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Disasters Floods History News

(Post Gazette) – When Hurricane Agnes slammed soggy Pittsburgh | Old Pittsburgh photos and stories | The Digs

Damage and death toll were the highest in Pennsylvania, with more than $2 billion in losses and 50 fatalities.

When a storm named Agnes arrived in Pittsburgh in June 1972, she was the first tropical storm of the season and drenched this region with more than eight inches of rain.

Forty three years ago this summer, mountaineers in West Virginia lost their shacks and affluent people in New York’s affluent Westchester County experienced damage to their fancy homes because of the wettest tropical cyclone on record in Pennsylvania’s history.

On June 24, 1972, President Richard Nixon declared five states disaster areas: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, Virginia and New York.

Two weeks before Agnes blew into town, a series of rains swept across New York and Pennsylvania, completely saturating the ground so that it was unable to absorb additional water.

In Pennsylvania, the storm left 220,000 people homeless. Damage and death toll were the highest in Pennsylvania, with more than $2 billion in losses and 50 fatalities.

Harrisburg was inundated; 8,500 people there had to leave their homes.

In Wilkes-Barre, 45,000 people went to emergency shelters; the community’s water supply was contaminated and it lost phone service due to the raging Susquehanna River.

The Ohio River swamped the city of Wheeling, W.Va.

But for the construction of 10 flood control dams that ring Pittsburgh, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated, the waters that inundated the Golden Triangle would have been two feet higher than that of the famous March 1936 flood on St. Patrick’s Day.

Hurricane Agnes inflicted $45 million in damage on Pittsburgh. If the flood control dams had not been built, the Corps of Engineers, estimated, damage would have soared past the $1 billion mark. Erie was the only Pennsylvania county to be spared.

Pennsylvania’s climate, location and terrain all played a role. A wet weather state subject to sudden and violent storms, Pennsylvania typically receives 40 thunderstorm days each year. The state also lies in a hurricane pathway and its steep valleys channel runoff from storms.

Taking into account damage in all five states, Hurricane Agnes killed 122 people, destroyed 5,000 homes and damaged 100,000 more, and left 400,000 people homeless, according to Gen. Richard H. Groves, a corps engineer for the North Atlantic Division who testified before Congress.

Half of Pennsylvania’s National Guard was mobilized to do relief work and used helicopters and boats to rescue people.

Gov. Milton Shapp knew all about the flood because the Georgian mansion he occupied, which is set on land overlooking the Susquehanna River, had two feet of water in it, covering the home’s first floor.

*A note on the images: The Pittsburgh Press librarians were known to fold oversized prints in half to fit them into standard-sized archival envelopes. Thus, many of the paper’s beautiful large photo prints are permanently creased, including many from Hurricane Agnes.

Read More: When Hurricane Agnes slammed soggy Pittsburgh | Old Pittsburgh photos and stories | The Digs

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Business News

(CBS Pittsburgh) (Trib live) – Report: Pa. Making Millions By Selling Drivers’ Personal Info

 Local Report: Pa. Making Millions By Selling Drivers’ Personal Info July 15, 2015 1:26 PM Share on email View Comments (Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson) (Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson)

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Report: Pa. Making Millions By Selling Drivers’ Personal Info
July 15, 2015 1:26 PM
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(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson)
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Tim Lawson)

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pennsylvania is selling drivers’ personal information to insurance companies, credit businesses, and employers at $9 per driver.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the sold information includes gender, license class, expiration date, and up to 10 years of traffic violations.

The practice grossed $41 million for the Commonwealth in June, hitting a five-year high.

“In general, people don’t like it when companies, or in this case, government agencies, sell their data… Why should you be able to make money off of my data?” Carnegie Mellon University Professor Lorrie Cranor, who runs the school’s privacy engineering program, told the Trib.

While the Commonwealth’s practice raises privacy concerns, David Thaw, University of Pittsburgh School of Law information security expert said, “I would not place this on the high-risk end of the spectrum… providing the department and the insurance companies are following the rules.”

According to PennDOT spokesman Michael Moser, around two dozen other states also monetize drivers’ personal information.

By Melissa Daniels
Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 10:54 p.m.
Updated 15 hours ago

Pennsylvania is making tens of millions of dollars a year selling drivers’ personal information, raising concerns among some motorists and privacy experts who said they weren’t aware of the practice.

The records include gender, license class, expiration date and up to 10 years of traffic violations, all of which is available to insurance companies, credit businesses and employers at a price of $9 per driver.

Stephen Chesney, 41, an attorney from Brighton Heights, said he had no clue. “It’s definitely concerning,” he said. “No one likes their information being sold.”

Annual collections from the practice hit a five-year high of $41 million in June, according to the most recent figures, up from $30 million the year before. The increase is mostly because of a fee hike to $8 from $5 in April 2014 to raise money for state transportation projects; the fee increases to $9 this summer.

“For the state, it’s a revenue stream, but for the drivers, it’s a privacy concern,” said Mark Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Pennsylvania has about 8.9 million drivers. Insurance companies can use their histories to validate what customers are reporting on their policies. Jonathan Greer, vice president for the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania, said the federal Driver Privacy Protection act governs what kinds of records can be requested, and companies aren’t permitted to sell them to third parties.

Raising concern

Paying for the information does not concern the industry, Greer said. Neither did the fee increase.

“It’s the cost of doing business,” he said.

Lorrie Cranor, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who runs its privacy engineering program, said it’s the state’s profit that’s bothersome.

“In general, people don’t like it when companies, or in this case, government agencies, sell their data,” Cranor said. “It’s, ‘Why should you be able to make money off of my data?’ ”

The profit factor shocked Mary Lechok, 58, of Ross. “People don’t know that,” Lechok said. “They make money off everything.”

PennDOT maintains contracts with wholesale companies to purchase driver information in bulk, defined as at least 5,000 transactions per month. Those include LexisNexis, Acxiom, American Driving Records, Explore, Hireright, Insurance Services Office and TML Information Services. Drivers or their attorneys can request their information.

David Thaw, an information security expert at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, said the kinds of records that can be obtained don’t necessarily pose a threat of identify theft.

“I would not place this on the high-risk end of the spectrum,” he said, “providing the department and the insurance companies are following the rules.”

A proposal from state Sen. Don White, R-Indiana County, that passed 46-3 in June would allow companies to acquire driver records for all residents in a household without having all the drivers’ names to determine who isn’t paying correct premiums.

Privacy issue

Gov. Tom Wolf opposes the proposal, citing privacy concerns, said PennDOT spokesman Michael Moser. But White said the practice is used in two dozen other states.

“This is routine information that PennDOT already has,” White said. “This will help with a small segment of the uninsured drivers in a household that aren’t added to a policy when they should be.”

Moser said the agency requires applicants to supply names, addresses and license numbers for drivers whose records they are requesting. They must declare they will use the information for one of several lawful purposes and sign an affidavit under penalty of two years in prison or a $5,000 fine.

Frank Zuber, 43, of West View, said he accepts that private companies sell consumer information for millions of dollars.

“That’s quite a scam,” Zuber said. “I expect it from a lot of things, but from the government, I don’t know.”

Then he paused and chuckled.

“Well,” he said. “I guess that’s sort of a stupid statement.”

Melissa Daniels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8511 or mdaniels@tribweb.com.

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Banking Europe News World

(The Guardian) – Greek crisis: Protests in Athens turn violent as Tsipras urges MPs to back him

Riot police have clashed with anarchist groups in Athens tonight, as Greece’s PM Tsipras faces rebellion over the country’s bailout plan
Read More: Greek crisis: Protests in Athens turn violent as Tsipras urges MPs to back him – live updates | Business | The Guardian

 

 

 

A column of anti-austerity protesters are currently marching in a loop through central Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, and its seafront.

The mood is calm, and not everyone is in the streets – the marchers just passed a pirate-themed ship full of revellers.

“Maybe there’s about a thousand here – with VAT,” jokes one protester, in a reference to the huge VAT hikes that the new bail-out will precipitate, inflating the cost of daily living.

There is a sense of anger, but also of disorientation – and uncertainty about what to do, and who to blame.

“I feel very confused about the situation,” says Giorgos, a middle-aged pharmacist who lost his job two weeks ago.

“I feel very angry about the memorandum, but also I have no problem for the moment with Tsipras. He was under a lot of pressure, and this is a coup.”

Giorgos is resentful of the EU, whose leaders have shown no compassion to a family like his – a family whose two breadwinners have lost their jobs. But equally he doesn’t want to leave the euro, not yet anyway.The feeling shared by other marchers.

“It’s more complicated than that,” says Varvara Kyrillidou, an Italian teacher and Syriza member protesting against her party leader’s decision.

“To leave Europe behind, we need a plan – without a plan it’s very risky for our people. And at the moment we haven’t got one.”

Greece ideally needs to sit down and have a rethink, says Kyrillidou – but she knows there isn’t time.

“We’re between two walls that are closing in on us.”

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Banking Business News

(reuters) – Bank of America hires sales staff in latest effort to boost revenue

 (Photo by Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bank of America Corp Chief Executive Brian Moynihan has been hiring more sales staff, in areas ranging from commercial lending to wealth management, in his latest effort to boost revenue that has barely budged for years.

The hiring push is part of a shift in how the bank is trying to sell more products to existing customers. Previously, Bank of America tried training individual employees to sell multiple products, but now it is focusing more on hiring specialized sales staff that can refer business to one another.

So instead of a bank teller trying to sell a branch customer a credit card and a mortgage, the teller might refer the client to a home loan specialist.

The bank has added some 1,000 financial advisors since the second quarter of 2014, and increased the number of sales specialists for products like mortgages and credit cards by 3.5 percent to 6,963.

On a call with analysts, Moynihan said that while the bank is still encouraging individual employees to sell different products, having enough sales staff is important as well.

“It is really just having more of them,” he said.

The bank’s chief financial officer, Bruce Thompson told reporters on a conference call, “Ultimately revenues are driven by the number of client-facing personnel that you have and how well they do relative to their peers.”

So far, these new hires have had a limited impact on results. The bank posted a tepid 1.7 percent increase in revenue in the second quarter from the same period a year ago. Quarterly revenue at the bank has hovered around $22 billion since 2011.

With weak revenue growth, the bank has been trying to boost profit by cutting costs. Overall, the bank is laying off staff. It had fewer than 66,000 full time employees at the end of the second quarter, nearly 10 percent less than the same quarter last year. Bank of America has a regular cost-cutting program in place it calls “Simplify and Improve.”

