Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Assange File Reveals Extraterrestrial Contact

Assange File Reveals Extraterrestrial Contact - Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, had an interview with the public through the website of The Guardian newspaper on Friday.

In the short question-and-answer session, Assange talked about WikiLeaks' future course of action and vision, as well as the alleged threat to his life.

He also indicated that WikiLeaks has unreleased documents about UFO, sparking concerns about the existence of the second form of life.

Assange File Reveals Extraterrestrial Contact

In that chat, he said, 'Many weirdos email us about UFOs or how they discovered that they were the anti-Christ whilst talking with their ex-wife at a garden party over a pot-plant.'

'However, as yet they have not satisfied two of our publishing rules. However, it is worth noting that in yet-to-be-published parts of the Cable Gate archive there are indeed references to UFOs.'

On Friday, Nasa researchers revealed that they discovered a new microbe that thrives on arsenic, hinting at the possibility of the existence of an extraterrestrial life.

Assange File Reveals Extraterrestrial Contact

DJK Arrested For Drugs

DJK Arrested For Drugs - The Hawkeyes' all-time leading receiver won't get to finish out the football season at the Insight Bowl.

Derrell Johnson-Koulianos has been suspended from the team after getting arrested on drug charges.

According to a report in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Johnson-Koulianos was arrested Tuesday and held in the Johnson County Jail on several drug related charges. Johnson-Koulianos posted $8,000 bail and was released from custody Tuesday night

During a search of Johnson-Koulianos's residence Tuesday afternoon, police found marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs. They had a search warrant as part of a drug investigation.

Johnson-Koulianos and his roommate are charged with possession of controlled substances, unlawful possession of prescription drugs and keeping a drug house.

DJK Arrested For Drugs

Hawkeyes Head Coach Kirk Ferentz released the following statement:

"I am highly disappointed to learn of the charges. Derrell has been suspended from all team activities."

Johnson-Koulianos won't play in the Insight Bowl on December 28th. He leaves Iowa as the program's all time leader in receiving yards and receptions.

DJK Arrested For Drugs

Unemployment Extension Tier 5

Unemployment Extension Tier 5 - It appears that the Republicans have answered the call of President Barack Obama to work together on burning issue. But before committing anything they have asked for the Democrats to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the two percent rich for two years.

Initially the Democrats were opposed to it. But now it looks that top leaders in the party are ready to give it another extension for two years.

Vice President Joe Biden is spearheading the campaign to convince other Democrats to agree to the new changes. The VP is expected to visit Senate Democrats, who are opposed to the extension. It is understood that he will try to convince the surly Democrats who say it conceded too much to Republican demands.

Unemployment Extension Tier 5

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said: “I’m not at all happy with this. I want to see all the details before I make some kind of commitment.”

Many Democrats are convinced that the President surrendered to the Republicans’ demand. Brown said: "I don't know if he caved. I think he could have gotten a better agreement." But Biden is doing everything possible to end dissension among the Democrats over this issue. Under the plan, he is going to defend the deal in front of liberal Democrats who are girding up to oppose it tooth and nail.

Unemployment Extension Tier 5

99ers Unemployment Extension

99ers Unemployment Extension - The unemployment extension 2010 is available, but still no tier 5 for the 99ers in sight. However, it's a good thing that the bipartisan agreement for an extension of both unemployment benefits and tax cuts is going to be passed as early as this week.

Still yet, it's vital to pass the extension, and the proposal will add an unbelievable 13 months to the amount of time the benefits are available. However, the move doesn't actually add time to the availability of benefits. That being said, 99 weeks is a lot better than 26 weeks.

99ers Unemployment Extension

The Democrats aren't very happy with Obama, mainly because the passage of the unemployment extension makes him required to break a campaign promise of raising taxes on wealthy Americans...

However, if it takes extending the Bush tax cuts to extend unemployment, that's a small price to pay.

99ers Unemployment Extension

FSU Admissions Open

FSU Admissions Open - FSU Admissions are now available to incoming freshmen and potential transfer students hoping to be accepted for the 2011-2012 school year. That’s Florida State University, for anyone who doesn’t do well with acronyms.

To apply, visit the website of Florida State University; locate the admissions section, fill out the required information, pay the fee and log in and out whenever you’d like to check on the status of your application (hint: results won’t be instantaneous). You might also be required to fill out a temporary account with the site.

FSU Admissions Open

As is the case with many universities, the school will likely keep the FSU admissions process open until the limit of potential new students has been reached.

Potential Florida State applicants shouldn’t get mixed up with the other FSU admissions process making news today; Fayetteville State University is submitting an admission application of its own, with the Board of Nursing. The school suspended all admissions in 2009 to the nursing program; now, they are hoping to kick start the program anew. Perhaps they are fueled by the success of outgoing nursing students, the ones accepted before the shut down process. Those students all passed the necessary National Council Licensure Examination. On the first try, even!

FSU Admissions Open

Fortune Brands Plans Split

Fortune Brands Plans Split - Fortune Brands Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon and Titleist golf balls, may split into as many as three separate businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

The home and security unit could be spun off to shareholders and the same may be done for the golf division while Fortune Brands would continue as a publicly traded liquor company, the Journal reported yesterday, citing people briefed on the plan. An announcement may come as soon as today, it said.

Activist investor William Ackman, who previously pushed for change at Target Corp. and Wendy’s International Inc., disclosed an 11 percent stake in Fortune Brands two months ago. The Deerfield, Illinois-based company hired Credit Suisse Group AG and Centerview Partners for advice ahead of meetings with Ackman, four people with knowledge of the matter said in October, declining to be named because the talks were private.

Fortune Brands Plans Split

Before Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP disclosed its stake Oct. 8, Fortune Brands shares had lost a quarter of their value since Chief Executive Officer Bruce Carbonari took on the role in January 2008. The company now has a market value of $9.3 billion.

Pershing is the biggest investor in Fortune Brands, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Clarkson Hine, a spokesman for Fortune Brands, did not return a call and e-mails after regular business hours.

Fortune Brands Plans Split

Derrell Johnson Koulianos Drug Charges

Derrell Johnson Koulianos Drug Charges - Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says Derrell Johnson-Koulianos has been suspended from all team activities following the wide receiver's arrest on drug charges.

Johnson-Koulianos was released from Johnson County Jail after posting $8,000 bail Tuesday. The 23-year-old was expected to make an initial court appearance Wednesday on four counts of possession of controlled substances, keeping a drug house and two counts of unlawful possession of a prescription drug.

Ferentz says in a statement that he is "highly disappointed to learn of the charges."

Derrell Johnson Koulianos Drug Charges

Court documents say Johnson-Koulianos and a roommate were arrested after officers executed a search warrant as part of a drug investigation. Police say investigators found more than $3,000 in cash, marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs in their house.

Johnson-Koulianos, Iowa's career leader in receptions and receiving yardage, was named first-team all-Big Ten this year. The Campbell, Ohio native caught 46 passes for 745 yards and 10 TDs this season.

Derrell Johnson Koulianos Drug Charges

Numbers On Facebook Status

Numbers On Facebook Status - Many Facebook users have numbers on their Facebook status after the “Facebook Number Game” trend started last night. Today, everyone is wondering what the number game on Facebook is all about. Are the numbers on Facebook status/Facebook Number Game the next cartoon hoax craze?


Last week, people changed their Facebook profile pictures to cartoons to stand up to child abuse and violence, and it wasn’t long before rumors started to surface the the Facebook cartoon profile picture meme was a hoax set up by child predators.

Numbers On Facebook Status

With some people now leery of any Facebook game, what are the numbers on Facebook statuses all about?

The Facebook Number Game seems innocent enough…so far. Basically, Facebook users can ask their friends what they think about them by supplying them with a number. The friend then gives the answer, and attaches the number to their answer for identification purposes.

The number game on Facebook definitely has the potential to go as viral as the cartoon craze…but will the numbers on Facebook status game turn out to be some sort of hoax?

Numbers On Facebook Status

Jim Valvano Classic Schedule

Jim Valvano Classic Schedule - The Jimmy V Men's Basketball Classic is the culmination of ESPN's "V Week," an annual event that raises money for cancer research. The week of festivities, and the tournament, are named after Jim Valvano, the legendary NC State coach who passed away in 1993 of cancer after delivering a touching, memorable speech at the ESPY Awards. The inaugural Classic tipped off in 1995.

This year's Jimmy V Men's Basketball Classic will be played on Tuesday, Dec. 7, once again at Madison Square Garden in New York, where it's been played since 2002.

Jim Valvano Classic Schedule

Below is the schedule for this year's Classic.

Memphis vs. Kansas, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Michigan State vs. Syracuse, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Jim Valvano Classic Schedule

Nexus S Review

Nexus S Review - The Nexus S arrives December 16th, but several outlets already have their hands on the new Android phone. Here are some of the early Nexus S reviews.

"Though not officially positioned as such, the Nexus S is an update to the now-retired HTC Nexus One," writes CNET in its preview. CNET likes to take its time with gadgets, so expect its review later this week. "Like its predecessor, the Nexus S offers the 'pure Google' experience without a disruptive manufacturer skin. That means you'll get direct access to a full set of Google applications.... It's the first handset with 'Gingerbread,' the next version of the Android operating system, and it offers a number of feature improvements like a Super AMOLED display with a contour design, an NFC chip, and a second camera. Not everything sounds promising--the Nexus S lacks a memory card slot and support for T-Mobile's HSPA+ network--but we're excited to see it just the same."

Nexus S Review

"The much-touted 'Near field communication,' so far, is a let down however," says the UK Telegraph. "That's because few people - in the UK at least - are yet using it. But as with so many Google features it could, in due course, be revolutionary: payments, transport tickets and more could – and should – all soon be based on this technology. For now, however, it’s simply a way of taking people to websites quickly."

