Sunday, February 27, 2011

The United States is pressing its European allies to set tough sanctions on the Libyan government, to turn up the heat on Moammar Gadhafi and convince his remaining loyalists to abandon the regime, U.S. officials said. The Obama administration also declared it stood ready to aid Libyans seeking to oust their longtime leader.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will make the administration's case for stronger action to foreign ministers from Britain, France, Germany and Italy when she holds a series of high-level talks Monday in this Swiss city.

Clinton will also look to coordinate future U.S. sanctions on Gadhafi's government with senior officials from Russia, Australia and the European Union so that the international community presents unified opposition to the attacks that have killed hundreds of people in the North African country, senior administration officials said Sunday.

They spoke after Clinton said the U.S. could offer "any type of assistance" to anti-Gadhafi Libyans organizing in the east of the country, though she made no mention of any U.S. military help to a provisional government that is organizing or of a no-fly zone over the country - as called for by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut independent.
Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi seemed increasingly cornered Sunday as security forces defected to the opposition in a town near the capital and the United Nations Security Council voted for tough restrictions on and possible war crimes charges against the Libyan regime.

Former security forces said they had switched sides and joined the opposition in Zawiya, a town about 55 kilometers (35 miles) from the capital, Tripoli. Some buildings in Zawiya showed signs of damage, including a freshly burned-out police station.

CNN's Nic Robertson, on a government-organized trip to Zawiya, saw armed civilians taking defensive positions on rooftops to prepare for a possible effort by Gadhafi loyalists to retake the town.

About 2,000 people took part in an anti-government protest there, some standing atop tanks or holding anti-aircraft guns. They said they wanted the government overthrown, calling Gadhafi a "bloodsucker."

Later in the day, CNN witnessed two smaller pro-government rallies that had apparently been organized by government officials for international journalists to see, Robertson reported.

The opposition now controls several Libyan cities after weeks of protests inspired by demonstrations that toppled longtime leaders in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt.

Gadhafi criticized the U.N. Security Council resolution Sunday, telling private Serbian station Pink TV by phone that council members "took a decision based on media reports that are based abroad."

He added, "If the Security Council wants to know about something, they should have sent a fact-finding committee."
Convicted Ponzi king Bernie Madoff persuaded his son Andrew not to leave his securities firm in 2005, although he himself desperately wanted to escape what had become a massive scheme, according to a new report.

The tense relationship between Madoff and his younger son was one of the revelations in a prison interview published yesterday in New York magazine.

Andrew wanted to pursue his own venture, but his father got him to stay -- an act of "deep selfishness" Madoff admitted since he knew the firm would ultimately collapse.

Madoff said his epic $65 billion Ponzi scheme started in "earnest" in the early 1990s by borrowing from his investors' capital to maintain high returns, and blames his largest clients for not figuring it out.

"The chairman of Banco Santander came down to see me, the chairman of Credit Suisse came down, chairman of UBS came down.

"I wouldn't give them any facts, like how much volume I was doing. I was not willing to have them come up and do the due diligence they wanted. I absolutely refused to do it. I said, 'You don't like it, take your money out,' which, of course, they never did."

He further casted blame onto the victims by saying "everyone was greedy."

"Look, none of my clients, even if they lost every penny they put in there, can plead poverty.

"I'm sure it's a traumatic experience to some, but I made a lot of money for people," he insisted.
A 5-month-old boy was laid to rest Monday at the first funeral for victims of New Zealand's devastating earthquake, as the death toll rose to 148 and the government said the economic cost could be $15 billion.

Dozens of family and friends gathered at a small chapel in the stricken city of Christchurch for Baxtor Gowland, who was sleeping at home when he was struck by masonry shaken loose by the magnitude 6.3 quake last Tuesday. He died in a hospital, the family said in a statement read to The Associated Press by the child's great-uncle, Peter Croft.

Inside the chapel, a slideshow of the smiling infant's photographs flashed on a screen, as Sarah McLachlan's song "Angel" echoed throughout the room.

"We have all been thankful of the support and good wishes expressed from New Zealand and around the world," Croft said, his voice shaking with emotion as he read the statement. "However, we would like to think that today is for family and friends so that we can farewell Baxtor with peace and dignity."
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — India’s economic growth slowed to 8.2% in the last three months of 2010 from the year-earlier period, as the manufacturing sector was held back in the wake of multiple interest-rate increases by the central bank amid rising prices.

