Monday, October 7, 2013
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Friday, October 4, 2013
Posted Wednesday, October 2nd 2013 @ 6am
It's clear a South Miami husband and wife were angry at each other moments before she was shot and the photo of her body appeared on her husband's Facebook page.
The state attorney's office has released a Facebook conversation the victim was having with a friend just hours earlier.
Jennifer Alonso said she was furious and considering leaving because her husband broke a promise to watch a movie with her.
Derek Medina has claimed he shot Alonso in self defense.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Washington (AFP) - President Barack Obama sent Wall Street a blunt warning Wednesday that it should be very worried about a political crisis that has shut down the government and could trigger a US debt default.
Obama said he was "exasperated" by the budget impasse in Congress, in an interview with CNBC apparently designed to pressure Republicans by targeting the financial community moments after markets closed.
The president then met Republican and Democratic leaders for their first talks since the US government money's ran out and it slumped into a shutdown now well into its second day.
But few informed observers held out much hope for a sudden breakthrough.
Obama was asked in the interview whether Washington was simply gripped by just the latest in a series of political and fiscal crises which reliably get solved at the last minute.
In unusually frank comments on issues that could sway markets, Obama warned that investors should be worried.
"This time's different. I think they should be concerned," Obama said, in comments which may roil global markets.
"When you have a situation in which a faction is willing potentially to default on US government obligations, then we are in trouble," Obama said.
Obama said he would not negotiate with Republicans on budget matters until House lawmakers pass a temporary financing bill to reopen federal operations and raised the $16.7 trillion dollar debt ceiling.
If the borrowing limit is not lifted by the middle of the month, the US government could default on its debts for the first time in history.
"If and when ... that vote takes place and the government reopens, and if and when they vote to make sure Congress pays our bills on time so America does not default on costs it's already accrued, then I am prepared to have a reasonable, civil negotiation around a whole slew of issues," Obama said.
The president said he had "bent over backwards" to accommodate Republicans -- a statement his foes would dispute -- but warned it would set a terrible precedent to allow lawmakers of any party to hold a White House to ransom over raising the debt ceiling.
"Absolutely I am exasperated, because this is entirely unnecessary," Obama said.
The government shutdown has sent 800,000 federal workers home, closed museums, national parks and monuments and crippled government services.
Obama wants a straightforward temporary spending bill to end the first shutdown in 17 years, while Tea Party Republicans have repeatedly tied the measure to a dismantling or delay of his signature health care law.
With neither side willing to budge, hopes of an early exit to the shutdown are fading.
"Most of the time you can see an end game," Republican Senator Johnny Isakson told MSNBC. "Right now there's no end game in sight."
Some signs of incremental movement emerged, with Democrats pledging to appoint negotiators to thrash out a long-term budget -- provided that the Republicans agree to an immediate six-week federal spending measure with no anti-Obamacare provisions.
Obama met at the White House with his chief political rival, House Speaker John Boehner, as well as top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell to address the standoff.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi were also there.
Boehner's office said the fact the talks were taking place was a victory in itself and had the potential to lead to "serious talks between the two parties."
European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi warned Wednesday that a US shutdown "is a risk if it is protracted."
"It would be a risk not only for the US, but also the world economy," Draghi said.
Obama on Wednesday gathered a group of high flying CEOs, apparently hoping they would pressure Boehner to pass a straight temporary funding bill.
Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein warned that America was getting onto dangerous ground by flirting with not raising the debt ceiling. A previous period of brinkmanship on the issue badly hit the US credit rating.
"There's a precedent for a government shutdown, there's no precedent for a default," he said after meeting Obama.
Furious tourists meanwhile are locked out of Washington museums and monuments, as well as national parks and landmarks like the Statue of Liberty in New York. Cancer research and treatment at the world-class National Institutes of Health has ground to a halt.
