Saturday, December 31, 2011

Man caught trying to board flight with loaded handgun

A man trying to board a Delta Airlines flight in Kansas City with a loaded handgun was charged on Thursday with carrying a concealed weapon, authorities said.

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Anthony Winn, 26, of Kansas City was caught by a security screener Wednesday with what appeared to be a gun in his carry-on bag, according to U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips of the Western District of Missouri.

Officers at the airport found a loaded 9 millimeter Glock handgun with 23 live rounds of ammunition, including one in the chamber, said a criminal complaint filed Thursday. Police also found $4,906 in Winn's pants pockets and $26,515 in three pairs of jeans in his carry-on bag.

Winn said he was bringing the bag to a friend in Arizona and did not know it contained a gun.

He was charged with having a concealed handgun in his bag and with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Winn has two prior felony burglary convictions and a conviction for unlawful use of a weapon, authorities said.

Winn was bound for Minneapolis and then Tucson, according to the case documents.

U.S. Attorney spokesman Don Ledford said authorities believe Winn had "no terrorist motives or connections."

He is being held in federal custody as he awaits a detention hearing on January 3.

(This story was corrected in sixth paragraph to fix the spelling of Tucson)

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


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The Note's Must-Reads for Thursday, December 29, 2011 (ABC News)

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Japan: Kashima Antlers Nike shirts 2012

Japanische Club Kashima Antlers haben ihren neuen 2012 Nike Shirts gestartet. Der Club ist in Kashima basierte und da die J-League der Gr?ndung, werden sie als Japans erfolgreichster Verein mit 7 gewonnen Meistertiteln werden.

Kashima Antlers Nike Shirts 2012 300x123 Japan: Kashima Antlers Nike shirts 2012

Die neue Kashima Antlers Heimtrikot ist haupts?chlich rot mit dunkelblauen Details. Es hat einen runden, blauen und roten Kragen. Das neue Ausw?rtstrikot Design verf?gt ?ber ein blaues Hemd, die diagonal ist mit dem oberen Teil des T-Shirt mit blauem Streifen w?hrend der untere Teil des Hemdes ist einfach blau aufgeteilt.

Schlie?lich nutzt der Verein die neue dritte T-Shirt das gleiche Design wie das der weg Shirt ist aber haupts?chlich wei? mit blauen Streifen.

Lixil, Club Sponsor hat sein Logo auf der Oberseite mittleren Teil des T-Shirt mit dem Spieler Nummer featured gerade unter.

This entry was posted in fussball trikots 2010 2011 and tagged Japan: Kashima Antlers Nike shirts 2012. Bookmark the permalink.


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Warm spell triggers avalanche killing Canada skier

(AP) ? A warm spell and heavy, wet snow are creating a risk of avalanches in western Canada, including one that killed a backcountry skier, officials said Friday.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Staff Sgt. Alex Boden said a man in his 30s from Whistler, British Columbia, was critically injured in a Thursday afternoon slide near Pemberton.

Boden said an air rescue Thursday afternoon was impossible because of nightfall. The risk of more slides are inhibiting recovery of the skier's body.

The man was skiing with three friends on what had been a remarkable day of deep powder, fresh tracks and almost spring-like temperatures in the backcountry trails in the Casper Creek region, northeast of Whistler. The skiers took to the trails despite warnings from the Canadian Avalanche Center of a high avalanche danger across almost all regions of the province for the past few days.

"This gentleman paid with his life," said Sgt. Peter Thiessen.

"One of his close buddies remained with him on the cold, dark mountain waiting for help while his buddy was dying, and you can only imagine what that must have been like for that individual," said Thiessen.

Rescuers planned to return with more equipment to bring the body out, but Thiessen said bad weather in the area could delay removal for some time.

Western Canada has become a danger spot for avalanche-related deaths. Eleven people died in snow slides in Western Canada between 2010 and 2011.

Associated Press


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BenjRubenstein: Ford = Rodeo

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Durban failure forces South Africa to ponder the future and plan for change - Winnipeg Free Press

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Cast your vote for the year's weirdest science

Kyoto U. / INAH / The Daily Citizen / NBC

The weirdest science stories of 2011 include (clockwise from top left) the one about the game-playing chimps, the update on the 2012 Maya apocalypse, a bird-death epidemic and the zodiac debate.

By Alan Boyle

Even with the supposed Mayan doomsday coming up, it's going to be hard for?2012 to match 2011 when it comes to weird science: What other year can boast a bird-killing?"aflockalypse," a chupacabra prowling around?the nation's capital, two Loch Ness-type monster sightings and two doomsday predictions. (News flash: The predictions?were wrong.)

That's why the Weird Science Awards exist: To pay tribute to the strange but scientific (or pseudo-scientific) tales of each year. This year's?winners of the fifth annual Weirdies will take their place alongside glow-in-the-dark cats and dogs, reattached rabbit penises, the 2,700-year-old marijuana stash and the Stone Age sex toy as talismans of this wacky age.

We're offering 30 nominees from the past year, and it's up to you to pick the top 10 award-winners. One of the nominees ? the one about pee pressure ? is a?laureate from this year's Ig Nobel award ceremony, which honors "research that makes people laugh and then think." You can use that as your judging criterion, or you can go for the article that makes you laugh, and then ask, "What on earth?were they thinking?"

