Thursday, February 28, 2013

Storm that buried Plains slams Great Lakes region

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A powerful winter storm that buried the U.S. Plains moved on Tuesday into the southern Great Lakes region, where it snarled the evening commute in Chicago and Milwaukee, created near-whiteout conditions and forced hundreds of flight cancellations.

Wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour (56 km per hour) hurled a potent blend of wet snow and sleet on north-central Illinois, southern Wisconsin and northern Indiana and Ohio, according to the National Weather Service.

More than 500 flights were canceled at Chicago's O'Hare International and Midway airports, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Those flights that managed to take off or land faced delays of up to an hour.

The Illinois Tollway agency, which maintains nearly 300 miles of highway around Chicago, deployed its fleet of more than 180 snowplows to keep the roads clear.

As the afternoon rush hour began in Chicago, blowing snow reduced visibility and created treacherous driving conditions, doubling average travel times in and out of the city on major expressways, according to

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation warned that much of Interstate 94 between the Illinois state line and Milwaukee was ice covered.

In Chicago, the city's public school system, the third-largest school district in the country, canceled all after-school sporting events, including six state regional basketball games.

The snowstorm may have discouraged some voters in Chicago and its suburbs from voting in a special election primary to replace indicted Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who resigned the seat in November citing health concerns.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service said the storm would continue to move eastward, dumping 3 to 5 inches of wet snow on Detroit overnight and into Wednesday morning.

It is then expected to move slowly into the Northeast, largely avoiding the cities of New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., but bringing snow to parts of New York state, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, said Brian Korty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"It's going to linger for a long time over portions of the Northeast," Korty said.


Parts of New York and Pennsylvania could get a "sloppy mix" of snow, ice and rain. Already, ice accumulations were causing sporadic power outages across higher terrains of western Maryland, eastern West Virginia and far western Virginia, said Erik Pindrock, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.

"It's a very multi-faceted storm," Pindrock said. "It's a whole potpourri of wintry weather."

In Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, where the storm hit earlier, residents were digging out.

Highways in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and parts of Kansas remained closed because of heavy and drifting snow.

Amarillo, Texas, saw 19 inches of snow Sunday night into Monday, the third-largest snowfall ever in that city, Pindrock said.

In Kansas, a woman died and three passengers were injured Monday night on Interstate 70 when their pickup truck rolled off the icy roadway in Ellis County, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said. Earlier Monday, a man was killed when his car veered off the interstate in Sherman County near the Colorado border, he said.

"We urge everyone to avoid travel and be extremely cautious if you must be on the roads," said Ernest Garcia, superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol.

A 58-year-old man and his 69-year-old sister died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Kansas City, Kansas, from a gas generator being used in their home because they lost power Tuesday in the snowstorm, said Deputy Fire Chief Craig Duke.

In northern Oklahoma, one person died when the roof of a home partially collapsed in the city of Woodward, said Matt Lehenbauer, the city's emergency management director.

"We have roofs collapsing all over town," said Woodward Mayor Roscoe Hill Jr. "We really have a mess on our hands."

Kansas City, Missouri, was also hard hit by the storm, which left snowfalls of 7 to 13 inches in the metro region on Tuesday, said Chris Bowman, meteorologist for the National Weather Service. Another 1 to 3 inches is forecast for Tuesday evening and nearly two-thirds of the flights at Kansas City International Airport Tuesday afternoon were canceled.

In addition to the winter storm, National Weather Service forecasters on Tuesday issued tornado watches across central Florida and up the eastern coast to South Carolina.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Missouri, David Bailey in Minneapolis, James B. Kelleher in Chicago and Corrie MacLaggan in Texas; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Barbara Goldberg, Nick Zieminski, Dan Grebler, Phil Berlowitz, Eric Walsh and Lisa Shumaker)


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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Pope's New Shoes End the Papal High-End Fashion Truther Movement

Pope Benedict XVI's papal shoes are, like the man who wore them, headed for retirement. B16, who plans to resign on February 28, will trade in the red, shiny, and expensive-looking slippers for a pair of pedestrian brown loafers presented to him by a Mexican shoemaker when the Pope and his?entourage?visited the city of?Le?n, in central Mexico, in March 2012. (Le?n is known for its enormous leather industry.) While it's understandable that the Pope would abandon his iconic footwear in retirement ? the shoes are a papal tradition, and on Thursday he will no longer be the Pope ? it also comes as a shock to the system, since his decision to wear those same red shoes led to accusations, not all of them fair, that the Pope possessed an unusual taste for luxury.

RELATED: First Native American Saint Opens New Chapter of Catholic History

These accusations began with the early rumor that the Pope's shoes were manufactured by the Italian fashion house Prada, which supposedly evidenced his tendency toward expensive labels. Shortly after his coronation, for example, the Associated Press?wrote:

Whether it's Prada and Gucci, or just fancy ecclesiastical tailoring, Pope Benedict XVI is his own man when it comes to dressing [...] the vintage styles have turned Benedict into something of a fashion celebrity. "Those red shoes have made quite an impression," said Vatican historian Alberto Melloni.

Even though the shoes?weren't manufactured by Prada ? rather, they were made by a Roman cobbler named?Antonio Arellano ? the rumor lingered, so much so that Reuters spent several paragraphs debunking it following the announcement of the Pope's resignation. One reason why the rumor stayed around was immediate precedent: John Paul II, who served from 1978 until his death in 2005, never wore bright red shoes. (Indeed, wearing them is optional.) So for many ? like Catholic blogger Andrew Sullivan ? the shoes seemed ostentatious. Another reason: the Pope?has been photographed wearing expensive?Serengeti?sunglasses,?a decision?the Vatican brushed off:

A senior Vatican official averred that the Pope's choice of products was "completely arbitrary". He's aware of the buzz," he went on, "but mostly he laughs about it because it's so absurd. What does he really have to choose? He doesn't wear a tie or a coat. The glasses he wears are the same glasses he wore as a Cardinal, as is the pen he writes with."

