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Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction

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Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction is the sixth installment in the Splinter Cell video game series. The game was developed by Ubisoft Montreal, developers of Splinter Cell, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and the sixth generation versions of Splinter Cell: Double Agent. Key members of the Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas team, such as creative director Maxime Béland, also worked on the game. Gameloft will also be creating a mobile version of the game for the iPhone OS.

Gameplay

Splinter Cell: Conviction introduces a number of new gameplay features to the series, one of which is the “Mark and Execute” feature, which allows the player to mark specific targets, such as enemies or objects, and shoot them when they burst through a door or window. The player can choose to prioritize these targets, so that, for example, he could distract one guard by shooting out a light in his vicinity and then take out another guard. Another new feature is the “Last Known Position”, which occurs when the player breaks the line of sight of an alerted guard. This creates a visual silhouette of where the guard thinks Sam is, allowing the player to strategically flank his enemies. Main target subjects can use the player’s abilities against them. The player can be taken hostage by the subject. If this happens in co-op mode, the hostage’s partner can neutralize the subject by shooting them.

Other new features include the ability to interrogate characters in real-time and use objects in the surrounding environment against them. A crowd mechanic was initially introduced, which would have allowed Sam to disappear from his pursuers, but this element seems to have been dropped out of Conviction during development. The environment is also used to project mission objectives and key plot points onto walls in order to keep the player immersed in the gameplay during the narrative.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer mode in Splinter Cell: Conviction involves split screen, system link (Xbox 360) and online cooperative mode, plus a Deniable Ops mode. Deniable Ops mode involves 4 multiplayer modes that pit the players against AI in game modes such as Hunter, Infiltration, Last Stand, and Face-Off.

According to co-op game director Patrick Redding, the stealth in Splinter Cell: Conviction is designed around the new core elements like “Mark and Execute” and “Last Known Position” that have been shown since E3 2009. These things are designed for players to fool and defeat A.I. opponents but not human opponents.

Single Player

Taking place three years after the events of Splinter Cell: Double Agent, former Navy SEAL Victor Coste is held in a Black Arrow facility interrogation room as he is interviewed by an unidentified group of men, recalling events in the past tense.

After having disappeared, Sam Fisher is remotely located by former Third Echelon colleague Anna Grimsdottir in a marketplace situated Valetta, Malta. He is warned that a group of hitmen have located him. Sam dispatches them and interrogates the leader, learning that drug runner Andriy Kobin was responsible for the death of his daughter, Sarah. Sam learns that Kobin is present in his mansion, a re-purposed museum. Upon infiltrating the mansion, Sam interrogates Kobin and learns that the situation was “bigger than his daughter,” prior to being captured by Third Echelon agents.

Sam is relocated to Price Airfield in Washington D.C., where Grimsdottir reveals that she is working with President Caldwell as a mole for Third Echelon, and that she needs his help with investigating a PMC named Black Arrow. A reluctant Sam refuses to help her, but relents after being told that Sarah is alive, and that she would prove it to him during the course of the investigation. Grimsdottir facilitates Sam’s escape from the airfield by providing him weapons and access to her car. After this point, Sam calls in his former squadmate, Victor Coste, for assistance in the investigation, in part of Victor having rescued him during the events of Operation Desert Storm. Sam meets with Victor at a county fair in the Washington Monument, receives some equipment, and learns that White Box Technologies, a research-and-division company specializing in EMPs, hired Black Arrow for corporate security, which is considered to be out of character as Black Arrow does not provide it.

Sam heads to White Box Technologies and witnesses multiple scientists having been murdered by Third Echelon director Tom Reed and Black Arrow operatives. Fisher saves one of the scientists and learns that Lucius Galliard hired Black Arrow to provide security, and that Robertson has been collecting and disposing of experimental data with EMP countermeasures. Sam reaches Robertson’s office and downloads the data for Grimsdottir’s analysts to study. He later triggers an EMP to prevent Black Arrow’s tracing of the download in order to maintain Grimsdottir’s cover.

Sam is later directed to the Lincoln Memorial under orders from both President Caldwell and Grimsdottir, infiltrating the area to record a conversation between Reed and Galliard. Sam later interrogates Galliard, only for the latter to get assassinated by a gunman. Sam pursues the gunman, only for the gunman to get killed by a car bomb. Sam is later drawn into a confrontation with Third Echelon agents until he is extracted by Secret Service.

Sam infiltrates the Third Echelon headquarters to recover equipment and retrieve information from Reed’s office. Instead of finding Reed, Sam re-encounters Kobin and interrogates him again. Sam learns that Reed was working with Megiddo to smuggle EMP technology into the United States, and use that technology to facilitate Caldwell’s assassination and have the Vice President take over the position since he was “in Megiddo’s pocket.” As a result of facilitating the assassination, Reed would then be promoted within the higher ranks of the government and be considered a hero. Kobin later reveals that he never knew anything about Sarah and only provided a false body to stage her death, urging him to ask Grimsdottir as she knew the whole story. Sam confronts Grimsdottir with the information he learned, and is urged to view a last audio recording of Lambert. Sam learns that Lambert staged Sarah’s death as a car accident out of necessity, having learned that a mole within Third Echelon would use her as leverage against Sam. Lambert later concludes that he wasn’t able to locate the mole, and that his efforts may have been vain.

Grimsdottir later tells an enraged Sam to stop one of three EMP attacks at Michigan Avenue, stating that Sarah’s designated apartment is within Michigan Avenue’s blast radius, while Victor recovers Sarah and later helps Sam with halting the attack. Grimsdottir would accompany Reed to the White House in order to halt the assassination. Sam is extracted by Victor and has a brief reunion with Sarah before the two EMP attacks commence. Shortly after a crashlanding, Sam infiltrates the White House while confronting Black Arrow and Third Echelon operatives in the process. Sam regroups with Grimsdottir and is held captive to get closer to Reed.

