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Oscar Pistorius charged with murder

PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter dubbed the Blade Runner, was charged Thursday in the Valentine’s Day slaying of his girlfriend at his upscale home in South Africa, a shocking twist to one of the feel-good stories of last summer’s Olympics.

Pistorius buried his face in the hood of his workout jacket as officers escorted him from a police station after his arrest in the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp, a 30-year-old model who had spoken out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women.

olice said she was shot four times in the pre-dawn hours at Pistorius’ villa in a gated community in the capital, Pretoria. Officers found a 9 mm pistol inside the home and arrested Pistorius on a murder charge.

What sparked the shooting remained unclear, but police said they had received calls in the past about domestic altercations at the home of the 26-year-old athlete, who has spoken publicly about his love of firearms.

A police spokeswoman, Brigadier Denise Beukes, said the incidents included “allegations of a domestic nature.”

“I’m not going to elaborate on it, but there have been incidents,” Beukes said. She said Pistorius was home at the time of Steenkamp’s death and “there is no other suspect involved.”

Pistorius made history in the London Games when he became the first double-amputee track athlete to compete in the Olympics. He didn’t win a medal but did make the semifinals of the 400 meters and became an international star.

Thursday, companies quickly removed billboards and advertising featuring Pistorius, a national hero in South Africa who also inspired fans worldwide with the image of his high-tech carbon-fiber blades whipping through the air.

Kenny Oldwage, Pistorius’ lawyer, told reporters the athlete was “emotional” after his arrest, “but he is keeping up.” He said he planned to seek bail for Pistorius at a preliminary hearing Friday.

Pistorius has had troubles in the past in his personal life, which often featured fast cars, cage fighters and women.

In February 2009, he crashed a speedboat on South Africa’s Vaal River, breaking his nose, jaw and several ribs and damaging an eye socket. He required 180 stitches to his face. Witnesses said he had been drinking, and officers found alcoholic beverages in the wreckage, though they did not do blood tests.

In November, Pistorius was involved in an altercation over a woman with a local coal mining millionaire, South African media reported. The two men involved the South African Police Service’s elite Hawks investigative unit before settling the matter.

Pistorius’ father, Henke Pistorius, said Thursday: “We all pray for guidance and strength for Oscar and the lady’s parents.”

A spokeswoman for Pistorius at Fast Track, an international sports marketing agency in London, said the athlete was assisting with the investigation and there would be no further comment “until matters become clearer.”

The sprinter’s former coach, Andrea Giannini, said he hoped the shooting was “just a tragic accident.”

“No matter how bad the situation was, Oscar always stayed calm and positive,” Giannini told The Associated Press in Italy. “Whenever he was tired or nervous, he was still extremely nice to people. I never saw him violent.”

Firearms captivated Pistorius, the subject of an online Nike advertisement that featured him with the caption: “I am a bullet in the chamber.” In November 2011, he posted a photograph on Twitter of himself at a shooting range, bragging about his score. “Had a 96% headshot over 300m from 50shots! Bam!” he wrote.

Linked to a number of women by the South African media, Pistorius and Steenkamp were first seen together publicly in November. She was named one of the world’s 100 Sexiest Women for two years running by the men’s magazine FHM.

The leggy blonde with a law degree also appeared in international and South African ads and was a celebrity contestant on “Tropika Island of Treasure,” a South African reality show filmed in Jamaica.

While known for her bikini-clad, vamping photo spreads, she tweeted messages urging women to stand up against rape. Her tweets also focused on Pistorius, with one of her last messages noting her excitement over Valentine’s Day.

“What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow?” she wrote. “It should be a day of love for everyone.”

Police have not publicly named Steenkamp as the victim, saying only that a 30-year-old woman was killed. Steenkamp’s publicist, however, confirmed in a statement that the model had died.

“Everyone is simply devastated,” the publicist, Sarit Tomlinson, said. “She was the kindest, sweetest human being; an angel on earth and will be sorely missed.”

Police arrived at Pistorius’ home after 3 a.m., and paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive Steenkamp, police spokeswoman Lt. Col. Katlego Mogale said.

Officers later took Pistorius to a hospital so doctors could collect samples for DNA testing and check his blood alcohol content.

Pistorius had both legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday because of a congenital condition, and campaigned for years to be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes.