"The UI has also been nipped and tucked all over the place, with icons and navigational elements taking on more of a buffed glass feel," writes Engadget in its preview. "Google has made big improvements to the keyboard, copy / paste, and text selection options, bringing the on-screen QWERTY and its associated components much closer to parity with iOS 4."

Nexus S Review

Charlie Brown Christmas

Charlie Brown Christmas - Before the steady stream of Emmy Awards and Grammy nominations and Oscar consideration came The Idea -- the one that producer-director Lee Mendelson, nearly a half-century later, calls with a certain zest "the best idea I've had in my entire life."

"I'd just made a documentary about the best baseball player in the world," Mendelson tells Comic Riffs, referring to his award-winning NBC work about Willie Mays. "So I decided to make a documentary about the worst baseball player in the world."

That, naturally, would be Charlie Brown. Mendelson read a "Peanuts" strip about the perennially losing hurler and thought: Why not make a documentary about the cartoon's creator?

It turned out to be the best pitch Mendelson ever made.

Charlie Brown Christmas

Mendelson called fellow Northern California resident Charles Schulz -- "his phone number was listed right in the book," the producer recalls -- and proposed the documentary. Fortunately, Mendelson says, Schulz had seen "A Man Named Mays" and liked it. "Sure, come on up," Schulz replied, so Mendelson motored up from San Francisco to Sebastopol and right there in the heart of wine country, the inspired ideas began to ferment and a 38-year friendship and creative partnership took root.

By 1965, the two men -- working with animator Bill Melendez -- collaborated on their first work, the holiday special "A Charlie Brown Christmas," a TV show that took chances and defied certain conventions and, ultimately, remained utterly authentic to the trio's collective vision.

Charlie Brown Christmas

Elizabeth Edwards Died

Elizabeth Edwards Died - Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, died today after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 61.
Tonight on 360°, we'll look back at her life. You'll hear from family friend John Moylan, who is Mr. Edwards former campaign adviser. Anderson will also talk with Larry King who interviewed Elizabeth Edwards many times.

Edwards died at her family home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, according to a statement released by the family.

"Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence but she remains the heart of this family," the statement said. "We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life."

Edwards was a mother, author and supporter of her husband through his two failed presidential runs. She also had to deal with his extramarital affair with former campaign videographer Rielle Hunter. Eventually he admitted he fathered a child with Hunter, after vehemently denying the allegation for months.

Elizabeth Edwards Died

Just yesterday, the Edwards family released a statement saying that she wouldn't undergo any more cancer treatments because it would be unproductive.

Tonight we're also ‘Keeping Them Honest’ in Washington on the compromise reached by Pres. Obama and Republicans to extend Bush-era tax cuts for wealthy Americans for two more years. It was a major concession by Mr. Obama. As part of the deal, Republicans agreed to give Americans the option to file for extended federal unemployment benefits.

"It's not perfect," Pres. Obama said in an afternoon news conference, but "we cannont play politics at a time when the American people are looking for us to solve problems."

Elizabeth Edwards Died

Elizabeth Edwards Blog

Elizabeth Edwards Blog - Elizabeth Edwards faced cruel - some would say vicious - criticism of her decision to continue on her husband's campaign and bring the kids along after she learned she had breast cancer. The blogger most infamous for her comments has removed her post. But Edwards' response remains - and it is a lasting monument to her strength, determination and love of her kids. We're posting it here because it illustrates why her death on Tuesday broke so many hearts.

With all due respect, what you would choose to do is relevant only once: when you choose how to spend your remaining days. I made my choice; because of our lives it was a public choice, but the choice doesn't belong to the public, it belongs to me. And with all due respect, you have no idea what the quality or amount of the time I spend with my children is.

I am reasonably confident your information is wrong because a reporter from the New York Times who was with us for less than one hour is your source. A reporter, by the way, who asked for time with our children and who, because our children are in fact children, saw good behavior and bad and who reported our wonderful advantures together as if the children and I were ships passing in the night, which is simply not true. Just in case you want to know, when we read the story to Jack (which we did while we watched one of the two baseball games we went to with him this past week), his response was actually very adult: that's not fair, he said, everyone has good days and bad days. And finally, what I said about Hillary's choices is that I had made the same choices she had made as a parent, and when I changed my choices I was happier. Just like you don't get to decide what makes me happier, I don't get to decide what makes Hillary happier.

Elizabeth Edwards Blog

Bamboozle Music Festival 2011

Bamboozle Music Festival 2011 - A Day to Remember, Boys Like Girls, New Found Glory with Marky Ramone, Circa Survive, Waka Flocka Flame, Streetlight Manifesto and the RX Bandits have just been announced as the first wave of Bamboozle 2011 main stage headliners.

The music festival is set for three days, April 29, 30 and May 1, at the New Meadowlands Stadium parking lot in East Rutherford.

Three-day tickets for $99 are now available at www.thebamboozle.com.

In the "something new'' category, the Temple of Boozle will spotlight DJs, including Super Mash Bros. and Wait What, and Bamboozle favorites such as the B-Boy Battle breakdancing contest and the Break Contest, which spotlights area bands, are returning.

However, there's no Hoodwink Festival this year. More lineup announcements are forthcoming.

Bamboozle Music Festival 2011

Salesforce To Compete With Oracle

Salesforce To Compete With Oracle - Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM) Chairman and Chief Executive Marc Benioff on Tuesday announced a database-as-a-service product that he hopes will take business away from Oracle Corp. (ORCL) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), in a market estimated to be worth more than $20 billion.

Benioff announced Database.com to a crowd of 14,000 at the company's annual customer meeting in San Francisco. Customers will access the product, stored on Salesforce computers, over the Internet as part of a trend known as cloud computing.

"Databases need to be in the cloud," Benioff said, referring to the emerging market as a "massive" market opportunity. "You can use Database.com from any language, from any device."

The news comes amid the rapid growth of cloud computing. Global revenue from cloud services is expected to grow 16.6% to $68.3 billion this year, and more than double to $148.8 billion by 2014, according to technology consultancy Gartner Inc.

Oracle declined to comment. Zane Adam, who manages Microsoft's Azure cloud computing technology, said Microsoft's SQL Azure database was built for the cloud.

"Tens of thousands of Microsoft customers are already using SQL Azure for large-scale cloud applications," added Adam.

Ironically, Salesforce will use Oracle technology to reach new customers with its cloud-based database service. Oracle's database technology has long been part of the infrastructure of Salesforce's products.

According to Gartner, the database systems marketplace is worth $21.2 billion.

A key advantage of Database.com, according to the salesforce, will be users' ability to focus on building applications on top of Database.com, rather than having to focus on the management and maintenance of a locally stored database. Salesforce also touted the database's flexibility, noting that developers can write applications for it in a variety of languages such as Oracle's Java and on a variety of platforms, including Microsoft Azure.

At the conference, some Salesforce customers who currently use Oracle's database said they are interested in learning more about Database.com. Alan Farnsworth, the chief information officer at Bausch & Lomb Inc., for example, said he likes the idea of Database.com's promised flexibility, scalability and easier integration of unstructured data.

Salesforce To Compete With Oracle

Google Maps For Android

Google Maps For Android - Get ready, folks with no sense of direction; Google Maps 5.0 app for Android is looking to make your life a lot easier with 3D graphics, more accurate orientation and the ability to function offline.

According to Gizmodo, the Google maps app — which was demoed at D: Dive Into Mobile conference in San Francisco — is much faster than the previous iteration and renders in real time.

3D buildings are visible at street-level view, which lets you tilt the image and check out your virtual surroundings. The map will also adjust as you move, dictated by the compass, or you can rotate the map yourself if you want to check out various views.

Perhaps the coolest addition to the Google maps app is its ability to work in offline mode — a boon to those in shoddy service areas or underground on the subway.

Said mode caches areas that users visit frequently. According to Gizmodo, this process is pretty comprehensive: “A quick demo we saw impressed us with how the vast majority of New York City stayed in memory…. Google says that this should compensate for 90% of the times the Google maps app currently fails when the connection is bad — in Navigation, it’ll even re-route you if you miss a turn in an area where the signal drops,” Gizmodo says.

Google Maps For Android

John Edwards Affair With Rielle Hunter

John Edwards Affair With Rielle Hunter - Unrepentant Rielle Hunter, former and possible current mistress of disgraced politician John Edwards, appeared for an interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show on April 29, 2010. Hunter was on Oprah to tell her side of the affair that broke up the marriage of John and Elizabeth Edwards and derailed Edwards' campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. Rielle Hunter had a child, Quinn with John Edwards as a result of the affair.


Reille Hunter was the other woman, key to the breakup of the marriage between John and Elizabeth Edwards. Hunter insisted that you cannot steal a man because people are not property. Hunter stated, 'You can't steal someone else's husband. People are not property.' The 'if she cannot hold on to her husband that is not my responsibility' excuse is the mantra of mistresses everywhere.

When asked how Elizabeth Edwards had learned about the affair, Rielle Hunter said that she had purchased Edwards a cell phone, which was a replica of his official phone, to use exclusively to talk with her. Elizabeth Edwards used the phone and the number connected to Rielle Hunter, who answered 'Hey Baby.'

Hunter alleged, as she has in the past, that Elizabeth Edwards was abusive to her husband and the he was afraid of his wife. Elizabeth Edwards, 60, who has terminal cancer, has separated from her straying husband.

Oprah played portions of a statement John Edwards made on national television in 2008 denying that he had an affair with Rielle Hunter and denying that her baby was his. Hunter told Oprah that after he made that statement on television that he called her and told her that the statement didn't mean anything.

John Edwards Affair With Rielle Hunter

Flags At Half Mast Today

Flags At Half Mast Today - Flags are at half-staff today in remembrance of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, plunging the United States into World War II.

