Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Federal budget deficit to dip to $1.1T, CBO says

(AP) ? The government will run a $1.1 trillion deficit in the fiscal year that ends in September, a slight dip from last year but still very high by any measure, according to a budget report released Tuesday.

The Congressional Budget Office report also says that annual deficits will remain in the $1 trillion range for the next several years if Bush-era tax cuts slated to expire in December are extended, as commonly assumed ? and if Congress is unable to live within the tight "caps" the lawmakers themselves placed on agency budgets last year.

The report is yet another reminder of the perilous fiscal situation the government is in, but it's commonly assumed that President Barack Obama and lawmakers in Congress will be able to accomplish little on the deficit issue during an election year. The report was slightly more pessimistic than CBO's most recent projections last summer and would mean the fourth straight year of trillion-dollar-plus deficits.

The recent wave of shocking, trillion-dollar-plus deficits has been largely a product of the recent deep recession and the slower-than-hoped recovery. The jolt to the economy has made a permanent dent in revenue estimates but the budget crunch will get even worse with the retirement of the Baby Boom generation and the resulting strain of Social Security and Medicare.

The report prompted a familiar wave of statements from lawmakers casting blame on the other for the fiscal mess.

"Four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits, no credible plan to lift the crushing burden of debt," said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., "The president and his party's leaders have fallen short in their duty to tackle our generation's most pressing fiscal and economic challenges."

"We will not solve this problem unless both sides, Democrats and Republicans, are willing to move off their fixed positions and find common ground," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D. "Republicans must be willing to put revenue on the table."

Republicans acknowledge that Obama inherited a budget mess and an economy in recession, but they say he's done little to try to keep his 2009 promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.

"We know that President Obama's policies have failed to produce the economic growth needed to pay down these massive deficits that are creating uncertainty, preventing economic recovery, and harming job creation," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. "When something doesn't work, you change it. Let's try something new."

The CBO study also predicts modest economic growth of 2 percent this year and forecasts that the unemployment rate will be 8.9 percent on Election Day. That is based on an assumption that President Barack Obama will fail to win renewal of payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits through the end of the year.

That jobless rate is higher than the rates that contributed to losses by Presidents Jimmy Carter (7.5 percent) and George H.W. Bush (7.4 percent). The agency also predicts that unemployment will average 9.1 percent in 2013 and remain at 7 percent or above through 2015.

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf, however, told reporters that extending the two percentage point cut in Social Security payroll taxes would only lift the economy by perhaps one-fourth of a percentage point this year and would likely yield only a 0.1 to 0.2 percentage point drop in the jobless rate.

The agency's budget projections are worse than those issued last summer, in large part because its views on the economy are more pessimistic now. Last August, CBO predicted a $953 billion deficit for 2012 fiscal year. Corporate tax receipts are sharply lower than anticipated last year.

On the economy as a whole, CBO now predicts 2 percent growth from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of this year, a 0.7 percentage point drop from its August numbers. Its predictions of the jobless rate are 0.4 percent higher.

"We have not had a period of such persistently high unemployment since the Depression," Elmendorf said.

The new figures also show that last summer's budget and debt pact has barely made a dent in the government's fiscal woes.

The pact imposed $2.1 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, but lawmakers are already talking about easing across-the-board spending cuts required under the agreement. The modified estimates predict $11 trillion in accumulated deficits over the 2013-2022 if the Bush-era cuts in taxes on income, investments, large estates and on families with children are renewed. Obama has proposed largely extending them, but allowing them to expire for upper-income taxpayers.

Extending the full range of the Bush tax cuts costs $5.4 trillion over the coming decade, CBO says. Elmendorf said allowing tax rates to increase for families making more than $250,000 a year as Obama has proposed would shave more than $1 trillion from the 10-year costs of extending the tax cuts.

Last year, Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, tried but failed to reach a "grand bargain" on the deficit, an effort that got hung up over taxes and cuts to major benefit programs like Medicare. A subsequent attempt by a congressional "supercommittee" to find smaller saving sputtered over the same issues.

What's left is a heap of unfinished business that comes to a head at the end of the year: expiring tax cuts and painful across-the-board cuts to the Pentagon and many domestic programs. To top it off, another politically toxic increase in the debt limit will have to be passed by Congress at some point early next year.

The deficit would require the government to borrow 30 cents of every dollar it spends. Put another way, the deficit will reach 7 percent of the size of the economy, a slight dip from last year's 8.7 percent of gross domestic product.

The CBO report shows that the deficit dilemma would largely be solved if the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 ? and renewed in 2010 through the end of this year ? were allowed to lapse. Under that scenario, the deficit would drop to $585 billion in 2013 and to $220 billion in 2017.

But expiration of those tax cuts would slam the economy, CBO said, bringing growth down to a paltry 1.1 percent next year. However, the economy would quickly rebound in 2014 and beyond.

Obama is scheduled to release his 2013 budget on Feb. 13.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/386c25518f464186bf7a2ac026580ce7/Article_2012-01-31-Budget%20Deficit/id-abd613299fe548f2ad152e95f74d4102

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No charges for airmen who posed around casket

Air Force Times

In an August photo, airmen surround an open casket with another airman posed with a noose around his neck and chains across his body.

By Jeff Black, msnbc.com

The Air Force has concluded there was ?no criminal conduct? by airmen who posed around an open casket with another airman inside pretending to be dead.

The photo, which first came to light on Dec. 13 in the Air Force Times, drew outrage from military commanders, military wives, widows and others who saw it as mocking deceased service members.

??Da Dumpt, Da Dumpt ? Sucks 2 Be U? was scribbled at the bottom of the photo.

Rather than criminal charges, the airmen involved in the picture received administrative punishment because their conduct ?brought discredit to both the military and themselves,? Col. Gregory Reese, commander of the 37th Training Group, said in news release sent to msnbc.com. The Air Force said it does not disclose details of administrative actions due to privacy concerns.

Read Monday?s Air Force Times story

??The investigation indicated that the photo was intended by those who took it to remind the students that they could be killed if they failed to pay attention while loading and unloading aircraft,? Reese said.

