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    Showing posts with label USA NEWS. Show all posts

    Wheelchair user turned away from both Dart and bus

    A YOUNG wheelchair user was left stranded on her way to college after she was unable to board both a train and a bus in Dublin.

    Irish Rail has apologised after Aideen Horan (23), who is a student at UCD’s Blackrock campus, could not get on a train at Sydney Parade due to a lack of staff at the station to assist her.

    The business student left the station and tried to get a bus instead, but was left sitting at the bus stop after a driver told her the wheelchair ramp wasn’t working.

    Aideen, who has cerebral palsy, took to social media to express her anger.

    She claimed that services have deteriorated in the last few years as money troubles cause staff shortages in Dart stations.

    After her attempt to board a Dart was unsuccessful, she was left with no choice but to catch the bus.

    Aideen told the Herald that when it pulled up at the stop  the driver told her “ramp’s broken” and closed the door.

    “If a door on the bus was broken and people couldn’t get on, it wouldn’t leave the station but they’ll send one out with a broken ramp,” Aideen said. “I know we’re the minority but we still deserve to use the bus.”

    Aideen had to return home and ask her roommate to accompany her on the train.

    “I can’t rely on the goodwill of people and I shouldn’t have to,” she said, adding that last week’s incident was not a once-off.

    The Ballinasloe native said she has also lived in Germany and Spain and travelled the West Coast of America and that Dublin’s rating as an accessible city doesn’t measure up.

    “I love Dublin but for a capital city it’s not great for getting around,” she said.

    Aideen lodged a complaint with Irish Rail when she had similar problems last year.

    In their response, the company cited financial constraints as the reason for the lack of available staff to help.

    Irish Rail also directed her to a disability assistance helpline to arrange someone to help her at the station, but she said that solution wasn’t an option for her when she is on her own.

    Prince George revealed as royal baby's name; 6 past British kings named George

    Royal officials said the new prince has been named George Alexander Louis, ending speculation over what moniker Prince William and his wife, Kate, would pick for their first child.

    Kensington Palace said the royals are "delighted to announce" their son's name, adding that the infant prince, third-in-line to the throne, will be known as "His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge."

    Six previous British kings have been named George, and the name was a favourite of British bookmakers in the run-up to Wednesday's announcement.

    For now, the baby is expected to stay out of the spotlight after making his first "public appearance" in the arms of his parents outside of London's St. Mary's Hospital on Tuesday.

    After leaving the hospital, the couple introduced their son Wednesday to his great-grandmother, the Queen, who was keen to see the baby before she starts her annual summer vacation in Scotland later this week.

    Then the young family headed to see Kate's parents in their village near London.

    Now that Kate and William have chosen a name, they are expected to soon choose a photographer for the baby's first official portrait.

    ‘Musty, lifeless’ Prince George celebrates royal baby

    The B.C. city of Prince George may be celebrating the naming of His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge but not everyone is in love with the moniker

    Just over a year ago then Abbotsford Coun. Simon Gibson sent an email to officials of the city of 80,000, telling them Prince George sounds “musty, old-fashioned and lifeless” and suggested the city seriously consider changing its name as Lower Mainland residents frequently confused the locale with the also royally-named Prince Rupert.

    “All I want to do is plant the seed. I think sometimes Prince George gets a bad rap,” he wrote in the email. “I think rebranding Prince George ... will bring it more into the mainstream.”

    Gibson, who is now MLA for Abbotsford-Mission, declined to comment Wednesday on the royal baby name, but the city of Prince George is not letting naysayers bring down its celebratory mood.

    Mayor Shari Green was fielding calls all day from national and international media outlets.

    “This is a real chance for us as a city, and us as residents in our community, to share with the world what’s great about the city of Prince George and why we’re so proud to call this place home,” she said.

    A brainstorming session at city hall produced a press conference where the mayor announced the municipality would be extending a formal invitation to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to bring their young son to Prince George in 2015 to share in celebrating a variety of city milestones.

    Green said the city also wanted to spread some of the wealth and joy within the community. A crib is set up in the city hall foyer to accept donations of baby clothing, gifts and toys, which will then be passed out to needy Prince George families with new children.

    Floating 7-Foot Head Leaves Rowers Scratching Theirs

     The crew team at New York's Marist College came across a puzzling sight this week when a large, foam head, floating in the Hudson River, crossed their path toward the end of their morning row.

    While on the river Monday morning, crew coach Matt Lavin was the first to spot the mysterious 7-foot-high, fiberglass-c0vered head, which is 4 to 5 feet wide. The ominous sighting gave the coach pause, and he had his team stay back as he approached to investigate.

