Chocolate lovers take part in the annual festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

If you haven’t had your fill of chocolate yet, might be time to head out to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Large crowds gathered Saturday for samples of the sweet treats, chef demonstrations and even a Chocowalk at the seventh annual International Chocolate Festival.

Besides edible treats, the event – which lasts until Sunday at 4:30 p.m. – offered lectures about cacao crops and methods of making chocolate around the world.

The Festival featured Santiago Peralta, the founder of Pacari Chocolate, who was named Outstanding Chocolate Maker for 2013 by The Fine Chocolate Industry Association. Peralta, who is from Ecuador, is the first Latin American to win that honor. The chocolatier spoke Saturday about preserving a native form of cacao and sustainable production practices in the chocolate industry. He will give another lecture Sunday at 2 p.m.

Events Sunday include chocolate yoga and an interactive workshop for kids.

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Smartphone 4Q sales rise 36 pct led by Samsung

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Smartphone shipments rose 36 percent worldwide in the fourth quarter as the sleek devices supplanted personal computers and other gadgets on holiday shopping lists, according to a report released Friday.

The findings from the research firm International Data Corp. are the latest sign of the technology upheaval being wrought by the growing popularity of smartphones that can perform a wide variety of tasks, including surfing the Web and taking high-quality photos.

Companies whose fortunes are tied to the PC industry have been particularly hard hit by the shift to smartphones and tablet computers.

While some smartphone models were in short supply during the holiday season, fourth-quarter PC shipments fell by 6 percent from the previous year, according to another IDC report released earlier this month.

IDC estimates 219 million smartphones were shipped during the final three months of last year. That compares with nearly 161 million in the same 2011 period. Smartphones accounted for about 45 percent of all mobile phone shipments in the fourth quarter, the highest percentage recorded by IDC.

Samsung Electronics Co. retained its bragging rights as the smartphone leader, shipping nearly 64 million devices for a 29 percent share of the global market.

Apple Inc. ranked second with nearly 48 million iPhones shipped during the fourth quarter, translating into a market share of 22 percent.

For all of 2012, IDC estimated nearly 713 million smartphones were shipped worldwide, a 44 percent increase from the previous year. Meanwhile, annual PC shipments fell 3 percent from 2011, IDC said. It was the first annual decline since 2001.

Entering 2012, Apple held a slight edge over Samsung in the smartphone market. But Samsung sprinted past Apple during the year as it introduced an array of models, most of which run on Google Inc.‘s free Android software. Samsung’s top-selling line, the Galaxy, boasts larger display screens than the iPhone and other features.

Apple alleges Samsung’s devices illegally ripped off the iPhone’s innovations. After a high-profile trial in federal court, a jury in San Jose, Calif. sided with some of the patent infringement claims last August and decided Samsung should pay more than $ 1 billion in damages. Samsung has been trying to overturn the verdict.

Lower-priced smartphones from Samsung and other device makers also have hurt Apple, whose slowing iPhone growth has contributed to a $ 250 billion decline in its market value since its stock price peaked in late September.

IDC says Huawei Technologies Ltd.‘s emphasis on less expensive handsets helped it become the third largest smartphone maker with a market share of 5 percent at the end of the fourth quarter.

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Buzzmakers: Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs and Carrie Underwood Premieres Two Black Cadillacs Music Video

What had ET readers buzzing this week?

1. First Clip: Ashton Kutcher Becomes 'JOBS'

Ashton Kutcher takes on the role of a lifetime in JOBS, and we have your first look at the movie.

In the clip, Jobs (played by Ashton Kutcher) is raving about the operating system that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (played by Josh Gad) created. While Jobs is certain that this will become a ubiquitous product for mass consumption, Wozniak needs convincing.

"Nobody wants to buy a computer," says Wozniak.

"How does somebody know what they want if they've never even seen it?" Jobs replies.

Steve Jobs lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 56 in October 2011 and as April 2013 marks the 37th anniversary of the founding of the Apple Computer Company, Open Road Films has decided to release JOBS on April 19.

Directed by Joshua Michael Stern, written by Matthew Whitely, shot by Oscar-winning cinematographer Russell Carpenter and produced by Mark Hulme, JOBS details the major moments and defining characters that influenced Steve Jobs on a daily basis from 1971 through 2001, according to a press release.

Click here for the video!

2. World Premiere: Carrie's 'Two Black Cadillacs'

Carrie Underwood's inner bad girl is darker than ever in the singer's latest music video for Two Black Cadillacs.

Clad in head-to-toe black, the Grammy nominee takes a turn for the wicked as she croons a juicy tale of infidelity and murder at her cheating husband's funeral.

Click here to watch the world premiere of Carrie's latest single Two Black Cadillacs (off her Blown Away album).

3. Pics: Obama's Inauguration Day Diary

The second-term inauguration of President Barack Obama saw Washington D.C. politicians rubbing elbows with Hollywood's elite. From Beyonce Knowles performing the national anthem to Alicia Keys behind the keys at the inaugural ball, Click here for a recap of the historic, star-studded day.

4. Taylor Swift Stuns As Rapunzel in New Disney Ad

Like Jennifer Lopez, Gisele Bundchen, Beyonce, Jessica Biel, Julianne Moore, Scarlett Johansson, Olivia Wilde and countless other A-Lister ladies before her, Taylor Swift is now starring in Disney Parks ad where she brings to life one of the Mouse House's most memorable characters for their ongoing Disney Dream Portrait campaign.

Slipping into Rapunzel's shoes (errrr, hair extensions) for this "Where A World of Adventure Awaits" spot was a dream come true for the Grammy winner. "When Disney came to me and said we want you to play Rapunzel, I was just so honored," Swift said. "It's such a wonderful character to get to play, a childhood fantasy come into reality for me."

Turns out, the gig couldn't have been a better fit because Swift got her start singing Disney songs! "My parents realized I was really obsessed with [singing] when I'd go up to strangers and sing Lion King songs," Swift laughs. "I think about all the times me and my little brother went to Disney World and we were able to escape to that place anytime we had a hard time. Any time you're going through something rough, you can go back into your imagination and you're at Disney World."

Click here for the video!

5. Leo DiCaprio Taking a 'Long Break' From Acting

Unless something was lost in translation, Leonardo DiCaprio has revealed to a German publication that he will be taking a hiatus from acting.

The 38-year-old A-lister told Germany's daily Bild (via Deadline), "I am a bit drained. I'm now going to take a long, long break. I've done three films in two years and I'm just worn out."

DiCaprio's Django Unchained just came out this past month and he also has The Great Gatsby hitting theaters this year (May 10th) as well as The Wolf of Wall Street. So, what does DiCaprio plan to do with his free time? "I would like to improve the world a bit. I will fly around the world doing good for the environment."

The actor added, "My roof is covered with solar panels. My car is electric. A normal person does not drive more than 50 kilometers (31 miles) a day. That can be done with a plug."

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PHOTOS: FDNY douses taxi fire in Brooklyn

Aaron Neilson-Belman

These are some hot wheels! Firefighters doused a raging taxi fire that erupted on busy Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn today, just a block from the new Barclays Center.

Firefighters quickly put out the blaze, which erupted on Flatbush near Dean Street in the northern section of tony Park Slope. No one was hurt and the FDNY did not know what caused the fire, but from photos captured by a quick-thinking lensman, the taxi looks like a total loss.

Aaron Neilson-Belman

'HOT' COUTURE: Cab caught fire in front of the Versailles clothing shop on Flatbush Ave.

Aaron Neilson-Belman

JUST AIN'T 'FARE': This cab won't be making pickups any time soon.

