Offbeat News

Last Update on April 24, 2015 09:08 GMT

RESTAURANT MANAGER FIRED-ROBBERY

CHANNELVIEW, Texas (AP) -- A Popeyes manager in Texas is being offered her job back -- after she was fired following a robbery. Marissa Holcomb says she was canned because she wouldn't pay back the nearly 400 bucks stolen by an armed bandit. The franchise owner said Holcomb had violated company policy, by keeping too much cash in the register. Holcomb is pregnant and has three children. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen's corporate office says they regret the way the situation was handled. Holcomb tells KHOU-TV she isn't sure if she'll return.

MRS DOUBTFIRE BANDIT-ARRESTED

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) -- Authorities in Northern California say they've nabbed the "Mrs. Doubtfire" bank robber. She is a he, who carried a purse and wore a wig. Police in Santa Cruz report busting Brandon Alfred Calantoc in connection with car rip-offs. Investigators say the break in the Mrs. Doubtfire case came when they found a purse and other items in Calantoc's car. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports he is the suspect in the robbery of a US Bank branch.

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO-METAL DETECTORS

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- No keys, no phones, no loose change. Visitors to the Universal Orlando theme park will have to go through metal detectors before they can ride the roller coasters. Park spokesman Tom Schroder says it's in response to what people are carrying in their pockets these days. He tells the Orlando Sentinel keys, phones and the like have no place on high-speed rides. Guests can store their items in free lockers at the coasters.

GIANT NUTCRACKER-OWLS

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) -- It's nuts! A giant nutcracker in Oregon isn't going anywhere. Workers were to begin dismantling the four-storey-tall nutcracker this week. But federally protected barn owls are nesting there. So, the Roseburg News-Review reports the nutcracker stays in a park for now. The massive device is used to crack coconuts during a local festival of lights.


Science & Tech News

Last Update on April 24, 2015 07:07 GMT

IN THE NEWS: HOUSE PASSES CYBERATTACKS BILL

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House passed a bill that gives the Feds a little more leeway to fight cyberattacks. The measure will encourage -- though not require -- private companies to share information about cyberattacks with federal authorities. The measure also says companies that do such sharing and follow certain guidelines will be protected from liability for security breaches. The bill is seen as a step toward trying to foster cooperation between the federal government and private companies in an age where cyber security breaches can wreak havoc on companies -- and the people who do business with them.

IN THE NEWS: DRIVERS WANT COLLISION-PREVENTION TECHNOLOGY, BUT ...

DETROIT (AP) -- It's a sign of the times we live in: people would love to have the latest technology -- but don't want to spend the big bucks to get it. In this case, the high-tech systems are those that prevent automobile wrecks. Devices that can provide sight to blind spots, improve vision at night -- or apply the brakes if a driver fails to do so in time -- are all things drivers say they'd want on their new cars. A new J.D. Power survey says drivers who want such technology would pay at the most, about $4,000 for those features. But devices like that usually end up on more expensive trim levels of cars and are often bundled as part of add-on packages. That likely means people won't spend the extra money for them.


National/International News

Magnitude-7.9 quake hits Nepal, causing big damage, injuries
April 25, 2015 08:10 GMT

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- Heavy damage and dozens of injuries are already being reported after a strong, shallow magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley.

Officials report toppled walls and collapsed buildings. One resident in the capital says collapsed buildings include centuries-old temples in Old Kathmandu, a warren of tightly packed, narrow lanes with poorly constructed homes piled on top of each other. National radio warned people to stay outdoors in case of aftershocks.

The quake was felt in New Delhi, India and in Pakistan.

Officials say there's no immediate estimate on fatalities.

The epicenter was 49 miles northwest of Kathmandu and about seven miles deep. The Kathmandu Valley is home to nearly 2.5 million people, many of whom live in poor-quality buildings.

Nepal's worst quake was in 1934. It measured 8.0 and all but destroyed Kathmandu and two other cities.


Reports: Rebels enter strategic town in northwestern Syria
April 25, 2015 09:51 GMT

BEIRUT (AP) -- Activists and opposition media are reporting that several hard-line Syrian rebel groups have pushed their way into a strategic town in northwestern Syria following intense clashes that lasted only days.

Opposition television station Orient News reported Saturday from inside the town of Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib province. Rebel fighters from Islamic factions, including the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, appeared to be milling in the town's central square, raising their black flag. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said the rebels are in control of large parts of the town.

Syrian state television quoted a military official saying the army is still in intense clashes there.

Jisr al-Shughour is a strategic town west of the city of Idlib, the provincial capital which fell to rebels less than a month ago.


Business/Consumer News

Amazon's Web Services boosts 1Q revenue

NEW YORK (AP) -- Amazon's profitable cloud-computing services business is growing by leaps and bounds.

   WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- (Marketwired) -- 03/21/14 --
 Companies that pride themselves on being eco-friendly may have conflicted
 ideas between marketing with ad specialties and maintaining their green
 reputation. Eco-friendly customizable products at EmbroidMe provide a
 solution. Show your prospective customers that your brand aligned with
 the green movement with EmbroidMe's diverse selection of promotional
 items conveniently labeled "green" by the manufacturer.
   Every year, Earth day reminds us how important it is to take care of the
 environment. Promote your business as environmentally conscious with
 products made from recycled and sustainable materials. Pens made of
 post-consumer recycled paper with plastic derived from corn or pad covers
 made of recycled PET (PolyEthylene Terephtalate) are a great choice and
 easily paired with note pads made from recycled paper. Golf balls made of
 100% recycled tire rubber, LED flashlights with rechargeable batteries,
 or calendars made of recycled paper are just some examples of the
 eco-friendly customizable products found at EmbroidMe.
   Eco-conscious businesses can incorporate their mission into their attire
 and work uniforms, with shirts can be made of organic cotton, partially
 recycled cotton, post-consumer PET and recycled polyester. Even the
 customization process can go green when embroidered with cotton thread or
 imprinted with vegetable-based inks.
   "Customers appreciate seeing your logo and knowing you support a cause
 they care about," said Christine Marion, MAS, director of retail
 operations for EmbroidMe. "Our experienced on-site specialists and Eco
 Awareness programs are here to assist you."
   About EmbroidMe
  With hundreds of Resource Centers around the world,
 EmbroidMe is the most comprehensive source for promotional apparel,
 premiums, and advertising specialties, providing its promotional partners
 with full-service custom embroidery and screen-printing for apparel. For
 more information about customized promotional products and to view this
 and additional releases, visit the EmbroidMe News & Press Release section
 of embroidme.com. EmbroidMe's on-site specialists are ready to provide
 you with first-class service and products of the highest quality; just
 click EmbroidMe Locations to find the Resource Center nearest you.
   Media Contact:
 Christine Marion, MAS
 cmarion@embroidme.com
 P: 561-713-2503
   AP-WF-03-21-14 1926GMT

Posted 5:30 AM EDT on March 21, 2014

Eds: APNewsNow.
   BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) -- Nike says strong global demand for its athletic goods helped third-quarter net income beat expectations as it readies for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.
   The world's largest athletic clothing maker says that not counting income from discontinued operations, earnings rose 3 percent, to $685 million, or 76 cents per share, in the three months ended on Feb. 28. The year before, profit came to $662 million, or 73 cents per share. The discontinued operations added another $204 million in profit to last year's period. Analysts expected 72 cents per share, according to FactSet. Nike sold its Cole Haan and Umbro brands last year.
   Revenue rose 13 percent to $6.97 billion, beating analysts' expectation of $6.81 billion.
   The Beaverton, Ore.-based company said Thursday that future orders worldwide rose 12 percent.
   AP-WF-03-20-14 2110GMT

Posted 5:27 AM EDT on March 20, 2014

PALO ALTO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 03/06/14 --
 PunchTab, the leading omni-channel loyalty and engagement platform,
 announced today the release of their Android SDK. The SDK is a free
 toolkit that provides Android mobile and tablet developers the capability
 to add customized loyalty and engagement programs to any app to help
 increase usage, purchase, awareness, and brand engagement.
   With tens of thousands of apps hitting the market every month and
 billions of dollars spent on mobile marketing, the world of mobile
 development has become a congested, competitive marketplace to carve out
 success. Generating user awareness and continued use remain critical
 challenges for organizations that utilize mobile applications to engage
 customers, or add mobile as part of larger omni-channel initiatives.
 Android developers can now implement PunchTab's loyalty and engagement
 infrastructure in mobile apps, incentivizing users to take actions that
 meet marketing agendas and business goals.
   "Mobile is the most important channel for brands when it comes to
 engaging consumers with relevant, real-time messages and offers.
 According to a recent study, 83% of consumers expect to make more
 purchases via mobile in the next 12 months, a 15% increase from today's
 current statistics -- this is a critical proof point of how important
 mobile has become for brands. Awareness, engagement, and enhanced loyalty
 are essential components in the success of a mobile app," said PunchTab
 Founder and CEO Ranjith Kumaran. "With our Android SDK we can provide
 Android developers with the same high-quality, easy-to-use functionality
 that the PunchTab platform offers to over 19,000 active programs on our
 platform."
   The Android opportunity is significant. Google Play accounted for almost
 75 percent of total app downloads in 2013 and according to Distimo,
 Google Play's revenue share has actually been growing at the expense of
 Apple's. Since June 2013, Google Play's revenue jumped 51 percent. The
 statistics are a window into the continuously growing Android mobile
 application market that does not appear to be slowing down. Brands have
 taken notice and with the PunchTab Android SDK, they have an opportunity
 to reach even more consumers on mobile.
   Analyst and TIME tech columnist, Ben Bajarin estimates that over one
 billion Android smartphones will be sold in 2014, and by the end of 2014
 mobile web users will be three times that of the desktop web. "Mobile can
 no longer be a side strategy for brands, it needs to be a central
 strategy as it's an essential element for maintaining consumer
 engagement. The Android opportunity is one that cannot be overlooked,"
 Bajarin reports.
   PunchTab's Android SDK offers mobile developers a free toolkit with an
 easy to integrate static library and customizable features to most
 effectively meet bottom line business goals. Developers can easily
 reward-enable engagement, repeat usage, social sharing, and more.
   For more information on PunchTab's developer kit visit
 www.punchtab.com/developer.
   About PunchTab, Inc.
  Founded in January 2011, PunchTab is an
 omni-channel loyalty and engagement platform that enables agencies,
 brands, and enterprise organizations to incentivize user behavior and
 drive business success. PunchTab's customers use the company's flexible
 solutions to deepen audience engagement, drive purchase, and build
 awareness by leveraging everything from social sharing and UGC and
 awareness campaigns, to sophisticated B2E and B2B programs. PunchTab
 offers both an out-of-the-box product and a fully customizable,
 white-labeled solution that can reward any action with virtual, social
 and real-world rewards. For more information, please visit
 www.punchtab.com.
   Media Contacts:
 Ben Barenholtz
 Sparkpr for PunchTab
 ben@sparkpr.com
 415.241.5207
 Robyn Hannah
 PunchTab
 robyn@punchtab.com
 408.823.3863
   AP-WF-03-06-14 1315GMT

