Thursday, December 1, 2011

Merkel Shuns ECB Role in Favor of Budget Limits



German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to snub investor pleas to back an expanded European Central Bank role in solving the debt crisis, as she pushes her demand for tighter economic ties in Europe as the only way forward.

In the days before a speech to German lawmakers tomorrow outlining her stance for a Dec. 9 European summit, Merkel has repeated her push to rework European Union rules to lock in budget monitoring and enforcement and seal off the ECB from political pressure. That risks a showdown with fellow EU leaders and extends her conflict with financial markets looking for immediate measures to end the contagion.

"The market is questioning Merkel's tough approach," Jacques Cailloux, chief European economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London, said by phone today. Investors want "clarity on what the framework will look like and what the financial bridge will look like" to fund euro-area governments and banks that need aid while fiscal ties are negotiated.

Merkel's refusal to deploy the ECB is a rebuff to President Barack Obama after he exhorted Europe's leaders to take more action to combat the crisis. The chancellor is loath to agree to follow the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England in policies she views as akin to fighting debt with more debt. Enlisting the ECB in battling the crisis would violate the central bank's independence and set it on a course of action that might not work, destroying its credibility.

'Damaging' Solution

The ECB is independent and must choose its own method of ensuring the euro's stability "without being praised or criticized" and states must protect that independence by improving their finances, the Westdeutsche Zeitung quoted Merkel as saying in an interview released today. The government sees joint euro bonds as "the wrong remedy in this phase of European development and even damaging," she told the newspaper.


Occupy L.A. Protesters Plan Smaller Camps at Banks, Country Clubs

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- With the 'Occupy L.A.' encampment at City Hall over, organizers say they will not be silenced and are planning future protests.

Organizers say more short-lived encampments might spring up at various locations, including banks, the homes of bank executives, or even golf courses and country clubs.

The leaders of 'Occupy L.A.' issued this statement on Wednesday:

"We call upon all sisters and brothers of the occupy movement to speak out against the use of intimidation, force and political power to break up peaceful occupations and repress or criminalize the exercise of our 1st Amendment rights."

A group of about 100 protesters have gathered at City Hall Wednesday evening. The protesters marched from Pershing Square to City Hall.

LAPD officers set up a skirmish line around City Hall as a precaution, but the protest was peaceful. Southbound Spring Street, however, was closed to traffic during the march.

Meantime, the National Lawyers Guild is calling for the immediate release of the nearly 300 protesters arrested in the police raid of Occupy L.A. early Wednesday morning.

The NLG says California law mandates that anyone charged with a misdemeanor be released with a written notice to appear.

NLG Board Member Carol Sobel condemned the action of the LAPD.


Clinton 'encouraged' by Burma reforms as she meets Aung San Suu Kyi


Hillary Clinton and Aung San Suu Kyi
Hillary Clinton and Aung San Suu Kyi met in Rangoon. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AP

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro-democracy campaigner and Nobel prize winner, had dinner with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Thursday night in a diplomatic residence in the port city of Rangoon.

The extraordinary meeting came at the end of Clinton's first full day of her historic trip to the isolated south Asian state, the first by a top-ranking American official for more than 50 years.

Earlier she met the new president, Thein Sein, and senior officials in Naypyidaw, the country's recently constructed capital.

"I am here today because President Obama and myself are encouraged by the steps you and your government have taken to provide for your people," Clinton told Thein Sein as the two sat down for talks in the vast – and apparently largely empty – presidential palace.

Thein Sein, who has led a nominally civilian administration since March, welcomed Clinton on a visit he said would be a "milestone".

"Your excellency's visit will be a new chapter in relations," he said.

Clinton's trip comes after changes in Burma that have astonished many observers. Aung San Suu Kyi has been freed after more than 20 years of house arrest and prison, and tentative moves have been made to reduce censorship and create new laws permitting limited political demonstrations.

Last year saw parliamentary elections which, despite being rigged to give the pro-regime party a huge majority, were nonetheless welcomed by observers.

Though the military dominates most institutions and much of the economy, many senior figures believe Burma, currently under US and European Union sanctions, needs to reintegrate the international community, analysts say.






