October 14, 2012

To the surprise of few, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva easily disposed of light heavyweight Stephan Bonnar in the first round of the main event at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night.

After standing at the fence to dodge Bonnar's punches early in the round, Silva pounced. He landed a knee to Bonnar's chest, then followed up with ground and pound until the fight was stopped in the first round.

"I'm not the best. I just do things that people think are impossible," Silva said after the fight. "I'm not going to fight at 205 again. I fought at 205 to save the event."

Silva and Bonnar took this fight on short notice after UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo was injured and had to pull out of UFC 153. Silva moved up in weight, which meant questions about his intentions to fight at a bigger weight class.

Earlier in the night, Dave Herman said in his pre-fight video that jiu-jitsu doesn't work. He may want to rethink that stance after being submitted by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the second round.

In the second round, Nogueira grappled to get Herman close to a submission, but Herman defended each hold. But late in the round, Nogueira used beautiful jiu-jitsu to maneuver Herman into an armbar that he couldn't get out of. Herman tapped at 4:31 of the second round, giving Nogueira the win.

"I feel so happy, because this man said jiu-jitsu doesn't work. But jiu-jitsu does work. Jiu-jitsu is Brazilian. Jiu-jitsu is an art," Nogueira said.

This was Nogueira's first fight since his arm was broken by Frank Mir at UFC 140. He had surgery and intense physical therapy to rehabilitate his arm, giving him a chance to win in front of a home crowd in Rio de Janeiro.

As expected, Glover Teixeira dominated Fabio Maldonado on the way to an early stoppage win. But what wasn't expected was how Maldonado stood in for 10 minutes of straight punishment.

Teixeira knocked Maldonado down early in the first round, and proceeded to ground and pound him in a full mount for most of the round. With his face badly swollen and bruised, Maldonado managed to work his way back to his feet. Though wobbly, he did managed to punch Teixeira with a big enough punch to send him reeling, but it was the last show of offense from Maldonado.

Teixeira dominated the second round in the same way. Maldonado's face was bruised and bleeding. The doctor checked the cut halfway through the round and let the fight continue. He checked again at the end of the second, and mercifully stopped the fight.

"He is not human! I told [trainer] John Hackleman in the locker room that I was going to knock this guy out. This guy got knocked down, and he held on. He is not human," Teixeira said.

Jon Fitch showed he was anything but boring in a decision win that stopped hot prospect Erick Silva. The judges saw it 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 for Fitch.

Fitch used grappling to control Silva in the first round, but things got interesting in the second. Silva took Fitch's back and sunk in a rear--naked choke. It was the kind of choke that would stop most fighters, but Fitch survived. When Fitch maneuvered out of the choke, he took top position, waylaid Silva with strikes, then worked his grappling game.

In the last 30 seconds of the second round, Fitch took Silva's back then transitioned to an armbar. Though Silva got out, the round clearly took its toll on Silva, the much younger fighter. The third round featured Fitch taking advantage of a clearly tired Silva. It was Fitch's ground and pound at its best. He landed 108 ground strikes throughout the bout.

"I didn't have a choice. I would have beaten anyone tonight. Any weight class. I needed a win. My family needed a win," Fitch said after the bout.

Their first fight ended quickly with a no contest after an unintentional eye poke stopped Wagner Prado. This time, it was all Phil Davis, as he outgrappled Prado for two rounds. Davis used his high-level wrestling skills to control Prado and stymie any shot at striking that the young fighter may have. In the second round, Davis was close to getting an arm triangle when he transitioned to an anaconda choke. Prado tapped at 4:29.

"Normally I'm the young lion coming in, but it's a different feeling getting in the gym, knowing someone like Wagner Prado is coming to knock your block off," Davis said after the fight.

Demian Maia started off the pay-per-view with a submission that showed his world-class submission skills. Maia had Rick Story in a a rear-naked choke in the first round, but had trouble getting his elbow underneath Story's chin. He then switch to crank Story's neck. Though Story tried to hold out, blood trickled out of his nose and he tapped at 2:30 in the first round.

January 8, 2013

The unemployment rate across the eurozone hit a new all-time high of 11.8% in November, official figures have shown.

This is a slight rise on 11.7% for the 17-nation region in October. The rate for the European Union as a whole in November was unchanged at 10.7%.

Spain, which is mired in deep recession, again recorded the highest unemployment rate, coming in at 26.6%.

More than 26 million people are now unemployed across the EU.

For the eurozone, the number of people without work reached 18.8 million said Eurostat, the official European statistics agency said.

'Continuing saga'

Greece had the second-highest unemployment rate in November, at 20%.

