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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Damascus suicide bomb attack Bomb kills men at heart of Assad rule as Syria fight rages

A suicide bomber killed three of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's top military officials on Wednesday, security sources said, the worst blow to Assad's high command in the country's 16-month-old rebellion.

The bomb killed Assad's powerful brother-in-law, the defense minister and a top general, bringing the battle to the heart of Assad's powerbase and sparking fighting across Damascus.

Residents, fearing fierce retaliation by Assad's forces, said army helicopters fired machineguns and in some cases rockets at several residential districts. Television footage showed rebels storming a security base in southern Damascus.

The bomber, said by a security source to be a bodyguard assigned to Assad's inner circle, struck a meeting in central Damascus attended by ministers and senior security officials as battles raged within sight of the nearby presidential palace.

Washington, which fears a spillover into neighboring states, said the situation seemed to be spinning out of control. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said "the battle for the capital, the decisive fight" was under way. The U.N. Security Council put off a scheduled vote on a Syria resolution.

State television said Defense Minister Daoud Rajha and Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, the deputy defense minister, had been killed in a "terrorist bombing" and pledged to wipe out the "criminal gangs" responsible.

It said General Hassan Turkmani, a former defense minister and senior military official, had died later of his wounds. Intelligence chief Hisham Bekhtyar and Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar were wounded but were "stable".

The men form the core of a military crisis unit led by Assad to take charge of crushing the revolt which grew out of a popular protests inspired by Arab Spring uprisings that unseated leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

"I heard...a loud explosion but it was not a very big bang. I went down to take a look and I saw a lot of men in plain clothes with rifles," one resident near the scene told Reuters by telephone. She said windows on the third floor of the national security building were shattered.

Assad did not appear in public in the hours after the attack or make any statement, but security sources said he was not at the meeting where it took place.

The armed forces chief of staff, Fahad Jassim al-Freij, quickly took over as defense minister to avoid giving any impression of official paralysis.

"This cowardly terrorist act will not deter our men in the armed forces from continuing their sacred mission of pursuing the remnants of these armed terrorist criminal gangs," Freij said on state television. "They will cut off every hand that tries to hurt the security of the nation or its citizens."

The explosion appeared to be part of a coordinated assault on the fourth day of fighting in the capital that rebel fighters have called the "liberation of Damascus" after months of clashes which activists say have killed more than 17,000 people.

It began early on Wednesday with fighting around an army barracks in the district of Dummar, hundreds of meters from the presidential palace, and was followed by blasts close to the base of the elite 4th armored division in the southwest. The unit, led by Assad's brother Maher, has been instrumental in crushing protests around Syria.

"This is a situation that is rapidly spinning out of control," U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, calling for maximum global pressure on Assad to step down.

Panetta said Assad's government would be held responsible if it failed to safeguard its chemical weapons, which Western and Israeli official have said have been moved from storage sites.


A video posted by activists who said it was filmed in the southern Qadam district showed at least two bodies lying in pools of blood and one rebel commander said at least 45 civilians had been killed in Damascus on Wednesday.

He did not give a figure for rebel or army casualties. The figure could not be confirmed. The Syrian government restricts access by international journalists.

Western leaders fear the conflict, which has been joined by al Qaeda-style Jihadists, could destabilize Syria's neighbors - Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan.

Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi blamed Western and Sunni Arab governments for the crisis. "They are responsible for every drop of blood. And they will be accountable," he said.

"I stress to them that this is the decisive battle in all of Syria," Zoabi said on state television.

Rebels say they have brought reinforcements from outside the city to end four decades of rule by the Assad family by attacking the power base of the ruling elite for the first time.

Syrian forces hit rebel positions across the capital after the attack on the security meeting, with activists saying government troops and pro-government militia were flooding in.

State television broadcast footage it said was filmed on Wednesday showing men in blue army fatigues ducking for cover and firing - the first time official media has shown clashes in the heart of the capital.


Two rebel groups claimed responsibility for the attack on the security meeting.

"This is the volcano we talked about, we have just started," said Qassim Saadedine, a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, a group made up of army defectors and Sunni youths.

Liwa al-Islam, an Islamist rebel group the name of which means "The Brigade of Islam", said it had carried out the attack after weeks of planning and gave a different version of events.

"Our men managed to plant improvised explosives in the building for the meeting. We had been planning this for over a month," a spokesman for the group, who asked to be identified as Abu Ammar, said by telephone. State television said earlier that it was a suicide bombing.

"The terrorist explosion which targeted the national security building in Damascus occurred during a meeting of ministers and a number of heads of (security) agencies," it said.

Fighting also erupted overnight in the southern neighborhoods of Asali and Qadam, and in Hajar al-Aswad and Tadamon - poor, mainly Sunni Muslim districts housing Damascenes and Palestinian refugees.

Assad and the ruling elite belong to the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam that has held power in Syria since a 1963 coup.

The elite has endured more than a year of rebellion but recent high level defections signaled support beginning to fall away.

Two Syrian brigadier-generals were among 600 Syrians who fled from Syria to Turkey overnight, a Turkish official said on Wednesday, bringing the number of Syrian generals sheltering in Turkey to at least 20.


In Damascus, government troops used heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft guns against rebels moving deep in residential neighborhoods, armed mostly with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.

Rebels directed their fire overnight at a headquarters for pro-Assad militia, known as shabbiha, drawn mainly from Alawite enclaves in nearby hills.

Rebel fighters have called the intensified guerrilla attacks in recent days, which have targeted shabbiha buses, unmarked intelligence patrols and armored vehicles in the capital, the battle "for the liberation of Damascus".

Still, opposition figures did not predict sudden victory.

"It is going to be difficult to sustain supply lines and the rebels may have to make a tactical withdrawal at one point, like they did in other cities," veteran opposition activist Fawaz Tello said from Istanbul.

"But what is clear is that Damascus has joined the revolt," Tello, a Damascene, told Reuters. "By hitting well known Sunni districts of the city, such as Midan, the regime is exposing the sectarian nature of the crackdown."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunita Williams to vote in US presidential polls 2012

Expedition 32 Flight Engineer Sunita Williams takes a morning jog near the Cosmonaut Hotel on Friday, July 13, 2012 in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The launch of the Soyuz spacecraft with Williams, Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko, and JAXA Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide is scheduled for 8:40 a.m. local time on Sunday, July 15 in Kazakhstan.Sunita Williams, the NASA astronaut who blasted off on a Russian rocket for her second space mission on Sunday, plans to watch the Olympics and cast her vote in the US presidential election from the International Space Station.

