NBA Finals questions: Heat-Thunder ready to go

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Associated PressBy TIM REYNOLDS | Associated Press – Tue, Jun 12, 2012

  • FILE - In this June 9, 2012, file photo, Jolinda Wade, Dwyane Wade's mother, watches during the first half of Game 7 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics, in Miami. The season started with 30 teams, got whittled down to 16 and now there are two _ the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, set to begin the NBA finals on Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)FILE – In this June 9, 2012, file …
  • FILE - In this June 6, 2012, file photo, Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant's mother, Wanda Pratt reacts after Game 6 in the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, in Oklahoma City. The season started with 30 teams, got whittled down to 16 and now there are two _ the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, set to begin the NBA finals on Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)FILE – In this June 6, 2012, file …

The season started with 30 teams, got whittled down to 16 and now there are two — the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, set to begin the NBA finals on Tuesday night.

LeBron James in his third finals. Kevin Durant in his first. One superstar set to get his first ring.

It has the makings of a classic. So with Game 1 on tap, here’s 10 questions and answers about this title matchup:

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WHO’S BETTER, JAMES OR DURANT? Flip a coin. Kevin Durant is a three-time scoring champion. LeBron James is a three-time MVP. And this series probably won’t decide if one individual player is better than the other, either. They’ll be matched up against each other at times in this series, and everyone wants to see the 1-on-1 fireworks. Sounds like the only people not wrapped up in the whole KD vs. LBJ matchup are, well, KD and LBJ. “It’s the Thunder vs. the Heat,” Durant said.

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CAN LEBRON SILENCE HIS CRITICS WITH A WIN? Not all of them. Look, no matter what James does — wins a championship, wins a Nobel Peace Prize, never wins another game in his life — he won’t silence everybody. He will get plenty of credit if the Heat win this title, and rightly so. It also could be a relive-the-nightmare scenario for Cleveland. It was hard enough for Cavaliers fans to watch James leave. Just imagine how hard it’ll be for them if James hoists the championship trophy wearing another city’s uniform.

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ARE THE THUNDER READY FOR THIS? Sure. Same could have been asked about Miami in 2006, when yes, the Heat had veterans like Shaquille O’Neal and Jason Williams and Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning and Antoine Walker. But the guy who made the Heat go in that championship season was Dwyane Wade, who was 24 when he carried Miami to the title. Kevin Durant is 23. Russell Westbrook is 23. No, neither has been on this stage before. But they handled being down 0-2 to San Antonio. That’s proof enough of what they’re capable of doing at this time of year. “We’re not here just to be here. We’re here to win a championship,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.

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WHO HAS THE BETTER SIXTH MAN? Well, that’s an easy one, since Oklahoma City’s James Harden is the premier sixth man in the NBA right now. But it may not be as one-sided as many would think if Miami continues using Chris Bosh off the bench. Bosh — who missed nine playoff games with a strained lower abdominal muscle and has been a reserve in each of his three appearances since — said last week that he isn’t counting on starting again this season, and the Heat have raved about what he’s been able to do with the second unit. So Harden may have some competition after all.

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WHAT’S UP WITH THE POSTGAME OUTFITS? The glasses-without-lenses that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been wearing, they’re one thing. But seriously, the shirts that Russell Westbrook has been putting on before he goes to postgame news conferences look like they were designed to go with Rodney Dangerfield’s pants in “Caddyshack.” It’s like the postseason has been one long tribute to Steve Urkel or something. The fascinating part of the outfit craze is that Twitter is burning up after games with people trying to figure out where to buy the stuff.

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WHY NO TWITTER? LeBron James hasn’t tweeted since April 27. Kevin Durant hasn’t tweeted since May 1. In a word, it’s about focus. Playoffs are hard enough without distractions like 4,784,446 followers — James’ total as of Monday afternoon — asking you for a retweet. One of them will tweet in a few days as an NBA champion. That’s enough for them.

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SHOULD THE BEARD BE FEARED? James Harden has unbelievable amounts of talent. He’s best known for his mohawk-and-beard look. And one of the gripping questions entering this finals matchup got an answer Monday, when Harden was asked if he would be sitting down with some clippers at the end of the season. “The beard’s going to stay. Win or lose,” Harden said.

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WHO HAS THE BEST SIDELINE MOM? LeBron, Dwyane, Kevin, Russell, say any of those first names and everyone who’ll watch these finals knows exactly who you’re talking about. It might not be long before the same can be said about Jolinda and Wanda. Really. Jolinda Wade (Dwyane Wade’s mom) and Wanda Pratt (Kevin Durant’s mom) will be getting plenty of airtime in this series. The Heat guard always makes a point to hug his mother just before tipoff, and maybe the most compelling image of the Western Conference finals was Durant falling into his mother’s arms when the Thunder knew they were going to the title round. (Side note: Those envelopes Heat players were handed after the East finals ended? They were cards from Jolinda Wade.)

