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Same-sex marriages not legal for non-residents

Nicole Brockbank

 

Thousands of same-sex couples that married in Canada may not actually be wed, reported the Toronto Star today. Justice Department lawyers are arguing that if a gay or lesbian couple could not be legally married in their home country then any marriage conducted in Canada is invalid.

 

The revelation comes following a lesbian couple’s attempt to file for divorce in Toronto after being married in Canada in 2005. The women – from Florida and the United Kingdom respectively – were told by a Department of Justice lawyer that their divorce wasn’t legal because they had never legally been married.

 

Politicians and university professors have denounced the Conservatives actions. Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae accused the Conservatives of trying to take away gay rights by stealth.

 

In Halifax, following a news conference, Harper admitted to not knowing all the details of the case, promising to look into it. Regardless, he said that his government has no intention of re-opening the same-sex marriage debate.

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TTC eliminates proposed cuts to 21 rush-hour routes

Megan Jones

 

A TTC memo issued Monday announced the elimination of 27 proposed service reductions on 21 bus routes, the Toronto Star reports. The reductions, including those to the Dufferin, Don Mills, Finch and Morningside routes were slated to begin Feb. 12, 2012.

 

Thirty-seven bus routes will still face cuts during peak-times in February however, and 35 routes will receive less off-peak service.

 

In addition to service cuts, TTC loading standards will drop next month, with 10 per cent more passengers to be allowed on vehicles during rush-hour, and 25 per cent more on non-peak routes, before TTC would consider offering additional service.

These changes will result in wait times increasing by anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes along the affected routes.

 

In light of the proposed service changes, transit activists and politicians have begun to lobby city council to find another $10 million in funding by next week. This additional funding would allow TTC to keep their present loading standard. It would do nothing to save the routes still slated for reductions.

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Mugesera to Stay, For Now

Daniel Sellers

 

The Quebec Superior Court came to the rescue of Leon Mugesera today, ordering the federal government not to execute a deportation order against him, says the CBC.

 

Mugesera, who has been accused of inciting genocide in Rwanda, has fought for years to remain in Canada, maintaining that he faces the risk of torture at home. The Superior court decision, handed down the very day Mungesera was due to be deported, means that the Quebec City resident will remain in Canada temporarily. The United Nations Committee Against Torture will investigate his case.

 

Mugesera has spent the last two days in a Quebec City hospital suffering from what his lawyer has described as a stress-related condition, although some reports indicate that he might have taken an overdose of medication.

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Toronto FC head coach's interview blunder highlights inexperience

Erica Huculak

 

Toronto FC head coach, Aron Winter, highlighted his inexperience with the league
by confusing the date of the MLS Final.

 

“I look forward to start from today until November,” Winter told the National Post.

 

“December,” the club’s director of business operations Paul Beirne said, grinning. “The MLS final is in December.”

 

His confusion is understandable as the MLS Cup has traditionally been held toward the end of November. Nonetheless his mistake drew attention to a simple fact about the MLS Cup playoffs.

 

Winter had never been there nor had anyone in the room.

 

Thomas Rongen, a former MLS coach, was announced as the new TFC Academy director. This decision was made in hopes of transforming the team into a successful franchise, starting from the ground up.

 

Rongen spent much of his playing career in the United States, leading the U.S. men’s under-20 team to consecutive FIFA under-20 World Cups in 2007 and 2009.

 

“What’s been nice is we have Aron here and his whole staff cresting over from one year into another,” Beirne told the National Post.

 

Winter told the National Post that next Thursday’s MLS Superdraft is important, saying he would like to keep growing talent at home through the club’s academy.

 

Winter said the draft will be about taking the best player available. “The priority is always the best players,” Winter told the National Post. “When there is a good midfielder or a good striker then you always have to take him.”

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Clothing tags size 6 now equivalent to 14

Ola Mazzuca

 

A January feature of Plus Model Magazine showcases unrealistic physical ideals with size six placed in a plus size range. The caption, “Most runway models meet the body
mass index physical criteria for anorexia” accompanies a photo depicting size
14 model Katya Zharkova in a nude, curvy embrace with a “straight sized” model.

