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By FOX NEWS –

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. A string of artificial islands off the coast of New Jersey and New York could blunt the impact of storm surges that proved so deadly during Superstorm Sandy, according to a proposal vying for attention and funding as the region continues its recovery.

It’s a big proposal that would cost $10 billion to $12 billion. But it’s also the kind of innovative idea that federal officials requested as they consider how best to protect the heavily populated region from future storms.

“We’ve discussed this with the governor’s office of Recovery and Resiliency and the Department of Environmental Protection, and they all look at me like, `Whoa! This is a big deal!” said Alan Blumberg, a professor at New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of Technology. “Yes, it is a big deal. It can save lives and protect property.”

The “Blue Dunes” proposal is part of Rebuild By Design, a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to come up with novel ways to protect against the next big storm. It is one of 10 projects that will be evaluated and voted on next week, but there’s no guarantee any of them will receive funding. Other ideas include building sea walls around cities, re-establishing oyster colonies in tidal flats to blunt wave action and creating water-absorbent nature and recreational preserves.

The artificial islands plan was created by Stevens Institute, along with the WXY architectural firm and West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture. It is designed to blunt the worst effect of Sandy: the storm surge that pounded the coast. From Maryland to New Hampshire, the storm was blamed for 159 deaths, and New Jersey and New York alone claimed a total of nearly $79 billion in damage.

“How do you protect New Jersey and New York at the same time from the storm of the future?” Blumberg asked. “Our idea is to build a chain of islands, like a long slender banana. The wave action and storm surge will reflect off these islands and go back out to sea rather than hitting the coast. Barnegat Bay would not be pounded, nor would lower Manhattan or Hoboken.”

The islands 10 to 12 miles off the coast would be uninhabited, though day trips for surfing or fishing might be allowed, Blumberg said. They would be built by pumping sand atop some hard base made of rock, concrete or other material, he said.

Steve Sandberg, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said funding for at least some of the proposals is already available as part of the $60 billion in Sandy aid that Congress passed last year. Other money could come from disaster recovery grants as well as public and private-sector funding, according to the Rebuild by Design website.

A gap would be left between the New York and New Jersey island groups, mainly to allow water from the Hudson River to flow out into the ocean.

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After Sandy, feds discuss plans for artificial islands off New Jersey, New York

A U.S. Senate investigative panel is examining whether Caterpillar Inc. improperly avoided U.S. taxes by moving profits outside the country, said three people familiar with the inquiry.

The Senates Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will hold a hearing in early April, said two of the people. They spoke on condition of anonymity before an official announcement.

Rachel Potts, a spokeswoman for Caterpillar, based in Peoria, Ill., declined to comment. Gordon Trowbridge, a spokesman for Subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin, declined to comment.

In 2009, Daniel Schlicksup, an employee who had worked on Caterpillars tax strategy, alleged in a lawsuit in federal court that the company used a Swiss structure to shift profits to offshore companies and avoid more than $2 billion in U.S. taxes. He also alleged that Caterpillar used a Bermuda structure involving shell companies to return profits to the U.S. without paying required taxes.

According to Schlicksups complaint, the Swiss structure involved many shell corporations with no business operations, in which the management of profitable businesses was technically shifted to Switzerland while actually remaining in the U.S.

Schlicksups lawsuit, which alleged that Caterpillar executives retaliated against him, was settled in 2012, according to court filings. The company denied the allegations, which Bloomberg News first reported in 2011.

The Senate subcommittee led by Levin, a Michigan Democrat, has been examining tax avoidance by multinational companies.

Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Apple Inc. have been the subjects of previous hearings by the panel.

The 2013 investigation into Apple uncovered a subsidiary that earned $30 billion over four years with no home for tax purposes.

The subcommittee also has investigated Swiss banks such as Credit Suisse Group AG for aiding tax evasion by wealthy Americans.

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Caterpillar said to be focus of U.S. Senate panel inquiry

‘Cheats to pay back the working man’