Missouri Gov, Jay Nixon issued the order for the lowering of flags on Monday. The order applies to all U.S. and Missouri flags at state and local government buildings. A 1996 law designates today as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and calls for flags at half-staff.

Flags At Half Mast Today

Federal Unemployment Extension Deal

Federal Unemployment Extension Deal - President Obama said Monday night that an agreement had been reached with the Republican leadership to extend both the Bush tax cuts and federal unemployment benefits. The Bush tax cuts, including the cuts for the richest taxpayers, would be extended by two years; federal unemployment benefits would be extended until the end of 2011.

The deal also evidently extends some of the tax breaks in last year’s stimulus package.

Democrats reacted to this announcement with mostly disappointment. Rep. Anthony Weiner criticized Obama for “punting on third down” and failing to use his office to lobby for a more progressive package that would have extended the unemployment benefits and all the tax cuts except those for the wealthiest taxpayers.

What continues to be obvious is the internal incoherence of the Republicans’ positions on the subject:

Position 1: We support extending unemployment benefits but only if an extension is offset by budget cuts so it doesn’t increase the deficit.

Position 2: We’ll go along with extending unemployment benefits but only if you agree to extend tax cuts for the rich that will increase the deficit by an additional $700 billion.

There’s an old saying in D.C. and it goes like this: No one cares about the deficit and those who complain about it the most care about it the least. It seems to be coming true before our eyes.

Federal Unemployment Extension Deal

Wade Edwards Car Accident

Wade Edwards Car Accident - Losing her long-term battle with cancer, Elizabeth Edwards died Tuesday.

In a statement, the Edwards family asked that her memory be honored with charity donations, instead of flowers.

Though many would expect donations be requested for breast cancer charity, the Edwards family is instead asking for the public to support the foundation created in honor of Edwards' son.

On behalf of Elizabeth we want to express our gratitude to the thousands of kindred spirits who moved and inspired her along the way. Your support and prayers touched our entire family.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wade Edwards Foundation which benefits the Wade Edwards Learning Lab at www.wade.org.

The foundation was started in 1996 to honor Wade, the Edwards' 16-year-old son who was killed in a car crash.

Funds given to the foundation support the Wade Edwards Learning Lab Raleigh, N.C. The lab produces resources to teens, including free after-school computer access.

Wade Edwards Car Accident

Operation Ivy League

Operation Ivy League - Over a period of five months, undercover officers at Columbia made nearly $11,000 in drug purchases from five students before descending upon the campus in a storm that was labeled by the NYPD "Operation Ivy League." Law-enforcement agents bought cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, Adderall, and LSD (which, according to the Times, the students applied to Altoids mints and SweetTarts candy) — all drugs that were also sold to students in fraternity houses and elsewhere. According to Columbia's student-run Bwog, the media has descended upon the Morningside Heights campus, and the dean has sent out a message to all students regarding the incident. The five young men under arrest are named Chris Coles, Harrison David, Adam Klein, Jose Stephan Perez, and Michael Wymbs, according to police. They primarily sold drugs in the common areas and bedrooms of the Alpha Epsilon Pi, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Psi Upsilon fraternities.

Police also arrested three people who are accused of supplying the students with the drugs. Miron Sarzynski and his girlfriend, Megan Aspe, were previously rounded up in their East Village apartment, and Roberto Lagares was arrested in Bed-Stuy on Sunday. Miron Sarzynski faces additional kidnapping charges as a result of his interaction with an undercover officer. The NYPD operative was so effective in his role that Sarzynski asked him for an additional favor. According to police, he "was so intimidating to Mr. Sarzynski that he asked the undercover to help him kidnap and torture rival cocaine sellers. If a ransom wasn’t paid, Sarzynski wanted the rivals killed."

Operation Ivy League

Brittany Mae Smith Missing

Brittany Mae Smith Missing - As the massive search continued Tuesday for missing 12-year-old Brittany Mae Smith of Salem, and an autopsy was being conducted on her mother, Tina Louise Dyer Smith, relatives and friends in South Boston prayed fervently for the young girl’s safe return and questioned whether this tragic turn of events somehow could have been prevented.
Roanoke County Police found the body of the 41-year-old former Halifax County resident Monday when they were called to her Fort Lewis Circle home in Salem.

While at the scene, police obtained information indicating Smith’s 12-year-old daughter was missing.

An Amber Alert was issued Monday afternoon for the young girl who had called South Boston home up until four years ago prior to her parents’ divorce.

Her father, Benjamin H. Smith, is a South Boston Police officer.

The series of tragic events have left the community reeling as relatives and friends of the family anxiously await any word of Brittany’s whereabouts.

The victim’s mother and missing girl’s grandmother, Liz Dyer of South Boston, said Tuesday she continues to wait for any information on her granddaughter’s safety.

“Police have not told us anything,” she said speaking from her Eastover Drive home.

“We know she was beaten, and they’re doing an autopsy,” she said of speaking her late daughter, Tina.

Dyer said she only met Brittany’s suspected abductor, Jeffrey Scott Easley, one time.

But she was quick to add, “We didn’t like what we saw.”

The worried grandmother said she had been unaware Easley was living with her daughter and granddaughter until two weeks ago when they came home for Thanksgiving.

Brittany Mae Smith Missing

Droid X Update December 7

Droid X Update December 7 - We just received a tip mentioning that the Android 2.2.1 update which will bring the Droid X up to system version 2.3.340 (not Gingerbread) could start tonight (12/7) around midnight. We do know that the update information came out yesterday and Verizon has done a good job of keeping these under wraps lately until they are ready to go, so this wouldn’t surprise us.

And remember that Blur on the Droid X allows you to “pull” updates, so at midnight EST tonight, you can start going to Settings>About Phone>System Updates to check.

Droid X Update December 7

Drug Bust At Columbia University

Drug Bust At Columbia University - The NYPD has arrested five Columbia University students for their involvement in a campus drug ring.

The students, along with three off-campus drug suppliers, were indicted Tuesday and accused of selling drugs at fraternity houses and on-campus residences.

Over a three-month investigation, dubbed “Operation Ivy League,” undercover NYPD narcotics officers made 31 drug purchases from the five students. Drugs included cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, Adderall and LSD, according to Bridget G. Brennan, Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York.

A majority of drug sales took place within three on-campus fraternities and from dorm rooms in on-campus housing.

Robert Hornsby, director of media relations for Columbia University, addressed the incident in an e-mail to students Tuesday. “Each of us, through our individual behavior and actions, helps define our campus environment,” Hornsby said. "Decisions made by individuals affect the community as a whole. Please consider the potential impact of your actions on both your individual lives and the University community at-large.”

Drug Bust At Columbia University

Audubon Book Sells For $10 Million

Audubon Book Sells For $10 Million - Naturalist John James Audubon's "Birds of America" sold at auction in London on Tuesday for $10 million, making it the world's most expensive book. The book, which was sold by the auction house Sotheby's, was purchased by an anonymous telephone bidder.

"Birds of America" is oversize -- more than 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide -- with 435 illustrations. When first published in 1827, the images were printed in black and white and then hand-colored by specialists.

The combination of accuracy and artistry make Audubon's work unique. The first plate alone -- of a wild turkey -- could fetch $200,000. The Associated Press reports:

Because each picture is so valuable, there have been fears the volume will be broken up and sold as separate works of art. However, experts believe that's unlikely. The tome is probably more valuable intact. And collectors hold Audubon in such reverence that the notion of ripping apart a perfect copy would be akin to sacrilege.

"Audubon's 'Birds' holds a special place in the rare book market," said Heather O'Donnell, a specialist with Bauman Rare Books in New York. "The book is a major original contribution to the study of natural history in the New World."

Audubon Book Sells For $10 Million

Dave Wannstedt Fired

Dave Wannstedt Fired - Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt is out after six seasons leading his alma mater, a source close to Wannstedt told ESPN.com.

Wannstedt will announce his resignation on Tuesday night and remain in the athletic department in a non-coaching capacity.

Offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. is expected to be named interim coach and lead the Panthers in the BBVA Compass Bowl against Kentucky.

Wannstedt went 42-31 at Pittsburgh and won 10 games last season. But this year, with the Panthers picked as heavy favorites to win the Big East, Pitt stumbled to a 7-5 record. The team did win a share of the Big East title but blew a two-game lead in the standings and was blown out at home by rival West Virginia with the BCS bid on the line.

Dave Wannstedt Fired

Diet Drug Contrave (Orexigen) Approved By FDA

Diet Drug Contrave (Orexigen) Approved By FDA - A Food and Drug Administration panel voted 13-7 to recommend approval for Orexigen Therapeutics'(OREX_) weight loss drug, Contrave, setting the stage for Contrave to be the first new diet drug approved by the FDA in a decade.

TheStreet's Adam Feuerstein has been live blogging the Orexigen vote, during which the FDA panel decided that the potential benefits outweigh the drug's risks.
>>Orexigen Therapeutics FDA Panel Live Blog
Sales of the weight-loss drug could surpass $1 billion annually if approved by the FDA, according to market estimates. While the FDA doesn't need to follow the recommendation of the expert panel, the FDA often does follow an advisory panel's lead in recommending a drug for approval. A final FDA decision on Orexigen's Contrave is expected by the end of January.

In October, the FDA rejected two diet drugs, Arena Pharmaceuticals'(ARNA_) lorcaserin and Vivus'(VVUS_) Qnexa. Arena's drug was rejected based on cancer risks, and Vivus was asked by the FDA for more information on potential for heart attack.

Shares of Arena and Vivus spiked in the after-hours session on Tuesday after the FDA panel vote on Orexigen.

