"Cliff" concerns give way to earnings focus

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investors' "fiscal cliff" worries are likely to give way to more fundamental concerns, like earnings, as fourth-quarter reports get under way next week.


Financial results, which begin after the market closes on Tuesday with aluminum company Alcoa , are expected to be only slightly better than the third-quarter's lackluster results. As a warning sign, analyst current estimates are down sharply from what they were in October.


That could set stocks up for more volatility following a week of sharp gains that put the Standard & Poor's 500 index <.spx> on Friday at the highest close since December 31, 2007. The index also registered its biggest weekly percentage gain in more than a year.


Based on a Reuters analysis, Europe ranks among the chief concerns cited by companies that warned on fourth-quarter results. Uncertainty about the region and its weak economic outlook were cited by more than half of the 25 largest S&P 500 companies that issued warnings.


In the most recent earnings conference calls, macroeconomic worries were cited by 10 companies while the U.S. "fiscal cliff" was cited by at least nine as reasons for their earnings warnings.


"The number of things that could go wrong isn't so high, but the magnitude of how wrong they could go is what's worrisome," said Kurt Winters, senior portfolio manager for Whitebox Mutual Funds in Minneapolis.


Negative-to-positive guidance by S&P 500 companies for the fourth quarter was 3.6 to 1, the second worst since the third quarter of 2001, according to Thomson Reuters data.


U.S. lawmakers narrowly averted the "fiscal cliff" by coming to a last-minute agreement on a bill to avoid steep tax hikes this weeks -- driving the rally in stocks -- but the battle over further spending cuts is expected to resume in two months.


Investors also have seen a revival of worries about Europe's sovereign debt problems, with Moody's in November downgrading France's credit rating and debt crises looming for Spain and other countries.


"You have a recession in Europe as a base case. Europe is still the biggest trading partner with a lot of U.S. companies, and it's still a big chunk of global capital spending," said Adam Parker, chief U.S. equity strategist at Morgan Stanley in New York.


Among companies citing worries about Europe was eBay , whose chief financial officer, Bob Swan, spoke of "macro pressures from Europe" in the company's October earnings conference call.


REVENUE WORRIES


One of the biggest worries voiced about earnings has been whether companies will be able to continue to boost profit growth despite relatively weak revenue growth.


S&P 500 revenue fell 0.8 percent in the third quarter for the first decline since the third quarter of 2009, Thomson Reuters data showed. Earnings growth for the quarter was a paltry 0.1 percent after briefly dipping into negative territory.


On top of that, just 40 percent of S&P 500 companies beat revenue expectations in the third quarter, while 64.2 percent beat earnings estimates, the Thomson Reuters data showed.


For the fourth quarter, estimates are slightly better but are well off estimates for the quarter from just a few months earlier. S&P 500 earnings are expected to have risen 2.8 percent while revenue is expected to have gone up 1.9 percent.


Back in October, earnings growth for the fourth quarter was forecast up 9.9 percent.


In spite of the cautious outlooks, some analysts still see a good chance for earnings beats this reporting period.


"The thinking is you need top line growth for earnings to continue to expand, and we've seen the market defy that," said Mike Jackson, founder of Denver-based investment firm T3 Equity Labs.


Based on his analysis, energy, industrials and consumer discretionary are the S&P sectors most likely to beat earnings expectations in the upcoming season, while consumer staples, materials and utilities are the least likely to beat, Jackson said.


Sounding a positive note on Friday, drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co said it expects profit in 2013 to increase by more than Wall Street had been forecasting, primarily due to cost controls and improved productivity.


(Reporting By Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Kenneth Barry)



Read More..

Packers show off depth in 24-10 win over Vikes


GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Deep on offense and scary-good on defense, the Green Bay Packers were way too much for the Minnesota Vikings.


Maybe everyone else in the NFC, too.


Aaron Rodgers, Charles Woodson and the Packers reminded everyone of how dangerous they can be when they're at full strength Saturday night, overwhelming the Vikings 24-10 in an NFC wild-card game that was never really close.


"Our defense played great," Rodgers said. "Our defense tonight played at a championship level and that's what you need in the playoffs."


John Kuhn scored two touchdowns, DuJuan Harris added another and Rodgers connected with an NFL playoff-record 10 receivers as he threw for 274 yards in his first playoff victory at home. Defensively, the Packers (12-5) finally managed to contain Adrian Peterson and were all over Vikings backup Joe Webb, pressed into service because of Christian Ponder's triceps injury.


Peterson was held to 99 yards — an improvement after gaining 199 and 210 in the first two games against Green Bay. It was only the second time in the last 11 games that he was held below 100 yards. Webb, who hadn't thrown a pass all season, was sacked three times and off target all night. His only highlight was a 50-yard scoring pass to Michael Jenkins late in the fourth quarter, but it was far too late for the Vikings (10-7).


"No disrespect to Ponder, but ... it's about one guy and that's Adrian Peterson," said Woodson, who played his first game since breaking his right collarbone Oct. 21. "Our main focus, whether it was Ponder or Webb, was to keep 28 (Peterson) from getting off. And if we were going to keep him from getting off, put the ball in the quarterback's hands, whatever quarterback it was, we felt good about what was going to happen."


With a little over a minute left, Packers fans began taunting the Vikings (10-7) with chants of "Nah-nah-nah-nah ... goodbye." The win snapped a two-game losing streak at Lambeau Field in the playoffs, and sent the Packers to San Francisco next Saturday for an NFC divisional game with the 49ers. The teams met in the season opener, with San Francisco winning 30-22.


"A lot has happened since we played San Francisco," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We're a different team."


This was the third game in six weeks between Green Bay and the Vikings, and second in six days. The Packers' loss in Minnesota last weekend cost them the No. 2 seed in the NFC, along with a bye this weekend, and left them looking — dare we say it? — vulnerable going into the playoffs. But with Woodson back and Rodgers having all four of his top receivers for, essentially, the first time since Sept. 30, Green Bay looked like a team that could make the kind of deep run it did two years ago when it won the Super Bowl.


Rodgers used so many different options other NFL quarterbacks must have been drooling. He went with Harris on Green Bay's first scoring drive, mixed it up between James Jones, Tom Crabtree and Greg Jennings on the second, and had 22- and 23-yard completions to Jordy Nelson before Kuhn scored on a 3-yard run that put the Packers up 17-3 just before the half.


And pretty much everyone got in on the fun on the last score, a 12-play, 80-yard drive that chewed up more than 5 ½ minutes. Rodgers connected with Jones on a 19-yard completion to put the Packers in Packers territory, then connected with Harris for 14 yards two plays later to reach the red zone. Rodgers threw incompletes on second and third downs, but just when the Packers thought they'd have to settle for a field goal, the Vikings were whistled for 12 men on the field, giving Rodgers another crack at the end zone.


He found Kuhn for the 9-yard score, and the game was all but over.


"That was tough. We were down seven and they went and scored and they were coming out of the half, too, getting the ball, too, and they got it and scored again," Antoine Winfield said. "Can't do that against the Green Bay Packers."


Harris, who didn't play in the first game against Minnesota this season because he'd only been elevated from the practice squad a day earlier, led the team in receiving (five catches for 61 yards) and rushing (47 yards on 17 carries). Jennings and Jones had four catches each and Nelson had three before hobbling off late in the fourth quarter.


"We have some stuff to work on," Rodgers said. "We've got to help our defense out more, close a team out like that. Tough test next week back in San Francisco."


Hey, at least the Packers are still playing. That's more than the Vikings can say.


Ponder was hurt last weekend when Morgan Burnett slammed into him on a blitz. Though initially thought to be an elbow injury, Ponder said it was actually a deep bruise in his right triceps. It limited his flexibility along with his power and, though it is better, there simply wasn't enough time to recover with the short, six-day turnaround.


After testing the arm before the game, the Vikings decided to go with Webb, whose only playing time this year was a couple of handoffs at the end of a blowout of Tennessee in early October.


"I can play with pain. The biggest thing is the loss of flexibility," Ponder said. "I couldn't get the ball in the position to where I could throw it normally and lost a lot of power and everything. It wouldn't have been wise to play."


It was the first time Buffalo's Frank Reich in 1993 a quarterback had started a playoff game after not starting during the regular season, according to STATS Inc. And, in the first series at least, he seemed to have caught the Packers off guard. That or they were too busy trying to bottle up Peterson, who bulldozed them for 409 yards in their first two games, to pay attention.


With what seemed like every Packers defender focused on Peterson, Webb converted a third-and-3 with a 17-yard pickup. His 5-yard run four plays later put the Vikings at the Green Bay 13. But Webb's first pass of the night went into the ground, and the Vikings were forced to settle for Blair Walsh's 33-yard field goal that gave them a 3-0 lead.


