Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rio's roving street bands keep Carnival free, fun

RIO DE JANEIRO – Nuns in hot pants, nuns in full habits and even nuns with bushy mustaches — the motley band of costumed revelers gathered to celebrate the first day of Carnival, joining one of the growing number of roving street bands that take over Rio de Janeiro during the five-day party.

Revelers dressed as nuns smiles during the "Carmelitas" street carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, March 4, 2011. "Carmelitas" is a ban
The "nuns" are all followers of the Carmelitas, a group started in 1991 by friends who gathered for soccer and drinks just outside a convent of Carmelite nuns. Jokes about the sisters escaping to join the party gave rise to the band, which parades twice: at the beginning of Carnival, when the nuns supposedly escaped the convent join the fun, and on the last day, when they returned to their cloistered existence.
"We're keeping the tradition, remembering the first nuns who jumped the fence," said Eliete dos Santos, 25, who was out with five other costumed "sisters" as the partying began Friday.
While the public face of Rio's Carnival is the famed two-day parade of samba groups, which can each spend more than $5 million on extravagant costumes and floats, its heart lies in these roving groups of irreverently costumed, mostly inebriated partiers who create a free, open-to-all street Carnival. Their cavorting is likely to hit a fever pitch Saturday.

Vonn clinches 4th consecutive downhill title

TARVISIO, Italy – Here's a measure of Lindsey Vonn's strength in the downhill: She no longer bothers to celebrate the season-long championship.
Lindsey Vonn
She won the downhill crown for the fourth consecutive year Saturday by finishing second to Sweden's Anja Paerson. A day earlier, Vonn clinched her second straight super-combined title. She now has 11 World Cup championships for her career, with another possibly on the way in Sunday's super-G.
This latest title hardly prompted a ski-dancing display in the snow as was the case Saturday. Instead, Vonn appeared upset when she crossed the line a distant 0.73 seconds behind. Still, she wasn't about to take this milestone for granted, especially in a season in which she left the world championships because of the lingering effects of a concussion.

Obama offers deeper cuts, appeals for budget deal

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says he's willing to make deeper spending cuts if Congress can compromise on a budget deal that would end the threat of a government shutdown.

Obama's appeal for common ground came Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address, but lacked specifics on how to bridge the $50 billion gulf that divides the White House and Democratic budget proposal from the deeper reductions offered by Republicans.

Court martial recommended for Fort Hood shooting suspect

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Army official has recommended that the Army major charged in the 2009 shooting rampage at a Texas Army base face a court martial and possible death penalty charges, the Army said on Friday.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a 40-year-old Army psychiatrist who U.S. officials linked to a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen, is charged in a shooting spree at Fort Hood that killed 13 people and wounded 32 others on November 5, 2009.
Colonel Morgan Lamb, a Fort Hood brigade commander, forwarded his non-binding recommendation to Lieutenant General Robert Cone, the Fort Hood commander who will have the final word on setting a possible court martial.

Cuban trial of U.S. aid contractor resumes

HAVANA (Reuters) – The trial of an American aid contractor facing up to 20 years in jail for his work in a U.S. program promoting political opposition in communist Cuba moved into a second day on Saturday with more testimony and possibly final arguments expected.
Security forces drive a car transporting U.S. aid contractor Allan Gross in Havana
Alan Gross, 61, was an active participant in his own case in the trial's first day on Friday, making what the Cuban government described as a "free declaration" and mounting what his U.S. attorney called a "vigorous defense."

Wisconsin layoffs loom amid budget impasse

MADISON, Wisconsin (Reuters) – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued layoff warning notices on Friday to unions representing state workers as a battle intensified between Republican and Democratic lawmakers over union bargaining rights that has sparked protests and a national debate.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald speaks to other Republican Senate members before the start of a Senate hearing in Madison, Wisconsin,
"If the Senate Democrats come back to Wisconsin, these notices may be able to be rescinded and layoffs avoided," Walker said in a statement. "This action is necessary due to the delay in passage of the budget repair bill."

