Dirty Dining

Offbeat News

Last Update on July 29, 2015 10:30 GMT

NYC DINER EN BLANC

NEW YORK (AP) -- The location was secret -- but not the dress code. Five-thousand people dressed in white got together for the world's largest popup picnic last night in New York. Guests for Diner en Blanc (dee-NEH' ahn BLAHN) -- French for dinner in white -- showed up at one of 24 designated spots where the secret venue was disclosed. It was dining and dancing under the open sky at Pier 26 in the toney Tribeca neighborhood. The white-glad diners brought what they wanted for a chic BYO, everything from food to silverware and candles. They also had to clean up after themselves. The phenomenon started in Paris in 1988 and has expanded to 60 cities on five continents.

CIVIL WAR MUSEUM-BEER

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) -- It could be just what the doctor ordered -- in 1865. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine has gotten the OK to sell souvenir beer. The Frederick County, Maryland, liquor board has approved brew for the museum's gift shop. But visitors won't be able to drink it there. The Frederick News-Post reports officials say the beer may not be opened on museum property. The museum's David Price says a partnership with Brewer's Alley has produced several specialty beers in the past, including Gettysburg Wheat.

MARIJUANA-EARLY SALES

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Stoners will have reason to celebrate in Oregon on October 1. Legal pot sales will begin then. Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill yesterday allowing existing medical marijuana dispensaries to temporarily sell the now-legal weed to all adults. Marijuana possession became legal under state law this month. But state regulators are still about a year away from approving licensed retail pot stores. Under the interim measure, people will be able to buy limited quantities of dried bud, seeds and plant starts, but not edibles.

COMPANY CREDIT CARD-STRIPPERS

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- No, strippers aren't a legit business expense. Authorities say computer engineer John David Berrett racked up nearly a half-million bucks in charges on his employer's credit card. A federal indictment charges the money went to online strippers. Authorities say he gave one exotic dancer 27 grand. His favorite performers also got gifts like chocolates, flowers and electronics. Officials say Berrett tried to conceal the nature of his credit card charges as business expenses.


Science & Tech News

Last Update on July 28, 2015 07:09 GMT

IN THE NEWS: NIKE OFFERS PARTIAL REFUND TO END FUELBAND LAWSUIT

NEW YORK (AP) -- Got a Nike FuelBand? You could be due some bucks. Nike is offering a partial refund or gift cards to people who bought FuelBand fitness trackers in the last three and a half years. The move settles a lawsuit that says the products can't accurately tally how many steps a user is taking or how many calories they've burned. A website maintained by Gilardi and Company, a firm that administers settlements, says Nike will give $15 payments or $25 gift cards to people who bought FuelBands between Jan. 19, 2012 and June 17, 2015. Nike and collaborator Apple aren't acknowledging wrongdoing, but they're offering to settle a class action lawsuit against them.

IN THE NEWS: CHINA LIFTING BAN ON SALES OF VIDEO GAME CONSOLES

BEIJING (AP) -- Video game consoles are coming to China. The Chinese Ministry of Culture says consoles made in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone will automatically be approved for sale in the rest of China. Sony and Microsoft both have announced plans to manufacture game consoles in the Shanghai zone with Chinese partners. But Chinese gamers won't be able to buy the full range of games available in most of the rest of the world. Officials say the content of games will be subject to government censorship.


National/International News

The Latest: Colorado theater shooter chooses not to testify
July 29, 2015 23:18 GMT

Eds: Updates with James Holmes choosing not to testify in latest phase of sentencing. With AP Photos.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) -- The latest in the sentencing phase of the Colorado theater shooting trial (all times local):

5 p.m.

Colorado theater shooter James Holmes has chosen not to testify in the latest phase of his sentencing hearing.

Holmes gave clear, direct answers when Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. asked about the decision Wednesday. Prosecutors would have had the opportunity to cross-examine Holmes had he chosen to testify.

Earlier in the day, Holmes' mother and father took the stand as his attorneys try to persuade jurors to spare his life.

Holmes was convicted earlier this month of 165 counts of murder, attempted murder and weapons charges for July 2012 attack that killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a packed movie theater.

His attorneys say he was suffering from a severe psychotic break at the time of the attack.

4:35 p.m.

The mother of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes says her family remains supportive of her son, despite the attack that killed 12 people and injured 70 others.

Arlene Holmes testified Wednesday that her brother Dex died about a month after the July 2012 attack, but "he definitely wanted Jim to know that he was thinking about him as he was dying ... and that he loved him."

