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Meandering Through Masques [Free]

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For all the trash talk I gave to Mercadian Masques last week, it's still a pretty good set for traders to make a dime on. It has a few powerhouses for actual tournament play, but most of the value is driven by the casual market. It also has some really high-value foils. To my knowledge (and I will be corrected below if not) that MM had increased foil frequency print runs, meaning more foils. You don't have as many ridiculously priced commons like you do with Urza Block, but there are a lot that are in demand.

Because MM is a big set with plenty of cards worth over a buck, I'll be splitting this article into two parts so you don't suffer from information overload. We'll go through the first half today and the second half, along with foils, next week (MM is front-loaded alphabetically with good cards...). Let's get started!

Pay up, pay up...

Black Market

With the removal of mana burn, some cards won and some lost. Black Market is a huge winner for multiplayer games. I try to work it into every EDH deck I can cram it into, where it's like some sort of ultra Gilded Lotus. With any amount of time, Black Market produces absurd amounts of mana. For example, in the last set of games I played, Black Market went over twenty counters in each game in about three turns. The real pain is finding out what to do with those crazy piles of mana.

$1.75

Brainstorm

We know this card is a boss, but what surprises me was how long it took people to string it together with fetchlands. We're not talking Onslaught here, but the classic ones like Flood Plain. By the time Bob Maher's Oath deck came around, people knew to string Brainstorm together with shuffle effects, but it wasn't immediately obvious. Even decks like CounterPost that ran Thawing Glaciers didn't couple it with Flood Plain. These days, Brainstorm gets coupled with as many shuffles as possible. It formed the backbone of blue in Vintage, to the point where it was restricted for being just too powerful. In Legacy, it is mostly constrained to CounterTop decks, but it's immensely popular, both in Ice Age and its reprint in MM.

$1.50

Bribery

Well let's let Blightsteel Colossus decide who she wants to work for, huh?

There was a day when Bribery was a chumpy little casual-only card. I remember bulking them out at fifty cents. What a terrible memory. Bribery is just about the most powerful blue card in EDH these days because it can turn into Blightsteel Colossus, Emrakul Lagasse, Iona or any other manner of monsters from opposing decks. As more good EDH creatures are printed, the better Bribery gets. Though it was printed again in 8th, it's still in high demand. It's especially good to know how much this card goes for because you might run into people like me who have no idea!

$7.00

Cave-In

My favorite Cave-In story involved someone in Legacy wishing for it with Burning Wish to kill the opponent, who was at 2 life. I don't think you can top that.

$1.00

Charisma

Charisma appeals to people who build decks full of pingers. They tack it on Prodigal Sorcerer and slam away. It doesn't sound especially powerful, but people like Living The Dream. You can make the most of their love of creature control by knowing the value of this weirdly-priced card.

$3.00

Collective Unconscious

Regal Force at a discount! I suppose this is for people who need eight of this effect for their elf decks? Anyway, worth knowing about. You didn't expect Urza Block level card draw, did you?

$1.00

Conspiracy

Now this is a card I can get behind! It used to be one of my favorite non-Trix Donate combos. Name Wall and give to the opponent! Now that Defenders took out that little trick, Conspiracy works for people who want to pack all sorts of monsters into a tribal deck. It's strictly casual, but people tend to enjoy the card.

$1.00

Crumbling Sanctuary

The two uses I remember for this card were in Tinker decks from Extended and 5-color. If you are unfamiliar, 5-color is a format with 250 card decks and no Highlander restrictions. Thus, you could go get your single Sanctuary against aggressive decks and quintuple your life total, removing it when you got control of the game. It works better in 5C than EDH because you can run all manner of redundant cards in 5C, so you don't run much of a risk from milling out.

$1.00

Dark Ritual

Though it has been extensively printed, people really like this copy. It's got Rebecca Guay art, after all! Foils are absurdly expensive.

$1.25

Delraich

Again, people casually love this card. It's easily summoned with Sengir Autocrat and it makes sense, thematically, with Suicide Black decks. It's also noteworthy for being a black creature with Trample.

$1.00

Obi-Wan's hut didn't know what was coming...

Dust Bowl

Dust Bowl is a very popular card for EDH and other formats where you can afford a few colorless lands. Since it fits in every EDH deck, it's got a bit of appeal. While blasting people every turn with Dust Bowl usually doesn't work in most formats, being able to tank a Maze of Ith or Gaea's Cradle can make you friends around the table. Turning every excess land drawn into Wasteland can be potent when used judiciously.

$2.50

Food Chain

Food Chain is the Great Green Hope. People want to make it a legit combo in Legacy, combining with Evoke monsters or Goblins. It's not amazing, but folks still want to stockpile them in hope. I wouldn't hold onto them on Legacy hopes. At this point, you can make an Evoke deck with them that will put out Emrakul on turn 3 or 4 without disruption, but that's simply too slow. Get rid of these guys if you have them.

$2.50

Fountain Watch

People just don't like getting their toys blown up... Fountain Watch steps a little further than Leonin Abunas, protecting your gear from meddlers. Fountain Watch has a surprising price tag, and it's gone up a bit as time goes by. It's popular for EDH decks full of toys, like Hanna and Sharuum decks.

