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    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    CNN - Legislators aim to snuff out penalties for pot use

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    Legislators aim to snuff out penalties for pot use


    The U.S. should stop arresting responsible marijuana users, Rep. Barney Frank said Wednesday, announcing a proposal to end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams, almost a quarter-pound, of the substance.

    Current laws targeting marijuana users place undue burdens on law enforcement resources, punish ill Americans whose doctors have prescribed the substance and unfairly affect African-Americans, said Frank, flanked by legislators and representatives from advocacy groups.

    "The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government's business," Frank said on Capitol Hill. "I don't think it is the government's business to tell you how to spend your leisure time."

    The Massachusetts Democrat and his supporters emphasized that only the use -- and not the abuse -- of marijuana would be decriminalized if the resolution resulted in legislation.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration says people charged with simple possession are rarely incarcerated. The agency and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy have long opposed marijuana legalization, for medical purposes or otherwise.

    Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, according to the drug control office.

    "Smoked marijuana has not withstood the rigors of science -- it is not medicine and it is not safe," the DEA states on its Web site. "Legalization of marijuana, no matter how it begins, will come at the expense of our children and public safety. It will create dependency and treatment issues, and open the door to use of other drugs, impaired health, delinquent behavior, and drugged drivers."

    Allen St. Pierre, spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, likened Frank's proposal -- co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas -- to current laws dealing with alcohol consumption. Alcohol use is permitted, and the government focuses its law enforcement efforts on those who abuse alcohol or drive under its influence, he said.

    "We do not arrest and jail responsible alcohol drinkers," he said.

    St. Pierre said there are tens of millions of marijuana smokers in the United States, including himself, and hundreds of thousands are arrested each year for medical or personal use. iReport.com: Is it time to legalize pot?

    There have been 20 million marijuana-related arrests since 1965, he said, and 11 million since 1990, and "every 38 seconds, a marijuana smoker is arrested."

    Rob Kampia, director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said marijuana arrests outnumber arrests for "all violent crimes combined," meaning police are spending inordinate amounts of time chasing nonviolent criminals.

    "Ending arrests is the key to marijuana policy reform," he said.

    Reps. William Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, and Barbara Lee, D-California, said that in addition to targeting nonviolent offenders, U.S. marijuana laws unfairly target African-Americans.

    Clay said he did not condone drug use but opposes using tax dollars to pursue what he feels is an arcane holdover from "a phony war on drugs that is filling up our prisons, especially with people of color."

    Too many drug enforcement resources are being dedicated to incarcerating nonviolent drugs users, and not enough is being done to stop the trafficking of narcotics into the United States, he said.

    Being arrested is not the American marijuana smoker's only concern, said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance Network. Those found guilty of marijuana use can lose their jobs, financial aid for college, their food stamp and welfare benefits, or their low-cost housing.

    The U.S. stance on marijuana, Piper said, "is one of the most destructive criminal justice policies in America today."

    Calling the U.S. policy "inhumane" and "immoral," Lee said she has many constituents who are harassed or arrested for using or cultivating marijuana for medical purposes. California allows medical marijuana use, but the federal government does not, she explained.

    House Resolution 5843, titled the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008, would express support for "a very small number of individuals" suffering from chronic pain or illness to smoke marijuana with impunity.

    According to NORML, marijuana can be used to treat a range of illnesses, including glaucoma, asthma, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and seizures.

    Frank, who is chairman of the Financial Services Committee, said that about a dozen states have approved some degree of medical marijuana use and that the federal government should stop devoting resources to arresting people who are complying with their states' laws.

    In a shot at Republicans, Frank said it was strange that those who support limited government want to criminalize marijuana.

    Asked whether the resolution's passage would change his personal behavior, Frank quipped, "I do obey every law I vote for" but quickly said he did not use marijuana, nor does he encourage it.

    "I smoke cigars. I don't think other people should do that. If young people ask me, I would advise them not to do it," he said.

    If HR 5843 were passed, the House would support marijuana smokers possessing up to 100 grams -- about 3½ ounces -- of cannabis without being arrested. It would also give its blessing to the "nonprofit transfer" of up to an ounce of marijuana.

    The resolution would not address laws forbidding growing, importing or exporting marijuana, or selling it for profit. The resolution also would not speak to state laws regarding marijuana use.