She also testified that James Holmes' sister Chris is always wondering how he's doing, despite a relationship that was sometimes contentious when the siblings were growing up.

Arlene Holmes said she has seen her son only three times in jail since the attack because such visits require extra security, but she writes to him about once a week.

She also said she has never known her son to be mean-spirited or selfish.

The jury is considering whether James Holmes should serve life in prison without parole or be executed.

2:30 p.m.

The mother of the Colorado theater shooter recalled how happy James Holmes was as a baby and how people who saw them on walks would tell her how lucky she was.

Arlene Holmes testified Wednesday to try to save her son's life during the sentencing phase of his trial. She repeated something else she's heard people say -- that when your children turn 18, you're done.

But then she choked back tears, saying that's not true because "that's why we're sitting here."

She also recounted some family therapy sessions she and her children had participated in when they were young.

1:30 p.m.

The mother of the Colorado theater shooting gunman says his psychiatrist never told them James Holmes had been talking about killing people when she called about a month before the attack.

Arlene Holmes' testimony at her son's sentencing represents her first public comments since the trial began.

Fighting back tears, she said she "would have been crawling on all fours" to reach her son in Colorado had she known her son was talking about killing. "We wouldn't be here" if Dr. Lynne Fenton had told them, she said.

Fenton testified earlier that she called his parents to help her decide whether he posed a danger to himself or others after he dropped out of school and quit his therapy.

12:55 p.m.

The mother of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes is on the stand as his lawyers try to persuade jurors to spare his life.

Arlene Holmes has attended nearly every day of her son's trial along with her husband, Robert, but this is the first time she has testified or spoken publicly during the trial.

Her appearance follows testimony from her husband and their 22-year-old daughter this week.

The jury is considering whether James Holmes should serve life in prison without parole or be executed for killing 12 people and injuring 70 others at a crowded movie premiere in 2012.

Holmes' attorneys say he committed the crime because of a severe psychotic break.

10:05 a.m.

The father of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes says his son "was not a violent person" until he killed 12 people and injured 70 others in a packed movie premiere.

During testimony Wednesday, Robert Holmes referred to the 2012 attack as "the event" several times. In response to questions from a prosecutor, he said of his son wasn't violent "until the event."

Robert Holmes wrapped up his second day on the stand during the sentencing phase of his son's trial.

At one point, he mouthed something to his son and the two of them smiled before a sheriff's deputy told the elder Holmes to stop.

James Holmes' mother is expected to take the stand later in the day for her first comments since the trial began April 27.

9:10 a.m.

The father of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes is back on the stand in the sentencing phase of his son's trial.

Robert Holmes is testifying for a second day Wednesday in an effort to spare his son's life. On Tuesday, he made his first public comments about his son since the trial began.

He said his son had an odd facial expression about seven months before the July 2012 attack and seeing his son's mug shot later reminded him of it.

Robert Holmes said he noticed his son grimacing and smirking in December 2011 and having a hard time making eye contact.

He said he's seen James Holmes in jail only three times because his son typically doesn't allow visitors.

During his first visit, Robert Holmes said his son "was clearly really messed up," with his eyes bulging and his pupils dilated.


Mexico declares 1st 'alert' over violence against women
July 29, 2015 22:13 GMT

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexico's government has declared a first-ever "gender alert" for a central state due to a high incidence of killings and disappearances of women.

The alert for the State of Mexico, outside the capital, was decreed by the Interior Department. It cites "systematic violence against women" and "an atmosphere of impunity and permissiveness" toward such crimes.

The report says more than 1,700 women were slain in the state between 2005 and 2014, and at least 4,281 women and girls disappeared. Most of the missing reappeared alive, but 1,554 have never been heard from again.

The alert triggers measures designed to spur investigation and prevention, though none have officially been announced.

Maria de la Luz Estrada of the National Citizens' Observatory on Femicide said Wednesday that the alert sets a "historic" precedent.


Business/Consumer News

US pending home sales slip in June

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of signed contracts to buy homes fell in June, as limited supplies of homes on the market are holding back possible sales growth.

   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
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 and additional releases, visit the EmbroidMe News & Press Release section
 of embroidme.com. EmbroidMe's on-site specialists are ready to provide
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 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
 Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame--mw?attachid=2528723
 Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame--mw?attachid=2528725
 Image Available: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/frame--mw?attachid=2528718
   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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