$2.75

Gush

Recently unrestricted, Gush forms the backbone of several Vintage decks. It's still too good for Legacy, apparently, but it gets good play in Vintage. It's got a good price for a common and people need four copies, so they tend to move well.

$1.00

High Market

Again, we've got a colorless land that makes a little bit of utility. People like it to trigger their Academy Rector or get a little value from a guy that's gonna die anyway. It's largely outclassed by Miren, The Moaning Well, but if you need two of the effect and cannot afford Diamond Valley, the Market has you covered.

$2.00

Ivory Mask

If you really don't want to deal with Burn players, the Mask is great. It sees 1-of sideboard play in Legacy with decks packing Enlightened Tutor, but it's mainly for casual magic. You've got a friend with a pinger deck; use the Mask to stop them.

$1.25

This lets your opponent get a preview of the "still had these" moment postgame.

Land Grant

This was one of the first cards I fell in love with, mainly from 10-land Stompy. You'd use it to pull up a Forest in the land-thin deck. If you need a dual land or Rav-dual from your deck and cannot swing buying fetchlands, then Land Grant is a fine substitute in casual circles. It also sees play in 2-Land Belcher in Legacy, since it doesn't trigger Goblin Charbelcher and functionally acts as a land. It's an uncommon that holds a bit of value and a lot of casual attention; since you're unlikely to unload these to other traders, I suggest sending off four-packs to Ebay or buylists.

$1.25

Magistrate's Scepter

There are, I think, acceptable and unacceptable ways to take extra turns in casual Magic. For example, Time Walk is a little too good, and recurring it is inexusable. Time Stretch is pretty good on its own and every EDH deck with it has three or four ways to get the stupid thing back again. However, Magistrate's Scepter makes for an entirely fair extra turn now and then. People see it coming, but it's only when you tack on ways to put charge counters on that it gets out of hand. You can use Coretapper, Power Conduit, or Energy Chamber to get a deal on those extra turns. Use Coretapper with Skeleton Shard and take infinite turns with enough mana!

$3.50

At least this Paulo Parente piece doesn't have inappropriate images... looking at you, Ekundu Cyclops.

Misdirection

This is the closest we get to Force of Will on a budget, and it's infrequently a good counter in Vintage. For example, it was played in Pitch Storm because it functioned to counter opposing Counterspells (by turning them on itself – trust me, it works). It also steals Ancestral Recall now and then. Unfortunately, Spell Pierce has changed the way blue decks function and Misdirection isn't as good as it once was, compared to the new Force Spike. That said, it's worth having a copy or two for both casual and Vintage decks. It trades briskly.

$8.00

On that note, we'll take a break until next week! We'll look at hits like Rishadan Port and look at what the most expensive foil in Masques is... it's probably not what you think!

Until next week,

Doug Linn

Shark Infested Waters

Stu Somers (Click to read more by Stu!)

Stu speaks from experience when he tells both new and experienced traders how to handle a difficult trade partner. Sometimes, you need to know when to nix a deal.

147 thoughts on “Meandering Through Masques [Free]

  1. Missed my fave Conspiracy combo: Name Allies, and play a Turntimber Ranger. ETB trigger hits, makes a Wolf Ally, which triggers another Wolf Ally into play. Ad Infinitum.

