World News Briefs

Hundreds of schools close, many lack power, trees litter roads after surprise Northeast snow

SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. (AP) – Thousands of schoolchildren around the Northeast had one of the earliest snow days in memory Monday after a storm dumped as much as 30 inches of wet, heavy snow that snapped trees and power lines, caused widespread power failures and threatened to disrupt Halloween trick-or-treating.
Communities from Maine to Maryland that suffered through a tough winter last year followed by a series of floods and storms went into now-familiar emergency mode as shelters opened, inaccessible roads closed, regional transit was suspended or delayed, and local leaders urged caution.
The storm’s lingering effects likely will outlast the snow. Temperatures are expected to begin rising Monday and the heavy, wet snow will start melting, the National Weather Service said.
The unseasonably early nor’easter had utility companies struggling to restore electricity to millions of homes and businesses. By late Sunday, the number of customers without power had dipped to below 3 million and continued falling. But officials in some states warned it could be days or even a week before residents have power again, even though crews have been brought in from as far away as Michigan and Canada.
“We are in full restoration mode,” said Marcy Reed, president of National Grid Massachusetts.

AP analysis finds GOP candidates, President Obama vary widely in use of Twitter

NEW YORK

(AP) – Twitter is abuzz with presidential candidates this year, though not all in the Twittersphere are equal.

Rick Santorum tweets a lot more than Rick Perry, Herman Cain is the Republican most likely to be retweeted, and their Twitter followers are dwarfed by President Barack Obama’s.

That’s according to an Associated Press analysis of the presidential candidates’ use of Twitter that found widely different levels of engagement, despite the site’s emergence as a go-to hub for political communication.

The AP analyzed each candidate’s Twitter stream beginning the day he or she joined the presidential contest through Monday, Oct. 24. The data, available from Twitter’s website, highlights every message posted by candidates, as well as how many times their messages were “retweeted,” or reposted, by other users on the site.

No one believes the campaign will be won or lost on Twitter – it’s just one slice of an enormous communication effort each campaign wages in cyberspace. But with a well-timed 140 character blast, candidates can make news, respond to charges or reinforce talking points in a matter of seconds.

Qantas resumes flights following fleet grounding that stranded thousands worldwide

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Qantas Airways planes returned to the skies Monday after an Australian court ruled on a bitter labor dispute that had prompted the world’s 10th-largest airline to ground its entire fleet.

A flight from Sydney to Jakarta, Indonesia, took off shortly after Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority gave the “Flying Kangaroo,” as the Australian flag carrier is known, the all-clear to resume flying.

Qantas said in a statement it still expected some delays as it worked to clear the backlog of customers affected by the nearly 48-hour grounding. The airline is adding extra flights and expects its schedule to return to normal within one or two days.

The grounding disrupted the travel plans of tens of thousands of people across the world, and Qantas passengers were gathering at airports in Australia, Los Angeles and elsewhere in the hopes of finally getting to their destinations.

The airline’s resumption of flights comes around 12 hours after an emergency ruling by an arbitration court ended weeks of strikes and canceled a staff lockout.

Hanging steel, concrete complicate search for 3 presumed dead after Kan. grain elevator blast

ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) – Unstable concrete, hanging steel beams and other damage caused by a powerful explosion that ripped through a Kansas grain elevator are complicating efforts to find three more people likely killed in the blast.

Crews were hoping to stabilize the debris and resume their search Monday in the Bartlett Grain Co. facility in Atchison, about 50 miles northwest of Kansas City. The bodies of three other workers were recovered after the Saturday blast, and two people are hospitalized with severe burns.

The explosion was a harrowing reminder of the dangers workers face inside elevators brimming with highly combustible grain dust at the end of harvest season. The blast fired an orange fireball into the night sky, shot off a chunk of the grain distribution building directly above the elevator and blew a large hole in the side of a concrete silo.

The search for three people presumed dead – another worker and two grain inspectors – was temporarily halted Sunday because of fears that the building could fall on rescuers. Local officials met with victims’ families to explain why crews pulled back, but understood they wanted their loved ones found, Atchison City Manager Trey Cocking said.

“Uncertainty is always the worst for folks,” he said late Sunday, as candlelight vigils were held near the still smoldering building.

