Showing posts with label the daily news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the daily news. Show all posts

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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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Your headphones can turn you deaf

You could be turning deaf because of your headphones. Our expert lists a guide of what you should avoid while listening to your favourite tracks on the go

Is music your safe haven from the hellish traffic jams you travel through everyday? You might need to re-think this strategy. Drowning out incessant honking on our potholeridden roads with Comfortably Numb, might just be numbing your eardrums for life. Like Rajeev Khandelwal who loses his hearing in Soundtrack, thanks to his constant use of headphones as a DJ; the actor's on-screen nightmare can actually become your reality.

In today's world of iPods and phones that can play music, most people are plugged in constantly. Our expert Dr Nishit Shah, ENT consultant at Bombay Hospital tells you what you can do to avoid losing your sense of sound.

Play it loud

Listening to music at half the volume your player is obviously not damaging. It all depends on the volume and how long you are listening to it. Shah says, "There are guidelines laid down by World Health Organization as to what decibels are permissible. Most workplaces and music player manufacturers adhere to these guidelines. But constant exposure is still a problem." Cranking up the volume for longer periods of time is very dangerous, and can lead to partial deafness. The higher the volume gets the lesser amount of time the ear can take it.

Uncomfortably numb

Unlike people who go deaf during a bomb blast or hearing the sonic boom of a plane, deafness caused by headphones creeps on you and if not checked, the effects can be adverse. "I have seen people who show no obvious signs of deafness when they are young, can hardly hear anything when they reach their 60s." Studies show that this is common among people who go for a lot of concerts and clubs. Shah says, "Deafness caused due to listening to music does not happen overnight. The ear warns you before things can get really bad with tinnitus.

You get a ringing sound in your ear, which means hearing loss is imminent. When you exit a club, your ears feel relieved and you can't hear too well immediately. That's because your ears are adapting to the new environment."

In fact, Shah says that moving from an extremely loud place (like a club) to an extremely quiet place can be more damaging than exposing yourself to higher decibels for longer.

Right hear, right now

Studies have shown that other than musicians and people in studios who want to listen to intricate sounds of a particular track, most people listen to music on headphones loudly to drown out background noise. The standard ear piece or even normal headphones are no good. Shah recommends using in-ear headsets or noise reduction/cancellation headphones that naturally drown out background noise. He says, "People who use these headsets have a tendency to listen to music at a lower volume anyway. So, if you want to listen to something throughout the day this would be the best way to avoid loss of hearing."

The cure

The scariest part about losing your hearing ability is that there is nothing you can do to regain it. The strongest preventive drug doctors prescribe is "common sense". Shah says, "Most people don't buy headphones because of quality, they buy it because it is loud enough. How do you tell people otherwise? You have to be aware of what is happening to your ears. As soon as you feel any discomfort, take a break. You cannot listen to music loudly for eight hours in a row. This will obviously affect your hearing."

If you feel like you are losing your sense of hearing, head to an ENT immediately. In the first few days of being affected, your hearing can be repaired with the help of steroids, but very few people actually spot the impediment so soon. Then, of course, there are hearing aids. These are used when the damage is already done though, and you want to avoid that altogether.

Just how much is too much?

Research suggests that risk of permanent hearing loss goes up with just five minutes of exposure a day to music at full volume. Traffic noise is at about 70 to 80 decibels. If you're trying to drown this out, you will hit dangerous decibel levels. Listening to earbuds, or in-ear headphones, for 90 minutes a day at 80 percent volume is probably safe. However, different brands have different volumes and that needs to be factored into the decision to buy headsets.

News by ThetimesofIndia

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nearly 20% of women in the US are raped, study reveals

Rape Case
Even more women, estimated at 25%, have been attacked by a partner or husband, the Centers for Disease Control said.

The findings form part of the first set of results from a nationwide study surveying sexual violence by intimate partners against men and women.

More than 24 people a minute reported rape, violence, or stalking, it says, with 12 million offences reported.

Experts at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) described the results of the first year of the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey as "astounding".

Among the key figures included in the survey's findings were:

    * more than one million women reported being raped in the 12 months prior to the survey
    * more than six million women and men were a victim of stalking
    * more than 12 million women and men reported rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner over the course of a year.

Lifelong hurt

"People who experience sexual violence, stalking or intimate partner violence often deal with the effects for their entire life," said Dr Linda Degutis, director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

Many of those attacked experience rape or sexual assault in their early years, with almost 80% of rape victims suffering their ordeal before the age of 25.

Some 35% of women raped before they were aged 18 were also raped as adults, Dr Degutis added.

Among the effects measured by the study, Dr Degutis said, were increased fears for safety and incidents of post-traumatic stress among victims.

Clinical conditions including asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, frequent headaches, chronic pain and difficulty sleeping were also more likely in women who are raped or subject to assault.

There were also clear findings about the incidences of attacks on men and observations about health impacts on men who suffer rape or sexual assault.

An estimated one in 71 men has been raped at some point in their lives, the study finds.

Almost 53% of male victims experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before the age of 25. Some 25% of male rape victims were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger, the findings show.

News by The Telegraph

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Friday, December 09, 2011

Hospital fire kills at least 84 in eastern India

Fire in Kolkata AMRI Hospital, India
(Reuters) - A fire tore through a seven-story private hospital in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata before dawn Friday, killing at least 84 people, most of them intensive care patients who were asleep and suffocated in the fumes.

Thick smoke engulfed the crowded hospital and fire-fighters smashed windows to evacuate people down ladders and with sheets from upper floors. Other patients were wheeled out on trolleys.

Rescue workers and locals criticised a lack of safety equipment and said staff fled the scene leaving windows and doors locked. The hospital had been warned there was a fire hazard months ago, state officials said.

"My sons and I rushed to the hospital and started breaking the windows so that some of the smoke would escape," said 35-year-old Saraswati Mondal, who lives in a crowded shanty town near the clinic in south Kolkata.

"As we broke the windows we could hear the patients crying out for help," said Mondal said.

The fire broke out in the basement and flames and smoke quickly spread through the building through air-conditioning shafts. Witnesses said the fire brigade took an hour to arrive. Police arrested six of the hospital's directors for negligence.

By mid-morning, the flames were under control and rescue workers had begun to bring the dead from the still-smoking building, including at least two children whose bodies were covered by green blankets, a Reuters witness said.

Kolkata's Joint Commissioner of Police Shivaji Ghosh said 84 people died in the incident, Indian news agency PTI reported.

West Bengal's fire service head Javed Khan said the hospital did not have proper fire-fighting equipment.

The vice-president of the AMRI hospital, in a mostly middle-income area of Kolkata, told reporters at least 73 people died in the blaze, all but three of them patients.

He said 90 more were evacuated and that the hospital complied with statutory safety rules.

"The fire was detected at 3.30 (a.m.)...we called the fire brigade within five to 10 minutes," S. Upadhyay told a news conference.

Angry local residents accused the hospital authorities of reacting too slowly and not helping patients to safety, and pointed out another fire had broken out there three years ago. That time there were no casualties.

Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, was for years the capital of British-ruled India. It is one of South Asia's largest cities, known as much for literary culture as for cramped slums. It is now the capital of West Bengal.

"It was horrifying that the hospital authorities did not make any effort to rescue trapped patients," Subrata Mukherjee, West Bengal's health minister told cable network NDTV.

The state's chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, immediately cancelled the operating licence for the hospital, part of a prominent chain of clinics in the city.

