Rumors of Rolling Stones tour grow

LONDON - Legendary British rock group The Rolling Stones could be about to celebrate their 50th anniversary with live shows in New York and London, Billboard magazine reported on Thursday.

The band have themselves thrown out a few hints, promising on their Facebook site they would announce some "some exciting news" next week.

"On Ruby Tuesday 4th September, some news is coming and we want you to be a part of it," said another message.

Singer Mick Jagger, 69, sparked rumors of a tour after posting a picture of himself with a caption which read: "Had fun in the Paris studio this week."

US music website reported that the band would play four dates, two at London's O2 Arena and another two at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Entrepreneur Richard Branson and Australian Paul Dainty will promote the shows, which will earn the band $25 million (20 million euros), according to the magazine.

Guitarist Keith Richards, 68, said in March that the band "were simply not ready" to tour, adding that 2013 was the group's "more realistic" target for hitting the road.

Several events have been organized to mark their 50th anniversary including a photograph exhibition and a film, "Crossfire Hurricane", due out in October.

The last Stones tour, the Bigger Bang, ran from 2005 to 2007. - AFP


Eddie Van Halen Has Emergency Surgery

Eddie Van Halen has undergone emergency surgery for "a severe bout of diverticulitis," Van Halen posted on its website, and will spend the next four to six months recovering. As a result, the rockers are rescheduling a tour of Japan that had been slated for November. "The band looks forward to seeing and playing for their fans in 2013," read a brief statement.

Diverticulitis is a digestive disease that occurs when pouches of the inner lining of the intestine, most often in the colon, become inflamed or infected. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever and cramping.

Van Halen also canceled a series of dates earlier this summer. Although there was talk at the time that the musicians weren't getting along, singer David Lee Roth said in a video that the group had simply "bit off more than we could chew," a sentiment Eddie Van Halen echoed in an interview.

The band this year released A Different Kind of Truth, Van Halen's first album with David Lee Roth in 28 years.


Pussy Riot lawyers appeal ‘punk prayer’ jailing

MOSCOW – Pussy Riot lawyers on Monday appealed the jailing of three of the Russian band members for their “punk prayer” call for Vladimir Putin’s ouster ahead of his election to a new presidential term.

The decision to contest this month’s controversial ruling came as news emerged that two other singers in the revolving-member group had fled Russia out of fear of being arrested by the police.

Defence attorney Violetta Volkova said that Pussy Riot’s appeal against the two-year imprisonment was filed with the Moscow City Court.

“All the papers are in order. The only question is whether we will need to file any additional material later,” Volkova told AFP.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina — 22 and 24 respectively and both mothers of young children — and 30-year-old Yekaterina Samutsevich burst into Russia’s main cathedral wearing their trademark balaclavas and shouted out a few lines of their protest song on February 21.

A Moscow judge ruled that the performance displayed “clear disrespect toward society” and convicted them of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”.

The ruling was instantly condemned by the United States and major European powers as another example of freedoms coming under pressure with Putin in power.

The former KGB spy was elected to a third term on March 4 after serving as president in 2000-2008 before resigning as required by the constitution while keeping most of his political powers as prime minister for four years.

The unusual case sparked a worldwide celebrity and pop star campaign for Pussy Riot’s freedom that has enlisted the likes of Bjork and Madonna as well as Paul McCartney and Sting.

But Moscow investigators responded to the global pressure by launching a hunt for two other members of the group who took part in the protest stunt but managed to avoid police detention in the subsequent months.

The group’s on-stage masks hide their identity and Pussy Riot’s lawyers said that the Moscow police admit they only know the wanted women’s identities by the nicknames they use in the band.

Tolokonnikova’s husband Pyotr Verzilov told AFP on Monday that two group members had now managed to leave Russia in order to avoid arrest.

But he refused to confirm that it was the two women wanted by the police or reveal any other details about where they had gone or when they might have left.

“The band has decided to keep this information to themselves as a security precaution,” Verzilov said.

An unofficial Twitter account used by Pussy Riot supporters claimed on Sunday that that the two members who left Russia were the ones wanted by the police.


John Mayer Debuts Short Hair After Splitting From Katy Perry

John Mayer debuted a new look when stepping out solo on Saturday, August 25, just a few days after he broke up with Katy Perry. The rock singer showed up at the SkyBar at the Mondrian in Los Angeles to help Mindy Kaling celebrate her new show "The Mindy Project".

Mayer reportedly got the haircut from Sally Hershberger on Friday afternoon at her salon in Los Angeles. The "Your Body Is Wonderland" hitmaker ditched his shaggy hair for a short-and-neat do. After exiting the salon, he reportedly took a moment to look at his new do in the sideview mirror of his Range Rover.

Rumor suggested it was Mayer who dumped Perry. "They weren't serious, but she was really starting to fall for him," a source close to the West Coast popstar told PEOPLE. "She wasn't seeing forever with him, but saw it lasting longer than it did."

"Katy likes the 'new' part of a relationship, when everything's exciting and you're getting to know the guy. So she wanted to continue experiencing that with John," the source continued dishing on. "They may go out again, even, just as friends."

On Thursday, both Mayer and Perry went out separately. The former hit Soho House in West Hollywood and flirted with some females, while the latter attended Ferras' show at Bootsy Bellows club with her close friend Markus Molinari.


US air guitarist crowned world champ in Finland

OULU, Finland – American Justin Howard, alias Nordic Thunder, was crowned world champion air guitar player late on Friday in the northern Finnish city of Oulu, narrowly ahead of his compatriot Matt Burns, or Airistotle.

Howard, looking like a Viking warrior in his leather tunic, gave an energetic performance that including sliding across the stage bare legged, and won the title with a score of 34.6 points, just ahead of Burns who got 34.4 points.

“I feel amazing, I feel loved, I feel like crying and laughing and hugging,” said Howard after winning both the title and the prize of a handmade electric guitar.

Howard was U.S. champion air guitarist last year, and took silver in the 2011 world championship.

The air guitar world championships have been played in Oulu since 1996.


US braces for holiday clash of tech giants

WASHINGTON – It’s beginning to look a lot like a big season in the United States for mobile gadgets.

A major event is the still-rumored launch by Apple in September of a new iPhone, expected to ignite fresh growth in the smartphone market in the US and worldwide.

Apple is also widely expected to unveil a new tablet computer that will be a smaller version of the hot-selling iPad.

But other big tech firms are not sitting idle.

Microsoft is launching its new Surface tablet in late October, and will be pushing hard to sell Windows-powered smartphones. Google has already launched its own branded tablet and smartphone selling alongside other devices powered by its Android system from makers including Samsung.

And many analysts expect Amazon to unveil at least one updated model of its Kindle Fire tablet computer at a news conference September 6.

“This season is going to be exciting,” said Rob Enderle, a technology analyst and consultant with the Enderle Group.

“This is the first time Apple has faced competition on a number of critical fronts. And it’s the first time competition is coming from Google directly.”

Enderle said he expects Microsoft to spend $1 billion on marketing for its new devices and its Windows 8 platform.

“So the conflict in the fourth quarter is going to be legendary,” Enderle said.

“And it’s an election year, so we are going to be awash in ads for voting and ads for buying.”

US consumers appear to be ready to shop.

The Consumer Electronics Association projects record sales of electronics of $206 billion this year, the first time above the $200 billion mark.

Tablet sales along are expected to reach $29.1 billion, up 83 percent, the association said.

“Tablets are the fastest-growing product category in the history of the consumer electronics industry, and sales will continue to increase as more products hit the market,” said Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis.

US smartphone sales will total $33.7 billion in 2012, for more than 108 million units, according to the group.

