XIAM007

Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Diet Coke unseats Pepsi for No. 2 spot in U.S. - Regular Coke remains the most popular soda, selling 1.6 billion cases -

Diet Coke unseats Pepsi for No. 2 spot in U.S. - Regular Coke remains the most popular soda, selling 1.6 billion cases -



Diet Coke has topped rival Pepsi-Cola for the first time to become the second-most popular soft drink in the U.S. behind Coca-Cola.
It marks a victory for Coca-Cola Co. as its sodas now hold the top two spots, beating out its longtime rival PepsiCo Inc.
Diet Coke’s rise reflects a long-term trend toward diet sodas. Ten years ago, only two of the top 10 were diet sodas. Now, four are on the list: the diet versions of Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Dr Pepper.
Coca-Cola sold nearly 927 million cases of its diet soda in 2010, to Pepsi’s 892 million, a report by trade publication Beverage Digest released Thursday said.
Regular Coke remains far and away the most popular soda, selling 1.6 billion cases.
Overall, U.S. soft-drink sales have fallen for six straight years as consumers switched to healthier alternatives such as juices and tea and cut back on spending in the recession.
While both Diet Coke and Pepsi sold less soda in 2010, the decline was more pronounced for Pepsi.
The downward trend in U.S. soda sales puts more pressure on the beverage companies to compete.
Coca-Cola has pumped up its traditional advertising, including online ads. PepsiCo, which has lost market share in recent years, maintained some traditional ads but also steered dollars toward it Pepsi Refresh Project, an online donation program meant to build brand awareness.
Though the Refresh Project has proven popular, some have questioned whether it actually drives soda sales.
Coca-Cola Co. sold 0.5 per cent less soda in 2010. For PepsiCo, the figure fell 2.6 per cent.
The top 10 sodas in the U.S., in order of popularity, are: Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Dr Pepper, Sprite, Diet Pepsi, Diet Mountain Dew, Diet Dr Pepper and Fanta.

Let the Bombing Begin - U.N. Security Council approves no-fly zone in Libya -

Let the Bombing Begin - U.N. Security Council approves no-fly zone in Libya -



The U.N. Security Council voted Thursday evening to impose a no-fly zone and other measures to try to halt Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's rapid advances against rebel positions in his country.
Diplomats warned that action was needed before Gadhafi reached the opposition stronghold of Benghazi and crush the movement.
"We should not arrive too late," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said.
The resolution was approved with 10 votes. China, Russia, Germany, India and Brazil abstained.
Libyan amb. still hopeful for airstrikes Frustration and anger in Benghazi Friedman predicts more unrest in Mideast Libyan rebel: We've seen heavy gunfire
A draft included language stating that "all necessary means" could be used to prevent the "slaughter of civilians," a diplomat said.
Opposition leaders wanted U.N. action because of recent gains made by Gadhafi forces and the imminent offensive against Benghazi.
"We're hoping and praying that the United Nations will come up with a very firm and very fast resolution and they will enforce it immediately," said Ahmed El-Gallal, a senior opposition coordinator.
In a radio address aired on Libyan state TV, Gadhafi criticized residents of Benghazi and called them "traitors" for seeking help from outsiders.
U.S. military officials have said that a no-fly zone would typically be enforced by fighter jets whose speed and altitude make it difficult to target Gadhafi's helicopters and that it would not halt the heavy artillery the regime is using on the ground.
A draft version of a proposed resolution goes beyond a no-fly zone. It includes language saying U.N. member states could "take all necessary measures ... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force."

Read more - http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/03/17/libya.civil.war/index.html?hpt=T1&iref=BN1

'Alfred' from 'Batman' Movies -- Dead at 94 - Michael Gough the actor who played Alfred the butler - RIP -

'Alfred' from 'Batman' Movies -- Dead at 94 -  Michael Gough the actor who played Alfred the butler - RIP -



Gough has one hell of a resume dating back to the '40s ... including "Out of Africa" and "The Boys from Brazil."

But one of Gough's most impressive accomplishments -- he was the ONLY person who didn't make a complete ass out of himself in the 1997 disaster "Batman and Robin."

House-Size Asteroid Zooms Close by Earth on Wednesday - just one day after astronomers spotted it -

House-Size Asteroid Zooms Close by Earth on Wednesday - just one day after astronomers spotted it -


An asteroid the size of a house zoomed by Earth Wednesday, flying within the orbit of the moon just one day after astronomers spotting the space rock in the sky, NASA says.
The small asteroid 2011 EB74 was about 47 feet across and posed no threat of hitting Earth, since it was too small to survive the trip through the planet's atmosphere.
Instead, the asteroid passed our planet at a comfortable distance of about 203,000 miles when it made its closest approach at 5:49 p.m. EDT, NASA officials said.
For comparison, the average distance between the Earth and the moon is about 238,000 miles.
The flyby of 2011 EB74 is about 0.85 Earth-moon distances, officials said.