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WADE VS. WESTBROOK? Assuming that LeBron James and Kevin Durant put up similar numbers in the series, maybe one key element in deciding this title will be how Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook perform. Wade raises his game in the NBA finals, and for whatever reason, Westbrook has struggled against Miami — though that was news to Wade. “Russell Westbrook is what makes them very special,” Wade said. Yes, but Westbrook has shot just 30 percent in his last five games against the Heat. If Miami figures out a way to keep him from getting rolling, and if Wade turns in another finals-MVP-type showing, the Heat will have a huge edge.

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WHO WILL WIN THE FINALS? Oklahoma City is 8-0 at home in these playoffs, winning by an average of more than 10 points per game. The Thunder got more rest going into the title series, and have a huge head of steam after winning four straight against San Antonio. But the Heat are driven by the pain of losing in the finals last season. And James may be playing at his highest level yet. So in a championship-or-bust season, the Heat … won’t bust. Miami in six.

Original post taken from:http://news.yahoo.com/nba-finals-questions-heat-thunder-ready-072307422–spt.html

NASA launches telescope to seek out black holes

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Associated PressBy ALICIA CHANG | Associated Press

 

  • This image provided by NASA shows an artist rendering of the space agency's latest X-ray telescope. NuStar is set to launch on a two-year mission on Wednesday June 13,2012 from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific to study black holes and other celestial objects. (AP Photo/NASA)This image provided by NASA shows …
  • In this undated image provided by NASA the Orbital Science Corporation's "Stargazer" plane is shown releasing its Pegasus rocket. NASA's NuSTAR will also launch from a Pegasus carried by the Stargazer plane. NASA's NuSTAR mission is scheduled to launch from Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean on June 13, 2012 no earlier than 8:30 a.m. PDT (11:30 a.m. EDT). The observatory, which will hunt for black holes and other exotic objects using specialized X-ray eyes, will be launched from a Pegasus XL rocket carried by an Orbital Science Corporation L-1011 "Stargazer" plane. (AP Photo/Orbital Science Corporation via NASA)In this undated image provided … 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — NASA on Wednesday launched its newest X-ray space telescope on a mission to shine a light on black holes and other hard-to-see objects lurking in the Milky Way and other galaxies.

Mission controllers clapped after receiving a signal from the telescope that it had reached orbit 350 miles above Earth.

 

“It’s a terrific day,” assistant launch director Tim Dunn said.

 

NASA decided to air-launch the $170 million mission, instead of rocketing off from a launch pad, because it was cheaper. The telescope was boosted into orbit by a Pegasus rocket released from a carrier aircraft that took off from the remote Kwajalein Atoll, a horseshoe-shaped Pacific island halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

 

After free-falling for several seconds, the rocket ignited its engines and climbed to space. Minutes later, the telescope separated from the rocket and unfurled its solar panels as it circled 350 miles above the Earth.

The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuStar for short, focuses high-energy X-rays to peer through gas and dust in search of supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies, remnants of exploded stars and other exotic celestial objects.

 

While black holes are invisible, the region around them gives off telltale X-rays. NuStar will observe previously known black holes and map hidden ones. By zeroing in on never-before-seen parts of the universe, scientists hope to better understand how galaxies form and evolve.

 

“We can view black holes and galaxies even if they’re enshrouded with dust and gas. If you had high-energy X-ray eyes and you stared up out of the galaxy, what you would see is the glow of all the massive black holes sprinkled throughout the cosmos,” chief scientist Fiona Harrison of the California Institute of Technology said earlier this week.

 

NuStar will also hunt for the remains of ancient supernovae, stars that exploded in past centuries. If it’s lucky, it’ll witness a star’s death throes, but such events don’t happen often and the telescope will have to be pointed at the right place at the right time.

 

Scientists expect sharp images from the mission, which is many times more sensitive than previous space telescopes that have looked in this part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

 

After a week in orbit, NuStar will unwrap its 33-foot mast laden with sensors. Observations will begin about a month after launch.

 

The mission was supposed to lift off in March, but was delayed by a flight software issue with the rocket. To keep costs down, project managers bypassed the launch pad, which would have required a much larger rocket.

 

The launch comes at a trying time for NASA’s astrophysics division. Last week, the space agency killed an X-ray telescope mission because it failed to come in on budget. That mission, called GEMS, was supposed to launch in 2014 and would have observed many of the same targets as Nustar.

