U.S. evolves on same-sex marriage






STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • The president and the nation have shifted perspectives on same-sex marriage

  • Supreme Court ruling on California's same-sex marriage ban a critical test

  • Growing public support for gay marriage give proponents hope for change




Washington (CNN) -- The nation's growing acceptance of same-sex marriage has happened in slow and painstaking moves, eventually building into a momentum that is sweeping even the most unlikely of converts.


Even though he said in 2008 that he could only support civil unions for same-sex couples, President Barack Obama nonetheless enjoyed strong support among the gay community. He disappointed many with his conspicuously subdued first-term response to the same-sex marriage debate.


Last year, after Vice President Joe Biden announced his support, the president then said his position had evolved and he, too, supported same-sex marriage.


So it was no small matter when on Thursday the Obama administration formally expressed its support of same-sex marriage in a court brief weighing in on California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex weddings. The administration's effort was matched by at least 100 high-profile Republicans — some of whom in elections past depended on gay marriage as a wedge issue guaranteed to rally the base — who signed onto a brief supporting gay couples to legally wed.


Obama on same-sex marriage: Everyone is equal


Then there are the polls that show that an increasing number of Americans now support same-sex marriage. These polls show that nearly half of the nation's Catholics and white, mainstream Protestants and more than half of the nation's women, liberals and political moderates all support same-sex marriage.


According to Pew Research Center polling, 48% of Americans support same-sex marriage with 43% opposed. Back in 2001, 57% opposed same-sex marriage while 35% supported it.


In last year's presidential election, same-sex marriage scarcely raised a ripple. That sea change is not lost on the president.


"The same evolution I've gone through is the same evolution the country as a whole has gone through," Obama told reporters on Friday.


Craig Rimmerman, professor of public policy and political science at Hobart and William Smith colleges says there is history at work here and the administration is wise to get on the right side.


"There is no doubt that President Obama's shifting position on Proposition 8 and same-sex marriage more broadly is due to his desire to situate himself on the right side of history with respect to the fight over same-sex marriage," said Rimmerman, author of "From Identity to Politics: The Lesbian and Gay Movements in the United States."


"I also think that broader changes in public opinion showing greater support for same-sex marriage, especially among young people, but in the country at large as well, has created a cultural context for Obama to alter his views."


For years, Obama had frustrated many in the gay community by not offering full-throated support of same-sex marriage. However, the president's revelation last year that conversations with his daughters and friends led him to change his mind gave many in that community hope.










Last year, the Obama administration criticized a measure in North Carolina that banned same-sex marriage and made civil unions illegal. The president took the same position on a similar Minnesota proposal.


Obama administration officials point to what they see as the administration's biggest accomplishment in the gay rights cause: repealing "don't ask, don't tell," the military's ban on openly gay and lesbian members serving in the forces.


Then there was the president's inaugural address which placed the gay community's struggle for equality alongside similar civil rights fights by women and African-Americans.


"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well," Obama said in his address after being sworn in.


In offering its support and asserting in the brief that "prejudice may not be the basis for differential treatment under the law," the Obama administration is setting up a high stakes political and constitutional showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court over a fast-evolving and contentious issue.


The justices will hear California's Proposition 8 case in March. That case and another appeal over the federal Defense of Marriage Act will produce blockbuster rulings from the justices in coming months.


Beyond the legal wranglings there is a strong social and historic component, one that has helped open the way for the administration to push what could prove to be a social issue that defines Obama's second term legacy, Rimmerman said.


The nation is redefining itself on this issue, as well.


Pew survey: Changing attitudes on gay marriage


The changes are due, in part, to generational shifts. Younger people show a higher level of support than their older peers, according to Pew polling "Millennials are almost twice as likely as the Silent Generation to support same-sex marriage."


"As people have grown up with people having the right to marry the generational momentum has been very, very strong," said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, a gay rights organization.


That is not to say that there isn't still opposition.


Pew polling found that most Republicans and conservatives remain opposed to same-sex marriage. In 2001, 21% of Republicans were supportive; in 2012 that number nudged slightly to 25%.


Conservative groups expressed dismay at the administration's same-sex marriage support.


"President Obama, who was against same-sex 'marriage' before he was for it, and his administration, which said the Defense of Marriage Act was constitutional before they said it was unconstitutional, has now flip-flopped again on the issue of same-sex 'marriage,' putting allegiance to extreme liberal social policies ahead of constitutional principle," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement.


But there are signs of movement even among some high profile Republican leaders


Top Republicans sign brief supporting same-sex marriage


The Republican-penned friend of the court brief, which is designed to influence conservative justices on the high court, includes a number of top officials from the George W. Bush administration, Mitt Romney's former campaign manager and former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.


It is also at odds with the Republican Party's platform, which opposes same-sex marriage and defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.


Still, with White House and high-profile Republican support, legal and legislative victories in a number of states and polls that show an increasing number of Americans support same sex-marriage, proponents feel that the winds of history are with them.


"What we've seen is accelerating and irrefutable momentum as Americans have come to understand who gay people are and why marriage matters," Wolfson said. "We now have a solid national majority and growing support across every demographic. We have leaders across the spectrum, including Republicans, all saying it's time to end marriage discrimination."


CNN's Peter Hamby, Ashley Killough and Bill Mears contributed to this report.






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Cellar victim Kampusch raped, starved in film of ordeal






VIENNA (Reuters) – A new film based on the story of Austrian kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch shows her being repeatedly raped by the captor who beat and starved her during the eight-and-a-half years that he kept her in a cellar beneath his house.


Kampusch was snatched on her way to school at the age of 10 by Wolfgang Priklopil and held in a windowless cell under his garage near Vienna until she escaped in 2006, causing a sensation in Austria and abroad. Priklopil committed suicide.






Kampusch had always refused to respond to claims that she had had sex with Priklopil, but in a German television interview on her 25th birthday last week said she had decided to reveal the truth because it had leaked out from police files.


The film, “3,096 Days” – based on Kampusch’s autobiography of the same name – soberly portrays her captivity in a windowless cellar less than 6 square metres (65 square feet) in area, often deprived of food for days at a time.


The emaciated Kampusch – who weighed just 38 kg (84 pounds) at one point in 2004 – keeps a diary written on toilet paper concealed in a box.


One entry reads: “At least 60 blows in the face. Ten to 15 nausea-inducing fist blows to the head. One strike with the fist with full weight to my right ear.”


The movie shows occasional moments that approach tenderness, such as when Priklopil presents her with a cake for her 18th birthday or buys her a dress as a gift – but then immediately goes on to chide her for not knowing how to waltz with him.


GREY AREAS


Antonia Campbell-Hughes, who plays the teenaged Kampusch, said she had tried to portray “the strength of someone’s soul, the ability of people to survive… but also the grey areas within a relationship that people don’t necessarily understand.”


The British actress said she had not met Kampusch during the making of the film or since. “It was a very isolated time, it was a bubble of time, and I wanted to keep that very focused,” she told journalists as she arrived for the Vienna premiere.


Kampusch herself attended the premiere, looking composed as she posed for pictures but declining to give interviews.


In an interview with Germany’s Bild Zeitung last week, she said: “Yes, I did recognize myself, although the reality was even worse. But one can’t really show that in the cinema, since it wasn’t supposed to be a horror film.”


The movie, made at the Constantin Film studios in Bavaria, Germany, also stars Amy Pidgeon as the 10-year-old Kampusch and Danish actor Thure Lindhardt as Priklopil.


