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Monday, 6 August 2012

0 Obama congratulate NASA for Mars hallway

President Barack Obama says NASA's successful mission to put a robotic rover on Mars is an "unprecedented feat of technology."

In a statement issued Monday shortly after the rover Curiosity landed, Obama said "Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history."

He says the feat, which gives the space agency a much-needed boost, proves that even the longest odds are no match for American ingenuity and determination.

Obama praises NASA for Mars landing

The president says the mission, which cost taxpayers $2.5 billion, shows that American preeminence "depends on continuing to invest wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made our economy the envy of the world."

Obama also congratulated the NASA workers "who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality."


Saturday, 4 August 2012

0 Ice Age: Continental Drift Review

Ice Age: Continental Drift (also known as Ice Age 4: Continental Drift or simply as Ice Age 4) is a 2012 American 3-D computer-animated adventure/comedy film directed by Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier, starring the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Keke Palmer, Chris Wedge, Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Lopez, Wanda Sykes, Drake and Nicki Minaj.

Ice Age: Continental Drift Review

It is the fourth installment of the Ice Age series, being produced by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox, and the first sequel not to be directed by Carlos Saldanha.It was the second Ice Age installment that utilises Digital 3D. It was released in the US on July 13, 2012, three to six years after its predecessors The Meltdown and Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and ten years after the release of the original Ice Age. This was the first Ice Age film to be shot in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio.

Despite receiving a mixed reaction from critics, the film became a box office hit, currently the 11th highest-grossing animated feature in history, with a worldwide gross of $653 million.


As in the previous films, the protagonists are the mammoth Manny, the sloth Sid, the saber-toothed cat Diego, and, in a parallel storyline, the saber-toothed squirrel Scrat. Scrat's hunt for acorns triggers the break-up of the Pangaea landmass into the continents as we know them today. In the meantime, Manny and his wife Ellie deal with their teenage daughter Peaches who has a crush on Ethan. Peaches' best friend, a molehog named Louis, appears to have a crush on her. Sid's family(who had abandoned him), appear to have been looking for him, but it is revealed that they only want to leave Sid's annoying Granny with him and leave him again, leaving Sid to wonder whether his family loves him or not. When Manny catches Peaches hanging with Ethan after he told her not to, Manny and Peaches argue, then fall out. Soon after, the breakup of the continent separates Manny from his family. Manny gets stuck on a floating ice raft with Sid, Diego and Granny. A large moving landmass drives Ellie, Peaches, Crash and Eddie, Louis, Ethan, and a herd of other animals towards a land bridge, where Manny had told them to go.

Meanwhile, Scrat, also lost at sea, comes across an island and runs when he sees a skeleton. He then finds an acorn-shaped map, which leads to a mysterious acorn-filled island. Scrat decides to follow the map and find the island. As he begins his journey, he is captured by a gang of animal pirates on a large ship-shaped iceberg, who are sailing the oceans.

Manny and his friends are also captured by the pirate gang, led by a Gigantopithecus named Gutt. Gutt and the pirate gang attempt to shanghai Manny, telling him to forget his family and former life and join the pirates, but he refuses. Gutt takes this as an insult, and attempts to make the herd walk the plank, but they (along with Scrat, who continues his journey) manage to escape, in the process destroying the pirate ship. They rescue the female pirate saber-toothed cat Shira, who had been left behind by the pirates.

The group reaches an island and encounters a group of hyraxes, as well as the pirates, who are building a new ice ship elsewhere on the same island. The herd plan to steal the ship and use it to get home. The next morning, as the herd is preparing their plan, Shira escapes and rejoins the pirates, but gets choked and threatened to be killed by Gutt, after Gutt realizes that she had not attacked them but she had tricked Gutt into saving Manny and the herd. The herd, along with the hyraxes, overtake the new ice ship and, with some help from Shira, sail away. Gutt, in anger, quickly turns a new iceberg into a ship, propelled by narwhals, and chases Manny's gang, determined to get revenge.

Meanwhile, Peaches has been still hanging with Ethan and a group of teenage mammoths, but after realizing that they don't care about the danger and thinking that being a best friend with a molehog is ridiculous, she leaves them and returns to Louis. But by then, Louis has become convinced that Peaches doesn't consider him a friend after she told Ethan and his friends that they weren't friends. When Ellie, Peaches, Louis, Crash and Eddie reach the land bridge, they find it to be destroyed. Meanwhile, Manny, Sid, Granny and Diego encounter sirens, depicted as sharp-toothed creatures who take the shape of loved ones and attempt to lure the sailors. Fortunately, Manny realizes this and manages to steer the ship away from the sirens. Later, Scrat meets a siren, which uses the shape of his former girlfriend from the third film, Scratte, to attempt to lure him. Scrat blows a raspberry and ignores it, however the siren takes the shape of an acorn, causing Scrat to get hype and hug it. The siren changes back and attacks Scrat, but he is able to get away.

