Friday, April 2, 2010

Rooney Injured

4:22 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Latest News For Man U Fan: Rooney injury confirmed

Manchester United have confirmed the extent of Wayne Rooney’s injury, sustained in Tuesday night’s match against Bayern Munich.

A spokesperson told, “We’re pleased to report that Wayne has not suffered a fracture. The scan revealed only minor ligament damage.”

For now, the club is not commenting on how many games Wayne is likely to miss. However, Sir Alex Ferguson will say more about the matter in his regular press conference at Carrington on Friday morning (09:30 BST).

Friday, March 19, 2010

NCAA Basketball tournament 2010 scores - March Madness

7:58 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Latest News From USABasketball: It's time for the latest March Madness bracket update. As of late Friday night, the 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball tournament will have narrowed its field of championship contenders down to just 32 teams. Friday is the close of Round 1 of the Big Dance, with the second round to begin on Saturday and end Sunday. Friday's action included several more upsets just like Thursday making for one very interesting tournament so far. Get the updated NCAA Basketball tournament 2010 scores and NCAA latest results here.

On Friday, Pittsburgh and West Virginia gave the Big East a bit more respectability after surprising losses by Georgetown, Notre Dame and Marquette on Thursday. Also today, #12 Cornell shocked #5 Temple, #10 Missouri upset #7 Clemson and #4 seed Wisconsin survived a scare from the #13 seed Wofford. Michigan State also edged out #12 seed New Mexico, while Georgia Tech upset the #7 seed Oklahoma State.

On Saturday, we'll get started with Round 2 of NCAA basketball tournament action with the first teams looking to advance to the Sweet Sixteen (schedule here). In competition will be Kentucky, Kansas, Wake Forest, Villanova, Ohio and Murray State. You can get the latest NCAA Basketball tournament 2010 scores here as well as customizable widgets to use on your website, blog or Myspace page.

There will be more games on Sunday so stay tuned for the newest March Madness bracket update this weekend!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oscar Nominees For Best Actor and Actress (7th Mac)

6:10 AM by Problemfixer · 0 comments


Performance by an actor in a leading role

* Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart" (Fox Searchlight)
* George Clooney in "Up in the Air"
(Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)
* Colin Firth in "A Single Man" (The Weinstein Company)
* Morgan Freeman in "Invictus" (Warner Bros.)
* Jeremy Renner in "The Hurt Locker" (Summit Entertainment)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

* Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side" (Warner Bros.)
* Helen Mirren in "The Last Station" (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Carey Mulligan in "An Education" (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Gabourey Sidibe in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
* Meryl Streep in "Julie & Julia" (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Zulkifli Nordin Sacks

9:13 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Zulkifli Nordin today has benn sacked by Parti Keadilan Rakyat. He who Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP aslo was told to vacate his parliamentary seat immediately, said party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution.

“We will send an official letter by fax, registered mail and e-mail on Monday to inform him of the decision. He has 14 days to appeal,” he said.

Saifuddin said the action against Zulkifli was primarily for lodging a police report against PAS’ Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad and for speaking against the party and coalition members in a television interview.

“The board views seriously the strong attacks against party policy, its stand and cooperation within the Pakatan Rakyat.

“We took into account the re-occurrence of his misdeeds, the police report and the interview,” Saifuddin told a press conference after the three-hour council meeting chaired by party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail yesterday.

The decision to sack Zulkifli was reached unanimously by the party’s central leadership council.

“If the decision we made means that there will be one fewer representative in Parliament and if that is the price we have to pay to defend the party’s good name and the interest of our 500,000 members, then that is what we will do,” Saifuddin said.

In a separate press conference, Zulkifli said his sacking marked a “black moment” in the history for the reformation movement and the downfall of the PKR.

“The decision also shows that little pharoahs are fully controlling PKR and have an evil, narrow and anti-Islamic plan,” he said.

He claimed that he was being punished without being given a chance to defend himself according to the principles of human rights and justice.

Zulkifli, who walked out of his disciplinary hearing when the party refused his request for an all-Muslim panel, reiterated that he had the right to an all-Muslim panel since the issue involved Islamic matters.

Election in Iraq

9:09 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

People of Baghdad now can choose their government. Iraqis began voting Sunday to elect a new Parliament and possibly a new prime minister, an election nearly seven years after the American overthrow of Saddam Hussein that could, if peaceful, smooth the way for a final American withdrawal.From Basra in the south to Dohuk in the north, polling stations opened at 7 a.m. after a short, intense campaign that could solidify Iraq’s nascent democracy or leave the country fractured along ethnic and sectarian lines. Still, the campaign unfolded as the most open, most competitive election in the nation’s long history of colonial rule, dictatorship and war.

Despite a long delay, disputes over candidates’ qualifications, arrests and assassinations, the country’s main political blocs competed fiercely at the ballot box to win an election that remained too close to call, something rare in a region dominated by authoritarian governments.

Only moments before the polls opened, four bombs exploded in Baghdad, reverberating across the city. It was not immediately clear how much damage they caused.

By all accounts, no single party or coalition was expected to win an outright majority, setting the stage for a period of turmoil — months, not weeks, politicians here say — as parties try to cobble together the majority of seats in the country’s new 325-member Parliament to select a new prime minister.

The incumbent, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a Shiite who has refashioned himself as a nationalist leader over the last four years, with mixed results, faced formidable challenges from a bloc of Shiite parties once allied with him and from another led by a former interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi.

For the first time, the Sunni minority that under Mr. Hussein dominated Iraqi politics is expected to participate in force, potentially reshaping the country’s political landscape. The election could also begin to resolve — or worsen — the delicate questions of political control in disputed regions like Kirkuk and Nineveh, where Arab and Kurdish aspirations conflict.

The competition among the main Shiite parties, divided this time, could be decisive. Moktada al-Sadr, the anti-American cleric whose followers fought against the American military and Mr. Maliki’s government, urged Iraqi Shiites to vote. “Participation in the election is a sort of political resistance,” he said in remarks broadcast on television in Iran, where he is said to be studying to become an ayatollah.

Voting began in an atmosphere that was at once hopeful and fearful. A series of attacks in the past week appeared intended to disrupt the election, as the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq repeatedly vowed to do, denouncing the election as antithetical to their extremist vision of Islam.

The threats — circulated in leaflets in Diyala and Anbar — were a throwback to the volatile elections of 2005, when suspicion and insurgency kept people away from the polls, especially Sunnis.

“Iraq’s enemies are going to try and exploit this change to attack the Iraqi people,” the spokesman for the Baghdad Operations Command, Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta, said Saturday, even as new attacks struck in Baghdad, in Musayyib to the south and in the Shiite holy city Najaf, killing at least four and wounding dozens more.

Those followed a series of attacks on Thursday near polling stations in Baghdad, Mosul and Diyala that killed at least 12 people and wounded scores. The most serious of those involved a car bomb that exploded in a parking lot near the shrine of Imam Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad.

A shop owner in Najaf, Hussein Ali, worried that the latest bombings exposed the shortcomings of the security forces, who failed to detect the explosives on Saturday despite already heightened security around the shrine. “I won’t go to vote because I am afraid for myself and my family,” he said.

