TomTom is busting out a pair of new smartphone cradles to ensure your handset sits snugly on the windshield of your whip. The Hands Free Car Kit is available in both iPhone or microUSB (for all other smartphones) versions and comes with a built-in two watt speaker, extendable microphone and fast charging. Both editions are available for £80 ($125), while an iPhone-specific bundle that comes with the company's navigation app will set you back £130 ($204).Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
CHESTER, Pa. (AP) ? Jack McInerney scored in the 90th minute to give the Philadelphia Union a 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution on Sunday night.
Eric Hartline, US Presswire
Union forward Jack McInerney jumps over the dasher board on his way to celebrate with fans after scoring the game winning goal against the Revolution.
Sheanon Williams sent a clean cross into the box and McInerney finished with a header for the come-from-behind win.
Freddy Adu also scored for the Union (7-10-2), who have won four of their last five games.
Saer Sene gave the Revolution (6-10-5) a 1-0 lead with a 25-yard strike in the 12th minute. It was Sene's team-high ninth goal of the season.
That lead held up until McInerney was taken down in the box and Adu responded with a penalty kick in the 59th minute.
New England dropped to 1-8-2 on the road.
Philadelphia improved to 5-4-1 at home and won its fourth in a row here.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.For more information about reprints & permissions, visit our FAQ's. To report corrections and clarifications, contact Standards Editor Brent Jones. For publication consideration in the newspaper, send comments to email@example.com. Include name, phone number, city and state for verification. To view our corrections, go to corrections.usatoday.com. USA TODAY is now using Facebook Comments on our stories and blog posts to provide an enhanced user experience. To post a comment, log into Facebook and then "Add" your comment. To report spam or abuse, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find out more, read the FAQ and Conversation Guidelines.?
Small business owners on a tight budget need to stretch their PPC advertising dollars to get the most bang for their buck. However, there are countless money-sucking traps along the way that can derail your online advertising goals. Here are five critical tips for PPC success for small businesses on a budget.
1. Separate Networks. Search, display, content, syndicated search partner.
Google recommends serving your ads on all its available sites. Of course it does. If you want to rack up a ridiculous number of impressions while overpaying for clicks from visitors who are not at all interested in what you have to offer- go for it!
A much better tactic is using separate campaigns to advertise individually on the Search Network, Display Network, etc. Each advertising network has been developed to reach visitors with different goals on different types of sites. The structures of your campaigns need to be adjusted based on the network you are serving. Separating your campaigns by network can save you a ton of time and money- not to mention a headache.
2. Use negative keywords.
Effectively adding negative keywords into your campaigns can help eliminate irrelevant clicks from visitors looking for something other than what you have to offer. For example, if you are selling high-end stereo systems for cars, you probably want to filter out terms like free, cheap, and discount. That way, people using those search terms won?t be able to see your ads and you don?t have to waste your daily budget on clicks that won?t convert.
As your campaigns begin to develop and mature, there will always be unwanted keywords and phrases that leak into the account which are triggered by broad and phrase-match keywords. Removing these unwanted keywords will help eliminate unsolicited clicks from visitors not looking for what you have to offer.
3. Don?t ?set it and forget it?- think of your account as a living thing that needs to be cared for.
While the initial building steps of campaign setup and launch can be long and tedious, your work has only just begun once your ads are up and running. Forgetting about your account will come back to haunt you. Depending on the size and budget of your account, set aside a chunk of time one or two days a week when you can sit down and monitor what is going on. This would be a good time to look into adding negative keywords, adjusting bids to reach your optimal ad position, and finding out just what ad copy renders the highest conversion rate.
These campaigns need to be cared for. They can change quite drastically without proper monitoring and time needs to be built into your weekly schedule to keep everything on track.
4. Advertise only where you can deliver.
Location targeting is vital for any small business looking to stretch its paid search dollars. Does your business ship internationally? If not, make sure to show ads only in your home country. Looking closer, an electrician serving a small geographical region can target only the cities they work in.
These location targeting areas can become as widespread or granular as you like. Target a single location, or group together a combination of various countries, states, territories, and cities. Successfully implementing geographical targets within a campaign can drastically improve your ROI by excluding clicks from locations beyond your business?s reach.
5. Don?t forget- there IS customer support. Call that 1-866 line if you need to talk to a human being at Google or Microsoft.
There may be a times when you want to pick up your computer or laptop and throw it off a nearby wall. I recommend refraining from that. Coding breaks, errors occur, and there are times an automated help menu just doesn?t cut it. Don?t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to a real human being.
You mean I actually have to interact with another person? Yes. It?s not so bad, and you can get personalized account attention from somebody who knows the ins and outs of the platform you are working with.
So there you have it- five critical tips for PPC success for small businesses on a budget. Utilizing these tips will help stretch your PPC dollars by not only growing the number of clicks you earn each week but by also by serving your ads to the visitors most likely to convert.
Tired of managing your small business?s PPC account? Portent now has a package for that. Check Out PPC Essentials- expert PPC within your reach. See how Portent can help your small business grow.
Monday, July 30, 2012
LONDON?? Sports fans attending the London Olympics were told on Sunday to avoid non-urgent text messages and tweets during events because overloading of data networks was affecting television coverage.
Commentators on Saturday's men's cycling road race were unable to tell viewers how far the leaders were ahead of the chasing pack because data could not get through from the GPS satellite navigation system travelling with the cyclists.
It was particularly annoying for British viewers, who had tuned in hoping to see a medal for sprint king Mark Cavendish.
Many inadvertently made matters worse by venting their anger on Twitter at the lack of information.
An International Olympic Committee spokesman said the network problem had been caused by the messages sent by the hundreds of thousands of fans who lined the streets to cheer on the British team.
"Of course, if you want to send something, we are not going to say 'Don't, you can't do it', and we would certainly never prevent people," he said. "It's just - if it's not an urgent, urgent one, please kind of take it easy."
Other events due to take place on London's roads include the men's and women's marathon and triathlon.
An explosion in the use of mobile phones to access the Internet and take and send photos and video has made London 2012 the first true "social media Games", but also put pressure on the networks. The host broadcaster, the BBC, is enabling fans to see many events live on their smartphones.
Mobile operators and infrastructure companies had said they expected to be able to meet the extra demand.
The IOC spokesman said it appeared the problem lay with oversubscription on one particular network, and talks had taken place in an attempt to share more of the data. "It's a network issue, and it is that which we are working on," he said.
Official 2012 Olympic communications services provider Vodafone, O2, owned by Spain's Telefonica, and BT said they had not seen any network problems.
BT says it has provided four times the network capacity of the 2008 Beijing Games to meet the increased demand, laying enough cable to stretch between London and New York.
