Tuesday, February 8, 2011

(CNN) -- Since the eruption of the Egyptian revolution last month, I have been on Tahrir Square with millions of other Egyptians calling for freedom and dignity. Over these weeks the square has been filled with people from all walks of life: young and old, Muslim and Copt, rural and urban, rich and poor, secularists and observant Muslims.

Keeping a conspicuously low profile, the Muslim Brotherhood -- the largest and most organized opposition movement in Egypt -- has issued no formal slogans or distributed leaflets. Furthermore, the group has repeatedly denied that it had any role in organizing the uprising and insisted that any of its members participating in the protests are doing so alongside numerous other opposition groups.

The group has declared that it merely wants to be recognized as a legitimate player in the Egyptian political scene, adding that it will not field any candidates in the upcoming presidential elections.

Abroad, many view the cautious stance of the group with skepticism -- some well-founded but much of it exaggerated and I believe harmful to efforts to build a new, open and democratic Egypt.

Successful business leaders are well aware of the power of body language, but new research is suggesting that "powerful" body language could be more important than your rank in an organization.

A recent study by researchers at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management and Stanford Graduate School of Business found that a powerful posture "activates a sense of power that produces behavioral changes in a person," regardless of their job title.

Participants in the study were assigned a high or low-ranking role and asked to adopt either an "expansive" -- legs apart and one arm spread out over an adjacent chair -- or "constricted" -- legs together, shoulders slouched and hands under thighs -- body posture.

Three separate experiments were conducted which all showed that individuals in the open body position took more action than those who were constricted.

Valentine's Day Gifts - Best Valentines Presents - Top 10 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

Are you looking to find the best Valentine's Day gift ideas for you lover? Here's a hint: he or she does not want the same old chocolate or flowers! But what do they want? Our editors have come up with a list of excellent, unique Valentine's Day gift ideas for him or her, and it's not too late to order!

Girls, what your guy really wants for Valentine's Day is electronics and gadgets! You know: a GPS, Car Stereo, Smart Phone, iPod, or iPad. These gifts do not have to cost a ton. Amazon has reduced the prices on all their electronics through 9pm EST on February 8th (tonight)! Another sexy and romantic Valentine's Day gift idea that is sure to win your man's heart is sexy lingerie and sleep wear! Amazon, once again, has an incredible selection for the special holiday - and at great discounts too! Video Games and computer accessories are some more great gift ideas to get the guy you love!

Guys, the number one wished for gift for the ladies this Valentine's Day is jewelry! Amazon has a huge selection as well as a guide to help you choose what's perfect for your woman, just in time for Valentine's Day. Another prouct that has topped the women's want list this year is the Kindle eBook reader. The full featured reader including WiFi is on sale today only for just $139 with totally free shipping!

Do not delay! These exclusive Valentine's Day gift offers end tonight and time is running out. By using our gift guide and the help of Amazon, you are sure to make your significant other feel special this Valentine's Day! Get your Valentine's gift shopping done now and relax so that you can enjoy the big day!

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas - Buy Valentine's Day Gifts - Valentine's Flowers

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- AOL can only hope that longtime political gadfly and budding media baroness Arianna Huffington proves to be as adept at engineering corporate transformations as she has been at personal ones.

Since she became a prominent public figure as the wife of a multimillionaire running for the U.S. Senate in 1994, Huffington has been a darling of Bill Clinton-bashing conservatives and a heroine for liberals railing against President George W. Bush and the Iraq war.

She disavowed any interest in becoming a political candidate herself during her husband's unsuccessful campaign only to make an aborted run for California governor in 2003. She has been criticized for falling under the influence of self-help gurus and hailed for having the courage to pursue her own convictions.

Along the way, she has been proven she can be both charming and antagonizing - sometimes all within a few minutes of conversation punctuated in her distinctive Greek accent.

It wasn’t very difficult for something to spark my imagination when I was a child—whether it was a pile of leaves or a couch of stackable cushions, just about anything could jump-start my creativity. My first encounter with Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, however, sent my imagination into hyper drive.

I first found the novel while browsing through a random aisle in my local library. The cover was dark, murky and a little worn—but it was the most spectacular thing I’d ever seen. A pair of old-fashioned divers drag their feet over the ocean floor, watching a school of fish drift by. They don’t seem to notice the twisting silhouette of a monster inching toward them.

