Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Goodluck Jonathan Sworn in as President

Abuja — President Mugabe returned home yesterday morning after joining more than 25 heads of state and government to witness the swearing in of President Goodluck Johnson as the 14th Nigerian president in Abuja on Sunday.

Among the luminaries at the ceremony at Abuja's Eagle Square were former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Dr Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings.

Other former Nigerian military and civilian rulers also attended the ceremony which coincided with the country's Democracy Day.

The Democracy Day commemorates the end of military rule in Nigeria following the first general elections to usher in civilian rule in 1999.

Celebrations for the day were preceded by various activities around Nigeria including public lectures, dinners, church services and fireworks displays that illuminated the night skies in central Abuja as the West African state celebrated what has been dubbed a "dawn of a new era" in Nigeria.

The swearing in ceremony was marked by drills from the Nigerian Defence Forces while school children from across Nigeria entertained the crowds through mass displays.

The Nigerian Air Force also had a fly-past, displaying its old fleet of fighter jets in a sequence that moved from the yester-year planes to the latest fighter jets and helicopters in the country.

In his inaugural speech, President Jonathan hailed Nigerians for enthusiastically participating in the April 16 elections.

"A total of 72 million eligible voters showed their enthusiasm to participate in the election and registered as voters.

"This has encouraged the nation in its endeavour to be strong in its push for democracy in Nigeria," he said.


Mexican IMF Candidate Calls for Bailout Flexibility

LISBON—Mexico's Agustín Carstens, so far the lone challenger to Europe's renewed claim to head the International Monetary Fund, suggests more flexibility for countries on IMF support programs as he seeks backing in Europe.

The Bank of Mexico governor, the chief rival to France's Christine Lagarde, said the IMF needs someone from an emerging market with experience in handling financial crises.

Mr. Carstens was in Lisbon and Madrid this week as part of a global whistle-stop tour to win support for his candidacy. Without mentioning Greece specifically, Mr. Carstens said that financially-distressed countries shouldn't be punished for failed goals as long as they show commitment.

"When programs are designed in a crisis, there is too much uncertainty, and the fund needs to be flexible in recognizing measures aren't working as well as expected and be flexible with that and finding a new solution," he said.

The IMF currently withholds financial assistance if a recipient country doesn't meet certain commitments on budget reforms and deficit reduction. This week Greece's budget accounting is being measured by the IMF and the European Union to see if it is eligible for its next aid installment. Worries that Athens will miss its targets have kept European financial markets on edge for a month.

Emerging economies in Asia and Africa have supported a break from the tradition of a European holding the top financial post, but Europeans have been quick to back the French finance minister.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned earlier this month after being charged in New York with sexual assault, was closely focused on Europe's debt crisis and measures to keep it from spreading. Europeans argue that the next official will have to do the same.



Jobs WWDC keynote to highlight Lion, iOS 5, iCloud

With less than a week to go before the kickoff of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, you may have been looking at the schedule and scratching your head. Would there be a keynote? Who would be hosting? Consider your concerns assuaged, as Apple on Tuesday announced that its conference will begin with a keynote by CEO Steve Jobs on Monday, June 6, at 10 a.m. Pacific. And if that's not enough, Apple's press release also revealed that the company will be discussing iCloud, its forthcoming cloud services offering.

Jobs has been on indefinite medical leave from Apple since January, but that hasn't stopped him from appearing on stage; in March, he headlined the iPad 2 announcement. But the Apple CEO won't be alone on stage next week. As with previous WWDC keynotes, he'll be accompanied by a team of the company's executives—we'd guess folks like Phil Schiller, Scott Forstall, and the newly-promoted Craig Federighi for sure.


Space Shuttle Endeavour Headed Home for Last Time

The shuttle Endeavour and its crew will finally return to Earth early Wednesday morning, completing one of NASA's final shuttle flights, a program that was launched almost 30 years ago.

Having departed the International Space Station late Sunday, Endeavour's entry flight control team will evaluate weather conditions at the landing site at Merritt Island, Fla., before giving the approval to land, according to NASA

The 25th and final flight for Endeavour also marks the final shuttle flight for the six-man crew aboard Endeavour. The seasoned astronauts are wrapping up a 16-day mission, where they completed assembly of the U.S. section of the International Space Station.



Twitter to Launch Photo-Sharing Service, Reports Say

Twitter is set to launch its own photo-sharing service this week, according to reports. Twitter has been slowly invading the territory of third-party developers who built on their platform, and the release of its own image-sharing service will endanger popular services such as Twitpic and Yfrog.

Twitter is expected to announce the photo-sharing service at the D9 conference in California, when the company's chief executive, Dick Costolo, is scheduled to speak Wednesday. TechCrunch was the first to report on Twitter's rumored plans and All Things D confirmed the expected announcement separately.


Hackers post phony Tupac story on PBS website

WASHINGTON (AP) — PBS officials say hackers have cracked the network's website, posting a phony story claiming dead rapper Tupac Shakur was alive in New Zealand, and a group that claimed responsibility for the hacking complained about a recent "Frontline" investigative news program on WikiLeaks.

PBS confirmed Monday that the website had been hacked. The phony story had been taken down as of Monday morning. It had been posted on the site of the "PBS NewsHour" program, which is produced by WETA-TV in Arlington, Va.

Anne Bentley, PBS' vice president of corporate communications, said in an email that erroneous information posted on the website has been corrected. The hackers also posted login information for two internal PBS sites: one that media use to access the PBS press room and an internal communications website for stations, she said. She said all affected parties were being notified.

David Fanning, executive producer of "Frontline," said he learned of the hacking early Monday, nearly a week after the program aired its "WikiSecrets" documentary about the leak of U.S. diplomatic cables to the WikiLeaks website. The documentary, produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, generated criticism and debate on the program's website in recent days from those sympathetic to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and from those who thought the program was fair, Fanning said.


’Number of hungry people in India rose by 65 mn between 1990-2005’

The number of hungry people in India has increased by 65 million — more than the population of France — because economic development excluded the rural poor, and welfare programmes failed to reach them, according to charity organisation Oxfam.

In a report titled 'Growing a better future', it said today that India's economy doubled in size from 1990 to 2005, but the number of hungry in the country had risen by 65 million during the period.

Oxfam also warned that average prices of staple crops will more than double in 20 years if urgent action is not taken to change the international food system, which is already failing to feed nearly a billion people a day.

Oxfam research forecasts that average international prices of key staples, such as maize, will increase by between 120 and 180 per cent by 2030, with up to half of this increase due to climate change.

The world's poorest people, who spend up to 80 per cent of their income on food, will be hit hardest.

An Oxfam release says that decades of steady progress in the fight against hunger is now being allegedly reversed as demand outpaces food production.

Depleting natural resources, a scramble for fertile land and water, and the gathering pace of climate change is already making the situation worse, it adds.

