Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- An Afghan journalist suffered first-degree burns in an acid attack in the capital earlier this week, a report said.

Razaq Mamoon is a writer and television presenter, according to Reporters Without Borders, a press rights organization.

Mamoon was attacked with acid Tuesday night as he left home, the group said. He is hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

The group is urging the Afghan government to fully investigate the attack.

"We have already identified a dozen or so cases of violence against Afghan journalists for 2011," the group said. "The authors and originators of this barbarous act must be swiftly identified and arrested."

The police chief of Kabul said there have been no arrests so far, the group said.

Acid attacks on journalists are not common in the country, according to NIA, an Afghan organization that protects journalists.

(CNN) -- Acclaimed director Clint Eastwood and singer Beyonce Knowles may team up in a remake of "A Star Is Born," a Warner Bros. official said.

Eastwood, the entertainment icon known for his gruff portrayals, is in talks to direct the 1937 classic, a Warner Bros. spokeswoman said. And Knowles is in negotiations to star in the film.
There has been no date set for the launch of the movie which explores the relationship between a Hollywood starlet and an older aging actor.

In 1937, Janet Gaynor and Fredric March starred in the film. Judy Garland and James Mason starred in a remake in 1954. Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson starred in another remake in 1976.
A hugely successful recording star, Knowles also is no stranger to the big screen.
She starred in the movie "Dreamgirls" in 2006 and portrayed legendary singer Etta James in the 2008 film "Cadillac Records."

News came down this morning about the FBI's largest organized crime bust in New York history, in which raids resulted in the arrest of over 100 alleged mobsters from all five crime families including the Gambinos, Genoveses, Luccheses, Bonannos and Colombos. Charges run the gamut from murder to gambling and the ol' standby, racketeering, and now WNYC has the full list of indictments. Digitally thumbing through the documents, two things are initially clear: this thing is huge (16 indictments in all) and none of them share my last name. The other thing that jumps out is that these dudes have great nicknames. Here are 20 of our favorites:

20. VINCENT AULISI, also known as "The Vet"

19. GIOVANNI VELLA, also known as "John Vella," "Mousey" and "Little John"

18. STEPHEN DEPIRO, also known as "Beach"

17. ANTHONY CAVEZZA, also known as "Tony Bagels"

16. JOHN BRANCACCIO, also known as"Johnny Bandana"

15. ANTHINO RUSSO, also known as "Hootie"

14. FRANK BELLANTONI, also known as "Meatball"

13. CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS, also known as "Burger"

12. VINCENZO FROGIERO, also known as "Vinny Carwash"

11. JOSEPH CARNA, also known as "Junior Lollipops"

10. DENNIS DELUCIA, also known as "Fat Dennis," "Little Dennis" and "the Beard"

9. LUIGI MANOCCHIO, also known as "Baby Shacks," "The Old Man," and "the Professor"

8. ANTHONY DURSO, also known as "Baby Fat Larry" and "BFL"

7. GIUSEPPE DESTEFANO, also known as "Pooch"

6. JOHN AZZARELLI, also known as "Johnny Cash"

5. ANDREW RUSSO, also known as "Mush"

4. VINCENT FEBBRARO, also known as "Jimmy Gooch"

3. BENJAMIN CASTELLAZZO, also known as "Benji," "The Claw" and "the Fang"

2. ANTHONY LICATA, also known as "Cheeks," "Anthony Firehawk," "Anthony Nighthawk," "Nighthawk" and "Firehawk"

1. JOHN HARTMANN, also known as "Lumpy," "Fatty" and "Fats"

BRISBANE City Council will undertake an independent review of its handling of the flood disaster.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman announced today that former Queensland governor Peter Arnison, Robert Gotterson, QC, and Emeritus Professor Colin Apelt will be on the review panel.

Cr Newman said the panel would have access to independent consultant engineers and would be able to request further technical experts.

"This review board will ... be entitled to speak to any council officer and view any relevant document, email or phone record," he said in a statement.

"The board will also conduct interviews with flood-affected people in Brisbane to gain a community perspective."

