U.S. evolves on same-sex marriage


  • The president and the nation have shifted perspectives on same-sex marriage

  • Supreme Court ruling on California's same-sex marriage ban a critical test

  • Growing public support for gay marriage give proponents hope for change

Washington (CNN) -- The nation's growing acceptance of same-sex marriage has happened in slow and painstaking moves, eventually building into a momentum that is sweeping even the most unlikely of converts.

Even though he said in 2008 that he could only support civil unions for same-sex couples, President Barack Obama nonetheless enjoyed strong support among the gay community. He disappointed many with his conspicuously subdued first-term response to the same-sex marriage debate.

Last year, after Vice President Joe Biden announced his support, the president then said his position had evolved and he, too, supported same-sex marriage.

So it was no small matter when on Thursday the Obama administration formally expressed its support of same-sex marriage in a court brief weighing in on California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex weddings. The administration's effort was matched by at least 100 high-profile Republicans — some of whom in elections past depended on gay marriage as a wedge issue guaranteed to rally the base — who signed onto a brief supporting gay couples to legally wed.

Obama on same-sex marriage: Everyone is equal

Then there are the polls that show that an increasing number of Americans now support same-sex marriage. These polls show that nearly half of the nation's Catholics and white, mainstream Protestants and more than half of the nation's women, liberals and political moderates all support same-sex marriage.

According to Pew Research Center polling, 48% of Americans support same-sex marriage with 43% opposed. Back in 2001, 57% opposed same-sex marriage while 35% supported it.

In last year's presidential election, same-sex marriage scarcely raised a ripple. That sea change is not lost on the president.

"The same evolution I've gone through is the same evolution the country as a whole has gone through," Obama told reporters on Friday.

Craig Rimmerman, professor of public policy and political science at Hobart and William Smith colleges says there is history at work here and the administration is wise to get on the right side.

"There is no doubt that President Obama's shifting position on Proposition 8 and same-sex marriage more broadly is due to his desire to situate himself on the right side of history with respect to the fight over same-sex marriage," said Rimmerman, author of "From Identity to Politics: The Lesbian and Gay Movements in the United States."

"I also think that broader changes in public opinion showing greater support for same-sex marriage, especially among young people, but in the country at large as well, has created a cultural context for Obama to alter his views."

For years, Obama had frustrated many in the gay community by not offering full-throated support of same-sex marriage. However, the president's revelation last year that conversations with his daughters and friends led him to change his mind gave many in that community hope.

Last year, the Obama administration criticized a measure in North Carolina that banned same-sex marriage and made civil unions illegal. The president took the same position on a similar Minnesota proposal.

Obama administration officials point to what they see as the administration's biggest accomplishment in the gay rights cause: repealing "don't ask, don't tell," the military's ban on openly gay and lesbian members serving in the forces.

Then there was the president's inaugural address which placed the gay community's struggle for equality alongside similar civil rights fights by women and African-Americans.

"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well," Obama said in his address after being sworn in.

In offering its support and asserting in the brief that "prejudice may not be the basis for differential treatment under the law," the Obama administration is setting up a high stakes political and constitutional showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court over a fast-evolving and contentious issue.

The justices will hear California's Proposition 8 case in March. That case and another appeal over the federal Defense of Marriage Act will produce blockbuster rulings from the justices in coming months.

Beyond the legal wranglings there is a strong social and historic component, one that has helped open the way for the administration to push what could prove to be a social issue that defines Obama's second term legacy, Rimmerman said.

The nation is redefining itself on this issue, as well.

Pew survey: Changing attitudes on gay marriage

The changes are due, in part, to generational shifts. Younger people show a higher level of support than their older peers, according to Pew polling "Millennials are almost twice as likely as the Silent Generation to support same-sex marriage."

"As people have grown up with people having the right to marry the generational momentum has been very, very strong," said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, a gay rights organization.

That is not to say that there isn't still opposition.

Pew polling found that most Republicans and conservatives remain opposed to same-sex marriage. In 2001, 21% of Republicans were supportive; in 2012 that number nudged slightly to 25%.

Conservative groups expressed dismay at the administration's same-sex marriage support.

