Wall Street Week Ahead: Bears hibernate as stocks near record highs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks have been on a tear in January, moving major indexes within striking distance of all-time highs. The bearish case is a difficult one to make right now.


Earnings have exceeded expectations, the housing and labor markets have strengthened, lawmakers in Washington no longer seem to be the roadblock that they were for most of 2012, and money has returned to stock funds again.


The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> has gained 5.4 percent this year and closed above 1,500 - climbing to the spot where Wall Street strategists expected it to be by mid-year. The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> is 2.2 percent away from all-time highs reached in October 2007. The Dow ended Friday's session at 13,895.98, its highest close since October 31, 2007.


The S&P has risen for four straight weeks and eight consecutive sessions, the longest streak of days since 2004. On Friday, the benchmark S&P 500 ended at 1,502.96 - its first close above 1,500 in more than five years.


"Once we break above a resistance level at 1,510, we dramatically increase the probability that we break the highs of 2007," said Walter Zimmermann, technical analyst at United-ICAP, in Jersey City, New Jersey. "That may be the start of a rise that could take equities near 1,800 within the next few years."


The most recent Reuters poll of Wall Street strategists estimated the benchmark index would rise to 1,550 by year-end, a target that is 3.1 percent away from current levels. That would put the S&P 500 a stone's throw from the index's all-time intraday high of 1,576.09 reached on October 11, 2007.


The new year has brought a sharp increase in flows into U.S. equity mutual funds, and that has helped stocks rack up four straight weeks of gains, with strength in big- and small-caps alike.


That's not to say there aren't concerns. Economic growth has been steady, but not as strong as many had hoped. The household unemployment rate remains high at 7.8 percent. And more than 75 percent of the stocks in the S&P 500 are above their 26-week highs, suggesting the buying has come too far, too fast.


MUTUAL FUND INVESTORS COME BACK


All 10 S&P 500 industry sectors are higher in 2013, in part because of new money flowing into equity funds. Investors in U.S.-based funds committed $3.66 billion to stock mutual funds in the latest week, the third straight week of big gains for the funds, data from Thomson Reuters' Lipper service showed on Thursday.


Energy shares <.5sp10> lead the way with a gain of 6.6 percent, followed by industrials <.5sp20>, up 6.3 percent. Telecom <.5sp50>, a defensive play that underperforms in periods of growth, is the weakest sector - up 0.1 percent for the year.


More than 350 stocks hit new highs on Friday alone on the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow Jones Transportation Average <.djt> recently climbed to an all-time high, with stocks in this sector and other economic bellwethers posting strong gains almost daily.


"If you peel back the onion a little bit, you start to look at companies like Precision Castparts , Honeywell , 3M Co and Illinois Tool Works - these are big, broad-based industrial companies in the U.S. and they are all hitting new highs, and doing very well. That is the real story," said Mike Binger, portfolio manager at Gradient Investments, in Shoreview, Minnesota.


The gains have run across asset sizes as well. The S&P small-cap index <.spcy> has jumped 6.7 percent and the S&P mid-cap index <.mid> has shot up 7.5 percent so far this year.


Exchange-traded funds have seen year-to-date inflows of $15.6 billion, with fairly even flows across the small-, mid- and large-cap categories, according to Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at the ConvergEx Group, in New York.


"Investors aren't really differentiating among asset sizes. They just want broad equity exposure," Colas said.


The market has shown resilience to weak news. On Thursday, the S&P 500 held steady despite a 12 percent slide in shares of Apple after the iPhone and iPad maker's results. The tech giant is heavily weighted in both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 <.ndx> and in the past, its drop has suffocated stocks' broader gains.


JOBS DATA MAY TEST THE RALLY


In the last few days, the ratio of stocks hitting new highs versus those hitting new lows on a daily basis has started to diminish - a potential sign that the rally is narrowing to fewer names - and could be running out of gas.


Investors have also cited sentiment surveys that indicate high levels of bullishness among newsletter writers, a contrarian indicator, and momentum indicators are starting to also suggest the rally has perhaps come too far.


The market's resilience could be tested next week with Friday's release of the January non-farm payrolls report. About 155,000 jobs are seen being added in the month and the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 7.8 percent.


"Staying over 1,500 sends up a flag of profit taking," said Jerry Harris, president of asset management at Sterne Agee, in Birmingham, Alabama. "Since recent jobless claims have made us optimistic on payrolls, if that doesn't come through, it will be a real risk to the rally."


A number of marquee names will report earnings next week, including bellwether companies such as Caterpillar Inc , Amazon.com Inc , Ford Motor Co and Pfizer Inc .


On a historic basis, valuations remain relatively low - the S&P 500's current price-to-earnings ratio sits at 15.66, which is just a tad above the historic level of 15.


Worries about the U.S. stock market's recent strength do not mean the market is in a bubble. Investors clearly don't feel that way at the moment.


"We're seeing more interest in equities overall, and a lot of flows from bonds into stocks," said Paul Zemsky, who helps oversee $445 billion as the New York-based head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management. "We've been increasing our exposure to risky assets."


For the week, the Dow climbed 1.8 percent, the S&P 500 rose 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 0.5 percent.


(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Jan Paschal)



Read More..

In New Orleans, an unwelcome mat for Goodell


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An effigy of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dangles from the front porch of a New Orleans home that is otherwise festively decorated with Saints paraphernalia.


With restaurants and bars gearing up for an influx of Super Bowl XLVII visitors, the "Refuse to Serve Roger Goodell" page on Facebook had 107 likes as of Friday.


A portrait of Goodell covers the bull's-eye on the dart board at Parkview Tavern.


And floats in the unabashedly lowbrow Krewe du Vieux parade in the French Quarter last weekend displayed larger-than-life likenesses of Goodell in acts that defy polite description.


New Orleans is celebrating the return of Saints coach Sean Payton after a season of NFL banishment as a result of the "bountygate" scandal — when the team ran a pay-for-hits program. But Goodell, who suspended Payton and other current and former Saints players and coaches last year for their roles in the system, is being ridiculed here with a vehemence usually reserved for the city's scandal-scarred politicians.


"They believe he completely used the Saints as an example of something that was going on league-wide," said Pauline Patterson, co-owner of Finn McCool's, an Irish Bar in the Mid-City neighborhood where the words "Go To Hell Goodell" are visible over the fireplace.


Some of Goodell's critics say the disarray resulting from what they believe were unfair suspensions led to the Saints' 7-9 performance this year — and a missed chance to make history.


"We had a real shot of being the first team in history to host the Super Bowl in our own stadium," Parkview Tavern owner Kathy Anderson said. "He can't give that back to us."


Goodell suspended the coaches and players after an investigation found the Saints had a performance pool offering cash rewards for key plays, including big hits. The player suspensions eventually were overturned, but the coaches served their punishments.


Mayor Mitch Landrieu is among those saying that people in this city, known for its hospitality and history, should mind their manners and remember the not-too-distant past.


"Roger Goodell has been a great friend to New Orleans, and it's a fact that he's one of the people instrumental to making sure that the Saints stayed here after Hurricane Katrina," Landrieu said in a statement. It was a reference to the days after the storm, when 80 percent of the city was underwater and the damaged Superdome became a shelter for thousands of the displaced.


Then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and his second-in-command, Goodell, are credited with working to keep the team from abandoning New Orleans for San Antonio.


"If not for Roger Goodell, we would not have this Super Bowl," Landrieu added. "And we will need him since we want to host another one."


Saints quarterback Drew Brees said the game is validation of everything the city's gone through to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.


"There's no question, yeah. And I think people will see that when they come down, as soon as people come down that haven't been there in a while," Brees said Friday while in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. "The city knows how to entertain, knows how to treat people right. The tourism industry's huge, so we're excited to host this big game. Obviously it's the biggest sporting event in the world, and the city will be ready for it."


But some are in no mood to back off when it comes to Goodell.


