Showing posts with label cnn news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cnn news. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Apple sells 16,000 iPhones per hour

Apple's iPhone
Apple's latest iPhone
Hong Kong (CNN) – Apple, the world’s most valuable company, nearly doubled its profit in the last quarter based on stronger-than-expected iPhone sales, according to CNNMoney.

The company beat analyst predictions thanks to 35.1 million iPhones sold worldwide from January through March. To help put that figure into perspective, CNN’s Katy Byron spoke to Gene Munster, a senior analyst who covers Apple at Piper Jaffray. A quick breakdown:

    * Apple sold an average of 385,000 iPhones per day the past quarter
    * That’s 16,000 handsets sold each hour a day
    * An average of 5,400 Apple’s iPads left the shelves per hour

As the Financial Times notes “even Tim Cook, Apple’s new chief executive, appeared taken aback” by the huge quarterly growth. “It is mind-boggling that we could do this well,” he said during a conference call with analysts on Tuesday.

The reason? In a word – China. Sales from China – where the iPhone 4S went on sale – were $7.9 billion, or 20% of the company’s total revenue. “Growth in China for iPhones was 500% year-over-year overall iPhone sales 88% year-over-year worldwide,” Munster told CNN.

And there’s room for Apple to grow in China this year. The iPhone launched on China Unicom and China Telecom this past quarter, but still is only available with 25% of phone carriers in China. “China Mobile still missing – which is like AT&T and Verizon combined here in U.S.,” Munster said. “They'll get that when iPhone 5 comes out (likely) in October 2012.”

Moreover, the strong quarterly results shows strong growth in the developing world as a whole – an area where many wondered whether Apple’s premium line of products could find success. “They've proven that they can sell in emerging markets,” Munster said.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wave of attacks kills dozens amid Iraq's upheaval

bomb attack in baghdad
Bomb Attack in Baghdad
Baghdad (CNN) -- A wave of explosions in Baghdad Thursday killed at least 63 people and wounded 185, authorities say, raising fears about the stability of the country amid political upheaval that threatens to undo Iraq's government just days after U.S. troops withdrew from the country.

Nine car bombs and six roadside bombs went off and a mortar round was fired in a two-hour period, targeting residential, commercial and government districts in the Iraqi capital, two police officials told CNN.

The deadliest attack was a suicide car bombing outside the offices of the Integrity Commission, the country's main anti-corruption body. At least 23 people were killed and 43 others were wounded in the explosion, which also damaged part of the building, police officials said.

The attacks targeted civilians across all walks of life. One took place at a market. Another, at a school as children were arriving.

CNN's Arwa Damon in Baghdad described it as a "nightmare scenario," eerily reminiscent of earlier days of the Iraq war.

The violence comes as Iraq's Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish political leaders square off over a warrant issued for the arrest of Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, who is accused of organizing his security detail into a death squad that targeted government and military officials.

Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has demanded that Kurdish lawmakers hand over the Sunni vice president, who has denied the charges and refuses to return to Baghdad from northern Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi told CNN he does not believe the violence is directly connected to the latest political developments, "but there is a good environment for terrorists to be active in these bad circumstances."

Terrorists "will justify their criminal activities" and argue that the solution to Iraq's woes "isn't in the political process," said al-Issawi, a member of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya minority political bloc.

The seemingly coordinated explosions Thursday struck during the height of morning rush hour, hitting a number of Baghdad's primarily mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhoods.

There have been no immediate claims of responsibility, though the attacks resemble previous bombings that have been claimed by both Sunni and Shiite insurgents as well as al Qaeda in Iraq.

At the Medical City hospital in central Baghdad, doctors treated the wounded whose bodies were peppered with what appeared to be shrapnel from explosions.

Images of bloodied, battered bodies and destroyed storefronts and homes were broadcast on Iraqi television stations.

While violence in Iraq has fallen off in recent years, the latest spate of attacks are among the worst since August when a series of coordinated bombings killed at least 75 people in 17 Iraqi cities.