  2. STORY WRITTEN FOR & USED WITH PERMISSIONPosted: January 30, 2008Floating in the international space station’s Quest airlock module, commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Dan Tani switched their spacesuits to battery power at 4:56 a.m. today – 24 minutes ahead of schedule – to officially kick off a planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk. The primary goal of the excursion is to replace a faulty solar array positioning motor to improve electrical generation and clear the way for attachment of European and Japanese research modules.This is the 101st spacewalk devoted to space station assembly and maintenance since construction began in 1998. For identification, Whitson, call sign EV-1, is wearing a spacesuit with solid red stripes around the legs while Tani’s suit (EV-2) features broken stripes.Today’s spacewalk is a bit riskier than usual for two reasons: A mistake managing the latches that hold the motor and its housing in place could result in the solar panel’s inadvertent release; and because of the shock hazard associated with unplugging and replugging power cables that route 160-volt electricity from the array into the station. To eliminate any chance of a potentially fatal shock, the work will take place when the station is in Earth’s shadow and the arrays are not generating any significant power.”The choreography for the EVA will be very complex, both on orbit and with the ground,” Tani said. “Because we’re dealing with a solar array that produces kilowatts of power, we have to be very conscientious of when we’re going to be opening connections that will expose us to that power. So the bulk of the activities will have to be performed at night when the solar array is not producing any power, or much power, at all.”The bearing motor roll ring module, or BMRRM (pronounced “broom”), is roughly the size of a beer keg and weighs more than 200 pounds. Replacing it is complicated, Whitson said, “because it’s really the guts of what’s holding the solar array in place. And so Dan and I will have to coordinate when we release and grapple onto the (motor housing) canister in order not to lose the solar array. That would lose us a whole lot of style points!”Here is an updated timeline of events, including when live television from the station is possible (in EST; times approximate; NOTE: the first minute of each eclipse period, and the last two minutes, are not usable because of residual power generation):04:56 AM…Spacewalk begins05:12 AM…ISS TV downlink window opens05:49 AM…ISS TV downlink window closes06:10 AM…ISS TV downlink window opens06:22 AM…ISS TV downlink window closes06:47 AM…ISS TV downlink window opens06:52 AM…ISS enters eclipse07:00 AM…Failed BMRRM removal begins in eclipse07:27 AM…ISS enters sunlight07:35 AM…ISS TV downlink window closes08:24 AM…ISS TV downlink window opens08:25 AM…ISS enters eclipse08:30 AM…New BMRRM installation begins in eclipse09:00 AM…ISS enters sunlight09:10 AM…ISS TV downlink window closes09:55 AM…ISS enters eclipse10:00 AM…ISS TV downlink window opens10:05 AM…Solar alpha rotary joint inspection begins10:30 AM…ISS enters sunlight11:20 AM…ISS TV downlink window closes11:26 AM…Spacewalk ends (time approximate)11:30 AM…ISS enters eclipse11:35 AM…ISS TV downlink window opens12:05 PM…ISS enters sunlight12:59 PM…ISS TV downlink window closes John Glenn Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The historic first orbital flight by an American is marked by this commemorative patch for John Glenn and Friendship 7.Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is available in our store. Get this piece of history!Celebrate the shuttle programFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This special commemorative patch marks the retirement of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. Available in our store!Anniversary Shuttle PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia’s historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.Mercury anniversaryFree shipping to U.S. addresses!Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard’s historic Mercury mission with this collectors’ item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.Fallen Heroes Patch CollectionThe official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Successful spacewalk ends as Harmony activation proceeds BY WILLIAM HARWOOD

  3. STORY WRITTEN FOR & USED WITH PERMISSIONPosted: January 14, 2005A huge radio telescope at Green Bank, West Virginia, was able to detectand lock onto a faint carrier signal from the Huygens Titan probe for morethan two hours this morning, confirming the spacecraft’s continued descentthrough the moon’s atmosphere following a high-speed entry around 5:13 a.m. EST (1013GMT).A second radio telescope now has picked up the signal as well and EuropoeanSpace Agency project scientist Jean-Pierre Lebreton said engineers were evenable to confirm at least one of the probe’s six on-board instruments hadactivated as planned.Touchdown on Titan’s surface was expected around 7:34 a.m.But detection of a carrier – a feat equivalent to picking up a cell phonecall from 751 million miles away – only means the spacecraft was alive andthat it survived the rigors of atmospheric entry. Confirmation that actualscience data was collected won’t be available until 11:15 a.m. EST, afterNASA’s Cassini spacecraft relays recorded data to Earth.”We’ve got a long way to go,” said ESA science director David Southwood.”As far as i’m concerned,the baby is out of the womb, but we’ve yet to countthe fingers and toes, so we’ve still got a long way to go. But it’s a majorstep, a major engineering step. You can probably detect a certain relief onmy face. That’s real. But there’s still a long way to go before the fullbaby is revealed.”NASA science chief Al Diaz said detection of the carrier signal “meansthat probably one of the most difficult entry activities ever done has justbeen accomplished successfully.”Ares 1-X PatchThe official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.Expedition 21The official embroidered patch for the International Space Station Expedition 21 crew is now available from our stores.Hubble PatchThe official embroidered patch for mission STS-125, the space shuttle’s last planned service call to the Hubble Space Telescope, is available for purchase. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Huygens mission ends BY WILLIAM HARWOOD