Anderson said she understands city leaders' desire to put their best foot forward, but that it also is important for Saints fans to be able to vent.


"Whether I have Roger Goodell's face on my dart board is not going to change anybody's mind about the Super Bowl," Anderson said.


People should not take the barbs too seriously, said Lynda Woolard, a Saints fan who has been tracking some of the barbs on social media. "Nobody's saying there should be violence against the man," Woolard said.


"It's tongue-in-cheek," Patterson agreed.


Still, some diehards are ready to put it all behind them.


Patrick Brower, owner and manager of the Dirty Coast T-shirt shop, said Friday that he's pushing black-and-gold wear at his shop, choosing to unify Saints fans without bashing the commissioner.


"We've got to look forward here," Brower said. "The more time we spend in the past, it's just not beneficial."


Read More..

Mass Human Sacrifice? Pile of Ancient Skulls Found






Archaeologists have unearthed a trove of skulls in Mexico that may have once belonged to human sacrifice victims. The skulls, which date between A.D. 600 and 850, may also shatter existing notions about the ancient culture of the area.


The find, described in the January issue of the journal Latin American Antiquity, was located in an otherwise empty field that once held a vast lake, but was miles from the nearest major city of the day, said study co-author Christopher Morehart, an archaeologist at Georgia State University.






“It’s absolutely remarkable to think about this little nothing on the landscape having potentially evidence of the largest mass human sacrifice in ancient Meso-America,” Morehart said.


Middle of nowhere


Morehart and his colleagues were using satellite imagery to map ancient canals, irrigation channels and lakes that used to surround the kingdom of Teotihuacan (home to the Pyramid of the Sun), about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Mexico City. The vast ancient kingdom flourished from around A.D 200 to 650, though who built it remains a mystery. [In Photos: Amazing Ruins of the Ancient World]


In a now drained lake called Lake Xaltocan, around which was essentially rural farmland at the time, Morehart stumbled upon a site with evidence of looting.


When the team investigated, they discovered lines of human skulls with just one or two vertebra attached. To date, more than 150 skulls have been discovered there. The site also contained a shrine with incense burners, water-deity figurines and agricultural pottery, such as corncob depictions, suggesting a ritual purpose tied to local farming. [See images from the grisly excavation ]


Carbon dating suggested that the skulls were at least 1,100 years old, and the few dozen analyzed so far are mostly from men, Morehart told LiveScience. The researchers did not release photos of the skulls because the sacrifice victims may have historic ties to modern-day indigenous cultures.


The findings shake up existing notions of the culture of the day, because the site is not associated with Teotihuacan or other regional powers, said Destiny Crider, an archaeologist at Luther College in Iowa, who was not involved in the study.


Human sacrifice was practiced throughout the region, both at Teotihuacan and in the later Aztec Empire, but most of those rituals happened at great pyramids within cities and were tied to state powers.


By contrast, “this one is a big event in a little place,” Crider said.


The shrines and the fact that sacrifice victims were mostly male suggest they were carefully chosen, not simply the result of indiscriminate slaughter of a whole village, Crider told LiveScience.


Many researchers believe that massive drought caused the fall of Teotihuacan and ushered in a period of warfare and political infighting as smaller regional powers sprang up, Morehart said.


Those tumultuous times could have spurred innovative — and bloody — practices, Crider said.


“Maybe they needed to intensify their activities because everything was changing,” she said. “When things are uncertain you try new strategies.”


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: Mass Human Sacrifice? Pile of Ancient Skulls Found
Url Post: http://www.news.fluser.com/mass-human-sacrifice-pile-of-ancient-skulls-found/
Link To Post : Mass Human Sacrifice? Pile of Ancient Skulls Found
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..

Can sanctions deter North Korea?


























Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military


Kim Jong Un and his military





<<


<





1




2




3




4




5




6




7




8




9




10




11




12




13




14




15




16




17




18




19



>


>>







STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • N. Korea said Thursday it plans to carry out new nuclear test and more long-range rocket launches

  • It said they are part of new phase of confrontation with United States

  • George A. Lopez says North Korea's aim is to be recognized as a 'new nuclear nation by fait accompli'

  • The Security Council sanctions aim to deteriorate and disrupt N. Korea's programs, says Lopez




Editor's note: George A. Lopez holds the Hesburgh Chair in Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute, University of Notre Dame. He is a former member, UN Panel of Experts on DPRK.


Indiana, U.S. (CNN) -- North Korea has responded to new Security Council sanctions condemning its December 12 rocket launch with a declaration that it plans a third nuclear test and more missile launches. Politically, it has made unambiguous that its "aim" is its enemy, the United States.


In this rapid reaction to U.N. sanctions, the young government of Kim Jong Un underscores what Security Council members have long known anticipated from the DPRK. Their end-game is to create a vibrant, integrated missile and nuclear weapons program that will result - as in the cases of Pakistan and India - in their being recognized as a new nuclear nation by fait accompli.


Read more: North Korea says new nuclear test will be part of fight against U.S.


In light of DPRK defiance - and a soon to occur nuclear test - the Security Council's first set of sanctions on North Korea since 2009 may seem absurd and irrelevant. These sanctions will certainly not prevent a new DPRK nuclear test. Rather, the new sanctions resolution mobilizes regional neighbors and global actors to enforce sanctions that can weaken future DPRK programs and actions.










Read more: U.N. Security Council slams North Korea, expands sanctions


The utility, if not the necessity, of these Security Council sanctions are to deteriorate and disrupt the networks that sustain North Korea's programs. Chances of this degradation of DPRK capabilities have increased as the new sanctions both embolden and empower the member states who regularly observe - but do nothing about - suspicious vessels in their adjacent waterways.


The resolution provides new guidance to states regarding ship interdiction, cargo inspections, and the seizure and disposal of prohibited materials. Regarding nuclear and missile development the sanctions expand the list of material banned for trade to DPRK, including high tech, dual-use goods which might aid missile industries.


Read more: South Korean officials: North Korean rocket could hit U.S. mainland


These new measures provide a better structure for more effective sanctions, by naming new entities, such as a bank and trading companies, as well as individuals involved in the illicit financing of prohibited materials, to the sanctions list. To the surprise of many in the diplomatic community - the Council authorizes states to expose and confiscate North Korea's rather mobile "bulk cash." Such currency stocks have been used in many regions to facilitate purchases of luxury goods and other banned items that sustain the DPRK elites.


Finally, the Security Council frees the Sanctions Committee to act more independently and in a timely manner to add entities to the list of sanctioned actors when evidence shows them to be sanctions violators. This is an extensive hunting license for states in the region that can multiply the costs of sanctions to the DPRK over time.


Read more: North Korea's rocket launches cost $1.3 billion


Whatever their initial limitations, the new round of U.N. sanctions serve as a springboard to more robust measures by various regional and global powers which may lead back to serious negotiations with DPRK.


Despite its bluster and short-term action plan, Pyongyang recognizes that the wide space of operation for its policies it assumed it had a week ago, is now closed considerably. To get this kind of slap-down via this Security Council resolution - when the launch was a month ago - predicts that any nuke test or missile launch from Pyongyang will bring a new round of stronger and more targeted sanctions.


Read more: North Korea silences doubters, raises fears with rocket launch


Although dangerous - a new game is on regarding DPRK. Tougher U.N. measures imposed on the North generated a predictable response and likely new, prohibited action. While DPRK may be enraged, these sanctions have the P5 nations, most notably China, newly engaged. A forthcoming test or launch will no doubt increase tensions on both sides.


But this may be precisely the shock needed to restart the Six Party Talks. Without this institutional framework there is little chance of influencing DPRK actions. And in the meantime, the chances of greater degrading of DPRK capabilities via sanctions, are a sensible next best action.


Read more: Huge crowds gather in North Korean capital to celebrate rocket launch


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of George A. Lopez.






Read More..

Man, 38, fatally shot in city's 6th homicide of the day









A 38-year-old man was killed in the Englewood neighborhood tonight, making him the sixth person shot dead today, police said.