Dear Wall Street occupiers: Hundreds of letters, parcels bring encouragement – and cookies

NEW YORK (AP) – Bette Snyder is nourishing the Wall Street protesters from her kitchen in northwestern Ohio.

For the past three weeks, the 69-year-old woman has sent the occupiers of Zuccotti Park tins of home-baked cookies and messages of support.

“Here are some cookies for the demonstrators,” she wrote in a note accompanying one of the tins. “I will keep sending them as long as you keep protesting.”

The protests at a park in lower Manhattan that have been raging for about a month are inspiring people across the country and around the world to send letters of support – even if they are only a few words on a scrap of paper with a tin of cookies.

The letters show how effectively protesters have delivered their scathing critiques that the vast majority of people struggle to make ends meet while a small percentage of people control most of the wealth.

Nations worldwide honor many ‘7 billionth’ babies, symbolizing global population milestone

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – She came into the world at two minutes before midnight, a tiny, wrinkled girl born into a struggling Manila family. On Monday, she became a symbol of the world’s population reaching 7 billion people and all the worries that entails for the planet’s future.

Danica May Camacho, born in a crowded public hospital, was welcomed with a chocolate cake marked “7B Philippines” and a gift certificate for free shoes. There were bursts of photographers’ flashes, and speeches by local officials.

The celebrations, though, reflected symbolism more than demography.

Amid the millions of births and deaths around the world each day, it is impossible to pinpoint the arrival of the globe’s 7 billionth occupant. But the U.N. chose Monday to mark the day with a string of festivities worldwide, and a series of symbolic 7-billionth babies being born.

Danica was the first, arriving at Manila’s Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital at two minutes before midnight Sunday – but doctors say that was close enough to count for a Monday birthday.

Car bomb kills 4 in southern Afghan city of Kandahar during attack near UN office

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) – A suicide vehicle bomb struck a checkpoint in a neighborhood housing United Nations and international aid groups’ offices in the southern city of Kandahar early Monday, killing four people and severely damaging a U.N. agency’s building, Afghan officials said.

Gunmen then rushed into the neighborhood and seized control of at least one building, sparking a battle with Afghan and NATO forces, Kandahar police chief Gen. Abdul Razzaq said. The firefight lasted more than two hours before the two insurgents were shot dead, according to a statement from the provincial governor’s office.

The combined bombing and assault was the second major attack in three days targeting foreigners or NATO troops in the country, and spotlighted the insurgents’ ability to continue to carry out major attacks despite a 10-year NATO campaign against them. The U.S.-led coalition is gradually handing over security responsibilities to its Afghan counterparts and plans to withdrawing its combat forces by the end of 2014.

Immediately after the 6:15 a.m. bomb attack, two insurgents rushed into the area and seized control of an animal clinic near the office of the International Relief and Development organization, said provincial police spokesman Ghorzang, who like many Afghans goes by one name.

The blast caused extensive damage to the offices of the U.N.’s refugee agency, the UNHCR. Associated Press video footage showed large chunks of the building’s outer walls blown out, as well as the windows. The street around the building was strewn with rubble.

Study in Wash. state suggests more violence among kids of combat veterans, including daughters

ATLANTA (AP) – A new study suggests that when parents are deployed in the military, their children are more than twice as likely to carry a weapon, join a gang or be involved in fights.
And that includes the daughters.

“This study raises serious concerns about an under-recognized consequence of war,” said Sarah Reed, who led the research of military families in Washington state.

Last year, nearly 2 million U.S. children had at least one parent serving in the military. Deployment can hurt a family in a variety of ways. There’s stress while that parent is overseas and in danger, as the remaining parent has to shoulder all responsibilities and family roles shift. There can also be challenges after deployed parents’ return, especially if they were physically or psychologically damaged.

The effect of military deployment on kids is an emerging field of research. The new study is considered the first of its kind to focus on those affected by deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s unique in that it looked at a statewide swath of the population in comparing the behavior of kids in military families to children in non-military families.

US backs Pakistani version of Sesame Street to promote tolerance amid raging militancy

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) – Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch are nowhere in sight. But there’s Elmo. And new creatures too, like Baily, a kindly donkey who loves to sing, and Haseen O Jameel, a vain crocodile who lives at the bottom of a well.

