Sunday, November 30, 2014

Black Friday Weekend Slows Down As Allure Fades

Black Friday Weekend Slows Down As Allure Fades: "Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren told The Associated Press on Friday that he's hoping lower gas prices will help spending.

"There's reason to believe that confidence should continue to grow. That should be good for discretionary spending," he said.

Some of those discretionary dollars are migrating online.

Target said Thanksgiving saw a 40 percent surge in online sales and was its biggest online sales day ever. And Wal-Mart reported Thanksgiving was its second-highest online day ever, topped only by Cyber Monday last year.

From Nov. 1 through Friday, $22.7 billion has been spent online, a 15 percent increase from last year, according to research firm comScore. On Thanksgiving, online sales surged 32 percent, while Black Friday online sales jumped 26 percent.

In stores, shoppers spent $9.1 billion on Black Friday, according to research firm ShopperTrak, down 7 percent from last year. That was partly due to a 24 percent surge in Thanksgiving sales, to $3.2 billion.

ShopperTrak estimated that in-store sales for the two days combined slipped half a percent to $12.29 billion."



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Saturday, November 29, 2014

India announces new visa rules to boost tourism numbers Dawn

Foreign tourists visit the landmark Red Fort, constructed in the 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, in New Delhi, India. — AFP/File
Foreign tourists visit the landmark Red Fort, constructed in the 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, in New Delhi, India. — AFP/File
NEW DELHI: Tourists travelling to India from 43 countries including the US will no longer have to queue at their local consulates to obtain visas after New Delhi announced Thursday a long-awaited easing of border controls.
Tourists from countries including Australia, Brasil, Germany and Japan will now be able to apply online and then receive the green light within four days, before getting their visa at an airport on arrival.
Most foreigners currently have to wait several weeks before learning whether they will be allowed to enter India after submitting their applications at visa processing centres, a major deterrent for potential visitors.
“This scheme ... is a dream come true for the entire tourism industry of India and is bound to positively impact the economy,” tourism minister Mahesh Sharma said in a statement.
“The government's objective is to boost tourism and this scheme's implementation will send out a clear message that India is serious about making travel to the country easy.”
Plans for the overhaul were announced by the previous left-leaning Congress government which was thrown from office at elections in May.
The minister said the scheme would eventually be expanded from the list of 43 countries that also includes Russia, Singapore and South Korea.
Britain, India's former colonial master, is not included on the new list. Under the old scheme, citizens of 12 countries were eligible for a visa on arrival.
Despite its cultural attractions, beaches and mountains, India attracts relatively few holidaymakers — 6.58 million in 2012, a fraction of those who go to popular Asian destinations like Malaysia and Thailand.
India came 65 out of 140 countries in a World Economic Forum ranking on travel and tourism competitiveness conducted in 2013.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing government has pledged to boost tourism numbers since his party stormed to office on a pledge to create jobs and revive the economy.
Under the scheme, tourists will be able to pick up their visas from nine Indian airports. Tourists can apply twice a year for 30-day visas which cannot be extended. Tourists must also have a return ticket.
“The facility is available to foreigners whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit ... and not valid for any other purpose, activities,” a tourism ministry statement said.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Truck carrying rat poison catches fire after collision with car to acorn

014-11-20 / Front Page

Truck carrying rat poison catches fire after collision with car

Authorities shut down intersection of Los Arboles and Velarde Drive
By Becca Whitnall
CLINT MATKOVICH/Special to the Acorn