The review will examine existing planning regulations in flood-prone areas, effectiveness of public warnings and flood prevention and stormwater infrastructure. The board will also investigate the council's dealings with other agencies such as the Bureau of Meteorology, SEQ Water Grid Manager, emergency authorities and utility service providers such as Telstra, Energex and Queensland Urban Utilities.

(CNN) -- A Virginia teen who said he was detained in Kuwait after his name appeared on a no-fly list is returning to the United States on Friday, according to his lawyer.

Gulet Mohamed, 19, of Alexandria, is a Muslim-American. He is suing the U.S. government over the alleged detention.

Mohamed has been trapped in Kuwait for nearly a month, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Virginia.

He is scheduled to land at a Washington airport, the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement.

No-fly lists were set up to protect Americans against potential threats. They are designed to prevent terrorist suspects from boarding planes to and from the United States.

But the teen's lawyer, Gadeir Abbas, says in the lawsuit that the U.S. is impeding his client's basic right to return and live freely in the country.

Abbas is a staff attorney for the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations.

"Mohamed, who was previously prevented from boarding a flight to the United States, has alleged that he was tortured while in detention in Kuwait and has faced unconstitutional coercion to answer questions by FBI agents who ignored his repeated requests for legal representation," the statement also said.

TUCSON - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot through the head nearly two weeks ago, could be walking again in a matter of months after a course of intensive rehabilitation in Houston, doctors and her husband said Thursday.

The congresswoman, whose injury in the Jan. 8 mass shooting in Tucson left questions about her cognitive and speech abilities, has made a "fantastic" recovery at the University of Arizona's medical center, said Michael Lemole, chief of neurology. He said that suggests she will respond well to the physical and other therapy she will receive at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, where she is scheduled to be transported Friday.

Giffords was among 19 people shot, six of them fatally, at an event she was holding for constituents outside a Safeway. Jared Lee Loughner, 22, is facing murder and attempted-assassination charges in the incident.

The doctors sought to manage expectations about her condition. Although Giffords has been able to scroll through pictures on an iPad and stand and bear her own weight, they said, the status of her vision and speech is unknown.

Google is preparing to launch Google Offers, the search giant’s Groupon competitor, Mashable has learned. We have the documents to prove it.

One of our sources has sent us a confidential fact sheet straight from the Googleplex about the company’s new group buying service. “Google Offers is a new product to help potential customers and clientele find great deals in their area through a daily email,” the fact sheet says.

Google Offers looks and operates much like Groupon or LivingSocial. Users receive an e-mail with a local deal-of-the-day. They then have the opportunity to buy that deal within a specific time limit (we assume 24 hours). Once enough people have made the purchase, the Google Offer is triggered and users get that all-too-familiar $10 for $20 deal for that Indian restaurant you’ve never tried.

From what we can tell, Google Offers will be powered by Google Checkout. It also includes Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Google Buzz and e-mail sharing options.

(Reuters) - Google Inc co-founder Larry Page will take over as CEO from Eric Schmidt, a surprise move to make the company more nimble at a time when competition heats up with fast-growing rivals like Facebook.

Page's assumption of day-to-day operations marks a return to Google's technological roots, 13 years after he and fellow Stanford University student Sergey Brin founded what has become the world's No. 1 Internet search engine with $29 billion a year in revenue.

"Day-to-day adult supervision no longer needed!" Schmidt tweeted after the announcement.

The news came as Google reported earnings and revenue that blew past expectations.

While Google has dominated Internet search for a decade, the company has struggled to find its footing in social networking, with a new crop of Web companies such as Facebook and Twitter stealing Web traffic and engineering talent.

"As spending was curbed and order restored over the last few years, some of that Google magic was lost," said Tricia Salinero, managing director of Newforth Partners, a mergers and acquisitions advisory firm, in an email.

To follow up on this week’s announcement of FINAL FANTASY XIII-2, here is a teaser trailer to whet your appetite further. Enjoy!

