US contract signings to buy homes hits record for December

first_imgSILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes declined slightly for the fourth straight month, but it was still a record high for December. The National Association of Realtors said Friday that its index of pending sales dipped 0.3% to 125.5 in December, an all-time high. An index of 100 represents the level of contract activity in 2001. It was the fourth straight monthly decline, but contracts signings last month were up 21.4% over December 2019. Contract signings are considered a barometer of finalized purchases over the next one to two months.last_img read more

Panel discusses role of torture in CIA interrogation tactics

first_imgNotre Dame’s Center for Civil and Human Rights hosted a discussion panel Tuesday titled, “Tortured Nation: Morality, Security, and Torture,” examining the moral and legal implications of a recent report on detention and interrogation of terror suspects from the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.Director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights and panel moderator Daniel Philpott said a university committed thoroughly to social justice must confront and discuss the question of torture given the Committee’s report.Last month, the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a report that details the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) secret interrogations of terrorism suspects immediately after Sept. 11, 2001. The report revealed the methods employed in the CIA’s interrogation program, including waterboarding, slamming prisoners against walls, sleep deprivation and confinement in cramped space. Further, the report suggested that these methods were not necessary because they did not yield information necessary to foil terrorist plots, Philpott said.Director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies Paolo Carozza said the Committee’s report exposes massive institutional and moral failure in the United States.“Torture is about destroying the human person,” Carozza said. “It is a direct, intentional attack on the very elements of the human personality — on human identity and on the human capacity for truth. It is a way of taking human beings and destroying their personhood to such an extent that they can no longer be a part of the human community. That’s why torture has been condemned for 200 years, and that’s why today it’s a problem.”Thomas Durkin, attorney and co-director of Loyola University Chicago’s National Security and Civil Rights Program, said he is most concerned by those seeking legal justifications for torture and the potential incorporation of torture into policy.“One thing I’m absolutely certain of is that it is a mistake to make exceptions to the law and try to shoehorn something into the law that doesn’t belong in the law,” Durkin said. “The more I look into these actions, and the more I become radicalized by my defense work at Guantanamo, I witness a continuous state of exception.”Notre Dame professor of theological ethics Jean Porter said the only effective way to reverse this policy is to take strong, public steps.“I think the Justice Department should move immediately to prosecute those involved,” Porter said. “I think that victims should be transferred to open court and tried if at all possible and be paid reparations.“I think we have an obligation of justice to the victims of torture. I happen to be old-fashioned enough to believe in retributive justice. We may never be able undo the psychic damage that we have done to these men, but we may, in some way through the legal system, be able to publicly affirm our belief in humanity.”Michael Desch, chair of the Department of Political Science and co-director of the Notre Dame International Security Program, said public moral revulsion to torture suggests it may be unhelpful to achieve the nation’s long-term strategic goals.“You need to distinguish between the tactical effectiveness of torture, whether it’s ever useful to get information that people otherwise wouldn’t give you, or is it useful for terrorizing people into doing what you want them to do,” Desch said. “I think that all the evidence points to its effectiveness on the tactical level.“Then there’s the question of its effectiveness on the strategic level or the policy level. Here, I think the arguments of critics of are far more compelling. Even if torture is often beneficial on the tactical level, the connection between that and achieving strategic or policy goals is often less clear. “In order to reduce the egregious effects of torture, Desch said it is important to consider how often the CIA uses torture.“Would we never use enhanced interrogation on someone we suspected of having knowledge of a ticking time bomb? Would we never use it for a hostage situation in which the timely location of hostages was essential? I’m not sure I could safely say I would never do it,” Desch said. “If we’re honest with ourselves, and it was our son or daughter’s life at stake, I think we’d have a hard time saying we’d never use extreme methods.”Kelly Jordan, Dean of Students at Holy Cross College and a former Commander in the U.S. Army, said the United States should respond to the information in the report by having its leaders work to repair the damage and pledge it will never happen again.“Surrender to the allure of torture and justification of its use is indicative of the triumph of a culture of narcissism over a culture of honor,” Jordan said. “The trauma of these things on character, requiring someone to conduct or support morally questionable acts, destroys the capacity within an individual for social trust, and I would argue, within our nation itself.”Tags: Center for Civil and Human Rights, CIA, Morality, security, torturelast_img read more

