Sunday, November 3, 2013

Amazing Photos Of Beauty Pageant In Women's Prison

BOGOTA, Colombia — In Bogota's Buen Pastor prison, age is not an obstacle to a beauty queen crown.

Maria Cristina Villareal, 56, was among six women competing Friday in this year's pageant for the title of "Reina Madre" or "Queen Mother." There is a separate category for unmarried women.

The 2,222-inmate women's prison in Colombia's capital has hosted pageants for 18 years, with TV and musical celebrities serving as judges.

Most of the inmates have been convicted of drug trafficking or are awaiting trial. They include 50 foreigners, none of whom took part in this year's pageant.

Villareal, a mother of three with nine grandchildren, is serving time for drug trafficking. She wouldn't disclose the length of her sentence.

The pageant is held every year on the feast of the Virgin of Mercy, patron saint of prisoners.

"Even though they are in prison, they have not lost the essence of being women," said prisons bureau employee Maria Virginia Camacho, who organized this year's pageant.

This year's contest included two runway walks, one in fokloric garb, the other in elegant gowns.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

UK bank Barclays suspend six traders

UK bank Barclays has suspended six traders as part of a probe into suggestions that currency markets could have been rigged, the BBC has learnt.
On Thursday, Royal Bank of Scotland suspended two traders in connection with the investigation.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) probe is said to be at an early stage.
Of the six, some work in London and some in other parts of Barclays' global business, the BBC's chief economics correspondent Hugh Pym said.
Regulators around the world, including the UK's FCA, are investigating the currencies market and Barclays, RBS, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and UBS have all confirmed that regulators have been in contact with them over the currency probe, though there is currently no evidence of wrongdoing.
On Friday, JP Morgan Chase added that it was also being questioned.
“These investigations are in the early stages and the firm is co-operating with the relevant authorities,” JP Morgan said.
'Worth millions'
Citigroup issued a statement saying: “Government agencies in the US and other jurisdictions are conducting investigations or making inquiries regarding trading on the foreign exchange markets.”
The global foreign exchange market is worth more than $5tn a day, and London is the most important hub, accounting for about 40% of all foreign-exchange trading.
Suspicions of exchange rate manipulation centre on a one-minute window of trading at 16:00 every day that is used to set exchange rates.
The suggestion is that traders colluded to push through high volumes of trades in the run-up to and during the window to influence rates.
“If some of the big players in the market got together and put through some very large trades – billions of dollars each – then that could affect the market,” said Mark Taylor, a former forex trader who is now dean of Warwick Business School.
“It would take a huge amount of money to move the market, but you only have to move the market a small amount for a small period, and that could be worth millions of dollars of profit for the banks.”
In a statement released alongside its quarterly results on Wednesday, Barclays said: “Various regulatory and enforcement authorities have indicated they are investigating foreign-exchange trading, including possible attempts to manipulate certain benchmark currency exchange rates or engage in other activities that would benefit their trading positions.
“The investigations appear to involve multiple market participants in various countries.
“Barclays Bank has received inquiries from certain of these authorities related to their particular investigations, is reviewing its foreign-exchange trading covering a several-year period through August 2013 and is co-operating with the relevant authorities in their investigations.”
Barclays said that it did not yet know what the legal and financial impact from the inquiry would be.
Last year, Barclays, along with other international banks, was fined for manipulation of the Libor inter-bank lending rate.
In the case of Libor, there is also now a criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
Banks in the UK are also still setting aside billions to pay compensation for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI).

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oarfish washes up on the California coastline for the second time in a week

For the second time in a week, a fish from a rarely seen species has washed up on the California coastline.
A 14-foot oarfish carcass was discovered Friday by a snorkeler off the beach in Oceanside. On Sunday, an 18-foot-long oarfish carcass was spotted off Catalina Island.
The oarfish, which can grow to more than 50 feet, is the world’s largest bony fish and lives mostly at great depths. Because of its size and menacing appearance, the oarfish may be the source of the sea serpent tales.
Oceanside police contacted SeaWorld, the Scripps Research Institute and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Employees from NOAA removed the carcass for possible study.

