সোমবার, ৩১ ডিসেম্বর, ২০১২

UK Catholics urged to lobby against gay marriage

LONDON (AP) ? The leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales has urged followers to write to their representatives in Parliament to oppose the government's plans to allow gay marriage.

In a letter read to congregations over the weekend, Archbishop Vincent Nichols called for Catholics to express their views "clearly, calmly and forcefully."

Nichols says he is concerned about how a change in the law would affect what children are taught about marriage.

He says he wants members of Parliament to "defend, not change, the bond of man and woman in marriage as the essential element of the vision of the family."

Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-led government plans to introduce legislation in January to allow gay marriages. Recent opinion polls suggest a large majority of the public supports the change.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/uk-catholics-urged-lobby-against-gay-marriage-091647252.html

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Buy The Perfect Piece Of Real Estate With These Tips - Maynas Eric

Before you dive into any real estate purchase, it?s important to be fully informed. Not only will knowledge make you stronger, it will provide you the ability to make better decisions that will help you and your loved ones for many years to come. Read this article to learn more about purchasing real estate.

If you are looking to relocate, consider looking into the neighborhood that the house is located in online. You can discover a great deal of information this way. Look into the unemployment rates, population and salaries in the town to be sure that there is a future there.

Unless you have guaranteed job stability, you should exercise caution when considering the purchase of a new home. This is because any home purchase comes with a final obligation. You must make monthly mortgage payments or risk a devastating financial loss. Make sure that you have quite a few months worth of savings set aside if things should be a little shaky at work.

TIP! Closely track pre-foreclosure properties. It can take considerable time and effort to wade through pre-foreclosure properties, but they can be a worthwhile investment.

All real estate agents need to be in touch with their previous customers on the anniversary of the date they purchased their home, and certainly during the holidays. When they hear from you again, they will know that they helped during your buying selling experience. When you are done with your greeting, make sure they know that you are working as a referral and would love for them to recommend you to anyone they know.

If you are interested in purchasing commercial property that costs a lot, locate an trustworthy investment partner to do business with. It gives you someone to consult with, and also will increase your standing when applying for a mortgage. You may need a co-signer to get a down payment, and credit to buy some commercial real estate.

Ask the seller of the home to help with the closing costs before making an offer. For example, you might request that the seller buy down the rate of interest for a couple of years. Adding financial incentives to your offer will make the seller more likely to stick to the selling price.

TIP! Always have a trusted friend or knowledgeable associate accompany you when looking at homes, even if you are shopping exclusively for yourself. Other people will be able to notice things that you might overlook.

Ask your Realtor if they can give you a checklist. Realtors usually have a list that you can go over to ensure that you take care of all necessary things when you are looking for a home and trying to finalize the mortgage. Using this checklist can help you make sure that you have completed everything in time to close the sale.

If you are looking to purchase some of or all of a building in order to open a business, make sure it is in a good neighborhood. Opening your business in a terrible neighborhood can prevent you from having a large client base. Check with local real estate agents to learn the best location for setting up a business.

Do your homework on rental properties. Whenever you are thinking about buying rental property, don?t make any decisions until you have thoroughly reviewed all necessary records going back at least two years. You need to verify that the information given to you by the seller regarding the income generated is accurate. The entity who is providing you with a loan will also want a look at what sort of income will be expected and will do so before they issue any credit.

TIP! Individuals with families, either existing or planned for the future, should shop for homes with enough square footage to handle an entire family. Pay attention to safety too, especially if the home you are looking at has stairs or a swimming pool.

If you are leaning toward buying a house with a view, do not pay a high premium for the view lot. Even though the view is certainly lovely, it might not appeal to as many potential buyers in the future as you hoped it would. A view is a great asset, but you should not pay more for it.

Having read this article and enhanced your knowledge of being a buyer in the real estate market, is going to benefit you in many ways. Without having any knowledge yourself, an agent may only offer so much. The final decisions must be made by you. Real estate will look far less scary once you educate yourself.

TIP! Before you sign a lease for a rental property, speak to the landlord if there is a garden attached to the property and ask who is in charge of the maintenance. Some rental properties expect the renter to maintain the outdoor living space or to hire help to take care of it.

Join me on Facebook:

www.facebook.com/maynaseric

Source: http://www.maynaseric.com/buy-the-perfect-piece-of-real-estate-with-these-tips-5

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PROTOTYPE 2.0 Playing at Degrandis Automotive Classic Car ...

PROTOTYPE 2.0 playing at Degrandis Automotive Classic Car Show October 7, 2012. Big thank?s to Lisa Wolfe Music, LLC, Degrandis Automotive, and the East Whiteland Volunteer Fire Association. Facebook: www.facebook.com Twitter: twitter.com 1. Fall Out Boy ? Dance Dance 00:00 2. ???PROTOTYPE 2.0 ? Cordis Die 03:05??? 3. Third Eye Blind ? Jumper 05:40 4. The Black Keys ? Lonely Boy 09:44 5. Red Hot Chili Peppers ? Under the Bridge 13:16 6. The Black Keys ? Little Black Submarines 17:33 7. Goldfinger ? 99 Red Balloons 22:01 Unfortunately we didn?t have enough time to play the full set. Tom Petty?s Free Falling, Cold Play?s Viva La Vida, and our new original Slipped Away were left out. Guitarist/Vocals: Novian L. Bassist/Pianist/Vocals: Shane D. Drummer/Lead Singer: Alex M. We have been playing together since October 2011. We are all from PA. Camera: Nikon D3200 Recorder/Microphone: Zoom H4n

Source: http://vintagedriving.com/prototype-2-0-playing-at-degrandis-automotive-classic-car-show-10712/

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রবিবার, ৩০ ডিসেম্বর, ২০১২

Wall Street tries to see past 'cliff'; outlook clouded

10 hrs.

As investors gaze across the "fiscal cliff," some see a better economy on the far side, making stocks and risk assets more appealing and bonds less so in the year ahead.

But there are many caveats to that scenario and some of them will be decided in the next few days as politicians struggle to strike a deal that would avert a fall off the "fiscal cliff." The cliff is the double-barreled blow to the economy from the reversal of dozens of tax breaks and the onset of automatic spending cuts, agreed as a solution to the contentious 2011 debt- ceiling debate.

Congress meets Sunday evening and may consider the latest proposals.

Stocks were spooked in the past week by the lack of movement in discussions between Congress and President Barack Obama. As the market closed Friday, the absence of new developments during talks underway at the White House provided a void for selling. The Dow fell 1.2 percent to 12,938, giving it a loss of 1.9 percent for the week. The S&P 500 fell 1.1 percent to 1402, for a one week loss of 1.9 percent. The Nasdaq lost 2 percent for the week to 2960.

Congressional leaders late Friday left the White House without a deal, setting the stage for a weekend of raw nerves. Obama said he was still optimistic the Senate leadership could come up with a deal that would?pass both houses, but he also laid out a second plan for a straight up-or-down?vote on middle class tax cuts if they can't reach an agreement.

The president repeated that strategy in an exclusive interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday in which he scolded House Republicans for not having come to an agreement sooner.

"They say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way, but the way they're behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected," Obama said. "That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme."

Obama said if Congress failed to agree on a deal and if the straight up-or-down vote was blocked, the first bill introduced in the new year would propose a cut in taxes for the?middle class.?

"Now I think that over the next 48 hours, my hope is that people recognize that, regardless of partisan differences, our top priority has to be to make sure that taxes on middle-class families do not go up. That would hurt our economy badly," Obama said.?

He warned that if there was?no deal by Jan. 1, it could hurt financial markets.?

"What's been holding us back is the dysfunction here in Washington," he said. "And if people start seeing that on January 1st this problem still hasn't been solved, that we haven't seen the kind of deficit reduction that we could have had had the Republicans been willing to take the deal that I gave them, if they say that people's taxes have gone up, which means consumer spending is going to be depressed, then obviously that's going to have an adverse reaction in the markets."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) dismissed the president's criticism, and pointed the finger of blame at Obama.

