Friday, November 30, 2012

An Entrepreneur's Guide to Debt Management: Part II | Con-Vis Inc ...

Handling the Debt you Have

If you have existing debt, then debt consolidation or debt settlement may be an effective option, depending upon the specifics of your debt situation. With debt consolidation, you?ll be taking out a loan for the full amount you owe, and then making one monthly payment instead of several. This is particularly useful for dealing with your highest interest debt, usually credit card debt, because the interest rate on your consolidation loan is typically significantly lower.

With debt settlement, you?ll be depositing money into an account created specifically for debt payoff, while the debt professional you?re working with negotiates your balances down with your creditors.

Remember, you want to leave yourself considerable lead time on both of those processes. That way, you can make some payments to your consolidation lender or pay off a good portion of the debt settlement agreements, reducing debt ratios. Furthermore, you also have time to start working on your credit report. Your credit report is likely to have been impacted by the debt you were carrying, so leaving sufficient time to have as many positive entries as possible, like making all payments on time, is smart. That way, you are in a better position when the time comes to seek financing for your start-up.

Growth Unencumbered by Excessive Debt:?The same basic principles apply if you are considering being more aggressive in terms of the growth and expansion of your established businesses. High debt ratios make finance people nervous, probably even more nervous than they make you ? and with good reason. Growth is stronger when unencumbered by heavy debt obligations. For an entrepreneur, understanding debt management and its implications regarding financing opportunities and business health is essential. Seek financial advice from a professional to guide your through your debt-related decisions until you are confident that you have a strong working knowledge of these issues.

Content Courtesy of, America?s Debt Help Organization

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Vatican hails U.N. Palestine vote, wants guarantees for Jerusalem

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican hailed the United Nations' implicit recognition of a Palestinian state on Thursday and called for an internationally guaranteed special status for Jerusalem, something bound to irritate Israel.

The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's observer status at the United Nations from "entity" to "non-member state," the same status as the Vatican.

"The Holy See welcomes with favor the decision of the General Assembly by which Palestine has become a Non-member Observer State of the United Nations," a statement said.

But it also said it was a "propitious occasion" to recall a "common position" on Jerusalem expressed by the Vatican and the Palestine Liberation Organisation when the two sides signed a basic agreement on their bilateral relations in 2000.

Thursday's statement called for "an internationally guaranteed special statute" for Jerusalem, aimed at "safeguarding the freedom of religion and of conscience, the identity and sacred character of Jerusalem as a Holy City, (and) respect for, and freedom of, access to its holy places."

The Vatican's re-stating of its position on Jerusalem, which has remained mostly dormant for years, was bound to irk Israel, which says there is no need for an international status for Jerusalem because those guarantees already exist.

Israel declared Jerusalem its "united and eternal" capital in 1980 after annexing East Jerusalem in the Six Day War in 1967. World powers have not recognized the annexation.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of an eventual state.

Israel has always resisted the concept of any form of international mandate over Jerusalem.

It has been some time since the Vatican re-stated its position on the city so forcefully, and Thursday's statement was bound to be received negatively by Israel, a diplomat with direct knowledge of their relations said.

Israel has always maintained that it already guarantees the city's special nature as sacred to the three great monotheistic religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Thursday's statement called on both sides to seek an "effective commitment to building peace and stability, in justice and in the respect for legitimate aspirations, both of the Israelis and of the Palestinians."

The Vatican and Israel established full diplomatic relations in 1994. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict visited the Jewish state and Palestinian territories.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella, Editing by Stacey Joyce)


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November 30, 2012 ? Weekly Durango Area Real Estate Statistics ...

November 30, 2012? ? Here are the?real estate?statistics for the past 2 weeks, for Durango Real Estate, sales, great deals, new listings, foreclosures and sold comparable sales. We appologize for the double branding with RE/MAX and Blue Ribbon Properties, just to clarify ? Claudia Williams and Stacy Engle are now with RE/MAX Pinnacle on 111 W. College Ave, Durango. We took this website with us and rebranded. Stay tuned and be patient with us for now.

Here are the bi-weekly statistics, since we didn?t share the stats with you last week.

45?properties sold in Durango, Colorado and area over the last 2?weeks ?? Check it out!

Click Here?for Sold?Listings


There are?48 new listings?in the past 2 weeks.?Check it out!

Click Here?for New?Listings


Bankowned Listings (REO):

Due to continuing interest we are including REO property, which means ?Real Estate Owned? in bank-lingo, in other words, bankowned properties, or foreclosed properties after the foreclosure process is completed. The bank/lender now owns the property. They are typically sold at a discount, hence the popularity! Please follow this link to our foreclosure page on our website. It shows all active bankowned and foreclosure listings in the area and is continually updated. Bookmark it and visit it often! Or email us, to get set up for automatic email notifications on new bankowned listings!

Click here for distress listings, short sales, foreclosures & bankowned Homes in the Durango & Surrounding Areas


For a great market overview and to keep tabs on the value of your house consider getting a free email subscription to? the Market Snapshot ? Free and Instant Home Valuations! A cool map based comparable report that shows new listings and sales comparables to your house, for sellers or buyers. Sign up by clicking here. Or go to You?ll love it!

If you?d like to see any listings or other statistics on Durango Real Estate that we are not covering please don?t hesitate to send an email or post a comment. Maybe you?d like to be alerted to new listings in a specific price range or type. Let us know, we?re here to help.

Sign up to receive automatic emails of new listings by sending me a quick email and letting me know what you?d like to see, Have a great weekend! Feel free to call or email me if you?d like to talk about real estate or go to look at properties ?


Claudia Williams Realtor/Ecobroker/Exchangor

RE/MAX Pinnacle

111 W. College Ave

Durango, CO 81301

970 259 2255 (office)

970 749 3555 (cell)

970 247 8360 (fax),



Check out the Market Snapshot to monitor the value of your Durango Colorado home and get current local market conditions



Disclaimer ? these links and information are based on the Durango local multi listing service. While all information is deemed accurate there are no guarantees. Does not include for sale by owners or foreclosure properties that are not listed on the MLS


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The Idea of Travel and Leisure: Best Honeymoon Destinations in ...

Canada is the biggest country in the American continent and the second biggest one in the entire world. It is also definitely one of the wealthiest and most interesting ones and even though population is not as dense as other big countries, Canada has a big number of crowded cities where cultural and entertainment life is really amazing.


With its capitol city in Ottawa, Canada's largest city is Toronto and what is great about Canada is that its peculiar history in which mostly native, British and French elements have taken place is the reason why you have some cities where English is the main language and some others where that language is French.

This gives us an idea of how rich and fantastic Canadian culture is as a mix of several heritages and elements that blend together in the most refined and harmonic ways.


Among Canada's most important cities you have Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Quebec, Winnipeg, Halifax and Saint John among many others. Most of them are located near the frontier with the United States since most of the upper north of Canada has a severe climate that does not help permanent inhabitation.