Oxfam warns that by 2050, demand for food will rise by 70 per cent yet our capacity to increase production is declining.

The average growth rate in agricultural yields has almost halved since 1990 and is set to decline to a fraction of one per cent in the next decade.


Lockheed Martin Suffers Massive Cyberattack

A major online attack was launched earlier this month against the networks of Lockheed Martin, the country's largest defense contractor.

On Saturday, Lockheed Martin released a statement confirming the attack, which it described as "significant and tenacious." But it said its information security team "detected the attack almost immediately and took aggressive actions to protect all systems and data."

As a result, the company said, "our systems remain secure; no customer, program, or employee personal data has been compromised."

Hackers reportedly exploited Lockheed's VPN access system, which allows employees to log in remotely by using their RSA SecurID hardware tokens. Attackers apparently possessed the seeds--factory-encoded random keys--used by at least some of Lockheed's SecurID hardware fobs, as well as serial numbers and the underlying algorithm used to secure the devices.

That suggests that whoever attacked Lockheed Martin may also have been behind the successful breach in March of EMC's RSA division, which manufactures SecurID. "Since then, there have been malware and phishing campaigns in the wild seeking specific data linking RSA tokens to the end user, leading us to believe that this attack was carried out by the original RSA attackers," Rick Moy, president and CEO of NSS Labs, said in a blog post.

According to security blogger Robert Cringely, aka Mark Stephens, who broke news of the attack against Lockheed Martin, "It seems likely that whoever hacked the RSA network got the algorithm for the current tokens and then managed to get a keylogger installed on one or more computers used to access the intranet" at Lockheed Martin. From there, attackers reportedly gained access to the company's internal network.


Sony to fully restore PlayStation Network by end of week

Sony says they will fully restore all services for the PlayStation Network by the end of this week, more than one month after a major data breach knocked out the company's online video game hub.

Currently, PSN subscribers can only play PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable games online, access their friends' lists and manage their accounts.

The finished restoration will bring back the PlayStation Store, which allows users to purchase games and download demos and videos. The update will also bring back full functionality for Sony's Qriocity music service, reads a post on the official PlayStation blog.

"We have been conducting additional testing and further security verification of our commerce functions in order to bring the PlayStation Network completely back online so that our fans can again enjoy the first class entertainment experience they have come to love," said Sony Computer Entertainment president Kazuo Hirai in a statement.


Cattle Footage Highlights Australia-Indonesia Rift

Outrage in Australia over video footage of the treatment of exported cattle in Indonesia is shining a spotlight on a simmering trade dispute between the neighboring countries.

Australian Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig Tuesday suspended live cattle exports to 11 meat-processing abattoirs in Indonesia identified in a television report as abusing the animals before slaughter. The move followed widespread criticism from legislators, animal welfare groups, labor unions and livestock producers over the conduct shown in the video, which depicts the animals being beaten and abused.

Mr. Ludwig didn't name the Indonesian facilities but said he will appoint an independent reviewer to investigate the supply chain for live exports up to and including the point of slaughter and that he reserves the right to add further facilities to the banned list.

While the suspension affects only a small portion of the more than 120 abattoirs that take live cattle exports, it puts the contested beef trade between Australia and Indonesia under further political scrutiny.

In the fiscal year ended June 30, Australia's live cattle exports totaled 873,573 animals valued at 698.2 million Australian dollars (about $744 million), according to Meat & Livestock Australia, a marketing group. Indonesia is the single biggest market for live cattle, taking 520,000 beasts in 2010, or about 60% of total exports.

But Indonesia—which like a number of fast-growing Asian economies has been beset by sharp food-price inflation—has set out a plan to be more self-sufficient for a range of commodities, including beef. Indonesia formally advised Australia in December that it would restrict imports from Australia to 500,000 animals this year, among other restrictions. Indonesia also announced a 50,000-metric-ton limit on total beef imports.



'Call of Duty Elite' enlists features for diehards

Video game publisher Activision is creating Call of Duty Elite, an online service to let diehard fans elevate their experience with the popular first-person shooter games.

Set to officially launch with the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on Nov. 8, Elite will have some free basic features for players of the online multiplayer modes of the game, as well as a premium level.

The most popular Call of Duty games, played on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PCs, let up to 18 players compete in virtual combat online, beyond the standard single-player story and two-person play modes.

Currently, players organize offline or in online "lobbies" for multiplayer sessions; a smattering of post-match statistics can be viewed. The Web-based Elite service will track all aspects of players' online performance, allow for creation of groups and clans (one of the premium perks) as if on a social network, offer events and prizes, and provide in-depth facts for studying past match strategies.


10 ways to botch a mobile app

With the phenomenal growth of smart mobile devices, mobile apps, and their respective app stores over the last several years, just about everyone has an idea for a mobile app. And with each idea comes the belief that it may in fact be the next big thing — a million dollar app that can save its creator from the daily 9-5 grind. It's true that a fortuitous few have indeed realized their million dollar idea, but for many others their ideas remain dreams alone.

Working in the mobile app industry through these early days of the latest technological gold rush, I've seen the same app mistakes made time and time again. Failure, like success, follows a particular pattern. And so, I set out to distill the top 10 reasons why apps often falter or fail, with the hope that this list brings more reason and less emotion into the process of building mobile applications.

Mistake 1. Begin coding immediately

Many fail in the mobile space because they start developing their app as soon as they have an idea. In the extreme case, those with programming skills will actually start coding the app immediately. The first steps, however, should be focused on business and strategy aspects; pixels and design or coding and development come later in the process.

Mistake 2. Ignore competitors and alternatives

One of those business and strategy aspects that many pursuing apps ignore is to identify and use competitor apps. Understanding what competitors do well and where they've come up short will provide guidance on what features to develop and how to differentiate an app. Similarly, learning from top apps in app stores or even real-world alternatives, can reveal opportunities for innovation.

Mistake 3. Be purposeless

Wanting a million dollars shouldn't be the sole motivation for building an app. At the same time, app stores are likely one of the best places to pursue a new venture right now. Ultimately though, it is still a new venture and any new venture comes with a certain amount of risk. Outlining clear short- and long-term goals, that are aspirational yet attainable, will provide a much better foundation for success.



PM Berlusconi humiliated in Milan poll

SILVIO Berlusconi has suffered a humiliating defeat as his party lost control of Milan, his political power base and home city, after nearly 20 years.

The result in local elections raised questions over the viability of Mr Berlusconi's centre-right coalition, two years before Italy faces a general election, and on his personal popularity, which has been eroded by corruption cases and the dismal state of the economy.

The Prime Minister's fortunes suffered a reversal not just in Milan but also in Naples, another key battleground, where the centre-left also triumphed.

Mr Berlusconi, 74, had said he would interpret the outcome in Milan as a referendum on his nearly three-year-old government and had campaigned heavily for his candidate, the incumbent mayor.

