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In The News This Week NO MOVEMENT: LAWMAKERS DIG IN HEELS ON DEBT CRISIS Congressional leaders on Sunday showed no signs of emerging from their corners to resolve the next step in the financial crisis, Page 1
FDA: NEW RULES WILL MAKE FOOD SAFER The Food and Drug Administration says its new guidelines would make the food Americans eat safer and help prevent the kinds of foodborne disease. Page 2
SALVORS READY SHELL DRILL SHIP FOR TOW ATTEMPT Royal Dutch Shell PLC will try to move its grounded drill ship out of the worst of the North Pacific's fury with a towing attempt when conditions allow. Page 3
FLORIDA ACCIDENT STATISTICS Accident Statistics from Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Page 4
FLORIDA ACCIDENT REPORTS This Weeks Accident Reports from Various countys in Florida. Page 5
HUGE GADGET SHOW GEARS UP IN VEGAS At the biggest trade show in the Americas, which kicks off next week in Las Vegas, TV makers will be doing their best to convince you that HDTVs are old hat. Page 6
ASSAD CALLS ON SYRIANS TO DEFEND THE COUNTRY President Bashar Assad called on Syrians to defend their country against religious extremists seeking to destroy the nation. Page 7
SPACEPORT WANTS PROTECTIONS FROM TOURIST LAWSUITS Spaceport America officials are urging legislators to limit potential lawsuits from wealthy outer space tourists who take off from New Mexico. Page 8
1 IN 24 ADMIT NODDING OFF WHILE DRIVING And health officials behind the study think the number is probably higher. That's because some people don't realize it when they nod off for a second or two behind the wheel. Page 8
Volume 731 Issue 453
January 7, 2013
N O M O V E M E N T : L AW M A K E R S DIG IN HEELS ON DEBT CRISIS WASHINGTON in some island off(AP) -- Congressional shore and not pay leaders on Sunday taxes. These are showed no signs of things that need to be emerging from their closed. We can do corners to resolve the that and use the next step in the finanmoney to reduce the cial crisis, with deficit," said Illinois Democrats still talking Sen. Dick Durbin, the about higher taxes on second-ranking the wealthy and the Senate Democrat. Senate's top Republican suggestH o u s e ing that a crippling Democratic leader default on U.S. loans Nancy Pelosi of was possible unless California said she, there were significant House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. applauds after handing the gavel too, wants to put cuts in government to House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio who was re-elected as House "everything on the table of the 113th Congress, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, on Capitol Hill in s p e n d i n g . Speaker from the standpoint of Washington. closing loopholes." "It's a shame we have to use whatever leverage we have in Congress to get the president to deal with the But McConnell bluntly declared that the "tax issue is biggest problem confronting our future, and that's our over" after last week's agreement. excessive spending," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "We don't have this problem because we tax too little; Last week's deal to avert the combination of end-of- we have it because we spend too much," McConnell said. year tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff" held income tax rates steady for 99 percent of Making the rounds on the Sunday talk shows, Americans but left some other major pieces of business McConnell was asked repeatedly whether Republicans unresolved. were prepared to see the nation default on its spending obligations. McConnell said that wouldn't be necessary, so By late February or early March, the Treasury long as Obama agrees to the spending cuts. Department will run out of options to cover the nation's debts and could begin defaulting on government loans But at one point, when asked by NBC's David Gregory unless Congress raises the legal borrowing limit, or debt whether the GOP strategy will be to hold the debt ceiling ceiling. Economists warn that a default could trigger a glob- "ransom" in exchange for spending cuts, McConnell said it al recession. was a "shame we have to use whatever leverage we have" to get the president's attention. Also looming are deep automatic spending cuts expected to take effect at the beginning of March that could "None of us like using situations like the sequester further erase fragile gains in the U.S. economy. Then on (automatic across-the-board spending cuts) or the debt March 27, the temporary measure that funds government ceiling or the operation of government to try to engage the activities expires, and congressional approval will be need- president to deal with this," McConnell said. ed to keep the government running. It's one more chance to fight over spending Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., didn't dismiss the idea of allowing a partial shutdown of government until an Lawmakers said debt talks will consume Congress in agreement can be reached. Texas Sen. John Cornyn and the coming weeks, likely delaying any consideration of an other Republicans have floated the idea of a shutdown as expected White House proposal on gun restrictions in the a way of winning deeper spending cuts. wake of the Connecticut school shooting. "I believe we need to raise the debt ceiling, but if we Republicans say they are willing to raise the debt ceil- don't raise it without a plan to get out of debt, all of us should ing but insist any increase must be paired with significant be fired," Graham said. savings from Medicare, Medicaid and other government benefit programs. President Barack Obama has said he's Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on willing to consider spending cuts separately but won't bar- the House Budget Committee, said the Republican strategain over the government's borrowing authority. gy amounted to: "Give us what we want ... or we're going to tank the United States economy." "One thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they've already Pelosi said she believes the president has enough racked up," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet authority under the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiladdress. ing without Congress' blessing. But the White House has said previously that it does not believe that the amendment Democrats said further tax increases for the wealthiest - which says the "validity" of public debt shouldn't be quesAmericans were still possible as Congress looks to close tioned - gives the president that power. the gap between revenues and expenditures. Democrats point out that Obama has already agreed to significant McConnell spoke on NBC's "Meet the Press," ABC spending cuts, and that the latest deal only gets the nation "This Week" and CBS "Face the Nation." Pelosi was on to about half of the revenue it needs to resolve the red ink. CBS. Durbin and Graham appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and Van Hollen was interviewed on "Fox News "Trust me, there are plenty of things within that tax Sunday." code - these loopholes where people can park their money
Legal Street News Monday January 7, 2013
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N E W R U L E S M A K E F O O D S A F E R The new rules, which come exactly two years to the day President Barack Obama's signed food safety legislation passed by Congress, were already delayed. The 2011 law required the agency to propose a first installment of the rules a year ago, but the Obama administration held them until after the Food election. safety advocates sued the administration to win their r e l e a s e .
