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As her family was struggling financially and was unable to afford a big Christmas celebration, all that 5-year-old Helen Berence Cardenas de Reyes wanted, when she wrote a Christmas message to Santa, was a doll, some clothes and a pair of shoes.
Helen Berence Cardenas de Reyes from Auburn, Washington, attached her frugal Christmas list to two balloons and set it off hoping it would somehow reach Santa in the North Pole.
Julie Sanders and her son discovered the scrap of paper while they were out on their quad bikes near their home in Laytonville, California.
Although Helen’s letter was written in Spanish they could tell it was a Christmas list and could make out a few words.
So Julie Sanders asked a ranch hand to translate the rest of note.
Julie Sanders told ABC news: “The fact that she asked for a doll, some pants, boots and nothing materialistic, I just knew it was a family in need.
“I thought if I we can get a hold of them we can make sure there is something for her under the tree for Christmas.”
Julie Sanders decided to get on the phone and called up the family.
She found out that Helen’s mother is injured and her father had struggled to find any work at all this year.
Little Helen sent her letter on December 2, which is a particularly emotional date for Julie Sanders as it is the birthday of her brother, who passed away a few years ago.
So kind-hearted Julie Sanders headed to the shops and bought little Helen a few outfits and toys.
Julie Sanders addressed the package from Santa and sent it special delivery so it could be under the girl’s tree in time for Christmas.
Dennis Dodds, a family friend of the Sanders was also there when they found the balloon message.
He told ABC: “Laytonville is a small timber industry town that has lost its mill. People here know what it is like to struggle around the holidays. It is always good to pay it forward.
“We’ve been in that situation ourselves, I know what it feels like,’ said Sanderson ‘but now we are in the position to help so it really felt good to help this little girl.”
Helen’s mother, Rosa Cardenas de Reyes, said she helped send the note.
The mother said: “I didn’t know what to do.
“So I always told her we would send a balloon to Santa because that was a tradition when I was little.”
A strange metal sphere that looks like a prop from a science fiction film fell to the ground in a remote area of northern Namibia, Africa, and nobody can explain where it came from.
The metallic sphere weighs around 13 lbs, has a diameter of 14 inches and its rough surface looks like “two halves welded together”, said police forensics director Paul Ludik.
When the ball came down it caused a crater 12 inches deep and 13 ft wide, although it was found some 60f t away.
Locals claimed to have heard several explosions in the days before it was discovered by a farmer on his land.
The metallic sphere weighs around 13 lbs, has a diameter of 14 inches and its rough surface looks like “two halves welded together”
The find sparked speculation on the internet that it could finally be proof of extra terrestrial life, even though it bore a passing resemblance to the head of a character from the children’s series Teletubbies.
Some claimed that it could be an escaped particle from the Large Hadron Collider, reindeer droppings or a Quaffle from the Harry Potter films.
Others – arguably with more accuracy – guessed it was a hydrazine tank, which are used on space satellites to store the flammable chemical.
Paul Ludik however was quick to point out that more tests need to be done and that NASA and the European Space Agency had been notified.
He said that the ball was discovered a month ago but it has only now been made public. Whilst it was made of a “sophisticated material”, it was something that was known to mankind.
Paul Ludik explained that the explosion heard by locals could have been the sonic boom when it broke the sound barrier coming down to Earth, or by the impact on the ground.
The compound appeared to be a “metallic compound normally used in space vehicles”, although he would not be surprised it it was actually from a normal aircraft.
Police deputy inspector general Vilho Hifindaka added that the sphere, which landed 480 miles from the Namibian capital Windhoek, did not pose any danger.
Vilho Hifindaka said: “It is not an explosive device, but rather hollow, but we had to investigate all this first”.
Earlier this year Britain and the rest of the world was put on alert when one of NASA’s satellites broke up and crashed to Earth.
Huge chunks of titanium up to 350lbs from car-sized Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite tore through the atmosphere at 1,800 mph but the best NASA could guess was that they landed somewhere south of Inverness on the equator.
To try and reassure the public it also revealed that the odds of being hit were one in 3,200 – more likely than getting a hole-in-one in golf.
Weeks later Germany’s Roentgen satellite crashed to Earth and split up into 30 huge chunks including one which weighed 880 lbs.
NASA space telescope has detected Kepler-20f, a rocky planet the same size as the Earth orbiting a star like our sun.
This is the first time a planet of this size has been detected in another solar system. Scientists have hailed the technical achievement of detecting Earth sized “exoplanets” – the technical term for planets outside the solar system – as it increases the chances of finding life-bearing worlds.
Although Kepler-20f could have a thick water-vapor atmosphere, its surface is believed to be too hot for life.
A second planet in the same system, Kepler-20e, is only slightly smaller than Earth and even hotter.
Both worlds circle their parent star closely with “years” that last just nine and sixteen days respectively.
Dr. Francois Fressin, one of the astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in Cambridge, US, said: “It is the first time humanity has been able to discover an object similar to the Earth around a star, so maybe we will be able to find others.
“This could be an important milestone. I think 10 years or maybe even 100 years from now people will look back and ask when was the first Earth-sized planet found. It is very exciting.”
The parent star, Kepler-20, is not exactly a close neighbor, being 945 light years away.
Neither lies within the “habitable zone” where temperatures are just warm enough to allow liquid surface water, increasing the prospects for life.
A number of extra solar planets have already been identified with radiuses of 1.5 to twice that of the Earth.
But Dr. Francois Fressin pointed out that even these have far more volume than the Earth and it would be wrong to consider them truly “Earth-like”.
Earlier this month the telescope discovered Kepler-22b, a planet 2.4 times the size of the Earth situated in the middle of its habitable zone. But scientists say that Kepler 22-b may not be suitable for life.
“You could fit 13 Earths inside Kepler-22b,” said Dr. Francois Fressin.
“The most likely thing is that it’s simply a mini-Neptune, not suitable for life. Just because a planet lies within the habitable zone that doesn’t mean it is habitable.”
Like Kepler-22b, the two new planets were found by the American space agency NASA’s Kepler space telescope – which scans distant stars for the signs of “transits”, planets passing in front of them.
The findings are reported Wednesday in an early online edition of the journal Nature.
Both planets are part of a solar system family already known to contain three larger worlds.
Kepler-20f has a radius just 1.03 times larger than Earth’s, while Kepler-20e is 0.87 the size of the Earth.
The astronomers spent years making sure the signals they detected really were from planets.
“We simulated all possible alternative configurations and tried to quantify the probability that a false signal could occur,” said Dr. Francois Fressin.
“We confirmed that the signals were coming from an Earth-size planet. It couldn’t be due to anything else.”
Both planets are believed to be rocky, with a composition of iron and silicate, and very hot.
Kepler-20f is a baking 426 C and Kepler-20e a scorching 726 C.
The solar system is not hugely like our own, though. In our solar system small, rocky worlds orbit close to the Sun and large, gas giant worlds orbit farther out. In contrast, the planets of Kepler-20 are organized in alternating size: big, little, big, little, big.
“We were surprised to find this system of flip-flopping planets,” said co-author David Charbonneau of the CfA.
The planets of Kepler-20 could not have formed in their current locations. Instead, they must have formed farther from their star and then migrated inward, probably through interactions with the disk of material from which all the planets orbiting the star formed from.
Kepler identifies “objects of interest” by looking for stars that dim slightly, which can occur when a planet crosses the star’s face.
To confirm a transiting planet, astronomers look for the star to wobble as it is gravitationally tugged by its orbiting companion.
Kepler has found 28 confirmed planets so far.
Basketball star Kobe Bryant was almost served with divorce papers four years ago it has emerged.
Kobe Bryant’s estranged wife Vanessa saw divorce lawyers after being pushed to the limit by the NBA legend’s antics, according to RadarOnline.
But Vanessa Bryant had a change of heart after he promised to change his ways and attend marriage counseling.
A source close to them said: “Vanessa almost threw in the towel four years ago. “Kobe has always had a slew of girlfriends, and the cheating was almost blatant.
“Vanessa had consulted with a divorce attorney, not Laura Wasser, who she has hired to represent her now. Kobe promised Vanessa he would stop cheating, and the two went to marriage counseling.
“Kobe did seem like a devoted husband, and Vanessa decided not to go through with filing at that time.”
Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce from Los Angeles Lakers star citing “irreconcilable differences”
Vanessa Bryant, 29, even stood by Los Angeles Lakers star when he was accused of sexually assaulting a worker at a hotel in Colorado.
Kobe Bryant, 33, admitted having sexual relations with 19-year old hotel employee Katelyn Faber, but denied assault.
The case was dropped by prosecutors after she refused to testify in the trial, but a separate civil lawsuit was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
However, Vanessa Bryant decided to call time on their marriage of almost 11 years after growing tired of his philandering, despite hoping they could work things out for the sake of their two daughters.
The source said: “Vanessa wanted to stay together for the children. Vanessa stood by Kobe during his darkest hour, and she believed him when he said there would be no more women.
“Vanessa began to get suspicious again about 16 months ago about Kobe cheating on her, he knew that if he wasn’t faithful, she would leave him. Vanessa had no other choice.”
The revelation follows claims Kobe Bryant was growing close to one of Kim Kardashian’s best friends, Carla DiBello.
Several websites claimed Carla DiBello, 27, has been on close terms with Kobe Bryant for the last couple of years, according to Radar Online.
Some note that Carla DiBello has been spotted courtside at Lakers games.
Carla DiBello is one of Kim Kardashian’s closest friends, and is also a producer on Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Kourtney & Kim Take New York.
She travels around the world with the reality behemoth, and most recently was by her side during Kim Kardashian’s trip to Dubai.