Iraq’s security forces, however, are far stronger than they were when the last parliamentary elections were held in 2005, and they saturated cities and towns across the country, closing internal borders and imposing a curfew on vehicles, even bicycles, that left the streets largely deserted.

“We are in a battle now, and our enemies will use whatever means they can to try and keep the Iraqi people from voting,” General Atta said. “We need to expect the worst in order to be prepared for it.”

Unlike any of Iraq’s elections and referendums before — for a Provisional Assembly, for a Parliament, for a Constitution and provincial assemblies — Iraqis controlled the streets and borders. The American military, already largely withdrawn from the cities, provided assistance and planning but remained behind the scenes.

Something new also emerged, though. A tried and tested reliance on violence turned into defiance. Even in the aftermath of the latest of an untold number of attacks, other voters in Najaf sounded determined, like the country itself, to carrying on with the vote regardless of efforts to derail it.

Abed al-Nabi Mahmoud, a taxi driver, described the attacks that still scar Iraq as “old and inactive.”

“We will vote and win,” he said as if addressing those who carry out the attacks, “and you will lose.”

In Falluja, a city in Anbar devastated by American assaults in 2004, then isolated in a cauldron of bloodshed when Al Qaeda ran rampant, a similar determination reflected an important shift in the mood of Sunnis.

After boycotting the last parliamentary elections in 2005, they were left disproportionately underrepresented in Parliament, fueling anger and, many argue, the insurgency that plunged the country into civil war. Now, despite a murky process to disqualify prominent Sunni candidates, the Sunnis who once resisted the American-sponsored government of Mr. Maliki vowed to make their voices heard.

“This is our chance,” one resident in Falluja, Amman Khudeir, said ahead of the vote on Saturday. “If we don’t seize it now, we’ll lose it forever.”

Friday, March 5, 2010

Earthquake Cin CHile: Situation Cooling Down

5:46 AM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Latest News From Chile: Chile’s capital is returning to normal as electricity comes online and international flights resume, while residents of towns closer to the Feb. 27 earthquake’s epicenter wait for help to arrive.

The government has distributed 8,200 tons of aid in the two hardest hit regions, President Michelle Bachelet said as she visited the blighted city of Concepcion, where the first supermarket reopened its doors following the temblor yesterday. She defended her government’s reaction to the earthquake, saying “everything humanly possible has been done.” Aftershocks again rattled buildings in Concepcion today.

“This was an earthquake of biblical proportions,” Foreign Affairs Minister Mariano Fernandez said in an interview with television station TVN. “Not even a week has passed and we have reconnected electricity in Concepcion. We’ve set up an air bridge and campaign hospitals and other advances.”

Conditions were more dire in many small communities, especially the coastal villages swamped by a tsunami wave that followed the 8.8-magnitude quake, the world’s fifth strongest in the past century. On a highway outside Constitucion, cars passed a man holding up a handwritten sign reading “Help Please.” A woman stood by a placard saying there are homeless nearby, in need of milk, food and diapers.

The government said at least 800 people died as a result of the earthquake. Residents of apartment buildings near Concepcion’s army base ran out of buildings today as a series of aftershocks, including a magnitude-6.8 temblor, rattled the city.

Sniffer Dogs

Police Corporal Fernando Vejar said he has been working dawn-to-dusk since the day after the quake with a team of six body-sniffing dogs in Constitution, 300 kilometers (190 miles) south of Santiago. He and his team have pulled 12 bodies from the rubble, including a couple and their three-month-old baby.

“We have been working nonstop because we have our hearts in it,” said Vejar, standing next to his tan Labrador, Nico. “I don’t know how many bodies there are out there, but I can tell you there’s a lot. The destruction is unimaginable.

“But we have to keep at it,” he said. “It’s our job, and we won’t stop until we find them all.”

In the port town of Talcahuano near the country’s second- largest city, Concepcion, residents have survived by bartering water, food and fuel among themselves. Johnny Munoz, 29, knocked on the door of a neighbor to find diapers and milk for the youngest of his three children.

‘No Help’

“Here no help has arrived,” said Munoz, shortly after an aftershock shook the wooden houses in the shanty town where he lives above the port. “If we hadn’t organized ourselves in this way we would be in total misery now.”

The port will have to be entirely rebuilt, Public Works Minister Sergio Bitar told Radio BioBio.

In the town, roads are blocked by broken boats and sacks of fishmeal covered in black mud left by the tidal wave. Scavengers could be seen taking radios and other equipment from the remains of abandoned fishing vessels. Soldiers carried rifles to protect stores that were destroyed by the tsunami.

Munoz fears looters that were active in the first days after the quake may return as supplies dwindle.

“Nobody has come near here,” he said. “If help doesn’t arrive, things could get really bad.”

In Santiago, the scene is different. Basic services are running and life is returning to normal. At least 40 international flights arrived in the city yesterday and 28 departed, according to the airport’s Web site. Electricity is on in 94 percent of the city, distributer Chilectra SA said.

Elevators Working

In downtown Santiago, office workers and hotel guests used elevators again after precautionary bans were removed. Businesses, some of which closed early following the quake, remained open through the afternoon.

The stock market rose yesterday for the first time since the quake, advancing 0.9 percent. Three days of declines had made the country’s benchmark index the world’s worst performing equity market.

The peso climbed 0.3 percent to a five-week high versus the dollar yesterday and Scotiabank Chile said it sold $163 million in indexed bonds, the first issue since the quake.

The cost of rebuilding from the quake, Chile’s biggest since 1960, will be “of an enormous, enormous magnitude,” Bachelet said. She told ADN Radio yesterday that reconstruction will take four years.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is scheduled to meet Bachelet and President-elect Sebastian Pinera today, according to a statement from the UN. His trip includes a visit to Concepcion.

Pinera pledged yesterday to modernize Chile’s emergency- response and early-warning systems after what he said were weaknesses exposed on Feb. 27.

“We don’t just have to rebuild what this earthquake and seaquake destroyed, we need to learn profound lessons so that our country is better prepared,” he said.

Iraqi-Americans to vote in Iraq’s election

2:47 AM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

News From Iraq:Iraqi Americans across Michigan are to vote today at polling sites in Warren and Dearborn for Iraq’s parliamentary election.

Iraqi immigrants and Iraqi Americans born in the U.S. are eligible to vote if they have proof of their Iraqi ancestry, said election organizers. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, Saturday, and Sunday.

Voters inside Iraq and in other countries with sizeable Iraqi populations are to also vote in the election.

Aziz Hanna, who is in charge of voting for Iraqi Americans in Michigan, said thousands are expected to vote in Michigan, which has the highest concentration of Iraqi Americans in the U.S. There are also Iraqi-American voting centers in California, Washington, D.C., Tennessee and Illinois.

Campaign fliers that advertise Iraqi political parties have been put up in recent weeks at stores and centers in Sterling Heights, Warren, West Bloomfield, Dearborn and Detroit.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chile Earthquake- Why Less Damage?

