Thursday, February 10, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An independent expert says Pakistan has begun building what appears to be its fourth plutonium reactor, increasing concerns that the volatile nation may be creating more nuclear bomb material than it can safeguard.

David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security said Thursday commercial satellite images show construction beginning on a building near three plutonium reactors at Khushab outside Islamabad. "It matches so many characteristics of the others that we characterize it as a likely fourth reactor," he said.

U.S.-based experts say Pakistan and India are locked in a long-running nuclear arms race, with both sides building about 10 warheads a year. Albright estimates that Pakistan may already have built 100 nuclear weapons, taking the lead over its neighbor and rival.

Islamabad is a key ally of the United States in its war in Afghanistan, but the South Asian country faces political and economic uncertainty as well as a continuing threat from domestic terror groups.

The U.S. and Pakistan have repeatedly insisted that Pakistan's stockpile of nuclear weapons and material is secure. A spokesman for Pakistan's foreign office recently criticized "unnecessary alarmist reporting about Pakistan's nuclear program."

CAIRO (AP) -- The vast Cairo square at the epicenter of more than two weeks of protests was electric and on edge Thursday night, waiting for President Hosni Mubarak's expected televised address with euphoria.

"We're almost there!" chanted the crowds, swelling to their greatest numbers yet. "The people want the fall of the regime," they shouted as reports emerged that the longtime leader could be poised to hand over his powers, possibly to the military, flashing V-for-victory signs. Women made the high-pitched ululations common in the Middle East during weddings.

Thousands lined up patiently, including women, children and the elderly, waiting to enter the already packed square, while vendors sold flags and headbands in Egypt's colors around them.

But the celebrating in Tahrir Square was tempered with trepidation that behind the scenes the military might already have firmly stepped in and seized control of the country, simply ushering in a new authoritarian regime.

So many resolved to stay put, fearing it was too early to declare victory.

"I am not optimistic. I am afraid that people will feel triumph and leave the square while in fact we have handed power from Mubarak to the army into a military abyss," said Ahmed Abdel-Hamid, one of the young protesters.

Lindsay's Court Date Dress

La Lohan never fails to attract attention when she makes an entrance!

Amidst throngs of reporters, fans, and curious onlookers, Lindsay Lohan showed up for her arraignment on felony grand theft charges with every intention of owning the spotlight Wednesday in Los Angeles. Sporting a figure-hugging white knit Kimberly Ovitz mini dress paired with black pumps, Chanel 5182 sunglasses, newly-colored tresses, and a spray tan, there was no way you could miss her.

The mid-thigh length dress was universally criticized by fashion and news sites across the web. TMZ.com likened it to Sharon Stone's infamous "Basic Instinct" outfit, while E! Online asked, "Was it a fashion misdemeanor?" In an interview with the "Today" show Wednesday, defense attorney Mark Geragos advised, "I tell my clients to dress like you're going to church or temple." Clearly, Lindsay didn't get that memo.

As opposed to the somber suits and neutral colors Lohan has donned to previous court dates, this time the embattled actress's outfit looked more appropriate for a celebrity product launch party or a night out on the town.

Seriously, what was she thinking? The "Mean Girls" starlet was spotted getting her hair done for over two and a half hours Tuesday night at a fancy Beverly Hills hair salon, so she obviously put some thought into her appearance. Perhaps Lindsay's lily white outfit -- which at $575 has sold out at every online boutique that carries Ovitz's designs -- was her way of proclaiming her innocence? Because she had to have known there was no way her ensemble was going to fly under the radar.

The actress was formally charged earlier in the day for stealing a necklace worth $2,500 from a jewelry store in Venice Beach, California, on January 22, 2011. As she's still on probation for a 2007 drunken driving case, Lohan, 24, could potentially faces several years in state prison if convicted of the crime. Lindsay pled not guilty to the charges leveled against her, and her attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, also denied Lohan lifted the merchandise, though the actress has been previously accused of stealing multiple times over the past two years. Lohan's bail was set at $40,000, and her next hearing is scheduled for February 23.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Cisco Systems Inc. and Akamai Technologies Inc. led stocks lower Thursday after both companies issued weak earnings forecasts, raising concerns about business and technology spending.

Cisco, the world's largest networking equipment maker, fell 13 percent, the most of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones industrial average. The company said late Wednesday that its fourth-quarter income slid 18 percent because of lower sales to government agencies, a problem that could worsen over the next few quarters.

"Cisco is stumbling," said Rob Lutts, president and chief investment officer of Cabot Money Management. "When you're No. 1, it's hard to stay there." Lutts said the weak results reflect Cisco's struggle to stay competitive, not necessarily weakness in the technology industry overall.

Akamai Technologies fell 14 percent after the company said competitors are forcing it to offer lower prices for its Web streaming services. Akamai was the weakest stock in the Standard & Poor's 500 index of large U.S. companies.

