Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay' Becomes Inte ...

Steve Osunsami reports on the missing monkey with a growing fan following.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Google launches Google+, a quasi-Facebook competitor

 NEWYORK (CNNMoney) -- Google on Tuesday unveiled Google+, yet another attempt by the search giant to overcome its past miscues in the social networking space.

More people visit Google's network of websites than Facebook each month, but Facebook is killing the search company in categories that advertisers care most about: Time spent and pages viewed. Users spent 62% more time on Facebook than on Google last month, and viewed more than twice the number of pages on Facebook as they did on Google, according to comScore.

Google's (GOOG, Fortune 500) latest solution to this growing trend is Google+, a new social network that tries to out-Facebook Facebook. On Facebook, people are either "friends" or not. Google+ makes that distinction more fluid, letting users group their contacts into smaller categories, such as relatives, co-workers, or members of a yoga class. Information can be shared selectively with each group.

"The subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools," said Vic Gundotra, Google's senior vice president of social, in a blog post. "In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it."

Google+ features several components that attempt to mimic natural human interaction. For instance, to simulate sitting out on your front porch, one feature allows users to declare that they're "hanging out" and interested in video chatting if a select group of people are around. Another lets users chat with a particular set of people -- say, before they all meet at a concert.

Google often denies that Facebook is the company's primary competitor, and Gundotra said Google+ was "not a reaction to Facebook." Yet sources with knowledge of the project say that Google+ was known internally as "Googbook." Google devoted 300 people to the team.

Unlike Google's previous social attempts, such Orkut and Buzz -- which had big, bold launches and are largely considered failures -- Google is moving slowly and cautiously with Google+. It has only been launched for a small group of users, and others need to be invited to the service to use it.

Google also doesn't consider Google+ to be a separate product, exactly. Rather, the company says it is an extension of things you can already do on Google. A toolbar will be available atop all Google sites, and users can download an Android or Chrome application to get notifications and share content.

For instance, a user could be in Google Maps, and share directions with a group. Search results, documents, even advertisements could be shared using Google+.

Google's social puzzle pieces


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

‘Adios’ to Star Wars Galaxies

The Dark Side has won. It was never as popular as World of Warcraft, but Star Wars Galaxies had something that the king of MMORPGs didn't: The Force.

Galaxies used the power of the Star Wars brand for eight years, an eternity in the games space. Unfortunately, those days are almost at an end. In December, the game will suffer the same fate as Princess Leia's home planet of Alderaan. It will be terminated.

Now before you start writing an angry letter to George Lucas, remember that this sort of thing happens all the time. Eventually, even the most beloved online games go to that great arcade in the sky. Such is the fate of Galaxies. The game, which launched in 2003, has seen its share of success and problems (many of them technical). Some might argue that it never fully lived up to its considerable potential, but the game drew millions of satisfied players. Web searches on the game quickly blasted into hyperspace on the news of its cancelation. 


Did T.O. end his career on a reality show?


Chris Mortensen of ESPN was the first to report that receiver Terrell Owens(notes) may have had recent surgery for a torn ACL, a procedure that may keep him out of action for six months or more if true. Mortensen said that neither Owens nor agent Drew Rosenhaus were available for comment, but that the surgery was performed by noted surgeon James Andrews last month.  ESPN asked Rosenhaus about the possibility of an Owens surgery last month, as well. The picture accompanying this post was taken on June 5 at Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Dallas, so take that for what it's worth on any timeline.

Two stories are coming out as to the source of the injury (if it's true) — one source told Mort that T.O. suffered the injury during a workout. We do know that he's been working hard at Athletes Performance in Los Angeles through most of the offseason, and he's always trained like a demon, no matter what his other issues may be. However, the more interesting possibility is that he tore his ACL while taping a reality show for VH1, where he's been a featured performer before, according to one ESPN source.

The 37-year-old Owens will be a free agent when the lockout ends, and he's said that he intends to play this season. One of the sources that spoke with Mortensen indicated that there was no other knee damage outside the ACL injury, and with serious rehab, Owens could be ready to play again in about six months.

We're still trying to muddle through all the speculation, but if Owens were ready to come back to a team near his 38th birthday on Dec. 7, teams might just advise him to wait it out until 2012. He's been productive in recent years for a number of teams (72 receptions for 983 yards and nine touchdowns for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010), but this may be a serious setback. Owens' 2010 season ended early when he suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee against the Cleveland Browns in December. Dr. Andrews also performed that surgery, and the two injuries are not thought to be related.



Libya rejects Gaddafi arrest warrant

Libya has rejected the arrest warrants issued for its leader Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and the country's intelligence chief for alleged atrocities committed against political opponents.

The ruling is a "cover for NATO which is still trying to assassinate Gaddafi", Mohammed al-Gamudi, Libya's justice minister, said.

Deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaaim said the International Criminal Court (ICC)  "functions as a European foreign policy vehicle.

"It is a political court which serves its European paymasters," he said. "Our own courts will deal with any human rights abuses and other crimes committed in the course of conflict in Libya."

The ICC said the three men were wanted for their roles in suppressing the Libyan uprising, in which civilians have been murdered and persecuted by Gaddafi's forces.

The announcement was met with celebrations in rebel-held areas in Libya.

Al Jazeera's Sue Turton, reporting from Misurata, said the ICC move was news residents in the city had been "desperately waiting to hear".

"Almost every family here has lost a relative in the fighting or [has had a relative] abducted and taken to Tripoli. This is a sign to them that the international community has been listening when they've talked about war crimes committed in Misurata." 

'Murder and persecution'

ICC judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng said evidence submitted by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC prosecutor, was enough to establish "reasonable grounds to believe" the three were guilty of murder and the persecution of civilians, or "crimes against humanity", and that they should be arrested.

However, she stressed that the indictment and warrants were not proof of guilt, which must be proved at trial.

Beginning on February 15, when demonstrations first broke out, and continuing until at least February 28, Monageng said, Libya's security and military forces killed or imprisoned hundreds of perceived dissidents in Tripoli, Misurata and Benghazi, along with a number of other cities.

Gaddafi had "absolute and unquestioned control over the Libyan state apparatus of power," while Saif al-Islam - his second-oldest son and "unspoken successor" - functioned as a "de factor prime minister" and controlled the state's finances and logistics, she said.

Intelligence chief Senussi, meanwhile, "exercised his role as the national head of military intelligence, one of the most powerful and efficient organs of repression," Monageng said.

