Events showcase Miami’s growth as tech center

One by one, representatives from six startup companies walked onto the wooden stage and presented their products or services to a full house of about 200 investors, mentors, and other supporters Thursday at Incubate Miami’s DemoDay in the loft-like Grand Central in downtown Miami. With a large screen behind them projecting their graphs and charts, they set out to persuade the funders in the room to part with some of their green and support the tech community.

Just 24 hours later, from an elaborate “dojo stage,” a drummer warmed up the crowd of several hundred before a “Council of Elders” entered the ring to share wisdom as the all-day free event opened. Called TekFight, part education, part inspiration, and part entertainment, the tournament-style program challenged entrepreneurs to earn points to “belt up” throughout the day to meet with the “masters” of the tech community.

The two events, which kicked off Innovate MIA week, couldn’t be more different. But in their own ways, like a one-two punch, they exuded the spirit and energy growing in the startup community.

One of the goals of the TekFight event was to introduce young entrepreneurs and students to the tech community, because not everyone has found it yet and it’s hard to know where to start, said Saif Ishoof, the executive director of City Year Miami who co-founded TekFight as a personal project. And throughout the event, he and co-founder Jose Antonio Hernandez-Solaun, as well as Binsen J. Gonzalez and Jeff Goudie, wanted to find creative, engaging ways to offer participants access to some of the community’s most successful leaders.

That would include Alberto Dosal, chairman of CompuQuip Technologies; Albert Santalo, founder and CEO of CareCloud; Jorge Plasencia, chairman and CEO of Republica; Jaret Davis, co-managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig; and more than two dozen other business and community leaders who shared their war stories and offered advice. Throughout the day, the event was live-streamed on the Web, a TekFight app created by local entrepreneur and UM student Tyler McIntyre kept everyone involved in the tournament and tweets were flying — with #TekFight trending No. 1 in the Miami area for parts of the day. “Next time Art Basel will know not to try to compete with TekFight,” Ishoof quipped.

‘Miami is a hotbed’

After a pair of Chinese dragons danced through the audience, Andre J. Gudger, director for the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs, entered the ring. “I’ve never experienced an event like this,” Gudger remarked. “Miami is a hotbed for technology but nobody knew it.”

Gudger shared humorous stories and practical advice on ways to get technology ideas heard at the highest levels of the federal government. “Every federal agency has a director over small business — find out who they are,” he said. He has had plenty of experience in the private sector: Gudger, who wrote his first computer program on his neighbor’s computer at the age of 12, took one of his former companies from one to 1,300 employees.

There were several rounds that pitted an entrepreneur against an investor, such as Richard Grundy, of the tech startup Flomio, vs. Jonathan Kislak, of Antares Capital, who asked Grundy, “why should I give you money?”

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Preservation board to decide on Herald building

The city of Miami’s historic preservation office has compiled a lengthy, detailed report that substantially bolsters the case for designation of The Miami Herald’s “monumental’’ bayfront building as a protected landmark based on both its architectural merits and its historic significance.

Somewhat unusually, the 40-page report by city preservation officer Megan McLaughlin, which is supplemented by 30 pages of bibliography, plans and photographs, carries no explicit recommendation to the city’s preservation board, which is scheduled to decide the matter on Monday.

But her analysis gathers extensive evidence that the building’s history, the influential executives and editors associated with it, and its fusion of Mid-Century Modern and tropical Miami Modern (MiMo) design meet several of the legal criteria for designation set out in the city’s preservation ordinance and federal guidelines. A building has to meet just one of eight criteria to merit designation.

A spokeswoman for the city’s historic preservation office said there is no obligation to make a recommendation and the city’s preservation board didn’t ask for one.

Supporters of designation, including officials at Dade Heritage Trust, the preservation group that has received sometimes withering criticism from business and civic leaders for requesting designation, said they felt vindicated by the report, even as they concede that persuading a board majority to support it remains an uphill battle.

“It’s important that an objective expert is saying basically the same thing we’ve been saying, particularly in an environment where there is so much pressure,’’ said DHT chief executive Becky Roper Matkov. “It’s very hard to refute. When you look at the building’s architecture and history, it’s so blatantly historic, what else can you say?’’

The report also rebuts key pieces of criticism of the designation effort leveled by opponents of designation, including architects and a prominent local preservation historian hired by Genting, the Malaysian casino operator that purchased the Herald property last year for $236 million with plans to build a massive destination resort on its 10 acres. The newspaper remains in the building rent-free until April, when it will move to suburban Doral.

Citing federal rules, McLaughlin concluded that the building dates to its construction in 1960 and 1961, and not to its formal dedication in 1963. That’s significant because it makes the building legally older than 50 years. Buildings newer than that must be “exceptionally significant’’ to merit designation under city regulations. Opponents of designation have claimed the building does not qualify because it’s several months short of 50 years if dated from its ’63 opening.

The property also has a “minimal’’ baywalk at the rear but there is room to expand it, the report indicates. The building is considerably set back from the edge of Biscayne Bay, between 68 feet at the widest point and 23 feet at its narrowest, the report says. That’s comparable to what many new buildings provide, thanks in part to variances granted by the city, and could blunt criticism that the Herald building “blocks’’ public access to the bay.

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Big-data analytics company Cloudera raises $65 million

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Cloudera, a distributor of software that helps companies analyze big data, said it has raised $ 65 million in new funding.

The company is part of a growing group of businesses that help dig into the vast trove of data created by digital sources such as sensors, posts to the Internet, pictures and videos.

The field caught investor attention when Splunk, another data analytics firm, held an initial public offering earlier this year and doubled in price on its first trading day.

Cloudera’s business is based on Hadoop, open-source software that aggregates results from large sets of data. Cloudera provides services that allow companies to easily use Hadoop.

The funding round was led by Accel Partners, with participation from Greylock Partners, Ignition Partners, In-Q-Tel and Meritech Capital Partners. All Things D, which first reported the funding, said the company’s valuation was $ 700 million.

Cloudera, based in Palo Alto, California, last raised $ 40 million in November 2011.

(Reporting By Sarah McBride; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

Linux/Open Source News Headlines – Yahoo! News

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Bicyclist struck, killed near Aqueduct Racetrack

Kendall Rodriguez

Investigators at the scene of a fatal Queens accident Friday.

A man was killed Friday night while riding a bicycle near Aqueduct Racetrack, police said.

The unidentified man was struck by a horse trailer in the racetrack parking lot near 114th Street and 150th Avenue in Queens at around 5:20 p.m., police sources said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The trailer, which had “Belmont Park” and “Saratoga” written on its side, could be seen several feet from the man’s body, meaning the trailer likely struck the man without immediately stopping, sources said.

Police do not suspect criminality.

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New equity options exchange owned by Miami company starts trading on Friday

MIAX Options Exchange, a new fully electronic, equity options trading exchange, said it will begin trading on Friday.

MIAX Options Exchange is based in Princeton, N.J., but its parent company is Miami International Holdings. While MIAX’s executive offices, technology development center and national operations center are based in Princeton, additional executive offices, and a multi-purpose training, meeting and conference center will be located in Miami, the company said.

MIAX Options Exchange’s trading platform has been developed in-house and designed for the functional and performance demands of derivatives trading, the company said.


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Driver of fatal MIA bus crash that killed two offers his “deepest sympathy.”

The driver behind the wheel of a bus that rammed into an overpass at Miami International Airport — killing two passengers and leaving many more injured — expressed his sympathies Thursday to those affected, while a group of survivors began speaking with a lawyer.