Whole Foods Market Inc. rose 13 percent in after the natural foods grocer reported a 79 percent increase in first quarter net income. It had the biggest gain of any stock in the S&P 500.

Sprint Nextel Corp. rose 4.6 percent after the company increased its subscribers under contract for the first time in about four years.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 24, or 0.2 percent, to 12,215. Cisco contributed 22 points to the decline, putting the Dow's winning streak at risk. The Dow barely managed its eighth straight day of gains Wednesday. That was its longest stretch of gains since last March.

The S&P 500 fell a point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,319. The Nasdaq composite fell 2 points to 2,787.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- A few days after putting a comment on his Twitter account that he was cancer free, basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Thursday that it was a "misstatement."

"You're never really cancer free and I should have known that," Abdul-Jabbar said. "My cancer right now is at an absolute minimum."

The 63-year-old Abdul-Jabbar, a six-time NBA Most Valuable Player, was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia in 2008. He spoke Thursday at Science Park High School, after the screening of his new full-length documentary about the Harlem Rens basketball team, "On the Shoulders of Giants."

"It's not life-threatening," he said, "at this point in my life."

Abdul-Jabbar said when he was first diagnosed with leukemia, he didn't know what to think. He feared the worst.

"I thought I might be dead in a few months," he said. "I had a good friend (actor Bruno Kirby) who was diagnosed with leukemia and was dead within 30 days. I really had no understanding of what I was dealing with."

(CNN) -- The U.S. Department of Defense on Thursday identified remains discovered in the South Pacific seven years ago as those of 11 airmen who had been missing since World War II.

The remains of Army Air Force Tech. Sgt. Charles A. Bode of Baltimore are to be buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery. Bode was 23 when he was declared missing. A second burial service for the remaining 10 servicemen is scheduled to take place at the same site March 24.

The 11 servicemen had been missing since November 20, 1943, after the crew's B-24D Liberator left an airbase in Port Moresby, New Guinea. The crew was 20 miles north of the airfield when ground control lost contact with the plane.

Searches for the craft and its crew were unsuccessful, and in 1949, the missing servicemen were declared unrecoverable.

In 1984, U.S. officials were notified of the discovery of a World War II crash site in a ravine in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea. However, the threat of landslides prevented the recovery of the craft and remains. Twenty years later, search teams obtained human remains collected by local villagers.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The NCAA tournament's new TV deal will allow for more staggered starts of games, so all those buzzer-beaters aren't happening at the same time.

The contract signed in April with CBS and Turner Sports meant all games would be televised live nationally for the first time. Because Turner's three cable channels don't have the same commitments to the nightly news and other regular programming as CBS, the tournament games will be more spread out starting this season.

That includes prime time games on TBS, TNT and truTV during the first Sunday, the networks announced Thursday.

Last season, when only CBS broadcast games, the first three contests on the opening Thursday afternoon started within 10 minutes of each other. Even for fans who had access to all the games through the free stream on the Internet or by buying the TV package, that often meant multiple matchups going down to the wire at the same time.

"That wasn't good enough," said Turner Sports senior vice president Christina Miller. "What was going to be good enough was if we stagger it and let people catch each game or at least capture the big moments at the end of everything."

Now those games will start at least 30 minutes apart.

The new way of watching March Madness was made possible when CBS and Turner signed a 14-year, $10.8 billion deal, with the NCAA deciding to expand from 65 only to 68 teams, not 96. The contract kept the regional finals and Final Four on CBS through 2015. The regional semifinals will be split between CBS and TBS this season.
(CNN) -- Florida authorities have recorded their first arrest under a state ban on synthetic stimulants often sold as "bath salts" as health officials in several other states are sounding alarms about the drugs.

The drugs are synthetic stimulants, usually mephedrone or MDPV, according to federal and state officials. Doses can be purchased for as little as $15-$20 and produce an amphetamine-like high for several hours when inhaled, taken with liquid or smoked.

They're not listed as a controlled substance under federal law, and are sold under brand names like "Cloud Nine," "Ivory Wave" and "Vanilla Sky" in stores and online. The Office of National Drug Control Policy says it doesn't know how widespread their use has become, but White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said last week that they pose "a serious threat" to anyone who takes them.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi banned the sale of the drugs in late January, following similar bans in North Dakota and Louisiana. Authorities there made their first arrest under the ban on Monday, charging the owner of a Panama City head shop with possession of a controlled substance, Bay County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Ruth Corley said.

Key events in the rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

- Mubarak took office in 1981 after his predecessor Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamic militants during a military parade. Mubarak, Sadat's vice president, escaped with only a minor hand injury.

- In 1981, Mubarak implemented emergency laws, which expand police powers and sharply curtailed rights to demonstrate and organize politically. The restrictions were meant to stifle the Islamic militant movement.

- In one of his first moves, he reasserted that Egypt would stick to the landmark 1979 peace treaty with Israel signed by Sadat, the first by any Arab nation with the Jewish state. The contentious treaty was one of the reasons Islamic militants assassinated Sadat.