"Republicans made every effort to reach the 'balanced' deficit agreement that the president promised the American people, while the president has continued to insist on a package skewed dramatically in favor of higher taxes that would destroy jobs," Boehner said in a statement reacting to the 'Meet the Press' interview.

"We've been reasonable and responsible. The president is the one who has never been able to get to 'yes,'" Boehner said.?

Obama: GOP's insistence on halting tax hikes for the wealthy is blocking 'cliff' deal

Stock futures fell sharply after the market closed Friday.?

"You could tell a lot of people were very skittish about their trades," said Patrick Kernan of Cardinal Capital. "Everybody is fearful of what exposure they have right now. Right now, we're thinking if they reach a deal we go back to around where we were a week ago, right around 1440" on the S&P 500. If there's no deal, "we think it goes down 30 to 50 points."

Kernan, who trades S&P 500 options, said the market was swarmed by investors seeking portfolio protection Friday.?

"The other side of this thing from an investment standpoint, is if there's a deal, I don't know what the number is but is it a five-percent rally from here? Is it a three-percent rally?" said?said James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management.? "There's risk on both sides of the trade, and I think that's been helping keep this reaction more muted than it otherwise might be."

"The cliff isn't December 31. The real cliff is somewhere down the line when the tax bite and spending cuts start to hurt," he said. "The most optimistic agreement was not that we got this done before the deadline.The most optimistic was we get it done right on deadline, and I think it was fully expected it would get really ugly right before that?the other reality is if it doesn't get done until mid-January it's not going to hurt anything."

Paulsen said the market's anxiety will increase the longer it goes on. "If we go over, the market reaction will start to build?I don't think it will fall apart if we go over. I think if we start to get to the second half of January, I think they'll get way more concerned."

Wait, There's More
Besides the action on Capitol Hill, there is the December employment report Friday and some other key data to look forward to in the week ahead. That includes Thursday's December car sales and chain-store sales and Wednesday's ISM manufacturing data. The minutes of the Fed's last meeting are also expected Wednesday afternoon.

But the outcome of the cliff discussion and congressional votes will be what drives markets in the week and months ahead, and what will ultimately decide whether the U.S. can be a driver of the global economy or a drag on it in 2013.

"I don't think the story is over yet," said Citigroup economist Steven Wieting. "We all expected agony . It just seems we keep adding to it."

"There's compromise that's needed and now seemed like a good time, but they already let the window substantially pass. The opportunity to have a really big framework has passed," Wieting added.

He?described a another possible scenario. "They're going to completely leave the debt ceiling out of this, and they're going to leave any signs of structural reform out of this. Then we have a deal that includes future cliff dates. That would leave uncertainty in play."

Yet, analysts and economists also see a possible optimistic outcome, where the cliff is fixed, at least in part, either by New Year's or several days later, and the debt ceiling and remaining issues are dealt with in the first part of the year. If that's the case, it might unleash economic growth, as consumer and business confidence improve.

"I think the global economy is going to surprise on the upside," said Ed Keon, portfolio manager with Quantitative Management Associates. Keon believes Congress will make a deal to avoid the cliff, and he sees gains in the U.S. economy as well as improvement in the European debt crisis and a pickup in the emerging world. "I think in the European situation, time is on our side and everyday things look a little better."

He also sees the U.S. ending the year with stronger growth. "It's hard to believe Washington would want to hurt the economy with malice of foresight," he said. "Doing a small deal will be viewed that they might be able to do a bigger deal."

Kind of a Small Deal
"We'll get a deal," said Steven Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities. "It will be a small deal that will address some of the more onerous aspects of the cliff. Tax rates, they're going to have to address the AMT, and they're going to have to do something with sequestration cuts,?either delay them or rejigger them. I think they'll probably do something on state and dividend tax rates, the Medicare doc fix and they'll probably extend the unemployment benefits."

It's the bigger deal, on the debt ceiling, that will be most difficult and most important in terms of the longer term strength of the economy. Treasury secretary Tim Geithner warned this past week that the U.S. will reach the debt ceiling limit Monday, but that the Treasury can make some adjustments to keep the government funded for a couple months while Congress works out a deal. The hope is that Congress would find a way to deal with bigger tax reform and entitlement spending issues as part of that debate.

Forget the 'fiscal cliff," the debt ceiling is much scarier

Avoiding the cliff, even with scaled back tax increases,?will not leave the economy unscathed but it should not trigger the recession expected if the cliff were hit. "Basically if we let the payroll tax expire it's going to blunt consumer spending in the beginning of the year, even if we know about it," Stanley said. "The upper income tax increases are not a free lunch either. It's substantially lower than the full cliff."

One of the most public points of contention is at what income level, Bush-era tax cuts are reversed. Both Republicans and Democrats agree tax rates should remain the same for 98 percent of taxpayers, but the disagreement is over taxing the rich and that's what the Senate leadership will have to tackle this weekend.

Obama did not specify on "Meet the Press" which income level he would accept. He has consistently promoted $250,000 as the dividing line between those who would continue to benefit from Bush-era tax cuts and those who would see their taxes increase. But the figure has been a bargaining chip in the negotiations.

The economy could handle that and move on, Wieting said. "If it's a fiscal tightening between 1 and 1.5 percent of GDP, the economy would absorb that in a discrete way and probably move on to stronger growth in the second half of the year. It could be better. It could be clearer. It could be sooner," he said.?

Wieting said, however, the more unresolved issues and pushed-out deadlines there are, the worse it will be for the economy because business spending would remain constrained.

Here's what happens to you if we go over the fiscal cliff

Wieting expects growth in the beginning of the year of about 1 percent, and assuming a resolution of the cliff and debt ceiling issues,?growth could accelerate to 3 percent by the end of the year.

The economic data this week should continue to show the same slow growth in employment, but possibly stronger auto sales and improved manufacturing. Economic data, particularly housing-related data, has been largely better than expected.

Stanley expects the December nonfarm payrolls to be about the same as November's 146,000. "I have 150,000 but that includes a couple of special factors that I think will push the number up a little bit," said Stanley. One of those factors is the addition of couriers, temporarily hired to deliver holiday gifts. Last year, that category gained 40,000 in December, and lost the same amount in January, he said.

The week's economic events:

Monday

  • ?Final trading day of 2012
  • "Fiscal Cliff" deadline

Tuesday

  • New Year's Day, markets closed

Wednesday

  • 10:00 am: ISM manufacturing
  • 10:00 am: Construction spending
  • 2:00 pm: FOMC minutes

Thursday

  • ?Monthly vehicle sales
  • Monthly chain store sales
  • 8:15 am: ADP employment
  • 8:30 am: Jobless claims

Friday?

  • 8:30 am: Employment report
  • 10:00 am: ISM nonmanufacturing report
  • 10:00 am: Factory orders

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economywatch/wall-street-tries-see-beyond-fiscal-cliff-outlook-clouded-1C7776738

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Over the fiscal cliff: Soft or hard landing?

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Three days out from the end of the year, lawmakers appeared to have made little progress toward devising a compromise to keep the nation from going over the so-called fiscal cliff at the start of 2013. All eyes were on the Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate, who vowed to keep chipping away despite the wide gulf still separating them.

President Barack Obama met Friday with congressional leaders from both parties who rushed back to Washington soon after Christmas in hopes of striking a last-minute deal. Optimistic words from the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, were muted by this cautionary note from the top Senate Democrat, Harry Reid: "Whatever we come up with is going to be imperfect."