Giuliano Pisapia (pictured), the former communist lawyer who has taken power in Milan, assumed the mantle of mayor of Milan and said: ''Milan has been liberated. Now for the rest of Italy.''

The results were declared on the eve of the first day of the so-called Rubygate trial - the sensational case in which Mr Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with an under-age nightclub dancer nicknamed Ruby the Heartstealer. The man himself, il Cavaliere, was on a state visit to Romania and nowhere to be seen.

Mr Pisapia garnered close to 55 per cent of the vote while Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party candidate, Letizia Moratti - who campaigned warning that a vote for the left meant Milan would succumb to mosques and gypsies - won just under 45 per cent in a second round of voting over the weekend.



Zuma asks Gaddafi for help on Hammerl

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has asked President Jacob Zuma to provide DNA samples from South African photographer Anton Hammerl to help the Libyan authorities find his body.

Zuma had promised Hammerl's family that he would ask Gaddafi for help in locating Hammerl's remains when he met Gaddafi in Tripoli yesterday to try to end the civil war, sources said.

Hammerl was shot by Libyan government forces near Brega, a town in the east of the country, on April 5 and left for dead in the desert, according to other journalists who were travelling with him.

Zuma said after the meeting yesterday that Gaddafi was ready for a truce to stop the fighting.

"He is ready to sign the roadmap," Zuma said, referring to the AU proposal for a ceasefire – including an end to Nato aerial bombardments – and negotiations between Gaddafi and his rebel enemies for political reforms to address the underlying causes of the conflict.

Zuma said Gaddafi had insisted that "all Libyans be given a chance to talk among themselves" to determine the country's future.

But the AU roadmap does not require Gaddafi step down as a precondition for negotiations, which the rebels have demanded.

There had been some speculation that Zuma would suggest to Gaddafi that he should step down. But he did not say after the meeting that Gaddafi was ready to surrender power and so in Benghazi rebel Foreign Minister Fathi Baja rejected the AU plan.

"We refuse completely, we don't consider it a political initiative, it is only some stuff that Gaddafi wants to announce to stay in power," he said.

Baja said he believed Zuma was in Tripoli to negotiate an exit strategy for Gaddafi, though Zuma's office denied that.

Baja also said the rebels would launch an offensive against Gaddafi soon.



Sean Kingston moved to ICU after watercraft crash

MIAMI - Hip-hop singer Sean Kingston has been stabilized and moved to the intensive care unit at a hospital after crashing his watercraft into a Miami Beach bridge, his publicist said Monday.

The publicist, Joseph Carozza, said Kingston's family is grateful for everyone's prayers and support.

Kingston and a female passenger were injured when the watercraft hit the Palm Island Bridge around 6 p.m. Sunday, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino said.

The Miami Herald reports that a passing boater saw the accident and took the two on board his vessel.

Both were hospitalized early Monday at Ryder Trauma Center, but Pino said he didn't know their conditions.

Authorities are investigating the crash, and "nothing at this point would indicate that alcohol played a role," Pino said.

Kingston rose to fame with his 2007 hit "Beautiful Girls" and was also featured on songs by artists including Justin Bieber. His self-titled debut album sold over 1 million copies worldwide.

On Twitter, Bieber posted a message of support for Kingston.

"Got my friend Sean Kingston in my prayers tonight," Bieber tweeted early Monday. "A true friend and big bro. Please keep him in your prayers tonight as well."

A number of hip-hop musicians were in Miami Beach over the weekend for Urban Beach Week.

In a 2007 interview with The Associated Press, Kingston described his music as a fusion of reggae, pop, rap and R&B.



Central Montana flooding stabilizing despite rain

After more than a week of seemingly endless rain and constant flooding there appears to be a slight reprieve — if only for two days.

"We were hoping it was going to warm up for the rest of the week," said Jonathan Suk, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "Unfortunately we have another storm system moving in.

Some sunshine is expected today, but Suk said that on Wednesday temperatures could reach 70 degrees before dipping back into the 60s, with a chance of precipitation on Thursday.

"Maybe next weekend we'll have some more sun," he said. "But I wouldn't be putting all our chips in on that one."

Suk reported on Monday afternoon that in the past 24 hours more than a half-inch of rain had fallen in places such as Lewistown, and close to 0.4 inches accumulated in Havre. But at some missile silo sites in Judith Basin County, there were reports of almost an inch of rain.

In Great Falls, there was 0.8 inches of rain in the past 24 hours.

At Gibson Dam almost an inch of rain fell, but there was no flooding to report.

Suk said the rainfall totals on Monday afternoon were what they had expected, if not a little less than anticipated.

Snowfall of up to 7 inches was reported in the Little Belt Mountains, and Suk said there were reports of 15 inches of snowfall on the mountain peaks near the southern Montana-Idaho border.

Closer to home, Fergus County Emergency Management Coordinator Cheri Kilby said there were no new damage reports as of Monday afternoon.


Is Sarah Palin Running For President?

Washington, DC- It's fair to say Sarah Palin is no stranger to the national spotlight. So as you might imagine her latest U-S bus tour is creating quite a stir.  

Many are curious to see if the former Republican Vice Presidential nominee will make a bid for a 2012 presidential run.

"It isn't a campaign bus! This is a bus to be able to express to America how much we appreciate our foundation and to invite more people to be interested in all that is good about America," said Palin.

Her explanation hasn't stopped speculation surrounding the former Alaska Governor's bus tour. Palin recently made stops in DC, Baltimore and Gettysburg, all the while, fielding questions about a presidential run.

When asked what did she think the odds were that she would run, Palin Replied, "Oh, I don't know; I honestly don't know. It's still a matter of looking at the field and considering much."

Political experts believe Palin's tour is a way to test the waters.



Older AIDS survivors face new challenges

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – AIDS nearly killed Lou Grosso three decades ago, but that didn't prepare him for the latest news from his doctor: he has heart disease.

Like many older HIV carriers facing problems -- including financial -- they never expected to live long enough to confront, Grosso, 57, also suffers from aching joints, memory loss and nerve pain.

Of the 14 pills he takes each day, only three are designed to treat HIV.

Dr. Brad Hare, his specialist at San Francisco General Hospital, keeps track of it all, but Grosso is still worried.

"I've often said to my doctors, 'You're so worried about the AIDS but I'm gonna drop over from a heart attack'," Grosso said. "It bothers me; I'm having a good life and don't want it to be cut short because my body thinks I'm 80."

While many have turned their attention -- and money -- to fighting the epidemic in Africa, experts here are increasingly troubled by a new kind of AIDS crisis.

Some 15 years into the era of protease inhibitors and drug cocktails, the first large group of AIDS patients to go through the aging process is facing a host of unexpected medical conditions, not to mention psychological and financial challenges they never thought they would live to see.

Grosso, who programmed some of the first personal software in the 80s, is amazed that he has survived long enough to learn how to build websites.

