Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Italy's new government begins life in climate of crisis

By James Mackenzie

ROME (Reuters) - New Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta seeks the backing of parliament in a confidence vote on Monday, facing severe political and economic problems that will test the solidity of his broad coalition government in the months ahead.

Letta is due to speak in parliament at 3 p.m. (9:00 a.m. EDT) before the lower house confidence vote in the evening, where he will be backed by his center-left Democratic Party and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom.

A Senate confidence vote will follow, probably on Tuesday.

Sunday's swearing in of Letta's cabinet was overshadowed by the shooting of two policemen outside the prime minister's office in Rome. Nevertheless, financial market reaction to the end of months of political stalemate was positive with bond yields falling and shares rising.

Italy's cost of borrowing dropped to its lowest level since October 2010 at an auction of medium and long term bonds on Monday.

Letta was pushed into a coalition with Berlusconi after the center-left fell short of a viable parliamentary majority in elections in February. He now faces a battle to maintain the unity of his government while passing unpopular reforms.

Berlusconi, who is fighting legal battles over a tax fraud conviction and charges of paying for sex with a minor, will not be in the cabinet himself but many people on the left find the idea of working with his center-right party abhorrent.

In an interview on his own Canale 5 television station, Berlusconi said he hoped the left could undergo some "self criticism" and learn from working with his party. He expected the government to last long enough to pass some vital reforms.

Berlusconi demands the scrapping of an unpopular housing tax and reimbursement of last year's contributions, a measure which would blow an eight billion euro hole in the 2013 budget. He also wants tax breaks for companies hiring young people.

It is not yet clear how Letta will handle this demand.

Berlusconi, whose last government was forced from office at the height of the euro zone debt crisis in late 2011, said he expected to play a leading part in shaping policy.

"As I am the president of the People of Freedom our representatives in the government will have continuous contact with our movement and with me," he said.


On Sunday an unemployed man shot and wounded two police officers and a passer-by just as the cabinet was being sworn in at the presidential palace about a kilometer (half a mile) away.

Officials said the shooting, which the gunman said was originally intended as an attack on politicians, was an isolated incident but it was widely interpreted as a further alarming sign of public anger with lawmakers.

Italy's economy has been sluggish for over a decade with gross domestic product now lower than it was in 2001, companies stifled by high taxes and red tape and youth unemployment in some areas as high as 40 percent.

All this has fed into public bitterness directed at politicians, several of whom have been jostled or harassed by angry crowds recently.

Letta's cabinet, which includes a record seven women and Italy's first black minister, was shaped partly in response to disillusionment with political elites shown by the success of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in the last election.

But the party, whose fiery leader Beppe Grillo has built the 5-Star movement into the third biggest force in parliament by attacking traditional political elites, was singled out on Monday for criticism by his enemies.

The right wing daily Il Giornale, owned by the Berlusconi family - one of Grillo's favorite targets - carried the frontpage headline "Il Grilletto" (The Trigger).

Letta has promised to address the social effects of the crisis and push the European Union away from its fixation with budget austerity and towards economic growth and investment.

With some doubt over whether his government will last a full five-year term, he is expected to try to pass at least a few basic reforms quickly including a change to Italy's much criticized electoral laws and a cut in the size of parliament.

Despite Monday's positive market response, there have also been notes of caution. "The real tests will come in the next few weeks and months," said Lorenzo Stanca, managing partner of Mandarin Capital, a private equity fund that invests in small Italian and Chinese firms. "There is not much experience in Italy of a coalition government and it will be difficult."

(Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni; editing by Barry Moody and David Stamp)

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/italys-letta-government-begins-life-climate-crisis-050501937.html

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Police face discipline in deadly Ohio chase

A dozen Cleveland police supervisors face internal discipline charges stemming from a chase that saw officers fire 137 shots and kill a fleeing driver and his passenger, the city's police chief said Tuesday.

The supervisors failed to take control of the 19-mile chase that began outside police headquarters and wound through neighborhoods before ending in a barrage of gunfire, Chief Michael McGrath said.

An internal police review showed that both officers and supervisors broke department policies. The chief said a review is continuing into whether any officers will be disciplined.

The supervisors facing internal discipline are a police captain, a lieutenant and 10 sergeants. They could be demoted, suspended or fired following hearings scheduled for May.

The county prosecutor is conducting a separate grand jury investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing. The 13 officers who fired their weapons during the chase weren't included in the internal review but will face one after the grand jury investigation.

The deadly chase prompted some community leaders to say that the shootings were racially motivated. The police union said the shootings were justified because the driver tried to ram an officer.

Some officers also thought the two were armed and some told state investigators they were frightened and feared for their lives.

Both the driver, Timothy Russell, 43, and his passenger, Malissa Williams, 30, had cocaine in their systems and criminal records. But no weapon or shells were found in their car.

Russell was shot 23 times and Williams 24 after a half-hour pursuit.

The chase began with a report of gunfire outside police headquarters, but it wasn't clear why Russell didn't stop. He had fled an earlier traffic stop.

Lt. Brian Betley, president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Cleveland, would not comment directly on the discipline charges. He said he is reviewing the allegations along with the union's attorney.

In a wide-ranging review by state agents, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in February the chase resulted from leadership failures. "Command failed, communications failed, the system failed," DeWine said.

The state report noted that Russell was legally drunk when he became involved in the chase, and he and Williams also tested positive for cocaine. DeWine said they likely had been smoking crack.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/police-face-discipline-deadly-ohio-police-chase-194407044.html

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World's longest-running plant monitoring program now digitized

Apr. 29, 2013 ? Researchers at the University of Arizona's Tumamoc Hill have digitized 106 years of growth data on individual plants, making the information available for study by people all over the world.

Knowing how plants respond to changing conditions over many decades provides new insights into how ecosystems behave.

The permanent research plots on Tumamoc Hill represent the world's longest-running study that monitors individual plants, said co-author Larry Venable, director of research at Tumamoc Hill.

Some of the plots date from 1906 -- and the birth, growth and death of the individual plants on those plots have been periodically recorded ever since.

The century-long searchable archive is unique and invaluable, said Venable, a UA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who has been studying plants on Tumamoc since 1982.

"You can see the ebb and flow of climate, and you can see the ebb and flow of vegetation," he said.

Lead author Susana Rodriguez-Buritica said, "Long-term data sets have a special place in ecology."

The records have allowed scientists to estimate life spans for desert perennials, some of which are very long-lived, Venable said.

In addition, data from the plots on Tumamoc Hill reveal changes in the Sonoran Desert and have been important to key advances in the science of ecology.

For example, the Tumamoc plant censuses helped overturn the long-standing idea that plant communities progress through a series of steps to a stable collection of species known as a climax community.

"The desert wasn't progressing toward a climax community," he said. Instead of being in synch, each species and plot was changing to its own rhythm.