O2, subcontracted by BT to provide mobile services within the Olympic Village, suffered a glitch this month when a third of its customers were hit by a 24-hour network failure.
Steven Hartley at Ovum Telecoms Strategy said at the time that, while mobile capacity was being upgraded at transport and crowd hotspots, spikes in demand at peripheral sites could prove disastrous.
Television coverage is in the hands of the Olympic Broadcasting Services, created by the IOC to ensure uniform coverage at all Games.
The IOC spokesman conceded that asking people not to send messages at key moments "may not have an awful lot of effect".
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Click For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
Windows 8 Metro apps can be made in several ways, including the use of the HTML language. In a new blog post, Microsoft goes over in detail on how Windows 8 app creators can use HTML controls to help make Metro-based apps.
The highly technical post on the official Windows 8 app developer blog uses an example of how to use those HTML controls by focusing on just one of them; the button control which looks like a click friendly UI when used on a standard web page. Microsoft has made some changes to the control so that for Windows 8 Metro apps, the button looks like this:
The blog post states:
You can check out a list of all of the style changes and additions Microsoft has put into the HTML controls at Microsoft's website.
Source: Windows 8 app developer blog | Image via Microsoft
Sunday, July 29, 2012
This image made from amateur video released by the Shaam News Network and accessed Sunday, July 29, 2012, shows a Syrian military tank in Daraa, Syria. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video) TV OUT, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT, DATE, LOCATION OR AUTHENTICITY OF THIS MATERIAL
This image made from amateur video released by the Shaam News Network and accessed Sunday, July 29, 2012, shows a Syrian military tank in Daraa, Syria. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video) TV OUT, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT, DATE, LOCATION OR AUTHENTICITY OF THIS MATERIAL
This image made from amateur video released by the Shaam News Network purports to show a Syrian military tank in Daraa, Syria, Sunday, July 29, 2012. Human rights observers estimate more than 19,000 people have died as the Syrian regime has cracked down on protesters and armed rebels. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN via AP video) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT, DATE, LOCATION OR AUTHENTICITY OF THIS MATERIAL
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, left, speaks to journalists during a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, July 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
In this citizen journalism image taken on Saturday, July 28, 2012 and provided by Edlib News Network ENN, a Syrian boy poses for a photograph in Maarat al-Numaan on the eastern edge of Idlib province, northern Syria. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS HANDOUT PHOTO
In this citizen journalism image taken on Saturday, July 28, 2012 and provided by Edlib News Network ENN, a Syrian man walks past a destroyed building in Maarat al-Numaan on the eastern edge of Idlib province, northern Syria. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS HANDOUT PHOTO
BEIRUT (AP) ? Syrian tanks and artillery pounded rebel-held neighborhoods in the commercial hub of Aleppo on Sunday in a bid to retake control as President Bashar Assad's regime accused regional powerhouses Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey of trying to destroy the country.
Activists say opposition fighters control large swathes of territory across Syria's largest city. The government has been struggling for a week to beat back their assault and stem the tide of recent rebel advances in the civil war.
The head of the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, called for international help in arming the rebels to face the regime's heavy weaponry, particularly tanks.
"If the international community cannot act, they should support the opposition with anti-tanks missiles and anti-aircraft rockets," Abdel Basset Sida told the Gulf News during a stopover in Abu Dhabi. "We seek international supporters to arm our uprising against the regime."
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have expressed willingness to help fund the rebels and they are believed to be funneling money through Turkey to the opposition, which is using it to purchase arms and equipment.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem railed against interference by the region's Sunni powers in a rare public criticism of his Middle East neighbors. He accused them of supporting the rebels at the behest of Israel.
"Israel is the mastermind of all in this crisis," he said during a joint news conference in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi . "They (Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) are fighting in the same front."
Syria's Sunni majority forms the backbone of the uprising while the regime is dominated by Assad's minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Iran is Syria's only remaining ally in the Middle East, standing by Damascus throughout the 17-month uprising.
Amid fears of a massacre or a bloody final battle in Aleppo, civilians have been fleeing the city in ever greater numbers.
"Life in Aleppo has become unbearable. I'm in my car and I'm leaving right now," said a Syrian writer as he got ready to drive away. "There's shelling night and day, every day," he said over the telephone on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
He painted a dire picture of daily life in the embattled city, torn between the government forces and those of the rebels.
"Bread, gasoline and gas are being sold on the black market at very high prices," he said. "Many things are in shortage."
Videos uploaded onto the Internet show deserted neighborhood streets filled with rubble knocked off the multi-story apartment buildings by incoming mortar shells. Shards of broken glass also litter the streets and few windows appear to still be intact.
Since the rebel assault on Aleppo began a week ago, about 192 people have been killed, mostly civilians, according to the activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Some 19,000 people have died since the uprising began, the group says.
The regime strategy for now appears to be to soften the rebel positions with artillery before actually moving into the densely packed streets of the neighborhoods where their tanks be at a disadvantage.
Activists reported heavy shelling of several areas of Aleppo as well as clashes in the southwestern neighborhood of Salahhedine, which has been a rebel stronghold for the past week.
State media reported several successful operations against "terrorists," which is how the regime describes the rebels, in Salaheddine. But activists maintained the neighborhood remained outside government control.
The rebels seem to be putting up a much more effective fight than before, occasionally succeeding in disabling or capturing the regime's heavy, Russian-made tanks.
A video posted online by activists Sunday showed rebels riding through the town of al-Bab in Aleppo province in a captured regime battle tank.
"Rebels have completely seized control of the town of al-Bab east of Aleppo. It is the biggest town in the Aleppo countryside," said local activist Mohammed Saeed. He added that another 200 fighters had entered the city Sunday to join the 1,000 fighters who had poured into the city over the past few days to repel the Syrian army's effort to regain control.
He also said rebels have received "a new batch of weapons and ammunition," but declined to say from where.
The battle for Aleppo, once a bastion of support for Assad's regime, is absolutely critical in the struggle for Syria's future. Rebels already control large sections of the neighboring Idlib province, which borders Turkey, and if a major metropolis fell to them it could possibly create the nucleus of some kind of "liberated" territory that could receive further support from the international community ? much the way eastern Libya became a rebel sanctuary during the fight against Moammar Gadhafi last year.
Yet Syria's rebels are still massively outgunned and it seems just a matter of time before Assad's massed forces outside the city of 3 million crush them, much the way a similar rebel assault on Damascus over a week ago was quashed.
"They mobilized all their armed terrorists and tried to capture Damascus in less than a week," Moallem said in Iran. "They were defeated. Today, they've gone to Aleppo and definitely they will be defeated in Aleppo."
