Romo plays through pain to lead Cowboys past Redskins; Dallas’ points all on FGs

ARLINGTON, Texas – Tony Romo’s broken rib hurt so much he needed a second pain-killing injection. His centre had a tendency to snap the ball too soon or to the wrong spot. And he couldn’t get into the end zone no matter what, not even with a first down on the two-yard line.

Yet Romo and the Dallas Cowboys did the only thing that mattered. They won.

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Dan Bailey kicked six field goals, including a go-ahead 40-yarder with 1:52 left, and linebacker Anthony Spencer forced a fumble that teammate Sean Lee recovered with 28 seconds left, giving the Cowboys an 18-16 victory over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

“It feels good right now because we won,” Romo said, smiling and wincing. “I’ll be all right.”

Romo was 22 of 36 for 255 yards. His best stat was simply lasting all four quarters.

The fact that he needed a second injection could explain the quarter-sized blotch of blood that appeared on his jersey above his left hip during the game. After the game, he joked that his new bride forced him to play, saying, “I can’t have a weak husband lying around the house.”

“I want to play,” Romo said. “We only get to go out and do this 16 times, 16 days out of 365 days a year. You want to be out there. You put so much effort, when you go, you go.”

Romo was hardly hit in the first half, then the Redskins got in several crushing blows starting just after halftime. That’s also when the snaps became an issue. He couldn’t hide his frustration with new centre Phil Costa, and clearly wasn’t happy with receiver Kevin Ogletree after an incompletion at the end of the drive that reached the two-yard line; that failure forced Dallas to settle for its fifth field goal and a 16-15 deficit instead of a go-ahead touchdown.

Rob Ryan’s re-energized Dallas defence got the ball back quickly, and Romo took advantage. Another bad snap left the Cowboys with a third-and-21, and Romo followed with a rollout to his right and a deep pass to Dez Bryant for a 30-yard gain. Another 15 yards were tacked on because of a facemask penalty on the beaten defender – cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who last week said he was hoping “to put my helmet on whatever’s hurt” on Romo and all other wounded Cowboys.

Hall had plenty more to say after the game. In an expletive-filled interview, he questioned the eight-man front on Bryant’s catch and the official’s decision to flag him.

“I told the ref after that call, that might have been his worst call of the game,” Hall said. “He’s going to get demerit points for that call. Because that wasn’t no facemask.”

When Washington quarterback Rex Grossman’s fumble was recovered by Lee, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett dropped to a knee and pumped his fist wildly. He had good reason to celebrate: Dallas was about to be 2-1, guaranteeing no repeat of last year’s miserable 1-7 start. The Cowboys are even tied for first place in the NFC East, along with Washington (2-1), which was seeking its first 3-0 start since 2005.

“We’re better than last year – already,” Dallas linebacker Bradie James said.

This was the second straight game that a Romo-Bailey tandem pulled out a victory. Against San Francisco a week ago Sunday, Bailey made a tying field goal at the end of regulation, then the winner in overtime.

Bailey’s other kicks Monday night covered 41 (twice), 32, 27 and 23 yards.

“We had good snaps, good holds, great protection. I had the easy job,” said Bailey, an undrafted rookie who was named the nation’s top kicker in college last season at Oklahoma State. “Whenever you can string a couple of kicks together, it’s a confidence booster.”

Romo wasn’t the only Dallas player who gutted it out.

Bryant missed the previous game with a thigh injury, yet had four catches for 63 yards. Felix Jones, who separated a shoulder against the 49ers, ran for a career-high 115 yards and caught three passes for 40 more. Jason Witten fought through a rib injury to catch six passes for 60 yards.

“It wasn’t a perfect performance by any means, but enough to win the game,” Garrett said.

The Dallas defence limited the Redskins to field goals on two of their first three drives, the latter reaching the Dallas nine-yard line.

Grossman really only had one solid drive, a 76-yarder capped by a one-yard touchdown pass to Tim Hightower that put Washington up 16-9. The Redskins never even crossed midfield after that, punting on three straight drives then losing the fumble.

“It feels like the waste of a week,” tight end Chris Cooley said. “We’re capable of winning a division game on the road. I’m disappointed with the way we finished.”

Grossman was 22 of 37 for 250 yards. He was sacked three times – once by DeMarcus Ware, his NFL-leading fifth – and threw an interception.

Explaining his game-deciding fumble, Grossman said, “I was trying to make a play. I felt like I could get the ball to Santana (Moss). I obviously couldn’t.”

Most of the Redskins’ points came from Graham Gano, who made field goals of 50, 46 and 27 yards. Another was blocked after a poor hold.

“We’re going to find out what type of football team we have,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “When you lose like that it hurts. We don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself.”

Notes: This was Dallas’ ninth straight game decided by three points or less. … Dallas improved to just 9-8 at Cowboys Stadium. The Redskins are 0-3. … Bailey had the most field goals for Dallas since Billy Cundiff kicked seven in 2003. … Washington’s LaRon Landry had four tackles and forced a fumble in his first game since November because of injuries. … This was the 15th Dallas-Washington game on a Monday night. The only teams that have met more are Denver-Raiders, 16 times.


More supermarkets bagging do-it-yourself checkout lanes in name of customer service

MANCHESTER, Conn. – When Keith Wearne goes grocery shopping, checking out with a cashier is worth the few extra moments, rather than risking that a self-serve machine might go awry and delay him even more.

Most shoppers side with Wearne, studies show. And with that in mind, some grocery store chains nationwide are bagging the do-it-yourself option, once considered the wave of the future, in the name of customer service.

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“It’s just more interactive,” Wearne said during a recent shopping trip at Manchester’s Big Y Foods. “You get someone who says hello; you get a person to talk to if there’s a problem.”

Big Y Foods, which has 61 locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts, recently became one of the latest to announce it was phasing out the self-serve lanes. Some other regional chains and major players, including some Albertsons locations, have also reduced their unstaffed lanes and added more clerks to traditional lanes.