On Thursday, a relative sent out a short statement in Spanish from driver Ramon Ferreiro. In it, Ferreiro extended his “deepest sympathy” to the families of those killed in “the terrible accident.”

“I know there are no words of comfort for what happened, but my family and I are praying for all those affected and their loved ones,” he wrote in Spanish. “I’m emotionally and physically very shocked by what happened, and for this reason I ask you to respect my family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

The crash happened a few minutes before 7:30 a.m. Saturday. The bus carried members of a Jehovah’s Witness congregation on their way to the annual general assembly meeting in West Palm Beach.

Ferreiro, 47, took a wrong turn on Le Jeune Road. He sped past multiple signs warning of the low clearance at the airport’s arrival concourse, smashing the 11-foot-tall bus into an overpass.

Two people sitting in the front were killed; the remaining 30 passengers went to hospitals for examinations and treatment.

As of Thursday, four people from the crash remained at Jackson Memorial Hospital, spokeswoman Lidia Amoretti said. Of the group, three were in good condition and one was in critical.

Another eight people admitted after the crash already had been discharged.

And some of the survivors have begun speaking with West Palm Beach lawyer Patrick Cousins.

Cousins, who also is Jehovah’s Witness, said that members of his religion tend to shy away from legal battles, and that’s why he hopes to settle the matter with the bus service’s insurance company out of court.

The goal, he said, would be to get compensation for costs such as their hospital bills.

“We are not the type of people to create problems or issues,” Cousins said. “But this is not something we really created. We just want to make sure everybody gets their compensation.”

Saturday’s accident appears to be the first blemish on the record of both the driver and the bus company, Miami Bus Service Corp., which is owned by Mayling and Alberto Hernandez.

Ferreiro has a valid commercial driver’s license with the proper endorsement to carry passengers, according to records from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

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South Florida foreclosure sales up in third quarter

Miami-Dade County’s foreclosure-related sales rose 43.9 percent in the third quarter from the second quarter and jumped 21.8 percent from a year earlier, as banks sold off more properties, according to RealtyTrac.

In Broward County, third-quarter foreclosure-related sales rose 38.9 percent from the prior quarter, but were down 24.5 percent from a year ago, the real estate data firm based in Irvine, Calif., said.

Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, said Miami-Dade, Broward and Florida generally are showing an increase in bank-owned sales, as well as mirroring the national trend of rising short sales.

“South Florida shows a pretty significant quarter over [prior] quarter increase in bank-owned properties being sold,’’ Blomquist said. “It appears that banks are ramping back up and selling more properties.’’

Foreclosure-related sales – including bank-owned properties and short sales – accounted for 32.5 percent of sales in Miami-Dade and 25.2 percent in Broward in the third quarter. Nationwide, 19 percent of all residential sales were foreclosure-related in the latest quarter, RealtyTrac said.

Across Florida, foreclosure-linked sales rose 47 percent in the third quarter from the second quarter and were up 16.9 percent from a year earlier.

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State lawmakers cautious about projected $437 million budget surplus

Initial, positive indications about Florida’s budget for the coming fiscal year could be overtaken by events if the Florida Supreme Court strikes down changes to state employees or the nation plunges over the fiscal cliff, the state’s top economist warned Wednesday.

Speaking to the first meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Amy Baker — coordinator of the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research — told lawmakers that the current projection of a $436.8 million budget surplus could still change.

"I think the message is that this is not a large cushion," Baker said. "It could evaporate on you if economic circumstances turn against us."

Lawmakers have long watched a decision in the case challenging a 2011 law that required employees to contribute 3 percent of their income to their retirement funds, along with other changes. It could cost the state around $2 billion if the Supreme Court strikes down the law.

A Leon County circuit court judge voided the changes for employees hired before July 1, 2011; justices seemed hesitant about upholding that ruling at oral arguments earlier this year.

But Baker said the so-called "fiscal cliff," a package of federal spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect on Jan. 1 unless Congress and President Barack Obama can reach agreement, also looms large.

If there is a long delay in reaching a deal — one that stretches past January and into March — it could cost the state as much as $375 million, Baker said, comparing it to the debt-ceiling fight in August 2011 that dragged down the state economy.

Even if there is an agreement, it is likely to include some measures that will reduce estimated state income by hundreds of millions of dollars, Baker said.

"There is no likelihood that Florida will escape from the final decision with no changes to our budget," Baker said.

The uncertainty has pushed lawmakers who are optimistic about the numbers to nonetheless urge caution. Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart, told the committee that he wanted to boost the budget stabilization fund, one of the state’s reserves, to $1.5 billion. That’s at least $500 million over where the fund is projected to be, Negron said.

After the meeting, Negron told reporters that might be as much as the Legislature can do.

"You can never have too much in a reserve, but realistically I think $1.5 billion is a reasonable target to shoot for," he said.

Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, said the situation should send a message to advocates for various state agencies in the audience.

"They need to be on notice that there is a lot of uncertainty out there and that this budget if these two things come to fruition is going to be very, very difficult to put together," Thrasher said. "And I think either one of them could devastating to us."

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Guatemala detains McAfee, to expel him to Belize

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Guatemalan police arrested U.S. software guru John McAfee on Wednesday for illegally entering the country and said it would seek to expel him to neighboring Belize, which he fled after being sought for questioning over his neighbor’s murder.

McAfee, who had been in hiding for three weeks, crossed into Guatemala with his 20-year-old girlfriend to evade authorities in Belize who wanted to quiz him as “a person of interest” about the killing of fellow American Gregory Faull.

“He entered the country illegally and we are going to seek his expulsion for this crime,” Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said. McAfee was detained by Guatemalan police and a member of Interpol at the upscale Intercontinental hotel in Guatemala City.

One of Silicon Valley’s first entrepreneurs to build an Internet fortune, the 67-year-old made millions of dollars through the antivirus software that now carries his name.

McAfee’s behavior has been increasingly erratic in recent years but there is no international arrest warrant for him. Police in Belize say he is not a prime suspect.

Government spokesman Francisco Cuevas said the entrepreneur would be expelled to Belize and he expected the process to be completed by early Thursday morning.

Fernando Lucero, spokesman for Guatemala’s immigration department, saidimmediate deportation had been ruled out. McAfee’s lawyer Telesforo Guerra was seeking an injunction to have him released and the American said on his blog that he would not now be returned to the Belize border until a higher judge reviewed the case.

McAfee was taken to a residence belonging to the immigration department guarded by a small group of police.

He had been seeking political asylum in Guatemala, which has been embroiled in a long-running territorial dispute with Belize. .

Residents and neighbors on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye, where McAfee has lived in Belize for about four years, say he is eccentric, impulsive, volatile and at times unstable, citing his love of guns and young women.

McAfee has said he believes authorities in Belize will kill him if he turns himself in for questioning. Belize’s prime minister has denied this and called him paranoid and “bonkers.”

“It’s a wild, wild country,” McAfee told Reuters in an interview in his hotel room just hours before his detention.

“Everyone sees one part of Belize,” he said. “They think it’s a wonderful, peaceful, lovely place, blue waters, so McAfee has got to be crazy. Maybe I am crazy. If I were, I wouldn’t know.”

In Belize, he was often seen with armed bodyguards dressed in camouflage, pistols tucked into his belt. McAfee’s slain neighbor had complained about the loud barking of dogs that guarded his exclusive beachside compound.

His run-in with authorities in Belize is a world away from a successful life in the United States, where the former Lockheed systems consultant started McAfee Associates in the late 1980s. McAfee has no relationship now with the company, which was sold to Intel Corp.


