ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - An unidentified woman was taken from golfer Tiger Woods' home in Windermere, Florida, by ambulance to a nearby hospital early on Tuesday, authorities said.
"We responded to a medical call. A patient was transported," said Orange County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Genevieve Latham, who said the woman was transported by ambulance overnight.
Latham declined further comment. But WESH-TV, a local station, showed footage of a blond woman being taken on a stretcher into a hospital in Ococee, Florida, and the station said medics were called to Woods' home at 2:36 a.m. (0736 GMT).
Woods, the world's No. 1 golfer, has been the focus of a media storm since he was injured in a minor car crash in the middle of the night outside his home late last month.
He has since admitted to "transgressions" that apparently addressed allegations of marital infidelity.
read more ....

Obama keeps focus on jobs, warns no silver bullet


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, battling a public outcry over double-digit U.S. unemployment, on Tuesday will lay out several new steps to boost jobs and confront a challenge that has hurt his popularity.

Building on a jobs forum and road trip to the industrial heartland last week, Obama is expected to discuss extending aid to cash-strapped states, encouraging energy efficiency by weatherizing buildings and using bank-bailout money for jobs.
However, a deficit-wary White House said that this will not amount to a second stimulus package, implying any price-tag associated with the additional measures will be modest.
"What my speech tomorrow will focus on is the fact that having gotten the financial crisis under control ... our biggest challenge now is making sure that job growth matches up with economic growth," Obama told reporters.
U.S. unemployment dipped slightly to 10 percent last month but Americans remain anxious about the economy, nudging Obama's approval ratings to 50 percent or below and potentially dimming his Democratic party's prospects in mid-term congressional elections next November.
The White House separately said Obama was "not going to unveil the silver bullet idea" on Tuesday, because if there was an easy solution out there, it would have already been done.
Under fire from Republicans for bailouts created when they in fact held the White House, Obama will review using some money previously earmarked for a $700 billion bank rescue fund that has been returned to the public purse.
Obama said that some of the money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, will be used to pay down the record U.S. budget deficit, but he was open to other options.
"The question is, are there selective approaches that are consistent with the original goals of TARP, for example making sure that small businesses are still getting lending, that would be appropriate in accelerating job growth, and I will be addressing that tomorrow," Obama said.
The speech, in Washington, is scheduled for Tuesday at 11:15 a.m. EST.
The Treasury said on Sunday that TARP will cost U.S. taxpayers about $200 billion less than previously estimated.
Republicans oppose diverting any of this money from deficit reduction, and Obama is aware of the perils of not tackling the country's record budget shortfall, which hit $1.4 trillion in the financial year that ended in September.
DEFICITS MATTER
Obama told a White House jobs forum on Thursday the best way to cut the deficit in the short-term was to boost jobs and growth, lifting tax revenue and curbing welfare payments. But he also stressed the risk of scaring away investors if the country fails to improve its budget position over time.
Obama signed a $787 billion emergency spending bill in February and is keen to avoid having any additional action tagged as a second stimulus package, not least because two-thirds of this money has still not been spent.
As a result, he is expected to focus on relatively low-cost initiatives that will not significantly add to the deficit.
Beyond exploiting the TARP windfall, the White House is also looking at extending aid to states, which have a gaping $144 billion budget deficit this year and will have to start firing workers like teachers and firefighters unless Washington can find some way to ease their pain.
Renewing unemployment insurance and other welfare support that has already been extended under the emergency stimulus act will be politically hard to resist, with over 15 million Americans out of work and the jobless rate at a 26-year high.
Another idea Obama highlighted at the jobs forum last week was a so-called cash-for-caulkers plan to improve energy efficiency by weatherizing buildings. This recalled the wildly popular cash-for-clunkers deal earlier this year to trade in old gas-guzzling automobiles for new higher mileage rides.
Obama has also mentioned tax incentives to encourage firms to add to payrolls, echoing measures that appear to have helped Germany avoid suffering a steep climb in unemployment despite also going through a severe recession last year.
"I hope he goes for some work-sharing tax credit. The idea is picking up lots of support in Congress. It is hard to envision a quicker way to get unemployment down," said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.
read more ....


BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Car bombs killed at least 112 people in Baghdad on Tuesday, police said, leaving pools of blood, charred buses and scattered body parts in a brutal reminder of the threat from Iraq's stubborn insurgency.

The blasts, most detonated by suicide bombers, ripped through crowded areas close to government buildings, which should have been under tight security after previous devastating attacks in the capital in recent months.
The bombings undermine Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's claims to have brought security to the country before a national election now scheduled for March 6, and could rattle foreign oil chiefs due in Iraq this weekend for a major contract auction.
"We had entered a shop seconds before the blast, the ceiling caved in on us, and we lost consciousness. Then I heard screams and sirens all around," said Mohammed Abdul Ridha, one of the 425 wounded in the series of at least four blasts.
Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qassim al-Moussawi gave a lower death toll of 63. It was not possible to explain the discrepancy with the numbers provided by police sources. The Health Ministry said it was difficult to determine the exact number because many bodies had been blown to pieces.
Smoke billowed and sirens wailed as emergency workers removed the dead in black body bags. Pools of blood had formed next to burned-out minibuses, police vehicles and dozens of crumpled cars at one bomb site, the blast leaving a huge crater.
"What these gangs are doing are criminal acts which express their bankruptcy and disappointment ... after what the Iraqi people and its political powers have achieved," Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi said in a statement.
Analysts said the attacks, similar to spectacular bombings in the Iraqi capital in October and August, were meant to shake faith in Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim-led government.
The earlier blasts were blamed on Sunni Islamist insurgents and members of Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath party.
"It's the same style and the same vital targets. There is one political motive -- to show that the government has failed to provide security," said analyst Hazim al-Nuaimi.
OIL AUCTION STILL ON
In one attack, a suicide bomber blew up his vehicle in the car park of a courthouse, after getting through a checkpoint, police said.
Another blast, this time a parked car bomb and not a suicide bomber, struck a temporary building used by the Finance Ministry after its main premises were devastated in the August bombing.
A third bomber blew himself and his car up near a training center for judges.
The first blast of the day struck a police checkpoint in south Baghdad about 30 minutes before the other three. It, too, was a suicide bomber in a car packed with explosives.
Iraq's Oil Ministry said it would not cancel the planned tender of oilfield development contracts on December 11 and 12, which executives from the world's main oil companies are due to attend. The deals are seen as crucial to Iraq's efforts to raise the cash required to rebuild after years of war and destruction.
NEW INSURGENT TACTIC
Overall violence in Iraq has fallen sharply in the last two years, and November's monthly civilian death toll was the lowest since the 2003 U.S. invasion.
But Iraq's security forces, now largely working alone after U.S. troops pulled out of urban centres in June, have struggled to prevent major attacks that experts say require strong intelligence-gathering to prevent.
A handful of U.S. soldiers were at the scene of one blast site, collecting evidence, while Iraqi police looked on.
Tuesday's attacks were the worst in Baghdad since October 25, when two massive truck bombs killed 155 people at the Justice Ministry and the offices of the governor of Baghdad.
After each attack, the government ordered tighter security and Maliki promised the culprits would be captured.
The bombings mark a change of tactics for Sunni Islamist insurgent groups such as al Qaeda. Rather than frequent, smaller-scale attacks against soft targets such as markets, they now appear to be aiming for spectacular and less frequent strikes against state targets.
read more ....

Poll: 26% think Obama deserves Nobel

Good news/bad news Q Poll on war and peace for Barack Obama.
Approval for the Afghanistan escalation is up by nine points in the past month -- voters now think the war is a good idea by a 57-to-35 percent margin.
A healthy 60 percent favor his new troop surge, according to the Quinnipiac survey, which has a two percent margin of error.
But only 26 percent think the president, who has been in office for less than a year, deserves to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Q: "The jump in public support for Obama’s war policy comes as voters say 66 – 26 percent he does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize he will be awarded this week, and 41 percent say the Nobel committee’s choice of Obama for the award causes them to think less of it, while 6 percent say it makes them think better of the prize and 49 percent say it makes no difference."
The whole release, which has crosstabs, after the jump.
read more ....