The attacks come amid heightened sectarian tensions, raising fears that the political turmoil in Iraq could spark a return of sectarian bloodshed that nearly ripped the country apart during the height of the war.

Al-Hashimi has denied the charges against him, saying the accusations are politically motivated amid the rivalry between his Sunni-backed Iraqiya minority political bloc and al-Maliki's Shiite majority bloc.

The warrant for al-Hashimi's arrest was issued just days after Iraqiya suspended its participation in Parliament, claiming it was being cut out of the political process by al-Maliki.

The prime minister has said failing to hand over al-Hashimi or allowing him to flee to another country "could cause problems."

Al-Issawi, the finance minister, told CNN that before U.S. troops left, Iraqi officials made clear their fears of what could happen.

"So many times we warned the Americans, both the political and security situation (are) very fragile. Unfortunately, no one listened."

In a speech this month about bringing the U.S. troops home, President Barack Obama said, "Iraq is not a perfect place. It has many challenges ahead. But we're leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people. "

"There can be no fuller expression of America's support for self-determination than our leaving Iraq to its people. That says something about who we are," Obama added.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Opposition says: Anti-regime Syrian doctor killed

Ibrahim Othman
Dr. Ibrahim Othman
(CNN) -- A Syrian doctor who became one of the country's most wanted men has been killed trying to flee to Turkey, opposition sources said.

Dr. Ibrahim Othman, 26, was a founder of the Damascus Doctors, a network of doctors that secretly treats wounded protesters who are afraid to go to government-run hospitals.

A video purporting to show him dead, and including shots of what appear to be his passport, was posted on YouTube on Saturday. CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the video.

Friends and colleagues described him on a Facebook memorial page as "strong and fearless, with a pure heart."

Well known for his love of pranks, Othman said he was born to help people -- a desire that may have ultimately cost him his life.

In July, he showed CNN a secret treatment center where he works, a tiny room with basic equipment and supplies.

"It's illegal, but this is the only way to treat injured demonstrators," he said.

He knew he was putting his life on the line.

"Yeah, I know that, but the demonstrators, they are risking their life too, so we have to help them," he said.

There was little the Damascus Doctors could do for many of the wounded, he conceded.

"We spend all of our life to help people, and it's so hurtful to see people dying. And we cannot do anything," he said.

Some wounded protesters could be saved if they went to hospitals, Othman said. But there were risks involved.

"They refuse to go the government hospitals because they will be arrested," he said.

The director general of Damascus Hospital rejected that claim.

"We accept all cases without regard as to how the injuries were sustained or where It happened," Dr. Adib Mahmoud said.

But many do not believe it.

"They would detain me if I went to the hospital," said a teenaged patient of Othman's who said his back was cut when Syrian security forces dragged him over broken glass.

In the end, Syrian security caught up with Othman too, his friends and colleagues said -- as he feared they would.

"Every time when I leave home, I say goodbye to my mother," he told CNN when asked in July about the hardest part of his life. "Sometimes I feel I won't be able to come back and see her again."

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Monday, December 05, 2011

Why Muslims more devout than others?

muslims at pray
Muslims at Pray in Mosques
Conflict, theology and history make Muslims more religious than others, experts say

(CNN) – Every religion has its true believers and its doubters, its pious and its pragmatists, but new evidence suggests that Muslims tend to be more committed to their faith than other believers.

Muslims are much more likely than Christians and Hindus to say that their own faith is the only true path to paradise, according to a recent global survey, and they are more inclined to say their religion is an important part of their daily lives.

Muslims also have a much greater tendency to say their religion motivates them to do good works, said the survey, released over the summer by Ipsos-Mori, a British research company that polls around the world.

Islam is the world's second-largest religion - behind Christianity and ahead of Hinduism, the third largest. With some 1.5 billion followers and rising, Islam's influence may be growing even faster than its numbers as the Arab Spring topples long-reigning secular rulers and opens the way to religiously inspired political parties.