  4. STORY WRITTEN FOR & USED WITH PERMISSIONPosted: May 27, 2004; Updated at 8:30 p.m. EDT with burn completionFor the first time in nearly five years, the Cassini spacecraft’s main engine system ignited this evening for a critical course adjustment that will serve as a dress rehearsal of sorts for Saturn orbit insertion July 1. An artist’s concept of Cassini. Credit: NASA/JPLThe computer-initiated rocket firing, known as trajectory correction maneuver 20, began on time at 7:47:31 p.m. EDT and lasted some five minutes and 56 seconds. Assessment of Cassini’s slightly altered trajectory, along with analysis of spacecraft telemetry, will not be available until later. But a spokeswoman for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said “everything appeared to have gone well,” based on subtle changes in the radio signal coming from the spacecraft.TCM-20 was designed to change Cassini’s velocity by about 78 mph, setting up a flyby of the moon Phoebe June 11. It also marked one of the final corrections before a 96-minute-long July 1 rocket firing required to put the spacecraft in orbit around Saturn.TCM-20 was relatively minor as such things go, but it marked the first time the craft’s propulsion system was fully exercised since a major 87-minute “deep space maneuver” in December 1998.No one at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., expected any problems and a six-minute burn by the 100-pound-thrust main engine is “pretty small by SOI or DSM standards,” Cassini propulsion engineer Todd Barber, a veteran of the Galileo and Mars Exploration Rover missions, said last week. “That’s the bad news. The good news is it’s totally regulated, so we’ll be able to verify that all the valves work and that the helium’s flowing properly.”Helium provides the pressure needed to push propellant and oxidizer into the engine’s combustion chamber. Cassini’s main helium regulator began leaking shortly after launch in 1997, but by using a downstream valve to isolate the system between firings, engineers are able to manage the leakage. Those same procedures were used for TCM-20 and will be used again for Saturn orbit insertion and a final major orbit adjustment burn in late August.Unlike the lengthy, make-or-break SOI burn, TCM-20 could have been carried out in “blow-down” mode using residual tank pressure, Barber said, which would not have required use of the helium regulator.”But it’s ostensibly there not only to target Phoebe for our June 11 flyby, the major purpose of this burn is a propulsion system checkout,” he said. “It gives us a real warm fuzzy going into SOI.”It currently takes radio signals from Earth, traveling through space at 186,000 miles per second, more than one hour and 20 minutes to reach Cassini. As a result, tonight’s rocket firing, like all such burns, was initiated, controlled and shut down by the spacecraft’s on-board computer.The burn “is a good practice run, no question about that,” said Cassini project manager Bob Mitchell. “But the science from this is kind of a big deal, too.”Discovered in 1898, Phoebe measures just 137 miles across, orbits Saturn at a distance of nine million miles and circles the planet in the opposite direction from its other moons. Because of that, and the tilt of its orbit, scientists believe Phoebe may be a captured asteroid or a Kuiper belt object left over from the birth of the solar system.Voyager 2 imaged Phoebe in 1981 from a distance of about 1.4 million miles. Tonight’s rocket firing will allow Cassini to pass within just 1,250 miles of the enigmatic moon.”Voyager imaged Phoebe a long time ago and got some images that were quite distant, quite blurred and didn’t really provide a whole lot of information,” Mitchell said. “And now, we’re going to get down to, I think, something like 18-meters-per-pixel resolution. And Phoebe has enough gravity that while it really doesn’t do anything of any significance to the trajectory, it does tweak it enough that you can feel it.”So the radio science guys … will get a mass estimate from the flyby. From that and images that tell you the size, they get the density. So there’s quite a bit of science coming back from this.”Cassini was launched Oct. 15, 1997, from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Using two gravity assist flybys of Venus, one of Earth and a final boost from Jupiter, Cassini has taken seven years to reach its target. Carrying 12 sophisticated instruments and a European probe with a half-dozen instruments of its own that will descend through the atmosphere of the moon Titan, the $3.4 billion Cassini is the most complex deep space mission ever attempted.The 96.4-minute Saturn orbit insertion rocket firing, which will change Cassini’s velocity by slightly more than 1,400 mph, is scheduled to begin at 10:35:42 p.m. EDT on June 30. It should end around 12:11 a.m. July 1, kicking off a planned four-year orbital tour of the ringed planet and its many moons.A detailed Cassini mission overview, based on interviews with senior scientists, managers and spacecraft engineers, will be posted here next week.Ares 1-X PatchThe official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.Expedition 21The official embroidered patch for the International Space Station Expedition 21 crew is now available from our stores.Hubble PatchThe official embroidered patch for mission STS-125, the space shuttle’s last planned service call to the Hubble Space Telescope, is available for purchase. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Cassini spacecraft spies Saturn’s moon Iapetus CASSINI PHOTO RELEASEPosted: August 22, 2004 The dark material that coats one hemisphere of Saturn’s moon Iapetus is very dark, as these two processed views of the same image demonstrate. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of ArizonaDownload larger image version The image on the left has been cleaned of cosmic rays and magnified; in this otherwise un-enhanced view, only a small part of the moon’s surface, at the bottom, is visible because it is part of the bright side of Iapetus. (Only the right hand side of Iapetus is illuminated by sunlight.) The same image, shown on the right, has been contrast-enhanced to make visible the part of the illuminated side of Iapetus that is coated with dark material. The image was taken in visible light, with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera from a distance of 2.9 million kilometers (1.8 million miles) from Iapetus, and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase angle of 89 degrees. The image scale is 17 kilometers (11 miles) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of four to aid visibility. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras, were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.Ares 1-X PatchThe official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.Expedition 21The official embroidered patch for the International Space Station Expedition 21 crew is now available from our stores.Hubble PatchThe official embroidered patch for mission STS-125, the space shuttle’s last planned service call to the Hubble Space Telescope, is available for purchase. | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Cassini successfully arrives at Saturn BY WILLIAM HARWOOD

  5. Immigration, Garrett noted, seems to be untouched by this week’s events. “I’ve talked to a significant number of Republicans and people at the White House and Democrats who are allies of the White House on the immigration bill,” he said. “(The immigration bill) is moving on its own momentum, a momentum that Republicans and Democrats largely share. … That doesn’t appear to be in any way slowed by this scandal or controversy.