 

Curvy was once a healthy term, as women reminisce of Cindy Crawford images from 20 years ago when models weighed eight percent less than the average woman. Today,
they can barely fill a size two dress, weighing 23 percent less than the average female Body Mass Index.

 

Plus Model editor Madeline Figueroa Jones said that the photos in “What’s Wrong With Our Bodies Anyway?” were published to demand more from designers, retailers and the press. In a blog post, she encourages readers to use social media to give designers their opinions on marketing clothing with the use of thin models.

 

“What we desire is equality to shop and have fashion options just like smaller women,” Figueroa-Jones wrote in a blog tagged with Plus Modeling. “Small women cannot be marketed to with pictures of plus-size women, why are we expected to respond to pictures of small size 6 and 8 women?”

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Gay marriages performed in Canada questioned

Jordan White

 

Gay couples who travel to Canada to get hitched may not have their marriage recognized in Canada. When gay marriage was legalized in Canada in 2003, same-sex couples understood that their marriages may or may not be recognized in their respective homelands. There are now two cases under review by the Canadian federal government that challenge the way same-sex marriages are being viewed.

 

Although same-sex marriage varies from state-to-state in the United States, the expectation is that the Canadian government recognizes all marriages that are performed in Canada.

 

Now, based on a divorce case, as reported by the Globe and Mail, the government is intervening stating that the gay marriage is not valid unless they could be married in their home jurisdiction.

 

The second case concerns the way the Canadian government is viewing same-sex marriages from other countries, specifically England. The British government crated civil partnerships which is equivalent to marriage.

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Tim Tebow is America’s Most Popular Athlete

Robert Frankel

 

In case anyone doubts his popularity, it’s become official.  In an ESPN.com poll of over 1,500 voters over the age of 12, Denver Broncos quarterback and devout Christian Tim Tebow was named the most popular athlete in the country.

 

Tebow, who finished with three per cent of the vote, beat out perennial favorites like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning, after pulling off some of the unlikeliest of victories on the gridiron this season.

 

Los Angeles Lakers superstar shooting guard Kobe Bryant finished in second, with two per cent of the vote.

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Ambassador Bridge Owner Jailed

Peter Lozinski

 

Elderly billionaire Manuel Moroun is heading to prison.

 

Moroun, 84, owns the ambassador bridge, connecting Windsor, Ont., to Detroit, Mich. Judge Prentis Edwards of Wayne County, Mich. found Moroun and his top lieutenant Dan Stamper to be in contempt of court, reports the Globe and Mail. Moroun’s company, Detroit International Bridge Co., did not comply with a court order to connect the crossing with two Detroit interstates.

 

The company has also been fined US $7,500, the highest possible fine under state law for civil contempt, and ordered to pay the state’s legal fees.

 

Moroun’s lawyers have filed an appeal, claiming he is only a minority owner and the company should be found at fault, not the man.

 

Edwards agrees with state officials that Moroun is in charge of the project.

 

He will remain in jail until he complies with the 2010 order to start the construction work.

 

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Ontario's tuition Grant

Tess Grant

 

In early January, the Ontario government released one of the largest investments in grants in the province’s history to help manage the cost of tuition for full-time post-secondary students for up to four years.

 

The Toronto Star estimates that about 300,000 students will benefit from the program, however particular requirements don’t allow for all inclusive eligibility.

Students enrolled in graduate or part-time studies will not be eligible for the grant – nor will anyone who has been out of high school for more than for years.

Students of parents who earn more than $160,000 per year will also fall short of the benefits.

 

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) also announced the phasing out of three other financial assistance programs: the Ontario Trust for Student Support, the Textbook and Technology Grant, and the Queen Elizabeth II Aiming for the Top Scholarship.

 

Sean Madden (@ousapresident), President of OUSA said, “It’s unfortunate to see that the new program is being paid for in part by the cancelling of student aid programs and offsets in student support elsewhere.”

 

“However, OUSA is pleased to see that its recommendation to extend eligibility for students with disabilities has been welcomed by the government,” continued Madden.