(By Christopher Livesay) (ANSA) – Rome, March 21 – Premier Matteo Renzi on Friday vowed to rein in tax dodgers, who every year evade payments on over 130 billion euros in income. Speaking after his first EU summit in Brussels, the new premier said that finally “those who have never paid will have to pay,” in order to “pay back citizens who have paid for the crisis due to nearsighted politicians who are far from the needs of the people”. Renzi vowed to implement “innovative methods” to cross check financial records digitally. The problem of tax evasion is well publicized and a constant and long-running problem for governments. They have intensified in recent years as governments have struggled to meet their obligations in the midst of a double-dip recession that began in 2008-2009. On the heels of that came a second crisis which reached depths in the past two years not seen since World War II. That was further aggravated by austerity measures to avoid a Greek-like economic meltdown when interest rates on Italian bonds rose alarmingly high. The hard medicine forced on Italy to try to regain its financial footing included program cuts and tax hikes that businesses say have crippled their operations while stunting economic growth and job creation. Recession in Italy, the eurozone’s third-largest economy, began to show tentative signs of easing only in the second half of last year. The economy remains fragile with a tepid growth outlook, although things may be improving with Renzi, a business-friendly reformer, at the reins. On Friday, Italian retailers’ association Confcommercio revised its growth forecast from 0.3% to 0.5% in 2014, and 0.9% in 2015. Those numbers could go up even more if Renzi follows through on cutting over 12 billion euros in income and business taxes, Confcommercio said. However, the forecast is weaker than the national inflation rate that averaged 1.2% in 2013, and if unemployment remains at the record-high 12.9%, it suggests that the incentives to avoid paying out cash to tax collectors will remain weak. According to the finance police, last year they discovered 8,315 evaders who concealed income or did not even file a tax return on 16.1 billion euros in revenues. About 15.1 billion euros that were not reported to tax authorities came from international income including “transfers of convenience” to tax havens as well as foreign-based companies’ income earned in Italy that is subject to taxation here. The finance police said much of that was uncovered by working cooperatively with agencies in other countries. Almost five billion euros were dodged by Italians avoiding the value-added tax alone, and more than 13,000 people were found to be working “in nero” or outside the legal system, meaning their work was not reported and they paid no tax. By not cracking down on tax evasions, particularly on value added tax, Italy lost 36.1 billion euros in 2011, giving it the worst record in the EU on VAT collection, according to a study by the European Commission. France had the next worst record, losing 32.2 billion euros to tax evasion in 2011, followed by Germany with 26.9 billion euros lost. The study says reasons for tax evasion include fraud but also bankruptcies and defaults, and the eurozone economic crisis which left more and more companies in such dire straits they cannot pay taxes owed. Still, improving anti-fraud measures would “certainly help Italy to bridge the gap” between value-added taxes owed and what is actually paid to the government, said a spokesman for EU Taxation Commissioner Algirdas Semeta. Across the 28-member European Union, lost revenue in 2011 totalled 193 billion euro, equal to 1.5% of GDP.

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Renzi vows crackdown on tax dodgers

Spains Balearic Islands plan to regain control over offshore projects from tourism to oil drilling when the activities are adjacent to protected habitats.

The regional government is revising 14 management plans that were partially annulled last month by the Supreme Court for failing to demonstrate why control over the Mediterranean waters shouldnt be under the jurisdiction of the national government.

At stake are environmentally sensitive areas of water for which the European Commission has approved extra protections to foster biodiversity of plants and wildlife. Spains high court, after an appeal by the national government, invalidated parts of those plans that covered offshore areas of the zones, which are called Sites of Community Importance under European Union law.

The revisions should restore authority to the Balearic Islands government, according to a spokesman for its environment ministry who asked not to be named, in line with the departments policy.

The Supreme Court invalidated the safeguards for waters off Mallorca, Menorca and smaller islands in the area in a Feb. 20 ruling published subsequently on the judiciarys website.

The Balearics, particularly Mallorca and Ibiza, are popular with tourists to Spain. While the court ruling didnt specifically address oil exploration, the islands waters have drawn interest from prospectors seeking licenses for seismic studies. Exploration is opposed by the regional government and has been supported by Spains national government.

Companies that have explored the Spanish Mediterranean or have permits to do so include Repsol SA (REP), Cairn Energy Plc and Spectrum Geo Ltd. Most of their searches are focused instead on the waters off the mainland peninsula.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd White in Madrid at twhite2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Timothy Coulter at tcoulter@bloomberg.net Alex Devine, Amanda Jordan

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Balearic Islands Lose Environmental Case in Spanish Court

Chicago’sbanon the sale and transfer of firearms was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge, saying that while the government has a duty to protect its citizens, it’s also obligated to protect constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

A federal judge on Monday overturnedChicago’sbanon the sale and transfer of firearms, ruling that the city’s ordinances aimed at reducinggunviolence are unconstitutional.

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US District Judge Edmond E. Chang said in his ruling that while the government has a duty to protect its citizens, it’s also obligated to protect constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. However, Chang said he would temporarily stay the effects of his ruling, meaning the ordinances can stand while the city decides whether to appeal.