WA S H I N G T O N (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration says its new guidelines would make the food Americans eat safer and help prevent the kinds of foodborne disease outbreaks that sicken or kill thousands of consumers each year.
The rules, the most sweeping food safety guidelines in decades, would require farmers to take new precautions against contamination, to include making sure workers' hands are washed, irrigation water is clean, and that animals stay out of photo shows the sign leading to the Jensen Farms near Holly, Colo. The U.S. Food fields. Food manufactur- and Drug Administration on Friday proposed the most sweeping food safety rules in ers will have to submit decades, requiring farmers and food companies to be more vigilant in the wake of deadly outbreaks in peanuts, cantaloupe and leafy greens food safety plans to the The produce government to show they rule would mark the first time the FDA has had real authority to are keeping their operations clean. regulate food on farms. In an effort to stave off protests from farmers, the farm rules are tailored to apply only to certain fruits and The long-overdue regulations could cost businesses close to vegetables that pose the greatest risk, like berries, melons, leafy half a billion dollars a year to implement, but are expected to greens and other foods that are usually eaten raw. A farm that proreduce the estimated 3,000 deaths a year from foodborne illness. duces green beans that will be canned and cooked, for example, The new guidelines were announced Friday. would not be regulated. Just since last summer, outbreaks of listeria in cheese and salSuch flexibility, along with the growing realization that outmonella in peanut butter, mangoes and cantaloupe have been linked breaks are bad for business, has brought the produce industry and to more than 400 illnesses and as many as seven deaths, according much of the rest of the food industry on board as Congress and to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The FDA has worked to make food safer. actual number of those sickened is likely much higher. Many responsible food companies and farmers are already following the steps that the FDA would now require them to take. But officials say the requirements could have saved lives and prevented illnesses in several of the large-scale outbreaks that have hit the country in recent years.
In a statement Friday, Pamela Bailey, president of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents the country's biggest food companies, said the food safety law "can serve as a role model for what can be achieved when the private and public sectors work together to achieve a common goal."
In a 2011 outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe that claimed 33 lives, for example, FDA inspectors found pools of dirty water on the floor and old, dirty processing equipment at Jensen Farms in Colorado where the cantaloupes were grown. In a peanut butter outbreak this year linked to 42 salmonella illnesses, inspectors found samples of salmonella throughout Sunland Inc.'s peanut processing plant in New Mexico and multiple obvious safety problems, such as birds flying over uncovered trailers of peanuts and employees not washing their hands.
The new rules could cost large farms $30,000 a year, according to the FDA. The agency did not break down the costs for individual processing plants, but said the rules could cost manufacturers up to $475 million annually.
Under the new rules, companies would have to lay out plans for preventing those sorts of problems, monitor their own progress and explain to the FDA how they would correct them.
The farm and manufacturing rules are only one part of the food safety law. The bill also authorized more surprise inspections by the FDA and gave the agency additional powers to shut down food facilities. In addition, the law required stricter standards on imported foods. The agency said it will soon propose other overdue rules to ensure that importers verify overseas food is safe and to improve food safety audits overseas.
"The rules go very directly to preventing the types of outbreaks we have seen," said Michael Taylor, FDA's deputy commissioner for foods. The FDA estimates the new rules could prevent almost 2 million illnesses annually, but it could be several years before the rules are actually preventing outbreaks. Taylor said it could take the agency another year to craft the rules after a four-month comment period, and farms would have at least two years to comply - meaning the farm rules are at least three years away from taking effect. Smaller farms would have even longer to comply.