11:09 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Less Catastrophic Damage
Read the following interview with Santiago native Eduardo Kausel, a professor in MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) regarding the reason for less damage to the Chile structure when hit by earthquake recently.

Santiago native Eduardo Kausel, a professor in MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), is an expert in structural dynamics and earthquake engineering. In an interview with MIT News, Kausel explains why Chile’s stronger earthquake led to less-catastrophic damage than the earthquake that struck Haiti in January. He also explains some of the risks that could be associated with a sizable earthquake in Boston, and why the philosophy behind building codes may be changing.

Q. Even though the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Chile was 500 times stronger than the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in January, the scope of damage was significantly less. Describe for us some of the differences between Chile and Haiti that helped limit loss of life and property.

A. Chile possesses an educated middle class and ranks among the most developed nations in South America whereas Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Clearly, there is a strong correlation between poverty and quality of housing and infrastructure. It is this difference more than the proximity of the epicenter of the earthquake that led to massive damage in Haiti.

The most fundamental reason for the difference in damage and casualties is that Chile has been taking into account the effect of earthquakes and designing for them since at least the beginning of the 20th century. Chile's building codes are comparable to those of the United States, Japan, Turkey or Mexico, and rank among the most stringent and demanding. They have to, because strong earthquakes are a fact of life in Chile.

In Haiti, however, virtually no construction is earthquake-proof, not even government buildings or the houses of the affluent. This may relate to the fact that although Haiti is in a seismically active zone, strong earthquakes there are much less frequent than in Chile and have return periods measured in centuries, not decades.

Q. In the U.S., earthquakes tend to be associated with the West Coast, but strong earthquakes have struck the Midwest and Northeast over the last few hundred years. In your view, are these areas of the country prepared to withstand an earthquake of considerable magnitude?

A. Considerable research is being carried out at present on how to make the Midwest safe against earthquakes. Fortunately, paleoseismology seems to suggest that mammoth intra-plate earthquakes such as the four that took place in New Madrid, Missouri, between Dec. 16, 1811 and Feb. 7, 1812, which rank among the strongest in the Midwest in historic times, may be rare — although strong quakes on the order of magnitude 6 or so could be expected to occur sometime this century. Still, the problem is not only technical, but also economical, for any upgrading of the large inventory of old, low-rise, unreinforced masonry structures from Chicago through St. Louis to Memphis would entail enormous costs, which the public would have to weigh against the low risk.

A somewhat different story is that of quakes in the Northeast from Boston to Canada. Although not as strong or frequent as those in California, they may not be so rare either. For example, some strong earthquakes have recently taken place in the Quebec province, but having occurred in largely uninhabited areas, they have been inconsequential. On the other hand, a repeat of the 1755 Cape Ann earthquake some 50 miles to the northeast of Boston could conceivably produce substantial damage to the unreinforced red stone buildings of Back Bay, an area that was reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean and has very soft ground conditions. But probably the more important risk factor there may be the gas lines embedded in that soft infill soil whose possible rupture could lead to fires.

It is worth keeping in mind that modern high rise buildings in Boston and elsewhere in the East and Midwest are very safe indeed, for they not only account for seismic considerations, but have been designed to resist the enormous overturning forces caused by strong winds or even hurricanes, which are much more frequent than earthquakes in this region.

Q. What can we to do to prevent significant damage in the U.S.? How can building codes and processes be improved further?

A. Over time, all codes continuously evolve, reflecting the lessons learned from past design mistakes, most of which were not a-priori obvious. Until recently, the goal of seismic codes was to protect human life, not the buildings themselves. This philosophy may be gradually changing now. It has been argued that the economic loss to the affected region or nation can be far greater than the aggregate of the physical losses. An example is the massive damage to the port facilities in 1995 by an earthquake in Kobe, Japan, which caused much of that port's shipping commerce to move elsewhere. Societal and economic considerations such as these may begin to affect seismic codes yet to come.

In Chile's case, the various bridges that failed on the highway to the south are not only a loss to the local municipalities or the Chilean highway administration, but the damage to the local economy may vastly exceed the cost of the bridges, which could have been made safer if constructed at a modest additional expense. The stricken area is the heart of the Chilean agriculture, akin to California's San Joaquin Valley. Much of the fruit consumed in winter in the U.S., not to mention the wine, comes from that area. If trucks cannot take these to the ports — many of which where also destroyed — then the produce cannot make it to our markets. Thus, the seismic codes that govern the infrastructure may be in need of upgrading. Expect the fruit and vegetable prices in the U.S. to rise sharply in the weeks ahead.

Mexico vs New Zealand Result

11:04 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Mexico Win Over New Zealand 2-0


And that, as they say, is that as the ref blows his whistle to signal the end of the All Whites first FIFA World Cup warm-up clash which ends up All Whites 0 Mexico 2.


Into the final seconds of the game and New Zealand give away two crucial corners.

Both come to nothing, but Bertos blasts down the right in his blinding yellow boots.


Two more changes for the All Whites as West Brom's Chris Wood comes on for Shane Smeltz while skipper Tim Brown makes way for Team Wellington youngster Andy Barron.

YELLOW: Tony Lochhead


Better play from the All Whites with McGlinchey (whose appearance on the field seems to have fired the All Whites into action) passing to Rory Fallon who almost grabs a goal - but as he blasts the ball into the net the ref blows his whistle for offside.


Right. After that assault on goal I can finally catch my breath to tell you that New Zealand have made changes early in the second half with World Cup qualifying hero Rory Fallon coming on for Boro striker Chris Killen, while Coombes made way for Micheal McGlinchey.

6:28pm GOAL!

All Whites 0 Mexico 2
And there is another for Mexico as Ben Sigmund is outwitted by Arsenal's Carlos Vela to net their second in almost as many minutes.
One fears that the floodgates have now opened!

6:23pm GOAL!

All Whites 0 Mexico 1

As I just mentioned, Mexico looked the more likely to score and so it came to pass as Chad Coombes is caught out by Javier Hernandez, nicknamed The Pea, who jumped above the New Zealand defence to smash in a perfect header from a Mexico corner.


Instead of coming out refreshed and raring to go after the break, the All Whites seem to have left their heads somewhere in the bowels of the Rose Bowl.

Chris Killen gets a rare touch but instantly gives the ball away as the Mexicans continue to pile on the pressure. Mexico looking the more likely to score.


Another close call for the All Whites just moments later as Hernandez is allowed space for a free header in the NZ box - but he heads it wide - Mexico really should be doing better!


There is almost an immediate impact from Mexico sub Moreno, but once again they fail to hit the back of Glen Moss' net.


It's all change for Mexico as they bring on the big guns in the hopes of bringing New Zealand down.

Javier Hernandez, Javier Rodriguez and Hector Moreno all come on for Javier Aguirre's side.

No change for the All Whites.


So one might argue that if it ain't broke, why fix it as we look forward to the second half.

Both sides are allowed up to six substitutes, and it will be interesting to see what changes Herbert will make.

Both Killen and Smeltz have been fairly ineffectual, as has Leo Bertos, whose early corner has been the only flash of brilliance from the Phoenix star.

