Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 31 August 2012

Half of Americans die with almost no money -

Half of Americans die with almost no money - 

Almost half of U.S. retirees die with savings of $10,000 or less, but that grim finding doesn’t fully describe the variability and uncertainty that characterize retirement in America, according to a recent study.

While some retirees struggle profoundly, living at or below the poverty line, others enjoy wealth and health—in fact, the two are strongly linked—while still others have little in savings but enjoy a decent income, according to the report, based on a survey that tracked retirees from 1993 through 2008.

While 46% of retirees have just $10,000 in savings when they die, “That doesn’t mean their standard of living is very low—they might have a relatively generous pension plan, most of them will have Social Security,” said James Poterba, professor of economics at M.I.T., president of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a co-author of the study.

But the findings “suggest something about the financial resiliency of these households,” Poterba added. “They may not have much capacity to absorb a shock, such as an out-of-pocket medical expenditure. They don’t have very much in the way of liquid assets they can access.” 


Man Complains to Police of Prostitute PRICE HIKE... -

Man Complains to Police of Prostitute PRICE HIKE... - 

Police in southeast Michigan say a man called to complain that a woman he had agreed to pay for sex unexpectedly increased the price.

AnnArbor.com reports that police were called to an Ann Arbor home late Wednesday on a report of a robbery. Police say the 45-year-old man and a 19-year-old Ohio woman he contacted online had agreed on a price, but that the man claimed she upped the cost after taking his money.

Police say the woman was arrested. The man wasn't taken into custody.

According to investigators, the man and woman gave vastly different accounts of what happened. The case is under investigation and prosecutors will determine any possible charges.


Japan plans to cut state spending, could run out of money in a month -

Japan plans to cut state spending, could run out of money in a month - 

Japan's government is planning to suspend some state spending as it could run out of cash by October, with a deficit financing bill blocked by opposition parties trying to force Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda into an early election.

The impasse in Japan's parliament has raised fears among investors that the world's third largest economy is being driven towards a "fiscal cliff", Reuters reported.
"The government running out of money is not a story made up. It's a real threat," Finance Minister Jun Azumi told a news conference, making a last-ditch appeal for cooperation by opposition parties to pass the bill.
"Failing to pass the bill will give markets the impression that Japan's fiscal management rests on shaky ground," he said.
Unless the bill clears the current parliamentary session that ends next week, the government will start suspending or reducing some state spending to avoid running out of money for as long as possible, the finance ministry said.
Noda's ruling Democratic Party passed the deficit-financing bill through the lower house on Tuesday. But the opposition boycotted the vote, signalling the bill has little chance of clearing the opposition-controlled upper house.


More Infants Born Addicted to Prescription Drugs - Kentucky the rate rose 2,400 percent, Florida, it rose 500 percent -

More Infants Born Addicted to Prescription Drugs - Kentucky the rate rose 2,400 percent, Florida, it rose 500 percent - 

Instead of the healthy cries of newborns, hospitals are now hearing an increase in shrieking just after birth — just one sign in a rising epidemic of infants born addicted to prescription drugs.

Nationally, the rate of newborns suffering withdrawal, or “neonatal abstinence syndrome,” rose 330 percent from 2000 to 2009, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last spring.

In some states, it’s much worse: In Kentucky, the rate rose 2,400 percent. In Florida, it rose 500 percent between 2004 and 2011, the Sun Sentinel reports. And those figures are likely on the low side, since they don’t include infants without immediate symptoms who go home with parents who don’t report their drug use.

“It’s a silent epidemic that’s going on out there,” Audrey Tayse Haynes, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, told USA Today in its story on the issue. “You need to say: ‘Stop the madness. This is too much.’”

It’s no surprise that the numbers are high in Kentucky and other states with rampant prescription drug abuse. Still, when Van Ingram, executive director of Kentucky’s Office of Drug Control Policy, requested statistics on infant hospitalizations, he was shocked.

Read more -

Quebec police are on the hunt for a sticky-fingered thief after $30 million of maple syrup vanished from a warehouse -

Quebec police are on the hunt for a sticky-fingered thief after $30 million of maple syrup vanished from a warehouse - 

Quebec police are on the hunt for a sticky-fingered thief after millions of dollars of maple syrup vanished from a Quebec warehouse.

The theft was discovered during a routine inventory check last week at the St-Louis-de-Blandford warehouse, where the syrup is being held temporarily. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which is responsible for the global strategic maple syrup reserve, initially kept the news quiet, hoping it would help police solve the crime quickly.

About 10 million pounds of syrup was stored at the site, at a value of more than $30-million.

Anne-Marie Granger Godbout, executive director of the federation, said the organization is still trying to determine how much is missing and declined to offer an estimate. But a spokesman from the Sureté du Québec said the loss was significant.

“We know that it’s millions of dollars that was stolen,” said Sergeant Richard Gagné. “It’s a very large amount.”

All of the maple syrup inventories are fully insured, according to the federation, so there will be no loss to producers.

Ms. Granger Godbout said the theft shouldn’t put the global supply of maple syrup at risk, but warned it could allow the thief to undercut legitimate producers. The federation represents about 10,000 maple syrup producers in Quebec. “Obviously those people stole the maple syrup to sell it somewhere,” she said. “If it’s a big volume, it could be very harmful for the maple syrup industry. The companies that are working in this industry will have to compete with some company that didn’t pay for the maple syrup.”

