Thursday, August 8, 2013

Indian music service Dhingana lands on Windows 8 phones

Indian music streaming service?Dhingana?has launched an app for Windows 8 smartphones, as it seeks to broaden its presence across all key mobile platforms.

The Spotify-like streaming service targeted at Indian and Bollywood music fans?is already available on the Web, mobile Web and as an app for the iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and?Windows tablets.

The Windows Phone Store app will help users discover new music by recommending more albums or playlists based on what the user is currently listening to. It features genre-specific listings, where users can listen to top songs and featured albums within a chosen genre. The app also lets users share songs and playlists with friends via Facebook, Twitter or email.

?We expect that this launch will only add to the growth of our?loyal listenership across the Windows eco-system,? said Swapnil Shinde, the co-founder and COO of?Dhingana.

? Dhingana Windows Phone App

Image Credit: Tauseef Mustafa?via AFP/Getty Images


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Two friends of Boston bombing suspect indicted on federal obstruction of justice charges via Reuters

Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, right, poses with Azamat Tazhayakov, and Dias Kadyrbayev in an undated photo taken in New York.

By Pete Williams and Matthew DeLuca, NBC News

The two friends of Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who were arrested and charged in May now face two additional charges connected to what the FBI says was their attempt to destroy evidence.

Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both students from Kazakhstan, were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury, the next step in bringing them to trial.?

In addition to being accused of conspiracy to obstruct justice, the count on which they were originally arrested, they are now also charged with obstructing justice and aiding and abetting.

The indictment recites the same allegations made in the earlier charges: that they want to Tsarnaev's dorm room and took his laptop computer and his backpack.? The discovered the remnants of fireworks in the backpack, and took all the possessions back to their apartment.?

Prosecutors say that after discussing what to do, the two put the backpack in a garbage bag and placed it in a dumpster. The next morning, prosecutors say, after Tsarnaev had been identified as one of the bombing suspects,?Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov "watched as a garbage truck came to their apartment complex and emptied the contents."

The FBI had earlier disclosed that the backpack was found in the New Bedford landfill.

Thursday's indictment adds a further bit of detail, noting that more than 30 federal agents combed the dump for two days, April 25 and 26.

The indictment pointedly does not mention the name of the other friend of Tsarnaev's arrested in May ? Robel Phillipos.?

The FBI has said he was with the other two when they took the backpack from Tsarnaev's dorm room. Phillipos is scheduled to appear in federal court next week for a preliminary hearing, although his appearance has been postponed twice before, suggesting the possibility that the government is trying to get him to plead. ?

Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov?could each face up to 20 years in prison on the count of obstructing justice, plus up to five more years on the count of conspiracy if they are found guilty, the U.S. Attorney's office said in a release on Thursday. Both men were residing in New Bedford, Mass., on student visas and could face the possibility of deportation, according to the office.

They were originally charged May first in a criminal complaint.

Tsarnaev, 19, pleaded not guilty to a 30-count indictment on July 11. His older brother Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police in the manhunt that followed the bombings.

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured after twin explosions from homemade bombs shook the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15.



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Monday, August 5, 2013

Tattoos may hide skin cancer


Tattoos may make pigmented lesions and skin cancers particularly difficult to detect, according to recent research.

Researchers with Laserklinik Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany, and the University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany, presented a case study of a 29-year-old male patient who developed malignant melanoma on a pre-existing nevus within a tattoo. The patient had been undergoing laser tattoo removal.

The patient had a tattoo that covered both of his arms and his chest for 10 years before undergoing treatment for removal. During the process, a mole on the patient?s shoulder that had been hidden with black ink was revealed, study authors reported. Treatment was halted until the patient underwent a mole removal and biopsy, which revealed melanoma. According to the researchers, 16 other cases of malignant melanoma hidden by tattoos have been reported in medical literature.

?Pigmented lesions in decorative tattoos cause diagnostic difficulties at a clinical and dermoscopic level. In cases of laser removal of tattoos, hidden suspicious nevi may be revealed gradually,? researchers stated.

Investigators recommended that before patients undergo tattoo removal, clinicians should thoroughly examining a patient?s skin. If a tattoo covers a known pigmented lesion, the lesion should not be treated with a laser, the authors concluded.

The study was published online July 31 in JAMA Dermatology.

To get weekly news and analysis for today's skincare specialists, subscribe to Dermatology Times eNews.


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Man arrested for break-in attempt at Kid Rock's home

By Gillian Spear, Writer, NBC News

Police arrested a man who attempted to break into musician Kid Rock?s Detroit-area home.

The 43-year-old man was seen on security cameras Wednesday afternoon, ramming the gate to Kid Rock?s Clarkston property with his white van. He then exited his van and tried, but failed, to break into the property, according to the Oakland County Sheriff?s Office. The man was on crutches.?

On Friday, Kid Rock, born Robert Ritchie,?wrote on his website that he would be offering a $5,000 reward to anyone with information that could lead to the perpetrator's arrest. Authorities, however, did not seem to think the culprit would be hard to find.

?Clearly, the combination of this vehicle and the person on crutches driving it should make it fairly obvious to someone who knows this individual,? said Oakland County Sheriff Michael McCabe in a press release.

The man was arrested at his home in Independence Township, Mich., on Saturday morning -- his 1994 white Ford van parked in the driveway.?

Authorities said the arrest came after recieving two tips but did not say if the individuals who provided these tips received the reward from Kid Rock.

In the post on his website, the musician made it clear that he does not take security lightly and warned, ?I am an avid hunter and marksman and I will not hesitate to shoot anyone who has myself or family in fear for our?lives.?

An arraignment will likely take place Monday. The man is meanwhile being held at the Oakland County Jail.


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Operation 'Dragon Lady' Uncovers Huge Russian Android SMS Fraud Network

LAS VEGAS ? Ten Russian organizations have tricked thousands of victims into downloading fake Android apps that send premium text messages, each costing from $3 to $18, according to a Lookout Security investigation called Operation "Dragon Lady."

The network is comprised of 10 organizations that create the malware ? which makes up 30% of all malware detected by Lookout in 2013 so far ? as well as thousands of affiliates that make up a vast distribution and marketing network. The affiliates use several techniques, including fake Twitter accounts, to reach as many victims as possible ? and they rack up big profits doing so. Some regularly earn more than $10,000 a month.

Lookout revealed the malware operation in a talk at the DefCon hacking conference on Friday, after launching its investigation last December.

