Monday, November 7, 2011

Conrad Murray Trial: Found Guilty in Death of Michael Jackson

After less than two full days of deliberations, the jury in the Conrad Murray trial has reached a verdict. If convicted, Murray faces as much as four years in prison and the loss of his medical license. Over the six weeks of the trial, jurors listened to 49 witnesses. Murray chose not to testify. (For more information on the key moments in the trial, click here.)


4:16 p.m. ET — The verdict is read: “We find the defendant Conrad Murray guilty.”

4:14 p.m. ET — Dr. Conrad Murray now in the courtroom.

4:05 p.m. ET — Dr. Conrad Murray has arrived at the Los Angeles courthouse for the verdict in the involuntary manslaughter case, according to the Associated Press.  The jury reached its verdict today after deliberating for less than nine hours.

3:57 p.m. ET –  Katherine, Randy, Jermaine, Joe, and La Toya Jackson all just entered the courtroom along with Rick and Kathy Hilton.

3:55 p.m. ET – Going live shortly for an ABC News special report on the verdict with Diane Sawyer and Dan Abrams in New York and Jim Avila in L.A.

3:44 p.m. ET — Producer Kaitlyn Folmer tweets: “Deputy DA’s Dave Walgren and Deborah Brazil just entered courtroom.”  Folmer is currently “On the 9th floor of courthouse…ironically a few doors down from the OJ Simpson courtroom.  Conrad Murray verdict in 20 min.”

3:27 p.m. ET — “GMA” legal contributor Dan Abrams tweets: “This quick verdict in Conrad Murray has to have his attorneys very worried. Then again I got Casey Anthony verdict wrong.” Abrams is joining Diane Sawyer live at 4:00 p.m. ET for a special report as the verdict is read.

3:20 p.m. ET — La Toya Jackson tweets “Michael’s spirit will be with us in the court room and he will make sure the right verdict is made.”

3:17 p.m. ET — ABC’s Jim Avila says that Joe, Kathryn and Jermaine Jackson have arrived at the court. La Toya is on the way.

2:38 p.m. ET — From producer Kaitlyn Folmer: “Crowd is shouting ‘guilty’ outside criminal courts building in downtown L.A., but other than that, crowds are calm.”

2:32 p.m. ET — Outside the Los Angeles Superior Court, podium ready for post verdict press conferences.

2:15 p.m. ET —   Lots of activity outside courthouse. There are supporters for Conrad Murray and for Michael Jackson.
2:11 p.m. ET — The verdict in the case against Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, will be read at 4 p.m. ET.

2:10 p.m. ET — La Toya Jackson tweets:  “Verdict is FINALLY IN!!! I’m on my way! I’m shaking uncontrollably!”

2:09 p.m. ET — From our producer Kaitlyn Folmer:  “Deputies just left courtroom…in a rush.”

2:08 p.m. ET — From our producer Kaitlyn Folmer:  “Just confirmed via source close to case- defense attys got call- it is a verdict!”

1:57 p.m. ET — The reporter reports that the Jury has rung their direct buzzer to the judge three times, which indicates they have reached a verdict.
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Why Conrad Murray's Guilty Verdict Doesn't Bring Closure

The reigning emotion in the wake of the Conrad Murray guilty verdict on Monday was of hollow victory rather than catharsis.

At the end of the ordeal, Michael Jackson was still dead and no amount of prison for his doomed doctor would bring him back.

Surprisingly, the spectacle of Murray’s public humiliation didn’t seem to interest the normally voracious consumers of celebrity trash.

The story had little traction in the tabloids, drove even less TMZ traffic and the live feed of the six-week trial was neither the subject of water cooler debate nor late night comics across the nation.

Also read: Conrad Murray Guilty in Michael Jackson's Death (Updated)

Herman Cain’s sexual harrassment rumors nabbed more time on cable news than the courtroom account of how Conrad Murray injected the King of Pop with a fatal dose of hospital-grade sedative, and then lied about it to save himself.

The Casey Anthony trial riveted Nancy Grace. Not Conrad Murray.

Where was the outrage? Maybe we were just tired of it.

Rather than peel back the curtain on a celebrity’s private life, the Conrad Murray trial showed us a sordid picture of Michael Jackson that we no longer wanted to see.

Also read: Conrad Murray's Guilty Verdict: The Twitter Community Reacts

With his death at age 50, we had finally deified the King of Pop. His sudden demise led to an outpouring of global emotion. Those of us who had casually mocked him for years or reviled him for suspected child abuse, suddenly let all that fall away.

Instead we remembered the Michael Jackson we loved – his childlike innocence, his talent, and the outright joy his music brought to millions across the world.

The documentary film that showed the last days of Michael Jackson, “This Is It,” seemed to affirm all the best qualities about him. Though thin and somewhat fragile, MJ’s voice was still strong, he could dance like a dream and he seemed thoroughly in control of his gift.

But the trial negated all that. It revealed a sad and broken pop star, propped up by a complicit drug pusher with a medical degree.

People close to Jackson seemed to agree. " I think the overwhelming feeling is one of being empty," said family attorney Brian Oxman, on CNN. "There is no sense of vindication; there is no sense of justice having been done. It’s empty.  The fact is Conrad Murray is guilty, yes, we know that but we are still without Michael Jackson and his kids are without their dad, and that leaves me empty."

Also read: Michael Jackson's Fatal Bid for Normal Life Emerges at Trial

One of the most heart-breaking moments of the testimony came from AEG chief Randy Phillips, who said that Jackson cried as he told him that he just wanted to make enough money from this tour to live a normal life with his three children.

One of the most nauseating was the description by an EMT of Murray scooping up pills and hiding them into bags before calling 911.

To trial-watchers, Murray seemed guilty from the start. Propofol expert Dr. Steven Shafer shredded Murray’s credibility in rattling off 17 deviations from the standards of care, according to Wrap reporter Tim Kenneally.

And when his turn came, the doctor put up the most feeble of defenses, and never took the stand. The central notion of the defense, that Michael Jackson had died at his own hand by injecting himself with a fatal dose of propofol, seemed ludicrous on its face.

The jury seemed to agree that it was. In two short days of deliberations they dropped a guilty verdict of involuntary manslaughter. Murray, who listened to the verdict in a state of near catatonia, faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical license.

And while there were cheers outside the courtroom and a few lone tweeters sharing thoughts like this – “Justice has been SERVED!! Doesn't bring the King of Pop back, but now someone will be charged!! I can only imagine how the Jackson fam feels” – overall, none of us felt better.

Murray will pay, but ultimately not enough for the loss of a life.
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Boxing champ Joe Frazier passes away at 67

He beat Muhammad Ali in the Fight of the Century, battled him nearly to the death in the Thrilla in Manila. Then Joe Frazier spent the rest of his life trying to fight his way out of Ali's shadow.

That was one fight Frazier could never win.

He was once a heavyweight champion, and a great one at that. Ali would say as much after Frazier knocked him down in the 15th round en route to becoming the first man to beat Ali at Madison Square Garden in March 1971.

But he bore the burden of being Ali's foil, and he paid the price. Bitter for years about the taunts his former nemesis once threw his way, Frazier only in recent times came to terms with what happened in the past and said he had forgiven Ali for everything he said.

Frazier, who died Monday night after a brief battle with liver cancer at the age of 67, will forever be linked to Ali. But no one in boxing would ever dream of anointing Ali as The Greatest unless he, too, was linked to Smokin' Joe.

"You can't mention Ali without mentioning Joe Frazier," said former AP boxing writer Ed Schuyler Jr. "He beat Ali, don't forget that."

They fought three times, twice in the heart of New York City and once in the morning in a steamy arena in the Philippines. They went 41 rounds together, with neither giving an inch and both giving it their all.

Muhammad Ali: "I'm pulling" for Frazier

In their last fight in Manila in 1975, they traded punches with a fervor that seemed unimaginable among heavyweights. Frazier gave almost as good as he got for 14 rounds, then had to be held back by trainer Eddie Futch as he tried to go out for the final round, unable to see.

