Wednesday, February 9, 2011

( -- "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
The motto sounds simple enough -- until you try to apply it. From fears of making the wrong move to worries about looking foolish, taking a career risk is not an easy thing to do.
While there is no magic way to predict an outcome, some honest evaluation beforehand can make the decision to take a risk a little, well, less risky. Things to consider:

How big is the risk?

Giving up a steady paycheck to return to school full time or approaching a manager about an unorthodox idea to restructure customer service may seem like daunting tasks. But how scary would it be to take one night class a semester to test the waters or vow to speak up at the next meeting with one idea?
"In order to learn to take risks, it's important to practice," says Aricia E. LaFrance -- a therapist, career coach and author of "Unlocking the Secrets of the Successful Career Seeker." "Start small so you can test what works and doesn't work for you. Sometimes people will take a huge risk the first time out, see it end in disaster and then never take another risk -- staying stuck in a life they don't want.

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- The Mexican government condemned comments by a top U.S. Defense Department official characterizing the drug gang violence here as a "form of insurgency" - remarks the official later apologized for and retracted.

The Mexican Interior Department said in a statement late Tuesday that it "categorically rejects" the comments by U.S. Undersecretary of the Army Joseph Westphal.

"It's regrettable that this official makes statements ... that do not reflect the cooperation that the two governments have been building," the statement said.

Westphal made his initial remarks Monday at the Hinkley Institute of Politics Forum. In a statement Tuesday he said that in response to a question, he "mistakenly characterized the challenge posed by drug cartels to Mexico as 'a form of insurgency.'"

"My comments were not and have never been the policy of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government toward Latin America," he added. "I regret that my inaccurate statements may have caused concerns for our partners and friends in the region, especially Mexico."

It is not the first time Mexico has accused U.S. government officials of exaggerating the situation in Mexico. Last year, President Felipe Calderon protested after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Mexico resembled Colombia two decades ago, when drug traffickers controlled sections of that country.

Drug gang violence in Mexico has reached unprecedented levels since Calderon deployed tens of thousands of troops and federal police to trafficking hot spots four years ago, vowing to crush brutal cartels.

The fighting has at times taken warlike proportions, with cartel gunmen ambushing army patrols, staging elaborate roadblocks and carrying out horrific massacres.

Nearly 35,000 people have been killed.

But the Interior Department said the violence could not be characterized as a rebellion.

"Organized crime is seeking to increase its illegal economic benefits through trafficking of drugs and people, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, extortion and other crimes," the statement said. "They are not groups that are promoting a political agenda."
CAIRO — Protesters demanding the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak appeared on Wednesday to have recaptured the initiative in their battle with his government, demonstrating a new ability to mobilize thousands to take over Cairo’s streets beyond their headquarters at Tahrir Square and to spark labor unrest. 

As reports filtered in of strikes and unrest spreading to other parts of the city and the country, the government seemed to dig in deeper. Mr. Mubarak’s handpicked successor, Vice President Omar Suleiman, warned on Tuesday that the only alternative to constitutional talks is a “coup” and added: “We don’t want to deal with Egyptian society with police tools.” 

But the pressure on Mr. Mubarak’s government only intensified, a day after the largest crowd of protesters in two weeks flooded Cairo’s streets and the United States delivered its most specific demands yet, urging swift steps toward democracy. Some of the protesters had been inspired by an emotional interview with an online political organizer on Egypt’s most popular talk show. 

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) -- A pilot strike that entered its second day Wednesday has grounded more than two dozen flights and stranded thousands of passengers traveling on Pakistan's state-owned airline, a spokesman said.

A group of pilots and support staff for Pakistan International Airlines initiated the strike because they are unhappy about a proposed route-sharing deal with Turkish Airlines. In Karachi on Tuesday, some employees scuffled with colleagues who opposed the strike.

PIA bosses say the route-sharing idea could raise money for the struggling carrier, which has been posting multimillion dollar losses for years because of bad management and competition from Gulf airlines.

