Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Strangely moving Antarctic lakes surprise researchers

Researchers recently uncovered a startling phenomenon ? a set of teardrop-shaped lakes in Antarctica that mysteriously move, jogging along at a pace as fast as 5 feet (1.5 meters) per day.

The lakes sit atop the George VI ice shelf ? a massive floating plain of ice larger than Vermont, composed of the mingled fronts of glaciers that flow off the edge of the continent and rest on the ocean.

Glaciologist Doug MacAyeal at the University of Chicago, and student researcher C.H. LaBarbera, noticed the traveling bodies of water while studying satellite images of 11 ice shelf lakes captured between 2001 and 2010.

"We compiled 10 images for the last 10 years and literally made a movie," MacAyeal told OurAmazingPlanet, "and as we looked at the loop, the lakes moved up the coast."

The discovery was something of shock, he said. "We walked into our research with an expectation that has been completely defied by what we observed."

MacAyeal said he had expected the lakes to move over time, but only because the ice shelf underneath them also moves, as ice flows from the interior of the continent out to sea.

Instead, "we found a subset of lakes that defied this in a spectacularly curious and interesting way, by moving parallel to a coastline of the George VI ice shelf," MacAyeal said.

Syrupy maneuvers
It turns out the mechanism at work is something that nearly everyone would recognize from TV or the breakfast table ? that gooey, back-and-forth folding action often shown in ads for chocolate or maple syrup, and known in scientific parlance as viscous buckling.

But in this case, the chocolate or maple syrup is the ice shelf, and it's "pouring" horizontally and smashing into and oozing around nearby Alexander Island, enfolding the large island in an icy embrace. As the ice scrunches around the island, it propels the lakes along. It's a geographical arrangement that makes the George VI ("Yes, the one from 'The King's Speech,'" MacAyeal said) an oddity among its ice shelf neighbors, which typically flow unimpeded out into the open ocean.

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In recent years, these floating ice plateaus have become the subject of a flurry of research because of their apparent link to climate change and rising seas. Scientists have discovered that ice shelves function as massive doorstops for glaciers; when ice shelves weaken or collapse, they allow glaciers to slide into the ocean more quickly, which, in turn, raises global sea levels.

Bad breakups
In the last decade, increasingly sharp-eyed satellites have captured several catastrophic ice shelf collapses in grim detail. Nearly all of these collapses have occurred along the Antarctic Peninsula, home to the George VI ice shelf and one of the most swiftly warming places on the planet.

Changes in wind patterns have raised temperatures on the peninsula by 4 or 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (2 or 2.5 degrees Celsius) in the last 50 years, and the warming trend appears to be striding ever southward, consuming more and more of the region.

And although the George VI ice shelf isn't in imminent danger, "it's kind of next in line, if you like," said Tom Holt, a glaciology lecturer at Aberystwyth University in Wales, who studies the George VI ice shelf.

Holt said that data show the ice shelf is thinning and fracturing somewhat along its southern front, but, according to MacAyeal, it appears that the ice shelf's cozy relationship with Alexander Island is keeping it healthier than some of its neighbors, insulating it from the more extreme effects of climate change. (The island likely acts as a buffer against warming ocean water, and also acts as a sawhorse, propping up the edge of the ice shelf.)

And because its lakes are the result of strange weather patterns created by mountains on Alexander Island (instead of global warming), the ice shelf gives scientists a natural petri dish to study how ice shelf lakes alter the structure of ice shelves in general.

"We're interested in surface lakes on ice shelves because they're the precursor of ice shelf collapse," MacAyeal said. "This ice shelf gives us longstanding lakes for reasons other than climate change, and with consequences that aren't going to kill the beast we're studying, so can we look at these lakes to see what's going on."

Yet even with its island protector, it could be that the George VI ice shelf won't be entirely immune to the effects of warming. "It's in that region where we're expecting to see changes over the next 10 or 20 years," Holt said.

In the meantime, MacAyeal said, the ice shelf could offer clues to the physics behind the plight of more vulnerable ice shelves. "We expect that to be a harder problem," he said, "but we'll get closer to the real ultimate goal, which is to understand why lakes and ice shelf instability are correlated."

Reach Andrea Mustain at amustain@techmedianetwork.com. Follow her on Twitter @AndreaMustain. Follow OurAmazingPlanet for the latest in Earth science and exploration news on Twitter @OAPlanet and on Facebook.

? 2012 OurAmazingPlanet. All rights reserved. More from OurAmazingPlanet.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46206480/ns/technology_and_science-science/

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Diddy's A 'Sweetheart,' 'Breaking Bad' Star Says

Rapper's Cîroc ad co-star, Aaron Paul, talks to MTV News about bro'ing it up in Vegas with the rap mogul.
By Jocelyn Vena, with reporting by Kara Warner

Photo: Getty Images

Bad Boy Records boss and Cîroc spokesman Diddy assembled his very own "Rat Pack" for the vodka brand's latest campaign. With folks like "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul, Michael K. Williams, Chad Michael Murray and Jesse Williams onboard, the stylish gang does Vegas in retro-tinged ads directed by Anthony Mandler.

When MTV News caught up with Paul at the SAG Awards on Sunday night in L.A., he dished about how the hip-hop mogul recruited him for the sleek clip.

"It's so funny, Diddy is a huge fan of the show, and he called and asked if I wanted to be a part of his new Cîroc campaign," Paul recalled. "And I'm like, 'Hang out in Vegas with Diddy for a couple days? Yeah, I'll do that.' "

The commercial is a stylized, glamorous peek at what it might be like to chill with Diddy and his guys in Sin City. "It's great. I was really happy about it and I think there's going to be like three or four different versions of it coming out throughout the year," the actor revealed. Paul admitted that he had fun both on and off set, telling us he left Vegas "with money in my pockets."