Spokesman Jerry Dubrowski said Bank of America has been steadily increasing its sales force for some time.

But that growth has not been uniform across all products. While the number of consumer sales specialists for products such as credit cards and auto loans has steadily increased, the number of financial advisors dipped from 2013 to 2014, then rose over the past year. Bank of America doesn’t disclose the size of its sales force for loans to businesses. (Reporting by Dan Freed; Editing by Dan Wilchins and Nick Zieminski)

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crime News

(delcotimes.com) – Mercy Fitzgerald shooter Richard Plotts pleads guilty but mentally ill to murder charge

MEDIA COURTHOUSE >> Richard S. Plotts entered an open plea of guilty but mentally ill on Tuesday to charges of murder in the first degree, attempted murder and illegally possessing a firearm in the July 24, 2014, shooting at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital.

Killed during the shooting inside the Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center on Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital’s Yeadon campus was Plotts’ mental health caseworker, Theresa Hunt.

Plotts, 50, of Upper Darby, also admitted to shooting at psychiatrist Dr. Lee Silverman after killing Hunt. Silverman returned fire with a firearm he keeps in his desk drawer, critically wounding Plotts and allowing for his capture.

As a convicted felon for a prior robbery conviction with a history of weapons charges going back to 1990, Plotts was not allowed to own or possess a firearm.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Mattson offered a post-mortem report Tuesday indicating Hunt had died from two gunshot wounds to the head, as well as transcripts of statements given by Silverman to law enforcement and an affidavit of probable cause as the basis for the plea.

Plotts is currently housed at the State Correctional Institution in Graterford, where he said he has weekly access to a psychiatrist. He was well groomed with beard stubble and dressed in a blue, button-down Department of Corrections shirt at Tuesday’s hearing.

Mattson and defense attorney Chuck Williams also stipulated to a psychiatric evaluation by psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Mechanick.

District Attorney Jack Whelan said following his arrest that Plotts had more than 30 additional rounds of ammunition in his pockets and investigators believe he was prepared to kill more people.

Plotts appeared lucid and aware Tuesday as he answered questions from his attorney and indicated he wanted to enter the plea.
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History Military News Politics Terrorism War

(DOD) – Airstrikes Hit ISIL in Syria, Iraq

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Richardson

From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

SOUTHWEST ASIA, July 14, 2015 – U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted seven airstrikes in Syria:
— Near Hasakah, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
— Near Aleppo, three airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL towed artillery piece.
— Near Dayr Az Zawr, two airstrikes struck nine ISIL staging areas.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Bomber, attack, and fighter-attack aircraft conducted 20 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
— Near Fallujah, six airstrikes struck five ISIL tactical units destroying two ISIL excavators, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL heavy machine gun position, an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL fighting position.
— Near Habbaniyah, one airstrike destroyed two ISIL vehicle bombs, an ISIL armored personnel carrier and an ISIL excavator.
— Near Haditha, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units destroying an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL structure.
— Near Makhmur, one airstrike struck an ISIL rocket position.
— Near Mosul, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL mortar position and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
— Near Ramadi, five airstrikes destroyed an ISIL excavator, an ISIL vehicle bomb factory, an ISIL armored vehicle, an ISIL structure and four ISIL vehicle bombs.
— Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying five ISIL buildings, two ISIL light machine guns, and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
— Near Tal Afar, one airstrike had inconclusive results.
Part of Operation Inherent Resolve
The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, the region, and the wider international community. The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group’s ability to project terror and conduct operations, officials said.
Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Bahrain, Canada, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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News Politics

(Fox News/Red Eye) – Donald Trump’ ramps up the rhetoric on ‘Red Eye’

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crime Legal

(CSMonitor.com) – New York to pay Eric Garner’s family $5.9 million in ‘I can’t breathe’ settlement

In this Aug. 23, 2014, file photo, demonstrators march to protest the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner in the Staten Island borough of New York. Nearly a year has passed since Garner had the encounter with New York City police that led to his death. Since then, his family has become national advocates for police reform and the department is changing how it relates to the public it serves.John Minchillo/File/AP

Scott Stringer said the terms of settlement means that the city does not admit liability, but offers some measure of comfort to the family of the deceased father of six.
By Kevin Truong, Staff writer
A few days before the anniversary of the death of Eric Garner, New York City officials announced a $5.9 million settlement stemming from his controversial death during an arrest in Staten Island last summer.In his announcement of the payout, City Comptroller Scott Stringer said the terms of settlement means that the city does not admit liability, but offers some measure of comfort to the family of the deceased father of six.“I believe that we have reached an agreement that acknowledges the tragic nature of Mr. Garner’s death while balancing my office’s fiscal responsibility to the City,” Mr. Stringer said in a statement.Recommended: Race equality in America: How far have we come?On July 17, 2014 – a beautiful summer day – Mr. Garner was approached by two police officers on suspicion of committing the misdemeanor of selling loose unlicensed cigarettes. The father of six protested and was taken to the ground in what the medical examiner ruled a chokehold by New York Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo. A grand jury declined to indict Officer Pantaleo last fall. A federal civil rights investigation is ongoing. Race equality in America: How far have we come? A New Age of Street Protests After being subdued on the ground, Garner became unresponsive. He was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead one hour later.The cell phone video of Garner’s arrest went viral, sparking protests in New York, and his name was added to the list in the chants in the Black Lives Matter movement. Demonstrators took to the streets again last fall after the grand jury decision.His last words – “I can’t breathe” – became a rally cry for the movement.The announcement took note of the impact that Garner’s death had on the national consciousness.“We are all familiar with the events that lead to the death of Eric Garner and the extraordinary impact his passing has had on our City and our nation,” Stringer said in the statement. “It forced us to examine the state of race relations, and the relationship between our police force and the people they serve.”Edward Mullins, the head of the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association lambasted the city for the settlement, saying a jury would have come to more fair terms based on “neither politics nor emotion.”“In my view, the city has chosen to abandon its fiscal responsibility to all of its citizens and genuflect to the select few who curry favor with the city government,” Sergeant Mullins told the New York Post. “Mr. Garner’s family should not be rewarded simply because he repeatedly chose to break the law and resist arrest.”A medical examiner ruled the death a homicide stemming from the chokehold, compression on Garner’s chest, and the 43-year-old’s existing health problems. Chokeholds which are described in the NYPD handbook as “any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air” have been banned by the department since 1993.A series of bills to officially criminalize police use of the chokehold – inspired by Garner’s arrest – has been winding its way through City Council.  The NYPD, which has prohibited the use of chokeholds since 1993, announced plans last month to match the language in the police handbook with the language of the legislation, The New York Times reported.

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Business Economy Internet News

(CNN) – Amazon, Walmart reveal crazy deals ahead of big sales day – Jul. 14, 2015

One of Amazon deals

Amazon, Walmart reveal crazy deals ahead of big sales dayBy Ahiza Garcia   @ahiza_garciaSneak peek at Amazon ‘Prime Day’ dealsMy sale is better than yours.Just hours after Amazon teased some of its major deals ahead of the kickoff of its “Prime Day,” Walmart previewed some of its own deep discounts to CNNMoney.The 24-hour sale-a-thon is set to begin at 12:01am PT on Wednesday.Amazon’s special savings day on Wednesday is to commemorate the company’s 20th anniversary and is being promoted as having “more deals than Black Friday.”After Amazon announced its plans last week, Walmart jumped in with a sales day of its own on the same day that will be filled with what it calls “atomic specials” and thousands of deals.Some of the Amazon discounts revealed Tuesday include a 40-inch TV for $115, savings of up to 70 percent on top kitchen brands, an Amazon Fire HD 7 tablet for $60 off (regularly retails for $139), over 50% off two Nikon COOLPIX cameras, and an iRobot Roomba Pet Vacuum Cleaning Robot for under $300, for a savings of at least $99 and possibly more depending on the model.Walmart’s specials included an Apple iPad Mini 2 for $265 (for a savings of $174), a Black and Decker Drill and 133 piece Home Project Kit for $50 (usually retails for $80), and a Toshiba 15.6″ Satellite laptop for $377 (customers save $253).One of Amazon’s dealsRelated: Amazon says new ‘Prime Day’ will bury all other salesThe Amazon sales are available only to its Prime members but Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) is currently offering the membership, normally $99 a year, for free as a 30-day trial.Shoppers will be privy to enticements such as “Lightning Deals” and “Deals of the Day” throughout Wednesday and will receive free and unlimited two-day shipping.Prime Day will also allow members the chance to win from $1,000 to $25,000 in Amazon gift cards and tickets and a trip to the season two premiere of Transparent, an Amazon original show.In addition to announcing its own sale, Walmart criticized Amazon for only opening the sale to Amazon Prime members. Amazon shot back, questioning the logic of retailers who make prices cheaper for online versus in-store shoppers.CNNMoney (New York) July 14, 2015: 12:51 PM ET

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(businessinsider.com) – Rapper 50 Cent files for bankruptcy

Curtis James Jackson III, better known as 50 Cent, has filed for bankruptcy.

ALY WEISMAN

Curtis Jackson, better known as rapper 50 Cent, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday.
“In court papers filed in the US Bankruptcy Court in Hartford, Conn., Mr. Jackson reported assets and debts each in the range of $10 million to $50 million,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

The filing comes just three days after the “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” rapper was ordered to pay $5 million to his rival Rick Ross’ ex-girlfriend, Lastonia Leviston, who sued him for posting a sex tape online to millions of viewers in an attempt to embarrass Ross.

The Hollywood Reporter points out that “The chapter 11 filing allows him to reorganize his business interests, as opposed to a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, which would mean liquidation of his assets.”

The rapper’s attorney further explained to THR:

“The filing allows Mr. Jackson to reorganize his financial affairs, as he addresses various professional liabilities and takes steps to position the future of his various business interests. Mr. Jackson’s business interests will continue unaffected in the ordinary course during the pendency of the chapter 11 case. This filing for personal bankruptcy protection permits Mr. Jackson to continue his involvement with various business interests and continue his work as an entertainer, while he pursues an orderly reorganization of his financial affairs.”

50 Cent was previously one of the world’s wealthiest rappers, largely thanks to his minority stake in Vitamin Water. In 2007, the Coca-Cola Company acquired Vitamin Water from Glacéau for $4.1 billion.