He was initially banned because of his carbon fiber blades — which critics said gave him an unfair advantage — before being cleared by sport’s highest court in 2008.

He was a last-minute selection to South Africa’s Olympic team, competing in the 400 meters and the 4×400 relay. He later retained his Paralympic title in the 400 meters.

South Africa’s Sports Confederation, its Olympic committee and the International Paralympic Committee all had no comment on the shooting.

Shock rippled across South Africa, a nation of 50 million where nearly 50 people are killed each day, one of the world’s highest murder rates. U.N. statistics say South Africa also has the second highest rate of shooting deaths in the world, behind only Colombia.

“The question is: Why does this story make the news? Yes, because they are both celebrities, but this is happening on every single day in South Africa,” said Adele Kirsten, a member of Gun Free South Africa.

“We have thousands of people killed annually by gun violence in our country. So the anger is about that it is preventable.”

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Michael Jordan: Give me Kobe over LeBron

Michael Jordan likes the bling of Kobe Bryant better than the King.

Michael Jordan said in an interview with NBA TV that, if given a choice, he would take Bryant over LeBron James.

Widely considered the greatest player of all-time, Jordan said it would be a tough choice between Bryant and James. However, Bryant’s five titles with the Los Angeles Lakers compared to just one for James with the Miami Heat, would be his deciding factor.

“Five beats one every time I look at it,” Jordan said. “And not that (James) won’t get five. He may get more than that, but five is bigger than one.”

Of course, Bryant has been around a lot longer than James to rack up his titles. Bryant is in his 17th season while James is in his 10th.

James, in the midst of a record run where he has put together at least 30 points and 60 percent shooting in six straight games, was not too worried about Jordan’s choice.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” James said at the Heat’s shootaround in preparation for Thursday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. “If you take Kobe one and I go second, it doesn’t matter. I don’t get too involved in what guys say about me or if you take Kobe or if you take LeBron. As long as I’m on the floor and I make plays for my teammates, I don’t do what I do for other people’s approval.”

Jordan, who turns 50 years old on Sunday, won six championships with the Chicago Bulls and was named NBA MVP five times over his celebrated career.

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Hidden ‘radio’ buttons discovered in Apple’s iOS …

There’s a hint that Apple has something new in the pipeline, and the company appears to have tucked it away inside the latest version of its iOS software.

Discovered last night within a freshly jailbroken iPad: a set of buttons and code references for “radio,” a feature found in iTunes on Macs and PCs, but not on the iPad or iPhone. Making things more interesting is another button suggesting you can make purchases via the radio feature, presumably from iTunes.

The buttons, which were spotted by 9to5Mac, hint at Apple’s much-rumored radio service, a product that will let people stream music much like they do on the popular Pandora service, but with deep ties to Apple’s iTunes library. Rumors that Apple has been working on such a service have floated for years, but heated up last year as talks with labels advanced.

The discovery follows a high-profile jailbreak of iOS 6.1, the updated system software Apple released just last week. A team of developers came up with a tool that gives users deep system-level access to do things like install applications from third-party app stores, change the look and feel of iOS, and add new software features.

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Kevin Gates – The Luca Brasi Story

South Baton Rouge’s own, Kevin Gates has quietly developed one of the biggest buzzes in the game delivering that authentic ride out music for our trappers out there in them sktreets. If you haven’t been on game with the Louisiana native, definitely don’t miss out on his latest project “The Luca Brasi Story.” The mixtpae has features from Curren$y, Master P, Terrance Hines and Percy Keith with the production side of the things being handled by Jahlil Beats, Cy Fyre, Grizzly On The Beat, S-X, S1, Maven Boys, KB, Marvel Hitz and Nard & B. You can check after the jump to view the complete 22-track tracklistings along with a download link ready.

