Sunday, May 31, 2009

Beached Whales Shot in near South Africa

Authorities have shot dozens of exhausted whales that beached on a shore near South Africa's storm-lashed southern tip amid scenes of grief and despair from volunteers who had tried to save them. (May 31)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Deadly Cyclone Lashes Eastern India, Bangladesh

A cyclone has pounded eastern India and Bangladesh, killing nearly 200 people. Meantime, heavy rains have caused mudslides that are slowing rescue efforts. (May 27))

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New cases of the H1N1 virus in Singapore government

The Erie County Health Department notified News 4 Tuesday that it will no longer contact the local media to update new cases of the H1N1 virus.

Monday, May 25, 2009

U.S. soldiers affected with A/H1N1 flu leave Kuwait

BEIJING, May 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Eighteen U.S. soldiers infected with A/H1N1 virus left a military base in Kuwait Sunday after necessary treatment.

"All the 18 soldiers have left Kuwait," the deputy chief of Kuwait's public health department, Yussef Mendkar said, adding "they had normal symptoms of the disease and were given the necessary medication."

Kuwaiti authorities confirmed that the soldiers came from the United States, adding that the troops had no contact with the local population and were treated at U.S. military facilities.

The cases are the first to be reported from the Gulf region since the A/H1N1 influenza outbreak began last month in Mexico.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Search Upload * Upload Video File * Record from Webcam Swine Flu Alert Lowered in Mexico City

Mexico City lowered its swine flu alert level from yellow to green on Thursday, and the mayor said "we can relax" now that there have been no new infections for a week. (May 22)

Nations second 'Face Transplant' Recipient Speaks In Boston, MA

Nations 2nd Face Transplant Recipient Speaks In Boston, MA - 05/21/09

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sony Corp to halve suppliers

TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp will halve the number of its suppliers in the next two years and aims to slash procurement costs by 20 percent this year, it said on Thursday, stepping up restructuring efforts amid mounting losses.

Analysts saw the move as positive. It comes on top of a plan to cut fixed costs by more than 300 billion yen ($3.16 billion).

But Sony shares fell more than 1 percent along with those of other exporters, hurt by a firmer yen.

Sony, which competes with Samsung Electronics in flat TVs and Canon Inc in digital cameras, has been overhauling operations as it expects a second straight year of losses due to weak global demand for consumer electronics goods.

The yen's strength is dealing an additional blow to Japanese companies because it cuts into profits earned overseas.

"I'm not sure how effective this is because it's just operational streamlining and wouldn't simply push up earnings or bear fruit immediately," Mizuho Investors Securities analyst Nobuo Kurahashi said.

"But it is very good that we are seeing more and more concrete restructuring measures at a quick pace."

Sony spokeswoman Mami Imada said the company plans to cut its suppliers to about 1,200 from the current 2,500 by March 2011. It will cut costs by increasing the volume of parts and materials purchased from each supplier.

Its procurement costs currently total about 2.5 trillion yen.

The consolidation of suppliers will include video game subsidiary Sony Computer Entertainment Inc, which has enjoyed considerable freedom in purchasing supplies.
Sony, the maker of Bravia LCD TVs and PlayStation game consoles, has forecast an operating loss of 110 billion yen in the year to next March, after logging a 227.8 billion yen loss last business year.

It has said it will axe 16,000 jobs and close 14 percent of its 57 manufacturing sites.

Shares in Sony, which vies with Panasonic Corp for the title of the world's largest consumer electronics maker, lost 1.4 percent to 2,470 yen, in line with a fall in the benchmark Nikkei average.

(Reporting by Sachi Izumi; Editing by Michael Watson)


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Analog Devices 2nd quarter Profit Plunges; Sees 3rd quarter Earnings Above Consensus - Update

(RTTNews) - As a percentage of sales, gross margin for the second quarter decreased to 55.1% from 61.0% in the preceding year quarter.

Inventory at the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2009 decreased about $16 million, or 5%, over the sequential quarter.

In addition, Analog Devices said that its board declared a cash dividend of $0.20 per share of common stock, which will be paid on June 17, 2009 to all shareholders of record at the close of business on May 29, 2009.

For the third quarter, the company anticipates earnings from continuing operations of $0.17 to $0.19 per share, and revenue to be approximately flat on a sequential basis. The Street currently expects the company to report earnings of $0.11 per share for the third quarter.

Among others in the industry, Dallas, Texas-based Texas Instruments (TXN: News ), the world's second largest maker of mobile phone chips, reported that first quarter profit plunged by 97% over last year, hurt by higher restructuring charges, and lower revenue in all segments.

Another peer, Geneva, Switzerland-based STMicroelectronics N.V. (STM: News ), Europe's biggest chipmaker, reported a net loss for the first quarter that widened from the same period last year, hurt by significant weakness in the industry, particularly in the wireless, automotive, and computer peripherals sector indicated with a 33% decline in revenues.

Analog Devices closed Tuesday's regular trading session at $20.58, up 68 cents or 3.42%, on a volume of 7.45 million shares. In after-hours, the shares further gained $1.62 or 7.87%. The stock has been moving in a range of $15.29 - $36.35 for the past 52 weeks, with a three-month average volume of about 6.33 million shares.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Smoking Harder on Women’s Health

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Smoking appears to be much harder on a woman’s health than a man’s.

