Kennedy Center names 2007 honors recipients

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Kennedy Center announced that its 30th presentation of the Kennedy Center Honors would go to pianist Leon Fleisher, comedian Steve Martin, singer Diana Ross, director Martin Scorsese and musician Brian Wilson. The Center was opened to the public in 1971 and was envisioned as part of the National Cultural Center Act, which mandated that the independent, privately-funded institution would present a wide variety of both classical and contemporary performances, commission the creation of new artistic works, and undertake a variety of educational missions to increase awareness of the arts.

In a statement, Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said that “with their extraordinary talent, creativity and perseverance, the five 2007 honorees have transformed the way we, as Americans, see, hear and feel the performing arts.”

Fleisher, 79, a member of the Peabody Institute‘s music faculty, is a pianist who lost use of his right hand in 1965 due to a neurological condition. He became an accomplished musician and conductor through the use of his left hand. At 67, he regained the use of his right hand. With the advent of Botox therapy, he was once more able to undertake two-hand performances in 2004, his first in four decades. “I’m very gratified by the fact that it’s an apolitical honor,” Fleisher said. “It is given by colleagues and professional people who are aware of what [an artist] has done, so it really is apolitical — and that much more of an honor.”

Martin, 62, a comedian who has written books and essays in addition to his acting and stand-up comedy career, rose to fame during his work on the American television program Saturday Night Live in the 1970’s. Schwarzman praised his work as that of a “renaissance comic whose talents wipe out the boundaries between artistic disciplines.” Martin responded to the honor saying, “I am grateful to the Kennedy Center for finally alleviating in me years of covetousness and trophy envy.”

Ross, 63, was a product of Detroit‘s Brewster-Douglass Projects when as a teeager she and friends Mary Wilson and Florence Ballardis formed The Supremes, a ground-breaking Motown act. She portrayed singer Billie Holiday in the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues, which earned her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award. “Diana Ross’ singular, instantly recognizable voice has spread romance and joy throughout the world,” said Schwarzman. Ross said she was “taken aback. It is a huge, huge honor and I am excited to be in this class of people.”

Scorsese, 64, is one of the most accomplished directors the United States ever produced, whose work includes Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, GoodFellas, Cape Fear, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Departed, for which he won a 2006 Academy Award for Best Director after being nominated eight times. Scorsese said, “I’m very honored to be receiving this recognition from the Kennedy Center and proud to be joining the company of the very distinguished individuals who have received this honor in years past.”

Wilson, 65, along with his brothers Dennis and Carl, formed the Beach Boys in 1961. They had a series of hits that included “Surfin’ U.S.A.” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Their 1966 album Pet Sounds is considered one of the most influential recordings in American music. “This is something so unexpected and I feel extremely fortunate to be in the company of such great artists,” said Wilson, who is currently on tour.

The Kennedy Center’s board of trustees is responsible for selecting honorees for “lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.” Previous honorees, including Elton John and Steven Spielberg, also submitted recommendations. A wide variety of people were under consideration, including Emanuel Ax, Evgeny Kissin, Renee Fleming, Laurence Fishburne, Francis Ford Coppola, Melissa Etheridge and Kenny Chesney.

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush will attend the center’s presentation at its opera house on December 2, 2007, which will broadcast on December 26 on CBS.

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Jamie Lee Curtis quits acting

Monday, October 9, 2006

Jamie Lee Curtis, 47, has stated that she will end her acting career, but said that she will continue writing.

“I’m not an actor anymore,” she told Access Hollywood host Nancy O’Dell. “I really don’t imagine I’ll do that again.” She later said in the conversation, “I’m just focused on my family and just can’t imagine anything that’s going to pull me away from them right now.”

Curtis appeared on the Access Hollywood show to promote her newest children’s book, Is There a Human Race?. The interview she participated in with O’Dell will appear on the show’s weekend episode.

The picture book writer had this to say about ending her acting career, “No. I don’t want to be somebody else anymore.”

The last film Curtis starred in was the 2005 film The Kid & I.

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Deed Grabber Reviews

Submitted by: Marvinsl Essau

Deed Grabber Honest Review.

