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None of the images spells out the horror of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers than the grainy pictures of those falling bodies frozen in mid-air as they fell to their deaths, tumbling in all manner of positions, after choosing to escape the suffocating smoke and dust, the flames and the steel-bending heat in the highest floors of the World Trade Centre.
In many ways, the falling bodies from WTC are tragically the forgotten victims of September 11, 2001. Even now, nobody knows for certain who they were or exactly how many they numbered. Perhaps worst of all, surprisingly few even want to know.
9/11 Falling Man, the iconic picture of falling bodies at WTC
From the first days after the 9/11 attacks, the American people and the media showed an overwhelming reluctance to dwell on those who jumped or fell from the Twin Towers.
If this was simply down to qualms at being considered intrusive or voyeuristic when individuals in the most appalling circumstances chose in desperation to die very publicly, it would be understandable.
But there are other, more complicated, reasons. In the aftermath of this attack on America’s sovereign territory — a period of intense patriotism — some considered that to choose to die rather than be killed showed a lack of courage.
And in this country of intense religious fervour, many believe that to be a “jumper” was to choose suicide rather than accept the fate of God — and suicide in whatever circumstances is considered shameful or, indeed, a sin that will send you to Hell.
Almost all of the falling people who jumped were alone, although eyewitnesses talked of a couple who held hands as they fell.
One woman, in a final act of modesty, appeared to be holding down her skirt. Other people tried to make parachutes out of curtains or tablecloths, only to have them wrenched from their grip by the force of their descent.
The fall was said to take about 10 seconds
The fall was said to take about 10 seconds, but it would vary according to the body position and how long it took to reach terminal velocity — around 125 mph (about 200 km/h) in most cases, but if someone fell head down with their body straight, as if in a dive, it could be 200 mph (more than 320 km/h).
When the body hit the pavement was not so much broken as obliterated.
A spokeswoman of the New York chief medical examiner office said this week that they did not consider these people “jumpers”. She said people fell from the 1,350 ft tall (more than 400 meters), 110-floor skyscrapers, for jumping would imply suicide.
“Jumping indicates a choice, and these people did not have that choice,” spokeswoman said.
“That is why the deaths were ruled homicide, because the actions of other people caused them to die. The force of explosion and the fire behind them forced them out of the windows.”
For those people who have discovered that their loved ones may have been among the estimated 200 or more who plunged to their deaths, this uncomfortable official reticence can only compound the suffering they have already endured.
For instance, Jack Gentul cannot possibly imagine his late wife’s torment before she died. Alayne Gentul, mother of two and the 44-year-old vice president of an investment company, was in the South Tower and had gone up to the 97th floor to help evacuate staff after the other tower was hit. In her final moments, she rang her husband to say in labouring breaths that smoke was coming into her room through vents.
“She said <<I’m scared>>. She wasn’t a person who got scared, and I said, <<Honey, it’ll be all right, it’ll be all right, you’ll get down>>.”
Alayne Gentul’s remains were found in the street outside the building across from the tower — sufficiently far from the rubble to suggest she had jumped. Her husband, Jack Gentul, who has since remarried, is not convinced she took that option but is clearly irked that some believe jumping was some sort of cop-out.
“She was a very practical person who would have done whatever she could to survive,” Jack Gentul explained.
“But how can anyone know what one would do in a situation like that, having to choose how you go from this Earth?”
Knowing that his former wife jumped is, indeed, consoling to Jack Gentul in some ways, in that she exercised an element of control over her death.
“Jumping is something you can choose to do,” Gentul says.
“To be out of the smoke and the heat, to be out in the air, it must have felt like flying.”
On the morning of 9/11, investment banker Richard Pecarello watched from his office on the other side of the river as the second plane hit. Pecarello’s fiancée Karen Juday was working as an administrator at bond traders Cantor Fitzgerald in the North Tower.
Richard Pecarello tried to phone her but there was no answer, and for days and weeks after he looked at photographs on the internet and wondered if she had jumped. Karen Juday was vain about her face and used anti-wrinkle cream, and he was certain she would have jumped rather than face the flames.
Richard Pecarello, 59, made contact with Associated Press photographer Richard Drew, who had captured images of many of the jumpers, and asked to look through his archives. He discoverd a couple of photographs of a woman in cream trousers and blue top which he is convinced were of his fiancée .
“There was one of her standing in a window with flames behind her and one of her falling from the building,” he said.
“It made me feel she didn’t suffer and that she chose death on her terms rather than letting them burn her up.”
Richard Pecarello has no time for suggestions that she took the easy way out.
“The people who died that day weren’t soldiers. They were everyday people — parents and housewives and brothers and sisters and children,” he said.
When Richard Pecarello tried to show the photos to Karen’s staunchly Protestant family back in Indiana, they didn’t want to know. Family go by the official version, that nobody jumped.
Nobody in US liked talking about the jumpers.
An unofficial estimate put the number of jumpers at around 200
An unofficial estimate put the number of jumpers at around 200, but it is impossible to say for certain because their bodies were indistinguishable from others after the collapse of the WTC Twin Towers. The official reports said that nearly all 2,753 victims in the WTC Twin Towers attack officially died from “blunt impact” injuries.
In 2011, more than 1,000 have yet to be identified from remains. They were vaporised because of the high temperatures; after the planes hit, raging fires pushed the temperatures to 1,800 F ( 1,000 C), sufficient to weaken the skyscrapers’ steel frames.
The steel conducted the heat through the building at a terrifying speed and it reached the upper floors long before the flames did.
There were reports of people having to stand on desks because the floor became so hot.
Fire experts say people rarely throw themselves out of burning high-rises until they have exhausted every other option. Indeed, as survivors desperate for fresh, cool air crowded at the windows smashed open by the force of the planes’ impact, it is possible some of the “jumpers” were actually pushed out in the crush.
The only research that comes close to being an official account is buried deep in an appendix of the huge report into why the towers collapsed, conducted by the National Institute for Standards and Technology(NIST).
NIST analyzed camera footage and still photographs, and counted 104 jumpers, often recording the floor and exact window from which they left.
Almost all people, excepting three, leapt from the first building to be hit — the North Tower. The second plane struck the South Tower 16 minutes later but it collapsed first, giving occupants less time to react.
The first jumper is recorded plunging from the North Tower’s 149th window of the 93rd floor on the north face of the building at 8.51 a.m., just over four minutes after it was hit by the first hijacked Boeing 757 between the 93rd and 99th floors.
Sometimes the fallers were separated by an interval of just a second. At one point nine people fell in six seconds from five adjacent windows; at another, 13 people fell in two minutes. Twenty minutes after the building was struck, two people fell simultaneously from the same window on the 95th floor.
At least four jumpers tried to climb to other windows for safety then lost their grip. One person climbed from the 93rd floor to the 92nd, clinging to the window’s edge before falling just one second after someone else plumetted from the same window — number 215 on the east face of the tower.
The first jumpers came from the crash zone where the plane entered the building — the offices of the insurance brokers Marsh & McLennan.
The last jumper fell just as the North Tower collapsed 102 minutes after the building had been hit. Former AP photographer Richard Drew said he has a picture of this person clinging to some debris while falling.
Kelly Reyher watched from the South Tower’s 78th floor as people started to fall out of “the hole” the aircraft had ripped in the North Tower. To him, they looked “completely confused” rather than consciously deciding to end it all.
“It looked like they were blinded by smoke and couldn’t breathe because their hands were over their faces,” Reyher says.
“They would just walk to the edge where the jagged floor was and just fall out.”
Six floors below Kelly Reyher, James Logozzo watched with stunned colleagues from the Morgan Stanley boardroom. He recalled that it took three or four jumpers to flash past him before he realised they were people. Then a woman fell, lying flat on her back and staring upwards.
“The look on her face was shock. She wasn’t screaming,” he recalled.
“It was slow motion. After she hit the ground, there was nothing left.”
For the people down below, the bodies landed with sickening, almost explosive thuds. Many said it was raining bodies.
One fireman, Danny Suhr, was killed as he made his way to the South Tower after a jumper landed on him, “coming out of the sky like a torpedo” and breaking his neck.
9/11 WTC: 1,000 people were vaporised because of the high temperatures
Firefighter Maureen McArdle-Schulman said she felt like she was intruding on a sacrament as the bodies fell.
