Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sinkholes Open Up in Oklahoma

Sinkholes Open Up in Oklahoma - A large sinkhole has opened up near Sayre, Okla., and people in the region are wondering if it's related to a string of small earthquakes shaking the region. The hole opened up a couple of days after one of the earthquakes about two weeks ago, the property caretaker told NBC station KFOR. "Kind of spooky. You don't want to mess with it today," Jack Damron told KFOR. "Glad my house wasn't over it," neighbor Tony Bills told the station. KFOR reported that geologists are dubious of a connection between the quakes and the sinkhole. Scientists at the Oklahoma Geological Survey said the sinkhole could have been caused by drought conditions, the dissolving of salt or rock formations, or draining of an old coal mine. Also, Sayre is across the state from the area where the quakes have been centered. That area, about 40 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, was struck on Nov. 5 by a magnitude 5.6 quake, the strongest ever recorded in the state. There had been a 4.7 quake earlier in the day. The big quake caused minor damage to buildings and roads in the area. And the shaking has continued since then. There have been a string of small quakes over the past week; the strongest was a 3.7 on Thanksgiving. There was a 2.7 on Tuesday morning. Sinkholes Open Up in Oklahoma

Hillary Clinton Visits Myanmar

Hillary Clinton Visits Myanmar - "I am obviously looking to determine for myself and on behalf of our government what is the intention of the current government with respect to continuing reforms both political and economic," Clinton told reporters before her arrival here. Activists and citizens of Burma, also known as Myanmar, welcomed the visit but cautioned that Burma's military-backed, nominally civilian government is unlikely to allow full democracy to develop. "It's hard to understand the Myanmar government; they do not speak what is in their hearts," warned U Htaung Ko Thang, a leader of the Chin ethnic group, who was elected a member of parliament in the 1990 elections, whose results the ruling junta annulled. "Unless we establish a democratic government, there is no opportunity for the Burmese people." Burma's parliament approved a law guaranteeing the right to protest, which had not previously existed, and had opened up some political participation. But the government that took office in March is still dominated by the military. Hundreds of political prisoners remain jailed, and Burma's army continues to torture and kill civilians, according to rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Hillary Clinton Visits Myanmar

iPhone Explodes Mid Flight

iPhone Explodes Mid Flight - Apple’s iPhones are always among the hottest gadgets of any holiday shopping season, but for one passenger on an Australian flight, the phone was too hot to handle — literally. While on Australian flight Regional Express ZL319 Friday, a passenger’s iPhone 4 (not the iPhone 4S, which is Apple’s latest model) suddenly started “emitting a significant amount of dense smoke, accompanied by a red glow,” according to a Regional Express statement. The plane, which was flying from Lismore to Sydney, was in the midst of landing when the incident occured. “In accordance with company standard safety procedures, the flight attendant carried out recovery actions immediately, and the red glow was extinguished successfully,” according to Regional Express’ statement. After landing, the iPhone was handed over to officials at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. There’s no official word yet on what caused the phone to combust. Exploding Apple products are rare, but explosions have happened in the past, mostly related to the devices’ lithium ion batteries overheating. The European Union launched an investigation in 2009 after multiple instances of iPhones and iPod Touches exploding or catching fire midflight were reported in the U.K., Holland, France and Sweden. iPhone Explodes Mid Flight

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ringling Circus Pays Record Fine

Ringling Circus Pays Record Fine - Feld Entertainment Inc., of Vienna, Virginia, did not admit wrongdoing or violating U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations in settling the dispute over handling of performing animals, it said in a Monday statement. "We look forward to working with the USDA in a cooperative and transparent manner that meets our shared goal of ensuring that our animals are healthy and receive the highest quality care," Kenneth Feld, chief executive of Feld Entertainment, said in the statement. The USDA said the $270,000 fine was the biggest assessed under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Feld also agreed to set up a compliance officer's position on its staff by the end of February 2012. Employees who work with animals also must undergo AWA compliance training, the USDA said in a statement. In one episode logged by USDA inspectors, Banko, a 35-year-old female Asian elephant, was required to perform in July in Los Angeles despite pain from probable sand colic. A circus veterinarian said Banko had seemed comfortable enough to perform and that to separate her from the group would have been more distressing to her, the report said. USDA inspectors reported in 2008 that wheelbarrows used to carry meat to tigers were also used to transport waste. Inspections also turned up allegations of worn pens and feeding areas, poor medical record-keeping, improper fencing and failure to control elephants. The allegations followed complaints from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals about abuse of elephants and tigers at the circus, including physical punishment. Ringling Circus Pays Record Fine