But the Packers quickly settled down and Webb and the Vikings never stood a chance. Especially with Peterson not allowed to roam free as he's done against the Packers in the past.


"The energy level was at an all-time high," Woodson said. "This week, like last week, we buzzed around. But this week we made the tackles, we didn't allow (Peterson) to get through the line of scrimmage and get yards after first contact. We just kept putting heat on them. That was the difference."


Notes: With two sacks of Webb, Matthews joined Reggie White as the only Packers to have two or more sacks in two postseason games. ... Minnesota had 157 of its 324 yards in the fourth quarter, when the game was out of hand. ... Kuhn is the only player in the NFL to score a touchdown in each of the last four postseasons. ... Mason Crosby's 20-yard field goal in the second quarter was his sixth straight in the postseason, a Packers record. ... Vikings S Harrison Smith left the game briefly with a left knee injury, but was able to return. Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said after the game he was fine.


___


Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL


Read More..

Here, Bella! Top Pet Names for 2012






Move over, Rover, there’s a new top dog in town, and her name is Bella. For 2012, the “Twilight Saga”-inspired moniker was the most popular for dogs and second-most popular for cats, according to a survey by one veterinary organization. For dogs, Max took second place.


The survey gathered names of 2.5 million dogs and cats at the Banfield Pet Hospital, a veterinary network in Portland, Ore.






The top names resemble those from years past, said Laura Wattenberg, a baby-name expert and the creator of babynamewizard.com


“Max in particular has been the top name for male dogs for a number of years now,” Wattenberg told LiveScience. 


Cuddly fur babies


In general, pets have been given much more humanlike names over the past generation, Wattenberg said. That reflects a change in society, in which owners see their fur babies more as family members than animals, she said. [What Your Dog's Breed Says About You]


The names people choose for their pets also reflect a sweet, nostalgic innocence.


“There’s a particular slice of human names that have risen for baby names as well, but they’re particularly popular for pets. That’s the cute, cuddly names of the early 20th century.”


These names, such as Max and Lucy, tend to crop up frequently as heroes or heroines in kids’ picture books, Wattenberg said. For instance, the hero in “Where the Wild Things Are” was named Max. These names may reflect how people see their pets.


“They’re like children who never have to grow up,” she said.


Old and new


Pop-culture trends also influenced the popularity of pet names found in the survey. Aside from the top-ranked Bella, Katniss also saw wide use, becoming 18 times more popular for dogs and 14 times more popular for cats, compared with 2011, following the release of the “Hunger Games” in March.  Reality TV stars also got their due, with Honey Boo Boo (a 6-year-old beauty pageant star of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo“) and Purrfect (the name of Cee Lo Green’s cat on “The Voice”) rising in the ranks.


Still, for dog and cat names alike, familiar can still win out over hip. Perennial favorites like Max and Buddy took the second and third slots for dogs, while the perhaps unimaginative Kitty was the most popular name for cats.


Cats vs. dogs


Interestingly, more humanlike names, such as Charlie or Lucy, were popular for dogs, while unisex monikers like Smokey, Shadow and Tigger describing physical traits like color ranked high for felines in 2012.


That may reflect how much people project a human role onto their pets. For instance, one study showed that animals kept in the house are more likely to get human names, Wattenberg said.


“You could infer from this that people feel a little bit more attached or feel like they have a more personal relationship with their dogs,” she said. “Obviously cat lovers will howl at that, but that’s what the names say.”


In general, pet names overlapped very little with baby names. While the trend toward nostalgic, 20th century names carried over from baby naming trends, formal names ruled for human tots. But cuddly, affectionate nicknames took precedence for pets. From the list of pet names, only Chloe made the list of most popular girl names in 2011.


For instance, pet names like Coco or Rocky are more intensely retro than Ava or Jacob (which are more likely to be given to babies). That suggests, as a society, “we’re more willing to push the style to the extreme with pets and maybe even live out the naming fantasies that we wouldn’t quite be able to give to our children,” Wattenberg said.


Here are the top ten names for dogs and cats in order of more to less popular:


Top Dog Names:


  1. Bella

  2. Max

  3. Buddy

  4. Daisy

  5. Bailey

  6. Coco

  7. Lucy

  8. Charlie

  9. Molly

  10. Rocky

Top Cat Names:


  1. Kitty

  2. Bella

  3. Tiger

  4. Max

  5. Smokey

  6. Shadow

  7. Tigger

  8. Lucy

  9. Chloe

  10. Charlie

Follow LiveScience on Twitter @livescience. We’re also on Facebook & Google+


Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Science News Headlines – Yahoo! News





Title Post: Here, Bella! Top Pet Names for 2012
Url Post: http://www.news.fluser.com/here-bella-top-pet-names-for-2012/
Link To Post : Here, Bella! Top Pet Names for 2012
Rating:
100%

based on 99998 ratings.
5 user reviews.
Author: Fluser SeoLink
Thanks for visiting the blog, If any criticism and suggestions please leave a comment




Read More..

Storm over Depardieu's 'pathetic' move






STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has bestowed Russian citizenship on actor Gérard Depardieu

  • For Depardieu, a public war of words erupted, with many in France disgusted by his move

  • Depardieu more than anyone, represents the Gallic spirit, says Agnes Poirier

  • Majority of French people disapprove of his action but can't help loving him, she adds




Agnes Poirier is a French journalist and political analyst who contributes regularly to newspapers, magazines and TV in the UK, U.S., France, Italy. Follow her on Twitter.


Paris (CNN) -- Since the revelation on the front page of daily newspaper Libération, on December 11, with a particularly vicious editorial talking about France's national treasure as a "former genius actor," Gérard Depardieu's departure to Belgium, where he bought a property just a mile from the French border, has deeply divided and saddened France. Even more so since, as we have learnt this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin has bestowed the actor Russian citizenship.


Back in mid-December, the French media operated along political lines: the left-wing press such as Libération couldn't find strong enough words to describe Depardieu's "desertion" while right-wing publications such as Le Figaro, slightly uneasy at the news, preferred to focus on President François Hollande's punishing taxes which allegedly drove throngs of millionaires to seek tax asylum in more fiscally lenient countries such as Belgium or Britain. Le Figaro stopped short of passing moral judgement though. Others like satirical weekly Charlie hebdo, preferred irony. Its cover featured a cartoon of the rather rotund-looking Depardieu in front of a Belgian flag with the headline: "Can Belgium take the world's entire load of cholesterol?" Ouch.


Quickly though, it became quite clear that Depardieu was not treated in the same way as other famous French tax exiles. French actor Alain Delon is a Swiss resident as is crooner-rocker Johnny Halliday, and many other French stars and sportsmen ensure they reside for under six months in France in order to escape being taxed here on their income and capital. Their move has hardly ever been commented on. And they certainly never had to suffer the same infamy.



Agnes Poirier

Agnes Poirier



For Depardieu, a public war of words erupted. It started with the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, and many members of his government, showing their disdain, and talking of Depardieu's "pathetic move." In response the outraged actor penned an open letter to the French PM in which he threatened to give back his French passport.


The backlash was not over. Fellow thespian Phillipe Torreton fired the first salvo against Depardieu in an open letter published in Libération, insulting both Depardieu's protruding physique and lack of patriotism: "So you're leaving the ship France in the middle of a storm? What did you expect, Gérard? You thought we would approve? You expected a medal, an academy award from the economy ministry? (...)We'll get by without you." French actress Catherine Deneuve felt she had to step in to defend Depardieu. In another open letter published by Libération, she evoked the darkest hours of the French revolution. Before flying to Rome to celebrate the New Year, Depardieu gave an interview to Le Monde in which he seemed to be joking about having asked Putin for Russian citizenship. Except, it wasn't a joke.


In truth, French people have felt touched to their core by Depardieu's gesture. He, more than anyone, represents the Gallic spirit. He has been Cyrano, he has been Danton; he, better than most, on screen and off, stands for what it means to be French: passionate, sensitive, theatrical, and grandiose. Ambiguous too, and weak in front of temptations and pleasures.



In truth, French people have felt touched to their core by Depardieu's gesture. He, more than anyone, represents the Gallic spirit
Hugh Miles



For more than two weeks now, #Depardieu has been trending on French Twitter. Surveys have showed France's dilemma: half the French people understand him but there are as many who think that paying one's taxes is a national duty. In other words, a majority of French people disapprove of his action but can't help loving the man.


Putin's move in granting the actor Russian citizenship has exacerbated things. And first of all, it is a blow to Hollande who, it was revealed, had a phone conversation with Depardieu on New Year's Day. The Elysées Palace refused to communicate on the men's exchange. A friend of the actor declared that Depardieu complained about being so reviled by the press and that he was leaving, no matter what.