    "[Lavin] was in a small motor boat beside the team," Greg Cannon, director of public affairs for the Poughkeepsie school, told ABCNews.com. "He didn't know what it was at first, but saw it was an obstruction that would have been in the way of the shipping channel. So he went out to investigate."

    Once he realized he wasn't in a scene from "The Planet of the Apes" and that it wouldn't be terribly heavy, he wrapped a line around the head and towed it himself. The crew team then helped him pull in from the water.

    "They pulled it in and it's some kind of Styrofoam core with a fiberglass shell over it," Cannon said. "Enough of the foam was exposed that it got water logged. It had gotten pretty heavy. Members of the team helped drag it up onto the dock."

    As for where the head came from, that's still a mystery, but Cannon said he's open to any theories.

    The most compelling theory he has heard? The head is from a Mardi Gras float, was washed away by Hurricane Katrina and, eight years later, somehow ended up in the Hudson River.

    When evidence goes viral

     In the cases that make the news, the stories are often murky and much debated. The hazy memories usually involve underage drinking, bad decisions, sexual acts, photos snapped and shared.

    What's becoming clear in some recent high-profile sexual assault cases are the grave and lasting consequences for people on both sides of the camera.

    It's a double-edged sword, experts said. Sharing images of rape or assault through text messages or social media re-traumatizes the victim. But it also provides evidence that could be crucial to building a criminal prosecution. Depending on the state, sexually explicit images of minors might be considered child pornography.

    "One of the issues that's always part of a criminal case is the defendant's state of mind," CNN legal expert Jeffrey Toobin said. "Social media gives you an unusually direct picture of what's inside a defendant's head."

    Related: When bullying goes high-tech

    As evidence, however, it's often too little, too late. Two teens recently committed suicide after their alleged assaults were photographed and shared with others. Even if the photos and tweets lead to convictions, their existence does more harm than good for survivors.

    "One of the reasons rape is so damaging is because it leaves you feeling a complete lack of control over your body," said Jaclyn Friedman, a rape survivor and author of "What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex & Safety."

    Shared images of assault can reinforce feelings of helplessness and vulnerability, she said; the victim has no control over who sees them or how far they go. Backlash toward the victim can deter others from reporting sexual assault.

    "Nothing ever goes away on the Internet, so the knowledge -- that one way or another, the attack will be with you forever -- can be a constant source of trauma," she said.

    Or worse.The family of 15-year-old Audrie Pott says she committed suicide in September after learning that someone shared a photo of her being sexually assaulted at a house party. Three teen boys were arrested last week in connection with the case, Santa Clara Sheriff's Office spokesman Jose Cardoza said. Formal charges have not been filed but they face two felony and one misdemeanor charge, he said. One of the felonies has to do with "distribution of harmful matter of a victim," he said. The other charges are related to sexual battery.

    After learning that photos of the alleged rape had been shared with others, Pott wrote in an online post that her life was ruined. In a press conference Monday, Pott's mother read aloud posts from her daughter's Facebook page:

    Second Boston marathon suspect reportedly partied 2 nights after bombing

    The teenage bombing suspect who was captured Friday night hiding in a boat in the Watertown neighborhood near Boston reportedly attended a party at two nights after the incident, The Boston Globe reported.

    "He was just relaxed," said a student from Umass Dartmouth who saw the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, mingling with friends from intramural soccer.

    Tsarnaev is registered at the school and the campus sent out an alert on its website Friday saying, "The campus is closed. Individuals on campus should shelter in place unless instructed otherwise."

    Several students were interviewed in the report and expressed disbelief that their fellow classmate was a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured over 180 people.

    Pamala Rolon, 22, a senior at the school, told the paper that when images of the suspect first appeared in the media, students made jokes that the person looked similar to Tsarnaev but ‘then we thought it just couldn’t be him. Dzhokhar? Never.’

    Sonia Ribeiro, 19, of Boston, was in a philosophy class with Tsarnaev. She also said he was on campus this week, although not in class.

    "He was laid back. I would never expect this at all from him," she said.

    Law enforcement officials and family members identified the suspects as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan.

    They were ethnic Chechen brothers who had lived in Dagestan, which neighbors Chechnya in southern Russia. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police while Dzhokhar escaped.

    Florida Addy, 19, of Lynn, lived on the same dormitory floor as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev last year. She called him "drug" — the Russian word for friend, pronounced "droog" — and said they would sometimes hang out together in his room.