Diet Drug Contrave (Orexigen) Approved By FDA

Elizabeth Edwards Dies, Children Mourn

Elizabeth Edwards Dies, Children Mourn - Elizabeth Edwards – a political wife whose personal dramas, including her husband's infidelity and her six-year battle against breast cancer, were played out on a public stage – died from the disease Tuesday. She was 61.

"Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence but she remains the heart of this family," the Edwards family says in a statement. "We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life."

She died at her home in Chapel Hill, N.C., surrounded by her family.

"On behalf of Elizabeth we want to express our gratitude to the thousands of kindred spirits who moved and inspired her along the way," the statement adds. "Your support and prayers touched our entire family."

On Dec. 6, 2010, it was announced that her doctors decided that further treatment for her breast cancer would be unproductive and that she only had a short time left to live.

That same day, on her Facebook page, Edwards thanked supporters and wrote, "The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human."

First diagnosed with cancer in 2004, Edwards went into remission until the 2008 presidential campaign.

Elizabeth Edwards Dies, Children Mourn

Hawaiian Airlines Cheap Flights

Hawaiian Airlines Cheap Flights - Hawaiian Airlines gets a new Airbus A330. You get a roundtrip Hawaii airfare deal for a winter or spring vacation as low as $333.

Hawaiian Airlines is celebrating the arrival of its third brand new Airbus A330 aircraft by offering $333 roundtrip airfare deals to Oahu and Maui from 10 of the carrier’s west coast U.S. mainland gateway cities.

The catch? There’s just one week to book the deal, and the clock is ticking.

The deals are good for travel for six full months of winter and spring travel in the New Year—from Jan. 11, 2011, to June 9, 2011. You have until Dec. 13, 2010, to book at the special fare.

Flights to Honolulu, Oahu, on the $333 deal depart from:

• Las Vegas, Nev.
• Los Angeles, Calif.
• Oakland, Calif.
• Phoenix, Ariz.
• Portland, Ore.
• Sacramento, Calif.
• San Diego, Calif.
• San Francisco, Calif.
• San Jose, Calif.
• Seattle, Wash.

Hawaiian Airlines Cheap Flights

New Stimulus, Payroll Tax Holiday

New Stimulus, Payroll Tax Holiday - President Obama and the Republicans will say that the payroll tax holiday is all about stimulating the economy. But don't be fooled. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, there are many better ways to stimulate the economy with that $120 billion the payroll tax holiday will cost, including simply extending the Making Work Pay Tax Credit. See "Payroll Tax Holiday a Poor Stimulus Idea," available at this link.

And the other, better forms of stimulus pose no threat to Social Security. The innocent-sounding payroll tax holiday, on the other hand, will lead inexorably to killing Social Security. Let me explain:

Sixty members of the Senate are unwilling to raise taxes evenon those earning over $1 million. Given that unwillingness to raise taxes by less than a nickel on every dollar earned over $1 million, I find it unfathomable that a more conservative Congress, in two years, heading toward an election, will increase the payroll tax by 2 percent on the very first dollar, and every other dollar up to the cap, earned by virtually every single worker in the country. This would amount to a 30 percent tax hike on what workers would have then been paying. Consequently, I think we have to assume that the payroll tax holiday will be extended beyond the two years the president is proposing and quite likely could become permanent.

New Stimulus, Payroll Tax Holiday

Alex Santana And Jane Carrey To Divorce

Alex Santana And Jane Carrey To Divorce - Funnyman Jim Carrey can't joke about this.
His daughter, Jane, is divorcing her husband, Blood Money singer Alex Santana, just one year after the couple married./p>

The split was confirmed by a spokesperson for Jim Carrey, who spoke to In Touch Weekly.

"The couple will remain friends, as well as devoted parents to their 9-month-old son, Jackson Riley," the representative said.

When his grandson was born in February, papa Carrey tweeted it from the virtual rooftops: "Jackson Riley Santana, My Grandson, Born today! This is what 7lbs.11oz. of California dynamite looks like!"

Jim Carrey split from his longtime girlfriend, actress Jenny McCarthy, this spring.

Alex Santana And Jane Carrey To Divorce

Kris Humphries Dating Kim Kardashian

Kris Humphries Dating Kim Kardashian - Kim Kardashian is back playing the field... or, the court, to be exact. Rumored in November to be dating Halle Berry ex Gabriel Audry, Life & Style reports that Kardashian is now dating NJ Nets basketball player Kris Humphries.

"Kim likes him much more than Gabriel," and "insider" told Life & Style. "He's normal, so much fun and cute. He's perfect for what Kim wants right now, which is some fun dates and some fun times."

The two have been seen in the New York area a number of times. Kardashian watched Humphries' Nets play in Newark on November 29th; the pair were spotted at a bar in Hoboken on December 5th; and they dined at Nobu in New York City recently, as well.

So what happened to her last fling?

"Kim feels like Gabriel was just using her for her fame," the same insider said, adding that, at 34, Audry, "is older than Kim is looking for... so she's decided to stop seeing him."

Kris Humphries Dating Kim Kardashian

Jamie McCourt Rejects Divorce Settlement

Jamie McCourt Rejects Divorce Settlement - Frank and Jamie McCourt had 11 days to consider a proposal to settle their divorce case, and with it the ownership of the Dodgers.

As a noon deadline approached Tuesday, Frank accepted the proposal. Jamie turned it down.

That could leave the issue of who owns the Dodgers in limbo into the new year, and perhaps beyond. The McCourts now await a ruling from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon on the validity of a marital agreement that would provide Frank with sole ownership of the Dodgers.

Jamie McCourt Rejects Divorce Settlement

Pearl Harbor Attack Remembered

Pearl Harbor Attack Remembered - Americans across the United States are holding ceremonies Tuesday to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Hundreds of people are estimated to be gathered at Pearl Harbor, where a new visitor's center is to open at the scene of the attack, near the site where the battleship Arizona sank.

On December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft attacked the base just before 8 a.m., Hawaii time. The attack killed more than 2,400 Americans, sank five battleships and drew the United States into World War II.

More than 1,100 sailors died on the Arizona, which still lies at the bottom of the harbor. It is a memorial to what then-U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt described as "a date which will live in infamy."

At the same time as the Hawaii ceremony, the National Park Service in Washington held a wreath-laying ceremony at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall.

Pearl Harbor Attack Remembered

Chrome Web Store Unveiled

Chrome Web Store Unveiled - At a press event today, Google unveiled the details of its Chrome Web Store, an HTML5-based app marketplace that operates on top of the Chrome web browser, including games from Electronic Arts and numerous other developers.

"People want to get paid for their apps, but they don't want to trust a small, independent developer. That's one of the problems we wanted to solve with the Chrome Web Store," Google VP of Product Management Sundar Pichai said at the event, as reported by Engadget.

The store, which launched today alongside the announcement, already lists 195 titles in the Games category, including offerings from Namco (Burger Time Deluxe), Zynga (FarmVille) and Digital Chocolate (Millionaire City) designed to run seamlessly inside the newest version of Google's web browser.

But EA Games content was featured at the Web Store's unveiling, with EA COO John Schappert showing off a new version of the company's Pogo Games balloon-popping title Poppit as a free download for the platform. The game will be built-in to the upcoming version 9 of the Chrome browser.

"We were able to convert into a state-of-the-art HTML5 web app in less than 48 hours," Schappert said at the event "It's blazing fast. It's simply the fastest Poppit we've made."

Other EA titles available for download on the Chrome Web Store include existing web games such as FIFA Superstars, Lords of Ultima, Mirror's Edge 2D and Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online.

Chrome Web Store Unveiled

Wikileaks Whistle Blowing Site

Wikileaks Whistle Blowing Site - American pressure to dissuade companies in the US from supporting the WikiLeaks website has led to an online backlash in which individuals are redirecting parts of their own sites to its Swedish internet host.

Since early on Friday morning, it has been impossible to reach WikiLeaks by typing wikileaks.org into a web browser because everyDNS, which would redirect queries for the string "wikileaks.org" to that machine address, removed its support for Wikileaks, claiming that it had broken its terms of service by being the target of a huge hacker attack. (See What is DNS?)

Without a DNS record, it is only possible to reach WikiLeaks by typing in the string of numbers which, for most web users, is too unmemorable to make it feasible.

That, campaigners say, points to the principal weakness in the internet's pyramidial DNS setup, where a limited number of site registrars can control whether a site is findable by name or not.

Website hosts are being encouraged to add a "/wikileaks" directory into their sites, redirecting to which redirects to http://88.80.13.160/, run by the Swedish hosting company Bahnhof.

At present, that location redirects users to a Wikleaks page at http://213.251.145.96/, which is run by a French company, but if pressure from the French government pushes Wikileaks off that host, it will still have the Swedish location.

At the same time, scores of sites "mirroring" WikiLeaks have sprung up – by lunchtime today, the list was 74-strong and contained sites that have the same content as WikiLeaks and – crucially – link to the downloads of its leaks of 250,000 US diplomatic cables.

The backlash has also gained its own tag on the microblogging service Twitter, where people who have linked to the main site are using the hashtag #imwikileaks.

Wikileaks Whistle Blowing Site

Dump Truck Chase

Dump Truck Chase - The teen, behind the wheel with, get this, a suspended license keeps rolling, pinballing two tons vehicles like...

Crash witness Bill Horrigan says "I thought there was a movie being filmed... It was like throwing these cars. It was unbelievable."

Two other juveniles hop out of the truck's cab...and right into police handcuffs but the teen driver, gears grinding, keeps going.

Size, not speed was the X-factor in this pursuit.

Lt. Mike Titus of the Stow Police Department says "it is a bit challenging when you think about how are you going to stop a very large dump truck when you've never encountered that before."

The 52-mile, one hour chase began Saturday after the dump truck's owner, who had filed a stolen vehicle report that morning, spotted the truck in a residential area.