“I focused mainly on playing the human being because… we have to remember it was a human being. Monsters do not exist, they’re only in cartoons,” Lindhart said.


“It became clear to me that it’s a story about survival, and it’s a story about surviving eight years of hell. If that story can be told then I can also play the bad guy.”


The director was German-American Sherry Hormann, who made her English-language debut with the 2009 move “Desert Flower”, an adaptation of the autobiography of Somali-born model and anti-female circumcision activist Waris Dirie.


“I’m a mother and I wonder at the strength of this child, and it was important for me to tell this story from a different perspective, to tell how this child using her own strength could survive this atrocious martyrdom,” Hormann said.


The Kampusch case was followed two years later by that of Josef Fritzl, an Austrian who held his daughter captive in a cellar for 24 years and fathered seven children with her.


The crimes prompted soul-searching about the Austrian psyche, and questions as to how the authorities and neighbors could have let such crimes go undetected for so long.


The film goes on general release on Thursday.


(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan, Editing by Paul Casciato)


Movies News Headlines – Yahoo! News





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With record highs in sight, stocks face roadblocks

NEW YORK (Reuters) - If Wall Street needs to climb a wall of worry, it will have plenty of opportunity next week.


Major U.S. stock indexes will make another attempt at reaching all-time records, but the fitful pace that has dominated trading is likely to continue. Next Friday's unemployment report and the hefty spending cuts that look like they about to take effect will be at the forefront.


The importance of whether equities can reach and sustain those highs is more than Wall Street's usual fixation on numbers with psychological significance. Breaking through to uncharted territory is seen as a test of investors' faith in the rally.


"It's very significant," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.


"The thinking is, there's just not enough there for an extended bull run," he said. "If we do break through (record highs), then maybe the charts and price action are telling us there's something better ahead."


Flare-ups in the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis and next Friday's report on the U.S. labor market could jostle the market, though U.S. job indicators have generally been trending in a positive direction.


Small- and mid-cap stocks hit lifetime highs in February. Now the Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> and the S&P 500 <.spx> are racing each other to the top. The Dow, made up of 30 stocks, is about 75 points - less than 1 percent - away from its record close of 14,164.53, which it hit on October 9, 2007. The broader S&P is still 3 percent away from its closing high of 1,565.15, also reached on October 9, 2007.


The advantage may be in the Dow's court. So far in 2013, it has gained 7.5 percent, beating the S&P 500 by about 1 percent.


THE RALLY AND THE REALITY CHECK


The Dow's relative strength owes much to its unique make-up and calculation, as well as to investors' recent preference for buying value stocks likely to generate steady reliable gains, rather than growth stocks.


But the more defensive stance illustrates how stock buyers are getting concerned about this year's rally. While investors don't want to miss out on gains, they're picking up companies that are less likely to decline as much as high-flying names - if a market correction comes.


The Russell Value Index <.rav> is up 7.6 percent for the year so far, outpacing the Russell Growth Index's <.rag> 5.7 percent rise. Within the realm of the S&P 500, the consumer staples sector led the market in February, gaining 3.1 percent.


There is some concern that growth-oriented names are being eclipsed by defensive bets, said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati.


"This isn't a be-all and end-all sell signal by any means, but we would feel much more comfortable if some of the more aggressive areas, like technology and small caps, would start to gain some leadership here," Detrick said.


Signs that investors are becoming concerned about the rally's pace is evident in the options market, where the ratio of put activity to call activity has recently shifted in favor of puts, which represent expectations for a stock to fall.


"We are seeing some put hedging in the financials, building up for the past month," said Henry Schwartz, president of options analytics firm Trade Alert in New York.


The put-to-call ratio representing an aggregate of about 562 financial stocks is 1:1, when normally, calls should be outnumbering puts.


Investors have no shortage of reasons to crave the relative safety of blue chips and defensive stocks. Although markets have mostly looked past uncertainty over Washington's plans to cut the deficit, fiscal policy negotiations still pose a risk to equities.


The $85 billion in spending cuts set to begin on Friday is expected to slow economic growth this year if policymakers do not reach a new deal. Markets so far have held firm despite the wrangling in Washington, but tangible economic effects could pinch stock prices going forward.


The International Monetary Fund warned that full implementation of the cuts would probably take at least 0.5 percentage point off U.S. growth this year.


EASY MONEY AND TEPID HIRING


Investors will also take in a round of economic data at a time when concerns are percolating that the market is being pushed up less by fundamentals and more by loose monetary policy around the world.


The main economic event will be Friday's non-farm payrolls report for February. The U.S. economy is expected to have added 160,000 jobs last month, only a tad higher than in January, in a sign the labor market is healing at a slow pace. The U.S. unemployment rate is forecast to hold steady at 7.9 percent.


While lackluster data has been a catalyst in the past for stock market gains as investors bet it would ensure continued stimulus from the Federal Reserve, that sentiment may be wearing thin.


Markets stumbled last week following worries that the Fed might wind down its quantitative easing program sooner than expected.


"It shows the underpinning of the market is being driven at this point by monetary policy," Hellwig said.


With investors questioning what is behind the rally, it will make a run to record highs even more significant, Hellwig added.


"There's smart people that are in the bull camp and the bear camp and the muddle-through camp," Hellwig said. "The fact that you can statistically, using historical evidence, make a case for going higher, lower, or staying the same makes this number very important this time around."


(Wall St Week Ahead runs every Friday. Comments or questions on this column can be emailed to: leah.schnurr(at)thomsonreuters.com)


(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Additional reporting by Doris Frankel in Chicago; Editing by Jan Paschal)



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Japan defeats Brazil 5-3 in World Baseball Classic


FUKUOKA, Japan (AP) — Two-time defending champion Japan had to rally to beat Brazil 5-3 on Saturday in its opening game of the World Baseball Classic.


Japan trailed 3-2 before adding three runs in the top of the eighth inning in front of a crowd of 28,181 at the Fukuoka Dome.


Hirokazu Ibata came off the bench to tie the game with a single to right that scored Seiichi Uchikawa from second. Japan took a 4-3 lead when Ibata scored from third on a fielder's choice and added an insurance run on Nobuhiro Matsuda's single to center that scored Hisayoshi Chono.


Brazil looked set to pull off a major upset when it took a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning on a double by Leonardo Reginatto that scored Paulo Orlando from second.


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Syria war is everybody's problem




Syrians search for survivors and bodies after the Syrian regime attacked the city of Aleppo with missiles on February 23.




STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Frida Ghitis: We are standing by as Syria rips itself apart, thinking it's not our problem

  • Beyond the tragedy in human terms, she says, the war damages global stability

  • Ghitis: Syria getting more and more radical, jeopardizing forces of democracy

  • Ghitis: Peace counts on moderates, whom we must back with diplomacy, training arms




Editor's note: Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review. A former CNN producer and correspondent, she is the author of "The End of Revolution: A Changing World in the Age of Live Television." Follow her on Twitter: @FridaGColumns


(CNN) -- Last week, a huge explosion rocked the Syrian capital of Damascus, killing more than 50 people and injuring hundreds. The victims of the blast in a busy downtown street were mostly civilians, including schoolchildren. Each side in the Syrian civil war blamed the other.


In the northern city of Aleppo, about 58 people -- 36 of them children -- died in a missile attack last week. Washington condemned the regime of Bashar al-Assad; the world looked at the awful images and moved on.


