Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bank of America Announces 2009 Net Income of $6.3 Billion

20 Jan 2010 13:00 Africa/Lagos

Bank of America Announces 2009 Net Income of $6.3 Billion

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- -- Net Loss of $194 Million in Fourth Quarter

-- One-Time $4 Billion TARP Repayment Cost Impacts Income Applicable to
Common Shareholders

-- Strong Annual Sales and Trading Results

-- Extends $177 Billion in Credit in the Fourth Quarter and $756 Billion
in 2009

Bank of America Corporation today reported full-year 2009 net income of $6.3 billion, compared with net income of $4.0 billion in 2008. Including preferred stock dividends and the negative impact from the repayment of the U.S. government's $45 billion preferred stock investment in the company under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), income applicable to common shareholders was a net loss of $2.2 billion, or $0.29 per diluted share.

(Logo: )

Those results compared with 2008 net income applicable to common shareholders of $2.6 billion, or $0.54 per diluted share.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, the company's net loss narrowed to $194 million from a loss of $1.8 billion a year earlier. Including dividends on preferred stock and the one-time $4.0 billion negative impact associated with repaying TARP, income applicable to common shareholders in the period was a net loss of $5.2 billion, or $0.60 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $2.4 billion, or $0.48 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

Results in the fourth quarter reflected continued elevated credit costs, although lower than in the third quarter of 2009. While net interest income declined from the year-ago quarter as a result of lower asset liability management portfolio levels and reduced loan demand, noninterest income was up sharply due to an improvement in trading and significantly higher income from investment and brokerage services, equity investments and investment banking.

"While it's disappointing to report a loss for the fourth quarter, there were a number of important accomplishments worth noting," said Chief Executive Officer and President Brian T. Moynihan. "First, we repaid the American taxpayer, with interest, for the TARP investment. Second, we have taken steps to strengthen our balance sheet through successful securities offerings. And third, all of our non-credit businesses recorded positive contributions to our results.

"As we look at 2010, we are encouraged by signs the economy is improving, as we have seen in the stabilization of our credit costs, particularly in the consumer businesses. That said, economic conditions remain fragile and we expect high unemployment levels to continue, creating an ongoing drag on consumer spending and growth."

Full-Year and Fourth-Quarter 2009 Business Highlights

-- During the quarter, Bank of America funded $86.6 billion in first
mortgages, helping more than 400,000 people either purchase homes or
refinance their existing mortgages. This funding included $22.9
billion in mortgages made to 151,000 low- and moderate-income
borrowers. Approximately 42 percent of first mortgages were for home

-- In 2009, Bank of America has provided home ownership retention
opportunities to approximately 460,000 customers. This includes
260,000 loan modifications with total unpaid principal balances of
approximately $55 billion and approximately 200,000 customers who were
in trial-period modifications under the government's Making Home
Affordable program at December 31.

-- Bank of America Home Loans expanded its home retention staff to more
than 15,000 to help customers experiencing difficulty with their home
loans. This represents more than double the size of the team since
Bank of America acquired Countrywide.

-- In 2009, Bank of America extended $756 billion in credit, including
commercial renewals of $208 billion, according to preliminary data.
New credit included $378 billion in first mortgages, $282 billion in
commercial non-real estate, $39 billion in commercial real estate, $18
billion in domestic consumer and small business card, $13 billion in
home equity products and nearly $26 billion in other consumer credit.

-- In 2009, Small Business Lending extended more than $14 billion in
credit comprised of $12 billion in Business Banking and $2 billion to
more than 146,000 Small Business Banking businesses. Bank of America
recently announced an initiative to increase lending to small- and
medium-sized businesses in 2010 by at least $5 billion from 2009

-- Average retail deposits during the quarter increased $89.9 billion, or
15 percent, from a year earlier. Excluding the initial impact of the
Merrill Lynch acquisition and the expected decline in higher-yielding
Countrywide deposits, average retail deposits experienced strong
organic growth of $29.1 billion as momentum in the affluent and mass
affluent customer base continued.

-- Bank of America introduced the Clarity Commitment(TM) for home
mortgages, home refinancing and credit cards. The Clarity Commitment
is a simple, easy-to-read and understand, one-page summary for
customers that includes important information on payments, interest
rates and fees. Bank of America began presenting these improved
materials to more than 40 million of its customers in 2009.

-- The integration of Merrill Lynch remained on track with cost savings
surpassing original estimates for the first year.

-- Bank of America Merrill Lynch ranked No. 2 in global and U.S.
investment banking fees, according to Dealogic 2009 league tables.

-- In Global Wealth and Investment Management, the financial advisor
network of more than 15,000 was up slightly from the third quarter as
the retention rate stood at the highest level in recent years and the
company increased hiring, training and development of new advisors.

-- Bank of America agreed to sell the long-term asset management business
of Columbia Management to Ameriprise Financial, Inc. The company also
agreed to sell First Republic Bank to a number of investors, including
investment funds managed by Colony Capital, LLC and General Atlantic
LLC, led by First Republic's existing management. Both sales are
expected to close in the second quarter of 2010.

-- Bank of America repaid the $45 billion of the U.S. taxpayers'
preferred stock investment in the company as part of TARP. Repayment
followed the successful completion of a securities offering. In 2009,
Bank of America raised a total of $57 billion in additional Tier 1
common capital through various measures, further strengthening its
liquidity and capital position.

Fourth-Quarter 2009 Financial Summary

Revenue and Expense

Revenue net of interest expense on a fully taxable-equivalent basis rose 59 percent to $25.4 billion from $16.0 billion a year ago, reflecting in part the addition of Merrill Lynch.

Net interest income on a fully taxable-equivalent basis declined 11 percent to $11.9 billion, compared with $13.4 billion a year earlier. The decrease was a result of lower asset liability management portfolio levels, reduced loan levels and the unfavorable impact of higher nonperforming loans. This was partially offset by the addition of Merrill Lynch. The net interest yield narrowed 69 basis points to 2.62 percent.

Noninterest income rose to $13.5 billion from $2.6 billion a year earlier. Higher trading account profits, investment and brokerage services fees and investment banking income reflected the addition of Merrill Lynch and significantly lower market disruption losses. The current quarter also included a $1.1 billion gain on the company's investment in BlackRock as a result of its purchase of Barclay's asset management business. These increases were partially offset by $1.6 billion in losses mostly related to mark-to-market adjustments on the Merrill Lynch structured notes, as the company's credit spreads improved during the quarter. Card income declined $1.3 billion mainly due to higher credit losses on securitized credit card loans and lower fee income.

Noninterest expense increased to $16.4 billion from $10.9 billion a year earlier. Personnel costs and other general operating expenses rose, driven in part by the Merrill Lynch acquisition. Pretax merger and restructuring charges rose to $533 million from $306 million a year earlier.