As one officer closes in on the dump truck from behind, another police officer slides in front to box the truck in. The teen driver lurches into the police SUV and hits the gas in reverse.

The impact slices off the police cruiser's front bumper.

Dump Truck Chase

HTC Desire Update

HTC Desire Update - An HTC Desire update has just been made available OTA. The update, version 2.29.405.2 is only going out to users of the unlocked devices and it’s currently unknown when it will be coming to the carrier versions of the devices or what regions in which update is available.

The update comes in at 28.87MB and you will need at least 25MB of internal storage free to download and install. We currently are also unaware of what exactly is updated, hopefully it’s a preparation for Gingerbread? We sure hope so.

HTC Desire Update

Marshall Islands Could Disappear

Marshall Islands Could Disappear - Encroaching seas in the far Pacific are raising the salt level in the wells of the Marshall Islands. Waves threaten to cut one sliver of an island in two. "It's getting worse," says Kaminaga Kaminaga, the tiny nation's climate change coordinator.

The rising ocean raises questions, too: What happens if the 61,000 Marshallese must abandon their low-lying atolls? Would they still be a nation? With a U.N. seat? With control of their old fisheries and their undersea minerals? Where would they live, and how would they make a living? Who, precisely, would they and their children become?

For years global negotiations to act on climate change have dragged on, with little to show. Parties to the 193-nation U.N. climate treaty are meeting again in this Caribbean resort, but no one expects decisive action to roll back the industrial, agricultural and transport emissions blamed for global warming — and consequently for swelling seas.

From 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometers) away, the people of the Marshalls — and of Kiribati, Tuvalu and other atoll nations beyond — can only wonder how many more years they'll be able to cope.

"People who built their homes close to shore, all they can do is get more rocks to rebuild the seawall in front day by day," said Kaminaga, who is in Cancun with the Marshallese delegation to the U.N. talks.

The Marshallese government is looking beyond today, however, to those ultimate questions of nationhood, displacement and rights.

Marshall Islands Could Disappear

Cataclysm Release Tonight

Cataclysm Release Tonight - Unless you live under a rock somewhere with no wireless internet connection you should be familiar with the massively popular World of Warcraft. The original release of World of Warcraft and each of its two expansions (World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade and World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King) have been dominant from a sales perspective and the subscriber based has grown to 12 million members strong.

The game has grown to be the polka dot elephant in the gaming world's living room. It is almost impossible to discuss the popularity or success of any game released after it came on the scene without the inevitable comparisons. Dozens of MMO's have been released in recent years with each one claiming to be the great WoW killer. None of them have been successful in the long term and many have either shut down or switched to free to play games.

Fortunately for WoW subscribers, Blizzard isn't taking their success as an opportunity to relax. They consistently patch their game and are releasing their third (and largest) expansion on December 7th, 2010 (That's tomorrow for those keeping track.) Blizzard has learned a great deal about how to write stories and develop content for MMO's that is engaging and interesting since WoW released and each expansion after the original release has shown that, but they have left the original game content alone for the most part (until now).

Cataclysm Release Tonight

Cher Lloyd Cheered On

Cher Lloyd Cheered On - She may be Cheryl Cole's ‘cup of tea with two sugars', but Cher Lloyd's seen as a meal ticket
for her parents.

Friends of the 17-year-old X Factor star say she's really feeling the weight of mum Dina and dad Darren's expectations.

‘Money's always been tight for Cher's family,' reveals a source.

‘She used to live in a caravan with her parents, brother Josh and sisters Sophie and Rosie.

'For years she was taunted at school for being a "pikey" and a "gypo".'

Although they now live in a four-bedroom terraced house in Malvern, Cher's promised to buy her parents a new house if she makes it big.

However, X Factor insiders tell Now the pressure to succeed may be too much.

‘She should be concentrating on her sound, image and career,' says a source.

‘Her parents want the best for her, of course, but they're always telling her to work harder because a record deal would make such a difference to their lives.'

Last month, there were reports that her unemployed dad Darren, 43, had been flogging pictures of his daughter in her bedroom for £25 each.

‘We have up for grabs one of Cher's photos, signed by Cher. There are only 20 of these,' he wrote on the Ebay listing.

Cher Lloyd Cheered On

Google Ebookstore Opens For Business

Google Ebookstore Opens For Business - On Monday, Google launched its long-rumored and long-awaited e-book store, dubbed the Google ebookstore.

Readers can browse 3 million titles from some 4,000 publishers, including Random House, Harper Collins, McGraw-Hill, Simon and Shuster, Macmillan, Hachette, and more. Many will be in the public domain, but "hundreds of thousands" are available for purchase.

Google has provided a Web reader, but there are also requisite Android and iOS apps. Turn on synchronization and your e-book reading position and "library" contents are synced across the Internet to your various readers.

In addition to its own store, Google has lined up some partners that also sell Google e-books, including Alibris, Powell's, and participating members of the American Booksellers Association. Buy anywhere, and they are all put on the same e-bookshelf.

In addition, you can download the book as a PDF or ePub file (ePub is an open e-book format). You can then print, share, or load the book on another device that doesn't have a Google app.

Google did not detail how revenue will be shared with book publishers and independent booksellers, except to note that the deals varied.

Google Ebookstore Opens For Business

Reese Witherspoon Admires Robert Pattinson

Reese Witherspoon Admires Robert Pattinson - Actress Reese Witherspoon has revealed that she thinks of Robert Pattinson as a very dashing young man.

"I'm not gonna lie. He's a very, very handsome man," USMagazine.com quoted her as telling USA Today. "He's sweet and loving and has the nicest family…He's a very sensitive soul,” she added.

Witherspoon even admitted to being a bit of a TwiHard. "I really liked them, me and all my 30-year-old friends!" she said. "I love the books," she added.

Robert Pattinson has shot to fame with Twilight series. He is said to be currently dating his Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart.

Reese Witherspoon Admires Robert Pattinson

AGL To Buy Nicor

AGL To Buy Nicor - AGL Resources Inc., the owner of Atlanta’s natural-gas utility, agreed to buy Nicor Inc. for $2.4 billion in cash and stock, almost doubling the number of gas customers it serves.

Nicor holders will receive $21.20 in cash and 0.8382 shares of AGL, valuing the target company at $53 a share, Atlanta-based AGL said today in a statement. That represents a 13 percent premium to yesterday’s share price and is 22 percent more than Nicor’s stock value on Dec. 1, before news of the company’s potential sale was first reported.

The transaction is the biggest for AGL and the largest in the U.S. gas utilities sector this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Nicor, based in Naperville, Illinois, hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. a few months ago to auction itself, people with direct knowledge of the matter said last week.

The price is 2.24 times Nicor’s book value and “looks like an expensive acquisition,” Gordon Howald, a Happauge, New York- based analyst for East Shore Partners Inc., said today in an interview. “That’s usually a harbinger of challenges.”

AGL To Buy Nicor

Michael Jordan Hall Of Fame

Michael Jordan Hall Of Fame - Michael Jordan is finally being inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

The ceremony will take place in Charlotte on Dec. 14 at halftime of the game between the Toronto Raptors and the Charlotte Bobcats. Jordan is the Bobcats' majority owner.

The hall's board of directors elected Jordan in 1993 after he led the Chicago Bulls to the third of six NBA championships. But he had retired from basketball and was playing minor-league baseball, starting a long wait for a hall that requires inductees to personally accept the invitation.

Jordan hit the jump shot in 1982 that gave Dean Smith his first NCAA championship at North Carolina. He played his high school basketball at Laney High School in Wilmington.

In a statement, Jordan called the induction a "tremendous honor."

"When I think about all the great athletes from North Carolina that inspired me to become the best I could be, it's humbling to know that now I stand with them as members of a very special fraternity," Jordan said.

Hall executive director Don Fish said there had been several attempts to schedule an induction ceremony over the years, but the North Carolina native and former Tar Heels player was often unavailable when the hall typically conducted induction ceremonies in May. He said Jordan's absence had been particularly noted by children who visited the hall, located in the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.

"The one question they ask is, 'Where's Michael Jordan?'" Fish said. "Shortly we will have that answer."

This month's ceremony will include a video tribute to Jordan, while many current members of the hall and its board of directors will be on hand for the oncourt presentation and a reception.

Michael Jordan Hall Of Fame

Albert Haynesworth Not Hung Over

Albert Haynesworth Not Hung Over - Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth was inactive for Sunday’s game after struggling through what was described as an “illness” last week. On Monday, rumors began to circulate that Haynesworth’s illness was actually a hangover. And Haynesworth is furious about that.

“I believe there’s some kind of haters in the organization, that they don’t like me,” Haynesworth said on 106.7 The Fan. “I don’t know if it’s players, I don’t know if it’s coaches, I don’t know who it is. Obviously somebody who doesn’t like me, which is fine. But when you go out there and start making up lies, then, yeah, I’ve got something to say.”

Haynesworth denied a Comcast SportsNet report that Haynesworth went out late Thursday and appeared hung over Friday.

“Yeah, I went out on Thursday but left early because I wasn’t feeling good and went home,” Haynesworth said. “And then they want to sit here and say I was hung over and drunk and something like that? … For these people to make up lies to try to make me look bad, it’s ridiculous.”

Albert Haynesworth Not Hung Over

Eric Cantona's Call For Bank Run

Eric Cantona's Call For Bank Run - European Central Bank Governing Council member Guy Quaden isn’t concerned that former French soccer player Eric Cantona’s call for people to withdraw deposits today will lead to a run on the banking system, he told RTBF Radio in an interview.

“I’m not worried, and on the other hand I don’t wish for the collapse of the banking sector,” Quaden told the Belgian radio station. “Nobody should wish for that.”