- Mubarak became a major mediator in the Arab-Israeli peace process. He remained a consistent ally of the United States, bolstered by billions in U.S. aid because the peace with Israel.
CAIRO — Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is to step down tonight, two sources have told NBC News, losing his 30-year grip on power after 17 days of mass uprisings across the country.




NBC's Richard Engel reported that a high-ranking source inside the president's office said the newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman, would take over. This was confirmed by a second source.

State television reported that country's supreme military council had expressed its "support of the legitimate demands" of the protesters after an all-day meeting. The latest developments came on the heels of repeated warnings by members of the regime of a military crackdown or coup.

Some pro-democracy protesters reacted cautiously to the reports Mubarak was leaving, saying they would only believe them if and when he announced his departure on television.

President Barack Obama on Thursday said the United States would do all it can to support an orderly transition to democracy in Egypt.

"We are witnessing history unfold," Obama said, adding "It's a moment of transformation that's taking place because the people of Egypt are calling for change."

"We want all Egyptians to know America will continue to do every thing that we can to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy in Egypt," Obama said
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The graying, balding suspect dubbed the "Granddad Bandit" pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to robbing two Virginia banks and acknowledged two dozen other heists from New York to Texas.

Michael Francis Mara, 53, quietly answered "Yes, ma'am" or "No ma'am" but made no statement during a plea hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hannah Lauck in Richmond. Mara will not be charged in other states.

Authorities say Mara took more than $83,000 in the heists, starting in Richmond in 2008 and ending with a North Carolina holdup the day before his Aug. 11 arrest. He was captured after a six-hour standoff with police at his Baton Rouge, La., home.

Mara faced up to 20 years for each charge, but his plea deal with prosecutors calls for him to spend 25 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 11.

U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said that while Mara has not given investigators any motive for the robberies, he was not "hard off" and was employed with a vehicle transportation company.

Mara's federal public defender, Elizabeth Wilson, declined comment following the half-hour hearing.

The FBI dubbed Mara the "Granddad Bandit" to help law enforcement and the public easily identify the suspect. The agency plastered bank surveillance photos of Mara on billboards around the country in August. He was arrested a week later after getting a tip from someone who saw the billboard.

Mara never used a disguise. He waited patiently in line and handed the teller a note demanding a specific amount of money. Once he suggested he had a weapon, but authorities said there was no indication he ever used one.

Mara typically reaped only a few thousand dollars at each bank, officials say. His largest take reported by authorities was $6,400 from a St. Louis bank in May 2010.

Officials say Mara began his two-year robbery spree in Richmond, but they didn't connect the dots until another holdup in Virginia last June. Prosecutors said Mara did not target banks in his home state and waited about a year to strike again in each state.

"He did take some steps to conceal his identity," MacBride said.

In court documents and at a detention hearing in September in Richmond, FBI agents said Mara confessed. After his arrest, agents found nearly $4,000 in cash in a black, zippered bag and about 15 "demand notes" written on deposit slips.

Mara had been set to go to trial for the two Virginia bank robberies in March.

In addition to the Virginia crimes, Mara acknowledged robbing banks in Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Florida and North Carolina.
Conflicting reports make it difficult to understand what Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has in mind for his address to the nation tonight – but it's clear that it's something big.

Is Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak heading out the door? US officials and the media are saying yes (probably), following an announcement Thursday that President Mubarak will address the Egyptian people tonight.

Talking Points Memo reported that CIA Director Leon Panetta told a US House of Representatives Intelligence panel that there is "a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down in Eqypt tonight." Mr. Panetta also said that Mubarak will likely hand over power to Omar Suleiman, who was recently appointed vice president and met with Mubarak following the announcement of his address to the nation tonight, according to CNN in an 11:58 a.m. EST update.

However, CNN also reported at 12:08 p.m. EST that an Egyptian government official said Mubarak plans to hand over power to the Egyptian military, which would give the government a pass on following the Constitution's provisions for succession and other relevant issues. (The same official said that this is "not a coup in the traditional sense.")

WASHINGTON (AP) -- How much information is there, really?

Well, according to a new study, humans were able to store 295 exabytes of information as of 2007.

Now what, you might ask, is an exabyte?

As you may recall, a bit is a single piece of information, "1" or "0," and a byte usually contains eight bits.

An exabyte is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.

Martin Hilbert and Priscila Lopez of the University of Southern California say that if all that data were stored on compact discs, the stack of CDs would reach beyond the moon - if the stack didn't topple over.

That's a lot of data, and presumably we have collected a lot more since then. After all, Lopez and Hilbert estimate the storage capacity of the world's computers doubles every 18 months.

Their findings, looking at the growth of information storage capacity from 1986 to 2007, appear in this week's edition of the journal Science.

Naturally, it's coming out first in Thursday's online edition of the journal, with publication on paper to come later.

