Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Americans buy record numbers of guns for Christmas

According to the FBI, over 1.5 million background checks on customers were requested by gun dealers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in December. Nearly 500,000 of those were in the six days before Christmas.

It was the highest number ever in a single month, surpassing the previous record set in November.

On Dec 23 alone there were 102,222 background checks, making it the second busiest single day for buying guns in history.

The actual number of guns bought may have been even higher if individual customers took home more than one each.

Explanations for America's surge in gun buying include that it is a response to the stalled economy with people fearing crime waves. Another theory is that buyers are rushing to gun shops because they believe tighter firearms laws will be introduced in the future.

The National Rifle Association said people were concerned about self defence because police officer numbers were declining.

A spokesman said: "I think there's an increased realisation that when something bad occurs it's going to be between them and the criminal."

But anti-gun campaigners said those who already owned weapons were simply hoarding more of them due to "fear-mongering" by the NRA.

A spokeswoman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said: "The research we've seen indicates fewer and fewer people are owning more and more guns."

Dave LaRue, of Legendary Guns in Phoenix, Arizona, said Christmas sales were up 25 per cent on the previous year and ammunition sales were also "brisk".

He said: "There are a lot of people concerned about pending gun legislation and the sense about the current administration. People think future availability will be limited and there's a feeling of get it while you can."

The record for gun sales in a single day was set in November, on the day after Thanksgiving, when 129,166 background searches were carried out on customers buying weapons.

Since the near-fatal shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords by a deranged gunman in Tucson, Arizona last January there have been increasing calls for tighter gun control. Miss Giffords survived being shot in the head with a semi-automatic handgun, and six other people were killed.

News by Telegraph

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas whale gives a wave

A white whale, also known as beluga, puffs a ring at Kamogawa Sea World
THIS friendly beluga whale appears to be waving its flipper at the camera as it blows a circular bubble into the water.

The incredible image, taken at Kamogawa Sea World in east Tokyo, shows the white whale saying a cheery Christmas day hello to the photographer.

He certainly knows how to have a whale of a time...

News by Mirror

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Ferrari which holds EIGHT people and plenty of Christmas presents

Long Ferrari
With Christmas days away and presents still to buy for all your family and friends, sometimes a regular estate is just not big enough for all the bags.

Which may explain why these last-minute shoppers arrived at Harrods driving something a little more spacious than the usual.

Shoppers in upmarket Knightsbridge, London, looked on in disbelief yesterday afternoon when two men pulled up at Harrods in this outrageous stretched Ferrari.

With no bay in the area suitable for a vehicle of such length, the car simply stopped on double yellow lines at the front of the store.

The limousine is a one-off, made by a developer in the UK by cutting a regular Ferrari 360 Modena in half and adding some seats in the middle.

It is the fastest limousine in the world, capable of reaching speeds of up to 166mph and is estimated to cost as much as £250,000.

It is likely the car was not owned by the male driver but hired specially for the occasion from an elite hire company.

The limo was designed by Dan Cawley, a Manchester-based businessman who owns hire company Style Limousines.

Mr Cawley, who has sold the car to another rental company, told the Mail: 'Every boy wants to get into a Ferrari, this was a way for people to be able to do that with seven mates. It's the biggest and craziest vehicle you can get. We made it because we wanted to create the ultimate Ferrari experience.'

He added: 'There's room for eight people – so you can get plenty of shopping bags in there.'

News by Dailymail

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Merry ChristMoss: Kate slips into some lingerie for new ad campaign

sexy girls
Kate Moss
It might be cold outside but Kate Moss doesn't appear to be having any trouble keeping warm.

Draped across an unmade bed, the supermodel slipped into some underwear and stockings, posing seductively for lingerie brand Valisere.

And the 37-year-old is proving she is still in enviable shape.

Looking flawless in the Triumph brand's designs, Kate will no doubt help shift the underwear in time for Christmas - as hundreds of men rush out to create a similar look for their partners at home.

The model does her best Brigitte Bardot impression with backcombed, tousled hair and come-to-bed stare.

This is not the first time Kate has modeled for the brand.

Last year, Kate appeared in a similar shoot, looking equally glamorous.

The mother-of-one recently came under fire for 'copying' a jewelery ad campaign.

Kate was modeling her own collection of jewellery designed for French brand Fred, which contains a number of pieces inspired by her many tattoos.

The pictures were taken by Sonia Sieff and show Kate in a sexy 'come-hither' pose with tousled blonde hair.