Baucus flame burned for US attorney job

The AP goes to Billings for the scoop on Max Baucus's girlfriend/staffer/US Attorney nominee Melodee Hanes, who had been eying a federal prosecutor's job for a long time.
Hanes' ex-husband described their recent divorce as "amicable" but said it was a good idea that her name was withdrawn from consideration as Montana's US attorney.
Hanes, whom colleagues describe as a skilled courtroom lawyer with a passion for prosecutor child abusers, may have taken a job with Baucus in the hopes that it would eventually lead to the appointment, sources tell the wire. Their extramarital romance was, reportedly, an unexpected detour from that path.
The AP's Matthew Brown:
In Montana, Yellowstone County Attorney Dennis Paxinos described Hanes as an accomplished criminal prosecutor. Being named U.S. attorney "was the career path she was working on" since at least 2002, said Paxinos, a Republican and Hanes' former boss.That year Hanes left her deputy county attorney job to work on Baucus' re-election campaign. The move into politics was based on the assumption that it could lead to the federal prosecutor's job, according to Paxinos."I don't think it was ever her intent to fall in love with a senator," he said.When Hanes put in her name for U.S. attorney — soon after President Obama was elected last November — John Sarcone, county attorney in Polk County, Iowa, said he submitted a letter of recommendation for her. Hanes, who gravitated to child abuse cases over her two decades in private practice and as a prosecutor, had worked in Sarcone's office from 1986 to 1998."She was out to do justice and she did a good job," Sarcone said.Hanes divorced Thomas Bennett, a Billings pathologist, after a 12-year marriage in December 2008, according to court records. She left Baucus' office in June to take a top position within the Justice Department in Washington.Bennett said in an interview that he had "misgivings, mostly as a private citizen" about his ex-wife's nomination for federal prosecutor given her close personal ties to Baucus.
read more ....

Chavez: Venezuela acquires thousands of missiles


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - President Hugo Chavez said Monday that Venezuela has received thousands of Russian-made missiles and rocket launchers as part of his government's military preparations for a possible armed conflict with neighboring Colombia.
"They are preparing a war against us," Chavez said during a televised address, repeating a charge he has been making for months. "Preparing is one of the best ways to neutralize it."
Both Colombia and Washington deny having any plans to attack Venezuela, but Chavez argues they are plotting together a military offensive against Venezuela. Chavez says his government is acquiring more weapons as a precaution.
"Thousands of missiles are arriving," Chavez said. The former paratrooper-turned-president did not specify what type of missiles, but said Venezuela's growing arsenal includes Russian-made Igla-1S surface-to-air missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.
Chavez, who has been feuding with Colombia for months, claims an agreement between Bogota and Washington allowing the U.S. military to increase its presence at seven Colombian military bases poses a threat to his country. Colombia says the deal is only to help it fight the war on drugs and insurgents inside its territory.
Chavez also said Monday that Russian tanks, including T-72s, will be arriving "to strengthen our armored divisions."
Venezuela has bought more than $4 billion worth of Russian arms since 2005, including 24 Sukhoi fighter jets, dozens of attack helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles. In September, Russia opened a $2.2 billion line of credit for Venezuela to purchase more weapons.

read more ....

Fifa boss Blatter hails football resilience at Soccerex


Fifa head Sepp Blatter has said that football is bouncing back financially from the economic downturn.
"I think we are seeing sponsorship [in football] starting to rise up again from the bottom it hit during the economic crisis," he said.
He was speaking at the Soccerex football business seminar.
Mr Blatter also hailed footballers as modern-day gladiators and said he hoped next year's World Cup would leave South Africa a more secure country.
The Fifa head covered a number of topics from the realm of football business, including the challenges and legacies of the 2010 World Cup, the global downturn, and television money in the sport.
TV rights
Addressing the broader global economic circumstances, Mr Blatter said that the money TV had pumped into football had helped it get through the recent downturn.
"Football has touched by the economic crisis; one can see that in the lower football professional leagues in France, Italy and Spain, where there is not the same amount of money available," he said.

"But with the World Cup, and higher professional leagues, the [financial] involvement from the general outside economy is still there, largely from TV money."
"The marriage of TV and football over the past 25 to 30 years has been wonderful, and football is one of the best products TV can have."
Looking ahead to the next World Cup, to be held in Brazil in 2014, Mr Blatter said it had been a wise decision to award it to the South American nation, as its economy was now thriving.
"Brazil's economy is in a good way," he said.
"And for Brazil the World Cup will bring in more investment, as it did when we last changed continent and brought the World Cup here to South Africa."
'New gladiators'
He also said that as well as being an attractive proposition for television firms and sponsors, the World Cup was also emotionally helping people hit by the economic downturn.
"The Romans give people bread and entertainment - they gave them gladiators; now footballers are the new gladiators," he declared.
He earned rapturous applause from the thousands of delegates assembled in Johannesburg when he opened his remarks by saying South Africa would win when it played in the opening game of World Cup 2010.
"We will have a wonderful World Cup in South Africa, that is why I am so happy to be here," he said in a keynote speech.

"The World Cup has been a huge cause of investment in South Africa, and it will leave a wonderful infrastructure, not only in terms of transport, but also with telecoms and different hotels and parks."
He also said that the World Cup would leave a legacy for the security industry in South Africa, with Fifa demanding thousands of additional trained security guards for the duration of the 30-day tournament in June and July next year.
"My wish would be that the security industry being developed for the World Cup shall remain afterwards, so that we have done something [towards a] secure country," Mr Blatter added.
Looking at what work had still to be done in the country, he said that this summer's "wonderful" Confederations Cup had identified some potential problems ahead of the World Cup.
"We understand something of the logistical problems - involving transportation and accommodation issues - but these will be solved."
"But when we have identified problems we can solve them. The South African government and other entities, they know about these issues and will deal with them."
Mr Blatter also alluded to the question of World Cup ticket distribution - there will only be 3.5 million tickets available for a country of 44 million - by saying that it is natural that not everyone would be able to attend in person.
"Football belongs to the people, but the World Cup is also on a level of where it cannot be without economic groups, politicians, so there has to be a balance," he said.
read more ....

Woods speaks up, says crash is ‘private matter’

WINDERMERE, Fla. (AP)—Despite presenting his side of the car-crash story and asking that it remain “a private matter,” Tiger Woods may still not be in the clear.
Troopers arriving at his Isleworth home requesting an interview were turned down for a third straight day, but the Florida Highway Patrol said it will continue to investigate. Yet the tabloid-fueled rumors now swirling around one of the world’s richest and most-recognizable athletes could turn out to be more troublesome still.
About an hour before the troopers arrived Sunday afternoon, Woods released a statement on his Web site taking responsibility for—but providing few details about—the middle-of-the-night accident that left him dazed, bruised and bloodied. “This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way,” Woods said. “Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible. …
“I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received,” the statement concluded. “But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be.”
Yet several public-relations experts believed there was little chance of that request being honored.
“The goal of putting out a statement, or having a press conference, is to make sure questions are answered so you’re not continuing to have questions that are crisis-related,” said Mike Paul, whose firm, MGP & Associates, frequently works with athletes. “There are still over a dozen questions we have regarding his reputation because the statement is not enough.”
The world’s No. 1 golfer remained hunkered down at home in an exclusive gated community outside Orlando. He was scheduled to compete at the Chevron World Challenge, which starts Thursday in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The tournament director, however, did not know whether Woods would play or even attend.
When troopers arrived at Woods’ home Sunday, his attorney, Mark NeJame, gave them Woods’ driver’s license, registration and insurance, as required by law for such accidents. This time, the meeting was not rescheduled.
But patrol spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes said investigators spoke with the neighbor who made the 911 call on Saturday and might seek out others who were at the scene as well.
“If we have somebody who we feel is pertinent to the investigation, then we will interview them,” she said.
In the 911 call released by the FHP on Sunday, the unidentified neighbor told the dispatcher, “I have a neighbor, he hit the tree. And we came out here just to see what was going on. I see him and he’s laying down.”
The caller did not identify the neighbor as Woods. When asked if the victim was unconscious, the neighbor replied, “Yes,”
Parts of the call were inaudible because of a bad connection. At one point, the voice of a woman is heard yelling, “What happened?”
Yet even the release of the 911 tape and Woods’ statement failed to answer that question and several other.
— Where he was going at that time of the night?
— How did he lose control of his SUV at such a speed that the air bags didn’t deploy?
— Why were both rear windows of the Cadillac Escalade smashed?
— If it was a careless mistake, why not speak to state troopers trying to wrap the investigation?
Montes said authorities towed the Cadillac SUV that Woods was driving and have already documented the damage to the vehicle and the point of impact. According to the FHP accident report, Woods had just pulled out of his driveway when he struck a fire hydrant and then a tree. His wife told Windermere police she used a golf club to smash the back windows to help him out.
“The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false,” Woods said.
The reference in his statement to “false, unfounded and malicious rumors” may have involved a story published last week in the National Enquirer alleging that Woods had been seeing a New York nightclub hostess, and that they recently were together in Melbourne, where Woods competed in the Australian Masters.
The woman, Rachel Uchitel, denied having an affair with Woods when contacted by The Associated Press. On Sunday, she flew to Los Angeles and was met by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred at the airport.
Uchitel didn’t speak to reporters except to ask that she be left alone. Allred, however, confirmed to the AP that she would be representing Uchitel.
“We plan to meet and then we’ll decide on the next step, which we do not plan to announce to the press,” the attorney said in an e-mail.
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson in Jacksonville, and Associated Press writers Linda Deutsch in Los Angeles, and Sarah Larimer in Miami contributed to this report.
read more ....

