Offbeat News

Last Update on July 22, 2014 09:07 GMT

FRANKIE'S BIKINIS

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Nineteen-year-old Francesca Aiello (ah-YEHL'-oh) is making waves with her bikinis. Organizers say she's the youngest designer to show at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami Beach. Aiello is a California girl who grew up wearing bikinis in Malibu. She says her mom helped her with the sewing when she started her Frankie's Bikinis line. But the teen needs no help in promoting her swimsuits on social media. Aiello says she hopes to expand her line to include clothing to wear off the beach.

UNDERAGE ALCOHOL TASTING

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Underage drinking is still illegal in California -- but underage tasting is another story. Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a measure allowing student brewers and winemakers to have a sip. But they can't swallow. Some students majoring in winemaking and brewery science couldn't graduate in four years, because they hadn't turned 21. Some of the courses require beer and wine tasting. Backers say the new law isn't a ticket to party. It also doesn't apply to college students just looking for fun electives. The University of California at Davis and Fresno State are among the schools offering the majors. Sipping and spitting will be allowed starting with the winter semester.

SEMI ROLLOVER-FRENCH FRIES

SPANISH FORK, Utah (AP) -- These taters aren't fit to be fried. A load of french fries scattered over a highway in Utah after a big rig rolled. Spanish Fork Police Lieutenant Matt Johnson tells the Daily Herald of Provo the truck driver swerved to avoid a car pulling onto the highway. No one was seriously hurt. Emergency crews had to clean up the mess before all the lanes could reopen. Imagine, all those french fries and no ketchup in sight.

THUNDERBIRDS-WELKER

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- Denver Broncos' wide receiver Wes Welker is used to making some quick moves -- but nothing like this. Welker hitched a ride with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. He was the backseat passenger of Major Tyler Ellison, as they flew over Cheyenne, Wyoming. Welker says they did some "crazy stuff" while the F-16 pulled nine G's during their three hour flight. Welker tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle there were times he wanted to reach for the air-sickness bag but he held strong. He also says they had a beautiful view of the mountains from the cockpit of the jet fighter.


Science & Tech News

Last Update on July 22, 2014 07:10 GMT

IN THE NEWS: U.S. EMBASSY APOLOGIZES FOR STAFFER TWEET

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) -- Whoops! The U.S. Embassy in Ghana is calling it "an errant tweet" -- and is apologizing for a message on Twitter critical of the African nation's president. It started when Ghana's president tweeted about the country's financial troubles -- and said the people of his nation "have had to make sacrifices." A response from the U.S. Embassy's Twitter account responded to the president: "And what sacrifices are you making?" In a statement yesterday, the U.S. Embassy says it has apologized to Ghana's president -- and to the Ghanaian people. The embassy says one of its workers mixed up a personal Twitter account with that of the embassy's.

IN THE NEWS: INDIANAPOLIS POLICE USE VIDEO GAME TO TRY TO PREVENT CRIME

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indianapolis police are trying out an interactive video game with the goal of curbing crime among young people. A police spokesman says teenagers are invited to play the game -- called Juvenile Justice Jeopardy -- this afternoon. Those who show up will get free pizza. The game teaches young people about the law, the consequences of their actions -- and how to deal with police. A non-profit group created the game and two Indianapolis businessmen picked up the $15,000 tab so police can use it.


National/International News

Vigil, march for NY man who died in police custody
July 23, 2014 00:56 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Family, friends and community leaders are holding a vigil and demanding justice for a Staten Island man who died in New York police custody.

They gathered Tuesday night at a park near where police attempted to arrest 43-year-old Eric Garner on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes. They marched several blocks to a police precinct and lit candles in Garner's memory.

Garner's arrest last week was captured on an amateur video that shows an officer apparently putting him in a banned chokehold.

At the vigil, Garner's sister, Ellisha Flagg, said their mother has a "very, very heavy heart." City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said she's determined to make sure Garner's death is fully investigated.

Police say they will revamp training on the use of force.

Garner's funeral is Wednesday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The New York Police Department will revamp its training on the use of force amid outrage over the custody death of a man suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes, officials said Tuesday.

Police Commissioner William Bratton said the nation's largest police force will receive additional instruction following the death last week of Eric Garner, who was asthmatic.

"The department needs to do a lot more in terms of training," Bratton said at a news conference.