The service members in the picture were airmen with the 345th Training Squadron at Fort Lee, Va., where they learn to load and unload aircraft. Their unit is a detachment from a command at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, which issued the news release about the punishment.

The photo, it turned out, was a sort of unofficial class picture in which ?creativity got ahead of common sense,? Gerry Proctor, 37thTraining Wing spokesman, told msnbc.com.

After the photo became public, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, expressed concern that the photo might cause more turmoil for families of fallen troops.

"Such behavior is not consistent with our core values, and it is not representative of the Airmen I know. It saddens me that this may cause additional grief to the families of our fallen warriors,? Donley told? the Air Force Times.

In response to the photo, 37th Training Wing commander, Col. Eric Axelbank issued a wing-wide policy that requires all class photography and memorabilia?to be?reviewed by squadron commanders.

Proctor told msnbc.com that with the investigation complete and administrative punishment handed out, the Air Force considers the case closed.

More content from msnbc.com and NBC News

Source: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/30/10272371-no-criminal-charges-for-airmen-who-posed-around-casket

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Monday, January 30, 2012

29 Chinese missing after militant attack in Sudan (AP)

BEIJING ? Militants apparently captured 29 Chinese workers after attacking a remote worksite in a volatile region of Sudan, and Sudanese forces were increasing security for Chinese projects and personnel there, China said Sunday.

China has close political and economic relations with Sudan, especially in the energy sector.

The Foreign Ministry in Beijing said the militants attacked Saturday and Sudanese forces launched a rescue mission Sunday in coordination with the Chinese embassy in Khartoum.

The Ministry's head of consular affairs met with the Sudanese ambassador in Beijing and "urged him to actively conduct rescue missions under the prerequisite of ensuring the safety of the Chinese personnel," the statement said.

In Khartoum, a Chinese embassy spokesman said the northern branch of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement announced that 29 Chinese workers had been captured in the attack. The spokesman, who asked not be identified, gave no other details and it wasn't clear if the militants had demanded conditions for their return.

Other details weren't given. The official Xinhua News Agency cited the state governor as saying the Sudan People's Liberation Movement attacked a road-building site in South Kordofan and seized the workers.

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement are a guerrilla force that has fought against Sudan's regime. Its members hail from a minority ethnic group now in control of much of South Sudan, which became the world's newest country only six months ago in a breakaway from Sudan.

Sudan has accused South Sudan of arming pro-South Sudan groups in South Kordofan. The government of South Sudan has called such accusations a smoke screen intended to justify a future invasion of the South.

China has sent large numbers of workers to potentially unstable regions such as Sudan and last year was forced to send ships and planes to help with the emergency evacuation of 30,000 of its citizens from the fighting in Libya.

China has consistently used its clout in diplomatic forums such as the United Nations to defend Sudan and its longtime leader Omar al-Bashir. In recent years, it has also sought to build good relations with leaders from the south, where most of Sudan's oil is located.

Chinese companies have also invested heavily in Sudanese oil production, along with companies India and elsewhere.


Associated Press writer Mohamed Saeed contributed to this report from Khartoum.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/africa/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120129/ap_on_re_as/as_china_sudan

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ex-Boston Mayor White, led in turbulent '70s, dies (AP)

BOSTON ? Kevin H. White, a four-term mayor who led Boston through years of racial violence and economic stagnation and was credited with putting the city on a path to prosperity, has died. He was 82.

White, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2003, died Friday night at his Beacon Hill home surrounded by his family, said George Regan, a family spokesman and friend.

"He was a man who built Boston into the world-class city it is today," said Regan, who called his loss "devastating."

White, a white Irish Catholic from a family of politicians, is credited with revitalizing Boston's downtown and seeing the city through court-ordered busing, but he ended his tenure in 1983 under a cloud of ethics suspicions.

The Democrat was elected Massachusetts secretary of state three times before running for mayor for the first time in 1967 against antibusing activist Louise Day Hicks. He defeated her with support from the black community and liberals.

After losing a 1970 bid for governor, White was re-elected mayor in 1971, again defeating Hicks. He won again narrowly in 1975 and 1979.

White was considered as a vice presidential running mate to U.S. Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota in 1972 but was passed over for U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, who was later cast aside for R. Sargent Shriver Jr.

After U.S. District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity ordered busing to desegregate public schools in 1974, White protected schoolchildren from ensuing violence with federal and state assistance during the period of crisis and in 1976 led a march of 30,000 to protest racial violence.

White was never totally comfortable with busing, however, and called Garrity's plan "too severe."

"I wish I knew a way to have taught Garrity or convinced Garrity to be more generous ... or softer in his implementation of that order," White said after his time as mayor.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, a fellow Democrat, said White "knew how to wisely wield the power of the mayor's office for the public good."

"For 16 years," Kerry said in a statement, "the mayor shepherded the city through the turbulence of the late '60s and mid-'70s and in the process ushered in the remarkable city we know today."

Current Mayor Thomas Menino, also a Democrat, praised White for his contributions to the city.

"Mayor Kevin White was a great friend and a great leader who left a lasting mark of hope and inspiration on the City of Boston," he said in a statement. "He will be sorely missed."

White's first two terms were known for his Little City Halls in the city's far-flung neighborhoods that gave power to ethnic and racial minorities, but he consolidated his power in his final two terms.

White closed the Little City Halls and instead used a network of ward lieutenants who rewarded the mayor's supporters with city jobs and contracts.

Seven mayoral aides were eventually indicted on fraud and extortion charges. His one-time budget director and an official of the Boston Redevelopment Authority were convicted of fraudulently obtaining city pensions. A deputy commissioner was convicted of tax evasion for failing to report money that prosecutors said he gained from bribes.

White was never implicated. The State Ethics Commission, however, conducted a 10-month investigation that found "reasonable cause" that White had violated conflict-of-interest laws.

The city also wallowed in a financial crisis in the later years of his tenure that led to layoffs of police officers and firefighters and the shutdown of some stations.

