Sunday, March 31, 2013

Oklahoma to allow horses to be slaughtered for meat

By Steve Olafson, Barbara Goldberg and Philip Barbara, Reuters

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma took a step toward allowing livestock owners to slaughter horses for food on Friday when the governor signed a bill that permits the practice, but processing plants must first be authorized by the federal government.

Governor Mary Fallin's action legalized the slaughter of horses so that their meat may be prepared and packaged for export. But slaughterhouses must get U.S. Department of Agriculture authorization, Fallin said.

The slaughter of horses for food had been illegal in Oklahoma since 1963 and was carried out only in Texas and Illinois until Congress stopped it in 2006. The congressional ban was lifted in 2011.

Fallin said horse slaughterhouses in Oklahoma would use more humane practices than those in Mexico because they would be inspected by federal authorities.

Horse meat was at the center of a scandal that erupted in Europe in January, when testing in Ireland revealed that some beef products also contained equine DNA.

The United States Humane Society and animal rights activists opposed the new law in Oklahoma, while livestock interests said the change preserves their private property rights and will benefit horse owners.


'Fraud on a massive scale': Europe's horse meat scandal keeps on growing

Why we don't eat horse meat: It's economics

Horse meat in the US? Unlikely, but tests are rare

Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


sequestration Van Cliburn Sequester Miami Heat Harlem Shake Harlem Shake Miami Heat stephen curry dr seuss

Gene Simmons says music can save a child's life

Gene Simmons, the lead singer of the rock band Kiss, makes an unannounced appearance at a fundraiser concert at the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy, Saturday, Mar. 30, 2013, in Sioux Falls, S.D. (AP Photo/Dirk Lammers)

Gene Simmons, the lead singer of the rock band Kiss, makes an unannounced appearance at a fundraiser concert at the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy, Saturday, Mar. 30, 2013, in Sioux Falls, S.D. (AP Photo/Dirk Lammers)

Gene Simmons, the lead singer of the rock band Kiss, makes an unannounced appearance at a fundraiser concert at the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy, Saturday, Mar. 30, 2013, in Sioux Falls, S.D. (AP Photo/Dirk Lammers)

(AP) ? Kiss frontman Gene Simmons made a surprise appearance at a Sioux Falls benefit concert Saturday, where he spoke of music's power to positively shape children's lives.

Simmons's appearance came on the final day of a week of concerts to benefit the music academy for Sioux Falls Boys & Girls Clubs members.

"This is about kids. We've had our chance. We've got to give them a chance. Anything that gets them off the street is a good thing," Simmons said.

Music, Simmons said, is self-empowering.

"It doesn't matter if you become a star. If you don't believe in yourself and get up on stage, everybody is watching. You can feel the power ... and it helps you get through life, especially when you're impressionable."

He said getting involved in music ? whether it's learning to play an instrument or sing karaoke ? improves social skills, too.

Motley Crue singer Vince Neil was also at Saturday's show, and he, too, expounded on the positive benefits of music.

"Say you finish your first song, it could be 'Mary Had a Little Lamb,' it doesn't matter, but at least it's something you've played," Neil said. "And I think for kids, they could go into a whole other direction because they accomplished something."

Neil said he was 10 when he first started taking guitar lessons.

"I was terrible," he said laughing. "That's why I'm not a guitarist. I went into the other direction."


Follow Kristi Eaton on Twitter at .

Associated Press


jon jones vs rashad evans earth day 2012 jon jones rashad evans ufc jones vs evans watergate mlb pregnant man

Rogue ex-cop's victim makes 1st public appearance

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) ? A Riverside police officer nearly killed in an ambush by rogue ex-cop Christopher Dorner made his first public appearance since the shooting, at an emotional dinner where he was greeted warmly by friends and admirers and shared a table with the wife of his late training officer.

Officer Andrew Tachias was sitting in his patrol car with Officer Michael Crain on Feb. 7 when Dorner pulled alongside them at a stoplight and opened fire.

Crain was killed. Tachias, who is still recovering, was shot eight times.

"I think he's like all of us. It's ups and downs," Crain's widow, Regina, said of Tachias. "One minute you're fine, and the next you are in a hole."

She added the dinner was the first time she and Tachias, 27, had met.

The officer, whose wounded hands were encased in protective coverings, has said he wants to return to work.

"I'm absolutely speechless for him to be back in this environment," said Officer Scott Levesque, who was among those at the event at Riverside's Original Roadhouse Grill.

The dinner capped a daylong fundraiser for the families of Tachias and Crain. It drew so many people that at one point, the restaurant ran out of silverware, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported (

Tachias, dressed in a gray and black striped hoodie and sporting a beard, was greeted with hugs when he arrived at about 8 p.m. and took a table with Crain's widow.

"To be close to the person who was with him last is comforting to me," Regina Crain said.

Crain's father also attended the event, along with Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz and Lt. Larry Gonzalez, the watch commander on duty when Crain and Tachias were attacked.

Dorner went on a rampage after he was fired by the Los Angeles Police Department for filing a false report.

He killed four people and wounded Tachias before committing suicide Feb. 12 after he was cornered in a mountain cabin near Big Bear Lake.