50 cent vitamin waterVitamin Water50 Cent reportedly earned “between $60 million and $100 million” after the Vitamin Water sale in 2007.

According to The Washington Post at the time, “50 Cent was thought to have walked away with a figure somewhere between $60 million and $100 million, putting his net worth at nearly a half billion dollars.”

While the rapper no longer has an equity stake in the company, he continued to act as a spokesman for Vitamin Water.

Additionally, the rapper’s studio albums alone have sold more than 21 million units, and he has starred in a long list of film and TV projects, including Starz’s new hit “Power.”

In May, Forbes estimated 50 Cent’s net worth at $155 million, ranking him No. 4 on the list of the wealthiest hip-hop artists.

The bankruptcy claim comes just days after The New York Times published a glowing profile of the rapper, praising his “exceptional business instincts.”

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History Space Tech

(CNN.com) – NASA’s New Horizons probe makes history at Pluto

NASA says its New Horizons spacecraft completed a historic flyby of Pluto, making its closest pass at 7:49 a.m. ET. Tuesday.

Pluto’s mysterious heart seen in this NASA Photo (CNN)

(CNN)NASA says its New Horizons spacecraft completed a historic flyby of Pluto on Tuesday, making its closest pass over the small, icy world at 7:49 a.m. ET.

The unmanned, piano-sized spacecraft was expected to be traveling nearly 31,000 miles per hour when it passed about 7,750 miles over Pluto.

It’s the first mission to Pluto and its five moons.

Because the spacecraft will be busy gathering data during the flyby, it won’t phone home to update its status until around 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

“That’s going to be a very highly anticipated event,” Alan Stern, the mission’s principal investigator said at a briefing Monday.

The wait will be a tense one.

“There’s that small element of danger, so I think we’re all going to breathe the final sigh of relief at 9 p.m., and that’s when we can really call it a successful flyby,” Stern said.

Quiz: Test your knowledge of Pluto
When will you see photos from the flyby? It takes four hours for the probe to get a signal back to Earth, and then NASA has to process the data. Mission managers expect the images from the close encounter to be released online and on NASA TV at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Scientists on Monday said New Horizons already has settled one debate about Pluto — it’s size. Information gathered by the probe indicates Pluto is 1,473 miles (2,370 kilometers) in diameter. That’s somewhat bigger than earlier estimates, and it means Pluto is larger than all other known solar system objects beyond the orbit of Neptune.

Probe is carrying ashes of man who discovered Pluto
The probe already has beamed back several crisp photos of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.

“Pluto and Charon are both mind-blowing,” Stern told CNN on Saturday. “I think that the biggest surprise is the complexity we’re seeing in both objects.”

The mission completes what NASA calls the reconnaissance of the classical solar system, and it makes the United States the first nation to send a space probe to every planet from Mercury to Pluto. The probe traveled more than 3 billion miles to reach Pluto.

12 things to know about Pluto

Why go to Pluto?
New Horizon’s core science mission is to map the surfaces of Pluto and Charon. It also will study their atmosphere.

The spacecraft was launched on January 19, 2006, before the big debate started over Pluto’s status as a planet. In August of that year, the International Astronomical Union reclassified Pluto as a dwarf planet.
But Stern disagrees with the IAU’s decision.

“We’re just learning that a lot of planets are small planets, and we didn’t know that before,” Stern said earlier. “Fact is, in planetary science, objects such as Pluto and the other dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt are considered planets and called planets in everyday discourse in scientific meetings.”

New Horizons has seven instruments on board to help scientists better understand how Pluto and its moons fit in with the rest of the planets in our solar system.

The planets closest to our sun — Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars — are rocky. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are gas giants. But Pluto is different: Even though it is out beyond the gas giants, it has a solid, icy surface.

Beyond Pluto
New Horizons looks like a gold foil-covered grand piano. It’s is 27 inches (0.7 meters) tall, 83 inches (2.1 meters) long and 108 inches (2.7 meters) wide. It weighed 1,054 pounds (478 kilograms) at launch.

The probe won’t orbit Pluto and it won’t land. Instead, it will keep flying, heading deeper into the Kuiper Belt, a region that scientists think is filled with hundreds of small, icy objects.

“The universe has a lot more variety than we thought about, and that’s wonderful,” Stern said. “The most exciting discoveries will likely be the ones we don’t anticipate.”

Stern said mission managers will decide later this year where to point New Horizons for the next part of its journey.

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History News

(politico) – Americans are living longer.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., shakes hands with a senior citizen after speaking at a meeting at Oak Point senior community in Columbia City, Ind., Thursday, May 1, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., shakes hands with a senior citizen after speaking at a meeting at Oak Point senior community in Columbia City, Ind., Thursday, May 1, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A ‘catastrophist’ says longevity poses huge risks we aren’t dealing with.

By Michael Grunwald

Human beings are living longer than ever, which can be a wonderful thing. As the T-shirts say, life is good. But human longevity has big consequences for society, which is one reason President Obama is hosting today’s White House Conference on Aging. It’s great that we can get new hips when our old ones wear out, but someone has to pay for them. It’s great that Baby Boomers will enjoy longer retirements, but will their retirement savings last as long as they will?

Most of us think of longevity as a gift, a blessing, a sign of social progress. Gordon Woo thinks of it as a catastrophe.

Dr. Woo, a Cambridge-trained mathematician and MIT-trained theoretical physicist who now works for the London-based consultancy RMS, spends his days thinking about catastrophic risks. Woo is one of the world’s best-respected “catastrophists,” and RMS—short for Risk Management Solutions—helps insurers and reinsurers calculate the likelihood of disastrous earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, terrorist attacks, financial crises, and other hazards. Lately, Woo has been thinking a lot about the risks posed by climate change, which could have a huge impact on the catastrophes of the future, altering sea levels, weather patterns, migration patterns, and much more. But Woo’s other major preoccupation these days is the risks posed by people living longer.

Unlike some futurists, Woo does not believe the aging of the population is going to plateau any time soon—not in an era when you’ll be able to replace more of your spare parts and take the drugs that work best for your personal genome. And that could have huge implications in the coming decades, as civilizations struggle to meet the medical and financial needs of their elders.

In the United States, for example, Social Security is now in pretty solid shape, and Medicare’s troubled finances have improved significantly in the last few years, as health care costs have stopped soaring. But the picture could look very different over the next quarter-century, as the portion of Americans over the age of 65 rises from 12 percent to 20 percent. In 1960, there were five American workers for every retiree, but now there are just under three, so Social Security no longer generates surpluses. By 2040, there will be about two workers per retiree, a demographic cliff that could drain the system in a hurry—or force some dramatic changes. And the days when most Americans spent their entire career with the same company and then enjoyed a private pension during retirement are long gone.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie and other Republican candidates for president have called for reining in government entitlements; Jeb Bush has suggested the retirement age may have to be raised to 70. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats have talked about making Social Security benefits more generous, to ensure they can provide a high quality of life throughout an extended retirement; in her economic policy speech this morning, Hillary Clinton talked about “defending and enhancing Social Security.”

Woo talked to POLITICO’s Michael Grunwald about what he’s learned about old age—not only its consequences, but what kinds of people are most likely to achieve it, what kinds of medical advances are and aren’t likely to prolong it, and what it will mean for our public and private finances when living into our 90s is the norm rather than the exception.

MG: You have the coolest title ever: “catastrophist.” And you’ve written that the coming longevity catastrophe has a lot in common with the coming climate change catastrophe.

GW: Longevity has two important facts in common with climate change. They are both going to develop gradually over time. And because the attention span of human beings tends to be fairly limited, they are both issues that generally get put on the back burner.

MG: Can you explain why longevity is bad?

GW: At RMS, we’re focusing on the pension retirement sector, and it’s really underfunded in terms of its provision for increasing lifespan in the decades ahead. One reason is that when it comes to making provisions for longevity instead of ecological or geological catastrophes, regulators tend to be fairly light of touch. There’s good reason for this. If a corporation seems to have a black hole in its pension fund, it may not be a good policy to force the corporation to pump more money into the fund while it’s going through hard times, because that very act could draw the corporation into insolvency. That’s why regulators, even if they spot the problem with the pension fund, are often reluctant to force measures to remedy the situation. Often the thinking is, times will get better, corporations will get out of trouble, hopefully everything will be rosy in the future. But that will not be the case.

MG: How much longer are people living? Is this trend going to accelerate going forward?

GW: There is one view within the actuarial community that it might be leveling out—medical discovery is plateauing, it’s getting harder to discover new drugs, there are diminishing returns, that kind of thing. But that perspective doesn’t allow for the expansion of research into whole new territories such as regenerative medicine and anti-aging.

MG: But that’s not going to make people nervous. That’s going to make them excited, right?

GW: They don’t really see what the implications are.

MG: When you’re talking about regenerative medicine, you mean people picking up spare parts as they get older. My mom just got an excellent new hip.

GW: The basic paradigm is automobiles. You can have an automobile which was built 50, 60, 70 years ago, and if you keep repairing or replacing broken or used parts, that automobile can keep going for a very long time. Right now, if you have some disease or failed organ or system, you might have to resort to some kind of a transplant, say a liver transplant or heart transplant. But in the future there should be the possibility of replacing these organs or actually re-growing these organs. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s chief engineer, is advocating a whole new world of 3-D printing, where you can print out an organ in the same way you can print out a sheet of paper. That’s a future where you can maintain an individual for a very long time. Of course, the brain is something else but the rest of the body in principle could be replaced. Just as if you have an emotional attachment to your car, even if the gearbox breaks or you need new tires or a new transmission, you can pretty much can keep that car on the road in perpetuity.

MG: In the last century, how much has longevity increased? What do your models say going forward?

GW: A century ago, the modal age of death, the most common age of dying, was in the 70s. Now it’s reached the mid-80s. People who are dying before 86 or so are essentially dying prematurely.

MG: When will it be 90?

GW: Quite likely in the next few decades. I think people take it for granted now that retirees should be living into their 80s but not necessarily their 90s. That’s the normal expectation. But that will change, and that’s precisely the source of the longevity catastrophe—because retirees who are retiring in their sixties may not have the finances to keep going into their nineties.

MG: In the United States, at least so far, Social Security has held up and you don’t hear stories about elderly people subsisting on dog food or whatever the horror stories were of previous generations.