Even though it is usually believed that Canada is an extreme cold place, you can still enjoy hot summers and mild winters depending on where you are. However, there are some cities where temperatures in winter may go down to -40? C. It will always vary on where you are standing so please check this before actually traveling to any Canadian city.


Canada offers honeymooners lots of leisure to enjoy. In the first place, the west coast where the British Columbia is, is among Canada's most important touristic centers since you can find there not only beautiful cities, but also ski centers, rocky mountains and rainforests. This is a great place to enjoy together because most of these landscapes are perfect to fall in love with.


In the Ontario region you can enjoy the capitol city and the largest Canadian city (Toronto) as well as the amazing Niagara Falls and a truly diverse offer of eating and cultural places.


Finally, the city of Quebec is to some the most romantic honeymoon destination in Canada since this French speaking city reminisces quite a lot the beautiful France and there you will find amazing and historical sites to enjoy together as well as a highly developed cultural and entertainment life.


Some useful tips which will help you to plan for a Honeymoon in Canada are described below:


The most important thing is to decide the budget for the honeymoon. While deciding the budget, you should also take into consideration some extra money which will help you to take up some extra activities during the honeymoon or for purchasing some surprise gift items during the trip for your life partner.


The next step is to research online about the popular destinations in Canada, honeymoon cruises and the overall expenses, the resorts, hotels and other activities which are available in the various Canada honeymoon packages and opt for the best one. It will also provide you additional details about the region, its climate, best time to visit and the popular destinations for honeymoon which will help in the planning process.


You should search on the internet or get in touch with your travel agent about the best deals. They will provide you information about the discounts, overall travel expenses and tips which will help you to save money during the honeymoon trip. You can opt for all inclusive honeymoon packages in Canada.


Select the destination and make the necessary booking in advance. The best option is to go for hotels which would offer you all the required amenities and also offer you some intimate or romantic settings as per your ideas to spend time with your life partner. Besides these other options available are beach resorts which also would provide you excellent facilities for your honeymoon.


If you are looking out for some special, private and romantic time to be spent together then opt for the special bridal suites or honeymoon suites and make the necessary advance bookings. It would be a wonderful experience and would provide you a honeymoon you have always dreamt of.


Find powerful herbal remedies Island Tours in Canada


Canada honeymoons- top spots

Quebec City- Rated among the top cities in the USA which is visited by the honeymooners, the honeymoon in Quebec City of Canada can be fun. The place is rich in history and the flavor of ancient Europe. The intimate cafes and horse rides through the stone-walled city is particularly what you would enjoy together. The Italian restaurant Le Saint Amour is popular among French honeymooners.


Niagara Falls- Needless to say, nature lovers are sure to make their first stop at the Niagara Falls. The resorts located around the Niagara Falls boasts of offering romantic tourists the best views of the falls. You can spend great time at the Casinos here. The party just goes on here.


Cape Breton- If city life is not the cup of tea for both of you, try the Cape Breton. An escape to this place will leave you mesmerized. You would just forget to check on your cell phones as well! Cape Breton is famous for the Celtic heritage. The Cabot Trail drive in Cape Breton is stunning during the autumn months. Check into any of the cafes there and savor a meal of lobsters.


Banff- The Banff in Canada serves romance throughout the year. You can get cozy at any of the hot springs there or spend quiet moments at the town cabins. This Alberta town is bordered with the Canadian Rockies. Canada honeymoons are incomplete without visiting this lover's paradise.


Montreal- Those loving metropolitan culture, clubs, and parties would not wish to go anywhere else in Canada. Montreal offers the best dining and entertainment options. The waterside zone region of Old Montreal is an ancient place ripe with romance. To experience ideal romance, check into the John& Yoko suite or take a walk to the Mount Royal in the evenings.


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Obama, Romney to meet at White House Thursday

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama will host his former political rival Mitt Romney for a private lunch at the White House Thursday, their first meeting since the election.

Obama promised in his victory speech earlier this month to engage with Romney following their bitter campaign and consider the Republican's ideas.

"In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Gov. Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward," Obama said at the time.

Obama aides said they reached out to Romney's team shortly before Thanksgiving to start working on a date for the meeting. The two men will meet in the White House's private dining room, with no press coverage expected.

In the days after his loss, Romney told top donors that the president was re-elected because of the "gifts" Obama provided to blacks, Hispanics and young voters, all of which are core Obama constituencies.

"The president's campaign, if you will, focused on giving targeted groups a big gift," Romney said.

Many Republican officials, eager to move on quickly after the loss, disputed Romney's comments and urged the party to focus on being more inclusive.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama was looking forward to having a "useful discussion" with his former competitor. But he said there was no formal agenda for the lunch.

While in Washington, Romney will also meet with his former running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, according to a Romney campaign aide. Ryan is back on Capitol Hill, where he's involved in negotiations to avert a series of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts that have come to be known as the "fiscal cliff."

Much of that debate centers on expiring tax cuts first passed by George W. Bush. Obama and Romney differed sharply during the campaign over what to do with the cuts, with the Republican pushing for them to be extended for all income earners and the president running on a pledge to let the cuts expire for families making more than $250,000 a year.

The White House sees Obama's victory as a signal that Americans support his tax proposals.

Obama and Romney's sit-down Thursday will likely be their most extensive private meeting ever. The two men had only a handful of brief exchanges before the 2012 election.

Even after their political fates became intertwined, their interactions were largely confined to the three presidential debates.

Romney has virtually disappeared from politics following his loss in the Nov. 6 election. He's spent the last three weeks largely in seclusion at his family's southern California home. He has made no public appearances, drawing media attention only after being photographed at Disneyland in addition to stops at the movies and the gym with his wife, Ann.

Former aides confirm that Romney is expected to move into an office at the Boston-area venture capital firm Solamere Capital. The firm was founded by his oldest son, Tagg Romney, and Spencer Zwick, who served as his presidential campaign's national finance chairman.

It's unclear what role, if any, Romney will play at the firm. Former aides said Romney was subletting office space from Solamere.


Steve Peoples reported from Boston.


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Market rises but fiscal cliff makes for choppy session

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as investors bought on sporadic dips in a market roiled by conflicting comments from Washington about high-stakes negotiations to solve the "fiscal cliff."

Wall Street reversed early gains and fell shortly after John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, poured cold water on hopes that lawmakers were getting closer to a budget deal that would avert a possible recession next year. But the market rebounded by afternoon and the three major indexes were near the session highs.

"There is an emotional part in buying on the small dips here. Investors are more worried about missing the rally than losing money as they believe that the 'fiscal cliff' will be solved eventually," said James Dailey, portfolio manager at TEAM Asset Strategy Fund in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

"Until the 'fiscal cliff' is solved, the madness of the crowd will not subside."

Discussions on Capitol Hill are aimed at avoiding big, automatic spending cuts and tax hikes, known as the "fiscal cliff," that will begin taking effect beginning in January.

Boehner's comment about a lack of progress in talks with the White House was one of a series of contrary pronouncements by lawmakers and the Obama administration over whether Washington will finally cut a deal.

