Wednesday, February 10, 2010

John Mayer Apologizes For Controversial Playboy Interview

'I've created somewhat of a monster,' singer says on Twitter about his open demeanor in interviews and arguably racist comments.

John Mayer has issued an apology for the use of a racial slur during an interview with Playboy, where he used the “N” word.

John Mayer has been under a lot of fire for his use of the word during his Playboy interview.

He stated during the interview that “black people love me.” He even went as far as to say that he had a “n***** pass.”

This comment, without question, has sparked a lot of negative press toward Mayer.

He has since responded, issuing a full apology for what he said during the Playboy interview.

He said in a Tweet that “I am sorry that I used the word. And it’s such a shame that I did because the point I was trying to make was in the exact opposite spirit of the word itself.”

So should the public accept the apology by John Mayer? That is still up for debate, as this was clearly a comment that was not thought out fully before it was stated.

Whether or not it had racial implications behind it is up for debate, but the reputation of John Mayer has certainly been tarnished.

Twenty Years Since Mandela Set Free

South Africa is preparing to mark the twentieth anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

But the 91-year- old is too frail to join the main event of the celebrations - a march recreating his historic walk to freedom after 27 years in jail.

Dozens of ANC politicians, including President Jacob Zuma, are expected to gather outside the former Victor Verster prison at Paarl, near Cape Town, to retrace Mandela's footsteps.

Winnie Madikizela Mandela, who was by her then husband's side as the world watched on February 11th 1990, is also due to attend.

Mr Mandela, who has difficulty walking, will not appear in public until later in the day when he will be the guest of honour at President Zuma's annual state of the nation address.

The celebrations have been overshadowed not just by the failing health of South Africa's first democratically elected president, but a sex scandal surrounding its third.

Mr Zuma, 67, is facing calls to resign after revelations that he fathered a love child with the daughter of a friend.

The president, who practices polygamy according to Zulu tradition, betrayed his three wives with the affair.

The father of 20, is also accused of making a mockery of his own government's "safe sex" campaign, designed to combat HIV and AIDS.

He has apologised, but only after a public outcry over his conduct.

"Mandela led us properly," one student in Soweto told Sky News, "he didn't set a bad example like this."

The comparisons between the two leaders are the subject of national radio phone ins, with many callers bemoaning the lack of moral authority in today's ANC.

There is also frustration about the slow pace of change since the end of apartheid. Most black South Africans still live in poverty and the country is plagued by high rates of crime.

In his address to the nation, Jacob Zuma, is expected to recommit the ANC to uplifting the people. But many in South Africa believe Mandela's legacy is fragile in his hands.

Blizzards add to snow chaos in north-eastern US

Blizzards have hit cities in the north-eastern US, with government offices staying shut for a third day.

In Washington DC and neighbouring Montgomery County ploughing operations were part suspended "because of the hazardous weather conditions".

The National Guard announced it had called on 200 of its members to help clear streets in the capital.

Baltimore banned all but emergency vehicles from driving on city streets.

The National Weather Service said heavy snow and winds gusting at up to 60mph from Virginia to New York could make attempts to travel life-threatening. The blizzards have come as the region is still dealing with days of heavy snow.

The Federal Aviation Authority said Dulles Airport near Washington DC would shut down for 24 hours due to the adverse conditions.

Schools closed in New York, for only the third time in six years, and the United Nations said it had closed its headquarters in the city.

The storm arrived from the west, where as much as 17in (43cm) of snow fell in the state of Iowa.

Votes cancelled

As the storm closed in on the north-eastern US late on Tuesday, people raced to clear existing snow and stockpile food.

Philadelphia was expecting up to 19in (48cm) of snow and Baltimore as much as 20in (51cm), according to the National Weather Service.

More than 1ft of snow has fallen only 14 times since 1870
Heaviest on record is 28in in January 1922
Worst snowfall is believed to have hit in 1772, before records began, with as much as 3ft

In Washington, federal agencies are shut and the House of Representatives has called off all votes for this week.

The Senate is due to resume work on Thursday.

The government closure is estimated to be costing $100m (£64m) a day in lost productivity and other costs.

Many of the region's schools are closed, with some cancelling classes for the rest of the week.

Transport has been widely disrupted, with airports in Washington shutting early on Tuesday. Many airlines have also cancelled flights for Wednesday.

Washington's bus system has ground to a halt and its subway was partly suspended. Thousands of houses have remained without power in the Washington area.