The cover alone pulled me in, but I didn’t want to spoil all of the possible story lines by actually reading the book. Looking back, I realize that what fascinated me most was the unknown: a creative spark and the imaginative exploration that followed. Since then, I’ve become more familiar with his work and still believe that exploration is the essence of Verne’s novels. His stories pull the readers into a world filled with infinite potential—be it in the clouds, on land or under the sea.

Today’s doodle, celebrating Verne’s 183rd birthday, tries to capture that sense of adventure and exploration. Using CSS3 (and with help from our resident tech wizards Marcin Wichary and Kris Hom), the doodle enables anyone to navigate the Nautilus down (nearly) 20,000 leagues with the simple pull of a lever. And for those using devices with built-in accelerometers and the latest versions of Google Chrome or Firefox, it’s even simpler—just tilt your device in the direction you want to explore and the Nautilus will follow.

So voyage below (and above) the waves to see what you can discover... just make sure to keep an eye out for the giant squid.

By Dr. Mercola

NeotameSince 2002 an artificial sweetener called neotame has been approved for use in food and drink products around the world, although so far its use appears to be very limited.

Neotame is a chemical derivative of aspartame, and judging by the chemicals used in its manufacturing, it appears even more toxic than aspartame, although the proponents of neotame claim that increased toxicity is not a concern, because less of it is needed to achieve the desired effect.

Neotame is bad science brought to you by the Monsanto Company.

If Monsano truly had nothing to fear with either of these artificial chemical sweeteners, they would have funded rigorous independent testing for safety. To date they have not, and they won't, because virtually every independent analysis of aspartame not conducted by Monsanto partners has revealed a long list of disturbing side effects, mostly neurological in nature.
Companies Losing Customers

Companies locked in a struggle to remain viable and maintain their profits and sales sometimes begin to run out of customers. This happened to GM (NYSE: GM), which had a 50 percent share of domestic car sales in the mid 1960s. GM’s portion of the American market is 20 percent today. Most of the business GM lost went to large Japanese manufacturers Toyota Motor (NYSE: TM), Honda (NYSE: HMC) and Nissan. The effects of GM’s failure where the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and an eventual Chapter 11 filings.

One reason that companies lose customers is that new competition often offers lower prices for similar products or services. American steel firms dominated the industry from the late 19th century until four decades ago. Japanese manufacturers began to offer cheaper products. More recently, steel production in China has increased sharply. The largest steel company in the world is India-based AcelorMittal which operates in more than 60 countries

Buggy whip companies could have been the first car makers, and newspapers could have been the first firms to put large amounts of news online. Neither happened. One new set of businesses were born. Older ones lost customers and some lost enough so that they were no longer viable.

A Chechen warlord has apparently claimed responsibility for last month’s carnage at Russia’s busiest airport and warned of further such attacks.

In a video on an Islamist website, Doku Umarov said he ordered the “special operation” to avenge what he called Russian “crimes” in the Caucasus.

He does not mention Domodedovo Airport in Moscow by name. But his reference to the 24th – the suicide bombing occurred on January 24 – looks to confirm suspicions of his involvement.

The blast in a crowded terminal building killed 36 people and injured 180 others.

Umarov has warned he will make 2011 a year of “blood and tears” for Russia.

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) -- Employees at Pakistan's state-owned airline went on strike Tuesday in protest against a proposed route-sharing agreement with Turkish Airlines, an airline spokesman said. The move grounded two international and four domestic flights.

The action involved a small group of pilots and support staff, according to Pakistan International Airlines spokesman Mashhood Tajwar. Some employees opposed to the strike scuffled with its supporters at Karachi International Airport, according to witnesses.

Union bosses were not available for comment, and it was not clear whether the strike would spread or be sustained.

PIA bosses have said they are considering sharing some routes with Turkish Airlines to try and increase profitability. Carriers around the world have increasingly done this to tap new markets without investing in extra planes and staff.

Some of PIA's around 20,000 employees fear this will lead to job or pay cuts, though this has been denied by PIA management.

Plagued by bad management and hit hard by Gulf airlines offering better services, PIA has posted multimillion dollar losses for years. Subsiding it and other loss making state-run businesses eats up a significant chunk of the government's budget each year.
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- The pro-democracy party of Aung San Suu Kyi endorsed Western sanctions against Myanmar on Tuesday, saying they hurt the authoritarian regime not ordinary citizens and implying it's too early to lift them.

