Miami’s book fair ‘Evening With…’ series ends on easy note

A bit of fiction and a bit of philosophy, both seasoned with a touch of the historical, rounded out the final night of Miami Book Fair International’s “Evenings With…” programs Friday.

Emma Donoghue read from her Astray, new book of short stories inspired by old newspaper accounts, and historian Alan Ryan talked about his weighty new two-volume work On Politics: A History of Political Thought: From Herodotus to the Present (told you it was weighty).

“I feel like I should say, ‘Hello, Miami!’ ” joked Donoghue when she took the stage. Earlier, the Canadian author expressed wonder at the fact she was swimming in the Biltmore pool on a November afternoon before her appearance. “I don’t usually stay in places like that,” she said, laughing.

But Donoghue, author of the novel Room, is no stranger to new experiences: She’s a two-time emigrant from Dublin, once from Ireland to England, then on to Ontario.

“The Irish are obsessed with immigration,” she told the audience. Even when the economy’s good there, she said, the Irish look to other countries. “It’s still a small island,” she joked. “A lot of us have felt the need to fly that particular coop.”

Fitting then, that Astray features characters on the verge of moving on or struggling in their new surroundings. Donoghue read the amusing story The Widow’s Cruse and fielded questions about Room, a harrowing novel about a little boy being raised in a tiny shed by his kidnapped mother. Disturbing to be sure. But in case you wonder, Donoghue has no pressing childhood traumas of her own to inspire her to such a dark premise.

“I grew up in Dublin in a bookish household,” she said. “I was allowed to read all the time. . . There’s something to be said for a happy childhood that leaves you feeling confident.”

Ryan, who was in conversation with Robert Weil, editor-in-chief of W.W. Norton’s Liveright & Co., talked about his comprehensive study of political philosophy. Or, as his daughter (a biology professor) describes his profession: “He does dead philosophers.”

Ryan did mention a few of those worthy gentleman — Plato, St. Augustine and John Stuart Mill, for example — but still managed to elicit a laugh when discussing Americans’ adoration of a Constitution they’ve never read and continually confuse with the Declaration of Independence.

“The Constitution is revered, and it is at least worth knowing,” he said.

The fair continues this weekend with a full schedule of authors Saturday and Sunday.

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Buzzmakers: Lindsay Lohan Comes Clean & Janeane Marries

What had ET readers buzzing this week?

1. Janeane Garofalo: I Didn't Know I was Married!

Sometimes what happens in Vegas actually does stay in Vegas -- at least for two decades. Funny girl Janeane Garofalo is claiming she's been married for 20 years, and didn't even know it!

The Reality Bites actress told the New York Post that she and Big Bang Theory producer Rob Cohen decided to wed at a Las Vegas drive-thru chapel but never thought it would stick. "Rob and I got married, for real, which we had to have a notary dissolve not 30 minutes before we got here tonight," Garofalo said at the New York Comedy Festival reunion for The Ben Stiller Show. "We were married for 20 years until this evening."

Garofalo, 48, further explained, "We got married drunk in Vegas. ... We dated for a year, and we got married at a drive-through chapel in a cab. [We thought], 'You have to go down to the courthouse and sign papers and stuff.' So, who knew? We were married, and apparently now that [Rob] is getting married for real, his lawyer dug up something." Cohen, 63, joked, "I'm gonna get all of that Reality Bites money!"

2. Miley Cyrus: My Dad Knows Nothing

In speaking with ET's Christina McLarty, Miley Cyrus cleared up rumors that she and fiance Liam Hemsworth were planning multiple weddings, started by her dad.

According to Miley, she hasn't even set one wedding date, let alone the three ceremonies that Billy Ray told Us Weekly were going to take place.

"My dad knows nothing," Miley says, pointblank. "I think he's getting cabin fever from [Superstorm Sandy]. He got stuck in his hotel and now he's making up crazy things." Billy Ray has been in NYC, performing in a Broadway production of Chicago.

The 19-year-old singer/actress goes on to admit that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

"He does what I do: When he's sitting in a press thing, he's like, 'Let's make this fun. Let's make some stuff up,'" Miley says.

Even with this recent flub, Miley does thank her parents for doing a good job of raising her, saying, "My parents have never been super strict, and people could think that's bad or good, but people that judge me or say that I'm, like, crazy -- they don't know half the stuff their kids are doing."

3. Stephanie Bongiovi Drug Charges Dropped

Stephanie Bongiovi, Jon Bon Jovi's 19-year-old daughter, will not be charged after reportedly overdosing on heroin in her dorm at Hamilton College in New York.

According to a statement from the Kirkland Town Police Department, a female [presumably Bongiovi] was found unresponsive by an ambulance crew sent to the college early Wednesday, after a report that a female had apparently overdosed in the school's largest dorm.

Although Bongiovi and 21-year-old Ian Grant were charged with drug possession, the charges have now been dropped.

Citing section 220.78 titled "Witness or victim of drug or alcohol overdose" of New York State Penal Law -- which states that a person who seeks health care for someone who is experiencing a drug or alcohol overdose or other life threatening medical emergency, as well as the individual who has overdosed or who was experiencing such life threatening medical emergency, can't be prosecuted for the possession of heroin weighing less than 8 ounces or possession of any amount of marijuana -- police said that neither Bongiovi or Grant can be charged.

There has been no statement from Jon Bon Jovi at this time.

4. Dina Lohan Addresses Cocaine Accusation

Did Lindsay Lohan lie about her mother having an alleged cocaine problem? Dina Lohan sets the record straight for ET's Christina McLarty.

"Absolutely lied. We were having an argument, it escalated," explains Dina of their October altercation which was recorded by her father, Michael Lohan. "She just wanted to hurt me at that moment. You know, mothers [and] daughters, we fight."

Dina tells Christina that it pained her to see that private family moment "go public and viral." As for accusations that she uses cocaine, Dina replies, "I hate cocaine. I don't do cocaine."

After Lindsay proclaimed that she was not being truthful about her accusations against her mother about cocaine use, Dina says, "I'm so proud of her for telling the truth because it destroyed me. I mean, I cried for weeks. It just hurt me so bad and she knew how horrible that was, and she came clean and told the truth that she lied. I'm very proud of her for that, which is very difficult to have to do."

Dina adds, "There's so much more to the story than the public sees, and it takes its toll on my children and myself, and we're just trying to move forward." Watch ET for more with our exclusive Dina Lohan interview.

5. Big Bang Cast Leads Call Me Maybe Flash Mob

Fans of The Big Bang Theory might logically assume that the cast of the hit CBS comedy has as many laughs on-screen as off. But now there is concrete proof as Kaley Cuoco just revealed in this clip of cast and crew members surprising showrunners with a flash mob of Carly Rae Jepsen's viral hit Call Me Maybe!

Kaley explains on The Big Bang Theory's Facebook page that the idea was hers and that she recruited her sister Bri to choreograph the impromptu number, which occurred during a taping on October 23 in front of a live audience.

The clip shows how the prank was carried out with secrecy and precision, with the cast re-assembling on the set immediately after the flash mob to resume taping and to hear star Jim Parsons sum up the event with one of his character Sheldon Cooper's favorite words, "Bazinga!"

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Mom, teenage son die in NJ house fire

Authorities say a northern New Jersey woman and her teenage son were killed when a fast-moving fire destroyed their home.

The woman’s husband, an older son and that son’s girlfriend were able to escape from the Ridgefield home after the fire broke out around 5 a.m. Saturday. All three were treated at a hospital for undisclosed injuries and later released.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli says 55-year-old Jerlayn Scibetta and 14-year-old Daniel Scibetta died in the fire. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, but Molinelli said it was not considered suspicious.

Firefighters from several nearby towns helped Ridgefield crews battle the blaze, which burned for several hours. A neighbor and firefighters tried to rescue the trapped occupants, but authorities say the flames spread too fast.

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Strategies for stretching your holiday shopping dollars

Want to save some cash on your holiday shopping? Four money-saving experts, all South Florida moms who run websites about frugal living and smart shopping, have plenty of advice for you.

Their first tip: Start now.

“Retailers have been starting their sales earlier every year, so planning ahead is very important,” said Melissa Cid, who runs “Making a list is the best way to stay on track and keeps you from splurging on unnecessary items.”

Know everyday store prices of items on your list so you can spot a good deal when the sale ads show up at your door, said Cid, a Miami Lakes mom of two.

“Some retailers try to trick consumers by marking up prices and then advertising a discount,” she said. “Knowing the everyday price of an item will make you a smarter consumer.”

Save in stores

Check out Black Friday ads early at sites like, Cid said. “Use these sites to your advantage to plan early and compare prices,” she said.

Look for sales that offer bonuses with purchase, said Mary Pat Pankoke, of Stores like Target and Best Buy frequently offer a gift card bonus when you purchase a particular item, she said. Search online for printable coupons you can use in-store, Pankoke said. “Use layaway plans offered by stores like Walmart and Kmart to buy items on sale, then pay for them over time with no interest, picking them up in time for holiday gift giving,” she said.

Familiarize yourself with a store’s couponing and price matching policy, which allows you to bring in a competitor’s ad and have a lower price matched, Cid said. Pay attention to stores that alter their price-matching policies during the holidays, Pankoke said. For example, Walmart will match the prices found in competitor’s print ads, but not online pricing — including pricing on their own website, she said. Target offers price matching, but has exclusions on Black Friday through Cyber Monday deals.

“Sign up for store reward programs. Certain stores will let you redeem those loyalty points or dollars for future purchases,” said Whitney Zimet of “This is especially nice at toy stores where you can easily spend major bucks, and where you know you’ll need to return again and again for future purchases.”

Some retailers offer store credit cards with a percentage off a first purchase, or all purchases discounted, said Zimet, a Coral Gables mom of two. One example is Target’s store card, which offers five percent off all purchases.

“Just be careful with these,” Zimet said. “Pay off those cards each month because the interest rates are huge.” Also ask the store when they have customer appreciation days — usually a percentage off storewide — or if they offer free gift wrapping.

Stick to your list and don’t buy items you don’t need, said Leanette Fernandez of “Check the clearance aisles for really good deals and pricing,” she said.

Don’t forget to use your smart phone for on-the-spot price checking, Cid said. “And hold on to your receipt in case you come across a better deal at another store,” she said.