Market studies cited by the Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute found only 16 per cent of supermarket transactions in 2010 were done at self-checkout lanes in stores that provided the option. That’s down from a high of 22 per cent three years ago.

Overall, people reported being much more satisfied with their supermarket experience when they used traditional cashier-staffed lanes.

Supermarket chains started introducing self-serve lanes about 10 years ago, touting them as an easy way for shoppers to scan their own items’ bar codes, pay, bag their bounty and head out on their way. Retailers also anticipated a labour savings, potentially reducing the number of cashier shifts as they encouraged shoppers to do it themselves.

The reality, though, was mixed. Some shoppers loved them and were quick converts, while other reactions ranged from disinterest to outright hatred – much of it shared on blogs or in Facebook groups.

An internal study by Big Y found delays in its self-service lines caused by customer confusion over coupons, payments and other problems; intentional and accidental theft, including misidentifying produce and baked goods as less-expensive varieties; and other problems that helped guide its decision to bag the self-serve lanes.

Wearne, 39, a Tolland resident who owns a power-washing service, reluctantly used a self-serve lane at the Manchester Big Y to ring up granola bars and a 12-pack of Miller Genuine Draft but had to wait while a clerk checked his identification.

If he hadn’t seen the clerk standing there immediately ready to help, he said, he would have used the traditional lanes, as he usually does.

But for time-crunched Greg Styles, a self-described “get-it-and-go type of guy,” the top priority is paying and leaving without lingering in a checkout lane.

Styles, a 47-year-old South Windsor resident, says the convenience of the self-serve lanes fits into his busy life as a college lacrosse coach and father of 7-year-old twins.

“I’m not happy about it, not at all,” Styles said of the change, ringing up baked goods and chicken breasts on a recent afternoon at Big Y’s Manchester store. “I like to get in and get out. These lanes are quick and really easy, so I use them all the time.”

He’s not the typical shopper, though, according to research.

While some chains are reducing their self-serve options, others say they’re keeping it in place along with the traditional lanes because they think giving shoppers that choice is an important part of customer service.

“Our philosophy is giving customers options. People shop in different ways and we want to accommodate their preferences,” said Suzi Robinson, a spokeswoman for Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., which has self-serve lanes in about 85 per cent of its nearly 400 stores in the Northeast.

Another chain, Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons LLC, has said it’s phasing out self-service lanes. Kroger says it’s keeping the self-service option because customers like it, although one remodeled store replaced it with another quick-checkout method that uses a cashier.

Phil Lempert, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based food industry analyst, noted that supermarkets have a few other motivations to get rid of the self-serve lanes beyond customer service.

They will eventually need to replace their checkout computers to read newly emerging types of bar codes, so there’s little business sense in keeping and replacing those self-serve machines if they’re not well-used anyway, he said.

Perhaps more important, he said, the growing trend toward using bar code-reading programs on smartphones is likely to change everything in supermarket shopping over time.

Some scholars who follow the retail food industry say decisions by Big Y and others to do away with the self-serve checkout lanes aren’t necessarily the death knell of the trend. Home Depot and some other businesses, which cater to customers with a do-it-yourself mentality, report success with their self-serve lanes.

But not all supermarket shoppers share that mentality, and whether they embrace or reject the self-serve option may come down to demographics – such as whether they’re in a tech-savvy region – and other factors that the supermarkets cannot control.

“I think some of the stores are just deciding that, on the balance, it’s a negative. Other stores, because they have a different composition of shoppers, are deciding to keep it,” John Stanton, a professor of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, said of the self-serve option.

“I don’t think this is as much a referendum on the technology as much as it is a match between the technology and the customer base,” he said.


Borough mayors ask AMT to reconsider fare hikes

 The mayors of Montreal’s suburbs are asking AMT to reconsider proposed fare increases of as much as 20%.

To some borough mayors the recent decision by the AMT to re-zone train stations seems completely arbitrary. For Michel Bissonnet, the city’s point man on transit, fee hikes for some train users simply because the AMT has decided to revisit zoning is unacceptable.

“Particularly in Ville Lasalle, in Lachine, in St-Laurent, in Ahuntsic, there’s 4 stations there and the tariff is class number one.”

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The AMT wants to change the zoning classification for those sectors to class two. The reason?
The stations are more than 8 kilometers away from the city. That means users who are accustomed to paying a lower rate because they’re closer to downtown could see the cost of their monthly passes increase by 21%. An increase that some borough mayors worry will be an even bigger financial burden on their citizens.

“Just realize that it’s close to $20 per month for an adult, 12 multiplied by $20. So you’re $240 just for 1 person, so a family of four its more than five, six hundred dollars per year. It’s like another tax finally,” says Lachine mayor Claude Dauphin.

The AMT announced the changes a couple of weeks ago, now the mayors of the affected boroughs, as well as a couple who don’t even have train service in their sectors yet, are speaking out.

The borough of St-Laurent, for example, has two stations in zone two and one in zone one. That zone one station is now slated to become zone two.

“It penalizes people who can least afford it,” says St-Laurent mayor Alan de Sousa, “it penalizes students it doesn’t make any sense at all that to raise the tariffs at Montepelier touches 632 thousand people.”

People, he says, who could instead take the metro from Cote Vertu and save themselves nearly $30 a month.

Lasalle is in the same situation. They’re trying to re-zone industrial land to develop housing, that would include bus and train service.

“So in this area people will be able to, you know, to use no car at all to go to work but now we are losing this incentive to move in this area because of the big increase in price,” says Lasalle mayor Manon Barbe.

The mayors hope that by challenging the rate hike, the amt will revisit its decision. They plan on presenting their motion to city council.

 


Hugh MacDonald will not seek reelection

Veteran Liberal MLA Hugh MacDonald has decided he will not seek re-election, the party’s executive director said Tuesday.

