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Posts made in February, 2015

8 killed in Czech restaurant shooting, ministry says

By on Feb 24, 2015 in Press Release |

(CNN)Eight victims are dead after a shooting at a restaurant in the town of Uhersky Brod, in the eastern Czech Republic near Zlin, a Czech Interior Ministry spokesman said Tuesday. “The shooter is also dead,” the spokesman said. The interior minister is flying to the area now, he said. Authorities don’t yet know the identity or motivation of the shooter, the spokesman said. However, at this time they do not believe the incident is terror-related. Milan Chovanec, the Czech interior minister, said on Twitter: “According to available news, this is not a terrorist attack, but an act committed by aberrant individual.” Czech TV reporter Vaclav Cernohorsky told CNN that the mayor of the town had told reporters the shooter was a man in his 60s who may have been mentally unstable. The gunman rushed into the restaurant and fired multiple times, Cernohorsky said, citing the mayor. The shooter then killed himself, the mayor reportedly said. No details have yet emerged about the victims, who were in the restaurant eating lunch at the time of the attack, Cernohorsky said. Local media reports say that two people were wounded in the shooting. Uhersky Brod is a small town in the eastern region of the Czech Republic, near the border with...

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Governors to meet with Obama at the White House

By on Feb 23, 2015 in Press Release |

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the 2015 Governors Dinner in the State Dining Room of the White House February 22, 2015 in Washington, D.C.(Photo: Getty Images) Washington — As they gather in Washington, many of the nation’s Republican governors are blaming President Barack Obama for a budget standoff that threatens a potential Department of Homeland Security shutdown. They’ll be able to make their case in person when they convene at the White House on Monday morning. The meeting comes days before the DHS’s $40 billion budget is set to run out, on Feb. 27, over a dispute over Obama’s executive action on immigration. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warned on Sunday that the possible shutdown threatens to hamstring U.S. response to terrorist threats and warnings, such as the one late Saturday that mentioned the Mall of America in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington. While some have called for compromise, a handful of high-profile Republican governors have urged GOP congressional leaders to stand firm, arguing that stopping what they see as Obama’s unconstitutional power grab may be as important as resolving the funding dispute. The meeting — and a planned afternoon press conference at the White House Monday afternoon — caps the annual winter gathering of the National Governors Association, where talk was dominated by the budget standoff as well as a looming Supreme Court case that could strike down health insurance subsidies for millions of people across more than 30 states. But Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who chairs the National Governors Association, said that governors would likely avoid divisive issues at their meeting with Obama. He suggested likely topics would be trade deals, workforce development, education and infrastructure. “When we go to the president our goal is to try to be more constructive,” he said. During a dinner and reception at the White House Sunday evening, Obama also sounded an optimistic note, saying he hoped he could find common ground with the group. “Within this room, we’re not going to agree on everything, but I am committed to working with each and every one of you over the next two years to keep making progress. And we’ll talk more about that tomorrow,” he said. “Our economy...

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Neil Patrick Harris turns Oscars 2015 into snoozefest?

By on Feb 23, 2015 in Press Release |

Host Neil Patrick Harris stands next to a sealed briefcase holding his predictions of the Oscar winners during the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 22, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES TAGS:ENTERTAINMENT) (OSCARS-SHOW) – RTR4QOYR LOS ANGELES –  Where’s Kanye West when you need him? Sure everyone goes up in arms when someone like West does something unexpected onstage, but without the spice of scandal, award shows can turn into real yawners.  ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Exhibit A: this year’s Academy Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. Without any major meltdowns, wardrobe malfunctions or politically incorrect gaffes, viewers were largely unimpressed. Here is a sampling of opinions from across the Twitterverse. @rosannascotto no joan rivers..boring oscars…Neil Patrick Harris so boring he had to resort to the underwear — Rosann (@ROSANNA25) February 23, 2015 Congratulations to Neil Patrick Harris, producers for making a boring, unfunny #Oscar snooze fest — Chuck Mirarchi (@DisneyJournal) February 23, 2015 missed u big time #EllenDeGeneres at #Oscars2015 .#NeilPatrickHarris was soooo boring..Yawn! walk of shame ..huh..so that was a surprise?? — Neelima Kulkarni (@starneelima) February 23, 2015 As the evening continued on, several members of the media positioned backstage observed that Harris seemed to realize he wasn’t hitting the high notes, and was becoming increasingly frustrated with himself. “There needs to be a hashtag campaign #bringEllenback,” one person quipped, referring to last year’s surprisingly successful host Ellen DeGeneres, while another said that it’s more on-point for the Academy to hire new show writers. “The producers would love to think that the awards show is only about who wins an Oscar. But because there are only a handful of awards that the public really cares about, it’s the unscripted moments and reactions that usually make the headlines and what people talk about the next day,” Glenn Selig, crisis communications expert and CEO of Selig Multimedia told FOX411. “Without that sideshow, the Oscars seem canned.” Most of the ire was vented at host Harris. “Perhaps the only person who didn’t seem entirely prepared was Neil Patrick Harris… Harris had been pre sold as an expert live host, and yet seemed, befuddlingly, stymied by the exigencies of hosting,” wrote TIME Magazine. “Whether it was his stumbling repeatedly over names or...

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Unemployment rate rises to 5.7 percent. That’s great news. (+video)

By on Feb 6, 2015 in Press Release |

On its face, January was yet another great month for job creation. But 5.7 percent unemployment in 2015 looks very different than it did a few decades ago. The US economy added 257,000 jobs in January, according to figures released Friday by the Labor Department. That exceeded economists’ expectations for about 234,000 added jobs. It was the 11th straight month that the labor market has added 200,000 jobs or more – the first time that’s happened in over two decades.  “An unequivocally strong report, highly unusual for a month notorious for disappointments,” MFR Inc. economist Joshua Shapiro writes in an e-mailed report. Additionally, jobs numbers for November and December were revised upward by about 147,000 jobs; November jobs growth now stands at a whopping 423,000 – the biggest single-month gain since May 2010. The unemployment rate did go up, rising slightly from 5.6 percent to 5.7 percent, “but  this was linked to an increase in labor force participation,” Markit economist Chris Williamson writes in an e-mailed analysis. “The rise in the participation rate from 62.7 percent to 62.9 percent suggests that more people are re-entering the job market as optimism about the economy improves.” That uptick in labor participation – the percentage of Americans working or actively looking for a job – could mark an essential sea change in the economy’s recovery. Job growth has been undeniably robust in the past year, but the proportion of working-age adults who aren’t looking for work is the highest it’s been in nearly four decades. When the unemployment rate goes down, the worry is that just means more workers are giving up on finding a job altogether. The issue got some attention this week, when the head of the Gallup polling organization released an op-ed arguing that any celebration of the falling jobless rate is shortsighted. “If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job … the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed,” it reads. “Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast ‘falling’ unemployment.” It’s not that the job market...

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