"Closest thing to dying that I know of," Ali said afterward.

Ali was as merciless with Frazier out of the ring as he was inside it. He called him a gorilla, and mocked him as an Uncle Tom. But he respected him as a fighter, especially after Frazier won a decision to defend his heavyweight title against the then-unbeaten Ali in a fight that was so big Frank Sinatra was shooting pictures at ringside and both fighters earned an astonishing $2.5 million.

The night at the Garden 40 years ago remained fresh in Frazier's mind as he talked about his life, career and relationship with Ali a few months before he died.

"I can't go nowhere where it's not mentioned," he told The Associated Press. "That was the greatest thing that ever happened in my life."

Though slowed in his later years and his speech slurred by the toll of punches taken in the ring, Frazier was still active on the autograph circuit in the months before he died. In September he went to Las Vegas, where he signed autographs in the lobby of the MGM Grand hotel-casino shortly before Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s fight against Victor Ortiz.

An old friend, Gene Kilroy, visited with him and watched Frazier work the crowd.

"He was so nice to everybody," Kilroy said. "He would say to each of them, `Joe Frazier, sharp as a razor, what's your name?"'

Frazier was small for a heavyweight, weighing just 205 pounds when he won the title by stopping Jimmy Ellis in the fifth round of their 1970 fight at Madison Square Garden. But he fought every minute of every round going forward behind a vicious left hook, and there were few fighters who could withstand his constant pressure.

His reign as heavyweight champion lasted only four fights — including the win over Ali — before he ran into an even more fearsome slugger than himself. George Foreman responded to Frazier's constant attack by dropping him three times in the first round and three more in the second before their 1973 fight in Jamaica was waved to a close and the world had a new heavyweight champion.

Two fights later, he met Ali in a rematch of their first fight, only this time the outcome was different. Ali won a 12-round decision, and later that year stopped George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire.

There had to be a third fight, though, and what a fight it was. With Ali's heavyweight title at stake, the two met in Manila in a fight that will long be seared in boxing history.

Frazier went after Ali round after round, landing his left hook with regularity as he made Ali backpedal around the ring. But Ali responded with left jabs and right hands that found their mark again and again. Even the intense heat inside the arena couldn't stop the two as they fought every minute of every round with neither willing to concede the other one second of the round.

"They told me Joe Frazier was through," Ali told Frazier at one point during the fight.

"They lied," Frazier said, before hitting Ali with a left hook.

Finally, though, Frazier simply couldn't see and Futch would not let him go out for the 15th round. Ali won the fight while on his stool, exhausted and contemplating himself whether to go on.

It was one of the greatest fights ever, but it took a toll. Frazier would fight only two more times, getting knocked out in a rematch with Foreman eight months later before coming back in 1981 for an ill advised fight with Jumbo Cummings.

"They should have both retired after the Manila fight," Schuyler said. "They left every bit of talent they had in the ring that day." Born in Beaufort, S.C., on Jan 12, 1944, Frazier took up boxing early after watching weekly fights on the black and white television on his family's small farm. He was a top amateur for several years, and became the only American fighter to win a gold medal in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo despite fighting in the final bout with an injured left thumb.

"Joe Frazier should be remembered as one of the greatest fighters of all time and a real man," promoter Bob Arum told the AP in a telephone interview on Tuesday night. "He's a guy that stood up for himself. He didn't compromise and always gave 100 percent in the ring. There was never a fight in the ring where Joe didn't give 100 percent."

After turning pro in 1965, Frazier quickly became known for his punching power, stopping his first 11 opponents. Within three years he was fighting world-class opposition and, in 1970, beat Ellis to win the heavyweight title that he would hold for more than two years.

It was his fights with Ali, though, that would define Frazier. Though Ali was gracious in defeat in the first fight, he was as vicious with his words as he was with his punches in promoting all three fights — and he never missed a chance to get a jab in at Frazier.
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Boeing wins contract to provide aerial tankers for USAF

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has won a lucrative contract to provide the US with 179 aerial refuelling tankers.

Boeing and European rival EADS had been competing for almost a decade for the $35bn (£21.6bn) US Air Force contract.

During that time both the US and the European Union have reported each other's companies to the WTO, alleging illegal subsidies. And over the past decade two previous attempts to choose a contractor have failed. The USAF is replacing its current fleet of KC-135 Stratotanker tankers, some of which date back to the 1950s.

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said there had been a careful and thorough selection process.

Now EADS has 10 days to file a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the arm of Congress which deals with federal contract disputes, should it object to the decision.

The GAO would then need to make a decision within 100 days. If it stands, the Boeing decision is good news for Washington state and Kansas, where much tanker work will be done.

Washington state senator, Patty Murray, swiftly welcomed the news.

"Today's long-awaited decision by the Pentagon is the right one for our military, our taxpayers and our nation's aerospace workers," she said in a statement.
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Gingrich: Cain should give a 'clear and compelling explanation'

The Republican presidential contenders have avoided saying much of anything about the accusations of sexual harassment lodged against Herman Cain over the last week. But several of the candidates seemed to be seeking a new level of distance from the former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive on Monday night after a woman stepped forward publicly to accuse him of unwanted sexual advances.

“The allegations are very serious,” Mitt Romney told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly during a radio interview. “I’ve got no counsel for the Cain campaign. I’ll let them keep their own counsel and I’m going to focus on my message.”

Newt Gingrich, who displayed exceptional warmth toward Cain during a Saturday debate in Texas, struck a similar tone during O’Reilly’s three-hour radio forum that featured back-to-back interviews with most of the candidates.

Gingrich described Cain as a friend and “a very optimistic, positive guy,” but said the emergence of Sharon Bialek – the first of the four women who has been willing to reveal her identity – “in the open” had altered the dynamics.

“He is going to have to have a clear and compelling explanation for this whole story,” Gingrich said.

“This is a challenge for Herman and he’s got to solve it,” Gingrich added when asked if he expected it to come up in Wednesday night’s debate.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested that the scrutiny was to be expected of any front-runner in the race:  “Any time that you rise to the top of the polls… you’re going get to get whacked,” Perry told O’Reilly. “As you said” – he told the Fox News host – “it’s Herman’s turn in the barrel.”
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Bachmann pushes everyone-pays income tax plan

White House hopeful Michele Bachmann said Monday that people who can afford to pay more in taxes should as part of a national tax overhaul that she hopes will set her apart from rivals like Mitt Romney and Herman Cain. The Minnesota congresswoman and tax lawyer wants to do away with the earned income tax credit — a Reagan-era incentive for people to work. Bachmann proposes that even those low-wage earners who get all of their income taxes refunded plus the credit pay at least $10 a year in income taxes.

Bachmann is trying to regain ground lost as Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the race and Cain surged, as she launches a swing through early voting South Carolina. She said her everyone-pays-something plan is part of the needed reconfiguration of the tax code.

"That's part of the rethinking that we need to have in the United States: that everyone needs to sacrifice from the top end to the bottom end, and everybody needs to be part of the solution," she said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Her plan includes elements that are close to billionaire Warren Buffett's call for tax fairness — a turnaround for Bachmann. In August, she dismissed the idea in front of tea party-packed crowds in South Carolina.

"We do believe, unlike Warren Buffett, that taxes are high enough already," Bachmann said at the time. "I have a suggestion: Mr. Buffett, write a big check today."

Bachmann now says Buffett had it right, though she disagrees on the details.

"I think that people who can afford to pay more need to pay more, and they at least can't pay less than people at the lower and middle income levels," Bachmann said.

Bachmann adviser Brett O'Donnell said that's a jab at General Electric Co. for paying a lower overall tax rate like other big companies, such as Marathon Oil Corp. and not an effort to get people with incomes above $250,000 to pay higher rates, which Democrats have sought.