Iran has provided Assad's government with military and political backing for years, and has kept up its strong support for the regime since the uprising began in March 2011. The rest of the Arab world, however, has turned against Syria and on Sunday, the Arab League once against condemned Damascus.
The group's secretary general, Nabil Elaraby, told reporters that the regime's Aleppo offensive "amounts to war crimes" and that those behind it will eventually be brought to justice. Speaking at the League's headquarters in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, he said the pan-Arab organization supported calls by Syrian opposition groups for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the regime's assault on Aleppo.
The violence has sent refugees flooding into countries bordering Syria including Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon.
Jordan said it had opened its first tent camp for Syrians, saying a surge of refugees forced it to do so.
Authorities had been reluctant to set up the camps, possibly to avoid angering Assad's regime by concentrating images of civilians fleeing his military onslaught.
Jordan says it hosts 142,000 Syrians refugees. With their numbers growing daily by up to 2,000, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said Sunday that Jordan had no other choice but to open the camp. He spoke at the camp's opening ceremony in the hamlet of Zataari, about 11 kilometers (7 miles) from the northern border with Syria.
AP writers Dale Gavlak in Amman, Jordan, Ali Akbar Dareini in Tehran, Iran, Zeina Karam in Beirut, Hamza Hendawi in Cairo and Albert Aji from Damascus, Syria, contributed to this report.Associated Press
Cake Pops! Look how pretty they are! One of my co-workers and her daughter made this cute tasty treats! Thanks Pat!
A couple of my friends planned and hosted a baby shower for me a couple of weekends ago. I am so overwhelmed by all their generosity and our baby girl is lucky that she now has more than everything she needs.? We also cannot forget to mention all the friends and family that we have back home who have been checking up on us and letting us know that we are in their thoughts.
Our baby girl is so spoiled and she has not even been born yet! She has tons of clothes, toys, and safety items from all her aunties and uncles. We now have her crib, mattress, infant seat, stroller, swing, boppy, bumbo, bath tub, teether, nasal aspirator, first aid kit, creams, bottles, towels, receiving blankets, diapers (disposable and cloth), activity mat educational toys, food maker, hats, socks, and the list goes on and on!? I hope she likes pink, lambs, bunnies, and carrots because that's sort of the theme her mommy has been planning for her.My shower had a Candyland theme to it. Look at this cake that my friends slaved over. ? So cute!
We also decorated onesies, bibs and burp cloths. Yes, I have some math and science-y friends who are starting our baby out with science-y onesies. ?I guess that's what happens when most of your friends are scientists or engineers. ?Hopefully our baby will enjoy math and science!
See the other math onesie on the left side of this cute sunny onesie?Look at this cute idea. My friend cut the bottoms off of an egg carton container to use as a fabric paint storage container.
Here's a simple sunflower onesie. ?So artistic!
Aunty Kendell made these. Can you tell? ?I told her that the baby's mommy cannot afford Villanova unless she's on scholarship. ?
Another cute and simple onesie!
Baby can come any day now! ?She's made it to the full-term stage and it's only a matter of time! My sister asked me if we're all prepared and ready...and actually I think Mike and I are. ?I'm sure that there are a bunch of things that we are missing and have not thought off, but for the most part we are at a comfortable place. ?Plus, it does help that we have wonderful and supportive friends and family!
David Moir / REUTERS
Madonna performing in Edinburgh, Scotland.
By Rebecca Leffler, The Hollywood Reporter
French fans took Madonna?s ?Express Yourself? lyrics seriously on Thursday night when they booed and expressed anger at the singer for cutting her show at famed Paris concert hall l?Olympia short after around just 45 minutes.
Madonna faces lawsuit from right wing party leader after Paris concert (video)
After Madonna left the stage, fans remained in their seats booing and yelling insults like ?salope,? the French word for ?slut.?
PHOTOS: Madonna's iconic career and life in pictures
Madonna took the stage around 10:15 p.m. and finished around 11 p.m.
The concert venue was filled mostly with big Madonna fans since the tickets for the show were available only to members of her official fan club before being released for sale to the general public. The concert was broadcast live via YouTube.
The supplementary concert was added to the singer?s tour just last week and was sold out after just a few hours, with Material Girl devotees paying from 80 to more than 280 euros for the limited seats. Hundreds of fans gathered outside several hours before the show to fill the Olympia?s 2,700 seats and many slept on the streets overnight from Wednesday to Thursday. After the show, many of them gathered in the streets in front of the theater and yelled ?remboursez! remboursez!? which means ?give us our money back!? in French.
VIDEO: Madonna faces lawsuit from right wing party leader after Paris concert
Several fans expressed their discontentment on Twitter late into the night. One fan wrote in French ?280? for a seat + 10 minutes of a speech + 40 minutes of a show + 2 days of camping in front of the #Olympa = #Madonna #MDNA #Paris #thatsucks? and another wrote also in French ?#Madonna 45min/250? vs @springsteen 3h40/65? ... what?s the better deal, there?s nothing left to say! #MDNAOlympia.? Another wrote: ?How much does it cost to see Madonna at l?Olympia? It?s 6.3 euros per minute!?
Her loyal fans aren't the only ones angry at the pop star. A July 14 concert at the Stade de France incurred the wrath of French right-wing politician Marine Le Pen, who is pressing charges after Madonna screened a video featuring a photo of Le Pen?s face with a swastika superimposed on it.
STORY: Madonna: 'It's not my intention to make enemies'
Madonna also took a moment during the show to respond to Le Pen. ?I know that I made a certain Marine Le Pen very angry with me. And it?s not my intention to make enemies,? Madonna told the crowd before adding, ?It?s my intention to promote tolerance. And when we start saying that we have to get rid of this person or we have to get rid of that person, because then we?ll have a better place, it starts to sound like something else, it starts to sound like something scary. So the next time you want to point the finger at somebody and blame them for a problem in your life, take that finger and point it back at you.?
The singer will next perform in France on Aug. 21, in Nice.
Watch video of the scene posted online by a fan below.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
?Verifone CEO Doug Bergeron just dissed Square, its upstart rival in the credit-card-processing market, by calling it "Pets.com."
Oh boy, that was stupid.
That was Bergeron's reaction, delivered to American Banker, to the news that the San Francisco-based payments startup is poised to raise another $200 million at a $3.25 billion valuation.
VeriFone, which is publicly traded, is worth $4 billion. That's about 2.5 times its annual sales. It has about 3,800 employees.
Square's latest financing values it at approximately 40 times the best guess anyone's made for its annual revenues?about $80 million. Square's headcount just topped 350.
