Monday, January 28, 2013

Lawmakers see immigration overhaul this year

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican and Democratic lawmakers were cautiously optimistic Sunday that a long-sought overhaul of the nation's immigration system that includes a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country will clear Congress this year, the result of changes in the political landscape shown in November's election.

"We are trying to work our way through some very difficult issues," said Illinois' Sen. Richard Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate. "But, we are committed to a comprehensive approach to finally, in this country, have an immigration law we can live with. We have virtually been going maybe 25 years without a clear statement about immigration policy. That's unacceptable in this nation of immigrants."

Sen. Robert Menendez, who along with Durbin and Sen. John McCain, is part of the six-member, bipartisan Senate group working on a framework for immigration legislation to be announced this week, said current politics dictate that a pathway for citizenship must be included.

"Let's be very clear: having a pathway to earned legalization is an essential element. And I think that we are largely moving in that direction as an agreement," said Menendez, D-N.J.

But the package "will have the enhancement of the border security," he said, nodding to Republicans' priority to tighten borders to prevent future illegal immigration.

He also said the package would have to crack down on employers hiring undocumented workers.

Arizona Republican McCain has returned to the issue after having led a failed push to fix the nation's broken immigration system ahead of his 2008 bid for the White House.

McCain said: "What's changed is, honestly, is that there is a new, I think, appreciation on both sides of the aisle -- including, maybe more importantly on the Republican side of the aisle, that we have to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill."

Despite making little progress on immigration in his first term, President Barack Obama won more than 70 percent of the Latino vote, in part because of the conservative positions on immigration that Republican nominee Mitt Romney staked out during the GOP primary. Asians, who immigrated to the U.S. in higher numbers than Hispanics in 2010, also overwhelmingly backed Obama. Latino voters accounted for 10 percent of the electorate in November.

Obama is to press his case for immigration changes during a trip to Las Vegas Tuesday: a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants that includes paying fines and back taxes; increased border security; mandatory penalties for businesses that employ unauthorized immigrants; and improvements to the legal immigration system, including giving green cards to high-skilled workers and lifting caps on legal immigration for the immediate family members of U.S. citizens.

In an opinion piece published online Sunday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sen. Marco Rubio, also a member of the bipartisan Senate group, laid out his proposal to address the issue. The Florida Republican, son of Cuban immigrants, wrote that "significant progress" on enforcing immigration laws must be certified before unauthorized immigrants now in the country are allowed to apply for residency and "get in the back of the line."

Rep. Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican candidate for vice president, said he backs Rubio's proposal.

"Immigration is a good thing. We're here because of immigration. We need to make sure it works," Wisconsin's Ryan said.

If Republicans fail to act, they will pay the price in elections for generations, McCain warned.

"Well, I'll give you a little straight talk: Look at the last election... We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours for a variety of reasons," McCain said.

McCain and Menendez spoke with ABC's "This Week," Durbin appeared on "Fox News Sunday" and Ryan was on NBC's "Meet the Press."


Associated Press writer Philip Elliott contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hennessey Capital Adds Equipment Financing to its Suite of Products

Jan 25, 2013

Hennessey Capital Adds Equipment Financing to its Suite of Products

ROCHESTER ? Hennessey?Capital, a division of Hitachi Capital America Corp., Thursday announced that it is offering equipment financing to complement its traditional revolving lines of credit.

?Our new partnership with Hitachi Capital America Corp. has not only given us the ability to provide larger loans at more competitive rates, but it has opened the door for us to add equipment to the list of assets we lend on,? said Hennessey Capital division president and CEO Mike Semanco. ?By offering equipment financing, our asset-based lending clients now have access to yet another avenue of funding that will allow them to positively improve their cash flow.?
For more information, visitwww.hennesseycap.comor call (248) 658-1100.

Hennessey Capital provides revolving lines of credit secured by accounts receivable, inventory, and equipment along with factoring of accounts receivable for small-?and middle-market companies across the United States. Facilities range from initial invoicing to $5 million and beyond and are used as primary loan facilities, for restructuring current debt, and funding seasonal or incremental sales growth.

Hitachi Capital America Corp. is an independent, diversified leasing and?financial?services company providing financing to Hitachi group companies and the commercial business sector in the United States and Canada. We offer a variety of asset-based financing solutions with our business focus on truck finance, vendor finance, trade finance, medical equipment finance, lease discounting and software financing.



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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Eastern Europe: Tree rings reveal climate variability and human history

Jan. 14, 2013 ? A total of 545 precisely dated tree-ring width samples, both from living trees and from larch wood (Larix decidua Mill.) taken from historical buildings in the northern Carpathian arc of Slovakia, were used to reconstruct May-June temperatures yearly back to 1040 AD. The tree-ring data from the Tatra Mountains best reflects the climate history of Eastern Europe, with a geographical focus on the Baltic. The tree-ring record reveals several cold phases around ~1150, 1400, and in the 19th century. Mild springtime conditions occurred in the first half of the 12th century, as well as from ~1400-1780. The amount of climate warming since the mid-20th century appears unprecedented in the millennium-long context.

