Google is a company that's long stood up for the principles of net neutrality, the idea that all packets of information on the internet should be treated equally. But now that it's an internet service provider, the company's changing its tune. It's not the first time.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Last year around this time, there were UK sources claiming that Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin were preparing to move their family to LA. The claim was that Gwyneth was homesick and that she wanted to be closer to her mom and her brother Jake. Well, Goop and Chris DID buy a new home in LA, although they?ve spent much of the last year in London, like always. Now The Mail is reporting again that Goop wants to move her kids to LA so they can spend a few years getting an American education? but sources say Goop definitely wants Apple and Moses to go to high school/prep school in England because American schools are too peasanty. Basically.
She has lived in London for a decade and calls it her ?adopted home?, but Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow is moving her family back to Los Angeles. The 40-year-old actress and her rock-star husband Chris Martin of Coldplay plan to make LA their home for at least the next two years. The family will move in time for their children Apple, nine, and Moses, seven, to start the school term in September.
A source said: ?Gwyneth has loved living in London but America will always be home and she wants to be closer to her family. Her mother and brother live in California and she plans to spend the next couple of years in Los Angeles while her children are young enough for their education not to be affected. She misses her family terribly and now is the time to move.?
?Her children have English accents and once they start senior school Gwyneth says the family will likely return to the UK because she believes that the English education system is second to none.?
Rumours have been rife for months that the family was planning to move back to California after they forked out ?6.6 million on an opulent new home in a private Hollywood Hills estate. The 8,000 square-foot house in the exclusive Brentwood area is the most expensive in the couple?s property empire which includes their ?4.6 million home in North London, a ?3.2 million penthouse flat in New York and a ?3.4 million house in the Hamptons near New York.
Designed by renowned US architect Windsor Smith the home has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms and a separate stable block. Paltrow, famed for her eco-friendly ways, even had an entrance hall made with stones recovered from a Peruvian schoolhouse.
Friends say Gwyneth longs to spend more time with her 70-year-old widowed mother Blythe Danner and her director brother Jake as well as friends like godfather Steven Spielberg: ?Gwyneth misses her family terribly and while she has grown to love London and her children have English accents, now is the time to move. The kids have said goodbye to their school friends and they are having a final European holiday before the big move.?
[From The Mail]
Granted, I had an American public school education and my mother is a public school teacher, so I have a bias about people disrespecting American education out of hand. I?m not saying that the American public school education isn?t broken in some cities, in some counties, or in some states, but I just think it?s wrong and unfair to dismiss the American education system out of hand. But beyond that, it?s not like Gwyneth is going to be sending her kids to public high school in America or England either way ? they?re going to be going to private schools, no matter what. And if she?s interested in having a debate about which country has the best PRIVATE schools? well, then I?ve got nothing. I have no idea. But I would be interested in seeing Moses Martin at Eton with all of the sons of dukes and earls and MPs. That would be interesting.
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and WENN.
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013
WOODBURY, N.J. (AP) ? A five-time Buffalo wing-eating champion known as El Wingador has pleaded guilty to a cocaine distribution charge in New Jersey.
Gloucester County prosecutors say William Simmons pleaded guilty Monday to possession with intent to distribute. The 51-year-old Woodbury Heights resident faces a seven-year prison when he's sentenced in September. Prosecutors say they won't object if he applies for an intensive supervision program that could shorten his sentence.
Several drug charges were filed against Simmons following a June 2012 traffic stop. Simmons admitted he was using "a little bit" of cocaine at the time.
El Wingador last won Philadelphia's Wing Bowl in 2005, when he gnawed through 162 chicken wings. The Wing Bowl was started as a way for Philadelphia sports fans to blow off steam before the Super Bowl.Associated Press
Our home is the only place which gives us rest and peace unlike any other. It is a place we escape into for relaxation and rejuvenation. Although a home is made up of many rooms which are used for different purposes, a living room in a home is a place which is like the center of the home.
It is a space which is used for a number of things for entertaining guests, having parties and get-togethers to family teatime chit chats, television watching sessions, simply sitting, relaxing, reading a book and so on. It is a special room as it gives us time to bond, not only with our family but with our friends as well.
There are various things to be kept in mind while doing up a living room. The size is one of the most important aspects as this will be the basis for our furniture planning. Another essential thing to decide is the color scheme. Soft and natural shades are the safest bet. We can also choose from classic shades like beige and other earthy tones or contemporary ones like maroon, green, purple, blue etc. mixed in with white and black.
Also if we want this room to be high in energy and active we may go for bright colors such as red, orange, yellow while if we wish to make a more relaxing and quiet room, then soft colors like cream, ivory, light blue, mauve etc. can be chosen.
Next the purpose of the living room has to be decided. For example, whether we want to use it only for family only or would we like to use this space for socializing with friends as well. If the answer is former, a cozy and warm kind of designing can be done, with comfortable furniture and soft rugs. Whereas, in case of the latter, a formal set up with sufficient arrangement for seating, would be advisable
Once the purpose has been decided, the next step is to properly place the room?s furniture, like sofa set, center table, chairs, side tables, settee etc., as this goes a long way in making the space feel more welcoming. Before we start, however, we must decide on the focal point of the room as the furniture is usually either placed around it or facing it.
A focal point can be anything like a beautiful bookcase, a nice view, a fireplace, a mantelpiece, a gorgeous piece of art work or even a television. After deciding the focal point, the furniture should generally be placed in such a manner that seating is close to each other so that everyone can sit together and converse comfortably instead of talking across the room. Never the less, seating should be done making sure that there is sufficient space for people to walk around the room as easily as well.