Of course, now that he's one of the faces of the brand, Paul could be expected to give it a shining endorsement. But the Hollywood star kept it real: "I got to be honest, I never really had Cîroc [before the ads], but it's so good," he said. "They have a lot of flavored vodkas and they're really good, so buy Cîroc!"

It wasn't just Cîroc that Paul found surprisingly smooth but the hip-hop mogul himself.

"He's such a workhorse — he's like such a machine — but he's the kindest guy," Paul said. "He really is such a nice guy to everybody, so I learned that about him 'cause I didn't know anything about him before.

"A sweetheart, Diddy's a sweetheart," he continued. "He sent me a really nice engagement present, and I'm like 'Wow, that's so nice.' I just got engaged [to Lauren Parsekian, so] it was so nice of him."

Stick with MTV News all night for the 2012 SAG Awards winners, and don't miss all the fashion from the red carpet!

Related Photos Related Artists

Source: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1678153/diddy-breaking-bad-aaron-paul-ciroc.jhtml

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Monday, January 30, 2012

State Dept: Americans take refuge at Cairo embassy

By msnbc.com staff and news services

Several American citizens have taken shelter in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo amid a sharpening dispute between Washington and Egypt's military-led authorities over U.S.-funded pro-democracy groups in the country, the State Department said on Monday.

"We can confirm that a handful of U.S. citizens have opted to stay in the embassy compound in Cairo while waiting for permission to depart Egypt," State Department spokeswoman Kate Starr said.

According to The New York Times, colleagues confirmed at least two American citizens were being protected at the embassy?from potential arrest.

The unusual step of offering U.S. citizens diplomatic refuge follows Cairo's crackdown on non-governmental organizations, including several funded by the U.S. government, which saw travel bans imposed on six American staffers including a son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Raids and crackdown
Egyptian police first raided the groups in late December as part of an investigation into foreign funding of 17 pro-democracy and human rights groups, part of what civil society groups say has been a broader crackdown on critics of the army's heavy-handed tactics in dealing with street unrest.

Washington has strongly criticized the Egyptian move, which has cast a pall over U.S.-Egypt relations as the most populous Arab nation reaches a critical stage in its uncertain transition away from authoritarian rule.

Leading U.S. lawmakers have also voiced outrage over the incident, and American officials have repeatedly warned that Washington may have to take a fresh look at U.S. aid to Egypt's military, which now runs about $1.3 billion per year.

The six U.S. citizens hit with travel bans work with the National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute. Both receive U.S. public funding and are loosely affiliated with the two major political parties in Washington.

The State Department did not provide details on the Americans sheltering in the embassy, although officials at the NDI said none of their staff had been relocated.

U.S. officials said an Egyptian military delegation was expected in Washington this week for regular talks, which are nevertheless expected to focus in large part on the impasse over the NGOs.

U.S. expresses concern over restrictions
President Barack Obama spoke with the head of Egypt's ruling military council, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, on January 20 and stressed the importance of the NGOs, as well as Egypt's request for $3.2 billion in support from the International Monetary Fund.

In a weekend call to Tantawi, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged the Egyptians to take steps to lift the travel ban on Americans wishing to leave the country, and expressed concern over restrictions placed on NGOs, the Pentagon said.

The Obama administration is finalizing its budget for the 2013 fiscal year, which will be presented on February 13 and is expected to include continued assistance for Egypt's military, albeit subject to new conditions imposed by U.S. lawmakers.

Those include evidence that Egyptian military authorities are committed to holding free and fair elections and implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion, and due process of law.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/30/10271475-state-dept-americans-take-refuge-at-cairo-embassy

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Inside Congress, no one beats the beet lobby (Star Tribune)

Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics - Top Stories Stories, News Feeds and News via Feedzilla.

Source: http://news.feedzilla.com/en_us/stories/politics/top-stories/192800157?client_source=feed&format=rss

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Prejudices? Quite normal!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Girls are not as good at playing football as boys, and they do not have a clue about cars. Instead they know better how to dance and do not get into mischief as often as boys. Prejudices like these are cultivated from early childhood onwards by everyone. "Approximately at the age of three to four years children start to prefer children of the same sex, and later the same ethnic group or nationality," Prof. Dr. Andreas Beelmann of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) states. This is part of an entirely normal personality development, the director of the Institute for Psychology explains. "It only gets problematic when the more positive evaluation of the own social group, which is adopted automatically in the course of identity formation, at some point reverts into bias and discrimination against others," Beelmann continues.

To prevent this, the Jena psychologist and his team have been working on a prevention programme for children. It is designed to reduce prejudice and to encourage tolerance for others. But when is the right time to start? Jena psychologists Dr. Tobias Raabe and Prof. Dr. Andreas Beelmann systematically summarise scientific studies on that topic and published the results of their research in the science journal Child Development (DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01668.x.).

According to this, the development of prejudice increases steadily at pre-school age and reaches its highest level between five and seven years of age. With increasing age this development is reversed and the prejudices decline. "This reflects normal cognitive development of children," Prof. Beelmann explains. "At first they adopt the social categories from their social environment, mainly the parents. Then they start to build up their own social identity according to social groups, before they finally learn to differentiate and individual evaluations of others will prevail over stereotypes." Therefore the psychologists reckon this age is the ideal time to start well-designed prevention programmes against prejudice. "Prevention starting at that age supports the normal course of development," Beelmann says. As the new study and the experience of the Jena psychologists with their prevention programme so far show, the prejudices are strongly diminished at primary school age, when children get in touch with members of so-called social out groups like, for instance children of a different nationality or skin colour. "This also works when they don't even get in touch with real people but learn it instead via books or told stories."