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Fed aims for a 6.5% jobless rate

Six and a half percent unemployment in America would mean almost 2.1 million more people working than today. At the rate the country has been creating new jobs each month, it would take more than a year to find work for that many people.

Keep 6.5 percent in mind this week when the Federal Reserve meets Tuesday and Wednesday to talk about its efforts to push interest rates down. The hope is that the cheap cash will spur on investment leading to job creation. After all, the central bank has promised to keep its target interest rate near zero as long as more than 6.5 percent of Americans in the workforce are without work. The Fed has put other conditions on maintaining its historically low interest rate such as low inflation, but official measures remain tame. So its job growth the Fed is looking for.

It won’t have to wait long for the latest update. On Friday the first jobs report of 2013 will be released. Hiring has been a slow grind but it has been positive.

Finding work in January, though, can be tricky. Winter weather, a hangover from the holidays and seasonal work ending can slow down hiring.

It will be months, maybe even a couple of years before the U.S. unemployment rate hits 6.5 percent. There is nothing magical about that number, but as long as the Federal Reserve has it in its sights, so should we.

Tom Hudson is anchor and managing editor of Nightly Business Report, produced by NBR Worldwide and distributed nationally by American Public Television. In South Florida, the show is broadcast at 7 p.m. weekdays on Channel 2. Follow him on Twitter, @HudsonNBR.

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Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz considering bid for governor

Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz looks ready to run for governor and has spent the past three weeks lining up support from strategists, financiers and elected officials.

Diaz, who hasn't taken calls from The Miami Herald for three weeks about his plans, finally returned a text message on Friday and said he wasn't ready to speak about the matter, in part because he was attending a charity golf tournament.

Diaz met Friday morning with top Democratic strategist Jeff Garcia, who said he'd like the former mayor to run.

"His potential candidacy presents a unique opportunity for Democrats and Floridians to take the state in a completely new and positive direction," said Garcia, U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia's chief of staff who met Friday morning with Diaz. "I'm excited he's considering running. It adds something new and fresh to the field."

Diaz, mayor from 2001-2009, would be the only Democratic Hispanic candidate among those who have announced or are considering a bid to challenge Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Hispanics, the fastest-growing segment of the electorate, helped President Obama win his reelection campaign in Florida.

If elected, Diaz would be the first Democratic Hispanic governor. The state's first Hispanic governor was a Republican, Bob Martinez, from 1987-1991.

Diaz has made no formal announcement for the election, which is still nearly two years away.

Former Democratic state Senate leader Nan Rich, of Weston, has announced her intention to run. Former state CFO and the last Democratic governor's candidate, Alex Sink, is mulling a run as is former Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican, who helped President Obama's campaign in Florida this year.

Diaz was a big help to Obama's Florida campaign as well. In the waning days of the election when he cut a Spanish-language ad rebutting a spot from Republican Mitt Romney's campaign, which suggested the president was a socialist.

As a past leader of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Diaz has some close allies in top spots. He has approached Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown for support and wants to hire some of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's campaign team.

New York Mayor and media tycoon Michael Bloomberg wrote the forward to Diaz's book, Miami Transformed, which Diaz is promoting.

Diaz is also on good terms with former Baltimore Mayor and current Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who recently stepped down as head of the Democratic Governor's Association.

One Democratic source said the DGA is nervous about a potential Crist candidacy because of the former Republican governor's "baggage."

But Diaz has some, too, according to his critics in Miami-Dade, home of the largest block of voters in the state.

His successor, Republican Tomas Regalado, faulted Diaz for leaving the city's budget in bad condition.

Regalado noted that as mayor, Diaz spent more money than Miami took in, draining the reserves from $120 million at the beginning of his tenure to just $20 million by the end.

"He's going to have a hard time explaining the way he left Miami," Regalado said.

Regalado also faulted Diaz for pushing for a new stadium for the Miami Marlins baseball team.

Diaz won't, however, need to explain anything after recently changing his party affiliation from independent to Democrat, Regalado said.

"Thankfully, Charlie Crist has already done that," he said.

Other Miami movers and shakers, though, say Diaz did an excellent job in trying times.

"Manny is a visionary leader who has never lost his footing or his roots," Eduardo J. PadrĂ³n, Miami Dade College president, said in blurb about Diaz's book. "He epitomizes the immigrant success story and the fruition of the American Dream."

At a recent Miami fundraiser for a Los Angeles candidate for mayor, Eric Garcetti, Diaz was introduced as "Gov. Manny Diaz." Diaz did nothing to quiet the talk, according to people in the room.

Miami Herald reporter Kathleen McGrory contributed to this report

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Yandex says new mobile app is blocked by Facebook

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian internet company Yandex said on Friday its new experimental application to search on social networking sites from mobile devices was blocked by Facebook.

The Wonder app is a recommendation tool for devices using Apple’s iOS software that allows U.S. users of social networks to retrieve information from these sites by voice or by typing questions.

The application was released late on Thursday for users of Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare and Twitter but was blocked by Facebook three hours after the launch, a Yandex spokesman said.

He added that talks between Yandex and Facebook, aimed to establish the reason of the issue and resolve it, were to begin within hours. He gave no reason for the problem.

Facebook was not available for comment.

With the new app, Yandex wants to test the opportunities offered by social networks. If successful, the company will consider offering it to users in Russia and Turkey, he said.

Shares in Yandex, Russia’s most popular search engine, gained 0.8 percent in early trade on Friday.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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Carbon monoxide leak sickens 2 in Hell's Kitchen

Two restaurant workers were rushed to the hospital after being overcome by carbon monoxide at a Hell's Kitchen eatery, a leak that prompted fire officials to briefly evacuate the building.

The employees, one of whom was knocked unconscious, were taken to New York-Cornell Medical Center after they succumbed to the gas escaping from a defective oil burner in the basement of Turkish Cuisine restaurant on 9th Avenue near 45th Street at 3:40 p.m.

"When the company arrived on scene, their carbon-monoxide meters ran at 1,000 parts per million," said FDNY Battalion Chief Mike Meyers, who added that safe levels are just 10 parts per million.

The stricken workers, who were not identified, will spend the next 24 hours in an oxygen chamber and are listed in serious condition.

Ten residents ordered to briefly leave the building were allowed back inside, but not before being chilled to the bone during today's cold snap.

"I was buying groceries, then I came back and firefighters told me, 'You can't go in.' Now I'm cold as hell and my hands are freezing." said John Zieley, 86, a retired actor who has called the building home for 44 years.

Meyers said that carbon monoxide poisoning is especially dangerous in wintertime, as cold weather prompts chilled residents to cover windows with plastic, concentrating the effects of a leak.

He said everyone should make sure carbon-monoxide detectors are installed and working.

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Economist: Euro crisis could erupt again this year

Is the euro crisis over? A leading U.S. economist says not by a long shot.

Even as the head of the European Central Bank talked Friday of “positive contagion” in the markets and predicted an economic recovery for the recession-hit eurozone later this year, economist Barry Eichengreen warned that the debt crisis that has shaken Europe to its core could easily erupt again this year unless European leaders move faster to solve their problems.

While European governments and markets have been breathing easier in recent months after years of turmoil, it’s no time for complacency, said Eichengreen, a professor at the University of California - Berkeley who has chronicled the Great Depression and explored the consequences of a breakup of the euro currency.

“Nothing has been resolved in the eurozone, where markets have swung from undue pessimism to undue optimism,” Eichengreen told The Associated Press in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an annual gathering of corporate and government leaders. “They said all the right things last year … and they’ve been backtracking ever since.”

