If you suffer from a fear of heights, perhaps this one´s not for you. The Bailong Elevator, also known as the Hundred Dragons Elevator, carries tourists 1,070ft (330m) up the side of a massive sandstone column in a mountain range in China´s Hunan Province. Riding the glass lift, which carries up to 50 people at a time or 1,380 an hour, offers jaw-dropping, not to say vertiginous, views down to the bottom of the rocky mountain range in the Wulingyuan area of Zhangijiajie. Work began on the lift, which cost 120m yuan, or around £12m, in 1999 and
Jack Lew´s nomination to Treasury secretary will likely elevate one of the Obama administration´s most adamant supporters of Medicaid. Lew has been a staunch advocate for Medicaid in his role as President Obama´s chief of staff, and the program´s outside supporters are excited that Lew will now play a bigger role. "I´m thrilled. We´re gaining even a stronger voice in the Treasury Department, and Jack is undoubtedly going to play a pivotal role in many of the future budget negotiations," Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack said. Pollack said the entire administration is committed to protecting Medicaid —
Two senior DEA agents arranged a rendezvous with a Colombian prostitute for their friend in the Secret Service ahead of President Barack Obama´s visit to the country last April, it was revealed on Thursday. The Drug Enforcement Agency officers, who both have top security clearances, also admitted to buying local hooker for themselves and using their government-issued Blackberry phones to set up the illicit rendezvous, a government investigation found. The report implicates yet another government agency in the prostitution scandal that caused international embarrassment for U.S. government. Twelve Secret Service agents and 12 U.S. military personnel were implicated
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) said former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) was "partly right" when he made controversial comments that women cannot become pregnant from a rape. Akin, then the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, said a woman cannot become pregnant from a "legitimate rape" because the female body can "shut that whole thing down." Gingrey, who is an OB-GYN, said in a town-hall meeting that Akin was partially correct, according to a report in the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal. Gingrey said a rush of adrenaline can prevent the female body from ovulating —
Duchess Kate Middleton’s first official portrait as a royal is here — like it or not. While the painting prompted mixed reactions after Friday’s unveiling in London, Middleton praised it as “absolutely brilliant,” according to The Prince of Wales website. Scottish-born artist Paul Emsley said he followed the royal mom-to-be’s instructions “to be portrayed naturally — her natural self — as opposed to her official self.” He doctored her eye color to match her blouse and the painting’s background. “She struck me as an enormously open and generous and a very warm person,” Emsley said.
On his Thursday program, MSNBC’s “The Last Word” host Lawrence O’Donnell said the Bible shouldn’t have any role in the upcoming Inauguration Day ceremonies. The news that Passion City Church of Atlanta Pastor Louie Giglio lost the honor of giving the benediction at the inaugural ceremonies because he delivered anti-gay sermons, O’Donnell said, is a reminder of how much undue influence the Bible has in modern discourse. “It turns out there is no better way for a pastor to get kicked out of the inauguration ceremony than quoting the Bible,” O’Donnell said. “That is what Louie Giglio, of
Code Red: Washington put on full terror alert. The terror of horrific testosterone threatens to paralyze the nation’s capital. We haven’t seen fear like this since the capital expected the Confederate army to march down Pennsylvania Avenue after P.G.T. Beauregard and his men thrashed the Yankees good and proper at First Manassas. What’s got some Democrats cowering in full fury, particularly the ladies and their liege men, is that President Obama, who imagined that his re-election victory entitled him to pick the second-term Cabinet he wants, has so far picked only men. It could have been worse.
France is ready to stop Islamist militants who control northern Mali if they continue their offensive, French President Francois Hollande has said. However, Mr Hollande said France would only act under UN authorisation. (Snip) Armed groups, some linked to al-Qaeda, took control of northern Mali in April 2012. They have sought to enforce an extreme interpretation of Islamic law. Western nations are concerned that Mali´s north could become a base for terrorists to plan and launch international attacks. The UN has approved plans to send some 3,000 African troops to Mali to recapture the north
McDonald´s is set to replace the toys which come with its famous Happy Meals with educational books as part of an effort to boost child literacy. The fast food giant will become the UK´s largest children´s book distributor after announcing plans to give away more than 15million books over the next two years. The company is teaming up with Dorling Kindersley and WH Smith for the promotion, which started this week. McDonald´s, which is frequently accused of helping to perpetuate childhood obesity, will be hoping to banish its image with the ´Happy Readers´ initiative.
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser said the central bank’s record stimulus risks a surge in inflation and may impair efforts by households to repair their finances. “Attempts to increase economic ‘stimulus’ may not help speed up the process and may actually prolong it,” Plosser said in the text of a speech today in Somerset, New Jersey. Policy makers are discussing how long they will keep buying mortgage bonds and Treasuries as part of efforts to boost growth and bring down a 7.8 percent unemployment rate. The Fed last month linked its interest-rate outlook to economic thresholds,
Did you notice your paycheck was smaller this month? If you did, you’re not alone. And if you’re confused as to why, you’re not alone on that, either. For anyone who followed the “fiscal cliff” fiasco last month, you’ll recall that the main reason a deal needed to be hashed out before the first of the year was to prevent taxes from being raised on middle-income earners.(snip) Below is just a small sample of the tweets pouring in on the issue: @1keonclark: “This tax increase on my paycheck blows! Thanks Obama.” @
A man carefully released a mouse he had captured back into the wild rather than kill only for a hawk to swoop and kill it within seconds. The unfortunate series of events was captured on camera by a friend who witnessed the doomed release. The YouTube clip begins with the man, is not identified, as he takes the mouse to a park in a bin to release it back into the wild. He reaches into the plastic dustbin and tries to coax the small animal out onto the ground covered in patches of snow.
