Florida Man Wakes In California Hotel With Amnesia Speaking Only Swedish
Associated Press Tue 11:07 AM, Jul 16, 2013
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) -- Doctors are looking into the mystery of a Florida man who awoke speaking only Swedish, with no memory of his past, after he was found unconscious four months ago at a Southern California motel.
Michael Boatwright, 61, woke up with amnesia, calling himself Johan Ek, The Desert Sun reported. Boatwright was found unconscious in a Motel 6 room in Palm Springs in February. After police arrived, he was transported to the Desert Regional Medical Center where he woke up.
Hospital officials said Boatwright may have been in town for a tennis tournament in the Coachella Valley. He was found with a duffel bag of exercise clothes, a backpack and tennis rackets. He also carried four forms of identification -- a passport, a California identification card, a veteran's medical card and a Social Security card -- all of which identified him as Michael Thomas Boatwright.
Palm Springs police have documented his information in case anyone lists Boatwright as missing or wanted, authorities said.
In March, doctors diagnosed Boatwright with Transient Global Amnesia, a condition triggered by physical or emotional trauma that can last for several months.
The rare mental disorder is characterized by memory loss, "sudden and unplanned travel," and possible adoption of a new identity, according to the Sun.
After an extensive search, medical personnel and social workers have been unable to locate Boatwright's next of kin. Authorities are still unsure of his birthplace, listed on his identification as Florida. Photos show him in Sweden at a young age.
The Desert Sun reported it had located Boatwright's sister in Louisiana but she was unable to shed any light on what had happened to him.
"I haven't talked to him in years. He just disappeared," Michelle Brewer said Monday in a telephone interview.
Brewer estimated she had last spoken to her brother about 10 years ago and couldn't even get in touch with him when their mother died last year.
"He's always been just a wanderer," Brewer said. "Then he'd come back when he needed some money or something from somebody. Then he'd take off again."
Swedish public records show Boatwright lived in the Nordic country on and off between 1981 and 2003. Several Swedes on Tuesday said they knew of him as an American with a big interest in medieval history and jousting.
Swede Olof Sahlin said he met Boatwright around 1985 through their joint interest in medieval history. He said he saw the American at jousting events regularly in the 1980s and sporadically in the early 1990s. "He was nice, sympathetic and talented at fighting in plate armor," Sahlin told The Associated Press. "A little bit reserved maybe."
Sahlin said he never knew how Boatwright made a living during his time in Sweden but has now heard from other friends that he briefly worked as a personal assistant and in the construction sector. Sahlin said their last contact was in 1999 and he doesn't know what happened to him after that.
Boatwright doesn't recall how to exchange money, take public transportation or seek temporary housing like homeless shelters or hotels, the social worker assigned to his case, Lisa Hunt-Vasquez, told the Sun. He doesn't remember his son and two ex-wives, either.
He has no income or insurance, further complicating his treatment at Desert Regional. And he has little money he can access -- only $180. He also has a few Chinese bank accounts but can only access one account, which holds $7, according to the newspaper.
Doctors don't know how much longer he will be able to stay at the center. Aside from his amnesia, Boatwright is in good health. The hospital is currently looking for alternatives that would keep him off the streets. For now, Boatwright is unsure of both his past and his future.
"Sometimes it makes me really sad and sometimes it just makes me furious about the whole situation and the fact that I don't know anybody, I don't recognize anybody," Boatwright told the newspaper.
22 children die after eating school lunch in India
By INDRAJIT SINGH July 17 8:09 AM EDT
PATNA, India (AP) — At least 22 children died and more than two dozen others were sick after eating a free school lunch that was tainted with insecticide, Indian officials said Wednesday.
It was not immediately clear how chemicals ended up in the food in a school in the eastern state of Bihar. One official said the food may not have been properly washed before it was cooked.
The children, between the ages of 5 and 12, fell ill Tuesday soon after eating lunch in Gandamal village in Masrakh block, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the state capital of Patna. School authorities immediately stopped serving the meal of rice, lentils, soybeans and potatoes as the children started vomiting.
Savita, a 12-year-old student who uses only one name, said she had a stomach ache after eating soybeans and potatoes and started vomiting.
"I don't know what happened after that," Savita said in an interview at Patna Medical College Hospital, where she and many other children were recovering.
The lunch, part of a popular national campaign to give at least one daily hot meal to children from poor families, was cooked in the school kitchen.
The children were rushed to a local hospital and later to Patna for treatment, said state official Abhijit Sinha.
In addition to the 22 children who died, another 25 children and the school cook were in hospital undergoing treatment, P.K. Sahi, the state education minister. Three children were in serious condition.