Write-in votes and second-guessing are encouraged;?you can register them in your comments below.

The 10 nominees that get the most votes as of noon ET on Jan. 3 will be recognized as the 2012 Weirdy winners, and to mark the occasion, we'll review the year in weird science on Wednesday with Ig Nobel creator Marc Abrahams.

Live Poll

Weirdest story of 2011?

  • 171809

    Animals die in 'Aflockalypse'


  • 171810

    Pole-shift makeover


  • 171811

    13th zodiac sign


  • 171812

    Tiny periodic table


  • 171813

    Gorilla walks like human


  • 171814

    Zombie ants


  • 171815

    'Bownessie' pictures


  • 171819

    Weird-life debate


  • 171820

    Flies on meth


  • 171821

    Chimps play games


  • 171822

    He-she birds


  • 171823

    Nessie in Alaska?


  • 171824

    Cryonics founder frozen


  • 171825

    Dog's off-and-on glow


  • 171826

    Undersea anomaly


  • 171827

    Orange goo in Alaska


  • 171828

    Chupacabra or fox?


  • 171829

    Rock, paper ... win!


  • 171830

    Tool-using dolphins


  • 171831

    Corpse-dissolving machine


  • 171832

    Cleverbot passes test


  • 171833

    Tool-using fish


  • 171834

    Pee pressure


  • 171835

    Doomsayer doubly wrong


  • 171836

    Holding hands for 1,500 years


  • 171837

    The devil in the fresco


  • 171838

    New brick in Maya legend


  • 171839

    77,000-year-old beds


  • 171840

    Shroud made in a flash?


  • 171841

    Samoa skips Friday


  • 171842

    None of the above


VoteTotal Votes: 257

Here are the nominees from the past year, in chronological order:

Review the nominees, then cast your vote. We'll?talk about the winners?next Wednesday on "Virtually Speaking Science." In the meantime, take a walk down memory lane with these Weirdies from past years:

More year-end reviews:

Alan Boyle is's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.?


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India, Japan Agree to USD 15 Bn Currency Swap

India and Japan today agreed to a dollar swap agreement of USD 15 billion, a move which will help stabilise the rupee and boost trade between the two countries.

An earlier USD 3 billion arrangement, that came into force in 2008, had expired in June.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda "decided to enhance the earlier bilateral currency swap arrangement from USD 3 billion to USD 15 billion," a joint statement said.

The dollar swap arrangement would help India in supporting the rupee, which has depreciated by about 15-16 per cent against the US currency since April due to various global and domestic factors.

The arrangement would provide a supply of the US dollar in an unforeseen economic situation. New Delhi will have access to funds from Bank of Japan, which it can return at a later date.

The two leaders expressed hope that the enhancement will further strengthen financial cooperation, contribute to ensuring financial market stability and further develop growing economic and trade ties between the countries, the statement said.

The two Prime Ministers also decided to accelerate efforts by the relevant authorities for an early realisation of the some projects including seawater desalination at Dahej, a micro-grid system using large-scale photo-voltaic power generation at Neemrana and gas-fired independent power producer in Maharashtra, it said.

The leaders also decided to strengthen efforts to improve infrastructure such as ports, industrial parks and their surrounding facilities in Ennore, Chennai and the adjoining areas, it added.

? Copyright PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of any PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ford Recall

I know, it's not a Nissan. However, there is a recall on 2011 F-series trucks, so make sure you tell your friends if you know anyone this applies to. ... ssion-flaw

Ford has issued a recall for 2011 models of its popular F-150 pickup, as well as 2012 vehicles from the F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 lines. The recall centers around a problem with the brake shift interlock switch, which could increase the risk of a crash.

In a nutshell, the flaw may allow owners of the recalled vehicles to shift out of park without depressing the brake pedal. In certain circumstances, drivers could accidentally slip their trucks into gear, which might result in a collision with another vehicle or object, or a pedestrian.


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PR1 Site News Making $100/month on Autopilot - 1st Page of Google


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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bavarians building church out of snow

Leaders in the village of Mitterfirmiansreut near the German-Czech border originally wanted to open their so-called ?Snow Church? in mid December.?

But an unusual lack of the white stuff this winter meant that they only began building it a few weeks ago and won?t be able to open it until Wednesday.

?People are on the work site through the day and night,? said Julia Herzig, a spokeswoman for the church, which will be able to seat 200 parishioners and has a 17-metre tall tower made out of packed snow and ice.

The church is likely to attract curious tourists from throughout Germany before it melts at the end of winter.

But project leaders said it?s not so much a commercial venture, but a commemoration of a protest by villagers some 100 years ago.

In 1911, local people became upset that they had to make an arduous 90 minute hike to the town of Mauth in order to go to services, despite long begging for a church of their own.

So, over the Christmas season the villagers built a church entirely out of snow and ice.

The modern version of the Snow Church has run into a few challenges. Catholic leaders have expressed scepticism and the local Bishop has refused to officially consecrate the structure.

