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Flying Car

Flying CarTerrafugia's flying car makes maiden voyage.

The start-up Terrafugia first popped up on our radar screens in early 2006 with a one-fifth scale model, $30,000 in prize money, and an urge to build a car that could fly. Or is that an airplane you can take on the highway?

Some signs point strongly to the latter. Terrafugia describes its Transition vehicle as a "roadable aircraft" and is pitching it in part as giving private pilots an easy travel alternative when bad weather makes flying a bad idea, or simply to avoid having to take a separate car to the airport. Also, in the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration, the vehicle falls into the light sport aircraft category.

On March 5, Terrafugia got to show that--whatever the eventual business prospects--the Transition can indeed fly. The maiden voyage (the duration wasn't specified) took place at the Plattsburgh International Airport in New York, with a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve colonel in the pilot's seat. The flight followed six months of static, road, and taxi testing.

As a car, the two-seat Transition is designed to be easy on garages and oncoming traffic--its wings fold up quite snugly. In folded mode, the approximately 19-foot-long vehicle is 80 inches wide, and 6 feet, 9 inches high. As an airplane, it stands a few inches shorter and has a wingspan of 27 feet, 6 inches.

The vehicle runs off unleaded fuel from your run-of-the-mill gas station for both terrestrial and aerial travel, cruising at highway speeds on land and better than 115 miles per hour in the air.

But Woburn, Mass.-based Terrafugia (Latin for "escape from land") still has a long road ahead of it. The vehicle that flew earlier this month is still just a proof of concept, and a production prototype has yet to be built, tested, and certified. The company says it expects to make the first customer delivery of a Transition in 2011.

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Walmart Gang Initiation

Walmart Gang InitiationWalmart Gang Initiation False!

Police confirm crazy reports of Walmart Gang Initiations are false. Walmart Gang Initiation reports have been dispelled as false by police this week in three states.

In Valdosta, Georgia, authorities are ruling the reports as “not credible“.

Broward County and Palm Beach County, Florida officials want the public to know they are also false.

“According to some sources, it appears to be a rumor which began in 2005 from the Memphis, Tenn., area which over the course of the past two nights has become more widespread throughout Florida”.

Alabama press is telling citizens the same. Times-Journal of Selma, Alabama reports escalating false rumors there too.

Jim Leljedal, spokesman for the Broward Sheriff’s Office:

"No, no, no. These hoaxes and urban legends have been around forever. Now with the Internet they seem to travel with lightning speed."

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Sound Doctrine Church

Sound Doctrine ChurchDivorce Judge Orders Religious Woman's Kids Sent Back to Public School.

A North Carolina judge presiding over a bitter divorce case has ruled that three home-schooled children must start attending public school — a decision their mother angrily says was based on her religious beliefs.

Wake County Judge Ned Mangum granted Thomas and Venessa Mills joint custody of their children — ages 10, 11 and 12 — and ruled that the children's "best interest" would be served by sending them to public school this fall, according to a temporary custody order.

But Venessa Mills insists her association with the Sound Doctrine Church played a "big factor" in Mangum's ruling, in which he also ordered her to undergo a mental health assessment within 30 days.

"He disregarded the facts and said that even though the children are thriving in home school, they'd do better in public school," Venessa Mills told "It's a clear cover-up by the judge. He made a bad ruling about home schooling and he is clearly covering his tracks."

Venessa Mills, whose home-school curriculum includes swimming, piano lessons and instruction from Sound Doctrine members via phone and Web cam, claims Mangum showed his bias by not including rebuttals to damaging testimony by her relatives and close friends in his ruling.

"He said that public school will challenge the ideas that I taught them," Mills said. "My children have clearly stated they do not want to go to public school. They want to remain at home school ... so why rip them out?"

Mangum disputed that claim in his order released Tuesday, ruling that the children's father, Thomas Mills, has the right to expose his children to alternative views.

"As previously stated in open court, while this Court clearly recognizes the benefits of home school, and any effort to characterize it differently is incorrect, it is Mr. Mills' request to re-enroll these children back into the public school system and expose them and challenge them to more than just Venessa Mills' viewpoint," Mangum wrote.

"Contrary to Ms. Mills' requested relief, this Court can not and will not infringe upon either party's right to practice their own religion and expose their children to the same."

According to court documents, the Millses had a "strong and happy" marriage until 2005, when Venessa Mills joined the Sound Doctrine Church in Enumclaw, Wash.

At that point, her husband testified, she "became unrecognizable as the person" he had married.

"She withdrew emotionally from me," said Mills, who admitted to having an affair.

Venessa Mills' mother, Dawn Lewis, told the judge she soon became "concerned" about her daughter's involvement with the church and its effect on her grandchildren.

The church was described by as a "cult" by former members, according to court documents.

"Sound Doctrine is not a healthy place for kids to grow up," former member Tina Wasik testified. "It is run by fear and manipulation."

Referring to the church's leaders, Tim and Carla Williams, Wasik said, "Timothy and Carla manage to ruin relationships between man and wife and parents and kids."

Jessica Gambill, another former church member and acquaintance of Venessa Mills, testified that Tim Williams made several inappropriate sexual comments about girls as young as 4 years old.

"After I joined Sound Doctrine, Tim Williams told me that my oldest daughter (then age 12) was the kind of girl men would take advantage of, that my middle daughter (then age 7) was the kind of girl that would sleep with any guy, and that my youngest daughter (age 4) was the kind of girl that would use her looks to seduce men," Gambill testified.

The accusations against Sound Doctrine were denied by church officials and in affidavits filed by Venessa Mills' attorney.

"They're completely false," Malcolm Fraser, an assistant pastor for Sound Doctrine, said of the accusations. "Clearly someone has an ax to grind with the church."