The crises were exploited by his critics, who called him King Kevin, and he dropped out of the 1983 mayoral race, eventually won by Raymond Flynn.

"It's no secret that Kevin and I were rivals for many years," Flynn said in a statement. "But underneath that sometimes heated rivalry, rooted in different priorities, was a mutual respect. Kevin and I shared a deep love for this complex, fascinating city of Boston."

A liberal reformer, White appealed to a cross-section of society, including the young.

Once, when the Rolling Stones were arrested on the way to Boston, the mayor released them into his own custody.

"The Stones have been busted, but I have sprung them!" he told an audience at Boston Garden.

While the busing crisis stained Boston's image, White was also credited with revitalizing the city's downtown, especially the shops and restaurants of Quincy Market, which remains one of the city's top tourist attractions. He thought the downtown renaissance would make Boston a "world-class city."

A statue of White was unveiled near Quincy Market in 2006.

Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, said White's stewardship created "a path to prosperity for the city."

White's father and maternal grandfather had been Boston City Council presidents. In 1956, he married Kathryn Galvin, the daughter of another City Council president. He was educated at Tabor Academy, Williams College, Boston College Law School and the Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration.

After handing over the office to Flynn in 1984, White accepted a position at Boston University as a professor of communications and public management.

While mayor in 1970, White had major surgery to remove two-thirds of his stomach. He suffered a heart attack in 2001 while at a Florida restaurant and spent several days in a hospital when he had a pacemaker implanted.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Kathyrn Galvin White, five children and several grandchildren.


Associated Press Writer Sylvia Wingfield contributed to this report.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/obits/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120128/ap_on_re_us/us_obit_kevin_white

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"Beasts," "The House I Live In" win top awards at Sundance (Reuters)

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) ? "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "The House I Live In" won the top awards at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, making them likely favorites for independent movie audiences in 2012.

Directed by Benh Zeitlin and set in impoverished Louisiana, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" picked up the jury prize for best drama as well as best cinematography with its poetic tale of the bond between a father and a daughter.

The documentary winner, "The House I Live In," was one of many documentaries at Sundance 2012 that looked at a struggling America at Sundance 2012. It is an examination of America's long war on drugs and critiques of U.S. drug policies, its court system, prisons and their impact on minorities.

"The war on drugs is a terrible scar on America," said director Eugene Jarecki.

Special juries of industry professionals vote on winners, and those are considered the top prizes but audiences also vote for their favorites.

"The Surrogate," which stars Helen Hunt and John Hawkes and is about a man's quest to lose his virginity while mostly confined to an iron lung, won the Audience Award for best drama.

The film, based on the life of poet and journalist Mark O'Brien, fetched one of the highest selling prices at the festival -- a reported $6 million -- and with its mix of comedy and drama could turn out to be one of the bigger U.S. indie hits in cinemas to come out of the festival.

"Love is a journey, that's it," said director Ben Lewin when accepting his trophy, quoting a line from the film.


The Audience Award for documentary was given to "The Invisible War," about an epidemic of sexual assault in the U.S. military and shining a light on a little known problem.

Other documentary special jury prizes went to "Love Free or Die," about the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson; and "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry," about the Chinese artist and activist who was detained for 81 days last year.

"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" director Alison Klayman took a picture of the crowd upon accepting the award and promised to send it to the Chinese artist, who was spent 81 days in government detention last year and felt it was too risky to attend the festival from China.

Sundance, which is backed by Robert Redford's Sundance Institute for filmmaking, is the largest U.S. gathering for independent movies. Festival winners go on to become some of the most talked about films in art houses.

Many of the more hyped fictional films for Sundance 2012 did not live up to their buzz, with many including "Red Lights" starring Robert De Niro and Spike Lee's "Red Hook Summer" disappointing critics, although films have still sold.

In addition to prizes for U.S. films, Sundance also gives awards in world cinema.

"Searching for Sugar Man," about the search for an obscure 1970s Detroit folk singer known as Rodriguez, won the audience award for best world documentary as well as a special jury prize. It was one of the most popular films of the festival, which served as the d3ebut for documentaries such as "An Inconvenient Truth."

Chile's "Violeta Went To Heaven," based on the life of Chilean folk singer Violeta Parra's journey from a poor upbringing to national hero, won the jury prize for best drama, and "The Law In These Parts" was the jury's pick for best documentary.

(Reporting By Christine Kearney; editing by Mohammad Zargham and Bill Trott)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/movies/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120129/en_nm/us_sundance_winners

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

DoCoMo to ask for changes in Android -Nikkei (Reuters)

(Reuters) ? NTT DoCoMo Inc (9437.T) will ask Google Inc (GOOG.O) to modify its Android operating system so that smartphones using it would put less pressure on networks, a move that could spark wider protests against the leading mobile software platform, the Nikkei reported.

The leading Japanese mobile phone service provider identified an Android application, which enables free-of-charge voice communication, as a major cause behind a service disruption that occurred on Wednesday, the business daily said.

Some Android applications send out control signals once every three to five minutes even when not in use. This translates to ten times that of a conventional mobile phone, placing additional strain on the network, the newspaper said.

A sharp rise in data consumption puts more pressure on wireless operators to speed up capacity investments, as they are struggling with clogged telecom networks to keep up with growing demand for data services on the go.

DoCoMo intends to request that Google make Android transmit control signals less often, since frequent service disruptions could hurt the popularity of Android phones, the Nikkei reported.

"Other operators have complained, some publicly, about the pressure Android apps in particular are putting on their networks," said John Jackson, analyst at British wireless consultancy CCS Insight.

The Japanese paper said that DoCoMo also hopes to team up with other mobile service providers, along with Google, to ask Android application developers to limit the frequency of control signals.

"I expect that at the very least operators worldwide will watch this dispute closely to see what remedy might be in the offing," Jackson said.

Other operators may use the dispute as an occasion to demand similar modifications, he said.