For weeks, there have been indications that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was questioning her longtime support of sanctions. But a four-page report issued by her party Tuesday was the first clarification of her position and could temper any momentum to lift sanctions.

Suu Kyi had suggested after her recent release from years of house arrest that she might be open to an easing of the measures. Her comments raised interest in the West, which has long taken its cues from her and her party on the subject.

The report is bound to anger Myanmar's military rulers who have long sought to have the sanctions lifted on grounds that they hurt the people of Myanmar and have pushed the country deeper into poverty. They have trumpeted elections held in November as evidence of their commitment to democracy, but the polls were widely criticized as rigged to cement the junta's power.

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Egypt's revolt entered its third week Tuesday as anti-government protesters formed a human chain in Cairo's Tahrir Square, vowing not to budge until President Hosni Mubarak and those around him are forced from office.

"Tahrir Square wants Mubarak to go as soon as possible, but it also wants the dismantling of his regime," actor Khalid Abdalla, the star of the 2007 film "The Kite Runner," said Monday. "It wants the dismantling of the police state. It wants the dismantling of the emergency law. It wants the dissolution of the parliament, which was corruptly elected."

Mubarak has ruled Egypt since 1981, aided by an emergency decree that gives him sweeping powers. Since the protests began January 25, he has appointed a vice president for the first time, reshuffled his cabinet and announced that he won't seek a new term in September. His new deputy, longtime intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, has been holding talks with opposition parties in hopes of creating a smooth transition, and key members of the ruling National Democratic Party --including Mubarak's son Gamal -- resigned from leadership positions Saturday.

LONDON (AP) -- Stocks fell modestly Tuesday after China's central bank raised interest rates for the second time in just over a month in a bid to dampen high inflation.

In a widely expected move, the People's Bank of China announced Tuesday on its website that the benchmark 1-year deposit rate would rise by a quarter percentage point to 3 percent and the 1-year lending rate would increase by the same amount to 6.06 percent.

"The announcement may cause jitters about the impact tightening will have on Chinese growth but these should not be overplayed," said Mark Williams, senior China economist at Capital Economics. "The latest increases are in line with the gradual policy tightening that has been underway over the last few months and will not do much to slow growth."

Stock markets took a small knock on the news, a day after many of the world's major indexes closed at their highest levels since the summer of 2008, before the collapse of Lehman Brothers set off the biggest bear market since World War II.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.3 percent at 6,035 while Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent to 7,293. The CAC-40 in Paris was 0.1 percent higher at 4,087. All three had been trading higher before news of the Chinese hike filtered through.

Wall Street futures were still modestly higher - Dow futures were up 15 points at 12,123 while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 futures rose around a point to 1,317.

NEW YORK (AP) -- A California-based anti-abortion group that has been targeting abortion provider Planned Parenthood released a videotape Tuesday that the group says shows an employee at a New York City clinic giving advice to a man posing as a pimp and seeking health services for underage sex workers.

Planned Parenthood of New York City said the videotape does not accurately portray the agency's practices.

Live Action, based in San Jose, Calif., claims the video demonstrates that a clinic employee was willing to help someone sexually exploit minors by doling out advice on testing for sexually transmitted diseases and abortions.

"This footage shows that underage girls and young women are at potentially grave risk when they walk into Planned Parenthood clinics," Lila Rose, president of Live Action, said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood disputes that.

"Had the teens in question come into our center, they would have met with a licensed social worker," the New York affiliate said in a statement. "All teens coming into Planned Parenthood of New York City are screened for child abuse and neglect."

Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc., which has offices in New York City and Washington, D.C., said last week that at least 12 of its clinics across the country have been visited by men claiming to be sex-traffickers. The organization, which is the leading U.S. provider of abortions, has asked federal authorities to investigate and said it has identified a man involved in the visits as linked to Live Action.

Planned Parenthood said Monday it will retrain employees who deal with patients on how to report potential risks to minors.

Last week, Live Action released videotapes showing footage of staff at Planned Parenthood clinics in New Jersey and Virginia engaged in similar encounters with individuals claiming to be sex-traffickers.

The New Jersey attorney general's office said it was looking into the claims. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said he found a clip from a video of a Richmond clinic to be "very disturbing."

A spokesman for New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman did not immediately comment on the New York video.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in as the governor of California at the end of 2003 amid a wave of optimism that his independent thinking and fresh ideas would revive a state stumbling after the recall of Gov. Gray Davis.