She said that Senussi personally commanded regime forces and ordered them to attack civilians during the fighting in Benghazi, which lasted between February 15 and 27 and ended when the local military base known as the Katiba fell into anti-government hands.

Senussi and some of his men were reportedly allowed to escape after negotiating with troops who had defected to the protesters' side.



Thousands in N.M. town ordered to evacuate in face of approaching wildfire

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — Authorities ordered Los Alamos evacuated yesterday as a fast-growing and unpredictable wildfire bore down on the northern New Mexico town and its sprawling nuclear laboratory.

The blaze that began Sunday had already destroyed an unspecified number of houses south of the town, which is home to about 12,000 residents. It also forced the closure of the nation's preeminent nuclear lab while stirring memories of a devastating blaze more than a decade ago that destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings in the area.

"The hair on the back of your neck goes up,'' Los Alamos County fire chief Doug Tucker said of first seeing the fire in the Santa Fe National Forest on Sunday. "I saw that plume and I thought, 'Oh my God, here we go again.' ''

Tucker said the blaze that grew to more than 68 square miles overnight was the most active fire he had seen in his career, forcing residents near Cochiti Mesa and Las Conchas to flee with "nothing but the shirts on their back.''


Lady Gaga Hit with Class Action Suit Over Japan Charity Bracelets

Lady Gaga has once again found herself the center of controversy, but this time it has nothing to do with a meat-based outfit or accusations of Madonna worship. Instead, Gaga has been hit with a class action lawsuit claiming that the singer improperly profited from the "We Pray For Japan" bracelets that she sold through her official website to raise funds for Japanese earthquake victims, reports. All proceeds from the sale of the $5 bracelets were supposed to go directly to Japan relief efforts; however, a law firm accuses Gaga and her team of adding unnecessary tax and overcharging for shipping to profit from the charity items.

The class action suit, filed by Detroit's 1-800-LAW-FIRM, arrives just as Lady Gaga was in Tokyo this Saturday to perform at the MTV Video Music Aid Japan show, which also raised relief funds for the tsunami-ravaged nation. In the suit, Gaga is accused of violating federal racketeering laws and consumer protection laws by not only charging tax on a charity item and inflating shipping costs, but by also including whatever money the pop star's team pocketed from the bracelet sales as part of their donation fee to artificially inflate the figures. The firm has posted the complaint and this video (which, frankly, doesn't do a lot to enhance the credibility of a law firm branded with an 800 number by inviting viewers to follow a #gagascam hashtag on Twitter) attempting to explain the "Shady Gaga" suit on its website:



Google in preemptive strike on Microsoft Office 365

Google Apps product manager Shan Sinha was once director of strategy for Microsoft SharePoint, Redmond's longstanding effort to facilitate business collaboration over the net.

Sinha left Microsoft in the fall of 2007 to create DocVerse, a service that bypassed SharePoint, plugging Microsoft Office clients into Google Apps. Sharepoint, hesays, just wasn't working.

"Lots of people seemed to be adopting SharePoint, but few were really using it, " he tells The Register. "SharePoint was one of Microsoft's fastest growing business...but as it turns out, end users found it too complicated. It was too limited in how you could actually share documents and files."

Less than three years later, Google acquired DocVerse, and in February, the service was relaunched as Google Cloud Connect, with Sinha assuming control of all Google Apps "messaging" services, including Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts as well as the email security, encryption, and archiving tools that came with the company's acquisition of Postini.

Sinha's story is a convenient metaphor for Google's enterprise business as a whole. Google isn't just taking on Microsoft. It's turning Microsoft's aging Office business against itself.

In addition to plugging Microsoft Office into Google Apps via Cloud Connect, Google has turned Gmail into a Microsoft Exchange backup service. It's offering a plug-in that transforms Outlook into a Gmail client. And, now, as Microsoft prepares to launch its latest online business productivity service – Office 365 – Mountain has called on Sinha to tell the world why the new Redmond suite pales in comparison to Google Apps.

Read more


Monday, June 27, 2011

Rare Billy the Kid photograph sold for $2.3 million

DENVER (Reuters) - The only authenticated photograph of infamous Wild West gunslinger Billy the Kid was auctioned off to Florida billionaire William Koch for an $2.3 million on Saturday night.

Koch, an energy company executive and well-known collector of art and American West artifacts, placed the winning bid in person before stunned onlookers at Brian Lebel's annual Old West Auction in Denver.

Lebel said at an auction preview that he expected the tintype image to sell for between $300,000 and $400,000.

Koch told Reuters after the auction that he plans to allow some small museums to display the piece, and after that he will "just enjoy" the iconic piece.

"I love the old West," he said. "This is a part of American history."

The metallic photo, taken outside a Fort Sumner, New Mexico, saloon in late 1879 or early 1880, depicts the outlaw gripping the upright barrel of a Winchester carbine, with a Colt 45 pistol strapped to his hip.

The photograph was owned by the descendants of Dan Dedrick, who was given the photo by his cattle rustling partner, Billy the Kid himself.



Friday, June 24, 2011

Best home biz test and see you will thank me

Tired of Adsense and other advertising sites giving Cents on your site test and see make   2.5 $$ without any refs or advertising campaigns in  under 20 Mins, you will thank me for this.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Al-Qaeda suspects flee prison

SANA'A, Yemen - Nearly 60 suspected al-Qaeda militants tunneled their way out of a Yemeni prison in the lawless south Wednesday, deepening the chaos of a nation where protesters are trying to topple the autocratic regime.

The escape from the Mukalla prison in Hadramawt province is the latest sign that Islamic militants are seizing on the mayhem to operate more freely, something the United States fears will become an increasing international threat if the impoverished nation grows even more unstable.

Hundreds of Islamic militants have also taken control of two southern towns in recent weeks.

The jailbreak in the early hours harked back to one in February 2006, when 23 al-Qaeda militants broke out of a detention facility in Sana'a, Yemen's capital. They included Nasser al-Wahishi, who went on to lead al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemen branch that Washington says is already the terror network's most active.

Yemeni security officials said the escapees Wednesday included two Syrians, two Saudis, and 16 members of an al-Qaeda cell blamed for at least 13 terror attacks.

A growing al-Qaeda threat would deepen the country's predicament.

Already, much of Yemen has been paralyzed by months of massive protests demanding the ouster of longtime leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. The crisis shifted to armed street conflict between troops loyal to Saleh and rival tribal fighters.