If, in their hearts, the French don't quite believe Depardieu might one day settle in Moscow and abandon them, they feel deeply saddened by the whole saga. However, with France's former sex symbol Brigitte Bardot declaring that she too might ask Putin for Russian citizenship to protest against the fate of zoo elephants in Lyon, it looks as if the French may prefer to laugh the whole thing off. Proof of this: the last trend on French Twitter is #IWantRussianCitizenship.


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Agnes Poirier.






Read More..

Englewood shooting victim dies









An afternoon shooting in the Englewood neighborhood has left a man dead on a day in which at least 10 people have been shot since 12 a.m., according to authorities.


At 3:10 p.m. someone shot a male victim multiple times in the abdomen in the 5500 block of South Loomis Boulevard, News Affairs Officer Daniel O’Brien said.

The victim, a man in his 20s, was taken from the scene of the shooting in the Englewood neighborhood to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, where he was pronounced dead at 3:52 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.


Saturday night about 8:30 p.m., a male was shot in the West Town neighborhood, police said.





The male, whose age and condition were not immediately released, was taken from the 1800 block of West Maypole Avenue to Stroger with a gunshot wound to the buttocks.


About 7:10 p.m., two men were injured in a shooting in the 5100 block of West Oakdale Avenue, O'Brien said.


A 25-year-old man was taken in critical condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the back, O'Brien said. A 21-year-old man was taken to the same hospital in good condition with a gunshot wound to the wrist, O'Brien said.


The shooting happened in the Cragin neighborhood on the Northwest Side.


Late Saturday morning, a shooting in the Back of the Yards neighborhood left another victim shot in the abdomen and seriously wounded.


Someone shot the male in the abdomen at 11:48 a.m. in the 4500 block of South Marshfield Avenue, according to Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Michael Sullivan.


He was taken to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in serious condition, Sullivan said.


The circumstances surrounding the shooting were not known immediately but Sullivan said no one was arrested.


Earlier Saturday, four people were shot in two separate incidents before the sun rose, and a fifth man was killed in a West Side shooting.


chicagobreaking@tribune.com


Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking





Read More..

Venezuela lawmakers elect Chavez ally as Assembly chief


CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan lawmakers re-elected a staunch ally of Hugo Chavez to head the National Assembly on Saturday, putting him in line to be caretaker president if the socialist leader does not recover from cancer surgery.


By choosing the incumbent, Diosdado Cabello, the "Chavista"-dominated legislature cemented the combative ex-soldier's position as the third most powerful figure in the government, after Chavez and Vice President Nicolas Maduro.


"As a patriot ... I swear to be supremely loyal in everything I do, to defend the fatherland, its institutions, and this beautiful revolution led by our Comandante Hugo Chavez," Cabello said as he took the oath, his hand on the constitution.


He had earlier warned opposition politicians against attempting to use the National Assembly to "conspire" against the people, saying they would be "destroyed" if they tried.


Thousands of the president's red-clad supporters gathered outside parliament hours before the vote, many chanting: "We are all Chavez! Our comandante will be well! He will return!"


If Chavez had to step down, or died, Cabello would take over the running of the country as Assembly president and a new election would be organized within 30 days. Chavez's heir apparent, Maduro, would be the ruling Socialist Party candidate.


Chavez, who was diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer in his pelvic area in mid-2011, has not been seen in public nor heard from in more than three weeks.


Officials say the 58-year-old is in delicate condition and has suffered multiple complications since the December 11 surgery, including unexpected bleeding and severe respiratory problems.


Late on Friday, Maduro gave the clearest indication yet that the government was preparing to delay Chavez's inauguration for a new six-year term, which is scheduled for Thursday.


'CHAVEZ IS PRESIDENT'


Maduro said the ceremony was a "formality" and that Chavez could be sworn in by the Supreme Court at a later date.


The opposition says Chavez's absence would be just the latest sign that he is no longer fit to govern, and that new elections should be held in the South American OPEC nation.


Brandishing a copy of the constitution after his win in the Assembly, Cabello slammed opposition leaders for writing a letter to foreign embassies in which they accused the government of employing a "twisted reading" of the charter.


"Get this into your heads: Hugo Chavez was elected president and he will continue to be president beyond January 10. No one should have any doubt ... this is the constitutional route," he said as fellow Socialist Party lawmakers cheered.


The opposition sat stony-faced. One of their legislators had earlier told the session that it was not just the head of state who was ill, "the republic is sick."


Last year, Chavez staged what appeared to be a remarkable comeback from the disease to win re-election in October, despite being weakened by radiation therapy. He returned to Cuba for more treatment within weeks of his victory.


Should the president have to step down after 14 years in office, a new vote would probably pit Maduro, a 50-year-old former bus driver and union leader, against opposition leader Henrique Capriles, the 40-year-old governor of Miranda state.


Capriles lost to Chavez in October's presidential election.


"I don't think Maduro would last many rounds in a presidential race. He's not fit for the responsibility they have given him," Capriles said after the vice president's appearance on state television.


Chavez's condition is being watched closely by leftist allies around Latin American who have benefited from his oil-funded generosity, as well as investors attracted by Venezuela's lucrative and widely traded debt.


The country boasts the world's biggest crude reserves. Despite the huge political upheaval Chavez's exit would cause, the oil industry is not likely to be affected much in the short term, with an extension of "Chavismo" keeping projects on track, while a change in parties could usher in more foreign capital.


(Additional reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Editing by Vicki Allen)



Read More..

S&P 500 finishes at 5-year high on economic data

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index ended at a five-year high on Friday, lifted by reports showing employers kept up a steady pace of hiring workers and the vast services sector expanded at a brisk rate.


The gains on the S&P 500 pushed the index to its highest close since December 2007 and its biggest weekly gain since December 2011.


Most of the gains came early in the holiday-shortened week, including the largest one-day rise for the index in more than a year on Wednesday after politicians struck a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff."


The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> gained 43.85 points, or 0.33 percent, to 13,435.21. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> rose 7.10 points, or 0.49 percent, to 1,466.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.ixic> edged up 1.09 points, or 0.04 percent, to 3,101.66.


For the week, the S&P gained 4.6 percent, the Dow rose 3.8 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 4.8 percent to post their largest weekly percentage gains in more than a year.


The CBOE Volatility index <.vix>, a measure of investor anxiety, dropped for a fourth straight session, giving the index a weekly decline of nearly 40 percent, its biggest weekly fall ever. The close of 13.83 on the VIX marks its lowest level since August.


In Friday's economic reports, the Labor Department said non-farm payrolls grew by 155,000 jobs last month, slightly below November's level. Gains were distributed broadly throughout the economy, from manufacturing and construction to healthcare.


Also serving to boost equities was data from the Institute for Supply Management showing U.S. service sector activity expanding the most in 10 months.


With the S&P 500 index at a five-year closing high, analysts said any gains above the index's intraday high near 1,475 in September may be harder to come by.


"We are getting to a point where we need a strong catalyst, which could be earnings, it could be three months of good economic data, it could be a variety of things," said Adam Thurgood, managing director at HighTower Advisors in Las Vegas, Nevada.


"What is going on right now is this conflicting view of fundamentals look pretty good and improving, and then you've got these negative tail risks that could blow everything up," Thurgood said.


He referred to "a fiscal superstorm brewing" of issues still left unresolved in Washington, including tough federal budget cuts and the need to raise the government's debt ceiling all within a couple of months.


The rise in payrolls shown by the jobs data did not make a dent in the U.S. unemployment rate still at 7.8 percent.


A Reuters poll on Friday of economists at Wall Street's top financial institutions showed that most expect the Fed in 2013 to end the program with which it bought Treasury debt in an effort to stimulate the economy.


A drop in Apple Inc shares of 2.6 percent to $528.36 kept pressure on the Nasdaq.


Adding to concerns about Apple's ability to produce more innovative products, rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is expected to widen its lead over Apple in global smartphone sales this year with growth of 35 percent. Market researcher Strategy Analytics said Samsung had a broad product lineup.


Eli Lilly and Co was among the biggest boost's to the S&P, up 3.7 percent to $51.56 after the pharmaceuticals maker said it expects its 2013 earnings to increase to $3.75 to $3.90 per share, excluding items, from $3.30 to $3.40 per share in 2012.


Fellow drugmaker Johnson & Johnson rose 1.2 percent to $71.55 after Deutsche Bank upgraded the Dow component to a "Buy" from a "Hold" rating. The NYSEArca pharmaceutical index <.drg> climbed 0.6 percent.


Shares of Mosaic Co gained 3.3 percent to $58.62. Excluding items, the fertilizer producer's quarterly earnings beat analysts' expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.


Volume was modest with about 6.07 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE MKT and Nasdaq, slightly below the 2012 daily average of 6.42 billion.


Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,287 to 701, while on the Nasdaq, advancers beat decliners 1,599 to 866.