But he also worries that his mind isn't as sharp as it once was. He finds himself arguing with colleagues about whether topics were covered in meetings, for example.

"I'll just have no memory of it," he said.


Obama Pays Memorial Day Tribute to Fallen American Heroes at National Cemetery

President Obama honored fallen American veterans on Memorial Day by participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, followed by a service at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Obama said in his Memorial Day address that this day was to memorialize patriots who "gave of themselves until they had nothing more to give."

"Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay. But we can honor their sacrifice, and we must. We must honor it in our own lives by holding their memories close to our hearts, and heeding the example they set," he told a crowd at the cemetery's Memorial Amphitheater.

"And we must honor it as a nation by keeping our sacred trust with all who wear America's uniform, and the families who love them; by never giving up the search for those who've gone missing under our country's flag or are held as prisoners of war; by serving our patriots as well as they serve us – from the moment they enter the military, to the moment they leave it, to the moment they are laid to rest."

The Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is the final resting place of more than 300,000 Americans, including presidents and a first lady.

In his speech, Obama also invoked scripture as he recently did at the Memorial Service for tornado victims in Joplin, Mo., Sunday.


Second Ford-Class Carrier To Honor John F. Kennedy

She is the second ship to bear the name. The second of the Gerald R. Ford-Class aircraft carriers will bear the name of America's thirty-fifth President. Kennedy was also a naval officer in World War II. So far, there are two named Ford-Class ships- the USS Gerald R. Ford and the USS John F. Kennedy. The Ford replaces the USS Enterprise, the only Enterprise-Class carrier, and the Kennedy replaces the USS Nimitz. There had been a petition to have CVN-79 named the Enterprise, of which there have been eight ships. A ninth Enterprise would have, rather oddly, brought the US Navy up to the number of starships named Enterprise in Star Trek.  The starships were named for the first aircraft carrier to bear that name.



Gen. Martin Dempsey to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

President Obama nominated General Martin Dempsey to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Al-Qaida has taken control of Zinjibar, Yemen; a look at "third country nationals," the military's international civilian staff; Utah has passed a law encouraging its citizens to use gold or silver coins produced by the Mint as cash; legal scholar Peter Moskos says the U.S. should consider flogging criminals to reduce the prison population; and, on World No Smoke Day, we ask if we should rethink our anti-smoking efforts.


Importance of your position in Search Engines

The last article discussed the best ways of driving your website up the search engine rankings and we now want to look at the importance of position in the rankings and what it means in terms of traffic.

There is no doubt that traffic is directly proportional to the position your site holds in the rankings but do you know just how much difference even a couple of places movement actually makes? If you are not on the front page for a given search term then you will find that traffic is generally very low level. If you think about this you should not be too surprised. Think about your own search habits. You type in a given search term and then scan the results for something which relates to what you are actually looking for and which seems to answer your needs. How often do you bother to look at even the second page? We are guessing that you certainly would never bother scrolling down as far as the third page. Sound familiar?

So let's assume you are on the first page at position number 10. You decide you want to put in some work to drive it up to the top half or top five positions on the page. How much difference will this make to the level of traffic you experience? Would it surprise you to know that a move to position 5 would probably result in a tenfold increase in traffic? As a general rule of thumb, the first position website will get approximately 40% of the available clicks for a given search term while a website at position 10 will get less than 1% of the clicks! See what a difference this makes?



Great website to make big money online.

Footage shows 'armed Westerners' on ground in Libya

The clip broadcast on al-Jazeera features a number of armed men, some wearing sunglasses and keffiyahs, or traditional Arab headscarves, who moved off when they realised they were being watched.

The footage emerged after Britain and France said they will deploy attack helicopters over Libya to better pick out pro-Gaddafi forces, further deepening their involvement in the crisis.

Helicopters are more vulnerable to attack from the ground than high-flying warplanes.

Col Muammar Gaddafi denies attacking civilians, saying his forces were obliged to act to contain armed criminal gangs and al Qaeda militants.

He says the NATO intervention is an act of colonial aggression aimed at grabbing Libya's plentiful oil reserves.



Great website to make big money online.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Obama picks Dempsey as top military officer

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Monday nominated General Martin Dempsey, who commanded troops in the Iraq war, as the top U.S. military officer.

If confirmed by the Senate, Dempsey would replace Admiral Mike Mullen as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he steps down on October 1.

At a White House ceremony, Obama hailed Dempsey as "one of our nation's respected and combat-tested generals."

Obama made the choice for the high-profile post just before heading to Arlington Cemetery for a Memorial Day event to honor America's war dead.

The selection comes as Obama is facing growing pressure to accelerate a troop drawdown in Afghanistan and is preparing to complete a withdrawal from Iraq.

Echoing remarks Dempsey himself recently made to U.S. troops, Obama vowed: "We will provide whatever it takes to achieve our objectives in the current fight."


Great website to make big money online.

Rays apologize to fans for Avril Lavigne’s obscene concert

That's the question that the embarrassed Tampa Bay Rays should have thrown back at Avril Lavigne after the punk rawker let loose some profanities during the team's summer concert series at Tropicana Field on Saturday night.

Instead the red-faced Rays just apologized directly to their fans in a statement on Sunday.

Said spokesman Rick Vaughn (via The Heater):

"The Rays demand profanity-free performances from all of our concert performers and we are extremely disappointed by the language used in last night's show. It is not consistent with the family-friendly atmosphere that Tropicana Field is known for."



Great website to make big money online.

Six Steps to Courteney Cox's Bikini Body

Hot mama Courteney Cox, 46, flaunts her figure frequently on her primetime comedy "Cougar Town." But how does she stay in such great shape? Trainer Michele Lovitt, whose clients include Julianne Moore, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and P. Diddy, shared with Self magazine one of the workouts she does with Cox to help her keep that bikini body. Check it out.

1. Squats
"Squats are one of the best exercises you can do for your hips, butt and thighs!" says Lovitt.
Stand with feet hip-width apart and, for added intensity, hold weights at shoulder level or at your sides. Bend the knees, and lower into a squat, keeping the knees behind the toes. Imagine that you're sticking your butt out behind you, but keep the torso upright and contracted. Press into the heels to stand up. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps.

Byron Louie Watch 40 min Video from Puppy to Adult


Saturday, May 28, 2011

win cash and get to keep free stuff

Win cash and get to keep free stuff


Great website to make big money online.

Palin welcome in Arizona neighborhood, media less so

SCOTTSDALE (Reuters) – Residents in this sprawling neighborhood of horse properties in far north Scottsdale welcome Sarah Palin as a potential neighbor, although they are mixed about the news media on her trail.

"I'm very happy that the house finally has someone living in it. it's been empty for a while, and it's nice to have a neighbor," said Monica Rahman, the owner of a busy stable across a dirt road from the manse the former Alaska governor is reported to have bought.

