Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New genetic subtype of lung cancer defined

ScienceDaily (Jan. 31, 2012) ? A report from investigators at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center has defined the role of a recently identified gene abnormality in a deadly form of lung cancer. Tumors driven by rearrangements in the ROS1 gene represent 1 to 2 percent of non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLC), the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. The researchers show that ROS1-driven tumors can be treated with crizotinib, which also inhibits the growth of tumors driven by an oncogene called ALK, and describe the remarkable response of one patient to crizotinib treatment.

"ROS1 encodes a protein that is important for cell growth and survival, and deregulation of ROS1 through chromosomal rearrangement drives the growth of tumors," says Alice Shaw, MD, PhD, of the MGH Cancer Center -- co-lead author of the paper which has been published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. "This finding is important because we have drugs that inhibit ROS1 and could lead to the sort of dramatic clinical response we describe in this paper."

The current findings add ROS1 to the list of genes known to drive NSCLC growth when altered -- a list that includes KRAS, mutations of which account for about 25 percent of cases; EGFR, accounting for 10 to 15 percent; and ALK, rearranged in about 4 percent. Altogether, known cancer-causing genetic changes have been found in a little more than half of NSCLC tumors. Originally identified in brain tumors, ROS1 rearrangement previously had been identified in one NSCLC patient and one NSCLC cell line. The current study was designed to determine the frequency of ROS1 rearrangement in NSCLC and to define the characteristics of patients with ROS1-rearranged tumors.

The investigators screened tumor samples from more than 1,000 NSCLC patients treated at the MGH, Vanderbilt University, the University of California at Irvine, and Fudan University in Shanghai, China. ROS1 rearrangement was identified in 18 tumor samples, for a prevalence of 1.7 percent; ALK rearrangements were identified in 31 samples, with no samples showing alterations in both genes. Patients with ROS1-positive tumors tended to be younger, never to have smoked and to have a type of lung cancer called adenocarcinoma -- characteristics very similar to those of ALK-positive patients.

An earlier MGH study of an experimental ALK inhibitor had found the drug suppressed the growth of a ROS1-positive cell line in addition to ALK-positive cell lines, suggesting that ROS1-positive tumors might be sensitive to the ALK-inhibitor crizotinib. This observation led corresponding author John Iafrate, MD, PhD, and his team to develop a diagnostic test that could identify ROS1-positive tumors. Around the time that test became clinically available, a lung cancer patient whose tumor had not responded to drugs targeting EGFR mutations was referred to the MGH Cancer Center for genetic testing. His tumor was negative for ALK but later proved to harbor a ROS1 rearrangement, and he was enrolled in an extension of the crizotinib clinical trial first reported in the October 28, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine.

"When he enrolled in the trial last April, this patient was extremely sick -- with significant weight loss and very low oxygen levels -- and was barely able to walk," says Shaw. "Within a few days of starting crizotinib, he felt better; and by the time we scanned his chest at seven weeks, the tumors had essentially disappeared from his lungs." Nine months after starting crizotinib therapy, this patient continues to do well. Additional ROS1-positive patients have been enrolled in this trial at MGH, at UC Irvine and at the University of Colorado.

Shaw is an assistant professor of Medicine and Iafrate is an associate professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. Co-lead authors are Kristin Bergethon, MGH Pathology, and Sai-Hong Ignatius Ou, MD, PhD, University of California at Irvine. The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and from Pfizer, which received FDA approval for crizotinib in August 2011.

Additional co-authors are Ryohei Katayama, Eugene Mark, Julie Batten, Eunice Kwak, Jeffrey Clark, Jeffrey Engelman, and Mari Mino Kenudson, MGH Cancer Center; Christina Siwak-Tapp, University of California at Irvine; Keith D. Wilner, Pfizer; Christine Lovly, Nerina McDonald, Pierre Massion, Adriana Gonzalez, David Carbone, and William Pao, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Pierre Massion, Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Rong Fang and Hongbin Ji, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences; and Haiquan Chen, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University.

Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $750 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. K. Bergethon, A. T. Shaw, S.-H. Ignatius Ou, R. Katayama, C. M. Lovly, N. T. McDonald, P. P. Massion, C. Siwak-Tapp, A. Gonzalez, R. Fang, E. J. Mark, J. M. Batten, H. Chen, K. D. Wilner, E. L. Kwak, J. W. Clark, D. P. Carbone, H. Ji, J. A. Engelman, M. Mino-Kenudson, W. Pao, A. J. Iafrate. ROS1 Rearrangements Define a Unique Molecular Class of Lung Cancers. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2012; DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2011.35.6345

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Source: http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/~3/IdQ_U1YTJG4/120131122500.htm

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This Bullet from the Future Flies Itself [Video]

What's that ghostly trail in the air? A bullet, flying and turning on its way to nail a target over a mile away. This is science fiction—4-inches long, and launched from the barrel of a gun. More »

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/f9e4Hs9vDK4/this-bullet-from-the-future-flies-itself

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Motorola starts selling WiFi Xyboards for $400 and up

What's that? You want an eight or ten inch WiFi tab, but failed to place your pre-order for one of Moto's latest earlier this month? Worry not, slate-seeking friend, for both the WiFi Xyboard 8.2 and 10.1 are officially on sale at Motorola's website, with free two-day shipping thrown in for good measure. As a quick refresher, the 8.2 comes in 16 and 32GB flavors for $400 and $500, respectively, while the same amount of memory in the 10-inch form factor will set you back $100 more. Sound good? Head on down to the source links below, credit card at the ready, and Moto will gladly send one your way.

Motorola starts selling WiFi Xyboards for $400 and up originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 29 Jan 2012 03:11:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceMotorola (8.2), (10.1)  | Email this | Comments

Source: http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/LWyrceci0-A/

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Japan finds water leaks at stricken nuclear plant (Reuters)

(Reuters) ? Japan's stricken nuclear power plant has leaked more than 600 liters of water, forcing it to briefly suspend cooling operations at a spent-fuel pond at the weekend, but none is thought to have escaped into the ocean, the plant's operator and domestic media said.

The Fukushima plant, on the coast north of Tokyo, was wrecked by a huge earthquake and tsunami in March last year, triggering the evacuation of around 80,000 people in the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

The operator of the complex, the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), reported two main leakages on its Web site on Sunday, one from a pump near the plant's office building and another from a back-up cooling system at reactor No.4.

"The cooling water is from a filtrate tank for fire extinction and doesn't contain radioactive materials," Tepco said of the incident at reactor No. 4. It added that some water from the other leakage had flowed into a drain and "we are examining whether this water has flowed into the ocean or not."

The Nikkei newspaper Monday quoted Tepco as saying around 40 liters had leaked from the pool-cooling system of the No. 4 reactor Sunday morning, with probably 600 liters of purified water leaking from another point. Water had also leaked at other facilities within the complex, the Nikkei added.

However, the Nikkei newspaper quoted Tepco Monday as saying that it believed no water had escaped into the sea.

"The leakage is believed to have been caused by freezing due to cold weather, and the leaked water included radioactively contaminated water that has been purified," the Nikkei said in its online edition, quoting Tepco.

"The contamination level is low."

(Reporting by Mark Bendeich; Editing by Kavita Chandran)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/japan/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120129/wl_nm/us_japan_nuclear_fukushima

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Hands on with iStopMotion animation app for iPad

iStopMotion brings the power and magic of stop motion animation to the iPad. Stop motion, and the slightly more advanced go-motion animation techniques, are what brought everything from the original

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheIphoneBlog/~3/gXanKrJyRwM/story01.htm

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friend says on call Demi Moore was convulsing

FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2011 file photo, actress Demi Moore attends the premiere of "Margin Call" in New York. A spokeswoman for Moore on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012 said the actress is seeking professional help to treat her exhaustion and improve her health. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2011 file photo, actress Demi Moore attends the premiere of "Margin Call" in New York. A spokeswoman for Moore on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012 said the actress is seeking professional help to treat her exhaustion and improve her health. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)

(AP) ? Demi Moore smoked something before she was rushed to the hospital on Monday night and was "semiconscious, barely," according to a caller on an emergency recording released Friday by Los Angeles fire officials.

The woman tells emergency operators that Moore had been "having issues lately."

"Is she breathing normal?" the operator asked.

"No, not so normal. More kind of shaking, convulsing, burning up," the friend said.

When the operator asked what Moore ingested or smoked, the caller replied, but the answer was redacted.

"Some form of ... and then she smoked something. I didn't really see. She's been having some issues lately with some other stuff. So I don't know what she's been taking or not."

When the operator asked the friend if this has happened before, she said, "I don't know. There's been some stuff recently that we're all just finding out."

By the end of the call, Moore seemed to have improved.

"She seems to have calmed down now. She's speaking," a male caller told the operator.

Moore announced in November she had decided to end her marriage to Ashton Kutcher following news of alleged infidelity.

Moore, 49, and Kutcher, 33, were wed in September 2005.