"Either way, DoCoMo's move comes at a challenging time for Google with the Android ecosystem failing to generate Apple-like (AAPL.O) revenue and OEM licensees coming under legal pressure from Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) in particular," he added

(Reporting by Meenakshi Iyer in Bangalore and Tarmo Virki in Helsinki; Editing by Joyjeet Das, Gary Hill)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/personaltech/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120127/tc_nm/us_docomo

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French breast implant boss arrested (Reuters)

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) ? Jean-Claude Mas, the Frenchman who has sparked a global health scare by selling substandard breast implants, was arrested on Thursday and could be charged with manslaughter, the public prosecutor in the city of Marseille said.

In the first arrests since the two-year-old scandal grabbed headlines worldwide in December, Mas and a second executive at his now defunct company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) were seized at their homes in southern France shortly after dawn.

If charged with involuntary manslaughter and causing injury, both could face longer prison terms than those they already risk in a parallel fraud case due to come to court around October.

French authorities have been criticized for being slow to react to a case that has sown fear among tens of thousands of women who carry PIP implants. French inspectors ordered them off the market in March 2010, due to concerns over their quality.

But only last month did officials in Paris recommend their surgical removal, drawing attention to the problem for patients worldwide who had been fitted with products from the company, which was at one time the third biggest global supplier.

Lawyers for women in France who have filed complaints over PIP implants welcomed the arrests and said there must be no escaping justice for the 72-year-old Mas, who has been quoted as deriding those suing him as being motivated only by money.

"This is a comfort for the victims," said Laurent Gaudon, whose clients are pursuing PIP and surgeons who used its implants for fraud. "It's the feeling that justice is advancing and they have not been forgotten. It's the assurance that the guilty are at last going to be held accountable."

Philippe Courtois, who represents 1,300 people with PIP implants, said Mas should not be freed pending any court case. "A degree of provisionary detention is desirable," he said.

Mas and PIP's former chief executive Claude Couty were still being questioned at home at midday, as police searched their premises. They were due to be moved to police custody in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille later, under the orders of prosecutor Jacques Dallest.


PIP enjoyed years of success with international sales, but behind the scenes employees, and Mas himself, have admitted to hiding from certification agencies the fact they were using cheap, industrial silicone, not approved for medical use.

Health authorities in France and elsewhere have stressed that PIP's products carry no proven link to cancer, but surgeons report that they have abnormally high rupture rates. Responses to the problem have varied among different foreign authorities.

Thursday's arrests follow an investigation opened in Marseille, close to PIP's former premises, on December 8 after the death from cancer in 2010 of a woman with PIP implants.

Mas and Couty can be held for up to 48 hours while a judge decides whether to charge them with involuntary manslaughter and causing injury and, if so, whether to continue their detention or to free them on bail conditions.

A trial date could be years away, given the extent of inquiry required, but the graver manslaughter case could make it harder for Mas to avoid appearing in court later this year on other charges of fraud and deception.

That latter case targets half a dozen former PIP executives and could also carry prison terms for them of several years. It has dragged on as investigators have had to quiz up to 2,700 women who have filed complaints over PIP implants.

Mas, who sold some 300,000 implants around the world, has acknowledged that he used unapproved silicone but dismissed fears that it constituted a health risk.

Earlier in January, leaks from a police document showed Mas admitting to lying about the quality of PIP's implants and describing the women filing complaints against him as just seeking money. The comments sparked public anger against him.

PIP closed down in March 2010 after regulators discovered it was using a non-approved silicone gel, and pulled its implants off the market.

In December 2011, the French government advised women with PIP implants to have them removed, and said it would even pay for the operations in France, sparking alarm around the world.

Governments in several other countries such as Britain and Brazil have asked women to visit their doctors for checks.

France has called for tighter European Union regulations on medical devices in wake of the PIP health scare, saying suppliers should be made to carry the same sort of authorization as suppliers of prescription medicine.

(Writing by Catherine Bremer; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/crime/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120126/ts_nm/us_france_implants

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Activists report 'terrifying massacre' in Syria

Updated at 3:15 a.m. ET: Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, describes the killings of at least 35 people in the city of Homs as a "terrifying massacre."

Videos posted online from activists showed the bodies of children wrapped in plastic bags lined up next to each other. Another video shows women and children with bloodied faces and clothes and in a house, with the narrator saying an entire family with its children had been "slaughtered."

The videos could not be independently verified.

The U.N. Security Council meets on Friday to discuss the next move on Syria and council envoys said members will be given a new Western-Arab draft resolution that supports the Arab League's call for President Bashar Assad to transfer his powers to his deputy.

The resolution calls for Assad's deputy to set up a unity government and prepare for elections after a ten-month crackdown.

The Security Council could vote as early as next week on the resolution, which diplomats from Britain and France are crafting in consultation with Qatar, Morocco, the United States, Germany and Portugal, envoys said. It replaces a Russian text that Western diplomats say is too weak.

The Observatory and the Local Coordination Committees, an umbrella group of activists, both said the death toll in Homs was at least 35, but the reports could not be confirmed. The groups cited a network of activists on the ground in Syria.

The Observatory said 29 people were killed in the religiously mixed Karm el-Zaytoun neighborhood of Homs on Thursday, including eight children, most of them when a building came under heavy mortar and machine gunfire.

Residents spoke of another massacre that took place when shabiha ? armed regime loyalists ? stormed the district, slaughtering residents in an apartment, including children.

"It's racial cleansing," said one resident of Karm el-Zaytoun, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. "They are killing people because of their sect," he said.

Published at 4:30 a.m. ET: Dozens of people were killed in a day of relentless violence in the restive Syrian city of Homs, two activist groups said on Friday.

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Two activist groups said the death toll in Homs on Thursday was at least 35, but the reports could not be confirmed. Details about the bloodshed were only emerging Friday.

Witnesses on the ground told The Associated Press they were still gathering information but that the city was rocked by sectarian killings, gunfire and explosions for much of Thursday.

Many of the reported victims were inside a building in the Karm el-Zaytoun neighborhood, the AP reported. Activists say at least 22 civilians were killed in the building, including children.

