Tuesday, December 10, 2013

1:32 PM 12/10/2013 - World: Winter Storms Hit the U.S.


7031 stories

Winter Storms Hit the U.S.

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Winter storms hit a vast region of the United States, bringing snow, wind and ice.

Egypt's Urban Inflation Soars, Adds to Risk of Social Unrest

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Egyptian urban consumer inflation soared in November to its highest annual rate in nearly four years, increasing the risk of social unrest and potentially setting up a policy dilemma for the central bank. Crippled by political turmoil since a popular uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Egypt's economy expanded just 2.1 percent in the year to June 30. The central bank has cut interest rates three times by a total of 150 basis points since the army deposed Islamist...

Suicide Bomber Kills 11 at Northern Iraq Funeral

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A suicide bomber killed 11 people and wounded 20 at a funeral in northern Iraq on Tuesday, police said. The attack took place in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Mary Barra named GM CEO to become America's first female car chief 

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• Head of product development Barra, 51, joined GM at 18
• 'I’m honored to lead the best team in the business'

Turkey bats Kurdish oil deal over to Iraq

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Ankara now says the future of an agreement with Kurdish Northern Iraq that would redraw the energy map of the Middle East is up to Baghdad

Why boys need girls as friends | Daisy Buchanan

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Boys shouldn't be afraid to show their emotions and have friends of both genders. It would be good for them – and for feminism
As a child, I could not think of anything worse than being friends with a boy. And sadly it looks like plenty of men and women still feel that way. Sociologist Lisa Wade has written about her research for Salon, which shows that in the US, heterosexual men tend to have very few friends, and the relationships they have with other men provide less emotional support than their wives or girlfriends. This piece comes just a few days after an NSPCC study showing that young boys and girls struggle to maintain friendships because they're teased and pressured to turn a platonic relationship into a romantic or sexual one. It's no wonder boys struggle to make friends – just who are they supposed to be friends with?
Wade's research suggests the damage is done by the lingering idea that close friendships aren't masculine. Friendship is associated with intimacy and vulnerability; sharing feelings with, confiding in and supporting the people around you could suggest weakness. I don't believe men are naturally wired to be any less intimate and caring than women are. But if young boys grow up in a world where they're mocked for pursuing friendships with girls, and don't see enough examples of friendships between older men, it's going to cause huge problems for men and women later in life.
Without a network of friends, boys are going to grow up to feel confused, lonely and alienated. According to research from the charity Calm, suicide is now the biggest killer among young men in Britain, with a spokesperson for the charity citing "social isolation" as a major factor. If boys were explicitly encouraged to develop and invest in friendships, it could save lives. And if we tell them that it's important to make friends with girls as well as other boys, it could change feminism for ever.
I didn't identify myself as a feminist until I was almost 20, because it took me an embarrassingly long time to see, and truly believe that men and women are equal. The damage started at school: boys were disgusting, it was impossible to have one as a friend, unless they were your boyfriend. Gender stereotypes were rigidly enforced by both sides, from the games we played to the future career plans we discussed. I was even suspicious of my male cousins. They were boys, and as far as I was concerned that meant we had nothing in common and it wasn't worth having a conversation with them – they would only want to talk about football, or farting. When I was old enough to start dating, I started to reassess my horrible, narrow, stereotyped idea of men, and eventually matured enough to realise that we're all on the same team, and should be able to enjoy each others' company and benefit from other perspectives.
Many of my male friends say that as children they felt about girls the way I felt about boys. Luckily, they've matured into smart, sensitive feminists who believe in equality too. But we can't rely on luck to ensure everyone undergoes this transition. It's no wonder that patriarchal ideas prevail when many men grow up to see women as a sexual or strange other. If boys don't grow up knowing that girls can be just as funny, silly, clever and disgusting as they are, they will struggle to empathise with us. They might not understand why the pay gap and the proper division of domestic labour is a problem, because they won't have any evidence that women's concerns are everyone's concerns. If they're raised to believe that women exist only to fancy and go out with, they're never going to understand why the proliferation of pornography can be so dispiriting and dehumanising. I know some vocal male supporters of the No More Page 3 campaign, and they're not just speaking out on behalf of their mothers, sisters and daughters – they're angry because women are their good friends. You don't objectify your friends.
The Pink Stinks campaign is addressing the problems that arise when girls are pressured to play with overtly feminine toys. But we urgently need to talk about the way we gender kids' emotions too. Young boys are taught to fear feelings, because they are "girly", but they need to start sharing them – and start playing with girls.

