Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why I'm returning my new iPad and buying a Kindle Fire

amazon's kindle fire tablet pc
Kindle Fire @ $199.00
By Rick Broida

My new iPad is going back to the store.

I paid $600 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model, and although I like it well enough, I don't think it's worth the money.

Before the Apple faithful take my head off, allow me to explain -- and to note that I'm keeping my original iPad. Also, I have such mad love for my iPhone 4S, I want to cook it breakfast every morning. You get my meaning; this isn't just wayward iPad-bashing.

When Apple announced the new tablet, I was underwhelmed but intrigued. I'd skipped the iPad 2, so I figured I "owed" myself this upgrade. Plus, it would be a business expense; I do write for a blog called iPad Atlas, after all.

Mostly, though, I got caught up in the hype. After reading gushing praise for the new iPad's Retina Display and blazing processor, I had to see what the fuss was about.

The fuss, it turns out, was more overblown than a Kardashian wedding. The screen? Yep, it's nice. Does it make my eyes leap from my skull and dance a marimba cha-cha? No. Neither does it cure cancer or introduce me to supermodels, despite what some drooling bloggers intimated.

The new iPad is admirably peppy, though I never found my original iPad to be slow. My kids enjoy messing with the built-in cameras, but that's a luxury I certainly don't need. Using an iPad to snap photos or video is like driving a monster truck to the grocery store: uncomfortable and impractical (to say nothing of showy). The only thing that I'll actually miss is big-screen FaceTime -- but for those moments I can always Skype on my laptop.

4G LTE? Again, nice, but I have no need for it. And that leaves...what? The new iPad is a little slimmer, a little faster, and little easier on the eyes than the original. Not enough, Apple. I want my $600 back.

As fate would have it, a Kindle Fire arrived shortly after the new iPad. (It's a loaner, due back to Amazon in about a week.) As you're no doubt aware, it's a hair less expensive: $199.

Yes, it has a smaller screen, less storage, no cameras, no 3G/4G, no Bluetooth, and so on. But you know what? I love the little guy, because it better suits my needs.

For one thing, it's way more comfortable for reading. I consume a lot of e-books, but I find the iPad too big and cumbersome -- especially for reading in bed. The Fire is small enough and light enough that I can lie on my side and grip it one-handed. (Shut up.)

I also like magazines, most notably Entertainment Weekly, Time, and Wired. The app versions of all three work nicely on the iPad, but I like the Kindle Fire (Android) versions even better. Maybe it's because I was expecting a shrunken, ill-fitting stab at accommodating the smaller screen, but the formatting is just beautiful. Reading these mags on the Fire is a pleasure.

Music, movies, TV shows, games, apps -- the Kindle Fire excels at all this stuff, just like the iPad. I'm streaming "This Is Spinal Tap" (courtesy of Amazon Prime, an uneven but compelling service) as I type this, and it looks exquisite. Granted, the paltry 8GB of storage limits how much media I can take with me, but I'm mostly an around-the-house user anyway. (That's why I get by just fine with Wi-Fi.)

I also like the Kindle's modern, media-centric, dare-I-say-sexy interface, which actually makes Apple's UI seem rather dated.

So here's the upshot: for one-third of what I paid for the new iPad, I can accomplish 95 percent of what I want to do with a tablet, and with a smaller form factor I find more appealing. Different strokes for different folks, of course, but for me this is a no-brainer: I'm returning the new iPad and jumping into the Kindle Fire.

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Lin-surgery! Knicks guard done for regular season

Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin will miss the rest of the regular season because he needs knee surgery that will sideline him six weeks and could leave the Knicks without their star point guard in the playoffs - if they make it that far.

Lin had an MRI exam this week that revealed a small, chronic meniscus tear and he has elected to have surgery next week in New York.

With the regular season ending April 26, the biggest story in basketball this season is done unless the Knicks make a deep postseason run.

Speaking slowly during a pregame press conference, Lin was unable to hide his disappointment with the decision that was reached earlier Saturday after a painful workout.

“It (stinks) not being able to be out there with the team,” he said.

Upcoming: Lin-surgery.

He was barely holding on to a place in the NBA back in February. Now, after the back-to-back Sports Illustrated covers and popularity around the world, and now it’s over.

“If this was done very early in the year, obviously … I don’t know where my career would be. I could be, would be definitely without a job and probably fighting for a summer league spot,” Lin said. “But having said that, this happening now hurts just as much, because all the players, we really put our heart and souls into the team and into season, and to not be there when it really matters most is hard.”

The Knicks will continue to turn to Baron Davis in place of Lin, the undrafted Harvard alum who became the starter in February and turned in a series of brilliant performances, kicking off a phenomenon that was called Linsanity.

Lin is averaging 14.1 points and 6.1 assists, but the numbers only tell a small part of the story.

The Knicks were under .500 and looking like a mess when Lin was given a chance to play extended minutes at point guard for then-coach Mike D’Antoni on Feb. 4 against New Jersey.

Lin, the first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA, scored 25 points with seven assists in that New York victory, was inserted into the starting lineup two days later against Utah, and took the Knicks on a seven-game winning streak that gained world-wide attention.

The 23-year-old Lin left the Knicks’ easy victory over Detroit last Saturday after feeling discomfort, saying afterward he could have returned for the fourth quarter if the game had been close. He took part in shootaround before their game Monday and at first believed he could deal with the pain.

Though the swelling went down, the pain never did. He said he got three or four opinions that all said the same thing, and after testing it again Friday and Saturday, he decided to have the surgery.

“I can’t really do much. Can’t really cut or jump, so it’s pretty clear that I won’t be able to help the team unless I get this fixed right now,” Lin said before the Knicks played Cleveland. “It’s disappointing for me, it’s hard to watch the games and I think I’d want to be out there obviously more than anything right now. But hopefully, it’s a six-week rehab process but I tend to heal fast, so hopefully I can come back as soon as possible and still contribute this season hopefully.”

It’s the second serious injury loss of the week for the Knicks, who are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Amare Stoudemire is out two to four weeks with a back injury, leaving the Knicks without their second- and third-leading scorers for perhaps the remainder of the regular season.

Davis still isn’t 100 percent after a herniated disk in his back kept him out of action until February. The Knicks also have Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas, plus rookie Iman Shumpert as point guard options, but none as good as Lin.

