iCloud and MobileMe Push Email Suspended in Germany Due to Lawsuit








Apple has informed customers today that they are suspending the Push email service for iCloud and MobileMe customers in Germany due to Motorola Mobility’s successful lawsuit.

Affected customers will still receive iCloud and MobileMe email, but new messages will be downloaded to their devices when the Mail app is opened, or when their device periodically fetches new messages as configured in iOS Settings. Push email service on desktop computers, laptop computers, and the web is unaffected, as is service from other providers such as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.

The mail services are still available for both iCloud and MobileMe, but mail must be downloaded manually or at a certain time.

Motorola won the injunction in early February, and was able to enforce it by posting a 100 million euro bond.  Apple is appealing the decision and Motorola may be liable for some amount of damages if it is later overturned.  Apple states in the support document that it believes Motorola’s patent is invalid and is appealing the decision.

Engadget states, “We’ve heard back from Apple and for its part, it is treating this as no big deal, focusing on the fact that it only applies to push email specifically and customers can still receive their emails other ways as mentioned above. As it is, it says this will affect only a “limited number of customers.” Check after the break for the company’s statement.

Categories: Science & Tech

George Huguely Convicted of Second-Degree Murder


Wednesday evening a jury in Charlottesville, Virginia found former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely guilty of second-degree murder for the May 2010 death of his ex-girlfriend.

Huguely was found not guilty on the most serious charge of first-degree murder in the death of Yeardley Love, 22.  He was also acquitted on several other charges, including robbery and breaking and entering to commit larceny.

Huguely, 24, faces between five and 40 years in prison.  He showed no emotion during the reading of the verdict, but wiped away tears during the sentencing phase held later Wednesday.

Relatives of Love testified in that phase, but there were no mitigating witnesses before the jury began deliberating the sentence.  The jury’s sentence is not binding:  The judge can accept it or go with a lesser term.

Authorities alleged that Huguely caused fatal blunt force trauma during an altercation with Love also a lacrosse player, at her Charlottesville apartment.  The defense argued Love’s death was an accident.

Jurors had the option, besides acquittal, of finding Huguely guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter in Love’s death.  They deliberated more than nine hours Wednesday.

A ruling of first-degree murder would have shown the act was willful, deliberate and premeditated, according to Virginia law.  Both first and second-degree murder convictions require malice.

Huguely was convicted of grand larceny in the theft of a computer that belonged to Love.

A defense attorney told jurors during closing arguments Saturday in Charlottesville that Huguely contributed to Love’s death, but did not kill her and had no intent to do so.

“Yes, George contributed to her death.  But no, he didn’t kill her, he left there with her alive, and that is not in dispute.  There was no intentional killing, because she wasn’t dead when he left,” defense attorney Francis Lawrence said.  “There’s no intent to rob and no intent to kill.”

Lawrence described his client as “stupid, drunk, but not calculating.”

Police were first called to Love’s off-campus Charlottesville apartment by a roommate who reported “a possible alcohol overdose,” Police Chief Tim Longo said at the time.

A medical examiner later ruled that Love died of blunt force trauma, and authorities allege that Huguely caused it during an altercation.

“When somebody’s little girl doesn’t wake up the next day, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t, I ask you to do no more, and no less, than to hold him responsible for what he did,” said Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Warner D. Chapman.

“It goes without saying that this woman is never going to be able to say what happened to her, but the evidence proves she was killed in the commission of a robbery,” he told the jury.

Love’s death was slow and painful, the prosecutor told jurors, claiming she could have remained alive for a couple of hours after Huguely left her apartment.  The defense agrees Love was alive when Huguely left.

Charlottesville Police Detective Lisa Reeves wrote in a sworn statement used to obtain a search warrant in the case that “Huguely admitted on May 3, 2010, that he was involved in an altercation with Yeardley Love and, during the course of the altercation, he shook Love and her head repeatedly hit the wall.”

The defense attorney had said there is no evidence that Love’s head hit a wall, and on Saturday the defense called a neurosurgeon who questioned the nature of Love’s injuries.