Sesame Street is coming to Pakistan but not as generations of Americans know it.

The TV show has a new cast of local characters led by a vivacious 6-year-old girl named Rani who loves cricket and traditional Pakistani music. Her sidekick, Munna, is a 5-year-old boy obsessed with numbers and banging away on Pakistani bongo drums, or tabla.

The U.S. is bankrolling the initiative with $20 million, hoping it will improve education in a country where one-third of primary school-age children are not in class. Washington also hopes the program will increase tolerance at a time when the influence of radical viewstype:bold,italic; istype:bold,italic; growing.

“One of the key goals of the show in Pakistan is to increase tolerance toward groups like women and ethnic minorities,” said Larry Dolan, who was the head education officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Pakistan until very recently.

Hacked off with a life online

Leaders' debate's fiery exchange

Pike River, Christchurch and the Rena disaster were the focus of the first leaders’ debate last night, which also became mired in a heated exchange about whether John Key was a “liar”. So how did Labour leader Phil Goff…

A.M. Entertainment News Links: Polygamy has its perks on ‘Sister Wives,’ ‘Twilight Saga’ sequel avoids R rating

sister-wives.JPG‘Sister Wives,” from left: Meri, Christine, Janelle and Robyn.

The morning’s top entertainment news and links from The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com.

‘Sister Wives’ recap: Polygamy has its perks (E! Online)

‘Twilight Saga — Breaking Dawn Part 1’ escapes an R rating (Detroit Free Press)

Jay-Z, Kanye West’s ‘Throne’ tour has thrilling liftoff (MTV News)

Justin Timberlake reunites with Jimmy Fallon for ‘History of Rap 3’ (Ace Showbiz)

‘Walking Dead’ creator Robert Kirkman: Shane changes the game (MTV News)

Bill Murray signs on for Charlie Sheen’s comeback movie (AV Club)

Powerhouses of Rock, Unite: LouTallica (New York Times)

Lindsay Lohan shows off her pearly white chompers (PerezHilton)

US man bears brunt of Qantas Twitter rage

Thai child sex tour trial begins

A man accused of organising a child sex tour to Thailand has gone on trial at the High Court at Auckland.

The south Auckland real estate agent, whose identity is suppressed, is the first person to face such charges in New…

What to watch: ‘Finding Bigfoot’ on Animal Planet

What to watch: ‘Finding Bigfoot: Birth’ on Animal Planet at

Finding Bigfoot: Birth of a Legend” airs tonight on Animal Planet. Caught on film over 40 years ago, the Patterson-Gimlin footage is “the most important piece of evidence of Bigfoot in history.” Is it real? The team investigates.

Twitter handle of the day: The Twilight Saga, @Twilight

The movies series’ Twitter account has 637,015 followers. A recent tweet reads, “What would you wear to Bella Edward’s big day in #BreakingDawn?”

Video: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ movie trailer


 

World News in Brief | Conservative, leftist vying Sunday for Bulgarian presidency

BULGARIAN BALLOTING: Bulgarians today will decide between a member of the ruling center-right party and a leftist ex-foreign minister in an election run-off for the presidency. A vote last Sunday yielded two top candidates, neither of whom achieved the 50 percent required for outright victory. Ruling conservative party candidate Rosen Plevneliev garnered just over 40 percent of votes, while Ivailo Kalfin — who ran on the Socialist party ticket — polled nearly 29 percent.

FLIGHTS CANCELED: Air France says it has canceled about 20 percent of its flights because of a strike by flight attendants. The strike is affecting mostly short- and medium-haul flights out of French airports, but 10 long-haul flights were also canceled Saturday.

GAZA SKIRMISHING: Israeli aircraft struck at Palestinian militants in Gaza on Saturday. The militants responded with a volley of rockets that rained on southern Israeli towns. Palestinian officials said nine militants were killed, and on the Israeli side one civilian was killed and four were wounded.

ISRAELI RALLY: Tens of thousands of people marched in Tel Aviv to express anger over the high cost of living. Israelis have staged a wave of demonstrations in recent months over a wide range of social issues, especially high housing costs.