Kutcher became a stepfather to Moore's three daughters ? Rumer, Scout and Tallulah Belle ? from her 13-year marriage to actor Bruce Willis. Moore and Willis divorced in 2000 but remained friendly. Moore and Kutcher were photographed socializing with Willis, and the couple attended Willis' wedding to model-actress Emma Heming in 2009.

Moore can be seen on screen in the recent films "Margin Call" and "Another Happy Day." Kutcher replaced Charlie Sheen on TV's "Two and a Half Men" as is part of the ensemble film "New Year's Eve."

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/3d281c11a96b4ad082fe88aa0db04305/Article_2012-01-27-People-Demi%20Moore/id-c63a5259283e42c79090ff32726f9e89

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ECB remains divided over Greek bond plan (Reuters)

FRANKFURT (Reuters) ? The European Central Bank remains no closer to agreeing on whether or not it will take losses on the Greek bonds it owns, euro zone central bank sources said on Thursday.

Policymakers were widely split on the issue at a late night meeting on Wednesday, the sources told Reuters.

The ECB owns roughly 40 billion euros worth of Greek bonds and is now under pressure to join in with banks and others in the private sector that lent to Greece that are being asked to take write downs to help stabilise the country's finances.

According to two high level euro zone central bank sources,

ECB policymakers remained divided on the issue of losses or alternatives such as accepting back what it paid for the bonds rather than their full value.

"The ECB has not agreed on a position," said one of the sources, adding that "the discussion on how to deal with the Greek debt holdings is not yet over."

An ECB spokesman declined to comment.

The ECB's holdings of Greek bonds are the product of a controversial emergency program introduced in May 2010 aimed at stopping the debt crisis spiraling out of control.

ECB sources say the bank paid 38 billion euros for the bonds, 12 billion euros below their 50 billion euro face value, a number that an EU source said on Wednesday would roughly match what is needed to plug a recently opened up shortfall in Greece's debt deal.

Speculation that the ECB is considering taking losses on the bond as part of broader moves to stabilise Athens's finances was sparked earlier this month when ECB President Mario Draghi repeatedly avoided questions on the issue at the bank's monthly news conference.

Athens has long been in talks with private creditors on a voluntary debt swap deal that would wipe 65-70 percent off the face value of its bonds.

The International Monetary Fund is increasingly concerned whether the program will bring Greece back on track. As a result, the fund is pushing for further contributions by the public sector.

Greece has also threatened to force losses on private investors if fewer than expected sign up to the deal voluntarily, raising questions about where it would leave the ECB.

(Reporting by Eva Kuehnen, Marc Jones and Andreas Framke. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/eurobiz/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120126/bs_nm/us_ecb_bonds

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Friday, January 27, 2012

NASA Honors Fallen Astronauts in Solemn Ceremony (SPACE.com)

This week, NASA is paying tribute to fallen astronauts who lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration by holding a remembrance ceremony today (Jan. 26) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Today's Day of Remembrance will honor the 45th anniversary Friday (Jan. 27) of the three astronauts who died in a fire at the launch pad while training for the Apollo 1 mission. The tribute ceremony also marks 26 years since the fatal shuttle Challenger accident on Jan. 28, and nine years since the loss of shuttle Columbia and its crew on Feb. 1.

"NASA's Day of Remembrance was actually started after the Columbia accident," agency spokesman Allard Beutel told SPACE.com. "By pure happenstance, the three high-profile accidents at NASA related to astronauts happened at relatively the same time of the year, separated by years, but all within a few days of each other. It was decided that NASA would put aside the last Thursday of January ? whatever that date happens to be ? to pay tribute."

And while the Day of Remembrance is a solemn event, it also serves as a reminder to remain vigilant and careful in the pursuit of space exploration, he added.

"It's obviously somber, but it's also a time when people seem to renew their commitment to doing their personal best to make sure that there isn't another accident," Beutel said. "Spaceflight, by its very nature, is inherently risky. It always will be, but you do your personal best. There's a story that goes around NASA that says, 'it won't fail because of me.' Everyone takes that attitude." [The Apollo 1 Fire: NASA's First Disaster]

During the ceremony at the Florida spaceport, NASA officials, including Kennedy Space Center director and former astronaut Bob Cabana, will participate in a wreath-laying at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT) at the Space Mirror Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

"It's open to the general public and to all Kennedy employees throughout the day," Allard said. "Typically, during the ceremony itself, there could be in the neighbourhood of 50 to 60 people gathered around, but NASA employees can stop by the Space Mirror Memorial any time to pay tribute to NASA's fallen."