Mideast markets nosedive amid Dubai woes


Steep fall comes as trading resumes in UAE following extended holiday

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Dubai's main stock exchange dropped more than 7 percent and Abu Dhabi markets slid more than 8 percent on the first day of trading in the United Arab Emirates since officials went public that conglomerate Dubai World was struggling with its $60 billion in debts.
Shares of DP World, a profitable port operating division of the debt-ridden Dubai World, were off nearly 15 percent in early trading Monday when the market opened. The overwhelming majority of companies whose shares traded Monday on the Dubai Financial Market, the city-state's main bourse, were also deeply in the red.
"The sentiment is gone from investors' perspective," said Mohammed al-Ghussein, managing partner of Atlas Financial Services in Dubai. But "we expected that since we heard the news last week."
read more ....

Ex-autoworker goes on trial for 27,900 deaths


U.S. deported Demjanjuk to Germany over alleged crimes at Nazi camp

MUNICH - John Demjanjuk goes on trial Monday on charges of being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews at a Nazi death camp, opening the final chapter of some 30 years of efforts to prosecute the retired Ohio autoworker.
The 89-year-old was deported in May from the United States to Munich, and has been in custody since then. He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted for his alleged activities as a guard at the Sobibor camp in occupied Poland.
Demjanjuk has been deemed fit for trial, though his family says he suffers from a bone marrow disease and could have only months to live. In deference to his fragile health, his trial at the Munich state court has been limited to two 90-minute sessions per day.
read more ....

Blatter calls emergency FIFA meeting

(CNN) -- FIFA president Sepp Blatter has called a crisis meeting of the executive committee of the world governing body after the Republic of Ireland's controversial defeat to France in the World Cup playoffs.
Thierry Henry's blatant handball to set up William Gallas for the decisive goal in the tie left FIFA exposed to widespread criticism, particularly after it ruled against a replay of the playoff.
Henry nearly quit Les Blues
In the same week, German prosecutors announced the results of their investigations with European governing body UEFA into a massive betting ring, who have allegedly rigged the results over 200 matches, including Europa League and Champions League matches.
Blatter has not made a public comment as the row over Henry's handball raged, but on Monday FIFA issued a statement announcing the special meeting in Cape Town on December 2, two days ahead of the draw for the World Cup finals in South Africa.
"Due to recent events in the world of football, namely incidents at the play-offs for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, match control (refereeing) and irregularities in the football betting market, the FIFA president has called an extraordinary meeting of the executive committee," read the statement.
It did not go into any detail about the incidents referred too, but there was also widespread fan violence at the African playoffs between Algeria and Egypt as well as the furore created by Henry's assist, which was not spotted by referee Martin Hansson.
Irish football officials, who have made repeated demands to FIFA for a replay gave their reacton to the announcement later on Monday.
"Should we be asked to make any contribution, the FAI would be happy to do so for the improvement of the game," a statement read.
FIFA has been urged to introduce video replays and employ extra match officials in the wake of the incident which was seen by millions who watched the match on television.
A total of 17 arrests have already been made in the German corruption probe which a UEFA official at the press conference in Bochum last Friday called the "most serious" facing his organization.
read more ....

Death toll nears 100 from Saudi floods

Mecca, Saudi Arabia (CNN) -- The death toll from the torrential rains and heavy floods that engulfed western Saudi Arabia this week rose to 98 on Saturday, with dozens of people still missing, Information Ministry officials said.
However, none of the casualties were Hajj pilgrims making the obligatory journey for Muslims around the world, officials said.
The Hajj -- the fifth pillar of Islam -- requires devotees to journey to Mecca at least once in their lives if they can afford to do so.
The Hajj began Wednesday, and pilgrims were inconvenienced by the afternoon-long downpour on the first day of the annual observance.
But the rain had cleared by Wednesday night, making it easy for pilgrims to make their way to Mount Arafat on Thursday, a sweltering and windy but cloudless day where pilgrims trekked to seek forgiveness for their sins.
The deaths occurred in the port city of Jeddah, in Rabigh (north of Jeddah), and in the Mecca region, Saudi authorities said.
Meanwhile, Emir Khaled al-Faisal, who oversees the Mecca area, met with Jeddah's head of infrastructure, Habeeb Zain-Alabdeen, regarding plans to improve the city's drainage system by the end of 2010, the official Saudi Press Agency reported Saturday.
read more ....

Small explosion near Russian train derailment

Moscow, Russia (CNN) -- Another explosive detonated Saturday near the site of a deadly Russian train derailment, an incident caused by what authorities say was an "act of terror."
Investigators say an improvised explosive device caused the express train to derail on Friday night, killing at least 26 people and injuring about 100 others.
"Elements of an explosive device" have been found at the site, authorities said, and the explosion made a small crater.
Later Saturday morning, Russian Railways head Vladimir Yakunin told Russian TV that a second device went off in the area on the parallel track of the railway in the opposite direction. He said no one was injured in what was a smaller explosion than the first one, but it prompted the need for some repairs.
"One can say with certainty that that was indeed an act of terror," Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the investigative committee of the Russian prosecutor's office, told CNN about Friday's derailment.
He wouldn't elaborate on exactly what kind of "elements of an explosive device" the investigators discovered earlier, but said the crater found beneath the railroad bed was "1.5 meter by 1 meter in size."
He said investigators were "studying the site of the accident, questioning the witnesses and conducting all kinds of forensic and technical examinations."
Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov said "criminology experts have come to a preliminary conclusion that there was an explosion on Friday night of an improvised explosive device equivalent to seven kilograms of TNT.
"Several leads are being pursued now. A criminal case has been opened under Article 205 ("terrorism") and Article 22 ("illegal possession or storage of weapons or explosives") of the Russian Criminal Code."
There was no immediate word on who or what group might have been behind the action. But Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said on TV that there were possible suspects in this crime.
"There are several people who could be involved in this crime," he said. One of them, he said, is a "stocky-built man of about 40 years old, with red hair."
"There are some traces left at the crime scene which could help in the investigation," he said. "We are getting a lot of information now, and I am very thankful for people who have responded to our requests to render their assistance in investigating this crime," he said.
"I would also like to say that we have (collected) a lot of material evidence that could give us leads to resolving the crime."
A total of 681 people -- 20 of them employees -- were on the Nevsky Express as it traveled from Moscow to St. Petersburg on Friday night. The Nevsky Express is Russia's fastest train, equivalent to a bullet train.
The crash happened at 9:25 p.m. (1:25 p.m. ET), when the train was 280 kilometers (174 miles) from St. Petersburg, Russian state radio said.
At least three carriages carrying more than 130 people derailed and turned on their sides, and emergency workers were working to free anyone who may still be trapped inside.
Yakunin told Russian TV that the company will pay a compensation of 500,000 rubles ($17,240) to the victims' families and 200,000 rubles ($6,897) to those injured.
The crash happened 44 minutes after another high-speed train, the Sapsan, had successfully traveled from Moscow to St. Petersburg on the same rails, a representative of the Russian Transport Police said Saturday.
In August 2007, an explosion on the tracks derailed the Nevsky Express, injuring 60 people in what authorities called a terrorist act. Some 27,000 passengers on 60 trains were facing delays on Saturday as a result of the derailment, Russian State TV reported.
read more ....