Analyst Colin Gillis at BGC Partners said he sees “feverish” anticipation for the new iPhone, and predicts Apple will sell 10 million of the new phones at the launch and 14 million iPads in the fourth quarter.

Ramon Llamas, an analyst with research firm IDC, said Apple remains the company to watch in the mobile sector because of its rabid customer loyalty and ability to command premium prices.

“Every year when the iPhone is released it should become a national holiday because of all the hype, all the long lines,” he said.

But he said there is strong potential for growth from the new Windows-powered phones expected from Nokia and others.

“I don’t think the platform has been widely evangelized, but I like it,” he said.

Sarah Rotman Epps at Forrester Research said Microsoft has been losing ground by being late to the party, and will cede more customers with its relatively late release of Windows 8 on October 26.

“Every day Windows 8 is not in the market, Microsoft is losing opportunity with consumers,” she said.

She noted that at the start of 2011, Windows was the preferred operating system for consumers but that has slipped as Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS dominate the market for mobile devices.

“Microsoft is rapidly losing mindshare among consumers, but once it hits the market, we do think it will gain traction,” she said.

Jack Gold of the consultancy J. Gold Associates said Samsung, the biggest maker of Android phones also expected to launch Windows-based devices, “is going to continue to be the market leader in smartphones” because of its “huge momentum.”

Gold said the new competitive landscape may be good for consumers, possibly bringing down prices.

“I think there is going to be tremendous pressure on Apple to lower their prices,” he said.

“Apple has the high end of the market but that only works when they have a huge advantage.”

One problem for Apple is that rivals such as Google and Amazon are subsidizing their devices to drive consumers to their content — books, music, film and shopping.

Some analysts say the $200 Kindle Fire and Google Nexus tablets are sold at a loss.

“Apple will have to respond,” Gold said.

Notably absent in the final months of the year will be BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, which delayed its new platform expected to challenge the market leaders until early 2013.

Gold said that “it’s never good to be three or six months late,” although the delay may mean “they won’t have to compete with everyone else and can get visibility.”


Signed Orange amp auctioned for Childline

Orange Amps have donated a special Rockverb 50 Mk II amp to Childline to help raise money to support children in distress.

This amp was signed by some of the world’s most famous rock artists attending the Classic Rock awards at the Camden Roundhouse on November 9, 2011, including:

Gene Simmons (Kiss)
Brian May, Roger Taylor (Queen)
Lemmy (Motorhead)
Duff McKagan (Loaded/Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver)
Roy Harper
Randy Bachman (Bachman-Turner)
Rudy Schenker (Scorpions)
Steel Panther
Danny Bowes and Luke Morley (Thunder)
Michael Monroe (Hanoi Rocks)
Steve Conte (Michael Monroe band/New York Dolls)
Ian Gillan (Deep Purple)
Biff Byford and Paul Quinn (Saxon)
Lynne Jackaman (Saint Jude)

Go here to bid:


Aerosmith Go Full-Throttle on Raucous New Song 'Lover Alot'

Now that Steven Tyler is finished with American Idol, he has plenty of time to lay down vocals with Aerosmith on songs like "Lover Alot," a new tune the band is streaming. It's a bombastic rocker with a propulsive beat and pounding bassline that anchor motormouth vocals from Tyler and a squealing guitar solo from Joe Perry.

The song is the second the band has posted from its forthcoming album, Music From Another Dimension. The band debuted the first tune, "Legendary Child," in a performance on Idol in May. Music From Another Dimension is due November 6th.

Zakk Wylde Set to Host Sports Talk Show on SiriusXM

Earlier today, SiriusXM satellite radio announced that Black Label Society frontman and guitar hero Zakk Wylde will be hosting a weekly talk show centered on sports.

Zakk will be joined by Ken Thomson for Wylde on Sports, which is set to debut September 4 on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. The show will air weekly through mid-October on Tuesday nights, 9 to 11 p.m. EST.

“I’m excited to join my brother-in-law Ken Thomson every Tuesday night on SiriusXM to recap all of the awesome NFL action, and to find out what in the Wylde world of sports is going on,” Wylde said. “We’ll be hosting an amazing cast of characters from the worlds of sports, music, movies, television and your local bowling alley as we get Wylde On Sports! Yay! Go Team!”

For more info, head here.


Google online maps embark on Arctic adventure

CAMBRIDGE BAY, Canada — Google set out Wednesday to take users of its free online mapping service on an Arctic adventure with help from an Inuit community in the Canadian tundra.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper joined the effort as the Internet titan’s Street View team arrived in the hamlet of Cambridge Bay in the Northwest Passage for one of its most remote projects to date.

“The goal of this project is to share with a global online audience the beauty of Canada’s Arctic and the culture of the Inuit people who live there,” said a Google team member.

Google spent 11 months planning the mapping endeavor with Nunavut political leaders and elders in Cambridge Bay in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

“People are always asking how we live; how we survive,” Cambridge Bay elder Anna Nahogaloak said in a Kitikmeot Heritage Society interview.

“They’re always asking about everything,” she continued. “This will help them understand and learn more about Nunavut.”

Nunavut is Canada’s northernmost territory and was officially separated from the Northwest Territory in 1999.

Nahogaloak recalled being 10 years old when her family traveled by dog sled from Brownside River in 1958 to Cambridge Bay, where they built a cabin and became part of the small community that has grown to about 1,600 residents.

She recounted how many of the dogs starved along the way because game was scarce.

The Street View project began with a “Mapup” at which a dozen residents worked on Chromebook laptops to enhance a Cambridge Bay map with local knowledge — from roads and rivers to the curling club and a stone church.

“It is important for the Inuit people to contribute to the maps,” Nahogaloak said. “The land is everybody’s land. We all share it.”

Google map software supports the local Inuktitut language.

Cambridge Bay teenagers Mia Otokiak, Siobhan Bligh, and Kean Niptanatiak were among the dozen residents who gathered at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) to add local knowledge to the Cambridge Bay online map.

Map enhancements included a game hall complete with foosball table and an ice hockey arena that relies on nature to freeze water for the rink.

“I think I’m going to gloat about it,” 16-year-old Otokiak said of fine-tuning a Google Map to be seen by people around the world.

Harper and his wife stopped in to learn about Google software tools being used to craft maps in the way that Wikipedia harnessed knowledge for an online encyclopedia.

“The community accepted Google with open arms,” said NTI coordinator Christopher Kalluk, who sold Google on the project last year.

“They are visitors in our home and we want to show them a good time,” he continued. “That is how we will be feeling with the world viewing Cambridge Bay with Street View as well.”

Google donated 10 Chromebooks to the effort and is lending NTI special 360-degree picture camera gear “indefinitely,” according to Google Maps team leader Karin Tuxen-Bettman.

NTI administers land claims for the people of Nunavut.

“I feel the (people of Nunavut) will benefit with Street View because they will be able to show their communities off to people around the world,” Kalluk said. “It gives them more pride and passion for where they live.”

A Street View trike equipped with camera and satellite positioning gear will be pedaled through the town to the nearby tundra on Thursday and Friday.

Google will not be leaving the trike behind because it wants to deploy it in other Nunavut hamlets next year.

“It is about providing all the tools to perfect that map and then letting the community do it itself,” Tuxen-Bettman said.

“Weather and the remoteness are the biggest challenges.”

Street View teams have cycled, driven and walked through cities and towns around the globe capturing images to add to online maps, letting people see what it might be like to stand at a spot they are curious about.


Henry Rollins, Pete Yorn, Priscilla Presley Pay Tribute to Johnny Ramone in L.A.