Quebec produces between 70 and 80 per cent of the world’s maple syrup, with the bulk of export sales taking place in the United States, according to the federation.

The warehouse where the theft occured was a temporary location, and the federation was preparing to move the now-stolen maple syrup to a new location.

Read more -

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Hillary Clinton staying as far away from Democratic National Convention next week in Charlotte as physically possible -

Hillary Clinton staying as far away from Democratic National Convention next week in Charlotte as physically possible - 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as a sitting administration official, does not have any role at the Democratic National Convention next week in Charlotte. But she seems to gone out of her way to avoid the festivities, as she is traveling this week and next to the Cook Islands, Indonesia, China, Timor-Leste, Brunei, and Russia.

"The Cook Islands this year are the hosts of one of the most important institutions of the Pacific called the Pacific Island Forum," a senior State Department official said Thursday. "It's a group that meets yearly with a number of working groups. It's been in existence almost half a century; it's very significant."

It's not Charlotte, but it is a big gathering. Last year, the administration sent 50 officials to the forum, representing 17 different federal agencies. Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides led the delegation in 2011. The official said this trip was part of the administration's rebalancing toward Asia, with a special focus on the smaller countries around the region's periphery.

"Sometimes when we talk about the Asia Pacific, the A is the capital and P is small. And our attempt here is to underscore that we have very strong, enduring, strategic, moral, political, humanitarian interests across the region. It's an area in which we invested substantially historically -- blood and treasure," the official said.

Read more -

Queen Elizabeth II Wears A Hoodie While Driving A Range Rover -

Queen Elizabeth II Wears A Hoodie While Driving A Range Rover - 

queen hoodie

Queen Elizabeth II is cooler than any of us. She raises corgis, parachutes from planes with James Bond (sort of) and hangs out with some awesome girlfriends. Should we even keep trying?

Her Majesty took to the wheel in Balmoral over the weekend -- home of the infamous corgis vs. Princess Beatrice's terrier smackdown -- rollin' in a Range Rover on her way back from a grouse shoot. But instead of her trademark floral hats -- much more customary for a royal -- she slipped into some unusual headgear, wearing what appeared to be a grey-colored hoodie.

The 86-year-old queen usually scoots around in her chaffeured Bentley, so we're surprised to see her gunning behind the wheel of a green Range Rover. But regardless... THAT HOODIE.

Read more -

98-year-old message in bottle sets world record - promised a reward of a sixpence -

98-year-old message in bottle sets world record - promised a reward of a sixpence - 

It was scooped up from the sea after 98 years, and now officials say a message in a bottle discovered in Scotland has set a world record.
Fisherman Andrew Leaper found the bottle-- released in 1914 -- in his nets in April while sailing east of the Shetland Islands, which lie off Scotland's northern coast.
Guinness World Records confirmed Thursday the find is the oldest message in a bottle ever recovered, beating a previous record by five years.
It was released in a batch of 1,890 bottles in a government experiment to map the undercurrents of the seas around Scotland.
Inside each bottle, a postcard asks the finder to record details of the discovery and promises a reward of a sixpence. Unfortunately for Leaper, the coin no longer exists.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/08/30/8-year-old-message-in-bottle-sets-world-record/?test=latestnews

University of Cape Town Researchers Believe They Have Found a Single Dose Cure for Malaria -

University of Cape Town Researchers Believe They Have Found a Single Dose Cure for Malaria - 

The University of Cape Town’s Science Department believes that it has found a single dose cure for Malaria. This was announced by researchers that have been working on this compound, from the aminopyridine class, for several years. Unlike conventional multidrug malaria treatments that the malaria parasite has become resistant to, Professor Kelly Chibale and his colleagues now believe that they have discovered a drug that over 18 months of trials ”killed these resistant parasites instantly”. Animal tests also showed that it was not only safe and effective, but there were no adverse reported side effects. Clinical tests are scheduled for the end of 2013. If this tablet is approved in coming years, this achievement will surely usher in a new age for science in Africa. It will save millions upon millions of lives on the continent, helping avoid at least 24 percent of child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. Professor Chibale proudly explains: “This is the first ever clinical molecule that’s been discovered out of Africa, by Africans, from a modern pharmaceutical industry drug discovery programme. The potent drug has been tested on animals and has shown that a single oral dose has completely cured those infected with malaria parasites.” This “super pill” could potentially cure millions of people every year, and save the lives of over one million people from around the world each year. This “cure” will most likely save health care systems throughout the developing world billions of dollars and open new areas for development and settlement.