Clip coupons

Look for extra holiday coupons in the Sunday newspaper and on sites like, Cid said, “but also keep your eyes peeled for in-store holiday coupon books at grocery stores, drug stores and retailers like Target. Know the store’s coupon policies before you shop to prevent problems at the register, because lines can be very long this time of year.”

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Leftover political donations went to Florida GOP

— Re-elected without opposition this summer, Rep. Dana Young had the strange but fortunate problem of having $200,000 in her campaign bank account and nothing to spend it on.

By law, Young couldn’t keep the money for herself or hold onto it for her next campaign.

So instead she did the next best thing — cutting two checks to the Republican Party of Florida totaling about $150,000.

Young, a Tampa Republican, is one of about 50 lawmakers who — with no rival to bury in signs or television ads — poured their leftover political donations this year into the coffers of political parties and committees affiliated with the state’s most powerful lawmakers. The GOP-led Legislature in 2011 lifted a $10,000 cap on political contributions for excess campaign money, making the transactions possible.

Under state law, candidates can steer that money to political parties, to charity or return it to their donors. They also can steer money to their state office accounts, or if they’re feeling generous, donate the money to the state treasury.

In years past, lawmakers used nearly all of the money — which comes from lobbyists and private donors — to contribute to their favorite charities.

But this year the Republican Party of Florida banked nearly $1 million in donations from unopposed candidates. Few Democrats ran unopposed, and the few who did donated little to their party.

“I am conservative, and I think it’s important to have conservatives at the state level in office,” said Young, who also donated $20,000 to charities and set aside $10,000 for state office expenses

The shift to pouring hefty checks into party political funds comes as incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville and House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, discuss the need for stricter campaign finance rules.

Critics say rules for leftover campaign money is one area where the rules need tightening, but Weatherford, who gave $100,000 to the Republican Party of Florida, says that’s not the case.

The parties operate with good transparency, he said.

“This is a way to help the cause,” he added.

But Ben Wilcox of Integrity Florida, a group advocating for tougher ethics laws, said big transfers of money result in a perception — if not a reality — that lawmakers use contributions to snag committee chairmanships or positions of power.

Young was named House deputy majority leader and majority whip on Wednesday.

Funneling money to the state parties can also serve as a way around state laws, which say a candidate cannot roll over unused contributions to their next election, Wilcox said.

“It’s entirely conceivable that party donations are earmarked for the next election,” Wilcox said. “(Lawmakers) are making use of a loophole they created.”

Besides his contribution to the state party, Weatherford peeled off about $50,000 to charities such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Florida and Pasco County Take Stock in Children, where he serves as a mentor for under-privileged kids.

Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, wrote a $40,000 check to the Republican Party of Florida and another $2,000 to the Republican Party of Miami-Dade.

Flores set aside nearly $20,000 to supplement the $9,400 per year the state pays for office supplies. She also gave $1,000 to Florida Right to Life and $30,000 to various other charities.

Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, who gave $50,000 to the Republican Party of Florida, also gave $1,500 to the Down Syndrome Association because the child of his former aide has down syndrome, he said.

Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, who gave $30,000 to the state and local Republican parties, said she fell in love with the developmentally delayed adults who put on a yearly show at the Venice Theatre. She gave $5,000 to help the group build a new facility.

Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, donated $17,000 to the state GOP, but he also gave roughly $40,000 to various South Florida charities. Among his contributions was a $1,500 donation to Safe Haven for Newborns, which he says he helped start.

“I believe in helping,” he said. “The party will get money elsewhere.”

Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at 850-323-0353 or

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Samsung goes after HTC deal to undercut Apple-filing

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – When Apple Inc and HTC Corp last week ended their worldwide legal battles with a 10-year patent licensing agreement, they declined to answer a critical question: whether all of Apple‘s patents were covered by the deal.

It’s an enormously important issue for the broader smartphone patent wars. If all the Apple patents are included -including the “user experience” patents that the company has previously insisted it would not license – it could undermine the iPhone makers efforts to permanently ban the sale of products that copy its technology.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which could face such a sales ban following a crushing jury verdict against it in August, now plans to ask a U.S. judge to force Apple to turn over a copy of the HTC agreement, according to a court filing on Friday.

Representatives for Apple and Samsung could not immediately be reached for comment.

Judges are reluctant to block the sale of products if the dispute can be resolved via a licensing agreement. To secure an injunction against Samsung, Apple must show the copying of its technology caused irreparable harm and that money, by itself, is an inadequate remedy.

Ron Laurie, managing director of Inflexion Point Strategy and a veteran IP lawyer, said he found it very unlikely that HTC would agree to a settlement that did not include all the patents.

If the deal did in fact include everything, Laurie and other legal experts said that would represent a very clear signal that Apple under CEO Tim Cook was taking a much different approach to patent issues than his predecessor, Steve Jobs.

Apple first sued HTC in March 2010, and has been litigating for more than two years against handset manufacturers who use Google’s Android operating system.

Apple co-founder Jobs promised to go “thermonuclear” on Android, and that threat has manifested in Apple’s repeated bids for court-imposed bans on the sale of its rivals’ phones.

Cook, on the other hand, has said he prefers to settle rather than litigate, if the terms are reasonable. But prior to this month, Apple showed little willingness to license its patents to an Android maker.


In August, a Northern California jury handed Apple a $ 1.05 billion verdict, finding that Samsung’s phones violated a series of Apple’s software and design patents.

Apple quickly asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to impose a permanent sales ban on those Samsung phones, and a hearing is scheduled for next month in San Jose, California.

In a surprise announcement on Saturday, however, Apple and HTC announced a license agreement covering “current and future patents” at both companies. Specific terms are unknown, though analysts have speculated that HTC will pay Apple somewhere between $ 5 and $ 10 per phone.

During the Samsung trial, Apple IP chief Boris Teksler said the company is generally willing to license many of its patents – except for those that cover what he called Apple’s “unique user experience” like touchscreen functionality and design.

However, Teksler acknowledged that Apple has, on a few occasions, licensed those holy patents – most notably to Microsoft, which signed an anti-cloning agreement as part of the deal.

In opposing Apple’s injunction request last month, Samsung said Apple’s willingness to license at all shows money should be sufficient compensation, court documents show.

Apple has already licensed at least one of the prized patents in the Samsung case to both Nokia and IBM. That fact was confidential until late last year, when the court mistakenly released a ruling with details that should have been hidden from public view.

In a court filing last week, Apple argued that its Nokia, IBM and Microsoft deals shouldn’t stand in the way of an injunction. Microsoft’s license only covers Apple patents filed before 2002, and IBM signed several years before the iPhone launched, according to Apple.

“IBM’s agreement is a cross license with a party that does not market smartphones,” Apple wrote.

Apple’s seeming shift away from Jobs-style war, and toward licensing, may also reflect a realization that injunctions have become harder to obtain for a variety of reasons.

Colleen Chien, a professor at Santa Clara Law in Silicon Valley, said an appellate ruling last month that tossed Apple’s pretrial injunction against the Samsung Nexus phone raised the legal standard for everyone.

“The ability of technology companies to get injunctions on big products based on small inventions, unless the inventions drive consumer’s demand, has been whittled away significantly,” Chien said.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, 11-1846.

(Reporting By Dan Levine and Poornima Gupta; Editing by Bernard Orr)

Tech News Headlines – Yahoo! News

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ET's Power List: Jessica Simpson

It's been a banner year for Jessica Simpson: the billion-dollar business mogul became a new mom for the first time, and now she's on ET's Power List!

Pics: Jessica Simpson's Amazing Weight-Loss Transformation

Jessica has 5.7 million Twitter followers and her Weight Watchers deal is worth a reported $4 million. But it's her billion-dollar retail empire that's truly stunning: The Jessica Simpson Collection is valued at some $400 million, and her fragrance line alone is worth some $50 million.

So when did Jessica first know she was truly famous? "It was 2003 -- I was in Boston for a wedding book signing and there were 7,000 people that showed up, and I couldn't even get out of the car because it was like a hazard," she says, "but people where banging on the car, and I felt like a Beatle."

Related: Jessica Simpson Welcomes Baby Girl

Check out the video to see Jessica take the ET Power List Quiz: What's her best advice? What's her proudest moment? Watch to find out…

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BoNY wants out of Elliott’s battle with Argentina

Leave us out of it!

Caught in a legal crossfire, Bank of New York Mellon is arguing that it should not be forced to help Paul Singer’s Elliott Management collect as much as $1.3 billion from Argentina.

An appeals court recently upheld a ruling requiring Argentina to pay the New York hedge fund each time it pays other bondholders, which, unlike Elliott, agreed to a debt restructuring several years ago.

Judge Thomas Griesa ruled that all agents of Argentina are also bound by the order, and Elliott named Bank of New York as one of them.

As trustee, BoNY is responsible for making Argentina’s payments to investors who agreed to the restructuring. But the bank will argue that it is not an agent of Argentina and has an “arms-length” relationship with the country in a brief it plans to file later today, sources told The Post.

BoNY will argue that its sole responsibility is to the vast majority of bondholders who agreed to take a haircut after Argentina defaulted on $100 billion of debt in 2002. The bank receives payments from Argentina and holds that money in trust for those investors.

Argentina has rejected the court order and insists it will not pay Elliott, which is demanding to be repaid in full. At the same time, the country said it will continue to pay the other bondholders.

Nonetheless, those bonds have tanked since the appeals court ruled in Elliott’s favor on fears that the court would tie BoNY’s hands. If BoNY were unable to pay those bondholders without violating a court order, Argentina could be forced into a second default.

More than $3 billion in payments to those bondholders is due in December, unless Argentina’s stay is extended beyond then.

To pay Elliott, Griesa suggested BoNY take money out of funds slated for the exchange bondholders to pay Elliott.

“Some money is due to the plaintiffs out of those December payments,” Griesa said during a court hearing last week.

As a result, those bond investors are also lining up to oppose the order. Brevan Howard, the powerful UK hedge fund, and MFS Investment Management, a big Massachusetts money manager, have joined with hedge fund Gramercy in opposing the order, The Post has learned.

“Exchange bondholders not only are not getting adequate time, but their property is being taken unlawfully,” said Sean O’Shea, the attorney for these investors, who collectively own more than $1 billion worth of Argentinan bonds.

The prominent law firm of David Boies has teamed with O’Shea to represent these bondholders, and more institutions are expect to file briefs with the court next week to oppose the order.

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Jolly holiday shopping season already underway

Lilian Stoppa and Renata Rosa stepped out of Target in Midtown Miami with a cart piled high with holiday gifts.