“I can confirm that he let the leader (Raj Sherman) know last week that he will not be seeking re-election,” Corey Hogan said after unconfirmed rumours began circulating online.

“Raj asked him if he would run again and he said, essentially, ‘I’m tired.’ “

MacDonald, 56, could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

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The 15-year veteran Liberal MLA, was a candidate in the race to become leader of the Liberal party but was defeated earlier this month by ousted Tory MLA and party newcomer Raj Sherman.

During the contest he regularly attacked Sherman during debates and was vocal about his dissatisfaction with changes to the Liberal leadership election process, which allowed thousands of party “supporters” to vote in addition to paying members.

Despite his concerns about the process, MacDonald said he would accept the results and planned to stay with the party. “I would not encourage any political party ever to experiment with this sort of process again,” he said at the time.

MacEwan University political scientist Chaldeans Mensah said the MacDonald’s tough criticism of Sherman during the debates was a harbinger of things to come.

“A stalwart member who has been an important part of the team has decided not to run,” he said. “It does raise questions about caucus unity and Sherman’s leadership.”

The question, Mensah said, is whether Sherman will be able to mend the fractured party in time for the coming provincial election, widely anticipated to be called within the next six months.

“There’s no question that Hugh MacDonald is part of the party establishment,” Mensah said. “His concern is reflective of a concern among some in the Liberal Party about having what some consider an interloper – someone from outside – taking over the party.

“Is this the tip of the iceberg, so to speak? Or is this just an isolated defection from the team?”

Sherman spokesman Jonathan Huckabay declined to comment Tuesday.
 


Actor Rob Lowe says Bollywood market lured him to coming-of-age tale ‘Breakaway’

TORONTO – Rob Lowe has been a pin-up boy, a movie idol, a TV star and – most recently – a bestselling author.

Now, he’s intent on becoming a movie mogul.

The veteran actor says his new role as part owner of the vast Miramax film library has him scouting for money-making productions that could involve partnering with Canadian and foreign filmmakers.

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Lowe says it’s a big reason he appears in the Indo-Canadian hockey film, “Breakaway,” an amalgam of Bollywood and sports movie tropes that hits theatres around the world this weekend.

“I was really interested in the theme of assimilation and what it means to belong and in terms of fathers and sons, what it means to break that bond and go your own way,” Lowe said of the coming-of-age tale when it debuted at the recent Toronto International Film Festival.

“And as a businessman, as I’ve started to transition into that area, I was really interested in the Bollywood business and I thought this would be a good way to learn.”

The Toronto-shot “Breakaway” treads familiar Canuck ground by revolving around an underdog hockey phenom. The twist here is that the on-ice star is an Indo-Canadian kid struggling to assert his independence from overbearing immigrant parents.

Rajveer Singh, played by newcomer Vinay Virmani, is more interested in hanging out at the community rink than working at his uncle’s trucking company. When the local amateur team rejects him despite a stellar on-ice performance, Rajveer forms his own team with his South Asian pals and they make a bid for the championships.

Lowe plays the rink manager and the team’s coach, but his character also happens to be an ex-NHLer with a few hard-won lessons up his sleeve. He also has a lovely sister, who inspires colourful Bollywood fantasies in the lovestruck Rajveer.

“I was interested in seeing what a hybrid would look like and that’s what this movie really is,” Lowe said.

The film’s global aspirations are bolstered by cameos from Indian stars Akshay Kumar (who also executive produced the film) and Anupam Kher (“Bend It Like Beckham”), and rap stars Drake and Ludacris. Meanwhile, Canadian comic superstar Russell Peters turns up as a wisecracking Wall Street hotshot poised to marry into the Singh family.

Virmani said he was awestruck the first time he met Lowe on set, noting that the Hollywood star once played a hockey prospect much like Rajveer in 1986’s “Youngblood.”

“I shot about six hours of hockey in the afternoon, (and then) I was going to do this big dramatic scene with Rob,” recalled Virmani, who also co-wrote the script.

“I was a little bit nervous and I saw him skating out on the ice. And I said, ‘Hi Mr. Lowe, I’m Vinay Virmani, I’m going to play Rajveer Singh.’ And he just gave me a big hug right away and he said: ‘Ah, you know, this is a homecoming for me man, because 20 years ago I did ‘Youngblood’ here and you’re just where I was. And that’s what I love about Canada, that a brown kid like you can be the next Youngblood!’”

Known as “Speedy Singhs” outside of Canada, “Breakaway” hit 600 theatres in India on Sept. 23, but suffered a dismal opening according to Boxofficereport杭州夜网.

It’s set to screen in the U.K., Middle East, Australia, Fiji, the Far East, Africa and Canada on Friday.

Lowe said his shift to the business side of the industry began about a year and a half ago when he partnered with a group of financiers behind Filmyard Holdings. They bought Miramax as their first investment and Lowe said the first priority is to recapitalize their debt and pay off initial investors.

“We have been in the process of trying to figure out what the new Miramax would look like and we’re deep in the thick of it. Eventually we will make movies at some point… but this first year has been (about) building infrastructure and monetizing our library,” said Lowe, referring to widespread reports the company is seeking digital deals.

“Obviously the next phase of that will be making movies and what does that look like for us and how do we do it? There’s a lot of different ways we’re thinking about doing it.”

CEO Mike Lang was among the executives at the Toronto film fest hunting for revenue opportunities for Miramax’s 700-plus titles, which include “Pulp Fiction,” the “Kill Bill” series and the “Spy Kids” franchise, said Lowe.

The film star didn’t rule out teaming up with Canadian filmmakers down the line to collaborate on big-screen ventures.

“We’re actively looking for partnerships right now with some of our project libraries that we inherited, actual scripts,” said Lowe.

“I think it’s $500 million worth of undeveloped material that we inherited, that (Miramax founders) Bob and Harvey (Weinstein) developed and they have great taste. So one of the things we’re doing is looking for creative partners to maybe move forward with those.”