The expansion was below the 8.6% growth estimated in a survey of economists by Reuters, and also lagged the 8.9% increase recorded in the previous quarter ended Sept. 30.

The agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors, which together employ a majority of India’s workforce, grew as much as 8.9% during the latest quarter, due to a sharp increase in the production of coarse cereals and pulses, according to official data released Monday.

But the manufacturing sector lagged behind, growing at a relatively modest 5.6% during the period.

The slowdown came after the Reserve Bank of India raised its benchmark lending rates in seven equal installments of 0.25 percentage point since the beginning of 2010 to check rising prices.

Indian stocks and the rupee advanced, however, as investors awaited details of the federal budget for the new fiscal year beginning April 1, 2011.

The 30-stock Sensitive Index, or Sensex /quotes/comstock/29m!sensex (XX:SENSEX 17,790, +88.98, +0.50%) , rose 1.4% to 17,940.16, while the U.S. dollar /quotes/comstock/21o!2220413 (USDINR 45.1800, -0.0750, -0.1657%) slipped to 45.21 rupees from 45.32 rupees the previous session.

Varahabhotla Phani Kumar is a reporter in MarketWatch's Hong Kong bureau.
David Miliband has made a rare intervention into frontline British politics to warn David Cameron his recent attack on state multiculturalism risks pushing people with concerns about race and immigration into "latent hostility or active enmity".

In a Guardian article, the former foreign secretary says the prime minister's "muscular liberalism" offers little to people who are craving what he calls a "greater sense of security" in an ever changing world.

Miliband, defeated by his brother Ed for the Labour leadership last year, makes his criticism of the PM as he endorses a report by the Searchlight Educational Trust into race, multiculturalism and identity. The report, in which 5,000 people were surveyed by the Populus polling organisation, found Britain is now divided into what it called six social "tribes":

• Confident multiculturalists, comprising 8% of the population, who are most likely to be graduates and entirely comfortable with Britain's multicultural society.

• Mainstream liberals, 16% of the population, who are educated and "see immigration as a net benefit" to Britain and only differ from the first group in their enthusiasm about multiculturalism, according to the report.

• Identity ambivalents, 28% of the population, who come from less affluent backgrounds and include black minority ethnic groups. "They are more likely to be working class, to live in social housing and to view immigration through the prism of its economic impact on their opportunities and the social impact on their communities," the report says. This group tend to identify with Labour.

Wildfires sweeping across West Texas have destroyed dozens of homes and forced hundreds of evacuations, and heavy smoke is being blamed for a fatal eight-vehicle accident.

The Texas Forest Service reported late Sunday that fires have blackened nearly 88,000 acres and destroyed 58 homes from the Texas Panhandle to the southern plains.

Agency fire operations chief Mark Stanford says gusty winds fueling the fires aren't expected to diminish overnight.

The largest fire burned 30,000 acres northeast of Amarillo, destroying 27 homes. The only injury reported was a firefighter who suffered second-degree burns during a blaze near Colorado City, about 240 miles west of Dallas.

Heavy smoke from a wildfire near Midland shrouded a local highway and was blamed for the accident that killed a 5-year-old girl. Two others were injured.
Thailand's Department of Special Investigation said Monday that a Reuters cameraman killed during political protests in Bangkok last year does not appear to have been shot by security forces, a reversal from preliminary findings that raised immediate questions about the inquiry.

In its long-delayed report into the April 10 death of Japanese journalist Hiro Muramoto, the DSI said the bullet that killed him was fired from an AK-47 rifle, which is a different weapon than those used by soldiers.

"Our investigation clearly shows that the military did not use AK-47s in their operations," DSI director-general Tharit Pengdith told a news conference. The agency is roughly the equivalent of the FBI in the United States.

Tharit, however, declined to say whether the report absolved soldiers of Muramoto's death, saying only that the finding was one piece of evidence in an ongoing investigation. The DSI report will be forwarded to the Metropolitan Police Bureau, "which might have additional evidence that could make the case clearer," he said.

A preliminary DSI finding leaked to Reuters late last year said the bullet that hit Muramoto came from an M16 rifle fired from the direction of soldiers during a chaotic clash with the so-called Red Shirt anti-government protesters, a group formally known as the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, or UDD.