The case against TLC’s “All-American Muslim”

But while there's no doubt about the importance of Islam, experts have different theories about why Muslims appear to be more religious than members of other global faiths - and contrasting views on whether to fear the depth of Muslims' commitment to their faith.

One explanation lies in current affairs, says Azyumardi Azra, an expert on Islam in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim majority country.

Many Muslims increasingly define themselves in contrast with what they see as the Christian West, says Azra, the director of the graduate school at the State Islamic University in Jakarta.

"When they confront the West that they perceive or misperceive as morally in decline, many Muslims feel that Islam is the best way of life. Islam for them is the only salvation," he says.

The case for TLC’s “All-American Muslim”

That feeling has become stronger since the September 11 attacks, as many Muslims believe there is a "growing conflict between Islam and the so-called West," he says.

"Unfortunately this growing attachment to Islam among Muslims in general has been used and abused by literal-minded Muslims and the jihadists for their own purposes," he says.

But other experts say that deep religious commitment doesn't necessarily lead to violence.

"Being more religious doesn't necessarily mean that they will become suicide bombers," says Ed Husain, a former radical Islamist who is now a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

In fact, Husain argues that religious upbringing "could be an antidote" to radicalism.

American Muslim women who cover explain their choice

The people most likely to become Islamist radicals, he says, are those who were raised without a religious education and came to Islam later, as "born-agains."

Muslims raised with a grounding in their religion are better able to resist the distortions of Islam peddled by recruiters to radical causes, some experts like Husain argue, making them less likely to turn to violence.

But he agrees that Muslims are strongly attached to their faith, and says the reason lies in the religion itself.

"Muslims have this mindset that we alone possess the final truth," Husain says.

Muslims believe "Jews and Christians went before us and Mohammed was the last prophet," says Husain, whose book "The Islamist" chronicles his experiences with radicals. "Our prophet aimed to nullify the message of the previous prophets."

The depth of the Muslim commitment to Islam is not only a matter of theology and current events, but of education and history, as well, other experts say.

"Where religion is linked into the state institutions, where religion is deeply ingrained from childhood, you are getting this feeling that 'My way is the only way,'" says Fiyaz Mughal, the director of Faith Matters, a conflict-resolution organization in London.

The Ipsos-Mori survey results included two countries with a strong link between religion and the state: Legally Muslim Saudi Arabia, which calls itself the guardian of Islam's two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina; and Indonesia, home of the world's largest Muslim population.

The third majority Muslim country in the study is Turkey, which has a very different relationship with religion. It was founded after World War I as a legally secular country. But despite generations of trying to separate mosque and state, Turkey is now governed by an Islam-inspired party, the AKP.

Turkey's experience shows how difficult it can be to untangle government and religion in Muslim majority countries and helps explain the Muslim commitment to their religion, says Azyumardi Azra, the Indonesia expert.

He notes that there has been no "Enlightenment" in Islam as there was in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, weakening the link between church and state in many Christian countries.

"Muslim communities have never experienced intense secularization that took place in Europe and the West in general," says Azra. "So Islam is still adhered to very strongly."

But it's not only the link between mosque and state in many Muslim majority countries that ties followers to their faith, says professor Akbar Ahmed, a former Pakistani diplomat who has written a book about Islam around the world.

Like Christians who wear "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelets, many Muslims feel a deep personal connection to the founder of their faith, the prophet Muhammad, he says.

Muhammad isn't simply a historical figure to them, but rather a personal inspiration to hundreds of millions of people around the world today.

"When a Muslim is fasting or is asked to give charity or behave in a certain way, he is constantly reminded of the example set by the prophet many centuries ago," argues Ahmed, the author of "Journey Into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization."

His book is based on interviews with Muslims around the world, and one thing he found wherever he traveled was admiration for Muhammad.

