ECHO Entertainment News: Liverpool singer Craig Colton follows Adele and Rebecca Ferguson by writing about break-ups



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Updated 3:13pm 31 May 2012


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Liverpool X Factor finalist Craig Colton

ADELE’S tracks about heartache have made her a multi-Grammy award winner and Rebecca Ferguson also penned songs about her painful past relationships.

Now, ahead of his Jubilee gig with Marcus Collins at Speke Hall on Saturday, Craig Colton has admitted he also “poured his heart and soul” into his debut album by writing about a recent break-up.

The singer, who confirmed he was gay during last year’s X Factor, exclusively told Insider he was in a relationship while he was competing in the show, but it ended before Christmas.

He tells Insider: “I don’t want to be cliched but I had a bad break-up and that one break-up has been the inspiration for this album.


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“The first time I heard my songs, Beautiful Surprise and Give Up Your Heart, I just sobbed and sobbed. But now I feel at peace with it all.

“It was very emotional. I put my heart and soul into the album. I didn’t realise how good songwriting was for the soul.”

Craig, who has had help from Robbie Williams and is set to co-write with Christina Perri’s team, plans to have the album out by March next year.

He adds: “When people hear the album they will realise why I’ve taken so long. Hopefully it’s something we can take to America.

“There is interest from a few labels. I don’t want to mess up this chance.”

E

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UK's fraud office rebuked in Tchenguiz case

* Iranian brothers have led high-profile life style

* SFO lawyer says office would welcome more funding

LONDON, May 24 (Reuters) – A senior judge said Britain’s
Serious Fraud Office had failed to set out a “rather simple”
case clearly during an investigation into the Tchenguiz
brothers, two high-profile property barons, and called for
better funding for the agency.

Judge John Thomas, who has already slated the fraud-busting
agency for “sheer incompetence” in the case linked to the
collapse of Iceland’s Kaupthing bank in 2008, told the High
Court the agency had no excuse for its bungled investigation.

“There can’t be any excuse for that (not setting out facts
clearly) … This is the story of almost anyone who gets
themselves in a wrong position in the markets,” he told the last
day on Thursday of a three-day hearing, sought by the Tchenguiz
brothers, to challenge how the SFO handled the investigation.

“The issue here is: were the devices used by the bank,
Robert Tchenguiz or Vincent Tchenguiz legitimate or dishonest?”

James Eadie, the leading lawyer for the SFO, responded that
he was sure the cash-strapped office would welcome any further
funding, although he added: “Whether my other masters at the
Treasury (finance ministry) will agree is another matter.”

The SFO has been forced to admit to a litany of errors in
the most ambitious case brought under former chief Richard
Alderman since it commissioned police to arrest the two
Iranian-born brothers and raid properties in March 2011.

With new director David Green at the helm — albeit for just
a month — the agency earlier this week admitted it was urgently
reviewing the status of Vincent as a suspect, a move that could
see the investigation against him dropped within a month.

The Tchenquiz bothers, renowned for their champagne-fuelled
parties and super yachts, bedazzled Britain in the 1990s with a
string of high-profile property purchases.

POLICE PASS BUCK

A lawyer for the police, quizzed about the grounds for
briefly arresting the brothers last year, noted that officers
were following the instructions of the SFO and therefore bore no
responsibility for claims of wrongful arrest.

The brothers have argued that the Kaupthing bank
investigation and high-profile arrest jeopardised their
relationships with other lenders and inflicted huge losses on
their business interests — a point the judge has acknowledged.

The Tchenguiz business empire, which once included large
stakes in retailer J Sainsbury, pub chain Mitchells and
Butlers and a vast portfolio of property assets valued
at up to 4 billion pounds ($6.3 billion), has been severely
dented since the Icelandic banking collapse.

But the brothers still maintain a high profile and Vincent
and his companies still own and manage around one percent of
England’s housing stock.

The SFO’s investigation now hinges in part on whether it can
prove Robert’s business dealings with Kaupthing were dishonest.

The Tchenguiz legal team, which includes Peter Goldsmith, a
former attorney general and former Director of Public
Prosecutions Ken Macdonald, say the information placed in front
of the judge was riddled with misrepresentations,
non-disclosures and, possibly inadvertently, false accounting.
($1 = 0.6363 British pounds)

(Writing by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Michael Roddy)

UK & World News: Former warlord Charles Taylor jailed for 50 years for …

May 30 2012

charles taylor warlord crime sierra leone

Judges at an international war crimes court have sentenced former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison following his landmark conviction for supporting rebels in Sierra Leone who murdered and mutilated thousands during their country’s brutal civil war in return for blood diamonds.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone found Taylor guilty last month on 11 charges of aiding and abetting the rebels who went on a bloody rampage during the decade-long war that ended in 2002 with more than 50,000 dead.