Johnny Ramone was remembered Sunday by a crowd of friends and punk rock contemporaries that X guitarist Billy Zoom called "a class reunion" at the annual tribute to the Ramones guitarist at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Hundreds of fans lined up for autographs from the likes of Henry Rollins, Sex Pistol Steve Jones and Rock 'n' High School actress P.J. Soles.

"For a cemetery it's very pleasant. Johnny would have loved this," said Tommy Ramone (né Erdelyi), the last surviving original member of the band. Every year, he attends tributes to both Johnny and Joey Ramone.

"We were innovative," he told Rolling Stone. "What we did was very unique and very original. Also, there was nothing like these guys. They were so different and so unusual. It was one of a kind."

Nearby was a large statue of the Ramones guitarist and leader, frozen in mid-riff and surrounded by a red velvet rope, standing among tombstones of ancient Hollywood stars and bandmate Dee Dee Ramone. Jones joked that he planned to build his own pyramid at the cemetery.

It was the ninth event in Johnny's honor since the unveiling of the statue in 2005, just months after his death. Among the guests were Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, actress Rose McGowan, artist Shepard Fairey, model Dita Von Teese, Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom, Rock 'n' Roll High School co-writer Richard Whitley and Priscilla Presley (who was there to introduce a screening of Elvis Presley's favorite film, King Creole, which closed the night). It is organized annually by the guitarist's widow, Linda Ramone.

"Linda is cool. She is such a character," said singer-songwriter Pete Yorn, who first met the guitarist and his wife after recording "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" for the 2003 tribute album We're a Happy Family, which was executive produced by Johnny Ramone. "She reminds me of Johnny so much. She's like a bridge to him in a weird way. Her persona's very similar. She has a strong Queens accent. I feel like his spirit is surrounding her all the time."

Waiting in line for autographs, fans young and old carried copies of Johnny's posthumously published autobiography, Commando, along with vintage albums and guitars. Soles, whose career enjoyed a run of popular and cult movies, including Stripes with Bill Murray and the horror classics Halloween and Carrie – still hears from fans about her role as No. 1 Ramones fan Riff Randell in Rock 'n' Roll High School. It wasn't a hit at the time.

"It took a long time, and it's the same kind of thing with the Ramones' career – and it's lasted and lasted," she said. "If the Ramones were not in that movie, I don't think Rock 'n' Roll High School would have lasted. It was a perfect blending. It's brought a lot of joy to a lot of people."

Mingling with his family in the VIP section was Cornell, who first met Johnny Ramone while on tour in Australia. The guitarist had heard Soundgarden's cover of the Ramones' "I Can't Give You Anything," a version "that he actually liked, which apparently was rare," Cornell told Rolling Stone. "We were friends ever since."

The two bands also toured together as part of Lollapalooza in 1996. Their friendship was especially meaningful for Cornell, who first discovered the Ramones when he was 16, years before the band was recognized as an essential influence on the generations that came after.

"Some things are ahead of their time. The greats are always eventually understood to be that," Cornell said. "I went from AC/DC to them. Before that it was prog-rock. It was AC/DC that led me to understand what good music was, and then it was the Ramones. It changed my life."


Young set invests time, effort in web design firm

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines—Twenty-six-year-old Mikkle Angelo Fernandez dreamed of having his own company and running it someday.

He was still an information technology student then but he was already designing websites with the passion and excitement of a child playing with a favorite toy.

Two months ago, Fernandez’s dream came true when he and college friends, William Allan Balanza and Ronald de Leon, launched Pixel Hub Creative, the first web design agency in Pangasinan.

“We’re so excited to have this business and this office,” says Fernandez, the company’s managing director.

But before getting where they are now, Fernandez and his friends had to work in different places, adapt to different work environments and deal with different clients.

After his college graduation in 2006, Fernandez was hired as web designer and developer by The Design People in Metro Manila. After two years, he went freelance and had as clients CIS One/CIS Media, a web designer and developer firm based in Pasadena, California; Bain and Mercer, an online marketing specialist based in Singapore; and Paper Boat Creative, a web design firm based in London.

“I was inspired by The Design People, my first company. They started small and look at them now. I realized, pwede pala (it can be done),” says Fernandez, a native of Bayambang town.

Balanza, 30, a computer engineering graduate, used to be a freelance web and graphic designer.

His clients, all of them based in the US, included the software giant Microsoft, animated cartoons and movie producer Walt Disney and telecommunications firm Siemens.

“We set up this company here in Dagupan, and not in Metro Manila, to showcase the talents of local web designers and to cater to local clients,” says Balanza, the company’s creative director, who is from Mapandan town.

De Leon, 30, has worked for more than six years as software engineer in different companies in the US. He is now connected with the Recreational Equipment Inc., an award-winning gear and clothing company in the US.

Fernandez says they had to put together part of their savings to set up their office and pay for their operating expenses, such as rental, utilities and salaries of their four employees.

“We really had to spend a lot,” he says.

But losing all their investments is the least of their worries because they say they know they have a good market here.

“Those who need our services are just there, especially now that we are in the digital age,” Fernandez says.

Balanza says being the first web design company with an office in the province gives them an edge over freelance web designers.

“It’s about trust. Having a physical office builds trust,” Balanza says. “It’s because there are some freelancers who do not finish a project and the clients do not know where to look for them.”

Today, Fernandez’s team is already working on some projects and negotiating with several local clients.

In April, his company “branded” the Bangus Festival—from website (, billboards to brochures. They also redesigned the Pangasinan provincial government’s website ( to make it more attractive and interactive.

Fernandez says one of the challenges his team is dealing with right now is educating many of their clients.

“Many people are hesitant to spend for a website. So we tell them why they need a website and how it can help their business,” Fernandez says.

Some prospective clients, he says, also find it expensive to have a website. “And we do a lot of explaining why it is so. We have to explain the specifications,” he says.

But he says it will not take long for business owners here to realize what a website can do to their businesses, “like in Baguio City and Metro Manila.”

“From our experience, Faces, a portrait studio [based here], increased its sales after we launched its website. Overseas Filipino Workers contact them for their weddings when they came home,” Fernandez says.

At their office, Fernandez and Balanza come in their shorts and rubber sneakers.

“But we have professional relationships here. We see to it that we meet our deadlines,” Fernandez says.

article source:

Superstition, especially during Hungry Ghost Festival, thrives in modern Singapore

SINGAPORE - Whenever Christina Tang is overseas and returns to her hotel room, she always knocks on the door before entering even if she is the only occupant.

The 25-year-old Singaporean marketing executive said knocking on the door is meant to seek permission from the "good brothers" -- spirits that might have taken over her room while she was away -- for her to stay over for the night.

"It's just like visiting a friend. You would definitely not barge in without the courtesy of a doorbell or a knock on the door, right? To me, it's just respect."

Singapore might be one of Asia's wealthiest and most well-educated societies, but quirky superstitions are part of daily life in the predominantly ethnic Chinese city-state.

Superstition comes to the fore during the month-long Hungry Ghost Festival, which began on Friday.

Chinese superstition holds that the gates of hell are opened for spirits to wander across the mortal realm before they return to the underworld.

During the month, property sales fall because it is considered inauspicious to make major purchases, and people refrain from staying out too late to avoid otherworldly encounters.

Noisy streetside shows called "getai" featuring professional singers are staged to entertain the visiting spirits -- but don't sit on the empty front seats because they're reserved for the invisible guests.

Traffic jams are typically caused not only by crumpled cars obstructing traffic but also by drivers slowing down to take note of the license plate numbers so that they can bet on them in the hugely popular four-digit lottery.

Having bird droppings land on your head is also seen as a good omen for gamblers because it's so rare for one to be hit in the concrete jungle.