Last year, Kate was photographed by Peter Lindbergh in a campaign for David Yurman's Spring 2011 collection in which she also appears with tousled hair and sultry pose.

The similarities between the pictures have been slammed by Kate's previous employer who say they are used to people copying them.

'The Fred campaign is embarrassingly similar to the one David Yurman ran a year ago,' a spokesperson for Yurman said.

But judging by these pictures, it seems wispy hair and sultry poses are Kate's signature look.

News by Dailymail

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday sales strong, but still discounted

Holiday Shopping
(Reuters) - With six days until Christmas, the U.S. holiday shopping season is better than expected, with discounts deep enough to bring in shoppers who are searching for bargains but not showing the desperation seen in the recession.

Department stores like Macy's Inc are shaping up to be among the big winners, while apparel retailers are being hurt as mild weather limits demand for winter clothes.

"Some of the women's retailers that were doing well earlier in the year are getting hurt this holiday by the resurgence of the department store," said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consulting firm.

Customer Growth Partners, which has been one of the most bullish forecasters of sales heading into the holiday season, estimated that U.S. retailer sales on Saturday were $26 billion, just shy of the $27 billion spent on "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving, which traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season.

Johnson was one of the most bullish forecasters coming into the holiday season. Now others are joining suit.

ShopperTrak, which monitors traffic at shopping malls, now expects sales in November and December to rise 3.7 percent, up from its September forecast of 3 percent.

Last week, the National Retail Federation raised its forecast, calling for holiday sales to rise 3.8 percent. In October, it forecast a gain of 2.8 percent.

To be sure, that NRF forecast is still less than the 5.2 percent increase reported for 2010. Unemployment was still 8.6 percent in November and lower-income shoppers have been making use of such plans as layaway to paying for holiday items.

So many analysts said sales are not exceptionally strong or exceptionally weak.

"There's more that's normal here than people want to let on," Edward Jones analyst Matt Arnold said.

ShopperTrak cofounder Bill Martin said that discounts were more in the 30 percent to 40 percent range, instead of the 50 percent to 60 percent seen last year.

On Saturday, he said it was hard to find parking spaces at the malls he visited and he saw lots of people with packages. In other words, it was a typical weekend before Christmas.

"It's been a typical shopping pattern," he said.

Overall, traffic to stores may be off a couple of percentage points. But that's because more people are shopping on line, he said.

IBM Benchmark, which tracks transactions on the websites of hundreds of the top retailers, said on Monday it now expects online sales to rise 9.5 percent to 10 percent in December from a year ago.

Trutina Financial Chief Investment Officer Patty Edwards said what she saw at Target this weekend was stocked shelves and normal discounts.

"There weren't any specific markdowns that were overly compelling, but conversely, there didn't seem to be any shortages of items at all," Edwards said


Even with retailers managing their pace of discounts and avoiding desperation, higher costs for cotton and other materials are taking their toll. Many retailers' gross margins are likely to decline this holiday season, according to data from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Over the weekend, 40 percent discounts "seemed to be the cost of doing business," said Nomura Equity Research analyst Paul Lejuez, who follows apparel retailers, adding that "promos are likely to intensify this week."

Among the retailers offering such discounts were Abercrombie & Fitch Co, American Eagle Outfitters Inc, Ann Inc, Gap Inc and Wet Seal Inc, Lejuez said.

Mild weather has cut into sales of winter clothing, said independent retail analyst Brian Sozzi.

"Coats are offering some of the best deals in the mall right now," he said.

One of the featured items on on Monday was women's coats for 40 percent to 50 percent off.

"Those cold temperatures that you typically experience in December just haven't been there," said Joe DeRugeriis, senior marketing manager at Planalytics, which provides weather consulting services for businesses.

"People are still going to spend the cash," he said, "but the cash is moving to things more like electronics and not those items that normally sell well this time of the year."

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Grenade attack in Belgium kills 4 and injures 75 at Liege Christmas market

grenade attack in Belgium
Grenade attack in Liege
A man armed with grenades and an assault rifle attacked shoppers in the Belgian city Liege today, leaving four people dead and wounding 75 others.

The attack ignited a stampede, as hundreds fled the explosions and bullets in the busy Place Saint-Lambert.

Interior Ministry official Peter Mertens said the attack did not involve terrorism.

The attacker was identified as Norodine Amrani, 33, a Liege resident who had served jail sentences for offences involving guns, drugs and sex abuse.