A company acting for an unnamed cash buyer ponied up $1.7 million for the sprawling 5-bedroom horse property in this saguaro-studded neighborhood northwest of Phoenix on May 13, and sources close to the deal have told some news outlets like the Wall Street Journal that Palin is the buyer.

The 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate's possible purchase of a home in the Lower 48 has stoked speculation she may shortly announce as a contender for her party's nomination to run against President Barack Obama in 2012.

For days, Rahman says, the formerly quiet neighborhood has been buzzed by clattering news helicopters, while an influx of reporters has boosted traffic up and down the previously quiet roads, some of them unpaved and used as riding trails.

"The horses get spooked. It's dangerous," she said, her exasperation at the media clearly straining a natural courtesy.

"I'd much rather have our neighborhood as calm as it was," she added.

The reported sale comes less than six months after Palin's single-parent daughter, Bristol, bought a house in Maricopa, a sleepy dormitory town in the desert about a 45 minute drive south of Phoenix.

Fresh from riding horses, local trainer Maggie Lang said she hoped the younger Palins might stop by the local riding camp and learn to saddle up.

"We're hoping her kids take riding lessons ... and hang out with the horses," she said.


Great website to make big money online.

Google, PayPal tussle over mobile payment secrets

SAN FRANCISCO – Google Inc.'s ambitious plan to supplant credit cards with smartphones has thrust the Internet search leader into a legal tussle with online payment pioneer PayPal, which contends Google stole its ideas by hiring away two key executives.

PayPal painted a picture of betrayal and corporate espionage in a lawsuit filed late Thursday in a California state court, just hours after the unveiling of the "Google Wallet" payment service in New York.

The 28-page complaint alleges the service evolved from research that eBay Inc.'s PayPal had been working on for the past decade.

PayPal fingers two central culprits in the intellectual heist — one of its former executives, Osama Bedier, and former eBay executive Stephanie Tilenius.

In its response Friday, Google contends it merely identified talented candidates to run its mobile payments service and then made them offers that proved too tempting to refuse.

"Silicon Valley was built on the ability of individuals to use their knowledge and expertise to seek better employment opportunities, a principle recognized by both California law and public policy," Google spokesman Aaron Zamost said. "We respect trade secrets, and will defend ourselves against these claims."

The civil complaint alleges Google spent more than two years discussing a partnership that would have relied on PayPal to process payments for an application market set up for Google's mobile phone software, Android.

Google cut off the Android talks earlier this year after it had poached enough PayPal employees to set up its own mobile payments service, according to the suit. The suit doesn't directly connect the application markets system with the technology behind Google Wallet.

Google recruited Bedier, a PayPal executive for nine years, while the two companies were in talks about their alliance. After initially waffling, Bedier left PayPal to become Google's vice president of payments four months ago.



Great website to make big money online.


Southerners love to barbecue.

I know quite a few men--some related to me, in fact, who are  crazy serious about it.

They--and thousands like them-- have turned this traditional cooking technique into part art form, part science project, and almost a professional sporting event.

But I still wasn't quite prepared for the Memphis in May World Barbecue Cooking contest.

Nearly 250 highly-competitive teams were spread out around Fairgrounds stadium. The regular location, abutting the Mississippi River at Tom Lee Park, was pretty flooded out by rising water.

But a little deluge wasn't going to stop this contest.

It was appropriately re-named, "Come Hell or High water"--with t-shirts to that effect.

I arrived on a blustery day, and I quickly learned that weather was just one of the factors these top barbecuers consider. Wind, you see, was one of the top worries, and the festival flags were snapping in the strong breeze. If you opened your cooker--doing its slow cook magic at 250 degrees--and the wind got in...well, that was it: your cooking temps could plummet. It's a danger that could wreak havoc on cook times--and even make your final BBQ positively inedible.

Read More

Great website to make big money online.

Dutch government to ban tourists from cannabis shops

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Dutch government on Friday said it would start banning tourists from buying cannabis from "coffee shops" and impose restrictions on Dutch customers by the end of the year.

The Netherlands is well known for having one of Europe's most liberal soft drug policies that has made its cannabis shops a popular tourist attraction, particularly in Amsterdam.

Backed by the far-right party of anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders, the coalition government that came into power last year announced plans to curb drug tourism as part of a nationwide program to promote health and fight crime.

"In order to tackle the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug trafficking, the open-door policy of coffee shops will end," the Dutch health and justice ministers wrote in a letter to the country's parliament on Friday.



Great website to make big money online.

Thailand arrests American for alleged king insult

BANGKOK – Thai authorities said Friday they arrested an American citizen on charges he insulted the country's monarchy, in part by posting a link on his blog four years ago to a banned book about the Southeast Asian nation's ailing king.

The man is also suspected of translating, from English into Thai, portions of "The King Never Smiles" — an unauthorized biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej — and posting them online along with articles he wrote that allegedly defame the royal family, said Tharit Pengdith, who heads the Department of Special Investigation, Thailand's equivalent of the FBI.

The American has denied the charges, according to the Thai-language prachatai.com news website, which tracks cases of lese majeste, as the crime of insulting the monarchy is known.

The 54-year-old Thai-born man lived in the U.S. state of Colorado for around 30 years before returning recently to Thailand for treatment for high blood pressure and gout, the website said. If the allegations are true, the infractions would have been committed while he lived in America — where they are legal — raising concern about the reach of Thai law and how it is applied to Thai nationals and foreign visitors.

Tharit said the man's Thai name was Lerpong Wichaikhammat. Walter M. Braunohler, the U.S. Embassy spokesman in Bangkok, identified the American as Joe Gordon and said a consular officer visited him on Friday morning. He declined comment further, saying only that officials were following the case "very closely."

"We're still looking into what the exact charges are," Braunohler told The Associated Press.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy but has severe lese majeste laws that mandate a jail term of three to 15 years for any person who "defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir to the throne or the Regent."



Great website to make big money online.

Last surviving Austrian who hid Jews honored

VIENNA – It was 1942 in Hitler's Austria, a time when a late-night knock on the door could have resulted in deportation or death. Edeltrud Becher shuddered as she heard the rap of knuckles from unannounced visitors.

She opened the door — and gasped: Instead of the Gestapo, her Jewish fiance and his two brothers were on the doorstep, looking nervously over their shoulders.

The three had fled to Prague after the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938. But by 1942, that city too was in the hands of Hitler's henchmen. The three were told to pack essentials for deportation to a concentration camp.

They wrote suicide notes to make authorities think they were dead, and then did what no one thought any Jew would do — they took a night train straight to Vienna, back into the heartland of the Nazi Reich.

In deciding to protect them from the Nazis that night, Becher — now Edeltrud Posiles — embarked on a dangerous game of hide-and-seek that included some truly hairy moments: on one occasion the three jumped from a balcony to escape detection, and Walter, her future husband, pretended to be a waiter as the Gestapo stormed a cafe.

