Thursday, November 29, 2007

The USA's unluckiest $1M lottery winner

How do you think this winner should be treated?
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How do you think this winner should be treated?

It was the best of times for Timothy Elliott.

It was the worst of times for Timothy Elliott.

On the one hand, he won $1 million in the Massachusetts lottery. On the other hand, he is a convicted bank robber who appears to have violated the terms of his probation by purchasing the $10 lottery ticket.

Elliot is scheduled to face the music on Dec. 7, when he goes before the judge who will determine whether he should be punished for breaking the rules that barred him from gambling.

This doesn't faze the agency that runs the state's gambling operations. "Winners are winners," Dan Rosenfeld, the lottery's communications director, tells The Globe. "We treat them the way winners should be treated."

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Could Grapefruit Juice Cut Drug Costs?

The WSJ reports, some researchers are now trying to use grapefruit juice to their advantage. A University of Chicago study is pairing grapefruit juice with rapamycin, which is sold by Wyeth as an immunosuppressant and is being studied to treat cancer.
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the WSJ reports, some researchers are now trying to use grapefruit juice to their advantage.
An enzyme that lives in the gut, charmingly named CYP3A4, breaks down drugs before they enter the bloodstream.
Grapefruit juice has a compound that temporarily gets rid of CYP3A4 — which allows more of a drug to enter the bloodstream. That can be a bad thing in some cases. Patients shouldn’t take statins (such as Pfizer’s Lipitor or Merck’s Zocor) with grapefruit juice, because doing so can cause the drug to build up to unhealthy levels in the body.
It’s too early to tell how far this sort of thing might go, and standardizing grapefruit juice as part of a drug regimen could be tricky. But some docs think the grapefruit effect could ultimately allow patients to take lower doses of drugs.
Oral oncology therapies are costing $3,000 to $5,000 a month
If we can lower the costs of those by 50%, you’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars saved.”
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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Clinton digs in on toxic toys after China's 'slander' charge

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Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton Friday slammed China for calling her criticism of made-in-China toys "slander," and urged Washington to take "immediate, decisive steps" to protect US children.
"This is the same government that just this month revoked the licenses of more than 750 of its toy companies because of quality control problems and ordered another 690 to renovate or improve their facilities, even as it asserted that 99 percent of toy exports met quality standards," Clinton said in her statement.
"And the Chinese government's watchdog agency reported earlier this year that 20 percent of the toys made and sold in China pose safety risks. That is unacceptable."
Clinton also took up China's claim that the majority of problems with Chinese toy exports were due to "design faults by (foreign) importers and designers."
China is the world's top toy exporter, selling 22 billion toys overseas last year, or 60 percent of the globe's total.
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Friday, November 23, 2007

20,000 vets' brain injuries not listed in Pentagon tally

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At least 20,000 U.S. troops who were not classified as wounded during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found with signs of brain injuries, according to military and veterans records compiled by USA TODAY.
The data, provided by the Army, Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs, show that about five times as many troops sustained brain trauma as the 4,471 officially listed by the Pentagon through Sept. 30. These cases also are not reflected in the Pentagon's official tally of wounded, which stands at 30,327.
Fort Hood, Texas, home of the 4th Infantry Division, which returned from a second Iraq combat tour late last year. At least 2,700 soldiers suffered a combat brain injury
Fort Carson, Colo., where more than 2,100 soldiers screened were found to have suffered a brain injury
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, where 1,737 Marines were found to have suffered a brain injury
More than 150,000 troops may have suffered head injuries in combat
Marine didn't recognize signs of brain injury
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Do You, Or Someone You Know, Work At Deloitte? UK

Spread the word. Likely a serious donation that would make a difference.
Alzheimer's is on the shortlist to be one of Deloitte's chosen charities for 2008 and 2009, and Deloitte staff across the country are voting for their favourite charities from the list. If we win, Deloitte pledge to raise £500,000 to support Alzheimer's and dementia work in the UK.

So if you, or someone you know, works at Deloitte, please join our campaign to secure as many votes as possible. If you're on the Deloitte Facebook network, start an Alzheimer's group. Speak to family, friends, colleagues, penpals, people sitting next to you on the bus, the lad handing out the free paper in the morning - it all helps!