Accused Arizona shooter Loughner newly charged

PHOENIX (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors on Friday unsealed an expanded 49-count indictment against Tucson shooting rampage suspect Jared Lee Loughner, setting in motion the formal process of deciding whether to seek the death penalty.
Tuscon shooting rampage suspect Jared Lee Loughner is pictured in this undated booking photograph
The latest indictment charges Loughner with first-degree murder of a federal employee in the deaths of a federal judge and an aid to U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, gravely wounded in the attack at a meet-and-greet event for her constituents.

ZAWIYAH/BIN JAWAD, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan government forces launched a second attack on the western town of Zawiyah on Saturday after rebels drove them out in a morning of fierce fighting, while in the east, opponents of Muammar Gaddafi pushed toward his home town.
A rebel fighter takes cover from shelling by soldiers loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during a battle near Ras Lanuf
"The fighting has intensified and the tanks are shelling everything on their way. They have shelled houses. Now they are shelling a mosque where hundreds of people are hiding, Abu Akeel, a Zawiyah resident, told Reuters. "We can't rescue anyone because the shelling is so heavy," he said.
Another resident in the main square told Reuters by telephone: "The attack has started. I see more than 20 tanks." Gunfire could be heard in the background.

Yemen President reiterates to stay in power until 2013

SANAA/ADEN (Reuters) – Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Saturday reiterated that he would remain in power until his term ends in 2013, rejecting an opposition plan for him to step aside this year.

Anti-government protesters rally to demand the ouster of Yemen's...Reuters

"The peaceful and smooth transition of power is not carried out through chaos but through the will of the people expressed through elections," an official source at the presidential office said in a statement.
The opposition on Friday said Saleh was sticking to an earlier plan to step down in 2013 but had agreed to a proposal by religious leaders to revamp elections, parliament and the judicial system.
Saleh, an ally of the United States in its battle against an al Qaeda wing based in his country, has struggled to cement a truce with Shi'ite rebels in the north and quell a budding secessionist rebellion in the south.
Protests have taken place across Yemen, a country of 23 million which borders the world's top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

Peek inside a $60 million dream home


High-End Real Estate Action

Tour the $60 million Miami mansion developers say Lebron James couldn't afford.

LET DOWN? Enraged cricket fans organised a protest rally

LET DOWN? Enraged cricket fans organised a protest rally at Dhaka University campus on Friday.

RAKIA team meets DCCI leaders

The Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) of the UAE will hold a meeting with the leaders of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) at its auditorium today (Saturday) to explore business and investment opportunities in Bangladesh, reports UNB.
RAKIA, a state organisation responsible for investment all over the world, is willing to establish business relationship with Bangladesh in different sectors.
In its recent investment analysis, RAKIA identified Bangladesh as one of the most valuable investment destinations.

How to look like a Sports Illustrated model

 By Laurel House

Spring is on the horizon and it’s time to shed that winter fat. So I asked Brooklyn Decker for a few of her body-fab food, fitness, and lifestyle tips. After all, according to the movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler,Brooklyn has the type of body that makes “normal girls” insecure about being in a bathing suit (something no woman ever wants to hear).

While her body is pretty much perfect, Brooklyn says that even she has a hard time when it comes to balancing life with exercise and healthy eating. “I, like most women, get caught up in my day-to-day life and job. Sometimes, I get so busy that I forget, or I lose my days and don't allow myself to fit a workout session in. I also go through phases where I become so strict that I go to the gym every day. My biggest struggle is just finding that balance and making my routine consistent. I want it to last a lifetime!” Here's how Brooklyn stays in shape and keeps her body trim.

8-year-old wrestler's incredible strength

Pint-Sized Pin Machine: 8-Year-Old Wrestling Champ

Someday, people will talk about the legend of Stevo Poulin.
Right now, the best we’ve got is a video on the web that puts the rest of us mere mortals to shame.
Poulin, an 8-year-old wrestler from Schuylerville, N.Y., is clearly good at three things: Being a bad little man, having a mean mohawk and throwing his opponents around like ragdolls on the mat.

This isn’t just a compilation of Poulin’s greatest accomplishments on the mat. Oh sure, they’re here, and plenty entertaining. But this is about presence, about a mission.