Rodriguez-Buritica, a postdoctoral research associate in the UA department of ecology and evolutionary biology, Venable and their co-authors Helen Raichle and Robert H. Webb of the U.S. Geological Survey and Raymond M. Turner, formerly of USGS, have published a description of their data in the Ecological Society of America's journal Ecology and archived the data set with the society at http://www.esapubs.org/archive/ecol/E094/083/.

The title of their paper is, "One hundred and six years of population and community dynamics of Sonoran Desert Laboratory perennials." The National Science Foundation, the USGS and the U.S. National Park Service funded the archiving.

Landmark research on the physiology and ecology of desert plants has been conducted on Tumamoc Hill ever since the Carnegie Institution of Washington established the Desert Laboratory there in 1903 to study how plants cope with living in the desert.

The first permanent plots, generally 33 feet by 33 feet (10 meters by 10 meters), were established in 1906 by Volney Spalding; nine of his original plots remain to this day. Additional plots were established by Forrest Shreve in the 1910s and 1920s. Two more plots were added in 2010. Currently, there are 21 plots.

For every perennial plant within each plot, the ecologists recorded the species, the area the plant covered and its location. Even seedlings were identified and mapped.

In addition to the written records, repeated photographs of the plots have been taken since 1906. Those photographs are in the Desert Laboratory Collection of Repeat Photography at the USGS in Tucson, Ariz.

Over the years, botanists and ecologists have helped census and re-census the plots. Co-author Turner took over the work when he came to the UA as a botany professor in 1957, continued while a botanist for USGS and continues to do in retirement. In 1993, co-author Webb took up the project and is keeping the censuses going.

Sorting through data recorded from 2012 back to 1906 was a huge challenge, said Rodriguez-Buritica. She had something to build on: Janice Bowers of USGS had begun to archive the records but retired before finishing. Initially, Rodriguez-Buritica and Venable thought a year would do it -- but the task ended up taking much longer.

The records were in several places -- some at the library or in storage at Tumamoc and some in the UA library's Special Collections.

One of the challenges Rodriguez-Buritica faced is that methods of collecting and recording information about plants have changed over time.

Spalding, who established the very first plots in 1906, worked long before the age of computers -- he recorded his observations in a small notebook. Ecologists continued to record their field observations in paper notebooks and created maps on graph paper well into the latter part of the 20th century.

All those paper records had to be digitized.

Only in the last 20 years have scientists been pinpointing plant locations and other observations directly onto a map within their computers by using GPS and GIS technology.

Upon reviewing and checking the data, Rodriguez-Buritica realized that she needed to standardize the information collected over a century so that other scientists could analyze it. Her expertise in applied statistics and spatial ecology was perfect for the job.

She also computerized the series of maps created over time so new investigators could see all the plant location maps created since 1906.

By putting all the information into a standardized digital format and making it easily accessible on the Web, Rodriguez-Buritica, Venable and their colleagues have ensured that other researchers can build on and expand this unique data set.

Tumamoc Hill is one of the birthplaces of plant ecology, Venable said.

"In the first half of the 20th century, all the great plant ecologists either worked here or came though here," he said. "Plant ecologists from the Desert Lab were key in founding the Ecological Society of America and its flagship journal, Ecology. It is satisfying to see the project come full circle and be permanently archived 100 years later by the journal that these researchers started."

The Desert Lab and Tumamoc Hill have been designated as a National Environmental Study Site, a National Historic Landmark, an Arizona State Scientific and Educational Natural Area and are on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Arizona. The original article was written by Mari N. Jensen.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. Susana Rodriguez-Buritica, Helen Raichle, Robert H. Webb, Raymond M. Turner, Larry Venable. One hundred and six years of population and community dynamics of Sonoran Desert Laboratory perennials. Ecology, 2013; 94 (4): 976 DOI: 10.1890/12-1164.1

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Source: http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/top_news/~3/gB0eib4XVUM/130429154218.htm

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Google Drive

What started as a free online alternative to Microsoft Office has quickly become one of the most impressive services for creating, editing, saving, syncing, and collaborating on documents. Google Drive (freemium) has long impressed me in just how far it goes toward helping groups of people work together on files simultaneously. Some new features rolling out in a recent update add even more support for teamwork.

It hasn't been long since Google Docs rebranded itself as Google Drive, so allow me to briefly recap: Google Docs took on the new name after it added local file syncing to its service. In other words, Google Docs?ahem, Drive?now works more like Dropbox , SugarSync, or any other file-syncing service you care to name, while still retaining the core office productivity apps. In that sense, its closest competitor may well be Microsoft SkyDrive, which also has online document creation tools.

With Google Drive, you can upload files to your Google account, convert them to Google's file format to edit them online, create new docs in the Web interface, collaborate with other users in real time, and export the finished products to more standard file formats, such as .doc, .rtf, .pdf, and so on. The latest round of changes makes working with others in real time even more intuitive, because you can see their profile pictures on the screen, where formerly you only saw a line of text at the top and a color code indicating who else was looking at or editing the file.

Because of these wide-ranging capabilities and its dedication to collaborative document editing, Google Drive remains a PCMag Editors' Choice. We have no hesitation recommending Google Drive?although it is important to understand how one of the new features works. The feature in question could potentially reveal your identity to others, but managing it is simple when you know how it works. And as much as Google Drive is an excellent platform and service, that doesn't mean it's the only file-syncing service you should use either.

What's New in Drive?
The newest change in Google Drive, which will roll out to users slowly, is that Google+ profile pictures of collaborators now appear at the top of the file when they're viewing or editing a document. Formerly, when collaborators opened a document, you would see a line of text reading "2 other viewers" at the top right, which opened to reveal their names or email addresses and a color code for each person. For example, if I invited Maria to edit a spreadsheet with me, I would see her name appear next to a pink square at the top of the spreadsheet any time she opened it. As she moved through cells, they would appear highlighted in pink.

The new feature adds Maria's profile picture at the top of the document and would let me add her to my Google+ circles. There's also now an integrated group chat feature that lets multiple collaborators hold discussions via text while they're working.

Another fairly big addition is offline access to all your Drive materials if you're using Google Chrome OS. To enable this setting, go to your Google Drive page and look under the "More" button the left for the offline access setting. Turning on this feature lets you read and edit your files offline; changes will sync to the cloud the next time you connect.

The toughest criticism Google Drive has faced amount to concerns over privacy and IP ownership. The new collaboration features could put your face in front of strangers if you're not careful, but it's very easy to manage this potential problem with an ounce of care.

Some Google Drive owners keep their documents open to the public, and if you're signed into your Google account when you view these files, other users will be able to see your picture and name. When looking at public files, it's a better idea to log out of Google, or use a different browser, and maybe also turn on incognito features if your browser has them to keep yourself anonymous. Anonymous users are assigned random profile pictures of animals instead, such as a dolphin, dinosaur, or beaver.