I have lost a little weight recently and found myself in dire need of clothes that fit. Turns out my neck size has shrunk by an inch….an inch! As with most men of a certain age, I strolled my browser to Nordstrom’s to pick-up a couple of trusty, boring white dress shirts. Within a few clicks, I had tossed a couple of shirts in my shopping cart, and then decided to shop more. I mean, why not? I needed a new belt and slacks that fit, too.

So I popped back into the main site to shop, and to my surprise I was targeted with an amazing sale on women’s high heeled shoes. Yep, women’s shoes. Are you kidding?! I am shopping in the men’s section of the site — I even place a couple of men’s shirts into my shopping cart — and I get a promotion for women’s shoes. Nordstrom had the opportunity of having a simple conversation with me. They knew my context — heck, they even had my new neck size. So, why not assault me with an ad for a new belt? Smaller slacks? or Cufflinks to go with my French cuff shirts?

This is a classic issue facing companies today. As I surf the web with an air of focused defiance, I actually pivot from my trance; I take a detour; and I reach out to a company to have an interaction. And, in this case, Nordstrom wasn’t ready. They blew it. These are precisely the critical marketing moments that companies MUST be prepared for, if they are going to be successful marketing on line. If they squander the opportunity to have a customer conversation, they risk losing revenue or worse a customer.
As much competition as there is at the Academy Awards, Oscar night on Twitter is far more cacophonous.

Social network traffic soars during the Oscars, as viewers compare notes on the broadcast. The Academy Awards might be "movie's biggest night," but it's also social media's.

Multitasking co-host James Franco tweeted from backstage. Mark Ruffalo, nominated for best supporting actor in "The Kids Are All Right," even tweeted his acceptance speeches hours before the ceremony, listing his thank-you's since he didn't expect to win.

But Twitter is ultimately for the onlookers, outsiders and comedians. Here are 10 of the best Oscar tweets from Sunday night:

— "Is it me or does it look like James Franco would cut his arm off to get out of hosting the Oscars?" — comedian Kevin Nealon

— "Watching the Oscars. Not crazy about the womb Natalie Portman's baby chose to wear." — late-night host Conan O'Brien

— "I might switch over to the Puppy Bowl." — comedian Rob Huebel

— "And now, Gwyneth Paltrow, in a tribute to the saying 'Don't Quit Your Day Job.'" — comedian Andy Borowitz
China's population grew to 1.34 billion people last year, the National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday, marking a modest jump for a massive population and leading experts to suggest China may relax its generation-old one-child policy.

The figure of 1.3410, which is preliminary and based on a sample survey, shows China added about 6.3 million people last year, up from 1.3347 billion at the end of 2009. A more accurate figure is expected to be released within the next few months after the government tallies the results of its 2010 census, the first in 10 years.

The number indicates a slower rate of growth than the previous year and experts said the decline in growth could help convince policy makers to relax the government's strict family planning limits.

Since 1981, the government has limited families in cities to one child and rural parents to two to control its population.

"China's population now is mainly growing because people are living longer, not because people are having lots of babies," said Cai Yong, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an expert on China's population.

Cai said the figure reported on the National Bureau of Statistics website wasn't surprising but fell on the low end of the government's expectations. It could embolden policy makers to experiment with loosening the family planning policy to allow couples in a handful of provinces to have two children if they want, he said.

Unknown (2011)

Movie Info

Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Synopsis: Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) awakens after a car accident in Berlin to discover that his wife (January Jones) suddenly doesn't recognize him and... Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) awakens after a car accident in Berlin to discover that his wife (January Jones) suddenly doesn't recognize him and another man (Aidan Quinn) has assumed his identity. Ignored by disbelieving authorities and hunted by mysterious assassins, he finds himself alone, tired and on the run. Aided by
an unlikely ally (Diane Kruger), Martin plunges headlong into a deadly mystery that will force him to question his sanity, his identity, and just how far he's willing to go to uncover the truth. -- (C) WB More
Rated: PG-13 [See Full Rating] for some intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sexual content
Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.
In Theaters: Feb 18, 2011 Wide
US Box Office:$42.8M
Distributor:Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra
Written By: Stephen Cornwell, Oliver Butcher

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he won't cave into union and Democratic demands he compromise on his effort to curb employee benefit programs. He also vows he won't "kick the can down the street" when it comes to dealing with his state's fiscal woes.