"President Obama, who was against same-sex 'marriage' before he was for it, and his administration, which said the Defense of Marriage Act was constitutional before they said it was unconstitutional, has now flip-flopped again on the issue of same-sex 'marriage,' putting allegiance to extreme liberal social policies ahead of constitutional principle," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement.

But there are signs of movement even among some high profile Republican leaders

Top Republicans sign brief supporting same-sex marriage

The Republican-penned friend of the court brief, which is designed to influence conservative justices on the high court, includes a number of top officials from the George W. Bush administration, Mitt Romney's former campaign manager and former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.

It is also at odds with the Republican Party's platform, which opposes same-sex marriage and defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Still, with White House and high-profile Republican support, legal and legislative victories in a number of states and polls that show an increasing number of Americans support same sex-marriage, proponents feel that the winds of history are with them.

"What we've seen is accelerating and irrefutable momentum as Americans have come to understand who gay people are and why marriage matters," Wolfson said. "We now have a solid national majority and growing support across every demographic. We have leaders across the spectrum, including Republicans, all saying it's time to end marriage discrimination."

CNN's Peter Hamby, Ashley Killough and Bill Mears contributed to this report.

Read More..

Officials: Florida sinkhole still growing; man missing

A central Florida man was still missing and feared dead early today after a sinkhole opened under his home Thursday night, swallowing him in his bed.

As hours passed overnight and rescuers and family lost hope of seeing 36-year-old Jeff Bush pulled from the ground alive, the sinkhole continued to grow, officials said.

“The hole has gotten deeper,” geotechnical engineer Larry Madrid said at a news conference Friday evening. “We can’t get into the building because of the potential for sudden collapse.”

The continued instability of the ground slowed engineers and kept evacuees in the Tampa-area neighborhood from returning to their homes.

“We’re really handicapped and paralyzed, and we really can’t do a whole lot more than wait,” Madrid said.

“I know in my heart he's dead,” Bush’s brother Jeremy told reporters Friday.

Authorities condemned the concrete-block home, determining the ground was unstable. Surrounding homes were evacuated, but the hole is isolated to the house, authorities said.

Hillsborough Fire Rescue officials lowered a camera and listening device into the 20-foot-deep hole to try to find Jeffrey Bush. But the ground kept moving and they lost the equipment.

"He's down there, but we can't hear here anything and we can't see anything," said Ronnie Rivera, a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesman. "We just can't do anything."

Structural engineers brought in equipment to determine if rescuers can enter the house. But with each hour that passed, the hope for rescue faded and despair set in.

Late Thursday night, Jeremy Bush heard something that sounded like a car crash, then heard a scream. He ran to his brother’s room, but all he could see was a mattress. He tried to save him and ended up getting stuck himself.

When Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy Douglas Duvall arrived at the home, he yanked Jeremy Bush from the hole and the two were able to escape.

At the news conference Friday evening, Duvall said he couldn’t sleep Thursday night, thinking about the what he’d seen and about Bush's family.

The risk of sinkholes is common in Florida due to the state's porous geological bedrock, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. As rainwater filters down into the ground, it dissolves the rock causing erosion that can lead to underground caverns, which cause sinkholes when they collapse.

Florida suffered one of its worst sinkhole accidents in 1994 when a 15-story-deep chasm opened up east of Tampa at a phosphate mine. It created a hole 185 feet deep and as much as 160 feet wide. Locals dubbed it Disney World's newest attraction - 'Journey to the Center of the Earth.'

In 1981 in Winter Park near Orlando, a sinkhole was measured as 320 feet wide and 90 feet deep, swallowing a two-story house, part of a Porsche dealership, and an Olympic-size swimming pool. The site is now an artificial lake in the city.

From the Los Angeles Times, Reuters and the Orlando Sentinel

Read More..

Kerry to stress need for Egypt consensus for IMF deal

CAIRO (Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry will stress the importance Egypt achieves political consensus for painful economic reforms needed to secure an IMF loan, a senior U.S. official said on Saturday.