Get a Sneak Peek at Kristin Chenoweth’s The Art of Elegance

first_img Star Files View Comments Kristin Chenoweth Rejoicify, theater fans! As previously announced, Kristin Chenoweth will release her new album, The Art of Elegance, on September 23. (Wicked super fans can also enjoy Idina Menzel’s idina., which drops on the same day.) The Tony winner recently offered an inside look into the recording studio, talking through her song selections and discussing how her voice, both on and offstage, has changed throughout her career. “This [album] is me,” she said. A few of the standards to look forward to on the pocket diva’s record include Frank Sinatra’s “I’m a Fool to Want You” and Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer’s “Skylark.” Take a look and a listen below!center_img Take an intimate look at #TheArtOfElegance… Delighted to take you behind the scenes! https://t.co/uF0auRGUpshttps://t.co/me5H1M3Y5l— Kristin Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) August 24, 2016 Kristin Chenowethlast_img read more

Ag Forecast

first_imgSam Pardue, dean of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), will serve as the keynote speaker at the upcoming Georgia Ag Forecast seminar series set for Jan. 22 through Feb. 1. The annual meetings allow UGA agricultural economists to address Georgia’s farmers, lenders and agribusiness leaders about the latest trends and economic conditions in Georgia’s No. 1 industry — agriculture.At the seminar’s six locations across the state — Bainbridge, Carrollton, Lyons, Macon, Tifton and Watkinsville, Georgia — Pardue will discuss how CAES works with Georgia’s agricultural leaders and how the college works to help solve the issues facing rural Georgia.“Perhaps more than ever, the Ag Forecast is needed to assist farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and the organizations that support them to plan for the future,” Pardue said. “Uncertainty in weather, commodity prices, trade and access to markets, regulatory policy, and labor creates a challenging environment for Georgia producers. While we cannot predict the future, we can bring all the tools at our disposal to better inform our stakeholders in their decision-making processes.”CAES hosts the Georgia Ag Forecast seminar series every year. Those interested in attending the seminars can register at georgiaagforecast.com. Economists from the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development and CAES Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics will present the economic outlook for Georgia’s producers with an emphasis on Georgia’s major commodities.“Ag Forecast provides producers, bankers and agribusiness leaders with a glimpse of what will happen in 2019. It presents data on how conditions in Georgia, the United States and the globe will impact producers here in Georgia,” said Kent Wolfe, director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.Participants will have the opportunity to meet with UGA faculty and UGA Cooperative Extension agents and will leave the meeting with a copy of the 2019 Georgia Ag Forecast book. It provides detailed outlooks of the major commodities produced in Georgia from scientists who work on the crop year-round.One topic that’s expected to be on the forefront is how Hurricane Michael will impact the future of Georgia agriculture. The storm devastated south Georgia agriculture on Oct. 10, 2018, causing more than $2.5 billion in crop losses. Since the hurricane moved through Georgia during harvest season, multiple crops were at extreme risk for damage.“The impact from Hurricane Michael will undoubtedly be a hot topic because it impacted a number of commodities in the state with potential global implications,” Wolfe said.Georgia’s cotton crop sustained between $550 and $600 million in losses, classified as immediate damage to commodities grown by Georgia producers. Pecans suffered $100 million in losses to its crop along with $260 million in losses to trees and $200 million in losses to future income. Other crop damages include $763 million in losses to timber, $20 million in losses to poultry houses, and $480 million in losses to vegetables.The 2019 Georgia Ag Forecast series will be held:Tuesday, Jan. 22: Macon, Georgia — Georgia Farm Bureau BuildingWednesday, Jan. 23: Carrollton, Georgia — Carroll County Ag CenterFriday, Jan. 25: Watkinsville, Georgia — Oconee County Civic CenterTuesday, Jan. 29: Lyons, Georgia — Toombs County Agri-CenterThursday, Jan. 31: Bainbridge, Georgia — Decatur County Agricultural CenterFriday, Feb. 1: Tifton, Georgia — Tifton Campus Conference CenterThe Tifton seminar will begin at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast buffet. All of the other seminars will begin at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a networking lunch.The Georgia Ag Forecast seminar series is presented by UGA CAES and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. For more information on the 2019 Georgia Ag Forecast series, visit georgiaagforecast.com or search for #gaagforecast on social media.last_img read more