A look at why it's so hard for Republicans and Democrats to compromise on urgent matters of taxes and spending, and what happens if they fail to meet their deadline:

___

NEW YEAR'S HEADACHE

Partly by fate, partly by design, some scary fiscal forces come together at the start of 2013 unless Congress and Obama act to stop them. They include:

? Some $536 billion in tax increases, touching nearly all Americans, because various federal tax cuts and breaks expire at year's end.

? About $110 billion in spending cuts divided equally between the military and most other federal departments. That's about 8 percent of their annual budgets, 9 percent for the Pentagon.

Hitting the national economy with that double whammy of tax increases and spending cuts is what's called going over the "fiscal cliff." If allowed to unfold over 2013, it would lead to recession, a big jump in unemployment and financial market turmoil, economists predict.

___

WHAT IF THEY MISS THE DEADLINE?

If New Year's Day arrives without a deal, the nation shouldn't plunge onto the shoals of recession immediately. There still might be time to engineer a soft landing.

So long as lawmakers and the president appear to be working toward agreement, the tax hikes and spending cuts could mostly be held at bay for a few weeks. Then they could be repealed retroactively once a deal was reached.

The big wild card is the stock market and the nation's financial confidence: Would traders start to panic if Washington appeared unable to reach accord? Would worried consumers and businesses sharply reduce their spending? In what could be a preview, stock prices around the world dropped Friday after House Republican leaders' plan for addressing the fiscal cliff collapsed.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has warned lawmakers that the economy is already suffering from the uncertainty and they shouldn't risk making it worse by blowing past their deadline.

___

WHAT IF THEY NEVER AGREE?

If negotiations between Obama and Congress collapse completely, 2013 looks like a rocky year.

Taxes would jump $2,400 on average for families with incomes of $50,000 to $75,000, according to a study by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Because consumers would get less of their paychecks to spend, businesses and jobs would suffer.

At the same time, Americans would feel cuts in government services; some federal workers would be furloughed or laid off, and companies would lose government business. The nation would lose up to 3.4 million jobs, the Congressional Budget Office predicts.

"The consequences of that would be felt by everybody," Bernanke says.

___

THE TAXES

Much of the disagreement surrounds the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts, and whether those rates should be allowed to rise for the nation's wealthiest taxpayers. Both political parties say they want to protect the middle class from tax increases.

Several tax breaks begun in 2009 to stimulate the economy by aiding low- and middle-income families are also set to expire Jan. 1. The alternative minimum tax would expand to catch 28 million more taxpayers, with an average increase of $3,700 a year. Taxes on investments would rise, too. More deaths would be covered by the federal estate tax, and the rate climbs from 35 percent to 55 percent. Some corporate tax breaks would end.

The temporary Social Security payroll tax cut also is due to expire. That tax break for most Americans seems likely to end even if a fiscal cliff deal is reached, now that Obama has backed down from his call to prolong it as an economic stimulus.

___

THE SPENDING

If the nation goes over the fiscal cliff, budget cuts of 8 percent or 9 percent would hit most of the federal government, touching all sorts of things from agriculture to law enforcement and the military to weather forecasting. A few areas, such as Social Security benefits, Veterans Affairs and some programs for the poor, are exempt.

___

THERE'S MORE AT STAKE

All sorts of stuff could get wrapped up in the fiscal cliff deal-making. A sampling:

? Some 2 million jobless Americans may lose their federal unemployment aid. Obama wants to continue the benefits extension as part of the deal; Republicans say it's too costly.

? Social Security recipients might see their checks grow more slowly. As part of a possible deal, Obama and Republican leaders want to change the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated, which would mean smaller checks over the years for retirees who get Social Security, veterans' benefits or government pensions.

? The price of milk could double. If Congress doesn't provide a fix for expiring dairy price supports before Jan. 1, milk-drinking families could feel the pinch. One scenario is to attach a farm bill extension to the fiscal cliff legislation ? if a compromise is reached in time.

? Millions of taxpayers who want to file their 2012 returns before mid-March will be held up while they wait to see if Congress comes through with a deal to stop the alternative minimum tax from hitting more people.

___

CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF?

In theory, Congress and Obama could just say no to the fiscal cliff, by extending all the tax cuts and overturning the automatic spending reductions in current law. But both Republicans and Democrats agree it's time to take steps to put the nation on a path away from a future of crippling debt.

Indeed, the automatic spending cuts set for January were created as a last-ditch effort to force Congress to deal with the debt problem.

If Washington bypassed the fiscal cliff, the next crisis would be just around the corner, in late February or early March, when the government reaches a $16.4 trillion ceiling on the amount of money it can borrow.

Boehner says Republicans won't go along with raising the limit on government borrowing unless the increase is matched by spending cuts to help attack the long-term debt problem. Failing to raise the debt ceiling could lead to a first-ever U.S. default that would roil the financial markets and shake worldwide confidence in the United States.

To avoid that scenario, Obama and Boehner are trying to wrap a debt limit agreement into the fiscal cliff negotiations.

___

SO WHAT'S THE HOLDUP?

They're at loggerheads over some big questions.

Obama says any deal must include higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Many House Republicans oppose raising anyone's tax rates. Boehner tried to get the House to vote for higher taxes only on incomes above $1 million but dropped the effort when it became clear he didn't have the votes.

Republicans also insist on deeper spending cuts than Democrats want to make. And they want to bring the nation's long-term debt under control by significantly curtailing the growth of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security ? changes that many Democrats oppose.

Obama, meanwhile, wants more temporary economic "stimulus" spending to help speed up a sluggish recovery. Republicans say the nation can't afford it.

___

IT'S NOT JUST WASHINGTON

Seems like they could just make nice, shake hands and split their differences, right?

But there's a reason neither side wants to give ground. The two parties represent a divided and inconsistent America. True, Obama just won re-election. But voters also chose a Republican majority in the House.

Republican and Democrats alike say they are doing what the voters back home want.

Neither side has a clear advantage in public opinion. In an Associated Press-GfK poll, 43 percent said they trust the Democrats more to manage the federal budget deficit and 40 percent preferred the Republicans. There's a similar split on who's more trusted with taxes.

About half of Americans support higher taxes for the wealthy, the poll says, and about 10 percent want tax increases all around. Still, almost half say cutting government services, not raising taxes, should be the main focus of lawmakers as they try to balance the budget.

When asked about specific budget cuts being discussed in Washington, few Americans express support for them.

___

THE COUNTDOWN

Time for deal-making is short, thanks to the holiday and congressional calendars. Some key dates for averting the fiscal cliff:

? Lawmakers didn't begin returning to the Capitol until Thursday, leaving less than a week to vote on a compromise before year's end.

? Obama returned Thursday from his Christmas vacation in Hawaii. The president asked congressional leaders to the White House Friday to try to resolve the fiscal cliff.

? If lawmakers reach Dec. 31 without a deal, some economists worry that the financial markets might swoon.

? The current Congress is in session only through noon Eastern time on Jan. 3. After that, a newly elected Congress with 13 new senators and 82 new House members would inherit the problem.

___

Associated Press writers Jim Kuhnhenn, Alan Fram and Andrew Taylor and Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.

___

Follow Connie Cass on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ConnieCass

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/over-fiscal-cliff-soft-hard-landing-082737436.html

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Arab League chief says Palestinians to petition UN

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) ? Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said Saturday that two decades of talks with Israel have been "a waste of time" and that Palestinians will soon take a new statehood bid to the U.N.

The U.N. General Assembly last month endorsed a de facto Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza, areas Israel won in a 1967 war. But outright recognition of statehood status for Palestine fell short last year before the more powerful U.N. Security Council.

"We will return to the U.N. Security Council," he said in Ramallah Saturday after meeting Palestinian officials. "Palestine will be cooperating with Arab and EU countries to change the equation (in the peace process) that prevailed over the past 20 years, which was a waste of time."

