Kennedy Center names 2007 honors recipients

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Friday, September 14, 2007

The Kennedy Center announced that its 30th presentation of the Kennedy Center Honors would go to pianist Leon Fleisher, comedian Steve Martin, singer Diana Ross, director Martin Scorsese and musician Brian Wilson. The Center was opened to the public in 1971 and was envisioned as part of the National Cultural Center Act, which mandated that the independent, privately-funded institution would present a wide variety of both classical and contemporary performances, commission the creation of new artistic works, and undertake a variety of educational missions to increase awareness of the arts.

In a statement, Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said that “with their extraordinary talent, creativity and perseverance, the five 2007 honorees have transformed the way we, as Americans, see, hear and feel the performing arts.”

Fleisher, 79, a member of the Peabody Institute‘s music faculty, is a pianist who lost use of his right hand in 1965 due to a neurological condition. He became an accomplished musician and conductor through the use of his left hand. At 67, he regained the use of his right hand. With the advent of Botox therapy, he was once more able to undertake two-hand performances in 2004, his first in four decades. “I’m very gratified by the fact that it’s an apolitical honor,” Fleisher said. “It is given by colleagues and professional people who are aware of what [an artist] has done, so it really is apolitical — and that much more of an honor.”

Martin, 62, a comedian who has written books and essays in addition to his acting and stand-up comedy career, rose to fame during his work on the American television program Saturday Night Live in the 1970’s. Schwarzman praised his work as that of a “renaissance comic whose talents wipe out the boundaries between artistic disciplines.” Martin responded to the honor saying, “I am grateful to the Kennedy Center for finally alleviating in me years of covetousness and trophy envy.”

Ross, 63, was a product of Detroit‘s Brewster-Douglass Projects when as a teeager she and friends Mary Wilson and Florence Ballardis formed The Supremes, a ground-breaking Motown act. She portrayed singer Billie Holiday in the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues, which earned her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award. “Diana Ross’ singular, instantly recognizable voice has spread romance and joy throughout the world,” said Schwarzman. Ross said she was “taken aback. It is a huge, huge honor and I am excited to be in this class of people.”

Scorsese, 64, is one of the most accomplished directors the United States ever produced, whose work includes Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, GoodFellas, Cape Fear, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Departed, for which he won a 2006 Academy Award for Best Director after being nominated eight times. Scorsese said, “I’m very honored to be receiving this recognition from the Kennedy Center and proud to be joining the company of the very distinguished individuals who have received this honor in years past.”

Wilson, 65, along with his brothers Dennis and Carl, formed the Beach Boys in 1961. They had a series of hits that included “Surfin’ U.S.A.” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Their 1966 album Pet Sounds is considered one of the most influential recordings in American music. “This is something so unexpected and I feel extremely fortunate to be in the company of such great artists,” said Wilson, who is currently on tour.

The Kennedy Center’s board of trustees is responsible for selecting honorees for “lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.” Previous honorees, including Elton John and Steven Spielberg, also submitted recommendations. A wide variety of people were under consideration, including Emanuel Ax, Evgeny Kissin, Renee Fleming, Laurence Fishburne, Francis Ford Coppola, Melissa Etheridge and Kenny Chesney.

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush will attend the center’s presentation at its opera house on December 2, 2007, which will broadcast on December 26 on CBS.

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Coalition ups ante on Australian school tax rebates

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott has pledged private school relief if the Liberal/National coalition wins the upcoming federal election. The pledge came in response to the Australian Labor Party leader, and current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard proposing a uniform and school equipment tax break expansion.

Abbott’s proposal includes an offer of tax rebates for sending a child to a private school. For students in primary school, prep to grade 6, the rebate will rise to $500 Australian a year per student and families will be then able to claim 50% rebate up to $1000.

“We are expanding the rebate so it can be claimed for school fees and also for other educational costs such as tuition and special educational costs for children with, for instance, dyslexia,” Abbott said at a press conference in Brisbane.