Her plan calls for three tax brackets — down from six — but she hasn't detailed where they would fall. O'Donnell said the lowest would be set so low enough that its there's a trade-off for people now eligible for the earned income tax credit.

The tax expert is countering the other proposals, including businessman Cain's catchy 9-9-9 tax plan, Perry's 20 percent tax on post card, Romney's no income taxes on dividends, interest or capital gains for people with adjusted gross income below $200,000 and Texas Rep. Ron Paul's call for eliminating the income tax altogether
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Blagojevich to make statement at sentencing

A federal judge on Monday set sentencing for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich for Dec. 6.

The disgraced former governor was convicted last summer on sweeping corruption charges, including allegations that he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated in 2008 by Barack Obama's election as president.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel set the sentencing date at an unscheduled status hearing Monday afternoon attended by just one reporter. A Blagojevich lawyer later confirmed that the former governor plans to speak at the sentencing hearing. He testified during his second trial.

Zagel set aside Dec. 7 if the sentencing takes more than one day to complete.

The judge had originally scheduled Blagojevich's sentencing for Oct. 6, but it was indefinitely postponed because Zagel was then presiding over the trial of a Blagojevich co-defendant, William Cellini, a Springfield power broker who was convicted last week. Prosecutors have said that under federal sentencing guidelines, Blagojevich faces as much as 30 years to life in prison, but the government has yet to disclose what sentence it will seek.

Lawyers for Blagojevich maintain that he should get probation.

The former governor was convicted of a single count of lying to the FBI at his first trial last year. After that jury deadlocked on all the other charges, he was retried by a separate jury and convicted in June on 17 of 20 countsof wire fraud, bribery, attempted extortion and conspiracy.
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FEMA plans to test Emergency Alert System in D.C. area, across the country

Television viewers and radio listeners across the Washington area will join viewers and listeners across the United States on Wednesday for a message marking the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, authorities said.

States and local governments have used the EAS to send weather alerts and report other emergencies, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency said that “there has never been a national activation of the system.” The idea of the test is to gauge the readiness and effectiveness of the system and see what incremental improvements may be made, FEMA said.

Having the alert issued throughout the country “can provide an accurate picture of the current state of the system” and of what improvements might make it more reliable and resilient.

This is “not a pass or fail measure,” FEMA said in a statement. Instead, the agency said, the aim is to determine “if the national-level system will work as designed should officials ever need to send a national alert.”

The test will begin at 2 p.m. in the Eastern time zone and will last about 30 seconds.

The date was chosen because it is near the end of hurricane season and before the severe winter weather season. The hour was selected so that the test would cause the least rush-hour disruption and take place during normal business hours in several time zones.

Although the national scale of the test is without precedent, the message will apparently be familiar.

The test may resemble the periodic monthly tests that have become recognizable, but there may be some differences in the video test message scroll, FEMA said.

The agency said listeners will hear a message indicating that “this is a test.”

In a message circulated Monday by the D.C. government alerting residents to the event, the following advice was offered: “On November 9 at 2 p.m., please remember, don’t stress, it’s only a test."
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Another Oklahoma earthquake felt in Kansas City

Another earthquake has shaken central Oklahoma, and once again, people reported feeling the tremors in Kansas City.

Nearly two days after an earthquake measuring 5.6 rocked the state, the U.S. Geological Survey reported a 4.7 magnitude quake centered about 5 miles northwest of Prague struck at 8:46 p.m. Monday. The survey had reported at least five additional tremors since the initial earthquake hit Saturday night.

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain said she hadn’t received any immediate reports of additional damage or injuries from the Monday night quake, which occurred in the same area as the weekend temblor.

Oklahoma typically had about 50 earthquakes annually until 2009. Last year, 1,047 quakes shook the state.

In the Kansas City area, the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill said that it received a couple of calls on Monday evening from people who said they felt the aftershock. One of the callers was in Cameron. The other told forecasters that it was powerful enough to shake the caller’s computer.

In addition, social media sites were buzzing with reports from Kansas City-area people who said they felt the quake.
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Alaska soldier charged with attempted espionage

(Country News)... A military policeman stationed in Alaska has been formally charged with attempted espionage by military prosecutors, who say he handed over unclassified national defense information to a contact he believed was a foreign intelligence agent.

The formal charges filed Monday against Army Spc. William Millay, assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage, offer the first glimpse of the government's case against the 22-year-old soldier, who was arrested last week.

The Army statement released Monday suggests there was no actual contact between Millay and a foreign government, nor was any sensitive information handed over. Rather, Millay appears to have been caught by investigators, likely with the help of an informant, dealing with someone the young policeman purportedly believed was a foreign agent.

"It was because of the close coordination between the Army and other agencies [including the Federal Bureau of Investigation] that he was observed and apprehended before any damage could occur," Army spokesman Lt. Col. William Coppernoll said in an interview.

According to the Army's statement on the charges, Millay transmitted "unclassified national defense information" to an individual he believed was a foreign intelligence agent with the intent of aiding a foreign nation.

The information he had gained was gleaned both in the course of his normal duties as a military policeman in the United States and on a previous deployment, the Army said. Millay served one combat tour of duty in Iraq, from December 2009 to July 2010, as part of the 164th Military Police Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion, 2nd Engineer Brigade.

Millay also is charged with failing to report "multiple contacts" with the person he believed to be a foreign agent and with making false statements to Army counterintelligence officers regarding those contacts. Another charge: soliciting a fellow service member to obtain classified information and "tangible items" for the purpose of delivering them to the foreign agent.

Millay's lawyer, Kenneth P. Karns, said he had not had a chance to study the charges in detail, but said he has talked with Millay about the case.

"I found him to be as his friends described him, a simple young kid from Kentucky, who loves his country and has followed in his brother's footsteps in joining the Army," Karns told The Times. "The charges sound far worse than what I think anyone who knows him would say he's capable of doing."
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Jackson fans cheer verdict

Michael Jackson's doctor was convicted Monday of involuntary manslaughter in the pop star's death for supplying an insomnia-plagued Jackson with a powerful operating-room anesthetic to help him sleep as he rehearsed for his big comeback.

Dr. Conrad Murray sat stone-faced, his chin held high, as he heard the verdict that could send him to prison for up to four years and cost him his license to practice medicine. He was handcuffed and immediately led off to jail without bail to await sentencing Nov. 29.

The verdict marked the latest chapter in one of pop culture's most shocking tragedies — the 2009 drug-overdose death of the King of Pop at age 50 as he was about to mount a series of heavily promoted concerts in London that he hoped would turn his career around after a slide prompted by child-molestation allegations and years of bizarre behavior.

A shriek broke the silence in the packed courtroom when the jury's decision was read, and the crowd outside the courthouse erupted in cheers. Jubilant Jackson fans sang "Beat It" and held signs that read "Guilty" and "Killer." Drivers honked their horns.

Members of Jackson's family wept, and his mother, Katherine Jackson, said, "I feel better now." His sister La Toya said she was overjoyed and added: "Michael was looking over us."

Members of the jury were escorted from the building and not available for comment.

Defense attorney Ed Chernoff said later in the day the verdict was a disappointment and would be appealed. Asked how Murray took the verdict, Chernoff said, "he's a pretty strong guy."

Regarding Murray's future, he said, "the keys to his handcuffs belong to the judge. We certainly would like to do anything we can to keep him from going to prison."

The jury deliberated less than nine hours after a six-week trial that depicted Jackson as a tormented genius on the brink of what might have been his greatest triumph but for one impediment — extreme insomnia.

Jackson's death marked the end of an incredible rise to fame from his humble beginnings in Gary, Ind. The tiny powerhouse singer and dancer with the magnetic smile enchanted audiences and elevated the Jackson Five to the top of the pop music world.

As a solo adult act, the self-anointed King of Pop sold out concerts and topped the recording charts with albums such as 1982's "Thriller," which remains the biggest-selling album of all time, with more than 100 million copies sold worldwide.