My feeling on the matter of privacy in Google Drive is this: If you are comfortable using Gmail, you should be comfortable with Drive. If you are skeptical of Google's user agreements, don't use Google products. For more in-depth analysis, see "Google Drive's Terms of Use: Lazy People Should Worry."

Main Features of Drive
The gist of Google Drive, and the main attraction to it, is it can store your files in the cloud where they are accessible to you and your collaborators, and become highly searchable.

One feature related to "search" stands out: Google's ability to scan a photo and "read" it using optical character recognition, or identify it using its own technology. The only other app of this kind that uses built-in OCR nearly as well is Evernote , although you have to have a paid Premium account to use it.

Google also claims Drive allows videos to be uploaded, but we encountered some issues with that part of the service.

Like many other general file-syncing services, Google Drive works better for document files than multimedia. It's not ideally meant to be a music and video streaming service?for that kind of product, you'll likely need a paid service and device, such as the Verbatim Mediashare Mini, although SugarSync does offer some neat capabilities and support for streaming iTunes music. Amazon Cloud also offers some special support for music and movies. However, within the Google universe you can use Google Play in tandem with Drive (more on that in a bit).

Carryover Features from Google Docs
The core services and functionality that were in Google Docs, namely, a free online office suite where files are also hosted, remain intact in Drive. Google Docs is one of the best known free alternative to Microsoft Office, although it's entirely Web-based?there's no software to install to use it (the only downloadable part is the app for local syncing with Drive).

As with Microsoft Office, Google Drive lets you create word processing documents, spreadsheets, presentation documents, forms, vector drawings, and now in beta, tables. Google hosts your files, too, so when you log in, all your files are there. You can sort them into customizable folders, which appear along a left pane, or just search for what you need, using a standard search bar in the Web app.

When you create a document in Google Drive, the file format used is Google's own. However, the system couldn't be more flexible. You can export Google documents to more standardized files formats, like .doc, .rtf, .ppt, .pdf, and more; and you can import practically any document with the option of keeping it in its native format (which may limit your ability to edit it) or translating it into a Google doc file, which makes it editable in the online service. I've certainly had my share of moments when I was stuck on a computer that didn't have Microsoft Office at the very moment someone emailed me an important file that required my feedback pronto. Google Drive saved the day. I could open the file in GoogleDrive, edit it, and export the revised file back out to its original form. Occasionally some formatting will go haywire during this process, but it gets the job done.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ziffdavis/pcmag/~3/hpQ0vAJfEIY/0,2817,2403546,00.asp

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Researchers Put Sense of Touch in Reach for Robots

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A group of roboticists has developed a robot arm that moves and finds objects by touch, a vital ability if robots are ever to begin to undertake tasks in human environments.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/science/researchers-put-sense-of-touch-in-reach-for-robots.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mother of bomb suspects found deeper spirituality

In this image taken from a video, an undated family photo provided by Patimat Suleimanova, the aunt of USA Boston bomb suspects, shows Anzor Tsarnaev left, Zubeidat Tsarnaev holding Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Anzor's brother Mukhammad Tsarnaev. Now known as the angry and grieving mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Zubeidat Tsarnaev is drawing increased attention after federal officials say Russian authorities intercepted her phone calls, including one in which she vaguely discussed jihad with her elder son. In another, she was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, U.S. officials said. (AP Photo/Patimat Suleimanova)

In this image taken from a video, an undated family photo provided by Patimat Suleimanova, the aunt of USA Boston bomb suspects, shows Anzor Tsarnaev left, Zubeidat Tsarnaev holding Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Anzor's brother Mukhammad Tsarnaev. Now known as the angry and grieving mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Zubeidat Tsarnaev is drawing increased attention after federal officials say Russian authorities intercepted her phone calls, including one in which she vaguely discussed jihad with her elder son. In another, she was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, U.S. officials said. (AP Photo/Patimat Suleimanova)

FILE - This April 25, 2013 file photo shows the mother of the two Boston bombing suspects, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, left, speaking at a news conference in Makhachkala, the southern Russian province of Dagestan. Two government officials tell The Associated Press that U.S. intelligence agencies added the Boston bombing suspects' mother to a federal terrorism database about 18 months before the attack. At right is her sister-in-law Maryam. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev, File)

BOSTON (AP) ? In photos of her as a younger woman, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva wears a low-cut blouse and has her hair teased like a 1980s rock star. After she arrived in the U.S. from Russia in 2002, she went to beauty school and did facials at a suburban day spa.

But in recent years, people noticed a change. She began wearing a hijab and cited conspiracy theories about 9/11 being a plot against Muslims.

Now known as the angry and grieving mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Tsarnaeva is drawing increased attention after federal officials say Russian authorities intercepted her phone calls, including one in which she vaguely discussed jihad with her elder son. In another, she was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, U.S. officials said.

Tsarnaeva insists there is no mystery. She's no terrorist, just someone who found a deeper spirituality. She insists her sons ? Tamerlan, who was killed in a gunfight with police, and Dzhokhar, who was wounded and captured ? are innocent.

"It's all lies and hypocrisy," she told The Associated Press in Dagestan. "I'm sick and tired of all this nonsense that they make up about me and my children. People know me as a regular person, and I've never been mixed up in any criminal intentions, especially any linked to terrorism."

Amid the scrutiny, Tsarnaeva and her ex-husband, Anzor Tsarnaev, say they have put off the idea of any trip to the U.S. to reclaim their elder son's body or try to visit Dzhokhar in jail. Tsarnaev told the AP on Sunday he was too ill to travel to the U.S. Tsarnaeva faces a 2012 shoplifting charge in a Boston suburb, though it was unclear whether that was a deterrent.

At a news conference in Dagestan with Anzor last week, Tsarnaeva appeared overwhelmed with grief one moment, defiant the next. "They already are talking about that we are terrorists, I am terrorist," she said. "They already want me, him and all of us to look (like) terrorists."

Tsarnaeva arrived in the U.S. in 2002, settling in a working-class section of Cambridge, Mass. With four children, Anzor and Zubeidat qualified for food stamps and were on and off public assistance benefits for years. The large family squeezed itself into a third-floor apartment.

Zubeidat took classes at the Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics, before becoming a state-licensed aesthetician. Anzor, who had studied law, fixed cars.

By some accounts, the family was tolerant.

Bethany Smith, a New Yorker who befriended Zubeidat's two daughters, said in an interview with Newsday that when she stayed with the family for a month in 2008 while she looked at colleges, she was welcomed even though she was Christian and had tattoos.

"I had nothing but love over there. They accepted me for who I was," Smith told the newspaper. "Their mother, Zubeidat, she considered me to be a part of the family. She called me her third daughter."