Syria is ripping itself to pieces. The extent of human suffering is beyond comprehension. That alone should be reason enough to encourage a determined effort to bring this conflict to a quick resolution. But if humanitarian reasons were not enough, the international community -- including the U.S. and its allies -- should weigh the potential implications of allowing this calamity to continue.



Frida Ghitis

Frida Ghitis



We've all heard the argument: It's not our problem. We're not the world's policeman. We would only make it worse.



This is not a plea to send American or European troops to fight in this conflict. Nobody wants that.


But before we allow this mostly hands-off approach to continue, we would do well to consider the potential toll of continuing with a failed policy, one that has focused in vain over the past two years searching for a diplomatic solution.


U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry has just announced that the U.S. will provide an additional $60 million in non-lethal assistance to the opposition. He has hinted that President Obama, after rejecting suggestions from the CIA and previous Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to arm Syrian rebels, might be ready to change course. And not a day too soon.


The war is taking longer than anyone expected. The longer it lasts, the more Syria is radicalized and the region is destabilized.


If you think the Syrian war is the concern of Syrians alone, think about other countries that have torn themselves apart over a long time. Consider Lebanon, Afghanistan or Somalia; each with unique circumstances, but with one thing in common: Their wars created enormous suffering at home, and the destructiveness eventually spilled beyond their borders. All of those wars triggered lengthy, costly refugee crises. They all spawned international terrorism and eventually direct international -- including U.S. -- intervention.


The uprising against al-Assad started two years ago in the spirit of what was then referred to -- without a hint of irony -- as the Arab Spring. Young Syrians marched, chanting for freedom and democracy. The ideals of equality, rule of law and human rights wafted in the air.


Al-Assad responded to peaceful protests with gunfire. Syrians started dying by the hundreds each day. Gradually the nonviolent protesters started fighting back. Members of the Syrian army started defecting.


The opposition's Free Syrian Army came together. Factions within the Syrian opposition took up arms and the political contest became a brutal civil war. The death toll has climbed to as many as 90,000, according to Kerry. About 2 million people have left their homes, and the killing continues with no end in sight.








In fairness to Washington, Europe and the rest of the international community, there were never easy choices in this war. Opposition leaders bickered, and their clashing views scared away would-be supporters. Western nations rejected the idea of arming the opposition, saying Syria already has too many weapons. They were also concerned about who would control the weaponry, including an existing arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, after al-Assad's fall.


These are all legitimate concerns. But inaction is producing the worst possible outcome.


The moderates, whose views most closely align with the West, are losing out to the better-armed Islamists and, especially, to the extremists. Moderates are losing the ideological debate and the battle for the future character of a Syria after al-Assad.


Radical Islamist groups have taken the lead. Young people are losing faith in moderation, lured by disciplined, devout extremists. Reporters on the ground have seen young democracy advocates turn into fervent supporters of dangerous groups such as the Nusra Front, which has scored impressive victories.


The U.S. State Department recently listed the Nusra Front, which has close ties to al Qaeda in Iraq and a strong anti-Western ideology, as a terrorist organization.


Meantime, countries bordering Syria are experiencing repercussions. And these are likely to become more dangerous.


Jordan, an important American ally, is struggling with a flood of refugees, as many as 10,000 each week since the start of the year. The government estimates 380,000 Syrians are in Jordan, a country whose government is under pressure from its own restive population and still dealing with huge refugee populations from other wars.


Turkey is also burdened with hundreds of thousands of refugees and occasional Syrian fire. Israel has warned about chemical weapons transfers from al-Assad to Hezbollah in Lebanon and may have already fired on a Syrian convoy attempting the move.


Lebanon, always perched precariously on the edge of crisis, lives with growing fears that Syria's war will enter its borders. Despite denials, there is evidence that Lebanon's Hezbollah, a close ally of al-Assad and of Iran, has joined the fighting on the side of the Syrian president. The Free Syrian Army has threatened to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon if it doesn't leave Syria.


The possible outcomes in Syria include the emergence of a failed state, stirring unrest throughout the region. If al-Assad wins, Syria will become an even more repressive country.


Al-Assad's survival would fortify Iran and Hezbollah and other anti-Western forces. If the extremists inside the opposition win, Syria could see factional fighting for many years, followed by anti-democratic, anti-Western policies.


The only good outcome is victory for the opposition's moderate forces. They may not be easy to identify with complete certainty. But to the extent that it is possible, these forces need Western support.


They need training, funding, careful arming and strong political and diplomatic backing. The people of Syria should know that support for human rights, democracy and pluralism will lead toward a peaceful, prosperous future.


Democratic nations should not avert their eyes from the killings in Syria which are, after all, a warning to the world.


Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.


Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frida Ghitis.






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Cellar victim Kampusch raped, starved in film of ordeal






VIENNA (Reuters) – A new film based on the story of Austrian kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch shows her being repeatedly raped by the captor who beat and starved her during the eight-and-a-half years that he kept her in a cellar beneath his house.


Kampusch was snatched on her way to school at the age of 10 by Wolfgang Priklopil and held in a windowless cell under his garage near Vienna until she escaped in 2006, causing a sensation in Austria and abroad. Priklopil committed suicide.






Kampusch had always refused to respond to claims that she had had sex with Priklopil, but in a German television interview on her 25th birthday last week said she had decided to reveal the truth because it had leaked out from police files.


The film, “3,096 Days” – based on Kampusch’s autobiography of the same name – soberly portrays her captivity in a windowless cellar less than 6 square metres (65 square feet) in area, often deprived of food for days at a time.


The emaciated Kampusch – who weighed just 38 kg (84 pounds) at one point in 2004 – keeps a diary written on toilet paper concealed in a box.


One entry reads: “At least 60 blows in the face. Ten to 15 nausea-inducing fist blows to the head. One strike with the fist with full weight to my right ear.”


The movie shows occasional moments that approach tenderness, such as when Priklopil presents her with a cake for her 18th birthday or buys her a dress as a gift – but then immediately goes on to chide her for not knowing how to waltz with him.


GREY AREAS


Antonia Campbell-Hughes, who plays the teenaged Kampusch, said she had tried to portray “the strength of someone’s soul, the ability of people to survive… but also the grey areas within a relationship that people don’t necessarily understand.”


The British actress said she had not met Kampusch during the making of the film or since. “It was a very isolated time, it was a bubble of time, and I wanted to keep that very focused,” she told journalists as she arrived for the Vienna premiere.


Kampusch herself attended the premiere, looking composed as she posed for pictures but declining to give interviews.


In an interview with Germany’s Bild Zeitung last week, she said: “Yes, I did recognize myself, although the reality was even worse. But one can’t really show that in the cinema, since it wasn’t supposed to be a horror film.”


The movie, made at the Constantin Film studios in Bavaria, Germany, also stars Amy Pidgeon as the 10-year-old Kampusch and Danish actor Thure Lindhardt as Priklopil.


“I focused mainly on playing the human being because… we have to remember it was a human being. Monsters do not exist, they’re only in cartoons,” Lindhart said.


“It became clear to me that it’s a story about survival, and it’s a story about surviving eight years of hell. If that story can be told then I can also play the bad guy.”


The director was German-American Sherry Hormann, who made her English-language debut with the 2009 move “Desert Flower”, an adaptation of the autobiography of Somali-born model and anti-female circumcision activist Waris Dirie.


“I’m a mother and I wonder at the strength of this child, and it was important for me to tell this story from a different perspective, to tell how this child using her own strength could survive this atrocious martyrdom,” Hormann said.