The president of nearly 33 years was badly wounded in an attack on his Sana'a compound this month, and his departure for medical treatment in neighboring Saudi Arabia has failed to break the deadlock.

The unrest also has significantly worsened conditions for most Yemenis, whose lives had been difficult even before the start of the unrest in February. Most suffer from an acute shortage of drinking water, lengthy power cuts, and soaring food prices.



Muted welcome for release of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei

A US state department spokesman said everyone held in China for "exercising their human rights" should be freed.

British artist Anish Kapoor said he was thrilled but urged supporters to "carry on making a noise".

Chinese state media said Mr Ai was bailed on Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges of tax evasion.

His arrest in April had prompted a global campaign for his release.

The 54-year-old told the BBC by phone earlier that he was back home and in good health.

"I am already home, released on bail, I can't talk to media but I am well, thanks for all the media attention," he said.

Mr Ai, who is an outspoken critic of the government, was detained as he boarded a Beijing flight bound for Hong Kong.

Most famous for helping design the Bird's Nest stadium that became the centre-piece for Beijing's 2008 Olympics, he had been held at a secret location without access to a lawyer.



United Kingdom demands Kenya repay stolen elementary education funds

NAIROBI — Revelations that $45 million meant to pay for elementary students' education was stolen is turning into political poison in Kenya, where activists yesterday locked themselves in the education minister's offices to demand his arrest.

The United Kingdom, a major donor to Kenya, told the government that the portion of stolen funds that Britain donated must be repaid. Britain said it would not give the Kenyan government any more money until there is "convincing evidence'' of substantial improvements in the government's integrity and financial management.

Kenyan leaders so far have passed the blame despite calls for officials at the Ministry of Education to resign. The department's minister, Sam Ongeri, told Parliament last week that he is not to blame because he was not in office when the thefts began in 2005. Ongeri said he helped in detecting the fraud.

"My conscience is free and clear because I have done my duty to the best of my ability,'' he told Parliament.

President Mwai Kibaki received praise from around the world when he implemented the Free Primary School Education Program in 2003, a top election pledge. The program enrolled more than 1 million children who had never sat in a classroom. But Kibaki's failure to keep another election promise — to fight corruption — has seen those gains tarnished.



Cry our beloved Sierra Leone

I was filled with despair as I read Tony Blair's thoughts, and comments regarding Africa, and Sierra Leone published on Friday 17 June 2011 under a photograph of an unrelated new factory representing an original private initiative. Firstly, where was he standing to be interrupted by the bustle, and colour of the widely spread markets of Freetown? And how many more times must reference be made, in isolation, to that delayed British element of the immense war effort that claimed so many Nigerian lives, and was an unforgettable UN effort both in aid and personnel in our country thanks to a strong Secretary General?  (Photo:  Winston Forde, author)

I am intrigued by the concept of a private 'African Governance Initiative (AGI) in the 3 unusual countries selected. I believe the office in Sierra Leone comprises a small team of 6 or so, but wonder about their mandate, Terms of Reference, qualifications for the job in hand, and above all their accountability; what is their political status?

There is the matter of transparency, how much do people know about their role, and what happens if there is a change of government or even administration?

If the plan is to have more of these AGI Teams operating at the centre of several more selected governments across Africa, would this represent a new form of aid leading to political dependency, only this time under the control of an individual with himself a debatable record whilst in office?

Where is this leading, and when is it going to end? Is this a new 'Democracy' for Africa?



Swaziland turns to South Africa for financial bailout

The official, Jerry Matjila, told MPs in Cape Town that Swaziland needed the money to pay its civil servants.

South Africa's opposition said the request should be rejected because Swaziland was an "undemocratic state".

Swaziland is one of Africa's poorest countries and is governed by an absolute monarch.

Mr Matjila, who heads South Africa's International Relations department, said Pretoria was considering the request.

"The question is how much can we help. We want a stable continent. We start with our neighbours," Bloomberg news agency quotes Mr Matjila as saying.

'Lavish lifestyle'

"Start Quote

The king must reduce his expenditure which is a very big proportion of Swaziland's budget"

Kenneth Mubu Democratic Alliance spokesman

A spokesman for the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), Kenneth Mubu, told the BBC's Focus on Africa that the government should not "prop up" the government of King Mswati III.

"It must first democratise, respect human rights and allow free political activity," Mr Mubu said.

He added that South Africa should also demand that King Mswati, who has 13 wives, end his lavish lifestyle as a pre-condition for aid.



Bank of Uganda explains weak shilling

The Eurozone debt crisis is the major cause of the turbulent exchange rate, which pushed the shilling to a record low of 2,478 on Tuesday, the Central Bank clarified on Tuesday.

While the US economy is not yet fully on its feet, four major European economies Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland are battling a financial meltdown.

Because of this, investors holding assets and other investments in euros are converting them into dollars.

This has caused an unprecedented demand for the dollar, making it more expensive internationally.

Elliot Mwebya, the director of Bank of Uganda's communications department, made the remarks while addressing top executives of the Vision Group during a tour of the company's factory.

He pointed out that the Central Bank does not stifle the forces of demand and supply, but wants to ensure that the spikes are smooth so that there is predictability.

"The movement should be systematic. Our duty is to maintain and boost public confidence and that of offshore investors so that they do not take away their money," Mwebya said.

He added that the bank would continue participating in the market like it did on Tuesday when it injected $40m into the forex market.

Mwebya explained that the high local demand for dollars by oil import companies, manufacturers and multinationals for payment of dividends had not helped the situation.

The demand for oil to run the manufacturing industry and to power the thermal power plants is set to become permanent.

The skyrocketing crude oil prices on the international market and speculators have added pressure on the shilling.

"There is no substantial increase in the dollar supply to suppress the skyrocketing demand. The dollar inflows are not marching the demand," said Edward Tenywa, the head of research and publication.

The shilling yesterday remained under pressure because of high food and fuel prices, weak dollar inflows and the impact of a weaker shilling in neighbouring Kenya, traders said.
The shilling has lost nearly 6% against the dollar this year, mirroring falling currencies in neighbouring economies such as Kenya and Tanzania.

Analysts say the regional units will remain under pressure unless interest rates rise to a level where real returns can attract capital flows into the largely import-dependent economies.

Robert Kabushenga, the Vision Group chief executive officer, asked the bank to deploy staff on radio and television talkshows to explain the new economic developments to the public.