The youth unemployment rate was 24.4% in the eurozone, and 23.7% in the wider European Union. Youth unemployment - among people under 25 - was highest in Greece (57.6%), followed by Spain (56.5%

Overall unemployment was lowest in Austria (4.5%), Luxembourg (5.1%) and Germany (5.4%).

The eurozone and wider European Union economies are struggling with recession as government measures to reduce sovereign debt levels have impacted on economic growth.

However, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Monday that he believed the worst was over.

Mr Barroso said the turning point was last September's promise from the European Central Bank to buy unlimited amounts of eurozone states' debts, which has helped crisis hit countries borrow more cheaply.

But in the view of the UK's Institute of Directors, whose members rely on demand from trading partners in the eurozone, this "has bought time, but that is all it has done".

"It is clear that the economic implosion of several member states continues at a troubling pace," said the business group's chief economist Graeme Leach.

"The headline figures spell bad news, but that is compounded by the political and human impact of terrifying levels of youth unemployment in Spain, Greece and Italy.

"This saga is far from over, whatever President Barroso may believe, and it seems it is set to get worse in 2013."

'Very shocking'

BBC Economics Correspondent Andrew Walker said: "The biggest rises, in percentage terms, were in countries at the centre of the eurozone financial crisis - Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Portugal. One striking exception to that pattern was the Republic of Ireland where unemployment fell.

"The general trend however remains upwards and it makes it even harder for the governments concerned to collect the taxes they need to stabilise their debts."

Rabobank economist Jan Foley said the rise in unemployment was "the other side of austerity or structural reform."

"There is a very worrying picture painted by these numbers, and governments do need to wonder if they need more pro-growth strategies in the next few years," she told the BBC's News Channel.

The record low for the eurozone unemployment rate was 7.2%, which was recorded in February 2008, before the financial crisis that first gripped the banking sector spread to the real economy.

The historic low for the eurozone youth unemployment rate was 15% in March 2008.

May 13, 2013

Good Morning America - O.J. Simpson Makes Bid for New Trial, in First Public Appearance in Four Years (ABC News)

Wearing a blue prison jumpsuit, O.J. Simpson arrived at a Las Vegas courthouse today looking heavier and grayer than the handsome sports hero who once dominated the football field and became an avid golfer in his retirement.

Simpson, 65, was in court today to request a new trial on the grounds that his former attorney mishandled the armed robbery-kidnapping case that landed him a nine-to-33 year prison sentence.

The former National Football League star smiled and joked with his legal team as an officer shackled his hands during the lunch recess. The 6-foot-2-inch former athlete, who was once at the top of his game as a Heisman winner, then limped out of the courtroom.

Simpson, known as Nevada inmate No. 1027820, was convicted in 2008 of leading a sports memorabilia heist at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room. His attorneys contend he was trying to recover personal photographs he believed had been stolen.

A hidden audio recorder in the room captured the altercation and was a key piece of evidence used to convict the ex-NFL player.

Simpson's appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court was denied in 2010. As his current sentence stands, he won't be eligible for parole until 2017, when he will be 70 years old.

Simpson, who never testified at his 1995 trial in which he was acquitted of the murder of former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, or in his 2008 memorabilia-heist trial in which he was found guilty, is expected to take the stand this time.

Much of Simpson's testimony is expected to point fingers at his former attorney, Yale Galanter, who Simpson said fumbled the handling of his case.

In a sworn statement obtained by The Associated Press, Simpson said he told Galanter he'd planned to confront two sports memorabilia dealers to retrieve personal items he believed had been stolen from him.

"I fully disclosed my plan to Yale Galanter, and he advised me that I was within my legal rights," Simpson wrote. He added that Galanter told him it was acceptable as long as he did not trespass or use physical force.

Simpson also claimed in the statement that Galanter failed to tell him of a plea deal that would have gotten him two years in prison.

"Had I understood that there was an actual chance of conviction, I would have accepted such an offer," Simpson wrote in the statement.

Galanter did not immediately return's request for an interview.

Simpson became an infamous and polarizing character when he stood trial for the 1994 murders of his former wife and her friend. He was acquitted on Oct. 3, 1995, and walked out of court a free man.

Thirteen years later, on Oct. 3, 2008, he was convicted on armed robbery and kidnapping charges.

By ALYSSA NEWCOMB | Good Morning America

March 13, 2015

The ministry of a prominent Georgia mega-church pastor and evangelist who teaches that God wants to bless the faithful with earthly riches is seeking donations to buy a luxury jet valued at more than $65 million.

