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Archive for October, 2011

2 ex-State Street executive cleared of charges (AP)

Posted by aifkod on October 31, 2011

WASHINGTON ? Two former executives of State Street Bank & Trust Co. have been cleared of federal civil fraud charges of misleading investors about their potential risk from subprime mortgage investments in 2007.

The chief administrative law judge at the Securities and Exchange Commission issued an order Friday dismissing the charges filed last year against John Flannery and James Hopkins.

Judge Brenda Murray said neither Flannery nor Hopkins was responsible for the misleading documents alleged to have been provided to investors in the bond fund marketed by State Street Global Advisors.

Flannery was the chief investment officer of State Street Global Advisers; Hopkins was the head of product engineering.

Boston-based State Street agreed to repay investors about $300 million in February 2010 to settle charges by the SEC and Massachusetts regulators related to the bond fund. State Street also has paid around $340 million to investors to settle private lawsuits.

The SEC said the fund was marketed as an alternative to a money market fund. But it was almost entirely invested in securities tied to risky subprime mortgages, the agency said. The value of those securities plunged when the housing bubble burst in mid-2007.

Attorneys for Flannery and Hopkins issued statements Monday saying they were pleased with the judge’s decision in a case they asserted should never have been brought.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/personalfinance/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111031/ap_on_bi_ge/us_sec_state_street_execs_cleared

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Thomas David DuBois: Why Doesn’t Asia Have Religion?

Posted by aifkod on October 31, 2011

Having spent the past 10 years writing and teaching on Asian religions, I now have something to confess:

Asia does not have religion.

“But what,” you may ask, “about that college class I took on ‘world religions?’ We learned about Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoism and Shinto. Half the class was about Asia.”

Between you and me, I hate that class. I hated it as a student, because I thought it didn’t make sense. I hate it even more as a professor, because I know it doesn’t make sense. Here’s why.

Think about the religions the Western world knows best: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Whatever the differences that separate them, these three religions all share a great deal in common. Each one, for instance, is centered on a text — a holy and inviolate scripture. For Jews, Christians and Muslims, the sacred text is never wrong — although man’s interpretation of it often is. Based on this knowledge, it would seem sensible to assume that religion and scripture are inseparable. But in fact, the central role of scripture, like much of what we assume about “religion” as a concept, is uniquely Western.

The same applies to the rules about how religion functions in society. What the West knows best is its own religious history, which was shaped in large part by the question of where Christianity should fit into politics. As we all know, European kings once claimed to rule by divine right, at least until the age of the great revolutions came along and banished organized religion from political life. But the declining political prominence of Western Christianity was more than just a battle between kings, popes and the awakened masses; it was also mirrored by a new understanding of religion itself, a sense that God resides, not in the church, but in the heart of and soul of the believer. True religious belief thus came to be seen as somethng very personal. This understanding shapes our idea that religion does not belong in the public sphere (some countries like France take this idea very seriously), but also means we do not accept the validity of religious conversion made at the point of a gun. The freedom of religious conscience has taken on a global currency, and is now portrayed as a basic human right. It is the standard used by the United Nations, and most of the world pays lip service to it in at least some form. Whatever the reality, religious freedom is enshrined in the constitutions of Cuba and North Korea. At least on paper, even Iran formally accepts the existence of certain religious minorities.

The fact is that the Western idea of religion did not reach Asia until very recently. When it did, the concept was so foreign that many Asian languages had to invent a new word for it (specifically for making diplomatic treaties with the Western powers who insisted on a clause protecting “religious freedom”). This puts Asia’s own traditions into a strange bind. Even now, we face the problem in deciding just what to call the ideas of Confucius or the Buddha. Calling them “religions” clearly doesn’t work, because Asian traditions look and behave so differently from what we know in the West.

Daoists, for example, don’t have a Bible. In the entire canon of Daoist scripture, there is nothing that compares to the central role occupied by the sacred books of Western religion. Shinto has no scriptural tradition at all. Historically, East Asia has had far less religious conflict than the West, not because Asian religions are inherently any more peaceful, but rather because they have a very different concept of religious membership. In Western religions, affiliation is absolute: you cannot be a hyphenated Muslim-Jew, or a Christian-Hindu. Asian religions, in contrast, treat religious membership in more fluid terms. Everyone in China is to some degree influenced by Confucian ethics, but nobody would call himself a “Confucian.” Trying to fit Asian beliefs into Western categories produces the classic square peg-round hole scenario.

