Friday, May 3, 2013

Stupid Celebs Exclusive: One-on-One with Game of Thrones? Sibel Kekilli

Stupid Celebs Exclusive: One-on-One with Game of Thrones’ Sibel Kekilli

sibel kekilliThe latest hit show on HBO, ?Game of Thrones,? has been gaining a legion of fans. And every single one is glued to the television on Sunday nights. I know, it?s that good! Well, guess what? I got to snag an interview with one of the actors on the critically acclaimed show! Sibel Kekilli, who ...

Stupid Celebs Exclusive: One-on-One with Game of Thrones’ Sibel Kekilli Stupid Celebrities Gossip Stupid Celebrities Gossip News


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Damian Lillard is NBA Rookie of the Year

FILE- In this Dec. 22, 2012, file photo, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard calls out a play during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Portland, Ore. The Trail Blazers are expected to announce Lillard as the league's Rookie of the Year on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

FILE- In this Dec. 22, 2012, file photo, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard calls out a play during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Portland, Ore. The Trail Blazers are expected to announce Lillard as the league's Rookie of the Year on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

FILE- In this March 2, 2013, file photo, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore. The Trail Blazers are expected to announce Wednesday, May 1, 2013, Lillard as the league's Rookie of the Year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

FILE- In this Dec. 13, 2012, file photo, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, battles for a loose ball with San Antonio Spurs forward Danny Green during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore. The Trail Blazers are expected to announce Lillard as the league's Rookie of the Year on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard sits on the floor after losing the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Lillard scored 21 points as the Warriors won 99-88. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

(AP) ? It's unanimous: Damian Lillard is the NBA's Rookie of the Year.

No, it never was in question.

Lillard, the sixth overall pick in last June's draft out of Weber State, led all rookies with a 19-point scoring average. He also averaged 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds, playing in all 82 games this season.

He broke Stephen Curry's rookie record for 3-pointers in a season, finishing with 185, and became just the third NBA rookie with at least 1,500 points and 500 assists, following Oscar Robertson and Alan Iverson.

And he swept all six of the league's Rookie of the Month awards this season.

"I can't stop smiling," Lillard said when he was awarded the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy on Wednesday.

Lillard is the fourth player in league history to win the Rookie of the Year unanimously, joining Blake Griffin in 2011, David Robinson in 1990 and Ralph Sampson in 1984.

All season Lillard has been winning accolades from across the league.

"He's fantastic, really fantastic," Kobe Bryant said after the two squared off in a game earlier this month. "A lot of players get hot, but he's got the moves, the patience, intelligence, the balance on his jumpers. He's the real deal."

Utah Jazz forward DeMarre Carroll is also a fan.

"He's a complete player," Carroll said. "He's a young guy but you've got to give him credit, he plays hard and the team really relies on him. He's not afraid to take the big shot. The sky's the limit."

At the ceremony to announce the award at the Rose Garden Arena, the smartly dressed guard spoke about his upbringing in Oakland and how it shaped him as a hard-working player.

He was disappointed when he broke his foot to start his junior season at Weber State, because he had hopes of jumping to the NBA. He redshirted, and came back the next season to earn All-American honors. He was voted the Big Sky's Most Valuable Player.

When he let Weber State know he was going pro, Lillard announced his first goal was to win Rookie of the Year.

"I came out and I proved it up," said the 6-foot-3 guard, who was proclaimed the team's franchise point guard from the start by Blazers general manager Neil Olshey.

"I know that Damian's best days are ahead of him," Olshey said Wednesday. "This is the first step in a bright future."

Lillard is the fourth Blazer to win the Rookie of the Year award, joining Geoff Petrie (1971), Sidney Wicks (1972) and Brandon Roy (2007).

"The thing you love about him more than anything else is he plays with a chip on his shoulder," Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey said: "He's one of those underdogs who went to a small school who is out to prove to everybody he's an NBA player."

Lillard has made a point of being active in the Portland community with an anti-bullying campaign. More than 6,000 fans have signed a pledge to help end bullying as part of his "Respect" program.

"He was never satisfied," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of Lillard. "He had well-deserved accolades throughout the season. He had milestones throughout the season. He was never satisfied."

Indeed, Lillard was already thinking about what's next.