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FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the success of the rules will also depend on how much money Congress gives the chronically underfunded agency to put them in place. "Resources remain an ongoing concern," she said.
Food safety advocates frustrated over the last year as the rules stalled praised the proposed action. "The new law should transform the FDA from an agency that tracks down outbreaks after the fact, to an agency focused on preventing food contamination in the first place," said Caroline Smith DeWaal of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
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S A L V O R S R E A D Y S H E L L D R I L L S H I P F O R T O W and so lightly damaged that they can just go pull this thing off right away," said Magone, president of Magone Marine, in a telephone interview from his headquarters in Dutch Harbor.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC will try to move its grounded drill ship out of the worst of the North Pacific's fury with a towing attempt when conditions allow. Shell incident commander Sean Churchfield said at a press conference Saturday that naval architects have pronounced the Kulluk fit to be towed. The attempt will depend on weather, tides and readiness, he said.
Magone is not working on the salvage of the Kulluk but has experience with other major groundings, including the Selendang Ayu, a cargo ship wrecked in December 2004 on Unalaska Island. Smit Salvage, the Dutch company hired to salvage the Kulluk, also worked on that wreck.
"I can't offer you firm times. Right now, the preparation for the tow depends on the weather and operational constraints," Churchfield said. "We will be looking to move the vessel as soon as we are ready and able." If the drill ship can be pulled from the rocks off Sitkalidak Island, it will be towed 30 miles to shelter in Kodiak Island's Kiliuda Bay, a cove about 43 miles southIn this image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows two life rafts sit on the beach adjacent as the conical drilling unit east of the city of Kodiak. Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2012. The Kulluk grounded after many efforts
Magone's company is under contract for two other wrecks - fishing boats from which fuel has been removed - but he's waiting until spring to finish the job. That's often the routine for winter groundings in the region, he said.
"The insurance company doesn't want to pay any more money than they have to to get the wrecks out of there, so why risk our equipment and our crew and spend a thousand percent more money playing around in the wintertime when you can just wait until the weather's good and do it then?" Magone said.
by tug vessel crews and Coast Guard crews to move the vessel to safe harbor during a winter storm
The Kulluk is a circular barge 266 feet in diameter with a funnel-shaped, reinforced steel hull that allows it to operate in ice. One of two Shell ships that drilled last year in the Arctic Ocean, it has a 160-foot derrick rising from its center and no propulsion system of its own. The tow attempt will be made by the same vessel that lost the Kulluk last month while attempting to move it to Seattle. A line between the 360-foot anchor handler, the Aiviq, and the Kulluk broke Dec. 27. Four re-attached lines between the Aiviq or other vessels also broke in stormy weather. The attempt to rein in the drill ship was complicated by engine failure experienced by the Aiviq's four engines. A preliminary investigation pointed to bad fuel but that is not conclusive, Churchfield said. The Edison Chouest Offshore crew has treated fuel and changed filters.
from the Kulluk, which would present a different set of risks, Churchfield said. Other cargo also will remain. Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler, the federal on-scene coordinator, said no divers have been in the water but soundings from small Coast Guard boats and discussions with local fishermen indicate the vessel rests on a rocky bottom. Not every piece of equipment was in place Saturday afternoon, he said. "The two that I know, we have a large generator and we have a piece of a tow connection. It's actually an expandable piece that would do the gig. That's the key piece we're missing right now," Mehler said.
"That's pretty normal. Of course with a big fiasco like this, there's all kinds of pressure and everything. But there's a limit to what you can do," he said. Shell has reported superficial damage above the deck and seawater within that entered through open hatches. Water has knocked out regular and emergency generators, but portable generators were put on board Friday. The condition of the hull will be key in determining whether the Kulluk can be refloated.
More than 600 people were working on the recovery.
"Thus far, we have not seen a repeat of those problems," he said.
Dan Magone, who has worked on other major groundings in Alaska, a day earlier expressed skepticism that the vessel could simply be towed.
Fuel tanks remain intact on the Kulluk and there are no plans to remove an estimated 150,000 gallons of diesel
"I'd really be shocked if this thing is so lightly aground
The Coast Guard must review and sign off on a salvage plan. Brian Thomas of the Coast Guard's salvage engineering response team in Washington, D.C., said the team's marine engineers give technical advice and assess risks.