The efficiency ratio on a fully taxable-equivalent basis was 64.47 percent, compared with 68.51 percent a year earlier.

Pretax, pre-provision income on a fully taxable-equivalent basis was $9.0 billion compared with $5.0 billion a year earlier. The company had a tax benefit of $1.2 billion in the quarter compared with a benefit of $2.0 billion the same period last year.

Credit Quality

Credit quality showed signs of improvement in most portfolios compared with the prior quarter, although credit costs remained high as global economic conditions remained challenging. Rising unemployment and underemployment kept consumers under stress and individuals spent longer periods without work. Losses, however, declined in most consumer portfolios from the prior quarter.

The impact of the weak economy on the commercial portfolios moderated somewhat with criticized loans decreasing and the growth of nonperforming loans slowing. Losses in the homebuilder portfolio dropped from the prior quarter and losses in the commercial domestic portfolio declined across a broad range of borrowers and industries.

Net charge-offs were $1.2 billion lower than the prior quarter, driven by improvements across most consumer portfolios. Net charge-offs declined from the previous quarter for the first time in nearly four years. Nonperforming assets were $35.7 billion, compared with $33.8 billion at September 30, 2009, reflecting a slower rate of increase than in recent quarters.

The provision for credit losses was $10.1 billion, $1.6 billion lower than the third quarter and $1.6 billion higher than the same period a year earlier. The $1.7 billion addition to the reserve for credit losses was lower than the third quarter, driven by lower additions on the purchased impaired consumer portfolios obtained through acquisitions and improved delinquencies in certain consumer and small business portfolios. These decreases were partially offset by additions to increase reserve coverage on the consumer credit card portfolio. The 2008 coverage ratios and amounts shown in the following table do not include Merrill Lynch, which was acquired on January 1, 2009


Hot Topics
BNY Mellon Reports Fourth Quarter Continuing EPS of $0.59 or $712 Million; Net Benefit of $0.04 Due To:
New Report Shows Alternatives to Prison and Jail for Nonserious Offenses Could Result in Cost Savings for the US of Almost $10 Billion
TripAdvisor Honors World's Top Hotels With 2010 Travelers' Choice Awards
T. Rowe Price Completes Acquisition of Stake in UTI Asset Management Company
The Recovery of 2010: How a rise in drilling across the U.S. will hamper the Haynesville
NSBA 2009 Year-End Economic Report: Small Businesses Still Struggling
Earthquake in Haiti

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To Commemorate Barack Obama's First Year in Office, Hollywood's Stun Creative Launches 'Obamourage';

Obamourage: Ep. 2 'Ratings War'

Animated Web Series 'Obamourage' Launched by Hollywood's Stun Creative. (PRNewsFoto/Stun Creative) HOLLYWOOD, CA UNITED STATES

19 Jan 2010 17:29 Africa/Lagos

To Commemorate Barack Obama's First Year in Office, Hollywood's Stun Creative Launches 'Obamourage';

New, Animated Online Comedy Series 'Takes the Gloves Off,' with a Unique Take on President Obama and His Inner Circle

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- As President Obama's first year in office comes to a close, Americans who are facing double-digit unemployment, a three trillion dollar deficit, and an uncertain future on healthcare, are asking, "How did we get here?" Brad Roth and Mark Feldstein, the founders of Hollywood-based Stun Creative (an award winning marketing agency), think they have the answer. Their new, animated, comedic web series Obamourage, follows the day-to-day life of President Obama and his cabinet -- Rahm, Joe, Hillary, and Bo, the dog - as they all roll, "Obama-style."


Please see:

To coincide with the anniversary of President Obama's first year in office (January 20th), initial episodes of the web series Obamourage will premiere this week on Comedy Central's (more episodes coming soon). These webisodes represent a pop culture mash-up of the latest mishaps and misfires from both the worlds of politics and entertainment, and also take an irreverent look at the most powerful office on Earth.

"We're not anti-Obama or anti-Democrat. We're simply 'pro-comedy," says Feldstein. He adds, "Our goal with the creation of Obamourage was to both highlight the serious issues that people are talking about today, as well to just get 'em to laugh, if even only for a quick minute."

Obamourage portrays President Obama as the "King of Cool," who is more concerned about with his Nielson Ratings than his approval ratings. "We take the popular perception of the personality of each individual member of Obama's inner circle, and exaggerate it, if ever so slightly," says Roth. In the series, Rahm Emanuel (with the Secret Service code-name RAHMBO), is portrayed as Obama's highly combative Chief of Staff - a man who wears a bandoleer and totes an AK-47. Hillary Clinton-- sex obsessed and power hungry -- is still bitter about the fact that she's not the President, while V.P. Joe Biden's most important jobs are ordering lunch for everyone, and serving as President Obama's official "food taster." "Bo," the President's flamboyant, Portuguese water dog (who doesn't realize he's gay), rounds out the Obamourage cast.

"After George W. Bush, it was hard to imagine another Commander-in-Chief who would so freely lend himself to parody," Roth adds. "Fortunately, once the dust settled on 'Obama-mania,' there was no shortage of opportunities for guys like us who make a living with comedy, to have some fun. Thank you, Joe Biden."

The storylines and references featured within each webisode of Obamourage will not be limited to activities emanating solely from the Oval Office. "Since, in modern society, the line between entertainment and politics has become blurred more than ever, we can depict Tiger Woods crashing his Escalade into the Oval Office, or portray Rahm Emanuel as a Na'vi warrior from the movie, 'Avatar,'" Feldstein says. "And since our series is animated, we can create just about any scenario we can dream up, no matter how ridiculous or unrealistic," he adds.

The ultimate goal for Roth and Feldstein is to have a television network turn Obamourage into the next "Family Guy." "We realize that bringing our show to TV is probably a long shot," concludes Roth. "So, at this point, we'd simply settle for being removed from the FBI's 'Watch List.'"


Launched in 2000 by co-presidents Mark Feldstein and Brad Roth, Stun Creative is an award winning, Los Angeles-based advertising agency and production company that specializes in writing, directing and producing spots and campaigns for cable and broadcast networks as well as the major studios. Stun's clients include TBS, TNT, FX, Bravo, ABC, E!, Discovery Channel, Sundance Channel, and 20th Television, to name a few.