Hilbert and Lopez also calculated that:

- In 2007 people sent 1.9 zettabytes of information through broadcast technology such as televisions and GPS. A zettabyte is equivalent to 1,000 exabytes. And that's equivalent to every person in the world reading 174 newspapers every day.

- People shared 65 exabytes of information in 2007 through two-way communication systems such as cell phones - the equivalent of every person in the world communicating the contents of six newspapers every day.

- The year 2002 could be considered the beginning of the digital age. It was the first year worldwide digital storage capacity overtook total analog capacity. As of 2007, almost 94 percent of our memory is in digital form.
(CNN) -- The wife of an Iranian man sentenced to death for allegedly operating adult internet sites said she fears the situation in Egypt may mean her husband will be executed at any moment.

"They want to set an example to people," said Fatima Eftekhari in a telephone interview with CNN on Thursday as she prepared to attend a human rights rally in Ottawa, Ontario.

"It's freedom, freedom of speech, and the internet provides that. My husband's charges were internet-related charges so they want an example for Iranian people ... to spread fear among the people," said Eftekhari.

Her husband, Saeed Malekpour, has been sentenced to die by hanging for allegedly operating porn websites. The 35-year-old freelance software developer, a Canadian permanent resident, was arrested in October 2008 as he returned to Iran to visit an ailing family member.

"All that he has done is he wrote a program. And that program, without his knowledge, was used in this website ... and now they are exaggerating this thing with his administration of an adult website," said Eftekhari. She added that even if he were guilty as charged, there is no law on Iranian books that indicates an internet-related charge can be punishable by death.

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- A shootout between troops and armed men has left nine people dead in central Mexico.

The Defense Department says in a statement that a soldier and eight gunmen were killed in the battle Wednesday night in Tabasco, a town in the southern part of Zacatecas state. Two other soldiers were wounded.

The Thursday statement says the fight broke out when soldiers came under gunfire while investigating a tip about the presence of armed men.

The soldiers seized six assault rifles, three radios and two bulletproof jackets.

The statement gave no details about the gunmen.

Violence has increasingly erupted in Zacatecas, which lies between territory controlled by the Sinaloa cartel and territory disputed by the Gulf and Zetas gangs.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Yahoo is creating a digital newsstand for computer tablets and other mobile devices and will let readers choose packages of news on sports, finance and other topics.

The content will be come from Yahoo's website and a few other publishers that weren't identified. Most of the content will be free, with ads.

The product, called Livestand, should be available by June.

It's Yahoo Inc.'s latest attempt to lure more advertising from print and broadcast.

Yahoo is betting the still-developing market for computer tablets, propelled by the early success of Apple Inc.'s iPad, will deliver a rich new vein of revenue for publishers and other businesses trying to sell more digital advertising. Yahoo believes Livestand will appeal to advertisers because it will collect information about users' interests and their whereabouts.
(CNN) -- Despite reports this week of a return to normalcy on the Egyptian street, the situation on the ground is anything but: Protests continue while statements from the nation's leaders have served only to maintain or even stoke the tinderbox status of negotiations.

Demonstrations, which Human Rights Watch says have killed more than 300 people, continued for a 16th day in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Wednesday.

"Nothing will make this regime go unless we keep on coming and keep on coming," said Dalia, a protester there who did not give her last name.

Another group of protesters tried to prevent the army from breaking up a demonstration at the parliament building in Cairo, and in the northern city of Port Said, state-run TV reported that Egyptians upset over the distribution of land and houses attacked a governor's building.

What the protesters want is simple: the end of a regime that has ruled them sternly for three decades.

President Hosni Mubarak has refused to step down but has reshuffled his Cabinet and promised he would not run for re-election. Vice President Omar Suleiman has said the government will address press freedoms and the release of detainees.

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should turn himself in for questioning in a Swedish rape investigation and has no reason to worry about not getting a fair trial, Sweden's justice minister said Thursday.

Beatrice Ask's comments to The Associated Press reveal the irritation among senior Swedish officials at the arguments used by Assange's lawyers in fighting his extradition in a British court, where closing arguments are set for Friday.

The lawyers defending Assange, who is accused of sexual misconduct against two Swedish women, say a closed-door trial in Sweden would represent "a flagrant denial of justice."

They also say he risks being handed over to the United States, which is investigating whether Assange's secret-spilling website should be held responsible for leaking classified information.

Assange "has a lot of prejudice," Ask said in an interview at the Swedish Parliament. "I think it's beyond doubt that we are very careful about the independence and quality of the justice system in this country.

"Everyone is equal before the law. He is suspected, accused of a serious crime and should of course present himself for interrogation," she said.

WikiLeaks has angered the U.S. and other governments by publishing tens of thousands of secret military documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as a massive trove of U.S. diplomatic cables.

Assange's supporters say the rape allegations are trumped up and possibly politically motivated, charges that the women's lawyer has denied.

