Offbeat News

Last Update on July 11, 2014 09:34 GMT

HUMPTY DUMPTY

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, and couldn't be put back together again. Only this time, it wasn't all the kings horses and men who made that call -- it was the sculptor who made the nursery rhyme character -- and placed him on the wall. The "great fall" happened when two men visiting the Enchanted Forest near Salem, Oregon jumped on a wall where the Humpty Dumpty had been fashioned out of rebar, cement, sand and plaster -- one of several characters scattered through the site. Sculptor Roger Tofte tells the Salem Statesman Journal the egg couldn't be repaired -- but this time, the story has a happy ending. The men responsible for the egg's tumble have offered to pay for a new one. And while not "putting him back together again," Tofte says he will make another from scratch. He says it will take a month to build.

WHOOPS, INDEED

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Anyone who has ever had their car towed from a private parking lot probably feels tow truck drivers sometimes go too far in their efforts. That proved to be the case in Oregon -- when the owner of a tow company went so far as to hook up and haul away an undercover police vehicle. State Police say they'd gotten reports that a towing company had been taking away cars without the required certificate. What's more, the rogue hooker would post its own impoundment warning signs -- and use a spotter to gin up bogus tows. The unmarked vehicle was used as a lure as part of the investigation -- and the unregistered company bit. The owner of Whoops Towing was booked on charges of failing to register as a sex offender -- and violating parole terms.

NYC CRACKDOWN ON COSTUMED CHARACTERS

NEW YORK (AP) -- City officials in New York are trying to play kryptonite to Superman -- at least to the people who dress like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Super Mario around Times Square. The City Council is considering making laws to regulate the people who lure tourists to take pictures with them -- then request money for the privilege of posing with them. The bill would require costumed performers to be licensed and go through a background check. One councilman notes there are also copyright issues that need to be worked out before the measure goes forward. There have been some unsettling incidents involving some in costumes. A person dressed as Super Mario was accused of groping a woman. And an Elmo figure pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after unleashing an anti-Semitic tirade.

THREATENING PIG

OAKLAND, Maine (AP) -- Maybe it heard how much kids like bacon. Police in Oakland, Maine are looking for a pig that threatened a couple of youngsters in a wooded area. Captain Rick Stubbert tells the Morning Sentinel the youngsters were walking along a trail Tuesday afternoon when the pig confronted them, "screaming at the kids and chasing them." The children were so put off by the porker, they flagged down a police officer. Authorities who responded found pig tracks at the scene, but not the animal. It's unknown where the pig came from -- or why it was acting so aggressively.


Science & Tech News

Last Update on July 11, 2014 07:12 GMT

IN THE NEWS: VA. POLICE WON'T SEEK NUDE PIX OF SEXTING SUSPECT

McLEAN, Va. (AP) -- It had a certain "eewww" factor to it -- and now police in Manassas, Virginia have decided against it. They won't go forward with plans to take sexually explicit photos of a 17-year-old to prove a sexting case against him. The plan by police and prosecutors to take pictures of the teen in an aroused state had produced a wave of criticism. Police had said they wanted the pictures to compare to photos he's accused of sending to his 15-year-old girlfriend at the time. But now they're backing away from that approach -- and will let a search warrant authorizing the photos expire.

IN THE NEWS: VERIZON ADDING WIRELESS CUSTOMERS

NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's largest wireless category says it's getting stronger. Verizon says it added more than 1.4 million long-term wireless subscribers in the second quarter of this season. The report comes in advance of the firm's second-quarter earnings report, which is due July 22. Verizon says the gains in the April-to-June period came in both smartphones and tablets.


National/International News

Texas slaying suspect was high school prom king
July 11, 2014 23:31 GMT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- The man accused of killing six members of his ex-wife's family, including four children, in Texas this week is a graduate of a suburban Anchorage high school, where he was voted class clown and prom king.

The Anchorage Daily News reports (http://is.gd/Qhz5PV) Ronald Lee Haskell Jr. lived in Alaska until 2004. He attended Chugiak High School, and was part of a tight-knit Mormon community in Eagle River, about 10 miles north of Anchorage.

Drew Nevitt attended the same Mormon church as Haskell. Nevitt says Haskell was an older peer he looked up to, "just as a funny red-headed, freckled guy with a good personality."

Nevitt described him as "the Chris Farley of Eagle River."

Nevitt and other former classmates struggled to understand how things changed so dramatically for Haskell.

Information from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.adn.com


Canada imposes further sanctions against Ukraine
July 11, 2014 22:00 GMT

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) -- Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Canada will impose economic sanctions and a travel ban on 14 more members of pro-Russian separatist groups in Ukraine.

The additions include Valery Vladimirovich Kaurov, the self-described president of the Republic of Novorossiya, who has called on Putin to deploy troops to Ukraine. Novorossiya translates to New Russia and is a pro-Russian term for a region in southeast Ukraine.

Baird is urging Russia to stop sending arms and militants into Ukraine. He said Friday that Moscow should abandon what he calls its inflammatory propaganda campaign against Ukraine.

Baird also asked Russia to draw down its troops deployed close to Ukraine's borders.

Canada has imposed travel bans and economic sanctions against dozens of Russian and Ukrainian people and entities.


Business/Consumer News

Economists downgrade forecasts for US growth

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. business economists have sharply cut their growth forecasts for the April-to-June quarter and the full year. Yet they remain optimistic that the economy will rebound from a dismal first quarter.

   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,
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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
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   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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