His public life, however, eventually became a surreal depiction of the toll of celebrity. He went on wild spending sprees, married and divorced Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe, and had three children who were kept disguised in masks because he feared their kidnapping.

When he was tried and acquitted of child molestation in 2005, Jackson appeared to fall apart, moving to the Middle East and other countries in search of a new life.

The comeback concerts in London were his chance for redemption. Mindful of the physical requirements, he hired Murray as his private doctor.

Prosecutors portrayed the 58-year-old Murray as an incompetent doctor who administered propofol — an extremely potent anesthetic normally used during surgery — in Jackson's bedroom without adequate safeguards and botched his care when things went wrong.

Murray, who did not testify, told police that he administered only a small dose on the day Jackson died. And his lawyers blamed Jackson for his own death, saying the singer gave himself an extra, lethal dose while Murray wasn't watching.

Prosecutors said that theory was crazy, and in any case, they argued, Murray should not have left Jackson alone.

The jury was not asked to determine whether Murray actually gave Jackson the fatal dose, only whether he was primarily responsible for the singer's death.

Deputy District Attorney David Walgren extended his sympathies to the Jackson family, who "lost not a pop icon, but a son and a father."

In Las Vegas, a former Murray patient and current friend, Donna DiGiacomo, sobbed and said the jury was under "overwhelming pressure to convict."

"This man didn't deserve this. They needed a scapegoat," said DiGiacomo, a former Long Island, N.Y., teacher's aide who said she didn't believe Murray did anything to intentionally harm Jackson.

Testimony came from medical experts, household employees and Murray's former girlfriends, among others. The most shocking moments, however, came when prosecutors displayed a large picture of Jackson's gaunt, lifeless body on a hospital gurney and played his drugged, slurred voice, as recorded by Murray just weeks before the singer's death.

Jackson talked about his hope of cementing a legacy larger than that of Elvis Presley or the Beatles.

"We have to be phenomenal," he said about his "This Is It" concerts in London. "When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, 'I've never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go. I've never seen nothing like this. Go. It's amazing. He's the greatest entertainer in the world.'"

Craving sleep, Jackson had searched for a doctor who would give him the intravenous propofol that Jackson called his "milk" and believed to be his salvation. Other medical professionals turned him down, according to testimony.

Prosecutors said Murray abandoned his medical judgment for money. According to testimony, Jackson planned to pay the cardiologist $150,000 a month for an extended tour in Europe.

Murray gave up his practices in Houston and Las Vegas and agreed to travel with Jackson and be his personal physician indefinitely. For six weeks, as Jackson undertook strenuous rehearsals, Murray infused him with propofol every night, the doctor told police. He said he later tried to wean Jackson from the drug because he feared he was becoming addicted.

In the end, the doctor was never paid a penny because Jackson died before signing a contract with Murray.

The circumstances of Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, were as bizarre as any chapter in the superstar's sensational life story.

During the last 24 hours of his life, Jackson sang and danced at a spirited rehearsal, reveling in the adulation of fans who greeted him outside. Testimony showed Murray gave Jackson intravenous doses that night of the sedatives lorazepam and midazolam. Jackson also took a Valium pill. But nothing seemed to bring sleep.

Finally, Murray told police, he gave the singer a small dose of propofol — 25 milligrams — that seemed to put him to sleep. The doctor said he felt it was safe to leave his patient's bedside for a few minutes, but Jackson was not breathing when he returned. Witnesses said he was most likely dead at that point.

What happened next was a matter of dispute during the trial. Security and household staff described Murray as panicked, never calling 911 but trying to give Jackson CPR on his bed instead of on the firm floor. A guard said Murray was concerned with packing up and hiding medicine bottles and IV equipment before telling him to call 911.

There is no law against administering propofol or the other sedatives. But expert witnesses for the prosecution said that using propofol at home without lifesaving equipment on hand was an egregious deviation from the standard of medical care. Prosecutors called it gross negligence, the legal basis for an involuntary manslaughter charge.
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Older Americans are 47 times richer than young

Older Americans are now 47 times richer than the youngest generation, marking the largest wealth gap ever recorded between the two age groups.

In 2009, households headed by adults 65 years and older held a median net worth of $170,494, while households headed by adults 35 years and younger held a net worth of $3,662, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.

While it's typical for older generations to hold more wealth than younger ones who've had less time to save, the gap between the two age groups has widened rapidly.

A generation ago, the older age group was richer than the younger by a 10-to-1 ratio. Now, that gap stands at 47-to-1.

Compared to their same-aged peers in 1984, the younger group has actually seen its net worth decline 68%, but the older group has seen its wealth rise 42%.

So why the growing chasm?

Housing trends have played a major role, the Pew Center said. While rising home equity helped drive wealth gains for the older generation over a long timeframe, the younger generation has had less time to ride out the housing market's volatility -- especially its most recent boom and bust.
The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street

"Most of today's older homeowners got into the housing market long ago, at 'pre-bubble' prices," the report said. "Along with everyone else, they've been hurt by the housing market collapse of recent years, but over the long haul, most have seen their home equities rise."

"For young adults who are in the beginning stages of wealth accumulation, there has been no such luck, at least so far."

Meanwhile, the younger generation is also taking longer to enter the labor force and get married. And surging college costs are also leaving them burdened by more student loans than prior generations.
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Revised govt estimates show new poverty high

The ranks of America's poor are greater than previously known, reaching a new level of 49.1 million — or 16 percent — due to rising medical costs and other expenses that make it harder for people to stay afloat, according to new census estimates.

The numbers released Monday are part of a first-ever supplemental poverty measure aimed at providing a fuller picture of poverty. It is considered experimental and does not replace the Census Bureau's official poverty formula, which continues to determine eligibility and distribution of billions of dollars in federal aid for the poor.

Based on the revised formula, the number of poor people exceeds the record 46.2 million, or 15.1 percent, that was officially reported in September.

Broken down by groups, Americans 65 or older sustained the largest increases in poverty under the revised poverty formula — nearly doubling to 15.9 percent, or 1 in 6 — because of medical expenses that are not accounted for in the official rate. Those include rising Medicare premiums, deductibles and expenses for prescription drugs.

Working-age adults ages 18-64 also saw increases in poverty — from 13.7 percent to 15.2 percent — due mostly to commuting and child care costs.  For the first time, the share of Hispanics living in poverty surpassed that of African-Americans, 28.2 percent to 25.4 percent. That is due to an increase in the poverty rate for Hispanics under the new measure because of lower participation of immigrants and non-English speakers in government aid programs such as housing and food stamps.

Due to new adjustments for geographical variations in costs of living, people residing in the suburbs, the Northeast and West were the regions mostly likely to have poor people — nearly 1 in 5 in the West.

Economists have long criticized the official poverty rate as inadequate. Based on a half-century-old government formula, the official rate continues to assume the average family spends one-third of its income on food. Those costs have actually shrunk to a much smaller share — more like one-seventh — failing to account for other expenses such as out-of-pocket medical care, child care and commuting.

The official formula also does not consider non-cash government aid when calculating income, such as food stamps and tax credits, which have increased in the last few years.

Kathleen Short, a research economist at the Census Bureau, said many of the shifts in poverty reflect the large numbers of older people who hover near the poverty line after receiving Social Security cash payments. The poverty line is defined under the official measure as $11,139 for an individual, or $22,314 for a family of four.
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Cat dies after getting lost at JFK

veterinarians in New York euthanized Jack, the cat who gained worldwide attention and more than 23,000 Facebook fans after being lost for two months, and then found, at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The news of Jack’s passing was reported in a statement posted on the Jack the Cat is Lost at AA Baggage at JFK Facebook page. 

“Jack has gone over the rainbow bridge,” the statement said. “Jack had extensive wounds on the back of his body, and the wounds were unable to heal because his skin had deteriorated due to the malnutrition that occurred while he was lost.

