October 8, 2012

Who wants to be a millionaire? At this point, it's practically a rhetorical question, because who does not want to be? Two best friends who have wanted to be a part of the millionaires club and played the lottery together for the past 25 years are finally able to celebrate.

Willie McPherson, 74, and Christopher Manzi, 44, started buying Powerball and Mega Millions tickets together in 1987. After a quarter century of trying, they finally hit it big, but it was not with the tickets they had purchased. While McPherson and Manzi did not win money with the tickets, they did receive two $1 Quick Pick tickets as part of a promotion. One of the Quick Pick tickets turned out to be a winner -- a $14 million Mega Millions winner.

McPherson, who lives in Upper Manhattan, and Manzi, who lives in New Jersey, decided to take the lump sum payout of $10 million, which they split evenly. With their winnings, the friends are planning a trip to Miami and want to invest in real estate.

After taxes, Manzi will receive $3.5 million and McPherson will receive $3.3 million, because New York's taxes are higher than New Jersey's. Perhaps the most endearing part of their story is that Manzi spotted McPherson $20 for his portion of the original tickets they bought, and still split the winnings with his friend. The friends originally met when Manzi hired McPherson to work for him at his print shop.

In response to winning, Manzi told the New York Post, "We both like playing the lottery, we both like women, and we both like lots of money." The owner of the shop where the winning ticket was purchased gets $10,000.

January 22, 2013

HELENA, Mont. — A Montana family and their accountant are accused of tacking $70 million in bogus charges onto customer phone bills nationwide, then funneling some of that money through a religious organization to buy land and pay for the husband's legal bills.

Steven Sann, his wife Terry, son Nathan and accountant Robert Braach run a maze of nine companies engaged in "cramming, " or adding unauthorized charges to a customer's phone bill, according to a civil complaint filed this month by the Federal Trade Commission.

When customers complained or phone companies grew suspicious about one of the Sanns' companies charging phone bills, they would switch over to another company, the complaint says.

The FTC is asking a judge to issue a preliminary injunction that will force the Sanns to stop operating the companies and freeze their assets. In a court filing Friday, Sann's attorney, Sarah Rhoades, asked U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen for a stay in FTC civil action, saying there is a criminal investigation already under way.

Allowing the government to pursue both criminal and civil cases against Sann and his companies is improper, Rhoades said in the filing. The civil case would let the government examine company information that it is not entitled to under criminal procedure rules, she wrote.

Some of the money went to buy 94 acres in western Montana where Steven Sann runs a youth camp, the FTC alleges. Some went to pay for Sann's defense in an unrelated medical marijuana case. In those instances, the money first was deposited in the bank account of Bibliologic, a religious organization set up by Sann and Braach.

Bibliologic Ltd was incorporated in 2009 as a charitable religious organization without any members, according to Montana Secretary of State registration records. The organization has no physical address.

Steven Sann recently reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors investigating large medical marijuana operations. According to a federal affidavit, he was an investor in two medical marijuana dispensaries.

Sann struck a deal with prosecutors in September to plead guilty to conspiracy to maintain a drug-involved premises. He had been scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, but his attorney in that case has asked for a delay because of illness.

The Sanns' nine companies are voice mail and electronic fax services that charge a customer's phone bill through an intermediary called a bill aggregator. The companies are American eVoice, Emerica Media Corp., FoneRight, Global Voice Mail, HearYou2, Network Assurance, SecuratDat, Techmax Solutions and Voice Mail Professionals.

The charge is typically $14.95 and appears near the end of the phone bill month after month until the customer notices and challenges it.

Hundreds of complaints have been filed against the Sanns' businesses with the FTC, the Better Business Bureau and with phone companies, the FTC complaint says.

Of the $70 million billed since 2008, the Sanns' companies have returned more than $40 million after customer challenges, according to the FTC complaint. But data collected by the federal agency show many more don't know that they're being charged.

Last April, the Sanns' companies had 119,810 voice mail accounts open, but only 12 customers actually accessed their accounts. From March 2010 to April 2012, fewer than 1 percent of the people purportedly with voice mail accounts through the companies actually accessed them.

"These abysmally low usage rates strongly suggest that consumers neither ordered the services nor knew they were being billed for them," the FTC complaint says.

November 9, 2012

The morning after he won re-election, an emotional President Barack Obama credited his youthful staff of several hundred with running a campaign that will "go on in the annals of history."