Titan’s director Darryl Kelly’s mansion comes complete with stone agate

first_imgThe cat’s eye agate on a white stone is one of the features in the house“I’m an early riser so on clear mornings when I get up at the crack of dawn I can often see hot air balloons floating over the canal,” Mrs Kelly said. “It is an amazing sight over the water.”The home also exudes magic inside with a stone agate feature in the dining room bar.“It is a cat’s eye agate on a white stone and the previous owners said it was imported,” Mrs Kelly said.Lofty atriums give the home space and light“It has a really spectacular effect at night with the backlight.”Mrs Kelly said the four-bedroom, three- bathroom home had a spacious, open feel. “When we bought it the owners had recently renovated it,” she said. “All the work was done for us.”Drawn to the ultra-modern style, Mrs Kelly said she had added a few of her own touches.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality LevelsAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window. An unanticipated problem was encountered, check back soon and try again Error Code: MEDIA_ERR_UNKNOWN Darryl Kelly and his wife enjoy the views from their waterfront mansionThe main bedroom has a marble ensuite with a heated floor and luxury bath.Mrs Kelly said the couple, originally from Wagga Wagga, had admired the waterfront setting.“This is our second Gold Coast house,” she said. “We had a unit on the Gold Coast which we would come and spend months at a time at over winter. We have always loved the Gold Coast and our next home will be in the same street.” WATCHING hot air balloons float by from the deck of this stunning Paradise Waters home is a magical way to start the day according to owners Joanne and Darryl Kelly.The Gold Coast Titans director and his wife bought the home three years ago to be closer to their daughter. Session ID: 2020-09-28:c5a058481e1223f79d014181 Player Element ID: vjs_video_3 OK Close Modal DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreen00:00 Related videos The home has grand interiors including a lofty atrium and a large glass front door.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North11 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day agoPolished hardwood stairs lead up to a bridge-style crossing to the living room and connecting the main bedroom with the guest suites, both with private waterfront balconies. 88 Admiralty Drive Paradise WatersFrom the outside the home is privately gated with large walls, palm trees and manicured hedges.The gate opens to a mosaic-tiled pool which leads guests to the glass entrance.A pebble gas fireplace in the lounge and a bar with three wine fridges are some of the stand-out features of the house. The home is kept cool with a number of louvres and bi-fold glass doors that open to the spacious waterside terrace.The home orignally hit the market with a $5.25 million price tag but has since been reduced to $4.975 million.last_img read more

Wilkinson boost for Stoke

first_img Press Association Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson will be available for the Potters’ opening match of the Barclays Premier League season against Liverpool next month. Wilkinson was sent off for a challenge late on in Stoke’s 1-0 victory over FC Dallas on Saturday during their pre-season tour to the US. Manager Mark Hughes had feared the full-back would be handed a ban that would see him miss the first game of the season at Anfield on August 17. center_img However, Wilkinson will instead have to sit out the final game of Stoke’s tour against Philadelphia Union on Tuesday night. A statement on www.stokecityfc.com read: “Stoke City can confirm that defender Andy Wilkinson will serve an immediate one-match suspension following his dismissal in Saturday’s 1-0 pre-season friendly victory against FC Dallas. “The news, which has been confirmed by the Football Association, ensures that Wilkinson is available for selection for the 2013/14 curtain raiser against Liverpool at Anfield.” last_img read more