“He needed surgery to treat the wounds,” the statement continued, “but there was not enough available skin to close the wounds after the surgery … The vet was very clear that she had conferred with every possible doctor regarding options for Jack, but none of them left him with a substantial chance of survival and all of them involved him suffering.  Jack had been through so much, and the last thing anyone wanted was for him to suffer more.”

“This was a fight he could no longer keep up,” said Bonnie Folz, a Jack the cat search team member who was with him when he died. “FoJ (Friends of Jack) hearts are broken around the world … It’s a very sad day.” 

Jack first got loose in the American Airlines baggage center at JFK on Aug. 25, after his owner, Karen Pascoe, checked him and another cat in to American Airlines as cargo. As American Airlines explained in an incident report filed with the Department of Transportation, while the kennels were waiting to be loaded on the aircraft, “the kennel positioned on the top fell to the ground. The impact of the fall caused the kennel to separate and the cat escaped.”

A day later, parts of JFK airport were shut down in preparation for Tropical Storm Irene. For two months after that, thousands of Facebook fans of Jack the Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK followed search efforts that included at least two Jack the Cat Awareness days, a pet Amber Alert and the hiring of a pet detective. Jack was finally found on Oct. 25 when he fell through a ceiling tile in the customs area at JFK’s Terminal 8.

On Sunday evening, American Airlines also posted a statement about Jack on its Facebook page. “We are deeply saddened that Jack the cat has passed away, and we offer profound sympathy to Jack’s owner, Karen Pascoe, for her loss. Our heart also goes out to the Friends of Jack and those in the cat-loving community who have grown fond of Jack since he went missing … From all of us at American, our sincere apologies to Karen and Jack’s family and friends.”
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Bill Clinton an unwanted defender for Rick Perry

(Country News)... Bill Clinton, who has had an open fascination with Rick Perry in interviews, defended his stand on illegal immigration and the passage of an in-state version of the DREAM Act in Texas almost a decade ago in a USA Today interview:

    "It makes my skin crawl when they attack Rick Perry for one of the best things he did," Clinton says, that is, his support of a Texas law that grants in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants brought to the state as children. "What would they like?" Clinton demands. "Would they like the kid to stand on a corner and sell dope or something?"

    Perry takes the same view: He says the Texas law creates "taxpaying, contributing members" of society.
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Obama urges Congress to pass veterans' tax credits

President Barack Obama says he expects lawmakers from both parties to approve a package of tax credits for businesses that hire military veterans. Speaking in the Rose Garden, Obama says supporting veterans who fought for their country is the responsibility of both political parties.

The Senate is expected to consider tax credits this week for businesses that hire unemployed veterans or injured vets who have been out of work. The president says there is no good reason to oppose the bill.

Obama is also promoting a new administration program that allows veterans to get six months of personalized case management, assessment and counseling at career centers.

The White House has been drawing contrasts with congressional Republicans who have opposed Obama's jobs bill a year before the 2012 election. He says veterans can't wait for Congress to act.
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Victims speak out about North Carolina sterilization program, which targeted women, young girls and blacks

Elaine Riddick was 13 years old when she got pregnant after being raped by a neighbor in Winfall, N.C., in 1967.  The state ordered that immediately after giving birth, she should be sterilized.  Doctors cut and tied off her fallopian tubes.

“I have to carry these scars with me.  I have to live with this for the rest of my life,” she said.

Riddick was never told what was happening.  “Got to the hospital and they put me in a room and that’s all I remember, that’s all I remember,” she said.  “When I woke up, I woke up with bandages on my stomach.”

Riddick’s records reveal that a five-person state eugenics board in Raleigh had approved a recommendation that she be sterilized. The records label Riddick as “feebleminded” and “promiscuous.” They said her schoolwork was poor and that she “does not get along well with others.”

“I was raped by a perpetrator [who was never charged] and then I was raped by the state of North Carolina.  They took something from me both times,” she said.  “The state of North Carolina, they took something so dearly from me, something that was God given.”

It wouldn’t be until Riddick was 19, married and wanting more children, that she’d learn she was incapable of having any more babies. A doctor in New York where she was living at the time told her that she’d been sterilized.

“Butchered.  The doctor used that word…  I didn’t understand what she meant when she said I had been butchered,” Riddick said.

North Carolina was one of 31 states to have a government run eugenics program.  By the 1960s, tens of thousands of Americans were sterilized as a result of these programs.

Eugenics was a scientific theory that grew in popularity during the 1920s.  Eugenicists believed that poverty, promiscuity and alcoholism were traits that were inherited.  To eliminate those society ills and improve society’s gene pool, proponents of the theory argued that those that exhibited the traits should be sterilized.  Some of America’s wealthiest citizens of the time were eugenicists including Dr. Clarence Gamble of the Procter and Gamble fortune and James Hanes of the hosiery fortune.  Hanes helped found the Human Betterment League which promoted the cause of eugenicists.

It began as a way to control welfare spending on poor white women and men, but over time, North Carolina shifted focus, targeting more women and more blacks than whites.  A third of the sterilizations performed in North Carolina were done on girls under the age of 18.  Some were as young as nine years old.
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FBI Search for Missing 2 Years old Washington Boy

The FBI has joined the search for a 2-year-old Washington state boy who was last seen by his mother inside a parked car.

Sky Metalwala was reported missing Sunday morning after his mother discovered him missing from her car in Bellevue, Wash.

The child's mother told police that she had run out of gas and left the boy buckled into his car seat while she and her 4-year-old daughter walked to a Chevron gas station, about a mile away.

When the pair returned to the silver Acura approximately an hour later, the 2-year-old boy was gone, Fox affiliate KCPQ-TV reports.

The woman reportedly told police that the car was not locked. 

The toddler is of Indian and Caucasian descent, with brown eyes and dark hair, according to police. He was reportedly last seen wearing a dark green hooded sweatshirt and blue and gray-striped pants.

His mother was interviewed by detectives Sunday night, while the 4-year-old girl was being looked after by family members, according to the station.

About 50 people, including police with tracking dogs, fanned out around the area Sunday in their search for the child, Bellevue police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate told the station.

Iafrate said the boy's parents were cooperating.

Anyone with information on the boy's whereabouts is being urged to call 911.
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Is President Obama a good leader?

When President Obama was elected he seemed like a different kind of leader.

Not just the first black man in the White House but a new sort of American president: thoughtful, reflective and determined to represent all of his country.

Now, a year away from the next presidential election many people question what sort of leader he has turned out to be.

One unkind critic said that he seemed like a 50-year-old man who has just got his first proper job, that he has had no experience of running any organisation and it shows in his management of the White House.

Republicans are of course the harshest critics. Ed Rogers, a veteran of the George H W Bush and Reagan White House, told me: "I think Obama is not a very effective leader. "I think he is a thinker and a ditherer to a fault. I think his leadership style does not lend itself to crisp decision making.

"I get the impression he anguishes before a decision, and even worse for a president, he anguishes after a decision. So, his team never has certainty.

"They never know if the other side is back in appealing to the president, they never know if they have gotten clear, certain decisions.

"And at the end of the day being president is about making decisions and sticking with them." Of course in part Mr Obama's initial appeal was that he did consider the facts, carefully and dispassionately.  Ron Suskind points out the story is not yet over.

"I think he is a leader with extraordinary capacities. He is brilliant. The question that emerges is, 'is his brilliance the kind that makes for great presidents?' The kind that creates a distillate of decisiveness?

"That remains to be seen. He only has a few months to do something dramatic in terms of words and deed before he slips into the swirl of an election. This is his moment." Second-term presidents, freed to a certain extent from the cruder political considerations about their own future, can surprise.

We may see that happen. But we may not. Mr Obama first has to convince people that he is a leader, even if one with faults.