Kerry arrived in Egypt on his first visit to the Arab world since taking office for talks with the leaders of a country mired in political and economic crisis two years after the overthrow of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

With Egypt's pound and foreign currency reserves sliding, the official said that if Cairo could agree on a $4.8 billion loan from the IMF, this would bring in other funds from the United States, European Union and Arab countries.

However, the official said the United States believed Egypt needed to increase tax revenues and reduce energy subsidies - measures likely to prove highly unpopular.

"His basic message is it's very important to the new Egypt for there to be a firm economic foundation," the official told reporters as Kerry flew to Cairo.

"In order for there to be agreement on doing the kinds of economic reforms that would be required under an IMF deal there has to be a basic political ... agreement among all of the various players in Egypt," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Egypt said on Thursday it would invite a team from the International Monetary Fund to reopen talks on the loan and the investment minister expressed hope that a deal could be done by the end of April.

The loan was agreed in principle last November but put on hold at Cairo's request during street violence the following month that flared in protest at a planned rise in taxes.

While the tax rise was withdrawn, Islamist President Mohamed Mursi is likely to face violent protests as any cuts in subsidies demanded by the IMF will push up living costs in a country where poverty is rife.

Energy subsidies soak up about 20 percent of the government budget, bloating a deficit set to soar to 12.3 percent of annual economic output this financial year.


Early on Saturday, young protesters fought interior ministry police in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, where one protester was killed and dozens injured. In the Suez Canal city of Port Said, protesters torched a police station, security sources said.

While the protests were unrelated to Kerry's visit, they were examples of the frequent outbreaks of unrest faced by Egypt's government.

Clashes are commonplace, with young people and Egyptians demanding Mursi reform the interior ministry's police force. The president is accused of not taking police reform, a key demand of the uprising that toppled Mubarak, seriously.

Kerry will stress the need for agreement across the political spectrum on reforms and winning approval in the Shura Council, Egypt's upper house of parliament.

"What they need to do is ... things like increasing tax revenues, reducing energy subsidies, making clear what the approval process will be to the Shura Council for an IMF agreement, that kind of thing," said the official.

Hopes for consensus between the ruling Islamists and opposition parties seem slim. Liberal and leftist opposition parties have announced a boycott of parliamentary elections, scheduled for April to June, over a new constitution produced by an Islamist-dominated assembly and other grievances.

Kerry meets opposition leaders on Saturday but many senior figures were not on the list of expected participants, including Hamdeen Sabahy, who came a close third in presidential elections last year and former U.N. nuclear agency head Mohamed ElBaradei.

Kerry does not wish to be seen as lecturing Egyptians and will not explicitly tell opposition parties to renounce their boycott of the lower house polls, the U.S. official said.

However, he will make the case for them to take part.

"If they want to ensure that their views are taken account, the only way to do that is to participate. That they can't sit aside and just assume that somehow by magic that all of this is going to happen," the official said. "They've got to participate."

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; editing by Jason Webb)

Read More..

Wall Street flat, losses trimmed after data

PARIS, March 1 (Reuters) - Alex Ferguson's philosophy is behind the longevity of Manchester United's homegrown players, says Paris St Germain midfielder David Beckham. The former England captain and United player is still active at 37, having joined PSG on a five-month loan at the end of January. Former team mate Phil Neville, 36, plays at Everton and the 39-year-old Ryan Giggs, who started his youth career at Manchester City but ended it at United, is still at Old Trafford after signing his first professional contract there in 1990. ...
Read More..

McIlroy walks off course at Honda Classic

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Rory McIlroy abruptly walked off the course Friday at the Honda Classic and left everyone wondering what was wrong with golf's No. 1 player.

McIlroy already was 7-over par through eight holes of the second round when he hit his second shot into the water on the par-5 18th at PGA National. He shook hands with Ernie Els and Mark Wilson and was headed to the parking lot before they even finished the hole.

"There's not really much I can say, guys," McIlroy told three reporters who followed him to his car. "I'm not in a good place mentally, you know?"

He said there was nothing wrong physically. When asked about his swing, the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland replied, "Yeah, I really don't know what's going on."

If his golf wasn't shocking enough, the manner in which he left raised plenty of questions about the state of game — and his head — in the month leading to the Masters.