In 2008, Feldstein and Roth created "The Writer's Room," a comedic web series for Sony Pictures Television that ran on

Stun Creative is located at 5757 Wilshire Blvd, Suite # 600, LA, CA, 90036. The phone is 323/460-4035 and the web is

Media Contact for Stun Creative:
Dan Harary
Asbury Communications PR
Beverly Hills, CA

AP Archive:
AP PhotoExpress Network: PRN1
PRN Photo Desk,
Source: Stun Creative

CONTACT: Dan Harary of Asbury Communications PR, Beverly Hills, CA,
+1-310-859-1831,, for Stun Creative

Web Site:

Hot Topics
Earthquake in Haiti
Kraft and Cadbury Announce Merger
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis to announce $190 million in green jobs training grants on Wednesday, Jan. 20
Delta and SkyTeam Issue Statement of Support for Japan Airlines
BofA Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey Finds Risk Appetite at Four-Year High as Investors Embrace Equities
Mystery Writers of America Announces 2010 Edgar Award Nominees
TD Bank Small Business Survey Reveals Optimism Despite Negative Impact of U.S. Recession
Weight Watchers Sues Jenny Craig Over Deceptive Advertising
National 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Remains Below 5.00% for Second Straight Week

Releases displayed in Africa/Lagos time
19 Jan 2010
El Primer Ministro de Malasia recibe el mayor reconocimiento de Arabia Saudí por el rey saudí Abdullah
To Commemorate Barack Obama's First Year in Office, Hollywood's Stun Creative Launches 'Obamourage';
Malaysian Prime Minister Receives Saudi Arabia's Highest Award by Saudi King Abdullah
18 Jan 2010
American Red Cross Provides First Aid, Supplies in Croix Deprez
Singles Open to Interracial Relationships Because of President Obama: Poll
15 Jan 2010
Physicians' Coalition Asks Federal Court to Block Obama Healthcare: Doctors Claim Bill Would End 'Practice of Medicine as We Have Known It,' Assert President's Actions Are Unconstitutional
Transcript of Pelosi, House Democratic Leaders' Press Availability This Evening at Democratic Issues Conference
Pelosi Remarks Introducing President Obama at Democratic Issues Conference
Arkansas Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Commit Murders of African-Americans
14 Jan 2010
TV One Political Editor Roland Martin Sits Down With the President for 'Living The Dream: An Interview With President Barack Obama,' a Martin Luther King Holiday Special Jan. 18 At 8 PM ET
Salmonella Victims Press Lawmakers to Keep Promise of Reform
13 Jan 2010
Practice Fusion Launches Free e-Prescribing
Confronting AIDS Pandemic Obama's Newest Dilemma as White House Strategy Imminent Say Ed Koch, Robert Weiner, Jordan Osserman
12 Jan 2010
National Research Firm Introduces Idol Democracy to American Idol Competition
MidSouth Bank's Cloutier Testifying Before Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission on Causes of Financial Disaster
Amachi Pittsburgh Calls for Volunteers to Participate in National Day of Service to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

America and other Nations Rush to Help Haiti after Earthquake

Photo Credit: Finantial Times Media

America and other nations are rushing in response to the humananitarian crisis in Haiti after the Tuesday devastating earthquake that left hundreds dead and thousands rendered homeless in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

President Barack Obama of the United States said his government is already sending emergency relief supplies of foodsuffs, water and medical aid to assist Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

"This is also a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share, and Americans have always responded to these situations with generosity of spirit. If you would like to support the urgent humanitarian effort in Haiti, I encourage you to visit our website where you can learn more about how to contribute," President Obama said.

He told Americans who want to locate members of their family in Haiti to call the State Department at (888) 407-4747.

For more details and how to help, see Haiti Earthquake and read the following reports.

All photographs are from the copyright owners.

14 Jan 2010 01:03 Africa/Lagos Time

United Nations Foundation Founder and Chairman Ted Turner Statement on the Earthquake and Relief Efforts in Haiti

Commits $1 million and Appeals for Support of UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ted Turner today issued the following statement in response to the January 12 earthquake in Haiti:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti last night. We offer condolences to the families of those Haitians, UN peacekeepers and other international staff who have suffered tremendous losses. We are particularly concerned by reports that UN staff including Hedi Annabi, Head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, are missing following the collapse of the UN headquarters building. The men and women of the United Nations work on the global frontlines, putting their lives at risk to help address the world's most pressing problems. Many of them have paid an enormous price today.

"We are committing $1 million today to address the most urgent humanitarian and re-construction needs in Haiti. The United Nations Foundation is calling on its partners and friends to add their support by contributing to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which is the UN's humanitarian fund responding to emergencies like the earthquake in Haiti. Donations can be made on-line at

"We note UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's statement that UN agencies are deploying to provide humanitarian assistance in close coordination with all parties on the ground. Such quick action, and the release of $10 million from CERF, is vital in preventing even further loss of life. We are grateful for the close coordination of the U.S. Government and other partners to ensure that timely, effective assistance gets to those that need it most.

"We are closely following reports about the devastation to facilities of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). This ongoing peacekeeping effort, comprised of over 9000 international forces, has been in place since the mid-1990s to enhance stability in the country. The UN is working side-by-side with Haitians to provide important security sector reforms, offer election monitoring and police training. UN peacekeepers now face the difficult transition to aid in the search, rescue and recovery efforts in the country, while confronting major personal losses of friends and colleagues.

"The UN Foundation and Vodafone Foundation are also supporting the immediate deployment of two emergency response teams who will work to rebuild the communications infrastructure crippled by the earthquake. These teams, from the World Food Programme and the UN partner Telecoms Sans Frontieres, are deploying to provide emergency communications systems that will enable relief workers to coordinate the delivery of life-saving aid and supplies."

About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner's historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. We build and implement public/private partnerships to address the world's most pressing problems, and work to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through our campaigns and partnerships, we connect people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns we conduct reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. For more information, visit

Source: United Nations Foundation

CONTACT: Aaron Sherinian of the United Nations Foundation,
+1-202-778-1622, +1-202-403-9525

Web Site:

Hot Topics
Earthquake in Haiti
PR Newswire Waives Distribution Fees for Haiti Earthquake Related News Releases
Air Transport Association Reports Third Consecutive Quarter of Airline Cost Declines
Pelosi Statement on Google Announcement on China
AVIATION WEEK's 'Defense 2010' Special Report Reviews Global Conflicts, Programs and Technologies
CEO Confidence Improves, The Conference Board Reports
OAG Reports Global Airline Capacity Positive Growth for the Fifth Consecutive Month in January 2010
Investor Demand for Real Returns and Inflation Protection Expected to Bolster Commodity Prices Further in 2010

