A couple visiting Asheville, North Carolina were hanging out in the hotel bar when they approached a petite young lady and invited her to come home with them. No, this story isn’t quite what it sounds like: that young lady was a four-year-old homeless dog wearing an “Adopt Me” vest, and at this particular hotel, dogs available for adoption greet guests and even mingle with bar patrons.
The hotel already had special appeal for animal lovers, allowing customers to bring their pets for no additional fee. The doggie greeters are a new amenity, part of a partnership between the hotel and a local dog rescue. There’s one hound-in-residence at a time, and it can also visit other parts of the building on a leash. Guests cannot bring the dogs to their rooms, but they do like being able to borrow a friend to visit the rooftop terrace or the restaurant with.
Since the program started, fourteen of the rescue dogs in residence have been adopted by hotel guests and people who live in the community. Dog number 14 is in the photo above, and her name is Ember. She’s been adopted already.
North Carolina hotel welcomes you with open arms and dogs to adopt [AP]
In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Sony CEO Michael Lynton explains the chronology of events that led to 'The Interview' being pulled from theaters before its Christmas day release. He also reopened the door to a future release of the controversial comedy, saying the company is considering some sort of release on the Internet. Watch the interview below:
An international team aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor set a new record for the deepest fish ever recorded at 8143m in the Mariana Trench. The fish is a completely unknown variety of snailfish with a translucent body, broad wing-like fins and an eel-like tail.
President Obama Announces Plan to improve relationship with cuba in the future, w/ help from pope francis
Over the last 50 years, the united States and Cuba has had basically no relationship. Today, President Obama delivered a statement to improve this relationship moving forward into the future. The release of two United States prisoners has helped the conversation to move significantly forward - this can be only great news! Watch the Presidents' speech and read more from whitehouse.gov.
We are separated by 90 miles of water, but are brought together through shared relationships and the desire to promote a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. President Obama is taking action to cut loose the anchor of failed policies of the past, and to chart a new course in U.S. relations with Cuba that will engage and empower the Cuban people.
Next Steps, New Course
Since the President took office in 2009, he has taken steps to support the ability of the Cuban people to gain greater control over their own lives and determine their country’s future.
Now, the President is taking the next steps to renew our leadership in the Americas, end our outdated approach on Cuba, and promote more effective change that supports the Cuban people and our national security interests.
Human Rights and Civil Society
A critical focus of these actions will include continued strong support for improved human rights conditions and democratic reforms in Cuba. The promotion of democracy supports universal human rights by empowering civil society and a person’s right to speak freely, peacefully assemble, and associate, and by supporting the ability of people to freely determine their future. The U.S. efforts are aimed at promoting the independence of the Cuban people so they do not need to rely on the Cuban state.
The U.S. Congress funds democracy programming in Cuba to provide humanitarian assistance, promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, and support the free flow of information in places where it is restricted and censored. The Administration will continue to implement U.S. programs aimed at promoting positive change in Cuba, and we will encourage reforms in our high level engagement with Cuban officials.
The United States encourages all nations and organizations engaged in diplomatic dialogue with the Cuban government to take every opportunity both publicly and privately to support increased respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba.
Ultimately, it will be the Cuban people who drive economic and political reforms. That is why President Obama took steps to increase the flow of resources and information to ordinary Cuban citizens in 2009, 2011, and today. The Cuban people deserve the support of the United States and of an entire region that has committed to promote and defend democracy through the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
Click here to read more from whitehouse.gov
In what is truly an inhumane incident, over 140 people, many of them children, have lost their lives in a shooting that took place in Peshawar, Pakistan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this indescribable event.
Here is more about this incident from theatlantic.com;
A group of Taliban gunmen attacked a school in Northern Pakistan on Tuesday,killing at least 145 people, most of them students under the age of 15. More than 180 others were injured. Police say the siege, which lasted about eight hours, is now over, with all of the terrorists dead. Other officials said four of the attackersblew themselves up in suicide attacks, though there may have been as many as nine attackers.
The Army Public School is a military-run primary school for the children of army members in Peshawar, in the northern part of the country, near the border with Afghanistan. Pakistani Taliban sources claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was retaliation for an ongoing government offensive against them in the region of North Waziristan.
