Wednesday, August 22, 2012

With a little training, signs of schizophrenia are averted

ScienceDaily (Aug. 22, 2012) ? Animals that literally have holes in their brains can go on to behave as normal adults if they've had the benefit of a little cognitive training in adolescence. That's according to new work in the August 23 Neuron, a Cell Press publication, featuring an animal model of schizophrenia, where rats with particular neonatal brain injuries develop schizophrenia-like symptoms.

"The brain can be loaded with all sorts of problems," said Andr? Fenton of New York University. "What this work shows is that experience can overcome those disabilities."

Fenton's team made the discovery completely by accident. His team was interested in what Fenton considers a core problem in schizophrenia: the inability to sift through confusing or conflicting information and focus on what's relevant.

"As you walk through the world, you might be focused on a phone conversation, but there are also kids in the park and cars and other distractions," he explained. "These information streams are all competing for our brain to process them. That's a really challenging situation for someone with schizophrenia."

Fenton and his colleagues developed a laboratory test of cognitive control needed for that kind of focus. In the test, rats had to learn to avoid a foot shock while they were presented with conflicting information. Normal rats can manage that task quickly. Rats with brain lesions can also manage this task, but only up until they become young adults -- the equivalent of an 18- or 20-year-old person -- when signs of schizophrenia typically set in.

While that was good to see, Fenton says, it wasn't really all that surprising. But then some unexpected circumstances in the lab led them to test animals with adolescent experience in the cognitive control test again, once they had grown into adults.

These rats should have shown cognitive control deficits, similar to those that had not received prior cognitive training, or so the researchers thought. Instead, they were just fine. Their schizophrenic symptoms had somehow been averted.

Fenton believes their early training for focus forged some critical neural connections, allowing the animals to compensate for the injury still present in their brains in adulthood. Not only were the animals' behaviors normalized with training, but the patterns of activity in their brains were also.

The finding is consistent with the notion that mental disorders are the consequence of problems in brain development that might have gotten started years before. They raise the optimistic hope that the right kinds of experiences at the right time could change the future by enabling people to better manage their diseases and better function in society. Adolescence, when the brain undergoes significant change and maturation, might be a prime time for such training.

"You may have a damaged brain, but the consequences of that damage might be overcome without changing the damage itself," Fenton says. "You could target schizophrenia, but other disorders aren't very different," take autism or depression, for example.

And really, in this world of infinite distraction, couldn't we all use a little more cognitive control?

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Cell Press, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. Heekyung Lee, Dino Dvorak, Hsin-Yi Kao, ?ine?M. Duffy, Helen?E. Scharfman, Andr??A. Fenton. Early Cognitive Experience Prevents Adult Deficits in a Neurodevelopmental Schizophrenia Model. Neuron, 2012; 75 (4): 714 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.06.016

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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Jenna von Oy?s Blog: Words to Love By

In her latest blog, von Oy - inspired by an article she read - shares her own words to love by.


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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Networking + education = more opportunities ? Business Network SW

Introducing a Master Class in Referral Marketing with Allison Timmins

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This is 3 hours of expert Referral Marketing knowledge & coaching. Take away the beginnings of a Referral Marketing Strategy that will add revenue to your business & give immediate profitability to your ?Word of Mouth? & Networking efforts. Included in this class is a ?30 minute follow up conversation from local Referral Marketing Expert Allison Timmins who will advise you further about what you may need for further Referral Success

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Has Social Media Changed the Way You Consume Information ...

A short while ago I wrote a post on ?Content Creation for Your Internet Savvy Customers.?? In that post? two key points were made that highlighted the importance of recognizing the need to adapt content creation to the needs of a changing market.

1)????? ?Today?s consumers are mostly savvy internet users who actively search for content on the internet that will enable them to make wise buying decisions.?

2)????? ?No longer do consumers have to wait for information to be sent to them via traditional methods.? They are able to research and capture this information for themselves in real time.?

Those two points made the case for good content creation for your internet-savvy customers.? However, a recent article on really drove home the point of how communication has changed.? You can probably relate to the article, ?Digital Media vs Traditional Media Will Always Trump the Traditional Media.?

When was the last time you read the physical newspaper?? Has social media changed the way you consume information? Perhaps you had a subscription and have cancelled it. Of course the Sunday paper is still the place for the Comics and the Sales Papers in one place. :) On the other hand, there are online sites that bring all the ads into one place.

Here is a quotation from the article,? ?The decision taken by newspapers such as The Times, The Guardian and The New York Times to make a concerted effort to cultivate an online presence on these social media sites illustrates the changing nature of media. Instead of social networks relying on coverage in printed media to be seen, the printed media is relying on these online sites to be heard.?? You may read the entire article by clicking here.

What are your thoughts?? How do you consume information currently?? Has social media changed the way you get information on current events? Do you read most of your news online or via traditional media? Please share in the comments.


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Total Vibration ? Blog Archive ? Breast Cancer Death Symptoms

Essentially the most advance form is actually metastatic or stage IV breast cancer that is extremely life-threatening. Many patients in that period ultimately depart our planet, since it then gets incurable almost in all of the cases. Since the studies reveal, about 1-3 percent of the patients with this stage recover. How about the remaining? They sooner or later rest in tranquility. It shows these kind of obvious signs before killing:

Severe pain

Several body parts can seem to be pain especially those the place that the tumor has propagate. One that metalizes in the bones causes joint pains as well as bone aches that are so deep. In the event that it has attacked the liver, a vital body organ, this results in frequent ab pain. Chest pain is occurred when metastatic breast cancer has spread to the voice, which is very likely as it is a neighboring wood. According to a research regarding European Journal regarding Cancer Care, a lot of the women affected with this particular disease had great control over the pain within the last stages of death. This means pain is not the worst symptom actually experienced by such sufferers.

