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Australia elections: No clear winner in Australia elections - latimes.com

Liberal Party members follow election results in Sydney.
 (Rick Stevens, Reuters / August 21, 2010)

After partial returns, the incumbent Labor Party holds 72 seats and the Liberal Party holds 73. A party needs 76 seats to take power, and coalition-building talks have begun.

Australia was almost certainly headed for a hung parliament after the closest election in decades Saturday, a staggering setback for the ruling Labor Party that could send the country's first female prime minister packing after only two months in office.
After weeks of hard campaigning, Julia Gillard ended up in a dead heat with opponent Tony Abbott of the conservative Liberal Party. Neither party won enough seats to achieve a 76-seat majority. The Liberals took 73 seats, Labor had 72 and three were undecided, according to the Australian Electoral Commission. The two parties will now compete to form a coalition government, wooing a clutch of independent lawmakers.
Gillard, a 48-year-old former lawyer who became the nation's first female prime minister after seizing power in an internal Labor Party coup, said she would remain in office as part of a caretaker government during the "anxious days ahead." If toppled, she will have had the shortest term of any Australian prime minister.
"Obviously this is too close to call," she told supporters Saturday in her hometown, Melbourne. "We will continue to fight to form a government in this country."
Abbott, 52, a former Roman Catholic seminarian, said he would immediately begin negotiations with independents to form a government. Although his socially conservative views alienate many women voters, supporters say Abbott can better empathize with Australian families.
It could be days before a result is known, although discussions over coalition-building with independents and Greens are likely to start soon.
Abbott said that one election result was clear: "The Labor Party has definitely lost its majority."
There was one obvious winner: the Greens, who picked up their first federal parliamentary seat. The Greens are also likely to hold the balance of power in the Senate.
Gillard's predecessor, Kevin Rudd, had a stunning drop in popularity after being elected in a landslide in 2007, rising to power on an Obama-like platform of social and political change, and giving his left-of-center party the reins of government after 11 frustrating years in opposition.
"He came in making a lot of promises … and delivered on few of them," Andrew Hughes, a political analyst at Canberra-based Australian National University, said at the time of Rudd's downfall. "In recent months, his message became confused to most voters."
Analysts said Australia's major foreign policy positions, including its deployment of 1,550 troops to Afghanistan, would not be affected by any election outcome because the sides hold similar views.
Bennett is a special correspondent.

Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant a small threat to Israel, for now - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Iran began operating the plant on Saturday; Facility under close supervision of the Russians and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Technicians measuring parts of busher nuclear power
in this undated photo

After a delay of more than five years, Iran has begun operating its Bushehr nuclear reactor, the heads of the Iranian and Russian atomic agencies announced on Saturday.
The 1,000-megawatt facility is designed to generate electricity, and experts and military officials in Israel, the United States and Western Europe say the prospect the reactor will be used in Iran's military nuclear program is extremely small.
The head of Iran's atomic energy agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, held a news conference at Bushehr on Saturday with the head of Russia's Rosatom state nuclear power company, Sergei Kiriyenko. Salehi said a symbol of Iran's peaceful use of nuclear technology had been launched despite pressure by Western countries.
The nuclear fuel rods at Bushehr, supplied by Russia, are enriched to less than 3.5 percent. The insertion of the rods in the past several days put the reactor online, but the start-up process will last several weeks and the plant will only be fully operational next month.
The facility is under the close supervision of the Russians and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Russian advisers will inspect the reactor regularly to verify that it is not being used for purposes that contradict the agreement between the two countries.
The agreement provides that the Iranians must return the spent fuel rods to Russia, letting the Russians verify that the rods are not being improperly used or transferred for use in Iran's clandestine military nuclear program.
On Saturday, the United States sent a calming message to Israel stating that the new reactor was designed for peaceful purposes for producing electricity and does not threaten Israel.
The Iranians have said they need additional nuclear reactors to produce electricity to meet the country's population growth and development rate, particularly in light of its declining reserves of oil and gas. Theoretically, however, the reactor has the potential to provide another source of fissionable material that could be used for nuclear weapons.
Currently the main concern about the country's nuclear weapons program is the enrichment activity at Natanz and perhaps at a secret unknown location.