McIlroy, coming off a year in which he won a second major in record fashion, already set himself up for scrutiny when he left Titleist to sign an equipment deal with Nike that was said to be worth upward of $20 million a year.

Nike introduced him with blaring music and a laser show in Abu Dhabi, but it's been all downhill from there.

McIlroy missed the cut in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship with rounds of 75-75. He took a four-week break, and then was eliminated in the opening round of the Match Play Championship to Shane Lowry in one of the most poorly played matches of the round.

McIlroy played 36 holes with Tiger Woods at The Medalist on Sunday and said Tuesday it was no time to panic.

His management team was expected to release a statement later Friday.

Read More..

‘Star Trek’ Beams Into Oscar Night

Star Trek” fans got quite a treat last night during the Academy Awards last night (Feb. 24).

Actors who portray major characters from the film and television versions of the iconic science fiction series made cameo appearances during the three-hour-long ceremony celebrating the best movies of 2012.

William Shatner, the actor that played Starship Enterprise captain James T. Kirk in original series helped open the awards show with host, Seth McFarlane.

“I’ve come back in time from the 23rd century to stop you from destroying the Academy Awards,” joked Shatner to McFarlane.

Actors Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana also had a part to play in the festivities. Pine, who plays Kirk in 2009′s “Star Trek” and its sequel “Star Trek Into Darkness “ being released later this year, and Saldana, who plays the Enterprise’s communications officer Uhura, recapped an earlier event they co-hosted on Feb. 10 called the “Sci-Tech Oscars.”

The smaller ceremony is designed to showcase the technical achievements of designers and technicians on movie sets.

The newest movie in the Star Trek franchise, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” is set to be released on May 17.

Follow Miriam Kramer on Twitter @mirikramer or SPACE.com @Spacedotcom. We’re also on Facebook & Google+

Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Space and Astronomy News Headlines – Yahoo! News

Title Post: ‘Star Trek’ Beams Into Oscar Night
Url Post: http://www.news.fluser.com/star-trek-beams-into-oscar-night/
Link To Post : ‘Star Trek’ Beams Into Oscar Night

based on 99998 ratings.
5 user reviews.
Author: Fluser SeoLink
Thanks for visiting the blog, If any criticism and suggestions please leave a comment

Read More..

Syria war is everybody's problem

Syrians search for survivors and bodies after the Syrian regime attacked the city of Aleppo with missiles on February 23.


  • Frida Ghitis: We are standing by as Syria rips itself apart, thinking it's not our problem

  • Beyond the tragedy in human terms, she says, the war damages global stability

  • Ghitis: Syria getting more and more radical, jeopardizing forces of democracy

  • Ghitis: Peace counts on moderates, whom we must back with diplomacy, training arms

Editor's note: Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review. A former CNN producer and correspondent, she is the author of "The End of Revolution: A Changing World in the Age of Live Television." Follow her on Twitter: @FridaGColumns

(CNN) -- Last week, a huge explosion rocked the Syrian capital of Damascus, killing more than 50 people and injuring hundreds. The victims of the blast in a busy downtown street were mostly civilians, including schoolchildren. Each side in the Syrian civil war blamed the other.

In the northern city of Aleppo, about 58 people -- 36 of them children -- died in a missile attack last week. Washington condemned the regime of Bashar al-Assad; the world looked at the awful images and moved on.

Syria is ripping itself to pieces. The extent of human suffering is beyond comprehension. That alone should be reason enough to encourage a determined effort to bring this conflict to a quick resolution. But if humanitarian reasons were not enough, the international community -- including the U.S. and its allies -- should weigh the potential implications of allowing this calamity to continue.

Frida Ghitis

Frida Ghitis

We've all heard the argument: It's not our problem. We're not the world's policeman. We would only make it worse.

This is not a plea to send American or European troops to fight in this conflict. Nobody wants that.

But before we allow this mostly hands-off approach to continue, we would do well to consider the potential toll of continuing with a failed policy, one that has focused in vain over the past two years searching for a diplomatic solution.