Outside Syria's capital, suburbs look like war zone

The Local Coordination Committees said in an email sent to news media that a total of 65 people were killed in Syria Thursday.

Interactive: Young and restless: Demographics fuel Mideast protests (on this page)

"Among them were 10 children, 4 women and 8 defected military soldier, they were martyred on Thursday by the bullets of security forces and the heavy weaponry of the military," the email said.

Family: US-born student held in Syria set free

The Syrian uprising against the Bashar Assad regime began last March with largely peaceful anti-government protests, but it has grown increasingly militarized in recent months.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46160189/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/

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Stop What You're Doing and Explore Mars Right Now [Nasa]

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk around on Mars? For 99.99999% of us, this may be as close as we ever get. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has given us the honor of taking the lid off of this awesome, interactive eye-candy. Basically it's Google Earth, for Mars. More »

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/57shx6m1qFw/stop-what-youre-doing-and-explore-mars-right-now

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Netgear NeoTV NTV550

We've come a long way in home entertainment products. HDTVs and Blu-ray players now often come with streaming media services, the ability to play media files over USB drives, and even built-in Wi-Fi. If you want to access those services with an older HDTV, the Roku LT ($49.99, 4 stars) can be found for just $50, and the Western Digital WD TV Live Hub ($199.99, 4 stars) offers both a ton of storage and plenty of online services. The Netgear NeoTV NTV 550 tries to offer a similar service, but at $199.99 (list) with no storage, no Wi-Fi, and no Netflix, it falls short as a media hub.

The NeoTV does let you access both local drives and networked devices and play movies, music, and pictures from them, but onboard storage or a better service selection would better justify this device, which effectively does little more than many HDTVs and Blu-ray players with USB ports and DLNA networking. If you have a huge library of media on your networked computer, USB hard drive, eSATA hard drive, or NAS, it can be a worthwhile way to get your content to your HDTV (that is, if you can run an Ethernet cable or spend extra on a Wi-Fi adapter). But if you just want to access a few files over a network or with a USB key, it's too much.

At first glance, the NTV550 looks like a router, measuring a flat 1.4 by 8.5 by 5.7 inches and weighing just 15 ounces. The front panel holds a Power button, a USB port, and an SD card slot. There's another USB port, an HDMI output, component outputs, a 3.5mm A/V output, an optical audio output, and eSATA and Ethernet ports around back. With no integrated Wi-Fi, you'll need to get Netgear's WNCE2001 wireless adapter for another $80 if you want to use it on your local network without running a cable to your router.

The 8.4-inch remote could easily be mistaken for a Blu-ray player's remote. It has a number pad, direction pad, playback controls, and even four color buttons that double for Video, Music, Photo, and Web buttons. It sits comfortably in the hand and is thoughtfully laid out, though the number pad is puzzling for a device that doesn't access channels.

A multitool of file playback, the NeoTV supports over a dozen video file containers and codecs, including H.264, AVCHD, multiple MPEG-4 types, and DVD ISO and VOB files. It can handle plenty of audio files, too, including MP3, FLAC, WMA, WAV, and any digital video or audio media that uses Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS 2.0+, DTS HD, or DTS HD MA for up to 7.1-channel surround sound output. It also supports multiple subtitle file formats for movies and can show JPEG, BMP, PNG, and TIFF image files. All of these files can be loaded through an SD card, a USB or eSATA drive, or a networked computer or hard drive, and the device can automatically scan those connected devices to catalog all the media it can play.

Online Services
Despite its impressive file support and local network abilities, the NTV550 is slim on online content offerings. It can access YouTube and a handful of news video feeds and Internet radio stations, but there's no Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, or any of the other commonly used streaming media services online. The NTV550 might let you watch nearly any video file on your local network, but if you want to use Netflix and other streaming video, you're going to need an HDTV or Blu-ray player with those services.?

When you connect a USB or eSATA drive or insert an SD card, you can scan it and any other connected devices for media and let the NTV550 catalog all photos, videos, and sound files together. Depending on how large the drive is and how many files and folders of any kind are on it, this can take a while. Once cataloged, they can be viewed in neatly arranged lists of genre, artist, and other categories. Like all systems that use metadata, this can result in holes and duplicate genres in your lists, and if your movies don't have any metadata you'll have to browse the catalog like a file manager.

In my tests, the NTV550 handled media files well with only one small hiccup. It played various videos encoded in DivX, AVI, WMV, and even MKV formats. The only issue was an MKV video with dual audio encoded for multiple language tracks, which played silently despite trying both tracks, which the player detected and could be chosen through the Audio menu. Interestingly, it handled subtitles flawlessly. If you have a movie file on your computer, the device can probably play it, and if it can't, you can convert the file to a similar format it can play.

The Netgear NeoTV NTV550 is a nice idea for marrying your PC content with your HDTV, but its high price and lack of online services and Wi-Fi keep it from earning a recommendation. It does exactly what Netgear says it does, but when most decent HDTVs and Blu-ray players can already play files from USB drives and support DLNA for playing files over a network, $200 is too much for a product that still forces you to run a cable. The Editors' Choice Western Digital WD TV Live Hub also lacks built-in Wi-Fi, but it comes with 1TB of storage so you can still keep a big chunk of your media on the box instead of strewn across your home network, and it has more online services, making it a much better media hub for your HDTV. If you want to save money and get built-in Wi-Fi, grab the Apple TV ($99, 4 stars) and put your media on iTunes.

More Media Hub & Receiver reviews:

??? Netgear NeoTV NTV550
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??? Roku LT
??? Grace Digital Victoria Nostalgic Internet Radio
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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ziffdavis/pcmag/~3/BPJAAjQUexg/0,2817,2398953,00.asp

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Stocks erase losses on Fed promise of low rates (AP)

Stocks turned mixed Wednesday afternoon, erasing earlier losses, after the Federal Reserve said it will keep interest rates near zero for much longer than it had previously announced. Demand for ultra-safe Treasurys soared, pushing bond yields lower.