Psychological disturbances

Females are especially sensitive and so are readily affected by virtually any malignant disorder such as metastatic breast cancer. Depression, restlessness as well as anxiety are a common occurrence as published throughout European Journal regarding Cancer Care. They will conducted a study in 44 affected individuals along with stage IV breast carcinoma. The findings in the statement are briefly referred to below:

About 50 % of the patients suffered from depression
66 percent of which had got anxiety before death due to this disease. It was observed although interviewing them all with regards to research.
Other actual symptoms were not linked with the occurrence of those emotional imbalances inside patients. This implies towards the fact, no matter the indications are mild or perhaps severe, the presence of subconscious problems remain unchanged. They just occur in the final stage regardless of some other unstable medical problems involved.
In the study, the concerned group of people can be provide a psychological support and emotional safety to the patients who will be now about to say good bye to their spouse and children.

Gastrointestinal abnormalities

There are some signs such as bowel irregularity, involuntary urination and also defecation, in which the patient loses control over bowel and urinary excretion. Vomiting and nausea are also frequent with fatigue or tiredness. Anorexia, loss of appetite is a common event that subsequently causes an unintentional fat loss. The study reveals inside European Journal the kinds of disturbances as well as fatigue were the most severe symptoms of just about all in the patients just before their death.

Inflammed body organs

A significant signal is puffiness of the abdomen, toes and legs. The complete reason however is just not known. Abdominal area may be so on account of infection, presence of the lump or swelling. There can be difficulty strolling in such a condition; the pain being another result of it. Breast bloating is there from nearly the beginning of the disease since person developed tumour inside. As it grows in volume, the swollen part can be enlarged to accommodate.

For more information about mammograms please visit the website.

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Niall Ferguson's Embarrassing Response To Paul ... - Business Insider

Niall FergusonNiall Ferguson dropped a big bomb on Barack Obama with his latest Newsweek cover story.

The article argues that Obama needs to be fired due to massive failures on the economy and dealing with the deficit.

Paul Krugman immediately called him out on it in a post last night for wrongly claiming that the Congressional Budget Office had said that Obamacare would increase the deficit.

This is what Krugman wrote:

There are multiple errors and misrepresentations in Niall Ferguson?s cover story in Newsweek ? I guess they don?t do fact-checking ? but this is the one that jumped out at me. Ferguson says:

The president pledged that health-care reform would not add a cent to the deficit. But the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation now estimate that the insurance-coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of close to $1.2 trillion over the 2012?22 period.

Readers are no doubt meant to interpret this as saying that CBO found that the Act will increase the deficit. But anyone who actually read, or even skimmed, the CBO report (pdf) knows that it found that the ACA would reduce, not increase, the deficit ? because the insurance subsidies were fully paid for.

Ferguson is back with a snarky response ("You know you have hit the target when Paul Krugman takes time out from his hiking holiday"), which basically comes down to: I wasn't wrong, just misleading!

Ferguson writes:

Krugman counters in his Conscience of a Liberal?blog by saying: ?The ACA would reduce, not increase, the deficit?because the insurance subsidies were fully paid for.? But I very deliberately said ?the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA,? not ?the ACA.? There is a big difference.

Krugman suggests that I haven't read the CBO's March 2010 report. Sorry, I have, and here is what it says:

?The provisions related to health insurance coverage?which affect both outlays and?revenues?were projected to have a net cost of $1,042 billion over the 2012?2021?period; that amount represents a gross cost to the federal government of $1,390 billion,?offset in part by $349 billion in receipts and savings (primarily revenues from?penalties and other sources).?

So Ferguson's response was: Well, the spending/insurance portion of the Affordable Care Act did increase the deficit, and I was only referring to the spending side. I wasn't referring to the whole thing.

If you read the whole CBO report where that quote is taken fron, it makes it pretty clear that no, the ACA did not add to the deficit (at least based on their math):

The provisions related to health insurance coverage?which affect both outlays and revenues?were projected to have a net cost of $1,042 billion over the 2012?2021 period; that amount represents a gross cost to the federal government of $1,390 bil- lion, offset in part by $349 billion in receipts and savings (primarily revenues from penalties and other sources). The other provisions related to health care and revenues will reduce budget deficits by an estimated $1,252 billion over that 10-year period? including $520 billion in revenues, mostly from new taxes and fees, and $732 billion in outlay savings for Medicare and other federal health care programs (see Figure 1). Those outlay savings reflect the net effect of some provisions that will reduce direct spending?such as lower payment rates in Medicare?and others that will increase direct spending, such as the expansion of Part D benefits and mandatory funding for a number of grant, research, and other programs.

So yes, one narrow part of the ACA increases the deficit. But the whole law, according to the CBO does not.

Again, Niall Ferguson's defense is that he was being very obtuse and misleading.

UPATE: On Twitter @nycsouthpaw catches another glaring case of Niall Ferguson abusing the CBO's words.

In Ferguson's new post he quotes the CBO as saying:

If you are wondering how on earth the CBO was able to conclude that the net effect of the ACA?as a whole?was to reduce the projected 10-year deficit, the answer has to do with a rather heroic assumption about the way the ACA may reduce the cost of Medicare. Here?s the CBO again:

?CBO?s cost estimate for the legislation noted that it will put into effect a number?of policies that might be difficult to sustain over a long period of time. The combination?of those policies, prior law regarding payment rates for physicians? services in?Medicare, and other information has led CBO to project that the growth rate of?Medicare spending (per beneficiary, adjusted for overall inflation) will drop from?about 4 percent per year, which it has averaged for the past two decades, to about?2 percent per year on average for the next two decades.?It is unclear whether such a?reduction can be achieved ...?

Indeed, it is, which is why I wrote what I wrote.

Ferguson italicized the last line about it being unclear if such reductions can be achieved, as if this line undermines the whole thing.

But Ferguson is truncating the CBO's quote.