Koeman ignores returning ex-Saints

first_img The spectre of those returns have understandably dominated the build-up to Sunday’s match, but it is not something Koeman is interested in. “It’s not my question, my question is to prepare the team for the Sunday game,” the Saints boss said. “I don’t talk about players who are coming back to the club where they played last season, because then I can talk every week about a player who comes back to Southampton. “Lallana is a very good player, doing well in Liverpool. He chose to change the club after a good opportunity and nothing else. “It is Southampton against Liverpool, not Southampton against some players who played last season for Southampton.” Friday’s pre-match press conference saw Koeman come closer than any time during his Saints reign to losing his cool as a journalist peppered him with questions about the returning triumvirate. The Dutchman told the reporter to “ask me about Southampton” and, as he became increasingly irked, asked: “You’re the agent of Lovren and Lallana? Why that kind of questions all the time?” After eight questions on the subject, the head of media intervened in a bid to move matters onto Southampton’s current squad. “You think I am thinking about losing a game? No way,” Koeman said. “I am thinking of winning the game. I am not negative thinking. Ronald Koeman has no interest in the reception Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren will receive on their St Mary’s return as the Southampton manager’s sole focus is on beating Liverpool. Press Association “I’m surprised they have four points less than we have and to come closer to us they have to win. If they don’t win, they don’t come closer.” Southampton’s chances of keeping Liverpool at bay are boosted by the return of Morgan Schneiderlin, Shane Long and Matt Targett on Sunday. There will still be a number of absentees at St Mary’s, though, with the suspended Ryan Bertrand joining Toby Alderweireld, Emmanuel Mayuka and Jay Rodriguez on the sidelines. The latter has not played for 321 days after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament last season, with some talk of a March return. “It’s a long way now for Jay and if it happens in March we are very happy,” Koeman said. “If it happens in April we will see but at the moment not because he needs more time.” Koeman had initially hoped Rodriguez’s return would be like a January signing, but if time ticks on it may be more like a summer addition. “I hope not,” he said. “I hope that Jay can still play some games in this season, but it is all about the freshness and the shape of the player. “We don’t take any risk because the player is too good to take that risk. “We know to handle injuries and problems because now I think for the first time I have players back after the last two or three months and that’s good news.” The trio were key protagonists in last summer’s unparalleled talent drain from the Saints as they swapped the south coast for Merseyside at a reported combined cost of £49million. Lallana, Lambert and Lovren have enjoyed differing levels of success since moving to Anfield and will receive receptions of varying warmth upon their first visit to Southampton since departing. last_img read more

Maher thrilled by Walsh booking

first_imgWhat began as “pie in the sky” will on Sunday become reality when Ruby Walsh partners esteemed Australian stayer Bashboy in the Grand National Steeplechase. Press Association Maher told Press Association Sport: “Ruby coming here is a great story for Australian jumps racing and it has really caught everyone’s imagination. “He’s a great draw-card, and everyone seems to be buzzing at the idea of him riding Bashboy. “It will just be great to float a few ideas by Ruby and see how our horse stacks up with the National Hunt horses in his part of the world.” The position aboard Bashboy officially became vacant on Wednesday when regular jockey S teve Pateman failed in his attempt to have a riding suspension quashed at an appeal hearing. Walsh, 36, will also be entering uncharted territory as he has his first rides in Australia in a deal which was partly brokered by Willie Mullins. He has also been booked to ride Arch Fire for Robert Smerdon in the JJ Houlahan Hurdle. Maher said: “It’s a shame for Steve that his appeal didn’t come through but, on the other hand, it’s fantastic to get a rider of Ruby’s calibre, experience and greatness. “It’s funny how it all worked out, really. I was sitting back in my chair at home a week ago thinking, ‘Who on earth’s going to ride Bashboy if Steve is suspended?’ “I suddenly thought about Ruby, but just accepted it was pie in the sky. Trainer Ciaron Maher is still coming to terms with having pulled off the sizeable coup of luring Walsh across the world to ride one of his horses. Bashboy is no ordinary thoroughbred in his homeland, though, as he attempts to claim an unprecedented third victory in the Australian version of the Grand National at Ballarat racecourse in Victoria. “But then I remembered that Mike Symons, who is the chairman of Melbourne Racing Club, knows Willie Mullins quite a bit. “Mike spoke to Willie and when we found out that Ruby was keen, we couldn’t really believe it.” Maher, whose horses are predominantly stabled at Caulfield and Warrnambool racecourses, feels Walsh will not have to adjust his riding style to successfully come to terms with Bashboy. He said: “He’s a very straightforward horse – he wouldn’t need a great deal of getting used to. “He’s also very much in the mould of National Hunt horses in Britain and Ireland in that he’s a big, scopey, strong stayer who loves heavy ground. “I think Ruby gets here on Saturday afternoon, so if he wanted to give him a stretch on Sunday morning he could do.” last_img read more