An election is a choice, not the final judgment of history. He has to persuade people not that he is the best leader ever but the best on offer.
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Hubble Spots Disk Around Distant Black Hole

Many of the commentors below have wondered how this quasar can be 18.5 billion light-years away when the universe is only 13.5 billion years old (and therefore nothing should be farther than the distance that light would travel in that time, namely 13.5 billion light-years). This is not a mistake. Though nothing traveling in the universe can move faster than light speed, the expansion of the universe itself can happen at any speed (including faster than light). Just one of the mind blowing facts about this strange universe we live in.

In the 13.5 billion years since the Big Bang, space has expanded so much that the farthest object we can detect are in fact more than 30 billion light years away. You can find out more about the quasar at this link and you can calculate distance to objects at high redshifts using this online calculator. Using the Hubble space telescope, astronomers have captured a direct image of the disk surrounding a black hole.

The disk is made of gas and dust, slowly being consumed as it spirals down into the black hole’s center. As it falls in, the material spews out a tremendous amount of energy, forming what is known as a quasi-stellar radio source, or quasar.

Among the brightest objects in the sky, quasars are short-lived phenomena that only existed during the earliest eras of the universe. They are known to be huge — most are around 60 billion miles across — yet they lie billions of light years from Earth, making them nothing but insignificant pinpricks in even the most powerful telescopes.

Hubble was able to image the distant disk, which is approximately 18.5 billion light-years away, because a huge galaxy happens to sit between Earth and the quasar. The mass of the enormous galaxy bent light from the quasar and directed it toward our telescopes, acting like a gigantic gravitational lens.

The technique allowed the Hubble telescope to see with unprecedented detail. Because of this, researchers were able to measure the disk’s size — between 60 and 180 billion miles across — and determine the temperature of different parts of the disk. They found that gas and dust from the imaged quasar became bluer and therefore hotter as it fell toward the central black hole.
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Science Second mission to scale deep mountains announced

Scientists are set to begin a six-week mission to explore the Indian Ocean's underwater mountains.

Aboard the UK research vessel the RRS James Cook, the team will study animals thousands of metres below the surface.

This year a report in the journal Marine Policy found that deep sea trawling is one of the most damaging forms of fishing.

The expedition will help scientists to better understand the threats to this environment. The mission, led by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is the second to visit the seamounts along the South-West Indian Ocean Ridge; the first set out in November 2009.

Seamounts are underwater mountains which rise to at least 1,000 metres above the sea floor.
Seamount communities

"Because of their interactions with underwater currents, the biodiversity that develops around them is remarkably rich," explained Aurelie Spadone, IUCN's marine programme officer and a member of the team.

"They attract a great diversity of species and act as a type of 'bed and breakfast' for deep-sea predators such as sharks, which often feed on seamount communities," she added.  The catch of deep-sea species has increased seven-fold since the mid-1960s, as stocks of shallower waters plummet and the fishing industry took to exploiting deeper waters.

Industrial fishing at depth, which generally relies on trawling the ocean's bottom with huge weighted nets, has a huge impact on seafloor ecosystems, say researchers. Carl Gustaf Lundin, director of IUCN's Global Marine and Polar Programme explained that very little was known about the species associated with seamounts.

"Many of them grow and reproduce slowly, which makes them particularly vulnerable to overexploitation," he said.

"Deep-sea bottom fisheries, including bottom trawling, can damage seamount habitats and negatively impact fish stocks. It can also irreversibly damage cold water corals, sponges and other animals."
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Joe Flacco rallies Ravens past Steelers 23-20

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh's chin took a beating in the aftermath of his team's dramatic 23-20 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.

He can live with the beauty mark if his resilient team keeps finding ways to beat its arch rival.

Joe Flacco hit Torrey Smith for a 26-yard touchdown with 8 seconds remaining, starting off a giddy celebration in which Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome — a Hall of Fame tight end — dropped his head coach. "He's supposed to hold you up and keep you up when you jump into his arms," Harbaugh said. Thankfully for the Ravens, Smith has better hands.

Baltimore (6-2) ended Pittsburgh's four-game winning streak behind a brilliant final drive by Flacco, who led the Ravens 92 yards in 13 plays to move Baltimore into a tie with Cincinnati atop the crowded AFC North.

"This Steelers-Ravens game is a game for men," Harbaugh said. "This is a game for big men. You've got to shine bright in this game if you want to win this game. And nobody shined brighter than Joe Flacco in this game."

Not even Smith, who made up for a pair of earlier gaffes with the biggest reception of his young career.

The rookie was flagged for a penalty on Baltimore's first play, wiping out a 76-yard touchdown run by Ray Rice. Five plays before the game-winner, he dropped a pass in the end zone.

Yet Flacco went right back to Smith, who got behind William Gay and shook off a pass interference penalty to give the Ravens their first season sweep of the Steelers since 2006.

"I have to go to Torrey and I hope he makes the play," said Flacco, who finished with 300 yards passing. "He's a playmaker and when you need to make a big play down the field, he's the best guy for that. On that last drive we went to him a couple times and finally it worked." The Steelers (6-3) appeared to be in control after rallying from a 10-point deficit to take a 20-16 lead with less than 5 minutes to go when Ben Roethlisberger hit Mike Wallace for a 25-yard score.

Pittsburgh's defense held once and the Steelers moved in range for Shaun Suisham to attempt a 47-yard field goal that could have bumped the lead to seven. A delay of game penalty, however, pushed Pittsburgh back five yards and the Steelers opted to punt.

"I accept responsibility for that," coach Mike Tomlin said. "There was some hesitation on my part."
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Sandusky probe: Penn St. officials face charges

Two high-ranking Penn State administrators have resigned, and will face arraignment Monday on charges they lied to a grand jury investigating suspected child abuse involving the university's former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Athletic director Tim Curley and university vice president Gary Schultz will be arraigned in District Court in Harrisburg today for charges of perjury and failure to report under Pennsylvania's child protective services law, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller. The university's board of trustees announced their resignations overnight, as officials try to deal with allegations against a trusted coach that could blemish Happy Valley's storied history.

Video: Ex-Penn State coach charged with sex abuse
Ex-Penn State coach charged in sex case

As defensive coordinator, Sandusky built an unquestioned reputation for Penn State football as "Linebacker U.," helping legendary head coach Joe Paterno score the most wins in Division I history.

In a 40-count indictment, Sandusky is accused of targeting eight boys over a period of 15 years - both before and after his retirement in 1999. The charges range from inappropriate touching to statutory rape.

Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, said his client has been aware of the accusations for about three years and has maintained his innocence.

"Jerry is very, very depressed, he is very upset, he's very distraught about the charges and allegations," Amendola said.

Sandusky "distraught" over sex allegations

According to the indictment, several of the alleged crimes took place on campus, in the Lasch Football Building. In the spring of 2002, a graduate assistant reported he witnessed Sandusky sodomizing a young boy in the shower. He later testified that he told coach Joe Paterno the very next day." Prosecutors say Paterno alerted athletic director Tim Curley. Curley called in Gary Schultz, the university's senior vice president for finance and business. A week and a half later, both met with the graduate assistant, but never contacted police.

Late Sunday, Curley and Schultz resigned. Curley requested to be placed on administrative leave so he could devote time to his defense, and Schultz will be going back into retirement, university President Graham Spanier said.

Both men have maintained they are innocent of any wrongdoing. Joe Paterno issued a statement clarifying his grand jury testimony, saying, "It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions."

At this point, prosecutors say coach Paterno is a witness and not under investigation. Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office, told The Associated Press on Sunday that whether Paterno might testify was premature and nothing more than rampant speculation. "That's putting the cart way ahead of the horse," he said. "We're certainly not going to be discussing the lineup of potential witnesses."
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Justin Bieber Agrees To Paternity Test?