P A K I S T A N I O F F I C I A L S S A Y U S D R O N E S K I L L 9 DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) -Suspected American drones fired several missiles into three militant hideouts near Afghan border on Sunday, killing nine Pakistani Taliban fighters, intelligence officials said. The strikes targeted the group's hideouts in the South Waziristan tribal region, the three officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. The identity of the killed militants was not immediately known yet, but two important commanders of the Pakistani Taliban may be among them, they said. It was the third suspected U.S. drone strike in five days. A strike late Wednesday night killed a top Pakistani militant commander, Maulvi Nazir, whose fighters focus on attacks against U.S. and allied NATO troops in Afghanistan. It was followed close on by
refusing to do so, saying it does not have enough troops and resources to do that. In absence of such an operation, the U.S. relies more on drone strikes to take out militants. The program has killed a number of top militant commanders including Abu Yahya al-Libi, who was al-Qaida's No. 2 when he was killed in a June strike.
another attack on Thursday. Islamabad opposes the use of U.S. drones on its territory, but is believed to have tacitly approval some strikes in past. Washington wants Pakistan to launch a military operation in North Waziristan, but Islamabad had been
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The dead of Nazir was likely to be seen in Washington as affirmation of the necessity of its controversial drone program. But it could also cause more friction in already tense relations with Pakistan because Nazir did not focus on Pakistani targets. Nazir was believed to have a nonaggression pact with the Pakistani army.
4 Legal Street News Monday January 7, 2013 Data From the Official Website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. www.flhsmv.gov
THIS W EEK
______________________________________Legal Street News Monday, January 7, 2013
IN SOUTH FLORIDA
A motorcyclist died and six peoplewere injured crash on Interstate 95 north of Sample Road.
Man killed in Orlando car crash after speeding away from police
January 1, 2013
ORLANDO -- Two suspects wanted over a murder in Orlando died Thursday evening when the car they were traveling in raced away from police and crashed into a canal.
The four vehicles were traveling in the southbound lanes when the accident occurred shortly before 11:30 p.m. All southbound lanes were closed until 3:10 a.m., Wysocky said. According to a press release issued by Wysocky, the chain-reaction crash played out like this: Rojo was driving a 2005 Volkswagen Jetta when he slowed for a crash and was rear-ended by a 2003 Chevrolet van driven by Anthony Burke Taylor, 52, of Lauderhill. Rojo's Jetta spun so that it was facing north in the southbound lanes and was struck by a Ford F-150 truck driven by Richardson N. Sid, 28, of Boynton Beach.
A 29-year-old Sarasota woman is in critical anuary 2, 2013 MARION COUNTY -The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a crash that killed a man late Friday night. Officials said 22-year-old Daniel Lee Hunt was driving southbound US-27, south of Southeast 80 Street at high rate of speed at about 11:25 p.m. Hunt lost control of his Chevy Camaro, causing it rotate onto the grass shoulder and collide with two trees.
Newlyweds unhurt as I-95 debris pierces windshield January 2, 2013 According to the Highway Patrol, Spates was driving southbound on I-95, just south of the Griffin Road exit in Hollywood, about 11:30 a.m. when she saw a vehicle ahead of her hit some debris in the roadway. The debris "was kicked up in the wind" by the other vehicle, and it pierced the Range Rover's glass, Wysocky said. The pair were wearing their seat belts during the accident, the Highway Patrol said. Given vehicles' high speed on I-95, the pole essentially became "a projectile" on the highway, said Mark Steele, division chief for Hollywood Fire Rescue.
Lake Mary man arrested on hit-and-run charges in fatal motorcycle crash January 3, 2013 A Lake Mary doctor was arrested on hit-and-run charges after he hit a motorcyclist in Volusia County and then left the scene, authorities said. The Florida Highway Patrol said Dr. Kevin Wynne hit 50-year-old Sabra Vocaturo with his SUV in February on State Road 415 and never stopped to help. Vocaturo was thrown from her bike into oncoming traffic. Authorities said two drivers ran over Vocaturo. They stopped to help but told officers there was nothing they could do. Wynne was arrested at his Heathrow home on Thursday by the Florida Highway Patrol. His lawyer contacted FHP the day after the crash, telling them where to find Wynne's Infiniti SUV, which had a part missing.
January 3, 2013
Five people were traveling in the car when it left the road, before over-correcting and crossing the median, narrowly missing oncoming traffic and coming to rest in a drainage canal The two murder suspects died and their three companions were in critical condition. Neither of the suspects, nor their alleged victim, have been named. Details of the initial crime were not available.
Two lanes shut on NB I-95 near 54th Street after crash January 4, 2013 A crash on northbound Interstate 95 south of Northwest 79th Street in Miami-Dade is blocking two regular lanes.
Pasco County man dies after medical emergency on I-75 January 5, 2013 A man from the Pasco County town of Land O' Lakes died Monday evening after having a medical emergency while driving on Alligator Alley, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Casey Alan Brown, 40, was airlifted to Cleveland Clinic in Weston and later died there, according to FHP.