Florida girl looks to play the field as first in Quarterback role for high school football team -

Florida girl looks to play the field as first in Quarterback role for high school football team - 

When girls break down the high school football barrier and get on the field, it's usually to kick extra points. But when Erin DiMeglio gets in the game, she's calling signals.
The 17-year-old from Florida drew cheers when she went in to play quarterback in the fourth quarter of South Plantation High School's final pre-season game Friday, and if she takes a snap in the regular season, she'll make Sunshine State history. 
"I couldn't take the smile off my face," DiMeglio told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "You'd think the other team would want to know why I'm there, but other players have been great. After the game, they shook my hand and said it was great I was playing football."
With her ponytail tucked inside her helmet, the 5-foot-6, 160-pound DiMeglio completed two passes against Seminole Ridge, calling the plays and staying safe in the pocket.
"Since she's a girl, you don't want her to get hurt," lineman Kevin Avila told the paper. "We want to have more protection for her."
State records show 523 girls have participated in Florida high school football games as placekickers, receivers, defensive backs and, according to the Sun-Sentinel, there's even been one who played on the offensive line. But nobody remembers ever seeing a girl playing the game's most critical position.
"We've had girls in South Florida that had the ability to [play quarterback], but they never have," said Larry Blustein, a high school football analyst who has covered the state for 42 years. "You have to give her credit. I've never seen anything like this before."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/08/30/florida-girl-eyes-becoming-first-to-play-quarterback-for-high-school-football/

Russia is disengaging from Syria: Arms shipments stopped, warships exit Tartus -

Russia is disengaging from Syria: Arms shipments stopped, warships exit Tartus - 

Russian naval vessels have unexpectedly departed the Syrian Mediterranean port of Tartus and Russian arms shipments to Syria have been suddenly discontinued. DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal that those and other steps indicate that the Russians are rapidly drawing away from the Syrian arena to avoid getting caught up in the escalating hostilities expected to arise from military intervention by the US, Europe and a number of Arab states. Russian intelligence appears to have decided that this outside intervention is imminent and Moscow looks anxious to keep its distance for now.
According to our military and Russian sources, these drastic steps must have been personally ordered by President Vladimir Putin. He is believed to have acted over the objections of some of his army and naval chiefs. This would explain the mixed statements issuing from Moscow in recent days about the disposition of Russian personnel at the naval base in Tartus and Russian military personnel in Syria.
Wednesday, Aug. 22, Commander of the Russian Navy Vice Adm. Viktor Chirkov said that if the fighting in Syria reached Tartus, Moscow may decide to evacuate the base. He stressed that this decision would have to be taken on the authority of President Putin. He was the first Russian official to suggest the possibility of an evacuation.


Chocolate may lower the risk of stroke in men -

Chocolate may lower the risk of stroke in men - 

Chocolate – often touted for aiding heart health – may have another benefit up its sleeve.
Men who eat a moderate amount of chocolate per week can possibly lower their risk of stroke, according to new research published in the journal Neurology.
Study author Susanna Larsson, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, said it was natural to examine chocolate’s effects on stroke, given its other healthy properties.
“Chocolate consumption has been shown to reduce blood pressure, which is a strong risk factor for stroke,” Larsson told FoxNews.com.  “Chocolate also reduces LDL cholesterol, which is also a risk factor for stroke.  So it made sense to look at stroke.”
Larsson and her team conducted a study of over 37,000 Swedish men between the ages of 49 and 75.  Each participant filled out a food questionnaire detailing the different foods and drinks they consumed, as well as discussing how often they ate chocolate.  The scientists then identified how many men suffered from strokes over a 10 year period – recording close to 2,000 cases.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/08/30/chocolate-may-lower-risk-stroke-in-men/?test=latestnews

Obama Honored Fallen SEALs By Sending Their Parents a Form Letter Signed By Electric Pen -

Obama Honored Fallen SEALs By Sending Their Parents a Form Letter Signed By Electric Pen - 

On August 6, 2011, 30 US service members were killed when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter they were being transported in crashed in Wardak province, Afghanistan. It was the deadliest single loss for U.S. forces in the decade-long war in Afghanistan. 17 members of the elite Navy SEALs were killed in the crash.

Yesterday, Karen and Billy Vaughn, parents of Aaron Carson Vaughn, spoke at the Defending the Defenders forum sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots outside the RNC Convention in Tampa. Karen brought a copy of the form letter they were sent following their son’s death.

It’s a form letter.

It was signed by an electric pen.

That’s not all.
Karen Vaughn reached out to the parents of the other SEALs killed in that crash.
Their letters were all the same.
Form letters – signed by an electric pen.

Here’s a closer look at the letter sent to the parents of Chief Petty Officer Nicholas H. Null.
It’s the same form letter.

After the deadliest single loss of US forces in Afghanistan, Barack Obama sent out form letters to the parents.


Last Blue Moon Until 2015 Appears This Friday -

Last Blue Moon Until 2015 Appears This Friday - 

Your last chance to see a blue moon until 2015 will come around this Friday (Aug. 31), but don't expect an azure hue in the sky.
In fact, "blue moon" refers not to color, but to rarity. Blue moons are defined as either the fourth full moon in a season, or, more recently, as the second full moon in a month. It's the second definition that covers August's blue moon; the month's first full moon was on Aug. 1.
Blue moons happen because our calendar months don't precisely sync with the moon's orbit. It takes the moon 29.5 days to wax and wane from full to new to full again. With the exception of February, months are longer than that, meaning that once in a while the timing works out so there are two full moons in one month.
Blue moons are best known from the phrase "once in a blue moon," meant to refer to something extremely rare. Two blue moons in a month aren't all that unusual, however; they occur 2.7 years apart on average, though not with great regularity. The last blue moon occurred on Dec. 31, 2009. That "New Year's Eve Blue Moon" also coincided with a partial lunar eclipse for viewers in Europe, Asia, Africa and some parts of Alaska.
Another truly rare event is a year with two blue moons. The last time a single year had two months with two full moons was in 1999. The next time double blue moons will occur is in 2018.
All of these dates are based on a new definition of "blue moon," however. In traditional folklore, blue moons were defined as the fourth full moon in a season (three being the norm). But that definition shifted in 1946, when a writer for Sky and Telescope magazine simplified the definition (or got it wrong, depending on your perspective) to the two-in-a-month phenomenon. The simpler definition caught on.
The moon will be at its fullest at 9:58 a.m. EDT (1358 GMT) on Friday. The next blue moon will occur on July 31, 2015.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/08/29/last-blue-moon-until-2015-appears-friday/