He urged eurozone leaders follow up on its proposals to steady its banking system and keep failed banks from adding to government debt through expensive bailouts.

European leaders in Davos this week are seeking to reassure investors and corporate leaders that the continent is on the mend after its punishing debt crises.

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Friday forecast a recovery in the eurozone economy in the second half of the year, and spoke of “a new restored sense of relative tranquility” and “positive contagion on the financial markets.”

But he acknowledged “we don’t see this being transmitted into the real economy yet.”

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Florida National Guard chief endorses women in combat

The Florida National Guard’s top officer on Thursday endorsed the Pentagon’s decision to clear women for combat roles in the U.S. military.

Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw Jr., who holds the title of Adjutant General of Florida, called it a “historic decision” in a statement from headquarters in St. Augustine and said the Guard supports it.

Women are currently excluded from 12 military specialties in the Florida Army National Guard, the statement noted — including infantry, field artillery and Special Forces. The Guard said it was ready to make the change, and awaiting instructions from higher headquarters.

Florida Guard women soldiers have for years already served on the frontlines in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Guard statement added. Female Florida soldiers are also currently “serving in support of operations in Southwest Asia and around the globe,” it said.

“Our formations in Florida are combat tested and all Soldiers and Airmen, women and men alike, have served dutifully and with distinction in any task given. The Florida National Guard will work with the respective services to ensure a full understanding of implementation guidance and comply with the directed timelines.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat at a Pentagon news conference on Thursday. He described woman as integral to the military’s success, noting they have demonstrated a willingness to fight and die along men in combat.

“The time has come for our policies to recognize that reality,” Panetta said Thursday at a Pentagon news conference with Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Panetta said that not all women will be able to meet the qualifications to be a combat soldier. “But everyone is entitled to a chance,” he said.

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Microsoft profit dips on lower Xbox holiday sales

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp reported a dip in fiscal second-quarter profit on Thursday, as weaker sales of its Xbox game system in the holiday quarter offset a solid start for its new Windows 8 operating system.

The world’s largest software company reported profit of $ 6.4 billion, or 76 cents per share, compared to $ 6.6 billion, or 78 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Overall sales rose 3 percent to $ 21.5 billion.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Richard Chang)

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Exclusive Denzel Washington Flight Blu-ray Extras Clip

Denzel Washington has been nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for his turn as a heroic pilot whose miraculous efforts save the crew and passengers of a crashing commercial airliner in Flight, and we have an exclusive first look at how Denzel and director Robert Zemeckis pulled off that intense crash scene from the new Blu-ray, out February 5.

Pics: 13 Must-See Movies of 2013

In Flight, Denzel plays Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot who crash-lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, still managing to save nearly every person on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault, and he soon finds himself facing criminal negligence charges.

Denzel is not actually a pilot, but he got to practice in the same type of flight simulator that pilots use for practice – not to mention enduring similar conditions of a plane about to crash.
"You get to get in that thing and act like you're flying a plane and hang upside down," says Denzel. "You know, it's still being a kid, I mean that's the fun of it, I've got a great job."

The man does his own stunts when he can, and he has a sense of humor about it, evident after he walks out of the cockpit and proclaims, "Yeah, I'm taller now."

Video: Denzel: Whitney Houston Was 'Under Very Strong Influences'

The Flight Blu-ray, out February 5, includes Q&A Highlights and several behind-the-scenes featurettes, including Anatomy of a Plane Crash.

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Worker killed in fall at Queens construction site

A Queens worker was killed a construction site this afternoon, police said.

The 42-year-old fell from the first floor to the basement of an Astoria building on Broadway near 45th Street about 3:20 p.m., cops said.

He suffered head trauma and was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition, according to an FDNY spokesman.

Police said he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

No criminality is suspected.

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South Florida hotels finish year with strong December

Hotels in South Florida reported strong occupancy and rates in December, closing out a year of continued gains.

In Miami-Dade, hotels were about 75 percent full in December, an increase of nearly 6 percentage points compared to the previous year. Average daily rates jumped 12.5 percent to almost $198, and the key measure of revenue per available room soared 19 percent to almost $149.

For the full year, hotel occupancy in Miami-Dade increased just over a percentage point to 76.4 percent, while rates jumped 6.6 percent to $163.59. Per-room revenue increased almost 8 percent to nearly $125. March was the powerhouse of 2012, commanding occupancy of nearly 86 percent and average rates of about $206 a night.

Broward hotels reported nearly 75 percent occupancy in December, an increase of almost 4 percentage points. Rates jumped 5.6 percent to more than $116, and revenue per available room shot up nearly 10 percent to more than $87. Full-year occupancy reached nearly 73 percent, an increase of more than 3 percentage points, at average daily rates of more than $114. That’s a 3 percent jump from 2011. Per-room revenue increased nearly 7 percent to more than $83.

Unlike Miami-Dade, Broward’s top month was February, with hotels more than 86 percent full and rates of about $144.

In the Florida Keys, occupancy hit 69 percent in December, an increase of two percentage points, with average rates increasing almost 6 percent to nearly $236 a night. Revenue per available room jumped 8 percent to more than $162. Average occupancy for the full year was nearly 76 percent, an increase of 2 percentage points, and average rates increased nearly 7 percent to about $213. Per-room revenue for the full year jumped about 9 percent to $161.53.

With occupancy of more than 89 percent and rates higher than $271 a night, March was the top month for the Keys.

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Jury on Thursday to deliberate Rilya Wilson murder trial

Jurors will begin deliberating Thursday in the Rilya Wilson murder case, trying to decide whether her foster mother killed the 4-year-old, then told a slew of lies to cover-up the child’s demise.

Geralyn Graham, 67, is charged with aggravated child abuse, kidnapping and first degree murder. She faces life in prison.

Defense lawyer Michael Matters, in his final argument Wednesday, ripped the state’s key witness, Robin Lunceford, a convicted armed robber who testified that Graham confessed in jail to smothering the girl with a pillow.

“Every bit of the story she concocted about my client is absolutely unbelievable,” Matters told jurors. “She graduated from prison life with a master in manipulation and a doctorate in deceit.”

Lunceford, an eccentric con who was doing life in prison, testified in exchange for a 10-year plea deal on armed robbery case.

The body of Rilya, whose disappearance sparked turmoil at the Florida Department of Children and Families, has never been found.

Miami-Dade prosecutor Sally Weintraub said Lunceford learned intimate details known only to a few people. That included an episode — backed up by other witness testimony — in which Graham grew angry because Rilya wanted to dress as Cleopatra, not an angel, for Halloween.

“Robin Lunceford is big, loud, aggressive, obscene, in-your-face, unpleasant. The kind of person you might just write off,” Weintraub told jurors. “How you feel about her is not what you have to consider … what the testimony is, the defendant’s words, that’s what you must consider.”

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Racy Victorian divorces online at genealogy website

LONDON (Reuters) – The original Mrs Robinson’s diary and scandalous suggestions about a former heir to the British throne are all part of the latest ancestral revelations to go online.

British genealogical website said on Tuesday it has put the transcripts of thousands of Victorian divorce proceedings online, which reveal the racy details of an era that most modern Britons consider to have been dominated by imperial duty, a stiff upper lip and formal familial relations.

The UK Civil Divorce Records, 1858-1911 date from the year when the Matrimonial Causes Act removed the jurisdiction of divorce from the church and made it a civil matter.

Before this, a full divorce required intervention by Parliament, which had only granted around 300 since 1668. The records also include civil court records on separation, custody battles, legitimacy claims and nullification of marriages, according to the website.