Google's stance on the prohibition robot applications on the market that the application of small stores caused a rapid decline in the lane to Kongregate, the application of the flash game portal that got pulled in less than one day after launch. While a quick Google Kongregate forced to rethink his actions, it can also affect the plans for the Amazon store for Android.

Amazon recently began submitting applications developers with the application for Android Amazon store, and provide consumers with promises of being able to shop for their computer applications on both mobile devices. Users will not be able to go to on the Internet and the application to buy and pushed it to their phone. But, as reported after the TechCrunch interview with officials of Amazon, and users will probably have the application installation by purchasing the application on the Amazon. It seems users will be able to purchase the application directly from the applications to the Amazon store as well.

The Oscar-nominated actress, who will co-host the Academy Awards next month, will take on the role previously played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry in the latest instalment of the Christopher Nolan-directed series.

(from left) Anne Hathaway, Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry
She will star alongside Christian Bale, who will play the Caped Crusader, as well as Tom Hardy, who will play the villain Bane, in The Dark Knight Rises.

Hathaway, who was nominated for an Oscar for 2008's Rachel Getting Married, has also appeared in The Princess Diaries, Alice in Wonderland and Love and Other Drugs.

In a statement, director Nolan said Hathaway would be a "fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story."

Hardy, who also starred in the Nolan film Inception, would "bring to life our new interpretation as one of Batman's most formidable enemies."

Singing pop songs for Steven Tyler looks easy compared to this. American Idol producers Fremantle Media and G4 are teaming for a weekly Parkour competition series.

Jump City: Seattle has established Parkour athletes (such as American Ninja Warrior‘s Levi Meeuwenberg and Brian Orosco) leaping, climbing, rolling and scrambling over Seattle’s urban landscape.
“Parkour has become the latest in the ever growing trend of alternative sports, bringing legions of fans to this discipline,” said Neal Tiles, G4′s president. “G4’s history of success with extreme sport shows such as Ninja Warrior and Unbeatable Banzuke, makes Jump City the next evolution of this increasing phenomenon.”

Each episode will feature two teams competing in a speed round (how fast can you go) and a style round (epic showing off). Jump City debuts Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. and is hosted by G4’s Blair Herter and Parkour expert Brady Romberg.

For the uninitiated (what, you didn’t see Casino Royale?), here’s some YouTube footage of Meeuwenberg that he probably wouldn’t want his health care provider to watch:

It was an abduction that made headlines and stunned the authorities: A 3-week-old infant, taken to a Manhattan hospital in August 1987 for treatment of a fever, was snatched by a woman dressed in nurse’s clothes and never heard from again. 
Carlina White, at 3 weeks old, in 1987.
Ms. White in a recent photo. 

Two decades later, with investigators stumped and the case cold, the parents of the abducted girl refused to give up hope, believing that someday their daughter might return. 

Their prayers were answered. 

Carlina White, now 23 and living in Georgia, was reunited on Friday with her biological parents, Joy White and Carl Tyson, bringing an end to one of the most baffling missing persons cases in the New York Police Department’s files. The reunion brought elation to a mother and father racked by pain and anger for over two decades, and a new family for a woman who had long held suspicions about her past. 

On Friday, Carlina White and her biological family met for the first time since her abduction, at the Bronx home of Sheena White, an 18-year-old half-sister who until recently Carlina did not know she had.“We spoke and got to know each other, and she looks exactly like my mom,” Sheena White said. “It felt like we knew each other before we met.” 

The improbable case began on Aug. 4, 1987, when Carlina, 19 days old, was taken to Harlem Hospital with a fever. About two hours after being admitted, Carlina disappeared from a pediatrics ward, and detectives quickly narrowed in on a mysterious woman who had consoled Carlina’s worried mother and had been seen lingering around the hospital in a nurse’s uniform. A suspect was later questioned but could not be connected to the abduction. 

“We had a description, back then, of a woman who picked up the baby who acted as if she belonged there, or worked there,” Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman, said Wednesday. “Obviously, it has been an open investigation; some leads did not work out, and obviously had not resulted in her being found.” 