Earthquake in Haiti
Releases displayed in Africa/Lagos time
13 Jan 2010
Plan Disaster Teams on the Ground in Haiti
PROFNET EXPERT ALERTS: Haiti Earthquake / Product Recalls / Online Education
International Union Responds to Tragedy in Haiti
Rebuilding of Haiti Offers Opportunity for All Developing Nations
American Red Cross Pledges Initial $1 Million to Haiti Relief
GM Foundation Donates $100K to Haiti Relief Effort
AT&T Supports Text-Messaging Donations to Aid Haiti Quake Victims
PR Newswire Waives Distribution Fees for Haiti Earthquake Related News Releases
MEDIA ADVISORY/ Updated Information on Haiti earthquake crisis available at
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Haiti, Lutheran World Relief Responding
Chicago Service Organization Deeply Concerned for Employees and Clients in Haiti
Haiti Earthquake - Statement By the Dominican Republic (DR) Ministry of Tourism
Friends of the Orphans and Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos International Assessing Haiti Earthquake Situation and Requesting Monetary Donations to Assist Rescue Efforts of First Responders
Support Haiti Earthquake Relief Through Mobile Giving
CHF International Responds to Earthquake in Haiti
AmeriCares Sending $3 Million in Medical Aid to Haiti
TD Donates $100,000 to the Red Cross in support of earthquake relief in Haiti
Statement from The U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO & Executive Director Tom Cochran on the Earthquake in Haiti
AJC Partners with IsraAID in Haiti Humanitarian Relief Effort
Habitat for Humanity Will Address Housing Needs in Haiti After Major Earthquake
UNICEF Appealing for Funding to Help Haiti Recovery
Largest RN Union Issues Urgent Call for Nurse Volunteers to Assist Earthquake Ravaged Haiti
Haiti Quake: World Vision Anticipates Massive Needs and Difficult Response
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Pledge Their Support to Help the Victims of the Haiti Earthquake
CIDI Urges Appropriate Response to Haiti Earthquake
Haiti Earthquake Appeal Issued by PADF
USAID Responds Immediately to Haiti Earthquake
American Jewish World Service to Assist Victims of the Haiti Earthquake
On Call International Opens Haiti Earthquake Emergency Hotline
UNICEF Urgently Appeals for Aid to Haiti Following Devastating Earthquake

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Avatar: James Cameron’s Unapologetic Indictment of Western Imperialism

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

"Avatar is also an emotional journey of redemption and revolution. It is the story of a wounded former Marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in biodiversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival," and "We're creating an entire world, a complete ecosystem of phantasmagorical plants and creatures, and a native people with a rich culture and language."

~ From 2007 Press Release from the Producers.

The most ambitious director in Hollywood, James Cameron's Avatar has become the second highest grossing box office hit in history after his first groundbreaking box office mega movie, Titanic.

James Cameron’s filmography is enough to justify the fantastic cinematography of his mesmerizing movies and his latest mega movie Avatar adds more aura to his genius. Avatar is more profound than Titanic in concept and depth, because of the messianic mission of the reformation of the earth and the transformation of humankind. So, in vision should not be compared to the historical fiction of the romantic Titanic. Avatar is a universal film on a rescue mission to save the earth.

There is a Jake Sully in everyone with the head in the clouds in romantic escapism as Jake was enraptured in the Na’vi utopian planet of Pandora. But as we know in Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman who cazrried a jar “that, when opened by her, unleashed many terrible things on mankind – ills, toils and sickness – and hope”, and that hope would be the magic of the exotic love of Jake and Neytiri, the hero and heroine of Avatar. And millions of Americans and geeks of 3-D movies are going over the moon for Avatar.

Who wouldn’t love a paraplegic Marine reminding us of a war hero who might have been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan?

The journey of the romantic fantasy of Avatar did not start when Cameron began the production, but in 1994 when his genius gave him the idea of a fantastic science fiction epic. The characterization looks like something taken from Marvel Comics. Something that Stan Lee would have written.

The first impression of Avatar is the proverbial triumph of good over evil, but analytically Avatar is James Cameron’s unapologetic denunciation and indictment of Western imperialism and endorsement of biodiversity.

The feline blue-skinned species of humanoids called Na’vi could be the personification of the primitive native tribes of the world whose continents were colonized by imperialist kingdoms of the West. The apparent echoes of imperialism and biodiversity have resonated at every screening of the film all over the world and propelled the epic fantasy to record breaking success as the fastest film to make $1 billion in box office receipts after it was released theatrically worldwide from December 16–18.

The sci-fi epic is Sam Worthington’s wildest dream wish coming true as Oprah Winfrey would have loved to call it and Zoë Saldana was fine as Neytiri, the female Na’vi. But the best acting in Avatar was done by Stephen Lang whose role as Col. Miles Quaritch is unforgettable.

The credit for the success of Avatar should go to the director and the multiple Academy Award winning special visual effects company Weta Digital for the awesome digital visual effects that took the movie to greater heights in cinematography. Weta Digital is famous for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy..

The New York Times reported that President Barack Obama and his family saw Avatar in IMAX 3-D and this is the best format to see the film.

According to Avatar Movie Zone, watch out for the sequels, because Cameron said, "I have a trilogy-scaled arc of story right now, but I haven't really put any serious work into writing a script." So, James Cameron's fantasy still continues.


Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, the Publisher/Editor of Nigerians Report is also a TV/Film producer and prolific writer for local and international publications on movies and music and other subjects. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

About Avatar:

AVATAR takes us to a spectacular world beyond imagination, where a reluctant hero embarks on an epic adventure, ultimately fighting to save the alien world he has learned to call home. James Cameron, the Oscar-winning director of “Titanic,” first conceived the film 15 years ago, when the means to realize his vision did not exist yet. Now, after four years of production, AVATAR, a live action film with a new generation of special effects, delivers a fully immersive cinematic experience of a new kind, where the revolutionary technology invented to make the film disappears into the emotion of the characters and the sweep of the story.

More Details

Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore
Director: James Cameron
Genres: Sci-Fi Action, Science Fiction
Avatar Features and Exclusives

Watch our exclusive interviews with the cast!
Director James Cameron and Sam Worthington talk about what it was like on the set of 'Avatar!'Watch Exclusive Cast Interviews!

Enter to win an 'Avatar' poster, T-shirt and more!
Grand prize of an 'Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experince' poster, T-shirt, 2 books and a Mattel toy!Enter Here
See Avatar in IMAX 3D or Digital 3D!
Check out our 'Movie Aliens: From E.T. to Avatar' photo gallery!
Watch our exclusive interview with Sigourney Weaver!