Attempts to reach Thomas Mills were unsuccessful. Calls to his attorney, Jaye Meyer, were not returned.

The judge indicated that his ruling had nothing to do with Venessa Mills' religious beliefs — and rather that her husband should be allowed to "expose their children to more than just the experiences that [she] desires" — supporters say Venessa Mills was wronged.

Robyn Williams, a home-school mother who has chronicled the divorce proceedings at, accused Mangum of attacking both Venessa Mills' character and her church.

"He is diverting attention from his own biased decision and is attacking the church because he knows he's wrong," Williams told

"If the roles were reversed, do you really think the judge would have ordered them to be subjected to home schooling?"

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Heather Schmidt Terrorist Threats

Heather Schmidt Terrorist ThreatsIs Singer Heather Schmidt Being Targeted by Terrorists?

Heather Schmidt, a world-renowned classical singer with her own charity-driven reality show "The Ambassador," which attracts 200 million viewers in China, has dedicated her life to performing in poverty-stricken countries.

She’s also become the target of suspected terrorist threats.

Following the devastating earthquakes in Pakistan, which thousand in 2006, Schmidt flew from her recording studio in Burbank, Calif. to Lahore, Pakistan to perform in a music festival to raise funds for the country, where she was interviewed by several media outlets.

"After my performance, I introduced myself, and talked about my own brush with tragedy (being present in New York City during 9/11) and how Pakistan stood by my country, and we were shoulder-to-shoulder there for them," Schmidt told Tarts. "I really struck a chord with the people, they really responded to what I was saying."

Schmidt’s visit garnered so much attention that she was invited to do a private performance at the Governor’s Mansion for Pakistan’s then-President Pervez Musharraf. Soon, photos of the two were gracing the pages of numerous publications, and she was deemed the "ambassador of peace" by the Pakistani press.

"People just started associating me with him," she added. "And soon after that, an Al Qaeda leader announced that anyone associated with Musharraf was a target."

But it has been within the last few months that strange incidents have started occurring in Schmidt’s life, prompting her and her management to reach out to the FBI.

"I started to get disturbing phone calls and Facebook requests, my Web site was being hacked in a very slow, clever way. Things like my family photos were being taken and my tour schedule was changed. My webmaster tracked it back to Pakistan, and it was clear from the coding that this was done not by an amateur, but an organized group," she said. "I was then invited to receive a 'Personality of the Year' award in Pakistan, but the details were sketchy, and my friend was shocked to find an extremist video on YouTube where myself, Condoleezza Rice and President Bush are the Americans in the video considered as 'Anti-Islamist'."

The FBI has deemed Schmidt’s case as a credible threat, and has filed a report, advised her to track all calls and odd occurrences, to change her Web server, and to hire protection while out in certain public places.

"I feel like it’s my purpose to travel the world and performing in the East is part of my life plan. I’m not going to stop doing what I do," Schmidt added. "It’s obviously not a good feeling knowing that people are plotting things against you, but I felt like I had such a positive connection with Pakistan, and I don’t want it to be this way."

Original Source :,2933,509649,00.html

David Friehling

David FriehlingMadoff accountant turns himself in.

David Friehling, accountant for Bernard Madoff, could face 105 years on charges he "rubber stamped" falsified books.

David Friehling, accountant for Bernard Madoff, turned himself in on Wednesday to answer charges that he "rubber stamped" the Ponzi schemer's falsified numbers and lied about it, said federal prosecutors.

Friehling was charged with securities fraud, aiding and abetting investment adviser fraud and four counts of filing false audit reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If convicted, Friehling, 49, could face a sentence of up to 105 years.

"Mr. Friehling is charged with crimes that represent a serious breach of the investing public's trust," said Acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin, in a prepared statement.

"Although Mr. Friehling is not charged with knowledge of the Madoff Ponzi scheme, he is charged with deceiving investors by falsely certifying that he audited the financial statements of Mr. Madoff's business," said Dassin. "Mr. Friehling's deception helped foster the illusion that Mr. Madoff legitimately invested his clients' money."

For his services, Madoff's firm paid Friehling about $12,000 to $14,500 per month between 2004 and 2007, the prosecutors said.

Andrew Lankler, a lawyer representing Friehling, declined to comment.

Friehling is the first person after Madoff charged with having some connection to the world's biggest Ponzi scheme.

He was also an investor with Madoff's firm, according to prosecutors. They say Friehling and his wife had an account of more than $500,000.
Madoff appeals for bail

Bernard Madoff is trying to get out of jail again. He has been locked up since March 12, when he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to all 11 criminal counts related to his long-running, multi-billion dollar scheme. He has spent the entire time at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan.

But Madoff believes he should get out of jail until June 16, when the 70-year-old faces sentencing of up to 150 years. On Thursday morning, he is scheduled to appear in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit to appeal the revoking of his $10 million bail.

The bail was taken out against his $7 million Manhattan apartment, as well as his wife's properties in Montauk, N.Y. and Palm Beach, Fla. Madoff had lived in luxury with his wife Ruth in the Manhattan apartment since his December arrest, avoiding jail even after investigators caught him mailing more than $1 million worth of diamond-studded jewelry to relatives.

Now, investigators are tallying up Madoff's assets, valued at well over $800 million, so they can be liquidated and allocated to the thousands of victims who entrusted his firm with their money. Investigators are still trying to determine how many people were victimized and how much money was stolen.

In court, Madoff confessed to running a Ponzi-style scheme, where he used fresh investments to pay off his more mature investors, while creating the appearance of legitimate returns. These investors received statements claiming that their accounts had grown in value. But in reality, Madoff said he never bought securities, and therefore never invested his clients' money.

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