Category: Year 2009

Mega Millions jackpot swells to $640 million

Lottery ticket lines swelled as the record Mega Millions jackpot grew to $640 million, thanks greatly to players who opened their wallets despite long odds of success. Officials estimated ticket-buyers will have spent more than $1.46 billion on the jackpot by the time Friday night’s numbers are drawn.

A cafe worker in Arizona reported selling $2,600 worth of tickets to one buyer, while a retired soldier in Wisconsin doubled his regular weekly ticket spending to $55. But each would have to put down millions more to guarantee winning what could be the biggest single lotto payout in the world.

“I feel like a fool throwing that kind of money away,” said Jesse Carter, who spent the $55 and donated the last two tickets he bought at a Milwaukee store Friday to a charity. “But it’s a chance you take in life, with anything you do.”

The jackpot, if taken as a $462 million lump sum and after federal tax withholding, works out to about $347 million. With the jackpot odds at 1 in 176 million, it would cost $176 million to buy up every combination. Under that scenario, the strategy would win $171 million less if your state also withholds taxes.

Laura Horsley, who does communications and marketing for a trade association, bought $20 worth of Quick Pick tickets at a downtown Washington, D.C., liquor store Friday. But Horsley, who said she won’t buy a lottery ticket unless the jackpot tops $100 million, remained realistic.

“I don’t actually think I’m going to win, and I don’t believe in superstitions or numbers or anything like that,” she said. “I just figured it’s right around the corner. I’d be crazy not at least to give it a shot.”

Thousands of players — who converged on convenience stores in 42 states and Washington, D.C., where Mega Millions tickets are sold — agreed.

Kelly Cripe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Lottery Commission, said that as of Tuesday, nationwide sales for the Mega Millions drawing totaled more than $839 million. Officials projected an additional $618.5 million in sales ahead of Friday’s drawing, however, for a projected total sales figure of more than $1.46 billion.

UBS trading loss to $2.3B

Swiss bank UBS has increased the loss it expects from its rogue trading incident to $2.3 billion from the $2 billion figure earlier provided.

The bank said Sunday it has “now covered the risk resulting from the unauthorized trading” and its equities business “is again operating normally within its previously defined risk limits.”

UBS says the loss resulted from unauthorized speculative trading in various stock markets over the last three months.

It says the trader responsible hid the magnitude of the risk to which the bank was exposed by creating fictious future orders.

The trader, 31-year-old Kweku Adoboli, was arrested Thursday and charged Friday with acts of fraud and false accounting dating back to 2008.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

GENEVA (AP) — Oswald Gruebel, the chief executive of Swiss banking giant UBS, says he feels responsible — but not guilty — for the $2 billion loss allegedly incurred by a rogue trader that plunged the bank back into scandal just as it was rebuilding its tattered reputation.

Speaking for the first time since UBS revealed the loss Thursday, Gruebel also told the Swiss weekly Der Sonntag that he isn’t thinking about resigning because of the latest financial fiasco to befall the Zurich-based bank.

Some Swiss politicians and commentators have called for Gruebel’s head to roll over the loss, which is likely to put UBS’s third-quarter results deep in the red. Such a move signal a defeat for the gravel-voiced German, who was brought in more than two years ago to revive the bank’s fortunes after a series of missteps that included vast losses in the U.S. subprime mortgage market and an embarrassing U.S. tax evasion case. – MORE

Anti-Gadhafi forces battle again

Revolutionary forces entered Gadhafi’s birthplace of Sirte Saturday. At least 100 cars were seen entering the Mediterranean city in another attempt to take control.

The Misrata Military Council reported clashes south of the Al-Gordabia military base and said at least three anti-Gadhafi fighters were killed.

NATO planes, meanwhile, bombed targets in the Sirte area Friday. But Gadhafi’s forces unleashed hails of gunfire, using snipers in tall buildings to target their enemies.

Expected support from Sirte residents did not materialize as loyalists fought house to house with unexpected intensity. The revolutionaries were forced to retreat after the chaotic and fierce urban warfare.

But in Sahara towns more sympathetic to the revolution, people cheered the anti-Gadhafi forces as they made their way toward the southern city of Sabha.

In Shati, there was no combat; only a peaceful transfer of power, perhaps the first in the eight-month uprising. In the morning the tiny town had been under Gadhafi’s grip. By afternoon, no more.

Residents fired their guns in celebration and burned the green flags of the former regime.