Apollo astronauts Virgil I. "Gus" Grisson, Edward H. White II and Roger B. Chaffee perished in NASA's first major tragedy on Jan. 27, 1967. A fire broke out in the Apollo 1 module during a ground test at the launch pad about a month before the scheduled launch.

An accident review board was unable to conclusively determine the cause for the fire, but design flaws were blamed for the module's flammability. The tragedy prompted redesigns of the Apollo capsule and agency-wide procedural changes.

Almost 20 years later, NASA lost seven more astronauts when the space shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after launch on Jan. 28, 1986.

Francis "Dick" Scobee, Ron McNair, Mike Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Judy Resnik, Greg Jarvis and NASA's first educator astronaut, Christa McAuliffe, were killed in the tragic accident.

An investigation into the disaster showed that exceptionally cold weather had caused a seal, called an O-ring, on the shuttle's right solid rocket booster to fail at liftoff. This allowed pressurized hot gas to escape from inside the booster, which damaged the attachment between the booster and the orbiter.

Seventy-three seconds into Challenger's 10th flight, the external fuel tank exploded and the orbiter broke apart. The seven astronauts were killed when their crew cabin hit the Atlantic Ocean.

On Feb. 1, 2003, NASA suffered another space tragedy when the space shuttle Columbia broke up over Texas on its return home at the end of the STS-107 mission.

Following the accident, studies showed that a piece of foam insulation from Columbia's fuel tank broke off during launch and hit the orbiter's left wing, damaging the heat shield.

Commander Rick Husband, pilot William McCool, mission specialists Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, David Brown, payload commander Michael Anderson and Illan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut, were lost when the orbiter's heat shield failed to protect the vehicle from the intense heat upon re-entering Earth's atmosphere.

In addition to NASA's fallen astronauts, the Day of Remembrance was designed to honor the deaths of others in the agency as well.

"It's for the astronauts, but it's also intended to be for all members of the NASA family who lost their lives supporting space exploration," Beutel said. "These are the people who died supporting the cause of spaceflight," Beutel said. "It's a time to reflect and reinforce that this is dangerous and difficult, but it's worth doing. If everyone does their personal best to not let things fail because of them, then it makes the entire cause of space exploration a little safer and a little better."

You can follow SPACE.com staff writer Denise Chow on Twitter @denisechow. Follow SPACE.com for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/space/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/space/20120126/sc_space/nasahonorsfallenastronautsinsolemnceremony

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Apple lawsuit is not targeting Galaxy Nexus unlock screen

Samsung Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S

The Korea Herald today is reporting that the unlocking mechanism on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is not the subject of a new legal complaint filed by Apple.

The Galaxy Nexus was first named as a target on Jan. 20 on Florian Mueller's FOSS Patents blog. But an unnamed Samsung official tells the Korea Herald that Google's first Android 4.0 device isn't on the list of supposedly infringing devices provided by Apple.

“We’re aware that there was a hearing involving Apple’s slide-to-unlock feature after our patent infringement case last Friday and a series of products in the Galaxy lineup were accused there, but what we’ve discovered is that the Galaxy Nexus wasn’t one of them,” the company official said.

The unlocking mechanism on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus -- what's in the unadultered Android 4.0 code, actually, and is not a feature specific to Samsung devices -- at the very least looks and feels different than the slide-to-unlock bar on iOS. In Ice Cream Sandwich, you have a ring that you pull to the left to launch the camera application, or right to unlock the phone. Apple's iOS has a button that you slide to unlock the device. (See our picture above if you've somehow never seen the iOS unlock screen before.)

Samsung has been the target of lawsuits from Apple for months now, with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 having been hit with a German injunction over its design (Samsung released a tweaked version recently to skirt the injunction) and is continuing to fight claims in the Netherlands. The process continues to slog on, and with Apple having just posted some ridiculous incredible earnings figures, we'd expect it to look to extend itself over any and all competition.

Source: Korea Herald; thanks, Chaz!

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/androidcentral/~3/0xCWcmb3cVk/story01.htm

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oral cancer virus affects 7 percent of Americans (AP)

CHICAGO ? About 16 million Americans have oral HPV, a sexually transmitted virus more commonly linked with cervical cancer that also can cause mouth cancer, according to the first nationwide estimate.

HPV ? human papilloma virus ? is increasingly recognized as a major cause of oral cancers affecting the back of the tongue and tonsil area. Smoking and heavy drinking are also key causes.

Until now, it was not known how many people have oral HPV infections.

Overall, 7 percent of Americans aged 14 to 69 are infected, the study found.

