Angelina Jolie says that she has had a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a gene that made it extremely likely she would get breast cancer.
The Oscar-winning actress and partner to Brad Pitt made the announcement in the form of an op-ed she authored for Tuesday’s New York Times (nyti.ms ) under the headline, ”My Medical Choice.” She writes that between early February and late April she completed three months of surgical procedures to remove both breasts.
Jolie, 37, writes that she made the choice with thoughts of her six children after watching her own mother die too young from breast cancer.
”My mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56,” Jolie writes. ”She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was.”
A well-written article by Fernanda Santos.
Prosecutors who seek a conviction on a charge of arson must first prove that a fire was intentionally set, and then that the defendant was the one who set it.
Louis C. Taylor was facing arson charges 42 years ago, and he left court convicted on multiple felony murder counts for sparking a hotel fire that claimed 29 lives. He has always professed his innocence, and on Tuesday, advances in the science of fire investigations finally set him free.
He was serving 28 life sentences for starting the deadliest fire in Arizona history.
A few years ago, the National Academy of Sciences turned its attention to the misuse of science in courtrooms, saying that pseudoscientific theories had been used to convict people of crimes they may not have committed. By then, a small group of fire engineers had already begun to discredit many of the assumptions employed in fire investigations, like the practice of using the amount of heat radiated by a fire to assess if an accelerant had been used.
Race and questionable investigative practices may have also played a role in Mr. Taylor’s conviction. He was a black man convicted by an all-white jury at a time of racial strife in Tucson; four years later, a lawsuit would force the city to confront segregation in the largest of its school districts.
(The Tucson Unified School District is still operating under court supervision imposed as a result of that segregation case.)
More on this case and other arson cases: Advances in Science of Fire Free a Convict After 42 Years
Sven Olaf Kamphuis calls himself the “minister of telecommunications and foreign affairs for the Republic of CyberBunker.” Others see him as the Prince of Spam.
He describes himself in his own Web postings as an Internet freedom fighter, along the lines of Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, with political views that range from eccentric to offensive. His likes: German heavy metal music, “Beavis and Butt-head” and the campaign to legalize medicinal marijuana. His dislikes: Jews, Luddites and authority.
Mr. Kamphuis’s current nemesis is Spamhaus, a group based in Geneva that fights Internet spam by publishing blacklists of alleged offenders. Clients of Spamhaus use the information to block annoying e-mails offering discount Viagra or financial windfalls. But Mr. Kamphuis and other critics call Spamhaus a censor that judges what is or isn’t spam. Spamhaus acted, he wrote, “without any court verdict, just by blackmail of suppliers and Jew lies.”
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times and Dr. Seema Jilani remind us that Malala is not alone, either as a victim of the Taliban or as a girl determined to keep fighting for her future.
It was one of the most ruthless attacks of our time: three Pakistani schoolgirls were on their way home when the Taliban shot them. Their crime? Pursuit of an education. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and two other young women sustained injuries to their arms. “We are all Malala,” roared the world. Protestors marched and lit candlelight vigils. Malala was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and became an iconic symbol for young women’s educational struggles.
We went about our self-congratulatory ways, assuming we had done something tangible to help. But we forgot the two others injured in the shooting, who are just as deserving of an education and no less heroic. One of them, Shazia Ramzan, plans to move with her family to the Punjab Province of Pakistan to escape the more volatile region of Swat. The other, Kainat Riaz, is wedged in no man’s land, with few options available to her given the economic stratum of her family. In November 2012, I visited Kainat at her house in Swat Valley.
Stop me if this sounds familiar:
With the Dow Jones industrial average flirting with a record high, the split between American workers and the companies that employ them is widening and could worsen in the next few months as federal budget cuts take hold.
That gulf helps explain why stock markets are thriving even as the economy is barely growing and unemployment remains stubbornly high.
With millions still out of work, companies face little pressure to raise salaries, while productivity gains allow them to increase sales without adding workers.
“So far in this recovery, corporations have captured an unusually high share of the income gains,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The U.S. corporate sector is in a lot better health than the overall economy. And until we get a full recovery in the labor market, this will persist.”
The result has been a golden age for corporate profits, especially among multinational giants that are also benefiting from faster growth in emerging economies like China and India.
These factors, along with the Federal Reserve’s efforts to keep interest rates ultralow and encourage investors to put more money into riskier assets, prompted traders to send the Dow past 14,000 to within 75 points of a record high last week.
While buoyant earnings are rewarded by investors and make American companies more competitive globally, they have not translated into additional jobs at home.
Other recent positive economic developments, like a healthier housing sector and growth in orders for machinery and some other durable goods, have also encouraged Wall Street but similarly failed to improve the employment picture. Unemployment, after steadily declining for three years, has been stuck at just below 8 percent since last September.