TERROR SENTENCE: A special Saudi tribunal has sentenced a woman to 15 years in prison on terrorism-linked charges, including aiding al-Qaida cells and insurgents seeking to enter Iraq. The official Saudi Press Agency gave few other details.

AFRICAN TROOPS ATTACKED: A team of suicide bombers and gunmen disguised as soldiers assaulted an African Union base in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Saturday, sparking a two-hour gunfight that left at least 10 people dead. Al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked Islamist militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

QUAKE DAMAGE: Peruvian authorities said Saturday that 134 homes were destroyed and 103 people were hospitalized for injuries in a 6.9-magnitude quake off the central coast Friday. There were no deaths. Two adobe churches also were seriously damaged, including the 18th-century cathedral of the provincial capital of Ica.

| The Associated Press



Neighbours split over council broadband plan

PM reveals asset sales fund plan

At National’s election campaign launch, John Key said the proceeds from partial asset sales would be placed in a fund for future investments such as schools, hospitals, and transport projects.

IMDb Buzz, an Entertainment News App for iPhone and iPod touch, Now Available for Free on the App Store

The #1 Movie Website In the World Adds A News App To Its Portfolio of
Leading Mobile Entertainment Apps, Launches Android App Notifications
and iOS 5 Update, And Announces IMDb Trivia Milestones

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–IMDb, the world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV
and celebrity content, today announced that IMDb Buzz, a free
entertainment news application for iPhone and iPod touch, is now
available for download worldwide on the App Store. Additionally, IMDb
announced the following mobile news: the launch of notifications on
IMDb’s leading Android App; iOS 5 updates for IMDb’s popular Movies
TV
app for iPhone and iPad; and momentum milestones pertaining to
the IMDb Trivia app for iPhone and iPod touch. To learn more
about and download IMDb Buzz, go to: http://www.imdbbuzz.com.

“With IMDb Buzz, our users can access breaking entertainment news
from our extensive roster of top tier NewsDesk partners including Access
Hollywood, indieWire and The Wrap, while following their favorite
celebrities, TV shows, films and news sources in a customized newsfeed –
all from the convenience of their iPhone”

“We are laser focused on building an unrivaled portfolio of leading
entertainment apps,” said Col Needham, founder and CEO of IMDb. “In the
last month alone, we’ve launched IMDb Buzz (an entertainment news
app) and IMDb Trivia (our first foray into games). In both cases,
we built a dedicated, platform-optimized app focused on features that
IMDb’s more than 110 million monthly unique visitors worldwide spend the
most time consuming on our site: entertainment news and trivia
respectively.”

“With IMDb Buzz, our users can access breaking entertainment news
from our extensive roster of top tier NewsDesk partners including Access
Hollywood, indieWire and The Wrap, while following their favorite
celebrities, TV shows, films and news sources in a customized newsfeed –
all from the convenience of their iPhone,” said Kintan Brahmbhatt, head
of mobile for IMDb. “The just-launched notifications feature on our
leading Android app also meets this customer demand, providing users
with the ability to follow any of the 2 million titles and 4 million
people on IMDb they’re most interested in and receive requested
notifications based on their customized interests.”

IMDb also announced the availability of its popular Movies TV app
for iPhone and iPod touch optimized for iOS 5. New functionality
includes a “Trailer Queue” and the ability to share links to titles,
names and photos on Facebook and Twitter. With iOS 5, IMDb’s app now
supports AirPlay with mirroring and enables users to watch their
favorite trailers on Apple TV directly from their iPad app.

IMDb also announced that IMDb Trivia, a free iPhone and iPod
touch application that launched less than a month ago, has achieved the
following milestones to date:

  • More than 500,000 users have installed IMDb Trivia in less than
    one month.
  • More than 60 million trivia questions have been played.
  • The game has been played for more than 25 million minutes (almost 50
    years!) in less than one month.
  • IMDb Trivia is currently ranked #1 on iTunes in the free trivia
    games category.
  • To learn more about IMDb Trivia, go to: http://imdbtrivia.com

Users have downloaded IMDB apps 27 million times across all mobile
platforms, including 16 million on Apple’s iOS and 11 million on
Android. All told, IMDb has more than 110 million monthly unique users,
and more than 25 million monthly uniques for its various mobile apps. To
learn more about IMDb’s mobile offerings, go to: (http://imdb.com/apps/).