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

In the Event of MOON DISASTER: "The speech the that was never given" -

In the Event of MOON DISASTER: "The speech the that was never given" - 

It’s impossible to mention Neil Armstrong without remembering his most notable achievement as the first man to walk on the moon. Since Armstrong’s death on Saturday, the nation has been recollecting that moment in 1969 when NASA gave the world its first successful lunar landing.

But, what if the first lunar landing had turned out differently? What if the astronauts never made it back? As fictitious as that may seem now, in 1969, it was a keen possibility. In fact, President Nixon’s speech writer, William Safire, created a speech for such a contingency and sent it as a memo entitled, “In Event of Moon Disaster” to Nixon’s chief of staff, H.R. Halderman, just days before the event.

In a 1999 interview with NBC’s Meet The Press, Safire discussed the circumstances surrounding the eerie speech, “At that time, the most dangerous part of the moon mission, was getting the moon module back into orbit and join the command ship.”

He continued, “But if they couldn’t, they would have to be abandoned on the moon, left to die there. And mission control would have to close down communication. The men would either starve to death or commit suicide.”

So, while most of the world anticipated the best case scenario, Safire planned for the worst by providing the president with words that would not only honor the lost astronauts but also give hope for future space explorations.

Although moving, reading the speech today is like glimpsing into an alternate reality where things turned out much differently. It can’t help but make you wonder what might have been.

The full text of the never delivered, “In Event of Moon Disaster” speech is below:

“Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by the nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at the stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.”

Read more -

Virgin Airlines says whoever accumulates most frequent flier points over the next year will get a Free Trip to Space -

Virgin Airlines says whoever accumulates most frequent flier points over the next year will get a Free Trip to Space - 

With most frequent flier programs, participants get free flights, access to airport lounges, and free upgrades on their rental cars. But Virgin Airlines just announced that whoever accumulates the most frequent flier points over the next year will get a free trip to space.

Richard Branson's space tourism company Virgin Galactic, which has been planning sub-orbital flights to space since 2004, appears to be ready to start taking space tourists just outside of Earth's atmosphere.

From now until August 7, 2013, Virgin is offering frequent fliers the chance to upgrade to "Galactic" status. Whoever accumulates the most points by that date will win a free flight aboard the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo space plane. The second-place winner will get a free zero-gravity flight aboard a modified airplane here on Earth.

More than 500 people have placed deposits for the $200,000 trip aboard SpaceShipTwo since 2005. Although Virgin has successfully tested the vehicle, it still hasn't flown any tourists to space.

The SpaceShipTwo is designed to carry six passengers, and it's launched midair from another "carrier" airplane. The Federal Aviation Administration has given the company the go-ahead to test SpaceShipTwo in "powered flight" by the end of the year. It has already successfully completed "gliding" tests.

Virgin isn't the only company working on sub-orbital flights. Virginia-based Space Adventures has been planning hour-long trips to 62 miles above the earth's surface at a price of just over $100,000.


'Hitler' clothing store stirs anger in India - with a Nazi swastika as the dot on the "i" -

'Hitler' clothing store stirs anger in India - with a Nazi swastika as the dot on the "i" - 

The owner of an Indian clothing store said Wednesday that he would only change its name from "Hitler" if he was compensated for re-branding costs, amid a growing row over the new shop.
The outlet, which sells Western men's wear, opened 10 days ago in Ahmedabad city in the western state of Gujarat with "Hitler" written in big letters over the front and with a Nazi swastika as the dot on the "i".
"I will change it (the name) if people want to compensate me for the money we have spent -- the logo, the hoarding, the business cards, the brand," Rajesh Shah told AFP.
He put the total costs at about 150,000 rupees ($2,700).
Shah insisted that until the store opened he did not know who Adolf Hitler was and that Hitler was a nickname given to the grandfather of his store partner because "he was very strict".
"I didn't know how much the name would disturb people," he told AFP by telephone from Ahmedabad. "It was only when the store opened I learnt Hitler had killed six million people."
Members of the tiny Jewish community in Ahmedabad condemned the store's name, while a senior Israeli diplomat said the embassy would raise the matter "in the strongest possible way."
"People use such names mostly out of ignorance," Israel's Mumbai Consul General Orna Sagiv told AFP.
Esther David, a prominent Indian writer in Ahmedabad who is Jewish, said she was "disturbed and distressed" by the shop, but added that some Indians used the word "Hitler" casually to describe autocratic people.
David said Jewish residents had sought to change Shah's mind about the store's name and told him about the Holocaust.


