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Beverly Macy: Social Media -- 4 Trends To Watch in 2012

I am on a mission to help Fortune 500 companies answer the question, "What is a social media and how can it help our company?"

Senior executives and managers can not make decisions or allocate budget to something they know very little about. You are at a competitive disadvantage if you do not embrace the power of social media and understand how it applies to the enterprise. Your competitors are already there. Your incoming digital native workforce is there. In fact, 2012 is the year companies will move from social media to social business.

I'm very optimistic that companies, business schools, governments, non-profits and other organizations are ready. I talk to CEO's and decision makers every day and I'm encouraged by what I hear. They're finally acknowledging that social media has become the new rocket fuel powering all aspects of the organization today. Every department is affected by social technologies -- the board room, corporate communications, investor relations, marketing, legal, human resources, customer service, supply chain management, sales, research and development -- the list goes on and on.

But some will say, 'Well, we aren't affected because we aren't doing social yet". Not true. Did you know that even if your company never sends a Tweet, you could be using Twitter for competitive and business intelligence? The same is true with Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

In 2012, companies that learn how to master the power of real-time social media will end up the winners. Companies that don, won't. It's really that simple.

The 'Next' Lens 4 Social Enterprise Trends in 2012:

1. The Power of Real-time -- Harnessing Chaos
a. Simply put, the chaos theory means that something seemingly small can have a large impact. The social enterprise will get better at sifting through the digital river to recognize what's important. This swift global business environment requires all participants to be fully fluent in social technologies and platforms.
b. Companies will finally realize that more control no longer equals more revenue. In fact, it's just the opposite.
c. Companies will switch from "What's social media?" to "How do we effectively use these new tools to define our social voice to garner better business intelligence, create more robust customer engagements, create a truly collaborative workforce, and grow the bottom line?"

2. The Global Social Brain -- It's Everywhere and It's Getting Really Smart
a. The living, breathing collective consciousness - the global social brain - is collecting and dispersing data at dizzying speeds.
b. The 2012 workforce is expected to be solution-based and fully connected in and on social platforms, whether those platforms are part of their everyday work or not.
c. 2012 will see a growing body of social metadata that will spur better analytics and measurement. Competitive advantage will go to those who know how to turn this metadata into actional business intelligence.

3. Content Curation and Discovery- Just Give Me What's Important and Let Me Find What I Need
a. Aggregation and curation will be critical going into 2012 and companies will either create a social layer into existing IT systems and/or look to the multiple new vendors popping up.
b. Discovery will be encouraged, not blocked.
c. Competitive advantage goes to companies who quickly figure out how to enable effective aggregation curation. Look for rapid innovation in this field.

4. Social Media Education -- The Enterprise Goes To School
a. Take social education as seriously as Six Sigma. The enterprise NOT fluent in social will be at a competitive disadvantage. ALL employees must be exposed to basic social media training and education to attain a knowledge baseline in the organization.
b. Smart Chief Learning Officers will seek outside consultation and guidance. This is not a 'build it here' solution for most companies. Most of today's education systems inside the enterprise rely on technologies and procedures that do not encompass social platforms.
c. Your management Companies will realize they can't make strategic decisions on social media policy guidelines without fully understanding the implications of social media technologies. They can't manage something they don't know. Budget will be allocated for corporate training of executives -- even if those executives will never post a status update to Facebook.

The days of looking the other way while the social river flows by are over. Watch out, or you'll lose your footing and be carried downstream. Companies will finally step up and get smart about what it takes to be in business in this globally connected world.

Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit LLC and the Co-Author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. She also teaches Executive Global Marketing and Branding and Social Media Marketing for the UCLA Extension in Westwood, CA. Email at beverlymacy@gmail.com

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Follow Beverly Macy on Twitter: www.twitter.com/beverlymacy

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/beverly-macy/social-media-business_b_1065400.html

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Medical Marijuana Crackdown Should Stop, House Reps Say

WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress are calling on the Obama administration to end the federal crackdown on marijuana dispensaries in California, citing Attorney General Eric Holder's past promise to maintain a hands-off approach toward pot clinics operating in compliance with state law.

Although most of the nine signatories on a Friday letter to the White House were California Democrats -- including Reps. Barbara Lee, Pete Stark, Lynn Woolsey and Sam Farr -- the group also contained a California Republican, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who is an outspoken medical marijuana advocate, and a Tennessee Democrat, Rep. Steve Cohen.

"We write to express our concern with the recent activity by the Department of Justice against legitimate medical cannabis dispensaries in California that are operating legally under state law," the lawmakers said.

Federal prosecutors targeted medical marijuana dispensary owners in California on Oct. 7, vowing to shutter state-licensed businesses and threatening landlords with property seizures for violating federal drug laws. Now these House members are pushing back.

"It is our strong position that local and state governments must be allowed to develop, implement and enforce their own public health laws with regard to medical cannabis," the letter stated.

The letter comes just days after hundreds of marijuana activists gathered in downtown San Francisco, where President Barack Obama was attending a fundraising luncheon, to protest the federal crackdown on California's pot clinics.

But the scope of Friday's letter stretched beyond California. The threatening notices sent to landlords by California's four U.S. attorneys follow many months of federal interference in other states that permit medical cannabis, with aggressive federal raids in at least seven, the representatives noted.

They called on the White House to reclassify marijuana as a legitimate controlled substance for medicinal purposes and to adopt the States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, legislation introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) that would prohibit federal interference in state-run medical marijuana clinics.

"By pursuing the same harsh policies that have been in place for years, we fear that the federal government will push legitimate patients back into the uncertainly and danger of the illicit market," the letter continued.

The White House did not immediately respond to a query about the letter sent by HuffPost after business hours; another to the Justice Department also went unreturned over the weekend.

Read the full letter from members of Congress here.

Late on Friday, the White House did release a response to several online petitions for marijuana legalization submitted by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and other groups as part of the White House's "We The People" project, an effort to allow ordinary Americans to gain the attention of policymakers through an online portal at the White House website.

"Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses," the White House wrote in its official response. "That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition."

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/30/medical-marijuana-crackdown-house-representatives-letter_n_1065354.html

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Saborio leads Real Salt Lake past Sounders

updated 2:26 a.m. ET Oct. 30, 2011

SANDY, UTAH - Real Salt Lake appears to have rediscovered its dominance at the right time.