Garner's arrest last week was captured on a widely distributed amateur video that appears to show an officer putting him in a banned chokehold after he refused to be handcuffed. As several officers take Garner down, he can be heard saying, "I can't breathe. I can't breathe."

Autopsy results are pending in Garner's death, which has sparked protests, a criminal probe and a warning by the Rev. Al Sharpton that Garner's family would explore asking for a federal civil rights investigation. The family was to hold a candlelight vigil Tuesday night on the eve a funeral set for Wednesday.

The death has raised questions about the NYPD's embrace of the "broken windows" theory of policing. Critics say the theory -- that low-grade lawlessness such as drinking in public and making graffiti can invite greater disorder including traffic fatalities and violent crime -- can needlessly put nonviolent people at risk and fuel tensions in the city's minority communities.

Such enforcement "leads to confrontations like this," City Councilwoman Inez Barron said Tuesday at a news conference about Garner's death. Added City Councilman Andy King: "I don't think it's a necessary police tactic."

Bratton vowed on Tuesday to stick with the program, saying the NYPD plans to next target illegal vendors who rent bikes in Central Park. He credited a similar crackdown on subway fare beaters in the 1990s with being the "tipping point" for a drastic reduction in overall crime in the subway trains.

"There's no change in that focus at all," Bratton said of broken windows. "That's a key part of what we're doing."


Qatar, Saudi rulers meet on Gaza cease-fire talks
July 22, 2014 22:18 GMT

By ABDULLA AL-SHIHRI Associated Press

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- A senior Saudi official says Qatar's emir has flown to Saudi Arabia and met with King Abdullah to discuss cease-fire efforts to end the war in the Gaza Strip.

The crown prince and deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia also attended Tuesday night's surprise meeting with Qatar's Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in the coastal city of Jiddah. The official spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the meeting.

It marks the first time Qatar's emir has visited Saudi Arabia since the kingdom, along with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, withdrew their ambassadors to protest Doha's support for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group in the region.

Saudi Arabia is backing an Egyptian cease-fire initiative, while Qatar is the main conduit pressing for the demands of the Gaza Strip's ruling Hamas.


Business/Consumer News

Federal appeals court deals blow to health law

WASHINGTON (AP) -- There's a big decision concerning the big business of health care.

   WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- (Marketwired) -- 03/21/14 --
 Companies that pride themselves on being eco-friendly may have conflicted
 ideas between marketing with ad specialties and maintaining their green
 reputation. Eco-friendly customizable products at EmbroidMe provide a
 solution. Show your prospective customers that your brand aligned with
 the green movement with EmbroidMe's diverse selection of promotional
 items conveniently labeled "green" by the manufacturer.
   Every year, Earth day reminds us how important it is to take care of the
 environment. Promote your business as environmentally conscious with
 products made from recycled and sustainable materials. Pens made of
 post-consumer recycled paper with plastic derived from corn or pad covers
 made of recycled PET (PolyEthylene Terephtalate) are a great choice and
 easily paired with note pads made from recycled paper. Golf balls made of
 100% recycled tire rubber, LED flashlights with rechargeable batteries,
 or calendars made of recycled paper are just some examples of the
 eco-friendly customizable products found at EmbroidMe.
   Eco-conscious businesses can incorporate their mission into their attire
 and work uniforms, with shirts can be made of organic cotton, partially
 recycled cotton, post-consumer PET and recycled polyester. Even the
 customization process can go green when embroidered with cotton thread or
 imprinted with vegetable-based inks.
   "Customers appreciate seeing your logo and knowing you support a cause
 they care about," said Christine Marion, MAS, director of retail
 operations for EmbroidMe. "Our experienced on-site specialists and Eco
 Awareness programs are here to assist you."
   About EmbroidMe
  With hundreds of Resource Centers around the world,
 EmbroidMe is the most comprehensive source for promotional apparel,
 premiums, and advertising specialties, providing its promotional partners
 with full-service custom embroidery and screen-printing for apparel. For
 more information about customized promotional products and to view this
 and additional releases, visit the EmbroidMe News & Press Release section
 of embroidme.com. EmbroidMe's on-site specialists are ready to provide
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 click EmbroidMe Locations to find the Resource Center nearest you.
   Media Contact:
 Christine Marion, MAS
 cmarion@embroidme.com
 P: 561-713-2503
   AP-WF-03-21-14 1926GMT

