Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beckett News ? New Jersey family spends the day with a New York ...


By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Michael Rosato played football on his front lawn with a few of his friends. They ran routes to get to the end zone disguised as a driveway. They handed off the ball to their secret weapon, a little girl who giggled the whole time.

But one of the players stood out above the group of 7-year-olds.

New York Giants second-year player Prince Amukamara was the quarterback.

?It was priceless seeing him out there playing football,? Michael?s mother Anne Rosato said.

The Rosato family won Panini America?s NFL Player of the Day promotion where they got to meet an NFL player. Initially, it was announced they would get to hang out with wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, but the New York Giant canceled that morning. After calling around and scrambling to find a new player, Amukamara was happy to come to the family?s house, play football, sign a few autographs and check out Michael?s extensive card collection.

?It was pretty wild,? Frank Rosato said. ?We couldn?t ask for a better person than Prince. He was absolutely tremendous. Panini did a really great job.?

Frank Rosato, 43, was the winner of the grand prize, but shared the day with his family and friends. About 100 people greeted Amukamara when he pulled up to the Rosato home in a stretch limousine that the family got to ride in afterward.

Amukamara bought jerseys and even brought his Super Bowl championship ring, which a number of the family members tried on and took pictures with it.

Even though the family was prepared for Nicks with banners and posters bearing his name, they quickly removed them and found new photos of Amukamara. There were New York Giants balloons in front of the two-story home. Inside, the family decorated with blue and white ribbons and Giants napkins.

At the end of the day, disappointment was not a feeling any of them would use to describe it.

?It was really fun,? said Michael, who wouldn?t leave Prince?s side. ?My favorite part was playing football with my friend and Prince.?
Frank Rosato, an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan, seemed surprised it was announced in March he won the contest. It didn?t hit him even a couple of weeks after the fact. Instead, it seemed his co-workers were more excited for him.

?When the numbers came out and told us how many people entered and won, I was shocked,? Rosato said. ?In some respects, I?m still in shock. You never get over it. It?s a huge deal.?

After an hour at the family?s house in New Providence, N.J., Amukamara signed for another hour at Attack of the Baseball Cards in Union, N.J., where Rosato was entered to win the contest. The promotion gave publicity to the card shop owned by Steve Mandy tucked away next to batting cages.

Mandy, who has been in business for 31 years, was happy his loyal customers got to take part of the festivities.

?We had about 150 people here,? Mandy said. ?We take part in all the contests the card companies do. We?re constantly doing stuff. Prince is a good player too, a first-round draft pick.?

Amukamara, who was drafted in 2011, seemed bewildered by all the children running. However, he quickly got into the action and enjoyed his time with the Rosato family asking questions throw at him by Michael and his sister Emily.

He got to see Michael?s room, which was decorated with football posters and McFarlane figures, and saw his football card collection. Amukamara even saw the ?Steelers room? as the family calls it with Frank Rosato?s Steeler memorabilia draped around.

Amukamara gets the collecting aspect. The 22-year-old said he collected cards are as a child, but they were Pokemon cards.

?It was almost overwhelming, but definitely worth it,? Amukamara said. ?I?m glad I my calendar was free and I was able to come down and celebrate with them.?

Susan Lulgjuraj is an editor of Beckett Football. You can email her here with questions, comments or ideas. Follow her on Twitter here. Follow Beckett Media on Facebook and Twitter.

Source: http://www.beckett.com/news/2013/04/new-jersey-family-spends-the-day-with-a-new-york-giant/

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UBS's private bank fuels forecast-beating profit

By Katharina Bart

ZURICH (Reuters) - UBS's private bank attracted the most customer money for six years in the first quarter, recovering from a poor end to 2012 and backing the Swiss bank's drive to focus on managing wealthy clients' cash.

UBS's investment bank also beat analyst expectations, countering skepticism that largely exiting the fixed income business - including cutting 10,000 jobs across the bank - would sound the unit's death knell.

"While it is too early to declare victory, we have shown our business model works in practice," UBS Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti told analysts in a conference call on Tuesday.

UBS's shares were up 5.7 percent to 16.6 Swiss francs at 0850 GMT (4.50 a.m. ET), within a 1.1 percent firmer European banking sector index <.sx7p>, helping narrow a performance gap with rival Credit Suisse that has opened up this year. Credit Suisse, trading ex-dividend, was 3.1 percent lower.

"These figures should do a lot to reassure the restructuring of UBS and its strategic reorientation is on track," Bank Sarasin analyst Rainer Skierka said. He rates the stock at buy and Credit Suisse at neutral.

The result lends credibility to the attempts by UBS, the second-largest private bank in the world after Bank of America , to reinvent itself following a series of scandals, including a $1.5 billion penalty for manipulating Libor and other benchmark interest rates.

The private bank won 15 billion francs ($16 billion) in fresh client funds, the highest since 2007, before the financial crisis and a U.S. probe into UBS for helping wealthy Americans dodge taxes caused more than 200 billion francs of withdrawals.

Ermotti said rich clients were attracted by the bank's strong capital position, noting the recent banking crisis in Cyprus had highlighted the importance of capital strength.

UBS said it had become the first global bank to bring capital above the key 10 percent ratio to risk-weighted assets demanded by new regulations, posting a 10.1 percent common equity Tier 1 capital ratio in the quarter.

Credit Suisse, which last week also reported healthy investment banking results, has a comparable ratio of 8.6 percent.

Deutsche Bank , meanwhile, raised 2.96 billion euros ($387.8 billion) on Tuesday, part of a long-awaited capital increase to beef up its balance sheet.


UBS's overall net profit slipped 5 percent to 988 million francs but beat analysts' average forecast for 601 million.

The bank recorded a 2.51-billion-franc net loss last year due to the restructuring to focus on private banking, which must deliver the bulk of the profit in future as the investment bank sells risky positions.

Fees from trading and transactions at the private bank perked up on a "significant uptick" of client activity in the first six weeks of 2013, particularly in Asia ahead of the Chinese New Year, UBS said. The unit's pretax profit surged 67 percent on the quarter.

UBS cautioned that economic worries might slow trading by wealthy clients and hit second-quarter revenue, margins and fresh inflows. But it was confident it would keep winning net new money, a key bellwether for future revenue.