Carla DiBello was director of strategic relations for SBE Group which owns a number of exclusive hotels and clubs in Hollywood.
She was also Steve Wynn’s assistant at his luxury hotel casino of the same name in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, TMZ are reporting that Kobe Bryant is worth much less than the $400 million that was being suggested in some quarters, with his net worth instead being around $150 million.
Still a small fortune, but with a divorce settlement looming, every dollar will count as Kobe Bryant prepares to negotiate spousal and child support.
Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce from Los Angeles Lakers star citing “irreconcilable differences”.
TMZ further claims that she has caught Kobe Bryant with “multiple women” over the years – but the latest affair was the one that broke the camel’s back.
Sources did not tell the website how Vanessa Bryant found out about his alleged fling with Carla DiBello – but apparently it was through text messages.
Vanessa Bryant has been married to the LA Lakers player for ten years.
They have no pre-nuptial agreement, according to TMZ, so Vanessa Bryant will be entitled to substantial monies and has requested spousal support.
It is said that Kobe Bryant has already moved out of the mansion in Orange County that the couple once shared.
According to TMZ, Kobe Bryant purchased the abode ten years ago, but his wife will get the home as part of the couple’s divorce settlement.
They met when Vanessa was just 18, when she was working as a backing dancer in a studio where he was recording, though that material was never released to the public.
According to the legal documents obtained by TMZ, Vanessa Bryant is asking for joint custody of their two daughters – eight-year-old Natalia and five-year-old Gianna.
But she is asking that Kobe Bryant get visitation rights, which means she wants the kids in her care most of the time.
Vanessa Bryant is being represented by Laura Wasser and attorney Samantha Klein, whose clients include Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie, Maria Shriver and Kim Kardashian.
Scientists from Oregon State University have collected microbes from an icy “lava tube” in mountains in Oregon – similarly hostile to the Red Planet’s surface – and found common microbes thriving.
The research team said that the microbes “lived” on iron from a mineral found in rocks – a mineral, olivine, also found in volcanic rocks on Mars, and could survive low oxygen conditions and the total absence of organic food.
“This microbe is from one of the most common families of bacteria found on Earth,” said Amy Smith, a doctoral student at Oregon State University and one of the authors of the study.
“You can find its cousins in caves, on your skin, at the bottom of the ocean and just about anywhere. What is different, in this case, is its unique qualities that allow it to grow in Mars-like conditions.”
Oregon State University research team said that the microbes “lived” on iron from a mineral found in rocks - a mineral, olivine, also found in volcanic rocks on Mars, and could survive low oxygen conditions and the total absence of organic food
The Oregon State University scientists proved that microbes have adapted to deal with their harsh living conditions.
In a normal, room-temperature settings, with normal oxygen levels, the bacteria eat organic materials such as sugar.
But the researchers removed the food, turned down the temperature to near-freezing and lowered the oxygen, they turned to the food they survive on in the lava tubes – olivine, a common mineral found in volcanic rocks on Earth and on Mars – as its energy source.
Martin Fisk, a professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and an author on the study said:
“This reaction – where microbes <<feed>> on a common mineral from volcanic rocks – just hasn’t been documented before.”
In volcanic rocks directly exposed to air and at warmer temperatures, the oxygen in the atmosphere oxidizes the iron before the microbes can use it.
But in the lava tube, where the bacteria are covered in ice and thus sheltered from the atmosphere, they out-compete the oxygen for the iron.
The microbes were collected from a lava tube near Newberry Crater in Oregon’s Cascades Mountains, at an elevation of about 5,000 feet. They were within the ice on rocks some 100 feet inside the lava tube, in a low-oxygen, near-freezing environment.
Scientists, including Prof. Martin Fisk, have said that the subsurface of Mars could have similar conditions and harbor bacteria.
In fact, Prof. Martin Fisk has examined a meteorite originating from Mars that contained tracks – which could indicate consumption by microbes – though no living material was discovered.
Similar tracks were found on the rocks from the Newberry Crater lava tube, he said.
“Conditions in the lava tube are not as harsh as on Mars,” Prof. Martin Fisk said.
“On Mars, temperatures rarely get to the freezing point, oxygen levels are lower and at the surface, liquid water is not present. But water is hypothesized to be present in the warmer subsurface of Mars. Although this study does not exactly duplicate what you would find on Mars, it does show that bacteria can live in similar conditions.
“We know from direct examination, as well as satellite imagery, that olivine is in Martian rocks.
“And now we know that olivine can sustain microbial life.”
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has announced that crippled nuclear reactors at Japan’s Fukushima power plant have finally been stabilized.
The earthquake and tsunami in March this year knocked out vital cooling systems, triggering radiation leaks and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.
Yoshihiko Noda’s declaration of a “cold shutdown” condition marked the stabilization of the plant.
Japanese government says it will take decades to dismantle it completely.
The six-reactor Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was badly damaged by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. Blasts occurred at four of the reactors after the cooling systems went offline.
Workers at the plant, which is operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), have been using sea water to cool the reactors. Waste water has built up and some contaminated liquid has been released into the sea.
A 20 km (12 miles) exclusion zone remains in place around the plant.
“The nuclear reactors have reached a state of cold shutdown and therefore we can now confirm that we have come to the end of the accident phase of the actual reactors,” Yoshihiko Noda told a news conference.
“We are now moving from trying to stabilize the nuclear reactors to decommissioning them.
“The Japanese government promises to clarify the roadmap from here and do our utmost, while ensuring we operate the nuclear reactors as safely as possible, to decommission them.”
The “battle is not over”, PM said, adding that the next phase would focus on the clean-up operation, including decontaminating the ground around the plant.
With the reactors stable, Yoshihiko Noda said the government would review the evacuation zones established in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
Earlier this year, the Japanese government said it was aiming for a cold shutdown by the end of the year.
This is where water that cools nuclear fuel rods remains below boiling point, meaning that the fuel cannot reheat.
Tepco has also defined it as bringing the release of radioactive materials under control and reducing public radiation exposure to a level that does not exceed 1mSv/year at the site boundary.
Speaking to cabinet ministers of his nuclear task force earlier on Friday, Yoshihiko Noda said: “We can now maintain radiation exposure at the periphery of the plant at sufficiently low levels even in the event of another accident.”
But some nuclear experts have said that the repairs made to the plant after the accident are makeshift and could break down without warning.
More than 80,000 people had to leave the area, but radiation levels in some places remain too high for them to return home.
Earlier this week, the government said it could take up to 40 years to fully decommission the plant and clean up surrounding areas.
Spent fuel rods and melted fuel inside the reactors must be removed. Waste water must also be safely stored.
Contamination has been found in foodstuffs from the region including rice, beef and fish, while radioactive soil has also been found in some areas.
Some experts have also warned that the plant could be further damaged if a powerful aftershock were to strike.
Engineers are also continuing to encounter new problems – last week Tepco officials confirmed that 45 cu m (1,590 cu ft) of water had leaked into the sea from a crack in the foundation of a water treatment facility.
Russia’s Federal Customs Service found radioactive material in the luggage of a passenger bound for Iran – at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport.
Federal Customs Service made the discovery after the material triggered an alarm in the airport’s radiation control system.
A search of the luggage revealed 18 pieces of radioactive metal packed in individual steel casings.
Federal Customs Service said that tests showed the material was a radioactive isotope which could be obtained only “as a result of a nuclear reactor’s operations”.
Radiation levels in the area were 20 times above normal. An airport customs spokesman said the material had been identified as sodium-22 but gave no other details.
Sodium-22 is a radioactive isotope of sodium that can be used in medical equipment.
The objects sent to a Moscow prosecutor’s office that deals with air and water transport, the service said in a statement. Russian authorities have opened a criminal investigation.
Australian scientists, who have made an overall study of temperature and pressure conditions of Mars, say that a greater percentage of the Red Planet is habitable than Earth.
Scientists from the Australian National University say that 3% of Mars could sustain life, while just one per cent of Earth’s volume contains life – from the core to upper atmosphere.
However, the researchers say that most Earth-like organisms would need to retreat underground to survive on Mars.
Astrobiologist Charley Lineweaver told AFP: “What we tried to do, simply, was take almost all of the information we could and put it together and say <<is the big picture consistent with there being life on Mars?>>” And the simple answer is yes… There are large regions of Mars that are compatible with terrestrial life.”
Life could exist on Mars, scientists say, largely because there is a huge amount of water there in the form of ice, found at the polar regions.
But the pressure on the planet is so low that water would vaporize on the surface.
Below ground, however, there is sufficient pressure for water to be kept in a liquid state, which would enable microbes to thrive.
And while the surface temperature is not ideal for life, being an extremely chilly -65C, below ground it would be much warmer thanks to heat from the planet’s core.
Charley Lineweaver added that his study, which analyzed decades of data, was “the best estimate yet published of how habitable Mars is to terrestrial microbes”.
His findings were published today in Astrobiology.
Australian scientists, who have made an overall study of temperature and pressure conditions of Mars, say that a greater percentage of the Red Planet is habitable than Earth
Scientists will learn a great deal more about Mars’s ability to sustain life when the rover Curiosity lands on the surface next August.
NASA’s earlier Viking rovers concluded 35 years ago that there was no sign of life, but scientists hope Curiosity’s more sophisticated equipment will reveal more.
It will be “the largest and most complex piece of equipment ever placed on the surface of another planet”, said Doug McCuistion, director of NASA’s Mars exploration programme.
Curiosity rover is expected to land on Mars on August 5, 2012, after travelling nearly 354 million miles from our planet.
One of the chief tasks of the $2.5billion mission will be to discover the source of the methane gas scientists have detected in the Martian air.