But at the same time the primary school age is a critical time for prejudices to consolidate. "If there is no or only a few contact to members of social out groups, there is no personal experience to be made and generalising negative evaluations stick longer." In this, scientists see an explanation for the particularly strong xenophobia in regions with a very low percentage of foreigners or migrants.

Moreover the Jena psychologists noticed that social ideas and prejudices are formed differently in children of social minorities. They do not have a negative attitude towards the majority to start with, more often it is even a positive one. The reason is the higher social status of the majority, which is being regarded as a role model. Only later, after having experienced discrimination, they develop prejudices, that then sticks with them much more persistently than with other children. "In this case prevention has to start earlier so it doesn't even get that far," Beelmann is convinced.

Generally, the psychologist of the Jena University stresses, the results of the new study don't imply that the children's and youths attitudes towards different social groups can't be changed at a later age. But this would then less depend on the individual development and very much more on the social environment like for instance changing social norms in our society. Tolerance on the other hand could be encouraged at any age. The psychologists' "prescription": As many diverse contacts to individuals belonging to different social groups as possible. "People who can identify with many groups will be less inclined to make sweeping generalisations in the evaluation of individuals belonging to different social groups or even to discriminate against them," Prof. Beelmann says.


Raabe T, Beelmann A.: Development of ethnic, racial, and national prejudice in childhood and adolescence: A multinational meta-analysis of age differences. Child Development. 2011; 82(6):1715-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01668.x.

Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena: http://www.uni-jena.de

Thanks to Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena for this article.

This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.

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Source: http://www.labspaces.net/117152/Prejudices__Quite_normal_

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Video: War supplies going nowhere, Afghan roads blocked.

Pakistan has closed crucial roads used to ferry supplies to U.S and NATO troops in Afghanistan-- leaving Pakistani drivers stranded and driving up the U.S. price tag for the war. NBC's Amna Nawaz reports from Peshawar.

Related Links:


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Source: http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news/46148621/

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Exclusive "Then and Now" Sweeps!

Can you spot the difference? All you have to do is spot the subtle change that we have made to this now-famous image of CM Punk and Mr. McMahon from WWE Money in the Bank. For complete sweeps rules and information CLICK HERE

Download the entry form HERE and email your answer to MAGAZINE@WWE.COM. You can be our lucky winner and don't forget to pick-up the February issue of "WWE Magazine" on-sale today or SUBSCRIBE TODAY and never miss an issue!

Source: http://www.wwe.com/magazine/spot-the-difference

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Let Freedom Rain: Rogers Communications wants to change ...

I love when the right and big corporations use the 'free speech' (or in this case, 'freedom of expression') argument from everything to excusing defamation and libel to putting out false claims about products.
The legal battle with Rogers began in November 2010, when the bureau went to court to levy a $10-million penalty for a "misleading advertising" campaign involving the company's Chatr discount cellphone service. The bureau is also asking the court to order Rogers to pay restitution to affected customers and refrain from engaging in similar campaigns for the next decade.?
The national advertising campaign, launched with the entry of upstart competitors like Wind Mobile in the market, claimed that Chatr had "fewer dropped calls than new wireless carriers" and its customers have "no worries about dropped calls."?
The bureau says it conducted an investigation, which involved an extensive review of technical data obtained from a number of sources, and concluded there was "no discernible differences in dropped call rates between Rogers' discount service and new entrants.
I bet those Charter or Rights haters are just fine with Rogers using it to achieve dubious ends. And who is Rogers' lawyer anyway? Ezra Levant?

Source: http://letfreedomrain.blogspot.com/2012/01/rogers-communications-wants-to-change.html

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Microbubbles provide new boost for biofuel production

ScienceDaily (Jan. 26, 2012) ? A solution to the difficult issue of harvesting algae for use as a biofuel has been developed using microbubble technology pioneered at the University of Sheffield. The technique builds on previous research in which microbubbles were used to improve the way algae is cultivated.

Algae produce an oil which can be processed to create a useful biofuel. Biofuels, made from plant material, are considered an important alternative to fossil fuels and algae, in particular, has the potential to be a very efficient biofuel producer. Until now, however, there has been no cost-effective method of harvesting and removing the water from the algae for it to be processed effectively.

Now, a team led by Professor Will Zimmerman in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield, believe they have solved the problem. They have developed an inexpensive way of producing microbubbles that can float algae particles to the surface of the water, making harvesting easier, and saving biofuel-producing companies time and money.

The research is set to be published in Biotechnology and Bioengineering on 26 January 2012.

Professor Zimmerman and his team won the Moulton Medal, from the Institute of Chemical Engineers, for their earlier work which used the microbubble technology to improve algae production methods, allowing producers to grow crops more rapidly and more densely.

"We thought we had solved the major barrier to biofuel companies processing algae to use as fuel when we used microbubbles to grow the algae more densely," explains Professor Zimmerman.

"It turned out, however, that algae biofuels still couldn?t be produced economically, because of the difficulty in harvesting and dewatering the algae. We had to develop a solution to this problem and once again, microbubbles provided a solution."

Microbubbles have been used for flotation before: water purification companies use the process to float out impurities, but it hasn?t been done in this context, partly because previous methods have been very expensive.

The system developed by Professor Zimmerman?s team uses up to 1000 times less energy to produce the microbubbles and, in addition, the cost of installing the Sheffield microbubble system is predicted to be much less than existing flotation systems.

The next step in the project is to develop a pilot plant to test the system at an industrial scale. Professor Zimmerman is already working with Tata Steel at their site in Scunthorpe using CO2 from their flue-gas stacks and plans to continue this partnership to test the new system.

Dr. Bruce Adderley, Manager Climate Change Breakthrough Technology, said, "Professor Zimmerman?s microbubble-based technologies are exactly the kind of step-change innovations that we are seeking as a means to address our emissions in the longer term, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to extend our relationship with Will and his team in the next phase of this pioneering research."