Landing in Miami on Thursday morning for a five-day shopping spree, they already had spent $800 by mid-afternoon on presents for family members: toys for Rosa’s daughter, beauty items for Stoppa’s mother, plus lots of other stuff.

“This is just the start,” giggled Stoppa, 30, who works with Rosa, also 30, at a Sao Paulo telecom company. Their next stops: Sawgrass Mills, Aventura Mall and Bal Harbour Shops, if their money holds out. “We came to Miami to shop because it’s very much cheaper than in Brazil.”

Tourists like Stoppa and Rosa are exactly the reason retail experts predict Florida’s holiday shopping season will see its highest increase since the recession.

Across South Florida, stores are getting a head start on the holidays in hopes of cashing in. Sales are already underway everywhere from Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, to Macy’s, Toys“R”Us and Anthropologie.

The Florida Retail Federation forecasts that Florida will see a 5.2 percent jump in holiday spending from $55 billion in 2011 to $58 billion this year, marking the highest percentage growth predicted since the economic slump began. Pre-recession, retail sales peaked at $54.3 billion in 2006.

“All of the indicators point to what we believe will be a very robust holiday shopping season,” said Florida Retail Federation President and Chief Executive Rick McAllister.

That also translates into more than 42,000 new retail jobs, he said.

Buoyed in large part by tourists and snowbirds, Florida is expected to outpace the nation in spending for the holiday season, as it did before the recession.

This year, the National Retail Federation is predicting holiday spending nationwide to rise 4.1 percent. On average, consumers are expected to spend about $750 each.

Economists point to strong consumer confidence as a major factor contributing to a stronger shopping season.

“By and large the consumer is very confident right now, and that usually leads to spending,” McAllister said.

Other indicators also point to a healthy season. ICSC, a trade association for the shopping center industry, this week released its ICSC-Goldman Sachs 2012 Holiday Spending Intentions Survey, which found that 19 percent of consumers plan to spend more, and 5 percent substantially more, on holiday gifts this year versus last year. It was the highest percentage of consumers reporting they intend to increase spending over the previous holiday season since ICSC began asking the question in 2004.

Retailers like West Elm are ready, beckoning gift givers. Stores are decked out with sparkly, eye-catching displays of items like candlesticks, ornaments and crystal paperweights.

“We’ve had lots of people shopping early, for several weeks,” said Ana Meza, an assistant manager at West Elm in Midtown Miami.

Without question, the holiday season is critical for retailers, a period when they typically generate 20 percent to 40 percent of the full year’s revenue.

This year brings an added bonus. With Thanksgiving falling early, the shopping season is stretched to 32 days, giving retailers more valuable time to rack up sales.

Shoppers like Jose Hernandez aren’t waiting for the last minute. Hernandez, who works as a civilian supervisor at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Miss., and spends every other three months home in Miami, started his holiday shopping this week. He figures he spent $2,000 at Carter’s, GUESS, Marshalls and Target in Midtown, and plans to spend a total of $5,000 — up 40 percent from last year — before Christmas Day.

“The economy is going up,” said Hernandez, 44.

Yet experts say that many holiday revelers will avoid the stores all together, opting instead for online purchases.

Retail experts expect e-commerce to continue to post a dramatic increase this holiday season, up 15 percent. Though it still represents only about 5 percent of all shopping, online buying is the fastest-growing segment of the retail industry, McAllister said.

Many online sites are offering percentage discounts starting this weekend. Disney Store will offer a selection of “Magical Friday” deals on sale beginning Monday, at Kohl’s is letting customers shop more than 500 “Early Bird specials” on starting Wednesday.

While apparel is expected to be the top category for purchases, gift cards are again projected to outsell any single article of merchandise. The National Retail Federation’s 2012 holiday consumer spending survey showed that 81.1 percent of shoppers will purchase at least one gift card, spending an average of $156.86 on them.

“Gift cards are the best invention ever,” said Jennifer Mayer, 44, a drug representative who has three daughters and lives in Miami Beach. “It’s not for everyone, but it’s great for those you don’t intimately know.”

This year, Mayer plans to buy gift cards at places like Starbucks, H&M, Forever 21 and Barnes & Noble.

“They’re great for bosses. They’re great for teenagers,” she said. “They’re a lifesaver.”

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UF student Christian Aguilar was poisoned, court files say

Christian Aguilar, the college freshman from Doral found dead after he disappeared from a Best Buy in Gainesville, was poisoned, according to legal documents released on Thursday.

Suspect Pedro Bravo killed Aguilar “by suffocating him, poisoning him,” according to the indictment filed with the Alachua County grand jury. Bravo used “a chemical compound with food and/or drink ... with the intent to kill,” according to the indictment.

Aguilar, a 18-year-old student at the University of Florida, disappeared on Sept. 20, prompting a massive search through the woods of Gainesville. His remains were found nearly a month later in Levy County near Cedar Key.

Bravo and Aguilar were classmates at Doral Academy.

Aguilar would have turned 19 on Friday.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

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'Survivor' Artis: 'Abi Was Abusive'

In another edge-of-your-seat episode of this roller coaster season of Survivor, a critical member of the Tandang tribe flipped, causing Louisiana native Artis Silvester to be sent packing. ETonline gets the scoop from the 53-year-old computer engineer on what he really thought of his alliance-mate Abi, his take on Lisa's big move, and how having survived cancer affected his approach to the game.

ETonline: So, were you surprised when your name was called last night?

Artis: No, not at all. Actually, it's the only thing, the smartest move that they could have made. And I knew that. I was disappointed that I wasn't able to keep a particular person in my corner. But as far as the votes, see the way that the votes came out, they came out exactly like I thought they did. Except for that [swing] vote. Once I saw that vote, I thought, "Oh, I couldn't do a good enough job to convince that person to stay with me." And that's when you saw me put my head down 'cause I knew I was going home.

ETonline: I thought it was very magnanimous of you in the closing credits when you were saying that you thought it was great the way that it ended. And that said a lot about your respect for the game, I think.

Artis: Yes! It is a game. I have no problems with anybody's game. ... You know 'cause it is a game. You can't control people, [they] are gonna do what they're gonna do, what they feel is best for them. And even if it's not, in their mind if they feel that it is the best move that they can make, then they're gonna do it. And the other situation is you have some people that play for the million dollars. And you have some people that take Survivor, and they actually believe that it's their stepping stone to fame and fortune and stardom. I wasn't like that. I came there for the money. The game is great, and if you play the game like that. Jeff's job is to edit; the host's job is to edit the game. He can give them the material. You can't go out there trying to help him with his material, because you have this ulterior motive. But, like I said, you can only do so much. And I had a blast.

Related: Lisa Whelchel Snuffs Blair's Torch on 'Survivor'

ETonline: Great. So when you went into that vote, did you know Skupin was going to go the other way?

Artis: Absolutely. Absolutely. There was no doubt in my mind. That was the one time that Mike had any power whatsoever. Mike could do what he wanted to do and not suffer any consequences. And that's what he was looking for. He was looking for an avenue where he could do something, and not suffer any consequences. That was the one time he could do it. 'Cause he had the immunity idol. You take that idol away, and I guarantee you he doesn't do what he does.

ETonline: I noticed in the episode last night, Skupin talked about how he and Lisa were going to be going together 'til the end, and always voted the same way. But Lisa ended up voting with Tandang last night. So I was wondering if you think that she, knowing that Skupin was gonna vote for you, that she felt like she could still vote with Tandang and appear to be loyal, even though she knew you were going home.

Artis: I think Lisa is loyal to Tandang, because Lisa is genuinely loyal to Tandang. She did things that people didn't agree with, myself included. But in her mind's eye, she did things for the betterment of the tribe. Again, she's also one, where she falls into that thing where you gotta make a big move, "Well, this is my big move. And my big move will also help my tribe." I can't fault her for that. Can't get mad at her for that. You know? For people to jump on her like that-- like, why? I mean, there was no need to jump on her like that. I mean, I was disappointed at her move. I told her I was disappointed at it. ... I said "I'm not disappointed in your game play, I know you're gonna make moves. I just wish you had told me you were gonna do it before you did it. Because your move directly affects, impacts, what happens to me in the rest of the game. Or anybody else as well. You know, I'm not mad at what you did, I'm just mad at how you did it." And I told her, "We're still good. We're still good. I have no bias, you're still my girl! Don't worry about it."

Related: Survivor's Jeff Kent: Lisa Burned Bridges

ETonline: And going along those lines. Abi was very direct with everyone in the game. And kind of maybe was a little too honest. Do you think that her outbursts ended up putting a target on your back, because you were in an alliance with her?

Artis: First of all, let's call it what it is. Abi was not honest. Abi was abusive. There's a big difference. There's a huge difference between being honest, and being abusive. Abi was abusive. Alright? Again, I don't know if after getting cast, that she decided that was the character she was gonna portray. ... If so, I would like to say well done, but I'm not. On the other side of the coin, if that is who she is, then there's a lot to be said there as well.

ETonline: Yeah.

Artis: So I guess she figured that you know, "If nobody likes me, they'll take me to the end." And for the most part, that's right. But I'm just not a fan of that philosophy. Because, you don't know what goes in the minds of other people, alright. And at that point in time, you are actually really competing for the million dollars. And you're probably sitting there with your chest stuck out, all big and proud, thinking that because you brought Abi to the end, and nobody likes her, that you're automatically gonna get that gold. But you don't know what goes on in the psyche of a human being's mind. They could flip around and say nobody likes her, but they refuse to get rid of her, and she's still there. Now they give her the million dollars, and then you're gonna feel like an ass. Now if you pressed me, I would never take Abi to the end. I wouldn't even give her the opportunity to have a shot at the million dollars in a situation like that. I believe you need to earn that shot.

ETonline: If you could go back, and do anything over again, would you do anything differently?

Artis: Yes. Probably two things. One of two things, depending on how they played out. First is I would've went to Jeff, before Jeff got voted out, and let him know that he was on the block. And see if he could get his people together, and we get rid of Mike. Alright. Tandang still would've been up in the numbers. I like Jeff. Jeff would've still been in the game. Jeff's own tribe [member], Penner, got rid of Jeff. He did, Penner literally got rid of Jeff. I would've went to Jeff. Other than that, I might-- you know, looking back at it now, I'm thinking that I might have sided with Penner. But I really don't think that I would take that route. I think that the move I would've made would've been to go with Jeff and get Jeff to get rid of Mike. Penner's an excellent player. But he better be. You play this game this game three times, and you still haven't learned nothing? You should stay your ass at home. You know? Again, you play it three times-- you play it two times you're supposed to win. The third time, if you don't get that check, you really do need to stop playing. Regardless of what everybody thinks about you.