The Press Trust of India reported that Williams, 46 — who is of Indian origin but grew up in Massachusetts — Russian Soyuz commander Yuri Malenchenko and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency flight engineer Akihiko Hoshide began their space journey on a Soyuz rocket which took off successfully from Baikonur cosmodromein Kazakhstan.

A sports lover who swam and ran cross country in the Naval Academy, Williams said that she would catch the London action when she could from the station.

"Well, of course. It's, I mean, the Olympics, what is it — it's an international competition, to foster friendship and, and competition across, across the planet, and I think that's exactly what the International Space Station is," she reportedly said.

The US election, meantime, will fall six days before her scheduled return to earth on Nov 12.

"There's a program called Voting from Space," she said.

"We're working through it right now. I'm actually a Florida voter so ... we had to have a little bit more work involved. — Texas has already, worked through the process — and I, I will actually be voting from space."

The New York Daily News cited the US space agency as saying that the team was arriving at the station during an otherwise busy period, involving two spacewalks, the arrival of Japanese, US commercial and Russian resupply vehicles.

Williams, the second woman of Indian heritage to have been chosen by NASA for a space mission, also holds three records for female space travelers: longest space flight (195 days), number of spacewalks (four), and total time spent on spacewalks (29 hours and 17 minutes).
In an interview with India's Economic Times, Williams' father, Deepak Pandya, 80 —  a renowned Boston-based neuroanatomist — as saying he was less anxious this time around.

"Sunita is used to life in a space station," said Pandya, who is originally from Gujarat.

"This time she will be involved in experiments dealing with survival of long-duration flights for distant space travel."

According to the ET, Williams — married to a US police officer — has an affinity with her heritage, carrying a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and an idol of Lord Ganesha during her 2007 space trip.

"She has always been a spiritual person. She has a background of Christian and Hindu religions. She respects all people and their religious beliefs," Pandya reportedly said. 

Williams' mother is Slovenian.

Anna University Affliated -Engineering, MBBS and BDS Fees Structures Declared by Justice Balasubramanian Committee Read more: Anna University Affliated -Engineering, MBBS and BDS Fees Structures Declared by Justice Balasubramanian Committee

Tamil Nadu Common Admissions (TANCA) 2012 is administered by Anna University, Chennai on behalf of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
Annual fees for MBBS Courses in Government Medical Colleges will be   Rs.2.3 lakh per year for the academic year 2012-13.
And Rs.2.8 lakh per year should be collected as Annual fees for MBBS courses in private Medical Colleges
The Annual Fees for BDS courses for the academic year 2012-13 will be Rs.1 lakh.

Read more: Anna University Affliated -Engineering, MBBS and BDS Fees Structures Declared by Justice Balasubramanian Committee 

Applications are invited for Admissions to M.E. / M.Tech. / M.Arch. / M.Plan. Degree Programmes offered in the University Departments / University Colleges, Government, Government Aided  Engineering Colleges, and Self Financing Engineering Colleges  in  Tamil Nadu for the seats surrendered for admission  through single window  (TANCA 2012) counselling. 
The list of colleges and courses offered for admission through single window counselling is available in Anna University website: 

Candidates should submit separate application for each category as given below.
1. GATE Category
a. GATE (Engineering / Technology) category: Candidates who have a valid GATE 2012 score with qualifying marks for assistantship in the appropriate discipline of Engineering / Technology.  
b. GATE (Engineering Science (XE)  / Life Science (XL) category: Candidates who have a valid GATE 2012 score with qualifying marks for assistantship in Engineering Science (XE) and Life Science (XL) papers.   Candidates should have also appeared for TANCET 2012 conducted by Anna University.
2. Non-GATE category: (TANCET 2012 score only) Candidates who have appeared for TANCET 2012.
3. Sponsored category: (with TANCET 2012 score)  Admission only for University Departments of  Anna University, Chennai-25.

Candidates who have passed all the subjects in the recognised  Bachelor’s degree  or equivalent and obtained atleast 50 % ( 45 % in the case of candidates belonging to reserved category) in the qualifying degree examination.
i. with TANCET 2012 score  (or)
ii. with valid GATE 2012 score with qualifying marks prescribed for assistantship in the appropriate discipline of Engineering / Technology (or)
iii. with valid GATE  2012  score  with qualifying marks prescribed for assistantship in Engineering Science (XE) and Life Science (XL) papers along with TANCET 2012 score shall be considered for admission to M.E./M.Tech./M.Arch./M.Plan. degree programmes. 
The details of eligibility criteria for admission to  M.E. / M.Tech. / M.Arch./ M.Plan. degree  programmes are available in the  ‘Information  and Instructions to Candidates Booklet and also in Anna University website.  

Seats are reserved for Differently Abled candidates as per the Government norms under GATE / NON-GATE categories.
Application forms can be obtained in the following modes:
IN PERSON: Application form can be obtained IN PERSON by Cash / Demand Draft for Rs. 500/- for General (` 250/- for SC/SCA/ST candidates belonging to Tamil Nadu on production of a copy of Permanent Community Certificate card) towards registration fee at the following Institutions:
1. Examination Centre, Anna University, Chennai, 
2. University Departments of Anna University of Technology Tiruchirappalli, BIT Campus, 
3. Govt. College of Technology, Coimbatore, 
4. Muthiaya Polytechnic, Chidambaram, 
5. PSNA College of Engineering & Technology, Dindigul,  
6.  Institute of Road and Transport Technology, Erode,                 
7.  Alagappa College of  Engg. &  Technology, Karaikudi,  
8.  Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai, 
9.  Govt. Polytechnic College, Nagercoil,  
10.  Govt. College of Engg., Salem, 
11. Kunthavai Naacchiyaar Govt. Arts College for Women, Thanjavur, 
12.  Govt. College of Engg., Tirunelveli, 
13.  Thanthai Periyar Govt. Institute of Technology, Vellore, 
14. University College of Engineering, Villupuram, 
15. Kamaraj College of Engg., Virudhunagar.

BY POST: Application form can also be obtained by post by sending a Demand Draft for ` 600/- for general (` 350/- for SC/SCA/ST candidates belonging to Tamil Nadu by enclosing a copy of Permanent Community Certificate card), (includes postal charges) along with a requisition letter and an address  slip written in capital letters  from the Secretary, TANCA, Anna university, Chennai - 600 025.

REGISTRATION THROUGH INTERNET:  The candidates can also register through internet by logging on to The procedure for registration is available in the website.