Leaked police documents show one of Assange's accusers claims he initiated sex with her while she was sleeping, which can be considered rape under Swedish law. The other claims he intentionally damaged a condom and pinned her down while having consensual sex. Assange denies wrongdoing.

He met both women in connection with a seminar on free speech in Stockholm in August.

Assange's objections to the extradition range from how the arrest warrant was issued to the "secret" nature of rape trials in Sweden, where such hearings are often held behind closed doors out of respect for the victims.

"You cannot have a fair trial when the press and the public are excluded from the court," lead defense lawyer Geoffrey Robertson said Tuesday. That's especially relevant for someone like Assange, who has faced "vilification" worldwide, Robertson said.
(Reuters) - Google Inc and Facebook Inc, plus others, have held low level takeover talks with Twitter that give the Internet sensation a value as high as $10 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In December, Twitter raised $200 million in financing in a deal that valued it at $3.7 billion. The company, which allows users to broadcast 140-character messages to groups of followers, had 175 million users as of September.

The Wall Street Journal reported on its website that executives at Twitter have held "low level" talks with executives at Facebook and Google in recent months about a possible takeover of Twitter.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the WSJ said other companies have also held similar talks.

"But what's remarkable is the money that people familiar with the matter say frames the discussions with at least some potential suitors; an estimated valuation in the neighborhood of $8 billion to $10 billion," the report said.

The paper said the talks have so far gone nowhere and that Google, Facebook and Twitter all declined to comment.

Despite the valuation, the report said Twitter's executives and board were working on building a large, independent company.

CAIRO (AP) -- The Egyptian government has made clear it believes a chief culprit stoking the anti-government protests roiling the country is pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera.

Security forces have detained, and later released, at least nine Al-Jazeera correspondents since the protests erupted last month. Authorities have banned its Arabic and English language channels from broadcasting and revoked the press credentials of all of its journalists. The channel has continued to report despite the restrictions.

Pro-government thugs set the Qatar-based network's Cairo offices ablaze last week, along with the equipment inside, as part of a broad pattern of attacks on journalists covering the unrest.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says it has confirmed the detention of at least 71 journalists through Monday. All have been released except for Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil. Foreign journalists also have faced harassment.

The network has won accolades from many around the globe for its near round-the-clock coverage of the unprecedented unrest in Egypt, and seen a spike in interest in its report from U.S. viewers. But it has collided head-on with Egyptian authorities, who have sought to portray the broadcaster - the Arab world's most popular - as a malevolent force fueling the unrest.

Egypt's newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman, told Egyptian newspaper editors on Tuesday that "certain satellite channels" are provoking the protesters and insulting Egypt.

A week earlier, Suleiman said: "I blame some friendly countries who own unfriendly channels that have fueled the youth against the country by lying and showing the situation as worse than it is."

(CNN) -- The number of people killed in Egypt's protests against President Hosni Mubarak could be two or even three times higher than previously estimated, a human rights activist on the ground warned Thursday.

Human Rights Watch has confirmed about 300 deaths, said Hossam Bahgat of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. But independent researchers have not been able to get information from many places, he said.

"We can definitely say that the most conservative number is 300. It could be twice or three times, if not more," he said in a telephone briefing with journalists.

Human rights activists have been visiting hospitals and morgues to try to get an accurate count, especially after a particularly brutal round of violence January 28-29, he said.

But there are many places where they have not been able to reach, or where they found officials unwilling to give them information, he said.

Tom Porteous of Human Rights Watch advised against focusing exclusively on the number killed.

"A death toll by itself does not give an indication of the abuses that took place," he said in the same briefing. "The number of people who died from close range shooting is an indication that there is a need for investigation."
Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Thousands of people packed Cairo's Tahrir Square Thursday night, cheering, whistling and clapping at news that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak may soon announce he is stepping down.

The rain earlier in the day failed to dampen the spirits of the crowd as darkness fell.

Families streamed into the square and one man, entering for what he said was the first time since the protests began January 25, said he wouldn't leave.

"It's definitely a feel of celebration but also anxiousness, and not knowing what this announcement will actually say," said Gigi Ibrahim, a protester in the square. "Nevertheless, it will be a huge victory for revolution, which is demanding for Mubarak to step down as a first demand. And if that actually happens, it would be an amazing, amazing victory."

Drums and music played as a lone protester stood on a pole above the crowd waving two Egyptian flags and holding his fingers up in a sign of victory.

There was still a note of caution, however. A man on a loudspeaker, addressing hundreds in his corner of the square, promised not to leave until the protesters' demands have been met they receive an official statement from the regime.

Ibrahim also said the protests would continue until a new regime -- not just a new president -- is in place.

"I really believe that until then, those protests, whether they're at Tahrir or outside of Tahrir, they will not stop and they will continue," she said.
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's embattled government scrambled Thursday to raise new funds while investors braced for a potential drubbing on the stock market as uncertainty mounted over the country's political future.