As always, one needs travel no further than “The Simpsons” for a good example. When Lisa’s quest for religious identity (driven by her dissatisfaction with the fictitious Presbylutheran congregation) led her to embrace Buddhism, she promptly shouted the epiphany, “I’m a Buddhist!” out her bedroom window. In doing so, she was actually echoing a classic Christian metaphor of religious belonging — the lightning-bolt conversion of Paul of Tarsus. Lisa may have been a Buddhist, but she became one in a very Christian way.

This is not merely a cartoon dilemma (pun very much intended). Our understanding of what religion is, what it should look like, and what role it should play in society all have real world ramifications. When political figures like Michele Bachmann cynically promise to outlaw shariah, they are doing more than merely repeating the mistaken assertion that the United States is foundationally a Christian nation, they are also making a broader statement about what constitutes legitimate religion. Such ideas may play well with American voters, but they compromise our ability to understand the world outside our borders, and tangibly harm our image abroad.

Perhaps the greatest irony of all is that many of those who reject religion themselves rely on this same limited definition. Religion is in no way inimical to science. Certain interpreters of Christianity may reject evolution and global warming. That is unfortunate, but it is neither representative nor exclusive. Pig-headedness is not unique to Christianity, or even to religion. Just like the anti-Islamic screed emerging from the political right, dumping everything we dislike about Christianity into a single bucket we call “religion” serves only to muddy the waters.

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-david-dubois/does-asia-have-religion_b_1031869.html

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Obama orders FDA to help reduce drug shortages (AP)

Posted by aifkod on October 31, 2011

WASHINGTON ? President Barack Obama is directing the Food and Drug Administration to take steps to reduce drug shortages, action he says will help stop a “slow-rolling problem” that puts patients at risk and raises the potential for price gouging.

Obama signed an executive order in the Oval Office on Monday instructing the FDA to take action in three areas: broadening its reporting of potential drug shortages; accelerating reviews of applications to change production of drugs facing potential shortages; and giving the Justice Department more information about possible instances of collusion or price gouging.

Patient deaths have been blamed on the shortages, which tend to affect cancer drugs, anesthetics, drugs used in emergency medicine, and electrolytes needed for intravenous feeding. Hospitals have been forced to buy from secondary suppliers at huge markups. Surgeries and cancer treatments have been delayed.

“Even though the FDA has successfully prevented an actual crisis, this is one of those slow-rolling problems that could end up resulting in disaster for patients and health care facilities all over the country,” Obama said.

The president ordered the new steps without congressional approval, saying his administration refused to wait for lawmakers to act on similar legislation pending on Capitol Hill. The measure is part of a White House effort to use executive action to get around congressional Republicans.

Obama said the White House would continue to push lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation to prevent drug shortages, but said “we can’t wait for action on the Hill, we’ve got to go ahead and move forward.”

The president was joined in the Oval Office by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, pharmacy manager Bonnie Frawley, and Jay Cuetara, a 49-year-old San Francisco cancer patient who told an FDA workshop last month how he grappled with a shortage in his chemotherapy drug.

The FDA reported 178 drug shortages last year, and the agency says it continues to see an increase in shortages this year. Major causes of drug shortages are said to be quality or manufacturing problems, or delays in receiving components from suppliers. Drug makers also discontinue certain drugs in favor of newer medications that are more profitable. The FDA does not have authority to force drug makers to continue production of a drug.

In the worst known case linked to the shortages, Alabama’s public health department this spring reported nine deaths and 10 patients harmed due to bacterial contamination of a hand-mixed batch of liquid nutrition given via feeding tubes because the sterile pre-mixed liquid wasn’t available.

The administration acknowledged the steps Obama approved won’t solve a growing problem. Shortages have tripled in recent years and show no signs of slowing.

But Hamburg said, “We can make a very real and meaningful difference by expanding our network of early warnings.”

Indeed, officials said the FDA has managed to prevent 137 drug shortages over the past 21 months when companies told regulators they were having trouble. Options include getting other manufacturers to ramp up their own production, helping to find alternative suppliers of key ingredients, even sometimes allowing temporary importation of competitors usually only sold abroad.