Here's the full quote from the same report:

In fact, CBO?s cost estimate for the legislation noted that it will put into effect a num- ber of policies that might be difficult to sustain over a long period of time. The com- bination of those policies, prior law regarding payment rates for physicians? services in Medicare, and other information has led CBO to project that the growth rate of Medicare spending (per beneficiary, adjusted for overall inflation) will drop from about 4 percent per year, which it has averaged for the past two decades, to about 2 percent per year on average for the next two decades. It is unclear whether such a reduction can be achieved through greater efficiencies in the delivery of health care or will instead reduce access to care or the quality of care (relative to the situation under prior law). Also, the legislation includes a provision that makes it likely that exchange subsidies will grow at a slower rate after 2018, so the shares of income that enrollees have to pay will increase more rapidly at that point, and the shares of the premiums that the subsidies cover will decline.9 Such possibilities could lead to pressure on law- makers to adjust those policies.

So the CBO is not saying that the deficit reductions are unclear. What's unclear is how they will be achieved.

SEE ALSO: Niall Ferguson has been wrong on economics >


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Rapper Juvenile arrested after Fla. club fight

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) ? Rapper Juvenile has been arrested on disorderly conduct charges after police responded to a fight at a nightclub in Miami Beach's Fontainebleau Hotel.

A Miami Beach police report says the 37-year-old star was in the middle of a fight that broke out early Monday at the hotel's Club Liv. The report says it's not clear what actions were taken by the rapper, whose real name is Terius Gray.

The report says the fight spilled out to the front of the hotel and involved about 100 people. Many were yelling and pushing and shoving each other but no injuries were reported. It's not clear what started the fight.

Corrections officials said Gray, of Slidell, La., was jailed on $500 bail. An attorney was not listed on jail records.


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Thursday, August 16, 2012

USD/CAD: Trading below its MA's | GCI Forex News


USDCAD Movement

For the 24 hours to 23:00 GMT, USD declined 0.27% against the CAD to close at 0.9895.

The Canadian Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, stated that the global economy is still stubbornly fragile and economic headwinds elsewhere could throw Canada off course.

On the economic front, on a monthly basis, existing home sales in Canada remained unchanged in July, compared to a 1.3% contraction in June.

In the Asian session, at GMT0300, the pair is trading at 0.9889, with the USD trading 0.06% lower from yesterday?s close.

The pair is expected to find support at 0.9870, and a fall through could take it to the next support level of 0.9850. The pair is expected to find its first resistance at 0.9922, and a rise through could take it to the next resistance level of 0.9954.

Trading trends in the pair today are expected to be determined by the release of manufacturing shipments data in Canada.

The currency pair is trading below its 20 Hr and 50 Hr moving averages.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Not Writing but Blogging | Creative Writing Studies

Anthony Haynes writes: From time to time on this website we showcase blogs about writing. Here we introduce ?Not writing but blogging? by novelist and dramatist (and much else), Stella Duffy. The blog is wide-ranging: as well as ?writing? and ?theatre?, its categories include ?buddhism?, ?everything?, ?LGBT?, and ?London?.

Ms Duffy has kindly provided us with this description of ?Not writing but blogging?:

?This is an occasional blog in which I write about whatever is intriguing, irking, exciting or infuriating me. Sometimes all four.? I like to blog about the work I?m doing ? work that encompasses thirteen published novels, ten plays and almost fifty short stories to date; but also directing theatre, script editing and mentoring newer writers and performers. My blog is unashamedly political. I believe that writing is a political act ? and if it isn?t, it should be. I don?t believe in talent, I believe in working hard. I don?t believe in the muse, I believe in craft . Above all, I believe in the power of story ? to soothe us, change us, enlighten us, and to hold us. I believe that anyone can be a storyteller, there is no human culture that does not have a storytelling tradition of some sort.? I believe our work ? as writers, readers, teachers, human beings ? is to encourage and to understand story, both from ourselves and from others.?

I find ?Not writing but blogging? direct, engaged, and articulate. It has some great posts on writing ? see, for example ?Speaking about writing books, how it really is?.

For our reviews of other blogs, please search using the ?Showcase? category. For links to the blogs, please see our Links page above.

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Report: Online Video CPMs Are Up, And Best Time To Buy Is On The Weekend

tubemogul logoHow's the market for online video ads holding up through the first half of the year? Pretty well, considering that inventory continues to grow at a rapid pace. Research from real-time media buying company TubeMogul shows CPMs rising at an average rate of 2.5 percent per month. But many media buyers aren't taking advantage of the huge value that comes from placing ads on the weekend. For top-tier publishers, average CPMs were at $9.93 at the close of the first half, and hit $10.19 in July, with pretty consistent growth all year. Interestingly, all that growth occurred despite the fact that inventory is edging up at a rate of 4.7 percent a month during the first half of the year. Usually, an increase in inventory depresses unit pricing -- you know, the whole supply-and-demand thing.


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'Crazy': Dozens of dead birds fall from NJ sky

By Dan Stamm,

Residents in a Cumberland County, N.J., community were left wondering what caused dozens?of birds to drop dead from the sky earlier this week.

Residents along Peach Drive in Millville found at least 80 dead birds -- mostly red-winged blackbirds -- on the ground, having fallen from trees and the sky.

"Crazy -- something out of a movie," said resident Michelle Cavalieri, who saw the birds fall.

The?birds caused a bloody mess on roadways in the residential neighborhood.

For more, visit

"They?d get up and try and fly and they were out of control so they?d crash and fall again," said resident Jim Sinclair.?"It was just strange."

Animal control, public health officials and other emergency crews?were on the scene Tuesday morning collecting dead birds to try and figure out exactly what caused so many of them to die.

Cumberland County Public Information Officer Troy Ferus?said the birds' death likely was caused by something they ate -- a granular pesticide put down legally by nearby Ingraldi Farms.

One of dozens of birds that was found dead on the ground in Millville, N.J.

"Preliminary investigation gives us the impression that.. he had problems with birds," said Ferus.?"He applied for and got a permit for?a product that kills birds and that?s?what it seems to have been effective at doing."

Here is?the county's press release on the incident:?