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Internet addiction affects normal brain function

Jessica Galang

 

A new study suggests the brains of “Internet-addicted” teens may function differently than the brains of those non-addicted, CBC News reports.

 

The study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal publication PLoS ONE on Jan. 10, was conducted by Chinese researchers using a technique called fractional anisotropy (FA), which measures the organization of the brain. The 17 internet addicts displayed lower FA values than the 16 non-addicted participants in the study – a finding which suggests that nerve fibres are not functioning properly.

 

Researchers also found that going offline brings internet addicts to a similar state of withdrawal as alcohol and drug addicts.

 

According to the paper, the researchers believe the myelin, a protective sheath around nerve fibers, is disrupted in different regions of internet addicts’ brains.

 

Currently, internet addiction is not officially recognized as a mental health affliction by health-care authorities, but researchers say fractional anisotropy may become an effective method of detecting internet addicts’ severity.

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Renting your driveway could earn you cash – or cost you $25,000

Angela Sucee

 

A new website launching in Toronto this week could earn homeowners easy cash but only if they can avoid the $25,000 fine.

 

Homeowners post their driveways for rent at ParkatmyHouse.com, the Toronto Star reported. The UK website makes it easy for drivers to find parking spots in specific areas and make payments online.

 

“It’s a revolutionary approach to parking,” the website’s founder Anthony Eskinazi, 28, told the Star.

 

However, the director of the City of Toronto’s investigations services, Lance Cumberbatch, said renting out parking spots to the public breaks bylaws. Rented spots must be located in commercial zones, but homeowners renting their spots are in residential zones. The owners also need a license to operate the
commercial garage.

 

These bylaws are mostly enforced by complaints, but violations go to court and can receive up to a $25,000 fine.

 

Despite the bylaws, hundreds of these spots are available on ParkatmyHouse.com and websites such as Kijiji and Craigslist.

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Couples Benefit from Friendship with Other Couples

Becky Mildon

 

Couples who have a close friendship with other couples may have a better relationship, new research suggests.

 

According to the Edmonton Journal, people are able to see how their couple friends treat each other and resolve issues, which can lead to benefits in their relationship.

 

"Being close with another couple and watching how they manage their ups and downs is a role model for how you can manage your ups and downs," said Geoffrey Greif, co-author of the book, to the Edmonton Journal.

 

Two professors from University of Maryland have conducted some of the first research on the subject. They have published their findings in a new book called Two Plus Two: Couples and Their Couple Friendships.

 

The book outlines interviews from 426 people over the age of 21 who are part of a heterosexual relationship.

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Russian probe to crash near Indonesia

Marissa Dederer

 

The failed Russian Phobos-Grunt probe will likely crash into the Indian Ocean west of Jakarta before Monday.

 

The $165 million probe which was designed to gather dirt samples from the Mars moon Phobos, blasted-off November 9 but never left the Earth’s atmosphere.

 

According to a National Post article, the probe could crash between 51.4 degrees north and 51.4 degrees south. This band includes most of the world’s largest cities including New York, London, and Johannesburg. The expected date of impact is January 15, but this is subject to change.

Experts say the probe’s full load of toxic fuel should burn up in
orbit before it crashes.

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Route detail - Ramblers

Route detail - Ramblers | RAMblers | Scoop.it
Castell Coch walking route. http://t.co/dRqFcufZ #walking #ramblers #tongwynlais #castellcoch 
Dan Westell's insight:

This is from Twitter. 

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Mayor Rob Ford Refuses Personal Security

Alison Hall

 

Friends of Mayor Rob Ford are calling for security for the Toronto Mayor, The Star reports, after numerous death threats to the mayor’s office and a home invasion on Wednesday. Mayor Ford denies needing security, saying “I’m alright, I’m alright”.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, a friend of Ford who is urging for his protection, said he hopes “that some people can knock some sense into him.”

 

“The phone calls keep coming in to our offices including the mayor’s wanting him dead, and I think we should take that stuff seriously”, Mammoliti told the Star.

City Councillor and brother to the mayor, Doug Ford, says, “I’m more worried about Rob’s safety than he is.”