01. Mr. Brasi
02. Paper Chasers (Prod. by Swiff D)
03. Weight (Prod. by Grizzly On The Beat) [Watch Video]
04. Flex (feat. Terrance Hines & Percy Keith)
05. Neon Lights (Prod. by The Maven Boys)
06. Arms Of A Stranger (Prod. by S1)
07. I Need It (Prod. by Grizzly On The Beat)
08. Wilin’ (Prod. by KB)
09. Narco Trafficante (feat. Percy Keith)
10. Hold Your Head (Prod. by S-X)
11. Just Ride (feat. Curren$y) (Prod. by Grizzly On The Beat)
12. Around Me (Prod. by Cy Fyre)
13. Twilight (Prod. by Mr. Morris)
14. Countin On Ya (Prod. by The Maven Boys)
15. Marshall Mathers (Prod. by The Maven Boys)
16. IDGAF
17. Hero (Prod. by Nard & B)
18. Ugly But She Fine (feat. Master P) (Prod. by Marvel Hitz)
19. Hold It Down (Prod. by Grizzly On The Beat)
20. Talkin’ Stupid (feat. Percy Keith)
21. Whats Understood (Prod. by Jahlil Beats)
22. IHOP (True Story)

RED-FLASH-DOWNLOAD-BANNER

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VERIZON TRYING TO WiFi! FREE WIFI!

A free and open Internet is one of the most important tools a democracy can have — and as long as ISPs like Verizon plan to battle copyright infringement by slowing down or eliminating business’s Internet access, that tool will be in jeopardy! Sign the Petition! Share on Facebook! Dear Freda -,
We have the details on how various Internet Service Providers plan to implement their anti-infringement “six strikes” plans — and it’s not good.
AT&T’s plan is to block access to frequently visited sites. Time Warner will constantly redirect you to a landing page. Verizon will plans to reduce connection speeds to the snail pace of 256kbps.
What do all of them have in common? None of them actually let you get up to six strikes — and all of them have the potential, even as they claim they’re not “cutting people off” from the Internet, to make free WiFi almost nonexistent.
Verizon has confirmed that its “six strikes” plan will apply to businesses, not just personal accounts. That means the cafe down the street may end up with essentially unusable WiFi if even one customer abuses the system — and even terminate their accounts entirely.
We can’t let that happen. A free and open Internet is one of the most important tools a democracy can have — and as long as ISPs like Verizon plan to battle copyright infringement by slowing down or eliminating business’s Internet access, that tool will be in jeopardy. Will you join us in urging Verizon not to bow to copyright holders at the expense of their customers?
PETITION TO VERIZON: We call on ISPs like Verizon not to pursue punitive action against businesses that provide free WiFi by slowing down or eliminating their Internet access. Help keep the Internet as free and as open as possible — revise your “six strikes” plan now!

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MacBook Pros get priced closer to earth The Retina MacBook Pro gets price cuts ranging between $150 and $200

MacBook Pros equipped with a Retina display are not exactly priced to move. Best Buy and Amazon are trying to change that.

Best Buy, for example, is now selling the 128GB version (model MC975LL/A) of the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro Retina for $1,549.99, $150 off the regular $1,699.99 price.

Need 256GB of solid-state storage with that gorgeous Retina screen? That model (MD213LL/A) is now $1,799.99, $200 off the regular price of $1,999.99.

The pricier 15.4-inch models with 256GB and 512GB solid-state drives (MC975LL/A and MC976LL/A, respectively), also got $200 lopped off their regular prices.

Amazon is going even lower, pricing the 128GB 13.3-inch model at $1,515.59, for example.

The online retailer is offering identical discounts to Best Buy on the 15.4-inch models.

These sales may be short-lived (the Best Buy sale is for two days only) but expect more of this kind of discounting from retailers in the future. Apple’s Mac sales sank last quarter to 4.1 million compared to 5.2 million in the same quarter last year.

Some of that is because consumers are opting for the cheaper iPad, but the Retina MacBook Pros may be a factor too. When Apple sells configurations that push the least expensive Retina model to $1,700 ($1,699) at the regular price, that’s not going to win over a lot of buyers.

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Microsoft’s new Office 2013

Microsoft Office 2013 has officially hit the streets, and it offers a significantly upgraded interface, more tools, and perhaps most importantly, a cloud-friendly system that lets you work from anywhere. While CNET’s Jason Parker did give the updated Office suite high marks, he was also quick to say that its new $100-per-year subscription scheme will likely be hard for many people to swallow. Sure, there are (confusingly) single-pay standalone versions available as well, but those don’t offer quite as much as the Office 365 subscription version.

In any case, if you are part of the camp that is unconvinced by Microsoft’s new offerings, then know that there are some fantastic and completely free alternatives out there. Here are four that we like.