5:57pm - 0-0 HT

The All Whites will be glad of half time as Mexico continue to dominate possession, with Efrain Juarez and Jonathan Dos Santos the main instigators.

But although the Kiwis are finding themselves increasingly deep into their own half as they allow the World No.15 ranked team time, and space to push forward, New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert can be satisfied that his side are keeping the big match experienced Mexico, who were 5-0 winners over Bolivia in their last fixture, at bay as we enter half time.


Auckland City's Coombes wins a throw-in for the All Whites as we edge closer to half time, but Mexico are quick at closing the Kiwis down before Juarez, whose pace is having a huge impact on this game sprints down the right again - but Moss clears.


Mexico continue to stream down the right side of the field and Moss is almost embarrassed as a deflection from Andy Boyens heads towards the All Whites net.


WOAH! Mexico just came oh so close to the opening goal of the clash Jonathan Dos Santos latches onto a fierce corner kick only to smash it into the crossbar of the All Whites goal - you couldn't connect with that even if you tried!


The All Whites are let off the hook as some slick passing from Mexico see them surge into the Kiwis goal. But as the ball is played to Blanco, his first touch lets him and the side down.


Danger for the All Whites as Giovani Dos Santos pushes forward. The pace once these boys get the ball is unreal.

But New Zealand are holding their own - Glen Moss is doing well in goal, as is debutant defender Tommy Smith.


Tim Brown needs to watch himself as he gives yet another free kick to Mexico.

Nothing comes of it, but Mexico are really starting to dominate play as the Kiwi's are pushed deeper back into their own half.


Glen Moss also makes his first save of the game as a powerful kick from Mexico's No.16 head's his way. The tempo is definitely building in LA.

Some more blinding build-up play from the All Whites who, if they've got nerves, are not really showing them.

But as the Kiwis surge forward Mexico's Cuauhtemoc Blanco is fouled and the camera focused on him on the floor, luckily (unluckily) for all the New Zealand viewers the push forward leads to nothing.


First set piece of the game goes the All Whites way.

It's a corner that is flown in from Leo Bertos - connects with Chris Killen's head but he fails to hit the back of the net.

All looking good early doors for the All Whites though.


And we have kick-off at the Rose Bowl

Smeltz and Killen are up front for the All White, and get an early touch. Good first touch from Smith too.

Tim Brown is booked early for a challenge on Mexico's No.6

Rory Fallon, much talked about leading up to the clash starts on the bench, whilst Glen Moss is in goal for the Kiwis.

Chile Earthquake- Donation Raise

4:01 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Good news for Chilean-After the Chile earthquake on Saturday, cellphone text-message donations raised merely $100,000 in the first four days following the earthquake that rocked South America’s southern coast, which pales in comparison to the $21 million in text-message donations sent to Haiti in half that period.

Whereas $437,500 per hour in text donations poured into Haiti, less than $1,100 per hour has rolled into charities helping in Chile. “Nothing compares to what was raised for Haiti,” says Christian Zimmern, co-founder and vice president of the Washington-based Mobile Giving Foundation, which started in 2007 and channels text-message donations to a handful of vetted Haiti and Chile charities.

In total since the Jan. 12 earthquake hit Haiti’s coast, Americans have donated about $41 million via text messages to the Caribbean island. While American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and former Fugees rap star Wyclef Jean urged Americans to donate $5 and $10 amounts to Haiti relief using their cell phones, Chile isn’t getting the same attention.

“It’s all about promotion,” Mr. Zimmern said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “If you don’t get that message out to viewers, people don’t know. If Ryan Seacrest says something, or MTV is doing something on it with celebrities, that’s when you drive volume.” Tragedies of scale Zimmern says another factor affecting relief is the destruction. While 7.0-magnitiude Haiti earthquake killed an estimated 200,000, the 8.8-magnitude Chile earthquake killed less than 1,000 in one of the richest countries in the Western hemisphere.

“The human tragedy in Haiti was so much greater,” Zimmern says. “I don’t want to minimize the tragedy in Chile, but we’re talking about thousands dead instead of tens of thousands dead.” Moreover, the Chilean government sent out mixed signals when it initially said it would not accept foreign donations. For that reason, the Red Cross – which was one of the primary recipients of mobile phone donations for Haiti relief – held off on launching a text-to-donate campaign for Chlie.
But others have.

Texting “CHILE” to 52000, for example, donates $10 on behalf of the Salvation Army. The Mobile Giving Foundation passes on 100 percent of the donation and cooperating cell phone companies add the amount to the donator’s monthly cell phone bill. Only the receiving foundation – such as the Salvation Army – pays a fee to the processor for the service.

Donors are allowed to give up to $30 per month to any one charity. Following the Haiti earthquake, only 0.25 percent of all donations were later cancelled, which Zimmern said was because those donations were made by a child or on a company cell phone.

Americans give $300 billion annually to charities, Zimmern says, and 20 percent of that is in amounts less than $150. Less than 1 percent of the total is given through text message donations.

“I doubt that it’s donor fatigue,” Zimmern says. “We have 180 million cell phones in the US – 4 or 5 million people were making donations to Haiti. That means a lot of people are still not making a donation.” Other analysts and observers say donor fatigue is hurting Chile relief, however.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Malaysia Politics: More PKR MP Leave

10:26 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Latest Update From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Bagan Serai MP Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri quit PKR on Wednesday to become an independent.

Announcing his decision in a press conference at the PNB service apartment here, Mohsin said he decided to quit the party as he felt betrayed and sabotaged.

Also present at the conference was former PKR secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim Mohsin is the third PKR MP to quit over two weeks following the resignation of Bayan Baru MP Zahrain Hashim and Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng. In the 2008 general election, Mohsin beat former Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Zainal Abidin Zin from Umno by 3,413 votes.

Chile Earthquake: Tsunami Alarm Should Be Improved

10:03 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Latest News Chile Earthquake: A wider network of buoys and better computer models gave forecasters in Hawaii on Saturday a much better picture of the approaching tsunami than they would have had in the past, but they admit that their models were not refined enough to declare whether a full-scale evacuation was really needed.

When a magnitude 8.8 earthquake buckled the ocean floor off Chile on Saturday, there were concerns of a repeat of the 2004 disaster in which a giant earthquake off Indonesia generated a tsunami that killed thousands of people hours later in Sri Lanka and India.

In Hawaii, it was 8:34 p.m. Friday. The magnitude of an earthquake gives an expectation of the size of the resulting tsunami, and with an 8.8 magnitude, the scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center expected a dangerous tsunami.
Coastlines around the Pacific were put on alert, and the beaches in Hawaii were evacuated well in advance of the arrival of the tsunami. But the waves there turned out to be smaller than what was initially expected, causing little or no damage, pointing to the still incomplete knowledge in the art and science of tsunami forecasting.

Charles McCreery, the center’s director, said some early forecasts predicted that waves as high as eight feet could wash into parts of Hawaii. There were direct historical precedents. In 1960, a magnitude 9.5 earthquake off Chile, the largest earthquake ever recorded, generated a tsunami that killed 61 people in Hawaii and more than 100 in Japan. In 1837, a smaller quake, estimated at magnitude 8.5, also generated a deadly tsunami that hit Hawaii with waves as high as 20 feet.