July unemployment: D.C. rate falls to 9.8%; Md. and Va. stay around 7%

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 21, 2010

Unemployment dropped slightly in the District in July, while jobless rates in Maryland and Virginia held steady at well below the national average, according togovernment data released Friday.
Figures from the 48 other states, however, suggest that job growth has slowed, mirroring economic data showing that the recovery has stalled.
The unemployment rate in the District, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said dropped from 10 percent in June to 9.8 percent in July, remains above the national average of 9.5 percent. A year ago, the jobless rate in the District was 10.4 percent.
Unemployment rates last month remained at 7.1 percent in Maryland and 7 percent in Virginia, according to the data. Both numbers are largely unchanged from July of last year.
Overall, jobless rates in July fell in 18 states and the District, rose in 14 states and stayed the same in 18 states. Each month since May, unemployment rates dropped in more than 30 states; the July numbers indicate that employers have stopped hiring. Indeed, a recent spike in new weekly jobless claims filed nationally shows that employers are back to making layoffs because of the economy's uncertain future.
Still, some analysts remained positive.
Job market improvement "is slow, but it's still moving in the right direction," Steve Cochrane, an economist at Moody's Analytics, told the Associated Press.
July job growth was helped by some isolated events. For example, in Michigan, General Motors did not implement its usual summer assembly-line shutdown, kept producing new vehicles and avoided layoffs.
For the third straight month, Nevada had the nation's highest unemployment rate, at 14.3 percent; it was one of the "sand states" hit hardest by the housing crash. Michigan came in at No. 2 with 13.1 percent. And California, struggling with budget deficit problems, came in third with a rate of 12.3 percent.
North Dakota continued to be the most-employed state, with a jobless rate of 3.6 percent. South Dakota was second at 4.4 percent. The Dakotas' neighbor to the south, Nebraska, came in at 4.7 percent.Unemployment has been a stranger to parts of the Upper Plains during the economic downturn.