WRECK—A two-car collision at the intersection of Avenida de Los Arboles and Velarde Drive this morning in Thousand Oaks resulted in only minor injuries.CLINT MATKOVICH/Special to the Acorn WRECK—A two-car collision at the intersection of Avenida de Los Arboles andVelarde Drive this morning in Thousand Oaks resulted in only minor injuries.--Story updated 5:26 p.m. Fri., Nov. 21
A two-vehicle accident involving a truck carrying rat poison resulted in the closure of Avenida de Los Arboles for several hours Friday. 
Where's the story?PointsMentioned Map2 Points Mentioned
The accident occurred near Velarde Drive, next to Wildflower Playfield, around 10:50 a.m. The road did not reopen until approximately 4:20 p.m. 
Both vehicles, a car and the truck, were traveling west on Avenida de Los Arboles when the truck slowed to attempt to make an illegal U-turn around a center divider when the car rear-ended it, starting a fire, according to Sgt. Brad Clifton of the Thousand Oaks Police Department traffic division. 
The driver of the car was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or an illegal substance, Clifton said. 
Due to the nature of the truck cargo, authorities, including TOPD, the Ventura County Fire Department and the county Environmental Health Agency, decided to close the road until the poison could be completely cleaned up. 
“We’re always more cautious than we need to be, especially in cases like this,” Clifton said. 
The accident resulted in a minor injury to the car driver’s hand, the sergeant added. 

Santa lands safely at Janss Marketplace Rachel McGrath VC Star



Santa lands safely at Janss Marketplace


THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - As the Conejo Valley experienced unseasonably warm temperatures Friday, Santa made his annual debut flying in from the North Pole in a small plane and parachuting into Thousand Oaks.

Thousand Oaks: Jacqui Irwin says goodbye to a seat she held for decade

Thousand Oaks: Jacqui Irwin says goodbye to a seat she held for decade

By Kelsey Stuart
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in others,” said Lou Lichtl Thousand Oaks High School Principal as he commemorated Councilmember Jacqui Irwin’s service to the community.
Over 20 members of the community came to congratulate and thank Irwin for her decade of service to the city on her last night on the council before she heads to the hill to serve in the California’s Assembly.
1.to.council
Assemblywoman Irwin
“Thirteen or fourteen years ago, when I was coaching Pop Warner football, a tall brunette, who was the mother of one of my players, walked up to me and asked me how I did it every Tuesday night,” Mayor Andy Fox said.
He said it was shortly after he recommended Irwin for a place on the Planning Commission and now, as they say, the rest is history.
“She has been serving this community long before you were reading about it in the paper and that service has been the foundation of who she is,” Fox said.
Irwin was honored by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department with a rare challenge coin from Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean.
As well as by Congresswoman Julia Brownley, who expressed her gratitude at having Irwin represent the 44th District of Assembly.
“I’m very lucky to have her,” Brownley said.
City Manager, Scott Mitnick, said that in the last ten years he has done his math, “I think Jacqui and I have been in over 400 one on one meetings.”
Mitnick said that one of the best examples of Irwin’s impact on the community was involvement in turning the wastewater treatment plan into one of the most advanced and cutting edge waste water treatment programs in the country. (http://www.toaks.org/government/depts/public_works/environmental/residential/hazardous_waste/)
“It was your first visit out there and I remember you asking if we could envision having solar panels out there to generate electricity. Ten years later we built it and it now generates enough electricity to manage itself,” Mitnick said.
Irwin received plaque after plaque with many a heartfelt thank-you from the community members.
Fox noted that, as with all past council members, a seat has been dedicated in the forum, K17, for Irwin as a memento for her years of service.
“We do a lot of things right in this area, whether it is cutting edge with environmental or making the city the fourth best place to raise children – it has all happened because we have an outstanding unparalleled executive team,” Irwin said, thanking the community and congratulating the council members (Price, Bill-de la Pena and Fox) on reelections.
Irwin’s last city council meeting was heartfelt. She will relinquish her seat early next month to represent in the 44th Assembly District in Sacramento.
The city will be holding a special election to fill her council seat in the spring.
In other matters, the council approved a grant totaling $100,000 for sport facility upgrades to Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park high schools.
Fox and councilman Joel Price commented on their time spent in Austin, Texas at the National League of Cities Congress and Exposition on November 19.
“It is where we are able to share the best practices with other city officials,” Price said.
Price noted that because of the council’s annual involvement in the exposition, the Federal Highway construction has been funded in loans that will be reimbursed. (http://www.toaks.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=25486)
“Dennis Gillette, former mayor/councilmember, lobbied for funds,” Price said.
Finley said that Caltrans is requested a 55-hour closure of one of the 23 ramps as a condensed closure, “the unexpected closure and traffic control was outside the scope and the estimated cost is now 12.5 million, which is still significantly lower than the original estimated fee of 15 million.”
In conclusion, Fox announced a reminder of the breakfast and meeting for the city to piece together the final touches to the Vision 2064 project, concentrating on the city’s next 50 years.
The meeting will offer a light breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and begin promptly at 9, at the Grant Brimhall Library community room.
To attend please contact Christine Broughton at (805) 449-2122 or cbroughton@toaks.org, further information on Vision2064 can be found at, www.toaks.org/2064.
AGENDA:
__________________________________________
Kelsey Stuart is a freelance journalist in Ventura County; she is a published writer of more than 200 articles ranging from the Fresno Bee to the Ventura County Star, and everything in between.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dozens of Marchers Protesting Ferguson Decision Declared ‘Under Arrest’ in Downtown Los Angeles | KTLA