U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry has just announced that the U.S. will provide an additional $60 million in non-lethal assistance to the opposition. He has hinted that President Obama, after rejecting suggestions from the CIA and previous Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to arm Syrian rebels, might be ready to change course. And not a day too soon.

The war is taking longer than anyone expected. The longer it lasts, the more Syria is radicalized and the region is destabilized.

If you think the Syrian war is the concern of Syrians alone, think about other countries that have torn themselves apart over a long time. Consider Lebanon, Afghanistan or Somalia; each with unique circumstances, but with one thing in common: Their wars created enormous suffering at home, and the destructiveness eventually spilled beyond their borders. All of those wars triggered lengthy, costly refugee crises. They all spawned international terrorism and eventually direct international -- including U.S. -- intervention.

The uprising against al-Assad started two years ago in the spirit of what was then referred to -- without a hint of irony -- as the Arab Spring. Young Syrians marched, chanting for freedom and democracy. The ideals of equality, rule of law and human rights wafted in the air.

Al-Assad responded to peaceful protests with gunfire. Syrians started dying by the hundreds each day. Gradually the nonviolent protesters started fighting back. Members of the Syrian army started defecting.

The opposition's Free Syrian Army came together. Factions within the Syrian opposition took up arms and the political contest became a brutal civil war. The death toll has climbed to as many as 90,000, according to Kerry. About 2 million people have left their homes, and the killing continues with no end in sight.

In fairness to Washington, Europe and the rest of the international community, there were never easy choices in this war. Opposition leaders bickered, and their clashing views scared away would-be supporters. Western nations rejected the idea of arming the opposition, saying Syria already has too many weapons. They were also concerned about who would control the weaponry, including an existing arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, after al-Assad's fall.

These are all legitimate concerns. But inaction is producing the worst possible outcome.

The moderates, whose views most closely align with the West, are losing out to the better-armed Islamists and, especially, to the extremists. Moderates are losing the ideological debate and the battle for the future character of a Syria after al-Assad.

Radical Islamist groups have taken the lead. Young people are losing faith in moderation, lured by disciplined, devout extremists. Reporters on the ground have seen young democracy advocates turn into fervent supporters of dangerous groups such as the Nusra Front, which has scored impressive victories.

The U.S. State Department recently listed the Nusra Front, which has close ties to al Qaeda in Iraq and a strong anti-Western ideology, as a terrorist organization.

Meantime, countries bordering Syria are experiencing repercussions. And these are likely to become more dangerous.

Jordan, an important American ally, is struggling with a flood of refugees, as many as 10,000 each week since the start of the year. The government estimates 380,000 Syrians are in Jordan, a country whose government is under pressure from its own restive population and still dealing with huge refugee populations from other wars.

Turkey is also burdened with hundreds of thousands of refugees and occasional Syrian fire. Israel has warned about chemical weapons transfers from al-Assad to Hezbollah in Lebanon and may have already fired on a Syrian convoy attempting the move.

Lebanon, always perched precariously on the edge of crisis, lives with growing fears that Syria's war will enter its borders. Despite denials, there is evidence that Lebanon's Hezbollah, a close ally of al-Assad and of Iran, has joined the fighting on the side of the Syrian president. The Free Syrian Army has threatened to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon if it doesn't leave Syria.

The possible outcomes in Syria include the emergence of a failed state, stirring unrest throughout the region. If al-Assad wins, Syria will become an even more repressive country.

Al-Assad's survival would fortify Iran and Hezbollah and other anti-Western forces. If the extremists inside the opposition win, Syria could see factional fighting for many years, followed by anti-democratic, anti-Western policies.

The only good outcome is victory for the opposition's moderate forces. They may not be easy to identify with complete certainty. But to the extent that it is possible, these forces need Western support.

They need training, funding, careful arming and strong political and diplomatic backing. The people of Syria should know that support for human rights, democracy and pluralism will lead toward a peaceful, prosperous future.

Democratic nations should not avert their eyes from the killings in Syria which are, after all, a warning to the world.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frida Ghitis.

Read More..

Chicago State board meets to decide: Who's in charge?

Chicago State University's board of trustees is meeting this morning to settle the question of who is president at the South Side campus, capping a tumultuous week.