The decision is just the latest to attack what were some of the toughest gun-control laws in the nation. In 2010, the US Supreme Court struck downChicago’slong-standinggunban. And last year, Illinois legislators were forced by a federal appeals court to adopt a law allowing residents to carry concealed weapons in Illinois, the only state that stillbannedthe practice. The resulting state law largely stripped city and officials of surrounding Cook County of their authority to regulateguns, which especially irked officials inChicago, where residents had to apply for concealed-carry permits through the police chief.

National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde applauded Chang’s decision, saying the fact a federal judge appointed by President Barack Obama “ruled in favor of the Second Amendment, shows how out of step and outrageousChicago’sordinances really are.”

Roderick Drew, a spokesman forChicago’slaw department, said Mayor Rahm Emanuel disagrees with Chang’s ruling and has instructed the city’s lawyer to consider options to regulategunsales.

“Every yearChicagopolice recover more illegalgunsthan officers in any city in the country, a factor of lax federal laws as well as lax laws in Illinois and surrounding states related to straw purchasing and the transfer ofguns,” Drew said. “We need strongergunsafety laws, not increased access to firearms within the city.”

Chang’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers and threeChicagoresidents. The judge notedChicago’sbancovers not only federally licensed firearms dealers, but also gifts among family members, all in the name of reducinggunviolence.

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Chicago’s ban on gun sales violates the Second Amendment, rules federal judge

Water breaches sand dunes in Belmar, NJ as Hurricane Sandy approaches on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 (credit: Kathryn Brown/CBS 2)

MANASQUAN, N.J. (AP) Wider beaches are on the way for some Jersey shore towns whose coast took a pounding during Superstorm Sandy as a $25 million beach replenishment project led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins Friday in Manasquan.

Right after Superstorm Sandy, I remember seeing the devastation, said U.S Rep. Christopher Smith, a Republican who represents some of the affected towns. Weve got to replenish, weve got to rebuild the dunes because they did mitigate the loss. The damage would have been far worse had the Army Corps projects not been in place.

But the project that will widen beaches from Manasquan north to Belmar will not include restoring dunes that washed away during Sandy last year. That would have to be done under a separate project, possibly funded by state and local governments

The work is among several beach restoration projects that were done this year, or that will begin next spring or summer. Work on the northern Monmouth County shoreline including Sea Bright was done earlier this year, as were projects in three towns on Long Beach Island in Ocean County. Additional projects in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties could get underway next spring or early summer, said Ed Voigt, a spokesman for the Army Corps.

Those projects include the southern end of Ocean City, along with Strathmere and Sea Isle City, and additional towns on Long Beach Island. Beach replenishment should be completed by December in Ventnor, he said.

The work will widen beaches, some of which have eroded to just 75 feet wide, to a width of 150 to 250 feet.

Normally, the Army Corps would be authorized to return the beaches only to their pre-storm condition. But special authorization after last years devastating storm gave the Corps permission to restore the beaches to their fully-built design condition, a state last achieved in 1997, according to Anthony Ciorra, a Superstorm Sandy project manager for the Army Corps.

Much of Manasquans beachfront was devastated by the storm on Oct. 29, 2012. It washed away tons of sand, smashed and washed away half the boroughs asphalt beach walk, and destroyed numerous beachfront houses.

Beach replenishment works by sucking sand from the sea floor, carrying it through a network of submerged pipes, and shooting it through a huge basket-type filter onto the shoreline.

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Report: Wider Beaches On The Way For Some Shore Towns

TOKYO: Japan is putting missiles on islands marking the gateway to the Pacific, officials said on Thursday, as part of a huge military drill that has unsettled Beijing.

The exercise, aimed at bolstering Japan’s defence of remote islands, has already seen a launching system and a loader for Type-88 surface-to-ship missiles installed on Miyako island, complete with two missiles.

Four more missiles were due to arrive on the main island of Okinawa later on Thursday. It was not clear how long they would remain in place.

“This is the first time” that missile systems have been taken to Miyako, said a spokesman for the Joint Staff of the Self Defence Forces, adding that the missiles could not be fired in their present state.

“The drill is designed for the defence of islands,” he said.

While the Japanese military makes no secret of the fact these missiles are not operable, observers say their deployment serves to remind anyone watching of Japan’s capabilities.

The Self Defense Forces began their 18 days of war games on November 1, with 34,000 military personnel, six vessels and 360 aircraft.

The exercise comes amid growing nervousness in Japan and other parts of Asia over China’s surging military might, which has seen it expand its naval reach into the Pacific Ocean as it squabbles with Tokyo over the ownership of islands in the East China Sea.