"One of the questions was, 'Who is your role model?' From Morocco to Indonesia, it was the prophet, the prophet, the prophet," says Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington.

But while Ahmed sees similar patterns across the Islamic world, Ed Husain, the former radical, said it was important to understand its diversity, as well.

"There is no monolithic religiosity - Muslims in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are following different versions of Islam," says Husain. "All we're seeing (in the survey) is an adherence to a faith."

Political scientist Farid Senzai, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington, raised questions about the survey's findings.

"Look at the countries that are surveyed - Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Turkey," he says. "There are about 300 million Muslims in those three countries, (who make up) about 20% of Muslims globally."

Islam is "incredibly important" in Saudi Arabia, he says.

"But in Tunisia or Morocco you could have had a different result. It would have been nice if they had picked a few more Arab countries and had a bit more diversity," says Senzai.

The pollster, Ipsos-Mori, does monthly surveys in 24 countries, three of which are majority Muslim – Turkey, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The other countries range from India to the United States, and Mexico to South Korea, and are the same each month, regardless of the subject the pollsters are investigating.

In the survey released in July, about six in 10 Muslims in the survey said their religion was the only way to salvation, while only a quarter of Hindus and two out of 10 Christians made that claim about their own faiths.

More than nine out of 10 Muslims said their faith was important in their lives, while the figure was 86% for Hindus and 66% for Christians.

Ipsos-Mori surveyed 18,473 adults via an online panel in April and released the findings in July. Results were weighted to make the results as representative as possible, but the pollster cautioned that because the survey was conducted online, it was harder to get representative results in poorer countries where internet access is not widespread.

CNN polling director Keating Holland also warns that in an "opt-in" survey, where respondents actively choose to participate, results tend to come from "people who are confident in their opinions and express them openly... not good for intensely private matters like faith or income or sex."

Online surveys in countries that are not entirely free are also open to the possibility that pollsters get "the approved response" in those nations, "where the people who are most likely to be willing to talk about such matters are the ones who hold, or at least verbalize, opinions that won't get them in trouble if they are expressed," Holland says.

That may have been an issue in Saudi Arabia, where respondents were given the choice of not answering questions on religion due to their potential sensitivity in the kingdom. The Saudi sample was the smallest, with 354 participants, meaning "findings for Saudi Arabia must be treated with caution," Ipsos-Mori said.

About 1,000 people participated in most countries, but sample sizes were smaller in the three majority Muslim countries and in eight other countries.

The survey participants did not reflect the true percentage of Christians and Muslims in the world. Christians were over-represented – as were people who said they had no religion – and Muslims were under-represented.

Nearly half the respondents identified themselves as Christian. Eleven percent were Muslim, 4% were Buddhist, 3% were Hindu and 3% were "other." A quarter said they had no religion and 6% refused to say.

Fiyaz Mughal, the interfaith expert, argues that even though the countries surveyed might not be representative of the entire Muslim world, the findings about Muslims rang broadly true. Muslims in different countries were committed to their faith for different reasons, he says.

"Saudi Arabia is an institutionally religious state. Indonesia has religion tied into its culture," says Mughal.

But Muslim immigrants to Europe also show strong ties to their religion, either as a defense mechanism in the face of a perceived threat, or because of an effort to cling to identity, he contends.

He detects a link between insular communities and commitment to faith regardless of what religion is involved. It is prevalent in Muslim Saudi Arabia, but he has seen it among Israeli Jews as well, he says.

"The Israeli Jewish perspective is that (the dispute with the Palestinians) is a conflict of land and religion which are integrally linked," Mughal says.

"What does play a role in that scenario is a sense of isolationism and seclusion in Israeli Jewish religious communities, a growing trend to say, 'Our way is the only way,'" he says.

Religious leaders of all faiths need to combat those kinds of attitudes because of the greater diversity people encounter in the world today, he argues.

They have a responsibility to teach their congregations "that if they are following a religion, it is not as brutal or exclusive as possible," Mughal says. "Things are changing. The world is a different place from what it was even 20 years ago."