The website of Creflo Dollar Ministries asked people Friday to "Sow your love gift of any amount" to help the ministry buy a Gulfstream G650 airplane. Dollar and his wife, Taffi, are co-pastors of World Changers International Church in College Park, just south of Atlanta.

Dollar is one of the most prominent African-American preachers based around Atlanta who have built successful ministries on the prosperity gospel. Ministers in this tradition often hold up their own wealth as evidence that the teaching works.

The ministry's current plane, acquired in 1999, was built in 1984, has traveled more than 4 million miles and is no longer safe, spokesman Juda Engelmayer said. On a recent trip overseas, one of the engines failed, but the pilot was able to land safely and no one was injured, the ministry's website says.

"(W)e are asking members, partners, and supporters of this ministry to assist us in acquiring a Gulfstream G650 airplane so that Pastors Creflo and Taffi and World Changers Church International can continue to blanket the globe with the Gospel of grace," the ministry's website says.

Gulfstream's website lists an asking price of $67,950,000 for a G650 with a flight record of 1,616 hours and 625 landings since it entered service in mid-December.

Members of the ministry travel for much of the year bringing their message, food and supplies to people around the world, Engelmayer said. They need a plane that's fuel efficient, faster, with enough cargo capacity and enough seats, he said.

The G650 "flies at more than 92 percent of the speed of sound," typically holds about 18 seated passengers and can take off with a maximum weight of 99,600, according to Gulfstream's website.

Numerous online reports quoted the ministry website as saying: "We are believing for 200,000 people to give contributions of 300 US dollars or more to turn this dream into a reality."

On Friday afternoon, that line was gone, and the website instead said: "Your love gift of any amount will be greatly appreciated."

When asked about the change, Engelmayer replied in an email: "The ministry operates on the goodness of its followers and has always been a donor based organization. Every gift given is heartfelt and appreciated, and people who wish will give at the level comfortable to their situation and ability."

Soon after that, the website's entire page about the plane appeared disabled.

Dollar, who has five children, is a native of College Park and says he received a vision for the church in 1986. He held the first service in front of eight people in an elementary school cafeteria. His ministry grew quickly and the church moved into its current 8,500-seat sanctuary, on Dec. 24, 1995.

Dollar said in a 2007 interview with The Associated Press that he renounced his church salary, and his income comes only from personal investments, including a real estate business and horse breeding company called Dollar Ranch. He's also published more than 30 books, focusing mostly on family and life issues, including debt management.

He said he can get up to $100,000 for a single appearance on his packed schedule of speaking engagements.

Associated Press

October 8, 2012

BP has agreed a deal to sell a number of US assets, including its Texas City refinery, to Marathon Petroleum for $2.5bn (£1.6bn).

The deal includes $600m in cash, $1.2bn for the plant's inventories, and a further $700m depending on future output and margins.

The sale comes as the UK oil giant continues to raise cash to pay for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

BP said it had raised $35bn of a target of $38bn by the end of next year.

Together with the refinery, Marathon is buying a number of natural gas pipelines and four marketing terminals in the south-east of the country. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Last month, the company announced the sale of assets in the Gulf of Mexico for $5.6bn to US company Plains Exploration and Production.

US interests
"Today's announcement is the second major milestone in the strategic refocusing of our US fuels business," said Iain Conn, head of BP's global refining and marketing business.

"Together with the sale of our Carson, California refinery, announced in August, the Texas City divestment will allow us to focus BP's US fuel investments on our three northern refineries."

BP's asset sales are designed to raise funds to pay for the Deepwater spill, which followed an explosion that killed 11 workers.

The disaster also led to the release about 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

While BP's total liabilities are still not yet known, they could total more $21bn.

February 3, 2013

Berlin, Germany – A man carrying a $70 million check was recently busted by German customs.

Officials working at the Duesseldorf airport found the pricey check in the luggage of a unidentified man who had just arrived from Turkey. According to The Associated Press, the individual was later revealed to be 59-year-old Tahmasb Mazaheri.

Mazaheri was once the central bank chief in Iran. The $70 million check in his possession was reportedly issued by the Bank of Venezuela.

The Examiner reports the man now faces a whopping $1.4 million fine since he failed to declare the money when he entered the country. The check later confiscated by officials.

Authorities currently believe Tahmasb Mazaheri may be involved with some sort of money laundering scheme. Mazaheri is reportedly cooperating with officials as they investigate the $70 million check and its mysterious origins.

Customs officials and Iran’s embassy have yet to comment on the situation as of this writing. Tahmasb Mazaheri has also remained tight-lipped about the situation.