After placing the furniture, a lot of thought has to be given to make the place feel inviting and likable. Lightings play a crucial role in dressing up any place. Therefore, we have to decide whether we want soft lamps and shades, which make a place look cozy and soothing or big chandeliers and designer lights to give the place a classy touch.
This obviously is a personal choice but can be decided to keep the utility of the room in mind. Upholstery is yet another essential criterion. It should always complement the color of the walls as this will enhance the beauty of the room.
Matching fabrics, either in same or contrasting colors, are of utmost importance if one likes to play it safe, otherwise to add a little zing, a playful selection of colors can also be made as colors make any place look lively. Whether it is the curtains, the drapes or even the rugs, they help to transform a place immensely.
They add to the overall feel of the place and hence should be selected keeping the shades of the upholstery and walls in mind. They can even be used as dividers so as to create a separate place.
The living room is a room that can be played around with when it comes to decorative items. A beautiful painting, fancy lights or even an attractive piece of woodwork can add charm, grace and depth to the interior d?cor of a living room. Depending on our likes and interests, we can use different objects to accessorize our room.
For instance, if one is fond of fresh flowers, a bunch of beautiful and colorful flowers in an ornate vase can be the center of attraction or else, a memory wall, made with old, new or whichever photos we like, framed in frames of different shapes and sizes, is an excellent idea for beautifying and adding a personal touch to our living room.
However, nothing makes a place more charming and welcoming than a pleasant smell. Looks are obviously important, but an enticing scent takes the effect of the place to a whole new and different level.
Smell is such a strong sense that it can even have an effect on our mood and behavior. A fragrant place always feels fresh and clean. Thus, we should definitely make sure that our home, especially our living room, as it is a place that is used most often and has people going in and out all the time, stay wonderfully fragrant.
There is a multitude of home fragrance products available in the market ranging from artificial products like aerosol sprays, plug-ins, scented blocks, sachets and sacks to natural ones based on the goodness of aromatherapy like, essential oil burners, scented candles, potpourri etc.
While both products are useful, artificial ones only mask the air for a couple of hours and are harmful as well. Thus a more sensible option is to make use of natural products as they create a healthier atmosphere. Another advantage of these products is that they are generally decorative and thus look beautiful in any home. They complement the interior d?cor of every home and enhance its aesthetic appeal.
Our home speaks volumes about our personality and tastes as it is a reflection of us, our habits and our lifestyles. Its design and interiors represent the person we are. Thus immense care should be taken while setting up a home, especially the living room, as it is a room which is generally used to entertain our family and friends and therefore, should be done up in a way that it exhibits in our likes and preferences.
However, ultimately it does not matter whether our home is cozy and comfortable or trendy and modern or small and homely or big and stately, what matters is that it should always be warm and welcoming.
Jyoti is an interior designer, she has been in this field since more than 5 years. Interior designing was her passion which she made her profession. Beyond his designing job she is also fond of fragrance products which are used for decorating rooms and offices like oil burners, reed diffusers and many more like that.
Monday, July 29, 2013
It?s a little more than a week before WrestleMania 29, and the Divas of WWE are getting restless. Personal, professional and romantic worlds collide for The Bella Twins, The Funkadactyls and Natalya on the eve of The Show of Shows, and the arrival of two newcomers only complicates matters for WWE?s warrior princesses on E!'s "Total Divas" premiere.
Watch highlights of the "Total Divas" premiere.
The Bellas, who recently returned after a nearly yearlong absence from WWE, are looking to re-establish themselves as the queen bees of WWE, and their scheduled WrestleMania mixed tag team match against The Funkadactyls is their best way to prove it. But while they look to hone their minds and bodies in preparation for WrestleMania, matters of the heart rear their head. Nikki Bella, concerned her relationship with John Cena isn?t progressing as fast as her sister Brie?s union with Daniel Bryan, confronts the 11-time WWE Champion about his intentions over dinner. Although The Champ stops short of putting a ring on it, Nikki leaves the New York City hot spot with his assurance that she?s the only woman for him.
Check out "Total Divas" premiere photos.
Meanwhile, veteran Diva Natalya grapples with the disappointment of not only being left off the WrestleMania card, but also being assigned to ?babysit? the two newest Diva hopefuls, Eva Marie and JoJo, for the week. Her wariness of the twosome only grows when Eva Marie is instructed to dye her brown locks blonde to differentiate her from The Bella Twins, but the newcomer defies orders and instead turns her hair fire-engine red. While Eva Marie?s gall impresses WWE officials, The Bellas still remain leery of the young lioness looking to take their spot, and engage in some friendly hazing to remind the newbies of who runs things.
The week comes to a head at WrestleMania itself, but all the petty rivalries are rocked in tandem when the Divas? match is cut after the previous bout runs over its allotted time limit. Having been scrubbed from The Show of Shows, the five Divas put aside their differences and turn to each other for comfort and advice, as well as find friendship in shared disappointment ? for now, at least.
Miss the premiere episode of ?Total Divas?? Catch a special rerun Monday night after Raw on USA Network. New episodes of ?Total Divas? air Sunday nights at 10/9 CT on E!. For more on "Total Divas," visit?wwedivas.com and check out E!?s totaldivas.com.View Comments
The Hertfordshire Puddingstone soon after being discovered during excavation at Bishops Stortford College
WHEN excavation work begins for a building project, you can never be too sure what lies beneath the surface, but a seemingly uninteresting lump of stone unearthed at Bishop's Stortford College Prep School has been identified as one of the world's rarest rocks.
Initially thought to be nothing more than a large piece of concrete, closer inspection confirmed the discovery was in fact a Hertfordshire Puddingstone.
Puddingstone is a conglomerate of small flint pebbles naturally cemented together by silica from sand and silt to form exceptionally hard solid rock. The name arose from its plum pudding appearance when sliced through. Formed millions of years ago by the precise conditions prevailing locally during the last Ice Age, almost all puddingstone in the world is found in Hertfordshire.