Quaden said he understood the public animosity toward bankers, but he questioned who would win from a run on the banking system. “Surely not the mass of the population. I can’t imagine for a moment this scenario,” he said in the interview.

Eric Cantona's Call For Bank Run

Julian Assange Arrested

Julian Assange Arrested - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange surrendered to London police on Tuesday as part of a Swedish sex-crimes investigation, the latest blow to an organization that faces legal, financial and technological challenges after releasing hundreds of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

Assange was due at Westminster Magistrate's Court later Tuesday.

WikiLeaks' disclosure of key sites that the U.S. has deemed critical to national security marks an increasingly dangerous step by the online organization, whose actions are at the center of a broad criminal investigation, U.S. officials and some security analysts said Monday.

The list of power suppliers, dams, chemical manufacturers, transportation systems and communication grids spans the globe from Africa to Mexico and is part of a cache of classified State Department documents released by WikiLeaks.

"It is a map for terrorists, plain and simple," said Tom Kean, a co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

Although many of the sensitive sites — which include key suppliers of vaccines and other medicines — are well-known, Kean said the fact that they are listed as important to the U.S. gives enemies valuable intelligence. "It's one thing for a group to sit around and make a list of things that might be important to the U.S.," he said. "It's another thing to have the list that was developed by the U.S. government."

Randall Larsen, former executive director of the congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, said the list's publication would make WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange an enemy of the world: "Every nation in the world is soon going to realize what an enemy this guy is. He just published the target list."

Assange, wanted by Swedish authorities in connection with a rape investigation, was negotiating with British authorities Monday about the Swedish arrest warrant, the Associated Press reported.

Julian Assange Arrested

Continental Airlines Convicted

Continental Airlines Convicted - Continental Airlines was convicted of murder charges for the Concorde crash ten years ago and fined $280,680.

The Concorde crash happened outside Paris and the carelessness of the Continental caused the fireball that resulted to crash the airplane. It also busted into flames when the tire of supersonic jet ran over a portion of metal debris goes down of a previous flight by the air carrier of the United States.

According to a court in Pontoise, France, the mechanic of Continental Airlines, which was named John Taylor, was also found guilty and received a suspension for 15 months and a fine of $2,806. Judge Dominique Andreassier stated in reading the decision that there was an indisputable connection between the carelessness of Continental Airlines and the tragedy that was happened in July 25, 2000.

In addition, the decision comes seven years after the last commercial take-off of Concorde, the end of program accelerated by the plane crash. For 16 months, the flights were grounded after the tragedy and the airplane came back to its operation as demand for air travel fell off following the terrorist attack in September 11, 2001.

Continental Airlines Convicted

Wikileaks Mirror Sites

Wikileaks Mirror Sites - Don't expect WikiLeaks to go anywhere soon. Despite efforts to censor the site in the U.S., the whistle-blowing organization said that a growing number of mirrors are available.

"WikiLeaks now has 355 sites. Thanks to YOU," said a tweet Sunday on the @WikiLeaks feed.

However, the mirrors page lists just 208 of these sites. The page encourages people to create mirrors "in order to make it impossible to ever fully remove WikiLeaks form the Internet."

Last week, the whistle-blowing site began the release of more than 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables. The controversial documents have caused diplomatic embarrassment for the U.S. government, and have made it hard for WikiLeaks to survive online in the states.

Most recently, PayPal yanked WikiLeaks from its services. As of Friday, no more donations can be made to WikiLeaks via PayPal. Prior to that, Amazon booted WikiLeaks from its servers, forcing WikiLeaks to find a Web host in Sweden. It is now supported by Banhof AB, which is housed in a Cold War bomb shelter.

DNS provider Dyn Inc also expelled WikiLeaks from the WikiLeaks.org domain, pushing the organization to find a new domain, WikiLeaks.ch. The site was also the target of two denial of service attacks in the aftermath of the release.

"Cablegate," as the ordeal has been called, has caused global political uproar, and leaders are calling for WikiLeaks head Julian Assange to be held responsible. Assange is now one of the most wanted men in the world. Last week, Interpol issued an international wanted notice, and Swedish courts upheld a warrant for the 39-year-old Australian's arrest. Both warrants stem from rape and sexual assault charges made in August.

Wikileaks Mirror Sites

Pearl Harbor Day

Pearl Harbor Day - The United States will mark the anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor Tuesday with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington.

Retired Rear Adm. Kleber S. Masterson, Jr., the son of a crewmember on the USS Arizona, which was sunk by the Japanese, will speak at the afternoon observance, the Washington Post reported.

Masterson's father was on shore 69 years ago during the surprise Sunday morning attack and watched the Arizona burn and sink.

In an address to Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called Dec. 7, 1941, "a date that will live in infamy."

Audio of Roosevelt's address can be heard at americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrpearlharbor.htm.

In addition to the wreath-laying, there will be an event honoring Pearl Harbor survivors at the National World War II Memorial in Washington at 1:53 p.m. to mark the exact time the attack took place, The Seattle Times reported.

Pearl Harbor Day

NYC School Closings

NYC School Closings - The Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz, Jr., today responded to the latest list of New York City school closings by saying, "It frustrates me that school closure continues to be the preferred option of reform used by the Department of Education."

The list released earlier today includes 11 public schools and one charter school. Of the 11 public schools, four of them are in the Bronx. According to the Borough President, some of these failing schools are near others that are performing well.

"I am baffled as to why the DOE does not encourage these schools to work with one another. I will continue to hold the DOE accountable to support our schools and not give up on our children,” Diaz Jr. said in a statement.

According to CityLimits News, the schools come from a list of 55 troubled schools that the city Department of Education identified earlier this fall. Schools from the list not immediately closed will be targeted for major strategic turnarounds.

Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg in a statement said, “Year after year, even as we provided extra help and support, these schools simply have not gotten the job done for children. These are tough decisions, but we cannot afford to let schools continue to fail students when we know we can do better.”

NYC School Closings

Buncombe County Schools Closed

Buncombe County Schools Closed - Overnight snow has left a thin layer of snow on many roads in the Asheville area, including downtown, this morning, making travel treacherous and forcing many school systems to close for a second day.

Asheville police and the N.C. Highway Patrol report slick roads across the mountains and many accidents were reported overnight.

"We've had a lot of wrecks since I came in at 7 last night," an APD dispatcher said.

Most secondary roads are coated with snow, and even interstates and main thoroughfares have slick spots. I-240 in particular was very slick early this morning.

Asheville City and Buncombe County Schools are among area schools closed today. Also closed are Madison, Haywood, Yancey, Mitchell and Avery systems. Graham and Swain schools are operating on a two-hour delay.

N.C. Department of Transportation crews worked overnight treating slick spots and will continue to apply salt and sand today, DOT district engineer Jeff Moore said. But hazardous conditions will persist because of the extreme cold.

“It seems to have been a little worse in the northern part of the county,” said Moore, who's based in Asheville. “The crews will be out hitting the icy spots and dealing with black ice.”

Cold weather is making itself comfortable in Western North Carolina this week.

While the snow showers may be finished by today, biting temperatures will stick around through Wednesday.

Area residents should prepare for the coldest day of the season so far. The National Weather Service is predicting a high of only 26 today in Asheville. With winds of 14-17 mph gusting to 28 mph, the wind chill could dip to 8 degrees. A wind chill advisory remains in effect for areas above 3,500 feet, where wind chills this morning could plummet to minus-5, according to the Weather Service. Expect another cold day Wednesday, with gradual warming as the week progresses.

Buncombe County Schools Closed

Payroll Tax Cut

Payroll Tax Cut - As the White House and Congressional Republicans near a deal on sweeping tax legislation, including an extension of the Bush-era tax rates for all income levels, President Obama has agreed to give up the “Making Work Pay” tax credit that was the central tax break for middle and low-income Americans in last year’s economic stimulus bill.

Mr. Obama had been pressing for a one-year extension of the Making Work Pay credit, which provided a tax break of up to $400 for individuals and $800 for couples. But Republicans opposed the idea.

An administration official said that in the emerging deal, the “Making Work Pay” credit would be replaced with a one-year reduction in payroll taxes for workers.

In addition to a two-year extension of the income tax rates enacted under President George W. Bush, the deal includes a one-year extension of jobless aid for the long-term unemployed. Officials said negotiators were also close to an agreement to restore the federal estate tax, which lapsed at the start of this year, with an exemption of up to $5 million per individual, and a maximum rate of 35 percent.

Mr. Obama, on a visit to Winston-Salem, N.C. on Monday, said the two sides were working toward an agreement that would prevent a tax increase at the start of the year when the Bush-era rates are due to expire.

Payroll Tax Cut

December 7 1941, Pearl Harbor

December 7 1941, Pearl Harbor - The attack on Pearl Harbor (called the Hawaii Operation or Operation Z by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, and the Battle of Pearl Harbor by some Americans) was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941. The next day the United States declared war on Japan resulting in their entry into World War II. The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from influencing the war that the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia, against Britain and the Netherlands, as well as the U.S. in the Philippines. The base was attacked by Japanese aircraft (a total of 353, in two waves) launched from six aircraft carriers.

Four U.S. Navy battleships were sunk (two of which were raised and returned to service later in the war) and all of the four other battleships present were damaged. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, 2,402 personnel were killed and 1,282 were wounded. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light, with 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.

December 7 1941, Pearl Harbor

PS3 Firmware Update

PS3 Firmware Update - Firmware 3.55 is described by Sony as "a minor update that adds a security patch".

It's believed to be targeted towards the PS3 Jailbreak that surfaced earlier this year in August.

Sony struck a blow to Jailbreak users in September when it filed a lawsuit against an online retailer for selling the PS3 mod PSJailbreak and later released a security patch.