In addition to creating malicious apps, the 10 organizations ? dubbed "Malware HQs" by Lookout ? establish websites that offer affiliates an easy-to-configure platform to develop fake apps and download sites, themselves. What's more, all of this is done on the open Internet.

"These are not guys operating in the shadows," Ryan Smith, senior researcher at Lookout, explained to Mashable. "They're operating in a fairly public manner."

To become an affiliate, an individual simply has to fill out an online form, customize the app with pre-set options, and then copy and paste code into their distribution websites. Basically, no technical knowledge is needed.

The distributors then use Twitter to promote links to fake, free versions of apps that normally cost money, popular apps such as Skype and Opera, or simply porn and MP3s. Victims click, download and typically get an app that redirects them to a website while, in the background, actually sends out premium-rate text messages to phone numbers set up by the Malware HQs. The fraudsters then collect the money, and give a slice of the profit to affiliates.

The Malware HQs operate like a real business, Smith said, providing regular updates, customer service and online assistance to the affiliates. They also offer gamification features to motivate them, publishing rankings online and giving out rewards to the best distributors.

The campaign only focuses on Russia and its neighboring countries, as some of the distributing websites block out traffic that comes from outside these areas. Smith said this is likely because it's easier to maintain a localized business, and that "these affiliates like to be paid out in a very timely way" ? something that's easier to achieve in Russia, where phone customers have a short window of time to dispute charges on their bills.

Still, frauds like these can also be reproduced in other countries, and users should be cautious when clicking on links in their smartphone browsers.

"Don't click on any links you don't trust, don't download any applications from sites you don't trust," Smith said, adding that people should also avoid installing apps from third-party sites, and only use Google Play, whenever possible.

As a general rule, being vigilant will help users steer clear of sites promising free apps that normally cost money. "If something seems like it's too good to be true," Smith said, "It probably is too good to be true."

Image: Flickr, sk8geek


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Music Streaming Services In Australia: What's Here, What's Coming ...

What do you mean you still buy music? Donchaknow all the kids are streaming it these days? Here are the best music streaming services currently available in Australia, as well as a look at what?s not going to come here.

Welcome to Gizmodo?s Streaming Week! This week we?re going to show you the best ways to get the entertainment you want onto whatever screen you want, whenever you want. Tune in at 2pm AEDT in each day to find out more.

In no particular order?

Samsung Music Hub

You already know about Google Play and its ability to throw music onto your Android device, but now it has a streaming service that?s live in Australia.

All Access is a service that takes the best parts of other music services and blends it together. You can upload 20,000 songs to a digital locker in the cloud to keep and have and hold forever like iTunes Match, you can stream songs from curated radio stations like on Pandora and you can buy stuff to keep forever just like Google Play, ironically.


Thanks to a partnership with Australian Radio Network, iHeartRadio has officially launched in Australia.

Rather than being an all-you-can-eat, on-demand music streaming service, iHeartRadio is like Pandora: an internet radio service for internet and terrestrial radio stations around the world. It?s free, unlimited and gradually opening up to Australians between now and September.

Sony Music Unlimited

Music Unlimited is Sony?s own on-demand streaming service that it loads onto everything from Xperia phones and tablets right through to the Playstation 3 and PS Vita.

Launched in June 2010, it supports both iOS and Android platforms runs on a monthly subscription model. It?s great if you use a few different Sony devices (or even just the one) and want to sync your tunes with your vendor?s-own platform.

Nokia Music

Nokia Music is one of the freshest streaming services on the scene, offering Lumia users an alternative to services like Spotify. It supports both streaming of music from playlists as well as a streaming radio service based on your preferences.

You?ll only get Nokia Music, funnily enough, if you have a Nokia Lumia handset, and it?ll set you back $4.99 a month for the premium tier.


While not technically a streaming service, iTunes has Match, a service that identifies the music in your library and matches it to what?s already stored in Apple?s cloud. From there, it lets you stream the music you already own across your authorised devices for $34.99 a year paid upfront.


Spotify took the world by storm when it launched, and eventually it blew into Australia as the streaming wars were hotting up and got everyone all excited for new music paradigms or whatever.

Spotify has both an ad-supported (read: free) tier, as well as a premium tier that ditches the ads, ups the audio quality and enables offline synchronisation with your devices. That will set you back $12 per month.


Rdio is the next best thing to Spotify ? depending on who you ask, of course ? which now runs both freemium and premium tiers. You get 12 million tracks for your $12.90 per month, but interestingly, you get three months of premium for free with no questions asked if you just sign up for an account.

That free offer is governed by a mysterious fair-play policy that restricts how much you can actually stream per month, but it?s nice just to test out the service to see if you want to fork over your dollars or not.


Pandora isn?t so much a music streaming service as it is an internet radio service.

Pandora?s point of difference is music curation by the numbers. It analyses what you give your up votes and down votes to before recommending other tracks based on that information.

Pricing at the moment looks to mirror US pricing: $3.99 for a one-month subscription and $36 for a one-year subscription.


Grooveshark is a web-based streaming service that runs in a browser and pumps out visual, rather than audio, ads to support itself. People upload music to Grooveshark at will and the service lets you register, build playlists, stream and start artist radio streaming.

The only issue with it is that it?s currently being accused by music industry heavyweights like Universal and Sony that it?s in violation of copyrights. Get it before it?s gone.


MOG is an international streaming service that Telstra and BigPond decided it needed in Australia to try and remain competitive in the music space.

A 14-day free trial is available of the service and it?s unmetered if you?re a Telstra BigPond customer. A basic subscription costs $6.99 per month and gets you access to music on your computer, but mobile streaming and offline syncing cost extra at $11.99 per month.


Backed by Southern Cross Austereo (of 2Day Network fame), Sony and Univeral, Songl is an attempt to guide revenue back into radio network coffers. You get both an ad-supported tier for free and a premium tier for $12.99 per month with Songl, as well as access to streaming radio from Triple M and 2DayFM networks.

You can also keep 1000 songs in an offline cache on your tablet or smartphone, if you?re into that sort of thing.


Guvera?s most obvious selling point is free (ad-supported) access on mobile devices, which is something of a rarity in the space.


Deezer is an interesting little social media-based streaming service that offers you free, unlimited music streaming for 12-months. After that time you?re restricted to two hours of streaming per month, or you can jump onto the $6.99 tier which gets rid of ads and enables radio services, or you can get onto the Premium+ tier which allows streaming over 3G/4G networks and offline syncing.