The fallout has already caused Obama to shorten his long-planned Asia trip, scrapping stops in Malaysia and the Philippines that were due to begin this weekend, so he could attend to the crisis at home.
The president's attendance at regional summits in Indonesia and Brunei was also in doubt.
A no show in Asia would be seen as a blow to Obama's policy of rebalancing US diplomacy and military might towards the fast growing region.
But James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence warned lawmakers that US security was already being compromised.
Seventy percent of the intelligence workforce had been furloughed, potentially offering an opening to foreign recruiters in the field, Clapper said.
"This seriously damages our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation," Clapper said.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
NAIROBI, Kenya -- Kenyan authorities prepared for the gruesome task of recovering dozens more victims than initially feared after the country's president declared an end Tuesday to the four-day siege of a Nairobi mall by al-Qaida-linked terrorists. Officials said the death count could jump by another 60 or more.
"We have ashamed and defeated our attackers," President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a televised address to the nation that was delayed for hours as gunbattles persisted at the upscale Westgate mall. "Kenya has stared down evil and triumphed."
Despite Kenyatta's declaration, troops remained deployed at the vast complex, and security officials told The Associated Press attackers with weapons or booby traps might still be inside. A plan to remove bodies was aborted because of continued skirmishes inside the mall, where three floors had collapsed.
Describing the victims as "innocent, harmless civilians" of "various nationalities, races, ethnic, cultural, religious and other walks of life," a solemn-looking Kenyatta reported the known death toll: at least 61 civilians, along with six security forces and five al-Shabab militants.
About 175 people were injured, including 62 who remain hospitalized, he said, acknowledging that "several" bodies remained trapped in the rubble, including those of terrorists.
However, another government official said a far higher toll was feared and morgue workers were preparing to receive up to 60 more bodies. A Western embassy official said the number of additional dead could go as high as 100. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss information not publicly disclosed.
"They're just seeing dead bodies. They've found no survivors, no live hostages," said a Nairobi resident whose brother was taking part in the military sweep inside the mall. He spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because his brother was not authorized to publicly release the information.
Kenyatta said 11 suspects had been arrested; authorities previously announced that seven had been taken into custody at the airport and three elsewhere.
"These cowards will meet justice as will their accomplices and patrons, wherever they are," an emotional Kenyatta declared.
"We confronted this evil without flinching, contained our deep grief and pain, and conquered it," he said. "As a nation, our head is bloodied, but unbowed."
Kenyatta declared three days of national mourning starting Wednesday.
Kenyatta said forensic experts would examine the corpses of the assailants to determine their identities, softening earlier assertions by Kenya's foreign minister that Americans and a Briton were involved in the siege.
"Intelligence reports had suggested that a British woman and two or three American citizens may have been involved in the attack," the president said. "We cannot confirm the details at present but forensic experts are working to ascertain the nationalities of the terrorists."
Kenyan officials as early as Sunday evening began declaring near-victory over what they said were 10 to 15 attackers, some who wore black turbans and many with grenades strapped to their vests. But battles inside the shopping complex continued, straining the credibility of victory declarations.
Booming explosions on Monday collapsed a second-story parking garage down into a department store -- blasts that lit cars on fire and sent dark plumes of smoke skyward for nearly two hours. Explosions continued throughout Tuesday, and the chatter of gunfire from inside the building could be heard. Fresh smoke rose from the building in the afternoon.
Fears persisted that some of the attackers could still be alive and loose inside the rubble of the mall, a vast complex that had shops for retailers like Bose, Nike and Adidas, as well as banks, restaurants and a casino.
Two Kenyan soldiers who had been inside the mall shortly before the president spoke said the operation was mostly over, but security forces were still combing the facility and had not definitively cleared all the rooms. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were under orders not to speak to the media.
Another higher-ranking security official involved in the investigations said it would take time to search the whole mall before declaring that the terrorist threat had been crushed. That official also insisted on anonymity.