A tree in a western suburb has attracted a following due to the likeness of a monkey on its bark, which believers say resembles that of a deity from Chinese mythology.

The "Monkey Tree" drew so much attention at one point that authorities had to explain to a local newspaper that the visage was a" natural" response by the tree to various "minor accidents over the years."

The "advantage" of superstition"

Even national icons are not immune to superstition.

Operators of the bayside Singapore Flyer, said to be the world's largest ferris wheel, reversed its spinning direction in 2008 so that it revolves towards the financial district and not the sea.

Masters of feng shui -- the ancient practice of balancing energies in any given space to attract good fortune -- advised them that the wheel's revolution should bring fortune into Singapore, not suck the good luck away.

Superstitious practices are often mistakenly associated with religion in Singapore, where many Chinese are followers of Buddhism or Taoism, said Chung Kwang Tong, a high priest with the local Taoist Federation.

"The religion itself does not have such practices," he told AFP. "A lot of them will just try because to them there is no harm in trying."

Ang Swee Hoon, a sociologist at the National University of Singapore, said even well-educated people resort to superstitious practices because of the highly competitive environment in Singapore.

"Hence, to get a leg up, Singaporeans engage in more activities that will give them an advantage. Superstitious behaviors seemingly offer that," Ang said. "So, instead of superstitions being irrational, it may be perceived as rational."

Ang said the opening of two massive casinos in 2010 further boosted superstitious practices in gambling-mad Singapore, which already has horse racing, sweepstakes, numbers games, and sports betting operations.

Red underwear is seen as sexy in many countries, but to Singaporean gamblers, it's just another way of attracting good fortune because red is regarded as a lucky colour among Chinese.

Gamblers and financial traders often wear red undergaments before placing a bet or playing the stock market.

"Gamblers are generally a more superstitious lot," Ang said.


Listless trading seen this week

Local stocks are expected to remain listless once trading resumes Wednesday as investors scramble for leads in an abbreviated trading week.


Markets were closed Monday due to the holiday ending the Muslim holy month and remain closed Tuesday, which has been declared Ninoy Aquino Day.

In a research note to its clients, AB Capital Securities said sentiment this week would likely be driven by developments abroad, given that the local earnings season has already ended.

“One important event [this] week will be the Federal Reserve’s release of Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes, which will give insights into the US financial and economic conditions for the month,” AB Capital’s Gregg Adrian Ilag said.

He noted, however, that stocks on the Philippine Stock Exchange were now trading at an average of 16 times their earnings on a per-share basis, which he said was a premium to historical valuations.—Daxim L. Lucas


John Lennon's killer up for parole for seventh time

NEW YORK -- Mark David Chapman, the disturbed man who shot dead Beatles frontman John Lennon, is up for parole for the seventh time, with a decision expected later this week, prison officials said Sunday.

The hearing is set to begin on Tuesday and will last two to three days, New York State prison service spokeswoman Linda Foglia told AFP, adding that she expects a decision "by the end of the week."

Chapman, 57, was sentenced in 1981 to between 20 years and life in prison for Lennon's murder on December 8, 1980, as the legendary singer-songwriter was walking with his wife Yoko Ono to their home by New York's Central Park.

Chapman, who was mentally unstable and just 25 at the time, had staked out the musician's apartment building.

Earlier in the day the musician had even autographed a copy of his latest album "Double Fantasy" for the man who would kill him.

Chapman eventually pleaded guilty to the murder, and is currently being held at the Wende maximum security prison in Alden, New York.


Weekend Rock Question: What Is Your Favorite Rolling Stones Album?

As Rolling Stones fans well know, this year is the band's 50th anniversary. For the past couple of years, rumors have swirled that the group will reunite for a tour sometime in 2012. Mick Jagger has indicated that the band might play some gigs in the fall, but the clock is starting to tick and there's not even a hint that they have actually booked a show.

Whether or not they actually tour, we still have 22 Stones albums to enjoy, from 1964's The Rolling Stones though 2005's A Bigger Bang.

Now we have a question for you: What's your single favorite Rolling Stones album? Feel free to get weird with this one. If you love Voodoo Lounge or Goat's Head Soup, just own it. There's no judgement here. This is a safe place. But please, just vote once and only for one album. If we suddenly see 900 votes for Bridges to Babylon, we'll know something's up.

You can vote here in the comments, on or on Twitter using the #weekend rock hashtag.


Apple stock hits new high on gadget rumors

Apple’s stock price leaped to a new high on Friday amid rumors the tech giant is poised to hit the market with new versions of iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV devices.

Shares rose nearly two percent to $648.11 by the end of the formal trading day on the Nasdaq exchange, buoyed by a Jefferies investment bank analyst advising clients that the price could climb to $900.

The share price inched up to $648.85 in after-market trading.

The arrival of the iPhone 5 “will be the biggest handset launch in history,” Jefferies investment bank analyst Peter Misek said in a note raising the target price for Apple stock and giving it a ‘buy’ rating.

Jefferies reasoned that Apple is positioned to take a significant portion of the profit to be generated by hot trends in smartphones, tablet computers, and gadgets linking to the Internet on latest-generation 4G networks.

The Internet has been abuzz with unconfirmed reports that Apple will introduce a new iPhone, perhaps with a larger screen, at a press event in September.

The Cupertino, California-based company is also believed to be readying a smaller version of its market-ruling iPad and a revamped Apple TV box, referred to unofficially as “iTV,” that routes video or programming to televisions.

“We believe the iTV is in full production,” Misek said.

Jefferies raised its forecast for iPad sales from 18 million to 25 million for the third quarter and from 22-25 million to 30 million for the final three months of this year.

Friday’s surge in Apple’s stock price demonstrated the powerful expectations for the next generation of gadgets from the culture-changing company, according to Wedbush Securities managing director of equities trading Michael James.

Investors also see promise in hot new Apple gadgets hitting the market in time for the year-end holiday shopping seasons, when the company’s products typically shine, James added.

Apple has the largest market capitalization in the United States, with its stock giving it a value of about $602.25 billion.

article source:

Talent thrives among Elvis grandkids: Lisa Marie

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Elvis Presley’s grandchildren all have show business in their blood, but their mother Lisa Marie Presley said Friday she hoped they would succeed at whatever they chose to pursue.

Presley, 44, discussed her iconic rock ‘n’ roll father, who died 35 years ago this week, alongside her mother Priscilla during a half-hour talk before Elvis fans at the family’s Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.

It was the first time the singer-songwriter, whose latest album “Storm and Grace” came out in May, had participated in an open panel discussion at the annual Elvis Week festivities.

“Really, I just want them to be really good at whatever they want to do,” she said when asked about her children Riley Keough, 23, Benjamin Keough, 19, and three-year-old twins Harper and Finley Lockwood.

Riley, who appears in director Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper film “Magic Mike,” is doing “incredibly well” in her acting career, while music-loving Benjamin is “swinging back and forth” between bass and guitar, said Presley.

Of “the little ones,” she said Finley “is definitely going to sing… that child loves music,” while potential thespian Harper can recreate any movie she sees “scene by scene, line by line, exactly as she saw it.”

Asked what the twins make of their iconic grandpop, Presley said: “They are very, very, very proud. ‘That’s my grandfather! I want to see my grandfather!’ They have such a sense of pride. It’s really cute.”

Presley had her older children with her first husband, musician Danny Keough, and the youngest ones with her current spouse, music producer Michael Lockwood. She was also married to the late Michael Jackson and actor Nicolas Cage.


John Lennon's killer seeks freedom again

New York (CNN) -- Mark David Chapman, John Lennon's convicted killer, is up for parole for the seventh time and may be questioned as early as Tuesday, authorities said Friday.