The Fed's monetary policy committee said it is unlikely to raise interest rates before 2014, extending a period of record-low rates by more than a year. Lower interest rates can encourage investment in stocks by reducing traders' returns from bonds.

The Fed plans to keep interest rates very low in part to make loans more affordable for people and companies. Access to credit is vital for the economic recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index both turned slightly positive shortly after the Fed's 12:30 p.m. Eastern announcement. Both had been solidly negative all morning; the Dow had lost as many as 95 points.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note plunged to 1.98 percent from 2.05 percent an hour before the Fed announcement. Bond yields fall when demand for them increases.

Markets had opened mostly lower on fears about Greece's slow progress in talks with bondholders about reducing the nation's crushing debt load.

Tech stocks rose, bucking the wider market, after consumer electronics giant Apple Inc. reported a best-ever quarter driven by strong sales of iPhones and iPads.

Apple's stock jumped 6.2 percent, helping lift the Nasdaq composite index by 16 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,802. The Nasdaq is up 7.6 percent this year, more than twice the gain for the Dow Jones industrial average.

The Dow was down 19 points, or 0.2 percent, at 12,657. The S&P 500 index fell a fraction to 1,313.

The declines follow a two-month surge that lifted the broad S&P 500 index by 13 percent since its recent low on Nov. 25. As fears recede about the European debt crisis, big-time investors such as hedge funds will be drawn back into the market, fueling more gains, said Joe Bell, senior Equity Strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research.

After such a strong rally, "we could see a ... slight pullback or consolidation; but overall we're bullish," Bell said.

Later Wednesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will take questions from reporters in his quarterly news conference.

European markets mostly closed lower as Greece's bondholders held a closed-door meeting to discuss whether they will continue to negotiate with the crisis-stricken nation.

Greece wants the investors, mostly banks and hedge funds, to voluntarily write off about half of its debt. Otherwise, Greece will be unable to obtain needed bailout cash and will default. That could set off a financial crisis similar to the aftermath of Lehman Bros.' failure in 2008.

Benchmark stock indexes in Italy and London closed a half-percent lower. Borrowing costs for Italy and France increased, a sign of traders' fears that the debt crisis will spread. Adding to the gloom was a report that Britain's economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

With Apple's gains Wednesday, the Cupertino, Calif. electronics maker again surpassed Exxon Mobil Corp. as the company with the biggest market value. Apple said late Tuesday that it sold 37 million iPhones in its fiscal first quarter, the first period after the death of CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs. That was coupled with a big jump in iPad sales to 15.4 million, and a more modest increase in Mac sales.

Apple's net income leapt 118 percent from the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue soared 73 percent. Both results blew the doors off Wall Street's expectations.

Among the other companies making big moves after announcing earnings:

? US Airways Group Inc. jumped 18 percent and Delta Air Lines Inc. rose 6.6 percent. Both carriers reported earnings that were far better than Wall Street analysts expected. The airlines raised fares during the fourth quarter while keeping costs under control. Delta also cut the number of flights it makes to keep pace with demand.

? WellPoint Inc., the nation's largest health care insurer based on enrollment, fell 4.9 percent. The company's fourth-quarter earnings dropped 39 percent, far more than analysts had expected. The Indianapolis company's full-year forecast also fell short of Wall Street's forecasts. Medical claims, its largest expense, rose nearly 10 percent in the quarter.


Follow Daniel Wagner at http://www.twitter.com/wagnerreports.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/britain/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120125/ap_on_bi_st_ma_re/us_wall_street

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of Union: Obama to take on economic anxiety

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2012, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama commands center stage in a political year so far dominated by Republican infighting, preparing to deliver a State of the Union address that will go right to the heart of Americans' economic anxiety and try to sway voters to give him four more years in office. He is expected to urge higher taxes on the wealthy, propose steps to make college more affordable and offer new remedies for the still worrisome housing crisis. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2012, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama commands center stage in a political year so far dominated by Republican infighting, preparing to deliver a State of the Union address that will go right to the heart of Americans' economic anxiety and try to sway voters to give him four more years in office. He is expected to urge higher taxes on the wealthy, propose steps to make college more affordable and offer new remedies for the still worrisome housing crisis. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

(AP) ? Eager to command center stage in a year dominated by Republican infighting, President Barack Obama is polishing a State of the Union address that will go to the heart of Americans' economic anxiety and try to sway voters to give him four more years. He will speak Tuesday to a nation worried about daily struggles and unhappy with his handling of the economy.

Obama's 9 p.m. EST address before a politically divided Congress will be built around ideas meant to appeal to a squeezed middle class. He is expected to urge higher taxes on the wealthy, propose ways to make college more affordable, offer new steps to tackle a debilitating housing crisis and try to help U.S. manufacturers expand hiring.

Designed as a way for a president to update the nation and recommend ideas to Congress, the State of the Union address has become more than that, especially during that one window when the address falls during the re-election year of an incumbent. It is televised theater ? and Obama's biggest, best chance so far to offer a vision for a second term.

He will frame the campaign to come as a fight for fairness for those who are struggling to keep a job, a home or college savings and losing faith in how the county works.

The speech will be principally about the economy, featuring the themes of manufacturing, clean energy, education and American values.

No matter whom Obama faces in November, the election is likely to be driven by the economy, and determined by which candidate wins voters' trust on how to fix it. More people than not disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy.

The overarching political goal is to give voters a contrast between his vision of a government that tries to level the playing field and those office-seekers who, in his view, would leave people on their own. Without naming them, Obama has in his sights those after his job, including Republicans Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

The presidential campaign sets an unmistakable context for the speech, right down to the nation's income gap between haves and have-nots. Obama will speak on a few hours after Romney, a former governor and businessman whose wealth is the hundreds of millions of dollars, will release tax records for 2010 and 2011.

The lines of argument between Obama and his rivals are already stark, with America's economic insecurity and the role of government at the center.

The president has offered signals about his speech, telling campaign supporters he wants an economy "that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few." Gingrich, on the other hand, calls Obama "the most effective food stamp president in history." Romney says Obama "wants to turn America into a European-style entitlement society."