Prosecutors have claimed all along that Huguely followed through on his intentions to kill Love.

Earlier in the trial, Chapman read e-mails between the two after Huguely heard Love had allegedly slept with someone else.

The defendant wrote, “I should have killed you,” and Love responded, “You should have killed me?” according to Chapman.

Categories: News

Judge Jeffery White Rules the Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional


The ruling comes from U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in San Francisco who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.

Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 and President Bill Clinton signed it into law.  It prevents same-sex couples who are legally married in a handful of states from enjoying more than 1,000 federal benefits awarded to heterosexual married couples.

Rita Lin, an attorney for the plaintiff, said on Wednesday that White’s ruling could have wide implications for same-sex couples in areas like tax and pension benefits.

“The reasoning of the opinion applies to anyone who has been discriminated against under DOMA,” Lin said.

Attorneys for the House of Representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

Plaintiff Karen Golinski has worked as a staff attorney for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco for over 20 years.

She sued the U.S. government after it refused to enroll her spouse, Amy Cunninghis, on her federal family health insurance plan.  The couple married during a five-month legal window in California before voters in 2008 passed Proposition 8, a gay marriage ban.

The case is one of a handful around the country challenging DOMA.  A Massachusetts federal judge also struck down DOMA in 2010, and that ruling is currently on appeal.

Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice initially argued that DOMA prohibited Cunninghis from receiving the same benefits as she would receive if Golinski were a man.

However last year, Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama have called DOMA unconstitutional and said that while they would continue to enforce it, they would not defend it in court.

In response to this, the U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans, stepped in to defend the law.

In his ruling on Wednesday, White wrote that animus towards gays “is clearly present” in the legislative history from when the law was passed.  The federal government has traditionally refrained from inserting itself into spousal relations, White wrote.

“The Court finds that the passage of DOMA, rather than maintaining the status quo in the arena of domestic relations, stands in stark contrast to it,” White wrote.

White issued a permanent injunction preventing the government from further interfering with Golinski’s ability to enroll her wife in the insurance program.

Categories: News

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Resigns as Foreign Minister


Today Kevin Rudd announced at a Washington press conference his resignation as Australia’s foreign Minister.

Mr. Rudd says he’ll return to Brisbane on Friday and will make a full statement on his future before parliament resumes on Monday after consulting with family and colleagues.

“While I am sad to leave this office I am sadder still that it has come to this,” Mr. Rudd said.  He said a number of ministers and “faceless men” had publicly attacked his credibility.

Mr. Rudd’s decision comes after four days of frantic speculation he was threatening Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s authority.

Ms. Gillard was urged by Senior Labor figures today to bring the leadership to a head.  Mr. Rudd said the Australian people regarded the speculation as a little more than a soap opera.  “They are right,” he said.  “Under the current circumstances, I won’t be a part of it.”

To continue in the job, would be distracting for the government, Mr. Rudd said.

“The simple truth is I cannot continue to serve as foreign minister if I do not have Prime Minister Gillard’s support,” he said.

“I therefore believe the only honorable thing, and the only honorable course of action, is for me to resign.”  Australia must be governed by the people, not party factions, Mr. Rudd said.

“I promise you this, there is no way, no way, that I will ever be part of a stealth attack on a sitting prime minister elected by the people,” he said.

“We all know that what happened then was wrong and it must never happen again.”

“It is now up to the caucus to decide on the leadership,” Mr. Rudd said.

“There is one overriding question for my caucus colleagues and that is who is best placed to defeat Tony Abbott at the next election,” Mr. Rudd said.  “Mr. Abbott, I believe, does not have the temperament or the experience to ever be elected to hold the high office of prime minister of Australia.  But at present and for a long time now he has been on track just to do that.”

Categories: World

Storify Launches a New iPad App for its Story Building Service

Storify Launches a New iPad App for its Story Building Service

Today Storify announced a brand new app for the iPad which will bring its drag and drop collection of Tweets, videos and other web links to the tablet.  The app has a smooth look and resembles the core features of the web app.