According to The Washington Post, Mazaheri was the chief of the Central Bank of Iran from 2007 until 2008. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly replaced Mazaheri after the two’s differences over policy and inflation could not be worked out.

Mazaheri was known to vocally oppose how the government conducted business. Journalist Mohammad Atrianfar said the removal of the central bank chief allowed the country’s President to essentially do what he wanted.

He explained:

“Mazaheri’s departure clears the path for Ahmadinejad to change the economy the way he wants. Mazaheri, who was much more professional than the president, would delay or alter government plans. Now the president has a free hand.”

It’s currently unknown if the former chief of the Central Bank of Iran will be charged with any crimes for attempting to sneak the $70 million check through German customs. An investigation into the matter is currently underway.

February 12, 2013

Lehigh University student got a C+ and now seeks $1.3 million in lawsuit

A graduate of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. has sued the school for $1.3 million because she is unhappy that she got a C+ in a class in 2009.

Megan Thode, 27, says the grade ruined her dream of becoming a licensed professional counselor, reports The Morning Call, an Allentown-based newspaper. Her civil suit alleges breach of contract and sexual discrimination. It contends that the grade was part of a broader attempt to force her to abandon the graduate degree she was pursuing.

Trial proceedings began Monday in Northampton County and could last the rest of this week.

Thode was in the last year of a master’s in counseling and human services in Lehigh’s College of Education. She needed a B in the course at issue — a fieldwork class — to qualify for another round of field work, which was required to obtain the degree.

Thode’s lawyer, Richard J. Orloski, maintains that she deserved a higher grade. However, her professor, Amanda Carr, awarded her a big, fat zero for classroom participation. That zero brought her grade down.

Orloski has also alleged that Carr and Nicholas Ladany (who was the director of the degree program) conspired against Thode because she and three other students were critical when they were had to search for supplemental internships midway through a semester.

The suit also charges that the course professor treated Thode unfairly because of Thode’s support for gay and lesbian causes — a claim Lehigh flatly disputes, according to The Morning Call.

Thode did graduate from Lehigh with a master’s degree, but not the one she aspired to have. According to Orloski, the $1.3 million Thode seeks in damages represents the money she’ll lose over the course of her career because she isn’t able to be a state-certified counselor.

“She’s literally lost a career,” said Orloski, according to The Morning Call.

Neil Hamburg, an attorney for Lehigh, says Thode’s lawsuit is outrageous.

“I think if your honor changed the grade, you’d be the first court in the history of jurisprudence to change an academic grade,” Hamburg told the judge presiding over the case. “She has to get through the program. She has to meet the academic standards.”

Hamburg pointed out that Thode is the daughter of Lehigh finance professor Stephen Thode. One of the perks of that relationship was that she was able to enroll in the Lehigh graduate program tuition-free. The school provided her with a job as well. She also got to attend York College of Pennsylvania at no charge as an undergraduate thanks to her Lehigh connections, says The Call.

Thode was on the witness stand Monday. Another Lehigh attorney, Michael Sacks, grilled her about her free ride.
“Even after you sued Lehigh, you were getting free tuition and working for Lehigh?” Sacks queried.

“Yes,” Thode answered.

Lehigh’s lawyers allege that Thode’s behavior in class was not acceptable for someone seeking a master’s degree in counseling. On at least one occasion, they said, she used profanity in class. Another time, she broke down crying.

Before filing her lawsuit, Thode filed complaints with the university over the C+ grade, showing up at meetings with her father, the finance professor. She sought a written apology from Carr, the course instructor, and a “plan for compensating me financially,” notes The Morning Call.

June 19, 2013
Actor James Gandolfini, 'The Sopranos' Star, Dead at 51

HBO - James Gandolfini in HBO's "The Sopranos."

Terrible news for TV fans: James Gandolfini, who played mobster Tony Soprano on HBO's seminal drama "The Sopranos," died suddenly today at the age of 51, Variety is reporting.
Gandolfini was traveling in Italy on vacation when he fell ill; various reports have him suffering a heart attack and a stroke. He is survived by his wife, Deborah Lin, and a son, Michael, from a previous marriage.

He won three Emmys and one Golden Globe for his performance as Tony Soprano on the HBO drama, a conflicted, sometimes villainous role that launched the current wave of TV antiheroes. "The Sopranos" remains HBO's highest-rated series ever, with 13.4 million viewers tuning in for the Season 4 premiere in 2002.
In addition to "The Sopranos," Gandolfini appeared in dozens of movies, including memorable supporting turns in "True Romance," "Get Shorty," and last year's "Zero Dark Thirty."