According to U.S. and European researchers who looked at data on 954 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and 955 control subjects, female COPD patients under age 60 and those who had smoked fewer cigarettes over their lifetimes had more severe disease and greater lung function impairment when compared to their male counterparts.

“This means that female smokers in our study experienced reduced lung function at a lower level of smoking exposure and at an earlier age than men,” study author Inga-Cecilie Soerheim, M.D., was quoted as saying.

Why would cigarette smoke take a larger toll on women than men? While the researchers say the question has yet to be answered, there are several intriguing possibilities. For example, it could be because women have smaller airways than men and thus each cigarette does more damage. Differences in metabolism between men and women could also be coming into play, as could differences seen in genes and hormones.

“Clearly, there is no such thing as a safe exposure to cigarette smoke," fellow author Dawn DeMeo, M.D., M.P.H., was quoted as saying. "Our findings suggest that this is particularly true for female smokers.”


American Express Will reduce 4,000 Jobs

May 18 (Bloomberg) -- American Express Co., the largest U.S. credit-card company by purchases, will cut about 6 percent of its workforce as cardholders squeezed by rising unemployment fail to pay debts.

American Express will take a charge of $180 million to $250 million in the second quarter, mostly tied to severance and other costs from eliminating 4,000 positions, the New York-based company said today in a statement. Additional reductions will be made in marketing and travel costs and consulting services.

The cuts, in addition to 7,000 job eliminations announced in October, may save about $2 billion in expenses this year, the company said. American Express has had to set aside more reserves for failed loans as surging U.S. unemployment makes it harder for customers to pay debt. The jobless rate reached 8.9 percent in April, a 25-year high.

“Credit is a big issue and the spending volume on the cards is a concern as well,” said Jason Arnold, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in San Francisco, who recommends selling American Express shares. “They’re taking the right steps in this environment.”

American Express rose $1.90, or 7.8 percent, to $26.13 at 4 p.m. on the New York Stock Exchange today, trimming its loss for the past year to 46 percent. The stock dropped 13 cents to $26 in extended trading after the announcement.

First-Quarter Results

American Express said last month that first-quarter profit from continuing operations declined 58 percent to $443 million as consumers defaulted on more loans. The card unit posted a $25 million loss in the period, compared with net income of $523 million a year ago. To start the second quarter, American Express said uncollectible loans climbed to 10.1 percent in April from 8.8 percent in March.

“We continue to be very cautious about the economic outlook and are therefore moving forward with additional re- engineering efforts to help further reduce our operating costs,” Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Chenault said today in the statement.

The previous round of job cuts along with a freeze on hiring and management raises and reductions in technology spending was aimed at saving $1.8 billion in 2009. The measures disclosed today are expected to save about $175 million, the company said.

To tap the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, American Express and rival Discover Financial Services converted to bank holding companies late last year. American Express received $3.39 billion in federal funds in January.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Short quiz to test your knowledge family financial management

Managing your finances has become especially challenging. Decisions are likely to be influenced by record low home mortgage interest rates, new tax breaks from government stimulus programs and the volatile stock market.

Are you up to taking a short quiz to test your knowledge of some key aspects of family financial management? Give it try and see how you do. (Answers at bottom):

1. What is the biggest difference between an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and a Roth IRA?

(a) The investments you can choose from — stocks, bonds or CDs (b) The government's treatment of taxes (c) Where you can open an IRA — a bank or brokerage house.

2. What does the acronym APR stand for?

(a) Annual Percentage Rate (b) Average Principal Return (c) Average Percentage Rate

3. What's the difference between a money-market account and a money-market fund?

(a) There is no difference (b) One offers interest gains, the other does not. (c) One is offered by a bank and is insured by the FDIC, the other is not.

4. If I've been automatically enrolled in my 401(k) at work I should be on track with my retirement savings.

(a) True (b) False

5. The interest rate is the most important factor in determining whether I should refinance my home mortgage.

(a) True (b) False

6. The largest single factor that determines my credit score is:

(a) The length of my credit history (b) Amount of debt I owe (c) Whether I pay all my bills on time

7. Of the three credit reporting agencies, I really need to look at just one report a year to make sure everything's OK.

(a) True (b) False

8. If I buy a new car before Jan. 1, 2010, I don't have to pay sales tax on it because that's part of the Obama economic stimulus plan.

(a) True (b) False

9. The broadest indicator of how U.S. stocks are performing is:

(a) Dow Jones industrial average (b) S&P 500 (c) Nasdaq (d) Russell 2000 (e) Wilshire 5000

10. I've pulled a lot of my money out of the stock market waiting for a good time to reinvest. The best sign of a market turnaround, telling me to get back in is:
(2 of 3)

(a) A huge spike in trading volume meaning lots of people are getting back in at once (b) Several days in which volatility has stabilized (c) Markets continue to climb despite news or other events putting downward pressure on them (d) Nobody really knows.


1. (b) The biggest difference is when you pay taxes. All or part of traditional IRA contributions are tax deductible depending on your circumstances and you pay taxes when you make withdrawals from the account. Roth IRA contributions are not tax deductible, but upon withdrawal the earnings and principal are tax free if you've followed all the rules. The mix of investments you may choose are generally the same for both accounts.