The college's estates manager John McDonagh said: "It's a fantastic discovery. Linda Hamling, the secretary of the Hertfordshire Geographical Society, was one of my first contacts when it was uncovered and she kindly gave me a lot of background information."
Now expertly cut and polished, the county's latest puddingstone discovery, which weighs about two and a half tonnes, will be displayed at the entrance of the Maze Green Road school's most recent building project.
The major development to the Prep School involves the rebuild of about a third of its accomodation in order to enhance the facilities for its 450 pupils. Catering for boys and girls aged seven to 13, the school is part of the co-educational day and boarding college's estate on its 130-acre campus.
A new larger building will house a new library, drama studio and nine classrooms, while the main Prep School building is being extended to provide a fourth science laboratory as well as a new reception area and administration offices.
Incorporated into the project is more than 25sqm of solar panels, a mixture of solar PV and solar thermal, to supply a substantial proportion of the school's electricity.
Once the extended and enhanced accomodation opens in the autumn, existing classrooms in what is known as the Meadows Building will be removed to create additional play space for the pupils and the school's second art rooms will be relocated into a larger room, where the currently library is relocated.
College headmaster Jeremy Gladwin said: "The new project is the most extensive so far undertaken at the college and will enhance significantly the facilities for our Prep School pupils. With this work nearing completion, we are already in the early stages of planning our next major project, which will focus on further developing facilities in the Senior School.
"The next five years will see the most ambitious building developments for over 100 years and will be a fitting way to mark the college's 150th anniversary in 2018."
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) is planning its third Holiday Inn hotel in Rome, the Holiday Inn Rome ? Pisana.
Holiday Inn Rome ? Pisana is due to open in quarter four of 2013, following a conversion from an existing hotel brand to an IHG branded hotel, and will operate under a franchise agreement with Roma Ovest S.r.l., part of JSH Group.
Featuring 229 bedrooms, two restaurants and an elegant lounge bar, the Holiday Inn Rome ? Pisana is ideal for leisure travellers wanting to relax in a modern welcoming environment.? The hotel?s seven meeting rooms equipped with the latest audio and visual technologies, and the addition of free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel caters to the needs of business travellers frequenting the city of Rome.
IHG?s Director of Development for Italy, Domenico Magnati, said: ?The addition of this hotel to our portfolio of Holiday Inn properties in Rome is in line with our growth strategy for Europe. Our increased presence in this region will not only offer travellers a greater choice of hotels and improved flexibility, but will ensure we continue to anticipate the needs of our guests and respond to market demand.?
The hotel is located halfway between Rome City Centre and Rome Fiumicino Airport allowing easy travel to Rome?s impressive historical sites including the Vatican Museum, St. Peter?s Basilica, Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum.
IHG has 32 hotels (5, 026) rooms open in Italy, with another four in the pipeline that will open in the next three to five years.
The Holiday Inn brand is now the largest hotel brand in the world with over 400,000 rooms in over 100 countries.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Source: www.japantoday.com --- Saturday, July 27, 2013
A gunman set fire to his Miami-area apartment unit, then killed six people in and around the building in a shooting rampage before he was slain by police who stormed his position early Saturday and rescued two neighbors he had taken hostage. The freed hostages emerged unharmed from the pre-dawn? ...
Saturday, July 27, 2013
By Melissa Walker, Noozhawk iSociety Columnist | @NoozhawkSociety | Published on 07.26.2013 11:13 p.m.
[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the camp.]
Three NBA basketball talents with ties to Santa Barbara gathered more than 60 youths for the first Shooting Star Youth Basketball Camp held at Bishop Garcia Diego High School.
Kids laced up their shoes and took to the hardwood for the clinic that included instruction and mentorship from the pros ? Julyan Stone, a graduate of Dos Pueblos High School who recently signed with the Toronto Raptors, joined by UCSB alumni Orlando Johnson of the Indiana Pacers and James Nunnally of the Bakersfield Jam, who recently played for the Miami Heat summer league team and is fourth on UCSB?s all-time scoring list.
The three-day camp taught kids the fundamentals of basketball ? dribbling, shooting, passing and defense ? with one-on-one instruction, interactive lectures, scrimmages and group competition.
?Besides the skills, the message of our camp is that whatever you dream of is a possibility, and we just want to install that in the kids,? said Stone, who founded the camp along with Johnson and Nunnally.
Stone added that the camp gave these three longtime friends an opportunity to give back to the community and inspire a new generation of kids to excel in life regardless of their circumstances.
?We all came from similar backgrounds and started with little or nothing, and were able to make it here now matter what and get through adversity,? Stone said, ?so that?s our main message to the kids.?
It was apparent from the smiles on the kids? faces as they raced up and down the court that taking cues from their coaches was not only fun but also increased their self-confidence, an important attribute that would translate both on and off the court.
?I love it,? Johnson told Noozhawk after a Q&A session with the kids. ?It excites me because these kids, you see how eager they are to learn and you really get their attention and they are looking at you like what?s he going to do next? I?m really happy to be out here and to help these kids and give all the talents I was blessed with to help them and try to encourage them.?
On the last day of camp, kids munched on burgers and hot dogs at a barbecue-style luncheon, where they posed for pictures and lined up for autograph signings and prizes from the group of elite basketball players ? who acted as friends, coach and mentor during the camp.
The NBA players gave away 30 scholarships to the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County to ensure that youths from low-income families also have the chance to experience the unique camp.
An overwhelmingly positive response to the event gives organizers hope that this is the first of many camps to come for Santa Barbara-area kids.