Pakistan may discontinue its support of the U.S.-led war on terrorism if its sovereignty is violated again, a top official said Thursday in the latest sign of the country's continuing outrage over a deadly NATO airstrike on a Pakistani military outpost last week.

"Enough is enough. The government will not tolerate any incident of spilling even a single drop of any civilian or soldier's blood," Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told Pakistan lawmakers, according to The News newspaper.

"Pakistan's role in the war on terror must not be overlooked," Khar said.

Twenty-four Pakistani soldiers died Saturday after a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol called in an airstrike along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. NATO is investigating the apparent friendly fire incident, but the two sides have differed over the sequence of events. The NATO force reported coming under fire before requesting the strike, and a preliminary U.S. military report suggests Taliban fighters may have lured the coalition patrol into the area.

Pakistan calls for change in partnership with U.S.
NATO: Pakistan cooperates in new border raid

Pakistani officials have insisted the attack was unprovoked. Officials also claim the strikes continued for two hours despite alerting NATO that it was targeting the outpost.

American and NATO officials have expressed sympathy over the deaths, saying the incident was a mistake. The border area is infested with militants, whom NATO has long complained receive safe haven on the Pakistan side to launch attacks in Afghanistan.

The border incident has greatly strengthened anti-American sentiment, reducing the political space for those who argue that cooperation with Washington is in the country's interest. The army, which has received billions of dollars in U.S. aid since 2001 in exchange for its cooperation, however limited, against militants, has fueled the hard line by accusing NATO of a "deliberate act of aggression."


Treasury announces new sanctions against Syria


On the heels of action taken by the Arab League, Turkey and European Union, the Treasury Department on Thursday announced new sanctions against Syria and urged more pressure against Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Treasury named Muhammad Makhluf, an uncle of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and Aus Aslan, top general in the Syrian military. Under the terms of the sanctions, Americans are banned from any dealings with them.

"It has never been more critical to escalate pressure on the Syrian government to immediately cease all violence against its own people and isolate the regime from the international financial system," David Cohen, Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement. "We will continue to work closely with our partners in Europe and around the world to hasten a transition to democracy in Syria."

Treasury also listed the Military Housing Establishment as a Syrian government-controlled company that provides financing to the regime and Real Estate Bank, which handles borrowing for the government.

The Treasury Department sanctions come one day after Turkey announced a freeze on Syrian assets in Turkey and a ban on transactions with the Syrian central bank. The EU and Arab League also levied a series of sanctions against Damascus earlier this week.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Login with Facebook Depleted Texas lakes expose ghost towns, graves



BLUFFTON, Texas (AP) — Johnny C. Parks died two days before his first birthday more than a century ago. His grave slipped from sight along with the rest of the tiny town of Bluffton when Lake Buchanan was filled 55 years later.

Now, the cracked marble tombstone engraved with the date Oct. 15, 1882, which is normally covered by 20 to 30 feet of water, has been eerily exposed as a yearlong drought shrinks one of Texas' largest lakes.

Across the state, receding lakes have revealed a prehistoric skull, ancient tools, fossils and a small cemetery that appears to contain the graves of freed slaves. Some of the discoveries have attracted interest from local historians, and looters also have scavenged for pieces of history. More than two dozen looters have been arrested at one site.

"In an odd way, this drought has provided an opportunity to view and document, where appropriate, some of these finds and understand what they consist of," said Pat Mercado-Allinger, the Texas Historical Commission's archeological division director. "Most people in Texas probably didn't realize what was under these lakes."

Texas finished its driest 12 months ever with an average of 8.5 inches of rain through September, nearly 13 inches below normal. Water levels in the region's lakes, most of which were manmade, have dropped by more than a dozen feet in many cases.

The vanishing water has revealed the long-submerged building foundations of Woodville, Okla., which was flooded in 1944 when the Red River was dammed to form Lake Texoma. A century-old church has emerged at Falcon Lake, which straddles the Texas-Mexico border on the Rio Grande.

Steven Standke and his wife, Carol, drove to the old Bluffton site on a sandy rutted path that GPS devices designate not as a road but the middle of the 22,335-acre lake, normally almost 31 miles long and five miles wide.