Tiger Woods: Injuries Caused by Wife, Not SUV

Tiger has yet to be formally interviewed by the Florida Highway Patrol -- that should happen this afternoon. But we're told Tiger had a conversation Friday -- with a non-law enforcement type -- detailing what went down before his Escalade hit a fire hydrant. We're told he said his wife had confronted him about reports that he was seeing another woman. The argument got heated and, according to our source, she scratched his face up. We're told it was then Woods beat a hasty retreat for his SUV -- but according to our source, Woods says his wife followed behind with a golf club. As Tiger drove away, she struck the vehicle several times with the club.
We're told Woods became "distracted," thought the vehicle was stopped, and looked to see what had happened. At that point the SUV hit the fire hydrant and then hit a tree. We're also told Woods had said during the conversation Friday he had been taking prescription pain medication for an injury, which could explain why he seemed somewhat out of it at the scene.
read more ....

England ready for fast turnaround

England's Paul Collingwood said the quick turnaround between the third and fourth one-day internationals in South Africa would suit the team well.
After a crushing 112-run defeat by an inspired Proteas side in Cape Town on Friday night, Sunday's fourth one-dayer starts at 10am local time (0800 GMT).
The series is intriguingly poised at 1-1 with two matches remaining.
Durham's Collingwood said: "We're straight back into a game tomorrow, but in many ways that's a good thing."
England's in-form batsman with scores of 105 not out and 86 in the series, the 33-year-old all-rounder was woken up by a 6.30am alarm call on Saturday for the short flight to the Eastern Cape.
My confidence is high, and it's amazing what you can do when confidence is that high
Paul Collingwood
"It felt as though we'd just come off the cricket pitch, it is a quick turnaround but that's the way it is," he said.
"Obviously, I feel in very good form at the moment - I'm seeing the ball well. I'm enjoying the wickets out here, I gained a lot of confidence from playing in the Champions Trophy on faster and bouncier wickets.
"My confidence is high, and it's amazing what you can do when confidence is that high."
He is one of a clutch of first-choice players who have been struggling with injury niggles, but reports his back trouble is not hindering him too much.
Collingwood said of his back: "It's settling down. I think I've just got to control it as much as possible. Touch wood, everything feels fine at the moment - and I hope we can get another win."
Meanwhile, James Anderson (knee), Graeme Swann (side) and Stuart Broad (shoulder), who all played in Friday's match, are all expected to play.
South Africa, meanwhile, go into the match full of confidence after scoring a massive 354-6 on Friday.
Their only concern is over the likely absence of strike bowler Dale Steyn, who suffered a hamstring strain and did not complete his full allocation at Newlands.
Amla admits there is a hole to fill but believes - with Wayne Parnell and Morne Morkel returning to take eight wickets between them in Cape Town, and Charl Langeveldt still available - South Africa have the necessary resources.
"If Dale doesn't play we will miss him dearly," he said. "But the positive side is it gives someone else the opportunity to rise to the occasion."
read more ....

'Terrorist attack' suspected in Russia train crash

MOSCOW (AFP) – Investigators believe the derailment of a passenger train between Moscow and St Petersburg was caused by an act of terrorism, the head of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, said Saturday.
"To put it simply, a terrorist attack" is the explanation at present considered most likely by experts investigating the derailment, Yakunin said on state television from the scene.
Rescue workers searched for bodies after train derailed overnight, reportedly killing 39 people and injuring nearly 100 more.
Television pictures showed the mangled metal of several overturned carriages of the Nevski Express, an expensive train that runs on the heavily traveled Moscow-St Petersburg route and is popular with foreign tourists.
The train derailed between Russia's Tver and Novgorod regions while heading north to St Petersburg late Friday, officials said, amid reports that witnesses heard a loud bang and a crater was found near the tracks.
"In all there are 39" dead, Alexander Basulin, an official at the emergency situations ministry, was quoted as saying by the ITAR-TASS news agency. Health Minister Tatyana Golikova said 95 people were injured and hospitalised.
An unnamed security official was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that a one-metre-diametre (three-foot wide) crater was found near the scene of the disaster.
"Witnesses say they heard a loud bang before the accident. This could be proof of an attack," the source said.
The crater could have been caused by an "explosion from a device placed underneath one of the wagons," the RIA-Novosti news agency quoted another security official as saying.
Prosecutors have opened a terrorism investigation into the train incident, Marina Gridneva, a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor Generals Office, told Vesti-24 television.
"Two wagons were completely overturned.... Several people were completely crushed under the metal. I heard screams, moaning," Andrei Abramenko, a police officer who happened to be travelling on the train, said on Vesti-24.
The television station showed footage of rescuers working among the wreckage under powerful searchlights.
Four wagons of the 14-carriage train, carrying around 660 passengers and nearly two dozen staff, derailed at 9:34 pm (1834 GMT), according to the emergencies ministry.
At least three foreigners were on the train, ITAR-TASS reported, citing a source at Russian Railways. Other reports said that one Italian was among the hospitalised passengers.
The Nevski Express, a high-end train line aimed at relatively well-off Russians which runs along one of the country's most popular routes, has been attacked before.
In August 2007, a bomb on the same line derailed a train, injuring 60 passengers, with Chechen separatist or ultra-nationalist groups suspected.
Emergency services rushed to the scene of Friday evening's crash, and by 0100 GMT all the injured had been evacuated to local hospitals, Russia media reported.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the FSB security service and the Prosecutor Generals Office to investigate the causes of the derailment, the Kremlin said in a statement.
In Washington, the White House said it was "deeply saddened by the terrible loss of life and injuries" from the railway accident, spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
read more ....

Rice sights on Iraq as 9/11 unfolded: UK diplomat

Washington, November 28: A former British ambassador to the United States says then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice talked to him about Iraq and Saddam Hussein hours after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
Sir Christopher Meyer, who served as Britain's top diplomat in Washington from 1997 to 2003, also told an inquiry into the Iraq war that the timeline the US and Britain set to invade Iraq made it impossible for the UN to determine if Saddam Hussein had active weapons of mass destruction programs.
He also criticized former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, saying that a "stronger prime minister" like Margaret Thatcher would have been able to exert more influence on Washington and allow more time for diplomacy, while insisting on a plan for what would happen after the invasion.
On September 11, 2001, Rice reportedly told Meyer that "there's no doubt this was an Al-Qaeda operation [but] we are just looking to see if there could possibly be any connection with Saddam Hussein."
Rice's comments at the time are "important because they suggest that the United States quickly tied the attacks with Saddam's regime," writes David Stringer at the Associated Press. "Years later, President George W. Bush's administration was forced to acknowledge that they could find no connection between Saddam and the attacks."
Meyer, the former ambassador, also told the inquiry that the "unforgiving nature" of the Bush administration's plans for an Iraq invasion effectively made it impossible for chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix to determine if Saddam had an operational weapons of mass destruction program. The Guardian reports:
Sir Christopher Meyer said the "unforgiving nature" of the build-up after American forces had been told to prepare for war meant that "we found ourselves scrabbling for the smoking gun".
He added: "It was another way of saying 'it's not that Saddam has to prove that he's innocent, we've now bloody well got to try and prove he's guilty.' And we – the Americans, the British – have never really recovered from that because of course there was no smoking gun."
The US had first prepared for invasion in January but the date was later moved to March. "All that said, when you looked at the timetable for the inspections, it was impossible to see how [Hans] Blix [chief weapons inspector] could bring the process to a conclusion, for better or for worse, by March."
Meyer also suggested that an April, 2002 meeting between Blair and President George W. Bush at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, may have marked the turning point when the UK decided to follow the US unquestioningly into a war in Iraq, and it may have been the moment when Tony Blair realized that weapons of mass destruction were little more than a pretext for the actual purpose of the war -- regime change in Iraq. The Daily Telegraph reports that Meyer said:
“The two men were alone in the ranch so I’m not entirely clear to this day what degree of convergence (on Iraq policy) was signed in blood, if you like, at the Crawford ranch.
“But there are clues in the speech Tony Blair gave the next day, which was the first time he had said in public ‘regime change’. He was trying to draw the lessons of 9/11 and apply them to the situation in Iraq which led - I think not inadvertently but deliberately - to a conflation of the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
“When I read that I thought ‘this represents a tightening of the UK/US alliance and a degree of convergence on the danger Saddam Hussein presented’.”
Meyer also criticized Tony Blair for not insisting more strongly that the US put more effort into a diplomatic resolution to the Iraq conflict, comparing the Labour Party prime minister unfavorably to Britain's Conservative prime minister in the 1980s, Baroness Margaret Thatcher. The Independent reports:
Insisting he was not making a “party political point”, Sir Christopher said he had asked himself “what would Margaret Thatcher have done” in handling Britain’s relationship with the US. “I think she would have insisted on a clear, coherent diplomatic strategy and I think she would have demanded the greatest clarity about what the heck will happen if and when we remove Saddam Hussein,” he said.
COVER-UP?
The British government's inquiry into the Iraq invasion, led by Sir John Chilcot, is being described in the British media as the largest, most expansive investigation yet into the Iraq war and its causes. But some critics say that an arrangement between the government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Chilcot inquiry to keep certain documents secret could result in a cover-up.
"A previously undisclosed agreement between Sir John Chilcot's inquiry and the government gives Whitehall [the British government] the final say on what information the investigation can release into the public domain," reports Andrew Grice, political editor of the Independent.
A protocol agreed by the inquiry and the government includes nine wide-ranging reasons under which Whitehall departments can refuse to publish documents disclosed to the investigation. Crucially, disputes between Sir John and the government over disclosures would be resolved by the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell [the highest-ranking bureaucrat in the British government].
The agreement allows the Government to stop publication of material which would "cause harm or damage to the public interest" such as national security, international relations or economic interests; breach the disclosure rules of the security services; endanger life or risk serious harm to an individual; breach legal professional privilege; prejudice legal proceedings or a statutory or criminal inquiry; breach the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act or Data Protection Act; or be commercially sensitive.
Observers have already noticed the arrangement between the inquiry and the British government at work, and have suggested that information is already being concealed from the public.
"The limitations of the Chilcot inquiry are obvious," writes Diane Abbott at the Guardian. "It is a group of establishment trusties, evidence will not be on oath and the government is doing its best to keep key documents from the inquiry. Even yesterday, in the very first week of the inquiry, former British ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, mentioned four key documents that he knew existed but the Chilcot inquiry had not seen."
But Abbott noted that important information about the run-up to the Iraq war is making it through to the public, despite the government's efforts to restrict it. "Despite everything, the truth is coming to light," Abbott writes.
read more ....