12-months free is a pretty sweet deal, though.


Rara?s big selling points are a nice-looking interface and hand-curated playlists. No free option, but it does have some nice apps.

Xbox Music

Xbox Music is a nice service that streams music between your Microsoft gear. So if you have a Surface, Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows 8 laptop, it?s the music streaming service for you, because you can sync your tunes across all of your devices.

Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 8 users will have to pay $11.99 per month for an Xbox Music Pass which gives them access to the service. That includes the millions of songs Windows users will get, as well as the option for unlimited playlists, but on top of that, Xbox 360 users get tens of thousands of music videos, too. You know, for when you want to relive the glory days of Video Hits in your lounge room.


JB Hi-Fi is still one of the most prolific sellers of CDs and vinyl records in Australia, so naturally it?s going to try and cash in on its dominance in the online space, too.

In terms of charges, Now will cost $25 for a three month subscription, $50 for six months or $80 for a full year.

New Myspace

Myspace has been the butt of many jokes for some time now, but the first massive social network has been revived by new owners with guidance from pop guru Justin Timberlake as a hub for artists to upload their music for the streaming joy of members.

It?s still in its early stages but it doesn?t look like Myspace has any subscription tiers when it comes to streaming music, the only catch is that there are no apps, it?s all web-based streaming.

As you can see, Australia has quite a saturated streaming music market, but there are a few services that aren?t available locally that we still pine for.


iTunes Radio

Apple?s own internet radio streaming service was showed off in all its glory at WWDC this year, but it?s still only a US-exclusive service right now. We?ll update you if and when it comes to Australia. is a fun little music service where friends can gather in a digital room and sling records back and forth to create mixes. It was available internationally for a minute after its launch before its owners got copyright attention and threw up the geoblocks. Sorry, Aussie mixers.

What?s your favourite music streaming service? Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments!

Angus Kidman also contributed to this article.

Radio image via Shutterstock


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Eric Pickles will fight Public Commerical Serivces union in the High Court

So when the white-collar Public Commercial Services union threatened the Communities Secretary with legal action, he got himself a top lawyer.

Now Mr Pickles and the PCS union will be slugging it out in the High Court.

The dispute centres on Mr Pickles?s decision to end the automatic collection of union subs from civil service salaries.

The system, known as ?check off?, allows employees who want to sign up to a trade union to have their monthly subscription deducted from their pay packet automatically.

Earlier this year, Mr Pickles issued guidance to councils urging them to end ?check off? or start charging unions for the cost of administration. He is the first Cabinet minister to try to bring an end to the scheme within Whitehall.

The PCS cried foul over what it called a breach of employees contracts and last week gave the Department of Communities and Local Government a deadline to back down.

Instead Mr Pickles has hired formidable QC James Eadie to challenge the PCS.

Experts say Mr Eadie is gifted with a ?phenomenal intellect? and he has often represented the Government on civil liberties and human rights issues in judicial reviews and public law challenges.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ?Eric Pickles?s latest attempt to undermine our union in his department is unnecessary and wholly politically-motivated.?

Let the battle be joined!


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Sunday, August 4, 2013

FDA defining what "gluten free" means on packages

A variety of foods labeled Gluten Free are displayed in Frederick, Md., Friday, Aug. 2, 2013. Consumers are going to know exactly what they are getting when they buy foods labeled "gluten free." The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is at last defining what a "gluten free" label on a food package really means after more than six years of consideration. Until now, manufacturers have been able to use their own discretion as to how much gluten they include. Under an FDA rule announced Friday, products labeled "gluten free" still won't have to be technically free of wheat, rye and barley and their derivatives. But they almost will: "Gluten-free" products will have to contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

A variety of foods labeled Gluten Free are displayed in Frederick, Md., Friday, Aug. 2, 2013. Consumers are going to know exactly what they are getting when they buy foods labeled "gluten free." The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is at last defining what a "gluten free" label on a food package really means after more than six years of consideration. Until now, manufacturers have been able to use their own discretion as to how much gluten they include. Under an FDA rule announced Friday, products labeled "gluten free" still won't have to be technically free of wheat, rye and barley and their derivatives. But they almost will: "Gluten-free" products will have to contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

This undated handout photo provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows a gluten free labeling on a box of pretzel chips. Consumers are going to know exactly what they are getting when they buy foods labeled "gluten free." The FDA is at last defining what a "gluten free" label on a food package really means after more than six years of consideration. Until now, manufacturers have been able to use their own discretion as to how much gluten they include. Under an FDA rule announced Friday, products labeled "gluten free" still won't have to be technically free of wheat, rye and barley and their derivatives. But they almost will: "Gluten-free" products will have to contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. (AP Photo/FDA)

(AP) ? A label that reads "gluten free" will now mean the same thing for all food, regardless of which kind you buy.

After more than a six-year delay, the Food and Drug Administration has set a new standard for labels that will make shopping easier for consumers on gluten-restricted diets. Until now, the term "gluten free" had not been regulated, and manufacturers made their own decisions about what it means.

Under an FDA rule announced Friday, products labeled "gluten free" still won't have to be technically free of wheat, rye and barley and their derivatives. But they will have to contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten.

That amount is generally recognized by the medical community to be low enough so that most people who have celiac disease won't get sick if they eat it.

People who suffer from celiac disease don't absorb nutrients well and can get sick from the gluten found in wheat and other cereal grains. Other countries already have similar standards.

Celiac disease affects up to 3 million Americans. It causes abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea, and people who have it can suffer weight loss, fatigue, rashes and other long-term medical problems. Celiac is a diagnosed illness that is more severe than gluten sensitivity, which some people self-diagnose.

Only a very small number of people wouldn't be able to ingest the amount of gluten that will be allowed under the new rule, FDA officials said.

"Adherence to a gluten-free diet is the key to treating celiac disease, which can be very disruptive to everyday life," FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said. "The FDA's new 'gluten-free' definition will help people with this condition make food choices with confidence and allow them to better manage their health."

The new FDA rule also would ensure that foods with the labels "no gluten," ''free of gluten," and "without gluten" meet the definition. Manufacturers will have a year to comply, though the FDA urged companies to meet the definition sooner.

Ten years ago, most people had never heard of celiac disease. But awareness and diagnosis of the illness has exploded in recent years. It's not entirely clear why ? some researchers say it was under-diagnosed; others say it's because people eat more processed wheat products like pastas and baked goods than in past decades, and those items use types of wheat that have a higher gluten content.

