Kate UptonKate Upton got a patriotic makeover for the July 2012 cover and feature story for GQ, where the blonde bombshell spoke about her career highlights, namely one "exciting" wardrobe malfunction, since she exploded onto the modeling scene. View the slideshow to see photos of Kate Upton along with her July 2012 GQ cover.
Nikkei slips on U.S. bond yield, GM fears
Japan's Nikkei stock average slipped 0.9 percent on Thursday, with exporters down on worries that a nascent U.S. recovery could be stifled by rising U.S. bond yields. But the slide was countered by shippers, which gained after a key freight index rose. Oil and gas field developer Inpex climbed after oil prices hit a 6-month high on Wednesday.
The benchmark Nikkei lost 54.65 points to 9,384.12, while the broader Topix lost 0.5 percent to 888.32.
(Reporting by Elaine Lies)
North Carolina man trained in Pak pleads guilty to 'jihad' charges
Daniel Patrick Boyd, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina, has pleaded guilty in a federal court to charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim, and injure persons in a foreign country, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said.
The guilty plea entered on Feb. 9 in a federal court in New Bern, North Carolina, was announced by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division and George E.B. Holding, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Boyd, 40, was first charged along with seven other defendants in a federal indictment returned on July 22, 2009. He was arrested on July 29, 2009, and the indictment was unsealed. On September 24, 2009, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment that added additional charges against Boyd and two of the other defendants.
According to the superseding indictment, during the period from 1989 through 1992, he traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan where he received military-style training in terrorist training camps for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad. Following this training, according to the Indictment, he fought in Afghanistan.
It was, however, unclear who Boyd fought against. The FBI said Boyd claimed to have gone to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets but Soviet troops left in 1989.
The indictment also stated that from Nov. 2006 through at least July 2009, Boyd, also known as 'Saifullah,' had conspired with the other defendants to provide material support and resources to terrorists, including currency, training, transportation and personnel. The indictment also charged Boyd with undertaking a reconnaissance of the Marine Corps Base located in Quantico, Virginia, and obtaining maps of the base in order to plan an attack on U.S. military personnel in Quantico. It also said Boyd possessed armor piercing ammunition and wanted to use it to attack the Americans.
The defendants also conspired to murder, kidnap, maim, and injure persons abroad during this period. The object of the conspiracy, according to the indictment, was to advance violent jihad, including supporting and participating in terrorist activities abroad and committing acts of murder, kidnapping, or maiming persons abroad, the DOJ said in a statement.
As part of the conspiracy, the defendants prepared themselves to engage in violent jihad and were willing to die as martyrs. They also allegedly offered training in weapons and financing and helped arrange overseas travel and contacts so others could wage violent jihad overseas.
In addition, the defendants raised money to support training efforts, disguised the destination of such monies from the donors, and obtained assault weapons to develop skills with the weapons. Some defendants also allegedly radicalized others to believe that violent jihad was a personal religious obligation.
According to Holding, the case proves that terrorists are no longer only from foreign countries but also citizens who live within our own borders.
We must protect our homeland. I am committed to using any and all legal means to take on the challenge of finding and prosecuting others with similar radical views who plot violent attacks, Holding said.
Prosecutors said they had hundreds of recorded phone calls, e-mails and other evidence if the case had gone to trial. Holding said Boyd was significantly influenced by al-Awlaki, the leader of Yemen-based terror organization and some of Boyd's literature in his home or in his e-mail that discussed the need for holy war had references of al-Awlaki. In one of the audio recordings, a voice that authorities have identified as Boyd says: I love jihad. I love to stand there and fight for the sake of Allah.
Boyd is set to be sentenced in May 2011 and faces up to 15 years' imprisonment followed by up to three years’ supervised release for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and up to a life term of imprisonment followed by up to five years of supervised release for conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim, and injure persons in a foreign country.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI Raleigh-Durham Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement, the Raleigh Police Department, and the Durham Police Department, and NCISAAC - the North Carolina Information Sharing and Analysis Center.
Boyd's neighbors in Willow Spring, just south of Raleig in North Carolina, said they were shocked by Boyd's arrest and subsequent charges as he lived a quiet life - attending local mosques and operating a drywall business.
His plea comes just a week after another American citizen Colleen R. LaRose, 47, also known as 'Jihad Jane,' pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder a Swedish cartoonist, providing material support to terrorists, and other criminal charges.
Europe Roundup: German Investor Confidence At 3-Year High, UK Inflation Lowest Since 2008
RTTNews - Tuesday, German investor confidence rose above expectations to its highest level in almost three years in May. Elsewhere, annual inflation in the UK slowed more than expected in April to a level last seen in January 2008.
The Eurostat said construction output in the 16-nation economy dropped a seasonally adjusted 1% month-on-month in March, after falling a revised 0.6% in February. On an annual basis, the construction output declined a working day adjusted 8.7% in March, compared to the 8.6% fall in the previous month.