(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Kenneth Barry)



Read More..

Manziel, Texas A&M beat Oklahoma 41-13 in Cotton


ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Johnny Manziel stretched out both of his arms and ran off the field as if he was flying.


With the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback known as Johnny Football, Texas A&M certainly is soaring in the SEC.


Manziel tiptoed the sideline for a 23-yard touchdown on the first drive of the Cotton Bowl, the first of his four touchdowns as part of his bowl-record 516 total yards and the Aggies capped their first SEC season with a 41-13 win over 12th-ranked Oklahoma on Friday night.


"To come in and go against a Big 12 rival and do everything we wanted as a team, and send these seniors out with a win, we couldn't feel any better," Manziel said after his first game since becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman.


With first-year coach Kevin Sumlin and their young star quarterback, the Aggies (11-2) broke the SEC record with their 7.261 total yards this season (the first over 7,000 after 633 in Cowboys Stadium). They also averaged more than 40 points a game.


And they capped their debut season with an overwhelming victory in the only postseason game matching teams from those power conferences. It is the Aggies' first 11-win season since 1998, when they won their only Big 12 title.


The chants of "S-E-C!, S-E-C!" began after Manziel's 33-yard TD pass to Ryan Swope with 4 minutes left in the third quarter for a 34-13 lead. They got louder and longer after that.


"I think tonight was really indicative of this season," Sumlin said. "It's one of the teams I thought in the country that truly got better every week."


Texas A&M never trailed while winning its last six games. That included its win at SEC champion Alabama, which plays for the BCS national title Monday night.


Manziel set an FBS bowl record with his 229 yards rushing on 17 carries, and completed 22 of 34 passes for 287 yards.


"Johnny Manziel is everything he was billed to be, expected him to be," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who after the game shook the quarterback's hand and told him "good job."


SEC teams have won the last five Cotton Bowls, all against Big 12 teams, and nine out of 10. That included Texas A&M's loss to LSU only two years ago.


Oklahoma, led by quarterback Landry Jones in his 50th career start, had 401 total yards as a team.


Jones completed 35 of 48 passes for 278 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He won 39 games and three bowls for the Sooners, in a career that started on the same field in the 2009 season opener when he replaced injured Heisman winner Sam Bradford in the first college game played at Cowboys Stadium.


Texas A&M led by only a point at halftime, but scored on its first three drives of the second half — on drives of 91 and 89 yards before Swope's score on a fourth-and-5 play.


Oklahoma (10-3), which like the Aggies entered the game with a five-game winning streak, went three-and-out on its first three drives after halftime.


"In the first half, we played together as a team, limited them, used the clock, scored. That's how you have to play them. In the second half it totally broke down offensively and defensively," Stoops said. "We had guys plenty of times in position to make a play. Couldn't make a play."


Already with a 24-yard gain on an earlier third down their opening drive, the Aggies had third-and-9, Manziel rolled to his left and took off. When he juked around a defender and got near the sideline, he tiptoed to stay in bounds and punctuated his score with a high-step over the pylon for a quick lead.


Officials reviewed the touchdown play, but it was clear by the replay shown on the huge video screen above the Cowboys Stadium field that Manziel stayed in bounds.


"There is too much talk about how you perform after the Heisman and about the layoff and all of that," said Manziel, who set an SEC record with his 4,600 total yards in the regular season. "There wasn't anything holding us back. No rust, there was no nothing. We played as a unit. ... To go out and win 11 games and do what we've done, is impressive."


Manziel added a 5-yard TD run on a bootleg play in the second quarter, and capped the scoring with a 34-yard pass to Uzoma Nwachukwu with 9 minutes left in the game.


The first TD run was Manziel's school-record 20th of the season. He became only the fourth FBS quarterback with 20 TDs rushing and 20 passing in the same season.


The other 20-20 quarterbacks were Auburn's Cam Newton and Florida's Tim Tebow, who like Manziel are Heisman winners from the SEC, and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.


Oklahoma needed drives of 16 and 18 plays to get a pair of field goals by Michael Hunnicutt (23 and 24 yards). Jones threw a 6-yard TD pass to Justin Brown just before halftime to make it 14-13.


Jones set Cotton Bowl records when he had 23 completions and 30 attempts (for 175 yards) by halftime.


Ben Malena (7 yards) and Trey Williams (30 yards) had the TD runs to cap the long scoring drives in the third quarter for the Aggies.


Manziel was picked off in the second quarter after his bootleg move and a throw that hit Malcome Kennedy in the hands in the end zone and deflected into the air. Javon Harris grabbed the interception.


The Sooners then crossed midfield before Jones had a pass intercepted by Dustin Harris and returned to the Oklahoma 48.


That A&M drive started with a little trickery, Manziel holding the ball down in his left hand while faking a throw with his right hand. He then pitched to Kenric McNeal, who threw a 20-yard pass to Mike Evans. Two plays later, Manziel had his bootleg TD run.


Oklahoma was in the Cotton Bowl for only the second time. It was the first bowl matchup between the former Big 12 rivals, but the 17th consecutive season they have played each other.


The Sooners had won 11 of 13 since Bob Stoops became their coach. That included a 77-0 Oklahoma win in 2003 that was the most-lopsided loss in Texas A&M history.


Sumlin was the A&M offensive coordinator in 2002 when the Aggies upset the top-ranked Sooners. The next year, Sumlin was hired by Stoops as an assistant, and he stayed there five seasons before going to Houston as head coach and then the Aggies.


"Words can't describe how I feel," said Damontre Moore, A&M's leading tackler who has already said he will bypass his senior season for the NFL draft. "I'm just overwhelmed with excitement and joy, just to get such a big win, all the goals that we set for ourselves at the beginning of the season, to see them be accomplished. "


Read More..

Giant Sun Eruption Could Swallow 20 Earths






A massive eruption on the surface of the sun this week blasted out a wave of super-hot plasma so high that it could tower over 20 Earths, NASA officials say.


The New Year’s Eve solar eruption occurred Monday (Dec. 31) and was captured on camera by NASA’s powerful Solar Dynamics Observatory, a sun-watching spacecraft that constantly records high-definition video of our star. The result: an eye-popping video of the New Year’s Eve sun storm.






Despite its size, the solar eruption was not the most powerful example of the sun’s stormy wrath, NASA officials said.


“Magnetic forces drove the flow of plasma, but without sufficient force to overcome the sun’s gravity much of the plasma fell back into the sun,” NASA officials wrote in an image description today (Jan. 4). “The length of the eruption extends about 160,000 miles [257,495 kilometers] out from the sun. With Earth about 7,900 miles [12,714 km] in diameter, this relatively minor eruption is about 20 times the diameter of our planet.”


Some NASA officials described Monday’s sun eruption, which occurred over a four-hour period, as a solar ballet. The Solar Dynamics Observatory is one of several spacecraft that keep a constant watch on the sun for flare and storm activity.


The sun is currently in an active phase of its 11-year solar activity cycle  and is expected to reach its peak level later this year. However, NASA scientists have said that the peak of the current cycle, known as Solar Cycle 24, may be the lowest of its kind in a century.


Solar flares and eruptions can have a significant impact on Earth when they are aimed at the planet. The most powerful solar flares can interfere with satellite communications, pose a safety risk for astronauts in orbit and damage power system infrastructure on the planet’s surface.


Minor solar storms can also trigger amazing geomagnetic storms above Earth that supercharge the planet’s aurora displays above its poles.


Follow SPACE.com on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.


Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Space and Astronomy News Headlines – Yahoo! News





Title Post: Giant Sun Eruption Could Swallow 20 Earths
Url Post: http://www.news.fluser.com/giant-sun-eruption-could-swallow-20-earths/
Link To Post : Giant Sun Eruption Could Swallow 20 Earths
Rating:
100%

based on 99998 ratings.
5 user reviews.
Author: Fluser SeoLink
Thanks for visiting the blog, If any criticism and suggestions please leave a comment




Read More..

Polar ends of fight for female equality




Hillary Clinton in Kolkata, India, last May. Clinton said that women still suffered from a 'glass ceiling' in politics.




STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Frida Ghitis: Hillary Clinton illness and New Delhi rape tell different stories about state of women

  • She says women's equality faces sharp divide; some ascend, most kept powerless

  • She says Egypt's new constitution presents time-bomb for new oppression of women

  • Ghitis: Progress for women needs strong legislation, education, sometimes protests




Editor's note: Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review. A former CNN producer and correspondent, she is the author of "The End of Revolution: A Changing World in the Age of Live Television." Follow her on Twitter: @FridaGColumns


(CNN) -- As the New Year approached, millions anxiously followed the news from two very different parts of the world about two very different women -- women whose lives somehow touched us, whose fate seemed, somehow, linked to all of us.