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Miranda Kerr and actor Orlando Bloom reveal their separation officially

The marriage of actor Orlando Bloom and model Miranda Kerr has ended — even as Bloom tackles one of the most romantic roles in history, Romeo.
Publicist Robin Baum released a joint statement Friday that said Kerr and Bloom — two of the most beautiful people on the planet — “have been amicably separated for the past few months” and “recently decided to formalize their separation” after six years together.
The 36-year-old actor, who starred in “The Lord of the Rings” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, and the 30-year-old supermodel were married in 2010. They have a 2 1/2 year-old son, Flynn.
Bloom is making his Broadway debut as Romeo in director David Leveaux's revival of Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet” opposite Condola Rashad, who has back-to-back Tony Award nominations for “Stick Fly” and “The Trip to Bountiful.” Reviews have been mostly negative and the show has struggled at the box office.
Kerr, a top Victoria's Secret model, first met Bloom backstage at a lingerie fashion show in New York in 2006. The Australian-born beauty recently worked with chemists to help develop an organic beauty line.
In an interview in September, Bloom said he was excited to be making his American stage debut and taking his career on a new course. He said he was planning to join the Royal Shakespeare Company after college but director Peter Jackson whisked him to New Zealand for “The Lord of the Rings” and then he was off on a movie career — “Black Hawk Down,” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, “Elizabethtown” and “Kingdom of Heaven.”
“I feel like this is what I was supposed to be doing or at least part of what I was supposed to be doing. I found myself doing movies — which were wonderful and amazing and I love — I've got a collection of movies at home that my son is going to absolutely drool over when he's the right age,” he said. “But for Orlando and for the actor in me, this process is so rewarding and I just feel like I'm going to be a different actor after this. I already feel like a different actor.”

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Courtney Stodden and Doug Hutchinson reveil their separation after 3 years of marriage

Courtney Stodden and her husband of three years, Doug Hutchinson, reportedly are going separate ways. “Courtney has called it quits on her marriage,” a source close to the couple told Radar Online. “She is done with him and he's totally heartbroken.”
“Doug knew he was taking a risk with the marriage, but he genuinely fell in love with Courtney and didn't realize how much his life would be changed after they got married,” the source added. The source also explained that Stodden's fame contributed to their broken relationship, saying, “She is branching out and doing her own thing and Doug is getting left behind.”
“Everything with Courtney and Doug is so contrived, but he wasn't with her at her Halloween party and she's always doing things by herself lately. He just isn't part of the scene anymore now. They'll probably stage a photo opp just to pretend they're still together though,” the source said of the separation.
Stodden got married to Hutchinson with her parents' permission when she was just 16 years old and the “Lost” actor was 51. Stodden recently looked happy as she hosted a Halloween party at her home on Thursday night, October 31. Dressing up in red devil lingerie, she welcomed her friends that include actor Chris Winters. Her mother, Krista, dressed up as Cleopatra.
“Courtney had an absolute blast. It was a great chance for her to let her hair down. She didn't look heartbroken at all. If she was upset, she hid her feelings well. At one point she joked that Doug was in one of the bedrooms, but it was actually just a spooky pretend corpse under the bed sheet,” a source told Daily Mail.

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Doctor find out solutions to manage media use by kids

In an age when exposure to TV, smartphones, computers, tablets, and all forms of social media play a dominant role in the lives of American kids and teens, many families have very few rules in place to manage their children's media use. But for their well-being, that should change, the nation's largest group of children's physicians advises.
In a newly revised policy statement released today, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents make a media use plan for their families that takes into account not only the quantity, but the quality and location of media used, and includes mealtime and bedtime curfews for media devices. It also encourages keeping all screen media (TVs, computers, tablets, etc.) out of kids' bedrooms.
The group reiterates its recommendation to limit the amount of total entertainment screen time to less than two hours a day and to discourage all screen media exposure for children under age 2.
A new, nationally representative survey from the nonprofit advocacy group Common Sense Media, also out today, shows 72% of kids ages 8 and under have used a mobile device for some type of media activity such as playing games, watching videos or using apps, up from 38% just two years ago. And 17% of these young children use a mobile device on a daily basis.
“We are worried that a lot of parents are clueless about their kids' media use and how to manage it appropriately,” says Victor Strasburger, a professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico and co-author of the AAP policy statement, released at the group's national conference in Orlando, Fla.
They are “spending more time with media than they are in school. They are spending more time with media than in any activity other than sleeping. You could make the argument that media have taken over the primary role of teaching kids from schools and parents in many cases,” says Strasburger.
Parents, together with pediatricians, schools, research organizations, the entertainment and advertising industries and government, need to work together to do more to address this issue, he says. He adds that the federal government has not written a comprehensive report on children and the media since 1982, before the widespread use of the Internet and cellphones.
According to findings cited in the policy statement:
• The average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of media; older children and teens spend more than 11 hours a day.
• The presence of a television set in a child's bedroom increases TV viewing even more, and 71% of children and teens report having a TV in their bedroom; 50% have a console video game player in their room.
• Nearly all children and teens (84%) are on-line; about 75% of 12- to 17-year-olds have a cellphone, up from 45% in 2004; 88% use text messaging.
Last updated five years ago, the policy statement considered a wealth of new research. It says the pediatrics group “continues to be concerned by evidence about the potential harmful effects of media messages and images.”
Excessive media use has been associated with obesity, lack of sleep, school problems, aggression and other behavior issues, the statement says.
But it adds that “important positive and pro-social effects of media should also be recognized.” It specifies that media can help children of all ages learn important academic material, and can also help “teach empathy, racial and ethnic tolerance, and a whole range of interpersonal skills.”
“Media can be good or bad,” says Strasburger. “There's some extraordinarily good media out there. It's a matter of finding the right stuff for the right aged child or teen and limiting access to inappropriate media.”
But parents need to recognize that their children are “facing a tsunami of media,” he says.
The onslaught of new digital devices to deliver that media makes the challenge of monitoring your children's “media diet” harder than ever, says Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media. Not only is there more of it, but “because these devices are mobile, screen time moves with them from room to room. It's not as easy to monitor use.”
Among other recommendations in the revised policy statement:
For Parents:
• Model effective media use to help children learn to be selective and healthy in what they consume. Take an active role in children's media education by co-viewing TV, movies and videos with them and discuss important family values.
• Monitor what media your children are using and accessing, including any websites they are visiting and social media sites they may be using
For pediatricians:
• At every well-child visit, ask how much time the child is spending with media and if there is a TV or Internet-connected device in the child's bedroom.
• Take a more detailed media history with children or teens at risk for obesity, aggression, tobacco or substance use, or school problems.