Counselling date will be intimated to the individuals through a call letter and will also be published in Anna University, Chennai website.

i. Commencement of issue of application form 16.07.2012
ii. Last date for issue of application form  27.07.2012
iii. Last date for submission of filled-in application 30.07.2012
The filled-in application should reach ‘The Secretary, TANCA, Anna University, Chennai 600 025’ on or before 30.07.2012 by 5.30 p.m.  Applications received after the due date and time will not be considered at any cost.

For enquiries contact Telephone Nos. 044 – 2235 8265, 2235 8266, 2235 8267.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Celeste Holm, Broadway star in 'Oklahoma!' and Oscar-winner, dies

Celeste Holm won an Academy Award for supporting actress in the 1947 film 'Gentleman's Agreement' and was nominated two other times. She also had frequent roles on television, including in the 1990s series 'Promised Land.' Celeste Holm, the versatile actress who achieved fame on Broadway in the original production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's hit musical "Oklahoma!" in 1943 and five years later won an Oscar for best supporting actress in the landmark movie-drama "Gentleman's Agreement," died Sunday. She was 95.

Holm, whose more than 70-year career in show business included performing in nightclubs, died in her apartment on Central Park West in New York City, said her husband, Frank Basile.

She had recently spent two weeks in a hospital, where she was discovered to be dehydrated and ended up suffering a heart attack. She asked to be taken home Friday, Basile said.
 “My wife was an extraordinary woman,” Basile said. “She lived her life with such grace and dignity.”

Prior to Holm's hospitalization, the couple briefly had been living outside their home due to smoke damage from a fire in actor Robert De Niro's apartment in the same building.

Holm had great success on Broadway, and already had 10 productions behind her when she was cast in the star-making role of man-crazy Ado Annie in "Oklahoma!," in which she sang "I Cain't Say No."

"Any good actress can play a man-crazy hoyden, but Celeste Holm played Ado Annie with a sly wink-in-the-eye that made her character irresistible," Miles Krueger, president of the Los Angeles-based Institute of the American Musical, who was a boy when he saw Holm in the role, told The Times in 2007. "She was so cute."

Holm's Broadway work, including the lead in the hit 1944 musical comedy "Bloomer Girl," led to a long-term contract with 20th Century Fox, where her first two films were the musicals "Three Little Girls in Blue" and "Carnival in Costa Rica."

Then came her third film, "Gentleman's Agreement," the groundbreaking 1947 drama directed by Elia Kazan and starring Gregory Peck as a journalist who adopts a Jewish identity to chronicle his own first-hand experiences dealing with anti-Semitism.

Kazan fought to have Holm cast in the role of the witty and sophisticated magazine fashion editor Anne Dettrey. Studio head Darryl F. Zanuck, Holm told The Times in 1998, viewed her only as a musical-comedy performer.

"So they made me do the big emotional scene first as a test," she said. "I didn't know it was a test."

Critics took notice of Holm's portrayal of Dettrey.

"Really in the Academy class for supporting honors is Celeste Holm, who brings joy and gaiety, as well as good common sense, to the screen in her thoroughly ingratiating rendition of her role of everybody's friend," Los Angeles Times film critic Edwin Schallert wrote in his review of the film, which also earned Oscars for best picture and best director.

Holm received two more supporting-actress Oscar nominations while under contract to Fox — for playing a nun in the 1949 drama "Come to the Stable" and for playing the best friend of Bette Davis' aging Broadway star Margo Channing in the classic 1950 backstage drama"All About Eve."

"My agent didn't want me to do 'Eve.' Can you imagine?" Holm told the Associated Press in 1997. "He was afraid 'Miss Normal' would get caught between two cats, Bette Davis and [co-star] Anne Baxter."

Holm, in fact, didn't get along with the legendary Davis.

As Holm often recalled, when she walked onto the set the first day of shooting and said, "Good morning," Davis responded by saying, "Oh, [expletive], good manners."

Utah rescuers find emaciated hiker after monthlong ordeal

Too weak to stand or walk, William M. LaFever sat in a shallow river bed in the south Utah desert, awaiting rescue that came more than a month after his family last heard from him.

Thursday afternoon, a helicopter flying in the Escalante River gorge spied the bearded LaFever, 28, who had lost 50 pounds and eaten frogs and roots in his desperate effort to stay alive during his walk from a Utah city to Page, Arizona.

"We came around the corner and we were pretty amazed to see him alive and sitting up," Shane Oldfield, a Utah Highway Patrol helicopter pilot assisting the Garfield County Sheriff's Office, told CNN Friday. LaFever was hospitalized Friday in St. George, Utah, in stable condition. Family members told a deputy that he has autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder, said Becki Bronson, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.

The Colorado Springs, Colorado, man's incredible odyssey began when he called his father on June 6 or 7 to tell him he was in Boulder, Utah, hiking with his dog, according to the sheriff's office.

LaFever said he had run out of money and someone had stolen some of his hiking gear. Authorities said they assumed he was given a ride to Boulder, as he did not have his own vehicle.

"He didn't want me to come out there," said LaFever's father, John LaFever. "He wanted me to send him some money to get him to Page."

The elder LaFever said he wasn't sure how William would make it all the way to Page, but his son mentioned following the river.

Within a week of his call home, William got a ride to where Highway 12 crosses the river, and set out on his journey.

The younger LaFever apparently did not know the extent of the rigors he would face when he planned to walk nearly 50 miles in the Escalante Desert to Lake Powell and then obtain a boat ride, officials said.

Eventually, LaFever's food and strength ran out as he continued walking, according to authorities, and his dog ran off. Officials were looking into a report that the animal may have been located, Bronson told CNN.

With her brother long overdue, LaFever's sister called authorities Monday, seeking help and providing information on where he might be.

Garfield County Deputy Ray Gardner accompanied Oldfield on the flight and told him he had learned in recent training that people with autism often are drawn to water.
Oldfield said the hiker had apparently followed the river as he walked south and had been in the location where they found him for several days, sapped of almost all his strength. LaFever was only a few miles away from Lake Powell.

"I think he probably hiked as far as he could until he was physically exhausted and he went into survival mode," the pilot said.

LaFever had no compass and had discarded or lost his hiking gear.

All he had were his pants, shoes, underwear, shirt and a lighter.
He used the lighter to set a small fire at night, officials said, and then would roll into the river to stay cool and drink water.

LaFever weakly waved when Gardner and Oldfield spotted him from the air.

After their landing, the pair approached the emaciated man, not certain of his identity. Initially, LaFever did not want to get into the helicopter.