The executive action is part of a larger push by the White House to portray Obama, who is facing re-election, as an effective counterpoint to congressional Republicans blocking his jobs legislation. Last week, he issued an executive order to help homeowners refinance at lower mortgage rates and to allow college graduates to simplify and lower their student loan payments. On Friday he directed government agencies to shorten the time it takes for federal research to turn into commercial products in the marketplace.

___

Associated Press writer Julie Pace contributed to this report.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/topstories/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111031/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_obama_fda

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Stocks ease as yen drops following intervention (AP)

Posted by aifkod on October 31, 2011

LONDON ? Global stocks gave up some of their recent gains Monday amid concerns over Italy’s ability to get a handle on its colossal debt pile, while the yen slid in the wake of another attempt by the Japanese monetary authorities to weaken the currency.

Last week, stocks enjoyed one of their best weeks in months as investors breathed a sigh of relief that eurozone leaders finally presented the broad outlines of a convincing anti-crisis strategy. The three-pronged strategy of boosting the bailout fund, getting private creditors to take a bigger hit on their Greek debt holdings and the banks to raise more capital was largely viewed favorably by the markets, though details need to be ironed out.

Many analysts, however, think that Europe will end up having to do more, especially if bond market investors continue to ask for more in return for buying up Italian debt ? a poorly received auction last Friday has fueled concerns over the country.

Italy is the eurozone’s third largest economy and only Greece has more debt as a percentage of national income. Its debts dwarf the euro1 trillion ($1.4 trillion) Europe’s bailout fund will have at its disposal if last week’s commitments are delivered.

“We remain sceptical that the plan will prove enough to restore financial market stability for long, with some signs of disappointment already starting to creep into the market as Italian 10 year yields continue to march above 6 percent,” said Lee Hardman, an analyst at The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Investors more cautious view of last week’s plan weighed on stock markets Monday.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 1.1 percent at 5,641 while Germany’s DAX fell 1.6 percent to 6,260. The CAC-40 in France was 1.1 percent lower at 3,282.

Wall Street was also poised for a lower opening ? Dow futures were down 0.8 percent at 12,070 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 futures fell 1 percent to 1,268.

Earlier, the main point of interest in financial markets was the Bank of Japan’s latest intervention to weaken the yen, which had hit a new post World War II high against the dollar.

The strong yen has dented earnings of Japanese corporations such as Nintendo Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. and hurt the economy’s recovery from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Finance Minister Jun Azumi said monetary authorities could continue intervening.

The dollar surged about 5 percent to above 79 yen for a while, before slipping back to 77.81 yen. Japan’s export sector ? whose fortunes are largely tied to the relative strength of the yen ? rose abruptly. Isuzu Motors Corp. jumped 3.7 percent. Canon Inc. rose 1 percent and Nikon Corp. added 1.8 percent. Nintendo Co. gained 1.5 percent.

Those gains helped limit the losses on Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index. It closed 0.7 percent lower at 8,988.39.

Analysts are skeptical over whether the intervention will have a long-lasting impact. Previous efforts this year have provided short-term relief.

The intervention is likely to feature at a summit of leaders from the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations in Cannes, France, later this week. How to get the global economy moving again is likely to the main topic of debate.

There’s also a lot of U.S. economic data to digest this week, culminating in Friday’s monthly jobs report on Friday.

“This month is going to be another watershed insight into whether we are looking at a low growth environment or something worse,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. “To maintain the low growth environment view, the market is going to want to see positive employment growth.”

The Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank also meet to decide on their monetary policies this week. Mario Draghi will on Thursday hold his first meeting and press conference as chief of the ECB and successor to Jean-Claude Trichet. Investors will be looking for signs that the bank is considering cutting interest rates and that it will continue its program to buy bonds. The program, used intermittently by the ECB, has helped keep bond yields down so far this year in Italy and Spain.

Elsewhere in Asia, mainland Chinese shares were mixed. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index snapped a five-session winning streak by falling 0.2 percent to 2,468.25, while the Shenzhen Composite Index added 0.5 percent to 1,040.93.

In Sydney, shares of Australian flag carrier Qantas Airways Ltd. jumped 4.3 percent after a court ordered employees of the world’s 10th-largest airlines back to work. The airline had grounded its entire fleet on Saturday following weeks of strikes by its workers, but an arbitration court on Sunday ordered an end to the strikes and canceled the staff lockout.