His latest quest for freedom comes ahead of the 32nd anniversary of the death of the former Beatle, a British singer-songwriter who was gunned down outside his Manhattan apartment on December 8, 1980.

Chapman is scheduled to be interviewed by two or three members of the parole board, according to Carole Claren-Weaver, a spokeswoman for the New York Department of Corrections.

He was last up for parole in 2010, but was denied because his "discretionary release remains inappropriate at this time and incompatible with the welfare of the community," according to the New York State Division of Parole.

He was also denied parole in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.

Chapman, 57, is serving a sentence of 20 years to life in prison, and is being held at the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York.

He is in protective custody in a single-person cell, Claren-Weaver said, and is allowed out three hours per day.

Since his transfer from Attica earlier this year, Chapman has reapplied to participate in a state program called "family reunion," which allows inmates to spend more time with family members.

Chapman has not had an infraction since 1994. It is not clear if he currently has legal representation.

Yoko Ono, Lennon's widow, in previous years has submitted a letter requesting that parole be denied. She could not be immediately reached for comment.

source: CNN

Double your Website Traffic in Forums

Do you need more traffic to your web site, and more sales? If you do, then you need to consider an often neglected side of web site promotion which is called forum marketing.

Most web sites make use of forums to provide the element of response from user to owner and vice versa. These forums take many forms, and include the standard forums, discussion boards, bulletin boards and currently blogs where the visitors to the web site can leave their comments on the site.

Marketing has always revolved around relationships. The basic element of relationship from the aspect of online marketing is to weave an element of trust between the potential purchaser and the vendor or web site owner. Once there is this element of trust, even the tiniest bond that has been sown between the potential buyer and seller, it becomes easier for the potential buyer to take a further step to buy the product. That is why many marketers are establishing forum boards and blogs to interact with clients and to provide support and to answer queries.

These forum boards provide a fertile ground for you to test out forum marketing for your products.

You need to compile a list of the discussion boards and blogs that are related to your product or service line that you are going to market. Then on a daily basis, visit these forums to read their postings. These forums are the best sites where newbies to internet marketing would congregate to seek free resources, or request information or advice from more experienced forumers. When you see a post where you can respond, make a brief informative post, and more importantly make sure you leave a reference to your web site in your signature line. This confers on you two advantages. Firstly, you gain a backlink to your site when you leave your website address in a much visited forum, and secondly, forumers who read your post will tend to visit your web site by following the link in your post.

Some internet marketers channel all their visitors to a squeeze page and not to a sales website directly. This squeeze page is a sign up page where you get the email address of the visitor in return for a free download of a ebook or report or software. By using this squeeze page, you gain targeted leads.

Statistics show a potential buyer would need to be exposed at least 3 to 5 times before he becomes interested to take the next step to purchase anything from you. By getting his email, you can email him on a regular schedule or use an autoresponder to channel your marketing message across.

The most important part of forum marketing is to identify a group of marketing forums and blogs related to your product or services that you are selling, from which you can then launch off. Once you have the list of forums and discussion boards, it becomes a daily affair to spend enough time to visit these forums and to post to them. Beware though, forum reading can be addictive, and you can be spending a whole lot of time on reading and posting to forums. Track your leads, and as you continue to do your forum posting daily, you will see a steady increase in your web site traffic and your sales.

kathleen oz owns legitimate business opportunities online. please visit her site to learn about residual income. OnlineMarketing

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Online business boosts Domino's profit

Domino's will continue to build up its online business in the year ahead as it expects profits to grow by 15 per cent

The Australia-based pizzamaker says the profits are being pushed by soaring digital sales and demand for more shopfronts.

On Tuesday it reported a 26 per cent rise in full year net profit of $26.9 million for the year to June 30, 2012, up from $21.4 million in the previous year.

Chief executive Don Meij said customers were increasingly warming to buying pizzas online, especially through their smartphones, instead of the conventional ways over the phone or in-person.

He said it's expected more than 60 per cent of Domino's overall pizza sales will come through via online orders this year.

'We've gone from one per cent of (online sales) in 2005 to 50 per cent today, and 40 per cent of that's through smartphones,' Mr Meij told AAP.

Domino's says its same store sales will grow by three to five per cent by June 2013, and about 75 new stores will open at the same time as a result of that.

'The whole digital exposure means we're getting more business, and more business means we need more shops to handle all that,' Mr Meij said.

Domino's expects new product lines and online offerings will drive its sales this year.

The pizzamaker is to launch a new iPad app that allows customers to create' their own pizza before it's handed to them at the door.

'You actually make the pizza with your fingers, so you're actually pulling the topping on the pizza and building it.

'The whole idea of digital is what can you do online that you can't do offline, well, you can't sit there with a pen and paper and draw a pizza (you want),' he said.

Domino's now sees itself not just as a fast food retailer, but a digital company, Mr Meij said.

'We aspire to other digital retailers and say, well, who has best practices and how do we, in our space, learn and lead?'

Google Australia managing director Nick Leeder said Domino's understanding of its tech-savvy market was 'scary'.

'The things that Domino's knows about Australian males and their behaviour at five O'clock in the afternoon is just scary,' Mr Leeder said at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce function on Tuesday.

Mr Leeder said Domino's had understood the move by customers to mobile.

'They've taken a punt based on what they knew that their customers were doing and they've seen some terrific results,' he said.

Domino's will pay shareholders a full year fully-franked dividend of 27.1 cents per share, up 23.7 per cent on the dividend paid in the corresponding period last year.

The company's shares closed 25 cents higher to $9.65 on Tuesday.

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Profits embarrass Aust banks- Shepherd

Australian banks are 'almost embarrassed' to report huge profits, the Business Council of Australia (BCA) president says in the wake of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia's (CBA) record profit.

The CBA on Wednesday posted a $7.09 billion full year profit, the largest ever made by an Australian bank, but chief executive Ian Narev struck a cautious tone as he delivered the news on Wednesday.

'This is a good result given the uncertain environment,' Mr Narev said.

BCA president Tony Shepherd said Mr Narev's modest response to the profit was a distinctly 'Australian thing'.

'Companies are almost embarrassed (to report a major profit) ... particularly the banks,' Mr Shepherd told an Australian British Chamber of Commerce lunch in Melbourne.

'Companies aren't embarrassed in the (United) States about reporting a record profit, in fact the country will celebrate them.

'But we have this problem here with companies making a profit.

'The fact that our banks are profitable is one of the things that got us through the GFC (global financial crisis).

'Ian is quite correctly saying, I'm not sure how long this is going to last, our cost of funds is rising, business confidence and consumer confidence is low, and so we need to continue to work really hard to maintain our profitability.'

'But if he'd come out and said,We just shot the lights out with the profit,' everyone would be all over him.'


The Treatment Schedule Club Shows on Kiss/ Mötley Crüe Off Days

Nearly a month into their 42-date trek opening for Kiss and Motley Crue, the U.K.’s the Treatment have announced six special club dates set for off days on the tour. Dates can be found below.

The Treatment’s debut album, This Might Hurt, is out now.

The Treatment Off-Date Shows

August 20th- Hawthorne Theater- Portland, Oregon
August 21st- The A Club- Spokane, Washington (supporting Bobaflex)
August 23rd – Base Camp- Denver, Colorado
September 6th- The Rave Bar- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
September 9th- The Frequency- Madison, Wisconsin
September 17th-The Met Café- Providence, Rhode Island


TV5 ready to lend MMDA uncut video showing assault on traffic enforcer

MANILA, Philippiens - The TV5 management will help Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcer Saturnino Fabros by providing him a copy of the uncut video showing how he was assaulted by a Philip Morris International (PMI) executive in Capitol Hills, Quezon City last Saturday.