  6. Stalling the cuts from January to March, however, has only exacerbated the problem, the White House argues in its fact sheet, noting that the government has fewer months to enact the first year’s worth of cuts — not the full year. “These large and arbitrary cuts will have severe impacts across the government,” the fact sheet says.

  7. At the heart of the surveillance operations are small, unarmed turboprop aircraft disguised as private planes. Equipped with hidden sensors that can record full-motion video, track infrared heat patterns, and vacuum up radio and cellphone signals, the planes refuel on isolated airstrips favored by African bush pilots, extending their effective flight range by thousands of miles.

  8. According to the Observatory tally, the Assad regime’s armed backers have suffered more casualties than any other group during the war, with 41,786 killed. Non-combatant civilians, according to Observatory founder Rami Abdurrahman, account for 35,757 of those killed since the beginning of the conflict. By contrast, Aburrahman told CBSNews.com that 14,777 rebel fighters had been killed.

  9. The Business Roundtable said Wednesday that its April-June quarterly survey found 32 percent of its members expect to expand payrolls in the next six months. That’s up from 29 percent in the January-March survey. And 78 percent expect their sales to increase. That’s up from 72 percent from the previous survey.

  10. Nordstrom is expected to testify Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Deputy Assistant Director for International Programs Charlene Lamb, who approves security requests, and Lt. Col. Andy Wood, the former head of a U.S. Special Forces “Site Security Team” in Libya, are also scheduled to testify.

  11. The 28-year-old is in the fight of her life. She was diagnosed in February with an aggressive form of inflammatory breast cancer. She started chemotherapy on Valentine’s Day and underwent a double mastectomy less than six weeks later.

  12. Emerging from the briefing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Intelligence committee, said the government must gather intelligence to prevent plots and keep Americans alive. “That’s the goal. If we can do it another way, we’re looking to do it another way. We’d like to.”

  13. But to clinch a conviction on this count, prosecutors will need to prove not just that the false statements were made, but also that whoever made them knew it at the time. The distinction between having omitted certain facts without actually lying is another defense against the “false statements” charge, which will likely be a key factor in any criminal case.

  14. Between Dec. 2012 and May 31, 2013, Yahoo says it received between 12,000 and 13,000 government requests for data. Like the other companies, Yahoo says it did not distinguish between Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) request and criminal investigations because those numbers are classified. The company said it will also launch its first transparency report later this year.

  15. Speaking of music and its ability to unite people, Ma said, “It’s really strange because, biologically, people have so much more in common than separate them. For some reason, we’re always focused on the little, tiny differences and we blow it up to unbelievably huge proportions. … So if there’s a mechanism that we have that’s coded either genetically or that we could actually do that actually brings people together and we see the commonalities, you know, I would go for that.”

  16. But, collars may slip off. Microchipping, or placing a small computer chip that contains your contact information under the pet’s skin, can be invaluable. Dr. Jessi Cullen, a senior emergency clinician with Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in Virginia Beach, Va., said implanting the chip is an outpatient procedure that can be done when the pet is getting a vaccine. While it might sting a little bit when they get the shot, pets don’t even know it’s there, she assured. Cullen herself had her microchipped cat returned to her five years after it went missing, so she’s a firm believer.

  17. “In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, the sentence of death can be imposed only for the most serious crimes, which do not include drug crimes. Cases that do not meet these standards are tantamount to arbitrary executions,” noted the experts, who are appointed by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council to report on specific human rights themes.

  18. Following the hearing, Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy told reporters at an impromptu press conference that the U.S. did what it was supposed to, and intends to keep working with the fragile Libyan government closely, but it is unsure if it will put another consulate in Benghazi.

  19. About a dozen air bases have been established in Africa since 2007, according to a former senior U.S. commander involved in setting up the network. Most are small operations run out of secluded hangars at African military bases or civilian airports.

  20. U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardione told reporters that a guard at the gate was killed in the 1:15 p.m. blast, and a Turkish citizen was wounded. Reuters quoted Ricciardione as saying the slain guard was a Turkish national. U.S. Embassies are usually guarded by a combination of local security personnel and American diplomatic security forces.

  21. In a lot of Republican districts that do have a substantial portion Hispanic, the Hispanic vote is not really a “swing” vote that needs to be courted for them to win. Most of these districts are safely Republican even assuming that Hispanics vote heavily Democratic. The map shows that there are a handful of GOP-held House districts with a sizeable Hispanic population and which might profile as potentially competitive – but not many.

  22. He also warned anew that the use of chemical weapons is a “red line” for the Obama administration. At the same time, he said intelligence and evidence that such weapons have, in fact, been used, is still being vetted for 100-percent certainty.

  23. The Muslim Brotherhood had called for more demonstrations today in Cairo, as did authorities in Iran and the Gaza strip. Large protests were expected in Baghdad and Iraq’s second-largest city, Basra, as well as Amman, Jordan. Israel was stepping up security in anticipation of demonstrations after Muslim prayers.

  24. “The civilian side is looking into doing something and is running into a lot of pushback from the military side,” the analyst said. “The resistance that is coming from the military side is because the military has both worked in the region and trained in the region. So they are more realistic.”