"Law will take its own course. Those responsible for so many deaths will be dealt with seriously," Banerjee told reporters.

Shares in the conglomerate that partly owns the AMRI chain, Emami Ltd, fell 2.3 percent to 390.95 rupees Friday.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

UK weather: Red warning from Met Office as 100 miles per hour winds close schools in Scotland

People struggle in high winds in Glasgow (Pic: PA)


 Glasgow (Pic: PA)

Schools in many parts of Scotland were shut today as the country braced itself for hurricane-force winds.

Winds of up to 100mph have been forecast, with the strongest gusts expected to hit the west of Scotland and the central belt from 12pm, and from 3pm in the east, hitting rush-hour traffic.

The Government warned that travel conditions could be "dangerous" and road users may experience severe delays of several hours or more.

Key travel routes are likely to be closed and severe gales could lead police to advise against all travel, the Scottish Government said.

High waves batter the coastline at Helensburgh (Pic: PA)
High waves batter the coastline at Helensburgh (Pic: PA)

High waves batter the coastline at Helensburgh, Scotland (Pic: PA)

Although Scotland will bear the brunt of the bad weather, other parts of the UK could also be affected by strong winds.

Lindsay Dovey, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "There will be gusts of 100mph in north west Scotland and over high ground. "Gusts of up to 70mph are expected in northern England and north west Wales. "Across central England and East Anglia, we'll have gusts of 55 to 60mph, and up to 55mph in the south of the UK."

Strong winds and high waves batter the coastline at Blackpool (Pic: PA)
Strong winds and high waves batter the coastline at Blackpool (Pic: PA)

A couple walk along a wet and windy promenade in Blackpool (Pic: PA)
A couple walk along a wet and windy promenade in Blackpool (Pic: PA)

She said temperatures would range between 7C, in Scotland, and 13C, in the south of Britain, but added: "It will feel much colder because of the wind." All classes at Glasgow and Strathclyde universities were cancelled, affecting thousands of students. Glasgow Caledonian university was open, but asked students to take travel advice if they planned to come in. The weather also brought disruption to the country's transport network.

The Forth Bridge is expected to close after 3pm as a precaution against the high winds.
The bridge is likely to be closed to high-sided vehicles, motorcycles, pedestrians, and cars with trailers, roof boxes or caravans for much of the day. Drivers were told to "exercise extreme caution" and to check conditions before travelling.

Largs promenade is battered by winds (Pic: Getty Images)
Largs promenade is battered by winds (Pic: Getty Images)

A man walks his dog along the promenade in Largs (Pic: Getty Images)
A man walks his dog along the promenade in Largs (Pic: Getty Images)

Part of the A8 in Renfrewshire was closed between the Langbank roundabout and the Woodhall roundabout in both directions because of flooding.

ScotRail and Network Rail said speed restrictions of 50mph may be put in place from 10am today. Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services to North Uist, Harris, Mull, Islay, Gigha, Coll and Tiree, and Arran were cancelled, and other sailings severely disrupted.

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "The very latest information from the Met Office's chief forecaster shows that we can expect very severe gales, at wind speeds not seen for many years, across large parts of western, central and southern Scotland throughout Thursday.

Rough seas batter the beach in front of Central Pier in Blackpool (Pic: PA)
Rough seas batter the beach in front of Central Pier in Blackpool (Pic: PA)

"On the basis of the earlier red warning from the Met Office, some councils had already taken the precaution of closing schools early to make sure that parents can safely collect children before the most dangerous weather and travel conditions arrive.

"In light of the latest forecast, and in particular the timings which suggest the severe weather affecting the west-central part of the country earlier than originally anticipated, some of these closure timings may have to change.

"The decision is a matter for individual authorities but the warnings are of the highest level of seriousness and we are clear that safety has to be the paramount issue. "Parents should check locally through websites, local radio and with their schools to find out the specific situation with their own schools.

"All commuters are advised that if they can adjust their working pattern to reflect the latest weather and travel advice, or work from home, that would be a very sensible step to help avoid possible traffic disruption.
"The authorities are all working hard to keep Scotland moving." Dumfries and Galloway police warned of hazardous conditions throughout the area, with surface water and flooding on roads.

A spokesman said the A74 in Moffat was particularly bad, with standing water causing delays in both directions. He urged people not to drive and warned conditions will get more dangerous as the day goes on.

A car drives on a flooded road in Glasgow (Pic: PA)
A car drives on a flooded road in Glasgow (Pic: PA)

Water was also building up on the surface of the M8 between Livingston and Hermiston Gait in Edinburgh.
In Stirlingshire, the M9 was also restricted in both directions between junction 9 at Bannockburn and junction 11 at Dunblane because of surface water.

In Tayside, snow closed the Spittal of Glenshee area and flooding is being reported on the A9. ScotRail introduced speed restrictions of 50mph on all trains in case of falling trees and other debris, and damage to overhead power lines.

Steve Montgomery, ScotRail's managing director, said: "We will constantly review weather forecasts and respond accordingly. Our aim is to ensure as robust a service as possible.

"The forecasts are that the peak of the high winds will be in the afternoon and early evening. If that happens, it would be a sensible step to allow more time for journeys, to keep checking our website and where possible, leave work earlier to avoid rush hour."

Trains between Aberdeen and Inverurie, Glasgow and Dunblane, and Edinburgh and Glenrothes were cancelled, while other trains will run less frequently than usual. Glasgow Caledonian University later said it will close "all but vital services" from 12.30pm.

Flooding in Helensburgh, Scotland (Pic: PA)
Flooding in Helensburgh, Scotland (Pic: PA)

Of Scotland's 32 local authorities, Aberdeen City Council, Angus Council, Dundee City Council, Scottish Borders Council, Shetland Islands Council and Orkney Islands Council have no plans to close schools today.
All schools in nine local authorities have closed, with the rest expecting to shut their doors at 12pm.

Weather forecasters said the low pressure over the Western Isles was causing strong winds as far south as Merseyside and north Wales.

Coastal areas will be hardest hit by the westerly wind and gusts have already reached 54mph in Crosby, near Southport, and 56mph in Hawarden, Deeside.

The wind speeds are expected at peak at about 65mph or higher later today. The Highways Agency has issued an "amber alert" in north-west England, warning that the worst wind conditions can be expected in Cumbria.

Officials have closed the A66 between Scotch Corner and Penrith to high-sided vehicles. A spokesman said: "Drivers of these vehicles should seek alternative trans-Pennine routes including the A69 and M62 as well as the A65.

"The Highways Agency has set signs across the regional motorway network, including the M6 to advise drivers of the restriction." The East Coast train company said there were extended journey times on its services north of Edinburgh due to 50mph speed restrictions.

Early morning services from Hull and Harrogate began instead from Doncaster and Leeds respectively, while services north of Newcastle were being provided using diesel trains only. Some services between London and Newcastle were expected to be slower than normal due to speed restrictions.

East Coast's direct service this evening to Hull, Brough and Selby will terminate at Doncaster, while this evening's direct service to Harrogate and Horsforth will terminate at Leeds.

Services operated by the CrossCountry, First TransPennine Express and Virgin train companies were also affected by the speed restrictions as well as flooding which hit services in the Penrith area of Cumbria.

The Erskine Bridge, linking Renfrewshire and Dunbartonshire across the River Clyde, was closed as high winds hit. The Forth Road Bridge, spanning the Firth of Forth between Edinburgh and Fife, was also shut.
The A78, between Skelmorlie and Largs in Ayrshire, was also closed as the carriageway flooded.
As the winds picked up, Glasgow University decided to close until tomorrow.

