Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rachel McAdams Never Spends "More Than Three Weeks" Without Michael Sheen (omg!)

Rachel McAdams Never Spends "More Than Three Weeks" Without Michael Sheen

When Rachel McAdams and Michael Sheen got together, it wasn't the first time the 33-year-old actress fell for a costar.

PHOTOS: Rachel and other hot Canadians

But unlike her relationship with The Notebook's Ryan Gosling, McAdams tells The Sunday Telegraph's Stella she waited until production wrapped on Midnight in Paris before taking the next step with Sheen, 42.

"Michael and I didn't get together while we were filming Midnight in Paris, which I feel strongly about not doing when I'm working. We became quite good friends, which I think is a great way to start," McAdams says. "I felt very blessed to have made a Woody Allen film in Paris together."

PHOTOS: Costars who turned into couples

Calling Sheen "a very funny person," McAdams admits it's hard being away from her actor beau when she's shooting a movie.

"Michael and I never spend more than three weeks apart -- we rack up a lot of air miles -- but you have to be quite adaptable in this business whether you are in a relationship or not," The Vow star says. "Trying to establish roots somewhere is a bit of a joke."

PHOTOS: Over-the-top star PDA

McAdams' most important relationship rule? "You need to trust each other and be able to talk to each other and be best friends."

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Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/entertainment/*http%3A//us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/external/omg_rss/rss_omg_en/news_rachel_mcadams_never_spends_more_three_weeks_without203115306/44357410/*http%3A//omg.yahoo.com/news/rachel-mcadams-never-spends-more-three-weeks-without-203115306.html

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Paul leads Clippers past NBA-leading Thunder (AP)

LOS ANGELES ? Chris Paul had 26 points and 14 assists, Blake Griffin added 22 points and a monstrous dunk, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat Oklahoma City 112-100 Monday night, snapping the Thunder's four-game winning streak in a matchup of division leaders.

Caron Butler also had 22 points, Chauncey Billups scored 13, Mo Williams 12 and DeAndre Jordan had 11 with 11 rebounds as the Pacific-leading Clippers dunked with high-flying abandon against the team with the NBA's best record at 16-4. They won their third in a row to follow up a 109-105 victory at Denver a night earlier that began a stretch of five games in seven nights.

Kevin Durant had 36 points and 13 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook added 31 for the Northwest-leading Thunder, whose league-best road record dropped to 8-3. They had won 11 of their previous 12.

Daequan Cook was the only other Oklahoma City player in double figures with 12 points. Durant and Westbrook scored all but two of the Thunder's 25 points in the third quarter, which the Clippers ended on a 3-pointer by Paul to lead 90-70.

Griffin's one-handed jam over Kendrick Perkins early in third sent the crowd into a frenzy, with Jordan grabbing Griffin from behind in a celebratory bear hug as the basket got replayed over and over.

Durant and Westbrook began the fourth on the bench, although they both stood up when Cook hit his second 3-pointer of the period to get the Thunder to 95-81. Griffin then scored five in a row, capped by a two-handed jam that extended the Clippers' lead to 100-81.

The Thunder outscored Los Angeles 30-22 in the fourth but never made a big run to get close.

The Clippers made 13 3-pointers ? just off their season high of 14 against Denver on Sunday.

The Clippers stunned the Thunder with four consecutive 3-pointers in less than a minute to close the first half leading 64-46. The flurry by Williams (two), Butler (one) and Billups (one) stopped the Thunder's 11-2 run that had drawn them within six points.

Los Angeles shot 71 percent from long range in a half that also featured a series of huge dunks by Jordan, Griffin, Durant and Westbrook, although both teams missed their share of dunks, too.

The Clippers made 10 3s in the half, led by four from Butler, who connected from his favorite spot in the left corner.

The Thunder's only lead was four points to start the game. They had won 11 of their previous 12 games.

Notes: Butler reached the 10,000-point mark on his third 3-pointer in the first quarter. ... Durant and Westbrook have scored at least 25 points each 37 times in their four seasons together. ... The Clippers improved to 10-2 at home. ... It was the Clippers' 12th consecutive sellout this season and 24th in a row overall dating to last season. The crowd of 19,404 included Larry King and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Dan Haren.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120131/ap_on_sp_bk_ga_su/bkn_thunder_clippers

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3-vehicle crash preceded fatal mass pileup in Fla.

The Florida Highway Patrol says there was a three-vehicle crash just hours before a series of pileups killed 10 people and injured 18 others on the same stretch of Interstate 75.

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According to the report released Monday, heavy smoke and fog resulted in low visibility along I-75 south of Gainesville late Saturday. About 11:55 p.m. Saturday, a tractor-trailer hit a Toyota in the northbound lanes. A Lexus then hit the back of the truck.

Authorities say a passenger in the Lexus was sent to the hospital in serious condition.

The Highway Patrol closed I-75 and nearby U.S. 441 a short time later, due to worsening road conditions. But the highway was then reopened early Sunday and a series of pileups began around 3:45 a.m., some of them fatal.

'People were screaming'
Steven R. Camps and some friends were driving home on the interstate when they heard "cars hitting each other."

"People were crying, People were screaming. It was crazy," the Gainesville resident told The Associated Press hours later. "If I could give you an idea of what it looked like, I would say it looked like the end of the world."

Some of the road's asphalt melted.

Lt. Patrick Riordan, a Florida Highway Patrol spokesman, described the pileup as "probably the worst one I've seen in 27 years."

Riordan said investigators are still trying to determine how many separate collisions occurred on the interstate.

The pileups happened around 3:45 a.m. Sunday on both sides of I-75. When rescuers first arrived, they could only listen for screams and moans because the poor visibility made it difficult to find victims in wreckage that was strewn for nearly a mile.

"That's a very scary thing when you can't see anything and hear the squealing of tires and don't know if 2,000 pounds of metal is coming at you,? Alachua County Sheriff's Sgt. Todd Kelly told the Gainesville Sun.

At least a dozen cars and six tractor-trailers were involved, and some burst into flames.

Hours later, twisted, burned-out vehicles were scattered across the pavement, with smoke still rising from the wreckage.

Cars appeared to have smashed into the big rigs and, in one case, a motor home. Some cars were crushed beneath the heavier trucks.

Fog bank
Reporters who were allowed to view the site saw bodies still inside a burned-out Grand Prix. One tractor-trailer was burned down to its skeleton, charred pages of books and magazines in its cargo area. And the tires of every vehicle had burned away, leaving only steel belts.

Before Camps hit the fog bank, a friend who was driving ahead of him in a separate vehicle called to warn of the road conditions. The friend said he had just seen an accident and urged Camps to be careful as he approached the Paynes Prairie area, just south of Gainesville.