However, the creators of the original PS3 Jailbreak quickly developed a downgrade for the PlayStation 3 in October.

The downgrade allowed users to roll back the changes made by Sony, thereby making the Jailbreak usable again.

Sony's now issued its counter-attack, however, in what's increasingly becoming a game of cat and mouse.

PS3 Firmware Update

Blackrock Caverns Entrance

Blackrock Caverns Entrance - Cataclysm has already gone live in Europe, and it's only hours away now for those of us in North America. Are you prepared for it? Do you know what you need to know to hit the ground running when Cataclysm content becomes active on live realms? If you don't, we're here to help. Below are answers to some of the most common questions that have been asked about starting the Cataclysm experience.

How do I learn to fly in old Azeroth?

You can get your Flight Master's License in Outland or Northrend, but the much better options are Stormwind for the Alliance and Orgrimmar for the Horde. Horde players want to talk to Maztha and Alliance players want to talk to Bralla Cloudwing. Wowhead has excellent maps for finding both of them.

Which zones do I go to first to level in Cataclysm? How do I get there?

You have the option of going to either Hyjal or Vashj'ir. Which you go to is purely personal preference. Stormwind and Orgrimmar have breadcrumb quests for both. Either the quest will be offered to you immediately upon logging in with a pop-up style quest prompt, or you will need to go to your city's Hero's Board/Warchief's Command Board.

Deciding to go to Hyjal will route you through Moonglade to gain entrance to the zone -- don't worry, going through Moonglade won't take as long as you think. You won't need to hoof it the whole way.

Deciding to go to Vashj'ir will send you to your respective faction's nearest harbor. In the case of Stormwind, you go to the Stormwind Harbor. In the case of Orgrimmar, you will be sent to the new dock in Durotar.

Blackrock Caverns Entrance

New England Patriots On Top Of League

New England Patriots On Top Of League - It was closing in on midnight, and the funny man did not sound so funny. The braggart did not sound so bold. The prophet did not sound so sure.

At the postgame podium, with the New England Patriots' 45-3 conquest frozen in the Gillette Stadium lights, Rex Ryan looked and sounded like he had seen a ghost.

Ryan has been everything to everybody as coach of the New York Jets. He's been a standup comic for the press, a tough-talking advocate of a long, lost franchise and, more than anything, the first Jet with the nerve to promise a Super Bowl title since Joe Willie Namath answered a banquet heckler with the most glorious guarantee in sports.

But in the bitter cold and blustery winds Monday night, Ryan resembled none of the characters he's played to rave reviews. In fact, Ryan came across as clueless, overmatched, and entirely unprepared to deal with this beating Bill Belichick's Patriots had planned for him.

As his hour of reckoning approached, Ryan trotted to the visiting sideline under the kind of pregame reception LeBron James got in Cleveland. The Jets' coach answered the boos in villainous pro-wrestler style, lifting his cap toward the black sky.

New England Patriots On Top Of League

Elizabeth Edwards Stops Cancer Fight

Elizabeth Edwards Stops Cancer Fight - Former presidential candidate John Edwards is at his estranged wife Elizabeth's side today after doctors told her that her breast cancer has spread to her liver - and that further treatment would be unproductive.

Mrs Edwards, who is still married to the two-time U.S. presidential candidate, was moved to her home to be with family and friends after she was hospitalised briefly last week.

A friend of the family said in a statement that Edwards, their three children, and other family members were with the 61-year-old at her Chapel Hill, North Carolina home.

The statement yesterday said Mrs Edwards was in good spirits, and is not in pain.

Yesterday People magazine reported doctors as saying that the breast cancer first diagnosed in 2004 'had metastasised to the liver'.

'Elizabeth has been advised by her doctors that further treatment of her cancer would be unproductive. She is resting at home with family and friends,' the Edwards family said in their statement.

Mrs Edwards herself said in a Facebook posting yesterday: 'I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces, my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope.

Elizabeth Edwards Stops Cancer Fight

SpaceX Rocket Launch Delayed

SpaceX Rocket Launch Delayed - The first demonstration flight of SpaceX's Falcon 9 commercial spacecraft for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program has been postponed.

The launch, scheduled for today, has been postponed by at least one day, following the discovery of a crack. The launch window extends until Thursday, and the rocket remains on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.

During a routine review of close-out photos of the rocket on Monday, SpaceX engineers discovered a three-inch crack in the engine nozzle on the rocket's second stage.

SpaceX hasn't yet made a decision on whether to repair the crack or ship a replacement part from California.

Known as COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services) 1, the launch is the first flight of the Dragon spacecraft and the first commercial attempt to re-enter a spacecraft from orbit. It's the first of three test launches currently planned in the Falcon 9 test flight series.

The plan is to put the rocket into orbit about 185 miles up. It should then carry out a series of maneuvers designed to test steering and navigation before reentry and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean about 500 miles west of Mexico.

SpaceX Rocket Launch Delayed

iPad 2 Due In February

iPad 2 Due In February - Initial shipments of the next generation of Apple's iPad will start by February 2011, with initial shipments of 400,000-600,000 units, says DigiTimes Systems. This is based on reports from sources at Foxconn, Apple's main Chinese supplier.

They were planning to start the shipments in January but apparently the new iPad's firmware isn't quite ready so they're going to have to push it back. Furthermore, a new plant in Chengdu designed to build the new iPads isn't ready so the first batch will have to come from existing factories in Shenzhen.

Most of us are expecting a new iPad some time in the first quarter of 2011, and these reports lend credence to that. However, it's possible that the iPad 2 will have similar shipping and inventory problems that have plagued the first iPad, although of course demand outstripping supply is a good problem to have.

No word this time on what new features will be in iPad 2.

iPad 2 Due In February

Rebellion Over Tuition Fees

Rebellion Over Tuition Fees - Senior backbenchers are expected to rebel on Thursday’s vote including former leaders Charles Kennedy and Sir Menzies Campbell.

Norman Baker, a transport minister, suggested he was prepared to rebel over the issue, the most contentious break yet faced by the Government.

Under the terms of the Coalition agreement, Lib Dems can abstain on tuition fees but some question whether the opt-out is applicable.

Student activists say they will try to oust his MPs at the next election unless they abide by the pledge made by all Lib Dems before last May’s poll, to vote against any rise in fees.


Rebellion Over Tuition Fees

John Lennon Documentary

John Lennon Documentary - The actress is presenting a two-part-documentary, John Lennon – The New York Years, on Radio 2, which airs at 10.00am on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“John Lennon loved New York and New York loved him ... the creative spirit of the city inspired John to create music with a freedom he'd never felt with The Beatles,” says Sarandon. “He endured personal, legal, political and musical issues to eventually achieve contentment. But the freedom John enjoyed in New York eventually led to his tragic death.”

Lennon lived in New York from 1971 until he was shot by a disturbed fan at the entrance of his apartment block on December 8, 1980. The documentary explores how the US city shaped Lennon’s career once he had left the Beatles, focussing on moments such as his struggle to get a green card, his writing and recording Fame with David Bowie and recording at Madison Square Garden with Elton John.

John Lennon Documentary

South Africa Honeymoon Murder

South Africa Honeymoon Murder - The British husband of Anni Dewani plotted her killing on honeymoon in South Africa, a prosecutor told a court hearing in Cape Town on Tuesday, national news agency SAPA reported.

"The deceased was murdered at the instance of her husband," Western Cape director of public prosecutions Rodney de Kock told Judge President John Hlophe in court, SAPA said.

South Africa Honeymoon Murder

Iran Nuclear Talks In Geneva

Iran Nuclear Talks In Geneva - Key talks between Iran and world powers on Tehran's disputed nuclear programme have ended in Geneva.

Iranian state television said another round of talks had been agreed for Istanbul in January.

EU foreign affairs chief Baroness Ashton described the talks as "detailed and substantive".

However, no major breakthrough appears to have been achieved and Iran's president has again called for the lifting of UN sanctions.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted on Iranian state TV as saying: "If you come to the negotiations by cancelling all the nasty things and wrong decisions that you have adopted... lift resolutions, sanctions and some restrictions that you have created... then the talks will definitely be fruitful."

An Iranian official quoted by Agence France-Presse news agency said: "The negotiations will resume in end-January in Istanbul to discuss co-operation and find common points."

The talks in Geneva involved Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, along with Baroness Ashton and senior officials from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, Russia, China, France and Britain - plus Germany.

Iran Nuclear Talks In Geneva

Sundays At Tiffany's

Sundays At Tiffany's - Actress. Entrepreneur. Producer. Philanthropist. Humanitarian. Twitter Enthusiast. In a recent conference call interview, one of my favorite actresses, the lovely and talented Alyssa Milano, gave us the lowdown about her newest role and producing stint in the Lifetime flick Sundays at Tiffany’s. Plus, Milano, alum of the iconic shows Who’s the Boss? and Charmed, dished on her extensive career, what she looks for in characters and her favorite piece of Tiffany jewelry.

Based on the novel by James Patterson, Sundays at Tiffany’s stars Alyssa Milano as Jane Claremont, a successful businesswoman, soon to marry her finance Hugh (Ivan Sergei). As a girl, she visited Tiffany’s every Sunday with her mother, Vivian (Stockard Channing) and her imaginary friend Michael (Eric Winter). However, as she is preparing to marry Hugh, Jane’s world is turned upside down when her childhood imaginary friend Michael reappears.

Why should people watch the movie?

AM: “I think the best thing about it is actually how romantic it is. It was what I was most attracted to when I read the script. It’s really like a modern day fairytale in some ways. It was such an original concept, which we don’t see so much anymore.”

Sundays At Tiffany's

Soul Great Jerry Lawson

Soul Great Jerry Lawson - What if American Idol had been around in the 1950s and Elvis Presley entered the competition? Would the judges have simply crowned him the winner after one episode? The new season of The Sing-Off (Monday, 7 p.m., NBC) faces a similar situation.