But some of the airline's 20,000 employees fear it will lead to job or pay cuts, though management denies this.

PIA spokesman Mashhood Tajwar says the strike has led to the cancellation of around 30 domestic and international flights and has affected some 5,000 passengers.

"We are deeply concerned because of this situation and we are doing whatever is possible to resolve the issue," he said.

(CNN) -- Helicopters early Wednesday were prepared to take off from Villavicencio, Colombia and into the jungle for what would be the first of five hostage releases by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The Marxist rebels were expected to release Marcos Baquero, a councilman from the town of San Jose de Guaviare, who has been held captive for one year and seven months.

Ex-Senator Piedad Cordoba, who helped secure the release, said that everything was ready for the humanitarian mission to begin, she said on her Twitter account.

"A kidnapping is something difficult for the person in the jungle as much as for those who stay at home," Baquero's wife, Olga Lucia Tao Ibarra, told CNN en EspaƱol. "The person who is in the jungle is risking his life, but those of us at home, not knowing anything about him, waking up night and day not knowing his whereabouts, that's very hard."

At the time Baquero was kidnapped, he had a two-month old baby. The child is now nearly 2 years old.

The FARC is a leftist guerrilla group that has been at war with the Colombian government since the 1960s.

Four other hostages are expected to be released on Friday and Sunday.
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- Police say an Ohio couple kept a 9-year-old girl in a barricaded bathroom for years when she wasn't in school.

Officials in Montgomery County say 50-year-old Brian G. Hart and 49-year-old Rivae Hart were legal guardians of the girl, Rivae Hart's granddaughter.

Dayton police say that since age 3, the girl mostly stayed in a bathroom blocked by dressers, sleeping on a cot. The couple blamed behavioral problems but authorities say the girl's development is normal.

The Harts are both charged with kidnapping and child endangering and were being held Wednesday in the county Jail under $50,000 bonds. No attorney was listed for them.

Police tell the Dayton Daily News that the girl, her brother and Brian Hart's two sons are now in foster care.
Expert Bio Picture 

Conditions Expert
 Dr. Otis Brawley Chief Medical Officer,
American Cancer Society

  Your question provides a great opportunity to review blood pressure issues. Hypertension is a common medical problem in the U.S. It is estimated that one-third of adults have hypertension. Many who have it are unaware that they have it.

Long-term, prolonged high blood pressure puts added stress on the heart and arteries. A person with years of uncontrolled high blood pressure often has an enlarged heart and thickened walls of the arteries. Prolonged uncontrolled hypertension can lead to stroke, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, blindness and other illnesses. Hypertension is commonly seen with diabetes in what is termed "metabolic syndrome." The combination can increase risk of stroke, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, kidney failure and blindness.

Risk factors for hypertension include being overweight or obese, a sedentary lifestyle, a diet high in salt and excess alcohol intake. Some families also tend to have a history of hypertension, indicating that there is a genetic component as well as an environmental component.

Blood pressure is most commonly measured with a blood pressure cuff placed around the upper arm. It is given as two numbers that are the measure of the weight of a tube of mercury. The units are millimeters mercury or mmHg.

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP) -- Russian authorities named a suspected suicide bomber of Moscow's airport and arrested his teenage brother and sister, officials said Wednesday.

The Jan. 24 bombing of Domodedovo airport was conducted by 20-year-old Magomed Yevloyev, said an official working with Russia's top investigative agency in the province of Ingushetia. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the issue.

Officials have previously said that the bomber was a 20-year-old man from the Caucasus, but didn't give his name.

Chechen rebel warlord Doku Umarov has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 36 and injured more than 180. He said in a video posted Monday that many more such attacks will follow if Russia does not allow the Caucasus to become an independent Islamic state governed by Sharia law.

A court in Ingushetia's provincial capital, Magas, also ordered the arrest of Yevloyev's 15-year-old brother and 16-year old sister, suspected of involvement in the attack, the official said. They also arrested another resident of Yevloyev's home village of Ali-Yurt on the same charges.