UBS's investment bank swung to a pretax profit of 977 million francs, driven by its foreign exchange business - where it maintains a strong position - due to currency volatility. The sale of a proprietary trading business also won UBS 55 million francs. The advisory arm won a large private transaction, which bolstered equity capital markets.

The unit hiked revenue 20 percent using 10 percent less of its balance sheet, and 15 percent fewer staff, the bank said.

In total, UBS cut nearly 2,461 jobs on the year, part of the overall 10,000 cuts announced last October.

Like many banks, UBS is shrinking riskier assets because they soak up costly capital. The bank cut risk-weighed assets back to 259 billion francs in the quarter, within striking distance of its year-end target of 250 billion.

($1 = 0.9368 Swiss francs)

(Editing by Emma Thomasson and Mark Potter)

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/ubs-posts-strong-first-quarter-trading-income-surge-052750249.html

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Texas A&M drops from No. 4 to No. 6 in ESPN?s ?2013 Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25?

Texas A&M was able to make a bold statement earlier in the postseason when ESPN?s Mark Schlabach created his 2013 Way-Too-Early Preaseason Top 25.

A&M debuted at No. 5 in his first poll and dropped to No. 4 in February. With spring football behind us, Schlabach?s latest top 25 has A&M dropping two spots to No. 6.

?There wasn?t much of a transition this spring after offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury left to become Texas Tech?s new coach,? Schlabach said. ?But defensive coordinator Mark Snyder has to replace seven starters, including star linebacker?Sean Porter?and defensive lineman?Damontre Moore.

?Junior college transfer?Tommy Sanders?should take over Porter?s spot, and Snyder hopes?Julien Obioha,?Brandon Alexander?andTyrell Taylor?can emerge as consistent pass-rushers.?

A&M?s fall was due in large part to Louisville moving into the No. 4 spot up from No. 8. To see the complete top 25, click here.

Source: http://collegesportsblog.dallasnews.com/2013/04/texas-am-drops-from-no-4-to-no-6-in-espns-2013-way-too-early-preseason-top-25.html/

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Competing Visions: President Obama, Rep. Paul Ryan, Sen. Patty Murray, and House Progressives Release Budget Proposals for 2014

Job Creation 95 percent ?say restoring the job market is a top priority. $166 billion over 10 years for job creation initiatives, including infrastructure repairs and tax credits for small businesses that hire or raise wages. No new funding for job creation. $4.2 trillion over 10 years for job creation through infrastructure investment, tax credits, and aid to the 50 states and the District of Columbia. $100 billion in near-term spending for job creation, including $50 billion for transportation infrastructure and $10 billion for worker training programs. Medicare 88 percent ?say it is very important to preserve the long-term stability of Medicare. Negotiates for lower prescription drug prices and raises premiums on wealthy retirees, among other changes, to save $392 billion over 10 years. Beginning in 2024 seniors would receive a lump sum of money to buy private insurance. The lump sum would keep pace with inflation but not the rate of health care cost growth. Negotiates for lower prescription drug prices to save $157 billion over 10 years. Saves $275 billion over 10 years by accelerating health care reforms that reward quality of care rather than pay fee-for-service. Social Security 88 percent ?say it is very important to preserve the long-term stability of Social Security. Proposes changing cost-of-living adjustments using an inflation measure known as "chained CPI" to reduce benefits over time and save $230 billion over 10 years. Requires the president and Congress to submit plans for the long-term financial outlook of Social Security. No proposed changes. No proposed changes. Tax Loopholes 80 percent ?want to see loopholes closed for big corporations, while? 66 percent ?want to see loopholes closed for wealthy taxpayers so that money can be used for deficit reduction. Places limits on tax deductions for the top 2 percent of income earners (to raise $529 billion over 10 years). Among other changes, ends the ?carried interest? loophole that benefits hedge fund managers ($16 billion) and eliminates special tax breaks for oil and gas companies ($44 billion). Plans to close tax loopholes but does not specify which ones. Closes loopholes that favor oil, gas, and coal companies, and that create incentives to move jobs overseas. Eliminates corporate loopholes for stock options, private jets, and meals and entertainment. Also eliminates the home mortgage-interest deduction for vacation homes and yachts. Plans to close tax loopholes for $975 billion in deficit reduction but does not specify which ones. Plans to target loopholes that currently benefit the wealthy and major corporations. SNAP (food stamps) 75 percent ?oppose cuts to SNAP. No proposed changes. Makes deep cuts to SNAP funding and converts the program to a block grant administered at the state level. Increases funding for SNAP as part of an overall increase of $312 billion over 10 years for income security programs. No proposed changes. Education 73 percent ?say it?s very important to make a college education more affordable, while? 83 percent ?oppose cuts to K-12 education. Expands access to pre-kindergarten education to move toward a goal of universal pre-kindergarten education and expands mandatory funding for Pell grants. Freezes the maximum Pell grant award at the same level for the next 10 years, provides financial aid to fewer families, and reduces general discretionary spending for education. Expands the education budget and provides $25 billion over 10 years to hire back 300,000 laid-off teachers and modernize 35,000 public schools. Calls for supporting elementary and secondary education and making college more affordable but does not specify how. Individual Taxes 70 percent ?want a simpler tax code with lower rates and? 66 percent ?want to see higher taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers. Places limits on tax deductions for the top 2 percent of income earners, as noted above. Also imposes a ?Buffett rule? ? a minimum tax rate on millionaires ? to raise $53 billion over 10 years. Steeply reduces tax rates for top earners by replacing the current tax brackets with just two brackets of 10 percent and 25 percent. Ends the Bush-era tax cuts for families earning over $250,000, creates five new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, and ends special low tax rates for investment income. Places limits on tax expenditures claimed by the top 2 percent of income earners. Corporate Taxes 64 percent ?want to see corporations pay more in taxes, while? 73 percent ?want to prevent corporations from avoiding taxes by shifting profits overseas. Proposes no new taxes on corporations. Would close some tax loopholes as part of tax reform to simplify the tax code and lower tax rates, thereby raising no new tax revenue from corporations. Reduces the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent and releases overseas profits from U.S. taxation. In addition to closing tax loopholes (specified above), creates a ?Wall Street sales tax? on financial transactions including the sale of stocks and bonds. Proposes changing corporate tax provisions that allow corporations to avoid taxes with offshore operations. War Funding 60 percent favor removing troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible. Does not specify. Provides $47 billion for war funding in 2014, a cut of 53 percent below the 2013 level. Maintains annual war funding of $37 billion or more for the next decade. Calls for an expedited troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and ends war funding beginning in fiscal 2015. Based on current plans to end the Afghanistan war in 2014, provides $100 billion in fiscal 2013, $50 billion in fiscal 2014 and $25 billion in fiscal 2015. Military Funding 58 percent ?would like to see major reductions in military spending. Prevents across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration from affecting the military budget. Proposes a Department of Defense base budget of $526.6 billion in 2014, a cut of 1.6 percent. Prevents across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration from impacting the military budget. Reduces military spending by $897 billion over 10 years through a smaller force structure and reductions in Cold War-era weapons. Would gradually reduce military spending beginning in fiscal 2015, for a savings of $240 billion over 10 years. Medicaid 52 percent ?support the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, while? 46 percent ?oppose any cuts to Medicaid. Maintains the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. Makes deep cuts to Medicaid funding and converts the program to a block grant administered at the state level. Maintains the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare and increases funding for Medicaid through supplemental grants to states over the next two years. Maintains the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/nationalpriorities/BVVx/~3/VXdzyQD5MHY/