Avatar Trailers and Clips
Avatar: Trailer 2
Trailer: Avatar - Trailer (3:37)
Interview: Exclusive: Avatar - London Premiere (2:16)

More Videos:
Interview: Exclusive: Avatar - Cast Interviews
Scene: Avatar - James Cameron's Vision Featurette
Interview: Exclusive: James Cameron interview at Comic-Con '09
Interview: Exclusive: Sigourney Weaver interview at Comic-Con '09
Interview: Exclusive: Stephen Lang interview at Comic-Con '09

All-time worldwide box office

# Film title

1. Titanic (1997)
2. Avatar (2009)
3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
5. The Dark Knight (2008)
6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
7. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
10. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)


All-time box office -

# Film title

1. Gone With the Wind, 1939
2. Star Wars, 1977
3. The Sound of Music, 1965
4. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, 1982
5. The Ten Commandments, 1956
6. Titanic, 1997
7. Jaws, 1975
8. Doctor Zhivago,
9. The Exorcist, 1973
10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937


Friday, January 8, 2010

Clinton Swears in New USAID Administrator. Calls Raj Shah

Clinton swears in new USAID Administrator. Calls Raj Shah a “transformation leader” who will rebuild the premier development agency in the world.

Two Individuals Charged With Murder and Other Offenses Related to Shooting Death of Two Afghan Nationals in Kabul, Afghanistan

7 Jan 2010 21:39 Africa/Lagos

Two Individuals Charged With Murder and Other Offenses Related to Shooting Death of Two Afghan Nationals in Kabul, Afghanistan

Third Afghan National Wounded in Shooting that Led to Charges

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Justin Cannon, 27, of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Christopher Drotleff, 29, of Virginia Beach, Va., have been charged with crimes including second-degree murder, attempted murder and firearms offenses while working as contractors for the U.S. Department of Defense in Afghanistan, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia and John Perren, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office announced today. Cannon and Drotleff were charged under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA).

The 13-count indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia on Jan. 6, 2010, and unsealed today, alleges that on May 5, 2009, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Cannon and Drotleff shot and killed two Afghanistan nationals and wounded a third. The indictment alleges that at the time of the shootings, Cannon and Drotleff were Department of Defense contractors employed by Paravant LLC, which is a subsidiary of Xe (formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide). According to the indictment, as contractors, Cannon and Drotleff provided training to the Afghan National Army for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the use and maintenance of weapons and weapons systems.

Cannon was arrested today in Corpus Christi by FBI agents. Drotleff was also arrested today by FBI agents in Virginia Beach. Cannon and Drotleff were each charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of attempted murder, six counts of using and discharging a firearm during a violent crime, and four counts of murder resulting from the use of a firearm during a violent crime. If convicted, the maximum penalty faced by Cannon and Drotleff is life in prison or the death penalty.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy C. Stoker and Alan M. Salsbury from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia - Norfolk Division as well as Trial Attorney Robert McGovern of the Criminal Division's Domestic Security Section. The case is being investigated by the FBI.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

CONTACT: U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs,
+1-202-514-2007, TDD, +1-202-514-1888

Web Site:

Landmark Lawsuit Against United States for Sexual Assault of Native American Teen Settled

7 Jan 2010 21:13 Africa/Lagos

Landmark Lawsuit Against United States for Sexual Assault of Native American Teen Settled

RAPID CITY, S.D., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Adam Horowitz, an attorney with Mermelstein & Horowitz, P.A., announced today that a settlement of $650,000 was reached in a landmark case filed against the United States government. The U.S. government appealed a federal court order to pay nearly $600,000 to Lavetta Elk, an Oglala Sioux teenager sexually assaulted by her military recruiter in early 2003. (Elk v. United States, Court of Federal Claims, Case No. 05-186L)

Sgt. Joseph Kopf, a U.S. military recruiter, sexually assaulted Elk, a 19-year-old Oglala Sioux woman, on a remote part of the Pine Ridge reservation. Prior to the assault, Sgt. Kopf had been working with Lavetta to assist her in achieving her lifelong dream of joining the U.S. Army.

Elk's attorneys brought suit in the Court of Federal Claims on her behalf pursuant to the seldom-used "Bad Man" clause of the Treaty of April 29, 1868 between the United States and the Sioux Tribe, which provides:

"If bad men among the whites. . . shall commit any wrong upon the person or property of the Indians, the United States will...reimburse the injured person for the loss sustained."

In a landmark decision entered on April 29, 2009, Judge Allegra of the Court of Federal Claims ruled for the first time that a Native American may rely on the Treaty to recover "pain and suffering" damages against the United States. The Treaty had never before been used to recover mental, emotional, or physical damages; it had only been used to reimburse for property losses.

The ruling was appealed by the United States to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The parties settled before the case was heard by the appellate court.

Miami-based attorney Adam Horowitz said, "Lavetta Elk is a courageous individual. She had the strength to take this case to trial against tremendous odds and adversity. This settlement is a victory for all Native Americans. It leaves intact the Court's ruling that a Native American may recover pain and suffering damages from the United States after being injured by a government employee. This landmark ruling establishes legal rights for Native Americans never before recognized by any U.S. Court."


Source: Mermelstein & Horowitz, P.A.

CONTACT: Adam Horowitz of Mermelstein & Horowitz, P.A., +1-305-931-2200

Web Site:

President Barack Obama Says al-Qaeda Wants To Destroy the US

In a strategic review of the US security system after the botched Christmas Day terrorist attack on the Delta/Northwest Flight 253, President Barack Obama said the al-Qaeda wants the destruction of the United States of America.

President Barack Obama

Release of the Security Review Conducted After the Failed Christmas Terrorist Attack

Posted by Jesse Lee on January 07, 2010 at 04:36 PM EST

The review of our security and intelligence systems following the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day has been completed. The President spoke two days ago about "the urgency of getting this right," and the identification of failures in this review, along with the immediate ordering of reforms and corrective steps both today and in the days since this incident, are a recognition of that urgency. This review is also a recognition that while there is no place for partisanship and the old Washington blame game in dealing with Al Qaeda and the threat they represent, keeping American safe depends on honest and direct accountability.

Read the summary of the security review (pdf).
Read the President's Directive on corrective actions (pdf).

Read the President's remarks.