The research was supported by the University of Sheffield?s Knowledge Transfer Account, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. It was also supported by the Royal Society Innovation Award 2010, and the Concept Fund of Yorkshire Forward.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Sheffield.

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Journal Reference:

  1. James Hanotu, HC Hemaka Bandulasena, William B Zimmerman. Microflotation performance for algal separation. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/bit.24449

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

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120126092540.htm

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Video: Did prescription drugs send Moore to hospital?

Sorry, Readability was unable to parse this page for content.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/46145748#46145748

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Heiress Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans dies at 91 (AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. ? Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, heiress to a vast Gilded Age fortune built on tobacco and member of the family that endowed Duke University, has died. She was 91.

Her daughter, Rebecca Trent Kirkland, said the Durham, N.C., resident died Wednesday at Duke Hospital.

She was the great-granddaughter of Washington Duke, a Confederate soldier who returned home after the Civil War and planted a crop of tobacco. With his sons, Duke helped build the worldwide popularity of cigarettes. He also endowed a small Methodist college that would become Duke University."

"She was our principal link to Duke's founding generation and continued her family's tradition of benevolence throughout her life," Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead said. "She supported every good thing at this university, and she was a powerful force for good in Durham and the Carolinas."

She was elected to the Durham City Council in 1951, becoming the mayor pro tem two years later. From 1961 to 1981, she served as a trustee at Duke University.

Semans was a patron of the arts and charities, as well as a crusader for equal rights for women. For decades, she helped run The Duke Endowment, a Charlotte-based foundation founded by her great uncle, James B. Duke.

She also was a longtime trustee of Lincoln Community Hospital, a Durham facility her family started in 1901 to serve the needs of black patients.

Semans was born in 1920 to Mary Lillian Duke and Anthony Drexel Biddle, Jr., a U.S. Army general who later served as ambassador to Poland and Spain. She and her family divided their time between her parents' country estate in Irvington-on-Hudson and their Fifth Avenue mansion in New York City, across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

At age 14, she moved from Manhattan to Durham to live with her grandmother. She enrolled at Duke University at age 15 and studied art history, graduating in 1939.

While in college, she met and married medical student Josiah Charles Trent, who later became the chief thoracic surgeon at Duke Hospital. They had four daughters before Trent died of cancer at age 34.

In 1953, she married Dr. James Semans, a surgeon and associate professor of urology at Duke. They had three children. In the 1960s, they helped lead the establishment of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Dr. Semans died in 2005 at age 94.

A funeral service is planned for 2 p.m. Jan. 30 at Duke Chapel.


Follow Michael Biesecker at twitter.com/mbieseck

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/obits/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120125/ap_on_re_us/us_obit_duke_heiress

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Apple Q1 2012 results: $46.33 billion in revenue, 37.04 million iPhones, 15.43 million iPads, 15.4 million iPods

Apple has just announced another record breaking quarter, coming off the holidays with $46.33 billion in revenue, $13.06 billion in net profit, and a whopping 37.04 million iPhones, 15.43 million iPads, and 15.4 million iPods sold.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheIphoneBlog/~3/Vp8HyOMGNZY/story01.htm

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Pets in the Classroom, pet cause | Pet Care Trust

Thank you to btc4animals.com for presenting Pets in the Classroom as one of their featured causes. Be the Change for Animals highlights one animal cause per week on their website.? To read more about Pets in the Classroom and other pet-related causes, visit http://btc4animals.com.

Help Pets in the Classroom Reach More Students

Published January 9, 2012 | By Vicki Cook

Children benefit from exposure to pets in the classroom in ways that help shape their lives for years to come. Founded by the Pet Care Trust, the goal of Pets in the Classroom is to establish healthy child-pet relationships at an early age by supporting responsible pet care in elementary and middle school classrooms. By providing grants to teachers, the Pets in the Classroom program hopes to reach 1 million students in 30,000 classrooms across North America.

Act Now!

Here?s how you can help:

Why It Matters

Established by the Pet Care Trust in 2009, Pets in the Classroom provides grants to pre-kindergarten through eighth grade teachers to purchase or adopt a classroom pet and required equipment or to support existing classroom pets. Four types of grants are available: 1 ? rebate grants in the amount of $100 (for small animals or birds) or $150 for reptiles or fish; 2 ? sustaining grants of $50 for existing classroom pets; 3 ? Petco grants (coupons for the purchase of the animal, habitat and supplies at Petco stores) and 4 ? PetSmart grants (coupons for the purchase of the animal, habitat and supplies at PetSmart stores).

In its first full year of operation, the program awarded 2,060 grants to teachers. Having received over 7,000 requests in its first two years of operation, the Pets in the Classroom program more than tripled its number of requests in the second year. With an average classroom size of 30 students, the Trust has brought a pet into the lives of 210,000 students.

While the 7,000 grants are making a great impact, the organization is still a long way from its goal of reaching 1 million children in 30,000 classrooms across North America. The Pet Care Trust is looking for companies or individuals who are willing to sponsor classrooms. A donation of only $150 will help reach 30 students with a program that is instrumental in teaching students responsible, long-term pet care at an early age.

For more information on the Pet Care Trust and the Pets in the Classroom grant program, visit www.PetsintheClassroom.org.

Source: http://www.petsintheclassroom.org/2012/01/pets-in-the-classroom-feature-on-btc4animals-com/

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In bin Laden town, father mourns another militant (AP)

ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan ? On Jan. 14 at 8:12 p.m., Khushal Khan's wife got a call on her cell phone.

"Your son has been martyred," the voice said at the other end of the line. The man then hung up.

The end for Khan's youngest son, Aslam Awan, came when a drone piloted remotely from the United States fired a missile at a house along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. Awan was among four people killed, U.S. officials said this week, describing Awan as an "external operations planner" for al-Qaida. British authorities say he was a member of a militant cell in northern England who had fought in Afghanistan.