A short time later, Camps said, traffic stopped along the northbound lanes.

"You couldn't see anything. People were pulling off the road," he said.

Camps said he began talking about the road conditions to a man in the car stopped next to him when another vehicle hit that man's car.

Explosions
The man's vehicle was crushed under a semi-truck stopped in front of them. Camps said his car was hit twice, but he and another friend were able to jump out. They took cover in the grass on the shoulder of the road.

All around them, cars and trucks were on fire, and they could hear explosions as the vehicles burned.

"It was happening on both sides of the road, so there was nowhere to go. It blew my mind," he said, explaining that the scene "looked like someone was picking up cars and throwing them."

Authorities had not released the names of victims Sunday evening, but said one passenger car had four fatalities. A "tour bus-like" vehicle also was involved in the pileup, police said.

All six lanes of the interstate were closed most of Sunday as investigators surveyed the site and firefighters put out the last of the flames.

The northbound lanes were reopened at about 5:30 p.m. The Gainesville Sun reported that the southbound lanes reopened at around 11 p.m. on Sunday.

No sign of lightning
At some point before the pileup, police briefly closed the highway because of fog and smoke. The road was reopened when visibility improved, police said. Riordan said he was not sure how much time passed between the reopening of the highway and the first crash.

A spokeswoman for the Florida Forest Service, Ludie Bond, said the fire began Saturday, and investigators were trying to determine whether the blaze had been intentionally set. She said there were no controlled burns in the area and no lightning.

Bond also said the fire had burned 62 acres and was contained but still burning Sunday. A similar fire nearby has been burning since mid-November because the dried vegetation is so thick and deep. No homes are threatened.

Four years ago, heavy fog and smoke were blamed for another serious crash.

In January 2008, four people were killed and 38 injured in a series of similar crashes on Interstate 4 between Orlando and Tampa, about 125 miles south of Sunday's crash. More than 70 vehicles were involved in those crashes, including one pileup that involved 40 vehicles.

The Associated Press, Reuters and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46186780/ns/us_news-life/

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Monday, January 30, 2012

`The Help,' Dujardin win at lively SAG Awards (AP)

LOS ANGELES ? Finally, an awards show with some surprises and spontaneity.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards featured some unexpected winners, including "The Help" for best overall cast performance and Jean Dujardin for best actor in "The Artist" alongside some of the longtime favorites in movies and television.

But there was a looseness and a playfulness that permeated the Shrine Exposition Center Sunday night ? maybe because it was a room full of people who love to perform, without the rigidity of one single host to lead them.

Unlike the great expectations that came with the sharp-tongued Ricky Gervais' reprisal at the Golden Globes a couple weeks ago or the much-anticipated return of Billy Crystal to the Academy Awards next month, there was no master of ceremonies at the SAG Awards. The presenters and winners seemed to have more room to improvise and put their own spin on the evening ? but mercifully, the show itself still managed to wrap up on time after just two hours.

And so we had three of the stars of best-cast nominee "Bridesmaids" ? Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy ? introducing their comedy with a joke about turning the name "Scorsese" into a drinking game, which became a running gag throughout the night. When HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" won the award for best drama series cast, among the first words star Steve Buscemi uttered in accepting the prize were "Martin Scorsese" ? he just happens to be one of the show's executive producers.

One of the more exciting moments of the night was the announcement of Dujardin's name in the best-actor category for his performance in the silent, black-and-white homage "The Artist." In winning the award for his portrayal of a silent-film star who finds his career in decline with the arrival of talkies, Dujardin definitely boosts his chances at the Oscars on Feb. 26. Little-known in the United States before this, the French comic bested bigger names like George Clooney ("The Descendants"), Brad Pitt ("Moneyball") and Leonardo DiCaprio ("J. Edgar").

If he follows this up with an Academy Award, Dujardin would become the first French actor ever to take the prize. Asked backstage how it would feel, Dujardin launched into a jaunty rendition of "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem.

"Pressure, big pressure," Dujardin then added in his halting English. "It's unbelievable. It's amazing already. Too early to tell."

Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer continued to cement their front-runner status in the actress and supporting actress categories, respectively, for their formidable work in "The Help." Both women play black maids in 1960s Mississippi who dare to go public about the bigotry they've endured.

"I just have to say that the stain of racism and sexism is not just for people of color or women. It's all of our burden, all of us," Davis said, accepting the ensemble prize on behalf of her "The Help" co-stars.

Backstage, Davis said of her own victory: "A few more people checked my name in the box for whatever reason. This time I kind of fooled them."

Meanwhile, Christopher Plummer picked up yet another supporting-actor prize for his lovely turn as an elderly widower who finally comes out as gay in "Beginners." Plummer won at the Golden Globes and is nominated for an Oscar. He would become the oldest actor ever to win an Academy Award at age 82, two years older than Jessica Tandy was when she won best actress for "Driving Miss Daisy."

Backstage, Plummer joked when asked if he would like to win an Oscar, an honor so elusive during his esteemed 60-year career that he did not even receive his first Academy Award nomination until two years ago, for "The Last Station."

"No, I think it's frightfully boring," Plummer said. "That's an awful question. Listen, we don't go into this business preoccupied by awards. If we did, we wouldn't last five minutes."

The win for overall cast for "The Help," when "The Artist" and "The Descendants" have been the favorites all along, makes the conversation more interesting but it isn't necessarily an indicator of how the film will do come Oscar time.

The guild's ensemble prize, considered its equivalent of a best-picture honor, has a spotty record at predicting what will win the top award at the Oscars. While "The King's Speech" won both honors a year ago, the SAG ensemble recipient has gone on to claim the top Oscar only eight times in the 16 years since the guild added the category.

The winners at the SAG ceremony often do go on to earn Oscars, however. All four acting recipients at SAG last year later took home Oscars ? Colin Firth for "The King's Speech," Natalie Portman for "Black Swan" and Christian Bale and Melissa Leo for "The Fighter."

On the television side, comedy series awards went to "Modern Family" for best ensemble; Alec Baldwin as best actor for "30 Rock"; and Betty White as best actress for "Hot in Cleveland."

"You can't name me, without naming those other wonderful women on `Hot in Cleveland,'" the 90-year-old White said. "This nomination belongs to four of us. Please, please know that I'm dealing them right in with this. I'm not going to let them keep this, but I'll let them see it."

The TV drama show winners were: Jessica Lange as best actress for "American Horror Story"; and Buscemi as best actor for "Boardwalk Empire."