Authorities surrounded the cabin after a wild chase that began when Dorner tied up a couple and stole their car, crashed it and carjacked another vehicle at gunpoint, then crashed that one and fled to the cabin.


bestbuy gamestop black friday deals Sephora Cyber Monday 2012 detroit lions

Moms demonstrate for gun control, armed men stage counter-protest in Indiana (Washington Post)

Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics - Top Stories Stories, RSS Feeds and Widgets via Feedzilla.


tim tebow survivor snl peter frampton Sandy Hook Elementary School Colors Cassadee Pope Victoria Soto

With Alternative Offers From Blackstone & Icahn On The Table, Dell Filing Shows It Will Push Ahead With $24.4B Silver Lake Merger

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 5.15.25 PMDell announced today that it has filed its initial proxy materials with the SEC in connection with a merger agreement between Dell, its Chairman and CEO Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners. Under the terms of the deal, shareholders would received $13.65 in cash for each share of stock, which would be valued at about $24.4 billion.


detroit lions Thanksgiving Day cooking a turkey toysrus how to carve a turkey ipad 2 wal mart

Friday, March 29, 2013

Aging vehicles leave Toyota North America chief optimistic on new sales

By Ben Klayman

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp's top North American executive on Thursday voiced optimism about the U.S. economy, and said the aging cars and trucks in consumers' garages will continue to drive industry demand this year.

Jim Lentz, newly appointed chief executive of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, said the Japanese automaker sees U.S. industry new-car sales hitting 15.3 million this year, up from 14.5 million in 2012. Just six months ago, its 2013 forecast was for 14.7 million, but the company at the time believed talk of the fiscal cliff's impact would dampen the economy.

"We're cautiously optimistic about a growing economy, but there's still a lot of uncertainty that can derail the consumer's attitude," Lentz said in an interview after the New York Auto Show.

However, his fears are offset by consumers aging cars, which now average an all-time high of more than 11 years, and the improving mood of consumers as the housing and stock markets rise.

"When people can look at their 401ks and see that not only have they not fallen, but they are now starting to gain ... that is a real positive to overall consumer confidence," Lentz said.

Toyota should sell about 2.2 million cars and trucks under its three brands - Toyota, Lexus and Scion - this year, up from 2.08 million in 2012. The company is introducing nine new or updated vehicles this year.

Automakers are scheduled to report March U.S. sales on Tuesday and Lentz said Toyota expects the industry's annual sales rate to finish at about 15.4 million vehicles. That would mark the fifth straight month above the 15 million rate.

However, Toyota has no plans to revisit its full-year estimate at this point as Lentz said the company is forecasting the sales rate to slow to a range of 15.1 million to 15.2 million in the second quarter.

Lentz said a tightening of interest rates by the U.S. Federal Reserve would have a minimal impact this year and in 2014 on consumers, many of whom have monthly car payments.

"Whether you lease or whether you borrow money to buy a car, it's still all about the monthly payment," he said. "Right now, if you look at car payments relative to income, cars have probably never been cheaper even though the price of cars continues to go up. That monthly payment is still very fixed."

However, Lentz agreed that the high residual values that automakers are setting on their leased vehicles is not sustainable. He said Toyota is already adjusting its residual values going forward.

"In 2014-2015, this low, low lease party will come to an end," he said.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in New York; editing by Gunna Dickson)


Allyson Felix Kourtney Kardashian Baby Girl Ashton Eaton London 2012 basketball London 2012 Slalom Canoe Alex Morgan Misty May Treanor

BOJ chief says Japan economy on the mend

TOKYO (AP) ? Japan's economy has stopped weakening and should show signs of recovery by midyear, the newly appointed central bank governor said Thursday, as weaker-than-expected retail sales for February underscored the challenge he faces in restoring consumer confidence.

"The bank currently assesses that the economy has stopped weakening," Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda told lawmakers in presenting the bank's semiannual report. But he said there was still "a high degree of uncertainty" about the world's third-largest economy because of the crisis in Europe, the tenuous state of the U.S. recovery and often testy relations with China.

Kuroda has pledged to work with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government in achieving a 2 percent inflation target, preferably within two years, and ending years of growth-inhibiting deflation. However, the success of that program will hinge on ensuring that domestic demand is strong enough to spur investment and hiring by companies that are sitting on huge cash reserves.

It also requires moves by the government to cap the country's fast rising public debt ? the largest among advanced industrial nations ? and reassure markets that Japan finances will remain sound, Kuroda stressed.

"To avoid an increase in interest rates on the back of declining confidence in fiscal management, it is also important to take measures aimed at achieving fiscal consolidation in the medium to long term," he said. "We expect the government to take appropriate actions."

Exports, battered by feeble demand in the key U.S. and European markets and by anti-Japanese protests in China, appear to have stopped declining, Kuroda said, while private consumption has remained resilient.

"With regard to the outlook, the pick-up in Japan's economy is expected to become more evident around mid-2013," he said.

However, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, released Thursday, showed retail sales falling 2.3 percent from a year earlier in February, worse than the 1.2 percent drop forecast by most analysts. Sales rose 1.6 percent from the month before.

By boosting inflation, Japan's planners hope to persuade consumers to spend more now in anticipation of price increases in the future. That could prove a daunting challenge given a drop in real wages over the past two decades and a weak job market, said Susumu Takahashi, head of the Japan Research Institute and a member of a government economic advisory council.

The only way to achieve the inflation target within two years, he said, was to change expectations.

"The only way is for the deflationary way of thinking to change. Without that it will be very hard," he said.

After taking power late last year, Abe's administration embarked on an aggressive stimulus program of government spending, monetary easing and planned reforms aimed at improving Japan's competitiveness. Revised figures show Japan's economy likely emerged from a recession late last year, but other data has been mixed.

Kuroda said prices are unlikely to rise for the next few months but after that Japan would see some progress toward its inflation target as the economy moved toward a "moderate recovery path."

The central bank asset purchases and other strategies adopted so far have not been sufficient to reach the inflation target, he said, reiterating his intention to manage market expectations and "make clear that we have adopted the uncompromising stance that we will do whatever is necessary to overcome deflation."