Benedict will also take on the title of pope "emeritus" ? perhaps former fake shoe enthusiast might work, too.


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Pro Wrestling Proves The Immigration Debate Is Over, Somebody Please Tell The GOP (OliverWillisLikeKryptoniteToStupid)

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A Look At The Copyright Alert System | RealTalkNY

Over the course of the next several days our participating ISPs will begin rolling out the system. Practically speaking, this means our content partners will begin sending notices of alleged P2P copyright infringement to ISPs, and the ISPs will begin forwarding those notices in the form of Copyright Alerts to consumers. Most consumers will never receive Alerts under the program. Consumers whose accounts have been used to share copyrighted content over P2P networks illegally (or without authority) will receive Alerts that are meant to educate rather than punish, and direct them to legal alternatives. And for those consumers who believe they received Alerts in error, an easy to use process will be in place for them to seek independent review of the Alerts they received. CCI and its partners have worked hard to meet our goal of implementing a system that educates consumers about copyright and P2P networks, encourages the use of legal alternatives, and safeguards customer privacy.

Full Story:

AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon, will be using the, ?Copyright Alert System.? After six strikes your internet service could be suspended.


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What else could I write? I don?t have the right. (Unqualified Offerings)

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McCain and Graham press Obama on border

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham pressed President Barack Obama on the importance of border security at a rare White House meeting Tuesday and came away praising the president's commitment to overhauling the nation's immigration laws.

"I believe that the president is very committed to comprehensive immigration reform," McCain, R-Ariz., told reporters afterward. "Now does that mean he's committed to anything we do? No, he has his positions on the issue as well, but I believe he is sincerely desirous of comprehensive immigration reform."

The praise from McCain and Graham, two leaders of a bipartisan Senate group developing comprehensive immigration legislation, came even though some other Republicans say Obama just wants to pursue immigration as a political issue to get Latino support and isn't truly committed to a bill.

The pair met with Obama as the White House continued to work to repair damage from a leak earlier this month of draft immigration legislation Obama was preparing, which he's said he'll make public only if the Senate working group on immigration doesn't move quickly enough. McCain said after the leak that it raised questions about Obama's commitment to the issue, and he also criticized the president for failing to communicate with Republicans on immigration.

Tuesday's meeting appeared successful in repairing relations. The White House had no immediate comment on the meeting.

"I think we'll have presidential leadership in a very productive way on immigration reform and with that we've got a very good chance of doing it this year," said Graham, R-S.C.

Both Obama's draft bill and the legislation emerging in the Senate would secure the border, improve legal immigration, crack down on employers and provide a pathway to citizenship to the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S. An important difference is that the Senate bill would mandate a secure border before a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants could begin, a linkage Obama hasn't embraced.

The senators discussed border security with Obama and said they were encouraged by what they heard, though it was unclear if they'd extracted any commitments.

"He understands we need border security that we can afford and Sen. McCain made a strong point about the border, and the president understands the working components of it, so I was, quite frankly, encouraged," Graham said.

McCain, who often speaks of problems along the border in his home state of Arizona, said he was "more confident after our conversation today" that Obama understands those issues.


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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tips On Just How To Be Efficient When Improving Your House ...

Performing home improvement does not must be a difficult task. Enhancing your home can be enjoyable and simple, and make your home environment a whole lot more enjoyable. Make-over the areas you like and make them into areas you love. Follow the guidelines below and you will be able to turn your home into your dream home.

Set electrical wire connectors on your tubes of caulking! Those little plastic covers that are included with the tubes often get missing! A commonly had alternative that works of the same quality or a lot better than the original top can be an electrical wire connection. Special colors can be even used by you for special forms of tubes.

An low priced method to give your kitchen a new search without spending thousands on new cabinets would be to give them a facelift. Install new hard ware and recondition them with oil to make them seem new. With respect to the substance of the units, you may be able to paint them too.

To save on energy prices, consider putting a number of small fluorescent lighting fixtures under your cabinetry. On the surface that is ideal for preparing food or illuminating a richly colored counter top or ornamental back dash region these lights eat up less power than your overhead light and can cast a great light.

Try changing the house figures outside your house for many easy home improvement. If the house numbers on your house are old, buy some new ones. Try trying to find contemporary house figures made from stainless, aluminum, or brass. Fit them with the final in your exterior light fixtures for greater curb appeal.

In regards to do-it-yourself, make sure to get prices from at minimum three different contractors. This is crucial as may the grade of work, because prices may differ considerably. Get yourself a good experience for the specialist by sitting yourself down with her or him and discussing your whole approach.

After some initial use, your kitchen cabinets can start to get rid of their appeal. You can shine up kitchen cabinetry by using car wax. Use some car feel liberally to a towel and wash your units down in a circular motion. This will make your units resemble they are new and shiny.

When it?s time for you to make improvements to your residence, engage the services of a reliable general contractor. Look around and make careful comparisons. A competent and sincere, general contractor, can complete home developments professionally. A contractor can also perform do-it-yourself work cheaper than you can control, by carrying it out yourself.

When signing a contract with a contractor doing home improvements, search for a place of business for that contractor. A clear sign that something is not around level with your builder is once they just give you a phone number for a contact and not a stone and mortar building address. It?s super easy for them to just change figures and start shop elsewhere If a problem occurs.

In regards to home improvement, consider putting solar power panels to your house. You may think it is to become a wise investment in comparison to the increasing costs of energy, while the upfront cost may be big. This will save on your monthly electric bills, because the most of your energy will come from the energy you?re saving. This is a great, natural treatment for running your house.

When cracks come in your interior walls or your ceilings, keep these things examined with a building professional as soon as possible. They can reveal greater, far more serious causes, while the most likely cause of such breaks is just a simple failure in the finished floor. You do not want to blithely paint over a break and just forget about it when it is actually showing base negotiation!