There was already a case against McAfee in Belize for possession of illegal firearms, and police had previously raided his property on suspicion he was running a lab to make illegal synthetic narcotics.

He says he has not taken drugs since 1983.

“(Before then) I took drugs constantly, 24 hours of the day, I took them for years and years. I was the worst drug abuser on the planet,” McAfee said. “Then I finally went to Alcoholics Anonymous, and that was the end of it.”

But he has no regrets about the path his life has taken, or the loss of the lion’s share of his fortune over the years and says he is happier now that he cares less for material things.

“My life has not declined,” he said. “My life has been on the increase ever since I decided that stuff – houses, money – doesn’t mean much. I had more money than I could spend in million lifetimes. Why would I care?”

McAfee says he has been persecuted by Belize’s ruling party because he wouldn’t pay out some $ 2 million to it.

“The misunderstanding of the severity of their request for money was my big mistake,” McAfee said. “Had I known that, I would maybe have said $ 2 million is way too much. Let’s negotiate something, just don’t rape me for the next seven months. Writing a check would have been a lot easier.”

The party has denied soliciting money from him.

McAfee has been living in the tiny Central American nation for about four years, and wants to return to live there eventually. But he says he is being framed, and denies any involvement in his neighbor’s killing.

“We had one disagreement about a dog. I had disagreements with all my neighbors about my dogs. I had a disagreement with myself about my dogs. They were noisy,” he said.

“Why would I leave behind the body and all the evidence?” he asked. “I’m not stupid.”

(Additional reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Philip Barbara, Lisa Shumaker and Patrick Graham)

Tech News Headlines – Yahoo! News

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Dancing with the Stars Partners Reunite on Big Screen

Dancing with the Stars pro Karina Smirnoff is joining her Season 12 partner Ralph Macchio in a new movie, Us Weekly reports.

RELATED: Ralph Macchio Gets 'Happily Divorced'

According to the news source, the 34-year-old dancer plays a woman who becomes the object of a 10-year-old boy's fascination when he sees her dancing in a neighboring house.

"It is a dream come true to have this opportunity in working with Ralph again," she says of her former dance partner who writes and directs the film. "He wrote such an inspiring script, and I'm grateful to be a part of it. The story is sweet but profound, and my character is very compelling. I'm loving the process!"

This is Smirnoff's first movie role but she gave her acting qualifications, saying, "I feel like I've always acted within a dance ... Now I get to just act, and I'm extremely excited for the opportunity."

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Art class

The exposure that Art Basel gives to the Miami real estate market is undoubtable,” says Douglas Elliman Florida President and CEO Vanessa Grout.

Yes, this is a manic, vital week for selling homes in Miami, a week where billionaire art collectors and mansion buyers, along with much of the fashion and entertainment worlds, descend for a week of partying and networking and, yes, even buying art.

It’s a week where you can have multiple spreadsheets with dozens of events happening simultaneously, a week where art, design, commerce and real estate development are intertwined from early morning to late night, a week where only being double-booked means things are completely under control.

One Ocean

One Ocean

Nobody understands this better than Jorge Perez, chairman and CEO of the Related Group of Florida, who has weaved high design and art into condos all over Miami. Perez has built more than 80,000 apartments and created residential neighborhoods including the tony South of Fifth area, where he’s responsible for eight buildings with more than 2,000 apartments combined.

His latest SoFi building is One Ocean, with 50 condos; typical units are around 3,000 square feet and more than $5 million. The building is launching at a private UBS dinner tomorrow.

When we reach Perez on Monday morning of Miami’s busiest week of the year, he’s already met with interior designers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg at the sales center of One Ocean. While we speak, a group of art collectors are waiting for him in the next room. Later, Perez would make a presentation for his art museum. Then there would be satellite art fairs to visit and multiple dinners and parties, “about 10 functions today.” And things were just getting started.

“By the time the week finishes, I wish I didn’t have to see anybody for the next month,” Perez says. “It’s intense, but it’s wonderful because it’s all about art, which I love.”

And in Miami, good art and good design are good business.

“We used one of the foremost architects, Enrique Norten, to do a really streamlined building that resembles a wave,” Perez says of One Ocean, where he’s keeping a residence for himself. “We’ve commissioned some of my favorite artists to do unique works for everything from the floors to the walls to the gardens.”

The team includes landscape architect Enzo Enea and artists Jose Bedia, Eugenio Cuttica and Michelle Oka Doner.

But Perez isn’t just involved in the high-end market. Related’s 300-unit IconBay downtown development, where units are about $500 per square foot, is 95 percent reserved in three months of sales.

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iPad’sdominance limits apps for other tablets

Q. When are companies going to start writing applications for tablet computers other than the iPad? I own a Pandigital tablet, and when I try to download apps, I’m told they’re either for the iPad or iPhone.

LeRoy Hilton,

Oro Valley, Ariz.

You can expect more apps for non-Apple tablet computers when those devices gain more market share. How soon, or if, that will happen is anyone’s guess.

People who write apps are motivated by the revenue they’re likely to get. They can maximize that revenue by focusing on the tablet computer that is owned by the largest number of people.

Right now, the best opportunity for app writers is the iPad, which in the first three months of 2012 accounted for 68 percent of the 17.4 million tablet computers sold worldwide, according to market research firm IDC. The iPad’s chief competitors, in order of market share, are tablets made by Samsung, Amazon, Lenovo and Barnes & Noble. Pandigital is further down the list.Q. I recently bought a Kindle Fire tablet computer, and I’m disappointed that it cannot be read in the sunshine as other Kindle devices can. Is there anything I can do to make the screen more readable outdoors, such as buying an anti-glare screen protector?

Mary Jo Ready,

Shoreview, Minn.

An anti-glare protector won’t help. The issue is that your Kindle Fire’s LCD, or liquid crystal display, screen is lit from inside, but isn’t bright enough to compete with sunlight. Your only outdoor options are to raise the screen brightness and find some shade. A video that explains how to adjust screen brightness can be found on Amazon’s help pages, at Q. My Windows task bar was always at the bottom of my screen, but the other day it went to the top for some reason. How can I get it back to the bottom of the screen?

Kathleen Gignac,

Bartow, Fla.

The task bar can be dragged to a new location using your mouse. Left-click a blank space on the task bar and, while holding down the mouse button, drag the bar to the bottom of the screen.

You can skip this manual process if you are using Windows XP or Windows Vista. Just go to and click the automatic “fix it” button. That will return the task bar to its default position at the bottom of the screen.

If you have problems with either of these techniques, the task bar may have become “locked” in its current position. There are directions on the same Web page that explain how to “unlock” the tool bar’s location so it can be moved.

Contact Steve Alexander at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55488-0002; e-mail

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On shared stage, Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan take steps toward 2016

Just days after he was sworn in, Sen. Marco Rubio was trying to knock down speculation.

"This is the one job that I wanted. I wanted to be a U.S. senator, not a vice presidential candidate, not a presidential candidate," he told a radio interviewer in January 2011. "I didn’t run to use it as a stepping-stone."

But Tuesday night at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, Rubio took another step in reaching for the next thing.

Encircled by the buzz over a potential run for president in 2016, the Florida Republican delivered a speech on ways to lift the middle class, calling it "the answer to the most pressing challenges we face" as he tried to project a fresh outlook for a GOP still reeling from last month’s election.

Rubio shared the stage, and a similar message, with another GOP hotshot and likely presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan. The ambitious, young politicians — Rubio, 41, Ryan, 42 — competed for the spotlight under the watch of several hundred guests, more than two dozen reporters and viewers of C-SPAN.