"I think the best thing for me is to take it all in," he said. "Then tomorrow I've got to let it go. I've got my whole career in front of me."

Associated Press


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Samsung, BlackBerry devices cleared for use on U.S. defense networks

By David Alexander

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Thursday cleared BlackBerry and Samsung mobile devices for use on Defense Department networks, a step toward opening up the military to a wide variety of technology equipment makers while still ensuring communications security.

Lieutenant Colonel Damien Pickart, a Pentagon spokesman, said the department cleared the use of BlackBerry 10 smart phones and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets using its Enterprise Service 10 system, as well as Samsung's Android Knox.

"This is a significant step towards establishing a multi-vendor environment that supports a variety of state-of-the-art devices and operating systems," Pickart said in a statement.

The Pentagon said on Wednesday it also expected to clear Apple mobile devices using the iOS 6 system at some point in early May.

The move to open up Defense Department networks is expected to set the stage for an intensified struggle for Pentagon customers among BlackBerry devices, Apple's iPhones or iPads and units using Google's Android platform such as Samsung Electronics' phones.

The Pentagon currently has some 600,000 users of smart phones, computer tablets and other mobile devices. The department has 470,000 BlackBerry users, 41,000 Apple users and 8,700 people with Android devices. Most Apple and Android systems are in pilot or test programs.

The move to open up the networks to a broader array of mobile devices is part of a Pentagon effort to ensure the military has access to the latest communications technology without locking itself in to a particular equipment vendor.

To ensure security, mobile devices and operating systems go through a security review process approved by the Defense Information Systems Agency. Once their Security Technical Implementation Guide - or STIG - is reviewed and approved, the devices can be used on the network.

Pickart said the decision on Thursday did not result in product orders. But it will enable user groups within the Pentagon to purchase the devices most appropriate for their work as the need arises.

"We are pleased to add Blackberry 10 and the Samsung Knox version of Android to our family of mobile devices supporting the Department of Defense," he said. "We look forward to additional vendors also participating in this process."

(Reporting By David Alexander; Editing by Tim Dobbyn and Eric Walsh)


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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Rental Perks You Might Get -- If You Ask | AOL Real Estate

perks can come with a rental lease agreementBy Doug Mack for

Most apartments will never come with the same perks as hotels. No room service. No wake-up calls. No daily housekeeping. No fancy soap in the bathroom or mint on your pillow. But while your typical apartment lacks these instant-gratification niceties, many come with at least one or two alluring perks of their own. A yard, rooftop deck or other outdoor space for hanging out. A pool or fitness room. On-site laundry (or even that elusive, magnificent find: free on-site laundry). Most of these amenities are well-advertised as part of the landlord's sales pitch. Other perks, for various reasons, aren't offered, and you have to ask for them. There's no guarantee your landlord will say yes to any of these extras, but it's worth making the inquiry.

Parking and storage: In all buildings, particularly in big cities, space is at a premium. Income-generating use (that is, rentable space) typically gets priority over everything else -- hence the tiny studio apartment wedged into the basement corner, just past the mechanical room. Even in these buildings, though, there may well be a parking spot or two in back, or a storage room down a dank hallway. If they exist, however, there's probably not enough space for everyone in the building. So how can you grab one of the spots? It may be as simple as just asking. You may have to settle for putting your name on a waiting list, or you may have to pay a nominal additional monthly fee, but at least you'll end up with more options than you had otherwise.

Permission to have pets: You've found your dream apartment, and the price is perfect, too. But the fine print of your lease bars your four-legged companion from living there. Bummer. Don't walk away quite yet. As with all the lease terms, it's worth asking the landlord directly if there's any flexibility. Sometimes, especially if you're dealing with a landlord who owns just one or two properties, the lease may be all boilerplate that even the landlord doesn't wholly understand (and didn't draft). Explain that your pet is well-behaved and you're a good neighbor. (Now would be a good time to provide references from previous places you've lived). And know that even if your landlord gives the OK, you may be charged slightly higher rent or an additional damage deposit. If you're renewing an existing lease and decide to get a pet, you have an even better bargaining chip: You've already established yourself as a responsible renter. The landlord knows you, trusts you and most likely doesn't want to lose you.