    Reuters - Dell tests music player to renew iPod battle: report

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    Dell tests music player to renew iPod battle: report

    Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 10:45AM UTC

    BANGALORE (Reuters) - In recent months, personal computer maker Dell Inc., has been testing a digital music player that could go on sale as early as September, the Wall Street Journal newspaper said, citing several Dell officials.

    Dell's new foray would put it into an Apple-led market that has defied assaults.

    Companies like Microsoft Corp and Sony Corp have tried -- and failed -- to make a dent in the market dominated by Apple's iPod players and iTunes store, the Journal said.

    The music player which Dell has been testing features a small navigation screen and basic button controls to scroll through music play lists, the Journal reported.

    It would connect to online music services via a Wi-Fi Internet connection, and Dell would likely price the model at less than $100, the Journal said. Dell's first foray into the music market in 2003 was a huge disappointment. It withdrew from the music-player market after its DJ Ditty player failed to make major inroads.

    This time, if the company goes ahead with the music player, the strategy is different, Michael Tatelman, Dell's vice president of consumer sales said, according to the paper.

    Instead of simply selling a piece of hardware tied to someone else's music service, as it did in 2003, Dell is working on software for a range of portable PCs that will let users download and organize music and movies from various online sources, the paper added.

    (Reporting by Purwa Naveen Raman in Bangalore)

    Reuters - IOC admits Internet censorship deal with China

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    IOC admits Internet censorship deal with China

    Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 1:42PM UTC

    By Nick Mulvenney

    BEIJING (Reuters) - Some International Olympic Committee officials cut a deal to let China block sensitive websites despite promises of unrestricted access, a senior IOC official admitted on Wednesday.

    Persistent pollution fears and China's concerns about security in Tibet also remained problems for organizers nine days before the Games begin.

    China had committed to providing media with the same freedom to report on the Games as they enjoyed at previous Olympics, but journalists have this week complained of finding access to sites deemed sensitive to its communist leadership blocked.

    "I regret that it now appears BOCOG has announced that there will be limitations on website access during Games time," IOC press chief Kevan Gosper said, referring to Beijing's Olympic organizers.

    "I also now understand that some IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games related," he said.

    Attempts at the main press centre to access the website of Amnesty International, which released a report on Monday slamming China for failing to honor its Olympic human rights pledges, continued to prove fruitless by mid-week.

    Other websites, including those relating to the banned spiritual group Falun Gong, are also inaccessible.

    Beijing organizers said censorship would not stop journalists doing their jobs in reporting the Games.

    "We are going to do our best to facilitate the foreign media to do their reporting work through the Internet," BOCOG spokesman Sun Weide told a news conference.

    "I would remind you that Falun Gong is an evil, fake religion which has been banned by the Chinese government."

    Reporters without Borders, a Paris-based media watchdog, said it was increasingly concerned that there would be many cases of censorship during the Olympics.

    "We condemn the IOC's failure to do anything about this, and we are more skeptical about its ability to ensure that the media are able to report freely," the group said in a statement.

    SMOG-WATCH

    But the admission that the Internet will be partly censored is sure to lead to more criticism for the Olympics host nation, which is already deflecting barbs over everything from the quality of its air to its human rights record.

    On Wednesday, Chinese experts said they were working on emergency plans to keep Olympic skies clear, including keeping cars off the roads in nearby provinces, but expected not to need them unless unusual pollution-trapping weather continued.

    The city has already banned cars from roads on alternate days under an odd-and-even license plate scheme, suspended some factory production and opened new subway lines to try to clear its notorious pollution.

    "The likelihood of needing stronger measures is very small," said Zhu Tong, a professor at Peking University and leader of a technical group advising Games organizers on air quality.

    Slightly cooler temperatures and rain on Tuesday have thinned the haze, but with below-par air quality readings on several days since the emergency measures took effect on July 20, worries remain about athletes wheezing air laced with fumes and dust.

    Experts said that given the size of Beijing, the volume of pollutants that flow into the city from other parts of China, and the short time period before the Games open on August 8, there was little more that could be done.

    "In this short a time-frame, even if you took all the personal cars off the highway, you might see another 10 percent improvement, but it would be small," said Staci Simonich, an analytical chemist at Oregon State University who has been studying Beijing's air quality.

    "The best thing that could happen during the Games is to have it rain every night," she said.

    China also has other issues on its mind, including security in the restive region of Tibet, where official media said Chinese police had been mobilized to ensure "absolute security without a single lapse".