    She said she hung out with him and some other Russian students at an apartment in New Bedford, not far from campus. She said they would always speak Russian among themselves.

    How to Prepare for AG-3 Food Corporation- SSC-FCI 2013 Written Exam-Test -Pattern, Syllabus and Selection Process

     As we have already announced about the latest recruitment project of  Food Corporation India-
    Click Here to Apply for---Latest Food Corporation SSC-FCI 2013 Govt. Vacancies for General, Depot, Technical and Account Cadres in AG- 3- Sept 2012
    So its time to tell you the selection process, pattern and  syllabus of written examination

    The selections will be done on the basis of a written examination test. This test required to clear in 2 stages

    Main Written Examination Test- 1 (11th Nov 2012)

        Paper I
        Paper II
        Paper III

    Computer Proficiency Test- 6th January 2012 (For Selected Candidates Only)

    Body and Pattern of Paper I, II and II-
    Objective Type Questions in All 3 Papers during Written Exam

    Paper-1 : General Intelligence, General Awareness, Quantitative Aptitude and English (*Compulsory for all)
    50 Marks for each section= 200 Marks for 200 Questions
    Duration- 3 Hours

    Paper II- Quantitative Method and English Language (* for Everyone Except Technical Cadre)
    50 Question+150 Questions= Total 100+100=200 Marks
    Duration 2 Hours

    Paper III- Biological Sciences (*only for Technical)
    200 Q= 200 Marks
    Duration- 3 Hours

    Syllabus of SSC-FCI AG 3 Examination-

    Letter sent to Obama tests positive for ricin, officials say

    A letter addressed to President Barack Obama tested positive for the poison ricin and was from the same sender who mailed a letter to a senator that also tested positive, officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

    The letter to Obama was intercepted at an off-site White House mail facility and was being tested further, the FBI said. A federal law enforcement official said that the letter was “very similar” to one addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

    Federal officials told NBC News that they believe they know who sent the letters, but no arrest was made because authorities were waiting for further test results.

    Ricin is made from castor beans and can kill within 36 hours. There is no antidote. Some threatening letters simply contain ground castor beans, resulting in a positive field test for ricin without the concentrated poison. Results from full laboratory tests are expected in the next 24 to 48 hours.

    Filters at a second government mail screening facility also tested positive for ricin in preliminary screening Wednesday.

    An FBI official told NBC News that the agency did not initially believe the letters were related to the attack on the Boston Marathon on Monday.

    Authorities cleared the atrium of a Senate office building Wednesday and were investigating a suspicious package there. Capitol police were also investigating a suspicious package at the office of Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. Shelby’s staff had not been evacuated.

    The Wicker letter was postmarked Memphis, Tenn., and had no return address. The FBI confirmed the preliminary positive test on it Tuesday. That letter was intercepted at a postal facility in Maryland that screens mail sent to Congress, and never reached Wicker’s office.

    Other senators were made aware of the Wicker letter during a briefing Tuesday evening on the bombing in Boston. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said that the person who sent Wicker the letter writes often to elected officials.

    People can be exposed to ricin by touching a ricin-laced letter or by inhaling particles that enter the air when the envelope is opened. Touching ricin can cause a rash but is not usually fatal. Inhaling it can cause trouble breathing, fever and other symptoms, and can be fatal.

    Field tests are conducted anytime suspicious powder is found in a mail facility, and the FBI cautioned that field tests and other preliminary tests can produce inconsistent results. When tests show the possibility of a biological agent, the material is sent to a laboratory for full analysis.

    Ricin scare rattles Washington

    Government laboratories are testing samples of a suspicious substance found in letters at off-site White House and Senate mailrooms after preliminary test results pointing to the deadly poison ricin rattled Washington, authorities said Wednesday.

    White House mail handlers identified a "suspicious substance" Tuesday in a letter addressed to President Barack Obama that preliminarily tested positive for ricin, the FBI said. The same day, a similar letter addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, tested positive for ricin -- a toxin with no known antidote, officials said.

    But the FBI said initial tests can be "inconsistent," and the envelopes have been sent off for additional tests.

    Meanwhile, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, says one of his home-state offices received a "suspicious-looking" letter and alerted authorities. "We do not know yet if the mail presented a threat," said Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    Filters at a government mail-screening facility preliminarily tested positive for ricin Wednesday morning, an FBI statement said, and mail from that site is being tested.

    Mail for members of Congress and the White House has been handled at off-site postal facilities since the 2001 anthrax attacks. But Capitol Police were checking out reports of suspicious packages or letters in two Senate office buildings and evacuated the first floor of one those buildings Wednesday afternoon.