“They were choosing to die and I was watching them and shouldn’t have been. So me and another guy turned away and looked at a wall and we could still hear them hit,” she said.
Bill Feehan, the deputy chief of the fire department, screamed at a man filming jumpers with a video camera: “Don’t you have any human decency?”
Fire battalion chief Joseph Pfeifer put out a desperate plea on the North Tower’s public address system. “Please don’t jump. We’re coming up for you,” he said, not realizing that nobody was listening — the system had long since been destroyed.
Images of the falling bodies disturbed and appalled all who saw them. On the first anniversary of the tragedy, an exhibition showing a work called Tumbling Woman, a bronze sculpture by artist Eric Fischl, lasted just a week in New York’s Rockefeller Centre before it was closed following protests and even bomb threats.
One picture has become an iconic image. When a man fell at 9.41 a.m. from near the top of the North Tower, Richard Drew caught a dozen frames of his descent, including one in which he is diving vertically, arms by his sides and left leg bent at the knee. The image, all the more horrific for its desolate stillness, appeared the next day in newspapers around the world.
Dubbed the Falling Man, it prompted the media to hunt for the man’s identity. None of those who jumped from the towers has ever been officially identified and, tellingly, nobody rushed to claim Falling Man as their own.
Dark-skinned, goatee-bearded, wearing an orange T-shirt under a white shirt , he was first thought to be Norberto Hernandez, a pastry chef at the restaurant Windows on the World, on the top floors of the North Tower. His deeply religious family angrily rejected the notion, insisting that for him to have jumped would have amounted to a betrayal.
“He was trying to come home to us and he knew he wasn’t going to make it by jumping out a window,” his daughter Catherine said.
Since then, the hunt for the Falling Man has moved on to another of the restaurant’s staff, Jonathan Briley, a 43-year-old sound engineer. The reaction of his deeply religious family has highlighted the deep moral complexities that suicide — whatever the circumstances — poses in a country where so many believe it is a sin, unforgivable by God.
Some of Jonathan Briley’s family have never believed he jumped, and say they were vindicated after the authorities found his largely intact body.
“I had no idea it would give me the peace years later to know that,” said his sister Gwendolyn.
“If he had fallen from the 110th floor to the ground we wouldn’t have had that.”
When a 9/11 Memorial Museum opens at Ground Zero next year, it will have a small display dedicated to the jumpers, but reflecting the intense feelings of unease the subject has provoked, it will be tucked away in an alcove, on the grounds that the images are considered too private and too distressing.
The former First Lady, Jackie Kennedy talked about her disgust towards Martin Luther King after claimed he tried to arrange a sex party while in Washington for a march.
In the interviews that will be released in series starting with September 13, Jackie Kennedy also talks about how she could barely look at images of the iconic leader after he apparently also made derogatory remarks at JFK’s funeral.
Jacqueline Kennedy’s relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King became strained as a result of wire taps arranged by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.
Those taps allegedly caught Dr. King Jr. trying to arrange a sex party in Washington, although this has been dismissed by some material concocted by Hoover to damage Martin Luther King.
Nonetheless, Jackie Kennedy branded Martin Luther King “tricky” and a “phoney” after hearing of the FBI recordings.
In the first interview that interviews to be broadcast on September 13, the former First Lady said:
“I just can’t see a picture of Martin Luther King without thinking, you know, that man’s terrible.”
Jackie Kennedy branded Luther King "tricky" and a "phoney" after hearing of the FBI recordings
Jackie Kennedy said Martin Luther King had mocked her husband’s funeral and Cardinal Richard Cushing, who celebrated Mass at the funeral.
“He made fun of Cardinal Cushing and said that he was drunk at it,” Mrs. Kennedy said.
“And things about they almost dropped the coffin.”
The Jackie Kennedy secret interviews also reveal that JFK saw U.S. participation in Vietnam as “hopeless” and scorned the idea of Lyndon Johnson succeeding him in office.
In the explosive memoirs from the secret tapes, Jackie Kennedy reveals that JFK was highly skeptical about victory in Vietnam.
The secret recordings will be revealed this month on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s first year in office, also describe how former President Kennedy feared what would happen if rival Lyndon Johnson took office.
Jackie Kennedy secret recordings will be revealed this month on the 50th anniversary of JFK's first year in office
JFK chose Lyndon Johnson, a Texas senator and former political rival, as his running mate in 1960 but later fretted about a LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson) presidency.
Jackie Kennedy’ secret tapes were recorded starting few months after JFk’s assassination in November 1963 by historian and former JFK aide Arthur Schlesinger.
In another interview of Jackie Kennedy with Arthur Schlesinger, she said:
“Jack said it to me sometimes. He said, <<Oh, God, can you ever imagine what would happen to the country if Lyndon were president?>>”
Jacqueline Kennedy also told how JFK and his brother, then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy even discussed ways to prevent Johnson from winning the Democratic nomination in a future contest.
“He didn’t like that idea that Lyndon would go on and be president because he was worried for the country,” she said.
“Bobby told me that he’d had some discussions with him.
“I forget exactly how they were planning or who they had in mind. It wasn’t Bobby, but somebody. Do something to name someone else in ’68.”
Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as the 36th U.S. president on Air Force One just two hours after JFK’s assassination.
LBJ was re-elected in his own right in 1964, but declined to run for presidency in 1968.
Jackie Kennedy also told how JFK and his brother, Robert F. Kennedy even discussed ways to prevent Johnson from winning the Democratic nomination in a future contest
The “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy,” book includes a series of revealing interviews with the former first lady.
Jackie Kennedy said JFK was highly about victory in Vietnam, a central battleground of the Cold War and the conflict that brought down Johnson’s presidency.
She also said that President Kennedy, a Democrat, had named Henry Cabot Lodge, a Republican he had defeated for a Massachusetts Senate seat in 1952, as U.S. ambassador to Vietnam because JFK was so doubtful of military success there.
“I think he probably did it… rather thinking it might be such a brilliant thing to do because Vietnam was rather hopeless anyway, and put a Republican there,” Jackie Kennedy said.
Kennedy increased the U.S. presence in Vietnam throughout his brief administration, adding military advisers to help train the South Vietnamese military.
Lyndon Johnson, while was president, escalated the war in Vietnam by later committing ground troops to the conflict despite initial promises not to. Historians still debate whether Kennedy would have done the same.
The interviews where the former first lady speaks candidly about life in the White House have been sealed in a safe until this year.
Over seven sessions with Schlesinger thought to have been recorded just months after Kennedy’s death, she recalled conversations on topics ranging from her husband’s reading habits to the botched Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba.
According to previous reports, the tapes would contain explosive content and include details of JFK’s affair with a White House intern and even theories that LBJ and a cabal of Texas tycoons were involved in JFK’s assassination.
Originally planned for one hour, the interviews will be aired during a two-hour ABC special on September 13, before being released in book form, “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy” on September 14.
After Jackie Kennedy did the interviews, she steadfastly refused to publicly discuss any details with anyone else about that time in her life.
Jackie Kennedy had ordered that the tapes should not be released until 50 years after her death, with some reports suggesting she feared that her revelations might make her family targets for revenge.
An ABC source said last month that the tapes also revealed that she too had affairs – one with Hollywood star William Holden and another with Fiat founder Gianni Agnelli – as a result of the president’s indiscretions.
Jackie Kennedy died in 1994 from cancer aged 64 and now her daughter, Caroline Kennedy, has agreed to release the recordings early.
There is an urgent need of a federal disaster declaration to help respond to wildfires throughout the state, said David Dewhurst on Friday, after almost a week of major wildfire in Bastrop Texas.
The major wildfire blackened most of Bastrop Texas (AP)
David Dewhurst said the last 10 months since fire season began in November had been the driest in the state since 1895.
“We need help yesterday,” he said.
Rick Perry left Texas on Wedneday to attend a television debate and now he is raising funds in California. David Dewhurst is Texas Lt. Governor and since Perry left he is acting governor. He said there had been no response to the statewide disaster declaration request, although White House said Obama administration had approved seven federal grants. A disaster declaration gives Texas access to heavy equipment, personnel, supplies and other support needed after almost 300 days of wildfires, thus Dewhurst has signed another request. Obama administration has approved a limited disaster declaration for fires in April and May, but Texas has huge problems since January, Dewhurst said.
