Was it just Mother Nature or a sign from God?
Lightning appeared to strike St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on Monday just hours after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, according to the BBC. The lightning strike happened around 6 p.m. local time.
Global news agency Agence France-Presse was the first to publish the startling photo of a lightning bolt coming out of the heavens and appearing to strike the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, one of Catholicism's holiest sites.
AFP photographer Filippo Monteforte caught the amazing photograph on Monday evening during a storm. "It was icy cold and the rain was falling in sheets," he told AFP. "When the storm started, I thought that lightning might strike the rod, so I decided it was worth seeing whether – if it DID strike – I could get the shot at exactly the right moment.”
He waited two hours before lightning struck twice and he captured a still image. “The first bolt was huge and lit up the sky, but unfortunately I missed it," he told AFP. "I had better luck the second time, and was able to snap a couple of images of the dome illuminated by the bolt.”
Some questioned the authenticity of Monteforte's photograph.
But Fairfax Media photographer Nick Moir told Australia's The Age via The Sydney Morning Herald that the image looks legitimate. "It's probably not that rare for St Peter's to get hit," he told the publication. "The bolt is hitting a lightning rod to the side of the cross, it seems."
On Monday, Benedict announced he will resign from the papal office on Feb. 28 due to health concerns. He is the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years.
For another 10 years, Universal Pictures content will not be seen on Netflix. Universal inked a deal with HBO
on Monday that gives HBO exclusive rights to all Universal films for another decade. This is an extension of a previous exclusive agreement and means, essentially, that rival services like Starz and Netflix won't be getting ahold of Universal's movies
The extension is likely a reaction to Netflix's agreement with Walt Disney pictures
for exclusive access to Disney animated features and films until 2016. But HBO may not be able to compete on the same level as Netflix. HBO was called "the closest thing Netflix has to a direct competitor"
by a Forbes contributor on Monday, but close to Netflix it is not.
Watching an HBO movie on demand via HBO's Netflix analogue (called HBO Go) requires viewers to already have a pricey HBO cable subscription. Many view the system as sub-optimal, especially after the "Take My Money, HBO!" campaign
, when Twitter users -- reacting to the news that HBO's "Game Of Thrones" was the most pirated series of the year -- demanded that HBO unhitch its HBO Go service from the larger HBO Channel subscription. HBO ignored the requests, and thus HBO's original content has remained accessible only with a $60-$120 HBO subscription
But there's still hope for non-HBO subscribers who are thinking of streaming the new release "Les Miserables" -- or classic Universal films like "Jaws" or "Jurassic Park" -- within the next 10 years. HBO is testing out a version of HBO Go
that's detached from the cable subscription model. The testing, of course, is happening in Scandinavia, where starting in mid-December
, Scandinavians who were not subscribed to HBO were first able to access the HBO Go service for a 10 Euro fee
. So if you're living in Finland, get ready for a plethora of Universal movies!
Otherwise, better subscribe to HBO cable -- or stick with the Pirate Bay.
"So after watching our previous post of Marco Rubio at the Bilderberg Group meeting, and his lack of communication with the young journalist, this story should not surprise you. This should not be a shock it is just following suit." ~ Michelle Magee
HOLLAND, Mich. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Tuesday that his campaign is "thoroughly vetting" Marco Rubio as it searches for a running mate despite reports that the Florida senator is not being considered.
ABC News and The Washington Post cited unnamed advisers in reporting that Rubio, R-Fla., wasn't on the short list for the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket.
"I can't imagine who such people are, but I can tell you this: They know nothing about the vice presidential selection or evaluation process," Romney told reporters Tuesday evening outside a Michigan ice cream shop. "The story was entirely false. Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process."
Earlier in the day, Romney had refused to comment on reports that Rubio, a rising star in Republican politics, wasn't under consideration as a potential running mate.
The presumptive GOP nominee initially told Fox News only that "a number of people are being vetted" but that only two people – he and a senior adviser – know who's on the list. He repeated that statement Tuesday evening but clarified Rubio's status as a potential vice presidential pick.
The statement was an unusual departure from the secrecy that has surrounded Romney's process in selecting a running mate. But it speaks, in part, to Rubio's political influence among the Republican base and Hispanic voters.
Two Romney representatives would not say if or when Rubio had submitted paperwork for the vetting process.
The unanswered question was among several that lingered Tuesday as Romney's campaign sought to counter media reports suggesting that Romney had bypassed one of the most popular Hispanic leaders serving in elected office.
Less than a week ago, President Barack Obama won praise from Hispanic groups for announcing a plan allowing some young illegal immigrants to stay in the United States legally. Polls suggest that Hispanics overwhelmingly support Obama, but Romney and the GOP have been working to broaden their appeal among the growing demographic.
The vetting flap came on the day Rubio released a memoir and Romney's concluded a six-state bus tour. The Florida Democratic Party blasted a message to reporters titled: "Rubio fails preliminary review in Veepstakes."
Asked about the reports during an appearance on Fox News, Rubio also refused to weigh in.