Obama to attend beginning of U.N. climate meeting


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will go to Copenhagen for a U.N. climate change meeting on December 9, hoping to add momentum to an international process despite slow progress on a domestic bill to cut carbon emissions.
Obama planned to make a visit at the beginning of the climate negotiations in Denmark, an administration official told Reuters on Wednesday, before picking up the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in neighboring Oslo.
Obama did not plan to return for the end of the December 7-18 meeting, when roughly 65 other heads of state and government are expected to attend, the official said.
Obama has made climate change a top priority of his administration, but a bill to cut U.S. emissions is bogged down in the U.S. Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed its version of climate change legislation.
Most nations have given up hopes of agreeing to a binding legal treaty text in Copenhagen, partly because of uncertainty about what the United States will be able to offer.
Environmentalists had hoped Obama would be present for the leaders meeting at the end of the talks to give legitimacy to a "politically binding" agreement that host Denmark still hopes to achieve.
In such an agreement, developed nations would set goals for cutting emissions by 2020, developing nations would agree to slow the rise of their emissions, and the rich would come up with new aid and clean technology to help the poor cope with climate change.
read more ....

Cooking in College Recipe that Works Really Well!

What are two words to describe the average college student? I choose busy and broke. I can say this because I am a veteran of the college experience and know what it means to bring my own beverage to a buffet to cut costs, or to use a sandwich maker to make breakfast.

window.google_render_ad();
For some reason it is customary to be absolutely poor with no time to do anything about it when in college. Which means students are forced to try to purchase a meal plan or live on the poor mans diet. For more details go to: www.cheese-cake-recipes.com If you are a college student or the parent of a college student, I know your struggles and want to help you to find a few easy solutions to help relieve the burden of having no resources or insight into cooking in college.
The first solution I want to offer is for students who are not cooking in college because they do not have a stove or microwave in their dorm room. I was in this position in school, which forced me and my roommate to get really creative when meal time rolled around. Remember that sandwich maker I mentioned earlier? Well it came in so handy for us that we ended up making meals for our friends on it. Traditionally created to put meat and cheese inside two slices of bread, the sandwich maker then seals the ingredients between the slices for a good-tasting hot sandwich. We of course saw limitless possibilities the unique product and used it to make square pancakes, fry bacon, and scramble eggs. While it seems a little over the top, it actually worked. We were able to eat well without needing a stove only an available plug.
But if you are one of those lucky college students who have pots, pans, eating utensils, and living quarters with a stove, you are in luck even if you do not know what to do with them. For more you can visit to: www.fair-recipes.com let us say for instance your Mom gave you several cans of vegetables and some frozen chicken? You have been eye-balling that chicken forever knowing that you do not know how to fry it. And the last time you tried to bake some it was still frozen in the middle. There is an easy and very healthy solution to this problem. It is called homemade chicken noodle soup. Sounds intimidating, huh? Well do not let the word homemade fool you, it is very simple.
To get started you simply fill one of those large pots halfway with water then toss in about four pieces of frozen chicken legs and thighs. Turn the fire up to high until the water boils then turn it to the low setting to simmer. Let the chicken simmer until you can poke a fork into easily it then throw in the vegetables you have, corn, carrots, and green beans are good, after draining the water out first. Season the soup with a good amount salt, some chicken-flavored bouillon cubes if you have them, and a little pepper for taste then throw in some egg noodles, Ramon Noodles can work too. When you are able to pull the meat off the bone with no trouble and the noodles are soft, you are good to go. This recipe makes cooking in college completely simple.
One last Cooking In College recipe that works really well for either the sandwich maker or a skillet is cheese quesadillas. They are incredible to eat and can be made in large quantities for a cheap price. All you need is a bag of flour tortilla shells, usually about USD 1, a bag of shredded cheddar cheese or a Mexican cheese blend, either one usually about USD 2-3, and 2 jalapeno peppers about USD 0.15 each. Butter either the bottom of the sandwich maker or skillet then warm both tortilla shells in the butter for a great flavor then set them on a plate. Next cut up some jalapeno peppers in small bits and spread them evenly on one shell then cover with a liberal handful of cheese. Place the second shell on top then put in the skillet on high heat or place in the sandwich maker, you may need the cut the shell to fit the size of the sandwich maker. If you are using a sandwich maker, you simply close the lid and let it heat the quesadilla up on both sides simultaneously. If you are using a skillet, wait until the cheese melts then carefully flip to brown the other side. Take out in about 1 minute and you are ready to eat. Cooking in college is pretty easy, would not you say?
There is an abundance of information on ways to successfully manage your time as a student while also cooking in college. And if your friends are anything like mine were, once they smell those great meals coming from your room or apartment, they will be trying to eat at your house every day. But just politely let them know they can do it on their own then point them to this article about cooking in college. Trust me - you will be able to hold on to your food easier that way.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
read more ....

Tips on Getting the Best College Loan Consolidation Programs

Getting the best college loan consolidation programs is not an easy task. One important tip is that thorough and careful research should be undertaken in order to ensure that the program that you get is the most appropriate for your debt consolidation needs.

window.google_render_ad();
For students who believe that when it comes to finding the best college loan consolidation programs should be done by themselves, it should be emphasized that comprehensive research should be done to ensure a successful search. Loan programs are products that one should be dealing with carefully as it can improve or deteriorate the financial status of a borrower. Therefore, all possible means should be exhausted in order to find the consolidation program that is most appropriate for his needs.
The internet is one reliable source of college loan consolidation programs. Just enter the phrase on the search box of a major search engine and viola! You are provided with a seemingly endless list of programs. Surely, the sheer number of sites can be overwhelming. But then, this list is just the start - you now have to somehow create a shortlist of sites that you think can possible provide you with good student loan consolidation program.
It will certainly take you quite some time online as you need to compare different types of programs, their pros and cons, advantages as well as disadvantages. In order to get more information about a particular student debt consolidation program, you may try contacting the lender, via its contact information. There are some who will respond ASAP, others will take their time to reply and others still will simply not respond at all. Of course, prompt response shows the reliability and efficiency of a lender, and so those who provided immediate reply should be greatly considered.
Likewise, students should be wise to organize all information and data about the college loan consolidation programs that they gather. All benefits and advantages as well as disadvantages should be carefully listed and written; they will be the basis of the prospective student borrower when finally deciding on which program he will get.
For articles on college%20loan%20consolidation">college loan consolidation and other similar college loans and debt consolidation discussions, do visit our Easy College Loan Consolidation blog.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
read more ....