Authorities suspended an official in charge of the free meal scheme in the school and registered a case of criminal negligence against the school headmaster, who fled as soon as the children fell ill.
Angry villagers, joined by members of local opposition parties, closed shops and businesses near the school and overturned and burned four police vehicles.
Sahi said a preliminary investigation suggested the food contained an organophosphate used as an insecticide on rice and wheat crops. It's believed the grain was not washed before it was served at the school, he said.
However, local villagers said the problem appeared to be with a side dish of soybeans and potatoes, not grain. Children who had not eaten that dish were fine, although they had eaten the rice and lentils, several villagers told the AP.
Sinha said the cooked food and kitchen utensils have been seized by investigators. "Whether it was a case of negligence or was intentional, we will only know once the inquiry has been conducted," he said.
India's midday meal scheme is one of the world's biggest school nutrition programs. State governments have the freedom to decide on menus and timings of the meals, depending on local conditions and availability of food rations. It was first introduced in southern India, where it was seen as an incentive for poor parents to send their children to school.
Since then the program has been replicated across the country, covering some 120 million school children. It's as part of an effort to address concerns about malnutrition, which the government says nearly half of all Indian children suffer from.
Although there have been occasional complaints about the quality of the food served, or the lack of hygiene, the tragedy in Bihar appeared to be unprecedented for the massive food program.
Anatomy of One of Canada’s Worst—and Most Costly—Natural Disasters
By Arielle Duhaime-Ross July 17, 2013
Canadian officials taking stock of the deluge that occurred in mid-June in Alberta have started to characterize it as the worst flood in the province’s history. Some are even calling it Canada’s second-largest natural disaster, after the 1998 ice storm that hit Quebec and eastern Ontario. Analysts think that the cost of the flood, which claimed four lives and displaced over 100,000 Albertans from their homes, will top $3 billion dollars and could cost as much $5 billion. But numbers like these can be hard to grasp without a bit of context. And, in this case, context is all you need to understand why this disaster blows all recent Canadian inundations right out of the water.
A visit with the Alien Vortex in the Cosmic Valley of the San Luis Mountains in Colorado. About Colorado TV made the trip to see what all the UFO sightings were about. Come on by the UFO WatchTower® for some interesting chit chat about ufos, aliens, abductions, paranormal, and just about everything else in the cosmos! You never know who you will run into at the UFO WatchTower® for a little conversation!!
As license plate readers proliferate, law enforcement and private business are pooling surveillance data in light of conflicting guidelines on how long they may retain the data, which often is marketed for profit, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The report, “You Are Being Tracked: How License Plate Readers Are Being Used to Record Americans’ Movements,” (http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2013/07/YouAreBeingTracked.pdf) paints, for the first time, a broad, Orwellian picture of an often overlooked and growing feature of the surveillance — one funded, in part, by $50 million in federal grants to local governments during the past five years.
The autonomous readers — small cameras affixed to police vehicles, light poles, bridges, street signs, buildings, you name it — chronicle a vehicle’s whereabouts to the second. Only a fraction of photos provide an immediate “hit” matching the vehicle to a crime. At least one town, the affluent San Francisco suburb of Tiburon, has cameras operating on the only road leading into and out of town. Nationwide, the authorities and even private enterprise maintain a trove of locational data on citizens’ movements, according to the report.
Data from these cameras, according to the report, “is being placed into databases, and is sometimes pooled into regional sharing systems. As a result, enormous databases of motorists’ location information are being created. All too frequently, these data are retained permanently and shared widely with few or no restrictions on how they can be used.”
The standards by which the authorities may access the data varies. In the Northern California town of Pittsburg, for example, local police may analyze the database for “any routine patrol operation or criminal investigation,” and “reasonable suspicion or probable cause is not required,” according to the report. In Scarsdale, New York, the barrier for access “is only limited by the officer’s imagination.”
The report also illuminates a network of private companies — many in the repossession business — that scan 50 million license plates a month in major metropolitan areas and sell the data to law enforcement agencies.
“These huge databases of plate information are not subject to any data security or privacy regulations governing license plate reader data,” the report said. “These companies decide who can access license plate data and for what purposes.”
I am blessed. My family members are all alive and well. My three doggies are healthy and my wonderful Husband is here with me. I have lovely friends like you. I couldn't ask for anything more for a great birthday!
By Angela Moon NEW YORK Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:15am EDT
(Reuters) - It's official. China's slowdown is starting to hurt corporate America.
As the world's second-largest economy - and still growing - China is seen as a primary source of revenue growth by the largest U.S. companies. But a country that once boasted double-digit growth is now growing at a more modest 7.5 percent rate, its credit markets are overheated and fears of a housing bubble remain.