By mentioning other states and the European Union, some may interpret Elaraby's remarks as implying that the international community should intervene and impose a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Talks collapsed in 2008 after Palestinians demanded Israel stop building in areas they want for a future state. Israel insists settlements and other core issues should be resolved in talks themselves.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/arab-league-chief-says-palestinians-petition-un-182448009.html

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As Biodiversity Declines, Tropical Diseases Thrive

Mosquitoes like this one can carry the virus that causes dengue fever.

James Gathany/CDC Public Health Image Library

Global health advocates often argue that the tropical diseases that plague many countries, such as malaria and dengue, can be conquered simply with more money for health care ? namely medicines and vaccines.

But a new paper is a reminder that ecology also has a pretty big say in whether pathogens thrive or die off. Using a statistical model, researchers predicted that countries that lose biodiversity will have a heavier burden of vector-borne and parasitic diseases. Their results appear this week in PLoS Biology.

"The general logic is that the more organisms you have out there, the more things there are that can interrupt the life cycle of disease, and the less concentration you'll have of any vector," Matthew Bonds, a researcher at Harvard Medical School and the lead author of the paper, tells Shots.

But plants, mammals and birds are disappearing fast ? one-third of the world's species are now threatened with extinction, according to the United Nations. And when the creatures that prey on mice, mosquitoes or other vectors of disease go, parasites and other disease-causing agents discover it's a lot easier to survive.

Scientists have already shown that's one reason for the explosion of Lyme disease in the Northeast United States. A 2002 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that if you have a rich community of tick hosts, like squirrels, mice and other small mammals, the disease is diluted among them. But if the habitat is degraded, and ticks carrying Lyme have only white-footed mice as hosts, the disease risk to humans can rise dramatically.

West Nile encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease, has also ripped through communities with the help of surging bird populations, according to a study in Nature.

Because of studies like these, Bonds wanted to see how strong the causal relationship was between biodiversity and 12 common vector-borne and parasitic diseases on a global scale. So he chose statistical methods from a new field that blends economics and ecology called "macroecology" to figure out how biodiversity loss affected disease burden, controlling for several different variables.

Ultimately, he found that if a country with a relatively high biodiversity (such as Indonesia) were to lose 15 percent of it, the burden of disease would be expected to increase by about 30 percent. His models also showed how diseases have a significant impact on economic development and explain differences in income between tropical and temperate countries.

"I think what this shows is that the burden of disease is really important, and it's not just driven by health care," he says. "These diseases spend so much of their life-cycles outside of humans, so they're part of the physical environment."

Nevertheless, human disease is still generally viewed as a medical or public health problem ? not an ecological problem. Policymakers only just beginning to talk about conservation as they plan for public health.

Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/12/29/168210441/as-biodiversity-declines-tropical-diseases-thrive?ft=1&f=1007

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Budget battle sends mixed signals on health care | NOLA.com

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Confused about the federal budget struggle? So are doctors, hospital administrators and other medical professionals who serve the 100 million Americans covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Rarely has the government sent so many conflicting signals in so short a time about the bottom line for the health care industry.

Cuts are coming, says Washington, and some could be really big. Yet more government spending is also being promised as President Barack Obama's health care overhaul advances and millions of uninsured people move closer to getting government-subsidized coverage.

"Imagine a person being told they are going to get a raise, but their taxes are also going to go up and they are going to be paying more for gas," said Thornton Kirby, president of the South Carolina Hospital Association. "They don't know if they are going to be taking home more or less. That's the uncertainty when there are so many variables in play."

Real money is at stake for big hospitals and small medical practices alike. Government at all levels pays nearly half the nation's health care tab, with federal funds accounting for most of that.

It's widely assumed that a budget deal will mean cuts for Medicare service providers. But which ones? How much? And will Medicaid and subsidies to help people get coverage under the health care law also be cut?

As House Speaker John Boehner famously said: "God only knows." The Ohio Republican was referring to the overall chances of getting a budget deal, but the same can be said of how health care -- one-sixth of the economy -- will fare.

"There is no political consensus to do anything significant," said Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health, a market analysis firm. "There is a collective walking away from things that matter. All the stuff on the lists of options becomes impossible, because there is no give-and-take."

As if things weren't complicated enough, doctors keep facing their own recurring fiscal cliff, separate from the bigger budget battle but embroiled in it nonetheless.

Come Jan. 1, doctors and certain other medical professionals face a 26.5 percent cut in their Medicare payments, the consequence of a 1990s deficit-reduction law gone awry. Lawmakers failed to repeal or replace that law even after it became obvious that it wasn't working. Instead, Congress usually passes a "doc fix" each year to waive the cuts.

This year, the fix got hung up in larger budget politics. Although a reprieve is expected sooner or later, doctors don't like being told to sit in the congressional waiting room.

"It seems like there is a presumption that physicians and patients can basically tolerate this kind of uncertainty while the Congress goes through whatever political machinations they are going through," said Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, president of the American Medical Association. "Our concern is that physician uncertainty and anxiety about being able to pay the bills will have an impact on taking care of patients."

A recent government survey indicates that Medicare beneficiaries are having more problems when trying to find a new primary care doctor, and Lazarus said that will only get worse.

Adding to their unease, doctors also face an additional reduction if automatic spending cuts go through. Those would be triggered if Obama and congressional leaders are unable to bridge partisan differences and strike a deal. They are part of the combination of tax increases and spending cuts dubbed the "fiscal cliff."

Medicare service providers would get hit with a 2 percent across-the-board cut, but Medicaid and subsidies for the uninsured under Obama's health care overhaul would be spared. The Medicare cut adds up to about $120 billion over ten years, with 40 percent falling on hospitals, according to Avalare's analysis. Nursing homes, Medicare Advantage plans and home health agencies also get hit.

The American Hospital Association says that would lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of hospital jobs in a labor intensive industry that also generates employment for other businesses in local communities.

"It's very difficult to believe hospitals can absorb the kinds of numbers they are talking about without reducing service or workforce," said Kirby, the hospital association head. "You may decide that a service a hospital provides is not affordable -- for example, obstetrics in a rural community -- if you're making a little bit of money or losing a little bit of money by continuing to deliver babies in a rural community."

Independent analysts like Mendelson doubt that a 2 percent Medicare cut to hospitals would be catastrophic but say it will cost jobs somewhere.

Even if there is a budget deal, the squeeze will be on.

The administration has proposed $400 billion in health care cuts so far in the budget talks, coming mainly from Medicare spending. That's only a starting point as far as Republicans are concerned. They also want to pare back Medicaid and Obama's health care law and have also sought an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Source: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/12/budget_battle_sends_mixed_sign.html

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A Brief But Informative History of Cellphones