For TV movie or miniseries, Kate Winslet won as best actress for "Mildred Pierce," while Paul Giamatti was named best actor for "Too Big to Fail."

The guild gave its lifetime achievement award to Mary Tyler Moore, presented by Dick Van Dyke, her co-star on the 1960s sit-com "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

Moore recalled that when she entered show business at age 18 in 1955, there were already six others Mary Moores in the Screen Actors Guild. Told to change her name, she quickly added Tyler, the middle name she shares with her father, George.

"I was Mary Tyler Moore. I spoke it out loud. Mary Tyler Moore. It sounded right so I wrote it down on the form, and it looked right," she said. "It was right. SAG was happy, my father was happy, and tonight, after having the privilege of working in this business among the most creative and talented people imaginable, I too am happy, after all."

___

AP writers David Germain and Beth Harris contributed to this report.

___

Online:

http://www.sagawards.com

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/tv/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120130/ap_en_tv/us_sag_awards

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Amy Chavez: Now for Something Really Different: Watching the Australian Open Down Under

Traveling in Australia for two weeks, I had the chance to watch the entire Australian Open in Melbourne on the Australian Prime Network TV. This was a real eye-opener as to what really goes on in Australian sports.

The first shocker was an advertisement for the "McOz burger" from "Mackers" (the Australian term for McDonald's). What's a McOz burger? A 100 percent Australian beef burger with beetroot and "classic ketchup" (treading carefully on the use of the word ketchup since the Australians use "tomato sauce.")

The second shocker was that just before each new match, a notice came up on the TV screen with each player's name and a dollar sign. Just before the quarter-final game between Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori, for example, Murray was fetching AU$1.07, and Nishikori AU$9.00. These were the odds for betting on them -- Just like horse racing. And it's "fair dinkum" (true). As the Aussie saying goes, "Australians would bet on two flies crawling up a wall." Thus the flourishing online gambling site called Sportsbet ("Aussie Open special -- Money back if your player loses in 5 sets!"). You can even bet on who will win the first set. Or if a player wins a set at all. Online betting sites are full of all the player stats you need to know to make your own guesstimate.

The Rod Laver Arena -- which seats approximately 15,000 -- brought some interesting aspects to the sport. Here, these world class tennis players, the elite who have qualified for this Grand Slam here in Melbourne, not only have to be in top physical shape and play their absolute best, but they also run the risk of having a cricket waltz out onto the court during play. Yes, really! Blood oath, "dinkie-die," stick a needle in my eye, Rod Laver Arena was plagued with crickets this year. One cricket's on-court appearance was so distracting to the players, the lawless insect was removed during the game by one of the ball girls. Don't those crickets realize? They've got the wrong sport! The Melbourne Cricket Ground is next door.

In addition, the Australian sportscasters on-site offered various bits of player trivia, the most enigmatic being, "Victoria Azaranka and Maria Sharipova were conceived in the same country." I'm not even going there...

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Follow Amy Chavez on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JapanLite

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-chavez/australian-open-melbourne_b_1240570.html

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Body In Well Identified As Alexandria Activist Lenny Harris

Patch:

Investigators have identified the body pulled from a well on Old Fort Hunt Rd. in Fort Washington, Md., on Saturday afternoon as Lenny Harris.

The announcement came via a tweet from Prince George's County Police Department Public Information Officer Julie Parker.

Read the whole story: Patch

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/29/body-in-well-identified-as-lenny-harris_n_1240691.html

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PFT: Lions fear Best's career is over

ROETHLISBERGER ROONEYAP

So why is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger planning to park his rear end on the other side of Art Rooney?s desk and ask hard questions about the future of the offense?

It could be that Roethlisberger wants to ensure that quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner replaces Bruce Arians as the next offensive coordinator of the Steelers.

?When I get back, I?m going to go up to Mr. Rooney?s office and ask him what he wants from me, what he wants from this offense, because I think that?s a viable question for him,? Roethlisberger said recently.? ?He?s our owner and our boss, so I really would like to know kind of what he wants and where he sees our offense going because I?d like to tell him where I see us going.?

Roethlisberger surely sees the offense going toward Fichtner, who has joined Ben in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl and who has worked with the quarterback since 2007, when coach Mike Tomlin hired him.? Fichtner previously ran a spread offense at Memphis, and Peter King explained last night on NBC SportsTalk that Fichtner was instrumental in helping Roethsliberger reintegrate into the roster after a four-game suspension to start the 2010 season.

And so the deeper question is whether Rooney wants to change the offense, or whether he simply wanted to change the coordinator.? If it was a matter of dumping Bruce Arians and promoting Fichtner, the move probably would have happened by now.

Some may wonder why Rooney would possibly want to retreat to a more traditional Steelers attack ? play great defense, run the ball extensively, and pass selectively not extensively.? That would seem to be an unusual decision, given the presence of three very good young receivers:? Mike Wallace, 2011 team MVP Antonio Brown, and Emmanuel Sanders.

But here?s the thing.? Receivers who catch a lot of passes eventually command a lot of money.? So if the Steelers continue to stretch the field, it could force them to stretch their wallet and/or salary cap in order to keep the pieces in place.? Competent running backs, generally speaking, are much cheaper, more interchangeable, and far easier to find.

Rooney offered no concrete clues during a recent interview with Steelers Digest editor Bob Labriola when commenting on the fact that the two Super Bowl teams have quarterbacks who passed for more than 10,000 yards combined this season and defenses that landed near the bottom of the league.

?There?s no question the league is changing and the league?s always evolving,? Rooney said.? ?And there?s no doubt that I think we?ve seen quarterback play in general this year at maybe the highest level we?ve ever seen it, from a number of players.? And so number one I think we?re fortunate to have a lot of very good quarterbacks in the league right now.? Number two, the rules have changed to allow more prolific passers.? And so I think that?s what we?re looking for for our quarterback, to be up there with the elite quarterbacks and to have that kind of production.? And so I think you have to recognize all those facts.

?The other side of the coin is I think if you look at these playoffs so far, we?re not seeing teams scoring 30 and 40 points a game.? And so I think you have to remember what playoff football is all about.? Defense still is a big part of the game.? And the games that we?ve seen for far in the playoffs, the defenses have made big plays.? And as I say, the scoring has been fairly consistent with past playoffs.? And so I think the game is evolving, but maybe not to the degree that some people would like to play it.?

Apart from the fact that the Giants scored 37 at Lambeau Field and the Pats scored 45 against the Broncos, who scored one point less than 30 against the Steelers, and the 49ers and Saints combined for 68 points and the Saints and Lions cominbed for 73 points, Rooney seems to be struggling to reconcile the recent explosion in offense with the time-honored notion that defense wins championships.