But not all magnitude 8.8 earthquakes generate equally large tsunamis. If the earthquake occurs in shallower water, the uplift of the sea floor would displace less water, setting off a smaller tsunami. The seismic signals provide some clues, but not definitive information. Just five years ago, there would have been no midocean tsunami buoys between Chile and Hawaii, and forecasters would have been left guessing at the size of the waves until they hit.

This time, there was a buoy several hundred miles off Peru that recorded the tsunami as it sped by at more than 400 miles per hour, three hours after the earthquake.
“For this case, we had to pretty much base our forecast on one dot, because of the timing,” said Vasily V. Titov, a researcher at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle who developed one of the three models used by the warning center. In 2004, there were six tsunami buoys. Now there are 39.

The data from the one buoy was enough for the computer model to figure out that the tsunami was smaller and less destructive. At 6:24 a.m. Saturday in Hawaii, about five hours before the arrival of the tsunami there, the tsunami center put out a bulletin with predictions that the wave might reach four feet at Hilo, where the bay tends to amplify the waves, and much lower elsewhere.“In general, all of the numbers were bigger initially and went down,” Dr. McCreery said. The waves at Hilo were a bit less than three feet.

Dr. Titov said his model predicted the wave heights fairly accurately. This time, there were no deaths, and the tsunami pushed waters, at most, only a few feet above normal. “It looks like we nailed it, at least for U.S. coastlines,” Dr. Titov said.
But officials said the decision to order an evacuation in Hawaii, the first since 1994, was the right one given the uncertainties of the models.

“We’re still in the incipient stages of using these models to constrain our forecasts,” Dr. McCreery said. “There are still lots of improvements we need to make before we can rely on them totally for our decision making.” For one thing, the models do not provide estimates of how far off they might be.

“We had to do what we did, because there was too much uncertainty to say it was safe to not evacuate,” Dr. McCreery said. Dr. Titov agreed. He pointed out that the models indicated that the thrust of the tsunami’s energy passed south of Hawaii. When officials say that Hawaii dodged a bullet, “It’s almost literally true,” Dr. Titov said.

Monday, March 1, 2010

PlayStation 3 -Fixed

8:56 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Now no problem with PS3. Japanese electronics giant Sony assured millions of users that a system bug halting play on older versions of the PlayStation 3 had been fixed.The company "verified that the symptoms are now resolved and that users are able to use their PS3 normally," Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold said on the PlayStation blog.

Sony earlier indicated that the problem, which has left many PS3 owners unable to connect to the Internet for more than a day and some unable to even play games, was only affecting models released before last year's PS3 "Slim."

"We are aware that the internal clock functionality in the PS3 units other than the slim model recognized the year 2010 as a leap year," said Seybold. "If the time displayed on the XMB is still incorrect, users are able to adjust time settings manually or via the Internet."
Earlier, the company urged users of the older versions to stop using the videogame console until it fixed the bug.

Using consoles could have resulted in errors with functions like recording obtained trophies or restoring data, according to Seybold, Sony's senior director for corporate communications and social media. Some PS3 users had complained on the PlayStation blog that "trophies" they earned for progressing through game levels had disappeared.

The players suspected the problem was related to the transition from February 28 to March 1 and deluged the PlayStation blog with hundreds of comments and complaints. "Please fix it as soon as possible. I can't even play my games offline," said "MohammedMK."

Users were also unable to play back certain rental videos downloaded from the PlayStation Store. Sony has been pushing the PS3 as more than just a videogaming console, partnering with movie rental website Netflix, for example, to allow users to download movies to television sets or computers.

According to market tracking firm NPD Group, Sony has sold 11.4 million PS3s in the United States, including 276,900 latest-generation consoles in January. Since its launch with much fanfare in 2006, the PS3 has boasted power and rich graphics, but at premium prices compared to Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's innovative Wii consoles.

The PS3's high price tag and a lack of hot new videogame titles translated to sluggish sales that left the consoles in third place behind Xbox 360 and Wii. Before the latest bug, the consoles were finally gaining momentum thanks to trimmed prices and blockbuster game software.

Sony head Sir Howard Stringer said in January that the PlayStation Network would spread beyond PS3 consoles to a cornucopia of the consumer electronics titan's devices. "I don't think one glitch in the system is going to topple the entire Network but I think a lot of us are wondering what exactly is going on," said videogame analyst Scott Steinberg, author of "Get Rich Playing Games."

"This helps undermine its credibility at a fairly crucial point in time." Microsoft survived an Xbox 360 "red ring of death" flaw by fixing the problem and quickly replacing problem consoles. The Xbox Live online play network is now the "gold standard," according to Steinberg.

"Gamers, while fickle creatures, know a thing or two about software glitches," he said. "At the same time, it remains to be seen whether this is a temporary hiccup or we are really going to be bugging out."

Sony cut prices on existing models to 299 dollars when the slim PS3 went on sale in September.
Soon after Sony slashed the price of its PS3, Microsoft cut the pricetag of its Xbox 360 console, followed by Nintendo, which reduced the price of its Wii for the first time since its 2006 launch.

Contestant Dancing With the Stars' 2010

8:44 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Lets Dance With The Stars 2010

The contestants are:

Pamela Anderson

The veteran actress/ model/ Borat abduction target, 42, will soon be adding competitive dancing to her résumé. Rumors of America's favorite Canadian lifeguard joining the cast have been swirling around the Internet for quite sometime, but now that it has been confirmed, we can all breathe easy and start explore a different topic: how Pam will keep her balance on the dance floor considering her famously oversized, ahem, assets.

Nicole Scherzinger
Best known as the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls, the 31-year-old Scherzinger would seem to have a natural advantage on "DWTS" due to her extensive singing/dancing work. Now that her bandmates are moving on and she's strapping on her dancing shoes, could this indicate that the Pussycat Dolls have made their last meow?

Kate Gosselin
The newly divorced reality star and mother of eight, Kate, 34, has fueled so many tabloid reports that she's as recognizable to supermarket shoppers as Aunt Jemima. Now, she'll be talked about for her dancing skills or — according to her — lack thereof. Will Jon be doing some heavy-duty babysitting on his own this season?

Chad Ochocinco
Every class needs a football player, and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco will soon be using his soft hands to cradle a dancing partner rather than a pigskin. Ochocinco joins the fast-growing ranks of NFL players who have competed in the dancing competition, including Warren Sapp and Jerry Rice. Born Chad Johnson, the colorful player legally changed his name to the Spanish words for "eight" and "five," and recently announced he'd be changing it again to the Japanese words — so, get ready for Chad Hachi Go. Let's just hope there's a lot of room for name inscribing on that mirror-ball trophy.

Shannen Doherty
Like former co-stars Jennie Garth and Ian Ziering before her, "Beverly Hills, 90210" alum Shannen Doherty, 38, will be leaving West Bev in the dust for "Dancing With the Stars." The former Brenda Walsh spoke out publicly in 2007 against going on such shows, setting her up perfectly to continue a career-long tradition of rocking the boat. In semi-related news, Brian Austin Green continues to wait by the phone wearing a leotard and tap shoes.