Beijing also has separate disputes with numerous countries over competing claims in the South China Sea. It claims most of the sea as its territory.

Chinese naval assets stationed in the north of the country are somewhat hemmed in by the chain of Japanese islands that separate the East China Sea and the Pacific.

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Japan putting missiles on Pacific gateway islands

Billionaire John Malones Liberty Global Plc (LBTYA) is unlikely to raise its offer for Kabel Deutschland Holding AG (KD8) after Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) agreed to buy the German cable company, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Liberty, which made a preliminary offer for Kabel Deutschland last month, recognizes its bid would face antitrust obstacles and considers Vodafones offer expensive, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The company hasnt made a final decision, they said.

Vodafone announced June 24 that it planned to buy Kabel Deutschland after increasing its bid for Germanys largest cable company to 87 euros a share, or 7.7 billion euros ($10.1 billion). Liberty, whose offer a week earlier was said to be valued at 85 euros a share, hasnt been in touch with Kabel Deutschland executives since the agreement with Vodafone, said another person familiar with the matter.

Liberty already owns Germanys no. 2 cable operator after combining Unitymedia and Kabel Baden-Wuerttemberg GmbH last year, making antitrust approval difficult, the people said. While Vodafones offer is all-cash, Liberty proposed a complex structure that involved injecting Malones existing cable assets into Kabel Deutschland, people familiar with the matter said earlier.

Kabels board is set to recommend the offer from the U.K. company, in what would be the second-biggest takeover of a telecommunications network in Europe this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mobile operators are looking to acquire fixed-line assets as smartphone adoption slows and heavy regulation restrains wireless profits. Last year Vodafone agreed to buy the U.K.s Cable & Wireless Worldwide Plc to cope with surging data traffic on its own network in its home country.

Marcus Smith, a spokesman for London-based Liberty, and Insa Calsow, a spokeswoman for Kabel Deutschland, based near Munich, declined to comment.

The odds of Liberty success seem slimmer and slimmer, Robin Bienenstock, an analyst with Sanford C Bernstein in London, said in a July 1 note. German regulators would probably subject the deal to a heavy review and Kabel Deutschlands board has welcomed the Vodafone bid, she said.

Vodafones 87-euro offer is 37 percent more than Kabel Deutschlands closing price on Feb. 12, the day before Vodafones interest was initially reported. Liberty considers that a high price based on earnings multiples, the people said.

Kabel Deutschland shares fell 0.2 percent in Frankfurt to 83.87 euros today. Liberty increased almost 1.7 percent to $75.65 at yesterdays close in New York.

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Liberty Said Unlikely to Counter Vodafone on Kabel Deutschland

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – A takeover of Kabel Deutschland (Other OTC: KBDHY – news) by rival Liberty Global (NasdaqGS: LBTYA – news) would be more complicated from an anti-trust point of view than Kabel’s acquisition by Vodafone (LSE: VOD.L – news) , Germany’s cartel office said on Wednesday.

Vodafone on Monday agreed to buy Kabel Deutschland, Germany’s largest cable operator, for 7.7 billion euros ($10.1 billion), beating a rival approach made by Liberty.

But if Liberty were to return with a counter bid it would face difficulties due to competition issues, the head of the German cartel office said.

“Without any doubt anti-trust problems will arise in the case of a merger between Liberty Global and Kabel Deutschland,” Andreas Mundt told reporters at a press conference in Bonn.

Mundt also said that Liberty’s 3.16 billion-euro ($4.13 billion) takeover of smaller peer KabelBW was approved in 2011 only after far-reaching conditions were set to satisfy the regulator, since it already owned Unity Media, Germany’s second-largest cable operator.

Liberty is still considering its options following the Vodafone offer for Kabel Deutschland, a person familiar with the deliberations told Reuters.

However, Liberty may still face a setback in its takeover of KabelBW as Deutsche Telekom (Xetra: 555750 – news) challenged the approval decision last year in a court case which opened on Wednesday.

Liberty Global and Kabel Deutschland have been winning customers from Deutsche Telekom with their expansion into broadband.

Their cable lines, designed to deliver TV to homes, have been upgraded to carry voice calls and Internet at speeds often five times faster than competing services offered by Deutsche Telekom and others.

During the court hearing in Duesseldorf on Wednesday the terms of the KabelBW deal were closely questioned again, a spokesman for the court said.

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Watchdog sees complications with Liberty-Kabel deal

BRUSSELS Europe’s biggest cable operator Liberty Global Inc. received the green light Monday for its $22.5 billion acquisition of Virgin Media Inc., the U.K.’s second-largest pay-TV operator, after the European Union said the acquisition raised no competition concerns.