Upon entering the Oval Office, Sam and Grimsdottir kill the Third Echelon escorts, with Sam interrogating Reed while the United States Army extracts Caldwell. It is revealed that Caldwell was going to shut down Third Echelon and leave “America vulnerable to future attacks” and that Reed was the mole Lambert was looking for. Depending on the player’s choice, Sam or Grimsdottir execute Reed.

Black Arrow’s interview with Victor has concluded, with Victor stating that Sam would be with Sarah and that Sam loved him like a brother. Shortly after Victor finishes his sentence, an explosion places the building on alert, implying that Sam is assaulting the base.

Stephen Lawrence: Gary Dobson and David Norris to be sentenced

Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty by an Old Bailey jury after a trial based on forensic evidence.
They will be sentenced as juveniles because they were under 18 at the time of the attack, which happened in south-east London in April 1993.Police say the investigation could be reopened if new evidence emerges.
Dobson, 36, and Norris, 35, can expect to receive sentences considerably shorter than would an adult convicted of the same crime under today’s laws.The BBC’s Home Affairs Correspondent Matt Prodger says they could serve minimum prison terms of around 12 years each.
Scientists found a tiny bloodstain on Dobson’s jacket that could only have come from Mr Lawrence. They also found a single hair belonging to the teenager on Norris’s jeans.
Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, who ordered the 2006 cold case review that led to the convictions, acknowledged that police believe there were five people involved in the murder, but there are currently no “live” lines of inquiry.
“If there was an opportunity to bring the other people who were involved in that night to justice, we would do so,” she said.
Give up others’
In a statement read by his lawyer outside the Old Bailey on Tuesday, Stephen’s father, Neville Lawrence, said the convictions were a moment of joy and relief – but he could not rest until all of those who killed his son were brought to justice. He described the investigation and preparation of the case as “faultless”.
He later told Channel 4 News: “I’m praying that these people now realise that they’ve been found out and say to themselves, ‘yes I did this awful deed, but I wasn’t alone in that action that night and there are other people also guilty of what I’ve done’ and name them.
“I hope before the sentence is passed, they will talk and give the rest of these people that killed my son up.”In an exclusive interview with the BBC’s Panorama, Stephen’s mother Doreen Lawrence said: “I don’t forgive the boys who killed Stephen. They don’t think they have done anything wrong.
“They took away Stephen’s life and there is nothing in their behaviour or anything to show they regret what their actions have done and the pain it has caused us as a family.”Prime suspects’
The original failed investigation into the murder led to the Metropolitan Police being branded as institutionally racist.
Stephen Lawrence was 18 when he was stabbed to death near a bus stop in Eltham, south east London, in April 1993.
Police identified five men who were later named in a damning public inquiry as the “prime suspects”.
By that time, there had already been a catalogue of police errors and two failed prosecutions, one brought by Stephen’s parents.

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Iran nuclear crisis: Sanctions ‘beginning to bite’

Iran nuclear crisis: Sanctions ‘beginning to bite’

The US has said threats by Iran to restrict Gulf shipping in the event of further sanctions shows international pressure is having an effect.

The State Department said sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme were starting to bite and that Iran was trying to create a distraction.

Iran has conducted 10 days of exercises near the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz, test-firing several missiles.

Its currency is at a record low, but it has denied sanctions are to blame.

The UN Security Council has already passed four rounds of sanctions against Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment.

Highly enriched uranium can be processed into nuclear weapons, but Iran denies Western charges that it is trying to develop them.

Tehran says its programme is peaceful – it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity to meet growing domestic demand.The US has also sanctioned dozens of Iranian government agencies, officials and businesses over the nuclear programme.

The government in Tehran has dismissed the latest measures announced in the wake of a critical IAEA report in November.

US President Barack Obama signed into law the US bill targeting Iran’s central bank on Saturday. It enters into force in six months’ time.

Since then, however, the Iranian national currency, the rial, has lost about 12% of its value – trading at about 17,200-18,000 rials to $1.

Earlier on Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe called for “stricter sanctions” and urged EU countries to follow the US in freezing Iranian central bank assets and imposing an embargo on oil exports.
‘Mock’ exercises

Speaking to journalists, the State Department’s Victoria Nuland said Tehran was feeling increasingly isolated because of the sanctions.

“Frankly we see these threats from Tehran as just increasing evidence that the international pressure is beginning to bite there and that they are feeling increasingly isolated and they are trying to divert the attention of their own public from the difficulties inside Iran, including the economic difficulties as a result of the sanctions,” she said.

Meanwhile Pentagon spokesman George Little responded to Iranian warnings to keep an aircraft carrier out of the Gulf, saying the Navy was operating within international law and had no plans to pull warships out of the region.Iran has been holding a series of naval exercises in the Gulf, and on Monday

said it had successfully test-fired a surface-to-sea Qader cruise missile, a shorter range Nasr and later, a surface-to-surface Nour missile.

A medium-range surface-to-air missile was successfully launched on Sunday, Iranian media reported.

Iran has conducted 10 days of exercises near the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20% of the world’s traded oil passes.

Tehran said on Monday that “mock” exercises on shutting the strait had been carried out, although there was no intention of closing it.

The BBC’s Iran correspondent James Reynolds says Iran is using the exercises to try to show that it owns the Gulf and has the military capability to defend against any threat to its dominance.

But, says our correspondent, few believe Iran would carry out its threat to shut the Strait of Hormuz as to do so would be considered too economically, politically and possibly militarily damaging for Tehran.

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