves on the boards of The Walt Disney Co. and of groups such as Women for Women International. She won't receive any additional financial compensation for the board role.

UltraViolet, a women's rights group that has been asking Facebook to add women to its board, said its campaign "should have never been necessary."

"We hope this is a first step for Facebook and in the coming months more women will be added to their board," UltraViolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary said in a statement. "In addition, we hope that other companies with all-male boards, particularly those in the tech sector, will follow Facebook's lead."

Most large corporations have at least one female board member, but that's where it ends for many of them. According to a report on corporate board gender diversity from corporate advisory firm Glass Lewis, 91 percent of companies in the S&P 500 had at least one female board member in 2011.

Catalyst, a nonprofit group that advocates for women in business, says in a report that only 16.1 percent of board seats at Fortune 500 companies were held by women last year.

Companies in the energy and technology sectors had the lowest levels of female board representation, the Glass Lewis report found.

Facebook’s current board members are:

Mark Zuckerberg; Sheryl Sandberg; Marc L. Andreessen, Andreessen Horowitz; Erskine B. Bowles, president emeritus, University of North Carolina system; James W. Breyer, Accel Partners; Donald E. Graham, chairman and CEO, The Washington Post Company; Reed Hastings, chairman and CEO, Netflix; and Peter A. Thiel, Founders Fund.


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England vs Italy EURO 2012 Highlights Video, Match Report

Watch EURO 2012 England vs Italy Highlights HD, Match Report, Goal Video and Photos Played at Venue: Olympic Stadium - Kyiv, 24 June 2012.
England suffered penalty agony once more as Italy won a shoot-out after the Euro 2012 quarter-final finished goalless in Kiev.

England vs Italy EURO 2012 Match Report

For 120 minutes in Kiev the beauty of Italian guile and trickery jousted with the beastly pace and power of England before penalties finally separated them to give Italy a Euro 2012 semi-final berth.

Both sides contrived to miss clear chances to break the deadlock, with Italy the prime culprits in terms of finishing and England guilty of poor decision-making and shoddy execution in the final third.

Four-time world champions Italy missed by far the greater number of chances in a game they largely dominated.

But it was nonetheless an intriguing clash of contrasting styles.

The Azzurri were looking to find space between England's back four and midfield, either through attacking midfielder Riccardo Montolivo or the deep-dropping forward Antonio Cassano.

Ashley Cole of England looks dejcted after missing a penalty. 
Those players made England's defence uncomfortable while Andrea Pirlo dinked clever balls over the top for Mario Balotelli.

Twice the Manchester City striker exploited uncharacteristically poor positioning from John Terry but the Chelsea captain recovered brillantly once while goalkeeper Joe Hart saved the second with ease.

Another delightful chip from Pirlo saw Cassano escape behind Ashley Cole but Joleon Lescott was there to clear his header back into the danger zone, just before Balotelli pounced.

England were vulnerable to players peeling off and latching onto the ball over the top whilst the man lurking in front of their backline kept them in a constant state of confusion.

But Italy were equally susceptible to England's rapier counters, particularly down the flanks where full-backs Federico Balzaretti and Ignazio Abate looked far from at ease - at least for the first hour or so as thereafter England's attacking threat essentially fizzled out.

Italy's runners kept enjoying success in the second period with Daniele De Rossi taking advantage of hesitant England defending to drift twice beyond the defence with Claudio Marchisio and Pirlo, again, feeding him.

But just as England suffered from lack of precision in possession, Italy's finishing was far from accurate.

Perhaps Italy's best chance came a minute from normal time when Marchisio's spearing pass was met by substitute Antonio Nocerino, darting in off his flank at an angle, but this time Glen Johnson got back to block.

It was last-ditch defending from England all the way, but it was working.

And once Andy Carroll came on for England, pace gave way exclusively to power and it was his header back into the mix that set up Wayne Rooney for what should have been a dramatic last-gasp winner, only for the Manchester United star to mistime his overhead bicycle kick.