Oil prices tracked equities lower, with the benchmark rate for December delivery down 49 cents at $92.85 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

___

Pamela Sampson in Bangkok contributed to this report.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/stocks/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111031/ap_on_bi_ge/world_markets

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Boeing to Build Private Space Taxis in Old NASA Shuttle Hangar (SPACE.com)

Posted by aifkod on October 31, 2011

This story was updated at 11:22 a.m. EDT.

Aerospace giant Boeing has inked a deal to use an old space shuttle hangar at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida as the headquarters to build and test the private company’s new spaceship designed to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, company officials announced today (Oct. 31).

Boeing is making Florida the headquarters of its space taxi venture, a move that will add up to 550 new jobs in the area, Boeing’s vice president and program manager for commercial crew vehicles said in a news briefing today from Kennedy Space Center.

The retirement of NASA’s 30-year space shuttle program in July was accompanied by devastating job losses within Florida’s so-called Space Coast. Boeing’s new deal is expected to revitalize the area’s strong aerospace legacy, and will help breathe new life into NASA’s Florida spaceport

“It’s a great day for NASA, Kennedy Space Center, Boeing, Space Florida and the commercial space industry here on the Space Coast,” NASA’s deputy administrator Lori Garver said.

Boeing ironed out the details of the 15-year deal with Space Florida, an aerospace economic development agency supported by the state. The veteran aerospace company will rent one of the space shuttle processing hangars ? Orbiter Processing Hangar Bay 3 ? at NASA’s Florida spaceport.

“Boeing Company has selected Florida as its commercial crew program office,” said John Mulholland, vice president and program manager of commercial programs at Boeing. “In addition, we plan to manufacture and test Boeing’s CST-100 in this facility ? and launch from right here on Florida’s Space Coast.”

Boeing is expected to use the hangar to build and test its CST-100 (short for Crew Space Transportation-100) capsule, which is being designed as a space taxi to bring astronauts to and from destinations in low-Earth orbit, such as the International Space Station. [CST-100: Photos of Boeing's Private Space Capsule]

“Neither NASA nor the Space Coast can afford to stand still,” NASA chief Charles Bolden said in a statement. “We must be aggressive in pursuing this next generation of space exploration ? and the jobs and innovation that will accompany it.”

Boeing’s proposed gumdrop-shaped capsule will carry up to seven passengers and launch on an Atlas 5 rocket made by the United Launch Alliance company, company officials have said. The firm is aiming to have the capsule operational by 2015, Mulholland said.

NASA retired its 30-year space shuttle program in July, creating a gap in American human spaceflight capabilities. The agency is currently relying on Russian Soyuz vehicles to carry astronauts to the space station and back, at a reported price of approximately $350 million per year.

In April, Boeing received $92 million from NASA during the second round of the space agency’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. The company also received $18 million for the CST-100 during the first round of funding in February 2010.

Through CCDev, NASA is seeking to improve the capabilities of private spaceflight. Three other companies received funding from NASA as part of the second round of the CCDev program. The agency is hoping that commercial vehicles will be ready to carry astronaut passengers by the end of 2016. ?

Boeing has also teamed up with private space company Bigelow Aerospace, which is developing a commercial space station made of inflatable habitats. In the agreement, Boeing’s CST-100 will be used to transport commercial and government clients to Bigelow’s space station.

With commercial companies, like Boeing, taking over routine flights to destinations in low-Earth orbit, NASA can focus on developing its next-generation rocket and capsule for deep space exploration.

“The next era of space exploration won’t wait, and so we can’t wait for Congress to do its job and give our space program the funding it needs,” President Obama said in a statement. “That’s why my Administration will be pressing forward, in partnership with Space Florida and the private sector, to create jobs and make sure America continues to lead the world in exploration and discovery.”

As part of NASA’s new direction, the Obama Administration has challenged NASA to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and on to Mars by the 2030s.

“America has been the world leader in space exploration for more than 50 years, and if we stick to the ambitious plan laid out by the President and Congress, we will be the leader for the next half century,” Florida’s Senator Bill Nelson said.

The new deal with Boeing also marks a new direction for NASA’s Florida spaceport. Following the retirement of the space shuttle program, Kennedy Space Center is being rejuvenated to support future NASA ambitions, in addition to hosting commercial and military endeavors.

“Kennedy continues working to bring new commercial space activities to the center,” Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana said in a statement. “Partnering with Space Florida to enable commercial space operations at Kennedy will help NASA maintain facilities and assets while supporting our nation’s space objectives and expanding opportunities for the U.S. economy.”