The Kampusch case was followed two years later by that of Josef Fritzl, an Austrian who held his daughter captive in a cellar for 24 years and fathered seven children with her.


The crimes prompted soul-searching about the Austrian psyche, and questions as to how the authorities and neighbors could have let such crimes go undetected for so long.


The film goes on general release on Thursday.


(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan, Editing by Paul Casciato)


Movies News Headlines – Yahoo! News





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Community college grads out-earn bachelor’s degree holders






Berevan Omer graduated on a Friday in February with an associate’s degree from Nashville State Community College and started work the following Monday as a computer-networking engineer at a local television station, making about $ 50,000 a year.


That’s 15% higher than the average starting salary for graduates — not only from community colleges, but for bachelor’s degree holders from four-year universities.






“I have a buddy who got a four-year bachelor’s degree in accounting who’s making $ 10 an hour,” Omer says. “I’m making two and a-half times more than he is.”


Omer, who is 24, is one of many newly minted graduates of community colleges defying history and stereotypes by proving that a bachelor’s degree is not, as widely believed, the only ticket to a middle-class income.


Nearly 30% of Americans with associate’s degrees now make more than those with bachelor’s degrees, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. In fact, other recent research in several states shows that, on average, community college graduates right out of school make more than graduates of four-year universities.


The average wage for graduates of community colleges in Tennessee, for instance, is $ 38,948 — more than $ 1,300 higher than the average salaries for graduates of the state’s four-year institutions.


In Virginia, recent graduates of occupational and technical degree programs at its community colleges make an average of $ 40,000. That’s almost $ 2,500 more than recent bachelor’s degree recipients.


“There is that perception that the bachelor’s degree is the default, and, quite frankly, before we started this work showing the value of a technical associate’s degree, I would have said that, too,” says Mark Schneider, vice president of the American Institutes for Research, which helped collect the earning numbers for some states.


And while by mid-career, many bachelor’s degree recipients have caught up in earnings to community college grads, “the other factor that has to be taken into account is that getting a four-year degree can be much more expensive than getting a two-year degree,” Schneider says.


A two-year community college degree, at present full rates, costs about $ 6,262, according to the College Board. A bachelor’s degree from a four-year, private residential university goes for $ 158,072.


The increase in wages for community college grads is being driven by a high demand for people with so-called “middle-skills” that often require no more than an associate’s degree, such as lab technicians, teachers in early childhood programs, computer engineers, draftsmen, radiation therapists, paralegals, and machinists.


With a two-year community college degree, air traffic controllers can make $ 113,547, radiation therapists $ 76,627, dental hygienists $ 70,408, nuclear medicine technologists $ 69,638, nuclear technicians $ 68,037, registered nurses $ 65,853, and fashion designers $ 63,170, CareerBuilder.com reported in January.


“You come out with skills that people want immediately and not just theory,” Omer says.


The Georgetown center estimates that 29 million jobs paying middle class wages today require only an associate’s, and not a bachelor’s, degree.


“I would not suggest anyone look down their nose at the associate’s degree,” says Jeff Strohl, director of research at the Georgetown center.


“People see those programs as tracking into something that’s dead end,” Strohl says. “It’s very clear that that perception does not hold up.”


The bad news is that not enough associate’s degree holders are being produced.


Only 10% of American workers have the sub-baccalaureate degrees needed for middle-skills jobs, compared with 24% of Canadians and 19% of Japanese, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports.


Over the last 20 years, the number of graduates with associate’s degrees in the United States has increased by barely 3%. And while the Obama administration has pushed community colleges to increase their numbers, enrollment at these schools fell 3.1% this year, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports. Graduation rates also remain abysmally low.


Meanwhile, many people with bachelor’s degrees are working in fields other than the ones in which they majored, according to a new report by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.


“We have a lot of bartenders and taxi drivers with bachelor’s degrees,” says Christopher Denhart, one of the report’s coauthors.


Still, the salary advantage for associate’s degree holders narrows over time, as bachelor’s degree recipients eventually catch up, says Schneider.


Although these figures vary widely by profession, associate’s degree recipients, on average, end up making about $ 500,000 more over their careers than people with only high school diplomas, but $ 500,000 less than people with bachelor’s degrees, the Georgetown center calculates.


As for Omer, he’s already working toward a bachelor’s degree.


“Down the road a little further, I may want to become a director or a manager,” he says. “A bachelor’s degree will get me to that point.”


This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education-news outlet based at Teachers College, Columbia University. It’s one of a series of reports about workforce development and higher education.


View this article on CNNMoney


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Leaving NKorea, Rodman calls Kims 'great leaders'


PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Ending his unexpected round of basketball diplomacy in North Korea on Friday, ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman called leader Kim Jong Un an "awesome guy" and said his father and grandfather were "great leaders."


Rodman, the highest-profile American to meet Kim since he inherited power from father Kim Jong Il in 2011, watched a basketball game with the authoritarian leader Thursday and later drank and dined on sushi with him.


At Pyongyang's Sunan airport on his way to Beijing, Rodman said it was "amazing" that the North Koreans were "so honest." He added that Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founder, "were great leaders."


"He's proud, his country likes him — not like him, love him, love him," Rodman said of Kim Jong Un. "Guess what, I love him. The guy's really awesome."


At Beijing's airport, Rodman pushed past waiting journalists without saying anything.


Rodman's visit to North Korea began Monday and took place amid tension between Washington and Pyongyang. North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test just two weeks ago, making clear the provocative act was a warning to the United States to drop what it considers a "hostile" policy toward the North.


Rodman traveled to Pyongyang with three members of the professional Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy and a production crew to shoot an episode on North Korea for a new weekly HBO series.


Kim, a diehard basketball fan, told the former Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls star that he hoped the visit would break the ice between the United States and North Korea, said Shane Smith, founder of the New York-based VICE media company.


Dressed in a blue Mao suit, Kim laughed and slapped his hands on a table during the game at Jong Ju Yong Gymnasium as he sat nearly knee to knee with Rodman. Rodman, the man who once turned up in a wedding dress to promote his autobiography, wore a dark suit and dark sunglasses, but still had on his nose rings and other piercings. A can of Coca-Cola sat on the table before him in photos shared with AP by VICE.


Smith, after speaking to the VICE crew in Pyongyang, said Kim and Rodman "bonded" and chatted in English, though Kim primarily spoke in Korean through a translator.


Thursday's game ended in a 110-110 tie, with two Americans playing on each team alongside North Koreans. After the game, Rodman addressed Kim in a speech before a crowd of tens of thousands of North Koreans and told him, "You have a friend for life," VICE spokesman Alex Detrick told AP.


At an "epic feast" later, the leader plied the group with food and drinks and round after round of toasts were made, Duffy said in an email to AP.


Duffy said he invited Kim to visit the United States, a proposal met with hearty laughter from the North Korean leader.


Kim said he hoped sports exchanges would promote "mutual understanding between the people of the two countries," the official Korean Central News Agency said.


North Korea and the U.S. fought on opposite sides of the three-year Korean War, which ended in a truce in 1953. The foes never signed a peace treaty, and do not have diplomatic relations.


Rodman's trip is the second attention-grabbing American visit this year to North Korea. Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, made a four-day trip in January to Pyongyang, but did not meet the North Korean leader.


The Obama administration had frowned on the trip by Schmidt, who was accompanied by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, but has avoided criticizing Rodman's outing, saying it's about sports.