    Police questioned a man in the area who had a backpack containing sealed envelopes, but a federal law enforcement official told CNN that authorities do not believe the man was connected to the letters found Tuesday.

    In a statement issued Wednesday, the FBI said it has no indication of a connection between the tainted letters and Monday's bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. But the discoveries further heightened security concerns at a time when Congress is considering politically volatile legislation to toughen gun laws and reform the immigration system.

    Man Brilliantly Quits His Job to Pursue Dream Job With Resignation Letter Written on a Cake

    On his 31st birthday, Chris Holmes — now known to the public as "Mr. Cake" — decided it was time to quit his job as a Border Agency official at London's Stansted Airport to do something he's passionate about and would allow him to spend more time with this family. For Holmes, this meant pursuing a cake business called Mr. Cake and notifying his employers with actual icing on a cake.

    Holmes' sweet resignation letter quickly went viral when his brother-in-law tweeted a picture of it to the world. Note the bottom of the cake has a nice plug for his business, so this is great marketing as well:
    In an interview with Elodie Harper at Sawston's local news station ITV news, Holmes said that his deision "seemed like the obvious choice."

    "... Having set up a cake company, I thought I would leave them with a memento that would be a nice way of remembering me. I had the idea six months ago so I've kept it to myself since then."

    "I think [my boss] was pleasantly surprised, of all the resignations businesses get, I think that's probably a nice way for an employee to leave and I hope they enjoyed the cake as well as the resignation."

    Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American

    As we now move into the official Political Aftermath period of the Boston bombing — the period that will determine the long-term legislative fallout of the atrocity — the dynamics of privilege will undoubtedly influence the nation’s collective reaction to the attacks. That’s because privilege tends to determine: 1) which groups are — and are not — collectively denigrated or targeted for the unlawful actions of individuals; and 2) how big and politically game-changing the overall reaction ends up being.

    This has been most obvious in the context of recent mass shootings. In those awful episodes, a religious or ethnic minority group lacking such privilege would likely be collectively slandered and/or targeted with surveillance or profiling (or worse) if some of its individuals comprised most of the mass shooters. However, white male privilege means white men are not collectively denigrated/targeted for those shootings — even though most come at the hands of white dudes.

    Likewise, in the context of terrorist attacks, such privilege means white non-Islamic terrorists are typically portrayed not as representative of whole groups or ideologies, but as “lone wolf” threats to be dealt with as isolated law enforcement matters. Meanwhile, non-white or developing-world terrorism suspects are often reflexively portrayed as representative of larger conspiracies, ideologies and religions that must be dealt with as systemic threats — the kind potentially requiring everything from law enforcement action to military operations to civil liberties legislation to foreign policy shifts.

    “White privilege is knowing that even if the bomber turns out to be white, no one will call for your group to be profiled as terrorists as a result, subjected to special screening or threatened with deportation,” writes author Tim Wise. “White privilege is knowing that if this bomber turns out to be white, the United States government will not bomb whatever corn field or mountain town or stale suburb from which said bomber came, just to ensure that others like him or her don’t get any ideas. And if he turns out to be a member of the Irish Republican Army we won’t bomb Dublin. And if he’s an Italian-American Catholic we won’t bomb the Vatican.”

    Because of these undeniable and pervasive double standards, the specific identity of the Boston Marathon bomber (or bombers) is not some minor detail — it will almost certainly dictate what kind of governmental, political and societal response we see in the coming weeks. That means regardless of your particular party affiliation, if you care about everything from stopping war to reducing the defense budget to protecting civil liberties to passing immigration reform, you should hope the bomber was a white domestic terrorist. Why? Because only in that case will privilege work to prevent the Boston attack from potentially undermining progress on those other issues.

    Pressure cooker bombs suspected in Boston blast

    Federal agents zeroed in Tuesday on how the Boston Marathon bombing was carried out — with kitchen pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails and other lethal shrapnel — but said they still didn't know who did it and why.

    An intelligence bulletin issued to law enforcement and released late Tuesday included a picture of a mangled pressure cooker and a torn black bag the FBI said were part of a bomb.

    The FBI and other law enforcement agencies repeatedly pleaded for members of the public to come forward with photos, videos or anything suspicious they might have seen or heard.

    "The range of suspects and motives remains wide open," Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston, said at a news conference. He vowed to "go to the ends of the Earth to identify the subject or subjects who are responsible for this despicable crime."

    President Barack Obama branded the attack an act of terrorism but said officials don't know "whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual."