It will also fire a laser beam with the energy of a million lightbulbs at the surface of the red planet to see whether or not it could have supported life.
The international team of space explorers that launched the Mars Science Laboratory is relying on the instrument to look for biological signs on the distant world.
The ChemCam will fire a powerful laser pulse, vaporising some Mars dust and examining the spectrum of light shining through it.
The robust system is one of 10 instruments mounted on the mission’s rover vehicle.
When ChemCam fires its extremely powerful laser pulse, it will vaporize an area the size of a pinhead.
The system’s telescope will peer at the flash of glowing plasma created by the vaporized material and record the colours of light contained within it.
These spectral colours will then be interpreted by a spectrometer, enabling scientists to determine the elemental composition of the vaporized material.
At least 13 people were killed, including two children after small plane has crashed in the Philippines into a school building in Paranaque near the capital, Manila, police and Red Cross officials say.
Paranaque’s Mayor, Florencio Bernabe, said no classes were in session when the plane crash landed shortly after take-off from an airport in Manila.
A fire at the school quickly spread to surrounding shanty houses. It is not clear how many people were on board.
At least 13 people were killed, including two children after small plane has crashed in the Philippines into a school building in Paranaque
Gwendolyn Pang, of the Philippine Red Cross, told the AFP news agency:
“The crash set fire to at least 30 houses. These are shanties, made of light materials.”
According to Ramon Gutierrez, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the light plane had sent out a distress call shortly after take-off, AP news agency reports.
The plane, bound for Mindoro Island, crashed at about 14:30 local time.
A resident told The Philippine Star newspaper that a Christmas party has just been held at the school.
Mayor Florencio Bernabe said at least 20 people had been taken to hospital with injuries, AFP reports.
Indian officials say at least 73 people have been killed in a fire that broke out in a hospital in the city of Calcutta (Kolkata).
Many of the dead people were patients who were trapped after the flames spread through the AMRI hospital in the southern part of Calcutta.
The fire started early on Friday in the multi-storey hospital’s basement, where flammable materials were stored.
Fire engines fought the blaze for five hours before bringing it under control.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the license of the hospital had been cancelled.
Mamata Banerjee said fire was an “unforgivable crime” and that those responsible would be given the harshest punishment.
Officials say the death toll is likely to rise as rescue workers are trying to reach the upper floors of the six-storey hospital in Dhakuria.
A Upadhay, a senior vice-president of the AMRI hospital company, told Associated Press there were 160 patients in the 190-bed hospital.
West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said many of the patients who died had suffocated on fumes.
A number were rescued. “We have taken 50 patients to an adjacent hospital. The situation is grim at the moment,” fire brigade chief Gopal Bhattacharya told Agence France-Presse news agency.
Bodies of patients wrapped in white sheets have been brought out by rescue workers, BBC reported.
Local people climbed into the hospital compound to rescue patients before fire engines arrived, our correspondent says.
The narrow surrounding streets made it difficult for the rescue service to arrive quickly.
The fire spread swiftly from the basement to the upper floors of the private hospital.
Television pictures showed patients being carried out on stretchers, with distraught relatives of trapped patients crowded outside the building.
One rescued patient said: “The attendants woke me up and dragged me down the stairs. I saw 10-15 patients at the top of the stairs trying to get down.”
Ananya Das, 35, who underwent surgery at the hospital on Thursday, said she was recovering when the fire broke out.
“I managed to walk towards an exit and then climb out of a window. I saw a lot of bodies,” she said.
More than 40 people died in a huge fire in a historic building in Calcutta in March last year.
Fires in high-rise buildings are fairly common in the city. There have been at least 10 major incidents since 2008.
Electrical short circuits have been responsible for most of these fires.
Liam and Noel Gallagher’s mother, Peggy, has told her sons to “sort it out themselves” after they became embroiled in a bitter legal battle.
Liam and Noel Gallagher, former Oasis bandmates, worth a cool £63 million ($95 million) combined, have always been more famous for offstage antics than their onstage performances.
Noel Gallagher, 44, who left Oasis in 2009, charted the end of band in a 14 page document lodged at the High Court.
Liam and Noel Gallagher's mother, Peggy, has told her sons to "sort it out themselves" after they became embroiled in a bitter legal battle
In the explosive documents, Noel Gallagher reveals the disintegration of Oasis from its glory years in the early nineties to today.
The Daily Mirror reported Noel Gallagher’s version of events given in a legal document in response to his brother’s libel action.
When quizzed at her Manchester home over whether she was upset, Peggy Gallagher simply said “yes”.
Noel Gallagher claimed his brother left abusive voicemail messages on his wife Sara MacDonald’s phone, tried to attack him with his guitar and disrupted gigs after drinking too much.
The legal documents also describe how Noel regarded Liam Gallagher as “spiteful and childish” for mocking him onstage.
Since the band split in 2009, Liam and Noel Gallagher have been fighting it out professionally and personally with very public spats.
This court case originated after Noel claimed Liam Gallagher missed the 2009 V Festival gig in Chelmsford because he was hungover.
Even though Noel apologized, Liam Gallagher has launched a libel action against him which is ongoing.
In the papers filed in his defence, lodged on November 1, Noel Gallagher makes a string of allegations against his younger brother Liam.
The older brother claims before he quit the band in August 2009, they were not talking after Noel refused to allow ‘free advertising’ for Liam Gallagher’s clothing range Pretty Green in the band’s promotional material.
According to some reports, Noel Gallagher said he would allow free advertising “over his dead body”.
This spelled the end for the band with Liam Gallagher starting to wind his brother up and dedicate songs to Pretty Green staff onstage.
Noel Gallagher claims it was this “spiteful and childish” nature which led him to leave the band he started with his brother.
His lawyers detail 12 times from 1994 to 2005 where Liam Gallagher allegedly “disrupted” gigs by storming out, being drunk or getting into fights.
But Noel Gallagher has scored a point against brother Liam, shooting to the top of the Official Charts with his first solo album in October.
The songwriter flew into number one with his aptly-named debut release Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
Liam Gallagher’s post-Oasis band Beady Eye peaked only at number three when they released Different Gear, Still Speeding last year.
Last night a spokesman for Liam Gallagher said: “After Noel apologized the matter is now in the hands of lawyers.”
Noel Galalgher declined to comment.
New York City is facing now major disruption as tens of thousands of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are expected to flood into Manhattan as the movement celebrates its two-month anniversary.
Occupy Wall Street activists began amassing in lower Manhattan shortly after 7:00 a.m. on Thursday to begin a “day of action” in which they are expected to try to paralyze New York City’s subway system.
Wednesday night Nkrumah Tinsley, 29, was arrested on a charge of making a terrorist threat after he was caught on video threatening to attack Macy’s with a Molotov cocktail during today’s protest.
In the footage posted on YouTube after police evicted protesters from their encampment, Nkrumah Tinsley was recorded telling the crowd: “On the 17th, we’re going to burn New York City to the ground!”
Later in the video, Nkrumah Tinsley exclaims: “No more talking. They’ve got guns, we’ve got bottles. They’ve got bricks, we’ve got rocks… in a few days you’re going to see what a Molotov cocktail can do to Macy’s.”
In the footage posted on YouTube after police evicted protesters from their encampment, Nkrumah Tinsley was recorded telling the crowd: "On the 17th, we’re going to burn New York City to the ground!"
What’s the Occupy Wall Street protesters plan for today?
7:00 a.m.: Gathering at Zuccotti Park and marching to confront Wall Street before the opening bell at 9:30 a.m.
3:00 p.m.: Meeting at 16 subway hubs across the city, including 125 St, Union Square and 23 St in Manhattan, as well as stations in the other four boroughs.
5:00 p.m.: Gathering at Foley Square to support labourers then marching to Brooklyn Bridge to mark the protest’s two-month anniversary.
A police spokesman said they were concerned enough about the threats to want Nkrumah Tinsley in custody.
However, police say it wasn’t clear if Nkrumah Tinsley had any bomb-making materials. There was no telephone number at his last known address.
Nkrumah Tinsley was also arrested on a charge of assaulting a police officer on October 26 during another protest.
With the number of Occupy Wall Street protesters left in Zuccotti Park dwindling after police cleared the camp on Tuesday, a posting on the Occupy Wall Street website attempts to hush critics questioning how much longer the movement can survive.
“We will no longer tolerate the oppression of the 1% who do not want to see a creative movement, based on inclusiveness and tolerance, triumph over a system deeply rooted in social inequality,” read the statement.
“This is why we’re fighting back tomorrow during #N17. We will shut down Wall Street and we will #occupy all of New York City with our bodies, voices and ideas.”
The passage, entitled #N17 Global Day Of Action!, calls for activists to meet this morning in Liberty Square, followed by an occupation of the New York City subway system at 3:00 p.m.
A nighttime march to Foley Square will be followed by a march to the Brooklyn Bridge to mark the two month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, reports CBS News.
Their plans were addressed during a briefing at City Hall today, where Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said preparations are being made to ensure the city is able to function in the event of a mass disruption.
“Everything that we have seen and heard suggests that we may have tens of thousands of people tomorrow protesting,” Howard Wolfson said.
“The protesters are calling for a massive event aimed at disrupting major parts of the city.”
The Occupy movement is also calling on demonstrators around the world to make their voices heard.
A planned protest in Spain coinciding with International Student Day will see a strike on the education system “as a reaction to the capitalist logic that denies free education”.
There are also planned rallies and occupations in Germany, Belguim, Italy, Egypt, Indonesia, Poland, Nigeria and Bulgaria.
Which 16 subway stations do protesters say they want to occupy?