The Jan. 10 strike in the militant stronghold of North Waziristan that killed Awan was a victory for the CIA-led drone program at time when relations between Washington and Islamabad are very strained, in part by the missile strikes. It was one of the first drone attacks after a hiatus of some six weeks following a friendly fire incident in which U.S. forces killed 24 Pakistani border troops, nearly leading to a severing of ties with Islamabad.

The drone attacks generate anti-American sentiment inside Pakistan, but have been credited with significantly weakening al-Qaida in one of its global hubs.

For his family, the call came as a final curt word about the fate of a son they had heard little from in over a year.

Awan grew up in the northwestern Pakistani town of Abbottabad, a few kilometers away from the house where Osama bin Laden was slain. His father worked in a bank in Britain in the 70s and then in Abbottabad until he retired a few years ago. His four other sons remain in Britain, where they have prospered ? one is a surgeon, another is a doctor, the third an engineer and the fourth is a banker.

It seems doubtful Awan had any contact with bin Laden in the town. But Awan's background here reinforces a striking association between this well-ordered, wealthy Pakistani army town and al-Qaida militants, which began before bin Laden was killed here in May last year when a team of American commandos flew in from Afghanistan.

Now 75 and recovering from a heart operation, Khushal Khan answered questions Saturday from an Associated Press reporter in the garden of his house, making the most of some winter sun. He defended his son's memory against charges of militancy.

"I don't believe this is true, my son was not indulging in these things," he said. "It can't be correct."

Khan said Awan followed his brothers' footsteps and went to Britain in 2002 on a student visa.

Awan lived in Manchester for four years, during which time he joined a militant cell that aimed to bring Muslims to Pakistan for militant training, according to prosecutors at the time and a British media report. He told his father he was studying at Manchester University, but it's unclear whether he ever graduated.

The cell was headed by a British al-Qaida commander called Rangzieb Ahmed who was captured in Pakistan in 2006 and sent for trial in Britain, where he was sentenced to life in prison for directing terrorism, according to Britain's Daily Telegraph.

A letter he wrote a to a longtime friend and fellow Pakistani, Abdul Rahman, rhapsodized over the "fragrance of blood" from the battlefield of jihad and his commitment to militancy, according to prosecutors in the trial of Rahman, who was sentenced to six years in jail in 2007 for spreading terrorist propaganda in Manchester. It apparently referred to a stint fighting jihad in Afghanistan, but when that occurred is not known.

The judge said then Awan was believed to have left England for Afghanistan.

"Awan was very well connected to known extremists in the UK. It highlights that the threat is still there," said Valentina Soria, a terrorism researcher at the London-based Royal United Services Institute. "This group were not just wannabes, they were active and with links to al-Qaida central."

There are thought to be about 900,000 Pakistani Muslims in England ? many of them living in London and in northern cities. British authorities have said nearly all the plots and attacks on British soil have some connection to Pakistan.

Awan returned to Abbottabad in 2007, around the time that bin Laden was settling in to his large house, though that doesn't mean Awan was in touch with him or any of his couriers. U.S. officials have previously said the al-Qaida leader was cut off from the rest of his network and wasn't meeting other militants for security reasons.

Awan began to associate with Sipah-e-Sahaba, an extremist group that has a political wing as well links to al-Qaida, according to a police officer in the town who knows the family. The officer didn't give his name because he didn't want to be seen as adding to Khan's pain.

Khan said he last saw his son or heard his voice in 2010, when Awan asked for funds to build a house and they fought over the fact he wasn't working.

"That was the point when I had to forcefully ask him to go out to earn some money," he said. "But my words hurt him, and he left home with only the clothes he was wearing."

Khan said he initially feared his son had been kidnapped when he didn't return or contact him. But after a few months, Awan called his wife and told her he was in Miran Shah, the largest town in North Waziristan. He said he was running a general store and dealing in second-hand clothes.

Local intelligence officials said Awan was known by the nom de guerre Abdullah Khurasani, and was highly prized in al-Qaida circles because of his education, computer skills and foreign contacts.

Al-Qaida, Taliban and other militants from around the world congregate for training and networking in North Waziristan, and Miran Shah is a key logistical base. The town is too dangerous for reporters to visit, but locals who have traveled there say hundreds of Pakistan and foreign militants live there openly, unmolested other than by the U.S. missile attacks on its outskirts. The Pakistani army says it doesn't have enough resources to launch an operation in the region.

The missile strike program began in earnest in 2009 and has been stepped up by the Obama administration.

Abbottabad is home to the Pakistan army's top military academy and hundreds of officers and soldiers live in what is one of the country's more secure towns. The fact that bin Laden hid there for so long in plain sight triggered intense international suspicions that the military was sheltering him.

Al-Qaida's No. 3, Abu Faraj al-Libi, lived in Abbottabad before his arrest in 2005 elsewhere in northwest Pakistan, American and Pakistani officials have said. Five months prior to the bin Laden raid, Indonesian al-Qaida operative Umar Patek was arrested in the town following the arrest of an al-Qaida courier who worked at the post office.

U.S. officials have said Patek's arrest in Abbottabad was a coincidence.


Brummitt reported from Islamabad. Associated Press reporters Riaz Khan in Peshawar, Ishtiaq Mehsud in Dera Ismail Khan, Zarar Khan in Islamabad and Raphael Satter in London contributed to this story.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/personaltech/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120122/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan_slain_militant

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Mourinho won't punish Pepe for Messi hand stamp

Lionel Messi

updated 10:18 a.m. ET Jan. 21, 2012

MADRID - Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho will not punish Pepe for stomping on the hand of Barcelona's Lionel Messi, saying that the defender's apology was sufficient.