The next morning, Manny, Sid, Diego and Granny finally reach home, but, much to their horror, find out that Gutt and his pirate gang had beaten them to it and captured Ellie and Peaches. Manny attempts to turn himself in to Gutt in exchange for releasing his family, but Gutt doesn't keep his side of the bargain and prepares to kill the family. Louis, Crash and Eddie, come to their rescue, starting a battle, during which Peaches saves Manny, Diego distracts Gutt , and Sid and Granny are saved by Granny's presumed imaginary pet Precious, a gigantic Livyatan melvillei, defeating the pirates by spraying them after Sid blocks her blowhole. Shira tries to save Ellie but she is hurt by Gutt, as the heroes are about to escape,Manny realizes he left Ellie in the sinking ship with Gutt goes on to kill her. Whoever Peaches uses her abilities as half possum to save Ellie. But when Manny saves them from the sinking ship, Gutt attacks, making them engage in a final fight atop a ice raft. Manny manages to defeat him with his heavy body and using a log as a bat to smack Gutt far away. However he falls from the ice raft, but he is saved by Sid, Granny, and Precious. Manny then arrives in time to pick up the other animals including Ethan's gang, who are caught between the moving landmass and the ocean at the location where the land bridge once existed. Meanwhile, Gutt is killed when he ends up being tricked and devoured by a siren, taking on the shape of a female of his species. After sailing over the ocean, the herd and all the animals find another continent (where the hyraxes have gone, too) which they accept as their new home. Manny and Peaches reconcile, Manny finally admits that Sid is not the screw-up after all, Sid fixes Granny's problem of having no teeth, Diego and Shira become a couple, and Louis is finally allowed to be with Peaches whenever she hangs out with Ethan's gang.

The film ends with Scrat finally reaching the island on the map, Scratlantis (a Scrat version of Atlantis); a floating city filled with other sabre-toothed squirrels and nuts. However, Scrat, due to his nut obsession, grabs many nuts in a frenzy and eventually attempts to grab a giant one blocking a hole. He grabs it, despite the sabre-toothed squirrel leader's warnings, causing the city to sink to the bottom of the ocean, leaving Scrat in the middle of a desert in North America. Scrat's eyes burn, and he screams in pain and frustration. During the credits Manny, Sid, Diego, Ellie, Crash and Eddie, Peaches, Louis, and the whole gang dance to "We Are Family".

Thanks: Wikipedia

Friday, 3 August 2012

1 Romney assure tax free for Olympians

In a country riven by taxation discord, Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney has hit on a populist measure that is a sure-fire winner: tax relief for US Olympians on the medals they win.

Some Republicans, including possible Romney running-mate Senator Marco Rubio, had already spoken out against the little-noticed element in the tax code that taxes athletes for bringing home gold, silver or bronze.

Yesterday a senior Romney adviser said the presumptive Republican nominee challenging President Barack Obama for the White House in November was also against the policy.

Romney headed the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, and "he believes that there should be no taxation of the type that you're describing," advisor Eric Fehrnstrom told reporters.

Romney is a multimillionaire former businessman and investor, and advocates significant tax cuts for individuals and corporations and simplification of the tax code.

The comments come a day after Rubio introduced the Olympic Tax Elimination Act in the Senate. Republicans and Democrats reportedly introduced similar legislation in the House.

"Our tax code is a complicated and burdensome mess that too often punishes success, and the tax imposed on Olympic medal winners is a classic example of this madness," said Rubio.

"Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn't have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home."

Romney assure tax free for Olympians

The legislation follows a report by the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), which warned that athletes could be required to pay up to US$9,000 in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service for each gold medal.

That's not just for the medal itself; the US Olympic Organising Committee awards US$25,000 to gold medal winners, US$15,000 for silver and US$10,000 for bronze.

Fact-checker group PolitiFact rated the ATR report as "mostly false," arguing that most athletes are not huge earners like swimmer Michael Phelps and would not be subject to high tax rates, and that they could also deduct their training expenses, which often amount to several thousand dollars per year, from their income.

US lawmakers are currently locked in a fierce tax debate.

Republicans, including Romney, want tax cuts from the era of former president George W Bush extended for another year for everyone, while Obama and Democrats want the tax breaks extended only for families making under US$250,000, meaning wealthier Americans would see their taxes rise in 2013.