Primarily due to their high cost, divorces were relatively rare in the 19th century, with around 1,200 applications made a year, compared to approximately 120,000 each year today, and not all requests were successful due to the strength of evidence required.

The rarity of such cases, combined with the fact that it was wealthy, often well-known nobility involved, made the divorce proceedings huge public scandals, played out in the press as real life soap operas.

Famously high-profile divorces included that of Henry and Isabella Robinson, the inspiration for the novel “Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace”, by Kate Summerscale.

Henry Robinson sued for divorce after reading his wife Isabella’s diary, which included in-depth details of her affair with a younger married man.

The diary was used as court evidence and when reported by the media became a huge scandal, partly because of the language used within the journal. Isabella, however, claimed the diary was a work of fiction, which led to her victory in court.

Conservative MP and baronet, Charles Mordaunt, filed for divorce in 1869 from his wife Harriet who stood accused of adultery with multiple men.

The case became national news when the Prince of Wales was rumored to be among the men who had had an affair with her. This rumor was never proven and Lady Mordaunt was eventually declared mad and spent the rest of her life in an asylum.

“At the time, such tales often developed into national news stories, but now they’re more likely to tell us something about the double standards of the Victorian divorce system or help us learn more about the lives of our sometimes naughty ancestors,” UK Content Manager Miriam Silverman said in a statement on Tuesday.

When the divorce laws first came into effect, men could divorce for adultery alone, while women had to supplement evidence of cheating with solid proof of mistreatment, such as battery or desertion.

Despite this double standard, roughly half of the records are accounts of proceedings initiated by the wife. Many of the nullifications of marriages fall into this category, with failure to consummate the nuptials a common reason.

One such example in the records shows a Frances Smith filing for divorce in 1893 under such grounds.

In the court ledgers it is noted that the marriage was never consummated, with the husband incapable “by reason of the frigidity and impotency or other defect of the parts of generation” and “such incapacity is incurable by art or skill” following inspection.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato; editing by Patricia Reaney)

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Aretha Franklin Beyonce Lip-Sync Inauguration

Following the fallout from Beyonce's alleged use of a pre-recording during the presidential inauguration, Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin discussed the situation with ABC News.

RELATED: Inauguration Pics

"When I heard [she lip-synched] I just really cracked up," said the Memphis native, who noted that the cold weather was not ideal for singing. "I thought it was really funny, but she did a beautiful job with the pre-record."

According the news source, it was around 40 degrees on the day of the performance.

As for her own inauguration performance in 2009, Franklin says she "wanted to give people the real thing and pre-recording never crossed [her] mind." She added that "next time" she probably would lip-sync.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the Marine Corps Band told London's The Times that "it was standard procedure to record a backing track and Beyonce decided shortly before her performance to rely on the studio version rather than risk singing it live on the Capitol."

VIDEO: Michelle on Beyonce's 'Lip-Sync'

The Marine Corps Band later released a second statement on the matter, saying, "The Presidential Inaugural Committee requested that the Marine Band accompany Beyonce Knowles-Carter in the performance of the Star-Spangled Banner at the 2013 Inaugural Ceremony. However, there was no opportunity for Ms. Knowles-Carter to rehearse with the Marine Band before the Inauguration so it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill-advised for such a high-profile event. Each piece of music scheduled for performance in the Inauguration is pre-recorded for use in case of freezing temperatures, equipment failure, or extenuating circumstances. Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter's vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded."

Beyonce's camp has yet to comment on the matter.

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Brooklyn's Long Island College Hospital facing closure

Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn faces closure -- just two years after the state approved a merger to save the financially ailing 155-year old facility, source told the Post.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, which acquired LICH in 2011, has sent out word that its eying shutting down the Cobble Hill hospital — the only one that provides emergency room service in Brownstone Brooklyn.

A New York State Nurses Association rep visited the hospital to warn staffers that the hospital could close as soon as March 15.

“It’s disheartening,” said one nurse.

“We’ve seen it sort of get dismantled over the past two years.”

A recommendation to close LICH would have to be approved by SUNY’s Board of Trustees.

Talk of closure comes a week after state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli issued a scathing audit saying that SUNY Downstate was on the verge of insolvency. The report said SUNY Downstate had been mismanaged and called its decision to absorb LICH a colossal mistake — a marriage of two financially failing hospitals.

The state audit estimated that the LICH unit of SUNY Downstate would run a cash deficit of $72.5 million next year

“We’ve been talking all along with the new C.E.O. of SUNY Downstate, and it’s been made clear to us that the hospitals are not making money, they’re hemorrhaging,” said state Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D-Brooklyn)..

She claims that over 1000 people were serviced in the emergency room for flu-like symptoms from December 2012 to early January.

“What would we do if we didn’t have it?” she asked.

Elected officails plan a rally on Friday to save LICH .

“It looks really bad,” said one borough official.

SUNY Downstate is Brooklyn’s fourth largest employer.

LICH’s closure “would be a major health care blow for all of Brownstone Brooklyn,” said Roy Sloane, president of Cobble Hill Association.

A rep for SUNY Downstate-LICH declined comment.

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Miami Dolphins slam Norman Braman, Marlins Park deal

The Miami Dolphins ramped up their public campaign for a tax-funded stadium renovation this week, buying full-page ads against their top critic and trying to distance the plan from the unpopular Marlins deal.

The team bought an ad in Tuesday’s Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald knocking auto magnate Norman Braman’s criticism of the Sun Life Stadium deal, which would have Florida and Miami-Dade split the costs with owner Stephen Ross for a $400 million renovation. The Dolphins would pay at least $201 million, with taxpayers using state funds and a higher Miami-Dade hotel tax to pay $199 million.

In a fact sheet sent to media Tuesday morning, the Dolphins listed ways their deal differs from the 2009 Marlins deal. First: Ross, a billionaire real estate developer, would use private dollars to fund at least 51 percent of the Sun Life effort, compared to less than 25 percent from Marlins owner Jeff Loria. Second, Sun Life helps the economy more than the Marlins park does.

“Just because the Marlins did a bad deal doesn’t mean we should oppose a good deal where at least a majority of the cost is paid from private sources and more than 4,000 local jobs are created during construction alone,” the fact sheet states. And while the Dolphins’ Miami Gardens stadium has hosted two Super Bowls since 2007 and is in the running for the 2016 game, “Marlins Stadium does not generate the ability to attract world-class sports events -- other than a World Series from time to time depending on the success of the team.”

NFL teams play eight home games a year if they don’t make the playoffs, while baseball teams have 81.

Miami and Miami-Dade built the Marlins a $640 million stadium at the site of the Dolphins’ old home at the Orange Bowl in Little Havana. The Marlins contributed about $120 million and agreed to pay between $2.5 million and $4.9 million a year for 35 years to pay back $35 million of debt the county borrowed for the stadium. As a publicly owned stadium, the Marlins ballpark pays no property taxes. Most of the public money came from Miami-Dade hotel taxes, along with $50 million of debt tied to the county’s general fund.

Sun Life is privately owned and pays $3 million a year in property taxes to Miami-Dade. It currently receives $2 million a year from Florida’ s stadium program, a subsidy tied to converting the football venue to baseball in the 1990s when the Marlins played there. The Dolphins also paid for a second full-page ad with quotes from leading hoteliers in Miami-Dade endorsing the stadium plan. Among them: Donald Trump, whose company recently purchased the Doral golf resort. “Steve Ross’ commitment to modernize Sun Life Stadium -- while covering most of the construction costs -- is the right thing for Miami-Dade,’’ the ad quotes Trump as saying.

