Sunday, November 30, 2008

India-Pakistan tensions cast familiar shadow over Kashmir


India-Pakistan tensions cast familiar shadow over Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India (AFP) — Leaked intelligence on who might be behind the devastating Islamist attacks in Mumbai has been greeted with a deepening sense of dread and foreboding by Muslims in Indian Kashmir.

An emerging consensus suggests the well-planned assault was the work of Lashkar-e-Taiba -- the most powerful Pakistan-based militant group fighting against Indian rule in the disputed Muslim-majority region.

That means an automatic escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan, which in turn spells trouble for Kashmir, over which the nuclear-armed South Asian rivals have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947.

One of the Mumbai gunmen holding hostages in a Jewish cultural centre had suggested that the treatment of Muslims in Indian Kashmir was one motivation behind the attack.

"Are you aware how many people have been killed in Kashmir?" the militant told a television station by telephone during the attack.

The Kashmir issue is, to many South Asian Muslims, what the Palestinian issue is to the Arab world -- a reliable and fertile source of outrage over the mistreatment of disenfranchised Muslims.

Rights groups like Amnesty International have criticised the sweeping powers India grants its security forces in Kashmir and accused them of using torture to quash the long-running Muslim insurgency in the region.

Since June, around 50 unarmed Muslim protesters have been shot dead in unrest sparked by a state government plan to grant land to a Hindu pilgrim trust.

But for Akbar Mantoo, a 41-year-old Kashmiri contractor, having such grievances cited by a gunman on a killing spree in Mumbai targeting Indian civilians and foreign tourists was appalling.

"It is very unfortunate that one of the attackers talked about Kashmir," said Mantoo. "We don't need supporters or sympathisers like them."

Tahir Mohiudin, a respected Kashmiri political analyst, said the brutal events in Mumbai risked a complete derailment of the India-Pakistan peace process begun in 2004 following a ceasefire agreement.

Although the process has yielded little in terms of resolving the main disputes between the two countries, it has witnessed a major downturn in insurgency-linked violence.

A bus service was started between Indian- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir in 2005 and in October the de facto border was opened for trade.

"The people of Kashmir have been saddened by these senseless and mindless attacks," Mohiudin said of the Mumbai killings.

"They know, ultimately, that it is they who will suffer if the peace process breaks," he added.

More than 47,000 people -- more than one third of them civilians -- have been killed since the armed insurgency in Indian Kashmir broke out nearly two decades ago.

India has long accused Pakistan of arming and funding Kashmiri Muslim rebels, a charge Islamabad denies.

Indian officials say Lashkar-e-Taiba has links to the well-funded Pakistani Islamist group Markaz-ad-Dawa-wal-Irshad, which recruits fighters for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Lashkar, which wants to fold Indian Kashmir into Pakistan, first came into the spotlight when its fighters launched a suicide attack on a border guard camp, killing officers and soldiers.

But the outfit's most audacious operation was an assault by armed gunmen on the Indian parliament in 2001, which brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

Lashkar has been quick to deny any involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

"Unfortunately whenever bombs go off in India, Lashkar is immediately blamed and without any investigation," its spokesman Abdullah Gaznavi told AFP on Thursday.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, a senior Kashmiri separatist politician, who favours independence from both India and Pakistan, said Kashmiris had been as shocked and disturbed by what happened in Mumbai as everyone else in the world.

"I appeal to the media not to link these attacks with our political struggle. We don't approve of killing innocent people," Farooq said.

source : http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i-QrFkqG1sqLglbCPraXYjhYYzfQ

A cabin is not a shack

A cabin is not a shack
Louise Tutelian, New York Times
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dwight Jelle and K Hamilton's retreat in rural Pepin County, Wis., has cedar board-and-batten siding, a wood-burning stove and a stack of firewood piled at the ready. And like cabins of long ago, it is cozy (less than 2,000 square feet), casual (a lot of wood) and secluded (no neighbors). But the similarities end there. Designed to resemble a farm outbuilding, the low-slung structure is nestled into the rolling farmland southeast of Minneapolis as if it had been planted there.

A color scheme of maize, sage and red clay inside complements the grasses, trees and earth outside. The roof soars to 16 feet, supported by thick pine beams and trusses studded with 300 steel bolts. A wall of windows and glass doors runs the cabin's entire 72-foot length, allowing light to flood the whole space.

No one is roughing it. Hamilton, 51, is a trained cook, and her kitchen has the six-burner Wolf stove to prove it. Jelle, 48, a civil engineer and talented woodworker, made the couple's cherry bedstead himself, as well as the intricately carved Arts and Crafts-style lighting fixtures. The couple worked closely with Sala Architects of Minneapolis to make sure their cabin had amenities, including a slate shower wall in the bathroom and solar-heated floors.

Ditch the deer heads and moose antlers. Put away the caps with flaps. There is nothing musty, creaky, saggy or squeaky about the new cabin culture. Across the country, cabins are being reimagined in sustainable yet stylish ways. Some combine industrial materials like mesh, oxidized steel and concrete with traditional wood. Others employ reclaimed or recycled material to stay eco-friendly and keep costs down. "Turnkey" models arrive fully constructed, ready to be dropped onto a site. Still other cabins are off the grid, but with the comforts of home. And despite the advances in design, cabin owners want the same thing they always did: a place that provides an escape into the natural world.

"Given our busy, techno-heavy lives, people are seeking places where they can rejuvenate and connect to nature," said Michelle Kodis, author of "Modern Cabin" (Gibbs Smith; $39.95; 2007). "They want simple, beautiful, indoor-outdoor cabins that require little upkeep and are free of fuss and heavy, overdone details."

Washington retreat

To look at Mac Dunstan's and Linda Grob's glass-and-wood cabin outside Seattle, you'd never guess they had originally envisioned a low-key Adirondack structure. "I thought I wanted something woodsy, with lots of logs and little gabled things," said Dunstan, 64, an investment adviser. The couple had spent time in the cabin of their friend Tom Lenchak, of Balance Associates, Architects, in Seattle, and over time came to embrace his spare aesthetic. Dunstan and Grob, 55, who works for King County in Washington, realized that a far more contemporary design suited their site best.

They built an airy, ultra-modern 1,600-square-foot retreat for $500,000 four years ago. Anchored into a steep hillside, it rests on a concrete base. Windows extend from floor to ceiling on three sides, and sliding-glass pocket doors invite in even more light. Decks cantilever off the base, offering views of the stream below and the North Cascades in the distance. "All we see is trees and mountains," Dunstan said. They use their time at the cabin to "run around in the woods, hike, bike and ski," he said. Maintenance? Very little. The concrete floors are indestructible and stand up to whatever their German shepherd, Inga, can inflict. "We wanted something real easy to live in," Dunstan said.