You can follow SPACE.com staff writer Denise Chow on Twitter @denisechow. Follow SPACE.com for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/space/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/space/20111031/sc_space/boeingtobuildprivatespacetaxisinoldnasashuttlehangar

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Snow smacks Northeast; power out for millions

Posted by aifkod on October 31, 2011

Millions of people from Maine to Maryland were without power as an unseasonably early nor’easter dumped heavy, wet snow over the weekend on a region more used to gaping at leaves in October than shoveling snow.

The snow stopped falling in New England Sunday, but Halloween will likely come and go before many of the more than 3 million without electricity see it restored, officials warned. Several officials referred to the combination of its early arrival and its ferocity as historic, yet another unwelcome superlative for weather-weary Northeasterners.

“You had this storm, you had Hurricane Irene, you had the flooding last spring and you had the nasty storms last winter,” Tom Jacobsen said Sunday while getting coffee at a convenience store in Hamilton Township, N.J.

“I’m starting to think we really ticked off Mother Nature somehow because we’ve been getting spanked by her for about a year now.”

Story: Snow cancels NY, Philly flights, makes road travel treacherous

The storm smashed record snowfall totals for October and worsened as it moved north. Communities in western Massachusetts were among the hardest hit. Snowfall totals topped 27 inches in Plainfield, and nearby Windsor had gotten 26 inches by early Sunday. It was blamed for at least three deaths, and states of emergency were declared in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and parts of New York.

Halloween put on ice
Roads, rails and airline flights were knocked out, and passengers on a JetBlue flight were stuck on a plane in Hartford, Conn., for more than seven hours. And while children across the region were thrilled to see snow so early, it also complicated many of their Halloween plans.

Sharon Martovich of Southbury, Conn., said she hoped the power will come back on in time for her husband’s Halloween tradition of playing “Young Frankenstein” on a giant screen in front of their house. But no matter what, she said, they will make sure the eight or so children who live in the neighborhood don’t miss out on trick-or-treating.

“Either way we will get the giant flashlights and we will go,” she said.

The Massachusetts towns of Worchester, Auburn and Leicester were urging people to postpone trick or treating until later this week, citing concerns over safety due to downed trees, darkened streets and piles of snow, the Worchester Telegram and Gazette reported.

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Compounding the storm’s impact were still-leafy trees, which gave the snow something to hang onto and that put tremendous weight on branches, said National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro. That led to limbs breaking off and contributed to the widespread outages.

“This is not going to be a quick fix,” said Peter Judge, a Massachusetts emergency management official.

More than 800,000 power customers were without electricity in Connecticut alone ? shattering the record set just two months ago by Hurricane Irene. Massachusetts had more than 600,000 outages, and so did New Jersey ? including Gov. Chris Christie’s house. Parts of Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New York, Maine, Maryland and Vermont also were without power.

“It’s going to be a more difficult situation than we experienced in Irene,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said. “We are expecting extensive and long-term power outages.”

Thirty-two shelters were open around the state, and Malloy asked volunteer fire departments to allow people in for warmth and showers. At least four hospitals were relying on generators for power.

Video: Pre-winter snowstorm slams Northeast (on this page)

Around Newtown in western Connecticut, trees were so laden with snow on some back roads that the branches touched the street. Every few minutes, a snap filled the air as one broke and tumbled down. Roads that were plowed became impassible because the trees were falling so fast.

One of the few businesses open in the area was a Big Y grocery store that had a generator. Customers loaded up on supplies, heard news updates over the intercom, charged up their cell phones, and waited for a suddenly hard-to-get cup of coffee ? in a line that was 30 people deep and growing.

Many of the areas hit by the storm had also been hit by Irene. In New Jersey’s Hamilton Township, Tom Jacobsen also recalled heavy spring flooding and a particularly heavy winter before that.

“I’m starting to think we really ticked off Mother Nature somehow, because we’ve been getting spanked by her for about a year now,” he said while grabbing some coffee at a convenience store.

It wasn’t just the trees that weren’t fully ready for a wintry wallop.

Kerry McNiven said she was “totally unprepared” for the storm that knocked out her water and power and sent tree limbs crashing into her Simsbury, Conn., home. She was buying disposable plates and cups in a darkened supermarket, a setting that she said resembled “one of those post-apocalyptic TV shows.”