The slowing has occurred as major U.S. names garner more revenue from Asia. Among 18 S&P companies with large exposure to China, 12 of them were underperforming the broader S&P 500 .INX index year-to-date, including Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N) and Intel (INTC.O), which noted the slower growth in China as a headwind.
"The China impact is becoming more and more significant because the (U.S.) companies' exposure has grown so much over the years," said Robbert van Batenburg, director of market strategy at Newedge in New York.
Those concerns have caused investors to reduce their global emerging-markets equity exposure to its lowest in 12 years, according to a Merrill Lynch survey.
Industrials, luxury goods makers and companies in the commodities and consumer businesses have built up huge exposure to China.
On Wednesday, hedge fund guru Jim Chanos said he was shorting Caterpillar (CAT.N), sending shares down nearly 2 percent. Chanos has long argued that China's economy is headed for a crash, saying the company is "tied to the wrong products at the wrong part of the cycle." About 25 percent of Caterpillar's revenue comes from the Asia/Pacific region, though it does not break out revenues by country.
A Merrill Lynch fund manager survey from June pegs China's problems as the most worrisome factor.
The survey said the prospect of a hard landing in China stands out as a major tail risk identified by fund managers, with 56 percent ranking it first on this measure, compared with just one-third of respondents giving it that ranking a month ago.
"China has gone from a very difficult transition as they try to spur internal consumption. That has produced inflation and a big credit crunch," said Omar Aguilar, chief investment officer for equities at Charles Schwab Corp in San Francisco.
"I think a lot of people underestimated the effect of China and Brazil. (Going forward) they will probably be very conservative on their estimates. They're going to scale down," Aguilar said.
Yum Brands, the operator of the KFC and Taco Bell chains, reported a 15 percent drop in quarterly earnings last week as KFC sales in China, a crucial market for Yum, have been falling since December. Nearly 51 percent of Yum's revenue is from China, up from just 34 percent two years ago.
Intel, which has about 16 percent of its revenue from China, also cut its full-year revenue forecast and said it is scaling back capital spending as it adjusts to a painful contraction of personal computer sales and economic weakness in China.
Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD.N) derives 58 percent of its revenue from China, up from 45 percent in 2010. The company's quarterly loss was 9 cents a share, ahead of the forecast for a 12-cent loss. It did not mention China in its press release.
Analysts content that without the People's Bank of China injecting liquidity into its financial system, growth will keep declining. Societe Generale now projects GDP growth in the world's second-largest economy at as low as four to five percent by the end of this decade.
TARGET THE MIDDLE CLASS
Some analysts say companies can withstand China's slowdown by shifting their focus to programs funded by the central government, which are designed to lift the middle class segment of the population to 45 percent or more later this decade from about 40 to 41 percent currently.
If the companies target the middle class, they can enjoy steady growth in their sales in China, but if they continue to focus on export-oriented projects funded by cash-strapped local governments, they will be disappointed, according to Nicholas Heymann, analyst at William Blair & Co in New York.
He noted that United Technologies' (UTX.N) Otis elevator unit has been successfully growing in China as demand for elevators outpaces supply in the country.
Beverage companies also are counting on a growing middle class to boost sales. Coca Cola (KO.N) CEO Muhtar Kent said earlier this week that China is a great consumer market with a very robust new middle class.
"We're very bullish on the long-term prospects in China," Kent told reporters.
Still, the slowdown in China comes at an especially bad time for U.S. industrials, given persistent weakness in the Eurozone and the lackluster recovery in the U.S.
"China affects all of the industrials, some more than others. Machinery names tend to be more economically sensitive, more volatile, more leveraged," said Brian Langenberg, founder of research firm Langenberg & Co in Chicago.
"Caterpillar would say inventories are coming back into line. But your outlook on a stock depends on what implicit growth rate you are expecting from China," he said.
Caterpillar's revised outlook for 2013, which it may update next week when it reports earnings, reflects an expected 50 percent decline in sales of its traditional mining trucks and loaders as well as a 15 percent decline in sales of draglines made by Bucyrus, the Milwaukee-based company it bought in 2010.
"Some of the companies that have been hit, a lot of it was in infrastructure, the Caterpillars of the world, Joy Global and some others. Is there likely to be some spillover? There could be. This probably will be the quarter where it will rear its head," said Perry Adams, vice president at Northwestern Bank in Traverse City, Michigan.
(Additional Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch, Ransdell Pierson, Ernest Scheyder, Atossa Abrahamian, Martinne Geller, James Kelleher and Patricia Kranz; Editing by Patricia Kranz and Ken Wills)
For years, serious researchers have known that triangular-shaped UFOs are one of the most common types observed. The phenomenon has sparked intense debate among many and excited the imagination of many others. But until now, there has never been a book-length treatment of this fascinating subject.