Walter Posiles as well as his brother Ludwig survived. Hans, the oldest brother, beat the odds of being found by the Nazis only to be killed by a Russian bomb during the dying days of the war.

Hiding Jews was punishable by death. But the feisty 94-year old says "there was never a moment's doubt in my mind," when asked if she hesitated as she was asked by the brothers for sanctuary.

And — even though the marriage ended in divorce — "I would do it again," declares Posiles, the last one of 88 Austrians known to have saved Jews from the Holocaust who is still alive.

"Even though I'm a coward," the former librarian adds after a pause, moving gingerly from her walker to stand proudly before banner letters prominently spelling out her name on Vienna's bustling Ring Avenue along with Austria's 87 other known "Righteous Gentiles."


Great website to make big money online.

Tiki Barber puts his foot in it again with ‘Anne Frank’ comment

While brother Ronde appears to be the very soul of dignity as he continues his future Hall of Fame career down in Tampa Bay, former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber managed to offend quite a few people with a recent comment. Explaining the media scrutiny he's received since he left his pregnant wife to be with his 23-year-old girlfriend, Barber told L. Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated that he moved into the attic of his agent, Mark Lepselter, to escape prying eyes.

"Lep's Jewish," Barber allegedly said, "and it was like a reverse Anne Frank thing."

Um, yeah. A millionaire pro football player comparing himself to a teenage Jewish Holocaust victim is going to go over about as well as Adrian Peterson's recent "modern-day slavery" comment, but at least Peterson had a bit of context with which to defend himself. Barber's comment was thoughtless at best and asinine at worst. It's certainly the wrong step to take as Barber tries to rehab his image in the wake of professional and personal failures, and as he tried to convince people that he's got a legitimate future in the NFL as a comeback story.

Barber was never known as the most tactful sort; it's well-known that his way of doing things put off some of his old teammates, especially when he questioned the leadership of the Giants quarterback as a member of the media as opposed to a guy in the locker room who would have to answer for his words. And his concept of himself as a future media magnate hasn't gone as expected. But this is a larger bump in the road. Judging from initial reactions, Barber, who is an NFL analyst for Yahoo! Sports, will have quite a time living this down.

"Holocaust trivialization continues to spread and finds new ways and expressions that shock the conscience," Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League

Aussie student finds universe's 'missing mass'

SYDNEY (AFP) – A 22-year-old Australian university student has solved a problem which has puzzled astrophysicists for decades, discovering part of the so-called "missing mass" of the universe during her summer break.

Undergraduate Amelia Fraser-McKelvie made the breakthrough during a holiday internship with a team at Monash University's School of Physics, locating the mystery material within vast structures called "filaments of galaxies".

Monash astrophysicist Dr Kevin Pimbblet explained that scientists had previously detected matter that was present in the early history of the universe but that could not now be located.

"There is missing mass, ordinary mass not dark mass ... It's missing to the present day," Pimbblet told AFP.

"We don't know where it went. Now we do know where it went because that's what Amelia found."

Fraser-McKelvie, an aerospace engineering and science student, was able to confirm after a targeted X-ray search for the mystery mass that it had moved to the "filaments of galaxies", which stretch across enormous expanses of space.

Pimbblet's earlier work had suggested the filaments as a possible location for the "missing" matter, thought to be low in density but high in temperature.



Great website to make big money online.

Data Breach at Security Firm Linked to Attack on Lockheed

Lockheed Martin, the nation's largest military contractor, has battled disruptions in its computer networks this week that might be tied to a hacking attack on a vendor that supplies coded security tokens to millions of users, security officials said on Friday.

The SecurID electronic tokens, which are used to gain access to computer networks by corporate employees and government officials from outside their offices, are supplied by the RSA Security division of the EMC Corporation.

RSA acknowledged in March that it had sustained a data breach that could have compromised some of its security products. Executives in the military industry said Friday that Lockheed's problems appeared to stem from that data breach and could be the first public signs of damage from it.

The March intrusion reverberated through the computer security community. The RSA technology is used by most Fortune 500 companies and federal agencies to provide an extra layer of security when employees use their networks from customer offices, hotels or their homes.

Many of RSA's customers have taken extra measures since the intrusion was discovered, either by adding security measures, finding alternative solutions or simply shutting off remote access. Security experts said it was possible that companies other than Lockheed had faced attacks, whether they realized it or not.



Great website to make big money online.

Fiat to buy remaining U.S. stake in Chrysler

Chrysler is on a faster track to shed all U.S. government ownership by June 10 -- exactly two years after it emerged from bankruptcy.

Fiat said Friday that it has asked to buy the U.S. Treasury's remaining 6% stake in Chrysler.

The Canadian government owns 1.7% of the Auburn Hills automaker.

"This is great news for Chrysler. ... It obviously gives us more autonomy to move forward," said Alfred Flores, a Chrysler dealer in Houston and head of the company's national dealer council.

Fiat and the U.S. Treasury will negotiate a price. If they don't reach an agreement by June 10, they agreed to accept the average of two estimates set by investment banks, Fiat said in a statement.

Fiat's announcement came a week before President Barack Obama is to visit a Chrysler plant in Toledo next Friday.

By buying the government's remaining shares, Fiat would boost its Chrysler stake to 52%, up from 46%. Fiat and Chrysler need each other and this deal will strengthen the alliance, said longtime auto analyst Maryann Keller.

"Neither one has the ability to compete alone in the kind of global environment that they face," Keller said.


Great website to make big money online.

Sony Chief Stringer Blindsided by Hackers

Sony Corp. (6758), besieged by hackers since April, considered its PlayStation Network an unlikely target even after threats by the online collective Anonymous and three separate security incidents in 2008.

The hacker group declared in April that it would wage a cyber war against Sony for trying to stop people from tinkering with the PlayStation 3. Three years earlier, the company faced three breaches in Europe, including one in which Sony said some PlayStation Network user data might have been stolen.

The repeated incidents should have warned Sony its online network was vulnerable, said Eugene Spafford, a computer science professor at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The failure to enact safeguards such as appointing a single chief of security may show Sony misunderstands the risks inherent in Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer's networked strategy, he said.

"The evidence we've seen so far speaks to a lack of a good data management plan and a good security plan," said Spafford, who specializes in information security, computer crime investigation and information ethics.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said today it told Sony to carry out preventive measures against data breaches, instructed the company to ease customer concerns over misuse of credit cards and share more information among affiliates.

Spreading Attacks

Sony has struggled to keep up with the barrage that started in mid-April. The Qriocity and PlayStation Network entertainment services were knocked out for almost a month, compromising data in more than 100 million accounts.

In the past week, the Tokyo-based company has been hit with smaller intrusions -- a breach at online-service unit So-net Entertainment Corp. (3789) led to the misuse of user names and passwords of 128 customers. This week, Sony shut web pages that were targeted in Greece, Canada, Thailand and Indonesia.