Of course, there?s also a chance that Rooney wants to continue to stretch the field, but that he doesn?t believe Fichtner is the right guy to orchestrate the attack.? Either way, these decisions about the future of the Steelers offense seem to be coming not from the top of the coaching staff, but from the top of the organization.? And it?ll be interesting to see whether Roethlisberger likes what he hears when he plops his caboose in Art Rooney?s office.

Source: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/01/28/report-many-in-lions-organization-fear-that-jahvid-bests-career-is-over/related/

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

James Zogby: Bridging the Divide

ABU DHABI, UAE: I've just finished teaching a three week January term course at New York University's Abu Dhabi campus (NYUAD). I've had the great fortune to teach before at some wonderful schools across the U.S. But this, for me, was a special experience, the result of the unique mix of students who had been brought together in this one place.

The course I had been invited to teach was called "Bridging the Divide between the Arab World and the West". It was to be an examination of how the West and Arabs have interacted with each other in the past century, their mutual misperceptions, and the resultant and often tragic problems that have ensued, putting both sides at risk.

In the lead up to the start of the course, I had planned my lectures and prepared class exercises. The students would create, conduct, and analyze their own polls of U.S. and Arab attitudes and would develop their own class blog about the divide and the ways they experience it. On day one, I was set to begin and to proceed according to my plan, and then I met my students.

The class was made up of mostly first year students. There were sixteen in all - from twelve different countries on four continents! The range was extraordinary. Four were Arabs (one each from the UAE, Egypt, Libya, and a Palestinian from Lebanon - each with a fascinating story to tell). There were four Americans (from Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia, and New Jersey). They were joined by colleagues from: the UK, Denmark, Bosnia, Kenya, India, Indonesia, and South Korea. Though different in so many ways, they were, for the most part, "cut from the same cloth", variations on a theme. They were bright and inquisitive, expressive and insightful, and open to learning from each other.

After interviewing each of the students on the first day, it became clear to me that while they were eager to learn about the place they were in, and the Arab World, in general, they also had a great deal to share about their own experiences in confronting the many "divides" that make up our modern world. My students from Columbus, Ohio and St. Paul, Minnesota, for example, wanted to tell about how their respective communities were dealing with the influx of large numbers of Somali refugees. The ethnic and religious divides that have shaped the modern histories of India, Indonesia, and Bosnia became subjects for conversation, as did the more recent tensions that have confronted Muslim immigrants to the UK, U.S. and Denmark.

Some of my American students shared the apprehension expressed by their parents and peers when they made known their choice to go to a school in the Arab World, while some of my Arab students told of similar reactions they received when they declared their intention to attend an American school.

We had much to talk and write about, and we did. What was so extraordinary was how supportive the students were of one another. Although NYUAD is only two years old, a new culture had been created in this remarkable place, itself an important learning experience. As I watched the students engage in conversation, or when I read their posts and their comments on their colleagues' posts, or when I saw them just mingling with one another in the cafeteria, it became clear what a remarkable thing was being done here.

There were times I felt as though this were a sort of Hogwart's Castle. And that these little wizards had been plucked from their respective worlds and brought together where their special skills could be developed before they were to be sent back home. But I came to realize that this wasn't the case at all. The students weren't magical, nor was the place. It was the opportunity that had been created for meeting and learning from each other that was the magic. It was the vision behind this place that had brought these few hundred very bright young men and women from every continent to learn together, that would create lessons that would last a lifetime.

The UAE will be bidding to host the World Expo in 2020. Their theme is "Connecting the World, Creating the Future". In many ways, this is being done across this young country every day, in business, in culture and the arts, and in the meetings of peoples in everyday life. This also describes the NYUAD experience--in every classroom and in every lunch table conversation. The students who are fortunate enough to be a part of this experience are being connected to the world in a very personal way and out of this experience a new generation of global leaders is being created. And because these students are being transformed by their encounters here, they will be better able to heal the many divides they face in our increasingly complex world.

I leave here enriched and invigorated by the time I spent with my students in this place.

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Follow James Zogby on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AAIUSA

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-zogby/bridging-the-divide_b_1239126.html

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Egyptians move to reclaim streets through graffiti

In this Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 photo, Egyptian women walk past graffiti depicting a military tank on a wall under a bridge in Cairo, Egypt. In May, Mohamed Fahmy, known in the graffiti world as Gazneer, made one of Cairo's largest and longest surviving pieces of street art under a bridge used by taxi drivers to urinate. It was an image of a military tank pointed toward a boy on a bike who, rather than carrying a traditional bread delivery, was carrying the city on his head. It was a symbolic reference to youth who care for the nation and are heading toward a collision with Egypt's military rulers. On his blog, Ganzeer wrote: "Our only hope right now is to destroy the military council using the weapon of art." (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

In this Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 photo, Egyptian women walk past graffiti depicting a military tank on a wall under a bridge in Cairo, Egypt. In May, Mohamed Fahmy, known in the graffiti world as Gazneer, made one of Cairo's largest and longest surviving pieces of street art under a bridge used by taxi drivers to urinate. It was an image of a military tank pointed toward a boy on a bike who, rather than carrying a traditional bread delivery, was carrying the city on his head. It was a symbolic reference to youth who care for the nation and are heading toward a collision with Egypt's military rulers. On his blog, Ganzeer wrote: "Our only hope right now is to destroy the military council using the weapon of art." (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

In this Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 an Egyptian girl, left, posts an art piece made by Sad Panda, unseen, on a wall as flower vendors prepare a bouquet outside their shop in Cairo, Egypt. Taking control of the streets was critical for the thousands of Egyptians who eventually overthrew their authoritarian leader nearly one year ago, but the battle for freedom of expression continues to be fought by graffiti artists who support the country's military rulers and those who want them to relinquish power. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

In this Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012 photo, a man walks past graffiti depicting the Egyptian military in Cairo, Egypt. Taking control of the streets was critical for the thousands of Egyptians who eventually overthrew their authoritarian leader nearly one year ago, but the battle for freedom of expression continues to be fought by graffiti artists who support the country's military rulers and those who want them to relinquish power. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

In this Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012 photo, a man cleans a side walk as graffiti is shown on the wall with Arabic writing from top left to top right that reads, "the answer and the other answer, we will not forget these dates, the people will still revolt, raise the revolutionary flag, hit Tantawy, the revolution will bring justice, we are for Tahrir, " in Cairo, Egypt. Taking control of the streets was critical for the thousands of Egyptians who eventually overthrew their authoritarian leader nearly one year ago, but the battle for freedom of expression continues to be fought by graffiti artists who support the country's military rulers and those who want them to relinquish power. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

In this Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011 photo, two boys look through concrete blocks built by Egyptian military with Arabic writing that reads, "freedom," near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt. Taking control of the streets was critical for the thousands of Egyptians who eventually overthrew their authoritarian leader nearly one year ago, but the battle for freedom of expression continues to be fought by graffiti artists who support the country's military rulers and those who want them to relinquish power. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

(AP) ? The conflict between Egypt's ruling military and pro-democracy protesters isn't just on the streets of Cairo, it's on the walls as well, as graffiti artists from each side duel it out with spray paint and stencils.