ETonline: Why do you think that Penner was able to break the Tandang alliance ultimately? And do you think it was him that was ultimately responsible for swaying Skupin?

Artis: No, Mike was gonna leave regardless. He didn't even have to say anything. All Penner would have to do is say [was], "Hello, Mike?" and Mike would've been like, "I'm there." He was gone. He was gone so fast. All he needed was somebody just to say hello to him.

ETonline: So I saw in your profile, I don't think this really came out much in the show, but you have beaten cancer in the past. Congratulations on that.

Artis: Thank you.

ETonline: How did that affect how you approached playing Survivor?

Artis: Before I got cancer, as I would watch the show, I thought I would play one way. 'Cause before cancer I was this monster of a man. I mean I literally was huge. I'm not even half the size of what I was before I got cancer. I was literally a rock solid monster. So I'm just thinking of all these things that I would've done. But after going through it, and being given a whole new outlook on life, you know -- before playing the game I didn't care. I wouldn't have cared about hurting your feelings. Nothing like that, I wouldn't have cared anything. I just would've squashed you on my way to the end. But now, when I play this time, understanding that it is a game, I'm gonna play hard. I don't care if you like me. Liking me is irrelevant. But I never want to see anyone hurt. You know, because it is a game. And you should not be hurt by a game. So, a softer side of me played this game. Until we started competing, because I always compete hard and heavy.

Related: Exclusive First Look: 'Survivor' Reaches the Merge

ETonline: Cool. So one last question. Who do you think is going to be victorious in the end?

Artis: I don't know. Because who I thought was gonna be victorious is not there. I thought it was gonna be me! Without a doubt, I hands down was like, "I got this!" But now, it's just a wild card, I just have to look. I have to watch and see what I wanna do. You know, where I want to give my vote. Who I want to give the money to. I have to watch and see who's left. And then evaluate, of the people left, who I wanna give this money to. I have no frontrunner. My frontrunner was me. And if anybody who plays the game says anything other than that, they shouldn't have played the game.

ETonline: Great. This season to me, having watched many seasons of Survivor, seems to be one of the most up-in-the-air that I've ever seen. So it's really anyone's guess.

Artis: It sure is. I'm interested to see who's still left and who comes home next.

Survivor: Philippines airs on CBS on Wednesday nights at 8/7 c.

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WATCH as Superstorm Sandy floods PATH stations

No wonder they still aren’t up and running!

Superstorm Sandy unleashed all of her fury on Hoboken and Exchange Place PATH stations, as these dramatic videos taken during the height of the storm demonstrate.

The first snippet from the Port Authority’s closed circuit security cameras shows the outside of the Exchange Place station completely submerged in rolling, white-capped waves.

The inside of the station under water is shown next.

The video also shows the severely-flooded Hoboken station, which is recognizable because of the distinctive “H” on the pillar.

That station was so flooded, water is seen gushing out of the elevator at river rapid strength.

The jaw-dropping video comes as officials announced that the Christopher Street PATH station will begin weekend-only service on Saturday and the World Trade Center station could open later this month.

“The men and women of PATH have done heroic work,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye.

Christopher Street — which will be in operation from 5 am to 10 pm on Saturdays and Sundays — is opened weekends-only because it could become overcrowded due to nearby stations being shuttered.

“World Trade Center service, I expect, will open later this month,” he said.

The agency has struggled to bring back stations following superstorm Sandy because of heavy damage to signals, power stations and communications equipment.

Some of the equipment damaged and ruined was 80 to 90 years old and isn’t manufactured anymore.

Meanwhile, Foye said a southwest portion of the World Trade Center -- near West, Washington and Cedar Streets -- was flooded with over 125 million gallons of water.

“That much water would fill a swimming pool almost 6.5 million miles long, 50-feet wide and 10 feet deep,” he said.

They expect the agency’s insurance to pick up much of the tabs for repairs, although it remains to be seen what the final tally will be, he said.

“The assessments are ongoing,” he said following the Port Authority’s first board meeting since the storm.

The bi-state agency honored several Port Authority cops and three civilian employees for saving dozens of people’s lives during the storm.

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Florida tourist numbers keep going up

Summer brought more tourists to Florida this year than last, according to preliminary numbers from Visit Florida.

The state’s official tourism marketing corporation said 21.9 million people visited the state in the third quarter of the year, 3.5 percent more than last summer.

The number of domestic travelers, which make up the vast majority of visitors, increased 3.2 percent. Overseas visitors jumped 5.5 percent and Canadians increased 4 percent.

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Service dogs help military veterans with injuries seen and unseen

As Diego Hurtado gently toyed with his dog’s ear, he recalled jumping out of a plane at 2,000 feet, then freefalling when his parachute failed to open.

He tightly held the dog’s ear in his palm as he recalled the mid-air collision of two aircraft at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, that spilled fuel and debris on the base, killing 24 fellow paratroopers and injuring countless others.

Hurtado’s dog Rex, a nearly 80-pound yellow Labrador-golden retriever mix, may seem like any other four-legged canine.

But Rex, 3, is also a service dog trained to help Hurtado cope with post-traumatic stress disorder as well as with the service-related physical injuries.

“With Rex I have been able to reduce my anti-depressants by more than half,” said Hurtado, 51, a sergeant first class who served in the Army for 20 years. “I am able to go to a lot of places I was not able to go to at all.”

Like many other veterans who struggle with PTSD and physical injuries, Hurtado turned to man’s best friend for help. Nonprofit organizations across the country provide dogs to veterans to help servicemen and servicewomen cope with their injuries, both physical and emotional.

Kendall resident Jose Moran received his German shepherd, Jana, from the same organization as Hurtado: New York-based America’s VetDogs.

Coral Springs resident and Iraq war veteran Moises Castro turned to Florida-based Dogs 4 Disabled Veterans for his pit-boxer mix, Salsa.

Both organizations train the dogs to match the personality and needs of each veteran and provide the dogs for free.

Castro, 47, served in Kuwait during the Iraq War as a U.S. Navy petty officer second-class. Once he came back, his anxiety, due to PTSD, was high, especially when he would go into crowds. To add to that, in 2010 he had a brain tumor removed, leaving him with sporadic seizures.

For two years, he barely left his home.

Then along came 2-year-old Salsa with white paws.

She has been trained to sense when Castro is about to get a seizure.

“She just knows it before I do,” he said, adding that during a seizure she licks his face to comfort him.

And when the two enter a big crowd that may induce anxiety, she veers him away.

“Then she keeps looking at me to make sure everything is OK,” said Castro. “She has given my freedom back to me.”

During Moran’s service in the U.S. Army as a sergeant first class, his vehicle ran over an explosive device in Sadr City, Iraq, a suburb of Baghdad The impact crushed one of the disks in his spine and his left knee.

“I don’t really remember too much,” said Moran, 45. “I heard a pop and I was out.”

After returning to South Florida, it was not easy to return to civilian life. Sometimes he did not eat for a week because his PTSD caused him so much anxiety in crowds that he avoided going to the grocery store.

“It got pretty bad there for awhile,” he said. “As bad as you can get without crossing the line.”

Three years ago he got Jana, who has been trained to sense Moran’s anxiety levels and knows when the two are about to walk into an uncomfortable situation.

“She can tell if someone is going to annoy me,” said Moran.

On a recent visit to the Miami VA, a man got in the elevator with the two. He “was just loud” and asked a lot of question about Jana, Moran said.

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NASCAR’s Keselowski can’t tweet in car anymore

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Brad Keselowski became a social media darling after hopping on Twitter during a lengthy delay in the Daytona 500.

Keselowski was the center of attention, and NASCAR seemed trendy and hip — a description its executives surely adored.

Turns out, tweeting from the car isn’t cool with NASCAR.

Keselowski was fined $ 25,000 on Monday for tweeting during the red flag at Phoenix International Raceway. The punishment was confusing to fans who vented on Twitter, of course, wondering why Keselowski was punished for Sunday’s tweets when he was celebrated by NASCAR for doing the exact same thing in February’s season-opening race.

Some alleged the Sprint Cup Series points leader was actually being disciplined for his profanity-laced outburst after Sunday’s crash- and fight-marred race.

NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp on Tuesday dismissed the conspiracy theories, and said drivers had been told after the Daytona 500 that electronic devices — including cellphones — could not be carried inside the race cars going forward.

“Brad’s tweeting at the Daytona 500 was really our first introduction to the magnitude of the social media phenomenon at the race track, especially how we saw it unfold that evening,” Tharp said. “We encourage our drivers to participate in social media. We feel we have the most liberal social media policy in all of sports, and the access we provide is the best in all of sports.

“But we also have rules that pertain to competition that need to be enforced and abided by. Once the 500 took place, and in the days and weeks following the 500, NASCAR communicated to the drivers and teams that while social media was encouraged and we promoted it, the language in the rule book was clear and that drivers couldn’t carry onboard their cars electronic devices, like a phone.”

Keselowski, who takes a 20-point lead over Jimmie Johnson into Sunday’s season finale in his quest to win his first Sprint Cup Series title, has not commented on his penalty.

But with the championship on the line, his crew chief indicated Tuesday he’ll be doing his best to keep the phone out of the No. 2 Dodge this weekend.

“Never even crossed my mind, to be honest with you,” Paul Wolfe said. “We get so involved in worrying about how to make the race car go around the track that, obviously, Brad’s cellphone is not on my mind a whole lot. I’ll definitely remind him this weekend.”

The Daytona 500 was stopped for nearly two hours when Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a jet dryer that was cleaning the track during a caution period. The crash caused a fuel explosion, and Keselowski used his phone to tweet pictures, answer questions and give updates on the cleanup during the delay.

The race, which had been rained out for the first time in 54 runnings, was being aired on Monday night in prime time for the first time in history and Keselowski’s tweeting drew worldwide headlines.

Afterward, NASCAR specifically said Keselowski did not violate a rule barring onboard electronic devices and would not be penalized.

“Nothing we’ve seen from Brad violates any current rules pertaining to the use of social media during races,” NASCAR said the day after the race. “We encourage our drivers to use social media to express themselves as long as they do so without risking their safety or that of others.”