Posted 12:49 PM EST on March 06, 2014

HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL -- (Marketwired) -- 02/28/14 --
 ADP Dealer Services, Inc., a division of ADP(R) and a leading global
 technology solutions provider dedicated to helping dealerships drive
 measurable results across every area of their operation, announced today
 that due to the overwhelming interest and positive feedback they received
 surrounding their Fixed Ops Expos, they will be launching a new round of
 Dealer Solutions Expos for automotive retail dealers. They will be
 thought leadership events designed to show what successful dealerships
 are doing to change the way they do business in order to meet
 technology-driven consumers' demand.
   Last year, over 600 dealers attended 25 expos across the country, touting
 them as very insightful and informative. One dealer described their
 experience as the "best three-hour time investment I've made in a long
 time."
   ADP Dealer Services will offer dealers a unique opportunity to join an
 interactive discussion with industry thought leaders as well as their
 peers during each event. The first subject will feature automotive retail
 expert, Mike Stoll, presenting, "How to Optimize Your Front Office for
 Maximum Customer Retention" and business security expert, Jim Foote,
 presenting "Who Let the Data Out?". They will each share strategic best
 practices and insider knowledge designed to give attendees a competitive
 edge around customer retention and security.
   These expos are a key pillar in Dealer Services' strategy to provide
 insights that help their dealer clients transform how vehicles are
 marketed, sold, and serviced using technology.
   The Dealer Solutions Expos is open to all dealership management across
 the country and will begin in early March, extending throughout 2014. For
 more information or to register for an event in your area, please visit
 our website, email events@adp.com or call 866.722.1844.
   About ADP
  With more than $11 billion in revenues and more than 60 years
 of experience, ADP(R) (NASDAQ: ADP) serves approximately 620,000 clients
 in more than 125 countries. As one of the world's largest providers of
 business outsourcing and Human Capital Management solutions, ADP offers a
 wide range of human resource, payroll, talent management, tax and
 benefits administration solutions from a single source, and helps clients
 comply with regulatory and legislative changes, such as the Affordable
 Care Act (ACA). ADP's easy-to-use solutions for employers provide
 superior value to companies of all types and sizes. ADP is also a leading
 provider of integrated computing solutions to auto, truck, motorcycle,
 marine, recreational vehicle, and heavy equipment dealers throughout the
 world. For more information about ADP, visit the company's Web site at
 www.adp.com.
   The ADP logo and ADP are registered trademarks of ADP, Inc. All other
 marks are the property of their respective owners. Copyright Copyright
 2014 ADP, Inc.
   Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame--mw?attachid=2528720
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   Media Contact:
 Michelle Benko
 ADP Dealer Services
 michelle.benko@adp.com
 847.485.4389
   AP-WF-02-28-14 1106GMT

Posted 5:27 AM EST on February 28, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwired) -- 02/26/14 --
 The following is a statement by National Association of Realtors(R)
 President Steve Brown:
   "NAR supports reforms that promote economic growth, but we strongly
 oppose severely altering the rules that govern ownership and investment
 in real estate. Real estate powers almost one-fifth of the U.S. economy,
 employs more than 17 million Americans, and contributes a quarter of all
 federal and state tax revenue and as much as 70 percent of local taxes.
   "We are extremely disappointed with several of the provisions contained
 in U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp's tax reform draft
 released today, namely proposed limits on the mortgage interest deduction
 and capital gains, and the repeal of deductions for state and local
 property taxes. These proposed changes to the taxation of real estate
 will impact every single American, either directly or indirectly.
   "NAR will carefully analyze the details of the Chairman's plan so we can
 best educate Congress and the public about how this plan would impact the
 owners, consumers, and producers of both residential and commercial real
 estate."
   The National Association of Realtors(R), "The Voice for Real Estate," is
 America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members
 involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate
 industries.
   Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other
 news releases are posted in the "News, Blogs and Videos" tab on the
 website.
   For further information contact:
 Jenny Werwa
 202-383-1193
 jwerwa@realtors.org
   AP-WF-02-26-14 2105GMT

Posted 5:26 AM EST on February 26, 2014

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