Are you starry eyed over dawson’s new deed grabber program? Um, you better give that some more thought, mate. You’d better ready this article first. Yes the program works, but not without limits. Hold on. You’ll get the down and dirty. And at the end of the blog you’ll be able to get over to the real deal. The main issue is the deed grabber will not work in every state of the union. Deed trust states are the only places where the laws allow the loop hole. In deed trust states ownership is separated from debt. A deed holder is the owner as far as the law is concerned. Buy the deed, become the owner. But don’t get too happy. The mortgage isn’t against you, but it is still against the home. More importantly, the ownership has certain rights. Main among these rights is the reight of redemption at a foreclosure sale. That means that you can buy the property – as the deed holder – for the amount the mortgage company or county (in the case of of a tax sale foreclosure) is owed. If there is equity – value in excess of the debt – there are three main ways to capitalize on that equity. The obvious main choice here would be to pay it off and then just flip it – sell it for profit. Option two is to resell the deed at the foreclosure sale to a bidder at the sale. They can then redeem the property and you can sell the deed for a serious hit and save the bidder money too. This way you are paid out fast and the bidder saves money. Win-win. There is work involved, of course. You have to know which mortgage is foreclosing, if its not a tax sale. And you have to know what’s owed and what the property is worth at auction to know you’ll get paid. Thre is a much better way to make money from foreclosure overage. But first you have to know where excess funds from a foreclosure auction end up. You probably think the mortgage company or tax department just gets to keep it, right? Nope. Generally, the overage is given over to the court or the sheriff’s department. The court or sheriff is then supposed to notifiy anyone who might qualify as the rightful owner of the overage. The system is, however, really flawed. First up are mortgage holders or equity loan holders other than the mortgage that foreclosed on the property. These guys are usually the first ones in line for the money. The current second mortgage holder never receives the notification. Why? Most are no longer in business and the debt has been taken over by another company. They don’t know what’s going on.

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Judgment and lien holders are also given notice of the surplus funds. Judgment holders just plain don’t show or never hear about it. Last in line is the ex-owner. They’re given notice at the address on file. The last address is the foreclosed property address. Not much of a chance that will work. What odds would you give that those folks’ mail is being forwarded. And if they actually receive a letter from the court house, the chance of them opening it is pretty slim, I’m sure you would agree. After having the money for a couple of years – and keeping the interest earned on it – the county escheats the funds to the State treasurer. There is stays, earning more interest for the state, usually forever. Did you know that there is a method that allows you to claim that money without falling under finder laws? This is the absolute best way to take advantage of equity from foreclosure auctions. With our course, you’ll learn how to identify the overages and figure out who to make a deal with for the cash being held. Now, you can refer the file and owner info over to us. You never have to contact the owner. We’ll do the deal for you and pay you a killer referral immediately. You don’t have to wait for the money. And we pay 10% of the gross surplus funds we get. We’re talking a couple of grand per deal and its easy for you to send in 3 to 5 a week that we can make a deal on. That’s why we can not recommend deed grabber. This is way better. Ready for a big change for big money? Click here – deed grabber

“I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems.” — British singer Elton John.

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Spanish prime minister speaks on economic crisis

Monday, October 20, 2008

In an interview with Público, a Spanish newspaper, the prime minister of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has stated that ” if there is a global recession, it seems logical to expect that Spain will enter the recession in 2009 .”

In the interview Zapatero also described the worldwide economic situation as “difficult.” He recognized that ” the developed countries are or are going to experience negative growth, and developing countries are also going to see falling growth; resulting in a worldwide loss of jobs.”

We have a year-long financial crisis, which has had its most acute moment in the past two months, and I think now the financial markets are beginning to recover

Regarding the global financial situation, Zapatero continued by saying that “the financial system is a part of the economy, a crucial part. We have a year-long financial crisis, which has had its most acute moment in the past two months, and I think now the financial markets are beginning to recover.”

Asked about whether it would be desirable to another plan to help those overwhelmed by the size of their mortgage, Zapatero reiterated the falls in the Euro Interbank Offered Rate .

Zapatero then claimed that the average Spanish citizen would see their mortgage decrease by 28 a month (€330 per year) as result of the recent drops in interest rate, lead by seven central banks, including the European Central Bank which covers Spain, dropped their interest rate by 0.5%.