Caregiver steals thousands from elderly patient

first_imgA Palm Beach County woman has been arrested after she allegedly used an elderly woman’s credit cards without permission to make a large number of personal purchases.51-year-old Jacqueline Combs Rodney was arrested earlier this week after investigators found that she racked up $30,000 worth of charges on her 81-year-old Alzheimer’s patient’s credit cards.Officials were alerted to the scheme after the victim’s daughter contacted them about fraudulent accounts and purchases from Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Synchrony Bank, Chase Bank, and Nordstrom’s.Rodney reportedly used the accounts to purchase handbags, shoes, furniture, a plane ticket and even reportedly used the victim’s cards to pay her car insurance, phone bills, and for a wedding banquet hall.Rodney has since been arrested and charged with grand theft and exploitation of the elderly. She has since been freed on bond.last_img read more

Red Force wraps up campaign on a high with innings win

first_imgBASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) – Trinidad and Tobago Red Force ended an otherwise disappointing Regional four-day campaign on a high when they crushed Leeward Islands Hurricanes by an innings and 17 runs here Tuesday.Starting the final day of their 10th round game at Warner Park needing a huge effort to pull off victory, Red Force found their inspiration in leg-spinner Imran Khan who finished with match figures of 11 for 140.He failed to add to his overnight five-wicket haul as Hurricanes, resuming on 273 for six, were dismissed for 299. Seamer Roshon Primus took two of the four wickets to fall to finish with two for 62.Following on by 254 runs, Hurricanes were dismissed for 237 in their second innings with Khan proving T&T’s trump card again with six for 74.Off-spinner Bryan Charles picked up three for 110.Opener and captain Montcin Hodge resisted with an unbeaten 96 while Kacey Carty carved out his second half-century of the game with 54 and Akeem Saunders got 41.Hurricanes were 188 for three at one stage inside the first hour after tea but suffered a swift collapse to lose their last seven wickets for 49 runs, and slide to their fifth defeat of the season.In their second turn at the crease, Chesney Hughes fell cheaply for 11 with just 25 runs on the board but Hodge and Carty combined in an 83-run second-wicket stand to steady the innings.Hodge faced 222 balls in just over 4-3/4 hours and struck 13 fours while Carty, in his eighth first class game, stroked five fours and two sixes in a handsome 79-ball knock.Charles claimed Carty – mistiming a drive to mid-on – and Jamaican Nkrumah Bonner (0) – caught at the wicket – in successive deliveries but Hurricanes found solace in another half-century stand, this time between Hodge and Saunders, which yielded 76 runs.Saunders was within touching distance of his half-century when he gloved one from Khan that bounced and was caught at forward short-leg, triggering a terminal decline.RED FORCE 1st innings 553HURRICANES 1st innings (o/n 273 for six)M. Hodge c Webster b Khan 64C. Hughes lbw b Charles 71K. Carty c Webster b Khan 53N. Bonner c Cooper b Khan 16A. Saunders lbw b Primus 27J. Otto lbw b Khan 0S. Peters c and b Khan 0J. Taylor b Cottrell 23J. Louis c Cariah b Richards 16J. Campbell b Primus 0G. Tonge not out 8Extras: (b-4, lb-8, w-2, nb-7) 21Total: (all out, 107.5 overs) 299Fall of wickets: 1-137, 2-175, 3-223, 4-223, 5-227, 6-237, 7-273, 8-275, 9-275.Bowling: Cottrell 15-2-37-1, Richards 14.5-4-39-1, Primus 18-2-62-2, Webster 3-1-11-0, Imran Khan 28-7-66-5, Charles 29-10-72-1.HURRICANES 2nd innings (following on)M. Hodge not out 96C. Hughes c Primus b Khan 11K. Carty c Primus b Charles 54N. Bonner c wkp. Jangoo b Charles 0A. Saunders c Nicholson b Khan 41J. Otto c Richards b Cariah 8S. Peters c Khan b Charles 8J. Taylor c Cottrell b Khan 1J. Louis b Khan 0G. Tonge c Cariah b Khan 0J. Campbell c Primus b Khan 1Extras: (b-12, lb-4, nb-1) 17Total: (all out, 79.5 overs) 237Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-112, 3-112, 4-188, 5-207, 6-230, 7-231, 8-231, 9-231.Bowling: Richards 5-1-4-0, Primus 4-0-7-0, Webster 2-0-12-0, Charles 31-6-110-3, Imran Khan 32.5-9-74-6, Cottrell 3-0-11-0, Cariah 2-0-3-1.Points: Red Force 20.8, Hurricanes 5.last_img read more