NASCAR did not issue a technical bulletin to clarify phones could no longer be inside cars, and the clarification to drivers was apparently done quietly. In fact, Keselowski tweeted from Victory Lane at Bristol in March, and from inside his car parked on pit road during a rain delay at Richmond in September. It’s possible someone could have handed him his phone both times.

A year ago, the outspoken Penske Racing driver was fined $ 25,000 headed into the finale for criticizing electronic fuel injection. At the time, NASCAR had been privately punishing drivers for making disparaging remarks about the series, but word of Keselowski’s fine leaked and forced NASCAR to change its policy during the offseason.

Still, many fans were convinced this week’s fine against Keselowski was actually for his post-race comments about the aggressive racing at Phoenix.

He’d been criticized by several drivers for racing Johnson hard over a pair of late restarts at Texas a week earlier, and felt his aggressive driving paled in comparison to Jeff Gordon intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer with two laps to go on Sunday. Gordon’s retaliation also collected Joey Logano and Aric Almirola, and forced Keselowski to weave his way around the accident.

“It just drives me absolutely crazy that I get lambasted for racing somebody hard without there even being a wreck and then you see stuff like this … from the same people that criticized me,” he said. “It’s OK to just take somebody out. But you race somebody hard, put a fender on somebody and try to go for the win, and you’re an absolute villain. We can just go out and retaliate against each other and come back in and smile about it, and it’s fine. That’s not what this sport needs. It needs hard racing, it needs people that go for broke, try to win races and put it all out there on the line. Not a bunch of people that have anger issues.”

Social Media News Headlines – Yahoo! News

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Bobbi Kristina's Uncle Concerned Over Suspected Drug Use

"Her behavior, it's just not normal," reveals a concerned Gary Houston of his late sister's (Whitney Houston) daughter, Bobbi Kristina.

Video: Bobbi Kristina Visits Mom's Grave on 'Houstons'

In tonight's episode of Lifetime's The Houstons: On Our Own, Gary confides with close family friend and Whitney's former bodyguard Ray Watson about behavior he deems suspicious.

Imploring the family confidant, Gary asks whether Ray has seen Bobbi Kristina act in a way that might raise worry.

"We got a situation that we need to address when it comes to [Bobbi Kristina]," says Gary. "I don't know what's happening, but something's going on."

Pics: Remembering Whitney Houston

Watch a preview clip of tonight's episode in the player above.

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Grieving beau blasts murderer who killed, raped his fianceé and left corpse in his bed

"You son of a bitch!"

A Manhattan chef who came home last November to discover his fiance's raped and slashed corpse in his bed cried in court as the murderer was sentenced today to a possible life term -- and issued a victim impact letter that was both scorching and heartbreaking.

"She was an angel to me," Fernando Vargas, 37, wrote of victim Rita Morelli, 36, a beautiful Italian woman here studying art history on a student visa.

Vargas was a chef at Buon Gusto on the Upper East Side and Morelli was a waitress and manager there, as well as a student at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

"When we met we fell in love. I was her life, and she was mine," said Vargas, who wiped tears from his eyes and visibly trembled in the audience of Manhattan Supreme Court as a Spanish translator read his letter aloud at the sentencing of rapist and murderer Bakary Camara, 42.

"Every day when I get home and she is not there I start crying and thinking how I was not there to take care of her and protect her and kill that son of a bitch," Vargas, who'd been with Morelli almost three years, said in his letter.

"I would bury this son of a bitch for the rest of his life in prison," he told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, who sentenced Camara to a term of 25 years to life in prison, meaning Camara will be 67 when he sees his first parole board and might never see daylight.

And if Camara is ever released, the grieving fiancé told the judge, "I would tattoo on his face, 'I'm an assassin and a rapist… I don't know why he did this to her, the son of a bitch," Vargas added. "He has taken a life full of virtues."

Camara, a native of Senegal, had once worked security at a downtown clothing store where Morelli was a sales clerk, and had maintained a friendship and become infatuated with her, pursuing her to the East Harlem apartment she shared with Vargas.

Prior to pleading guilty in the midst of jury selection last month, the monster had fought rape charges by claiming he'd only had sex with Morelli's corpse. He also tried to call what prosecutor Evan Krutoy derided as a "witch doctor" to the stand to argue that he was compelled to kill Morelli by a West African curse of unknown origin.

"He's the worst victim, along with her parents," Morelli's cousin, Giorgio, a New York-based journalist, said of the still-bereft fiancé. "Because he saw the body. He saw her." The pair had planned to marry this past summer and move to Cancun, said the cousin, who vowed at the hearing to fight Camara ever being paroled.

Morelli's brother, Giuseppe, 41, flew in from the family home in Pescara, Italy to read the judge a letter written by his father, Bruno.

"She was in love with America," the father wrote in the letter, which was read aloud in court by an Italian translator. "Now Rita is in the cemetery and all we can do is pray God that he may protect her."

Camara's brutality created voids impossible to measure, the prosecutor said at sentencing. "This defendant's legacy is one of creating emptiness," he said, describing how in just one of myriad instances Morelli's former English professor realized, upon speaking with investigators, that her seat in his class had been abandoned forever.

"This defendant's legacy is creating a vacuum where this woman once was," the prosecutor said.

The judge had the final word, telling Camara, "Rita did not deserve this. Rita did nothing to bring this on…Mr. Camara, to take a young and promising life in such a brutal way is senseless and inexcusable. I want you to look around you," he said to Camara, who continued staring down at the defense table, as he did for the entire hearing.

"I want you to look at Rita's family and I want you to consider the devastation," the judge said.

Camara and his lawyer, Seema Iyer, declined to speak before he was led away in handcuffs to prison.

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Residents balk at plans for alcohol in Pinecrest Gardens

Plans to create a restaurant in Pinecrest Gardens hit a snag on Tuesday.

Dozens of residents showed up at Tuesday’s Village Council meeting to scold council members for what they said was an attempt to create a banquet hall at the Gardens.

Residents told the council they disapprove of plans to give a restaurateur the freedom to host parties at night in a proposed restaurant at the Gardens because they say it would lead to the creation of a banquet hall in a residential area.

Resident Gladys Patino said a banquet hall does not belong “in the backyard” of other residents.

“One thing is to have a restaurant,” she said, “another thing is to have a venue where people are drinking and driving and causing accidents.”

But Mayor Cindy Lerner said the village has no plans to create a banquet hall.

She told residents that a consulting firm hired by the village suggested that they give leeway to anyone who plans to start a restaurant at the Gardens’ Cypress Hall to cater parties, as well as run a full-service restaurant.

“A banquet hall has never been our intent,” Lerner said. “We don’t want a banquet hall. We want a full-service restaurant.”

Village Manager Yocelyn Galiano Gomez said that it would also be physically impossible to have a banquet hall in Cypress Hall, because the room would be able to accommodate no more than 150 people — too few for a banquet hall.

For the past several years, Pinecrest officials have tried to start a restaurant at Cypress Hall, which has had the support of the community.

The village already sent out a request for proposals, but residents feel the language used in the village’s written solicitation gives any future restaurateur too much freedom.

On Tuesday, council members were considering a resolution that would loosen existing restrictions on night-time parties with alcohol at the Gardens in order to allow alcohol at indoor facilities at night.

The resolution was one of many steps village officials were considering to attract a restaurant operator to the Gardens.

“We wanted to assure a restaurateur that they would not be limited to those rules for outdoor parties,” Lerner said.

Residents were unconvinced, though. They said that it if a restaurant is allowed to throw parties at night with alcohol, it would surely result in drunk-driving accidents for the surrounding community.

Danielle Sayet, a Pinecrest resident, said that it would be wiser to have a café serving sandwiches and coffee rather than a full-service restaurant, considering that Pinecrest Gardens is a family-friendly place.

“I don’t understand how we would allow that in a residential area,” she said. “I am sorry, I don’t think that alcohol mixes.”

After hearing from a dozen unhappy residents, the council postponed a vote on loosening the alcohol rules.

Councilmember Joseph Corradino said he also supported a restaurant and not a banquet hall.

He said he could not imagine that any member of the council wanted a banquet hall either, but he conceded that their current plans were too unpopular to move forward with.

“I think we need to step back and work with the community,” Corradino said, “maybe in a workshop.”

The council also decided to rewrite parts of the village’s request for proposal to make it clear that a banquet hall could not be created in the Gardens. They also decided to extend the process for seeking a restaurateur, since changes were made.

Lerner said the resolution was simply needed to make a restaurant facility in Cypress Hall more profitable, as well as less dependent on taxpayer money. Currently, Pinecrest Gardens relies on village taxpayers for most of its budget.

She said profit margins for restaurants typically come from catering and serving alcohol.

“This is being blown way out of proportion,” Lerner told residents.

Tucker Gibbs, an attorney representing retirement homes near the Gardens, accused the village of attempting to break some legal promises that were made when the village bought the site, which used to be Parrot Jungle.

“Part of the covenant through the buying of Parrot Jungle promised that there would be no alcohol expect for four times a year, and it has to be approved by the Village Council,” Gibbs said. “Nobody wanted a Signature Gardens back then,” he said, referring the large banquet facility in West Kendall, “and that’s what you are doing.”

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Fire destroys townhome near Opa-locka airport

The day before a young family was to move to a new home, a fire destroyed their townhome near the Opa-locka airport.

Angie Douglas, her husband and their 2-year-old child were not home Tuesday afternoon around 1 p.m. when the blaze started at the town home at Northwest 167th Street and 55th Avenue. They had already packed up their belongings for moving day. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Arnold Piedrahita said everything was destroyed.

“The rear of the townhome was completely engulfed in flames,” Piedrahita said. “We initially feared that the fire would spread to adjoining townhomes, but we were able to contain it.”

Eighty firefighters from 25 fire rescue units took 20 minutes to put the fire out. There was some water and smoke damage to one of the townhomes next door.

No one was home in the neighboring units at the time of the fire, but the Douglas family dog, a Rottweiler, was tied up in the backyard. Piedrahita said the animal managed to escape the smoke by taking shelter in the small space between two fences.

Neighbors told fire rescue that they suspected foul play sparked the fire, but Piedrahita said investigators are still looking into the cause.

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Bradley Cooper on Jennifer Lawrence's Comedy Chops

Bradley Cooper appears in the offbeat film Silver Linings Playbook with Jennifer Lawrence and he says the Oscar-nominated actress does a great job showcasing her comedy skills in a compelling role as a sex addict.

