Archives for News

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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Home construction rises slightly in November

Home construction nudged up in November after two months of declines. Builders broke ground last month on a seasonally adjusted 555,000 units, a 3.9 percent rise from October, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Even with the gain, housing starts are just 16 percent above the 477,000 unit pace from April 2009 — the lowest point on records dating back to 1959. And they are down 76 percent from their peak in January 2006, and 45 percent below the 1 million annual rate that analysts say is consistent with a healthy housing market. All the activity last month came from building
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Budget problems are hurting HIV patients

Cash-strapped states are cutting back on a program that provides free medicine to people with HIV, leaving thousands of patients to wonder where their drugs will come from and stirring fears of a return to the days when an AIDS diagnosis meant certain death. At least 19 states have taken such steps as capping enrollment, dropping patients, instituting waiting lists, lowering the income ceiling for eligibility, and no longer covering certain drugs or tests. The AIDS Drug Assistance Program is funded by the federal and state governments and run by the states. It provides free drugs in all 50 states
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Slow down or we’ll show you some leg

We’ve all heard stories about people trying to sneak into the carpool lane with a “passenger.” One that can be made from cardboard or inflatable plastic, that is. But the cops in the Czech Republic have been taking notes, it seems. Much like how you would distract your shoe-eating pooch with a “look over here!”, police are posting cardboard cutouts of female officers to get drivers to slow down. (Or crash. Whichever.) Now, are drivers slowing down because they think there are cops in the road? Or because these “cops” happen to be wearing miniskirts? No, really: The Cutout Cops
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Face it: This wasn’t a good year to be Tiger Woods…or his caddie

Steve Williams never imagined that losing his wallet could fuel so much speculation that he was on his way out as Tiger Woods’ caddie. Hours after the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where Woods closed with a 75 and offered some veiled criticism of his caddie’s advice in the final round, Williams was sitting alone in the Monterey airport while staring intently at his cell phone. A golf blogger recognized him, took his picture and posted it with the headline, “Steve Williams at the airport, without Tiger Woods.” Never mind that Williams lives in New Zealand and Woods lives in
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