The prime minister then said that he was pleased with the role of Spain in the recent summits discussing the financial crisis, before adding that he believes the European Union will lead the way in solving the current issues in the markets.

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UK policeman killed while training

Monday, June 9, 2008

A policeman from the United Kingdom was killed today while taking part in a training exercise with his police force, in the city of Manchester.

The policeman died as a result of a shot to the chest. The incident occurred at approximately 10:30 UTC (11:30 local time) this morning.

Greater Manchester Police released a statement regarding the incident, saying that the officer was shot at Thorpe Road, which is found in the Newton Heath area of the city.

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Merkel: Georgia will join NATO

Sunday, August 17, 2008

“Georgia will become a NATO member if it wants to, and it does want to,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an apparent change in Germany’s position during her Sunday visit to Tbilisi, Georgia.Merkel’s statement of support for Georgia’s NATO membership was one of the strongest yet.Tbilisi’s bid to join NATO is fiercely opposed by Moscow.

During her meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Merkel stated that Georgia’s territorial integrity and its independence have to be respected. After the meeting Merkel said she expected a ‘very prompt’ withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia.

In a telephone conversation with French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev declared that Russian troops would start their pullout from Georgia on Monday. Medvedev explained that Russian troops would be withdrawing to a buffer zone and then to the breakaway province of South Ossetia. It remains unclear how long the withdrawal will take. Sarkozy warned Medvedev on Sunday of serious consequences and damage to the Russian relations with the EU, if Russia failed to fully implement the peace plan it signed. Earlier this week, Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband stated that the EU should reassess its relations with Russia after its aggressive actions in Georgia.

A Russian lawmaker has compared the situation in Georgia to Iraq and the U.S. presence there. Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the Russian parliament’s security committee told reporters when asked about the withdrawal plan: “If I would ask you in response to the same question how fast the American forces can leave Iraq, for example, the answer would be as soon as we have guarantees for peace and security there.”

At the same time, according to Georgian sources, the Russian troops were occupying 13 Georgian villages, pushing the border of Abkhazia into Georgia proper. Russia’s Defence Ministry spokesman denied the report, saying that “Russian peacekeepers have been given no orders to move to these populated areas,”. There have also been reports of Russian helicopters setting fire to Georgian National Park near Borzhomi. The Russian Defence Ministry’s spokesman expressed his surprise and declared that Russian troops were ready to provide assistance in extinguishing the fire if Georgia made an official request. “It is understandable to us that the Georgian authorities are ready to blame the Russian side for any natural disasters on the territory of Georgia,” he said.

Russian troops are still occupying the key towns of Gori, north of Tbilisi, and Senako in the west of Georgia. Far from pulling out, Russian military units are entrenching themselves in new positions deeper into Georgia, according to Daily Telegraph. They have also blown up a strategic Georgian Kaspi railway bridge on the main line connecting the country to its neighbours, essentially severing the last route for freight and trade after Russian soldiers also took control of the Georgian main east-west highway.

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Rogue Access Points What Are They? And How Do You Deal With Them?

Submitted by: Mark McSherry

If you ve just started to work with lightweight access points, you might have already come across the term rogue access point .

The questions most people ask are:

What is it?

What can I do about it?

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Rogue access points are determined by your lightweight wireless LAN controller as an access point it does not control. This can mean that there is an AP on your site that should not be there however in some cases it may be an access point which is used for a hotspot, such as a nearby coffee shop.

The good news is that on your controller you can set up some rules. These rules are used to automate the process of determining if a rogue access point is an issue or not.

You can classify on a number of different parameters and classifying on signal strength or the SSID broadcast allows you to determine if the AP may be is a friendly or a malicious AP.

If, for example, the rogue AP has the same SSID you have, then the chances are that it s malicious. It s flagged as such and you can investigate. Rogue APs are an issue because a hacker may set up an access point to impersonate one of your APs. They may also be used to send out disconnect messages, so you should also configure your network to allow clients and APs to authenticate each other.

Generally when you switch a new lightweight network on, you ll find that there are sometimes dozens of rogue APs identified however using the automated rules allows you to determine which may be safely ignored.