Raise the security of your home by adding motion detecting floodlights on the exterior of your house. These lights are ideal for domiciles with large front yards or those situated on dark streets. Mount these lights near your garage or shed. These lights will illuminate the area and decrease the threat of break-ins.

Take the time to look for inspiration in magazines, color swatches and whatever else that you can find, before you begin your next do it yourself project. It is important to plan ahead so that you don?t get stuck trying to do a lot of when it?s time for you to begin your project. This may make the entire process a whole lot more comforting for you personally.

Several things jazz up a residence such as for instance a well-maintained flower bed. Before you undertake a significant remodel, nevertheless, research your options. Find out which flowers are best suited to your home?s climate, soil type, and shaded places. This may ensure that you don?t spend your time or money by planting roses that aren?t appropriate.

Fit your fire extinguisher to the space where it?s being used. Along with could be the same old red but fire extinguishers are considered based on function. School B?s are best suited for the home but Class A?s would probably work well in the remaining portion of the house.

You don?t already have one and if you have a sizable backyard, it could be good for develop a deck before putting your property on the market. potential house buyers look at as an important entertaining space for family and friends a deck to hang out in in is because.

Do not place a television in your kitchen, If you should be creating the building of your dwelling. More time will be then spent by you in the kitchen, if you love television. This can put you in a position where you are convinced more, with the plethora of food around you.

As you can see, do-it-yourself can be quite simple. With the recommendations above, you can accomplish the task of turning your home into your private sanctuary, a place you are proud to call home. What?re you looking forward to? Go ahead and start that home improvement project you?ve been considering. cheap nautical cabinet hardware


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Monday, February 25, 2013

French photographer dies of shrapnel wounds in Syria

PARIS (Reuters) - A French freelance photographer working in Syria has died after being hit by shrapnel while covering an opposition group for Reporters Without Borders, the French government said on Sunday.

Olivier Voisin was following the operations of an armed opposition group near Idlib, in northwestern Syria, Reporters Without Borders said.

Voisin, born in 1974, was taken to the international hospital in the Turkish border city of Antakya but subsequently died from wounds to his head and arm, the office of French President Francois Hollande said in a statement.

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Stephen Powell)


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Chinese Arts Festival at the New Haven Museum ? March 2 & 3rd ? live snakes, paper lantern making & more!

The?Chinese Arts Festival in New Haven?is a celebration of the Lunar New Year, Year of the Snake, now rescheduled to March 2-3, 2013. Kick off with the Lion Dance Parade down Whitney Avenue at 10AM on Saturday, March 2. (Rain location: New Haven Museum)

The Chinese Arts Festival has been rescheduled for March 2-3, 2013.

Please register at this link.

See the revised schedule here.

Thank you for your patience, and we are excited to prolong the celebration of the Chinese New Year into the spring!

About the Chinese Arts Festival in New Haven
The Chinese Arts Festival in New Haven is a day-long event offering arts and cultural programs for adults and children of all ages in celebration of the Year of the Snake.

The Chinese Arts Festival in New Haven kicks off at 10:00AM with a traditional lion dance on Whitney Avenue between Grove Street and Trumbull Street. Celebrate alongside the Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute?s lion dance troupe as they bring good luck and prosperity to the New Haven merchants and community members. Join us again from 1:00PM ? 5:00PM for a series of Chinese arts and culture workshops and demonstrations, including presentations and performances of traditional Chinese instruments by the EastRiver Ensemble, a Peacock Dance demonstration by Dai ethnic tribe dancer Xi Wang, a snake petting zoo, a Tai Chi workshop with Grandmaster Aiping Cheng, opportunities to learn traditional Chinese dances with Yale dance troupes, a master painting demonstration with Chinese landscape artist Sun Dawei, Chinese calligraphy and papercutting sessions, a Yale-China Fireside Chat with Beijing-based culinary author Audra Ang, and opportunities to learn about Chinese New Year celebrations. Each of the twelve exhibits and workshops presents an opportunity to engage in some of the classic Chinese arts.

The Snake is one of twelve designated animals celebrated as part of the Chinese calendar based on the lunar calendar. The Year of the Snake begins on February 10, 2013 and ends on January 30, 2014.

The venue locations for the Chinese Arts Festival in New Haven are: Henry R. Luce Hall at Yale University (34 Hillhouse Avenue), New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Avenue), and Yale-China Association (442 Temple Street). All events are free and open to the public, but registration is required.?To register, click here.?You can also download a?full schedule of events. For questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at? call (203) 432-3427.

This event is sponsored by the Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University,
New Haven Museum, and Yale-China Association.

Special thanks to Yale Programs in International Educational Resources.


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Robbie Lawler?s ground and pound gives him UFC 157 upset win over Josh Koscheck

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Robbie Lawler came back to the UFC with a big win as he knocked out Josh Koscheck on Saturday at UFC 157.

Koscheck used wrestling early on to control Lawler, but it backfired. Lawler took top position and then unleashed a bevy of punches on Koscheck until the fight was stopped at 3:57.

?I felt so good tonight; I?m not surprised it went that way. It wasn?t easy, but it wasn?t hard, either. I hit him very hard, the referee was right to stop it. I whacked him, man. Hard! He was doing nothing but laying down taking big shots," Lawler said after the fight.

[Also: Ronda Rousey survives UFC debut, wins via first-round arm bar]

This was Lawler's first fight in the UFC since 2004. He fought as a middleweight in Strikeforce for many years, but returned to the UFC as a welterweight. The smaller weight class suited him, and he picked up his 20th win on Saturday night.

For Koscheck, it's his second loss in a row. He once fought Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title, but is 2-2 since losing to GSP. At 35 years old, it will be tough for the NCAA Division I champ at Edinboro to return to the top of his division.