Alvaro Saborio scored two goals to lift Salt Lake to a 3-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinals series Saturday night.

Salt Lake did not allow a single shot on goal through 90 minutes, and Ned Grabavoy tacked on a late goal to give Salt Lake a three-goal advantage going into the second and final leg of the series on Wednesday.

"We wanted to make a 90-plus effort tonight," Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. "We know we get our offensive chances when we play good defense."

Salt Lake controlled possession and pressed the attack throughout much of the first half. The aggressive play resulted in some early scoring chances.

Saborio finally took advantage in the 42nd minute. With goalkeeper Kasey Keller out of position, Saborio took a pass from Chris Wingert and tapped the ball across the line.

Saborio came up big again in the 53rd minute. He took a pass from Javier Morales after a throw-in and flicked the ball around Seattle defender Jeff Parke with his back heel and sent it into the net.

"I'm so happy he put himself in the right spot," Wingert said. "He's a guy that can step up like that and score a couple of goals like that in big games."

Grabavoy capped off the scoring in the 89th minute when he tracked down a poorly cleared ball, shook off a defender and slotted the ball inside the right post.

It represented the most complete effort in all facets of the game that Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis has seen from his team in several months. Kreis felt particularly pleased with how well the team shut down Seattle's potent offense.

"We're all going to walk away from here feeling really good about the soccer that was played and the passes and the effective passing in the box," Kreis said. "But I'm going to walk away feeling very proud about what the guys put into it defensively. We know inside our locker room that our attacking abilities and our pretty soccer comes from working hard defensively."

There were doubts that Salt Lake could regain the dominant form it showed early in the season after failing win over the final two months of the regular season. No one in the locker room felt surprised at the outcome. Salt Lake had all of its best players healthy and playing together for the first time in several months.

With the roster back to normal, Salt Lake is ready to prove it can be an MLS title contender once again.

"This is a veteran group," Grabavoy said. "I thought the light would turn on."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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China paper says U.S. solar complaint driven by envy (reuters)

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NBA talks need economic move to end the lockout (AP)

NEW YORK ? Anyone who has been to a car dealership, or bought a home, understands how negotiating works.

One side offers a number, the other counters, and they meet somewhere in the middle and make a deal.

That's not the way it's working in the NBA's labor standoff ? even with potentially $2 billion at stake for each side.

Owners and players keep insisting they are ready and willing to make the necessary financial step for an agreement. Yet talks have broken down each of the last two weeks with little movement and the same type of answer: "We're here, they're there, and that's that."

That won't get players back on the court or fans in the seats.

And with both sides so entrenched, it might be a question of when, not if, another round of cancellations will be necessary.

"I don't know," Commissioner David Stern said Friday when asked about the next deadline. "We just had a difficult day. We'll go back, we'll go to the office Monday and see what to do about this big mess."

They could start with a phone call to the players' association to schedule more talks, and the sides likely will meet again soon. But it will remain pointless if neither side is prepared to offer compromise.

Owners are insistent on a 50-50 split of basketball-related income. Players have proposed reducing their guarantee from 57 percent down to 52.5, saying that will transfer more than $1.5 billion to owners over six years.

And when neither side would go further Friday, NBA officials said union executive director Billy Hunter ended the session.

"Billy said, `My phone is ringing off the hook from agents and players telling me I cannot go under 52 percent' and he said unless you're willing to go there, we have nothing to talk about," Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said.

The difference between 50 and 52.5 percent is about $100 million annually, based on last season's revenues, or $1 billion over the course of the 10-year agreement the NBA is seeking.

The cost of not making a deal?

"We expect there to be a $2 billion loss for us for the loss of the season, which we will then begin to dig out from under and try to get back, if there were a season's loss," Stern said. "And the players would lose $2 billion. Period."

The losses already have been piling up. Stern said wiping out the preseason schedule, which would have ended Friday, cost the league $200 million. The first month of real games adds another couple hundred million, and Hunter has said missing a month would cost the players about $350 million.

But that's not enough to make players agree to a deal they say would cost them money and limit their options in free agency.

"We think we gave more than enough, and that's what we constantly said to them: `Look, we did what it was you said you needed, we did it,'" Hunter said. "And now all of a sudden, every time we did it, it's like their eyes got bigger and they wanted more and more and more. So finally we just had to shut it down and just say it can't be."

Stern has made it clear that owners' future proposals could be made with the losses in mind. Players eventually will get their money, just less of it, but the damage to businesses that rely on the game won't be recovered.

"I think it is hard for the average person to understand what it is they're arguing over," said Jim Taggart, the manager of The Four's, an upscale sports bar across the street from Boston's TD Garden. "A lot of the people that work concessions at the Garden come in here, and their pay is budgeted into how they pay their mortgages, how they put their kids through school.

"Events at the Garden are just absolute big business. There's a whole ancillary economy that depends on the Garden, and it's pretty far reaching, all the restaurants and parking garages."

The sides are much closer after three straight days of meetings in consecutive weeks. Besides the BRI split, the list of remaining items is down to just a handful, such as the ability of teams over the luxury tax threshold to use the midlevel exception or participate in sign-and-trade deals.

Those are important to players. The top-spending teams are mostly the ones in the biggest markets, and players want to know teams in the most desired cities won't be prevented from bidding on them.

"What we did not want to do and what we don't want to do is take taxpaying teams completely out of the market for other teams' free agents," union president Derek Fisher of the Lakers said. "We want our midlevel players to be able to sign contracts or at least have the opportunity to sign a contract wherever they would like to play."

There had been a sense of optimism going into Friday after both sides acknowledged progress on the salary cap system over the previous two days. But they hadn't talked about the split, and sure enough, once they did things fell apart again.

Wasted was the meeting room the NBA had reserved through the weekend at a top New York hotel, where it hoped to be announcing a deal by Sunday. The next talks haven't been scheduled, but the sides reconnected quickly after the last breakdown.

"Each time I come here, we've come in thinking we may be here for weeks and we're not going to leave the room," Fisher said. "But sometimes they end and you assume you won't talk again for weeks and you're back the next day."