So we understand why Bergeron is jealous of Square.
Square has tapped a huge, underserved slice of the small-business market that Verifone and other big payments providers just can't figure out how to handle efficiently.
It has also captured attention with its appealing cofounder and CEO, Jack Dorsey, who is also the cofounder of Twitter?a marketing edge that VeriFone simply can't match.
But by comparing Square to Pets.com, a flash-in-the-pan online pet-supplies retailer that has ?Bergeron is treading on dangerous territory.
First of all, Square is worth far more than Pets.com ever was, and it is a real business?unlike Pets.com, which recorded revenues of $619,000 in its first fiscal year.
At its IPO, Pets.com raised $82 million. Square has already raised twice that, even before its most recent megaround.
And at the public offering, Pets.com was only worth $1.2 billion?and its shares promptly slumped.
Besides Bergeron's math being laughably off, this kind of trash talk has the tendency to energize its target.
Remember when Michael Dell said that if he were CEO of Apple, he'd close it down and return the cash to shareholders?
Apple went on to become the most valuable company in the world.
So if Bergeron were smart, he'd quietly praise Square's innovation?and get to work fixing the obvious problems in VeriFone's hardware, software, and pricing structure that Square has exploited to gain a niche that Bergeron should never have allowed it to occupy.
During the summer months most of our weekends are packed with back-to-back barbecue invitations. Either you are having friends and family over for a BBQ or someone else has invited you to the park, the beach, or to their backyard for some grub. Your typical hosts will offer lots of burgers and hot dogs and maybe even some juicy marinated chicken and some steak. In other words, all you are consuming are very large quantities of meat! Now don?t get me wrong, I LOVE my churrasco or skirt steak on the grill, but too much meat all at once can be very overwhelming. I am getting tired of seeing corn on the cob and potato salad as the only non-meat food options at BBQs. I?m raising the red flag, and I know my boyfriend thinks I?m crazy, but meat should not be the only star of the BBQ. We really need to come up with better non-meat food alternatives.
Now I?m certainly not the first person turning the wheel here. I?m sure there are blogs devoted solely to summer BBQ food alternatives. But it sometimes helps to remind ourselves not to fall into the same cooking habits. At this very moment, if you decide to take a stroll to your local grocery store or farmer?s market, you will find some of the freshest and juiciest fruits and vegetables of the year. Think about it for a second, we grill in the summer because we love how it gives meat that amazing char texture and smoky taste. Well, the same can be done for fruits and vegetables which also acquire the same desired characteristics and taste just as amazing on the grill. We need to start taking advantage of all of this fresh produce and get to grilling!
Unfortunately for me, I don?t own a grill at the moment. I?ve been looking to get this Weber Q 100 Propane Table/Outdoor Grill. I?m looking for something that is easy to move around and will hopefully not take up too much space. This grill had some amazing reviews on Amazon and it looks to be the right size, but it?s also not on my price range. As an alternative I?ve been looking at their Weber Charcoal Go-Anywhere Grill. This one also has amazing reviews and is thankfully in my budget range. I also happen to love the taste of charcoal grilling, so when the timing is right I think I will get this grill instead. In the meantime, I had to figure out an alternative to grilling my vegetables. I know it?s weird to have a blog post about grilling when you actually didn?t use a grill, but you can?t always have everything. You can use a grill and let me know how the vegetables turn out . As an alternative I ended up using my oven and placed my vegetables in baking sheets covered with aluminum foil. I think the end result was very similar to what you would get on the grill. Thought if have, you could use a cast iron skillet to get the desired charring effect in the oven.
The below recipe will work for your grill, your cast iron pan, and your oven, the main take away here is that we need to start grilling vegetables and enjoying them more often. I bought beets, summer squash and carrots at the farmer?s market which turned out really sweet and crispy. The summer squash turned out crispy on the outside but the inside was just juiciness. I also found some snow peas in the fridge but I didn?t like how they turned out in the oven. They wilted and didn?t taste that great. At the end it really doesn?t hurt to try any type of vegetable, you?ll figure out if you don?t like it afterwards.
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Red pepper flakes
Your choice of herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme, etc..)
Here is a list of veggies you could use for grilling: Asparagus, broccoli, beets, carrots, summer squash, any type of pepper, tomatoes, onions, the list goes on.
a?¢ Set your stove top cast iron skillet or your grill to medium heat.
a?¢ For your oven, ehow.com recommends that you preheat your oven to between 500 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit. The site recommends that you use a cast iron skillet or a grill pan, but I used a baking sheet pan and covered it with aluminum foil.
Tip 1 ? Sometimes it?s more cost effective to work with what you have. I don?t have a grill, or a cast iron skillet, so I used a baking sheet and the oven.
a?¢ Add olive oil to a small container, 1/4 cup should do, and with a brush start to coat your vegetables.
a?¢ Add salt and pepper to taste.
a?¢ If you have additional ingredients now is the time to sprinkle them onto your vegetables.
a?¢ If you prefer, you can also mix the oil with your additional ingredients. With the brush you will get an even coating of your seasoning on your vegetables.
Keep an eye on your veggies as they grill. Your cooking time will range from between 5 to 10 minutes. Peppers might take a little longer, while asparagus might take no time at all to cook.
Tip 2 ? For dessert, why not try grilling some fruit. If it?s a super-hot day, take a scoop of ice cream or gelato and place some of your favorite charred fruit on top. YUM!
LEFTOVERS IDEA ? GRILLED VEGETABLE EGG STIR FRY
After I finished my delicious meal of veggies and only veggies I ended up with a lot of leftover grilled vegetables. I knew I was going to be eating them pretty soon, so I stored them in a container in the refrigerator. If there is one thing you need to know about my family is that we don?t like throwing out food or leaving it in the fridge forgotten. If you cooked too much, well then you can eat it for breakfast the very next morning or take it to work for lunch. I went with option one and used my leftover ingredients to make a recalentado for breakfast. You make a recalentado by ?reheating? whatever you made the day before. This usually involves a mixture of leftover rice and beans with scrambled eggs. I once had some leftover rice and mixed it with an egg for breakfast and my boyfriend?s father thought I was nuts. As a Latina, I say this with much love, but we need to start eating rice in moderation! I love my curves but I don?t need to add to them by gorging on rice all the time. That?s why I started to cut my consumption of rice to less than one cup (8 ounces) a day. As an alternative to this recalentado, skip the white rice and make it with some brown rice. You can also chop your vegetables a little finer or add some crumbled tofu to supplement the rice all together. Either way the sweetness of these grilled vegetables will outshine all other ingredients and make for a perfectly healthy and filling treat.
a?¢ Chop your veggies into small or large chunks (whatever style you prefer)
a?¢ Heat a frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, set to medium heat.
a?¢ Let your vegetables saute for about 5 minutes.
a?¢ If you have left over rice around add it to the pan after about 3 minutes, you want to give the veggies time to saute.
a?¢ Add eggs (cage free) ? The number of eggs you use depends on the amount of veggies you chopped and the number of people you are feeding. (I only like having one egg for breakfast so that?s all I used).
a?¢ Mix everything together and you have yourself a grilled vegetable egg stir fry.