California bans 'gay cure' therapy as lawmakers urged Assembly members to stand with 'sissy boys' -

California bans 'gay cure' therapy as lawmakers urged Assembly members to stand with 'sissy boys' - 

A bill prohibiting the use of controversial therapy aimed at 'curing' homosexuality on gay teenagers has been approved by California's Assembly, bringing the state a step closer to becoming the first in the U.S. to outlaw the practice.
The vote in the Democratic-controlled Assembly on Tuesday represented a major victory for gay rights advocates who insist that so-called conversion therapy has no medical basis because homosexuality is not a disorder.
Democrat Richardo Lara, one of several openly gay legislators to champion the bill during the debate, urged Assembly members to stand with 'sissy boys'.

Conversion therapy is an attempt to change the sexual orientation of a subject from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual.
Opponents of the practice say such efforts can cause depression and lead to substance abuse and suicide.
The bill to prohibit children and teenagers from undergoing such therapy was passed by a vote of 51 to 21, a Reuters report said.
'One of our number one priorities in this house is to protect the next generation of Californians,' Mr Lara said in a speech ahead of the vote.
'And some of those are sissy boys. And some of those sissy boys grow up to be Assembly members. And some of those sissy boys need help. And we are here to stand with those sissy boys.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2195109/California-bans-gay-cure-therapy-lawmakers-say-want-protect-sissy-boys.html

Cops Bust Armed Robber Who Wore Barack Obama Mask During McDonald's Stickup -

Cops Bust Armed Robber Who Wore Barack Obama Mask During McDonald's Stickup - 

An armed robber who wore a Barack Obama mask during a stickup earlier this year at a Florida McDonald’s has been arrested, police reported today.

Marvin McTeare, 22, is facing armed robbery and grand theft charges in connection with the late-January incident during which a masked gunman corralled employees into a rear office and had a McDonald’s manager turn over cash from a safe.

As seen above, one of the Riviera Beach eatery’s surveillance cameras captured the black-clad robber pointing a handgun while wearing a mask depicting a beaming Obama.


Bolivian Police Seize 2 Tons of Uranium - in sacks of jute and nylon -

Bolivian Police Seize 2 Tons of Uranium - in sacks of jute and nylon - 

Bolivian police on Tuesday confiscated two tons of uranium that was being stored at a building in central La Paz located near the U.S. and Spanish embassies.
Four people, all of them Bolivian nationals, were arrested while they were transferring the uranium from one vehicle to another, Deputy Interior Minister Jorge Perez said.
The radioactive material was in sacks of jute and nylon, he said.
Since Bolivia does not produce uranium, Perez said, authorities assume the consignment originated in either of two neighboring countries that do: Brazil or Chile.
The commander of the elite police unit that carried out the operation, Col. Eddy Torrez, said the seizure was the fruit of a six-week investigation.
Police pounced when they learned the people in possession of the uranium planned to meet Tuesday with a potential buyer, the colonel said.
Perez said one of the people arrested is an engineer who told police he was holding the uranium for other people, but provided no information on the owners of the cache. 

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/08/28/bolivian-police-seize-2-tons-uranium/

OOPS - HOT MIC: ABC NEWS employee heard saying Romneys 'happy to have a party when black people drown'... -

OOPS - HOT MIC: ABC NEWS employee heard saying Romneys 'happy to have a party when black people drown'... - 

During live coverage of the Republican National Convention here in Tampa, an ABC News employee provided the perfect example of the pervasive anti-Republican bias Mitt Romney faces in his bid to unseat President Barack Obama.

In video broadcast Monday night by ABC over the internet, an ABC News employee can be heard claiming that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann are unconcerned about the fate of residents of the New Orleans area who are currently being hit by Hurricane Isaac.

“They aren’t concerned at all,” the person says on tape. “They are happy to have a party when black people drown.”

That line elicits laughter from several employees listening in on the joke.

From the audio, it appears the person was talking to an unknown individual named “John” who presumably was making additional jokes at the expense of Ann Romney although such jokes cannot be heard on the clip.

Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-sheffield/2012/08/29/abc-news-romneys-happy-have-party-when-black-people-drown

Rogue rail car rolls undetected across bridge from N.Y. to Niagara Falls, Ont. - across the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge -

Rogue rail car rolls undetected across bridge from N.Y. to Niagara Falls, Ont. - across the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge - 

No one noticed the rogue rail car cross the border from Niagara Falls, N.Y. to Niagara Falls, Ont., in the wee hours of Aug. 12.

Somehow, the rail car left the CSX rail yard on American soil and rolled across the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge before halting in the Niagara Via Rail station, which was closed for the night.

CSX didn’t notice. Neither the U.S. Customs and Border Protection nor the Canada Border Services Agency noticed. The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, owner of the bridge, didn’t notice.

In fact, the rail car went undetected until Via Rail employees reported the migrant boxcar to authorities when they arrived at work.

And though two weeks have passed, details remain scant as authorities investigate what happened.

“The incident . . . is being treated as an act of vandalism and remains under investigation,” CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan said. He would not elaborate further but said the rail car, which is used to carry finished vehicles, was empty when it rolled across the bridge.

It likely crossed between 1 or 2 a.m., said Brent Gallaugher, the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission’s manager of agency relations and security.