Harare, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe´s largest platinum mining company says it has signed a deal to sell off its majority shareholding to the government as part of the country´s black empowerment laws. South African-owned Zimplats chief Terence Goodlace said Friday the sale, worth $971 million, was "non-binding" until the end of June when the Zimbabwe government must pay $153 million for what he called a "release of ground agreement" and meet other obligations. It is the biggest handover in several years of an empowerment program to force foreign-owned mines to cede 51 percent control to black
Sens. Angus King (I-Maine) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) represented an ultra-exclusive group of lawmakers when they recently appeared on the same C-SPAN show — together they make up the entire (and entirely unofficial) Senate mustache caucus. The political pair — who each sport rather impressive lip sweaters — were interviewed in separate segments on “Washington Journal” last week. King told anchor Steve Scully, “You know that this lineup that you’ve had this morning is 100 percent of the Senate’s mustache caucus. John Hoeven and I are the two guys.”
Washington - The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it´s undertaking a comprehensive review of the design and manufacture of Boeing´s 787 Dreamliner after a series of problems this week with the celebrated new plane. Despite the review, FAA chief Michael Huerta said the jetliner is safe for passengers to fly. "We believe this is a safe aircraft," he said. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood went further, saying, "I believe this plane is safe and I would have absolutely no reservations about boarding one of these planes and taking a flight." The announcement -- from Huerta and LaHood --
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has added a climate change counsel to her committee staff. Boxer said Thursday that environmental attorney Joe Mendelson would fill the newly created role. Mendelson was most recently policy director of climate and energy with the National Wildlife Federation. “Dangerous climate change poses an urgent threat and we have a responsibility to address that threat. I am so pleased that Joe Mendelson will be joining the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee team. We will make the most of his expertise as we craft solutions to
Near the scene of an overnight hostage situation at the Nordstrom Rack store in Westchester, traffic was picking up Friday morning around the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center mall. As cars drove by on Sepulveda Boulevard and Center Drive, puzzled mall employees, many of whom were unaware of the hostage situation in which 14 Rack employees were held and later released, gathered at the main entrance to the mall and questioned authorities about what to do. Jackie Carter, 40, of Redondo Beach, works in technical support in a building on Center Drive.
A state appeals court has upheld the firing of a former Paterson first-grade teacher who called her students "future criminals" on her personal Facebook page. Jennifer O´Brien, an Elmwood Park resident who began working for Paterson schools in 1998, claimed in her appeal that her comments were protected by the First Amendment, and that her right to express her opinion "was outweighed by the the district´s interest in the efficient operation of its schools."
Team Obama has used raffles to induce supporters to begin donating by offering a chance to visit with the president, but now Democrats have dropped the donation requirement in an effort to build a list for the 2013 inauguration, which is expected to have low turnout. “Are you ready to be blown away? You might want to sit down,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Kelly Ward wrote in an email this morning. “We’re rewarding all of our supporters with one FREE ENTRY into our contest to win a trip to DC for President Obama’s Inauguration weekend!
One wonders. Well, I wonder, anyway. Did Mr.Harry Reid buy any Christmas gifts this past season? Has Mr. Reid reviewed his own bank accounts, wherever they are, decided to make any new investments recently, or perhaps reviewed any trusts he or his family have established?(break) I wonder about such things because it is apparent Mr. Reid does not have any of those concerns as the Majority Leader of the Senate, which has assumed total responsibility (or not) for the expenditures of this nation.
Perhaps we should wait until his second term begins before carving Barack Obama´s face in Mount Rushmore. Is that asking too much? The other day, I wrote that Obama has a shot at immortality if he leads the nation to substantial progress on gun violence, the national debt and climate change. My colleague and old friend Jill Lawrence filed a provactive rebuttal today: "What does a president have to do these days to get his face carved into a mountainside?" There are limits on what Obama can do, Jill wrote, and he
A man who jumped into a tiger den at the Bronx Zoo and survived a mauling has pleaded not guilty to trespassing charges. The Bronx district attorney’s office says David Villalobos was arraigned Friday and released until another court appearance March 12. The 25-year-old Villalobos had told investigators his Sept. 21 leap was not a suicide attempt but “a desire to be one with the tiger.” He jumped from a monorail car in the zoo’s Wild Asia exhibit and cleared a 16-foot-high fence. He was attacked by a 400-pound Siberian tiger named Bashuta.
Illinois lawmakers rejected Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s push for pension reform in the state’s lame duck sessions this week, leaving Illinois with nearly $100 billion in unpaid pension debt and the Democratic Party at odds with its labor base. Quinn attempted after several rounds of failed negotiations with lawmakers and labor interest groups in 2012 to outsource reforms of the state’s pension system to a super committee tasked with eliminating the system’s $96 billion debt. Powerful House Democrat Mike Madigan adjourned the legislature on Tuesday afternoon without bringing Quinn’s proposal to a vote.
While Sandy Hook Elementary gives the Obama administration emotional fuel to promote a gun ban, government data show that civilian rifle ownership and murders with rifles have little in common. The following graphs resulted from collating data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, and Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms. Between 1991 and 2011, civilian rifle ownership increased from an estimated 74 million to 112 million (51% growth). During that same period, the number of rifle homicide victims declined 57% (see graph below).