"Sometimes, you need to bring out authoritative figures on such issues of national interest. You have an obligation to the public. You owe them an explanation because they are stakeholders," Kabushenga said.



How to fire your Boss

There are several Players in the Market
1 Entrepreneur

Offers himself and capitals starts production of goods and/or  services and sells them for a profit.

2 Employer

Buys Labour transforms Raw materials into goods and services and sells the goods and services at a profit.

3 Employee.
Has nothing to offer and supplies his/er Labour for a fee called a wage/Salary.
If you look carefully being employed in today's economy is actually the riskier option.

if your skills are general like driving or trucking then know that automation and cyber developments will some day come knocking at your door.
Likewise being in administrative roles is prone to outsourcing, budget cuts and divestment which could end up in your in-tray asking you to vacate.

Ive always wondered why a person could be at the same Job all their life same pay check year in year out, same old routine day in day out and actually enjoy it.

Giving away 8 of the most productive hours of ones life every day really pisses me off and in end receive peanuts, going on in a rat race year in year out.

Here are some ways to Kick the Rat Race.

1-Attitude stay employed make little money , think outside the Box buy a yacht and enjoy that Caribbean holiday.
This is self explanatory and varies from individual to individual.
2-Try Blogging stuff that you love trust me people will read and buy yo stuff.
3-Open a cyber Store and manage yo inventory like you are running a real shop.
4-Join established sells and marketing sites Like GAN (Google Affilliate Network), Ebay, Amazon , Clickbank, Olm, etc
5-Do simple Tasks and get paid for them.
6-Complete Surveys and get paid for your Opinion
7-View Sites and get paid for clicks you make
8-Build a web site and earn from Adsense, Bidvertiser Adhitz, Chitika, and Adbrite 
9-Work from Home Sites, I will give you sites that have special assignments for work from home Moms and the unemployed
10-Try some thing new on You tube or any social networking site, with traffic coming your way money will always come knocking.

Watch out for part two where I will show you sites
that can make you from 0.1 to 1000 Dollars in one day


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Syrian Regime's Backers Take a Turn at Protest

Mr. Assad, in his first public address since April 16, promoted a process of national dialogue as a path to reform. Opposition leaders have said they wouldn't take part.

Assad supporters were out in force in Damascus, the Syrian capital,which has yet to see sustained, mass antiregime demonstrations. In a central square, thousands of people waved flags and portraits of Mr. Assad, chanting: "We sacrifice ourselves for you, Bashar."

The proregime demonstrations were backed, and possibly organized to some extent, by the government. Mass text messages were sent Monday urging people to march. Syria's state news agency said millions of people across the country were "flocking to the public squares in support of the reform process under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad."

But almost four months into protests that have polarized Syrian society, Mr. Assad maintains a loyal base among the large merchant families of Damascus and Aleppo, the country's second-largest city. He also commands support among some minorities—including the Christian population—who prefer his autocratic rule over an unknown alternative andthe potential of sectarian strife.

"We have to acknowledge that the regime still can rally a surprising number of people," said an opposition supporter in Damascus.

Mr. Assad in his speech on Monday said it was necessary to protect the country from "saboteurs," a view that appeared to resonate with those who favored security over change.

He also promoted a process of national dialogue in which the government would seek out 100 people to discuss reforms to the electoral law and constitution, which gives the ruling Baath Party a monopoly on political life in Syria. Opposition leaders have said they wouldn't take part while tanks and troops remain in the streets.

Mr. Assad on Tuesday announced a general amnesty for prisoners suffering from terminal illness, for all crimes except drugs and arms smuggling, the state news agency reported. Thousands of people have disappeared or been detained amid the crackdown on protests. It was unclear if the amnesty would result in the release of any of them. Human-rights activists say hundreds were released after an amnesty earlier this month.



Papandreou Wins Confidence Vote

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou won a vote of confidence, bolstering his new government's chances of pushing through austerity measures to secure further international financial aid for the country.

A total of 155 lawmakers supported the motion in the 300- seat parliament in Athens early this morning, with 143 voting against, the speaker, Filippos Petsalnikos, said. Papandreou reshuffled his Cabinet and sought the approval of the chamber after fending off a revolt within his socialist Pasok party last week. After the vote, police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse thousands of citizens protesting planned budget cuts.

"If we give up in the middle of the road, history will judge us harshly," Papandreou said as he wound up the debate in the legislature. "The impression the political class in this country gives is that it hasn't understood the seriousness of the crisis."



EDT J.P. Morgan fined by SEC over mortgage securities Magnetar hedge fund helped select assets in synthetic CDO

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. will pay $154 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it misled investors in a complex mortgage-securities transaction at the onset of the collapse of the housing market, the agency said Tuesday.

The lawsuit, similar to the $550 million charge levied by the SEC against Goldman Sachs Group Inc., shows the regulator's focus on this particular area of investment banking.

The commission alleges that J.P. Morgan JPM +1.06%  structured and marketed a so-called synthetic collateralized debt obligation without informing investors that a hedge fund, Magnetar Capital LLC, helped select the subprime assets in the CDO portfolio and had a short position in more than half of those assets. Read the SEC's statement on the settlement

Synthetic CDOs essentially are bets on the performance of real mortgage securities.

"J.P. Morgan marketed highly complex CDO investments to investors with promises that the mortgage assets underlying the CDO would be selected by an independent manager looking out for investor interests," SEC Enforcement Chief Robert Khuzami said Tuesday.



Huntsman joins the field for president

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - Former Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman kicked off his campaign for president Tuesday with the Statue of Liberty looming behind him in the morning haze, promising to make the "hard decisions" required to restore America's greatness, in the same place Ronald Reagan announced his general-election candidacy in 1980.

"For the first time in our history, we are passing down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive, and less confident than the one we got," Huntsman, 51, said to about 150 people at Liberty State Park. "Ladies and gentlemen, that is totally unacceptable and totally un-American."

After the formal setting, Huntsman changed from a suit into a checked shirt and, after a 43-minute flight, delivered the same message to several hundred people packed into the steaming hot town hall in Exeter, N.H. That state is crucial to his plan to appeal to Republican moderates and independents who may have been overlooked in the rest of the field's rush to the right.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

High court tosses out massive Wal-Mart lawsuit

Deborah Gunter said she was stunned Monday to learn the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the largest anti-discrimination lawsuit in history, ruling against her and 1.6 million female workers of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Gunter, 61, was running errands with her husband when she found out the court ruled that the lawsuit she helped file in 2001 did not qualify as a class-action case.