 

NASA is pressing ahead with its flagship astrophysics mission — the budget-busting James Webb Space Telescope considered the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. It has the capability of peering deeper into the universe and back in time than ever, and is expected to launch in 2018 with an $8 billion price tag.

 

Original post taken from:http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-launches-telescope-seek-black-holes-175346727.html

Aside

$257 billion invested in renewable energy in 2011

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Associated PressBy FRANK JORDANS | Associated Press – Mon, Jun 11, 2012

GENEVA (AP) — Global investment in renewable energy reached a record of $257 billion last year, with solar attracting more than half the total spending, according to a U.N. report released Monday.

Investment in solar energy surged to $147 billion in 2011, a year-on-year increase of 52 percent thanks to strong demand for rooftop photovoltaic installations in Germany, Italy, China and Britain.

Large-scale solar thermal installations in Spain and the United States also contributed to growth during a fiercely competitive year for the solar industry. Several large American and German manufacturers fell victim to price pressure from Chinese rivals that helped to halve the cost of photovoltaic modules in 2011.

The report’s authors said the demise of companies such as Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, Solar Millenium and Solon was a sign that the solar industry is maturing.

“In 1903, the United States had over 500 car companies, most of which quickly fell by the wayside even as the automobile sector grew into an industrial juggernaut,” the report said. “Today, the renewable energy sector is experiencing similar growing pains as the sector consolidates.”

China was responsible for almost a fifth of the total investment volume, spending $52 billion on renewable energy last year. The United States was close behind with investments of $51 billion, as developers sought to benefit from government incentive programs before they expired. Germany, Italy and India rounded out the top five.

Wind power investment slipped 12 percent to $84 billion due to uncertainty about energy policy in Europe and fewer new installations in China, according to the report.

Overall investment in renewable energy grew 17 percent, a slowdown from the 37 percent increase seen in 2010. Still, the head of the U.N. Environment Program claimed the latest figures were an indication that renewable energy is drawing level with fossil fuels in some markets.

“These trends are real, they are substantive and they are transformative,” Achim Steiner told reporters in a conference call.

The U.N. is hoping that countries will use an environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next week to commit to further investments in renewable energy, which covered just 16.7 percent of global energy consumption in 2010. Of this share, modern technologies such as solar and wind accounted for just 8.2 percent, less than the 8.5 percent contributed by biomass.

By comparison, more than 80 percent of electricity consumed worldwide still comes from fossil fuels that are blamed for a rise in carbon in the atmosphere.

The U.N. report claims that solar panels installed in Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Australia can now compete with the retail cost of electricity in those countries, even as government feed-in subsidies are lowered.

It noted that developing countries were also exploring the use of renewable energy other than hydropower, which has long been a popular source in poor countries.

Nations in East Africa are seeking to take advantage of the abundant geothermal capacity in the Rift Valley region. Kenya aims to meet half of its electricity needs with geothermal power by 2018. Djibouti, Eritrea, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are also exploring geothermal use.

Original post taken from:http://news.yahoo.com/257-billion-invested-renewable-energy-2011-145543107–finance.html

Megachurch pastor denies beating daughter: ‘The truth is, she was not choked, she was not punched’

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By Dylan Stableford | The Lookout – Sun, Jun 10, 2012

Dollar (World Changers Church International)

The founder and leader of a Georgia megachurch–who was arrested last week on charges of choking his teenage daughter, slamming her into the ground and hitting her with a shoe–told churchgoers on Sunday that he did not beat her.

“The truth is, she was not choked, she was not punched,” Creflo Dollar, the pastor, said before delivering his Sunday sermon at World Changers Church International in Atlanta on Sunday.

Police in Fayette County were called to Dollar’s home at 1 a.m. on Friday. According to the police report, Dollar’s 15-year-old daughter said he “put his hands around her throat and began to choke her … then slammed her to the ground, punched her and beat her with his shoe.” There was a scratch on her neck, police said.

“There were not any scratches on her neck,” Dollar said. “The only thing on her neck was a prior skin abrasion from eczema. Anything else is an exaggeration and sensationalism.”

“The truth is that a family conversation with our youngest daughter got emotional,” he said. “And emotions got involved and things escalated from there.” His daughter told police the argument was over whether she could go to a party the next night.

Dollar was arrested on charges of simple battery, family violence and child cruelty. He spent the night in Fayette County Jail before posting $5,000 bail. He was released early Friday.

“I will say this emphatically: I should have never been arrested,” Dollar said on Sunday.

He also criticized police for rushing to judgment.

“To come and take a picture of a mark that’s been there for 10 years, and not have enough intelligence to at least ask the parent what it is, is appalling.”