Astronomers discovered asteroid 2011 EB74 Tuesday as part of the ongoing Catalina Sky Survey, a project based at the University of Arizona to seek out previously unknown near-Earth objects like asteroids and comets.
NASA announced the asteroid's close flyby today on Twitter and via an online widget used by astronomers with the agency's Asteroid Watch program. The program aims to share news and updates about asteroids and other near-Earth objects with the public.
"At 14 meters in size, 2011 EB74 is NOT considered a potentially hazardous asteroid. Rocks this size would burn up in our atmosphere," Asteroid Watch officials wrote in a Twitter update.
The asteroid will likely be extremely hard to spot for skywatchers, unless they are seasoned amateur astronomers and have the right observing equipment, officials said.
"These objects are dark and fast, and usually require a sizeable telescope to track," Asteroid Watch officials told one Twitter user.
Today's asteroid flyby is the latest space rock to fly near Earth this year. A car-size asteroid buzzed Earth on Feb. 14. A tiny space rock set a new record for the closest approach to Earth without entering the atmosphere when it zipped within 3,400 miles of the planet on Feb. 4.
Like 2011 EB74, neither of those asteroid encounters posed a threat to Earth.
NASA astronomers and other scientists regularly monitor the skies to hunt for asteroids or comets that may be an impact threat to Earth.
One such effort, which uses a telescope called Pan-STARRS PS1 in Hawaii, set a new record this year when it discovered 19 previously unknown asteroids in a single night on Jan. 29.
The Near-Earth Object program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., tracks potentially dangerous asteroids and studies their orbits to determine if they pose a risk of hitting the Earth. The Asteroid Watch program is an outreach arm of that effort.


Read more: http://foxnews.com/scitech/2011/03/17/house-size-asteroid-zooms-close-earth/#ixzz1GrrYpTuR

Eight Out of Ten Illegal Aliens Apprehended in 2010 Never Prosecuted, Says Border Congressman -

Eight Out of Ten Illegal Aliens Apprehended in 2010 Never Prosecuted, Says Border Congressman -


An illegal alien apprehended by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency during the last fiscal year had an estimated 84 percent chance of never being prosecuted, according to figures compiled by the office of Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas).
Culberson submitted the figures for the record during a hearing Wednesday of the House Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security.
Of 447,731 illegal aliens apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol during fiscal year 2010 (which ended last September), only 73,263 (16.4 percent) were prosecuted, according to the submitted data. That means that 374,468 illegal aliens that were taken into custody (83.6 percent) were never prosecuted.
Border Patrol is a component of the Customs and Border Protection agency at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Describing the situation during the hearing, Culberson said that those who were not prosecuted “had a chance of being home in time for dinner,” after being in custody for a few hours.
He asserted that criminal consequences for those involved in illegal cross-border activity was “the key” to securing the nation’s border with Mexico.
The Texas Republican suggested that Operation Streamline, a program that fast-tracks prosecution and deportations of illegal immigrants crossing the border, should be applied to the entire southwest border.
According to CBP, the operation “targets illegal immigrants apprehended in specific enforcement zones for immediate prosecution for illegal entry. Violators face punishment of up to 180 days in jail. Additionally, deportation procedures are initiated to formally remove the individual once they complete their jail sentence.”
“This is the key,” said Culberson. “If we enforce existing law, impose real consequences and existing laws – up to six months in jail criminal prosecution depending on the circumstances.”
But CBP chief Michael Fisher, who testified during the hearing, disagreed that Operation Streamline was the sole key to securing the border.
There were “a lot of other variables” at play, he said, citing “different judicial districts” with varying capacities to handle the prosecution load.
Culberson maintained, however, that the only consequence “that really has an impact is the criminal prosecution.”
CBP divides the almost 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border into nine sectors. Running from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf Coast they are, in order, San Diego, El Centro, Yuma, Tucson, El Paso, Marfa, Del Rio, Laredo, and Rio Grande.
According to Culberson’s figures, of the 212,202 apprehensions along Arizona’s Tucson sector – which is where most of the apprehensions took place in FY2010 – only 30,748 (14.5 percent) led to prosecutions.
Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee on Feb. 9, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told lawmakers that her “top priority in terms of effective control is the Tucson sector of the southwest border.”