___

AP Sports Writer Howard Ulman in Boston contributed to this report.

___

Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: twitter.com/Briancmahoney.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111029/ap_on_sp_bk_ne/bkn_nba_labor

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St. Paul's Cathedral to reopen Friday (AP)

LONDON ? St. Paul's Cathedral says it will reopen Friday, a week after is shut its doors because of an anti-capitalist protest camp outside.

Spokeswoman Hannah Talbot says the church will open for prayer and worship with the Eucharist service at 1230 p.m. (1130GMT, 7:30 a.m. EDT). It will reopen to tourists on Saturday.

Protesters have been camped outside the building since Oct. 15. Days later, cathedral officials shut the building to the public, saying the campsite was a health and safety hazard.

On Wednesday Dean Graeme Knowles said the cathedral hoped to reopen following changes to the layout of tents.

Church officials still want the protesters to leave, but they are refusing to go.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

LONDON (AP) ? The senior St. Paul's Cathedral priest who welcomed anti-capitalist demonstrators to camp outside the London landmark resigned Thursday, saying he feared moves to evict the protesters could end in violence.

Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser said on Twitter that "it is with great regret and sadness that I have handed in my notice at St. Paul's Cathedral."

He told The Guardian newspaper that he had resigned because he believed cathedral officials had "set on a course of action that could mean there will be violence in the name of the church."

Fraser's departure reveals divisions among cathedral clergy over how to handle the protest on their doorstep. Dean of St. Paul's Graeme Knowles confirmed Fraser had stepped down, saying officials were disappointed that he "is not able to continue to his work ... during these challenging days."

Protesters have been camped outside the building since Oct. 15. When police tried to move them the next day, Fraser said the demonstrators were welcome to stay and asked police officers to move instead.

He later issued a statement stressing that "the Christian gospel is profoundly committed to the needs of the poor and the dispossessed. Financial justice is a gospel imperative."

Days later, cathedral officials shut the building to the public, saying the campsite was a health and safety hazard. It was the first time the 300-year-old church, one of London's best-known buildings, had closed since World War II.

Cathedral officials, and the bishop of London, have since asked the demonstrators to leave, but they are refusing to go.

Knowles said Wednesday the cathedral was considering all its options in response to the protest ? including legal action.

But in a victory for the protesters, he said the cathedral hoped to reopen Friday following changes to the layout of tents.

In a statement, the Occupy London protesters called Fraser a "man of great personal integrity."

The protesters said Fraser had "ensured that St. Paul's could be a sanctuary for us and that no violence could take place against peaceful protesters with a legitimate cause challenging and tackling social and economic injustice in London, the U.K. and beyond."

Similar camps have sprung up across the United States and around the world since activists took over a plaza near New York's Wall Street last month to protest corporate greed and social inequality. Many have withered or been dismantled, sometimes by force.

The local governing authority for St. Paul's, the City of London Corporation, says it is taking legal advice on the best way to evict the protesters ? but that could be a long process, complicated by the tangled ownership of the medieval patch of London on which the cathedral stands.

The protesters say they will fight eviction and have hired high-profile lawyer John Cooper, who has said he will defend the group for free.

Fraser, 46, a high-profile and liberal Anglican clergyman, was appointed chancellor of the cathedral in 2009.

The role involves overseeing the work of the St. Paul's Institute, which "seeks to bring Christian ethics to bear on our understanding of finance and economics."

The cathedral and the protest tent city lie within London's traditional financial center, which is called the City.

Fraser, a former Vicar of Putney in south London whose father came from a prominent London Jewish family, is well known through his newspaper and magazine columns and frequent appearances on BBC radio.

He has criticized the effects of the government's austerity measures.

"Should the church get stuck into the mucky world of politics? How ridiculous, of course it should," he wrote in the Guardian in June, going on to quote the late Brazilian bishop Helder Camara: "When I give to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist."

____

Associated Press writer Robert Barr contributed to this report.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/europe/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111027/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_britain_wall_street_protests

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Saving money in a debt-soaked economy

Saving money is nearly impossible in an economy ridden with debt. But for the 70 million baby boomers approaching retirement age, it's the only choice there is.

Last time we looked, yesterday, stocks were falling. We?re on a plane bound for Madrid this morning. So, we?re just going to forget the markets and move directly to the economy that supports them.

Skip to next paragraph Bill Bonner

Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind The Daily Reckoning (dailyreckoning.com).

Recent posts

Both The International Herald Tribune and The Financial Times signal that the American economy has hit a bad patch. Both refer to consumer confidence as a cause of the problem. Consumers aren?t willing to borrow or spend?say the papers?because they lack confidence.

What they really lack, of course, is money. They don?t have enough money to continue spending at the bubble era rate?and they have little hope of getting any.

?Gloom holds back the US economy,? says the FT.

The Conference Board does an index of consumer sentiment. It?s at its lowest point in 40 years.

And no wonder. More Americans are unemployed now than there were 40 years ago, or any time in between. And never have house prices fallen so much. The Case-Shiller index puts house prices nearly 4% lower than they were 12 months ago. If all of America?s housing stock has a value of around $20 trillion?this represents a loss of about $800 billion over the last year.

?It was all on paper anyway,? you might say. But that was the paper that the baby boomers had hoped to use to finance their retirements. Seventy million of them are supposed to retire over the next 15 years. Few have actually saved enough money. Some looked to the stock market for the money they needed. Others counted on selling their houses.

Now, they?re in a jamb. Stocks and houses have gone nowhere in the last 10 years. These years should have been the ?peak retirement savings? years for the boomers?when their earnings were peaking out and the beaches of sunny Florida beckoned to them like Lorelei on the banks of the Rhine.

But they blew it. They took their peak earnings?invested in stocks or real estate?or simply spent the money. Now, what have they got?

They?ve got to do a lot of saving!

The trouble with saving money is that it is incompatible with a debt-soaked economy. If your earnings are increasing you can pay back your loans with your extra money. It doesn?t take anything away from the economy. But if your earnings aren?t increasing, you have to reach into your pocket and take out money that was earmarked for other things. This has the inconvenient consequence of reducing consumer spending?which sends the economy into a funk.