For more recipes check out my Tofu con Sazon blog,
Buen provecho! =)
All things considered, we think it's safe to say BMW very rarely disappoints with its latest road-friendly creations, and one of the outfit's most recent concoctions is this eco-friendly C Evolution electric scooter. According to the German company, the prototype two-wheeler's quite close to hitting its final production stages, noting "it might soon become a part of everyday road traffic in cities throughout the world" and that it is "outstanding in terms of performance, functionality and design." On paper, the C Evolution appears to be rather promising, with BMW also claiming the environmental hog can ride out about 62 miles on a single charge -- all while being able to reach max speeds of around 75 mph. No word yet on how much you'll have to save up for one of these, but for now, there's a video of the C Evo in action waiting on you just past the break.
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Friday, July 27, 2012
From: InsureBlog - 9:40am - July 26, 2012
Although we primarily concern ourselves with life and health insurance, we're certainly no strangers to the Property and Casualty side of the biz. This item in the Washington Free Bacon Beacon (oops, sorry), piqued my interest: "The insurance industry and ... lawmakers are attempting to water down a new Iran sanctions bill that would penalize any company that underwrites Iranian affiliates" Since this is rather outside my bailiwick, I turned (again) to our resident on-call P&C guru, Bill M, who helped me get my head around it. Here goes: Acme Industries, which ships oil-drilling equipment to Iran, calls AIG (hey, it's called American International Group for a reason) for a quote. AIG asks all the pertinent questions (including what's being shipped, from where, to where, etc) and generates a quote. Acme likes what it sees, and purchases the policy. Six months later, Acme is sa...
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Spires, Kale, Vereb among top standouts at Virginia Swimming Age Group Championships
When it comes to freestyle racing, Jonathan Spires of South Eastern Virginia Aquatics can turn on the jets.
The 14-year-old speedster showed it at the Virginia Swimming Long Course Age Group Championships in Christiansburg July 19-22.
First, he set a meet record on Friday in the 200-meter free with a time of 1 minute and 58.28 seconds in the 13-14 age group. He also picked up a first in the 100 free (54.89) and second in the 50 free (25.12) the same day.
But that wasn't all, On Sunday, Spires' strong anchor leg of 54.59 brought the Seahawks from behind going into the last leg to set a new state and meet record in the 400 free relay with a blistering time of 3:47.27. Other team members included Nicholas Schwegel, Zachary Becouvarakis, and Chad Stickle.
John Kale of the Williamsburg Aquatic Club set a meet record in the 400 individual medley (4:45.61), and won the 800 free (8:49.69) and 1,500 free (17:04.08) in the 13-14 class. He also placed in the top 4 in three other races to finish sixth in the boys' overall scoring.
Teammate Joelle Vereb, third in the girls' high-points race, topped her showing with wins in the 50 fly (30.78) and 100 fly (1:09.57). She also placed second in the 50 breaststroke, 200 free, and 200 fly, plus thirds in the 100 free and 200 IM.
Alexandra Slayton stood out for the Blue Dolphins in the 11-12 division. She won the 50 backstroke (32.87) and 100 back (1:11.34), added a second in the 50 free and swam on four relays. She teamed with Maddie Morello, Chelsea Marstellar, and Abigail Larson on the winning 200 medley (2:14.57).
The Blue Dolphins also placed second in three of the other girls' 11-12 relays -- the 400 medley, and 200 and 400 free relays. Those members included Slayton, Marstellar, Larson and Hailey Toledo.
Other state champs were Brieanna Romney of SEVA, 10-11, in the 50 free, 31.42; Nicole Shuford of SEVA, 13-14, in the 100 breaststroke, 1:16.50; and Julianna Jones of WAC, 13-14, in the 400 free (4:40.64).
Perennial champ NOVA again dominated the 28-team meet, winning the boys title with 2,278.5 points, the girls with 1,695.5, and the combined with 3,974. The Blue Dolphins led the Peninsula teams, placing third in the boys (783), girls (969.5), and combined (1,752.5).
SEVA finished fourth for the boys (758.5), fifth overall (1,203.5), and eighth among the girls (445). Williamsburg was seventh overall (918), seventh in the boys (503) and 10th among the girls (415)..
When people become severely, chronically ill or they simply advance
in age, they tend to encounter the need for ongoing care with regards to
their daily routines. Many times, these needs are met by moving into an
assisted living center despite the fact that this is often not a happy
or exciting decision for that resident. No one wants to give up the
freedoms that most of us take for granted throughout most of our lives,
and many people who do make this decision regret it because they are
mistreated in these settings.
Below you will find a brief overview of the specifics regarding two
different types of mistreatment that tend to occur in an assisted living
center: nursing home negligence and nursing home abuse. Anyone who is
being mistreated or any family member who suspects that a loved one is
being subjected to this conduct needs to obtain the advice and guidance
of experienced San Diego personal injury lawyers as soon as possible.
Nursing Home Negligence Described
Nursing home negligence is conduct that can basically be described as
providing a substandard level of care that may or may not be
intentional. Basically, this legal claim can and often is made when the
level of ongoing care and oversight that was promised is not delivered.
Examples of results of nursing home negligence can include the
development of bed sores from not being turned enough for patients who
are immobile, the development of sickness when medications are not
provided in a regular manner and the suffering of physical injuries when
a resident is not properly supervised.
Nursing Home Abuse Described
Nursing home abuse is generally considered to be more egregious
conduct, and that?s likely because there is some level of intent that is
often present in the minds of the people who are doling out this abuse.
Specifically, people who suffer from abuse in nursing homes can be
physically abused, emotionally abused, financially abused and even
sexually abused. Any or all of these forms of abuse obviously lead to an
enormous level of harm that can manifest itself by way of physical
injuries, emotional trauma, financial loss or an increased level of
severity of sickness that was already being endured by the resident when
he or she moved into the facility.
How San Diego Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
When someone is being neglected and/or abused while living in an
assisted living center, it can be difficult for family members to catch
on to what?s happening. That?s because it?s rare that the person being
mistreated will say something and not all injuries that are suffered are
obvious. Therefore, people need to trust their instincts and to take
action if they suspect something is wrong.