Evan Lysacek
At the just-concluded Winter Olympics, this 24-year-old figure skater took home the gold; now, he'll be trying to duplicate that success on the dance floor. Trading in his skates for dance shoes, Lysacek won't be able to move quite as fast without the ice beneath him — but hey, at least he'll be warmer.

Erin Andrews
Long beloved by sports fans for her brains, beauty and sideline-reporting skills, Andrews has spent her recent days making TV commercials and dealing with a bizarre peeping-Tom video. Forget about dancing — it will be weird just to see her without a microphone in her hand.

Buzz Aldrin
The original moonwalker, Aldrin was on the historic Apollo 11 mission and accompanied Neil Armstrong as they set foot on the moon. Now, he's 80 years old and still active enough to think he can teach those other "DWTS" whippersnappers a thing or two. Something tells us it's gonna take a lot more than Tang and powdered ice cream to get him through this one.

Aiden Turner
The British stud, best known for his role as Aidan Devane on "All My Children," follows in the footsteps of other ABC soap stars like Kelly Monaco and Cameron Mathison on "DWTS." A cameo in Spice Girl Geri Halliwell's "Bag It Up" music video might give the 32-year-old a leg up on the competition.

Niecy Nash
The "Reno 911" funnywoman has often branched out from acting, with her hosting duties on "Clean House" and her panelist gig on "The Insider." Now, the 40-year-old comic actress will stretch her skills even further to see how she fares on the dance floor.

Earthquake Chile-Losses Exceed USD8 Billion

8:40 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Latest News From Chile: Insured losses from a devastating earthquake in Chile could exceed $8 billion, a level that probably won't have a big impact on reinsurers or the pricing of insurance. Chile's well-developed economy and reliance on private insurance coverage will aid in its recovery, unlike some other emerging markets that have been through devastating natural disasters.

Catastrophe risk modeling firm, Eqecat Inc., estimated that insured losses from the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Chile Saturday could range from $3 billion to $8 billion, or 25% of the total economic losses. The company said the loss represents 15-40% of the estimated insured limits for earthquake coverage. The firm noted that the estimate range is so wide because it was not formed by on-the-ground data and the extent of Chile's infrastructure damage is still unclear.

Eqecat estimates that the economic damage could be about 10% to 15% of Chile's gross domestic product. Chile's GDP was an estimated $244.3 billion in 2009, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Earlier Monday, AIR Worldwide, another catastrophe risk modeling firm, estimated that insured losses from the earthquake could exceed $2 billion. The total economic losses could be more than $15 billion, the company said Monday. The loss estimate takes into account insured damage to property, business interruption losses and higher prices for cleanup and redevelopment materials, services and labor due to a surge in demand after the catastrophe.

In a research note to clients, Goldman Sachs analyst Alberto Ramos said he expects the earthquake to hurt Chile's GDP in the first of half of this year. "After activity normalizes we should see an extra bounce to activity anchored on the reconstruction effort to rebuild the lost or damaged capital stock of the economy," he wrote.

Ramos added that mining operations in the northern region of the country "seems to have been spared," but two oil refineries were closed due to lack of power supply and apparent structural damage. Chile, the world's largest supplier of copper, "sustained limited direct damage," the Goldman report said.

Saturday's earthquake struck a less populated, more residential area of Chile, which won't lead to heavy insured losses. Macquarie Equities Research doesn't expect significant losses for reinsurers, including Swiss Reinsurance Co. (RUKN.VX), Munich Re AG (MUV2.XE), XL Capital Ltd. (XL) and ACE Group (ACE).

Sometimes losses can lead insurers to increase prices for insurance. But "We do not foresee this as a potential pricing catalyst for the [reinsurance] industry," wrote Macquarie analyst Bill Yankus in a research note.The four reinsurers didn't immediately return calls for comment.

This is the second major earthquake to hit the Western Hemisphere in the past two months. In January, a magnitude-7 earthquake hit Haiti, causing mass devastation in the poverty-stricken country. Haiti was set to receive up to $8 million from its main catastrophe insurer, the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility--a regional fund administered by participating governments.

Chile's insured losses will far exceed that amount because the country has more private insurers, and "the more advanced the economy, the larger the catastrophe losses," said Robert P. Hartwig, an economist and president of the Insurance Information Institute. About 90% of homeowners in Chile have property policies that cover earthquakes, Hartwig said, citing information from Axco, an independent supplier of global insurance market information. By contrast, roughly 12% of homeowners in California, a U.S. state vulnerable to earthquakes, have such coverage.

Chile suffered one of the largest earthquakes in history in 1960, when 1,655 people were killed. Since that time, the country has put much effort into its earthquake preparedness. Hartwig said, "There is an old adage earthquakes don't kill people, buildings kill people in earthquakes. Chile has managed to avoid massive losses of life because of adherence to stringent building [codes] over the past half century."

John Terry Vs Wayne Bridge

3:27 AM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

A fight berween Terry and Bridge getting worse. Within minutes of Wayne Bridge's refusal to shake the Chelsea captain's hand on Saturday, Bridge supporters in Fabio Capello's squad were sending BlackBerry "group" messages to each other on their phones, including: "In your face JT. Bridge means business now. It's war." Others said: "Go on Team Bridge. Bridge, you're a legend."

Terry's phone kicking came after Bridge's very public snub to Terry over his affair with Vanessa Perroncel, Bridge's ex-girlfriend and mother of his child. Bridge, 29, at first made it look as if he was going to shake hands with his former best friend in the line-up before the match, their first meeting since Terry's affair with Perroncel became public. Then, in a move designed for maximum humiliation, he pulled away.

Bridge put domestic problems well behind him later with a slap-up night out in London's clubland organised by Shaun Wright-Phillips. It all got worse for Terry. At fault for City's first goal, he and Chelsea let slip a 1-0 lead for their heaviest home league defeat in eight years as they were beaten 4-2 by Manchester City.

Terry, sporting a new mohican hair cut, was still raging as he left Stamford Bridge, while Bridge was held aloft in the City dressing room, his team-mates telling him: "We did it for you."
Craig Bellamy, who scored twice, did not hold back after the game as he said: "Nothing surprises me about John Terry."

A source close to Bridge said: "Some England players were congratulating Wayne for making a stand. It's far from over. There is a backlash against Terry in the England squad. Bridge is a nice guy and they think it's out of order he's not going to South Africa because of Terry. There is division. It could destroy the group."

TSUNAMI Alert in Hawaii

3:23 AM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Earthquake in Chile Triigered Tsunami Alert. Three hours after an earthquake struck Chile, a sensor on the ocean floor 205 miles from the epicenter registered the first inkling that a tsunami was traveling across the Pacific toward Hawaii.

As data poured into the Pacific Warning Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), scientists calculated how far the tsunami would travel and how powerful it would be when it arrived at the world's coastlines, ultimately issuing a warning for Hawaii and an advisory for the U.S. West Coast.