Appearing Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory, Walker laid out his plan to save his state from fiscal bankruptcy while destroying several false claims about his legislation that is being delayed by Senate Democrats who refuse to appear for a final vote.

Among the significant issues covered during his "Meet the Press" interview, Walker:

Denied he is destroying public employee unions.

His proposed law still allows public employee unions to exist and engage in collective bargaining for their wages. The state denies the unions the use of collective bargaining to seek pension and health benefits.
State media in China say virtually all 30,000 Chinese citizens living in Libya have left the turbulent North African country.

The official Xinhua News Agency says the vast majority of the almost 29,000 Chinese who have departed so far are taking shelter in third countries. Monday's report cites Foreign Ministry sources.

Thousands of Chinese have traveled overland to neighboring Tunisia and Egypt, while others have been taken by chartered ferry to Greece and Malta.

Chinese, most working in the construction and oil industries, make up one of the largest blocs of foreign workers in Libya.

Magnitude 4.7 - ARKANSAS

Earthquake Details
  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Magnitude 4.7
Location 35.265°N, 92.344°W
Depth 3.8 km (2.4 miles)
  • 6 km (4 miles) NE (46°) from Greenbrier, AR
  • 7 km (4 miles) S (187°) from Guy, AR
  • 9 km (6 miles) SE (128°) from Twin Groves, AR
  • 22 km (14 miles) NNE (27°) from Conway, AR
  • 59 km (37 miles) N (359°) from Little Rock, AR
  • 418 km (260 miles) SSW (207°) from St. Louis, MO
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.6 km (0.4 miles); depth +/- 0.7 km (0.4 miles)
Parameters NST= 14, Nph= 20, Dmin=3 km, Rmss=0.18 sec, Gp= 68°,

M-type=centroid moment magnitude (Mw), Version=B
Event ID nm022811a
Frank Buckles, who lied about his age to get into uniform during World War I and lived to be the last surviving U.S. veteran of that war, has died. He was 110.

Buckles, who also survived being a civilian POW in the Philippines in World War II, died peacefully of natural causes early Sunday at his home in Charles Town, biographer and family spokesman David DeJonge said in a statement. Buckles turned 110 on Feb. 1 and had been advocating for a national memorial honoring veterans of the Great War in Washington, D.C.

When asked in February 2008 how it felt to be the last of his kind, he said simply, "I realized that somebody had to be, and it was me." And he told The Associated Press he would have done it all over again, "without a doubt."

On Nov. 11, 2008, the 90th anniversary of the end of the war, Buckles attended a ceremony at the grave of World War I Gen. John Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery.

"I can see what they're honoring, the veterans of World War I," he told CNN.

He was back in Washington a year later to endorse a proposal to rededicate the existing World War I memorial on the National Mall as the official National World War I Memorial. He told a Senate panel it was "an excellent idea." The memorial was originally built to honor District of Columbia's war dead.

Born in Missouri in 1901 and raised in Oklahoma, Buckles visited a string of military recruiters after the United States entered the "war to end all wars" in April 1917. He was repeatedly rejected before convincing an Army captain he was 18. He was 16 1/2.

"A boy of (that age), he's not afraid of anything. He wants to get in there," Buckles said.

Details for services and arrangements will be announced later this week. The family asks that donations be made to the National World War One Legacy Project. The project is managed by the nonprofit Survivor Quest and will educate students about Buckles and WWI through a documentary and traveling educational exhibition.

Fever phobia is rampant among parents of young children, according to a myth-busting American Academy of Pediatrics report that advises against treatment every time a kid's temperature inches up.

"There's a lot of parental anxiety about fever. It's one of the most common reasons people bring their child to the doctor," said Dr. Henry Farrar, co-author of the report and an emergency room pediatrician at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Most often, kids' fevers are caused by viruses and they will go away without medicine and without causing any damage.

Parents tend to overtreat fevers, even waking up sleeping kids to give them fever-reducing medicine, Farrar said.

"If they're sleeping, let them sleep," he said.

There is no hard proof that untreated fevers lead to seizures or brain damage; there's also no evidence that lowering fevers reduces illness, according to the report which focused on children older than 3 months.