Many companies that market gluten-free foods already meet the standard. But Andrea Levario of the American Celiac Disease Alliance said the federal guidelines will cut down on painstaking shopping for those who suffer from celiac disease.

Levario said that wheat must be labeled on food packages but that barley and rye are often hidden ingredients in food. The standard will also ensure that companies can't label products "gluten-free" even if they are cross-contaminated from other products made in the same manufacturing facility. She said shopping can be like "playing Russian roulette" for people who have celiac.

"This will eliminate confusion for the consumer and will cut down on calls to companies to try and determine whether their products are safe and gluten free," she said.

Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods, said the rule originally proposed during the George W. Bush administration was delayed because the agency was evaluating what standard was correct.

"We wanted to do a careful scientific assessment of the data and the range of sensitivities," Taylor said.

Congress originally directed the FDA to set the standards in 2004 as part of a larger law that required food packaging to list major allergens. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., originally introduced a bill calling for the standards in 1999. She praised the FDA rules and called them "a long time coming."

In the decade since Congress considered the standards, gluten-free foods have become big business. Millions of people are buying the foods because they say they make them feel better, even if they don't have celiac disease. Americans spent more than $4 billion on gluten-free foods last year, according to the American Celiac Disease Alliance, and a major manufacturing survey issued this week suggested that the niche industry is giving an economic boost to the food industry overall.

One of the largest manufacturers of gluten free foods, Boulder Brands, said it has been seeing double-digit growth in sales and is looking at expanding into bigger markets. The company's brands, Glutino and Udi's, already meet the new standards.

"We expect the new regulations to impact sales in a positive way as consumers can feel more confident in their gluten free choices," said T.J. McIntyre, executive vice president of the company.


Follow Mary Clare Jalonick on Twitter at

Associated Press


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U.S. grand jury probing contractor that vetted Snowden - WSJ

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The company that conducted the most recent security review of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is the subject of a federal grand jury investigation into its background check processes, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing people involved with the probe.

Federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating whether USIS, a U.S. government contractor, rushed its cases without doing a proper review, which would be a violation of the False Claims Act, the Journal said.

The grand jury has issued subpoenas to former USIS officials in recent days, the paper reported.

US Investigations Services, LLC said the company does not comment on specific issues related to investigations or litigation.

"With respect to this matter, the company has been cooperating fully with the government throughout its investigation and continues to do so," USIS said in a statement.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the issue, while a spokeswoman for the Justice Department had no immediate response to an inquiry about the grand jury probe.

Snowden, who as a U.S. National Security Agency contractor had undergone a USIS security review in 2011, is facing U.S. espionage charges after disclosing details of secret U.S. surveillance programs.

After leaving the country and spending weeks holed up in the transit area of a Moscow airport, he was granted temporary asylum in Russia this week.

USIS, a Falls Church, Virginia-based company that is the largest private provider of federal government background checks, has been under investigation by the inspector general for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

While that probe predates the Snowden scandal, concerns have been raised about whether the company's background check into Snowden was carried out in an appropriate manner.

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe and David Ingram; Editing by Sandra Maler and Vicki Allen)


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Angelina Jolie visits Japan to talk about rape in war zones

American actress Angelina Jolie has asked an audience in Japan to join her in the fight against sexual violence in war torn areas across the globe.

The 38-year-old made the plea at a special screening of her inaugural project as a director and writer for the film In the Land of Blood and Honey.

An audience was invited to the event, which took place on Monday (July 31st), at the U.N. University of Tokyo.

She said that her hope was that the film would inspire people to think about and possibly act on the issue of rape in war zones.

Ms Jolie said: "Our aim must be to shatter impunity, so that rape can no longer be used as a weapon of war anywhere in the world as it was in Bosnia, and as it is today from Congo to Syria".

The award-winning film star suggested that initially she hoped she would tell the story of survivors of these atrocities, "but today I am here not only as a director, but as a campaigner, and a part of a global effort that is growing every day".

Written by? Susan Ballion ? ADNFCR-1445-ID-801619251-ADNFCR

Related news stories:
Angelina Jolie heads to Japan with famous family (26th July 2010)


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Denzel Washington, Mark Whalberg & Paula Patton Take NY W/ 2 Guns

Denzel, Mark, Paula and more dish on their latest Hollywood hit.

Today (August 2), Denzel Washington and Mark Whalberg will come together in theaters nationwide as the most unexpected cop duo to hit the big screen in the Universal Studios comedic action-packed drama, 2 Guns. Washington, an undercover DEA agent, and Whalberg, an AWOL naval intelligence officer, are giving audiences improv and scripted comedy at its best as they go on the run from the very organizations that employ them after being double crossed at the end of a year-long operation that was unknowingly illegal from the start.

Filmed in New Mexico and Louisiana, the two-time Academy Award winner and two-time Oscar nominee are joined by an all-star cast including Paula Patton (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Jumping the Broom), Bill Paxton (Vertical Limit, Mighty Joe Young), James Marsden (27 Dresses, Death at a Funeral), Edward James Olmos (Selena, Battlestar Galactica), Fred Ward (30 Minutes or Less, Sweet Home Alabama) and more as they attempt to retrieve an unruly $43.125 million without getting their heads shot off (all puns intended).

?We?ve known each other for a while, but I think what surprised me was just how willing Denzel was to just try anything,? said Whalberg said during a New York press conference held this past Sunday (July 28). Washington quickly cut in to add to his co-star?s work impression. ?[When] I heard that Mark was involved [in the movie] I was like, ?Oh okay, I can be safe?I knew Mark was not just funny; he has a warmth and a heart about him that I?ve loved.?

As Denzel, Mark, Paula and other cast members met in the Big Apple to New York this past Sunday to bring the Baltasar-directed film to life, and other media tastemakters gathered to find out what $74 million Hollywood flick had up its sleeve. From hysterical, indecent humor to unpredictable action, find out what Tinseltown?s A-listers had to say about their latest Blockbuster hit.

It?s the first time you two have worked together. What surprised you about each other?

Mark: We?ve known each other for a while, but I think what surprised me was just how willing Denzel was to try anything. We wanted to add some humor and shake it up a bit and combine comedic elements with the dramatic aspect of the movie.