European Central Bank Executive Board member Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell said the bank had done everything possible with interest rates to boost the economy.
The Mannheim-based Centre for European Economic Research, or ZEW, said its economic sentiment indicator for Germany rose to 31.1 in May, the highest since June 2006, from 13 in April, while the forecast was for an increase to 20. The gauge for the current conditions in Germany fell further to reach minus 92.8. It was in contrast to economists' expectations for an improvement to minus 90 from the previous month's minus 91.6.
Industrial turnover in Spain dropped 20.6% year-on-year in March, but slower than a 31.3% fall in February, data released by the National Statistics Institute showed. This was the eighth consecutive month of decline in the turnover.
Italy's statistical office Istat said the nation recorded a trade surplus of EUR 82 million in March, following a revised trade deficit of EUR 895 million in February. Economists had expected a surplus of EUR 336 million.
The National Bank of Belgium said in a report that the consumer confidence indicator stood at minus 19 in May, up from minus 22 in April.
Rest of Europe
The Office for National Statistics reported an annual inflation of 2.3% in April, down from 2.9% in the previous month. The annual rate stood slightly below the expected level of 2.4% and reached the lowest since January 2008, when it was 2.2%.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices climbed 0.2%, less than the expected rise of 0.4%. Core inflation that strips out energy, food, alcohol and tobacco slowed to 1.5% from 1.7%. This was the weakest since January 2009.
Late on Monday, the Bank of England said in its Annual Report that it increased bonus and special payments budget in the year through February to 8.1% from the usual 7% of salaries, recognizing the exceptional workload of staff over the last year.
Hungarian Central Statistical Office said in a report that the average monthly gross earnings grew 4.3% year-over-year in March, faster than the 2.5% increase in the previous month. Economists expected the wages to rise 3.8%.
The Statistics Norway said the gross domestic product for Mainland Norway fell for the second straight quarter. The economy shrank 1% in the first quarter from the previous quarter, following a 0.8% decline in the fourth quarter. The first quarter number matched economists' expectations.
Moreover, a report from Statistics Sweden showed that the number of employed persons declined by 0.8% to 4,004,900 in the first quarter. The number of employed declined 0.4% in the private sector, while it fell 1.7% in the public sector in this period.
Bulgaria's National Statistical Institute said the average monthly wages and salaries grew 2.7% sequentially in the first quarter to 563 levs from 548 levs in the fourth quarter.
Poland's Central Statistical Office announced that the average gross wages and salaries increased 4.8% year-over-year in April.
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ICC say Ponting will be charged after TV damage claims
Australia captain Ricky Ponting will be charged on Wednesday after allegedly damaging a television in the dressing room during a World Cup match with Zimbabwe.
An International Cricket Council (ICC) spokesman would only confim: Ricky Ponting is being charged ... there will be a charge.
He said the governing body were waiting for the Australian team to arrive in Nagpur later on Wednesday for their next match there against New Zealand to inform Ponting.
We need to talk to him ... because we don't know what he's going to say to it, the spokesman said.
Earlier, the ICC told Reuters that it had received a report on the incident from the Indian cricket board after it was sent to them by the Gujarat Cricket Association which oversees the sport in Ahmedabad where Monday's game took place.
U.S. home sales up in April, inventories swell
Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in April, a report showed on Wednesday, providing new evidence the housing market is stabilizing and backing views that the recession is nearing an end.
The National Association of Realtors said sales climbed 2.9 percent to an annual rate of 4.68 million as the traditional spring home-buying season swung into gear.
The positive picture, however, was dimmed by a separate report showing applications for home loans fell to their lowest level since early March last week as mortgage costs rose.
Worries about the government's ability to fund costly measures to rescue the economy drove longer-dated government bond yields higher on Wednesday, with the spread between the 2-year and 10-year Treasury notes widening to a record 2.75 percentage points.
The rise in bond yields threatens to push up borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, and U.S. stocks sold off on concerns the economy could suffer. Major indexes ended more than 1 percent lower.
Economists, however, were heartened by the home sales data and said borrowing costs had not moved up enough to imperil the housing market's chances of recovery.
I don't think it's a threat as long as mortgage rates stay low and so far they have, said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts.
In general, the data was seen as a fresh hint that the steep 17-month U.S. economic downturn, triggered by the collapse of the housing market, was easing and could well end by the third quarter, as a survey published by the National Association of Business Economists predicted.
The pace of job losses slowed last month, claims for unemployment aid have come off their peaks, and consumer confidence has risen from recent rock-bottom levels.
The national economy is showing some initial signs of stability, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in Boston as he announced $1.5 billion in federal tax credits for community development projects. This is just the beginning, however. We have a long way to go.