Zubeidat said she and Tamerlan began to turn more deeply into their Muslim faith about five years ago after being influenced by a family friend, named "Misha." The man, whose full name she didn't reveal, impressed her with a religious devotion that was far greater than her own, even though he was an ethnic Armenian who converted to Islam.

"I wasn't praying until he prayed in our house, so I just got really ashamed that I am not praying, being a Muslim, being born Muslim. I am not praying. Misha, who converted, was praying," she said.

By then, she had left her job at the day spa and was giving facials in her apartment. One client, Alyssa Kilzer, noticed the change when Tsarnaeva put on a head scarf before leaving the apartment.

"She had never worn a hijab while working at the spa previously, or inside the house, and I was really surprised," Kilzer wrote in a post on her blog. "She started to refuse to see boys that had gone through puberty, as she had consulted a religious figure and he had told her it was sacrilegious. She was often fasting."

Kilzer wrote that Tsarnaeva was a loving and supportive mother, and she felt sympathy for her plight after the April 15 bombings. But she stopped visiting the family's home for spa treatments in late 2011 or early 2012 when, during one session, she "started quoting a conspiracy theory, telling me that she thought 9/11 was purposefully created by the American government to make America hate Muslims."

"It's real," Tsarnaeva said, according to Kilzer. "My son knows all about it. You can read on the Internet."

In the spring of 2010, Zubeidat's eldest son got married in a ceremony at a Boston mosque that no one in the family had previously attended. Tamerlan and his wife, Katherine Russell, a Rhode Island native and convert from Christianity, now have a child who is about 3 years old.

Zubeidat married into a Chechen family but was an outsider. She is an Avar, from one of the dozens of ethnic groups in Dagestan. Her native village is now a hotbed of an ultraconservative strain of Islam known as Salafism or Wahabbism.

It is unclear whether religious differences fueled tension in their family. Anzor and Zubeidat divorced in 2011.

About the same time, there was a brief FBI investigation into Tamerlan Tsarnaev, prompted by a tip from Russia's security service.

The vague warning from the Russians was that Tamerlan, an amateur boxer in the U.S., was a follower of radical Islam who had changed drastically since 2010. That led the FBI to interview Tamerlan at the family's home in Cambridge. Officials ultimately placed his name, and his mother's name, on various watch lists, but the inquiry was closed in late spring of 2011.

After the bombings, Russian authorities told U.S. investigators they had secretly recorded a phone conversation in which Zubeidat had vaguely discussed jihad with Tamerlan. The Russians also recorded Zubeidat talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation with reporters.

The conversations are significant because, had they been revealed earlier, they might have been enough evidence for the FBI to initiate a more thorough investigation of the Tsarnaev family.

Anzor's brother, Ruslan Tsarni, told the AP from his home in Maryland that he believed his former sister-in-law had a "big-time influence" on her older son's growing embrace of his Muslim faith and decision to quit boxing and school.

While Tamerlan was living in Russia for six months in 2012, Zubeidat, who had remained in the U.S., was arrested at a shopping mall in the suburb of Natick, Mass., and accused of trying to shoplift $1,624 worth of women's clothing from a department store.

She failed to appear in court to answer the charges that fall, and instead left the country.


Seddon reported from Makhachkala, Russia. Associated Press writers Eileen Sullivan and Matt Apuzzo contributed to this report from Washington.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/cae69a7523db45408eeb2b3a98c0c9c5/Article_2013-04-28-Boston%20Marathon-Suspects'%20Mother/id-2828699e2d4240a797ddb521530b55d4

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White House Correspondents Dinner 2013: Obama, Conan Bring the House Down

Source: http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2013/04/white-house-correspondents-dinner-2013-obama-conan-bring-the-hou/

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Iranian scientist freed by U.S. returns home: local media

DUBAI (Reuters) - An Iranian scientist held for more than a year in California on charges of violating U.S. sanctions arrived in Iran on Saturday, Iranian media reported, after being freed in what the Omani foreign ministry said was a humanitarian gesture.

Mojtaba Atarodi, 55, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Iran's Sharif University of Technology, had been detained on suspicion of buying high-tech U.S. laboratory equipment, previous Iranian media reports said.

The trade sanctions were imposed over Iran's nuclear program, which Iranian officials say is for peaceful energy purposes only but Washington says is secretly geared to developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons.

Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency said Atarodi arrived in Tehran on Saturday, after a stopover in Muscat on Friday.

Upon arriving at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport on Saturday, Atarodi told reporters that he had tried to buy simple equipment for his personal lab to conduct academic research when he was detained by U.S. authorities, according to state-run Press TV.

There was no immediate U.S. comment on Atarodi's case.

Oman, a U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state which also enjoys good relations with Tehran, has previously helped mediate the release of Western prisoners held by the Islamic Republic.

Omani authorities had worked with U.S. officials to speed up Atarodi's case and return him home, the foreign ministry in Muscat said in a statement carried by local media.

He was released after follow-up approaches by Iran's foreign ministry, its spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).

In a report on its website dated January 7, 2012, Press TV said Atarodi was taken into custody on his arrival in Los Angeles on December 7, 2011, accused of buying advanced lab equipment.

Iran and the United States severed relations after the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew the pro-Western monarchy in Tehran.

In 2011, Iran freed into Omani custody two U.S. citizens who had been sentenced to eight years in jail for spying.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, among three people arrested while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border in 2009, were flown to Oman after officials there helped secure their release by posting bail of $1 million. They denied being spies.

The third detainee, Sarah Shourd, had been freed in September 2010, also by way of Oman.

(Reporting by Saleh al-Shaybani and Sami Aboudi; additional reporting by Zahra Hosseinian in Zurich and Yeganeh Torbati in Dubai; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/iranian-scientist-freed-u-returns-home-local-media-115447735.html

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The Brunch Cocktail That Puts Bloody Marys to Shame

It's springtime, at last. People are smiling, showing a little more skin, and your favorite brunch spot has opened its outdoor seating area. But don't reflexively reach for that Bloody Mary. It's a new year. It deserves a new cocktail. More »

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/fDo-20jpUaI/the-brunch-cocktail-that-puts-bloody-marys-to-shame

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Boosting the powers of genomic science

Friday, April 26, 2013

As scientists probe and parse the genetic bases of what makes a human a human (or one human different from another), and vigorously push for greater use of whole genome sequencing, they find themselves increasingly threatened by the unthinkable: Too much data to make full sense of.

In a pair of papers published in the April 25, 2013 issue of PLOS Genetics, two diverse teams of scientists, both headed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, describe novel statistical models that more broadly and deeply identify associations between bits of sequenced DNA called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs and say lead to a more complete and accurate understanding of the genetic underpinnings of many diseases and how best to treat them.