If you or someone you love is being mistreated while living in an assisted living center, you need to seek the help of San Diego personal injury lawyers who have been fighting for the rights of clients for many years. Contact the Mitchell | Gilleon Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.
Continue reading ?San Diego Personal Injury Lawyers Explaining Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence ?
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Thursday, July 26, 2012
LONDON?Mitt Romney rejected calls for new gun laws in the aftermath of last week's movie theater shooting in Colorado, insisting new legislation would not have prevented the tragedy.
In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, the presumptive Republican nominee pointed to the fact that James E. Holmes, the suspect in last Friday's shooting, was "building bombs"?even though it was illegal.
"A lot of what this young man did was clearly against the law," Romney told NBC. "But the fact that it was against the law did not prevent it from happening."
Asked if he had a "problem" with individuals being able to purchase large amounts of ammunition via the internet, Romney said he didn't think it was possible to "prevent people who want to provide harm from being able to purchase things to carry out that harm."
"What I wanna do is find the people who represent a danger to America and find them and keep them from having the capacity to use or buy things that could? hurt other people," Romney said.
The GOP candidate argued that "changing the heart of the American people" may be the only key to cracking down on gun violence. He described himself as a supporter of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but acknowledged he had differences with the National Rifle Association?though he didn't name a specific issue where he disagreed with the gun rights group.
"Their agenda is not entirely identical with my own," Romney said. "I don't know if I line up 100 percent with? almost anybody."
Speaking from London, where he kicked off a seven-day overseas tour Wednesday, Romney was asked about his speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention on Tuesday in which he criticized President Barack Obama for his "shabby treatment" of Israel. Romney declined to elaborate on his remark, telling Williams he didn't want to trash Obama while he's traveling overseas.
"I don't want to be in any way critical of the president or to be fashioning foreign policy departure from the president, while I'm on foreign soil," Romney said. "But I can tell you that with regards to any nation that feels its security is at risk that they should have a firm conviction that America is securely behind them. And I hope the people of Israel feel that. I would certainly want to communicate that I as a citizen and a candidate stand with Israel and want to see them have a prosperous and peaceful future."
[Get more updates from Romney's overseas trip by following @hollybdc on Twitter]
Romney was asked about a Daily Telegraph report that quoted an unnamed adviser to his campaign suggesting Obama did not fully appreciate the "Anglo Saxon heritage" shared between the United States and Great Britain. Acknowledging he was "not enthusiastic about adopting comments made by people who are unnamed," Romney disputed the comment.
"We have a very special relationship between the United States and Great Britain. It goes back to our very beginnings---cultural and historical. But I also believe the president understands that," Romney said. "So I don't agree with whoever that adviser might be."
Romney again rejected calls to release additional tax returns beyond the two years he's pledged to release, telling NBC Democrats "take what's there, twist it, distort it,? (and) dishonestly use it in attack ads."
"I just don't want to give them more material than is required," Romney said.
Asked about criticism from Republicans that he hasn't fully explained his personal story to voters, Romney laughed off the suggestion, telling Williams that he's been more than open about his life.
"I'm happy to talk about my heritage? I'm proud of my heritage," Romney said, noting that his father was born in Mexico and mentioning his membership in the Mormon church. But he argued it was still too early for most voters, suggesting most people won't start paying attention to the presidential race until after Labor Day.
"Most folks won't really get to see me until the debates and will get a better sense of the character that I have," Romney said.
He declined to offer any details about his search for a vice presidential running mate. Williams asked Romney the suggestion among Republicans that he would pick "an incredibly boring white guy."
"You told me you were not available," Romney joked.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Andrew Winning / REUTERS
London mayor Boris Johnson gestures during a news conference to unveil details of the Olympic Torch Relay through London on July 16, 2012.
A snip of the scissors has lengthened the betting odds on shaggy haired London Mayor Boris Johnson setting his platinum locks alight with the Olympic torch.
Johnson has pulled out all the stops to ensure the British capital looks its best for the 2012 Olympic Games and had his familiar mop chopped this week in favor of a sleek, more photogenic hairdo in time for the opening ceremony on Friday.
Bookmaker William Hill said it changed its odds to 100-1 from 66-1 on bets that Johnson - who is famous for his shambolic style and bumbling manner - would accidentally set his wild hair on fire with the Olympic torch.
"I didn't know he had gone and got a sneaky hair cut. It's not so wavy now so it's less likely to catch fire," William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said.
Andrew Winning / Reuters file
London mayor Boris Johnson attends a news conference in London on July 16, 2012.
Neither Johnson's office nor the Olympic organizing committee would be drawn on whether the mayor is actually scheduled to carry the torch during the London 2012 opening ceremony despite media speculation.
The betting firm is also offering odds at 20-1 that the flame will go out as the last person runs with it.
More London 2012 coverage:
Follow World News on NBCNews.com on Twitter and FacebookCopyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
NO RESERVE? BID WITH CONFIDENCE: I HAVE 100% POSITIVE FLIPPA FEEDBACK!
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GET 79 EXCLUSIVE INFORMATION PRODUCTS TO SELL!
NOT AN AFFILIATE SHOP: YOU RECEIVE ALL THE DIGITAL MERCHANDISE AND KEEP 100% OF THE PROCEEDS!
This is a unique business opportunity for any online entrepreneur to receive a highly efficient business model as well as all the supplies to run it.
---About the E-Shop---
I am selling a fully stocked e-book store, which has 46 products ready to sell and 33 more products in reserve so that you can continuously expand your enterprise. All the information products are focused around the niche of Online Marketing, which has been one of the hottest niches on the internet and will never go away.
Why invest in an Adsense site and see your business ruined when Google changes its indexing rules again?
This online store costs nothing to run and will supply you with a loyal customer base for months to come.
What makes these information products so appealing to the buyer?
- 90% of the products come with Master Resale Rights. That appeals to a great number of people because a lot of them realise they can make their initial investment back by reselling these products. Don?t want to include Master Resale Rights with your products? No problem! I will show exactly what you?ll need to do to revoke the MRR license from each listing.
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- Each product is professionally written and provides valuable information which you can use for your own online endeavours. Just imagine, you get access to 79 high-quality information products, which would cost you thousands of dollars to acquire yourself. Not only can you sell them and keep 100% of the revenue, you can also USE them and create multiple online businesses that will run on autopilot! ?
- The products are not limited to e-books. There are video courses, scripts, reports, templates and other media.
This WordPress-powered website was built on a feature-rich premium theme with a number of high quality plugins already installed to make your back-end management a breeze. ZERO technical knowledge is required to run this business.