Speaking at a New York screening of the film on Monday night, Bradley said the Hunger Games star was "incredible" in the role. "Actually if you know her at all, she's closest to this role I think in her real life," he said. "She's very funny and her timing in incredible, she's very off-the-cuff and you never really know what to expect, in a wonderful way."

VIDEO: Jennifer Lawrence On Bradley Cooper & Playing a Sex Addict

Bradley responded to comments made by Jennifer that he actually picked up the film's dance routines faster than she did. "Well, I had a lot easier time because the woman usually has the brunt of all the hard moves, so she really worked her tail off.' He also laughed off Jennifer's suggestion that he could someday win Dancing with the Stars.

VIDEO: Jennifer Lawrence on Her Kinship with Bradley Cooper

Silver Linings Playbook -- hitting theaters November 21 -- stars Bradley as Pat Solatano, a grown man living with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert De Niro) after losing his house, job and wife -- and spending eight months in a state institution on a plea bargain. Determined to rebuild his life and reunite with his wife, Pat meets a mysterious girl named Tiffany (Jennifer), who has her own set of issues, but offers to help him reconnect with his wife if he'll do something very important in return.

VIDEO: Bradley Cooper Suggests the Next 'Sexiest Man Alive' 

Watch the video to also learn about Julia Stiles' role and to hear Chris Tucker talk about working with the film's talented cast.

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NY Post: News

NY Post: News
Latest News from the New York Post Online Edition, which delivers the Post's
world-renowned gossip, best sports in town, and more. York Post Online Edition logo
12018'Killer' nanny accused in kids' bathtub slashing deaths hit with throw-away-the-key indictment By LAURA ITALIANOManhattanA grand jury has voted a throw-away-the-key indictment -- charging first degree murder -- against Yoselyn Ortega, the nanny accused in the bathtub slashing deaths of two young Upper West Side children under her care.
The rare charge -- brought only 27 times in all of New York in 2011...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 17:35:23 -0500
Quinn: Run overhead power lines undergroundBy SALLY GOLDENBERG
Forcing utilities to bury overhead lines is one of the more eye-catching – and expensive – suggestions City Council Speaker Christine Quinn put forth in a half policy, half campaign speech this morning.
Quinn, a likely candidate for mayor next year, delivered a lengthy speech on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy when...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 17:06:35 -0500

Queens thug indicted on first-degree murder over fatal May shootingBY CHRISTINA CARREGA
A Queens thug's charges were upgraded by a grand jury today for allegedly killing a man who testified against him in an earlier robbery case.
Shytique Kelly, 21 of Arverne, was indicted on first-degree murder charges when he approached Tysheen Coakley and his two buddies near 110th Avenue and...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 16:35:46 -0500

Fam scam! Two brothers tricked convenience store customer out of $5M lottery ticket: DA
SYRACUSE, NY — Two brothers from central New York who claimed a $5 million lottery ticket sold at their family's store have been accused of scamming the winning ticket from a customer.
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick says 34-year-old Andy Ashkar and 36-year-old Nayel Ashkar are charged with attempted...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 15:10:28 -0500

Feds: Hedgies knew stock tips were tainted By KAJA WHITEHOUSE
Former hedge-fund hotshots Anthony Chiasson and Todd Newman “crossed a criminal line” by knowingly swapping confidential stock tips in order to pocket millions in illegal profits, prosecutors charged.
“They had something honest investors did not have, something honest investors could not get,” Richard Tarlowe, a prosecutor with the Manhattan US...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 15:48:31 -0500

Cops hunt for dog thiefBy JAMIE SCHRAM and DAN MANGAN
The young woman seen in this recently released surveillance video swiped a beloved pooch from a Manhattan real estate investor on Sept. 11.
Detectives are asking anyone with information on the sticky-fingered thief to immediately call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
In the footage from an...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 14:32:12 -0500

Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel to be reopened soon: sourceBy JENNIFER FERMINO
The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel -- which was flooded with millions of gallons of water during superstorm Sandy — will be reopened soon, according to a government source.
Gov. Cuomo, MTA chairman Joseph Lhota and US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood are expected to make the announcement later today.
The source said it...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 14:23:28 -0500

Car charity scammer back in jail for Medicaid and food stamp fraudBy LAURA ITALIANO
She just got out of jail for pocketing $2 million in donations from her bogus "Hope for Disabled Kids" car-donation charity -- and now scammer Tirnawati Shoba Bakhsh is back behind bars, accused of collecting Medicaid and food stamps while running the scam.
The slippery Bakhsh, 46, gallingly claimed she...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 14:23:45 -0500

More than a fender bender: Sandy damaged 16,000 new cars stuck in port
Superstorm Sandy has caused damage to thousands of cars in the Port of New York and New Jersey that were heading to vehicle sales lots around the region.
Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman says 16,000 cars were damaged in the storm.
The New York Shipping Association says Toyota and...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 13:55:20 -0500

Murder suspect John McAfee says he did not do itBy MICHAEL BLAUSTEIN
Wanted for murder and on the run from the police in Belize, tech pioneer John McAfee says that he didn’t kill his neighbor and that whoever did might have been gunning for him.
“I thought maybe they were coming for me,” McAfee told Wired. “They mistook him for me...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 16:20:21 -0500

Singer/actress agrees to community service in assistant-bash caseBy LAURA ITALIANO
She's at the top of the charts -- and now she's cleaning up her rap sheet, too.
Songbird actress Taryn Manning, who played Eminem's dysfunctional girlfriend in the 2002 movie "8 Mile," agreed in a Manhattan courtroom this morning to serve a day of community service to...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 14:23:28 -0500

'Butcher' ex-boyfriend sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for girlfriend slayBy DAREH GREGORIAN

Steven Hirsch
Raul Barrera in court today. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

A fashion publicist who butchered his ex-girlfriend in her Lower East Side apartment for trying to move on without him was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison this morning - and...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 13:05:48 -0500

NY attorney files lawsuit over LIPA power failures
A New York attorney has filed a lawsuit claiming negligence by two Long Island power companies after Superstorm Sandy and the nor'easter.
Kenneth Mollins said the lawsuit filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court seeks unspecified damages.
The Long Island Power Authority has restored power to more than 1.1...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 16:26:04 -0500

Fla. utility worker attacked on Long Island
A utility worker from Lakeland, Fla., was punched in the face while walking outside a restaurant on New York's Long Island.
The Lakeland Ledger reports that John Applewhite suffered a broken jaw and several face fractures.
A Nassau County police press release said a man was punched in the...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 11:41:38 -0500

WATCH: Jon Stewart takes self down a notch over interview with Petraeus' mistressBy MICHAEL BLAUSTEIN
On last night's episode of "The Daily Show," host Jon Stewart mocked his own lack of journalistic instinct when it came to the interview he did with David Petraeus' mistress Paula Broadwell earlier this year.
<div style="background-color:#000000;width:520px;"><div style="padding:4px;"><iframe src="http://media...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 11:37:36 -0500

Gen. John Allen also helped Jill Kelley's sister during custody battleBy GEOFF EARLE and DAN MANGANNationalBoth Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. John Allen intervened in the same nasty child custody battle involving Natalie Khawam, the “psychologically unstable” twin sister of Jill Kelley, whose bombshell claims of being threatened by Petraeus' lover led to the top spy’s resignation last week, the Post has learned.
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 15:48:31 -0500
David Petraeus gets big promotion in new 'Call of Duty' gameBy MICHAEL BLAUSTEIN
Even though disgraced former CIA director David Petraeus' real career is over, his virtual career continues apace seeing as he is the Secretary of Defense in the new 'Call of Duty' video game which is expected to be the highest grossing game of all time.
Released today, the new game...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 10:56:05 -0500

Elmo accuser recants; says relationship was 'consensual'By DAREH GREGORIANLocalThe man who accused Elmo’s real-life persona, Kevin Clash of an underaged hookup has recanted his story, his legal representatives said today in an email, calling the relationship 'consensual.'
This office represented the 23-year-old man who was the subject of many media reports regarding Kevin Clash,” according to the...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 17:50:21 -0500
Hubby busted in SI teacher wife-slayBy DOUG AUER
Staten Island
The husband of a city schoolteacher mysteriously found dead inside their Staten Island home this summer was arrested this morning for murder, The Post has learned.
Jonathan Crupi was collared at his mother’s home where he had been staying since the July 5 slaying of Simeonette Mapes-Crupi, law enforcement...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 13:05:48 -0500
Staten Island
Staten Island

City launching '1-stop restoration centers', FEMA opens in 19 NJ counties
New York City says it's launching "one-stop restoration centers" that will provide recovery services and disaster relief.
The offices will be located in Far Rockaway and Breezy Point, Queens; Coney Island, Red Hook and Gravesend, Brooklyn; and on Staten Island.
Both state and federal disaster relief will be offered...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 09:08:04 -0500

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree survived Sandy
MOUNT OLIVE, NJ — The Christmas tree that will dominate New York's Rockefeller Center survived the winds of Superstorm Sandy that left a path of destruction in a New Jersey town and even its donor without electricity for weeks.
Joe Balku, 76, learned that the 80-foot Norway spruce had been...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 16:29:41 -0500

Missouri girl, 4, brings toys to Sandy victims
A 4-year-old girl from Kansas City has been delivering toys to New York City children affected by Superstorm Sandy.
Katherine Schell tells WCBS-TV that she was worried about other kids who "lost their animals."
Her mom, Katie Schell, says it was Katherine's idea to bring the toys to New...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 08:28:37 -0500

Judge shames Ohio woman who drove on sidewalk to avoid school bus with public 'idiot' signNationalCLEVELAND — In a highly public sentence, a woman caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to avoid a Cleveland school bus that was unloading children stood in the cold at an intersection holding a sign warning people about idiots.
A Cleveland Municipal Court judge ordered 32-year-old Shena Hardin to serve...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 08:22:19 -0500
Gov: We’ll probe LIPA and othersBy ERIK KRISS and JOSH MARGOLINLocalGov. Cuomo has launched investigations into every state-licensed power utility in the region to determine how they performed after Hurricane Sandy.
“I’m going to do a thorough review/investigation, and they will be held accountable for past performance, and we have to make sure we are prepared for when...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 16:25:51 -0500
Lance is Livingwrong: Taunting photo as bike dope quits cancer postBy ANDY SOLTISInternational

Take them down and box them up, Lance.
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong tweeted a brazen photo of himself on Saturday lying next to his seven ill-gained Tour de France victory jerseys — tokens of titles that were ultimately stripped from him due to doping allegations.
“Back in Austin and just layin...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 16:21:09 -0500
Apt. fire kills woman, 91By LORENA MONGELLI and JESSICA SIMEONE
An elderly churchgoing woman was killed yesterday by a fire that swept through her Brooklyn apartment building, authorities said.Olga Bates, 91, a widow who relatives said was “very religious,” was found unconscious on the second floor of the Prospect Heights building and later died, cops said.“She was super...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 14:24:04 -0500

Monthly MetroCards will not be reimbursed after SandyBy JENNIFER FERMINO, KENNETH GARGER and LEONARD GREENELocal

Chad Rachman/New York Post
GIVING IT A WHIRL: The Marine chopper scheduled to shuttle President Obama around the city Thursday takes off during a test run yesterday in Miller Field on Staten Island, where he'll meet Mayor Bloomberg.