"It's increasingly evident that highly heritable diseases and traits are influenced by a large number of genetic variants in different parts of the genome, each with small effects," said Anders M. Dale, PhD, a professor in the departments of Radiology, Neurosciences and Psychiatry at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. "Unfortunately, it's also increasingly evident that existing statistical methods, like genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that look for associations between SNPs and diseases, are severely underpowered and can't adequately incorporate all of this new, exciting and exceedingly rich data."

Dale cited, for example, a recent study published in Nature Genetics in which researchers used traditional GWAS to raise the number of SNPs associated with primary sclerosing cholangitis from four to 16. The scientists then applied the new statistical methods to identify 33 additional SNPs, more than tripling the number of genome locations associated with the life-threatening liver disease.

Generally speaking, the new methods boost researchers' analytical powers by incorporating a priori or prior knowledge about the function of SNPs with their pleiotrophic relationships to multiple phenotypes. Pleiotrophy occurs when one gene influences multiple sets of observed traits or phenotypes.

Dale and colleagues believe the new methods could lead to a paradigm shift in CWAS analysis, with profound implications across a broad range of complex traits and disorders.

"There is ever-greater emphasis being placed on expensive whole genome sequencing efforts," he said, "but as the science advances, the challenges become larger. The needle in the haystack of traditional GWAS involves searching through about one million SNPs. This will increase 10- to 100-fold, to about 3 billion positions. We think these new methodologies allow us to more completely exploit our resources, to extract the most information possible, which we think has important implications for gene discovery, drug development and more accurately assessing a person's overall genetic risk of developing a certain disease."

"All SNPs are not created equal: Genome-wide association studies reveal a consisten pattern of enrichment among functionally annotated SNPs." Authors include Andrew J. Schork, UCSD Cognitive Sciences Graduate Program, UCSD Center for Human Development and UCSD Multimodal Imaging Laboratory; Wesley K. Thompson and John R. Kelsoe, Department of Psychiatry, UCSD; Phillip Pham, Scripps Health, The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI); Ali Torkamani and Nicholas J. Schork, Scripps Health, TSRI; J. Cooper Roddy, UCSD Multimodal Laboratory; Patrick F. Sullivan, University of North Carolina; Michael C. O'Donovan, Cardiff University, United Kingdom; Helena Furberg, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; The Tobacco and Genetics Consortium, The Bipolar Disorder Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, The Schizophrenic Psychiatric Genomics Consortium; and Ole A. Andreassen, UCSD Department of Psychiatry, University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital.

"Improved detection of common variants associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder using pleiotropy-informed conditional False Discovery Rate."


University of California - San Diego: http://www.ucsd.edu

Thanks to University of California - San Diego for this article.

This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.

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Source: http://www.labspaces.net/127968/Boosting_the_powers_of_genomic_science

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Wii U Virtual Console now live on the eShop

Wii U Virtual Console now live on the eShop

The first of Nintendo's planned Wii U firmware updates went live just yesterday, bringing a much needed speed boost to software load times. And in that short time since, Nintendo's also made its retro-gaming Virtual Console portal available to users, effectively bypassing the need to boot into the Wii emulator for access. The downside to this new, belated convenience is that users will have to re-download any previously purchased Virtual Console titles, though that additional cost is relatively low at $1.00- $1.50 for NES and SNES games, respectively. Unfortunately, you'll still have to wait a bit longer for those beloved Game Boy Advance and N64 classics to make their way to the VC, as Nintendo plans to include those games sometime "in the future." Still, with band-aid number one out of the way for the ailing console and a host of tried-and-true classics now easily accessible, Wii U owners have a little something to tide them over until that late summer Pikmin 3 launch.

Filed under: ,


Source: Nintendo of America (Twitter)

Source: http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/IjQS3T_ZYYM/

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Friday, April 26, 2013

US economy accelerates at 2.5 percent rate in Q1

WASHINGTON (AP) ? U.S. economic growth accelerated to an annual rate of 2.5 percent from January through March, buoyed by the strongest consumer spending in more than two years. Government spending fell, though, and tax increases and federal budget cuts could slow growth later this year.

The Commerce Department said Friday that the economy rebounded from an anemic 0.4 percent annual growth rate in the October-December quarter. Consumer spending surged at an annual rate of 3.2 percent ? its biggest jump since the end of 2010.

Growth was also helped by businesses, which responded to the greater demand by rebuilding their stockpiles. And home construction rose further.

Government spending sank at a 4.1 percent annual rate, led by another deep cut in defense spending. The decline kept last quarter's increase in economic growth below expectations of a 3 percent rate or more.

Many economists say they think growth as measured by the gross domestic product is slowing in the April-June quarter to an annual rate of just 2 percent. Most foresee growth remaining around that subpar level for the rest of the year.

GDP is the broadest gauge of the economy's health. It measures the total output of goods and services produced in the United States, from haircuts and hamburgers to airplanes and automobiles.

Across-the-board government spending cuts, which began taking effect March 1, have forced federal agencies to furlough workers, reduced spending on public projects and made businesses more nervous about investing and hiring.

Consumers' take-home pay has also fallen because President Barack Obama and Congress allowed a Social Security tax cut to expire. A person earning $50,000 a year has about $1,000 less to spend this year. A household with two high-paid workers has up to $4,500 less. Consumers' take-home pay is crucial to the economy because their spending drives roughly 70 percent of growth.

Americans appeared to shrug off the tax increase at the start of the year. They spent more in January and February, powered by a stronger job market.

But hiring slowed sharply in March. And consumers spent less at retail businesses, a sign that many were starting to feel the effects of the Social Security tax increase. Economists expect spending to stay weak in the April-June quarter as consumers adjust to smaller paychecks.

Ben Herzon, an economist at Macroeconomics Advisers, said the tax increases could shave roughly 1 percentage point from growth this year. He expects the government spending cuts to reduce growth by about 0.6 percentage point.

The drop in government spending cut growth in the January-March quarter by 0.8 percentage point. Three-fourths of that decline came from defense spending.

Already over the past two quarters, the decline in government spending has marked the sharpest six-month contraction since the Korean War ended in 1953, Capital Economics noted.

Income growth slowed sharply after a surge in the final three months of 2012. The fourth-quarter gain had reflected a rush to pay dividends and make bonus payments before higher tax rates took effect Jan. 1. Incomes were also held back last quarter by the higher Social Security tax.

The jump in consumer spending, along with slower income growth, meant that the saving rate fell to 2.6 percent of after-tax income in the first quarter. That was down from 4.7 percent in the October-December quarter.

The first-quarter growth figures will be revised twice more based on more complete data.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/us-economy-accelerates-2-5-percent-rate-q1-123150284.html

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Extreme Block Party Offers Family Fun - Libertyville, IL Patch

Local businesses, pet rescue organizations and much more will be available during the third annual?Extreme Block Party Family EXPO and Taste. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.?this Saturday, April 27 at the Libertyville Sports Complex, 1950 Route 45, Libertyville.?