"If you don't see it now, you might never see it again," said Carol Standke, of Center Point, as she and her husband inspected the ruins a mile from where concrete seawalls ordinarily would keep the lake from waterfront homes.

Old Bluffton has been exposed occasionally during times of drought. The receding waters have revealed concrete foundations of a two-story hotel, scales of an old cotton gin, a rusting tank and concrete slabs from a Texaco station that also served as a general store. The tallest structure is what's left of the town well, an open-topped concrete cube about 4 feet high. Johnny Parks' tombstone is among a few burial sites.

Local historian Alfred Hallmark, whose great-great-great grandfather helped establish Bluffton, said his research showed 389 graves were moved starting in 1931 when dam construction began. That's the same year Bluffton's 40 or 50 residents started moving several miles west to the current Bluffton, which today amounts to a convenience store and post office at a lonely highway intersection serving 200 residents.

Residents had to leave their ranches and abandon precious pecan trees, some of which produced more than 1,000 pounds of nuts each year. "It was devastating," said Hallmark, 70, a retired teacher, of the move. "They had no choice."

Other depleted lakes across Texas are revealing much older artifacts. More than two dozen looters have been arrested at Lake Whitney, about 50 miles south of Fort Worth, for removing Native American tools and fossils that experts believe could be thousands of years old.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees Lake Whitney, is patrolling a number of areas that contain artifacts, including some rock shelters once filled with water, said Abraham Phillips, natural resources specialist with the agency.

At Lake Georgetown near Austin, fishermen discovered what experts determined was the skull of an American Indian buried for hundreds or thousands of years. It's not clear what will become of the skull, said Kate Spradley, a Texas State University assistant anthropology professor who is keeping it temporarily in a lab. Strict federal laws governing American Indian burial sites bar excavations to search for other remains.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Paid to Click

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How to Earn a Passive Income with NeoBux People are making $45 a day under 5 mins Try It now

Since I joined NeoBux a few months ago, I have tried many strategies to increase my earnings from the site. Having only been using this strategy for the last 3 months, I am not rich, but I have seen a great increase in my earnings every day. The person that taught me this strategy is at the point of consistently earning $45+ dollars each day. What follows below is what I consider to be the best strategy to go from $0 a day to earning a minimum of $30 per day, with absolutely no out-of-pocket expense, in the shortest amount of time possible.

I will say this, if you can afford to invest a few dollars near the beginning like I have, you will get to your goal much faster. At any point during the process, you can "inject" a little money to help you reach the next step faster. The important part is becoming a Golden member and then an Ultimate member.

The key to making good money with NeoBux is with referrals. Of course, the more you have, the quicker you will earn money. Since referrals at Neobux are rented, lots of people fail because they simply rent, rent, rent and don't think about saving some money to renew their current referrals at the end of their rent cycle.

The referrals at NeoBux are actual people (not BOTS like most other PTC sites) and cost $0.2 a month each. Most of them will be active but some won't. You have the option to recycle a non-active referral for an active one for a $0.07 fee. Recycling can add up so don't overdo it.

Your mission is to eventually become an "Ultimate" member and have 4199 referrals. Both strategies will get you there but spending a little up front will get you there much faster and earn you thousands of dollars more over that time. Now remember, patience is key. Rome wasn't built in a day and you won't be making $30/day within a month.
The Best NeoBux Strategy

Step 1:
Create a new NeoBux account. Choose a time each day that you will click all your ads. Try to click everyday at the same time, if possible. You MUST click all of the yellow colored ads to receive credit for your referrals clicks. If you miss a day, you will not get credit for any clicks made by your referrals that day.
Optional: Install the AdAlert extension to your browser. It will let you know when there are new ads to click trough-out the day. This is a great way to increase your earnings.

Step 2:
Once you reach $3 in your main balance, transfer that money to your rental balance. (Note: Do not make the mistake of renting referrals when you have $0.75 like most people do. Yes, you can rent 3 referrals but you won't have the money to maintain them after they expire. Wait until you have $3.) Yes it may take some time to get to $3 on your own but you will then have enough to keep your new referrals and recycle inactive ones.

