Thursday, March 10, 2011

NFLPA wants more financial data from league

National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) executive director DeMaurice Smith (C) and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch (R) arrive with players for negotiations at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 8, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement between players and owners. - National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) executive director DeMaurice Smith (C) and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch (R) arrive with players for negotiations at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 8, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement between players and owners. | 2011 Getty Images The NFL Players Association retained an international investment bank to help it decide whether the league's offer to reveal more financial information during negotiations will be enough to satisfy the union's call for full disclosure.

Zeroing in on the crux of the labour dispute — how to split $9 billion in revenues — one NFLPA executive committee member, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, said in a telephone interview Tuesday with The Associated Press and NFL Network that what the NFL has turned over to the union so far “hasn't been sufficient.

Another executive committee member, Indianapolis Colts centre Jeff Saturday, said as he left Tuesday's 9 1 / 2-hour mediation session that the bank would “help judge how helpful the material they were offering to give us” would be.

The current collective bargaining agreement was set to expire last week, but two extensions now have pushed the cutoff to the end of Friday.

Video: Lindsay Lohan back in court ITN

White House Defends Libya Response

White House officials denied Thursday that they are responding too slowly to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s crackdown on rebels in his country. Obama administration officials say they are moving quickly to address a fluid and dynamic situation.

President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, Tom Donilon, told reporters that the United States and its allies are steadily increasing pressure on Mr. Gadhafi through military and non-military means.

“We have isolated Gadhafi, denied him resources, ensuring accountability, building and maintaining international support, building capabilities to assist the Libyan people," said Donilon. "It is a fluid situation, and it is not going to be resolved overnight.”

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Diddy Tops Forbes’ Wealthiest Hip-Hop Artists List

Diddy is rolling in the dough. The entertainment mogul has been crowned the richest rapper, according to Forbes.

Thanks to his various ventures, Sean “Diddy” Combs is sitting on a fortune valued at an estimated $475 million, securing him the No. 1 spot on the magazine’s Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists list. His net worth is attributed to his Sean John clothing line, Bad Boy label, and CĂ®roc, which has become the top premium vodka on the market.

Meanwhile, Jay-Z clocks in behind Puff, with his bank account worth $450 million. The Brooklyn rapper racked up the massive amount with his various enterprises including his Roc Nation label, fashion, touring, and record sales. Dr. Dre comes in at No. 3 with $125 million, roping in his cash from endorsing HP laptops and releasing his successful Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.

50 Cent and Birdman tie for fourth with a cool $100 million to their names. The G-Unit Records CEO got his funds from selling his shares in vitaminwater to Coca-Cola for nine figures, while Baby continues pulling in money from his Young Money-Cash Money labels, which have been on a hot streak with platinum releases from Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Lil Wayne.

Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge has Dramatic Influence on the Billionaires

Bill Gates1 Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge has Dramatic Influence on the Billionaires
Bill Gates has changed. The Microsoft part of his personality has gone in the background. Bill Gates is the creation of the Microsoft success story but he is charting a new course with equal success and is now known more for that. He has literally and truly made philanthropy the mission of his life. The best part is that he is learning about it and at the same time teaching others.

Bill Gates is travelling around the world and interacting with the billionaires and sharing his thoughts and experiences about philanthropy and the idea of giving. The Giving Pledge is a concept that requires billionaires to release a letter explaining their intentions. It neither asks for nor receives any money. It simply urges the ultra rich to give a moral commitment. So far 59 billionaires have joined The Giving Pledge, publishing their letter on

Paul Schervish, director of the Centre on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College is fascinated by Bill Gates. He says that Bill Gates’ influence has been dramatic. He is no doubt leading the whole movement but very humbly admits that he has not created something new. But we have to admit that he has given birth to a trend as more and more people are beginning foundations and endowing them at higher levels while they are still alive.
Via: reuters

Dalai Lama puts date on relinquishing power

Dalai Lama in Lausanne, 2009

The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetans, said Thursday 10 March from Dharmsala, India, that  he will propose amendments to the exile constitution, later in March. He has said for years that he will give up political power to an elected representative, but this is the first time he has  put a date on actions to make this happen.

His real power extends well beyond the political sphere of exiled Tibetans, however, and as AP reports, “Just how much change will come, though, is highly unclear. While the elected parliament officially wields great power in the exile community, the Dalai Lama’s status means he overshadows everyone else.” The exile prime minister says the process is likely to be long and difficult.