Below are some of the website?s functions, which you can easily control:
- Contact forms and auto-responders
- Price tables for packages
- Individual item descriptions and prices
- Product categories
- Overall layout and design
There is no need to hand-code anything, ever.
The domain name was carefully chosen to contain the phrase ?e-markering?. The content of the site was optimised for several high-paying low competition keywords to help you get started on SEO.
---Business Model (How It Works)---
For individual products:
- Buyer places an order.
- The payment is processed by PayPal.
- Buyer receives an email that contains the download link to the product.
- Buyer places an order.
- The payment is processed by PayPal.
- Buyer is redirected to the submission page and pastes the titles of the products that they?d like.
- Website owner transfers the products the buyer manually.
The only commission that the seller pays is the PayPal commission (around 3% in the US).
Even though it looks like the individual products require no manual action to process, the big money is in the packages. Imagine you were able to sell only one of those a day! That?d be financially equivalent to a full-time job, whilst you only spend 5 minutes to process an order.
There are currently 46 products listed on the site and I am including another 33, so you can keep expanding for months to come.
Should you choose to BIN, you will receive even MORE high-end digital products to resell or use.
There are 3 main ways to monetise the site (plus one only for BIN buyers):
- Digital product sales. Sell and keep 100% of the revenue.
- Adsense. Add some unique articles and watch your Adsense account grow. 3 unique articles are included in my BIN bonuses to help you get started.
- ClickBank. Earn up to 90% commissions with ClickBank. There is a ClickBank AdHop table strategically placed within the website. Should your potential clients stumble upon it and buy the products, you will receive high commissions from the affiliates.
- Membership sites (BIN only). Buy-it-now and receive 7 high-quality membership sites with ALL the digital contentyou need to keep them running for several months!? I will not provide free domain names but I will gladly host those sites for you for free.
---Work Required (Marketing)---
I don?t usually say this about any sites I sell, but this one actually requires VERY LITTLE work. Your main efforts will be focused on online marketing, and luckily you?ll own A HUGE LIBRARY of information products on that exact topic. If you feel discouraged by the amount of material to go through, I will prepare an exhaustive marketing summary to help you start making sales.
Spending only 30 minutes a day on marketing can generate you over $1000 a month in sales. Imagine you sold the Standard bundle package every day. That would generate $1798.50 of revenue PER MONTH.
Remember that you are never in the dark when you buy from me. I will provide the auction winner with full marketing advice.
---- Why I?m Selling ----
Because this is what I do. Even though I have enough marketing knowledge to monetise this site, I simply prefer to earn a living by designing online business models. I research and test every model before I offer it for sale. I always appreciate the opportunity to introduce new entrepreneurs to the world of honest online business, and I guarantee to provide all the necessary tools to succeed in it.
---- About Me ----
I am employed full-time in designing and selling websites, and this is what I do all day. I am proud of my flippa feedback and have every intention to keep it at 100%. Reasons to buy from me:
- I am very quick to respond (since this is my only job)
- Full after sale support is provided to every buyer
- Marketing advice is included with every auction
- All website transfers are 100% free
- I NEVER sell online businesses that I know won?t work
I reside in Chicago and have a US phone number which will be shared with the auction winner.
THE AUCTION WINNER GETS:
- Fully automated information product e-shop business
- Premium WordPress theme with a myriad of features which anyone can manage
- Fully optimised content to make your SEO easier
- Access to 79 clickbank-ready information products?
- Website transfer to the host of your choice? ?
- PayPal integration ?
- Exhaustive marketing advice?
- 25 INFORMATION PRODUCTS THAT WERE TOO LARGE TO SELL ON THE WEBSITE
This means you?re getting such products as video courses, audio books, advanced marketing software, etc. Everything is ClickBank-ready. You can add these products as bonuses to the existing buyer or resell them separately. The possibilities are endless
- 7 FULL MEMBERSHIP SITE CONTENTS WITH EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO RUN THEM FOR SEVERAL MONTHS!
Hottest niches: Golf, List Profits, Outsourcing, Pregnancy, Site Flipping, Site Flipping, Skin Care, Wight Loss. YES, you get both the content AND all the media to send to your members, which is enough to keep you going for months. ?
- Design customisations (such as a new logo, different images, page additions, etc.)?
- 100 EDU backlinks (valid only for $190+ BIN)
- Facebook fan page with 1000 real human fans (valid only for $190+ BIN)
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- FINAL BONUS:? $1300 WORTH OF ADWORDS COUPONS. KICK START YOUR PPC CAMPAIGN RIGHT AWAY!!! (valid only for $190+ BIN)
Examples of Revenue, Cost and Profit:
Sell 10 products per day = $99.50 Revenue - $0 Cost = $99.50 Profit = $2985 per month
Sell 1 Standard Package per day = $59.95 Revenue - $0 Cost = $59.95 Profit = $1798.50 per month
Sell 1 Ultimate Package per day = $149.95 Revenue - $0Cost = $149.95 Profit = $4498.50 per month
Listing details are copyright of the seller. The seller grants a permanent, irrevocable and unrestricted licence over the listing details to Flippa.
To express your interest to the seller, or post a public comment, you need to log in or sign up.
Monday, July 23, 2012
BAGHDAD (AP) ? A startling spasm of violence shook more than a dozen Iraqi cities Monday, killing over 100 people in coordinated bombings and shootings and wounding twice as many in the country's deadliest day in more than two years.
The attacks came only days after al-Qaida announced it would attempt a comeback with a new offensive against Iraq's weakened government.
With the U.S. military gone and the government mired in infighting, the Iraqi wing of al-Qaida has vowed to retake areas it once controlled and push the nation back toward civil war. Though there was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday's attacks, nearly all of them struck in the capital and in northern Iraqi cities where al-Qaida can most easily regain a foothold.
"Terrorists are opening another gate of hell for us," said Kamiran Karim, a sweets-seller in the northern city of Kirkuk, which was hit by five exploding cars throughout the morning. He suffered shrapnel wounds when one of the car bombs blew up about 200 meters (yards) from his cart.
So far this summer, militants linked to al-Qaida have claimed responsibility for a steady drumbeat of attacks designed to keep the government off-balance as it works to overcome a power struggle that pits Sunni and Kurdish leaders against the Shiite prime minister. The infighting, which escalated the day after the U.S. military withdrew last December, has all but paralyzed the government and deepened sectarian tensions around the country.
Iraqi and U.S. officials insist al-Qaida is incapable of sowing the kind of widespread violence that would return Iraq to sectarian warfare. And indeed, Shiite militias so far have held back from returning fire. But Monday's attacks prove al-Qaida's continued ability to thwart security, undermine the government and create chaos in a fragile democracy that experts fear is headed toward a failed state.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, accused militants of "spreading panic and fear" and urged political parties to resolve their differences and help restore stability.