But the results are not cause for alarm. While mouth cancers are on the rise ? probably from oral sex ? most people with oral HPV will never develop cancer. And most don't have the kind most strongly linked to cancer. Also, tests for oral HPV are costly and mainly used in research.

Still, experts say the study provides important information for future research that could increase knowledge about who is most at risk for oral cancer and ways to prevent the disease.

The nationally representative study is based on 30-second gargle tests given to about 5,500 people in a 2009-10 government health survey. Their mouthwash samples were tested for HPV.

The results were published online Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

There are many types of HPV, but one in particular, known as HPV-16, is most strongly linked with oral cancer and also is a common cause of cervical cancer. That form was found in about 1 percent of people studied, translating to about 2 million Americans.

Dr. Maura Gillison, the lead author and a researcher at Ohio State University, said the study "provides us some reassurance" that most people with oral HPV will not get oral cancer. Millions may have oral HPV, but fewer than 15,000 Americans get HPV-linked oral cancer each year.

She said the study should prompt research into whether the existing vaccines for cervical cancer protect against oral HPV, too.

Gillison has consulted with Merck & Co., and GlaxoSmithKline, makers of HPV vaccines. Ohio State, Merck and the National Cancer Institute helped pay for the study.

Dr. Ezra Cohen, a head and neck cancer specialist at the University of Chicago, said the study provides important information confirming similarities in risk factors for HPV oral infections and oral cancer.

For example, oral HPV was more common in men than women ? 10 percent versus almost 4 percent; in smokers; and in people who had many sexual partners. People aged 55 to 59 were most at risk.

Sexual activity was a strong risk factor, including oral sex.

Oral HPV infection rates were much lower than previous estimates for HPV affecting the cervix and other genital areas, suggesting that the mouth might somehow be more resistant to infection, according to a journal editorial.

Dr. Hans Schlecht, the editorial author and an infectious disease specialist at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said the study provides fodder for researching how some infections lead to cancer and identifying ways to detect and treat HPV-related oral lesions before they turn into cancer.

Unlike non-HPV cancers easily seen in the front of the mouth, HPV-linked tumors in the rear tongue and tonsil area are often hard to detect.

Schlecht emphasized the importance of knowing symptoms of these cancers, which can include a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, ear pain and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.



JAMA: http://www.jama.ama-assn.org

Oral cancer: http://1.usa.gov/nryAUh

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/diseases/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120126/ap_on_he_me/us_med_oral_cancer_virus

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Shelby Tweten Overcomes Bipolar Disorder, Receives Golden Ticket

We're accustomed to our heartstrings being pulled on American Idol. We enter each early round audition prepared for some kind of moving story that producers hope will endear a contestant to the audience at home.

But Shelby Tweten still got us.

This Minnesota native was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in March, has suffered from depression since fourth grade and relies on singing with her mother to overcome the worst of her disease. It's an inspiring story and that, along with a strong voice, earned Shelby a ticket to Hollywood:

Watch the audition above and then check out another we enjoyed from Idol's Aspen showcase, as Haley Smith took us back to the 1970s.

Source: http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2012/01/shelby-tweten-overcomes-bipolar-disorder-receives-golden-ticket/

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bloomberg blasts use of movie during NYPD training (AP)

NEW YORK ? Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that New York police used "terrible judgment" in showing counterterrorism trainees a documentary-style film that says Muslim extremists are masquerading as moderates to destroy America from within.

Bloomberg said police have stopped showing officers "The Third Jihad," a 72-minute movie that has been branded inflammatory by some Muslim organizations and was produced by a conservative group called the Clarion Fund.

"Somebody exercised some terrible judgment," he said in Albany. "As soon as they found out about it, they stopped it."

The criticism was unusual for Bloomberg, who in recent months has vigorously defended the police department's counterterrorism efforts after an Associated Press investigation exposed a secret program to gather intelligence on Muslim neighborhoods.

Bloomberg said neither he nor Police Commissioner Ray Kelly knew about the film being shown.

"The Third Jihad" contains TV images of Hezbollah rocket attacks, children being held hostage by Muslim militants and a woman it says was arrested in Iran for wearing immodest clothing. It shows pictures it says were taken from Islamic videos and websites, including a doctored image of an Islamic flag flying over the White House.

It accuses Muslim extremists of posing as moderates and charges several Muslim organizations with being soft on terrorism. Speakers interviewed in the film say "Islamism is like cancer" and urge a "battle for our civilization."

The film is narrated by M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Foundation for Democracy, based in Phoenix. Jasser rejected Bloomberg's criticism.

"I could not disagree more," Jasser said. "For him to say that without contradicting any of the facts that are presented in the movie is, I think, careless."