The world held its breath when word came that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hospitalized in New York. The news arrived at a time when we were trying to absorb, with profound sadness, a seemingly unrelated drama unfolding thousands of miles away. In New Delhi, a 23-year-old woman, a university student on her way home after watching a movie with her boyfriend, was brutally raped and beaten by a group of men. She later died from her injuries.



Frida Ghitis

Frida Ghitis



The parallel stories point to a sharp divide in the worldwide struggle for women's equality. While women have made major strides, in some cases reaching the pinnacle of power, the most fundamental human rights -- such as freedom to go outside without risking harassment and physical attack -- elude millions, and full equality remains an unreached goal for most.


iReport: 'She could have been me'


Clinton, one of the world's most powerful women and an icon of the global fight for women's equality, has returned home and doctors say they expect a full recovery. In India, the plight of an anonymous woman nicknamed "Nirbhaya," Sanskrit for dauntless, has become a turning point for the country. (That we don't use Nirbhaya's real name proves the grotesque reality that being raped remains a source of shame for the victim.)


Nirbhaya's ashes have been scattered, and it seems her death was not in vain. The attack sent tens of thousands of people -- men and women -- into New Delhi's streets and pulled the thick cover from India's unspeakable rape statistics. Most rapes go unreported for good reason. Of the more than 600 cases filed with the Delhi police last year, only one resulted in conviction. Powerless rape victims often resort to suicide.


News: Clinton's future 'as good as her past,' docs say



The contrast could not be sharper with the woman many call simply Hillary. Speculation about whether she will run for president in 2016 is unending. The day she was hospitalized with a blood clot, we heard that she again came in first in Gallup's Most Admired Woman poll, finishing at the top for 11 years in a row and a total of 17 times since 1993, more than anyone in Gallup's history.


She is probably the world's best-known woman and unquestionably one of the most influential. But she is only one of many who have reached so far. Women lead some of the globe's biggest, most important countries. Chancellor Angela Merkel heads the government of Germany, Julia Gillard leads Australia, Dilma Rousseff is president of Brazil, and the list goes on.


American voters just elected 20 women to the Senate, the largest number in history. And yet, that's just 20% of the seats. It's sad we find this an accomplishment worth celebrating.


The push for equality has unleashed push-back. Rape, we are told, is about power. In traditional societies, men see improvements in the status of women as a challenge to their own. Sexual assaults by gangs of self-congratulating, hyperventilating men, whether in New Delhi, in Cairo's Tahrir Square or somewhere in Somalia, amount to chest-pounding assertions of dominance from fearful, cowardly individuals. In countries with strong laws and changing attitudes about women, the number of rapes has been plummeting.


Opinion: End global rape culture








Then there are the murders and attempted murders. Last year we saw Pakistan's Taliban try to kill Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old girl who demanded nothing more than the right to an education. And last month, in neighboring Afghanistan, gunmen murdered Najia Sediqi, the provincial director of women's affairs.


Between the two extremes in women's status, we have a much less dramatic -- but still crucial -- struggle.


The women of Egypt, who stood on the front lines of the revolution, will now have to live with a new constitution that commits the state to "preserve the genuine character of the Egyptian family" and vaguely notes the "duties of a woman toward her family," opening the door to who-knows-what efforts by the state to keep women in their place.


In the United States, where progress is indisputable in so many areas, women still make, in the aggregate, 76 cents for every dollar men earn.


Inequality is pervasive in areas that are subtly important. Despite having a female secretary of State, and even, possibly, a female secretary of Defense on the horizon, Washington remains a "city of men," as the writer Micah Zenko noted, with women woefully underrepresented in the corridors of power, in think tanks and in academia.


Women's minds and ideas don't receive an equal hearing on the national stage partly because, as one survey showed, only 20% of all op-eds are written by women, and just 15% of columns dealing with foreign policy and security issues.


Opinion: House GOP failed women on Violence Against Women Act


Every women walks on the path laid painstakingly and deliberately by people like Hillary Clinton, or accidentally, tragically, by women like Nirbhaya. The road to women's equality, it turns out, is paved with potholes, quicksand and death traps.


There is a reason so many feel a close connection to Hillary Clinton and to Nirbhaya. Their stories, like those of 3 billion others, are of women seeking to make it in what is still today mostly a man's world.


As Clinton recovers and as the people of India work to build a positive legacy from Nirbhaya's death, the obvious lesson is that much work remains ahead. Strong headwinds will push against women's progress, but progress can be achieved through urgent legislation, through patient education, and when necessary -- as it is now -- through mass protests and unrelentingly firm demands.


Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.


Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frida Ghitis.






Read More..

Second escaped inmate caught in former neighborhood

Chicago Tribune reporter Jason Meisner on the recent arrest of Kenneth Conley, a convicted bank robber who escaped from federal jail in December. (Posted on: Jan. 4, 2013.)









The second inmate who made a daring escape last month from a high-rise federal jail in the South Loop was captured today in south suburban Palos Hills, according to FBI officials.


Kenneth Conley, a convicted bank robber, was awaiting sentencing when he and cellmate Joseph “Jose” Banks scaled about 15 floors down the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Dec. 18 with a rope fashioned from bedsheets.


FBI Spokeswoman Joan Hyde said Conley was apprehended at an apartment complex at about 4 p.m. by Palos Hills police.








Palos Hills Police Deputy Chief James Boie said officers apprehended Conley with the help of two maintenance men working at an apartment complex in the 10200 block of South 86th Terrace, who called police at about 3:30 p.m. to report a “suspicious person.''


In 2004, Conley used to live on another street of the Scenic Tree complex where police were initially called, Boie said.


At least two officers who had been checking out the complaint were talking with the building maintenance workers in the basement of the building on 86th Terrace but did not find Conley. 


As they were leaving, they saw their lieutenant outside on the street about a half a block away, involved in a dispute with Conley, who’d been walking eastbound, Boie said.


Conley was dressed in an overcoat, pretending to use a cane and was wearing glasses. He had a dark hat pulled down low over his head and appeared to be trying to look older than he actually was, Boie said.


“Our officers stopped to talk to him and he said he was just visiting,” Boie said. “He gave them a phony name, and while they’re trying to run the information, he got wise that they were going to figure it out and he pushed one of the officers down and took off running.”

Before fleeing, Conley slugged the lieutenant, a 30-year department veteran, and the lieutenant had injuries including a possible torn hamstring. Boie said the lieutenant was taken to Palos Community Hospital for treatment.


Boie said two additional officers responding to the scene caught the man -- later identified as Conley -- about a block away as he was trying to force his way into an apartment at the complex.


He was wrestled down but did not offer any other resistance. Conley was also taken to Palos Community Hospital for observation, according to Boie.


When police were called about the suspicious person, the lieutenant, a sergeant and an officer initially went to check it out, said police Chief Paul J. Madigan.

When Conley could not provide identification the struggle broke out, with Conley taking a swing at one of the officers before fleeing into one of the buildings, Madigan said.

Conley was finally apprehended when he tried to break into someone’s apartment, Madigan said.

Conley told police he injured his arm during the struggle.  He remains in the custody of federal authorities, Madigan said.

The multi-unit complex is made up of clusters of 2-story, brick buildings, with a wooded area behind it.


Police found a BB pistol in Conley’s pocket. He had no money, ID or other weapons, Boie said.

Boie said that U.S. Marshals had been in the area days earlier after getting a tip that Conley had knocked on the door of a former acquaintance.


Boie said Conley was known to the police because he’d had multiple resisting and obstructing arrests in 2004. Even still, they were surprised when they realized who they’d just arrested.


“I’m sure they were a little surprised that they had the guy standing in front of them,’’ Boie said.


As far as what happens next, Boie said it was not up to their department.


“It’s been turned over to the FBI and I’m sure the next move is theirs,’’ Boie said.


Boie said Conley was charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery and resisting arrest for today’s incident.


Conley’s mother, Sandra, answered the phone at her Tinley Park home this evening and said she had heard of her son’s arrest but had no details or comment.


Read More..

Chavez swearing-in can be delayed: Venezuelan VP


CARACAS (Reuters) - President Hugo Chavez's formal swearing-in for a new six-year term scheduled for January 10 can be postponed if he is unable to attend due to his battle to recover from cancer surgery, Venezuela's vice president said on Friday.


Nicolas Maduro's comments were the clearest indication yet that the Venezuelan government is preparing to delay the swearing-in while avoiding naming a replacement for Chavez or calling a new election in the South American OPEC nation.


In power since 1999, the 58-year-old socialist leader has not been seen in public for more than three weeks. Allies say he is in delicate condition after a fourth operation in two years for an undisclosed form of cancer in his pelvic area.


The political opposition argues that Chavez's presence on January 10 in Cuba - where there are rumors he may be dying - is tantamount to the president's stepping down.