There have been some signs that leaders are moving closer to a fiscal agreement. The S&P 500 has gained about 5 percent after dropping almost 8 percent since the November 6 U.S. election. But investors remain wary that ad hoc statements from politicians can spark quick reversals in the market.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> was up 50.32 points, or 0.39 percent, at 13,035.43. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> was up 7.29 points, or 0.52 percent, at 1,417.22. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.ixic> was up 19.32 points, or 0.65 percent, at 3,011.10.

U.S.-listed shares of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion surged 5 percent to $11.66 after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral" on optimistic ahead of the launch of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Shares of top retailers retreated in the wake of data showing a weak start to November sales after superstorm Sandy. Target fell 0.5 percent to $62.49 percent and Kohl's Corp dropped 10.4 percent to $45.83.

The U.S. economy grew faster than initially thought in the third quarter as businesses restocked, but consumer and business spending were revised lower in a sobering reminder of the economic recovery's underlying weakness.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.7 percent annual rate in the quarter, the Commerce Department said, as export growth helped offset the weakest consumer spending and first drop in business investment in more than a year.

Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose more than expected in October, a sign the housing market recovery advanced into the fourth quarter despite a mammoth storm and concerns over looming tax hikes.

Shares of companies that build homes rose. The PHLX housing index <.hgx> rose 0.5 percent, shedding some earlier gains in line with the pullback in the broader market.

Tiffany shares slumped 6.6 percent to $59.52 after the upscale jeweler reported quarterly results and cut its full-year sales and profit forecasts.

Although domestic events largely dominated investors' attention, the euro zone debt crisis is still on the radar. The yield on Italy's 10-year bonds fell to the lowest in two years at an auction on relief that international lenders reached agreement this week to reduce Greece's debt by more than 40 billion euros.

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)


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Lindsay Lohan Arrested and Charged with Assault!

Lindsay Lohan isn't having a banner week. First, her starring role as Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor was slammed by critics and audiences alike, and now she has been arrested -- again! 


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Old Metairie burglary spree prompts warning about &#39;citizen-assisted ...

Four suspects have been arrested for burglarizing more than 20 vehicles in Old Metairie earlier this week. But authorities say the criminals are getting a dangerous "assist" from Jefferson Parish residents.

Two guns, prescription medication, electronic equipment, cash and other property were stolen from the vehicles, according to Col. John Fortunato, spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. But none of the cars had signs of forced entry.

That's because the doors were left unlocked, authorities said. In fact, detectives tied the burglary cases to the theft of three vehicles from the same neighborhood on Monday night, according to Chief Deputy Tom Gorman, commander of the Sheriff's Office investigations bureau.

None of the stolen cars had damaged ignition locks or steering columns. The thieves found the keys inside of the vehicles or in another nearby unlocked car, he said.

"I call it citizen-assisted crime," said Gorman, who added that 70 percent of the vehicle burglaries so far this year have involved unlocked doors. Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 156 guns were reported stolen from vehicles, most of those unlocked.

"They go directly into the hands of criminals," Gorman said. "People need to be aware that they are actually assisting the criminals in victimizing other people by leaving their cars open and by not locking up their guns and acting responsibly."

Burglary spree

The Old Metairie rash of burglaries occurred Monday and Wednesday, mostly in the 200 blocks of Ridgewood, Rosewood and Hollywood drives, Fortunato said. Other vehicle burglaries were reported on Old Metairie Road, West Oakridge Avenue and West William David Drive.

The Sheriff's Office received multiple 911 calls reporting vehicle burglaries and suspicious persons around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, Fortunato said. Deputies who responded spotted the suspects and caught three of them after a brief foot chase.

Arrested were Marvin Carter, 20, Michael Harris, 17 and an unidentified juvenile, 14, all from New Orleans, Fortunato said. During questioning, Harris admitted he and his cohorts had committed several vehicle burglaries by pulling door handles and looking for those left unlocked. A fourth suspect, Mario Marrero, 18, of New Orleans, was later arrested.

The stolen loot included a gun taken out of a marked Louisiana State Police patrol car and a .40-caliber pistol, Gorman said. Most of the property, including the trooper's weapon, was recovered in the yard of a home in the 100 block of Rosewood Drive. But investigators are still searching for the other .40-caliber pistol, Fortunato said.

Burglary and juvenile detectives joined forces with the Sheriff's Office Criminal Intelligence Center and used automated license-plate recognition cameras to determine that a truck stolen Sunday from New Orleans was seen in the Old Metairie neighborhood during the time of the vehicle burglaries. Carter told investigators that Marrero had driven both that truck and another BMW that had been stolen from the West Bank, Fortunato said.

Harris, Carter, Marrero and the juvenile were booked Thursday with 22 counts of simple burglary. They have not yet been booked with the car thefts, but detectives have linked four stolen vehicles to group. The case is still under investigation and additional charges and suspects are likely forthcoming, Fortunato said.

Victims could be liable

While detectives track down leads in the cases, authorities said the spree should serve as a warning for Jefferson Parish residents. Gorman said people don't understand they may be opening themselves up to some type of liability by their negligence.

"A vehicle is a 2,000-pound weapon," he said. "These kids get the car, and they kill somebody in an automobile accident. Nobody's going to get any money out of the kids. They're going to look at the police report and find out the car was left unlocked, and then who do you think is going to suffer?"

Fortunato said the Sheriff's Office has repeatedly reminded residents to take their valuables out of their vehicles and keep car doors locked. Gorman said crime rates would drop drastically if citizens followed those few steps. Some may be angered by the implication that residents are partly at fault.

"Owning a gun and having a car is a privilege," Gorman said. "Anyone who owns weapons, whether it's a .40-caliber handgun or a 2,000-pound car, needs to act responsibly to protect their property from criminals."


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Video: George H.W. Bush hospitalized for bronchitis

>>> and former president george h.w. bush in a hospital treated for bhronchitis, he is listed in stable condition and expected to be released within 72 hours . his doctors described him as pretty much as normal, happy, joking with the staff and getting better.


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Women manage daily finances while men invest for the future: study

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Heyzap Expands Its Mobile Gaming Platform With Leaderboards ...

Heyzap continues to build out its social platform with the addition of player leaderboards that developers can add to their mobile games.

Other companies have released their own leaderboard options, most notably OpenFeint ? except that the OpenFeint service is closing down on December 14, following its acquisition by GREE in April of last year. So there?s a bit of a vacuum. Plus, co-founder Jude Gomila said Heyzap?s version is more focused on friends? scores and more engagement.

If you?ve signed up for Heyzap and are playing one of the leaderboard-enabled games, anytime you achieve a ?personal best? score, the leaderboard will pop up showing how you compare with your friends. And you can act on the rankings by challenging others. The challenged user will get a notification, then you can each try to top each other as you play again and again. (Creating deeper engagement with friends seems to be a big focus in Heyzap?s recent additions; it also launched a Play With Friends feature last month.)