Incentives for referring a friend: Your friend needs a new apartment. There's one available in your building. Sweet! Your pal gets a place to live, and you get a cool new neighbor. Don't forget one more perk: Some landlords and management companies offer referral incentives (say, $50 or $100) if you find them a new renter. Ask the landlord upfront, before your friend signs the lease, just so it's clear that you really did recruit this new tenant. And, of course, if your landlord does give you something, it's only fair to offer your pal a cut; at the very least, buy him or her a cup of coffee as you show off the new neighborhood.

New appliances/fixtures: That rusty refrigerator or broken sink in an otherwise awesome apartment doesn't need to be a deal-breaker -- if the landlord is willing to replace it. Explain your concern and make the case: The sink seems like it's going to fall and cause a flood, or the refrigerator's obvious problems are going to result in your calling the landlord to fix it on a weekly basis. Obviously, you can't go overboard: No landlord is going to redo the bathroom just because you asked.

Getting first in line for another unit: You like your landlord and your neighborhood, but not your current living arrangement. Your unit is too small, too big or too expensive. Something's not quite right. Ask your landlord to notify you of any openings in the building -- or any others under the same ownership -- and put you first in line for other units that better meet your needs. You may be able to upgrade without the hassle of application fees or a new rental deposit.

Lower rent if you sign a longer lease: A standard rental lease is 12 months; often, when you renew, the landlord will give you the option to sign on for another year or switch to month-to-month, which costs more but gives you more flexibility if you're thinking about moving. But what if you're quite happy staying put and have no desire to live anywhere else for the foreseeable future? Ask your landlord about longer leases -- not just one year but two or more. You might catch him or her by surprise (such leases aren't terribly common), but if the answer is yes, you could end up saving a nice chunk of change.

With all of these perks, the key is to ask nicely. Don't be too pushy. Not all landlords can or will offer all or any of the things listed above. And do your research to know what's reasonable; get advice and guidance from friends in similar circumstances or other tenants in the same building. You're asking for something extra, so you need to have the confidence and knowledge to make your case.

See more on Zillow:
5 Steps for Decorating Your First Apartment
How to Know an Apartment Is Right for You
Tips for Long-Distance Apartment Searches

More on AOL Real Estate:
Find homes for rent.
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
homes for sale in your area.
foreclosures in your area.

Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.


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Intel Iris: Integrated Graphics Are Finally Awesome

Intel's integrated graphics have taken plenty of heat over the years, and most of it deserved. But the climb to respectability that started back with Sandy Bridge is about to get a turboboost. Meet Iris, the biggest generation jump in Intel's integrated graphics to date. Get ready to game.

Intel's Iris graphics are going to provide a 2x improvement to 3D performance over Intel's current HD 3000, and HD 4000 that are wrapped into Ivy Bridge cores. Basically, games that would crawl, stutter, or not run at all on older boxes (like your Call of Dutys and Bioshock Infinites) are going to be up for grabs once ultrabooks with Haswell start rolling out.

Iris will come in two flavors: Intel Iris Graphics 5100, which you'll find on the Intel 4th Gen Core i7-4000U series for ultrabooks, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 which will be making its appearance on H and R-series chips that'll be packed into beefier laptops and all-in-one desktops respectively. So your ultrabooks are going to be up to gaming snuff (if you're down with sacrificing some of the crazier settings), but your more serious (and less portable) machines are going to get an even bigger boost.

Intel's boasting that 2x performance increase across the board from ultrabooks on up, and three times the processing power for all-in-ones with R-series chips and eDRAM high-speed memory. And of course, all this comes with support for things like OpenCL, DX11.1, OpenGL4.1, three-screen collage display and 4K UltraHD display resolution. Or in layman's terms: those games that are coming out now? Yeah, you'll be able to play them right out of the box, and with a decent chunk of the fancy settings turned on to boot.

Intel's Core 2 Duos were a big deal going to Sandy Bridge, and the move to Ivy Bridge brought even bigger graphic gains. And now with Iris, we're seeing the biggest generational gain ever, with increases on the order of 50 times compared to the Sandy Bridge cores we had two years ago.

And all this is just gravy compared to Haswell's big power-efficiency push. The new generation promises advancements that could allow for things like 24 hours of laptop usage on a single charge. But for the moment, Intel is playing those particular cards a little closer to its chest.