Even the mainstream press is beginning to understand how this works. Here?s a piece from Atlanta Home:

How Debt Deleveraging Killed the Economy
By Harris Collingwood
October 11, 2011

When US consumers, businesses, and government all pay down debt at the same time, the inevitable outcome is lower growth, higher unemployment, and lower standards of living.

Millions of Americans are taking similar steps. Some 8 million US consumers stopped using bank-issued credit cards in 2010, according to the credit-reporting agency TransUnion. The average credit-card balance has fallen 10 percent this year from 2010, to $6,472; US consumer debt has dropped for 12 consecutive quarters, from a peak of $14 trillion in early 2008 to $13.3 trillion last spring, mainly because of mortgages repudiated or abandoned. People are cutting visits to the hairdresser, buying used cars without financing, and living on surplus cheese as they trudge toward the promised land of a debt-free existence.

Ponder what economists call the paradox of deleveraging. This occurs when economic actors on all sides ? consumers, business, government ? all retire their debts at once. Unless their incomes are rising, they can pay off debt only by cutting what they spend. This, in turn, reduces the demand for goods and services, which drives prices down, further trimming businesses? revenue and thus their ability to pay employees, who in consequence spend less. The cycle continues, until incomes fall so low that there?s no longer cash available to reduce the debt. And as incomes and business profits decline, so do government tax receipts, resulting in fewer police officers, more unfilled potholes, and greater pressure on pensioners.

A deleveraging nation, economists say, risks higher unemployment and years of subpar economic growth and could trigger a deflationary spiral in which consumers forgo spending, anticipating lower prices in the future. ?When economies are deleveraging,? Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart said in a recent speech, ?they cannot grow as rapidly as they might otherwise.?

Such is the bind in which the United States finds itself, three years after the world financial system nearly collapsed amid the collective realization that governments, businesses, and households had all borrowed far more than they could possibly repay ? far more, in fact, than there was collateral to secure it.

The federal government led the way. Its debt swelled from $907 billion in 1980 to $14.7 trillion in September 2011. The rise wasn?t slow or steady. Powered by tax cuts plus two wars and a Medicare prescription-drug benefit, all financed by borrowing, the debt rocketed during George W. Bush?s administration, from $5.7 trillion in 2001 to $10.7 trillion. Under President Obama, the federal debt has soared by another two-fifths, mainly because of the debt-financed public spending that was meant to stabilize the economy after the 2008 meltdown.

Until recently, consumers borrowed almost as avidly. As lenders crafted credit products for borrowers of every need, consumer debt exploded after 1980. The largest increases came from 2000 to ?07, when total household borrowing more than doubled ? to $13.8 trillion, mostly for mortgage debt ? while consumer prices rose by only one-fifth. Consumers, some economists say, were trying to compensate for stagnant incomes, which gained by only a tenth on average (adjusted for inflation) from 1973 to 2010. Business joined in, especially in housing-related industries, borrowing half again as much in 2007 as in 2000. Small businesses availed themselves of cheap money.

But now, the feds pump furiously, still raising debt levels in the public sector, but the tide goes out for almost everyone else. It sweeps millions of households out to sea with it. They are now drowning in debt, ?underwater,? with little hope of ever getting back to the surface. The best they can do is to let go the burden of mortgages, student loans, credit cards?all the debt that is dragging them down.

Then what? Then, they have to cut back?and save real money for retirement.

And you already know what this does to the economy.

?Well, Mr. Smarty Pants,? said our better half, ?What?s your solution??

?I don?t have a solution. I only have a resolution.?

?What?s that??

?Let the markets sort it out. Let the chips fall where they may. Give bankruptcy a chance.?

?But it was the markets that got us into this mess. It was the markets that got people into so much debt. It was the markets that made them think houses would go up forever. It was the markets that rewarded Wall Street for its financial engineering.?

?Well?yes?it was the markets reacting to a lot of bad cues and misinformation supplied by the feds.?

?Maybe?but if the markets could make such huge mistakes?how do you know they won?t make more of them??

?Hey, the markets never know what anything is worth. They always make mistakes. But they are always finding out what things are worth. And when they realize they?ve been suckered into a bad position, they correct. They?re always correcting their mistakes. And that?s why we have a Great Correction on our hands today.?

?But how do you know the correction will be any better than the mistake??

?You?re asking tough questions. I thought we were on a vacation.?

?You?re the one who is always talking about these things??

?Of course, we never know anything for sure. That?s why we have markets. They don?t know anything either. But they?re always discovering. It?s sloppy. It?s painful. But that?s just the way it works.

?And what?s the alternative? The Soviets tried to eliminate markets. They got smart people together and let them decide how capital was to be allocated, who got what?and at what price. It was the greatest economic experiment ever conducted. And they stuck to it. Over a 70-year period. If people objected, they sent them to Siberia. Some tried to get out of it by jumping over the Berlin Wall; many were shot by the guards. We really should erect some monument to the Soviets for such steadfast zeal and earnest commitment to economic experimentation. Maybe they should get a Nobel Prize. They certainly have done much more than Keynes or Krugman to help us understand how markets work. Sensible people would have dropped the experiment after a few months. But the Soviets kept going.

?And now we know. Seven decades after it began, Russia was poorer than when it began.

?But that?s the problem with a command economy. It corrects too, but only very reluctantly. Usually after a revolution.

?And that?s what we see right now. The private sector ? a market economy ? is correcting the errors made in the bubble years. It is correcting its debt. It is de-leveraging. But the public sector? Government is a command economy. Decisions are made by bureaucrats, lobbyists and glad-handers. Capital is allocated according to political considerations; they are not guided by the invisible hand of the market. So they don?t correct. They just keep making the same mistake ? running up debt ? until a correction is forced upon them.?

Regards,

Bill Bonner

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on dailyreckoning.com.

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Video: Art Cashin's Word on the Street

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Peter Jackson trying to aid ex-US death row inmate (AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand ? Director Peter Jackson said Friday that he was working with a high-profile former American death row inmate in hopes of getting the man a complete pardon.

Jackson, best known for his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, said he received an exemption to New Zealand law to allow Damien Echols to visit him. Echols was part of a group known as the West Memphis Three who were convicted of killing three boys in the U.S. state of Arkansas in 1993. He and the other two men were released in August after pleading guilty to lesser charges and insist they are innocent.