Leaderboards for both iOS and Android are now included in the Heyzap SDK, and Gomila said the integration only takes about an hour. It?s already live with 50 Android games, including GnarBike, Jewel Cut, and Trivia Burst. (It has also been integrated into some iOS games, but they?re still going through the Apple approval process.)

Heyzap is a social discovery platform for mobile and the largest social network for Android/iPhone mobile gamers. Heyzap is based on San Francisco and was founded in 2009 by Jude Gomila and Immad Akhund. Heyzap provides users with a way to check-in to their favorite games, discover games and join a massive community of mobile gamers. Heyzap allows users to let other gamers know what they are playing, leave or browse tips for their favorite games, and earn badges. For mobile...

? Learn more


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Thursday, November 29, 2012

French court clears Continental of Concorde crash

6 hrs.

VERSAILLES, France -- A French appeals court on Thursday absolved Continental Airlines of blame for a 2000 Concorde crash that killed 113 people and cleared a mechanic at the U.S. airline of the charge of involuntary manslaughter.

The verdict comes over a decade after the accident helped to spell the end of the supersonic airliner. A previous court ruled that a small metal strip that fell onto the runway from a Continental aircraft just before the Concorde took off from Paris, caused the crash.

Continental was originally fined 200,000 euros and ordered to pay the Concorde's operator, Air France, a million euros in damages. Continental appealed the verdict which it described as unfair and absurd.

Welder John Taylor was cleared of a 15-month suspended prison sentence for having gone against industry norms and used titanium to forge the piece that dropped off the plane.

Continental, now part of United Continental Holdings , had been ordered under the original ruling to pay 70 percent of any damages payable to families of victims. Airbus parent EADS would have to pay the other 30 percent.

The crash sped up the demise of the droop-nosed Concorde - the fastest commercial airliner in history and a symbol of Franco-British co-operation - as safety concerns coupled with an economic downturn after 9/11 drove away its wealthy customers.

The Air France Concorde, carrying mostly German tourists bound for a Caribbean cruise, was taking off from Paris on July 25, 2000 when an engine caught fire. Trailing a plume of flames, it crashed into a hotel near Charles de Gaulle airport. All 109 passengers and four people on the ground died.

After modifications, the plane returned to service but its operators, Air France and British Airways, retired it in 2003, citing high operating costs and a drop in demand.?

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


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Chinese AIDS patients fight hospital rejections

BEIJING (AP) ? Wang Pinghe wants the tumor in his liver removed before it becomes life-threatening. But the 28-year-old Chinese villager knows it will be hard to find a hospital that will do the operation ? because he has AIDS.

In China, hospitals routinely reject people with HIV for surgery out of fear of exposure to the virus or harm to their reputations. After years of denying AIDS was a problem in China, the country has significantly improved care for patients, but the lingering stigma sets back those advances.

"In my hometown, not a single hospital is willing to operate on people infected with HIV," said Wang, who traveled to Beijing from Runan county in the central province of Henan to try to draw the attention of central authorities to the issue by speaking to the foreign media.

"This is not discrimination by one single person but by an entire country," he told The Associated Press.

The stigma against people with HIV runs especially deep in China, from being unofficially barred from government jobs to being expelled from school.

Now, as more people rail against the myriad inequalities that plague Chinese society, people with HIV are becoming increasingly willing to assert their right to fair treatment.

One man recently claimed the spotlight by altering his medical records to hide his HIV-positive condition so he could get surgery for lung cancer. The man, who went by the pseudonym Xiaofeng, told state media he had been turned away by two hospitals.

His story sparked a firestorm of criticism directed at both the hospitals for rejecting him and the patient for exposing medical staff to risks they were not aware of.

"Xiaofeng was smart. When he felt that his life was in danger, he found a way to save himself," said Li Hu, a Tianjin-based activist who helped Xiaofeng and later publicized the case online. "But this way isn't good for anyone, be it the patient or medical workers. Now the question is: Can we find a way that is favorable for everyone?"

The incoming premier, Li Keqiang, was prompted to issue a statement saying that health facilities must not discriminate against people with HIV. During a meeting Monday with a dozen activist groups, he said such discrimination would be severely punished, according to Li Hu.

The disease is a sensitive issue for Li Keqiang, who was governor of Henan province in 1998 when tens of thousands of people contracted HIV from state-sponsored blood-buying rings with unhygienic practices. Activists have urged Li to acknowledge the government's responsibility for the disaster and provide compensation, with little success.

China has made significant strides in tackling the epidemic, with the AIDS mortality rate falling 64 percent from 2002 to last year. The government last year increased HIV treatment by 50 percent ? reaching three-quarters of the adults and children who require it, according UNAIDS.

An estimated 780,000 people have HIV in China. There has been an increasing trend of cases transmitted through sex rather than intravenously, with sex workers and gay men considered most at risk, said Guy Taylor, a communications officer for UNAIDS.

About 70,000 new cases were reported in the first 10 months of this year, largely through sexual transmission, as compared with about 93,000 for all of last year, the Health Ministry announced this week at a news conference ahead of World AIDS Day on Saturday.

With improved access to lifesaving drugs, people with HIV in China are living longer, which means more are seeking treatment for other ailments.

Chinese law bars medical facilities from refusing to treat people with HIV, but activists say discrimination continues because the law spells out no serious punishments. Many patients cannot afford the time and expense of taking hospitals to court.

In interviews with patients, their spouses and activists, The Associated Press found a half-dozen cases of people with HIV being turned away by doctors as soon as they declared their HIV-positive status or it turned up in routine pre-operation tests.

In Henan province, a county hospital refused to operate on wheat farmer Zhu Weidong's 45-year-old wife, who had cervical cancer. Zhu, who spoke on condition that his wife remain anonymous, said he had to take her to the provincial capital. Including travel and other expenses, the procedure cost 40,000 yuan ($6,500) ? a third more than at a local facility ? which Zhu had to borrow from relatives and friends.

Similarly, a 31-year-old civil servant in the central city of Chongqing said his doctor recommended a liver biopsy after he reported severe lower back pain, but declined to carry it out once he tested positive for the virus. The man ? who would only give his nickname, Xiaobai, out of concern he might lose his job ? said it was a year later when he finally was able to get a biopsy in Shanghai, and it showed he had lost half his liver function.

"I can't help but wonder if I could have found out a year ago and saved more of my liver," he said. "I worry about what I would do if one day I needed dialysis. What if I need a liver transplant?"

The China Alliance of People Living with HIV/AIDS, a Beijing-based network, said that a survey last year found dozens of patients being turned away by facilities throughout the country ? in some cases even leading to deaths.

"I feel that if a doctor refuses to treat a patient who is HIV positive, it is a crime akin to murder," said the group's coordinator, Meng Lin, who recounted being denied a CT scan by a Beijing doctor in September, after he told him he had AIDS.

Dr. Wu Zunyou, who leads the government's HIV/AIDS center, said he believes attitudes will change. He said Chinese health workers report about 700 cases of accidental contact with the every year and none have resulted in infections. He welcomed the public debate the Tianjin case triggered.