2. (a) Annual Percentage Rate. It is the cost of a loan over a year's time, typically including interest, insurance and origination fees (also called points). It's used for home and car loans, and credit cards.

3. (c) A money-market account is an interest-earning savings account offered through a bank and is insured by the FDIC. A money-market fund is short for money-market mutual fund, which invests in short-term debt such as Treasury bills or short term corporate bonds. While their yields are now at historic lows, money-market funds generally offer a slightly higher return than money-market accounts. That's in part because money funds don't face the same overhead costs that banks do from operating branches. While money funds are traditionally not guaranteed, nearly all of them are now. The U.S. Treasury is temporarily insuring money funds through Sept. 18 after one fund recently exposed investors to losses.

4. (b) False. Most advisers would say you must take an active role in managing your account. The automatic enrollment plan likely gets you in at a low amount, often 3 percent of your income. That's may not even be enough to capture your company's match, which means you're leaving free money on the table. In addition, the investments your money is placed in may not match your personal retirement goals.

5. (b) False. Interest rates are historically low and they are a determining factor in how much you'll save on your monthly payment, but there are other important factors. Among them is the upfront cost you may have to pay to get the best interest rate. It's known as points and it represents cash you'll have to come up with to close the deal. The interest rate you'll qualify for also depends largely on your credit score. You'll want to get your credit score, then check with some banks about what interest rate you'll be offered. Then use an online calculator to determine how much you'll save.

6. (c) Paying bills on time is 35 percent, outstanding debt is 30 percent, length of credit history is 15 percent. New credit inquiries and applications are about 10 percent. Other factors like the mix of credit types such as installment loans and personal lines of credit make up the rest.

7. (b) False. There are three credit reporting agencies. They are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Federal law requires that they allow you to see your report at least once a year for free. Advisers say to look at all three because they are different. It's best to look at one every four months to monitor your credit throughout the year. Get the free reports at or call 877-322-8228.

8. (b) False. You have to pay the sales tax when you buy your new car. The benefit comes next year when you will be able to deduct the sales tax on your 2009 tax return, either as an itemized deduction or an additional standard deduction if you don't itemize. The vehicle must be purchased before Jan. 1, 2010. If you make more than $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly), the amount you can deduct phases out.

9. (e) The Wilshire 5000 with more than 5,000 companies is considered the broadest measure of the U.S. stock market, tracking nearly all actively traded U.S. stocks. While the Dow may be the most cited index and the most watched by Main Street investors, it includes just 30 companies. The S&P 500 is mostly large companies and is used frequently by fund managers and other institutional investors. The Nasdaq composite index tracks stocks on that exchange. The Russell 2000 tracks 3,000 small companies.

10. (d) Let's go with d on this one. The other three points are perhaps good indicators of a true turnaround but many advisers would caution against waiting on the sidelines and trying to predict the upswing. History tells us most investors miss guessing the bottom most of the time. A long-term strategy that includes diversified investing taking into consideration your level of risk and time frame until retirement are the key points to consider.


0-3: It's never to late to learn. But it's time to get started.

4-5: You show some progress, but how about picking up a few personal finance books or checking out some Web sites.

6-7: This is not bad, but could be better. With a little work you show promise.

8-9: Very good, you should be on solid financial footing.


New york report: 1st NYC Swine Flu Death

A hospital official says a school assistant principal has become the first New York City death linked to the swine flu virus. He had been sick for nearly a week before his school was closed on Thursday. (May 17)

Friday, May 15, 2009

HP Recalls Fire-Hazardous Batteries

The faulty lithium-ion batteries are used in laptops sold under a variety of brands, including HP Pavilion, Compaq Presario, HP, and HP Compaq.

Hewlett-Packard has recalled 70,000 laptop batteries that pose a fire and burn hazard to users.

IBM Chairman Emeritus Irving Wladawsky-Berger talks about cloud as the next evolution in computing, saying that it's a response to end-user frustration with complexity. BlueCat execs describe their approach to managing IP addresses. Perry Wu, CEO and co-founder of BitGravity, describes meeting the challenge of delivering Internet video at desktop speeds. Previous content delivery networks were optimized for text and images, but streaming video presents new bandwidth problems.
IBM (NYSE: IBM) Chairman Emeritus Irving Wladawsky-Berger talks about cloud as the next evolution in computing, saying that it's a response to end-user frustration with complexity.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall Thursday, saying there have been two reports of batteries overheating and bursting into flames. The fires caused minor property damage, but no injuries.

The faulty lithium-ion batteries are used in laptops sold under a variety of brands, including HP Pavilion, Compaq Presario, HP, and HP Compaq. A list of model numbers is available on the CPSC Web site.

The systems were sold through computer and electronics stores nationwide and HP's Web site from August 2007 through March 2008. The laptops cost between $500 and $3,000. The batteries also were available separately for between $100 and $160. The battery manufacturer was not named, but the product was built in China

HP is offering replacement batteries at no charge and has a Web site that provides additional details. Customers also can call 800-889-2031 to get support.

The latest recall is similar to a massive recall about three years ago of Sony (NYSE: SNE) batteries that ultimately included more than 10 million batteries. Those batteries also posed a threat of overheating and causing fires. Several injuries were reported.