At a news conference Friday in which Jackson stood alongside New Zealand Prime Minister John Key at the North Island set where Jackson is filming a two-part version of "The Hobbit," the director said he'd gone through the same process open to everyone in applying for an exemption to immigration laws.

"There are all sorts of emotive headlines about Damien Echols, killer, coming to New Zealand, but the reality is that Damien Echols is an innocent man who has spent 18 years incarcerated in a tiny cell," Jackson said.

The director told reporters that he and partner Fran Walsh had worked for seven or eight years to try and help free Echols.

"He's come here to work with us on a couple of things," Jackson said. "We're doing investigative work, we're doing forensic work ... with the purpose of getting a complete pardon."

Jackson clarified that Echols was not taking part in work on "The Hobbit."

Echols is one of the highest-profile death row inmates to be released in the U.S. Three HBO documentaries about his case brought national attention and sparked the involvement of several celebrities, including Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder.

Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley ? who were teenagers at the time ? were convicted of killing three 8-year-old boys who were found naked and tied in a drainage ditch in the Arkansas town of West Memphis. The case hinged on the testimony of witnesses who said they'd heard the teens talk about the killings.

Echols was the only one sentenced to death.

In 2007, lawyers representing Echols claimed that new DNA tests taken from the crime scene didn't match any of the men. In August, the men agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges and were released immediately for time served ? all the while publicly maintaining their innocence.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/entertainment/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111028/ap_en_mo/as_new_zealand_jackson_and_echols

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Google+ Resurrects Playback Feature From Wave, Renames It ?Ripples?

wavelogoLast August, Google asked us all to say good-bye to Google Wave. Some said Wave was ahead of its time, some said that the platform had enough features to sink the Titanic. However, Google today announced some significant updates to its social network, Google+, among them that Google Apps users can now sign up for G+ -- the integration is finally live. And one of these features launched today on Google+ seems a throwback to one now-defunct feature of Google Wave, called "Playback". Or at least one might claim this as its genesis, with the feature having its roots in-house, as opposed to some sort of reaction to Facebook's much bally-hooed timeline that launched this September.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/m03iMeNf-z8/

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শুক্রবার, ২৮ অক্টোবর, ২০১১

Japan's digital divas take to the stage, wow fans (Reuters)

TOKYO (Reuters) ? Japan's two newest stars have all the basics of being a pop idol down. Their dance moves are sharp, they sing without missing a beat, and their songs have made the top 10.

The only thing is, neither one of them exists.

The green-haired "Megpoid" and red-haired "Akikoloid" are both completely computer generated, the latest in a line of popular digital characters based on a voice-synthesizing program that allows users to create their own music.

They were the stars of a concert during the recent Digital Concept Expo in Tokyo.

Music made by "Vocaloid," the voice-synthesizing program, and its spin-off characters, has made it into the top 10 on Japan's weekly top hits list. But for those watching the concert, the performance was nothing more than thin air -- unless they looked at the screen showing the augmented reality (AR) scene with the 3D characters inserted into live video.

The software used at the concert used a complicated system of sensors and motion capture technology to create the two singers, with sensors around the venue and on the cameras and the hands of two human back dancers interacting to make a composite that was inserted into the concert in real time.

Nothing about the singers is real. Even their high, perky voices are digitally generated, but sound no different from those of many a live Japanese pop singer.

"Though there have been a few concerts with the characters before, this is the first time they could interact with others, including the audience, and appear to move around in a true 3D space," said Masaru Ishikawa, a Tokyo University researcher who helped create the system used for the concert.

"These sorts of concerts up to now have looked 3D but were actually using 2D technology. This is a world first in that the character is actually 3D and can sing and dance with others," he said.

Fans were able to get in on the action by using poles with markers that allowed them to be detected by the augmented reality system and interact with the characters by waving the poles around during the concert. Depending on the song, these movements produced stars, sparkles and flames in the video.

"Seeing the concert with augmented reality made it seem like they were really there, even though they weren't," 24-year-old fan Keisuke Shindo said after watching the hour-long concert.

"It was also interesting to see how they added the effects and allowed the audience to interact using the poles. I think it's pretty amazing."

In addition to the 150 fans at the actual concert, more than 65,000 people watched on Nico Nico Douga, a Japanese video-sharing site similar to YouTube.

(Writing by Elaine Lies; Editing by Paul Tait)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/japan/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20111028/lf_nm_life/us_japan_divas_digital

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Audioengine 5+ Speakers Hit All The Right Notes, Including Price [Speakers]

I'm not going to try and convince you that, all things considered, the Audioengine 5+ speakers are the best bang for your buck. But if you're in the market for a capable pair that's easy to install, with features targeted at the average consumer, their $400 price tag certainly makes them a worthwhile contender. More »


Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/OC0pkeuLlKo/audioengine-5%252B-speakers-hit-all-the-right-notes-including-price

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Michael Myers: From 'Halloween' To MTV's Killer Halloween

Horror-movie icon ushered in the modern era of slasher films — but is he the best cinematic killer of all time?
By Kevin P. Sullivan


Michael Myers in "Halloween"
Photo: Dimension Films

We're just about halfway through MTV's Killer Halloween, and the competition is just heating up in the battle to find out which movie murderer tops them all.

So far, we've profiled Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, Chucky and Ghostface, but now we look at the man who ushered in the modern era of slashers.

Which horror-movie baddie has the best personality? Make your pick in our MTV Movies Blog poll!

Michael Myers
Occupation: Homicidal boy, homicidal adult

Weapons: Knife, inability to ever freaking die

Archenemy: His family, his psychiatrist, anyone who gets in the way of him killing his family and his psychiatrist

Profile: Michael Myers was a bit of a prodigy in the ways of serial killing, changing the game even as a young boy. Pre-teen Michael may have been the first to don a mask — a creepy clown one for his first murder — and go after the babysitter, his sister Judith. He spent the remainder of his youth in an institution for the mentally disturbed under the close observation of Dr. Sam Loomis. After Michael escaped, stealing a mask, jumpsuit and knife from a hardware store, movie serials have never been the same.