Temperatures lower than 100.4 degrees are not considered a fever. There's no harm in treating a true fever with over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen. And it makes sense to do so when the child is obviously feeling ill. But the No. 1 reason to use fever-reducing medicine is to make a sick child feel more comfortable, the authors said.

The report was released online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

It emphasizes that a fever is not an illness but rather a mechanism that helps fight infection. Fevers can slow the growth of viruses and bacteria, and enhance production of important immune-system cells.

The report doesn't recommend any temperature cutoffs for when to treat or call the doctor.

"The fact is, no one has ever been able to say that a fever below a certain point is not associated with a serious infection, or that a fever above a certain point is associated with a serious infection," Farrar said.
Brazilian police say 17 people were electrocuted during a freak accident during a large pre-Carnival parade.

Police say Monday that fireworks lit by partygoers caused a power line to fall on a tightly packed crowd dancing behind a large sound truck.

The accident happened late Sunday in the small town of Bandeiro do Sul in Minas Gerais state north of Rio.

Such street parties are common across Brazil and involve a crush of people following behind a sound truck as it belts out music.

A police spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorized to discuss the matter, said most of those killed on the street were hit directly by the downed power line.

He says dozens of others were hurt.

Carnival officially begins on Friday.
Jamal Crawford had 23 points, including a key 3-pointer with 1:36 left, and the Atlanta Hawks held off a late rally by the Portland Trail Blazers for a 90-83 victory on Sunday night.

Joe Johnson added 22 points and Atlanta led by as many as 23 in the sixth of a seven-game road trip. The Hawks are 3-3 on the trip, which wraps up Monday night in Denver.

Andre Miller led the Blazers with 20 points, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 19.

Josh Smith added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks.
Oil prices jumped to near $100 a barrel Monday in Asia as Libya's violent power struggle continued to disrupt crude output in the OPEC nation. Violent protests in Oman also raised fears political upheaval could impact other crude exporters.

Benchmark crude for April delivery was up $1.76 at $99.64 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 60 cents to settle at $97.88 on Friday.

In London, Brent crude for April delivery was up $2.20 to $114.34 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

As fighting between supporters and opponents of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi continued over the weekend, foreign oil companies scrambled to evacuate staff. The chaos in Libya's oil industry has cut production by at least 750,000 barrels daily, down from its normal capacity of 1.6 million barrels, the International Energy Agency reported late Friday.

Investors are worried that anti-government protests that have convulsed societies across North Africa and the Middle East this year could spread to other oil-rich countries.

On Sunday, riot police in Oman battled pro-democracy demonstrators, killing at least one person. In Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, more than 100 leading Saudi academics and activists have joined calls for King Abdullah to enact sweeping reforms, including relinquishing many powers under a constitutional monarchy.

Traders are also beginning to calculate how much rising fuel costs will undermine consumer spending and global economic growth.

"The King's Speech" was crowned best picture Sunday at an Academy Awards ceremony as precise as a state coronation. The monarchy drama won an expected four Oscars, and predictable favorites claimed acting honors.

Colin Firth as stammering British ruler George VI in "The King's Speech" earned the best-actor prize, while Natalie Portman won best actress as a delusional ballerina in "Black Swan."

The boxing drama "The Fighter" captured both supporting-acting honors, for Christian Bale as a boxer-turned-drug-abuser and Melissa Leo as a boxing clan's domineering matriarch.

"The King's Speech" also won the directing prize for Tom Hooper and the original-screenplay Oscar for David Seidler, a boyhood stutterer himself.

"I have a feeling my career has just peaked," Firth said. "I'm afraid I have to warn you that I'm experiencing stirrings somewhere in the upper abdominals which are threatening to form themselves into dance moves."

Among those Portman beat was Annette Bening for "The Kids Are All Right." Bening now has lost all four times she's been nominated.

"Thank you so much. This is insane, and I truly, sincerely wish that the prize tonight was to get to work with my fellow nominees. I'm so in awe of you," Portman said.

Network censors bleeped Leo for dropping the F-word during her speech. Backstage, she jokingly conceded it was "probably a very inappropriate place to use that particular word."

"Those words, I apologize to anyone that they offend. There is a great deal of the English language that is in my vernacular," Leo said.

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