Many of Monday's attacks were stunning in their scope and boldness. They bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida, happening within a few hours of each other and striking mainly at security forces, government officials and Shiite neighborhoods.
In one brazen assault, three carloads of gunmen pulled up at an Iraqi army base near the northeastern town of Udaim and opened fire, killing 13 soldiers before escaping, two senior police officials said.
In another, a car bomb exploded outside a government office in Sadr City, the poor, sprawling Shiite neighborhood in northeast Baghdad. Sixteen people died.
"The only thing I remember was the smoke and fire, which was everywhere," said Mohammed Munim, an employee at the office who woke up in a nearby emergency room with shrapnel in his neck and back.
The deadliest attack, however, took place just north of Baghdad in the town of Taji, where a double bombing killed at least 41 people. The blasts were timed to hit as police rushed to help victims from a series of five explosions minutes earlier.
The death toll of at least 110 was the worst for a single day in Iraq since May 10, 2010, when a string of nationwide attacks killed at least 119 people. The sheer breadth of Monday's bloodshed harkened back to the bloodiest days of Iraq's sectarian fighting in 2007, when it was common for more than 100 people to die in a day.
It appeared to be the start of a new al-Qaida campaign in Iraq dubbed "Breaking the Walls," which was announced late last week by the local insurgency's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In a statement issued Saturday on a militant website, al-Baghdadi warned that his Islamic State of Iraq is returning to strongholds that it was driven from by the American military. The Islamic State of Iraq is the formal name for the al-Qaida linked group.
"The majority of the Sunnis in Iraq support al-Qaida and are waiting for its return," al-Baghdadi said.
At its peak, al-Qaida in Iraq brutalized its victims with publicized beheadings, suicide bombings and roadside bombs that targeted the Shiite government, the U.S. military and Iraqi civilians alike. In an attempt to goad Shiite militias to respond, Al-Qaida bombed the revered al-Askari Shiite shrine in Samarra in 2006 ? an attack that launched Iraq's descent into more than three years of sectarian fighting.
But the Iraqi wing of al-Qaida was shunned by the worldwide terror network's central leadership, which chided it for killing civilians. The insurgency made a series of other missteps ? imposing overly strict Islamic discipline and alienating tribal leaders ? that undercut its support in Iraq's Sunni communities and helped lead to the widespread defection of fighters to groups allied with the U.S.
As a result, the flow of funding, arms and fighters slowed to a trickle, and al-Qaida in Iraq has struggled to command much power.
Baghdad political analyst Hadi Jalo said the insurgency now feels emboldened by the success of the Sunni-dominated uprising in neighboring Syria against Damascus' Alawite rulers. The Alawites are an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
"It is leading a sectarian war, and Iraq is part of its war and ideology in this region," Jalo said.
Since late last year, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, has courted Sunni tribal leaders to gain their support. With their help, he's sought to ease the political crisis that has largely broken down along sectarian and ethnic lines. Earlier this month, al-Maliki offered to reinstate former army officers from Sunni provinces who were forced out after the 2003 U.S. invasion because of suspected ties to Saddam Hussein's regime.
But the political stonewalling shows no sign of breaking, and many of Iraq's leaders have left Baghdad during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which began late last week.
Antony J. Blinken, national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, predicted last week that al-Qaida will fail to lure Iraq back toward war. He said the level of violence in Iraq today is roughly what it was before the invasion.
"Iraq remains, relative to other counties, violent, and the Iraqi people suffer from it," Blinken said in the July 18 briefing at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. "But again, I think it's very important to put all of this in context. Compared to where Iraq was a few years ago, there's been a dramatic change for the better."
Statements like that infuriate some Iraqi leaders who say Washington is helping al-Maliki gloss over Iraq's dire situation.
"Things are not good. Things are bad," Ayad Allawi, the Shiite leader of the secular but Sunni-dominated Iraqiya political coalition said in a July 16 interview with The Associated Press. "The society is split and we don't have a real democracy ? we have a mockery."
Bombings and drive-by shootings were virtually unheard-of in Iraq during Saddam's regime, which kept a tight grasp on society through intimidation and threats. But hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shiites were either executed or "disappeared" during Saddam's 24-year rule, targeted because of their political opposition.
Sunnis and Kurds complain they have been either sidelined from real authority in the Shiite-led government or blocked by Baghdad from making lucrative regional business deals. Last month, the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr became the most influential Shiite to join the Sunni-Kurd demand for al-Maliki to resign.
Recent backroom dealing has quieted the recent bickering, and little progress is expected to be made during Ramadan.
However, Monday's attacks made clear that al-Qaida's plans to continue its operations in what the Interior Ministry called "a flagrant violation" of "the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan."
It was a chilling cause for celebration among jihadists, who quickly went to militant websites and called the wave of violence proof of al-Baghdadi's new campaign.
Follow Lara Jakes on Twitter at www.twitter.com/larajakesAP
There has been an upward trend in online education for the last six to eight years. The stigma of online education started to disappear when large, accredited schools starting offering online degrees. Many adults returning to school take online classes. A typical online student works full time and has a family. They cannot attend classes on a weekly basis but, still need additional education to advance their career. Online classes have a lot to offer students. First and foremost, they are more flexible than classroom courses. Many programs are asynchronous, meaning you do not have to be online at a specific time for an online chat or lecture. Most classes consist of case studies, discussion board postings, and quizzes. Second, you can complete the online courses from anywhere in the world with internet access. You can do your assignments from your home, office or even automobile! This feature is very beneficial because you are able to save money on gas, not worry about parking and complete your homework no matter where you are located. Finally, for most Universities you are learning the same information online as you would if you were sitting in a classroom. Meaning, you are not getting any type of discounted degree. This feature is probably the most important. Many professors actually teach both online and classroom courses making sure the content of the courses are the same. This is also important because you will be receiving the same degree and diploma as a student who did all of their coursework on campus.
Expense is another factor to consider when looking into online courses. Many times colleges and Universities will drop their tuition rate for online classes. Since there is no real overhead they are able to offer the same degree programs at a lower cost. Students really appreciate this and take advantage of it all the time. They receive the same education and degree at a discounted price. As long as the school is accredited any employer should accept the degree. It should not matter if the program was done online or on campus. Regional accreditation will allow a student to transfer classes from one school to another or pursue higher education; such as a master?s degree or PhD. This is very important since you never know where life could take you in the future. Don?t waste your time and money completing a degree from a school that is not regionally accredited!
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