Witnesses says as many as six men scaled the fence of the school and began opening fire on students. Many students were reportedly killed by a suicide bomb in the school courtyard. The attackers then went room to room, shooting indiscriminately at children and teachers.
One witness told the BBC, "We ducked under the tables and chairs, but they shot at our heads and legs. The kept firing and coming further inside the room, but we did not move because they shot at anyone who moved."
Click here to read the entire article from theatlantic.com
The Police Force has released a statement regarding the events that took place in Sydney today;
Stunned by this incident, Australians have been showing support through social media through the hastag #illridewithyou on social media.
When pundits and black leaders bemoaned the irony of a St. Louis County grand jury announcing its decision not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. on the same day that slain civil-rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, few noted another cruel irony.
Just as Wilson walked free of charges despite having shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Marissa Alexander, the battered black woman initially sentenced to 20 years in prison in Florida for firing an alleged warning shot into the ceiling of her home as her abusive ex-husband allegedly threatened her despite a restraining order against him, headed back to jail to serve an additional 65 days on top of the three years she has already served. Alexander accepted a plea deal in the face of new charges filed against her, charges that would have amounted to 60 years in prison had she been convicted.
Also absent from the pleas for justice are the names of too many other African Americans cut down like Brown, people such as Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Yvette Smith and, most recently, Tanisha Anderson.
A few weeks ago Anderson's family called 911 for an ambulance to obtain medical and mental-health assistance for the 37-year-old woman. Instead of help, Cleveland police officers arrived and put her in handcuffs, and her family says they ultimately slammed her on the pavement outside the home. She died shortly thereafter.
In October a mistrial was declared in the case against the Detroit police officer who fatally shot Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, during a botched police raid on her home in 2010. Wayne County jurors deadlocked over whether Joseph Weekley should be convicted on the charge of "careless discharge of a firearm causing death." Roland Lawrence, the chairman of the Justice for Aiyana Committee, pondered aloud, "Surely, the death of a baby by a well-trained police force must be deemed unacceptable in a civilized society." But black girls, even those asleep in their beds, do not have the luxury of childhood in America.
These are not the only oversights.
Click here to read the entire article from huffingtonpost.com
This is a great cause from Change.org
When our unarmed son Michael Brown, Jr. was killed by a Ferguson police officer, our lives were forever changed. We are devastated and profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.
Many questions remain about what happened leading up to the moment when our son was shot. But had Officer Darren Wilson been wearing a body camera, which are being worn by more and more police departments around the country, there would be no questions.
President Obama recently announced a plan to provide $263 million in federal funding for body cameras and training for local police departments. And if Congress approves this program, it would provide enough money to buy around 50,000 cameras for police officers. We understand that this plan wouldn't equip all police officers, but it is one proposed solution that can help end police brutality in our communities.
We want to work to make a difference and prevent what happened to Michael from happening to others. We're asking Congress to pass the Michael Brown, Jr. Law by approving this plan.
Read More and help pass this petition on Change.org
(cnbc.com) Sears shares fell Thursday, after the struggling department store announced an adjusted net loss of $296 million—in line with the updated guidance it gave in November.
The retailer also said it's accelerating the number of stores it plans to close this year, boosting its list from the 130 underperforming stores it announced in its second-quarter earnings release, to a total of 235 stores.
Analysts called the move a step in the right direction for the company, which has been tapping into its real estate in creative ways to compensate for downward-spiraling sales. Still, they said the haircut won't be enough on its own to turn the tide at Sears, adding that it needs to close even more stores—and figure out how to become profitable.
this article originally appeared on theguardian.com
George Osborne has launched a crackdown on tax avoidance by multinational technology firms such as Google and Amazon, by imposing a 25% levy on profits which are generated in Britain but “artificially shifted” abroad.
Dubbed “the Google tax”, the new levy was announced in the chancellor’s autumn statement alongside a move to punish banks for losses incurred during the global financial crisis.
Responding to outrage about the minimal contributions big corporations make to European governments, the Treasury is targeting Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Amazon and Apple, but the measures will reach beyond technology to high street chains such as Starbucks.