Lady Killed in Florida Hit-and-Run January 6, 2013 A 19-year-old Bulgarian has died after being hit by a car on a recognized bicycle lane in Florida, local media reported. Galina Bumbalova was riding a bicycle on the south side of US 98 near Hidden Dunes Drive in south Walton County on Monday night. She died after the impact from the accident propelled her into a utility pole. The young Bulgarian was in the United States on a student brigade. Aaron Shipes, 22, of Santa Rosa Beach was driving eastbound on US 98 at 9:40 p.m. when his 2005 Nissan Extara for some unknown reason suddenly veered to the right and into the bicycle lane, colliding with the rear of Bumbalova's bicycle. Shipes' vehicle reentered the roadway and left the scene. Bumbalova was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital of the Emerald Coast near Destin, where she was declared deceased. The Highway Patrol report stated that Shipes was not under the influence of alcohol. Charges
Serious crashes on I-95 in Miami-Dade and Broward January 6, 2013 Several serious crashes are causing havoc on the roads Friday morning. In Miami-Dade: A serious accident with injuries is blocking the westbound ramp on Interstate 395 to Interstate 95 in Miami. The ramp to Floridaâ€™s Turnpike on northbound I-95 is
The accident happened around 6 p.m. on eastbound Interstate 75 at mile marker 37, FHP Sgt. Mark Wysocky said. Brown was driving eastbound on I-75 in a 2011 Buick Enclave when he had the medical emergency, causing him to cross the median and enter the westbound lanes, according to FHP. The SUV Brown was driving did not hit any other vehicles. But traffic was stopped to allow a rescue helicopter to land in order to transport Brown to the hospital.
Crash, Boca Raton January 5, 2013 The vehicle crashed into wall that leads into the development causing major structure damage. The demolished wall blocked traffic heading west for several hours. He says parts of the damaged vehicle were found at the scene like a headlight which shows the vehicle appears to be a 2011 Dodge Durango.
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Wynne is being held on $50,000 bail.
6 Legal Street News Monday January 7, 2013________________________________________________________
H U G E G A D G E T S H O W G E A R S U P I N V E G A S Think your high-definition TV is hot stuff (AP) -- as sharp as it gets? At the biggest trade show in the Americas, which kicks off next week in Las Vegas, TV makers will be doing their best to convince you that HDTVs are old hat, and should make room for "Ultra HDTV." It's the latest gambit from an industry struggling with a shift in consumer spending from TVs, PCs and single-purpose devices such as camcorders to small, portable do-it-all gadgets: smartphones and tablets. The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that device shipments to U.S. buyers fell 5 percent in dollar terms last year excluding smartphones and tablets, but rose 6 percent to $207 billion if you include those categories. The trends suggest that the International CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show) is losing its stature as a start-of-the-year showcase for the gadgets that consumers will buy over the next 12 months. It started out as a venue for the TV and stereo industries. Later, PCs joined the party. But over the last few years, TVs and PCs have declined in importance as portable gadgets have risen and CES hasn't kept pace. It's not a major venue for phone and tablet launches, though some new models will likely see the light of day there when the show floor opens on Tuesday. The biggest trendsetter in mobile gadgets industry, Apple Inc., stays away, as it shuns all events it doesn't organize itself. Apple rival Microsoft Corp. has also scaled back its patronage of the show. For the first time since 1999, Microsoft's CEO won't be delivering the kickoff keynote. Qualcomm Inc. has taken over the podium. It's an important maker of chips that go into cellphones, but not a household name. None of this seems to matter much to the industry people who go to the show, which is set to be bigger than ever, at least in terms of floor space. Gary Shapiro the CEO of the organizing Consumer Electronics Association, expects attendance close to the 156,000 people who turned out last year. That's pretty much at capacity for Las Vegas, which has about 150,000 hotel rooms. The show doesn't welcome gawkers: the attendees are executives, purchasing managers, engineers, marketers, journalists and others with connections to the industry. "We don't want to be over 160,000," Shapiro said in an interview. "We do everything we can not to be too crowded." Nor do the shifting winds of the technology industry seem to matter much to exhibitors. Though some big names are scaling back or missing, there are many smaller companies clamoring for booth space and a spot in the limelight for a few days. For example, while Apple doesn't have an official presence at the show, there will be 500 companies displaying Apple accessories in the "iLounge Pavilion." Overall, the CEA sold a record 1.9 million square