"I just can't believe this because after all the cases we won — and the Supreme Court said 'no,'" said Gunter, who lives in Yucca Valley.

The justices ruled unanimously on a procedural point that the lawsuit could not proceed as a class action, reversing a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

But by a narrower 5-4 vote that came closer to touching on the facts of the case, the court said there were too many women in too many jobs at Wal-Mart to wrap into one lawsuit and that the women had not proven that the company abided by a common, discriminatory policy.

Instead, the court said, decisions about pay and advancement were made by individual store managers in individual cases.

Mad Men's first lady Christina Hendricks and handsome leading man Jon Hamm scoop top prizes at Critics' Choice TV Awards

Mad Men is no stranger to taking home Best Drama at the Emmys, but at last night's inaugural Critics' Choice Television Awards ceremony, its stars were honoured too.

Jon Hamm, who has made women swoon as the suave lead character Don Draper in the sophisticated series, was awarded Best Actor in a Drama.

His co-star Christina Hendricks shared the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama with Margo Martindale of Justified, while the show creator Matthew Weiner accepted the top award for Best Drama series.


80-year-old McKeon is Marlins' interim manager

MIAMI — New Florida Marlins interim manager Jack McKeon sat listening as team president David Samson offered a spirited defense of the decision to give the job to an octogenarian.

Samson said the 80-year-old McKeon works harder than many people half his age and seems even sharper mentally than in 2003, when he led the Marlins to an improbable World Series championship.

In response to the comments, a grinning McKeon intentionally messed up Samson's name.

"Thanks, George," McKeon said.

The new, old skipper drew some laughs at his re-introductory news conference Monday, but the hiring was no joke. Nearly six years after McKeon retired as the Marlins' manager, he returned to his former job on an interim basis and will lead the team for the rest of the season.

He becomes the second-oldest manager in major league history. Connie Mack managed the Philadelphia Athletics in a suit, tie and straw hat until 1950, when he was 87.

McKeon will wear a uniform with No. 25.

"I've managed since I was 14 years old," he jokingly said. "I'll probably manage until I'm 95."

The cigar-chomping McKeon succeeds manager Edwin Rodriguez, who resigned before Sunday's loss at Tampa Bay. Last-place Florida took a 10-game losing streak into Monday night's matchup at home against the Los Angeles Angels.

McKeon's first lineup card caused a stir, because it didn't include 2009 NL batting champion Hanley Ramirez, who has been in a slump all season.

"I didn't think he was running very good (Sunday)," said McKeon, who watched the game on TV from his home in North Carolina. Ramirez has been battling a sore back but also has a reputation for a lack of hustle, and McKeon declined to say which he thought was the issue.

Ramirez had no complaint about being held out of the lineup and said he welcomed McKeon's old-school approach.



Stocks Rally, Euro Strengthens Before Greek Vote; Oil Advances

By Stephen Kirkland

June 21 (Bloomberg) -- Stocks gained, with European shares rebounding from a three-month low, and the euro strengthened as the Greek government prepared to face a confidence vote that may determine whether it avoids a default. Oil and palladium gained.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.5 percent at 10:20 a.m. in London, and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rallied 1.3 percent. Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures rose 0.5 percent. The euro appreciated 0.1 percent to $1.4318, while the Dollar Index fell 0.3 percent. The Markit iTraxx SovX Western Europe Index of default swaps on 15 governments slid to the lowest in a week. Oil advanced 1.3 percent and palladium jumped 1.3 percent.

Today's confidence vote in Prime Minister George Papandreou is likely to determine how soon the nation can win international aid to shore up its finances. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean- Claude Juncker said yesterday the Greek leader pledged to do everything to enact austerity measures.

"The whole market is oversold and hence the bounce on a hint that one of the issues weighing on the market may be close to a resolution," said Prasad Patkar, a money manager who helps oversee about $1.7 billion at Platypus Asset Management Ltd. in Sydney. "Greece is arguably the biggest of these issues because of its ability to cause severe damage to markets."

The Stoxx 600 gained the most in a week after the gauge's valuation compared with its companies' reported earnings dropped to the cheapest since 2008 yesterday. Petropavlovsk Plc, a producer of gold in Russia, and Whitbread Plc, the U.K. hotel and restaurant operator, jumped more than 6 percent in London after reporting increased sales. SABMiller Plc fell 3.2 percent as Foster's Group Ltd. rejected its A$9.5 billion ($10 billion) takeover offer as too low.

Emerging Markets

The gain in S&P 500 futures indicated the U.S. gauge will rise for a fourth day. A report at 10 a.m. New York time today may show existing home sales dropped in May to the lowest level this year, according to a Bloomberg survey on economists, keeping pressure on the Federal Reserve to maintain stimulus measures. The Fed starts a two-day meeting today.

The euro appreciated 0.3 percent versus the yen, climbing for the second consecutive day. The dollar weakened against all but two of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg. The Australian dollar fell versus all its major peers after the nation's central bank said in minutes of this month's meeting that it is "prudent" to keep interest rates unchanged.



Jon Huntsman's venue, Liberty State Park, has storied history

When Jon Huntsman announces his candidacy for president Tuesday at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, he'll join a long list of politicians who have found the spot to be an exquisite backdrop for big campaign events.

The park, located in Jersey City, offers a camera shot with dramatic views of the Manhattan skyline and, more important, a photo op with the iconic Statue of Liberty (located in nearby New York Harbor) in the background.

The park is where Jesse Jackson, amid tensions with Jewish voters in 1988, laid a wreath at a monument honoring American soldiers who liberated Jews from World War II German concentration camps. In that same campaign, then-Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) appeared with Michael Dukakis at the site, delivering his endorsement in an old terminal – now a museum - that had once processed Dukakis' grandmother after she had arrived from Greece as an immigrant.

Six years later, Bill Clinton found yet another use for the park. He used the venue to deliver a memorable health care speech that turned contentious—at one point he banged the podium so hard in response to protesters that the presidential seal fell off.

Yet Liberty State Park's most famous political event took place on Labor Day 1980, when Ronald Reagan used it for his general election kickoff.

The site was perfectly suited for his needs at the time. Reagan's Midwest coordinator, Frank Donatelli, explained that the campaign strategically scheduled lots of events in the Northeast and Midwest to appeal to blue-collar ethnic Catholic voters, many of whom were dissatisfied with Jimmy Carter.