"There is something for everyone at this event," said?Carol Levin, public relations director for the GLMV Chamber. "There is a wide assortment of activities. There is shopping, music, food, business vendors, home contractors, pet rescue organizations and the Illinois Cash Dash where people can find out if they have unclaimed property or money."

Event highlights include:

  • Live reptile show at noon.
  • 100+ local vendors all under one roof displaying local products, services and resources, including home improvement, health and beauty, landscaping, financial, educational, community organizations, automotive, and more.
  • Chance to win a $500 gift certificate from Steinhafels Furniture, and other prizes.
  • Free food samples by favorite local eateries, including Chili U, Culvers, Corner Bakery, Silverberg?s Deli, Silk Asian Tavern, Fine?s, WaPaGhetti?s Pizza and Sweets 4 U.
  • Cash Dash, the unclaimed property/monies search.
  • Live entertainment by Music Now DJ group.
  • Golf and fitness demos.
  • Storytime by the Cook Library.
  • Game Show Mania with former "Happy Days" star.
  • Raffles and giveaways.
  • Product demonstations.
  • Animal rescue pets.
  • Moonwalk and family activities.

"It is a fun, free day for everyone," said Levin.

Sponsoring Chambers of Commerce include: Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein, Vernon Hills (GLMV), Grayslake, Gurnee, Wheeling/Prospect Heights and the Waukegan Chambers of Commerce. People attend this event from throughout Lake County.

Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are still being sought to help with the Block Party. People can assist with Parking, Set Up, Vendor Registration and Crowd Reception throughout the day:?

___ 7:30?9:30 a.m. ?Parking/Set up/Vendor registration

___ 9:30-11:30 a.m. ?Parking/Vendor registration/Crowd reception

___ 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Crowd reception/General

___ 1?3 p.m. ?General/Tear down
If interested, respond to?clevin@glmvchamber.org?with your availability.?

For more information, visit?www.glmvchamber.org?or?info@glmvchamber.org?or call?847-680-0750.

Source: http://libertyville.patch.com/articles/extreme-block-party-offers-family-fun

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Disputed premier to stay in Egypt reshuffle

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil, widely criticised for failing to revive the economy, will keep his job in a limited cabinet reshuffle to be announced within days, a presidential spokesman said on Wednesday.

Spokesman Ehab Fahmy told a news conference: "It is a limited reshuffle and the prime minister is not included."

Some members of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood have joined the secular, liberal and leftist opposition and hardline Salafist parties in criticising Kandil.

"The reshuffle aims to improve the performance level of ministries ... Talks are still going on with regard to those changes. They will be announced within days. The main criterion for selection will be qualifications," the spokesman said.

The limited scope of the planned shake-up appeared to narrow prospects of any political agreement between Mursi and the main opposition parties, despite U.S., European and International Monetary Fund efforts to seek a broader consensus to help Egypt over a severe economic crisis.

Fahmy said Egypt was close to agreement with the IMF on a $4.8 billion loan. An IMF mission failed to conclude a deal during a 12-day visit to Cairo earlier this month but talks are set to continue in the coming weeks, ministers and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde agreed in Washington last weekend.

Fahmy said the presidency was conferring with a range of political groups, including the opposition National Salvation Front, an alliance of secular, liberal and leftist parties, about the composition of the new government.

However, the NSF has denied holding talks about the reshuffle, saying Mursi must first agree to replace Kandil, appoint a neutral, competent government and revoke a disputed prosecutor-general before they will open a dialogue with him.

NSF spokesman Khaled Dawoud demanded that key ministers whose posts could influence the conduct of parliamentary elections later this year be politically neutral. These included the interior, transport, local government, education, information and supply ministries.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/disputed-premier-stay-egypt-reshuffle-132432238.html

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hubble brings faraway comet into view

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The NASA Hubble Space Telescope has given astronomers their clearest view yet of Comet ISON, a newly-discovered sun grazer comet that may light up the sky later this year, or come so close to the Sun that it disintegrates. A University of Maryland-led research team is closely following ISON, which offers a rare opportunity to witness a comet's evolution as it makes its first-ever journey through the inner solar system.

Like all comets, ISON is a "dirty snowball" ? a clump of frozen gases mixed with dust, formed in a distant reach of the solar system, traveling on an orbit influenced by the gravitational pull of the Sun and its planets. ISON's orbit will bring it to a perihelion, or maximum approach to the Sun, of 700,000 miles on November 28, said Maryland assistant research scientist Michael S. Kelley.

This image was made on April 10, when ISON was some 386 million miles from the Sun ? slightly closer to the Sun than the planet Jupiter. Comets become more active as they near the inner solar system, where the Sun's heat evaporates their ices into jets of gases and dust. But even at this great distance ISON is already active, with a strong jet blasting dust particles off its nucleus. As these dust particles shimmer in reflected sunlight, a portion of the comet's tail becomes visible in the Hubble image.

Next week while the Hubble still has the comet in view, the Maryland team will use the space telescope to gather information about ISON's gases.

"We want to look for the ratio of the three dominant ices, water, frozen carbon monoxide, and frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice," said Maryland astronomy Prof. Michael A'Hearn. "That can tell us the temperature at which the comet formed, and with that temperature, we can then say where in the solar system it formed."

The Maryland team will use both the Hubble Space Telescope and the instruments on the Deep Impact space craft to continue to follow ISON as it travels toward its November close up (perihelion) with the sun.


University of Maryland: http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/

Thanks to University of Maryland for this article.

This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.

This press release has been viewed 46 time(s).

Source: http://www.labspaces.net/127887/Hubble_brings_faraway_comet_into_view

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'Arrested Development' Graces The Cover Of Entertainment Weekly

In just a few weeks, we will live in a world where a new season of "Arrested Development" is just a few mouse clicks away. That's a real thing. It's so real, in fact, that the Bluths are currently on three special covers of Entertainment Weekly. Also, see the new footage from the Japanese trailer [...]

Source: http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2013/04/24/arrested-development-ew-cover/

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Blog Archive ? RNC Hires Former Real Estate Agent as Director of

I can?t decide if the Republican National Committee?s (RNC) minority outreach effort is more like watching a sitcom or a soap opera dubbed ?The Young and the Foolish.? In another twist to the organization?s Growth & Opportunity Project, to attract more voters of color to the GOP, the RNC hired former realtor Amani L. Council to the newly appointed position of Director of African American Communications.

No, you didn?t misread anything. I wrote realtor. (I won?t get started on why Republicans have followed Democrats into the hyphen world of calling blacks AAs. Blacks are no more African than whites are Caucasian, German or French Americans.)