The good vibes are a distant memory: The Governator exited office last month with the state facing a crippling checklist of problems including massive budget deficits, high unemployment, plunging home prices, rampant crime and sky-high taxes. Schwarzenegger's approval ratings hit 22% last year, a record low for any sitting California governor.

California's troubles helped it land eight of the 20 spots on our annual list of America's Most Miserable Cities, with Stockton ranking first for the second time in three years.

Located in the state's Central Valley, Stockton has been ravaged by the housing bust. Median home prices in the city tripled between 1998 and 2005, when they peaked at $431,000. Now they are back to where they started, as the median price is forecast to be $142,000 this year, according to research firm Economy.com, a decline of 67% from 2005. Foreclosure filings affected 6.9% of homes last year in the Stockton area, the seventh-highest rate in the nation, according to online foreclosure marketplace RealtyTrac.

Stockton's violent crime and unemployment rates also rank among the 10 worst in the country, although violent crime was down 10% in the latest figures from the FBI. Jobless rates are expected to decline or stay flat in most U.S. metro areas in 2011, but in Stockton, unemployment is projected to rise to 18.1% in 2011 after averaging 17.2% in 2010, according to Economy.com.

"Stockton has issues that it needs to address, but an article like this is the equivalent of bayoneting the wounded," says Bob Deis, Stockton city manager. "I find it unfair, and it does everybody a disservice. The people of Stockton are warm. The sense of community is fantastic. You have to come here and talk to leaders. The data is the data, but there is a richer story here."

There are many ways to gauge misery. The most famous is the Misery Index developed by economist Arthur Okun, which adds unemployment and inflation rates together. Okun's index shows the U.S. is still is in the dumps despite the recent gains in the economy: It averaged 11.3 in 2010 (blame a 9.6% unemployment rate and not inflation), the highest annual rate since 1984.

Our list of America's Most Miserable Cities goes a step further: We consider a total of 10 factors, things that people gripe about around the water cooler every day. Most are serious issues, including unemployment, crime and taxes. A few we factor in are not as critical, but still elevate people's blood pressure, like the weather, commute times and how the local sports team is doing.

One of the biggest issues causing Americans angst the past four years is the value of their homes. To account for that we tweaked the methodology for this year's list and considered foreclosure rates and the change in home prices over the past three years. Click here for a more detailed rundown of our methodology.

Florida and California have ample sunshine in common, but also massive housing problems that have millions of residents stuck with underwater mortgages. The two states are home to 16 of the top 20 metros in terms of home foreclosure rates in 2010. The metro area with the most foreclosure filings (171,704) and fifth-highest rate (7.1%) last year is Miami, which ranks No. 2 on our list of Most Miserable Cities.

The good weather and lack of a state income tax are the only things that kept Miami out of the top spot. In addition to housing problems (prices are down 50% over three years), corruption is off the charts, with 404 government officials convicted of crimes this decade in South Florida. Factor in violent crime rates among the worst in the country and long commutes, and it's easy to understand why Miami has steadily moved up our list, from No. 9 in 2009 to No. 6 last year to the runner-up spot this year.

California cities take the next three spots: Merced (No. 3), Modesto (No. 4) and Sacramento (No. 5). Each has struggled with declining home prices, high unemployment and high crime rates, in addition to the problems all Californians face, like high sales and income taxes and service cuts to help close massive budget shortfalls.

The Golden State has never looked less golden. "If I even mention California, they throw me out of the office," says Ron Pollina, president of site selection firm Pollina Corporate Real Estate. "Every company hates California."

Last year's most miserable city, Cleveland, fell back to No. 10 this year despite the stomach punch delivered by LeBron James when he announced his exit from Cleveland on national television last summer. Cleveland's unemployment rate rose slightly in 2010 to an average of 9.3%, but the city's unemployment rank improved relative to other cities, thanks to soaring job losses across the U.S. Cleveland benefited from a housing market that never overheated and therefore hasn't crashed as much as many other metros. Yet Cleveland was the only city to rank in the bottom half of each of the 10 categories we considered.

Two of the 10 largest metro areas make the list. Chicago ranks seventh on the strength of its long commutes (30.7 minutes on average--eighth-worst in the U.S.) and high sales tax (9.75%---tied for the highest). The Windy City also ranks in the bottom quartile on weather, crime, foreclosures and home price trends.

President Obama's (relatively) new home also makes the cut at No. 16. Washington, D.C., has one of the healthiest economies, but problems abound. Traffic is a nightmare, with commute times averaging 33.4 minutes--only New York is worse. Income tax rates are among the highest in the country and home prices are down 27% over three years.