* Fordham Rd
* 3rd Ave, 138th St
* 163rd and Southern Blvd
* 161st and River – Yankee Stadium
* Broadway Junction
* Borough Hall
* 301 Grove St
* St Jose Patron Church,185 Suydam St
* Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Ave
* Jamaica Center/Parsons/Archer
* 92-10 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights
* 125th St (A,B,C,D)
* Union Square
* 23rd St and 8th Ave
* St. George, Staten Island Ferry Terminal
* 479 Port Richmond Avenue, Port Richmond
5,113 atomic warheads currently scattered across America and on U.S. submarines around the world, according to Mother Jones magazine.
In 2009, President Barack Obama spoke of his hopes to rid the world of nuclear weapons – but clearly progress has been painfully slow since then.
The Cold War may have ended a generation ago, but a fascinating new map put together by Mother Jones magazine, shows exactly where highly radioactive nuclear material is situated on mainland America.
The map was produced from data suppled by the Defense Department and nuclear watchdog groups.
The map shows where the warheads are (in red), where the civilian nuclear power plants can be found (in green) and the location of labs and nuclear weapons plants (in blue).
The green arrows show nuclear.
According to The Lookout blog, watchdog groups believe the archaic system for making and storing weapons in the U.S. is both dangerous and expensive.
The map shows where the warheads are (in red), where the civilian nuclear power plants can be found (in green) and the location of labs and nuclear weapons plants (in blue)
Mother Jones magazine notes that the country is telling the rest of the world that it is on the road to disarmament.
At the same time the U.S. is spending more on the nuclear weapons complex than we did during the Cold War.
Mother Jones magazine reports that the 5,113 figure does not include “zombie” nukes that are kept in reserve and more than 3,000 warheads awaiting dismantlement.
The map was produced completely with unclassified, public information. As Mother Jones magazine reports, even the military doesn’t hide where it keeps its missiles and bombers.
The sources for the map were the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Federation of American Scientists, Office of the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Matters, Nuclear Energy Institute.
Jacqueline, an obese model whose picture was unwittingly used in an advertisement for an extra-marital affairs website has spoken out about the apparent “exploitation” of her body.
Jacqueline, the supersized model has slammed Ashley Madison and the advertising industry for “body shaming” and promoting infidelity.
Writing on Jezebel.com, Jacqueline, the U.S. size 32 model said the photo that was used in the ad was taken years ago and then unknowingly sold to picture agencies.
The image of Jacqueline’s body, scantily clad and languishing suggestively, then made its way into the offending marketing material for Ashley Madison, accompanied by the slogan “Did your wife scare you last night?”
The full-page ad recently appeared in New York Metro newspaper.
Jacqueline says the ad is yet another unwelcome case of body shaming.
Jacqueline, the supersized model has slammed Ashley Madison and the advertising industry for "body shaming" and promoting infidelity
“There is an enormous problem in this world in regards to female body shaming, and not solely in regard to fat women, but all women. A size 2 woman who sees this ad sees the message: <<If I don’t stay small, he will cheat>>.
“A size 12 woman might see this ad and think <<If I don’t lose 30lbs, he will cheat>>. A size 32 woman could see this ad, and feel <<I will never find love>>. It’s horrific,” Jacqueline writes on Jezebel.
Jacqueline believes the use of her photo “Contribut[es] to… widespread and creeping depression by suggesting, blatantly and without pretense, that fat people are patently undeserving of love and loyalty”, and deems the action “repulsive”.
To add insult to injury, body shaming, Jacqueline says, is being used to promote infidelity.
“I find the very idea that there exists a business based solely around the facilitation of infidelity appalling. The fact that they are now suggesting that a person’s partner not fitting their ideal body size/shape, entitles that person to <<shop around>> is disgusting,” Jacqueline writes.
“It’s bad enough that a business exists that encourages and profits from cheaters, but, worse still, that they have the gall to blame a woman’s body on the act, rather than the man who is incapable of commitment and loyalty.”
Jacqueline’s feelings toward the ad are unambiguous: “It exists in the same school of thought in which a rapist blames a woman’s outfit for his crime.”
The oversized model, whose “Big Beautiful Women” business is dependent on those who find obesity sexually arousing, is proud of her “supersize” sexiness. She is the star of pornography website, juicyjackie.com.
But there is a stark difference between those who choose to visit her BBW site and a public ad that is targeted at unloyal men, Jacqueline believes.
“I am a size 32. I am beautiful. I think women of all sizes are beautiful. Beauty is not and has never been one-size-fits-all. I do not appreciate my image being used, without notice or permission, to tell women I have never met otherwise.
“It is incumbent upon advertisers, and society at large, to act responsibly before foisting something like this onto the world.”
The man behind the controversial affairs website, Ashley Madison founder and CEO Noel Biderman, has responded to Jacqueline’s words.
“The best thing that could’ve happened to this woman is that we used her in our ad. Despite what she may want you to think, she is reaping the press for her own pornography website,” wrote Noel Biderman .
“She took these pictures and signed the release knowing that they were not just for <<personal use>>. However, if she can get great publicity from this, all the power to her.”
Ashley Madison has been criticized for its unusual – if not taboo-breaking – stance on extra-marital affairs. Noel Biderman defended the site on Business Week earlier this year, saying that the service, which links married individuals to potential sexual partners, is a way to save marriages.
“If I woke up and found my partner wasn’t interested in being with me sexually and I tried to do everything I could but sex was now off her radar…Well, sex is important in my marriage – it is – but it’s not No. 1 and it’s not No. 2,” he told the magazine.
“So I would stray before I would just leave, because maybe that would give me enough of what I need to stay within my marriage to do all the other things that are critical to me.”
At least 7 people were killed and 51 injured in a horrific 27 vehicles crash on the M5 motorway near Taunton, Somerset, UK.
The crash described by the emergency services as one of the worst they have ever seen.
There are fears the death toll could soar even higher as police said they believe bodies may still be trapped in vehicles which have been left “burnt and unrecognisable”.
The horrific crash on the northbound carriageway near Taunton, Somerset, involved 23 cars and vans and four lorries.
According to police, the vehicles were “immediately alight” following the crash as a huge fire engulfed the carriageway.
At least 7 people were killed and 51 injured in a horrific 27 vehicles crash on the M5 motorway near Taunton, Somerset, UK
Police confirmed that a fireworks display was going on nearby when the collision happened at 8:25 p.m. last night and said the road was wet and there was fog in the area at the time.
Television footage showed motorists trying to pry open vehicle doors in a bid to rescue those trapped. The motorway will remain closed until at least tomorrow as repairs are carried out.
The crash is the worst on British roads since 1991 when 10 people were killed and 25 injured in a huge pile-up on the M4 in Hungerford, Berkshire.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening expressed sympathy with the families of those affected by the tragedy and thanked rescue rescue workers and emergency staff who worked throughout the night to help the injured.
15 appliances raced to the scene and immediately closed off the motorway in both directions. It is expected to be shut for the next 24 hours while emergency workers recover bodies and clear the debris from the accident.
Firefighters used hydraulic equipment to pull injured from the wrecked vehicles. Some had “life changing”injuries.
According to eyewitnesses, the pile-up was triggered when an Iceland truck suddenly disappeared into a “black hole” of fog.
Andrea Day from Trafficlink said it was the worst accident she has seen in the 10 years she had been working for the traffic information provider.
“I have never come across an accident of this kind – not in terms of the volume of vehicles involved.”
Paul Slaven from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service told the BBC:
“This is the worst road traffic collision anyone can remember… so many vehicles involved.”
Asked why the vehicle fires had been so fierce he said:
“I have not had a report of any toxic or chemical material being carried by any vehicles it is just a case of the number of vehicles involved and the type of vehicle.
“At least two of the vehicles on fire were articulated lorries and there would be a lot of fuel on them.”
Paul Slaven added that it was too early to speculate what had caused the pile-up, but said there had been a number of contributing factors which made road conditions dangerous.
“The weather was not particularly good at the time and it would have been particularly busy at the time because of the Bridgwater Carnival,” Paul Slaven said.
He said the police were in the process of setting up a dedicated telephone line for worried relatives of people who may have been in the area at the time of the incident.
Today the Highways Agency urged all motorists to avoid the area, with the northbound and southbound sections between junctions 25 and 24 closed off.
Dr. Colin Close, medical director for Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital where many of the injured are being treated, said the hospital had dealt with “nothing of this magnitude ever before”.
“The injuries of those brought in ranged from simple limb fractures to more complex chest and abdominal trauma,” he said.
One surgeon was flown in by helicopter from Exeter to help treat the casualties.
“They have been treated and none are in a critical condition. Everyone is stable.”
Occupy Oakland protesters shut down one of the nation’s busiest shipping ports, vandalizing businesses and smashing bank windows.
Occupy Oakland demonstrators blocked operations at the city’s port and blocked traffic on Wednesday in demonstrations against economic inequality and police brutality and marred by scattered vandalism.
There were reports saying that the group declared victory after managing to close down the city’s port, US’s fifth busiest , after an evening of mayhem on the streets.
Two protesters, a man and a woman, were injured as a Mercedes Benz struck them as they blocked the roadway.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the driver of the Mercedes was questioned by police and permitted to leave, much to the ire of protesters.
Occupy Oakland protesters shut down one of the nation's busiest shipping ports, vandalizing businesses and smashing bank windows
The protest by some 5,000 people fell short of paralyzing the northern California city that was catapulted to the forefront of national anti-Wall Street protests after an Iraq war veteran was badly wounded during a march and rally last week.
According to officials, only around 5% of city workers took the day off work.
Perhaps frustrated at their inability to disrupt city business, Occupy Oakland protesters on the second march of the day turned violent, smashing windows at a Chase bank branch a few blocks from the city’s downtown.