The Department of Health reports that Monday evening Ingraldi Farms applied a granular pesticide intended and approved to cull birds, causing an unusually high volume of dead birds in the area of Ingraldi Farms and Whitemarsh Estates in Millville.

The material used; Avitrol Double Strength Corn Chops (EPA reg. # 11649-5) is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and intended to be used for bird control for Blackbirds, Brewer's Blackbirds, Cowbirds, Grackles, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Rusty Blackbird, Starlings and Yellow-Headed Blackbirds.

In the past, Ingraldi Farms has also used Avian Control (EPA reg. # 33162-1) a ready to use liquid repellent intended to be used for bird control for Geese, Gull, Pigeon, Crows, Starlings, House Sparrows, Blackbirds, Grackles and House Finches.

Ingraldi Farms is licensed through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to apply pesticides on their farms and has been working with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to alleviate the crop damage done by large flocks of birds. Remedies include auditory shock, hunting and pesticides. Ingraldi Farms has estimated a crop loss of $15,000 so far, due to the birds eating their crops.

Bird specimens have been collected and are being sent to the NJ-Department of Environmental Protection Laboratory for testing.

No one at Ingraldi Farms would talk to NBC10's Ted Greenberg when he went there for comment.

Officials say the dead birds are not toxic, but that any member of the public that encounters a dead bird should use gloves when picking it up and wash their hands thoroughly after handling and disposing of it in the trash.

But they put out a call to residents Tuesday afternoon that urged residents to remain inside "due to an odor and the death of several birds in the area."

Recently, bird kills have happened in various locations around the world -- possibly none more famous than the?New Year?s Eve death of hundreds of blackbirds?in Arkansas.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Content Writing Company ? Get Top fantastic Excellent Content ...

There is a idea in the world of on the internet marketing today that content articles are superior and every webmaster knows that without fantastic material a web page would lag behind those of the opponents. Content isn?t just simply displaying visitors coming to the web page about the products, it?s creating the more material eye-catching to sketch in spiders and seo programs. The key to efficient on the internet marketing can be found in being popular with the spiders and have an enhanced and constant pr. It is the Search engines pr program which is considered to be the sacred scriptures of seo and all internet marketers desire for their web page on the great rates of this program.

If your website does not add value, in and of itself, it is no more than a commercial. Search engines already has advertisements, they are called PPC ads. What Search engines really wants are websites that add value to their customers. Details. Education. Industry specific knowledge that helps people fix problems. Sites that contain this type of data are the ones that show up naturally in listings. So, why does top fantastic material matter? If you want Search engines to compensate your website, then it must contain top fantastic material that involves and enlightens visitors.

The link between an enhanced Authority and content articles are that one follows the other. That?s where an on the internet article composing organization comes into picture. If you are missing a thorough web ability as a copy writer, then an on the internet article composing organization can come to your save by offering you with well-written fantastic material. As a webmaster, you no longer need to put an extra amount of effort to make well-researched, clear and understandable material for the visitors viewing your web page. First though, you need to create material that are worth studying.

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Gaza: Egypt opening border ahead of Muslim holiday

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) ? Egypt on Tuesday opened its border with Hamas-ruled Gaza for a three-day period ahead of a major Muslim holiday this weekend, but imposed tight restrictions on who can travel and did not say whether it would resume normal border operations.

The government in Cairo closed the border Aug. 5, shutting down the Rafah passenger terminal and ? according to Egyptian security officials ? sealing more than 100 cross-border smuggling tunnels. The move came after Islamic militants in Egypt's Sinai desert near Gaza killed 16 Egyptian troops at a border post.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's government suggested the assailants had help from Gaza, a claim Hamas denies. The Egyptian restrictions raised tensions between Morsi and Hamas, both members of the region-wide Muslim Brotherhood and presumably sympathetic to each other.

The Hamas interior minister, Fathi Hamad, has demanded that Morsi reopen the Rafah crossing quickly and suggested the new Egyptian president was acting like his predecessor, the staunchly anti-Hamas Hosni Mubarak who had backed Israel's tight blockade of Gaza's borders.

"We suffered from the unjust regime of Mubarak that participated in the Israeli blockade of Gaza," Hamad wrote in comments posted on his ministry's website. "Why should we suffer now, in the era of Egypt's revolution and democracy?"

Addressing Egyptian leaders, Hamad called for a different policy. "Palestine should be considered a priority," he wrote. "If you are not doing that, you have to correct your course."

Last week, Egypt began allowing stranded travelers to return to Gaza, and some 4,500 have so far made the trip, according to Gaza border officials. On Tuesday, Egypt for the first time allowed some border traffic from Gaza, but only for a select few ? Gaza students registered at foreign universities, those with residency abroad and medical patients.

Gaza border official Maher Abu Sabha said two-way traffic will continue for three days, in the run-up to the weekend's Eid el-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The limited opening is meant to relieve some of the pressure on Gaza, but also suggested there is no imminent decision by Egypt to resume normal border traffic. Gaza officials say thousands of travelers are on a waiting list, hoping to leave the territory.

Amani Salman, 34, and her four sons were waiting on the Gaza side of the border, hoping to cross into Egypt en route to their home in Qatar. Salman said she had been scheduled to travel on the day after the Sinai attack and was forced to cancel her plane tickets, at a cost of $1,800.

She said she had hesitated for years to visit her family in Gaza because of the precarious border situation, but decided to risk the trip after the change of government in Egypt.

"This year, I thought it will be better, but it was the same," she said. "We love Egypt and we were very happy for their new president. We are not asking for much, just to be treated as humans ... It's a mistake to punish Gaza."

After Morsi became president earlier this summer, Hamas had high hopes that the new Egyptian leader would significantly ease the Gaza border blockade, imposed by Israel and Mubarak after Hamas seized the coastal area by force in 2007.

Rafah is key for Gaza, providing the only gate to the outside world for the territory's 1.7 million people. Israel controls the other land crossings, allowing movement for only small numbers of humanitarian cases, as well as access by air and sea.