 

Mayors of Canadian cities are not typically protected with security detail but Ford is no ordinary Mayor. Toronto’s Ford has led a controversial public profile since the 2010 election.

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Is Art an Issue of ‘Equity’?

Lauren Izso

 

The York Region District School Board is threatening to shut down the arts program at Baythorn Elementary due to an issue of inequity.

 

Ross Virgo, the board’s spokesperson, says that the school’s audition process does not provide equitable access, but students and parents strongly disagree, The Toronto Star reports.

 

While the proposed policy does not target Baythorn in particular, it would prevent “optional programs,” so that specialization would begin in high school.

 

“Not every kid gets on the football or basketball team, but you don’t scrap teams because of that,” said Joel Hertz, the board’s trustee. Hertz is in support of making this program and others like it work.

 

Students say that talent has little to do with the audition at all, and that it focuses much more on attitude.

 

Hertz says there are different ways of teaching different kids and Baythorn integrates art through regular academic subjects, which is unlike any other school on the region.

 

Committee members argue that scrapping the program, which is the only of its kind in the region, wouldn’t make sense, but, Virgo says that this would bring “inclusiveness” to schools in the region.

 

A website, savebaythorn.ca, has been created by a committee of supporters, which includes news about the cause, ways to help, and petition that has been signed by 2300 people, and still counting.

 

The committee continues to fight this policy, and will hold meetings January 24 and February 21 at 7 p.m.

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Aid convoy turned back at Syrian border

Rebecca Ananda

 

A convoy of over a hundred Syrian expatriates has been turned back at the border as they attempted to cross into Syria from neighbouring Turkey to deliver humanitarian aid, reports Al Jazeera.

 

The convoy, made up of Syrians from all over the world including the U.S. and Canada, intended to deliver blankets, medicine and food to the beleaguered protesters who have been demonstrating against Bashar al-Assad’s government for months.

 

The self-proclaimed "Freedom Convoy to Syria" assembled through a campaign organized on Facebook. They set out from the Turkish town of Kilis earlier on Thursday.

 

The Turkish government has been in touch with people in the convoy but has not formally backed the activists. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has been highly critical of Assad in his handling of the protesters. Erdogan, a former ally of Assad, has called for his resignation and levied sanctions against Syria.

 

Turkey is currently home to thousands of Syrian refugees including members of the Syrian Free Army and the opposition Syrian National Council has been meeting in Istanbul.

 

After being denied entry the convoy have set up camp on basketball pitch near the border and intend to stay until they allowed entry.

 

Muhyedin Lazikani, a Syrian writer and member of the convoy, speaking to Al Jazeera, said; "We are ready to put our tents up and stay here as long as it takes."

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Apple products dominate CES buzz

Matthew Kennedy

 

The annual Consumers Electronics Show is the largest exhibition of new, exciting technology that will soon be in the hands of the public. Yet the world’s most recognized gadget-dealer, Apple, has shunned the mid-January event once again.

 

But one quick look around the showroom floor proves that their influence looms over the show.

 

A CNN.com report claims that over 80,000 square feet of exhibition space is dedicated to a wing called the iLounge, where independent companies can shill their own products connected to Apple’s gizmo universe.

Over 350 vendors sold out iLounge space in two hours, a record for the CES. While no new iPhones are iPads will be announced, a plethora of add-ons besides your usual stands and cases are being unveiled. iDevices founder Chris Allen came up with the idea to use the iPhone as a wireless meat thermometer. At CES, Allen is promoting the heat-tracking iGrill, which is now available in Apple retail stores.

 

The company also noticed an issue with Apple products they could capitalize on.

 

“Water damage is the number-one return reason at Apple," said iDevices chief financial officer Jonathan Conelias.

 

Enter the iShower. A waterproof device slated for a March release, the iShower enables music streaming from any Bluetooth-connected device, such as the iPhone or iPod, into a shower or bathtub 200 feet or less away.

 

IDevices is getting a number of requests from outside companies to “i-enable” their own products, Conelias says.

 

And while a number of companies have unveiled new TVs during CES, the one garnering the most buzz is the iTV, Apple’s alleged entrant into the TV market.