?This is not about money for us. We just want them to have a good experience. We weren?t always able to afford the expensive camps, so that?s why we are doing this,? Nunnally said. ?We want them to have an experience that they will remember.?
Camp sponsors included Camp Spins, Pepsi, Frito Lay, Subway in Isla Vista, Gatorade, Goleta Signs, Teen Sports Radio and Nike.
Additionally, a local teen was awarded a $2,0000 scholarship based on a 500-word essay, titled ?How High School Athletics Has Impacted My Life,? describing the youth?s college academic goals and athletic aspirations. Stone, Johnson and Nunnally unanimously selected the winner of the award designed to help the youth succeed in academic pursuits and become an effective leader within the community.
On Friday night, the three players joined other professional players to battle the Santa Barbara Breakers at San Marcos High School for the Mid-Summer Benefit Game benefiting the local Boys & Girls Clubs as well as the Santa Barbara Basketball Hall of Fame College Scholarship Fund.
The tightly contested game brought the Breakers against a collection of NBA professionals, including James Ennis who played at Ventura High School and was a recent draft pick of the Miami Heat; Travis Leslie of the Los Angeles Clippers; and Zach Andrews of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Actor Don Johnson was head coach for the NBA pros? team who squared off against an impressive roster of players assembled by Curt Pickering, Breakers founder and owner, led by all-time leading scorer Tim Taylor and UCLA grad Billy Knight.
The impressive collection of talent shone brightly during an inspiring week filled with training, life lessons and joy for local youths during a camp that is likely to become an ongoing and growing part of summer in Santa Barbara over the coming years.
Speaking at the National Urban League's conference in Philadelphia, Sybrina Fulton says, "Please use my story. Please use my tragedy to say to yourself we cannot let this happen to anybody else's child."
By Daniel Arkin, Staff Writer, NBC News
The mother of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin told the National Urban League on Friday that the verdict in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman ?is not going to define who Trayvon Martin was.?
?We will define his legacy,? said Sybrina Fulton on Friday at the civil rights organization?s annual conference in Philadelphia. ?We will define who he is and what he was all about.?
Roughly midway through her remarks, Fulton appeared to criticize Florida?s so-called ?Stand Your Ground? self-defense laws, which have come under scrutiny since Zimmerman was acquitted July 13 on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the February 2012 shooting death of Martin.
Zimmerman pleaded not guilty. He said he shot Martin in self-defense.
?Wrap your mind around no prom for Trayvon, no high school graduation for Trayvon, no college for Trayvon, no grandkids coming from Trayvon, all because of a law ? a law that has prevented the person who shot and killed my son to be held accountable and to pay for this awful crime,? Fulton said.
Stand Your Ground laws refer to legal statutes in some states whereby an individual is permitted to use force in the name of self-defense without having to necessarily attempt to retreat from a confrontation.
Zimmerman?s lawyers did not apply the statute in successfully defending their client, but the laws have nonetheless crossed the national radar because of concerns that they might trigger similar violent confrontations. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a speech to the NAACP three days after the verdict, "It's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.?
Fulton told the large crowd that she believes that God is using her and her family to advocate for social change.
?At times I feel like I?m a broken vessel, at times I don?t know if I?m going or coming, but I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God is using me and my family to make a change, to make a difference,? she said.
Matt Rourke / AP
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, holds up a card with a photo of her son as she speaks at the National Urban League's annual conference, on July 26, in Philadelphia.
?What is my message to you? My message to you is to please use my story, please use my tragedy, please use my broken heart to say to yourself: We cannot let this happen to anybody else?s child.?
Fulton?s remarks at the conference came one day after Attorney General Eric Holder appeared on the same stage and said that the Justice Department will contest congressional redistricting in Texas after what it considers discriminatory practices.
Holder told the National Urban League on Thursday that the Justice Department?s Civil Rights division will urge a federal judge in Texas to subject the State of Texas to a pre-clearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act ? a part of the law that was preserved after the Supreme Court?s ruling in late June, which weakened the law.
The National Urban League?s conference runs through Saturday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, according to The Associated Press.
George Zimmerman has sued NBC Universal for defamation. The company strongly denies the allegation.
Pete Williams and Michael O?Brien of NBC News contributed to this report.
Friday, July 19, 2013
Source: www.modernghana.com --- Wednesday, July 17, 2013
16 July 2013, Johannesburg: African companies now recognise the importance of sustainability as a strategic imperative, although many still battle with implementing a comprehensive solution. This is the view of Antoinette Du Randt, Regional Director, DuPont Sustainable Solutions, the operations management consulting firm of the science company. ... ...
Not all celebrity couples are created equal when it comes to height. Some famous lovebirds have more than a foot between them! Here are 13 pairs who have proven that love knows no inches.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Here's a brilliant idea that could prevent countless drunk driving-related deaths from occurring. Working with a marketing agency called DDB, Zouk, a popular nightclub in Singapore, installed a series of urinals that are able to monitor a patron's blood alcohol level and warn them if they're too drunk to drive.
Upper-income taxpayers could face a potential tax nightmare in 2013 due to a new 3.8% Medicare surtax on net investment income.
Strategy: Wake up to reality. If you take tax action now, you might be able to reduce, or even eliminate, your liability for the new 3.8% surtax. However, if you wait until the end of the year, it may be too late.
Don?t think this surtax is small potatoes. When you combine it with the new top federal income tax rate of 39.6%, your effective top tax rate could be a whopping 43.4%. And, if you add in state and local taxes, more than half of your highest-taxed dollars could go to the authorities!
Here?s the whole story: Under a ?provision in the 2010 health care law, a 3.8% Medicare surtax applies to the lesser of your ?net investment income? (NII) or the amount by which your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeds $200,000 for unmarried filers and $250,000 for married joint-filing couples (see box).