The target of most of Michael's deadly attention has been his surviving sister, Laurie, the lead played by Jamie Lee Curtis in the first two films and "Halloween: H20" and Scout Taylor-Compton in the Rob Zombie remakes. The early films simply focused on Michael's obsession with finding his long-lost baby sister, but later in the series, the true origin of Michael as an embodiment of pure evil added a supernatural element to the villain.

There has never been too much to Michael Myers' tactics. He stalks. He walks. He kills. His style of murder will be remembered for a number of reasons. His mask, an old William Shatner "Star Trek" mask painted white, has become a horror icon. His slow gait and silent disposition directly inspired dozens of imitators — Jason Voorhees, most famously. Modern slasher films owe a debt to Michael Myers and his creator John Carpenter, whose work has affected the genre for generations.

Where do you think Michael Myers falls in the scope of horror-movie psychopaths? Let us know in the comments!

Check out everything we've got on "Halloween."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.

Source: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1673242/halloween-michael-myers.jhtml

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বৃহস্পতিবার, ২৭ অক্টোবর, ২০১১

Hyundai sees rising competition after Q3 profit rise (Reuters)

SEOUL (Reuters) ? South Korea's Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) warned of rising competition and economic uncertainty after it posted on Thursday a 21 percent rise in quarterly net profit, fueled by solid sales gains in the United States, Europe and other markets.

Hyundai, the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales, along with affiliate Kia Motors (000270.KS), also said it will beat its already-upgraded sales target of 4 million units this year, after its global sales rose 9.6 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier.

Once viewed as manufacturers of bland but economical cars, Hyundai and Kia have addressed design and reliability problems in recent years to outperform during the global financial crisis and have become formidable competitors to more established rivals.

Their sales are expected to remain solid in the fourth quarter with new models winning over consumers with attractive prices, features and styling, analysts said.

The South Korean duo will also continue to benefit from the woes of Japanese rivals suffering from a strong yen and floods in Thailand, where some maintain production units, they said.

Still, maintaining sales momentum next year in the face of a slowing global economy, resurgent Japanese automakers, and stretched manufacturing capacity is seen a challenge.

"Tougher competition from recovering Japanese carmakers is inevitable in the short term," said Lee Dong-geun, a fund manger at Heungkook Asset Management said. "But Japanese firms still have concerns about a stronger yen and the recent floods in Thailand."

Hyundai on Thursday reported a 1.92 trillion won ($1.7 billion) net profit for the July-to-September quarter, in line with a consensus forecast of 1.89 trillion won from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

That was up from a 1.59 trillion won net profit a year ago and down from 2.31 trillion won in the preceding quarter.

COMPETITION IN U.S.

"We expect Japanese rivals to carry out an aggressive sales policy in the United States after normalizing production in the fourth quarter," said Hyundai's chief financial officer, Lee Won-hee. "But we will maintain our low-inventory, low-incentive policies and pursue qualitative growth."

"We believe our Sonata and Elantra are ahead of Toyota's new Camry and Honda's new Civic in terms of product competitiveness expect that we will be able to achieve global sales of more than 4 million vehicles this year," he said.

Hyundai's president, Chung Jin-haeng, told Reuters on Tuesday that Hyundai and Kia expected to beat their already upgraded combined 2011 sales targets of 6.5 million vehicles, but the growth rate is forecast to slow next year because of capacity constraints.

Lee said he expected global car demand to rise by 4.2 percent to 78.5 million vehicles next year, almost flat from 2011's growth rate, but said there is a downside risk to the 2012 demand should economic conditions in the United States and Europe deteriorate.

"Hyundai will probably benefit from some operational issues that its Japanese counterparts are facing due to flooding in Thailand, where some production units are located," said Jung Sang-jin, a fund manger at Dongbu Asset Management.

"Looking at next year however, earnings growth momentum may slow. This is quite natural given that Hyundai has seen very sharp earnings growth in recent years. Hyundai has a stronger presence in the United States than Europe, so the health of the U.S. auto market is one uncertainty," he said.

Shares in Hyundai Motor closed flat versus the wider market's (.KS11) 1.46 percent gain. Its shares have jumped 29 percent this year, outperforming the broader market's (.KS11) 8 percent fall.

(Additional reporting by Ju-min Park, Jungyoun Park and Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Matt Driskill and Jonathan Hopfner)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/eurobiz/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20111027/bs_nm/us_hyundai_result

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HISTPRES + Communications & Event Coordinator, Lynch's ...

Lynch?s Landing, Lynchburg?s leader for downtown revitalization, seeks a full-time Communications and Event Coordinator to assist in the development and implementation of events and marketing materials to position and promote downtown Lynchburg as a ?great place to live work and play?. The Coordinator will be an energetic resource for the long-term revitalization of downtown Lynchburg and will represent the Main Street program throughout the community. Responsibilities include coordinating, managing, and staffing special events sponsored by Lynch?s Landing (Friday Cheers, Holiday Traditions, Get!Downtown and others) and coordinating and managing volunteer teams to assist with the implementation of special events. The Coordinator will also work with community organizations sponsoring events in Downtown Lynchburg and monitor and support all efforts that bring customers into the community. Additionally, the successful candidate will work with the Executive Director to develop marketing and media relations campaigns, prepare marketing materials, and manage social media and online information for Lynch?s Landing.

Job Responsibilities

  • Produce high-quality financially profitable events that create a positive image for Lynch?s Landing and downtown Lynchburg
  • Negotiate sound/lighting/staging contracts, labor and vendors; anticipate potential needs and difficulties prior to event
  • Secure and coordinate entertainment, negotiate fees
  • Cultivate and manage sponsor relationships
  • Work within a limited budget, creatively
  • Develop collateral event promotional materials (brochures, ads, flyers, posters, promotional items)
  • Provide consulting services for groups interested in producing events downtown and create partnerships with other organizations to produce events downtown
  • Serve on the City of Lynchburg Special Events Committee
  • Prepare licensing and permit applications for all events
  • Recruit and direct the work of volunteers to ensure adequately planned and staffed events
  • Proactively manage Lynch?s Landing website and social media sites
  • Draft, edit and disseminate weekly e-newsletter
  • Assist in the research, planning, implementation and evaluation of public relations and marketing campaigns; write, edit, and publish informational brochures, information packets, and flyers
  • Assist with media relations efforts ranging from writing and editing media releases/media advisories/ fact sheets to maintaining media lists, cultivating relationships with journalists and pitching stories
  • Write and issue media insertion orders and ensure that space and material deadlines are met
  • Assist with committee projects as needed
  • Perform administrative work as needed to track and report event financial activity
  • Perform functions such as answering the telephone and provide information as needed to resolve questions about Lynch?s Landing activities
  • Other duties as assigned