Just three days after it auctioned off 13 billion pounds in Treasury bills and found only domestic buyers interested, the Central Bank launched another offer on Thursday for 3.5 billion in six month bills. A third auction of three-month T-bills was slated for Feb. 13, the same day as the Egyptian Exchange was to reopen after a two-week closure.

It's a day about which few feel comfortable, especially after the exchange's benchmark index shot down about 17 percent in two sessions before the start of the weekend on Jan. 28 brought the rout to a temporary halt. It hasn't reopened since.

"The market is going to decline," said Wael Ziada, head of Egypt research at the Cairo-based investment bank EFG-Hermes. "There is no doubt that there is some pressure, and it's been building up ever since the market has been closed."

Egypt's military announced Thursday on national television that it stepped in to "safeguard the country" and assured protesters that President Hosni Mubarak will meet their demands in the strongest indication yet that the longtime leader has lost power. In Washington, the CIA chief said there was a "strong likelihood" Mubarak will step down Thursday.

Even if Mubarak stands down, any successor will have to deal with problems that have accumulated over decades and include widespread poverty, low wages, rampant corruption and a weak industrial base.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- CIA Director Peon Panetta says U.S. intelligence indicates that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is on his way out.

Panetta tells Congress that his information indicates the U.S.-backed strongman could be out by Thursday night. He says there is a "high likelihood" of that.

Panetta did not say exactly how the CIA reached that conclusion. He says Mubarak's exit would be "significant" in moving Egypt to an "orderly transition" of power.

Egypt's military announced on national television that it has stepped in to "safeguard the country" and assured protesters that Mubarak will meet their demands.

That's the strongest indication yet that the longtime leader has lost power.

At the White House, spokesman Robert Gibbs said the situation was "fluid."
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's military announced on national television that it stepped in to "safeguard the country" and assured protesters that President Hosni Mubarak will meet their demands in the strongest indication yet that the longtime leader has lost power. In Washington, the CIA chief said there was a "strong likelihood" Mubarak will step down Thursday.

The dramatic announcement showed that the military was taking control after 17 days of protests demanding Mubarak's immediate ouster spiraled out of control.

Footage on state TV showed Defense Minster Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi chairing a meeting of around two dozen top stern-faced army officers, seated around a table. Not at the meeting were Mubarak, the military commander in chief, or his vice president Omar Suleiman, a former army general and intelligence chief named to his post after the protests erupted Jan. 25. That could be a sign that Suleiman, as well, was being pushed out of power.

Gen. Hassan al-Roueini, military commander for the Cairo area, told thousands of protesters in central Tahrir Square, "All your demands will be met today." Some in the crowd held up their hands in V-for-victory signs, shouting "the people want the end of the regime" and "Allahu akbar," or "God is great," a victory cry used by secular and religious people alike.

Tantawi was heading a meeting of the military's supreme council. Its spokesman read a statement on state TV announcing its "support of the legitimate demands of the people."

He prepared Prince William's favorite meals at Kensington Palace and served Fergie strawberries and cream on her wedding day. So what does former royal chef Darren McGrady expect to see on the April 29 wedding menu?

McGrady, who served as Senior Chef at Buckingham Palace and later worked in the kitchen at Kensington Palace for the remainder of Princess Diana's life, expects a mix of traditional English fare and Prince William and Kate Middleton's favorites.

Immediately following the 11 a.m. ceremony, guests will be invited back to Buckingham Palace for a wedding breakfast of champagne, canapes and heavy h'ors d'oeuvres, such as smoked salmon, pate and mini sausage rolls which were, "always popular at the Palace -- one of the first to go," notes McGrady.

He also expects a somewhat simpler spread than those featured at royal weddings past, like Charles and Di's. "The royal family will not want to be seen as going backwards and actually having a big, seven-course meal with a soup course and a fish course," he says. "They will want to make it more modern."

As such, theirs will be a simpler meal, perhaps like the one served at Prince Edward's June 1999 wedding to Sophie Rhys-Jones.

At the evening dinner and dancing reception, a smaller group of family, close friends and visiting heads of state will be treated to a more substantial buffet, McGrady predicts. "They like to showcase British food, so there might be Gaelic steaks with braised rice. But I wouldn't be surprised if cottage pie is somewhere on the menu."

That dish, made of ground beef in a brown sauce and topped with creamy mashed potatoes and melted cheese, "was William's all-time favorite," he says.
The nation's head intelligence official says terrorism is the top national security threat facing the U.S. homeland, and job No. 1 for the intelligence community.

In remarks to a House committee Thursday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said al-Qaida's core in Pakistan and its offshoots continue to be damaged by U.S. counterterrorism efforts. He says intelligence cooperation has averted potentially deadly attacks over the past year, like the package bombs sent on two U.S.-bound cargo planes.

But Clapper says al-Qaida's offshoots in Yemen and Somalia will probably grow stronger.