The founder and leader of a Georgia megachurch–who was arrested last week on charges of choking his teenage daughter, slamming her into the ground and hitting her with a shoe–told churchgoers on Sunday that he did not beat her.

“The truth is, she was not choked, she was not punched,” Creflo Dollar, the pastor, said before delivering his Sunday sermon at World Changers Church International in Atlanta on Sunday.

Police in Fayette County were called to Dollar’s home at 1 a.m. on Friday. According to the police report, Dollar’s 15-year-old daughter said he “put his hands around her throat and began to choke her … then slammed her to the ground, punched her and beat her with his shoe.” There was a scratch on her neck, police said.

“There were not any scratches on her neck,” Dollar said. “The only thing on her neck was a prior skin abrasion from eczema. Anything else is an exaggeration and sensationalism.”

“The truth is that a family conversation with our youngest daughter got emotional,” he said. “And emotions got involved and things escalated from there.” His daughter told police the argument was over whether she could go to a party the next night.

Dollar was arrested on charges of simple battery, family violence and child cruelty. He spent the night in Fayette County Jail before posting $5,000 bail. He was released early Friday.

“I will say this emphatically: I should have never been arrested,” Dollar said on Sunday.

He also criticized police for rushing to judgment.

“To come and take a picture of a mark that’s been there for 10 years, and not have enough intelligence to at least ask the parent what it is, is appalling.”

Original post taken from:http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/creflo-dollar-arrest-daughter-choked-punched-sermon-192234075.html

Hawaii telescope sees what could be oldest galaxy

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Associated PressAssociated Press

HONOLULU (AP) — A team of Japanese astronomers using telescopes on Hawaii say they’ve seen the oldest galaxy, a discovery that’s competing with other “earliest galaxy” claims.

The Japanese team calculates its galaxy was formed 12.91 billion light-years ago, and their research will be published in the Astrophysical Journal. The scientists with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan used the Subaru and Keck telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea.

A light-year is the distance that light travels in a year, about 6 trillion miles. Seeing distant galaxies is akin to looking back into time.

Richard Ellis of the California Institute of Technology, an influential expert in cosmology and galaxy formation, said the latest work as more convincing than some other galaxy discoveries.

He said the Japanese claim is more “watertight,” using methods that everyone can agree on. But he said it’s not much of a change from a similar finding by the same team last year.

Still, “it’s the most distant bullet-proof one that everybody believes,” Ellis said.

In 2010, a French team using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope claimed to have discovered a galaxy from 13.1 billion light-years ago and last year a California team using Hubble said they saw a galaxy from 13.2 billion light-years ago. Both Hubble teams published findings in the journal Nature.

However, the two Hubble teams have yet to confirm their findings with other methods, said Ellis. Also, a team of Arizona State University astronomers this month claimed to have found a galaxy from 13 billion light-years away. They used a telescope in Chile.

Current theory holds that the universe was born of an explosion, called the Big Bang, about 13.7 billion years ago. So astronomers using the most powerful telescopes available are peering deeper and deeper into that dawn of the universe.

Original post taken from:http://news.yahoo.com/hawaii-telescope-sees-could-oldest-galaxy-190125082.html

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U.N. says Syrian helicopters fire on rebel strongholds

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ReutersBy Dominic Evans | Reuters

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BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.N. monitors said Syrian helicopters fired on rebel strongholds north of Homs on Monday and called for “immediate and unfettered access” to conflict zones where they had heard many women and children were trapped.

International mediator Kofi Annan also said he was gravely concerned about violence in Homs and in Haffeh, a mainly Sunni Muslim town near the Mediterranean coast, where the U.S. State Department said it feared a “potential massacre”.

The U.N. observers, tasked with monitoring Annan’s April ceasefire deal which failed to stem the violence in Syria, have instead been cataloguing mass killings, bombings and clashes in which many hundreds of Syrians have died.

The outside world, divided in its approach towards President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on a 15-month-old uprising, has been unable to halt the violence despite broad international support for Annan’s tattered peace plan.

“UN observers reported heavy fighting in Rastan and Talbiseh, north of (Homs), with artillery and mortar shelling, as well as firing from helicopters, machine guns and smaller arms,” U.N. spokeswoman Sausan Ghosheh said in a statement.

It was the first time the U.N. monitors have verified repeated allegations by activists that Assad’s forces have fired from helicopters in the military crackdown on rebels. Syria’s government is the only force in the conflict equipped with helicopters.

The observers “also received reports of a large number of civilians, including women and children trapped inside (Homs) and are trying to mediate their evacuation,” Ghosheh said.