Also, it?s still unclear whether the project will make money. It?s being bankrolled by local people excited about the idea, but costs have already reached the six figures.

?We are still looking for sponsors,? Herzig said.


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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

deemehlow: Basically to Vh1 you are only valued as an accessory. RT @JamNoPeanut mob wives, baseball wives, hip hop wives, oh my! #vh1overdose

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Visualized: IBM's 1956 HDD packs 5MB of storage, requires forklift for installation

Check out IBM's 305 RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) hard disk and those gripes about dragging around that USB thumb drive soon evaporate. This 1956 HDD was composed of 50 24-inch discs, stacked together and taking up 16 sq ft of real estate. The once-cutting-edge monstrosity was capable of commanding an annual fee of $35,000 and stored up to 5MB of data. Sure, by modern standards it's a pretty modest capacity, but the RAMAC still weighed in at just shy of a ton. Our technological forefathers could have done with that exoskeleton prototype.

Visualized: IBM's 1956 HDD packs 5MB of storage, requires forklift for installation originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 27 Dec 2011 10:54:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Lisbon Community Federal Credit Union Celebrates Grand Opening of Lewiston Branch

Lisbon Community Federal Credit Union celebrated the grand opening of their new Lewiston branch Wednesday, a major step forward in the Credit Union?s expansion into the Lewiston-Auburn area.

Established in 1959, Lisbon Community Federal Credit Union offers a variety of loan and savings programs including savings and checking accounts, money market, IRA accounts and certificates, free VISA debit cards, home banking, bill payer and eStatements. On the lending side, mortgages, construction loans and home equity lines of credit will be offered in addition to new and used vehicle loans, recreational vehicles and VISA credit cards.

?The Board welcomes the Lewiston-Auburn community to our beautiful new Sabattus Street Branch to experience how our members have been ?building futures? and ?preserving dreams? for over 50 years,? said John Silvestri, President of the Board of Directors, highlighting the Credit Union?s tagline. ?We are anxious to have people in the community learn first hand how we take very seriously the Credit Union philosophy of ?People Helping People?.?

Located at 802 Sabattus Street, on the corner of Old Greene Road, the Credit Union sits on the former site of Thorne?s Corner grange hall, most recently utilized as cold storage space for area businesses. Adjacent to Roopers Beverage and Redemption Store, the new full-service branch will feature a drive-up area, a SURF Network ATM and participate in Shared Branching.

Highlighting their member service and friendly banking atmosphere, Lisbon Community Federal Credit Union boasts long term employees and is dedicated to familiarizing Members by name.

Those attending the ribbon cutting included Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert, Auburn Mayor Richard Gleason, state representatives, the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce and members of the Credit Union.

?This is a real success story that represents the true partnership and collaboration in this community,? said George Dycio, Economic Development Specialist for the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council. ?By working closely with the Credit Union?s Realtor, we were able to identify several sites along Sabattus Street that were considered to be viable sites for the new credit union.? It also took the collaboration between the property owners, the Growth Council and the realtor working together in good faith in order to make this project a reality today.?

?Lewiston-Auburn is a strategically important location for the Credit Union,? said Treasurer and Manager George Roy. ?We are committed to investing into the community here, which is one of the reasons why we hired three new employees from Lewiston as well as local contractors like Landry/French Construction Company, Pine Knoll Landscaping, L.P. Poirier Excavating, Roy I. Snow Electrical, Royal Flooring, Neokraft Signs, Spillers and others to help make this building a reality.?

Lisbon Community Federal Credit Union?s Lewiston location branch hours will match the Lisbon main office with drive-up teller service and Saturday hours; Monday through Thursday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Friday from 9:00 to 6:00 PM, and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. On weekdays and Saturday, drive-up service will be available beginning at 7:30 AM, an hour-and-a-half before lobby hours.

For more information about Lisbon Community Federal Credit Union, please visit, call (207) 353-4144, email or visit their two branches at 325 Lisbon Street in Lisbon or the new Lewiston branch at 802 Sabattus Street.??








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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Congress Agrees on Payroll Tax; It's About Time (ContributorNetwork)

COMMENTARY | On Thursday, in what could best be described as a Christmas miracle, the unthinkable happened. CNN is reporting that House Republicans have agreed to a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut that has been the talk of Washington the past week.

I have said before that this whole argument over the payroll tax thing is a game of chicken between the GOP and President Barack Obama. Do not kid yourselves; it is true.

For the time being, it seems that even the Republican Party is willing to align themselves with an Obama-backed measure. According to the Washington Post, the GOP agreed to vote to pass the bill by Christmas. It's about time both political parties agreed on something. Perhaps it was the spirit of the holiday season that put the notion into their heads that they were squabbling over something rather ridiculous.

The payroll tax cut, for those that do not know, amounts to about $40 a week to a taxpayer making $50,000 a year. Forty bucks. This whole series of arguments and political grandstanding was over a person getting an extra forty a week in their paycheck. I wonder if members of the House and Senate ever actually had to be subjected to the living conditions of their constituents; would they have been so steadfast to get rid of the tax cut?