However, Federal Emergency Management Agency were getting disaster declarations for specific counties, including Bastrop Texas.
Around 1,400 homes have been burnt to the ground in the last week. Important wildfires are in Travis, Grimes, Cass, Montgomery and Waller counties, Texas Forest Service said.
Some residents were allowed to return to their home places to evaluate the damages, but others are getting frustrated because they are still not permitted to go to survey their property. County Judge Ronnie McDonald said main priority was getting people secure.
Bastrop Texas: a gas leak burns in a ruined house (Reuters)
Texas Task Force 1 is searching the area for victims, until now the deaths toll in Bastrop Texas is two.
One of the dead people was identified as Michael Troy Farr, 48, who was found Tuesday at his home on Hudson Drive near Smithville. He was a master electrician in Austin and since 2003.
The wildfires have been very uncommon this year due to drought, hottest summer, Tropical Storm Lee, the massive growth in Texas’ population (doubled since 1970), urbanization, and cultivation of non-native plants which burn more easily.
The Bastrop Texas wildfire was over 30 percent contained Friday.
New audio recordings from 9/11 morning that never-before have been heard are shedding new light on the confusion and desperate quest by aviation and military workers for information as the tragic events unfolded.
The recordings were originally organized for 9/11 Commission investigators, but never released to the general public.
With the occasion of 10-year commemoration of the terror atrocity, the audio tapes provides jarring first-hand accounts of airport workers and the moment they phoned the military about scrambling fighter jets to find planes that were not responding and had disappeared from radars.
Newly released audio files detail aviation officials' desperate scramble for information on the morning of 9/11 as United Airlines Flight 175 headed toward the south tower of WTC. (AP photo)
Colonel Miles Kara, now retired from U.S. Army and former 9/11 Commission investigator, organized the audio files this year in the National Archives and transcribed them with help from law students and Rutgers Law School Dean John J. Farmer Jr., who served as top counsel to the commission.
The audio files were released by The New York Times this morning.
The recordings begin at 8:13a.m., the moment FAA air traffic controllers in Boston realized American Airlines Flight 11, the jet that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, was not responding.
At 8:19, a cabin crew member on the doomed plane, Betty Ong, contacted the airline’s reservations agents in Cary, North Carolina.
“Um, the cockpit’s not answering. Somebody’s stabbed in business class, and we can’t breathe in business and um I think there is Mace that we can’t breathe. I don’t know, I think we’re getting hijacked.”
Immediately after 9:00 a.m. and 16 minutes after Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center, an exchange was recorded between a radio caller and a New York air traffic control manager.
“Can you, can you see a guy at about 4,000 feet, about 5 east of the airport right now, looks like he’s-“
“Yeah, I see him,” the traffic control manager said.
“Do you see that guy, look, is he descending into the building also?” the caller asked.
The traffic control manager said:
“He’s descending really quick too, yeah. Forty-five hundred right now, he just dropped 800 feet in like, like one, one sweep.”
“What kind of airplane is that, can you guys tell?”
“I don’t know, I’ll read it out in a minute,” the manager said.
But it was too late, because that plane was United Airlines Flight 175, which crashed into the south tower at 9:03.
“The whole building just came apart,” the manager said.
The audio files also detail how some FAA officials were still in the dark, as aviation officials scrambled to get the U.S. military involved seconds before the south tower was hit.
“Why, what’s going on?” a man at the FAA headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, asked at 9:01 a.m.
The 9/11 Commission found out on those recordings that military officials were not kept informed of the events, with many not knowing about the last three hijacked flights until after they had crashed.
It was reported that military was not informed that officials had lost contact with American Airlines Flight 77 – which crashed into the Pentagon – until 30 minutes later.
About three minutes before Flight 77’s impact, an FAA official is heard saying:
”They said that it was east of York. And I don’t even know what state that is.”
At 10:32am, the shoot-down order was issued by Vice President Dick Cheney approximately a half hour after United Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
However, two key recordings will remain unreleased.
One is the 30-minute audio clip of the cockpit from United Flight 93.
The other is a classified conference call between high-ranking White House officials like Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The release of the audio files comes as Reuters reported the vast majority of the 9/11 Commission’s investigative records remain sealed at the National Archives in Washington, even though the commission had directed the archives to make most of the material public in 2009.
The National Archives’ failure to release the material presents a hurdle for historians and others seeking to plumb one of the most dramatic events in modern American history.
The 575 cubic feet of records were in large part the basis for the commission’s public report, issued July 22, 2004.
The 9/11 Commission, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, was established by Congress in late 2002 to investigate the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks, the pre-attack effectiveness of intelligence agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the government’s emergency response.
Matt Fulgham, assistant director of the archives’ center for legislative affairs which has oversight of the commission documents, said during an interview this week that more than a third of the material has been reviewed for possible release.
However, many of those documents have been withheld or heavily redacted, and the released material includes documents that already were in the public domain, such as press articles.
9/11 Commission items which are still not public include a 30-page summary of an April 29, 2004 interview by all 10 commissioners with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, conducted in the White House’s Oval Office.
That moment was the only time the two were formally questioned about the events surrounding the attacks.
Several former 9/11 Commission staff members said that because there is no comprehensive effort to unseal the remaining material, portions of the records the commission had hoped would be available by now to scholars and the public instead will remain sealed indefinitely
Two persons died on Tuesday in the massive wildfire that has covered Bastrop Texas since Monday.
Bastrop Texas: The ruins of a house destroyed by wildfire (Reuters)
They were not public safety responders said officials without any further details. The death toll from Labor Day weekend wildfires across Texas raises to four with these two deaths in the Bastrop County Complex. On Monday a 20-year-old mother and her 18-month-old daughter, caught by flames in a mobile home, died in Gregg County (northeast Texas).
This is the most withering wildfire in Texas in over ten years. The Bastrop County Complex fire destroyed almost 600 homes and led to evacuation of 5,000 in Bastrop County alone.
More than ten other fires sweeped on Tuesday, burning six homes in Caldwell County (near Bastrop County), twelve homes in Grimes County (40 miles northwest of Houston). In Cass County a 7,000-acre fire burned in heavy timberland and in one neighborhood in Bastrop flames attacked houses built among oaks, pines and cedar trees.
The wildfire in Leander destroyed over ten homes and caused the evacuations of 500 residents and $1.4 million in damage. The fire is investigating as arson, Police were searching for three teens connected to that.
Officials of Federal Emergency Management Agency came to Bastrop Texas and began to assess the needs of the victims and damages.
Bastrop Texas: burnt vehicle
“It is certainly a remarkable fire in terms of evacuations and the number of homes that have burned,” said Ken Frederick, of National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
Texas Task Force 1, a wide-area search team sent to New York after the September 11, 2001, attacks and to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, was deployed by Governor on Tuesday evening.
“Pretty powerful visuals of individuals who lost everything. The magnitude of these losses are pretty stunning.” Said Rick Perry, Texas Governor.
The available bulldozers and other heavy equipment were kept at the Army’s Fort Hood, around 75 miles from Bastrop, Perry complained. He also asked for federal assistance and in order to help Texas Obama administration approved seven federal grants, said Jay Carney, White House spokesman.
Over 1,000 firefighters (including crews from California and Oregon), five heavy tanker planes, and three aircrafts have struggled to contain the monstrous blaze.
On Tuesday, the winds (moved by Tropical Storm Lee) became weaker and that helped to wildfire containment. There are still flames across Bastrop Texas, and the fire is far from being extinguished.
Over sixty fires have ignited since Sunday afternoon and one of them has reached Bastrop Texas on Monday causing major damages.
Bastrop Texas major wildfire: Flames over a road near Bastrop State Park (Reuters)
The Bastrop County Complex Fire has destroyed more than 25,000 acres of forest (two-thirds of the 6,000-acre Bastrop State Park) and has burnt almost 500 houses.
Tropical Storm Lee generating powerful winds and drought conditions (Texas has endured its worst drought since the 1950s) has made the fire to travel fast, consuming pine and cedar trees.
The Bastrop County is around 30 miles east from Austin and has around 70,000 residents. The speed of fire was very uncommon and led to evacuation of at least 5,000 persons, 400 people were taken to emergency shelters. School and school-related activities were canceled for Tuesday and the Red Cross has opened several shelters to house evacuees.