They welcomed the ordinary Libyans — teachers, doctors, engineers — who dropped everything to join the fight against Gadhafi. They were rebels once. Now they were the armed wing of Libya’s new governing body, the National Transitional Council.

The anti-Gadhafi fighters know the situation will be different once they reach Sabha, another diehard Gadhafi city.

Joran van der Sloot said he is remorseful

In a jailhouse interview with a Dutch television station, Joran van der Sloot said he is remorseful for telling so many stories regarding the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, but once again denied culpability in the case.

“For everything that’s happened since 2005, all the things said in the media and everything, I feel guilty for, yeah,” van der Sloot, 22, said in the interview, portions of which were aired on NBC’s “Today” on Tuesday.

The Dutch citizen is jailed in Lima, Peru, where he is awaiting trial on a murder charge in the death of Peruvian student Stephany Flores. Her body was found in May in a hotel room registered to van der Sloot, which the two were seen entering on surveillance camera video. He also is charged with a count of wire fraud and a count of extortion in Alabama for allegedly trying to extort more than $250,000 from Holloway’s family in return for disclosing the location of her body.

Holloway was last seen in the early hours of May 30, 2005, leaving an Oranjestad, Aruba, nightclub with van der Sloot and two other men, brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe. She was visiting the island with about 100 classmates to celebrate their graduation from Mountain Brook High School in suburban Birmingham, Alabama.

Van der Sloot was arrested twice in Aruba in connection with Holloway’s disappearance, but was never charged. He has denied responsibility for her disappearance.

In the interview, van der Sloot said he feels guilty about his father’s fatal heart attack, for not listening to his mother and for telling lies, as well as his past behavior.

“I was doing a lot of things that I shouldn’t have been doing, and mostly only going out all the night and sleeping all the day,” he said, describing himself as “impulsive.”

Asked why he’s told so many different stories about the Holloway case, he said, “There were people who were paying me to make up stories, and I was really good at making up stories. Everybody keeps coming at you asking questions … if you want something, I’ll tell you whatever you want to hear, sure.”

Still, he said, he has “misused the situation for my own advantage.” He said he feels bad about that and would take it back if he had the opportunity. – MORE

Leno questions Bachmann-The Tonight Show

Perry signed an executive order in 2007 that required Texas schoolgirls to receive vaccinations against the sexually transmitted HPV, although it wasn’t implemented.

Bachmann told Leno that Perry’s action had been “an abuse of executive power” and had sparked concern over “crony capitalism,” an apparent reference to the fact that a former Perry aide was a top lobbyist for Merck, the manufacturer for the HPV vaccine. Merck donated to Perry’s campaign fund.

She added: “The concern is that there’s, you know, potentially side effects that can come with something like that. But it gives a false sense of assurance to a young woman when she has that that if she’s sexually active that she doesn’t have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases.”

Leno responded: “Well, I don’t know if it gives assurance. It can prevent cervical cancer; correct?”

He then pressed Bachmann over comments she made earlier this week in which she said a woman had approached the congresswoman to say her daughter had suffered “mental retardation” as a result of receiving the vaccination.

There had been no recorded cases of such side effects despite 30 million people receiving the jab, Leno pointed out.

“I wasn’t speaking as a doctor. I wasn’t speaking as a scientist. I was just relating what this woman said,” Bachmann replied.

How to boost your page rank 0-5 in one update

Ruki Spot has good advice on how to boost your page rank.

Before you shell out your hard earned money for the next ebook, CD software and such that claims to raise your websites page rank in Search Engines, do read through this article. Although I may create some new unhappy adversaries here by the nature of the information in this article, this is already common knowledge. In fact, I recently created a new website just to prove that these theories worked. It is my sincere hope that you too can make use of this knowledge to your advantage. – MORE

US air show crash-dozens injured

A plane crashed into the grandstand at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada in what police are calling a “mass casualty situation”.

Many people are said to be injured – some critically however there are no reports of deaths..

Video of the crash showed an horrific scene of bodies and wreckage.

Blagojevich Jury Reaches Verdicts on 18 Counts

The jury considering corruption charges against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has reached verdicts in 18 of the 20 counts against him, a court clerk said Monday.

The jury is expected to return its verdicts Monday afternoon.

Charges against Blagojevich include trying to peddle the U.S. Senate seat held by Barack Obama before he resigned to become president. Blagojevich has denied any intention of bribery.

Last August, after a two-month trial and 14 days of deliberation, jurors deadlocked on 23 of the 24 charges Blagojevich had faced. They found him guilty on one count of lying to FBI investigators, a conviction that could carry a prison sentence of five years.