"He was asking us for food but it was not like he was shoveling it down. He was casually eating a granola bar as he was talking to the deputy," said Oldfield.

In a statement, Gardner said he had not been expecting a good outcome.

"We had no idea if William had stayed along the river, or decided to leave, or got a ride with someone, or was lost somewhere other than along the river," he said. "We flew along it without any expectation of finding anything at all. The conditions would have to be just right too; unless he was out in the open there was no way we would be able to find him."

Gardner, praised by LaFever's family for his work on the case, did not immediately return a message left Friday by CNN.

William LaFever was in an area popular with hikers, but was about 30 miles beyond where most venture, Oldfield said.

"He made the mistake 'I know what I am doing and I will be OK,''' Bronson told CNN. "There are many who have done that and paid the price."

John LaFever said his son "has done a lot of camping but he has always been close enough to where he could walk to people and get a grocery store. It has never been at this capacity."

William LaFever, who is on disability, will be hospitalized indefinitely as he regains his strength.

"I am just overwhelmed," said his father. "I was really hoping he was alive. The chances of him being found alive were one in a million, maybe."

Do you know How the Mormons Make Money

Late last March the Mormon Church completed an ambitious project: a megamall. Built for roughly $2 billion, the City Creek Center stands directly across the street from the church’s iconic neo-Gothic temple in Salt Lake City. The mall includes a retractable glass roof, 5,000 underground parking spots, and nearly 100 stores and restaurants, ranging from Tiffany’s (TIF) to Forever 21. Walkways link the open-air emporium with the church’s perfectly manicured headquarters on Temple Square. Macy’s (M) is a stone’s throw from the offices of the church’s president, Thomas S. Monson, whom Mormons believe to be a living prophet.

On the morning of its grand opening, thousands of shoppers thronged downtown Salt Lake, eager to elbow their way into the stores. The national anthem played, and Henry B. Eyring, one of Monson’s top counselors, told the crowds, “Everything that we see around us is evidence of the long-standing commitment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Salt Lake City.” When it came time to cut the mall’s flouncy pink ribbon, Monson, flanked by Utah dignitaries, cheered, “One, two, three—let’s go shopping!”

Watching a religious leader celebrate a mall may seem surreal, but City Creek reflects the spirit of enterprise that animates modern-day Mormonism. The mall is part of a sprawling church-owned corporate empire that the Mormon leadership says is helping spread its message, increasing economic self-reliance, and building the Kingdom of God on earth. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attends to the total needs of its members,” says Keith B. McMullin, who for 37 years served within the Mormon leadership and now heads a church-owned holding company, Deseret Management Corp. (DMC), an umbrella organization for many of the church’s for-profit businesses. “We look to not only the spiritual but also the temporal, and we believe that a person who is impoverished temporally cannot blossom spiritually.”

McMullin explains that City Creek exists to combat urban blight, not to fill church coffers. “Will there be a return?” he asks rhetorically. “Yes, but so modest that you would never have made such an investment—the real return comes in folks moving back downtown and the revitalization of businesses.” Pausing briefly, he adds with deliberation, “It’s for furthering the aim of the church to make, if you will, bad men good, and good men better.”
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Mormonism, an indigenous American religion, would also adopt the country’s secular faith in money. What is remarkable is how varied the church’s business interests are and that so little is known about its financial interests. Although a former Mormon bishop is about to receive the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and despite a recent public-relations campaign aimed at combating the perception that it is “secretive,” the LDS Church remains tight-lipped about its holdings. It offers little financial transparency even to its members, who are required to tithe 10 percent of their income to gain access to Mormon temples.

The Mormon Church is hardly the only religious institution to be less than forthcoming about its wealth; the Catholic Church has been equally opaque throughout history. On the other hand, says historian D. Michael Quinn, who is working on a book about the LDS Church’s finances and businesses, “The Mormon Church is very different than any other church. … Traditional Christianity and Judaism make a clear distinction between what is spiritual and what is temporal, while Mormon theology specifically denies that there is such a distinction.” To Latter-day Saints, opening megamalls, operating a billion-dollar media and insurance conglomerate, and running a Polynesian theme park are all part of doing God’s work. Says Quinn: “In the Mormon [leadership’s] worldview, it’s as spiritual to give alms to the poor, as the old phrase goes in the Biblical sense, as it is to make a million dollars.”

Mormons make up only 1.4 percent of the U.S. population, but the church’s holdings are vast. First among its for-profit enterprises is DMC, which reaps estimated annual revenue of $1.2 billion from six subsidiaries, according to the business information and analysis firm Hoover’s Company Records (DNB). Those subsidiaries run a newspaper, 11 radio stations, a TV station, a publishing and distribution company, a digital media company, a hospitality business, and an insurance business with assets worth $3.3 billion.

AgReserves, another for-profit Mormon umbrella company, together with other church-run agricultural affiliates, reportedly owns about 1 million acres in the continental U.S., on which the church has farms, hunting preserves, orchards, and ranches. These include the $1 billion, 290,000-acre Deseret Ranches in Florida, which, in addition to keeping 44,000 cows and 1,300 bulls, also has citrus, sod, and timber operations. Outside the U.S., AgReserves operates in Britain, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. Its Australian property, valued at $61 million in 1997, has estimated annual sales of $276 million, according to Dun & Bradstreet.

Jason Kidd charged with DWI

New York Knicks point guard Jason Kidd was arrested early Sunday and charged with a misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated, according to Southampton Town police.

A police spokesman said Kidd was involved in a single-car accident in which his 2010 Cadillac Escalade struck a telephone pole and went into the woods in hamlet of Watermill at around 2 a.m. Water Mill is a serene, mainly residential community east of Southampton Village. Kidd, 39, suffered minor injuries, according to the spokesman, and was treated at Southampton Hospital.

He was then transferred to police headquarters to be processed. He was held for arraignment Sunday morning and was released on his own recognizance.

Police did not say whether Kidd had taken a breathalyzer test.

Kidd's agent didn't immediately respond to phone or email messages from The Associated Press. The Knicks, who signed the 10-time All-Star in free agency this week, had no immediate comment.

Kidd's next court date wasn't immediate available. The DWI charge carries the potential for up to a year in jail.

The Knicks signed Kidd away from the Dallas Mavericks this week in a deal that will pay him about $3 million a year. Kidd had played in New Jersey, leading the Nets to two NBA Finals appearances, before being traded to Dallas and remains fond of the New York City area, where his children continued to live.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist has been in trouble with the law before. While playing with Phoenix in 2001, he was arrested on a domestic violence charge, acknowledging that he struck his former wife.