Denzel: I would say the same thing. I?ve been looking to kind of stick my toe in the water. [After] coming off of Flight, I was looking to do something to have more fun so when I read the script and I heard that Mark was involved I was like, ?Oh okay, I can be safe because I knew Mark was not just funny he has a warmth and a heart about him that I?ve loved?I watched Ted the other night too, man! That?s a sick movie. How did you do that fight scene? You got spanked?so I wasn?t ready to get spanked yet, but he helped free me up to just go for it and [not] worry about being too silly.

The chemistry between the two of you is so delicious and wonderful, what did you do to bond?

Denzel: We went to Lamaze class together [laughs]. We?re neighbors?

Mark: We?ve known each other socially?we both have four kids. I was constantly able to ask him for advice and pick his brain about things both personally and professionally. [But] we?re both professional, so even if we didn?t spend time hanging out we would just come and do our job, and we would enjoy our job. We?re both serious about our job, so it would just kind of works or it doesn?t?

Denzel: And Mark?s a good guy?he?s a regular guy like me so I was like, ?Let?s go! Let?s hit it.?

What do you think is harder? Making audiences laugh in a comedic role, or making them emotionally invested in your character in a drama?

Denzel: For me, I have less experience with this, so I won?t say it?s harder, but?that?s why I wanted to go out there with somebody who I know knows that territory better than I do. Some of the stuff that Mark was doing, I was like, ?If he can do that, I can just go for it!?

Mark: Whether you?re gonna make people laugh or make people cry, it?s always the same approach for me.

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Hungry bear gets take out at Colorado restaurant

(AP) ? A hungry bear helped himself to a takeout dinner at a German restaurant in Colorado Springs.

The manager of Edelweiss told The Denver Post ( the bear passed by a recycling bin early Wednesday and followed his nose to a dumpster holding leftovers from the previous night.

Surveillance video shows the bear on his hind legs, flipping open dumpster's lid and nimbly rolling it out of a view into the parking lot to enjoy his feast.

The container was later found knocked over. The bear returned for more early Thursday.

Wildlife officials say if the bear keeps coming back, it will be tagged and relocated to the mountains ? or euthanized if that doesn't work.


Information from: The Denver Post,


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Growth impresses Dutch coach

Marco van Lochem, head of youth sports for Excelsior Rotterdam pro soccer team in Holland, returned to Penticton to work with Pinnacles FC Excelsior players last week. Van Lochem last visited Penticton in November of 2012 with general manager Ferry de Haan to sign? a partnership between the clubs.

Western News sports editor Emanuel Sequeira sat down with van Lochem to talk about the camp held last week for players aged 11 to 18.

PWN- What were your impressions of what you saw during the week?

MVL- It was eight months ago that I was first here, and it?s growing. Maybe eight months ago I saw one or two players that were fairly interesting. Now I see six to 10 players who are fairly interesting for Canadian soccer or everywhere else.

PWN- How did you find they responded to your coaching?

MVL- It was so much better. They understand the exercises. I think it?s important that the coaches are doing their job and that the children love the exercises. They can improve during the games. You see the results today.

PWN- What did you want them to gain most from you working with them?

MVL- They need more speed in the sessions. After the pass, quick thinking. You see that it?s better and better. They are on the right path.

PWN- Sounds like you like the partnership between the clubs?

MVL- I think it?s a very good partnership. Now we must make next steps. Play better games against better opponents. Play more possession. Now the other team must find answers about possession the Pinnacles are playing.

PWN- Have more players come to Holland yet?

MVL- No. There will be two or three coming in October. The plan is next August 2014 there may be 10 to? 20 that come. It?s an experience for life. The culture there is so nice for them. I think it?s an important trip for culture and also for soccer.

PWN- How good are the coaches?

MVL- The coaches must make the next steps now. The coaches must read the game better. That?s a huge step. That?s almost like Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. That?s the most important thing that the coaches are developing themselves.

PWN- Do you see the growth in the coaches?

MVL- I see they are growing. If the opponent now knows the answer about the way the Pinnacles play, then they must make new steps.

PWN- What do you think of the Pinnacles under-21 teams winning the Pacific Coast Soccer League Challege Cup championships?

MVL- I think it?s very important for the name of the club because then they see that nice soccer can also win tournaments. If you are developing kids, winning is not important, developing is important. If you can use both of them, developing with winning tournaments like this, I think you are on a good wagon.

PWN- What did your family think of Penticton?

MVL- I think it?s amazing here. If you see the weather, the people are nice. The beaches are beautiful. The water is so clean. We went on speed boats and go on a tube. It?s unbelievable. For my kids and for my wife, it?s important that the family is together.

PWN- What did your kids enjoy most of Penticton?

MVL-The tube. They love the tube and they love the beaches. They enjoyed the food and sight seeing.

PWN- Did you float the river channel?

MVL- Yes. That was nice.



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Tens of thousands of Spanish shipbuilding jobs at risk

  • Barcelona News.Net - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    The crash investigators of the Spanish train derailment case have said that the driver had ignored three warnings of over-speeding in two minutes before the train plunged off the tracks on the treacherous turn. According to New York Daily, a court statement revealed that the driver was talking on the phone to a colleague when he received the first automatic warning in his cabin for a speed ...

  • Neymar assures great relationship with Messi

    Barcelona News.Net - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Barcelona's new star signing Neymar has said he enjoys a great relationship with fellow striker Leo Messi and insists that he expects the good relation to continue in their time together at the club. One of the big questions that has arisen over Neymar's arrival at the Camp Nou Stadium is how he will get on with Messi, who is without question the 'top dog' at Barcelona, while Neymar is the 'New ...

  • Barcelona Only Fabregas can decide his future

    General Sources - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    New Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino declared transfer targeted Cesc Fabregas must make the final decision on his future. Fabregas has been long been rumoured to be heading back to the Premier League with champions Manchester United continually tempting both Barcelona and the 26-year-old with increasing bids. The Old Trafford club are reported to have made a third bid amounting to 40 ...

  • Barcelona humiliate Neymar?s old club as Fabregas shines

    General Sources - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Barcelona with a fine assist but a goal eluded the Brazil forward as the Liga champions crushed his former club Santos 8-0 in the Joan Gamper invitational trophy. The 21-year-old, who completed a high-profile move to Spain at the end of May, came on at half-time at the Nou Camp and set up Cesc Fabregas to score his second of the night before shaving the crossbar with a fierce effort of his own ...

  • Tens of thousands of Spanish shipbuilding jobs at risk - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Spanish shipbuilders are warning that as many as 87,000 jobs are under threat as the result of a recent European Commission (EC) ruling that nearly EUR3 billion in tax breaks given to the industry were illegal and must be repaid.The EC launched a two-year investigation in 2011 in response to complaints from shipbuilders in the Netherlands and elsewhere in the European Union (EU) of unfair ...