In a first step, Morsi's government eased passenger traffic in and out of Gaza, but failed to respond to Hamas' most pressing demand, to turn Rafah into a trade corridor. For now, Gaza imports most consumer goods through an Israeli crossing and through hundreds of smuggling tunnels that are also used as a conduit for people and weapons.

Reda Fahmi, who heads the Palestine Committee in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, said that following last week's attack, Egypt's national security supersedes any concerns for Gaza, and that security forces will focus on dismantling the smugglers' network on both sides of the border.

"This is a headache that we should get rid of," he said of the illicit trade route, one of Gaza's main lifelines. But setting up a legal trade route "requires extensive studies and research," he said.

After the attack, Egypt closed its border with Gaza and sent more than 3,000 troops to the lawless peninsula in a crackdown on militants, some with loose links to al-Qaida, according to Sinai security officials. On Sunday, Egyptian security forces killed seven suspected militants during raids on hideouts in two villages in northern Sinai, security officials said. They say Egyptian forces have also sealed more than 100 smuggling tunnels, but that a limited tunnel trade resumed over the weekend.

From its side, Hamas also temporarily prevented access to the illegal underground tunnels in a show of goodwill toward Egypt.

On Tuesday, the area where the tunnels emerge on the Gaza side was uncharacteristically quiet. Normally, it is abuzz with activity, including the honking of trucks picking up merchandise and the humming of generators powering machinery to pull up the contraband from below.

Hamas security officials were sitting in tents near makeshift gates to the tunnel area. Just a few hundred meters (yards) away, Egyptian soldiers guarded their side of the frontier, some sitting in watchtowers.


Associated Press writers Ashraf Sweilam in El Arish, Egypt, and Maggie Michael in Cairo contributed to this report.


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Oil boom sparks worker shortage in small towns

Sue Ogrocki / AP

A sign warns that hitchhikers may be escaping inmates, near the William S. Key Correctional Center, in Ft. Supply, Okla. Eight inmates have escaped since January.

By The Associated Press

WOODWARD, Okla. ? The local prison is so short on guards that inmates can sometimes just walk away. A gas station barely has enough cashiers to keep up with the trucks filling the parking lot. And "help wanted" signs seem to hang from every restaurant and shop.

Yet almost no one is interested in the jobs.

This is the flip side of the nation's oil and natural gas boom. Although the expansion of drilling has breathed economic life into many small Oklahoma towns, the lucrative opportunities are also drawing people away from traditional service-sector jobs and even once-coveted state positions.

The result: Many businesses and government agencies now struggle to find enough workers. Most able-bodied people can double or triple their income in the oil patch.

"If you can walk and breathe out here, you can get a good job," said LaVern Phillips, president of the Industrial Foundation in Woodward. The county's unemployment rate hovered around 3 percent in June, 5 percentage points lower than the national average. In some nearby counties, the rate has dipped below 2 percent.

In towns like Woodward, which is home to dozens of oil and gas companies, housing is scarce, hotels are booked solid and vacant jobs are everywhere.

"Everybody is having a tough time hiring," Phillips said. "It's a good problem to have."

But it hasn't been good for the minimum-security state prison in nearby Fort Supply. Eight inmates have escaped since January, more than all of last year, and prison officials say low staffing levels are at least partially to blame.

Sue Ogrocki / AP

Family members Trenton Sunderland, Mandy Sunderland, Kenny Vassar and Lyndell Vassar, prepare food at their Dairy Queen restaurant in Woodward, Okla. Vassar said he is considering scaling back the hours the store is open because he can't hire enough workers to cover all the shifts.

With no fence around the perimeter and just 54 officers to watch more than 1,000 inmates around the clock, a prisoner can simply wait for the overworked guards to be distracted and make the short 30-yard walk to a nearby highway.

"I could hire 17 correctional officers today if I could get them to walk through the door," said William Monday, the prison's deputy warden.

When Monday started working at the prison six years ago, job applicants were looking for a career with good benefits and a state pension after 20 years.

"I could pull a register and get four or five guys to interview," he said. "Over the last three years, I've got more vacancies than I have people to interview."

A starting correctional officer makes $11.82 per hour, but jobs in the oil field start at close to $20 per hour, and without the extensive background check required of prison workers, Monday said.

"We're competing with convenience stores for workers," Monday said.

Sam Jones, the prison's security chief, said he's lost two officers to jobs in the energy industry in just the past few months, including a 10-year veteran who worked as a supervisory sergeant.

"I would say at least a dozen have skipped ship for those kinds of jobs," Jones said. "I hope some of those jobs are still available when I retire."

Oklahoma is one of several states, including North and South Dakota, that has enjoyed a boom in the energy sector driven in large part by new and improved drilling techniques such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which cracks open fissures in rock formations to retrieve oil and gas.

The statewide unemployment rate is the fourth lowest in the nation, at 4.7 percent, and more than 6,200 jobs have been added in the mining sector since last year, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

Although nothing like the oil boom in the 1970s and 1980s, when Oklahoma had more than twice as many rigs pumping for oil and gas, the most recent boom started around the time natural gas prices spiked in 2008. Gas prices have since dropped, but producers have simply switched their focus to oil and other liquids.

The drilling is concentrated in sparsely populated areas of western and north-central Oklahoma, where communities have been losing population for years and few have the infrastructure to support more people.

Sue Ogrocki / AP

Workers on a drilling rig near Calumet, Okla. Oklahoma is one of several states, including North and South Dakota, that has enjoyed a boom in the energy sector driven in large part by new and improved drilling techniques such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which cracks open fissures in rock formations to retrieve oil and gas.

Woodward, with 12,000 residents at last count, is the largest population center in a nine-county area of gently sloping prairies dotted with oil rigs, wind turbines and one-stoplight towns.

At the local Dairy Queen, owner Kenny Vassar is considering scaling back the hours the store is open because he can't hire enough workers to cover all the shifts.