Hawaii's emergency officials sounded the islands' sirens, rousing the coastal residents and giving them at least 10 hours to evacuate before the most destructive waves would wash ashore.
"We were able to make pretty accurate forecasts," said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. "It provided the emergency managers and the public time to respond. People heeded the warning, sought higher ground, and we had no significant direct injuries or damages. That's a significant accomplishment."

The sensor, attached to a buoy, is among the newest tools deployed by the United States since the Dec. 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed more than 200,000 people in Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. The killer tsunami, the most powerful in recent memory, prompted a new look at the world's warning systems.

"The Indian Ocean tsunami was a real wake-up call for people," Lubchenco said. After that, the United States accelerated plans for an international warning program by deploying new buoys and increasing staff at two NOAA warning centers, she said.

Tsunami waves occur when the ocean is disturbed, usually by a powerful earthquake. The waves radiate outward from the disturbance and can travel for thousands of miles. The United States established the Pacific Warning Center, its first warning system, in 1949 after a tsunami originating in the Aleutian Islands struck Hawaii, killing 150 people in 1946.

In 1967, the United States established a second center for the West Coast and Alaska. Nearly 60% of the world's tsunamis occur in the Pacific Ocean, NOAA said. After the 2004 tsunami, NOAA ramped up its staffing at the warning centers from eight hours a day to 24 hours, seven days a week, Lubchenco said. Scientists created 43 high-resolution computer models that predict how different tsunamis will behave under varying conditions, she said.

The United States increased the number of tsunami buoys it maintains from six to 39, she said. Australia contributes six buoys and Thailand and Indonesia each maintain one buoy. The Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis buoys monitor the ocean's activity by sending an acoustic signal between a transmitter anchored on the sea floor and a surface buoy.

As the tsunami travels, the sensor reports changes in water pressure that can signal an approaching tsunami and help scientists calculate the size of the waves. Satellites relay the data to warning centers.

On Saturday, the predictions for the tsunami's arrival in Hawaii were off by just an hour, although the waves were weaker than expected. "When you think of how fast it's moving and how much energy is in it, when you consider the tsunami is moving across the ocean at the speed of a jet airplane, this warning system was pretty effective," Lubchenco said.

Documents made public in June by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a watchdog group in Washington, showed that 10 of the 39 deep-ocean stations operated by the United States were sending sporadic or unusable data, leaving uncovered several critical areas.
PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said NOAA "acted with some dispatch to reconnect the buoys."

"These buoys are critical. If they are working properly, it gives hours of advance notice to affected populations that a tsunami is on the way," Ruch said. "Those hours could mean the difference between life and death."

A few buoys were out of commission Saturday, Lubchenco said. A NOAA ship travels constantly among the buoys to make repairs, she said.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vancouver 2010: Hockey- Canada Wins Gold

9:22 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Latest News Form Vancouver Olympic 2010 - Sidney Crosby scored the winner in overtime as Canada won the Olympic title Sunday, beating the United States 3-2 to become the first host nation to capture men's hockey gold in 30 years.

Crosby got the winning goal 7:40 into the overtime period, taking a pass from Jarome Iginla and sliding a shot under the pads of US goaltender Ryan Miller.

"It doesn't even feel real. It feels like a dream," said Crosby as Canada clinched a record eighth Olympic men's hockey gold. "Our team worked really hard in regulation time and they got that one by us in the end. But we came out in overtime and this is just an unbelievable feeling."

Canadian forward Patrick Marleau added: "It is unbelievable. I have never felt something like this before. As far as hockey goes it is the best moment I have ever had." Crosby was held off the scoresheet for most of the tournament but he has a knack for scoring dramatic goals. Earlier in the tournament he scored the game winner in a shootout as Canada beat Switzerland 3-2 in the preliminary round.

Jonathan Toews and Corey Perry had earlier given Canada a 2-0 lead before the US fought back, equalising with just 24 seconds left in regulation time. Roberto Luongo was superb in goal, making 34 stops for Canada who became the first host to win an Olympic final since the US triumphed at Lake Placid in 1980.

Ryan Kesler and Zac Parise scored for the US who suffered their first loss of the tournament after five straight wins. "It is devastating," said US defenceman Jack Johnson. "We were one goal shy of a gold medal. It is the biggest game any of us have ever played in. Nothing we did before compares to this. You lose the silver you don't win it."

Canada had a 2-1 lead in the third and looked headed for victory but the US clawed back with Parise scoring his dramatic late leveller to send the final into sudden-death overtime. Over 10 million Canadians were expected to watch the game on TV while, inside the arena, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was joined by Hollywood actors Vince Vaughn, Michael J. Fox and William Shatner as well as singers Michael Buble and Neil Young.

Crowds began forming outside the Canada Hockey Place arena four hours before the highly-anticiplated showdown between the two best teams in the tournament.The game lived up to its billing as the teams traded chances throughout, and both goalies Luongo and Miller had to be at the top of their games.

It was a battle between Canada's potent scoring attack and the American defence anchored by Miller. Forward Toews opened the scoring with just over seven minutes left in the first period beating Miller after picking up a rebound.

Mike Richards stole the puck from defenceman Brian Rafalski at the side of the US goal and took the first shot but it bounced right to Toews. It was the first goal of the tournament for Toews to go with seven assists.

Forward Perry picked up a loose puck and wristed it past Miller in the second period to make it 2-0 for Canada. Ryan Getzlaf started the play by carrying the puck into the US zone. He tried to backhand a pass to Patrick Marleau but it hit a skate and Perry picked it up and easily beat Miller.

Kessler scored on a tip in just over four minutes later to cut the Canadians lead to one goal. Luongo got a piece of it but not enough as it trickled in to make it 2-1, setting the stage for Parise's game tieing goal.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

White House New Social Secretary

10:57 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Juliana Smoot

News from CNN in Washington - The White House announced a new social secretary Saturday, a day after confirming that Desiree Rogers planned to step down from the position. Julianna Smoot, who is chief of staff for the office of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, will replace Rogers.

"Julianna shares our commitment to creating an inclusive, dynamic and culturally vibrant White House, and Michelle and I are pleased to have her join our team," President Barack Obama said in a statement.

Rogers' office came under scrutiny in recent months after a couple who lacked an invitation were allowed into Obama's first state dinner. In an interview with CNN on Friday, Rogers said she was leaving voluntarily and that her decision was unrelated to the fallout over the security breach."It has nothing to do with that," she said. "It's Secret Service's job to handle security. Not the Social Secretary's office."

The president and first lady acknowledged Rogers' exit in a statement Friday that did not mention last November's party-crashing incident. "When she took this position, we asked Desiree to help make sure that the White House truly is the People's House," they said, "and she did that by welcoming scores of everyday Americans through its doors, from wounded warriors to local schoolchildren to NASCAR drivers.

"She organized hundreds of fun and creative events during her time here, and we will miss her. We thank her again for her service and wish her all the best in her future endeavors." In an e-mail to CNN earlier on Friday, Rogers said, "It has been incredible setting the foundation for the [White House] for this historical presidency. Headed back to private sector."