“We will make sure that big multinational businesses pay their fair share,” Osborne said. The tax is intended to raise more than £1bn over the next five years by tackling aggressive avoidance, while an unexpected strike against banks will raise another £4bn over the same period by reducing their ability to use losses racked up during the crisis to reduce tax payments now.
Labour MP and tax campaigner Margaret Hodge welcomed the strike against Silicon Valley, but experts said the estimated £300m a year in extra revenues was just a fraction of the real profits multinationals are making in Britain.
The rules for the Treasury’s “diverted profits tax” will be published in draft legislation on 10 December and introduced in April 2015. They are designed to hit companies that use artificial structures to minimise UK profits and therefore lower their UK tax bills.
The rate is 5% higher than next year’s UK corporation tax rate of 20%, suggesting the chancellor hopes companies will choose to dismantle complex structures that divert profits to low-tax nations such as Luxembourg and Ireland, and choose to pay HM Revenue and Customs.
“The chancellor said this will raise a billion over five years, but ultimately this is a tiny proportion of the profits the multinationals he has in mind are generating,” said Toby Ryland, a partner at accountants HW Fisher & Company. “In reality, many of the UK’s double tax treaties with other countries dictate where profits can be taxed. Sweeping measures like this often come to nothing. The chancellor has made the right noises, but most multinationals will be able to side-step these new rules without breaking into a sweat.”
Google paid just £20m tax in the UK last year. But its actual British revenues were £5.6bn. The group as a whole has a profit margin of 20%, suggesting the company’s real profits in the UK could have been as high as £1.2bn. Taxed at the proposed 25% rate, this would deliver £280m a year in revenues for the Treasury from just one company. But the government expects to collect no more than £360m a year from the diverted profits tax.
Click here to read the entire article from theguardian.com
(Reuters) - U.S. private employers added 208,000 jobs in November, falling short of economists' expectations, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 221,000 jobs.
October's private payrolls were revised up to 233,000 from the previously reported 230,000.
Private employers have now added jobs for 57 straight months at an average rate of about 186,000 per month.
The report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics.
"The labor market continues to make steady progress," Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute, said on a conference call following the data's release.
(Reuters) - An accident at a nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya in southeastern Ukraine poses no danger, Ukrainian energy authorities said on Wednesday, an assessment later corroborated by the French nuclear institute IRSN.
Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said the accident occurred on Friday in one of the six blocks at Zaporizhzhya, Europe's largest nuclear power plant, and was caused by a short circuit in its power outlet system. The incident was "in no way" linked to power production, he told a news conference.
"There is no threat ... there are no problems with the reactors," said Demchyshyn, who took up his post in a new government only on Tuesday. He added that he expected the plant to return to normal operations on Dec. 5.
An explosion and fire at Ukraine's Chernobyl power plant in 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident, was caused by human error and a series of blasts sent a cloud of radioactive dust billowing across northern and western Europe.
France's public nuclear safety institute IRSN said it had not detected any unusual radioactivity in Ukraine after Friday's accident and that it presented no danger to the nearby population or environment.
"We have two sensors installed on the roof of the French Embassy in Kiev, and the embassy has not signaled anything unusual," Michel Chouha, the IRSN's official representative for Central and Eastern Europe, told Reuters.
Interfax news agency said a 1,000-megawatt reactor was housed in the affected plant block.
In Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which must be notified if a nuclear accident poses an international threat, said it had no immediate comment on the incident.
Click here to read the entire article from Reuters
Justice has not been granted in Ferguson, and Columbus Police have yet to reform the high rate of killings by cops in our city.
At 4:30 we will rally on the Oval, and begin marching at 5pm to Goodale Park to join hundreds of other Columbus activists demanding justice against police brutality.
We demanded reform in Columbus Police last Tuesday, so we are marching non-violently to let them know we are still serious about our expectations for reform.
With the murders of Tamir Rice and Tanisha Anderson in Cleveland, and the fact that COLUMBUS HAS THE 2ND HIGHEST RATE OF KILLINGS BY POLICE IN THE COUNTRY... we have to come together for better. We deserve better.