Also on Tuesday, Ross and team CEO Mike Dee sent a letter to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and county commissioners requesting negotiations over the stadium deal. The letter said the deal Ross unveiled last week is a “baseline for debate” and asked for talks. The letter also urged the commission to adopt a resolution proposed by Commissioner Barbara Jordan endorsing the state bill that would allow taxes for Sun Life. The resolution is on the agenda for Wednesday’s commission meeting.

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Recalled Mayor Carlos Alvarez wins — in bodybuilding contest

Former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez is back, in rare form, displaying bulging muscles from his pecs to his calves, bronzed from head to toe, dressed in the skimpiest of black briefs.

After almost two years of seclusion, Alvarez reemerged in November Hulk-like, taking home first prize in the National Physique Committee’s South Florida “Over 60s” Master’sbodybuilding competition at Miami’s James L. Knight Center.

Event promoter Sergio Pacheco said Alvarez’s victory over five other men qualified him for the more prestigious Junior National Master’s competition.

Pacheco, who owns Pacheco’s Physique Gym in Hialeah, said he had heard the former mayor competed in an event a few weeks earlier in West Palm Beach, but had no idea he had entered the Knight Center contest.

“When I saw him walk in, I said, ‘Wow, I know him,’ ” Pacheco said.

The former mayor and county police director was recalled from office in March 2011 by 88 percent of the electorate, after constituents had a hard time wrestling with a series of raises he awarded his inner circle and with his backing of the new, $634 million Miami Marlins ballpark in Little Havana.

Since the recall, Alvarez, 60, has rarely been seen in public. He has been spotted spending lots of time at a tony gym at Merrick Park in Coral Gables. Deanna Clevesy, a spokeswoman for Equinox Gym Coral Gables, confirmed Tuesday that Alvarez works out there, but refused to share details on his regimen.

Spotted on the field before the Marlins’ inaugural game at the new ballpark last April, it was apparent Alvarez had been hitting the barbells — muscles ripped from his short-sleeved shirt, various media reports noted.

Peter Potter, who judged Alvarez to victory at the Knight Center, said there was no mention of Alvarez’s mayoral past in his bio, just a mention that he was the former police director. Potter initially had no idea of Alvarez’s former life.

“One of the other judges who lives in Miami pointed out to me’’ that Alvarez was the former county mayor, Potter said. Alvarez “didn’t broadcast it.”

The mayor’s bodybuilding victory was first reported Tuesday by the Miami New Times.

Michael Sansevero photographed the event. He said Alvarez forked over $75 for pictures and video.

“I was kind of surprised when I saw him,” Sansevero said. “He must always have been in good shape, but he was in real good shape.”

Alvarez, whose current employment status is unknown, could not be reached for comment.

Alvarez spent 35 years with Miami-Dade County, the first 28 in the police department, where he worked his way up to the top job.

When the former mayor left office, he was earning salary and benefits worth $325,309, county records show. His last financial disclosure put his net worth at $1.74 million.

Alvarez’s annual police pension pays him $180,216, and he received a one-time payout of $287,879 for entering an early retirement plan.

Alvarez also participated in a retirement investment plan during his seven years as mayor, during which the state matched his contributions. Numbers weren’t immediately available for that plan Tuesday.

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BlackBerry Z10 Looks Like iPhone 5, Takes on Siri

RIM is set to announce the first devices running its new BlackBerry 10 operating system at an event on January 30. A lucky few, however, have already gotten their hands on what looks to be the new hardware, including German site TelekomPresse.

[More from Mashable: Watch These iPhone Knockoffs Get Bulldozed]

The site has the BlackBerry Z10, a touchscreen device with a similar look to some of the other popular smartphones out there — especially the iPhone 5.

Curious to see how the two compared, they put them side-by-side in the video above, running through both the physical design of both devices as well as some of their features.

[More from Mashable: RIM May License BlackBerry 10 to Other Manufacturers]

Notably, the video shows a Siri-like voice control functionality in BlackBerry 10, that we haven’t seen previously. As you can see in the test above, it beats Siri for speed.

SEE ALSO: RIM Adds 15,000 BlackBerry 10 Apps in a Weekend

While similar at first glance, design-wise the two phones do have some differences. The Z10 has a 4.2-inch screen, slightly larger than the iPhone 5’s 4-inch display. Both phones have a power button on top, however, the button on the BlackBerry is in the center of the top of the phone, while the iPhone’s is on the right on the device.

The volume controls are on the right side of the Z10, and left side of the iPhone 5. When it comes to power, the connection for the iPhone 5 is on the bottom of the device with the headphone jack, while the HDMI and USB connections on the Z10 are located on the left.

Check out the video above for a look at the full comparison of the two devices. Are you looking forward to BlackBerry 10? Can the new OS save RIM? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

BlackBerry 10 Lock Screen

You unlock a BlackBerry 10 device by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

Click here to view this gallery.

This story originally published on Mashable here.

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Benedict Cumberbatch WikiLeaks Movie The Fifth Exhibit

Think of it as kind of like The Social Network meets All the President's Men… Production is underway on the true story behind the controversial WikiLeaks website, and we have a first look at Sherlock and Star Trek Into Darkness star Benedict Cumberbatch sporting blonde locks as activist and organization founder Julian Assange and Inglourious Basterds star Daniel Bruhl as his Wikileaks co-founder Daniel Domscheit-Berg.

Pics: 13 Must-See Movies of 2013

In theaters November 15, The Fifth Estate traces the early days of the brains behind, the whistleblowing website that found overnight success – and infamy – with the release of a series of controversial, history-changing and classified information leaks.

Video: Meet the New 'Trek' Villain, Benedict Cumberbatch

Also starring Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Peter Capaldi, Dan Stevens, Alicia Vikander and Carice van Houten, The Fifth Estate is directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) and is based on Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy.

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Colombian nationalist flips on pal for lighter sentence in fatal stabbing

A Colombian nationalist ratted out his buddy today in exchange for a lighter prison sentence for senselessly stabbed an innocent man to death and seriously injured another.

Francisco Uribe, 48, was moments away from going to trial in Queens Supreme court when he plead guilty for knifing Robinson Lopez outside of the Blue Lounge in Jackson Heights on Feb 4, 2007.

Uribe was facing up to 50 years in prison for murder, attempted murder and other charges, but instead he plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter and will be sentenced to 18 years in prison on Feb 5.

"Carlos and I went to a bar to drink, we stabbed two people, I stabbed one and Carlos stabbed the other, Carlos used one knife and I used another one," said Uribe through a Spanish interpreter as Assistant District Attorney Debra Pomodore asked the fugitive several questions to satisfy the plea bargain.

"What's Carlos' last name?" asked Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth C. Holder.

"Sanchez," he replied.

The co-horts fled the bloody scene on Roosevelt Avenue and 82nd Street in a BMW.

Sanchez, 34, was arrested later that day while Uribe jumped the boarder to Columbia and was returned to Queens in June 2010.

Uribe also admitted that he didn't know his victim.

Lopez, 34 of Rego Park, was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital were he was pronounced dead.

The other victim survived the attack.

"If this case went to trial, we would have called the Medical Examiner who did the autopsy of Robinson Lopez which concluded that he died from two stab wounds to the chest...which resulted in his death," said Pomodore.

Sanchez's case is still pending.

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South Florida housing recovery on track

South Florida’s housing recovery remained on track last month.

Sales of existing single-family homes in Miami-Dade County jumped 16.4 percent in December 2012 from a year earlier, making 2012 a record year for sales, the Miami Association of Realtors said.