Two Ukrainians confirmed killed in Russia air crash

KIEV, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Tuesday confirmed reports about the death of two Ukrainians in the air crash in the northern Russian city of Petrozavodsk earlier in the day.

"The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry confirms that two Ukrainians were killed in a plane crash in Petrozavodsk," Alexander Dikusarov said.

Ukrainian citizens Onischenko Kristina and Simovyan Vagram were among the dead. A number of foreign nationals were also identified as victims of the crash, including Vetteruth Yakob from Sweden and Alerds Hans Guenter from the Netherlands, as well as some unidentified Russian citizens.



Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Love of My Life


As we lie together in harmony
The sporadic beat of our hearts can be heard in the silence of the
night, as we watch the stars so bright
The romantic atmosphere of the night, coupled with the unique
scenery that surrounded us
Creates a deeper sensation in us – A sensation which words
cannot describe

You begin to doze off soundly, as I watch your beautiful face in
great admiration
Your beauty is simply unmatched.
Our love defies all odds
One thing I can say for sure, without a second thought…
Is that my battle has been well fought
The battle to win your heart

Adopted from UNIQUE POEMS FOR A UNIQUE ONE by Felix Abbey-Mensah

Friday, June 17, 2011

Marvel Comics

So there are these aliens, you see, who have divided the universe into 3,000 or so sectors and have chosen one being from each planet - someone absolutely fearless - to wear a green ring that brings superpowers and helps the group maintain peace and order.

On Earth, that person is Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a hot-shot fighter-jet pilot who is given his ring by a dying alien who crash-lands on our planet. The ring comes with a lantern that is used to charge it when its batteries run low. The lantern kind of resembles a funky bong, and if you were to make use of one before seeing "Green Lantern," the film would be a lot more fun.

Whereas Marvel Comics has an endless supply of well-known superheroes for movie adaptations (Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, etc.), its chief rival DC Comics only has two true icons: Superman and Batman. After them, you're down to Wonder Woman and The Flash and, yes, the Green Lantern, whose only superpower is a ring that allows him to create anything he can think of - a car, a hammer, an anvil - out of green light.

What the ring cannot do, alas, is create a good movie. "Green Lantern," which is credited to four screenwriters and was directed by the erratic Martin Campbell ("Casino Royale," "Edge of Darkness," "Vertical Limit"), feels like the ultimate cut-and-paste job designed to appeal to every possible viewer.

Funny, likable Hal is always cracking wise until he has to get serious and save the world. Fellow jet pilot Carol ("Gossip Girl's" Blake Lively) provides the requisite love interest. Scientist Hector (Peter Sarsgaard) and his disapproving senator father (Tim Robbins) give the story some drama and pathos to balance Hal's happy-go-lucky demeanor. He remains remarkably unfazed even when the aliens (led by Mark Strong) draft him to their far-flung headquarters, a journey that provides an opportunity for loads of CGI effects.



Today’s Dow Jones Industrial DJIA Index Nasdaq S&P 500 Close Stock Market Investing Money for Profit News Open Overview

The Dow Jones ended the day Thursday up by over 64 points to 11961.52. The S&P 500 ended the session higher as well. It notched up 2.22 points to 1,267.64. The tech heavy Nasdaq dropped lower last session by 7.76 points to finish at 2,623.70. Home based economic reports were stronger than expected yesterday and this positive news helped to boost index composites higher. Investors hope to observe similar action during the last trading session of the week today. Scheduled for today's session will be data from the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan will release its consumer sentiment index for June. Analysts expect to see this index post a drop from May's reading. Lackluster job growth paired with the negative trends observed with the major stock market indices will apply pressure that will negatively affect the sentiment index posting. Investors hope to see the week end on a much more positive note than the last several weeks have ended. This week so far, Wednesday was relatively negative for stocks but otherwise, the week has been trending fairly well for the major market index composites.


Travelers Customers Increasingly Rely on Mobile Devices to File Claims

HARTFORD, Conn., Jun 15, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- As a sign of the growing popularity of smartphones, Travelers has seen a substantial increase in the number of claims filed via mobile devices during the past year, according to a comprehensive analysis of its claims.

The Travelers study broadly examined insurance claims filed over the past 16 months using mobile devices. In reviewing claims data comparing the first four months of 2010 versus the same time period in 2011, the number of claims filed via mobile devices more than tripled.

"The faster our customers report claims to Travelers, the faster we can help them," said Jay Gauthier, Vice President, Travelers Personal Insurance Marketing. "That's why we continue to develop technologies that make it easy for our customers to communicate with us in the way that's most convenient to them, whether online, over the phone, or through their mobile devices, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."

Capitalizing on the trend of increased usage of mobile devices to report claims, Travelers developed its "Auto Accident Help" mobile application for Android(TM) devices. This free app, which was made available to iPhone(R) and BlackBerry(R) smartphone users in 2010, gives any Android user an efficient way to create an accident report and provides another way for Travelers customers to report claims. Consumers can now download the "Auto Accident Help" app for Android devices by visiting the mobile site of



The unwritten rules of sex scandals

By the time Anthony Weiner resigned his House seat in shame over dirty texting, the consensus in Washington political circles was glaringly clear: The Brooklyn Democrat was simply, and belatedly, bowing to the inevitable.

But why, exactly, was it inevitable?

Far from clear, the calculus of Washington sex scandals in the wake of Weiner's forced departure is murkier than ever.

Who hangs on, and who walks the plank?

Weiner's congressional colleagues and other longtime Washington observers found themselves fumbling for answers Thursday, highlighting the double standards and situational ethics that govern the capital when it comes to weaknesses of the flesh. Some saw hypocrisy as his career burned in a classic Washington auto-da-fé.

"The informal caucus of congressmen and senators who cheat, flirt or make inappropriate comments to women of any age has not been dented by Weiner's fall," former Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) said in POLITICO's Arena forum. "The exposure rate will continue to turn on arbitrary and unwritten rules, and the sin rate will remain thoroughly bipartisan."

Weiner's sexual antics, to put it mildly, were both improper and wildly indiscreet. But so, too, were the antics of Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who was ensnared in a 2007 prostitution scandal yet managed to preserve widespread support among his colleagues and was reelected to a second term last fall. Even former Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) served out his term in relative serenity after being arrested for soliciting another man in the Minneapolis airport.