The Portuguese manager said Saturday "the player has spoken and that is enough" after including Pepe in his squad for Sunday's home game against Athletic Bilbao.

Real Madrid lost 2-1 Wednesday to Barcelona in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal. Mourinho said after the game if Pepe had stepped on Messi's hand intentionally it would be "punishable."

The following day Pepe issued a statement on Madrid's website saying the stomp was "unintentional."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Man City, Man United win

Manchester City scored a dramatic 3-2 victory over Tottenham on Sunday, leaving Manchester United its only likely rival for the Premier League title.

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Hat trick

Clint Dempsey became the first American to score a hat trick in England's Premier League, helping Fulham rally from a halftime deficit to rout Newcastle 5-2 Saturday.

Source: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/46081974/ns/sports-soccer/

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Obama administration nominees to top federal posts awaiting next move by Senate Republicans (Star Tribune)

Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics - Top Stories News, RSS and RSS Feed via Feedzilla.

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Rapid Infant Growth Linked to Asthma in Study (HealthDay)

FRIDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Rapid growth during the first three months of life is associated with an increased risk of asthma symptoms in preschool children, a new study indicates.

The findings suggest that early infancy might be a critical period for the development of asthma, said the researchers at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands.

They examined data collected from 5,125 children who were followed from the fetal stage until they were 4 years old.

The researchers found no link between fetal growth and asthma symptoms. But in children with normal fetal growth, accelerated weight gain from birth to 3 months of age was associated with increased risk of asthma symptoms, such as wheezing, shortness of breath, dry cough and persistent phlegm.

The study appears online ahead of print in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Previous research has shown an association between low birth weight and increased risk of asthma symptoms in children. This is the first study to examine specific fetal and infant growth patterns on asthma risk.

"Our results suggest that the relationship between infant weight gain and asthma symptoms is not due to the accelerated growth of fetal growth-restricted infants only," researcher Dr. Liesbeth Duijts said in a journal news release. "While the mechanisms underlying this relationship are unclear, accelerated weight growth in early life might adversely affect lung growth and might be associated with adverse changes in the immune system."

She added: "Further research is needed to replicate our findings and explore the mechanisms that contribute to the effects of growth acceleration in infancy on respiratory health. The effects of infant growth patterns on asthma phenotypes [observable characteristics] in later life should also be examined."

More information

The American Lung Association has more about children and asthma.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/diseases/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20120121/hl_hsn/rapidinfantgrowthlinkedtoasthmainstudy

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snow Patrol Premieres ?In The End? Music Video

Snow Patrol has dropped another new music video to accompany their song ‘In The End’. Watch the video with Gary Lightbody and the guys all dressed up below the jump. Snow Patrol has released the music video for their song ‘In The End’ that comes off of their studio album, Fallen Empires, just released on January 10th. Debuting a new style, the video showcases Snow Patrol’s front man Gary Lightbody all decked out in a tuxedo, with a new hairstyle to boot. The video also features scenes of bright lights, a big theater stage with a dancing couple, and a back up band all donning white formal wear. Discussing their work on the video, Lightbody explained the bands approach to their third music video released from the Fallen collection. “My idea was to make an MGM musical style video,” Gary shared. “The incredible Brett Simon (who directed the last two also) again took my kernel of an idea scrawled drunkenly on the back of a cocktail napkin and turned it into something truly magical and way beyond anything I could have imagined or hoped for.” “We had two wonderful dancers (Rhapsody and Jared) who played our very own Fred and [...]

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/RightCelebrity/~3/nKBcW-T6B1o/

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Rick Perry Drops Out of Presidential Race, Endorses Newt Gingrich

Texas Governor Rick Perry will drop out of the GOP presidential race and endorse rival Newt Gingrich for the Republican nomination, according to news reports.

He will make the announcement shortly in North Charleston, S.C.

The move by Perry to end his flailing campaign was inevitable, yet came a few days sooner than expected, with the South Carolina primary looming this Saturday.

Perry hoped the state's evangelicals and social conservatives would revive his candidacy. Instead, it was Newt who surged after Monday's Republican debate.

Perry and Gingrich

Rick Perry was mired in the low single digits in the Palmetto State and nationally, while a revitalized Gingrich has shown an upward trajectory in recent polls.

He even weighed dropping out of the race after a dismal finish in the Iowa caucuses, only to decide to stay in and make one last stand in South Carolina.

It was not to be. In hindsight, a campaign that began with such promise actually peaked on its first day, after which Perry sank like a stone in popularity.

Clearly not ready for prime time, Perry's substance never equaled his swagger. Amazing debate gaffes came early and often. Other candidates surged past him.

By dropping out now, he may provide a modest boost to Gingrich, who's trying to present himself as a more ideologically potent conservative than Mitt Romney.

The candidates debate again tonight in South Carolina. Look for Romney to come out hard after Newt, who will try to build on his momentum in the last 72 hours.

Ron Paul and Rick Santorum remain factors in the race as well.

Source: http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2012/01/rick-perry-drops-out-of-presidential-race-endorses-newt-gingrich/

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Iran says in touch with powers on new talks, U.S. denies (Reuters)

TEHRAN (Reuters) ? Iran said it was in touch with world powers to reopen talks soon on its nuclear program, but Washington and the European Union denied this and said they were still waiting for Tehran to show it was ready for serious negotiations.

A year after the last talks fell apart, confrontation is brewing over Tehran's nuclear work, which the United States and other countries say is focused on developing atomic weapons. Iran dismisses the accusation.

The EU is preparing to intensify sanctions against Iran with an embargo on its economically vital oil exports. EU diplomats said on Wednesday member governments had also agreed in principle to freeze the assets of Iran's central bank, but had yet to agree how to protect non-oil trade from sanctions.

Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, used for a third of the world's seaborne oil trade, if it cannot sell its own crude, fanning fears of a descent into war in the Gulf that could inflame the Middle East.