"What you guys have accomplished will go on in the annals of history and they will read about it and they'll marvel about it," said Obama told his team Wednesday morning inside the Chicago campaign headquarters, tears streaming down his face.

"The most important thing you need to know is that your journey's just beginning. You're just starting. And whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in comparison to whatever you guys end up accomplishing in the years and years to come," he said.

The moment, captured by the Obama campaign's cameras and posted online, offers a rare glimpse at the president unplugged and emotional. During the first four years of his presidency, Obama has never been seen publicly crying.
He first came to Chicago, he told the campaign staff, "knowing that somehow I wanted to make sure that my life attached itself to helping kids get a great education or helping people living in poverty to get decent jobs and be able to work and have dignity. And to make sure that people didn't have to go to the emergency room to get health care."

"The work that I did in those communities changed me much more than I changed those communities because it taught me the hopes and aspirations and the grit and resilience of ordinary people," he said, as senior strategist David Axelrod and campaign manager Jim Messina looked on. "And it taught me the fact that under the surface differences, we all have common hopes and we all have common dreams. And it taught me something about how I handle disappointment and what it meant to work hard on a common endeavor, and I grew up."

"So when I come here and I look at all of you, what comes to mind is, it's not that you guys remind me of myself, it's the fact that you are so much better than I was in so many ways. You're smarter, you're so better organized, you're more effective," he said.

Obama said he expected many of those who helped to re-elect him will assume new roles in progressive politics, calling that prospect a "source of my strength and inspiration."

Senior campaign officials said Thursday that the Obama campaign infrastructure - the field offices and network of hundreds of thousands of volunteers - would undergo a period of transition in the coming weeks to determine how to remain sustainable and influential.

"We have remarkable staff, and the campaign that Jim [Messina] put together, you know, is the best in history," said senior Obama adviser David Plouffe. "But the reason those people got involved was because they believed in Barack Obama. It was the relationship between them and our candidate."

May 18, 2016
[img][/img] Deciding whether to finally take your big idea to the next level? Serial entrepreneur and "Shark Tank" judge Robert Herjavec thinks now is an ideal time to start a business, but there's a catch. Herjavec weighed in on the topic on a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" thread on Tuesday. "it's the best time in the world to start a business. Internet, connectivity, access to information. it's also the worst time to start a business—because everyone has access to the same resources," he wrote. So how do you make right now the best time to start your business? "I think success is all perspiration. you make your own luck," he wrote. "I've said it before but entrepreneurs are MADE not BORN." That's coming from a man who's bootstrapped the American dream for himself. After moving to Canada from Eastern Europe, he made his way from waiting tables and delivering newspapers to becoming a multi-million dollar business owner. "You have to attack your life," Herjavec wrote. Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

July 7, 2012
Wimbledon 2012: Serena Williams wins fifth singles title

By Mike Henson

Serena Williams overcame a resurgent Agnieszka Radwanska to clinch a hard-fought 6-1 5-7 6-2 victory and earn her fifth Wimbledon singles title.
The American, a winner in 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2010, had eased through the opener with Radwanska rarely threatening to pierce her defenses.

But the Pole regrouped as rain delayed the second set, and clawed back a break before swooping late to win the second.

Williams broke twice in the decider to finally kill off Radwanska's comeback.
It is the 30-year-old's 14th Grand Slam title and her first since spending almost a year out of action between summer 2010 and 2011 with a leg injury and subsequent pulmonary embolism.

"I can't even describe it. I almost didn't make it a few years ago," she said after her win, referring to her health problems.

"I was in hospital but now I'm here again and it was so worth it. I'm so happy.
"Aggie played so well and that's why she's had such a great career and she's so young."
Such an absorbing finish seemed highly unlikely as Williams demolished Radwanska in the opening set, raising the fear that her opponent was struggling with a respiratory illness that forced her to call off a news conference on Friday.
The world number three seemed to lack the energy to realise her hopes of countering Williams's clubbing baseline power with guile and touch.

A brief rain shower appeared to have opposite effects on the pair however, as Radwanska emerged revitalised and Williams's forehand grew increasingly erratic.
Williams broke to love in the third game with a walloped return winner, but her nerves tightened and Radwanska raised her game just in time to avert a seemingly inevitable straight-sets win.
Radwanska forced break point for the first time in the match to level at 4-4 and the crowd threw their support behind her renaissance.

Suddenly Radwanska's scurrying and fetching was asking questions and Williams, apparently beset by mental demons, crashed into the net from midcourt to send the match into a decider.