Kidd is second on the NBA's career list in assists and steals. The Knicks believe Kidd, who helped the Mavericks win the 2011 NBA championship, would be a good mentor to point guard Jeremy Lin if the team opts to keep him.

Billingsley scratched, due for MRI on sore elbow

LOS ANGELES -- Chad Billingsley was scratched from his scheduled start for the Dodgers on Sunday with right elbow pain and instead will have an MRI. Chris Capuano was moved up a day in the rotation to take his place against the Padres.

Manager Don Mattingly said Billingsley has been battling the pain for a while. He had a regular bullpen session on Friday that wasn't sharp, and after a shortened "touch-and-feel" session Saturday told trainer Sue Falsone that his elbow was "barky." Mattingly got the information during Saturday night's game.

"My only issue about it is not letting anybody know so we could be paying attention to this thing," said Mattingly, who hopes to find out the MRI results by the end of the day. "Sue and those guys go to school a long time and they are pretty smart. They can't really help you if you don't talk to them."

"They are not mind readers," he added.

Billingsley learned he was scratched on a phone call from Capuano late Saturday night. Mattingly said he is hopeful the MRI will reveal only tendinitis or something minor that would require Billingsley to miss a start but not be sent to the disabled list. The Dodgers already were looking to acquire a starting pitcher by the end of the month, with Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza of the Cubs, Zack Greinke of the Brewers and Cole Hamels of the Phillies among their targets.

Swingman Jamey Wright is a leading option to start Tuesday night because of his experience, and the fact that the Dodgers have no likely Minor League candidate on the 40-man roster beyond Stephen Fife. Nathan Eovaldi will move up a day in the rotation to pitch Monday in the opener at home against the Phillies. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said there is "no way" Clayton Kershaw will be moved up a day to pitch on three days' rest.

Mattingly said he would sometimes keep pain a secret when he was a player and understands it is part of the game since athletes like to give off a tough exterior and play through pain. However, he was visibly upset with his starter for not saying anything sooner.

"We would have liked to have known this a littler earlier," said Mattingly, who talked to Billingsley about the situation. "We could have set up the rotation differently, try to bounce in a start earlier when we had a day off and just protect him that way. But when guys don't talk, you can't protect them."

He considered moving Eovaldi ahead of Capuano in the rotation to pitch Sunday, but the rookie was unavailable after pitching a bullpen session on Saturday. Capuano threw a bullpen session a couple days ago and Mattingly said the 33-year-old had no hesitations sliding up a day.

Billingsley is riding a five-game losing streak and hasn't lasted more than six innings in a game since June 10. The righty is 4-9 with a 4.30 ERA in 18 starts this season.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Justin Verlander and Kate Upton making Video

Justin Verlander might have been knocked around some in Tuesday's All-Star game but, he seems to be winning the game of life.
kate upton verlander
The Detroit Tigers' pitcher has been sighted with reigning Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model Kate Upton in recent days around Detroit, fueling breathless speculation that the two are dating.
CBS Detroit said the pair have been seen at least one area bar, and Upton was recently sighted in a private box at a Detroit Tigers' game.

This has to be true. Odds are overwhelming that a single woman hanging around Detroit spotted in a Detroit Tigers luxury box is dating Verlander.
Actually, it seems Upton is a Michigan native and the pair has appeared in a commercial together.
Verlander and Upton were seen with Verlander's friend Frank Viola Jr. (son of former Cy Young winner Frank Viola) and Upton pal Lizzie Glynn.
justin verlander
The quartet allegedly were seen in a Detroit-area drinking establishment believed to be owned by Toby Keith.

Obama Biggest mistake too much perspiration, not enough inspiration

Call it "too much substance, not enough style?" President Barack Obama says his biggest mistake since getting to the White House three and a half years ago has been his tendency to tackle the job as national policy wonk rather than the inspiring figure he cut in the 2008 campaign.
"When I think about what we've done well and what we haven't done well," the president told CBS television in an interview, "the mistake of my first term - couple of years - was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right."
"And that's important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times," Obama said in an excerpt of the exchange with Charlie Rose.
Presidents — politicians in general — tend to sidestep questions about their biggest mistake in office, though they sometimes stumble spectacularly over them (as George W. Bush did in April 2004), or offer up a self-serving answer that might be lampooned as "I just love America too much." Obama seems to be saying that, dagnabbit, he just took the job too gosh-darn seriously. Republicans wasted little time in mocking the answer. Republican National Committee spokesman Tim Miller tweeted "I'd go w/ utter economic failure."
And Mitt Romney hit out hard at Obama: "Being president is not about telling stories."
"Being president is about leading, and President Obama has failed to lead. No wonder Americans are losing faith in his presidency," Romney said in a statement.
Obama also seemed to make the argument that he just can't catch a break.
"It's funny - when I ran, everybody said, 'well he can give a good speech but can he actually manage the job?'" he said. "And in my first two years, I think the notion was, 'Well, he's been juggling and managing a lot of stuff, but where's the story that tells us where he's going?' And I think that was a legitimate criticism."
"So getting out of this town, spending more time with the American people, listening to them, and also, then, being in a conversation with them about where do we go together as a country, I need to do a better job of that in my second term," the president said.
Rose pressed him, asking whether he means explaining, and Obama replied: "Explaining — but also inspiring."
"Because hope is still there," First Lady Michelle Obama added.
CBS will broadcast more of the interview on Sunday morning and Monday morning.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Big Brother Premiere

Like a scab one cannot resist picking, Big Brother is an irritant I cannot resist looking at, for at least a few episodes, every summer. In the past, I’ve been hooked for whole seasons. More recently, I’ve found the house fetid, even toxic, and evicted myself quickly. Based on Thursday night’s premiere, I’m appalled to say I may have to watch at least one more time.
It's here, y'all! The "Big Brother 14" premiere. It's like summer is officially starting. We are super pumped to be covering for you again this year, particularly because we really liked this year's cast at the press junket day.

Julie welcomes us, looking absolutely fetching in red jumpsuit, and we can barely contain our excitement. Also, someone's leaving right away? We wonder if that was planned or if somebody quits .... hmmm.