The CBSA refused to say what time it was alerted to the rail car’s appearance because the matter is “under review,” but the Niagara Regional Police Service was called at 12:47 p.m., according to spokesman Const. Derek Watson.

When the CBSA and the police searched the rail car — perhaps as long as 12 hours after it arrived — it was empty.

“The report came in initially as a suspicious runaway box car, but was quickly deemed not suspicious. The box car was empty, and could be described as an open car carrier railway box car,” Watson said in an email.

“We are confident it just got dislodged as cars were being moved into place on the U.S. side,” CBSA spokeswoman Jean D’Amelio Swyer said in an email.

CN Police are also involved in the investigation as CN owns the property where the rail car landed.


Black CNN employee racially taunted @ Republican Convention - attendee threw peanuts "this is how we feed the animals." -

Black CNN employee racially taunted @ Republican Convention - attendee threw peanuts "this is how we feed the animals." - 

An african American employee of cable news channel CNN was racially taunted during the Republican National Convention.

An attendee of the convention threw peanuts at the CNN employee and shouted, "this is how we feed the animals."

CNN put on this statement.

"CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon," the statement read. "CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment."

Read more -

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

A New Run On The Banks? Spaniards Pulling Cash Out At Record Rates -

A New Run On The Banks? Spaniards Pulling Cash Out At Record Rates - 

Spanish consumers are pulling their cash out of banks at record levels, according to figures released on Tuesday.

Private sector deposits fell by nearly 5 percent in July to €1.509, the Telegraph reported, citing European Central Bank data, as public confidence in the banking system reached all-time lows amid a worsening economic situation.

The news comes after bond markets continued to hammer the debt-ridden euro zone nations Spain and Italy last week.

On Friday, the interest rate on a 10-year loan to the Spanish government briefly topped 6 percent -- a level that forced Greece into a default earlier this year, despite massive financial support from international sources -- before settling back to 5.96 percent.

"The pick-up in yields is a clear negative headline for Spain," Jo Tomkins, an analyst at 4Cast, a consulting firm, told the New York Times. "The country is facing a double-whammy of low growth and tough austerity, and [there are] doubts that it will be able to hit already optimistic deficit targets."

The surge in bond yields was followed by a two-notch credit downgrade by Standard & Poor's, which slashed the country's rating to BBB + on worries about the government's exposure to the nation's ailing banks. The current reduced rating is still considered to be investment grade.

The yield on Spain's two-year notes surged to the highest level in 18 years, Bloomberg News said.

Meanwhile, Spanish unemployment climbed to 24.4 percent of the workforce, the government said.

Italy's cost of borrowing was close behind its western neighbor: The yield on a 10-year note rose Friday to 5.84 percent from 5.24 percent.

"These ... results certainly came at a price which, in turn, leaves a question mark over how long Italy will be able to finance itself at levels that can be deemed sustainable," Richard McGuire, senior fixed income strategist at Rabobank, told the Wall Street Journal.

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At Paralympics, officials on guard for wheelchair athletes who self-harm for performance boost -

At Paralympics, officials on guard for wheelchair athletes who self-harm for performance boost - 

Some Paralympians are prepared to break a toe for victory.

Others have stabbed their legs, sat on needles and ripped out catheters, all for the sake of gaining an edge.

It’s called “boosting,” and the effects can increase an athlete’s performance by as much as 10 per cent. As a result, officials will be testing for it at the Paralympic Games, which open Wednesday in London, England.

“It’s more pronounced in the top levels, but any athlete who is competitive might want that competitive edge,” said Chris Gee, who has coached and worked with disabled athletes in Canada. The GTA-based Gee wouldn’t divulge names but said he knows of several athletes at the Games who have boosted in the past.

Simply put, boosting athletes cause themselves pain they can’t feel in order to increase their heart rate and blood pressure.

The technique only works for athletes with severe spinal cord injuries. When these athletes exercise, their heart rates don’t rise, nor will their blood pressure.

Boosting is dangerous because the athletes don’t feel anything, yet their body is reacting. The resulting spike in blood pressure can lead to a fast race — or stroke or heart attack.

“It’s an extreme thing to do and we have to constantly remind athletes it’s very dangerous,” Craig Spence, a spokesman for the International Paralympic Committee, told the Associated Press.

These athletes are, in essence, tricking their own bodies. It’s officially called autonomic dysreflexia. That is, a reflex that occurs when the lower part of their body is exposed to painful stimuli.

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Deaf Three-Year-Old Not Allowed to Sign His Name Because It Violates Preschool’s Weapons Policy -

Deaf Three-Year-Old Not Allowed to Sign His Name Because It Violates Preschool’s Weapons Policy - 
Deaf Three-Year-Old Not Allowed to Sign His Name Because It Violates Preschool's Weapons Policy

A deaf preschooler in Grand Island, Nebraska, has been prohibited from signing his own name because school administrators believe the gesture he uses looks too much like a gun.

quot;He's deaf, and his name sign, they say, is a violation of their weapons policy," Hunter Spanjer's father Brian told Channel 10/11.

Hunter uses Signing Exact English or SEE — a form of manual communication that uses modified ASL handshapes in an effort to better mimic the spoken English language.

"Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous," Hunter's grandmother told the news outlet. "This is not threatening in any way."