In the meantime, these beefed up graphics specs are icing on the cake. Sure, integrated graphics on an ultrabook aren't going to rival a dedicated gaming setup with discrete graphics, but this is a huge push forward that will finally let us leave Ivy Bridge's aging built-in graphics capability behind and hope into the modern gaming fray with nothing but our integrated graphics. We can't wait to see how these benchmarks hold up in the wild once these things get out there, but this is looking killer for what it is.


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Take Five with Marilyn Stablein, poet, author and bookseller ...


Albuquerque ARTS

Marilyn Stablein

Author of 11 books

Marilyn Stablein has the geniality of a native Californian. She possesses a self-effacing modesty and quiet attentiveness that figures in her work but that belies her accomplishment. She is the author of 11 books. Splitting Hard Ground, a poetry collection, won the New Mexico Book Award. Other books include the memoir Sleeping in Caves, and a collection of short fiction entitled The Census Taker.

She and her husband Gary Wilkie own Acequia Booksellers, 4019 4th Street, an excellent used bookstore in the North Valley and on-line at where Marilyn?s books are available for purchase.

ABQ A&E: Sleeping in Caves is an account of the seven years you lived in India and Nepal. It impressed me that you integrated Tibetan Buddhist practices into daily living. What can you share with readers contemplating the expatriate life?
I dropped out of UC Berkeley during the Free Speech Movement in 1964-5. My boyfriend and I had hardly any money. When I needed to eat, I taught myself to cook. When I arrived, I learned women could not expose the crotch, so my jeans had to go. It was a good time to travel. It wasn?t a frivolous experience but a way to gain knowledge. On an extended journey, every traveler should keep their eye, ear and mind open. Each river and mountain has a story and history to tell. Ask questions. Learn the local customs. Develop a poet?s eye, a humanist?s awareness.

ABQ A&E: Splitting Hard Ground is an ?ethnography of memory,? a collection that includes poems of grief, loss, letting go. Was it a difficult book to write?
It was difficult in that it took a long time?about seven years. My son was born and conceived in Nepal. He died tragically at 28. ?Grief takes a long time to process. After five or six years, I was able to gain more distance and wrote some of the key poems. I?m a slow writer.

ABQ A&E: Can you talk about your writing process?
I wrote haiku in high school. It was a short poetic form, accessible and portable.? Since I had no typewriter, it was the only creative writing I did while traveling. Later I?d expand and elaborate the work into poems and stories. After my son passed, I got back into poetry. You don?t really want to elaborate on grief. Recently, I?ve finished another book of poetry and a collection of essays titled Ink, Paper, Words and Text about learning to write, books that influenced me as a child, the arts of bookmaking and calligraphy.

ABQ A&E: The Census Taker reads like a series of vignettes about a female traveler in Asia. What writers have have influenced your work?
The humor in the stories emerges from the crazy juxtapositions of East and West. I hadn?t read any fiction about Asia, except for Herman Hesse?s Siddhartha. I?ve been lucky to have had good teachers like Donald Barthelme, James Welch and Raymond Carver for fiction, Carolyn Forche and William Matthews for poetry, and Philip Lopate for nonfiction. Since then I?ve gravitated away from fiction, because it?s hard to write about subjects like family, and fiction seems to require grittier, juicier stuff. I tend to a more reflective sort of writer?and slow.

ABQ A&E: Still, I?m astonished by your productivity. Can you offer aspiring writers any secrets?
I?d advise beginning writers to keep journals, write regularly, and don?t worry about editing at first. You can always do that later. Just write. I keep three journals: a writing journal, a dream journal, and a visual arts journal. In fact the title of The Census Taker appeared to me in a dream. As for social media, I only use it to publicize events. I don?t have time for anything else.??

??Richard Oyama is a freelance writer. His first novel, The Orphaned, is?forthcoming.

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How Exactly To Pick A Free Windows XP Registry Cleaner ? world ...

If your Windows registry makes your personal computer work slow, one good answer is really a free Windows XP registry cleaner. These free programs can be downloaded by you all around the Internet. Many can be bought at websites where you can down load a myriad of computer software. Only these software repositories alone could have dozens of free Or WINDOWS 7 registry cleaner programs available.