Step 3:
With $3 in your rental balance, rent 3 referrals. At this point, turn on Autopay (you'll find this option at the top of the page where your referrals are listed). Rented referrals cost $0.25 a month to maintain. Instead of you paying for the referral, they pay for themselves as long as you have Autopay activated. You basically get one less penny from each referral, but they'll be your referral as long as they remain active.

Tip: Fight the urge to cashout for now. When you request payment (with as little as $2 in your main balance), you get paid instantly. Naturally most people want to do this to make sure NeoBux is legit but I'm here to tell you it definitely is! If you still want to try it, go ahead but just once.

Step 4:
Continue to rent referrals in increments of 3 whenever you reach $3 in your account. As you earn more money, you can rent in higher increments. Once you have 300 referrals, quit renting and just maintain the ones you have.

Step 5:
Once your main balance gets to $100, use $90 of it to buy the Golden upgrade. Your referrals will immediately start earning you 1 cent per click instead of the normal ½ cent as a Standard member. You will now see your earnings at NeoBux start to double.

Step 6:
Start renting new referrals again while ensuring you have enough money to renew and recycle your current referrals. Once you reach 1200 referrals, stop renting, focus on maintaining and build up your balance.

Step 7:
As soon as you have enough money to do so, buy the Ultimate membership. The Ultimate membership is expensive but has impressive benefits. The best feature is the 7-day auto-recycle policy. If any referral is inactive for 7 days in a row, the system will automatically recycle them with an active referral. Once you are Ultimate, I would recommend that you stop manual recycling altogether. In addition, your personal clicks now are worth 2 cents, you are guaranteed at least 15 ads to click daily, you are allowed 30 "vacation" days where you will still make money from your referrals even if you don't click any ads that day, and it includes several other benefits.

Step 8:
Once you are an Ultimate member, continue renting referrals until you reach between 4000-4199 referrals. At that point, stop renting, turn off autopay and begin renewing your referrals for 90, 150, or 240 days at a time. The longer the amount of time, the larger the discount is to renew. Again, think long term. Renewing for 240 days at a time will cost you more up front but with a 30% discount compared to autopay's 15% discount, your earnings will be much bigger over a 240 day period.

Cashing Out

The absolute best time to cashout is when you are making a decent income with 4000+ referrals but lots of people don't have the patience to wait that long. The earliest I would recommend to cashout is when you become a Golden member. Just keep in mind that the faster you get to 4000+ referrals, the more money you will earn over time.


  • You can boost your NeoBux earnings by obtaining direct referrals using the referral link provided to you after 30 days. These are people that sign up under you and have absolutely no cost. They continue to earn for you as long as they remain active. NeoBux recently re-introduced commissions from direct referrals. Read the NeoBux forums to learn more.
  • It will seem like it's going to take forever to earn money but it's only 5 minutes a day of work and you will really begin to see amazing progress as you start getting referrals.
  • Most importantly, be patient. Yes, there's that word again. Stick with it and you will be earning a tremendous passive income every day, quicker than you think. Good luck!
  • Bookmark this page so you can refer back to the strategy whenever needed
To maximise earnings from PTCs I would advise you have more than one PTC site I would recommend 
Dont have too many and remember don sign up for Sites which have a high Cashout requirement more than $5 and high pay per click above 0.02 they are scams.
Please note if you sign up using my link you will be my referral and I will earn from your clicks.
Thanks for your time , if you have any comment or other techniques and scam alert that you know dont be selfish kindly share.
you can email me privately
About me
Im Nick and an Entrepreneur been into all sorts of online business and affilliate marketing.
Im an accountant and love the idea of helping companies with strategy and financial 
I love God and sports.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jessica Simpson pregnant with first child

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(Reuters) - Singer, actress and fashion mogul Jessica Simpson has finally put baby rumors to rest by confirming Monday that she is pregnant with her first child, in a statement posted on her official website.

"It's True! I am going to be a mummy!" the singer wrote, alongside a photo of her dressed in a mummy costume for Halloween.