Rubio is more polished and charismatic, using the emotional power of his immigrant parents’ tale to drive his message. But Ryan, of Wisconsin, is beloved among conservatives and was equally well received.

The positioning was acknowledged only through a joke.

"You’re joining an elite group of past recipients — so far, it’s just me and you," Ryan said to Rubio, who was given a leadership award by the Jack Kemp Foundation at the group’s banquet Tuesday at the Mayflower. "I’ll see you at the reunion dinner — table for two. Know any good diners in Iowa or New Hampshire?’’

Rubio, who traveled to Iowa on Nov. 17, later joked, "I will not stand by and watch the people of South Carolina ignored."

For Rubio, who arrived in Washington by defeating a sitting governor knocked as a relentless office climber, his continued national emergence is a delicate balance of managing his vow to focus on the Senate with his political drive. He played down talk of becoming Mitt Romney’s running mate, a job that went to Ryan, but with the GOP left without a clear leader and searching for direction, Rubio won’t close doors.

Romney’s loss and other election disappointments have left the party searching for a new direction, and Rubio’s and Ryan’s speeches reflected their efforts to appeal to a broader group of voters. Both made an effort to distance themselves from the impression Romney left that half the country is hopelessly dependent on government — the infamous "47 percent" comments delivered at a private fundraiser in Boca Raton.

They pulled back on partisan rhetoric and tried to project a more hopeful and inclusive vision with a heavy focus on middle-class families.

"Some say that our problem is that the American people have changed," said Rubio, born in Miami to Cuban immigrants who worked blue-collar jobs. "That too many people want things from government. But I am still convinced that the overwhelming majority of our people just want what my parents had — a chance."

Ryan, in his first speech since the election, said: "We’ve got to set aside partisan considerations in favor of one overriding concern: How can we work together to repair the economy? How can we provide real security and upward mobility for all Americans — especially those in need?"

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Facebook just realized it made a horrible mistake

Facebook (FB) announced on Tuesday that it will begin opening Facebook Messenger to consumers who do not have a Facebook account, starting in countries like India and South Africa, and later rolling out the service in the United States and Europe. This is a belated acknowledgement of a staggering strategic mistake Facebook made two years ago. That is when the messaging app competition was still wide open and giants like Facebook or Google (GOOG) could have entered the competition. WhatsApp, the leading messaging app firm, had just 1 million users as late as December 2009. By the end of 2010, that number had grown to 10 million. Right now, it likely tops 200 million, though there is no current official number on the matter.

SMS usage started peaking in countries like Netherlands in 2010. Companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google were being offered a giant new market on a silver platter with more than 3 billion consumers worldwide use texting on their phones and many of them started drifting away from basic SMS towards IP-based alternatives a few years ago. None of the behemoths saw or understood the opportunity.

They allowed the mobile messaging market to turn into a free-for-all between tiny start-ups like KakaoTalk, Kik, Viber, WhatsApp, etc. And with astonishing speed, the global market picked a winner and rallied around it. Back in early 2011, there was serious debate about the relative merits of different messaging apps and which one might ultimately edge ahead.

In December 2012, the competitive landscape is stark. Kik is not a Top 5 app in any country in the world. Viber is a Top 5 app in 21 countries, but they are countries like Barbados, Nepal and Tajikistan. WhatsApp is a Top 5 app in 141 countries, including the U.S,, U.K., Germany, Brazil and India. The only real weakness of WhatsApp lies in China, Japan and South Korea, where local champions still lead. But those local apps have zero chance of breaking out of their home markets.

The mobile messaging app competition is over. It turned into a red rout sometime during late 2011 and WhatsApp has emerged as the sole beneficiary of a textbook case of the network effect.

Facebook, Google and Twitter threw away their golden chance to create an SMS killer and grab hold of a billion users globally. It would have been so easy and cheap to develop a simple texting app in 2009, leverage the current user base of any of the IT giants and then watch the app soar to global prominence.

And it is so very, very hard to do now. Dislodging WhatsApp now would mean neutralizing a smartphone market penetration advantage that is hitting 80% in some markets. People often ask me why I’m so fixated on WhatsApp and the answer is simple: it’s the most popular and important mobile app in the world. And it beat Facebook, Twitter, Google and other major companies before they even realized there was an important war being waged.

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Adorable Tots: Celebs and their Cute Kids!

Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon

"Monroe's in paradise," posted Mariah Carey along with an adorable snap of her daughter lounging in a room full of Hello Kitty toys as her twin brother Moroccan looks on.

"Roc doesn't share the fascination lol," she remarked.

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Libs get ‘left’ out by GOP-Dem group

Republicans and five breakaway Democrats joined forces yesterday to run the state Senate next year in an unprecedented coalition that freezes out most of the chamber’s liberal-leaning Democrats.

The unorthodox marriage between current Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) and Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeff Klein of The Bronx leaves most of the Senate’s liberal-leaning Democrats out in the cold — although their party might emerge with a numerical majority in the 63-seat house.

Yet the coalition is expected to grease the skids for Democratic-backed bills increasing the minimum wage, providing partial taxpayer financing of state elections and decriminalizing pot during stop and frisks.

“I’m extremely confident these issues can get done,” said Klein, whose conference grew to five this week with the official addition of former Majority Leader Malcolm Smith of Queens — as reported exclusively yesterday by The Post.

But insiders suggest miffed rank-and-file Democrats could resist watered-down versions of Democratic-leaning legislation.

“It’s the ‘Twilight Zone,’ ” Baruch College political-science professor Douglas Muzzio quipped of the new power-sharing plan.

As “conference leaders,” Skelos and Klein will jointly control budget negotiations for the Senate, decide what bills get voted on and make appointments to leadership and committee posts as well as state and local boards.

The duo will alternate every two weeks as temporary Senate president — right behind the lieutenant governor in gubernatorial succession.

The coalition represents a blow to teachers unions, which pumped big money into the campaigns of Democratic senators loyal to Minority Leader John Sampson of Brooklyn.

Sources with ties to the charter- school community and Mayor Bloomberg, whose spokesman called the coalition “an example of bipartisan cooperation at its best,” said the deal is good for both.

It shows the New York State United Teachers union’s “big bet on the Senate Democrats was a loser,” one insider said.

National Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers union chief Stuart Appelbaum expressed disappointment, but said he’s willing to give Klein a chance to deliver on issues such as an increased minimum wage.

A source with ties to Gov. Cuomo called the development a win for him since he can score legislative victories the GOP has blocked while avoiding a repeat of the Senate Democrats’ dysfunctional leadership when they held the majority in 2009 and 2010.

State Democratic Party co-chairwoman Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said she “fully” supports the coalition for “elevating policy above partisanship.”

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The business behind the artist: Miami’s art gallery scene still evolving

This week, thousands of art collectors, museum trustees, artists, journalists and hipsters from around the globe will arrive for the phenomenon known as Art Basel Miami Beach. The centerpiece of the week: works shown at the convention center by more than 260 of the world’s top galleries.

Only two of those are from Miami.

While Art Basel has helped transform the city’s reputation from beach-and-party scene to arts destination in the years since its 2002 Miami Beach debut, the region’s gallery identity is still coming into its own.

“Certainly Miami as an art town registers mightily because of the foundations, the collectors who have done an extraordinary job,” said Linda Blumberg, executive director of the Art Dealers Association of America. “I think there’s a definite international awareness there. But the gallery scene probably has a bit of a ways to go. That doesn’t mean it’s not really fascinating and interesting.”