Eco-friendly trend

Jeff Shelden, 55, an architect with Prairie Wind Architecture in Lewistown, Mont., and his wife, Lois, 53, a professional photographer, also wanted easy upkeep - minus a hefty price tag. As the son of a Forest Service ranger, Shelden was determined to erect an updated version of the square, stone 1930s-era Forest Service lookouts he loved as a boy. He and a team of contractors built the cabin, in the Judith Mountains of central Montana, using only local or reclaimed materials. In doing so, they were ahead of the curve.

"One of the biggest environmentally friendly trends we're seeing is the use of local materials," said Dale Mulfinger, an adjunct professor of architecture at the University of Minnesota and the author of "Cabinology: A Handbook to Your Private Hideaway" (Taunton; $25; 2008). "Once you start shipping things long distance, that's not so friendly - there's the cost of shipping as well as the fuel costs."

Wood for the interior and the redwood decks that surround the Sheldens' tiny 512-square-foot cabin was recycled from a nearby train trestle that had been torn down. Rock for the outside came from a quarry 2 miles away. "I put an ad in the local paper for corrugated steel for the roof, and a gentleman called and said he was tearing up his barn and to come take what he had off his hands," Shelden recalled. He estimated that the cabin, completed in 1998, cost him about $55,000. For $1,700, he bought a photovoltaic system to supply electricity and to pump water for a hot tub. His utility bill is zero.

An antique wood stove, a vintage Hoosier kitchen cabinet, a table and chairs occupy the ground floor. A ship's ladder leads to the second level, a large window-rimmed space with a futon, a wood-burning stove, bookcases, a couple of ottomans, and a TV and VCR. A 6-foot-square acrylic skylight in the roof's dome adds more light.

Although the space is small, the Sheldens have hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 12 on a warm November day. Their daughter, Claire, 21, has invited friends for cookouts and campfires. The cabin is close to home - only 17 miles away - so the Sheldens can visit frequently. In the winter, though, they can drive only so far. "We ski up the last half-mile," Shelden said.

Prefabs are in style

For those who want a cabin fast and with minimal effort and expense, prefab modular models are increasingly popular. They are built off-site in truck-width "boxes," driven to a property and dropped onto the owner's foundation, complete down to the microwave oven. Once derided as flimsy, modular cabins are sturdier now; companies are offering better design and more durable materials at an affordable price.

"A big trend for cabins is turnkey," said Don Butler, editor of Cozy Cabins magazine. "People don't want to do the whole thing - find the land, find an architect, put the whole thing together."

Greg and Linda Corless were two of those people. Seeking relief from sweltering summers at their home in Altamonte Springs, Fla., the Corlesses bought land in the hills of western North Carolina in 2006. After casting about for an easy way to oversee the project from nine hours away, they bought a modular cabin from Blue Ridge Log Cabins in Campobello, S.C. Greg Corless, 40, the chief financial officer for a car dealership group in Orlando, served as long-distance general contractor, knowing there wasn't much for him to do beyond preparing the site and hiring subcontractors to connect the electricity and plumbing.

The Corlesses purchased an 1,800-square-foot, two-bedroom cabin for $120,000, including all appliances. It resembles a traditional log cabin but with bigger windows (and more of them) and amenities including a wraparound porch and a cathedral ceiling. The Corlesses chose to add a gas fireplace with a stacked stone front as a separate project.

"It was spooky," said Linda Corless, 39, as she recalled entering the cabin two weeks after it was put into position by a crane. "You walk in and the stove is in there, and the ceiling fans are there with the light bulbs in them." She spent over a month in North Carolina last summer with the couple's two daughters, Layton, 5, and Noelle, 4. The family makes about five visits in other seasons. "Mountain music, bonfires, s'mores, sledding in the wintertime - that's what we do," Corless said. "The minute we walk in there and smell the wood, we're on vacation."

While the Corlesses use traditional power, the most eco-conscious of the new cabinistas want to supply all of their own energy. Sam Snyder, an orthopedic surgeon in Bergen County, N.J., was a man with a mission while he and his wife, Junko, were building their cabin near Hudson, N.Y., in 2003. "My No. 1 goal was to have a zero carbon footprint, and we accomplished that," he said. Their 1,000-square-foot, cedar-shingled aerie gets all the power it needs, including the supply for baseboard heat, from solar panels and a wind turbine on an 80-foot-tall tower. There's also a solar hot-water system.

The cabin has a full bathroom, a closed bedroom and two open sleeping lofts. A little library is filled with books on various styles of cabins, collected during the research phase of the project. The Snyders found what they were looking for on a Web site for a company called Lucia's Little Houses and bought the plans for $400 from Robert Knight, an architect in Blue Hill, Maine. They built the cabin for $200,000 and spent $40,000 more on the energy system - worth every cent to Snyder. "Every time I step outside and the wind is blowing and the sun is shining," he said, "I smile because I'm making all my own energy."

Despite all the transformations cabins have undergone in the past decade, they remain, at heart, deeply personal places shaped by their owners as sacred retreats. "This is my grandmother's threshing table," said K Hamilton in Wisconsin, sitting at a sturdy dining room table where workers ate during harvest season at her family's farm. In the center rests a split plank of cherry the length of a baguette, polished to a high sheen. It's cut from one of the first logs the couple found on the site, an everyday symbol that reminds them daily of the magic of their cabin.

With luck, some things will never change.

source : http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/11/18/HOST1449Q2.DTL

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Black Friday Online

Black Friday Online

When it is time for you to prepare for your Christmas shopping on Black Friday, you should consider staying home and not rushing to the stores like the other shoppers. Businesses lure customers into their stores at the early hours of Friday with discounts that are hard to pass up on. However, you should consider Black Friday online shopping before you get lured into the stores.

One problem with going to the stores to purchase the items on your list is you are probably not going to be able to find all the items on your list in one store. You are probably going to have to go to multiple stores to complete your shopping list. While this may not be a problem on a normal day, it will be on the busiest shopping day of the year. You will face long lines and even longer waits at each store, which will take up your entire day.

Along with not being able to find all the items on your list in one store, is not being able to find the items at all. The businesses do everything they can to ensure that they stock their store so they will not run out of an item, but there is always a possibility that they will. With Black Friday online shopping, you will be able to order every product that is on your list, and it will not be sold out.