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Want to buy citizenship? It helps if you're one of the super-rich

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Malta has announced it is selling passports to foreign investors for £546,000, but that's cheap compared with other countries, such as Britain and the US
Citizenship is like rhythm: if you weren't born with it, it's not easy to get. However, in the EU there is a fast-track for the super-rich. The Maltese government has approved a scheme to attract "high-value" foreigners to the country, by selling passports for £546,000. Which, by passport standards, is pretty cheap.
The move has ruffled feathers in the UK. In part, because of worries about unchecked immigration; the passport grants its holders full EU citizenship, including freedom of movement (Maltese citizenship also come with a visa waiver on entry to the US). Labour's shadow immigration minister, David Hanson, told the Financial Times the move risked being "a backdoor route" to EU residence and was"not a tight or appropriate immigration policy". The government faces calls from British and European politicians to intervene and put a stop to the plan.
But the main reason the UK is annoyed is not because we worry foreign millionaires will come here to claim benefits. It is probably that Malta's scheme is more attractive than our own deal for super-rich settlers. The British equivalent, the Tier 1 (Investor) visa programme, assesses applicants on the basis of their ability "to invest £1,000,000 in the UK". Foreign investors who hold £10m of their money here can apply for permanent residence after two years living in the country. Compared to Malta's plan, it looks like a load of hassle.
About 20 countries operate similar systems. In the US, Immigrant Investor Visas are awarded to foreign nationals who invest $1m in the economy and create 10 full-time jobs for US citizens within two years of arrival. Those who do so are awarded permanent residence and, after three more years, canapply for full citizenship. In the Canadian province of Quebec, "Immigrant Investors" must invest $800,000 CAN (£457,000) in an interest-free, five-year bond and show at least two years of proven management experience. (Canada suspended its nationwide immigrant investor programme in July 2012 but Quebec's continues.)
The European schemes tend to be more lenient. Greece, Cyprus and Macedonia offer fast-track resident permits for foreign investors who spend a minimum of €250,000 to €400,000 (£210,000 to £335,000) in the country. Spain grants a residency visa to foreign buyers who spend €500,000 (£418,000) or more on Spanish property, though the wait for permanent residency and EU citizenship is five years.
The major beneficiaries of such schemes are the Chinese global rich. Since October last yea, 318 residence permits have been issued in Portugal to foreign property buyers who spent over €500,000. Of these, 248 went to Chinese nationals; 15 went to Russians, and nine each to Angolans and Brazilians.
The Maltese system may be the most open of the lot: its applicants do not need to be resident in the country, and are not expected to prove any further investment in the islands' economy. It is expected to attract around 40 people in its first year, rising to 300 a year from 2014.
But their stay may be short-lived. Polls show 53% of Maltese oppose the move, and the opposition leader, Simon Busutil of the Nationalist Party, has pledged to revoke the passports if returned to power. In fairness to him, it won't be hard to expel citizens who have never actually lived there in the first place.

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Mike Tyson banned from UK over rape conviction

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Former heavyweight boxing champion forced to cancel book promotion due to recent change in UK immigration laws
Mike Tyson, the former world heavyweight boxing champion and convicted rapist, has been refused permission to enter Britain because of his criminal record.
The 47-year-old was due
to arrive in the UK at the weekend to promote his autobiography, Undisputed Truth, but made for Paris instead after being told he would not be able to come to London because of immigration rulesthat were toughened up last year.Tyson's programme in Britain
included a photocall with journalists and a book signing at Waterstones.
He was due to leave on Friday.Publisher Harper Collins
said: "There was a change in the UK immigration law in December 2012 of which we were unaware. For this reason Mike had to change location to Paris to salvage his press obligations for the UK."
Steve Guest, a spokesman for this visit and another planned for March when Tyson is due to stage five dates of his one-man show, insisted that next year's tour would go ahead as planned. "It is something we need to work out with immigration people and then everything will be fine." The show, directed by Spike Lee in its Broadway run, is due to start a three-night run in London on March 21 and include further dates in Glasgow and Manchester.
Tweets posted on Tyson's official Twitter account last week suggested the boxer was unaware he would be hit by the immigration rule changes.
He wrote: "So, UK fans, who is brave enough to get in the ring and ask me a question?" In subsequent tweets he added: "Tweet me a question with UndisputedTruthBook in it. The 5 best get to step in the ring & ask me it in person."
Tyson was convicted in 1992 of rape and served three years of a six-year sentence. He also has convictions for assault, cocaine possession and driving under the influence.
Under the new immigration rules, any person who has been sentenced to more than four years in prison is barred from entering the country.
He was the youngest man to become world champion when he beat Trevor
Burbick as a 20-year-old in 1986. He later bit off the ear of Evander Holyfield in a fight.The Home Office said in a statement:
"We would not comment on the details of an individual case. We reserve the right to refuse entry to the UK to anyone who is convicted of serious criminal offences.
"In December 2012 we toughened up the rules on entering the UK, replacing the previous discretionary approach with a clearer, stronger framework including mandatory refusals based on the length of, and time since, sentence."
Campaigning group Ending Victimisation and Blame, which tackles disbelief around domestic and sexual violence, said: "We are delighted that Mike Tyson is not being allowed into the UK due to his previous convictions, one of which was for rape.
"We believe that this sends a message that his criminal actions have long-term consequences – sadly, the consequences for his victim seem to have been forgotten by both Mike Tyson and his supporters."
Tyson, who visited Britain before the rules were toughened, has been the subject of petitions on thechange.org website, most recently against his planned Glasgow visit.