Kuroda was appointed to succeed former BOJ governor Masaaki Shirakawa when he stepped down on March 19, three weeks before his term expired. The parliament is expected to approve his appointment to the five-year term, which is due to begin April 8.

The central bank is due to hold its first regular policy meeting under Kuroda April 3-4, when it may further boost its purchases of government bonds to help increase the amount of money available in the economy and encourage more investment by the private sector.


Rio de Janeiro Shark Week London 2012 closing ceremony Shark Week 2012 evelyn lozada UFC 150 Caster Semenya

Demi Lovato Will Return To 'X Factor'

'I couldn't be happier that Demi wants to come back this year,' Simon Cowell confirms in a statement.
By Jocelyn Vena

Demi Lovato
Photo: Albert L. Ortega/ Getty Images


detroit red wings jose canseco zimmerman derek fisher lyrid meteor shower hippocrates andrew breitbart

Pro-ject's Colorful Turntables Please Your Eyes and Your Ears

So you've decided to hop on the vinyl trend. You need a turntable. Pro-ject's candy hued Debut Carbon tables will appeal to both your eyes and your ears. More »


country music awards autism awareness angelman syndrome total recall troy tulowitzki katie couric good morning america the rock vs john cena

Ahmadinejad roadshow: Pitching his political heir

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ? During a celebration last week to mark the Persian new year, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did something quietly remarkable: He stood modestly to the side and let his favored aide have the spotlight.

The gesture was far more than just a rare demure moment from the normally grandstanding leader. It was more carefully scripted stagecraft in Ahmadinejad's longshot efforts to promote the political fortunes of his chief of staff ? and in-law ? and seek a place for him on the June presidential ballot that will pick Iran's next president.

In the waning months of Ahmadinejad's presidency ? weakened by years of internal battles with the ruling clerics ? there appears no bigger priority than attempting one last surprise. It's built around rehabilitating the image of Esfandiari Rahim Mashaei and somehow getting him a place among the candidates for the June 14 vote.

Mashaei has long been a close Ahmadinejad aide, and his daughter is married to the president's son ? a closeness that entails unquestionable loyalty, which is perhaps the main reason why Iran's clerical establishment is set against him.

To get Mashaei on the list of presidential contenders, Ahmadinejad must do what has eluded him so far: Come out on top in a showdown with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the other guardians of the Islamic Republic. Ahmadinejad has been slapped down hard after bold ? but ultimately doomed ? attempts in recent years to push the influence of his office on policies and decisions reserved for the ruling clerics.

That has left him limping into the end of his eight-year presidency with many allies either jailed or pushed to the political margins. Mashaei is part of the collateral damage.

But the aide has been discredited as part of a "deviant current" that critics say seeks to undermine Islamic rule in Iran and elevate the values of pre-Islamic Persia. The smear campaign has even included rumors that Mashaei conjured black magic spells to cloud Ahmadinejad's judgment.

The prevailing wisdom is that the backlash has effectively killed Mashaei's chances for the presidential ballot. The ruling clerics vet all candidates and, the theory follows, they seek a predictable slate of loyalists after dealing with Ahmadinejad's ambitions and disruptive power plays.

In short: Friends of Ahmadinejad need not apply.

Khamenei and others, including the powerful Revolutionary Guard, also are hoping to quell domestic political spats that they fear project a sense of instability during critical negotiations with the West over Tehran's nuclear program.

Yet none of this seems to have discouraged Ahmadinejad, who has been trying to groom Mashaei for years as his potential heir and now appears reluctant to toss his backing behind a less controversial figure.

To that end, the president has hit the road as a cheerleader for Mashaei under the slogan "Long Live Spring."

At one stop, Ahmadinejad described Mashaei as "a pious man." At another event he called him "excellent, wise," and at a third said his adviser has "a heart like a mirror."

At last week's event, both men burst into tears as they discussed the need to help children with cancer. Ahmadinejad then "thanked God for having the opportunity to get to know Mashaei."

Ahmadinejad appears to be banking on his populist appeal to force the Guardian Council ? the gatekeepers for the candidates ? to consider Mashaei too prominent to reject.

"Ahmadinejad doesn't want to go out with a whimper. That's not his style," said Mustafa Alani, an analyst at the Gulf Research Center based in Geneva. "He wants his legacy, his man, as his successor."

Tehran-based political analyst Sadeq Zibakalam also sees Mashaei as Ahmadinejad's last-ditch insurance policy. Without an ally as successor, Ahmadinejad fears he will be cast to the political sidelines.

"Ahmadinejad has no option but to get one of his loyalists into power," he said.

It will be more than a month before the candidate list is finalized. The presidential hopefuls will register from May 7-11, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported Monday.

Already, however, the general contours are taking shape.

There is Ahmadinejad's quest for Mashaei as the only active campaign roadshow.

Many conservatives, meanwhile, seem to be coalescing around a three-way alliance ? all apparently in the good graces of the ruling system ? of former Foreign Minister and current Khamenei adviser Ali Akbar Velayati; Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf and prominent lawmaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, whose daughter is married to Khamenei's son.

"Should we win, our coalition will form the backbone of the future government," Velayati told a press conference earlier this month, suggesting that the potential winner would seek key posts for the other two.

A separate roster of establishment-friendly candidates is getting bigger by the day. It includes former Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian; parliament's vice speaker, Mohammad Reza Bahonar, and a former Revolutionary Guard commander, Mohsen Rezaei, who ran against Ahmadinejad in his disputed re-election in 2009.