Earlier this month, supporters of the ruling generals painted over part of the largest and most famous antimilitary graffiti pieces in the capital.

The military's supporters then made a 15-minute video using footage posted by two young men stenciling pro-revolution graffiti and wearing Guy Fawkes masks, the grinning face made famous by the movie "V for Vendetta". In an attempt mock the revolutionary street art, the military supporters declared in their video, "The police, military and people are one hand," and, "The military is a red line."

They posted the video online, calling themselves the "Badr Battalion" and describing themselves as "distinguished Egyptian youth who are against the spies and traitors that burn Egypt."

It was an ironic turnabout, with backers of the authorities picking up the renegade street art medium of revolutionary youth.

During the regime of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt had almost no graffiti on the walls of its cities. But when the uprising against Mubarak's rule erupted a year ago, there was an explosion of the art.

Taking control of the streets was critical for the thousands of Egyptians who eventually overthrew the country's authoritarian leader. The battle continues to be fought by graffiti artists who support the country's military rulers and those who want them to relinquish power.

Since Mubarak's fall on Feb. 11, graffiti is everywhere in Cairo and other cities, proclaiming the goals of the revolution and mocking the regime. Graffiti artists have continued to work, using walls, buildings, bridges and sidewalks as a canvas to denounce the generals who took power after Mubarak as new dictators and to press the revolution's demands.

Usually anti-military graffiti has a short lifetime before it is quickly painted over or defaced with black spray paint. And just as quickly the artists put up more.

The graffito that pro-military supporters painted over had survived remarkably long. Mohamed Fahmy, known by his pseudonym Ganzeer, put it up in May under a bridge. It depicts a military tank with its turret aimed at a boy on his bike who balances on his head one of the wooden racks that are traditionally used to deliver bread ? though instead of bread, he's carrying a city. It was a symbolic reference to revolutionary youth who care for the nation, heading into a collision with the generals.

Quickly after it was partially stenciled over, a new graffiti was up, depicting the country's military leader as a large snake with a bloody corpse coming out of his mouth.

Graffiti has turned into perhaps the most fertile artistic expression of Egypt's uprising, shifting rapidly to keep up with events. Faces of protesters killed or arrested in crackdowns are common subjects ? and as soon as a new one falls, his face is ubiquitous nearly the next day.

The face of Khaled Said, a young man whose beating death at the hands of police officers in 2010 helped fuel the anti-Mubarak uprising, even appeared briefly on the walls of the Interior Ministry, the daunting security headquarters that few would dare even approach in the past.

Other pieces mock members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the council of generals that is now in power, or figures from Mubarak's regime.

When a police officer was captured on an Internet video shooting at the eyes of protesters during clashes, his image immediately dotted walls, urging people to find the "Eye-Sniper."

State television is another frequent target because it has become the mouthpiece for the military's proclamations that protesters are vandals, thugs and part of a plot to throw Egypt into chaos. One graffito shows the word "Occupy" written in the shape of the State TV building. Stickers plastered on walls show the words "Go down to the street" emerging from a television set, a message to the so-called "Couch Party," people who sit and watch the protests on TV.

"It's about a message in the street. It reaches the poor, the rich, the trash collector, the taxi driver," graffiti artist Karim Gouda said. "Most of these people are away from the Internet and the social networking world so it's a way to reach them."

Not everyone is receptive. Gouda said he was accosted by residents as he put up posters depicting a rotting face with the words "open your eyes before it's too late" in the impoverished Cairo district of Sayeda Zeinab. They accused him of trying to create civil strife and of trying to encourage Egypt's Christian minority to take over from the Muslim majority. Such accusations about activists were rife at the time after an October protest by Christians in Cairo, which was crushed by soldiers, killing more than 20.

The residents tore down Gouda's posters and chased him out of the neighborhood.

Under Mubarak's nearly 30-year rule, political expression on the streets was repressed by his powerful police forces. Once every five years, parliamentary elections would see the country littered with posters for elections that always favored the ruling party. Billboards advertising a lifestyle that only a privileged few could afford for companies whose owners were often closely affiliated with the regime towered over the sprawling slums of Cairo, a bustling city of some 18 million people.

"It's liberating to see," blogger Soraya Morayef said of the proliferation of street art.

Morayef, who has dedicated her blog Suzeeinthecity to documenting graffiti artists' work, said the street art reflects what happened in the whole country.

"The fear barrier was broken," she said.

___

Soraya Morayef's blog on graffiti: http://suzeeinthecity.wordpress.com/

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/apdefault/3d281c11a96b4ad082fe88aa0db04305/Article_2012-01-29-ML-Egypt-Graffiti/id-1d2064e70e664ed9b906547847adb72c

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Apple-fan cop uses app to catch iPhone thief (Digital Trends)

Apple-iPhone-4SA quick-thinking cop used his knowledge of Apple products to lead him to an iPhone thief within 30 minutes of the device being stolen.

The New York cop, Officer Robert Garland, spoke to the New York Times about the incident, which took place in Manhattan on Thursday.

Garland said the episode began when a woman working at a Tuci Italia store on the Avenue of the Americas was robbed of her iPhone at gunpoint as she was using the device to watch YouTube videos during a break.

Officer Garland arrived at the scene of the crime with his colleague, Sgt. Richard Coan, to find an upset and shaken victim.

Once Garland understood it was an iPhone that had been stolen, he realized that there was a fair chance he could locate it. You see, being a fan of Apple products and himself owning an iPhone, iPad and various Mac computers, Officer Garland knew a thing or two about all things i and was therefore familiar with the popular Find My iPhone app, a piece of software that does exactly what it says on the tin.

Without missing a beat, he entered the victim???s Apple ID into his own iPhone and using the app, pinpointed the location of her phone on a map.

Wasting no time, Garland and his colleague followed the information on their map in the hope that they???d be able to make a quick arrest.