It's great that the mentors are coaches, not players. We don't mind former players returning, per se, but it's so unfair when they are just regular competitors. This is a great twist on that twist.
With 53 cameras and 98 microphones picking up the monosyllables of 12 contestants and four additional humans, Big Brother 14 had the usual number of hotties of both sexes, a token geek, and the oppressed, last-picked-for-a-team forty-somethings. (Ageism thrives on BB even more than on most reality/competition/dumbbell TV.) The season’s worst decision was obvious even before the show aired: Who wanted to see a relative of Survivor‘s Russell Hantz on TV? Yet there was Willie Hantz, swaggering on cue (“I plan to be a jerk and a villain… These folks don’t know what’s fixin’ to come on them”), and so obvious that it seemed as though half of the people in the house had figured out his lineage before the first 30 minutes were over.

Of the newbies, I thought Danielle was parsing her strategy a bit too finely by believing that it was a cagey move to lie about being a nurse and assert instead that she’s a kindergarten teacher — does nursing seem like a particularly threatening profession to you?


The first of the season’s patented “twists” was the return of four BB vets — serving as coaches, not as competitors, with the chance to win $100,000 if someone on the team they chose goes all the way to victory. Mike Boogie, Danielle, and Janelle were unsurprising choices; Britney will forgive me if I say hers was a season I skipped but in whom I do not hold much faith, since she admitted before she even entered the house that “I have to prove I can even play the game.” Way to go, coach.
You can read our thoughts about the new houseguests and their chances here. Based on our press day impressions, Shane, Kara and Willie are going to be competitors. We also are hoping for a Jodi/Jenn/Wil alliance. But we'll probably end up being completely wrong.

Our least favorite? JoJo. And her clips do nothing to dissuade that feeling. Hmph.Also, for those of you who are mad about Russell's brother in the cast - Willie actually made a great impression. He's smart like Russell, but more likable and less abrasive. Jenn also made a great impression.

As far as the hot girls go, Kara seems pretty with it, Danielle seems too nice and Ashley the jury's still out on. She might have more going on than meets the eye, but she's also kind of
Rachel levels of annoying.

The House

The house is very fun and colorful this year, love it. The intros are hilarious. Joe saying Wil could be one of the prettiest girls in the house is totally true. When we met Wil, we were a little blown away by how pretty he is.

Willie told us he isn't going to confess to being Russell's brother, but Ian has his suspicions right away. We knew Ian would know stat. And speaking of Ian, it is absolutely laugh-out-loud awesome that Ashley takes a shine to him. Oh my god, we want that to happen now so badly!

The guys are totally smitten with Kara and we were too - she's stunning in person. She says she's not going to reveal she's a Playmate of the Year. We probably wouldn't either. And Shane turns a few female heads (as he should).

The Mentors

Boogie from BB2 and BB7, Dan from BB10, Janelle from BB6 and BB7 and Britney from BB12 are the mentors. We're pumped about Britney and Dan, we loed them. We are not as pumped about Boogie and Janelle. And yes, we realize a lot of people out there love Janelle. We do not.

She was so high-school-mean-girl during Season 6 that we could not stand her. And she's not dumb, so when she pulls that simpering, dumb act, it makes us want to punch her. People have already started giving us crap about this in the comments -- guess what? We're all entitled to our opinions. That doesn't mean we can't say nice things about her if she comes on this season and is awesome. But just putting it out there, we are not on Team Janelle based on her past seasons.

Now Britney, on the other hand, is one of the funniest girls to have been on the show (once Monet left and she stopped being bitchy all the time). And Dan is a sweetheart. Boogie needs to just go away. He's like the "Road Rules" Dan of these shows now -- viewers' parents remember you from the first time around. Boogie was too old for his persona 10 years ago. Now he's like 45 or something.

Don't get us wrong -- we love Dr. Will (best reality competitor ever) and Chilltown's phone calls during BB7 were hilarious. But Boogie without Will is lame.

The hamsters are told about the twist - each mentor gets three houseguests that they will coach all summer. If one of their hamsters wins, that coach wins $100,000. Is that all they're being offered? Surely not. The upfront pay must also be pretty solid too.

When Boogie walks in with a "Daddy's home" and Ian comparing him to A-Rod?! Gag me with a spoon. Then hilariously, Dan tells Willie looks like Russell. That's what he should do -- play it up that that's what he hears all the time.

But all the mentors are convinced he's Russell's brother and not buying it at all.

Twist No. 2

The houseguests are told that there are only 11 keys and that one of them is leaving right off the bat. Wow, that's harsh. That seems so unfair. They should get to be there the two weeks (or so) that go by before the first elimination.

It's time for the coaches to pick teams. Britney picks Shane, Willie and Jojo; Boogie picks Frank, Ian and Jenn; Janelle picks Wil, Ashley and Joe; and Dan picks Kara, Danielle and Jodi. We think Dan and Britney got the strongest teams, but we'll see. 

Head of Household competition

They're playing in teams for this one, with the coach deciding which player on the winning team is the HOH. And the coach on the last place team has to send somebody home right away. YIKES. This is a great twist so far.

And Dan's team is not the group of aces we thought they would be. Yikes. The teams end finishing Britney, Janelle, Boogie and then Dan. Bummer. Jodi is not long for this game, we fear. Dan has two really good-looking girls, there's no way he's sending them home.
Willie won the first Head of Household competition, proving his stunted world-view by comparing that triumph to winning the Super Bowl. “It’s all about me,” he said.

The second twist was that one householder was evicted in this premiere episode. Coach Dan had to choose the evictee; he booted 42 year-old Jodi. What did I tell you about the ageist tendency trumping all?

As I said at the top, I’ll watch at least one more time, if only to see whether my conscience can grow faster than the Hantz boy can get smacked down.

Nicole Kidman Helped Katie Holmes With Tom Cruise Split

Katie Holmes has friends in high places -- and that includes Nicole Kidman.

As Holmes, 33, struggled and secretly plotted to end her marriage to Tom Cruise, she found a pillar of support in her husband's second ex-wife, who divorced the actor in 2001.

"They've spoken over the last few weeks," a confidante tells the new Us Weekly of Holmes and Kidman, 45. "Nicole has been supportive, saying she's been through it too and to hang in there." (One way Holmes may have made those secret calls to Kidman? The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that the Romantics actress used a disposable cell phone provided by a pal to plot her divorce without the detection of Cruise and his team.)

t's not a brand-new friendship either, the confidante says, telling Us that the women have been speaking since Holmes' 2006 marriage to Cruise, 50. Kidman shares kids Isabella, 19, and Connor, 17, with Cruise, although much has been made of her estrangement from their kids.
"She has been a private friend not many people know about," the source continues.

As Holmes reached the breaking point in her marriage to Cruise -- and with mounting fears about daughter Suri -- she reached out again to Kidman for advice. "Nicole offered her support and help," the insider adds.

