Science & Tech News
Witnesses describe blast that brought down two New York apartment buildings
March 12, 2014 16:41 GMT
NEW YORK (AP) -- A man who works in a nearby building says today's explosion that leveled two New York City apartment buildings felt like an earthquake.
Waldemar Infante, who was working in the basement of the neighboring building when the explosion took place, says, "There were glass shards everywhere on the ground and all the stores had their windows blown out."
The explosion left at least two people dead and injured 17 others. It happened after a neighbor reported smelling natural gas.
Con Edison says the person who reported the gas smell said he thought the odor could be coming from outside. A spokesman says the utility dispatched two crews, but they arrived just after the explosion.
The East Harlem neighborhood was at a standstill as police set up barricades to keep residents away from the ruins of the five-story buildings. Thick, acrid smoke filled the air, watering people's eyes. Some wore surgical masks while others held their hands or scarves over their faces.
A resident of one of the destroyed buildings says he heard news of the blast and hurried back from his job. He says he found "nothing left" -- just "a bunch of bricks and wood."
165-a-12-(Marlene Gomez, neighbor, in AP interivew)-"started to run"-Marlene Gomez, who lives in the neighborhood, says the explosion scared her. (12 Mar 2014)
<<CUT ..165 (03/12/14)>> 00:12 "started to run"
167-a-11-(Kathy Smith, lives in the neighborhood, in interview)-"looking for survivors"-Kathy Smith, who lives in the neighborhood, says there was a lot of activity right after the explosion. COURTESY: WABC-TV ((mandatory on-air credit)) (12 Mar 2014)
<<CUT ..167 (03/12/14)>> 00:11 "looking for survivors"
GRAPHICSBANK: Injured person assisted by emergency services after building explosion and collapse, East Harlem, New York City, graphic element on gray (12 Mar 2014)
APPHOTO NYJM111: Firefighters respond to an explosion and building collapse in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. The explosion leveled an apartment building, and sent flames and billowing black smoke above the skyline. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (12 Mar 2014)
<<APPHOTO NYJM111 (03/12/14)>>
APPHOTO NYJM108: Firefighters respond to a fire after an explosion and building collapse in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. The explosion leveled an apartment building, and sent flames and billowing black smoke above the skyline. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (12 Mar 2014)
<<APPHOTO NYJM108 (03/12/14)>>
Report: Jailed Mafia boss reveals killing detail
March 12, 2014 15:54 GMT
MILAN (AP) -- An Italian newspaper report says the remote control to detonate the bomb that killed anti-Mafia prosecutor Paolo Borsellino in 1992 was hidden inside the intercom at his mother's Palermo residence.
La Repubblica said on its website Wednesday that jailed Mafia boss Salvatore "Toto" Riina revealed the whereabouts of the remote control, long a mystery, to another inmate in a monitored jail yard chat. The newspaper says it isn't clear whether Borsellino activated the bomb himself by buzzing his mother's home, or if someone else did.
Borsellino and his bodyguards were killed in the blast from a car packed with more than 160 pounds (70 kilograms) of plastic explosives outside his mother's house. It came just two months after another anti-Mafia prosecutor was killed.
Riina ordered the back-to-back slayings.
Asian stock markets down on China worries
MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Asian stock markets sank today as recent falls in Chinese copper and iron prices added to jitters that the world's No. 2 economy is continuing to slow.
BC-US--Dow Record-Three Personal Stories, 1st Ld-Writethru,1173
Dow Record: Three tales of ups, downs and changes
AP Photo FX102, FX103
Eds: With BC-US--Dow Record. Adds photos.
By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- When the Dow first crossed 14,000, investors were overjoyed. When it closed at an all-time high of 14,253.77 on Tuesday, it wasn't so much a time for celebration as it was for reflection.
It's been a long five and a half years.
The ups and downs of the market touched us all in some manner. Jobs were lost. Retirements were delayed. Even those who came out mostly unscathed were still reaching for Alka-Seltzer during the many turbulent days.
Through it all, the stock market has slowly climbed back. And many of us have been left with a much more pragmatic view of the economy.