Posted 5:30 AM EDT on March 21, 2014

Eds: APNewsNow.
   BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) -- Nike says strong global demand for its athletic goods helped third-quarter net income beat expectations as it readies for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.
   The world's largest athletic clothing maker says that not counting income from discontinued operations, earnings rose 3 percent, to $685 million, or 76 cents per share, in the three months ended on Feb. 28. The year before, profit came to $662 million, or 73 cents per share. The discontinued operations added another $204 million in profit to last year's period. Analysts expected 72 cents per share, according to FactSet. Nike sold its Cole Haan and Umbro brands last year.
   Revenue rose 13 percent to $6.97 billion, beating analysts' expectation of $6.81 billion.
   The Beaverton, Ore.-based company said Thursday that future orders worldwide rose 12 percent.
   AP-WF-03-20-14 2110GMT

Posted 5:27 AM EDT on March 20, 2014

PALO ALTO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 03/06/14 --
 PunchTab, the leading omni-channel loyalty and engagement platform,
 announced today the release of their Android SDK. The SDK is a free
 toolkit that provides Android mobile and tablet developers the capability
 to add customized loyalty and engagement programs to any app to help
 increase usage, purchase, awareness, and brand engagement.
   With tens of thousands of apps hitting the market every month and
 billions of dollars spent on mobile marketing, the world of mobile
 development has become a congested, competitive marketplace to carve out
 success. Generating user awareness and continued use remain critical
 challenges for organizations that utilize mobile applications to engage
 customers, or add mobile as part of larger omni-channel initiatives.
 Android developers can now implement PunchTab's loyalty and engagement
 infrastructure in mobile apps, incentivizing users to take actions that
 meet marketing agendas and business goals.
   "Mobile is the most important channel for brands when it comes to
 engaging consumers with relevant, real-time messages and offers.
 According to a recent study, 83% of consumers expect to make more
 purchases via mobile in the next 12 months, a 15% increase from today's
 current statistics -- this is a critical proof point of how important
 mobile has become for brands. Awareness, engagement, and enhanced loyalty
 are essential components in the success of a mobile app," said PunchTab
 Founder and CEO Ranjith Kumaran. "With our Android SDK we can provide
 Android developers with the same high-quality, easy-to-use functionality
 that the PunchTab platform offers to over 19,000 active programs on our
 platform."
   The Android opportunity is significant. Google Play accounted for almost
 75 percent of total app downloads in 2013 and according to Distimo,
 Google Play's revenue share has actually been growing at the expense of
 Apple's. Since June 2013, Google Play's revenue jumped 51 percent. The
 statistics are a window into the continuously growing Android mobile
 application market that does not appear to be slowing down. Brands have
 taken notice and with the PunchTab Android SDK, they have an opportunity
 to reach even more consumers on mobile.
   Analyst and TIME tech columnist, Ben Bajarin estimates that over one
 billion Android smartphones will be sold in 2014, and by the end of 2014
 mobile web users will be three times that of the desktop web. "Mobile can
 no longer be a side strategy for brands, it needs to be a central
 strategy as it's an essential element for maintaining consumer
 engagement. The Android opportunity is one that cannot be overlooked,"
 Bajarin reports.
   PunchTab's Android SDK offers mobile developers a free toolkit with an
 easy to integrate static library and customizable features to most
 effectively meet bottom line business goals. Developers can easily
 reward-enable engagement, repeat usage, social sharing, and more.
   For more information on PunchTab's developer kit visit
 www.punchtab.com/developer.
   About PunchTab, Inc.
  Founded in January 2011, PunchTab is an
 omni-channel loyalty and engagement platform that enables agencies,
 brands, and enterprise organizations to incentivize user behavior and
 drive business success. PunchTab's customers use the company's flexible
 solutions to deepen audience engagement, drive purchase, and build
 awareness by leveraging everything from social sharing and UGC and
 awareness campaigns, to sophisticated B2E and B2B programs. PunchTab
 offers both an out-of-the-box product and a fully customizable,
 white-labeled solution that can reward any action with virtual, social
 and real-world rewards. For more information, please visit
 www.punchtab.com.
   Media Contacts:
 Ben Barenholtz
 Sparkpr for PunchTab
 ben@sparkpr.com
 415.241.5207
 Robyn Hannah
 PunchTab
 robyn@punchtab.com
 408.823.3863
   AP-WF-03-06-14 1315GMT