    The remote region erupted into rioting in March that sparked protests across China's ethnic Tibetan areas and brought into focus international criticism of Beijing's policies on the issue.

    The Tibet Daily announced on Wednesday tough policing during the Games on top of a sweeping security crackdown already in place. China is at pains to avoid any shows of defiance by pro-Tibet independence groups that could embarrass the government before a worldwide audience.

    (Additional reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison, Lindsay Beck, Chris Buckley, Liu Zhen and Simon Rabinovitch; Writing by Lindsay Beck; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

    (For more stories visit our multimedia website "Road to Beijing" at http://www.reuters.com/news/sports/2008olympics)

    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    CNN - Report: Black U.S. AIDS rates rival some African nations

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    Report: Black U.S. AIDS rates rival some African nations


    The AIDS epidemic among African-Americans in some parts of the United States is as severe as in parts of Africa, according to a report out Tuesday.

    "Left Behind - Black America: A Neglected Priority in the Global AIDS" is intended to raise awareness and remind the public that the "AIDS epidemic is not over in America, especially not in Black America," says the report, published by the Black AIDS Institute, an HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on African-Americans.

    "AIDS in America today is a black disease," says Phill Wilson, founder and CEO of the institute and himself HIV-positive for 20 years. "2006 CDC data tell us that about half of the just over 1 million Americans living with HIV or AIDS are black."

    Although black people represent only about one in eight Americans, one in every two people living with HIV in the United States is black, the report notes.

    The report uses just-released data from UNAIDS and existing CDC and Census data to highlight grim statistics:

    ? AIDS remains the leading cause of death among black women between ages 25 and 34. It's the second-leading cause of death in black men 35-44.

    ? In Washington, more than 80 percent of HIV cases are among black people, that's one in 20 residents. iReport: AIDS in Washington's older population

    "Five percent of the entire population (in DC) is infected... that's comparable to countries like Uganda or South Africa," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN for the recent "Black in America" documentary.

    According to this report, if black Americans made up their own country, it would rank above Ethiopia (420,000 to 1,300,000) and below Ivory Coast (750,000) in HIV population. Both Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast are among the 15 nations receiving funds from the President's Emergency Plan For Aids Relief. The United States has given about $15 billion to PEPFAR nations in the past five years. Tell us: What's your experience being black in America?

    The Black AIDS Institute says it's not criticizing the federal government for helping poorer countries cope with the AIDS epidemic. Rather, it's saying the "AIDS epidemic [in the U.S.] is not getting the kind attention that it merits."

    "We understand the needs of black folk in Johannesburg (South Africa)," Wilson says. "Why can't we understand the needs of them in Jackson, Mississippi? We understand the needs in Nigeria or Botswana, why not understand the needs of Los Angeles or Oakland?"

    Wilson says more needs to be done to prevent the spread of HIV in this country. The report states that the U.S. government "increased spending on HIV prevention, treatment and support programs for low-income countries dramatically, at the same time that domestic remained all but flat."

    According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, domestic prevention efforts make up the smallest part of the HIV/AIDs budget, the 2009 budget request includes $892 million for domestic HIV prevention efforts, the same as in 2008. iReport.com: Spelman women discuss HIV and AIDS

    In this report, Wilson and others urge the federal government and private foundations to significantly increase funding for HIV prevention and treatment programs. The report also calls on international agencies to hold the U.S. government accountable for failure to address HIV/AIDS epidemic in its own country (despite lauding it for its PEPFAR efforts). It also urges black communities in the United States to fight the stigma and overcome prejudice associated with being infected with HIV.

    "Peggy" found out 10 years ago that she was HIV positive. The fact that she's asked us to not use her real name is an example of the stigma that's still attached to having the virus that causes AIDS, especially in the African-American community.

    "I don't really talk to many other people about it, 'cause I guess maybe, they don't want to talk," says the 27-year-old Lake Charles, Louisiana, woman. Others like her, she says, are still too ashamed to admit they have HIV. AC 360 Blog: The cavalry is not coming to save us

    Marvelyn Brown, 24, of Washington, is more open about her status. She learned she had HIV when she was only 19, after one time of unprotected sex while in a monogamous relationship.

    Brown has told her story in a book, "The Naked Truth, " and to CNN in last week's special report, "Black in America." She regularly addresses community groups, trying to help educate blacks about the risk of of HIV and AIDS.