To mark the new record, The Associated Press asked three people to reflect on the fluctuations in the Dow Jones industrial average and how it shaped their own experiences. Here are their stories:
FROM WALL STREET TO LIFE COACH
Vanessa Loder is the ultimate type-A person, the kind who's often attracted to Wall Street. A self-described perfectionist. An overachiever who graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Columbia University while playing Division I varsity soccer.
"I thought it wasn't good enough to be smart or athletic, I needed to be both."
After college, there were jobs at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan. By age 24, Loder was making $250,000 a year.
Loder then headed to Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she was co-president of the ski club. After graduating, she took a job with a San Francisco private equity firm.
It was the spring of 2007 and the stock market was on fire. Her hours were consumed with deal after deal.
The Dow just kept climbing. In April, it crossed 13,000. By July, it had passed 14,000.
One of the firm's partners came out of his office and announced the milestone. Many workers had their own investments.
"We were cheering. Everybody was in a good mood," Loder recalls. "And then within a few months, it all came to a halt."
Debt markets dried up. Few companies wanted to do mergers or acquisitions. Those that did couldn't get a loan to finance the deal.
"We were literally twiddling our thumbs in '08 and '09," Loder says.
Boredom set in, and Loder questioned why she was drawn to Wall Street in the first place.
I was totally unhappy and I couldn't understand why," she says. "I just felt lost. I felt like something was missing from my life."
So she quit.
Soul-searching took Loder about as far from finance as possible. She learned hypnosis and techniques to get subjects to conjure memories believed to be from past lives. She spent 10 days doing a silent meditation retreat.
"All this crazy stuff out there, it actually works," she says. "I was kind of shocked."
Today, at 34, Loder runs her own business helping women in finance and Silicon Valley who are unfulfilled by their careers. The company, Akoya Power, runs group coaching programs, corporate workshops and luxury retreats, which can cost up to $12,000 a person.
"If the Dow kept hitting a new high each month, I would have been so busy with deals that I would haven't had time or perspective," Loder says. "I'm so grateful that the economy slowed down the way it did. That triggered my boredom, which made me realize how unhappy I was."
THE CALM ADVISOR
Derek Kennedy spent the recession repeating the same message: stay the course.
The Tennessee financial adviser didn't have clients wake him in the middle of the night worried about their retirement. Instead, he offered plenty of proactive messages telling them to stick to their investment plan.
He'd start each phone call with a joke to break the tension.
"Just checking in," he'd say. "Have you been glued to CNBC? Are you chewing ice cubes?"
The he'd follow up with a somewhat reassuring point: when designing a retirement plan, they had planned for this. Well, not this exact meltdown, but something similar. While stocks were plunging, other parts of the portfolio -- most notably Treasury notes -- were showing a nice return and helping to lessen the overall loss.
"Stay cool. Times of market volatility are times of opportunity for well-constructed, well diversified and properly allocated investment portfolios," he told clients in an email March 15, 2011.
Two year before that, he had a similar message: stay the course.
"There really is no reasonable alternative than to remain patient," he wrote in 2009. "It is often hard not to be seduced into playing musical chairs with Wall Street, out of a desire to take at least some kind of action. Just remember, people are losing their chairs every day in these volatile markets."
He also noted for younger clients that the low stock prices of 2008 and 2009 will be history's equivalent of a "blue light special at Kmart." So buy while you can at the discounted prices.
Today, his clients are mostly whole again, but that doesn't mean they are complacent.
"They feel like it could all change on a dime again," Kennedy says. "They feel like it's only one economic or political event from being 2008 all over again."
His message -- as it's always been -- is to stay the course.
HE ALMOST LOST IT ALL
Mike Hall was working as a technology manager at a utility company in 2006. He was 57, had enough savings and decided to retire early.
Instead of collecting a monthly pension check, he decided to take a lump sum payout. He liked the idea that if he died unexpectedly, the money would pass on to his wife or daughter. He invested the money in stocks because the market was booming.
The Dow kept climbing.
"I was thinking: Things are going well. I made all the right moves. I was very secure," Hall says.
That euphoria didn't last long. The market's ascent quickly turned into a tumultuous tumble. Suddenly the decision to retire early, paired with liquidating his pension, didn't seem the best thing to do.
"My first thought: I can't believe it. I worked 33 years, I retired and six months later, boom, there it goes," Hall says. "I was convinced I had made two very bad choices."