Market analysts said the Virgin Media deal will likely reinforce Douglas County-based Liberty Global’s challenge against BSkyB, the U.K.’s top pay-TV provider, owned by Rupert Murdoch. News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal, is BSkyB’s largest shareholder, with a 39.1 percent stake.

The European Commission, which acts as the EU’s antitrust watchdog, said the companies operate cable networks in different EU countries, and that the merged entity would have only a limited market position in the wholesale of TV channels in the U.K. and Ireland.

Liberty Global said the transaction was still subject to majority approval from both shareholders. “The respective shareholder meetings, as well as the closing of the transaction, are expected to occur in the second quarter of 2013,” said Marcus Smith, a spokesman for the company.

In its review, the commission said it had looked into the TV content acquisition sector in the U.K., Ireland and the European Economic Area as a whole. It also investigated the vertical link between Liberty Global’s activities in the wholesale supply of pay-TV channels, it said.

“It is unlikely that the merged entity would shut out competing TV channel broadcasters from access to the retail Pay-TV market,” the commission said in its statement.

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Liberty Global receives European Commission nod to acquire Virgin Media

SEO traffic Lab went into the Easter break celebrating even more client wins from two very different markets and unlike the old adage everything but the kitchen sink, this time one of the clients includes them.

Gainsborough, Lincolnshire (PRWEB UK) 2 April 2013

With over 30 years in the business, supplying both domestic and commercial kitchen products and appliances a spokesman for Fit My Kitchen said, The focus of our business is to offer valuable support and advice, giving you the product that would best suit your requirement. We also specialise in stocking items that you may not find elsewhere, giving you the opportunity to make your project more personal and unique.

SEO Traffic Lab are going to be looking after a complete and bespoke project package for Fit My Kitchen which will include a full SEO campaign for the firm as they move into 2013 with a focus on expanding their already substantial market share of this fast paced market.

The second business to join the Lab is at the opposite end of the spectrum but another familiar market to the Lincolnshire based firm. Katie Long Shoes specialise in providing fashionable footwear to the ever growing market for ladies with a need for a larger shoe size. The firm which started in 2008 is the brainchild of a budding entrepreneur who in her own words started a quest for lovely Large Size Ladies Shoes.

Since this time the company has sourced several top brands that manufacture large size ladies shoes and this includes having their own brand which is manufactured in several independent Spanish factories in many beautiful styles. Founder of Katie Long Shoes said This is a major investment of resources for our firm and we are looking forward to improving our market share with the help of SEO Traffic Lab.

The Lincolnshire based digital marketing experts have seen their business go from strength to strength throughout 2012 with not only taking on many new clients but doubling the number of their own team and this looks set to continue throughout 2013 with the firm once again looking to recruit more staff. Richard Hill the managing director of the firm said, We expect 2013 to progress at an even faster pace than we experienced last year, and are currently planning a major event calendar as well as recruiting more staff. Not only have we expanded at a phenomenal rate over the past 18 months, but we have managed to maintain our core belief of performance driven digital marketing.

About

SEO Traffic Lab are a Lincolnshire based SEO Company focused on Performance Driven Digital Marketing with offices in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire and London. Their unique combination of dedicated conversion rate optimisation and search marketing (SEO) makes sure that their SEO campaigns drive growth with a measurable return on investment.

Their fundamental mission is to relentlessly create results that can transform a business, a dedicated customer experience, real results and a focus on delivering what they say they will.

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SEO Traffic Lab celebrate winning more clients from diverse markets

Pistols are offered for sale at Freddie Bear Sports on October 18, 2012 in Tinley Park, Illinois. (Scott Olson, Getty Images)

The Second Amendment’s guarantee of a right to bear arms does not extend to the right to carry a concealed weapon in public, a federal appeals court in Denver has ruled.

“We conclude that the carrying of concealed firearms is not protected by the Second Amendment . . .” Justice Carlos Lucero wrote on behalf of a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lucero cited case law dating to the 1800s that put restrictions on walking around in public with a gun.

“In light of our nation’s extensive practice of restricting citizens’ freedom to carry firearms in a concealed manner, we hold that this activity does not fall within the scope of the Second Amendment’s protections,” he wrote in the ruling issued

The case began when a Washington state resident was denied a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Colorado. Gray Peterson, who holds a concealed carry permit in his home state as well as in Florida, applied for a similar permit in Colorado.

When that permit was denied, because Colorado law allows only state residents to hold one, Peterson sued.