The developers sites may also have this type of software available for download. Usually there are other great programs available, If you can get this program direct from the makers internet site. And sometimes article along with detailed help information and more screenshots are available in this manner, to help you decide if you desire to decide to try the free Windows XP registry solution.

When you download any free application, be wary of the web sites you download from. Some web sites get free software and put things to it like viruses, spyware or adware and then publish it. These third-party sites often just have lists of pc software for down load without real information about each system.

Most of the best getting sites could have some data, a connect to the designers website, perhaps a screenshot or two, and something where people can rate and review the program. You want someplace else if youre at all in doubt of a site, seek out the free Windows XP registry cleaner or other software.

Next, you need to narrow down the options between the different programs available. Assess plans carefully. And read the explanations carefully, too. Several programs advertised as free software are in fact not free. The down load is free, however the system only has some working functions.

Before you buy free download this can be a try. You?re able to down load this program and check it out before investing in it. The fine print may say that its a test or that the download is free, but not the applying. This really is often called demoware or shareware.

True free computer software is called freeware and can be saved completely. The whole program works together with no restrictions, and theres no obligation for you to pay any such thing, when you download it.

One drawback with a freeware is that often it has things you dont want, like adware or spyware. Adware is created into the system. Some section of it demonstrates advertisements that you can click, while you use the program. In order that when you click the ad you visit the promoters site, this really is an active ad relationship.

Spyware is frequently included in free Or WINDOWS 7 registry cleaner application, as well. A third party is allowed by spyware to basically follow you across the Internet, tracking the web sites you visit and your purchasing habits. Spyware will slow a computer down.

Eventually, to ascertain which free Windows XP registry cleaner software you desire to use, study all the reviews you will get about the applications that interest you, and pay close focus on these reviews that report problems and mistakes, as well as the people saturated in encouragement.

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Why people quit and come back to Facebook

Apr. 29, 2013 ? With more than a billion active accounts worldwide, it can be easy to forget that some people don't use Facebook.

A study by Cornell University researchers to be presented this week in Paris suggests that "non-use" of the social networking site is fairly common -- a third of Facebook users take breaks from the site by deactivating their account, and one in 10 completely quit.

Of 410 people who responded to an online questionnaire, 46 reported that they had deleted their Facebook account. More than 90 percent said they were happy with their decision, and most stayed away. Others were not able to completely cut themselves off, but nonetheless reported taking breaks from using the social networking site.

More than one-quarter of respondents (110) reported deactivating their account, which hides everything they have done on Facebook but retains the data and allows them to reactivate at any time. Two-thirds of deactivators reported being happy with their decision; one-third subsequently returned to Facebook.

A few respondents reported using other creative means to limit their use of the site, according to the study's lead author, Eric P. S. Baumer, a postdoctoral associate in communication at Cornell. The study will be presented on Thursday, May 2, at the Association for Computing Machinery's Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Paris, France.

"Several participants asked their significant other or spouse to change their password, only allowing them to log in on a limited basis," Baumer said. "One participant described redirecting all email from Facebook to an email address that he never checked. Others installed browser plugins that blocked them from visiting the site."

The motivations for leaving were varied, from concerns about privacy and data misuse, to problems with productivity and addiction. Some respondents said they were tired of engaging in shallow or banal social interactions. Others left or suspended activity to avoid being friended by a boss, a student or former romantic partners, Baumer said.

"In some cases, people reported feeling pressured to leave based on an institutional status, such as being a military officer or parolee," he added.

There were also 75 people in the survey who reported never having an account. "While some respondents reported simply not having a use for the site, others provided elaborate lists of reasons they would not join," Baumer said. "Some did not want to be on display or live 'life in a global aquarium.' We also observed a sense of rebelliousness and pride among those who resisted Facebook."

While previous work has compared users and non-users of social networking sites, this study is one of the first to give a sense for the prevalence of non-use. It also provides some evidence that Facebook users who deactivate their account are more likely to know someone else who has also deactivated, and Baumer plans to further explore this potential network effect.

"Future work might examine whether models used to study the spread of technological innovations, infectious disease, or cultural memes might similarly help understand the social dynamics of technology non-use," he said.

The research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

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Jose Mourinho seems headed back to Chelsea

LONDON (AP) ? Real Madrid's Champions League campaign had just ended in defeat when Jose Mourinho spotted an opportunity to send a message.