"The debate causes medical workers to think about the issue and health facilities to improve their management, so there should be fewer chances for such things to happen in the future," Wu said.


Follow Gillian Wong on Twitter:


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Oil painting, 36in/45,5in. Around 50-60 years ( Markham / York Region ) Swap / Trade

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Infamous With Taryn Southern: Celebrity Pets

In my latest music video, Where Is My Goat, I go on a search for my imaginary pet goat. Sadly, we never did find a goat, but we DID get to hang out with one! Simon, a goat from my friends at Fire Grazers,?who supply goats for forest fires (environmentally friendly goats, go figure!).

Simon was a sweetheart, but don?t underestimate the difficulties of taking care of a wild animal. He ate my director?s entire backyard and peed all over our rather expensive green screen. I digress.

In honor of my experience with Simon the goat, this week?s Infamous episode is dedicated to the celebrities whose pet stories are anything but ordinary (and the video features not one, but TWO goat stories!)

But first, the honorees

?Steven Tyler

Long before the days he started to resemble a stray animal, young Steven Tyler actually adopted a raccoon. I?m still not sure who rescued who. This is one of the cases where I?d ponder the question as well.

George Clooney?

Behind every eligible Bachelor is his pet pig. You all know the story if you?ve watched past episodes, but it?s worth a double mention! George Clooney shared his bed with Max, a potbelly pig, for eighteen years until Max?s death in 2006. Jealous much?

Michael Jackson

Speaking of spiders, did you ever think the King of Pop could be taken down by an eight- legged pet? Neverland Ranch was home to quite an exotic zoo, but one creature in particular left Jackson limping into a trial in 2002. His excuse to the jury for not being his usual, moonwalking self? He was suffering a spider bite from his pet tarantula.

Paris Hilton?

And speaking of Neverland, remember Tinkerbell? No, not the fairy. The teeny tiny teacup Chihuahua that sat so snuggly inside Paris Hilton?s designer purses all throughout the early 2000?s. Tink went missing in 2004 and Hilton put up a $5,000 reward for her safe return. The pup luckily turned up, though animal experts speculated that it was an imposter Chihuahua, obviously trying to get in on the good life of an heiress. Paris, now allegedly the owner of 17 pocket sized pups, is allegedly building a doggy sized replica of her mansion, for her pups, down to the walls and furniture. Designer dog house?.or crazy?

And with that, I give you the Top Five Celebrity Pet Stories (link to video).

From Vanilla Ice to Courtney Love, this video covers some pretty interesting trips to the vet.


If you?re new to this column, welcome! Each week, for 8 weeks, I?m counting down my list of favorite celebrities in all sorts of weird categories to celebrate of the release of my comedy album, On My Face. For more Infamous episodes,?click here.


Taryn Southern is an actress, writer, and web star with more than 100 million views on her online videos. She just released her debut comedy album,?On My Face, and?will be releasing a series of music videos on her channel, which corresponds with the themes of her column on Crushable. You can find her on?Twitter?and?Facebook; she accepts gifts.



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Investing in Nigeria | beyondbrics

With painful irony, oil-rich Nigeria is unable to supply its own population with electricity. The country ranked 178th of 185 economies on access to electricity for new businesses in the World Bank?s latest ?Doing Business? publication.

Infrastructure is, not surprisingly, a key to the country?s future development, as an FT Special Report sets out.

Recurrent power outages have forced more than 90 per cent of industrial users in Nigeria to install their own (expensive) generators. So reforming the power sector is one of president Goodluck Jonathan?s top priority. His government has hired Canada?s Manitoba Hydro to manage the state-owned transmission network and privatisation plans are encouraging green energy investments.

But the privatisation process has stalled. Jonathan has flip-flopped, revoking a transmission management contract earlier this month before changing his mind again. The bidding for the six generation businesses and 11 distribution businesses has been likened to the privatisations in 1990s Russia as concessions have been given to local tycoons. But defenders of the process claim the partnership of local companies with know-how and foreign companies with expertise makes sense.

Nigeria?s road networks are equally inefficient. The 49km Lekki-Epe toll road is a model for the country ? no potholes and efficient gas stations ? but it is a rarity. The average worker spends up to five hours each day commuting and deliveries are unnecessary slow. Even the Lekki-Epe toll road faces problems as the government and concessionaire are at loggerheads and the introduction of tolls has sparked protest.

These problems of corruption and inefficiency extend beyond infrastructure. The banking industry was cleaned up with the Nigerian Stock Exchange suspending and delisting companies for poor compliance.

Now oil and gas is in the spotlight. Efficiency is low and criminals steal over 150,000 barrels per day every year. An investigation was ordered after an attempt to withdraw fuel subsidies sparked protests in January, tarnishing Jonathan?s reputation. It found that, between 2002 and 2011, billions of dollars of royalties went unpaid and gas has been sold at cut prices. The proposed solutions include simple records of production and Diezani Alison-Madueke?s Petroleum Industry Bill could clean up transparency and fiscal policy in the industry.

Private investors in Nigeria face the costs of infrastructure and corruption, plus security threats as the Muslim north and Christian south of Nigeria clash. But the opportunities remain. Rising consumer spending is drawing in retailers as a rising middle class warms to luxury brands, positional smartphones and imported beer in particular.

Further reading:
Economy: Short termism threatens development, Special Reports
The north: Unequal growth puts strain on federation, Special Reports
Lagos: How to make a chaotic city work better, Special Reports


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'The Voice' Results: Dez Duron And Cody Belew Eliminated; Top 6 Revealed For Season 3

The results are in! "The Voice" eliminated two more contestants: Dez Duron of Team Christina and Cody Belew of Team Cee Lo.

The Top 6 are: Cassadee Pope and Terry McDermott (Team Blake); Melanie Martinez and Amanda Brown (Team Adam); and Nicholas David (and his bun) and Trevin Hunte (Team Cee Lo).

With Dez's elimination, Christina Aguilera no longer has any contestants in the running to win Season 3 of "The Voice."

The real treat of the night was Cee Lo Green bringing together his teams from three seasons to perform his song "All I Need Is Love" with the Muppets. Vicci Martinez, Tony Vincent, Nakia, Jamar Rogers, MacKenzie Bourg, and more sang with Cee Lo in Las Vegas and then Kermit and Cee Lo -- clad in a mirrored green ensemble (hat included) -- sang "It's Not Easy Being Green." It brought Fozzie to tears.

Plus, Amanda Brown and Trevin Hunte put on an energetic -- and very shiny -- performance of Lady Gaga's "Marry the Night," while Melanie Martinez, Nicholas David, Terry McDermott and the now-eliminated Cody did an adorable rendition of Plain White T's "Rhythm of Love." Rounding out the group performances, Dez went out with a bang singing "Hate That I Love You" by Rihanna featuring Ne-Yo with Cassadee Pope.

"The Voice" continues on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.