A spokesman said: "The university of Glasgow has decided to close with immediate effect. The university will open as normal tomorrow, with all scheduled classes and exams going ahead as planned. Exams that were postponed today will be rescheduled for the week beginning January 9."

A number of royal engagements in Scotland and the North East have been cancelled due to the dangerous winds, said a Buckingham Palace spokesman.

The Countess of Wessex has been forced to postpone two visits in County Durham - to the town of Billingham and a meeting in Durham in connection with her role as patron of the Sunderland Association Football Club Foundation.

The spokesman said the bad weather meant her flight to the region had been cancelled but that other travel arrangements had been made and she would still take part in events later this afternoon and evening.

The Duke of Gloucester's day of engagements in Glasgow have all been cancelled and would, apart from a Christmas carol concert at Glasgow Cathedral, be moved to the New Year. The A66 which links County Durham and Cumbria was closed to all vehicles due to the high winds, police said. Roads in Weardale were subject to localised flooding as fellside streams struggled to cope with melting snow and heavy rains.

Strathclyde Police Chief Inspector Stewart Campbell said people should only travel if their journey is essential and advised them to stay indoors.

He said any essential journeys should be planned, and motorists should make sure they have warm clothes and food with them in case they get stuck.

The travel warning stretched across the central belt, from Strathclyde to Lothian and Borders, and also applies to pedestrians who may be at risk of being hit by objects blown by high winds.

Central Scotland Police Assistant Chief Constable Allan Moffat said: "The advice for motorists across the central belt of Scotland is to avoid travel as the severe weather moves across the country from west to east, starting around noon on the west side of the country. It is expected that the impact of the weather will affect the east side of the country from 2pm onwards.

"This advice to avoid travel is not given lightly but is based on the clearest information yet from weather forecasters that there will be high winds with gusts of up to 90mph.

"The time frame for these exceptional conditions is between noon and 7pm and I am being given clear information that a wide area of Scotland will be affected. People could be putting themselves at considerable risk by travelling in these conditions.

"The predicted impact of the wind is such that it may cause structural damage and is a specific danger to high-sided road vehicles. I would ask the public to pay close attention to weather and road updates and act accordingly to the advice given.

"I recognise that this is a significant statement, however it is based upon the premise of ensuring public safety and minimising the risk to road users in the affected areas."

News by Mirror

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Meet the giant insect which snacks on carrots

Grasshopper addicted to eating carrots
THIS large creepy-crawly has a huge craving for carrots – and that’s not the only thing she’s big on.

Discovered up a tree, this giant weta has been declared the largest ever found – weighing the equivalent of three mice.

The insect, with a 7in wing span, was found by American bug lover Mark Moffett, 53, on Little Barrier Island, in New Zealand.

Mark, 53, said: “The giant weta is the largest insect in the world, and this is the biggest ever found.

News by Mirror

Friday, December 02, 2011

YouTube gets its biggest makeover ever


(Mashable) -- We already knew about YouTube's redesign, which tech-savvy readers have been enabling for the past 10 days. As of now, however, the new YouTube is available to everyone.

Unlike parent company Google, which tends to roll out redesigns over a period of days, YouTube pressed the button and switched the homepage for every user worldwide at 4:30 p.m. ET Thursday.

So what's the change all about? One word: channels. The world's most popular online video service now sees itself as a descendent of cable TV, with millions of channels rather than hundreds -- and it's doing its darndest to encourage you to use it that way.

The first new thing you'll see is an "add channels" button in the top left-hand corner of the page. Under that you'll find your top 10 favorite channels, which you can "pin" to the top of the page.

"The future of the YouTube experience has channels at the center of it," says Margaret Stewart, director of User Experience at YouTube's headquarters in San Bruno, California. "It's a container for all the world's video, and it needs to be the best home for that."

YouTube is also tweaking the colors of its logo and adding a soft gray background to the videos. In a sign that the service is becoming more integrated with its parent company -- and that more employees are going back and forth between San Bruno and the Googleplex in Mountain View -- Stewart says the redesign includes "subtle alignments with Google's visual style."

Part of that process, naturally, includes integration with the Google+ social network. But YouTube is also making it easier to post videos on Facebook and Twitter, too. And the channel change also came to YouTube apps on platforms other than the web. For example, it just became a lot easier to access YouTube channels on your Xbox.

There are four new channel templates that content creators can use, including one template designed for networks (with prominent featured content) and one for bloggers (with the most recent content first). Executives and designers at the company emphasize that this just the beginning of the redesign; more channel-focused changes and channel templates are coming soon.

Read up on the new YouTube user manual, and let us know in the comments: Has the strategy worked? Will this make you use YouTube channels more?

News by CNN

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Togo Bus Crash: Soccer Players Killed After Vehicle Plunges Into Ravine

togo bus crash
Soccer Player
LOME, Togo — At least six topflight Togolese soccer players were killed and another 28 people critically injured on Saturday after a bus carrying their team plunged into a ravine and caught fire.

In a statement read on national television, the Togo government said President Faure Gnassingbe had ordered that those injured from the Etoile Filante club be taken to the military wing of the Lome Central Hospital to receive urgent medical attention.

A delegation, led by sports minister Christophe Tchao, traveled to the accident site with an ambulance to evacuate the injured.

The accident happened near the city of Atakpame, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Lome, as Etoile Filante was on its way to Togo's second largest city of Sokode for Sunday's league game against Semassi.

A tire is believed to have burst, causing the bus to topple over and plunge down a ravine. Some of the victims reportedly burnt to death. Eyewitness accounts said the bus flipped over several times as it crashed into the ravine.

"We do not know how we managed to get out of the accident," said one of the survivors, goalkeeper Mama Souleyman.

Images on Togo national television showed the smoldering wreckage of the bus, which was almost completely burnt to ashes.

Lome-based Etoile Filante is a seven-time Togo national league champion and was runner-up in Africa's continental club competition in 1968.

Last year, two Togo national team officials were killed and several players hurt after a gun attack on the team's bus as it traveled to the African Cup of Nations tournament in Angola.

In 2007, Togo sports minister Richard Attipoe was among 22 people who died when a helicopter carrying Togolese soccer fans and officials crashed in Sierra Leone after an African Cup qualifying match.

News by Huffingtonpost

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving kicks off fight for holiday sales

Holiday Shopping
(Reuters) - The holiday shopping season is in full swing on Thursday, with retailers hoping consumers will spend big despite worries about the fragile economy and their own precarious finances.

The shopping period has been underway for some time as retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Toys R Us started early by offering layaway programs.

But shoppers are looking for major bargains and retail executives are predicting a more competitive season than 2010.

An Old Navy store in Watchung, New Jersey, was teeming with shoppers on Thursday morning, while a line outside a Best Buy in Union, N.J., included shoppers who had pitched a tent to stay warm until the store's midnight opening, according to Charles O'Shea, a Moody's senior retail analyst.

O'Shea said he was visiting various retailers to gauge consumer traffic. The big draws are deals, like t-shirts for $6, down from $12. Bargains like those will be a fixture for the season, he said.

"There is no question that the shopper is looking for deals," O'Shea said. "Nobody wants to feel like they're leaving money on the table, especially when they have less money now."

Millions of U.S. people will head out to shop once they are done with their turkey dinners, getting a jump-start on "Black Friday" - the single biggest shopping day of the year, which sets the tone for the entire season.