Presiding Judge Richard Lussick says the crimes Taylor was convicted of were of the “utmost gravity in terms of scale and brutality.”

The 64-year-old warlord-turned-president is the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since the Second World War.

Taylor will serve his sentence in a British jail.

His lawyers, however, are expected to appeal his convictions and that will likely keep him in a jail in The Hague, Netherlands, for months.

Prosecutors say he funnelled arms, ammunition and other supplies in return for “blood diamonds” mined using slave labour.

Presiding Judge Richard Lussick said: “The lives of many more innocent civilians in Sierra Leone were lost or destroyed as a direct result of his actions.”

Taylor showed no emotion as the judge handed down what will effectively be a life sentence.

Prosecutors had asked judges at the Special Court for Sierra Leone to impose an 80-year sentence; Taylor’s lawyers urged judges to hand down a sentence that offered him some hope of release before he dies.

Mr Lussick said an 80-year sentence would have been excessive as Taylor was convicted of aiding and abetting crimes and not direct involvement.

But the judge added that Taylor was “in a class of his own” compared to others convicted by the United Nations-backed court.

“The special status of Mr. Taylor as a head of state puts him in a different category of offenders for the purpose of sentencing,” Mr Lussick said.

At a sentencing hearing earlier this month, Taylor expressed “deepest sympathy” for the suffering of victims of atrocities in Sierra Leone but insisted he had acted to help stabilise the West Africa region and claimed he never knowingly assisted in the commission of crimes.

“What I did…was done with honour,” he said. “I was convinced that unless there was peace in Sierra Leone, Liberia would not be able to move forward.”

However, judges ruled that Taylor armed and supplied the rebels in full knowledge they would likely use weapons to commit terrible crimes.

Prosecutors said there was no reason for leniency, given the extreme nature of the crimes, Taylor’s “greed” and misuse of his position of power.

“The purposely cruel and savage crimes committed included public executions and amputations of civilians, the display of decapitated heads at checkpoints, the killing and public disembowelment of a civilian whose intestines were then stretched across the road to make a check point, public rapes of women and girls, and people burned alive in their homes,” prosecutor Brenda Hollis wrote in a brief appealing for the 80-year sentence.

Taylor stepped down and fled into exile in Nigeria after being indicted by the court in 2003. He was finally arrested and sent to the Netherlands in 2006.

While the Sierra Leone court is based in that country’s capital, Freetown, Taylor’s trial is being staged in Leidschendam, a suburb of The Hague, for fear holding it in West Africa could destabilise the region.

Porky & Buddy Pet Health – How Much Water Is Good For Cats?

Dear Porky Buddy,

How much water does a cat need to drink? I know they do need water, but my two cats seem to be entirely different.  Bertha drinks a ton of water. Phillip, I almost never see drinking. Should I be worried about him?  They both get both wet and dry food if that makes a difference.

Ron

That’s a good question, but one that has no easy answer. Cats need fresh drinking water every day for optimum health. Water is essential for helping the kidneys flush out toxins from the blood, and it keeps other organ tissues hydrated and healthy.

Here is what you should do all year round to make sure that both of your cats are getting what they need, (but be especially vigilant as the weather gets hotter and hotter).  First, keep fresh, clear water available at all times for all cats, regardless of diet.  Cats tend to love those automatic water dispensers, and having one might encourage Phillip to drink more.

Second, know your cat’s drinking habits. If he suddenly goes “off his water” or starts drinking excessive amounts regularly, call your veterinarian.

And finally, watch for signs of dehydration. A good test is to pull up the loose skin at the nape of the neck. If it springs right back, the cat is sufficiently hydrated. If it is slow to recede, suspect dehydration. Try adding water to your cat’s canned food or adding an ice cube or two to his drinking water to make it more interesting. If the neck skin does not appreciably recede, and the cat shows any other sign of sickness, call your veterinarian immediately.

Dehydration in cats is dangerous, and if not treated, can lead to death.