With $85 billion in automatic cuts taking effect between now and Sept. 30 as part of the so-called federal budget sequestration, some experts warn that economic growth will be reduced by at least half a percentage point. But although experts estimate that sequestration could cost the country about 700,000 jobs, Wall Street does not expect the cuts to substantially reduce corporate profits — or seriously threaten the recent rally in the stock markets.
“It’s minimal,” said Savita Subramanian, head of United States equity and quantitative strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Over all, the sequester could reduce earnings at the biggest companies by just over 1 percent, she said, adding, “the market wants more austerity.”
As a percentage of national income, corporate profits stood at 14.2 percent in the third quarter of 2012, the largest share at any time since 1950, while the portion of income that went to employees was 61.7 percent, near its lowest point since 1966. In recent years, the shift has accelerated during the slow recovery that followed the financial crisis and ensuing recession of 2008 and 2009, said Dean Maki, chief United States economist at Barclays.
Like many people, I subscribe to Spotify to get a huge library to listen to and also to know that my subscription pays to compensate the artists. Well, I guess that is sort of true.
Consider Pandora and Spotify, the streaming music services that are becoming ever more integrated into our daily listening habits. My BMI royalty check arrived recently, reporting songwriting earnings from the first quarter of 2012, and I was glad to see that our music is being listened to via these services. Galaxie 500’s “Tugboat”, for example, was played 7,800 times on Pandora that quarter, for which its three songwriters were paid a collective total of 21 cents, or seven cents each. Spotify pays better: For the 5,960 times “Tugboat” was played there, Galaxie 500’s songwriters went collectively into triple digits: $1.05 (35 cents each).
To put this into perspective: Since we own our own recordings, by my calculation it would take songwriting royalties for roughly 312,000 plays on Pandora to earn us the profit of one— one— LP sale. (On Spotify, one LP is equivalent to 47,680 plays.)
But here’s the rub: Pandora and Spotify are not earning any income from their services, either. In the first quarter of 2012, Pandora— the same company that paid Galaxie 500 a total of $1.21 for their use of “Tugboat”— reported a net loss of more than $20 million dollars. As for Spotify, their latest annual report revealed a loss in 2011 of $56 million.
Leaving aside why these companies are bothering to chisel hundredths of a cent from already ridiculously low “royalties,” or paying lobbyists to work a bill through Congress that would lower those rates even further— let’s instead ask a question they themselves might consider relevant: Why are they in business at all?
The answer is capital, which is what Pandora and Spotify have and what they generate.
Even though preliminary estimates suggest that Democrats received somewhat more votes than Republicans in Congressional elections, the G.O.P. retains solid control of the House thanks to extreme gerrymandering by courts and Republican-controlled state governments. And Representative John Boehner, the speaker of the House, wasted no time in declaring that his party remains as intransigent as ever, utterly opposed to any rise in tax rates even as it whines about the size of the deficit.
It’s worth pointing out that the fiscal cliff isn’t really a cliff. It’s not like the debt-ceiling confrontation, where terrible things might well have happened right away if the deadline had been missed. This time, nothing very bad will happen to the economy if agreement isn’t reached until a few weeks or even a few months into 2013. So there’s time to bargain.
Mr. Obama should hang tough, declaring himself willing, if necessary, to hold his ground even at the cost of letting his opponents inflict damage on a still-shaky economy. And this is definitely no time to negotiate a ‘grand bargain’ on the budget that snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
Watching the video is almost unbearable.
But grasping the horror of what’s happening in Syria without watching it is almost unthinkable.
“A Father’s Farewell,” posted Oct. 12 to a curation site maintained by The New York Times, appears to tell the story of a father clinging to - and praying for - a child killed during shelling in the city of Hammuria.
The post is among about 85 published by the Times on its “Watching Syria’s War” site, which the paper launched four months ago.
Videos shot by non-journalists have become an important source of information about fighting waged mostly beyond the reach of an international press corps barred from entering the country by Syrian officials.
The problem with the videos, of course, is the difficulty in verifying exactly what they show.
I’ve been researching the verification issue for a seminar in Cairo and consider myself a pretty close reader of The Times. So I was surprised when assistant managing editor Jim Roberts began describing “Watching Syria’s War” to a group of students I accompanied to the Times last month.
I’d never heard of it.
Matt Lauer hosts a star-studded Red Cross telethon to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims, featuring Christina Aguilera, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Whoopi Goldberg, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart and more!
Please visit Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together | NBC for donation information.
You can also donate at redcross.org, 1-800-HELP-NOW or text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.