(Mashable) -- Apple's production partners are already hard at work on the new model of iPad, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The fact that Apple is working on aniPad 2, of course, is common knowledge. The famously tight-lipped company rarely talks about upcoming product launches, and isn't talking now. But Apple has never denied that it intends to follow up on one of its most successful products.

Nearly $5 billion worth of iPads have been sold in the three quarters since its launch. And a quick glance at the history of the iPhone, which launches a new model every year, suggests that we should expect to see the iPad 2 right around the first anniversary of its predecessor's launch: April 3, 2011.

 WASHINGTON (AP) -- Michelle Obama says the president doesn't use hair coloring, and that "it's too late" to do anything about the touches of gray in his hair.

The first lady blamed "lighting" for the differences between two photographs taken of President Barack Obama one day last month. His hair looks darker in one photo than the other.

Mrs. Obama told NBC's "Today" show Wednesday that her husband "is pretty gray" and might have started dyeing his hair 10 years ago" if he had known he would become president.

She also said Obama "cares very little about his appearance." She said wishes the president would try "a different color suit," and she and her daughters "cheer when he puts on a bright-colored shirt."
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is honoring Ricky Martin and Kristin Chenoweth (CHEN'-oh-wuhth).

The organization announced Wednesday that Martin will receive the Vito Russo Award at GLAAD's 22nd annual Media Awards on March 19 in New York City. The award is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who made a significant difference in promoting equal rights.

The 39-year-old Puerto Rican pop singer announced last year that he is gay. GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios called it "a game changer for many gay and transgender Latino children."

Chenoweth will be presented with the Vanguard Award at an event in Los Angeles on April 10. The award is given for increasing the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community.

The Emmy-award winning actress last year publicly defended gay actors' ability to play straight roles.
CHICAGO (AP) -- Many breast cancer patients can skip aggressive lymph node surgery without increasing their chances of a recurrence or death if their disease shows limited spread, according to a study that has prompted changes in practice.

Under current guidelines, the often-debilitating surgery is done if the cancer has spread outside the breast to any lymph nodes.

In the study, rates of survival and of patients' remaining cancer-free were just as good whether the women with limited spread - in one or two nearby nodes - had lots more underarm nodes removed or skipped that major surgery.

At least 24,000 of the 180,000 U.S. women diagnosed every year with breast cancer have limited spread to lymph nodes. Under the standard approach, they would have a chunk of underarm tissue removed to check for further cancer spread, said Dr. Thomas Julian, a breast cancer specialist with West Penn Allegheny Healthcare System in Pittsburgh. He was not involved in the study.

That operation often leaves women with lasting arm swelling, stiffness and pain.

The results suggest that tens of thousands of women could be spared aggressive node surgery and those troubling side effects, said study author Dr. Armando Giuliano, cancer surgery chief at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, Calif.

"This is really a move toward less radical surgery" for breast cancer patients, he said.

That move began several years ago when doctors stopped routinely removing entire breasts and surrounding tissue, except for women with more advanced disease.

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- The party of Zimbabwe's authoritarian president on Wednesday blamed their opponents' supporters for a recent spate of politically motivated violence.

Scores of families were displaced from their homes near the capital of Harare when violence surged in January.

The nation's sole broadcaster, which is controlled by loyalists of President Robert Mugabe, on Wednesday cited top Mugabe officials who denied their supporters started any violence. They said supporters of the former opposition leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, are to blame.

Police cited nine alleged cases of violence by Tsvangirai's party since Jan. 6.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Michelle Obama concedes that the White House Super Bowl menu of bratwurst, kielbasa, cheeseburgers, deep-dish pizza and Buffalo wings didn't exactly fit with her campaign to get Americans to eat healthy and combat obesity. But the first lady says it's all about balance.

She said in an NBC "Today" show interview Wednesday that "if you have a day like Super Bowl Sunday, the next day, go back to balance" with vegetables and other healthy eating. She says she tells her children, "you can have birthday cake and everything else, have your vegetables and get your exercise."

