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Rihanna Pregnant

Rihanna Pregnant?
The gossip sites wrote that Rihanna consulted a doctor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after suspecting she was pregnant. Rihanna had confided to her close friends that she suspected she was pregnant with Chris Brown’s baby.

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PatcoFree Rides on PATCO

PATCO is celebrating 40 Years of service this year and to mark the anniversary, the high-speed line is running a Free Ride contest.

PATCO service beween New Jersey and Philadelphia began on February 15, 1969.

PATCO kicks off its “40 Days of Thanks,” one day for each year, on February 26th.

Customers can enter their names on to win 10 free trips on PATCO.

A new winner will be selected during each of the 40 days. Winners will be notified by PATCO.

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See Through Fish

See Through FishCrazy See-Through Fish Wows Scientists

This fish is bananas!

The "barreleye" fish gives a new meaning to "clear-headed" -- members of the central California species Macropinna microstoma have fully transparent skulls filled with a jelly-like fluid that scientists discovered this week allows the fish 360-degree vision.

You read that right, transparent skulls.

Scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute announced Monday that they had solved a nearly 50-year mystery behind the fish, explaining that the neon green, bulbous eyes inside their see-through heads can fully rotate - dispelling previous claims that their eyes were stuck in "tunnel vision."

The eyes of the barreleye fish are extremely light-sensitive, so the fish tend to swim close to the depths of the ocean - making it hard to study the species, researchers said.

Newly developed vehicles designed for deep-sea research allowed the scientists access to the bottom-dwellers. They carefully brought one fish ashore and determined they had been wrong for nearly half a century about the fish's sight capabilities.

The barreleyes also have flat fins that let them remain motionless in the water - any sudden or intense movement can upset their fragile "headgear."

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Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water DogFirst Dog will be a rescued Portuguese water dog, says Michelle Obama

It's (almost) official: The Obamas are getting a rescued Portuguese water dog. Or, rather, Michelle Obama told People magazine that the family was on the lookout for a dog who fit that description, was "old enough" and was a "match" for the family dynamic.

The primary rationale behind the choice of a Portuguese water dog is, of course, its allergy-friendly coat (a trait also found in poodles, soft-coated wheaten terriers and other breeds). The breed's temperament and "middle of the road" size were also factors, according to Mrs. Obama, who added: "And the folks that we know who own them have raved about them. So that's where we're leaning."

Our colleague Johanna Neuman at the Top of the Ticket blog explains that one of those "folks we know" Mrs. Obama references is another Washington mover-and-shaker:

The choice is also likely to delight Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, an early Obama supporter who has two Portuguese water dogs himself and has never been shy about lobbying for his causes.

(One of Kennedy's dogs, Splash, is the narrator of his children's book, "My Senator and Me: A Dog's Eye View of Washington, D.C.")

The timeline for the new addition? Look for its arrival after spring break, says the first lady. From People:

Here's a sample of a typical family conversation on the matter: "So Sasha says, 'April 1st.' I said, 'April.' She says, 'April 1st.' It's, like, April!" Mrs. Obama recalls. "Got to do it after spring break. You can't get a new dog and then go away for a week."

The Obamas' one dog-related sticking point, now that the breed is decided, is the new pet's name, People reports:

"Oh, the names are really bad. I don't even want to mention it, because there are names floating around and they're bad," Mrs. Obama says with a laugh. "You listen and you go -– like, I think, Frank was one of them. Frank! Moose was another one of them. Moose. I said, well, what if the dog isn't a moose? Moose. I'm like, no, come on, let's work with the names a little bit."

The level of interest nationwide in the first family's dog search has been surprising, Mrs. Obama told People. But it's "all great and gracious attention. People are just being as helpful as you can imagine." The interview will appear in the issue of People due on newsstands this Friday.

"The Portuguese water dog is a fun-loving dog with a lot of energy," Michelle Barlak of the AKC told the Baltimore Sun. "It's a great family dog, but they have to understand the dog will require quite a bit of exercise.... Two young girls who are very active are good companions for the dog."

What do you think of the Obamas' choice? Will an energetic water retriever be a good match for the first family?

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Uptick Rule

Bernanke Says There May Be Benefit to Uptick Rule

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said there may be a benefit in resurrecting a rule that restricts short-selling stocks when share prices are falling amid the current bear market.

“In the kind of environment we have seen more recently” the so-called uptick rule “might have had some benefit,” Bernanke said in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee today. The rule, scrapped by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2007, barred investors from betting against a stock until it sells at a higher price than the preceding trade.

Bernanke’s comments may give credence to lawmakers such as U.S. Representative Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat, who blamed the rule’s elimination for triggering attacks on financial stocks. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has tumbled 50 percent since the SEC dropped the uptick rule 16 months ago. New SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said in January she may resurrect the provision.