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Cellar victim Kampusch raped, starved in film of ordeal






VIENNA (Reuters) – A new film based on the story of Austrian kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch shows her being repeatedly raped by the captor who beat and starved her during the eight-and-a-half years that he kept her in a cellar beneath his house.


Kampusch was snatched on her way to school at the age of 10 by Wolfgang Priklopil and held in a windowless cell under his garage near Vienna until she escaped in 2006, causing a sensation in Austria and abroad. Priklopil committed suicide.






Kampusch had always refused to respond to claims that she had had sex with Priklopil, but in a German television interview on her 25th birthday last week said she had decided to reveal the truth because it had leaked out from police files.


The film, “3,096 Days” – based on Kampusch’s autobiography of the same name – soberly portrays her captivity in a windowless cellar less than 6 square metres (65 square feet) in area, often deprived of food for days at a time.


The emaciated Kampusch – who weighed just 38 kg (84 pounds) at one point in 2004 – keeps a diary written on toilet paper concealed in a box.


One entry reads: “At least 60 blows in the face. Ten to 15 nausea-inducing fist blows to the head. One strike with the fist with full weight to my right ear.”


The movie shows occasional moments that approach tenderness, such as when Priklopil presents her with a cake for her 18th birthday or buys her a dress as a gift – but then immediately goes on to chide her for not knowing how to waltz with him.


GREY AREAS


Antonia Campbell-Hughes, who plays the teenaged Kampusch, said she had tried to portray “the strength of someone’s soul, the ability of people to survive… but also the grey areas within a relationship that people don’t necessarily understand.”


The British actress said she had not met Kampusch during the making of the film or since. “It was a very isolated time, it was a bubble of time, and I wanted to keep that very focused,” she told journalists as she arrived for the Vienna premiere.


Kampusch herself attended the premiere, looking composed as she posed for pictures but declining to give interviews.


In an interview with Germany’s Bild Zeitung last week, she said: “Yes, I did recognize myself, although the reality was even worse. But one can’t really show that in the cinema, since it wasn’t supposed to be a horror film.”


The movie, made at the Constantin Film studios in Bavaria, Germany, also stars Amy Pidgeon as the 10-year-old Kampusch and Danish actor Thure Lindhardt as Priklopil.


“I focused mainly on playing the human being because… we have to remember it was a human being. Monsters do not exist, they’re only in cartoons,” Lindhart said.


“It became clear to me that it’s a story about survival, and it’s a story about surviving eight years of hell. If that story can be told then I can also play the bad guy.”


The director was German-American Sherry Hormann, who made her English-language debut with the 2009 move “Desert Flower”, an adaptation of the autobiography of Somali-born model and anti-female circumcision activist Waris Dirie.


“I’m a mother and I wonder at the strength of this child, and it was important for me to tell this story from a different perspective, to tell how this child using her own strength could survive this atrocious martyrdom,” Hormann said.


The Kampusch case was followed two years later by that of Josef Fritzl, an Austrian who held his daughter captive in a cellar for 24 years and fathered seven children with her.


The crimes prompted soul-searching about the Austrian psyche, and questions as to how the authorities and neighbors could have let such crimes go undetected for so long.


The film goes on general release on Thursday.


(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan, Editing by Paul Casciato)


Movies News Headlines – Yahoo! News





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Wall Street opens flat after two-day rally

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in the original "Star Wars" trilogy, was briefly hospitalized due to her bipolar disorder, the actress' spokeswoman said on Tuesday after video emerged of Fisher giving an unusual stage performance. The video came from a show Fisher gave aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean last week, according to celebrity website TMZ, which posted the clip. The clip shows Fisher, 56, singing "Skylark" and "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," at times appearing to struggle to remember the lyrics. ...
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Rodman tells Kim Jong Un he has 'friend for life'


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman met North Korea's Kim Jong Un on Thursday on the third day of his improbable journey to Pyongyang, telling the leader "You have a friend for life," a delegation spokesman said.


Rodman and Kim sat side by side at an exhibition game in Pyongyang, chatting as they watched players from North Korea and the U.S. play on mixed teams, Alex Detrick, a spokesman for the New York-based VICE media company, told The Associated Press.


Kim, a diehard basketball fan, told Rodman he hoped the visit would break the ice between the United States and North Korea, Detrick said. Kim later invited the Americans to dinner.


The encounter makes Rodman the most high-profile American to meet with the young North Korean leader since Kim took power in December 2011, and takes place against a backdrop of tension between Washington and Pyongyang.


North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test just two weeks ago, making clear the provocative act was aimed at sending a warning to the United States to drop what it considers a "hostile" policy toward the North. The two countries fought each other during the Korean War, and do not have diplomatic relations.


Rodman arrived in Pyongyang on Monday with three members of the professional Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy and a VICE production crew to shoot a documentary for a new HBO TV series.


The surprise visit by the flamboyant Hall of Famer known as "The Worm" makes him an unlikely ambassador at a time when North Koreans are girding for battle with the U.S. Just last week, Kim guided frontline troops in military exercises.


The Korean War ended in a truce in 1953, and the two foes never signed a peace treaty.


Thursday's game in a packed gymnasium ended in a 110-110 draw, with two Americans playing on each team alongside North Koreans, Detrick said.


After the game, Rodman addressed Kim in a speech before a crowd of tens of thousands of North Koreans, telling him, "You have a friend for life," Detrick said.


The leader later plied the group with liquor, according to VICE TV producer Jason Mojica.


"Um ... so Kim Jong Un just got the (hash)VICEonHBO crew wasted ... no really, that happened," Mojica wrote on his Twitter feed from Pyongyang.


Duffy later invited Kim to visit the United States, a proposal met with hearty laughter from the North Korean leader, Detrick said.


___


Follow AP's Korea bureau chief Jean Lee at twitter.com/newsjean.


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Benedict: Pope aware of his flaws?




Pope Benedict XVI delivers his last Angelus Blessing to thousands of pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square on February 24.




STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Sister Mary Ann Walsh: Pope Benedict acknowledged that he made mistakes

  • Walsh: In firestorm over scholarly quotes about Islam, he went to great lengths to atone

  • Walsh: Similarly, he quickly reversed a decision that had angered Jews and repaired ties

  • Even his stepping down is a nod to his humanity and his love of the church, she says




Editor's note: Sister Mary Ann Walsh is director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Northeast Regional Community. She is a former foreign correspondent at Catholic News Service (CNS) in Rome and the editor of "John Paul II: A Light for the World," "Benedict XVI: Essays and Reflections on his Papacy," and "From Pope John Paul II to Benedict XVI."


(CNN) -- One of the Bible's paradoxical statements comes from St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians: "Power is made perfect in infirmity."


The poetic statement proclaims that when we are weak, we are strong. Pope Benedict XVI's stepping down from what many consider one of the most powerful positions in the world proves it. In a position associated with infallibility -- though that refers to formal proclamations on faith and morals -- the pope declares his weakness.



Sister Mary Ann Walsh

Sister Mary Ann Walsh



His acceptance of frailty speaks realistically about humanity: We grow old, weaken, and eventually die. A job, even one guided by the Holy Spirit, as we Roman Catholics believe, can become too much for us.


Acceptance of human frailty has marked this papacy. We all make mistakes, but the pope makes them on a huge stage.


He was barely into his papacy, for example, when he visited Regensburg, Germany, where he once taught theology. Like many a professor, he offered a provocative statement to get the conversation going. To introduce the theme of his lecture, the pope quoted from an account of a dialogue between the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an unnamed Muslim scholar, sometime near the end of the 14th century -- a quote that was misinterpreted by some as a condemnation of Mohammed and Islam.