A Brief But Informative History of Cellphones Cellphones, or cellular mobile phones, are indispensable tools these days. These communication devices not only are utilized to make and get calls or texts, but may also be applied for sending and getting emails, logging in to the web, playing games, movies, music, and more. Here?s a short but refreshing appear at the background of cellphones. The Development of Wireless Engineering in the Early 1900?s In 1908, an inventor named Nathan B. Stubblefield was granted patent by the US government, to develop a wireless telephone technologies process. In 1921, the very first utilization of a radio telephony service was noticed on first-class passenger trains that run the Berlin-Hamburg route in Germany. In the US, the initial radio receiver was produced from the Galvin Manufacturing Company, and it was called the Walkie Talkie. The model was referred to as the Motorola SC-300. The first persons to make use of the Walkie Talkie were the police departments, who liked it since it made available police personnel a continuous source of communication, even after they were mobile. Mobile Phone Technology after Planet War 2 The very first official ?cellphones? had been utilized by the Swedish Police in 1946, and it functioned by connecting a hand-held telephone for the central telephone network. These early cellphones were equivalent to two-way radio phones that were utilized in automobiles and taxis for portable communication. Engineers from Bell Labs inside the US also created a engineering or architecture made from hexagonal cells, and these had been created for telephone use in automobiles. In 1950, radio phones were used by the US military for communication and civil services Cellphone Development in the ?60s The electronic components and elements which are applied in today?s generation of cellphones were created throughout the 1960?s. Within the 60?s cellphone technologies was currently readily available, nonetheless its use was only restricted to a specific block of areas, because the cell locations had been only base stations which covered a restricted land area. For the duration of these times, calls may very well be made, but in the event the cellphone user traveled beyond the boundaries with the cell area, the signal got blocked or went dead. Cellphones inside the star phone 70?s and 80?s In 1971, A US communications corporation, AT&T, requested a public cellular telephone service from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The request on the other hand,was only processed following a decade. The early cell telephone frequencies were of 824 to 894 MHz Band for the Advanced Mobile Telephone Service or AMPS. The advent of analog cellphone service began in 1982, and this continued until 1990. Cellphones within the 21st Century In 1999, the first-ever full-fledged World wide web telephone service was introduced by Japanese organization NTT Docomo. The following year, mobile phone advertising very first appeared in Finland, when a free SMS text service was launched, and was sponsored by advertisers. In 2001, the pre-commercial 3G trial network was also launched by NTT Docomo, and soon right after, Sony and Ericsson agreed to create a joint enterprise, which was termed Sony-Ericsson, for the cube tablet pc development and manufacture of high-end cellphones.

Source: http://www.smartask.com.au/78883/a-brief-but-informative-history-of-cellphones

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Self-Improvement Chapter 1: The Addiction of Depression ...

Posted by support | Posted in Life transformation stories | Posted on 28-12-2012-05-2008

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I just talk about the difficulties behind being depressed and being too familiar with being depressed. There is a way to become addicted to the feeling of depression, and it?s as hard to deal with as any street drug.

Read the original: Self-Improvement Chapter 1: The Addiction of Depression

Source: http://massivevaluegiveaway.com/blog/life-transformation-stories/self-improvement-chapter-1-the-addiction-of-depression/

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Source: http://ibuniv.posterous.com/self-improvement-chapter-1-the-addiction-of-d

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Duck boat sunk in World War II found in Italian lake

The amphibious vehicle sank in Lake Garda, killing 23 US soldiers just days before the end of the fighting in Europe. But the boat, and the remains of the soldiers, were lost until this week.

By Nick Squires,?Correspondent / December 13, 2012

More than 70 years after it sank in a lake in northern Italy causing the loss of 24 American soldiers? lives, a US amphibious vehicle has been found lying on the lake bed.

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Amateur historians had been searching for months for the relic ? a six-wheel, two-ton amphibious DUKW vehicle that sank during a storm on Lake Garda on the night of April 30, 1945 ? but were only able to confirm their find on Monday.

The DUKW, pronounced ?duck,? was carrying supplies and ammunition to an American military camp near the town of Torbole, at the northern tip of the lake, but sank as a result of gale force winds that were battering the area that night.

The truck was carrying 24 US soldiers aged between 18 and 25 from the 10th Mountain Division, only one of whom survived the accident. The men who died were from the division's 605th Field Artillery Battalion, as well as a driver from the Quartermaster Corps.

Days before armistice

The sinking happened just days before the end of fighting in Europe and the armistice with the Germans, on May 8, 1945.

?It was the biggest disaster to happen in modern times on Lake Garda,? said Mauro Fusato, the leader of the team that found the DUKW.?

The wreck of the vehicle was found with sonar lying at a depth of 905 feet ? one reason why it had not been located before.

?On Sunday, the sonar gave us an initial image, but it wasn?t clear enough to be able to say for sure that it was the DUKW,? Mr. Fusato told Ansa, an Italian news agency.

?On Monday, though, we used a remote-controlled camera and we saw it. It is intact and sitting upright.?

The next step is to try to identify any human remains that may still be lying around the wreck, as well as military equipment, insignia, and personal possessions. ?There are lots of objects around it, which could be the skeletons or remains of the soldiers who drowned,? said Fusato.

Any operation to recover them would be highly complex and technically challenging, however. The wreck lies too deep for divers, and there are old fishing nets and other debris on the lake bed that could snag underwater subs. Ultimately it will be up to the US government to decide whether to proceed with a recovery, the researchers said, adding that they had informed American diplomats of the discovery.

Source: http://rss.csmonitor.com/~r/csmonitor/globalnews/~3/rQsrhMDJNcs/Duck-boat-sunk-in-World-War-II-found-in-Italian-lake

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56% of female university students get drunk in record time, Spanish study suggests

Dec. 28, 2012 ? Researchers from the HealthyFit group at the University of Vigo have studied university students' lifestyles; their analysis, which includes alcohol and illegal drug consumption habits, sport and food, concludes that most students indulge in unhealthy behaviour. One of the main results of the study points to the high consumption of alcohol.

"The amount drunk per unit of time is higher among women. In other words, even though male students drink more often, females do so more intensively in shorter periods of time, which is known as binge drinking," explained Jos? M? Cancela Carral, co-author of the study published by the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Researchers randomly selected 985 students from different degree courses and in different years at the University of Vigo.

Of the females interviewed, 51.2% lead a sedentary lifestyle, while the percentage in males is 41.7%. When analysing students who maintain an appropriate level of physical activity, 38.6% of males do physical exercise, as opposed to only 20.9% of women.

"We were also surprised by the high consumption of illegal drugs among university students -- 44.9% of men and 30.9% of women -- which we understand could lead to significant future health problems, mainly related to the nervous system," underlined the researcher.

Anomalous attitudes to food were more evident among women (16.6%), although also present among men (8.8%). "However, the statistical analysis showed that this parameter depended on the degree the student was studying for," added Cancela. Such attitudes were much more common among those studying degrees related to education (19.2%) than among those studying courses related to health (6.3%).

Health network

Spanish universities set up a Healthy University Network in 2008, a project for healthy living for universities from all over Spain, the Spanish University Rectors' Association, the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and some regional public health entities.

In the researcher's opinion, at many universities this network was nothing more than "a simple first step to get on the list and nothing else"; hence transversal content should be implemented in study plans related to food, physical exercise and healthy habits.

"In the light of the results, training and information courses are required in these areas, together with healthy leisure -- not just sports facilities -- to set up university guidance services for a healthy student lifestyle," concludes Cancela.

Genetic predisposition

A recent study published in the PNAS journal argues that the gene called RASGRF2 could be related to a predisposition to getting drunk.

According to scientists, this gene regulates the predisposition to drink excessive amounts of alcohol as it influences mesolimbic dopamine neuron activity, which is one of the ways dopamine is taken from one region of the brain to another.

Gunter Schumann, one of the main authors of the study, explained that even though we should not consider said gene to be the main cause -- as there are many environmental factors and other genes involved -- the study thereof helps to explain why some people are more vulnerable to alcohol than others.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Plataforma SINC, via AlphaGalileo.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal References:

  1. Ver?nica Varela-Mato, Jos? M. Cancela, Carlos Ayan, Vicente Mart?n, Antonio Molina. Lifestyle and Health among Spanish University Students: Differences by Gender and Academic Discipline. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2012; 9 (8): 2728 DOI: 10.3390/ijerph9082728
  2. D. Stacey, A. Bilbao, M. Maroteaux, T. Jia, A. C. Easton, S. Longueville, C. Nymberg, T. Banaschewski, G. J. Barker, C. Buchel, F. Carvalho, P. J. Conrod, S. Desrivieres, M. Fauth-Buhler, A. Fernandez-Medarde, H. Flor, J. Gallinat, H. Garavan, A. L. W. Bokde, A. Heinz, B. Ittermann, M. Lathrop, C. Lawrence, E. Loth, A. Lourdusamy, K. F. Mann, J.-L. Martinot, F. Nees, M. Palkovits, T. Paus, Z. Pausova, M. Rietschel, B. Ruggeri, E. Santos, M. N. Smolka, O. Staehlin, M.-R. Jarvelin, P. Elliott, W. H. Sommer, M. Mameli, C. P. Muller, R. Spanagel, J.-A. Girault, G. Schumann. RASGRF2 regulates alcohol-induced reinforcement by influencing mesolimbic dopamine neuron activity and dopamine release. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; 109 (51): 21128 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1211844110

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Source: http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/top_news/~3/JCkJkf4_4pY/121228084029.htm

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Benefits Of Postcard Direct Mailing Marketing

Many businesses have started using postcard direct mailing as an important tool of marketing. They are not only efficient tool of marketing but at the same time very cost effective. They are used to advertise products, services, announcing latest promotions, events, celebrations and even to send anniversary or birthday greetings.