In addition to the development of the tree ring-based temperature history, the interdisciplinary research team* compared past climate variability with human history. Plague outbreaks, political conflicts and migration movements often matched periods of cooler temperatures. Moreover, fluctuations in settlement activity appear to be linked to climate variability. The Black Death in the mid-14th century, the Thirty Years War between ~1618-1648 and the Russian crusade of Napoleon in 1812 are three most prominent examples of climate-culture interactions.

The new evidence from Eastern Europe partially confirms similar observations from previous dendroclimatological investigations in Central Europe. However, the lead author of both studies, Ulf B?ntgen, is cautious about making simplified conclusions: ?the relationship between climate and culture is extremely complex and certainly not yet well enough understood. Nevertheless, we now better recognize that well documented and carefully analyzed tree-ring chronologies can contain much more information than supposed so far?. Thus, more data, independent studies and interdisciplinary approaches are of great interest for the enhancement of future knowledge.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, via AlphaGalileo.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. B?ntgen, U.; Kyncl, T.; Ginzler, C.; Jacks, D.S.; Esper, J.; Tegel, W.; Heussner, K.U.; Kyncl, J. Filling the Eastern European gap in millennium-long temperature reconstructions. PNAS, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1211485110

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Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Syrian warplanes bomb rebellious Damascus suburbs

(AP) ? Activists say Syrian fighter jets have bombed Damascus suburbs as part of a government offensive to dislodge rebels from strategic areas around the capital.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says warplanes carried out airstrikes Sunday on towns and villages around the capital, including Kfar Batna and Gesereen, while regime forces bombarded other neighborhoods with artillery and mortars.

The Observatory also says regime troops are battling rebels in the suburb of Daraya a day after government officials said the army had taken much of the strategic area, which lies on the edge of a major military air base just south of the capital. The group relies on reports from activists on the ground.

Associated Press


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Monday, January 7, 2013

ASU tops No. 25 Kent St. 17-13 in Bowl

Kent State running back Dri Archer (1) crosses the goal line to score against Arkansas State in the second quarter of the Bowl NCAA college football game in Mobile, Ala., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/G.M. Andrews)

Kent State running back Dri Archer (1) crosses the goal line to score against Arkansas State in the second quarter of the Bowl NCAA college football game in Mobile, Ala., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/G.M. Andrews)

Arkansas State linebacker Nathan Herrold (40) reaches out to intercept a pass in the end zone intended for Kent State tight end Tim Erjavec (42) in the second quarter of the Bowl NCAA college football game in Mobile, Ala., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/G.M. Andrews)

Kent State coach Darrell Hazzell talks with his offense as they come off the field following an interception by Arkansas State in the first quarter of the Bowl NCAA college football game in Mobile, Ala., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/G.M. Andrews)

(AP) ? Arkansas State's offense was held in check Sunday night after piling up big numbers this season. It was the defense that led the Red Wolves to a breakthrough victory.

Ryan Aplin threw for 213 yards and a touchdown, J.D. McKissic caught 11 passes for 113 yards and Arkansas State edged No. 25 Kent State 17-13 to win the Bowl.

Arkansas State's usually prolific offense struggled against Kent State, but the consistent Aplin-to-McKissic connection and a stingy defense was enough to help the Red Wolves (10-3) to their first bowl win since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1992.

Kent State (11-3) was driving late in the game when quarterback Spencer Keith tried to scramble on fourth down and was stopped a few yards short of the marker with 52 seconds left. Linebacker Qushaun Lee made the shoestring tackle for the Red Wolves and finished with a team-leading 13 stops.

"That was a good one," Arkansas State interim coach John Thompson said. "Our guys stepped up with a minute to go. We really needed a play, and our guys made one. It wasn't anything except for ballplayers. It was anything special at all. We just made plays."

Darrell Hazell roamed the Kent State sideline one more time in the Golden Flashes' first bowl game since 1972. He is leaving the program to take over at Purdue.

Thompson, a veteran defensive coordinator, coached the Red Wolves after Gus Malzahn left to take the Auburn job last month. It was the second straight season Arkansas State had to play its bowl game without the coach that led it to a Sun Belt championship ? Hugh Freeze left for Mississippi in 2011 before last year's Bowl, which the Red Wolves lost 38-20 to Northern Illinois.

The results were much better this time ? and the defensive-minded Thompson was especially pleased with that side of the ball.

Arkansas State's offense was dominant during the last half of the regular season, averaging more than 41 points during a seven-game winning streak.

But the Red Wolves had to rely on their defense in this one while the offense slowly warmed up. Kent State took a 7-0 lead on Dri Archer's 16-yard touchdown run and the margin could have been worse, but Arkansas State linebacker Nathan Herrold picked off a tipped pass in the end zone to end a promising drive for the Golden Flashes.