In Miami-Dade, the median price for a single-family home jumped 18.9 percent to $214,060 while that of an existing condominium soared 25.4 percent to $163,000 in December 2012 from a year earlier, marking 13 consecutive months of year-over-year gains. Miami-Dade condo sales climbed 9.8 percent to 1,395 units in December.

Broward County’s housing market is showing similarly strong demand and rising prices.

In Broward, the median price of an existing single-family home surged 21.1 percent to $230,000 in December from a year earlier, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors. The median price of an existing condo or townhouse in Broward jumped 24.7 percent to $95,100 year over year, the group said.

Sales of single-family homes in Broward climbed 14.9 percent in December from a year earlier while the volume of condo and townhouse closings increased 4.7 percent over the period.

Sellers have gained the upper hand amid a tight inventory of properties for sale and often can choose between competing offers, according to Realtors.

The number of single-family homes on the market in Miami-Dade fell 27.5 percent in December to 5,000, while the number of condos declined 20.8 percent to 7,844 units, the Miami Realtors said.

“You’re seeing more buyers chasing fewer properties,” said Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors in Coral Gables.

Miami-Dade has just 5.2 months of supply of single-family homes and 5.7 months of supply of condos on the market — less than the six to nine months of inventory typical of a market balanced between buyers and sellers. “When it drops below six months of supply, you’re definitely going to see price appreciation,” Shuffield said.

Cash remains king, especially for condo transactions, a segment where foreign investors play a huge role. In December 2012, 76 percent of Miami-Dade condo sales were all-cash transactions, as were 49 percent of single-family home deals.

“Buyers are quite surprised there is not more inventory after everything they have been hearing,” said Eyvonne Kafourus, an agent with Prudential Florida Realty in Fort Lauderdale. “I see a lot of people coming in from other states, for job transfers and retirement.”

The inventory of single-family homes in Broward fell 35.5 percent in December from a year earlier; the inventory of condos and townhomes for sale declined 25.2 percent year over year, the Fort Lauderdale group said.

“Buyers are getting aggravated, because they are losing deals,” said Charles Bonfiglio, who recently assumed office as president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors. “Eighty to 90 percent [of sales] are multiple-offer situations. They’ve got to move quickly.”

Bonfiglio said offers over asking price are common, although appraisals frequently do not follow suit.

The housing market in South Florida has continued to make gains despite a huge overhang of distressed properties that are a headwind on prices.

In Miami-Dade, distressed properties accounted for 41 percent of total sales in December, down from 54.4 percent a year earlier.

Demand is robust for bank-owned properties and short sales, agents say, and many would-be buyers find themselves outflanked by cash-rich professional investors.

“They don’t last long,” Kafourus said of foreclosures. “You have to be really on top of the market and searching every day. If you are looking to get a mortgage, you’re at a disadvantage to the cash buyers.”

The median days on the market for a single-family home in Broward dropped to 37 days in December from 56 days a year earlier, the Realtors group said.

Florida has been seeing a flow of new arrivals after a period of exodus during the downturn. In addition, foreign investors have rushed in to take advantage of the prices, which are still far below their highs before the crash.

“We’ve obviously turned the corner. We’ve noticed inventory tightening up,” said Philip Vias, a broker associate with Prudential in Fort Lauderdale.

Vias said more buyers seem to be coming in from the Northeast. “What’s held things up is homes weren’t selling up north. Now it’s starting to trickle down.”

Statewide in Florida, single-family home sales climbed 15.8 percent in December from a year earlier as the median price increased 14.1 percent to $154,000.

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CrimeWatch: Son asks mom why no one saw Sandy Hook coming

Today is the second anniversary of the death of Miami-Dade police officers Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworth, who were killed while serving an arrest warrant. I extend our thoughts and prayers to their families, theses officers died protecting this community and we should all be extremely grateful for their sacrifice.

Words will never easy the pain and suffering for the family, but may they know that this community holds them in their heart. I know I do. Rest in peace, officers Castillo and Haworth. You will never be forgotten.

During the last couple of weeks, I have received several emails from parents regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. Many emails were filled with anger and helplessness along with fear of the unknown. There was one email that I want to share with you because it relates to our Youth Crime Watch program in the schools. This mother wanted me to share so that parents understand that our children are very astute and understanding of serious situations.

Dear Carmen,

I want to share with you something that happened with my son after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

My son attends an elementary in the north area of the county I don’t want to give the name. But my son is a member of your Youth Crime Watch program, this is his second year being involved, and he is in the sixth grade.

Needless to say he was very upset because he couldn’t understand how someone could kill so many kids, but what really bothered him was why no one had known about [shooter Adam Lanza]. I tried to explain to him some of the facts of the incident. His answer: “Mom, at our Youth Crime Watch club we learn from McGruff the do’s and don’ts when there is danger, especially reporting to teachers if we see something that is not right. Someone must have known something.”

My son is not and was not scared to going back to school, because he knows that his club members have vowed to always keep their ears to the “ground” and speak when something is not right. At the same time he spoke about the “school bus shooting,” another tragic incident. He stated that lots of kids knew this kid had a gun, yet no one told a teach or police officer. My son wants to grow up to be a police officer, and that makes me fearful since it’s such a dangerous job, but I will support his efforts as he grows up.

My son has learned much from your Youth Crime Watch program, and I am very grate full for the efforts you and your staff have produced in his school. I truly feel that your efforts, and those of the school counselors that handle this program will help in keeping our kids safe and I pray that they never see themselves in this situation, but I am confident that his small group of students are in the forefront of helping to make his school safe. I truly hope that our superintendent and School Board members recognize the work you all do for our children.

S. Coleman, North Dade

Congratulations to this mom for having a great conversation with her son!

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Putin orders Russian computers to be protected after spy attacks

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian authorities to protect state computers from hacking attacks, the Kremlin said on Monday, after an Internet security firm said a spy network had infiltrated government and embassy computers across the former Soviet bloc.

Dubbed Red October, the network used phishing attacks – or unsolicited emails to intended targets – to infect the computers of embassies and other state institutions with a program designed to harvest intelligence and send it back to a server.

Putin signed a decree on January 15 empowering the Federal Security Service (FSB) to “create a state system for the detection, prevention and liquidation of the effects of computer attacks on the information resources of the Russian Federation”.

State computer and telecommunications networks protected by the cyber security system should include those inside Russia and at its embassies and consulates abroad, according to the decree, which was published on a Kremlin website on Monday.

The Russian Internet security firm Kaspersky Labs said last week that the computer espionage network, discovered last October, had been seeking intelligence from Eastern European and ex-Soviet states including Russia since 2007. ( )

Many of the systems infected belonged to diplomatic missions, Vitaly Kamluk, an expert in computer viruses at Kaspersky Labs, said last week. He declined to name specific countries.

Kamluk said last week that the network was still active, and that law enforcement agencies in several European countries were investigating it.

Kaspersky Labs said the infiltrators had created more than 60 domain names, mostly in Russia and Germany, that worked as proxies to hide the location of their real server.

The FSB declined immediate comment last week when asked whether Russia had taken action to bring any suspected members of the espionage network to justice, or acted to improve Internet security in light of the discovery.

The FSB – the main successor agency of the Soviet KGB – requested a written query, to which it has not yet responded. The Kremlin declined immediate comment on Monday when asked whether Putin’s decree was linked to Red October.