Perry, the Texas Governor, who was out of the state on Sunday, viewed the fire from the air. “This is as mean looking as I’ve ever seen, particularly because it was so close to the city.” He said.
Rick Perry said he planned to immediately request federal disaster relief for Texas fire victims. Since December, wildfires in Texas have claimed 3.5 million acres, and have destroyed more than 1,000 homes, he said.
He said it was too early to say whether he would attend Wednesday’s GOP debate in California.
Ground and air forces were mobilized to fight the large wildfire of Bastrop Texas.
Over 250 firefighters has working on the Bastrop fire, that stretches for 16 miles. Minimum 40 Texas Forest Service aircraft were involved in the firefighting Monday along with a half-dozen Texas military aircraft. Heavy air tankers, brought in from as far away as South Dakota, have been dumping tons of water on fires all day long, The Texas Forest Service said. The crews contained the main fire north of the Colorado River, but the major Bastrop Texas wildfire was still not contained.
Campfires, burning of debris, Labor Day barbecues were prohibited in all but three of the 254 counties in Texas.
For majority of people Labor Day means a three-day weekend with picnics and barbecues, like a farewell to summer and one last hurrah before the new school year gets underway in earnest.
Labor Day, which is celebrated always on the first Monday in September, was created to honor the contributions of the nation’s working men and women and their achievements.
Labor Day 2011
The U.S. Labor Department describes the holiday: “It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.”
The first Labor Day celebration was in 1882 in New York City, organized by the Central Labor Union.
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), which represents about 12.2 million members, says that first holiday was marked by a march to demand an eight-hour workday and other labor law reforms.
At that time, about 20,000 workers made their way up Broadway carrying signs that read “Labor Creates All Wealth” and “Eight Hours for Work, Eight Hours for Rest, Eight Hours for Recreation.”
During the time other unions followed suit and by 1894, the Labor Day holiday had been adopted by 23 states.
Later on came that year’s deadly Pullman strike, in which government forces shot and killed several striking railroad workers in Illinois. It gave birth to the modern labor movement and added new urgency to the formation of a holiday that honors it.
“In what most historians call an election year attempt to appease workers after the federal crackdown on the Pullman strike, shortly after the strike was broken, President Grover Cleveland signed legislation making the first Monday in September Labor Day and a federal holiday,” according to the AFL-CIO, which also notes that the gambit did not work: “Cleveland lost the election.”
In 2011, the holiday comes on the heels of a bruising union showdown in Wisconsin, in which Governor Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers moved to curb public employees’ collective bargaining rights and have them pay more for benefits. Its political ramifications were felt far beyond that state’s borders, with some seeing the outcome as a sign that public unions can now be challenged to their core.
Labor Day holiday is often used as the unofficial start of the general election campaign, and today is no exception. President Barack Obama and the field of Republicans who want to oust him have plans to address voters on this Labor Day.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF chief has arrived in Paris from New York.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife Anne Sinclair landed at Charles de Gaulle airport at 07:05, Paris time, on board an Air France flight.
DSK has been in New York since his arrest in May on sex assault charges, which were dropped at the end of August.
DSK, 62, once seen as a possible French presidential contender, denied the allegations.
DSK, who resigned from IFM position in the days after his arrest, had his passport returned last month.
Hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in his hotel room, is pressing her claims in a civil lawsuit.
DSK and his wife, Anne Sinclair, arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport. (Reuters)
DSK and his wife, Anne Sinclair, smiled and waved as they arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport, but made no comment to waiting journalists and passed rapidly through the terminal to a waiting car.
Couple had boarded the same scheduled Saturday night Air France flight for Paris that he was about to take when he was arrested on 14 May.
The charges against DSK were dropped on August 23 at the request of prosecutors who had concerns about Nafissatou Diallo’s credibility.
Having DNA evidence indicating a sexual encounter did occur between the two in a suite at the Sofitel Hotel in May, DSK’s lawyers maintain it was consensual and prosecutors were unable to determine whether force had been used.
According to BBC, friends of Dominique Strauss-Kahn said he does, at some point, intend to explain to the French people what happened.
DSK had been considered the Socialist Party’s front-runner to take on French President Nicolas Sarkozy in presidential elections next year.
At this moment, although DSK is legally innocent, he has been hugely damaged in the eyes of the French voters and, in the same time, it is not clear if the other candidates for the Socialist nomination for next year’s presidential election even want his endorsement.
DSK also faces another sexual assault allegation in France, after journalist Tristane Banon accused him of trying to rape her during an interview in 2003.
Tristane Banon made the allegation after DSK was arrested in the Diallo case, saying that she feared no-one would have believed her beforehand.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s reputation has been further damaged by stories about his womanising and vast wealth.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn allegations:
• 2006: Publication of Sexus Politicus, book by Christophe Deloire and Christophe Dubois, with chapter on DSK and his tendency of “seduction to the point of obsession”
• 2008: Dominique Strauss-Kahn admits an affair with IMF colleague, calling it an “error of judgement”
• 2011: Dominique Strauss-Kahn arrested on 14 May in New York, accused of sexually assaulting Sofitel hotel maid, Nafissatou Diallo,
• 16 May: Writer Tristane Banon comes forward to say Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to assault her in an interview nearly a decade before
• 1 July: Dominique Strauss-Kahn freed from New York house arrest
• 23 August: A New York judge dismissed the Diallo case
ARena is the app to install for Droid Bionic scavenger hunt
Verizon launched an app for an “augmented reality” scavenger hunt (from September 4 until September 7). The participants could win “the smartphone that controls them all”, the Droid Bionic.
The contestants will have to look around the city for photos of HDTVs, laptops, tablets, and quadcopters. The prizes include 16 Droid Bionic handsets, four 40-inch LED HDTVs, four Motorola XOOM tablets, four laptops, and four video-streaming Quadcopters. Each player has 30 minutes per game to track down a prize and can play up to 48 times a day.
“Each day for four days, four lucky hunters will win Bionic and one of the machines—there are up to 192 chances to win each prize. Good luck and safe hunting.” (the app description).
ARena is the augmented reality app required to follow the clues and it can be found on the Android Market.
Motorola Droid Bionic to launch on September 8
After a waiting of nine months for specifics about the Motorola Droid Bionic, Verizon’s first dual-core smartphone on its high-speed 4G LTE network, Droid Bionic seems to be released on September 8.
The smartphone first showed up with a Tegra 2 dual-core processor. Later, it was said that Droid Bionic would be fitted with a TI OMAP 1.2 GHz processor. The Droid Bionic will have 1GB RAM and 16GB internal memory configuration. It is presumed to have an 8MP camera with dual-LED flash that will feature 1080p video capture capability. Droid Bionic was first showcased with 5.5-ounce weight and 0.52-inch thickness. It comes pre-installed with Android Gingerbread.
Droid Bionic has webtop capabilities (a full suite of Google Apps) and a separately sold lapdock that connects the mobile display to keyboard and mouse.
On the MAP (minimum advertised price) list of upcoming Verizon phones and tablets the Droid Bionic shows with a $299.99 price tag. Droid Bionic is listed as having an average retail value (ARV) of $589.99. Everyone who wants to avoid signing a two-year contract for the Bionic can likely expect to spend $590.
The MAP list includes other devices like the HTC Rhyme (supposed to be a Beat By Dr Dre integrated phone) and a $499 Motorola XOOM LTE tablet that is set to release on the same day as the Motorola Droid Bionic. The XOOM LTE tablet is cheaper than when it was first released and comes preloaded with LTE support.
If you want to enter Droid Bionic scavenger hunt, you should read the instructions on droiddoes.com and download ARena from market.android.com.
Sony presented yesterday the world’s first folding tablet computer at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, which it hopes will challenge Apple’s iPad.
Sony Tablet P, the first folding tablet computer
Sony Tablet P has two 5.5 inches touchscreens, 16 GB memory, wi-fi, 3G. The tablet can be folded in half, making it more portable than the iPad and other similar devices.
Sony says it will easily fit inside a handbag or jacket pocket. The new tablet is cheaper than an iPad 2 with the same wi-fi and 3G internet access.
The two sides of the tablet can be combined and used as one large screen – albeit with a potentially irritating hinge running through the middle.