GW: Well, it’s all about standard of living. People want to enjoy their days in retirement. Public pensions don’t always provide enough for retirees to enjoy a high-quality life. If I could make a point, recently in America there’s been a change of legislation to encourage the market for deferred annuities, essentially longevity insurance. This kind of product would help an awful lot to remedy the problems we’re talking about. An individual can take out this insurance and the insurer pays up if he reaches an advanced age, say 85 or 90. If he doesn’t make it to that age then the insurance is not needed.

MG: It’s like anti-life insurance.

GW: It’s really catastrophe insurance, essentially. If you count living to 90 as being some kind of catastrophe for your finances, then you need this kind of catastrophe insurance.

MG: As people live longer, do they need less health care? Or when you have more old people is that just going to put more of a strain on our Medicare system?

GW: The aim of medical research is to increase not just lifespan but health span, the years of healthy living. The aim is essentially to compress the ages of illness into as few years as possible. If the modal age of death increases from 85 to 90 that wouldn’t be so great if people were just in bed for five more years. The way it would be advantageous is if people could have five more years of healthy living and the actual time period spent in poor health was kept to whatever it is today, possibly shrunk.

MG: You’ve written about how as important as it is to grow new arms and hearts and livers, that actually being able to talk to somebody might be just as important.

GW: That’s entirely right. If you take two individuals who are in good physical shape when they retire, the person who has greater resilience in terms of cognitive, psychological and social functioning is almost certainly going to be living longer. The classic example of someone who is very highly resilient is Jeanne Calment, who to this day holds the world record for being the longest-lived individual. She was French. She died at the age of 122. Most people once they get past 100 don’t function that well cognitively, but Jeanne Calment at 120 was cracking jokes that would have been great for someone 100 years younger. These resilience factors of cognitive functioning, stress-free life, having a sense of positivity about the future, they’re so important, and then also having a good social network, friends and family and so on. Loneliness is well known to be a killer. It’s really unlikely that someone who’s alone is going to live to be 100.

MG: Could you talk a little about some of the public policy implications of all these things? It seems like we should be thinking about pensions, how to get people to sign living wills, how to get old people into social networks.

GW: I do think the U.S. has been farsighted by encouraging this market in longevity insurance. Not everyone will live to 90 or 100, but people should be able to make provision for this contingency. Otherwise, the burden of helping to look after the very elderly falls on the state. And it’s been said that Social Security is essentially like a Ponzi scheme. The government doesn’t have any money to finance future liabilities; they just rely on money that’s coming in through the door at that time. That’s what happens in a Ponzi scheme. You’re just hoping you have enough new people coming in, so you can use the money you rake in to pay your liabilities. Of course, the problem is that with changing demographics, with the population aging and fewer children being born, you have a situation where soon the money coming in for Social Security may not cover the payments going out. So that’s a headache for future governments, just like climate change. But that might be 20 years out, and politicians are only elected for four or five years, so it’s not really front of mind.

MG: What about private pensions? It used to be you could finish high school, go work for General Motors for 40 years, and then you got your pension. Most jobs don’t have pensions now.

GW: That’s right. And the General Motors pension fund was in huge trouble a few years ago. There’s a whole new generation of people who are no longer getting silver-plated pensions, so the pensions are all based on contributions…. And there’s a whole new era coming where pensioners are not going to be as well off as they are now. If you travel to resort areas, you’ll see a lot of tourists who are benefitting from the generous pensions which they were given in the past few decades, pretty much the lucky pensioners to retire when pensions were fairly generous. They’re pretty much the winners of the pension race.

MG: They have a lot of political power, and they tend to be aggressive about protecting their interests. Generally, their interest is not so much the future.

GW: That’s a very interesting point, because I think in a few decades the gray vote is going to become more important than ever. There will be fewer younger voters, and it seems like the policies which focus on retirees will become more important. And older people are more likely to vote than younger people, so you have a situation where retirees will have a lot of fiscal power.

MG: Huh. You hear a lot that Republican voters—who tend to be older, whiter, more rural, and so forth—there’s this sense that they’re dying off and being replaced by a multi-racial, more cosmopolitan, younger generation. But they’re not dying as quickly as they used to, I guess.

GW: We just had a general election in Britain. Younger people tend to be the most outspoken, but it’s like the silent great majority of older voters kind of put the prime minister back in power…Everyone likes to talk about current problems, short-term problems. But in 40 years, longevity is going to create some real stresses. Even in the Western world, people will struggle to get by on what they’ve saved.

MG: Presumably a lot of this depends on behavior. Like in the U.S., are we going to get our obesity problem under control, are we going to eat better, are we going to get more exercise.

GW: Actually, no, obesity is really a problem for people in younger to middle age. People who weigh 300 pounds when they’re teenagers, they’re not going to make it to retirement. The problem with longevity is a problem of how long a retiree can live. If your constitution is such that you reach the age of 60 even though you’re overweight, then that’s not really a problem for you. So obesity may change the life expectancy for the whole U.S. population, but that’s not the longevity problem we’re talking about.

MG: Most people don’t think of it as a problem. But most people aren’t catastrophists. What happens if somebody in a lab cures cancer tomorrow?

GW: Well, cancer doesn’t make that much difference, either; if an aging person doesn’t die of cancer, they’ll die of heart disease. The real issue is that the aging process can be arrested. The biggest cause of death is not cancer or heart disease. The biggest cause of death is aging. If you can slow down the process of aging, you’re slowing down all causes of death. This is new territory for mankind. There’s an interesting book called “Positively Ninety.” It’s interviews with nonagenarians who are all very lively. My favorite is the cover lady, who actually plays competitive Scrabble at the age of 90. She’s very sharp. Very positive attitude towards life. Very good network of friends and family. If you read these interviews with positive nonagenarians, you’ll get a glimpse into the future, because a high proportion of people will be just like that. The 90s will be like the 80s today. And it will become commonplace to reach 100. In fact, for a baby born today, the expectation is already that they will live to 100.

Authors:

Michael Grunwald | mgrunwald@politico.com

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Disasters Europe Military World

(defensenews.com) – 23 Dead In Russian Military Barracks Collapse

MOSCOW — Twenty-three Russian soldiers were crushed to death after their military barracks collapsed in Siberia, the latest disaster to hit a country known for shoddy construction work and lax safety standards.

An entire section of military barracks, including parts of the roof and walls, collapsed on Sunday evening just outside the Siberian city of Omsk as paratroopers were resting, the defence ministry said.

“As a result of the collapse, more than 40 servicemen were injured,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Monday.

“Twenty three conscripts died, the others were hospitalized with various injuries.”

Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said 19 servicemen had been hospitalized.

The barracks — built in 1975 and renovated in 2013 — belong to the 242nd training center that prepares junior officers and armored infantry vehicle drivers, among others.

President Vladimir Putin has been informed of the incident, which occurred in the village of Svetly just outside Omsk, some 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) east of Moscow, a Kremlin spokesman said.

“The president expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the accident at the Omsk training center,” the Kremlin said.

Putin was regularly being briefed by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who has been tasked with providing all necessary assistance to the victims, the Kremlin added.

In footage shown on Russian television, soldiers formed a human chain to pass bricks and other debris from one to another as they cleared the mountain of rubble from the collapse.

“Half of the heap has been cleared now,” acting commander of Russian paratroopers Nikolai Ignatov said in televised remarks.

Nearly 350 rescue workers and search dogs have been dispatched to the scene, along with military prosecutors.

“Rescue works lasted through the night,” a spokeswoman for the governor of the Omsk region told AFP. “The governor was there all night.”

‘Paratroopers’ Mass Grave’

The first 10 injured men have been airlifted to top hospitals in Moscow, the defence ministry said.

“Another specially equipped plane of the Defence Ministry with seven servicemen of the Airborne Forces’ training center will fly out to Moscow in the coming hours,” the ministry said.

About 50 relatives of the injured or dead soldiers have already arrived in Omsk.

Authorities tied the collapse of the barracks to negligence on the part of construction workers.

The Investigative Committee, which reports directly to Putin, opened a probe into negligence, violation of safety rules and abuse of power, adding that those found guilty would face up to 10 years in prison.

Markin, the committee’s spokesman, said investigators were probing several explanations for the tragedy, including possible violations during renovations in 2013.

Building collapses and other infrastructure accidents are fairly frequent in Russia, especially outside Moscow and Saint Petersburg, where the enforcement of safety regulations is lax and corruption rampant.

On Saturday a section of a residential building collapsed in the Urals city of Perm, killing two.

The latest tragedy represents a major blow to Putin who has made reviving the army after years of post-Soviet neglect a cornerstone of his policies.

The barracks has become the “paratroopers’ mass grave,” broadsheet daily Kommersant said.
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Business Economy News

(in auto news) – Ford, GM and FCA start bargaining with the United Automobile Workers

Ford-GM-and-FCA-start-bargaining-with-the-United-Automobile-Workers(inautonews)
Ford-GM-and-FCA-start-bargaining-with-the-United-Automobile-Workers(inautonews)

Three big U.S. automakers will start bargaining today with the United Auto Workers union for new contracts that would establish how much the post-recession profits the industry shares with workers has increased and also to find what the union costs are for more jobs in the U.S.

After a number of bargaining debates in 2007 and 2011, UAW leaders stated that they will insist on raises for the 139,000 workers at plants run by Ford Motor Corporation, General Motors Corporation and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The union representatives and the CEOs of the three Detroit automakers will meet this Monday to publicly agree on those.

Dennis Williams, the union’s president, explained that he wanted to narrow the gap between veteran workers who are earning around $28 per hour and workers who started working in 2011, who win $16-$19 for an hour.

Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research, said that labor represents a declining share of a car’s cost, adding that the three carmakers’ costs for UAW members decreased from 11.5% in 2007 to 5.7% in 2014. However, executives at the Detroit Three said that they could add more UAW jobs depending on compensating increases in wages or benefits that will lead to productivity gain. A central issue will be the health care costs, with automakers having to pay a “Cadillac tax” of 40% on rich UAW medical plans starting in 2018.

Ford is expecting to boost its productivity by 6 to 7% in all of its factories, with John Fleming, head of the brand’s manufacturing stating that every dollar not taken out is a dollar that a competitor would spend on making their vehicles more competitive. Ford shook the union last week when it announced it had planned to move production of its small Focus and C-Max hybrid models out of a plant in suburban Detroit by 2018.