Great website to make big money online.

Jessica Simpson makes the mistake of slipping back into her Daisy Dukes.

Jessica Simpson has great gams, but she really needs to retire her Daisy Dukes. The barely-there short shorts -- that became part of her go-to getup after she starred in the film version of "The Dukes of Hazzard" -- aren't that cute or that classy. Come to think of it ... neither is that handbag, or that turquoise-trimmed jacket.


Michelle Obama on her “cute” husband, Hillary Clinton and how she raises her daughters

While President Obama was delivering a speech to the British Parliament on Wednesday, First Lady Michelle Obama used a visit to a prestigious girls school to give a rare glimpse into her life in the White House.

In prepared remarks followed by a Q&A at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, she talked about what made her attracted to Obama and how she raises her daughters--as well as Hillary Clinton and whether the U.S. is ready for a woman president:

On whether she knew Obama would be president when she met him: "Absolutely not. No, I'm just kidding.... I knew he was a special person. And it had nothing to do with his education. It had nothing to do with his potential. And I say this to young women: Don't check off—there are a lot of women who have the boxes. Did he go to the right school? What is his income?"It was none of that. It was how he felt about his mother; the love that he felt for his mother; his relationship to women; his work ethic ... he wasn't impressed with himself.  And he was funny. And we joked a lot. And he loved his little sister ... he was a community organizer. I really respected that.

"It was those kind of values that made me think you don't meet people like that often. And when you couple that with talent, and he's cute—you know, I always thought he would be useful. But I had no idea he would be president. I didn't think he was going to be president until the night we were standing on the stage and he actually won. I was like, 'gosh, look, you won.' "



Great website to make big money online.

Husband gave life to save wife from tornado — ‘He was my hero’

As a tornado tore his Joplin, Mo., home apart, Don Lansaw did what came naturally: He threw himself on top of his wife Bethany to protect her. And in doing so, he gave his life for her.

Lansaw's is just one of several tales of heroism, heartbreak, and amazing escapes that have emerged from the spate of violent weather events that swept the center of the country this week. As many as 125 people are thought to have been killed by the Joplin tornado alone.

"The house was ripping apart, it all happened so fast," Bethany Lansaw told NBC News. "All the pillows were flying off of us, the only thing I managed to do was keep one in front of my face."

You can watch the report on Don Lansaw's heroic sacrifice in this video, courtesy of NBC Nightly News:


Great website to make big money online.

Microsoft full-court press

While its own mobile software struggles to compete with Apple's iPhone and Google's Android, Microsoft may have found a far more effective strategy -- lawsuits.

The mobile laggard has gotten aggressive with Android device makers by bringing lawsuits accusing them of violating Microsoft's patent.

A new report suggests that the tech giant makes more off the licensing fees it receives from Android patent settlements than it does from its own Windows Phone 7 software.

Citi analyst Walter Pritchard wrote in a report yesterday that one manufacturer, HTC, pays Microsoft a $5 licensing fees for each Android phone it sells after the two settlement their patent dispute in

With about 30 million HTC Android phones sold, that amounts to roughly $150 million for Microsoft. The company has only made about $30 million from its own mobile software, assuming it got an estimated $15 license fee for the 2 million Windows Phone 7 handset sold so far.



Great website to make big money online.

Why Lauren Alaina Will Outsell Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery was just declared the 10th "American Idol" winner, but as the past two seasons' Crystal Bowersox and Adam Lambert can tell you, winning isn't everything. Both of those runners-up have sold more albums than the respective contestants who beat them, and I have a feeling this season's runner-up, Lauren Alaina, will continue that pattern when she and Scotty release their albums later this year.

Why, do you ask? Read on.

1) Lauren May Get More Airplay - "Idol" fans loved Scotty, yes, but country radio staffers don't seem to be quite as enthusiastic. Stark Radio recently reported that country radio broadcasters are already resistant to Scotty; WFRE's Jess Wright even said, "If Scotty McCreery gets signed, I'm gonna need to change my phone number," and KUZZ's Toni-Marie quipped, "I'm calling in sick the day they bring Scotty by on the radio tour." These same programmers also seemed to think Lauren has a good shot, with the right material and proper handling.

2) Lauren May Get Better Material - For her first single, Universal Records honcho Jimmy Iovine gave her "Like My Mother Does," a catchy, heartstring-plucking ballad about a young girl's admiration for her mom. Aw. Scotty, on the other hand, got the grammatically awkward "I Love You This Big," with a silly chorus a boy might sing to his mom at age 5, not age 17. Were the "Idol" powers-that-be, who clearly wanted a girl winner this year, trying to sabotage him by giving him the weaker song? I don't know--but I don't think "I Love You This Big" did him any favors, and if he gets material like that for his first album, those above-mentioned radio programmers aren't going to change their minds about him.

3) Lauren May Get More Label & Management Support - It's been proven that if the "Idol" powers-that-be don't get the winner they wanted, they'll proceed with their original plans anyway. For instance, Taylor Hicks won Season 5, but all the 19 Entertainment marketing efforts that year went into making Chris Daughtry a star. Way more support was given to Adam Lambert than Kris Allen, and we all see how much effort the "Idol" machine put into launching Lee DeWyze's career. On this week's final showdown it was obvious how hard Lauren was pimped over Scotty, and while that attempt failed, that doesn't mean Lauren won't get a bigger marketing budget and bigger push later on.



Great website to make big money online.

Gil Scott-Heron dies; influential poet/musician helped inspire rap

Gil Scott-Heron, whose late 1960s and early '70s poetry set to rhythmic jazz music, especially "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," was one of the most important and obvious inspirations for rap music, has died, according to his British publisher.

The poet and musician, who had long struggled with drug addiction, had in the past two years returned into the public eye with an acclaimed solo recording, "I'm New Here," and a follow-up remix album done by Jamie xx of the British group the XX. Scott-Heron was 62.

Last year the New Yorker published a reverent but heartbreaking profile of Scott-Heron by Alec Wilkinson.  Written after Scott-Heron had recorded "I'm New Here" but after he had relapsed and was smoking crack openly in front of the reporter, the story traced his rise, his fall and his influence.


Great website to make big money online.

NATO receives no letter from Libya on ceasefire

BRUSSELS, May 27 (Xinhua) -- NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu on Friday said that the alliance has not received a letter from the Libyan government proposing a ceasefire.

"You may have seen press reports about a letter from the Gaddafi regime proposing a ceasefire. It was not sent to NATO," she told a press briefing at NATO headquarters.

"Anyway, words are not enough. The regime has made similar statement before ... What matters are actions, not words. Those actions should be verifiable and credible," she said.

Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi has reportedly sent a letter to several countries proposing a ceasefire.



Great website to make big money online.