    Scores of victims remained in hospitals, many with grievous injuries, a day after the twin explosions near the marathon's finish line killed three people, wounded more than 170 and reawakened fears of terrorism. A 9-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy were among 17 victims listed in critical condition.

    Heightening jitters in Washington, where security already had been tightened after the bombing, a letter addressed to a senator and poisoned with ricin or a similarly toxic substance was intercepted at a mail facility outside the capital, lawmakers said.

    There was no immediate indication the episode was related to the Boston attack. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the letter was sent to Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, of Mississippi.

    Officials found that the bombs in Boston consisted of explosives put in ordinary 1.6-gallon pressure cookers, one with shards of metal and ball bearings, the other with nails, according to a person close to the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe was still going on. The bombs were stuffed into black duffel bags and left on the ground, the person said.

    DesLauriers confirmed that investigators had found pieces of black nylon from a bag or backpack and fragments of BBs and nails, possibly contained in a pressure cooker. He said the items were sent to the FBI laboratory at Quantico, Va., for analysis.

    The FBI said it is looking at what Boston television station WHDH said are photos sent by a viewer that show the scene right before and after the bombs went off. The photo shows something next to a mailbox that appears to be a bag, but it's unclear what the significance is.

    "We're taking a look at hundreds of photos, and that's one of them," FBI spokesman Jason Pack said.

    Investigators said they haven't determined what was used to set off the explosives.

    FBI grills Saudi man in Boston bombings

    Police took a 20-year-old Saudi national into custody near the scene of yesterday’s horrific Boston Marathon bomb attack, law-enforcement sources told The Post.

    The potential suspect was questioned by the FBI and local police yesterday at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he was under heavy guard while being treated for shrapnel injuries to his leg sustained in the blast.

    In late afternoon, a large group of federal and state law enforcement agents raided an apartment in a building in the Saudi man’s hometown of Revere, Mass.

    FBI agents could be seen through one window. It was not clear what, if anything, they found. But Revere fire officials said they were called out to support bomb-squad officers as part of an investigation of a “person of interest” in the marathon attack.

    At the hospital, investigators seized the man’s clothes to examine whether they held any evidence that he was behind the attack. The law-enforcement sources also told The Post that the man was not free to leave the medical center.

    He had suffered shrapnel wounds to the back of a leg but was not likely to die, a source said.

    As of last night, investigators had not yet directly asked the man whether he had set off the bombs. But they had asked him general questions, such as what he was doing in the area.

    The potential suspect told police he had dinner Sunday night near Boston’s Prudential Center, about half a mile from the blast site, the sources said.

    He also said that he went to the Copley Square area yesterday to witness the finish of the race.

    The sources said that, after the man was grabbed by police, he smelled of gunpowder and declared, “I thought there would be a second bomb.”

    He also asked: “Did anyone die?”

    Officials showed up at the Revere apartment at about 5:30 p.m. in unmarked vehicles, a resident of the building said. It’s on a street where the man had lived, law-enforcement sources told The Post.

    About an hour later, more vehicles, carrying agents of the FBI, Homeland Security and ATF also descended on the site, along with firefighters and a bomb squad. They searched an apartment on the fifth floor.

    By midnight, most of the authorities had left the complex, which sits on a piece of ocean-front property in the seaside city.

    Son of Pastor Rick Warren commits suicide, family says

    After a lifelong battle with mental illness, the youngest son of Pastor Rick Warren has committed suicide, his family said.

    Matthew Warren, 27, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on Friday, said Deputy Daniel Aikin, with the Orange County Coroner's Office.

    The family shared news of his death in an e-mail to church staff.

    Rick Warren and his wife founded Saddleback Valley Community Church, a megachurch in Southern California.

    "No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now," the pastor wrote in the note, a copy of which was sent to CNN.

    "You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man. He had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He'd then make a bee-line to that person to engage and encourage them.

    "But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided."

    According to Aikin, Matthew Warren's body was found at his home in Mission Viejo, California, late Friday afternoon. He put the estimated time of death at around 10 a.m. that day.

    The coroner's office is investigating the death. An autopsy will be conducted early next week, Aikin told CNN on Saturday.

    According to a spokesman for Rick Warren, Matthew Warren worked in the Saddleback Resources Warehouse, which distributes books and DVDs.

    As a pioneer of the megachurch movement, Rick Warren looked to translate traditional evangelical messages to a wider audience.

    The pastor gave the invocation at President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration and penned "The Purpose-Driven Life," a Christian self-help guide that became a mainstream best-seller.

    "I'll never forget how, many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said 'Dad, I know I'm going to heaven. Why can't I just die and end this pain?' but he kept going for another decade," Rick Warren wrote in the e-mail.