“We’ve got to go on, but he’s a big piece of our puzzle and what we were doing as of late before he actually went out,” interim coach Mike Woodson said. “All’s not bad. Again, we’ve got three veteran point guards sitting over there and the rookie we could play some at the point. We’re just going to have to make do until he’s able to get back into uniform. But it is a big blow.”

Lin flourished in D’Antoni’s offense, and there was immediate speculation he would struggle - or even lose his starting spot - when Woodson replaced him on March 14. Instead, Lin kept on rolling, leading the Knicks to six wins in seven games before he was hurt.

Woodson said he’s known of players that have played through meniscus tears, but that only Lin knows his body. Lin knew he would need surgery eventually, but hoped to delay it until after the season.

“He’s elected to have the surgery and we’ve got to respect that, because only he knows the pain that he’s feeling. And there is a problem, so it’s got to be fixed,” Woodson said.

The Knicks had already tried three point guards when they finally turned to Lin, who had been cut by Golden State and Houston before signing with the Knicks. D’Antoni immediately elevated him to the starting lineup after his performance against the Nets, and Lin responded with the greatest beginning stretch ever for a starter.

He was the first player with at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his first five starts since the Elias Sports Bureau began charting starts in 1970. He had a 3-pointer to win a game in Toronto, scored 38 points to outplay Kobe Bryant in a national TV victory over the Lakers, then had 28 points and 14 assists in another nationally televised victory over the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.

All along, the frenzy around him increased. Commissioner David Stern said he had never seen so much interest created by one player in such a short period of time. Knicks games were picked up by TV stations in basketball-crazed Asia, and Lin actually pleaded for privacy for his family in Taiwan.

Lin will be a free agent after the season and said he hopes to return to New York, but otherwise wasn’t thinking that far in the future.

“I’m not even worried about that right now,” he said. “It’s not like a career-ending thing or it’s not something that will bother me. Once it’s fixed, it’s fixed, it’s the most simple surgery you can have and so I’m more concerned about the season.”

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Earth Hour aims for lights off across the globe

Empire State Building, New York, Big Ben, London, Eiffel Tower
Empire State Building in New York, Big Ben in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris

(CNN) -- On Saturday, European Space Agency astronaut and World Wildlife Fund ambassador André Kuipers will watch from the International Space Station as each time zone hits 8:30 p.m. -- and track to see who on Earth turns out the lights.

Kuipers will blog from 240 miles above the planet as part of the Earth Hour, an annual event that encourages homes, businesses and governments to turn off their lights for one hour to build awareness about energy use and climate change.

"We are living beyond our means. That is not sustainable," says Andy Ridley, co-founder and executive director of Earth Hour. "We want to unite people around the world to build a sustainable future."

The message seems to hit home. Earth Hour 2012 has commitments from individuals, companies and landmarks to switch off lights in 147 countries and territories and over 5,000 cities, organizers say.

Sydney's Opera House is scheduled to go dark, followed by Asian landmarks such as the Great Wall of China, the Tokyo Tower, Taipei 101 and the India Gate. In Dubai, the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, will switch off its lights.

Other landmarks pledged to switch off: The Eiffel Tower in Paris, London's Big Ben, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and the Empire State Building in New York.

Kuipers will watch the spectacle from orbit, sharing photos and live commentary on the event from space for the first time.

Taking place on the last Saturday each March, the numbers of people and countries participating has increased each year, Ridley says.

"It became easier than ever to connect people around the world," says Ridley. But Earth Hour's long term goal is to go "beyond the hour." For Ridley, the important question is not if action on climate change is happening, but "is it happening fast enough," he says.

"We need to move a lot further, faster and as soon as possible. That is the big challenge, that we all move and that the economies can adapt to the change."

Organized by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour started in Sydney in 2007, when WWF-Australia encouraged 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businessmen to turn off their lights for one hour to support action on climate change.

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How the 'Crackberry' makers lost their way

mobile phones
New York (CNN) – When I interviewed Research in Motion founder Mike Lazaridis two years ago at the launch of the Blackberry Torch, he was convinced the product would revive Blackberry’s fortunes because, “People don’t want to carry around two devices, they just want to carry one.”

He was right about that, but wrong about the device people wanted.

Thursday RIM announced a 23% drop in sales in the fourth quarter.  A recent Nielsen survey found only 5% of U.S. consumers buying a new smart phone chose a Blackberry.  It is a spectacular fall from grace for a company that pioneered push email and made their devices so indispensible they were nicknamed ‘Crackberrys.’

What happened?

For one thing, competition.  Workers who were issued Blackberry devices back in 2003-2005 didn’t just use them for work, they used them all the time and it didn’t take long for the likes of Apple and Google to catch on.  By 2007 both companies hit the market with phones that could not only deliver email and web access on the go, but had cool designs and access to app stores – something Blackberry did not.

But it wasn’t the competition that ultimately killed RIM’s edge.  The company suffered from “founder syndrome.” Mike Lazaridis and co-CEO Jim Balsillie created a brilliant product, but there were ultimately engineers that were blind to changes that were taking place.

In 2005, I went to Waterloo, Ontario to interview both men.  In lab coats and sanitized shoe booties, we toured the facilities and talked a lot about security and I.T. departments - not very much the user experience. It is something I have thought about often as I watched RIM’s stock and market share plummet.

It is often said that Steve Jobs was one of the few founders who was able to cannibalize his own products over and over.  Maybe it was Apple’s near death experience that enabled him to do that.  Is this finally RIM’s “a-ha” moment?  Maybe.

New CEO Thorsten Heins, who seemed in denial himself two months ago, has now announced a management shake-up, said he is open to selling or licensing part of the business. He vowed the company will turn its main focus back to the corporate market.  As one analyst told me, “it was the first RIM conference call in a long time where I didn’t roll my eyes.”

It may be too little, too late. Many of my friends and colleagues have gotten their I.T. departments to support their iPhones or Android phones. I can’t see them turning back.  And let’s not even mention tablets, which RIM has to practically give away to attract customers.

But RIM still had $4 billion in revenue. Their brand, though hurt, still carries weight – especially in developing countries.  And Matt Thornton, Avian Research in Boston says that if they do decide to license their operating system, and pare back from the hardware business, they have a shot.