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CFTC holds Twitter #HackCrash hearing tomorrow

It was one week ago this Tuesday that a hacked AP account tweeted, ?Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured? to its 1.9 million followers.

Moments later, the @AP twitter handle released a statement saying they had been hacked and that President Obama was fine, but the markets had already reacted. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 150 points and lost $136 billion in value before rebounding.

The Syrian Electronic Army, a group that backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and attacks western media for what they believe to be unfair coverage of the country's ongoing conflict, has taken responsibility for the hack.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is investigating the Twitter hoax and will hold a panel discussion on ?market issues resulting from the April 23 twitter attack? at tomorrow?s pre-scheduled CFTC technology meeting.

The CFTC?s technology committee is made up of bankers, scholars, and traders who, according to The New York Times, are looking at 28 different futures contracts to determine exactly how the AP?s erroneous tweet impacted markets.

While the CFTC has indicated that high frequency trading played a big part in the flash crash that followed the twitter hack, The Daily Ticker?s Henry Blodget disagrees. ?The problem here is not the high frequency traders, that?s a different discussion,? Blodget says.

In the United States, Blodget explains, hacking a Twitter account is still considered a harmless prank. ?This is serious. We live in an information economy, huge dollars are tied to it and it should be treated as such,? he says.

The Daily Ticker?s Aaron Task believes that the CFTC should be speaking with Twitter representatives, not just traders. ?Now that the SEC is allowing public companies to make these announcements on social media platforms, it does raise the possibility that somebody else?s account gets hacked and publically traded information gets out there that?s just all wrong,? Task says.

?It will,? confirms Blodget. ?It?s definitely going to happen.?

In the wake of the AP scandal, Twitter is reportedly testing a two-step security verification process that will make it more difficult for hackers to take over accounts.

Still, ?no system is unhackable,? says Blodget. ?This will continue to happen.?

Rationalizing the hack, Blodget claims that news and misinformation leaks occurred long before Twitter and they will continue no matter what security measures are put into place-- markets understand this.

?It doesn?t need to be this national crisis,? says Blodget.

Still, ?it absolutely does need to be taken extremely seriously when somebody does something that in certain communities might be considered a prank that actually has serious impact on markets and the economy and corporations,? he says.

You can contact the reporter on Twitter: @NicoleGoodkind.

Tell Us What You Think!

Got a topic you?d like covered? Have a guest you?d like to see interviewed? Send an email to: thedailyticker@yahoo.com.

You can also look us up on Twitter and Facebook.

More from the Daily Ticker

George Soros Buys 8% Stake in JCPenney: Should You Follow?

The Cupcake Craze is Not Dead

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Source: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/cftc-holds-twitter-hackcrash-hearing-tomorrow-183548655.html

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Fever To Tell Turns 10

We take a look back at the album that made the Yeah Yeah Yeahs stars 10 years ago today.
By James Montgomery

Source: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1706456/yeah-yeah-yeahs-fever-to-tell-10-year-anniversary.jhtml

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One Third (?!) of PA High School Science Teachers Believe in Creationism - And Some Teach It (Little green footballs)

Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics - Top Stories News, RSS and RSS Feed via Feedzilla.

Source: http://news.feedzilla.com/en_us/stories/politics/top-stories/302197721?client_source=feed&format=rss

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Kosovo: 3 get jail time in organ trafficking case

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) ? A court in Kosovo found two citizens guilty of human trafficking and organized crime Monday in a major trial against seven people suspected of running an international organ trafficking ring that took kidneys from poor donors lured by financial promises.

A panel of two European Union judges and one Kosovo judge sentenced urologist Lutfi Dervishi to eight years in prison and his son Arban Dervishi to seven years and three months. Both also received fines, while Lutfi Dervishi was barred from practicing urology for two years.

A third defendant, Sokol Hajdini, was sentenced to three years in jail for causing grievous bodily harm. Two others received suspended sentences, while two were freed. The defendants can appeal the verdicts.

Organ transplantation is illegal in Kosovo. The trial began in December 2011 and included more than 100 witnesses. All the donors and recipients were foreign nationals.

Seven donors who testified were from Israel, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Turkey. They described how they were flown into Kosovo from Istanbul and then quickly wheeled into surgery in a medical facility named "Medicus" on the outskirts of Kosovo's capital, Pristina.

The victims were promised $10,000 to $12,000 in return for their kidneys, but many said they were never paid.

"At least two were cheated out of the entire amount and went home with no money and only one kidney," the court said in its reasoning.

The donors' kidneys were removed for transplantation into people who paid up to 130,000 euros for the procedure. The recipients were mostly wealthy patients from places such as Israel, Poland, Canada, the U.S. and Germany.

The court ordered that Lutfi and Arban Dervishi pay partial compensation of 15,000 euros to each of the seven victims who testified during the proceedings. The victims may later seek additional compensation in court, the panel said in its reasoning.

At least 24 kidney transplants, involving 48 donors and recipients, were carried out between 2008 and 2009, the period the case covered.