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Tips help you pay off your credit card quickly and efficiently

The average amount of credit card debt for an American household with debt is $15,422, according to personal finance site nerdwallet.com. Trying to pay off a balance of that amount can take a chunk out of a monthly budget. It can be done, however, with determination, grit and some sound strategies.

Face the Facts
If you’re serious about paying down your plastic, you must determine how much debt you’re really carrying. Get out to the mailbox and bring in all those credit card bills and rip them open (or go online to find statements). With calculator in hand, tally up your balances and while you’re at it, take a hard look at the interest rate for each card. Some may be locked in at a low rate while others may be high (some credit card interest rates go above 20 percent).

Track the Trends
“People typically don't track their spending,” points out Gary Thurber, assistant director of community relations for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central New York. But you should do it to find out exactly where your money's going. “Do it for 30 days, one full cycle,” Thurber advises. Track how much you make and how much you spend on everything from a vanilla latte to your monthly mortgage payment. This information will help you create a budget that doesn’t rely on credit cards to get you through.

Quit the Cards
Plastic is what got you into this mess. So cut up or freeze your cards, but whatever you do, don’t use them. While you’re in the process of paying down your debt, try not to use any kind of plastic other than a debit card, so you won’t be tempted to rack up more debt. It is important not to close an account once you’ve paid off the balance, however, because that unused credit will help to improve your credit score.

Target the Highest Interest Rate Cards
One of the most cost-effective ways to pay down credit card debt is this: Each month, pay off as much as you can on your highest interest rate card and the minimum on all others. Do this until your debt is paid off.

Go Lean
Paying off your plastic won’t be fun, but as Dave Ramsey, syndicated radio program host of The Dave Ramsey Show, reminds us, “If you will make the sacrifices now that most people aren’t willing to make, later on you will be able to live as those folks will never be able to live.” So, quit your cable company, forgo the daily latte, brown bag it, walk instead of drive, grocery shop where you have to bag your own stuff. If you’re in way over your head, move to a smaller place or rent out bedrooms in your home.

Increase Your Income
More money means bigger payments, which means a faster escape from debt. Pick up a part time job on the weekend or put in some overtime if you are employed full time. Wait tables (tips are a good thing), mow lawns, babysit kids, clean houses, edit college papers, input data, freelance, become a consultant. Apply every extra penny you earn toward your credit card balances. The increased payments will save you hundreds of dollars in interest and help you dig yourself out of debt much faster.

Sell Some Stuff
If it's been a year since you've used that old lawn mower then you probably won’t miss it when you sell it. Gather up all your old treasures and junk and have a garage sale. Sell your more valuable possessions at a local consignment store, and list smaller or easier to ship items on eBay. Craigslist is also a great option because there are no advertising costs involved.

Set Up a Savings Account
While it may seem illogical, saving is an essential aspect of a sound strategy to pay down debt. If you have three to six months of living expenses saved up, you're set; otherwise, build an emergency fund while paying down your debt. “The No. 1 problem we see consumers fall subject to is when someone is good-intentioned and wants to pay their debt down, they put every dollar toward it and as soon as an unexpected expense happens, they find themselves using credit again,” says Christopher Viale, president of Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.

Know When to Get Help
If your debt feels overwhelming, turn to a reputable credit counseling agency for advice. You can find one through the Better Business Bureau or state licensing department. Every state’s banking department has a list of accredited agencies for their state. A reputable credit counseling agency can set up an individualized budget and repayment plan for free. For a nominal fee they can run interference for you with the credit card companies and put you on a debt management program.

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