“It will be a smaller company, but the gross margins on software companies can be 70-80% versus hardware companies which are closer to 40%,” he said.  Who might partner with Blackberry in a licensing deal?  Thornton thinks Samsung would make an interesting alliance.

Any Blackberry fans out there with advice for Thorsten Heins?  He’s gonna need it.

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Winning Mega Millions numbers announced

winning mega million dollars lottery
Winning Mega Millions numbers
(CBS/AP) ATLANTA - The drawing for what could be the single biggest lottery payout the world has ever seen is finally here.

The numbers drawn Friday night in Atlanta were 2-4-23-38-46, Mega Ball 23.

A $640 million jackpot is up for grabs. Taken as a lump sum, it would amount to $462 million — or about $347 million after federal tax withholding. It will be a couple of hours for details on possible winners come out.

Before Friday night's drawing, lottery ticket lines swelled as the record Mega Millions jackpot grew to $640 million, thanks greatly to players who opened their wallets despite long odds of success. Across the country, Americans plunked down an estimated $1.5 billion on the longest of long shots: an infinitesimally small chance to win what could end up being the single biggest lottery payout the world has ever seen.

A cafe worker in Arizona reported selling $2,600 worth of tickets to one buyer, while a retired soldier in Wisconsin doubled his regular weekly ticket spending to $55. But each would have to put down millions more to guarantee winning what could be the biggest single lotto payout in the world.

"I feel like a fool throwing that kind of money away," said Jesse Carter, who spent the $55 and donated the last two tickets he bought at a Milwaukee store Friday to a charity. "But it's a chance you take in life, with anything you do."

Laura Horsley, who does communications and marketing for a trade association, bought $20 worth of Quick Pick tickets at a downtown Washington, D.C., liquor store Friday. But Horsley, who said she won't buy a lottery ticket unless the jackpot tops $100 million, remained realistic.

"I don't actually think I'm going to win, and I don't believe in superstitions or numbers or anything like that," she said. "I just figured it's right around the corner. I'd be crazy not at least to give it a shot."

Thousands of players -- who converged on convenience stores in 42 states and Washington, D.C., where Mega Millions tickets are sold -- agreed.

Kelly Cripe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Lottery Commission, said that as of Tuesday, nationwide sales for the Mega Millions drawing totaled more than $839 million. Officials projected an additional $618.5 million in sales ahead of Friday's drawing, however, for a projected total sales figure of more than $1.46 billion.

"This is unprecedented," Cripe said Friday by e-mail.

Some Indiana players managed to get freebies, as Hoosier Lottery officials gave away one free Mega Millions ticket to each of the first 540 players at several outlets around the state Friday -- a plan announced before the jackpot grew by $100 million.

In Indianapolis, college student Chris Stewart said he showed up at the lottery's headquarters at 6:30 a.m. to be first in a line.

"I've never seen a jackpot like this before," said Stewart, who bought five additional tickets. "If I won -- I mean wow! I just don't know what I'd do. I'd really have to think what I could do with it."

The lines were out the door at Rosie's Den cafe in the rural northwestern Arizona community of White Hills, 72 miles southeast of Las Vegas and one of the closest points to Nevada -- which doesn't offer Mega Millions -- for buyers to get in the game.

Rosie's worker Christine Millim said it's been nonstop for four days.

"In one step I sold $2,600 worth so, that was one person," she said.

Mike Catalano, chairman of the mathematics department at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., concedes the math is clear: The more tickets you buy, the better chances you have of winning. Better long-shot chances, of course.

"You are about 50 times as likely to get struck by lightning as to win the lottery, based on the 90 people a year getting struck by lightning," Catalano said. "Of course, if you buy 50 tickets, you've equalized your chances of winning the jackpot with getting struck by lightning."

Based on other U.S. averages, you're about 8,000 times more likely to be murdered than to win the lottery, and about 20,000 times more likely to die in a car crash than hit the lucky numbers, Catalano said.

For David Kramer, a lawyer in Lincoln, Neb., buying his Mega Millions ticket wasn't about "the realistic opportunity to win."

"It's the fact that for three days, the daydreaming time about what I would do if I won is great entertainment and, frankly, a very nice release from a normal day," he said.

In Armen Keteyian's report for "CBS Evening News", the revenue from that jackpot pie is divided in three ways: About 60 percent goes to prize winners; 15 percent to retailers, marketing and operations; and 25 percent, or about $14 billion, goes back to the states for government services.

And while states earmark that money for education programs, state lotteries covered only a fraction of state education spending," according to a CBS News investigation.

Everett Eahmer, 80, of St. Paul, Minn., said he's been playing the lottery "since the beginning."

"If I win, the first thing I'm going to do is buy a (Tim) Tebow football shirt, and I'm going to do the Tebow pose," said Eahmer, who bought five tickets Thursday. "I'm with him in honoring a higher power."

Lottery officials are happy to have Friday's record Mega Millions jackpot fueling ticket sales, but even they caution against overspending.

"When people ask me, I just tell them that the odds of a lottery game make it a game of fate," said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Urbandale, Iowa-based Multi-State Lottery Association that oversees the Mega Millions, Powerball and other lotteries. "Just buy a ticket, sit back and see if fate points a finger at you for that day."

And what happens if you win? CBS MoneyWatch's Jill Schlesinger has some recommendations -- among them 1) Read the rules on the back of the lottery ticket and the lottery web site; 2) Assemble a team that would include interviewing attorneys and financial advisors; and 3) Allow yourself to spend a little money, but don't go crazy.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Cambodian dad chains son to pole over online gaming

Cambodian dad chains son to pole over online gaming
The Cambodian boy chained to a power pole by his father
PHNOM PENH: An irate Cambodian father chained his teenage son by the neck to a power pole to punish him for skipping school to play online games, police said yesterday.

The 13-year-old’s public ordeal came to an end in under two hours when neighbours alerted the police who brought in a locksmith to free the child.

“The father was so angry that he found his son at an Internet cafe instead of at school that he chained him up in public for people to see, to teach him a lesson,” Battambang deputy police chief Cheth Vanny told AFP, adding that the boy said he was also beaten by his father.