Fifth-grade Teacher Helps Students Cheat Because She Says They’re ‘Dumb As Hell’ -

Fifth-grade Teacher Helps Students Cheat Because She Says They’re ‘Dumb As Hell’ - 

A former fifth-grade teacher implicated in a cheating scandal reportedly gave students the illegal assistance because she thought they were “dumb as hell.”

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, math teacher Shayla Smith was accused of offering students the answers to a test they were taking at the time. She had reportedly been responsible for supervising them while the tests were being completed.

Schajuan Jones, who taught a fourth-grade class across the hall from Smith’s former room, overheard her talking to another teacher about the test.

“The words were, ‘I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they’re dumb as hell,’” Jones was quoted as saying about the interaction between Smith and the unidentified third teacher.

A former student also allegedly accused Smith of cheating, adding that the educator offered the girl, now in eighth grade, the answers to a math test in 2010.

The tribunal deliberated for just one hour before handing down a guilty verdict. Smith had been charged with willful neglect and immorality, and she subsequently lost her job.

Smith’s case was part of a larger investigation that implicated approximately 180 public school teachers in the city, sparked by investigations performed by the newspaper.


Monday, 27 August 2012

230 million years old Prehistoric bugs from time of dinosaurs found frozen in amber - 100 million more than oldest -

230 million years old Prehistoric bugs from time of dinosaurs found frozen in amber - 100 million more than oldest - 

Photomicrographs of the two new species of ancient gall mites in 230-million-year-old amber droplets from northeastern Italy

Scientists said Monday they have found three well-preserved ancient insects frozen in amber -- and time -- in what is Earth's oldest bug trap.
The discoveries in Italy may sound like something out of "Jurassic Park," but these bugs are even older than that. They are about 230 million years old, which puts them in the Triassic time period, and about 100 million years older than what had been the previously known oldest insects trapped in amber, or fossilized tree resin.
Researchers painstakingly examined 70,000 droplets of amber found in northeastern Italy. Stuck in them were two microscopic mites and much of one fly. The mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye and the fly is a bit tinier than a fruit fly, researchers say.
The discovery was reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
While older insects have been found in rock fossils, these are different because they are not compressed and better preserved, said study lead author David Grimaldi, curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
And you can see more detail, he said.
"That's the great thing about amber. You can make this incredible detailed comparison with living species." Grimaldi said.
When he compared the ancient mites to their modern-day descendants, he was surprised by how similar they are. Except for differences in the mouth and fewer legs, "they're dead ringers for (modern) gall mites," he said. The modern ones can be found in bubbles, or galls, on plant leaves.
And that's surprising because the world has changed a lot from when these bugs were alive. Back then, there was only one giant continent, some early primitive dinosaurs and no flowering plants. Mites now live on flowering plants, but their ancient relatives must have stayed on trees, Grimaldi said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/08/27/prehistoric-bugs-from-time-dinosaurs-found-frozen-in-amber/?intcmp=features

Man steals Ebola patient's phone, gets infected -

Man steals Ebola patient's phone, gets infected - 

A thief has caught the deadly Ebola virus after stealing a mobile phone from a patient with the disease, an African newspaper has reported.
Uganda's Daily Monitor reports that the 40-year-old man travelled close to two miles from his home town to the Kagadi Hospital in the Kibaale district, and crept into the isolation ward in the dead of night.
He then made off with a patient's phone worth $23.
The patient had the deadly Ebola fever, but before he died he managed to tell police of the theft.
Officers tracked down a man who had started using the phone, who then confessed to the crime.
The man claimed he had visited the ward to "comfort" patients, though he didn't know any of them in person, district police commander John Ojokuna Elatu told the Sunday Monitor.
Soon afterwards he started showing signs of the disease.
Kibaale District Health Officer, Dr Dan Kyamanywa, said: “The suspect is admitted at Kagadi Hospital with clinical signs of Ebola. He is receiving medication.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/08/27/man-steals-ebola-patient-phone-gets-infected/

Friday, 24 August 2012

Voice of 'Sesame Street's' 'Count' dies - one, two -

Voice of 'Sesame Street's' 'Count' dies - one, two - 
Voice of 'Sesame Street's' The Count dies at 78

Puppeteer Jerry Nelson, famous for lending his voice to Muppets on “Sesame Street,” “The Muppet Show” and “Fraggle Rock,” died Thursday, according to People. He was 78.

The cast and crew of “Sesame Street,” and the staff of Sesame Workshop, released the following statement in memoriam: “A member of the ‘Sesame Street’ family for more than 40 years, [Nelson] will forever be in our hearts and remembered for the artistry in his puppetry, his music, and the laughter he brought to children worldwide…”

Nelson is, perhaps, best recognized as the voice of Count von Count, a friendly vampire with an unmistakable laugh and an affinity for numbers:

Counting floors:

Read more -

China could penetrate US with new huge missile -

China could penetrate US with new huge missile - 

It might be time to sweep the cobwebs out of that old nuclear bunker at the bottom of the garden after reports in state-run Chinese media confirmed that the People’s Liberation Army is actively developing an intercontinental missile capable of penetrating US defences.
News first emerged of the planned ‘super missile’ from defence industry bible Jane’s Defence Weeklylast week, according to South China Morning Post.
It apparently claimed that a Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), had been fired in testing last month by the PLA’s Second Artillery Corps.
This third-generation missile, US military sources told Jane’s, contain multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) – effectively multiple warheads – meaning they would be almost impossible for current US defences to take down.