On Monday, the board announced that Wayne Watson, president since 2009, would take a yearlong sabbatical and then was expected to retire. It also said that provost Sandra Westbrooks would be the acting president.

But Watson stayed in his office this week and has maintained that he is still the president. Watson’s attorney said he viewed the sabbatical as equivalent to a vacation, not an end to his presidency. Watson’s contract goes until 2014.

The sabbatical arrangement, which Watson requested, was intended to allow him to exit without drama after the trustees decided they wanted new leadership. He was to be paid his $250,000 salary during the sabbatical, during which time he said he planned to care for his elderly father and conduct research on effective leadership at minority-serving institutions.

The board called the meeting to order shortly after 8 a.m. this morning and then recessed into a closed executive session to discuss what was described on the published agenda as employment matters, legal matters and approval of legal and consultant services. It is then expected to reconvene in an open session.

Before the meeting began, Chicago leaders well known in the African-American community crowded into the library waiting area, including former Sen. Emil Jones and Jonathan Jackson from Rainbow Push Coalition.

Jones, who walked the room with Watson, said: “He should be president, no question about that, because of his interest in the education of the students who go here.”

The mood among the crowd was pleasant despite the differences in opinion on how the university should be lead.

"We're on the good side," said Victor P. Henderson, Watson's attorney.

Watson said: "I'm standing for the right thing."

Board Chairman Gary Rozier told the Tribune earlier this week that trustees had decided it was “time to look for new leadership.” They were disappointed with the decline in enrollment and the faculty’s no-confidence vote on Watson.

Henderson has defended Watson’s tenure.

“I have not seen one iota of information which would justify changing the president’s status at the university,” Henderson said earlier this week.

As the board met in private, members of the audience milled around the room, some complaining out loud about the credentials of the board members and saying that they lacked qualifications to select a leader for the institution. Some whispered about rumors and gossip that has spread across the campus and distracted the faculty, staff and students.

Martin L. King, chairman of the Rainbow Push Coalition board, said he and Rev. Jesse Jackson tried to mediate an agreement between Watson and the board but failed.

"That agreement would have ended the need to have this meeting," he said.

Chicago State has long been an source of pride in the middle-class African-American community it sits in. The student body is made up mainly of local black students, who otherwise might not have a chance to earn a college degree.

Friday's meeting drew residents who had graduated from the institution and many that work there.

"Chicago State University is an anchor for Chatham, Auburn Gresham and the Southland," King said. "It's an economic anchor, the home of historic documents. This university is a place where we all come together."

King said he believes it is in the best interest of the students and community that Watson be retained and the board work with him.

"The president has been very instrumental in making sure the university moved forward," King said. "Our (PUSH) ultimate goal is fairness."

On campus, the drama between Watson and the board has seeped into the classroom, said adjunct professor of political science Gideon Charles.

"We're demoralized. We don't know who is the President and who to report to," he said.

Charles said he believes it's time for Watson to be replaced.

"The school has declined under his leadership and enrollment is down," he said. "The faculty don't hold him in high regard. When he was brought in in 2009, the students didn't take a liking to him — and they still don't."

History professor Bob Bionaz also said he believes Watson should be replaced.  "He is a failure" he said, citing a decline in student enrollment and other factors.

Earlier this week, Watson sent a letter to trustees alleging that some board members are retaliating against him because he won’t accede to their pressures to hire and reward their friends.

In a four-page letter dated Feb. 26 and obtained by the Tribune, Watson told trustees that the “real motivation” behind the board’s efforts to replace him was his refusal “to capitulate to the incessant requests” from Rozier and Vice Chairman Z. Scott to “either hire, promote or give salary increases to their friends and associates.”

Langdon Neal, the board’s attorney, replied: “We are going to rise above this and deal with the matters that affect the students of the university and the university itself. We are not going to comment on the personal accusations.”

In the letter to trustees, Watson also wrote that there are now no financial improprieties at an institution that was plagued by fiscal mismanagement for years.


Read More..

Wall Street advances, on track for third day of gains

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, pointing to a third straight day of gains in the wake of some strong economic data, though a further advance may be limited with major averages near multi-year highs.