blend the boundaries. They have touch screens that twist, fold back or detach from the keyboard. None of these seems to be a standout hit so far, but we can expect more experiments to be revealed at the show. "All the PC manufacturers recognize that they have to do things differently," Accenture's Puri said. --- ATTENTIVE COMPUTING CES has been a showcase in recent years for technologies that This undated publicity image provided by Sony shows an ultra-HD 4K TV free users from keyboards, mice set. At the biggest trade show in the Americas, which kicks off next week in and buttons. Instead, they rely on Las Vegas, TV makers will be doing their best to convince you that HDTVs cameras and other sophisticated are old hat, and should make room for "Ultra HDTV." sensors to track the user and interpret gestures and eye movements. Microsoft's feet of floor space (the equivalent of 33 football motion-tracking add-on for the Xbox 360 console, fields) for this year's show. the Kinect, has introduced this type of technology to the living room. Startups and big TV makers are These are some of the themes that will be in evinow looking to take it further. dence next week: --- SHARPER TVs Ultra HDTVs have four times the resolution of HDTVs. While this sounds extreme and unnecessary, you've probably already been exposed to projections at this resolution, because it's used in digital movie theaters. Sony, LG, Westinghouse and others will be at the show with huge flat-panel TVs that bring that experience home, if you have a spare $20,000 or so. While the sets are eye-catching, they will likely be niche products for years to come, if they ever catch on. They have to be really big - more than 60 inches, measured diagonally - to make the extra resolution really count. Also, there's no easy way to get movies in UHDTV resolution. "While there's going to be a lot of buzz around Ultra HDTV, we really think what's going to be relevant to consumers at the show is the continued evolution of 3D TVs and Internet-connected TVs," said Kumu Puri, senior executive with consulting firm Accenture's Electronics & High-Tech group. --- BIGGER PHONES Unlike TVs, new phones are launched throughout the year, so CES isn't much of a bellwether for phone trends. But this year, reports point to several super-sized smartphones, with screen bigger than five inches diagonally, making their debut at the show. These phones are so big they can be awkward to hold to the ear, but Samsung's Galaxy Note series has shown that there's a market for them. Wags call them "phablets" because they're almost tablet-sized. --- ACROBATIC PCs Microsoft launched Windows 8 in October, in an attempt to make the PC work more like a tablet. PC makers obliged, with a slew of machines that
For example, Tobii Technology, a Swedish company, will be at the show to demonstrate "the world's first gaze interaction computer peripheral" - basically a camera that tracks where the user is looking on the screen, potentially replacing the mouse. PointGrab, an Israeli startup, will be showing off software that lets a regular laptop webcam interpret hand movements in the air in front of it. Assaf Gad, head of marketing at PointGrab, said that CES is usually full of hopeful companies with speculative interaction technologies, "but this year, you can actually see real devices."
S U I C I D E BOMBERS KILL 3 AT A F G H A N D I S T R I C T COMPOUND KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) -- Two suicide bombers penetrated a government compound in the country's south Sunday, killing three people, Afghan officials said. The district chief of Spin Boldak said the two militants were targeting a meeting of local officials at a compound in a district of Kandahar province near the Pakistani border. There were no reports of foreign troops or civilians at the site. Mohammad Hashim said the two attackers arrived in a car, killed a guard and entered the facility firing weapons before blowing themselves up along with their vehicle. The compound houses offices of the district chief and district council as well as other government buildings. The spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province, Javeed Saisal, gave the casualties as three dead and at least 15 wounded. Kandahar is one of Afghanistan's most violent provinces. Spin Boldak district is a major infiltration corridor for Taliban fighters from Pakistan as well as a smuggling route for weapons and narcotics.
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_____________________________________________________Legal Street News Monday, January 7, 2013
A S S A D C A L L S O N S Y R I A N S T O D E F E N D T H E C O U N T R Y part of a political solution would require regional powers to stop funding and arming (the rebels), an end to terrorism and controlling the borders."
BEIRUT (AP) -- President Bashar Assad called on Syrians to defend their country against religious extremists seeking to destroy the nation, dismissing any prospect of dialogue with the "murderous criminals" he says are behind the uprising even as he outlined his vision for a peaceful settlement to the civil war. In a one-hour speech to the nation in which he appeared confident and relaxed, Assad struck a defiant tone, ignoring international demands for him to step down and saying he is ready to hold a dialogue but only with those "who have not betrayed Syria."
He said this would then be followed by dialogue and a national reconciliation conference and the formation of a wide representative government which would then oversee new elections, a new constitution and general amnesty.
In this image taken from video obtained from Syrian State Television, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks at the Opera House in central Damascus, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. Syrian President Bashar Assad on Sunday outlined a new peace initiative that includes a national reconciliation conference and a new government and constitution but demanded regional and Western countries stop funding and arming rebels first.
He offered a national reconciliation conference, elections and a new constitution but demanded regional and Western countries stop funding and arming rebels trying to overthrow him first.