Al-Shabab, whose name means "The Youth" in Arabic, first began threatening Kenya with a major terror attack in late 2011, after Kenya sent troops into Somalia following a spate of kidnappings of Westerners inside Kenya.
The group used Twitter throughout the four-day siege to say that Somalis have been suffering at the hands of Kenyan military operations in Kenya, and the mall attack was revenge.
"You could have avoided all this and lived your lives with relative safety," the group Tweeted Tuesday. "Remove your forces from our country and peace will come."
Al-Shabab, responding to a request from AP, denied that any women had attacked the mall."
"We have an adequate number of young men who fully committed and ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Allah and for the sake of their religion," said the al-Shabab press office in what is thought to be an authentic email address.
The militants specifically targeted non-Muslims, and at least 18 foreigners were among the dead, including six Britons, as well as citizens from France, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Peru, India, Ghana, South Africa and China. Five Americans were among the wounded.
The mall attack was the deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya since the 1998 al-Qaida truck bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, which killed more than 200 people.
Security officials in Nairobi always knew that Westgate, which was popular with foreign residents of the capital as well as tourists and wealthy Kenyans, was a likely target for terror attacks.
Matt Bryden, a former coordinator of the U.N.'s Somalia monitoring group, said it would have been impossible to adequately protect the complex without transforming its character from a pleasant shopping experience into a U.S. Embassy-like fortress.
"The issue now," he said, "is how this operation escaped detection. Was it so well-planned and operational security so tight that they managed to beat the system, or was it because there was a serious lapse of intelligence, or was it both?"
"To prevent future attacks the emphasis needs to be figuring it out and fix it, and not turning all shopping malls and restaurants and hotels into embassy-like fortresses."
A U.S. Embassy vehicle, identifiable by its numbered diplomatic license plate, arrived at the morgue on Tuesday. American officials have not confirmed the deaths of any U.S. citizens, but it appeared possible the morgue visit was by security officials with an agency like the FBI who were seeking information about one of the bodies inside.
Kenyatta said friendly nations offered various forms of assistance. American, British, French and perhaps most importantly Israeli advisers assisted the hostage-rescue mission, though security officials said all military actions were carried out by Kenyans.
Kenyatta singled out President Barack Obama, as well as the leaders of Israel and Britain, for their support.
-- Associated Press reporters Rodney Muhumuza, Ben Curtis, Adam Schreck and Jacob Kushner in Nairobi, Kenya; Cassandra Vinograd in London; and Abdi Guled in Mogadishu, Somalia, contributed to this report.
? Copyright?2013?Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Are you dating someone and finding yourself wondering, ?Where is this going?? You can easily measure your current level of commitment to the relationship to make an educated guess about whether you guys will stay together. It?s not magic. It?s not a gimmick. It?s just statistics. Give it a try: Take our?relationship quiz.?(I recommend you take the quiz before reading further so that you can give your natural responses.)
Click here to take the quiz >>
Editors' note: This quiz is part of an informal project on great relationships conducted?by contributor?
Melissa Schneider, LMSW,?and is not supervised or conducted by ScienceOfRelationships.com,
other contributors, or the academic institutions affliliated with other contributors.
I think we can all agree that the word ?Commitment? gets tossed around a lot. Will he commit? She has commitment issues...We all say it, but what does commitment really mean? To some, it means not cheating, and for others, it means dating exclusively or maintaining a marriage. For most of us, commitment involves some sort of obligation or promise to the other person.