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
? Watch: Floyd Mayweather's college football betting secret
? Michael Jordan gets minor league offer
? Alex Smith on the trading block in Indy
? Wake Forest knocks off No. 2 Miami


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U.S. Justice, Gulf states crafting BP spill settlement

(Reuters) - The U.S. government and Gulf Coast states are considering offering BP Plc a deal under which it pays $16 billion to settle civil suits stemming from the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The deal would cover the company's potential penalties under the Clean Water Act and payments under the Natural Resources Damage Assessment, the newspaper said, citing sources familiar with the discussions.

It was unclear if the deal has been formally offered to BP. The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment.

A settlement could avert a bruising courtroom battle over the worst ever U.S. offshore oil spill slated to start on Monday in New Orleans, although the trial may begin as the terms of the deal are hammered out.

A settlement would also put a solid number on BP's costs under the Clean Water Act, which range from $4.5 billion to $17.5 billion, as well as potential natural resources damage assessments to the states under the Oil Pollution Act.

"BP doesn't talk about possible offers or negotiations, but I can tell you we are ready for trial and looking forward to the opportunity to present our case starting Monday," BP spokesman Geoff Morrell said when contacted by Reuters.

BP has spent or committed $37 billion on cleanup, restoration, payouts, settlements and fines. That includes an estimated $8.5 billion deal with most plaintiffs and a record $4.5 billion in penalties, and a guilty plea to 14 criminal counts to resolve criminal charges from the Justice Department and civil claims from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

BP has said it would settle on "reasonable terms," but was prepared to go to trial if the demands were "excessive and not based on reality."

(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Vicki Allen and Gunna Dickson)


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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Did Nintendo benefit from releasing the Wii U before Microsoft and Sony?

Many people would already consider the Wii U a failure based on the January NPD numbers. Doom and gloom is the order of the day, very similar to the way annalists chronicled the demise of the 3DS early on in its lifecycle. Clearly Nintendo benefited by launching the 3DS before the Sony Playstation Vita, judging by the latest sales data, but can the same be said for the Wii U?

What do you think? Did Nintendo do right by releasing the Wii U ahead of Microsoft and Sony?

Releasing a console first doesn?t necessarily mean success for any console manufacturer. One only needs to look to the Dreamcast for the evidence of that. The Wii U surely hasn?t gained as much traction as Nintendo has hoped in the few months that the console has been on the market. The lack of new, compelling games has certainly hurt the console in the short term, but does that mean that the console will be a failure in the long run? Not in the slightest. Why is that? Because Nintendo is Nintendo.

Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Star Fox, Pikmin, Metroid. All of these properties are games that will only be possible on Nintendo consoles. Nintendo banks on this, they understand that there are consumers who only buy Nintendo consoles to play Nintendo games. This has been the case since the beginning of time. I have a buddy that only has 6 games for his Wii. Wii Sports (which barely counts), Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Donkey Kong Country Returns. All Nintendo published titles, and all arguably some of the best games released this generation.

In this aspect, Nintendo could certainly survive solely off of their own independent properties if it was completely necessary. Sure third party titles such as Boom Blox and Carnival Games certainly help the bottom line, but if it comes down to it, Nintendo could survive on their own.

So should Nintendo have waited to release the Wii U until Sony and Microsoft revealed their plans for their own home consoles? Not necessarily. Sure they may have been able to better understand what the PS4 and Xbox 720 were able to produce spec-wise, but Nintendo hasn?t necessarily been concerned with that as of late. What is really important to Nintendo is that their consoles offer the best experience to play Nintendo games on, and in that aspect they have consistently succeeded.

If I only played Nintendo published games on the Wii U, I would be a happy camper. If the Wii U doesn?t sell quite as well as the next Microsoft or Sony box, I won?t lose much sleep. All that matters to me is that I get to play the next Zelda and Mario title on the console, and that they are as excellent as their predecessors were.

Eugene Allen

Eugene Allen enjoys long walks on the beach.....the beaches of Normandy because he's a gamer! All kidding aside, there isn't much to me. I like to play and write about video games, I hope to get a job doing so when I grow up.....anyone hiring?

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Banksy street murals pulled from Miami auction after controversy

MIAMI (Reuters) - Two spray-paint murals by the elusive street artist Banksy, including one that vanished last week from a North London wall, were pulled in the 11th hour from a Miami auction on Saturday.

Who owns the London mural remains a mystery, as does how it ended up in a Miami auction house shortly after going missing.

Frederic Thut, owner of Fine Art Auctions Miami, which had been due to sell the piece, has said his firm did "all necessary due diligence" to establish the ownership of the work. But the London piece and another Banksy mural were pulled nevertheless.

"Although there are no legal issues whatsoever regarding the sale of lots 6 and 7 by Banksy, Fine Art Auctions Miami convinced its consignors to withdraw these lots from the auction and take back the power of authority of these works," Thut wrote in an email. They had been due to be auctioned on Saturday.

The work at the center of the controversy was painted on a building occupied by Poundland Stores, a British retailer that sells various items for only a pound. The work, titled "Banksy: Slave Labour," shows a young boy kneeling at a sewing machine with Union Jack bunting.

The mural appeared in 2012 during Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee celebrating her 60th year on the throne. The Poundland chain was a focal point of controversy in 2010 because of allegations it sold goods made by Indian children as young as 7.

The Miami auction house has declined to say who owns the mural, valued between $500,000 and $700,000.

Banksy's trademark spray-paint stencils offering ironic social commentary are never verified, although they are hotly sought after by collectors.

Poundland was only a tenant of the property, and has condemned the removal via a spokesperson and social media.


Also pulled from the auction was a piece titled Wet Dog, valued between $600,000 and $800,000, owned by Stephan Keszler, a New York gallery owner who specializes in Banksy's work.

The spray-painted piece shows a silhouette of a dog wildly shaking water out of its fur, and was said to have been painted in the West Bank in 2006 or 2007. It was salvaged in 2010 by Keszler and his team on behalf of the property's owner, and he later purchased it.