On a blog Peterson describes himself as “a civil rights activist” who specializes in lesbian, gay and transgender issues as well as Second Amendment rights.

Numerous organizations, from the National Rifle Association Civil Rights Defense Fund to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, weighed in on the case.

On Friday, though, a spokesman for the Second Amendment Foundation, which filed a brief in support of Peterson, played down the significance of the ruling.

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Federal court: No Second Amendment guarantee for concealed carry



Project Mayhem 2012 “Operation of the machine” #PM2012 #TYLER
What is Project Mayhem 2012? – galatorg.com – piratepad.net – pastebin.com TAGS: #PM2012 #ProjectMayhem2012 #TYLER Twitter: twitter.com — Quote «There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!» — About «Mario Savio, a man of brilliance, compassion, and humor, came to public notice as a spokesman for the Free Speech Movement at the University of California in 1964. Having spent the summer as a civil rights worker in segregationist Mississippi, Savio returned to Berkeley at a time when students throughout the country were beginning to mobilize in support of racial justice and against the deepening American involvement in Vietnam.» More here: www.savio.org — Credits Footage taken from user scorpio3115 @ www.youtube.comFrom:iacobusCViews:2 0ratingsTime:00:41More inNews Politics

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Project Mayhem 2012 "Operation of the machine" #PM2012 #TYLER – Video

Liberty Global Inc. (LBTYA) doesnt plan to change its offer to buy out the shares of Belgiums Telenet Group Holding NV (TNET) for 35 euros ($45) a share, despite a Lazard Ltd. (LAZ) report saying the company is worth 37 euros to 42 euros.

Liberty announced plans last month to buy the almost 50 percent of Telenet that it doesnt already own for a total of about 2 billion euros. Lazard, a financial advisory firm, was hired to assess the shares under Belgian takeover rules. Liberty, a cable company led by billionaire John Malone, said yesterday that Lazards methodology was flawed.

Liberty Global has serious reservations regarding the long-term business plan assumptions that were used in the valuation report prepared by Lazard, the Englewood, Colorado- based company said yesterday in a statement. Liberty Global believes that these assumptions form a speculative plan that cannot be reasonably achieved or implemented.

The U.S. company, working with Morgan Stanley, values the Belgian cable provider at 28 euros to 35 euros a share, according to the statement. It also removed the 95 percent requirement for acceptance of the offer.

Liberty Global continues to believe that the offer price represents a meaningful premium to its view on the intrinsic value of Telenet and a unique opportunity for the shareholders to monetize their entire investment at a time when the European cable sector is trading at a multiyear high, Liberty Global said.

Telenet dropped as much as 1.8 percent to 35.22 euros in Brussels and was down 1.1 percent as of 10:23 a.m. Liberty Global dropped 1.9 percent to the equivalent of $59.42 in Frankfurt trading. The stock closed at $60.40 on Oct. 26 in the U.S. and didnt trade yesterday because New York markets were shut in anticipation of a tropical storm.

Telenets board of directors is preparing a response to Liberty Global that will argue its valuation is higher than Libertys offer, the company said in a separate statement. The Swiss bank UBS AG is assisting in the preparations.

Vincent Bruyneel, a spokesman for Telenet, declined to comment on Libertys statement.

The current offer values Telenet at 5.6 times its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. That compares with a median multiple of 5.3 for 114 telecommunications deals in Western Europe in the past year.

The deal would increase Libertys role in Europe, already its biggest market for cable customers. The transaction also would allow Liberty to save money from duplicate operations and take advantage of untapped synergies, Liberty Chief Executive Officer Mike Fries said last month.

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Liberty Proceeds With Telenet Deal Amid Valuation Dispute

Bing has partnered with Facebook and Klout to provide users with “social-search” results and now fields about 30 percent of Internet search queries

Draper, UT (PRWEB) October 02, 2012

While Google is clearly the market leader, we view Bing as a dark horse, SEO.com President Ash Buckles said. Nearly a third of all Web searches now go through Bing. This is considerably more share than Microsoft achieved previously with MSN and Live Search.

Bing turned heads with the way the search engine integrated social media into its search results, said Claye Stokes, director of SEO at SEO.com.

Facebook and Bing partnered to provide a search experience that integrates elements of the social networking website into the search engine. Once the user enables the Facebook-Bing application, related posts from the users Facebook friends will appear on a separate sidebar. Bing has also aligned with Klout, a tool that measures social influence, to provide users with expert opinions on certain subjects.

Our design focuses on unique ways to bring friends and experts into search results, said Kevin Anderson, a spokesman for Bing. These social results complement the standard search results without compromising them.