Voting opens on Wednesday 21 November and closes on Wednesday 5 December - so join our fight against dementia now!
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bush, Cheney behind Plame leak spin

The plot thickens.
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President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Karl Rove helped engineer the coverup of who in the White House leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan says in a forthcoming book.
In What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and What's Wrong with Washington, McClellan recounts the 2003 news conference in which he told reporters that aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were "not involved" in the leak.
"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes, according to a brief excerpt released Tuesday by the publisher, PublicAffairs Books. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff, and the president himself."
Some others writing about this eyebrow raiser include Fox News, the New York Times and Politico.
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Official Black Friday 2007 Web Site

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BestBuy has just released their list of Secret Black Friday Doorbuster Items that are good in-store only. Among the items are Toshiba Laptop w/ Canon Printer Package for $229 and a Sony Cybershot 7.2MP Digital Camera for $99.99. Once again, these are extra Black Friday deals that do not appear in the Best Buy Black Friday ad and are only available in-store.
It's been a long 20+ days, but we have just posted the 202-item Walmart Black Friday Sale Information and the 46-page Walmart Black Friday Advertisement Scan which is available on our advertisement scans page.
Currently, 30 of the Walmart Black Friday items are currently available online at for their Black Friday price.
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Monday, November 19, 2007

MIT index shows first drop in commercial property value since 2003

Follow the links for additional information.
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Indicates housing woes, credit crunch 'may be spreading'
The value of U.S. commercial real estate owned by big pension funds fell 2.5 percent in the third quarter of 2007, according to an index produced by the MIT Center for Real Estate.
The drop in the MIT quarterly transaction-based index (TBI) may not only spell the end of a five-year rally that saw commercial property prices effectively double, but it may also signal that weakness in the housing market is spilling over into commercial real estate.
"The fall in our index is the first solid, quantitative evidence that the subprime mortgage debacle, which hit the broader capital markets in August, may be spreading to the commercial property markets," stated MIT Center for Real Estate Director David Geltner.
The TBI is based on transaction price data from the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF).
the index of commercial real estate prices is updated quarterly and published on the Center's website,
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Homeless man gets $25K reward in connection with deputy's murder

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Crime Stoppers announced this morning that it will give a $25,000 reward to the homeless man who helped police capture a suspected cop killer in southern Florida
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel says Mark Spradley will receive the money because he led investigators to Michael Mazza, a bank robbery suspect who is accused of killing the deputy who was bringing him to court on Nov. 7 in Broward County, Fla.
Spradley, a Las Vegas resident living out of his car, had picked up Mazza in Hollywood and drove him to a soup kitchen, where the two had lunch. Spradley has said he took pity on Mazza because his shirt was bloodied and he was walking with a limp. ... The two drove to the pawn shop, where Spradley hoped to buy new car speakers. It was there that he recognized Mazza after seeing his mug shot on a store television set.
"This is overwhelming. I wasn't expecting that much," Spradley tells the paper. "But to tell you the truth, I think I deserved it."
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Home Invaders Prey on Wealthy

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In the past year, billionaire investors Warren Buffett  and Ernest Rady, socialite Anne Bass and professional basketball players Eddy Curry and Antoine Walker all have joined a group to which they would rather not belong: victims of home invasion.
Being extremely wealthy is not immediately protection from home invasions, as Warren Buffett found out in September, when an intruder tried to get into his house in Omaha but was thwarted by a security guard.
One particularly gruesome case in July underscored the dangers for many, when a home invasion in Cheshire, Conn., ended in the deaths of a doctor's wife and his two daughters.
In home-invasion robberies -- unlike burglaries -- thieves hope to confront the occupants, often intending to force victims to open a safe or divulge bank-card PIN numbers.
According to San Diego police, Mr. Rady was stunned with the Taser, bound with duct tape, and cut with a sharp object as the intruder tried to force the couple to produce cash and valuables.
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Sunday, November 18, 2007

China not fighting off e-waste nightmare

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The air smells acrid from the squat gas burners that sit outside homes, melting wires to recover copper and cooking computer motherboards to release gold. Migrant workers in filthy clothes smash picture tubes by hand to recover glass and electronic parts, releasing as much as 6.5 pounds of lead dust.
For five years, environmentalists and the media have highlighted the danger to Chinese workers who dismantle much of the world's junked electronics. Yet a visit to this southeastern Chinese town regarded as the heartland of "e-waste" disposal shows little has improved. In fact, the problem is growing worse because of China's own contribution.
Discarded computer keyboards lie in a pile in the streets of Guiyu, China, March 16, 2006.  (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)
China now produces more than 1 million tons of e-waste each year
"Most e-waste in China comes from overseas, but the amount of domestic e-waste is on the rise," he said.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it is ten times cheaper to export e-waste than to dispose of it at home.
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For sale: a piece of the Eiffel Tower