TV5 said the uncut video, shown on its public service program T3 would help the MMDA bolster its case against PMI's Robert Blair Carabuena. Earlier in the day, MMDA said it would file direct assault charges against Carabuena.

"Kahapon nga po nasabi namin at maging po ang TV5 management (that) we’re willing to help out po. We’re willing to lend our video, 'yong uncut po sa korte," T3's host Erwin Tulfo said on his radio show, Punto Asintado on Wednesday.

[Yesterday, we said as well as the management of TV5 that we're willing to help out. We're willing to lend our uncut video to be used at the court.]

Meanwhile, Tulfo said that TV5 was still open to give Carabuena a chance to explain his side. - with Romsanne R. Ortiguero


Primary Health Care profit boost

Medical centre operator Primary Health Care is forecasting continued growth after posting an almost 50 per cent jump in full year profit.

Managing director Dr Edmund Bateman said earnings per share were expected to increase 20 to 25 per cent in the current financial year, underpinned by steadily increasing GP attendances, revenues and low inflation.

This was based on predictions that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation would climb to between $370 million and $380 million in 2012/13, from $351.1 million in 2011/12.

'This outlook we think is supported by careful analysis of likely variables we see, going forward,' Dr Bateman said as the company unveiled a $116.6 million net profit for the financial year to June 30, up 49 per cent from $78.3 million in 2010/11.

'There is a continued reduction in interest expense, through hedging and margin improvements,' Dr Bateman added.

Macquarie Equities analyst Craig Collie said the result was consistent with analysts' expectations, although the guidance exceeded them.

'Guidance was two to three per cent above our expectations, which was positive,' Mr Collie told AAP.

But he said the reaction in the share price, which was up 29 cents, or 9.39 per cent ,at $3.38 at 1342 AEST, was more of a mystery.

'I can only assume that the market's expectations were well below analysts,' he said.

Primary's revenue climbed 5.3 per cent to $1.4 billion, with the company's medical centres, pathology and imaging services all recording increases.

However, revenues and earnings for the health technology division were flat.

Revenue grew 5.6 per cent across the company's 76 medical centres but the 57 larger centres were the best performers, recording a 12 per cent boost in revenue.

One new medical centre opened in 2011/12, with another expected to be up and running in the 2013 financial year.

Primary acquired 105 doctors at a cost of about $50 million and reported a GP retention rate of 93 per cent for large-scale centres, which was expected to remain stable.

Patient attendances to medical clinics increased seven per cent across all centres and 12 per cent in the large-scale centres.

Primary's pathology division was a strong performer with a 6.1 per cent increase in revenue to $785.4 million, up from from $740.1 million in the previous period.

'This is purely organic, we've had no acquisitions whatsoever,' chief financial officer Andrew Duff said.

He said cash flow would continue to improve, with interest costs reducing.

The company's $1.02 billion of debt was refinanced in October 2011.


Century Properties posts 91% growth in 1H profit

MANILA, Philippines - Century Properties Group announced on Wednesday that its net income for the first six months of 2012 grew 91 percent to P944 million from P496 million a year ago on the back of "strong" sales from its property developments.

In a statement, the developer of Trump Tower said total revenues during the period surged 133 percent to P4.9 billion from P2.1 billion last year.

In the second quarter alone, revenues and income rose by 146 percent to P2.5 billion and 28 percent to P491 million, respectively.

From April to June, the company generated P5.4 billion in pre-sales, 19 percent of which came from the luxury segment, 40 percent from the middle income, and 41 percent from the affordable markets.

For the first semester, Century's pre-sales grew 18 percent to P10.7 billion from last year and already 54 percent of the P20-billion pre-sales target for 2012. About 66 percent or P7.1 billion of this semester's pre-sales came from offshore buyers.

At end-June, Century Properties' debt stood at P1.4 billion, representing a total debt to equity of 19 percent while it had a net debt to equity ratio of 10 percent.

"All of the debt on its balance sheet is for projects that are significantly pre-sold, thus ensuring Century is on solid financial footing," the company said.

During the briefing on Wednesday, Marco Antonio, Century co-chief operating officer, said the recession in the euro zone and the weakness of the US economy may not hit the company significantly since they learned from their experience during the 2008 subprime recession.

"When the subprime crisis from the US spread to other parts like Europe, what we did was we diversified geographically where we source our international sales. We've been actually successful and we've diversified into 50 countries and two-thirds of our sales come from these countries," Antonio said.

"So the temporary vacuum that we felt in America was more than aptly covered by various markets such as the Middle East, Canada, the rest of Asia, as well as Europe," he added.

This time, Century's sales in Europe did not slow down and instead increased since its market is not that affected by the European recession. Some of these buyers are nurses, IT workers, and accounting professionals, who are still employed.

"Yes, this may be a temporary hiccup in terms of their purchasing power but we're quite conscious to match the product with the market. Will Trump [Tower] sell in Italy? Probably not. But will our residences in Commonwealth sell to Filipinos in the Italy market? The answer is a resounding yes," Antonio said.

In the long-term, the Century executive said their diversified push in their international sales will insulate the company from the slowdowns in some parts of the world.

The real estate firm said about 30 percent of its sales come from Asia, 35 percent from US, while UK, EU and the Middle East make up 12 percent to 16 percent each of their total sales.


Public apology sought from motorist who assaulted MMDA traffic enforcer

The head of an agency that looks after Metro Manila traffic demanded a public apology from Robert Blair Carabuena, the motorist who assaulted an officer after he was stopped from going through a congested intersection.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino made this announcement on Wednesday, a day after Carabuena assaulted traffic enforcer Saturnino Fabros.

"Gusto ko rin makaharap kung sino man itong executive na ito at 'di lang ipaghingi ng paumanhin doon kay Saturnino kundi sa general public. Hindi maganda lalo na ngayon na kumakalat daw sa social network yung video, eh nakikita na rin po sa ibang bansa at parang 'di magandang imahe natin bilang mga driver," Tolentino said in an interview over Radyo Singko's Punto Asintado.

[I want to confront this executive and ask him to apologize not only to Saturnino but to the general public as well. Since the video is already circulating in social networks, other countries might have a wrong impression of our drivers.]

Tolentino also seeks to revoke Carabuena's driving license.

Carabuena, an executive human resources officer for Philip Morris Philippines, was driving through a congested intersection at Capitol Hills Drive corner Tandang Sora in Quezon City on Saturday when MMDA officer Fabros tried to stop him.

Agitated, Carabuena assaulted the traffic officer which was caught on video by TV5 producers.
Meanwhile, Fabros told Radyo Singko that he is willing to forgive Carbuenas.

"Ito po masasabi ko sa kanya, Mr. Robert Carabuena, yung ginawa niyo po sa akin, kung kayo po ay humihingi po ng tawad sa akin, okay lang po, kaya lang po yung ginawa niyo po sa akin sir, napahiya na po ako sa publiko, napahiya po talaga ako lalong lalo na po sa mga anak ko na sinabi nila nakita daw po nila sa TV," he said.

[This is what I will say to Mr. Robert Carabuena, if you will ask for forgiveness, it is okay. However, I was publicly humiliated especially after my children told me they saw everything on TV.]

According to Tolentino, cases of assaulted and mauled traffic officers was not new. Just last month, a traffic enforcer was also assaulted in front of a mall, says Tolentino.

The chairman further added that a case of an officer who was shot dead by an affluent driver is still pending at the court.

"Marami na po ito. Nakakalungkot nga na may mga driver tayo na mayayaman na nananakit at talagang abusado. So (kung) mayroon tayong mga abusadong bus driver, eh mayroon din tayong abusadong driver ng pribadong sasakyan," he said.