President Obama deserves a great deal of credit for getting this measure passed. In a speech Thursday broadcast on MSNBC, he talked about how some families would be unable to do something as basic as going out for pizza. It took something as basic as a pizza to drive home the point to Congress that it needed to get its act together or people would needlessly. That getting necessary legislation passed should not be a fight. It was an occasional tradition that even in time of war, two sides fighting against each other would lay down their arms in observance of a holiday. Even if it wasn't motivated by the spirit of the season, it was at least nice to see the GOP and Obama finally come to an agreement on something.


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Hamas Joins Palestinian Liberation Organization

CAIRO ? The Hamas militant group has agreed to join the Palestine Liberation Organization ? a key step toward unifying the long-divided Palestinian leadership.

Hamas' leader Khaled Mashaal on Thursday joined a committee that will prepare for elections to the PLO leadership.

Those elections are likely years away but Mashaal's move means he will work with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, head of the rival Fatah party.

The PLO is the umbrella group of the Palestinian independence movement.

Thursday's development is an important step toward reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah ? which have been split since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Separate elections in the West Bank and Gaza for a unified parliament are tentatively set for next year.

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U.S., Mexico seize $84 million in counterfeit goods (Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) ? U.S. and Mexican agents have seized about 350,000 counterfeit items worth about $84 million in an operation targeting fake goods, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said on Thursday.

The six-week sweep, called Operation Holiday Hoax II, saw the seizure of counterfeit products in the United States that included toys, cell phones and chargers and handbags, ICE said in a statement.

Thirty-three people were arrested in the United States and charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods.

Agents and police worked with trademark holders to target stores and markets in 66 U.S. cities; in Seoul, South Korea; and in 55 Mexican cities, the statement said.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Jerry Norton)


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Friday, December 23, 2011

Eurpean stocks and euro gain ahead of ECB tender (Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) ? European stocks rallied and the euro was well bid Wednesday as investors priced in an improvement in the economic outlook and looked forward to a big take up by banks of the European Central Bank's first-ever offer of three-year loans.

Stocks and commodities began an end of year rally Tuesday when German data encouraged hopes Europe's largest economy would avoid a recession. This was followed by better-than-expected U.S. housing data and new Federal Reserve capital proposals for banks, which turned out to be less onerous than some had feared.

The ECB will offer banks unlimited amounts of low-cost, three-year funds against collateral now more broadly defined, which many analysts hope will encourage buying of high-yielding Spanish and Italian bonds, helping ease the crisis in the euro bloc.

"A significant uptake is all but guaranteed and that's something that could continue this 'risk-on' (mood)," said Robert Rennie, chief currency strategist at Westpac in Sydney.

The FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3) index of leading shares rose 0.7 percent in early trading, but is still down some 13 percent in 2011, as the euro zone debt crisis and worries about a recession have taken their toll.

The euro stood at $1.312, up 0.3 percent after rising to an Asian session high of $1.31278 on heavy short-covering. The single currency gained 0.6 percent Tuesday and rose as high as $1.3132, well off an 11-month low seen last week of $1.2945.

German government bonds are edging lower ahead of the ECB operation but in very low volumes as the holiday season approaches.

Italian and Spanish government 10-year bond yields have fallen to around 6.62 percent and 5.14 percent respectively, moving further away from the levels above 7 percent that were widely seen as unsustainable.

Sources in Milan have told Reuters more than 10 Italian banks, including major lenders, were looking to apply for the ECB loans by using state-guaranteed bonds as collateral.

But it was also likely that some banks would use the funds to repay their own debts as they strive to get rid of bad assets and improve their balance sheets amid strong regulatory pressures to beef up their core capital.

Analysts say the long-term ECB loans will lower the cost for euro zone banks to borrow euros in the open market, but won't reduce their dollar funding costs.

U.S. stocks rallied nearly 3 percent Tuesday as investors bought surging banks, homebuilders and networking companies, though low volume was seen as amplifying the market's move.

(Additional reporting by Chikako Mogi)


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UFO speckled on flatbed was indeed a troops drone

December 22, 2011 ? Admin ? Delicious Digg Facebook LinkedIn reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Email Print Friendly 9747


An error occurred!

Residents in a tiny village in Cowley County, Kansas got a disturb of a year recently when a flatbed trailer came pushing down categorical travel with what seemed to be a urn made qualification on a trailer. According to a internal sheriff?s office, a association that was transporting a qualification asked for assistance given they had to pierce it over a ground.

The sheriff?s bureau settled that they helped approach trade and had to pierce some signs in a quite slight partial of a highway a qualification travelled. The car on a almost trailer was about 30-feet opposite and according to a sheriff, a ride on association asked that a qualification not be oral of any some-more than possible.

Later a Northrop Grumman orator came brazen and pronounced that a qualification was no UFO recovered during a pile-up site, though was one of dual X-47B troops fight drones that Northrop built for a Navy. The carrier-based worker was being ecstatic with a wings in a folded position. With those wings unfolded, a qualification is about 62-feet wide. The worker in doubt was streamer to Maryland. Northrop says that drifting unmanned aircraft in blurb airspace is frowned on so highway ride was chosen.