Pelosi Statement on the President's Review of Intelligence and Aviation Security

Hot Topics
December U.S. Retail Sales
Consumer Electronics Show
Computer-Related Inventions Lead in Patent Activity According to Thomson Reuters 2009 Innovation Report
S&P: 2009 Worst Year Ever for Dividends; Expects 2010 to Show Steady Improvement
U.S. Report: Rape, Sexual Abuse Rampant in Juvenile Corrections Facilities
2009 Infant Product Recalls Set Record High With 20 Percent Increase Year Over Year
American Association of Poison Control Centers Releases Data on 2008 Poison Exposures Launched as New York's First Negative Review Site
Northwest Flight 253

Releases displayed in Africa/Lagos time
8 Jan 2010
The Abyssinian Baptist Church Ministry of Christian Social Concern Hosts 12th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. 'Non-Violence' Youth Event
IMF Executive Board Concludes 2009 Article IV Consultation with Kenya
Obama Needs to Make Sudan a Priority in 2010: Fifth Anniversary of Peace Agreement Highlights Urgent Requirement for High-Level Engagement
Press Invitation - The Japan-U.S. Alliance at Fifty - Expert Panel Presentations and Press Conference Friday, January 15, 2010 - Willard Intercontinental Hotel - Washington, D.C.
U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for January 8
Darfur / UNAMID Daily Media Brief
Anheuser-Busch Delivers Canned Water to Assist Perry County Following Water Line Breaks
Congressman Phil Hare Backs Senator Terry Link for Lt. Governor
MultiVu Digital Center Feed: Growing Number of Special Representatives (SRAPS) Shows Increased International Support for Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan. More than 30 Countries and Global Organizations Included.
Workforce Alliance Initiates Florida Back to Work Program
Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Michael Foods in Pricing Case
Las Vegas Real Estate Posts 2009 Gains Despite Recession
MultiVu Digital Center Feed: Clinton Swears in New USAID Administrator. Calls Raj Shah a 'Transformation Leader' Who Will Rebuild the Premier Development Agency in the World.
Pelosi Statement on the President's Review of Intelligence and Aviation Security
DoubleLine Capital LP Statement
7 Jan 2010
'Herbal Insights' Debuts on PBS TV Series
Sierra Introduces Range of Measurement Solutions for EPA Mandated Green House Gas Reporting
Hilex Poly Expands Plastic Bag Recycling Facility
ATA to NHTSA: Highway Safety Resources Should Focus on Driver Behavior
Dr. Zein Obagi, Preeminent Inventor of Skin Care Products, Challenges Anti-Competitive Practices of Obagi Medical Products, a Company He Founded in 1988 and Later Sold to a Stonington Partners Private Equity Fund

U.S. Report: Rape, Sexual Abuse Rampant in Juvenile Corrections Facilities

7 Jan 2010 16:36 Africa/Lagos

U.S. Report: Rape, Sexual Abuse Rampant in Juvenile Corrections Facilities

Bureau of Justice Statistics study exposes epidemic of abuse in juvenile facilities, underscores call for new standards

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A long-awaited report from the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) finds that youth in juvenile corrections facilities are sexually abused at alarming rates and are victimized significantly more often than adult inmates.

A shocking 12.1 percent - or almost one in eight - of the detained youth who participated in the survey reported sexual abuse at their current facility during the previous year. On any given day, there are approximately 93,000 youth confined in juvenile facilities, more than half of whom are 16 or younger.

"These figures are unconscionable, and even more so when you consider that the survey did not include youth locked up in adult facilities, where many are at even greater risk for abuse," said Lovisa Stannow, Executive Director of Just Detention International.

The study - "Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-09" - is based on a survey given to 9,198 youth detainees in 195 facilities from all fifty states and the District of Columbia. The BJS report also included these findings:

-- 80 percent of the reported abuse was perpetrated by a member of the
facility's staff.
-- 95 percent of youth who alleged abuse by staff reported at least one
female perpetrator.
-- Victimized youth usually endured repeated sexual abuse, often more
than ten times, and frequently by multiple perpetrators.
-- 65 percent of youth who had previously been sexually assaulted at
another facility also reported having been sexually abused in their
current facility.
-- Youth with a sexual orientation other than heterosexual reported being
sexually abused by another inmate at a rate more than ten times higher
than that of youth who identified as heterosexual.

In June 2009, as mandated by Congress, the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission issued a comprehensive report on sexual violence in U.S. detention facilities. The bipartisan Commission, led by U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton, found that many corrections facilities do a poor job preventing, identifying, and responding to the sexual abuse of those in their custody.

The Commission's report emphasized that sexual abuse is an especially complex problem for younger inmates, explaining that "juveniles are not yet fully developed physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally and are ill-equipped to respond to sexual advances and protect themselves."

"The BJS study confirms the Commission's findings, underscoring the fact that young people are a particularly vulnerable population needing special protections," said David Kaiser, chair of the board of Just Detention International. "Abused youth emerge from what ought to be a rehabilitative experience deeply traumatized, hindering their reintegration into society and limiting their development and future prospects."

The Commission's report includes proposed standards - which Just Detention International helped develop - for addressing and preventing the sexual abuse of inmates, including detained youth. By law, the Department of Justice has until June 2010 to codify final standards based on those recommendations.

"The Attorney General needs to issue comprehensive, zero-tolerance standards, and he can't do so a moment too soon," Stannow said. "Every day without them is another day in which incarcerated children are getting raped. No matter what crime a person may have committed, rape should never be part of the punishment."

The BJS report, "Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-09," is available online at:

Just Detention International works to ensure government accountability for prisoner rape; to change ill-informed public attitudes about sexual violence in detention; and to promote access to resources for those who have survived such abuse.

Source: Just Detention International

CONTACT: Darby Hickey of Just Detention International, +1-202-580-6935,
+1-202-250-4869 (cell),

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pelosi Remarks after House Democrats' Meeting on Health Insurance Reform at the White House

7 Jan 2010 01:14 Africa/Lagos

Pelosi Remarks after House Democrats' Meeting on Health Insurance Reform at the White House

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a brief press availability with Chairman Charles Rangel, Chairman Henry Waxman, Chairman George Miller, and Chairwoman Louise Slaughter following their meeting this afternoon with President Obama at the White House to discuss health care legislation. The following is a partial transcript due to an incomplete audio recording.

"...We've had a very intense couple of days with meetings in our leadership, meetings with our staff. After our leadership meeting this morning, our staffs engaged with the Senate and the Administration's staff to review the legislation, suggest legislative language. I think we're very close to reconciliation, respectful of the challenges -- policy and otherwise -- in the House and in the Senate.

"But we would not be at this historic moment without the leadership of President Obama -- with his commitment to health care for all Americans as a right, not a privilege. So we thank him for his vision and his leadership. We also thank him for his time and his attention to the details of the legislation.

"Thank you all."

Q: Could you tell us a couple things that you're hoping that will be adopted from the House bill that you think that...

Speaker Pelosi: Any of our Chairmen wish to speak to that?

What we're talking about is affordability and accountability. And I think that in both of the bills, the makings for great legislation is evident and present in both bills. So, it's not a question of adopting this or that. It's about addressing and meeting the needs of the American people -- that this be affordable for the middle class -- and to do that we have to hold the insurance companies accountable. Any legislation would have to be judged as to how it did that. Again, with the third "A" -- providing affordable access to affordable, quality health care at lower cost for the American people.

Q: Do you anticipate that these bills will be passed by the end of the month?

Chairwoman Louise Slaughter: That's our hope.