Iranian politicians said U.S. President Barack Obama had expressed readiness to negotiate in a letter to Tehran, a step that might relieve tensions behind recent oil price spikes.

"Negotiations are going on about venue and date. We would like to have these negotiations," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters during a visit to Turkey.

"Most probably, I am not sure yet, the venue will be Istanbul. The day is not yet settled, but it will be soon."

Washington denied there were any new discussions underway about resuming talks, but declined to comment on whether Obama had sent a letter to Tehran.

"There are no current talks about talks," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Wednesday.

"What we are doing, as we have said, is making clear to the Iranians that if they are serious about coming back to a conversation, where they talk openly about their nuclear program, and if they are prepared to come clean with the international community, that we are open to that," Nuland said at a media briefing.

The United States is pushing countries to reduce the volume of Iranian oil they buy in line with a new sanctions law Obama signed on December 31 that targets Tehran's ability to sell crude oil.

The State Department denial was echoed by a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the six world powers trying to engage with Iran.

"There are no negotiations under way on new talks," he said in Brussels. "We are still waiting for Iran to respond to the substantive proposals the High Representative (Ashton) made in her letter from October."


British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Iran had to be ready for serious negotiations. "It is significant that when we are discussing additional sanctions in the European Union an offer of negotiations emerges from Iran," he said.

"We will not be deterred from imposing additional sanctions simply by the suggestion there may be negotiations. We want to see actual negotiations," he told a news conference in Brazil.

Tehran denies wanting nuclear bombs, saying its enrichment work is for power generation and medical applications.

The last talks between Iran and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - along with Germany stalled in Istanbul a year ago, with the parties unable to agree even on an agenda.

The six countries have also failed to agree on a common line in their relations with Iran.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao defended his country's extensive oil trade with Iran against Western sanctions pressure in comments published on Thursday. Even so, he said Beijing firmly opposes any efforts by Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a last-ditch military option mooted by the United States and Israel would ignite a disastrous, widespread Middle East war. Russia has also criticized the new sanctions.


EU foreign ministers are expected to approve a phased ban on imports of Iranian oil at the meeting on January 23 - three weeks after the United States passed a law that would freeze out any institution dealing with Iran's central bank, effectively making it impossible for most countries to buy Iranian oil.

"On the central bank, things have been moving in the right direction in the last hours," one EU diplomat said on Wednesday. "There is now a wide agreement on the principle. Discussions continue on the details."

Iran has said it is ready to talk but has also started shifting uranium enrichment to a deep bunker where it would be less vulnerable to the air strikes Israel says it could launch if diplomacy fails to curb Tehran's nuclear drive.

Western diplomats say Tehran must show willingness to change its course in any new talks. Crucially, Tehran says other countries must respect its right to enrich uranium, the nuclear fuel which can provide material for atomic bombs if enriched to much higher levels than that suitable for power plants.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking during a visit to the Netherlands on Wednesday, repeated his view that "Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, period."

Earlier in the day, his Defense Minister Ehud Barak said any decision about an Israeli attack on Iran was "very far off.

Iranian politicians said Obama had written to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responding to Tehran's threat to close the Strait of Hormuz if sanctions prevent it selling oil.

Several members of Iran's parliament who discussed the matter on Wednesday said it included the offer of talks.

"In this letter it was said that closing the Strait of Hormuz is our (U.S.) 'red line' and also asked for direct negotiations," the semi-official Fars news agency quoted lawmaker Ali Mottahari as saying.

Ashton wrote to Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili in October to stress that the West still wanted to resume talks but Iran must be ready to engage "seriously in meaningful discussions" about ways to ensure its nuclear work would be wholly peaceful in nature.

A U.N. nuclear watchdog report has lent weight to concern that Iran has worked on designing a nuclear weapon.

(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz in Ankara, Chris Buckley in Beijing, Phil Stewart in Washington, Alexei Anishchuk in Moscow, Justyna Pawlak in Brussels, Allyn Fisher-Ilan in Jerusalem, Fredrik Dahl in Vienna and Estelle Shirbon in London; Anthony Boadle in Brasilia; Writing by Robin Pomeroy and David Stamp; Editing by Jon Boyle and Andrew Heavens)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/world/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120119/wl_nm/us_iran

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Friday, January 20, 2012

A Q&A on contested Internet anti-piracy bills

(AP) ? Online piracy costs U.S. copyright owners and producers billions of dollars every year, but legislation in Congress to block foreign Internet thieves and swindlers has met strong resistance from high-tech companies, spotlighted by Wikipedia's protest blackout on Wednesday, warning of a threat to Internet freedom.

House and Senate bills that once seemed to be on a path toward approval now face a rockier future. House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday said it was "pretty clear to many of us that there is a lack of consensus at this point."

Amid the high-tech campaign against the bills, several lawmakers came out in opposition. At least four Senate Republicans who had previously cosponsored the Senate bill ? Orrin Hatch of Utah, Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Boozman of Arkansas and Charles Grassley of Iowa ? issued statements Wednesday saying they were withdrawing their support. Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland last week said that, after listening to constituent concerns, he could not vote for the Senate bill as it is currently written.

On the House side, Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., issued a statement that he had heard from many of his constituents and come to the conclusion that the House and Senate bills "create unacceptable threats to free speech and free access to the Internet."

Here are some of the some of the questions being raised about the bills being considered:

Q. Why is legislation needed?

A. There's no argument that more needs to be done to protect artists, innovators and industries from copyright thieves and shield consumers from products sold on the Internet that are fake, faulty and unsafe. Creative America, a coalition of Hollywood studios, networks and unions, says content theft costs U.S. workers $5.5 billion a year. The pharmaceutical industry loses billions to Internet sellers of drugs that are falsely advertised and may be harmful.