While some data released Thursday were rosy, a read on economic growth was weaker than expected, and analysts said a pullback may be in store a day after major equity indexes posted their biggest daily advance since early January.

Over the past two sessions, the S&P 500 has gained 1.9 percent, rising back above the closely watched level of 1,500. The Dow Jones industrial average moved within striking distance of an all-time high.

"The market is looking choppy, and I think investors should use this as an opportunity to sell into strength," said Matt McCormick, a money manager at Cincinnati-based Bahl & Gaynor. "This seems like an environment where someone should be conservative instead of aggressive."

The U.S. economy grew 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, a weaker pace than expected, although a slightly better performance in exports and fewer imports led the government to scratch an earlier estimate of an economic contraction.

Separately, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, while the February Chicago Purchasing Managers Index unexpectedly rose to an 11-month high.

While equity markets suffered steep losses earlier in the week on concerns over European debt, they have since recovered, with the gains fueled by strong data and recent comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that showed continued support for the Fed's economic stimulus policy.

"Growth is still anemic and there are still issues with Europe. People seem to be ignoring the signs that would otherwise give them cause for concern," said McCormick, who helps oversee $8.2 billion in assets.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> was up 27.27 points, or 0.19 percent, at 14,102.64. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> was up 5.13 points, or 0.34 percent, at 1,521.12. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.ixic> was up 13.75 points, or 0.43 percent, at 3,176.01.

The benchmark S&P 500 has gained 1.4 percent in February, the Dow is up 1.7 percent and the Nasdaq has added 1 percent.

J.C. Penney Co Inc slumped 18 percent to $17.32 as the S&P's biggest decliner after the department store reported a steep drop in sales on Wednesday. Groupon Inc also slumped on weak revenue, with the stock off 25 percent at $4.50.

Mylan Inc jumped 6.5 percent to $30.45 on the Nasdaq after the generic drugmaker posted a 25 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit.

Investors were keeping an eye on the debate in Washington over sequestration - U.S. government budget cuts that will take effect starting on Friday if lawmakers fail to reach an agreement on spending and taxes. President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders arranged to hold last-ditch talks to prevent the cuts, but expectations were low that any deal would be produced.

With 93 percent of the S&P 500 companies having reported results so far, 69.5 percent have beaten profit expectations, compared with a 62 percent average since 1994 and 65 percent over the past four quarters, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Fourth-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 6.2 percent, according to the data, above a 1.9 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Read More..

‘Star Trek’ Beams Into Oscar Night

Star Trek” fans got quite a treat last night during the Academy Awards last night (Feb. 24).

Actors who portray major characters from the film and television versions of the iconic science fiction series made cameo appearances during the three-hour-long ceremony celebrating the best movies of 2012.

William Shatner, the actor that played Starship Enterprise captain James T. Kirk in original series helped open the awards show with host, Seth McFarlane.

“I’ve come back in time from the 23rd century to stop you from destroying the Academy Awards,” joked Shatner to McFarlane.

Actors Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana also had a part to play in the festivities. Pine, who plays Kirk in 2009′s “Star Trek” and its sequel “Star Trek Into Darkness “ being released later this year, and Saldana, who plays the Enterprise’s communications officer Uhura, recapped an earlier event they co-hosted on Feb. 10 called the “Sci-Tech Oscars.”

The smaller ceremony is designed to showcase the technical achievements of designers and technicians on movie sets.

The newest movie in the Star Trek franchise, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” is set to be released on May 17.

Follow Miriam Kramer on Twitter @mirikramer or SPACE.com @Spacedotcom. We’re also on Facebook & Google+

Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Space and Astronomy News Headlines – Yahoo! News

Title Post: ‘Star Trek’ Beams Into Oscar Night
Url Post: http://www.news.fluser.com/star-trek-beams-into-oscar-night/
Link To Post : ‘Star Trek’ Beams Into Oscar Night

based on 99998 ratings.
5 user reviews.
Author: Fluser SeoLink
Thanks for visiting the blog, If any criticism and suggestions please leave a comment

Read More..