"The Booze Cruise" - Royal Caribbean rolls out 'all-you-can-drink' packages -

"The Booze Cruise" - Royal Caribbean rolls out 'all-you-can-drink' packages -


Worried about keeping track of your spending on drinks on your next cruise? Royal Caribbean hopes to allay your fears with a trio of new one-price, all-you-can-drink packages.
A caveat: The offers, which are rolling out this week on three ships, aren't inexpensive. The line's new Beer and Wine Package costs $29 per person per day for all beers, house wine by the glass and a 25% discount on all other wines and liquors.
The line also is offering the Classic Package, which costs $39 per person per day and includes all beers, house wine by the glass, all liquor (except premium and speciality brands), cocktails and 25% discount on all other wines and premium and speciality liquors. The Premium Package, at $49 per person per day offers all that is included in the Classic Package plus glasses of wine that normally sell for up to $10, cocktails, premium liquor brands and a 25% discount on all bottles of wine, glasses of wine over $10 and speciality liquors.
The packages will be available on the UK-based Independence of the Seas, Asia-based Legend of the Seas and Panama- and Spain-based Grandeur of the Seas -- three ships that cater heavily to non-Americans who are more accustomed to all-inclusive packaging. Royal Caribbean says it is responding to consumer demand.
"Royal Caribbean International has developed these new packages to enable our guests to make their holiday more relaxing and enjoyable by paying one set price for a wide variety of drink choices," Royal Caribbean's top UK executive, Jo Rzymowska, says in a statement.

Police say they have recovered about 700,000 condoms that were stolen while being shipped to Japan two months ago -

Police say they have recovered about 700,000 condoms that were stolen while being shipped to Japan two months ago -


Malaysian police say they have recovered about 700,000 condoms that were stolen while being shipped to Japan two months ago.
Mohamad Shukri Dahlan, police chief of Malaysia's northern Perak state, says authorities found hundreds of boxes of condoms at a warehouse and a home last week. Police arrested six men who allegedly were storing the condoms in hope of eventually selling them.
Mohamad Shukri said Thursday some of the suspects work for a company that was transporting the condoms from a factory to a port. They face 10 years in prison if convicted of corruption.
He says the condoms will be returned to Sagami Rubber Industries, one of Japan's biggest condom makers. The merchandise is estimated to be worth $1.5 million.

Read more - http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_MALAYSIA_STOLEN_CONDOMS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-03-17-06-23-34

PHOTOS: President Obama Has Aged A Decade In Two Years, Says Beauty Expert -

PHOTOS: President Obama Has Aged A Decade In Two Years, Says Beauty Expert -




Barack Obama is battling for the country, but one thing he can't fight are the signs of aging, and RadarOnline.com has the photos to prove it.

Mr. Obama been in office for only two years, but the stress of being the Commander-in-Chief has apparently taken its toll, with one beauty expert telling RadarOnlne.com the President looks like he has aged 10 years since taking office.

"I'd say he appears a decade older," said beauty, fashion and healthy lifestyle expert Rebekah George.

RadarOnline.com presented two beauty experts with photos of a half dozen politicians  -- both past and present. The experts then analyzed what effects stress had on their appearance.

"Out of these politicians, I would say Obama shows the most significant ageing over the shortest period of time -- and  he's the youngest of the bunch," George said.

And it's not just Mr. Obama who is plagued by grey hair and wrinkles.

George Bush, Bill and Hilary Clinton, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi are all showing the stress of their job which ultimately strips them of their youthful appearance.

"It's simple: stress increases the hormone cortisol, which, in turn, damages our looks," said George. "The main issue is cortisol damages skin's ability to hold onto water, so you literally start to lack a glow. Your skin also becomes drier and that leads to wrinkling.

"Stress also triggers an elevation in blood sugar called glycation and this damages collagen and elastin. That's why you notice these politicians all have a sunken-in appearance around their mouths.

"Stress also causes a chain reaction in the looks-damaging department. Sleepless nights, not eating well, it all goes hand-in-hand causing dark circles, broken capillaries, and redness."

But that's not to say these US leaders aren't trying to turn back the hands of time with a little pampering.

"Though his hair looks greyer, his smile appears whiter," said Louisa Maccan-Graves who is also the author of 'Hollywood Beauty Secrets: Remedies To The Rescue' which the first lady has on her book shelf.

"I think he is using whitening strips or perhaps my DIY teeth whitening recipe."

And while the Secretary Of State, Hilary Clinton, appears to have added a few inches to her waistline, Graves -- who is also a budget beauty and age proofing expert -- says it actually suits her.

"Her face is fuller, tighter and more youthful," said Graves, who has a host of age reversing products on her website www.hollywoodbeautysecrets.com. "She also looks healthier and meatier.

"Something I suggest to all women over 50 is to gain two to five pounds. This would provide Nancy - who has lost some volume in her face - with a fuller and more healthy look."

Read more - http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2011/03/photos-president-obama-has-aged-a-decade-two-years-says-beauty-expert


Let the March Madness Begin - Happy St. Patrick's Day! -

Let the March Madness Begin - Happy St. Patrick's Day! -