Italy had the ball in the net in extra-time when Nocerino broke beyond the backline again, but he went a half yard too soon and it was rightly chalked off.

And so penalties it was that chased tactics and contrasting styles out the window.

England came into the competition with one successful shoot-out in six attempts, while Italy had won twice in seven.

Alessandro Diamanti scored the winning penalty after misses from the two Ashleys, Young and Cole.

The Beast never turned into a prince and now Beauty heads to Warsaw on Thursday to face the Germans.

England vs Italy EURO 2012 FULL PENALTY SHOOTOUT (Penalties) Video

  • Penalty scored by Mario Balotelli. England 0-1 Italy on penalties.
  • Steven Gerrard scores a penalty. England 1-1 Italy on penalties.
  • Penalty missed by Riccardo Montolivo.
  • Wayne Rooney scores a penalty. England 2-1 Italy on penalties.
  • Penalty scored by Andrea Pirlo. England 2-2 Italy on penalties.
  • Spot kick missed by Ashley Young.
  • Antonio Nocerino scores a penalty. England 2-3 Italy on penalties.
  • A save by Gianluigi Buffon from penalty by Ashley Cole.
  • Alessandro Diamanti scores a penalty. England 2-4 Italy on penalties.

England vs Italy EURO 2012 Extended Highlights Video

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Spain vs France EURO 2012 Highlights Video, Match Report

Watch EURO 2012 Spain vs France Highlights, Match Report, Goal Video and Photos Played at Venue: Donbass Arena - Donetsk, 23 June 2012.

Spain waltzed past a feeble France side in Donetsk to set up a Euro 2012 semi-final meeting with Portugal.

Spain vs France EURO 2012 Match Report

Centurion Alonso sends Spain into Euro semi-finals. Spain moved a step closer to an unprecedented treble of consecutive major international honours by beating France 2-0 in Donetsk on Saturday to reach the Euro 2012 semi-finals.

Goals in each half from Xabi Alonso, on his 100th international appearance, sent the world and European champions into a semi-final with Iberian rivals Portugal in the same Donbass Arena stadium on Wednesday.

It was Spain's first competitive win in seven attempts against France, who were bidding to become the first team to eliminate Spain from a major tournament since the French side that reached the 2006 World Cup final.

Xabi Alonso of Spain celebrates after scoring the opening goal.
While Spain can now contemplate the prospect of facing the in-form Cristiano Ronaldo, France return home after fulfilling their objective of reaching the last eight, only to fall short against the world's top national side.

In an attempt to nullify Spain's attacking threat, France coach Laurent Blanc opted for a conservative 4-5-1 formation, with right-back Mathieu Debuchy lining up in an unfamiliar right-wing role ahead of Anthony Reveillere.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, meanwhile, elected to deploy Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas instead of Fernando Torres at the centre of a fluid attacking configuration.

Abandoning their usual possession-focused approach, France retreated and allowed Spain to take the initiative, and Fabregas had an early penalty appeal turned down after his heels were clipped by Gael Clichy.

With two right-backs on the pitch, France's right flank should have been impregnable, but it was from a move down the left that Spain went ahead in the 14th minute.

Andres Iniesta released Jordi Alba and he held off the stumbling Debuchy to cross for the unmarked Alonso, whose downward header gave the number 14 a 14th international goal.

The lead established, Spain slipped into their familiar passing rhythm and France were left to rely on the forward forays of lone striker Karim Benzema.

One such raid drew a free-kick in an advantageous position, and Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas did well to touch Yohan Cabaye's subsequent attempt over the crossbar.

The low number of fans supporting the two teams made for a subdued atmosphere, while the closest Spain came to extending their lead before half-time was a Gerard Pique header that looped well over.

The start of the second half was similarly muted. Debuchy headed over from Franck Ribery's dinked cross, while Hugo Lloris had to race to the edge of his box to claw the ball away from Fabregas at the other end.

Blanc introduced Samir Nasri, Jeremy Menez and Olivier Giroud from the bench, but still the men in the all-white change strip were unable to capitalise on the promising openings they procured.
There were few scares for Spain in the final 10 minutes, and they made sure of victory in injury time when Alonso swept home a penalty after Reveillere had bundled substitute Pedro Rodriguez to the deck.