For this purpose, NII is defined to include interest, dividends, capital gains, rents, royalties, nonqualified annuities, income from passive activities and income from the trading of financial instruments or commodities. Certain other income items, such as wages, self-?employment income, Social Security benefits, tax-exempt interest, operating income from a nonpassive business and distributions from qualified retirement plans and IRAs, are ?specifically excluded.
The surtax went into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, but you still have plenty of time to minimize the impact. Here are five tax-saving opportunities.
1.??Add munis to your portfolio. The in??come from tax-exempt municipal bonds (munis) doesn?t count in the surtax calcula??tion. Therefore, if you invest in munis, or expand your current investment in munis, you?re decreasing your exposure to the 3.8% surtax.
Tip: Don?t go overboard on any one investment. Consider all the risk factors.
2.??Convert to a Roth. The payoff for converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA comes in the future. For a Roth in existence at least five years, qualified distributions, such as those made after attaining age 59?, are completely tax-free. But note that you?ll have to pay current tax on the conversion.
Tip: Although IRA distributions don?t count as NII in the surtax calculation, such distributions still push up your MAGI, which can increase your exposure to the surtax.
3.??Become active in passive activities. NII includes amounts generated by passive activities like rental real estate. Thus, if you don?t take an active role in a business, you might owe the surtax. However, as long as you ?materially participate? in the business, the income generally won?t count as NII. For instance, you qualify if you participate in the activity for more than 500 hours during the year.
Tip: The rules for rental real estate are even more stringent. We?ll have more on this in a future article.
4.??Establish a charitable remainder trust. When you transfer funds to a charitable remainder trust (CRT), you can claim a current tax deduction for the gift of the remainder interest to the charity, while continuing to receive income for a term of years or your lifetime. In the meantime, capital gains and other income realized by the CRT are sheltered from the 3.8% surtax.
Tip: The transfer to a CRT also shelters the funds from estate tax.
5.??Leapfrog into the future. If you invest in a tax-deferred annuity, you can receive payments in retirement, when you would expect to be in a lower income tax bracket than you are in your main working years. Thus, the annuity helps you to ?leapfrog? the highest taxed years when the 3.8% surtax is likely to apply.
Tip: Conversely, an annuity may not make sense if you anticipate being in a higher tax bracket in retirement than you are now.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013
By Nyasa Times Reporter
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Malawi Law Society (MLS) has added its voice on the revelations that former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika accumulated about K61 billion (about $152m) wealth, saying the deceased estate may have been overblown.
According to published report, MLS secretary Felisah Kilembe said Mutharika had put some of the property under several trusts some of which are public trusts that are for the benefit of Malawians.
?According to the law what this means is that the property was disposed of inter vivos [while he was still alive] and could not therefore have been disposed of again at death, as it became the trusts? property the minute it was given to the trust. As such all the property that is under the trust does not form part of the deceased estate?, Kilembe is quoted in the press on Monday.
She explained that ?all properties under the Trusts does not form part of the deceased estate.?
But said late Mutharika?s other properties can still be investigated if there is suspsicion of wrongful- enrichment.
She called for strengthening of the Declaration of Assets law in the country.
Nyasa Times reported earlier that British High Commissioner Michael Nevin ?said Mutharika?s wealth should be a wake-up call for the country to close any gaps in the fight against corruption.
Nevin said the country needs to strengthen its institutions involved in fighting corruption and tighten relevant laws to stop corruption and illegal accumulation of wealth.
?We really need to strengthen a lot of institutions, strengthen the laws and strengthen the ability to prevent such things from happening,? in an interview on Friday on the sidelines of an Extraordinary Annual Youth Consultative Forum (YCF)in Lilongwe.
Meanwhile, the Mutharika family is fighting in court with government which has since frozen all but one bank account of the former president in the case where it is demanding K5 billion in unpaid estate duty from Mutharika?s deceased estate, estimated to be worth about K61 billion.
On the other hand, former first lady Callista Mutharika has agreed with her step daughters Duwa and Tapiwa to appoint new administrators of the controversial estate.
Callista, who does not appear on the ?last will? left by the late president, filed an application in the High Court to remove Duwa and Tapiwa as administrators of the estate.
The?Washington Capitals?have been pretty silent for the most part. Which means that the front office is content to let?Adam Oates?have at least one more year, and one with a full season, with the group that he took over in the 2013 season. There are plenty of pros and cons that come along with that.
The Capitals caught fire in the second half of the season and grabbed a division title, not long after getting off to a miserable start to the year. But what they did, they did with?Mike Ribeiro?as a second line center and he had a fantastic year. The same can?t be said heading into the new year.
Ribeiro has parted ways with the Capitals since free agency began, despite his desire to return. Which means that the Caps will be forced to find an option to replace him in the middle of that second line. That search has apparently already ended, as?Brooks Laich?will take over in the middle.
Laich spent pretty much all of the 2013 season on the shelf with an injury, appearing in only nine games, finishing the year with four points, including a goal. It?s pretty clear that from a pure offensive skill standpoint, that second line center role could take a bit of a step back with Laich in there.
Ribeiro is among the best playmakers in the game. Laich is perfectly capable, but doesn?t have that skill. Still, the Capitals will be just fine with Laich in the middle there, as long as he?s healthy. He?s a three-time 20-goal scorer and has finished with at least 30 assists three time in his career.
Laich obviously is not the talent that Ribeiro is from a pure offensive standpoint. But in his own way, he?ll be successful in the middle of the second unit. He brings size to the middle, he?s better in the faceoff circle, and he can play the physical game. He won?t put up outlandish numbers, but the Capitals will be just fine with Brooks Laich instead of Mike Ribeiro.