Lowe said his hectic work schedule required him to commute throughout the “Breakaway” shoot between Toronto and L.A., where he plays peppy city manager Chris Traeger on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.”

But he spoke effusively about his time north of the border, rattling off favourite restaurants, his affinity for a downtown sports bar and the beauty of cottage country north of Toronto where he managed to squeeze in a three-day writing session for his recent memoir, “Stories I Only Tell My Friends.”

“I think the most writing I got done on the book was here during this movie in Muskoka as the leaves were falling,” he said.

“And I’ve been to Muskoka – I go every year, we have friends that have a house there and I love it – but I’d never been in the fall/winter and man, you could just feel the hammer was about to come down.”

Now that he’s waded into the high stakes arena of film financing, Lowe said he’s eager to learn more about a South Asian film market that appears ripe for savvy North American filmmakers.

“I’m in the film business and even I don’t really have a proper grasp of how potent it is,” he says.

“Breakaway” opens across the country Friday.


‘L Word’ actress escorted from flight after kissing woman

The publicist for a lesbian actress and musician who says she was escorted off a flight for “one modest kiss” of her partner says the encounter was not a stunt for her band’s upcoming breast cancer awareness tour.

Leisha Hailey, best known for playing Alice Pieszecki in the now defunct Showtime lesbian life drama “The L Word,” asked her Twitter followers to boycott Southwest Airlines after the encounter Monday.

The airline responded that Hailey’s display of affection was excessive and drew customer complaints.

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The actress and her partner, Camila Grey, denied in a statement released Tuesday that the affection they showed toward each other was inappropriate.

“We want to make it clear we were not making out or creating any kind of spectacle of ourselves, it was one modest kiss,” the written statement said. “We are responsible adult women who walk through the world with dignity. We were simply being affectionate like any normal couple.”

Hailey and Grey acknowledge they became upset after the flight attendant reprimanded them. They said the attendant told them that Southwest is a “family airline.”

“No matter how quietly homophobia is whispered, it doesn’t make it any less loud,” the statement said. “You can’t whisper hate. We ask this airline to teach their employees to not discriminate against any couple, ever, regardless of their own beliefs.”

Hailey and Gray said they plan to file a formal complaint with the airline.

The incident resulted in a national media spotlight for the actress, who now is a part of the electro-pop duo Uh Huh Her. Publicist Libby Coffey said Tuesday that the encounter was real and was “absolutely not” done for attention.

The airline said in a news release posted on its website: “Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all Customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behaviour and not gender. The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight.”

Hailey tweeted that she was escorted off the flight after it landed. The statement said the incident with the flight attendant lasted five minutes.

The air carrier so far has limited its response to the four-sentence statement on its website. Phone calls and emails seeking comment were not returned.

“Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behaviour as excessive,” the statement said in part.

Details of how the couple was escorted off the flight were not included in the Southwest statement. Initial reports had the flight between Baltimore and St. Louis, but a tweet by the band says its members were flying from El Paso, Texas, to Los Angeles.

The band’s Twitter feed also characterized the kiss as fleeting. “I didn’t realize a small peck on the lips is regarded as excessive and never once did your stewardess mention other passengers,” said the tweet from UhHuhHerMusic.

Hailey said in a tweet that she has an audio and video recording of the encounter between the couple and the flight attendant. It’s not immediately clear who made it.

Hailey demanded a public apology and a refund from the airline.

Hailey was a musician before joining the cast of the cable drama featuring the lives of lesbian friends and lovers living in Los Angeles. The show is currently not aired.

Southwest’s website says it is the official airline of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs at GLAAD, said in an email late Monday that “GLAAD contacted Southwest to call for additional actions beyond tonight’s statement that ensure all customers feel comfortable and welcomed while travelling.”

Earlier this month, the Dallas-based airline kicked off Green Day’s lead man Billie Joe Armstrong for wearing his pants too low. The Grammy winner was escorted off a plane after failing to follow a flight attendant’s directive to pull up the pants.

Southwest also removed director Kevin Smith from a flight last year because he didn’t fit properly in a single seat. His first tweet read, “Dear (at)SouthwestAir I know I’m fat, but was (the) captain (…) really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?”

Hailey is preparing to launch a 21-city tour with Uh Huh Her to promote breast cancer awareness. One of the band’s songs was included in the 2010 movie “The Kids Are All Right.”


Jackson’s voice, recorded before death, echoes through court at trial of doctor

LOS ANGELES – First, prosecutors showed a photo of Michael Jackson’s pale and lifeless body lying on a gurney. Then they played a recording of his voice, just weeks before his death.

Slow and slurred, his words echoed Tuesday through a Los Angeles courtroom at the start of the trial of the doctor accused of killing him. As a worldwide audience watched on TV and Jackson’s family looked on from inside the courtroom, a drugged Jackson said:

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“We have to be phenomenal. When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, ‘I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go. I’ve never seen nothing like this. Go. It’s amazing. He’s the greatest entertainer in the world.”‘

Prosecutors played the audio for the first time during opening statements as they portrayed Dr. Conrad Murray, 58, as an incompetent physician who used a dangerous anesthetic without
adequate safeguards and whose neglect left the superstar abandoned as he lay dying.

Defence attorneys countered that Jackson caused his own death by taking a drug dose, including propofol, after Murray left the room.

Nothing the cardiologist could have done would have saved the King of Pop, defence attorney Ed Chernoff told jurors, because Jackson was desperate to regain his fame and needed rest to prepare for a series of crucial comeback concerts.

A number of Jackson’s family members were in the courthouse, including his father Joseph, mother Katherine, sisters LaToya and Janet, and brothers Jermaine, Randy and Tito. LaToya Jackson carried a sunflower, her brother’s favourite flower.

Murray, who arrived at court holding hands with his mother, is charged with involuntary manslaughter. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison and the loss of his medical license.