The American had lost only four of the previous 194 Grand Slam matches in which she won the opening set however, and reasserted her authority to protect that record and accelerate away from Radwanska.

Radwanska saw off two break points to hold for a 2-1 lead, but Williams served out in less than a minute in the following game and was not to be denied in the next.

A cute drop shot moved her a double break and 5-2 clear and Williams kept any lingering jitters at bay to serve out before dropping to the turf in delight.

Her victory is the first time the title has been won by a woman over 30 since Martina Navratilova's triumph in 1990 and restores Victoria Azarenka, the Belarussian she beat in the semi-final, to the world number one spot.

December 1, 2012

Kansas City linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, then drove to the Chiefs' facilities at Arrowhead Stadium and took his own life in front of some team employees, including coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli, on Saturday morning.

Police told the Kansas City Star that Belcher, 25, and Perkins got into an argument at approximately 7:00 a.m. Saturday at a residence in nearby Independence, Mo. Belcher shot Perkins multiple times. She was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead there. The couple had a 3-month-old daughter, who is currently safe in the care of a relative.

Members of the Chiefs' staff tried to stop Belcher from committing any other acts of violence before the player turned a gun on himself. The team's practice facility was evacuated and put on police lockdown.

The Chiefs were scheduled to host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, and the team has announced on its official site that the game will proceed as scheduled.

"After discussions between the league office, Head Coach Romeo Crennel and Chiefs team captains, the Chiefs advised the NFL that it will play tomorrow's game vs. the Carolina Panthers at its originally scheduled time."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Chiefs and the families and friends of those who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a league statement. "We have connected the Chiefs with our national team of professional counselors to support both the team and the families of those affected. We will continue to provide assistance in any way that we can."

Perkins' mother called police after witnessing the incident and told them that her daughter had been shot. Police arrived at the Chiefs' facility only to find Belcher in the parking lot with a gun to his head. As one officer got out of his car, he heard a gunshot. Belcher was later pronounced dead. Pioli, Crennel, and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs were among the team employees in the vicinity. Belcher reportedly thanked Crennel and Pioli for all they had done for him, and then took his own life.

"Pioli and Crennel and another coach or employee was standing outside and appeared to be talking to him. It appeared they were talking to the suspect," Kansas City police spokesman Darin Snapp said. "The suspect began to walk in the opposite direction of the coaches and the officers and that's when they heard the gunshot.

"They said the player was actually thanking them for everything they'd done for him. They were just talking to him and he was thanking them and everything. That's when he walked away and shot himself."

Chiefs players were asked to assemble at the team's main facility so that they can be informed of all the details.

"The entire Chiefs family is deeply saddened by today's events, and our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy, thoughts and prayers for the families and friends affected by this unthinkable tragedy," team Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement. "We sincerely appreciate the expressions of sympathy and support we have received from so many in the Kansas City and NFL communities, and ask for continued prayers for the loved ones of those impacted.

"We will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities and work to ensure that the appropriate counseling resources are available to all members of the organization."

September 3, 2012
Internet search statistics yield valuable insights into the things people are thinking about, and the questions they most want answered. I recently posted a blog about female celebrities with the most Googled hair in the world. The winner was Lady GaGa, with 40,500 global monthly searches.

Next, I thought it might be interesting to check out the global monthly search stats on the hairstyles of black celebrities, to see whose was the most popular. The top ten list is a diverse group, consisting of seven recording artists, two actresses, one television presenter, one supermodel and one First Lady; (you can guess who). The list is almost exclusively African American, with just two black Brits -- Leona Lewis and Naomi Campbell -- in the top ten. Overall, two names dominate the table -- Rihanna and Beyoncé -- whose rankings are as much to do with their overall popularity as singing stars as it is to do with the particulars of their hair choices. The top ten also yields a few surprises -- Michelle Obama's hair is more popular than Naomi Campbell's for example, while Halle Berry's short crop beats Nicki Minaj's restless plethora of multi-coloured weaves. In the battle of the television personalities, Tyra Banks is in at number five, while Oprah doesn't make the list at all.