The SEC approved the rule in 1938 to prevent bear raids on companies. The agency eliminated the regulation after studying its effect on share prices and determining it was no longer relevant in markets dominated by fast-paced electronic trading.

Executives at UBS AG, Deutsche Bank AG and Knight Capital Group Inc. said in December that bringing back the rule wouldn’t reduce volatility in stock prices.

Studies by the SEC’s division of Trading and Markets also concluded that operational issues at brokerages would make it “impossible” to reinstate the rule, according to a Jan. 20 letter that former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox sent to Ackerman.

Cox’s Effort

Cox, in the letter, said he tried to introduce a modified provision that would allow traders to short a company only at a price that was a few cents higher than the best bid for the stock. Cox said he lacked a majority of votes among his fellow SEC commissioners in “proposing some modernized variant” of the uptick rule.

Regulators from Washington to London last year cracked down on short selling, in which traders borrow shares and then sell them in the hope of profiting by buying the stock back later for a lower price.

The SEC temporarily banned all bets that financial stocks would fall and is forcing hedge funds to reveal to the agency stocks they’ve sold short. In London, a Financial Services Authority prohibition on shorting 34 U.K. financial companies lapsed last month.

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Lake Jocassee

Lake Jocassee Treasure Calls to Mind Other Abandoned TownsThe Attakulla Lodge stands on the bank of what was the White Water River -- and is now 300 feet under the waters of Lake Jocassee. The lodge was built in 1904 and was open for many years, until 1971, when a power company began flooding the valley there to create Lake Jocassee.

The lake was later named Lake Jocassee, and it is now a popular destination for scuba divers. The novelty of an underwater hotel is the draw for most of the divers; the building still stands to this day. Nearby, divers can also explore an old cemetery and a girls' camp.

A site like Lake Jocassee calls to mind another -- much larger -- dam project: Three Gorges Dam, in China. When Three Gorges Dam was completed in October, 2008, it forced the relocation of 1.24 million people due to the flooding. An additional 4 million people are expected to be relocated by 2020. With displacing a combined total of 5.24 million people, one can only imagine the scuba diving paradise that has been created by the Three Gorges Dam. Entire cities now lie under the vast expanse of water created by the dam; entire neighborhoods, playgrounds, offices, schools, and anything else one can imagine.

Another abandoned -- or ghost -- town that comes to mind is Chernobyl, in the Ukraine. Since the disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Complex in 1986, the entire area has been abandoned and is now called the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Chernobyl attracts tourists much as Lake Jocassee attracts scuba divers, and there are tours available for people willing to pay and make the risk of radiation exposure. Led by a tour guide, one can now see how people in this area of the Ukraine once lived, circa 1986. For the rest of time, future students of history will be able to visit Chernobyl to see exactly how this area was at that moment in time; a kind of Pompeii for the 1980s.

In visiting Lake Jocassee, scuba divers can rest assured they are simply looking at a relic of a past, simpler time in Attakulla Lodge. No nuclear disaster or massive population relocation was involved; it is like an underwater museum.

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Ash Wednesday 2009

Ash Wednesday 2009

Christians throughout the Southland will observe Ash Wednesday today, the first day of Lent, when the faithful prepare for Easter by doing penance for sins and seek spiritual renewal through prayer, self- denial and good works.

Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of placing ashes of the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of repentance.

A minister or priest marks the forehead of each participant with black ashes in the shape of a cross, which the worshipper traditionally retains until washing it off after sundown.

In the Roman Catholic church, Ash Wednesday is observed by fasting, abstinence from meat and repentance. Other Christian denominations make fasting optional, with the main focus being on repentance.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, will celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass at noon in English and 7 p.m. in Spanish at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, where Mass will be also celebrated in English at 6:15 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 3 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.

In his Lenten message, Mahony made frequent references to the recession, declaring that with so many in the region facing economic hardships, Lent in 2009 is "unique and gives us the opportunity to enter this year's Lenten journey from a fresh and life-giving spirit."

Mahony pledged that "for Lent 2009, each day I intend to offer my prayers and sacrifices of that day for a special group of co-disciples with Jesus -- those who are out of work, families who have lost homes, parents who fear that they won't have the money needed for their children, the many who have lost health insurance, the retired people whose retirement funds have been severely diminished and all who fear each tomorrow."

The 72-year-old prelate adopted a tone of melancholy resignation in apparently alluding to the continuing aftermath of the clergy abuse scandal, which prompted the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to reach an unprecedented $660 million settlement with 508 alleged victims.

"For me personally, this Lent means embracing the new wearisome burdens, difficulties, and unexpected hardships that have confronted me on my journey of life and faith," the cardinal wrote in his Lenten message.

"I can't pretend that these difficult burdens aren't there, nor can I try to somehow sneak around them and move on..."

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