A 4,000-year-old Greenland man possessed close genetic ties to modern Siberians

A new study has evolved that can trace how the human being might have been in their ancient times revealing its whereabouts to his body structure and the climatic conditions he lived in.
According to the study, an individual’s genome is the oldest to be sequenced from a modern human.
Further the researchers explain that the man, who lived 4,000 years ago, had brown eyes and thick dark hair, and he might as well, prone to baldness. The study also revealed that the ancestors might have migrated from Siberia.
On the study base, the professor of Copenhagen claims that the individual might have been named as inuc in the ancient time and has links to Saqqaq culture.
The team has genetic evidence that Inuk’s metabolism and body mass meant to be to adapt to the cold climate.
Commenting on the Siberian connection the analysis took a year to come to a conclusion that the genome sequence Saqqaq’s closest living relatives were natives in north-eastern Siberia, such as the Chuckchis and the Koryaks.
This suggests that the Saqqaqs migrated from Siberia to the New World approximately 5,500 years ago.
According to Professor Willersle the people did not know how to make the crossing from Siberia to Greenland and Alaska as there was no land bridge between Siberia and Alaska at that time, so they might have crossed either by boat or by walking on ice.
Then if the saqqaq people ever existed, then what happened to them and why they died out also remains a mystery. The study to reveal many such untold questions is on its way.

Rare earthquake rattles northern Ill.; no damage

A small pre-dawn earthquake has hit northern Illinois, startling sleepy-eyed residents as far away as Iowa and Indiana, but no damage or injuries were immediately reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 3.8-magnitude earthquake hit about 50 miles northwest of Chicago at 4 a.m. Wednesday. The USGS initially reported the magnitude as 4.3 but later downgraded it.

USGS geophysicist Amy Vaughan says such quakes are rare in northern Illinois. She says the agency received reports from Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana about feeling the ground shake.

Sheriff's dispatchers near the epicenter in Kane County say they've been flooded with calls from startled residents. But spokesman Lt. Pat Gengler says no injuries or damage have been reported.

Residents reported being tossed out of bed and finding books and tools scattered across the floor.

PAC-10 Looks Into Possible Expansion

After months of speculation, Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott confirmed expansion talks Tuesday and said the conference will engage in serious discussions over the next six to 12 months.

During a press conference held Tuesday, Scott said the Pac-10 is considering the expansion proposal seriously.

"It really is over the next six to 12 months that we'll start having serious analysis and serious conversations," Scott told reporters about the expansion proposal

After attending discussions with administrators throughout the conference, Scott said he's determined to put these suggestions into action.

Newly-appointed Pac-10 deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Kevin Weiberg joined Scott in answering questions related to the possible expansion program next year.

Scott expects Weiberg, the former Big Ten executive and Big 12 commissioner, to make" innovative" changes over the next 12 to 18 months.

Weiberg's term is critical for the conference as it faces some challenges in the next couple of years, including the renewal of TV and media contracts, which expire after the 2011-12 academic year. The conference must also generate significant revenues to stay competitive with the other BCS conferences like the Big Ten and SEC.

"It makes sense [to consider expansion], if you are going to do it, to do it when you can monetize it and get value for it commercially," Scott said in the conference.

Though potential expansion program candidates are still undisclosed, Scott said conference members are increasingly showing curiosity about the proposal inspired by the Big 10's early desire for expansion.

The Pac-10 is expecting the expansion talks to finish within a year.

Lil Wayne's Prison Stint Delayed By Dental Appointment

New York, NY, United States (CNS) - Lil Wayne's teeth have saved him a few more weeks of freedom. The "Lollipop" emcee was scheduled to be formally sentenced for his weapons possession case on Tuesday, but had to be rescheduled because he has a date with the dentist.

The 27-year-old rapper was expected to turn himself in jail after his sentencing for the 2007 gun possession case. However, Wayne - Dwayne Carter Jr. - has to fix his dental braces on February 12 before he gets thrown in jail, according to TMZ.

The Manhattan judge gave him until March 2, his next court date, to show up with newly fixed teeth.

As per the deal he made with prosecutors in October, Wayne will plead guilty to a reduced charge of attempted gun possession. He was originally facing as long as 15 years behind bars, but he is now expected to serve up to 10 months.

He spent what he thought was the final night of his freedom saying goodbye to his fans in a live streaming video.

He said, "To all my fans, my real fans, I really, really, really truly love you. I love you with all of me, for real. I'll probably be loving everything else because I love you so much. Thank you from the bottom. Do not forget me 'cause I will forever think about you, and I cannot wait for you to see me again. I'm out."

Iran says nuclear fuel swap remains an option

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A top Iranian official says a nuclear fuel swap with the West proposed under a U.N.-drafted plan remains an option.

The late Tuesday comment by Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's nuclear chief and a vice president, came hours after Iran began enriching uranium to about 20 percent over objections from the U.S. and its allies who fear the process could be used to make nuclear weapons.

On Wednesday, Salehi was quoted by state TV as saying the enriching process was "moving forward smoothly."

Under the U.N. plan, Iran would send its stockpiled, low-enriched uranium abroad for processing into fuel rods to power a research reactor thus denying Iran the ability to enrich those stocks to higher levels needed for making warheads.