Harold Dow Broke Barriers, Landed Exclusives - Couric & Co. - CBS News

CBS' "48 Hours Mystery" Correspondent Peter Van Sant wrote this remembrance.
The world stood still Saturday morning when the CBS News family, and the "48 Hours Mystery" team learned of the passing of our beloved colleague Harold Dow. He was just 62 years old. I loved the guy. And to be honest, I still haven't wrapped my brain around the fact that he is gone.
Harold is a man who could have been just about anything in life. And I mean anything. He was incredibly funny, insightful, caring, tough when he needed to be, determined and as a colleague, a friend.
Those of you who have watched Harold's work at CBS News over the past four decades may wonder if the man you saw on the air was the same in real life. I can tell you yes. Harold was the kind of man who could make you feel in minutes like you'd known him for years. But he was far more than a dedicated professional. Harold was devoted to his wife and three children. He has pictures of them all over his office, which was our constant meeting place.
Harold was a pioneer in broadcast journalism. When he began his career in the early '70s, the idea of a black television news reporter was nearly unheard of. Harold became the first in the state of Nebraska, when KETV put this extraordinary talent on the air. Harold has told me of those early days. When he was first on the air, there were calls to the station asking, "What the hell is that [n-word] doing on your station?" But those kinds of people were in the minority.
Harold has spoken fondly of his time in Nebraska, where his skills as a broadcast journalist really took off. In 1977, after Harold had moved on to CBS News, I was hired at KETV. I met another African American pathfinder there in Ben Gray, who was the first black cameraman in Omaha and a good buddy of Harold's. Ben had such fond memories. Both were among the most courageous men I'd ever met. They overcame obstacles and prospered.
The first time I met Harold was in 1981, when I was a reporter at KOOL-TV in Phoenix. I was covering one of the biggest stories of the year for us, the return to Arizona of Jimmy Lopez, who had been one of the 52 American hostages held by Iran. I was at the airport as Lopez's jet taxied up to where a group of reporters and officials had gathered. The door to the jet opens, the ladder is lowered, and down comes a TV camera crew.
We were all waiting for Jimmy to emerge when this man with an afro pops out, pauses for a moment as if to say, "I own this story," and heads down the stairs. Someone in the crowd asked, "Who the hell is that guy!?!" "Harold Dow," someone answered. Harold was doing what he did best, kicking the hell out of the competition. He not only got the first interview with Jimmy, he had ridden with him in the airplane!
During his career at CBS News, Harold got some huge exclusives. And these weren't stories just handed to him, these were stories he got himself, "old school style."
When the entire world wanted to interview O.J. Simpson, it was Harold who got his butt in the chair. When boxer Mike Tyson's story was red hot, it was Harold who got the first major interview. And back in the olden days, when Patty Hearst, the daughter a newspaper and television mogul, was kidnapped by a terrorist organization -- and eventually joined the group -- it was Harold who got the biggest interview of the year, an exclusive with Patty that helped cement his career at CBS News.
At "48 Hours," Harold could do it all. His range left me in awe. Harold could talk to anyone from presidents to pimps, rock stars and accused murderers. He loved his work, loved every minute of chasing the bad guys. He was 62 going on 25. In the past year, his profile of civil rights hero Medgar Evers won a major award. I'm serious when I say it was one of the best stories I've seen in the last five years.
Life is cruel sometimes, and this is a cruel moment. Harold had recently "retired" although he was still going to do several hours for our show this season. I'd never seen him happier. I'm going to miss Harold's friendship, optimism, energy, humor and that big laugh that often announced he was in the office. We've lost a great one in Harold, whose career spanned from Cronkite to Couric.
God bless you Harold. And may God help your family find peace in the days ahead.

Facebook Places vs. Foursquare: Who Has the Business Edge? - PCWorld Business Center

What is your opinion to this situation????

Facebook's unveiling of Facebook Places is an obvious banshee cry to Foursquare and other location-based check-in services. As with those services, Facebook Places allows users to share their location and discover new hot spots by following the stops of people in their network.

While the folks at Facebook haven't confirmed how Facebook Places might eventually integrate withFacebook's business pages, this is undoubtedly in the works and once it happens the implications are obvious -- companies will have an easy opportunity to market and promote their services on the most popular and powerful social media platform.
That's not to say Foursquare should just take down its shingle. The service has excelled as a way for businesses small and large to build customer loyalty through its fostering of spirited competition among consumers through it's Mayor badge. But it's going to take more than a basic reward system of points, badges and coveted Mayorships to stay in the game. Foursquare is going to need to build more alliances with businesses the way it has with Starbucks, which has taken advantage of the service to drive customers with special discounts.
Also, Foursquare currently has a slight edge in its real-time stats feature that logs such information as the most recent customers, the frequency of their visits, gender breakdown and the tips visitors have left. (By contrast, Facebook Places currently only shows who has checked into a location.) A business - and its competitors -- could glean valuable intel from this data if Foursquare did more to make it visible.
Ultimately, however, no strategy will likely be enough to fend off obsolescence. Once Facebook Places incorporates enough Foursquare-like features -- and it will -- Foursquare users will start abandoning the service in droves to take advantage of the expansive network they've already built on Facebook and the ease of managing multiple services from one social networking platform. Then there are those folks who have never previously used a location-based check-in service who will undoubtedly get in the game through Facebook Places.
Companies, in turn, will be unable to resist the lure of the millions of embedded and engaged users Facebook offers - leverage Foursquare has no hope of competing with.
Until Facebook Places expands its feature set, Foursquare could remain the go-to location-based check-in service for many users, largely thanks to its integration with Facebook. But Foursquare's days are numbered. Savvy businesses will claim their Place on Facebook Places today, and never look back.