Opinion: 'Gay lobby' behind pope's resignation? Not likely


Twice, the pope emphasized that he was quoting someone else's words. Unfortunately, the statement about Islam was taken as insult, not a discussion opener, and sparked rage throughout the Muslim world.


The startled pope had to explain himself. He apologized and traveled two months later to Istanbul's Blue Mosque, where he stood shoeless in prayer beside the Grand Mufti of Istanbul. Later he hosted Muslim leaders at the Vatican at the start of a Catholic-Muslim forum for dialogue. It was a human moment -- a mistake, an apology and atonement -- all round.










A similar controversy erupted when he tried to bring the schismatic Society of St. Pius X back into the Roman Catholic fold.


In a grand gesture toward reconciliation, he lifted the excommunication of four of its bishops, unaware that one, Richard Williamson, was a Holocaust denier. This outraged many Jews. Subsequently the Vatican said the bishop had not been vetted, and in a bow to modernity said officials at least should have looked him up on the Internet.


In humble response, Benedict reiterated his condemnation of anti-Semitism and told Williamson that he must recant his Holocaust views to be fully reinstated. Again, his admission of a mistake and an effort to mend fences.


News: Scandal threatens to overshadow pope's final days


Pope Benedict XVI came from a Catholic Bavarian town. Childhood family jaunts included trips to the shrine of the Black Madonna, Our Lady of Altotting. He entered the seminary at the age of 13. He became a priest, scholar and theologian. He lived his life in service to the church. Even in resigning from the papacy, he embraces the monastic life to pray for a church he has ever loved.


With hindsight, his visit to the tomb of 13th century Pope Celestine V, a Benedictine monk who resigned from the papacy eight centuries before, becomes poignant.


In 2009, on a visit to Aquila, Italy, Benedict left at Celestine's tomb the pallium, a stole-like vestment that signifies episcopal authority, that Benedict had worn for his installation as pope. The gesture takes on more meaning as the monkish Benedict steps down.


We expect the pope to be perfect. Catholics hold him to be the vicar of Christ on earth. He stands as a spiritual leader for much of the world. Statesmen visit him from around the globe. He lives among splendid architecture, in the shadow of the domed St. Peter's Basilica. All testify to an almost surreal omnipotence.


Complete coverage of the pope's resignation


In this world, however, walked a vulnerable, human person. And in a paradox of life, his most human moment -- giving up the power of office -- may prove to be his most potent, delivering a message that, as St. Paul noted many centuries ago, "Power is made perfect in infirmity."


Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.


Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mary Ann Walsh.






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Cellar victim Kampusch raped, starved in film of ordeal






VIENNA (Reuters) – A new film based on the story of Austrian kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch shows her being repeatedly raped by the captor who beat and starved her during the eight-and-a-half years that he kept her in a cellar beneath his house.


Kampusch was snatched on her way to school at the age of 10 by Wolfgang Priklopil and held in a windowless cell under his garage near Vienna until she escaped in 2006, causing a sensation in Austria and abroad. Priklopil committed suicide.






Kampusch had always refused to respond to claims that she had had sex with Priklopil, but in a German television interview on her 25th birthday last week said she had decided to reveal the truth because it had leaked out from police files.


The film, “3,096 Days” – based on Kampusch’s autobiography of the same name – soberly portrays her captivity in a windowless cellar less than 6 square metres (65 square feet) in area, often deprived of food for days at a time.


The emaciated Kampusch – who weighed just 38 kg (84 pounds) at one point in 2004 – keeps a diary written on toilet paper concealed in a box.


One entry reads: “At least 60 blows in the face. Ten to 15 nausea-inducing fist blows to the head. One strike with the fist with full weight to my right ear.”


The movie shows occasional moments that approach tenderness, such as when Priklopil presents her with a cake for her 18th birthday or buys her a dress as a gift – but then immediately goes on to chide her for not knowing how to waltz with him.


GREY AREAS


Antonia Campbell-Hughes, who plays the teenaged Kampusch, said she had tried to portray “the strength of someone’s soul, the ability of people to survive… but also the grey areas within a relationship that people don’t necessarily understand.”


The British actress said she had not met Kampusch during the making of the film or since. “It was a very isolated time, it was a bubble of time, and I wanted to keep that very focused,” she told journalists as she arrived for the Vienna premiere.


Kampusch herself attended the premiere, looking composed as she posed for pictures but declining to give interviews.


In an interview with Germany’s Bild Zeitung last week, she said: “Yes, I did recognize myself, although the reality was even worse. But one can’t really show that in the cinema, since it wasn’t supposed to be a horror film.”


The movie, made at the Constantin Film studios in Bavaria, Germany, also stars Amy Pidgeon as the 10-year-old Kampusch and Danish actor Thure Lindhardt as Priklopil.


“I focused mainly on playing the human being because… we have to remember it was a human being. Monsters do not exist, they’re only in cartoons,” Lindhart said.


“It became clear to me that it’s a story about survival, and it’s a story about surviving eight years of hell. If that story can be told then I can also play the bad guy.”


The director was German-American Sherry Hormann, who made her English-language debut with the 2009 move “Desert Flower”, an adaptation of the autobiography of Somali-born model and anti-female circumcision activist Waris Dirie.


“I’m a mother and I wonder at the strength of this child, and it was important for me to tell this story from a different perspective, to tell how this child using her own strength could survive this atrocious martyrdom,” Hormann said.


The Kampusch case was followed two years later by that of Josef Fritzl, an Austrian who held his daughter captive in a cellar for 24 years and fathered seven children with her.


The crimes prompted soul-searching about the Austrian psyche, and questions as to how the authorities and neighbors could have let such crimes go undetected for so long.


The film goes on general release on Thursday.


(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan, Editing by Paul Casciato)


Movies News Headlines – Yahoo! News





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Wall Street little changed ahead of Bernanke testimony

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street opened little changed as investors awaited a second round of testimony in Congress by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for clarity on the longevity of the Fed's economic stimulus program.


Calming some jitters over the euro zone, Italian debt prices and European stocks rose on Wednesday after Italy sold the maximum amount of bonds it planned to offer in a debt auction though borrowing costs soared.


Bernanke will make his second appearance before the Financial Services Committee at 10:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT).


"The market got what it wanted yesterday from the Fed, so, as long as (Bernanke) doesn't say anything new, the market is likely to remain as status quo," said Joe Saluzzi, co- of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.


A day earlier, Bernanke strongly defended the Fed's monetary stimulus efforts before Congress, easing financial market worries over an early retreat from the Fed's bond buying program, which had been triggered by minutes of the Fed's January meeting released a week ago.


His remarks, along with data showing sales of new homes hit a 4 1/2-year high, helped U.S. stocks rebound Tuesday from their worst decline since November.


Despite the bounce, the S&P 500 was unable to move back above 1,500, a closely watched level that had been technical support until recently, but may now prove a resistance point.


The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> gained 1.76 points, or 0.01 percent, to 13,901.89. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> dropped 0.36 points, or 0.02 percent, to 1,496.58. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.ixic> gained 0.70 points, or 0.02 percent, to 3,130.34.


The benchmark S&P 500, up 6 percent for the year, was within reach of record highs a week ago, before the minutes from the Fed's January meeting were released. Since then, the index has shed 1 percent as the minutes raised questions about whether the Fed may slow or halt its economy-stimulating measures soon.