As an RNC staffer remarked:? ?Makes perfect sense. If she can sell real estate in the DC she should be able to sell the GOP to the black media or sell you a house.?

An Internet search revealed Council is an agent working for RE/MAX Specialists in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. You just can?t make this stuff up. According to the Branch Avenue in Bloom March/April 2012 newsletter, sponsored by the Maryland Small Business Development Center, Council is described as a ?successful realtor for the past six years,? working for RE/MAX Specialists.

Council said: ?I haven?t done real marketing since I?ve been in the business. My clients are my billboards. I truly do believe customer service is my best tool and I make it a point to treat each client with the same level of attention and care I would expect in any business deal I encounter. Anyone can sell HOMES but not everyone delivers great service!?

It looks like the RNC and its conservative message may be the biggest billboard Amani Council has ever had to ?sell? to one of the most dubious group of buyers ever, blacks. ?In the RNC press release touting this dynamic new hire, the RNC notes Council will be working with Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams, son of political commentator Juan Williams, to ?build relationships with African American media as we work to earn the trust of more African American voters.?

The RNC praised Council?s ?wealth of experience on the Hill and in public relations? but makes no mention of the six years she worked in real estate. Why?

Council?s resume indicates since 2008 she has worked at Bass Public Affairs, as Director of New Media and Business Development. Council?s Hill experience includes working as a Legislative Assistant for Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) from 2001-2002 and as a Legislative Correspondent/Systems Administrator for Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL) 1998-2001. From 2006-2007, her resume states she was Director of Government Affairs for the Family Research Council.

Several Republicans emailed me, asking if I knew Council because they ?never heard of her.? Neither have I. But as a conservative recently said of me I?m ?just a black blogger anyway.?

When you do an Internet search of Amani Council?s name, lots of information pops up about her real estate career but little else. The article on Council published in the Branch Avenue in Bloom newsletter mentioned Council became a realtor ?as a result of wanting a career change.? Is Council now working at the RNC to dabble in minority outreach? The better question is whether the RNC is serious about building a meaningful relationship with blacks or just marketing a billboard of tomfoolery to black voters?



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Source: http://conservativeblackchick.com/blog/2013/04/24/rnc-hires-former-real-estate-agent-as-director-of-african-american-communications/

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Jon Stewart Drubs CNN Again For Boston Bombing Reporting (VIDEO)

You might think Jon Stewart is being overly harsh in taking CNN to task yet again for its Boston bombing coverage... until you see this set of clips from the dramatic conclusion to last week's nightmare manhunt.

To sum it up here would be a disservice to the segment. Suffice to say, CNN went from a "say it first and have Anderson Cooper correct it later" style to a "sandlot football, 'EVERYONE GO LONG'" model. Much, much better.

Or not better at all.

Watch "The Daily Show" clip above and let us know what you think. And savor that closing thought... it's a doozy.

Also on HuffPost:

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/23/jon-stewart-drubs-cnn-aga_n_3138172.html

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Sales disappoint, but tax gain lifts Amgen profit

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Tax credits helped biotech giant Amgen report first-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street's expectations, but sales growth disappointed investors.

Amgen Inc. benefited from an overall tax gain of $13 million for the latest quarter, as it booked a federal research and development credit for 2012 and resolved an audit for fiscal 2007 to 2009, which cut its tax rate considerably. That compared with paying out over $200 million in income taxes in the prior-year period.

Overall drug sales rose 6 percent, driven by growth of Enbrel for psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis and Prolia for osteoporosis. But those gains were partially offset by the continued slide of anemia drugs Aranesp and Epogen, which have faced limits on dosing and insurance payments due to safety concerns. Aranesp sales fell 10 percent to $168 million, while Epogen declined 2 percent to $435 million.

Shares fell $7.25, or 6.4 percent, to $105.51 in after-hours trading.

The company said Tuesday that its net income rose 21 percent to $1.43 billion, or $1.88 per share, from $1.18 billion, or $1.48 per share, in the prior-year period. Adjusting for one-time expenses, the company would have earned $1.96 per share, better than the $1.84 average estimate of analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $4.24 billion, missing analysts' average estimate of $4.37 billion. Operating expenses rose 9 percent, to $2.67 billion.

Despite continuing declines for anemia drugs, those products could get a boost in coming months after a major setback for a rival product. In late February, Affymax Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. pulled their anemia drug Omontys off the market after several people taking it died and about 50 had severe allergic reactions.

Omontys, Aranesp and Epogen compete fiercely for patients who develop anemia while undergoing dialysis for chronic kidney disease. Those pricey drugs, injected once a week or once a month, boost the blood's production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body. That reduces the need for blood transfusions.

Amgen has a promising pipeline of experimental drugs, but it will be a few years until they hit the market ? if they are approved. The company said it will present preliminary results from a late-stage study of its experimental drug for the skin cancer melanoma at a meeting for cancer specialists in June.

Amgen expects profit to come in toward the upper half of its adjusted earnings guidance for the year, a range of $7.05 and $7.35 per share. It maintained a revenue outlook of $17.8 billion to $18.2 billion. Analysts expect earnings of $7.21 per share on revenue of $18.05 billion, on average.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/sales-disappoint-tax-gain-lifts-amgen-profit-231041657--finance.html

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Officials: Suspects driven by religion

BOSTON (AP) ? The two brothers suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon appear to have been motivated by their religious faith but do not seem connected to any Muslim terrorist groups, U.S. officials said Monday after interrogating the severely wounded younger man. He was charged with federal crimes that could bring the death penalty.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was charged in his hospital room with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill. He was accused of joining with his older brother, Tamerlan ? now dead ? in setting off the pressure-cooker bombs that killed three people and wounded more than 200 a week ago.

The brothers, ethnic Chechens from Russia who had been living in the U.S. for about a decade, practiced Islam.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev communicated with his interrogators in writing, a less-than-ideal format that precluded the type of detailed back-and-forth crucial to establishing the facts, said one of two officials who recounted the questioning. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.

The two officials said the preliminary evidence from an interrogation suggests the Tsarnaev brothers were driven by religion but had no ties to Islamic terrorist organizations.

At the same time, they cautioned that they were still trying to verify what they were told by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and were looking at such things as his telephone and online communications and his associations with others.

The criminal complaint containing the charges against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev shed no light on the motive.

But it gave a detailed sequence of events and cited surveillance-camera images of him dropping off a knapsack with one of the bombs and using a cellphone, perhaps to coordinate or detonate the blasts.

The Massachusetts college student was listed in serious but stable condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the throat and other injuries. His 26-year-old brother died last week in a fierce gunbattle with police.

People wave U.S. flags while cheering as police drive down Arlington street in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013. The second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was ... more? People wave U.S. flags while cheering as police drive down Arlington street in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013. The second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was bleeding, seriously injured and being treated at a Massachusetts hospital on Friday after he was found hiding in a boat, state police said. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) less?