[via MSNBC]


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Monday, December 19, 2011

Boehner wants new bill cutting payroll tax

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, second from left, briefs reporters after lawmakers from both political parties came together on an 11th-hour deal to keep the government from shutting down, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. From left are, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Boehner, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., and Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, second from left, briefs reporters after lawmakers from both political parties came together on an 11th-hour deal to keep the government from shutting down, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. From left are, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Boehner, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., and Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Barack Obama delivers a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011 following the Senate vote to approve legislation extending a Social Security payroll tax cut and long-term jobless benefits for two months. Obama says it would be "inexcusable" for Congress not to extend a payroll tax cut for the rest of 2012 when lawmakers return from their holiday break. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky leaves the floor after the Senate passed legislation extending a Social Security payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for just two months, at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011. The action also extends long-term unemployment benefits for another two months. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Barack Obama delivers a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011 following the Senate vote to approve legislation extending a Social Security payroll tax cut and long-term jobless benefits for two months. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Barack Obama pauses while making a statement at the White House in Washington, on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011. Obama says it would be "inexcusable" for Congress not to extend a payroll tax cut for the rest of 2012 when lawmakers return from their holiday break. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) ? House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that he opposes a Senate-approved bill that extends a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for just two months and said congressional bargainers need to write a new version that would last an entire year.

As if to suggest other changes he would like in the legislation, the Ohio Republican mentioned a provision that would block Obama administration anti-pollution rules and "reasonable reductions in spending" that were in a House-passed version of the payroll tax bill that the Senate ignored.

Boehner's comments came a day after House Republicans used a conference call to complain bitterly about the Senate bill, putting House passage in serious jeopardy.

House Republicans dislike the Senate bill for many reasons, including its lack of what they consider real spending cuts and its removal of restrictions on Obama administration rules. Others are unhappy about extending unemployment benefits or oppose cutting the payroll tax, which is used to finance the Social Security system.

"It's pretty clear I and our members oppose the Senate bill," Boehner said on "Meet the Press" on NBC. He added, "I believe two months is just kicking the can down the road."

House leaders have scheduled a vote on the bill for Monday.

The bill would force President Barack Obama to make a decision in the next two months on whether to build the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The president had initially said he would postpone a decision on the 1,700-mile-long pipeline until after next year's elections and threatened to kill the payroll tax bill if it included the pipeline provision. But he backed off this week as the Senate payroll compromise took shape.

Republicans strongly support the pipeline, which is supposed to pump oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas, for the thousands of jobs it is expected to create. Unions favor the plan but environmentalists oppose it, forcing Obama to choose between two Democratic constituencies.

The Senate bill says Obama can reject the pipeline only if he decides building it would not be in the national interest.

Congressional leaders had hoped that approval of the tax measure would end their work and let them send lawmakers home for the year. It is unclear how long it would take House and Senate leaders to work out any new compromise on the legislation, but Boehner suggested it could done in the next two weeks.

The bill would extend this year's 4.2 payroll tax rate through February. Without congressional action, that rate would return to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1, costing 160 million workers a two-month tax break worth nearly $170.

The bill would continue extra unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, which would also expire Jan. 1. It would also prevent a 27 percent in doctors' Medicare reimbursements from occurring on New Year's Day, a cut that could discourage some physicians from treating Medicare-covered patients.

Associated Press


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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Video: Seven miners safe after rock collapse

>>> averted overnight at the lucky friday silver mine in idaho after a rock burst trapped and injured seven workers, all of them rescued safely. nbc's miguel almaguer is in mul mulmu mullan , idaho with more.

>> reporter: the miners were injured during a rock burst , sudden explosion of underground rock . the miners were more than a mile deep when they were installing a safety net to prevent an incident like this one. nearby crews heard their call for help and brought them to safety. the injuries we're told are fairly minor lacerations and a broken leg. the lucky friday mine here in mullan , idaho is owned by the hekla mining company . after two deaths earlier this year the company was cited four times for safety concerns and fined a million dollars. the company says the mine will be shut down pending an investigation. natalie?

>> all right. for those miners though, lucky mine living up to its name. thank you very much, miguel almaguer in mullan , idaho .


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Euro under pressure as EU summit optimism fades (AP)

FRANKFURT, Germany ? Investors have soured on the latest attempt to resolve the European debt crisis.

Stocks tumbled around the world Wednesday, the euro slid to an 11-month low and borrowing costs spiked for heavily indebted Italy. The markets' jitters reflect rising doubts about the deal European Union leaders reached at a summit last Friday in Brussels.

The agreement requires the 17 countries that use the euro and nine other EU countries to balance their budgets and gives the International Monetary Fund up to euro200 ($264 billion) to help countries with high debt loads.

But there's growing disappointment that the new EU treaty:

? Doesn't reduce existing government debt levels;

? Doesn't do much to promote the long-term growth that would shrink those burdens;

? Doesn't provide enough money to reassure financial markets that Italy and Spain can keep paying their bills.

"Fiscal discipline is needed in the long term, but it doesn't address today's crisis," says Athanasios Vamvakidis, head European currency strategist at Merrill Lynch-Bank of America. "There isn't enough money to stop the run on sovereign bonds of Italy and Spain. Investors don't want to buy their debt."