If you determine a rogue AP is malicious, you have several options (depending on your network configuration):

You can perform a wired trace to determine if the AP is connected to your wired network and you can then disable the switchport where the rogue AP is connected.

You can use location tracking to determine the likely location of the rogue AP and physically visit the location.

You can contain the rogue AP. This option will cause nearby APs from your wireless LAN to send de-authenticate and disassociate messages to any clients trying to associate to this rogue AP effectively rendering the rogue AP useless when in the presence of your wireless LAN. This option can be activated manually on a per AP basis or a rule can be setup to deactivate all APs connected to your wireless LAN (This option must be used with caution as accidentally disabling somebody else s wireless LAN outside of your premises may have legal ramifications)

Rogue access points are a fact of life any time you stand up a managed lightweight network you re going to see them the question is how you manage which are a threat to your business and which ones you don t care about. Once a new network is deployed it can take a fair bit of upfront work to categorise all the rogue APs.

The real lesson is that a wireless network isn t a static thing it changes and requires ongoing support and maintenance.

About the Author: IPTel Solutions are an Australian based company providing the design and delivery of Enterprise computer networks. Specialising in Wireless, we also work in Routing & Switching and Voice. Visit us at

iptel.com.au

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Market maker Bernard L. Madoff arrested in $50B ‘giant Ponzi scheme’

 Correction — January 10, 2009 This article incorrectly states that Mr Madoff attended Hofstra University Law School. His education was actually with Hofstra College, which he graduated from in 1960. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Top broker and Wall Street adviser Bernard L. Madoff, aged 70, was arrested and charged by the FBI on Thursday with a single count of securities fraud, also known as stock fraud and investment fraud. He allegedly told senior employees of his firm on Wednesday that his $50 billion business “is all just one big lie” and that it was “basically, a giant Ponzi scheme (since at least 2005).” Mr. Madoff faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5 million. FBI agent Theodore Cacioppi said Mr. Madoff’s investment advisory business had “deceived investors by operating a securities business in which he traded and lost investor money, and then paid certain investors purported returns on investment with the principal received from other, different investors, which resulted in investors’ losses of approximately $50 billion dollars.”

The former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market is also the founder and primary owner of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, the closely-held market-making firm he launched in 1960. The firm is one of the top market maker firms on Wall Street. He founded his family firm with an initial investment of $5,000, after attending Hofstra University Law School. He saved the money earned from a job lifeguarding at Rockaway Beach in Queens and a part time job installing underground sprinkler systems.

A force in Wall Street trading for nearly 50 years, he has been active in the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), a self-regulatory organization for the U.S. securities industry. His firm was one of the five most active firms in the development of the NASDAQ, having been known for “paying for order flow,” in other word paying a broker to execute a customer’s order through Madoff. He argued that the payment to the broker did not alter the price that the customer received. He ran the investment advisory as a secretive business, however.

Dan Horwitz, counsel of Mr. Madoff, in an interview, said that “he is a longstanding leader in the financial-services industry with an unblemished record; he is a person of integrity; he intends to fight to get through this unfortunate event.” Mr. Madoff was released on his own recognizance on the same day of his arrest, after his 2 sons turned him in, and posting $10 million bail secured by his Manhattan apartment. Without entering any plea, the Court set the preliminary hearing for January 12.

Madoff’s hedge fund scheme may rank among the biggest fraud in history. When former energy trading giant Enron filed for bankruptcy in 2001, one of the largest at the time, it had $63.4 billion in assets. The scheme would dwarf past Ponzis, and it would further be nearly five times the telecommunication company WorldCom fraud and bankruptcy proceedings in 2002.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a separate civil suit on Thursday against Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities and its eponymous founder Mr. Madoff. It was docketed as “U.S. v. Madoff,” 08-MAG-02735, by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan). SEC, New York associate director of enforcement, Andrew M. Calamari, asked the judge to issue seizure orders on the firm and its assets, and appoint a receiver. The SEC pleads, among others, that “it was an ongoing $50 billion swindle; our complaint alleges a stunning fraud that appears to be of epic proportions.” It further accused the defendant of “paying returns to certain investors out of the principal received from other, different investors” for years. Madoff’s hedge fund business had previously claimed to have served between 11 and 25 clients and had $17.1 billion in assets under management. But virtually all of the assets were missing.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Louis L. Stanton on Thursday appointed Lee Richards, a Manhattan lawyer, as the firm’s receiver. A hearing is set for Friday, for a ruling on the SEC’s petition to grant plenary powers to the receiver over the entire firm, and an absolute asset sequestration.