One big reason that people go to the store to do their shopping is they receive big savings. What those people do not know, is you are able to get those same savings on the internet. You can get the exact same discounts you receive in the store when you shop online, which takes away one of the main reasons people go to the store in the first place.

One of the biggest reasons people dislike going to the stores on Black Friday is the crowds. You will probably have to deal with traffic to get to the store, run into a long line to get into the store, and then have to go through another line to purchase your items. The crowds are ridiculous because everyone is out looking for a good deal. If you shop online though, you are able to get all the items on your list from the comfort of your own home.

Black Friday online shopping has many advantages that you should consider when the day comes around. You can avoid the crowds, get the same savings, ensure you get all the items on your list, and do not have to visit many different stores to purchase your items. You will save a lot of time and hassle, so why go to the store when you can do it all online?

By: Noah Ulrich

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

Thailand shuts down second airport in capital


Thailand shuts down second airport in capital

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Thai authorities have closed a second airport in the capital after anti-government protesters stormed the terminal.

The country's main international airport has been closed since early Wednesday because of tens of thousands of protesters laying virtual siege on the terminal in their push for the government's resignation.

Serirat Prasutanont, chief of Thailand Airport Authority, says that the city's main domestic airport, Don Muang, was closed early Thursday as authorities feared that protesters might harm passengers and planes.

He said authorities are considering using an air force base outside Bangkok and have alerted all airports nationwide to be ready to receive more diverted flights.

The closure of Don Muang cuts off Bangkok completely to air traffic.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — A call by Thailand's powerful army commander to end the country's deepening political crisis was rebuffed Wednesday, as the prime minister rejected his suggestion to step down, and protesters refused to end their occupation of the country's main airport.

Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat justified his stance saying he came to power through elections and has "a job to protect democracy for the people of Thailand." He spoke from the northern city of Chiang Mai, a stronghold of government supporters.

His rejection of Army Gen. Anupong Paochinda's plan seemed to put him on a collision course with the military although the general has said he would not launch a coup.

The anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy insisted it would continue its airport occupation and other protest activities until Somchai resigns. It rejected the general's proposal for new elections, pushing instead for the appointment of a temporary government.

As the deadlock continued, political violence spread Wednesday to Chiang Mai, where government supporters attacked a radio station aligned with the protesters. Separately, there were unconfirmed reports that one man was killed and several people assaulted in an attack on the city's local airport.

However, it was the occupation of the international Suvarnabhumi Airport, just outside the capital Bangkok, that put the world on notice of the turmoil that has reduced Thailand to a dysfunctional nation.

European Union and Britain's Foreign Office both issued statements of concern about the political situation.

Thousands of travelers were stranded in Bangkok when members of the alliance swarmed the airport Tuesday night, forcing a halt to virtually all outgoing flights.

Several thousand passengers were bused to city hotels Wednesday to await developments, but many other passengers spent a second night at the airport after a day of behind-the-scenes negotiations failed. All flights have been suspended until further notice.

Among those stranded were Americans trying to get home for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

Cheryl Turner, 63, of Scottsdale, Arizona, had asked neighbors to pull an 18-pound turkey from her freezer a day ahead of time to defrost so she could cook it for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

"My turkey is sitting in the sink at home," she said.

Some travelers took the inconvenience in stride.

"It's really horrible to be delayed and I'm missing my friend and things, but the local people have given us food, offered us drinks, and the airport's actually quite a nice place at the moment," said Andy Du Bois-Barclay, an English traveler .

Protesters were also occupying late Wednesday the passenger terminal at the older and smaller Don Muang airport, which appeared to effectively cut off civilian aviation services to the Thai capital.

The protest alliance accuses Somchai of acting as the puppet for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a September 2006 military coup after being accused of corruption and abuse of power. Thaksin is in exile, a fugitive from a conviction for violating a conflict of interest law. Somchai is Thaksin's brother-in-law.

PAD, as the protest alliance is known, launched their current campaign on Aug. 26, with a failed attempt to take over a government television station, after which they stormed the grounds of the prime minister's office, which they continue to use as their stronghold.

The group has also tried twice to blockade Parliament, in one case setting off a daylong street battle with police that left two people dead and hundreds injured.

They prepared for their "final showdown" Sunday in an almost festive atmosphere at their Government House stronghold. Even as they pushed through police lines Monday to blockade parliament and the temporary government office at Don Muang airport, crowds remained relaxed as police yielded to them.

The situation soured Tuesday, with scattered violence between political rivals in different parts of Bangkok. At one point, government supporters threw rocks at a truckload of alliance members, who shot back with pistols and then chased and beat their attackers.

Skirmishes continued in several spots Tuesday night and Wednesday, leaving more than a dozen people hurt.

Their action came as the group's public support seemed to be waning and they appeared to be seeking out confrontations to up the ante in their struggle.

"It is no secret that the PAD are armed with guns, bombs, knives and wooden batons. They constantly break the law with impunity," said Ji Ungpakorn, an associate professor of political science at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.

In an open letter, he charged that the alliance, along with the military, the opposition Democrat Party and "the Conservative Establishment would rather see total chaos in Thailand rather than allow democracy to function."

In a televised press conference, Paochinda said, "the government should give the public a chance to decide in a fresh election."

However, he insisted he was not pressuring the government and ruled out staging a coup.

"We have considered every option including a coup, but it will not resolve the problem," he said. Government supporters have said they would forcefully resist a military takeover.

Suriyasai Katasila, a spokesman for the protesters, said the group would not abide by the army chief's plea to leave the country's international airport or other occupied government facilities

"If the government does not quit, we will not quit," he said.

Late Wednesday night, in response to a petition by the state airport operator, Bangkok's Civil Court issued an injunction ordering the demonstrators to immediately leave Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The protesters have ignored similar orders, but the document provides a legal basis for security forces to remove them.

Airport director Serirat Prasutanont, who had tried to negotiate with the protesters to allow passengers to fly out, said the takeover "damaged Thailand's reputation and its economy beyond repair."

Tourist income during the high season — from late October to February — could slump to about half the expected $6.8 billion, said Kongkrit Hiranyakit, head of the Tourism Council of Thailand.

The airport, the 18th-busiest in the world, handled over 40 million passengers in 2007

source : http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gXtkIJGFlHXR5qT3LIG2olEVZyFQD94MV9780

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bush pardons 14 and commutes 2 prison sentences

Bush pardons 14 and commutes 2 prison sentences

By DEB RIECHMANN

WASHINGTON (AP) — President George W. Bush has granted pardons to 14 individuals and commuted the prison sentences of two others convicted of misdeeds including drug offenses, tax evasion, wildlife violations and bank embezzlement.