Graffiti was also painted on the bank. Employees tried in vain to close up the broken windows with boards and other materials, while one private security guard looked on helpless.
Several windows at a Wells Fargo branch were also smashed. The bank’s front sign and its ATM was smeared with graffiti.
A separate group of protesters attacked Wholefoods smashing windows and throwing paint on the storefront.
The word “strike” was painted in large letters across the Wholefood store’s front windows shortly before 03:00 p.m., an employee at a 7-Eleven across told NBC.
Helicopter video above the scene showed black-clad Occupy Oakland protesters attacking the store and forcing it to shut early.
Several windows at a Wells Fargo branch were also smashed by Occupy Oakland protesters
The Occupy Oakland movement’s leaders called the violent demonstrators “anarchists” and said they were not part of the movement.
Meanwhile, several buses filled up with protesters as they geared up to disrupt operations at the port.
The day’s events in Oakland had begun with a rally outside City Hall that drew more than 3,000 people who spilled into the streets and disrupted the downtown commute.
Occupy Oakland protesters hung a large black banner that read: “Occupy Everything, DEATH TO CAPITALISM.”
The crowd included students, families with young children and many people wearing labour union T-shirts. “Shut down the 1 percent. We are the 99 percent,” the protesters chanted.
Oakland let city workers use vacation or other paid time to take part, but only about 5% took the day off.
Earlier protesters broke off from the rally to picket at nearby banks. All three banks located within blocks of the plaza were closed, though that didn’t stop protesters from chanting and waving signs outside.
At a Citibank branch, more than a dozen protesters blocked the entrance, some with fake $100 bills taped across their faces. They held signs with messages such as “Share the Billions with the Millions.”
About 200 people chanted outside a Wells Fargo branch, where graffiti was scrawled on the wall. The messages read “The 1 percent won’t back down” and “Who’s robbing who?”
Further away from the rally, vandals shattered a Chase bank branch and splattered ink all over an ATM. Someone later taped a note to the shattered glass that read: “We are better than this. … Sorry, the 99 percent.”
In front of the Oakland Public Library, about three dozen parents brought toddlers and school-age children for a stroller march in a “children’s brigade.”
Occupy Oakland protesters handed out signs written as if in a children’s crayon that read “Generation 99% Occupying Our Future”. People attached the signs to their baby backpacks and their strollers.
FBI arrested Christopher Chaney from Florida after he had allegedly accessed Scarlett Johansson and other 50 celebrities’ phones and email accounts.
Several n**e photos of Scarlett Johansson appeared on an Internet site earlier this year and TMZ.com reported that hackers stole them from her cellular phone.
Christopher Chaney, 35, from Jacksonville was arrested this morning on charges that stem from a year-long probe known as Operation Hackerazzi.
Christopher Chaney was charged with hacking into the emails of Christina Aguilera, Scarlett Johansson, Renee Olstead and Mila Kunis in a computer invasion scheme that targeted Hollywood celebrities, federal authorities said Wednesday.
Christopher Chaney is expected to appear in a Florida courtroom later Wednesday and charged with 26 counts of identity theft, unauthorized access to a protected computer and wiretapping.
Christopher Chaney was arrested this morning on charges that stem from a year-long probe known as Operation Hackerazzi
If convicted, Christopher Chaney faces up to 121 years in prison. It wasn’t immediately known if he had retained an attorney.
According to authorities Christopher Chaney was responsible for stealing nude photos taken by Scarlett Johansson herself and were later posted on the Internet. Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office said the hacker offered some material to celebrity blog sites but there is no evidence that he profited from his scheme.
“Celebrity information is highly marketable,” said Steven Martinez, who added LA office continues to receive complaints about celebrities having their personal information breached.
Many of them were named only by initials as only those who were named as victims in the indictment agreed to have the identities made public.
“It helps get out the message that cyber-hacking is a real threat,” said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte, who called those who engage in such activity as “scum”.
Christopher Chaney hacked Google, Apple and Yahoo email accounts beginning November 2010 through February 2011, then hijacked the forwarding feature so that a copy of every email received was sent, “virtually instantaneously”, to an email account he controlled.
Christopher Chaney allegedly used the hacker names “trainreqsuckswhat”, “anonygrrl” and “jaxjaguars911” and also used the victims’ identities to illegally access and control computers.
The hacker is accused of damaging email servers that caused losses of at least $5,000 per instance.
Authorities wouldn’t say whether Christopher Chaney was able to access email accounts via cell phones, but he was able to figure out secure passwords to various celebrity accounts through information that had been made public.
A hacking group has claimed responsibility for allegedly accessing Scarlett Johansson’s phone however this has not been verified.
Scarlett Johansson’s or other celebrity’s representatives did not comment on the news until now.
A terror plot of the Iranian government to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in Washington has been revealed to press yesterday.
Attorney General Eric Holder spoke during a press conference of how elements of the Iranian government financed and aided the plot to murder Adel al-Jubeir , the Saudi ambassador in US- offering a bounty of $1.5 million to the plotters.
Two persons have been charged with the plot, according to the authorities; Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old U.S. citizen who also holds an Iranian passport and Gholam Shakuri, whom it said to be a member of the Iranian regime’s hard core “Quds Force”.
It was reported that when asked by undercover agents about the potential loss of innocent life in the bombings, Manssor Arbabsiar replied:
“They want that guy [al-Jubeir] done.
“If the hundred go with him, f**k ’em.”
Saudi ambassador in US, Adel al-Jubeir was the target of the Iranian plot
Attorney General Eric Holder said: “The criminal complaint unsealed today exposes a deadly plot directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign Ambassador on U.S. soil with explosives.
“Through the diligent and coordinated efforts of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, we were able to disrupt this plot before anyone was harmed.
“We will continue to investigate this matter vigorously and bring those who have violated any laws to justice.”
According to US Justice Department, from the spring of 2011 to October 2011, Manssor Arbabsiar and his Iran-based co-conspirators, including Shakuri of the Quds Force, had been plotting the murder of the Saudi Ambassador.
Manssor Arbabsiar was said to have unknowingly hired informant from the Drug Enforcement Administration to carry out the plot.
The informant [CS-1], who was posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel, met with Manssor Arbabsiar several times in Mexico.
Manssor Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old U.S. citizen who also holds an Iranian passport, has been charged with the Saudi ambassador assassination plot
Manssor Arbabsiar was said to have first met with CS-1 in Mexico on May 24, 2011, inquiring informant’s knowledge of explosives before explaining that he was interested in, among other things, attacking an embassy of Saudi Arabia.
According to the charges, CS-1 allegedly indicated he had knowledge of using C-4 explosives.
Manssor Arbabsiar has returned to Mexico in June and July 2011 where he held additional meetings with CS-1.
In a July 14, 2011, they had another meeting in Mexico and CS-1 allegedly told Manssor Arbabsiar that he would need to use four men to carry out the Ambassador’s murder and that his price for carrying out the murder was $1.5 million.
Manssor Arbabsiar then offered a $100,000 down payment and during the same meeting, he boasted to CS-1 his cousin in Iran – a “big general” in the Iranian military, as Arbabsiar said – had knowledge of the attack.
In July 17, Manssor Arbabsiar and CS-1 met again, with the informant saying one of his men had already carried out surveillance of the ambassador.
On August 1, and August 9, 2011, with Gholam Shakuri’s approval, Manssor Arbabsiar allegedly made two overseas wire transfers “totalling approximately $100,000” that prosecutors say were sent to an FBI undercover account.
After the informant then demanded a further down payment, Manssor Arbabsiar flew to Mexico to act as a guarantee the fee would be paid.
After being refused entry to Mexico on September 28, Arbabsiar was returned to New York’s JFK airport, where he was arrested by federal agents on September 29.
Iran’s secretive Quds Force is an elite brigade within Iran’s revolutionary Guard.
The Guards, with their own navy, air force and command structure separate from the regular armed forces, are seen as fiercely loyal to the supreme leader.
Within the Guards, Quds are tasked with “exporting” the Iranian revolution abroad.
The Quds Force, which is said to contain 15,000 troops, is accused of operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, North Africa and now North America.
In the past, the U.S. has accused Quds of arming Iraqi militants with deadly bomb-making material, building up an extensive network in the war-torn country, recruiting Iraqis and supporting not only Shiite militias but also Shiites allied with Washington.
Two women have been arrested after they started a bleach and other chemicals fight in a Walmart store in Baltimore, Maryland.
Police said Theresa Monique Jefferson, 33, and another woman threw bleach and another chemical on each other during the argument, prompting officials to evacuate the store for two hours and call in a hazardous materials team.
According to firefighters, 19 people, Walmart customers and employees, had to be taken to hospitals, although only one was thought to have serious injuries.
The alleged bleach fight between the two women took place in the Lansdowne Station shopping centre in Baltimore.
Theresa Monique Jefferson was arrested after she and another woman threw bleach and another chemical on each other during an argument at Walmart store in Baltimore
The Baltimore Sun said the argument between Theresa Monique Jefferson and the other woman went back before the store fight.
The Baltimore Sun also reported Theresa Monique Jefferson has a child with the victim’s boyfriend.
A spokesman for Walmart told the New York Daily News:
“This is obviously not the type of behaviour that we would expect from people at our stores.
“And we want to apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused other customers.”
Three Walmart employees were also taken to hospital with minor respiratory problems.
The person who is in serious conditions was taken to the Wilmer Eye Institute with a potentially serious eye injury.
Firefighters were called to the Walmart store in the Baltimore suburb of Arbutus shortly before 11:00 a.m. Saturday.
Glenn Blackwell, Fire Department spokesman says that, by the end of the day, one person was arrested and charges are pending.