According to TMZ, Bieber, 17, has vowed to take a DNA test in two weeks when he returns from an overseas trip to prove that he is not the father of accuser Mariah Yeater's three-month old child. TMZ, citing unnamed sources "directly connected with Justin," reported that after Bieber takes the paternity test his lawyers plan to sue Yeater. The sources said that Bieber's lawyer, Howard Weitzman, reached out to Yeater's attorneys on Friday to confirm that the DNA test will take place and have already chosen the lab they will use. After the test takes place, the "Baby" singer's team will reportedly file suit, though TMZ did not specify what kind of legal action is planned. A spokesperson for Bieber could not be reached for comment on the TMZ report. Just a few days after denying that he fathered a child with a fan last year, Justin Bieber has reportedly agreed to take a paternity test in the matter. Bieber -- who was a big winner at the MTV Europe Music Awards on Sunday night with wins as Best Pop and Best Male -- appeared on the "Today" show on Friday to promote his just-released Christmas album, Under the Mistletoe, and addressed the situation. "I'd just like to say basically that none of those allegations are true," he told Matt Lauer. "I know I'm going to be a target, but I'm never going to be a victim."

Bieber explained on "Today" that the logistics of her claim don't fit with his hectic schedule. "I think it's crazy because every night after the show, I've gone right from the stage right to my car," he explained. "So it's crazy that some people want to make up some false allegations, but to set the record straight, none of it is true. Never met the woman." It was also reported last week that the incident could spark a statutory rape investigation by Los Angeles police because the woman was 19-years-old at the time and Bieber was allegedly 16.

While Yeater awaits the results of that test, the Associated Press reported that she faces a bench trial on December 12 in Las Vegas on a misdemeanor battery charge stemming from a December 2010 incident involving her 18-year-old ex-boyfriend. According to court records, she faces a misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly slapping the unnamed man during an argument about a broken window on his new girlfriend's car. She could get six months in jail and a $1,000 fine in the case.
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Miss Venezuela crowned Miss World

A human resources graduate from Venezuela, whose ambition is to work with children, was crowned Miss World 2011 at a glittering beauty pageant in London on Sunday.

Ivian Sarcos, 21, took the ultimate beauty accolade at Earls Court in London, the city where the first Miss World was staged in 1951. Outside the venue, a small feminist demonstration took place, protesting at what they said was an "appalling offense against women's equality."

The beauty contest was broadcast live to more than 150 countries and was watched by a billion viewers, organizers said.

The competition has drawn criticism in recent years for being outdated and little more than a chance to look good in swimwear.

But of the 122 contestants whom Sarcos beat, a quarter are graduates and more than half speak three or more languages.

Sarcos, who currently works for a broadcasting company, said her future ambition was to work with non-governmental organizations and children, according to the Miss World web site. She has already created her own foundation to help youngsters.

Her hobbies include volleyball, mountaineering and trekking. One of 13 children, Sarcos said her proudest moment was "when I did my Communion."

Next year's Miss World will be held in China's Inner Mongolia.
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Lindsay Lohan reports to jail, released hours later

While much of the country was fast asleep, Lindsay Lohan was out and about. And while that might sound like any other day that ends in "y," in the case of Sunday night and the wee hours of Monday, the situation was a little different: Lohan reported to jail, for her 30-day sentence. TMZ broke that news, and also the news that she was released just 4 1/2 hours after she checked in to the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, Calif. The sentence was rendered after Lohan admitted that she violated her probation. Lohan actually reported to jail ahead of schedule; on Nov. 2, she had initially been told she would have to surrender herself by Nov. 9.

Lohan won't have to serve an additional 270 days in jail if she performs 12 days of community service at the morgue and attends four psychotherapy sessions before Dec. 14.
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Dish Sales, Profit Miss Analysts' Estimates on User Losses

Dish Network Corp., the second- largest U.S. satellite-television provider, reported third- quarter sales and earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates after losing video subscribers.

Earnings per share rose to 71 cents from 55 cents a year earlier, as sales increased 12 percent to $3.6 billion, the Englewood, Colorado-based company said today. Analysts projected earnings of 74 cents on sales of $3.63 billion, the average estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Dish lost 111,000 customers, more than the 81,000 nine analysts projected on average. Chairman Charlie Ergen is trying to shed Dish’s image as a low-cost television provider and may accept losses if it can attract customers willing to buy more expensive packages and products, said Matthew Harrigan, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities in Denver.

“This is a transitional quarter, and I think Charlie doesn’t particularly care about the stock price,” said Harrigan, who has a “hold” rating on Dish. “The only way he starts caring is if he goes out and starts trying to do more deals. At some point, the stock price does start to matter again because it affects what he can do in the debt markets as well.”

Ergen purchased Blockbuster LLC, DSBD North America Inc. and Terrestar Networks Inc. this year, gaining capabilities that may allow him to offer new services including Internet video for mobile devices.

Dish fell 0.8 percent to $23.48 at the close on Nov. 4. The shares have risen 19 percent this year. The company said today it will pay a non-recurring dividend of $2 a share on Dec. 1. The company last paid a special dividend two years ago.

DirecTV’s Gain

The subscriber decline compares with DirecTV’s 327,000 increase in U.S. customers last quarter. DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite-TV provider, offered its customers free access to all Sunday NFL games. Dish doesn’t own the same NFL rights.

Investors will be curious to hear if Dish Chief Executive Officer Joseph Clayton reveals any more details about the company’s wireless strategy, Harrigan said. The company has said little about its long-term plans to integrate its acquisitions, Harrigan said.

Clayton has said more deals and partnerships are likely still to come. In May, Ergen said Dish’s strategy was like an episode of “Seinfeld,” with all the parts coming together at the end.
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Wall St edges up, energy, materials lead

Stocks turned positive in early trading on Monday, led by energy and material stocks as crude oil prices rose more than 1 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 35.42 points, or 0.30 percent, at 12,018.66. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 3.49 points, or 0.28 percent, at 1,256.72. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.73 points, or 0.14 percent, at 2,689.88.
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Thousands in Conn. Enter 2nd Week Without Power

Tens of thousands of Connecticut residents awoke Monday as part of an unenviable fraternity: people entering their second week without power after an early-season storm that hammered the Northeast with wet, heavy snow.

The power failures, the legacy of the storm Oct. 29 and 30, were largely an unpleasant memory by Sunday night for most of the 3 million who lost power at the height of the storm. But in Connecticut, about 50,000 homes and businesses remained without electricity by Monday morning, nine days after the storm. In Massachusetts, 100 customers remained without power, and New Jersey utilities said everyone was back on line.

Connecticut Light & Power, the state's largest utility, announced Sunday night that it would miss its goal of restoring power to 99 percent of its 1.2 million customers by midnight. Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey apologized, saying that power might not be restored to everyone until Wednesday. About 6,000 of the outages were new and unrelated to the snowstorm, he said.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has called the delays unacceptable and said the state is keeping its legal options open in case there are grounds for recourse in the courts once the circumstances are examined.

He has launched an independent probe of the utility's response to the storm outages amid numerous customer complaints, including from South Windsor fire officials, who accuse CL&P of jeopardizing safety by failing to ensure emergency trucks had access to local roads.

"We much as we want to support and be supportive of CL&P, it's clear that for the last several days, they have failed to meet their own imposed goals on a day by day basis," Malloy said Sunday.

Attorney General George Jepsen is participating in the probe to ensure that the state, in Malloy's words, "preserves its legal options on behalf of itself and on behalf of Connecticut utility customers."

Jepsen cautioned Sunday that it was too early to know whether grounds might exist for any court action. U.S. Sens. Joe Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal also put out calls for thorough reviews of CL&P's preparedness before the storm and its response afterward, with Blumenthal describing the situation as a "historic breakdown of power and public trust."

Some people who were slogging through their eighth day Sunday without power said they would be pleasantly surprised to see their power restored Sunday night or early Monday, but they weren't optimistic.

"We're disappointed, discouraged, tired, but I don't know what else you can really say, you know," said Chet Matczak of Simsbury, an especially hard-hit suburb. "A lot of this is just the luck of the draw."