  • Rihanna

  • Justin Bieber

  • Maroon 5

  • Katy Perry

  • Kanye West & Jay-Z

  • Britney Spears

  • Beyonce

  • Enrique Iglesias

  • Kanye West

  • Jennifer Lopez

  • Selena Gomez

  • Lady Gaga

  • Taylor Swift

  • Nicki Minaj

  • 'Glee' Live!

  • Jennifer Lopez

  • Lady Gaga

  • Justin Bieber

  • Selena Gomez

  • Britney Spears & Rihanna

  • Beyonce

  • Rihanna

  • Lady Antebellum

  • Maroon 5

  • Katy Perry

  • Adele

  • Kanye West

  • U2

  • Jay-Z

  • Enrique Iglesias

  • Justin Bieber

  • Bruno Mars

  • Lady Gaga

  • Rihanna

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Lifetime has contracted Lindsay Lohan to play Hillary Clinton in a biopic entitled, ?The Bill and Hill Show.?

Lifetime has cast Lindsay Lohan to play Hillary Clinton in a biopic entitled, ??Hill and Bill.?

Lindsay Lohan will get her chance to play one of the greatest female political figures in history ?in a biopic for Lifetime. The network confirmed months of speculation when it reportedly announced that Lohan was officially cast as Hillary Clinton in the Lifetime Original Movie ?Hill & Bill.?

Fresh off the tremendous success of her Lifetime biopic, ?Liz & Dick,? Lohan is thrilled to be able to play the Secretary of State and former New York Senator. ?The movie is set to begin shooting in March in Los Angeles, the network reportedly said in a statement. The actor playing Bill Clinton has not been announced, but Bill Clinton has suggested either Brad Pitt or Leonardo Di Caprio.

There is some concern that Lindsay looks a little bit too old for the role, but Lifetime producers said that they are working on getting Lindsay in shape and a source at Lifetime told WWN, ?we have great makeup people here.?

Hill & Bill met on the campus of Yale University when they were attending the law school.

Bill had multiple affairs and Hillary seemed to ?look the other way? but the true story will reportedly come out in the biopic. ? ?The public is going to be shocked when they learn what went on in the private lives of Hill and ?Bill,? said a producer.


Lifetime has not cast the 12-15 women playing Bill?s mistresses, but Melissa McCarthy has been cast as Monica Lewinsky. ?Denzel Washington has signed on to play Barack Obama.

Lohan was ecstatic to learn that she should be playing Hillary Clinton. ?I have always admired and had enormous respect for Hillary Clinton. She was not only an incredible mind but a sexy woman, too. ?I am very honored to have been asked to play this role,? Lohan, 26, reportedly said in a statement.

For Lohan, the role could help her continue to repair her damaged reputation in the entertainment industry due to her string of arrests and prison stays stemming from a drunk driving conviction in 2007 and a theft charge in 2011.


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Four men sue over 'gay conversion therapy'

Amy Sussman / AP Images for Southern Poverty Law Center

From left, Michael Ferguson, Chaim Lavin, Ben Unger and Sheldon Bruck are suing a New Jersey organization for consumer fraud for offering "gay conversion" therapy services.

By James Eng, NBC News

Four young men who say they underwent therapy that sought to ?convert? them from gay to straight are suing a New Jersey provider known as JONAH, alleging fraud and accusing it of using dangerous sham tactics to try to ?fix something that isn?t broken.?

The Southern Poverty Law Center on Tuesday filed the lawsuit in Superior Court of New Jersey on behalf of the men and two of their parents against Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), its founder, Arthur Goldberg, and counselor Alan Downing.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants violated New Jersey?s Consumer Fraud Act by providing ?conversion therapy? that falsely claims to ?cure? gay clients.

It is the first time a ?conversion therapy? provider has been sued for fraudulent business practices, according to the SPLC, a Montgomery, Ala.-based civil rights organization that fights hate and bigotry.

Suing are Michael Ferguson, 30, of Salt Lake City; Benjamin Unger, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Chaim Levin, 23, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Sheldon Bruck, 20, of New York City, along with Levin?s mother, Bella Levin, and Bruck?s mother, Jo Bruck.

The lawsuit says clients of JONAH?s services typically paid a minimum of $100 for weekly individual counseling sessions and another $60 for group therapy sessions.

Ferguson was in his 20s and Unger, Levin and Bruck were in their late teens when they?underwent?the therapy, according to the lawsuit.

The four men say they were lured into JONAH?s services through deceptive practices and then subjected to humiliating and emotionally damaging therapy techniques, including group sessions in which they were instructed to stand naked in a circle with their counselor, who was also undressed.

?JONAH profits off of shameful and dangerous attempts to fix something that isn?t broken,? Christine P. Sun, deputy legal director for the SPLC, said in a statement. ?Despite the consensus of mainstream professional organizations that conversion therapy doesn?t work, this racket continues to scam vulnerable gay men and lesbians out of thousands of dollars and inflicts significant harm on them.?

JONAH, based in Jersey City, did not respond to telephone messages and emails from NBC News for comment.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages as well as revocation of JONAH?s business license and an order to stop its employees and associates from continuing reparative therapy practices.

In the lawsuit, Ferguson said he participated in one session in which clients took turns trying break past a human chain to wrest away two oranges, which were used to represent testicles, from another individual ? all the while being taunted with statements such as ?you?re such a fag, homo, queer boy.?

?They play blindly with deep emotions and create an immense amount of self-doubt for the client,? Ferguson was quoted as saying in a press release from the SPLC. ?They seize on your personal vulnerability, and tell you that being gay is synonymous with being less of a man. They further misrepresent themselves as having the key to your new orientation.?

Unger said his counselor advised him to spend more time at the gym as well as to get naked with his father at bathhouses to ?get in touch with his masculinity.?

?These counselors are skilled at manipulating you into believing just about anything,? said Unger. ?During my time with JONAH, they told me constantly that my mom had made me gay. I was so convinced that I refused to have any contact with her for several months, which caused a great deal of damage to our relationship.?

In another exercise, according to the lawsuit, clients were blindfolded in sporting scenes as counselors and others dribbled basketballs and hurled anti-gay slurs at them.

Watch the most-viewed videos on

JONAH,?formerly known as Jews Offering New Alternatives for Homosexuality, was founded by Goldberg, a former Wall Street executive and attorney.

The organization describes itself as ?a non-profit international organization dedicated to educating the worldwide Jewish community about the social, cultural and emotional factors which lead to same-sex attractions.?

JONAH?s mission statement adds:

"Our Rabbinical sages explain that because mankind has been endowed by our Creator with a free will, everyone has the capacity to change. Furthermore, the Rabbis emphasize that parents, teachers and counselors have a special responsibility to educate, nurture, and provide an opportunity for those struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions to journey out of homosexuality.

Through psychological and spiritual counseling, peer support, and self-empowerment, JONAH seeks to reunify families, to heal the wounds surrounding homosexuality, and to provide hope."

The SPLC says the essential premise of conversion therapy, sometimes also called ?reparative? or ?ex-gay? therapy ? that it will ?convert? a gay person into a straight person ? has no basis in scientific fact. Such therapy has long been discredited by mainstream mental health and medical professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association, according to the law center.