The new round of White House pardons announced Monday are Bush's first since March and come less than two months before he will end his presidency. The crimes committed by those on the list also include offenses involving hazardous waste, food stamps, and the theft of government property.

Bush has been stingy during his time in office about granting clemency, but more grants are expected.

Including these actions, he has granted a total of 171 pardons and eight commutations. That's less than half as many as Presidents Clinton or Reagan issued during their time in office. Both were two-term presidents, like Bush.

On the latest pardon list were:

_Leslie Owen Collier of Charleston, Mo., who pleaded guilty in 1995 to unlawfully killing three bald eagles in southeast Missouri. He improperly used pesticide in hamburger meat to kill coyotes, but ended up killing many other animals, including the bald eagles. Collier, who was convicted for unauthorized use of a pesticide and violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, was sentenced Feb. 2, 1996 in the Eastern District of Missouri.

_Milton Kirk Cordes of Rapid City, S.D. Cordes was convicted of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, which prohibits importation into the country of wildlife taken in violation of conservation laws.

_Richard Micheal Culpepper of Mahomet, Ill., who was convicted of making false statements to the federal government.

_Brenda Jean Dolenz-Helmer of Fort Worth, Texas, convicted of concealing knowledge of a crimeDolenz-Helmer, the daughter of a Dallas doctor accused of medical insurance fraud, was convicted in connection with the doctor's case. She was sentenced Dec. 31, 1998 in the Northern District of Texas to four year's probation with the special condition of 600 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine.

_Andrew Foster Harley of Falls Church, Va. Harley was convicted of wrongful use and distribution of marijuana and cocaine during a general court martial at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

_Obie Gene Helton of Rossville, Ga., whose offense was unauthorized acquisition of food stamps.

_Carey C. Hice Sr. of Travelers Rest, S.C., who was convicted of income tax evasion.

_Geneva Yvonne Hogg of Jacksonville, Fla., convicted of bank embezzlement.

_William Hoyle McCright Jr. of Midland, Texas, who was convicted of bank fraud.

_Paul Julian McCurdy of Sulphur, Okla., who was sentenced for misapplication of bank funds.

_Robert Earl Mohon Jr. of Grant, Ala., who was convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

_Ronald Alan Mohrhoff of Los Angeles, who was convicted for unlawful use of a telephone in a narcotics felony.

_Daniel Figh Pue III of Conroe, Texas, convicted of illegal treatment, storage and disposal of a hazardous waste without a permit.

_Orion Lynn Vick of White Hall, Ark., who was convicted of aiding and abetting the theft of government property.

Bush also commuted the prison sentences of John Edward Forte of North Brunswick, N.J., and James Russell Harris of Detroit, Mich. Both were convicted of cocaine offenses.

Under the Constitution, the president's power to issue pardons is absolute and cannot be overruled.

Some high-profile individuals, such as Michael Milken, are seeking a pardon on securities fraud charges. Two politicians convicted of public corruption — former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., and four-term Democratic Louisiana Gov. Edwin W. Edwards — are asking Bush to shorten their prison terms.

One hot topic of discussion related to pardons is whether Bush might decide to issue pre-emptive pardons before he leaves office to government employees who authorized or engaged in harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Some constitutional scholars and human rights groups want the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama to investigate possible war crimes.

If Bush were to pardon anyone involved, it would provide protection against criminal charges, particularly for people who were following orders or trying to protect the nation with their actions. But it would also be highly controversial.

At the same time, Obama advisers say there is little — if any — chance that his administration would bring criminal charges.

source :

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j6mH44rWD9yyZf_AZ7YxQDVFL7WwD94LKHEG1

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SEC charges Mark Cuban with insider trading


SEC charges Mark Cuban with insider trading

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators on Monday charged Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban with insider trading for allegedly using confidential information on a stock sale to avoid more than $750,000 in losses.

Cuban disputed the Securities and Exchange Commission's allegations and said he would contest them.

In a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Dallas, the SEC alleged that in June 2004, Cuban was invited to get in on the coming stock offering by Mamma.com Inc. after he agreed to keep the information private.

Cuban owned 6.3 percent of Mamma.com's stock at that time and was the largest known shareholder in the search engine company, according to the SEC. The agency said Cuban knew the shares would be sold below the current market price, and a few hours after receiving the information, he told his broker to sell all 600,000 shares before the public announcement of the offering.

By selling when he did, Cuban avoided losses exceeding $750,000, the SEC said in its lawsuit.

Cuban, 50 and a multibillionaire, is a tech entrepreneur who sold his Broadcast.com to Yahoo Inc. in 1999 at the height of the dot-com boom. He bought the Mavericks in 2000 and spent heavily to improve the roster.

He is the best known figure to be accused by the SEC of illegal insider trading since its case against Martha Stewart in 2002 for allegedly using advance knowledge of negative news for a company to sell her shares and avoid $45,673 in losses. The homemaking diva paid about $195,000 and agreed not to serve as the director of a public company for five years under a 2006 settlement with the SEC.

Cuban's fury at referee calls on the basketball court is legendary, and his verbal outbursts at referees, National Basketball Association officials and sports reporters have raised his profile. He has been fined more than $1 million by the league for a series of episodes dating back to 2000 and suspended from a few games.

"It is fundamentally unfair for someone to use access to nonpublic information to improperly gain an edge on the market," Scott Friestad, the SEC's deputy enforcement director, said in a statement. The agency alleged that Cuban acted with "scienter," a legal term indicating knowledge of wrongdoing.

The SEC is seeking a court judgment against Cuban finding that he violated the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, an injunction against future violations, an unspecified civil penalty and restitution of the losses Cuban allegedly avoided.

While the stock offering in question occurred more than four years ago, the SEC didn't learn about the specifics of the case until early 2007, according to agency attorneys.

Cuban's lawyer said in a statement that the SEC's case "has no merit and is a product of gross abuse of prosecutorial discretion."

"Mr. Cuban intends to contest the allegations and to demonstrate that the (SEC's) claims are infected by the misconduct of the staff of its enforcement division," Ralph Ferrara wrote in a note posted on Cuban's blog.

Cuban, in his own statement, said, "I am disappointed that the (SEC) chose to bring this case based upon its enforcement staff's win-at-any-cost ambitions. The staff's process was result-oriented, facts be damned. The government's claims are false and they will be proven to be so."

Maureen Coyle, an NBA spokeswoman, said the league does not comment on such matters.