“They didn’t hype this one as much” as Irene, she said. “I didn’t think it was going to be as bad.”

In Concord, N.H., Dave Whitcher’s company had yet to prep its sanding equipment before the storm dropped nearly 2 feet of snow. His crews were plowing and shoveling parking lots Sunday, and would be back Monday to salt sidewalks and walkways.

“It was a bit of a surprise, the amount and how heavy it was. We should’ve probably come out and got a little earlier start, but we did all right,” Whitcher said. He held up his shovel and added, “Me and this guy are going to get to know each other real well today.”

Story: JetBlue apologizes to passengers stranded for hours

Vaccaro, the weather service spokesman, said the snowstorm “absolutely crushed previous records that in some cases dated back more than 100 years.” Saturday was only the fourth snowy October day in New York’s Central Park since record-keeping began 135 years ago.

There usually isn’t enough cold air in the region to support a nor’easter this time of year, but an area of high pressure over southeastern Canada funneled cold air south into the U.S., Vaccaro said. That cold air combined with moisture coming from the North Carolina coast to produce the unseasonable weather.

Though the fact that leaves were still on the trees worsened storm damage inland, the nor’easter did less damage in coastal areas than it would have in winter because warm ocean temperatures limited snowfall, Vaccaro said.

A few businesses enjoyed the early snow: Ski resorts in Vermont and Maine opened early. But it was more commonly an aggravation.

Many residents were urged to avoid travel altogether. Speed limits were reduced on bridges between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A few roads closed because of accidents and downed trees and power lines, said Sean Brown, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The JetBlue passengers stranded Saturday at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport were on a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Newark, N.J., that had been diverted. Passenger Andrew Carter, a football reporter for the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, said the plane ran out of snacks and bottled water, and the toilets backed up.

JetBlue spokeswoman Victoria Lucia said power outages at the airport has made it difficult to get passengers off the plane, and added that the passengers would be reimbursed.

In 2007, passengers in JetBlue planes were stranded for nearly 11 hours at New York’s Kennedy Airport following snow and ice storms.

There were other flight delays in the region over the weekend, and commuter trains in Connecticut and New York were delayed or suspended because of downed trees and signal problems. Amtrak suspended service on several Northeast routes, and one train from Chicago to Boston got stuck overnight in Palmer, Mass. The 48 passengers had food and heat, a spokeswoman said, and they were taken by bus Sunday to their destinations.

Slideshow: Editorial cartoonists poke fun at snow so soon (on this page)

In southeastern Pennsylvania, an 84-year-old man was killed when a snow-laden tree fell on his home while he was napping in his recliner. In Connecticut, the governor said one person died in a Colchester traffic accident that he blamed on slippery conditions.

And a 20-year-old man in Springfield, Mass., stopped when he saw police and firefighters examining downed wires and stepped in the wrong place and was electrocuted, Capt. William Collins said.

The snow was a bone-chilling slush in New York City, and was a taste of what’s to come for demonstrators camping out at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan for the Occupy Wall Street protest.

Nick Lemmin, of Brooklyn, spent his first night at Zuccotti in a sleeping bag in a tent, wearing thermals, a sweatshirt and a scarf.

“I slept actually pretty well,” he said. “It was pretty quiet.”

Lemmin said he thought the early snow was actually “a good test,” giving protesters a chance to deal with such weather before it sets in more permanently.

The weather was too much for protester Adash Daniel, who had already been in the park for three weeks. “I’m not much good to this movement if I’m shivering,” he said as he left.

The snow was relatively light in Manhattan, as it was farther north in Albany, where a couple of dirt- and leaf-caked snowmen stood about the protesters waving “We are the 99 percent” signs for passing cars.

In Concord, 9-year-old Nate Smith had more than enough snow to make a proper snowman with his brother, but he was worried about Halloween. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to go trick-or-treating, and even if he did, his werewolf costume could end up looking a little different than he had imagined.

“I might have to put on snow pants,” he said.