Economic data was in focus with homes data due out at 10:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT).


Earlier, separate data showed non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, jumped 6.3 percent, the biggest gain since December 2011. The market's reaction was muted.


In earnings news, discount retailer Target Corp appeared poised for a solid showing in the first quarter and forecast a higher profit for the full year after a weak performance in the key holiday season. The stock was off 3.3 percent at $61.92 in early trading.


Dollar Tree Inc reported a higher quarterly profit as shoppers spent more and the chain controlled costs. The stock jumped 10 percent to $45.00.


Shares of Boyd Gaming jumped 3.8 percent to $6.75 after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a revised online gaming bill.


In Europe, shares rose, steadying after the previous session's sharp losses, though jitters over the euro zone kept a lid on gains.


Italy's 10-year debt costs rose more than half a percentage point at the first longer-term auction since an inconclusive parliamentary election, although they remained below the psychologically important level of 5 percent.


(Editing by Bernadette Baum)



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Minnesota takes down No. 1 Indiana 77-73


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Retaining that No. 1 national ranking has been elusive throughout this wild season in college basketball, and Indiana was the latest to lose at the top — again.


Most important and maybe more challenging for the Hoosiers, however, is holding on to first place in the tough-as-ever Big Ten.


Trevor Mbakwe had 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting and 12 rebounds to help Minnesota take down top-ranked Indiana 77-73 on Tuesday night, the seventh time the No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll has lost this season. Three of those losses were by the Hoosiers, who were No. 1 when they fell to Butler and Wisconsin earlier this season. All three opponents were unranked at the time.


Indiana (24-4, 12-3) has held the No. 1 ranking for 10 of the 17 polls by the AP this season, including the last four, and that will likely change next week. But fending off Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin is what's on the minds of the Hoosiers, who'll take a one-game lead in the conference race into Saturday's game against Iowa.


"Winning the Big Ten was going to be tough whether we won today or lost," said star guard Victor Oladipo, who had 16 points. "We knew it was going to be tough from the jump. Now it's even tougher. But I think my team is ready for it. We just have to go back and see what we did wrong and correct it."


Andre Hollins added 16 points for the Gophers (19-9, 7-8), who outrebounded Cody Zeller and the Hoosiers by a whopping 44-30 and solidified their slipping NCAA tournament hopes with an emphatic performance against the conference leader. The fired-up fans swarmed the court as the last seconds ticked off, the first time that's happened here since a 2002 win over Indiana.


"There were just too many times when that first shot went up and they were there before we were because we didn't get into their bodies," Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said. "We weren't physical enough on the glass. That's the bottom line."


Zeller, the second-leading shooter in the Big Ten, went 2 for 9. He had nine points with four turnovers. Minnesota had 40 points in the paint to Indiana's 22.


Mbakwe, a sixth-year senior, had a lot to do with that. While positing his conference-leading seventh double-double of the season, the 24-year-old Mbakwe was a man among boys in many ways in this game, dominating both ends of the court when the Gophers needed him most. He grabbed six of Minnesota's 23 offensive rebounds, two of them to keep a key possession alive. His off-balance put-back drew contact for a three-point play with 7:22 left that gave the Gophers a 55-52 lead.


Mbakwe was called for a loudly questioned blocking foul, his fourth, with 4:39 remaining on Zeller's fast-break layup and free throw that put the Hoosiers up 59-58. But Austin Hollins answered with a pump-fake layup that drew a foul for a three-point play and a two-point advantage for the Gophers.


The Hoosiers didn't lead again, and Joe Coleman's fast-break dunk with 2:35 left gave Minnesota a 68-61 cushion that helped it withstand a couple of 3-pointers by Christian Watford and one by Jordan Hulls in the closing minutes. That was the only basket Hulls made after halftime. He had 17 points.


"Just the way we bounced back is unbelievable. We showed that we can beat one of the best teams in the country. Now we have to build off this," said Mbakwe, whose team lost eight of its previous 11 games starting with an 88-81 loss at Indiana on Jan. 12. The Gophers were ranked eighth then. They didn't even receive a vote in the current poll. That could change next week.


The Hoosiers are still in position for their first outright Big Ten regular-season championship since 1993. With another home game against Ohio State on March 5, Indiana could still clinch the title before the finale at Michigan on March 10.


For now, though, the Hoosiers have to regroup and re-establish their inside game after the trampling in the post they endured here.


"They were relentless on the glass. We just didn't do a great job of boxing them out," Oladipo said.


___


Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP


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Vatican 'Gay lobby'? Probably not






STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Benedict XVI not stepping down under pressure from 'gay lobby,' Allen says

  • Allen: Benedict is a man who prefers the life of the mind to the nuts and bolts of government

  • However, he says, much of the pope's time has been spent putting out fires




Editor's note: John L. Allen Jr. is CNN's senior Vatican analyst and senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.


(CNN) -- Suffice it to say that of all possible storylines to emerge, heading into the election of a new pope, sensational charges of a shadowy "gay lobby" (possibly linked to blackmail), whose occult influence may have been behind the resignation of Benedict XVI, would be right at the bottom of the Vatican's wish list.


Proof of the Vatican's irritation came with a blistering statement Saturday complaining of "unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories," even suggesting the media is trying to influence the papal election.


Two basic questions have to be asked about all this. First, is there really a secret dossier about a network of people inside the Vatican who are linked by their sexual orientation, as Italian newspaper reports have alleged? Second, is this really why Benedict XVI quit?



John L. Allen Jr.

John L. Allen Jr.



The best answers, respectively, are "maybe" and "probably not."


It's a matter of record that at the peak of last year's massive Vatican leaks crisis, Benedict XVI created a commission of three cardinals to investigate the leaks. They submitted an eyes-only report to the pope in mid-December, which has not been made public.


It's impossible to confirm whether that report looked into the possibility that people protecting secrets about their sex lives were involved with the leaks, but frankly, it would be surprising if it didn't.


There are certainly compelling reasons to consider the hypothesis. In 2007, a Vatican official was caught by an Italian TV network on hidden camera arranging a date through a gay-oriented chat room, and then taking the young man back to his Vatican apartment. In 2010, a papal ceremonial officer was caught on a wiretap arranging liaisons through a Nigerian member of a Vatican choir. Both episodes played out in full public view, and gave the Vatican a black eye.









Pope Benedict XVI































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In that context, it would be a little odd if the cardinals didn't at least consider the possibility that insiders leading a double life might be vulnerable to pressure to betray the pope's confidence. That would apply not just to sex, but also potential conflicts of other sorts too, such as financial interests.


Vatican officials have said Benedict may authorize giving the report to the 116 cardinals who will elect his successor, so they can factor it into their deliberations. The most immediate fallout is that the affair is likely to strengthen the conviction among many cardinals that the next pope has to lead a serious house-cleaning inside the Vatican's bureaucracy.


It seems a stretch, however, to suggest this is the real reason Benedict is leaving. For the most part, one should probably take the pope at his word, that old age and fatigue are the motives for his decision.


That said, it's hard not to suspect that the meltdowns and controversies that have dogged Benedict XVI for the last eight years are in the background of why he's so tired. In 2009, at the height of another frenzy surrounding the lifting of the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying traditionalist bishop, Benedict dispatched a plaintive letter to the bishops of the world, voicing hurt for the way he'd been attacked and apologizing for the Vatican's mishandling of the situation.