It will come as scant consolation to France, but they will not have long to wait for revenge.
The sides are due to meet again in a qualifying match for the 2014 World Cup in Spain on October 16.

18:27' Xabi Alonso scores goal video - Spain 1 - 0 France

Xabi Alonso grabs a headed goal from deep inside the penalty area.

90' Penalty taken right-footed by Xabi Alonso video - Spain 2 - 0 France

Penalty awarded for an unfair challenge on Rodriguez Pedro by Anthony Reveillere.

Spain vs France EURO 2012 Extended Highlights Video

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Czech Republic vs Portugal EURO 2012 Highlights Video, Match Report

Watch EURO 2012 Czech Republic vs Portugal Highlights, Match Report, Goal Video and Photos Played at Venue: National Stadium Warsaw, 21 June 2012.

Cristiano Ronaldo capped a magnificent display with the match-winning goal as Portugal powered past Czech Republic and into the semi-finals of Euro 2012

Czech Republic v Portugal EURO 2012 Match Report

Portugal fans and neutrals alike hoping for a splash edition of the Cristiano Ronaldo roadshow had their appetite satisfied as he single-handedly steered his country into the Euro 2012 semi-finals by beating the Czech Republic 1-0.

Ronaldo showed the same kind of sparkle that saw the Portugal captain dominate play and claim a brace in his team's 2-1 defeat of the Netherlands last Sunday - goals he had dedicated to his son, who turned two the same day.

So often maligned for failing to recapture his Real Madrid form when wearing the Portugal shirt, Ronaldo's 79th-minute header took his Euro 2012 tally to three, making him joint top scorer with Germany's Mario Gomez - plus Russia's Alan Dzagoev and Croatia's Mario Mandzukic, whose teams failed to advance from the group stage.

A divisive figure around whom Portugal are often accused of creating a cult of personality, Ronaldo won the loudest cheer from his fans in Warsaw's National Stadium when the announcer reeled off each squad, but earned catcalls from Czech supporters when he stepped up to take free kicks.

Cristiano Ronaldo (2nd L) heads the ball to score during quarter-final match.
The high-profile player - officially the most-tweeted at Euro 2012 according to UEFA - is often a target for his opponents' supporters.

Denmark's fans even tried to get under his skin by chanting the name of his nemesis in the Spanish league, Lionel Messi, during their country's 3-2 loss to Portugal last week.

That, coupled with repeated media criticism, has led Portugal to rally round their captain and, earlier in the tournament, to shun the press in protest - though the man himself did speak to Portuguese television.

The 27-year-old striker struggled early in the half against the Czechs in part because of the lacklustre performance of his team-mates.

The frustration showed as he and Czech defender Petr Jiracek avoided a booking from referee Howard Webb after they angrily pawed at each other in front the Czechs' goal.

He was finally to find his stride 25 minutes in, when midfielder Joao Moutinho fed him the ball, only for Czech keeper and captain Petr Cech to block his strike.

Eight minutes later his attempted bicycle kick went wide, followed almost immediately by an off-target free kick.

Seconds into stoppage time, he notched up a sublime effort while beating a cluster of defenders, chesting the ball and tapping it into the line of fire - only to blast against the post.

After the return from the dressing room, Ronaldo showed his hunger was rising, shooting a free kick wide, and setting up a string of further attacks.

Dominating play, Portugal continued to pound the Czech defence, and Moutinho's cross found an advancing Ronaldo, who leapt to take the header, beating a floundering Cech to take Portugal through.

78:49' Cristiano Ronaldo scores goal video - Czech Rep 0 - 1 Portugal

Finally Portugal break through - and it's thanks to a brilliant run down the right channel from Moutinho, who collects the ball from Pereira and crosses to the penalty spot, where Ronaldo beats Cech with a header into the ground and then up into the roof of the net.

Czech Republic v Portugal EURO 2012 Extended Highlights Video

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