He said the intelligence committee also is focused on the protests in Egypt, and the unrest across the Arab world, fending off criticism that intelligence officials had missed signs of looming turmoil there.
Most consumers think haggling is only appropriate when buying tchotkes at a street fair or facing off against a used-car dealer. But why not negotiate the cost of medical procedures? Or a new Sub-Zero refrigerator? If you're not paying less than sticker price for these and other goods and services, you're leaving money -- and often lots of it -- on the table. "Everything is negotiable," says Stuart Diamond, adjunct professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and author of "Getting More: How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World." "All you have to do is ask."

With that philosophy in mind, follow these tips to negotiate the best possible deal on 6 common fees and expenses:
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A Minnesota nurse who was supposed to sedate a patient before surgery instead took most of the painkillers for herself and told the patient to "man up" - giving him such a small dose of medication that he was writhing in pain on the operating table, according to criminal charges.

Sarah May Casareto, 33, of Forest Lake, was charged Wednesday with one count of theft of a controlled substance, a felony. She allegedly told officers she was addicted to pain medications.

According to the complaint, a man, identified only by his initials, went to Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis on Nov. 8 to have kidney stones surgically removed. Part of the procedure involves inserting a tube into the patient's back and down into the kidney.

Before the surgery, a doctor told the patient he wouldn't feel pain. Patients are normally heavily sedated or asleep during the procedure.

But Casareto, a nurse anesthetist, allegedly told the man "you're gonna have to man up here and take some of the pain because we can't give you a lot of medication," the complaint said.

During surgery, the patient told doctors he was experiencing the worst pain, describing the feeling as "very long needles going through my skin and down into my kidney," the complaint said. The patient said he could feel someone holding him down, and heard one person ask about using restraints.

(Reuters) - New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a 2-1/2 year-year low last week, offering assurance that the labor market was strengthening despite January's poor jobs numbers.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 383,000, the lowest since early July 2008, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 410,000. The prior week's figure was revised up to 419,000, from the previously reported 415,000.

"Anecdotally, we do hear that there is some improvement on the jobs front and this is another indication of that," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York.

U.S. stock index futures slightly pared losses, while government bond futures extended losses. The dollar extended gains versus the yen and the euro.

The data, coming on the heels of Friday's report showing the economy created a paltry 36,000 jobs in January, added to other employment indicators that have pointed to a gain in momentum in the labor market.

Initial claims breached the 400,000 mark and economists say a sustained move below that level would signal strong job growth.

A Labor Department official said claims were still unwinding some of the weather effects that pushed up applications last month.

The four-week moving average of unemployment claims -- a better measure of underlying trends - dropped 16,000 to 415,500 last week.
Maureen O'Connor — Married GOP Congressman Sent Sexy Pictures to Craigslist BabeMarried GOP Congressman Sent Sexy Pictures to Craigslist BabeRep. Christopher Lee is a married Republican congressman serving the 26th District of New York. But when he trolls Craigslist's "Women Seeking Men" forum, he's Christopher Lee, "divorced" "lobbyist" and "fit fun classy guy." One object of his flirtation told us her story.

On the morning of Friday, January 14, a single 34-year-old woman put an ad in the "Women for Men" section of Craigslist personals. "Will someone prove to me not all CL men look like toads?" she asked, inviting "financially & emotionally secure" men to reply.
(CNN) -- Hispanics in the United States are less likely than whites to access the internet, have a home broadband connection or own a cell phone, according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center released Wednesday.

The study found that differences in educational level and income are likely behind the digital gap, as the divide in most cases disappears when adjusted for those two factors.

Latinos also lag behind African-Americans in home broadband access but have similar rates of internet and cell phone use, the study found.

While about two-thirds of Hispanic and African-American adults went online in 2010, more than three-fourths of white adults did so, the study found. As for broadband use at home, the gap between Hispanics and whites is significant, the study says.
Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Students protested Thursday at the site of a massive anti-government demonstration a week ago, calling for more opportunities for young people.

About 100 protesters gathered outside the gates of Sanaa University for the student-led demonstration. Many Facebook groups called for Thursday's protest.

In addition to students, some human rights activists attended the protest. Local residents also turned out to express solidarity with the message to the government that they must do more to turn around the economic situation in Yemen and for those in power to work on behalf of the Yemeni people.

"I'm 27 years old, (and I) have nothing, nothing for the future," a protester named Yaser said. "I'm single, frustrated in this country. ...I don't know what exactly the future will be with this bad situation."

Yaser said he holds 15 different certificates from Sanaa University, including one that attests to his English-speaking skills, but still is unable to find a job. He is a graduate of the school's history department.

A current student studying business management, Alaa, held up a sign that simply said, "Facebook." He's part of a Facebook group that started up a week ago that calls for change and mobilizes protests. There are several such online groups.
(CNN) -- So, the Packers won the Super Bowl, but fans of mixed martial arts can't stop talking about how Anderson Silva took down Vitor Belfort in an Ultimate Fighting Championship title match with a single kick.