___

Associated Press writers Noreen Gillespie-Connolly in Newtown, Conn.; Ron Todt in Philadelphia; Verena Dobnik, Deepti Hajela and Candice Choi in New York; Mary Esch in Albany, N.Y.; Holly Ramer in Concord, N.H.; and Bruce Shipkowski in Trenton, N.J., contributed to this report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45093724/ns/weather/

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Cain says he opposes abortion without exceptions (The Arizona Republic)

Posted by aifkod on October 31, 2011

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Lern2Play

Posted by aifkod on October 31, 2011

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http://www.lern2play.com Lern2Play.com features a large MMORPG Forum with over 265,000 posts. Active MMORPG and MMO community and MMO Games Forums. Join now to talk about Lord of the Rings Online, World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, Star Wars Galaxies and more.enhttp://www.lern2play.com/images/lern2play/misc/rss.jpghttp://www.lern2play.com http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112903-tocar-y-luchar-to-play-and-to-fight-2006-dvd-2010-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112902-tinker-tailor-soldier-spy-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112901-the-three-musketeers-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112900-the-thing-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112899-the-sorcerer-and-the-white-snake-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-1-link.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112898-the-smurfs-2011-eng-dvdrip-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112897-the-rum-diary-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112896-the-muppets-2011-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112895-the-ides-of-march-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112894-the-human-centipede-ii-full-sequence-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112893-the-howling-reborn-video-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112892-the-help-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112891-the-black-power-mixtape-1967-1975-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112890-the-big-year-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112889-the-adventures-of-tintin-2011-dvdrip-1link-no-rar.html

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http://www.lern2play.com Lern2Play.com features a large MMORPG Forum with over 265,000 posts. Active MMORPG and MMO community and MMO Games Forums. Join now to talk about Lord of the Rings Online, World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, Star Wars Galaxies and more.enhttp://www.lern2play.com/images/lern2play/misc/rss.jpghttp://www.lern2play.com http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112903-tocar-y-luchar-to-play-and-to-fight-2006-dvd-2010-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112902-tinker-tailor-soldier-spy-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112901-the-three-musketeers-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112900-the-thing-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112899-the-sorcerer-and-the-white-snake-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-1-link.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112898-the-smurfs-2011-eng-dvdrip-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112897-the-rum-diary-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112896-the-muppets-2011-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112895-the-ides-of-march-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112894-the-human-centipede-ii-full-sequence-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112893-the-howling-reborn-video-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112892-the-help-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112891-the-black-power-mixtape-1967-1975-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112890-the-big-year-2011-dvd-eng-dvdrip-hq-1-link-no-rar.html http://www.lern2play.com/movies-tv-and-music/112889-the-adventures-of-tintin-2011-dvdrip-1link-no-rar.html

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1 Ind. crash survivor upgraded to fair condition (AP)

Posted by aifkod on October 31, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS ? The condition has been upgraded for one of three people hospitalized following a crash that killed seven members of an extended Ecuadorian family.

Thirty-six-year-old Maria Antonia Yupa was listed in fair condition Saturday at South Bend Memorial Hospital. She had been listed as serious Friday.

Thirty-year-old Manuel Chimborazo remains in critical condition at South Bend. Police say he was driving the minivan packed with 10 people Thursday when it hit a deer and then was crushed from behind by a semi-trailer.

Officials at Elkhart General Hospital declined to release any information Saturday on 28-year-old Cayetano Quizhpe, who had been listed as stable Friday.

Police say the crash on the Indiana Toll Road killed three adults and four children, including Quizhpe’s 6-week-old son.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/us/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111029/ap_on_re_us/us_fatal_crash_indiana

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Shape Type: How Font Designers Have Fun

Posted by aifkod on October 31, 2011

Shape Type: How Font Designers Have FunYou wouldn’t think an online game that has players painstakingly adjusting bezier handles to reshape letters from various fonts would be remotely interesting. But even if you’re not a font designer or graphically inclined, I guarantee your years of sub-consciously staring at well crafted magazines, newspapers and ads will help you play, and even enjoy, Shape Type.

Created by Mark MacKay, the game presents you with a single mis-shaped character, encouraging you to adjust multiple bezier handles until you’ve smoothed out its curves and corners. When you’re satisfied that you’ve reached perfection, you can submit your corrections which will be compared to the original character and scored with a percentage based on their similarities. For those who don’t mind cheating in order to achieve a perfect score, the name of the font is also provided on every turn, with links to where it can be downloaded if you want to visually compare the original to your corrections. The name of the font’s designer is also provided, adding an edutainment element to the game. And because it’s made with HTML 5 instead of Flash, you can even play it on your iPhone or iPad. [Shape Type via BoingBoing via Waxy]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5854554/shape-type-how-font-designers-have-fun

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