"I never dreamed we'd have to offer a sign-on bonus to work here," said Vassar, who gives employees an extra $200 after three months.

Vassar said his employees traditionally have been high school kids looking for spending money or married women trying to supplement the family income.

"We've got kids that don't have to work anymore because Dad is making $28 an hour in the oil field, and the wives don't have to get out and work," Vassar said. "We've got women out there driving oil trucks for $28 an hour."

Tarin Earnest-Smith worked for more than a decade as an X-ray technician before taking a higher paying job three years ago with a land company that researches and negotiates for mineral rights. She more than doubled her salary.

"I just liked the money because I could buy land and do more things," Earnest-Smith said. "I did quite a bit of traveling because I had that extra money."

Paul McFeeters had two jobs ? delivering pizzas and working as a night watchman at a manufacturing facility in Arkansas ? when he landed a job with a hydraulic fracturing crew. Even without his wife's salary as a nurse's assistant, the couple's income jumped from $2,000 a month to $4,000.

"My wife and I were barely getting by," said McFeeters, who now works with a Woodward-based crew that helps transition hydraulically fractured wells into production. "Now my wife doesn't have to work anymore."

Carl Harmon was operating a grain elevator when he joined a drilling crew operating across western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.

"I doubled my salary doing that," said Harmon, who said he often works 60 to 80 hours a week on the same crew with McFeeters. "That's what makes you money in the oil field is the overtime."

Harmon said there's no shortage of opportunity for people who don't mind hard work and long hours.

"Those people that are looking for jobs everywhere," he said, "they just better figure on moving."

More money and business news:

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Andy Stern, former SEIU president, talks about the role of unions in keeping Americans employed and creating new jobs.

? 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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G Dan Mitchell Photograph: Birds, Evening Fog, Rodeo Lagoon ...

Posted on 13 August 2012

Birds, Evening Fog, Rodeo Lagoon - Evening fog obscures the landscape of Rodeo Lagoon, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Evening fog obscures the landscape of Rodeo Lagoon, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Birds, Evening Fog, Rodeo Lagoon. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California. August 11, 2012. ? Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell ? all rights reserved.

Evening fog obscures the landscape of Rodeo Lagoon, Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

There is a somewhat unlikely story behind this photograph, but a pleasant one. Earlier on this day I had been in downtown San Francisco, in the heart of one of the more urbanized (and not in the good sense of the word) areas of the town. The reason for my visit was a pleasant one, and I do like San Francisco a great deal, but it was a very urbanized experience. I planned that after my downtown event concluded I would go do some evening and perhaps night photography elsewhere within an hour or so radius of The City, since I needed to be back there at about 11:00 p.m. It was mostly sunny in San Francisco, though there were a few wispy fog clouds present, so I started driving more or less west to see what might turn up.

As happened the last time I tried this pattern earlier this summer, as I drove I ended up in more fog rather than less. I recalculated and, again, thought that I?d try to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and see if I could get above the incoming fog by climbing into the Marin Headlands. The fog on the bridge was very thick and it was quite windy. At the north end of the bridge I headed up the hill ? there was tantalizing, glowing light somewhere out there in the fog that suggested some clearing to my west and south, but the road itself was completely socked in. Optimistically (or foolishly!) I continued on to the area near Point Bonita, but I could not get out of the fog. It was now getting very close to actual sunset ? though I could only detect this by a general darkening of the murky gloom ? and I figured I might as well drive down towards Rodeo Beach to see what was there. As I crossed the upper end of Rodeo Lagoon I looked to my left and saw this small group of birds congregating not far from the shore, and in the fading light I decided that it was going to be this shot or no shot at all. I pulled over, took out the camera with the prime lens that I had used earlier for street shooting still in place, attached camera to tripod, and walked over close to the edge of the water.

After all of this driving, I was suddenly conscious of the quiet of this place in the evening light. The thick fog was blowing rapidly up the lagoon from the beach and glowing in the backlight as the light was fading, and three fog horns producing the tones of a minor triad (!) were slowly and mournfully sounding as I made several exposures of this scene. I finished, the light became very dark, and I drove a bit further so that I could walk across the beach to stand at the edge of the surf in the wind and fog before leaving.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | Facebook |?Google+ | | LinkedIn | Email

Text, photographs, and other media are ? Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

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Foreclosure Rates Projection 2011 ? An Increase in Short Sale ...


Minnesota home owners who are considering selling their homes in this challenging market environment will benefit from an understanding of the current housing market conditions. There is no doubt that the current real estate market is under extreme pressure and that housing prices in Minnesota and around the country are experiencing a drastic correction. For many people, a short sale may be the solution for their problems. Before deciding if a short sale is right for you, lets take a look at where the real estate market is and where it might be going.

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of American homes which are in the foreclosure process throughout 2010. The level is not expected to dwindle in the coming months and some experts are predicting a growing number of foreclosures as we continue through 2011, 2012 and possibly longer.

With home prices at 50% of their former high you would think buyers would be jumping on the bargain home prices. However, it just isnt happening, even with historically low interest rates which are making homes more affordable than theyve been in a decade. Its going to take a turnaround in the unemployment rate before home prices and the real estate market begin to improve.

RealtyTrac Inc. is a company that tracks default notices, scheduled home auctions, home repossessions and other warnings that typically lead to a home being foreclosed. The company predicts that 1.2 million homes will be repossessed this year. According to RealtyTrac statistics foreclosure activity rose 77% in the markets that they tracked. That equates to 159 out of the 206 metropolitan areas included in the RealtyTrac studies. The rates vary widely from city to city with Columbia, South Carolina experiencing a dramatic 171% increase over 2009. Chicago reportedly had more homeowners lose their homes to foreclosure in the first quarter of 2010 than in that same period for the past 5 years.

Over 50% of the United States foreclosure activity in 2010 came from 5 states namely, California, Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Michigan. Combined, these states reported that almost 1.5 million households received notification of foreclosure filing even though California, Florida and Arizona all reported year over year decreases.