Simpson, 31, is currently engaged to former professional football player Eric Johnson, 32, whom she has been dating since May 2010. This will be the first child for the couple.

Simpson first rose to fame at age 19 with her debut album "Sweet Kisses" in 1999. She married singer Nick Lachey, of boy band 98 Degrees, in 2002 and the couple were the stars of MTV reality series, "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica." Simpson and Lachey divorced in 2006.

The "Dukes of Hazzard" actress has had a number of high-profile relationships including U.S. football player Tony Romo and Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan.


Tony La Russa: 'It's time to end it'


St. Louis -- Tony La Russa waited until after the championship parade and then called a team meeting with his players.

"We didn't know what to expect," said pitcher Chris Carpenter, who got the win in Game 7 of the World Series against Texas on Friday night.

"I think we all figured it was just going to be like, 'That a way, guys. Great year. Way to battle!' Instead, he dropped that on us. I think everybody was caught off-guard."

And with that, La Russa, 67, said goodbye to baseball and became the first manager to retire immediately after leading his team to a Series title - the third of his career.

"I think this just feels like it's time to end it," La Russa said at a news conference Monday. "When I look in the mirror, I know I'd come back for the wrong reasons, and I didn't want to do that."

La Russa said he told general manager John Mozeliak of his decision in August - before the Cards rallied from a 10 1/2-game deficit in the NL wild-card race, then knocked off Philadelphia and Milwaukee in the playoffs.

They won the seven-game Series after twice being a strike away from elimination in Game 6.

"I tip my hat to him. He's had a great career. What a way to go out," Washington manager Davey Johnson said.

The player meeting Sunday after the parade was short and emotional.

"Some grown men cried," La Russa said, joking that, "I kind of liked that because they made me cry a few times."

Read more:

China PMI Points to Soft Landing; Inflation Still Key

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Despite China's weaker than expected manufacturing data for October which is fanning concerns about the country's slowing growth, analysts say the data suggests that the economy remains very much in policymakers' control and is headed for a soft landing.

The official Purchasing and Manufacturing Index (PMI), which gathers information from the country's biggest manufacturers, came in at 50.4 for October, missing markets' forecast of 51.6 and dipping from September's reading of 51.2.

"We're definitely of the view that China is successfully engineering a soft landing, at the moment, given IPs (industrial production) still running at above 13-14 percent, and the fact that the PMI [is] returning back to a positive, above 50 territory. We do think that actual risks of China heading towards a hard landing are limited," Donna Kwok, Greater China Economist at HSBC told CNBC on Tuesday.

A separate PMI compiled by HSBC, which focuses on the small and medium-sized enterprises, came in at 51.0, a solid rebound from the 49.9 recorded in September. A reading above 50 indicates expansion while a figure below 50 denotes contraction.

"Finally, smaller players in China's manufacturing sectors are starting to see the benefits of the government's recent selective easing policy," said Kwok. "This policy includes both more favorable credit policies, directed at smaller to medium sized enterprises, and also as of last week, a new plan specifically targeting the service sectors, sector companies, with a lighter tax burden."

Brian Jackson, senior emerging markets strategist at Royal Bank of Canada (Hong Kong), notes that the lower official PMI number is understandable and "quite" consistent with the weaker external demand picture, particularly from Europe.

More and Source

Drug-smuggling ring operating near Phoenix busted

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Phoenix --

Law enforcement officials on Monday announced the breakup of a massive drug-smuggling ring that used lookouts on hilltops in southern Arizona to move huge quantities of marijuana and other drugs across the Mexican border to users throughout the United States.

Over the last month and a half, federal, state and local officials have arrested 76 people, from organizational bosses to stash-house guards to those who transported the drugs in backpacks and in vehicles, the authorities said. All were linked to the Sinaloa cartel run by Joaquin Guzman, Mexico's richest and most wanted outlaw, who goes by the nickname El Chapo, officials said.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Arizona officials estimated that the ring had been in operation for at least five years and had generated more than $2 billion in profits by smuggling more than 3 million pounds of marijuana, 20,000 pounds of cocaine and 10,000 pounds of heroin into the United States. Such large smuggling rings usually use tractor-trailers to get their contraband across, the authorities said, but this operation relied mostly on migrants on foot.