Cats in kidney failure – either acute or chronic, often require extra fluids given either intravenously or by subcutaneous drip. The latter therapy is often carried out at home and is relatively easy to learn and perform. With most cats, the improvement after these treatments is significant and visible.

On the other hand, excessive drinking of water can be a warning sign for feline hyperthyroidism or feline diabetes. While cats may instinctively drink more during hot weather, it is important (as with all cats’ habits) to know how much a cat drinks normally.

So if he or she suddenly starts consuming large quantities of water and also shows other symptoms, you should be concerned and call your vet.

P.S.  Obviously the same general concerns apply to dogs too, and all pets in this hot weather!

Speaking of all “pets,” come and see people have fun with their horses and each other at the Humane Society’s Large Animal Assistance Project Fun Horse Show, to be  held on June 10 starting at 9 a.m. at Fisher Farms, 7259 Plainville Road, Plainville, NY.

Call 593-1128 for more details about the show.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070.

Email:ochscontact@hotmail.com. Website: www.oswegohumane.org

Russia May Ban Beer Advertisement on Internet, Kommersant Says

The United Russia party’s lawmakers
want to ban beer advertisement on Internet news sites, Kommersant
reported today, citing party documents. The draft law was
submitted to the parliament last week, the newspaper said.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Yuliya Fedorinova in Moscow at
yfedorinova@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
John Viljoen at
jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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Roof color and energy savings

 Follow CT Lifestyle Entertainment News On The Courant’s Features Buzz Facebook Page

May 26, 2012

Q: Will light-colored roofing keep my house cooler?

A: It is true that the darker the color, the more heat your roof will attract. There are a variety of roof coatings and paints available that can make a roof lighter or offer more reflectivity of solar heat. Solar reflectance is key to getting the highest energy savings during warm months. You should be able to find out the reflectivity rating of your existing roof, or a new one, through its manufacturer.

The higher the solar reflective value, the more efficient the product is in reflecting sunlight and heat away from the home. A white granulated roof coated with white elastomeric paint, for example, will reflect about 96 percent. Some silver- or metallic-colored paints can be applied to the inside of the roof deck and can help block up to 75 percent of the heat coming in. If you do add a reflective coating over the existing membrane, first check with the existing roof’s manufacturer to ensure that by doing so, you will not void any remaining warranty.

More important than your roof’s color, though — as it relates to heating and cooling — is having adequate ventilation and insulation. With a properly vented attic space, the difference in heat transfer from a dark to a light shingle is minimal. Having good reflectivity, though, can prolong the longevity of many roofing membranes.

If you are truly concerned with reflectivity make sure whatever roofing product you use is Energy Star rated, so it is guaranteed to meet minimum solar reflectance values. Energy Star roofs can be up to 100-degrees cooler on the roof surface and can help reduce cooling demand by 10 to 15 percent.

Ultimately, any energy savings that can be achieved with reflective roofing are highly dependent on your home’s design, the amount and type of insulation, the climate and its overall energy efficiency. Talk to multiple roofers about your options. Ask for examples of their work with reflective roofs and discuss which characteristics are best for your home and climate.

Angie Hicks, MCT

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India E-Retail (E-Tailing) Market, Companies Revenue Analysis & Forecast to 2015

NEW YORK, May 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Reportlinker.com announces that a new market research report is available in its catalogue:

India E-Retail (E-Tailing) Market, Companies Revenue Analysis Forecast to 2015

http://www.reportlinker.com/p0867241/India-E-Retail-E-Tailing-Market-Companies-Revenue-Analysis–Forecast-to-2015.html#utm_source=prnewswireutm_medium=prutm_campaign=e-CommerceIf online travel and classifieds were the star performers of the last decade, e-retailing seems to be hogging the limelight this time around. India is rapidly emerging as a rewarding market for many e-retailing companies; who are currently present in the market with any one of the three forms (Non-warehouse, Warehouse and Hybrid) models. The broadband and mobile penetration, 3G rollout, cash on delivery, internet banking has led to rise in online transactions by 18.2% for the year 2011 compared to 2010. Indian e-retail market is also expected to be more than INR 10,000 Crore by 2015.

In our analysis we found that Computer peripherals, Camera Mobile and Life Style segments are expected hold 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions respectively for 2011. Together they account for more than 70% of total market share in 2011. But by the end of 2015 Camera and Mobile is expected to take the top slot pushing computer peripheral to third position. In companies analysis segment Flipkart is the undisputed leader for the year 2011. Flipkart generated 4 times more revenue than its nearest competitor Yebhi in 2011. However according to our research findings scenario is likely to change in 2012 as Myntra is expected to take the second position leaving Yebhi to third position. For the year 2014 Flipkart and Myntra together is expected to hold more than 50% market share.