    In a separate statement, his church asked for prayers and that "God's comfort and peace" be with the Warren family.

    ‘This Is The End’ Trailer Has Rihanna Getting Tough as the World Goes Boom

    In the new green band trailer for the apocalyptic comedy “This Is The End,” debuting exclusively here on Yahoo! Movies, the multiplatinum artist plays herself just hanging out at a massive party hosted by James Franco (also playing himself). That’s when Michael Cera (played by guess who?) gets a little forward, and Rihanna won’t stand for it.

    At last weekend’s WonderCon convention in Anaheim, CA, star/co-writer/co-director Seth Rogen said that not only did Rihanna and Cera play themselves, they did their own stunts. Rogen and his cohort Evan Goldberg (they also wrote “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express” together) said Cera told Rihanna that he was actually going to smack her behind while cameras rolled. Then she told him she would really be smacking him in the face. And she did. Hard. Multiple times.

    Watch Rihanna get tough (and then meet an unfortunate end) in the trailer for “This Is The End,” then keep reading to learn how Rogen got the superstar to play herself and what inside joke that he loved had to be cut out of the film.

    So how did Seth Rogen get one of the biggest music acts in the world to join his movie? Well, it turns out, she’s a big fan. In an interview at WonderCon, Rogen told Yahoo! Movies the idea came from an interview he read with Rihanna several years ago. She was asked to name her favorite movies, and according to Rogen, “two out of the three of them were ‘Superbad’ and ‘Pineapple Express.’ I am so not used to seeing that that I literally just clocked in my head, ‘Oh, Rihanna is a fan of ours.’”

    Evan Goldberg and Seth RogenEvan Goldberg and Seth Rogen (Photo: Photo by Araya Diaz/WireImage)As Rogen was writing the script where he and his buddies Jay Baruchel (who worked with him on TV’s “Undeclared” and “Knocked Up”), Jonah Hill (from “Superbad”), Danny McBride and Craig Robinson (both in “Pineapple Express”) are all partying at James Franco’s house when the world ends. Rogen said, “We just thought, ‘What if you had a bunch of famous people playing themselves in this completely ridiculous situation, basically, where they’re forced to be violent and bad [Laughs] and kind of show the worst parts of themselves.”

    Rogen knew they would populate the party scene with many of the funny actors he’d worked with in earlier films, like Paul Rudd, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari and Kevin Hart. Then, he said, it occurred to him, “At these parties there’s always someone who doesn’t belong there. It could be funny if, like, someone you don’t associate with us is there.” So he and his co-writer/co-director Evan Goldberg wondered if maybe Rihanna would do it. “And she was totally psyched to do it,” Rogen said.

    Rogen did admit that writing roles for his friends where they would be basically playing themselves was harder you might think. He said, “I think we missed the mark on the first time out of the gate on a few of them, honestly.” He said in the early draft of the script the characters were a little too similar to how the actors had already been presenting themselves on-screen. “And I also think we weren’t sure what they’d be comfortable with until we sent them a script and started really having that conversation.”

    What happens if North Korea gets out of hand? Here are some scenarios

    While political and military analysts sound pretty confident that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's threats are just bluster, you can't get around the fact that the region encompassing the Korean peninsula is one of the most heavily militarized places on Earth, home to three of the world's six-largest militaries.

    If the unthinkable were to happen, how would it play out?

    Leon Panetta, who stepped down as President Barack Obama's defense secretary in February, warned this week in an interview with CNBC that "we don't have as much insight as we should with regards to the inner workings of what happens in North Korea."

    But based on declassified U.S. and U.N. assessments and independent analyses by military scholars, we can make some educated guesses:

    How would North Korea attack?
    Probably with a massive ground assault backed by artillery fire. That's because North Korea's standing military, according to the best U.S. and U.N. intelligence assessments, is the fourth largest in the world, at 1.1 million members. South Korea's, by contrast, is about 690,000 strong.

    Library of Congress Federal Research Division

    That ratio — a manpower superiority of roughly 3-to-2 for the North — is remarkably consistent across calculations of the countries' weaponry, too. By about the same proportion, the North has more tanks, more artillery, more planes, more ships, more missiles.

    In a 2008 report commissioned by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress depicted North Korea as, in essence, one giant military installation

    Monster barracuda is nearly 7-feet long, 102 pounds

    Fishing for tarpon was slow on the Cuanza River in Angola, so when Thomas Gibson hooked into a giant fish that took a scorching run and stayed close to the surface, he and his fishing partner thought, finally, a tarpon.