David Oku rushed for a tying 10-yard touchdown with 5:40 remaining in the second quarter, and then Aplin hit McKissic for a 31-yard touchdown minutes later to make it 14-7.

"Our offense did exactly what it was supposed to do," Thompson said. "They did a great job. Ryan Aplin took some shots ? I guess I can say it now ? some unnecessary shots that weren't good. But our defense ? we've got men over there. Grown men."

Kent State responded with a 42-yard field goal by Freddy Cortez just before halftime. The teams traded field goals in the third quarter, but neither team could score in the fourth.

The Golden Flashes put together one last drive in the final minutes, with Keith completing a clutch 15-yard pass over the middle on fourth down with less than two minutes remaining. He was headed for another fourth-down conversion just four plays later, but was tripped up on a scramble deep in Arkansas State territory. The Red Wolves then began to celebrate on their sideline.

"I saw their defense drop back really fast, and I thought I had enough room to get the first down," Keith said. "But they were able to get me on the ankle."

It was a disappointing end to an otherwise breakthrough season for Kent State, which set a school record with 11 victories, including a 10-game winning streak that lasted nearly three months. But they dropped their last two games, including a 44-37 double-overtime loss to Northern Illinois on Nov. 30 in the Mid-American Conference championship.

One reason Kent State was able to win 11 games was a dynamic rushing attack that averaged more than 250 yards per game. But the duo of Archer and Trayion Durham didn't have a particularly good game against the Red Wolves.

Archer, who missed much of the second half with an apparent injury, led the Golden Flashes with 77 yards rushing while Durham added 68.

Aplin completed 21 of 30 passes in his final college game. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior owns nearly every school passing record and is the Sun Belt two-time player of the year.

This wasn't one of his most spectacular games, but he was consistent, made very few mistakes and had no turnovers.

That was no small feat against Kent State, which led the nation with 38 takeaways coming into the game. The Golden Flashes couldn't get one against the Red Wolves.

"That was a huge part of our game plan," Aplin said. "We knew we couldn't afford to give them momentum. Our guys did a great job taking care of the ball and giving our defense a chance to help us win."


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Associated Press


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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Millinocket firefighters save several pets from fire - Bangor Daily News

MILLINOCKET, Maine ? Firefighters battled thick smoke to rescue two cats and a dog from a fire that damaged the cellar and living room of an Aroostook Avenue house Sunday morning.

Firefighters had to stop homeowner Thomas Jameson from going back into his house at 423 Aroostook Ave. to retrieve his pets after he had rescued a dog and a cat, Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte said.

With flames burning into the cellar ceiling and first-floor living room and smoke thick throughout the rest of the house, Turcotte went inside and found a dog and a cat and Firefighter-EMT Sam Monteith rescued a cat, Turcotte said.

?It was the funniest thing,? Turcotte said. ?The cat I found was just lying there, unresponsive, and I thought it was dead. I shook it a little bit and it came right alive. It hissed and clawed at me. I was thinking, ?Oh my goodness.??

Firefighters have pet-sized breathing masks to help resuscitate pets, but didn?t need to use them on the animals. Jameson, however, was treated for smoke inhalation at Millinocket Regional Hospital after refusing treatment at the scene, Assistant Fire Chief Thomas Malcolm said.

The fire apparently started in an ash box in the basement directly beneath Jameson?s living room fireplace. The ash box is large, approximately 16 inches across and about two feet deep, and embedded in cement, but was piled high with ash because it hadn?t been cleaned in a while, Turcotte said.

?It appears there was quite a bit of hot ash in there,? he said.

Ash that fell to the box from a fireplace fire the family started the night before apparently ignited thick building timbers hanging over the ash box. Turcotte said the timbers might also have ignited because they were badly dried out after decades of exposure to ash box heat.

Turcotte smelled smoke at about 8:55 a.m. and either he or a neighbor called 911. When firefighters arrived about five minutes later, heavy black smoke was pouring from the front door, Turcotte said.

Thick basement smoke and intense heat made finding the seat of the fire difficult, but firefighters doused the flames before they could spread very far into the living room area, Turcotte said.

East Millinocket firefighters were called immediately to the scene because Millinocket is down one engine, and they assisted in fighting the flames, Turcotte said. The flames might have eaten into the first floor and become uncontrollable had the fire burned much longer.

?They did a really good quick stop,? Malcolm said. The fire ?could have gone right up the chimney chase but it didn?t. They saved a lot with the initial knockdown.?

The Jameson family won?t be able to occupy the house until repairs are made. Damage estimates run from $30,000 to $40,000.

The fire is Millinocket?s second in about a month. A malfunctioning space heater sparked a fire that destroyed most of a second-floor apartment on Katahdin Avenue on Nov. 28.

Sunday?s fire, Turcotte said, underlined the importance of keeping fireplaces clear of ash buildup. He encouraged homeowners to have their chimneys and fire boxes cleaned professionally or at least emptied.


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