Jessica Biel: FiancĂ© Justin Timberlake ‘has better taste than I do’

You might assume that a Hollywood starlet like Jessica Biel, who's been walking the red carpet since she was 14 (and usually looks pretty good), has developed some pretty solid style sense over the years.

But that's not how she sees it.

The 30-year-old actress, who's been engaged to actor/MySpace owner/recovering boy band member Justin Timberlake for the last seven months, confesses to InStyle that she turns to her fiancé for help with decisions in that department. In fact, when it came to choosing the custom-made engagement ring Biel has been sporting since Timberlake popped the question in December, she actually had nothing to do with it.

"I had no say whatsoever [in the ring]. I don't micromanage," the brunette beauty says in the magazine's August issue. "He is fearless in his choices and has a real eye for design. And I'll be honest: He has better taste than I do."

So much better, in fact, that Biel confesses she even turns to her 31-year-old better half for everyday wardrobe help. "When I walk out of the closet after getting dressed in the morning, I'll go like this [turns palms upward as if to say, 'Well?'] And he goes like this shakes his head no. Then he picks again. It's hilarious."

After dating "Captain America" actor Chris Evans for five years, Biel began a relationship with Timberlake in 2007. Though the couple broke up in early 2011, they reunited last fall and were soon engaged. As the former "7th Heaven" actress has matured, she explains, she's now more confident when it comes to love. "In my earlier experiences with relationships, I really was vulnerable to somebody else's personality, hobbies, and way of life. But as I've gotten older, I've become proud of the traits that make me who I am. Maintaining my individuality is really important to me because otherwise I can easily slip into somebody else's life. So I'm glad I'm getting better at it. It's a process, but it's getting simpler.""

And while it's unclear when the famous twosome will be tying the knot, Biel already knows the couple she'll turn to for marital advice.

"The best thing I learned from [my parents] is that you have to put your relationship first. It is really easy to let that go by the wayside. It's easy to say, 'Hey. I'll see you later. I love you.' And you can't do that."

Highest paid young celebrities Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber

Singer Taylor Swift edged out teen heart-throb Justin Bieber as the highest-earning celebrity under 30, taking in $57 million, as women dominated the top spots on a list released by on Thursday.

Bieber, who brought in an estimated $55 million, was the only male among the top five earners, who included Rihanna at No. 3 with $53 million, followed by Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

"We are seeing a convergence of these talented women who know how to work the system," said Dorothy Pomerantz, the Los Angeles bureau chief for Forbes.

"The things they have in common, obviously they write great hits, are strong personalities. That really helps them from a publicity point of view. They connect with their fans," she added.

Kristen Stewart, who was the highest paid actress last year with an estimated $34.5 million in earnings, captured the No. 7 spot and was the only actress in the top 10.

Stewart, a lead player in the "The Twilight Saga" films, also had a hit with "Snow White and the Huntsman" and is considered one of Hollywood's up-and-coming stars.

Her co-star in the "Twilight" films and real-life boyfriend, Robert Pattinson, came in at No. 10 with earnings of $26.5 million.

"'Twilight' has done wonderful things for these kids' bank accounts," said Pomerantz, adding that they are now making $12 million per film in the franchise. "What will be telling is how they do post-'Twilight.'"

To compile the list Forbes analyzed album and concert sales, movies earnings, profit participation, advertising work and endorsements between May 2011 and May 2012. Managers, lawyers, agents and other insiders were also consulted.

Reason Richest 400 People in America Got So Rich

In 1992, the 400th richest person in America made $24 million.

In 2007, the 400th richest person in America made $138 million (or $87 million, inflation-adjusted).

Now, that almost certainly wasn't the same guy. There's a lot of churn at the top of the money pyramid. In all of the 1990s, only 25% of the Fortunate 400 made more than one appearance. But the overall message is the same. The rich keep getting richer.

According to the IRS, which recently released 2009 data from the 400 richest individual income tax returns, the real runaway growth in wealth has come from capital gains. In the last years of the bubble, the "Fortunate 400" made nearly half their income from capital gains (a.k.a.: profit from the rising value of an investment, such as stocks or property) and less than 10% of their income from old-fashioned wages.

The average income of a top-400 earner grew by 650% between 1992 and 2007 to a whopping $344 million. Over that time, the average salary didn't even double. But the average capital gains haul increased by 1,200%. So how do the richest get richer? Not from their wages. From their investments.

Here's a look at the average salary and average capital gains income of a top-400 earner since 1992. Y-axis is labeled in thousands of dollars and all-time highs are noted in the graph.
Three last things:

(1) Who are these people? As Tim Noah explained on our business page, a 2010 study studied the top 0.1 percent, who currently make at least $1.7 million. That's 14-times less than our Fortunate 400 group, but it's the closest we've got. Four in ten in this group were executives, managers, and supervisors at nonfinancial firms. Eighteen percent were financiers. Next came law (7 percent), medicine (6 percent), and real estate (4 percent). My guess is that the top 400 skews toward finance and chief exec even stronger. A lawyer/doctor making $2 million I can imagine. But $24 million?

(2) Capital gains absolutely dictate the wealth of the richest Americans. As Matt O'Brien graphed for us, that's why the income of the top 0.1 percent hugs the S&P so closely.

(3) Remember that as this is happening, the long-term capital gains tax rate has fallen from 28 percent in 1990 to 20 percent for the latter half of the 1990s to 15 percent under George W. Bush.

China's economic growth slows despite stimulus

The world's second-largest economy grew by 7.6 percent in the three months ending in June over a year earlier, down from the previous quarter's 8.1 percent, data showed Friday. That was the lowest since the first quarter of 2009 during the depths of the global financial crisis.
China's economy grew 7.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012 from a year earlier, its slowest pace in three years, confirming expectations of a downward trajectory that leaves full-year growth on course for its softest showing since 1999.

The GDP number released on Friday, which was in line with a Reuters poll, marked the sixth straight quarter of easing growth and left analysts combing a raft of accompanying data to assess whether the second quarter marks the bottom - or an extension - of the downward cycle.

The trajectory of the economy is crucial for investors facing a slowdown not only in China, the world's second-largest economy, but anemic growth across the BRIC grouping of major emerging economies - Brazil, Russia, India and China - which combine as the biggest marginal generators of global growth.

"Overall, this is a soft landing, but we can see that the Chinese economy is undergoing serious pain," said Xianfang Ren, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Beijing.