The authorities acknowledged that the smuggling ring operated under their noses, albeit in rugged terrain that is difficult to patrol. Spotters with radios or cell phones were used to point out the presence of law enforcement and divert loads. The drugs would be carried in relatively small quantities and then transported north to a network of stash houses in the Phoenix area. From there, the contraband would be sold to distributors nationwide.

Read more:

Pakistan, Turkey agree to swap currency

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ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardariand his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gulhave agreed to finalise the currency swap agreement between the two countries. 

The two presidents held wide-ranging bilateral talks in Istanbul on Monday, on the sidelines of the trilateral summit on Afghanistan. 

The president's spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said the currency swap agreement would enable traders and businessmen of the two countries to trade in their respective currencies without drawing from their dollar based foreign exchange reserves. 

This will reduce the pressure on the foreign exchange reserves and give a quantum jump to the bilateral trade between the two countries, Associated Press of Pakistan quoted him as saying. 

Babar said Zardari has been looking at boosting Pakistan's trade as a means to generate economic activity in the country for job creation to wean away the youth from falling prey to the temptations offered by militants. 

Euro Falls on Bets ECB Will Signal Interest-Rate Cuts; Aussie Dollar Drops

The euro fell versus the dollar and yen on speculation an economic slowdown in the region will pressure the European Central Bank to consider cutting interest rates.

The greenback strengthened against most of its 16 major counterparts after a Chinese manufacturing index dropped and Asian stocks fell, boosting demand for the refuge of the world's reserve currency. The yen was little changed versus the dollar on prospects Japan is ready for sustained intervention to prevent gains in its currency that threaten an export-led recovery. The Australian dollar declined after the central bank cut its benchmark interest rate.

"It certainly is a worry just how weak the European economy is," said Joseph Capurso, a currency strategist in Sydney at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation's biggest lender. A European interest-rate cut "may happen next year. In the short term, you could certainly see euro falling further towards the $1.35 region."

The euro dropped 0.4 percent to $1.3806 as of 6:18 a.m. in London from yesterday inNew York, when it sank 2 percent, the sharpest slide since August 2010. The 17-nation euro slipped 0.5 percent to 107.82 yen. The dollar was at 78.11 yen from 78.17 yesterday when it touched 79.53, the highest since Aug. 4.

The Australian dollar slid 0.9 percent to $1.0436 and 1 percent to 81.49 yen. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of shares lost 1.6 percent.


Judge rejects Tribune Co's plan to exit bankruptcy

(Reuters) - Tribune Co, the owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune newspapers, suffered a legal defeat on Monday after a judge late Monday rejected its plan to end its three-year stay in bankruptcy.

The judge also rejected a competing plan from the company's noteholders and but said the company's plan had stronger creditor backing and could be way out of bankruptcy.

"Neither the (company plan) nor the noteholder plan is confirmable. I am uncertain, at this point, what steps the debtors or other parties may take as a consequence of this decision," wrote Delaware's chief bankruptcy judge, Kevin Carey, in a 126-page opinion.

Carey was charged with deciding a range of legal questions, but the key issue was which plan was legally confirmable and offered the company the best path for repaying creditors and ending its bankruptcy.

Tribune, which also owns more than 20 television stations, filed for bankruptcy in 2008, one year after financier Sam Zell led a $13 billion leveraged buyout of the company.

The bankruptcy wiped out more than a billion dollars of the company's notes and the two bankruptcy plans essentially differed in how they treat legal claims from the buyout.

The company and lenders, led by JPMorgan Chase & Co and hedge funds, proposed a settlement payment of around $500 million to noteholders. Noteholders, led by Aurelius Capital Management LP, an uncompromising hedge fund, rejected that as too cheap and wanted to sue those responsible for the buyout.


Apple iPhone 4S Battery Drain: Guessing Game Continues

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Waiting on an expected fix from Apple, iPhone 4S userscomplaining of rapid battery drain are coming up with their own witches' brews to keep their new handsets from dying before the end of the day. Users started complaining of the poor battery life shortly after the iPhone 4S debuted, but recently the gripes have grown louder.