The 40-year-old father, Sok Thoeun, who works as a motorbike taxi driver, fled the scene after the incident Tuesday in the northern town of Battambang, and is now wanted on child abuse charges.

“He is still on the run,” the official said.

“This kind of torture is not acceptable.”

Impoverished Cambodia’s Internet usage rate is among the lowest in southeast Asia, with less than 1.5 per cent of its 14 million people listed as Internet subscribers in 2010, according to government statistics.

But as more Internet cafes have sprung up in urban areas in recent years, the popularity of online gaming has soared among the country’s teenagers, most of whom have no Internet access at home. — AFP

YouTube Earth Hour Campaigns Dare You to Take Action for the Planet

 YouTube Earth Hour 2012
Earth Hour
YouTube is launching a new platform called “I Will If You Will” for Earth Hour 2012, which lets users challenge others to take an environmentally friendly action for the planet.

Earth Hour, now in its sixth year, encourages people to turn off their lights for 60 minutes one day a year. It’s celebrated annually on March 31 between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. This year, the campaign is hoping its impact will last more than one hour.

“In its sixth year, with hundreds of millions of people taking part in Earth Hour, we want to go beyond the hour to encourage positive action for the environment,” Earth Hour co-founder and executive director Andy Ridley said. “The power of social media enables us to unite the global community in the endeavor to protect the planet.”

The “I Will If You Will” campaign is hosted by YouTube and was spearheaded by the Earth Hour founders, the World Wildlife Foundation and Leo Burnett. Supermodel Miranda Kerr is also on board.

As part of the campaign, Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax movie will turn the main character’s mustache green if 500 children commit to switch off their lights for the hour, the president of Fiji Epeli Nailatikau will walk 30 kilometers if businesses and NGOs make pledges, and Miranda Kerr will teach a yoga class to 500 fans who create their own challenge (a condition which was already met).

YouTube also plans to dim its entire site with a virtual light switch for the hour, as it did last year. The social video platform has donated nearly 15 million digital impressions for Earth Hour. Also joining in Earth Hour this year are more than 5,000 cities and towns in 147 countries.

Will you turn out your lights for Earth Hour? Will you challenge your friends to take action?

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Is this the world's smallest dog?

world's smallest dog
BABY BEYONCE: The puppy, will have her size considered by Guinness World Records
A puppy named after one of the world's biggest pop stars could set the world's record for tiniest dog.

Animal rescuers in Northern California say the female Dachshund mix, named Beyonce, was so small at birth that she could fit into a spoon. At two weeks, she's about the size of a business card.

The Grace Foundation, based in El Dorado County, says animal control picked up Beyonce's pregnant mother, and she gave birth to a litter of five on March 8.

Beyonce was the last one delivered, and was born without a heartbeat. Veterinarians managed to revive her through chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

The foundation says she'll be ready for adoption in about two weeks.

Meanwhile, it has submitted an application to Guinness World Records for world's smallest dog.

News by Stuff

Indonesian women stripped of mini skirt rights

Indonesian women in mini skirts
Indonesian women at demonstration
Indonesia's powerful religious affairs minister has declared that mini-skirts are pornographic and would be banned under the country's tough new anti-porn laws.

Minister Suryadharma Ali has been appointed to run Indonesia's new anti-porn task force, announced by president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono earlier this month.

He told reporters in Jakarta yesterday that before deciding what they must ban as pornography, the task force would consult widely to come up with "a set of universal criteria", adding that "one [criteria] will be when someone wears a skirt above the knee", according to the Jakarta Post.

Once a standard of pornography was established, the task force would apply it nationwide across all ethnicities, the newspaper reported.

Entrenched corruption is tearing apart the ruling Democratic Party and imprisoning its members of parliament. While thousands are demonstrating on the streets about fuel price rises and the cost of living,  the Indonesian government's response has been to crack down hard on short skirts.

Earlier this month, the country's parliamentary speaker Marzuki Alie announced he would draft rules banning female politicians and staff members from wearing mini skirts, saying, "there have been a lot of rape cases and other immoral acts recently and this is because women aren't wearing appropriate clothes".

"You know what men are like. Provocative clothing will make them do things."

The president announced the anti-pornography task force earlier this month to try to remove it entirely from Indonesia. Judging by a recent Google survey, Indonesians consume porn at least as enthusiastically as other people, despite a large majority of the population being Muslim.

Yudhoyono put Suryadharma, the religious affairs minister, in charge of the task force's day to day operation.

The minister is no stranger to controversy. In January he said the Shiite version of Islam, a minority interpretation in Indonesia, was heretical because it deviated from mainstream muslim teaching.

Declaring a sect heretical in Indonesia can be dangerous. Last year a machete-wielding mob attacked and killed three members of the "heretical" Ahmadiyah sect.

Suryadharma's department is also controversial. In February, Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission questioned the whereabouts of millions of dollars in interest earned on the deposits that pilgrims paid to the department to join the waiting list for a trip to Mecca.

These deposits, added to donations made to the poor, make the religious affairs department the wealthiest in the Indonesian government. 

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Coffee with mother-in-law saved life

A damaged Mistubishi Diamante
A damaged Mistubishi Diamante, which was driven twice into a bed and breakfast in Napier.
A spur-of-the-moment decision to take his mother-in-law out for coffee was all that saved a Napier man from being killed when a drunk driver reversed repeatedly into his house.

Sea Breeze Bed and Breakfast owner Cafer Unac should have been sitting in his bedroom on his computer when a car came crashing through his front wall yesterday morning.

But he had ducked out to have a cup of coffee with his mother-in-law.

"I was so happy I wasn't here. Otherwise I would have been sitting in the room doing my emails."

Witnesses said the driver reversed out of a Marine Pde car park, across a traffic island, and into the Sea Breeze.

The driver then drove forward and reversed back into the historic building a second time.

The crash caused major damage to the front of the building but Mr Unac was confident it could be repaired quickly so that he could resume business.

His guests had left before the accident, which occurred just before 10am.

Auckland man Warwick Callaghan, who was on the footpath outside the neighbouring youth hostel, said the car came within a metre of hitting him.

"I could have touched the car as it passed.

"I thought he was trying to run me down."

He estimated the late-model Mitsubishi Diamante was travelling about 60kmh.