"We pulled it because of the hype. We did not feel comfortable in this environment," Keszler said of the decision to remove the piece from the auction. "But I think we are very happy that an auction has tried to get Banksy's street works into auction. It's a breakthrough."

Keszler declined to answer whether he represented the yet-to-be-named owner of Slave Labour.

Keszler has come under fire from critics who say he is selling stolen art. He contends the works belong to the owners of the properties where they first appeared.

"Banksy's not asking you if you're happy with the work on your house. It's your property and you can do with this whatever you want without asking Banksy, so a lot of people they destroy it, they paint over it," he said. "Some people see it's worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, so they're trying to get them removed and they're trying to sell them."

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)


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Former high school football coach charged in 1996 cold case murders of Tennessee women

A former high school football coach has been charged with the murders of two 18-year-old women found stabbed to death 17 years ago in Tennessee, authorities announced Thursday.

Patrick Lamonte Streater, who is currently serving time for robbery in a California prison, was formally indicted Wednesday in the deaths of Tiffany Campbell and Melissa Dawn Chilton.

The charge against Streater, 37, brings an end to the 17-year hunt for the women's killer. The two were found stabbed nearly 100 times in the back on Feb. 22, 1996, inside a business in Nashville called "Exotic Tan for Men." Investigators pursued several leads over the years, but no one was ever arrested. Authorities said Streater was dating Campbell at the time of the murders.

In a press release Thursday, the Nashville Police Department said "investigative work and interviews," as well as "scientific evidence," led to the charges against Streater, though it did not elaborate on what, specifically, cracked the case.?

"The indictment against Patrick Streater is the result of countless hours of detective work by Sgt. [Pat] Postiglione and his team," Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said in a statement. "They worked diligently to uncover new pieces of the investigative puzzle, as well as put into place those pieces developed by other officers over the past 17 years.?

"I know that Gail Chilton and Deborah Edmonds, the mothers of the victims, never lost hope. Neither did we," Anderson said.

The Tennessean newspaper reports that Streater was a track and football star at McGavock High School in 1996. He later became a football coach of Jesuit High School in Sacramento, Calif.

In 2002, Streater was arrested and charged in California with a string of violent robberies involving elderly women. He is currently serving a 12-year sentence.?




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?An iPhone Saved My Life?: Soldier Recounts Unbelievable ?Good Luck? In Afghanistan

Last May, 22-year-old Joel Stubleski from Alaska found himself in a fire-fight in Eastern Afghanistan. If he hadn?t been carrying his iPhone in his pocket, he probably would not be alive today.

Stubleski was shot in the upper thigh, was bleeding heavily, and thought he was going to die. It wasn?t until he was airlifted by helicopters out of the area and medic cut off his pants that they discovered his iPhone still in his pocket ? with a bullet hole through it. ?The medics came up to me and they were like, ?this is the coolest thing I?ve ever seen,?? he recalled recently to KTVA in Anchorage.

Doctors later told Stubleski that the iPhone likely changed the trajectory of the bullet, preventing it from going deeper into his leg and hitting his femoral artery, which could have killed him.

The young soldier is still recovering from his injuries months later and as a memento uses a photo of his old phone as the cover for his new one. ?Some people are saying it?s bad luck,? he said. ?But it helped me out, so I think it?s good luck.?

Watch video below, via KTVA:


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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Wireless show expected to draw crowds to Barcelona

When the top executives of the world's wireless industry gather next week in Barcelona for their annual trade show, cellphones will take a back seat to talk of cars, electric meters and insulin monitors.

That idea of empowering new devices with wireless connections has been percolating for years. General Motors cars have had wireless OnStar connections for more than a decade. But the push is intensifying now that most people have cellphones ?and the wireless industry's future growth depends on it. That means the GSM Mobile World Congress, the telecommunications industry's largest annual trade show, will be abuzz with discussion of devices like "smart" meters that report a home's usage of electricity, natural gas or water back to the utility, and to your phone.

"You'll see more things that are 'today' things versus 'tomorrow' things at the show," said Glenn Lurie, AT&T's president of "emerging devices."

AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson will speak at the show, which runs Monday through Thursday. He'll be rubbing shoulders with the CEOs of Deutsche Telekom AG, parent of T-Mobile USA; Nokia Corp. and Vodafone Group PLC, the British company that owns 45 percent of Verizon Wireless.

Another big theme at the show will be Near-Field Communications, or NFC. Cellphones are great at communicating with distant people and websites, but not at connecting to things in their immediate surroundings. The process of communicating with a phone that's 3 feet away is the same as if it's 300 miles away. Now, smartphones are getting new chips that allow them to connect to similarly equipped phones to transfer videos quickly ? a capability Samsung has featured in some mildly salacious ads.

The chips also let phones talk directly to card-swipe terminals in stores, which has set off a race to organize and control the new world of mobile payments. For the occasion, most of Barcelona's taxi cabs have been outfitted with terminals that let them accept a "tap" from a phone as a mode of payment.

The show itself is set to be the biggest since its founding in 1995. The GSM Association, which organizes the shows, expects more than 70,000 attendees, and the demand for exhibit space has forced a move from the historic conference center at the foot of the Montjuic hill to a larger, more modern venue further from the city center.

Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer for the GSMA, expects the show to inject 300 milion euros, or $400 million, into the local economy and create 6,500 part-time jobs.

Last year, a massive protest against government anti-austerity measures closed the entrance to the conference center for hours. This year, only a minor disturbance is expected: a Wednesday demonstration by phone-company workers over a local grievance.

Those expecting the hottest new phones to make their appearance at the show may be disappointed. Phone makers have moved away from announcing their new phones at trade shows, preferring instead to host their own events.

"People try to move a little bit out of the noise of the event," O'Hara said.

Research In Motion Ltd., which is changing its name to BlackBerry, and HTC Corp. both held events in New York in the last month to launch new smartphones. Samsung Electronics, the biggest maker of smartphones in the world, is expected to wait until after the show to reveal the successor to its flagship phone, the Galaxy S III.