Google buys visual shopping engine Like.com | Reuters

Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:07pm EDT

Google has acquired Like.com, which offers a visual search engine for retail products, a deal aimed at boosting Google's shopping search capabilities and services like its Products engine.

The acquistion comes years after the first rumors emerged that Google was interested in buying Like.com, which was initially known as Riya when the company was founded in 2004.

Like.com CEO and co-founder Munjal Shah announced the deal on his company's home page on Friday. "We see joining Google as a way to supersize our vision and supercharge our passion," his note reads.

Using computer vision and machine learning technology, Like.com provides a visual search engine focused on shoes, clothes, jewelry and decor, according to the company.

"We've developed technology that lets us understand visually what terms like 'red high-heeled pumps' and 'floral patterned sleeveless dress' mean and created algorithms to understand whether those pumps complement or clash with that dress," reads a company description.

Like.com also owns Covet.com, described as a online personal shopper for fashion products, and virtual fashion studio Couturious.com.

Shah didn't mention any of the deal's financial details in his note.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Do this good or bad????

HP tablet confirmed for 2011 - CSMonitor.com

By Matthew Shaer / August 21, 2010
HP confirmed yesterday that it will release two tablet computers in coming months, one of which will run WebOS, the operating system currently found on the Palm line of smartphones. The other HP tablet device, aimed at enterprise users - and presumably bearing a much heftier price tag – would run Microsoft Windows 7. HP says the WebOS tablet will hit shelves next year, although the company did not specify an exact date for the Windows 7 tablet.
"You'll see us with a Microsoft product in the near future, and a WebOS-based product in early 2011," HP exec Todd Bradley said in a conference call yesterday, according to Information Week. This dual-platform strategy – two computers, one running Windows and one running WebOS – could make HP a force in the tablet market, which is widely expected to explode by the end of this year.
Already, HP competitor Dell has released the Streak, a tweener device that falls somewhere between smartphone and tablet. (Reviews have been tepid, to say the least.) Meanwhile, hardware manufacturer HTC is rumored to be under contract to make a line of tablet computers for Google. The Google tablet would reportedly run Chrome OS and hit stores on Black Friday.
The tablet game is currently dominated by the iPad, the wildly popular Apple computer. Apple has said that it sold 1 million iPad units within 28 days of launch – less than half the time it took to sell 1 million of the original iPhone handsets. In recent weeks, several blogs have begun reporting that Apple could release a pair of new iPads by the beginning of the 2011, including a 7-inch machine.
Apple has not commented on a new iPad line. But if the rumors are accurate, it would put pressure on other manufacturers to get their iPad-killers onto the market – post-haste.

Hot Potato officially lands in Facebook's lap | Digital Media - CNET News

Hot Potato, an online "check-in" service that lets users report their whereabouts and activities to friends, announced on Friday that it had been acquired by social-networking behemoth Facebook.
The deal, which has been talked about for several weeks, is the most recent development in Facebook's efforts to juice up the location-based aspect of its hugely popular service, which lets people connect with friends and family via the Web and share thoughts, links, photos, and more.
On Wednesday, Facebook unveiled Places, a feature that enables Facebook account holders to advertise their current location to friends, and lets users of check-in sites such as Foursquare post such location-based reports to those sites and to Facebook at the same time.
In its announcement, Hot Potato didn't give any financial details of the buyout. Figures tossed around during earlier, and ultimately fruitless, buyout talks between Facebook and Foursquare were in the neighborhood of $120 million to $140 million, but at this point it's anyone's guess as to whether such figures are apropos to the Hot Potato acquisition.
Hot Potato said it was no longer accepting new registrations for its service and that it would give current users some time to download the information they'd posted to Hot Potato, should they want to preserve it in some way. The service also said that in about a month, it would shut its doors and all user data would be deleted, and not automatically passed on to Facebook. The company said it would keep current users posted until then.
Location-based check-in services have been generating buzz for some time now, with services like Hot Potato putting a new spin on pioneer Foursquare's initial model, where friends share their neighborhood secrets, hotspots, and insider tips with one another. One service, GetGlue, encourages users to report on the books they're reading, movies they're watching, and music they're listening to. Last month, GetGlue announced a partnership with HBO whereby GetGlue would reward consumers of HBO media products by enabling them to collect HBO-themed "stickers" for their devices (a gimmick presumably modeled on Foursquare's similar "badges" program). Foursquare says its users can get discounts at establishments they frequently visit--and just as frequently tout to friends.