Still, many others will be watching their pennies.

Paula Taero, a 58 year-old housekeeper from Queens, New York who was shopping on Thursday at a Kmart in Manhattan, said she is cutting back this year on her Christmas shopping.

"Santa will buy for others. I don't have so much money this year."

Wal-Mart, Old Navy, which is part of Gap Inc and KMart, owned by Sears Holdings', are among the few retailers open on Thanksgiving. Toys R Us opens Thursday evening.

To narrow the gap in store hours with rivals, discounter Target Corp, electronics chain Best Buy and department store chains Macy's Inc and Kohl's Corp will open at midnight - their earliest starts ever.

Others, including J.C. Penney Co Inc, are opening early Friday morning as they did last year.

The National Retail Federation expects sales in November and December to be up 2.8 percent over last year, but below 2010's 5.2 percent gain. So retailers, online and offline, see little margin for error.


Wal-Mart starts its Black Friday "doorbuster" deals on Thursday at 10 p.m. at its stores. Inc, not to be outdone, will offer its deals online at 9 p.m.

Newspaper inserts on Thursday morning were boasting of the usual "Black Friday" bargains to get people into stores. For example, Staples Inc was offering an ink jet printer for 60 percent off, while Target was offering 46-inch, high-definition televisions for about 45 percent off.

The knock-down-drag-out fight comes as the rebound in sales cooled in October, when many top chains like Macy's and Saks reported disappointing sales.

It will be even tougher for chains that have struggled with sales declines lately, like Gap and Penney.

The NRF expects 152 million people to hit stores this weekend, up 10.1 percent from last year.

But much of that traffic will be fueled by bargain hunting, analysts said, with the real test coming after the weekend when retailers see if spending happens only if there are big bargains on the table.

Last year, after a strong Black Friday weekend, shoppers sat on their hands until closer to Christmas.

This year, those looking for steals beyond the requisite "Black Friday" specials may be disappointed.

In a research note on Tuesday, Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner said: "Bargain hunters may have a tougher time finding those markdowns this year, as retailers are keeping a sharper eye on profit margins."

Either way, middle class shoppers are also more frugal now, taking a page from their lower income counterparts, Andrew Stein, vice president of marketing planning at Sears Holdings told Reuters.

"The Kmart customer has always been a value shopper. The rest of the country is behaving like the Kmart shopper now," he said, noting that there were a lot of people at Kmart's layaway lines on Thursday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

At least Two killed, hundreds hurt in Egypt protest clashes

Clash in Egypt
(Reuters) - Protesters demanding an end to army rule and angered by rough police tactics battled with police on Sunday, presenting Egypt's ruling generals with their biggest security challenge yet, a week before parliamentary elections.

Two people were killed and hundreds wounded in clashes on Saturday night reminiscent of some of the worst violence during the 18-day uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in February.

Youths in Cairo chanted "The people want to topple the regime" as they rushed at police, who fired rubber bullets and teargas. Protesters clashed with police in two other cities.

Egypt holds its first parliamentary election since Mubarak's overthrow in a staggered vote that starts on November 28. Many Egyptians are worried that police will not be able to secure the polls, although the army insists that it can.

Presidential powers remain with the army after the vote. A row has erupted between political groups and the army-picked cabinet over ground rules for drafting the constitution that could leave the military free of civilian control. Parliament is to pick the assembly to draw up the constitution.

There was sporadic violence on Sunday after the worst overnight clashes subsided. More than 5,000 protesters were still gathered in Tahrir on Sunday afternoon, many saying they would not to leave until their demands were met.

Demonstrators wore masks to protect against teargas and showed off spent gas canisters and bullet casings. Metal barricades had been set up on approach roads to Tahrir Square, where Egyptians gathered to bring down Mubarak.

Many Egyptians are angry that nine-months after ousting Mubarak, the army remains in charge and police are still using the same heavy-handed tactics against demonstrators.


"We are on the brink of danger. Those asking for the government to fall are asking for the state to fall," Egyptian army General Mohsen Fangary told a television channel.

He said the election would go ahead on time and the army and Interior Ministry would maintain security. He also said the army, in line with a timetable previously announced, aimed to return to barracks by the end of 2012. Presidential elections could be held by then.

The army-backed cabinet had outraged many Egyptians by presenting proposals for the new constitution that would have shielded the army's budget from civilian oversight and given it a broad national security remit.

It had amended the proposals to give civilian powers more say but not enough to prevent Friday's protest.

After a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Ali al-Silmi said: "We will not back down from the last proposed amendments to the constitutional document."

As police fired round after round of teargas at protesters near the Interior Ministry, closer to Tahrir the demonstrators laid sheets of metal to block roads into the square.

"I tell you, do not leave the square. This square will lead the way from now on," presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a hardline Islamist, told a group of protesters early on Sunday. "Tomorrow the whole of Egypt will follow your lead."

During Saturday's clashes, protesters broke chunks of cement from pavements and hurled them at police.

"We don't expect anything from the military council, they will ignore us like what used to happen during Mubarak's days," said Abdallah Belal, a 21-year-old student in Tahrir.

The state news agency quoted the Health Ministry as saying 942 people had been wounded and two people were killed. It said a man, 23, was killed in Cairo by a gunshot to the chest and a man in the second city Alexandria had a gunshot to the head.

A security official said police had not used live rounds and had used lawful methods to deal with "troublemakers." The army stayed away from fighting.

The army won popular backing during Mubarak's overthrow for maintaining order and pledging to hand power to an elected government, but support has ebbed over its use of military trials for civilians and suspicion that it wants to continue to wield the levers of power after a new government is sworn in.


About 5,000 protesters had converged on Tahrir on Saturday afternoon when police tried to evict the remnants of a 50,000-strong demonstration a day earlier, mostly by Islamists demanding the departure of the military.

Police beat the protesters, most of them not Islamists, with batons and fired teargas to regain control of the square, only to retreat after night fell.

Protests erupted in other cities. About 800 people gathered in front of the security directorate in Alexandria, chanting: "Interior Ministry officials are thugs."

About 1,000 gathered outside a police station in the eastern city of Suez, site of some of the worst violence in the uprising. They threw stones at it and tried to force their way in. Police fired teargas and shot in the air.

Liberal groups are dismayed by the military trials of thousands of civilians and the army's failure to scrap a hated emergency law. Islamists eyeing a strong showing in the next parliament suspect the army wants to curtail their influence.

Analysts say Islamists could win 40 percent of parliamentary seats, with a big portion going to the Muslim Brotherhood.

"We are not political parties and we hate the Brotherhood who gave up on the revolution and the people," Medhat Fawzy said. "We are Egyptian youth," he said, flashing a victory sign.

The liberal April 6 Youth movement said the interior minister should quit for ordering the use of force against a peaceful protest.

Friday's rally appeared to be the biggest Islamist challenge to military rule since the largely secular uprising that toppled Mubarak. The demonstrators were mainly Brotherhood members and their harder-line Salafi rivals.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s son, arrested, Libyan commander says

saif al-islam gaddafi
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi
TRIPOLI— Saif al-Islam, the favored son of former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, was arrested on the border with Niger while his supporters were trying to smuggle him out of the country, a Libyan commander said Saturday.

Othman Maigeta, a brigade commander, confirmed that the once high-profile member of the ruling family was detained and taken to the mountain city of Zintan. The city is home to one of the largest groups of fighters that swept across the west of the country, ultimately toppling the regime in August.