The New York-based Clarion Fund did not return calls for comment. Its website, Radicalislam.org, says Clarion was founded in 2006 by Raphael Shore. Shore is a former leader of Aish HaTorah, a chain of Jewish educational centers.

The movie was shown on a continuous loop while officers were signing in for counterterrorism training sessions from October to December 2010, according to police documents obtained by the Brennan Center for Justice, a think tank at New York University. As many as 1,489 officers who underwent training, including 68 lieutenants, may have seen it, the documents say.

Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said that the police brass did not approve the use of the movie and that the decision to play it was made by a sergeant, who has since been reprimanded.

"This was never used in training, period. It was never authorized for use in training, period," Browne said.

The screening of the film inside the 36,000-member police department has been known for months, but police previously said only a few officers had seen it. They stopped showing it after a trainee complained.

The film was used as "intermission filler" and to "provide information for students during breaks to keep their attention focused on counterterrorism issues," Assistant Chief George W. Anderson wrote in one of the documents obtained by the Brennan Center.

Anderson wrote that he believed the video was given to police by someone in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Homeland Security said it didn't authorize the distribution of the movie.

This is not the first time a law enforcement agency has come under fire over its counterterrorism training materials. The FBI was criticized last year for presentations used in a training session that painted a negative picture of Islam. The FBI and other federal agencies pledged to review all their training materials.

Muslim activists said films like "The Third Jihad" are one-sided and teach police cadets that all Muslims are suspect.

"It's clearly a propaganda, anti-Muslim film," said Linda Sarsour, a member of the Muslim-American Civil Liberties Coalition. "It's overly dramatic, piecing together things out of context and threading it together to make this very false narrative about Muslim Americans."

A recent AP series detailed efforts by the New York Police Department to infiltrate Muslim neighborhoods and mosques with aggressive programs designed by a CIA officer. Documents reviewed by the AP revealed that undercover officers known as "rakers" visited businesses such as Islamic bookstores and cafes, chatting up store owners to gauge their views. They also played cricket and eavesdropped in ethnic clubs.

The surveillance efforts have been credited with enabling police to thwart a 2004 plot to bomb the Herald Square subway station.

Critics said the efforts amount to ethnic profiling and violate court guidelines on intelligence-gathering.


Read AP's previous stories and documents about the NYPD at: http://www.ap.org/nypd


Associated Press Writers Michael Gormley, Eileen Sullivan, Tom Hays and Deepti Hajela contributed to this report.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/terrorism/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120124/ap_on_re_us/us_nypd_intelligence

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Country Singer Lee Brice Escapes Tour Bus Blaze

Country Singer Lee Brice Escapes Tour Bus Blaze

Country star Lee Brice, who recently became engaged, had a scary near-miss after his band’s tour bus caught fire in Arizona. The fire started in [...]

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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/stupidcelebrities/~3/_P_pJvd3vkw/

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Marine accepts plea deal in Iraqi civilian deaths

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2012 file photo, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich arrives for a court-martial session at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Wuterich, accused of killing unarmed Iraqi women and children in the Iraqi town of Haditha in 2005, pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, reaching a plea deal and ending the largest and longest-running criminal case against U.S. troops to emerge from the Iraq War. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2012 file photo, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich arrives for a court-martial session at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Wuterich, accused of killing unarmed Iraqi women and children in the Iraqi town of Haditha in 2005, pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, reaching a plea deal and ending the largest and longest-running criminal case against U.S. troops to emerge from the Iraq War. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

Rosemarie Wuterich and her husband Dave Wuterich leave a courtroom where their son, Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, pleaded guilty to negligent dereliction of duty in his Haditha court martial trial, Jan. 23, 2012 in Camp Pendeton, Calif. It is the biggest criminal case against U. S. troops in the Iraqi War. Wuterich led the squad that killed 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Marine Major Nicholas Gannon, a prosecutor in the Haditha court martial trial of Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, leaves a court room at Camp Pendleton where Wuterich pleaded guilty to negligent dereliction of duty in the biggest criminal against U. S. troops in the Iraqi War Monday January 23, 2012. Wuterich led the squad that killed 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

(AP) ? A Marine sergeant who told his troops to "shoot first, ask questions later" in a raid that killed unarmed Iraqi women, children and elderly pleaded guilty Monday in a deal that will carry no more than three months confinement and end the largest and longest-running criminal case against U.S. troops from the Iraq War.