Both Sony Tablet P sides can also operate independently, with one running a game and one running emails, for example.
Sony Tablet P has two 5.5 inch touchscreens.
Sony Tablet P can download music and videos and has cameras on the front and back, allowing for video calls.
Sony Tablet P was presented at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, where a host of manufacturers were revealing new or upgraded tablets.
Sony Tablet P specs:
Android 3.2 Honeycomb
Two 5.5-inch screens
Two 1024 x 480 pixel displays
NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor
WiFi and 3G compatible
Sony also presented at the Berlin show a more conventional tablet – Sony Tablet S.
Sony Tablet S has a 9.4 inches touchscreen, and it comes with infrared technology, which means it can be used as a remote control for a TV or Blu-ray disc player. At the touch of a button, video and photos can be transferred – or ‘thrown’ – from the tablets to compatible TV sets, such as Sony’s Bravia range.
Sony Tablet S, a more conventional tablet computer
Sony Tablet S specs:
Android 3.1 Honeycomb
1280 x 800 resolution
NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor
Front and rear cameras
WiFi and 3G compatible
Work as remote control on Sony products
The Mobile Gazette website praised the “innovative design” of the products and said:
“These two Sony tablets could finally provide some serious competition to the Apple iPad 2.”
A teacher from Missouri has sued the state over so called Facebook law, a new law that prevents contacts between teachers and their students over the Internet.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mare”] Christina Thomas, Missouri teacher argued that the new law will make it illegal for her to chat with her own child over Facebook.
The law, which has been nicknamed the Facebook law, prohibits teachers from having exclusive communications with students over non-work Internet sites.
According to the Facebook law, the term “student” is defined as every person under 18 who attend or used to attend the school where the teacher works.
Facebook law prevents contacts between teachers and their students over the Internet
Christina Thomas alleges in her suit that the Ladue, Missouri, school district where she works has told teachers that they cannot have “exclusive communications” with their own children on Facebook if their children meet the Facebook law’s definition of former or current student.
Christina Thomas claims the new Facebook law is violating her rights under the 1st and 14th amendments.
However, there are teachers that do not agree the Facebook law goes too far.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mic”] Charol Shakeshaft, a professor of educational leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University, told the Huffington Post that Facebook law is an useful tool to stop sexual abuse in schools. Shakeshaft found that about 10 % of public school students in 2000 reported that they experienced unwanted sexual harassment or abuse from an educator.
“Exclusive and private contact with your students isn’t educationally necessary,” she told the site.
“In the same way that in a school we would say, <<No, you may not lock yourself into a room with a student>> this law effectively says, <<No you may not lock yourself into a website where only you can get to the student>>.”
Christina Thomas is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, organization that argued that there are better ways to prevent teacher misconduct than infringing on free speech by blocking contact on social media sites.
Banning Facebook conversations or other restrictions on students’ ability to communicate with their teachers and the extent to which school officials can dictate students’ behavior online has been a controversial subject, even in the courts. [googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]
In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that administrators could punish a student who raised a “Bong hits 4 Jesus” banner across the street from his school, saying the banner created a “substantial disruption” within the school.
The 7th Circuit sided with two high school students who were punished for posting racy photos of themselves online.
Last June, the 3rd Circuit ruled that two students should not have been suspended for creating MySpace profiles while at home that mocked school administrators.
“It would be an unseemly and dangerous precedent to allow the state, in the guise of school authorities, to reach into a child’s home and control his/her actions there to the same extent that it can control that child when he/she participates in school-sponsored activities,” the judges wrote.
However, the 2nd Circuit ruled in April that a school district was within its rights to prevent a student from running for class secretary after she wrote on her personal blog while at home that “jamfest is cancelled due to douchebags in central office.”
The 4th Circuit ruled in July that a West Virginia school district could suspend a student for creating a MySpace group that accused a fellow student of having herpes.
French politician and former IMF chief, DSK (Dominique Strauss-Kahn) walked free from New York court yesterday, after charges against him for alleged sexual assault on a hotel maid have been dropped.
Yesterday, Cyrus Vance Jr., Manhattan’s district attorney told justice in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan that prosecutors could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt because of serious credibility issues with Nafissatou Diallo, the Sofitel hotel’s housekeeper who had accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), of sexually assaulting her.
DSK walked free from New York court yesterday, after charges against him for alleged sexual assault on a hotel maid have been dropped
[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” ]Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, the assistant district attorney, called Nafissatou Diallo’s testimony “surreal” and said the accuser lied to prosecutors on several occasions, even denying she had made declarations previously witnessed by several law officials.
Judge Michael Obus told the court he would comply with a request from the prosecution to throw out the case:
“The indictment is dismissed.”
Hotel maid’s lawyers appealed against the judge’s decision not to appoint a special prosecutor. That appeal was quickly dismissed.
After the judge decision, DSK‘s lawyers attacked the fact that the case had gone so far.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mediu” aliniat=”dreapta”]
Benjamin Brafman said: “This was not a forcible encounter … This case was treated as a crime when it was not.”
Lawyer Benjamin Brafman also spoke of the toll the process had taken on the accused. He called it a “horrific nightmare” and said Strauss-Kahn and his family had handled the ordeal with “class”.
Another DSK’s lawyer, William Taylor, attacked Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s treatment by the US justice system and the media.
“What a tragedy in the life of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. This is not about wealth, nor power, nor race … There was a collective rush to judgment by not only law enforcement but also by the media,” said William Taylor.
Outside court large groups of protesters were gathered, most of them being against DSK, waving placards and chanting slogans such as “DSK! Shame on you!”
At the moment DSK left the building, one woman screamed at him: “You dirty bastard! You dirty bastard!”
Ken Thompson, Diallo’s lawyer told press outside court:
“No man, no matter how much power, money and influence he has, has a right to sexually assault a woman,” Thompson said. “We are disappointed that District Attorney Vance apparently does not believe in equal justice under the law and has denied an innocent woman a day in court.”
Michael Greys, co-founder of the group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement, was furious at the dismissal.
“American justice is not blind. Race and class still play a part. This was a case of a millionaire against a poor black woman with no education.”
DSK, 62 year-old former IMF chief, was arrested last May in New York, after Nafissatou Diallo, 32 year-old hotel maid, said he had forced her to perform oral sex when she arrived to clean his suite at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan. DSK was arrested on a plane scheduled to fly to Paris.
DSK has never contested that a sexual encounter took place but has denied claims it was forced.
The French Socialist Party was freed to return to France, where the authorities are investigating another case, claiming that DSK tried to rape a French journalist, Tristane Banon, in 2003. DSK’s lawyers have dismissed French journalist accusations as “fantasy”.
Tristan Banon’s lawyer, David Koubbi, who travelled to New York to meet prosecutor Cyrus Vance and Nafissatou Diallo, said he was dismayed by the decision to drop the sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
“I regret this outcome. I regret it for Nafissatou Diallo because I believed what she said,” he said. “I spoke to Tristane on Monday evening by telephone then during the night, then this morning [Tuesday].
“She is in a fighting mood. She isn’t ready to let this drop. But she feels sorry for what has happened to Nafissatou Diallo because she also believed her.”
David Koubbi added: “The credibility of my client is not, and has never been, called into question because of this.”
[googlead tip=”lista_mare”] At the beginning of DSK’s trial in Manhattan, office of district attorney initially called hotel maid’s statement “compelling”, claiming that she had provided “very powerful details”.
Diallo’s story was buttressed by forensic evidence: DSK semen was found on her uniform and her lawyer said doctors had taken photographs of her bruised vagina.
Things were changing when prosecutors found out that Diallo had lied to them and other US officials about her past, including giving a false account of having been gang-raped in her native country, Guinea. Diallo told interviewers she had used the false story to get herself and her daughter a chance of a better life in the US.
There were also other lies that appeared after the alleged attack. Diallo told a grand jury she had stayed in the hallway outside DSK’s room after the attack when evidence showed she had actually returned to his room, and to another one, before consulting her boss.
It then emerged she had discussed DSK’s wealth in a recorded phone conversation after the supposed attack.
Diallo’s lawyers said prosecutors were misinterpreting the conversation, conducted in Fulani, her native language, and that her account of the assault during the call had not differed.