Saturday, July 6, 2013
After days of violent demonstrations following the overthrow of Egypt's President Morsi, for a time today, one of his chief critics, Mohamed ElBaradei, was named the interim prime minister, in a move that would have given the generals who ousted Morsi new credibility with the West. But then the offer was withdrawn. NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin reports.
By Ian Johnston and Charlene Gubash, NBC News
Egypt's interim president has backed away from an announcement Saturday that pro-reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei would be appointed as the country's interim prime minister, news agencies reported.
Ahmed el-Musilamani, a?spokesman for President Adly Mansour said consultations were continuing, denying that ElBaradei's appointment was ever certain following the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, according to The Associated Press.
Mansour, chairman of the supreme constitutional court, who was sworn in as interim president Thursday.
Egypt?s National Salvation Front announced earlier in the day that former United Nations nuclear agency chief ElBaradei was scheduled to take his oath of office at 8 p.m. local time on Saturday.
According to a source familiar with the Obama administration's thinking, the administration would be willing to work with El Baradei if he is named Egypt's interim prime minister. The administration would also encourage ElBaradei to put an end to the violence, the source told NBC News.?
Secretary of State John Kerry also stressed in a statement that the United States wants to see Egypt's civilian transition succeed, and that the United States will do all it can to help encourage that effort.
Meanwhile, supporters of the deposed Morsi again gathered in large numbers Saturday, a day after clashes with security forces and anti-Morsi protesters left 36 dead and more than 1,000 injured.
A Muslim Brotherhood statement said that the movement?s leader Mohamed Badie ? who appeared at a rally on Friday after his arrest was ordered earlier in the week ? was calling for people to ?remain in the public squares of every governorate and every city until power is restored to him [Morsi] as the rightful ruler of Egypt.?
Hitha Prabhakar joins MSNBC's Alex Witt to break down the 3 Big Money Headlines. She mentions that oil analysts are watching the situation in Egypt and they are saying how it will negatively impact gas prices. She discussed the jobs numbers that came out on Friday and explains what hedge fund manager Ron Baron meant when he talked about the Dow reaching 60,000.
?God is great. He can crush every traitor and every treacherous tyrant. The people of Egypt will protect the Revolution, and will continue to demand their rights," Badie said, according to the statement.
On Friday, thousands of Morsi's Islamist supporters marched across a central Cairo bridge in the direction of Tahrir Square, which was also occupied by thousands of protesters whose demonstrations prompted the army to depose Morsi.
The Morsi supporters ended up dispersing after a clash involving a hail of stones, fireworks and sometimes gunfire. There were also clashes in other parts of the country, including Alexandria and the Sinai Peninsula, a hotbed for Islamist militants.
Mohammed Sultan, deputy head of the national ambulance service, told the AP that at least 36 people were killed in Friday's clashes, the highest death toll in one day since the latest outbreak of protests began last Sunday. Another 1,076 were injured.
Amid calls from leaders for both sides to remain peaceful, there are fears the conflict could become increasingly violent.
A new Islamist militant group calling itself Ansar al-Shariah in Egypt announced its formation amid the chaos.
For hours, there was no security in sight as the fighting ensued. Guns, stones and even fireworks were used as weapons but Morsi's supporters were driven back by the anti-Morsi demonstrators, and the military. NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin reports.
The group said it would gather arms and start training its members, in a statement posted on an online forum for militants in the country's Sinai region on Friday and recorded by the SITE Monitoring organization, Reuters reported.
The group blamed the events on secularists, Egyptian Coptic Christians, state security forces and army commanders, who they said would turn the country into ?a crusader, secular freak.?
It denounced democracy and said it would instead champion Islamic law, or sharia, acquire weapons and train to allow Muslims to "deter the attackers, preserve the religion and empower the sharia of the Lord," SITE reported.
Egypt?s military has been at pains to stress its takeover of power was not a military coup, but an expression of the will of the people as shown by the anti-Morsi protests.
This is key as it would threaten more than $1 billion in annual military aid given by the U.S.
Hassan Ammar / AP
Days of massive protests and a military ultimatum forced the country's first democratically elected president from office.
U.S. law prohibits financial assistance to any country whose elected head of state is deposed in a military coup.
Speaking in Prescott, Arizona, Friday Senator John McCain said the aid should be suspended.
?I say that with great reluctance, but the United States of America I think must learn the lessons of history and that is: We cannot stand by without acting in cases where freely elected governments are unseated by the military arm of those nations,? he said.
McCain also called on the Egyptian military to set a timetable for elections and a new constitution.
?Then we should evaluate whether to continue the aid or not,? he said. ?I am aware that by suspending aid to the Egyptian military, which is the only stable institution in Egypt, we are risking further problems in the Sinai, and in other areas of cooperation with the Egyptian military.?
NBC News' Becky Bratu and Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This story was originally published on Sat Jul 6, 2013 4:17 AM EDT
Monday, July 1, 2013
June 30, 2013 ? Anyone who's ever heard a Beethoven sonata or a Beatles song knows how powerfully sound can affect our emotions. But it can work the other way as well -- our emotions can actually affect how we hear and process sound. When certain types of sounds become associated in our brains with strong emotions, hearing similar sounds can evoke those same feelings, even far removed from their original context. It's a phenomenon commonly seen in combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in whom harrowing memories of the battlefield can be triggered by something as common as the sound of thunder. But the brain mechanisms responsible for creating those troubling associations remain unknown. Now, a pair of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has discovered how fear can actually increase or decrease the ability to discriminate among sounds depending on context, providing new insight into the distorted perceptions of victims of PTSD.
Their study is published in Nature Neuroscience.