In any retail business, some products are returned from the point of consumption. Therefore, the challenge is to set up infrastructure and procedures for reverse logistics. The e-tailors need to have an understandable product return policy on the Web. This report provides a clear picture about the e-retailing scenario in India and its various issues like: Types of business model in Indian e-retail, key companies funding and revenue forecast, driving forces for e-retail, challenges in the e-retail.

Renub Research report entitled “India E-Retail (E-Tailing) Market, Companies Revenue Analysis Forecast to 2015″ provides a comprehensive assessment of the fast-evolving, high-growth e-retail space. We recommend this report as must-read insight for e-retailing stakeholders.

The report covers the following points• E-Retail business model in India

• India e-retail users transacting online growth forecast from (2010 to 2015)

• Studied growth forecasts and India e-retail market sizing from (2009 to 2015)

• Key players revenue analysis, forecast and funding trends of: Flipkart, Letsbuy, Myntra, HomeShop18, Yebhi, Snapdeal and Naptol from (2010 – 2014)

• Market analysis and forecast for segments: Camera Mobile, Computer Peripherals, Electronic gadgets, Life style, Books amd Home kitchen Appliances (2009 – 2015)

• Researched the drivers and challenges for the e-retail industry in India

Key Players AnalysisThis section covers the key facts about the major companies that play an important role in India E-Retail Market. The companies analyzed in this section are as follows: Flipkart, Letsbuy, Myntra, HomeShop18, Yebhi, Snapdeal and Naptol. All the companies have been analyzed from two headings

1) Companies Revenue Analysis Forecast 2) Companies Funding Sources form different private equity venture funds

Data SourcesThis report is built using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research and in-house analysis by Renub Research team of industry experts.

Primary sources include industry surveys and telephone interviews with industry experts.

Secondary sources information and data has been collected from various printable and non-printable sources like search engines, News websites, Government Websites, Trade Journals, White papers, Government Agencies, Magazines, Newspapers, Trade associations, Books, Industry Portals, Industry Associations and access to more than 100 paid databases.

Table of Contents1. Executive Summary

2. E-Retail Business Model in India

2.1 E-Retail Non-Warehousing Model

2.2 E-Retail Warehousing Model

2.3 E-Retail Hybrid Model

3. E-Retail Users, Market Forecast in India3.1 E-Retail Users Forecast (2010 – 2015) 3.2 E-Retail Market Forecast (2009 – 2015)

4. E-Retail Distribution Shares Forecast in India

4.1 E-Retail Segment Wise Market Share Forecast (2009 – 2015)

4.2 E-Retail Companies Market Share Forecast (2010 – 2014)

5. E-Retail Market Forecast – Segment Analysis5.1 E-Retail – Book Market Forecast5.2 E-Retail – Electronics Gadgets Market Forecast5.3 E-Retail – Computer Peripherals Market Forecast5.4 E-Retail – Camera and Mobile Market Forecast5.5 E-Retail – Life-Style Market Forecast5.6 E-Retail – Home Kitchen Appliances Market Forecast5.7 E-Retail – Others Market Forecast

6. Key E-Retail Companies Revenue Analysis their Funding Trends

6.1 Flipkart Revenue Forecast (2008 – 2015)

6.1.1 Flipkart Funding

6.2 Letsbuy (Acquired by Flipkart) Revenue (2010 – 2012)

6.3 Myntra Revenue Forecast (2008 – 2015)

6.3.1 Myntra Funding

6.4 HomeShop18 Revenue Forecast (2007 – 2015)

6.4.1 HomeShop18 Funding

6.5 Yebhi Revenue Forecast (2010 – 2015)

6.5.1 Yebhi Funding

6.6 E-bay India Revenue Forecast (2010 – 2015)

6.7 Snapdeal Revenue Forecast (2010 – 2015)

6.7.1 Snapdeal Funding

6.8 Naaptol Revenue and Forecast (2008 – 2015)

6.9 Amazon (jungle.com)

7. Growth Factors for E-Retail in India7.1 Growing Internet Penetration7.2 Growing Online Shoppers7.3 Increasing Smartphones, Personal Computers Tablet PCs7.4 Improvement in Telecom Infrastructure launch of 3G Services7.5 Convenience Multiple Payment Channels7.6 Investment by Venture Capitalist in E-Retail Companies