He was among the dead, but it was unclear if he committed suicide or died by accident. He was not killed by police.

The dead included two teenage boys, aged 15 and 17, and a 75-year-old woman. A two-year-old girl was reported to be fighting for her life.

Amrani had been summoned for police questioning today but the reason for the questioning was not clear. He still had a number of grenades with him when he died.

He left his home in Liege with a backpack, armed with hand grenades, a revolver and an assault rifle.

He walked alone to the central square, then got on to a platform that gave him a view of the square below, with a huge Christmas tree and crowded with shoppers.

From there, Amrani lobbed three hand grenades towards a bus shelter, which serves 1,800 buses a day, then opened fire on the crowd. The explosions sent glass from the bus shelter across a wide area.

Witness Dimitri Degryse said: "I heard a loud boom. I thought it was something on my car that was broken or something. Then a few seconds after, a second boom, and I saw all the glass breaking, I saw people running, screaming."

As soon as the shooting began, hundreds of people fled the square, as well as a Christmas market in an adjacent square, rampaging through old city streets looking for cover.

Video from the scene showed people, including a large group of children, fleeing the city centre, some still carrying shopping bags.

As police hunted for possible accomplices, residents were ordered to stay in their homes or seek shelter in shops or public buildings.

A medical post was set up in the nearby courtyard of the Prince Bishops courthouse. Dozens of emergency vehicles took victims away for treatment.

Police closed off the area but found no accomplices and calm returned after a few hours.

The Place Saint-Lambert and the nearby Place du Marche host Liege's annual Christmas market, which consists of 200 tiny shops and attracts some 1.5 million visitors a year.

By dusk, with the Christmas lights gleaming again, King Albert II and Queen Paola came to pay their respects, as did prime minister Elio Di Rupo.

Place Saint-Lambert is a busy crossroads. Every day 1,800 buses serve the square, which leads to central shopping streets.

The Place Saint-Lambert and the nearby Place du Marche host the Liege's annual Christmas market which consists of 200 retail cabins and attracts some 1.5 million visitors a year.

News by Mirror

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Woman decorates ceiling with 1,700 Christmas baubles

marry christmas
Woman decorates ceiling with 1,700 Christmas decorations (Pics:Rex)

According to Sylvia her best bauble buying experience was when she visited Macy's in New York and was overwhelmed with the choice on offer.

On that trip she walked away with 30 new decorations and even had to buy a new bag to carry them all home in.

Some of her most expensive baubles cost £14 each and were brought from Harrods in London.

News by Mirror

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Monday, December 05, 2011

Dead Friend Buried Beneath Christmas Presents: Patty White Accused Of Murder

Patty White
Police arrested a woman they said killed her friend and hid her body under a pile of Christmas presents in Florida, TV station WBTV reports.

Then, the suspect, Patty White, hightailed it back to her home in South Carolina, making withdrawals with the dead woman's ATM cards along the way, according to TV station WJXT.

Police accuse White, 40, of beating and strangling Michele O'Dowd, 67, in the older woman's apartment. O'Dowd was found dead by her twin brother on Friday, who looked for her when she didn't show up for work according to

The debit card transaction enabled Jacksonville police to easily track White. Surveillance cameras at the ATMs supposedly recorded White getting cash, The Charlotte Observer says.

O'Dowd was described as a family friend of White. She invited White to move in with her a few months ago, but the the relationship soured and White returned to live in York, S.C. But White made another trip to O'Dowd's home last week in what authorities describe as a robbery attempt gone wrong, according to WBTV.

The deceased woman's apartment was ransacked.

York City Police, teaming up with Jacksonville cops, pulled over a car on Friday where White was the passenger, TV station WBTV says. York City police say they brought White to a station house where they say she confessed the murder and robbery to Jacksonville detectives.

New by Huffingtonpost

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Travel Picks: Top 10 tips for holiday travel

Travel Month
(Reuters) - Silver bells, sleigh rides, menorahs and mistletoe are on the not-so-distant horizon.

But before the festivities get underway, there are flights to catch, security lines to endure and delays to tolerate. With that in mind, online travel adviser ( ) have come up with 10 top holiday travel tips to help you navigate the festive season. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. For procrastinators: Book last-minute

Typically we encourage travelers to book flights between 60 and 90 days before an anticipated date of departure. That ideal time-frame has now passed, leaving many fliers scrambling to find holiday fare deals. But all is not lost! Data shows that airlines this year were perhaps a bit too aggressive with pricing early on, leaving seats still to be filled. Lucky for procrastinators, flash sales are popping up left and right and - better yet - the best is possibly yet to come. Start scanning now, as early December bookers could save the most on holiday flights.