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Business News

(BFN News) – Netflix, Inc. (NFLX), Kroger Co Follow Visa Inc, Starbucks Corporation (SBUX): Stock Split 2015

Netflix, Inc. (NFLX), Kroger Co Follow Visa Inc, Starbucks Corporation (SBUX): Stock Split 2015
Netflix, Inc. (NFLX), Kroger Co Follow Visa Inc, Starbucks Corporation (SBUX): Stock Split 2015

Stock split has become really common this year, as eight S&P 500 companies have announced to increase their outstanding shares. Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Kroger Co (NYSE:KR) are the latest companies to announce that they will split their stocks, joining companies like Visa Inc (NYSE:V), Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX), Marathon Petroleum Corp, Ross Stores, Inc., PPG Industries Inc, and CF Industries Holding, Inc.

Stock split is a kind of dividend in the form of additional shares to a company’s existing stockholders, aiming to increase the liquidity of the stock and to make the stock more affordable for its employees and small group of investors. The move indicates that a company has confidence over its future growth.

Netflix, the world’s leading video service provider, said last month that it will undertake a rare 7-for-1 stock split, which was also carried out by the world’s most valuable company, Apple Inc in June 2014. Additional stocks are scheduled to be distributed on July 14 to shareholders on record as of July 02. Post-split stocks will trade on July 15, on which the company will also announce its second quarter earnings of fiscal year 2015 (2QFY15). The upcoming split will be the company’s second split in 13 years.

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crime News Politics

(The Week) – Obama commutes sentences of 46 prisoners

President Obama announced in a video released Monday that he will grant clemency to 46 prisoners. “These men and women were not hardened criminals,” the president said. “But the overwhelming majority had been sentenced to at least 20 years,” many for “non-violent drug offenses.”

“Their punishments didn’t fit the crime,” the president said. “And if they’d been sentenced under today’s laws, nearly all of them would have already served their time.”

Obama has now commuted 89 prisoners — the most since Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s.

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News Politics

(CBS News) – Scott Walker’s presidential announcement: “I know how to fight and win”

Following in the footsteps of 14 Republican candidates who came before him, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker entered the presidential race Monday promising fresh leadership, reform, economic growth and safety for the American people.

“My record shows that I know how to fight and win. Now, more than ever, America needs a president who will fight and win for America,” Walker said.

The proclamation followed a list of his accomplishments as governor of Wisconsin: lowering taxes, passing lawsuit and regulatory reform, passing pro-life legislation and implementing voter ID laws in the state. All that followed on what he likely sees as the most important accomplishment, the one that fight that catapulted him into national prominence: “We took on the unions and we won,” he said.

He was referring to the 2011 bill he proposed that would have eliminated collective bargaining rights for most public employee unions in Wisconsin. The move sparked raucous protests at the State Capitol building in Madison and an effort to recall Walker from office. After a fierce battle, he prevailed on June 5, 2012, becoming the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall attempt. It was the second of three statewide elections he would win in a four-year period (the other two were his election and re-election as governor).

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker officially launches White House bid
“He’s the strongest anti-union Republican in the bunch, and that’s an issue that resonates both with average Republicans, but also with business Republicans that give a lot of money to the party,” Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University, told CBS News earlier this year. “It defines him.”

Walker’s kickoff speech was held in Waukesha, Wisconsin at the site of his 2012 recall election rally. He has taken the message of standing up to the unions to Iowa and turned it into an early and persistent lead in the polls.

He promised “real reform” for Washington, D.C., modeled after what he had done in his home state, saying, “Our big, bold reforms in Wisconsin took the power from the big government special interests and put it firmly into the hands of the hard-working taxpayers.” That included ending seniority and tenure for teachers, a move that Walker credits for Wisconsin’s increased graduation rates and test scores.

Walker also pointed to reforms in Wisconsin that require people who receive welfare to first enroll in a job training program and take a drug test.

Recalling his own childhood with a small-town pastor for a father and part-time secretary and bookkeeper for a mother, Walker said he and his brother inherited “the belief that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can do and be anything you want. That’s the American Dream. And that is worth fighting for.”

“Helping adults who are able to work transition from government dependence to true independence will help more people live that dream,” he said.

Who is presidential candidate Scott Walker?
His plan for growth includes a pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act, roll back “out-of-control regulations,” use America’s resources to create energy, approving the Keystone pipeline, and getting rid of Common Core school standards.

To explain his focus on tax relief, Walker compared it to buying a shirt at Kohl’s. By the time the shirt goes on sale and he and his wife use coupons and rewards to lower the purchase even more, “they’re paying us to buy that shirt.” (“Well, not really,” he acknowledged.)

“So how does a company like Kohl’s make money? Volume. They make it off of volume,” Walker said. “You see, they could charge you $29.99 and a few of you could afford it or they can lower the price and broaden the base and make more money off of volume. That’s what I think about your money – the taxpayers’ money. The government could charge the higher rates and a few of you could afford it. Or, we can lower the rates and broaden the base and increase the volume of people participating in our economy.”

He praised former President Ronald Reagan’s leadership on foreign policy and said that America is “headed toward a disaster” under the “Obama/Clinton doctrine.”

He called for ending any nuclear deal with Iran and allowing U.S. military personnel to directly help Kurdish and Sunni Arab allies fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“Earlier this year, the President proclaimed that climate change is the greatest threat to future generations. Well Mr. President, I respectfully disagree. The greatest threat to future generations is radical Islamic terrorism and we need to do something about it,” Walker said.

Scott Walker: I can take on ISIS
He also accused the president and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton of offering only “mush” that has failed to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from encroaching into Ukrainian territory.

“Putin bases his policies on Lenin’s old principle: probe with bayonets, if you encounter mush, push; if you encounter steel, stop. With Obama and Clinton, Putin has encountered years of mush. The United States needs a foreign policy that puts steel in front of our enemies,” he said.

Like some of the other governors seeking the GOP nomination, Walker has turned to various Republican foreign policy experts to give him a crash-course tutorial on the ways of the world, after a few public blunders that highlighted the lack of attention he’s paid to foreign affairs in the months leading up to his campaign.

During a Q&A session with members of the Club for Growth in Florida earlier this year, for example, he raised some eyebrows by claiming the most significant policy decision of his lifetime was former President Ronald Reagan’s actions to break up a 1981 strike by air traffic controllers, according to the Washington Post. During a foreign trip to London in February, he avoided having to answer foreign policy questions.

And during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee in February, Walker suggested his experience dealing with protesters in Wisconsin proves he has the mettle to take on ISIS and America’s foreign foes. “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world,” he said.

Walker’s official entry into the race came Monday morning with a tweet and Facebook video featuring an abbreviated version of the vision he laid out in his announcement speech. He is the 15th Republican who will compete for the GOP nomination.

In a video released on Facebook, Walker previewed the argument for why he’s better positioned to run the country than the more than dozen other competitors for the GOP nomination: “There are some who are good fighters, but they haven’t won those battles. There are others who have won elections but haven’t consistently taken on the big fights. We showed you can do both.”

I’m in. I’m running for President of the United States because Americans deserve a leader who will fight and win for them. SHARE if you stand with me. Support at ScottWalker.com! -SW

Posted by Scott Walker on Monday, July 13, 2015
Walker will hold a rally Monday evening in Waukesha, Wisconsin, to make the announcement in person.

His political martyr story combined with his record of electoral success and his “I’m just a regular guy” schtick (see: the reference to clipping Kohl’s coupons) will be front-and-center as he begins his campaign. Following the announcement speech, he’ll barnstorm through four early primary and caucus states with an emphasis on his regular-guy theme with stops at Harley-Davidson dealers in each state, barbecue in South Carolina, a diner in New Hampshire, and a Winnebago tour through Iowa.

Governor Scott Walker changed his stance on immigration
But there are several potential cracks in the Walker foundation. He faces dropping approval ratings at home in the face of tough fiscal and economic realities. Like other governors, his foreign policy experience is limited, at best, and he has to deal with some hardcore conservatives have been skeptical about his shifting rhetoric on some red-meat issues like same-sex marriage, immigration and education.

Still, he has proven to be an exciting prospect for Republican voters, which has kept him consistently in the top two or three candidates in polls this year.

CBS News Senior Political Editor Steve Chaggaris contributed to this story.

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Food

(smh.com.au) – Can women brew beer?

Photo: Photographer: Nancy Ann Trieu

A hard-earned thirst may need a big cold beer. However, these days Aussie beer lovers are drinking less, but getting more adventurous in their choice of tipple as the number of craft brewers continues to soar.In the past five years, Australian craft beer production has flourished, growing by an average of 10 per cent a year, according to an industry report released by IBISWorld in March. The report also found drinkers were increasingly valuing quality beer over quantity.WA’s Matilda Bay Brewing Company paved the way back in the mid-’80s, followed later by Little Creatures, which struck gold when brewer Lion bought out its parent company for about $256 million in 2012.Matt Bebe: initially struggled to keep pace with demand. But while the major players now hold a large stake in Australia’s craft beer market (Lion has about 33 per cent market share and CUB more than 16 per cent through its ownership of Matilda Bay), smaller operators such as Leimin Duong, the founder of Zeven Lemon Beerworks, continue to bring fresh blood to the industry.AdvertisementDuong, a 27-year-old who ditched her job as an office administrator in a large investment bank to start her own beer label, is finding success with female and male drinkers through her strawberry-flavoured beer Strawberry Blonde.A long-time beer enthusiast, Duong was inspired to create her own high-end offering after reading about strawberry-flavoured beer in a travel magazine.”I was quite surprised – I’d never heard of it before,” says Duong, who was desperate to start her own business.”The nine-to-five work lifestyle – it really wasn’t the best for me and I knew that. I knew I needed to get out.”Teaching herself about brewing via websites and textbooks, Duong worked 100-plus-hour weeks for months, before releasing her first commercial batch about a year later. Strawberry Blonde has now been on the market for more than a year, and has distributors in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT.Dealing with the emotional aspects of starting a one-person business – including mixed reactions from family and friends – has been the toughest challenge, along with entering an industry in which she’d had no experience, Duong says.”I just kind of have to feel my way around, make some mistakes, adapt and then go with it,” says Duong, who is working on new beer flavours for a summer release.Matt Bebe, managing director and founder of Mornington Peninsula Brewery, is further down the craft brewing path, after first dreaming up the idea for a brewery with his next-door neighbour Malcolm while watching the Hawks win the 2008 AFL grand final – with a few beers of course.”The next day Mal went off to Glenferrie Oval and celebrated and I wrote a business plan,” Bebe says, laughing.Bebe, previously a HR manager with a biotech company, was convinced their idea could work, and by mid-2010 had left his job to concentrate on the business.The only sticking point was that it was the middle of the financial crisis of 2007/2008, and capital was proving hard to find. “The banks wouldn’t even look at it, so we had to go the path of investors,” Bebe says.Twenty-two shareholders – family, friends and friends of friends – threw their financial support behind the brewery, and have since been rewarded handsomely for the decision, with the brewery growing 40 per cent every year since.”The first few years was a bit of a ride,” Bebe says. “We couldn’t make enough beer.”After investing in a new production facility in Mornington in September last year, the brewery now has the capacity to brew about 2 million litres of beer each year.Bebe says his craft brewery is the only one in Australia to have its own canning and bottling lines, which means it can sell its beers in a way that its customers want to drink it.At last count Australia had 243 craft breweries, he says.”In the last nine months it’s become a very competitive environment. Craft beer in general has changed quite dramatically,” Bebe says.”There are a lot more breweries that are opening up, and the majors, they’re also protecting their market share.”Mornington Peninsula Brewery has three core beers – a pale ale, an IPA and a brown ale – and brings out new specialty beers every four to six weeks.Already stocked in Dan Murphy’s, and in bottle shops and pubs around the country, the brewery also exports to Singapore and Thailand and expects to be stocked in Coles-owned liquor stores including Liquorland and First Choice Liquor next year. The business is also looking at the feasibility of expanding into China, Japan and New Zealand.Bebe says there is still huge room for growth, with craft beer still comprising only about 3 per cent of Australia’s beer industry.”There’s still a lot of work to be done.”