    But what came to the boat was not only a huge fish, but a huge surprise.

    “It came to the boat fairly easily (too easily for a tarpon!) and once I got hold of the leader and pulled it up to the surface, we saw it was a HUGE barracuda,” Cam Nicolson wrote in an email to GrindTV Outdoor. “It was bigger than any barracuda I had seen.”

    The barracuda—a Guinean barracuda, to be exact—measured 6.9-feet long and weighed a potential all-tackle world-record 102 pounds.

    “I have never seen anything like it,” Iain Nicolson, Cam’s brother, told Sport Fishing.

    Indeed, Guinean barracuda in the Cuanza River typically average 10-20 pounds with the biggest the Nicolson’s of Angola have caught previously being around 65 pounds.

    Gibson, a Houston resident who is an expert at catching tarpon, submitted the recent catch to the International Game Fish Association, the keeper of fishing world records. The IGFA is currently reviewing the potential record.

    [Related: The biggest fish ever caught from a kayak.]

    The current record is 101 pounds, 3 ounces, also caught in Africa. That fish was landed by Dr. Cyril Fabre in Olende, Gabon.

    Amazingly, the one Gibson hooked took less than 10 minutes to land, but it came with one harrowing moment.

    “We only had a lip gaff onboard [seen in photo below], so that was a little too close to the teeth for comfort,” Cam Nicolson said.

    FBI Busts N.Y. Politicos for Bribery and Corruption

    FBI agents raided the homes of state Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Hollis, and New York City Council Member Dan Halloran, R-19, this morning and arrested both men, according to the New York Times. The criminal complaint , which had been sealed until today, alleges that the two, along with four other politicians from Rockland and Westchester Counties, engaged in bribery, defrauding of honest service and conspiracy to commit an unlawful activity. The remaining four defendants are Noramie Jasmin and Joseph Desmaret, the mayor and deputy mayor of Spring Valley; Vincent Tabone, a Republican official in Queens; and Joseph Savino, the Bronx GOP chairman.

    The scheme

    The New York Post states that it is alleged that Smith conspired with Republican officials to obtain the party's permission to run for mayor of New York City on the Republican line, even though he is a Democrat. The alleged conspiracy involved bribing select Republicans to influence that approval process. Halloran is also being investigated for taking bribes from a consultant in return for allocating city funds. The Spring Valley politicians are believed to be involved through Smith's alleged efforts to provide a benefit to a real estate developer in return for financial support.

    Undercover activity

    The FBI introduced an agent into the alleged conspiracy posing as a real estate developer. The agent and a cooperating witness met with the Tabone and Savino, and according to the Times, the politicians accepted bribes of $40,000 each. Halloran is reported to have solicited more than $20,000 in bribes.


    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara calls the alleged crimes "an unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed involving six officials who together built a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself." Gerald Shargel, Senator Smith's attorney, is quoted in the New York Times saying "Malcolm Smith is a dedicated and highly respected public servant and he steadfastly denies these charges."


    The fallout from these arrests and any potential convictions will affect both New York City politics as well as the New York state senate. The Times notes that two of the Republican officials involved are involved with existing mayoral campaigns of other Republicans. Tabone is a paid consultant for the campaign of John Catsimatidis while Halloran recently endorsed Republican candidate Joseph Lhota. Malcolm Smith is one of five Democratic state senators who are supporting Republican control of the Senate. From 2008 to 2010, Smith was the president of the senate while it was controlled by the Democrats. Republicans regained a slim majority in 2010, which they lost in 2012. Smith and four other liberal Democrats formed the Independent Democratic Conference and voted with Republicans to restore their control of the upper house of the New York legislature.

    New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is term limited and cannot run for re-election. The process to determine who will succeed him has begun for both the Democratic and Republican parties. These arrests may affect that process and the election. In addition, the arrest of Malcolm Smith may affect Republican control of the state senate.

    Survivalist surrenders to lawmen in Utah mountains

    For six years Troy James Knapp eluded authorities, moving from cabin to cabin across the Utah mountains, taking food and weapons and leaving notes to brag about it.

    It all ended Tuesday as lawmen made what they called a surprisingly easy capture outside a remote cabin after the suspect fired off a few harmless shots.

    "He was laughing with our guys. He said, 'Boy, you really snuck up on me,'" said Sevier County Sheriff Nathan Curtis. "He threw his rifle down in the snow and said, 'You got me.'"