  25. “Ambassador Ford is in Istanbul right now and continues the Secretary’s urgent work on behalf of the Syrian people every single day,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. “He will continue his work and we have no announcements at this time.”

  26. “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan says for the intelligence agencies of the West, what’s “important is to look at the ideology that’s fueling them … because it’s the same all over the world, with every group that’s al Qaeda or al Qaeda-affiliated … they’re driven by a belief that the United States is engaged in a war with Islam.”

  27. Where do the parties stand? Republicans want to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and concentrate spending cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and discretionary areas. Democrats argue for increasing taxes on Americans who earn more than $250,000 in combination with spending cuts. Currently, groups of lawmakers are trying to come up with a compromise, but most believe that a near-term deal is a long shot.

  28. A Pentagon official confirmed to CBS Radio News correspondent Cami McCormick that Marine Gen. John Allen made his recommendations to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, but could not confirm what specific troop levels he has proposed as options.

  29. CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garret reports that the administration hasn’t drawn up a specific list of weapons and don’t want to make public a full inventory because if they do, the Syrian government will have a better chance of intercepting those weapons.

  30. He said only one patient died, a 30-year-old man from Abingdon, Md., who had the operation in November 2011 to treat late-stage cancer of the windpipe. He died about four months later of uncertain causes, Macchiarini said.

  31. Dausey concurs, noting that on the surface it may look like there’s less dry water. But underground sewers and catch basins that contain stagnant water also provide the nutrient-rich conditions mosquitoes seek. He also speculates that the economic and housing crisis may play a role in some urban areas, if people have abandoned homes with swimming pools or other sources of stagnant water, allowing mosquitoes to breed.

  32. By making all the pieces fit together, you see what life could look like. And that may inspire you to make changes. Looking at my fictional consultant’s schedule, I realized that I really needed to find a sitter who could work weekend nights. My husband and my first date night in a while is now on the calendar.

  33. The group surveys CEOs about sales, capital spending and hiring. The results are combined into an index which gauges their outlook for the economy. That index rose to 84.3 from 81 in March and only 65.6 in December. Any reading above 50 suggests expansion. The current reading is above its long-term average of 79.2. The survey has been conducted for 11 years.The U.S. military would keep between 6,000 and 20,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014 under recommendations submitted by the outgoing top American commander there, The New York Times in Thursday’s editions.

  34. Obama already has ruled out any intervention that would require U.S. military troops on the ground. Other options such as deploying American air power to ground the regime’s jets, gunships and other aerial assets are being more seriously debated, officials said, but they cautioned that a no-fly zone or any other action involving U.S. military deployments in Syria were far less likely right now. The U.S. can provide weapons without sending soldiers into Syria, either by sending materiel to rebels in neighboring Turkey and Jordan or working with regional allies.

  35. Still, a new Tea Partier – Ted Cruz of Texas – joins the Senate and some of the movement’s original trailblazers who helped lead a disciplined standoff against raising the debt ceiling, among other resolutions, will return to Congress next year, putting them in position to help strike – or barricade – a long-term deal for the looming fiscal cliff.

  36. Schulz explains that most of us go through life assuming that “we are basically right, basically all the time, about basically everything.” And that “our indiscriminate enjoyment of being right is matched by an almost equally indiscriminate feeling that we are right. Occasionally, this feeling spills into the foreground as we make predictions or place bets.” I would add this feeling also affects us when we make investments.

  37. “There is a certain poetic justice that Stevie is ratting out Whitey,” Kendall said. “They know each other’s secrets better than anybody else and they are equal to each other in terms of their criminal behavior and depravity.”(AP) BOSTON – The new judge presiding over the James “Whitey” Bulger case has granted prosecutors’ motion to bar the reputed Boston mobster from arguing immunity at trial.

  38. Milk contains valuable nutrients including calcium, potassium and vitamin D, which helps the body balance levels of calcium and phosphorous for stronger bones. said that milk and other dairy products have been known to improve bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It’s especially important to drink and eat dairy at a young age when bones are forming. In addition, dairy has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as blood pressure in adults.

  39. How did the spending cuts come about? One outcome of the August, 2011 debt ceiling debacle was the creation of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka “the supercommittee”), a bipartisan committee charged with finding a way to slash the nation’s government spending by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years.

  40. Marsalis has been Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center since 1987. Under his direction, the organization offers a full array of education, performance and broadcast productions, including national and international touring by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and others.

  41. Chief Executive Group enhances the effectiveness of CEOs and the organizations they lead. The company produces Chief Executive magazine (published since 1977), ChiefExecutive.net, original research, conferences and roundtables that enable top corporate officers to discuss key subjects and share their experiences within a community of peers. Visit ChiefExecutive.net for more information.

  42. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. President Barack Obama indicated last week that going after individual users won’t be a priority, but there’s no firm indication yet what action the Justice Department might take against states or businesses that participate in the nascent pot market, which has the potential to be large. For example, analysts have estimated that a legal pot market could bring Washington state hundreds of millions of dollars a year in new tax revenue for schools, health care and basic government functions.