Q. What is Congress trying to accomplish?

A. The two main bills are the Protect Intellectual Property Act, or PIPA, in the Senate, and the similar Stop Online Privacy Act, or SOPA, in the House. There are already laws on the books to combat domestic websites trafficking in counterfeit or pirated goods, but little to counter foreign violators.

The bills would allow the Justice Department, and copyright holders, to seek court orders against foreign websites accused of perpetrating or facilitating copyright infringement. While there is little the United States can do to take down those websites, the bills would bar online advertising networks and payment facilitators such as credit card companies and PayPal from doing business with an alleged violator. It also would forbid search engines from linking to such sites.

The original bills would have let copyright holders and Internet service providers block access to pirate websites. Critics and Internet engineers complained that would allow copyright holders to interfere in the behind-the-scenes system that seamlessly directs computer users to websites. They said that causing deliberate failures in the lookup system to prevent visits to pirate websites could more easily allow hackers to trick users into inadvertently visiting websites that could infect their computers. The White House also took issue with that approach, saying "We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet."

Responding to the critics, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said he is taking the blocking measure out of his bill. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., also is reworking his bill to address those cybersecurity issues.

Q. What are other concerns with the bills?

A. Critics say they would constrain free speech, curtail innovation and discourage new digital distribution methods. NetCoalition, a group of leading Internet and technology companies, says they could be forced to pre-screen all user comments, pictures and videos ? effectively killing social media. Search engines, Internet service providers and social networks could be forced shut down websites linked to any type of pirated content.

In addition, critics contend that young, developing businesses and smaller websites could be saddled with expensive litigation costs. And, they contend existing rights holders could impede new investment in the technology sector.

The White House said it would "not support any legislation that reduces freedom of expression ... or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

Leahy responded that there is nothing in the legislation that would require websites, Internet service providers, search engines, ad networks, payment processors or others to monitor their networks. He said his bill protects third parties from liability that may arise from actions to comply with a court order.

Michael O'Leary, a senior vice president at the Motion Picture Association of America, a key supporter of the legislation, said his industry is built upon a vibrant First Amendment. "We would never support any legislation that would limit this fundamental American right," he said. Neither PIPA nor SOPA "implicate free expression but focus solely on illegal conduct, which is not free speech."

Q. Who else supports the bills?

A. The most visible supporters are entertainment-related groups such as the MPAA and the National Music Publishers' Association. But the bills also enjoy support from the pharmaceutical industry, which is trying to shut down illegal online drug operations, and electronic and auto industries concerned about people going online to buy counterfeit parts that may be substandard. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several law enforcement groups also back the legislation.

Q. Who are the opponents?

A. In addition to Wikipedia, many major Internet and technology companies, including Google, Yahoo!, Amazon.com and eBay, are part of the NetCoalition group opposing the bills. Disparate political groups such as the liberal Democracy for America and the conservative Heritage Action have also voiced concerns about censorship.

Q. What is the status of the bills?

A. Momentum for the bills has slowed, giving the edge to Silicon Valley over Hollywood. The Senate, as its first major business when it returns to session next Tuesday, is to vote on whether to take up the bill. Sixty votes are needed to clear that legislative hurdle. It's unclear whether supporters have the votes.

Six Republicans on the Judiciary Committee last week wrote Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., saying that while the problem of intellectual property theft must be addressed, "the process at this point is moving too quickly" and a vote on moving to the bill "may be premature."

Reid replied that the vote will occur as scheduled, saying that while the bill was not perfect and he had urged Leahy to make changes, the issue was "too important to delay."

In the House, Judiciary Committee Chairman Smith said his panel would resume deliberations on SOPA in February. Meanwhile, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and an ally of the high-tech industry, said he had received assurances from GOP leaders that anti-piracy legislation would not move to the House floor this year unless there is a consensus on it.

Issa, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., are pushing an alternative to SOPA and PIPA that would make the International Trade Commission, which already is in charge of patent infringements, responsible for taking steps to prevent money and advertising from going to rogue sites.

Issa formally introduced his bill Wednesday, saying the Internet blackout had "underscored the flawed approach taken by SOPA and PIPA" and his bill was "a smarter way to protect taxpayers' rights while protecting the Internet."

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/386c25518f464186bf7a2ac026580ce7/Article_2012-01-18-Internet%20Piracy-QandA/id-e463c9adf4b94c06a0f5b2c18ae0271a

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This Watch's See-Through Sapphire Housing Will Cost You $1.65 Million [Watches]

The intricate gears and mechanisms of a watch with a complicated movement are usually hidden inside a metal housing. But not with Richard Mille's latest creation, the RM65, which features a housing carved from a single block of sapphire crystal. More »

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/OGXmGLFTNsQ/this-watchs-see+through-sapphire-housing-will-cost-you-165-million

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

US moves up 1 spot to 33rd in FIFA rankings

updated 12:20 p.m. ET Jan. 18, 2012

ZURICH - World and European champion Spain retained the top spot in the FIFA rankings for the fifth straight month, and the United States moved up one place to 33rd.

The Americans' ranking is its highest since it was 31st in September. The U.S. had been 11th in September-October 2009 and reached a high of fourth in April 2006.

The top 10 places were unchanged from December after just 11 international matches were played last month. The Netherlands is second, followed by Germany, South American champion Uruguay, England. Brazil, Portugal, Croatia, Italy and Argentina.

Mexico, at 21st, has the top ranking in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Mourinho's 'woeful Barca loss

??Another loss to Barcelona has piled pressure on Jose Mourinho, with support for the Real Madrid coach ebbing after another ill-tempered and ineffective display against its biggest rival.

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He's back

David Beckham has re-signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy, agreeing to a new two-year contract with the Major League Soccer club.

Source: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/46042169/ns/sports-soccer/

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