The donors "were alone, did not speak the language, uncertain of what they were doing and had no one to protect their interest," the court's reasoning read. "Some donors had severe second thoughts at the clinic, but were given no opportunity to back out and were psychologically pressured into going forward with the surgery."

Most of the names of donors and recipients were traced through documents seized during a police raid into the clinic in 2008 acting to verify a statement by a Turkish man that his kidney was removed. The man caught police's attention when he collapsed at the Pristina airport.

The defendants are believed to have profited $1 million from the transplants. It's unclear how many total donors and recipients there were.

"In every sense this was the cruel harvest of the poor and weak in our society," Jonathan Ratel, a Canadian prosecutor who brought the charges as part of European Union's rule of law mission in Kosovo, said after the verdicts.

He alleged that the sole motive of the defendants was "obscene profit and human greed." But the defendants claimed they were not guilty, arguing that the donors came to Kosovo voluntarily and that the surgeries saved lives.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/kosovo-3-jail-time-organ-trafficking-case-180335330.html

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Curry leads Warriors past Denver 115-101 in Game 4

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) ? Stephen Curry shook off a sore left ankle to score 22 of his 31 points in the third quarter, leading the Golden State Warriors past the Denver Nuggets 115-101 on Sunday night for a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Curry shot 10 of 16 from the floor and added seven assists in a dominant and dazzling display that rivaled his days in the NCAA tournament for tiny Davidson. His five 3-pointers in the third quarter lifted Golden State to a 20-point lead and its third straight victory in this frenetic and flashy series.

Jarrett Jack added 21 points and nine assists and Andrew Bogut broke out in the first half with 12 points and five rebounds for the sixth-seeded Warriors, who can close out the Nuggets in Game 5 on Tuesday night in Denver.

Ty Lawson scored 26 points and Andre Iguodala had 19 for the third-seeded Nuggets.

The Warriors lost All-Star forward David Lee to a season-ending hip injury in Game 1, and Curry sprained his left ankle late in Game 2. With Curry carrying the load anyway, none of it has seemed to matter.

The quick-shooting point guard hit 5 of 8 from beyond the arc in a spectacular third quarter, when nearly every gold-shirt wearing fan in the sellout crowd of 19,596 stood and cheered. Curry scored all 22 points in the final 6:22 of the quarter, showing the kind of range that helped him make 272 3-pointers in the regular season ? three more than Ray Allen's record set in 2005-06 with Seattle.

Curry capped his remarkable run with two of his most highlight-reel plays.

He stole the ball from Lawson, stopped in heavy traffic and dropped in a 27-footer before sprinting all the way to the bench high-fiving and chest-bumping teammates. Following a timeout, Curry sprung free near Denver's bench for a corner 3 that gave Golden State a 91-72 lead entering the fourth.

Curry's five 3s in the quarter were a Warriors record for a half.

Curry, wearing heavy tape around his nagging ankle, gave fans a scare when Corey Brewer poked Curry in the eye going for a rebound early in the fourth. Curry returned about 4? minutes later, receiving another standing ovation from the home fans.

While Curry scored only seven points in the first half, Bogut broke out in a big way to provide the one-two punch Golden State had long envisioned.

The 7-footer from Australia sliced down a wide open lane off a pick-and-roll with Curry in the first quarter, took one dribble and dunked over JaVale McGee with a thunderous right-handed slam. Bogut, who received a technical foul in Game 3 for daring Denver's big man to punch him on the chin during a face-to-face altercation, stared back at McGee while backpedalling down court.

In the second quarter, Bogut backed down Kosta Koufos before hammering home another dunk. He also soared high for a backdoor alley-oop from Curry to help the Warriors go ahead 45-37, and chants of "Bogut! Bogut!" echoed around the arena while the video board kept replaying his dunks.

Bogut sat out the final 4:37 of the first half with three fouls, and Andre Miller almost single-handily brought Denver back within a point. Then Curry hit his first 3-pointer of the game ? officially a 27-footer that seemed closer to the scorer's table than the arc ? as Golden State scored the last 11 points before the break to go ahead 56-44.

After falling behind by 15 early in the third quarter, the Nuggets started to rally behind their point guard.

Lawson, who scored a career-playoff high 35 points in the Game 3 loss, shook off a slow start to highlight a 14-4 run that sliced Golden State's lead to 62-58 midway through the third quarter. Just when it seemed they might crawl back, Curry countered with a devastating blow to Denver's playoff hopes.

NOTES: For the third straight game, Warriors coach Mark Jackson listed Carl Landry at power forward in his starting lineup submitted before the game, even though Harrison Barnes started at power forward and Landry came off the bench. Jackson said beforehand that he'd do it again because "it worked." Nuggets coach George Karl said it's not what coaches typically do but joked that Jackson is "consistent" and maybe "superstitious." ... Jackson's wife, Desiree Coleman Jackson, sang the national anthem.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/curry-leads-warriors-past-denver-115-101-game-042746068.html

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Some say immigration bill is bad deal for the GOP

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Some feisty Republicans are challenging a claim widely held among GOP leaders that the party must support more liberal immigration laws if it's to be more competitive in presidential elections.

These doubters say the Republican establishment has the political calculation backward. Immigration "reform," they say, will mean millions of new Democratic-leaning voters by granting citizenship to large numbers of Hispanic immigrants now living illegally in the United States.

The argument is dividing the party as it tries to reposition itself after losing the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections. It also could endanger President Barack Obama's bid for a legacy-building rewrite of the nation's problematic immigration laws.

Many conservatives "are scared to death" that the Republican Party "is committing suicide, that we're going to end up legalizing 9 million automatic Democrat voters," radio host Rush Limbaugh recently told Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a leader of the bipartisan team pushing an immigration overhaul.

Strategists in both parties say several factors, including income levels, would make many, and probably most, newly enfranchised immigrants pro-Democratic, at least for a time.

Rubio says the risk is worth taking.

"Every political movement, conservatism included, depends on the ability to convince people that do not agree with you now to agree with you in the future," he told Limbaugh.

Politically, Republicans face two bad options.

They can try to improve relations with existing Latino voters by backing a plan that seems likely to add many Democratic-leaning voters in the years ahead. Or they can stick with a status quo in which their presidential nominees are losing badly among the electorate's fastest-growing segment.

In 2012, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who suggested that vanishing job opportunities would prompt immigrants to "self deport," carried only 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. A Republican Party study of that election concluded, among other things, that the GOP must appeal to more Hispanics, and to do so it must "embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform."