He said it hit a parked car in the southbound lane of Marine Pde, then reversed over a kerb and through plants on a raised traffic median before crossing the northbound land and smashing into the bed and breakfast.

"I was shouting at him through the window to get out of the car. I said, `Look what you've done to the building, you might have killed someone and you might kill yourself if you keep going.'

"He just gave me a vacant look."

Police said a man was in custody and was likely to face charges of reckless driving and drink-driving. 

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Keeping up with the Ridges

Sally,+Jaime, Ridge and Sonny Bill
Sally and Jaime Ridge garnered plenty of attention at Sonny Bill
New Zealand is to set to get its very own version of hit US TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians with Sally Ridge and daughter Jaime set to star in their very own reality show.

It's understood Sally and Jaime, 18, will feature in a TV3 show in the vein of the E! Channel hit which has seen millions of viewers worldwide following every moment of the Kardashian clans' made-for-TV lives for the last five years.

When contacted this afternoon Jaime said she had ''no comment to make''.

When asked if that meant the show wasn't happening she repeated the statement.

Media Works today refused to confirm or deny the show would screen.

"There is nothing imminent along these lines, but it's not our policy to comment on what is or isn't in development."

Keeping Up with the Kardashians initially centred around superstar siblings Kim, Kourtney and Khloe and their manager mum Kris. Lesser parts were played by brother Rob, stepfather Bruce Jenner and his children Kendall and Kylie along with Kourtney's long-term boyfriend Scott Disick.

Later the show grew to include the daughters' basketball playing husbands - Khloe is married to Lamar Odom and Kim had a brief 72 day marriage to Kris Humphries - and several spin-off versions of the series were created where the siblings took their luxury lives on the road to other cities - the last being New York. The seventh season is due out shortly.

While the Ridge women don't have the international pull of the Kardashians, there are some comparisons between their socialite lives where celebrity status has come through marriage and good looks.

Kris Kardashian is twice married. Her first husband, Robert, was a famous lawyer who helped defend O.J Simpson. Her current husband is a former decathlon gold medallist.

Sally Ridge was married to former All Black and New Zealand Warriors player Matthew Ridge before she switched sporting codes and took up with former Black Cap Adam Parore.

Daughter, Jaime, was involved with budding New Zealand hockey rep Dwayne Rowsell, then left him heartbroken when she took up with All Black and New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Bill Williams.

That relationship was almost as short lived as Kim and Kris' and by New Zealand standards garnered as much publicity.

Like Kris and Kim, Sally and Jaime are inseparable.

When Williams had his February title bout, both mum and daughter were ringside. On Sundays the pair often feature side-by-side in the social pages where Sally has been chaperoning her daughter for years.

And the Ridges, like the Kardashian's who own fashion stores Dash, are also into fashion.

Sally is a former interior designer and owned failed underwear company James & August and her daughter is a model.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

U.S. autism rates reach new height: CDC

U.S. autism rates reach new height
Tarya Seagraves-Quee bathes her six-year-old autistic son Joshua in their room at a motel
(Reuters) - About one in 88 children in the United States has autism or a related disorder, the highest estimate to date and one that is sure to revive a national argument over how the condition is diagnosed and treated.

The estimate released on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention represents an overall increase of 25 percent since the last analysis in 2006 and a near-doubling of the reported rate in 2002.

Among boys, the rate of autism spectrum disorders is one in 54, almost five times that of girls, in whom the rate is one in 252.

"One thing the data tells us with certainty - there are many children and families who need help," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden. "We must continue to track autism spectrum disorders because this is the information communities need to guide improvements in services to help children."

Advocates for people with autism seized on the apparent spike in the prevalence of the disease to call for more research to identify its causes and more services for those affected by it.

"This is a national emergency and it's time for a national strategy," said Mark Roithmayr, president of the research and advocacy group Autism Speaks. He called for a "national training service corps" of therapists, caregivers, teachers and others who are trained to help children with autism.

Some researchers have questioned whether the increases over the last decade are real or reflects greater awareness that has led parents and teachers to see symptoms of autism in children who would not have received the diagnosis a generation ago.

Changes in how the disease is diagnosed explains a large fraction of the reported increase in prevalence, even advocates acknowledged.


"Inevitably when these statistics come out, the question is, what is driving the increase?" said Roithmayr. Better diagnoses, broader diagnostic criteria and higher awareness, he said, account for about half the reported increase.

The new estimate from the CDC comes from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, which operated in 14 states.

To determine whether a child has autism or a related disorder, what CDC calls "clinician reviewers" examined the medical and school records of 8-year-olds in the 14 states and also conducted screening. Children whose records included either an explicit notation of autism-spectrum disorder or merely descriptions of behavior consistent with the disorder were counted as falling on the autism spectrum.

CDC investigators warned, however, that the 14 sites are not "nationally representative." As a result, the rate of autism being reported on Thursday in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, "should not be generalized to the United States as a whole."

Autism spectrum disorders are marked by a suite of symptoms, all arising from atypical brain development that results in problems with socialization, communication, and behavior.

Although the disorder can be mild or severe, in general children with autism have difficulty communicating and making friends. Many find it painful to look other people in the eyes, which impairs their ability to understand what others are thinking and feeling.

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2 Hot 2 Handle these Sexiest Stars

Jennifer Lopez
Neon has been all the rage since last fall, and it doesn't seem like the trend will be slowing down any time soon, thanks to stylish stars like Jennifer Lopez who adore bold looks. Speaking of J.Lo, the multi-talented mom-of-two did her part to keep the fad in fashion by donning a highlighter-hued Michael Kors frock and bright pink pumps for a recent appearance on a Brazilian talk show. What do you make of the former Fly Girl's getup? Luminous or lackluster?

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2 Hot 2 Handle these Sexiest Stars

Kelly Bensimon
Monday night, former "Real Housewives of New York" star Kelly Bensimon showed her support for the LGBT community by attending the annual Jeffrey Fashion Cares auction. Despite her tendency to pose like a linebacker, the model-turned-reality star managed to look quite lovely in a shimmering sleeveless sheath and suede peep-toes.

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2 Hot 2 Handle these Sexiest Stars

Malin Akerman
Meanwhile, Malin Akerman was heating up West Hollywood at the launch of Lacoste's summer collection. The actress' geometric mini was absolutely marvelous, as were her tussled locks and patent leather pumps.