"Emotions are closely linked to perception and very often our emotional response really helps us deal with reality," says senior study author Maria N. Geffen, PhD, assistant professor of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery and Neuroscience at Penn. "For example, a fear response helps you escape potentially dangerous situations and react quickly. But there are also situations where things can go wrong in the way the fear response develops. That's what happens in anxiety and also in PTSD -- the emotional response to the events is generalized to the point where the fear response starts getting developed to a very broad range of stimuli."
Geffen and the first author of the study, Mark Aizenberg, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in her laboratory, used emotional conditioning in mice to investigate how hearing acuity (the ability to distinguish between tones of different frequencies) can change following a traumatic event, known as emotional learning. In these experiments, which are based on classical (Pavlovian) conditioning, animals learn to distinguish between potentially dangerous and safe sounds -- called "emotional discrimination learning." This type of conditioning tends to result in relatively poor learning, but Aizenberg and Geffen designed a series of learning tasks intended to create progressively greater emotional discrimination in the mice, varying the difficulty of the task. What really interested them was how different levels of emotional discrimination would affect hearing acuity -- in other words, how emotional responses affect perception and discrimination of sounds. This study established the link between emotions and perception of the world -- something that has not been understood before.
The researchers found that, as expected, fine emotional learning tasks produced greater learning specificity than tests in which the tones were farther apart in frequency. As Geffen explains, "The animals presented with sounds that were very far apart generalize the fear that they developed to the danger tone over a whole range of frequencies, whereas the animals presented with the two sounds that were very similar exhibited specialization of their emotional response. Following the fine conditioning task, they figured out that it's a very narrow range of pitches that are potentially dangerous."
When pitch discrimination abilities were measured in the animals, the mice with more specific responses displayed much finer auditory acuity than the mice who were frightened by a broader range of frequencies. "There was a relationship between how much their emotional response generalized and how well they could tell different tones apart," says Geffen. "In the animals that specialized their emotional response, pitch discrimination actually became sharper. They could discriminate two tones that they previously could not tell apart."
Another interesting finding of this study is that the effects of emotional learning on hearing perception were mediated by a specific brain region, the auditory cortex. The auditory cortex has been known as an important area responsible for auditory plasticity. Surprisingly, Aizenberg and Geffen found that the auditory cortex did not play a role in emotional learning. Likely, the specificity of emotional learning is controlled by the amygdala and sub-cortical auditory areas. "We know the auditory cortex is involved, we know that the emotional response is important so the amygdala is involved, but how do the amygdala and cortex interact together?" says Geffen. "Our hypothesis is that the amygdala and cortex are modifying subcortical auditory processing areas. The sensory cortex is responsible for the changes in frequency discrimination, but it's not necessary for developing specialized or generalized emotional responses. So it's kind of a puzzle."
Solving that puzzle promises new insight into the causes and possible treatment of PTSD, and the question of why some individuals develop it and others subjected to the same events do not. "We think there's a strong link between mechanisms that control emotional learning, including fear generalization, and the brain mechanisms responsible for PTSD, where generalization of fear is abnormal," Geffen notes. Future research will focus on defining and studying that link.
It?s time to make our MLB Picks of the Day for the last Sunday in the month of June and you know what that means; two big winners.
Check the MLB odds and look for the biggest possible edge available.
Sunday Night Baseball
New York Yankees (42-38) at Baltimore Orioles (46-36)
I?m so excited about this game that I?m going to give the free baseball pick for this game first even though it?s the last game played of the day. The simple fact is that the Yankees are floundering. Just listening to yesterday?s game in the car, before the blink of an eye, Baltimore is leading 4-0 due to a Chris Davis 3 run home run and the game is basically over.
Holes in the Starting Pitching Rotation
When you start guys like David Phelps against a big-time Orioles offense, you can expect to be down 9-0 after the 3rd inning as the Yankees were yesterday. New York has fallen 5 ? games behind the Red Sox and are now trailing the O?s by 3 games. They?re on a 4 games losing streak and definitely need someone to stop the bleeding. Who do they turn to?
Don't forget to scour the betting lines and odds with Steven Suarez' Sunday Report
For the most part, Hiroki Kuroda has had a very good season with an impressive 2.77 ERA. Kuroda faces a difficult situation as he opposes Chris Tillman (9-2, 3.72) and Tillman pitches just good enough to leave the outcome to the Orioles hitters.
Both pitchers have been giving up 2 to 3 runs in their last few starts. This game is really about which offense gets off first and that spells trouble for the Yanks.
As the New York Yankees radio announcers said, Davis was pretty much discarded by Texas and ?left for dead?. Texas? loss is Baltimore?s gain as Davis has been tearing the cover off of the baseball. He leads the majors in home runs and is on pace to hit nearly 60 home runs and drive in over 150 runs batted in.
I have one bit of advice for Huroki Kuroda; ?pitch around Davis or you?ll lose?
Expect the Orioles offense to calm down a bit as Kuroda is a lot better than Phelps.
Pick- Yankees/Orioles UNDER 8.5 for your sports picks
Los Angeles Angels (38-43) at Houston Astros (30-51)
I?ve been just waiting for the Angels to take off and they have. They?re currently on a 5 game winning streak, getting ever so closer to the .500 mark as the All- Star Break draws nearer, and have a distinct advantage in this game as C.J. Wilson (7-5, 3.88) faces a rather weak Houston Astros team.
Loaded With Talent
The Los Angeles Angels have so much talent that they can matchup with any team in baseball. For some reason, their high priced players have just had a difficult time adjusting to playing in California.
Albert Pujols (.249) and Josh Hamilton (.221) were supposed to be two of the best players in baseball. They got payed a lot of money and haven?t delivered. Instead, the the Angels have counted on 21 year old Mike Trout.