The focus on social media in search was part of Bings recent redesign, which was rolled out in May. The changes marked Bings first major tweaks in its three-year history. Aside from incorporating social media into search, Bing also focused on cleaning up its results pages, combating what they call search overload syndrome, by making results more human-friendly.

All of the redesigns and updates seem to be working. A new campaign launched by Bing, Bing it On, allows users to compare Google search results right next to Bing results and decide which ones they like better. Microsoft claims that in blind side-by-side comparisons, users prefer Bing results over Google, 2:1.

Bing’s a major search engine and traffic source, so marketers should definitely be considering it, said Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land. It has also indeed been on the rise.

Search marketing expert David Mihm said optimizing a website to rank well in Bing is a little easier than it is for Google. This is because Bings algorithm is less reliant on link signals than Googles and more reliant on traditional keyword-related factors.

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SEO.com Announces Bing's rise in Popularity is due to Improved Search Experience

By the CNN Wire Staff

updated 3:00 AM EDT, Fri September 14, 2012

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Tokyo (CNN) — Six Chinese maritime surveillance ships entered waters around a group of islands at the center of a heated territorial dispute between Tokyo and Beijing, ignoring warnings from the Japanese authorities.

The Chinese ships arrived near the uninhabited islands — which Japan calls Senkaku and China calls Diaoyu — on Friday morning and began patrols and “law enforcement,” China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported, citing a government statement.

The islands, situated in the East China Sea between Okinawa and Taiwan, are currently under Japanese control, but China claims they have been an “inherent” part of its territory “since ancient times.”

The Chinese ships entered Japanese territorial waters despite warnings from the Japanese Coast Guard, said Shinichi Gega, a spokesman for Japan’s 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters. Three of the ships have since left Japanese waters, he said.

The Japanese government will “take all possible measures to ensure security” around the islands, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Friday.

See a map of Asia’s disputed islands

Two of the Chinese ships responded to a Japanese Coast Guard vessel’s warning by reiterating China’s territorial claim to the islands and saying they were carrying out patrol work, according to Gega. Japanese ships are continuing their own patrols of the area, he said.

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Chinese ships begin patrols around islands at center of dispute with Japan

Regional tensions flared on the emotional anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender as activists from China and South Korea used Wednesday’s occasion to press rival territorial claims, prompting 14 arrests by Japanese authorities.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said the arrests had caused tensions over its territorial dispute with Japan to surge “to a new high.”

The 14 people had traveled by boat from Hong Kong to a set of uninhabited islands controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan. Japanese police initially arrested five activists who swam ashore in the East China Sea chain, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.

Japan coast guard officers later arrested nine others who stayed on the fishing boat, the Kai Fung 2, including two who had earlier landed on one of the islands and went back on board, officials said. Coast guard officials said the activists are likely to be taken to Naha, the capital of Okinawa prefecture which has jurisdiction over the islands, for further questioning.

“We want the world to know that this is way back in history the territory of China, and as Chinese people we can go there fishing, touring at our own right,” David Ko, a spokesman for the activists, said in a telephone interview from Hong Kong. “The Japanese have no right to stop us.”

Chinese activists last landed on the island in 1996, and seven who were arrested were repatriated quickly.

China urged Japan to refrain from taking any action that could endanger Chinese citizens or their property, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement.

Japan says it has controlled the five main islands for over 100 years. It has been trying to place four that are privately held under state ownership to bolster its territorial claim.

Chinese patrol vessels have been spotted frequently in the waters, prompting Tokyo to repeatedly protest and beef up its own patrols in the area.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Japan historically and by international law owns the islands and there is no room for its sovereignty to be questioned. He called the trespassing “extremely regrettable.”

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HK Activists' Boat Nears Disputed Islands

Wildfires drove thousands of people from their homes near a rare nature reserve in Spain’s Canary Islands Monday after a separate mainland blaze killed two, authorities said.

Firefighters struggled to control the flames that engulfed the wooded hillsides on the island of La Gomera, reducing lush green trees to black dust, spewing grey smoke and displacing residents and tourists.

That fire started more than a week ago and has devastated more than 4,100 hectares (more than 10,000 acres) of land, including hundreds of hectares in the Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO-listed reserve home to rare subtropical plants.

Water-bombing aircraft were dousing the flames that crackled rapidly through ravines in the west of La Gomera.

“It is very difficult because of the high temperatures, the wind, the low humidity and the lack of aircraft,” a spokesman for the island council, Karen Bencomo, told AFP.

“We have three water-bombing planes and four helicopters. We need 10 more planes.”