Associated Press


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Friday, February 22, 2013

Italy's Finmeccanica delays results over India probe

ROME/MILAN (Reuters) - Italian defense group Finmeccanica has delayed publication of its 2012 results after a bribery probe connected with the sale of 12 helicopters to Indian authorities, it said on Thursday.

After a board meeting, Finmeccanica said it had postponed the approval of its full-year accounts from March 12 to a new meeting to be held no later than April 30, to "evaluate the impact of recent economic events on its balance sheet."

Finmeccanica is at the centre of an Italian probe alleging that it paid bribes to win the 560 million euro ($750 million) contract awarded in 2010 to its Anglo-Italian helicopter unit AgustaWestland.

An Indian delegation is in Italy to collect evidence relating to the probe, which escalated last week with the arrest of the then head of Finmeccanica, Giuseppe Orsi.

The Italian investigation is putting pressure on the Indian government, already buffeted by a string of graft cases. It has also become a political issue in Italy ahead of parliamentary elections on February 24-25.

Italian prosecutors accuse Orsi of paying bribes to intermediaries to secure the helicopter deal back in 2010, when he was head of AgustaWestland. According to the arrest warrant, the Indian tender was twisted to favor the Italian firm.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday the government had nothing to hide.

Orsi has denied any wrongdoing.

Finmeccanica's executives met a senior Indian delegation in Italy on Thursday about the probe, and both sides said the talks were positive.

"A very positive meeting for our side. The company has assured us it will provide all the papers to satisfy our concerns about the allegations ... in the shortest possible time," an Indian official with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

India's defense ministry has threatened to cancel the helicopter deal unless Finmeccanica can give assurances that no bribes were paid. Three AW101 helicopters, manufactured in Yeovil in the UK, have already been delivered to India.

Italian financial newspaper MF said on Thursday the group would make a writedown on the Indian helicopters order.

Finmeccanica, Italy's second-largest private sector employer, was not immediately available to comment on the report.

The four-man Indian delegation, led by Indian Ministry of Defence Joint Secretary Shri Arun Kumar Bal and Central Bureau of Investigation official Mahipal Yadav, arrived in northern Italy earlier this week and has already met judge Luca Labianca, who signed off Orsi's arrest warrant.

The Indian official said on Thursday the team would also meet a high-ranking official at Italy's Foreign Affairs Ministry in Rome on Thursday as well as Eugenio Fusco, the Italian prosecutor investigating the case, on Friday.

Finmeccanica said in its statement its board had also discussed the sale of its Ansaldo Energia unit but no decision on this issue was taken.

The group has put Ansaldo Energia up for sale as part of an asset disposal plan aimed at streamlining the company and avoiding credit rating downgrades, but the sale process has dragged on for months.

Finmeccanica also named Daniele Romiti as the chief of its helicopter unit, replacing Bruno Spagnolini, who was arrested earlier in February with Finmeccanica's former CEO as part of the probe.

($1 = 0.7479 euros)

(Editing by Erica Billingham, Phil Berlowitz and Tim Dobbyn)


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and conscience- in the novel - #NewWriting - New Writing from UEA ...

Mr James, I presume









Henry James?s?Portrait of a Lady?is ? along with?Wings of the Dove?? his most morally searching novel. I recently returned to the novel for my seminar on consciousness, character and the novel on the Theory and Practice of Fiction course I am teaching this year on the?University of East Anglia?s creative writing programme.

There is a very famous scene which takes an entire chapter, Chapter 42, to play out. On the surface, not much happens. The heroine, Isabel Archer, sits by the fire in the house she shares with her husband, Gilbert Osmond. In the first part of the chapter her husband attempts to manipulate her into furthering the marriage of his daughter Pansy, Isabel?s step-daughter.

Osmond upbraids Isabel for her hesitation in setting in motion a marriage which she knows will not work. Her husband?s parting shot as he takes leave of her is that she ?find a way.? For the rest of the chapter Isabel thinks, and the fire burns low. The candles diminish. She stays there, alone by the fire, until dawn. At the end of the chapter, she rises and leaves.

In action terms, it?s not Die Hard. But this chapter is the fulcrum of the novel. Through the course of that long night, James sloshes through the turmoil in Isabel?s mind as she sifts through clues, realisations, fragments of understanding, discarded instincts, her own motivations, to try to understand how she has tilted her toward this moment of misery and ? she begins to understand ? betrayal.

The scene is demanding to read. It is dense with thought and recollection. It presents us with one of those controlled, supernaturally articulate furies of James, when he writes about a character?s inner upset. What it achieves, I think, even more masterfully than to show a woman grappling with her predicament, is to chart how the process of how Isabel Archer comes to understand consciously the things she already knew unconsciously ? about herself, her husband, her marriage, her lot. Conscience is thought to be a project of the conscious mind, but it might more properly reside in the unconscious, where it is formed by sparks and flares of instinct. Above all else,?Portrait of a Lady?is a dramatisation of one woman?s reckoning with conscience, and how, having discovered it, she must pit it against her desires and instincts.

In class that day my students and I considered this topic of consciousness, character and (although it isn?t in the seminar title) conscience? as a vehicle to think about our instincts, motivations and ambitions as fiction writers.

The novel is a way to investigate what it means to be alive. The novel can also be a form of abstract thought, given life and depth and feeling through the creation of people who don?t exist. We wondered, why are we bothering to do this? Creating characters, especially believable ones, is difficult. Living with real people and oneself is hard enough. But beyond this, what is our interest, our obsession even, with character. What exactly are we trying to work out ? or resolve ? through these people we create?

I thought of the book I have just written, and the book I am presently writing. Both are about values, particularly in situations where inherited corruption and abuses of race and history are present from the very beginning of an individual character?s consciousness, and how these mechanistic forces leave their imprint on the individual. They are both set in Africa, where one has many opportunities to feel the pressure of history and politics, and to consider one?s position. It?s impossible not to ask, in Africa, who has rusted so that I can prosper?