After a short time they were confident they could see the robber, outside a Food Emporium store on Eighth Avenue and 49th Street. To confirm it was the right man, Garland pressed the ?Play Sound? button on the app, which immediately caused a pinging sound to emanate from the stolen phone.

The cops moved in and sure enough they found the victim?s phone stuffed down one of the man?s socks. And the woman?s reaction to Garland?s recovery? ?She was ecstatic,? he told the New York Times.

Of course, the free Find My iPhone app will also come in useful when you misplace your phone, so be sure to download and enable the app on your iOS device. Then if you lose your phone, all you need to do is sign in to icloud.com through any Internet-enabled computer or simply use the Find My iPhone app on another iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to see its location on a map. You also have the ability to display a message on the phone in case someone finds it, or clear the device of all its data if you?re worried about security.

This article was originally posted on Digital Trends

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Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/applecomputer/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/digitaltrends/20120127/tc_digitaltrends/applefancopusesapptocatchiphonethief

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Medication Abortion Law In North Dakota Challenged, Called 'Undue Burden'

There is only one abortion clinic in North Dakota, and state lawmakers passed a bill last summer that would effectively ban medication abortions across the state.

After the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a challenge, seeking to overturn the measure, a judge in July issued a temporary restraining order against the law. The center's lawyers are now seeking a temporary injunction, arguing the measure pushes the limits of what the Supreme Court would deem an "undue burden" on women's right to abortion.

An attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights argued in district court on Friday that the new North Dakota law, which imposes requirements for the provision of "abortion-inducing drugs" that are difficult to meet, flies in the face of the Supreme Court's 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision. That decision prevents states from passing laws that have "the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus."

Medication abortions count for about a quarter of abortions in the first nine weeks of pregnancy and are widely recognized as safe and effective by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other medical experts and professional organizations. The Center for Reproductive Rights, on behalf of Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, N.D., argued on Friday that the bill "needlessly forc[es] women seeking an abortion to undergo surgery even when such a procedure may be medically inadvisable."

"The law bans medication abortions for no reason whatsoever and denies women a safe, common, effective procedure that's been used by 1.4 million women in the United States," said Suzanne Novak, senior staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights. "For some women, it's a matter of personal choice, but for other women it's medically inadvisable to have surgical abortions."

The defense argued that the law can't be challenged unless there is a prosecution going on. Further, the defense team said, the law places no undue burden on any woman who wants an abortion, because surgical abortion remains unchallenged in North Dakota.

Responded Judge Wickham Corwin: "Well, it certainly seems to put an undue burden on any woman who wants a medication abortion."

Corwin declined to make a decision on Friday as to whether to suspend the law and instead asked for a fuller factual record about the safety of medication abortion and its uses.

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/27/medication-abortion-north-dakota_n_1237836.html

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Useful guidelines for golf ball betting

If you are a gambling enthusiast, you should definitely consider online gambling which is increasingly popular these days and for good reason. As long as you find a reputable Online Sportsbook, you have a wide array of betting opportunities and a good chance to make significant amounts of money from the comfort of your home. Apart from its reputation, a Sportsbook should also fit your needs and requirements in terms of betting, ranging from the ways of application and payment to the bonus system, types of bets and customer service. Moreover, Basketball Betting is probably the less popular sports which at the same time offers significant chances of winning good money so if you do not have too much experience in the field, it could be a reliable start for you.

Nowadays, basketball betting is widely known as the most earning sport that opens many gates for people who want to focus on this activity and increase their profits. The main requirements is to get familiar with game tactics and learn some betting tips in order to increase your chances of wining many bets. Yet you should choose an online sportsbook that has a long history in this industry, especially in terms of payments and enjoys good client testimonials from a significant number of bettors.

In order to avoid any unpleasant surprises, you must ensure that it is licensed and has an advanced software that allows you to operate smoothly and focus on your betting strategy. Given the wide variety of websites and the fierce competition among them, it should not be so difficult to find a trustworthy sportsbook with a proven track record on paying its clients on time and the ability of providing good value for their money through bonuses and reliable odds.

An smart thing that you should do is no to limit yourself at baseball and baseball and try to discover less well-known athletics such as little league, golf ball, punching and even equine rushing. Basketball gaming is not as complicated as it seems at first look and if you bet on that team that is at its first activity, you will definitely improve your possibilities of successful. However, you have to keep in mind that the additional bonuses provided by an on the internet sportsbook are vital but you must read carefully the conditions to create sure that you can bet using these cash before spending your own cash.

Customer assistance can create the difference between a trusted sportsbook and one that is unable to offer increased value for your cash. You will discover out sources about this on various boards and review internet sites and this research is a significant need because if you practical knowledge certain issues or you have questions to ask, you need a sportsbook able to answer you quickly. If gaming on the internet symbolizes a significant interest for you, you should not take any threats but you should rather take into consideration these things if you want to stay safe and get improve value for your cash. This is the best method to remove the possibilities of being attractive as it happens with so many individuals.

Hollywoodsportsbook.com is a fully licensed gaming entertainment company providing our worldwide clients both large and small, with a safe, secure, wagering environment since 1997.

Source: http://subscription-black-jack.com/useful-guidelines-for-golf-ball-betting/

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Video: Euro Zone Impact on the UK

The UK is suffering collateral damage from the euro zone crisis, says George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer. The UK has been constructive in helping the euro zone, he adds.

Related Links:

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Source: http://video.msnbc.msn.com/cnbc/46168485/

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LeAnn Rimes? Vanity Keeping Her From Getting Pregnant?

LeAnn Rimes’ Vanity Keeping Her From Getting Pregnant?

In Touch Weekly had a rather interesting article this week about LeAnn Rimes’ desire to have children, but that she’s afraid her husband won’t find [...]

LeAnn Rimes’ Vanity Keeping Her From Getting Pregnant? Stupid Celebrities Gossip Stupid Celebrities Gossip News


Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/stupidcelebrities/~3/0mmxEquuiAU/

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Study offers new information for flu fight

Study offers new information for flu fight [ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 27-Jan-2012
[ | E-mail | Share Share ]

Contact: Ralph Tripp
ratripp@uga.edu
706-542-1557
University of Georgia

Athens, Ga. Influenza virus can rapidly evolve from one form to another, complicating the effectiveness of vaccines and anti-viral drugs used to treat it. By first understanding the complex host cell pathways that the flu uses for replication, University of Georgia researchers are finding new strategies for therapies and vaccines, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

The researchers studied RNA interference to determine the host genes influenza uses for virus replication.

All viruses act as parasites by latching onto healthy cells and hijacking the cells' components, essentially turning the cell into a factory that produces copies of the virus. This process begins when influenza binds to sugars found on the surface of host cells in the lung and respiratory tract. Once attached, the virus downloads its genetic information into the nucleus of the cell, and virus replication begins.