The gallery business, especially where newer artists are concerned, is a game of risk, faith and passion. Once a gallery takes on an artist who shows promise, they become an evangelist on their behalf, showing their work in-house and at fairs, presenting it to museums and curators and potential collectors and bearing the cost of that promotion.

For contemporary artists, most galleries take work on consignment, meaning they get a cut of as much as 50 percent when works sell. While local art galleries have been growing in number and popularity in the last several years — just try to find parking during the monthly art walk in Miami’s hot Wynwood neighborhood — even some of the area’s top art dealers say that while business overall is good, they struggle in the local marketplace.

“Our problem is that we have to do lots of art fairs in order to connect with the market that we need to connect with to sell the work that we have,” said Fredric Snitzer, a Miami-Dade gallery owner for 35 years. “The better the work is, the harder it is to sell in Miami. And that ain’t good.”

A handful of serious collectors call Miami home and store their own collections in Miami, including the Braman, Rubell, Margulies and de la Cruz families. But outside a relatively small local group, many gallerists say, their clients come from other parts of the country and world.

And some gallerists point out the troubling reality that even the powerhouse Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin could not stay open in Miami for more than a few years.

“The fact that big galleries have not been able to sustain their business models in South Florida tells you we’re obviously not at this high established point,” said gallery owner David Castillo. “It’s not like we’ve arrived, let’s sit back and watch Hauser & Wirth open down the street.”

Still, Miami’s gallery business has come a long way since the early 1970s, when a few dealers on Bay Harbor Island’s Kane Concourse were selling high-end pieces but the local scene was hardly embraced.

Virginia Miller, who owns ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries in Coral Gables, first opened in 1974 to showcase Florida artists, though her focus soon added an international scope. She and other longtime observers credit several factors for Miami’s transformation, including the community’s diversity, the establishment of important museums, the Art Miami fair that started 23 years ago, the presence of major collections and, of course, Art Basel Miami Beach.

Read More..

Son of slain Miami Gardens car wash owner: ‘He put his own life before someone else’

When Dameion Peart got the phone call from his uncle, he didn’t believe it. He drove to his father’s Miami Gardens car wash to see for himself. He hoped the news wouldn’t be too bad, or maybe the shooting happened someplace else.

He pulled up, saw flashing lights and police tape, and knew it was true.

His father, Errold Peart, had been trying to protect a customer Sunday afternoon from armed robbers at the car wash he ran at Northwest 191st Street and First Place.

The robbers turned their gun on Peart, killing him.

“He put his own life before someone else,” his son said.

Now, Peart’s family began the unexpected task of planning a memorial. He was five days away from his 60th birthday.

He won’t get to see his daughter, Mishka Peart, 23, graduate from the University of Miami’s medical school.

“It’s just sad,” Dameion Peart said. “It was unnecessary.”

When the community heard of the shooting, they started dropping by the scene. They were the ones who lived nearby, longtime customers and friends, each with their own tale of how his father had helped them through the years.

They talked about the times Peart, 59, didn’t charge for carwashes to people short on money. They told Dameion Peart, 32, how his father would give money to people who needed help paying for water and electricity, never asking for the money back.

They shared stories about people who couldn’t get jobs because they had convictions — until Peart gave them work.

One of the younger employees told him it was Errold Peart who convinced her to go back to school.

“He was a very good, kindhearted person and a good father at the same time,” Dameion Peart said. “The community where his business is located, he really helped them out here.”

Errold Peart hailed from Jamaica, where he played cricket and worked at one point at a school for problem children, his son said. He eventually came to the United States, where he continued to play cricket for the USA national team.

Peart represented the USA in five matches at the 1990 International Cricket Council Trophy in the Netherlands, where the batsman was the team’s leading scorer, ESPN reported. The USA made it through the first round that year before losing in the second, according to ESPN.

At first, Peart worked with an airline, his son said, but later decided to open his own business.

He started the car wash more than a decade ago, his son said. He chose the location because it was near a busy stretch of U.S. 441 and near Florida’s Turnpike, the Palmetto Expressway and Interstate 95.

“It was like a landmark,” Dameion Peart said. “Everyone knew him.”

But Peart worried about safety.

“He didn’t like guns. But every year, around this time, for the past three years he got held up at gunpoint and people tried to rob him,” Dameion Peart said. “The last time they even followed him home.”

So Errold Peart got a concealed weapons permit.

On Sunday afternoon, he noticed a pair of young men trying to rob a customer. Errold Peart went out to try and stop it, his son said, only to be shot himself.

The men ran away, leaving behind the customer and a bleeding Peart.

Miami Gardens Police still were looking for the suspects on Monday.

Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.

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Facebook voting begins on Instagram data-sharing, email privacy

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc opened the polls on Monday for its roughly 1 billion users to vote on a variety of changes to the social network‘s policies, including a proposal to scrap the user voting system that Facebook introduced in 2009.

Facebook also said it had “clarified” some of the proposed changes, specifying that a new policy allowing it to share user data with recently acquired photo-application Instagram will be carried out in compliance with applicable laws and that Facebook will seek user consent when necessary.

The proposed changes, which Facebook announced on November 21, generated roughly 89,000 user comments as well as concerns from some privacy-advocacy groups and a request for more information from the Data Protection Commission in Ireland, where Facebook’s European business has its headquarters.

“Based on your feedback and after consultation with our regulators, including the Irish Data Protection Commissioner‘s Office, we’ve further clarified some of our proposals,” said Elliot Schrage, Facebook Vice President of Communications, Public Policy and Marketing in a post on Facebook’s company blog on Monday.

Facebook is proposing to eliminate the 4-year-old system that allows users to vote on changes to its governance policies. The company says the voting system hasn’t functioned as intended and is no longer suited to its current situation as a large publicly traded company subject to oversight by various regulatory agencies.

Facebook said on Monday that it would incorporate user suggestions for creating new tools to “enhance communication” on privacy and governance matters.

Another proposal would loosen the restrictions on how members of the social network can contact other members using the Facebook email system. The company said it planned to replace the “Who can send you Facebook messages” setting with new filters for managing incoming messages.

Facebook’s potential information sharing with Instagram, a photo-sharing service for smartphone users that it bought in October, flows from proposed changes that would allow the company to share information between its own service and other businesses or affiliates it owns.

The change could open the door for Facebook to build unified profiles of its users that include people’s personal data from its social network and from Instagram, similar to recent moves by Google Inc.

Facebook said on Monday that the proposed change was “standard in the industry” and “promotes the efficient and effective use of the services Facebook and its affiliates,” such as allowing users in the U.S. to interact with users in Europe.

“This provision covers Instagram and allows us to store Instagram’s server logs and administrative records in a way that is more efficient than maintaining totally separate storage systems,” the company wrote in a separate post on its website Monday titled “explanation of changes”.

“Where additional consent of our users is required, we will obtain it,” Facebook said.

Facebook users have until December 10 to vote on the policies using a special third-party application provided by Facebook and Facebook said the results will be certified by an independent auditor.

The vote is only binding if at least 30 percent of users take part, and two prior votes never reached that threshold.

(Reporting By Alexei Oreskovic; editing by Andrew Hay)

Tech News Headlines – Yahoo! News

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First Look at TLC's Neat Freaks

Think you're a neat freak? Meet Alfreta.

Video-'Crazy Obsession': The $150K Love Doll Collection

The self-confessed germophobe not only spends the majority of her day scrubbing her home with gallons of bleach (as well as public bathrooms and friend's houses when she gets the chance), she utilizes her favorite cleanser to sanitize her meals before eating.