 

Source: Can women brew beer?

Matt Bebe: initially struggled to keep pace with demand. Photo: Supplied
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Business Economy Oil And Gas

(Mercury News) – California gas prices to soar this week

California gas prices to soar this week

By Gary Richards grichards@mercurynews.com

If you’re one of those California drivers who already resents having to pay a lot more to fill your tank than most Americans, you’re going to be sputtering mad this week.Prices at the pump have already begun creeping up in recent days, and they may soar this week as much as 30 cents a gallon in the Bay Area and 50 cents in Southern California as refinery issues and a lack of imported crude oil slam the Golden State.That means the average cost of regular gas will soon exceed $4 a gallon in the Southland and get uncomfortably close to that mark in the Bay Area.GasBuddy.com analysts say the
price hikes are occurring because of “an extraordinary convergence of fuel supply problems” that have caused “severe spikes with no immediate relief in sight.” Other analysts blame California’s special blend of less-polluting gasoline, as well as problems at three refineries in the southern part of the state.The $2.76 average across the country is a whopping 83 cents less than in California. Usually the gap is in the 20-30-cent range.The U.S. Department of Energy says the world remains “massively oversupplied.” American drivers paid the lowest price for July 4 travel since 2010, saving 90 cents a gallon.California drivers have also enjoyed lower gas prices than in years past. But state supplies are now at a 12-month low, and federal energy officials say California refiners had to use 1.1 million barrels from their storage tanks. It’s so bleak that imports to the West Coast sank to zero last week after averaging more than 100,000 barrels a day over the previous four weeks.Regular gas in Los Angeles hit $3.79 on average Saturday, up 24 cents since Thursday. Oakland stood at $3.48, 9 cents more than Thursday. And San Jose’s $3.46 average was 10 cents more than 48 hours earlier. The state average of $3.59 jumped 16 cents during the two-day period.”Holy cow — I’m scratching my head,” David Hackett, president of Stillwater Associates in Irvine told Bloomberg News. “Gasoline inventories are on the low side, but we’re not at the bottom of the tank yet.”Some energy analysts are hoping that the increase may last only a week or so. But the less optimistic ones say all bets are off.Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at Gas Buddy, took the unusual step of urging state drivers not to rush out to fill up.”Filling up unnecessarily may further strain gasoline supply and exacerbate the situation,” he warned. “We have no gasoline as of Monday heading for the California coast. It’s a dire situation.”Problems with California’s crude oil supplies began before Memorial Day when a series of refinery problems in the Midwest led to more oil being sent there than here. Without the ability to get relief from other U.S. regions because California doesn’t have major pipelines, the West Coast has been forced to wait for large vessels from around the world to arrive.The price changes at California’s pumps are getting noticed.”What’s the deal?” asked Eric Itani of San Jose, who has seen his favorite Chevron station boost prices 8 cents in recent days. ‘We’re conserving on electricity, we’re conserving on water — and now I need to conserve on my gas usage.”I am aware that gas prices are much lower compared to one and two years ago, but I am as greedy as the oil companies.”Bill Casilla forked over $3.69 a gallon at the ARCO station on International Boulevard and 98th Avenue in Oakland on Friday. That meant his pickup cost $15 more to fill up than the last time.”Too much,” the landscaper said. “I just pray it stays where it is because I spend a lot for gas.”For Bay Area residents, it could be worse.Tom Robinson, the president of the Rotten Robbie stations, said he’s having no problems getting fuel, but prices have been jumping up and the Southern California market appears to be particularly turbulent.”I think SoCal spot prices are 70 cents higher than NorCal prices,” he said. “Crazy.”Follow Gary Richards at Twitter.com/mrroadshow or Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.gas prices RISINGCity Thursday SaturdayLos Angeles $3.55* $3.79 San Diego $3.54 $3.75San Francisco $3.52 $3.58Bakersfield $3.47 $3.57Vallejo $3.41 $3.50Oakland $3.39 $3.48San Jose $3.36 $3.46Santa Cruz $3.32 $3.38California $3.43 $3.59United States $2.76 $2.76* Average price for a gallon of regular gas.

Source: California gas prices to soar this week

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Religion

(CBS News) – Pope Francis visits Paraguay slum, says mass for 1 million

Pope Francis visits Paraguay slum, says mass for 1 million

People’s feet are covered with plastic bags to guard against mud while waiting for Pope Francis in Asuncion, Paraguay, on July 12, 2015. ANNA MATRANGA

On the last day of his pilgrimage to South America, Pope Francis visited one of the poorest neighborhoods in one of the poorest countries of his native continent.The Banado Norte shantytown lies on the outskirts of Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. Because of its location on the Paraguay River, it’s frequently overcome with floods — the name “Banado” means wetlands. Settled 50 years ago, 15,000 families live there, most of them surviving by picking through garbage and reselling it. Only 1 out of 10 residents has a regular job.Because of its location between Asuncion and the Paraguay River, the land on which the shantytown sits has recently become valuable real estate, and residents fear that unless the government steps in to protect them, they could be forced out. 46 PHOTOSPope preaches to faithful in Latin AmericaWhen Pope Francis arrived, he stopped to mingle with the residents, shake hands, and hug them. Two women told him their stories. One said: “We feel like the lepers in the gospel. We’ve been rejected until now that they’ve decided our land is very valuable.”The pope told the residents: “I could not come to Paraguay without spending time with you here on YOUR land,” emphasizing the “your.””I want to be your neighbor,” he said.Pope Francis then told the gathered residents that their faith would bring them the solidarity that would see them through.”A faith without solidarity is a sick faith, a dead faith,” the pontiff said. “Be neighbors, above all to the young and elderly. Be a support for young families and all families who are experiencing difficulties.”After Banado Norte, the pope went on to celebrate mass in Asuncion with close to a million people, some from his native Argentina just across the border from Paraguay. Entire families camped out the night before in the field where the mass was held, spreading plastic sheets on the deep mud to stay dry. Many covered their feet with plastic bags, others gave up altogether and went shoeless.People’s feet are covered with plastic bags to guard against mud while waiting for Pope Francis in Asuncion, Paraguay, on July 12, 2015. ANNA MATRANGAThe pope’s last scheduled event before heading back to Rome is a meeting with hundreds of thousands of youth, presumably to send a last message of hope for the future of this country, and the continent.

Source: Pope Francis visits Paraguay slum, says mass for 1 million – CBS News

Categories
Banking Business Economy Europe

(NY Times) – European Leaders Reach Agreement to Resolve Greek Debt Crisis

By JAMES KANTER and ANDREW HIGGINS
BRUSSELS — European leaders said Monday morning that they had reached a deal meant to resolve Greece’s debt crisis and avert a historic fracture in the Continent’s common currency project.

“EuroSummit has unanimously reached agreement,” Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, wrote on his Twitter account shortly before 9 a.m. on Monday. The new bailout for Greece would involve “serious reforms” and “financial support,” he wrote.

The deal announced early Monday allows only the start of detailed negotiations on a new assistance package for Greece. But the prospect of a new bailout program was expected to give the European Central Bank the leeway to continue channeling sorely needed emergency funding to Greek banks hollowed out by a long economic slump and the withdrawal of billions of euros in recent months by panicky account holders as the country’s financial crisis worsened.

Riot police stood guard in front of the Greek Parliament, during an anti-austerity demonstration in Athens on Sunday.Greeks’ Anticipation Turns to Anxiety, Then Frustration in Weekend on EdgeJULY 12, 2015
Diners bowed their heads in prayer before eating at the Galini charity’s soup kitchen in Athens. Greece’s fiscal crisis has made many destitute and desperate, and is stretching the resources of charities and government agencies that help the poor.Greece Financial Crisis Hits Poorest and Hungriest the HardestJULY 11, 2015
At a bank in Athens, graffiti made clear the resentment some Greeks have against the Germans’ hard-line economic positions.Greek Debt Crisis Pits Greeks Against GermansJULY 11, 2015
A statue of the goddess Athena in Athens. Greece is struggling to avert bankruptcy.With Greeks Now Ready to Make a Deal, What Can We Expect?JULY 11, 2015
Christina Economou, 59, owns a restaurant named after herself in Hydra.Portraits From Greece as It Endures a CrisisJUNE 23, 2015
The agreement aims to provide Greece with its third bailout package in five years. Tough terms, demanded by Germany and others, are meant to balance Greece’s demands for a loan repayment system that will not keep it mired in recession and austerity budgets, against creditors’ insistence that loans worth tens of billions of euros not be money wasted. Months of testy negotiations, and the inability of Greece to live up to the promises made in its previous bailouts had put a cloud of distrust over the weekend’s discussions.