Party leaders say the harsh language that some Republicans use when discussing illegal immigration has angered many Americans with Hispanic heritages.

Rubio's bipartisan group has proposed legislation to strengthen border security, allow tens of thousands of new high- and low-skilled workers into the country, require all employers to check their workers' legal status, and provide an eventual path to citizenship for some 11 million immigrants now in the country illegally.

Even if the bill survives the Democratic-controlled Senate, stiff resistance is expected in the GOP-dominated House. Many House Republicans dislike the idea of "amnesty" for those who crossed the border illegally, and some say it's foolish to enfranchise likely Democratic voters.

Obama embraces the Rubio plan, and it won crucial praise from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., last year's vice presidential nominee.

Rubio and his allies challenge the notion that creating a way to citizenship for millions of people here illegally will dramatically increase Democratic turnout in future elections.

"Not all 11 million illegal immigrants here today will qualify to become citizens, and not all of the 11 million illegal immigrants are Hispanic," according to Rubio's "Myth vs. Fact" website. The site says many immigrants will not choose to become citizens, and many new citizens, like many current ones, will not bother to vote.

Some Republican campaign strategists, however, say the political damage would be worse than party leaders acknowledge.

Republican consultant and pollster Mike McKenna said one of his surveys shows that most Americans favor "immigration reform" and they believe it will benefit Democrats more than Republicans.

In an interview, McKenna said Republican leaders are embracing Rubio's plan without sufficient data on where it might lead. "I think about two months from now, the folks in the establishment are going to wish they hadn't started this conversation," McKenna said.

Party leaders erred, he said, by couching the immigration debate in political rather than moral terms. "The argument that it's going to be politically advantageous is not going to be sustainable over time," McKenna said.

Political activists have swapped estimates of how many people now living here illegally might choose to become citizens, register to vote and turn out for Democratic candidates if a path to citizenship is opened. Even the most conservative guesses assume that Democrats would benefit more than Republicans, initially, at least.

Rubio's allies play it down.

"The status quo is not acceptable to Republican voters," said GOP consultant Kevin Madden, who has worked for Romney and others. Republican leaders, he said, must push for the best rewrite of immigration laws they can achieve.

Texas-based GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak noted that evangelical leaders, major business groups and others that opposed immigration changes in 2007 are now on board. He said the Republican Party should focus on attracting Hispanic voters with its standard message of small government and free enterprise, and not worry too much if a new law produces more Democratic-leaning voters for a while.

"If we don't win 40 to 45 percent of Hispanics," Mackowiak said, "we're not going to win elections regardless of whether this happens."

Limbaugh is among those who don't buy it.

"I see polling data again that suggests that 70 percent of the Hispanic population in the country believes that government is the primary source of prosperity," he told Rubio in their recent exchange. "I don't, therefore, understand this contention that Hispanics are conservatives-in-waiting."


Follow Charles Babington on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cbabington

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/immigration-bill-bad-deal-gop-132850249.html

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Stephen Wolfram says he almost had a deal with Google, but it 'blew up'

Stephen Wolfram says he almost had a deal with Google, but it 'blew up'

As you may recall, Wolfram Research signed a deal with Microsoft a few years back that saw some Wolfram Alpha functionality integrated into Bing. As it turns out, it very nearly found its way into a certain other search engine as well. In an interview at The Next Web conference in Amsterdam today, Stephen Wolfram revealed that his company had tried to work with Google and "almost had a deal," but it "blew up." Unfortunately, he didn't provide any further details about when those talks took place or exactly what the potential deal entailed, and it doesn't sound like we can expect that deal to revived anytime soon -- especially considering Google's own efforts that are increasingly overlapping with Wolfram Alpha. As Wolfram himself notes, though, the two companies do have something of a longstanding connection: Google co-founder Sergey Brin was actually an intern at Wolfram way back in 1993.

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Source: The Next Web

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/27/wolfram-alpha-google-deal-blew-up/?utm_medium=feed&utm_source=Feed_Classic&utm_campaign=Engadget

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Iraq watchdog suspends 10 TV channels for inciting violence

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq has suspended the licenses of satellite news network Al Jazeera and nine other channels, accusing them of inciting violence through their coverage of recent sectarian clashes. The Communication and Media Commission (CMC) regulator criticized their reporting of violence triggered by a security forces raid on a Sunni Muslim protest camp in Hawija on Tuesday.

Time Warner Cable shifts away from "triple play"

(Reuters) - Time Warner Cable Inc, the second-largest U.S. cable provider, will no longer aggressively push "triple play" packages of Internet, video and voice on its customers, moving away from the long-held industry practice of bundling the services together. Time Warner Cable is the first cable company in the U.S. to acknowledge that customers would prefer to only pay for television and Internet, as demand for landline service has been declining steadily with many people only using cellphones, even at home.

NY Times to roll out new products in search of revenue

(Reuters) - New York Times Co reported a decline in quarterly revenue on weak advertising sales but said it would try to grow out of the slump by expanding its suite of digital products. The 11.2 percent drop in advertising revenue in the first quarter underscores the pressure that the New York Times faces to increase its subscription revenue, especially for its digital products, and find new veins of income.

Hyundai Motor suicide ad draws ire for South Korean company

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co has been forced to apologize for an advertisement that sought to promote the zero carbon emissions of one of its cars by featuring a man failing to commit suicide using a hose attached to the exhaust. The ad debacle is the latest to hit the carmaker, the world's fifth largest by sales when combined with its Kia Motors affiliate, after it exaggerated fuel performance figures in the United States, and announced a large-scale vehicle recall this month.

Watchdogs to focus on new media in Nielsen/Arbitron deal: experts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. antitrust regulators are likely to scrutinize new forms of advertising as they mull the planned purchase by television rating giant Nielsen Holdings NV of Arbitron Inc, which dominates radio ratings, legal experts say. The Federal Trade Commission, in assessing the $1.26 billion merger to ensure it complies with antitrust law, will likely focus on the emerging frontier - cross-platform data designed to tell advertisers in a holistic way what customers watch on television, listen to on the radio, look at online and see on their mobile devices.