Recalls were issued by many of the major computer makers, including Apple, Dell (Dell), HP, Lenovo, Sony, and Toshiba. The last recall of Sony batteries occurred in October of last year, when Dell and Toshiba recalled a total of 100,000 batteries. At least two people suffered minor burns from battery-sparked fires.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chimp Attack: Xanax Found in Chimp's System

Toxicology tests confirm that the chimpanzee that severely mauled a Connecticut woman in February had the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system. (May 14)

Google sued for trademark keyword advertising

MOUNTAIN VIEW - Google is facing a new lawsuit over its advertising system.

Google makes the majority of its money on keyword advertising.

The system allows people to buy ads that run alongside Google search results whenever people search for particular words.

For example, searching for the word 'auction,' brings up an ad for eBay, running along the right-hand side of Google's page.

A company called Firepond sued after Google allowed one of the company's competitors to run its ads whenever someone searched for the word 'firepond.'

It's not the first time Google's faced a lawsuit like over trademarked keywords, and the company says it plans to fight this lawsuit as well.


Afghan-Pakistan border Car bomb blast

KANDAHAR (Afghanistan) - A SUICIDE attacker blew up a car bomb at an Afghan police station about 500 metres from the Pakistan border on Thursday, killing one policeman and wounding four, a commander said.

It was the third deadly suicide attack in as many days in Afghanistan, where Taleban insurgents warned last month they would step up attacks on Afghan officials and the local and international security forces.

The driver of the car had been trying to enter a border police compound at the town of Spin Boldak, the border police commander for southwestern Afghanistan, Mr Sayfullah Hakim, told AFP.

'Police became suspicious of the vehicle and would not let it in. They took cover. The attacker detonated and wounded five border policemen,' he said.

One of the wounded later died.

The attack was similar to scores carried out by Taleban insurgents but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The eastern town of Khost, also near the border with Pakistan, was struck by Taleban suicide bombings on Tuesday and Wednesday that together killed 16 people and wounded dozens more.

A dozen militants were also killed.

Afghan and international leaders say the extremist militants holed up in Pakistan's semi-autonomous areas on the border are a major threat to the region and the West and have demanded Islamabad take action against them. -- AFP


German 'Venus' may be oldest yet

A grotesque carving in mammoth ivory is arguably the world's oldest depiction of a human figure, scientists say.

The distorted sculpture, which portrays a woman with huge breasts, big buttocks and exaggerated genitals, is thought to be at least 35,000 years old.

The 6cm-tall figurine, reported in the journal Nature, is the latest find to come from Hohle Fels Cave in Germany.

Previous discoveries have included exquisite carvings of animals, and an object that could be a stone "sex toy".

Moreover, the range and sophistication of similar materials found across the Schwabian region of southern Germany has led some researchers to believe cave complexes such as Hohle Fels could have been early artists' workshops.

The Venus of Hohle Fels was found in six fragments in September 2008. It is still missing its left arm and shoulder, but researchers are hopeful these will emerge in future excavations of the cave's sediments.

The figurine does not have a head. Rather, it has a carefully carved ring located off-centre above its broad shoulders.

The polished nature of the ring suggests the Venus was probably suspended as a pendant.

The hands have precisely carved fingers, with five digits clearly visible on the left hand and four on the right hand.

The pronounced breasts, buttocks and genitals familiar in later Venuses are usually interpreted to be expressions of fertility.

The Venus shows no signs of having been covered with pigments. It is, though, marked by a series of cut lines.

The Hohle Fels object is of an age where radiocarbon dating techniques become somewhat uncertain. Scientists say, however, that it is unquestionably older than previous finds associated with, for example, European Gravettian culture.

These typically date from between 22,000 and 27,000 years ago, with the most famous item probably being the Venus of Willendorf which was discovered in 1908.

Professor Nicholas Conard, from the department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, at Tübingen University, is the author of the scientific paper reported in Nature magazine. He has described many of the extraordinary finds at Hohle Fels.

He says the Venus is perhaps the earliest example of figurative art worldwide.

"The most noteworthy figurative representations of roughly comparable age outside Swabia are limited to the schematic, monochrome, red paintings on rock fragments from Fumane Cave in northern Italy; the standing figurine from Stratzing in the Wachau of Lower Austria; and the impressive paintings from Grotte Chauvet in the Ardeche in southern France," he writes.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Healthy Heart Tips for a Bad Economy

Don't let your body pay the price in uncertain times, experts say.

(SOURCE: University of California, Los Angeles, news release, Jan. 27, 2009)

SATURDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The economic news is enough to weaken anyone's heart, and it sometimes does with people feeling stressed, eating poorly and cutting out workouts while trying to make ends meet.

"We've seen an increase in patients complaining about heart palpitations, anxiety and stress over the past months," Karol Watson, an associate professor of cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, said in a news release issued by the school. "Much of heart disease can be prevented. That's why it is so important to follow a healthy lifestyle and to control your cardiovascular risk factors."