BREAKING: Saudi Police Open Fire On Protestors

Protesters turned out in Qatif, in eastern Saudi Arabia, on March 9 despite the ban. Photo: Radio Free Europe

Report: Saudi Police Open Fire At Protest, Says Witness -- Washington Post

CAIRO -- Saudi police opened fire Thursday to disperse a protest in the mainly Shiite east, leaving at least one man injured, as the government struggled to prevent a wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world from reaching the kingdom.

The rare violence raised concern about a crackdown ahead of more planned protests after Friday prayers in different cities throughout the oil-rich kingdom. The pro-Western monarchy is concerned protests could open footholds for Shiite powerhouse Iran and has accused foreigners of stoking the protests, which are officially forbidden.

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Dead Fish wash up in Redondo Beach

Dead fish in Redondo Beach CaliforniaRemember back in January when we reported on all the bizarre animal deaths? Well it looks like it’s happening again.

Millions of dead fish washed up in King Harbor Marina in Redondo Beach California this morning. Authorities are not commenting on what may have caused the large kill off but say they will be investigating the matter.

State of New Jersey Attorney General Announces Multi-State Settlement with AstraZeneca Over Allegedly Deceptive Marking Practices

TRENTON – Attorney General Paula T. Dow announced today that New Jersey has entered into a $68.5 million, multi-state settlement agreement with pharmaceutical manufacturer AstraZeneca that resolves allegations the company deceptively marketed its anti-psychotic drug Seroquel.
Under the settlement agreement, New Jersey will receive approximately $1.85 million. Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia also are party to the settlement, described as the largest-ever multi-state, consumer-protection-based pharmaceutical settlement.
A Verified Complaint, filed in New Jersey Superior Court today along with a Final Consent Judgment memorializing the settlement, charges that AstraZeneca engaged in unfair and misleading practices when it marketed Seroquel for unapproved or off-label uses. The Complaint also alleges that AstraZeneca failed to adequately disclose the potential side effects of Seroquel to health care providers, and withheld negative information contained in scientific studies regarding the safety and efficacy of Seroquel.
“This is an important settlement for all New Jersey residents,” said Attorney General Dow. “This case sends a message that we take seriously the duty pharmaceutical companies have to supply clear, accurate and complete information about their products to health care providers, and to market their products without deception or misleading claims.”
“Consumers rightfully expect pharmaceutical companies to engage in responsible marketing efforts that are consistent with approved purposes,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.
“The importance cannot be overstated, when the health and safety of New Jersey residents are at stake,” Calcagni said.
Following a three-year investigation by the participating states, the Delaware-based AstraZeneca agreed not to promote Seroquel in a false, misleading or deceptive manner, including for “off-label” uses, which are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In addition to the overall $68.5 million payment, terms of the settlement include provisions that address specific concerns identified in the states’ investigation. The agreement specifically requires AstraZeneca to:
  • Publicly post its payments to physicians on a Web site
  • Have policies in place to ensure that financial incentives are not given to marketing and sales personnel for off-label marketing
  • Have policies in place to ensure that AstraZeneca sales personnel do not promote to health care providers who are unlikely to prescribe Seroquel for an FDA-approved use
  • Cite to Seroquel’s FDA-approved indications when referencing selected symptoms, rather than promoting Seroquel by highlighting symptoms only
Although a physician is allowed to prescribe drugs for off-label uses, the law prohibits pharmaceutical manufacturers from marketing their products for off-label uses. AstraZeneca allegedly marketed Seroquel for a number of off-label uses, including for use in pediatric and geriatric populations, specifically in nursing homes for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, as well as for anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and post traumatic stress disorder. AstraZeneca promoted Seroquel for such uses even though Seroquel was not, at the time it was marketed, approved for treatment of these conditions, and AstraZeneca had not established that Seroquel was safe and effective for these uses. Atypical anti-psychotics, including Seroquel, can produce dangerous side effects including weight gain, hyperglycemia, diabetes, cardiovascular complications and increased risk of mortality in elderly patients with dementia.
In addition to New Jersey, the following states and the District of Columbia participated in the settlement: Florida, Illinois, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Money paid to New Jersey as a result of the AstraZeneca settlement will be used for consumer protection initiatives. Deputy Attorney General Gina M. Betts, assigned to the Division of Law’s Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section, handled the matter on behalf of the State.