"Although our investigation is ongoing, today's charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston and for our country," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

The charges carry the death penalty or up to life in prison.

"He has what's coming to him," a wounded Kaitlynn Cates said from her hospital room. She was at the finish line when the first blast knocked her off her feet, and she suffered an injury to her lower leg.

In outlining the evidence against him in court papers, the FBI said Tsarnaev was seen on surveillance cameras putting a knapsack down on the ground near the site of the second blast and then manipulating a cellphone and lifting it to his ear.

Seconds later, the first explosion went off about a block down the street and spread fear and confusion through the crowd. But Tsarnaev ? unlike nearly everyone around him ? looked calm and quickly walked away, the FBI said.

Just 10 seconds or so later, the second blast occurred where he had left the knapsack, the FBI said.

The FBI did not make it clear whether authorities believe he used his cellphone to detonate one or both of the bombs or whether he was talking to someone.

The court papers also said that during the long night of crime Thursday and Friday that led to the older brother's death and the younger one's capture, one of the Tsarnaev brothers told a carjacking victim: "Did you hear about the Boston explosion? I did that."

In addition to the federal charges, the younger Tsarnaev brother is also likely to face state charges in connection with the shooting death of an MIT police officer.

The Obama administration said it had no choice but to prosecute Tsarnaev in the federal court system. Some politicians had suggested he be tried as an enemy combatant in front of a military tribunal, where defendants are denied some of the usual U.S. constitutional protections.

But Tsarnaev is a naturalized U.S. citizen, and under U.S. law, American citizens cannot be tried by military tribunals, White House spokesman Jay Carney said. Carney said that since 9/11, the federal court system has been used to convict and imprison hundreds of terrorists.

In its criminal complaint, the FBI said it searched Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth on Sunday and found BBs as well as a white hat and dark jacket that look like those worn by one of one of the suspected bombers in the surveillance photos the FBI released a few days after the attack.

Seven days after the bombings, meanwhile, Boston was bustling Monday, with runners hitting the pavement, children walking to school and enough cars clogging the streets to make the morning commute feel almost back to normal.

Residents paused in the afternoon to observe a moment of silence at 2:50 p.m., the time of the first blast. Church bells tolled across the city and state in tribute to the victims.

Standing on the steps of the state Capitol, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick bowed his head and said after the moment of silence: "God bless the people of Massachusetts. Boston Strong."

On Boylston Street, where the bombing took place, the silence was broken when a Boston police officer pumped his fists in the air and the crowd erupted in applause. The crowd then quietly sang "God Bless America."

Also, hundreds of family and friends packed a church in Medford for the funeral of bombing victim Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant worker. A memorial service was scheduled for Monday night at Boston University for 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, a graduate student from China.

Fifty-one victims remained hospitalized Monday, three of them in critical condition.

At the Snowden International School on Newbury Street, a high school set just a block from the bombing site, jittery parents dropped off children as teachers ? some of whom had run in the race ? greeted each other with hugs.

Carlotta Martin of Boston said leaving her kids at school has been the hardest part of getting back to normal.

"We're right in the middle of things," Martin said outside the school as her children, 17-year-old twins and a 15-year-old, walked in, glancing at the police barricades a few yards from the school's front door.

"I'm nervous. Hopefully, this stuff is over," she continued. "I told my daughter to text me so I know everything's OK."

Tsarnaev was captured Friday night after an intense all-day manhunt that brought the Boston area to a near-standstill. He was cornered and seized, wounded and bloody, after he was discovered hiding in a tarp-covered boat in a Watertown backyard.

He had apparent gunshot wounds to the head, neck, legs and hand, the FBI said in court papers.

Meanwhile, investigators in the Boston suburb of Waltham are looking into whether there are links between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and an unsolved 2011 slaying. Tsarnaev was a friend of one of three men found dead in an apartment with their necks slit and their bodies reportedly covered with marijuana.


Associated Press writers Eileen Sullivan and Pete Yost in Washington contributed.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/officials-bomb-suspects-appear-driven-faith-230004568.html

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Arts & Sciences Award Program | Hearing Aid News

About the Program

The Arts Sciences Award Program is available to students with hearing loss who are in grades one through twelve to participate in after-school, weekend or summer programs focused on developing skills in the arts or sciences. Programs may be offered through museums, nature centers, art or music centers, zoological parks, space and science camps, dance and theater studios, martial arts studios or any other program with a focus on the arts or sciences. Awards cannot be used for programs that offer academic credit, travel or study abroad, recreational summer camps, sports camps or sports, including figure skating or gymnastics.

This program is now open and accepting applications. Please see the ?Application and Deadline? section below for the application packet.

2013 Arts Sciences Award Program Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible for this program, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • ?Bilateral hearing loss or Auditory Neuropathy (AN) must have been diagnosed prior to the child?s fourth birthday (pre-lingual). Note: children with unilateral (one-sided) hearing loss or unilateral AN do not qualify.
  • The child?s hearing loss must be in the moderate to profound range. This means that the child must have an unaided Pure-Tone Average (PTA) of 55 dB or greater in the better-hearing ear in the speech frequencies of 500, 1000 and 2000 Hz. Children with cochlear implants meet this eligibility requirement. NOTE: this may not apply for children who have been diagnosed with AN. For information on required documentation for AN, please see the ?documentation? section on the Application Submission Instructions page of the application packet.

    Formula for calculating the PTA: On the unaided audiogram, look at the results for the better hearing ear at 500, 1000 and 2000 Hz and add those three numbers together, then divide that total by three. The result is the Pure Tone Average. To be eligible for this award, the child?s PTA must be 55 dB or greater.

  • Listening and Spoken Language must be the child?s primary mode of communication.
  • The child must be at least six (6) years of age and not older than 19 years of age as of December 31, 2013 and be currently attending elementary or secondary school (grades 1 through 12).
  • The child must be enrolled in or registered for the science or art program selected.
  • The child (and primary contact) must reside in the United States, including territories, or in Canada.

Note: AG Bell membership is not required; however, the committee gives preference to AG Bell members.

Application and Deadline

Click here to download the application packet (PDF) .

The deadline for applications is April 22, 2013. All materials MUST ARRIVE together in one package at the address below by 5 p.m. local time on April 22, 2012. No supporting materials will be accepted separately from the application.
Application package should be mailed/delivered to:

Arts Sciences 2013 Award Program
c/o Wendy Will-PMB 178
1221 Flower Mound Road, Suite 320
Flower Mound, TX 75028

For more information visit?http://www.listeningandspokenlanguage.org/Document.aspx?id=261

Article source: http://www.healthyhearing.com/content/news/Assistance/Grants/51022-Arts-sciences-award-program

Source: http://www.hearing-aid-news.com/arts-sciences-award-program/

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