Count your monthly MetroCard as a casualty of Hurricane Sandy...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 12:00:30 -0500
Petraeus helps whistleblower's 'unstable' twin in nasty custody fight By GEOFF EARLE, JEANE MACINTOSH and DAN MANGANNationalGen. David Petraeus sure loved helping his lady friends.
While he was director of the CIA, Petraeus wrote a letter supporting the child-custody fight of the “psychologically unstable” twin sister of his close friend Jill Kelley — whose bombshell claims of being threatened by his lover led to the top spy...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 11:41:56 -0500
WATCH: Girls go wild at 30 Rock for One Direction, announced 1st 3D movieBy AMY STRETTENLocal

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
One Direction member Louis Tomlinson, left, performs on NBC's "Today" show.

The boys of One Direction are banking that their remarkable journey to fame has at least one more year of glory.
Moviegoers will get a 3D eyeful of the the wildly popular UK boy...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 11:37:35 -0500
Cheat heartsNational

Getty Images

Now all they have to do is kiss.
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson looked as if they had made up last night for the premiere of “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II.”
It was the former — and possibly current — couple’s first red-carpet appearance together since they split...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 10:22:42 -0500
Friends in grief: Families of tragic Flight 587 help storm victims in RockawaysBy DAVID SEIFMANLocalIt’s victims helping victims.
Families that lost loved ones when Flight 587 crashed in the Rockaways in 2001 are taking up a collection for residents of the battered shorefront community still struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
The poignant gesture will raise thousands, not millions. Most...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 08:44:44 -0500
Queens school’s student exodusBy YOAV GONEN and LIZ SADLERQueens

Debris from damaged homes lies piled up across the street from the shuttered PS 114 in Belle Harbor.

Hurricane Sandy scattered hundreds of students from one Queens school — to locales as far away as Nashville.
At least 230 students from Belle Harbor’s PS 114 have enrolled in public...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 08:34:45 -0500
Twist in Petraeus sex scandal: Afghanistan commander now probed for relationship with Jill KelleyBy TIM PERONE
In a shocking twist, the top US military commander in Afghanistan been caught up in the Petraeus sex scandal.
Marine Gen. John Allen is being investigated for “inappropriate communications” with Jill Kelley — the woman harassed by e-mails allegedly sent by David Petraeus’ mistress.
Allen, 58, who succeeded Petraeus as top...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 05:12:50 -0500

Christie facing GOP stormBy GERRY SHIELDS in DC and ERIK KRISS in AlbanyNational

AFP/Getty Images
BIG HIT: Gov. Chris Christie’s political aspirations are taking a hit over his warm embrace of President Obama after Hurricane Sandy ravaged New Jersey.

Fat chance for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s White House aspirations in the wake of his post-Sandy bromance with President Obama...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 05:12:50 -0500
Hero’s blaze of glory: Bravest saves woman, 93By KIERAN CROWLEY

Bill Kelly
NICK OF TIME: Rescuers aid Evelyn Ross yesterday after she was saved from her burning Long Island home by John Curley.

A Long Island firefighter who’s also one of the FDNY’s Bravest smashed a window of a burning Bellmore home with his bare hands and dragged...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 05:12:50 -0500

Red ‘devil’! Voice of Elmo in teen-sex shockerBy DAREH GREGORIANLocal

Chad Rachman/New York Post
DON'T TICKLE ME! Kevin Clash, with Muppet, Elmo, insists that his young accuser was of legal age when their “relationship” began.

Say it ain’t so, Elmo!
Kevin Clash — the puppeteer who transformed a furry red Muppet named Elmo into an international sensation — has...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 05:12:50 -0500
Beware: ObamaCare’s now realityBy BETSY McCAUGHEYOped ColumnistsPresident Obama’s re-election and Democratic gains in the US Senate end any possibility of repealing the Obama health law. It will roll out as written, imposing major changes soon on you and your family. If you are uninsured because you can’t afford it, help may be on the...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 03:44:05 -0500 Columnists Columnists
SI cops’ killer eyed as too dumb for deathBy MITCHEL MADDUX
Staten Island
They say he’s too dumb to die for his heinous crimes.
A federal judge has scheduled a series of hearings later this month for testimony about whether a man convicted of the execution-style murder of two undercover NYPD officers is mentally competent to face the death penalty — again.
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 03:43:37 -0500
Staten Island
Staten Island

Stones ‘Start Up’ in B’klynBy ANDY SOLTISLocalIt’s official: The Rolling Stones are coming to Brooklyn.
The band added a show on Dec. 8, a Saturday, at Barclays Center, to their new tour.
Tickets will go on sale Monday at 10 a.m.
The show will be the first US date of their “The Stones — 50...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 03:42:18 -0500
Meet the ‘perfect’ NYC galBy ANDY SOLTISLocalThe perfect single New York City woman is a brown-eyed, nonsmoking, social-drinking brunette — with a master’s degree.And Gotham guys would be willing to spend $266.25 on a first date with their dream girl, according to a new survey by a sugar-daddy dating Web site.Some 5,000...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 03:42:16 -0500
O critics rankled by ‘dicey timing’By GERRY SHIELDS and JOSH MARGOLIN
Whatever you do, don’t tell the boss.
White House aides appear to have gone out of their way to avoid informing President Obama about the Petraeus affair, and people in Washington want to know why.
“It’s way too convenient,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a member of the...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 03:14:13 -0500

Obama keeps Holder as Attorney GeneralBy JOSH MARGOLINNationalPresident Obama is holding on to Eric Holder as the nation’s top law-enforcement official, The Post has learned.
The newly re-elected president asked his controversial attorney general to stay for the second term, and Holder has agreed despite enduring a firestorm of criticism from Republican lawmakers.
“I don’t...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 03:04:09 -0500
In Syria’s crossfireBy JOSEF FEDERMANInternationalJERUSALEM — An Israeli tank scored “direct hits” yesterday on a Syrian army vehicle after a mortar shell landed on Israeli-held territory, the military said, in the first direct confrontation between the countries since the Syrian uprising broke out.
Israel has tried to avoid getting sucked into the bloody Syrian conflict...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 03:03:16 -0500
Tech-mogul slay suspectBy RITA DELFINER
John McAfee, founder of the anti-virus software company, that bears his name, is being sought for questioning in the murder of a neighbor in Belize, local police said yesterday.
Cops want to talk to McAfee, 67 — who sold the company to Intel in 2010 for $7.7 billion — in connection...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 03:03:16 -0500

Mike’s ‘legacy list’ is Priority 1 for projectsBy SALLY GOLDENBERG
When it comes to new development projects, the Bloomberg administration is closed for business.
That’s because the mayor’s people — with an eye toward his legacy — have carefully crafted a special list of high-profile priority projects to fast-track before Bloomberg’s third term ends in 14 months, putting all...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 02:53:50 -0500

Hardhat’s downer: 9/11 impotence claimBy BRUCE GOLDINGManhattanSeptember 11 changed everything for this hardhat — including his sex life.
A construction worker who breathed “toxic smoke and fumes” while working five weeks at Ground Zero said he was left with a litany of ailments, including erectile dysfunction.
Steven O’Hara of upstate Wingdale clocked 12-hour days monitoring the...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 02:53:50 -0500
Conservatives propose BamCare cuts in ‘cliff’ talksBy GERRY SHIELDS, Post CorrespondentNationalWASHINGTON — President Obama will have to give to get.
Opponents of Obama’s signature health-care law are pushing for costs of the plan to be part of the negotiations over preventing the so-called fiscal cliff, while supporters are trying to keep cuts off the table.
Obama will begin a series...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 02:53:50 -0500

A serial bank robber was done in when a detective recognized his mug from a prior arrest, law-enforcement sources said.
Robert Connolly, 54, allegedly scored $3,495 from the Valley National Bank on Fourth Avenue near East 12th Street on Oct. 10 by handing a teller a demand note...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 02:10:54 -0500 Blotter Blotter
Hydrant rule is all wet: polBy SALLY GOLDENBERG
This parking rule must be from the age of horse and buggy.
A city councilman is looking to revamp a law that allows cars to park 15 feet from hydrants in a no-standing zone while dropping off or picking up a passenger, as long as the driver is in the...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 02:05:29 -0500

Sad last salute for upstate GI
ALDEN, NY — Mourners overflowed a church in western New York on Veterans Day to pay tribute to a US Army reservist killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.The funeral for Sgt. Brett Gornewicz, 27, of Alden, 20 miles east of Buffalo, was standing room only at St. John’s...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 02:05:29 -0500

Wanton thief a wonton thief
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — A man stole a car used to deliver Chinese food — then continued dropping off orders so he could keep the customers’ money, police said.Keith Hinds, 45, was charged Friday with larceny and other charges.West Hartford police received a call from a Chinese-food delivery driver reporting...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:58:37 -0500