An accord would end five months of bitter negotiations that raised concerns that Greece would be the first country to be forced out of the euro currency union — a development that proponents of European unity had sought desperately to avoid.

“The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages,” Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told a news conference, explaining her decision to accept the deal and recommend that the German Parliament also grant its approval.

“The country which we help has shown a willingness and readiness to carry out reforms,” said Ms. Merkel, referring to Greece.

As part of Greece’s commitments, Ms. Merkel said, a fund will be created to use the proceeds from selling off assets owned by the Greek government to help pay down the country’s debt. That fund would be “to the tune of” €50 billion, she said.

Greece will be required to also seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund and agree to let the organization continue to monitor the country’s adherence to its bailout commitments. The Greek government had resisted a continued role for the I.M.F., seeing the fund’s involvement as unwanted meddling.

The Greek Parliament will also be required to approve the terms of the agreement “without delay,” according to the draft document that was circulating Monday morning. One of the sticking points in the weekend negotiations had been a demand that the Parliament sign off on any deal by Wednesday, but that requirement appears to have been relaxed.

He added that eurozone finance ministers would “as a matter of urgency discuss how to help” Greece meet its short-term financing needs. That appeared to be a reference to ensuring that Greece, which is nearly bankrupt, can make large payments to lenders including the European Central Bank that are due in the coming weeks.

From left, Donald Tusk, the European Council president; Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president; and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Eurogroup president, gave a news conference after leaders in Brussels reached a deal to resolve Greece’s debt crisis on Monday. Credit Olivier Hoslet/European Pressphoto Agency

During the marathon negotiation session, Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, struggled with economic overhauls that were demanded by the creditors but that his left-wing government will find difficult to sell at home — just a week after Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected softer terms in a referendum.

European stocks rose and the bond market calmed on Monday morning just moments after European leaders said they had reached a deal. There was no euphoria, however, as investors waited to see how the tough agreement would be put in place.

Niki Kitsantonis contributed reporting from Athens, and Alison Smale from Berlin.

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News

(Yahoo News)  – California Town on High Alert after Coyotes Attack Children  

California Town on High Alert after Coyotes Attack Children

By KAYLEE HECK

(ABC News)California residents are being warned to be more vigilant about coyotes after four attacks on children in the past month in the Irvine area.The most recent incident — this past Sunday — involved a 2-year-old child.“It was a child, about approximately 2 years old, was in the garage. They opened the garage up and the coyote came in and actually got the child on the neck area and part of the cheek,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Kent Smirl told ABC’s Los Angeles station KABC.Coyote Makes Itself at Home in Georgia KitchenThree Rare Coyote Attacks Within 10 Days Spark WorriesCoyote Sightings Put New Jersey Town on EdgeThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported four incidents involving coyotes and young children in the past month in Irvine, where the children have either been bitten or scratched by a coyote. All four had minor injuries from the attacks.“These incidents highlight the importance of communities working together to eliminate sources of food that may attract wildlife to neighborhoods,” Capt. Rebecca Hartman said. “When coyotes are fed, either intentionally or unintentionally by food being left out, they can become a public safety threat.”Trappers have recently humanely euthanized five coyotes in the area and one was linked back to an attack through its DNA, KABC reported.Officials are concerned that coyotes are losing their natural fear of humans because they’re now associating humans with food.If a coyote approaches and looks aggressive, pick up small children and pets and throw rocks to deter the animal, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said.The only reported coyote-caused fatality in the state, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, occurred in 1981 when a 3-year-old girl was killed.

Source: California Town on High Alert after Coyotes Attack Children – Yahoo News

Coyote Makes Itself at Home in Georgia Kitchen

Coyote Sightings Put New Jersey Town on Edge

 

 

 

 

Categories
Business History Tech

(STGIST) – Auto companies not giving Google and Apple “all the data” from smart vehicles –

Car companies are looking to create their own data business, so they’re planning to limit the data they share with tech giants Apple Inc., and Google.

 

Citing a single reason, key players in the automobile industry have toldReuters that they will limit the data that they share with tech partners Apple Inc., and Google Inc.

Car companies Ford, GM and Volkswagen AG’s Audi subsidiary, are reportedly hoping that one day, they will create a new revenue stream from data provided by phone-compatible vehicles. A data business, so to speak.

According to the report, car manufacturers hope that the data from car dashboards will generate billions of dollars — like how Amazon uses its internal algorithm to understand how consumers behave while buying stuff online.

In case you’re wondering, car companies are now collecting data from drivers by selling cars that can communicate with electronics, including smartphones and tablet computers. Consumers use these systems to play music, get access to mapping data, and others. Apple and Google provide the operating system compatibility via the Android and iOS. Consumers can access the apps and other content on the smartphone by using the car dashboard with built-in display.

Don Butler, an executive director at Ford Motors, has told Reuters that they’re limiting the data they share with the tech giants in California because they’re protecting their company’s “ability to create value.” The same article also revealed that General Motors Corp has told its investors that a whopping $350 million additional revenue (over the next three years) would come in from the smarter car dashboards.

Not Surprisingly

At Fortune, Stacey Higginbotham wrote that this decision “surprises no one.” She then explained how car companies could fail.

Meanwhile on other parts of the world-wide web, followers of news linked to Apple and Google have suggested that the auto industry’s action against the two tech giants may be connected to reports about the still unconfirmed Apple automobile, in addition to the highly publicized Google driverless car technology program.

At Bloomberg, Craig Trudell has underlined the fact that Google and Apple are not yet into manufacturing of cars, but both are already paving the way to reach the lucrative four-wheel industry.

Apparently, Google has been making significant progress on self-driving car technology, so much so that the prototype car will start running beyond its test tracks.

Last month, Google’s prototype self-driving cars hit the public streets around Mountain View, California for the first time. Also in June, the search giant confirmed that its cars will soon invade the highways on the state of Virginia.

Source: Auto companies not giving Google and Apple “all the data” from smart vehicles – STGIST

Categories
Entertainment Movies

(Reuters) – Box Office: ‘Minions’ Dominates With $115.2 Million Debut

Box Office: ‘Minions’ Dominates With $115.2 Million DebutBY BRENT LANGLOS ANGELES, July 12, (Variety.com) – “Minions” ruled the weekend box office, racking up a massive $115.2 million in North America, for the second biggest animated film opening in history.The Universal and Illumination Entertainment spin-off to “Despicable Me” just missed the domestic record set by “Shrek the Third’s” $121.6 million kickoff in 2007, while continuing animation maestro Chris Meledandri’s hot streak at the multiplexes. What makes Meledandri so valuable to studios is that he keeps budgets low. “Minions” cost $74 million to produce, a modest number considering that Pixar and DreamWorks Animation routinely spend north of $100 million on their animated features.The studio left nothing to chance when it came to reminding moviegoers why the loved the nattering, mischievous, highlighter-hued critters. Universal partnered with the likes of Snapchat, McDonald’s, and Amazon to deliver nearly $600 million in publicity and promotions, according to a recent article by Bloomberg. The titular characters were ubiquitous popping up on everything from Twinkies to Chiquita bananas.”With anything that opens to over $100 million, you breach all demographics,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “The Minions are the stars of the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise…kids love them, teens love them, and adults love them.””Minions” also enjoyed a sprawling rollout, debuting in 4,301 theaters. In recent months, there’s been a lot of celebrating taking place on the Universal lot. The studio is the leader in market share thanks to hits like “Pitch Perfect 2” and “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and has two films that have crossed $1 billion at the global box office with “Furious 7” and “Jurassic World.””Minions” was such a behemoth that two newcomers, “Self/Less” and “The Gallows,” risked getting washed away. Of them, “The Gallows” fared better, picking up $10 million, across 2,720 locations. The Warner Bros. found footage chiller cost less than $2 million to make, so it could be profitable. Entertainment 360 and Blumhouse Productions backed the picture about a high school play gone terribly, terribly wrong…and not in that teenagers putting on “The Crucible” kind of way.Warner Bros. executives say the film is a modestly priced single, but was an important showcase for writers and directors Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing.”We’re cultivating young filmmakers and giving them a chance to grow and prosper,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. distribution executive vice president. “These are really sharp guys, who have a long career in front of them.”Focus Features’ “Self/Less” was not so fortunate, picking up roughly $5.4 million from 1,953 locations. The science-fiction thriller about a radical medical procedure is the latest film fumble for Ryan Reynolds, who is still laboring to get out from under the massive flops that were “The Green Lantern” and “R.I.P.D.” The good news for the actor is that a trailer for “Deadpool,” his upcoming R-rated comic book adaptation, rocked the Comic-Con crowd. Box office redemption may be nigh.”Self/Less” was produced for $26 million, but the blow is softened in part by foreign pre-sales that limited Focus’ and co-backer Endgame’s financial exposure.”Minions” also took a chunk out of some of the turbo-charged blockbusters still kicking around cinemas. “Jurassic World” slid 54% to $18.1 million, bringing its stateside haul to $590.6 million, while “Inside Out” dipped 43% to $17.1 million, pushing its domestic total to $283.6 million.Overall ticket sales were robust, improving nearly 40% over the year-ago period when “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” kicked off with $72.6 million.

Source: Box Office: ‘Minions’ Dominates With $115.2 Million Debut | Reuters

Categories
Banking crime Robbery

(benchmark reporter) – Armed Robbers use backhoe to rob ATM from bank in Florida

Source: Armed Robbers use backhoe to rob ATM from bank in Florida

Armed Robbers use backhoe to rob ATM from bank in Florida

Florida cops have captured two robbers who were on their attempt to flee after seizing an ATM from the local bank with the help of a stolen backhoe. The robbers were identified as Francisco Hernandez, 53 and Jesus Antonio Sanchez, 50 both residents of Clewiston. They are currently being held at the Polk County Jail on grand theft auto charges as reported by the Orlando Sentinel.

Hernandez and Sanchez are believed to have stolen the backhoe from a local construction site, before heading to Winter Haven and capturing an ATM from the wall of the CentreState Bank. The entire incident has been recorded by a surveillance camera near the ATM. The footage has confirmed the robbery being taken place on Friday midnight.

The suspects however claim that they were innocent as they had been collecting scrap metal and were unable to recall where items pulled by the investigating deputy had been located. Hernandez was previously known to officials due to an outstanding Hendry Country arrest warrant for violating his probation. Sanchez was also on probation for a previous grand theft offence.