Qualifications

A bachelor?s degree in a related field and at least three years experience in one or more of the following: marketing, public relations, sales, event planning and production, media, and experience working with volunteers and the general public. The Coordinator should be a self-starter, imaginative, and well-organized. Excellent written and verbal skills are required; public speaking experience is a plus. Must have general computer skills and be proficient in word processing and spreadsheet applications; proficiency in online/social media channels and website management a plus. Demonstrated creative problem solving skill and experience, including the ability to apply independent judgment, discretion and initiative to addressing problems and developing solutions, is required. Ability to work and prioritize in a fast paced, deadline driven environment and to communicate effectively with all levels of staff, volunteers, donors and community representatives is important. Attendance and participation at events and activities in downtown Lynchburg will be expected outside of normal office hours and on weekends.

How To Apply

To apply, please send a resume, cover letter, salary requirements and three references to: Anna Bentson Executive Director, Lynch?s Landing 1023 Commerce Street Lynchburg, VA 24504 anna@downtownlynchburg.com (No Phone Calls Please)

Additional Information

This position is currently not eligible for benefits.

Source: http://histpres.com/communications-event-coordinator-lynch%E2%80%99s-landing

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Europe crafts debt deal as banks take Greek losses (AP)

BRUSSELS ? European leaders clinched a deal Thursday they hope will mark a turning point in their two-year debt crisis, agreeing after a night of tense negotiations to have banks take bigger losses on Greece's debts and to boost the region's weapons against the market turmoil.

After months of dawdling and half-baked solutions, the leaders had been under immense pressure to finalize their plan to prevent the crisis from pushing Europe and much of the developed world back into recession and to protect their currency union from unraveling.

The euro surged on the news of the full plan ? an early sign that investors may welcome it.

"We have reached an agreement, which I believe lets us give a credible and ambitious and overall response to the Greek crisis," French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters after the meeting broke Thursday morning. "Because of the complexity of the issues at stake, it took us a full night. But the results will be a source of huge relief worldwide."

The strategy unveiled after 10 hours of negotiations hit upon the three points expected for weeks. These include a significant reduction of Greece's debts, a shoring up of the continent's banks, partially so they could sustain losses on Greek bonds, and a reinforcement of a bailout fund so it can serve as a euro1 trillion ($1.39 trillion) firewall to prevent larger economies like Italy and Spain from being dragged into the crisis.

After several missed opportunities, the hashing out of a plan was a success for the eurozone, but the strategy's effectiveness will depend on the details, which will have to be finalized in the coming days and weeks.

"Will the sound of 1 trillion euros do the trick and 'wow' the markets or will the markets perceive this as smoke and mirrors?" Heather Conley, director of Europe program for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, asked before the official announcement of the plan. "If the past two years has told us anything, it never appears to be sufficient."

The most difficult piece of the puzzle proved to be Greece, whose debts, the leaders vowed, would fall to 120 percent of its GDP by 2020. Under current conditions, they would have ballooned to 180 percent.

To achieve the reduction, private creditors will be asked to accept 50 percent losses on the bonds they hold. The Institute of International Finance, which has been negotiating on behalf of the banks, said in a statement that it was committed to working out an agreement based on that "haircut," but the challenge now will be to ensure that all private bondholders fall in line.

It said the 50 percent cut equals a contribution of euro100 billion ($139 billion) to a second rescue for Greece, although the eurozone promised to spend some euro30 billion ($42 billion) on guaranteeing the remaining value of the new bonds.

The full program is expected to be finalized by early December and investors are supposed to swap their bonds in January, at which point Greece is likely to become the first euro country ever to be rated at default on its debt.

"We can claim that a new day has come for Greece, and not only for Greece but also for Europe," said Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, whose country's troubles touched off the crisis two years ago. "Let's hope the worst is over."

Since May 2010, Greece has been surviving on rescue loans worth euro110 billion ($150 billion) from the 17 countries that use the euro and the International Monetary Fund since it can't afford to borrow money directly from markets.

In July, those creditors agreed to extend another euro109 billion ? but that plan was widely panned as not doing enough to right Greece's finances and wean it from the bailout.

Now, in addition to euro30 billion in bond guarantees, the eurozone leaders and IMF said they will give Greece euro100 billion in new loans.

With the banks being asked to shoulder more of the burden, though, there were concerns they needed more money in their rainy-day funds to cushion their losses. So European leaders have asked them to raise euro106 billion ($148 billion) by June.

The last piece in the complicated plan was to increase the firepower of the continent's bailout fund to ensure that other countries ? like Italy and Spain ? don't get dragged into the crisis. The third- and fourth-largest economies of the eurozone are too large to bail out.

To that end, the euro440 billion ($610 billion) European Financial Stability Facility will be used to insure part of the potential losses on the debt of wobbly eurozone countries like Italy and Spain, rendering its firepower equivalent to around euro1 trillion ($1.39 trillion).

That should have the effect of making those countries' bonds more attractive investments and thus lowering borrowing costs for their governments.

"These are exceptional measures for exceptional times. Europe must never find itself in this situation again," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said after the meetings.

In addition to acting as a direct insurer of bond issues, the EFSF insurance scheme is also supposed to entice big institutional investors to contribute to a special fund that could be used to buy government bonds but also to help states recapitalize weak banks.

Such outside help may be necessary for Italy and Spain, whose banks were facing some of the biggest capital shortfalls.

Using the insurance promise, the eurozone also hopes to attract big institutional investors from outside the eurozone, such as sovereign wealth funds, to contribute to a separate fund that would back up the EFSF.

Sarkozy was due to speak to Chinese President Hu Jintao later Thursday. On Friday, the head of the EFSF Klaus Regling will travel to China, which has huge cash reserves, to detail the insurance set-up.