Reformists remain undecided whether to fall behind a potential candidate or boycott the vote in protest of the 2009 outcome ? which they claim stole the election from Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi ? and the crushing pressures on dissent that followed. Mousavi and fellow reformist candidate Mahdi Karroubi have been under house arrest for more than two years.

But the most unpredictable element is still Ahmadinejad's push for Mashaei, whom he bills as his ideological heir and supporter of populist initiatives such as government stipends to poor families.

"Ahmadinejad will travel city to city and tell the public that they should vote for me if they want Ahmadinejad's plans to be pursued," Mashaei was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

The president ? the same man who calls for the destruction of Iran's enemies ? is often musing and sentimental as Mashaei's pitchman.

"I testify that this man loves all human beings," Ahmadinejad said of his in-law.

Mashaei, however, has been a political lightning rod for years. In 2009, Ahmadinejad appointed him as his first vice president, but was forced to backtrack on orders from Khamenei.

Mashaei is believed to have been Ahmadinejad's adviser in a stunning feud with Khamenei over the choice of intelligence chief in 2011. The president boycotted Cabinet meetings for 11 days ? an unprecedented show of disrespect to Iran's supreme leader ? but finally backed down.

In December, Ahmadinejad named Mashaei to a top post in the Nonaligned Movement, a Cold War holdover that Iran seeks to revive as a counterweight to Western influence. The appointment was seen as an attempt to raise Mashaei's political profile and give him some international experience.

While it's not possible to rule out any candidate until the vetting process is complete, one conservative cleric gives Mashaei no chance.

"The exalted supreme leader ordered that Mashaei is not qualified to serve as first vice president." said Qasem Ravanbakhsh. "So will the Guardian Council approve for president a man was not qualified to be the first vice president? Never."


Murphy reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


sean young arrested matt kenseth bridge to nowhere primary results dale earnhardt jr michigan primary daytona 500 winner

Thursday, March 28, 2013

DOMA: Defense of Marriage Act up next at Supreme Court (Los Angeles Times)

Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics - Top Stories Stories, RSS and RSS Feed via Feedzilla.


jayhawks wwe wrestlemania oakland shooting mega millions winning numbers autism speaks ubaldo jimenez ncaa final

EBay CFO sees profit per share up 15 to 19 percent a year over next 3 years

By Martyn Herman LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) - Whether by design, necessity, self-interest or because of all three, nurturing youngsters has become fashionable for England's elite with no expense spared in the hunt for the new Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard. The length and breadth of the country, scouts from top clubs are hoovering up promising footballers barely old enough to tie their bootlaces in a bid to unearth the 30 million pounds ($45.40 million) treasures of the future. ...


Searching For Sugar Man george clooney Zero Dark Thirty Academy Awards 2013 Django Unchained jennifer hudson jennifer garner

Actress Ashley Judd opts not to enter Kentucky Senate race

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Actress Ashley Judd's next role will not be as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky.

Judd said on Wednesday she has decided not to run in 2014 to try to unseat Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, after considering such a candidacy for months.

"After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities & energy at this time need to be focused on my family," she wrote on Twitter.

Judd and her husband, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, announced in January that they had decided to end their 11-year marriage.

Judd, 44, considers Kentucky her home state but actually lives in neighboring Tennessee. She would have had to move to Kentucky in order to qualify as a candidate.

McConnell's re-election team in Kentucky already produced a campaign video criticizing Judd that made light of the fact that she did not live in Kentucky.

"And it just clicked, Tennessee is home," Judd is quoted as saying in a speech in the video.

Judd has starred in a number of movies including "Double Jeopardy" and "Kiss the Girls." Her mother, Naomi Judd, and sister, Wynonna, made up the country singing duo, The Judds.

Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen told CNN that her political consulting firm had represented Judd in her deliberations and that it had became clear over the past 10 days that she would not run.

"The timing just wasn't right," Rosen said. "She has a lot of other things going on."

Nashville television station WSMV said Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has expressed interest in running for the Democratic nomination to challenge McConnell, 71.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Will Dunham)


Nora Ephron mario balotelli mario balotelli espn3 kevin youkilis Tropical Storm Debby legend of korra