Two months ago, California became the first state in the nation to ban gay conversion therapy for minors?when Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1172. The bill's sponsor,?Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, called gay cure therapy "quackery" and said parents were never informed of its potentially dangerous aftereffects.

At least two groups, the?Christian legal organization Liberty Counsel?and the?California-based Pacific Justice Institute,?have filed lawsuits challenging the California ban.

Also, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier , D-Calif., said that on Wednesday in the U.S. House, she plans to introduce a resolution, called Stop Harming Our Kids, aimed at stopping reparative therapy practices on minors.

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Structured Settlements | Personal finance management

November 28th, 2012

People who have been the victims of the negligence or intentional misconduct of others whether they are individuals or companies and are now permanently harmed can file lawsuits and ask for damages. If proven in court, the guilty party can be imprisoned depending on the gravity of the damage that has been done or they can offer you a settlement in the form of cash as payment for the damages that they have brought upon you. In the event that you win the lawsuit, you have to understand the fundamentals of a structured settlement since it can be a very vital option that you can consider. Many people appreciate the fact that they agreed for a structured settlement because they get to manage their finances better and it actually helps them avoid squandering all the money early on.

Ordinarily, the court will ask the defendant to pay you the judgment or settlement amount in full or what is called a lump sum and you can certainly opt for that. For example, you work in a ship that contains large amounts of asbestos and in the course of your being employed there, you contracted asbestosis and you sued the company that employed you knowing too well the risk that they are putting you into. If you won in the courts, the court will instruct the company where you used to work for to pay a specific amount of cash in full. But, another alternative would be to agree to a structured settlement where you get paid in installments over time instead of receiving the money in a single lump sum. Depending on your present circumstances, sometimes it may be smarter to go for the structured settlement.

They can be designed in a way that you will be protected from inflation and be able to fit your needs exactly. Thee structured settlements can range from a simple annual payment to a more complex set up like an initial lump sum payment which is a huge percentage of the entire agreed settlement amount, indexed monthly installments, some deferred payments, and some special arrangements and special provisions in the event that your situation worsens. The defendant, in order to meet the requirements of the court, will need to buy an annuity which can be bought from an insurance company. The annuity provides the regularly scheduled monthly payments that have been specified by you and the attorneys as written on the structured settlement documents and based on the terms and conditions that both parties agreed to.

With a structured settlement, you are guaranteed a source of income for the rest of your life. And the great thing about structured settlements is that you would be able to substantially reduce your taxes since the structured settlements and the investments that you set up out of the money that you get from it cannot be subjected to taxes.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Big winners share lessons, risks of Powerball win

FILE- In this Feb. 22, 2006, file photo, the eight winners of the $365 million Nebraska Powerball lottery hold up their ceremonial checks at a news conference in Lincoln, Neb. As the drawing for a $500 million Powerball jackpot approaches, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, past winners of mega-lottery drawings and financial planners have some advice: stick to a budget, invest wisely, learn to say no and be prepared to lose friends while riding an emotional roller-coaster. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

FILE- In this Feb. 22, 2006, file photo, the eight winners of the $365 million Nebraska Powerball lottery hold up their ceremonial checks at a news conference in Lincoln, Neb. As the drawing for a $500 million Powerball jackpot approaches, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, past winners of mega-lottery drawings and financial planners have some advice: stick to a budget, invest wisely, learn to say no and be prepared to lose friends while riding an emotional roller-coaster. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

FILE - This April 13, 2006, file photo, shows Sandra Hayes of Florissant, Mo., who split a $224 million Powerball jackpot with a dozen co-workers in 2006. As the drawing for a $500 million Powerball jackpot approaches, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, past winners of mega-lottery drawings and financial planners have some advice: stick to a budget, invest wisely, learn to say no and be prepared to lose friends while riding an emotional roller-coaster. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post Dispatch, Amanda Whitlock, File)

Maria Diaz, right, sells a customer Powerball tickets at a local supermarket in Hialeah, Fla.,Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. There has been no Powerball winner since Oct. 6, and the jackpot already has reached a record level for the game. Already over $500 million, it is the second-highest jackpot in lottery history, behind only the $656 million Mega Millions prize in March. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

A customer buys three Powerball tickets at a local supermarket in Hialeah, Fla.,Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. There has been no Powerball winner since Oct. 6, and the jackpot already has reached a record level for the game. Already over $500 million, it is the second-highest jackpot in lottery history, behind only the $656 million Mega Millions prize in March. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

A crowd, consisting of residents from California and Nevada, lines up outside the Arizona Last Stop convenience store and souvenir shop to buy Powerball tickets, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, in White Hills, Ariz. There has been no Powerball winner since Oct. 6, and the jackpot already has reached a record level for the game of over $500 million. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

(AP) ? So you just won the $550 million Powerball jackpot, the second highest in lottery history. Now what?

Perhaps it's time for a tropical vacation or a new car. There are bills to pay, loans to settle, debts to square.

Past winners of mega-lottery drawings and financial planners have some more sound advice: Stick to a budget, invest wisely, learn to say no and be prepared to lose friends while riding an emotional roller-coaster of joy, anxiety, guilt and distrust.

"I had to adapt to this new life, "said Sandra Hayes, 52, a former child services social worker who split a $224 million Powerball jackpot with a dozen co-workers in 2006, collecting a lump sum she said was in excess of $6 million after taxes. "I had to endure the greed and the need that people have, trying to get you to release your money to them. That caused a lot of emotional pain. These are people who you've loved deep down, and they're turning into vampires trying to suck the life out of me."

The single mother kept her job with the state of Missouri for another month and immediately used her winnings to pay off an estimated $100,000 in student loans and a $70,000 mortgage. She spent a week in Hawaii and bought a new Lexus, but six years later still shops at discount stores and lives on a fixed income ? albeit, at a higher monthly allowance than when she brought home paychecks of less than $500 a week.

"I know a lot of people who won the lottery and are broke today," she said. "If you're not disciplined, you will go broke. I don't care how much money you have."

Lottery agencies are keen to show off beaming prize-winners hugging oversize checks at celebratory news conferences, but the tales of big lottery winners who wind up in financial ruin, despair or both are increasingly common.

There's the two-time New Jersey lottery winner who squandered her $5.4 million fortune. A West Virginia man who won $315 million a decade ago on Christmas later said the windfall was to blame for his granddaughter's fatal drug overdose, his divorce, hundreds of lawsuits and an absence of true friends.

The National Endowment for Financial Education cautions those who receive a financial windfall ? whether from lottery winnings, divorce settlements, cashed-out stock options or family inheritances ? to plan for their psychological needs as well as their financial strategies. The Denver-based nonprofit estimates that as many as 70 percent of people who land sudden windfalls lose that money within several years.

"Being able to manage your emotions before you do anything sudden is one of the biggest things," said endowment spokesman Paul Golden. "If you've never had the comfort of financial security before, if you were really eking out a living from paycheck to paycheck, if you've never managed money before, it can be really confusing. There's this false belief that no matter what you do, you're never going to worry about money again."