Analysis: Truth and consequences - a dilemma for Twitter and its users

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Does Twitter have a credibility problem? For many, a single fake tweet from the Associated Press account that briefly roiled financial markets on Tuesday, driving the Dow Jones industrial average down about 145 points, vividly reaffirmed the fearsome, near-instantaneous power of the 140-character message.

Netflix has good hand with "House of Cards", shares soar 24 percent

(Reuters) - Netflix Inc impressed investors with solid subscriber growth and better-than-expected profits in the first quarter, sending shares of the video subscription service soaring 24 percent higher in after-hours trade. A big push into original shows, a strategy aimed at hooking new customers with content they can't get anywhere else, seems to be working, with its February release of the series "House of Cards", a drama starring Kevin Spacey, generating plenty of buzz.

Nexstar, Mission Broadcasting to buy 19 TV stations for $270 million

(Reuters) - Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Mission Broadcasting Inc said they would buy privately held Communications Corporation of America and White Knight Broadcasting for $270 million. The deal involves 19 television stations in Louisiana and Texas, out of which Nexstar will acquire 11 stations that belong to Communications Corporation of America while Mission Broadcasting will acquire the rest.

USA Today founder Al Neuharth dies at 89

(Reuters) - Al Neuharth, who founded USA Today more than 30 years ago and saw the newspaper become one of the largest in the United States, died on Friday at age 89, the newspaper reported. Neuharth died after sustaining injuries in a fall at his home in Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA Today said.

Publicis to consider cash return by year end

LONDON (Reuters) - Advertising group Publicis could return cash to shareholders this year via a share buyback or special dividend by sticking to a plan of only making small acquisitions, its chief executive said. Speaking to Reuters during an investor event eight days after a trading update rattled the market, Maurice Levy said he was confident shareholders would keep faith in the French group's ability to improve as the year goes on.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/us-industry-summary-132452147.html

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Sudan rebels attack city, push closer to capital

By Khalid Abdelaziz and Ulf Laessing

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Rebels from Sudan's Darfur region launched a dawn attack on the city of Um Rawaba on Saturday, taking their fight closer to the capital Khartoum, witnesses said.

The attack marks the biggest push by a rebel alliance that is seeking to topple President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Fighting had hitherto been limited mainly to remote regions of Darfur and South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, which border South Sudan.

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which launched an unprecedented assault on Khartoum in 2008, said the rebel alliance stormed Um Rawaba in North Kordofan state, around 500 km (300 miles) south of the capital.

Sudan's army said late in the evening it had restored security in the state's second largest city. It accused insurgents of destroying a power plant, petrol stations and a telecommunications tower.

"The defeated rebels have withdrawn, and the army is continuing to expel elements of the rebels who have run away in different directions," army spokesman al-Sawarmi Khalid told state news agency SUNA.

JEM spokesman Gibril Adam said forces from the group had only withdrawn from the center of Um Rawaba to the outskirts after Sudanese warplanes had launched air strikes.

The rebels arrived at dawn with 20 trucks in Um Rawaba, an important market for a major Sudanese agricultural export product, gum arabic, residents said.

"People are in a state of panic," said one Um Rawaba resident, asking not to be named.

The rebels then opened fire into the air and looted a market and several commercial banks. JEM's spokesman denied any pillaging by rebels.

"The goal of this attack is to weaken the government to realize our strategic plan to topple the regime," JEM spokesman Adam said.


The government later said it had reopened the key road between Khartoum and the North Kordofan state capital El-Obeid, which had been blocked by fighting, state governor Mutassim Mirghani Zaki Uddi told the state-linked Sudanese Media Center.

On a separate front, the SPLM-North which is part of the rebel movement attacking Um Rawaba, said it had seized four villages east of Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan state. There was no immediate comment from the army on the statement.

Events outside Khartoum are difficult to verify in the vast African country. Um Rawaba is a two-hour drive from Kosti, Sudan's biggest Nile river port.

JEM forces drove across hundreds of miles of desert to attack the Khartoum suburb of Omdurman in May 2008 and were stopped just short of the presidential palace and army headquarters.

The group was one of two main rebel forces that took up arms against Sudan's government in 2003, demanding better representation for Darfur and accusing Khartoum of neglecting its development.

Khartoum mobilized militias to crush the uprising, unleashing a campaign that Washington and activists described as genocide. Sudan's government denies the charge and accuses the Western media of exaggerating the conflict.

In 2011, JEM teamed up with two other Darfuri groups and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) which took up arms in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states around the time of South Sudan's secession.

They formed the "Sudanese Revolutionary Front", which says it fights to topple Bashir to secure a fairer share of government in a country dominated by three Arab tribes.

Fighters of the SPLM-North sided with southern Sudan during decades of civil war that ended with a peace deal in 2005, which paved the way for South Sudan's formal breakaway in July 2011.

Sudan on Wednesday started peace talks with the SPLM-North after a thaw in relations with South Sudan.

(Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Mike Collett-White)

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/rebels-attack-city-central-sudan-residents-104705957.html

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Boston bomb suspect in small cell with steel door

AYER, Mass. (AP) ? The Boston Marathon bombing suspect is being held in a small cell with a steel door at a federal medical detention center about 40 miles outside the city, a federal official said Saturday.

Federal Medical Center Devens spokesman John Collauti described the conditions under which 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was being held in the Ayer facility after being moved there from a hospital Friday.

Tsarnaev was injured during a police chase Thursday in which his brother, also a suspect in the bombing, was fatally wounded.

Collauti said in a telephone interview that Tsarnaev is in secure housing where authorities can monitor him. His cell has a solid steel door with an observation window and a slot for passing food and medication.

Collauti wouldn't discuss specific details related to Tsarnaev, but said that typically medical workers making rounds each shift monitor the inmates. He said guards also keep an eye on some cells with video cameras.

Also, inmates in the more restrictive section do not have access to TVs or radios, but can read books and other materials, he said.

"Really this type of facility is fully capable of handling him and it's not that much of an inconvenience because it's more or less business as usual," Collauti said.

Tsarnaev's mother said the bombing allegations against her son are lies.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/boston-bomb-suspect-small-cell-steel-door-023441943.html

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Intermittent fasting may help those with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, study suggests

Apr. 26, 2013 ? Intermittent fasting is all the rage, but scientific evidence showing how such regimes affect human health is not always clear cut. Now a scientific review in the British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease published by SAGE, suggests that fasting diets may help those with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, alongside established weight loss claims.