UCLA cardiologists offer these tips for adults and children in these tough economic times:

  • Eat better; exercise more. Eat a healthy diet, including five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. By cooking simple fresh foods at home, rather than indulging in restaurant fare or fast foods, you can save money and your health. Maintaining a good diet and exercise program -- even if it's just 30 minutes of walking around the neighborhood -- helps you prevent obesity, which adds to the risk of heart attacks, heart failure and diabetes.
  • Don't skimp on health care. Putting off doctor visits, especially when you have symptoms, hurts your health more in the long run, as does skipping medications or splitting pills to cut costs. Maintain regular checkups. Look at pharmaceutical company prescription programs if medication costs are a concern for you.
  • Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoking is an expensive habit that greatly increases your risk of cardiovascular problems. Quitting smoking quickly reduces the risk to your heart.
  • Reduce stress. Find a positive outlet -- such as exercise, meditation or the company of others -- to ease stress and improve your health.
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Get your levels checked and talk to your physician about the best plan of action to keep your LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels low and your HDL ("good") cholesterol levels high.
  • Check your blood pressure. Hypertension is called the "silent killer," because it exhibits few warning signs. Today, several effective treatments are available for high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is normal, maintain it with a healthy lifestyle.

More information

Five convicted of plotting to bomb Chicago's Sears Tower

Five men were convicted Tuesday in Miami of plotting to join forces with al-Qaeda to destroy Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices in hopes of igniting an anti-government insurrection.

The jury acquitted another member of the so-called "Liberty City Six" in the sixth day of deliberations. Two previous trials ended in mistrials when jurors could not agree on the men's guilt or innocence.

They were arrested in June 2006 on charges of plotting terrorism with an undercover FBI informant they believed was from al-Qaeda.

Defence attorneys said terrorist talk recorded on dozens of FBI tapes was not serious, and the men wanted only money.

Ringleader Narseal Batiste, 35, was the only one convicted of all four terrorism-related conspiracy counts, including plotting to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to wage war against the U.S. Batiste, who was on the vast majority of hundreds of FBI audio and video tapes, faces as much as 70 years in prison.

Batiste's right-hand man, 29-year-old Patrick Abraham, was convicted on three counts and faces 50 years behind bars. Convicted on two counts and facing 30 years are 24-year-old Burson Augustin, 25-year-old Rotschild Augustine and 33-year-old Stanley Grant Phanor. Naudimar Herrera, 25, was cleared of all four charges.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard set sentencing for July 26 for the five convicted men, most of whom are Haitian or have Haitian ancestry. They lived in Miami's downtrodden inner-city neighborhood known as Liberty City.

Batiste was leader of a Miami chapter of a sect known as the Moorish Science Temple, which combines elements of Christianity, Judaism and Islam and does not recognize the U.S. government's full authority.

Defence lawyers also claimed the case was an FBI setup driven by informants who manipulated the group.

"This is a manufactured crime," Batiste attorney Ana M. Jhones said earlier in the trial.

A seventh man who was acquitted after the first 2007 trial, 34-year-old Lyglenson Lemorin, is being deported to his native Haiti anyway. Less stringent immigration laws make it easier for U.S. officials to use the terrorism allegations against Lemorin.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Spice Mobiles launched stylish flip phone S-5330 with an Indian

New Delhi: Spice Mobiles has launched a stylish new slim flip phone, Spice S-5330, specificaly for the Indian market. The handset incorporates an Indian calendar or panchang.

The phone also comes packed with features like a powerful MP3 player and FM recording, 3D style display menu, 2 GB expandable memory, mobile tracker and GPRS.

The calendar, being launched in Spice S-5330 gives a sneak peek at festivals, tithi details, lunar position, weekly and monthly information as per the traditional panchang. The tithi details can also be sent as an SMS.

The phone has exciting MP3 features, which allow users to play most of the music formats impeccably, has exciting shuffle & repeat options and a music equaliser that gives you the liberty to choose from eight equaliser settings. Along with this, the phone has many exciting features like FM recordings and an FM Alarm to wake up to the users favourite RJ.

The Spice S-5330 has a 2 GB expandable memory.

Spice S-5330 offers services like MobileTracker, SMS Scheduler, a blacklist and a whitelist number identification facility, a panic button and phone book contact backup. The handset comes loaded with VAS functionalities and gives Live cricket updates, enables users to send free SMS and receive free news alerts, weather forecast and a Reuters service along with a currency checker.

Apart from these, it also comes pre-loaded with the ibibo social networking service, Email2SMS, MGurujee, among others.

The Spice S-5330 is available at Rs2,799 MRP


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Schools reopen after CDC reversal

The announcement that three Prince George's County schools that had closed because of four probable cases of swine flu would reopen Wednesday was welcomed by parents who had struggled to find child care during the school days.

County school officials made the announcement late Tuesday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that schools no longer needed to be closed for suspected or confirmed cases of swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus.

"This is great news for parents and students," schools Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said in a statement released Tuesday. "We understand the strain that families have been under with the uncertainty of when schools would reopen. We encourage children and adults to continue practicing prevention. Working together with parents, we can help students stay healthy and schools stay open."

An 8-year-old student at Montpelier Elementary in Laurel and a teacher at University Park Elementary were found to have probable cases of the virus, also known as the H1N1 virus, last week. A student at Vansville Elementary School in Beltsville was diagnosed as probable on Monday, the same day a second student at Montpelier also tested probable.