2. Travel alternatively

As ongoing advocates of both alternative airports and alternative destinations, our stance holds true with the season of cheer upon us. For fliers with a set destination in mind, taking the time to compare nearby airports based on affordability could mean major savings. Boston residents, for instance, should consider TF Green International in Providence or Manchester-Boston Regional in New Hampshire if fares out of Logan are too steep. And the same is true for arrival cities. Folks eager to get away for a beach vacation should look for the deal rather than the destination. Instead of Miami this Christmas, how about a beach town on the Gulf like Fort Meyers or Sarasota? The bottom line: do your homework.

3. Fly on the holiday

Flight searches by date often tell an interesting but consistent story: flying midweek, early in the day or late at night saves travelers cash. 'Tis true on holidays, too. Many times the lowest fares go to travelers willing to fly on the holiday itself, whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's Eve. Plus, the cheer can be felt 35,000 feet in the air for flexible fliers, as some airlines are particularly festive. Lufthansa in Christmases past has cooked traditional German meals and decked cabins with wreaths and decorations so passengers - and flight crews - can share in the celebration.

4. For gift givers: Shop online

In an era of ever-increasing baggage fees, it's best to show up to the airport with as little to check in as possible. Lucky for those with long wish lists, nearly everything nowadays can be found - and shipped - thanks to the glorious Internet. Evidence? Our recent list of travel gift ideas, all of which are available courtesy of the web. Order a Big Wheel-luggage hybrid for the junior traveler in your life or an airline gift card for your favorite frequent flier. No matter the choice, it means less to get through security and less on your credit card.

5. Ship gifts

If you've found a gift at a great rate or a specialty item during your holiday shopping sprees, then of course seize the deal. But if it doesn't fit in your carry-on, you may want to ship it via a courier company. Do the math a week before to see what will cost you less: a tracked package or an extra bag. If it's the latter, remember to leave your gifts unwrapped so security can easily access the contents.

6. Pack an empty suitcase

If the price is right, bringing an extra piece of luggage on your trip can be a frugal decision. Then, when it comes time to transport the gifts you've received home, you'll have an empty suitcase to fill. Either pack a fold-up duffel in your luggage or bring a separate bag if it means you won't get hit with high-priced baggage fees. First calculate what it will cost to ship your gifts home, then plan and pack accordingly.

7. Peruse duty-free

International fliers over the holidays have the opportunity to savor their layovers a bit in the duty-free shops, where high-end products go for everyday prices in airports around the globe. Hubs like Hong Kong International Airport, Amsterdam Airport Schipol and London Heathrow Airport offer shoppers a bounty of stocking stuffers and goodies for under the tree. Shop on your way - or way home - tax-free. A friendly reminder: If you're connecting Stateside from certain international locations, liquids purchased at duty-free have to be checked before the domestic leg of your flight.

8. For air mile collectors: Save the miles

Miles get tricky around the holidays, especially since "low points" seats for the most popular travel dates sell out even before the Halloween candy has hit the shelves. There's that, plus some airlines implement the never-popular blackout dates. Accumulated miles, whether through an airline or a credit card, are used most economically either when travel plans are booked early or a traveler has flexibility with their itinerary. Our advice: Save the points during the holidays unless you snag a great deal.

9. Health: Invest in hand sanitizer

The most wonderful time of the year is also the most sniffly time of the year for many travelers. Keep that in mind before you head for the airport, and pack plenty of hand sanitizer to help fend off germs. There's nothing worse than realizing during ascent that you're stuck in a cabin full of recycled air with a sickly seatmate. Fill your prescriptions, drink lots of water, wash your hands often - whatever it takes to guarantee your holidays will be spent both joy- and health-filled.

10. Plan ahead and expect delays

Flight delays are pretty much a guarantee this time of year, whether its crowded airports, bad weather or mechanical problems causing them. There's a way to plan ahead so that getting stuck behind infrequent fliers and families of five at airport security doesn't cause anxiety. First, avoid connections if you can when booking, even if it means paying a little more. If a connection is a must, then ensure there's a long enough layover in case your first flight is late to land. On the day of travel, get to the airport earlier - way earlier - than you typically would. Worst-case scenario: You spend extra time with your Kindle at the departure gate or relaxing at the airport bar.