Check out a sneak peek in the player above!

Neat Freaks premieres Wednesday, December 5th on TLC.

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Queens dad pushed to his death by madman in Times Square subway station

R. Umar Abbasi

Ki Suk Han, 58, of Queens frantically tries to climb to safety yesterday as a train bears down on him in Midtown. He was fatally struck seconds later.

A Queens dad trying to protect fellow straphangers from a deranged man on a Times Square subway platform was hurled onto the tracks by the lunatic and fatally crushed by a train yesterday, cops and witnesses said.

Ki Suk Han, 58, desperately tried to scramble back to the platform as onlookers screamed, shouted and frantically waved their hands and bags in a bid to get the downtown Q train to stop at around 12:30 p.m.

The attacker, who had been menacing others in the station, looms over his victim after pushing him on the tracks.

The attacker, who had been menacing others in the station, looms over his victim after pushing him on the tracks.

Post freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi — who had been waiting on the platform of the 49th Street station — ran toward the train, repeatedly firing off his flash to warn the operator.

“I just started running, running, hoping that the driver could see my flash,” said Abbasi, whose camera captured chilling shots of Suk’s tragic fight for his life.

The train slowed, but a dazed and bruised Han still wound up hopelessly caught between it and the platform as it came to a halt.

A shaken Abbasi said the train “crushed him like a rag doll.”

Dr. Laura Kaplan, a second-year resident at Beth Israel Medical Center who was also on the platform, sprang into action, taking off her coat, grabbing her stethoscope and rushing over to help the dying man.

“People were shouting and yelling when it happened, but then people ran the other way,” said Kaplan, 27.

“I heard what I thought were heart sounds,” she said, but Han never took a breath.

“There was blood coming out his mouth. We couldn’t do CPR. He wasn’t in the right position. and there was just no way to get him out of there.”

Han, who lived with his wife and college-age daughter in Elmhurst, was taken to Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

His attacker was last seen running out of the station’s 47th Street exit — at the north end of Times Square — heading northbound on Seventh Avenue. Cops last night were scouring surveillance video for signs of him.

The killer was described by police as black, 30 to 40 years old, about 5-foot-9, with short dreadlocks. He was wearing a white T-shirt, dark jacket, filthy jeans, black sneakers with a white stripe and a black beanie cap.

The horrific drama unfolded after Han approached the crazed man — who police sources described as a panhandler and witnesses said had been harassing and cursing at straphangers — on the southbound platform and tried to calm him down.

As other riders congregated toward one end of the platform, Han and the man were about 100 feet away from them.

“He went up and tried to calm him down, saying, ‘You’re scaring people,’ ” a law-enforcement source said.

“The emotionally disturbed guy just started screaming and cursing, saying, ‘You don’t know me! You don’t know who I am!’ ”

As the train’s arrival was announced over the loudspeaker, the attacker “just grabbed [Han] and launched him — just threw him — straight onto the tracks,” a witness said.

The killer then grabbed a paper coffee cup he used to collect change — which he’d put down before the assault — and fled.

Abbasi recalled, “Out of the periphery of my eye, I just saw a body flying, flying through the air.

“People started waving their hands, anything they could find. They were shouting to the man in the tracks, “Get out! Get out of there!’ ”

Han barely missed the third rail, cops said, and looked stunned as he sat up in the track bed as the train approached before scrambling to his feet.

At one point, Han stood in the tracks and looked directly at the oncoming train lights.

“The most painful part was I could see him getting closer to the edge. He was getting so close,” Abbasi said. “And people were running toward him and the train.

“As I was running toward the train, the man I believe pushed him ran the other way, and I heard him say, ‘Goddamn motherf--ker.’

“I didn’t think about [the perp] until after. In that moment, I just wanted to warn the train — to try and save a life.”

One witness said Han was dragged 10 to 15 feet.

The train’s operator was treated for shock and brought out of the station in a wheelchair, wearing an oxygen mask.

“He’s traumatized,” a transit source said.

Abbasi said the driver saw his camera flashing but told him he couldn’t stop the train fast enough.

Han’s devastated wife said she and her husband had quarreled before he left the house at around 11 a.m. and headed for Manhattan.

She told cops he’d been drinking, and one witness claimed he was the aggressor on the platform, law-enforcement sources said, adding that authorities found a bottle of vodka on Han afterward.

“We had a fight,” the widow said through tears. “I kept calling him and calling him to see where he was, but he didn’t answer.”

Additional reporting by Kirstan Conley, Jamie Schram, Jennifer Fermino and Laurel Babcock

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The business behind the artist: Miami’s art gallery scene still evolving

This week, thousands of art collectors, museum trustees, artists, journalists and hipsters from around the globe will arrive for the phenomenon known as Art Basel Miami Beach. The centerpiece of the week: works shown at the convention center by more than 260 of the world’s top galleries.

Only two of those are from Miami.

While Art Basel has helped transform the city’s reputation from beach-and-party scene to arts destination in the years since its 2002 Miami Beach debut, the region’s gallery identity is still coming into its own.

“Certainly Miami as an art town registers mightily because of the foundations, the collectors who have done an extraordinary job,” said Linda Blumberg, executive director of the Art Dealers Association of America. “I think there’s a definite international awareness there. But the gallery scene probably has a bit of a ways to go. That doesn’t mean it’s not really fascinating and interesting.”

The gallery business, especially where newer artists are concerned, is a game of risk, faith and passion. Once a gallery takes on an artist who shows promise, they become an evangelist on their behalf, showing their work in-house and at fairs, presenting it to museums and curators and potential collectors and bearing the cost of that promotion.

For contemporary artists, most galleries take work on consignment, meaning they get a cut of as much as 50 percent when works sell. While local art galleries have been growing in number and popularity in the last several years — just try to find parking during the monthly art walk in Miami’s hot Wynwood neighborhood — even some of the area’s top art dealers say that while business overall is good, they struggle in the local marketplace.

“Our problem is that we have to do lots of art fairs in order to connect with the market that we need to connect with to sell the work that we have,” said Fredric Snitzer, a Miami-Dade gallery owner for 35 years. “The better the work is, the harder it is to sell in Miami. And that ain’t good.”

A handful of serious collectors call Miami home and store their own collections in Miami, including the Braman, Rubell, Margulies and de la Cruz families. But outside a relatively small local group, many gallerists say, their clients come from other parts of the country and world.

And some gallerists point out the troubling reality that even the powerhouse Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin could not stay open in Miami for more than a few years.

“The fact that big galleries have not been able to sustain their business models in South Florida tells you we’re obviously not at this high established point,” said gallery owner David Castillo. “It’s not like we’ve arrived, let’s sit back and watch Hauser & Wirth open down the street.”

Still, Miami’s gallery business has come a long way since the early 1970s, when a few dealers on Bay Harbor Island’s Kane Concourse were selling high-end pieces but the local scene was hardly embraced.

Virginia Miller, who owns ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries in Coral Gables, first opened in 1974 to showcase Florida artists, though her focus soon added an international scope. She and other longtime observers credit several factors for Miami’s transformation, including the community’s diversity, the establishment of important museums, the Art Miami fair that started 23 years ago, the presence of major collections and, of course, Art Basel Miami Beach.

Read More..

Miami-Dade proposes spending $1.5 billion over 15 years to cure sewer system woes

Six months into negotiations with federal regulators over Miami-Dade’s aging sewer system, the county has come up with a $1.5 billion, 15-year plan to rebuild pipes, pumps and sewage treatment plants that in some cases are almost 100 years old.