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Trusts set up so people can pass music, e-books on to their heirs... -

Trusts set up so people can pass music, e-books on to their heirs... - 

Many of us will accumulate vast libraries of digital books and music over the course of our lifetimes. But when we die, our collections of words and music may expire with us.

Someone who owned 10,000 hardcover books and the same number of vinyl records could bequeath them to descendants, but legal experts say passing on iTunes and Kindle libraries would be much more complicated.

And one’s heirs stand to lose huge sums of money. “I find it hard to imagine a situation where a family would be OK with losing a collection of 10,000 books and songs,” says Evan Carroll, co-author of “Your Digital Afterlife.” “Legally dividing one account among several heirs would also be extremely difficult.”

Part of the problem is that with digital content, one doesn’t have the same rights as with print books and CDs. Customers own a license to use the digital files—but they don’t actually own them.

Apple AAPL +0.08%    and Amazon.com AMZN +1.88%    grant “nontransferable” rights to use content, so if you buy the complete works of the Beatles on iTunes, you cannot give the White Album to your son and Abbey Road to your daughter.

According to Amazon’s terms of use, “You do not acquire any ownership rights in the software or music content.” Apple limits the use of digital files to Apple devices used by the account holder.

“That account is an asset and something of value,” says Deirdre R. Wheatley-Liss, an estate planning attorney at Fein, Such, Kahn & Shepard in Parsippany, N.J.

But can it be passed on to one’s heirs?

Most digital content exists in a legal black hole. “The law is light years away from catching up with the types of assets we have in the 21st Century,” says Wheatley-Liss. In recent years, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Indiana, Oklahoma and Idaho passed laws to allow executors and relatives access to email and social networking accounts of those who’ve died, but the regulations don’t cover digital files purchased.

Apple and Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.

There are still few legal and practical ways to inherit e-books and digital music, experts say. And at least one lawyer has a plan to capitalize on what may become be a burgeoning market. David Goldman, a lawyer in Jacksonville, says he will next month launch software, DapTrust, to help estate planners create a legal trust for their clients’ online accounts that hold music, e-books and movies. “With traditional estate planning and wills, there’s no way to give the right to someone to access this kind of information after you’re gone,” he says.

Here’s how it works: Goldman will sell his software for $150 directly to estate planners to store and manage digital accounts and passwords. And, while there are other online safe-deposit boxes like AssetLock and ExecutorSource that already do that, Goldman says his software contains instructions to create a legal trust for accounts. “Having access to digital content and having the legal right to use it are two totally different things,” he says.

The simpler alternative is to just use your loved one’s devices and accounts after they’re gone—as long as you have the right passwords.

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NYC officers kill gunman and upwards of 9 bystanders were injured in the crossfire @ Empire State Building this morning -

NYC officers kill gunman and upwards of 9 bystanders were injured in the crossfire  @ Empire State Building this morning - 
Empire State Building Shooting -- Gunman Jeffrey Johnson Shot Dead on Sidewalk

The man who gunned down several rush-hour commuters outside the Empire State Building this morning was killed in a hail of police gunfire ... in plain view of the public.

53-year-old Jeffrey Johnson was fired from his job last year at Hazan Imports, a woman's clothing store ...  across the street from the Empire State building. He returned this morning around 9AM for revenge, shooting and killing a former co-worker with a .45-caliber handgun.

The streets were packed with tourists and commuters at the time -- and according to police, Johnson fled the scene ... walking up 5th Avenue with his gun concealed in a black bag under his arm.

An eyewitness who saw the shooting alerted nearby officers who then approached Johnson -- and cops claim Johnson responded by taking out his gun and opening fire.

The officers returned fire, killing Johnson -- and upwards of 9 bystanders were injured in the crossfire.

Mayor Bloomberg released a statement saying, "What I want to do is assure everybody this has nothing to do with terrorism."

Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2012/08/24/empire-state-shooter-shot-dead/

70% of Obama's 19 million TWITTER followers fake... -

70% of Obama's 19 million TWITTER followers fake... - 

President Obama's Twitter account has 18.8 million followers -- but more than half of them really don't exist, according to reports.

A new Web tool has determined that 70% of Obama's crowd includes "fake followers," The New York Times reports in a story about how Twitter followers can be purchased.

"The practice has become so widespread that StatusPeople, a social media management company in London, released a Web tool last month called the Fake Follower Check that it says can ascertain how many fake followers you and your friends have," the Times reports.

"Fake accounts tend to follow a lot of people but have few followers," said Rob Waller, a founder of StatusPeople. "We then combine that with a few other metrics to confirm the account is fake."

Notes the Times:

If accurate, the number of fake followers out there is surprising. According to the StatusPeople tool, 71 percent of Lady Gaga's nearly 29 million followers are "fake" or "inactive." So are 70 percent of President Obama's nearly 19 million followers.

Republican opponent Mitt Romney has far fewer Twitter followers -- not quite 900,000 -- but it's a good bet that some of them are fake as well.

Both campaigns have denied buying Twitter followers.

Read more -