Doug Kass, president of hedge fund Seabreeze Partners Management said that “this is a major blow to confidence that is already shattered — anyone on the fence will probably try to take their money out.”

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Swine flu outbreaks appear globally; WHO raises pandemic alert level to 5

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New cases of the swine flu virus have been reported around the world in recent days, prompting fear of a global influenza pandemic. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the pandemic alert level to 5. The United Nations has warned that the disease can not be contained. At least 91 confirmed cases of the flu have been reported worldwide.

In a special report, Wikinews takes a look at the reaction to the outbreak, and how different countries around the world have been affected by it.

The disease, which is believed to have originated in Mexico, has now spread across the globe, with confirmed cases having been reported in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Israel. The United States has also reported its first death from the disease in a toddler. South Korea and France both had probable cases.

The WHO said on Tuesday that while it was not yet certain that the outbreak would turn into pandemic, countries should prepare for the worst. “Countries should take the opportunity to prepare for a pandemic,” said the acting assistant director-general for the WHO, Keiji Fukuda.

“Based on assessment of all available information, and following several expert consultations, I have decided to raise the current level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5,” said Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the WHO, in a statement on Wednesday. “…All countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans. Countries should remain on high alert for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.” After the announcement was made, Wikinews learned that the WHO website had crashed for several minutes, presumably due to high traffic volume.

There is no vaccine for swine flu. In 1976 during an outbreak of the virus, at least 500 people became seriously ill, and of them, 25 had died when inoculated with an attempt at a vaccination. The 500 that became ill developed a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) which caused paralysis “and is characterized by various degrees of weakness, sensory abnormalities and autonomic dysfunction.” Those who developed the disorder did so because of an immunopathological reaction to the drug. Nearly 40 million US residents, including then US president Gerald Ford, were inoculated.


Screening measures at Canadian airports have been raised on Tuesday to screen passengers returning from Mexico for symptoms of swine flu. The measures come amid reports that thirteen people have now been infected in the country, in four different provinces.

The Public Health Agency has recommended Canadians who have booked flights to Mexico to delay them if possible. Those who choose to fly anyway will be asked questions about their health after they return, such as whether they have had symptoms of the flu, like diarrhea, coughing, or a sore throat. If anyone answers in the affirmative, they may be further assessed and perhaps transferred to a quarantine officer, who will suggest that they seek medical help, or isolate themselves at home.

“These measures will help to prevent further spread and protect the health of Canadians and we thank you for your patience and co-operation with this process,” said the chief public health officer, David Butler-Jones.

Several Canadian airlines have also limited or cancelled flights to Mexico. Air Transat and its partner tour companies, Nolitours and Transat Holidays, have cancelled all flights bound to Mexico until June 1. West Jet has also stated that it will suspend all vacation planning and air flights for Cancun, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, and other destinations in Mexico.

Egypt, which has not yet reported any cases of the flu, has recently begun a campaign to slaughter all 300,000 pigs in the country, despite assurances by health officials that the disease is not transmitted from animals to humans. “It has been decided to immediately start slaughtering all the pigs in Egypt using the full capacity of the country’s slaughterhouses,” Egypt’s health minister, Hatem el-Gabaly, told reporters.

Farmers have been protesting the measure. At one pig farming area in the country, crowds of farmers blockaded the roads to prevent health officials from entering to slaughter their pigs. Some of the farmers hurled stones at officials’ vehicles, and the latter was forced to retreat without killing any of the animals.

In Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, officials have announced up to 159 suspected deaths from the virus, out of a total of 2,498 suspected cases. The Mexican cabinet has announced that all flights departing from Mexico City will be suspended, while Argentina and Cuba have both cancelled all flights to the country. The European Union and the US have both issued warnings against traveling to Mexico.