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Every souvenir shop in Paris sells miniature Eiffel Towers, but one lucky bidder will soon be able to buy a piece of the real thing.
A section of the winding iron staircase that Gustave Eiffel climbed to inaugurate the monument in 1889 will be sold at the Hotel Drouot auction house on Monday.
The Eiffel Tower on a hazy day in Paris. An auction Monday features a piece of the famed structure.
In 1983, the 1,911-step staircase was removed to make room for new elevators and was cut into 24 pieces that were auctioned off to museums and collectors around the world.
The 14-foot piece for sale once helped link the monument's second and third levels, and is expected to sell for between $29,000 and $44,000, said auctioneer Remi Ader.
The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World's Fair that celebrated the centennial of the French Revolution. About 6 million people visit the Paris landmark every year.
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4,698 U.S. Army soldiers have deserted

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Army desertions skyrocket
This year, 4,698 U.S. Army soldiers have deserted, an increase of 42% from last year and 80% since the 2003 Iraq invasion, the Pentagon says.
Soldiers who are absent without leave for more than 30 days are declared to be deserters and discharged.
The Army Times and the Associated Press have filed the most detailed stories so far.
The Army Times calls the 2007 desertions "the highest annual total since fiscal year 2001, when 4,399 troops deserted."
Regardless, for those among the AWOL looking for a safe haven, scratch Canada off the list. Yesterday, that country's Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from two deserters seeking asylum. They now face deportation.
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Estimates on Iraq-War Costs

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How much has the war in Iraq cost the U.S.?
The most-basic estimate covers only spending to date, and is limited to budgetary items of military and diplomatic operations in Iraq. The Congressional Budget Office put those costs at about $400 billion in testimony last month before a House panel.
But start projecting forward 10 years
and you get a wide range of figures, all the way up to $3.5 trillion.
The latest estimate came this week from Congressional Democrats. The Joint Economic Committee’s majority staff released a report estimating the costs incurred so far in Iraq and Afghanistan at $1.6 trillion, and pegs costs through 2017 at $3.5 trillion. The report received widespread press coverage, including on CNN and in the Washington Post.
Republicans responded by criticizing the report for “errors and poor methodology,” but didn’t offer their own estimate.
estimated total budget costs through 2017
between $1.2 trillion and $1.7 trillion
interest costs between $600 and $700 billion
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Virulent form of cold virus spreads in US

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"Whether you're a healthy young adult, an infant or an elderly person, this virus can cause severe respiratory disease at any age," said John Su, who investigates infectious diseases for the CDC and contributed to the report.
Two of the 10 people who have died from the new strain were infants, Su said.
The CDC report said about 140 people have been sickened by the virus and more than 50 hospitalized, including 24 admitted to intensive care units.
Adenoviruses frequently cause acute upper respiratory tract infections like the common cold, but also can cause other illnesses including inflammation of the stomach and intestines, pink eye, bladder infection and rashes.
A new and virulent strain of adenovirus, which frequently causes the common cold, has spread in parts of the United States, killing 10 people
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report detailed cases of people ill since May 2006 with a strain of the virus called adenovirus 14 in New York, Oregon, Washington state and Texas.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How do we beat the bitch?

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Eight-Figure Property Hits the Foreclosure Auction Block

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It’s rare to see an eight-figure property hit the foreclosure auction block, but it’s happening. In Australia, a 30,000 square-foot waterfront mansion will be for sale at a Dec. 1 receiver’s auction.
Located on Hope Island, an affluent gated community in the Gold Coast, a resort area about 530 miles north of Sydney, the recently built sprawling estate with marina views is one of the largest homes and lots in the area,
The house was listed for a few months at AU$25 million or about U.S.$23.5 million.

The three-level home has multiple balconies and roof terraces, as well as seven bedroom suites, four bars, a movie theater, an elevator, a cigar room and gold-plated bathroom taps.
[Van Gogh]
A photo of the property from the Christie’s brochure
The brochure cover shows a photograph of the home with a yacht parked in back. (Here’s the listing.)
The auction will have a reserve price,
Mr. Jacobs says. Furnishings are not included. Michael Vettoretto, of Knight Frank, is also handling the sale.
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