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Video games were an easy target for the NSA | Brian Crecente

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For gamers, trust and friendships are key components of play. I hope that isn't ruined forever by government and corporate prying
We live in a time when privacy is a quaint notion. The idea that what you say, no matter where you say it, might be kept private seems increasingly antiquated. Phones are tapped, emails read and now video games monitored.
In the latest revelation plucked from the voluminous documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, we discover that the British and American governments, not content to spy just on the lives of their citizens, also sift through the secrets shared in those citizens' virtual lives.
Video games are, according to one NSA analyst, "an opportunity!" The analyst exuberantly writes of the potential for abusing this nascent form of expression. Online video games, according to the report, need to be methodically tracked and infiltrated, the data within indexed and scoured for clues.
To gamers, of course, games and the communication networks built around them, aren't the objects of spycraft, they are places where lasting friendships are forged.
It's more likely that a spy would stumble upon a budding romance in World of Warcraft or Second Life than a plot to overthrow a government. It is within these virtual worlds that gamers might strive to raise money for a friend in need or to offer their emotional support. There is, despite the anonymity, despite the obvious fiction of games, a sense of trust between gamers who come to know one another online.
In playing these online games, we gamers are extending that trust to the developers who created, and could so easily spy upon, these gaming networks.
Ironically, one reason online video games sparked such a feeding frenzy among the intelligence community is because of that inherent trust gamers seem to have of the people who make their games. It seems shocking, even to the analyst, that such trust could exist in this day and age.
And in retrospect, why should it?
Where once games were made and published by a tight-knit community of hobbyists and fans, now some of the biggest games, some of the biggest entertainment properties in the world, are the product of vast teams of artists, writers, coders and business people. It was these motley collections of dreamers and bean-counters who began constructing massive, complex systems for seemingly private communication inside games.
The trust built up by those early game developers was somehow passed on to these emerging entertainment monopolies and the networks they built. Gamers forgot to stop trusting these corporate gatekeepers even as the times, and the people who built what they played, changed. Many gamers continued to trust as these rich networks for semi-private conversations grew up around them.
Where once a gamer was putting their trust in a favorite game maker, now they find themselves, perhaps accidentally, trusting Microsoft, or Sony, or Nintendo – all large companies more concerned about their bottom line then about the person spending that money.
Even if gamers felt some trepidation surrounding these massive companies now running their hobbies, few seemed to worry about the bigger concern, the issue of who might be aware of what they said every time they played a game. Someone, government spy, curious employer, could always be listening.
That it was the government and not some company caught flipping through the private conversations of gamers is likely the result of luck, not circumstance. Wherever there are people talking, there will always be people listening.
Should gamers expect that their privacy be respected by the people who make the games they play? Absolutely. But the same should be said of our governments.
Any tool for communication, even one in something as seemingly innocuous as video games, can be spied upon and can be, as world governments continue to prove, abused.
The reality is that real privacy is a word whispered to a friend and the hope – even then only hope – that your friend keeps it secret.

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Scientists Find New Uses for Old Drugs

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Even as scientists work to develop new medications, many rarely prescribed, or even forgotten, drugs are making a comeback, being used to treat illnesses they weren't originally designed for. “It is a very easy way to explore whether something that is therapeutically beneficial in one area and for one type of patient might be useful for another type of patient," said Aris Persidis, president and co-founder of biotechnology company Biovista. "And the difference in our...

Obama-Castro Handshake Draws Attention at Mandela Tribute

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Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela generated some informal diplomacy and politicalcontroversy alongside praise for the late South African president. In a moment caught by television cameras, U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro as he walked to the podium. The handshake was notable because the United States and Cuba have not had diplomatic relations since 1961, at the height of the Cold War, and the U.S....

Drones Already Work in Amazon's Warehouses

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Amazon’s idea of using flying drones for speeding up delivery of its merchandise and lowering the cost may be some years off, but the U.S. retail giant is already employing droves of autonomous robots in its huge warehouse in Seattle, Washington. According to reports in Wall Street Jornal and technology website technologyadvice.com, the warehouse robots could save Amazon as much as 40 percent of the cost of fulfilling orders. About one foot high, battery-powered orange boxes, the size...