February 25, 2016
[img][/img] Nigerian pastor David Oyedepo, who is also known as Papa, is the founder of Living Faith Church World Wide, which goes as far back as 1981. The international figure owns a Rolls-Royce Phantom, homes in the U.S. and U.K., as well as an array of private jets. [img][/img] The Israeli-American Evangelist established the Orlando Christian Center in 1983. Broadcasting healing crusades held in stadiums, his ability to ‘cure’ terminal illnesses such as cancer has, however, been a source of controversy, impacting the rise of his name, ministry, and finances simultaneously. [img][/img] Joel Osteen is the senior pastor of Lakewood Church, Texas, which was founded by his late father, John Osteen. Lakewood stands today as the largest and fastest growing church in America with over 38,000 attendees every week. The charismatic preacher is also a best-selling author of over 15 notable titles. [img][/img] Nigerian Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, better known as ‘Pastor Chris,’ is the man behind Christ Embassy, a church and mission organization with offices in United Kingdom, USA, and South Africa. His other endeavors include magazines, newspapers, a TV station, a record label, hotels, satellite TV and real estate. [img][/img] Pastor Dollar’s World Changers International ministry in Georgia commands a huge following with 30,000 followers. He says, “It is the will of God for you to prosper in every way.” That message is of course very hard to ignore with a bank account such as his. [img][/img] The ministry of 95-year-old revered cleric, Billy Graham, dates back to the 1940s, an era that witnessed him serve as advisor to several presidents, including Lyndon Johnson. [img][/img] Rick Warren is the pastor of America’s eight largest church, Saddleback Church. He admittedly gives away 90% of his income and lives off 10%. [img][/img] Charismatic Bishop, author, producer, and actor, T.D. Jakes is the founder and chief pastor of The Potter’s House in Texas. His ministry’s annual revival MegaFest draws more than 100,000 people from all parts of the world. [img][/img] Pastor T.B Joshua founded The Synagogue Church Of All Nations in 1987. He is also the owner of Emmanuel TV, a Christian television network. Making a name for himself as one of the more charitable Nigerian Evangelists, Joshua is consistent in his humanitarian works in education, healthcare and rehabilitation programs. [img][/img] A Muslim until the age of 22, Pastor Ashimolowo converted to Christianity following his father’s death. Aside from producing a media company as well as Christian literature, Ashimolowo is now also the senior pastor of Kingsway International Christian Centre.

May 31, 2012
Whoa! ‘Taxpayers’ Want Diddy’s Son To Give Back His Scholarship?
May 31, 2012 22 By Dr. Boyce Watkins

There is an article in Yahoo Finance that claims that “taxpayers” are asking that Diddy’s son Justin return his $54,000 scholarship to UCLA so they could give it to students who need the money more than he does. Apparently, Diddy’s massive fortune precludes his son’s right to earn a scholarship like everyone else, even if he has a 3.75 GPA and happens to be a great athlete.

Not everyone agrees that Justin should have to give back the dough, since the scholarship was athletic and not academic.
“He’s done what he needs to do to be successful, and in ‘Ameritocracy,’ we have to accept that no matter who your father is, whether he be rich, poor, or absent, that you can in fact be successful on your own merit,” said educator Steve Perry.

Diddy definitely doesn’t need a scholarship to send his son to college. Just this year, he has earned $45 million from his various endeavors and was on the Forbes list of richest celebs. The $54,000 that Justin received to go to UCLA might be spent by Diddy on one night out at the club or on a new pair of sneakers for his cat. So one can easily understand the frustration of seeing him get any sort of financial aid.

While I can appreciate the sentiment of those who are keenly aware that Diddy doesn’t need the money for his son, the fact is that critics are wrong.

There’s something about being Black that makes others far more aware of when you’re allegedly milking the system in ways that would be overlooked if you were White.

The “outrage” over Justin’s scholarship would make sense if Justin was the first wealthy kid to ever receive an athletic scholarship. It’s not as if Justin got the money based on need or even based on his minority status. He got it for playing football and being pretty good at his sport. Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised if his father’s connections helped him to jump a bar that he wouldn’t be able to jump if he were some regular kid from the ghetto.

But I guess that’s the benefit of having a Father who’s made millions by feeding bottles of liquor to Black people all over the world and making a lot of mediocre music (Seriously, Diddy hasn’t made hot music since Biggie was alive 15 years ago, and you know it).

With that being said, Justin’s scholarship is a non-issue and a non-conversation topic. When every rich kid in America gets his scholarship taken away, then we can talk. Until then, let the boy go to college like everybody else, he earned it.