According to a bank representative, the suspects did manage to take the ATM from the wall but they were in no attempt to open it.

Backhoes are generally used to excavate or dig and is usually mounted on tractors and front loaders. The suspects have been referred to as “brazen” for their shameless assault on the ATM. The motivation of the two men remains unclear and the two men remain in holding at Polk County Jail.

Recent reports suggest that ATM theft is on the rise as criminals turn to stealing ATM’s rather than swiping credit cards. In 2010 in Texas, 100 ATM machines were stolen. Bank robberies appear to be down.

Categories
Business History News

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) – Westmoreland museum set to return to renovated location

By Kathy Samudovsky
A 6-year-old dog named Mr. Buddy Walker doesn’t realize he’s a canine ambassador at Westmoreland @rt 30 in Unity, the temporary location of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art during its $20 million renovation.His owner, Doug Evans, the museum’s collections manager, has been taking Buddy to work daily since 2013. The miniature pinscher-Jack Russell terrier mix attends staff meetings, people-watches from a sunlit window in the gift shop, and occasionally wanders freely through the art gallery to visitors’ delight.Buddy was allowed to come to work with his owner because the museum’s temporary location made it impossible for Mr. Evans to continue to walk home during lunch breaks to check on the dog, and soon three more staffers in similar situations brought in their dogs, said Judith O’Toole. She is the museum’s director and CEO whose position was recently renamed The Richard M. Scaife Director/ CEO to honor Mr. Scaife’s contributions to the museum.Ms. O’Toole believes the pooches’ presence indicates to visitors that the museum “is serious about being more welcoming and open to new ideas,” especially while in the home stretch of its two-year overhaul, she said.“We want to change the atmosphere of what it’s like to visit a museum, to try to get rid of the stuffiness, whispering and tip-toeing around — and the dogs just really say it,” she said.On Monday, Westmoreland @rt 30 will permanently close to the public so that staff can start the move back to the museum’s renovated location at 221 N. Main St. in Greensburg.The move will occur in stages over the next three months, Ms. O’Toole said.“We couldn’t ensure a very good public experience during that time, so we thought rather than disappoint people, we’d just ‘go dark’ until we get settled,’’ she said.Before the temporary location closes, the gift shop at Westmoreland @rt 30, 4764 State Route 30, is holding a sale 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday. All products are American-made, including works by regional jewelers, woodworkers and ceramicists.The overhauled museum will be nothing short of breathtaking, Ms. O’Toole said.A two-day reopening celebration is planned for Oct. 24-25 at the museum. The event, called “The Sky’s the Limit,” will include cocktails from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and dancing from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Oct. 24. For tickets and details: 724-837-1500 or www.wmuseumaa.org. A free community day is set from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 25.The renovation and expansion is part of a five-year, $38 million capital and endowment campaign that began in 2011, Ms. O’Toole said. The four-story building was completely renovated and a 13,500-square-foot East Wing was added.“This is the largest undertaking of the museum ever,” she said.The museum, which opened in 1959, underwent partial renovations in 1968 and 1999.“What drove the current campaign was the need for more space and a strong desire to transform the building to be more transparent, inviting and look like a museum rather than a government building,” Ms. O’Toole said.At the end of this month, crews will start moving the more than 3,500 works of art into the renovated second-floor galleries and fine arts storage area, she said. The temporary location should be empty shortly after all staff move into the West Wing in mid-August.Much of the exterior work on the building is not finished, and site development and landscaping will be completed closer to the reopening date. Work on the new East Wing is still underway.Smoking no longer will be permitted on museum grounds because the East Wing will be a LEED-certified gold building.Buddy and his fellow canine ambassadors will be allowed in the renovated museum, but the dogs will be confined to staff quarters with occasional appearances in visitor areas. The museum does not permit visitors to bring pets.The dogs contribute to reducing employee stress, Ms. O’Toole said.“Buddy loves people,” Mr. Evans said. “He loves it when school children tour, and special needs visitors just light up when he greets them.”Yearly, the museum draws nearly 25,000 visitors. The hope is to increase those numbers by reopening with significant new collections, including those with works dated after 1950, Ms. O’Toole said.New exhibits will include a regional, 200-piece fraktur — a form of folk art — collection from David Brocklebank of Ligonier and his late wife, Joy.Kathy Samudovsky, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

Source: Westmoreland museum set to return to renovated location | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Categories
Celebrities Dogs Entertainment Music News

(ABC News) – Carrie Underwood’s dogs lock car with baby inside

It was quite a scare for country music star Carrie Underwood.

Carrie Underwood performs at LP Field at the CMA Music Festival on Saturday, June 13, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Al Wagner/Invision/AP)

Sunday, July 12, 2015 07:41AM
It was quite a scare for country music star Carrie Underwood.

She was forced to break into her own car Saturday morning after her dogs accidentally locked themselves inside along with her 4-month-old son.

Underwood tweeted about the incident, saying: “When your dogs manage to lock themselves, all your stuff & the baby in the car & you have to break a window to get in. #WhatAreTheChances”

Later, Underwood would clarify that it was actualy her brother-in-law who broke into her car to save her dogs and baby.

She made sure to let all her fans know everyone was okay and all was good – “minus the broken window.”

Read Source: Carrie Underwood’s dogs lock car with baby inside | 6abc.com

Categories
Disasters Floods World

(NY Daily News) – China evacuates more than 1M as typhoon pounds coast

Chinese authorities have evacuated more than 1.1 million people as a typhoon heads to its southeastern coast.

BEIJING – A typhoon pounded the Chinese coast south of Shanghai on Saturday with strong winds and heavy rainfall, submerging roads, felling trees and forcing the evacuation of 1.1 million people.

Typhoon Chan-hom slammed ashore with winds of up to 160 kilometers (100 miles) per hour near Zhoushan, a city east of the port of Ningbo in Zhejiang province. It has dumped more than 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain since late Friday — about a month’s average in less than 24 hours, China Central Television and the Xinhua News Agency reported.

No deaths or injuries have been reported by Saturday evening.

“It was so windy that the rain came in through the windows even though they were closed,” Zhoushan resident Zhang Zhouqun, 53, manager of a logistics company, said in a telephone interview.

The storm felled 10-year-old trees in his neighborhood, stranded cars in 60-centimeter (2-foot) -deep water and swamped half the fields, Zhang said. Police were out barring people from trying to drive. At the urging of local officials, Zhang’s family had stocked up a few days’ worth of groceries, he said.

Some 1.1 million people had been evacuated from coastal areas of Zhejiang and more than 46,000 in neighboring Jiangsu province ahead of the storm, Xinhua said. The provincial flood control bureau said 28,764 ships had been ordered back to port.

The national weather service said earlier the typhoon might be the strongest to strike China since the communist government took power in 1949. It initially was deemed a super-typhoon but was downgraded at midday Saturday to a strong typhoon and was weakening further as it moved inland.

Heavy downpour was reported in some areas, including the village of Lai’ao, which recorded more than 400 millimeters (16 inches) of rain, according to Xinhua.

More than 100 trains and 600 flights were canceled in the cities of Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wenzhou and Taizhou, according to Xinhua. Buses and passenger ferries also suspended service.

Earlier, Chan-hom caused 20 injuries as it moved over islands in southern Japan, Kyodo news agency reported.

The storm dumped rain on the northern Philippines and Taiwan, where several flights were suspended. The stock market and public offices were closed Friday in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital.

Chan-hom is the second major storm to hit China this week, after Typhoon Linfa forced 56,000 people from their homes in the southern province of Guangdong province.

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News Politics

(newsmax.com) – Coulter Changes Her View on Trump: ‘He’s Magnificent Now’

Donald Trump

Just four years ago, Ann Coulter was calling Donald Trump “a clown.” But now, since his much-publicized push against illegal immigration, she thinks he’s “magnificent.”

“We all make mistakes,” the outspoken political commentator and writer told Fox News’ Alan Colmes on his radio show Friday night. “We all make mistakes, [but] bygones will be bygones.”

But back in 2011, Coulter’s tone on Trump was different. She dismissed conservatives’ enthusiasm for the man who at one time was donating money to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, now the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

According to state and federal disclosure records, Clinton, while senator of New York, received donations from Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., during the years of 2002, 2005, 2006,and 2007, reports Politico.

“I think Trump is a clown,” Coulter said during her 2011 speech at George Washington University. “I expect the enthusiasm for him is based on two things: that the rest of at least the declared candidates aren’t exciting anybody, and there’s name recognition. And he has come out like gangbusters against the Obama administration like an establishment politician probably wouldn’t.”

She also called Trump’s “birtherism,” when he was demanding access to President Barack Obama’s birth certificate “all just a big act for the moment,” she said.

Ann Coulter
Coulter also pointed out that back in 2012, Trump had criticized Mitt Romney and Republicans for being too “mean-spirited” on immigration, but she said that was also a mistake.

Coulter says she is glad Trump is pushing immigration issues as a major focus for the 2016 race, while saying she is disappointed that Republicans only vow to get tough on immigration during election seasons.

Coulter and Trump are both causing controversy with their stances on immigration. She is on a media tour for her new anti-immigration book, “Adios America!”

In her book, she attacks the issue as well as Democrats, while criticizing the media, the government, and even Republican businessmen for profiting from mass immigration.

Source: Coulter Changes Her View on Trump: ‘He’s Magnificent Now’

Categories
Disasters Obituary

(TribLIVE) – Greensburg man dies in motorcycle crash

|A 46-year-old Unity Township man was killed in a motorcycle crash Saturday evening, according to investigators.Bruce A. Maglicco Jr., who was wearing a helmet, was traveling south on Marguerite Road in Unity just before 8:30 p.m. when the motorcycle briefly left the road and slid, according to state police and the Westmoreland County coroner’s office.The 2009 Harley Davidson motorcycle came to rest on top of Maglicco in the center of the road, according to a news release from the coroner.A passerby, who is a nurse, stopped and attempted to resuscitate the man, said police and fire Chief Scott Graham. The crash occurred between Coke Oven Hill and Bernie Stone roads, Graham said.The man was transported to Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital where he was pronounced dead, investigators said. Maglicco’s cause of death was a result of multiple blunt force injuries, the coroner ruled.An autopsy will not be performed. Toxicology results will take several weeks to complete.Shirley Funeral Home in North Huntingdon Township is handling arrangements.

Source: Greensburg man dies in motorcycle crash | TribLIVE