There are many companies that offer postcard direct mailing service according to a certain scheduled time suitable to their clients. They print and mail on behalf of their clients so that their customers don't have to go through the hassle of waiting for their shipment. The best thing about these companies is that most of them offer simple and easy to use design tools which their customers can use to create their own designs.

A business can take advantage of such tool to advertise their services and products on offer. Even those areas that are difficult to reach physically can be reached without any trouble with such marketing asset. Being economical is another demand made by many businesses and it is a great way to do that.

When it comes to color and design, there is an endless selection to choose from. It totally depends on personal taste and preference that what type of style is chosen. Some people go for more contemporary design while others prefer a bit of funky look. For those customers who prefer to get their product ready, they can opt for already designed cards.

Some people prefer to use postcard direct mailing to celebrate special occasions that come into their lives. Whether one wants to celebrate his birthday, wedding anniversary or any other special occasion these are used very commonly. They are sometimes even used as a form of invite to those people who live far away. No doubt, it is an excellent way of marking certain special occasions.

Many people think that this form of marketing is uncommon now and electronic media has taken its place this is not true. Because despite the frequent use of electronic media and advertisement this type of advertisement has its own place in today's world. The good thing about it is that it is free of spam or junk mail as compared to emails which people find hard to trust. This is the reason why emails in junk folders are hardly read by their recipients.

On the other hand when an individual receives a card in his mail, even if he wants to throw it away he still has to look through it and many times people get attracted to promotions offered by companies. Instead of spending huge amount of budget on expensive marketing strategies if money is spent wisely on this type of marketing it can prove to be very fruitful.

Therefore, it can be said that postcard direct mailing has become and essential form of advertisement. People and organisations all across the world take advantage of it in order to promote individual or business goals. The economical benefit attached to it makes it more favorable as compared to other methods of promotions and advertisements.

Source: http://story-nice.blogspot.com/2012/12/benefits-of-postcard-direct-mailing.html

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Organizing Craft Supplies

Every year as soon as Christmas is over I get anxious to start simplifying our home. Organizing craft supplies in my craft hutch was at the top of my list. This month with gift wrapping, handmade gift making, and lack of time its become total chaos in my craft space. We dedicated a corner in our master bedroom for my craft supplies so that I didn?t have to use the kitchen counter anymore. I thought it would be easier to keep track of everything but that?s not always the case. I?d show you the entire craft space but I?m not done organizing and decorating it yet, so that will have to wait for another post. But I will show you my craft hutch beautifully organized just the way I imagined it would be when I bought it last summer.

Craft Room Organization Tips

Its simple with neutral colors, definitely my ideal craft space!

Here is the before?

Organizing craft supplies

As you can see nothing matched and it was so disorganized that I had a hard time keeping track of what supplies were in which bin. These are only my most used craft supplies, half of our master bedroom closet is used for craft supplies as well-yikes! That?s a whole new project to work on in 2013, but for now I needed something to help me organize my craft space. I found a 4 pack of baskets on clearance for $13 at Lowes this week and was thrilled that they were exactly what I?ve been looking for. Organizing Craft Supplies

The tags remind me of faux chalkboard tags. To make them I used my Brother P-touch labeler, die cutting machine, Core?dinations Black Magic cardstock and sand-it set. Once my labels were cut I used the paper sander to lightly sand the edges and front of the tags. The black magic cardstock has a color on the backside that appears when you sand or cut it (for these tags I used the black and white paper). Then I created labels for each basket. The deco modes on the P-Touch Labeler are SO cute and there are a large variety of icons for any theme you?re looking for.

DIY Chalkboard Labels

Brother P-Touch Labeler

I?ve been using my Brother P-Touch labeler to organize the baskets as well as various other projects around the house. This little tool is a lifesaver! I?m a visual person, I like to see where everything is neatly put away and have some sort of organization system going on with everything in the house. We are in the process of tackling the kids rooms this weekend. Target has some pretty cute plastic bins for kids. We bought heart patterned containers for my daughters toys and we started labeling them by toy group. Santa brought her toys with way too many small pieces this year, so we need to make sure we don?t lose them!

Craft Room Organization Tips

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How will you stay organized in 2013?

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Linking up here, TCB, Home Stories A2Z

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I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Brother P-Touch and received a product sample to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Source: http://apumpkinandaprincess.com/2012/12/organizing-craft-supplies.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=organizing-craft-supplies

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UFC 155 picks from Kevin Iole, Maggie Hendricks and Cagereaders like you

UFC 155 is only a day away. It's time for picks from Yahoo! Sports' columnist Kevin Iole, Cagewriter editor Maggie Hendricks, and Cagereaders who posted their picks on Facebook.

Kevin Iole: Junior dos Santos W5 Cain Velasquez -- I can't believe I'm picking against Velasquez. To me, he is in many ways the perfect heavyweight, with great conditioning, great wrestling and tremendous power. But how do we ignore what dos Santos has done? Much was made of Velasquez's knee injury before their first fight, but what isn't as well known is that Junior had a bad leg, too, and couldn't do much. It's going to be a dogfight, but I think Junior finds a way to pull it out.

Maggie Hendricks: Cain Velasquez W5 Junior dos Santos -- Velasquez was injured in his last bout with JDS. With a healthy knee, he'll get to use his wrestling to control and beat on JDS for five rounds.

Cagereaders: Couldn't ask for a better way to end the year than this rematch. This will last longer than the first but not by much. I'm picking Cigano by KO R1. Cain has amazing wrestling and ground and pound. However, I think Junior is the guy that has his number and things won't go as planned for Cain. Velasquez will come out more aggressive than the first fight and that will spell the end. Junior will rock him with some brutal counters causing Cain to shoot in for the take down. Junior will stuff the attempt and finish the fight with an uppercut around 3 minutes into the first. -- Jackson Torres

[Related: Five questions that will be answered at UFC 155]
__

Kevin Iole: Joe Lauzon W3 Jim Miller -- Definitely will be the Fight of the Night in my opinion (is there any other kind of fight for Lauzon?) I don't think Joe will be able to submit Jim, but he is so active and works so hard I think he'll pile up the points to win.

Maggie Hendricks: Joe Lauzon Sub2 Jim Miller -- Lauzon's submission game is tough to beat. He will need to avoid Miller's well-rounded game, but can do it.

Cagereaders: My two favorite 155 pound fighters. When I saw Miller step in for Maynard, my heart sank. I'm going to see one them lose, and it looks to be J-Lau. Miller matches up really well for Lauzon's style. He has power in his punches and solid wrestling, backed up with a serious ground game and outstanding cardio. Joe has a killer instinct and a more dangerous ground game. Still, I like Miller taking this fought by a UD. -- Tom Hogan

--

Kevin Iole: Tim Boetsch W3 Costas Philippou -- Boetsch will grind out a victory by controlling the distance and limiting Philippou's power

Maggie Hendricks: Tim Boetsch W3 Costa Phillippou -- Ditto on what Kevin said. Boetsch won't make it a thrilling fight, but it will be a convincing win.