Even though Madrid can still end a mediocre season ? mediocre by its high standards, anyway ? with the Copa del Rey title, Mourinho is laying the groundwork for a divorce, dropping heavy hints about a return to the English Premier League and Chelsea, the team he managed from June 2004 to September 2007.

"I know in England I am loved," he said during a news conference in Madrid after Tuesday night's elimination. "I'm loved by the fans. I'm loved by the media that treats me in a fair way, criticizing me when they have (to), but giving me credit when I deserve it. I know I'm loved by some clubs, especially one. And in Spain the situation is a bit different because some people hate me. And many of you are in this room."

Fans in west London were stunned when Mourinho's relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich broke down in 2007 after three-plus seasons that included league titles in 2005 and 2006 ? the first for the club since 1955 ? and the 2007 FA Cup.

Each of his successors ? Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez ? has been judged against Mourinho's achievements and allure.

Few, if any, have succeeded in matching his success and charisma, particularly not Benitez.

Installed as interim manager in November despite fan opposition that turned his early matches into a cauldron of hatred, Benitez's reign has underlined the need for a unifying figure to serve as the permanent manager. Benitez already has said he will be leaving when the season ends next month.

"One day, naturally, I have to be back," Mourinho said last month in London, where he kept a home. "Chelsea is in my heart."

Chelsea players are bracing for the return of the colorful leader.

"Everyone who loves Chelsea hopes Mourinho will return," Chelsea defender Bransilav Ivanovic was quoted as telling Serbian newspaper Vecernje Novosti.

Chelsea hasn't been close to winning the Premier League since Ancelotti delivered the title in 2010, and Chelsea isn't even assured of a Champions League berth for next season.

"With (Mourinho) we can be stronger as a club," Ivanovic said in the Serbian interview last week. "It would add another dimension to Chelsea, and it would be sure to help us become one of the main contenders for the title."

Mourinho has retained his swagger in recent years while appearing to tone down some the bravado, engaging in fewer conflicts with rivals and referees.

It's unlikely soccer would witness a repeat of the frenzied dash down the touchline by Mourinho at Old Trafford following a second-round win in 2004 en route to the Champions League title with Porto. When Mourinho's Madrid won at United in March, he even quietly headed toward the dressing room before the final whistle blew and then praised the losers.

Back at Madrid, some are trying to play down the impact of Mourinho's potential departure.

"It doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is Real Madrid and myself," Cristiano Ronaldo said. "Decisions about players and coaches do not matter to me. If Real Madrid is happy with him, why not (keep Mourinho)?

"To me, he is a great coach. But he is the person who knows his own future, whether he and his family are comfortable. These are decisions we have to respect and that's all."


Rob Harris can be reached at


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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Markey, Gomez win Mass. US Senate primaries

BOSTON (AP) ? Democratic U.S. Rep. Edward Markey and Republican former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez won their party primaries on Tuesday, setting up a race between a 36-year veteran of Washington politics and a political newcomer for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by John Kerry.

Markey, of Malden, defeated fellow U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, of South Boston, in the Democratic primary while Gomez, a Cohasset businessman, bested former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Daniel Winslow in the GOP primary, according to unofficial returns. The special election is scheduled for June 25.

The race to fill the seat Kerry left to become U.S. secretary of state has been overshadowed by the deadly Boston Marathon bombing, and the candidates had to temporarily suspend their campaigns.

Even before the April 15 bombing, the campaign had failed to capture the attention of voters compared with the 2010 special election following the death of longtime Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy. Former Republican Sen. Scott Brown won the seat, surprising Democrats, but was ousted last year in another high-profile race by Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

Markey, 66, led all the other candidates in fundraising and had won the backing early on of Kerry and a large segment of the Democratic establishment, compared to the 58-year-old Lynch, a conservative, self-described "pro-life" Democrat and former ironworker who was dogged in part by his decision to vote against President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law.

Markey, in his speech to supporters Tuesday, ticked off a series of his accomplishments during more than three decades in Congress and warned that the national Republican supporters of Gomez are ready to "move mountains of money to buy this election for big oil, and the NRA, and those who want to turn back the clock on women's rights."