According to authorities, the other chemical used in the fight was ammonia and, when bleach and ammonia are mixed toxic fumes are produced that can cause choking and breathing problems.
Even though most people say they hate sales material, it’s funny because everything on the net is sold using sales copy and material. There are so many ways to produce ineffective copy, and that’s why it’s important to have some awareness of the different kinds of copywriting mistakes.
Every well-trained copywriter knows that good copy talks about benefits rather than features. It depends on the product because sometimes you have to present features, such as with software, but they need to be immediately turned into the benefits the end-user will experience. Benefits are more effective because people are selfish, and they want to know what is specifically in it for them. So if you’re not clear about what your product has to offer, you won’t see a very strong response from your target audience. It takes some practice, but one thing you can do is list out every conceivable feature you can think of, and then translate them into the benefits. If you can get good at that, then your benefits will be clear and strong, and then your copy will be a bit better for it. A lot of times good benefit bullets can tip the scales in your favor.
Reading a long sales letter can take a toll on your prospect, so don’t make the mistake of writing in large paragraphs that are hard to read.
You need to use a lot of white space in your sales copy so that it’s scannable. Your prospects will feel suffocated and simply leave if they feel that the copy isn’t that readable. So just like in English class, each paragraph supports a single idea and no more. You need to maintain the flow and keep all the content relevant, because sometimes you tend to stray away. A good idea is to write the sales copy like you’re telling a story. A great story can do tremendous things for your copy, so just make it relevant and weave it into your copy as smoothly as possible. The format for the paragraphs holds true for the entire length of you sales letter.
The location, or introduction, of the price of your product or service matters a lot. Never put your product price too early in your sales copy.
But what’s wrong in that? It just tends to bring down the interest level of the reader. The most optimum location to reveal your price is near the bottom after the product and benefits are introduced. After your research is performed, then relax and write – you can always edit later, so don’t worry about how the first draft comes out. When you do spell out the price, don’t be shy about it because it needs to be clearl and visible. Don’t unconsciously attempt to ‘slip it in’ with all the other text because there should be no reason to feel like you need to hide it.
All in all, copywriting is an art that takes time to learn and cultivate. It’s always smart to learn about common mistakes because if you just avoid them then you’ll be writing better copy. That’s why we presented this article, so you can learn from others and improve.
Sara Leal, the 23-year-old blonde from Texas, who allegedly spent a night in a hot-tub with Ashton Kutcher in his hotel room, told her friends that the evening ended in a torrid sexual liaison.
One of Sara Leal closest friends, party promoter Gavin Naumoff, 23, said last night:
“Sara’s a great girl. My job is to round up hot girls and bus them into clubs in San Diego or Vegas. The girls get free booze, food, whatever, and they attract rich and famous guys to the clubs. It’s a two-way street. The girls get to meet rich men and the guys get what they want.”
Pointing proudly to photographs he took recently of a topless Sara Leal, he bragged:
“She was off her head, we all were. She’s a wild girl and loves to party. She is someone who knows what she wants and is determined to get it.”
But to understand how Sara Leal allegedly found herself in the hot tub of Ashton Kutcher’s 12th-floor suite in San Diego’s Hard Rock Hotel last weekend, one has to go back to her humble Texan beginnings.
An ugly, featureless railroad town, McAllen is surrounded by searingly hot, pancake-flat oil fields and cotton, citrus and cattle farms.
Sara Leal was born to a Hispanic father, Arturo, and a blonde saleswoman, Darcy. Her parents divorced when Sara was eight years old.
Last night at his home in a crime-ridden McAllen suburb, her father told us:
“I have no comment on what’s going on except that she’s a wonderful girl, an innocent girl, and I don’t like the way people are talking about her.”
Sara Leal’s grandmother, Monna Rober, 78, added: “She was raised to have very good values.”
Sara Leal spent her early years in a modest bungalow in a lower-middle-class area. A simple wooden swing still dangles from a tree in the parched front garden. After the divorce, Sara Leal and her mother moved to a cheap rented flat on a sprawling estate.
While Sara Leal has been attacked online, her grandmother said she is optimistic that “things will turn out for the best”.
“She’s always been a pretty girl. People aren’t being fair to Sara,” she said.
One of Sara Leal closest childhood friends, who asked not to be named, said:
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it is true. She was always a party girl who wanted to get out of McAllen.
“From the time we were in high school, I think she hoped to find a richer older guy to take care of her. She wasn’t great at anything in particular that would have enabled her to make it on her own. But she was good at looking good. She dyed her brunette hair blonde and wore risque clothes.”
In a photograph taken in McAllen, Sara Leal playfully lolls in a hot tub with a male friend. She is wearing a pink bikini and sipping a margarita. In another photo, she parties in front of a table cluttered with bottles. Sara Leal originally attended a private Catholic academy, Our Lady of Sorrows, but soon transferred to a series of state-run schools.
Sara Leal in a hot tub with a male friend
The friend says Sara Leal ultimately attended an “options school” offering accelerated learning for teens with drug problems, unwed mothers and students “who want to get done with school quickly”.
“Sara finished school half a year early and started hanging out with older men,” said her friend.
Sara Leal’s first serious boyfriend was Serafin Gomez, now 25, a rugged science student from an affluent family.
“He was Mr Gorgeous and Sara seemed to be living really well. She drove a Cadillac,” recalled her friend.
“They split up after three years and she headed west.”
Sara Leal arrived in San Diego two years ago, where she promptly fell in with a hard-partying crowd.
One friend, Rafael Sandoval, said: “I don’t know what Sara does for a living. When you are young and pretty, you can party all night for free.”
Fluxx is the hottest club in San Diego at the moment and is placed in the fashionable downtown Gaslamp section of town. There is a circular dancefloor with a DJ on a raised dais surrounded by dancers in bikinis. On Friday, September 23, Ashton Kutcher arrived with a group of male friends.
As usual, Fluxx was filled with scantily clad young women. In recent weeks, it has played host to actor Jamie Foxx and rapper Snoop Dogg.
The club’s promoter, Aaron Klose, said: “I saw Ashton dancing with several girls, including Sara. Fluxx has the reputation for only allowing the prettiest ones in. Ashton was clearly up for a good night.”
Gavin Naumoff said he was given an account of the night by Jacques Du Toit, a South African yacht worker.
He explained: “Sara was at the club with some girlfriends. My buddy Jacques is the boyfriend of one of the girls partying with Sara that night, Alexis. The story is Ashton was picking out girls who were <<hot tub worthy or not>>. He would send his friends to hand-pick the prettiest girls from the dancefloor.”
Ashton Kutcher was booked into the $3,800-a-night “top of the rock” Diamond Suite at the Hard Rock Hotel. According to the hotel’s website, the luxury 1,200 sq ft accommodation has an outdoor Jacuzzi that “is always a hit”.
Gavin Naumoff said: “Jacques told me Alexis called him to say she and some other girls were going to a party in Ashton’s suite. Jacques was concerned, so he went over to the hotel to make sure she was behaving. Alexis told him Ashton’s room number and when he got there, a bodyguard was at the door who said it was a private party. Jacques explained he was the boyfriend of one of the girls and was let in.
“He found Ashton in a hot tub on the balcony with Alexis, Sara, a girl called Katie and another girl called Marta. They were all naked. Ashton invited Jacques to join them in the tub.
“Apparently, Ashton said, <<Yo, where’s the vodka at?>> and Jacques was like, <<It’s over there but I’m not going to get it>>. So Ashton gets out to get the vodka and that’s when Jacques saw he was butt naked.”
The alleged sexual encounter took place that night after everyone except Sara Leal and her friend Marta had left.
“Sara is telling everyone 100% that she and Ashton had sex,” claimed Gavin Naumoff.
“Jacques and Alexis are two of my best friends and Sara is a good friend. If she says she slept with him then I think she’s telling the truth.”
Katie Boggus, a friend of Sara Leal from Texas, who allegedly took part in the hot tub high jinks, refused to be drawn on the subject when approached at her San Diego home late Friday.
She said: “Sara is a great person. It’s really sad people are saying mean things about her.”
When asked directly if Sara Leal slept with Kutcher that night, she said: “I can’t talk about that.” Asked about being in the hot tub with a naked Ashton Kutcher, she smiled and said: “I’m sorry, I can’t say anything about that.”
According to another girlfriend of Sara Leal, she is “keeping low”.
Sara Leal out partying with friend Katie Boggus
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said: “The last thing she said was she would rather Ashton paid her the money and she would never talk. She’s a bit freaked out how big this story has become.”
Ashton Kutcher’s high-profile lawyer Marty Singer stayed uncharacteristically quiet when asked to comment about Sara Leal’s claims.
As for Demi Moore, the stress of the allegations has caused weight to fall off her already slim frame. According to friends of the actress, she has been devastated by the allegations of her husband’s infidelity, even though they are not the first.
Last year, another “party girl”, Brittney Jones, claimed she had sex with Ashton Kutcher at the marital home in Los Angeles. Despite threats of legal action over Brittney Jones’s “lies”, none ever materialized.
A producer who knows Demi Moore said: “Demi is devoted to Ashton. She is so proud and supportive of him. The silence from her side is deafening.
“Demi does everything she can to stay young and sexy, but when it comes down to it she is a 48-year-old woman. There is a whole generation of young girls who don’t care if a man is married. They just want to have a good time and hit pay dirt. Only time will tell if Sara Leal really did hit the jackpot.”
Boeing 787 Dreamliner has a range of 10,000 miles, is far quieter than ordinary jets, and is constructed using a “moulding” process that has eliminated 1,500 aluminum sheets and 50,000 fasteners.
The much-delayed Boeing 787 Dreamliner is also three years late and has cost a reported $32 billion.
