Ferrer rolls into Paris Masters semis

HASH(0x9b7b870)

Spain's David Ferrer moved one step closer to what would be the biggest title of his career with a convincing 6-2, 7-5 victory at the Paris Masters over France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Ferrer made Tsonga pay dearly for missing his first serve, winning six of the Frenchman's second-serve points in the first set en route to two service breaks.

The second set was much closer and appeared to be headed for a tiebreaker until Ferrer jumped out to a 0-40 lead in the 12th game. Tsonga managed to stave off two of the match points but Ferrer advanced to the semifinals when the Frenchman knocked a forehand wide.

The world No. 5 said prior to the match that he needed to control his service games because he was wary of having to rally from behind against his powerful opponent, who won this title in 2008.

HASH(0x9b7b9e4)

___

HASH(0x9b7c67c)

Messi celebrates son's birth

HASH(0x9b7c76c)

Thiago Messi Rocuzzo, the first child of Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi and Antonella Rocuzzo, was born at Barcelona's USP hospital.

"Today I'm the happiest man in the world, my son was born and thank God for this gift," the 25-year-old FC Barcelona striker wrote on his Facebook page.

Rocuzzo entered the hospital early Friday and gave birth shortly after 5:00 p.m., with Messi at her side throughout the process.

While the man regarded by many as the world's best soccer player at the moment was excused from Friday's practice, he is expected to be in the lineup for Barcelona's weekend match with Celta.

HASH(0x9b7c97c)

___

HASH(0x9b7d984)

China nuclear firm looks to fund 6 projects with IPO

HASH(0x9b7da74)

China Nuclear Engineering Co. plans to launch an initial public offering on the Shanghai Stock Exchange with a view to financing six atomic energy projects, the Environmental Protection Ministry announced.

The company is aiming to raise 1.8 billion yuan ($286 million) through the sale of up to 525 million shares, the ministry said in a statement.

Required inspections carried out at 10 of the company's subsidiaries prior to the IPO showed no violations of environmental laws, it added.

CNEC is the second firm in the sector to announce a planned stock listing since the March 2011 meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant, which prompted China to temporarily halt its ambitious nuclear plans.

HASH(0x9b7dc84)

___

HASH(0x9b7ea0c)

4 Afghan police killed by comrades

HASH(0x9b7eafc)

Four Afghan police were killed by brother officers in the southern province of Helmand, Khaama Press reported, citing the security chief in Greshk district.

The incident took place Thursday night at a checkpoint, Mohammed Toryalai told Khaama. The four police officers "were murdered when five of their comrades opened fire on them," the security chief said.

Two NATO soldiers serving with the International Security Force were gunned down Tuesday in Helmand by an individual wearing an Afghan police uniform.

More than 50 ISAF personnel have been slain this year by members of the Afghan security forces. In some cases, the shooters turned out to be Taliban guerrillas who had infiltrated the army or police.

HASH(0x9b7ed0c)

___

HASH(0x9b7fb84)

Venezuela's PDVSA also comes up empty off Cuba

HASH(0x9b7fc74)

A well drilled by Venezuelan state oil giant PDVSA in Cuban waters of the Gulf of Mexico also has turned up dry, the Communist-ruled island's official media reported.

This latest well, drilled with the Chinese-built Scarabeo 9 rig, "offers no possibility for commercial development," the press reported Friday, citing a statement by Cuban state oil firm Cubapetroleo.

It marked the third failed bid to find oil off Cuba's coast in 2012, following earlier attempts with Scarabeo 9 by Spain's Repsol and then a joint venture of Malaysia's Petronas and Russia's Gazprom Neft.

Despite the failure of this latest effort, PDVSA will continue "to participate in the exploratory campaign in Cuban waters," Cupet's statement said.

HASH(0x9b7fe84)

___

HASH(0x9b7e4d4)

Spain police review security video of deadly Halloween stampede

HASH(0x9b7e5c4)

Spanish police are investigating videos taken by security cameras in a corridor of the Madrid Arena, scene of a giant Halloween party where three people died and two others were badly hurt in a stampede.

The videos to be studied will be limited to those at the exact site of the tragedy, which has been "very specifically located," police officials told Efe.

Agents are trying to confirm the hypothesis that the stampede occurred when lighted firecrackers and a flare supposedly panicked a crowd when thrown among them in a packed corridor between the arena's track and a stairway to an upper level.

Police are also interviewing Madrid Arena workers and young people who were at the Halloween party.

EFE