British singer Charles Haddon apparently commits suicide at rock festival | EW.com

Categories: In Memoriam, News
Charles Haddon, frontman of the British elecro-pop band Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, apparently killed himself on Friday at Belgium’s Pukkelpop Festival by leaping from a telecommunications mast, according to the Associated Press. The singer was 22. District attorney Marc Rubens said the police are treating Haddon’s death as a suicide.
A message has been posted on the Pukkelpop official blog which confirms that, “After performing with his band ‘Ou est le swimming pool’, singer Charles Haddon decided to take his own life. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”
According to the NME, earlier today La Roux singer Elly Jackson dedicated the band’s set at Britain’s V Festival to Haddon. Ou Est Le Swimming Pool played shows with La Roux last year.
Haddon’s death is the second apparent suicide at a rock show this week. During the Swell Season’s concert in Saratoga on Thursday, a man died when he jumped from a roof and fell approximately three stories to the stage.

News - Heidi Montag "Crying" Over Sex Tape Scandal - Celebrity News - UsMagazine.com

Heidi Montag may not want to be a porn star.
After her estranged husband Spencer Pratt toldUsMagazine.com Friday that he's peddling an alleged sex tape with her as its star, she simply Tweeted, "Crying."
Montag, 23, then pleaded to her followers: "Please send me your prayers and love I need it!"
The Hills star added that her sad night was improving a bit, thanks to some entertaining Bravo stars.
"The new Real Housewives of New Jersey just made my night," she Tweeted, and then thanked various followers for their support.
"Thank you for all your prayers I feel it working... it's been a long day thank you all for your loving thoughts and words I love you."
Although Montag didn't release any other statements about the scandal, her pal Jennifer Bunney told Radaronline, "she would never put out a sex tape of herself. She's extremely religious and concentrated on getting her life to where she wants it to be."
"I've been making films since I was in the 7th grade," Pratt told Us Friday of the supposed flick. "I'm looking forward to people seeing my directorial debut!" Steve Hirsch of porn company Vivid Entertainment confirmed to TMZ that he and Pratt were in "early negotiations" to make a deal on the film.
After 15 months of marriage, Montag filed for divorce from Pratt, 26, last month; their divorce is expected to be finalized on Valentine's Day 2011.

Celebrity salon owner under house arrest after scamming A list celebs credit cards - Hartford Pop Culture | Examiner.com

Maria Gabriela Perez is under house arrest after scamming A-list celebs like, Jennifer Aniston, Liv Tyler, and Melanie Griffith out of more than a quarter of a million dollars using their credit card numbers.
The famous women all frequented the salon in which Perez is the owner, according to Us Magazine . She is accused of using the credit card numbers of the celebs to make purchases for herself.
Perez, who has a criminal record for shoplifting and writing bad checks is now under house arrest while she is out on bail. She was released on $50,000 bond, according to the Toronto Sun.
Perez, 51, scammed $214,000 from Liv Tyler alone in just over a five month period. Jennifer Aniston said her damage was "not to the extent of the other girls", according to Us, and Aniston was not at all surprised to hear that Perez was caught doing this.
Apparently Aniston stopped going to Perez's salon after an incident that occurred with the owner. Aniston said that she "had a situation with Perez that was not cool".
Connecticut's Office of the Attorney General recently released information about consumer fraud with credit cards. This isn't just a problem in Hollywood, this type of scam is popular and on the rise everywhere.