But Maduro, waving a copy of the constitution during an interview with state TV, said there was no problem if Chavez was sworn in at a later date by the nation's top court.


"The interpretation being given is that the 2013-2019 constitutional period starts on January 10. In the case of President Chavez, he is a re-elected president and continues in his functions," he said.


"The formality of his swearing-in can be resolved in the Supreme Court at the time the court deems appropriate in coordination with the head of state."


In the increasing "Kremlinology"-style analysis of Venezuela's extraordinary political situation, that could be interpreted in different ways: that Maduro and other allies trust Chavez will recover eventually, or that they are buying time to cement succession plans before going into an election.


Despite his serious medical condition, there was no reason to declare Chavez's "complete absence" from office, Maduro said. Such a declaration would trigger a new vote within 30 days, according to Venezuela's charter.


RECOVERY POSSIBLE?


Chavez was conscious and fighting to recover, said Maduro, who traveled to Havana to see his boss this week.


"We will have the Commander well again," he said.


Maduro, 50, whom Chavez named as his preferred successor should he be forced to leave office, said Venezuela's opposition had no right to go against the will of the people as expressed in the October 7 vote to re-elect the president.


"The president right now is president ... Don't mess with the people. Respect democracy."


Despite insisting Chavez remains president and there is hope for recovery, the government has acknowledged the gravity of his condition, saying he is having trouble breathing due to a "severe" respiratory infection.


Social networks are abuzz with rumors he is on life support or facing uncontrollable metastasis of his cancer.


Chavez's abrupt exit from the political scene would be a huge shock for Venezuela. His oil-financed socialism has made him a hero to the poor, while critics call him a dictator seeking to impose Cuban-style communism on Venezuelans.


Should Chavez leave office, a new election is likely to pitch former bus driver and union activist Maduro against opposition leader Henrique Capriles, the 40-year-old governor of Miranda state.


Capriles lost to Chavez in the October presidential election, but won an impressive 44 percent of the vote. Though past polls have shown him to be more popular than all of Chavez's allies, the equation is now different given Maduro has received the president's personal blessing - a factor likely to fire up Chavez's fanatical supporters.


His condition is being watched closely by Latin American allies that have benefited from his help, as well as investors attracted by Venezuela's lucrative and widely traded debt.


"The odds are growing that the country will soon undergo a possibly tumultuous transition," the U.S.-based think tank Stratfor said this week.


(Additional reporting by Marianna Parraga; editing by Christopher Wilson)



Read More..

Asian shares drop on Fed minutes, dollar extends gains

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares fell on Friday, as investors booked profits from a recent sharp climb after senior Federal Reserve officials expressed concerns about continuing to expand stimulative bond buying, but the dollar extended gains as U.S. debt yields rose.


European shares were seen tracking Asian peers lower, with financial spreadbetters predicting London's FTSE 100 <.ftse>, Paris's CAC-40 <.fchi> and Frankfurt's DAX <.gdaxi> would open down as much as 0.3 percent. A 0.1 percent drop in U.S. stock futures suggested a soft Wall Street start. <.l><.eu><.n/>


Minutes from the Fed's December policy meeting released on Thursday showed concerns among some members of the Federal Open Markets Committee about the potential risks of the Fed's asset purchases on financial markets, even if it looked set to continue an open-ended stimulus program for now.


The Fed's asset-buying policy has been pivotal in underpinning investor risk appetite, so the more hawkish Fed minutes unnerved financial markets.


Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields continued their climb, hitting an eight-month high around 1.93 percent in Asia on Friday, while key 10-year Japanese government bond yields touched a 3-1/2-month high of 0.83 percent.


The dollar also rose on data showing U.S. private-sector hiring improved in December, raising hopes for a strong monthly payrolls report due later in the day, a key gauge to the U.S. economy and the Fed's future policy course.


The dollar's rise makes dollar-based assets more expensive for non-dollar investors, hitting precious metals and oil.


The Fed's minutes spurred consolidation from broad-based buying which took place after U.S. lawmakers earlier this week narrowly avoided falling off the "fiscal cliff" of automatic taxes rises and spending cuts, which risked derailing the economy.


"Market moves largely reflect positioning after the recent rallies and before the nonfarm payrolls, which could tip the markets either way," said Yuji Saito, director of foreign exchange at Credit Agricole in Tokyo, adding that markets may be dictated by interest rates this year, rather than risk-on, risk-off sentiment as was last year.


MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus> slid 0.7 percent, after scaling its highest since August 2011 on Thursday. But the pan-Asian index was set to end the first week of 2013 up 1.8 percent, thanks to the New Year's rally.


"After the big relief rally we had on the fiscal cliff decision and compromise, I would expect the market to consolidate a little bit," Martin Lakos division director at Macquarie Private Wealth, said of Australian shares <.axjo> which slipped 0.4 percent, retreating from Thursday's 19-month highs. Hong Kong shares <.hsi> eased from a 19-month highs, falling 0.6 percent, but Shanghai <.ssec> rose 0.5 percent.


The dollar hit its highest since July 2010 against the yen at 87.835 while the euro fell to a three-week low of $1.3019. The U.S. dollar <.dxy> also touched a six-week high against a basket of major currencies on Friday.


"Dollar-positive momentum is solid as the fiscal cliff was averted, the overnight data was good and yields were rising. I won't be surprised to see the dollar rise to 90 yen soon," said Hiroshi Maeba, head of FX trading Japan for UBS in Tokyo.


"Despite repeated Japanese intervention, the dollar had refused to strengthen in the past, but now, it's advancing without any action, suggesting the direction has completely changed to support continued dollar buying," Maeba said.


The yen's tumble pushed Japan's benchmark Nikkei stock average <.n225> briefly up more than 3 percent to its highest since March 2011, outshining the Asian regional bourses. The Nikkei closed up 2.8 percent. <.t/>



ADP vs US gov't jobs data: http://link.reuters.com/fex44t


Global services activity: http://link.reuters.com/dyh85s


Video on fiscal cliff: http://link.reuters.com/zaf94t


SE Asia valuations: http://link.reuters.com/cuj64t


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>


FISCAL CLIFF VS DATA


U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans face tough talks on spending cuts and an increase in the nation's debt limit as the hard-fought fiscal deal delayed decisions on expenditures until March 1.


Investor sentiment was supported by recent solid data from the world's two largest economies, the United States and China.


China's services sector saw its slowest rate of expansion in nearly a year and a half in December, a private sector survey showed on Friday, but underlying growth revival remained intact, even if it were modest.


"We are coming off overbought levels today. This cyclical-led rally in offshore Chinese shares should continue in the next few weeks, China's improving economic data will help," said Wang Ao-chao, UOB-Kay Hian's Shanghai-based head of China research.


The U.S. economy likely added 150,000 jobs in December, according to a Reuters survey, up from 146,000 in November. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 7.7 percent.


Resolution of the U.S. fiscal cliff crisis could weigh on some Asian assets as investors could start to shift some money out of overpriced Asian investments in favor of the U.S. on brightening prospects for American stocks.


U.S. crude fell 0.7 percent to $92.26 a barrel while Brent shed 0.6 percent to $111.47.


Spot gold fell 1 percent to around $1,645, dragging silver down more than 2 percent to $29.48.


Despite the decline in equities markets, sentiment in Asian credit markets remained upbeat, with the spread on the iTraxx Asia ex-Japan investment-grade index narrowing by two basis points.


(Additional reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang in Sydney and Clement Tan in Hong Kong; Editing by Eric Meijer)



Read More..

Oregon runs past K-State 35-17 at Fiesta Bowl


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — De'Anthony Thomas caught the opening kickoff, raced past Oregon's sideline and leaned his head into the end zone like a sprinter crossing the finish line.


The track meet had started and the fifth-ranked Ducks barely looked back after that.


Triggered by Thomas' 94-yard return, Oregon bolted by No. 7 Kansas State 35-17 Thursday night at the Fiesta Bowl in what may have been coach Chip Kelly's final game with the Ducks.


"I felt like my role in this game was to be a momentum-builder and a game-changer," Thomas said. "Once I saw that edge, I wanted to get to the end zone as fast as I could so I could celebrate with my teammates."


They did it a lot.


Teams that had that national title aspirations end on the same day, Oregon and Kansas State ended up in the desert for a marquee matchup billed as a battle of styles: The fast-flying Ducks vs. the execution-is-everything Wildcats.


With Kelly reportedly talking to several NFL teams, Oregon (12-1) was too much for Kansas State and its Heisman Trophy finalist, Collin Klein, turning the game into a try-to-keep up race from the start.


Thomas followed his before-everyone-sat-down kickoff return with a 23-yard touchdown catch, finishing with 195 total yards.