Aluminium has been the standard material used in aircraft for more than a century – even the Wright brothers’ famous first flight in 1903 used an aircraft made partially from the metal.
Now the “aluminium age” could be about to end – with the delivery of the first large-scale commercial aircraft made using 50% “composite materials” including plastics and carbon fibre.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner has a range of 10,000 miles, is far quieter than ordinary jets, and is constructed using a “moulding” process that has eliminated 1,500 aluminum sheets and 50,000 fasteners
Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner programme, said:
“It took a lot of hard work to get to this day.”
Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been much delayed – its maiden flight was delayed for more than two years – and will cost up to $200 million. The delays are reported to have cost maker Boeing more than $32 billion.
The new aircraft offers hi-tech entertainment with Android touchscreens built into every seat – even in Economy. The “composite” design – using mixed materials such as titanium and carbon fibre – is believed to have been a spur for rival Airbus to incorporate carbon fibre in future aircraft.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner seats 250-290 and offers increased comfort - the air inside is less dry than comparable jets, and First Class passengers will enjoy entertainment on 17-inch touchscreens
Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a blue and white-painted long-range aircraft, which boasts a graceful new design with raked wingtips and will leave for Japan on Tuesday and enter service domestically on October 26.
Boeing has taken orders for 821 Dreamliners, which will compete with the future Airbus A350, due in 2013.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is the first airline to take delivery of Boeing 787 Dreamliner - the first large-scale commercial jetliner to be built from composite materials, not aluminium
“It is simpler than today’s aeroplanes and offers increased functionality and efficiency,” says Boeing’s official description of the plane.
“The team has incorporated airplane health-monitoring systems that allow the airplane to self-monitor and report systems maintenance requirements to ground-based computer systems by itself.”
“You can tell the Dreamliner is special the moment you see it coming in to land,” says Jonathan Margolis, a technology specialist who saw one of its first test flights.
“The near silence is almost spooky. But the thing which struck me most when I saw it at the Farnborough Air Show was the obvious suppleness of the composite structure. You can clearly see the wings flexing. It almost looks like an Airfix kit.”
“Speaking to the pilot later, he confirmed that as a result of its ultra-light airframe, the 787 is exceptionally manoeuvrable and easy to fly precisely.”
Boeing abandoned plans for a sound barrier-chasing “Sonic Cruiser” 10 years ago and worked on lighter long-range jets as cash-starved airlines valued efficiency over speed. The comapny expects 787 Dreamliner to become the standard for future passenger planes.
Mike Sinnett, the 787 Dreamliner program’s chief project engineer, said:
“Technology will only get more efficient and lighter.
“The plane’s lighter weight allows airlines to operate routes even when the demand is insufficient for larger aircraft like the Boeing 777 or 747, or the Airbus 380 superjumbo.”
Scott Fancher added: “For aviation we believe this is as important as the 707 was with the introduction of the jet age.”
Fancher moved to head off any fears over the new materials, stressing the tough moulded composites used to create the aircraft were nothing like ordinary plastic.
“Plastic is what you have on the dashboard of your car. This is not plastic,” he told reporters.
One of the components that gives Boeing 787 Dreamliner its extraordinary range and fuel economy - 20 per cent less than other equivalent aircraft - are its engines, hi-tech new models made by Rolls Royce
Boeing 787 Dreamliner development program has been delayed seven times due to challenges with engineering, supply chain glitches and a 58-day labor strike in 2008.
“We have been waiting for the 787 for over 3 years as we expected it in the summer of 2008,” said senior vice president Satoru Fujiki who took part in negotiations to buy the 787.
“I can’t say the delayed delivery didn’t have any impact but ANA and Boeing worked closely to mitigate it,” Fujiki said, adding Boeing had provided alternative jets to meet the shortfall.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) has ordered a total of 55 Dreamliners worth $11 billion at current list prices, including 40 of the 260-passenger 787-8 variant being delivered this week.
ANA plans to take delivery of four planes in 2011 and an additional eight next year.
The Seattle Times reported on Sunday that Boeing 787 program costs had topped $32 billion due to delays. That estimate raised questions, the newspaper said, over whether the new jet would make money for Boeing before “well into the 2020s, if ever.” Boeing declined comment on the claims.
Analysts say new jets typically cost closer to $15 billion.
Boeing also faces Wall Street concerns over its ability to reach its target of lifting output to 10 planes a month by 2013.
The delivery comes as Boeing remains locked in a dispute with one of its top labor unions in Washington state, where it has traditionally built its aircraft.
The International Association of Machinists and the National Labor Relations Board accuse Boeing of building a non-union 787 plant in South Carolina to punish the IAM for past strikes.
Boeing denies that claim, saying the jobs in South Carolina represent new employment, not the relocation of existing work.
BOEING 787 DREAMLINER SPEC
Seats: 210 to 250 passengers
Range: 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles
Wing span: 197 ft (60m)
Length: 186 ft (57m)
Height: 56 ft (17m)
Cruise speed: (Mach 0.85)
Total cargo volume: 4,400 cubic feet
Sarah Palin took cocaine while snowmobiling with friends and had illicit affairs with the NBA star Glen Rice and one of her husband’s business partners, a new Joe McGinniss’ book sensationally claims.
Sarah Palin, 47, who probably hopes for joining the 2012 presidential race is said to have taken the class A drug with her husband, while smoking marijuana at college in secret liaisons with one of her professors.
The explosive Joe McGinness’ book could halt Sarah Palin's 2012 bid before it has started
“The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin”, Joe McGinniss’ book is due to be published on September 20.
The book also alleges that Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska is far from the traditional family woman she claims to be.
Sarah Palin had a one-night stand with Miami Heat basketball star Glen Rice less than a year before she eloped with her husband, the book claims.
She is said to have met Glen Rice in 1987 when he was playing in a college basketball tournament in Alaska and Sarah Palin worked as a sports reporter for KTUU television.
The book also claimed that Sarah Palin had a six-month affair with Brad Hanson, who ran a snowmobile dealership with her husband Todd. The betrayal led to Todd Palin dissolving the business.
In a bid to expose Sarah Palin’s skeletons, Joe McGinness has studied the former vice presidential candidate for three years and last year even moved in to a home next door in Wasilla, Alaska, to dig some more.
McGinness writes that after college Sarah Palin developed a “fetish” for black men.
Palin allegedly had a tryst with basketball star Glen Rice in her younger sister Molly’s University of Alaska dorm room, while she was dating Todd and just nine months before the couple were married.
Sarah Palin got pregnant with Todd and they eloped in August 1988.
Palins son Track, the oldest of five, was born eight months later in April 1989.
According to the National Enquirer, a friend said Sarah Palin spent the night with the basketball star but could not confirm whether they had sex.
“I remember Sarah feeling pretty good that she’d been with a black basketball star,” the source told the magazine.
Glen Rice is said to have confirmed the night of passion in Joe McGinniss’s book.
The book goes on to claim that while married Sarah Palin also had an affair with her husband’s business partner, Brad Hanson.
Todd Palin is alleged to have ended all businesses with Brad Hanson after he found out about the affair in 1996.
Both Sarah Palin and Brad Hanson have denied the allegations.
Sarah Palin is said to have taken the class A drug with her husband, while smoking marijuana at college in secret liaisons with one of her professors
Joe McGinniss writes that while Sarah Palin attended Mat-Su College she took marijuana with a professor who was also the father of one of her female friends.
Before Palin was elected governor she is also said to have snorted cocaine with her husband off an overturned oil drum while snowmobiling with friends.
Todd Palin, who was arrested for DUI in 1986 used cocaine a lot and was “on the end of a straw plenty,” according to a long-term associate quoted in the book.
The explosive book goes on to quote those who knew the family growing up, claiming Sarah Palin was a “bad mum” who would lock herself in her room for hours on end asking not to be disturbed while her children cooked themselves dinner.
The former Alaska governor was plucked from obscurity to be the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008.
The “pitbull in lipstick”, Sarah Palin sparked a media storm after accepting the nomination, despite questions over her experience.
Sarah Palin has remained tight-lipped on whether she would stand next year, but said she would likely make an announcement at the end of this month.
There have also been frequent rumors that Palin is set to divorce her husband Todd, which have always been denied.
Sarah Palin also has faced accusations by the father of her daughter’s child, Levi Johnston, that she wanted to keep Bristol’s pregnancy a secret and adopt the child herself.
She has yet to declare whether she intends to run for election in next year’s presidential race.
Joe McGinniss, 68, has written several political books including works on former president Richard Nixon and on Alaska.
Joe McGinniss is a controversial writer who has built a career on immersing himself in extreme subjects in order to “search for the truth, however elusive… Penetrating the façade of institutions and people in public life”.
The author gained notoriety aged 26 when his first book about how Richard Nixon marketed himself, titled The Selling of the President 1968, became an overnight success – leading to him becoming the youngest living author with a book on the New York Times bestseller list.
McGinniss has since written a combination of true crime books and political exposés, as well as one non-fiction account of a year exploring Alaska.
In 1983, his take on the notorious Jeffrey MacDonald murder case led him being sued, with MacDonald alleging Joe McGinniss made him believe he was on his side before slamming him in the book. The case settled out of court.
Even before moving in next door Sarah Palin, Joe McGinniss had tried to get close to her, offering more than $60,000 to have dinner with the politician at a charity auction in 2009. The writer lost to a winning bid of 63,500.
When Sarah Palin found out about her new neighbor, she wrote on her Facebook page:
“We’re sure to have a doozey to look forward to with this treasure he’s penning.
“Wonder what kind of material he’ll gather while overlooking Piper’s bedroom?”