Buy printed book from Createspace (buying here gives an extra few dollars for the author) Buy printed book from Amazon Buy ebook for Kindle
Finally, we have one. David Marler has provided a comprehensive analysis of “the triangles.” He has collected, collated, and analyzed hundreds of reports. In the process, he has created a detailed profile of these objects and written a rich narrative of their history.
Marler is well-suited to the task, having at his disposal an enormous collection of newspaper archives, declassified military reports, UFO books and journals, and the transcripts of many first-hand interviews he has conducted. He has also received input from many prominent individuals from within the military, FAA, Aerospace, and UFO research field.
He tackles the arguments made by skeptics that dismiss these triangular UFO reports outright. He also address the claims of so-called insiders who claim these objects are a creation of the U.S. military.
The results of his years of research are documented in his book, Triangular UFOs: An Estimate of the Situation. It is a book that has long been needed, not only by the UFO research community, but the general public, as it opens up an entirely new discussion that has long been ignored: who is making the triangles?
B-Movie Boom: Sharknado Studio Stirs Whirlwind of Profit
By Ryan Tate 07.19.13 9:30 AM
The cheesy Syfy channel thriller Sharknado drummed up something besides 387,000 social media mentions last week: The studio behind the movie reports that Sharknado’s buzz put the afterburners on DVD sales and licensing deals, helping to fuel a near quadrupling of revenue from three years ago.
The Burbank-based studio, The Asylum, was generating $5 million per year in annual revenue in 2009, when WIRED profiled the maker of unashamedly cheesy, low-budget, impulse-watch movies in a magazine feature. Sales continued at roughly that rate in 2010, COO Paul Bales tells us, before beginning a steady ascent that has The Asylum on track for an estimated $19 million in revenue this year, roughly a third of that profit.
That growth over the past four years was driven in part by the studio expanding its television distribution beyond Syfy channel to the women-focused network Lifetime, for whom it has developed such movies as “Adopting Terror” and “Born Bad.”
It is also working on a comedy series with MTV Networks related to the studio’s own history, and in January, it announced a joint venture with Creative Coalition to solicit, select, and fund a promising but unrealized passion project from a film professional, a high-cost endeavor that could prove to be The Asylum’s most ambitious outing yet.
Along the way, The Asylum has upped its production pace from one movie per month to two. It has also diversified its distribution. Whereas most of the studio’s money once came from video rental stores, its bread and butter is now selling through cable video-on-demand channels, supplemented with a growing television and nascent digital distribution business. The new channels have brought new tricks, like using names that get titles to the top of alphabetically-sorted video-on-demand queues, e.g. “100 Degress Below Zero,” a disaster movie, and #holdyourbreath, a horror film that The Asylum placed in a small number of AMC theaters in order to garner still better placement in the video-on-demand queues, which punish straight-to-video movies.
“Things are going very well — and this Sharknado stuff has been icing on top of all that,” says Bales.
Sharnado, a Syfy channel movie about a tornado that flings sharks from the ocean into Los Angeles, briefly dominated Twitter late last week and generated a flurry of giddy media coverage in advance of airing. Ratings, in comparison, were seen as something of a letdown, but Bales says the show set records among the youngest viewers, who Syfy is trying to attract, and helped spur other sources of revenue, including The Asylum’s first-ever overture for a contract to sell secondary merchandise like t-shirts.
“A major retailer was not going to take the movie, and the day after the premier they ordered three times the number of DVDs they normally take for a movie,” Bales says. “Europe does not share an affinity for creature movies that we have in the U.S. and Asia and so we were having some trouble selling this title in Europe. After the premiere, we sold it all over the place.”
As with other Asylum movies, Sharknado might not make for good art, but it’s proving excellent for business.
Litvinenko: minister admits relations affected public inquiry decision
By Agencies 11:47AM BST 19 Jul 2013
Home Secretary Theresa May has admitted "international relations" were a factor in the Government's decision not to hold a public inquiry into the death of poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko.
Coroner Sir Robert Owen had requested that the Government order the inquiry because he could not consider vital secret evidence as part of a normal inquest.
This was backed by Mr Litvinenko's widow Marina, who said she and her legal team were "shocked and disappointed" by the Government's refusal.
Today, a letter from Mrs May to Sir Robert explaining the reasons for the decision was published.
It said: "It is true that international relations have been a factor in the Government's decision-making.
"An inquest managed and run by an independent coroner is more readily explainable to some of our foreign partners, and the integrity of the process more readily grasped, than an inquiry, established by the Government, under a chairman appointed by the Government, which has the power to see Government material potentially relevant to their interests, in secret."
However this has not been a decisive factor and it if had stood alone would not have led the Government to refuse an inquiry."