    The report was funded by the Ford Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

    Monday, July 28, 2008

    CNN - Ex-Googlers launch rival search engine

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    Ex-Googlers launch rival search engine


    Anna Patterson's last Internet search engine was so impressive that industry leader Google Inc. bought the technology in 2004 to upgrade its own system.

    She believes her latest invention is even more valuable - only this time it's not for sale.

    Patterson instead intends to upstage Google, which she quit in 2006 to develop a more comprehensive and efficient way to scour the Internet.

    The end result is Cuil, pronounced "cool." Backed by $33 million in venture capital, the search engine plans to begin processing requests for the first time Monday.

    Cuil had kept a low profile while Patterson, her husband, Tom Costello, and two other former Google engineers - Russell Power and Louis Monier - searched for better ways to search.

    Now, it's boasting time.

    Web index: For starters, Cuil's search index spans 120 billion Web pages.

    Patterson believes that's at least three times the size of Google's index, although there is no way to know for certain. Google stopped publicly quantifying its index's breadth nearly three years ago when the catalog spanned 8.2 billion Web pages.

    Cuil won't divulge the formula it has developed to cover a wider swath of the Web with far fewer computers than Google. And Google isn't ceding the point: Spokeswoman Katie Watson said her company still believes its index is the largest.

    After getting inquiries about Cuil, Google asserted on its blog Friday that it regularly scans through 1 trillion unique Web links. But Google said it doesn't index them all because they either point to similar content or would diminish the quality of its search results in some other way. The posting didn't quantify the size of Google's index.

    A search index's scope is important because information, pictures and content can't be found unless they're stored in a database. But Cuil believes it will outshine Google in several other ways, including its method for identifying and displaying pertinent results.

    Content analysis: Rather than trying to mimic Google's method of ranking the quantity and quality of links to Web sites, Patterson says Cuil's technology drills into the actual content of a page. And Cuil's results will be presented in a more magazine-like format instead of just a vertical stack of Web links. Cuil's results are displayed with more photos spread horizontally across the page and include sidebars that can be clicked on to learn more about topics related to the original search request.

    Finally, Cuil is hoping to attract traffic by promising not to retain information about its users' search histories or surfing patterns - something that Google does, much to the consternation of privacy watchdogs.

    Cuil is just the latest in a long line of Google challengers.

    Other contenders: The list includes swaggering startups like Teoma (whose technology became the backbone of Ask.com), Vivisimo, Snap, Mahalo and, most recently, Powerset, which was acquired by Microsoft Corp. this month.

    Even after investing hundreds of millions of dollars on search, both Microsoft and Yahoo Inc. have been losing ground to Google. Through May, Google held a 62% share of the U.S. search market followed by Yahoo at 21% and Microsoft at 8.5%, according to comScore Inc.

    Google has become so synonymous with Internet search that it may no longer matter how good Cuil or any other challenger is, said Gartner Inc. analyst Allen Weiner.

    "Search has become as much about branding as anything else," Weiner said. "I doubt [Cuil] will be keeping anyone at Google awake at night."

    Google welcomed Cuil to the fray with its usual mantra about its rivals. "Having great competitors is a huge benefit to us and everyone in the search space," Watson said. "It makes us all work harder, and at the end of the day our users benefit from that."

    But this will be the first time that Google has battled a general-purpose search engine created by its own alumni. It probably won't be the last time, given that Google now has nearly 20,000 employees.

    Patterson joined Google in 2004 after she built and sold Recall, a search index that probed old Web sites for the Internet Archive. She and Power worked on the same team at Google.

    Although he also worked for Google for a short time, Monier is best known as the former chief technology officer of AltaVista, which was considered the best search engine before Google came along in 1998. Monier also helped build the search engine on eBay's online auction site.

    The trio of former Googlers are teaming up with Patterson's husband, Costello, who built a once-promising search engine called Xift in the late 1990s. He later joined IBM Corp., where he worked on an "analytic engine" called WebFountain.

    Costello's Irish heritage inspired Cuil's odd name. It was derived from a character named Finn McCuill in Celtic folklore.

    Patterson enjoyed her time at Google, but became disenchanted with the company's approach to search. "Google has looked pretty much the same for 10 years now," she said, "and I can guarantee it will look the same a year from now."

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    Reuters - Google opens Knol website, a wiki with bylines

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    Google opens Knol website, a wiki with bylines

    Wednesday, Jul 23, 2008 11:24PM UTC

    By Eric Auchard

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc opened its website Knol to the public on Wednesday, allowing people to write about their areas of expertise under their bylines in a twist on encyclopedia Wikipedia, which allows anonymity.