"I accomplished initially what I came to do," Rogers told CNN later. "I like strategy. I like building something. It's built... the foundation of the [social secretary's ]office is good and solid."
Rogers did not say where she'll be working. She said she'll be "around to work on the transition" to a new social secretary at the White House.

She summed up her experiences at the White House in another note: "330 events. Halloween for 3,000. Easter egg roll for 30,000. Music series with performances and the performers teaching the students during the day. Latin, jazz, country, civil rights. "

In December, the White House was accused of stonewalling as Congress investigated the party-crasher security breach at Obama's first state dinner. At issue was whether the White House was protecting Rogers from testifying about how Tareq and Michaele Salahi were able to crash the first White House state dinner. The couple did not have an invite but were allowed in. Rogers' office planned the dinner. At the time, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said his agency would take the heat for the incident.


10:49 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

An alert had been alarmed at Wellington. Waves up to 1.5 meters hit parts of New Zealand Sunday and a general tsunami alert for the entire coastline remains in place, the country’s Civil Defense service said. The tsunamis and warning follows a massive earthquake, registering 8.8 in magnitude, that struck Chile late Saturday, killing at least 214 people, according to official reports.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Saturday had warned of possible “widespread damage” from waves generated by Chile’s killer quake. New Zealand emergency services and disaster relief forces were scrambled and people in some coastal areas were evacuated although toward midday officials were downplaying initial fears.

“We can say it’s unlikely to be very destructive,” Ken Gledhill of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science (GNS) told Television New Zealand. “It is expected that the greatest wave heights will occur between six and 12 hours after the initial arrivals,” the Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management said in a statement.

The first tsunami hit New Zealand in the Chatham Islands group, around 500 miles east of the South Island, at around 7:30 a.m. local time. Civil Defense said the first wave was only around 30 centimeters high, but the officials said waves as high as 1.5 meters struck in the next few hours.

Son of Marie Osmond Died

10:40 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

The son of famous celebrity ,Marie Osmond's 18-year-old son Michael Blosil has died, a family spokesman said Saturday. "My family and I are devastated and in deep shock by the tragic loss of our dear Michael and ask that everyone respect our privacy during this difficult time," the entertainer said in a statement through spokesman Alan Nierob.

Brian Elias of the Los Angeles Coroner's Office said the death is under investigation.Her Web site, written last September, describes her as "the proud mother of eight beautiful children who are always her greatest treasures."

Marie Osmond and her brother Donny hosted the national television variety show "The Donny & Marie Show" from 1976 to 1981. Afterward, she had acting and singing careers. She recently competed in a season of "Dancing With the Stars."

In 2001, she wrote "Behind the Smile," about her experience with postpartum depression.

Vancouver 2010: Hockey Final- USA vs CANADA

10:30 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Latest Update from Vancouver 2010: Canada men's hockey coach Mike Babcock jokingly says he knows of the movie Miracle, about the USA's 1980 gold-medal performance.

"My kids watch it and think it's great and I don't think it's that great," he said. Babcock's quip about the USA-Canada rivalry is an insightful glimpse at why Sunday's gold-medal game (3:15 p.m., ET, NBC) between those countries has the potential to be one of the memorable games in international hockey history.

"Hockey is not a sport in Canada — it's a cult. It's a religion," said U.S. general manager Brian Burke. "The Canadians view this as their game and they view this game as planting the flag on the peak."The fact that the Americans beat Canada 5-3 in the preliminary round adds revenge into the mix.

In the third period of Canada's 3-2 win against Slovakia in the semifinals, fans were chanting, "We want USA. We want USA."The Canadians have been expected to win the gold medal in hockey since it was announced in 2003 that Vancouver was going to be the host.

"How important is hockey in Canada? It's like you took football, baseball, and basketball and rolled them all up into one," said fan Robbie Bursey, 56, of Tide Head, New Brunswick. "Maybe that's the best way for Americans to understand what hockey is to Canadians. Throw in NASCAR too. And it's really key to our national identity."

Canada won the Olympic gold medal in 2002 by defeating the Americans 5-2 in Salt Lake City, but the buzz about this game is far greater because it is being played in Canada, where one of every 66 people plays on a registered hockey team. There are 500,000 registered players in a country of 33 million people.

"We've been building up to this game for years," said Canada forward Jarome Iginla. "We've talked about it as Canadians and hockey players wanting to be a part of this team."

Asked what he thought the arena will be like for the game, U.S. forward Phil Kessel said, "I think it is going to be nuts." As crazy as the arena will be, U.S. forward David Backes said he can't imagine what the streets around the arena will be like. Fans were carrying Canadian flags all over the city hours after Canada defeated Slovakia in the semifinals.

"The fans here are so passionate about Canada and the Olympics in general," Backes said. "But when you get to hockey, there's a whole other level above passionate. They almost live and die from it." Although the Americans probably don't face as much pressure as the Canadians, the game isn't any less important.

Earthquake Hit Chile-8.8 Magnitude

2:07 AM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

News from CNN reported that a massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck central Chile early Saturday, rattling bulidings and triggering a tsunami. At least 6 people were killed and the death toll is expected to rise, government officials said.

The epicenter of the earthquake was located near the city of Concepcion, 212 miles (341 kilometers) from the capital of Santiago. The quake struck at 3:34 a.m. (1:34 a.m. ET). Concepcion is Chile's second largest city with a population of 200,000. There are reports of collapsed buildings in Santiago. The quake was felt in several Chilean towns and in parts of Argentina as well.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for Chile and Peru. A tsunami watch has been issued for Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica. The center recorded a tsunami wave as high as 9 feet. Did you feel it? Share information, images with CNN. "An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours," the National Weather Service said in a statement.

Officials hoped to learn more about the devastation in the morning. Santiago resident Leo Perioto jumped out of his bed in his apartment at the top of a six-story building.

"The whole building was shaking," he said. "The windows were wobbling a lot. We could feel the walls moving from side to side."

Alessandro Perez, who is staying at the Santiago Marriott Hotel, reported shattered windows, but there was no structural damage. No one at the hotel was injured, he said. Anita Herrera, who works at the Hotel Kennedy in Santiago, said electricity was knocked out at that hotel and guests were nervous.

"Our hotel is built for this," she said. "In Chile, this happens many times." Chile holds the record for the largest earthquake in the world, according to the USGS. A magnitude 9.5 quake struck the South American country in May 1960 and killed 1,655 people.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Vancouver 2010: Men Hockey

10:48 PM by Problemfixer · 0 comments

Latest news from Vancouver 2010: Today is Men’s Play-offs Semifinals: Canada has scored 2 goals against Slovakia who are at zero in the first period. The venue of the Canada vs Slovakia match is Canada Hockey Place.

In the first period of the semifinal game between Canada and Slovakia, Canada is leading. Canada got 10 shots to the goal as compared to 4 shots of Slovakia.

Canada remains the hot favorites even though Team US performance has been outstanding and chances are Team USA may do a miracle, observers say.

Observers predict an apocalyptic rematch between the U.S. and Canada is very much on course.