Politicians, too, "need to take these issues quite seriously," he says.

"In the Middle East there are countries - the Saudi Arabias - where you need to be saying that diversity, while it may not be a part of the country, is something they have to deal with when moving in a globalized area," he says.

But Senzai, the political scientist, says that it's also important for the West to take the Muslim world on its own terms.

"Many Muslims want religion to play a role in politics," he says. "To assume that everyone around the world wants to be like the West - that they want liberal secular democracy - is an absurd idea."

– CNN's Nima Elbagir and Atika Shubert contributed to this report.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy gave birth to a baby girl, according to his entourage


AFP - Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, wife of the President of the Republic of France, gave birth Wednesday in Paris of a young girl, said a person in his entourage told AFP. "Right now we do not know the name of the girl," said the source. This is the first time in the history of the French Republic a President is about to become a father. The Elysee said he would not release the birth of this child. President Nicolas Sarkozy went for half an hour Wednesday afternoon at the clinic in La Muette (Paris XVI) with his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who had been admitted in the morning.

He then went to Frankfurt to interview for nearly two hours Wednesday night on the future of the euro area before the EU summit on Sunday. He then left Germany in the early evening. Nicolas Sarkozy married former model became a singer, February 2, 2008. Aged 56, he already has three son (Peter, 26, Jean, 25, and Louis, 14). It is also a time grandfather. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, 43, had a son with the philosopher Raphael Enthoven, Aurelian, 10.

News by AFP

Monday, October 17, 2011

Now in his tour, Obama described the Republicans as the party of "no"

AFP - U.S. President Barack Obama immediately went on the offensive Monday against his Republican opponents, describing them as the party of "no" at the beginning of a three-day tour by bus in the American heartland. Responding to several hundred people at the airport in Asheville (North Carolina, southeast) where Air Force One touched down mid-morning, Mr. Obama has again defended the action plan for employment, which the review was rejected last week in the Senate because of blockage of the Republican minority. Republicans accused the president, in shirt sleeves and no tie, said "no to the idea to give teachers and construction workers at work," they said "no to the idea of ​​rebuilding our bridges and airports, "and they said "no to the idea of ​​cutting taxes for the middle class and small businesses. "

"In short, they told you no," Obama said, by taking advantage of a recent survey that 63% of Americans support the ideas of the plan of 447 billion, combining tax incentives and stimulus as assistance to local communities and infrastructure. "63% of Americans support the project for employment, 100% of Senate Republicans voted against it. It makes no sense, right? Indeed," exclaimed the President. While the anti-Wall Street is growing, Obama has ensured that his opponents "want to let Wall Street do what he wants." The idea of ​​Republicans is to "return to the good old days before the financial crisis, when Wall Street was writing his own rules" of operation, he said.

The bus tour of Obama will lead on the 900 km into the Richmond (Virginia,) Wednesday. During this trip, "I'll have the opportunity to listen to people on how they are going, know what direction they want to see the country," Obama promised. "I'll talk a little bit, but I'll listen to a lot especially because, in Washington, it seems that many do not listen to (the country) these days," he joked.

News by AFP

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kinder Morgan to buy El Paso for $21 billion

(Reuters) - Kinder Morgan Inc struck a $21 billion deal to buy rival El Paso Corp, combining the two largest North American natural gas pipeline companies and making a big bet on the fast-growing market for that fuel.

Despite weak natural gas prices, production of the fuel has been rising as energy companies pile into shale fields -- underground formations rich in oil and gas.

El Paso already owned the largest natural gas pipeline system in North America, with more than 43,000 miles of pipelines. The combined company would own 67,000 miles of natural gas pipelines and another 13,000 miles of pipelines to move refined products and other fuels, Kinder Morgan said on Sunday.