___

DiLorenzo contributed from Paris. Juergen Baetz and Geir Moulson in Berlin, and Raf Casert, Don Melvin and Robert Wielaard in Brussels, and Sylvie Corbet in Paris also contributed.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/eurobiz/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111027/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_europe_financial_crisis

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বুধবার, ২৬ অক্টোবর, ২০১১

Watch Apple Celebrate Steve Jobs' Life [Watch This]

On October 19th, Apple held a special memorial for Steve Jobs to celebrate his life. In the video, you can watch Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Al Gore and others talk about Steve and see performances by Norah Jones and Coldplay. More »


Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/9Gz_aAgs-8U/watch-apple-celebrate-steve-jobs-life

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Cecelia Rogers: Another Mama Kicking Breast Cancer to the Curb ...

Cecelia Rogers

Throughout the month of October you will hear many stories of women with breast cancer. You will also hear statistics, lifestyle changes, and how heredity does and does not play a role. But perhaps the most important of stories are the ones of women who have been diagnosed with the disease, fought it, and won. Cecelia Rogers is one of those winners.

Cecelia was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. She just recently passed her five year cancer free milestone. To many people, five years doesn?t sound like a lot of time; but for a breast cancer survivor, every day feels like a lifetime and every year is a special gift. You see for most women diagnosed with breast cancer depending on their stage of illness, they are only give 1-5 years to live. That?s quite a short timetable to put on something as precious as life.

Although Cecelia admits that her fight against breast cancer was not an easy one, she does not look at the illness in a negative way. ?My life has changed for the better in so many ways,? she says. ?I am a much happier person. My faith, my family and my friends are what got me through.? Still for Cecelia, ?getting through? wasn?t enough. She was determined to live her life and use her experience to support and inspire others. After her recovery, Cecelia went on to become involved with the Susan G. Komen?foundation by participating in their?3-Day?walk and is also involved in?Casting for Recovery, a 2.5 day fly fishing retreat that helps women focus on wellness and empowerment, not their disease.

Cecelia has also gone on to join?Live Well Fitness Center?where she has lost over 25 pounds, and has trained for and completed a 5k marathon. Like most women and mothers however, Cecelia?s biggest hope is that a cure will be found, and soon. She has three beautiful children she is still raising, and prays that their futures hold many things; but hopefully breast cancer will not be one of them.

For more information on Casting for Recovery visit?http://castingforrecovery.org/

Skinnymom Fact:? More than 1.7 million women who have had breast cancer are still alive in the United States. That?s a lot of ladies to be proud of and support, so get involved today!

Editor
Sian Bitner

Source: http://skinnymom.com/2011/10/24/another-mama-kicking-breast-cancer-to-the-curb/

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Joe the Plumber plans big news on bid for Congress (AP)

TOLEDO, Ohio ? It looks like Joe the Plumber is about to become Joe the Candidate.

The Ohio man who man who became a household name after questioning Barack Obama about his economic policies during the 2008 presidential campaign will announce Tuesday whether he plans to run for Congress in Ohio.

Samuel "Joe" Wurzelbacher already has filed the paperwork to run for Congress and has set up a campaign website to raise money.

Wurzelbacher's statement of candidacy filed with the Federal Election Commission earlier this month says he plans to run as a Republican in Ohio's 9th U.S. House district.

The seat is now held by Marcy Kaptur, the longest serving Democratic woman in the House. She's expected to face a primary challenge from Rep. Dennis Kucinich after Ohio's redrawn congressional map combined their two districts into one that appears to heavily tilted toward Democrats.

Cuyahoga County Republican Chairman Rob Frost who had announced he would seek the GOP nomination dropped out last week, clearing the way for Wurzelbacher who recently launched the website http://www.joeforcongress2012.com.

Wurzelbacher, 37, is now an icon for many anti-establishment conservatives and has built a national following that should help him raise money if he runs.

He's also written a book, worked with a veterans' organization that provides outdoor programs for wounded soldiers and traveled the country speaking at tea part rallies and conservative gatherings.

He's shown a disdain for politicians ? both Democrat and Republican.

"Being a politician is as good as being a weatherman," Wurzelbacher said at a tea party rally last year in Nevada. "You don't have to be right, you don't have to do your job well, but you'll still have a job."

Wurzelbacher went from toiling as a plumber in suburban Toledo three years ago to media sensation in a matter of days.

After questioning then-candidate Obama about his economic policies, Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain repeatedly cited "Joe the plumber" in a presidential debate. Wurzelbacher campaigned with McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, but he criticized McCain in his book and said he did not want him as the GOP presidential nominee.

Wurzelbacher also became a target for Democrats.

Ohio's former human services director and others were accused of misusing state computers to illegally access his personal information. A judge dismissed a lawsuit Wurzelbacher filed that said his rights were violated.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/politics/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111025/ap_on_re_us/us_joe_the_plumber_congress

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মঙ্গলবার, ২৫ অক্টোবর, ২০১১

Pakistan forces Indian helicopter to land

Pakistan forced an Indian military helicopter to land Sunday for violating its airspace near the disputed border with Kashmir and briefly took its four-member crew into custody, Pakistani military officials said.

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India said the helicopter veered off course because of bad weather, and Pakistan allowed the aircraft to return soon after the incident.

Pakistan and India are rival nuclear powers who have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. The relationship has improved somewhat in recent months, especially regarding trade, but there is still significant distrust on both sides.

The helicopter was intercepted about 12 miles (20 kilometers) inside Pakistani territory, said a Pakistani military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

It was forced to land near Skardu, a town in Gilgit-Baltistan that is close to K2, the second highest mountain in the world, said Pakistan army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas. Skardu is about 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of U.N.-drawn Line of Control separating Kashmir into areas controlled by Pakistan and India.

India said the helicopter strayed across the Line of Control because of bad weather and landed in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, according to a statement on the Ministry of External Affairs website.

The three pilots and their crew chief were taken into custody but were later allowed to return home with their helicopter, said Abbas.

Two of the three wars between Pakistan and India have been fought over Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan territory. Both countries claim all of Kashmir.

_____

Associated Press writer Katy Daigle in New Delhi contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45004714/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/

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