Speaking for more than an hour, prosecutor David Walgren relied on photos and audio recordings to paint Murray as an inept and reckless caretaker.

Walgren showed a photo of a lifeless Jackson on a hospital gurney. He juxtaposed the image with those of Jackson performing. Walgren also played the recording of Jackson speaking to Murray
while, the prosecutor said, the singer was under the influence of an unknown substance roughly six weeks before his death.

Jackson trusted Murray as his physician, and “that misplaced trust in Conrad Murray cost Michael Jackson his life,” Walgren said.

The recurring theme was Jackson’s never-ending quest for sleep and propofol, the potion he called his “milk” and that he believed was the answer. Jurors were told that it was a powerful anesthetic, not a sleep aid, and the prosecutor said Murray severely misused it.

The prosecutor said while working for Jackson, the doctor was shipped more than four gallons of the anesthetic, which is normally given in hospital settings.

Chernoff, the defence attorney, claimed the singer swallowed several pills of the sedative lorazepam on the morning of his death and that was enough to put six people to sleep. After taking
propofol, Jackson did not even have a chance to close his eyes, Chernoff said.

Chernoff, who had long hinted that the defence would blame Jackson for his own death, added a surprise. He claimed that Jackson died not because his doctor continued to give him the drug but because he stopped it, forcing Jackson to take extreme measures.

“What we will hear is that Dr. Murray provided propofol for two months to Michael Jackson for sleep,” Chernoff said. “During those two months, Michael Jackson slept. He woke up and he lived his life.

“The evidence will not show you that Michael Jackson died because Dr. Murray gave him propofol. The evidence is going to show you Michael Jackson died when Dr. Murray stopped,” the attorney
said. He said Murray was trying to wean Jackson off of propofol and had been giving him other sleep aids known as benzodiazepines trying to lull him to sleep.

On June 25, 2009, the last day of Jackson’s life, Chernoff said, he was in the third day of a weaning process and it didn’t work.

“Michael Jackson started begging. He couldn’t understand why he wasn’t sleeping. … When Michael Jackson told Dr. Murray ‘I have to sleep. They will cancel my performance,’ he meant it,” Chernoff said.

Murray, in a recording of his interview with police detectives, acknowledged that he relented and agreed to give Jackson a small dose of propofol.

Walgren said Murray’s claim that he gave the singer a minuscule dosage, enough to keep him asleep perhaps five minutes, was not true. He also accused Murray of deception when he hid from
paramedics and hospital emergency staff that he had given Jackson propofol. He said they were desperately trying to revive him but didn’t know about the drug.

He returned repeatedly to the fee Murray was to be paid – $150,000 a month – and pointed out that he first had asked for $5 million.

“There was no doctor-patient relationship,” Walgren said. “…What existed here was an employer-employee relationship. He was not working for the health of Michael Jackson. Dr. Murray was working for a fee of $150,000.”

Chernoff countered with a description of Murray’s history of treating indigent patients for free. At times during the defence attorney’s opening statements, Murray appeared to be crying and
wiped his eyes with a tissue.

Jackson’s family members appeared pained as Walgren described the singer as a vulnerable figure, left alone with drugs coursing through his body.

“It violates not only the standard of care but the decency of one human being to another,” he said. “Dr. Murray abandoned Michael when he needed help.”

Following opening statements, Jackson’s choreographer and friend, Kenny Ortega, testified that Jackson was in bad shape physically and mentally less than a week before his death.

He said he sent a message to Randy Phillips, producer of the “This Is It” concert, telling him that Jackson was ill, probably should have a psychological evaluation and was not ready to perform.

“It’s important for everyone to know he really wants this,” he wrote. “It would shatter him, break his heart if we pulled the plug. He’s terribly frightened it’s all going to go away.”

In response to the email, Ortega said, a meeting was called at Jackson’s house where Ortega clashed with Murray, who told him to stop playing amateur psychiatrist and doctor.

“He said, ‘Michael was physically and emotionally capable of handling all his responsibilities for the show,”‘ said Ortega, “I was shocked. Michael didn’t seem to be physically or emotionally stable.”

Within a few days, he said, Jackson had recouped his energy and was full of enthusiasm for the show.
 


State Department hearings for Keystone XL oil pipeline draw Nebraska backers, critics

LINCOLN, Neb. – U.S. State Department representatives received an earful Tuesday from supporters and opponents of a proposed Canadian oil pipeline that would cross part of Nebraska’s vast underground water supply.

Both sides traded boos and jeers Tuesday during an emotional federal hearing in downtown Lincoln.

The sides staged dueling rallies in front of the Pershing Center.

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Pipeline supporters, dressed in bright orange, waved signs that read, “Keystone Unlocks Good Jobs for Nebraska,” and “Reason, Not Extremism.” Opponents sported red with black arm bands, flashed “Protect the Sandhills” signs and handed out shirts that said, “But Dad, our cows can’t drink oil.”

The rowdy hearing marked the second day of hearings this week in the six states that would be crossed by the Keystone XL pipeline that’s being proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP).

The debate has drawn the greatest attention in Nebraska, where the proposed route would cross part of the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies drinking water to about 2 million people.

Pipeline opponent Dan Rudnick of Lincoln said he’d like to see state and federal action to at least reroute the pipeline around the Ogallala Aquifer.

Nebraska state Sen. Ken Haar, a leading pipeline critic, urged State Department officials to delay their decision on the Keystone XL pipeline or reject it. Federal officials have said they will decide by the year’s end.

Haar said the federal government and TransCanada are trying to define the national interest and “don’t give a damn about Nebraska.”

Nebraska State Senator Jim Smith, a pipeline supporter, said the proposed route is the safest and most environmental. As he finished his remarks, protesters shouted, “Shame on you!”

The pipeline would move oilsands crude from northern Alberta and hook up to TransCanada’s existing pipelines and move oil to U.S. refineries in Oklahoma and along the Gulf of Mexico.