The latest shooting happened about 10:05 p.m. in the 7000 block of South Carpenter Street, Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Ron Gaines said.

The man died on the scene, Gaines said.

Earlier, in the second double homicide of the day, a 16-year-old boy and a 32-year-old man were gunned down in the West Garfield Park neighborhood about 5 p.m., police said.

Officers responded to a call of a person shot in the 4200 block of West Congress Parkway and found the two lying dead outside on the ground, according to the police.

Both victims lived in Chicago, police said. 

No one has been arrested.

Police had the crime scene near Genevieve Melody Elementary School taped off at least one block to the north, east and west, while neighbors milled about to get a better look.

On West Van Buren Street, a body could be scene lying in the roadway, near the curb and a bus stop.

A man who only identified himself as the teen victim's uncle said the boy, whose family lived nearby, had simply gone to run an errand.

"He was just going to the store," the man said. "They just killed him just like that."

Later, the man paced back and forth on the sidewalk, shaking his head in disbelief.

"He goes to school and everything," he said to a police officer.

This man and the boy were the 4th and 5th people killed today, and the shooting was the city's second double homicide.

chicagobreaking@tribune.com



Read More..

Riots over Egyptian death sentences kill at least 32


PORT SAID, Egypt/CAIRO (Reuters) - At least 32 people were killed on Saturday when Egyptians rampaged in protest at the sentencing of 21 people to death over a soccer stadium disaster, violence that compounds a political crisis facing Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.


Armored vehicles and military police fanned through the streets of Port Said, where gunshots rang out and protesters burned tires in anger that people from their city had been blamed for the deaths of 74 people at a match last year.


The rioting in Port Said, one of the most deadly spasms of violence since Hosni Mubarak's ouster two years ago, followed a day of anti-Mursi demonstrations on Friday, when nine people were killed. The toll over the past two days stands at 41.


The flare-ups make it even tougher for Mursi, who drew fire last year for expanding his powers and pushing through an Islamist-tinged constitution, to fix the creaking economy and cool tempers enough to ensure a smooth parliamentary election.


That vote is expected in the next few months and is meant to cement a democratic transition that has been blighted from the outset by political rows and street clashes.


The National Defense Council, which is led by Mursi and includes the defense minister who commands the army, called for "a broad national dialogue that would be attended by independent national characters" to discuss political differences and ensure a "fair and transparent" parliamentary poll.


The National Salvation Front of liberal-minded groups and other Mursi opponents cautiously welcomed the call.


THREATS OF VIOLENCE


Clashes in Port Said erupted after a judge sentenced 21 men to die for involvement in the deaths at the soccer match on February 1, 2012. Many were fans of the visiting team, Cairo's Al Ahly.


Al Ahly fans had threatened violence if the court had not meted out the death penalty. They cheered outside their Cairo club when the verdict was announced. But in Port Said, residents were furious that people from their city were held responsible.


Protesters ran wildly through the streets of the Mediterranean port, lighting tires in the street and storming two police stations, witnesses said. Gunshots were reported near the prison where most of the defendants were being held.


A security source in Port Said said 32 people were killed there, many dying from gunshot wounds. He said 312 were wounded and the ministry of defense had allocated a military plane to transfer the injured to military hospitals.


Inside the court in Cairo, families of victims danced, applauded and some broke down in tears of joy when they heard Judge Sobhy Abdel Maguid declare that the 21 men would be "referred to the Mufti", a phrase used to denote execution, as all death sentences must be reviewed by Egypt's top religious authority.


There were 73 defendants on trial. Those not sentenced on Saturday would face a verdict on March 9, the judge said.


At the Port Said soccer stadium a year ago, many spectators were crushed and witnesses saw some thrown off balconies after the match between Al Ahly and local team al-Masri. Al Ahly fans accused the police of being complicit in the deaths.


Among those killed on Saturday were a former player for al-Masri and a soccer player in another Port Said team, the website of the state broadcaster reported.


TEARGAS FIRED


On Friday, protesters angry at Mursi's rule had taken to the streets for the second anniversary of the uprising that erupted on January 25, 2011 and brought Mubarak down 18 days later.


Police fired teargas and protesters hurled stones and petrol bombs. Nine people were killed, mainly in the port city of Suez, and hundreds more were injured across the nation.


Reflecting international concern at the two days of clashes, British Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said: "This cannot help the process of dialogue which we encourage as vital for Egypt today, and we must condemn the violence in the strongest terms."


European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urged the Egyptian authorities to restore calm and order and called on all sides to show restraint, her spokesperson said.


On Saturday, some protesters again clashed and scuffled with police in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities. In the capital, youths pelted police lines with rocks near Tahrir Square.


In Suez, police fired teargas when protesters angry at Friday's deaths hurled petrol bombs and stormed a police post and other governmental buildings including the agriculture and social solidarity units.


Around 18 prisoners in Suez police stations managed to escape during the violence, a security source there said, and some 30 police weapons were stolen.


"We want to change the president and the government. We are tired of this regime. Nothing has changed," said Mahmoud Suleiman, 22, in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the cauldron of the 2011 anti-Mubarak revolt.


Mursi's opponents say he has failed to deliver on economic pledges or to be a president representing the full political and communal diversity of Egyptians, as he promised.


"Egypt will not regain its balance except by a political solution that is transparent and credible, by a government of national salvation to restore order and heal the economy and with a constitution for all Egyptians," prominent opposition politician Mohamed ElBaradei wrote on Twitter.


The opposition National Salvation Front, responding to the Defense Council's call for dialogue, said there must be a clear agenda and guarantees that any deal would be implemented, spokesman Khaled Dawoud told Reuters.


The Front earlier on Saturday threatened an election boycott and to call for more protests on Friday if demands were not met. Its demands included picking a national unity government to restore order and holding an early presidential poll.


Mursi's supporters say the opposition does not respect the democracy that has given Egypt its first freely elected leader.


The Muslim Brotherhood, which propelled Mursi to office, said in a statement that "corrupt people" and media who were biased against the president had stirred up fury on the streets.


The frequent violence and political schism between Islamists and secular Egyptians have hurt Mursi's efforts to revive an economy in crisis as investors and tourists have stayed away, taking a heavy toll on Egypt's currency.


(Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy, Peter Griffiths in London and Claire Davenport in Brussels; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)



Read More..

Wall Street Week Ahead: Bears hibernate as stocks near record highs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks have been on a tear in January, moving major indexes within striking distance of all-time highs. The bearish case is a difficult one to make right now.


Earnings have exceeded expectations, the housing and labor markets have strengthened, lawmakers in Washington no longer seem to be the roadblock that they were for most of 2012, and money has returned to stock funds again.


The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> has gained 5.4 percent this year and closed above 1,500 - climbing to the spot where Wall Street strategists expected it to be by mid-year. The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> is 2.2 percent away from all-time highs reached in October 2007. The Dow ended Friday's session at 13,895.98, its highest close since October 31, 2007.


The S&P has risen for four straight weeks and eight consecutive sessions, the longest streak of days since 2004. On Friday, the benchmark S&P 500 ended at 1,502.96 - its first close above 1,500 in more than five years.


"Once we break above a resistance level at 1,510, we dramatically increase the probability that we break the highs of 2007," said Walter Zimmermann, technical analyst at United-ICAP, in Jersey City, New Jersey. "That may be the start of a rise that could take equities near 1,800 within the next few years."


The most recent Reuters poll of Wall Street strategists estimated the benchmark index would rise to 1,550 by year-end, a target that is 3.1 percent away from current levels. That would put the S&P 500 a stone's throw from the index's all-time intraday high of 1,576.09 reached on October 11, 2007.


The new year has brought a sharp increase in flows into U.S. equity mutual funds, and that has helped stocks rack up four straight weeks of gains, with strength in big- and small-caps alike.