The Brazilian fighters started off relatively lightly, circling each other for the first minute of Saturday night's bout. Belfort briefly took Silva down, but the UFC middleweight champion bounced right back up. Suddenly, Silva threw a left front kick to the jaw that knocked Belfort to the mat, and then threw a couple of punches that seemed almost unnecessary to end the match against the dazed fighter.

The highly anticipated fight lasted less than 3½ minutes.

Belfort, saying he is "doing great," spoke with CNN after attending his 6-year-old son's birthday party in Las Vegas, Nevada, and talked about the blow he described as "one kick in a million."

"Your brain kind of slows down," he said. "The kick landed pretty hard, but this type of kick, it's more like a pushing kick right under my chin, it took me right out of my balance," he said.

Fighting experts say it's uncommon for a front kick to have so much impact. After the fight, Silva credited action-movie actor Steven Seagal with helping him perfect the move.

Belfort says he never lost consciousness, but "for a split second, I was a little bit out," and the fight was stopped because he couldn't defend himself once on the ground. Unlike boxing, where participants are given to the count of 10 to recover, UFC matches are ended on a "technical knockout" as soon as a fighter cannot defend himself.
The rich, preppy Connecticut mom of 17-year-old Eliza Kruger -- who said she "hooked up" with star Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez after meeting him at a Manhattan nightclub -- "likes to party" on occasion with her sexy daughter, sources said yes terday.

"Eliza has been going to clubs since she was 15, sometimes with her mom," blond Greenwich divorcée Marie McCormick Kruger, a night life source told The Post.

"A lot of the club guys in the city know her mom well," the source said.

Eliza said she "hooked up" with Sanchez, 24, at his New Jersey home several days after meeting him on New Year's Eve at the Manhattan nightclub Lavo, according to Deadspin.com, which did not identify her by name.

The Web site also posted photos of a mussed-up bed and rooms featuring football-related memorabilia that the Greenwich HS senior reportedly offered as "proof" of her get-together with the hunky Sanchez. And they quoted Eliza as saying that Sanchez, after that tryst, sometimes sent her text messages as late as 2 a.m. asking her if she was out, even on school nights.

In downtown Old Greenwich yesterday, Eliza told The Post, "I really have nothing to say, I can't talk about it," when asked about her rendezvous with Sanchez. She looked ready to cry when asked if she regretted talking to Deadspin.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil prices are falling slightly on the expectation that crude supplies will continue to grow in the U.S.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 8 cents Thursday to $86.63 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude fell 21 cents to $102.11 on the ICE Futures exchange.

The drop follows reports on Wednesday that OPEC has cranked up oil production to a two-year high while crude supplies grew in the U.S. Analysts also said oil demand will slide further as U.S. refineries purge supplies of winter fuels and prepare to produce blends for warmer weather.

(Mashable) -- The premiere plastic guitar game just flamed out. Activision, beset by falling sales, has decided to shutter the division that created "Guitar Hero" and its sequels.

It's an ignominious exit for a title that was once touted as the first great game franchise of the 21st century. "Guitar Hero" was created in 2005 by indie studio RedOctane, in collaboration with Harmonix, which had previously found success with the "Karaoke Revolution" franchise.

"Karaoke Revolution," where players plugged microphones into their consoles and were scored on the accuracy of their singing, was the first game to show a significant number of videogamers were interested in making "music." RedOctane's "Guitar Hero" proved they were equally interested in shredding a plastic guitar.

Activision purchased the franchise in 2006 for $100 million; to date it has shipped more than 25 million units for a roughly $2 billion ROI. "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" made $1 billion on its own. Harmonix went on to publish the highly successful "Rock Band" franchise, which added drums, microphones and keyboards to the plastic guitar mix.

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama's spokesman listed Wednesday specific steps the Egyptian government needs to take to satisfy the demands of protesters convulsing the country.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called for expanding he negotiations with opposition groups, lifting the state of emergency and making constitutional changes to bring about democratic elections.

"We think more has to be done, and more importantly, I think the people of Egypt think more has to be done," Gibbs told reporters.

In a sign of increasing tension between the United States and Egypt over the demonstrations that began January 25, Egypt's foreign minister said in a U.S. television interview that the Obama administration should back off from pushing President Hosni Mubarak to speed up the reform process.

"When you speak about prompt, immediate, now," Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told PBS "NewsHour," it is "as if you are imposing on a great country like Egypt, a great friend that has always maintained the best of relationship with the United States, you are imposing your will on him."

Aboul Gheit said the U.S. government should "better understand the Egyptian sensitivities and better encourage the Egyptians to move forward and to do what is required -- that is my advice to you."

In particular, he rejected the call for lifting the state of emergency that has been in place for three decades, saying the special security powers were needed now that thousands of prisoners had been freed during the chaos of the demonstrations.

"How can you ask me to sort of disband that emergency law while I'm in difficulty?" Aboul Gheit said. "Give me time, allow me to have control to stabilize the nation, to stabilize the state and then we would look into the issue."