A court document filed on Monday by prosecutors contained a devastating and detailed account of how Diallo had misled investigators.
“In virtually every substantive interview with prosecutors, despite entreaties to simply be truthful, she has not been truthful on matters great and small,” the document said, adding that the cumulative effect of Diallo’s misleading statements would prove “devastating” at any jury trial on the case.
“If we do not believe her beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot ask a jury to do so.”
Diallo also sued DSK in civil court on August 8, a move that the Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers claimed the suit proved she was out for money.
The civil case is continuing, is unaffected legally by the dropping of criminal charges, and has a lesser burden of proof. Diallo’s lawyers will have to prove merely that it was “more likely than not” that DSK committed an assault.
A private gone AWOL of Muslim American descent was detained near Fort Hood.
He informed police investigators that he wanted to damage fellow members of the military from the military services base, law enforcement boss in Killeen, Texas, claimed Thursday.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”]
Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo is expected to face federal government criminal charges soon after his police arrest, Chief Dennis Baldwin claimed. Baldwin mentioned that he knew of no additional threats for the location and also that Abdo had not any accomplices, “as far as I know.” The Chief officer made no other comments about the AWOL status of the detained soldier.
Fbi representatives detected a bevy of potential bomb-making elements inside Abdo’s room, FBI spokesman Erik Vasys mentioned. Abdo, twenty-one, turned down deployment to Afghanistan and later had gone absent out of Fort Campbell in Kentucky following being accused of possessing child porn material, Vasys mentioned.
After a tip-off from a neighborhood weapon shop, Killeen police force detained Abdo at a traffic stop Wednesday, Vasys stated.
Two years ago, during 2009, that very same Texas army base had been the target of the firing spree that mortally wounded 13 individuals. Nidal Hasan had been charged with those killings. He’s yet another Muslim American soldier.
Gun store alerts police force to AWOL soldier
“Thanks to quick action by a Texas firearm dealer in alerting local police force to a suspicious character, and a prompt and vigorous response by the Killeen Law enforcement officials Department, we may well have averted a repeat of the tragic 2009 radical Islamic terror attack on our nation’s largest military installation,” stated Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, the House Army Caucus chairman.
Carter mentioned: “We now have an example of what works to prevent these type attacks, and as the coming days reveal more details about this attempt, we can determine better ways to thwart similar efforts in the future”
Carter’s office mentioned Killeen firearm supplier Guns Galore, the same store utilized by Hasan to acquire guns allegedly utilised in his assault, tipped off law enforcement officials with regards to a “suspicious male” whom obtained gunpowder, shotgun ammo, as well as a newspaper for a semiautomatic pistol. Greg Ebert, a retired police force officer who works at Guns Galore, mentioned a young man showed up in the store Tuesday afternoon and browsed for about 20 minutes. He selected six one-pound canisters of smokeless gunpowder, Ebert explained.
Then, Ebert reported, the man asked the store owner questions about the nature of smokeless powder.
“That is a red flag for me,” Ebert mentioned. “He should know. Why is he buying that much?”
Ebert reported the man also picked up one magazine and shotgun shells, and then left in a cab. After discussing the matter at length with the owner, Ebert called police force.
The soldier also purchased uniforms with Fort Hood unit patches from the neighborhood military surplus store, Carter’s office stated, citing police.
After Abdo’s arrest, police searched his hotel room and backpack and found six pounds of smokeless powder, Christmas lights and battery-operated clocks – which were apparently intended to create a timing and triggering device – sugar, shrapnel, a pressure cooker, and shotgun shells that were being dismantled for raw explosives.
The materials were sufficient to create a couple of bombs, a Department of Defense official reported to BelleNews. The awol soldier did not comment.
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”centrat”]
Inside of the soldier’s rucksack, law enforcement officials also uncovered “Islamic extremist booklets,” a .40-calliber gun along with a grocery list of elements to get a bomb, a law enforcement officials official reported.
The investigation is still on-going in this case. It’s extremely likely that Abdo acted on his own and there is no evidence up to this point that links him to any terrorist groups, law enforcement officers declared.
“Islam is a much more peaceful and tolerant religion than it is an aggressive religion,” he explained. “I don’t believe that Islam allows me to operate in any kind of warfare at all, including the U.S. military and any war it partakes in. I believe that our first duty as a Muslim is to serve God.”
Hasan, the prime suspect in the 2009 Fort Hood killings, could face the death penalty. His trial is set to begin March 5, 2012.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”dreapta”]
Witnesses at a preliminary hearing identified Hasan as the man who walked calmly through a medical building on the country’s largest military base, shooting and sometimes reloading his handgun as he shouted “Allahu akbar,” which means “God is great” in Arabic.
A statement on the Fort Hood website acknowledged Abdo’s arrest but said it had no connection to the base.
It reported Abdo had been assigned to Company E of the 101st Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team.
“Since he is in the custody of civilian authorities, jurisdiction over any potential new charges is yet to be determined. If returned to military control, he may face additional charges including AWOL,” the statement reported.
Fort Hood spokesman Chris Haug said base officials have no indication that Abdo ever tried to obtain onto Fort Hood between the time he went AWOL and the time of his arrest.
A June 15th hearing recommended that Abdo be court-martialed. He went AWOL after that.
In an interview this past year, Abdo explained felt compelled to remain true to his faith.
“We have two things that I believe make us American, and that’s freedom of religion and freedom of choice,” he explained.
When he first signed up for the military, Abdo did not think his religion would be an issue. “I was under the impression that I could serve both the U.S. Army and my God simultaneously,” he mentioned.
But as his deployment neared, he began to rethink things and eventually worked up the courage to approach his unit and tell them how he felt. AWOL soldier is currently in custody, awaiting a trial.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”stanga”]Are you among those who don’t invest in the stock market? Do you think stock market crashes doesn’t concern you?
But… the truth is… they do!
It’s not only those who actively trade who lose money. The average person loses money and opportunities as well. To show how, 24/7 Wall St. put together a list of eight ways market collapses affect people’s lives:
Stock market collapse affects average people's lives.
Stock market collapses hurt employee benefits in several ways. Initially, when the market is soft, companies tend to pull back on retirement benefits, eliminating pensions and matching 401(k)s. Motivated by the same concern, they also reduce other types of benefits, like health care and dental plans. The 2008 Employee Benefits study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce showed that “employers began scaling back on employee benefits as the economy slowed down in 2007, even before last fall’s economic tailspin partly unleashed by the constriction of the credit markets,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “The average dollar amount of employee benefits fell 14% to $18,496 in 2007 from $21,527 the year before.”
2. Retirement deferred
Nothing kills retirement like a cratering 401(k) — when the value of savings meant to fund life after people stop working plummets. The difference between a $1 million portfolio and a $500,000 portfolio can be the difference between retiring at 65 or working until 70 — as large numbers of people found out when the market collapsed in 2009. According to USA Today, a 2009 AARP study found that “35% of those ages 45 to 54 have stopped putting money into their 401(k), IRA or other retirement accounts, 25% said they have prematurely withdrawn funds from their retirement accounts.”
3. Home sale
Are the stock markets and home markets tied to one another? Absolutely. Over 20% of home loans in the U.S. are underwater. To sell those homes, owners have to come up with the difference between what they can sell the house for and what they owe the bank. That difference can certainly be well into the tens of thousands of dollars. If the money needed to bridge that difference is tied to the stock market, owners will have a hard time selling.
4. Home purchase
It has become difficult to get a mortgage even though rates are at historic lows. Banks are leery of lending when house prices continue their free fall. A down market makes the banks even more cautious: they tend to tighten lending standards, require higher credit scores, shrink credit limits, raise minimum payments and make it generally more difficult to qualify for a loan. On top of it, any assets potential home owners set aside for down payments are often partially in equities.
5. Education deferred
College funds, kept by many parents for their children’s higher education, are generally comprised in part of equities. A correction in the stock market drags the value of these funds down, and as a result makes paying for tuition harder. During the middle of the last recession, enrollment in low-cost colleges, and public community colleges increased an average 16 percent in 2009, according the U.S. News & World Report. “One reason: ‘reverse transfers.’ Students at expensive four-year universities are switching to lower-cost two-year schools to get their basics completed inexpensively.”