Before the election was called, Gillard had aimed to pledge $220 million over four years to expand the current tax breaks to cover refunds each worth $390 for primary school uniforms and $779 for high school uniforms, as well as refunds for other school equipment like texts books and computers.

“We all know that uniforms can be an expensive part of sending kids to school, but this change, along with the existing refund for textbooks and computers, will help families with that cost,” stated Gillard.

An opposition spokesperson claimed that the “obvious flaw in Labor’s policy is that it only applies to stationery, computer expenses and uniforms […] You know as a parent that you need help for a whole range of expenses. Extra teachers for children with dyslexia or the costs of doing music and all the other expenses like excursions and so forth.”

The expansion is expected to cost $760 million in total and one that Abbott claims needs to happen as “cost of living pressures tend to be greatest when your kids are at school”.

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Spring Home Improvement

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Submitted by: Jim Ames

Home Improvement is a subject of many people’s interest. You may feel after some time that the changes in your home will improve the internal – as well as external – environment of the home. Well heads up – Spring is the best season to do these changes because spring is a warm, colorful season which gives us motivation to live life more to its fullest, some say…

Here are some helpful home improvement tips for your projects:

1) To start with your home improvements in spring, it is good idea to keep the WELCOME mat at your front door – or get a fresh, new one. This mat gives a warm invitation to your guests. And another small thing that you can do is to paint your door. Use the contrast colors for trim and your mailbox, if you like, but the colors should go together well (many paint and hardware companies give advice, so don’t be afraid to seek help).

2) Add decorative items outdoors. For example, if your guests see nice decorated pots in front of your door before you open the door for them, they will be impressed with these small touches. You can add small or big pots depending upon the space available. Note: It does not matter how small the pots are unless and until you have a particular plant or other need for them. And plastic pots on the whole will not look as good as clay pots or terra cotta.

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3) Spring always comes with the basic idea of overall spring-cleaning of the home – which is great. Clean inside and up, upstairs and down – all around.

4) You can save energy by filling the gaps and holes in your home. They can increase the performance of the electric gadgets and heating / cooling systems. This is very essential for everybody because filling gaps helps us to conserve energy.

5) Spring is the season of greenery. Gardens around your house will decorate your home like a frame that is used in a photograph. Lawns around the home need proper maintenance, so you should keep your yard fertilized (as this can be a very tricky matter, you want to hire help – a lawn care service for the the proper maintenance.)

Window Replacement

If you plan to change the windows with your spring home improvements, then definitely your home will be looking great after this. When in doubt, note that window replacement is generally necessary if your current windows are old. It gives a new style and look to your home with the other advantages like energy savings and airy ventilation within during open-window season (without hurting your arms trying to crank out old metal framed windows).

You should search for the good quality windows that will also solve any current problems; for instance, if there are water leaks in or around your windows that will damage the wood seek better seals of fittings / installation. And keep in mind that cheaper windows may not be best in long term because ultimately they may add more consumption of energy.

Window replacement is not very costly if you consider the advantages. New windows may give you convenience of easy cleaning. And if these windows are double hung models that can be tilted, it may be well worth it to invest in such windows.

Some new windows are made from aluminum or vinyl. They need less scraping and no painting.

Note: It is not necessary to do all this work yourself. Many reps and manufacturers of windows offer services including delivery and installation of your windows… or you can appoint the contractor who will take care of all this work.

In summary, though you can do lot of small things, it is always better to contract experts for work like windows replacement and garden maintenance. This will save your time and energy. The results will be very nice. You will love your home ever than before.

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for your home improvement projects! And keep up with the latest tips for your home and family.


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Disney buys Pixar

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Walt Disney Company has finalized a US$7.4 billion deal to acquire its long-time partner Pixar in an all stock buy-out. The deal will make Steve Jobs, current Pixar and Apple CEO, Disney’s largest shareholder with about 7% (valued at over $3.5 billion) and a member of the board of directors.

The merger was speculated all day Tuesday on the stock market and the announcement came just after trading closed for the day. Terms of the merger include Pixar’s John Lasseter becoming Disney’s new chief creative officer in charge of animation at the combined Disney-Pixar Animation Studios, as well as principal creative advisor at Walt Disney Imagineering, the unit of the company responsible for research and development of Disney theme parks worldwide.