The announcement by Maigeta, made at a news conference at the Radisson hotel in the Libyan capital, was greeted with celebratory gunfire, singing and dancing.

Scenes of joy broke out in the streets as the news was announced on Libyan television, and people hung out of the windows of their cars, honking horns, flashing lights and flying the red, black and green revolutionary tricolor. Cries of “Allahu Akbar” filled the air as crowds hugged each other and wept.

Moammar Gaddafi was captured outside his hometown of Sirte last month, but was immediately killed in a mob attack. He was later buried quietly in the desert.

Saif al-Islam, the eldest son of Moammar Gaddafi and his second wife, was a prominent international spokesman for the regime. He was educated in London and portrayed himself as a reforming force.

But he became a leading force of the Gaddafi regime’s struggle for survival and is wanted for trial by the International Criminal Court, which has been negotiating with people who claimed to his representatives about his possible surrender.

Rebels from Zintan have maintained their status as a fighting force and control parts of Tripoli, as well as patrolling areas in the south of the country. Commanders said that the arrest was made in Obari, in the desert, 400 miles south of Tripoli.

Rumors had been circulating for weeks about the whereabouts of the man who was poised to take over from his father in ruling Libya, and who was both politically influential and widely reviled.

Fighting last week near the Western town of Zawiya intensified after word spread that Saif al-Islam was hiding in a residential neighborhood on the outskirts of Tripoli.

News by Washington Post

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Reno Fire Destroys Homes, Turns Deadly In Nevada

Reno, Nevada, U.S.A.
RENO, Nevada, U.S. — A cloud of grayish-white smoke settled over upscale homes and horse pastures at Reno's edge Friday as firefighters from across Nevada came close to taming a sudden wildfire that sent 16 people to hospitals and destroyed or damaged 25 houses.

The unexplained blaze also gave a firefighter first- and second-degree burns and was blamed for the death of a 74-year-old man who had a heart attack while trying to flee, but authorities said the worst was likely over as growing snow flurries and falling temperatures stoked hopes that the remaining showers of ember and ash would die down.

Reno Fire Chief Mike Hernandez said firefighters had largely contained the blaze that sent nearly 10,000 people from their homes in the middle of the night and sent flames licking the edges of the region's mountain roads.

"We are actually backtracking and going over areas that have burned and extinguishing hot spots," Hernandez said.

The cause of the blaze wasn't known, but a downed power line or homeless encampments in the area might be to blame, Hernandez said. He said the region is also a popular area for teenagers who might have started the fire to stay warm.

At least 400 firefighters from as far as 260 miles away flocked to Reno early Friday as multiple fires roared from the Sierra Nevada foothills in northwestern Nevada and spread to the valley floor. Flames reached 50 feet high and embers pushed by the wind traveled up to a mile.

Police went house-to-house, pounding on doors and urging residents to evacuate in the dark of the night.

Hernandez said residents ran from their homes dressed in pajamas, frantically trying to grab as many possessions as possible. One elderly man dressed in his underwear ran out with a blanket wrapped around his body.

"The people are in a state of shock and are hanging in there," Gov. Brian Sandoval said.

Dick Hecht said that when he escaped from his home with his wife, "the whole mountain was on fire," and it was so windy he could barely stand.

"It was so smoky, you couldn't hardly see," Hecht said.

The couple tried to return to their home before morning, but they were turned back by high winds and erupting flames. As they made their way back down the mountain roads, flames burned less than 40 yards from their vehicle.

Gusts of up to 60 mph grounded firefighting helicopters and made it difficult for firefighters to approach Caughlin Ranch, the affluent subdivision bordering pine-forested hills where the fire likely began after 12:30 a.m.

The strong winds, combined with the area's dry terrain, helped the fire spread from 400 acres to 2,000, or more than 3 square miles. Firefighters said their efforts spared 4,000 homes but that the disaster would likely cost many millions of dollars.

The gusts were comparable to the Santa Ana winds that often aggravate and spread wildfires in the hills surrounding Los Angeles, officials said.

"The wind is horrific," said Reno spokeswoman Michele Anderson. "We just watched a semi nearly blow over on the freeway."

More than 150 people had filled two shelters set up at area high schools by midmorning.

John and Maggie Givlin were among those watching a television at Reno High School, scanning the screen for details on whether the home they left behind was safe. They already were preparing to flee when a police officer knocked on their door at about 1:30 a.m.

"I smelled smoke and got out of bed, and the electricity was out," said John Givlin, a retired civil engineer who has lived there about eight years. "I looked out the front window and saw the glow over the hill before us."

He and his wife made their way out of their home with a flashlight. Outside, flames billowed in every direction.

More than 4,000 NV Energy customers lost power as poles and electrical wires were scorched and knocked down, said spokeswoman Faye Andersen. Utility workers were not allowed into the fire area.

Roughly 100 Nevada National Guard members assisted local law enforcement in checking homes and keeping people out of the evacuated region.

"These next 24 hours, with all the power lines down and everything else, it is still a very, very dangerous area," Reno Mayor Bob Cashell said.

Evacuees could return to their homes at noon Saturday, Cashell said. A number of local hotel-casinos were also offering discounted rooms to displaced residents.

At least 90 schools were closed for the day to clear the roads of school traffic and make way for emergency workers.

The U.S. Postal Service suspended delivery to the area for the day, and the state high school athletic association moved its football playoffs from Friday night to Monday.

Most of the 16 people who went to hospitals were treated for smoke inhalation. Health officials urged residents to stay inside and reduce physical activity, warning that the dust and smoke could cause health problems for those in the affected regions and downwind neighborhoods.

News by Huffingtonpost, Photo: AP

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Japan: a minister gives up his salary after a mistake of an official

Goshi Hosono
Japanese Environment Minister

AFP - Japanese Minister of the Environment announced Friday that he renounced his monthly salary of 15,000 euros after some employees of his ministry were thrown on a vacant contaminated soil sent by a resident of Fukushima for that it is tested. Goshi Hosono, a rising star of the Democratic Party of Japan (in power), said it would affect more than his salary for the duration of its mandate to assume the fault of his subordinates. The minister, who is also responsible for the management of the accident at the nuclear Fukushima, however, will continue to receive his parliamentary allowances, which amount to about 13,000 euros a month.

"I have a heavy responsibility as head of that department," he said, following the announcement of stupidity committed by an official. A resident of the city of Fukushima, located about sixty miles from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, sent last week to the Department of Environment package containing soil taken from his garden so that it is analyzed . The samples taken showed a rate of 0.18 mSv of radiation per hour, roughly the same as that tested in the vicinity of Tokyo.

After that discussion to the package, an employee offered to unload the contents of a vacant lot near his home in Saitama prefecture, northeast of the capital. The land has since been recovered and the employees involved and their superiors, have received disciplinary sanctions, including temporary salary reductions, transfers and warnings, said Hosono.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Facebook hit with unsolicited porn, violent videos

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc said on Tuesday that it is investigating a rash of unsolicited graphic images that hit some users' accounts this week.

The images, Internet links and videos depicting pornography and violence have hit some people's Facebook newsfeeds in recent days.

"We experienced a coordinated spam attack that exploited a browser vulnerability," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement emailed to Reuters. "Our efforts have drastically limited the damage caused by this attack, and we are now in the process of investigating to identify those responsible."

Facebook does not know yet who was behind the attack and a motive was not clear, Noyes added during an interview with Reuters.