But to relationship researchers,?commitment is a specific animal with three major organs: relationship satisfaction, quality of alternatives, and investments.1 ?Relationship satisfaction? is fairly self-explanatory?it means how satisfied you are with your overall relationship. Your "alternatives" refer to the other people you could potentially become involved with if your current relationship ended. Lastly, your "investments" are the things you put into a relationship, like time, effort, money, property, or emotional energy. Researchers have refined and tweaked this definition of commitment since the 1980s, and it has become one of the single most-studied aspects of romantic relationships.2?More importantly for us, this flurry of empirical inquiry means we know a lot about the interaction between commitment and a person?s future decision to stay or break up. Essentially, it works like this:
Commitment?s Predictive Powers
Your commitment score is not a perfect crystal ball, but it is a good place to start if you want to predict your relationship?s future. Commitment is one of the best markers of who will break up and who will stay together in the future, anywhere from three months to a year or two later.3?It is also a great way to assess your relationship because unlike other factors, such as how often you fight or how much support you get from your social circle, commitment?s powers appear to work equally for men and women. Also, the relationship between commitment and your future status is also generally immune to your ethnicity, sexual orientation, or how long you?ve been with your partner.
This means that you can measure your commitment at any point in the dating or relationship process and learn something useful about the future. But how accurate a prediction can you make? In one study that followed more than 1,700 people for five months, commitment scores collected at the start of the study explained 22% of the difference between the people who stayed together and the people who broke up after the five months. In normal-speak, this number means there is a moderate connection between commitment and staying together in the future. While a lot of other factors contribute to keeping a couple together, we can confidently say that people?s current commitment to their relationship is an important piece of their future decision to stay with their partner or move on.
Commitment would probably be an even more accurate predictor of your relationship?s future status if it weren?t for one thing: Committed people sometimes get dumped. It sucks but it?s true. If your partner is less committed than you are, he or she might break up with you, rendering your own commitment a much less relevant factor in your future break-up. If your partner is willing, perhaps you can both take today?s relationship quiz and compare your scores. If you have similar scores, then great. If your commitment levels vary, you might want to talk about what is causing this difference. One study of college students found that people who would initiate a breakup with their partner in the next five months had lower commitment levels than people who would still be dating their partner at the end of that time.4?A mismatch in your commitment levels doesn?t have to be cause for panic, but it could be an important thing to discuss together.
Moreover, commitment is not 100% accurate because committed people might leave for other reasons. If you find out your partner is cheating, for instance, or if your parents strongly disapprove of your partner, or if you have to move to China and your partner insists on keeping a position in the state of Wyoming, such factors could prompt a non-commitment-related breakup.
All in all, your commitment score is a significant puzzle piece when you want to know if your relationship will last. Understanding your own commitment will give you a unique perspective on yourself and your relationship. So, go on, click here to find out how committed you are!
Did you miss the last quiz, How Is Your Relationship Doing? Feel free to take it or pass it along to a friend!
Interested in learning more about relationships? Click?here for?other topics?on?Science of Relationships.?Like us on?Facebook?or follow us on?Twitter?to get our articles delivered directly to your NewsFeed.
1Rusbult, C. E., Martz, J. M., & Agnew, C. R. (1998). The Investment Model Scale: Measuring commitment level, satisfaction level, quality of alternatives, and investment size. Personal Relationships, 5, 357?391.
2Le, B., Dove, N., Agnew, C., Korn, M., Mutso, A. (2010). Predicting nonmarital relationship dissolution: A meta-analytic synthesis. Personal Relationships, 17, 377-390.?
3Le, B., Dove, N., Agnew, C., Korn, M., Mutso, A. (2010). Predicting nonmarital relationship dissolution: A meta-analytic synthesis.?Personal Relationships, 17, 377-390.
4Arriaga, X. B., & Agnew, C. R. (2001). Being committed: Affective, cognitive, and conative components of relationship commitment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 1190?1203.
Melissa Schneider?-?Science Of Relationships?articles?|?Website
Melissa is a couples counselor and writer interested in the dynamics of romantic relationships. Her first book,?The Ugly Wife is a Treasure at Home: 27 True Stories About Love and Marriage in Communist China,?is coming soon; sign up?here?for the juicy details. See also is an online therapist withTalktala.com.?Check out her blog:??Where Is This Going???or follow her on?Twitter @luvwiser.
Monday, September 23, 2013
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