The agreement marked a stunning and muted end to the case once described as the Iraq War's version of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. The government failed to get one manslaughter conviction in the case that implicated eight Marines in the deaths of 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha in 2005.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 31, of Meriden, Conn., who was originally accused of unpremeditated murder, pleaded guilty to negligent dereliction of duty for leading his troops to disregard rules of combat when they raided homes after a roadside bomb exploded near their convoy, killing one Marine and wounding two others.

The Haditha incident is considered among the war's defining moments, further tainting America's reputation when it was already at a low point after the release of photos of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison.

"The case doesn't end with a bang, it ends with a whimper and a pretty weak whimper at that," said Gary Solis, a former Marine Corps prosecutor and judge. "When you have 24 dead bodies and you get dereliction of duty, that's pretty good defense work."

Wuterich, his family and his attorneys declined to comment after he entered the plea that halted his manslaughter trial at Camp Pendleton before a jury of combat Marines who served in Iraq.

Prosecutors also declined to comment on the plea deal. Marine Corps spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Kloppel said the deal was not a reflection or in any way connected to how the prosecution felt their case was going in the trial.

Wuterich, the father of three children, had faced the possibility of life behind bars when he was charged with nine counts of manslaughter, among other charges.

The prosecution implicated him in 19 of the 24 deaths.

The manslaughter charges will be dropped now that Wuterich has pleaded guilty to the minor dereliction of duty charge. As a result, he faces a maximum of three months in confinement, two-thirds forfeiture of pay and a rank demotion to private when he's sentenced.

Both sides will present arguments Tuesday during a sentencing hearing. Seven other Marines were acquitted or had charges dismissed in the case.

The killings still fuel anger in Iraq after becoming the primary reason behind demands that U.S. troops not be given immunity from their court system.

Kamil al-Dulaimi, a Sunni lawmaker from the Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi, called the plea deal a travesty of justice for the victims and their families.

"It's just another barbaric act of Americans against Iraqis," al-Dulaimi told The Associated Press. "They spill the blood of Iraqis and get this worthless sentence for the savage crime against innocent civilians."

News of the plea agreement came late in the evening in Iraq, just hours before curfew most cities still impose, producing no noticeable public reaction. Government officials didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The issue at the court martial was whether Wuterich reacted appropriately as a Marine squad leader in protecting his troops in the midst of a chaotic war or disregarded combat rules and ordered his men to shoot and blast indiscriminately at Iraqi civilians.

Prosecutors said he lost control after seeing the body of his friend blown apart by the bomb and led his men on a rampage in which they stormed two nearby homes, blasting their way in with gunfire and grenades. Among the dead was a man in a wheelchair.

Wuterich has said he regretted the loss of civilian lives but believed he was operating within military combat rules.

During Monday's hearing, he acknowledged he told the squad before the raids to shoot without hesitation, leading them to believe they could ignore the rules of combat. He told the judge that caused "tragic events."

"I think we all understood what we were doing so I probably just should have said nothing," Wuterich told the judge, Lt. Col. David Jones.

He admitted he did not positively identify his targets, as he had been trained to do. He also said he ordered his troops to assault the homes based on the guidance of his platoon commander at the time.

Wuterich also acknowledged in his plea that the squad did not take any gunfire during the 45-minute raid on the homes or find any weapons.

After Haditha, Marine commanders ordered troops to try and distinguish between civilians and combatants.

The prosecution had several squad members testify, but many said they do not believe to this day that they did anything wrong because they feared insurgents were inside hiding. Several also acknowledged lying to investigators in the past, leaving doubt about their credibility.

The prosecution was further hurt by the testimony of former Lt. William T. Kallop, Wuterich's former platoon commander, who said the squad was justified in its actions because the house was declared hostile. From what was understood of the rules of combat at the time, that meant Marines could attack without hesitation, Kallop said.

Legal experts say the prosecution had an uphill battle because of the delay caused by six years of pre-trial wrangling between the defense and prosecution, including over whether the military could use unaired outtakes from an interview Wuterich gave in 2007 to the CBS newsmagazine "60 Minutes."

Prosecutors eventually won that right but overestimated its value, analysts say.

Solis, the former military prosecutor, said the military should have pushed for an earlier trial to ensure witnesses' memories were fresh.

"Six years for a trial is unacceptable," said Solis, who teaches law of war at Georgetown University Law Center. "Delay is always to the benefit of the accused."

He said prosecutors may have been cowed by the Army's missteps in its handling of the death of former NFL star and Ranger Pat Tillman from friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.