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2 Hot 2 Handle these Sexiest Stars

Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks looked better than ever as she sashayed her way down the red carpet at Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XIII in Phoenix, Arizona. The ex "Idol's" silk-chiffon Kevan Hall dress featured a halter neck and beading on the waist. Neutral makeup and a sleek pony perfected her overall ensemble.

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2 Hot 2 Handle these Sexiest Stars

Miley Cyrus
And last but not least we have Miley Cyrus, who was also spotted at the annual Muhammad Ali extravaganza. We're not feeling her clunky sandals, but we love her cinched cocktail frock and freshly lightened locks. Dare we say this is Miley's best hairdo to date?

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2 Hot 2 Handle these Sexiest Stars

The following afternoon, Rihanna was photographed at London's swanky Corinthia Hotel while promoting her upcoming summer blockbuster, "Battleship." The "S&M" songstress was all smiles as she showed off her fab figure in an olive-green Alexander Wang halter dress and black Christian Louboutin heels.

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2 Hot 2 Handle these Sexiest Stars

Naya Rivera
Back in New York, "Glee" vixen Naya Rivera turned heads at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in a ruffled, ruby-red Moschino dress. The 25-year-old beauty's awesome accessories included a Stark clutch and Louboutin "Bis un Bout" heels. Va-va-voom!

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2 Hot 2 Handle these Sexiest Stars


Emma Roberts
Emma Roberts is either hit or miss in the style department, but the "Scream 4" queen knocked it out of the park on Monday night at the Metropolitan Opera's presentation of Jules Massenets "Manon." Are you loving her black strapless Yves St. Laurent jumpsuit and red metal belt as much as we are?

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Rose McGowan
Also spotted sporting a glowing getup was "Charmed" alum Rose McGowan, who popped a pose in a sexy, one-shouldered Valentino mini upon arriving at the designer's 50th anniversary soiree in Beverly Hills. In addition to loving the dress' rosette detailing, we're also fond of McGowan's simple accessories: a metallic clutch and nude platform pumps.

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Kate Winslet
"Titanic" opened to critical and commercial acclaim nearly 15 years ago, and it's leading lady, Kate Winslet, looks better with each passing year. On Tuesday evening, the Oscar-winning actress hit the red carpet -- at London's Royal Albert Hall -- for the film's highly-anticipated 3D re-release in a breathtaking, silk, Swarovski crystal-encrusted Jenny Packham gown. A super chic.

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The 11 longest flights in the world

Plane taking off
Plane taking off
"Are we there yet?" usually issues from the mouths of children. But aboard these 11 flights, even the adults pester flight attendants with such questions. U.S. News Travel sought out the most painstakingly long journeys in the sky. While some people measure length by mileage, we believe the flight's duration is much more important to travelers. After all, you only want to be stuck on a plane with strangers for so long.

The numerical data below was provided by each airline.

11. New York to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific (Tie)

-- Miles: 8,059
-- Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours

Cathay Pacific offers not one, not two, but three direct flights every day from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). Each Boeing 777 takes about 16 hours to reach its Asian destination. The flight's carrier, Cathay Pacific, is unfamiliar to most Americans, but it is one of the largest airlines in Asia and Hong Kong's official airline. As travel between Asia and North America steadily increases, look for an escalating number of Cathay Pacific planes in your local airport.

10. Dallas-Fort Worth to Brisbane on Qantas (Tie)

-- Miles: 8,584
-- Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours

Jumping 16 hours ahead, travelers flying from Texas Cowboy Country to the Australian Outback will probably experience some jet lag. Add to that 15 hours of airtime, and the trek could be downright painful. Luckily, Qantas pampers its passengers with ergonomic seats, personal on-demand entertainment sets, three meals, and complimentary wine. Upon request, customers can also receive "dopp kits" complete with a razor, toothbrush, deodorant, and other products to freshen up on board. When travelers get restless or hungry, they can take a short walk to the self-service snack bar, which is fully stocked with free goodies.

9. Johannesburg to New York on South African Airways (Tie)

-- Miles: 7,970
-- Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours

In May 2011, South African Airways began its nonstop service from Johannesburg, South Africa, to New York's JFK airport. Operating once a day, an Airbus 340-600 shuttles more than 300 passengers around the globe. During their voyage, travelers receive two full meals, one snack, and complimentary beverages, including wine and spirits. In coach, the 2-4-2 seat configuration reduces the number of middle seats that regularly appear on planes with 3-3-3 arrangements. The seat-back entertainment screen comes with lots of programming as well as instructional videos for stretching during the flight.

8. Newark to Hong Kong on United Airlines (Tie)

-- Miles: 8,065
-- Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours

Departing from NYC's stepsister, travelers on United Flight 79 must sit tight for 16 hours before reaching their final destination. For frequent flyers, the commute from Newark to Hong Kong can be a rough one. International flights on U.S. carriers usually receive a bad rep. Small issues (like food quality and cramped seats) that are regularly overlooked on shorter flights balloon into big inconveniences during longer trips. American carriers also tend to receive lower customer satisfaction ratings on SkyTrax. For instance, United Airlines has a 4.1 out of 10 customer review score. Be sure to consider the onboard conditions before booking a lengthy flight on an American airline.

7. Atlanta to Johannesburg on Delta Airlines (Tie)

-- Miles: 8,433
-- Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours 15 Minutes

It takes four pilots and two separate flight crews to handle Delta Flight 200 from Atlanta, Ga., to Johannesburg, South Africa. The Boeing 777LR used to make this trip travels 8,433 miles between the two cities and consumes almost 40,000 gallons of fuel. Meanwhile, when it comes to needing sustenance, the plane isn't alone. On board this 16-hour-and-15-minute flight, passengers annually consume approximately 70,000 cans of soda, 100,000 bags of pretzels, 200,000 bags of peanuts, and a half-million pounds of ice. The two in-flight meals offer a taste of American and South African cuisine. For instance, one current entree is a Lemon Spiced Kingklip, a type of fish native to South African waters.