 

Even in Apple’s absence, a product of theirs which technically doesn’t exist yet dominates CES buzz.

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Heavy drinkers get more pleasure from alcohol, study finds

Emily Westover

 

Alcohol causes the brain to release endorphins, molecules which produce feelings of reward, a new study found, reported by Globe and Mail’s Paul Taylor.

 

The University of California study revealed that a drink produced a greater release of endorphins in heavy drinkers than regular drinkers. Thirteen heavy drinkers and 12
“control” subjects were studied using high-tech scanning equipment.

 

Jennifer Mitchell, lead author of the study suggests that heavy drinkers likely get more pleasure out of each drink, which may contribute to excess drinking.

 

Dr. Mitchell hopes that her findings may lead to new ways to prevent alcoholism. Existing anti-drinking medication naltrexone prevents people from feeling the pleasurable effect of alcohol, but makes a lot of patients feel miserable so they don’t take it.

 

“I think alcohol abuse is a treatable problem and we are inching ever closer to a much
more amenable solution,” Mitchell told Taylor. She hopes her study leads to a
new drug that can block specific brain receptors without unwanted side effects.

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Play based on Atwood novella returns to the stage

By Vibhu Gairola

 

It has been a year since it was last shown to a Canadian audience, but The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood’s famous novella-turned-play, is finally back for the 2012 winter season. Focusing on Penelope, the archetype of the faithful wife from Homer’s Odyssey, NOW! Magazine reports that Nightwood Theatre’s all-female cast is bringing to life Atwood’s revision of Homer’s epic with costumes that almost meld with the set itself.

 

The Penelopiad, in 2007, was the milestone play that prompted collaboration between a Canadian theatre company and the legendary Royal Shakespeare Company. Since Canada’s National Arts Centre and the RSC put up the play in their respective countries, it has only been staged twice in Canada – in 2010 and 2011. Atwood’s novella-turned-play shows Penelope recounting her life from Hades (the Greek afterworld) and questioning the decisions that led to the death of her 12 handmaids.

 

With Nightwood’s Artistic Director Kelly Thornton at its helm and Megan Follows (of the 80s television miniseries Anne of Green Gables) as Penelope, a strong ensemble portrays the sainted handmaids and questions are raised regarding the deaths of the handmaids as equivalents to contemporary honour killings.

 

Told through classical tragedy, Victorian melodrama, burlesque and song, The Penelopiad opens Jan. 10 and runs to Jan. 29 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre on the outskirts of Toronto’s Church and Wellesley village.

 

ADMISSION: $22-$46
WHERE: Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander, Toronto, M4Y 1B4, 416-975-8555, nightwoodtheatre.net
WHEN: Previews Jan 10-11
Opens Jan 12 and runs to Jan 29, Tue-Sat 8 pm, mats Sat-Sun 2 pm, Wed 1:30 pm

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Assembly Workers Threaten Suicide After Compensation Dispute

By Meaghan Yuen

 

Workers assembling Xbox video game consoles in Wuhan, China, threatened to jump from a six-storey factory building after word spread that the production line would be closed. City officials, however, convinced them to climb down and resume their work.

Workers estimated 80 to 200 were involved in the rooftop protest but according to Wang Jungang, a prior equipment engineer in the production line, “none of them were going to jump.” His supervisor helped him get a compensation of $4,700 after he left the factory.

 

Contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group, a massive plant that manufactures Apple Inc products and other gadgets, offered to transfer some workers at current pay. Yet, the employees say they were originally promised severance pay for those who did not want to be allocated.

 

The Foxconn plant has seen suicides and attempted suicides over the last couple of years, which initiated the government to take over the operations. Labour rights activists in China hold overly-disciplined factories responsible for a string of suicides in 2010.

 

Rising costs and a decline in orders from Europe and the U.S have led to the labour unrest in China, the Associated Press reports. Most of the workers decided to continue working at Foxconn, though, 45 other employees chose to resign.

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Wes Anderson is back

By: Samantha Lui

 

It’s been four years since Wes Anderson’s last project. But in 2012, he is back.