The Future of Baseball
In my opinion, the two best players at their age and the future of baseball are pitcher Matt Harvey of the Mets and Mike Trout of the Angels.
Trout started off the season very slow, but has been on fire as of late. This kid looks like a baseball player and is someone that the youngsters of America (and beyond) can look up to.
On the season, Trout has 13 HR, 52 RBI, 20 SB, and a .315 BA. This player can easily be a 40-40 man in the future without steroids. I don?t want to hear about Bryce Harper as he?s not even in Trout?s league.
In his last 5 games, Trout is 10 for 23 with 1 HR and 6 RBI.
The Angels face a team that?s very weak overall, but features a budding new star in Jason Castro (.269, 11 HR and 27 RBI). The numbers aren?t totally there, but for a catcher, Castro has a major upside. Wilson will need to proceed with caution when facing Castro and Jose Altuve.
Pick- Los Angeles Angels -168 at Bet 365
Good Luck, everyone!
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ? Gay rights supporters crowded parade routes in San Francisco, New York and other major U.S. cities Sunday to celebrate what once was unimaginable ? two Supreme Court victories on same-sex marriage.
The high court gave celebrants one more reason to cheer Sunday when Justice Anthony Kennedy rejected a last-ditch effort by opponents to stop gay marriages in California.
Among the thousands at San Francisco's event, now in its 43rd year, were scores of teenage girls, opposite-sex couples and families with children.
"You can feel the smiles," Graham Linn, 42, of Oakland said as he stood on a three-foot-tall building ledge surveying crowds 10-deep on the sidewalks. "All around you there is a release. There is a vindication, and you can feel it."
The biggest applause went up for the two newlywed couples whose legal challenge of Proposition 8 made it possible for Californians to wed.
The couples ? Kris Perry and Sandy Stier of Berkeley, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo of Burbank ? waved from convertibles as a group of people carried cartoon-style signs that read, "Prop. 8-Kapow!"
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, who orchestrated the lawsuit, and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for the movie about the slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk, marched with them.
"It's so historic," Jeff Margolis, 58, said. "So many of us could never imagine this would happen, that people would be able to do what they want for the rest of their lives."
Loud cheers went to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Attorney General Kalama Harris ? straight politicians who have been vocal advocates of same-sex marriage.
San Francisco's parade lineup illustrated how mainstream support for same-sex marriage has become. Companies such as Facebook and supermarket chain Safeway were represented. Police officers and sheriff's deputies marched while holding hands.
There was also a group that called itself "Mormons for Marriage" that drew enthusiastic applause. The Mormon Church was one of the main sponsors of Proposition 8, the 2008 voter initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage in California.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down Proposition 8 and also invalidated part of a 1996 federal law that denied spousal benefits to gay couples. On Sunday morning, Kennedy denied a last-ditch request from the sponsors of Proposition 8, who argued that a lower court on Friday prematurely allowed gay marriages to continue in the nation's most populous state.
The group that maintains marriage should be between a man and woman said the lower court should have waited until the Supreme Court ruling is finalized late in July.
"Everyone on all sides of the marriage debate should agree that the legal process must be followed," said attorney Austin R. Nimocks of Alliance Defending Freedom in a statement Sunday. "The more than 7 million Californians that voted to enact Proposition 8 deserve nothing short of the full respect and due process our judicial system provides."
San Francisco City Hall remained open on Sunday so couples who wanted to marry could obtain their licenses. Every other clerk in California's 58 counties will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses starting Monday.
Parade organizers planned to hold a VIP reception for the newlyweds following the parade.
The parade in New York City, where the first pride march was held 44 years ago to mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots that kicked off the modern gay rights movement, also was a sort of victory lap for Edith Windsor, the 84-year-old widow who challenged the federal Defense of Marriage Act after she was forced to pay $363,053 on the estate of her late wife.
Windsor, who was picked as a grand marshal of New York's parade months before she won her case before the Supreme Court last week, walked up Fifth Avenue during the event and recalled watching it on television in past years with her wife, Thea Spyer, before Spyer died in 2009.
"I love it obviously," she said. "If someone had told me 50 years ago that I would be the marshal of New York City gay pride parade in 2013 at the age of 84, I never would have believed it."
In Seattle, the two women who were the first same-sex couple to be granted a marriage license in Washington state after same-sex marriage became legal there last year, Jane Abbot Lighty and Pete-e Petersen, helped raise a giant marriage equality sign featuring a red equal sign on top of the city's iconic Space Needle for the first time.
In another first, the Seattle Mariners flew a rainbow flag ? the symbol of gay pride first unfurled during San Francisco's parade in 1978 ? during their game Sunday against the Chicago Cubs.
The Supreme Court wins motivated many first-time pride parade spectators, including Michael Pence, 53, and John Moehnke, 46, of North Carolina. The couple, who are engaged and plan to marry in New York in the fall, attended Chicago's annual Pride Parade with a church group, saying they were thrilled about the court decisions and want to see gay marriage extended to Illinois and other states.
"We have such a long way to go but we're ready for the fight," Moehnke said.
Efforts to legalize gay marriage in Illinois have stalled. Advocates started the year with intense momentum and received backing from President Barack Obama and Illinois' top political leaders. The measure cleared the Illinois Senate on Valentine's Day, state Rep. Greg Harris, the bill's sponsor, decided not to call a vote in the House because he didn't have the needed support.
Harris was one of several politicians at the parade Sunday. He said he would bring back the issue in the fall, adding that the Supreme Court's rulings have resonated with his colleagues in the Illinois House.
"Illinois is in a truly second-class status until we pass marriage equality," Harris said.
Associated Press writers Sophia Tareen in Chicago, AP Radio Correspondent Julie Walker in New York and AP Photographer Elaine Thompson in Seattle contributed to this story.