It's important, Mrs. Obama said, for families not to think they can never indulge. "Life is about good food, at least in America," she says.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Michelle Obama says her daughters aren't on Facebook, and that's the way she likes it.

The first lady says her girls, Sasha, 9, and Malia, 12, have certain restrictions that other children don't have because of Secret Service security issues. But she also said during an interview on NBC's "Today Show" on Wednesday that she's "not a big fan of young kids having Facebook."

Even if the girls weren't living in the White House, Mrs. Obama says Facebook is "not something they need." Maybe when they get older, she added.
Behold the power of make-up! We spotted Sofia, a natural blonde (really!), on set in New York filming "New Year's Eve," looking almost unrecognizable.  Without her signature voluminous locks, sunkissed skin and vampy make-up, we had to do a triple-take! Her long locks were uncharacteristically dull and flat, and her skin appeared to be WAY fairer than usual.  And her on-set look (a cutesy ponytail and flirty make-up) is different for her. The verdict? Miss Vergara's beauty knows no boundaries.

 "New Year's Eve" is the hotly-anticipated sequel to Garry Marshall's "Valentine's Day" and also stars Katherine Heigl, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, and Robert De Niro, among others. With this all-star cast, it's sure to be a hit---but Sofia's the one we can't wait to catch.  If her acting chops are anything like that on "Modern Family," we're all in for quite the treat!
ATLANTA (AP) -- Coca-Cola Co.'s fourth-quarter net income more than tripled, helped by the acquisition of a bottler and selling more drinks in North America.

 The world's largest soft drink maker had relied more on emerging markets like China and India when growth in developed markets waned on weakened consumer spending and increased interest in healthier drinks like juices and teas.

Coca-Cola earned $5.77 billion, or $2.46 per share, for the period ended Dec. 31. That's up from $1.54 billion, or 66 cents per share, a year ago.

Removing a $5 billion gain tied to the buyout of Coca-Cola Enterprises' North American operations and other items, earnings were 72 cents per share. That met analysts' expectations.

The Atlanta company's revenue rose 40 percent to $10.49 billion, besting Wall Street's $10.16 billion.
THE attacks on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are looking more and more like "shoot the messenger" responses by governments who do not believe in the principles of an open society, a rally in Brisbane has been told. 
Stephen Keim, speaking on behalf of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, told a gathering of about 80 people that current events in Middle Eastern countries show the great political impact of publishing the truth.
"The (WikiLeaks) cables show the world's politicians are even more dishonest than even the most cynical among us might have expected," Mr Keim said.

He described the Swedish investigation of allegations of sexual assault as "strange" and attacked the legal processes of the extradition proceedings underway in London.

Plans for one of the UK's largest offshore wind farms off the Yorkshire coast have been given the go-ahead by the government.

Energy group E.ON has been granted planning approval for 77 wind turbines five miles (8km) off Spurn Point. 

The Humber Gateway wind farm will generate enough electricity to power 150,000 homes a year.
E.ON said about 1,000 jobs would be created during construction which was expected to begin within two years.

Once completed, after another three to five years, the project would provide about 30 operational and maintenance jobs.

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama's budget proposal is expected to give states a way to collect more payroll taxes from businesses, in an effort to replenish the unemployment-insurance program. The plan could cause controversy at a time when the administration is seeking to mend fences with corporate America.

The proposal would aim to restock strained state unemployment-insurance trust funds by raising the amount of wages on which companies must pay unemployment taxes to $15,000, more than double the $7,000 in place since 1983.  

The plan, which would take effect in 2014, could increase payroll taxes by as much as $100 billion over a decade, according to a person involved in its construction.
By proposing to enlarge the pool of wages subject to unemployment taxes, the White House appears to be offering states a more politically palatable way to raise revenues than to boost tax rates. States could keep the tax rates they have, or even lower them somewhat, and still raise considerably more revenue than they are raising now. 