To get back to the project of writing a novel, conscience is not a necessary ingredient for consciousness, although if you reverse the two a different relationship applies. It is impossible for an unconscious being to have a conscience, yet so much of our lives seem devoted to the aestheticisation of our true conscience, and to the creation of a false self ? a betrayal of conscience.

In a recent article for?The Guardian,?Rachel Cusk?defends the kinds of creative writing courses on which I teach (Cusk also teaches, at Kingston University).? She argues that the popularity and appeal of creative writing courses might have less to do with the desire to become a published novelists, and more to do with people?s famished need to speak with and of a ?true? self: ?What is it, this book everyone has in them?? Cusk asks. ?It is, perhaps, that haunting entity, the ?true? self. The novel seems to be the book of self.? The would-be writer, Cusk suggests, is only that person trying to free him or herself from a prison of false expression which ordinary life has forced upon him.

The arena of self-expression and the arena of conscience are linked. Life as it is lived gives ample opportunity to discover your own principles, limits, fallacies, values and beliefs. But writing fiction is a way to extend the boundaries of that arena, and to think abstractly about what people will do and what they will not do, to draw the frontiers of empathy and understanding, and consider how events take us to inhabit simultaneous doppelganger selves, masqued alter egos who might, in the terrain of morality and assumption, never existed. In a nutshell: a good woman is made bad. The transformation is incomplete, though. She is both at once. The story is, why?

In class last week, we wondered if using the novel to explore conscience was now old fashioned. The novel in its modernist sense ? ie post-Conrad, Henry James introduced psychology (or psyche, as the better term) as a definitive factor in peoples? fates. Their goal seems to have been to explore the intricate fabric of choice, tendency, happenstance, circumstance, politics, fate, that collude to create what many of us think of as our fate. The external will of God, or some other determining deity, has played a very minor role in these investigations in the last fifty years.

Cusk does not say this in her piece, but her argument suggests that conscience might live in the writer?s idea of their true self, and that conscience risks being eroded by ?life?. Instinctively, I agree with her about the core self, and the need to speak the truth and be heard. This careful listening is perhaps what my Masters and PhD students get from us, their teachers, which is most of value.

But what is it about so-called ordinary lived experience that nudges us into dishonesty and betrayal of our core selves? Some of this is obvious: the doublespeak of corporate and bureaucratic life, the envy factory of Facebook and other forms of social networking where we put forward heavily edited versions of the self; the compromise of family life; the indignity of bodily failure, the weak-willed gamesmanship of human relationships. ?Writing feels like the opposite of being alive,? Cusk observes.

Writing is a way to get beyond ? rather than escape ? the self. This is one of its great emancipations. For having transcended the boundaries of the compromised public self, writers become mulish, durable thinkers, not easily manipulated, non-conformists with a simultaneously unbreakable and flexible sense of self. Mr James? may have agreed that could be worth the effort of our often lonely fascination with the dimensions of the human spirit.



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UW Oshkosh Today ? Whitburn honored by Madison's In Business ...

40University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Luke Whitburn ?98, vice president of operations at Drake & Company Staffing Specialists, is at the top of his class.

The sociology graduate, of Waunakee, has been named to In Business magazine?s 40 Under 40 Class of 2013. He was selected by the Madison-based magazine from more than 120 nominations based on the highest standards of community involvement, organizational leadership and industry contributions.

The 40 Under 40 award winners are profiled in the February issue of In Business. A special reception for the winners was held Wednesday at HotelRED in Madison.

While a student at UW Oshkosh, Whitburn worked as a teaching assistant for the late sociology professor Greg Olsen. ?While teaching class for Professor Greg Olsen, I realized my ability to teach and my ability to lead. Two talents I have been working on since that day,? Whitburn said. ?He was not only my professor but also a mentor as I entered the workforce in January 1998.?

At Drake & Company, Whitburn executes strategic planning to increase profitability, productivity and efficiency throughout the company?s operations. He also provides strategic sales and operations support for a variety of the company?s clients.

His previous experience includes working as business development director for Adtec and as a branch manager for ManpowerGroup.

Outside the work day, Whitburn has spent countless hours volunteering for the West Side Coalition on Aging.

?Since 1990, I have been helping out with everything from home chores to shoveling driveways and from helping manage bills and assisting in moving to driving folks to doctor?s appointments,? Whitburn said. ?I find that our youth today need to really understand the importance of their elders.?

In addition, Whitburn and his wife, Alicia, have worked on a six-year forest restoration project that has included the U.S. Forestry Service and the Boy Scouts.

?My true passion is spending time with my wife on our 80-acre property in Upper Michigan,? he said. ?We harvest more than 1.2 million tons of timber and have planted more than 10,000 trees in the past six years.?

Learn more about the 40 Under 40 awards.

Read more:


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Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton went on a Charlotte radio station to help a US Air Force member stationed in New Mexico propos...

SbB LIVE FROM LA (Feb 20, 2013 @ 10:37pm ET)

9:00 PM: Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton went on a Charlotte radio station to help a U.S. Air Force member stationed in New Mexico propose to his girlfriend over the phone.

8:45 PM: John Ireland of 710 ESPN LA reports KCAL-TV will be showing live coverage of Thursday's memorial service for Lakers owner Jerry Buss.

8:30 PM: NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders tweeted on Wednesday: "Okay yall im just getting out of court today ex fighting My PRENUP like (Manny) Pacquiao. Whats all this talk about who's the best corner n the game"

8:15 PM: Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price said he wouldn't want to play for the New York Yankees because of the team's rules against facial hair: "I wouldn't sign a long-term deal there. Those rules, that's old-school baseball. I was born in '85. That's not for me. That's not something I want to be a part of."

8:00 PM: Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen has been suspended one game by the NHL for a hit to the back of the head of Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa during Tuesday's game.