(Reporting by Steve Gutterman and Thomas Grove; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Chris Hardwick Mandroid Nerdist Interview

Chris Hardwick is kind of like a Nerd Ambassador – he brings enthusiasm and excitement to every topic he covers, whether it's as host of AMC's The Talking Dead (the live discussion follow-up show to The Walking Dead); in his podcast, where he asks the questions that everyone really wants to hear to such stars as Tom Hanks, Timothy Olyphant or Walking star Andrew Lincoln; or during his stand-up shows to sold-out crowds (his first Comedy Central stand-up special, Mandroid, hits DVD this week).

Pics: Stars Keep It Real

"I wasn't ashamed of the stuff I was into, but I was nervous about being open about it; when you're young you don't want people to tell you you're weird, but everything I was into was [considered] a little weird," the 41-year-old Chris tells ETonline. Back in the '70s, being a nerd was something that you could get beat up for, but now an entire generation wears the moniker like a badge of honor: "Traditionally nerd-based culture is now a big sector of pop culture. … It's not niche anymore, so [with Nerdist] we can actually kind of try to blow it up even more."

I spoke with Hardwick while he was zigzagging through the streets of Bloomington, IN, in search of his girlfriend at a local coffee shop just a few hours before a performing a set of two shows. "I'm lost in Indiana right now, trying to figure out where I'm at," he told me, apologetic for being slightly distracted. "I'm turned around – Apple Maps has been kind of a fail here in Indiana."

Asked if he was planning to include some of the Mandroid bits in his performance, the former co-host of MTV's Singled Out laughed, "No, no, you're not allowed to do that. There's no law against it, but it's just bad form as a comic to release a special and then just go on the road and do that material. People pay to see you, and they don't want to see the same jokes that they just saw for free on television, you know? [Comics] don't get the kind of leeway that a band gets, like, 'Yeah, the Stones are playing Satisfaction, sweet!' If you do a joke that's really old, then what happens is people on Reddit and Twitter just go, 'Real original, you're just doing old jokes!' But bands do it all the time."

Hardwick says he loves doing live television, that it's "a lot more organic than having a scripted show." But with producers keeping such a tight lid on all Walking Dead spoilers, there are pitfalls that Hardwick chooses to avoid: "They offer them to me, but I don't watch ahead of time – I mean, I could watch as many episodes as are completed, but I don't because, No. 1, it's a live show -- I don't want to accidentally blurt out something that I can't take back – but then also I feel like as consumers we've gotten so spoiled with just being able to watch things a season at a time, and I know that's really satisfying, but I also feel like there's a nice purity of television-watching where you get to anticipate and theorize and look forward to something at a certain time each week. There's a whole generation of people under 25, you say that to them and their eyes just glaze over. They don't understand. 'You know, there was a certain time if you missed something on television, that was it!' … There's actually kind of a communal bonding experience that you get with your friends when you watch that way."

As for his growing Nerdist empire (which has grown to be a many-headed beast), Hardwick simply states, "I'm a fan of stuff and I get excited. Look, I'm a comic and I understand being cynical, but I feel like there's such a layer of cynicism in our society right now – there's a whole sector that thinks it's not cool to just like things. The 'Hipster Nerds' like stuff because they hate it. It's like they ironically like it. What's wrong with celebrating things that you love? I think the core of everything we do at Nerdist is like, 'Hey, are you passionate about something? Then here, you should get to work around that or be around it or experience it in some way and be proud of it and celebrate it.' I think that's why we're able to get Neil Patrick Harris to do a Henson puppet show, because he loves puppets. That's kind of where we live."

Video: Is Vanessa Lachey Rooting for Hotties or Nerds?

In addition to this week's Mandroid release, next up Hardwick is hosting the Third Annual Streamy Awards, honoring excellence in original online video programming and streaming live February 17 from The Hollywood Palladium.

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UK's Prince Harry returns from Afghanistan

In this image released on January 21, 2013, Prince Harry, makes early morning checks as he sits on an Apache helicopter at the British controlled flight-line at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan

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In this image released on January 21, 2013, Prince Harry, makes early morning checks as he sits on an Apache helicopter at the British controlled flight-line at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan

LONDON — Capt. Wales is coming home to be Prince Harry once again.

The Ministry of Defense revealed Monday that the 28-year-old prince is returning from a 20-week deployment in Afghanistan, where he served as an Apache helicopter pilot with the Army Air Corps. It did not immediately divulge his exact whereabouts.

In interviews conducted in Afghanistan, the third in line to the British throne described feeling boredom, frustration and satisfaction during a tour that saw him kill Taliban fighters on missions in support of ground troops. He also spoke of his struggle to balance his job as an army officer with his royal role — and his relief at the chance to be "one of the guys."

"My father's always trying to remind me about who I am and stuff like that," said Harry, the younger son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. "But it's very easy to forget about who I am when I am in the army. Everyone's wearing the same uniform and doing the same kind of thing."

Stationed at Camp Bastion, a sprawling British base in the southern Afghan desert, the prince — known as Capt. Wales in the military — flew scores of missions as a co-pilot gunner, sometimes firing rockets and missiles at Taliban fighters.

"Take a life to save a life. That's what we revolve around, I suppose," he said. "If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game."

Harry's second tour in Afghanistan went more smoothly than the first, in 2007-2008, which was cut short after 10 weeks when a magazine and websites disclosed details of his whereabouts. British media had agreed to a news blackout on security grounds.

This time, the media were allowed limited access to the prince in return for not reporting operational details.

A member of the air corps' 662 Squadron, the prince was part of a two-man crew whose duties ranged from supporting ground troops in firefights with the Taliban to accompanying British Chinook and U.S. Black Hawk helicopters as they evacuated wounded soldiers.

He said that while sometimes it was necessary to fire on insurgents, the formidable helicopter — equipped with wing-mounted rockets, Hellfire laser-guided missiles and a 30mm machine gun — was usually an effective deterrent.

"If guys get injured, we come straight into the overhead, box off any possibility of an insurgent attack because they look at us and just go, 'Right, that's an unfair fight, we're not going to go near them,'" Harry said.

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Series for Miami’s emerging art collectors begins Thursday

For art enthusiasts interested in bring their interest home, Miami’s Bakehouse Art Complex is hosting a lecture series for emerging collectors. The first panel, slated for Thursday at 6 p.m., features arists and curators who will talk about fine tuning your taste and learning to make informed decisions. The second session, Feb. 7, is oriented to the mechanics of purchasing. The third, on Feb. 21, explores how to manage your collection.

Moderating all three panels will be Denise Gerson, independent curator who served as associate director for the Lowe Museum of Art for 24 years. Cost is $25 per session or $60 for the series. Seating is limited; reservations are recommended.

Information at 305-576-2828;

Jane Wooldridge

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Few blacks appoint to judgeships by Gov. Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott is on pace to appoint fewer African-Americans to judgeships in Florida than either of his two

predecessors, Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush.

In his two years as governor, Scott has appointed 91 judges. Six are black, including the reappointments of three judges who handle only

cases involving benefits to injured workers.

Scott has appointed two African-Americans to the circuit court bench, both in Miami-Dade County, and has appointed a black county judge in Jacksonville.

In a state as diverse as Florida, racial and ethnic diversity in the court system has been a concern for decades, and it erupted anew last

week in the state Capitol.

At a roundtable meeting with black legislators, Scott defended his appointments in the face of criticism that his record is “appalling.”

“There’s a sentiment in the black legal community that we need not apply because we don’t think like you,” Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St.

Petersburg, told the governor.

Unmoved, Scott said he’s limited in his choices by the lists of finalists he gets from local judicial nominating commissions or JNCs,

which screen judicial candidates and can recommend up to six candidates for each court vacancy.

Scott said he’s trying to improve diversity on the judicial panels but also emphasized that he won’t appoint activist judges.