Dr. Donald Shell, health officer for the county's health department, said at a County Council meeting Tuesday that all the children and the adult have ties to an after-school karate program where up to 40 children were participating. All 40 children are being monitored and seven are currently sick, Shell said. He said he did not know the name of the program but said everyone involved had been notified.

Shell said he is hopeful the schools may reopen within 10 days rather than the full 14, since the illness is not severe.

"That's a good thing," Shell said. "We've been fortunate, both as a country and as a region."

The school statement Tuesday said the closed schools "continue to be cleaned daily" and that the CDC recommends that ill students and staff members stay home to prevent spreading the flu.

But the school closings have been hard on many, council members noted.

"There's a social impact, especially in the area of Montpelier," said Councilman Thomas Dernoga (D-Dist. 1), who said single parents and lower income families with students are being hit economically by the closings. "There's a real concern as to whether this will have an employment impact."

Shell said the county asked the state to step up assistance to food banks and food stamp benefits for people affected by the quarantine.

The closures of the three schools while tests were being conducted to check for the virus sent parents scrambling to find answers and daytime care for their children.

"I'm just worried about them not having anything to do," said Kesha Cotton of Laurel, who has a sixth-grader and kindergartener at Montpelier. "I mean, no homework, nothing was given to them to do while they're home for these two weeks."

Cotton's husband, Troy, took off work Monday to watch their children, Yasmine, 11, and Justin, 6. Cotton's mother will babysit Tuesday and Wednesday, and Cotton or her husband was expecting to miss work Thursday and Friday to watch them.

Ashley Woodall, 11, is a fifth-grader at Montpelier and a member of the school's county championship Science Bowl team. She and her four teammates were scheduled to be honored at Tuesday night's PGCPS Board of Education awards ceremony.

That was until the county disinvited the Montpelier team, citing health concerns.

"She was in tears," said Ashley's mother, Rikki Woodall. "I understand, but it's kind of a bummer. The kids were really looking forward to it. It was such a huge accomplishment for them."

The board plans to honor Montpelier's team at a May 27 ceremony, said county schools spokesman John White. But for now, the team could pose a health risk to other schools' students.

"The health department advises us against having that level of exposure," White said.

This week, Ashley is being watched by her grandfather, Richard Woodall of Lanham. His schedule is open because he was laid off from his job as a courier manager several months ago.

"His misfortune is my fortune," said Rikki Woodall, a settlement coordinator for a title company. "If he wasn't available, I'd have to leave her home by herself."

Other parents, like Chris Harvey of University Park, had to juggle responsibilities. Harvey, a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, will miss three days this week while caring for her daughter, Anna, 8. If schools were closed longer, she planned a baby-sitting rotation with a neighbor.

"We're sort of shuffling kids around from one home to the next," she said.

There were 15 probable swine flu cases in Maryland as of Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Four of the cases — a high school student and two adults in Baltimore County and a pre-schooler in Anne Arundel County — have been confirmed as definite swine flu cases. Six schools in the state and three in Prince George's were expected to be closed for up to 14 days unless the CDC recommended otherwise.

County schools have not determined whether the three will have to make up the days they miss, White said. Make-up days are usually allotted on a countywide basis, such as in the case of weather emergencies.

"In our case, it's only [three] schools," White said. "This is a little different."

While Montpelier, University Park and Vansville elementaries deal with the fallout from their suspected cases, parents at other schools are worried that swine flu could come their way.

Julia Shepperson of Landover hopes her children's classmates at Glenarden's Judge Sylvania W. Woods Elementary practice good hand washing and have access to hand sanitizer in each classroom. Her children Jordan, 8, a third-grader, and Justine, 11, a sixth-grader, both attend the school.

"Perhaps they could put a bathroom monitor on just to ensure that that is being done," Shepperson said.

Wanda Michals of Capitol Heights continues to remind her children, Joshua, 5, a pre-kindergartener, and Paige, 8, a third-grader, to keep their hands out of their mouths and keep their distance from coughing children. Both attend Capitol Heights Elementary School.

"If it did come to the school, I would say just to be on the safe side they should close it," Michals said. "If a child got sick and they weren't sure, I'd rather they err on the side of caution, even if it meant them going into summer break."

Michals said she was surprised to hear about the cases in the county. She said she hopes Capitol Heights Elementary is diligent about sanitizing the cafeteria and bathrooms daily.

"I was surprised and just more cautious like, ‘Wow, it's getting closer,'" Michals said."That safety net that we still had is dwindling. Daily."

Mark Lockett, PTA president for Arrowhead Elementary School in Upper Marlboro, said he is not too worried about the swine flu because he has taught his children to wash their hands and to be cautious. But he said he worries that other parents are not doing the same.

"I am concerned about a lot of parents," said Lockett, of Upper Marlboro. "They should be teaching their kids how to cover their mouth, how to do certain things."

Lockett said he is keeping a careful eye on the situation at Arrowhead, especially because his daughter has asthma. If he hears about a lot of students falling ill or being absent, he already knows what he will do.

"I am prepared, at a moment's notice, to keep her out of school," he said.

Upper Marlboro resident Aletha Mills, who has a son in the seventh grade at Kettering Middle School, said she hopes teachers, cafeteria workers and other employees at the school are washing their hands regularly and encouraging students to do the same.