    "We are deeply convinced that authorship -- knowing who wrote what -- helps readers trust the content," said Cedric DuPont, product manager for Knol.

    The name of the service is a play on an individual unit of knowledge, DuPont said, and entries on the public website, http://knol.google.com, are called "knols". Google conducted a limited test of the site beginning in December.

    Knol has publishing tools similar to single blog pages. But unlike blogs, Knol encourages writers to reduce what they know about a topic to a single page that is not chronologically updated.

    "What we want to get away from is 'this last voice wins' model which is very difficult if you are a busy professional," DuPont said.

    Google wants to rank entries by popularity to encourage competition. For example, the first knol on "Type 1 Diabetes" is by Anne Peters, director of the University of Southern California's Clinical Diabetes Programs.

    As other writers publish on diabetes, Google plans to rank related pages according to user ratings, reviews and how often people refer to specific pages, DuPont said.

    Knol focuses on individual authors or groups of authors in contrast to Wikipedia's subject entries, which are updated by users and edited behind the scenes.

    Knol does not edit or endorse the information and visitors will not be able to edit or contribute to a knol unless they have the author's permission. Readers will be able to notify Google if they find any content objectionable.

    Knol is a hybrid of the individual, often opinionated entries found in blogs and the collective editing relied on by Wikipedia and other wiki sites.

    The service uses what it calls "moderated collaboration" in which any reader of a specific topic page can make suggested edits to the author or authors, who retain control over whether to accept, reject or modify changes before they are published.

    In its early stages, Knol remains a far cry from Wikipedia, http://www.wikipedia.org, which boasts 7 million collectively edited articles in 200 languages.

    Google signed a deal with Conde Nast's New Yorker, giving Knol authors the rights to use one of the magazine's famous cartoons in each Knol posting. Google will allow Knol writers to run ads on their entries and will share income with them.

    DuPont said that rather than competing with Wikipedia, Knol may end up serving as a primary source of authoritative information for use with Wikipedia articles.

    "Knols will fill gaps on what we have on the Web today. That is what we hope," DuPont said.

    (Additional reporting by Michele Gershberg in New York; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

    Reuters - Batman fans get chance to fight with their hero

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    Batman fans get chance to fight with their hero

    Thursday, Jul 24, 2008 12:24PM UTC

    By John Gaudiosi

    SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Batman fans inspired by his latest box office hit can bam and kapow alongside the Caped Crusader and other superheroes with the launch of the world's first licensed massively multiplayer online comic book game.

    Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) is using this week's mammoth Comic-Con International show at the San Diego Convention Center to introduce the "DC Universe Online."

    This massively multiplayer online game allows players to create their own superhero or super villain and work in tandem with iconic characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and bad guys like Bizzaro, The Joker and Lex Luthor.

    "Comics dominate the pop culture landscape today," said comic book legend Jim Lee, who serves as executive creative director of "DC Universe Online" and is an artist for DC Comics.

    "As comic fans, we've known since we were little kids how great comics are. With this game, we have the opportunity to show everyone else how cool the DC Universe is."

    Although the game won't be shipping for PlayStation 3 and PC this year, an early build of the action-packed game, which focuses on Brainiac attacking Metropolis, is playable at six kiosks on the show floor.

    SOE Austin, a unit of Sony Corp., is developing the game in tandem with Lee and a collection of DC Comic writers, which will allow for unique crossover opportunities between mediums.

    "We'll coordinate things across print and online," said Lee. "If we have a big storyline happening in the summer, you might see that in the game later. I have a staff position at DC and we have a short list of characters that we'll update first in the game and then in the comics."

    SUPERHEROES SENSATIONS

    John Smedley, president of SOE, said there couldn't be a better time to be developing "DC Universe Online." In addition to the phenomenal success of Warner Bros.' "The Dark Knight" in theaters, kids are watching hit animated shows like "Teen Titans" and "Justice League."

    While the new game will incorporate over 70 years of mythology and 150 characters from the core DC Universe, the focal point will be on new user-created characters.

    "The biggest fantasy players can have is to be an equal of Superman, not necessarily to play as Superman," said Chris Cao, studio creative director at SOE Austin.

    As they progress through their hero or villain story, interacting with characters from the comics, Cao said players can aspire to one day joining with the Justice League of America in the Watch Tower or the Legion of Doom in the Hall of Doom.