That's not to say there aren't concerns. Economic growth has been steady, but not as strong as many had hoped. The household unemployment rate remains high at 7.8 percent. And more than 75 percent of the stocks in the S&P 500 are above their 26-week highs, suggesting the buying has come too far, too fast.


MUTUAL FUND INVESTORS COME BACK


All 10 S&P 500 industry sectors are higher in 2013, in part because of new money flowing into equity funds. Investors in U.S.-based funds committed $3.66 billion to stock mutual funds in the latest week, the third straight week of big gains for the funds, data from Thomson Reuters' Lipper service showed on Thursday.


Energy shares <.5sp10> lead the way with a gain of 6.6 percent, followed by industrials <.5sp20>, up 6.3 percent. Telecom <.5sp50>, a defensive play that underperforms in periods of growth, is the weakest sector - up 0.1 percent for the year.


More than 350 stocks hit new highs on Friday alone on the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow Jones Transportation Average <.djt> recently climbed to an all-time high, with stocks in this sector and other economic bellwethers posting strong gains almost daily.


"If you peel back the onion a little bit, you start to look at companies like Precision Castparts , Honeywell , 3M Co and Illinois Tool Works - these are big, broad-based industrial companies in the U.S. and they are all hitting new highs, and doing very well. That is the real story," said Mike Binger, portfolio manager at Gradient Investments, in Shoreview, Minnesota.


The gains have run across asset sizes as well. The S&P small-cap index <.spcy> has jumped 6.7 percent and the S&P mid-cap index <.mid> has shot up 7.5 percent so far this year.


Exchange-traded funds have seen year-to-date inflows of $15.6 billion, with fairly even flows across the small-, mid- and large-cap categories, according to Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at the ConvergEx Group, in New York.


"Investors aren't really differentiating among asset sizes. They just want broad equity exposure," Colas said.


The market has shown resilience to weak news. On Thursday, the S&P 500 held steady despite a 12 percent slide in shares of Apple after the iPhone and iPad maker's results. The tech giant is heavily weighted in both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 <.ndx> and in the past, its drop has suffocated stocks' broader gains.


JOBS DATA MAY TEST THE RALLY


In the last few days, the ratio of stocks hitting new highs versus those hitting new lows on a daily basis has started to diminish - a potential sign that the rally is narrowing to fewer names - and could be running out of gas.


Investors have also cited sentiment surveys that indicate high levels of bullishness among newsletter writers, a contrarian indicator, and momentum indicators are starting to also suggest the rally has perhaps come too far.


The market's resilience could be tested next week with Friday's release of the January non-farm payrolls report. About 155,000 jobs are seen being added in the month and the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 7.8 percent.


"Staying over 1,500 sends up a flag of profit taking," said Jerry Harris, president of asset management at Sterne Agee, in Birmingham, Alabama. "Since recent jobless claims have made us optimistic on payrolls, if that doesn't come through, it will be a real risk to the rally."


A number of marquee names will report earnings next week, including bellwether companies such as Caterpillar Inc , Amazon.com Inc , Ford Motor Co and Pfizer Inc .


On a historic basis, valuations remain relatively low - the S&P 500's current price-to-earnings ratio sits at 15.66, which is just a tad above the historic level of 15.


Worries about the U.S. stock market's recent strength do not mean the market is in a bubble. Investors clearly don't feel that way at the moment.


"We're seeing more interest in equities overall, and a lot of flows from bonds into stocks," said Paul Zemsky, who helps oversee $445 billion as the New York-based head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management. "We've been increasing our exposure to risky assets."


For the week, the Dow climbed 1.8 percent, the S&P 500 rose 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 0.5 percent.


(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Jan Paschal)



Read More..

Armstrong meeting with USADA appears unlikely


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong's lawyers say the cyclist will talk more about drug use in the sport, just likely not to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that led the effort to strip him of his Tour de France titles.


In a testy exchange of letters and statements revealing the gulf between the two sides, USADA urged Armstrong to testify under oath to help "clean up cycling."


Armstrong's attorneys responded that the cyclist would rather take his information where it could do more good — namely to cycling's governing body and World Anti-Doping Agency officials.


USADA's response to that: "The time for excuses is over."


The letters, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, underscore the continuing feud between Armstrong and USADA CEO Travis Tygart, the man who spearheaded the investigation that uncovered a complex doping scheme on Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service teams.


Armstrong's seven Tour de France victories were taken away last year and he was banned for life from the sport.


In an interview with Oprah Winfrey last week, Armstrong admitted doping, said he owed a long list of apologies and that he would like to see his lifetime ban reduced so he can compete again.


His most realistic avenue toward that might be telling USADA everything he knows in a series of interviews the agency wants started no later than Feb. 6.


That seems unlikely.


Armstrong attorney Tim Herman responded to USADA's first letter, sent Wednesday, by saying his client's schedule is already full, and besides, "in order to achieve the goal of 'cleaning up cycling,' it must be WADA and the (International Cycling Union) who have overall authority to do so."


By Friday night, Herman strongly suggested Armstrong won't meet with USADA at all but intends to appear before the UCI's planned "truth and reconciliation" commission.


"Why would we cooperate (with USADA)?" Herman said in a telephone interview. "USADA isn't interested in cleaning up cycling. Lance has said, 'I'll be the first guy in the chair when cycling is on trial, truthfully, under oath, in every gory detail.' I think he's going testify where it could actually do some good: With the body that's charged with cleaning up cycling," Herman said.


In its last letter to Armstrong, sent Friday evening, USADA attorney William Bock said his agency and WADA work hand-in-hand in that effort.


"Regardless, and with or without Mr. Armstrong's help, we will move forward with our investigation for the good of clean athletes and the future of sport," Bock's letter reads.


The letters confirm a Dec. 14 meeting in Denver involving Armstrong, Tygart and their respective attorneys, which is when, in Tygart's words, Armstrong should have started thinking about a possible meeting with USADA.


"He has been given a deadline of February 6th to determine whether he plans to come in and be part of the solution," Tygart said in a statement. "Either way, USADA is moving forward with our investigation on behalf of clean athletes."


The letters were sent to the AP after details about a Tygart interview with "60 Minutes," being aired Sunday, were made public.


Among Tygart's claims: Armstrong is lying when he says he didn't dope during his 2009-10 comeback.


Tygart said USADA's report on Armstrong's doping included evidence Armstrong was still cheating in those years.


"His comeback was totally clean," Herman said. "It's pretty fashionable to kick Lance Armstrong around right now."


Tygart also reiterated that an Armstrong associate offered USADA a donation of more than $200,000. Armstrong denied that in his interview with Winfrey, too.


In advancing his claim that USADA is only a bit player in the investigation, Herman noted in his letter, sent to USADA on Friday, that most cycling teams are based in Europe.


"I'm pretty sick of people trying to blame a European cycling culture that goes back to the 1920s on one guy," Herman said.


Bock's response to that: "Your suggestion that there is some other body with which Lance should coordinate is misguided," he said in his final letter.


___


AP National Writer Eddie Pells contributed to this report.


Read More..

Atten-TION: Male Soldiers Are Growing Breasts






Like armies everywhere, the German military is filled with macho, chest-thumping rituals. But one battalion has found there’s a downside to all that chest-thumping: The male soldiers are growing breasts — and only on their left sides.


The Wachbataillon unit performs precision military drills at official ceremonial functions, the German Herald reports. Many of their drills involve smacking their rifles against the left side of the soldiers’ chests. And all that pounding on the same spot has stimulated the production of hormones that cause man boobs to grow.






“There is a very significant link between the activity in the … battalion and the development of the breast on the left side,” Dr. Bjorn Krapohl, director of plastic surgery at the military’s main hospital in Berlin, told the Herald. “They need to change the way they drill.”


The growth of male breasts isn’t altogether uncommon: The condition is known as gynecomastia, and it’s caused by an imbalance in testosterone and estrogen levels. There have been cases where chest injury has caused gynecomastia, though it’s rare. Plastic surgeons report that teenage boys — who are particularly prone to the condition — often have breast tissue removed when gynecomastia becomes a big psychosocial problem.