"We believe that natural gas is going to play an increasingly integral role in North America," Kinder Morgan Chief Executive Richard Kinder said in a statement. "We are delighted to be able to significantly expand our natural gas transportation footprint at a time when it seems likely that domestic natural gas supply and demand will grow at attractive rates for years to come."

The offer of $26.87 a share in cash, stock and warrants, represents a 37 percent premium to El Paso's Friday closing price of $19.59.

Including El Paso's debt, the deal tops $38 billion, making it the second biggest merger in 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The deal derails El Paso's plan, announced in May, to split into two publicly traded companies, which would have separated its exploration and production business from its pipeline operations. Kinder Morgan said it plans to sell El Paso's exploration and production assets.

John White, an analyst at Houston-based Triple Double Advisors, said the deal makes perfect sense for both companies.

"El Paso has the largest natural gas pipeline in North America -- it's a tremendous and premium set of assets," said White, who helps to manage a portfolio of energy equities, MLPs and bonds. "They are doing this deal at a nice premium."


Kinder Morgan is buying El Paso as companies including Exxon Mobil Corp and others are spending billions of dollars to develop shale gas and crude oil exploration and production in areas that are constrained by infrastructure.

For example, in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas where there are scant pipelines, companies are having to rely on trucks and are building rail terminals to handle the vast field's output.

Oil and gas producers could have to pay up to ship their gas on Kinder Morgan's pipelines if they are dealing with one behemoth, rather than two smaller pipeline companies. That could hit the bottom line for end users like power companies.

The combined company's pipelines will be connected to natural gas shales including the Eagle Ford, Marcellus, Utica, Haynesville, Fayetteville and Barnett.

Houston-based pipeline company Kinder Morgan raised $2.86 billion in February in an IPO valuing the firm at more than $21 billion. The company's market capitalization as of Friday was around $19 billion.

The offer per share comprises $14.65 in cash, 0.4187 Kinder Morgan shares -- valued at $11.26 per EP share -- and 0.640 Kinder Morgan warrants -- valued at $0.96 per EP share -- based on Kinder Morgan's closing price on Friday.

The warrants will have an exercise price of $40 and a five-year term.

The transaction has been approved by each company's board the companies said. Kinder Morgan said it has a commitment letter from Barclays Capital underwriting the full amount of cash required for the transaction.

The new company hopes to generate $350 million a year in cost savings, or about 5 percent of the combined companies' earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization. Kinder Morgan expects to be able to increase its dividend after the deal closes due to these savings.

It said that if the deal were to close at the beginning of 2012, it would expect to be able to pay a dividend of about $1.45 a share that year. But because it expects the deal to close later, it said its dividend will likely be slightly below that target.

The new combined company will be 68 percent owned by Kinder Morgan shareholders with El Paso holders owning the remaining 32 percent.

Evercore Partners and Barclays Capital advised Kinder Morgan on the deal, while Morgan Stanley advised El Paso. Goldman Sachs acted as an adviser to El Paso on its previously announced spin-off and related matters to the Kinder Morgan deal, the companies said.

The advisors are set to rake in a total of $100 million to $145 million in M&A fees, according to Freeman & Co.

News by Reuters

President Obama Set to Dedicate D.C. MLK Memorial

WASHINGTON –  President Barack Obama is to talk about the slain civil rights leader who gave his life serving others as he helps dedicate the new monument to Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall, joined by Aretha Franklin and poet Nikki Giovanni with thousands looking on Sunday.

The nation's first black president is one of several speakers expected for Sunday's delayed dedication of the 30-foot granite sculpture depicting the late Rev. King, the first monument on the mall in the nation's capital honoring a black leader. A late August dedication ceremony had to be postponed when Hurricane Irene blustered up the East Coast, dumping heavy rain around Washington.

Obama was just 6 years old when King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., in April 1968. But the president has often talked about the influence that King's life, particularly his commitment to public service, has had on him.

In a 2009 newspaper editorial written just days before his inauguration, Obama wrote that King "lived his life as a servant to others," and urged Americans to follow his example and find ways to enrich other people's lives in their communities.