Cuban is one of the richest people in the world, according to Forbes magazine, which pegged his net worth at $2.3 billion as of March 2007. Besides the Mavericks, he owns Landmark Theaters, a large national chain dedicated to independent films, and the HDNet cable television channel.

Cuban also runs a Web site called Sharesleuth.com, which bills itself as providing "independent Web-based reporting aimed at exposing securities fraud and corporate chicanery." An announcement on the site says there are plans for a companion, BailoutSleuth.com, to track the government's $700 billion financial rescue plan.

Montreal-based Mamma.com decided in the spring of 2004 to raise capital in a so-called private placement in public equity offering, known as a PIPE, according to the SEC suit. In late June, as the PIPE moved toward closing, Mamma.com's investment bank suggested the company invite Cuban to participate.

Because PIPEs often are sold at discounts to the stock's market price, the investment bank likely suggested that Mamma.com reach out to Cuban as the largest investor to help boost the offering. A bank salesman told Cuban the shares would be sold at a discount and that the offering included other incentives for investors, the SEC said.

On June 28, Mamma.com Chief Executive Guy Faure e-mailed Cuban asking him to call him "ASAP," the SEC said. Cuban called four minutes later from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, home of the Mavericks, and spoke to Faure for about eight minutes.

Faure, who resigned last year, began the conversation by telling Cuban he was about to give him confidential information. Cuban agreed to keep it to himself, the SEC said.

Cuban became upset and angry during the conversation, and said that he didn't like PIPEs because they dilute the value of company stock for existing shareholders, according to the SEC. At the end of the call, Cuban said, "Well now I'm screwed. I can't sell."

Mamma.com changed its name to Copernic Inc. in June 2007. Copernic officials did not return calls for comment Monday.

AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney in New York contributed to this report.


source : http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iR3W1nPq3cGJH6jN2Wm5SWcXr5yAD94GVEL01

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yankees Acquire Nick Swisher From White Sox


Yankees Acquire Nick Swisher From White Sox


The Yankees got a jump start on the free agent signing period by making a trade for Nick Swisher.

Swisher is far cheaper than free agent Mark Teixeira will be, and his ability to play the outfield gives the Yankees flexibility should they need to move a player such as Jorge Posada to first base in the future.

"One of the reasons we were attracted to Nick," general manager Brian Cashman said, "is he has the versatility, the flexibility, to play left, center, right, first. We obviously have a vacancy at first base."

The Yankees are now expected to make a massive contract offer to lefthander CC Sabathia, perhaps blowing other teams out of the water with an offer that dwarfs any a pitcher has received.

The Yankees also received right-handed pitching prospect Kanekoa Texeira from Chicago for infielder Wilson Betemit and minor league pitchers Jeffrey Marquez and Jhonny Nunez. Swisher is coming off his worst season (.219, 24 homers).

Swisher is under contract through 2011. He is owed $5.3 million in 2009, $6.75 million in 2010 and $9 million in 2011 with a team option of $10.25 million for 2012.

Silver Slugger winners: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (first-time winner) and the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez (10th) and Derek Jeter (third) were among the AL Silver Slugger Award winners. The award is given to the best offensive player at each position.

In the NL, the Mets' David Wright (second) and the Cardinals' Albert Pujols (fourth) were honored.

McNamee needs time: Lawyers for Roger Clemens' former trainer say they need more time to obtain a statement from a federal prosecutor who compelled Brian McNamee to speak with former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.

McNamee's attorneys, Richard Emery and Earl Ward, filed a motion Wednesday in U.S. District Court, asking for an extension to Dec. 18 to produce a formal response from Matthew Parrella, who interviewed McNamee in his role as assistant U.S. attorney.

Mitchell was hired by commissioner Bud Selig to run the investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. Mitchell based part of his final report on statements by McNamee, who later claimed the government told him he would be prosecuted if he didn't speak with Mitchell.

Clemens sued McNamee in January, claiming his former trainer's statements were defamatory. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire agreed to a two-year extension. ... Randy Johnson, 45, filed for free agency on after failing to reach an agreement with Arizona. ... The Cubs got reliever Kevin Gregg in a trade with Florida for minor league pitcher Jose Ceda, a move that appears to end Kerry Wood's career with the team.


source
http://www.courant.com/services/newspaper/printedition/sports/hc-baseup1114.artnov14,0,4115188.story

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sabatiello’s On TV Kitchen Nightmares


Sabatiello’s On TV Kitchen Nightmares
by Joe Reality

On the first of two episodes of Kitchen Nightmares, Chef Gordon Ramsay comes to the rescue of another restaurant on the brink of disaster when he visits Sabatiello’s in Stamford, Connecticut. Sabatiello’s is owned by a man named Sammy, who is over one million dollars in debt.

One of the problems facing Sabatiello’s is that local newspaper reviews have mentioned Sammy’s hot-temper and lack of customer service. These are not the kind of reviews that a family eatery wants to receive.

When Chef Gordon Ramsay first visits Sabatiello’s, he offers up his own criticism of the food. Chef Ramsay goes as far as to even criticize the lasagna recipe of Sammy’s mother, which makes Sammy’s temper flare us. When the kitchen staff starts turning against Sammy, he shuts down the restaurant.

Will Chef Ramsay be able to put things right between Sammy and his staff? Will Sabatiello’s reopen the doors? Kitchen Nightmares airs on Thursday, November 13 from 8 PM to 9 PM ET/PT on FOX.

Reality TV Magazine is your source for Kitchen Nightmares news. For other Kitchen Nightmares news check out SirLinksALot: Kitchen Nightmares.

source : http://www.realitytvmagazine.com/blog/2008/11/13/sabatiellos-on-kitchen-nightmares

Mitch Mitchell: child actor who drummed up a rock career


Mitch Mitchell: child actor who drummed up a rock career
By Matt Dickinson, PA

Mitch Mitchell has been described as one of the three great British rock drummers of the 1960s.

According to fan forum drummerworld.com, he had "magnificent rhythmic drive" and ranks alongside legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker and The Who's Keith Moon.

Mitchell was born in Ealing, west London, on 9 July 1947, and started off his showbiz career as a child actor.

But his love of jazz and rock music soon took over and he developed into a largely-self taught and in-demand session drummer by his late teens.

He played for a variety of bands during the early 1960s, including The Tornados, and Riot Squad, also auditioning at one point for The Who.

His big break came in 1965 after joining jazz star Georgie Fame and his outfit The Blue Flames.