Weiner, of course, compounded his problems by ostentatiously lying when questions about a lewd photo on his Twitter account came to light. But it is hard to get more ostentatiously untruthful than former President Bill Clinton, who responded to early allegations of his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky by squinting his eyes, wagging his finger and claiming, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."



U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner resigns under pressure from Democrats

NEW YORK -- No longer defiant and combative, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., announced his resignation from Congress on Thursday, bowing to the furor caused by his sexually charged online dalliances with a former porn actress and other women.

Democratic Party leaders, concerned that Weiner could weigh the party down in the 2012 elections, welcomed the announcement after days spent trying to coax, push and finally coerce the 46-year-old into quitting. Known as brash, liberal and ambitious, Weiner had run for mayor of New York in 2005 and had been expected to do so again. He was in his seventh term in Congress.

At an appearance in Brooklyn that drew hecklers as well as supporters, he said, "I make this apology to my neighbors and my constituents, but I make it particularly to my wife, Huma."

Huma Abedin is pregnant with the couple's first child. She was absent as he announced his decision.

The Democrat said he had hoped to remain in Congress but conceded that his predicament had made that impossible. Instead, he said he would resign "so my colleagues can get back to work, my neighbors can choose a new representative and, most importantly, that my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused."

That conclusion echoed party leaders who had become worried that the intense public focus on Weiner would complicate their campaign efforts in 2012.

"Congressman Weiner exercised poor judgment in his actions and poor judgment in his reaction to the revelations," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement released moments after he spoke. "Today, he made the right judgment in resigning."

His problems began May 28 when a Web site run by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart posted a lewd photo of an underwear-clad crotch and said it had been sent from Weiner's Twitter account to a Seattle woman.

As the scandalous chapter neared its conclusion, Ginger Lee, a former porn actress who exchanged e-mails and messages over Twitter with Weiner, said Wednesday at a news conference that he had asked her to lie about their interactions.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TIMELINE-Libya's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi

(Reuters) - Here is a timeline on the revolt in Libya since the first protests against the rule of Muammar Gaddafi began in February:

Feb 15/16, 2011 - A riot in Benghazi is triggered by the arrest of human rights activist Fethi Tarbel, who has worked to free political prisoners, Quryna newspaper reports.

Feb. 17 - Activists designate a day of rage. It is the anniversary of 2006 clashes in Benghazi when security forces killed protesters attacking the city's Italian consulate.

Feb. 21 - Diplomats at Libya's mission to the United Nations side with the revolt and call on the Libyan army to help overthrow Gaddafi.

Feb. 22 - Gaddafi vows to die "a martyr" in Libya and says he will crush the revolt.

Feb. 24 - Anti-Libyan government militias take control of Misrata after evicting forces loyal to Gaddafi.

Feb. 26 - The U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions on Gaddafi and his family, and refers Libya's crackdown on rebels to the International Criminal Court.

Feb. 28 - EU governments approve a package of sanctions against Gaddafi and his closest advisers including an arms embargo and bans on travel to the bloc.

-- Gaddafi refuses to acknowledge protests in the streets of Tripoli, saying all Libyans love him.

March 5 - The National Council meets in Benghazi and declares itself sole representative for Libya.

March 10 - France recognises the Libyan National Council as the legitimate representative of Libya's people. Libya suspends diplomatic relations with France the next day.

March 16 - Forces loyal to Gaddafi are near rebel-held Benghazi. Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam tells France-based TV channel Euronews: "Everything will be over in 48 hours."



Examining The Process Of An Initial Public Offering


Let's follow-up now on the wave of recent news about initial public offerings -IPOs of tech firms.

(Soundbite of music)

(Soundbites of news announcements)

Unidentified Reporter #1: Huge investor demand has shares of LinkedIn soaring in its Wall Street debut.

Unidentified Reporter #2: Groupon filing today to really capitalize on the IPO craze.

Unidentified Reporter #3: Zynga, the maker of those games on Facebook is said to be close to filing its IPO.

INSKEEP: Okay, these companies all have something in common, they're all hot Internet social media, meaning they specialize in connecting people and now it seems a lot of investors want to connect with them or at the least the companies putting themselves up for sale hopes so.

We're going to talk about this with Andy Kessler. He's a financial writer based in Silicon Valley.

Welcome to the program.

Mr. ANDY KESSLER (Financial writer; Author, "Eat People"): Thanks for having me.



'I was malnourished and exhausted' reveals Selena Gomez as she takes to stage for the first time since health scare

Selena Gomez has taken to the stage for the first time since her emergency trip to the hospital on Thursday last week.

The 18-year-old performed live and answered questions about her new movie Monte Carlo at Santa Monica Place Mall.

During her appearance she also revealed that she was 'malnourished and exhausted' when she was admitted to hospital.

'I was just very malnourished, so I was low on iron and exhausted,' she told reporters today, when asked about the cause of her health scare.

As enthusiastic as ever, Selena wore a sheer white embroidered blouse and a pair of mini-shorts for her stage performance, which was rescheduled from Friday when the singer fell ill.

She accessorised with some black and tan strappy stilettos and Tiffany jewellery.

Revelation: During her appearance she also revealed that she was 'malnourished and exhausted' when she was admitted to hospital


Stanley Fischer 'too old' for IMF top job

Stanley Fischer's late bid to become the next leader of the International Monetary Fund has ended ignominiously, when he was barred from the race because of his age.

The 67-year old governor of Israel's central bank had hoped the IMF would overlook the stipulation that a new managing director must be no older than 65. Instead, Fischer found himself dismissed from the field just three days after his last-minute entry spiced up the contest.

Fischer, a highly experienced economist, said he was disappointed not to be able to demonstrate his abilities.

"I think that the age restriction, which was set in the past at 65, is not relevant today," Fischer said. "I was hoping that the IMF board of directors would change its regulations, not only for the sake of my candidacy, but also for the sake of future candidates for the position of managing director".

Fischer added that he would "proudly and happily continue" as governor of the Bank of Israel.

The deadline for nominations to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as IMF head closed last Friday. Fischer's forced withdrawal leaves just two candidates, French finance minister Christine Lagarde, and Bank of Mexico governor Agustin Carstens. The two shortlisted candidates will meet with IMF's executive board later this month. The board hopes to make its choice by 30 June.

Lagarde is widely seen as the frontrunner - despite Fischer appearing to question her credentials as a non-economist. Carstens admitted on Monday night that he is unlikely to become the first non-European to run the IMF.