Valerie Jarrett, a White House senior adviser and friend of the president, said recently that she expects the president's remarks "to come straight from the heart." A four-hour program was expected to include activities starting from about 8 a.m. EDT and including Obama's address before midday.

King's "willingness to sacrifice himself for our country, to fight for a dream he believed in, like justice and equality, really gave a foundation for President Obama becoming the president," Jarrett said.

Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia and Sasha paid an advance visit to the memorial Friday evening as journalists were kept back in vans on a service road leading to the site, situated near the Tidal Basin between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.

The sculpture of King, arms crossed, appears to emerge from a stone extracted from a mountain and was fashioned by Chinese artist Lei Yixin. The sculpture depicts King with a stern, enigmatic gaze, wearing a jacket and tie, his arms folded and clutching papers in his left hand.

The memorial's design was inspired by a line from the famous 1963 "Dream" speech delivered during the March on Washington in 1963: "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope." King's "Dream" speech during the March on Washington galvanized the civil rights movement.

The sculpture is the centerpiece of the $120 million memorial, which also includes a 450-foot-long granite wall inscribed with 14 quotations from King's speeches and writings. King is the first person who was not a U.S. president to be memorialized on the National Mall.

King's sister Christine King Farris was scheduled to speak during the Sunday morning dedication program, along with his son Martin Luther King III and daughter Bernice King. The choir from King's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta also was planning to sing.

Giovanni planned to read her poem "In the Spirit of Martin" and Franklin was to sing. A stage for speakers and thousands of folding chairs were set up on a field nearby along with large TV screens.

The dedication had originally been set for Aug. 28, the 48th anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, when organizers initially had expected as many as 250,000 people in attendance. But organizers hastily postponed that plan, hours ahead of Hurricane Irene.

The hurricane that blew past Washington downed tree branches and knocked out traffic lights around the capital while playing havoc with travel plans along the East Coast. The memorial took on a small amount of water from the Tidal Basin during the storm, but sustained no damage, the National Park Service said.

News By foxnews

Friday, October 14, 2011

10 Outrageous Travel Fees

Companies in the travel industry seem to be finding more ways to get you to open your wallet. At a time when travelers are looking to save, prices are actually rising. In fact, domestic airfare prices jumped more than 8 percent from last year.

But that increase tells only part of the story. Consumers also are feeling the pinch of rising costs from airlines, hotels and car rental companies over items as mundane as boarding passes and pillows.

Here are Bankrate's 10 most outrageous travel fees and how to avoid them.

1. Fees for Booking by Phone

If you try to book your flight over the telephone instead of over the Internet, you may be charged more. Nearly all major airlines charge booking fees of $25 to $35 for this service.

To avoid the surcharge, try to book online whenever possible. Often, the best deals are listed on the airlines' websites.

2. Print Your Boarding Pass

Spirit Airlines (SAVE: 15.90, +1.38, +9.50%) has started charging passengers $5 to print their boarding passes at the airport. These travel fees will be assessed starting Nov. 1, 2011. The charge is assessed for each flight, so that's an extra $10 round trip. If you want to avoid the fees, you'll have to print the pass at home and bring it with you.

3. Avoid Checking Your Luggage

Got extra luggage to check? You'll have to pay. American and Delta airlines (DAL: 8.68, +0.26, +3.09%) charge $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second one. The airlines do make exceptions. They typically won't charge the most elite members of their frequent traveler clubs or for passengers who are traveling to certain international destinations.

Otherwise, take a carry-on bag instead of checking your luggage to avoid these travel fees.

If you do need to check a bag, be sure to pack light. Major airlines charge fees of up to $90 per bag for overweight luggage that weighs 51 to 70 pounds, and the prices increase for heavier bags.

Also, check with your airline to see if it gives a discount for online baggage checking. For example, US Airways (LCC: 6.30, +0.07, +1.12%) charges $20 for the first checked bag that's ordered online, compared to $25 to check bags at the airport.