Check out the full listing to see who scores highest:

1. Lady GaGa -- 40,500
2. Kim Kardashian -- 22,200
3. Jennifer Aniston -- 18,100
4. Rihanna -- 12,100
5. Victoria Beckham -- 9,900
5. Miley Cyrus -- 9,900
6. Kate Middleton -- 8,100
6. Taylor Swift -- 8,100
6. Blake Lively -- 8,100
6. Jessica Alba -- 8,100
7. Beyoncé -- 6,600
7. Jennifer Lopez -- 6,600
7. Reese Witherspoon -- 6,600
7. Cheryl Cole -- 6,600
7. Katy Perry -- 6,600
8. Megan Fox -- 5,400
8. Eva Longoria -- 5,400
8. Jessica Simpson -- 5,400
8. Keira Knightley -- 5,400
9. Nicki Minaj -- 4,400
9. Katie Holmes -- 4,400
9. Nicole Richie -- 4,400
10. Halle Berry -- 3,600
10. Meg Ryan -- 3,600
10. Sienna Miller -- 3,600
10. Eva Mendes -- 3,600

1. Rihanna -- 12,100
2. Beyoncé -- 6,600
3. Nicki Minaj -- 4,400
4. Halle Berry -- 3,600
5. Tyra Banks -- 1,600

*Statistics supplied by Google

December 28, 2012
2012 was the year when shocking economic and business news seemed to lose its power to shock.
Written By Martin Webber
Business Editor, BBC World Service

Many of China's infrastructure projects are not commercially viable

Nothing much really got sorted out - the debt mountains in Europe and the US still towered over everything; scandalous behaviour at big western banks continued to hit the headlines; China again failed to make progress in rebalancing its lop-sided economy.

As voters in the US went to the polls and the Chinese communist leadership underwent its once-in-a-decade refresh, it could have been a year of change for the world's two biggest economies.

But continuity was the watchword.

President Obama was returned to the White House, but without the votes in Congress to force his ideas through. while China's new 59-year-old leader Xi Jinping indicated no discernible shifts in priorities.

Chinese conundrum

For more than a decade, economists have been deeply concerned about China's vast trade surpluses.

China's ability to manufacture almost everything more cheaply and reliably than before has made shopping cheaper for tens of millions of consumers all over the world.

But it seemingly all went too far.

Everyone agrees that more money now needs to find its way into the pockets of Chinese consumers, which would enable the country's growth to rely less on exports and also make it less dependent on investment in more and more factories.

The respected economist Michael Pettis at Peking University warns that the imbalances in the Chinese economy have become "extreme" and there is now an urgent need for reform.

"China has been investing so much that it has become very clear that for at least the last few years, and some of us believe for a lot longer, that investment has been misallocated," he says, "We are investing in projects whose true economic returns don't justify the investment."

He points to the central part of the country, which is filled with brand new airports that get very little traffic, yet more airports are being built.

"We have a bridge in Qingdao, which, if it were straight, would be long enough to cross the English Channel. It's not straight, it's curved, which is much more expensive, but they did it because they thought it would be more beautiful that way. But unfortunately, it receives very little traffic," he laments.

China continues to expand its capacity to manufacture lots of things the world does not really need more of - such as ships and steel.

So why doesn't China invest to help the millions of people in dire poverty, doing things inefficiently, in subsistence farming - projects which could bring those people into an efficient economy and get genuine growth?

"The problem there, is the investment that would be necessary for this to happen involve long-term investments that don't generate much result in the short-term," Mr Pettis explains.

"Everyone agrees that there should be a significant expansion in schooling for the very young in the poor areas of China and that certainly make sense. But, when you invest money in schooling or in social housing, the returns don't come for 10, 20, 30 years, whereas the cost is accrued today," he says.

He notes that the goal of the government is to increase the household income share of gross domestic product. He suggests the Chinese authorities should do this by giving land to the peasants and also privatising companies and then using the money raised to shore up household income.

"But that creates a huge problem because we've built an entire political structure around control of the commanding heights of the economy," he says.

He believes companies should be paying higher wages, higher interest rates to borrow, and that the Chinese currency should go up.

"The problem is that, if you do it slowly, you might not have enough time to make the adjustment. We've probably waited a bit too long," he maintains.

"If you do it quickly, if you raise wages, if you raise interest rates, if you raise the currency, you run the risk of everyone going bankrupt. So, you can't do it quickly, you can't do it slowly, you have to do something else. And that something else probably involves transferring wealth directly from the state to the household sector. But that's politically very difficult to do."

Slowing down

Perhaps it is a 21st century trend, where the political elite and the electorate expect a certain rate of growth, and they will do everything to generate that growth, whereas perhaps in the past people would have sat back and looked to see whether growth is generated naturally.

"The problem always arises when you lock yourself into a system that requires continued increases in investments. After a few years it is no longer that easy to identify economically viable projects," says Mr Pettis.