Businesses feel the ripple effects of a market collapse fairly fast. Some hold the money on their balance sheets in cash, but that is often mixed in with equities. A rapid and sharp drop in the markets can erode a company’s assets. This, in turn, makes it more cautious about expenditures, which includes payroll. The other reason companies review employment levels when the markets sell off is that the drop is likely to be the precursor of an economic slowdown. If a company sees a recession in its business coming it may lay off workers preemptively.
[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]
7. Car purchase
One thing that car companies found out three years ago is that consumer confidence is harder to come by when the market corrects by 30% or 40%. The psychological effect is only part of it. People with a part of their net worth in the stock market usually curtail their spending on anything more than the essentials until they see a rebound in value. And, after a huge correction, a rebound can take years. Added to that, much like a home loan, getting financing becomes much more challenging. J.D. Power & Associates lowered its estimate for U.S. auto sales in 2011 by 300,000 light vehicles to 12.6 million.
8. Small business start-up
Small business start-ups are not funded by venture capital money. People use their own savings or borrow from friends and family the seed capital needed to start a new company. A market sell-off hurts start-ups in two ways. First, it shrinks the nest eggs people might use to begin a new enterprise. Second, it makes it hard for the start-up to flourish as business and consumer confidence are low. The Wall Street Journal reports that according to the Census Bureau, the number of new companies that were started in the 12 months ended March 2009 was down 17.3% from a prior year — the fewest since 1977, when the Census Bureau began keeping records.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”]A website forum, which is frequently utilized to spread Al-Qaeda’s dispatches, has posted a death threat against David Letterman.
The jihadist website post, which was issued by frequent commenter on the forum, has threatened David Letterman, urging Muslim followers to “cut the tongue” of the Late Show host because of a joke the comic made on his CBS show.
According to the SITE Intelligence Group, a private company for sites monitoring service, that tracks extremists websites online activity, the threat was posted Tuesday on the Shumuka al-Islam forum, a popular Internet destination for radical Muslims.
David Letterman was death threatened on a Jihadist website
The poster, who identified himself as Umar al-Basrawi, was reacting to what he said David Letterman did after the US military announced on June 5 that a drone strike in Pakistan had killed al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri.[googlead tip=”lista_mica” aliniat=”dreapta”]
Umar al-Basrawi wrote:
“Is there not amongst you a Sayyid Nosair al-Masri (may Allah release him) to cut the tongue of this lowly Jew and shut it forever. Just as Sayyid (may Allah release him) did with the Jew Kahane.”
[googlead tip=”vertical_mic”]Al-Basrawi also wrote that David Letterman had made reference to both Osama bin Laden and Kashmiri and said that Letterman had demonstrated on his neck how Kashmiri died.
Sayyid Nosair al-Masri was tried for the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990.
According to Adam Raisman, SITE analyst, the Shumukh-al-Islam forum is a site where messages from Al Qaeda frequently first appear online in the United States.
“It’s a clearing house for Al-Qaeda material. It gets the most Al-Qaeda supporters,” he said.
Adam Raisman ranked the threat as more worrisome than the “warning” posted against South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone last year.
“This was a more explicit threat,” he said.
“It was direct and to the point.”
David Letterman, who is not Jewish, apparently made jokes on the accused terrorist leader Ilyas Kashmiri death, who was killed by an US airstrike in Pakistan on June 5. The forum contributor said Letterman put a hand to his neck and demonstrated the “way of slaughter.”
“He showed his evil nature and deep hatred for Islam and Muslims, and said that Ilyas Kashmiri was killed and he joined bin Laden,” he wrote.
“We ask Allah to paralyze his tongue and grant the sincere monotheists his neck.”
The news was first reported by Stars and Stripes.
SITE group is now trying to find out more information about the commenter, who has more than 1,200 messages on the forum. Adam Raisman also advised David Letterman to take “as much precaution as he would with an obsessed fan.”
Former Egyptian leader, Hosni Mubarak’s trial has been adjourned until next month, but judge says proceedings will no longer be televised.
Ahmed Rifaat, the Mubarak’s trial judge said the court would reconvene on September 5 to hear evidence, ruling that the trial, which was being broadcast live by many channels and on big screens outside the court, should not be televised until sentencing.
Ahmed Rifaat, the Mubarak’s trial judge said the broadcast ban is in protection of the general interest.
Judge Rifaat also ordered that Mubarak‘s trial should be merged with proceedings against his former interior minister, Habib el-Adly, whose trial had already been adjourned until September 5.
Hosni Mubarak, 83, who has mostly been confined to hospital since he was toppled by mass protests in February, was wheeled into the Cairo court on a stretcher as the trial resumed on Monday morning.
Mubarak appeared into the courtroom in a caged defendants’ box, dressed in a navy blue sports sweater, wearing an intravenous needle implanted in his left hand.
His sons, Gamal and Alaa, who face corruption charges, came along with him.
Inside the courthouse, lawyers for the relatives of the killed protesters shouted and bickered before the judge arrived in the room, apparently over seats.
Hosni Mubarak is charged with conspiring in killing of protesters and abusing his power to amass wealth.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mediu” aliniat=”dreapta”] Meanwhile, Mubarak was waiting on the stretcher with hands clasped over his chest.
Mubarak, who is charged with conspiring in killing of protesters and abusing his power to amass wealth, answered, “present”, when the judge called his name.
Defence lawyers called for hundreds of witnesses to testify in the case, including the head of Egypt’s ruling military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who was Mubarak’s defence minister for 20 years.
Hussein Tantawi’s possible testimony on the former leader’s role in trying to suppress the 18 days uprising, in which about 850 people were killed, is considered critical by many to the outcome of the case.
“Tantawi’s testimony would help the court determine whether Mubarak gave orders to interior minister Habib al-Adly to fire at protesters or whether Adly was acting independently,” said one member of the defence team.
Lawyers for the families of those killed have demanded Tantawi testify in the trial too.
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5,000 riot police officers were deployed along with armoured cars outside the courthouse to keep apart the scores of pro- and anti-Mubarak protesters watching the proceedings of the trial on a giant screen.
Egypt’s interior ministry has reported that at least 34 people have been injured outside the police academy where anti and pro-Mubarak protesters clashed.
Mubarak made his first court appearance on August 3 and he is the first Arab state’s leader to stand trial in person since popular uprisings spread across the Middle-East. Mubarak faces charges that could carry the death penalty.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”dreapta”]So You Think You Can Dance 2011 Finale
From left: Marko Germar, Sasha Mallory, Melanie Moore and Tadd Gadduang (C) Adam Rose/FOX
The 2011 finale of So You Think You Can Dance was a display of strong performances, the four finalists gave their best. Head judge Nigel Lythgoe remarked in a comment on Thursday night that the winner will be one of the two remaining women: Sasha Mallory or Melanie Moore.
After 11.5 million votes the competition came down to the two women.
The winner with almost 50 percent of the Top Four vote was Melanie Moore. She was crowned America’s Favorite Dancer.
“You two are both exquisite dancers, you have both been amazing,” Cat Deeley told the dual finalists – only moments before announcing the winner. For the first time in all the eight seasons two females were the top contestants.
The crowning was a beautiful moment, the crowds cheering and confetti falling upon everyone, pyrotechnics making her face seem even more glamorous and Moore was crowned America’s Favorite Dancer.
[googlead tip=”lista_mica” aliniat=”stanga”]”Thank you,” is what she could utter as tears flowed heavily down her beautiful face, smiling, right then she was lifted on their arms by the entire Top 20.
The rest of the contestants for the So You Think You Can Dance finale came Mallory second with a 32 percent of the vote; Germar, third; and Gadduang, fourth.
So You Think You Can Dance 2011 Finale – the toughest contest
[googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”] In the beginning there were thousands and thousands of wannabes, nine weeks ago, and it came down to only twenty dancers fighting for the $250k prize and a sponsorship deal. After the weeks went by, only four contestants, some would argue the best, made it to the finals.
Moore, 19, of Marietta, Ga., had been the highest rated contestant from the start of the season when she and Germar amazed the judges with their statue routine. Moore was imersed in to the material and seemed to enjoy every new partnership. This lead to her being called an “actress”, in addition of being a dancer.