"Viruses contain very minimal genetic information and have evolved to parasitize host cell machinery to package and replicate virus cells. Because virus replication is dependent on host cell components, determining the genes needed for this process allows for the development of novel disease intervention strategies that include anti-virals and vaccines," said study co-author Ralph Tripp, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and Chair of Animal Health Vaccine Development in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.

"We have the technology today that allows us to target specific genes in human cells and silence those genes to inhibit the production of virus in the cells," he said.

RNA interference, which was first discovered as the mechanism that effects color change in petunia breeding, is now being applied to medical advancements. Using RNAi silencing technologies, Tripp's lab was able to identify key host cell pathways needed by influenza virus for replication.

"We have a very limited toolbox for treating influenza," Tripp said. "There are two medications currently used to treat flu infections, but virus resistance has developed to these drugs. Our studies have identified several novel host genes and associated cell pathways that can be targeted with existing drugs to silence virus replication."

Understanding which genes can be silenced to inhibit growth of viruses opens the medicine cabinet for the repurposing of existing drugs.

Existing anti-viral drugs slow influenza virus replication by preventing the virus from releasing itself from its host cell. These treatments target the virus, which is able to rapidly mutate to avoid drug sensitivity. In contrast, drugs that target host genes work more effectively because host genes rarely change or mutate.

"If we target a host gene, the virus can't adapt," Tripp said. The influenza virus "may look for other host genes in the same pathway to use, which may be many, but we have identified the majority of preferred genes and can target these genes for silencing."

The influenza A virus has eight single RNA strands that code for 11 proteins. Recent studies suggest it may need several dozen host genes to reproduce. Turning off the apex, or signaling, gene can cause the reproduction sequence to stall.

"Through this research we can repurpose previously approved drugs and apply those to influenza treatments, drastically reducing the time from the laboratory to human medicine," said Victoria Meliopoulos, a UGA graduate student and co-author of the study. "We can manipulate the cellular microenvironment to increase the viral yield during vaccine manufacturing."

Meliopoulos said these discoveries can be used to create new anti-viral drugs and develop better vaccines that can be used to treat patients with influenza. This technology also can be used to improve medications for other viruses like hepatitis and polio.

The technology allows the researchers "to establish a comprehensive roadmap of human genes modulated during influenza virus infection to better understand these disease mechanisms and to identify novel targets for anti-influenza therapy," said Lauren Andersen, a UGA graduate student and co-author of the study.

Influenza is the world's leading cause of morbidity and mortality; seasonal viruses affect up to 15 percent of the human population and cause severe illness in 5 million people a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the U.S., financial losses caused by seasonal influenza are estimated to exceed $87 billion annually.

###

For a PDF of the study, see http://www.fasebj.org/content/early/2012/01/09/fj.11-193466.long.

Writer:
April Sorrow, 706-542-3773, aprilr@uga.edu

Contacts:
Ralph Tripp, 706-542-1557, ratripp@uga.edu
Victoria Meliopoulos, victoria.mel@gmail.com
Lauren Andersen, landerse07@gmail.com



[ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail | Share Share ]

?


AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.


Study offers new information for flu fight [ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 27-Jan-2012
[ | E-mail | Share Share ]

Contact: Ralph Tripp
ratripp@uga.edu
706-542-1557
University of Georgia

Athens, Ga. Influenza virus can rapidly evolve from one form to another, complicating the effectiveness of vaccines and anti-viral drugs used to treat it. By first understanding the complex host cell pathways that the flu uses for replication, University of Georgia researchers are finding new strategies for therapies and vaccines, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

The researchers studied RNA interference to determine the host genes influenza uses for virus replication.

All viruses act as parasites by latching onto healthy cells and hijacking the cells' components, essentially turning the cell into a factory that produces copies of the virus. This process begins when influenza binds to sugars found on the surface of host cells in the lung and respiratory tract. Once attached, the virus downloads its genetic information into the nucleus of the cell, and virus replication begins.

"Viruses contain very minimal genetic information and have evolved to parasitize host cell machinery to package and replicate virus cells. Because virus replication is dependent on host cell components, determining the genes needed for this process allows for the development of novel disease intervention strategies that include anti-virals and vaccines," said study co-author Ralph Tripp, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and Chair of Animal Health Vaccine Development in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.

"We have the technology today that allows us to target specific genes in human cells and silence those genes to inhibit the production of virus in the cells," he said.

RNA interference, which was first discovered as the mechanism that effects color change in petunia breeding, is now being applied to medical advancements. Using RNAi silencing technologies, Tripp's lab was able to identify key host cell pathways needed by influenza virus for replication.

"We have a very limited toolbox for treating influenza," Tripp said. "There are two medications currently used to treat flu infections, but virus resistance has developed to these drugs. Our studies have identified several novel host genes and associated cell pathways that can be targeted with existing drugs to silence virus replication."

Understanding which genes can be silenced to inhibit growth of viruses opens the medicine cabinet for the repurposing of existing drugs.

Existing anti-viral drugs slow influenza virus replication by preventing the virus from releasing itself from its host cell. These treatments target the virus, which is able to rapidly mutate to avoid drug sensitivity. In contrast, drugs that target host genes work more effectively because host genes rarely change or mutate.

"If we target a host gene, the virus can't adapt," Tripp said. The influenza virus "may look for other host genes in the same pathway to use, which may be many, but we have identified the majority of preferred genes and can target these genes for silencing."

The influenza A virus has eight single RNA strands that code for 11 proteins. Recent studies suggest it may need several dozen host genes to reproduce. Turning off the apex, or signaling, gene can cause the reproduction sequence to stall.

"Through this research we can repurpose previously approved drugs and apply those to influenza treatments, drastically reducing the time from the laboratory to human medicine," said Victoria Meliopoulos, a UGA graduate student and co-author of the study. "We can manipulate the cellular microenvironment to increase the viral yield during vaccine manufacturing."

Meliopoulos said these discoveries can be used to create new anti-viral drugs and develop better vaccines that can be used to treat patients with influenza. This technology also can be used to improve medications for other viruses like hepatitis and polio.

The technology allows the researchers "to establish a comprehensive roadmap of human genes modulated during influenza virus infection to better understand these disease mechanisms and to identify novel targets for anti-influenza therapy," said Lauren Andersen, a UGA graduate student and co-author of the study.

Influenza is the world's leading cause of morbidity and mortality; seasonal viruses affect up to 15 percent of the human population and cause severe illness in 5 million people a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the U.S., financial losses caused by seasonal influenza are estimated to exceed $87 billion annually.