Obama's tone will be highly scrutinized given that his address falls smack in the middle of a fierce and frenzied Republican presidential nomination process. He will make bipartisan overtures to lawmakers but will leave little doubt he will act without opponents when it's necessary and possible, an approach his aides say has let him stay on offense.

The public is more concerned about domestic troubles over foreign policy than at other any time in the past 15 years, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. Some 81 percent want Obama to focus his speech on domestic affairs, not foreign ones; just five years ago, the view was evenly split.

On the day before Obama's speech, his campaign released a short Web ad showing monthly job losses during the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of the Obama administration, with positive job growth for nearly two Obama years. Republicans assail him as failing to achieve a lot more.

House Speaker John Boehner, responding to reports of Obama's speech themes, said it was a rehash of unhelpful policies. "It's pathetic," he said.

Obama will offer economic proposals for this year, despite long odds against getting the help he would need from Republicans.

Presidential spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that Obama is not conceding the next 10 months to "campaigning alone" when people need economic help. On the goals of helping people get a fair shot, Carney said: "There's ample room within those boundaries for bipartisan cooperation and for getting this done."

For three days following his speech, Obama will promote his ideas in five states key to his re-election bid: Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Michigan. He speaks on Friday about college affordability at the University of Michigan.

Meanwhile, the Republican race is suddenly a race again, given Gingrich's resounding win in the South Carolina primary over the weekend. Romney, who appeared the strong front-runner coming into that primary, is now focusing on Gingrich more than Obama as the GOP contest unfolds in Florida.

Vice President Joe Biden, in an interview with radio host Ryan Seacrest, said Monday there is no ideological difference between any of the Republicans seeking to challenge Obama. He said the campaign will offer the clearest choice in which direction to take the country since the era of the Great Depression.

Polling shows Americans are divided about Obama's overall job approval but unsatisfied with his handling of the economy.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/89ae8247abe8493fae24405546e9a1aa/Article_2012-01-23-US-State-of-the-Union/id-e7eaa87777d04ee384a3bdbd13a17853

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Monday, January 9, 2012

How Has Stephen Hawking Lived to 70 with ALS?

Ask the Experts | Health

An expert on Lou Gehrig's disease explains what we know about this debilitating condition and how Hawking has beaten the odds

stephen hawkingA mind untouched: An ALS expert explains how the disease affects various patients differently--and leaves some mentally debilitated by dementia. Image: Wikimedia Commons/rubberpaw

Stephen Hawking turns 70 on Sunday, beating the odds of a daunting diagnosis by nearly half a century.

The famous theoretical physicist has helped to bring his ideas about black holes and quantum gravity to a broad public audience. For much of his time in the public eye, though, he has been confined to a wheelchair by a form of the motor-neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). And since 1985 he has had to speak through his trademark computer system?which he operates with his cheek?and have around-the-clock care.

But his disease seems hardly to have slowed him down. Hawking spent 30 years as a full professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge. And he is currently the director of research at the school's Center for Theoretical Cosmology.

But like his mind, Hawking's illness seems to be singular. Most patients with ALS?also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, for the famous baseball player who succumbed to the disease?are diagnosed after the age of 50 and die within five years of their diagnosis. Hawking's condition was first diagnosed when he was 21, and he was not expected to see his 25th birthday.

Why has Hawking lived so long with this malady when so many other people die so soon after diagnosis? We spoke with Leo McCluskey, an associate professor of neurology and medical director of the ALS Center at the University of Pennsylvania, to find out more about the disease and why it has spared Hawking and his amazing brain.

[An edited transcript of the interview follows.]

What is ALS?and is there more than one form of it?
ALS, which is also known as a motor-neuron disease?and colloquially as Lou Gehrig's disease in the U.S.?is a neurodegenerative disease. Each muscle is controlled by motor neurons that reside in the brain in the frontal lobe. These are controlled electrically and are synaptically connected to motor neurons that reside lower down in the brain?as well as motor neurons that reside in the spinal cord. The guys in the brain are called the upper motor neurons, and the guys in the spine are called the lower motor neurons. The disease causes weakness of either upper motor neurons or lower motor neurons or both.

It's been known for quite some time that there are variants of ALS. One is referred to as progressive muscular atrophy, or PMA. It appears to be an isolated illness of the lower motor neurons. However, pathologically, if you do an autopsy of a patient, they will have evidence of deterioration of upper motor neurons.

There is also primary lateral sclerosis?PLS?and clinically it looks like an isolated upper motor-neuron disorder. However, pathologically they also have lower motor-neuron disorder.

The other classic syndrome is called progressive baldor palsy?or progressive supranuclear palsy?which is weakening of cranial muscles, like the tongue, face and swallowing muscles. But it pretty much always spreads to limb muscles.

Those are the four classic motor-neuron disorders that have been described. And it was thought for quite some time that these disorders were limited to motor neurons. It's now clear that that's not true. It's now well recognized that 10 percent of these patients can develop degeneration in another part of the brain, such as other parts of the frontal lobe that don't contain the motor neurons or the temporal lobe. So some of these patients can actually develop dementia, called frontal-temporal lobe dementia.

Source: http://rss.sciam.com/click.phdo?i=3d08e3a23d5f31fc82d7767ec8d55e6c

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Entrepreneurs Show Confidence in School and University Leavers

New recruits praised for keenness and motivation, but education systems do not support entrepreneurship

- Six in ten SMEs (60%) who had taken on school or university leavers last year were impressed by their keenness and motivation

- Fifty six percent thought that their leavers had shown their ability to fit in to their workplace

- Fifty four percent rated their leavers good or excellent in reading and writing compared to 14% who rated them poor

- In basic arithmetic, 48% thought their leavers good or excellent compared to 15% poor

- Twenty five percent thought their country's education system supported individual ideas and dreams-twice as many (50%) thought that it did not.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Jan. 5, 2012) - A wide-ranging report shows confidence from entrepreneurs in Europe and the United States in the quality of the school and university leavers they recruit. They score highest for keenness and motivation, and in basic skills there are many more rated good or excellent than rated poor. But entrepreneurs also think that their national education systems are failing to support entrepreneurial attitudes.