Tim Thomas about to become NHL's busiest playoff goalie

BOSTON —When the Boston Bruins' Tim Thomas makes one save in Game 7, he'll become the busiest playoff goalie in NHL history.

Thomas made 36 saves to help Boston beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 in Game 6 on Monday, tying Kirk McLean's 17-year-old record of 761 saves in a playoff season. The stat is important because it demonstrates how vital Thomas has been as the Bruins try to pick up a third Game 7 win on the way to a Stanley Cup.

"He's very competitive," teammate Zdeno Chara said of Thomas. "He always picks up the challenges in the right way and reacts well."

Thomas took the high ground last weekend when Vancouver's Robert Luongo pointed out that he would have stopped the one goal Thomas gave up in Game 5 because of his style.

Thomas didn't say much about it with words, though his play in Game 6 could be viewed as a statement.



In GOP presidential debate, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul clash on Afghanistan pullout schedule

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul are disagreeing on how quickly to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Romney said at a Republican presidential debate Monday that generals in Afghanistan should guide the pullout schedule based to conditions on the ground. He said the troops should come home as soon as possible under those conditions.



Friday, June 10, 2011

Message from the Chief Executive

Since established ERA Technologies has released innovative, easy-to-use products for the Windows platform.

Now, the company responded to the market demand for new software, and came to the market with new, original software.

Our products are recognized across the world as professional and efficient in their categories and have received purchasers' appreciation. Our software are designed with a strong focus on the buyer, released after severe explore and known for their ease of use, integration and broad compatibility with most of today's popular operating systems. They are extremely popular in Internet and have received great recognition of a great number of consumers.

Our company view merge our core values of innovative, standards-based technology and unrivalled consumers support, with a deep commitment to sustainable, environmentally-sound products and services for the international commercial society.

We are motivated for excellence in state-of-the-art international technology services and we will do our best to continue to offer fine solutions to meet the purchasers' need and bring clients more perfect software.

Katula Nicholas,
ERA Technologies

Visit Store


Wallow Fire: Crews begin to control blaze

The weather finally cooperated with crews battling the Wallow Fire on Thursday, allowing firefighters to do crucial work to start bringing the blaze under control and raising hope among evacuated residents that they would soon be able to return home.

The Wallow Fire has charred more than 386,000 acres, about 620 square miles, in eastern Arizona and destroyed or damaged more than 50 structures as it forced the evacuation of communities in the path of the relentless blaze, including Alpine, Greer, Nutrioso, Eagar and Springerville. The acreage number was revised downward

But progress was finally made Thursday, as officials put containment at 5 percent, the first time they have been able to declare any of the fire under control.

Read more


UN condemns Syria crackdown on protesters

BEIJING, June 10 (Xinhuanet) -- The United Nations has shown great concern over Syria's increasing tension that has seen more than one thousand people killed during conflicts between the Syrian government security forces and anti-government protesters and refugees fleeing across the northern border into Turkey. It is calling for an end to violence against anti-government protesters.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling on Syria to halt its "assault on its own people".

The commissioner is again urging Damascus to allow a fact-finding mission into the country to establish truths.

Earlier, key European nations have presented a revised resolution to the United Nations, putting more pressures on the Syrian government to end violence.

Britain, France, Germany and Portugal introduced the new text at a closed Security Council meeting on Wednesday.

UN diplomats say the new draft is aimed at winning more support for the resolution in the UN Security Council.

Russia Foreign Ministry spokesman says Russia is against any UN resolution, as the move may aggravate the situation in the country.

Mark Lyall Grant, UK Ambassador to UN, said, "The main elements of that are that it demands an immediate end to the violence and condemns the systematic human rights abuses. It calls on the Syrian authorities immediately to lift the siege of affected towns. It calls for steps to address the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people."



Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams discuss how they met and reveal the true origins of 'Super 8'

There exists a parallel world where Super 8 does not represent the first time pop culture polymaths J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg have collaborated on a movie. In fact, perhaps in the "over there" universe of Abrams' Fox TV series Fringe, there exists a sequel to the Spielberg-produced Who Framed Roger Rabbit written by Abrams that was released sometime in the early '90s. In our world, however, that movie project was only discussed, never made, and its only significance to our present is that it facilitated the first meeting between Spielberg and Abrams. The year was 1989, and Abrams was a recent college grad whose first sold script (written with Jill Mazursky), Taking Care Of Business, was about to become a modestly amusing major motion picture starring James Belushi for The Walt Disney Company. The previous year, Disney and Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment had scored a massive worldwide hit with the Robert Zemeckis-directed Roger Rabbit and were soliciting ideas for a sequel. Abrams was invited to pitch some. He didn't get a job (and to date, a sequel remains unmade despite years of development with many other writers), but Abrams recalls leaving the meeting totally animated nonetheless. "I remember calling Matt Reeves [Abrams' friend and Felicity co-creator] in the car and being just so out of my mind excited that I got completely lost," recalls Abrams. "I had no idea what freeway I had gotten on. I was miles off course. I shouldn't have been driving, frankly."

The first official Spielberg/Abrams collaboration occurred when Abrams did some writing work on the Spielberg-produced Casper, released in 1995. By that time, Abrams had penned the movies Regarding Henry starring Harrison Ford and Forever Young starring Mel Gibson. "At this time in his career, [Abrams] wasn't yet a director, but a writer, and he was a great writer," recalls Spielberg. "He was very witty and he adores plot structure and storytelling. There are a lot of writers who write brilliant dialogue and who can do wonderful confrontational drama and comedy. But not everybody knows story. Whether it's a character story or a pure plot-driven story, J.J. is amazing."



Newt Gingrich loses key members of his campaign

Gingrich vowed in a Facebook post to continue "the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring," saying it would begin "anew" with an appearance before the Republican Jewish Coalition in Los Angeles on Sunday.

The mass exodus of his campaign staff, first reported by the Associated Press, raises questions about Gingrich's ability to raise money, attract grass-roots support and devise a credible path to the Republican nomination in 2012.

"The campaign manager met with the senior advisers and Newt, and they couldn't find a mutually agreeable path forward," spokesman Rick Tyler told USA TODAY. "They decided to leave, and at that point, I decided that I had a disagreement with the path forward, and when that happens, the candidate's path forward is the path forward. It's not the staff's."

Tyler, who worked for Gingrich for 12 years, said he still believed he would make a "great president."

Former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue, who had been Gingrich's national campaign co-chairman, joined a rival campaign for former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, according to Pawlenty's campaign.