Archives for News

Cell phones: The new activist tool

If you voted this fall, there’s a good chance you were texting about it. Twenty-six percent of adult Americans used their cell phones to encourage others to vote in November’s mid-term elections or to report back on conditions at their local voting sites, among other political activities, according to a survey issued Thursday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. In particular, 14 percent said they used their phones to tell others that they voted, while 12 percent used their handsets to receive election updates. Another 1 percent used an election-themed app to keep posted. If respondents used their
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Female suicide bomber kills 43 at Pakistan food aid center

A female suicide bomber detonated her explosives-laden vest killing at least 43 people at an aid distribution center in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, while army helicopter gunships and artillery killed a similar number of Islamic militants in neighboring tribal regions near the Afghan border, officials said. The bombing appeared to be the first suicide attack staged by a woman in Pakistan, and it underscored the resilience of militant groups in the country’s tribal belt despite ongoing military operations against them. The bomber struck in the main city in Bajur, a region near the Afghan border where the military has twice
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Life imitates art on ‘Law & Order’

A star of the TV series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is getting her own taste of law and order — in real life. New York City prosecutors say Tamara Tunie was swindled of more than $1 million by her business manager. Tunie plays medical examiner Melinda Warner on the NBC show. According to court papers, Joseph Cilibrasi (chih-lee-BRAH’-zee) and his accounting firm started stealing from Tunie in 2002, listing himself as her husband to secure a credit card tied to her account. He is also accused of writing checks to himself. The 50-year-old Manhattan man pleaded not guilty
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The great Cuban egg bust

A Cuban-American father and daughter face a possible jail term or hefty fines after their attempt to bring 72 unhatched pigeon eggs from Cuba to the United States fell foul of U.S. Customs. The United States maintains a long-running trade embargo against Cuba that prohibits commercial imports from the communist-ruled island and often leads to seizures of illicit shipments of Cuban cigars destined for U.S. connoisseurs. But Rufino Blanco, 47, and Claribel Blanco Cuellar, 21, who pleaded guilty to wildlife smuggling in a Miami court on Wednesday, were prosecuted under U.S. federal laws which prohibit the import of fish or
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The Christmas the shoppers came back

Shoppers came back in force for the holidays, right to the end. After two dreary years, Christmas 2010 will go down as the holiday Americans rediscovered how much they like to shop. People spent more than expected on family and friends and splurged on themselves, too, an ingredient missing for two years. Clothing such as fur vests and beaded sweaters replaced practical items like pots and pans. Even the family dog is getting a little something extra. “You saw joy back in the holiday season,” said Sherif Mityas, partner in the retail practice at A.T. Kearney. A strong Christmas Eve
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Jihadist issues Christmas Day threat

A “jihadist” in an audiotaped threat said fireworks displays will set off terrorist bombs in countries celebrating Christmas, the SITE monitoring group said. The recording, titled “The Zero Hour has arrived” and directed to “the unbeliever and Christian countries celebrating Christmas,” lasts one minute, three seconds and bears the voice of a member of the Shumukh al-Islam forum, said the US-based monitor. The speaker, according to SITE, said that failure to heed warnings to cease bloodshed in Muslim countries would result in attacks. “Your (Christmas) fireworks will act as an alarm for the time of our devices to blow up
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Most Christmas trees now are fake ones

Far more Canadians, Americans and Britons will celebrate Christmas on Saturday with artificial Christmas trees in their houses than real ones, according to a survey released on Friday. Sixty two percent of Britons, 58 percent of Canadians and 53 percent of Americans use artificial trees, while only about 16 percent of Americans and Canadians and 14 percent of Britons use fresh trees, according to poll done by Angus Reid Public Opinion. More than a quarter of the people surveyed in each country said they did not plan to have a tree at all, the survey found. Most artificial tree users
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Man vs. bats: Who will win?

Biologist Susi von Oettingen walked into the dark World War II-era military bunker and took out her flashlight. Among the old pipes, wires and machinery parts, she saw some bats hanging from cracks in the cement walls and ceiling. It was an unusual place for the bats to hibernate, different from a mine or cave. But something else was different, too: None of them had white-nose syndrome, a fungus that’s killing bats across the country. The group of bats found last winter in the New Hampshire bunker was small, recalled von Oettingen, an endangered species biologist for the U.S. Fish
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Girlfriend’s death haunts Busch family

For generations, the Busches of St. Louis were the first family of American beer-making, the city’s most devoted boosters, and bearers of the most famous name in town. But they have also been touched by scandal, tragedy and allegations of reckless behavior. Now the Busch name is in the headlines again, this time after an aspiring young model was found dead in the gated home of August Busch IV, the former Anheuser-Busch CEO and heir to the Budweiser fortune. The death is under investigation. The woman, Adrienne Nicole Martin, was Busch’s girlfriend and there was “absolutely nothing suspicious” about her
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Lohan mess puts rehab centers into spotlight

An early morning spat between Lindsay Lohan and a rehab worker isn’t just going to bring renewed scrutiny to the actress, but to the facility where she is being treated as well. The California Department of Public Health says it is conducting an investigation at the Betty Ford Center, which is supervising Lohan’s court-ordered rehab. The agency, however, won’t say whether its inquiry is directly related to the dustup between the “Mean Girls” star and a worker who was later fired for giving an on-camera interview to celebrity website TMZ. Lohan remains under investigation for misdemeanor battery. Experts say the
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