Dozens of Marchers Protesting Ferguson Decision Declared ‘Under Arrest’ in Downtown Los Angeles | KTLA: "The episode occurred about two hours after a similar protest in San Diego, where dozens of activists walked onto the southbound 5 Freeway and briefly interrupted the morning commute before being dispersed by authorities.

And earlier, on Monday night, about 300 people entered the 110 Freeway on foot in downtown L.A. and completely shut down traffic. Officers in riot gear responded and used less-lethal foam projectiles to clear the scene.

That incident prompted a warning Tuesday morning from Beck, who noted the inherent danger of walking onto a freeway and vowed that anyone who did so would be arrested.

Despite the admonishment, demonstrators took to the 101 Freeway in downtown L.A. about 9 p.m. Tuesday and set up traffic barricades that they had picked up on nearby streets. CHP officers arrived and removed the protesters and barricades within 10 minutes.

Those arrested that night came just hours after hundreds had rallied in South L.A.’s Leimert Park before marching to LAPD headquarters in the area of First and Main streets. There they were met by baton-wielding officers in riot helmets who formed a human barrier on the steps in front of the building."



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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Los Angeles Times Breaking news Michael Brown protesters climb into 110 Freeway, block traffic Los Angeles Times | November 24, 2014 | 11:57 PM More than 200 demonstrators marched across Los Angeles on Monday night, closing the 110 Freeway and chanting as they protested a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the controversial shooting of a black teenager. With police officers standing by, the protesters spent hours marching through the city, at one point crowding outside the LAPD's Southwest station before heading toward the USC campus. University police said the campus was closed to outsiders. For the latest information go to www.latimes.com. ADVERTISEMENT Text "BREAKING" to 52669 to sign up for breaking news text alerts. You will receive 2 msgs/week. Msg&data rates may apply. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel. California and the world: Visit http://www.latimes.com for up-to-the-minute news. Follow @LATimes on Twitter: http://twitter.com/latimes

Los Angeles Times
Breaking news

Michael Brown protesters climb into 110 Freeway, block traffic

Los Angeles Times | November 24, 2014 | 11:57 PM

More than 200 demonstrators marched across Los Angeles on Monday night, closing the 110 Freeway and chanting as they protested a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the controversial shooting of a black teenager.
With police officers standing by, the protesters spent hours marching through the city, at one point crowding outside the LAPD's Southwest station before heading toward the USC campus.
University police said the campus was closed to outsiders.
For the latest information go to www.latimes.com.
ADVERTISEMENT

Text "BREAKING" to 52669 to sign up for breaking news text alerts. You will receive 2 msgs/week. Msg&data rates may apply. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel.
California and the world: Visit http://www.latimes.com for up-to-the-minute news.
Follow @LATimes on Twitter: http://twitter.com/latimes