In a study of the German soldiers, published in January 2012, Krapohl and colleagues found significant differences between the guards with gynecomastia and a control group of healthy males without signs of gynecomastia. Those in the Guard Battalion in Berlin had lower testosterone levels and higher body mass indexes (BMI), or a measure of body fatness. [The 9 Most Bizarre Medical Conditions]


While the researchers hypothesize the mechanical stress from daily drills may be the underlying cause, they are not sure exactly how the “chest thumping” causes the breast growth. “There are no experimental studies identifying possible mechanisms at the cellular level that might induce gynecomastia mechanically,” they write in the journal article, adding that these findings may provide new impetus for such studies. The research is detailed in the journal GMS Interdisciplinary Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery DGPW.


Other research has shown that while gynecomastia tends to be symmetric, it can also be asymmetric; the lopsided type tends to be more common on the left side, according to a review in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine.


Over 70 percent of the German battalion’s soldiers have been diagnosed with significant gynecomastia. Military officials have promised to keep an eye on the men’s breasts.


“The affected soldiers are being medically supervised and treated individually,” an army spokesman told the Herald.


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: Atten-TION: Male Soldiers Are Growing Breasts
Url Post: http://www.news.fluser.com/atten-tion-male-soldiers-are-growing-breasts/
Link To Post : Atten-TION: Male Soldiers Are Growing Breasts
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..

Where is aid for Syria going?






STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • The U.S. ambassador to Syria says the U.S. has provided $210 million in humanitarian aid

  • The assistance has to be discrete, he said, to protect workers from being targeted

  • Washington has also provided $35 million worth of assistance to Syria's political opposition

  • Ambassador: We can help, but it's up to Syrians to find their way forward




(CNN) -- It has been more than a year since the United States government withdrew its ambassador to Syria and closed its embassy in Damascus.


On Thursday, that ambassador returned to the region along with a U.S. delegation, touring a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey to bring more attention to the growing humanitarian crisis. As the civil war has intensified in Syria, hundreds of thousands of people have sought refuge in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and other neighboring countries.


Ambassador Robert Ford gave an exclusive interview to CNN's Ivan Watson and described what the U.S. is doing to help the refugees and the Syrian opposition.


Ivan Watson: The U.S. has given $210 million in aid (to Syria), but I think that there is a perception problem because no one can actually point at what that help is. So people conclude there is no help.


Robert Ford: The assistance is going in. It's things like tents, it's things like blankets, it's things like medical equipment, but it doesn't come in big boxes with an American flag on it because we don't want the people who are delivering it to be targeted by the Syrian regime.


The regime is going after and killing people who are delivering supplies. You see them bombing even bakeries and bread lines. So we're doing that, in part, to be discrete.



The assistance is going in ... but it doesn't come in big boxes with an American flag on it.
Robert Ford, U.S. ambassador to Syria



The needs are gigantic. So even though a great deal of American materials and other countries' materials are arriving, the needs are still greater. And that's why we're going to Kuwait to talk to the United Nations and to talk to other countries about how we can talk together to provide additional assistance.


Watson: The head of the Syrian National Coalition, which the U.S. government has backed, came out with a statement very critical of the international community, saying we need $3 billion if you want us to have any say on events on the ground inside Syria. Where is that money?


Ford: (Sheikh Ahmed) Moaz al-Khatib is a good leader, and we think highly of him and we have recognized his (coalition) as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. And, of course, he wants to get as many resources as possible because of the humanitarian conditions that I was just talking about. Especially the ones inside Syria.


But we also, at the same time, have to build up those (aid) networks I was talking about. In some cases, they start out with just a few people. We don't need just a few people, we need hundreds of people, thousands of people on the inside of Syria organized to bring these things in.


And so step by step, the Syrians, Moaz al-Khatib and his organization, need to build that capacity. We can help build it, we can do training and things like that. But in the end, Syrians have to take a leadership role in this.


Watson: Is Washington giving money to the Syrian National Coalition?


Ford: We absolutely are assisting the (coalition), with everything from training to, in some cases, limited amount of cash assistance so that they can buy everything ranging from computers to telephones to radios.








Frankly, if not for the American assistance in many cases, the activists inside Syria wouldn't be in contact with the outside world. It's American help that keeps them in contact with the outside world.


Watson: But, how much assistance has this coalition gotten from the U.S.?


Ford: So far, we've allocated directly to the coalition in the neighborhood of $35 million worth of different kinds of equipment and assistance. And over the next few weeks, couple of months, we'll probably provide another $15 million worth of material assistance.


Watson: Washington recently blacklisted Jabhat al-Nusra, the Nusra Front, calling it a terrorist organization even though inside Syria, it has attracted a lot of respect for its victories and for comparative lack of corruption compared to many rebel groups. How has blacklisting the Nusra Front helped the Syrian opposition?


Ford: We blacklisted the Nusra Front because of its intimate links with al Qaeda in Iraq, an organization with whom we have direct experience, which is responsible for the killings of thousands of Iraqis, hundreds of Americans. We know what al Qaeda in Iraq did and is still doing, and we don't want it to start doing that in Syria -- which is why we highlighted its incredibly pernicious role.


I think one of the things that our classification of Nusra as a terrorist group did is it set off an alarm for the other elements of the Free Syrian Army. There was a meeting of the Free Syrian Army to set up a unified command, (and) Nusra Front was not in that meeting -- which we think is the right thing to do. As Syrians themselves understand that Nusra has a sectarian agenda, as they understand better that Nusra is anti-democratic and will seek to impose its very strict interpretation of Islam on Syria -- which historically is a relatively moderate country in terms of its religious practices -- as Syrians understand that better, I think they will more and more reject the Nusra Front itself.


Watson: But I've seen the opposite. As I go into Syria, I hear more and more support and respect for the Nusra Front, and more and more criticism for the U.S. government each time I go back.


Ford: I think that people, Ivan, are still understanding what Nusra is. I have heard criticism from the Nusra Front from people like Moaz al-Khatib who, in Marrakesh (Morocco) in his speech, said he rejected the kind of ideology which backs up Nusra. ... We have heard that from the senior commander of the Free Syrian Army as well. And so the more people understand inside Syria what Nusra is and represents, I think they will agree that is not the group on which to depend for freedom in Syria.


Watson: Do you think the U.S. government could have done more?


Ford: I think the Syrians, as I said, are the ones who will bring the answer to the problem -- just as in Iraq, Iraqis brought the solution to the Iraq crisis, to the Iraq war. The Americans can help, and we helped in Iraq, but ultimately it wasn't the Americans. Despite our help, it was Iraqis.


In Syria, again, it has to be Syrians who find their way forward. Twenty-three million Syrians need to find their way forward. We can help, and we are helping: $210 million in humanitarian assistance, $50 million to help the political opposition get organized for the day after (Bashar) al-Assad goes. These are important bits of help. But ultimately, it's not the American help. It's the Syrians themselves.







Read More..

Egypt deploys troops in Suez after 9 killed on anniversary of uprising


CAIRO/ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Egypt's armed forces deployed troops in the city of Suez early on Saturday after nine people were shot dead during nationwide protests against President Mohamed Mursi, underlining the country's deep divisions as it marked the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.


Eight of the dead, including a policeman, were shot dead in Suez, and another was shot and killed in the city of Ismailia, medics said. Another 456 people were injured across Egypt, officials said, in unrest on Friday fuelled by anger at Mursi and his Islamist allies over what the protesters see as their betrayal of the revolution.


Mursi said the state would not hesitate in "pursuing the criminals and delivering them to justice". In a statement, he also called on Egyptians to respect the principles of the revolution by expressing their views peacefully.


The troops were deployed in Suez after the head of the state security police in the city asked for reinforcements. The army distributed pamphlets to residents assuring them the deployment was temporary and meant to secure the city.