Third Woman Speaks Out Against Herman Cain

Third Woman Speaks Out Against Herman Cain - She alleges she received unwanted comments from Mr Cain during his tenure as head of a restaurant lobby group. She told the Associated Press Mr Cain had commented on her attractiveness and invited her to his corporate apartment. The unnamed woman is the third former employee to make such allegations in recent days. The Cain campaign blamed the leak on an aide to Republican rival Rick Perry, who worked alongside Mr Cain on a failed Senate bid in 2004 and was said to have learned about the allegation. Rick Perry's campaign denounced that allegation as "reckless and false". Mr Cain's aides have been fighting sexual harassment claims since Politico reported on Sunday that at least two other women had complained of inappropriate behaviour from Mr Cain while he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. A Cain spokesman, JD Gordon, told reporters on Wednesday: "Mr Cain has said over the past two days at public events that we could see other baseless allegations made against him as this appalling smear campaign continues." The third woman to come forward told the Associated Press that she had considered filing a complaint against Mr Cain. She said her former boss had made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures around the same time the two other women filed their complaints. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the reason she did not eventually file a complaint was because she started to have fewer interactions with Mr Cain. Speaking to the Associated Press, the woman said Mr Cain's actions "were inappropriate, and it made me feel uncomfortable". Republican pollster Chris Wilson, who supports Texas Governor Rick Perry's presidential campaign, said he witnessed Mr Cain sexually harass a woman in a restaurant near Washington DC. Third Woman Speaks Out Against Herman Cain

$2 Million Christmas Tree in Tokyo

$2 Million Christmas Tree in Tokyo - A jewelry store in Tokyo's posh Ginza district teamed up with flower arrangement artist Shogo Kariyazaki to create the lavish Golden Christmas Tree. Twelve kg (26 lb) of gold were used to make the 2.4 metre (8 foot) tree, which is adorned with ribbons, hearts and orchids, also made of gold. The value of the gold is about $700,000 but the total value of the tree is much higher because of labour costs, said Naoto Mizuki, marketing general manager at the store. "Considering the time it took to make, the designer and hard work put into it, we can assume that the cost of this tree would be approximately 150 million yen ($2 million)," he said. The gleaming display caught the eyes of passersby. "When you're looking at the tree, it really jumps out at you," said window-shopping housewife Kisoko Sakabe. The tree is not for sale. It will be on display at the store through to Christmas Day. $2 Million Christmas Tree in Tokyo

Monday, November 28, 2011

Prince William Joins Irish Rescue

Prince William Joins Irish Rescue - The second in line to the British throne, who is a Royal Air Force helicopter and known professionally as Flight Lt. William Wales, was aboard an aircraft which rescued two crewmembers early on Sunday, after their vessel suffered a cracked hull in gale force winds off the coast of north Wales. Britain's ministry of defense said William had been co-pilot of the helicopter, which carried two people back to his base RAF Valley, on the Welsh island of Anglesey. Authorities said five people remain missing after the Swanland cargo ship, which had eight people on board and was carrying thousands of tons of limestone, sent a mayday call. Holyhead Coastguard said one body had been recovered from the sea, but that the fate of the other crewmembers was not yet known. "We know that at least some of them are wearing immersion suits and have strobe lighting with them, however sea conditions are challenging at best," said Jim Green, a coastguard spokesman. Rescue helicopters from RAF Valley and from Dublin coastguard base in Ireland were initially sent to the scene, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of the Llyn peninsula in north Wales. Prince William Joins Irish Rescue

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Plane Crash in Chicago Crystal Lake

Plane Crash in Chicago Crystal Lake - Four people from out of state were killed this morning when a plane crashed near northwest suburban Crystal Lake. The single-engine aircraft crashed about 10:30 a.m. in a farm field near U.S. Hwy. 14 and North Ridgefield Road in unincorporated McHenry County, officials said. There was no information available about where the plane took off or where it was headed, said FAA officials, who also said the plane was operating on "visual flight rules" and was not in touch with air traffic control. The victims are two men and two women who all appear to be age 18 or older, according to McHenry County Deputy Coroner Curt Bradshaw. “They have not been positively identified,’’ Bradshaw said Saturday evening. “We only have presumptive identities.’’ Bradshaw said the victims are not from Illinois and authorities are trying to reach their family members, who are also out of state. They were all pronounced dead on the scene and autopsies are scheduled for Monday, according to Bradshaw. At the earliest, their names will be released Monday, according to the sheriff's office. The aircraft was a Cirrus-SR20, according to the FAA. Here are details on the aircraft from the manufacturers' website. The aircraft's tail number was listed as N223CD and it was registered to the Marion Pilots Club Inc., based out of Marion, Ind., according to the FAA. The FAA is on the scene investigating whether rules of flight were followed, if the pilot was licensed and if the plane was properly maintained and registered, officials said. The National Transportation Safety Board is heading the investigation. Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Lt. Dan Grischow said no one on the ground was injured. The Lord and Savior Lutheran Church and School, 9300 N. Ridgefield Rd., is across the street from the crash scene. A spokesman for the preschool through eighth grade school who did not want to be identified said the plane had "disintegrated"and that "the only thing really visible is a parachute that is struck in the tree line that is sort of hanging over part of the scene." Plane Crash in Chicago Crystal Lake