  43. KFC was the first quick-service restaurant chain to enter China in 1987. Today, KFC is the number one quick-service restaurant brand in China and?opens more than one new KFC every day. In addition to Original Recipe chicken, KFC has an extensive menu featuring beef, seafood, rice dishes, fresh vegetables, soups, breakfast, desserts, and other products that appeal to Chinese consumers’ tastes.

  44. One customer found the female couple’s behavior odd, telling the station, “Everybody should do their own thing but doing it at 5 o’clock in the afternoon in a McDonald’s bathroom – whether you’re female and female, female and male or male and male – what the f—?”

  45. An alternative to fast food, Zaxby’s offers its guests prepared-at-order Chicken Fingerz, Traditional or Boneless Wings, sandwiches, Zalads and Zappetizers, along with a variety of nine sauces ranging from Wimpy and Tongue Torch to Nuclear and Insane. Childhood friends Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley hatched the Athens, Ga.-based chain in 1990 to provide a fun, relaxing atmosphere that would keep guests coming back for more. The company ranked number seven in the 2012 Top 10 Excellent Large Fast-Food Chains With 500 Or More U.S. Units Quick-Track study published by Sandelman & Associates. The chain also ranked number five in the nation for total sales and number one in the chicken segment in the 2012 Top 150 Fast-Casual Chain Restaurant Report published by Technomic. In honor of the thousands of children the restaurant chain serves every year, Zaxby’s is a proud supporter of Make-A-Wish. The company operates more than 575 locations in 13 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. For more information, please visit , or follow on Twitter .ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment, network solutions and mobile devices, is pleased to be awarded the most new contracts in phase 1 of China Telecom Group’s 2013 CDMA network procurement program, the sixth successive year in which ZTE had been entrusted as the leading CDMA vendor in the China market.

  46. Pets should always have a collar with your phone number so people can contact you if they find them. But, cell phone towers may have been knocked down, rendering your personal line useless. If there is space, put the phone number of a person who is out of the area who would be able to get a hold of you or send a message to you during an emergency, Case said.

  47. But what people may not realize is that opioids are the same class of drugs as heroin, only in prescription form. The doctors say that they both are seeing more and more people turning to heroin use. Sack believes part of the reason is that after a while opioid drugs can become expensive, and black tar heroin is much cheaper. At that point, many addicts are what Johnson likes to call “polysubstance abusers.”

  48. This comes after the Saudi Press Agency reported the kingdom sent a request to Google Inc., YouTube’s owner, to “veil” all links containing the video, which was produced in the United States and which ridicules the Prophet Muhammad.

  49. But in 2008 – weeks after claiming the Democratic presidential nomination – Mr. Obama President Bush through FISA limited authority to spy on communications of U.S. residents making international calls, despite past insistence he would filibuster such a bill. Congressional scholar Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute pointed out the clear denominator at work behind the president’s seeming change of heart on government surveillance reach.

  50. “Every single person has some amount of money that they waste. There’s leakage in our wallets,” she said. “If you could clamp down on some of that, a few dollars a week, it makes a huge difference over time.”

  51. Schulz explained that we tend to view errors as things that happen to others, yet somehow we feel that it is implausible that they’ll happen to us. She believes this is because “our beliefs are inextricable from our identities.” “We’re so emotionally invested in our beliefs that we are unable or unwilling to recognize them as anything but the inviolate truth.” She said that “we tend to fall in love with our beliefs once we have formed them.” And that explains why “being wrong can so easily wound our sense of self.” It also explains why we experience cognitive dissonance — the uncomfortable feeling and/or anxiety we feel when someone disproves a long-held belief. It also explains why we ignore evidence — even when it is compelling — and why we resist change.

  52. The National Security Agency historically has kept tabs on Israel. The U.S., for instance, does not want to be caught off guard if Israel launches a surprise attack that could plunge the region into war and jeopardize oil supplies, putting American soldiers at risk.

  53. While the Committee on the Rights of the Child acknowledges Israel’s national security concerns, and that children on both sides of the conflict have suffered from the violence, it notes that Palestinians make up a disproportionate amount of the victims and lists Israel’s “illegal long-lasting occupation of Palestinian territory” among the actions jeopardizing a peaceful future for Israeli and Palestinian children.

  54. The Vatican launched the restoration in 2009, aiming to secure and clean the colonnade’s 284 columns, which embrace the square in a dual inner and outer row, and the 140 statues that surround and top them. Also being restored are the piazza’s central obelisk and two fountains.

  55. Enrichment can make both reactor fuel and the core of nuclear warheads, and the underground Fordo plant already has hundreds of centrifuges enriching to a level that is higher than needed for fuel and closer to what is needed to make weapons

  56. And if the administration does find a target, officials say it still has to weigh whether the short-term payoff of exacting retribution on al Qaeda is worth the risk that such strikes could elevate the group’s profile in the region, alienate governments the U.S. needs to fight the group in the future and do little to slow the growing terror threat in North Africa.