Syria's opposition swiftly rejected the proposal. Those fighting to topple the regime, including rebels on the ground, have repeatedly said they will accept nothing less than the president's departure, dismissing any kind of settlement that leaves him in the picture. "It is an excellent initiative that is only missing one crucial thing: His resignation," said Kamal Labwani, a veteran secular dissident and member of the opposition's Syrian National Coalition umbrella group. "All what he is proposing will happen automatically, but only after he steps down," Lawani told The Associated Press by telephone from Sweden. On top of that, Assad's new initiative is reminiscent of symbolic changes and concessions that his government made earlier in the uprising, which were rejected at the time as too little too late. Speaking at the Opera House in central Damascus, Assad told the hall packed with supporters - who frequently broke out in cheers and applause - that "we are in a state of war." "We are fighting an external aggression that is more dangerous than any others, because they use us to kill each other," he said. "It is a war between the nation and its enemies, between the people and the murderous criminals." Assad has rarely spoken since the uprising against his rule began in March 2011, and Sunday's speech was his first since June. His last public comments came in an interview in November to Russian TV in which he vowed to die in Syria. On Sunday, he seemed equally confident in his troops' ability to crush the rebels fighting his
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rule, even as they edge in closer than ever to his seat of power, Damascus. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Assad's speech was "beyond hypocritical." In a message posted on his official Twitter feed, Hague said "empty promises of reform fool no one." EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's office said in a statement that the bloc will "look carefully if there is anything new in the speech but we maintain our position that Assad has to step aside and allow for a political transition." Wearing a suit and tie, Assad spoke before a collage of pictures of what appeared to be Syrians who have been killed since March 2011. At the end of his speech and as he was leaving the hall, he was mobbed by a group of loyalists shouting: "With our blood and souls we redeem you, Bashar!" The president waved and blew kisses to the crowd on his way out. Assad acknowledged the enormous impact of the conflict, which the United Nations recently estimated had killed more than 60,000 people. "We meet today and suffering is overwhelming Syrian land. There is no place for joy in any corner of the country in the absence of security and stability," he said. "I look at the eyes of Syria's children and I don't see any happiness." The Internet was cut in many parts of Damascus ahead of the address, apparently for security reasons. As in previous speeches, Assad said his forces were fighting groups of "murderous criminals" and jihadi elements and denied that there was an uprising against his family's decades-long rule. He stressed the presence of religious extremists and jihadi elements among those fighting in Syria, calling them "terrorists who carry the ideology of al-Qaeda" and "servants who know nothing but the language of slaughter." He said Syria will not take dictates from anyone - a reference to outside powers - and urged his countrymen to unite to save the nation. Outlining his peace initiative, he said: "The first
However, Assad made clear his offer to hold a dialogue is not open to those whom he considers extremists or carrying out a foreign agenda, essentially eliminating anyone that has taken up arms against the regime.
"We never rejected a political solution ... but with whom should we talk? With those who have an extremist ideology, who only understand the language of terrorism?" he said. "Or should we with negotiate puppets whom the West brought?"
"We negotiate with the master not with the slave," he said. As in previous speeches and interviews, he clung to the view that the crisis in Syria was a foreign-backed agenda and said it was not an uprising against his rule. "Is this a revolution and are these revolutionaries? By God, I say they are a bunch of criminals," he said.
H O U S E PA N E L ASKS TO SEE FORECLOSURE SETTLEMENT A House oversight panel wants to review a proposed settlement between 14 banks and federal regulators over improper foreclosure practices. The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has conducted hearings on foreclosure abuses, wrote a letter Friday to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency asking to see any proposed settlement before it is agreed to. In the letter, the committee asks for more information about how the settlement amount is to be determined. A comptroller spokesman declined to comment, and a Federal Reserve spokesman did not return a message. The settlement had been expected as early as this weekend and total $10 billion. The agreement is designed to hold mortgage lenders responsible for widespread abuses such as processing foreclo-
Legal Street News Monday, January 7, 2013
S PA C E PORT WA N T S PR OT E C T I ON S F R O M T O U R I S T L A W S U I T S The effectiveness of laws protecting extreme and adventure sports operators is harder to know, said Carminati.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -Spaceport America officials are urging legislators to limit potential lawsuits from wealthy outer space tourists who take off from New Mexico, saying such a bill is crucial to the future of the project.
"Nobody has sat down and actually looked at the nitty gritty of what does immunizing legislation that works look like," she said.
Legal experts, however, say there is no way to know whether the so-called informed consent laws will offer any protection to spacecraft operators and suppliers in the event something goes wrong.
There are also many questions, Gabrynowicz said, about whether federal law pre-empts state law in this area, whether state law would still apply if the accident happened over another state or country and whether it would cover passengers from countries that don't allow such exemptions.