Intermittent fasting -fasting on a given number of consecutive or alternate days -- has recently been hailed as a path to weight loss and improved cardiovascular risk. A team led by James Brown from Aston University has evaluated the various approaches to intermittent fasting in the scientific literature. They searched specifically for advantages and limitations in treating obesity and type 2 diabetes using fasting diets.

The basic format of intermittent fasting is to alternate days eating 'normally' with days when calorie consumption is restricted. This can either be done on alternative days, or where two days each week are classed as 'fasting days'. These types of intermittent fasting have been shown in trials to be as effective as or more effective than counting calories every day to lose weight. Evidence from clinical trials shows that fasting can limit inflammation, improve levels of sugars and fats in circulation, and reduce blood pressure. Our fasting bodies change how they select which fuel to burn, improving metabolism and reducing oxidative stress.

For people with obesity, only one drug (orlistat) is currently available in the UK, and gastric surgery is a relatively rare and expensive alternative. Dietary changes remain the most common intervention used for obese people. Fasting is known to help, but former treatments were based on intermittent starving. Today's intermittent fasting regimes are easier to stick to, and are proven to help remove excess pounds melt away.

Scientists have known since the 1940s that intermittent fasting helps us lose weight, and can cut the incidence of diabetes in lab animals. Recent studies have also confirmed that restricting calorie intake could possibly reverse type 2 diabetes in some people. Researchers measured improved pancreatic function and fewer of the fatty deposits associated with insulin resistance were present in fasting subjects.

A healthy heart

In animal models, scientists have shown that intermittent fasting has some cardiovascular benefits that appear similar to exercising, such as improving blood pressure and heart rate, and lowering cholesterol. Fasting also appears to aid those with ischemic heart disease. Fasting may even protect the heart by raising levels of adiponectin, a protein that has several important roles in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and vascular biology.

"Intermittent fasting might achieve much of the benefit seen with bariatric surgery, but without the costs, restriction on numbers and risks associated with surgery," according to lead author, James Brown. "Whether intermittent fasting can be used as a tool to prevent diabetes in those individuals at high risk or to prevent progression in those recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes remains a tantalising notion and we are currently in preparation for clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of this form of lifestyle intervention in various patient groups."

Intermittent fasting is an increasingly popular diet plan that hit the headlines in the run up to Christmas 2012 after the release of a book on the subject. Proponents claim that in addition to weight loss, the diet can lead to longer life, and protection against disease, particularly conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by SAGE Publications, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. James E. Brown, Michael Mosley and Sarah Aldred. Intermittent fasting: a dietary intervention for prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease? British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease, April 2013

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Source: http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/health_medicine/heart_disease/~3/D78Xbo49i8U/130426115456.htm

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Watch This Bread City Fall Into Actual Decay

People talk about cities falling into decay all the time, but it's usually metaphoric. Not so with this cityscape made of bread—which moulds and crumbles before your eyes. More »

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/pyZlEov53G0/watch-this-bread-city-fall-into-actual-decay

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NKorea charges US man of plot to overthrow regime

In this March 20, 2013 photo, a North Korean flag hangs inside the interior of Pyongyang?s Supreme Court. North Korea says it will soon deliver a verdict in the case of detained American Kenneth Bae it accuses of trying to overthrow the government, further complicating already fraught relations between Pyongyang and Washington. The announcement about Bae comes in the middle of a lull after weeks of war threats and other provocative acts by North Korea against the U.S. and South Korea. Bae, identified in North Korean state media by his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho, is a tour operator of Korean descent who was arrested after arriving with a tour on Nov. 3 in Rason, a special economic zone bordering China and Russia. (AP Photo)

In this March 20, 2013 photo, a North Korean flag hangs inside the interior of Pyongyang?s Supreme Court. North Korea says it will soon deliver a verdict in the case of detained American Kenneth Bae it accuses of trying to overthrow the government, further complicating already fraught relations between Pyongyang and Washington. The announcement about Bae comes in the middle of a lull after weeks of war threats and other provocative acts by North Korea against the U.S. and South Korea. Bae, identified in North Korean state media by his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho, is a tour operator of Korean descent who was arrested after arriving with a tour on Nov. 3 in Rason, a special economic zone bordering China and Russia. (AP Photo)

In this March 20, 2013 photo, a North Korean flag hangs inside the interior of Pyongyang?s Supreme Court. North Korea says it will soon deliver a verdict in the case of detained American Kenneth Bae it accuses of trying to overthrow the government, further complicating already fraught relations between Pyongyang and Washington. The announcement about Bae comes in the middle of a lull after weeks of war threats and other provocative acts by North Korea against the U.S. and South Korea. Bae, identified in North Korean state media by his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho, is a tour operator of Korean descent who was arrested after arriving with a tour on Nov. 3 in Rason, a special economic zone bordering China and Russia. (AP Photo)

(AP) ? North Korea announced Saturday that an American detained for nearly six months is being tried in the Supreme Court on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, a crime that could draw the death penalty if he is convicted.

The case involving Kenneth Bae, who has been in North Korean custody since early November, further complicates already fraught relations between Pyongyang and Washington following weeks of heightened rhetoric and tensions.

The trial mirrors a similar situation in 2009, when the U.S. and North Korea were locked in a standoff over Pyongyang's decision to launch a long-range rocket and conduct an underground nuclear test. At the time, North Korea had custody of two American journalists, whose eventual release after being sentenced to 12 years of hard labor paved the way for diplomacy following months of tensions.

Bae was arrested in early November in Rason, a special economic zone in North Korea's far northeastern region bordering China and Russia, according to official state media. In North Korean dispatches, Bae, a Korean American, is called Pae Jun Ho, the North Korean spelling of his Korean name.

The exact nature of his alleged crimes has not been revealed, but North Korea accuses Bae, described as a tour operator, of seeking to overthrow North Korea's leadership.

"In the process of investigation he admitted that he committed crimes aimed to topple the DPRK with hostility toward it," the state-run Korean Central News Agency said Saturday. "His crimes were proved by evidence. He will soon be taken to the Supreme Court of the DPRK to face judgment."

DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. No timing for the verdict issued at the austere Supreme Court in Pyongyang was given.

Friends and colleagues described Bae as a devout Christian from Washington state but based in the Chinese border city of Dalian who traveled frequently to North Korea to feed the country's orphans.