In Somers, a northern Connecticut town on the Massachusetts border, First Selectman Lisa Pellegrini said a team of highly supervised crews of minimum-security inmates from nearby state prisons had been dispatched to clear town property of trees, limbs and other debris so power restoration could move more quickly.

She said Butler, the utility president, called her personally on Saturday to apologize — which she appreciated, but which did not give her confidence that they would have most of their power restored by Sunday night.

"(Butler) asked me how I was doing, and I said, 'Pretty lousy, but I think you're having a worse day than I am,'" Pellegrini said.
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Census: in us 49 million in poverty

New estimates released Monday show that the number of Americans living in poverty was higher than previously estimated, and stands at 49.1 million, according to the Census Bureau.

The nearly-50 million people who live below the poverty line represents 16 percent of all Americans. The numbers that were released were adjustments to the official 2010 poverty figures of 46.2 million, or 15.1 percent of Americans, that were released in September. The supplemental figure is higher than the official figure because it considers higher costs of living on expenses that aren’t factored into the official rate.

Hispanic poverty rose to 28.2 percent, affecting 14.1 million, surpassing that of blacks for the first time. Still, 9.9 million African-Americans suffered from poverty, a rate of 25.4 percent. The Asian poverty rate was 16.7 percent, affecting 2.4 million people.

Meanwhile, non-Hispanic whites had a lower poverty rate of 11.1 percent, or 21.9 million people.

The widest gulf in poverty rates was between those who had private health insurance versus those who did not. Those who had private health insurance had a poverty rate of just 7.5 percent. While those who had public, but no private, insurance (31.7 percent) and those who were not insured at all (30.7 percent) had much higher poverty rates.
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Mitt Romney's Good News-Bad News Numbers

Will slow and steady win the race for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney?

He’s already winning the electability argument — 33 percent of Republicans and Republican leaning independents choose him as the candidate most likely to beat President Obama one  year from now, according to the results of the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll.

Even so, our pollster Gary Langer notes “fewer, 24 percent, support him for the nomination, basically steady the past three months, and slightly down from his peak support, 30 percent, in July.”

Why? Here are a few reasons:

–Only 17 percent of GOP voters see Romney as the most “honest and trustworthy” candidate compared to 22 percent who say so about Herman Cain, who has spent the last week battling sexual harassment allegations.

–Similarly, just 17 percent say Romney is the candidate who best understands “the problems of people like you” versus 21 percent for Cain.

–Forty-eight percent of leaned Republicans say Romney’s involvement in passing health care reform in Massachusetts makes them less likely to back him, including a third much less likely.

“Romney’s overall support for the nomination, in turn, declines from 31 percent among moderates to 21 percent among conservatives and 15 percent among leaned Republicans who describe themselves as very conservative — a group accounting for nearly three in 10 potential GOP voters,” according to Langer.

So, what’s the former Massachusetts governor to do?

While other candidates like Cain tout their unorthodox campaign, so far Romney appears to be following a mostly traditional path to capturing the Republican presidential nomination. He’s raising money at a steady clip, he’s the strongest contender in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, and all of a sudden, it looks like he’s taking Iowa more seriously.

A win in Iowa and a win in New Hampshire could be the knock-out blow that clinches the race for him much earlier than many have been anticipating. Today Romney embarks on his third trip to Iowa since announcing his candidacy. He will visit the Eastern part of the state, holding events in Dubuque and Davenport, places where he performed well in the 2008 Caucuses.

One of the reasons why the Romney campaign is taking another look at competing more aggressively in the Hawkeye State is to thwart rival Rick Perry’s ambitions there. Perry is already up on the air with a significant radio and television ad buy. And here’s an interesting dispatch from ABC’s Emily Friedman, who is on the ground in Iowa: “I had the TV on for fifteen minutes here in Dubuque and saw Rick Perry’s campaign ad twice.”
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Herman Cain favorability falls behind Romney after scandal--poll

Herman Cain's poll numbers dropped for the first time since revelations last week that he was accused of sexual harassment more than a decade ago, a poll released Sunday showed.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos for Thomson Reuters, showed the former pizza chain restaurant executive's favorability rating among Republicans fell to 57 percent from 66 percent a week earlier. Cain's favorability among all registered voters fell to 32 percent from 37 percent. The poll is the first national poll to show the scandal taking its toll on the candidate's ratings, though it should be noted that the poll was conducted online. Online polls are typically much less reliable than traditional telephone polls.

A Washington Post telephone poll conducted in the first four days after the revelations were made public Oct. 30 showed that Cain's support was still holding strong and had him virtually tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

In the Ipsos online poll, Cain fell behind Romney, who garnered a 63 percent favorability rating among Republicans, while Texas Gov. Rick Perry took 47 percent.

Exhaustive media coverage of the charges of sexual harassment during Cain's tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s has boosted Cain's name recognition and helped him raise campaign cash from small donors. His campaign said he raised $1.6 million in the first five days after the scandal broke.

And Cain says the ordeal has been harder on his wife than on himself, and he's still "in it to win it."

More than 80 percent of respondents have heard of the charges against Cain, according to the Ipsos for Thomson Reuters poll. About 88 percent of Republicans had heard of the charges, compared to just 64 percent of independents.

Roughly 40 percent of all poll respondents said the revelations had made them less likely to see Cain in a favorable light, while about 35 percent of Republicans said so. There were about 1,007 participants in the online poll conducted on Friday and Saturday.

"Since it was an online poll, typical margins of error do not apply. Despite that, various recognized methods were used to select as representative a sample as possible and weigh the results," the Reuters news agency, which commissioned the poll from Ipsos, wrote.
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Big quake follows increase in Oklahoma rumblings

Clouds of dust belched from the corners of almost every room in Joe Reneau’s house as the biggest earthquake in Oklahoma history rocked the two-story building.

A roar that sounded like a jumbo jet filled the air, and Reneau’s red-brick chimney collapsed and fell into the roof above the living room. By the time the shaking stopped, a pantry worth of food had been strewn across the kitchen and shards of glass and pottery covered the floor.

“It was like WHAM!” said Reneau, 75, gesturing with swipes of his arms. “I thought in my mind the house would stand, but then again, maybe not.”

The 5.6-magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks still had residents rattled Sunday.

Two minor injuries were reported from Saturday’s quakes by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, which said neither person was hospitalized. And, aside from a buckled highway and the collapse of a tower on the St. Gregory’s University administration building in Shawnee, no major damage was reported.

But the weekend earthquakes were among the strongest yet in a state that has seen a dramatic, unexplained increase in seismic activity.

Oklahoma typically had about 50 earthquakes a year until 2009. Then the number spiked, and 1,047 quakes shook the state last year, prompting researchers to install seismographs in the area. Still, most of the earthquakes have been small.

Saturday night’s big one jolted Oklahoma State University’s stadium shortly after the No. 3 Cowboys defeated No. 17 Kansas State. Fans were still leaving the game.

“That shook up the place, had a lot of people nervous,” Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon said.

The temblor sent Jesse Richards’ wife running outside because she thought their home was going to collapse. The earthquake centered near their home in Sparks, 44 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, could be felt throughout the state and in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, northern Texas and some parts of Illinois and Wisconsin.

Richards estimated it lasted for as much as a minute. One of his wife’s cookie jars fell on the floor and shattered, and pictures hanging in their living room were knocked askew.

“We’ve been here 18 years, and it’s getting to be a regular occurrence,” said Richards, 50. But, he added, “I hope I never get used to them.”

Geologists now believe a magnitude 4.7 earthquake Saturday morning was a foreshock to the bigger one that followed that night. They recorded at least 10 aftershocks by midmorning Sunday and expected more. Two of the aftershocks, at 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., were big, magnitude 4.0.

“We will definitely continue to see aftershocks, as we’ve already seen aftershocks from this one,” said Paul Earle, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo. “We will see aftershocks in the days and weeks to come, possibly even months.”
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