Showing posts with label ap. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ap. Show all posts

Sunday, April 29, 2012

US: Deadly crash near New York's Bronx Zoo

deadly accident at New York, US
Police investigate the van that plunged over the Bronx River Parkway
Van plunges more than 50 feet from highway near Bronx Zoo, killing 7, police say

A van flew off an elevated portion of New York's Bronx River Parkway Sunday afternoon, falling more than 50 feet before landing in a horrific crash that left seven people dead, multiple news outlets reported.

The accident, near the Bronx Zoo, happened at about 12:30 p.m. local time, authorities said. It's not clear what caused the crash.

According to the Associated Press, the van was headed south when "it bounced off the median, crossed all southbound lanes over to the guardrail and fell." The vehicle "flipped off a ramp into a transit facility near the Bronx Zoo," CNN reported. According to NBC's New York affiliate, it was a rail yard.

It was not clear whether all seven of the victims were traveling in the van at the time of the crash. According to the news service, three of the victims were children.

According to NY1, at least one victim was pinned inside the vehicle.

According to the New York Post, all seven victims were traveling in the van when it crashed.

Fire Department spokesman Jim Long told the AP that the victims "were an 84-year-old man; three women, ages 80, 45 and 30; and three girls, ages 12, 10 and 7."

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

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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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adele and Ed Sheeran win at UK music's Brit Awards

Adele in UK music Awards
LONDON (AP) — Soulful songstress Adele capped a momentous year of Grammy Awards triumph and medical woes with a double win at the U.K.'s Brit music awards Tuesday, taking prizes for album of the year and best British female solo artist before making an obscene gesture after the show's host cut her acceptance speech short.

Teen-friendly English troubadour Ed Sheeran won two trophies, including British male solo artist, at an energetic ceremony in London.

It has been a dramatic year for down-to-earth north London diva Adele, who based her chart-topping songs of heartbreak on a rocky relationship.

Her sophomore album "21" won six Grammys last week and has sold more than 6 million copies in the United States alone. But Adele also had to undergo vocal cord surgery in November to fix a potentially career-threatening throat condition.

She delivered a powerhouse performance of her single "Rolling in the Deep" to thousands of fans and industry insiders at London's O2 arena.

"It's been an amazing year," Adele said as she received the female artist statuette from petite pop star Kylie Minogue.

"I feel like a drag queen next to you," joked the winner, who wore a sleek black Burberry gown but towered over Minogue. She thanked her record company "for letting me be the kind of artist I want to be."

The show's host, actor James Corden, cut off Adele's second acceptance speech, prompting the singer to make a rude middle-finger gesture in frustration.

She stressed afterward that it was aimed at industry leaders, not her fans.

"I'm sorry if I offended anyone but it was the suits that offended me," Adele said. "Thank you all very much and thanks to my fans. I don't want them to think I was swearing at them."

The show's broadcaster, ITV, issued a statement apologizing to Adele for cutting her off.

"We regret this happened and we send deepest apologies to Adele that her big moment was cut short tonight due to the live show over-running," ITV said.

The 23-year-old lost out on the British single prize to boy band One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful," but took the coveted album of the year award for "21." The statue was presented by singer George Michael, returning to the stage after suffering life-threatening pneumonia in December.

The ceremony also included tributes to two departed divas, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse.

Tousle-haired singer-songwriter Sheeran won prizes for solo artist and British breakthrough act.

The red-headed 21-year-old has been panned as bland by some critics, but has amassed legions of young fans through online releases and a relentless calendar of shows.

Sheeran thanked his manager for transforming a "spotty, chubby ginger teenager" into a Brit-winner.

Long derided as dull, the Brits have become a lively celebration of U.K. music and style — and this year's awards come with British music riding high around the world.

"I'm so, so proud to be British and to be flying our flag," said Adele, who has the century's best-selling album so far.

Tuesday's event — which kicked off with Coldplay performing "Charlie Brown" and included live turns from Sheeran, Florence and the Machine, Noel Gallagher, Bruno Mars and Rihanna — brought out a host of stars who blended rock 'n' roll attitude and fashion finery.

Blur frontman Damon Albarn dressed down for the red carpet in jeans and a flat cap, and former Oasis guitarist Gallagher wore a leather jacket. But others struck a snazzier note. Actor Ray Winstone arrived in a pinstriped three-piece suit, complete with watch chain.

Style standouts included Minogue, in a strapless sky blue dress; plump-lipped Internet sensation Lana Del Rey, wearing a floor-length red gown; and Florence and the Machine's Florence Welch, in a lacy peach dress by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen.

Coldplay won their fourth best British group trophy, while Foo Fighters were voted best international group.

Bruno Mars took the prize for international male solo artist, and Rihanna won the international female prize for a second year.

The Barbadian singer, who has often been in the news for non-musical reasons since her then-boyfriend Chris Brown attacked her at a pre-Grammy Awards party in 2009, thanked her fans.

"At times when I feel misunderstood, my fans always remind me that it's OK to be myself," she said.

Lana Del Rey appeared moved to be named international breakthrough act.

"This award means much more to me than you know," said the singer, who has gone from Internet-fueled buzz to backlash in record time after a disastrous performance last month on "Saturday Night Live."

Britpop icons Blur received a special prize for their contribution to music.

The four original members — Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree — performed together for the first time since a series of concerts in 2009, offering versions of 1990s hits including "Girls & Boys" and "Parklife."

Most of the awards are chosen by more than 1,000 musicians, critics and record industry figures, with several decided by public vote.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Comet defies death, brushes up to sun and lives

Comet to Sun
WASHINGTON (AP) — A small comet survived what astronomers figured would be a sure death when it danced uncomfortably close to the broiling sun.

Comet Lovejoy, which was only discovered a couple of weeks ago, was supposed to melt Thursday night when it came close to where temperatures hit several million degrees. Astronomers had tracked 2,000 other sun-grazing comets make the same suicidal trip. None had ever survived.

But astronomers watching live with NASA telescopes first saw the sun's corona wiggle as Lovejoy went close to the sun. They were then shocked when a bright spot emerged on the sun's other side. Lovejoy lived.

"I was delighted when I saw it go into the sun and I was astounded when I saw something re-emerge," said U.S. Navy solar researcher Karl Battams.

Lovejoy didn't exactly come out of its hellish adventure unscathed. Only 10 percent of the comet — which was probably millions of tons — survived the encounter, said W. Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which tracked Lovejoy's death-defying plunge.

And the comet lost something pretty important: its tail.

"It looks like the tail broke off and is stuck" in the sun's magnetic field, Pesnell said.

Comets circle the sun and sometimes get too close. Lovejoy came within 75,000 miles of the sun's surface, Battams said. For a small object often described as a dirty snowball comprised of ice and dust, that brush with the sun should have been fatal.

Astronomers say it probably didn't melt completely because the comet was larger than they thought.

The frozen comet was evaporating as it made the trip toward the sun, "just like you're sweating on a hot day," Pesnell said.

"It's like an ice cube going by a barbecue grill," he said.

Pesnell said the comet, although only discovered at the end of November by an Australian observer, probably is related to a comet that came by Earth on the way to the sun in 1106.

As Comet Lovejoy makes its big circle through the solar system, it will be another 800 or 900 years before it nears the sun again, astronomers say.

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