David Gehle, who spent 20 years at a Nebraska meatpacking plant before he and seven ConAgra Foods co-workers won a $365 million Powerball jackpot in 2006, used some of his winnings to visit Australia, New Guinea and Vietnam. He left ConAgra three weeks after he won, and now spends his time woodworking and playing racquetball, tennis and golf.

But most of his winnings are invested, and the 59-year-old still lives in his native Lincoln. He waited for several years before buying a $450,000 home in a tidy neighborhood on the southern edge of town.

"My roots are in Nebraska, and I'm not all that much different now than I was before," Gehle said. "I'm pretty normal. I never was the kind of guy who went for big, expensive cars or anything like that. I just want something that runs."

In the first year after he won, Michael Terpstra would awaken many nights in a panic. Had he slept in? Was he late to work the night shift?

"At times I'd wake up and this would all seem like a dream," the 54-year-old said. "I'd have to walk around the house and tell myself, I did win. I'm not working anymore, and I do live here. I didn't get drunk, break into someone's house and go to sleep. This is where I'm supposed to be."

His new home is a roomy, two-story house in south Lincoln with a big-screen television and paintings of Jesus on the walls. He no longer uses alarm clocks and spends his days taking his 92-pound black lab, Rocco, on walks.

He was terrified when he first won, convinced that he would lose all of the money and have to return to work. So he lives carefully off the interest from conservative investments, with help from accountants and lawyers. He bought the new house and a truck, but struggles to name any extravagant purchases.

"I can't buy a super yacht. I can't buy a Gulfstream," he said. "Then again, I don't think I'd use either one, so why would I buy one?"

That said, some mega-winners still can't resist the lure of big jackpots, at least not the two-buck chances. On Tuesday, former ConAgra worker Dung Tran, a Vietnamese immigrant, walked into the same Lincoln U-Stop where he purchased the winning ticket six years ago and bought 22 more from the very employee who sold him the first prize-winner, said cashier Janice Mitzner.

"We joked about it," she said. "I told him, 'Wouldn't it be something if you won again?'"

Hayes is also hoping to strike rich again ? she bought 10 tickets at a Dirt Cheap liquor store on her way home Tuesday while speaking with an Associated Press reporter. Unlike many big winners, she has kept a visible public profile instead of going underground, appearing on a 2007 reality TV show ("Million Dollar Christmas"), writing an online Life After the Lottery blog and self-publishing a short book, "How Winning the Lottery Changed My Life."

"We have this drawing tomorrow, and if somebody wins, God bless them," she said. "They're going to need those blessings."


Alan Scher Zagier can be reached at


Associated Press writers Grant Schulte in Lincoln, Neb., and Josh Funk in Omaha contributed to this report.

Associated Press


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In Defense of Courtship | Psych Central

In Defense of Courtship?A froggy went a-courtin? he did ride. . .?
~ From a 16th-century English folk song

Courtship. It?s such an old-fashioned word that some might find its use today to be quaint. Over the last few decades, courtship has gone the way of scented love letters and rotary telephones. In the push for more freedom of choice in relationships, courtship rituals have almost disappeared from American culture.

Yes, people still like romance ? as in candlelight dinners and walks on the beach ? but the structures and traditions that led from initial attraction to marriage have fallen by the wayside. Many couples move from attraction to renting a truck and moving in, no genuine commitment required. Going ?a-courtin?,? the slow wooing of another person and the gradual development of closeness and affection, seems to have all but disappeared.

The result of this hurried intimacy is a great deal of confusion. When sharing a bed and a life and maybe even a child comes before the sharing of long talks about values and goals and deep explorations of each other?s personality and history, couples often are set up for heartbreak. When things don?t turn out as expected, some couples are able to recognize their mistake, wish each other well and let the relationship go. But others, not at all sure what true commitment is about, fight with each other and with themselves to hang on. Cheating becomes the substitute for the dating and sorting out that should have occurred before moving in. Trust becomes yet another thing to fight about.

Everyone is a victim in this scenario, especially when the couple has had children. The kids end up without the stable home and loving family every child deserves. The women often end up single-mothering and struggling. The men often end up paying child support for children they may seldom see or becoming burdened with unanticipated responsibilities. Sometimes the couple manages to co-parent responsibly and well and remain friends. But even in these best-case instances, both now are looking for partners who may not want to deal with children or continued involvement with an ?ex.? Those without kids are not unscathed either. They have wasted years in a relationship that left them with trust issues and heartache.

All this can be avoided by bringing courtship back into style. I?m not talking about ?courtship? as defined by the Christian right, where couples remain chaste and parents are fully involved in every stage of the developing relationship (although that is certainly one way to go about it). I?m talking about a period of time during which a couple who is attracted to each other takes it slow and gets to know each other well before deciding they are exclusive, before planning to move in, and, by all means, before making a baby. Courtship isn?t dating.

Dating is step 1. Dating means going out with a number of people to see what kind of person is likely to be a fit. Dating is getting to know a number of people you are attracted to by going out for coffee or hanging together with friends or maybe going to a movie or a concert. Picking from a selection of one is unwise, no matter how interesting he or she may be. When the relationship hits a rough patch, as all relationships do, you?ll start wondering about what it would be like if only you had chosen someone more intelligent, more witty, or more competent on the dance floor. Dating a few people before making a choice gives you the chance to see just what kind of person fits your unique personality and your dreams.

Courtship is step 2. Courtship comes when you think you?ve found that special someone. It is the period between your initial choice and committing to making a life together. It?s a time for talks about everything and anything. Long walks and intimate dinners provide the time and the context for exciting, in-depth exploration of another person. It?s a time for learning about each other?s history, beliefs, values, and goals. It?s a time for deciding whether you think similarly about the use of time and money and your expectations about who will do what if you live together. It gives you a chance to experience how each responds to conflict and challenges as well as to easy cooperation.

Larger questions ? such as whether you want children, the role of in-laws in your life, and how decisions will be made ? get visited and revisited as the relationship gains depth and seriousness. Steady affection and care get added to the initial sexual excitement. Each learns how to cherish and nurture the other. When a couple is a good fit, they discover that they both love and like the person they are with and they like who they are when they are together.

Commitment is step 3. Relationships that last, that deepen and ripen into a long marriage and satisfying parenting, are built on a solid foundation. That foundation needs to be built over time and with care. If ?courtship? is too old-fashioned of a term, call it something else, but don?t skip over the process. When that process is done well, both members of a couple become secure in the knowledge that they are each going to give 100 percent to the relationship and to the family they plan to build together. Only then should there be talk of marriage and sharing a home, a life, and a baby.

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. She writes regularly for Psych Central as well as Psych Central's Ask the Therapist feature, and has published the insightful parenting e-book, Tending the Family Heart.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, M. (2012). In Defense of Courtship. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2012, from

Scientifically Reviewed
????Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Nov 2012
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