How to Set Up a Home Gym

Having a home gym has many advantages. There is no need to worry about commuting to the gym, and you can exercise any time you want. Due to the convenience of having a home gym, you are also more likely to complete your work outs.

window.google_render_ad();
Gym equipment for the home is getting more and more affordable these days. Given the busy lifestyles of the urban dweller, having exercise equipment at home helps to save time. You can set up a home gym quickly and easily.Step 1: Identify your own exercise needs.Take a good look at your work out plan and determine the type of equipment that you need. Do you want to focus on the upper body, or you want to engage in endurance training? Only you know the goals that you have set for yourself. Your home gym is there to help you achieve those goals. So be clear about what you want to achieve, and buy equipment that will help you reach your goals faster.Step 2: Setting aside a space for the home gym.You are likely to spend a lot of time (almost daily) in the home gym if you are serious about your exercise program. Here are a few things to take note of. First, make sure that the room is well ventilated. For example, if you want to convert your basement into a home gym, make sure that you have a ventilation system in place. If the weather gets hot outside, you may need air conditioning. If the weather becomes cold outside, you are going to need some kind of heating system.Set aside space for bigger pieces of gym equipment. You will also need a corner for the weights. If space is a concern, you may wish to consider multi-purpose equipment. Such equipment allows you to work on various parts of your body without having to own several pieces of equipment.Step 3: Buying the actual equipment.With your goals in mind, it's easier to decide on the type of equipment to buy. Still, you may need to do some research to find out more about the different models available in the market. Home gym equipment can cost as little as $500 per piece. So if you are expecting to pay a bomb for the equipment, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. Try to look for coupon codes before making an actual purchase. The coupons will help you save more money.If you are unsure about the equipment, visit a fitness forum to read more about what others have to say about the equipment. Are there tons of positive feedback about a particular model? Or are there lots of complaints? If so, what causes those complaints? Spending a little time looking into such issues will prevent you from making the wrong decisions.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
read more ....

Two Types of Home Insurance Coverage

There are basically two different kinds of home insurance covers. Its always the choice of the customer whether he/she want the home insurance company, agency or provider to give coverage to the home contents also or not. You must also insure the home contents also that is all the items present inside your home, as a situation very truly can come in which you can very truly loose all or some of your home contents.

window.google_render_ad();
Loosing your home contents means that you will be in loss and in tension, but if you secure your home contents also then you will not be in tension as the home insurance company, agency or provider will surely pay for it. Generally the insurance of home includes the shell of the home and the things that cannot be moved at all from one place to another like a fixed kitchen.If you are thinking of taking both the type of home insurance, then you must always keep in mind that buying both the home insurances from the same home insurance company, agency, or provider will really be a great deal. The reason behind this is that if you buy both the home insurances from different home insurance companies, agencies or providers, then you will be paying comparatively much more. So buying both home insurances from the same home insurance company, agency or provider will surely be very much better then buying both the home insurances from two different home insurance companies, agencies or providers.The home contents insurance plan very truly covers all your personal belongings that can be moved from one place to another like television, refrigerator, personal computer etc and they would generally be covered against the accidents such as theft, fire, damage by flood and vandalism etc. Many a times it is seen that the expenses for the losses of the personal belongings are not at all paid, so do check the policy thoroughly before buying it. It is very truly your choice whether you want to insure all the things in your home or few of them, as you will be paying more if you are insuring all the things. So the things you think need insurance can be kept in the list of the things to be insured, and the list must be given to the home insurance company, agency or provider at the time you buy the home insurance policy.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
read more ....

How College PLUS Loans Might Help To Close The Gap In Education Funding

Although student PLUS loans are perhaps not strictly student loans since they are made to parents, PLUS loans are nonetheless a very important tool in assisting to narrow the gap between the cost of college and the money available through other loans to students.

window.google_render_ad();
With the climbing cost of education over the past few years students who have relied on traditional Stafford loans have repeatedly found that they do not cover the majority of their expenses. The PLUS program (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students) was therefore introduced and is intended to assist in closing the gap between the sum available from college loans and the actual cost of education.
Though the interest rate for PLUS loans is greater than other types of loan the cap on borrowing is far more flexible and the loans are not need-based.
For the FFEL program (Federal Family Education Loan) for which funds are provided by private lenders the interest rate is presently 8.5% and loans funded through the US Department of Education under the Direct loan program are presently charged at 7.9%. This difference of just 0.6% might appear inconsequential but can turn out to be substantial over the lifetime of an average loan.
With PLUS loans parents are allowed to borrow up to the full cost of education minus any other financial aid amount that the child is receiving. Although PLUS money is not cheap it can often make a difference when deciding which college to attend or whether to attend at all.
However, because PLUS loans are not need-based, they do require a credit check before approval. Normally it is of course the parent's and not the student's credit which is checked since the parent is the signatory to the promissory note and is responsible for meeting repayments on the loan.
Where the credit history of the parent makes him or her ineligible for a PLUS loan a co-signer can come into play and a relative or other third party can agree to guarantee the loan repayment and assume legal responsibility as a co-borrower. With recent problems in the sub-prime borrowing arena however such cases are unfortunately less rare than they once were. This means that in borderline cases the need for a co-signer is more likely.
Aside from changes in interest rates another recent change to the program is the fact that it has been extended to permit graduate and professional students to qualify for PLUS loans. The same eligibility criteria and interest rates apply and they need to be enrolled at a suitable institution and on an eligible program.
Different from many college loan programs, repayments on a PLUS loan starts immediately and the initial payment is typically required within 60 days of the loan monies are disbursed. Interest starts to build up from the moment the first payment is made and both interest and principal has to be paid in regular monthly installments while the student is in college. Payments have to be made to the private lender in the case of FFEL loans and to a US Department of Education servicing center in the case of Direct loans.
It is important to calculate all the costs of obtaining a PLUS loan carefully and look on it as a loan of last resort. Even something like a home equity loan may well be cheaper as the interest payments are tax-deductible.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
read more ....

Loans: Repaying Equity Loans

People may wonder how to repay their equity loans, since it appears to be a new start. However, equity loans are often secondary loans that a borrow wins to payoff the current balance of the home. Many lenders will offer equity loans extending the payments to “25-years” or longer in some instances. The lengthiest loans are extended to around “35-years.”

window.google_render_ad();
Of course, most lenders will extend credit for the least amount of time, which is around 15 to 20 years. The short-term loans are more to your advantage, since the interest rates and mortgage repayments work together to produce an affordable rate for sooner payoff.
One of the shortcomings of short-term loans is that the repayments are often steeper in order to repay the loan amount on time. If during the term amount, you see that you can repay the debt sooner, you may want to consider “re-mortgage” loans for a shorter payoff term. This sounds ludicrous, since one would think refinancing would increase the time for payoff; however, the loan is flexible, which means you can repay the mortgage off much sooner than expected in most instances. You may want to note that the flexible loans against equity often do not have redemption penalties in the event you pay off your home sooner.
In other words, if you have a pending loan, you may want to review the terms and conditions, since the agreement may have penalties for paying off your home sooner than the agreed time. It pays to review the terms first before considering an equity loan, since if you take out another loan and have penalties on your pending loan, you will repay both the pending loan and the current loan; and thus could possibly double the balance owed on your home.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
read more ....

Becoming a Refinance Equity Loan Expert

Few lenders offer refinancing equity loans that help the buyers cash out on deals. The loans offered by few lenders are flexing pay loans that provides loan amounts in various figures. The equity loans come in two standard forms for the most part, but extend in branches since some loans are specifically designed for self-employed, retirees, and other types of borrowers. The different loans include the Buy to Let, Repayment Loans, Interest Only, Bridging Loans, and so forth.
Regardless of the loan considered, make sure you understand the entirety of the loans details to avoid loss. Home equity loans offer cheaper repayment on loans, since the lenders have a smaller amount of paperwork, and some lenders do not require appraisal. Thus, some loans offered make room for borrowers, since the loans may waive the closing costs, by including the costs in the monthly repayments. Few lenders do not charge application charges, and will even extend credit to homeowners with pending credit issues. With any loan, you want to take notice of the fine print. Few lenders will offer low monthly installments on loans with fixed rates, while others stipulate the interest rates in the fine print, and warn you that rates are “variable and subject to change.” This can lead to hassle later; as such, make sure you read the fine print. The last thing you want to do is to take out a loan to find other charges cropping up in your loan agreement. Finally, financing equity loans is a way to get out of debt; however, it takes a knowledgeable candidate to find the right loan that will make the most out of his equity, which is why borrowers must be willing to spend the time to understand equity loans before signing a contract.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
read more ....