After that group was disbanded a year later, Mitchell was recruited within a week to join up with the world's most electrifying guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, and bassist Noel Redding.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience held its first rehearsal on October 6, 1966, and quickly secured their place in rock and roll history thanks to their powerhouse performances.

In a recent interview with a US paper, Mitchell recalled the moment he joined the band: "I got a call from (Hendrix manager) Chas Chandler asking if I'd fancy playing with this guitarist he'd brought over from America.

"We met in this sleazy little club, and (Jimi) was this guy in a Burberry raincoat. We did some Chuck Berry and took it from there. I suppose it worked."

A week after the group was formed, the Experience played a four-day French tour supporting French rocker Johnny Hallyday.

A clutch of classic albums including Are You Experienced? and Electric Ladyland followed that featured tracks like Purple Haze, Little Wing and Hey Joe.

The group also notched up some of the famous performances of all time, including at the Monterey Pop Festival where Hendrix famously set light to his guitar, and Woodstock.

After the guitarist's death in 1970 aged just 27, Mitchell's career lacked direction but he continued to play and record with some of rock and jazz world's biggest names, including former Cream bassist Jack Bruce.

In 1992 the Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted with Redding into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Redding died at 57 in 2003, leaving Mitchell the only surviving member of the legendary trio.

Before his death, he was performing with the Experience Hendrix Tour in the US with companions including guitarists Buddy Guy and Robby Krieger from The Doors.

One tribute on a fan site appeared to sum his career up: "A lot of drummers are great but there is only one Mitch Mitchell. Mitchell held it all together for Hendrix. How do you play drums like that? He's the best I ever heard! That's the way real drums should sound like!"

source :http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/mitch-mitchell-child-actor-who-drummed-up-a-rock-career-1016699.html

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

U.S. backs away from plan to buy bad assets


U.S. backs away from plan to buy bad assets

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration on Wednesday largely abandoned its plan to buy up toxic mortgage assets and said it will focus its $700 billion financial bailout fund on making direct investments in financial institutions and shoring up consumer credit markets.

The U.S. Treasury Department initially promoted the financial rescue package approved by Congress last month as a vehicle to buy illiquid mortgage assets from banks and other institutions to spur fresh lending.

However, that plan never got off the ground and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told a news conference asset purchases were not the most effective use of the funds.

"This is not going to be the focus," he said. Paulson added, however, that the Treasury would continue to examine the usefulness of "targeted" purchases.

Treasury has already tapped the fund to inject capital into banks and ailing insurer American International Group. Paulson said he was considering a second round of preferred share purchases in both banks and non-bank institutions which, in a fresh twist, would match privately raised funds.

He also said the Treasury was working with the Federal Reserve on a plan to help restore credit flows to U.S. households by using financial rescue funds to lure investors back to markets for securitized debt, such as car loans, student loans and credit cards.

The administration's shifting focus disappointed Wall Street and U.S. stock prices tumbled sharply. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 408 points, or 4.7 percent.

"This hasn't done the Treasury's credibility a world of good," said Alan Ruskin, chief international strategist at RBS Global Banking and Markets in New York. "Basically, they found that the market would applaud direct capital injections more readily than understanding the complexities of reverse auctions to buy assets, so it's a pragmatic choice."

Paulson was unapologetic, saying that by the time the rescue bill was passed on October 3, it was clear the asset purchase plan would take too long and would not be sufficient to calm roiling markets.

"I will never apologize for changing a strategy or an approach if the facts change," he said.

Cool Call For Help

The $700 billion financial sector bailout is the United States' marquee effort to combat a credit crisis spawned by rising U.S. mortgage defaults that is now wreaking economic damage worldwide.

To help ease the crisis, the U.S. Treasury and bank regulators on Wednesday issued "guidance" for banks encouraging them to lend and to rein in any compensation plans that might lead executives to take excessive risks.

Earlier on Wednesday, Canada announced a plan to buy up another $41 billion in insured mortgages and other steps to try to free-up credit.

Paulson said the U.S. Treasury was duty-bound to help prevent mortgage foreclosures, but he warned that further aid would likely mean a significant government subsidy, signaling a lack of support for a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. proposal for more aggressive aid to borrowers


The regulator for the two largest U.S. mortgage finance companies -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- unveiled a plan on Tuesday to cut payments for hundreds of thousands of homeowners behind on their payments. That plan, however, would not touch the many loans held by mortgage investors.

Paulson sidestepped questions on whether the Treasury would use bailout funds to help struggling Detroit automakers, as the industry and some lawmakers have called for.

While he said the industry was a "critical" one for the United States, he said the purpose of the program was to provide financial system stability.

He said one option would be to amend legislation to allow $25 billion already approved for efficient vehicle production to be made available more quickly.

So far, the Treasury has focused on providing capital to federally regulated banks and thrifts, but Paulson said it was looking to broaden the effort to cover financial institutions that do not have a federal bank or thrift charter.

"Although the financial system has stabilized, both banks and non-banks may well need more capital given their troubled asset holdings, projections for continued high rates of foreclosures and stagnant U.S. and world economic conditions," he said.

$700 BILLION STILL ENOUGH?

The Treasury has allocated $250 billion of the bailout funds to inject capital into banks and thrifts and it has earmarked another $40 billion to shore up AIG, leaving just $60 billion to dole out before it would have to ask Congress to release the final $350 billion.

Paulson said he had no timeline for that request, which means the decision could be left to the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama, who takes office on January 20.

He also signaled he would not seek to increase the overall size of the bailout fund. "I still am comfortable that, with $700 billion, we have what we need," he said.

With an aim to restoring credit for households, Paulson said the Treasury and Fed were considering setting up a program to increase liquidity for top-rated asset-backed securities, but he provided few details.

"The initial shock of abandoning TARP is hitting stocks, but the support for consumer-level lending may be a silver lining as it goes to the root of what's ailing the economy, namely personal consumption," said Brian Dolan, chief currency strategist at FOREX.com in Bedminster, New Jersey.

(Additional reporting by Patrick Rucker)

source:
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE4AB7P820081113?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=10112


Buckling Down for Our CMA Awards Coverage


Buckling Down for Our CMA Awards Coverage

By: Calvin Gilbert

The 42nd annual CMA Awards show is just minutes away, and those of us at CMT have already had an interesting day. Not to complain (too much), but our offices in downtown Nashville were without electrical power from about 10 a.m. until almost 3:30 p.m. after a Nashville Electric Service transformer malfunctioned.

That meant no computers, no e-mail and no TV, which would be a problem for nearly anybody in this day and age. From our parking garage, you can see the Sommet Center, where tonight’s awards show is taking place, but that area across Broadway was not affected by the outage. And thank goodness for that. I can’t even imagine what sort of problems that would have created for the producers of the awards show.