The Royal Caribbean cruise line has suspended all stops in Mexico indefinitely, while Norwegian Cruise Line announced that its vessels will not make stops at Mexican ports until September of this year.

The government has ordered all restaurants in the country’s capital to serve only carry-out food, and closed archaeological sites with the intent of limiting large groupings of people. Churches, gyms, pool halls, and other institutions in Mexico City have been asked to close. School classes across the country have been suspended until May 6.

The Mexican government has estimated that the epidemic is costing companies in the capital at least US$57 million per day, and that tourism revenue has dropped by 36%. The finance ministry has set up a special fund of $450 million to fight the disease.

Thirteen confirmed cases have been known in New Zealand. All of them have been prescribed the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

New Zealand airports have now started to screen at least ten thousand people who arrive in the country from flights from Northern America. Those who display symptoms of the flu are taken aside by health authorities and placed into a quarantine.

“The number of suspected cases is likely in increase,” said Fran McGrath, the Deputy Director of Public Health. “While the numbers in any category will fluctuate, this is a pattern to be expected from an influenza outbreak. It is important to note that the 13 people we are treating as confirmed cases have all had mild flu symptoms, have received treatment and are all on the mend of have recovered.”

Spain’s health minister Trinidad Jinenez announced on Wednesday that a total of 53 persons in the country are under observation for the influenza. The number of confirmed cases in the country has been risen from four to ten, including one person who did not obtain the illness by traveling to Mexico.

Until now, Jimenez said that all of Spain’s confirmed cases involved persons who had recently visited Mexico, where the outbreak is believed to have began.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that five people who recently visited Mexico are now ill with the swine flu in the United Kingdom. “All of them have traveled recently from Mexico,” he said. “All of them have mild symptoms. All of them are receiving and responding well to treatment.”

The school of one the infected people, a twelve-year-old girl from Torbay, has been shut down and its 230 pupils given the drug Tamiflu, Brown said.

The Prime Minister said that the country is preparing for a possible pandemic. It has increased its stocks of antiviral drugs, enough for fifty million people, and ordered additional face masks for health workers. The government has encouraged all British residents to avoid travel to Mexico.

A 23-month-old boy from Mexico died at a Houston, Texas hospital on Wednesday, the first casualty from swine flu in the United States. The child had arrived in Brownsville, Texas, near the border with Mexico, with unspecified “underlying health issues” on April 4. Several days later, he presented symptoms of swine flu, and was hospitalized on April 13. The next day, the boy was transferred to a Houston hospital, where he remained until dying on Monday night of pneumonia brought on by the virus.

In response to the epidemic, Texas governor Rick Perry has given a disaster declaration. Schools have closed down statewide. Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has also declared a state of emergency in his state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the number of incidents of swine flu in the country to 64 on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress for a fund of $1.5 billion to fight the outbreak, saying that it is needed for “maximum flexibility to allow us to address this emerging situation.”

US health authorities have warned that more cases and fatalities from the flu are probable. “We expect to see more cases, more hospitalizations, and, unfortunately, we are likely to see more deaths from the outbreak,” said Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary.

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Poker’s all about luck, says Swiss Supreme Court

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Supreme Court in Lausanne, Switzerland has ruled that Texas hold ’em poker is a game of luck, rather than a game of skill. As a result, only casinos can host poker tournaments in Switzerland. Private games with friends, even where money is at stake, are still permitted under the ruling.

Poker tournaments had been growing in popularity in the country, with many events held in hotels and bars. Such venues do not have to pay the 50% tax on profits levied on licensed casinos, nor comply with regulations combating money laundering and gambling addiction. Poker is now categorised alongside roulette and slot machines, which as games of luck can only be played inside casinos. Mathematics, strategy, and bluffing were less important in determining the result than chance, said the judges, overturning a lower court ruling to the opposite effect, and disagreeing with the stance of the country’s Federal Gaming Commission.

Before the ruling, it had been estimated by the Swiss Federation of Casinos that there were about 100 unlicensed poker tournaments every weekend. A Swiss poker website, SwissPokerTour.ch, has described the result as “a black day for all amateur poker players in Switzerland.”

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