U.N. observers reported Free Syrian Army rebels captured army soldiers, she added, calling on “all sides to stop the killing and human rights abuses to ensure the protection of civilians and to respect international law.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 63 civilians were killed across Syria on Monday, nearly half of them in the northern province of Idlib. Twenty-one soldiers and security forces were killed, most of them in rebel bomb attacks, it said.

In the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, 10 people were killed when a car bomb detonated in the Jura district, the British-based Observatory said, but activists said more than 16 people were killed and dozens more wounded.

Syria’s state news agency reported military funerals on Monday for 26 people “targeted by armed terrorist groups as they carried out their national duty”.

A spokesman for Annan said he was gravely concerned by the latest reports of violence and “the escalation of fighting by both government and opposition forces”.

HOMS SHELLING

Annan expressed particular concern at recent shelling in Homs, where activists said on Sunday government forces killed 35 people in one of the biggest bombardments since his ceasefire deal was supposed to come into effect on April 12.

“(Annan) is particularly worried about the recent shelling in Homs as well as reports of the use of mortars, helicopters and tanks in the town of Haffeh,” his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said in a statement.

“There are indications that a large number of civilians are trapped in these towns,” Fawzi said, adding that Annan “demands that the parties take all steps to ensure that civilians are not harmed, and further demands that entry of the U.N. military observers be allowed to the town of Haffeh immediately.”

Last week activists said government forces surrounded Haffeh, close to the heartland of Assad’s Alawite minority, after rebel fighters seized control of a police station and destroyed five tanks and armored vehicles.

The U.S. State Department said Syrian attacks would have consequences.

“The international community can and does learn what units were responsible for crimes against humanity and you will be held responsible for your actions,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said as activists reported tanks were again surrounding Haffeh.

Activists say Syria’s army and pro-Assad militia have committed two massacres in the last two weeks, in the Houla region and a farming hamlet called Mazraat al-Qubeir. Syrian authorities blamed the killings on “terrorists”.

The United Nations says Syrian forces have killed more than 10,000 people in the crackdown on an uprising inspired by revolts which toppled four Arab leaders last year. Syrian authorities say foreign-backed militants have killed 2,600 soldiers and police.

Rebels have grown increasingly well-armed in recent weeks, both through increased smuggling of weapons and through defections of soldiers who bring their weapons with them.

On Sunday rebels briefly seized control of a strategic army base and threatened to fire its surface-to-air missiles at Assad’s palace, before being forced to withdraw by an army counter-attack.

The violence has divided world powers, with Russia and China blocking two draft U.N. resolutions which could have led to international action against Assad’s government.

Russia called on Monday for Iranian involvement in efforts to end the conflict in Syria, putting it at odds with the United States, and said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Tehran on Wednesday to discuss the initiative.

“Without Iranian participation, the opportunity for constructive international influence on the Syrian issue will not be utilized in full measure,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Russia, which is resisting Western and Gulf Arab pressure to take a tougher stance toward Assad, says a proposed conference would lend support to Annan’s peace plan.

The United States says it does not believe Iran, Assad’s strongest regional ally, is ready to play a constructive role in Syria. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week it was “hard to imagine inviting a country that is stage-managing the Assad regime’s assault on its people.”

(Additional reporting by Oliver Holmes in Beirut, Lidia Kelly in Moscow, Andrew Quinn and Paul Eckert in Washington)

Original post taken from:http://news.yahoo.com/u-n-says-syrian-helicopters-fire-rebel-strongholds-175403790.html

Amelia Earhart mystery may be solved in Pacific

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AFPBy Fabienne Faur | AFP – Sun, Jun 10, 2012

 

Amelia Earhart stands June 14, 1928 in front of her bi-plane called "Friendship" in Newfoundland. (Photo by Getty Images)

Amelia Earhart stands June 14, 1928 in front of her bi-plane called “Friendship” in Newfoundland. (Photo by Getty Images)

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  • Pilot Carlene Medieta comes in for landing in White Plains, New York in 2001 as she completes a recreation of Amelia Earhart's 1928 flight across America. Earhart vanished on July 2, 1937 at age 39 with navigator Fred Noonan during the final stage of an ambitious round-the-world flight along the equator in a twin-engine Lockheed Electra. (AFP Photo/Don Emmert)Pilot Carlene Medieta comes in …

Seventy-five years after Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific, a research team is setting off July 2 with high hopes of resolving the mystery surrounding the pioneering aviatrix.

For the tenth time in 23 years, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) will set off for Nikumaroro island in Kiribati to establish whether Earhart survived the apparent crash of her aircraft.

“This time, we’ll be searching for debris from the aircraft,” TIGHAR’s founder and executive director Richard Gillespie, himself a pilot and former aviation accident investigator, told AFP.