Facebook users were tricked into pasting and executing "malicious" javascript in their browser URL bar, which led to them unknowingly sharing the content, Noyes explained.

Facebook engineers have been working to reduce this browser vulnerability, he added.

Facebook and other "Web 2.0" sites are easy targets for such attacks because they pull in a lot of content from outside sources, according to Paul Ferguson, senior threat researcher at Trend Micro Inc.

"It seems every other day there is some new Facebook 'threat,' but this is just the new reality of Web 2.0 and social networking," Ferguson said. "It is 'low-hanging fruit' for criminals."

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Two gays married in Roussillon to advance their cause before 2012

Two gays married in Roussillon
AFP - The Communist mayor of Cabestany (Pyrénées-Orientales) Saturday celebrating the union of two men with the intention to impose the political campaign of 2012 the issue of legalizing gay marriage in France. No gay marriage have been officially recognized in France, unlike other countries, there will be a symbolic union, or a birth certificate will be established there, at the risk of invalidation later? "This marriage will be free of any cancellation, you will see on Saturday," answered Jean Vila, mayor of this town adjacent to Perpignan.

Former MP keeps the mystery about what would make this marriage unassailable. The only gay marriage to date has been celebrated in 2004 by Noel Mamere, Mayor ecologist Bègles (Gironde), but it was annulled by the courts. "We get married because we love each other, but also a militant act," announced the future spouses. William is a painter for 37 years. Patrick, 48, runs a photo lab and is the father of a girl born 22 years from a previous marriage. They decided to publicize their efforts to "very soon in France, two same-sex couples can legally marry. We are citizens like any others." Both from Nîmes, where they met eight years ago, they live in Paris, where they work, and Cabestany, where they spend their holidays.

If they chose to exchange Cabestany consent and alliances because they had heard that the mayor was favorable to their cause. For the mayor, "there are times you have to be off-the-law". "I appeal to all mayors to commemorate gay marriage is a struggle of society that are needed to advance the schmilblick. It is said that France is a modern, forward edge, but we will be the last European country to legalize ", after the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Spain and Portugal. "It's courageous. It is a strong signal that we send the mayor of this town," welcomes Gougain Nicolas, spokesman for the gay interassociation lesbian, bi and trans (Inter-LGBT). This reveals "the archaic French law and the need for legislation."

Counsel Mécary Caroline, who entered in 2007 the European Court of Human Rights on the marriage of Bordeaux, the mayor may inscribe the marriage in civil registry official. "If he does, that's fine. Otherwise, it will be a good way to challenge the political class", as was the case with a symbolic marriage celebrated in Montpellier in February, she said. "If there is a change of government in 2012, she said, Europe Ecology and PS are already agreed to file a bill to open civil marriage to all, heterosexuals and homosexuals."

In January 2011, the Constitutional Council, a priority issue of constitutionality (QPC) on the initiative of a couple of women PACS, recalled that "under French law, marriage is the union of a man and a woman "and left to the legislature to change the law or not to allow gay marriage. Proponents of this union have since carried their hopes on the 2012 campaign.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

A U.S. soldier sentenced to life imprisonment for killing Afghan civilians

Adam Winfield
Adam Winfield
The leader of a group of U.S. soldiers accused of having executed three Afghan civilians in 2010 was sentenced Thursday, November 10 to life imprisonment by a court martial of the State of Washington. Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, 26, was convicted of 15 counts, including three premeditated murders. The military jury deliberated for five hours. Sergeant Gibbs can apply for parole after serving ten years in prison, the court decided. His trial began October 28 on the military base at Lewis-McChord, south of Seattle. Five other soldiers were charged in this case, three of them pleaded guilty and were sentenced to terms ranging from three to twenty-four years in prison. A fifth is awaiting trial.

During these procedures, and since the opening of the first trial in March, the young man tried unsuccessfully to refute the accusation of his fellow unit, which described him as the leader of the group. It would partly designed and directed the execution of "scenarios" play, which sought to disguise killings of Afghan civilians in combat operations. The soldiers and detonated grenades and weapons deposited close to their victims, later reported to their superiors of insurgent attacks. "TROPHIES" "to believe a legitimate intervention was part of the plan," said Attorney had in his indictment Wednesday. But these stories are "highly unlikely" he continued.

Gibbs was convicted of inciting two men to kill an agricultural worker of 15 years named Gul Mudin in a field. The sergeant gave a grenade at one of the soldiers under his command, Jeremy Morlock, who threw the boy. Then a second soldier, Andrew Holmes, shot him. Gibbs was also found to have shot dead a man asleep at the roadside, Marach Agha, and filing of a Kalashnikov rifle near his body. The third murder was that of a cleric, Mullah Adahdad, again performed with grenades and shot.

Some soldiers were photographed posing next to the corpses. They have taken parts, described as "trophies" by the prosecution. Sergeant Gibbs has admitted that he cut the fingers of his victims, pulled teeth and have subsequently used to intimidate another soldier. He acknowledged during the trial to be ashamed of these actions: "I was trying to be hard, real hard," he said during the hearing, while continuing to assert that the victims represented a real threat to its unit.


Montana Son of Mormon, poorly educated, Sergeant Gibbs joined his unit in the fall of 2009, several months after deployment of the brigade. He had served previously in Iraq. A tall (1.91 m), jaw powerful: it was described by his comrades as charismatic, experienced and with some intelligence tactics.

The New York Times, several soldiers from his company described the boredom dominant deployment, from the summer of 2009, a forward base in the east of Kandahar, the former capital of the Taliban in the Pashtun south. They also spoke of a lack of closeness and trust with Afghan villagers, fear of improvised explosive devices placed on the roadside, which exploded during their two regular daily patrols, and the expectation of direct combat that not come. "All other units had these super stories of fighting, said one of them on condition of anonymity. And we, we are here, it does nothing. We had to sit and wait to explode."

The first murder was linked in January 2010, the second in February, the last in May. One of the soldiers of the unit, Adam Winfield, who pleaded guilty, had complained to her parents on Facebook, not being able to pop the case. In one of these exchanges, he spoke of the death of young farm worker: "A guy innocent. They prepared it and they did. I knew. I thought they would not do it. And then it ' has arrived. Almost the entire unit knows, and it is OK for most. Except for me. I want to do something. The only problem is that I can not tell anyone. The type who did this is the 'golden boy' of the company, who can never do anything wrong, and that's my word against theirs, "he wrote. Sergeant Gibbs is the highest ranking officer to have been prosecuted in this case. Command of the brigade was withdrawn to Colonel Harry D. Tunnell IV, in the summer of 2010, after the start of the investigation.

News by Lemonde

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Saturday, November 05, 2011

The bestselling cars and trucks of 2011

ford escape
Ford Escape
New car sales in October recovered from a summertime lull, fueled by pent-up demand for new models and a better selection of Japanese brand cars following last spring’s devastating earthquake. If the rebound continues, car makers will finish the year with their best sales since 2008.

Unlike in previous years, however, when import-brand vehicles dominated the list of best-selling cars in America, this year has seen a surge in popularity for domestic models. Six of the 10 most popular vehicles in America through October are made by General Motors, Ford Motor or Chrysler Group, compared to just three last year. Tumbling out of the Top 10 are the Honda Civic and CR-V, two perennial favorites whose sales have been hurt by natural disasters in Asia, and the Hyundai Sonata, which was nudged out by more popular vehicles from Ford and GM. Pushing their way into the Top 10 are the Ford Fusion and Escape, and GM’s new compact, the Chevrolet Cruze.