At the market's low point, Hall's nest egg had lost 40 percent of its value.
Luckily, Hall and his wife had other sources of income and didn't need their savings immediately. She ran her own small business. He had already taken an entry-level job with the Department of Motor Vehicles to keep busy and get out of their Nevada home.
He never thought about selling.
"That's locking in your losses," Hall says. "You need to step back from your emotions."
Hall knew the problem wasn't his portfolio, but deeper economic issues and -- at some point -- the economy would recover.
Today, his portfolio is back to where it was at retirement.
"This isn't rocket science. This is basic, basic long-term investing," Hall says. "It's pretty boring stuff, but it really does work."
Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.
Posted 5:17 AM EST on March 05, 2013
Here is the latest California news from The Associated Press
CULVER CITY, Calif. (AP) -- Californians may be paying the highest gasoline taxes in the nation when a 3 1/2-cents-per-gallon increase kicks in this summer. The state Board of Equalization has voted to hike the excise tax to 39.5 cents per gallon. The excise tax is levied on gasoline suppliers but it's often passed on to consumers.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) -- Southern California firefighters have made significant progress against remnants of a wildfire that damaged a home and cut power to about 2,000 residents in Riverside County. A fire department spokesman says flames died down overnight but there are still hotspots and there is concern about winds picking up.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown has denied parole for a former Charles Manson follower who has served more than 40 years in prison. Brown told The Associated Press today he has refused to approve the release of 70-year-old Bruce Davis, who a month earlier was found suitable for parole by a state board.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- A federal judge in California is erasing nearly half of the $1 billion in damages that a jury decided Samsung Electronics should pay Apple in a high-profile trial over the smartphone and tablet computer patents. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh lowered the damages awarded to Apple by over $450 million.
Posted 5:24 AM EST on March 01, 2013
Rebel Apple investor tries to rally Street
By PETER SVENSSON
AP Technology Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- A Wall Street maverick who wants Apple to share more of its wealth with investors took his case to other shareholders Thursday, urging them to send management a message by voting against a company proposal at the upcoming annual meeting.
David Einhorn, founder of hedge fund Greenlight Capital, laid out his case for "iPrefs," a class of dividend-bearing preferred stock he wants the company to issue as a way of committing to use its massive profits for the benefit of shareholders.
Apple hands only a small amount of its profits to shareholders. The rest of the money goes in the bank, where Apple's cash hoard amounted to $137 billion at the end of last year.
Einhorn introduced his plan two weeks ago. Apple responded, saying it would consider the proposal.
Posted 4:25 AM EST on February 21, 2013
SUBARU IS RECALLING AS MANY AS SIX HUNDRED THIRTY-FOUR THOUSAND VEHICLES NATIONWIDE.
THE MOVE DUE TO A LIGHTING ISSUE WHICH COULD LEAD TO A SHORT CIRCUIT IN THE WIRING, RESULTING IN SMOKE OR FIRE.
THE RECALL POTENTIALLY AFFECTS SOME FORESTER VEHICLES FROM MODEL YEARS TWO THOUSAND NINE THROUGH TWO THOUSAND TWELVE.
ALL LEGACY AND OUTBACK VEHICLES FROM MODEL YEARS TWO THOUSAND TEN THROUGH TWO THOUSAND TWELVE...
AND SOME TRIBECA VEHICLES FROM MODEL YEARS TWO THOUSAND SIX THROUGH TWO THOUSAND TWELVE.
Posted 2:02 AM EST on January 03, 2013
Recall of 55,455 Britax convertible car seats
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government is alerting consumers to a safety recall announced by Britax Child Safety Inc., involving 55,455 convertible car seats sold in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says Britax, of Charlotte, N.C., has received reports of children biting and gagging on pieces of the HUGS pads connected to the seat's harness straps. The recall involves models Boulevard 70-G3, Advocate 70-G3, and Pavilion 70-G3 manufactured from June 2012 through August 2012. To address the issue, Britax is providing consumers with a kit containing more durable replacement pads that can be installed on the harness straps. Owners of affected car seats are encouraged to remove the HUGS pad until a replacement pad is received. For more information contact Britax Child Safety, Inc., at (888) 427-4829 or at www.britaxusa.com/support/safety-notices.
Posted 6:14 PM EST on November 12, 2012
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