Earhart vanished on July 2, 1937 at age 39 with navigator Fred Noonan during the final stage of an ambitious round-the-world flight along the equator in a twin-engine Lockheed Electra.

The holder of several aeronautical records, including the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air, Earhart had set off from New Guinea to refuel at Howland Island for a final long-distance hop to California.

In what turned out to be her final radio message, she declared she was unable to find Howland and that fuel was running low.

Several search-and-rescue missions ordered by then-president Franklin Roosevelt turned up no trace of Earhart or Noonan, who were eventually presumed dead at sea.

Conspiracy theories flourished. One contended that Earhart was held by Japanese imperial forces as a spy. Another claimed she completed her flight, but changed her identity and settled in New Jersey.

TIGHAR is working on the hypothesis that the duo reached Gardner Island, then a British possession and now known as Nikumaroro, and managed to survive for an unknown period of time.

Nikumaroro, uninhabited in Earhart’s time, and a mere 3.7 miles (six kilometers) long by 1.2 miles (two kilometers) wide, is about 300 miles (480 kilometers) southeast of Howland Island.

This year’s TIGHAR expedition will see about 20 scientists depart Hawaii to explore over 10 days both the island and an underwater reef slope at the west end of the island.

It will be equipped with a multi-beam sonar to map the ocean floor, plus a remote-controlled device similar to the one that found the black boxes from the Rio-to-Paris Air France that crashed into the South Atlantic in 2009.

If debris is found, it will be photographed and its location carefully documented for a future expedition, Gillespie said.

Sustaining the search are clues worthy of detective story, including items from the 1930s previously discovered on the island such as a jar of face cream, a penknife blade, the heel of a woman’s shoe and a bit of Plexiglas.

Skeletons of birds apparently cooked over a campfire have also contributed to the mystery, and settlers who reached Nikumaroro after 1937 have spoken of the existence of aircraft wreckage.

Bone fragments have meanwhile been subjected to DNA testing that turned out to be inconclusive, said Gillespie, who remains hopeful that parts of Earhart’s Electra remain to be found.

The US government is lending technical and diplomatic support to the TIGHAR effort, budgeted at $2 million and otherwise privately funded. A documentary is due to be broadcast on the Discovery cable television channel.

Original post taken from:http://news.yahoo.com/amelia-earhart-mystery-may-solved-pacific-111957674.html

James Franco gushes about Kristen Stewart: ‘Give her the crown’

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By Raechal Leone Shewfelt | Crush: Hollywood’s Next Generation – Fri, Jun 8, 2012 5:12 PM PDT

Robert Pattinson had better watch out! Another hot Hollywood actor is a fan of his girlfriend Kristen Stewart. James Franco, 34, gushed about the actress in a column he penned for Huffington Post about her new movie “Snow White and the Huntsman.” In a piece called “Kristen Stewart the Queen,” Franco, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in 2010’s “127 Hours,” compared Stewart’s life to that of the fairy tale princess she plays in the film. “Snow White is imprisoned in a tower for about a decade — let’s say from age eight to 18. Some might argue that Stewart — or any young upstart buoyed by the surge of a successful franchise, album, or Internet meme — is just as unjustly charmed. Some could say she had a lucky break when she was cast in ‘Twilight’ and then rose to international stardom based less on her own skills than on the success of the project,” Franco wrote. “But, whereas Snow White would more than likely be inarticulate, diseased and frail after being confined in a tower for 10 years, Kristen Stewart landed Twilight after years of working with some of the best directors in the business (David Fincher, Sean Penn). She actually does deserve the crown.”

James Franco (Joe Scarnici/WireImage)

Kristen Stewart (Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Franco also praised Stewart, 22, for the way she’s handled her life in the spotlight: “To me, then, the images of Snow White as a leader of immense strength, charging on horseback across the beach at the head of an army, has less to do with her character and more to do with the actress who plays her. Stewart has braved more scrutiny of her private life than most presidents. She has taken big career risks by doing films like ‘Welcome to the Rileys,’ ‘The Runaways’ and ‘On the Road’ (nudity, I hear). She has worked her ass off. Whatever Snow White may be, Kristen is a warrior queen. Give her the crown.” Sounds like Franco is looking forward to Stewart’s upcoming film “On the Road,” based on the famous 1957 novel by Jack Kerouac!