Cagereaders: Boetsch over Phillipou by 3rd Round TKO -- I think this fight will be back to forth, I have counted out Tim Boetsch in many fights just to be shocked, from the poor decision in the Lombard fight, to the amazing knock out of Okami, I think Phillipou gets the better of him early in the fight, while Boetsch owns the latter part of the fight, this could easily be fight of the night and if it does go decision, it will be close, but I see Phillipou gassing late and Boetsch taking advantage. -- Daniel Ryan

--

Kevin Iole: Alan Belcher TKO2 Yushin Okami -- This outcome would have been unthinkable a year ago, but Belcher improves tremendously each time out and is now one of the world's most complete fighters.

Maggie Hendricks: Alan Belcher W3 Yushin Okami -- With title shot hopes hanging over him, Belcher has good reason to fight a smart game and come out with a win over Okami.

Cagereaders: Yushin Okami will beat Alan Belcher by decision. Okami will go back to what made him successful before his fight with Anderson Silva. He will use his jab and height, keeping Belcher back, then take him down for ground and pound. This will continue for 3 full rounds and Okami will come out with the unanimous decision. -- Marcus Min

__

Kevin Iole: Chris Leben TKO3 Derek Brunson -- This is a big fight for Leben, and I think he knows it. I expect him to eventually catch Brunson with something big that will end it.

Maggie Hendricks: Derek Brunson W3 Chris Leben -- In his first fight after a long layoff, Leben will have a hard time dealing with a wrestler with power like Brunson.

Cagereaders: Derek Brunson should be able to defeat Chris Leben by decision because he has a great wrestling background and Chris Leben may not be in the best shape coming off a 13-month layoff. -- Edgar Diaz

Related MMA video from Yahoo! Sports

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
? Junior dos Santos has something to prove vs. Cain Velasquez
? Dana White's refreshingly honest take on drug use in UFC
? Y! Screen: Hornets rookies discuss the facts of life in comedy clip

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mma-cagewriter/ufc-155-picks-kevin-iole-maggie-hendricks-cagereaders-161442619--mma.html

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Samsung says it will ship half a billion phones in 2013

Samsung expects to sell 510 million phones in 2013, the company announced on Wednesday. Samsung says most of those devices will be smart phones, cementing the company's status as the world's biggest phone manufacturer.

By Jeff Ward-Bailey,?Contributor / December 26, 2012

Samsung says it expects to ship 510 million phones, most of which will be smart phones, in 2013. Here, a passerby takes a picture of an Apple Store in Sydney, Australia with a Samsung Galaxy phone.

Tim Wimborne/Reuters/File

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Samsung may be the biggest phone maker in the world, but it's not resting on its laurels: the Korean company announced on Wednesday that it expects to ship 510 million handsets in 2013, three-quarters of which will be smart phones.

Skip to next paragraph Jeff Ward-Bailey

Writer

Jeff began writing for the Monitor's Horizons blog in 2011, covering product news and rumors, innovations from companies like Apple and Google, and developments in tech policy.

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Samsung shipped 420 million handsets in 2012, which means that if its 2013 estimate is correct it'll be a 20 percent jump for the company. The Korea Times reports that 390 million of its 2013 sales are expected to be smart phones, and that Samsung is counting on pulling away from its biggest smart-phone rival, Apple.

That estimate may be a little bit rosy: market research firm Gartner previously predicted that Samsung would sell between 250 and 300 smart phones in 2013. But no matter how you slice it, Samsung's sales have been rising sharply. The company sold 0.6 million smart phones in 2009, 23.9 million in 2010, and 97.4 million in 2011.

What's on the menu for Samsung in 2013? The company will continue to develop its popular line of Galaxy smart phones and tablets, which are rivals to Apple's iPhone and iPad. It also plans to release a line of Windows Phone 8 handsets to compete with offerings from Nokia and HTC. As fast 4G LTE networks grow, Samsung will also double down on LTE-compatible devices to meet demand, Samsung executive Kim Hyun-joon said, quoted in The Korea Times.

To produce all this hardware, Samsung will have to expand its manufacturing base. The company expects to build just 40 million devices at its Korean factory; the lion's share will come from Samsung factories in Vietnam, China, and India. The company plans to spend $2.2 billion over the next several years to expand its Vietnamese factories.

Samsung is also planning to produce devices running Tizen, an operating system it developed together with Intel. Tizen is designed to run on smart phones, tablets, TVs, computers, and even GPS units to give users a consistent experience across devices. The first Tizen devices haven't been released yet, but Samsung's 2013 phones and tablets may be among the earliest.

Samsung has had a busy year, not least because of its public legal battles with rival Apple. The latter won a $1 billion injunction against Samsung earlier in 2012, but the judgement hasn't done much to dent Samsung's momentum -- especially since Apple has been largely unsuccessful in barring Samsung smart phones from being sold. Samsung's bullish predictions for 2013 suggest that the company isn't too worried about future legal roadblocks, either.

For more tech news, follow Jeff on?Twitter:?@jeffwardbailey.

Source: http://rss.csmonitor.com/~r/feeds/csm/~3/GSrHjeqB1h8/Samsung-says-it-will-ship-half-a-billion-phones-in-2013

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News Analysis: Scientists to Seek Clues to Violence in Genome of Gunman in Newtown, Conn.

[unable to retrieve full-text content]As geneticists plan to study the DNA of a mass killer in hopes of eventually preventing rampages, some researchers question what good could come of the findings.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/25/science/scientists-to-seek-clues-to-violence-in-genome-of-gunman-in-newtown-conn.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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Three Do Not's for Bathroom Renovation | Home Improvement ...

Bathroom like newWhen you finally commit to renovating your outdated bathroom, you might be feeling a mixture of emotions. You are excited to see the finished design, but you are worried about how long the project will take and what factors may cause delays during the process. While everyone hopes that their renovation projects go as smoothly as possible, it is very important to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. The best way to prepare is to know what mistakes you should specifically avoid making. Here are three ?do not?s? for bathroom renovation that you should keep in the front of your mind when you are planning and completing the project.

Starting the Demolition Before You Purchase or Choose All of the Products

It is common to want to get a jump start on the project by starting the demolition stage early,after all, if you have more than one bathroom you might be thinking that you can live without your master bath until the project is done. This is a major mistake that should be avoided until you select, purchase, and assure the delivery date of all of the new elements that will be installed in your updated bathroom. If you start to demolish things that do not need to be demolished, it will cost you time and money.

Failing to Install Updated Piping

If your home was built prior to 1975, you need to make sure that your pipes have been updated while they are accessible. A bathroom remodel is the perfect excuse to check your existing water supply piping and to replace all of the galvanized pipes that have not been updated. Failing to do this can cost you money and can turn a simple remodel into a major disaster later down the line.

Failing to Set Aside Extra Money

You set a budget before you even start to design what your new bathroom will look like. The budget will include the cost of new fixtures, piping, toilets, a shower, a bath, materials, and labor. But failing to set aside money to account for hidden damage is a mistake. It is very common for outdated bathrooms to have mold damage and dry rot around the tub and sink, so once they are removed, you may be in for a big surprise that you were not prepared to deal with.

If you want your remodel project to be done quickly, you need to take control of the project before it takes control of you. Consider the common mistakes that homeowners make, and avoid them at all costs.

Author Bio

Andre has been freelance writing for several years, and loves writing? home improvement, parenting, health, and self-help articles.
He is currently promoting Fitzall Blades

Tags: advice, bathroom, home, home improvement, tools

Source: http://home-improvement-solution.com/three-do-nots-for-bathroom-renovation/

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Foreclosures in Perry GA 31069, November 2012

Foreclosures in Perry GA 31069, November 2012Consumers looking for a bargain may find it in the way of?Foreclosures in Perry GA 31069. ??