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Smize! Obama and European Leaders Snap a Selfie at Mandela Memorial - TIME

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The Guardian

Smize! Obama and European Leaders Snap a Selfie at Mandela Memorial
The memorial service today for Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who died on Dec. 5 at age 95, was a four-hour affair. At some point, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt posed for a photo with her seat-mates: U.S. President ...
President Obama poses for a funeral selfieNew York Daily News
Obama, Cameron take a selfieUSA TODAY
President Obama takes selfie with world leadersPolitico
Uproxx -Irish Independent -CBS Local
all 18 news articles »

It's time for the US military to let transgender troops serve openly | Kayla Williams 

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Repealing don't ask, don't tell was big. But the discrimination that continues undermines the honor of our service members
During the intense push to get don't ask, don't tell (DADT) repealed, I was happy to lend my voice to the effort. It was somewhat personal – I had served with gay troops in Iraq and saw no ill effects on unit cohesion, whereas we desperately needed more Arabic linguists and I knew several had been kicked out of the Army not long before the invasion. And it was somewhat driven by a sense that discrimination based on sexual orientation is fundamentally wrong, and that forcing gay troops to lie about something so intrinsic to their lives was a violation of military values.
Not long after the repeal was signed into law, I saw a few scattered voices saying rights for transgender troops was the next issue to tackle. I was resistant for several reasons. For one, it seemed important to lay concerns that DADT repeal would cause problems to rest before pushing on an issue many are even more uncomfortable with. Also, allowing women to serve in ground combat arms jobs and units had higher personal importance to me based on my own background, and – to be quite honest – I shared some of the discomfort and concerns about transgender issues, about which I knew little.
Recently, I attended an event on Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices for US and European Militarieshosted by the German Marshall Fund. Hearing the perspectives of our allies on a variety of topics was fascinating and eye-opening. At one point, an American asked one of the panels how they handle transgender personnel and any associated issues. The response from members of several foreign militaries was confusion about why there would possibly be a problem with allowing transgender people to serve. (Countries including Spain, Australia, Israel, and Canada allow transgender troops to serve openly; the United States does not.)
A couple mentioned that if people were going through gender reassignment, the policy is to wait until the process was complete before allowing them to serve. Panelists offered examples of senior officerswho are transgender. In the UK, where trans people have been able to serve openly since 1999, it was "no big deal" when a pilot transitioned to become a woman a few years ago. In fact, from what I can tell, when the Ministry of Defence issued its formal Policy for the Recruitment and Management of Transsexual Personnel in the Armed Forces, the only controversy it caused was whether it was awaste of money to develop and issue a formal policy.
Here in the US, this year a former member of Seal Team 6 came out as transgender. Discussions about Chelsea Manning's gender identity swirled in the media (to the chagrin of some trans soldiers). Some universities are asking students to chose which pronoun they prefer. And on a personal note, I was privileged to meet a retired Army officer, a Vietnam veteran with a proud post-military career in intelligence and business, also a devoted husband and loving father, who happens to be a cross-dresser. She was kind enough to help me understand more about the transgender spectrum.
This confluence was eye-opening for me and forced me to reflect carefully on my own reluctance to advocate for barrier-free transgender military service as I had for women and gays. I was forced to admit that if I didn't root out some of my own prejudices, my children would likely look at me someday and ask how I could possibly hold such outmoded beliefs. Just as my parents' generation was embarrassed by the racism of their parents and many in my age group have been mortified by the widespread homophobia in our parents' cohort, this will likely be the next example of a bias that society struggled to overcome.
I am now completely confident that our military could successfully navigate any challenges that arose. Americans regularly praise our troops as the most professional in the world. Arguing that they wouldn't be able to handle serving with openly transgender colleagues while the UK and many of our other Nato allies are easily doing just that impugns the honor of our service members.

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Barack Obama and David Cameron pose for selfie with Danish PM 

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Helle Thorning-Schmidt poses with UK PM and US president for 'selfie' at memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg
No matter how famous you are, it appears, few can resist the appeal of the selfie.
As Barack Obama and David Cameron joined hundreds of dignitaries and tens of thousands of South Africans paying their respects to anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela at a memorial service in Johannesburg, they took the opportunity of posing for a self-portrait with Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish prime minister (and daughter-in-law of Neil Kinnock).
Ignoring the etiquette tips that have proliferated online since 'selfie' was declared the Oxford dictionary's word of the year, the three world leaders appeared to momentarily forget the solemnity of the occasion, adopting the mandatory cheesy grins. Michelle Obama maintains her dignity and refuses to join in the antics.

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Obama and Castro shake hands, Zuma humiliated at Mandela memorial

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at a memorial for Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, a rare gesture between the leaders of two ideological opponents that reflected the anti-apartheid hero's spirit of reconciliation. 

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