8. Challenges for E-Retail in India

8.1 Distribution Risks

8.2 Risks to Scalability and Risks in Payment

8.3 Quality of Product/Service

8.4 IT Information Security Risks

8.5 Lack of Clear Regulatory and Taxation Frameworks

List of Figures:Figure 1 1: E-Retail Business Model – Companies Without Warehouse

Figure 1 2: E-Retail Business Model – Companies Having Their Own Warehouse

Figure 2 1: India – Users Transacting Online (Million), 2010 – 2011

Figure 2 2: India – Forecast for Users Transacting Online (Million), 2012 – 2015

Figure 2 3: India – E-Retail Market (Crore INR), 2009 – 2011

Figure 2 4: India – Forecast for E-Retail Market (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 3 1: India – E-Retail Market Share (Percent), 2009 – 2011

Figure 3 2: India – Forecast for E-Retail Market Share (Percent), 2012 – 2015

Figure 3 3: India – E-Retail Market Share (Percent), 2010 – 2011

Figure 3 4: India – Forecast for E-Retail Market Share (Percent), 2012 – 2014

Figure 4 1: E-Retail – Book Market (Crore INR), 2009 – 2011

Figure 4 2: E-Retail – Forecast for Book Market (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 4 3: E-Retail – Electronics Gadgets Market (Crore INR), 2009 – 2011

Figure 4 4: E-Retail – Forecast for Electronics Gadgets Market (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 4 5: E-Retail – Computer Peripherals Market (Crore INR), 2009 – 2011

Figure 4 6: E-Retail – Computer Peripherals Market (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 4 7: E-Retail – Camera Mobile Market (Crore INR), 2009 – 2011

Figure 4 8: E-Retail – Forecast for Camera Mobile Market (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 4 9: E-Retail – Life Style Market (Crore INR), 2009 – 2011

Figure 4 10: E-Retail – Forecast for Life Style Market (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 4 11: E-Retail – Home Kitchen Appliances Market (Crore INR), 2009 – 2011

Figure 4 12: E-Retail – Forecast for Home Kitchen Appliances Market (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 4 13: E-Retail – Others Market (Crore INR), 2009 – 2011

Figure 4 14: E-Retail – Forecast for Others Market (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 5 1: Flipkart – Revenue (Crore INR), 2008 – 2011

Figure 5 2: Flipkart – Forecast for Revenue (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 5 3: Letsbuy – Revenue (Crore INR), 2010 – 2012

Figure 5 4: Myntra – Revenue (Crore INR), 2008 – 2011

Figure 5 5: Myntra – Forecast for Revenue (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 5 6: HomeShop18 – Revenue (Crore INR), 2007 – 2011

Figure 5 7: HomeShop18 – Forecast for Revenue (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 5 8: Yebhi – Revenue (Crore INR), 2010 – 2011

Figure 5 9: Yebhi – Forecast for Revenue (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 5 10: E-bay India – Revenue (Crore INR), 2010 – 2011

Figure 5 11: E-bay India – Forecast for Revenue (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 5 12: Snapdeal – Revenue (Crore INR), 2010 – 2011

Figure 5 13: Snapdeal – Forecast for Revenue (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 5 14: Naaptol – Revenue (Crore INR), 2008 – 2011

Figure 5 15: Naaptol – Forecast for Revenue (Crore INR), 2012 – 2015

Figure 6 1: India – Internet Users (Million), 2006 – 2011

Figure 6 2: India – Forecast for Internet Users (Million), 2012 – 2015

Figure 6 3: India – Smartphone Sales Unit (Million), 2010 – 2011

Figure 6 4: India – Forecast for Smartphone Sales Unit (Million), 2012 – 2015

Figure 6 5: India – PC Users (Million), 2010 – 2011

Figure 6 6: India – Forecast for PC Users (Million), 2012 – 2015

Figure 6 7: India – Tablet PC Unit Sales Future Forecast (Million), 2011 – 2015

Figure 6 8: India – Forecast for 3G Penetration Growth (Percent), 2012 – 2015

List of Tables:

Table 2 1: India – Top 10 Retail Sites by Unique Visitors (Thousands), November 2011