Egypt reopens Gaza border crossing

Egypt said that the Rafah border crossing would be opened permanently starting on Saturday from 9am to 9pm every day except Fridays and holidays.

Women, children and men over 40 are now allowed to cross freely. Men aged between 18 and 40 will still require a permit, and trade is prohibited

Israel fears weapons will be imported into Gaza, but Egypt insists it will conduct thorough searches.

This gives Gaza Palestinians a way to freely enter and exit their territory for the first time since 2007, when Hamas overran the territory, and Israel and Egypt closed the crossings.

Previously, only about 300 Palestinians were allowed out every day.


Great website to make big money online.

Mitt Romney finally shows up in Iowa

Mitt Romney made a belated 2012 campaign debut in Iowa on Friday, dipping a brown-loafered toe into the state that casts the first votes in the presidential contest.

Romney, who will formally enter the Republican race next week, has largely shunned Iowa since falling short here in the 2008 caucuses. He spent much of the day bobbing and weaving around questions about his commitment to Iowa.
"My guess is you'll have plenty of opportunity to see me. I care about Iowa," he told a midday audience in Des Moines, after refusing to say whether he'd compete in a nonbinding straw vote this summer or go all-out in the caucuses next winter.

But if there was any doubt about whether he'd abandon Iowa altogether, as some have speculated, Romney may have put it to rest when he answered affirmatively a quintessential Iowa caucus question: about government subsidies for ethanol, the fuel produced from corn and other farm products.

"I support the subsidy of ethanol. I believe ethanol's an important part of our energy solution in this country," he told a supporter from West Des Moines.

The former Massachusetts governor has been described as unusually weak for a candidate many see as the Republican front-runner. And his somewhat diffident approach to Iowa — and to campaigning in general — is part of an attempt to lower expectations in his second White House try.

Romney told Iowans that his candidacy was tailored to these tough times.

Miami Heat ticket prices likely to bounce around

If you want to attend Game One or Game Two of the NBA Finals, the hottest sports ticket in years in South Florida, here's how to do it:

Have a friend who is a season ticket holder.

Convince that friend to sell you his or her tickets at more or less face value.

It worked for Glen Levine, a Fort Lauderdale attorney. He scored two lower-level passes to Thursday's Game 2 at $1,000 a pop.

"We're paying for tickets, and it's the playoffs, so they might as well be good seats," he said. "It's a great atmosphere, and a lot of fun."

If you don't have that kind of friend, it's a Lord of the Flies-type situation, a survival-of-the-fittest scramble for a scarce and coveted commodity.

At 1 p.m. Friday, the Heat put an unspecified number of tickets on sale through Ticketmaster, including some as cheap as $20, as required by the NBA. They were gone in a flash.

Ed Silva, a Lantana resident, and his brother Jim jumped into their car Friday morning and drove down to the AmericanAirlines Arena, thinking you could walk up to the window and latch onto a pair just like that. Ha!

The Celtics fans, who say they'll cheer for the Heat against the Dallas Mavericks, left bummed out and empty-handed.

The ticket-buying scene has shifted to the so-called secondary market: StubHub, Bargainseatsonline GetTickets.com and their ilk.

Back in 2006, the last time the Heat was in the Finals, the secondary market wasn't such a big deal. Now, every John Q. Fan is doing it.



Great website to make big money online.

Libyan gov't doubts Russia's turnaround stance over conflict

TRIPOLI, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The Libyan government doubts Russia will change its stance on Libya's situation and side with NATO, Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said Friday.

Earlier in the day, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said at a Group of Eight (G8) summit in Deauville, France, that Russia could act as a mediator to solve Libya's domestic crisis, but Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has no right to lead the country any longer.

The two-day summit ended with a unanimously-adopted declaration which said "Gaddafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfill their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy."

"He (Gaddafi) must go," it stressed.

Disturbed by Russia's change of position, Kaim told a press conference in Tripoli that the Libyan government is in contact with the Russian side to make its position clear.

Russia has been critical of NATO-led airraids which started over two months ago, saying airstrikes go beyond the UN Security Council resolution which mandated a no-fly zone over the North African country.



Great website to make big money online.

Blue Angels’ chief screws up, steps down

The commanding officer of the elite Blue Angels flight demonstration team stepped down Friday after a making a "lower-than-normal maneuver" during a recent air show, the Navy said.

Because the team has been grounded since the May 22 incident in Lynchburg, Va., its performances at the Rockford Airfest next weekend and an air show in Evansville, Ind., on June 11-12 were canceled.

"With deep personal regret I shared with my command today that I will be voluntarily leaving the greatest flight demonstration team. I performed a maneuver that had an unacceptably low minimum altitude," Koss wrote in a statement released by Naval Air Forces. "This maneuver, combined with other instances of not meeting the airborne standard . . . led to my decision to step down."


Great website to make big money online.

Bulls on track for future titles

The Bulls can look forward to a very bright future and probable NBA championship soon.

Aw, come on, sisters and brothers: We expected the Bulls to have a good season this year. But not this good.

Who really expected all of this: the league's best record; Derrick Rose as NBA MVP; Tom Thibodeau as NBA coach of the year; Gar Forman as the NBA's co-executive of the year; a trip to the Eastern Conference finals?

I didn't. Neither did most of you.

Now, just as Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said earlier, "If we stay healthy, we have an awfully good chance of winning at least four championships."

Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson all signed off on that.

Of course, I can't see that happening any time soon because the Miami Heat is finally living up to the hype behind Dwyane Wade, Le-Bron James and Chris Bosh.

But nobody knew how bright the Bulls' future was until we saw what they did this season.

NATO receives no letter from Libya on ceasefire

BRUSSELS, May 27 (Xinhua) -- NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu on Friday said that the alliance has not received a letter from the Libyan government proposing a ceasefire.

"You may have seen press reports about a letter from the Gaddafi regime proposing a ceasefire. It was not sent to NATO," she told a press briefing at NATO headquarters.

"Anyway, words are not enough. The regime has made similar statement before ... What matters are actions, not words. Those actions should be verifiable and credible," she said.



Great website to make big money online.

Serbia vows to hunt Ratko Mladic's protectors

Mr Tadic also said appeals by the family of the former Serbian general will not prevent his extradition to The Hague to stand trial.

The 69-year-old faces charges of genocide during the Bosnian War in the 1990s.

His legal team is to appeal a court order on Monday on health grounds.

Mr Tadic told the BBC: 'In the next few days, we'll have a completed picture of what happened in the past two-and-a-half years, even more, in the past 16 years. And, for us, that is going to be very, very important.'

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council said last night that it welcomed the arrest of Mr Mladic.

'The members of the Security Council welcome the arrest on 26 May 2011 of Ratko Mladic,' said French envoy and current Security Council President Gerard Araud in a statement.

The members, he said, 'congratulate the Serbian authorities on the arrest, which is a clear demonstration of cooperation from the government of Serbia with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia'.