[We have numerous cases like this. Sadly, we have affluent drivers who are abusive. If we have abusive bus drivers, we also have abusive private car drivers.]


MMDA sues Carabuena for assaulting traffic enforcer

MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday filed a criminal complaint against a Philip Morris executive who beat up a traffic enforcer in Quezon City last Saturday.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said he has directed the agency’s Legal Service to file direct assault charges against Robert Blair Carabuena, Philip Morris recruitment officer, on behalf of Traffic Constable Saturnino Fabros.

The criminal complaint was filed before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Quezon City, Tolentino said.

“We cannot allow this aggression and shameless attack against our men who are only doing their job as best as they can, regardless of the risks they face in the streets every day,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino added that as the assault on Fabros is also an attack against the MMDA, he demanded that Carabuena issue a public apology.

“We at the MMDA condemn to the highest degree the physical assault perpetrated by an abusive and violent motorist on our hapless traffic enforcer who was just enforcing traffic laws,” he said.

“This, I believe, is the last thing the MMDA can afford. It defames the person of Mr. Saturnino Fabros, the undersigned as chief executive of the office, as well as the MMDA’s,” Tolentino added.

According to Tolentino, Fabros was just doing his job dutifully as a traffic enforcer.

“The actions of Mr. Robert Blair Carabuena showed total disregard for a person of authority and a blatant disrespect for the law,” Tolentino said.

“A public apology is demanded from Mr. Carabuena, not only for Mr. Fabros, but for the entire Authority, which he unjustly and intentionally offended,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino said all support will be given by the agency to Fabros “in his search for justice in the proper court.”

“I urge the MMDA community to continue the good work that we have shown for the past years, and because of your support and cooperation, we have served the public and achieved our mission with sincerity, and integrity. Keep in mind that this incident should not have happened in the first place. Nonetheless, I trust that this unfortunate spectacle shall become an example for all motorists on how to behave and conduct themselves,” Tolentino said in a statement.

Carabuena was caught on video slapping Fabros several times over a traffic violation. Fabros said he had tried to apprehend Carabuena after he ignored the stop signal at the corner of Capitol Drive and Tandang Sora Avenue in Quezon City.

Meanwhile, Tolentino said he will also ask the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to cancel Carabuena’s driver’s license as “abusive and arrogant motorists like him, who obviously do not have serious regard to the rule of law, have no right to be in the road in the first place.”

Under the Revised Penal Code, direct assault is charged to any person who shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties. Direct assault is punishable by a prison term of six months to six years.


Standard Chartered CEO takes charge of Iran probe talks

(REUTERS) - Standard Chartered's chief executive Peter Sands has flown to New York to take personal control of the bank's attempts to reach a settlement with United States (US) regulators over allegations it hid transactions involving Iran.

Mr Sands is also ready to attend a hearing set for Wednesday at which the London-based bank has been told by the New York banking regulator that it must demonstrate why its state banking license should not be revoked over the transactions.

A Standard Chartered spokesman said the bank was waiting to hear from the Department of Financial Services (DFS) what form the hearing will take.

"Peter is happy to go if that's appropriate," a Standard Chartered spokesman said on Tuesday.


Ex-Korn Drummer Pleads Not Guilty In DUI Case

Ex-Korn drummer David Silveria insists he was NOT under the influence at the time of his DUI arrest earlier this year -- pleading "not guilty" earlier this week in an Orange County courtroom.

TMZ broke the story ... Silveria was busted for DUI in Huntington Beach back in March after rear-ending another car.

The man insisted he hadn't a drop to drink -- but told us he did take a sleeping pill the night before, the effects of which may have lasted through the morning ... making him too drowsy to drive safely.

Silveria called it an "honest mistake" -- and has now decided to fight the charges.

A pretrial date has been set for September.

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The 5 Heaviest Black Sabbath Songs

Black Sabbath has long been regarded as one of the heaviest of heavy metal bands. After 40 years, their monstrous riffs still echo through the brainpans of hard rock fans worldwide. Sabbath were always a lot more than just a heavy rock band; acoustic interludes, jazz phrasings, pop melodies and blues riffs are just a few of the textures that can be found in their music. Still, their overall sound has always been rather unrelenting.

Here's a list of some of the songs I think cement Sabbath's much-deserved reputation as the heaviest in the land.

1.) "Into the Void" - from Master of Reality, 1971

If I had to pick just one song to make a case for Black Sabbath's unmatched heaviness, this would be it. This single song has more top of the heap metal riffs than most guitarists come up with over the course of a career. As is often the case, Tony Iommi leads the pack here with a tone and an attack that make listening to this song akin to being slowly encased in molten iron (um, in, y'know, a good way). The chemistry of the band is not to be discounted here, however;without Ozzy's voice crying in the wilderness and the inimitable rhythm section of Bill Ward and Geezer Butler simultaneously plodding and swinging, the track's heaviness would be less by half. Advances in technology have naturally made it easier to get heavier and heavier guitar tones or production sounds, but the key to why this stuff still sounds alarmingly heavy even today lies in Iommi's insane hand vibrato, along with the chemistry with the rest of the band.

2.) "Iron Man" - from Paranoid, 1970

Overplayed? Maybe. Still, even though the riff to this classic is one of the first things every rock guitar player learns (along with Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water"), and is burned into the brains of rock fans around the globe, it never sounds as heavy in your head as it does when you actually listen to it. This is heavy almost to the point of parody, and is, therefore, awesome.

3.) "War Pigs" - from Paranoid, 1970

Another big hit, and from the same record, but "War Pigs" likewise demands inclusion. The opening chord alone qualifies this song for the heaviness hall of fame.

4.) "The Writ" - from Sabotage, 1975

Some of Sabbath's heaviest songs come from this underrated album, including "Hole in the Sky", "Symptom of the Universe" and "Megalomania". All of those probably belong on this list, but "The Writ" comes off as the heaviest of the bunch to my ears, if only for the anguished emotional punch it packs. Often overlooked is just how much Ozzy's vocals add to the actual heaviness of the Sabs' densest material.

5.) "Falling Off the Edge of the World" - from the Mob Rules, 1981

I had to include something from the Dio era and it was a toss-up between this and "Follow the Tears" from the 2009 album, "The Devil You Know". That album, however, though recorded by the same personnel as "The Mob Rules", was released under the band name Heaven & Hell, not Black Sabbath. So, I'm calling this tough choice on a technicality here. Either of these tracks are mind-numbingly heavy, though, and make a strong case for Iommi and Butler's ability to dish out world-class heaviness even with two very different players on drums and vocals (Vinny Appice and Ronnie James Dio, respectively). Another strong contender would be "I" from 1992's "Dehumanizer".

In the end, it's really hard to pick five as the definitive heavy moments for these guys. I do think, though, that if you listen to these five songs back-to-back, you'll see why people consider Black Sabbath to be one of the heaviest bands of all-time.

If you like Black Sabbath, Ozzy or Dio, check out two of my favorite new bands. Not nearly as heavy, but definitely in the vein of classic rock and hard rock, just the way I like it. Download free songs from the Hard Ponys and the Beast of England.

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Hillary Clinton Hits the Dance Floor in South Africa

Hillary Clinton has some serious arm control, not to mention fancy footwork.

A mirror-ball trophy might be in the her future – judging by a video of the U.S. Secretary of State busting some Dancing with the Stars-worthy moves in South Africa (watch below).

In Johannesburg Tuesday night for a dinner hosted by South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Clinton, 64, took to the dance floor, much to the cheers of fellow attendees.

It wasn't the first time Clinton let loose overseas. In April, she was spotted dancing and drinking a beer in Cartagena, Colombia.