“If an applicant — I don’t care who they are — believes in judicial activism, I’m not going to appoint them,” Scott told the black legislators’ group.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush also opposed activist judges and sought “interpreters of law, not creators,” as he said in 2004. But one of

every 10 judges Bush appointed was African-American.

Scott’s immediate predecessor, Crist, who served one four-year term, appointed 15 black judges, five in the first half and 10 in the second

including James Perry, a justice of the Florida Supreme Court.

Statistically, 6.6 percent of Scott’s judicial choices are black at the midway point of his term, compared to 8.3 percent for the term of

Crist, governor from 2007-2011, and 10 percent for Bush, who served the previous eight years. African-Americans make up 16.5 percent of Florida’s population according to the Census.

Scott has appointed proportionally more women and Hispanics to judgeships than Crist, and about the same as Bush.

For four decades, Florida judicial vacancies have been filled through a system known as merit retention, which replaced a system in which

governors could pick the candidates of their choice. It was designed to lessen political influence and improve the caliber of legal talent

on the bench.

Scott’s new chief legal adviser, Pete Antonacci, a veteran of four decades in state legal and political circles, said nominating panels

continue to be controlled by local political forces and bar groups and that Scott is at “the end of a pipeline” dominated by local politics.

“If people are believing that the system is a politics-pure zone, they’re wrong,” Antonacci said. “It all occurs inside the bubble of

the bar.”

By law, Scott has a free hand in making five of nine appointments to each of 26 judicial nominating commissions. He must pick the other

four from lists of three names for each vacancy, submitted by the Florida Bar, which Scott can reject without explanation.

Just last week, Scott asked the Florida Bar for new names for JNC vacancies in the Pinellas-Pasco circuit and in the Gainesville area.

Scott has appointed more judges in Miami-Dade than in any other county. Of Scott’s 21 selections in the state’s largest county, 13 are white (seven women and six men), six are Hispanic and two are African-American: Rodney Smith and Eric Hendon. In four instances in Miami-Dade, Scott chose white judges to replace Hispanics.

All three of Scott’s judicial appointments in Hillsborough are white; two men and a woman.

“We have a dynamic pool of African-American attorneys in Hillsborough County,” said Tampa lawyer Cory Person, president of the George Edgecomb Bar Association, a black lawyers’ group. “Gov. Scott’s record does not suggest a real effort to attract and appoint minority candidates.”

Scott has filled six of nine seats on Hillsborough’s judicial nominating panel; none is African-American. All seven Scott appointees

to judicial panels in Miami-Dade and Broward are white or Hispanic, according to the governor’s office.

To date, Scott has not appointed any judges in the Sixth Judicial Circuit for Pinellas and Pasco counties.

Tampa Bay Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

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Notre Dame football star says he was not in on hoax – ESPN

(Reuters) – Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o has denied ever being in on an elaborate hoax, telling ESPN he had believed his relationship with a woman who turned out to be an online fabrication was real.

The tragic story of his girlfriend and her injuries from a car accident and death from leukemia was one of the most widely recounted U.S. sports stories last year as Notre Dame made a drive toward the national championship game.

“I wasn’t faking it,” Te’o told ESPN in an off-camera interview on Friday, excerpts of which were posted on “I wasn’t part of this.”

When asked whether he had made up the tale to support his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy, the highest individual honor for a college football player, Te’o replied: “Well, when they hear the facts they’ll know. They’ll know that there is no way that I could be part of this.”

The interview was Te’o's first since the sports blog on Wednesday exposed the heart-wrenching tale of his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, and her death as a hoax and that a friend of Te’o's named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was behind it.

Te’o told ESPN that Tuiasosopo called him on Wednesday and admitted he was behind the hoax and it was then Te’o was sure the woman had never existed.

“I don’t wish an ill thing to somebody,” Te’o said of Tuiasosopo, according to ESPN. “I just hope he learns. I think embarrassment is big enough.”

Outside Tuiasosopo’s home in Palmdale, California, on Thursday, a member of his family who did not identify himself told reporters they had no comment.

Te’o acknowledged in a statement on Wednesday that he had never met the woman in person, though he considered her his girlfriend and said he had been duped.

In the ESPN interview, Te’o said he tried to video chat with her several times, but she could never be seen on the other end. He also said he intentionally told people stories about her in a way that would make people believe they had met in person.

“I even knew that it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn’t meet,” Te’o said.


ESPN said the interview was held at a training facility in Florida where Te’o has been preparing for the National Football League draft. The star linebacker was expected to be a high draft pick before the hoax was revealed.

Te’o sprang to national prominence last fall when he led Notre Dame to a victory over Michigan State within days of learning his grandmother and girlfriend had both died. The grandmother’s death was real.

The story grew to become a big feature in coverage of the team, which went undefeated in the regular season and reached the national championship game. Alabama defeated Notre Dame in the title game on January 7.

Notre Dame, one of the most powerful institutions in U.S. collegiate athletics, held a news conference within hours of the article to say that Te’o had been duped.

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said on Friday the Indiana university was comfortable, based on a private investigation it launched and on four years experience with Te’o, that he was the victim and encouraged Te’o to speak publicly.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Eric Beech)

Internet News Headlines – Yahoo! News

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Mama Wins Arnold Schwarzenegger Flops at Box Office

Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand came in last place on the box office Top 10 list over the weekend.

RELATED: New on Blu-ray & DVD

The action flick floundered through its debut, pulling in $6.3 million, as audiences couldn't get enough of Jessica Chastain -- the star of Mama and Zero Dark Thirty.

Jessica's films came in at first and second as Mama garnered $28.1 million and Zero Dark Thirty $17.6 million.

Silver Linings Playbook landed in third with $11.4 million.

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Man critically hurt in Brooklyn lab fire

A man was left in cardiac arrest and two firefighters injured after a raging inferno erupted at a Brooklyn medical lab, fire officials said.

The fire started on the third floor of the four-story building at 2:03 p.m. on the corner of Utrecht Avenue near 52 Street in Borough Park, sources said.

The critically injured man, who was found inside the burning building, was rushed to Lutheran Hospital. The two firefighters suffered non-life-threatening injuries, fire officials said.

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Investors await word from Apple

No company today elicits such devotion and dedication among its customers and shareholders like Apple. The fervor felt by Apple fans for its products, its leaders and its business underscore the company’s technological eco-centric strategy. While that loyalty has made for rich rewards over the long term, it will mean very little to a myopic stock market when Apple reports its latest financial results Wednesday.

When a company so dominates a business like Apple does, it is subject to plenty of rumors, especially when that company, like Apple, is disciplined to not respond to speculation. There have been a series of anonymous and Wall Street analyst worries floated in the past quarter centered on the iPhone 5. First were concerns Apple couldn’t get enough supplies to build the phones fast enough. Then there were hints Apple cut its supply orders, suggesting slower sales.

Apple optimists have been quick to defend the company even as its stock has fallen from $700 to around $500 per share since September. The stock drop has come even as Apple probably sold a record number of iPhones and iPads during the holiday quarter.

No doubt Apple will trumpet its financial prowess on Wednesday. And it should. After all it generates more than $500 million dollars a day. But the short-sighted stock market has been conditioned to expect big numbers. Therein is the challenge for Apple: incubating such devotion without inflating expectations.

Tom Hudson is anchor and managing editor of Nightly Business Report, produced by NBR Worldwide and distributed nationally by American Public Television. In South Florida, the show is broadcast at 7 p.m. weekdays on Channel 2. Follow him on Twitter, @HudsonNBR.

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