Storify is a service that lets you combine links from Twitter and other social network services into understandable stories.  It is a great and fast way to organize a bunch of links, Tweets and pieces of media into something understandable and fluid which is much easier to read.

“Whether you’re at a conference or at home, you can mix social streams to create simple, beautiful stories to share and remember the moments in life that matter,” said Xavier Damman, Storify co-founder and CEO.  “You now have storytelling at your fingertips.”

The iPad app keeps the process of creating new stories simple, allowing you to pull from five specific and very popular services including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr, as well as the web.  Once you create a story, you choose a service on the right and flick your way through items that are divided out into easily collectable sections.

To build a compilation, you just grab an item on the right and drag it over to your story on the left.  It actually feels quite a bit like you’re an editor preparing an edition of a magazine or newspaper, moving, organizing and curating content to craft your story.  It’s a pretty interesting experience and one that actually makes a lot of tactile sense.

With easy access to the various services you can grab video of an event, your Facebook friends’ shots, your own Instagram shares and Tweets around the event’s hash tag to whip together an easily shareable experience that you can publish out to Storify.

Storify for iPad is a great first attempt to expand the service from its niche service.  It will be interesting to see if this effort pays off in the long run, but even this initial stage of the plan it’s well worth trying out.

Categories: Science & Tech

Virginia Ultrasound Bill Passes in the House

The Virginia House of Delegates passed a revised version of a GOP sponsored informed consent bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours before having an abortion was passed on Wednesday.  The new bill, which requires women to receive an external, transabdominal ultrasound rather than a more invasive transvaginal ultrasound, passed by a vote of 65-32.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell revoked his support for the original bill just minutes before the House began debate on it, saying the government did not have the power to require the transvaginal procedure.

“Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state,” McDonnell said in a statement.  “No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.”

“For this reason, I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily.  I am asking the General Assembly to state in this legislation that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age.  Should a doctor determine that another form of ultrasound may be necessary to provide the necessary images and information that will be an issue for the doctor and the patient.  The government will have no role in that medical decision,” he said.

Virginia House Speaker William Howell said during floor debates on the measure that McDonnell had helped GOP House members amend the bill based on the recommendations in his statement.

Del. Kathy Byron, the sponsor of the original bill, said she supports the new version.  “I rise in support of this bill,” she said Wednesday, “We will still be one state of seven strengthening their informed consent law.”

Democrats have said they were not satisfied with the changes, or with the fact that they were introduced right before the vote on the bill took place.

“I think we need to spend time with this, we shouldn’t be playing doctor on the House floor with this kind of language,” said Del. David Toscano.  “The public has an interest in this bill and has not seen it until 20 minutes ago.”

Del. Jennifer McClellan said the amended bill causes more problems than the original, because performing a regular ultrasound on an early pregnancy does nothing to assess the age of the fetus.

“It tries to fix an issue I’ve raised on this floor,” she said, referring the transvaginal ultrasound mandate, “but in doing so, it not only doesn’t fix it but it makes it worse.  What you have done is mandated for any abortion done early in a pregnancy an ultrasound that will be utterly useless.”

Members of the state legislature ventured Wednesday morning that the Republicans were looking for a way to rewrite the bill to avoid having to fully back down from it, and McClellan tweeted from the House floor around 2:30 p.m. that “a substitute to the ultrasound bill is being circulated.”

“A lot of rumors are floating around this building that the Republicans are trying desperately to find some way out of this Pandora’s Box,” said a top legislative staffer who works with Virginia’s Democrats.  “I think the sponsors didn’t realize when this law passed in North Dakota that this was an intrusive ultrasound.  But it would look terrible with their base if they backed down now and didn’t pass it.”

Categories: News

Western Journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik die in Syria


Marie Colvin a Sunday Times reporter an American, and award winning French photographer Remi Ochlik died when a shell hit a makeshift media center in the Baba Amr district of Homs.

Troops are shelling opposition held areas of Homs, plagued for weeks.

Thousands have died in unrest against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

On Tuesday Rami al-Sayed, a man who broadcast a live video stream from Homs used by world media, was killed in Baba Amr.