4. Seat Selection Fees

It's one thing to buy your ticket for a flight, but if you want to select your seat, you may have to pay an extra travel fee. Many airlines, such as AirTran and Spirit, charge you to select the seat you want. At AirTran, the cost ranges from $6 to $20 per ticket.

Even if your airline doesn't charge for seat assignments, you may have to pay if you want to sit in a row that has extra legroom. At Spirit, the fees for seats with more leg space start at $12 if reserved in advance.

5. Priority Boarding Charges

If you want to board your plane early in order to claim space in an overhead bin, some airlines will make you pay for the privilege. American Airlines (AMR: 2.96, +0.15, +5.34%) charges for a service called Express Seats. You have to pay more for your ticket, but you can be one of the first people to board for your flight, regardless of your frequent flier status.

You also get to sit in one of the first few rows in coach. Pricing varies by trip, but The Dallas Morning News reported the surcharge at $19 to $39 each way.

JetBlue Airways (JBLU: 4.57, +0.05, +1.11%) recently launched a related program called "Even More Space," which costs a minimum of $10 per seat. Customers have early access to boarding and overhead bins and can sit in rows with extra legroom.

If you don't pay this extra charge, you'll have to hope you can grab a seat with sufficient space after the airline loads everyone else.

6. A Pillow will Cost You

If you want to take a quick nap on your flight, you'll have to pay up if you want to use a pillow from some airlines.

US Airways charges $7 for what's called a Power-Nap Sack. The package is an upgrade from a standard issue pillow. It includes a blanket, inflatable neck pillow, eyeshades and an earplug. It also includes a coupon for a future purchase from SkyMall, an in-flight shopping catalog.

American Airlines has a similar blanket and pillow package for $8.

The new products are nice and convenient, but if you don't want to pay this travel fee, you'll have to figure out a way to nap without an airline-issued cushion.

7. Expect Credit Card Surcharges Abroad

If you plan to travel abroad, be aware your credit card company may levy surcharges on foreign purchases you make. These travel fees are typically about 3 percent of the purchase price.

To avoid some of these travel fees, consider prepaying your international hotel and car rental costs while you're still in the U.S. Also, consider using a credit card that doesn't charge extra for currency conversions and spending overseas. Some card issuers, including Capital One, offer this benefit.

8. Rental Car Insurance

Collision-damage waiver, or CDW, insurance is a moneymaker for car rental companies. These optional policies insure you if you get in a wreck or otherwise experience a claims loss while renting a car. The charge for such rental car insurance can add $15 to $25 to the daily cost of a car rental.

The catch is that you may already have protection through your credit card company or auto insurer.

Before leaving on a trip, check with your insurance agent and card issuer to see what kind of coverage you have for car rentals. If your credit card already offers sufficient protection, you could decline the optional coverage. Just be sure to use that credit card when you make your rental reservation.

8. Watch Out for Airport Fees

This isn't an airline charge, but it is charged by rental car companies located within airports. These businesses have to pay fees to the airport to operate in their facilities, and they pass the charges on to you in the form of a concession recovery fee.

This charge can increase the cost of the car rental by up to 20 percent. To avoid paying extra, consider renting a car at a nonairport location. Just make sure the company offers a lower rate at the other location and doesn't inflate the price to match what's charged at the airport facility.

10. Hook up to Hotel Wi-Fi for a Fee

Many major hotel chains, including Marriott (MAR: 30.15, -0.08, -0.26%) and Sheraton (HOT: 46.50, +0.48, +1.04%), charge for high-speed Internet access in your hotel room. Fees start at about $10 to $15 per day. To avoid these charges, ask if free Wi-Fi is available in common areas, such as the lobby. Also, ask the front desk or concierge if there are restaurants that offer free Wi-Fi nearby.

If you have a smartphone with a data plan, you can skip the hotel Internet altogether and just use your phone to surf the Web.

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