And it does not get much more miserable than the sports scene in Washington. Beltway fans should be grateful for the NHL's Capitals, their only major pro team to finish out of the basement in the last two seasons. The Nationals (MLB), Redskins (NFL) and Wizards (NBA) have all finished in last place in their respective divisions the past two years.

America's Five Most Miserable Cities

No. 5: Sacramento, Calif.
No state taxes $50,000 of income like California, with a rate of 9.55% for that middle-class tax bracket. Sacramento is a one-team sports town, and that team has been awful in recent years. The NBA's Kings have won just 26% of their games the past two-plus seasons.

No. 4: Modesto, Calif.
The median home was valued at $275,000 in 2006; today it is $95,000. And don't leave your car on the street in Modesto, where 3,712 vehicles were stolen in 2009, making for the second-highest auto theft rate in the country. It ranked first in four of the previous five years.

No. 3: Merced, Calif.
The economic downturn and busted housing market hit Merced harder than any other area in the country. Average unemployment of 16.2% since 2008 is the highest in the U.S., as is the city's 64% drop in median home prices.

 No. 2: Miami, Fla.
The sun and lack of a state income tax are the only things keeping Miami out of the top spot. Foreclosures hit one in 14 homes last year. Corruption is also off the charts, with 404 government officials convicted of crimes this decade in South Florida.

No. 1: Stockton, Calif.
Unemployment has averaged 14.3% the past three years, which is third worst in the country among the 200 largest metro areas. The housing market collapsed as well, with home prices down 58% over the same time. All the California cities on the list are struggling with the inherent problems the state is facing, including high sales and income taxes and service cuts to help close massive budget shortfalls.

It's more than a game, it's your life

Safer Internet Day is organised by Insafe each year in February to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world.

The topic for 2011 is "our virtual lives" around the slogan " It's more than a game, it's your life".

In 2010 Safer Internet Day was celebrated through over 500 events in 65 countries all over the world.

For more information and resources please see our toolkit.

I’ve been spending the day listening to the negative feedback about our Tibet Super Bowl commercial, and want to take a crack at explaining why we created this campaign.

We take the causes we highlighted extremely seriously – that’s why we created this campaign in partnership with many hallmark community organizations, for whom we’re raising money at SaveTheMoney.org. Groupon’s roots are in social activism – we actually began as cause-based website called The Point, and we continue to use Groupon to support local causes with our G-Team initiative. In our two short years as a business, we’ve already raised millions of dollars for national charities like Donors Choose and Kiva.

When we think about commercials that offend us, we think of those that glorify antisocial behavior – like the scores of Super Bowl ads that are built around the crass objectification of women. Unlike those ads, no one walks away from our commercials taking the causes we highlighted less seriously. Not a single person watched our ad and concluded that it’s cool to kill whales. In fact – and this is part of the reason we ran them – they have the opposite effect.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The reviews are in for "Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark" - and that could be a bit of a problem.

Not because of what they say, but that they exist at all.

Some theater critics are weighing in on the $65 million musical even though it doesn't officially open until March 15, a move that violates the time-honored agreement between producers and journalists.

The latest reviews - and, for the most part, vicious pans - include assessments by The Washington Post ("a shrill, insipid mess"), The New York Times ("sheer ineptitude"), the Los Angeles Times ("an artistic form of megalomania"), the Chicago Tribune ("incoherent"), Variety ("sketchy and ill-formed") and New York magazine ("underbaked, terrifying, confusing").

Their defections, timed to coincide with the third - not fourth - revised opening date, drew a furious response from the show's producers and threatens to upend the often cozy relationship between reviewers and show backers.

"This pile-on by the critics is a huge disappointment," said Rick Miramontez, spokesman for the show. "Changes are still being made and any review that runs before the show is frozen is totally invalid."

Most of the critics have cited as reasons for their impatience the show's record-breaking preview period and the high cost of tickets, which for a single seat can approach $300. They also worry that producers are deliberately outflanking them by pushing off potential negative write-ups, even as the show enjoys a virtually sold-out run: So far, the musical's 67 preview performances translate into close to 130,000 tickets sold.

"The big question is: How long do you wait?" Bob Verini, a Los Angeles-based critic for Variety and the president of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, said in a telephone interview. "That's a fair question that honorable people can agree to disagree on."