On the other side of the island in the main town San Sebastian, beds were prepared in school lodgings for hundreds of evacuees, mostly tourists and visitors who came by boat from the west, mayor Angel Luis Castilla said.

More than 5,000 people remained displaced from various villages on Monday afternoon, the regional government estimated, half of them from around Vallehermoso in the north of the island.

That area was evacuated on Monday “to guarantee the safety of residents” as the fire advanced through nearby ravines, the regional government said in a statement late Monday.

“Everyone is clearing out. They are moving us, saying it is a precaution, but who knows? We can see the smoke getting closer,” said Maria Gonzalez, 43, a visitor from Tenerife, who fled Vallehermoso with her mother and daughter.

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Wildfires displace thousands on Spanish islands

NEW YORK One World Trade Center, the giant monolith being built to replace the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks, will lay claim to the title of New York City’s tallest skyscraper on Monday. Workers will erect steel columns that will make its unfinished skeleton a little over 1,250 feet high, just enough to peak over the roof of the observation deck on the Empire State Building.

The milestone is a preliminary one. Workers are still adding floors to the so-called “Freedom Tower” and it isn’t expected to reach its full height for at least another year, at which point it is likely to be declared the tallest building in the U.S., and third tallest in the world.

Those bragging rights, though, will carry an asterisk.

Crowning the world’s tallest buildings is a little like picking the heavyweight champion in boxing. There is often disagreement about who deserves the belt.

In this case, the issue involves the 408-foot-tall needle that will sit on the tower’s roof.

Count it, and the World Trade Center is back on top. Otherwise, it will have to settle for No. 2, after the Willis Tower in Chicago.

“Height is complicated,” said Nathaniel Hollister, a spokesman for The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats, a Chicago-based organization considered an authority on such records.

Experts and architects have long disagreed about where to stop measuring super-tall buildings outfitted with masts, spires and antennas that extend far above the roof.

Consider the case of the Empire State Building: Measured from the sidewalk to the tip of its needle-like antenna, the granddaddy of all super-tall skyscrapers actually stands 1,454 feet high, well above the mark being surpassed by One World Trade Center on Monday.

Purists, though, say antennas shouldn’t count when determining building height.

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'Freedom Tower' set to become tallest skyscraper in NYC

by David Walker

A Utah state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would make it a crime to photograph agricultural operations without permission from the owners, but the National Press Photographers’ Association says the bill is written so broadly written that it could violate the First Amendment if enacted into law.

The latest version of Utah House Bill 187 stipulates, “A person is guilty of agricultural operation interference if the person, without consent from the owner of the operation, or the owner’s agent, knowingly or intentionally records an image of, or sound from, the operation while the person is on the property where the agricultural operation is located, after receiving notice from the owner…that the person may not record an image of, or sound from, the operation.”

Under the bill’s definitions, “agricultural operations” include poultry, livestock, aquaculture, orchards, and crop operations. The bill would make the first offense a misdemeanor, and subsequent offenses a felony. HB 187 passed the state legislature by a 60-14 vote in February. The Utah state senate is now considering the bill.

State Rep. John Mathis, who introduced the bill, told the Salt Lake Tribune that the intent is to prevent the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other animal rights groups from making “distorted” videos of animal operations.

The bill is similar in its intent to bills considered last year in Iowa, Florida, and Minnesota. Those bills were introduced in response to undercover videos made by animal rights activists that showed mistreatment and abuse of animals at factory farm operations.

Critics of the bills call them “ag-gag” laws. The Utah Humane Society has opposed the bill pending there, and a spokesman for PETA told the Salt Lake Tribune that the bill “would help protect [animal] abusers.”

The National Press Photographers Association opposes the bill on the grounds that it could violates First Amendment rights. “In Utah, public land can be used for grazing,” explains NPPA attorney Mickey Osterreicher. “They can’t violate your first amendment rights by prohibiting you from taking pictures on public property.”

He adds, “I look at these [ag-gag bills] as feel-good laws: Some lobbyist gets a legislator’s ear on this issue, and nobody thinks about the first amendment implications.”

Opposition to the bills has made a difference: The Florida and Minnesota bills both died, while Iowa ended up enacting a law that was different from the one introduced. Signed last week by the governor, the Iowa law makes it a crime to gain entry to or employment at an agriculture production facility under false pretenses with intent to commit an act not authorized by the owner. There is no specific mention of photography, although anyone taking photos under false pretenses and without permission could still be prosecuted under the law.

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Utah Weighs Bill to Criminalize Photos of Farming Operations



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