Jobs purchased what became Pixar for $10 million in 1986 from George Lucas’s computer animation division at Lucasfilm. Toy Story, its first feature film, came a decade later, and began a long string of animation hits, including Finding Nemo. Such successes proved to be increasingly elusive for Disney to manage on its own. The partnership between the two studios had become shaky in recent years, as former Disney head Michael Eisner clashed with Jobs over the renewal terms of their agreement. In 2003, prior to his dismissal from Disney, Eisner infuriated Pixar’s creative team by predicting Finding Nemo would be a failure. Steve Jobs broke off negotiations in January 2004, having told one executive previously, “I don’t see how the relationship can continue as long as Eisner is there.”

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Hurricane Bill now a Category 4 storm

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Following a period of steady intensification, Hurricane Bill is now a Category 4 major hurricane, as defined by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

Bill formed on August 12 and became the 2009 season’s first hurricane on August 17. For the past few days, the storm has been moving toward the west-northwest, but that is expected to change later this week as it turns more toward the north. After that, its track is uncertain, though National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasters believe the hurricane will pass between Bermuda and the United States.

As of 11 a.m. AST August 19 (0900 UTC August 19), Hurricane Bill was located within 15 nautical miles of 18.0°N 54.9°W, about 460 mi (740 km) east of the Leeward Islands. Maximum sustained winds were near 115 knots (135 mph, 215 km/h), with stronger gusts. Forecasters estimate the storm’s minimum barometric pressure at 950 millibars.

Bermuda could be under the most significant threat from Bill, and officials there have been monitoring the storm’s progress. Derrick Binns, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Home Affairs and Housing, reported that “We have been following the storm closely since its inception, and today we reviewed our planning and procedures to ensure all are in sync. While we have not as yet issued hurricane warnings, I think it is important to advise residents to check their emergency kits to be sure supplies are adequate.”

…[it is] almost inevitable that the storm will find some part of Eastern Canada. Whether that’s the marine areas or the land district, it’s still too far to say.

Bill is expected to spare the United States from any significant impact, but forecasters advise that since the storm is still several days away, nothing is certain. Indeed, residents of Long Island, New York are keeping a close eye on the cyclone’s progress.

Forecasters also warn that Bill could target parts of eastern Canada. Residents of Nova Scotia, mindful of the extensive damage from Hurricane Juan several years prior, are beginning to take precautionary measures.

Regardless of its exact track, Bill will likely generate rough surf and dangerous rip tides along the coast of the U.S. and Canada.

Tropical cyclones are known to be unpredictable, so interests in the regions potentially in Bill’s path are urged to track the storm’s progress over coming days and review emergency plans.

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The Varied Insurance Inside Las Vegas Nevada.

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Submitted by: Ema Sis

Many of the car owners in Las Vegas Nevada supply significance to the cheap auto car rates. There are a lot ideas which have become used to determine the cheapest auto insurance of Las Vegas Nevada. The auto insurance is the insurance purchased for car, trucks, motorcycles & other orad vehicles. The key use of the auto insurance of Las Vegas Nevada is often to present financial protection against physical damage mostly on the bodily injury resulting from traffic collision. Car insurance will be the legal requirement inside Las Vegas NV and it provides peace of mind thus the worst does not happen if you met with an accident.

The car insurance in Las Vegas would be the advantage for most of the drivers; car insurance protects you from personal liability if you meet with an accident. Subject to the type of car insurance that you have, you vehicle are now repaired or else replaced consequently saving many expenses in you yourself replacing it. The car insurance quotes in Las Vegas take into account the species of automobile and that is being pushed. The least expensive car insurance quote mainly relies upon upon secure needs that are specified during investments. The car otherwise auto insurance is usually one of the sought after insurance plans that meet the requirements of individuals just in case of accidents or else collisions. One more reason for having the auto insurance are generally in the field of financial, medical and private protections.