And Clinton isn't the only one on Capitol Hill who knows how to get her groove on: Perhaps she should challenge First Lady Michelle Obama to a dance-off.


Starbucks and Square to Team Up

SAN FRANCISCO — Cash moved one small step nearer to its deathbed with the announcement on Wednesday that Square, the mobile payments start-up, would form a partnership with the Starbucks Coffee Company.

This fall, Square will begin processing all credit and debit card transactions at Starbucks stores in the United States and eventually customers will be able to order a grande vanilla latte and charge it to their credit cards simply by saying their names.

Though smartphone payments have a long way to go before they replace wallets altogether, Starbucks’s adoption of Square will catapult the start-up’s technology onto street corners nationwide, and is the clearest sign yet that mobile payments could become mainstream.

“Anyone who’s going to break the mobile payments barrier in the U.S. has to overcome the resistance to try anything new when everything we have works really, really well, even cash, which is very convenient,” said Bill Maurer, director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine.

“But if a big merchant jumping into some mobile payment solution signals to other merchants that there is an opportunity here,” he added, “that might change the psychology for other merchants.”

Starbucks is also investing $25 million in Square as part of its latest round of financing, which values the company at $3.25 billion, and Howard D. Schultz, Starbucks’s chief executive, will join Square’s board.

Starbucks has offered its own mobile payment app since last year and processes more than a million mobile payments a week. Customers will continue to be able to use it, but they will also be able to use Pay With Square, Square’s cellphone app, which eliminates even having to take the phone out of your pocket or sign a receipt.

At first, Starbucks customers will need to show the merchant a bar code on their phones. But when Starbucks uses Square’s full GPS technology, the customer’s phone will automatically notify the store that the customer has entered, and the customer’s name and photo will pop up on the cashier’s screen. The customer will give the merchant his or her name, Starbucks will match the photo and the payment will be complete.

Even though Square’s app has been well reviewed, it has not caught on with shoppers, which has been Square’s biggest challenge as it tries to expand. That is in large part because of the limited number of merchants that accept payments that way. Most of Square’s users are small businesses, like farm stands or cafes that also use Square’s credit card reader.

Starbucks, which will be far and away the largest business using Square, could change that.

“Starbucks is one of the largest organizations in the world, taking technology like Square — simple, fast and focused on customer experience — and bringing it to a massive scale,” said Jack Dorsey, Square’s co-founder and chief executive.

Square, which was introduced in 2010, is one of many businesses — like Google, PayPal, Sprint and Microsoft and start-ups like Scvngr and GoPago — that are trying to offer mobile payments. But they have been slow to catch on because they require the cooperation of many players, including retailers, credit card companies, banks, cellphone carriers and phone makers. And Americans have been just as happy to pull out their credit cards as their cellphones to make a payment.

Denee Carrington, a Forrester analyst who recently wrote a report on mobile payments, said that mobile payment providers would need to offer a compelling, safe and convenient experience for shoppers, and that the applications would have to make good use of their personal data, like spending habits, to offer valuable services.

Forrester estimates that 30 percent of American mobile phone owners are interested in using mobile payments, based on a survey polling about 7,600 adults in the United States. It found that younger consumers are the most amenable to using mobile wallets. Still, it predicts that it will take another three to five years before mobile payments reach critical mass in the domestic market.

“We are still in the early days of mobile payments specifically, but the market is accelerating, especially the amount of innovation that’s happening in the marketplace,” Ms. Carrington said.

Square has so far been most popular in small coffee shops, but Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Schultz said that even though the start-up was now doing business with the nation’s biggest coffee chain, the partnership would benefit those small businesses. More customers will have the app, they said, and it will show small businesses near Starbucks stores.

“My hope is that by creating a national footprint for Square technology in all Starbucks stores in the U.S., that it will be a catalyst for Square to get access to tens of thousands of other small business and democratize payments,” Mr. Schultz said.


Smashing Pumpkins thank Manila fans via Twitter, vow to return soon

Band leader Billy Corgan’s tweet pretty much sums it up: “Manila fans, you’re the best. Thanks to everyone who made the show possible. Our prayers go out to everyone who has been affected.”

Even as they continued to show their concern for “the 800,000 left homeless by the recent Metro floods” as tweeted by Greenpeace, Corgan and the rest of the Smashing Pumpkins simply could not hide how overwhelmed they were with the reception to their rescheduled concert Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Manila! You guys killed, thanks for making this night so memorable. Rain can’t stop rock n’ roll!,” added drummer Mike Byrne in a separate tweet.

The postponement of the much-anticipated concert originally slated for last Tuesday turned out to be a blessing in disguise both for the band and for fans as it allowed both parties to constantly communicate with each other via Twitter, eventually affecting the conduct of the concert in a big way.

After announcing the one-day delay of their show with the tweet, “I’m happy to report thanks to our great crew and with the helpful assistance of Manila promoter we have rescheduled our show for tomorrow,” Corgan went on to spend much of the day at an almost deserted Shangri-La Plaza mall, a place he would describe as “zombie mall” in a subsequent tweet.

Lovely bass player Nicole Fiorentino sympathized with those affected by the incessant rains with her tweet, “my heart goes out to all of the families who are dealing with the floods in Manila right now.”

“Manila, I am thrilled that we get to play tomorrow night. My heart was breaking thinking we were leaving here without rocking out for you!,” she added.

As the weather gradually improved the following day, an elated Corgan tweeted Wednesday morning, “The show goes on! Skies clearing over Manila/our prayers go out to all the families affected by floods. God willing we’ll see u 2night!”

Still, the rains did not stop long enough for the floods to fully subside as the band continued to update fans with concert-related activities in their live tweets.

“Getting an education in The Grateful Dead backstage with the crew, cant wait to light it up for you Jerry style, Manila!,” Byrne posted before adding “Saw the “Thrilla in Manila” banner during soundcheck today, crazy!”

Fiorentino and Corgan went a step further by tweeting pictures of their soundcheck experience from their impressive equipment to their awestruck view of the Smart Araneta Coliseum’s interiors to backstage stuff.

In the case of Fiorentino, she even asked fans which of her two dresses they preferred her to wear, “Yellow or red tonight,” she tweeted around two hours before they took the stage.
“Manila! We are pushing back our start time a half hour to give people more time to get here. Start time 9:15,” she later tweeted in anticipation of the difficulty people will encounter (traffic, floods) in getting to the venue.

True enough, people were still arriving midway through the concert as the Pumpkins lived up to the “emotional and enthusiastic show” that Corgan promised during the press conference that took place Monday afternoon.

“#SPPH about to hit the stage. OCEANIA first, special surprises to follow…oh yeah Manila, special show bonus for you!,” the band’s charismatic leader tweeted before taking the stage.

And as announced, the band performed its latest album, “Oceania” in its entirety and further enhanced by a giant ball that projected the visual spectacle of Sean Evans, who helped in designing the newest staging of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.”

But it was the second and extended half of the show that lasted until midnight that really kept the fans cheering for more and more as the band revisited its rich back catalogue of greatest hits and obscure favorites as requested by fans on Twitter.

“I was in tears when they played Luna and XYU. So much memories,” tweeted fan John Galsim (@jobeck).

“What a way to experience the new album for the first time. Then I turned into a 13 year old again with when the bells rang for Disarm,” posted Carlo Casas (@carlocasas).

But as much as the Pumpkins were very pleased with the more than respectable turnout, they were also very much aware that a good number of fans, many of whom had bought tickets in advance, were still not able to make it.

To them, Corgan specifically addressed this tweet: “For all the fans who CANNOT come tonight due to the weather we will come back again soon. We have been treated so well, and we thank you.”

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