Carlina was taken to Connecticut and then Georgia, the police said, raised under a different name by a woman who treated her poorly. Carlina’s suspicions started to grow around her 16th birthday, partly “because the family and her don’t resemble each other,” Sheena White said.
Mr. Browne said, “She has held the view, for a long time, that she did not belong to the family she was living with.” 

As her suspicions grew, Carlina White started to investigate, at one point visiting the Web site of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It was on that site, Mr. Browne said, where she found a photo of an infant and believed it was a photo of herself.
She then called her biological mother, Joy White, who in turn called the police, not knowing if the young woman really was her daughter. 

The call was routed to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly’s liaison unit, where Detective Martin A. Brown answered. 

“She was reaching out to the N.Y.P.D. because she knew the N.Y.P.D. had taken a report on it and wanted to know if we could assist to match some of the DNA,” Detective Brown said Wednesday. 

Detective Brown said Ms. White’s story “sounded very unusual and very dramatic,” and so he decided not to simply refer her to the department’s missing persons’ investigators. Rather, he called them himself to relay the details. Those investigators eventually took DNA samples from Joy White and Carl Tyson, who separated years ago and went on to raise separate families, and checked their DNA against Carlina’s. 

“The daughter’s natural instincts were confirmed with DNA swabs,” Mr. Browne said. The detectives from the original case, he added, “are elated.” 

“It has always bothered them that this kid was never found,” he said. 

Mr. Browne said the case was still an active criminal investigation and would not discuss or name any suspects. 

“Obviously the missing-person aspect of it is closed, but the abduction part of it is not,” he said. “We have our suspicions of who may be responsible, but not enough probable cause to permit an arrest.” 

Detectives got the official word of the DNA match on Tuesday night. But even before then, Carlina White and her biological family felt so strongly about their connection that they did not wait for the test results: They reunited on Friday night in the Bronx. She could not be immediately reached for comment. On her Twitter account, she noted that she planned to move to New York City and was looking forward “to Sunday dinner.” 
Her mother, who always contended that her daughter was alive and even used Carlina White’s name as her e-mail address, was overwhelmed. 

“I know that she never gave up,” Sheena White said.

Inspired by the Chicago Bears’ cheese-head opponents for the NFC Championship, Wayne makes cheddar beer soup and then adds a chicken tortilla soup as well

A hearty soup on a chilly Sunday afternoon is always welcome. But, add the NFC Championship game to the mix and you have a party. Based on a comment by my Facebook friend Malissa Lichtenwalter and the fact that the game is against the cheese-heads, I decided to first make a cheddar beer soup topped with smoked sausage. Then, I add an updated version of one of my favorites, spicy chicken tortilla soup. Both soups have a bit of kick. But, you can dial the heat down by reducing the amount of red pepper flakes and jalapeños. However, you make them, they’ll be perfect for the game!

On January 20, 1961 -- exactly 50 years ago today -- John F. Kennedy gave his one and only Inaugural Address (which you can watch in full below). Widely considered to be the greatest Presidential Inauguration speech, JFK's address lasted only a little over 13 minutes and in it he coined the line: "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country."

So, 50 years later we celebrate the president and his speech with books about his legacy. From the best books about his vision to the most scintillating bout his assassination, here are 9 books about JFK.

Died Sonia Peres, the fiercely private, the wife of Israeli President Shimon Peres abductor, Thursday in Tel Aviv - Jerusalem (AFP). He was 88.

He said his brother in law and physician Dr. Raphael Walden, told Israel Radio that he died peacefully in her sleep.

Ukraine-born Sonia Gilman, who immigrated to Israel when he was a child. Peres met in high school and married in 1945. Before her marriage, she was in a military hospital in Cairo to serve as a nurse in the British army.

Two of three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In the last years of his life, and Ms. Perez quietly volunteered for many organizations in Israel.

Through the testimony of her husband decades ago, and stayed at the insistence of the public eye. Left to become president of the Peres 2007 and moved to Jerusalem, in his apartment in Tel Aviv.