"Since this has never happened yet, we have no precedent," said Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz, director of the space law program at the University of Mississippi. Such measures are being pushed by states trying to compete in the fledgling commercial space travel arena, and Spaceport America officials say that New Mexico risks losing out on a project that was intended to boost the economy in the mostly rural state. They say New Mexico needs to pass a bill to retain anchor tenant Virgin Galactic and to recruit new space business to the state. At issue is liability for passengers who pay to take spaceflights - like those planned by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic for $200,000 a head - from the spaceport near the city of Truth or Consequences. New Mexico lawmakers several years ago passed a bill that exempts Virgin Galactic from being sued by passengers in the event of an accident provided they have been informed of the risks. Officials have refused, however, to follow a handful of other states in expanding that exemption to suppliers.
Federal law exempts spacecraft operators from liability, requiring them to warn passengers in writing of associated risks.
Virgin Galactic, meanwhile, has hinted it will leave New Mexico if an expansion isn't passed this year. "I understand the impetus to try to match other states, but right now there is no guarantee it's enforceable," said Guigi Carminati with the Weil Law Firm in Houston. "That really is the bottom line." She and Gabrynowicz said the only comparable laws cover adventure sports or amusement parks - and their effectiveness varies. If someone gets hurt on a roller coaster, for example, Gabrynowicz said, the operator generally is not exempt from liability just because a posted sign says passengers at their own risk. Those
Spaceport America Executive Director Christine Anderson has blamed New Mexico's refusal during the last two legislative sessions to expand the law as the reason the spaceport has been passed over by companies in favor of states such as Texas and Florida.
She added that while there is "lot of case law regarding those kinds of activities. There is none yet for state law for space launches."
Gabrynowicz said that states are now trying to create an even more advantageous position for operators "so they can promote the industry." In New Mexico, the strong trial lawyer lobby has been successful in persuading the Democrat-controlled legislature against expanding the exemption. Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez says he is hopeful an agreement can be reached this year, but he emphasizes "you always have to be careful about precluding someone from being able to file an action." Despite the uncertainty, aerospace consultant Patti Grace Smith, a former FAA official responsible for regulating the U.S. commercial space transportation industry, says that since other states have extended the liability exemption to suppliers, New Mexico must do the same to remain competitive. "The whole sector is an evolving sector," she said, noting the legal frameworks are needed "enable the industry to go forward in a positive way.
1 IN 24 ADMIT NODDING N C M A N O F F W H I L E D R I V I N G ACCUSED OF S T E A L I N G METEORITES CDC researchers found drowsy driving was more common in men, people ages 25 to 34, those who averaged less than six hours of sleep each night, and - for some unexplained reason - Texans.
Wheaton said it's possible the Texas survey sample included larger numbers of sleep-deprived young adults or apnea-suffering overweight people. Most of the CDC findings are not surprising to those who study this problem.
NEW YORK (AP) -- This could give you nightmares: 1 in 24 U.S. adults say they recently fell asleep while driving.
"A lot of people are getting insufficient sleep," said Dr. Gregory Belenky, director of Washington State University's Sleep and Performance Research Center in Spokane.
And health officials behind the study think the number is probably higher. That's because some people don't realize it when they nod off for a second or two behind the wheel.
The government estimates that about 3 percent of fatal traffic crashes involve drowsy drivers, but other estimates have put that number as high as 33 percent.
"If I'm on the road, I'd be a little worried about the other drivers," said the study's lead author, Anne Wheaton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Warning signs of drowsy driving: Feeling very tired, not remembering the last mile or two, or drifting onto rumble strips on the side of the road. That signals a driver should get off the road and rest, Wheaton said.
In the CDC study released Thursday, about 4 percent of U.S. adults said they nodded off or fell asleep at least once while driving in the previous month. Some earlier studies reached a similar conclusion, but the CDC telephone survey of 147,000 adults was far larger. It was conducted in 19 states and the District of Columbia in 2009 and 2010.
Even a brief moment nodding off can be extremely dangerous, she noted. At 60 mph, a single second translates to speeding along for 88 feet - the length of two school buses. To prevent drowsy driving, health officials recommend getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, treating any sleep disorders and not drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel.
BREVARD, N.C. (AP) -- Authorities in southern North Carolina have made one arrest following the theft of 100 meteorites from a science education center and are searching for a second suspect. The Asheville Citizen-Times ( HTTP://AVLNE.WS/VRUNOI ) reports that 29-year-old Brian Koontz of Balsam Grove is charged with breaking and entering, larceny and injury to personal property. He's being held at the Transylvania County jail. Video surveillance shows two thieves breaking into the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute near Rosman around 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve. The thieves took meteorites that were on loan to the institute. They also took television monitors, overhead video projectors, a microscope and other scientific instruments. Sheriff's detective Wade Abram says most of the stolen items were recovered from one of the suspect's homes. He declined to say which suspect.