The unemployment insurance program is a joint federal-state program. The federal unemployment insurance tax rate of 6.2% on the new, larger base would be reduced, so that the U.S. would be taking in no more revenue than it does under the current system, a person familiar with the plan said.
To avoid hitting businesses with a tax increase during the economic recovery, the proposal would delay the new rules until 2014. The plan is expected to be included in Mr. Obama's budget proposal for fiscal 2012, to be released Monday.

(Reuters) - Indonesia ordered hefty rice imports on Wednesday to boost stocks by a third in the latest sign that governments concerned about rising food prices and dwindling supplies are rushing into the market and could drive inflation even higher.

Global food prices have climbed to record highs in recent months on shrinking supplies of wheat, corn, soybean and oilseeds, and while rice has been less of a worry thanks to ample supplies in the top two exporters, Thailand and Vietnam, traders said other Asian governments may soon seek to boost rice stocks too.

Adding to a sense of gathering nervousness among governments over food supplies, China plans subsidies to boost grain output this year, state radio said in a report on its website.

"Maintaining a stable grain output increase has a very important meaning to managing inflation expectations, stabilizing general consumer prices, and realizing rapid and stable economic growth as well as social harmony and stability," the report said, citing a regular state council meeting held by Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday.

(FT) -- Shares in London Stock Exchange surged almost 8 per cent on Wednesday after it agreed an all-share merger with TMX Group, operator of Canada's largest stock exchange, creating a platform with the world's largest number of mining company listings at a time of surging commodity prices.

The deal is the first big strategic move by Xavier Rolet, chief executive who took over from Clara Furse in 2009, to secure the future of the UK bourse.

However, in spite of the share price surge there were signs that some analysts were lukewarm on the deal. Citi described the deal as "defensive" and said it would distract the management from its earlier stated strategy.

"We worry that this deal looks likely to take up management time and energy in the short term. We see this putting the LSE's existing growth strategies on the backburner, which we view as a negative," the bank said in a note.

The combined group, which will have a dual stock market listing and be jointly headquartered in London and Toronto, will be worth just under £5bn ($7.7bn), including debt. It will have a combined 6,700 listings, making it the world's largest exchange by numbers of companies traded.

Mr Rolet is set to become chief executive of the merged group. Wayne Fox, chairman of TMX Group, would become chairman and Thomas Kloet, TMX chief executive, would be president. The chief financial officer of the enlarged group will be Michael Ptasznik, currently CFO of TMX.

TMX investors are to receive 2.9963 ordinary shares in the enlarged group for each share held in TMX. LSE shareholders will own 55 percent of the enlarged capital and TMX shareholders will take the remaining 45 percent.

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's Cabinet ministers submitted their resignations to the prime minister on Wednesday as part of the government's plan to dissolve and reappoint a smaller Cabinet, the prime minister's press secretary told CNN.

"All the ministers have tendered their resignation," said Shabir Anwar. "The resignations will now be sent to the president for acceptance."

Pakistan's ruling party announced plans to shrink the Cabinet last week. Party officials insisted Friday the decision was not a move to preempt an uprising similar to those which have taken place in Egypt and Tunisia.
The plan to shrink the Cabinet is an effort to cut spending and improve the government's performance, government spokesman Qamar Zaman Qaira told CNN.

(Reuters) - Indian police have made the first arrest of a company executive in a multi-billion dollar telecoms corruption scandal that has rocked the Congress party-led government and undermined Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Parliament's last session washalted by opposition protests demanding a probe into the scandal. The government has refused a parliamentary investigation, but there have been recent signs it may cave in, worried more chaos could make the passage of the key February 28 budget difficult, and seriously harm its image ahead of state elections this year.

Shahid Balwa, vice chairman of a joint venture with Abu Dhabi's Etisalat, was arrested overnight on allegations two Indian telecoms firms got favorable treatment when licenses were awarded in 2008 in the world's fastest growing mobile market.

One of those companies was Swan, which has since been renamed Etisalat DB and is about 45 percent owned by Etisalat.

Police suspect government officials colluded with the private sector in selling them lucrative 2G mobile licenses below market value and are now probing whether anyone received kickbacks.