 

Since the release of the writer-director’s 2007 “Darjeeling Unlimited,” the trailer to “Moonrise Kingdom” is Anderson’s first release since his hiatus, the Huffington Post reports.

 

Introducing newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, the film is about two young children who fall in love and run away together. In a frenzy to look for them, hilarity ensues in Anderson fashion as the kids draw a search party of adults.

 

Known for his signature retro style and quirky dialogue, “Moonrise Kingdom” seems to be the first functional young relationship in any
of Anderson’s films. In Rushmore, Jason Schwartzman chases an older teacher and in “The Royal Tenenbaums," Luke Wilson’s character pines over Gwyneth Paltrow’s character for years.

 

Slated to release later in the year, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Bill Murray and Schwartzman also star in the film.

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The New Cheesy Eatery

Jennifer Joseph

 

The Construction Site is a new cafeteria style restaurant specializing in their grilled cheese sandwiches, located on 2200 Yonge St. in Toronto. This eatery is tucked into the side of an office building with a huge “cheesy” banner that won't be able to miss.

This sandwich shop is a great place to unwind after a long week of work and joining a friend for a quick bit to eat.

 

It’s a great twist of an upscale version of a Subway and Quiznos shop. The prices are bit steep but it is a nice change from other sandwich shops.

 

The Construction Site is a bright, well lit space, with a sparkling stainless steel cooking area and enclosed in a glass storefront overlooking the Yonge Street hustle and bustle.

With fresh ingredients and perfectly crispy bread, it offers quirky meal names such as the Cha Cha Cha at $9.50, which includes jalapeno Havarti and feta cheeses, smashed avocado and red onions served on grain sourdough.

 

Each sandwich comes with a side of chutney or ketchup and in house made ruffle chips.

 

The shop recently updated their menu offering new delicious sandwiches and desserts 2200 Yonge Street.

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Serial killer kept diary and photos of murder victims

Alexander Chippin

 

The New York Daily News reports that according to California authorities, the suspected serial killer regarded as New York’s “Double Initial” murderer, kept a rape diary and photos of dead prostitutes.

 

The diary was revealed during a prelimary hearing for Joseph Naso, 78, who faces murder charges for four prostitutes.

 

“Girl in north Buffalo woods. She was real pretty. Had to knock her out first,” read one of the several alleged journal entries.

 

Naso, representing himself in court, scoffed, as prosecutors went through the seized pictures. "Who is paying for all of this entertainment?" he asked. Some photographs reportedly showed women unconscious or appearing dead.

 

"This is my private work, my photography. The women have been violated. What happens in a home is sacred and private,” Naso said, according to The Associated Press. “The whole thing is disgusting, and I don't see the relevance at all.”

Naso became a person of interest in the 1970s, after the strangulations of three young upstate New York girls who had alliterative initials, an investigator said. He was arrested last April.

 

Authorities said they found a “List of 10” in Naso’s possession that included the scribbled descriptions of 10 women. The four women Naso is being accused of killing are Roxene Roggasch in 1977, Carmen Colon in 1978, Pamela Parsons in 1993 and Tracey Tafoya in 1994.

 

Officials said they have no hard evidence tying Naso to the Colon case, and one attempt to match him with DNA taken from one of the three other victims did not work.

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SPIN Breathes New Life into How Albums are Reviewed

James Griffin

 

SPIN magazine is changing the way they review albums by writing them on Twitter.

On January 11th, the staff released a report on the future of SPIN. They hope to publish around 1500 album reviews on their Twitter for 2012. They say there won’t be “anymore overwrought 80-word blurbs on middling, nobody-cares bands.” This format restricts reviews to being 140 characters or less.

 

They also discussed many problems they’ve had with reviewing albums in recent years including the rise in leaked albums, claiming “you are often downloading a leaked album the same day as your favorite magazine or website.”

 

SPIN will not be completely limited to Twitter reviews. They say that the very best records of the year will be given ‘special consideration’ and have long reviews on them. These are called “SPIN Essentials.”

 

They hope to increase their readership through Twitter’s influence on social networking.

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