At least three other Americans detained in recent years also have been devout Christians. While North Korea's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, in practice only sanctioned services are tolerated by the regime.

Under North Korea's criminal code, crimes against the state can draw life imprisonment or the death sentence.

In 2009, American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were sentenced to hard labor for trespassing and unspecified hostile acts after being arrested near the border with China and held for four months.

They were freed later that year to former President Bill Clinton, who flew to Pyongyang to negotiate their release in a visit that then-leader Kim Jong Il treated as a diplomatic coup.

Including Ling and Lee, Bae is at least the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009. The others eventually were deported or released.

"For North Korea, Bae is a bargaining chip in dealing with the U.S.," said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean Studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. "The North will use him in a way that helps bring the U.S. to talks when the mood slowly turns toward dialogue."

As in 2009, Pyongyang is locked in a standoff with the Obama administration over North Korea's drive to build nuclear weapons.

Washington has led the campaign to punish Pyongyang for launching a long-range rocket in December and carrying out a nuclear test, its third, in February.

North Korea claims the need to build atomic weapons to defend itself against the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea and over the past two months has been holding joint military drills with South Korea that have included nuclear-capable stealth bombers and fighter jets.

Diplomats from China, South Korea, the U.S., Japan and Russia have been conferring in recent weeks to try to bring down the rhetoric and find a way to rein in Pyongyang before a miscalculation in the region sparks real warfare.

South Korean defense officials said earlier in the month that North Korea had moved a medium-range missile designed to strike U.S. territory to its east coast.

The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war because the three-year Korean conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, in 1953. Because Washington and Pyongyang do not have diplomatic relations, the Swedish Embassy in North Korea represents the United States in legal proceedings.


Associated Press writers Jean H. Lee in Pyongyang, and Sam Kim and Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report. Follow Lee, AP's Korea bureau chief, at www.twitter.com/newsjean and Sam Kim at www.twitter.com/SamKim_AP.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/cae69a7523db45408eeb2b3a98c0c9c5/Article_2013-04-27-NKorea-American%20Detained/id-e4e360d7a6f14d23ac431a5e1efbba3b

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Seeking advice regarding the legal system - Real Police

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Frozen Metal Plates Changed The Way We Eat Forever

It's easy to forget that almost nothing you eat was grown remotely near you and plenty of it wasn't even grown recently. And for that miracle of modern day life, we have gigantic metal plates, frozen to subzero temperatures to thank. Or at least that's how it all started. More »

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/P1aN88sZbq0/frozen-metal-plates-changed-the-way-we-eat-forever

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You'll Never Destroy This Heavy Duty Remote In a Post-Sports Rage

Is there anything more infuriating than watching your favorite team lose while you've spent the past two hours shouting fantastic coaching advice at the screen? Taking your frustration out on your TV's remote can help, particularly if it's able to shrug off the abuse like this impressive heavy duty alternative you can build yourself. More »

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/MGr-hsHurKQ/youll-never-destroy-this-heavy-duty-remote-in-a-post+sports-rage

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Letta tries to form government to break Italy's political logjam

By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - Prime Minister-designate Enrico Letta began tricky negotiations on Thursday to form Italy's new government and end a nearly two-month-old stalemate in the euro zone's third-largest economy.

Letta, the deputy head of the badly fractured center-left Democratic Party (PD), was the surprise choice tapped by President Giorgio Napolitano to head a broad-based coalition.

Markets have reacted favorably to the prospect of an end to the political deadlock, with bond yields and the spread with comparable 10-year German bonds falling.

"The market is positive overall, there's a degree of serenity. Letta is a new name and a good 'consensus man,' unlike (former Prime Minister Giuliano) Amato, who smacks of the old order and could have caused a few grimaces," a Milan trader said.

Amato, 75, had been tipped as Napolitano's first choice to form the government.

The government will include the PD's traditional arch-rivals, Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party (PDL), as well as caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti's centrist group, both of which have said they will support the government.

The bespectacled, balding Letta is an urbane moderate who speaks fluent English and at 46 would be one of Italy's youngest prime ministers, representing a generational change from the era of Berlusconi, Monti and Amato.

Berlusconi told an Italian television station it did not matter who headed the government as long as it enacted reforms.

"The important thing is that there is a government and that there is a parliament that can approve measures that we absolutely need to emerge from the crisis of recession and get back on the path of growth," he said.


Letta began the consultations at parliament early on Thursday morning with smaller groupings, including the Left Ecology and Freedom party, which reiterated that it would remain in opposition.

The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, the largest group in the lower house Chamber of Deputies, has also said it would sit in the opposition, but would support specific reforms.

Thursday was expected to be dedicated to horse-trading over about 18 ministerial posts in the new government, expected to be made up of technocrats and politicians.

The economy ministry could go either to Fabrizio Saccomanni, the Bank of Italy's director general, or Carlo Padoan, chief economist at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to Italian media.

Angelino Alfano, the secretary of the PDL, has been tipped by some to become deputy prime minister, a choice that would placate Berlusconi but upset some in the left wing of the PD .

The industry and labor ministries could go to politicians and the foreign affairs portfolio to Monti or former Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema of the PD, local media speculated.

The PDL is pushing hard for a much-hated tax on primary residences to be abolished, which was a key plank in their campaign ahead of the inconclusive February elections, which gave the PD a majority in the lower house but not in the Senate.

Letta hopes to form the government before markets open on Monday and seek confidence votes from both houses of parliament early next week.

The PDL and PD had previously failed to reach a deal but Napolitano twisted their arms on Saturday when he was re-elected to an unprecedented second term and threatened to resign unless parties tried to find common ground to pull Italy out of its political rut and work on institutional reforms.

Rivalries between the parties as well as rifts within the PD, which fell short of a viable parliamentary majority in February's vote, could still block an accord. But formation of a government after such a long impasse would signal that Italy is finally ready to make a start on much-needed reforms.

Accepting his mandate on Wednesday, Letta said Italy faced an untenable situation and the government must provide answers on jobs, poverty and the crisis facing small businesses in a recession that now matches the longest since World War II.

He also said European Union economic policies had been too focused on austerity, rather than growth.

(Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Stefano Bernabei; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/italy-president-names-center-lefts-letta-premier-103545455--business.html

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