Pope washes feet of young detainees in ritual

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis washes the foot of an inmate at the juvenile detention center of Casal del Marmo, Rome, Thursday, March 28, 2013. Francis washed the feet of a dozen inmates at a juvenile detention center in a Holy Thursday ritual that he celebrated for years as archbishop and is continuing now that he is pope. Two of the 12 were young women, an unusual choice given that the rite re-enacts Jesus' washing of the feet of his male disciples. The Mass was held in the Casal del Marmo facility in Rome, where 46 young men and women currently are detained. Many of them are Gypsies or North African migrants, and the Vatican said the 12 selected for the rite weren't necessarily Catholic. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis washes the foot of an inmate at the juvenile detention center of Casal del Marmo, Rome, Thursday, March 28, 2013. Francis washed the feet of a dozen inmates at a juvenile detention center in a Holy Thursday ritual that he celebrated for years as archbishop and is continuing now that he is pope. Two of the 12 were young women, an unusual choice given that the rite re-enacts Jesus' washing of the feet of his male disciples. The Mass was held in the Casal del Marmo facility in Rome, where 46 young men and women currently are detained. Many of them are Gypsies or North African migrants, and the Vatican said the 12 selected for the rite weren't necessarily Catholic. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis kisses the foot of an inmate at the juvenile detention center of Casal del Marmo, Rome, Thursday, March 28, 2013. Francis washed the feet of a dozen inmates at a juvenile detention center in a Holy Thursday ritual that he celebrated for years as archbishop and is continuing now that he is pope. Two of the 12 were young women, an unusual choice given that the rite re-enacts Jesus' washing of the feet of his male disciples. The Mass was held in the Casal del Marmo facility in Rome, where 46 young men and women currently are detained. Many of them are Gypsies or North African migrants, and the Vatican said the 12 selected for the rite weren't necessarily Catholic. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis, with back to camera at right, washes the foot of an inmate at the juvenile detention center of Casal del Marmo, Rome, Thursday, March 28, 2013. Francis washed the feet of a dozen inmates at a juvenile detention center in a Holy Thursday ritual that he celebrated for years as archbishop and is continuing now that he is pope. Two of the 12 were young women, an unusual choice given that the rite re-enacts Jesus' washing of the feet of his male disciples. The Mass was held in the Casal del Marmo facility in Rome, where 46 young men and women currently are detained. Many of them are Gypsies or North African migrants, and the Vatican said the 12 selected for the rite weren't necessarily Catholic. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis washes the foot of an inmate at the juvenile detention center of Casal del Marmo, Rome, Thursday, March 28, 2013. Francis washed the feet of a dozen inmates at a juvenile detention center in a Holy Thursday ritual that he celebrated for years as archbishop and is continuing now that he is pope. Two of the 12 were young women, an unusual choice given that the rite re-enacts Jesus' washing of the feet of his male disciples. The Mass was held in the Casal del Marmo facility in Rome, where 46 young men and women currently are detained. Many of them are Gypsies or North African migrants, and the Vatican said the 12 selected for the rite weren't necessarily Catholic. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

Pope Francis waves from his car as he arrives at the juvenile detention center of Casal del Marmo to celebrate the rite of the washing of the feet, in Rome, Thursday, March 28, 2013. Previous popes have celebrated the Holy Thursday ritual, which re-enacts Christ's washing his disciples feet before being crucified, but they have done so washing the feet of priests in one of Rome's most ornate basilicas, St. Peter's Basilica, not a jail. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

(AP) ? Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of a dozen inmates, including two young women, at a juvenile detention center in a surprising departure from church rules that restrict the Holy Thursday ritual to men.

The Mass was held in the Casal del Marmo facility in Rome, where 46 young men and women currently are detained. Many of them are Gypsies or North African migrants, and the 12 selected for the foot-washing rite reportedly included Orthodox and Muslim detainees.

Because the inmates were mostly minors ? the facility houses inmates aged 14-to-21 ? the Vatican and Italian Justice Ministry limited media access inside. But Vatican Radio carried the Mass live, and in his homily Francis told the detainees that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion in a gesture of love and service.

"This is a symbol, it is a sign ? washing your feet means I am at your service," Francis told the youngsters. "Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty, as a priest and bishop I must be at your service."

Later, the Vatican released a limited video of the ritual, showing Francis washing black feet, white feet, male feet, female feet and even a foot with tattoos. Kneeling on the stone floor as the 12 youngsters sat above him, the 76-year-old Francis poured water from a silver chalice over each foot, dried it with a simple cotton towel and then bent over to kiss each one.

Previous popes carried out the foot-washing ritual on Holy Thursday in Rome's grand St. John Lateran basilica. The 12 people chosen for the ritual were always priests to represent the 12 apostles whose feet Christ washed during the Last Supper before his crucifixion.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio would celebrate the ritual foot-washing in jails, hospitals or hospices ? part of his ministry to the poorest and most marginalized of society. He would often involve women: photographs from his days in Buenos Aires show him washing the feet of a woman holding her newborn child in her arms.

That Francis would include women in his inaugural Holy Thursday Mass as pope, however, was remarkable given current liturgical rules restrict the ritual to men.

Canon lawyer Edward Peters, who is an adviser to the Holy See's top court, noted in a blog that the Congregation for Divine Worship in 1988 sent a letter to bishops making clear that "The washing of the feet of chosen men ... represents the service and charity of Christ who came 'not to be served, but to serve.'"

Peters noted that bishops over the years have successfully petitioned Rome for an exemption to allow women to participate, but that the law on the issue is clear.

"By disregarding his own law in this matter, Francis violates, of course, no divine directive," Peters wrote Thursday. "What he does do, I fear, is set a questionable example," particularly as it regards adherence to liturgical rules.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said he didn't want to enter into a canonical dispute over the matter. He said in a "grand solemn celebration" of the rite, it would make sense to only involve men because during the Last Supper, Christ washed the feet of the 12 apostles, all of whom were male.

"Here, the rite was for a small, unique community made up also of women," Lombardi said in an email to The Associated Press. "It was a specific situation in which excluding the girls would have been inopportune in light of the simple aim of communicating a message of love to all in a group that certainly didn't include refined experts in liturgical rules."

Others on the more liberal side of the liturgical spectrum welcomed the novel example Francis set.

"The pope's washing the feet of women is hugely significant because including women in this part of the Holy Thursday Mass has been frowned on ? and even banned ? in some dioceses," said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of "The Jesuit Guide."

"It shows the all-embracing love of Christ, who ministered to all he met: man or woman, slave or free, Jew or Gentile," he said.

After the Mass, Francis greeted each of the inmates and gave each one an Easter egg. In exchange, he was given a wooden cross and kneeler that the inmates made in their workshop.

"Don't lose hope," Francis said. "Understand? With hope you can always go on."

One of the inmates then asked him why he had come to visit them. Francis said it was to "help me to be humble, as a bishop should be." He said he wanted to come "from my heart. Things from the heart don't have an explanation."

Italian Justice Minister Paola Severino, who has made easing Italy's woefully overcrowded prisons a priority, also attended the Mass.