  • Barcelona crush Santos 8-0

    Soccernet - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Lionel Messi was a familiar face among the goalscorers as Barcelona thrashed Santos. In an awesome display of attacking football, Barcelona scored four goals in each half to send their Brazilian visitors home with the heaviest defeat in the tournament?s 48-year history. Leaving new man Neymar ...

  • Martino insists that Cesc Fabregas must decide on his future

    Barcelona Daily News - Saturday 3rd August, 2013

    Barcelona midfielder scored twice in his club's 8-0 thrashing of Brazilian outfit Santos on Friday. Reports from ESPN suggest that the new Barca manager Gerardo Martino has asked Fabregas to remain at the Nou ...

  • Moroccan police break up protest against royal pardon of Spanish paedophile

    General Sources - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    By Aziz El Yaakoubi Rabat (Reuters) - Riot police broke up a protest by hundreds of Moroccan demonstrators late on Friday against a royal pardon for a Spanish paedophile serving a 30-year sentence for raping and filming children as young as 4. In running clashes with the demonstrators, baton-wielding police prevented them from gathering in front of the Moroccan parliament in the centre of ...

  • Campbell wins gold in Barcelona - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Australia boasts both the men's and women's 100m freestyle world champions after Cate Campbell claimed gold in Barcelona on Friday.The 21-year-old touched in 52.34 seconds after turning first, and finished 0.55 seconds ahead of Swede Sarah Sjostrom.Dutchwoman Ranomi Kromowidjojo held off American superstar Missy Franklin to clinch bronze.It is the first time since the 1960 Olympics ...

  • World Briefing | Europe Spain Alarms Warned Trains Driver Before Accident

    International Herald Tribune - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    At least three alarms went off inside the train that crashed last week in northwestern Spain moments before it derailed, prompting the panicked driver to activate the brakes three times even as he talked on the telephone with another employee, an examination of the ...

  • Bara pay homage to legendary keeper Antoni ?Cat of Maracan? Ramallets during Gamper Trophy

    Barcelona Daily News - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    In a wonderful homage to their late legendary goalkeeper Antoni Ramallets, the Barcelona goalkeepers Victor Valdes andJos Manuel Pinto wore his name on their backs (they each played a half) instead of their own in tonight?s Gamper Trophy at ...

  • Pre-Season Friendly Barcelona 8 Santos 0

    soccerway - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Barcelona produced a scintillating performance to thump Santos 8-0 in Gerardo Martino's first game in charge at the Camp Nou on Friday. Neymar - who moved to the La Liga champions from Santos for a reported fee of 50million in May - would have been impressed as he watched from the bench as his new team-mates surged into a 4-0 half-time lead. Barcelona invited the Brazilian side to ...

  • Barcelona 8-0 Santos Blaugrana savage Brazilians in eight-goal rout

    General Sources - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Santos 8-0 at Camp Nou.Strikes from Lionel Messi, a Leo own goal, Alexis Sanchez and Pedro put Barcelona firmly in control at the halfway mark before second half goals from Fabregas (2), Adriano and Jean-Marie Dongou gave the Catalan side the biggest-winning margin in the tournament's history.Gerardo Martino was able to welcome back Barcelona's Confederations Cup stars and he named a ...

  • Soccer-Neymar shines but fails to score on Barcelona home debut

    General Sources - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Cesc Fabregas to score his second of the night before shaving the crossbar with a fierce effort of his own late on. World Player of the Year Lionel Messi ...

  • Barcelona vs. Santos Score Grades and Post-Match Reaction

    General Sources - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Friday's match between Barcelona and Santos will go down as nothing more than a preseason friendly, but there's a good chance it will serve as a gauge for just how strong the current La Liga champions can be this season. The Catalan club scored four goals in each half to record an 8-0 victory and recapture the Joan Gamper Trophy in front of an inspired crowd at Camp ...

  • EU faces double whammy of political turmoil in Italy Spain

    Middle East Times - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Europe's southern eurozone faces the double whammy of political turmoil in Italy and Spain, where both governments are at risk of being toppled by corruption ...

  • Spanish train driver got three signals to slow down officials say

    Fox 23 - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Policemen patrol at the scene of a train crash, which killed nearly 100 people, on July 25, 2013 at Angrois near Santiago de Compostela, Spain. (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez, Getty ...

  • LDS missionary involved in Spain train accident continues to serve

    Deseret News - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Elder Stephen Ward was one of the people injured in the train crash in Spain on July 24. Despite the horrific nature of the accident, Elder Ward is eager to continue ...

  • 711 a.m.Spain Driver Received 3 Signals to Slow Down

    Congoo - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Investigators say the driver of a Spanish train that crashed, killing 79 people, received three warnings to reduce speed in the two minutes before the train hurtled off the tracks. A court statement Friday says the driver was talking on the phone to a colleague when he received the first ...

  • Spains Bankia sells Indra stake to state holding company SEPI

    Reuters - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish nationalised bank BFA-Bankia (BKIA.MC) said on Friday it sold a 20.1 percent stake in technology company Indra (IDR.MC) to state holding company SEPI for 337 million euros ($447.6 million). The sale netted BFA-Bankia, ...

  • Video Ryan Lochtes Love of Racing Helped Him On Day Six in Spain

    Swimming World - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Ryan Lochte's Love of Racing Helped Him On Day Six in Spain,swimming news, swimming results, swimming workouts, swimming technique, swimming training, swimming time converter, swimming world, swimmingworld, swimming world magazine, swimming magazine, swimmingworld tv, swimmingworld radio, swiminfo, swimming dvds, swimming books, swimming videos, usa swimming, high school swimming, masters ...

  • Spaniards Worries About Political Corruption

    Prensa Latina - Friday 2nd August, 2013

    Madrid, Aug 2 (Prensa Latina) Corruption of the political class classified as the second greatest disappointment for the second consecutive month for Spaniards, barely beaten by unemployment, the Center for Sociological Research (CIS) revealed today. According to a poll by the CIS, that scourge remained in July as the second worry, being mentioned by 37.4 percent of those polled, a 5.2-percent ...

  • Source:

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    Pilot and two passengers killed after small plane crashes in South Carolina

    Stephanie Robusto / WMBF

    By Tracy Jarrett, NBC News

    A pilot and two passengers were confirmed dead after a small plane went down in a South Carolina subdivision on Saturday, police said.