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Google Docs
Many Office users have been migrating to Google’s productivity tools since long before Office 2013 and its yearly subscription came to be. That’s because Google offers fantastically intuitive applications for creating text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, and drawings. You can import and export Microsoft Office file types, and it’s all completely free (for individual users, not businesses). A Google account is required, though.

One of the biggest draws of Google’s offering is the collaboration that it makes possible. Because all of your editing takes place in the cloud, you can actually share documents with other Google users and work on them together in real time. What’s more, Docs integrates well with other Google offerings, making it a great choice for dedicated Google users.

One downside to Docs, of course, is that its functionality requires a Web connection and browser. To be clear, you can work with Docs while offline, but only through the Chrome browser, and your edits will only sync once you are reconnected to the Web. Another possible issue with Docs is compatibility, as we have seen text formatting get wonky when importing from Word. Still, because of its ease of use, broad functionality, and collaboration capabilities, Google Docs deserves its spot on this list of viable Office alternatives.

MicrosoftWeb_Excel_610x433

Microsoft Office Web Apps
This one is a no-brainer. If you’re not keen on paying for Microsoft’s full-featured desktop Office suite, then why not try using its trimmed-down cloud-based option for free? The suite consists of Web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

For anyone who uses Office, Microsoft Office Web Apps should be a cinch to pick up. All of the compatibility you need is there, and I would even go so far as to say that this cloud-based suite’s interface is quite a bit more elegant than Google’s. Microsoft’s cloud-based Office Web Apps are integrated with SkyDrive and are free for individuals to use.

Microsoft Office Web Apps
This one is a no-brainer. If you’re not keen on paying for Microsoft’s full-featured desktop Office suite, then why not try using its trimmed-down cloud-based option for free? The suite consists of Web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

For anyone who uses Office, Microsoft Office Web Apps should be a cinch to pick up. All of the compatibility you need is there, and I would even go so far as to say that this cloud-based suite’s interface is quite a bit more elegant than Google’s. Microsoft’s cloud-based Office Web Apps are integrated with SkyDrive and are free for individuals to use.

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BlackBerry 10 and Z10 Review

 

 

It was 2008 and my BlackBerry Curve’s BBM was overflowing with contacts. I’d plug away on the physical keyboard, quickly firing off messages and emails to my friends and colleagues. Back then, most of them had the same phone or another one of RIM‘s popular handsets, like the BlackBerry Pearl.

By 2010 that list of contacts was empty. All my friends had abandoned BlackBerrys for iPhones or Android phones. I did the same. What choice did we have? While Apple and other phone makers started making phones that did amazing things with rich applications and fast Web browsers, BlackBerry clung to its outdated phone software.

That is, until today. After delays and years of dragging its feet, BlackBerry is finally ready with its new BlackBerry 10 operating system, a complete overhaul of the BlackBerry you’ve known. Even the company name has been overhauled; no longer RIM, or Research in Motion, it’s just calling itself BlackBerry.

 

Its first phone to run the software — the BlackBerry Z10 — starts at $199 on contract at AT&T and other carriers this March, and finally has the hardware to compete with all those other high-speed smartphones you see in people’s hands. Can it be? Is BlackBerry actually back?

A Phone Designed for Software
“That’s a BlackBerry?” “Where’s the keyboard?” That’s the main reaction I’ve gotten to the Z10. The phone looks nothing like the typical BlackBerry with a physical keyboard and almost everything like an Android phone or iPhone. It has a large 4.2-inch 1280 x 768-resolution display and a thin all-black body with a soft-to-the-touch back. It’s not a beautiful or elegant phone, but it’s well-made and comfortable to hold.

Powered by a dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM and AT&T LTE, the phone is something that some of the BlackBerrys of past have never been described as being: fast. Not only is it the fastest BlackBerry ever made, it gives even the best Android phones and the iPhone 5 a run for their money in terms of speed, especially when it comes to Web browsing. Unfortunately, that power shortens battery life, but it is fast.

In heavy use, the phone doesn’t last more than a full work day. I was actually lucky to see it last past 5 p.m. on a regular day of heavy emailing, tweeting and surfing the Web. On the plus side, the back cover of the phone comes off, allowing you to replace the battery. The company will also sell a portable charging accessory, which contains a second battery for the phone.

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