Kenjon Barner ran for 143 yards on 31 carries and scored on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota in the second quarter. Mariota later scored on a 2-yard run in the third quarter, capped by an obscure 1-point safety that went in the Ducks' favor.


Even Oregon's defense got into the act, intercepting Klein twice and holding him to 30 yards on 13 carries.


"We got beat by a better team tonight, combined by the fact that we let down from time to time," coach Bill Snyder said after Kansas State's fifth straight bowl loss.


Whether Kelly leaves Eugene or not, he had a good run, leading the Ducks to four straight trips to BCS bowls, the last two wins.


Ducks fans sure let him know how they felt, chanting "We want Chip!" just before he was handed the massive Fiesta Bowl trophy.


"Our focus was on this game tonight," Kelly said. "If for some reason, someone wanted to talk to me, it's because of those players over there. We have an unbelievable team, an unbelievable program and any success is because of those guys."


Last year's Fiesta Bowl was an offensive fiesta, with Oklahoma State outlasting Stanford 41-38 in overtime.


The 2013 version was an upgrade: Nos. 4 and 5 in the BCS, two of the nation's best offenses, dynamic players and superbly successful coaches on both sides.


Oregon has become the standard for go-go-go football under Kelly, its fleet of Ducks making those shiny helmets — green like Christmas tree bulbs for the Fiesta Bowl — and flashy uniforms blur across the grassy landscape.


Their backfield of Thomas, Barner and Mariota made up a three-headed monster of momentum, each one capable of turning a single play into a scoring drive of 60 seconds or less.


Mariota has been the show-running leader, a question mark before the season who ably ran Oregon's high-octane offense as the first freshman quarterback to start for the Ducks since Danny O'Neil in 1991.


Oregon won the Rose Bowl for the first time in 95 years last season and was in position for a spot in the BCS title game this year before losing a heartbreaker to Stanford on Nov. 17.


Thomas offered the first flash of speed, picking up a couple of blocks and racing toward a not-so-photo finish at the line. The Ducks, are they are apt to do, went for 2 on the point-after and converted on a trick play to go up 8-0 in the game's first 12 seconds.


It was the second straight day a BCS bowl began with a quick strike; Louisville returned an interception for a touchdown against Florida on the first play of the Sugar Bowl Wednesday night.


Thomas hit the Wildcats (11-2) again late in the first quarter, breaking a couple of tackles and dragging three defenders into the end zone for a catch-and-run TD that put the Ducks up 15-0.


It's nothing new for Oregon's sophomore sensation: He had 314 total yards and two long touchdown runs in the 2012 Rose Bowl. The Ducks are used to it, too, after averaging more than 50 points per game.


And they kept flying.


Oregon followed a missed 40-yard field goal by Kansas State's Anthony Cantele by unleashing one of its blink-and-you'll-miss-it scoring drives late in the second quarter. Moving 77 yards in 46 seconds, the Ducks went up 22-10 at halftime after Mariota hit Barner on 24-yard TD pass.


Alejandro Maldonado hit a 33-yard field goal on Oregon's opening drive of the third quarter and Mariota capped a long drive with an easy 2-yard TD run to the left. Kansas State's Javonta Boyd blocked the point-after attempt, but even that went wrong for the Wildcats: Chris Harper was tackled in the end zone for a bizarre 1-point safety that put Oregon up 32-10.


It was the first 1-point safety in major college football since 2004 when Texas did it against Texas A&M, STATS said.


"There were so many things that could have changed the outcome of this game," Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown said.


Kansas State had gone through its second revival under Snyder, the studious coach who never lost touch with the game or players young enough to be his grandchildren during a three-year retirement.


The 73-year-old followed up the Manhattan Miracle by returning to lead the Wildcats back to national prominence with his attention-to-detail ways.


Klein has led K-State's meticulous march this season, a fifth-year senior who plays in the mold of the college version of Tim Tebow: Gritty, humble, finds a way to win, whatever it takes.


Like the Ducks, the Wildcats had their national-title hopes stamped out on Nov. 17, blown out by Baylor with a rare letdown on both sides of the ball.


Kansas State needed a little time to get its wheels spinning on offense, laboring early before Klein scored on a 6-yard run early in the second quarter.


Klein kept the Wildcats moving in the quarter, though not toward touchdowns: Cantele hit a 25-yard field goal and missed from 40 after a false-start penalty.


Klein hit John Hubert on a 10-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, but all that did was cut Oregon's lead down to 32-17.


He threw for 151 yards on 17 of 32 passing.


"It wasn't really complicated," Kelly said of slowing Klein. "He's a great player, one of the greats of college football. I had my heart in my throat a couple of times watching him around, but out guys just made plays when they had to make plays."


By doing so, they may have put a nice exclamation point on Kelly's college career.


Read More..

Nearly half of 280 New York pets displaced by Sandy left behind






NEW YORK (Reuters) – The New York City shelter housing 280 pets displaced by Superstorm Sandy must shut down and, with nearly half the animals still unclaimed, cannot rule out euthanizing any left behind.


An uncertain future lies ahead for 52 cats and 84 dogs who remain in the Brooklyn emergency boarding facility run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, spokeswoman Kelly Krause said on Thursday.






They are among 280 pets sheltered since November, after the New York City area was devastated by the late October storm.


The facility was originally scheduled to close on December 17, but the volume of unclaimed pets prompted the ASPCA to extend its deadline into January.


What will happen to those pets whose owners fail to return is unclear. The ASPCA is looking into placing the unclaimed pets in foster homes or shelters if their owners are unreachable or unable to take them back, although no hard deadline has been given to owners, said Krause.


Following Hurricane Katrina, many similarly unclaimed pets were put up for adoption and placed in caring homes, only to have their owners surface months later and seek to get them back.


“We are still caring for the displaced pets at our emergency boarding facility, but we’re also planning the next step, which is to find homes for unclaimed animals as we start to demobilize our operation,” Tim Rickey, senior director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response, said in a statement.


Most of the owners that the ASPCA has identified live in temporary housing or with family and friends, environments that prevent them from bringing their animals home, Krause said. A majority of the owners who had yet to claim their pets lived in the hard-hit Rockaways neighborhood in Queens.


Many pit bulls and mastiffs, dogs that shelters typically find hard to place given their vicious reputations, were among the unclaimed canines.


It was too early to say whether any of the pets that remain left behind would be put down, Krause said. (Reporting by Peter Rudegeair; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Sandra Maler)


Animal and Pets News Headlines – Yahoo! News





Title Post: Nearly half of 280 New York pets displaced by Sandy left behind
Url Post: http://www.news.fluser.com/nearly-half-of-280-new-york-pets-displaced-by-sandy-left-behind/
Link To Post : Nearly half of 280 New York pets displaced by Sandy left behind
Rating:
100%

based on 99998 ratings.
5 user reviews.
Author: Fluser SeoLink
Thanks for visiting the blog, If any criticism and suggestions please leave a comment




Read More..

Why U.S. lives under the shadow of 'W'




Julian Zelizer says former President George W. Bush's key tax and homeland security policies survive in the age of Obama




STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Julian Zelizer: For all the criticism Bush got, two key policies have survived

  • He says fiscal cliff pact perpetuates nearly all of Bush's tax cuts

  • Obama administration has largely followed Bush's homeland security policy, he says

  • Zelizer: By squeezing revenues, Bush tax cuts will put pressure on spending




Editor's note: Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and of "Governing America."


Princeton, New Jersey (CNN) -- Somewhere in Texas, former President George W. Bush is smiling.


Although some Democrats are pleased that taxes will now go up on the wealthiest Americans, the recent deal to avert the fiscal cliff entrenches, rather than dismantles, one of Bush's signature legacies -- income tax cuts. Ninety-nine percent of American households were protected from tax increases, aside from the expiration of the reduced rate for the payroll tax.



Julian Zelizer

Julian Zelizer



In the final deal, Congress and President Barack Obama agreed to preserve most of the Bush tax cuts, including exemptions on the estate tax.


When Bush started his term in 2001, many of his critics dismissed him as a lightweight, the son of a former president who won office as result of his family's political fortune and a controversial decision by the Supreme Court on the 2000 election.



But what has become clear in hindsight, regardless of what one thinks of Bush and his politics, is that his administration left behind a record that has had a huge impact on American politics, a record that will not easily be dismantled by future presidents.


The twin pillars of Bush's record were counterterrorism policies and tax cuts. During his first term, it became clear that Obama would not dismantle most of the homeland security apparatus put into place by his predecessor. Despite a campaign in 2008 that focused on flaws with the nation's response to 9/11, Obama has kept most of the counterterrorism program intact.


Opinion: The real issue is runaway spending


In some cases, the administration continues to aggressively use tactics his supporters once decried, such as relying on renditions to detain terrorist suspects who are overseas, as The Washington Post reported this week. In other areas, the administration has expanded the war on terrorism, including the broader use of drone strikes to kill terrorists.