7:45 PM: Boise State plans to name its new football complex after former athletic director Gene Bleymaier, who served the school for 29 years. Bleymeier has the famous blue turf installed at Bronco Stadium, but was fired in August 2011 due to NCAA violations.

7:30 PM: Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith has received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, charging him with "failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance" during his time coaching the Miami Hurricanes.

7:15 PM: Josh Level, a 17-year-old basketball player for New Garden Friends School in North Carolina, died after collapsing during a game Tuesday night.

7:00 PM: The agent for Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto says team won't allow Cueto to play in the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has been named to Canada's WBC roster, although that doesn't mean he'll definitely play.

6:45 PM: Former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Dwight Freeney admitted that he was "a little disappointed" the team didn't try to re-sign him: "I figured they would offer me something low and I would just accept it, go the last few years and retire a Colt and that would be it. That didn't happen."

6:30 PM: New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was sentenced to 12 months parole & 50 hours community service after pleading no contest to DUI charges from his arrest in Tampa last August. Pineda was also fined $500 and has his driver's license revoked for six months.

6:15 PM: TMZ reports that WWE wrestler Jack Swagger was arrested on DUI & pot possession charges following a "Smackdown" taping in Biloxi, Mississippi Tuesday night.

6:00 PM: Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman & New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis got into a Twitter fight on Wednesday. Sherman claimed he's a better CB than Revis, with Revis responding: "I never seen a man before run his mouth so much like (a) girl."

5:45 PM: 29-year-old amateur boxer Jerimiah Moen died Wednesday morning after collapsing during a bout in East Grand Forks, Minnesota on Saturday.

5:30 PM: ESPN president John Skipper says his network is "comfortable" with Ray Lewis' history after hiring the former Baltimore Ravens linebacker as an NFL analyst.


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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Irish government sells Irish Life personal finance to Great-West ...

Minister for Finance confirms historic transaction and that Irish jobs at the company will be saved

Published Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 7:56 AM

Updated Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 7:56 AM

Fine Gael Minister for Finance Michael Noonan

Fine Gael Minister for Finance Michael Noonan

Photo by Google Images

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has confirmed that an agreement of the sale of Irish Life to Great-West Lifeco (Canada Life) has been reached, to the sum of $1.7 billion (?1.3 bn). An additional dividend of ?40 million is being paid to the State prior to completion.

The agreement is conditional, most notably on receipt of regulatory approvals, which are customary in a deal of this nature.

Welcoming the agreement, Minister Noonan said the ?deal is the first time during this crisis that a company in which we have invested has been returned fully to private ownership. This is a historic transaction and provides the Irish taxpayer with a full return on its investment in Irish Life.

?The Irish economy is entering its third consecutive year of growth, our deficit is on a downward trajectory and we are beginning to attract the levels of investment required to create jobs and to make a full return to the markets.

?Great-West Lifeco?s Irish business, Canada Life (Ireland), is already a significant employer and is the largest Canadian employer in the State. Today?s investment by a company of their stature is a significant vote of confidence in the Irish economy and I am sure that this will lead to further investment.?

The Minister added ?Irish Life manages approximately one million policies, with over ?37 billion of assets under management and employs 2,200 people in Ireland. The financial strength of Great-West Lifeco will be of great benefit to the life assurance sector in Ireland. I would like to take this opportunity to wish Great-West Lifeco and Irish Life every success in the future.?


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Ann Wilson, Cambria GOP leader, dies at 47

JOHNSTOWN ? One of the most influential and respected people in local Republican Party politics died late Tuesday at Windber Hospice.

Ann Wilson was chairwoman of Cambria County?s GOP committee and the only Republican on Johnstown City Council at the time of her passing, following a short battle against an aggressive cancer.

She was 47.

?It?s a terrible tragedy,? said her husband, Bill Wilson.

Wilson, a mother of three children, died from melanoma that spread to her brain, liver and lungs. She was first diagnosed in mid-November after experiencing blurred vision and headaches.

?It came out of the blue,? Bill Wilson said.

?She battled.?

The 8th Ward resident started as a party volunteer and eventually became the county chairwoman in 2011.

She succeeded Robert A. Gleason Jr., who left the local position because of his increased responsibilities as the state party chairman and as a member of the Republican National Committee?s budget panel.

?On a personal note, Ann was a dear friend and colleague, and I have always admired her devotion to her family and her friends,? Gleason said.

?She was a wonderful person who will be missed dearly. Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband, Bill, and their children.?

In recent years, she helped Republicans regain the majority on the Cambria County Board of Commissioners, supported Keith Rothfus? successful bid for Pennsylvania?s 12th district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and served as Sen. John McCain?s county chairwoman during his 2008 presidential campaign.

?I was very sad to learn about the passing of Ann Wilson,? Rothfus said.

?She was a tremendous leader and tireless advocate for her community. My thoughts and prayers are with the Wilson family.?

On the statewide level, Gov. Tom Corbett appointed her to the Pennsylvania Commission for Women in 2012.

?She was able to balance her career and family and do all the things women need to do today,? said Republican Kathy Holtzman, a former county commissioner.

Wilson first ran for council in 2005. She was the top vote-getter despite facing a 2-to-1 Democratic edge in registration. Wilson felt she offered a ?fresh perspective? to the board as a working mom.

?I don?t know that anybody really represents the working families,? Wilson said? during her first campaign.

?I think that women are underrepresented.?

She also served as Johnstown?s deputy mayor.

?Ann was a very special young lady, high energy, very personable friend,? said Johnstown City Councilman Pete Vizza, a Democrat. ?I?ve known her a long time. We go way back with our relationship with the political parties. I have the utmost admiration for her. She?s a good person, a good mom. It was an honor to work with her on a variety of things.?

Wilson?s current council term was set to expire in January 2014.

She worked as a marketing director for The Gleason Agency.

Tribune-Democrat reporter David Hurst contributed to this story.


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Cracking the code of rhino poaching (Reuters)

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