NJ has had fill of rationingBy LEONARD GREENELocalFill ’er up!New Jersey will end its gas-rationing policy today now that pressure at the pump has been eased. Gov. Chris Christie says that gas supplies are plentiful throughout the Garden State and that there are no more lines of cars waiting for fuel.Christie imposed the odd-even restrictions...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:54:36 -0500
Wynner is now ‘lo$er’By ANTHONY MCCARTNEYNationalLOS ANGELES — A judge has cut by more than half the $40 million jury verdict that casino mogul Steve Wynn was recently awarded against “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis.
The ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell on Friday eliminates $20 million in punitive damages the...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:53:55 -0500
Comptroller cronies Liu-sers in courtBy JOSH SAULLocalThis “long shot” fell way short.
Embattled city Comptroller John Liu suffered another setback yesterday when two of his key fund-raisers charged with fraud saw their motions to suppress certain evidence and dismiss the case slapped down by a federal judge.
Liu campaign treasurer Jia “Jenny” Hou moved to suppress...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:53:46 -0500
Carrión to run for mayor – as GOPerBy DAVID SEIFMANLocalFormer Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión (pictured) is planning to enter the 2013 mayoral race — but as a Republican, not a Democrat, according to political sources.
Carrión, 51, who served briefly in the Obama administration, has quietly changed his voter registration from Democrat to independent and hopes to run on...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:53:43 -0500
Time to tell the truthEditorialsDavid Petraeus served the United States of America with honor and distinction for nearly four decades.
Then he stumbled. That much is clear.
But everything else about L’affaire Petraeus is a jumbled mess, and the best advice for anyone trying to make sense of it is really quite simple...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:20:44 -0500
Good gas news in JerseyEditorials“The power restoration and fuel-delivery efforts of the past two weeks have allowed lines to subside, lessening the need for this type of rationing system. Now is an appropriate time to end it.” — Kevin Roberts, spokesman forGov. Chris Christie, announcing that post-Sandy
gas rationing would end in New Jersey at...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:20:44 -0500
Keep Alan on iceEditorialsFormer state Comptroller Alan Hevesi comes up for his initial parole hearing this week, perhaps today, having served 18 months of a one-to-four-year sentence for a “pay-to-play” scheme involving state pension-fund investments.
Hevesi’s corruption conviction ended his three-decade service on the public payroll, including membership in the state Assembly...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:20:44 -0500
No bail for son in mom-slay horrorBy LAURA ITALIANO
The man charged with fatally stabbing his mother and slashing and trying to incinerate his brother in their East Harlem apartment was held without bail at his arraignment yesterday. David Elias, 31, was led from Manhattan Criminal Court to jail yesterday, staggering and swaying in his handcuffs and leg chains...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:18:25 -0500

Super Bowl’s VIP air gameBy JOSH MARGOLIN
The most touchdowns at the first Super Bowl hosted at the Meadowlands will be scored by rich fans flying in via private jet.An $11 million private air terminal is quietly being constructed at Newark Airport to lure the jet set that is sure to converge for the 2014 Super...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:16:40 -0500

$100M suit vs. Beyoncé OK’dBy DAREH GREGORIANNationalBeyoncé might be summoned to a command performance — singing under oath.A state appeals court has given a $100 million lawsuit against the “Single Ladies” singer the green light, paving the way for the superstar to testify at a deposition.In a unanimous decision, the Appellate Division denied a bid...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:16:04 -0500
Bents best SEC in ‘broken buck’ caseBy KAJA WHITEHOUSEBusinessThe Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday suffered yet another defeat in its efforts to hold Wall Street accountable for losses stemming from the financial meltdown after a Manhattan jury cleared a father-son team of misleading investors to avoid a run on the bank in 2008.
After more than two days...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:14:19 -0500
Leucadia snaps up Jefferies for $4BBy MARK DECAMBREBusinessWall Street’s damsels are turning to white knights.
In the latest move, Jefferies Group yesterday agreed to be scooped up by investing conglomerate Leucadia National Corp. for nearly $4 billion.
The acquisition will place Jefferies CEO Rich Handler, 51, in the unique position at the helm of his firm...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:14:19 -0500
Hostess’ reprieve in PhillyBy JOSH KOSMANBusinessThe Philadelphia Hostess plant that supplies New York City is running again after a strike by the bakers’ union temporarily halted production.
Hostess pulled in management from other areas to restart the plant, which came to a halt when workers refused to cross a picket line, according to a source...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:14:19 -0500
Windows boss exitsBusinessMicrosoft said that Steven Sinofsky, president of its Windows and Windows Live operations, is leaving the company.
Company veteran Julie Larson-Green has been promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering.
The company did not say why Sinofsky is leaving...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:14:19 -0500
Glitch KOs NYSE stoxBusiness Nyse Euronext yesterday suspended trading in more than 200 stocks on the New York Stock Exchange due to a technical problem with a server, though the stocks in question were still trading actively on other markets. There will be no closing auctions in the affected stocks, and a list of...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:14:19 -0500
JCPenney shares pummeledBy JAMES COVERTBusinessThere’s a sale at JCPenney — on its stock, that is.Shares of the struggling department-store chain plunged 13 percent to their lowest levels since 2009, as Wall Street grew increasingly anxious about CEO Ron Johnson’s controversial turnaround strategy.Analysts cut their ratings on Penney shares and slashed profit...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:14:19 -0500
MF report coming
A US House of Representatives panel will release a long-awaited report that will dissect the collapse of failed commodities brokerage MF Global. The House Financial Services Committee said its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will post the report online Thursday...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:14:19 -0500

Warner makes Sony/ATV moveBy CLAIRE ATKINSONBusinessWarner Music Group has joined the bidders for a Sony/ATV music publishing catalog with the rights to some 30,000 songs, The Post has learned. The Rosetta catalog, which is heavy on ’80s hits from artists like Bryan Ferry, Devo and Tears for Fears, has already attracted attention from...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:14:19 -0500
Weird but true
Weird But True
When people say it’s a pain to figure out a budget or decide how big a tip to leave in a restaurant, they may be telling the truth.
Researchers at the University of Chicago have found that doing math can cause physical pain.
Solving a tough math problem activates...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:14:13 -0500
Weird But True
Weird But True

A rough landing: New Times CEO faces twin threats on first dayBy KEITH J. KELLYBusinessThere was no warm welcome for New York Times CEO Mark Thompson.
The former BBC director general and editor-in-chief spent his first day on the job dealing with the fallout from a deepening crisis at his former employer and turmoil within the Times.
Thompson, who declined to be interviewed by...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:12:25 -0500
Long Island’s short temper and Cuomo’s LIP(A) serviceLettersThe Issue: Gov. Cuomo’s responsibility for LIPA’s efficiency after Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.
The Post documents Gov. Cuomo’s failure to fix the Long Island Power Authority after Hurricane Irene very well (“Cuomo’s LIPA Fail,” Editorial, Nov. 10).
The governor has been publicly critical of LIPA, which...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:09:16 -0500
GOP self-delusionBy RICH LOWRYOped ColumnistsNo sooner had the electoral thundercloud arrived last Tuesday than some Republicans began searching it for a silver lining. It is an understandable impulse after a defeat to want to minimize its magnitude and rationalize away its causes.
But there are no comforting augurs for Republicans in President Obama’s...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:08:43 -0500 Columnists Columnists
When our role models let us downBy JOHN PODHORETZOped ColumnistsDavid Petraeus, who might have been the most respected man in America, has resigned due to a personal scandal that threatens to turn into a national-security scandal.
Kevin Clash, who took a piece of red cloth and with mysterious alchemy turned it into the most popular character for small children...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:08:43 -0500 Columnists Columnists
King David’s big fallBy ARTHUR HERMANOped ColumnistsEven Brad Thor couldn’t come up with a juicier storyline.FBI agents discover secret e-mails proving that the CIA director, a revered war hero and possible future presidential candidate, is having an affair with his biographer-turned- femme fatale. He then resigns just days before he’s supposed to give...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 01:08:43 -0500 Columnists Columnists
US holds on to UN panel seat
The United States yesterday joined Germany and Ireland in winning re-election to the UN Human Rights Council.There were three seats available to represent the council’s Western Group. The other two contestants, Greece and Sweden, failed to garner sufficient votes from the General Assembly’s 193 members.US Ambassador...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 00:57:47 -0500

Hammer attack on shrinkBy LARRY CELONA and NATASHA VELEZ
A deranged man yesterday attacked a Manhattan psychiatrist with a sledgehammer and knife in his home office, police said.Michael Weiss, 38, was meeting with Jacob Nolan in his 12th-floor office on West 57th Street at about 10.25 a.m. when Nolan apparently snapped and bashed him with the...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 00:54:01 -0500

UN asked to free bond boatBusinessBUENOS AIRES — Argentina will ask a UN court to order the release of a navy sailing ship seized in Ghana unless the African country releases today, officials announced.The ARA Libertad training ship was seized on Oct. 2 in the port of Tema as collateral for unpaid bonds dating from...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 00:27:57 -0500
Greece gets reprieveBusiness Greece’s lenders agreed to give the debt-ridden country two more years to make the cuts demanded of it, but the euro zone and IMF clashed over a longer-term target date to shrink debt. Euro zone finance ministers did not disburse more aid and by granting a request for more...Tue, 13 Nov 2012 00:27:55 -0500
Google facing FTC ultimatumBusiness Google is being pressed by Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jonathan Leibowitz to offer to resolve the agency’s antitrust investigation in the next few days or face a lawsuit, two people familiar with the matter said.
Google has been in discussions with the agency for about two weeks and hasn...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 00:27:53 -0500
NBCU lays off 450, shakes up ‘Today’By CLAIRE ATKINSONBusinessComcast’s NBCUniversal is laying off hundreds of staff in another round of belt-tightening.
The pink slips will take place across the board and will affect about 450 employees, or 1.5 percent of the total staff, according to insiders.
Earlier this year, NBC cut about two dozen staffers on...
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 00:27:05 -0500
Savanna’s 17th St. sojournBy STEVE CUOZZOCommercialSavanna is adding two loft-style Chelsea office buildings to its growing collection — 245 and 249 W. 17th St.
The aggressive real estate private-equity and asset management firm just bought the properties from the Pressman family for a price not yet disclosed. The buildings have a combined 284,000 square feet...
Mon, 12 Nov 2012 23:54:12 -0500
Traders limber up for their race to the exitsBy JOHN CRUDELEBusinessIn my column last Thursday I wrote you an upbeat, patriotic song to make you feel better. Today, I’m going to make you feel lousy again.And I’m going to bore you as well. (Hey, no need to thank me.)This column is about the stock market and...Mon, 12 Nov 2012 23:32:53 -0500
Business briefsBusinessDown on oilHedge funds trimmed bullish bets on crude to the lowest in more than two years as demand fell in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, production increased to the highest since 1994 and President Barack Obama won re-election.BB10 dateResearch in Motion plans to introduce its new BlackBerry 10...Mon, 12 Nov 2012 23:28:02 -0500
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