    The small private plane crashed near the entrance of the Wood Creek subdivision in Conway, S.C., around 1:20 pm local time, said Kirk Lovell, marketing director at the Horry County Department of Airports.

    The pilot was James Major, 39, of Conway, said Horry County Deputy Coroner Darris Fowler. The passengers were Kenneth Piuma of Myrtle Beach, S.C., who was in his early 40s, and Donald Dale Decker, 16, of Conway, according to Fowler.

    Some?power lines in the area?were taken down by the aircraft, Lt. Selena Small of the Conway Police Department told NBC News, causing some outages. The plane landed in the entrance to the subdivision and did not damage any homes, she said. A fire on the ground has been put out.

    The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the scene, Small said. They are expected to arrive by Saturday evening.

    The plane is a general aviation plane that left from Conway Airport, Lovell confirmed to NBC News.

    There are no reports of any additional injuries or deaths as a result of the crash.


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    Twitter Reacts to Hottest NBA Free Agency Rumors Surrounding Mo Williams

    Most stars have been plucked from NBA free agency, but there is one Mo guy on the market. The Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat and New York Knicks are fighting over former Utah Jazz point guard Mo Williams, who could boost the teams from playoff-bound to Finals contenders.

    Williams is a good shooter, who has put up at least 12.0 points per game for eight consecutive years and has averaged 5.0 assists per game over his career.

    Twitter has been full of pitches from fans hoping to woo Williams, who is expected to make his decision any day now. Each team offers Williams something different, from the starting reins, to the limelight, to being Mr. Offense off the bench.

    Memphis Grizzlies

    Williams would need to accept a bench role, but going to the Grizz could be his best move. Memphis is a serious playoff threat, and Williams just spent three days meeting with Grizzlies? personnel, showing his legitimate interest in the team.

    Mike Conley isn?t moving out of the starting five, so Williams would be the team?s sixth man, a role he thrived in with the Los Angeles Clippers two years ago.

    Adding Williams would allow Jerryd Bayless to compete with Quincy Pondexter as the backup shooting guard, or Pondexter could challenge the recently signed Mike Miller as the reserve 3.

    The Grizzlies could use Williams? 38.6 percent career three-point shooting percentage after taking less threes than any other team in the NBA. When Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol get double-teamed in the paint, the big men can kick the ball out to Williams and Miller on the perimeter.

    Miami Heat

    One of the only holes in the Heat?s roster is at point guard, and Williams was named to the 2009 All-Star team while complementing LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers. The two could reunite if Williams takes his talents to South Beach.

    After LeBron left Cleveland, Williams reacted like a high school cheerleader who just got dumped by the homecoming king. They had only been teammates for two years, but Williams told Yahoo! Sports? Mark J. Spears, ?I really sat down and envisioned life after basketball?I really saw myself not playing.?

    The Heat?s other weakness is at center, and Miami has been pursuing Greg Oden?s cadaver for much of free agency. If Oden joins the Heat, Williams would need to take around the veteran?s minimum to reunite with LeBron.

    New York Knicks

    The Knicks need to bolster their point guard corps, as Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni are unlikely to duplicate last year?s success. Jannero Pargo, Bobby Brown and Beno Udrih are still on the market, but the Knicks want Williams.

    Problem is, the Knicks have already spent most of their money on Amar?e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and (sigh) Andrea Bargnani. As Bleacher Report columnist Mike Chiari wrote, New York would only be able to offer Williams a minimum contract, and he could be looking for ?Mo Money.?

    Who Will Mo Williams Play For Next Season?

      Who Will Mo Williams Play For Next Season?

    • Memphis Grizzlies

    • Miami Heat

    • New York Knicks

    • Other

    With Anthony and Stoudemire in the lineup, Williams would be the third or fourth scoring option, still more responsibility than the Grizzlies or Heat would offer. The Knicks have said they will let Anthony pick his teammates next summer to gear up for a title run, meaning Williams could join the next Heat-like dynasty.

    My guess is that Williams ends up with the current Heat-like dynasty because of his love for LeBron and the chance to immediately contend for a title. The Knicks are too unstable and can?t pay more than Miami, while Memphis doesn?t have the same established track record.

    At 31 years old, Williams is ready to become a role player on championship team rather than a key cog on a fringe playoff squad.


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    A Woman Who Bought Two iPhones Was Scammed with Two Apples Instead

    A Woman Who Bought Two iPhones Was Scammed with Two Apples Instead

    When you're looking to buy an Apple iPhone off a classifieds ad, you expect certain things. Like it having a working touchscreen. Like it maybe be in one piece. Like it actually being an Apple iPhone and not... just an apple. A woman made the dear mistake of buying two apples in an iPhone box when she really wanted two iPhones. Oof.




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    Saturday, August 3, 2013

    "Eco-Goats" to Storm D.C. Cemetery

    From Aug. 7 to 12, The Historic Congressional Cemetery in Washington D.C. is embracing a new type of green technology, one that will clear unwanted plant species while producing fresh fertilizer: ?eco goats.?

    A herd of more than 100 goats will be temporarily grazing along the edges of the cemetery, clearing a 1.6-acre area of invasive plant species such as vines, poison ivy, and other ground cover. The goats are being used in lieu of herbicides that could damage native plant species. This method will protect the large, mature trees in the cemetery?s wooded area.

    Naturally, the goats will also fertilize the ground while they work.

    The Association for the Preservation of the Congressional Cemetery partnered with Eco-Goats, a company that uses goats to restore land overgrown with unwanted weeds. The goats will be grazing 24 hours a day for six days. Although the grazing areas will be penned off, visitors to the cemetery will be able to see the goats?watching a herd of 100-plus bleating goats traipse around the cemetery could be entertaining.

    The event will kick off with a media event Aug. 7, and the goats will be grazing for six days.



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    Why Republicans Can?t Relax

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) is joined by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA) while talking to reporters after the weekly Senate Republican Caucus.

    Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) must worry about defending his seat from the right.

    Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    If the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then House Republicans might look potty. On Friday, the House voted for the 40th time to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Though each week presents new reasons to not like the bill?premiums up 40 percent in Ohio?the votes are as pointless as ever because the legislation isn?t going anywhere. But this isn't as insane as it looks because the goal isn?t repealing the legislation.?The vote is entirely symbolic. The conservative base likes it and we are heading into a non-presidential-election year where the base is important. (Sen. Mike Lee is raising money from his effort to kill the bill.)?