Stewart’s latest movie featuring Charlize Theron as her foe, the wicked queen, opened on June 1. The dark retelling of the children’s story has already pulled in more than $75 million in the U.S., although reviews have been mixed. Franco himself criticized the flick only for the romantic relationship between Snow White and her huntsman, played by “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth. But even then, Franco was careful not to blame Stewart. “If Stewart and Hemsworth don’t entirely pull off the romance of the year, it’s the fault not of their acting as much as the script’s structure. And if their previous incarnations are trailing them, that has less to do with their performances than with the overwhelmingly large place their previous roles occupy in our present culture. Whether they heed it or not, those two are under a ton of pressure: Is Chris just an unusually rugged man with a deep voice, or can he play anything other than a Norse god? Is Kristen just a pouty Vampire lover riding a temporary wave of pop culture madness, or is she the real deal? I believe that they are both talented and special performers who make the most of their material in this film.”

The multi-talented Franco has shown an interest in writing before — although it had nothing to do with KStew. The “Freaks and Geeks” thespian released a collection of short stories, Palo Alto, last year. He also wrote a novel as his thesis before graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2008. Afterward, he famously enrolled in several graduate programs at prestigious schools like Columbia University and Yale University. And last month he even made time to organize an exhibition at the L.A. Museum of Contemporary Art dedicated to the iconic 1955 James Dean movie, “Rebel Without a Cause.” On the acting front, his IMDb resume lists 10 (!) movies coming between now and 2014, including the bio-pic of former porn star Linda Lovelace, “Lovelace,” and “Spring Breakers” with Selena Gomez. Do you think there will be a part in one of his new movies for Stewart?

 “Actors Sniff Jackets James Franco Acting Sweatshirt”

Kristen Stewart By Murphy, Maggie

Original post taken from:http://omg.yahoo.com/blogs/crush/james-franco-gushes-kristen-stewart-her-crown-001200878.html

Obama, Romney Duel Online Over Firefighters vs. the Private Sector

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By Emily Friedman | ABC OTUS News

ATLANTA – The Romney and Obama campaigns this morning released dueling web videos that hinge on comments made by each of the candidates last week – the president saying the private sector is “doing fine” and the presumptive GOP candidate suggesting he opposes additional firefighters and teachers – as they start the week looking to capitalize the most on the contentious remarks.

The Romney campaign has released its second web video in a 24-hour period that uses Obama’s “private sector doing fine” line, with the Republican candidate’s team relentlessly repeating the comment as evidence that the commander-in-chief is “out of touch.”

Similarly, the Obama re-election campaign released a web video saying that part of Romney’s jobs plan is to eliminate firefighters and teachers after the candidate remarked last week, “He wants to add more to government. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message in Wisconsin? American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

The Romney campaign web video released this morning, titled “Jolt,” shows footage of newsmakers’ talking about the state of the economy June 1, the day the disappointing May jobs numbers were released.

“Tonight on ‘World News’: Jobs jolt, the worst jobs number in a year,” ABC News’ Diane Sawyer says as the web video begins, as clips from fellow newsmakers’ discussing the state of the economy follow.

Then text that reads “One week later” flashes on the screen, and viewers hear President Obama in his own words: “The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government.”

The president’s remarks, delivered during a news conference Friday, have been used by the Romney campaign since, the candidate himself launching into harsh criticism of the president for saying what he did during a campaign event last week in Iowa, and his campaign aides throughout the weekend using the now so-called gaffe to push forward their message that the president doesn’t know how to handle the economy.

The campaign Sunday released its first web video using the president’s private sector remarks, this time drawing on statements from middle-class Americans discussing their struggles in the economy.

The web video – titled “Fine?” – features workers remarking, “We’ve seen layoffs, cutbacks,” and “Sometimes I feel like I’m a failure,” before replaying the president’s “the private sector is doing fine” line three times.

In the Obama campaign’s Web video, which the campaign describes as focusing on Romney’s “job elimination plan,” testimonials from local and state officials describing what it was like during Romney’s governorship in Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

“He did not care what was going on in our communities,” John Barrett, the former mayor of North Adams, Mass., said in the video.GET A   Firefighter Circle Of Flames Bag”

Original post taken from:http://news.yahoo.com/obama-romney-duel-online-over-firefighters-vs-private-133844972–abc-news-politics.html

 

Bob Arum refuses Pacquiao-Bradley rematch, wants investigation into scoring controversy

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By Kevin Iole | Yahoo! Sports

 

LAS VEGAS – Promoter Bob Arum was still fuming about the split-decision verdict that went against Manny Pacquiao on Saturday and said there would be no rematch with Timothy Bradley unless Nevada attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto launches an investigation.

Bradley, a 4-1 underdog, upset Pacquiao in one of the most controversial outcomes in years to take the World Boxing Organization welterweight title.

All three judges scored it 115-113, with Duane Ford and C.J. Ross seeing it in favor of Bradley and Jerry Roth siding with Pacquiao.

The rematch that Bradley thought he would get may be on hold, at least for a while, however. Arum, whose company promotes both fighters, said his feeling that Pacquiao had won a wide decision had not changed a day later.