"We have asked the armed forces to send reinforcements on the ground until we pass this difficult period," Adel Refaat, head of state security in Suez, told state television.


Friday's anniversary laid bare the divide between the Islamists and their secular rivals.


The schism is hindering the efforts of Mursi, elected in June, to revive an economy in crisis and reverse a plunge in Egypt's currency by enticing back investors and tourists.


Inspired by the popular uprising in Tunisia, Egypt's revolution spurred further revolts across the Arab world. But the sense of common purpose that united Egyptians two years ago has given way to internal strife that already triggered bloody street battles last month.


Thousands of opponents of Mursi massed on Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square - the cradle of the revolt against Mubarak - to rekindle the demands of a revolution they say has been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which Mursi emerged.


In Suez, the military deployed armored vehicles to guard state buildings, witnesses and security sources said, as symbols of government were targeted across the country.


Street battles erupted in cities including Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Port Said. Arsonists attacked at least two state-owned buildings. An office used by the Muslim Brotherhood's political party was also torched.


"Our revolution is continuing. We reject the domination of any party over this state. We say no to the Brotherhood state," Hamdeen Sabahy, a popular leftist leader, told Reuters.


The Brotherhood decided against mobilizing for the anniversary, wary of the scope for more conflict after December's violence, stoked by Mursi's decision to fast-track an Islamist-tinged constitution rejected by his opponents.


The Brotherhood denies accusations that it is seeking to dominate Egypt, labeling them a smear campaign by its rivals.


'LEAVE! LEAVE! LEAVE!'


There were conflicting accounts of the lethal shooting in Suez. Some witnesses said security forces had opened fire in response to gunfire from masked men.


News of the deaths capped a day of violence that started in the early hours of Friday. Before dawn in Cairo, police battled protesters who threw petrol bombs and firecrackers as they approached a wall blocking access to government buildings near Tahrir Square.


Clouds of teargas filled the air. At one point, riot police used one of the incendiaries thrown at them to set ablaze at least two tents erected by youths, a Reuters witness said.


Skirmishes between stone-throwing youths and the police continued in streets around the square into the day. Ambulances ferried away a steady stream of casualties.


Protesters echoed the chants of 2011's historic 18-day uprising. "The people want to bring down the regime," they chanted. "Leave! Leave! Leave!" chanted others as they marched towards the square.


"We are not here to celebrate but to force those in power to submit to the will of the people. Egypt now must never be like Egypt during Mubarak's rule," said Mohamed Fahmy, an activist.


There were similar scenes in Suez and Alexandria, where protesters and riot police clashed near local government offices. Black smoke billowed from tires set ablaze by youths.


In Cairo, police fired teargas to disperse a few dozen protesters trying to remove barbed-wire barriers protecting the presidential palace, witnesses said. A few masked men got as far as the gates before they were beaten back.


Teargas was also fired at protesters who tried to remove metal barriers outside the state television building.


Outside Cairo, protesters broke into the offices of provincial governors in Ismailia and Kafr el-Sheikh in the Nile Delta. A local government building was torched in the Nile Delta city of al-Mahalla al-Kubra.


With an eye on parliamentary elections likely to begin in April, the Brotherhood marked the anniversary with a charity drive across the nation. It plans to deliver medical aid to one million people and distribute affordable basic foodstuffs.


Writing in Al-Ahram, Egypt's flagship state-run daily, Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie said the country was in need of "practical, serious competition" to reform the corrupt state left by the Mubarak era.


"The differences of opinion and vision that Egypt is passing through is a characteristic at the core of transitions from dictatorship to democracy, and clearly expresses the variety of Egyptian culture," he wrote.


Mursi's opponents say he and his group are seeking to dominate the post-Mubarak order. They accuse him of showing some of the autocratic impulses of the deposed leader by, for example, driving through the new constitution last month.


"I am taking part in today's marches to reject the warped constitution, the 'Brotherhoodisation' of the state, the attack on the rule of law, and the disregard of the president and his government for the demands for social justice," Amr Hamzawy, a prominent liberal politician, wrote on his Twitter feed.


The Brotherhood says its rivals are failing to respect the rules of the new democracy that put the Islamists in the driving seat via free elections.


(Additional reporting by Tom Perry, Ahmed el-Shemi, Ashraf Fahim, Shaimaa Fayed and Yasmine Saleh in Cairo and Abdel Rahman Youssef in Alexandria; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Robert Woodward and Peter Cooney)



Read More..

Asian shares down; Seoul hit by weak techs but Nikkei surges

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares fell on Friday, hurt by a drop in regional technology stocks and on caution ahead of the corporate earnings season, but gains in Japan and Australia limited overall losses for equities.


Upbeat manufacturing reports from the United States, Germany and China underpinned sentiment for other assets, supporting copper while curbing selling pressure in oil.


"The PMI indicators from the U.S., Europe and China should serve to keep markets tracking higher," said CMC Markets senior trader Tim Waterer in Sydney.


The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus> eased 0.5 percent, and was set for a weekly drop of 1 percent, its biggest such loss in two months.


A 1.4 percent slide in the technology sector <.miapjit00pus> dragged the pan-Asian index down, as tech-heavy markets such as South Korea and Taiwan fell.


Seoul shares <.ks11> declined 0.9 percent, weighed by weak profits for automakers, while tech shares continued to falter as Samsung Electronics announced cautious spending plans for the first time since the global financial crisis.


Shares of Apple Inc's suppliers extended their declines after Apple's below-estimate results announced earlier in the week: Taiwan's Largan Precision weakened and Samsung shares shed as much as 3.3 percent.


Hong Kong <.hsi> and Shanghai <.ssec> were the other laggards as investors took profits from recent rallies and remained cautious ahead of the upcoming earnings season.


A 0.3 percent rise in London copper to $8,118 a metric ton and gold prices steadying around $1,669 an ounce helped push commodity-reliant Australian shares <.axjo> up 0.5 percent to a fresh 21-month high, marking an eighth straight session of gains.


U.S. crude eased 0.1 percent to $95.87 a barrel and Brent inched down 0.2 percent to $113.11.


"It now seems that the stronger tone in global equity markets, coupled with a notable easing in European and US market tensions, is leading to short-term pressure on gold," said Ed Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone, in a research note.


European markets are seen falling, with financial spread-betters predicting London's FTSE 100 <.ftse>, Paris's CAC-40 <.fchi> and Frankfurt's DAX <.gdaxi> would open down as much as 0.4 percent. U.S. stock futures were down 0.2 percent, pointing to a softer Wall Street start. <.l><.eu><.n/>


JAPAN IN SPOTLIGHT


Japan's Nikkei stock average <.n225> outperformed its Asian peers with a 2.9 percent surge as the yen hit fresh lows versus the dollar and the euro on expectations Japan will continue to pursue bold policies to beat deflation and stimulate growth. The Nikkei rose for an 11th straight week. <.t/>


"Trading on Japan is gaining momentum among foreign investors, centering around the dollar/yen, which has dictated Nikkei's direction," said Tetsuro Ii, the chief executive of Commons Asset Management.


The yen's slide bolsters sentiment for Japanese equities as it lifts earnings prospects for exporters, ahead of the quarterly earnings season set to start next week.


The dollar scaled its highest level since June 2010 to reach 90.695 yen early on Friday and the euro rose to 121.32, its highest since April 2011. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's new administration has made clear it wants a weaker yen, providing investors a reason to short the currency.


More than 80 percent of Japanese firms are in favor of Abe's drive for aggressive monetary easing and huge fiscal spending, though most also feared Japan would face a debt crisis within a few years, according to a Reuters poll.


The yen's two-month decline has more legs, many traders and analysts believe, noting the yen has barely caught up to levels before a potential debt default by Greece sparked the euro zone debt crisis and sent the euro plummeting nearly three years ago.


The yen was around 95 yen against the dollar and 123 yen against the euro early in May 2010 when protests flared up in Greece against its austerity steps in exchange for a bailout.