Follow Nicole Winfield at

Associated Press


mariano rivera jobs report tiger woods masters 2012 nikki haley stan van gundy navy jet crash virginia beach crash

BlackBerry posts surprise profit, but subscribers slip

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry reported a surprise quarterly profit on Thursday after shipping 1 million new Z10 smartphones, but the Canadian company still fell short of convincing markets that its turnaround plan is already a runaway success.

BlackBerry shares were up 2.3 percent at midday on the Nasdaq, down from their 10 percent gain immediately after the results came out.

Expressing lingering doubts, some analysts focused on a decline in the company's subscriber base, a potential threat to its long-term growth prospects and turnaround plans. Others, however, zeroed in on strong sales of the new touchscreen Z10 device, which BlackBerry started rolling out at the end of January.

"I think the one million units is a nice start," said Morningstar analyst Brian Colello. "I think the encouraging thing is that BlackBerry was still able to sell a good portion of older models and generate solid service revenue during the transition. I think that will be important in terms of cash balance and profitability."

The well-reviewed Z10 smartphone is the first in a line of devices that will be powered by the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. It is a key plank in the company's attempt to regain relevance and win back market share in the smartphone arena it once dominated.

In a positive sign, BlackBerry said roughly 55 percent of the buyers of the Z10 were coming from other platforms - news that should allay fears that BlackBerry would be unable to attract users who have never used one of the company's devices, or who have abandoned BlackBerry in favor of Apple's iPhone and smartphones using Google's Android software, or other platforms.

The results offered solace to both bulls and bears on BlackBerry, which virtually invented on-your-hip email before ceding ground to rivals.

Some analysts noted that the company's quarterly revenue missed expectations and fretted about the decline in subscriber numbers to 76 million from 79 million during the fourth quarter.

But others focused on the unexpected profit and on the Z10 sales. The stock was up 2.3 percent at $14.89 on Nasdaq. Its Toronto-listed shares were 2 percent higher at C$15.10 at 1230 EDT (1630 GMT). The stock was the most actively traded issue on the Nasdaq on volume of more than 65 million shares.

"All in all, I'm happy because I think the majority seemed to be expecting the world to cave in on them, and that did not happen," said Eric Jackson, founder and managing partner of Ironfire Capital LLC, which owns BlackBerry shares.


BlackBerry said its fiscal fourth-quarter net income was $98 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $125 million, or 24 cents a share. The swing to profit largely reflected a provision for income tax recoveries.

Excluding one-time items, the company reported a profit of 22 cents a share. Analysts had expected a loss.

BlackBerry surprised some investors by saying it believes it will approach break-even in its first quarter, based on a lower cost base, a more efficient supply chain and improved hardware margins.

Analysts on average had expected a loss of 10 cents a share in the first quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Z10 device is currently available in more than 25 countries, and the company's new Q10 device, equipped with the physical keyboard that BlackBerry aficionados love, is expected to start being rolled out in April.

BlackBerry said it will step up investment on marketing the new phones in the current quarter.

"As the business migrates to BlackBerry 10 we intend to enhance our business offering with new value-creating services to continue to generate service revenue," Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said on a conference call on Thursday.

Heins said BlackBerry plans to generate service revenue through licensing deals for BlackBerry 10, advanced security tools and additional enterprise services.

BlackBerry's strong focus on security was long a draw for corporate and government users, and the company boasts of a new "Balance" feature that allows BlackBerry 10 users to isolate and secure corporate and private activities.

Analysts have been concerned that revenues from BlackBerry's very profitable services business would drop as it alters its fee structure for those users moving across to the BlackBerry 10 devices.


Gross margins in the quarter were 40.1 percent, up from 33.5 percent, a year earlier, driven by higher average selling prices.

"Those were really solid results," said Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek. "The gross margin blew everybody out of the water, that was fantastic."

"Overall, this is step one on the recovery ladder and a very, very, very good result," Misek said.

Still, BlackBerry is not out of the woods. Quarterly revenue fell to $2.68 billion from $4.2 billion a year earlier, and was below analysts' estimates of $2.84 billion.

BlackBerry said Mike Lazaridis, who co-founded the company nearly 30 years ago, would step down as vice chairman and director.

Lazaridis, co-chief executive until last year, told Reuters he has no plans to sell his stake in the smartphone maker even as he steps down from the board to focus on a new quantum computing investment fund.

(Additional reporting by Allison Martell, Alastair Sharp, Sinead Carew and Julie Gordon; Editing by Janet Guttsman, Lisa Von Ahn and Peter Galloway)


perfect game jon jones vs rashad evans results rashad evans jon jones chuck colson death meteor showers 2012 ufc 145

SpaceX Dragon Splashes Down In Pacific After Leaving Space Station

Splashdown of SpaceX Dragon on Tuesday.


Splashdown of SpaceX Dragon on Tuesday.


The Dragon has landed.

The unmanned cargo capsule built by the private firm SpaceX splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after delivering the goods to the International Space Station.

"SPLASHDOWN! At 9:34am PT [12:34 p.m. ET], Dragon splashed down safely in the Pacific. Welcome home!" SpaceX tweeted. says the Dragon deposited about 1,200 pounds of equipment, supplies and scientific instruments aboard the ISS and returns with more than twice as much cargo, "including a set of LEGO toys that have been on the station for the last two years. The equipment will be returned to NASA as soon as recovery teams return the Dragon capsule to dry land."

SpaceX has a $1.6 billion deal for the Dragon to resupply the station now that NASA's space shuttle has been retired. The mission that ended on Tuesday was the second of 12 contracted with the space agency. The first launch took place in March.