Table 5 1: Flipkart – Funding (Million US$), 2009 – 2012

Table 5 2: Myntra – Funding (Million US$), 2007 – 2012

Table 5 3: HomeShop 18 – Funding (Million US$), 2007 – 2011

Table 5 4: Yebhi – Funding (Crore INR), 2010 – 2011

Table 5 5: Snapdeal – Funding (Million US$), 2011

Table 6 1: India – Total Visitors Age 15+ Home/Work Locations (Thousand), Nov 2010 – Nov 2011

Table 6 2: India – Investment by Venture Capitalist in E-retail Companies, 2009 – 2011

To order this report:e-Commerce Industry: India E-Retail (E-Tailing) Market, Companies Revenue Analysis Forecast to 2015

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Industry Analysis and Insights

Nicolas Bombourg
Reportlinker
Email: nbo@reportlinker.com
US: (805)652-2626
Intl: +1 805-652-2626

WORLD NEWS BRIEFS

McCain: Don’t count on Russia to force out Assad

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. can’t count on Russia – a major arms supplier to Syria – to force President Bashar al-Assad from power, Sen. John McCain said Sunday, blaming President Barack Obama for embracing a “feckless” foreign policy and punting tough decisions until after the fall election.
It was a particularly sharp rebuke even for McCain, R-Ariz., who as a longtime critic of Obama’s war strategy hasn’t pulled many punches. As the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain’s viewpoint on complex world events often finds its way into GOP election-year talking points.
“This administration has a feckless foreign policy which abandons American leadership,” McCain told “Fox News Sunday.”
“What the conclusion you can draw is that this president wants to kick the can down the road on all of these issues until after the election … it’s really an abdication of everything that America stands for and believes in,” he later added.
The White House called for Assad’s ouster as recently as Saturday when it blamed the Syrian government for killing more than 90 people, including 32 children, following peaceful protests. National Security Council spokeswoman Erin Pelton said the attack serves as a “vile testament to an illegitimate regime.” The Syrian government has denied responsibility.

Syrian government defiantly denies attack that killed more than 100, UN Security Council meets

BEIRUT (AP) –

Syria on Sunday strongly denied allegations that its forces killed scores of people – including women and children – in one of the deadliest days of the country’s uprising, and the U.N. Security Council held an emergency session on the massacre.

The killing of more than 100 people in the west-central area of Houla on Friday brought widespread international criticism of the regime of President Bashar Assad, although differences emerged from world powers over whether his forces were exclusively to blame.

Britain and France had proposed issuing a press statement condemning the attack and pointing a finger at the Syrian government, but Russia told Security Council members it could not agree and wanted a briefing first by Norwegian Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, the head of the U.N. observer team in the country. Russia has been Syria’s most powerful ally during the uprising, and along with China has used its veto power to shield Damascus from U.N. sanctions.

The massacre in Houla on Friday cast fresh doubts on the ability of an international peace plan put forward by envoy Kofi Annan to end Syria’s 14-month-old crisis.

The brutality of the killings became clear in amateur videos posted online that showed scores of bodies, many of them young children, in neat rows and covered with blood and deep wounds. A later video showed the bodies, wrapped in white sheets, being placed in a sprawling mass grave.

Inmates, corruption rule Honduras’ deadly prisons despite calls for reform

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (AP) – Inside one of Honduras’ most dangerous and overcrowded prisons, inmates operate a free-market bazaar, selling everything from iPhones to prostitutes.

It’s more like a fenced-in town than a conventional prison, where raccoons, chickens and pigs wander freely among food stalls and in troughs of open sewage. But guards do not dare cross the painted, yellow “linea de la muerte” (line of death) into the inner sanctum run by prisoners, and prisoners do not breach the perimeter controlled by guards.

“The prisoners rule,” assistant prison director Carlos Polanco told The Associated Press. “We only handle external security. They know if they cross the line, we can shoot.”

The unofficial division of power at the San Pedro Sula Central Corrections Facility is mimicked throughout the country, where a Lord-of-the-Flies system allows inmates to run a business behind bars, while officials turn a blind eye in exchange for a cut of the profits they say is spent on prison needs.

This culture virtually guarantees that even in the glare of international scrutiny over a fire that killed 361 prisoners at another Honduran prison three months ago, little stands to change.

NATO official: No evidence civilians died in airstrike that Afghan officials say killed 8

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The U.S.-led coalition on Sunday disputed reports that eight civilians, including children, were killed in a NATO airstrike in a remote part of eastern Afghanistan.