SALES ACTIVITY PICKING UP
The Realtors report showed sales of single-family homes rose 2.5 percent last month to an annual rate of 4.18 million, while multi-family units -- the hardest-hit sector -- jumped 6.4 percent to a 500,000-unit annual pace.
Sales were up in three of four regions. However, the number of unsold homes swelled 8.8 percent to 3.97 million, the highest since November. At the current sales pace, it would take 10.2 months to clear that supply.
Both the trade group and economists shrugged off the rise in home inventories as mainly the result of seasonal factors.
The increase in inventories was largely driven by seasonal factors and reflects sellers entering the spring market, said Anna Piretti, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York. She noted that inventories had come down from the highs recorded in 2007 and 2008.
Even when the economy begins to grow, analysts expect only a tepid recovery. Plunging home values and rising unemployment have forced consumers to cut spending, and households are expected to continue to rebuild savings for months to come.
The median home price fell 15.4 percent from a year ago to $170,200 in April, the second biggest percentage decline on record. The Realtors group blamed distressed sales, which accounted for 45 percent of all transactions, for depressing prices.
A separate home price measure from the Federal Housing Finance Agency showed prices fell 7.3 percent over the 12 months through March, contrasting with an 18.7 percent drop seen in the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller survey Tuesday.
Our latest data are consistent with growing evidence that housing market conditions may be stabilizing in some parts of the country, especially areas not covered by the other major repeat sales price index, FHFA Director James Lockhart said.
(Additional reporting by Lynn Adler in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)
Inflation data boosts Sterling
The higher than expected inflation data is a warning to the Bank of England that it should not be complacent over the underlying inflation risks and will provide initial Sterling support
Sterling found support weaker than 0.90 against the Euro on Monday and also recovered back towards 1.43 against the dollar as international vulnerabilities were important and the UK banking sector attempted to rally from initial losses.
Bank of England Deputy Governor Bean stated that the bank was running out of room on the ability to cut interest rates. He also noted that Sterling’s decline would help close the current account deficit and was necessary to rebalance the economy.
Markets will continue to focus on the potential for quantitative easing and a direct expansion of the money supply as this will remain a potentially important source of medium-term Sterling weakness. Nevertheless, it proved resilient on Tuesday as increased fears over the Euro-zone outlook provided protection.
Headline UK consumer inflation fell to 3.0% in January from 3.1% previously while the core rate was at 1.3% from 1.1%. The higher data will provide initial Sterling support as the Bank of England needs to be very careful over policy. Following the data, Sterling pushed higher to near 1.43 against the dollar from lows below 1.4150.
Kate Upton got a patriotic makeover for the July 2012 cover and feature story for GQ, where the blonde bombshell spoke about her career highlights, namely one exciting wardrobe malfunction, since she exploded onto the modeling scene.
It's like any job, Upton told GQ. You find your strengths and play them up.
And it's not difficult for Upton to find her strengths. According to GQ, the 20-year-old model boils down her recipe to success in seven easy steps, which GQ called the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Internet Bombshells. Upton successfully stormed the Internet in April 2011, when she recorded a video of herself doing the Dougie at a Clippers game. The video went viral on YouTube, followed by her infamous Cat Daddy dance, which was removed from the website.
Both of those videos, in addition to her appearances in ads for Carl's Jr., Zoo York and in the movie The Three Stooges, danced on the fine line of controversy which helped skyrocket Upton to fame.
Add in her flirtations with NFL quarterbacks Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez, and her perfect formula for marketing through her 370,000 Twitter followers by endorsing products, and Kate Upton is a sensation.
Best yet, GQ writes, Upton uses her backstory to combine sexiness and naïveté in a way that somehow makes ogling them seem like the most innocent thing in the world. Born in Michigan and raised in Florida, Upton was an accomplished equestrian with a high school athletic director for a father and housewife for a mother.
I grew up in Florida riding horses, so for the majority of my life I was either in boots and jeans or a bathing suit, Upton admitted. I understand why my male followers like me.
This is all before Upton was discovered by a modeling scout. In 2008, Upton attended an open-call in Miami and, at just 16-years-old, was signed by Elite Model Management that very same day. Elite also represents Gisele and Kate Moss.
Since Kate Upton landed the Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover, she has endorsed tons of products and appeared on Saturday Night Live. These accomplishments over a 15-month period aren't her most exciting, however, according to Upton.
For the GQ photo shoot, we were on that ride where the seat spins while the actual ride is spinning, and I'm wearing a one-piece, Upton told the magazine. And all of a sudden the whole entire top falls off! I'm holding myself, laughing, turning bright red, but a lot of people are watching, so they kicked us out of the Santa Monica Pier -- it was so embarrassing.
What exactly is so exciting there, you may wonder. Kate Upton had the answer.
You wouldn't think that would happen with a one-piece, Upton said.
View the slideshow to see photos of Kate Upton along with her July 2012 GQ cover.