Published by Hiscox, the international specialist business insurer, the DNA of an entrepreneur reports findings from research of 3,000 owners or partners of small and medium-sized businesses in six countries: the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain.

Survey shows good or excellent recruits far outnumber those rated poor
  • In the six countries surveyed, 1,360 (45%) of SMEs had taken on school or university leavers in the last year. Spain had the highest proportion of recruiters (76%), the USA had the lowest (26%). The UK proportion was 30%.
  • The survey asked all the recruiters for their views on the leavers who had joined them, under six headings covering attitudes and basic skills. Under every heading those rated good or excellent far outnumbered those rated poor:
Good/excellent % Poor %
Keenness and motivation 60 11
Ability to fit in 56 11
Reading and writing 54 14
Basic arithmetic 48 15
Time-keeping 47 19
Work ethic 46 18
Survey reveals national differences in attitudes to recruits
  • In terms of skills, the Germans gave the highest ratings for basic arithmetic (60% rated good or excellent), the Spanish the highest for reading and writing (61%). The Dutch handed out the lowest scores on both counts (32% for arithmetic and 38% for reading and writing)
  • The French gave the highest ratings for their leavers' attitudes: 59% rated good or excellent for timekeeping, 60% for work ethic, 66% for keenness and motivation, 70% for ability to fit in. The Dutch had the lowest good/excellent ratings for work ethic (28%), timekeeping (30%), and ability to fit in (44%). The Americans had the lowest score on keenness (47%)
  • On skills, 50% of British recruiters gave a good/excellent score to leavers for reading and writing but 21% rated them poor - the highest proportion so rated in any country. Although 44% of British recruiters gave high ratings to leavers for their basic arithmetic, 25% rated them poor, a figure beaten only by the Dutch (29%)

Little faith in national education systems to support entrepreneurial aspirations

The survey asked respondents whether their country's education system supported individual ideas and dreams. The Americans had significantly more faith in their education system than the EU countries of which the French and British had the least faith.

Agree % Disagree %
Total 25 50
USA 36 42
Spain 30 47
Germany 23 52
The Netherlands 23 47
France 21 59
UK 20 56

For more information about Hiscox business insurance, visit: www.hiscox.co.uk/business-insurance/.

Notes to editors

A full copy of the report is available at www.hiscox.co.uk/DNA.

DNA of an entrepreneur sample and methodology

Respondents were 3,000 owners or partners in businesses with fewer than 50 employees, 500 each in the UK, USA, Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain. The businesses were predominantly service-based (84%). 87% were below ?1 million annual turnover, 57% below ?100,000. 39% were one-person businesses and 30% had fewer than five employees. 58% of respondents were men, 42% women. 52% of respondents were aged 40-59, 35% under 40.

The research was conducted for Hiscox by The Survey Shop. The sample was drawn from online panels. 3,000 owners/partners took part between 5th-11th September (five countries) and 3rd-9th October 2011 (Spain). Statistical accuracy: +/- 1% to +/- 1.5% for the whole sample of 3,000 and +/-2% to +/-4% for each country's sample of 500.

About Hiscox

Hiscox, the international specialist insurer, is headquartered in Bermuda and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). There are three main underwriting parts of the Group - Hiscox London Market, Hiscox UK and Europe and Hiscox International. Hiscox London Market underwrites internationally traded business in the London Market - generally large or complex business which needs to be shared with other insurers or needs the international licences of Lloyd's. Hiscox UK and Hiscox Europe offer a range of specialist insurance for professionals and business customers, as well as high net worth individuals. Hiscox International includes operations in Bermuda, Guernsey and USA. Hiscox Insurance Company Limited, Hiscox Underwriting Limited, Hiscox Europe Underwriting Limited and Hiscox Syndicates Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Source: http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=1603504&sourceType=3

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Screen queen, golf kings get royal honors



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Source: http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/alaskaone/arts.artsmain?action=viewArticle&id=1890141&pid=1&sid=7

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The United States of Songs: New Mexico

Hey everybody, welcome back! Hope you had a great holiday; I spent too much of mine inside with what is turning out to be a terrible back injury, so that was cool. But I did enjoy a Hawaiian Christmas with my in-laws, and I got to snorkel with sea turtles so I can't really complain too much.?

I?got you a present, but it escaped on the plane.

Every week I try to find a new state song that names the state in its title AND sings of the state itself, not just one city or feature. It's been a hell of a lot tougher than I thought it might be, but this week our sonic roadtrip across America brings us to New Mexico:

The state: New Mexico
The song: "New Mexico Rain" by Michael Hearne


Ah, The Land of Enchantment! I've been through New Mexico a few times on Old Route 66, but I've always been on my way somewhere else so I haven't had a lot of time to really explore the place beyond the obligatory postcard from Albuquerque and a great diner in Moriarty that I can't remember the name of. But New Mexico's more than that! Hispanic culture, Native American heritage, nuclear research, and hey! Spaceport! New Mexico's the place where your dreams will come true because there aren't a whole lot of people around to stop you.


There's also a proud tradition of medical research.

As for the song, it's kind of standard state-themed folk tune-ish, but Michael Hearne does the job. It's a little twangy, but it's earnest enough that you can close your eyes and see Redondo Peak standing tall over the scrub grass and ranch land. It's a peaceful tune, kind of wistful, and I feel like that's the sort of vibe you'd pick up just hanging out on a hot New Mexico afternoon or snuggling in for a cold high desert night.

New Mexicans, I present your new state song. Let me know how it hits you!

Runner-Up: "Nebraska" by Johnny Cash
Most Laughable Suggestion: "Elf Tower New Mexico" by Coheed and Cambria


You know the drill! Let us know in the comments if you've got a better tune for New Mexico or want to suggest one for next week's state, New York!


Flickr photo Roswell NM?by Angela Schatz used under a Creative Commons License.

Source: http://www.woot.com/Blog/ViewEntry.aspx?Id=20896

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