Despite the recent rallies, the Nikkei remains well below levels before the 2008 financial crisis while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> and Germany's benchmark stock index have both already exceeded that level, thanks to the weakness of the euro and the dollar, measured against a basket of currencies.


"JPY weakness should continue over the coming year driven by an expansion of the Bank of Japan's balance sheet relative to the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve," said Kit Juckes, FX strategist at Societe Generale in a note. "I don't know how long the USD/JPY is going to pause at around 90, but a move to 100 still seems very likely in the longer run."


(Additional reporting by Victoria Thieberger in Melbourne and Rujun Shen in Singapore; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)



Read More..

Voice of Te'o prankster? Couric plays voicemails


NEW YORK (AP) — The person Manti Te'o says was pretending to be his online girlfriend told the Notre Dame linebacker "I love you" in voicemails that were played during his interview with Katie Couric.


Taped earlier this week and broadcast Thursday, the hour-long talk show featured three voicemails that Te'o claims were left for him last year. Te'o said they were from the person he believed to be Lennay Kekua, a woman he had fallen for online but never met face-to-face.


After the first message was played, Te'o said: "It sounds like a girl, doesn't it?"


"It does," Couric responded.


The interview was the All-American's first on camera since his tale of inspired play after the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend on the same day in September unraveled as a bizarre hoax in an expose by Deadspin.com on Jan. 16.


Te'o's parents appeared with him for part of the interview and backed up his claim that he wasn't involved in the fabrication, saying they, too, had spoken on the phone with a person they believed to be Kekua.


Couric addressed speculation that the tale was concocted by Te'o as a way to cover up his sexual orientation. Asked if he were gay, Te'o said "no" with a laugh. "Far from it. Faaaar from that."


He also said he was "scared" and "didn't know what to do" after receiving a call on Dec. 6 — two days before the Heisman Trophy presentation — from a person who claimed to be his "dead" girlfriend.


The first voicemail, he said, was from what was supposed to be Kekua's first day of chemotherapy for leukemia.


"Hi, I am just letting you know I got here and I'm getting ready for my first session and, um, just want to call you to keep you posted. I miss you. I love you. Bye," the person said.


In the second voicemail, the person was apparently upset by someone else answering Te'o's phone.


The third voicemail was left on Sept. 11, according to Te'o, the day he believed Kekua was released from the hospital and the day before she "died."


"Hey babe, I'm just calling to say goodnight," the person on the voicemail said. "I love you. I know that you're probably doing homework or you're with the boys. ... But I just wanted to say I love you and goodnight and I'll be ok tonight. I'll do my best. Um, yeah, so get your rest and I'll talk to you tomorrow. I love you so much, hon. Sweet dreams."


Couric suggested the person who left those messages might have been Ronaiah Tuisasosopo, a 22-year-old man from California, who Te'o said has apologized to him for pulling the hoax.


"Do you think that could have been a man on the other end of the phone?" she asked.


"Well, it didn't sound like a man," Te'o said. "It sounded like a woman. If he somehow made that voice, that's incredible. That's an incredible talent to do that. Especially every single day."


Tuiasosopo has not spoken publicly since news of the hoax broke. The Associated Press has learned that a home in California where Te'o sent flowers to the Kekua family was once a residence of Tuiasosopo and has been in his family for decades.


Also on Thursday, the woman whose pictures were used in fake online accounts for Kekua said Tuiasosopo confessed to her in a 45-minute phone conversation as the scheme unraveled.


Diane O'Meara spoke with The Associated Press in a telephone interview. She said Tuiasosopo told her he'd been "stalking" her Facebook profile for five years and stealing photos.


O'Meara's attorney, Jim Artiano, said they had not decided on whether to take any legal action.


The 23-year-old O'Meara, of Long Beach, Calif., said she knew Tuiasosopo from high school and he contacted her through Facebook on Dec. 16. She said that, over the next three weeks, Tuiasosopo got in touch with her several times, attempting to get photos and video of O'Meara. She said he made up a story about wanting them to help cheer up a cousin who was injured in a car crash.


O'Meara learned her identity had been stolen on Jan. 13 when she was contacted by Deadspin.com.


The next day she got in touch with Tuiasosopo.


"When I contacted Ronaiah I got a very bizarre vibe from him, he became very nervous, he wasn't asking the questions I expected. He was asking 'Who contacted you? What did they say?'" O'Meara said.


Later that day, he confessed, O'Meara said. She said she asked Tuiasosopo why he didn't simply stop the hoax.


"He told me he wanted to end the relationship," O'Meara said. "He said he wanted to stop the relationship between Lennay and Manti, but Manti didn't want Lennay to break up with him ... He said he tried to stop the game many times."


When news of the hoax broke a few days later, O'Meara said she received a text from Tuiasosopo asking her to call him as soon as possible. O'Meara said she didn't respond.


___


Associated Press writer Tami Abdollah contributed to this report from Los Angeles.


Read More..

Robot Avatar for Physicians Gets FDA Approval






A robot avatar for physicians that can navigate hospital corridors on its own has received the green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


The RP-VITA robot represents the “smartest” telepresence robot that physicians can control remotely to interact with patients in hospitals hundreds or thousands of miles away. Onboard software “brains” from iRobot — the company that makes the self-driving vacuum “Roombas” — allow the new robot to obey movement orders without requiring direct human control.






“Previous generations have had to be driven,” said Charlie Vaida, a public relations manager for iRobot. “This one you can operate on your iPad by tapping on patient Joe Smith in room 32, and it’s going to go there while avoiding people and obstacles.”


One of the RP-VITAs showed off its navigational skills by wandering around the iRobot booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. The clever machine represents a joint project between InTouch Health, a seller of telepresence robots, and iRobot.


[Video: iRobot 'Brains' Allow Hospital Robot to Drive Itself]


Physicians can open the robot’s app on their iPad to see an electronic map of the hospital and simply direct the robot to their next patient as they study the person’s electronic medical record. RP-VITA carries cameras, sensors and a touch-screen display, including an LCD screen “head” that can show the face of the physician controlling the robot.


“It’s the only autonomous telepresence robot for hospitals,” Vaida told TechNewsDaily.”And it’s the first one to be cleared by the FDA.”
The new FDA clearance allows the RP-VITA to help monitor patients before, during and after surgical operations. It also permits the robot’s use in critical care assessments and examinations.


But smart robots don’t come cheap. The RP-VITA would cost between $ 4,000 and $ 6,000 a month for hospitals to operate, according to the Boston Globe. Hospitals would have to weigh the costs against the possible benefits of allowing the world’s top specialists to consult on their patients face-to-face.


RP-VITA will likely go on sale within several months, Vaida said. The robot represents the first commercial product from iRobot‘s remote presence group — a unit set up to help the company expand beyond its household cleaning robots and bomb-disabling robots for the U.S. military.


A similar robot could allow retailers to remotely help customers in stores, or give security guards a remote helper to patrol large buildings from a central command center.


“You can imagine this kind of technology would be really cool for retail or security,” Vaida said.


This story was provided by TechNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow TechNewsDaily on Twitter @TechNewsDaily. 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.
Green News Headlines – Yahoo! News





Title Post: Robot Avatar for Physicians Gets FDA Approval
Url Post: http://www.news.fluser.com/robot-avatar-for-physicians-gets-fda-approval/
Link To Post : Robot Avatar for Physicians Gets FDA Approval
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..

Where is aid for Syria going?






STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • The U.S. ambassador to Syria says the U.S. has provided $210 million in humanitarian aid

  • The assistance has to be discrete, he said, to protect workers from being targeted

  • Washington has also provided $35 million worth of assistance to Syria's political opposition

  • Ambassador: We can help, but it's up to Syrians to find their way forward




(CNN) -- It has been more than a year since the United States government withdrew its ambassador to Syria and closed its embassy in Damascus.