    But while House Republicans can pass bills that do nothing, they could not pass an appropriations bill, which is a basic requirement of being in charge of the place.?House leaders had to pull the vote on an appropriations bill for transportation and housing at the last minute on Wednesday because they could not find the votes. The spending cuts were too deep for almost all Democrats and even some Republicans. Conservatives also voted against it for not cutting enough. Mix that opposition together and the effort went THUD, the appropriate shorthand used to refer to the bill (Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development).?

    When you spend your time doing base maintenance and not basic maintenance, something has gotten out of whack.?But it's all about maintaining your base more than ever in Washington these days, whether it's your ideological base or your fundraising base. The more time you spend raising money and fighting off primary challenges, the less time and inclination a lawmaker has for governing.?Not coincidentally, Congress takes its mid-year break having passed the fewest laws in its history. Congressional approval has been so low for so long the store of metaphors describing how low it has fallen is bankrupt, too.

    The money story is a familiar one. Lawmakers may not be highly productive when it comes to creative solutions or passing bills, but they are productive when it comes to raising money. Politico did an analysis this week which showed that Senate incumbents running for re-election in 2014 are?building up their war chests faster and larger than ever before.?If you are raising that much money, you're not doing your day job. The hunt for money also infects your day job because you are more inclined to do what your money backers want. When you're stooped in a permanent grovel, it's hard to straighten up.?

    It's not just the fundraising requirements that have moved candidates to election mode earlier. If you define yourself or your opponent early, you can make your job easier later. Or, you can scare them out of the race with a robust set of early attacks. That is how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell scared actress/activist Ashley Judd from running. To be ready to pounce, you've got to start your next campaign the day you win your seat.

    Candidates can't relax. Republican Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming had only raised $1 million because he thought he was safe this cycle. Now he faces Liz Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, in a GOP primary. Cheney has a huge group of donors she can tap. (Many of them live in Virginia, where she was a longtime resident before moving to Wyoming to run for Senate.)

    But perhaps the more important takeaway from the Enzi race is that no one is safe on the Republican side.?Sen. Enzi has a conservative voting record, but that's not enough. Conservatives want a pugilist for the cause, and they have picked Cheney. It's just one of the ways that the Senate is beginning to resemble the rough-and-tumble House.?

    The fear of an electoral ejection has moved into the twitch muscles. Everyone must be on the lookout. The old cliche is that an incumbent either runs scared or runs unopposed, but now GOP candidates have to stay in a perpetual state of fear, even if they are unopposed. You might get a challenger any day, and the old barriers to entry don't stop the challenges.

    Politicians have always acted politically, but there were holidays. After elections you could vote your conscience, provided you had one. Or seniority and institutional structure allowed you to attend to long-term problems free from the push-button will of the people.?Being in Senate leadership isn?t enough for Mitch McConnell, for example. He now has a Tea Party challenger. Being the party leader in Washington doesn't mean what it used to when Washington is out of favor. Young bucks in the Senate who could help neutralize the Tea Party threat to McConnell are not stepping in to protect him. Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Ron Johnson all refused to say whether they were backing their leader against his challenger. In the old days they would have backed him to grease their ascent in the Senate. But they can do that on their own. They get their donations from the grassroots or conservative billionaires, so they're not beholden to K Street. They don't need McConnell's entre to the lobbyists club.?

    McConnell probably won?t get turned out of office?he?s a fierce political warrior?but he?s not going to take any risks either. He?s certainly not going to work hard to extend his hand in a fit of bipartisanship; he?s got to keep his base happy.?

    Spread this phenomenon out across all Republicans and it?s not a recipe for getting much done.?Activist groups know this, which means if they can back a more conservative opponent, they can keep lawmakers in line. The illustrative tale is the behavior of Sens. Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch of Utah. Bennett lost his seat, for among other things, working toward compromise with Democrats. Hatch once had that reputation, too, but faced with a possible challenge he moved fast and hard to the right. He is now such a sterling example of how to avoid a primary challenge, other senators use his campaign as a model.?

    Speaker Boehner says he can pass the THUD bill when the House returns in the fall. He could do so by increasing the funding levels to make it more?palatable?to moderate Republicans and maybe some Democrats. That would anger the grassroots focused on reducing the size of government. They are wary that Boehner, who likes to cut spending but also needs to run the place, might capitulate. If the House speaker can't find a solution, this problem will face him on a host of appropriations bills, a debt limit agreement, and immigration?bills we might want to relabel?KERPLUNK, SPLAT, and CRASH.


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    Lawmakers want perjury probe for Corzine

    By Douwe Miedema

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of Republican lawmakers called on Friday for a criminal investigation of Jon Corzine, the head of failed futures broker MF Global, saying he may have committed perjury when speaking before Congress in 2011.

    Corzine, a Democrat who previously served as New Jersey's governor and U.S. senator, headed MF Global when it collapsed in October 2011 in one of the 10 biggest U.S. bankruptcies.

    Customers were left reeling when it was discovered that about $1.6 billion was missing from their accounts. That money turned out to have been used as stop gaps, which is illegal and caused public outrage.

    Corzine maintained during several Congressional hearings that he did not know what happened to the money. But recorded conversations unearthed by MF Global's regulator showed otherwise, the members of the House of Representatives said.

    "There is no way Mr. Corzine could have been "stunned" to learn of hundreds of millions of dollars of missing client funds," they said in the letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, which was dated August 1.

    Corzine used that expression when he appeared before the Senate Agriculture Committee on December 13, 2011, the letter said.

    A civil complaint from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in June containing recorded conversations showed that Corzine knew more than he said, the letter added.

    The 18 signatories of the letter, all Republicans, urged Holder to reopen a criminal probe into Corzine's actions, and to investigate whether he committed perjury by misrepresenting what he knew about the missing money.

    "Mr. Corzine stands by all of his congressional testimony," said a spokesman for Corzine, who is also a former Goldman Sachs co-chief executive.

    Corzine wanted to aggressively build out MF Global into an investment bank, but it collapsed when bets on European government debt went sour and markets lost trust.

    He often struck a defiant tone when testifying before lawmakers about the debacle, blaming back-office dealings and denying knowledge of any instructions to misuse customer funds.

    But the CFTC's complaint claims Corzine was aware of the company's low cash balance and continued to pay large obligations anyway.

    (Reporting by Douwe Miedema. Editing by Andre Grenon)


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