There’s no doubt the Detroit car companies benefited from the woes of their Japanese rivals. Toyota has been reeling for nearly two years — first because of quality recalls and then because of parts shortages caused by the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan last March. While Toyota was struggling, Honda seemed adrift, offering uninspiring vehicles that failed to capitalize on the market opportunity. Then, it too was forced to suspend North American production because of supply chain issues following the earthquake. The disaster struck just as Honda was launching a redesigned Civic. Now it’s getting ready to launch a new CR-V, but that could be delayed because of parts shortages caused by monsoons in Thailand.

Stepping into the void, of course, were GM, Ford and Chrysler, with fuel-efficient vehicles that had improved quality and more appealing styling and features. GM’s Chevy Cruze is a good example. It hit the market in late 2010 with a starting price of $16,525 and has turned into a barn-burner for GM, selling more than 202,000 so far this year. It features 10 air bags, stability control and traction control, and gets 38 mpg on the highway with its optional 1.4-liter turbo-charged Ecotec engine. Sales of the Toyota Corolla, meanwhile, are down 11 percent so far this year. Toyota’s compact still outsells Cruze, but only by about 1,000 vehicles, and the Cruze could overtake Corolla by the end of the year to become the country’s best-selling compact car.

Likewise, the Ford Fusion mid-sized sedan and even the Escape utility vehicle, which is due for a makeover next year, have found a larger audience during the market turmoil.

The seasonally adjusted sales rate for October was 13.3 million vehicles, according to Autodata of Woodcliff Lake, N.J., with strong double-digit gains posted by Chrysler, Volkswagen, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Ford Motor and General Motors saw more modest gains (6 percent and 2 percent, respectively). Toyota Motor’s sales fell 8 percent, while Honda’s dipped 0.5 percent.

Ford’s F-series pickups (No.1), and GM’s Chevrolet Silverado (No.2) are America’s sales champs, as they have been for years. The best-selling passenger car remains the Toyota Camry, although sales of this aging model are off 8.5% so far this year because of earthquake-related disruptions. A redesigned 2012 Camry just went on sale, which could help Toyota get back on track.

News by Forbes

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Former '60 Minutes' commentator Andy Rooney dies

andy rooney
Andy Rooney
NEW YORK (AP) — Andy Rooney so dreaded the day he had to end his signature "60 Minutes" commentaries about life's large and small absurdities that he kept going until he was 92 years old.

Even then, he said he wasn't retiring. Writers never retire. But his life after the end of "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney" was short: He died Friday night, according to CBS, only a month after delivering his 1,097th and final televised commentary.

Rooney had gone to the hospital for an undisclosed surgery, but major complications developed and he never recovered.

Rooney talked on "60 Minutes" about what was in the news, and his opinions occasionally got him in trouble. But he was just as likely to discuss the old clothes in his closet, why air travel had become unpleasant and why banks needed to have important sounding names.

He won one of his four Emmy Awards for a piece on whether there was a real Mrs. Smith who made Mrs. Smith's Pies. As it turned out, there was no Mrs. Smith.

"I obviously have a knack for getting on paper what a lot of people have thought and didn't realize they thought," Rooney once said. "And they say, 'Hey, yeah!' And they like that."

Looking for something new to punctuate its weekly broadcast, "60 Minutes" aired its first Rooney commentary on July 2, 1978. He complained about people who keep track of how many people die in car accidents on holiday weekends. In fact, he said, the Fourth of July is "one of the safest weekends of the year to be going someplace."

More than three decades later, he was railing about how unpleasant air travel had become. "Let's make a statement to the airlines just to get their attention," he said. "We'll pick a week next year and we'll all agree not to go anywhere for seven days."

In early 2009, as he was about to turn 90, Rooney looked ahead to President Barack Obama's upcoming inauguration with a look at past inaugurations. He told viewers that Calvin Coolidge's 1925 swearing-in was the first to be broadcast on radio, adding, "That may have been the most interesting thing Coolidge ever did."

"Words cannot adequately express Andy's contribution to the world of journalism and the impact he made — as a colleague and a friend — upon everybody at CBS," said Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. president and CEO.

Jeff Fager, CBS News chairman and "60 Minutes" executive producer, said "it's hard to imagine not having Andy around. He loved his life and he lived it on his own terms. We will miss him very much."

For his final essay, Rooney said that he'd live a life luckier than most.

"I wish I could do this forever. I can't, though," he said.

He said he probably hadn't said anything on "60 Minutes" that most of his viewers didn't already know or hadn't thought. "That's what a writer does," he said. "A writer's job is to tell the truth."

True to his occasional crotchety nature, though, he complained about being famous or bothered by fans. His last wish from fans: If you see him in a restaurant, just let him eat his dinner.

Rooney was a freelance writer in 1949 when he encountered CBS radio star Arthur Godfrey in an elevator and — with the bluntness millions of people learned about later — told him his show could use better writing. Godfrey hired him and by 1953, when he moved to TV, Rooney was his only writer.

He wrote for CBS' Garry Moore during the early 1960s before settling into a partnership with Harry Reasoner at CBS News. Given a challenge to write on any topic, he wrote "An Essay on Doors" in 1964, and continued with contemplations on bridges, chairs and women.

"The best work I ever did," Rooney said. "But nobody knows I can do it or ever did it. Nobody knows that I'm a writer and producer. They think I'm this guy on television."

He became such a part of the culture that comic Joe Piscopo satirized Rooney's squeaky voice with the refrain, "Did you ever wonder ..." Rooney never started any of his essays that way. For many years, "60 Minutes" improbably was the most popular program on television and a dose of Rooney was what people came to expect for a knowing smile on the night before they had to go back to work.

Rooney left CBS in 1970 when it refused to air his angry essay about the Vietnam War. He went on TV for the first time, reading the essay on PBS and winning a Writers Guild of America award for it.

He returned to CBS three years later as a writer and producer of specials. Notable among them was the 1975 "Mr. Rooney Goes to Washington," whose lighthearted but serious look at government won him a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.

His words sometimes landed Rooney in hot water. CBS suspended him for three months in 1990 for making racist remarks in an interview, which he denied. Rooney, who was arrested in Florida while in the Army in the 1940s for refusing to leave a seat among blacks on a bus, was hurt deeply by the charge of racism.

Gay rights groups were mad, during the AIDS epidemic, when Rooney mentioned homosexual unions in saying "many of the ills which kill us are self-induced." Indians protested when Rooney suggested Native Americans who made money from casinos weren't doing enough to help their own people.

The Associated Press learned the danger of getting on Rooney's cranky side. In 1996, AP Television Writer Frazier Moore wrote a column suggesting it was time for Rooney to retire. On Rooney's next "60 Minutes" appearance, he invited those who disagreed to make their opinions known. The AP switchboard was flooded by some 7,000 phone calls and countless postcards were sent to the AP mail room.

"Your piece made me mad," Rooney told Moore two years later. "One of my major shortcomings — I'm vindictive. I don't know why that is. Even in petty things in my life I tend to strike back. It's a lot more pleasurable a sensation than feeling threatened."He was one of television's few voices to strongly oppose the war in Iraq after the George W. Bush administration launched it in 2002. After the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, he said he was chastened by its quick fall but didn't regret his "60 Minutes" commentaries.

"I'm in a position of feeling secure enough so that I can say what I think is right and if so many people think it's wrong that I get fired, well, I've got enough to eat," Rooney said at the time.