How to Deal with Secured Debts


A secured debt is a loan that is tied up to the borrower’s property. At the start of the loan, the borrower must submit a form of collateral to his/her lender as a security for the amount loaned. In case of default, the lender has the right to repossess the property submitted in exchange for the debts defaulted. In this article, let’s take a look at three types of secured loans and what can be done in the event that the borrower isn’t able to keep up with the payments.
Car Loans. Failing to keep up with your car loan payments can cause your lender to move for repossession. This means, you lose the car to your lending company as payment to your debts. Take note that car loan lenders are not required to give you an advanced notice before repossessing your vehicle.
This is why it’s important to meet with your lender immediately the moment you realize that you won’t be able to submit payment. Ask for modifications in your repayment terms. If your lender refuses, you may as well sell the car, use the money to pay off the loan and keep the rest of the money from the sale.
Is it possible for you to get your car back once your lender has moved for repossession? Yes, but first you need to completely pay off the car loan, as well as the towing and storage costs to your lender.
Home loans. Technically, three consecutive delays in your monthly mortgage payment will alert your lender to move for repossession. It is crucial that you get in touch with your lender at the first sign of the problem. Even if this is your first delay in payment, it’s better to talk to your lender and arrange for possible modifications in your repayment terms.
Many home loan lenders are willing to work out new repayment terms rather than file for foreclosure. This is because foreclosing a home involves a more complicated process. However, you may find it more difficult to arrange for repayment modifications once your home loan lender has started with the foreclosure process. Don’t wait until you receive the notice of foreclosure before taking action. You have a better chance of reaching a negotiation if you speak with your lender right away.
Debt consolidation loans. Many consumers who are stuck in huge debts turn to debt consolidation loans for relief. However, it’s important to understand that getting a debt consolidation loan doesn’t automatically free you from your repayment obligation. You are still subjected under the repayment terms of your loan consolidation lender.
A debt consolidation loan is often a secured loan which means the loan is tied up to your home property. At any time you fail to keep up with your loan payments, you risk losing your home to your debt consolidation company. Therefore, acquiring loan to pay off existing debts is a serious step and one that should be taken with great caution.

read more ....

What You Can Do About Debt Collection Harassment


When debt is long past due, a lender may pass on the collection of debts to a debt collection agency. In many cases, consumers find themselves dealing with harassment and unfair practices from abusive debt collection agencies. But even if you are in debt, you still deserve fair treatment and respect. As a borrower, you should not put up with debt collectors who deliberately violate the terms stated in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
If your debt collector is guilty of any of the following acts of FDCPA violation, don’t hesitate to report or file a complaint to you Local State Attorney’s Office and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).

You should not be contacted before 8am or after 9pm. There is a rule as to the appropriate time to call a borrower to collect debts. Under the FDCPA, a debt collector must not call a borrower during inconvenient hours unless the borrower requested for a call back.
You should not be contacted in your work place. A debt collector must not attempt to collect debts from the borrower’s place of work especially after being advised not to.
Debt collectors should not use abusive languages or threats. It is important to remember that debt collectors should never resort to abusive treatment regardless of how big or small the amount of debt is.
Contacting you through postcard is not allowed. Collecting debts using means that are designed to humiliate the borrower is a major violation. The details of a person’s debts are supposed to be a private matter and one that must not be exposed in public.
Debtors should not try to contact any third party about your debts. Debt collectors must contact the borrower or the person in-debt to discuss the collection. If the person is not available to talk to, the collector must not disclose any detail about the debt to a friend, relative or a third party.
Debt collectors must not use false statements. Do not fall for debt collectors who may try to blackmail you using threatening statements. If a collector informs you that a case has been filed, verify if this information is true. In case you find that a collector is using lies to force you to pay, you should report it as a violation of your consumer rights.
Debt collectors should not disguise themselves as someone else. A debt collection agency must disclose their identity before making any debt collection attempts. The agency must never use government agencies or credit bureaus to inflict fear to a consumer.

read more ....

Why Consolidate Your Debts?

Are you burdened by debt or bad credit? No doubt, debt problems can cause stress and anxiety. In some cases, debt consolidation may be the best solution. This article discusses the basic facts about debt consolidation, how you can choose the right consolidation partner and how to use consolidation effectively to recover from debts.
The Process of Debt Consolidation
How is debt consolidation done? By obtaining a loan from a lender, a borrower can pay all his or her creditors at one time. This way, continuous accumulation of debt is avoided. Monthly payments can also be reduced as debt consolidation companies usually offer lower interest rates. Most importantly, loan consolidation makes repayment easier since the borrower deals with only one lender- the debt consolidation company.
Choosing Your Debt Consolidation Partner
Consolidating debts is a serious decision. Signing up with the wrong company can only worsen your situation. Bear in mind that not all companies offer debt consolidation services have your best interest at heart. Some may be out to take advantage of your situation. You can avoid getting scammed by doing extensive research before making your final decision.
One good way to do research is to read online reviews. You can also visit forums or community groups that discuss debt consolidation issues. Don’t hesitate to ask other people for recommendations especially those who have been through consolidation and have been successful. Of course, you’ll want to take time analyzing your consolidation contract before submitting your application.
Debt Consolidation is Not a One-Step Solution
Debt Consolidation or acquiring a loan is just the first step towards debt recovery. Consolidation is by no means a one-step solution. It requires hard-work and persistence. You need to make sure that you will keep up with your monthly payments to your debt consolidation company. If you’re really serious about getting off from debt, you can’t afford late payments.
Unfortunately, some people who turned to debt consolidation were not as successful as they hoped to be. Why so? Most of them went back to the same spending habits that have led them to bad debt. Halfway through their loan consolidation repayment many have used their credit cards once again and failed to pay off their charges.
Yes, debt consolidation is a serious responsibility. For people who want to consider this option, determination and self-discipline are a must. After choosing the right company and creating a repayment plan, you need to be prepared to make sacrifices to be able to stick with the plan you’ve set.
source :Consolidate4Free.com
read more ....

Secured vs. Unsecured Loans- Which one is For You?

Credit card debt is not a problem to be taken lightly. If you won’t take action right away, credit card debt can lead to worse debt problems or even towards bankruptcy. This article discusses debt consolidation loan as a way to get out of credit card debt. But first what is a debt consolidation loan?
The loan can be used to pay off your existing balances from all your credit card accounts. It is no secret that credit cards often come with high interest rates. Paying off your balances at once will prevent your debts from continuously building up. Also, interest charges and late penalty costs can be avoided. What kind of debt consolidation loan should you obtain to pay off credit card debt?

You should not be contacted before 8am or after 9pm. There is a rule as to the appropriate time to call a borrower to collect debts. Under the FDCPA, a debt collector must not call a borrower during inconvenient hours unless the borrower requested for a call back.
You should not be contacted in your work place. A debt collector must not attempt to collect debts from the borrower’s place of work especially after being advised not to.
Debt collectors should not use abusive languages or threats. It is important to remember that debt collectors should never resort to abusive treatment regardless of how big or small the amount of debt is.
Contacting you through postcard is not allowed. Collecting debts using means that are designed to humiliate the borrower is a major violation. The details of a person’s debts are supposed to be a private matter and one that must not be exposed in public.
Debtors should not try to contact any third party about your debts. Debt collectors must contact the borrower or the person in-debt to discuss the collection. If the person is not available to talk to, the collector must not disclose any detail about the debt to a friend, relative or a third party.
Debt collectors must not use false statements. Do not fall for debt collectors who may try to blackmail you using threatening statements. If a collector informs you that a case has been filed, verify if this information is true. In case you find that a collector is using lies to force you to pay, you should report it as a violation of your consumer rights.
Debt collectors should not disguise themselves as someone else. A debt collection agency must disclose their identity before making any debt collection attempts. The agency must never use government agencies or credit bureaus to inflict fear to a consumer.
source : Consolidate4Free.com
read more ....