"We have seen this before - in Germany in the 1930s, in the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s, Brazil in the 1960s and 1970s, Japan in the 1980s, this is an old story," he adds.

He remarks how all the countries which had those kinds of investment-driven growth miracles have always ended up with debt problems, and believes China risks going down the same path as Japan.

"The Chinese growth model is basically the Japanese growth model. We saw great growth in the 1970s, but that growth started becoming very dangerous growth, reliant on over investment in the 1980s," he says.

"And of course, Japan has spent the last 20 years grinding its way through all of that excess investment, with much lower growth rates and rising government debt. The worry is that we will see something like that happen in China," he asserts.

Asked when China is going to overtake the US as the world's biggest economy, he says the ability to predict such things has been terrible in the past and not any better now.

He maintains it is nonsense that China will be the largest economy in the world by the end of the decade.

"It might happen in 2030, 2040, but there are so many factors including issues of political stability, issues of problems with water, demographic problems et cetera, that it is pretty dangerous to make such a long-term prediction."

He even has a wager with The Economist magazine in London, which predicted that China would be the largest economy by 2018. Because global perceptions about China's potential have changed in the past year, he says: "I think by now most people would be happier to take my side of the bet."

China may have reached a peak in terms of annual growth levels.

"The consensus in the market now has moved downwards significantly, the long-term growth rate consensus is between 5% and 7%. Interestingly enough, you're more likely to find foreigners predicting 7% and Chinese economists predicting 5%," he says.

Repeating history

China and the US have profoundly different economies and profoundly different financial systems

But, in some ways, these two economies - one supposedly free market, one communist - have been heading in the same direction. In China there are state-influenced banks making lots of loans for political reasons to maintain growth, which do not necessary have a guaranteed economic return, while banks in the US made bad bets and were bailed out by taxpayers.

"Every financial system that we have ever seen in history has had a tendency to speculative over-investment, to overreach itself, and then to contract in the form of a crisis," Mr Pettis says.

"The only thing that's surprising about the current global crisis is that it caught so many people by surprise. In many ways, it's a very straightforward repeat of a process that we've seen many, many times before," he argues.

"The last three years weren't as bad as they might have been for one reason primarily, and that is that China responded to the crisis with an extraordinary increase in investment. And because of that increase in investment, its demand for things like iron and copper shot up and that created additional investment in countries like Peru, Australia and Brazil.

"What we are now stuck with, is the problem of very, very low consumption growth for the next four to five years. I wouldn't bet that the global economy is going to do very well, very quickly," he concludes.

Global reach

Meanwhile, China continued to have a huge impact on Africa, which is partly about the hunt for vital raw materials.

Chinese companies bring in their own people to manage their factories

But increasingly, China sees Africa as a good place to manufacture. Chinese firms understand that the west's consumers are going to have less cash to spend in future while simultaneously, wages and other costs in China are increasing.

In Ethiopia, labour costs are particularly low and there is a skilled workforce there too - particularly in the shoe industry.

World Business Report visited a factory on an industrial site, known by local Ethiopians as Chinatown, where a company called Huajian make around 2,000 pairs of shoes every day for big global brands, including Guess and Tommy Hilfiger.

Helen Hai, the vice president of the company, says her company made considerable savings by producing goods in Ethiopia, partly due to labour costs one seventh of the level in China. "Ethiopia has a good supply of raw material for shoes making, such as leather."

So China is bringing jobs to Ethiopia, but at what cost?

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu runs her own Sole Rebels company on the outskirts of the capital.

"The Chinese are bringing their own crew when they develop their own infrastructure." she says.

"We are a Fair Trade organization company, we do have certification for that, and we pay the people four, five times what the other people are paying. We do have a story, we do have a brand, and we do have authenticity. This is not Chinese factory that we have here. This is Ethiopian and local driven grassroots business that we built from scratch," she proudly proclaims.

Ms Hai responds by saying: "I would like to invite her to come to visit our factory, because she can see actually majority of the workers here are local. I took 86 Ethiopian graduates to China for six weeks to teach them how to make shoes. After the training, they can choose either to work for us or work for other shoe factory because I want people here in Ethiopia to know how Chinese make good shoes,"

She also points out that her company offers free accommodation for the workers and at the same time, I'm also in the process of applying for the Fair Trade certificate

Banking scandals

In Europe, the debt crisis didn't go away, but the panic in markets did subside. Traders now believe that German taxpayers will reach into their pockets to directly or indirectly bail out the bankrupt budgets of southern Europe.