"This campaign is about standing up to the special interests and the extreme tea party Republicans who want to stop progress and send our country in the wrong direction. I am ready for that fight," he said.

Lynch told disappointed supporters that he was proud of standing up for working men and women.

Gomez quickly seized on the contrast between the veteran Markey and his own political newcomer status. He noted that in 1976, when Markey was first elected to Congress, Gerald Ford was president, the Internet had not been invented, eight-track recordings were popular and he was playing Little League baseball.

"If you're looking for an experienced, slick talking politician, I'm definitely not your guy," Gomez told supporters.

"If you are looking for an independent voice, a new kind of Republican, take a look at our campaign and I'd welcome your support," he said.

Gomez, 47, the son of Colombian immigrants, celebrated his outsider status, wearing his lack of Washington experience as a badge of honor. Gomez also had a compelling life story, learning to speak English in kindergarten before going on to become a Navy pilot and SEAL, earn an MBA at Harvard Business School and launch a career in private equity.

Gomez cast himself as the new face of the Republican Party, which has struggled to reach out to minority populations following the defeat last year of GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Gomez launched his victory speech in Spanish, as he did in campaign ads and on the stump in a state where Hispanic voters are a small but growing slice of the population.

In the Republican campaign he overcame a controversy over a letter he sent to Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick in January in which he asked to be appointed interim U.S. senator and said he supported Obama's gun control and immigration policies.

Sullivan, an early favorite among conservative Republicans, touted his law enforcement and national security background, having helped investigate the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and the failed attempt to blow up an airliner using shoe bombs.

But the 58-year-old Abington resident collected the smallest amount of campaign contributions of the three GOP candidates and was unable to run any statewide TV ads.

"I really thought we were going to pull this off. We didn't, but that's OK," Sullivan told disappointed supporters, vowing to throw his support behind Gomez.

Winslow, 54, a former judge from Norfolk who served as chief legal counsel in Romney's administration, finished third despite putting more than $150,000 of his own cash into the race.

"I came into the race thinking I could mop the floor with Gabriel Gomez," Winslow said Tuesday. "I was proven wrong."

While Gomez easily outraised his challengers he also loaned his campaign at least $600,000.

Markey called on Gomez to sign the so-called "People's Pledge" that Brown and Warren signed during their Senate contest last year designed to discourage television, radio and Internet ads by outside groups.

The primary campaign, part of the third U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts in the past four years, was marked in part by the relatively low voter turnout. That turnout was likely hampered by the marathon bombing and the search for the bombers, which consumed the attention of residents across Massachusetts.

"There are a lot of people who are still down and not wanting to participate in things," said Holly Zaitchik, a retired Boston University professor, after casting her vote for Markey in Wayland. "It's disheartening."

Gomez supporters said they were hopeful he would have as much or more appeal to Democrats and independents as Brown did in his first Senate campaign.

"He's even fresher than Scott Brown. It will be difficult but doable," said Jami Gregory, 50, of Hingham.

Richard Heos, an independent from Woburn, will also be on the June 25 ballot.

Patrick named his former chief of staff, William "Mo" Cowan, to fill Kerry's seat on an interim basis until after the special election.


Associated Press writers Tracee Herbaugh in Abington, Amy Crawford in Cohasset and Jim Morrison in Boston contributed to this report.


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Microsoft's Switch to Windows Phone app for Android attempts to prove you're not missing out

STUB Microsoft's Switch to Windows Phone app for Android attempts to prove your not missing out

Ever since its launch, Windows Phone has faced criticism for lacking a broad app selection compared with its main mobile OS competitors. Microsoft is out to convince users otherwise, and in a rather cheeky move, has launched the Switch to Windows Phone app for Android. Available now on the Google Play store, the app takes note of all the software currently on your Android handset and sends those details to SkyDrive. Add that SkyDrive account on a WP8 device, and you'll be offered official WP8 apps which correspond to the ones found on your Android phone, or apps that match up best if official versions aren't available. Microsoft has also taken this opportunity to launch a new ad campaign (embedded after the break) pumping itself up as a sensible alternative to the Android / iOS battles, timed perfectly to arrive with this app. Assuming you have the requisite devices handy, hit the source links to install the software and let us know how good it is at finding a match.