Now come taxes and spending.


With regard to the Bush tax cuts, Obama had promised to overturn a policy that he saw as regressive. Although he always said that he would protect the middle class from tax increases, Obama criticized Bush for pushing through Congress policies that bled the federal government of needed revenue and benefited the wealthy.


In 2010, Obama agreed to temporarily extend all the tax cuts. Though many Democrats were furious, Obama concluded that he had little political chance to overturn them and he seemed to agree with Republicans that reversing them would hurt an economy limping along after a terrible recession.


Opinion: Time to toot horn for George H.W. Bush


With the fiscal cliff deal, Obama could certainly claim more victories than in 2010. Taxes for the wealthiest Americans will go up. Congress also agreed to extend unemployment compensation and continue higher payments to Medicare providers.


But beneath all the sound and fury is the fact that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, for most Americans, are now a permanent part of the legislative landscape. (In addition, middle class Americans will breathe a sigh of relief that Congress has permanently fixed the Alternative Minimum Tax, which would have hit many of them with a provision once designed to make sure that the wealthy paid their fair share.)


As Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Camp remarked, "After more than a decade of criticizing these tax cuts, Democrats are finally joining Republicans in making them permanent." Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the new legislation will increase the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.


The tax cuts have significant consequences on all of American policy.


Opinion: Christie drops bomb on GOP leaders


Most important, the fact that a Democratic president has now legitimated the moves of a Republican administration gives a bipartisan imprimatur to the legitimacy of the current tax rates.


Although some Republicans signed on to raising taxes for the first time in two decades, the fact is that Democrats have agreed to tax rates which, compared to much of the 20th century, are extraordinarily low. Public perception of a new status quo makes it harder for presidents to ever raise taxes on most Americans to satisfy the revenue needs for the federal government.


At the same time, the continuation of reduced taxes keeps the federal government in a fiscal straitjacket. As a result, politicians are left to focus on finding the money to pay for existing programs or making cuts wherever possible.


New innovations in federal policy that require substantial revenue are just about impossible. To be sure, there have been significant exceptions, such as the Affordable Care Act. But overall, bold policy departures that require significant amounts of general revenue are harder to come by than in the 1930s or 1960s.


Republicans thus succeed with what some have called the "starve the beast" strategy of cutting government by taking away its resources. Since the long-term deficit only becomes worse, Republicans will continue to have ample opportunity to pressure Democrats into accepting spending cuts and keep them on the defense with regards to new government programs.


Politics: Are the days of Congress 'going big' over?


With his income tax cuts enshrined, Bush can rest comfortably that much of the policy world he designed will remain intact and continue to define American politics. Obama has struggled to work within the world that Bush created, and with this legislation, even with his victories, he has demonstrated that the possibilities for change have been much more limited than he imagined when he ran in 2008 or even in 2012.


Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion


Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Julian Zelizer.






Read More..

Alvarez to review domestic violence case









Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez vowed Thursday to review how her office handled domestic-violence charges three months before authorities said a Cicero father killed his wife and daughter and critically injured his son in an alleged case of arson last weekend.

In a statement, Alvarez said she had "serious questions and concerns" about why felony charges were not brought against Nathaniel Beller, 29, last September after he allegedly poured gasoline in the bathtub of his Cicero apartment and threatened to kill his two children.

Last Saturday, after his release from a mental health facility, Beller is suspected of pouring gasoline on his two young children and wife, Taniya Johnson, 33, in a home on Chicago's West Side and igniting them, officials said. Killed were Beller, his wife, and Neriyah, 4, his daughter. Son Naciere, 9, was critically injured.

"This case is a horrific tragedy involving the extremely complicated and challenging crime of domestic violence and the troubling and increasing prevalence of mental illness in criminal defendants," Alvarez said. "...This matter will be reviewed in its entirety and if individuals in this office need to be held accountable for their judgment, that will certainly occur."

Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania said Thursday that Cicero police recommended felony charges against Beller after the September incident, but that the state's attorney's office decided not to pursue that.

A Cicero police report indicated that an assistant state's attorney rejected felony charges because of a lack of evidence and the refusal of Beller's wife to cooperate.

State child-welfare officials removed the children from the home and placed them with an aunt while Cicero police continued to investigate the September incident. Meanwhile, Beller was committed to a mental health facility for the next three months, and the case went to juvenile court to determine custody of the children.

jmeisner@tribune.com

jmdelgado@tribune.com



Read More..

Eleven dead in Damascus gas station blast


AZAZ, Syria (Reuters) - At least 11 people were killed and 40 wounded when a car bomb exploded at a crowded petrol station in the Syrian capital Damascus on Thursday, opposition activists said.


The station was packed with people queuing for fuel that has become increasingly scarce during the country's 21-month-long insurgency aimed at overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad.


The semi-official al-Ikhbariya television station showed footage of 10 burnt bodies and Red Crescent workers searching for victims at the site.


The opposition Revolution Leadership Council in Damascus said the explosion was caused by a booby-trapped car.


There was no immediate indication of who was responsible for the bombing in the Barzeh al-Balad district, whose residents include members of the Sunni Muslim majority and other religious and ethnic minorities.


"The station is usually packed even when it has no fuel," said an opposition activist who did not want to be named. "There are lots of people who sleep there overnight, waiting for early morning fuel consignments."


It was the second time that a petrol station has been hit in Damascus this week. Dozens of people were incinerated in an air strike as they waited for fuel on Wednesday, according to opposition sources.


In northern Syria, rebels were battling to seize an air base in their campaign against the air power that Assad has used to bomb rebel-held towns.


More than 60,000 people have been killed in the uprising and civil war, the United Nations said this week, a much higher death toll than previously thought.


DRAMATIC ADVANCES


After dramatic advances over the second half of 2012, the rebels now hold wide swathes of territory in the north and east, but they cannot protect towns and villages from Assad's helicopters and jets.


Hundreds of rebel fighters were attempting to storm the Taftanaz air base, near the highway that links Syria's two main cities, Aleppo and Damascus.


A rebel fighter speaking from near the Taftanaz base overnight said much of the base was still in loyalist hands but insurgents had managed to destroy a helicopter and a fighter jet on the ground.


The northern rebel Idlib Coordination Committee said the rebels had detonated a car bomb inside the base.


The government's SANA news agency said the base had not fallen and that the military had "strongly confronted an attempt by the terrorists to attack the airport from several axes, inflicting heavy losses among them and destroying their weapons and munitions".


Rami Abdulrahman, head of the opposition-aligned Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which monitors the conflict from Britain, said as many as 800 fighters were involved in the assault, including Islamists from Jabhat al-Nusra, a powerful group that Washington considers terrorists.


Taftanaz is mainly a helicopter base, used for missions to resupply army positions cut off by the rebels, as well as for dropping crude "barrel bombs" on rebel-controlled areas.


Near Minakh, another northern air base that rebels have surrounded, government forces have retaliated by shelling and bombing nearby towns.


NIGHTLY BOMBARDMENTS


In the town of Azaz, where the bombardment has become a near nightly occurrence, shells hit a family house overnight. Zeinab Hammadi said her two wounded daughters, aged 10 and 12, had been rushed across the border to Turkey, one with her brain exposed.


"We were sleeping and it just landed on us in the blink of an eye," she said, weeping as she surveyed the damage.


Family members tried to salvage possessions from the wreckage, men lifting out furniture and children carrying out their belongings in tubs.


"He (Assad) wants revenge against the people," said Abu Hassan, 33, working at a garage near the destroyed house. "What is the fault of the children? Are they the ones fighting?"


Opposition activists said warplanes struck a residential building in another rebel-held northern town, Hayyan, killing at least eight civilians.


Video footage showed men carrying dismembered bodies of children and dozens of people searching for victims in the rubble. The provenance of the video could not be independently confirmed.


In addition to their tenuous grip on the north, the rebels also hold a crescent of suburbs on the edge of Damascus, which have come under bombardment by government forces that control the center of the capital.


On Wednesday, according to opposition activists, dozens of people died in an inferno caused by an air strike on a petrol station in a Damascus suburb where residents were lining up for fuel.


The civil war in Syria has become the longest and bloodiest of the conflicts that rose out of uprisings across the Arab world in the past two years.


Assad's family has ruled for 42 years since his father seized power in a coup. The war pits rebels, mainly from the Sunni Muslim majority, against a government supported by members of Assad's Shi'ite-derived Alawite minority sect and some members of other minorities who fear revenge if he falls.


The West, most Sunni-ruled Arab states and Turkey have called for Assad to step down. He is supported by Russia and Shi'ite Iran.


(Additional reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman and Dominic Evans in Beirut; Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Ruth Pitchford and Giles Elgood)



Read More..