County leaders devised the proposal in an attempt to fend off a federal lawsuit, and potentially millions of dollars in fines, for not abiding by the federal Clean Water Act. The county also has proposed replacing or repairing a good portion of the 7,500 miles of sewer lines that regularly rupture and spill millions of gallons of raw waste into local waterways and Biscayne Bay.

Before any work is to begin, the Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency — which put the county on notice in May — must accept the county’s terms. The plan, referred to as a consent decree, also must be endorsed by a majority of county commissioners. That could come as soon as late January or early February.

One of the largest repair jobs would be a $555 million reconstruction of the controversial wastewater treatment plant on Virginia Key. Entire concrete structures would be rebuilt, and pump stations and electrical systems would be replaced. The plan calls for spending another $394 million on similar fixes to two other wastewater treatment facilities, in Goulds and North Miami.

Another $408 million would be spent replacing and rehabbing the county’s 1,035 pump stations, and miles of transmission lines that run to and from the plants.

The plan has already garnered some criticism.

The Biscayne Bay Waterkeepers, clean-water activists who filed to join the federal action against the county, say spending hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild on Virginia Key is a waste, because the spit of land is likely to be under water within 50 years.

The group points to a recent study by the journal Science that showed the polar ice caps in Greenland are melting at three times the rate originally believed. They also say a climate change compact Miami-Dade agreed to with three other counties — which accepted a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study that shows sea levels will rise 3 feet by 2060 — shows the Virginia Key plant could be in peril.

“Doubling down on Virginia Key the way they’re doing it is just stupid,” said environmental attorney Albert J. Slap, representing the Waterkeepers. “There’s not a dime in it for armoring the plant, or raising it. It’s on a barrier island.”

Doug Yoder, deputy director of the county’s water and sewer department, didn’t dispute the Army Corps findings, and said the county could abandon the Virginia Key plant for a new plant on the western edge of the county if federal regulators make such a demand.

“We certainly don’t want to spend a lot of money fixing up a facility we’ll soon abandon,” he said.

Most of the costs for the overall plan will be covered through county revenue bonds, Yoder said, meaning a future increase in water rates and debt service bills. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has been warning for months that rate hikes are in the offing.

To meet demands from the feds, the county also must abandon by 2027 an outflow system it now uses that dumps up to 120 million gallons of sewage each day miles offshore. The county has until July 2013 to come up with an alternate disposal method.

A project cited in the new plan that had not been publicly addressed previously is the installation of 7,660 linear feet of sewer mains in an industrial area just below State Road 112 and between Northwest 27th and 37th avenues, which now depends on septic tanks. The job of hooking up local businesses there to county sewers would cost a little over $2 million.

Federal regulators began talks with Miami-Dade in May after a series of massive raw sewage spills released more than 47 million gallons of untreated human waste throughout the county. DOJ and the EPA, along with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, sketched out the 78-page consent decree.

Four times between October and December 2011, the sewage treatment plant on Virginia Key alone ruptured, spilling more than 19 million gallons.

The county also has agreed to pay a $978,000 fine for past spills within 30 days of the plan being accepted, with about half the money going to the DOJ and the other half to the state.

DOJ spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle declined to comment Friday.

In October, the county denied 12 permit applications in the Coconut Grove area by businesses that wanted to install sinks, toilets or showers. The county said it was imposing a moratorium on new sewage outflow from a Coconut Grove-serving pump station.

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U.S. election, iPhone 5, Kardashian top Yahoo! 2012 searches

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The U.S. presidential election became the most-searched item and Kim Kardashian was the most-searched person on Yahoo! in a year when online searches were dominated by big news stories and pop culture obsessions, the search engine company said on Monday.

The search term “election” topped the list of searches, led not only by extensive media coverage but also widening conversation on online social media platforms.

The term “political polls” was No. 8 of the top 10 Yahoo! searches of the year.

“The 2012 elections dominated the online searches, which is amazing because if something is in the news, it’s already accessible … people were really saturated by it, but even so, that was a key word that people typed throughout the year,” Vera Chan, Yahoo!’s web trend analyst, said in a conference call.

Chan said only two other news stories have topped the list in the past decade, those being the death of Michael Jackson in 2009 and the BP oil spill in 2010.

“iPhone 5″ came in at No. 2, which Chan said was interesting “in a post-Steve Jobs era” because while Apple Inc’s iPhone has featured regularly in the top searches since the first generation emerged in 2007, this was the first time a specific model had appeared high on the list.

Reality star Kim Kardashian was the most-searched person on the website, coming in at No. 3 and leading six famous women in the top 10.

Chan said Kardashian’s “notoriety has kept her at the top,” citing her ongoing divorce saga with ex-husband Kris Humphries, her high-profile relationship with rapper Kanye West and her E! channel reality shows.

Sports Illustrated cover model Kate Upton, British royal Kate Middleton, late singer Whitney Houston, troubled former child star Lindsay Lohan and pop star and former “American Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez all featured in the top 10 after being in the news prominently throughout the year.

Middleton, who was followed eagerly by fans and critics in her first year as a royal married to Britain’s Prince William and being a staple at the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, also garnered the most-searched scandal of the year when a French magazine published photos of her topless.

“olympics” came in at No. 7 on the list, as many turned to online media to watch and keep tabs on the global sporting event held in London during the summer.

On Yahoo!’s separate list of top-searched obsessions, pop culture dominated this year, with “The Hunger Games,” reality star Honey Boo Boo, erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” British boy band One Direction, Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit song “Call Me Maybe” and Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style” featuring in the top 10.

Yahoo! Inc compiles its annual search lists based on aggregated visitor activity on the network and billions of consumer searches.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

Internet News Headlines – Yahoo! News

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Larry Hagman's Dallas Co Stars Bid Emotional Farewell to the Actor at Funeral

Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy eulogized their late Dallas co-star Larry Hagman in an emotional memorial service in Texas on Saturday.

Video-Larry Hagman's Son: 'Dallas' Kept Him Alive

Gray, at one point overcome by tears, spoke affectionately of Hagman, her TV husband of many years.

"To work as Sue Ellen Ewing with J.R. was magical," she recalled. "To call him my friend for 35 years, priceless."

Duffy, who played Hagman's on-screen rival in the series, reminisced about his passionate and ever-positive friend.

Video-Matt Damon: Larry Hagman Impacted My Life

"There was never a day that went by that he didn't tell me how lucky we are to be working," said Duffy. "Anything he could do within the realm of his profession was the most exciting thing he could possibly do and he personified that."

According to, Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe, Brenda Strong, Julie Gonzalo and Sheree Wilson, of Dallas' TNT reboot, were also in attendance.

Video: Larry Hagman Reflects on Cancer Struggle

Hagman, 81, passed away from complications related to chemotherapy November 23. His ashes will be spread all over the world, per the late actor's wishes.

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Mortgage cap would co$t NYC

The Big Apple — with its famously expensive real estate — would be hurt by a proposal in Washington to lower the cap on mortgage- interest deductions, according to a new report.

Federal lawmakers are considering capping the amount of a mortgage eligible for interest deductions at $500,000. The figure is presently $1 million.

The change would hit New York City especially hard, since home prices are so high here, a chief economic adviser to city Comptroller John Liu told Crain’s New York Business.

In other cities around the country, middle-class homeowners would still be protected — because they could easily buy a desirable residence for under a half-million.

In many parts of the Big Apple, $500,000 buys, at best, a modest apartment.

