Archives for News

Investigators recover billions for Madoff victims

Many of Bernard Madoff’s victims who thought they lost everything could get at least half their money back after the widow of a Florida philanthropist agreed Friday to return a staggering $7.2 billion that her husband reaped from the giant Ponzi scheme. Federal prosecutors reached the settlement with the estate of Jeffry Picower, a businessman who drowned after suffering a heart attack in the swimming pool of his Palm Beach, Fla., mansion in October 2009. Picower was the single biggest beneficiary of Madoff’s fraud. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the forfeiture the largest in Justice Department history and a “game
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Searchers may have found Amelia Earhart’s bones

The three bone fragments turned up on a deserted South Pacific island that lay along the course Amelia Earhart was following when she vanished. Nearby were several tantalizing artifacts: some old makeup, some glass bottles and shells that had been cut open. Now scientists at the University of Oklahoma hope to extract DNA from the tiny bone chips in tests that could prove Earhart died as a castaway after failing in her 1937 quest to become the first woman to fly around the world. “There’s no guarantee,” said Ric Gillespie, director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, a
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The weather: Just a lot more bad news

Snow, sleet and freezing rain wreaked havoc across Mid-Atlantic and Southern states on Thursday, causing hundreds of accidents, four fatal. The nasty pre-winter mix also forced schools to start late, close early or cancel classes altogether. Three people died in separate weather-related crashes in North Carolina. In south-central Kentucky, state police said an 80-year-old man died when his sport-utility vehicle hit a patch of ice, ran off the road and overturned. Thousands of people in North Carolina and in Virginia lost power, and West Virginia’s acting governor was forced to cancel a Christmas party scheduled for Thursday night at the
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WikiLeaks founder shows no remorse while on bail

WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange has declared that he is the victim of a smear campaign after being freed on bail over rape allegations and sent to spend Christmas at an English country house. The 39-year-old Australian computer expert said that curbs on him, which he described as “hi-tech house arrest,” would not halt the release of official secrets. Assange walked free from a London court Thursday, freed on 200,000 pound ($312,500) bail after nine days in London’s largest jail. Sweden wants to extradite him for questioning over alleged sexual assaults on two WikiLeaks’ volunteers. “This has been a very successful
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New drug for executions expected to become norm

A sedative Oklahoma used to execute a death row inmate that is commonly used to euthanize animals could become more popular because of a nationwide shortage of a key ingredient in several states’ lethal injection formulas, death penalty experts say. John David Duty is believed to be the first person in the United States whose execution included the use of pentobarbital. The 58-year-old was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m. Thursday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Oklahoma and several other states traditionally have used the barbiturate sodium thiopental to put an inmate to sleep, followed by two other drugs — pancuronium
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Famed director Blake Edwards dead

When Julie Andrews began writing her 2008 autobiography, “Home,” her husband Blake Edwards had just one piece of advice: “Characters make your story.” In an up-and-down career that spanned writing, directing and producing nearly 50 films, Edwards’ cultivated more than his share of indelible characters: Peter Sellers’ bumbling Inspector Clouseau of the “Pink Panther” movies, Dudley Moore’s equally clueless George Webber from “10,” Audrey Hepburn’s high fashion wild child Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” He knew laughter and sadness, making alcoholism seem hilarious in “10” and desperate in “Days of Wine and Roses.” But his strength was comedy, farce
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If you’re rich the IRS is coming to get you

The Internal Revenue Service is making it a bit riskier to cheat on your taxes. The tax agency increased the number of returns it audited by nearly 11 percent this year, statistics released Wednesday show. Wealthy taxpayers and big businesses were most likely to be targeted. The IRS also stepped up audits of charities and other tax-exempt organizations. In all, the IRS examined more than 1.58 million individual returns in the budget year that ended in September, up from 1.43 million the year before. “We saw individual audits increase, reaching the highest rate in the past decade,” said Steve Miller,
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A Supreme Court case of tit for tat

The tagline: “I (heart) boobies!”, used in context to breast cancer awareness has been reportedly termed as sexually charged double entendre. The much used slang term for a woman’s breasts is now facing a trial in the court of law. The case is reported to be between Easton Area School District and two middle school girls. It is claimed that the girls were dismissed from the school in October after they refused to remove bracelets reading “I (Heart) Boobies!” District administrators have gainsaid that the word is sloppy and vulgar and is certainly inappropriate for middle school goers. However, on
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Larry King hangs up his crown

Early last June, CNN celebrated 25 years of “Larry King Live” with a week of shows whose A-list guests included President Barack Obama, LeBron James, Bill Gates and Lady Gaga. It was hyped to the hilt and suitably eventful, even as King and Lady Gaga regarded each other with the bemusement of a human encountering an alien life form. Then, at the end of June, King suddenly announced he was retiring from his show — a weeknight fixture at 9 p.m. Eastern since June 1, 1985. He told viewers, “It’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.” After Thursday’s edition,
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Kansas City’s Secret Santa

Secret Santa II hit the streets Tuesday in a long-standing Kansas City tradition of handing out $100 bills — sometimes several at a time — to unsuspecting strangers in thrift stores, food pantries and shelters. Some people gasped in surprise. Some wanted to know if the $100 bill the tall man in the red cap offered was fake. Others wept. Secret Santa II has seen a lot of reactions since taking over where his mentor, Kansas City’s original Secret Santa, Larry Stewart, left off when he died in 2007 at age 58. Like Stewart, who gave away more than $1
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