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The auto insurance Las Vegas NV may be able to guidance with payment of medical bills, to temporary replace income & to assist in financially repairing & replacing the damaged automobiles. The car insurance differs when it comes to related cover & optional extra. Auto insurance is usually a feeling which gives security to each vehicle owner, to overcome the difficulties and collisions faced started the auto insurance would be the very helpful. The vehicle insurance not just provides a feeling of security but in addition helps to attenuate the loss just in case of accidents. The auto insurance is the your life line which offer you a financial support to beat the losses.

The boat insurance of Las Vegas NV is aware how a must it will be just be sure you have proper quantity of insurance coverage. Having insurance coverage intended for boat, protect both the boat as well as the passengers for the event something happens to the boat. The premium costs for boat insurance will depend on numerous aspects like age, gender, type of boat, how old the boat is, & the placement you live. The boat insurance in Las Vegas NV consists of physical damage coverage which is principally to make sure that the insurer pays for the repairs or else replacement of the boat from the situations just like storm damage, lightening fire thus on. Next insurance would be the uninsured boat coverage which covers your boats repairs and replacements in the event such as the collision with the boat that’s uninsured or whose insurance have expired.

About the Author: Visit The Website to get more details about the Car Insurance Quotes Las Vegas.


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Headless man found near suburban Chicago school

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A headless man was found near a suburban Chicago, Illinois school early Tuesday morning. The man had a pipe bomb near him. Another explosive device had decapitated the man, according to Evanston, Illinois police.

After the body was found in a field near Evanston’s Nichols Middle School by a man walking his dog, police searched a nearby apartment and a bomb squad was called to the area. The FBI is also helping with the investigation.

Residents of the area said that around 3:50 AM Central time they heard a loud explosion. Dale Wyatt, who was walking his dog, Buddah, said that his dog found the body around 5:15 AM.

Classes at Nichols were canceled Tuesday and are also, according to website, canceled for Wednesday.

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Inquiry ordered into video of US troops urinating on Taliban fighters

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered an investigation into a video allegedly showing US Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters. Panetta has called the videos “utterly deplorable” and not appropriate conduct for United States armed forces personnel. Afghan president Hamid Karzai called for “the most severe punishment for anyone found guilty in this crime.”

The video shows four men apparently dressed in US Marine uniforms urinating on three dead bodies. In it the men are heard saying “Have a great day, buddy” and “hope you like your shower“. The exact date the video was taken is unknown. It appeared on internet sites, including YouTube. The photographing or video taking of human casualties is specifically forbidden by the US military’s code of conduct.

A statement by Coalition Forces said the men in uniform probably aren’t in Afghanistan anymore; the US Marine Corps has since stated they aren’t. The coalition statement also reiterated the Department of Defense’s stance, saying “this behavior dishonors the sacrifices and core values of every service member representing the 50 nations of the coalition…. Any individuals with confirmed involvement will be held fully accountable.”

The incident will be investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) which investigates criminal matters for the US Navy.

The Taliban responded by saying “First they killed the Afghans with mortars, and they then urinated on their bodies. We strongly condemn this inhumane action by the wild American soldiers.”

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El Salvador Tourist Destinations For Splendid Holiday Trip

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El Salvador is one of Central America’s favorite tourist spot. It literally means Republic of The Savior. It is the smallest and the most densely populated country of Central America. The largest city and the capital of this country is San Salvador. The important commercial centers in El Salvador and in all of Central America are Santa Ana and San Miguel. Many visitors visit El Salvador tourist destinations every year.

Montecristo Cloud Forest is the biggest and beautiful cloud forest of Central America. The ideal time to visit this place is from October to March. This cloud forest is home to some of the wonderful wildlife species of the country. It also offers trekking facilities. El Impossible National Park by the coast of Mesoamerican Pacific has a rain forest which is considered the last ones. It has many valuable species of animals and plants. El Salvador tourist destinations are vivid and unique in their own aspects.