The State Department, which has to approve the pipeline because it would cross the U.S.-Canada border, is expected to decide by the end of the year.

TransCanada and its supporters say the pipeline would mean tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and more energy security for the country.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters in New York over the weekend that U.S. approval of the oil pipeline is a “no-brainer” since the project would bring thousands of jobs and also ensure a secure source of energy for the United States.

Despite those reassurances, the project has become a flashpoint for environmental groups, who say the pipeline would bring “dirty oil” that requires huge amounts of energy to extract and could cause an ecological disaster in case of a spill. Opponents have urged Obama to block the project as a sign he is serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

Environmental activists, including actress Daryl Hannah and NASA scientist James Hansen, have been arrested in ongoing protests outside the White House the past two weeks.

In Ottawa, several hundred people showed up on Parliament Hill on Monday to protest the pipeline plans and the growth in the oilsands industry.

The demonstration was organized by Greenpeace and other groups who say the pipeline from Alberta to Texas is harmful to the environment in both Canada and the United States.

With files from The Canadian Press


Israeli move to add Jewish housing makes the hard job of restarting peace talks harder for US

Comments Off on Israeli move to add Jewish housing makes the hard job of restarting peace talks harder for US

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is getting little help from its ally Israel nor anybody else as it pleads for a fresh start in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that could avert a veto showdown over the Palestinians’ unilateral bid at the United Nations for statehood recognition.

Already disappointed by Palestinian distaste for the new U.S.-backed proposal to resume long-stalled negotiations, the administration was taken aback anew on Tuesday when Israel announced plans to construct new Jewish housing units in east Jerusalem.

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The Israeli move made a hard job even harder for the United States, which is trying to protect Israel from a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood that Israel bitterly opposes. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the housing announcement “counterproductive” to new peace talks, the only path to Palestinian statehood the U.S. and Israel say they will accept.

Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and the expansion of Israeli-built housing there is among the most explosive issues keeping the two sides from making a deal.

The Palestinians, who have been demanding a freeze in settlement activity to return to the table, said the announcement of 1,100 new Jewish housing units prove Israel is not interested in talks.

The Israeli announcement met with swift criticism from the U.S. and the European Union, which along with the United Nations and Russia, form the international “Quartet” of Mideast mediators. The Quartet proposed a new formula for talks last week after the Palestinians submitted at the U.N. Security Council their bid for recognition and U.N. membership.

“This morning’s announcement by the government of Israel,” Clinton said, “is counterproductive to our efforts to resume negotiations between the parties. We have long urged both sides to avoid any kind of action which could undermine trust, including and perhaps most particularly in Jerusalem, any action that could be viewed as provocative by either side.”

Expressing some frustration, Clinton told reporters at the State Department that “we have been here before, over many years.”

She was referring to similar Israeli announcements that have goaded the Americans and further hardened the Palestinian position. But she added that the difficulties in making progress on a two-state agreement “only reinforces (that) our focus must remain working to convince the parties to return to direct negotiations.”

The White House added that it was “deeply disappointed” by the Israeli announcement, which came less than a week after the Quartet proposed renewed talks with firm deadlines for progress.

“Each side in the dispute between the Palestinians and Israelis should take steps that bring them closer to direct negotiations to resolve the issues that stand in the way of Palestinian statehood and a secure Jewish state of Israel,” spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One. “When either side takes unilateral action that makes it harder to achieve that, we make our views known.”

Israel’s Interior Ministry said the homes would be built in Gilo, a sprawling Jewish enclave in southeast Jerusalem, and construction could begin in two months. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out any new freeze in settlement construction, a key Palestinian demand, raising tensions and further challenging the U.S. and its Quartet partners.

Standing alongside Clinton, Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Portas acknowledged that Israel’s move Tuesday amounted to a setback.

“When you have a real chance (for) negotiations, you avoid hostile measures to negotiations,” Portas told reporters at the State Department. “The settlement decision is not a good one.”

Portugal, one of 15 U.N. Security Council members, supports talks based on the Quartet’s parameters but also would “consider an upgrade of the Palestinian position in the United Nations as a sign of goodwill to negotiate,” he said.

The Quartet had hoped that new talks aimed at creating a Palestinian state would persuade the Palestinians to put their separate bid for U.N. recognition on hold. The proposal envisions the Israelis and Palestinians agreeing on an agenda and parameters for peace talks within a month and producing comprehensive proposals on territory and security within three months. The Quartet said it then expected the parties to “have made substantial progress” within six months. The goal would be to have a peace deal by the end of 2012.

By endorsing the Quartet proposal, the Obama administration may have managed to buy a little time, but it may also have manoeuvred itself into a corner. Committing to those detailed deadlines raises potentially unrealistic hopes for success and locks the administration into a process that will play out as President Barack Obama fights for re-election next year.

Even worse would be rejection of the proposal by the Israelis and Palestinians, which is what appears to be happening.

For the U.S. the Quartet statement was a small victory after weeks of disappointment and days of intense negotiations that failed to stop Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas from formally seeking statehood recognition for Palestine.

The U.N. route to statehood is vehemently opposed by Israel, which wants a say in how and where the future state is created. The United States, as Israel’s strongest ally and chief defender at the U.N., has acted as a bulwark. That put the Obama administration at odds with the Abbas government it supports and on the wrong side of public opinion among Arab and Muslim publics Obama has courted.

The Quartet statement took note of Abbas’ submission to the U.N. Security Council but did not mention it further. The U.S. has vowed to veto the move in the Security Council, which is expected to take up the matter again on Wednesday.

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Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.


Stunning book on preserving local harvest is a guide for all seasons

Just because the harvest season for locally grown fruits and vegetables is waning is no reason not to keep on canning and freezing what is on hand.

In fact, following the seasons and “putting down” the bounty of local produce can be a year-round activity for anyone who has decided to catch the trend and make it their own, says Pat Crocker, home economist, herbalist and an award-winning author of eight cookbooks.