Posted 12:49 PM EST on March 06, 2014

HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL -- (Marketwired) -- 02/28/14 --
 ADP Dealer Services, Inc., a division of ADP(R) and a leading global
 technology solutions provider dedicated to helping dealerships drive
 measurable results across every area of their operation, announced today
 that due to the overwhelming interest and positive feedback they received
 surrounding their Fixed Ops Expos, they will be launching a new round of
 Dealer Solutions Expos for automotive retail dealers. They will be
 thought leadership events designed to show what successful dealerships
 are doing to change the way they do business in order to meet
 technology-driven consumers' demand.
   Last year, over 600 dealers attended 25 expos across the country, touting
 them as very insightful and informative. One dealer described their
 experience as the "best three-hour time investment I've made in a long
 time."
   ADP Dealer Services will offer dealers a unique opportunity to join an
 interactive discussion with industry thought leaders as well as their
 peers during each event. The first subject will feature automotive retail
 expert, Mike Stoll, presenting, "How to Optimize Your Front Office for
 Maximum Customer Retention" and business security expert, Jim Foote,
 presenting "Who Let the Data Out?". They will each share strategic best
 practices and insider knowledge designed to give attendees a competitive
 edge around customer retention and security.
   These expos are a key pillar in Dealer Services' strategy to provide
 insights that help their dealer clients transform how vehicles are
 marketed, sold, and serviced using technology.
   The Dealer Solutions Expos is open to all dealership management across
 the country and will begin in early March, extending throughout 2014. For
 more information or to register for an event in your area, please visit
 our website, email events@adp.com or call 866.722.1844.
   About ADP
  With more than $11 billion in revenues and more than 60 years
 of experience, ADP(R) (NASDAQ: ADP) serves approximately 620,000 clients
 in more than 125 countries. As one of the world's largest providers of
 business outsourcing and Human Capital Management solutions, ADP offers a
 wide range of human resource, payroll, talent management, tax and
 benefits administration solutions from a single source, and helps clients
 comply with regulatory and legislative changes, such as the Affordable
 Care Act (ACA). ADP's easy-to-use solutions for employers provide
 superior value to companies of all types and sizes. ADP is also a leading
 provider of integrated computing solutions to auto, truck, motorcycle,
 marine, recreational vehicle, and heavy equipment dealers throughout the
 world. For more information about ADP, visit the company's Web site at
 www.adp.com.
   The ADP logo and ADP are registered trademarks of ADP, Inc. All other
 marks are the property of their respective owners. Copyright Copyright
 2014 ADP, Inc.
   Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame--mw?attachid=2528720
 Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame--mw?attachid=2528723
 Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame--mw?attachid=2528725
 Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame--mw?attachid=2528718
   Media Contact:
 Michelle Benko
 ADP Dealer Services
 michelle.benko@adp.com
 847.485.4389
   AP-WF-02-28-14 1106GMT

Posted 5:27 AM EST on February 28, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwired) -- 02/26/14 --
 The following is a statement by National Association of Realtors(R)
 President Steve Brown:
   "NAR supports reforms that promote economic growth, but we strongly
 oppose severely altering the rules that govern ownership and investment
 in real estate. Real estate powers almost one-fifth of the U.S. economy,
 employs more than 17 million Americans, and contributes a quarter of all
 federal and state tax revenue and as much as 70 percent of local taxes.
   "We are extremely disappointed with several of the provisions contained
 in U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp's tax reform draft
 released today, namely proposed limits on the mortgage interest deduction
 and capital gains, and the repeal of deductions for state and local
 property taxes. These proposed changes to the taxation of real estate
 will impact every single American, either directly or indirectly.
   "NAR will carefully analyze the details of the Chairman's plan so we can
 best educate Congress and the public about how this plan would impact the
 owners, consumers, and producers of both residential and commercial real
 estate."
   The National Association of Realtors(R), "The Voice for Real Estate," is
 America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members
 involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate
 industries.
   Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other
 news releases are posted in the "News, Blogs and Videos" tab on the
 website.
   For further information contact:
 Jenny Werwa
 202-383-1193
 jwerwa@realtors.org
   AP-WF-02-26-14 2105GMT

Posted 5:26 AM EST on February 26, 2014

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