California is the number 1 ranking state with highest foreclosure rate and showed a 47% increase in the number of homes that were repossessed in the December of 2010. With 10 of its 20 cities suffering the most foreclosure activity California is the hardest hit area. Arizona, ranked second, reported a 52% increase with 1 in every 17 households receiving foreclosure filings last year. Florida ranked number 3 with 1 in every 18 households receiving notices.

For the fourth year in a row Nevada reported the highest foreclosure rate with 1 in every 11 households receiving filing notices in 2010. December foreclosure activity reportedly increased 18% from November 2010 with a whopping 71% spike in bank repossessions.

With approximately 5 million mortgages being a minimum of 2 months behind some economists predict that 2011 will be the peak while others project that it will take 2 years before the residential real estate markets begin to stabilize. In California 14 out of the top 20 metro areas saw a slight drop in the foreclosure rates based on year over year figures. Foreclosure rates are affected by a number of factors, including government intervention and non-market influences, which can be interpreted as a signal that they are not safe. There are 2 main factors that are said to account for the localized differences.

An article in Daily Finance reveals that there is one possible reason for the localized differences in foreclosure rates. The article attributes the differences to a federal government program announced in March of 2010 that was designed to encourage short sales and reduce the number of foreclosures. The program pays homeowners to sell their homes using the Minnesota short sale process. Lenders were said to have delayed foreclosure proceedings in areas where a short sale may have resulted in cost savings.

It is important to understand the differences between a short sale and a foreclosure. Firstly, short sales involve asking the existing bank or lender if they will accept less on a sale price than the amount owned on the mortgage. Unlike foreclosure proceedings, the seller need not be in default for a short sale to occur but must be able to provide evidence of hardship and 2 months worth of bank statements. The short sale process takes several months to complete and the lender still has the option to enter into foreclosure proceedings right up until the day of closing.

There have been further reports in various newspapers suggesting that a number of banks froze foreclosure proceedings against borrowers who were behind on their payments after allegations of improper evictions. Most banks have resumed proceedings and it is projected that the first quarter of 2011 will show a corresponding spike.

With the continually high foreclosure levels in the United States the rental property market reported an increase in demand for apartments. This has been partly attributed to improving employment prospects for people between the ages of 20 and 29. This age group is a key group for landlords and when employers began to hire in January of 2010 the vacancy rate declined to 6.6% by June of that year. Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that U.S. homeownership rates fell by 66.9% in the second quarter of 2010. This is the lowest since 1999.

Although the economy has started to recover enough to stimulate demand for apartments it has not been strong enough to prevent more home foreclosures and lead to a sustainable rebound in home buying. Finances for homeowners did not improve quick enough to prevent the 1.65 million foreclosure filings that occurred in the first half of 2010. This was an increase of 8% from the same period in 2009 says RealtyTrac. A record 269,962 American homes were seized under foreclosure proceedings in the second quarter of 2010 and lenders were estimated to have claimed more than 1 million more properties by the end of the year.

Henry Cisneros, executive chairman of CityView in Los Angeles, has been quoted as predicting that the rental market will be robust for the next few years. Rents will likely rise by 4 to 6% in both 2011 and 2010 however landlords will not be able to raise the rent too aggressively until unemployment rates decrease.

With 1 in 45 homes in the United States in the foreclosure process companies continue to track real estate market conditions and have made projections that show that foreclosure levels are not expected to dwindle in the coming months. Homebuyers continue to be hesitant even with dropping mortgage rates and dropping unemployment rates causing the rental rates to increase in a number of areas. The states which have been the hardest hit are California, Arizona, Florida and Nevada.

Know that you have an understanding of current conditions in the housing market, you will discussing your situation with a REALTOR who specializes in short sales. If you have a house in Minnesota, youll want to speak with a Minnesota REALTOR who will be able to answer all of your questions for free. You can know more at

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Volume Measurement Automatic Packaging Machine | Sales ...

Business | Sales Management | * Written by Ms.Karen Gong | Sunday, 12 August 2012 15:13 | Word Count: 485

Volume Measurement Automatic Packaging Machine Innovation Helps you better development, win more market.? ? xjjx10wm Main performance and structural characteristics:The completion of an automatic feed metering, filling bag, print the date, the product output of all of the production process.2 set of machines designed to be simple, reasonable and stable performance, easy operation and routine maintenance.
3 the entire system the price of economic, practical and stable performance.
4 can be modified according to materials, the opening and closing means gauging devices.


For puffed food, fried food, prawn, conch, rice, melon seeds, seeds, soybean, peanut and so on.


Jinan Dongtai Machinery Manufacturing Co., Ltd Department: International Trade Department Post Code/ZIP: 250100 Contact Person: karen Gong(sales manager) Tel: 0086-0531-88738866-605 Fax: 0086-0531-88902662 Mobile Phone : 86-15866784676 MSN: Email: Website: Address: No.3843,Jichang Road,Lingang Development Zone,Jinan China Dongtai machinery is a professional packaging machinery manufacturer. Provide the user the best solution, through long-term customer service has set up a perfect sales service system.
Dongtai machinery is located in Lingang Economic Development Zone in Jinan, and the world 500 strong enterprises as neighbors continue to learn the international advanced production technology, relying on the country's economic macro-policy support, combined with local conditions to develop a series of advanced packaging machine products. Filling machine, labeling machine, filling and sealing machine, combination weighing packaging machine has entered the European markets.
Uphold the QSP's business philosophy, quality-oriented, service first, we sincerely hope that users from around the world friends, build long-term, friendly, pleasant, mutually beneficial win-win partnership!
Dongtai machinery is a professional packaging machinery manufacturer. Provide the user the best solution, through long-term customer service has set up a perfect sales service system.
Dongtai machinery is located in Lingang Economic Development Zone in Jinan, and the world 500 strong enterprises as neighbors continue to learn the international advanced production technology, relying on the country's economic macro-policy support, combined with local conditions to develop a series of advanced packaging machine products. Filling machine, labeling machine, filling and sealing machine, combination weighing packaging machine has entered the European markets.
Uphold the QSP's business philosophy, quality-oriented, service first, we sincerely hope that users from around the world friends, build long-term, friendly, pleasant, mutually beneficial win-win partnership!
Dongtai machinery is a professional packaging machinery manufacturer. Provide the user the best solution, through long-term customer service has set up a perfect sales service system.
Dongtai machinery is located in Lingang Economic Development Zone in Jinan, and the world 500 strong enterprises as neighbors continue to learn the international advanced production technology, relying on the country's economic macro-policy support, combined with local conditions to develop a series of advanced packaging machine products. Filling machine, labeling machine, filling and sealing machine, combination weighing packaging machine has entered the European markets.
Uphold the QSP's business philosophy, quality-oriented, service first, we sincerely hope that users from around the world friends, build long-term, friendly, pleasant, mutually beneficial win-win partnership!