Her latest endeavour is “Preserving: The Canning and Freezing Guide for All Seasons” (HarperCollins, $29.95, paperback).

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“What if you froze a lot of last summer’s strawberry harvest and want to make it into jam for Christmas gifts?” she asks. Well, it is really a no-brainer and it frees up the freezer for other items.

Most of all, Crocker wants to catch the wave of newly minted fans of getting back to basics, especially those who are interested in preserving foods for year-round consumption.

“I am discovering people like my niece who in her 30s is raising children and is really interested in local food and preserving but was afraid because she didn’t grow up with that dynamic,” she says.

“This book demystifies the whole process.”

The guide is practical and focuses on simple but effective concepts. While following the seasons, Crocker provides easy-to-follow, accurate and thorough information on preserving everything from asparagus to winter squashes.

She covers the spectrum of canning, making jams, jellies and freezing from hot-packed fruit recipes to sensational internationally flavoured chutneys and relishes.

As a Canadian home economist who decries the lack of school studies to help students develop culinary skills, Crocker is one of many of this country’s food writers who have tried to teach the basics to a new generation of cooks.

“I find that people are canning because they want to express themselves,” she says, “or having access to farmers markets and wonderful supermarket produce they want to be creative in canning and preserving.

“They want to be able to use those preserves in other dishes as well.”

All the stunning images in the book are Crocker’s, who is also a professional photographer.

Her recipe for garlic scape pesto is the result of learning about these herbs 20 years ago. The long thin flat stalks appear through the earth long before the garlic bulbs mature.

Here is her recipe for the bountiful crop that appears in late May to mid-June. They can be found in farmers markets or in your own backyard if your grow garlic.

To preserve the scape harvest, clean them and then freeze in 250-ml (1-cup) to 500-ml (2-cup) amounts to use in soups, stews or salads during the winter months.

Garlic Scape Pesto

1 l (4 cups) roughly chopped garlic scapes

3 to 5 cloves garlic (optional)

75 ml (1/3 cup) pine nuts or sunflower seeds

75 ml (1/3 cup) shaved Parmesan cheese

250 ml (1 cup) olive oil

Sea salt, to taste

In a food processor, combine scapes, garlic, if using, and nuts and process for 30 seconds.

Add Parmesan and process for 10 seconds to blend. With the motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream through the opening in the lid until pesto reaches desired consistency. Add salt.

Scrape into a clean jar with a lid and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze in measured amounts for up to 6 months.

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For more information on the author, visit 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活riversongherbals杭州夜网.


Facebook co-founder Hughes says even he needs a break from social media

MONTREAL – He may have helped create the world’s most ubiquitous networking tool, but even Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes admits that he needs a break from social media.

Hughes told business leaders in Montreal on Tuesday that while he cherishes the power of sites like Facebook and Twitter, they can’t replace old-fashioned human contact.

“I want to continue to live in a world where people can sit through a meal without looking at a phone,” the 28-year-old said.

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“I want to have days when I only spend a little bit of time in front of a screen.”

Hughes was among the small group of Harvard undergraduates who helped Mark Zuckerberg found Facebook in 2004.

Facebook’s early success led to a position with Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, where Hughes served as head of online organizing.

These two achievements alone are likely to secure him a key spot in the modern history of the Internet, never mind an estimated net worth of $700 million.

But Hughes readily described the limits of the social media technology, noting the inherent tension between connectivity and privacy.

“Most of the time I don’t want all of my friends knowing exactly where I am at every moment and exactly what I’m doing,” he said.

That may come as a surprise to privacy advocates who have attacked Facebook for how it handles the personal information of its users.

Recently critics have accused Facebook of continuing to track people’s browsing habits after they have logged out of the site.

Facebook has said its data-collection practises are necessary to protect the security of its users.

Hughes did not address Facebook’s privacy policies directly in his speech; he is no longer involved in the company except as a shareholder. He did, however, argue against those who offer unreserved praise of social media.

“We as individuals have to make sure that just because we use the words ‘connect,’ ‘share,’ ‘faster,’ ‘easier,’ it doesn’t always equal, ‘better,’” he said.

“A lot of these ideas scare me, and they scare a lot of people, of my age, older, younger – particularly when they’re treated as incontestable values.”

“My point is, as individuals, I just want us to stay in control,” he added.

As populations become increasingly connected, Hughes said, it will no longer be a question of who is on Facebook or Twitter, but what they are doing with it.

“More and more of our activity online will be part of these online networks,” Hughes said. “I think the key thing to watch for is deepening engagement.”

Social media platforms notably played a central role in mobilizing the street demonstrations that led to the overthrow of authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Tunisia.

They were also used by rioters in London this August; at least two people have been found guilty of trying to incite disturbances through Facebook posts.

But Hughes’ vision for the future of social media includes less distinctly political uses.

During a brief question-and-answer session, Hughes took issue with the portrayal of Facebook as a Big Brother-type institution dictating people’s tastes.

He said Facebook offers a variant of word-of-mouth advertising, drafting its users to promote products.

“Facebook’s approach to advertising is, rather than bombarding people with things like banner ads, to actually make it easier for brands, for marketers to tell their stories and enable supporters to become promoters themselves,” Hughes said.

He described it as a new form of advertising that consumers find less offensive and advertisers find more effective.

“Your advertising becomes part of the conversation, rather than something that is invading your space,” he said.


Woman who inspired celeb chef Emeril Lagasse dies after day spent cooking at home

FALL RIVER, Mass. – Ines De Costa, a hometown family friend who inspired celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, has died, her daughter said.

De Costa died overnight in her sleep at her Fall River home after spending Friday cooking in a city athletic club kitchen, her daughter, Ines Bates, said Tuesday. De Costa was 79.

De Costa had been suffering from heart problems for several years, her daughter said.