It was also unclear how the agreement, which is being written into a treaty, would be enforced and whether some of the countries that signed on might end up dropping out because of resistance to budget cuts back home. Britain has rejected the deal.

"Markets like quick fixes and have no patience with the length of the political processes," says Gianni Toniolo, a professor of economics and history at Duke University.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi praised the agreement made in Brussels. But so far he has rejected calls for the bank to make large-scale purchases of European bonds, something financial markets are hoping for and that would help put downward pressure on government borrowing costs.

The Dow Jones industrials fell 131 points, or 1.1 percent, to 11,823. The euro traded below $1.30 for the first time since January 12, hitting a low of $1.2973. Some of that is loss of confidence in the assets of the 17 euro nations, but it's also the result of two quarter-point interest rate cuts from the European Central Bank. The cuts lower the return on euro-denominated holdings and can induce investors to move money elsewhere.

European stock markets fell broadly. Germany's DAX dropped 1.7 percent; France's main stock index lost 3.3 percent.

Italy held its last bond auction of the year on Wednesday and it didn't go well. Investors demanded even more money to lend to the eurozone's third-largest economy. Italy paid 6.47 percent interest to borrow euro3 billion ($3.95 billion) for five years, up from 6.30 percent just a month ago.

The higher rates reflected investors' fears over the inadequacy of last week's agreement to keep eurozone governments from piling up more debt in the future. Italy has a staggering euro1.9 trillion ($2.5 trillion) in outstanding debt, and its economy is too large for Europe to bail out. Greece, Ireland and Portugal have been bailed out.

European officials are scheduled to meet Thursday to work out the details of the treaty negotiated in Brussels, according to one European official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

The new treaty aims to impose tighter rules on how much money eurozone governments can spend. EU leaders agreed to limit deficits to 0.5 percent of economic output in regular economic times and to better enforce penalties against countries whose deficits rise too high.

The treaty will not be signed until March, at the earliest.

Several knotty issues must be resolved, including how budget rules contained in the new treaty will be reconciled with those in the basic treaty of the European Union, which remains unchanged. Another detail to be sorted out is whether countries signing on to the new treaty can legally rely on EU institutions, such as the European Commission and the European Court of Justice, to enforce its rules.

Governments and national parliaments are also leery of transferring too much sovereignty to Brussels or their fellow euro members.

"The process of negotiating the final deal to suit all will only add to doubts about its relevance in the long run ? meanwhile the immediate crisis continues," said Elisabeth Afseth, an analyst at Evolution Securities.

Meanwhile, European banks are under mounting pressure. The German government announced Wednesday it was reactivating its financial sector rescue fund. And the European Banking Authority said last week that the continent's banks need to raise about euro115 billion ($149 billion) to protect lenders against market turmoil, including bad government debt.

German banks need to raise euro13.1 billion ($17 billion); the country's second-biggest bank, Commerzbank AG, has been told it needs to raise euro5.3 billion ($6.89 billion).

Last week's summit did come up with a commitment from EU governments to loan up to euro200 ($264 billion) to the International Monetary Fund, which could help out the eurozone. Yet not all countries have made firm commitments to do this, and some poorer countries in Eastern Europe that do not use the euro are not happy about being asked to help pay for richer countries' mistakes.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas said he is personally against contributing the roughly 90 billion koruna (euro3.5 billion; $4.6 billion) that is sought, although his country has not made a final decision. In Slovakia, which uses the euro, the leader of a center-right party in the government said he has an "overall negative" view of the plan.

Leaders did agree to start a new euro500 billion ($659 billion) euro backstop fund, the European Stability Mechanism, a year ahead of time in July. But there are doubts about whether it is enough to soothe markets.

Many economists say the European Central Bank will eventually have to step up its so-far limited purchases of government debt ? because only that will keep borrowing costs down.

ECB President Mario Draghi has said governments shouldn't count on central bank bailouts; instead he said they should cut deficits and take steps to improve growth to win back bond market confidence.

Until recently, the euro had been surprisingly resilient against the dollar, despite the pressures heaped upon it by the debt crisis. That is partly because interest rates in Europe have been so much higher than those in the U.S., where the Federal Reserve has kept its main interest rate near zero percent.

That interest rate differential has helped offset the concerns investors naturally felt as the European debt crisis raged and threatened to undermine Europe's banking system and the currency itself.

But the ECB has cut rates twice since early November, giving investors one less motive to buy euros. That is one reason the euro lost ground Wednesday.

Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, says the market's impatience likely will pay off ? by putting pressure on European leaders to find a lasting solution to the crisis. "You need a certain amount of market volatility because otherwise these decisions will never be made," he says.


AP Business Writers Paul Wiseman in Washington and Bernard Condon in New York contributed. Steinhauser contributed from Brussels


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Christopher Hitchens, militant pundit, dies at 62 (AP)

Cancer weakened, but did not soften Christopher Hitchens. He did not repent or forgive or ask for pity. As if granted diplomatic immunity, his mind's eye looked plainly upon the attack and counterattack of disease and treatments that robbed him of his hair, his stamina, his speaking voice and eventually his life.

"I love the imagery of struggle," he wrote about his illness in an August 2010 essay in Vanity Fair. "I sometimes wish I were suffering in a good cause, or risking my life for the good of others, instead of just being a gravely endangered patient."