  57. Rhodes further added that the end of the Assad regime should not have to necessitate the disillusionment in all elements of the state. “There is a future for those in the Assad regime who are willing to accept the end of Bashar Assad’s reign but are willing to work for a better future for Syria,” he said.On the one-month anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, the State Department announced that it has sent veteran diplomat Laurence Pope to be the U.S. Chargé d’Affairs to Libya.

  58. Between 10 to 14 percent of people in Finland report being bullied at work. Workplace bullying has been known to decrease mental health in employees. However, before this study it has not been shown if bullying has been connected to increased prescription drug use to deal with mental issues. In addition, the effect of witnessing bullying or being at the receiving end of it has not been compared.

  59. Until the Justice Department completes its investigation into the controversial IRS practices, which were outlined in an inspector general’s report released Tuesday, no one knows for sure “who’s going to jail,” if anyone, over the controversy. But according to legal experts, the case will be a tough one to prosecute criminally — and any IRS or government officials who might get convicted aren’t likely to end up behind bars for too long.

  60. Additionally, Novak has built Yum!’s entire global people-first culture around reward and recognition to drive results. He is noted for developing and personally training his “Taking People With You” leadership program to thousands of mangers and franchisees around the world during his 15 years at Yum! Brands. His book based on the highly successful program, TAKING PEOPLE WITH YOU: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen, is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller and all of his proceeds are donated to the United Nations World Food Programme in conjunction with Yum! Brands’ global hunger relief efforts.

  61. The U.S. has so far provided $250 million in non-lethal military and political aid to the Syrian opposition. The Obama administration has already told Congress that $127 million of this aid is in the pipeline. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday the administration now has notified Congress that the remaining $123 million in assistance, including body armor and other equipment such as night-vision goggles, is beginning to move to the Syrian rebels.

  62. The overall global trend on the use of the death penalty has seen the number of executions worldwide decline, according to Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. An estimated 150 U.N. nations have abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium, either in law or practice.UNITED NATIONS Britain said Thursday it has sent a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with new information on three further incidents of alleged chemical weapons use by the Syrian government.

  63. According to the 200-page report released Monday at a news conference in Rome, 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diets with insects, which are high in protein and minerals, and have environmental benefits. The practice of eating bugs is known as entomophagy

  64. What’s great about the new study, said Platkin, who was not involved in the research, is that it showed the same is true for cardiovascular health. He thinks the aging population could especially benefit from this advice, because running can impact the joints and present other challenges for seniors.

  65. Those with a low income include Claudia Pedroza, 39, of Lakewood, Colo., who moved her four children from Denver to outside the city five years ago in search of better schools and a bigger house. She struggled to find work busing tables at a restaurant for $4.64 an hour, bringing home just $500 a month after taxes. Her husband has a $9-an-hour construction job but has seen his hours cut to 30 hours a week because of the limp market.

  66. “Eventually it becomes your habit,” he said.(MoneyWatch) I recently did an exercise (55, in this case) and still have a very full personal life. My fictional consultant worked extremely long days on Monday and Tuesday, and hence was able to work fewer hours on other days. Because of that schedule, she was able to exercise four times during the week, spend quality time with her kids multiple afternoons, volunteer at one kid’s preschool at 11 a.m. on a Thursday, go on a date with her husband, meet a friend and even mentor (over drinks) a colleague who wondered how she was going to “have it all.”

  67. Yanira Maldonado and her husband, Gary, said they were returning from her aunt’s funeral at the time of the arrest. Gary Maldonado says authorities originally demanded $5,000 for her release, but the bribe fell through. The husband was released after initially being suspected of smuggling.

  68. White House officials are trying to mitigate the damage from the three scandals so that they don’t derail the rest of the president’s second term agenda. But they might do well to look beyond the next 3 1/2 years. Because no matter what the president accomplishes while he still occupies the Oval Office, once he leaves, his legacy will be in the hands of his successor.

  69. Last year, the New York Times reported some brides are turning to a so-called so they don’t have to eat meals. For the procedure, a nasogastric feeding tube is deployed through the nose down the esophagus and into the stomach, where it can pump in a mixture of a protein-rich, low-carb formula to brides that amounts to 800 calories per day. The 10-day regimen costs about $1,500, and was criticized by many doctors when the story broke.

  70. 3D printers aren’t exactly new; indeed, they’ve been around for decades. But over the last few years, these printers have started to drop precipitously in price and have become generally more accessible and easy to use. Right now, you can buy any number of 3D printers for as little as $1,000, or what a typical laser printer cost 15 years ago. The difference, of course, is that while laser printer print ink on paper, 3D printer create real 3D objects on your desktop while you wait.

  71. The defense is set to continue cross-examining Martorano on Wednesday.(AP) BOSTON – James “Whitey” Bulger and his former partner faced each other for the first time in nearly two decades Thursday, when Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi took the stand at Bulger’s racketeering trial and told of their years as secret FBI informants while they ran a feared gang in South Boston.

  72. The State Department hasn’t announced his exit or his replacement. Ford was scheduled to be rotated into another position at the end of the year following his completion of a three year term. He is now expected to leave ahead of that date.

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