6. Doha to Houston on Qatar Airways (Tie)

-- Miles: 8,047
-- Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours 15 Minutes

Qatar Airways operates a marathon flight route between sunny Doha, Qatar, and humid Houston, Texas. Flying westward to the United States, the journey usually takes just over 16 hours. Economy passengers receive an amenity kit with an eye mask, toothbrush, and even socks to make them feel more at home. They can also follow the "Fly Healthy, Fly Fit" guide and perform some relaxation techniques onboard, such as deep breathing and stretching. While they're not sleeping or dining, travelers can view hundreds of films on their personal 10.6-inch TV screen.

5. Dubai to Houston on Emirates Airways

-- Miles: 8,164*
-- Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours 20 Minutes

From oil capital to oil capital, Emirates Airways brings people from Dubai to Houston on a lengthy nonstop flight. Commonly called a luxury carrier, the airline prides itself on its service on and off the plane. Flight attendants conduct two meal services, while the "As You Like It" menu (which includes pizza, fruit, and chocolates) is available throughout the journey. Additionally, travelers can take advantage of the full complimentary bar to calm their nerves. On this 16-plus hour trek, there's plenty of time to try all of Emirates Airways' offerings.

4. Dubai to Los Angeles on Emirates Airways

-- Miles: 8,335*
-- Scheduled Duration: 16 Hours 30 Minutes

Emirates Airways runs a flight between glamorous L.A. and even more opulent Dubai. On the massive Boeing 777-200LR, passengers can choose to spend the 16.5 hours in the 216-seat economy cabin, the 42-seat business class area (that features lie-flat seats), or the eight ultra-posh suites. Each cabin showcases Emirates' unique starlit ceiling that reflects the time of day at the destination. This lighting system helps combat symptoms of jet lag. However, the price you pay for your journey might give you a headache: An economy-class ticket runs between $1,800 and $2,400, while a first-class ride jumps into the $12,700 to $14,000 range.

3. Los Angeles to Bangkok on Thai Airways

-- Miles: 8,260*
-- Scheduled Duration: 17 Hours 30 Minutes

Aside from having the most delicious food for economy travelers, Thai Airways operates one of the longest flights in the world, traveling from L.A. to Bangkok. Spanning 8,260 miles, the path of this Airbus A340-500 takes 17 hours and 30 minutes. Travelers appreciate the tasty onboard meals and congenial staff. In fact, Thai Airways receives SkyTrax's elite four-star rating, indicating a high level of customer satisfaction.

2. Newark to Singapore on Singapore Airlines

-- Miles: 10,371

-- Scheduled Duration: 18 Hours

From Newark to Singapore, travelers aboard this 18-hour jaunt receive some much-needed pampering. For this long voyage, Singapore Airlines (SA) employs an Airbus 340-500. Normally holding more than 300 passengers, SA's luxury aircraft hosts only 100 seats. But to call them "seats" is really unfair; they're more like beds. Set in a 1-2-1 configuration (one at each window and two in the middle), the reclining chairs offer immediate access to the aisle. Should you be on this flight, you'll want to get up and move around, especially in the direction of the self-service snack bar. After all, you're on the longest flight in the world by distance.

1. Los Angeles to Singapore, Singapore Airlines
-- Miles: 9,500
-- Scheduled Duration: 18 Hours 30 Minutes

Currently, Singapore Airlines operates the longest flight in the world by duration, racking up 18 hours and 30 minutes in the air in just one go. From Los Angeles to Singapore, a business-class only airplane shuttles 100 passengers halfway across the globe. Most people are surprised to learn that this trip takes longer than the airline's Newark-Singapore flight, which travels about 800 more miles. The Newark flight path across the North Pole subjects the aircraft to less wind resistance, allowing it to travel faster than the flight from L.A., which crosses the Pacific Ocean.

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Prominent Pakistani acid victim commits suicide

Prominent Pakistani acid victim commits suicide
People carry the body of a Pakistani acid attack victim Fakhra Younnus
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani acid attack victim Fakhra Younus had endured more than three dozen surgeries over more than a decade to repair her severely damaged face and body when she finally decided life was no longer worth living.

The 33-year-old former dancing girl — who was allegedly attacked by her then-husband, an ex-lawmaker and son of a political powerhouse — jumped from the sixth floor of a building in Rome, where she had been living and receiving treatment.

Her March 17 suicide and the return of her body to Pakistan on Sunday reignited furor over the case, which received significant international attention at the time of the attack. Her death came less than a month after a Pakistani filmmaker won the country's first Oscar for a documentary about acid attack victims.

Younus' story highlights the horrible mistreatment many women face in Pakistan's conservative, male-dominated culture and is a reminder that the country's rich and powerful often appear to operate with impunity. Younus' ex-husband, Bilal Khar, was eventually acquitted, but many believe he used his connections to escape the law's grip — a common occurrence in Pakistan.

More than 8,500 acid attacks, forced marriages and other forms of violence against women were reported in Pakistan in 2011, according to The Aurat Foundation, a women's rights organization. Because the group relied mostly on media reports, the figure is likely an undercount.

"The saddest part is that she realized that the system in Pakistan was never going to provide her with relief or remedy," Nayyar Shabana Kiyani, an activist at The Aurat Foundation, said of Younus. "She was totally disappointed that there was no justice available to her."

Younus was a teenage dancing girl working in the red light district of the southern city of Karachi when she met her future husband, the son of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, a former governor of Pakistan's largest province, Punjab. The unusual pairing was the younger Khar's third marriage. He was in his mid-30s at the time.

The couple was married for three years, but Younus eventually left him because he allegedly physically and verbally abused her. She claimed that he came to her mother's house while she was sleeping in May 2000 and poured acid all over her in the presence of her 5-year-old son from a different man.

Tehmina Durrani, Ghulam Mustafa Khar's ex-wife and his son's stepmother, became an advocate for Younus after the attack, drawing international attention to the case. She said that Younus' injuries were the worst she had ever seen on an acid attack victim.

"So many times we thought she would die in the night because her nose was melted and she couldn't breathe," said Durrani, who wrote a book about her own allegedly abusive relationship with the elder Khar. "We used to put a straw in the little bit of her mouth that was left because the rest was all melted together."

She said Younus, whose life had always been hard, became a liability to her family, for whom she was once a source of income.

Pakistani acid attack victim Fakhra Younnus
Fakhra Younnus before (L) and after (R)

"Her life was a parched stretch of hard rock on which nothing bloomed," Durrani wrote in a column in The News after Younus' suicide.