Hitchens, a Washington, D.C.-based author, essayist and polemicist who waged verbal and occasional physical battle on behalf of causes left and right, died Thursday night at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston of pneumonia, a complication of his esophageal cancer, according to a statement from Vanity Fair magazine. He was 62.

"There will never be another like Christopher. A man of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar," said Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. "Those who read him felt they knew him, and those who knew him were profoundly fortunate souls."

He had enjoyed his drink (enough to "to kill or stun the average mule") and cigarettes, until he announced in June 2010 that he was being treated for cancer of the esophagus.

He was a most engaged, prolific and public intellectual who wrote numerous books, was a frequent television commentator and a contributor to Vanity Fair, Slate and other publications. He became a popular author in 2007 thanks to "God is Not Great," a manifesto for atheists.

"Christopher Hitchens was everything a great essayist should be: infuriating, brilliant, highly provocative and yet intensely serious," said Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. "I worked as an intern for him years ago. My job was to fact check his articles. Since he had a photographic memory and an encyclopedic mind it was the easiest job I've ever done."

Long after his diagnosis, his columns and essays appeared regularly, savaging the royal family, reveling in the death of Osama bin Laden, or pondering the letters of poet Philip Larkin. He was intolerant of nonsense, including about his own health. In a piece which appeared in the January 2012 issue of Vanity Fair, he dismissed the old saying that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

"So far, I have decided to take whatever my disease can throw at me, and to stay combative even while taking the measure of my inevitable decline. I repeat, this is no more than what a healthy person has to do in slower motion," he wrote. "It is our common fate. In either case, though, one can dispense with facile maxims that don't live up to their apparent billing."

Eloquent and intemperate, bawdy and urbane, Hitchens was an acknowledged contrarian and contradiction ? half-Christian, half-Jewish and fully non-believing; a native of England who settled in America; a former Trotskyite who backed the Iraq war and supported George W. Bush. But his passions remained constant and targets of his youth, from Henry Kissinger to Mother Teresa, remained hated.

He was a militant humanist who believed in pluralism and racial justice and freedom of speech, big cities and fine art and the willingness to stand the consequences. He was smacked in the rear by then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and beaten up in Beirut. He once submitted to waterboarding to prove that it was indeed torture.

Hitchens was a committed sensualist who abstained from clean living as if it were just another kind of church. In 2005, he would recall a trip to Aspen, Colo., and a brief encounter after stepping off a ski lift.

"I was met by immaculate specimens of young American womanhood, holding silver trays and flashing perfect dentition," he wrote. "What would I like? I thought a gin and tonic would meet the case. `Sir, that would be inappropriate.' In what respect? `At this altitude gin would be very much more toxic than at ground level.' In that case, I said, make it a double."

An emphatic ally and inspired foe, he stood by friends in trouble ("Satanic Verses" novelist Salman Rushdie) and against enemies in power (Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini). His heroes included George Orwell, Thomas Paine and Gore Vidal (pre-Sept. 11). Among those on the Hitchens list of shame: Michael Moore, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, Sarah Palin, Gore Vidal (post Sept. 11) and Prince Charles.

"We have known for a long time that Prince Charles' empty sails are so rigged as to be swelled by any passing waft or breeze of crankiness and cant," Hitchens wrote in Slate in 2010 after the heir to the British throne gave a speech criticizing Galileo for the scientist's focus on "the material aspect of reality."

"He fell for the fake anthropologist Laurens van der Post. He was bowled over by the charms of homeopathic medicine. He has been believably reported as saying that plants do better if you talk to them in a soothing and encouraging way. But this latest departure promotes him from an advocate of harmless nonsense to positively sinister nonsense."

Hitchens was born in Portsmouth, England, in 1949. His father, Eric, was a "purse-lipped" Navy veteran known as "The Commander"; his mother, Yvonne, a romantic who later killed herself during an extra-marital rendezvous in Greece. Young Christopher would have rather read a book. He was "a mere weed and weakling and kick-bag" who discovered that "words could function as weapons" and so stockpiled them.

In college, Oxford, he made such longtime friends as authors Martin Amis and Ian McEwan and claimed to be nearby when visiting Rhodes scholar Bill Clinton did or did not inhale marijuana. Radicalized by the 1960s, Hitchens was often arrested at political rallies, was kicked out of Britain's Labour Party over his opposition to the Vietnam War and became a correspondent for the radical magazine International Socialiam. His reputation broadened in the 1970s through his writings for the New Statesman.

Wavy-haired and brooding and aflame with wit and righteous anger, he was a star of the left on paper and on camera, a popular television guest and a columnist for one of the world's oldest liberal publications, The Nation. In friendlier times, Vidal was quoted as citing Hitchens as a worthy heir to his satirical throne.

But Hitchens never could simply nod his head. He feuded with fellow Nation columnist Alexander Cockburn, broke with Vidal and angered freedom of choice supporters by stating that the child's life begins at conception. An essay for Vanity Fair was titled "Why Women Aren't Funny," and Hitchens wasn't kidding.