Currently, there are 10 Foreclosures in Perry GA for buyers to choose from.? Those properties range?in price from $24,900 to $925,000 and square footage from 1,025 to 6,236.

In November, 1 new foreclosure in Perry GA hit the market.? ?The details for this new property are as follows (address, price, heated sq feet, subdivision, year built):

  • ?200 Sugarloaf Parkway, $116,900, 1418, Sugarloaf, 2005

Buyers, give me a call when you are ready to preview any Perry homes for sale.

For a complete list of available Perry real estate, visit?Homes for Sale in Perry?or call me at (478) 960-8055 (C) / (478) 953-8595 x227 (O) so we can discuss your housing needs.

Foreclosures in Houston County Georgia

Bonaire GA Foreclosures ? 31005

Byron GA Foreclosures ? 31008

Centerville GA Foreclosures ? 31028

Jeffersonville GA Foreclosures ? 31044

Kathleen GA Foreclosures ? 31047

Perry GA Foreclosures ? 31069

Warner Robins GA Foreclosures ? 31088

Foreclosures in Perry GA 31069, November 2012

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Statistics represent ONLY available foreclosure single family homes, condos, and townhouses in?Perry GA for the month listed.? (Source: CGMLS).? Information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.

About Anita Clark Realtor

Anita Clark has written 887 posts on this blog.

Anita Clark Realtor+ sells Warner Robins Real Estate and provides community information as a service to the public. You can contact her at (478) 960-8055 or via email at anita@cbssk.com.

Source: http://sellingwarnerrobins.com/2012/12/foreclosures-in-perry-ga-31069-november-2012/

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Husband of slain Wis. cop arrested in her death

MILWAUKEE (AP) ? The husband of a police officer who was fatally shot on Christmas Eve while patrolling in suburban Milwaukee has been arrested in connection with her death, authorities said Thursday.

Benjamin Sebena, of Menomonee Falls, was booked into Milwaukee County Jail on Wednesday night on a tentative charge of first-degree intentional homicide, the Wauwatosa police department said in a statement.

He has not been formally charged in the death of his 30-year-old wife, Jennifer Sebena. A message was left with the district attorney's office seeking comment.

Ben Sebena, 30, is a decorated U.S. Marine who served two tours in Iraq before suffering severe arm and leg injuries in a mortar attack, according to Pastor Scott Arbeiter at Elmbrook Church in nearby Brookfield.

Police officers found Sebena's body in the early hours of Monday morning after she failed to respond to radio calls. She had been shot several times. Police have released few details about the shooting.

Jennifer Sebena had worked for the Wauwatosa police department for two years and her death was the first in active duty in the department's 96-year history. Wauwatosa is a city of about 46,000 people just west of Milwaukee.

Sebena's funeral is scheduled for Saturday.

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Dinesh Ramde can be reached at dramde(at)ap.org.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/husband-slain-wis-cop-arrested-her-death-140253161.html

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$1 billion deal major step in Toyota legal trouble

FILE - In this photo taken June 25, 2011, file photo, Toyota keys sit in a fish bowl at the Toyota of Tampa Bay dealership in Tampa, Fla. A plaintiffs' attorney on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, says Toyota Motor Corp. has reached a settlement in a case involving hundreds of lawsuits over accelerations problems. Steve Berman said Wednesday the settlement, which still needs a federal judge's approval, was worth more than $1 billion and is the largest settlement in U.S. history involving automobile defects. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

FILE - In this photo taken June 25, 2011, file photo, Toyota keys sit in a fish bowl at the Toyota of Tampa Bay dealership in Tampa, Fla. A plaintiffs' attorney on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, says Toyota Motor Corp. has reached a settlement in a case involving hundreds of lawsuits over accelerations problems. Steve Berman said Wednesday the settlement, which still needs a federal judge's approval, was worth more than $1 billion and is the largest settlement in U.S. history involving automobile defects. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

In this Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, photo, a Toyota dealership signs glows over a car lot in Tustin Calif. A plaintiffs' attorney on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, says Toyota Motor Corp. has reached a settlement in a case involving hundreds of lawsuits over accelerations problems. Steve Berman said Wednesday the settlement, which still needs a federal judge's approval, was worth more than $1 billion and is the largest settlement in U.S. history involving automobile defects. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

(AP) ? With a proposed payout of more than $1 billion, one major chapter of a nearly four-year legal saga that left Toyota Motor Corp. fighting hundreds of lawsuits and struggling with a tarnished image has ended, though another remains.

The settlement ? unprecedented in its size according to a plaintiff's attorney ? brings an end to claims from owners who said the value of their vehicles plunged after recalls over sudden and unintended acceleration.

Lawsuits claiming that the defects caused injury or death remain, with the first trial beginning in February unless another major deal comes first.

Steve Berman, a lawyer representing Toyota owners, said the settlement is the largest in U.S. history involving automobile defects.

"We kept fighting and fighting and we secured what we think was a good settlement given the risks of this litigation," Berman told The Associated Press.

The courtroom claims began with a highway tragedy. A California Highway Patrol officer and three of his family members were killed in suburban San Diego in 2009 after their car, a Toyota-built Lexus, reached speeds of more than 120 mph, hit an SUV, launched off an embankment, rolled several times and burst into flames.

Investigators determined that a wrong-size floor mat trapped the accelerator and caused the crash.

That discovery, and the accident's grisliness, spurred a series of recalls involving more than 14 million vehicles and a flood of lawsuits soon followed, with numerous complaints of accelerations in several models, and brake defects with the Prius hybrid.

The Japanese automaker has blamed driver error, faulty floor mats and stuck accelerator pedals for the problems.

The runaway Lexus case was settled separately for $10 million in 2010, before the cases were consolidated by U.S. District Judge James Selna.

Selna divided them into two categories: economic loss and wrongful death. He needs to approve Wednesday's settlement, which only applies to the first group of lawsuits. The deal was filed Wednesday and Selna is expected to review it on Friday.

Toyota said it will take a one-time, $1.1 billion pre-tax charge against earnings to cover the estimated costs of the settlement. Berman said the total value of the deal is between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion.

As part of the economic loss settlement, Toyota will offer cash payments from a pool of about $250 million to eligible customers who sold vehicles or turned in leased vehicles between September 2009 and December 2010.

The company also will launch a $250 million program for 16 million current owners to provide supplemental warranty coverage for certain vehicle components, and it will retrofit about 3.2 million vehicles with a brake override system. An override system is designed to ensure a car will stop when the brakes are applied, even if the accelerator pedal is depressed.

The settlement would also establish additional driver education programs and fund new research into advanced safety technologies.

"In keeping with our core principles, we have structured this agreement in ways that work to put our customers first and demonstrate that they can count on Toyota to stand behind our vehicles," said Christopher Reynolds, Toyota vice president and general counsel.

Current and former Toyota owners are expected to receive more information about the settlement in the coming months.

Plaintiffs' attorneys have spent the past two years deposing Toyota employees, poring over thousands of documents and reviewing software code, but the company maintains those lawyers have been unable to prove that a design defect ? namely Toyota's electronic throttle control system ? was responsible for vehicles surging unexpectedly.

Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and NASA were unable to find any defects in Toyota's source code that could cause problems.

The company has been dogged by fines for not reporting problems in a timely manner.

Earlier this month, NHTSA doled out a record $17.4 million fine to Toyota for failing to quickly report floor mat problems with some of its Lexus models. Toyota paid a total of $48.8 million in fines for three violations in 2010.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda appeared before Congress last year and pledged to strengthen quality control. Recent sales figures show the company appears to have rebounded following its safety issues.

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Online:

Settlement website: http://www.ToyotaELsettlement.com

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/f70471f764144b2fab526d39972d37b3/Article_2012-12-27-Toyota%20Lawsuits/id-31ebf882530d4d8cb87cd3a57b94d593

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