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Via: AVForums, WinBeta

Source: Google Play, Windows Phone Store


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The Key to Investing in a Futures Backed ETF -

As the global equity markets become more and more integrated thanks to globalization, investors have been looking into other asset classes for diversification benefits. In this process, they often tend to overlook the crucial aspects of investing in these products and most of the time end up getting burned.

Commodities are one such asset class that provide a reasonable amount of diversification from equities. However, they might also exhibit strong positive correlation depending upon various macroeconomic developments.

For example, equities and commodities both surged on the Federal Reserve?s announcement of athird round of quantitative easing, the QE3.

Nevertheless, commodity ETFs are the easiest way of gaining exposure to the natural resource space. However, most of the products provide an exposure in the underlying commodity via futures backed route.

This is in contrast to those that actually invest in the commodity and hold it securely?like with what we see in the gold and silver markets. While this might seem like a minor detail, it can have serious consequences on the profit (or loss) incurred by the investors (read Volatility ETFs: Three Factors Investors Must Know).

The effect of Contango is by far the single biggest factor that investors must consider before investing in any futures backed product. The futures curve under ordinary circumstances will be upward rising.

However, in a market with contango, the front months? contracts are less expensive than those in the far months. Most of these ETPs will therefore roll over positions from the front month contracts to one in the far month (i.e. sell high, buy higher) in order to avoid physical delivery. This causes an ETP to lose money every time it rolls over its position (see Natural Gas ETFs: Futures vs. Equities).

While contango is generally associated with a situation of oversupply and falling spot prices of the underlying commodity, surprisingly, the effect of contango can eat up fund return even if the underlying commodity has ended on a positive note for the period of time under consideration. To highlight this effect, two futures backed Energy Commodity ETFs have been chosen.

The PowerShares DB Oil ETF (DBO) and the United States Oil ETF (USO) are two such ETFs which track Oil futures and employ the roll over methodology to track the performance of spot Oil prices. And needless to say, these are susceptible to contango.

These two Oil ETFs provide a pure play in the oil segment in contrast to the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) which tracks the stock market performance of companies engaged from the broader energy sector of the U.S equity markets. Although they somewhat track the same segment, their performance trends are very different.

In fact, a closer analysis suggests that the pure play ETFs i.e. USO and DBO have a very strong correlation with the performance of crude oil as measured by WTI Crude prices. In fact the chart below goes to show the extent of the strong correlation of the futures backed ETFs in contrast to the equity ETF with WTI Crude (read Time to Return to Uranium ETFs?).

As we can clearly see, the correlation between the futures backed ETF and WTI Crude has seldom dropped below 80%. In fact on the contrary, most of the time their correlation tends to exceed 90%. However, when it comes to the performance evaluation of the ETPs compared to WTI crude, a very interesting fact is revealed.

In the trailing one year time frame, WTI Crude has been beaten down a bit, starting at $104/bbl, moving widely, but finishing the time frame right around $94/bbl or a roughly 10% loss. However, we have not seen the same thing in the oil or energy ETF market by any means.

For the same time frame XLE has returned around 11.7%, however, DBO and USO have slumped by 13.6% and 15.5% respectively.

This has happened primarily due to the recent technological developments which have increased the extraction and production of energy products as well as weak macroeconomic cues which have decreased the demand for industrials fuels. This situation has paved the way for a classic case of oversupply for the commodity which is the primary reason for contango across the futures curve (see Best ETFs to Start 2013).

However, it is worthwhile to note that the reason for a higher loss in USO compared to DBO is the fact that USO seeks to roll over positions on a daily basis which magnifies the effect of contango. DBO also uses a methodology which seeks to minimize the effect of contango when the contracts are rolled over.

This is reflected in the expense ratios for these two funds where the slightly actively managed DBO charges 0.79% compared to USO charging 45 basis points annually in fees and expenses. However, it is also worthwhile to point out that the strategy for DBO has gone a long way in reducing losses for its investors (read Three Surging ETFs with Strong Momentum).

Given the above effects of contango in returns for the futures backed ETPs, it might well be the single biggest factor to consider for investors seeking the futures route to gain access in the underlying asset class, and especially with ETFs.

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Crystal Fighters: You & I

What happens when you combine a Bob Dylan-style groove with George Harrison-style animatronics? A poignant story of love and devotion, that's what.




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