The new head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, also played his part in calming things down.

He agreed to lend more central bank cash to the big banks and repeatedly insisted to reporters that the euro was irreversible.

The current structure of banking in Europe and the US came under even more scrutiny, as even those few global banks with their reputations in tact after the financial crisis were hit by new scandal.

Kweku Adoboli said he was breaking rules like other people in his bank

HSBC was fined for moving cash for drugs cartels. Standard Chartered admitted to breaking US sanctions, while JP Morgan lost $6bn (£3.6bn) through risky trading.

An industry-wide scandal also broke over illegal manipulation of a major interest rate, known as Libor.

Even though these revelations shocked the experts, the public reaction was more muted than earlier in the financial crisis. The electorate's fury seems to have turned - for the moment - to a combination of bafflement and weary resignation.

Meanwhile, the Swiss Bank UBS was fined for allowing a trader, Kweku Adebole, to lose $2bn (£1.2bn) in speculative trading. Mr Adebole was jailed for seven years for fraud after a trial in London.

In his defence he'd argued that he was simply breaking trading rules that many others in the bank had also broken. And had his trading bets been successful, he would never have been arrested.

Banking experts like Michael Lafferty say bank scandals just show what a mistake it was to allow financial market trading firms - also known as investment banks - to merge with retail banks that lend to ordinary businesses and the public.

"A large part of what goes for investment banking is not really banking at all and I don't think it should be called banking. It wasn't called banking back in the '40s, '50s, '60s and so forth. It was part of what used to be called the securities industry," he says.

"I think that the really awful things that happened came about when the investment bankers got the top jobs, when they became the CEOs of the, what we now call, universal banks and we began to see the abuse of the retail deposits and of the retail franchise for the benefit really of the investment bank and most importantly for the investment bankers," he adds.

Mr Lafferty says he's spoken to a leading central banker who argues that the behaviour of the giant universal banks in recent years amounts to "the greatest bank robbery in the history of the world."

Certainly, the giant universal banks are in retreat.

But reforms have been limited and the bankers' bonuses will start to get paid out again in the coming weeks.

No western country has yet approved the complete abolition of banks that combine speculative trading with plain commercial banking, as did happen with the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act in the United States, four years after the 1920s financial bubble burst with the Wall Street Crash in 1929.

In the complex world of the 21st Century, inertia seems to be a stronger force than radical reform.

September 27, 2012
'I don't even like the word politics. It implies something underhanded,' Jay-Z told MTV News on Wednesday night.

There's absolutely no telling what Jay-Z will do next. After Hov is done selling multiplatinum albums, signing new superstars and opening up sporting arenas in his native Brooklyn, maybe he'll consider a future in politics--or maybe not.

"I don't even like the word politics. It implies something underhanded and I think we need less government," Jay-Z told MTV News while he walked the record carpet at his 40/40 Club in Manhattan to celebrate the release of the "NBA 2K13" video game, a title which he executive produced.

While a rapper in office may seem far-fetched, Jay's close relationship with President Barack Obama led many to wonder if the music mogul has his sights set on public office. But Jay isn't so turned on by the idea. "To be honest with you I think a lot of people are serving their own agendas, so they just argue back and forth and they think about their next term," he said. "And it's more about themselves than about the people. They're servicing the people, but we rarely get anything done because they're going back and forth with whatever they're doing, so I'm not really into politics."

Still Jay whole-heartedly supports the President and even aided in his reelection campaign by throwing a fundraiser which brought in $4 million to the Obama camp on September 18. "I support Barack because I gotta respect that sort of vision. I gotta respect a man who is the first black President ever," he said. "To have that sort of vision and dream, I have to support that."

Back in 1991, then-President George Bush, Sr. had gangsta rapper Eazy-E over to the White House for a luncheon. It was a pretty big deal at the time, so for Jay to now be hosting fundraisers and have such a close relationship with the POTUS is surreal. "I'm still kind of numb about it, I can't figure it out like how this happened and this journey and everything that's going on," he said. "It's like way beyond the reach I thought hip-hop had. I knew it was the most powerful music worldwide, the culture itself, but it always amazes me the power that it has. Still, to this day."

August 1, 2012
Twin sisters, Shaakira White and Zaakira Mitchell of South Carolina, gave birth just an hour apart on July 24th - and one gave birth to twins. Mitchell was accompanying her sister to her doctor’s appointment, and then suddenly they both went into labor.