Timothy Bradley celebrates after beating Manny Pacquiao by split decision. (AP)

But because of the outcry among the fans and media, many of whom accused Arum of somehow rigging the outcome, the veteran promoter said he would demand an investigation.

“I want to investigate whether there was any undue influence, whether the [Nevada Athletic Commission] gave any particular instruction and how they came to this conclusion,” said Arum, who at the post-fight news conference was adamant the result was a mistake but not the result of any chicanery. “But the whole sport is in an uproar. People are going crazy.

“If this was a subjective view that each of [the judges] honestly held, OK. I would still disagree, but then we’re off the hook in terms of there being no conspiracy. But there needs to be an independent investigation because it strains credulity that an event everybody saw as so one-sided one way all three judges saw it as close. It strains credulity.”

Ford spoke by telephone to Yahoo! Sports on Sunday. He said the criticism is a part of the job he accepts, but said those criticizing the outcome are almost certainly not familiar with the way fights are judged.

“If this were ‘American Idol’, without a doubt, Manny Pacquiao would have won,” Ford said. “But it was not. I gave an honest opinion. I had Pacquiao up 4-2, I think, at the end of six rounds. I thought he hurt Bradley a couple of times early in the fight. But when the bell rang to end that round, it was over and what happens in one round doesn’t carry over to the next round. They’re separate units.

“In the second half of the fight, Pacquiao picked off a lot of punches to the head, but Bradley landed some hard body shots. That hurt Pacquiao. I don’t mean it hurt him in the sense of it physically hurting him, but in terms of scoring and piling up points. Bradley did an excellent job standing his ground as a boxer. Remember, it’s a boxing match and Bradley demonstrated his ability to box expertly.”

Bradley has been harshly criticized by many who believe Pacquiao won, but the fact that Bradley won the fight with two badly injured feet should say something about his tenacity.

And the bout might suggest that Pacquiao is declining more than previously thought. If he had trouble with a fighter who had two injured feet and needed a wheelchair to attend the post-fight news conference, how difficult would it have been for him had his opponent been completely mobile?

Bradley injured his left foot in the second round when he pivoted. His manager, Cameron Dunkin, said an examination late Saturday revealed torn ligaments that will keep him off it for several weeks to a month.

He said the X-ray did not show a fracture, but doctors ordered an MRI on Monday in Palm Springs, Calif.

“They said that just because the X-ray did not show a fracture didn’t mean there isn’t one,” Dunkin said. “He has a lot of pain on the top of the foot and there are 700 bones in there. Some of them are so small. The doctor said the only way to tell if there is a fracture is to do an MRI.”

He said there was no serious injury to the right foot, which was far more swollen than the left.

“The right was just kind of rolled and it was basically a twisted foot that was pretty swollen,” Dunkin said.

Dunkin also said he was fine if Arum chose not to arrange a rematch. He said Top Rank promotes Bradley and owes him a fight. If it chose not to make a rematch with Pacquiao, it would have to book a different fight for Bradley.

Juan Manuel Marquez, who lost a controversial decision to Pacquiao on Nov. 12 in the same arena, was in attendance Saturday, Top Rank president Todd duBoef said, because the company was planning to make Pacquiao-Marquez IV in the event of a Pacquiao win.

That changed in light of the outcome, and Pacquiao said he wanted a rematch. Ultimately, Arum will likely accede to Pacquiao’s wishes.

Pacquiao’s next fight almost certainly will not be in Las Vegas after the uproar over Saturday’s fight. Ford, though, said it is unfair for those who don’t know the scoring criteria and who weren’t focusing intently on the fight to bash the judges.

“In pro boxing, you look for damage, and if the punches are equal and the damage is equal, you are looking for effective aggression, and that does not necessarily mean the guy going forward,” Ford said. “Effective aggression can be a guy going back. And then you look at ring generalship, and that’s all about control.

“When you score a fight of that magnitude, you know the criticism comes with the job. But unless you are totally focused on that scoring zone for three minutes, it’s impossible to score the fight correctly. I know you can’t do it talking into a microphone. It was a close fight in my mind that could have gone either way. The result was nothing more than three judges giving an honest opinion, and nothing other than that.”

Arum told media at ringside that Dunkin had scored it 116-112 for Pacquiao, but Dunkin angrily denied that Sunday. Dunkin said he had it 115-113 in favor of Bradley.

He said he understands the uproar, but said most of it is because of Pacquiao’s huge popularity.

“If they’re fighting on a street and we’re just scoring the fight, the whole fight, I can see you thinking maybe Pacquiao won it,” Dunkin said. “But when you score it round by round, I think it’s very reasonable to believe Bradley won.”