Monday, November 24, 2014

Caffeine 'cocktail' for stroke by JAMES CHAPMAN, Daily Mail

Caffeine 'cocktail' for stroke

by JAMES CHAPMAN, Daily Mail
Irish coffee has inspired a bizarre treatment which could save stroke victims from severe brain damage, scientists reveal today.
Tests of an injection which mixes caffeine and alcohol suggest it can limit the disability suffered by patients by up to 80 per cent.
The technique is based on the traditional after-dinner drink, in which coffee and whiskey are mixed together with cream carefully poured on top to form a separate layer.
Experts believe the drug - which has the potency of two cups of strong coffee and a shot of spirits - can be injected into the bloodstream up to three hours after a patient is struck down.
Although they are unsure why it works, the breakthrough could be crucial in cutting the toll of death and disability caused by strokes.
Treating and looking after the 140,000 people a year who suffer the condition - usually caused by a blood clot on the brain - costs the Health Service an estimated £2.3billion. Only cancer and heart disease kill more patients.
The experimental drug has been shown to be safe in a pilot study of patients suffering from ischemic stroke, where a clot blocks blood going into the brain.
Unveiling the treatment in Stroke: The Journal of the American Heart Association, scientists said this safety study was a crucial prelude to testing the combination of caffeine and alcohol - called caffeinol - on patients.
In studies on rats, brain damage was reduced by up to 80 per cent when caffeinol was given within three hours of an artery taking blood to the brain being blocked.
'Neither caffeine or alcohol offered protection alone, but the combination was protective,' said Dr James Grotta, professor of neurology and director of stroke research at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School.
In the study on humans, Dr Grotta and his colleagues gave the treatment to 16 female and 17 male stroke victims with an average of 71.
'Our goal was to see if we could safely achieve the same blood levels of caffeinol that we achieved in our animal studies,' said Dr Grotta.
'We discovered that we could use even lower doses than we used in the animal studies and achieve the blood levels that were neuroprotective in animals.'
Importantly, caffeinol can be safely administered to patients also receiving traditional ' clot- busting' drugs used to treat stroke.
However, more research is needed to ensure that caffeinol does not put too much strain on the heart and to judge how well it protects the brain in humans.
In addition, the experts plan a study combining caffeinol with 'thermo- cooling' after tests suggested that cooling the brain can limit stroke damage.
j.chapman@dailymail.co.uk


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-176352/Caffeine-cocktail-stroke.html#ixzz3K41AbuRM
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Perello wins Oxnard City Council seat Gretchen Wenner VC Star

Perello wins Oxnard City Council seat

VENTURA, Calif. - By a 10-vote margin, Oxnard City Councilman Bert Perello won reelection, according to final results released Monday.
Perello, first elected to the council in the June 2013 special election, barely bested challenger Steve Huber, who originally led the contest for a second council seat when initial results came in after the Nov. 4 election.
Perello ended up with 6,680 votes, or about 15.2 percent of the total. Huber’s count was 6,670. Less than a tenth of a percentage point separated them.
Oxnard voters chose two candidates from a field of seven. Incumbent Carmen Ramirez easily won a second term with 13,510 votes, or more than 30 percent of the total.
“I’ve already congratulated Bert,” Huber said Monday evening. He added he is still looking at his options, including a possible recount, but hasn’t made a decision. He also wonders if a mandatory recount might be required.
“I have more questions than I have answers,” he said.
Perello could not immediately be reached Monday evening.
In the mayoral contest, Mayor Tim Flynn bested two challengers, including a bid from Councilman Bryan MacDonald, with 59 percent of the total, or 15,764 votes. MacDonald, who will keep his council seat, wound up with 8,285 votes. Larry Stein pulled in 2,157. Oxnard’s mayor is elected every two years, with council members serving four-year terms.
In another close outcome, a measure that would increase salaries for Fillmore City Council members passed by 49 votes. Measure H received “yes votes” from 1,255 voters, or about 51 percent. The measure would allow City Council salaries to rise from $75 a month to $300, the state limit for a city that size.
The results released Monday by the Ventura County Elections Division are the final, certified numbers submitted to the state, which were due by Dec. 2.