As for us, several radio stations from throughout the nation were in the middle of artist interviews in the CMT Radio studios when the outage occurred. I heard that Darius Rucker was just about to step into the elevator when the power went out — proving that timing is everything, regardless of who you are.

But we’re back in commission. CMT’s Lance Smith and Katie Cook are at the Sommet Center, hosting the 2008 CMA Awards Red Carpet Special to run live at 7 p.m. ET on the channel and at CMT.com. We’ll be updating our Web site throughout the evening with photos and news.

A live blog will also be underway as Shane Caldwell sets up shop at the Paradise Park Trailer Resort, a bar in downtown Nashville. As they would say in East Texas, where I was raised, Shane is “one funny sumbitch,” so I’m looking forward to his observations. (I think.)

There’s supposed to be a surprise guest appearing on the awards show, but the CMA seems to be doing a good job of keeping this one a secret. Lon Helton and Chuck Aly, my friends at Country Aircheck, say the speculation on Music Row includes Shania Twain, Andy Griffith and Bruce Springsteen.

Twain is apparently working on some new music, and Griffith appeared in Brad Paisley’s video for “Waitin’ on a Woman.” So either of those make sense. I can’t imagine why Springsteen would be there, but who knows? We’ll have to wait until the show to find out if the surprise is of major magnitude.

source:http://blog.cmt.com/2008-11-12/buckling-down-for-our-cma-awards-coverage/

Don’t let flu season catch you off guard


Don’t let flu season catch you off guard
By Harvard Health Letter

It happens every year. The days grow shorter, the temperature drops, footballs fly — and the flu strikes. Influenza is so common that it’s easy to dismiss this seasonal affliction as “just a virus” or “just the flu.”

It’s true that the flu is caused by a virus and that most patients recover without specific therapy. But it’s also true that thousands of Americans die from the flu each year, and millions are sick enough to miss work or school. Influenza is a serious infection — but it can be prevented and treated.

Meet the flu bug

A large group of viruses belongs to the influenza family. Nearly all human infections are caused by human strains of the influenza A or B virus.

Because different strains of the virus crop up every year, new outbreaks occur annually.

In the United States, the flu season runs roughly from Thanksgiving to Easter, with most cases occurring in the dead of winter. In a typical year, up to 10 percent of us get the flu, more than 200,000 people are sick enough to require hospitalization, and about 36,000 Americans die from the infection.

Symptoms

After an incubation period of just one to two days, the symptoms start abruptly. Most patients are feverish, and high temperatures in the range of 103 degrees to 104 degrees are common. Nearly everyone has a runny nose and sore throat, but unlike ordinary colds, the flu also produces a hacking, dry cough. Muscle and joint aches can be severe. Headache, burning eyes, weakness, and extreme fatigue add to the misery.

Complications

The most serious — and deadly — complication is pneumonia. Young children, senior citizens and people with chronic illnesses are at greatest risk. Other flu complications can include asthma attacks, ear infections, bronchitis, sinusitis, inflammation of the heart or other muscles, and inflammation of the nervous system.

Prevention: Hygiene

A few simple precautions can help protect you and your family:

• Wash your hands. Alcohol-based hand rubs and gels are best. Ordinary soap and water will also help, and it’s not necessary to use very hot water or “antibacterial” soaps. Wash carefully after any contact with folks who have flulike symptoms.

• Keep your distance. The flu is most contagious within 3 feet of a patient.

• Wear a mask if you’re in a high-risk group and you can’t avoid getting near possible flu victims. Be sure your mask fits well. Keep it free of saliva and dry, and change it periodically. N95 respirator masks are best.

• Protect others. Don’t go to work or school if you have the flu. Use a tissue to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, and dispose of it properly.

Prevention: Vaccination

New vaccines are produced for every flu season; each protects against the two strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B that are most likely heading our way in the fall. In the United States, October and November are the ideal months to get the vaccine. Children ages 6 months to 8 years who have never been immunized need two doses, but one dose will suffice for all others.

Two types of flu vaccine are available. The nasal spray can be used only by healthy, non-pregnant individuals ages 2 to 49. The injectable vaccine can be given to nearly everyone, except people who are allergic to eggs or to the vaccine itself. Side effects are mild and uncommon, amounting to a slightly sore arm or a slight fever.

Immunization can reduce your risk of catching the flu by up to 80 percent. That’s a big benefit, but nearly half the people who need protection the most don’t get it. If vaccine supplies are adequate, everyone older than 6 months should get a flu vaccine this fall. Here is a list of high-priority vaccine candidates:

• All children ages 6 months to 4 years.

• All adults age 50 and older.

• Children and adolescents ages 6 months to 18 years who receive long-term aspirin therapy.

• Women who are likely to be pregnant during the flu season.

• People who have asthma, diabetes or chronic diseases of their lungs, heart, blood, kidneys or liver.

• People who have illnesses or take medications that impair the immune system.

• Residents of chronic-care facilities.

• Health care personnel and child care providers.

• Caregivers and household contacts of people with medical conditions that put them at risk.

Medications

Antibiotics don’t work against viruses, including influenza. But while there are no medications for ordinary viruses, special prescription drugs can be used to treat or prevent the flu.

Both medications target a viral enzyme called neuraminidase. Neither will cure the flu, but they can ease and shorten the illness if started within the first 24 to 36 hours of flu symptoms. Both drugs can also be used to prevent influenza in unvaccinated people who are exposed to the infection.

Zanamivir (Relenza) is administered by inhalation from a nebulizer. It is approved for prevention in people age 5 and older and for treatment in people age 7 and older. Side effects may include wheezing, nausea and vomiting; behavioral abnormalities have also been reported.

Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is available in tablet form. It is approved for prevention and treatment in patients above 1 year of age. Side effects may include nausea and vomiting; behavioral abnormalities have also been reported.

If you get the flu and can start treatment within about 36 hours, ask your doctor about oseltamivir or zanamivir.

With or without an antiviral drug, be sure to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Acetaminophen (Tylenol and other brands) can help ease fever and aches; aspirin is also effective, but should never be used by flu patients under 18.

And be sure to contact your doctor promptly if you think you’re developing pneumonia or other complications that may require antibiotics or hospitalization.