The Associated Press says the unmanned capsule that returned on Tuesday "will be shipped to Los Angeles and then trucked to Texas for unloading," and that "mechanical trouble delayed the capsule's arrival at the space station by a day, and bad weather at mission's end kept it in orbit an extra day."


peyton florida state meghan mccain wilson chandler bristol motor speedway prometheus grand canyon skywalk

Study: Health law to raise claims cost 32 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) ? A new study finds that insurance companies will have to pay out an average of 32 percent more for medical claims under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

What does that mean for you?

It could increase premiums for at least some Americans.

If you are uninsured, or you buy your policy directly from an insurance company, you should pay attention.

But if you have an employer plan, like most workers and their families, odds are you don't have much to worry about.

The estimates from the Society of Actuaries could turn into a political headache for the Obama administration at a time when much of the country remains skeptical of the Affordable Care Act.

The administration is questioning the study, saying it doesn't give a full picture ? and costs will go down.

Actuaries are financial risk professionals who conduct long-range cost estimates for pension plans, insurance companies and government programs.

The study says claims costs will go up largely because sicker people will join the insurance pool. That's because the law forbids insurers from turning down those with pre-existing medical problems, effective Jan. 1. Everyone gets sick sooner or later, but sicker people also use more health care services.

"Claims cost is the most important driver of health care premiums," said Kristi Bohn, an actuary who worked on the study. Spending on sicker people and other high-cost groups will overwhelm an influx of younger, healthier people into the program, said the report.

The Obama administration challenged the design of the study, saying it focused only on one piece of the puzzle and ignored cost relief strategies in the law, such as tax credits to help people afford premiums and special payments to insurers who attract an outsize share of the sick.

The study also doesn't take into account the potential price-cutting effect of competition in new state insurance markets that will go live Oct. 1, administration officials said.

At a White House briefing Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said some of what passes for health insurance today is so skimpy it can't be compared to the comprehensive coverage available under the law. "Some of these folks have very high catastrophic plans that don't pay for anything unless you get hit by a bus," she said. "They're really mortgage protection, not health insurance."

Sebelius said the picture on premiums won't start coming into focus until insurers submit their bids. Those results may not be publicly known until late summer.

Another striking finding of the report was a wide disparity in cost impact among the states.

While some states will see medical claims costs per person decline, the report concluded that the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers.

The differences are big. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.

Part of the reason for the wide disparities is that states have different populations and insurance rules. In the relatively small number of states where insurers were already restricted from charging higher rates to older, sicker people, the cost impact is less.

The report did not make similar estimates for employer plans that most workers and families rely on. That's because the primary impact of Obama's law is on people who don't have coverage through their jobs.

A prominent national expert, recently retired Medicare chief actuary Rick Foster, said the report does "a credible job" of estimating potential enrollment and costs under the law, "without trying to tilt the answers in any particular direction."

"Having said that," Foster added, "actuaries tend to be financially conservative, so the various assumptions might be more inclined to consider what might go wrong than to anticipate that everything will work beautifully." Actuaries use statistics and economic theory to make long-range cost projections for insurance and pension programs sponsored by businesses and government. The society is headquartered near Chicago.

Bohn, the actuary who worked on the study, acknowledged it did not attempt to estimate the effect of subsidies, insurer competition and other factors that could offset cost increases. She said the goal was to look at the underlying cost of medical care.

"We don't see ourselves as a political organization," Bohn added. "We are trying to figure out what the situation at hand is."

On the plus side, the report found the law will cover more than 32 million currently uninsured Americans when fully phased in. And some states ? including New York and Massachusetts ? will see double-digit declines in costs for claims in the individual market.

Uncertainty over costs has been a major issue since the law passed three years ago, and remains so just months before a big push to cover the uninsured gets rolling Oct. 1. Middle-class households will be able to purchase subsidized private insurance in new marketplaces, while low-income people will be steered to Medicaid and other safety net programs. States are free to accept or reject a Medicaid expansion also offered under the law.


AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report.



Society of Actuaries:


kat dennings Steve Sabol Yom Kippur 2012 Aaron Paul packers Dancing With The Stars All Stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Boundless Vows To Continue Disrupting The Textbook Market, Even As Second Founder Departs, Litigation Drags On

screen-shot-2013-01-22-at-9-47-59-pmSince emerging on the scene in early 2012, the Boston-based Boundless has been on a mission to give students of all ages a free, open-source digital alternative to the pricey world of hard-copy textbooks. But when you try to rock the boat, the powers-that-be will likely have something to say about it -- especially when thousands of beta testers across 2,000 universities are using free, open alternatives.


Honey Boo Boo pirate bay Psalms 91 once upon a time once upon a time RG3 Monsters University

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Salesmen in the Surgical Suite

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A lawsuit raises questions about the marketing of robotic surgical equipment.


Kyla Ross Ryan Lochte Montenegro Olympic Games Dana Vollmer phillies phillies

Canada ups financial oversight, tags "too big to fail" banks

By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian authorities on Tuesday designated the country's top six banks as "systemically important" to the domestic economy and increased oversight of a widely used global derivatives clearing system in an effort to reduce banking system risk.

The so-called too big to fail designation was widely expected by the market and means the six banks will have to keep more capital on hand than required by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision after the 2008 financial crisis.

The banks, named soundest in the world for five years running by the World Economic Forum, are already in compliance with Basel III capital requirements. All but one meet the new tougher rules. Neither the United States nor the European Union have formally implemented the Basel standards yet.