"I have 80 percent confidence that the economy will pick up in the third quarter as we have been in a slowdown for six consecutive quarters now. However, if the economy does not show an upturn in the next few months, factories will probably have to lay off workers and that will hit employment."

Other data released alongside GDP revealed fixed asset investment growth was 20.4 percent in the year to June versus the 20.1 percent forecast in the benchmark Reuters poll.

Fixed asset investment has been the key driver of economic expansion in China for a decade and is a major risk factor for investors watching its rate of growth ease back from 25 percent plus to around 20 percent on average so far this year - especially as the government's stated aim is to reduce its contribution to growth as it rebalances the economy.

Retail sales in June were up 13.7 percent on a year ago versus May's 13.8 percent and industrial output was weaker than expected, growing 9.5 percent versus expectations of 9.8 percent, while power output was flat.

Asian share prices and emerging Asian currencies firmed modestly after the data.


Inflation and trade data earlier this week showing fast-easing consumer prices, outright deflation in producer prices and import growth at less than half the rate expected in June sent a bearish shiver through financial markets.

Two interest rate cuts in the space of a month, accompanied by liberalization moves allowing banks to discount borrowing costs by a further 30 percent, had already fuelled investors' fears that China's economy may be slowing more sharply than expected - jeopardizing even Beijing's official full year GDP growth target of 7.5 percent.

The moves have been taken as a sign by some analysts that the government will do everything possible to underwrite growth ahead of a once-a-decade leadership transition that gets under way in the autumn.

Beijing has also cut the amount of cash banks are required to hold as reserves -- known as the reserve requirement ratio or RRR -- three times since November, and twice in four weeks this year, to bolster the economy.

But it has refrained from pumping out another stimulus package similar to the 4-trillion-yuan splurge launched during the global financial crisis.

The measures have left some economists hopeful that growth will pick up in the third quarter as Beijing further loosens monetary policy.

"Slowing domestic consumption has dragged on China's economy. But we think the economy hit a bottom in the second quarter," said Li Huiyong, an economist at Shenyin & Wanguo Securities in Shanghai.

"We expect China will have one more interest rate cut and two more RRR cuts in the second-half of this year."

Companies on at least three continents have blamed slowing Chinese growth for their worsening performance.

This week alone, British fashion brand Burberry (BRBY.L) reported a decline in its China sales growth, U.S. chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD.N) warned of disappointing Q2 revenue because of softer than expected sales in China and Europe and China Southern Airlines (1055.HK) said its H1 net profit would likely fall in part on slower domestic growth.

China's automobile sales growth lost further momentum in the first half, figures on Thursday showed, as the country's slowing economy sapped consumer sentiment, with potential buyers even resisting big discounts and promotions from automakers such as Ford and Toyota.

Economists remain divided about when China's economy will reach the bottom of its current cycle, with many preparing to take the scalpel to full-year forecasts which, according to the last Reuters consensus poll in April, call 2012 growth at 8.4 percent.

The Asian Development Bank cut its full-year China growth expectations for 2012 to 8.2 percent in new forecasts published on Thursday, down from the 8.5 percent they had estimated in April.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Eddie Murphy Death by Twitter

Another day, another bogus celebrity death via Twitter. This time, it was Eddie Murphy, who supposedly died in a snowboarding accident, of all things. Hey, it was only a couple of months ago that Robin Williams died on a mountain in Austria! The bogus story -- yes, folks, Eddie is alive, he's alive! -- originated on a website called Global Associated News. Which is NOT where I'd go if I want to know the global news, because the site appears to be devoid of anything resembling actual news. In fact, the site has already fake killed off other celebs like Charlie Sheen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Tiger Woods.

It's amazing how detailed these fake deaths get. Says the site about Eddie:

    The actor & novice snowboarder was vacationing at the Zermatt ski resort in Zermatt, Switzerland with family and friends. Witnesses indicate that Eddie Murphy lost control of his snowboard and struck a tree at a high rate of speed.

Eddie's rep has assured everyone that not only is Eddie alive and kicking, but that he does not snowboard. She assures us that if we ever hear he's died in a future snowboarding accident, we should know it's not true. Good to know.

While these stories are obviously ridiculous and desperate ploys for clicks, one interesting thing does come out of them. A celeb can actually see what people on Twitter would say about him in the event of his death. Kind of like getting to attend your own funeral.

As of this moment, the Global Associated Lies News story is still being spread via Twitter and people are still freaking out, i.e. "Eddie Murphy is dead for real you fool???!!!" I mean, if you're Eddie Murphy, and you're reading Twitter, you'd be kind of flattered, right? It's just too bad Eddie's career is on life support.

While Twitter death hoaxes are one of the most annoying things about the Internet, they were not invented with social media. After all, it 1897 when Mark Twain said, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."
Eddie Murphy is not dead and wasn’t snowboarding today. Eddie Murphy is the victim of a familiar fake death story prompting fan confusion today. The fabricated tale, the work of Global Associated / Mediafetcher, puts the actor on a fabricated ski slope, falling during a vacation that didn’t happen, and perishing.

But for savvy fans, the fabricated tale is a familiar one. Eddie Murphy’s form of humor is different than Adam Sandler. But his death story on Global is no different than that used against Sandler. Global has used the same Eddie Murphy death story against other comedic actors before as well.

But for reasons never clear, Global doesn’t have rappers “die” on snowboards but in car crashes. If you are hip hop musician, the story switches to a yacht. And if you are a movie actor, the tale heads to the slopes, namely the Zermatt ski slopes.

For months, fan confusion has surfaced because of a series of similar Global fabricated tales. Global uses a series of preconceived storylines, with a host of purported government agencies, airports, and even locations that don’t even exist.
This is not the first Eddie Murphy fake tale to surface online. The same story resurfaced its second time in October of last year. As LALATE noted at the time, “It remains unclear what Zermatt officials think of all these fake celebrity deaths being claimed to have occurred on their ski slopes.”

Charlie Sheen, Daddy Yankee, and Sandler himself have also been victims of the same fake story, just in the last few weeks alone. In the end, if it’s Route 80, or Zermatt, G.A. most often makes news. Today’s fake report is simply a cut and paste job. “The actor & novice snowboarder was vacationing at the Zermatt ski resort in Zermatt, Switzerland with family and friends. Witnesses indicate that Charlie Sheen lost control of his snowboard and struck a tree at a high rate of speed”, read the fake Sheen report. Today’s Murphy report just replaces Sheen with Murphy.

Eddie Murphy isn’t dead, nor is Lil Wayne, Mac Miller, Ryan Seacrest, or Adam Sandler.


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