    John Blakely, vice president of development SOE Austin, said "DC Universe Online" offers physics-based combat action never seen before in an MMO game.

    "When you pick up a bus and throw it across Metropolis, hundreds of thousands of players will be able to see this-and many of them will have to dodge this projectile for their safety," said Blakely.

    And "DC Universe Online" is not the only game in town at Comic-Con. Midway Games is showcasing its "Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe" fighting game on the show floor, which pits pugilists like Scorpion and Sub Zero from the popular, and bloody, game franchise against superheroes like Captain Marvel and Catwoman.

    Activision and Marvel Games have new games "Spider-Man: Web of Shadows" playable and a trailer for "Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 Fusion" in their booth. SOE, Midway and Activision are all throwing parties to celebrate these games.

    "Comic-Con is now an entertainment event and comics have proven themselves as mainstream entertainment across multiple mediums," said Smedley.

    (Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    CNN - Reports: Batman star Christian Bale arrested on assault allegations

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    Reports: Batman star Christian Bale arrested on assault allegations


    Batman star Christian Bale was arrested Tuesday over allegations of assaulting his mother and sister, police and British media said.

    British media had reported that Bale's mother and sister complained they were assaulted by the 34-year-old actor at the Dorchester Hotel in London on Sunday night, a day before the European premiere of his latest film, "The Dark Knight."

    The women made the allegation at a local police station in southern England on Monday, Britain's Press Association news agency said.

    Asked whether Bale had been arrested, a police spokesman did not refer to him by name but said: "A 34-year-old man attended a central London police station this morning by appointment and was arrested in connection with an allegation of assault."

    He said the man was still in custody but gave no further details.

    The spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity because force policy did not authorize him to be identified. British police do not name suspects before they are formally charged.

    U.S.-based representatives for Bale didn't immediately return messages seeking comment. Repeated phone calls to Bale's London representative went unanswered.

    The Sun newspaper said police didn't question the actor Monday because they didn't want to interfere with the premiere of the movie.

    Wales-born Bale first made a splash as the child star of Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun" in 1987.

    His screen credits also include "American Psycho," "The Machinist" and "Batman Begins."

    In "The Dark Knight," Bale reprises the role of wealthy playboy Bruce Wayne and his crime-fighting alter-ego Batman, a brooding vigilante superhero still scarred by the murder of his parents.

    The film, which stars the late Heath Ledger as Batman's nemesis The Joker, took in a record $158.4 million at the box office in its opening weekend in the U.S. last week.

    Reuters - Christian Bale questioned by police

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    Christian Bale questioned by police

    Tuesday, Jul 22, 2008 4:53PM UTC

    LONDON (Reuters) - Christian Bale, star of the latest Batman blockbuster, has been released on bail by police after being questioned on allegations of assault, media reported.

    The reports could not be independently confirmed by his U.S. representatives, who did not immediately reply to messages. But when asked if Bale had been arrested and released on bail, a police spokeswoman said:

    "A 34-year-old man has been bailed to return to a police station on a date in September."

    The wording is the usual tangential way that British police have of confirming news about well-known personalities.

    The arrest follows an allegation of assault made by his mother and sister, tabloid Sun newspaper said.

    It came the day after Bale attended the European premiere of "The Dark Knight", the latest in the Batman franchise also starring the late Heath Ledger as the Joker.

    Ledger died of a drugs overdose shortly after completing the filming of Dark Knight, which took record box office receipts on its opening weekend in the United States.

    Its tally of around $155 million worth of tickets during its first three days across the United States and Canada eclipsed the previous record of just over $151 million for "Spider-Man 3" set in May, 2007.

    The studio behind the film, Warner Bros Pictures, which is part of Time Warner, was not immediately available for comment.

    Bale was on the red carpet with co-stars Michael Caine and Maggie Gyllenhaal in central London's Leicester Square on Monday night.

    A martial arts enthusiast and environmental campaigner, Bale has also appeared in "Batman Begins", "American Psycho" and "Empire Of The Sun".

    (Reporting by Jeremy Lovell and Mike Collett-White; editing by Sami Aboudi)

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Reuters - New iPhone music to users' ears

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    New iPhone music to users' ears

    Monday, Jul 21, 2008 3:45PM UTC

    By Antony Bruno

    DENVER (Billboard) - When it was unveiled in June, Apple's new iPhone didn't appear to offer anything new for music fans. But thanks to the subsequent launch of the App Store on iTunes, iPhone users can download a host of applications to add new functions to the device. Many of them are music-oriented and all are made specifically for the iPhone.