###

For a PDF of the study, see http://www.fasebj.org/content/early/2012/01/09/fj.11-193466.long.

Writer:
April Sorrow, 706-542-3773, aprilr@uga.edu

Contacts:
Ralph Tripp, 706-542-1557, ratripp@uga.edu
Victoria Meliopoulos, victoria.mel@gmail.com
Lauren Andersen, landerse07@gmail.com



[ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail | Share Share ]

?


AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.


Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-01/uog-son012712.php

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Panasonic Lumix GX1 Review: This Is Why Micro Four Thirds Cameras Exist [Cameras]

The Panasonic GF1 helped convince a lot of photographers that a compact shooter could feel delightfully professional. The Lumix DMC-GX1 is Panasonic's most evolved Micro Four Thirds camera yet, and it delivers huge on that promise—but is it enough? More »


Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/vdAeViEklEY/panasonic-lumix-gx1-review

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Watch key testimony on Hasegawa?s Washington Investment Trust bill and an interview with KING 5?s Robert Mak

WIT Task Force member Darel Grothaus presents testimony on HB 2434 to the House Committee on Business and Financial Services on January 26, 2012:

If the video doesn?t play, please click here

King County Assesor Lloyd Hara presents testimony on SB 6310 to the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance on January 25, 2012:

If the video doesn?t play, please click here

Watch an interview with Robert Mak on January 25, 2012:

If the video doesn?t play, please click here

Source: http://www.housedemocrats.wa.gov/bob-hasegawa/watch-key-testimony-on-hasegawas-washington-investment-trust-bill-and-an-interview-with-king-5%E2%80%99s-robert-mak/

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Papua New Guinea premier rejects mutineers' demand (AP)

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea ? Prime Minister Peter O'Neill refused to step down despite a mutiny Thursday by soldiers who seized Papua New Guinea's military headquarters and demanded that he cede power to his ousted predecessor.

Soldiers led by retired Col. Yuara Sasa put the military's top commander under house arrest in a bloodless, pre-dawn takeover that was part of the power struggle in which both O'Neill and former Prime Minister Michael Somare claim to be the rightful leader of the South Pacific nation.

Sasa told reporters in Port Moresby that O'Neill had seven days to comply with a Supreme Court order reinstating Somare "or I will be forced to take actions to uphold the integrity of the Constitution."

O'Neill later declared he was fully in charge and implied Sasa had been arrested.

"This government does not answer to one man calling on us to recall Parliament," O'Neill told reporters, adding that Parliament would resume on Feb. 14 as scheduled. O'Neill appears to have the support of a majority of the country's lawmakers.

He said he remained in control of the nation, including the armed forces, and that Sasa had been "dealt with," but would not elaborate.

Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported that it believed Sasa had been detained.

O'Neill said the military commander, Brig. Gen. Francis Agwi, who was released from house arrest within hours of the mutiny, remained in charge of most of the military. Earlier, the government had called on Sasa's group to surrender and said the mutiny did not have broader support.

Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah told reporters that about 30 soldiers were involved in the mutiny and that 15 of them have been arrested. O'Neill said they had withdrawn from the military headquarters but did not give details.

Australian Associated Press reported up to 80 soldiers were involved.

Namah accused Somare of using "rogue soldiers to pursue his own greed and selfishness" and said Sasa could be charged with treason, which carries the death sentence.

Sasa, who was Papua New Guinea's defense attache to Indonesia before retiring from the military, told reporters he had been legitimately appointed defense chief by Somare.

Somare's spokeswoman and daughter, Betha Somare, said that his ousted Cabinet had confirmed Sasa's appointment several days ago.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard condemned the mutiny, saying in a written statement that the military has no place in Papua New Guinea's politics. Australia is the main provider of foreign aid to its former colony.

"It is critical therefore that this situation be resolved peacefully as soon as possible, with the PNG Defense Force chain of command restored," she added.

Somare was Papua New Guinea's first prime minister when it became independent in 1975, and was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. Papua New Guinea's Parliament replaced him with O'Neill in August, while Somare was getting medical treatment outside the country.

Last month, the country's Supreme Court and Governor-General Michael Ogio backed Somare, who the court ruled was illegally removed. But Ogio changed his mind days later, saying bad legal advice had led him to incorrectly reinstate Somare.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/asia/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120126/ap_on_re_as/as_papua_new_guinea_mutiny

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Talks on compensating uninjured Italy passengers (AP)

ROME ? Officials from Costa Crociere SpA met with consumer activists Thursday in an attempt to work out what could be a blanket compensation deal for uninjured passengers who were aboard the cruise ship that capsized off Italy's coast.

The deal being discussed would apply to 3,206 people from 61 countries who suffered no physical harm when the Costa Concordia hit a reef Jan. 13 after the captain made an unauthorized maneuver that brought the enormous ship too close to shore.

The offer would take into consideration the price of the ticket, any costs incurred in getting home after the disaster, the cost of items lost aboard the ship as well as damages for the ruined vacation and trauma resulting from the accident, said Furio Truzzi of the consumer group Assoutenti.

The offer would not apply to the hundreds of crew aboard the ship, the roughly 100 cases of people who were injured or the families who lost loved ones. Sixteen bodies have been recovered since the ship hit a reef carrying 4,200 people, with another 16 people still missing and feared dead.

"We are working for a collective transaction to come up with a value for damages," Truzzi said. "Each passenger can decide if this proposal is satisfactory. If it is not, they are free to react through a lawyer."

Truzzi said it was premature to discuss exact amounts of compensation. He said it would be an average and that any passenger who deemed his or her losses greater than the offer was free to counter the proposal.

"We will not close any doors," he said.

Costa has said it was in the process of reimbursing tickets and immediate expenses. Truzzi said those reimbursements did not preclude any future legal action on the part of those who were shipwrecked.

He said Assoutenti would work separately on a proposal for those who lost loved ones in the disaster and were also open to working with members of the crew if they came forward.

Truzzi said any damages agreed with Costa would be in addition to insurance policies taken out by passengers before embarking. He said 91 percent of the passengers had such policies.

Divers on Thursday were continuing the search for missing crew and passengers, although no one expected to find any more survivors.

Salvage experts were setting up operations so they could begin pumping tons of fuel off the ship starting Saturday to avert an environmental catastrophe. The stricken ship lies in pristine waters off the Tuscan coast that are prime fishing grounds and part of a protected area for dolphins and whales.

Costa is a unit of Miami-based Carnival Corp., the world's biggest cruise operator.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/europe/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120126/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_italy_cruise_aground

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