He had long been unhappy with the left's reluctance to confront enemies or friends. He would note his strong disappointment that Arthur Miller and other leading liberals shied from making public appearances on behalf of Rushdie after the Ayatollah Khomeini called for his death. He advocated intervention in Bosnia and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Rushdie posted on his Twitter page early Friday: "Goodbye, my beloved friend. A great voice falls silent. A great heart stops."

No Democrat angered him more than Clinton, whose presidency led to the bitter end of Hitchens' friendship with White House aide Sidney Blumenthal and other Clinton backers. As Hitchens wrote in his memoir, he found Clinton "hateful in his behavior to women, pathological as a liar, and deeply suspect when it came to money in politics."

He wrote the anti-Clinton book, "No One Left to Lie To," at a time when most liberals were supporting the president as he faced impeachment over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Hitchens also loathed Hillary Rodham Clinton and switched his affiliation from independent to Democrat in 2008 just so he could vote against her in the presidential primary.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, completed his exit. He fought with Vidal, Noam Chomsky and others who either suggested that U.S. foreign policy had helped caused the tragedy or that the Bush administration had advanced knowledge. He supported the Iraq war, quit The Nation, backed Bush for re-election in 2004 and repeatedly chastised those whom he believed worried unduly about the feelings of Muslims.

"It's not enough that faith claims to be the solution to all problems," he wrote in Slate in 2009 after a Danish newspaper apologized for publishing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that led Muslim organizations to threaten legal action. "It is now demanded that such a preposterous claim be made immune from any inquiry, any critique, and any ridicule."

His essays were compiled in such books as "For the Sake of Argument" and "Prepared for the Worst." He also wrote short biographies/appreciations of Paine and Thomas Jefferson, a tribute to Orwell and "Letters to a Young Contrarian (Art of Mentoring)," in which he advised that "Only an open conflict of ideas and principles can produce any clarity." A collection of essays, "Arguably," came out in September 2011 and he was planning a "book-length meditation on malady and mortality." He appeared in a 2010 documentary about the topical singer Phil Ochs.

Survived by his second wife, author Carol Blue, and by his three children (Alexander, Sophia and Antonia), Hitchens had quotable ideas about posterity, clarified years ago when he saw himself referred to as "the late" Christopher Hitchens in print. For the May 2010 issue of Vanity Fair, before his illness, Hitchens submitted answers for the Proust Questionnaire, a probing and personal survey for which the famous have revealed everything from their favorite color to their greatest fear.

His vision of earthly bliss: "To be vindicated in my own lifetime."

His ideal way to die: "Fully conscious, and either fighting or reciting (or fooling around)."


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Friday, December 16, 2011

UN official tells nations to end gay executions (AP)

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Robert Downey Jr. Talks 'Sherlock Holmes' Expert on 'Kimmel' (VIDEO)

Robert Downey Jr. stopped by "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (Weeknights, 12AM ET on ABC) last night to talk about his new film,"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows."

He acknowledged the problems inherent in portraying such a beloved figure and said that during shooting he'd run foul of the leading Sherlock Holmes expert, who was advising on accuracy.

Seeing that the guy was very upset about something, Downey asked what he had done wrong.

Turns out that whilst in character as Holmes, Downey called Watson (Jude Law) "John," which is a huge no-no. The disappointed expert told Downey that Holmes would never call his trusty sidekick by his first name: "Only call him 'Watson' or 'Mr. Watson.'"

TV Replay scours the vast television landscape to find the most interesting, amusing, and, on a good day, amazing moments, and delivers them right to your browser.

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Watchdogs: Perry team might have violated campaign finance laws ...

Two watchdog groups Thursday called on the Federal Election Commission to look into possible infringements by Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry?s campaign and a pro-Perry super-PAC.
Make Us Great Again might have shared videos produced by the political action committee with the Perry campaign for free or might not have charged the correct amount, Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 said in a news release.

?The Perry campaign is prohibited from accepting such in-kind contributions with a value exceeding the $2,500 contribution limit and, further, Super PACs are prohibited altogether from making contributions to candidates,? Campaign Legal Center attorney Paul Ryan said in the release.
?It appears the Perry campaign and Make Us Great Again likely violated these laws and the FEC needs to investigate.?
The two groups, which plan to file a complaint urging investigation with the commission, cite Politico reports as evidence that the groups shared campaign footage.?Three portions of footage used in campaign ads created by Make Us Great Again were also used by Perry?s campaign, the release states.
The Texas governor?s campaign pulled the footage from the public domain, a spokesman for the campaign told The Hill.
Super-PACs, also known as independent expenditure-only committees, are prohibited from donating to or coordinating with candidates.?The gift of video production, valued at more than $2,500, would constitute an in-kind donation and likely break general finance laws as well.
?The use by the Perry presidential campaign of the same video footage contained in an ad run by the Super PAC supporting Governor Perry raises serious concerns about whether the Super PAC is really independent from the Perry campaign, as required by law,? Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer said in a news release.
Make Us Great Again is headed by former Perry Chief of Staff Mike Toomey and filed with the commission to be an independent expenditure-only committee at the end of July. Paul Kilgore is treasurer for the group.
Immediate requests for comment from Make Us Great Again were not returned.
? Cameron Joseph contributed.


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