The Red Cross has called on the government and rebels to agree to a daily ceasefire, to allow medical supplies to reach the worst affected areas and get civilians out, but there is no sign yet of this being agreed on.

Ms. Colvin and Mr. Ochlik were reportedly staying in a house in Baba Amr that was being used by activists as a media center when it was hit by a shell on Wednesday morning.

Rockets were also said to have hit the building’s garden when people tried to flee afterwards.

At least two other foreign journalists were wounded, activists said.

One was said to be the British freelance photographer Paul Conroy, who was working with Ms. Colvin, and Edith Bouvier of the French newspaper, Le Figaro.  Ms. Bouvier was said to be in serious condition.  The dead and the injured journalists are said to have been taken to a field clinic in Baba Amr.

Activists have expressed fears that Ms. Bouvier risks bleeding to death without urgent medical attention and they were trying to get her out.

Syrian state television said that information ministry had asked officials in Homs to determine the location of foreign journalists because it had learned that some may have been injured.

In Paris, the French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said his country held the Syrian government accountable for the deaths.  “Damascus owes us an answer,” Mr. Juppe said.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament:  “This is a desperately sad reminder of the risks that journalists take to inform the world of what is happening, and the dreadful events in Syria.”

The US state department said it was “another example of the shameless brutality” of the Syrian regime.

Categories: News

Train Crashes into Busy Argentine Train Station


A packed train slammed into the end of the line in Buenos Aires’ busy station on Wednesday, killing 49 people and injuring hundreds of morning commuters as passenger cars crashed into the engine, making it Argentina’s worst train accident in decades.

Federal Police Commissioner Nestor Rodriguez says the dead include 48 adults and one child.

At least 550 people were injured, and rescue workers were removing dozens of people who were trapped inside the first car, said Alberto Crescenti, the city’s emergency medical director.  Rescuers carved open the roof and set up a pulley system to ease them out one by one.

The commuter train came in too fast and hit a shock-absorbing barrier at the end of the platform at about 16mph smashing the front of the engine and crunching the leading cars into it.  One car penetrated nearly 20 feet into the next, Argentina’s transportation secretary, J.P. Schiavi told reporters at the station.

The conductors’ union chief, Omar Maturano, told Radio 10 that the train might have come in as fast as 18 mph.

The first car was the most damaged, where passengers share space with bicycles.  Survivors said many people were injured in a jumble of metal and glass.  Images from a security camera show windows exploding as the first two passenger cars crumble into each other like an accordion, with a man on the adjacent platform scrambling across the tracks to escape the wreck.

The rush-hour train was packed with people standing between the seats, and many were thrown into each other and to the floor by the force of the hard stop.

Many travelers suffered bruises or lesser injuries, waiting for attention on the station’s platforms as helicopters and dozens of ambulances carried others to nearby hospitals.  About 200 people had serious injuries, said city health minister Jorge Lemus.

Meanwhile the dead were carried out the back of the station in body bags, beyond the view of television cameras, the Clarin newspaper reported.

The toll makes it Argentina’s deadliest train accident since February 1, 1970, when a train smashed into another at full speed in suburban Buenos Aires, killing 200 people.

President Cristian Fernandez cancelled her day’s agenda due to the accident, which raised fresh doubts about government investment in the train system millions depend on.  While largely privatized, the system depends on huge state subsidies, and passengers pay relatively little compared to other countries.

There have been half-dozen serious train accidents in Argentina in the last 15 months.  Last Sept. 13, a bus driver crossed the tracks in front of an oncoming train, killing 11; two months later, another bus driver on a field trip drove in front of a train, killing eight schoolgirls.

“The series of train accidents hurts, and exposes the reality of a stat incapable of controlling and acting to protect the passengers,” opposition leader Ricardo Alfonsin tweeted.

Union leaders blamed what they called a history of disinvestment in maintaining or replacing aging trains.

“This machine left the shop yesterday and the brakes worked well.  From what we know, it braked without problems at previous stations.  At this point I don’t want to speculate about the causes,” Ruben Sobrero, train workers’ union chief on the Sarmiento line, told Radio La Red.