Jacqueline Kennedy’s voice on the tapes released yesterday is breathy and girlish, often using childishly simple vocabulary, but the sentiments expressed are withering.
Recorded in 1964 and released yesterday by her daughter Caroline, Jacqueline Kennedy’s intimate recollections were confided to historian and former White House aide Arthur M. Schlesinger. ABC News airs the eight-hour tapes in series starting with September 13.
The transcripts of the released tapes are published in a book form – “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life With John. F. Kennedy”, which is launched today, September 14.
Jacqueline Kennedy talked about her disgust towards Martin Luther King
Jacqueline Kennedy was speaking just months after her husband President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas in November 1963. The former First Lady aim was to provide insider material for historians on the condition that the tapes would not be released for half a century. Her daughter, Caroline Kennedy has brought that release forward to commemorate the 50th anniversary of her father’s election as president.
The former First Lady talked about her disgust towards Martin Luther King after claimed he tried to arrange a sex party while in Washington for a march.
Jacqueline Kennedy’s relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King became strained as a result of wire taps arranged by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.
This information had been passed to her by brother-in-law Bobby Kennedy, who as attorney-general authorized the bugging.
“He told me of a tape the FBI had of Martin Luther King when he was here for the freedom march. And he said this with no bitterness or anything, how he was calling up all these girls and arranging for a party of men and women, I mean, sort of an orgy in the hotel, and everything.”
Jacqueline Kennedy says Bobby also told her that Martin Luther King made derogatory comments about Kennedy’s funeral, apparently at the expense of the Archbishop of Boston, who gave the eulogy.
“He made fun of Cardinal Cushing and said that he was drunk at it,” Jacqueline Kennedy says.
“And things about they almost dropped the coffin and – well, I mean Martin Luther King is really a tricky person.”
This is not the first time that Martin Luther King, a Baptist minister and father-of-four with his wife Cor¬etta, has been accused of leading a rampant extra-marital sex life.
It has long been known that J Edgar Hoover, the FBI chief who ran the bureau as his personal fiefdom, detested him. An FBI memo called King “the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country”, and Hoover kept him under constant surveillance to try to prove he was a crypto-communist.
Hoover failed to do so but the wire tapping did provide salacious details of Martin Luther King’s sex life which former FBI chief set about using to discredit him. The tapes and transcripts were passed to JFK’s successor as president Lyndon B. Johnson who told one assistant:
“God dammit, if only you could hear what that hypocritical preacher does sexually.”
According to another assistant, the transcripts were as graphic as “an erotic book” and the tapes captured the noise of bedsprings.
There is an obvious irony about Jacqueline Kennedy’s remarks given what is well known about JFK’s infidelities.
But her daughter Caroline is anxious to put the tapes in the context of her mourning and Hoover’s determination to discredit Martin Luther King.
“Obviously J Edgar Hoover had passed on something that Martin Luther King said about my father’s funeral to uncle Bobby and to mummy. And obviously she was upset about that,” Caroline Kennedy told ABC News this weekend.
“It shows you the poisonous activities of J Edgar Hoover and the idea that this is going on at the highest levels of government is really twisted. If you asked her what she thought of Martin Luther King overall – I mean she admired him tremendously.”
Jacqueline Kennedy also shares her thoughts on the tapes about Charles de Gaulle whom the Kennedys met during a state visit to France in 1961. The occasion led John F. Kennedy to joke that he was “the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris”.
Jacqueline Kennedy and JFK during the official visit in France
Charles de Gaulle claimed after JFK’s death that Jackie Kennedy was “bound to end up on the yacht of an arms dealer”. For that, she brands the French president “spiteful” as well as an “egomaniac”.
Jacqueline Kennedy also tells she met Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when the latter visited Washington in 1961 and a year later in New Delhi. The former First Lady des¬cribes Indira Ghandi as “a real prune – bitter, kind of pushy, horrible woman”.
Jackie Kennedy freely shares her husband’s derogatory attitude to Lyndon B. Johnson, his vice-president, whom he had only selected as a running mate to remove him from his powerful post in the Senate where his “enormous ego” would have led him to block Kennedy’s law-making agenda.
“Everyone was even amazed that he accepted,” she says.
JFK’s fear was that Lyndon Johnson would succeed him as president after his second term ended in 1968.
“Bobby told me this later and I know Jack said it to me sometimes. He said, <<Oh God, can you ever imagine what would happen to the country if Lyndon was president?>>. He didn’t like that idea that Lyndon would go on and be president because he was worried for the country.”
Jackie also refers to Johnson’s wife Lady Bird as a “trained hunting dog” because she followed her husband around, making notes of his conversations.
“She had every name and phone number – it was a funny kind of way of operating.”
Again Caroline Kennedy insists these were not her mother’s true feelings.
“It’s funny because she was really fond of Lyndon Johnson and really loved Lady Bird and always stayed in touch with her and they would visit.
“The description of Lyndon Johnson here is more of his capabilities as a president, more negative than she certainly felt about him as a person. I think she really appreciated the efforts that he made for her, when she was leaving the White House, and towards me and [my brother] John and she found him really amusing and warm hearted. And I think that it’s interesting because she’s able to separate those human qualities from some of his shortcomings as president.
“I also think that there’s stuff going on – again, this is a moment in time – between him and uncle Bobby. That is probably colouring her opinion here.”
Despite the former First Lady reported extra- marital relationships with married Bobby Kennedy and the unhappiness of her later marriage to tycoon Aristotle Onassis, the public image of Jacqueline Kennedy has always been that of the grieving widow who watched the handsome husband who became America’s youngest president gunned down alongside her.
The American Red Cross has time-tested tips to help people affected by the wildfires across Bastrop, Travis, and Williamson counties speed their recovery after this disaster.
Regional CEO Marty McKellips says, “returning to your home after the devastation of a wildfire is a stressful time fraught with real dangers. There are important steps each family should take to assure their continued safety and the Red Cross wants to get this information to our community.”
Firefighters from the Lassen National Forest in Calif are cleaning hot spots in Bastrop Texas (Photo: Eric Schlegel - POOL / AP)
Returning to Your Neighborhood
Don’t return home until fire officials say it is safe – Wildfires can be unpredictable so it’s best to listen to the experts.
Use caution and exercise good judgment when entering burned areas – Hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning.
Avoid damaged or fallen power poles or wires – Immediately report electrical damage to authorities. Electric wires can deliver shocks or ignite new fires. If possible, remain on the scene to warn others of the hazard until repair crews arrive.
Be careful around burned trees and power poles – Theymay have become unstable because of fire damage or loss of support from surrounding trees.
Watch for ash pits and mark them for safety – Ash pits are holes full of hot ashes, created where intense fire has burned trees or stumps deep into the ground. People or animals can be seriously burned by falling into ash pits. Warn family and neighbors to keep clear of the pits. Erect a barrier with nonflammable materials such as wire mesh fencing or otherwise clearly mark such areas.
Returning to Your Home
Inspect roofs immediately and extinguish any sparks or embers – Windsmay have deposited burning embers that could reignite.
If there is no power, check to make sure the main breaker is on – Firesmay cause breakers to trip. If the breakers are on and power is still not present, contact your utility company.
For several hours afterward, recheck for smoke and sparks outside and inside the home, including the attic – Thewinds of wildfires can blow burning embers anywhere. Keep checking your home for embers that could cause new fires.
Take precautions while cleaning your property as you can be exposed to potential health risks from new hazards.
Wet down debris to minimize health impacts from breathing dust particles
Use a two-strap dust particulate mask with nose clip and coveralls for the best minimal protection
Wear leather gloves to protect hands from sharp objects while removing debris
Wear rubber gloves when working with outhouse remnants, plumbing fixtures and sewer piping as they can contain high levels of bacteria
Hazardous materials such as kitchen and bathroom cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers need to be handled properly to avoid risk; local authorities can provide hazardous disposal assistance
If you have a propane tank system, turn off valves and leave them closed until a propane supplier inspects the system – Heatcan damage tanks, brass and copper fittings, and lines, leaving them unsafe. If fire heated the tank, the pressure relief valve probably opened and released the contents.
If you have a fuel oil tank system, contact your supplier for an inspection of the system before use – Thetank may have shifted or fallen from its stand and fuel lines may have kinked or weakened. Heat from the fire may have caused the tank to warp or bulge. Non-vented tanks are more likely to bulge or show signs of stress. The fire may have loosened or damaged fittings and filters.
Check your trees for stability – Any tree that has been weakened by fire may be a hazard. Winds topple weakened trees and the loss of trees can change wind patterns in your area.
Look for burns on the tree trunk. If the bark of a trunk has been burned off or scorched completely around the circumference, that tree is unlikely to survive. Where fire has burned deep into the trunk, the tree should be considered unstable.
Check for burned roots by probing the ground around the base of the tree and several feet away from the base with a rod. Roots are generally six to eight inches below the surface. If the roots have been burned, you should consider this tree very unstable and subject to being toppled by the wind.
A scorched tree is one that has lost part or all of its leaves or needles. Healthy deciduous (broadleaf) trees are resilient and may produce new branches and leaves as well as sprouts at the base of the trunk. Evergreen (needled) trees may survive when partially scorched. An evergreen tree that has been damaged by fire is subject to bark beetle attack. Seek assistance from the forestry service or a professional for ways to protect evergreens from insect attack.
Central Texans who wish to make a financial contribution to the American Red Cross of Central Texas can call 800 or 512-928-4271, send a financial contribution to 2218 Pershing Drive, Austin, 78723 or make a secure online donation at www.centex.redcross.org. For information on Red Cross services or volunteer opportunities please call 800 or 512-928-4271 or visit www.centex.redcross.org.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
Source: www. centex.redcross.org
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