Even if Benedict didn't resign because of any specific crisis, including this latest one, such anguish must have taken its toll. Benedict is a teaching pope, a man who prefers the life of the mind to the nuts and bolts of government, yet an enormous share of his time and energy has been consumed trying to put out internal fires.


It's hard to know why Benedict XVI is stepping off the stage, but I doubt it is because of a "gay lobby."


Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.


Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John L. Allen Jr.






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Cellar victim Kampusch raped, starved in film of ordeal






VIENNA (Reuters) – A new film based on the story of Austrian kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch shows her being repeatedly raped by the captor who beat and starved her during the eight-and-a-half years that he kept her in a cellar beneath his house.


Kampusch was snatched on her way to school at the age of 10 by Wolfgang Priklopil and held in a windowless cell under his garage near Vienna until she escaped in 2006, causing a sensation in Austria and abroad. Priklopil committed suicide.






Kampusch had always refused to respond to claims that she had had sex with Priklopil, but in a German television interview on her 25th birthday last week said she had decided to reveal the truth because it had leaked out from police files.


The film, “3,096 Days” – based on Kampusch’s autobiography of the same name – soberly portrays her captivity in a windowless cellar less than 6 square metres (65 square feet) in area, often deprived of food for days at a time.


The emaciated Kampusch – who weighed just 38 kg (84 pounds) at one point in 2004 – keeps a diary written on toilet paper concealed in a box.


One entry reads: “At least 60 blows in the face. Ten to 15 nausea-inducing fist blows to the head. One strike with the fist with full weight to my right ear.”


The movie shows occasional moments that approach tenderness, such as when Priklopil presents her with a cake for her 18th birthday or buys her a dress as a gift – but then immediately goes on to chide her for not knowing how to waltz with him.


GREY AREAS


Antonia Campbell-Hughes, who plays the teenaged Kampusch, said she had tried to portray “the strength of someone’s soul, the ability of people to survive… but also the grey areas within a relationship that people don’t necessarily understand.”


The British actress said she had not met Kampusch during the making of the film or since. “It was a very isolated time, it was a bubble of time, and I wanted to keep that very focused,” she told journalists as she arrived for the Vienna premiere.


Kampusch herself attended the premiere, looking composed as she posed for pictures but declining to give interviews.


In an interview with Germany’s Bild Zeitung last week, she said: “Yes, I did recognize myself, although the reality was even worse. But one can’t really show that in the cinema, since it wasn’t supposed to be a horror film.”


The movie, made at the Constantin Film studios in Bavaria, Germany, also stars Amy Pidgeon as the 10-year-old Kampusch and Danish actor Thure Lindhardt as Priklopil.


“I focused mainly on playing the human being because… we have to remember it was a human being. Monsters do not exist, they’re only in cartoons,” Lindhart said.


“It became clear to me that it’s a story about survival, and it’s a story about surviving eight years of hell. If that story can be told then I can also play the bad guy.”


The director was German-American Sherry Hormann, who made her English-language debut with the 2009 move “Desert Flower”, an adaptation of the autobiography of Somali-born model and anti-female circumcision activist Waris Dirie.


“I’m a mother and I wonder at the strength of this child, and it was important for me to tell this story from a different perspective, to tell how this child using her own strength could survive this atrocious martyrdom,” Hormann said.


The Kampusch case was followed two years later by that of Josef Fritzl, an Austrian who held his daughter captive in a cellar for 24 years and fathered seven children with her.


The crimes prompted soul-searching about the Austrian psyche, and questions as to how the authorities and neighbors could have let such crimes go undetected for so long.


The film goes on general release on Thursday.


(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan, Editing by Paul Casciato)


Movies News Headlines – Yahoo! News





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AP source: Tom Brady gets 3-year extension


Tom Brady will be a Patriot until he is 40 years old.


Brady agreed to a three-year contract extension with New England on Monday, a person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press. The extension is worth about $27 million and will free up nearly $15 million in salary cap room for the team, which has several younger players it needs to re-sign or negotiate new deals with.


The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the extension has not been announced.


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Brady has made it clear he wants to finish his career with the Patriots, whom he led to Super Bowl wins for the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons, and losses in the big game after the 2007 and 2011 seasons. By taking less money in the extension and redoing his current contract, he's hopeful New England can surround him with the parts to win more titles.


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Vatican 'Gay lobby'? Probably not






STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Benedict XVI not stepping down under pressure from 'gay lobby,' Allen says

  • Allen: Benedict is a man who prefers the life of the mind to the nuts and bolts of government

  • However, he says, much of the pope's time has been spent putting out fires




Editor's note: John L. Allen Jr. is CNN's senior Vatican analyst and senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.


(CNN) -- Suffice it to say that of all possible storylines to emerge, heading into the election of a new pope, sensational charges of a shadowy "gay lobby" (possibly linked to blackmail), whose occult influence may have been behind the resignation of Benedict XVI, would be right at the bottom of the Vatican's wish list.


Proof of the Vatican's irritation came with a blistering statement Saturday complaining of "unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories," even suggesting the media is trying to influence the papal election.


Two basic questions have to be asked about all this. First, is there really a secret dossier about a network of people inside the Vatican who are linked by their sexual orientation, as Italian newspaper reports have alleged? Second, is this really why Benedict XVI quit?



John L. Allen Jr.

John L. Allen Jr.



The best answers, respectively, are "maybe" and "probably not."


It's a matter of record that at the peak of last year's massive Vatican leaks crisis, Benedict XVI created a commission of three cardinals to investigate the leaks. They submitted an eyes-only report to the pope in mid-December, which has not been made public.


It's impossible to confirm whether that report looked into the possibility that people protecting secrets about their sex lives were involved with the leaks, but frankly, it would be surprising if it didn't.


There are certainly compelling reasons to consider the hypothesis. In 2007, a Vatican official was caught by an Italian TV network on hidden camera arranging a date through a gay-oriented chat room, and then taking the young man back to his Vatican apartment. In 2010, a papal ceremonial officer was caught on a wiretap arranging liaisons through a Nigerian member of a Vatican choir. Both episodes played out in full public view, and gave the Vatican a black eye.









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In that context, it would be a little odd if the cardinals didn't at least consider the possibility that insiders leading a double life might be vulnerable to pressure to betray the pope's confidence. That would apply not just to sex, but also potential conflicts of other sorts too, such as financial interests.


Vatican officials have said Benedict may authorize giving the report to the 116 cardinals who will elect his successor, so they can factor it into their deliberations. The most immediate fallout is that the affair is likely to strengthen the conviction among many cardinals that the next pope has to lead a serious house-cleaning inside the Vatican's bureaucracy.


It seems a stretch, however, to suggest this is the real reason Benedict is leaving. For the most part, one should probably take the pope at his word, that old age and fatigue are the motives for his decision.


That said, it's hard not to suspect that the meltdowns and controversies that have dogged Benedict XVI for the last eight years are in the background of why he's so tired. In 2009, at the height of another frenzy surrounding the lifting of the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying traditionalist bishop, Benedict dispatched a plaintive letter to the bishops of the world, voicing hurt for the way he'd been attacked and apologizing for the Vatican's mishandling of the situation.


Even if Benedict didn't resign because of any specific crisis, including this latest one, such anguish must have taken its toll. Benedict is a teaching pope, a man who prefers the life of the mind to the nuts and bolts of government, yet an enormous share of his time and energy has been consumed trying to put out internal fires.


It's hard to know why Benedict XVI is stepping off the stage, but I doubt it is because of a "gay lobby."


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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John L. Allen Jr.






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