Associated Press writers Barbara Surk and Mazin Yahya in Baghdad, and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/apdefault/386c25518f464186bf7a2ac026580ce7/Article_2012-01-23-US-Marines-Haditha/id-993d1e6aad3746ada3cea654bcf9733e

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Picture

'The Artist' and 'The Descendants' lead MTV News' nominee picks for the Academy Awards' top prize.
By Kevin P. Sullivan

Bérénice Bejo and Malcolm McDowell in The Artist
Photo: The Weinstein Company

In a few short hours, the conversation that has captivated film writers for months — "Who will be nominated for Best Picture?" — will become "Who will win the Academy Award for Best Picture?"

A new Academy rule once again changed the possible number of nominations for the top prize. What used to be a set number of 10 nominees now depends on the specifics of the Oscar ballots, and now the number of nominees can range from five to 10.

If it wasn't for that new stipulation, the announcement of Best Picture nominees might not have provided any surprises or drama, since five films are essentially guaranteed locks. Thankfully, the new rule adds an extra element of intrigue to an otherwise boring race.

MTV News' predictions for the Academy Awards' Best Picture nominees are:

"The Artist"
This is the name that should be read first, not just because it starts with "A," but because it will be the least surprising of the nominees. The silent throwback charmer "The Artist" has led the pack throughout awards season, and with its recent big wins at the Globes and the Producers Guild, things will only start to get interesting after this nominee is read.

"The Descendants"
Alexander Payne's drama about a family coping with the impending death of a mother and wife currently stands as the only real competition for "The Artist." A Best Picture (Drama) win at the Globes coupled with George Clooney's Best Actor win guarantee "The Descendants" will be in the running come Oscar night.

"The Help"
Though the film as a whole has not fared well with the guilds and critic circles, "The Help" is bolstered by its crowd-pleasing nature and two nomination-worthy performances by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. Despite an underwhelming win record, it's presence on shortlists should continue with the Oscars.

Martin Scorsese's 3-D family-friendly ode to filmmaking, "Hugo" swept up a surprising number of critics and guild awards and is the only movie that realistically could steal Best Picture glory away from "The Artist" or "The Descendants." Scorsese's win for Best Director at the Golden Globes could mean a big last-minute push for the legend's latest film.

"Midnight in Paris"
This past summer's surprise indie hit went on to become Woody Allen's most financially successful movie of all time. "Midnight in Paris" stayed in the minds of many voters despite its release date outside the awards-heavy fall movie season, and it falls nicely in line with the most feel-good set of nominees in recent memory.

Call it the "Social Network" effect. This Aaron Sorkin co-scripted drama about an ostensibly boring subject matter went on to become a critical and box-office success story. Strong performances from Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill certainly helped the baseball drama, but its excellent script and assured direction by Bennett Miller earned "Moneyball" a spot on the nominees list.

"Tinker Tailor Solider Spy"
This seventh spot is the most fluid of all, with "War Horse" or "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" as potential substitutes. Many Oscar experts, however, have felt that the surprise resurgence of the British spy drama "Tinker Tailor Solider Spy" will be the story of tomorrow's nominations. (Here's to hoping for Gary Oldman's first nod.) Strong critical reception, combined with modest financial success and the Academy's British vote could make for the category's only surprise.

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.

Source: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1677773/oscar-predictions-best-picture-2012.jhtml

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Video: Who is Mitt Romney?

Tablets, e-readers in 1 of every 4 hands now

Get an iPad, Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet over the holidays? You're not alone: Tablet and e-reader ownership increased by nearly double over the holidays, and more than 1 out of every 4 Americans now has one of the devices, according to a new study.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036697/vp/46107135#46107135

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Monday, January 23, 2012

NYPD begins testing long-distance gun detector as alternative to physical searches

As part of its ongoing effort to keep New York City safe, the NYPD has begun testing a new scanning device capable of detecting concealed firearms from a distance of about 16 feet. Developed in conjunction with the Department of Defense, the technology uses terahertz imaging detection to measure the radiation that humans naturally emit, and determine whether the flow of this radiation is impeded by a foreign object -- in this case, a gun. During a speech Tuesday, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the device shows "a great deal of promise as a way of detecting weapons without a physical search." Kelly went on to say that the technology would only be deployed under "reasonably suspicious circumstances," though some civil liberties activists are already expressing concerns. "We find this proposal both intriguing and worrisome," New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman said in a statement, adding that the scanner could all too easily infringe upon civilian privacy. "If the NYPD is moving forward with this, the public needs more information about this technology, how it works and the dangers it presents." For now, the NYPD is only testing the device at a shooting range in the Bronx, and has yet to offer a timeline for its potential deployment.

NYPD begins testing long-distance gun detector as alternative to physical searches originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 21 Jan 2012 07:08:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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