"It's a little alarming," she said. "It's about hygiene now."

But Mills said she is also worried children will be singled out as having the swine flu just for having flu-like symptoms.

"You don't want kids being [singled out] because they have allergies," said Mills, who said her son has them. "It's like, ‘Oh, have you been to Mexico lately?'"

Staff writers Greg Holzheimer, Natalie McGill and Daniel Valentine contributed to this story.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Learn To Manage Your Credit Card Debt

Though a lot of people are comfortable with going forward with credit card debt management all by themselves, not everyone is. There are people who don’t really want to tread into the territory of financial issues (credit card debt management included). Such people generally prefer going to debt assistance companies for advice on credit card debt management or for getting the credit card debt management done through them.

However, even before we talk further on this topic of credit card debt management, it’s imperative to understand that any external person or agency can only do a proper credit card debt management for you if you strictly follow the advice/guidelines that they formulate as part of credit card debt management. These credit card debt management guidelines are generally related to controlling your spending (which basically means perseverance and contentment).

Going to a credit card debt management company or a credit card debt management advisor/professional is not meant only for people who are foreign to financial topics but is sometimes fruitful for other people too (who are going with credit card debt management all by themselves). This arises from the fact that these credit card debt management professionals (as any professional) would have more knowledge in that field than anyone else that is not from that field/profession. So, firstly, you wouldn’t know all the tips and tricks that the credit card debt management professional would know (and in fact this is something that you cannot read and learn overnight).

And secondly, it will save you a lot of time; because the person who practices credit card debt management as a profession would know about all the latest offers etc that are available in the market e.g. balance transfer offers etc (and hence you don’t need to go looking for all this stuff all by yourself). All in all, a credit card debt management professional can help get you a better deal that might more than compensate for the fee charged by that professional.

If you look around you will find that there are hordes of companies and professionals offering credit card debt management services. However, the key here is that you choose someone whose credentials are already established (or who can prove his credentials to you). One good way of selecting a credit card debt management company/ professional is to check with a friend or someone from your family, if they have used any such service in recent times. After all, references are the best way of building trust.

The Killer Swine Flu: Origins & Prevention!!!

How to avoid the Swine Flu.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Uganda: Country to Conduct HIV Survey

Kampala — THE Ministry of Health plans to carry out another national HIV/AIDS sero-behavioural survey later this year.

"The survey taskforce is working out the modalities like mobilising the funds, but by October, we expect to have kicked off," said Dr. Sam Zaramba, the director general of health services.

He disclosed that the survey would cost about $5m (sh10b), which will be financed by the Government and development partners.

A sero-status survey is carried out to establish the magnitude, knowledge and management of HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted infections.

Zaramba said the 2004/2005 survey showed an increase in HIV infections among adults. This, he explained, is one of the critical areas that this year's survey will focus on.

According to the 2004/5 survey, 6.4% of Ugandans aged between 15-49 were HIV-positive.

The HIV prevalence was higher among women at 7.5%, while that in men was 5%.

The survey showed that 10.1% of urban residents were infected, while the prevalence rate in their rural counterparts was 5.7%.

The central region had a prevalence rate of 8.5%, followed by northern Uganda with 8.2%.

The survey also showed a high prevalence of other sexually-transmitted infections.

Zainab Akol, the head of the AIDS Control Programme in the health ministry, said there had been an increase in the number of people accessing voluntary counselling services. About 20% of Ugandans know their sero status.

The Government has been encouraging people, especially the youth, to test and establish their sero status so as to live responsibly Akol, however, said an increase in the number of people living with HIV and AIDS is expected.

An estimated 135,000 people are infected with the virus every year.

Nearly 650,000 Ugandans unknowingly live with HIV-positive sexual partners.

Medical practitioners have expressed concern that about 85,000 people risk contracting HIV this year if they are not sensitised about the virus.


Android name is being contested by an Illinois developer

llinois developer Erich Specht, filed suit this week for trademark infringement against Google and some 47 other companies in the Open Handset Alliance. At stake are the rights to the Android name which denotes Google's version of Linux that adorns their handsets.

On paper it would appear that the suit has some merit. Specht has officially owned the trademark to "android" since he registered it in 2000. Two years later, the US Patent and Trademark Office awarded the trademark to Android Data, Specht's company. The USPTO granted the application noting that no application would be granted the exclusive right to use the term data, therefore making "android" that dominant word and the trademark.

A case of being in the right place at the right time, registering the right domain name. Opportunistic?

Fortunately for Google, it is not that cut and dry. Android Data's business never amounted to anything. In fact, the company was dissolved in 2004 and lost its domain name A new domain name was registered a few weeks ago in anticipation of the lawsuit.

Another interesting observation: Why did Specht wait so long to file suit? If he had filed suit when the name was announced, there might not have been so much money invested in the name. Now, Google and its partners are heavily vested.

"He had heard about the Android phone, but thought, 'That's a mobile device,' " Specht's attorney told Forbes. "As soon as he learned it was software, he stepped up, and we filed as fast as we could."

And what of the name android, anyway? Is it a generic term or is it something new?