The accusation that Blagojevich tried to profit as he considered whom to appoint to succeed Obama, among other allegations, prompted his impeachment by Illinois’ House of Representatives and his removal from office by the state Senate in 2009.

Ten of the counts against him in the current trial are wire fraud. The other 10 involve extortion and bribery. Most of the counts have a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

New Casey Anthony defense tactics midstream?

Testimony was to resume Saturday in the intensely-watched Casey Anthony murder trial in Orlando, Fla.

A leading criminologist says she now thinks it’s highly unlikely Anthony will take the stand – because prosecutors would “eat her alive.”

On Friday, Day 27, attention was focused on dramatic testimony of her brother, Lee Anthony, who broke down in tears on the stand, as Casey cried from her seat.

She’s pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted on that charge.

Her lawyers say they could wrap up their case by Thursday.

Earlier Friday, it was Casey’s mother, Cindy Anthony, who became emotional after being shown pictures of her getting into the family’s swimming pool with Caylee.

Casey’s attorneys claim the tot died when she accidentally drowned in the pool.

Prosecutors have sought to implicate Casey by saying she had researched possible murder techniques on the Internet.

But on Thursday, Cindy admitted that in March of 2008 she had searched online for the term “chloroform,” just a few months before her granddaughter went missing.

Under cross-examination, Cindy said her searches only went so far – not Googling how to make chloroform, any on Googling the term chloroform.

On “The Early Show on Saturday Morning,” criminologist Casey Jordan admitted she doesn’t know what Casey’s defense team is up to, adding, “I don’t know whether anybody knows. We’ve been waiting and waiting and for Lee to take the stand. Four weeks ago, we heard in opening statements allegations by (Casey lawyer) Jose Baez that Lee was sexually inappropriate, molested his sister. Of course, (Casey’s father) George was accused of the same, and already had the opportunity to deny it.

“When Lee was on the stand, we kept waiting for that question. And it never came. Instead, we get all of this emotional, this teary, ‘My family didn’t accept me, I was always excluded.’ We got a lot of emotions we weren’t expecting, and we didn’t get the confrontational direct examination we were thinking we would see.

Any idea why?

James ‘Whitey’ Bulger – The “Hannibal Lecter of South Boston”

NAME: James “Whitey” Bulger

AGE: 81

DATE OF BIRTH: Sept. 3, 1929

FAMILY: Grew up in South Boston. His younger brother, William, was one of the most powerful politicians in Massachusetts, leading the state Senate for 17 years and later serving as president of the University of Massachusetts for seven years. William Bulger testified about his brother before a congressional committee and has said he has only heard from his brother once since he became a fugitive.

BACKGROUND: Whitey Bulger led the violent Winter Hill Gang, a largely Irish mob that ran loan-sharking, gambling and drug rackets in the Boston area. He was nicknamed “Whitey” for his shock of bright platinum hair.

FBI DEALINGS: He was a top-echelon informant who provided the Boston FBI with information on his gang’s main rival, the New England Mob. Bulger later was listed as one of the agency’s “Ten Most Wanted” for his alleged role in 19 murders, including the slayings of businessmen in Florida and Oklahoma. He was next to Osama bin Laden on the list and had a $2 million reward on his head.

The prosecution of James “Whitey” Bulger, who faces a host of charges – including racketeering and 19 counts of murder – could also bring embarrassment and public humiliation for corrupt public officials, says a former associate of the Boston crime boss.

On “The Early Show on Saturday Morning,” Eddie MacKenzie, who was an enforcer for Bulger and the author of  “Street Soldier: My Life as an Enforcer for Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob” (Random House), said he believes “there’s a hole dug with a big portfolio full of a lot of dirty public officials and maybe some dirty law enforcement officials that ‘Whitey’ Bulger has had for years, waiting for this day of his capture, so that he can use it for some sort of bargaining tool.”

When asked whom some of those officials might be, Mackenzie replied, “I live in Boston; I’m not about to say anything like that.”

Bulger, who was arrested after 16 years as a fugitive, does not frighten Mackenzie now that he is in custody. “I’m not afraid to say anything because of ‘Whitey’ Bulger because he’s just a rat. He’s a scum bag, an 81-year-old guy. I’m afraid because if there’s law enforcement people out there, any public official out there that knows that they’re dirty and I throw their name out there, you know, I’m going to get myself in trouble.”

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