Speaker Pelosi: It's possible, it's possible.

Chairman Charles Rangel: The President has been very patient with his time and understanding that we have to get 218 votes and we really have to be able to sell it -- not just to our Democratic Caucus, but to the American people. And we could not have asked the President to be more cooperative -- even though he's doing more listening than talking.

Speaker Pelosi: But we will bring the bill to the floor when we are ready. And hopefully that will be soon.

Q: What are the continuing areas of difference with the Senate at this point?

Speaker Pelosi: You know, we have so much area of agreement that I prefer to focus on that. I'd prefer to focus on that.

Q: How about the differences? Is the public option still a difference? Is that still a problem?

Speaker Pelosi: Again, we are walking through the bills right now -- the House and Senate and the staff of the Administration. And the staff goes through -- we have selected a few items that we want to take primary responsibility for, but the staff I am sure will -- their discussions will yield a few more areas.

It actually -- the truth is that there is so much agreement in the bills but sometimes we approach the issue differently. So we have to figure out what the best approach is to the issues.

Q: What are the few areas that you have taken responsibility for?

Speaker Pelosi: Accountability for the insurance industry, affordability for the middle class, and access for quality health care for all Americans. And we all are committed to fiscal responsibility that has to accompany this bill. Because if every person in America loved the health insurance and loved the health care that they had, we would still have to undertake this because the present system is unsustainable. We can't afford the upward spiral of medical costs in our country.

As the President has said, health care reform is entitlement reform for reasons that affect the lives of working families in America, of seniors in our country, young people, our veterans, you name it, everyone benefits by the passage of this legislation.

Thank you all very much.

Source: Office of the Speaker of the House

CONTACT: Brendan Daly or Nadeam Elshami or Drew Hammill,
+1-202-226-7616, all of the Office of the Speaker of the House

Web Site:

Hot Topics
Northwest Flight 253
comScore Reports $29.1 Billion in U.S. Retail E-Commerce Spending for Full November-December Holiday Season, Up 4 Percent vs. Year Ago
California Economy Held Steady in November Reports The Comerica Bank California Economic Activity Index
Online Job Demand Up 255,000 in December, The Conference Board Reports
Metals Lead the S&P GSCI in 2009 and for the Decade
Sam's Club(R) Launches Premium Vodka
Winter Weather
Kraft Foods Extends Offer Deadline for Cadbury
Consumer Electronics Show

Harry Reid’s Corrupt Christmas Present

Harry Reid’s Corrupt Christmas Present
by (more by this author)
Posted 01/06/2010 ET

The Democratic leaders of the House and the Senate reportedly are planning on finalizing their differing health care “reform” bills in secret.

That’s right. They’re kicking out the C-SPAN cameras and planning on huddling behind closed doors with a few Obama Administration power brokers to transform the American health care system.

Not that anyone should be surprised by this, of course. “Secret” and “corrupt” are the two words that best describe the process by which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid produced his trillion-dollar government takeover of our health care system.

A First Look At Harry Reid’s Corrupt Christmas PresentThe American people didn’t have much of a chance to get a good look at Senator Reid’s corrupt Christmas present before it was passed. The legislation would dramatically expand the power and scope of the federal government -- and fail to fix any of the problems we face. That continues the course of action that Democrats have taken this entire year on health reform. Every bill that has been introduced, from the House Tri-Committee bill this summer to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee to Harry Reid’s latest bill, the recipe is the same: More regulation, higher taxes, bigger government, less control for you.

Here are just a few of the Reid bill’s details:•

2,409 pages (by comparison, the legislation that created Social Security was just 82 pages long)

• $518 billion in tax increases (Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office)

• $466 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid (CBO)

• Many costs of the legislation won’t begin until 2014, but taxes will be imposed immediately (CBO)

• Federal outlays for health care would increase by about $200 billion between 2010-2019 (CBO)

• $26 billion of unfunded mandates to states over the next 10 years that will likely result in higher taxes (CBO)

• Would increase non-group premiums by $300 per individual and $2,100 per family (CBO)

• Up to 10 million people will lose their current health insurance coverage under the bill (CBO)

• Adds a 10% tax on indoor tanning services (Section 10907)

No Christmas Miracle, Just a Lot of Washington Payoffs.

As I mentioned before, Harry Reid didn’t need a Christmas miracle to pass this massive bill. Instead he used an approach more appropriate for "The Sopranos" than for the nation’s capital: payoffs. There may not have been any smoke-filled rooms, but there were plenty of shady deals. The most egregious were those for Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. He was the final holdout. Without his support, the bill would have been stopped. But Ben buckled under the pressure. He was particularly pliable on his demands that no federal funding go to cover abortions. Instead he accepted a watered down compromise that allows individual states to prohibit plans that cover abortion services -- a compromise that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and numerous pro-life groups denounced as paving the way for federally funded abortions. The Nebraska Exemption to Higher Medicaid Costs. But when Harry Reid needed his vote, Sen. Nelson took the money and ran -- $100 million to be exact. Nebraska will be the only state in the country where the full costs of Medicaid expansion will be covered by the federal government. Specialty hospitals in Nebraska will be exempted from new regulations. The state’s largest insurers will be shielded from new regulations. Here are the details of the Nebraska Exemption:•

Federal government fully finances Medicaid expansion for two years and then increases its matching funds (known as FMAP) thereafter to 100% -- in perpetuity (Section 10201), totaling about $100 million.

• Reid bill specifically identifies Nebraska for higher federal matching funds, fully funding its expansion for an additional year.

• Carve outs for physician-owned hospitals in Nebraska.

• Physician self-referral exemptions within Nebraska.

• Nelson’s abortion compromise: a state may elect to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an exchange if the state enacts a law to prohibit it.

• Shields two Nebraska insurers from taxes that other plans will pay:

Mutual of Omaha and Blue Cross/Blue Shield (language crafted so it only affects these two in Nebraska)The Roll Call of Shame: Senator Nelson Wasn’t the Only Senator Bought OffBut Sen. Nelson wasn’t the only senator to be bought off by Majority Leader Reid. More than a dozen other states received special goodies, including:

• Louisiana

$300 million in additional Medicaid funding.

• Vermont

2.2% FMAP increase for 6 years for Vermont Medicaid program

$600 million in additional Medicaid funding (CBO).

• Massachusetts

0.5% FMAP increase for 3 years for their entire program.

$500 million in additional Medicaid funding (CBO).

• Hawaii

Restores DSH funding eliminated in the past to expand Medicaid eligibility.

• Michigan

Adjusts payments to hospitals according to local wage levels, which when adjusted aids Michigan Exemption for non-profit insurers in the state from large excise tax.

• Connecticut

$100 million earmark for construction of a University of Connecticut hospital.