Home-grown solutions for the iPhone 4S battery dilemma include dropping push e-mail, lowering the screen brightness, turning off calendar notifications, and shutting down Wi-Fi when not in use. Or, to put it another way, iPhone 4S users have discovered sensible battery life management practices.

Fact Check: Perry's dubious tax promise

In his speech unveiling his proposed "flat tax" overhaul of the tax system, Rick Perrypromised that "taxes will be cut across all income groups in America." But a newly released analysis of his plan by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center concluded that many lower-income persons and families would see their taxes go up.

In his Oct. 25 "Cut, Balance, Grow" speech, Perry said a beefed up standard deduction assured lower- and middle-class residents would see a tax break.

And in a Fox News Sunday interview on Oct. 30, Perry assured host Chris Wallace, "Everybody gets a tax cut here. Everybody gets a tax cut here."

But that's not true for everyone, even though the Perry plan would result in a dramatic decrease in overall revenues, according to the Tax Policy Center analysis. The Tax Policy Center predicts that Rick Perry's "flat tax" plan would amount to a tax cut of $570 billion in its first year after enactment, compared with current tax rates. More than half the benefits would flow to persons making more than $1 million a year.

"The Perry plan would reduce federal tax revenues dramatically," the Tax Policy Center said in a report posted Oct. 31. "Relative to a current policy baseline, the reduction in liability would be roughly $570 billion in calendar year 2015." And compared with "current law," under which all the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts would expire, the loss in revenue would be close to $1 trillion in 2015, a reduction of 27 percent in projected revenue.


Hope finally scares up a decent dance on 'DWTS'


Strange things happen on Halloween. All of a sudden there's a spooky vibe in the air. Ghosts and goblins go door to door looking for sweet treats. And somehow, even a "Dancing With the Stars" dud like Hope Solo can deliver a decent dance.


Coming off the heels of last week's moody meltdown for Solo's partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy , the soccer star and the pro first hit the floor with a scary samba set to "Werewolves of London." WereMaks presented fine form, as usual, and while Solo battled some of her typical "Dancing" demons — like arm lines and precision moves — she showed big improvements when it came to timing and basic footwork.


Climate deal not likely this year: Environment Minister

t is unlikely that the world will come to a legally binding agreement on climate change at the upcoming United Nations climate summit due in Durban, South Africa, at the end of this month, said Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan.

'There isn't the political will or financial resources to make such a deal (at this stage),' he told the opening ceremony of the Clean Energy Expo Asia on Tuesday.

Still, it is important that government and companies that make multi-billion decisions in energy investments to understand that their decisions will have long-term implications, he added.

Policymakers, in particular, need to have rational policies in place for the long term such that countries are well prepared for a future that will see diminishing energy resources even as demand for energy spikes on the back of the world population hitting 7 billion.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

World population hits 7 billion on Oct. 31, or thereabouts



It took only a dozen years for humanity to add another billion people to the planet, reaching the milestone of 7 billion Monday — give or take a few months.

Demographers at the United Nations Population Division set Oct. 31, 2011, as the "symbolic" date for hitting 7 billion, while acknowledging that it's impossible to know for sure the specific time or day. Using slightly different calculations, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the 7-billion threshold will not be reached until March.

Under any methodology, demographers agree that humanity remains on a steep growth curve, which is likely to keep climbing through the rest of this century. The U.N.'s best estimate is that population will march past 9.3 billion by 2050 and exceed 10.1 billion by the end of the century. It could be far more, if birthrates do not continue to drop as they have in the last half-century.

Nearly all the projected growth this century is expected to occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, while the combined populations in Europe, North America and other wealthy industrialized nations will remain relatively flat. Some countries, such as Germany, Russia and Japan, are poised to edge downward, their loss made up mostly by ongoing growth in the United States, which is bolstered by waves of immigrants.

The buildup to Monday's milestone has briefly turned up the flame on long-simmering debates about growth on a finite planet: Whether a growing population or growing consumption remains the biggest environmental challenge, how best to help lift a billion people out of poverty and misery, whether governments should provide contraception for those who cannot afford it.