“She was a magnificent woman who thought food could fix anything,” Bates said. “God was so good to her.”

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Lagasse did not immediately issue a statement Tuesday.

When Lagasse was a boy of about nine or 10, he used to sit and watch De Costa in the kitchen of a restaurant she owned at the time in nearby Swansea when he visited with his family, Bates said.

Lagasse included many of De Costa’s recipes in his cookbooks, although she was never afraid to scold him for fiddling with her ingredients.

“He put a recipe for her St. John’s kale soup in one book, but she said he put in too much salt, and called to yell at him,” Bates said. “Mom was a surprise guest on his TV show once, and she came out on stage and started yelling at him for messing up her recipes.”

Lagasse maintained a loving lifelong relationship with the woman he called his second mother. He always checked in on her whenever he visited his home town, and she was a frequent guest at his New Orleans restaurant.

De Costa, known throughout Fall River as “Vo” – a Portuguese word for grandmother – ran the kitchen at St. John’s Athletic Club for 33 years after retiring from the restaurant business.

De Costa was born in the Azores and moved to the U.S. in 1952.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by two sons. Her husband, Manuel, died 22 years ago.


Jim Cuddy salutes home city on third solo album, ‘Skyscraper Soul’

TORONTO – On the title track of his new solo album, “Skyscraper Soul,” Jim Cuddy croons about a city that “can bring you down” but one which he cannot leave because underneath it, “there’s a heart beating.”

The amiable Blue Rodeo frontman says the reflective tune is largely an ode to his hometown of Toronto, which he thinks is sometimes misunderstood.

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“It sort of came about because … first of all, I think I’ve taken umbrage in the last year (at how) so many people slag Toronto,” the singer-songwriter said in a recent interview.

“For years and years and years it never bothered me and I never even thought about it. I don’t know why in the last year I’ve gotten kind of prickly about it,” the jeans-clad country-rocker mused while sitting on a couch at Blue Rodeo’s Woodshed Studio, where the group’s many Juno Awards are on display atop an armoire.

“I think that Toronto represents the beauty of many cities around the world – that its beauty isn’t always apparent upon first viewing. You come to Toronto and you may feel like it’s a cold, concrete place and after you’re here awhile … you realize that there’s an incredible amount of energy in this city and that it’s a very easy place to do creative things because there are so many people to bump into, to bounce idea off of.”

Cuddy said the track is also a nod to his early struggles in New York, where he and fellow Blue Rodeo singer-songwriter Greg Keelor lived in the early 1980s.

The two tried to make it as musicians there, supplementing their paltry income by serving tables, but gave up after three years.

“We realized at the end that it’s a bad place to put together a band,” said Cuddy, 55, noting musicians would suddenly drop out of the group because they were broke and had to move.

“It was just such a difficult place to keep life and limb together. We could never have done Blue Rodeo down there. It was coming back to Toronto, getting a little bit off the incredibly beaten track in New York, that helped us to have the time and the wherewithal to put together a decent band and play a lot.”

The urban nature of Cuddy’s third solo album, out Tuesday, is also felt in its sound, which has a lot more trumpet than what Cuddy normally works with.

“It changed the songs so that they became a little less rural, a little less country,” said Cuddy, who recorded the album in January, May and June with his touring solo outfit, The Jim Cuddy Band (Colin Cripps, Bazil Donovan, Joel Anderson, Steve O’Connor and Anne Lindsay).

“I chose to write from the perspective of being here and looking out, as opposed to many times in my career I’ve chosen to write about being in the mountains or being free of the city.”

Bryden Baird guests on the trumpet as well as flugel horn, glockenspiel and vibraphone. Other cameos include vocalist Melissa McClelland.

Cuddy embarked on the 14-track project (12 of the tunes are also available on vinyl) after writing the funk-infused song “Water’s Running High” for his actress-wife Rena Polley’s short comedy film, “Four Sisters.”

Playing piano on the song is their 24-year-old son, Devin, who studied jazz at York University and noodled a bit on Cuddy’s last solo album, 2006’s “The Light That Guides You Home.”

Cuddy’s family life also comes through on “Regular Days,” about a financially strapped couple on a road trip.

The story is reminiscent of the time he and Polley, with whom he also has two other children, drove around Florida early in their relationship, he said.

“We were so exhausted from our lives and she was asleep in the car and it sort of occurred to me then, and certainly upon reflection, that somehow this was going to be the template of our lives,” said Cuddy, who has several tour dates lined up for the rest of the year and will embark on a cross-Canada tour with his band in the new year.

“That these weren’t just wild days that we were having and then we were going to settle into a normal life. We were always going to have this very left-of-centre life, and that is certainly the way it’s turned out.”

“Everyone Watched the Wedding,” about an empty nester who watched the recent royal nuptials to get relief from his life, is the album’s first single.

Cuddy said he was one of the legions of viewers who got up early in the morning to catch the royal wedding live on TV. But the impetus for the song started much earlier, when he became smitten with the film “The King’s Speech.”

“One of the things that I was really struck by was that in order for a king to be a king, he had to be completely removed from the people; he couldn’t be of the people, he couldn’t have normal friends, he couldn’t be seen walking down the street buying groceries,” he said.

“I thought, ‘Well, that’s a very noble thing to do. It kind of brings tears to your eyes that somebody would sacrifice themselves like that.’ I started to read about William and I thought, ‘In a way, this kid is doing the same thing.’”

“Skyscraper Soul” also has a purely instrumental track: “City Birds.”

Cuddy said he wrote the song for the 2010 film “Gunless,” starring Paul Gross, which Keelor scored.

“But it was rejected as being too sentimental,” Cuddy recalled with a laugh. “Which was great for me because I was very glad to have it back.”

Cuddy said another song from the album, “Don’t Know That Much,” was also one that he originally scored for the film.

“That was also offered to Greg and rejected, so his rejections are my benefit,” he said.