The motorman has been hospitalized and the union hasn’t been able to speak with him yet, Sobrero added.

Categories: News

Obama Sings the Blues with Mick Jagger and B.B. King


The president couldn’t say no when Mick Jagger handed him a mic, soon Barack Obama was belting out the blues with the best of them.

The East Room of the White House was made into an intimate blues club on Tuesday night for a concert featuring blues artists of the past, present and future.

Obama’s performance came as a surprise at the end of the concert when the blues singers were singing “Sweet Home Chicago,” the blues anthem of Obama’s home town.

Buddy Guy pushed the president by saying he’d heard that the president sang part of an Al Green tune recently, and added, “You gotta keep it up.”

Then Mick Jagger handed over the mic, and Obama seemed compelled to comply.

“Come on, baby don’t you want to go,” the president sang out twice, handing off the mic to B.B. King momentarily, and then taking it back to add “Sweet Home Chicago” at the end.

Obama said sometimes there are downsides to being the president.  You can’t just go for a walk, for example.

And they there are times that more than make up for all those frustrations, he said, like Tuesday night, when Jagger, King, Jeff Beck and other musical giants came by the house to sing the blues.

“I guess things even out a little bit,” Obama joked at the start of the East Room concert that was electrified by Jagger and the rest.

“This music speaks to something universal,” Obama said.  “No one goes through life without joy and pain, triumph and sorrow.  The blues gets all of that, sometimes with just one lyric or one note.”

King, 86, arrived in a wheelchair but rose tall to kick off the night with a boisterous “Let the Good Times Roll,” and was quickly joined by other members of the ensemble.  He followed with “The Thrill is Gone.”

From there, Obama and his wife, Michelle, were swaying in their seats and singing along to an all-hits playlist including “St. James Infirmary” and “Let Me Love You.”

Jeff Beck slowed things down with an instrumental “Brush with the Blues,” as anticipation built for the arrival of Jagger, who didn’t disappoint.

The Rolling Stones lead singer delivered on “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and then teamed up with Beck on “Commit a Crime.”  Jagger got the president and his wife up out of their seats, swaying and clapping to the music, and picked up the pace with “Miss You,” performed with Shemekia Copeland and Susan Tedeschi.

The blues concert will be part of the “In Performance at the White House” series that airs on PBS.  This one, designed to recognize Black History Month, will be broadcast on Monday on PBS stations and aired later on American Forces Network.

Categories: News

Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick are Having a Girl


Soon there will be another Kardashian princess added to the family.  On Wednesday Feb. 22nd, Kourtney Kardashian announced the she and longtime partner Scott Disick who also has a son together is expecting a baby girl in late spring.

“We feel so blessed to be having a little girl and to be able to share this new experience with Mason,” Kourtney told E! News.

The couple’s first child Mason celebrated his second birthday in December.  The couple announced in November that although it was unexpected, they were more prepared this time around.

“It wasn’t like we weren’t trying,” Disick told US Weekly at the time.  “We kind of just said, “If it’s meant to be, it’ll be.”

Kourtney’s sister Khloe in December and she told sources that her big sister had been feeling some of the symptoms typical of early pregnancy.

“She’s good.  She’s a little more nauseous this time around, which I feel bad about, but she’s great and it’s so exciting,” Khloe said.

When Kourtney’s pregnancy was first announced, proud sis Khloe took to her blog to express her excitement over the new addition to the Kardashian family.  “I am BEYOND thrilled to fiiiinally be able to share with all of you the fabulous news that my beautiful big sister Kourtney is expecting yet again!”  She wrote.  “Can you believe it?  Masey is going to be a big brother!  We are all so overjoyed by this wonderful news and are counting down the minutes until we get to meet the newest member of our family.”

Of course, Sister Kim also shared her happiness, writing on her blog that she couldn’t wait to become an aunt again:  “This is such a blessing and the whole family is beyond thrilled!  I just know Mason will make the best big brother and I can’t wait to meet my new little niece or nephew!  Congratulations Kourtney and Scott.”

Categories: Entertainment

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