• Montana

Medicare coverage for individuals exposed to environmental health hazards in or around the geographic area of Libby, Mont., subject to an emergency declaration as of 6/17/09.

• South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

Adds 1% hospital wage index

Adds 1% practice index for physicians to cover geographic cost differencesA Massive Bill, Compiled in Secret and Negotiated Through Corruption, Will Now Be Finalized in SecretAnd so it has come to this: A massive bill, compiled in secret, negotiated through corruption, and passed by a party-line vote, will now be finalized in secret.

Americans deserved better for Christmas.

Reports are that House and Senate Democrats will go around the normal legislative process of a formal, transparent conference to iron out their differences.

(This chart written by Democratic staffers provides a good summary of both bills, though it also includes a lot of spin.) But rather than a representative group of lawmakers from each chamber negotiating in good faith in the open, House Speaker Pelosi, Senate Leader Reid, and White House officials are planning to do the work themselves, locking out the vast majority of lawmakers -- from both parties.

If these secret proceedings are not stopped, the American people, through our representatives in Congress, will be presented with a done deal. If 2009 is any guide, the final vote will then be called before many members of Congress or the public has a chance to read, understand, and debate the details of the final bill. And in the end, the American people will be left to speculate as to the corrupt bargains that were required to see this monstrosity through to final passage.

Turn on the C-SPAN Cameras

But this does not have to be the outcome. Americans do not want our lawmaking to be done in secret. In 2008, then-candidate Obama condemned “negotiating behind closed doors” and instead called for “bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are, because part of what we have to do is enlist the American people in this process.

”In this spirit of candidate Obama, C-SPAN Chairman Brian Lamb asked congressional leaders this week to let the American people have a seat at the table where decisions affecting every single American will be made and to allow C-SPAN to cover the health care negotiations among Senate, House, and White House representatives.

President Obama was right in 2008 as a candidate. Brian Lamb is right today. These health care negotiations should be held in the open and C-SPAN should be allowed to provide coverage so that all Americans can see how health legislation will affect their lives.

Open, honest government should be an American birthright. Joining Brian Lamb in requesting our elected leaders to live up to a minimum standard of openness and honesty is one New Year’s resolution that every American can agree on.

Your friend,

Newt’s Quick Links•

Why Would the Obama Administration Put An International Police Force Above American Law?

Former Federal Prosecutor Andrew McCarthy reports President Obama recently signed an executive order giving Interpol immunity from American law.

This means the liberty and privacy protections that constrain our own FBI and police will NOT constrain Interpol. Andy has more here.

You can watch me on The O’Reilly Factor discussing this and our nation’s security here.
Mr. Gingrich is the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and author of "Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works" and "Winning the Future" (published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).

Click here to have the Newt Gingrich Letter sent to you every week

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Would You Dump Your Apple’s iPhone for Google’s Nexus One?

Would You Dump Your Apple’s iPhone for Google’s Nexus One?

The arrival of the much talked about and much awaited Google's Nexus One Android smartphone is definitely the best Happy New Year present to millions of people all over the world who have been praying for Google to launch a smartphone that would be as good or even better than the overhyped and overpriced Apple’s iPhone seen as a status symbol in Nigeria.

Industry experts have said that the competition over the billion dollar market for smartphones has higher stakes in the mobile advertising market where more billions of consumers would be found as advancement in mobile technologies is attracting more consumers online than those offline.

Google’s Nexus One is not only meant to increase the demand for Google's Android which presently commands only 5% of the market, far behind the 29% market share of Apple's iPhone, and the overall 44% of RIM’s Blackberry devices, but to challenge other smartphones in price and service. Google is going to crash the price of smartphones and trash their makers in competition.

HTC built the hardware of Nexux One which has a light sensor, GPS, and accelerometer, and other unique features. But there is no HTC logo on the phone that is running on T-Mobile with a Wifi.

Powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm QSD 8250 processor, the Nexus One, which runs the Android 2.1 (Éclair) OS, sports a 3.7” WVGA (800 x 480) widescreen AMOLED touchscreen display (which, alas, does not support mulittouch), a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash offering 2x digital zoom with geotagging functionality courtesy of the Nexus One’s integrated AGPS capabilities, an accelerometer, digital compass, 512MB Flash and 512MB RAM – with the latter being expandable thanks to an in-built microSD card slot (up to 32GB – a 4GB card being bundled). You can also factor in Bluetooth 2.1+EDR and WiFi b/g/n wireless connectivity. There’s also animated wallpapers, of course, which respond to user taps and the full level of integration with Google apps that you’d expect including Google Earth whilst will allow users to navigate to well known landmarks via voice command.
In terms of dimensions, the Google Nexus One measures in at 119mm (H) x 59.8mm (W) x 11.5mm (D) whilst weighing in at 130 grams inclusive of battery whilst, as far as battery life is concerned you’re looking at up to 7hrs (3G) or 10hrs (2G) talktime, up to 250hrs (3G) or 290hrs (2G) standby.

As the news of Goggle’s Nexus One broke, Apple’s boss Steve Jobs boasted that competitors have a long way to go in chasing after Apple, because of the awesome acceptance of their iPhone.
“Three billion applications downloaded in less than 18 months — this is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. We see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon,” Steve Jobs said.

The edge would go to Google in being smarter in the GPS navigation.
People pay from $100 to $400 for GPS applications on the iPhone, but Google is giving them away gratis on the Nexus One.

"As new phones come to market through this channel, consumers will benefit from the ability to match a phone of their choice with the service plan that best meets their needs," Google said in a press release on Nexus One.

See Nexus One vs Droid vs iPhone [Comparison Chart].

Now my question is, would you dump your Apple's iPhone for Google's Nexus One?

Releases displayed in Africa/Lagos time
6 Jan 2010
Apple Reports 3 Billion Apps Downloaded in First 18 Months as AppTech Corp Receives Approval for iPhone App Development
5 Jan 2010
Cooliris Delivers Media Browsing and Sharing Breakthroughs for Nexus One Smartphone

Hot Topics
Online Job Demand Up 255,000 in December, The Conference Board Reports
Greatest Cyber Risk Driven by Remote Network Access and Embedded Malicious Code: Deloitte Poll
Funding Status of U.S. Pensions Tops 85 Percent at End of 2009, According to BNY Mellon Asset Management
Consumer Electronics Show
Apple Reports 3 Billion Apps Downloaded in First 18 Months as AppTech Corp Receives Approval for iPhone App Development
Chinese Restaurant News Announces Top10 Chinese Restaurants in the Country
Thomson Reuters to Create Data-Driven Profiles of World's Leading Research Institutions
Kraft Foods Extends Offer Deadline for Cadbury
Northwest Flight 253