    The weekend after the new iPhone's release, more than 10 million applications were downloaded through the App Store. Some are free, some carry a fee, and most also work on the Wi-Fi-compatible iPod Touch.

    Here are some of the more notable music apps available. All are free, unless otherwise noted.

    PANDORA

    The personalized Internet radio service created an app for the iPhone that allows Pandora users to access and stream all their stations, as well as create new ones. It quickly became the third-most-popular free download in the App Store's first week.

    AOL RADIO

    This app lets users stream any AOL or CBS Radio stations via the iPhone's Wi-Fi connection. CBS stations can also be streamed over the wireless network connection on new models, and the company plans to add wireless-network support for AOL Radio streams soon.

    LAST.FM

    The streaming music site offers an app that provides access to the same catalog of full-song streaming as the Web-based version of the service, as well as links to purchase tracks on iTunes via a Wi-Fi connection, the ability to share songs with other Last.fm users and access to artist info like bios, upcoming events, etc.

    SHAZAM

    A pioneer in the music ID market, Shazam allows users to learn the title and artist of virtually any song by simply holding up the iPhone's microphone to a music source. Users can tag songs they like to a saved list of favorites, buy them straight from iTunes, find related music videos on YouTube and send track details to friends.

    MIDOMI MOBILE

    This music discovery engine lets fans find songs by singing or humming a few bars, saying or typing the name of a song or artist, or playing a recording through the iPhone's microphone. Once a song is identified, the app allows users to buy it on iTunes, watch the song's video on YouTube or view an artist's bio, photos or other related info.

    MOOCOWMUSIC: BAND

    This $9.99 app generated a lot of excitement when demonstrated at a recent Apple conference. Users can create their own music using virtual instruments on the iPhone's touch screen, such as guitar strings and piano keys. Final tracks can be mixed and saved for later playback.

    INTUNA, GUITARTOOLKIT

    InTuna ($4.99) and GuitarToolkit ($9.99) turn the iPhone into a guitar tuner, using the device's built-in microphone to recognize chords and notes. GuitarToolkit includes a metronome function.

    TAP TAP REVENGE

    A sort of "Guitar Hero" for the iPhone. Players must tap keys or shake the device in one direction or another to the rhythm of the playing song.

    JAMD

    Getty Images has been making its catalog of celebrity photos available to the public through its Jamd.com Web site. Under the Jamd banner, Getty has created an app to enable iPhone users to browse and buy celebrity photos on the device.

    Reuters/Billboard

    Reuters - Investors eye health of Apple's Steve Jobs: report

    This article was sent to you from Bombastic4000@gmail.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
    http://mobile.reuters.com

    Investors eye health of Apple's Steve Jobs: report

    Monday, Jul 21, 2008 3:28PM UTC

    BANGALORE (Reuters) - Industry and investor concerns about the health of Apple Inc's <AAPL.O> Chief Executive Steve Jobs have not dimmed more than a month after he appeared dramatically thinner at the firm's annual developers' conference, The New York Post said on Monday.

    While blogs and industry watchers had wondered whether 53-year-old Jobs was suffering complications from, or a reappearance of, the pancreatic cancer cured by surgery nearly four years ago, Apple had said he was fighting a "common bug" and was taking antibiotics.

    Part of the reason for the concern over Jobs' health is that Apple has no succession plan in place, the paper said.

    Hedge fund investors of Apple, which is scheduled to report results on Monday, are very worried, a Wall Street source who has spoken with some of the company's stakeholders told The Post.

    Multiple sources, who have met with Jobs in the weeks surrounding the introduction of the iPhone 3G on July 11, said they came away troubled by his thin appearance, the newspaper said on its website.

    Apple has a history of dragging its heels when it comes to admitting that Jobs is sick. His October 2003 cancer diagnosis wasn't disclosed until after the removal of a pancreatic tumor, the Post pointed out.

    Recent reports have suggested that the company had known about Jobs' condition for nine months prior to the public announcement, the paper said.

    Apple could not be immediately reached for comment.

    (Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan in Bangalore, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

    Friday, July 18, 2008

    Commish gordon dead? Wtf?

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    Saturday, July 12, 2008

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    Friday, July 4, 2008

    money motive. what can i sell? i can sell cleaning service. laundry cleaning. moving service. music servic

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