Flu Shot

Unexpected benefits

Protection from the flu is reason enough to get a flu shot every fall. But there’s even more. A major study of 286,383 people age 65 and above found that flu vaccinations were associated with a 19 percent to 23 percent reduction in the risk of hospitalizations for heart disease and stroke, along with a 29 percent to 32 percent reduction in the risk of hospitalization for influenza or pneumonia. All in all, senior citizens who got flu shots had a nearly 50 percent reduction in the risk of death during the winter flu season.

Why Winter ?

The flu loves winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, it comes around between November and March, but in the Southern Hemisphere, it hits from May to September, the coldest months. In the tropics, however, there is no true flu season — and very little flu.

Many respiratory infections peak in winter, when people cluster together indoors. But for years, scientists have wondered if there is something special about the influenza virus that accounts for its striking seasonality. A 2007 study found an answer.

Using guinea pigs infected with human flu viruses, scientists in New York found that the virus is transmitted much more efficiently in a cool environment. Animals who were housed at 41 degrees shed the virus nearly two days longer than animals housed at 68 degrees, and a temperature of 86 degrees blocked transmission of the virus altogether. Low humidity provided another boost for the bug; The virus spread much more readily at 20 percent humidity than at 80 percent.

source :

http://www.ajc.com/hp/content/health/stories/2008/11/12/flu_virus_prevention.html

Mitch Mitchell, drummer for Hendrix, found dead

Mitch Mitchell, drummer for Hendrix, found dead
By Mary Hudetz

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Mitch Mitchell, drummer for the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience of the 1960s and the group's last surviving member, was found dead in his hotel room early Wednesday. He was 61.

Mitchell was a powerful force on the Hendrix band's 1967 debut album "Are You Experienced?" as well as the trio's albums "Electric Ladyland" and "Axis: Bold As Love." He had an explosive drumming style that can be heard in hard-charging songs such as "Fire" and "Manic Depression."

The Englishman had been drumming for the Experience Hendrix Tour, which performed Friday in Portland. It was the last stop on the West Coast part of the tour.

Hendrix died in 1970. Bass player Noel Redding died in 2003.

An employee at Portland's Benson Hotel called police after discovering Mitchell's body.

Erin Patrick, a deputy medical examiner, said Mitchell apparently died of natural causes. An autopsy was planned.

"He was a wonderful man, a brilliant musician and a true friend," said Janie Hendrix, chief executive of the Experience Hendrix Tour and Jimi Hendrix' stepsister. "His role in shaping the sound of the Jimi Hendrix Experience cannot be underestimated."

Bob Merlis, a spokesman for the tour, said Mitchell had stayed in Portland for a four-day vacation and planned to leave Wednesday.

"It was a devastating surprise," Merlis said. "Nobody drummed like he did."

He said he saw Mitchell perform two weeks ago in Los Angeles, and the drummer appeared to be healthy and upbeat.

Merlis said the tour was designed to bring together veteran musicians who had known Hendrix — like Mitchell — and younger artists, such as Grammy-nominated winner Jonny Lang, who have been influenced by him.

Blues-rock guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd, who is 31 and was part of the tour, said Mitchell was to the drums what Hendrix was to the guitar.

"Today many of us have lost a dear friend, and the world has lost a rock n' roll hero," he said.

Mitchell was a one-of-a-kind drummer whose "jazz-tinged" style was influenced by Max Roach and Elvin Jones, Merlis said. The work was a vital part of both the Jimi Hendrix Experience in the 1960s and the Experience Hendrix Tour that ended last week, he said.

"If Jimi Hendrix were still alive," Merlis said, "he would have acknowledged that."

During his career Mitchell played with the best in the business — not just Hendrix, but also Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Keith Richards, Jack Bruce, Jeff Beck, Muddy Waters and others.

Mitchell performed with Hendrix and Redding at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, the U.S. debut of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He also was member of a later version of the band that performed the closing set of the Woodstock Festival in August 1969 — where Hendrix played a psychedelic version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the band launched into "Purple Haze."

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 1992. According to the Hall of Fame, Mitchell was born July 9, 1947, in Ealing, England.

Terry Stewart, chief executive of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, said Mitchell transformed his instrument from a "strictly percussive element to a lead instrument."

"His interplay with Jimi Hendrix's guitar on songs like 'Fire' is truly amazing," Stewart said Wednesday. "Mitch Mitchell had a massive influence on rock 'n' roll drumming and took it to new heights."

Hendrix, Redding and Mitchell held their first rehearsal in October 1966, according to the Hall of Fame's Web site.

In an interview last month with the Boston Herald, Mitchell said he met Hendrix "in this sleazy little club."

"We did some Chuck Berry and took it from there," Mitchell told the newspaper. "I suppose it worked."


source : http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hAB55HVz01BxrJUrwe7GMl3uSntwD94DOFHO0

Ex-Idol Paula Goodspeed found dead outside judge Paula Abdul's home


Ex-Idol Paula Goodspeed found dead outside judge Paula Abdul's home

A FORMER contestant on hit US television show American Idol has been found dead outside the Los Angeles home of Paula Abdul, the singer who stars as a judge on the series.

US news sites have reported the body of a woman discovered in a car parked near Abdul's home in Sherman Oaks yesterday was Paula Goodspeed, who had appeared on American Idol, one of the highest rated shows on US television, in 2006.

Goodspeed, who was apparently infatuated with Abdul, had been mocked by the TV show's judges when she performed Proud Mary in her audition.

Police said she may have died from a drug overdose and her death is being treated as a suicide, People.com reported.

"Ms Goodspeed's mother had gone to (the sheriff's department) to report her daughter missing, and advised them that she might be suicidal," Los Angeles police captain James Miller said.

"The sheriffs determined that Ms Goodspeed may be up in the vicinity by Paula Abdul's house. Our officers discovered her vehicle parked on the street, and found her inside. She was unresponsive to officers."

Abdul released a statement saying she was "deeply shocked and saddened" by the news.

"My heart and prayers go out to her family," Abdukl said, People.com reported.

Abdul's spokesperson said Abdul and her staff had known about the woman for several years.

When she appeared on the show Goodspeed talked about her fondness for Abdul.

"I'm a really big fan, and I made life-sized drawings of Paula. I've been drawing ever since I was a little kid, and my first drawing was of Paula Abdul," she said.

American Idol has emerged as a phenomenon since it debuted on US network Fox in 2002 as a spin-off from British television hit Pop Idol.

The series aims to unearth the best singer in the US through a series of nationwide auditions contested by thousands which are whittled down to around two dozen finalists, who are then gradually eliminated each week according to results from viewers voting at home.

Numerous winners and finalists of the show have gone to forge successful music industry careers, including Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson.

source: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/0,26278,24644884-5016681,00.html

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