Andrew Aitken Rooney was born on Jan. 14, 1919, in Albany, N.Y., and worked as a copy boy on the Albany Knickerbocker News while in high school. College at Colgate University was cut short by World War II, when Rooney worked for Stars and Stripes.

With another former Stars and Stripes staffer, Oram C. Hutton, Rooney wrote four books about the war. They included the 1947 book, "Their Conqueror's Peace: A Report to the American Stockholders," documenting offenses against the Germans by occupying forces.

Rooney and his wife, Marguerite, were married for 62 years before she died of heart failure in 2004. They had four children and lived in New York, with homes in Rowayton, Conn., and upstate New York. Daughter Emily Rooney is a former executive producer of ABC's "World News Tonight." Brian was a longtime ABC News correspondent, Ellen a photographer and Martha Fishel is chief of the public service division of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Greece focuses the concerns of the G20

barack obama
The Greek crisis and the possibility of an output of Athens in the euro area have dominated discussions at the first day of the summit of the G20 countries in Cannes. The day ended with a press conference by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He felt that the message Wednesday night by Germany and France to Greece on his proposed referendum had allowed a "consciousness" which, "if it is confirmed, would be welcomed by everyone." Parallel to statements by French President Angela Merkel has warned it expected Greece's actions rather than ad: "For us, it is actions that count." For her, the stability of the euro is indeed a higher priority as ensuring the maintenance of Greece in the euro area.

During the day, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou suggested that his plan to submit to referendum the bailout of the euro zone could be abandoned. After negotiations within the government, Mr. Papandreou would eventually agreed to démisionner, under pressure from his Finance Minister, subject to obtaining the confidence of Parliament on Friday. >> Read our lights: Greece Can get out of the euro area? U.S. President Barack Obama devoted part of his discussions with his counterparts in French and German, as a prelude to the opening of the summit, the crisis in the continent. "The most important aspect of our work over the next two days is to solve the financial crisis here in Europe," he said.

At its press conference, Nicolas Sarkozy also reiterated his confidence in the strength of the Italian economy, threatened with contagion. He said he "noted with interest" the new anti-crisis measures that the country has made on the sidelines of the G20, adding: "I would say my confidence in the Italian economy, which is one of the strongest economies in the world. C is the third largest economy in Europe, perhaps the seventh or eighth largest economy in the world. Italy is a truly remarkable tradition of entrepreneurs. " The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi came to the G20 without being able to validate the anti-crisis measures by the government, tried to reassure his country's ability to repay its debt.

According to a draft action plan for growth discussed at Cannes, Italy is committed to approaching a balanced budget in 2013 and rapidly reduce its debt ratio to GDP from 2012. At about 120%, the ratio of debt to GDP in Italy is the largest of the major European countries. "There are now discussions [G20] to erect a firewall around countries such as Italy and Spain", for his part, said an Indian official. >> Read our lights: debt crisis: how Italy got there? * Emerging markets and the question of changes in a draft final communique obtained by Reuters, indicates that the G20 is working on the establishment of an international monetary system (IMS), which would better reflect the weight of emerging economies.

The group also agreed on the need to adjust the basket of special drawing rights (SDR) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to better reflect the changing roles of currencies. This adjustment could be a step towards better integration of currencies, as the Chinese yuan. However, the draft statement says nothing greater flexibility of exchange rates requested by the United States but opposed by China.

The United States, and to a lesser extent Brazil, pushed for the adoption of a stronger vocabulary, equivalent to an implicit commitment of China to move faster to a flexibility of its currency, the yuan. Like last year in Seoul, China seems determined to resist pressure and to defend the management at their own pace in the exchange rate of the yuan. With the uncertainties that collect around the euro area and the desire of Europeans see China contribute to their emergency fund, the risk is that the issue of currency does not move. According to sources from emerging countries, the G20 should be satisfied with the words of the communiqué of the G20 Finance held last month in Paris.

At this summit, the G20 finance ministers had simply agreed to continue "their efforts to move towards systems of exchange rates determined more by the markets and achieve greater flexibility in exchange rates to reflect economic fundamentals ".

The G20 will accept in its final communiqué, a possible increase of IMF resources by the willing. "States that so request, to the fall of 2012, bilateral increase their participation in IMF resources," said a source close to the negotiations. The fund's resources have been increased by an agreement approved a year ago, through a permanent doubling of contributions of member states, the "quota". This Agreement shall enter into force as nominally one year, but we need a sufficient number of national parliaments ratify it. Meanwhile, member states have provided temporary resources to the IMF through the "New Arrangements to Borrow." It is intended to remove this temporary resources when the increase of their contribution will be permanently effective.

In addition, the final communiqué should mention a new SDR allocation, a kind of international reserve asset of the IMF. An SDR allocation is a distribution of the assets created for the occasion, the Member States of the IMF, which fuels their foreign exchange reserves. British Finance Minister, George Osborne, confirmed that the G20 was discussing an increase in IMF resources. "The international community agrees that tackling the global economic situation, and there is a debate that has begun but not completed, on how to increase IMF resources," he said. Moreover, the IMF is going to get the creation of new precautionary credit lines and cash. These are loans to help countries, particularly emerging to deal with shocks in a hurry without being subject to formal programs of the IMF, with the strict conditions they imply.

In addition, the final communiqué should mention a new SDR allocation, a kind of international reserve asset of the IMF. An SDR allocation is a distribution of the assets created for the occasion, the Member States of the IMF, which fuels their foreign exchange reserves. British Finance Minister, George Osborne, confirmed q * The tax on financial activities back in discussions G20 leaders should discuss the creation of a tax on financial activities. A subject on which the Europeans encountered the reluctance, if not the opposition of many of their partners in the G20. On this point, Nicolas Sarkozy praised the "understanding" of Barack Obama on this issue and reported a "joint analysis" on the need for a "contribution to the world of finance" to solving the financial crisis and international economic.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Herman Cain, the candidate of "9-9-9" entangled in a sexual harassment case

herman cain
Herman Cain
The candidate for the Republican primary, Herman Cain, is entangled in a sexual harassment case, since Monday. The man in the "9-9-9" is accused by the newspaper Politico have entered into settlement agreements in the 1990s with at least two women who accused him of sexual harassment. The pastor, married for forty years, was guilty of comments and gestures when he was moved to the head of the Employers' Association of restaurateurs in the United States.

The new darling of American surveys was initially denied, claiming to be the target of a "witch hunt". The former owner of a pizza chain has vigorously denied any wrongdoing in an interview to television channel Fox News. "I have never sexually harassed anyone," he has defended. This information is "totally false and baseless," he added.


Mr. Cain acknowledged, however, a little later, an agreement was reached out of court to cover-up. "If the restaurant association has an agreement, I was not aware and I hope it does not cost too much because nothing happened," he said, in referring to an investigation that would not show. Tuesday morning on CNN, Mr. Cain came more into the details of the agreement: "I do not remember the amount, but as and when negotiations with my lawyer, [counsel for the accuser ] realized that without a witness, his complaint did not take the road ".

The spectrum of a sex scandal may prove fatal to any candidate for the White House, Mr. Cain also assured that no other skeletons in the closet. "In forty-year career, there was a complaint of sexual harassment. One," he added. Asked whether it is a maneuver of a political rival, the candidate for the Republican nomination has done nothing to refute the insinuation. But he said he had "no idea" of the origin of these accusations.

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