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You can also visit Los Chorros which is a natural pool series in San Salvador or you can visit Barra de Santiago which is the biggest mangrove forest of San Salvador. Along the banks of Lempa River Nancuchiname park is situated. It has some of the remaining tropical forests of this place. El Jocotal Lagoon includes some of the biggest group of water birds in El Salvado. It is a safe place for migratory water birds. Other place of interest is the Los Cobanos which is famous for its coral reef. El Salvador tourist destinations have a lot to offer to those who admire wildlife and natural beauty.

The municipal market of Mejicanos is the most important tourist attraction of Mejicanos. This market which dates from the period of Spanish colonial rule, still displays the same old architectural style. In this local market of Mejicanos you can buy articles of household use, food products and other items of regular use.

El Salvador food and drink is particularly distinctive among the diverse cuisines of Central America. It is a blend of indigenous and Spanish influences. Here food can be as familiar as chicken soup, or as exotic as fried palm flower. Seafood is common in cuisine. Soups and stews are extremely popular here. Some important cuisines are; Pupusas (which is a thick corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, meat, squash, and other fillings), Empanadas (which is a flour pastry filled with meat, potatoes and cheese), and Tamales (boiled pockets of corn dough, stuffed with meat or sweet corn and served in banana leaves). El Salvador tourist destinations are among those destinations which should be visited at least once in a lifetime.

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Read about El Salvador Tour Packages. Also know affordable Egypt Tour Packages. Read ways to find best Ethiopia Tour Packages.Author: Jhon Napier

Oil spill hits Australia’s Sunshine coastline

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

200,000 litres of oil leaked into waters off the coast of Brisbane from the Pacific Adventurer when their fuel tanks were damaged in rough seas on Wednesday. The figure is about ten times higher than the original estimate of twenty thousand litres of oil. The devastating diesel oil spill has spread along 60 kilometres (37 miles) of the Queensland coast. In addition, 31 containers with 620 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser flew overboard during the violent storm.

Questions are being asked why the Hong Kong cargo ship was out in seas with nine meter waves caused by Cyclone Hamish, a Category 5 tropical cyclone, as well as why the fertiliser containers were not properly secured. One of the overboard containers ruptured the hull of the Pacific Adventurer, causing between 30 to 100 tonnes of oil to spew from the severely damaged ship.

If the ammonium nitrate mixes with the heavy oil, an explosion could occur. None of the containers have been recovered. Some of these may float, but it is believed that they may have sunk which then may cause algal blooms.

Disaster zones have been declared at Bribie and Moreton Islands, and along the Sunshine coast.

The vessel’s owner, Swire Shipping, reported that a second leak began on Friday, when the ship began listing after docking at Hamilton for repairs. “As full soundings of the vessel’s tanks were being taken at the port to determine how much oil had leaked from the vessel, a small quantity of fuel oil escaped from the Pacific Adventurer,” it stated. The ship was brought upright, and a recovery vessel was used to suck up the oil from the water. The leak produced a 500m-long oil slick down the Brisbane River. Booms were placed around this oil spill so that a skimmer could clean up the second spill.

Swire Shipping could face clean up costs of AU$100,000 a day as well as fines up to AU$1.5million (US$977,000; £703,000) if found guilty of environmental breaches or negligence.

Sunshine Coast beaches are slowly starting to be reopened. The beach of Mooloolaba was still closed following reports of burning sensations from swimmers. 12 beaches remain closed; however, 13 have been reopened.

Over 300 state government and council workers are using buckets, rakes and spades in the clean up effort. Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbott says the majority will be gone by Sunday afternoon. The full environmental impact on wildlife is not yet known. One turtle and seven pelicans have been found covered in oil.

There are concerns that the drinking water of Moreton Island is at risk, as the island uses water from the underground water table near the oil spill site.

“Every bucketload of contaminated sand has to be removed from the island by barge, and each bucketload from a front-end loader weighs about one tonne. It’s just an impossible task,” said Mr Trevor Hassard of the Tangalooma Dolphin Education Centre.

The commercial fishing industry has suffered from the incident. Trawlers won’t resume operations until Sunday evening, and any catches will be tested for human consumption.

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