The growing scandal has not yet threatened the survival of the coalition government because it holds enough seats in parliament, but a wrong move by the prime minister could hurt the ruling Congress party's chances in forthcoming elections.

The case is India's biggest graft scandal since 1989, when the Congress party lost a general election due to the Bofors scandal over gun contracts involving close associates of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who were accused of taking bribes.

The stakes in the 2G scandal , which may have cost the country up to $39 billion in lost revenue, are higher though. Since Bofors, India has grown into a global power and a key destination for global investors in emerging markets.
Its mobile market is a huge. India has around 730 million subscribers, roughly equivalent to Europe's population and is adding 17-18 million subscribers a month.

Whether through corruption or incompetence, the Congress party's second term has been plagued with scandals. The ruling coalition may be weakened if there is a backlash in state elections this year, killing hopes it can push through reforms such as allowing foreign investment in the multi-brand retail and the financial sector.

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Egypt's vice president said the massive calls for President Hosni Mubarak's ouster are disrespectful to the country as a mass of protesters maintained their ground Wednesday at the epicenter of the demonstrations. 

"The word 'departure,' which is repeated by some of the protesters, is against the ethics of the Egyptians because Egyptians respect their elders and their president," Vice President Omar Suleiman told a group of newspaper editors Tuesday, according to an official state press agency. "It is also an insulting word not only to the president, but for the people of Egypt as a whole." 

Suleiman also said that the large presence of demonstrators and some satellite TV channels are making people reluctant to go to work.

But on Wednesday morning, protesters united in Tahrir Square for a 16th day of demonstrations. A massive Egyptian flag was sprawled across part of Tahrir -- which means "liberation" or "freedom" in Arabic. 

Thousands jammed the square on Tuesday, dismissing the embattled regime's pledges of constitutional reforms. Some were galvanized by the words of a freed Google executive. A second front sprouted as several hundred protesters filled the city block where Egypt's parliament building stands. 

( -- Jennifer Lawrence, the 20-year-old Oscar nominee for Best Actress, is sitting in a fancy Manhattan hotel sipping tea and feeling a little out of place.
See, she grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where her dad owned a construction company and her mom ran a summer camp. They had land and horses. She loved to fish. She was a total tomboy: field hockey, softball, basketball on an all-boys team. ("I was so dykey.")
One of her nicknames was Nitro. She lives in Los Angeles now, but "little redneck things still come out." Like what? "I'm attracted to my brother. Stuff like that."

At 14, she decided she wanted to be an actress and dragged her mom to New York for auditions. The people at Reese's Peanut Butter Cups told her she was the best they'd ever seen. Her mom told her they were lying. (Her mom didn't like showbiz much.) 

She auditioned for the role of Bella in "Twilight," which would have been perfect if Bella were a badass, but since she's a frightened waif, Lawrence ended up not getting the part. Which was for the best because the role she did get was for "Winter's Bone," in which she's fantastic: harrowing and tender as the 17-year-old daughter of an Ozarks meth-cooker who's fighting to take care of her little brother and sister.

This article appears in the February 17, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available now on newsstands and will appear in the online archive February 4.

To prep for the part, Lawrence learned how to shoot a gun and field-dress squirrels. She already knew how to chop wood: "I went through a wood-chopping phase when I was nine or 10." She says she hasn't even bothered preparing an Oscar speech: "I have been practicing my losing face, though. Do you want to see it?" (For the record, it's a very good losing face.)

Later this year comes "X-Men: First Class," where she'll play the mutant Mystique, blue-skinned and topless. ("Did I feel naked being naked?" she asks, so you don't have to. "Yeah. Totally.") But before that there's Jodie Foster's "The Beaver," premiering in May, in which she appears alongside a certifiable Mel Gibson. Which means she has some crazy Mel Gibson stories, right?

She leans in close. "If I say, 'Off the record' -- that means you can't print it, right?' " Right. "OK. So, off the record ..." She's learning.