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Schaub makes return, Texans beat Panthers 26-13

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) ? Matt Schaub declared the rust gone after his first action in nine months.

Schaub led one scoring drive and threw an interception in his first game since breaking his right foot last season, and the Houston Texans beat the Carolina Panthers 26-13 on Saturday night in the preseason opener for both teams.

Schaub completed three passes for 52 yards on Houston's opening drive, including a 22-yard strike on third down to Owen Daniels to set up a field goal.

Houston's next two possessions ended in turnovers when Arian Foster fumbled and Schaub's pass was intercepted by linebacker Jason Phillips on a bad throw over the middle.

"Those first couple of days lining up behind center for the first time since mid-November, going against a defense, there was a little bit of rust," Schaub said. "That's worn off now, so we're just back in a groove."

Playing without his top weapon Andre Johnson, Schaub finished 3 of 6 for 52 yards for Houston (No. 6 in the AP Pro32). Johnson said he could have played, but the coaches decided to hold him out.

Cam Newton's night also was short and not all that productive for Carolina.

Carolina's first-team offense, which finished fifth in the NFL in scoring last year, looked out of sync from the start and struggled with blitz pickups.

The Panthers (No. 20) didn't pick up a first down until their third possession when Newton showed off his incredible scrambling ability by racing up the middle for a 15-yard gain on third down. Unlike last year when Newton would challenge would-be tacklers, he elected to slide after picking up the first down ? and looked a little awkward doing so.

That drive ended with Olindo Mare's 33-yard field goal. Newton and the rest of the Carolina starters were taken out with 4:14 left in the first quarter.

Newton finished 2 of 6 for 17 yards and questioned his team's effort after the game.

"It just wasn't good enough," Newton said. "Anytime we come out and play in front of our fans we have a point to prove. At certain points, myself included, it was lethargic and I thought we could have put more effort into it."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Newton wasn't at his best, but then neither was the majority of the team.

"He threw the ball just off a touch," Rivera said. "I think his reads on decisions were good. Now it's just a matter of connecting with the receivers. And we'll work on that. He's still growing and learning. ... I expected us to play better. We have worked hard in camp and had a lot of good things happen and for us to come out and do what we did ? that's disappointing."

Jonathan Stewart signed a five-year contract extension with Carolina hours before the start of the game, didn't carry the ball and caught one pass for 13 yards. DeAngelo Williams got the start and ran four times for 13 yards.

Stewart called his new contract a blessing.

"It feels real good and something that has been in the talks for the last month or so," Stewart said. "So, it's just been something good to get done and move on."

Houston's only touchdown of the first half came on 5-foot-5 Trindon Holliday's 90-yard kickoff return in the first quarter.

Carolina's No. 2 quarterback, Derek Anderson, was 9 of 12 for 99 yards passing with one interception, but looked sharp leading the two-minute offense near the end of the first half. Anderson moved the Panthers 83 yards on eight plays, although he got some help when the Texans were flagged for three penalties ? two for pass interference.

Carolina rookie Tauren Poole scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to tie it at 13 just before halftime.

Carolina's defense settled down after a shaky start.

Rookie weak side linebacker Luke Kuechly, the No. 9 overall pick in the NFL draft, made an immediate impact in his first NFL action by stripping Foster in the first quarter after an 11-yard gain.

The Panthers played without their defensive leader Jon Beason, who sat out after tweaking his hamstring in practice. Phillips, his replacement at middle linebacker, had Carolina's other turnover, although he seemed as surprised as anyone when Schaub threw it right at him.

The Texans won the NFC South championship last year after rallying behind backup quarterback T.J. Yates, who took over after Schaub went down in a 37-9 win over Tampa Bay on Nov. 13. Yates played the better part of two quarters Saturday night, finishing 8 of 12 for 89 yards passing. He led two drives which resulted in field goals, but unlike last year couldn't get the Texans into the end zone.

John Beck, was 4 of 6 for 46 yards and led one touchdown drive.

Undrafted rookie Case Keenum, the NCAA's career leader in yards passing, touchdowns, and completions at the University of Houston, completed 2 of 3 passes for 33 yards for the Texans.

Houston's defense, which finished second in the league last year, registered eight sacks ? five of those on Jimmy Clausen.

"The first unit played only 12 or 15 plays, but we played well as a group," said Texans linebacker Connor Barwin. "Obviously, there were some mistakes ? not a lot. It was really encouraging to see some of the young guys step up when they have their chance. We had eight sacks, which was really impressive."

Houston's only offensive touchdown came on rookie Jonathan Grimes's 3-yard run.

For the most part, Carolina fans didn't have much to cheer about.

But rookie Joe Adams, the team's fourth-round draft pick, gave the crowd a thrill when he changed field, avoided several tacklers and returned a punt 39 yards in the fourth quarter. The Panthers have ranked near the bottom of the league in punt return average the last several years and hope Adams can give them a spark in the return game.


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