"The measures we are announcing today are designed to limit the likelihood that a major bank would encounter distress or failure that could negatively impact the Canadian economy or taxpayers," Julie Dickson, head of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), said in a statement.

The changes are in line with the focus that the Group of 20 rich and developing nations is putting on banks that play significant roles in their home countries. The G20 has already imposed additional capital requirements on banks deemed globally systemically important.

No Canadian bank is considered systemically important globally, but OSFI said the concentrated nature of Canada's banking industry - the top six banks control more than 90 percent of the assets - meant the top players all required an additional capital buffer.

Canada's top six lenders in order of size are: Royal Bank of Canada , Toronto-Dominion Bank , Bank of Nova Scotia , Bank of Montreal , Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce , and National Bank of Canada .

All six will be required to hold a minimum Tier 1 capital ratio of 8 percent as of January 1, 2016. As of the end of this past January, all but National Bank were already above that level, and National was just shy at 7.9 percent.

"We expect that when the dust settles the banks will be running at around 8.5-9 percent to give themselves a little bit of a buffer," said John Aiken, an analyst at Barclays Capital.

Shares of the banks were little changed on Tuesday, as the move had been widely expected. There had been some uncertainty about whether National, which is considerably smaller than the other five, would be included.

The bank was not immediately available for comment.

CIBC World Markets analyst Robert Sedran said the banks' strong capital positions means the additional buffer should not impact plans for capital outlays such as dividend hikes or buybacks.

"Given the pace of capital generation, we continue to view the issue of capital adequacy as more opportunity than risk," he said in a note.


Separately, the Bank of Canada said it would formally regulate SwapClear, the dominant global system for centrally clearing over-the-counter interest rate swaps.

In a statement, the bank said clearing activity of Canadian institutions in SwapClear has increased substantially, in line with Canada's G-20 commitment to centrally clear all standardized OTC derivatives.


slab city super bowl snacks appleton denver weather super bowl recipes planned parenthood kobayashi

Evernote 5 hits Android with revamped camera, shortcuts and tweaked UI

Evernote 50 comes to Android with revamped camera, shortcuts and tweaked UI

Evernote has finally brought its Android client up to par with its iOS counterpart, pushing it to version five. The update, which just hit the Play store, includes a mild face lift that offers more contrast between notes and other UI elements, as well as a few new icons with a bit more depth and detail. The visual tweaks aren't particularly exciting, though. What has us rushing for the update button are all the new features, like the completely revamped camera interface. You can now take several images and add them all to a note in one shot. While a dedicated "page" camera helps you get the best results when snapping photos of hand-written missives by boosting contrast and removing shadows. Of course, the company thinks that feature works particularly well when paired with its branded Moleskin notebooks, but those are purely optional. The results from the couple of quick snapshots we took were bright clear and as legible as could be expected. Unfortunately there are continued issues with Evernote's text recognition, which tends to be slow for non-premium users.

Filed under: ,


Source: Evernote (Google Play), Evernote Blog


palm sunday Kids Choice Awards 2013 Joe Weider Florida Gulf Coast Golf Channel Andy Enfield opm

Monday, March 25, 2013

Moderate Sen. McCaskill supports gay marriage ? MSNBC

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2011 file photo, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. listens on Capitol Hill in Washington. Claire McCaskill, one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for re-election in 2012, plans to skip the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. McCaskill's campaign said Tuesday she will spend the week campaigning in her home state instead. (AP Photo Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Sen. Claire McCaskill. (AP Photo Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Add Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill to the growing list of politicians who have evolved on the issue of same-sex marriage.

?I have come to the conclusion that our government should not limit the right to marry based on who you love,? the moderate Democrat wrote on her Tumblr Sunday night. ?While churches should never be required to conduct marriages outside of their religious beliefs, neither should the government tell people who they have a right to marry.?

As public opinion on gay marriage continues to shift toward record acceptance rates, more politicians have come out in support of it. In the last few weeks alone, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton made public statements in support of repealing the federal rule that prevents gay marriage, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). President Clinton signed the DOMA into law in 1996. Some Republicans, too, have broken with their party position this year by supporting gay marriage, including Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. Dozens of Republicans signed a legal brief last month in support of gay marriage, including several ex-members of the George W. Bush administration.

McCaskill?s support arrives the same week that the Supreme Court will hear challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and California?s Proposition 8.

The senator admits that her views on the subject ?have changed over time,? and says she can no longer stay silent on the issue: ?[A]s many of my gay and lesbian friends, colleagues and staff embrace long term committed relationships, I find myself unable to look them in the eye without honestly confronting this uncomfortable inequality. Supporting marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is simply the right thing to do for our country, a country founded on the principals of liberty and equality.?

In 2009, she came under fire after suggesting that a vote for a proposed gun provision would be like voting in favor of same-sex marriage, and last May, after President Obama came out in support of legalizing same-sex marriage, McCaskill refused to clearly state her own position. As noted by the?Springfield News-Leader, McCaskill has a history of walking a fine line when it came to supporting marriage equality for the LGBT community:

McCaskill, D-Mo., has stated her opposition to gay marriage in the past, but she?s walked a bit of a tightrope on the question. She has expressed support for civil unions, which grant gay couples some ? but not all ? of the legal rights that married couples enjoy. She also opposed Missouri?s 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, arguing that it was unnecessary because existing state law already prohibited gay marriage.

McCaskill defended her Senate seat in November against Tea Party backed Rep. Todd Akin after a contentious election battle. Akin?s comments on ?legitimate rape? and abortion became an oft-repeated soundbite against him last year.


nba dunk contest 2012 act of valor woody guthrie benson henderson 2012 dunk contest edgar vs henderson berkshire hathaway