Younus' ex-husband grew up in starkly different circumstances, amid the wealth and power of the country's feudal elite, and counts Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar as a cousin.

Bilal Khar once again denied carrying out the acid attack in a TV interview following her suicide, suggesting a different man with the same name committed the crime. He claimed Younus killed herself because she didn't have enough money, not because of her horrific injuries, and criticized the media for hounding him about the issue.

"You people should be a little considerate," said Khar. "I have three daughters and when they go to school people tease them."

In February, Younus said in one of her last interviews that powerful Pakistanis brutally treat ordinary citizens and "don't know how painful they make others' lives."

"I want such people to be treated in the same way" as they treat people whose lives they ruin, she told Geo TV over the telephone from Rome.

Younus was energized when the Pakistani government enacted a new set of laws last year that explicitly criminalized acid attacks and mandated that convicted attackers would serve a minimum sentence of 14 years, said Durrani. She hoped to return someday to get justice once her health stabilized.

"She said, 'When I come back, I will reopen the case, and I'll fight myself,' and she was a fighter," Durrani said.

Durrani had to battle with both Younus' ex-husband and the government to send her to Italy, where the Italian government paid for her treatment and provided her money to live on and send her child to school. Pakistani officials argued that sending Younus to Italy would give the country a bad name, Durrani said.

Younus was happy when Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won an Oscar for her documentary about acid attack victims in February, but was worried about being forgotten since she wasn't profiled in the film, said Durrani.

Durrani said Younus' case should be a reminder that the Pakistani government needs to do much more to prevent acid attacks and other forms of violence against women, and also help the victims.

"I think this whole country should be extremely embarrassed that a foreign country took responsibility for a Pakistani citizen for 13 years because we could give her nothing, not justice, not security," said Durrani.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pumpkin Ravioli Recipe Wins $1M Pillsbury Bake-Off Prize

 Pumpkin Ravioli Recipe Wins $1M
 Pumpkin Ravioli Recipe
Think your signature recipe is worth a million bucks? Christina Verrelli of Devon, Pennsylvania, learned Tuesday that her Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream isn’t just a crowd-pleaser; it’s a cash cow.

Verrelli bested 94 women and five men ranging in age from 25 to 77, both new and veteran Pillsbury Bake-Off finalists to earn a prize of $1 million in the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. Her victory was announced today on a live broadcast of “The Martha Stewart Show,” at the Peabody Orlando Hotel in Florida.

The annual contest received tens of thousands of entries in the categories of Breakfast and Brunches, Entertaining Appetizers, Dinner Made Easy as well as Sweet Treats, which Verrelli entered. She claims her recipe was inspired by a local favorite of hers, sweet donuts with three dipping sauces.

In a press release, Jeff Houck, food editor at the Tampa Tribune said, “This recipe really pushed the boundaries on the definition of a ravioli.” He also praised the recipe’s seasonal versatility.

Martha Stewart concurred, saying, “Christina’s recipe is an innovative and sweet take on a traditional, savory favorite: it’s not like any ravioli I’ve ever tasted.”

“I can see how this winning recipe dazzled the judges, and I think it will inspire other home cooks around the country to make it for their family and friends,” Stewart continued.

In addition to Verrelli’s grand prize, the three additional category winners — Terri Sherman of Palos Heights, Illinois, Maria Vasseur of Valencia, California, and Donna Wolfe of Hamilton, New Jersey — were awarded $5,000 and $3,000 worth of GE kitchen appliances.

Contestants, who must be amateurs, have been tossing their toques into the ring since the Bake-Off’s inception in 1949. That year, Theodora Smafield of Rockford, Illinois, took home $50,000 for her No-Knead Water-Rising Twists recipe — a sum doubled from the advertised $25,000 pot by a promotional token that she’d run across two months before.

Though her initial win stirred a national obsession with the contest, it still took 44 years for a man — Kurt Wait — to rise to the top with a Macadamia Fudge Torte in 1996.

The finished dishes are judged on taste, appearance, creativity and consumer appeal. They must also use at least two qualifying ingredients from a product list, follow contest rules and fit into one of the assigned four categories.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Salted Caramel Whipped Cream

Christina Verrelli
Devon, Pennsylvania
Prep Time: 1 Hr 10 Min
Total Time: 1 Hr 10 Min
Makes: 12 (2 ravioli each) servings

4 Tablespoons LAND O LAKES® Butter, melted
2 packages (3 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 LAND O LAKES® Egg Yolk
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup sugar
5 Tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/3 cup Fisher® Chef’s Naturals® Chopped Pecans, finely chopped
2 cans Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1 cup heavy whipping cream1/8 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons Hershey’s® caramel syrup
4 Tablespoons McCormick® Cinnamon Sugar


   1. Heat oven to 375°F. Brush 2 large cookie sheets with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Add egg yolk, vanilla, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the flour and pumpkin pie spice; beat on low speed until blended. Reserve 4 teaspoons of the pecans; set aside. Stir remaining pecans into pumpkin mixture.

   2. Lightly sprinkle work surface with 1 tablespoon of the flour. Unroll 1 can of dough on floured surface with 1 short side facing you. Press dough into 14×12-inch rectangle. With paring knife, lightly score the dough in half horizontally. Lightly score bottom half of dough into 12 squares (3×2 1/4-inch each). Spoon heaping tablespoon of the pumpkin filling onto center of each square.

   3. Gently lift and position unscored half of dough over filling. Starting at the top folded edge, press handle of wooden spoon firmly between mounds and along edges of pumpkin filling to seal. Using toothpick, poke small hole in top of each ravioli. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut between each ravioli; place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon flour, dough sheet and filling. Brush ravioli with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter.

   4. Bake 9 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.

   5. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat whipping cream and salt with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the caramel syrup until stiff peaks form. Transfer to serving bowl; cover and refrigerate.

   6. Remove ravioli from oven. Sprinkle ravioli with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar; turn. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.

   7. To serve, place 2 ravioli on each of 12 dessert plates. Drizzle each serving with scant teaspoon of the caramel syrup; sprinkle with reserved chopped pecans. With spoon, swirl remaining 1 tablespoon caramel syrup into bowl of whipped cream. Serve warm ravioli with whipped cream.

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