    The 45-year-old survivalist is suspected of burglarizing dozens of Utah cabins and leaving taunting notes for owners — "get off my mountain" — and for sheriffs across several counties — "gonna put you in the ground!" Now he faces multiple felonies in at least four counties, including for shooting at a police helicopter and officers on the ground.

    The self-styled "Mountain Man" looked sullen as he was walked into Sanpete County jail late Tuesday, already in jail garb from a quick stop at another county jail. Sanpete County prosecutor Brody Keisel said Knapp will have his first court appearance in Manti within days on a number of felony charges.

    Knapp has an impressive memory and was eager to recite his travels and numerous cabin break-ins, bragging that authorities knew only the half of it and showing maps, Curtis said. He does not yet have an attorney.

    Authorities believe Knapp had lingered around the snowy mountains outside Ferron, about 125 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, since last fall. He took shelter at cabins in the middle of the Manti-LaSal National Forest.

    "It is a relief to know that he has been caught," said Eugene Bartholomew, the owner of a cabin broken into recently at Ferron Reservior under the windswept Wasatch Plateau, where the snow is still piled four feet deep in places. "If he slept in the beds, that's fine with me. As long as he didn't tear up the place."

    Bartholomew was planning a trip to inspect his cabin.

    No one was hit before Knapp was captured after his brief effort to flee on snowshoes from dozens of officers who converged on snowmobiles and a snowcat, Sanpete County Sheriff Brian Nielson said.

    Armed with a rifle and a handgun, authorities said, Knapp was wearing camouflage clothes and sporting a graying red beard.

    At first, lawmen didn't know exactly where to look for Knapp. They got a Good Friday tip from a pair of hunters who had a chance encounter in the area with Knapp, who introduced himself as a "mountain man," Curtis said.

    Authorities from several counties spent the weekend planning a stealthy search for Knapp. A surveillance party led by Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk quietly approached Ferron Reservoir by snowshoe at 1 a.m. Monday, other authorities said.

    "They could hear him chopping wood," Curtis said.

    Nine hours later, with the help of the helicopter, they flushed the suspect out of a cabin where he was barricaded. Knapp tried to take off in the woods.

    "He walked into a line of guys with guns and realized he was done," U.S. Forest Service officer Scott Watson said. "We were so happy it turned out the way it did."

    Knapp had been photographed by motion-triggered cameras on snowshoes with a stolen rifle slung over his shoulder as recently as last fall in Sanpete County. Iron, Kane and Garfield counties have all issued arrest warrants for him on burglary and weapons charges.

    He had been living off the comfort of cabins in winter and retreating to makeshift summer camps deep in the forest with stolen guns and supplies, detectives have said.6

    North Korea puts rockets on standby as US official warns regime is no 'paper tiger'

    North Korea put its rocket units on standby Friday to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after repeated threats one day after two American stealth bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula in a military exercise.

    A U.S. official warned that the isolated communist state is “not a paper tiger” and its reaction should not be dismissed as “pure bluster.”

    According to South Korea's news agency, Yonhap, North Korea announced Saturday that it had entered a state of war against South Korea. "In a special statement, the North said it will deal with every inter-Korean issue in a wartime manner," Yonhap reported. NBC News could not immediately confirm.

    The two Koreas have been in a technical state of war because their 1950-53 conflict ended under an armistice and not a peace treaty.

    NBC's Andrea Mitchell examines North Korea's brewing threats and what they mean for neighboring South Korea.

    According to North Korea's official KCNA news agency, the country's leader Kim Jong Un “judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation” at a midnight meeting of top generals, Reuters reported.

    The latest threats come one day after two nuclear-capable stealth bombers flew from Missouri to drop inert munitions on a range in South Korea as part of a major military exercise.

    The U.S. official emphasized the danger posed by North Korea’s military and the unpredictable nature of its 30-year-old leader.

    “North Korea is not a paper tiger so it wouldn't be smart to dismiss its provocative behavior as pure bluster. What's not clear right now is how much risk Kim Jong Un is willing to run to show the world and domestic elites that he's a tough guy,” said the official, who asked not to be named. “His inexperience is certain -- his wisdom is still very much in question.”

    There was a mass demonstration in support of Kim involving tens of thousands of people in the main square of North Korean capital Pyongyang Friday, The Associated Press reported.

    Placards read "Let's crush the puppet traitor group" and "Let's rip the puppet traitors to death!"

    'War for national liberation'
    The state-controlled KCNA also published an article that said the “opportunity for peacefully settling the DPRK-U.S. relations is no longer available as the U.S. opted for staking its fate. Consequently, there remains only the settlement of accounts by a physical means.” DPRK stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

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