Safeguarding your Identity: How To Fight Back

The US General Accounting Office reports that around 760,000 Americans are victimized by identity theft every year. As a result, stolen identity has lead many people to bad credit.
Perhaps you may be wondering, “What can I do to avoid identity theft?” This article discusses practical advice on how to avoid ID theft and what you can do about it in case you experience it.
Dealing with Identity TheftConsumers must be aware of their rights to dispute false charges. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is clearly against all forms of fraud and those who are found to be in violation of the law would be punished.
If there are unauthorized charges in your bill, call you creditor immediately and explain the situation. This is why consumers are advised to regularly check their personal credit reports by ordering a copy from the three major credit bureaus. Thus, in case there are false charges in their account so they can file for a dispute right away.
If you suspect that you’ve been a victim of ID theft, you can order a copy of your credit report at no cost. Carefully examine your report for any error or inaccuracy. Before making a dispute, see to it that you will be making a valid complaint.
When disputing charges, be sure to follow up your call with a written dispute letter sent via registered mail. Your letter should clearly explain the issue you’re disputing and must also enclose copies of receipts or documents that support your claim. You may need to wait up to 30 days before the investigation is completed.
Protect Yourself from ID TheftProtection is your best defense against all forms of fraud and ID theft. Although the law allows credit disputes, it is your responsibility as a borrower to exercise caution. So how can you protect yourself against ID theft?
One way is to get a credit card that offers credit protection features such as zero-liability protection, fraud alert, and online account access. A credit card with a zero-liability protection ensures that you will not be forced to pay any unauthorized purchase in your account.
Meanwhile, the fraud alert feature is an added protection against possible theft or credit card fraud. Each time a new purchase is made, the credit card issuer will send the cardholder a notice about the transaction. Thus, in case the credit card has been used without the account owner’s consent, he/she will immediately be alerted. Finally, the online account access option is a wonderful tool as it enables you to monitor your account conveniently and at any time using the internet.
source :www.Consolidate4Free.com
read more ....

Types of business consolidations

There are three forms of business combinations:
Statutory Merger: a business combination that results in the liquidation of the acquired company’s assets and the survival of the purchasing company.
Statutory Consolidation: a business combination that creates a new company in which none of the previous companies survive.
Stock Acquisition: a business combination in which the purchasing company acquires the majority, more than 50%, of the Common stock of the acquired company and both companies survive.
Amalgamation: Means an existing Company which is taken over by another existing company. In such course of amalgamation, the consideration may be paid in cash or in Kind, and the purchasing company services in this process.
read more ....

Consolidation (business)

Consolidation or amalgamation is the act of merging many things into one. In business, it often refers to the mergers or acquisitions of many smaller companies into much larger ones. The financial accounting term of consolidation refers to the aggregated financial statements of a group company as consolidated account. The taxation term of consolidation refers to the treatment of a group of companies and other entities as one entity for tax purposes. Under the Halsbury's Laws of England, 'amalgamation' is defined as "a blending together of two or more undertakings into one undertaking, the shareholders of each blending company, becoming, substantially, the shareholders of the blended undertakings. There may be amalgamations, either by transfer of two or more undertakings to a new company, or to the transfer of one or more companies to an existing company". Thus, the two concepts are, substantially, the same. However, the term amalgamation is more common when the organizations being merged are private schools or regiments.
source
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consolidation_(business)
read more ....

Federal student loan consolidation


Interest rates and payments

Consolidation loans have longer terms than other loans. Debtors can choose terms of 10–30 years. Although the monthly repayments are lower, the total amount paid over the term of the loan is higher than would be paid with other loans. The fixed interest rate is calculated as the weighted average of the interest rates of the loans being consolidated, assigning relative weights according to the amounts borrowed, rounded up to the nearest 0.125%, and capped at 8.25%. Some features of the original consolidated loans, such as postgraduation grace periods and special forgiveness circumstances, are not carried over into the consolidation loan, and consolidation loans are not universally suitable for all debtors

History

The Federal Loan Consolidation Program was created in 1986. In 1998, the United States Congress changed the interest rate to the aforementioned fixed rate weighted mean, effective February 1, 1999. Consolidation loans taken out before that date had a variable interest rate, determined by the individual FDLP loan origination center (e.g., in the case of a university, that university) or FFELP lender (e.g., a third party bank).

In 2005, the Government Accountability Office considered consolidating consolidation loans so that they were exclusively managed through the FDLP. Based on several assumptions about future variations in interest rates, the loan volume, the percentage of defaulters, cost estimates from the United States Department of Education, it concluded that while doing so would incur an additional cost of $46 million, caused by the higher administrative costs of the FDLP compared to the FFELP, this would be offset by a $3,100 million saving comprised in part of avoiding $2,500 million in subsidy costs.[1] In 2008, turmoil in the financial and credit markets has led to the suspension of many loan consolidation programs, including Sallie Mae, Nelnet and Next Student.
source
read more ....

Home Mortgage Modifications - The Long Awaited Financial Lifeboat

By Lindsy Emery

When economists started warning investors of the impending global economic crises some years back, most of their ranting fell on deaf ears. Unfortunately for us laymen, nobody is deaf anymore. There is no doubt that if people weren't feeling the pinch a year back, they are certainly noticing lighter grocery bags at higher prices now. There are many financial gurus out there who have solid and valuable financial advice. They are inspiring to listen to, and most of us feel better for hearing that it's possible to pull yourself out of debt. Unfortunately for some, it is far too little, too late. This hard fact of life is no truer than for those who own a home, as mortgages across the country take a swan dive towards certain foreclosure.
When the FDIC originally proposed a government subsidized home mortgage modification program, it was at a time when things where still going fairly well, and for this reason, it was simply put on the back burner. Luckily for struggling homeowners, the call has finally been heard and participating banks have integrated the system. There are some who may feel that this step is a sign of defeat, as though you have not been good enough with your money and need to go to the banker with your tail between your legs. If you feel that way, it helps to remember that there are millions of mortgages out there right now that are delinquent and heading further downhill.
A few important things to bear in mind when considering mortgage modification:
• You're not paying any less on your home. You are simply getting a chance to pay less now, but over a longer period. This means that in the long-run, your interest will sky-rocket. You will end up paying more.
• It is better to try and re-negotiate your loan before you start defaulting on payments. Try to look at your budget with total honesty, so that when you make this decision, it is a well researched, educated decision.
• It helps to decide in advance how long you will need to pay less on your home and then immediately go back to higher payments when the smoke clears. Compound interest can really work against you when you're the one paying it in every month.
• Don't ever feel like an idiot for researching and eventually applying for home mortgage modification. You're still a valued customer, and you are certainly not alone in this.
For essential tips and facts about how to get approved for a Mortgage Modification - visit my simple, no nonsense loan modification guide and resource: http://Home-Loan-Modifications.info
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lindsy_Emery
read more ....

Fixed Vs. Adjustable Rate Home Mortgage Loan

by: Alan Lim
Getting a home mortgage loan but confused which particular type to get? Read about fixed and adjustable rate mortgages through this article. If you are getting yourself a home mortgage loan, you will most likely encounter a phase where you are torn between choosing a fixed rate or an adjustable type of mortgage. No one can really say that one loan is better than the other. The choice you make is dependent on a number of factors which may include your interest rate outlook, your budget, the number of years you intend to stay in your home, and how much risk you can tolerate. Let us look through these two types of mortgage loans so you can determine which among the two is best for you. A fixed rate home mortgage loan (FRM), as its name itself suggest, involves loans whose interest rates remain the same all throughout the lifetime of the mortgage. They generally cost more to compensate for the lesser risk and the greater comfort involved. If the current interest rates are low, an FRM will prove to be a good choice as you will be assured of locking in at a low interest all throughout your loan term. On the other hand, an adjustable rate home mortgage loan (ARM) is that whose rate fluctuates as the interest rates in the market rise and fall. ARMs are given initially cheaper than FRMs since they involve greater risk. They are a great option if the current interest rates are high and you foresee them to lower in the coming years. If you know that you will stay in your home for a relatively short period, you can get a good deal with an ARM. The downside of getting an adjustable home mortgage loan is that you can run a real risk of having to pay more if interest rates rise sharply. This means that you will need to pay more in monthly payments. The rate of your ARM loan varies depending on your loan agreement terms. Some rates change as frequently as three months, while others change once a year or every three years. ARMs generally come with a rate cap, which limits the amount by which the lender can raise their rate. The cap is usually set to 2% meaning that the rate increase should only be a maximum of two percent for a given adjustment period. Because of its stability and lesser risk, FRMs are understandably more popular. Even if they come more expensive, getting a fixed rate home mortgage loan will enable you to easily manage your monthly budget so you can have better control of your finances. It is also less risky since you always have the option to refinance in case interest rates drop uncontrollably. Conversely, although ARMs can be risky and confusing, there are good deals provided by many lenders which are actually better than FRMs. The type of home mortgage loan you should choose depends on various factors. It all boils down to how open you are with taking risks. To help you figure out which one is best, you can try to imagine your worst and best case scenarios. You can calculate and compare your options and determine which one can give you the best deal possible.
read more ....