Wikipedia's take on Android:

An android is a robot or synthetic organism designed to look and act human. The word derives from ανδρός, the genitive of the Greek ανήρ anēr, meaning "man", and the suffix -eides, used to mean "of the species; alike" (from eidos, "species"). Though the word derives from a gender-specific root, its usage in English is usually gender neutral. The term was first mentioned by St. Albertus Magnus in 1270 and was popularized by the French writer Villiers in his 1886 novel L'Ève future, although the term "android" appears in US patents as early as 1863 in reference to miniature humanlike toy automations.

Apparently, it's been around for a while. It is surprising that Specht's was the first business to register it.

What is Google's take? "We believe the complaint has no merit," a Google spokesperson said, "We plan to defend against them vigorously."

I anticipate any closed-door settlement somewhere between the $100,000,000 Specht is asking for and a lot closer to nothing.


Penna. confirms first case of H1N1

Gov. Rendell announced yesterday Pennsylvania's first confirmed case of swine flu after receiving the test results of a 31-year-old Mexican man who had recently arrived in Montgomery County to work as a landscaper.

The man, who has a work visa, was met on Wednesday by his American sponsor, who recognized his symptoms and took steps to get him immediate treatment, Rendell and health officials said at a late-afternoon news briefing in Norristown.

The case proved to be mild, and the man recovered without hospitalization.

Although the case in Upper Merion Township is the first H1N1 influenza confirmed by testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the Pennsylvania Department of Health lists seven more probable cases: two in Philadelphia; two in Montgomery County, one of which was new yesterday; and one each announced yesterday in Bucks, Lycoming and Luzerne Counties. None of the cases have required hospitalization.

New Jersey has one probable case and seven confirmed cases, including four in Burlington County. Three of those are members of a family who had recently been to Mexico; a fourth case in the county involved a woman who had contact with the family but who had not traveled.

Rendell urged the public to remain calm and follow basic health practices such as routine hand washing, that have been shown to slow the spread of flu.

Across the region health officials are moving quickly to coordinate efforts to combat the spread of the flu, which has killed 22 people in Mexico and one toddler in Texas. The child had traveled from Mexico with relatives seeking treatment in the United States.

Rendell said the state had stockpiled 1.8 million courses of antiviral medication, which consists of five days worth of Tamiflu and Relenza. Both drugs have been shown to be effective against H1N1.

Pennsylvania is one of 34 states to report a confirmed case of the flu. yesterday, CDC officials said the tally of confirmed cases in the United States jumped to 241, but that's largely from catching up on a backlog of lab tests rather than a sudden spurt in new infections.

Those numbers are sure to rise, said the CDC's Anne Schuchat, because states are now contributing their results and many cases remain to be analyzed.

"Virtually all of the United States probably has this virus circulating now. That doesn't mean that everybody's infected, but within the communities, the virus has arrived," she said yesterday.

Federal health officials added that the virus was not behaving like a severe flu, but cautioned that that did not mean the threat had passed.

A big concern is whether the virus will return, perhaps harder, when regular influenza season returns. Production of regular winter flu vaccine is going full-tilt "to make sure we kind of clear the decks," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

Scientists are still gathering information on how severe the nation's 30 hospitalized cases are, she said. They are mostly older children and young adults, in contrast to ordinary flu, which tends to send the elderly and very young to the hospital, said Schuchat, the CDC official.

So far none of the cases in New Jersey, Delaware, or Pennsylvania have been severe enough to require hospital treatment, which was in part attributable to people's seeking prompt treatment for the illness, Rendell said.

Experts say that the first confirmed cases in any community, though a milestone for a disease that was previously unknown, do not by themselves say much about risk to others. People should continue taking precautions - washing hands thoroughly with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand cleaners, coughing into sleeves or handkerchiefs rather than their hands, staying home when sick - that were already recommended.

Multiple person-to-person transmissions, such as when one vacationer returns from Mexico with H1N1 and passes it to a nontraveler who then infects a friend, indicate that it is spreading locally and may suggest actions to try to slow its movement. But even that says nothing about severity.

The University of Delaware stopped testing its students over the weekend, after a 10th confirmed case and more than a dozen probable cases made clear that the disease was already widespread on campus and that more testing would not contain it. Because the symptoms and treatment for seasonal flu and swine flu are nearly identical, all students with flulike illness will be treated for the flu, as more than 500 already have been.

In New Jersey two of the seven infected, a 14-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, are students in the Mount Laurel School District, which decided Thursday, when the cases were announced, to continue holding classes as usual. Officials said that neither student had exhibited symptoms while attending school.

In nearby Hainesport, by contrast, school officials decided last night to close the Hainesport School today and tomorrow as a precaution after two students displayed flulike symptoms. Samples had not yet gone to the state lab to determine whether it was H1N1.

Schools are known to be reservoirs of influenza infection generally, and children tend to be contagious longer than adults. But in deciding whether to close a school or keep it open, the CDC advises local officials to consider a number of factors, including how many students have been sick and how far along the illness is.

"It's a balance," said Schuchat, an infectious-disease expert.

"There are lots of benefits to the students and the community for students being in school. And certainly if you dismiss students and then they go congregate somewhere else, they're really not getting the benefit of the school or school lunches but all the risk of being around a lot of other kids."