Hidden Costs of Divorce

Hidden Costs of Divorce - Child support, mortgage payments and attorney fees are the bulk of expenses in a divorce. To keep costs down many people opt for the pro se route — the Do-It-Yourself divorce solution — and represent themselves. Since the other expenses are typically fixed, and an attorney’s final invoice billed at hundreds of dollars an hour is a variable amount, the DIY route is an attractive solution for budget-conscious parents. However, the price tag of a DIY divorce isn’t calculated during the divorce process. Down the line parents usually discover they had a right to certain property, funds or child custody. Visiting court and filing motions to modify comes with their own expenses. If someone has their heart set on the DIY divorce route they should still consult an attorney. An initial consult with an attorney will cost a couple hundred dollars, but the information about divorce laws and state laws could pay for itself tenfold. "With consults, fathers can get the 'lay of the land,'"explained John Faggio, a CPA and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) in Columbia, Md. "If dads don’t know their responsibilities and what is financially possible, emotions can take over and they’ll promise to pay more than what’s fiscally possible…and make decisions that will negatively impact them for the rest of their lives." Faggio is empathetic to couples divorcing in today’s tumultuous economy. DIY divorce may be the only option, but he advises parents to have that initial consult, either with an attorney or a CDFA. Marianna A. Goldenberg, another CDFA, has been a financial planner for over 15 years. She works with couples who are dividing their assets during divorce. When she learns they can’t afford attorneys she gives them all the same financial advice on divorce. "Put emotions aside and have a well thought out and researched plan," Goldberg said. "Make sure you project into the future, including inflation and escalating medical, child care, education and other important costs." Plus, when there are complicated financial assets like executive plans with stock options, there are future liabilities that the couples usually aren’t familiar with. A consult fee can pay for itself in just one visit. She reminds all of her clients that they may be happy with the papers they sign today, but they need to think about their future situations. The saying goes "if you want something done you have to do it yourself." When it comes to divorce, parents should use all the help they can find. Hidden Costs of Divorce

Nick Swisher in Afghanistan

Nick Swisher in Afghanistan - Yankee outfielder Nick Swisher is finally taking his new wife, JoAnna Garcia, on a honeymoon -- to Afghanistan, the New York Post reported Wednesday. Swisher and actress Garcia, a star of ABC's "Better Without You," plan to visit U.S. troops in November, marking their first trip since they married in December 2010. Speaking to the Post at the Yankees Unite for Tornado Relief event at Southern Hospitality Hell's Kitchen in New York, Swisher said, "Three military officers came to the Yankee locker room and asked if any of us would like to visit the troops. My hand went straight up, I said, 'I'm in.' I knew Joanna would want to go. It will be our first trip since we got married." "I come from a military family ... and no matter what your views are, these men and women are out there risking everything for us. I realize how fortunate I have been, so I like to give back at every opportunity I can," he added. Swisher and Garcia wed in Palm Beach, Fla., in front of 350 family and friends including Cameron Diaz, Alex Rodriguez and other Yankees teammates. But they had to postpone the honeymoon due to work commitments. Excited Garcia also told the Post, "We are both really looking forward to visiting the troops. Yes, it isn't a traditional honeymoon, but it is something we both feel strongly about." But she added, "We'll probably make a stop in Europe on our way back." Nick Swisher in Afghanistan

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Obama Classic Basketball Game

Obama Classic Basketball Game - President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is bringing together more than two dozen NBA stars for a fundraising basketball game next month. Obama’s campaign says Carmelo Anthony(notes) of the New York Knicks, Ray Allen(notes) of the Boston Celtics, Chris Bosh(notes) of the Miami Heat and many others will headline the “Obama Classic Basketball Game” on Dec. 12 in Washington. With the NBA season in jeopardy because of the lockout, the game will serve as a fundraising All-star game. Others confirmed to play include Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant(notes), New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul(notes) and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard(notes). Tickets range from $100 to $5,000 for courtside seats. The money will go to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising account by the Democratic Party and Obama’s re-election campaign. Obama Classic Basketball Game

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

How to Maximize Social Security Benefits

How to Maximize Social Security Benefits - In 1935, the U.S. established Social Security, motivated by the Great Depression. Approximately, two-thirds of U.S. retirees count on the mandated supplemental retirement program for most of their retirement income, which sustains them for the remainder of their lives and keeps them out of poverty. The government funds this mandated program through payroll taxes, collecting a percentage of paychecks automatically for the Social Security fund. This provides benefits to retirees and current Social Security recipients. You can apply for as much as 50 percent of your spouse's social security benefit payout if your spouse's benefit is higher than yours. You can gain from this provision when one spouse never worked outside the home or when one spouse has lower earnings than the other. The lower-earning spouse can receive 50 percent of the spouse's benefit when the spouse reaches full retirement age. How to Maximize Social Security Benefits As odd as it sounds, you can claim social security benefits twice. This applies only when both earning spouses reach their full retirement age. People can sign up for their spouse's benefits once the spouse reaches full retirement age. Allow your Social Security benefit to continue to accrue. As long as you are working, you can continue to earn credits even as you collect a spousal benefit. At a later date, file for your own benefits. The government will base your benefit on your own work record. In most cases, the amount you receive will result in a higher monthly payment than you were getting prior to filing for your own benefit. How to Maximize Social Security Benefits