Mallory, 23, of Bakersfield, Calif., was tied to Alexander Fost in the beginning, but they didn’t reach an understanding, they had no chemistry. After they were separated she immediately climbed to the top with emotional routines – such as her wall routine in season 7’s with Kent Boyd – as well as strong and powerful, like the breakfast table routine from season 4, when Twitch was her partner.
The Final Four’s only B-Boy, Gadduang, 25, born in West Valley City, Utah, was named the underdog because he was forced to dance out of his style all season long. His “ace-in-the-sleeve” was his “sweetie-pie factor” and that’s what won Murphy over, even though he was the only finalist from the four who was perpetually at the bottom of this season.
The Guam native, Germar, 22, had began the competition at a disadvantage, after having been shot in the shoulder just a couple of years ago, but he didn’t let his shoulder injury hold him back and judge Mary Murphy even said that he’s to be “a beast just like the girls.” When his mother came from Guam to watch him dance he broke into tears. He’s a “crier,”, in his own words.
If you are an adrenalin lover, you will go for almost any challenge, but would you accept to try deadly delicacies?
It is not about fast-food or so called junk food. We all know about it, but most of us just live on the edge every day eating it. [googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”] Wherever there are some exotic, original and dangerous delicacies, there are people willing to taste them. The reason is quite obvious: simply because they exist it’s worth to try them.
You are what you eat, they say. If I eat a fish I’ll become one? Definetly not, but there is some chance to become… dead instantly. Fugu or puffer-fish is an expensive sashimi dish. This deadly delicacy is popular in Japan, but prohibited in Europe. There are a few restaurants in US and in Korea where this “Russian roulette of sushi” is served. The internal organs of this fish contain tetrodotoxin, therefore it has to be prepared carefully, or else… it is possible to end up paralyzed and expired in a very short time.
Despite its notoriety, fugu is not the only life-threatening dish, neither the most dangerous, nor the most commonly served deadly delicacy. Stonefish produce venom, but when it’s cooked, it loses its potency. If it’s served raw (sashimi dish Okoze) its venomous dorsal fins are eliminated. Fugu and silverstripe blaasop do not secrete venom, but they are toxic because of bacteria in their diets. Their internal organ have to be removed carefully prior serving.
Deadly Delicacies: Size comparison of a Echizen kurage next to a diver Source: Wikipedia
Echizen kurage is an enormous, poisonous jellyfish that lives in swarms in the Japan waters. Like fugu or silverstripe blaasop the toxic parts have to be attentively eliminated and the jellyfish has to be properly cooked for safe consumption, as one of the (potentially) deadly delicacies, of course.
Blood clams are native to waters around the world and are cultivated in Southeast Asia. The redness that gives these cockles their name is due to a high level of hemocyanins. Blood clams, considered one of the most tasteful Chinese delicacies, are flavored with a fermented tofu (fulu) sauce. If it’s not boiled enough, there are some risks that hepatitis A, E, viruses, typhoid, and dysentery bacilli could remain present.
The giant bullfrog, that grows to the size of a cat and contains enough poison to be lethal, is a delicacy in Namibia. The Namibians eat the entire giant bullfrog except for the internal organs. If it is eaten prematurely (“before the third rain”) can cause urethritis or acute renal failure. Locally this frog-induced disease is known as Oshiketakata.
San nak ji (raw baby octopus) is served in Korea. The octopus is dismembered, sesame oil is added, and immediately the tentacles are brought to the table. Lots of the tentacles will still be moving around. They could deploy venom if you try to swallow them.[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”dreapta”]
You don’t have to look only to animals in order to find deadly delicacies. There are a lot of plants that are potentially lethal.
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Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica. This fruit look like a bulb and has the appearence and taste of scrambled eggs when cooked. It’s often eaten as breakfast. The time has to be right for that meal. Ackee can cause extreme nausea if consumed when it’s not ripe enough. It contains hypoglycine. The effects are critical: quickly lowering one’s blood sugar and ensuring violent illness or death. The condition caused by inadequate use is called “Jamaican vomiting sickness” and can bring even death to children.
Like ackee, eating cassava is a dietary habbit in the tropics. In Africa and South America cassava is used to bake breads, ground into pastes and fried into cakes. The root contains enough cyanide to kill. If is not washed and prepared properly, it can have bad consequences.
Progressive telomere shortening characterizes familial breast cancer patients
Telomeres, the complex structures that protect the end of chromosomes, of peripheral blood cells are significantly shorter in patients with familial breast cancer than in the general population. Results of the study carried out by the Human Genetics Group of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), led by Javier Benitez, to be published in open-access journal PLoS Genetics on July 28th, reflect that familial, but not sporadic, breast cancer cases are characterized by shorter telomeres. Importantly, they also provide evidence for telomere shortening as a mechanism of genetic anticipation, the successively earlier onset of cancer down generations.
Mutations in two DNA repair genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, characterize some, but not all, instances of hereditary breast cancer. Non-BRCA1/2 breast cancer families are heterogeneous, suggesting the existence of other genes conferring susceptibility. The group has investigated the role of telomere length in hereditary breast cancer based on previous information suggesting, first, that short telomeres and subsequent genomic instability contribute to malignant transformation; second, that genetic anticipation occurs in breast cancer families and, third, that telomere shortening is associated with anticipation in other genetic diseases. [googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”stanga”]
By analyzing telomere length differences between mothers and daughters from breast cancer families, the authors demonstrated that genetic anticipation is associated with a decrease in telomere length in affected daughters relative to their mothers.
The results allowed the authors not only to conclude that women carrying BRCA1/2 mutation have chromosomes with short telomeres, but also to describe for the first time that genetic anticipation in breast cancer could be explained by telomere shortening. In addition, the study expands the field of research concerning genetic predisposition to breast cancer to include genes involved in telomere maintenance. The significance of generational changes in telomere length has interesting potential clinical applications in the management of familial breast cancer, and could be extended to other hereditary cancer syndromes.
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: This work was supported by Asociación Española Contra el Cancer (AECC) and Spanish Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias (grant numbers FISPI081298 and FIS-PI081120). The CIBER de Enfermedades Raras is an initiative of the ISCIII. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
COMPETING INTERESTS: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
CITATION: Martinez-Delgado B, Yanowsky K, Inglada-Perez L, Domingo S, Urioste M, et al. (2011) Genetic Anticipation Is Associated with Telomere Shortening in Hereditary Breast Cancer. PLoS Genet 7(7): e1002182. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002182
Contact: Dr. Beatriz Martinez-Delgado and Dr. Javier Benitez Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) Human Genetics Melchor Fernandez Almagro 3 Madrid 28029 SPAIN [email protected] [email protected]
This press release refers to an upcoming article in PLoS Genetics. The release is provided by journal staff, or by the article authors and/or their institutions. Any opinions expressed in this release or article are the personal views of the journal staff and/or article contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLoS. PLoS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the releases and articles and your use of such information.
About PLoS Genetics
[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]PLoS Genetics (http://www.plosgenetics.org) reflects the full breadth and interdisciplinary nature of genetics and genomics research by publishing outstanding original contributions in all areas of biology. All works published in PLoS Genetics are open access. Everything is immediately and freely available online throughout the world subject only to the condition that the original authorship and source are properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License. [googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”centrat”]
About the Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world’s scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org.
Potential breakthrough in cancer research: a new treatment for leukemia had amazing results.
Albert Breer of the NFL Network informs us via twitter that his team has reached an agreement with former Titan Vince Young. This is almost two years to this date, when the Eagles acquired former No. 1 draft pick Michael Vick.
Vince Young might certainly become familiar with a point or two through Vick: Vick offers figured out how to be a trusted passer along with having other-worldly operating ability, and Vick has become a college student of the sport as well as group leader rather than a guy who believes his organic skill means he or she doesn’t need to work hard.
Vince Young, 2006 through 1st game of 2008 before injury and losing job to Collins: 57.3% completions, 6.41 yards per attempt, 22 TD to 32 INT, 6.4% sack rate
Vince Young, since regaining job in 2009 until incident last year following thumb injury: 59.0% completions, 7.55 yards per attempt, 20 TD to 10 INT, 5.0% sack rate
Vince Young | Quarterback [googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”dreapta”]
Ht / Wt:
6’5′ / 232
Age / DOB:
(28) / 5/18/1983
Signed a one-year contract.
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Wishing good luck to Vince Young in his new position.
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