To learn more about and download IMDb Buzz, go to: http://www.imdbbuzz.com.

About IMDb

The Internet Movie Database is the world’s most popular and
authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content. The IMDb
consumer Website (www.imdb.com)
is consistently ranked as one of the most visited sites in the world
with more than 110 million unique visitors per month. IMDb offers a
searchable database of more than 2 million movies, TV and entertainment
programs and more than 4 million cast and crew members. Consumers rely
on the information IMDb.com provides — including showtimes, trailers,
reviews, photo galleries, NewsDesk, quotes, box-office data, editorial
feature sections and Watchlist — when making viewing decisions. IMDb is
accessible in a customized, platform-optimized manner on leading mobile
devices via its popular “Movies TV” app for iPhone, iPad, Android
phones, Android tablets, Windows Phone and its mobile-optimized website.
Intended to entertain, challenge and inform entertainment fans with
movie, TV and celebrity trivia questions curated from IMDb’s unrivaled
selection of entertainment trivia, IMDb Trivia for iPhone and
iPod touch, is IMDb’s first foray into games. To date, there have been
more than 27 million installs of IMDb mobile apps (iOS, Android and WP7)
worldwide.). IMDb’s mobile properties have more than 25 million monthly
visitors. To learn more, go to: (http://imdb.com/apps/).
IMDb Pro (www.imdbpro.com)
is a subscription version of IMDb designed exclusively for professionals
who work in the entertainment industry. IMDb Pro provides contact
information, in production listings for film and television projects and
exclusive STARmeter rankings that are determined by user searches on
IMDb. Additionally, IMDb owns and operates Withoutabox (www.withoutabox.com),
a marketplace for film festivals and filmmakers, and Box Office Mojo (www.boxofficemojo.com),
the leading online box-office reporting service. IMDb.com is operated by
IMDb.com, Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc.
(NASDAQ:AMZN) (http://www.amazon.com).
To learn more, go to: www.imdb.com/press.

Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning
of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly
from management’s expectations. These forward-looking statements involve
risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to
competition, management of growth, new products, services and
technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international
expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center
optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and
strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption,
inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More
information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com’s
financial results is included in Amazon.com’s filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual
Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50045219lang=en

Money Matters – Snow Birds: Your House Has Wheels

BOSTON (CBS) – If you have snowbird envy and think you might like the RV life style do some homework before you make a down payment on an RV. Average age of an RV owner is close to 50 with 40% of owners over 60.

I would strongly recommend renting an RV for an extended vacation to see if this is the life style you thought it might be.

Type in RVing at Amazon and you will get lots of books on the subject. My favorite, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to RVing, 2nd edition.

Proceed with caution on the websites. They all make this sound so romantic! Start with the website Go RVing, the then RV Travel.com. And you will need to learn about repairs and maintenance as well so you’ll need a copy of the RV Owner’s Handbook.

And last, rent Robin Williams’ movie RV for a fun look at RVing.

I Google’d “RVs for sale” and got over 10 million hits. This tells me a lot of people are getting rid of their RVs. So you will have lots to choose from.

Don’t forget the maintenance cost of an RV. They also need to be stored when you are not on the road. And excise tax on a fancy new one could be around $4,000 a year and you need to insure it. RVs only get 9-10 miles to the gallon so running to the store for bread could cost you $3 before you get in the store. And if you drive to Florida the gas alone could cost close to $500 for one way.

And don’t forget the campground fees. Figure $50 a night or more. There will be just so many nights you will want to spend in a Wal-Mart parking lot. And something so many folks don’t think about because they romanticized so about the travel, you are going to have to empty the toilet storage tank eventually.

Do you think the nomadic lifestyle is one you could embrace? Do consider a dress rehearsal, a practice run. Do not, I repeat do not sell your house and all of your worldly possessions and buy an RV to drive off into the sunset.

As for me, I know I could not live with my husband 24/7 in a tin box that was 10×30. We wouldn’t make it past the Mason Dixie line together! I would be on a plane home by the time we reached DC!  Maybe even New York!