Afghan officials said an airstrike Saturday night killed eight members of a family, but a senior NATO official said that so far, there is no evidence of any civilian casualties. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information.
Separately, NATO reported that three coalition service members were killed Sunday in eastern Afghanistan – two during an insurgent attack and one from a roadside bombing.

Four others, including a British soldier, were killed in the south on Saturday, bringing to 169 the number of NATO deaths in Afghanistan so far this year. The British Ministry of Defense said the soldier was killed in an explosion in the Nahr-e Saraj region of southern Helmand province. The nationalities of the other three have not been disclosed.

The coalition said it was working to find out more about allegations that civilians were killed in the NATO operation that foreign forces were conducting Saturday night in Paktia province.

China boom: outsourcing surveillance to co-workers, neighbors shows expanding police power

BEIJING (AP) – Every workday at 7:20 a.m., colleagues pick up Yao Lifa from his second-floor apartment and drive him to the elementary school where he taught for years.

This is no car pool. Yao is a prisoner, part of a China boom in outsourced police control.

By day, Yao is kept in a room, not allowed to work and watched by fit, young gym teachers and other school staff. At dinner time or later, he is sent back to the apartment that he shares with his wife and 3-year-old daughter. A surveillance camera monitors the building entrance, while police sit in a hut outside.

“At school, if I have to go to the bathroom, someone escorts me. Most of the time, I’m not allowed to speak with others or answer the phone,” Yao said in a recent late-night Internet phone interview from his home in Qianjiang city. “When they bring me home, they sign me over to the next shift.”

Like the blind activist Chen Guangcheng until his escape from house arrest last month, Yao belongs to an untold number of Chinese activists kept under tight control by authorities, even though in many cases they have broken no law.

Michael Haneke’s ‘Amour’ wins Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or

CANNES, France (AP) – The Cannes Film Festival rewarded one of its favorite directors Sunday, as Michael Haneke won the top prize for a second time with his stark film about love and death, “Amour.”

The Austrian director’s powerful and understated film stars two French acting icons – 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva and 81-year-old Jean-Louis Trintignant – as an elderly couple coping with the wife’s worsening health.

Cannes jury member Jean Paul Gaultier praised the performances of the two actors and the “incredible connection” they established in the movie.

Haneke said he made the film because “I experienced something in my family that touched me.” He thanked his wife and – in a rare personal comment – said he had promised her “we would never leave each other, like in the film.”

Some viewers were surprised by the movie’s frank humanity, coming from a master of tightly controlled cinema whose movies often contain sudden bursts of violence.

VETiONX Welcomes New Pet Health Advisor, Victoria Swanson

Today, VETiONX welcomed new health coach, Victoria Swanson, Behavioral Modification Specialist and Pet Trainer.

Grand Rapids, MI (PRWEB) May 28, 2012

Today, VETiONX welcomed new health coach, Victoria Swanson, Behavioral Modification Specialist and Pet Trainer.

Swanson joins Dr. Char Wilson on the VETiONX, network where she will be answering user pet questions, giving pet training advice, and helping users get the most from their relationship with their pet.

“We have taken it upon ourselves to seek out those professionals who are passionate about what they do and are eager to share that passion with our users,” said CEO and President Albert Duoibes. “Victoria embodies that idea and our users will most certainly benefit from her love for animals.”

“I am extremely excited to be working with an organization that shares my passion for animals,” said Swanson. “It gives me great pride to share what I know with the HelloLife community and to see that love for animals reflected back with such devotion and beauty.”

VETiONX features a line of safe and effective pet health care products for all pets and animals, including dogs, cats, horses, birds and reptiles. The company has been manufacturing and selling OTC pet health products since 2005. Its headquarters are located at 4460 – 44th St. SE, Ste. C 600, Grand Rapids, MI, 49512.

At VETiONX, we believe in helping your pet restore natural balance. By providing valuable veterinarian health coaching, training, and unique homeopathic/oligotherapeutic solutions, we help pets around the world lead long, healthy lives, naturally. Interested consumers can visit the VETiONX website at: http://www.vetionx.com/. Customers are also invited to visit the company’s VETiONX Facebook page and sign up for updates via Twitter.

If you’d like more information about our sister company, HelloLife, or our products, visit the website at http://www.hellolife.net.

Sherry Figueroa
HelloLife
616-808-3290 1011
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