The a cappella competition features more of the usual flavorless ensembles, harmonizing with intense but pointless energy. Then comes Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town. As the former lead singer, arranger and resident genius of the Persuasions, Lawson is to a cappella music what Elvis was to rock 'n' roll: the king, with the power to break or lift your heart at will. It's a talent he shares with Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder and other soul greats, though he's not as famous as they are.

You'd think that would make The Sing-Off an unfair fight, but 66-year-old Lawson is not the singer he used to be. As he admits in his intro segment, he fell on hard times and left the Persuasions. Indeed, the last time I heard him live his voice was tattered and his stage presence shaky. I worried he'd make a fool of himself in this comeback attempt and face censure from a panel of pop-star judges who aren't fit to tie his shoes.

I won't tell you how Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town fare in their debut performance. I'll only say that it took three hits of smelling salts to revive me.

Soul Great Jerry Lawson

Giuliana Rancic Pregnant

Giuliana Rancic Pregnant - Giuliana Rancic is doing whatever it takes to get pregnant – even if it involves enduring 63 IVF shots in one month.

Despite previously suffering a miscarriage, the E! News host revealed to UsMagazine.com that she and husband Bill Rancic are trying again for a baby via IVF.

"Sometimes I have to get [injections] 21 days in a row, three times a day," Giuliana told the mag. "It's a lot. But you've got to do it."

Though the treatments can take a toll on a person, Giuliana, 36, remains optimistic about her chances of conceiving again.

"The good news is that IVF did work as we did get pregnant," she said, referring to her miscarriage eight weeks into her first pregnancy in October.

Giuliana Rancic Pregnant

Burkina Faso Re-Elected By Landslide

Burkina Faso Re-Elected By Landslide - President Blaise Compaore, one of Africa's last remaining 'Big Men' who seized power in a bloody coup 23 years ago, was re-elected by a landslide in a vote rejected by the opposition.

The country's electoral commission said Thursday that Compaore won Sunday's presidential poll with 80.2 percent of the vote, according to provisional results.

Compaore, a former army captain who took power in 1987 after a hit squad gunned down the country's former leader in his office, was widely expected to win the election in the landlocked nation.

On Tuesday, four of the seven candidates in the race said they would not recognize the poll's results, claiming the vote was rigged in Compaore's favor. They cited serious irregularities that allowed ineligible people to vote and asked that results be invalidated.

"We are happy," said Compaore's campaign director Assimi Koanda. "This results shows the confidence, the loyalty and fidelity of the populations to our candidate. Not only does the population accept what he has done before, but also adheres to his coming program."

His closest competitor, Hama Diallo, received 8.2 percent of the vote.

Opposition parties have 48 hours from the time the results are released to file a complaint. Earlier on Thursday, a judge ruled that some voting cards used in Sunday's election 'were illegal' in response to a lawsuit filed last week challenging the legality of the voting materials.

Burkina Faso Re-Elected By Landslide

X Factor Fix Claims

X Factor Fix Claims - Simon Cowell has defended The X Factor from claims that Sunday's results show was a fix, saying: "We haven't done anything wrong."

Fans have been angered by the decision to let the judges pick which act went home from the bottom two on Sunday, leading to the departure of popular contestant Mary Byrne. At the same stage in previous years, viewers got to decide which singers went through to the final.

Some viewers have accused the ITV1 show of making the change to allow Cher Lloyd, 17, to get into next weekend's final rather than Byrne.

But Cowell told The Sun: "We haven't done anything wrong. All the artists knew there was going to be a sing-off. Mary and Cher were told last Monday to prepare a song for a sing-off if necessary."

The X Factor producer rubbished talk of making the move to save Lloyd, saying he has no idea of where the singers ranked in the public vote "until the series is finished".

He said the decision to give the vote to the judges was made because of the number of singers left in the show, telling the newspaper: "There has always been a sing-off when there are five people left in the competition. This is a lot of nonsense about nothing."

Cowell said of the changes: "We knew we wanted four people in the final this year....It adds to the mystery and the audience love the surprise element."

The show sparked controversy when Cowell, 51, and fellow judges Dannii Minogue, 39, and Cheryl Cole, 27, voted for Lloyd to go through on Sunday despite the teenage rapper giving a tearful performance during her sing-off.

X Factor Fix Claims

European Stocks Rise To Two Year Highs

European Stocks Rise To Two Year Highs - European stocks advanced to their highest level in more than two years after President Barack Obama agreed to extend tax cuts, offsetting concern that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis will spread. U.S. futures and Asian shares gained.

Unilever climbed 3.7 percent after Morgan Stanley recommended the shares of the world’s second-largest consumer- goods maker. BP Plc gained 2 percent as the company was said to assess the sale of some North Sea assets. Tesco Plc advanced after the U.K.’s largest supermarket chain posted increased sales as Britons bought more of its Finest range.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 1.2 percent to 274.74 at 10:32 a.m. in London. The gauge rose yesterday, led by basic-resource and chemical shares, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U.S. central bank may expand its bond-purchase program beyond the $600 billion announced last month. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures added 0.7 percent today, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.3 percent.

The U.S. tax cut extension “will probably boost the economy,” Matthias Jasper, head of equities at WGZ Bank AG in Dusseldorf, said. “That combined with the Fed flooding the market with liquidity is very positive for equities. The equity markets are poised to go up in 2011 as the risk/reward ratio is positive.”

European Stocks Rise To Two Year Highs

FIFA Club World Cup

FIFA Club World Cup - (FIFA.com) Tuesday 7 December 2010
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Having conquered their respective confederations, the world’s elite clubs are about to face off at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010, which roars into action this Wednesday.

FIFA.com wants you get involved by telling us which of the seven contenders (FC Internazionale Milano, SC Internacional do Porto Alegre, Club de Futebol Pachuca, TP Mazembe Englebert, Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma F.C., Hekari United FC and Al-Wahda Sports Club) you think will go on to be crowned world champions when the final takes place on 18 December.

The two Inters start out as most people’s favourites, and for one obvious reason: no team from outside Europe or South America has ever won the competition since it was first held in 2000. That said, Rafael Benitez’s side have ensured a troubled start to the season in Serie A, although with the likes of the tireless Javier Zanetti and the free-scoring Samuel Eto’o in their ranks, they are sure to prove formidable opponents in the UAE.

Brazil’s Sport Club Internacional are aiming for their second FIFA Club World Cup success, having beaten Barcelona to win the title in 2006. Celso Roth’s team also boasts plenty of experience with the battle-hardened Bolivar and Indio in defence, the resurgent Andres d’Alessandro directing operations in midfield and Rafael Sobis providing the goal threat up front.

The biggest threat to the old order would appear to be posed by the ambitious Pachuca, who are making their third appearance in the competition. Meanwhile, Seongnam Ilhwa FC are confident of springing a surprise or two themselves, as Sasa Ognenovski, the K-League club’s Australian captain told FIFA.com last week: “I don’t play to lose. We’ll go there to win.”

FIFA Club World Cup

New WOW Forums

New WOW Forums - In case you haven't noticed, Blizzard's new World of Warcraft community site is now live! The site offers a ton of new stuff, including improved forums, beginner's guides, raid progression and recommendations on the Armory, and more.

And here's the best part: You can now find links to Wowhead all over the Armory database! Item pages, character pages, search listings, and even the talent calculator all have convenient links to Wowhead.

You can read Blizzard's list of all the new features after the jump. What are your thoughts on the new site?

New WOW Forums

Whiffenpoofs Take The Stage

Whiffenpoofs Take The Stage - Before there was "Glee" or the vocal group Straight No Chaser, there were Whiffenpoofs.

And several "Whiffs" of New Haven will be detected tonight on national television, as NBC premieres the second season of its a capella musical competition "The Sing-Off."

Yale's Whiffenpoofs, 14 seniors who carry the banner of the world's oldest collegiate a capella group, are one of 10 groups featured in the fivenight show, which bows at 8 tonight and continues Wednesday, Dec. 13 and 15, culminating in a live finale Dec. 20. A Sony Music recording contract and $100,000 grand prize go to the winners.

"It's national television, so it's pretty cool," says Dan Turcza, one of the

14 Whiffs (a bass) and the group's

business manager. "It was filmed in Culver City, Calif., on the same stage as the Munchkin scene from the 'Wizard of Oz,' actually."

The show was filmed from Aug. 8 through early September, and it has led to academicyear sacrifices for members. But the L.A.-area whirlwind was "a one-ofa-kind experience.

"None of us had ever been out to Hollywood," says Turcza. You know, to live in a hotel and go to the studio every day. ... It was cool to be a part of that -- to get to know the other groups and be around the media and Hollywood personalities."

Whiffenpoofs Take The Stage

Chrome OS To Be Released Soon

Chrome OS To Be Released Soon - Google is expected announce more about Chrome OS, the Internet giant's browser-based operating system, and possibly unveil a Google-branded Chrome OS laptop at a news conference Tuesday morning.

Chrome OS represents a major paradigm shift in computing and a potential treat to Microsoft. Announced in summer 2009, Chrome OS combines the operating system and the Web browser, making them one in the same. Most files, meanwhile, would be stored not on the computer, but on the Internet -- or, "in the cloud."

It's a marked departure from the traditional operating system, such as Microsoft's Windows. An operating system is a thick layer of software that controls a computer's hardware, manages peripherals like mice and printers, facilitates networking and executes applications, such as Web browsers, that run on top of it. The graphical user interface is often considered part of the OS.

Google, however, feels that most tasks today can be done via a Web browser, anyway. Why not cut out the middleman, Google says, and make a browser that performs the essential tasks of an operating system?

Chrome OS To Be Released Soon