On Thursday, that ambassador returned to the region along with a U.S. delegation, touring a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey to bring more attention to the growing humanitarian crisis. As the civil war has intensified in Syria, hundreds of thousands of people have sought refuge in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and other neighboring countries.


Ambassador Robert Ford gave an exclusive interview to CNN's Ivan Watson and described what the U.S. is doing to help the refugees and the Syrian opposition.


Ivan Watson: The U.S. has given $210 million in aid (to Syria), but I think that there is a perception problem because no one can actually point at what that help is. So people conclude there is no help.


Robert Ford: The assistance is going in. It's things like tents, it's things like blankets, it's things like medical equipment, but it doesn't come in big boxes with an American flag on it because we don't want the people who are delivering it to be targeted by the Syrian regime.


The regime is going after and killing people who are delivering supplies. You see them bombing even bakeries and bread lines. So we're doing that, in part, to be discrete.



The assistance is going in ... but it doesn't come in big boxes with an American flag on it.
Robert Ford, U.S. ambassador to Syria



The needs are gigantic. So even though a great deal of American materials and other countries' materials are arriving, the needs are still greater. And that's why we're going to Kuwait to talk to the United Nations and to talk to other countries about how we can talk together to provide additional assistance.


Watson: The head of the Syrian National Coalition, which the U.S. government has backed, came out with a statement very critical of the international community, saying we need $3 billion if you want us to have any say on events on the ground inside Syria. Where is that money?


Ford: (Sheikh Ahmed) Moaz al-Khatib is a good leader, and we think highly of him and we have recognized his (coalition) as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. And, of course, he wants to get as many resources as possible because of the humanitarian conditions that I was just talking about. Especially the ones inside Syria.


But we also, at the same time, have to build up those (aid) networks I was talking about. In some cases, they start out with just a few people. We don't need just a few people, we need hundreds of people, thousands of people on the inside of Syria organized to bring these things in.


And so step by step, the Syrians, Moaz al-Khatib and his organization, need to build that capacity. We can help build it, we can do training and things like that. But in the end, Syrians have to take a leadership role in this.


Watson: Is Washington giving money to the Syrian National Coalition?


Ford: We absolutely are assisting the (coalition), with everything from training to, in some cases, limited amount of cash assistance so that they can buy everything ranging from computers to telephones to radios.








Frankly, if not for the American assistance in many cases, the activists inside Syria wouldn't be in contact with the outside world. It's American help that keeps them in contact with the outside world.


Watson: But, how much assistance has this coalition gotten from the U.S.?


Ford: So far, we've allocated directly to the coalition in the neighborhood of $35 million worth of different kinds of equipment and assistance. And over the next few weeks, couple of months, we'll probably provide another $15 million worth of material assistance.


Watson: Washington recently blacklisted Jabhat al-Nusra, the Nusra Front, calling it a terrorist organization even though inside Syria, it has attracted a lot of respect for its victories and for comparative lack of corruption compared to many rebel groups. How has blacklisting the Nusra Front helped the Syrian opposition?


Ford: We blacklisted the Nusra Front because of its intimate links with al Qaeda in Iraq, an organization with whom we have direct experience, which is responsible for the killings of thousands of Iraqis, hundreds of Americans. We know what al Qaeda in Iraq did and is still doing, and we don't want it to start doing that in Syria -- which is why we highlighted its incredibly pernicious role.


I think one of the things that our classification of Nusra as a terrorist group did is it set off an alarm for the other elements of the Free Syrian Army. There was a meeting of the Free Syrian Army to set up a unified command, (and) Nusra Front was not in that meeting -- which we think is the right thing to do. As Syrians themselves understand that Nusra has a sectarian agenda, as they understand better that Nusra is anti-democratic and will seek to impose its very strict interpretation of Islam on Syria -- which historically is a relatively moderate country in terms of its religious practices -- as Syrians understand that better, I think they will more and more reject the Nusra Front itself.


Watson: But I've seen the opposite. As I go into Syria, I hear more and more support and respect for the Nusra Front, and more and more criticism for the U.S. government each time I go back.


Ford: I think that people, Ivan, are still understanding what Nusra is. I have heard criticism from the Nusra Front from people like Moaz al-Khatib who, in Marrakesh (Morocco) in his speech, said he rejected the kind of ideology which backs up Nusra. ... We have heard that from the senior commander of the Free Syrian Army as well. And so the more people understand inside Syria what Nusra is and represents, I think they will agree that is not the group on which to depend for freedom in Syria.


Watson: Do you think the U.S. government could have done more?


Ford: I think the Syrians, as I said, are the ones who will bring the answer to the problem -- just as in Iraq, Iraqis brought the solution to the Iraq crisis, to the Iraq war. The Americans can help, and we helped in Iraq, but ultimately it wasn't the Americans. Despite our help, it was Iraqis.


In Syria, again, it has to be Syrians who find their way forward. Twenty-three million Syrians need to find their way forward. We can help, and we are helping: $210 million in humanitarian assistance, $50 million to help the political opposition get organized for the day after (Bashar) al-Assad goes. These are important bits of help. But ultimately, it's not the American help. It's the Syrians themselves.







Read More..

Soccer coach suspended in Maine West hazing case









Another soccer coach linked to hazing allegations on athletic teams at Maine West High School has been suspended without pay by the district while officials pursue his dismissal.


Maine Township High School District 207 officials reached that decision on freshman boys soccer coach Emilio Rodriguez at a special board meeting Thursday night, a month after reaching the same decision on the employment of head varsity soccer coach Michael Divincenzo.


“The board believes Mr. Rodriguez violated District 207 Board of Education policy and professional expectations by failing to adequately prevent, recognize, report and punish student hazing,” board president Sean Sullivan said in a statement read at the meeting.





Both men were originally placed on paid leave and reassigned from teaching duties this fall when allegations of hazing surfaced in early October on the Des Plaines school’s soccer and baseball teams.


Those allegations are the subject of a lawsuit filed on behalf of four alleged hazing victims on the soccer team and against the district, both coaches and Maine West Principal Audrey Haugan.


Rodriguez, a tenured applied arts and technology teacher, has 17 days to request a hearing on his dismissal through the Illinois State Board of Education, officials said.


Through an attorney, Divincenzo recently requested an appeal hearing with the state board. The appeal process could take up to one year, officials said.


Rodriguez could not be reached for comment on Thursday night. But Des Plaines police reports show he and Divincenzo previously denied any knowledge of team hazing or initiation rituals.


District officials also fulfilled early promises made shortly after the hazing allegations surfaced by approving the hiring of former assistant U.S. attorney Sergio Acosta to lead the district’s independent investigation into hazing allegations, and California-based consultant Community Matters to lead focus groups studying bullying and hazing prevention techniques.


Last week, district officials confirmed the receipt of grand jury subpoenas in the Cook County state’s attorney’s ongoing investigation. Officials reiterated their commitment to “cooperate fully with all agencies conducting their own investigations, including the Cook County State’s Attorney, Des Plaines Police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.


One subpoena, dated Dec. 6 and obtained by the Tribune, directs Maine West Principal Audrey Haugan to produce “personnel files, disciplinary records, reports, memorandums, summaries, interviews, investigations, notes, statements or other such writings or recordings for Michael Divincenzo and Emilio Rodriguez, and any and all other employees associated with coaching student athletes from 2007 to the present time.”


In another Dec. 6 subpoena, Superintendent Ken Wallace is directed to produce “any written materials describing or explaining” school, student athlete, coach or teacher conduct codes or rules, “or rules or any other similar such writings including but not limited to the topics of hazing, sexual misconduct or physical misconduct in any manner associated with Maine West High School.”


Wallace, Haugan, Maine East Principal Michael Pressler and Maine South Principal Shawn Messmer also received subpoenas dated Dec. 7. Those subpoenas, which were partially redacted, seek “any and all letters, emails, reports, memorandums, call logs, writings, recordings, or other such material regarding” redacted information, “including any such documents from within the school records or school file for” redacted information.


jbullington@tribune.com





Read More..