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Boat Show may block Miami’s 2016 Super Bowl bid

This winter, the biggest NFL match-up in South Florida might be Super Bowl versus Boat Show.

As South Florida readies a bid for the 2016 Super Bowl, it must contend with a major potential conflict on the tourism calendar. The National Football League may move the Super Bowl to Presidents’ Day weekend, already home to the five-day Miami International Boat Show since the 1940s.

It’s a significant enough conflict that, in the past, local tourism officials have declined to pursue a Super Bowl if it fell on boat show weekend. But this time around they may have no choice. For the first time, the NFL is requiring that potential host cities agree to a Presidents’ Day weekend Super Bowl if they want to pursue the big game at all, said two people who have seen the NFL request for Super Bowl bids.

The NFL “invited South Florida [to bid] knowing there was going to be an issue with Presidents’ Day weekend and the boat show,” said Nicki Grossman, Broward’s tourism director. “In the past, South Florida has not responded to a Super Bowl date that included Presidents’ Day weekend. This package is different.”

South Florida vies with New Orleans as the top Super Bowl host, with government and tourism leaders touting the game as both a boon to the economy and a publicity bonanza. But the notion of accommodating both Super Bowl and boat show — not to mention a major arts festival in Coconut Grove — strikes some top tourism officials as a bad idea.

“There is not sufficient hotel inventory available in Miami that weekend to host a Super Bowl,” said William Talbert, president of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We have taken a close look at that weekend, and it’s not physically possible in Miami to host Super Bowl during the Presidents’ Day weekend because of the boat show and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival. The hotel inventory is all being used for these two great events.”

His comments are at odds with the region’s top Super Bowl organizer and reflect the burden that the boat show may be to South Florida’s Super Bowl hopes for 2016 and 2017. The NFL invited Miami and San Francisco to bid for the 2016 Super Bowl by April 1, with the loser vying with Houston for the 2017 game. Talbert said the bid package states both decisions will be made in May.

For now, South Florida’s Super Bowl organizers face a largely hypothetical challenge, because the current NFL schedule has the Super Bowl occurring two weeks before Presidents’ Day weekend. The bid requirements for the ’16 and ’17 Super Bowls include three consecutive weekends as possibilities for the game, with the latest falling on the Presidents’ Day holiday.

Still, possible logistical hurdles may combine with political obstacles if the Miami Dolphins resume their push for a tax-funded renovation of Sun Life Stadium, the Super Bowl’s South Florida home.

Last year, the Dolphins proposed that Broward and Miami-Dade counties subsidize a $225 million renovation at Sun Life as a way to keep the region competitive for Super Bowls and other large events. The renovation includes a partial roof that would prevent the kind of drenching Super Bowl spectators suffered in 2007 when a rare February downpour hit Miami Gardens.

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Wrong turn, then shock and horror at MIA

What began as a day of prayer and fellowship turned into a surreal scene of stunned, bloodied passengers and twisted metal.

There was the sickening sound of crunching metal early Saturday as a busload of Jehovah’s Witnesses was low-bridged by a concrete overpass at Miami International Airport, peeling back the top of the vehicle “like a can of sardines.”

Airport workers running to the scene found shocked passengers thrown into the aisle or trapped in their seats by the wreckage.

Riders in the front rows were crushed — two of them killed, others seriously injured.

The driver of the bus, 47-year-old Ramon Ferreiro, took a wrong turn off LeJeune Road, entering the airport by mistake, then rolled past multiple yellow signs warning tall vehicles. He drove on, approaching an overpass whose sign said “8ft-6in”. The driver either didn’t see it, couldn’t read it, or realized it too late.

The bus stood 11 feet tall.

“The last thing he should have done is to keep going,” said Greg Chin, airport spokesman. “That goes against all logic.”

Ferreiro, whose driver’s seat was lower than those of the passengers, was not injured.

One passenger, 86-year-old Miami resident Serfin Castillo, was killed on impact, and all 31 others were taken by ambulance to local hospitals. Thirteen ended up at Jackson Memorial’s Ryder Trauma Center, where one of them, 56-year-old Francisco Urana of Miami, died shortly after arriving.

Three remained in critical condition Saturday night, and three had been released.

Luis Jimenez, 72, got a few stitches on his lip and hurt his hand. He said the group left the Sweetwater Kingdom Hall about 7 a.m., bound for West Palm Beach.

“I was sitting in the back when it happened,” Jimenez said. “We were on our way to an assembly and lost a brother today. I’m very sad.”

Delvis Lazo, 15, a neighbor and member of the same congregation, described Castillo as a “nice, old man.” He often saw Castillo at religious gatherings, and their families have known each other for more than 15 years.

The last time Lazo saw him was about two months ago, as he prepped for a talk before his congregation.

“He gave me a thumbs up, told me that everything was going to be all right,” he said.

The bus, one of three traveling to the Spanish-language general assembly on Saturday, had been contracted by the congregation, which has fewer than 150 members.

According to public records, the bus belongs to Miami Bus Service Corporation, a Miami company owned by Mayling and Alberto Hernandez that offers regularly scheduled service between South Florida and Gainesville, often used by University of Florida students. At the home address listed for the company and the owners, Mayling Hernandez told The Miami Herald that passenger safety is her primary concern.

“At this time I’m worried about the driver and the families of the victims. I’m praying for them,” she said. “My job is to worry about the safety of the passengers who are our clients. What we do requires a lot of responsibility. I didn’t know the passengers but that doesn’t mean I’m not suffering.”

Neighbor Armando Bacigalupi described the owners as “caring people” and said he had seen buses park briefly in front of the house.

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Bachelorette Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum are Married

Ashley Hebert is a bachelorette no more!

The 28-year-old dentist and her construction manager fiancé J.P. Rosenbaum, 35, walked down the aisle on Saturday in Pasadena, California, reports People Magazine.

The ceremony, officiated by Bachelor and Bachelorette host Chris Harrison, was attended by familiar faces from the series including Ali Fedotowsky, Emily Maynard, and Jason and Molly Mesnick.

Video: 'Bachelorette' Ashley Hebert and Fiance J.P.'s Passionate PDA

Ashley and J.P.'s exchanging of vows will be televised December 16 on a two-hour special on ABC.

The season seven sweeties will be the second Bachelorette couple ever to televise their walk down the aisle, following in the footsteps of Trista and Ryan Sutter, who married in December 2003.

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SI man torched in cooking accident, neighbors put out flames: sources

A cooking accident turned a Staten Island man into a human torch who staggered in flames onto his front lawn, where horrified neighbors tried to extinguish him with blankets, sources said.

Louis Gloria, 60, was cooking in the kitchen of his Eltingville home at about 4:30 p.m. today when a grease fire erupted, engulfing his entire body, fire officials and neighbors said.

The desperate man first tried to douse the flames with water, but that only made the fire worse. In agony, he stumbled out of his Winchester Avenue home.

“He was burning alive,” said neighbor Edward Leavy Jr., 43. “It was a pretty horrific sight.”

Edward’s brother Matthew Leavy, 46, called 911 and then quickly ran over to aid the burning man, but the flames wouldn’t go down.

“The problem was you would try to smother the flames but it would just reignite, Leavy said. “His screams were just nightmarish. When the flame didn’t go down after two or three minutes, we all thought he was going to die.

Neighbors and relatives did their best to keep the flames under control until firefighters showed up on scene. Gloria was transported to Staten Island University Hospital in stable condition. His wife, who was home at the time, was also transported and is being treated for shock.

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