"I'm not commenting on the vice presidential process," he said. "That's been basically what we've said the whole time because, out of respect for Gov. Romney, the last thing he needs is to have to be addressing questions about this because really the campaign's not about that."
Rubio's exclusion from Romney's short list would disappoint some conservative activists, but it would not come as a complete surprise. While he offers obvious political benefits as a Hispanic leader from the swing state of Florida, Romney advisers have consistently said that Romney would give preference to those candidates with the greatest experience and ability to lead the nation on Day One. It's a reflection both of Romney's philosophy and lessons from the selection of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin four years ago as the GOP running mate.
A former state lawmaker, Rubio, 41, has served in the Senate for less than two years. Romney did not address Rubio's credentials Tuesday.
Inexperience could work against other oft-mentioned candidates, including New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
A handful of more likely picks joined Romney on his bus tour in recent days as part of unofficial public tryouts for the No. 2 spot. Their interactions offered clues about who Romney might choose.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty traveled on Romney's bus with him for two full days, on Friday in New Hampshire and through Saturday in Pennsylvania. He often warranted his own introduction, with a local official talking up his accomplishments as Minnesota governor before Pawlenty took the stage to introduce Romney.
When Pawlenty left the tour, it was to fly to New York to appear as a surrogate for Romney on ABC's "This Week."
On Sunday, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and his wife, Jane, went along for the ride. By that time, though, Romney had been joined by a pack of family members – sons Craig and Matt and five grandchildren. That left Portman and his wife riding on a different bus from Romney's for part of the day.
Still, Romney's team trusted Portman to talk to the reporters who traveled with Romney. A Portman aide snapped BlackBerry photos as the senator did a background briefing.
Less visible was Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, whose role was limited to introducing Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus at an event at a factory in Ryan's hometown of Janesville. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose June 5 recall election victory was a big win for Republicans, introduced Romney and accompanied him on a tour through the factory.
Romney's Boston headquarters has been engaged for weeks in the secretive process of weighing the pros and cons of each potential pick.
With less than three months to go until Republican National Convention in August, the campaign has little time to waste as it meticulously prepares Romney to make one of his most important decisions. Advisers concede that Romney could make his pick earlier than right before the convention to help boost fundraising efforts.
Knowledge of the process has been limited to a few of Romney's highest-level aides. Information is on a "need-to-know" basis – and as far as those aides are concerned, there are few people inside the Boston headquarters who need to know, let alone reporters and other outsiders.
The process is so secret because it's so sensitive. A vice presidential vetting is possibly the most intense background check in politics. Everything is fair game: voting records and the political past, to be sure, but also personal issues.
"I think everyone should take a deep breath," Rubio said Tuesday. "Here's the one thing everyone should know: Gov. Romney's going to make a great choice. In that I'm confident."
Source-By Steve Peoples and Kasie Hunt
When Rankin Paynter learned that the Kmart in his Kentucky town was closing, he decided to buy everything that remained on the store's shelves -- and give it all away.
Four cash registers and six-and-a-half hours after his shopping spree began, the benevolent businessman walked away with $200,000 worth of inventory and gave it all over to Clark County Community Services, a nonprofit that helps families in Winchester, Ky., facing crisis situations, WLEX reports.
"It's time to give back," the "Summer Santa" told the news source.
Judy Crowe of Clark County Community Services was blown away by Paynter's generosity and told WLEX that it was the single largest donation her organization has ever received. She also said that this is the first year her organization will have enough coats, hats and gloves to provide all the children it serves during the winter.
The Huffington Post
| By Harry Bradford
Posted: 05/17/2012 8:06 am Updated: 05/17/2012 10:16 am
A Walmart customer says she found an unpleasant surprise after taking her car to the retail giant for an oil change.
A Fort Worth, Texas woman, known only as Jessica, claims that a Walmart mechanic with “an attitude” scrawled satanic symbols, including the “Mark of the Beast,” on the bottom of her car during an oil change, CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reports (h/t The Consumerist). Jessica says she only became aware of the symbols when a mechanic at a different Walmart later pointed them out, saying the blue sealant used to write them is common to Walmart car-servicing stations.
“Who does that?” Jessica told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth. “I mean, what if it’s a curse?”
Jessica's car crisis is the latest in a slew of bizarre incidents at Walmart stores. First of all, a rattlesnake reportedly bit a man while he was shopping in the garden section of an Idaho Walmart this week. Then in February, a razor blade was found in a brand new baby sleeper purchased from a Walmart in West Virginia, resulting in minor injuries. In addition, multiple customers were pricked by hypodermic needles found in clothing at a Walmart in Georgia last December.
Then there are the controversies that, like in the case of the satanic car incident, have to do more with human interaction. Donnell Battie is suing Walmart for a million dollars, after a 16-year-old allegedly said "all black people must leave the store" over the PA, according to the International Business Times.
It doesn't stop there. At the corporate level, Walmart is also in hot water over a variety of claims. The big box retailer's Mexico division is being investigated for allegedly using bribery to boost the number of stores in the country. The U.S. Labor Department also fined Walmart earlier this month for allegedly denying workers overtime pay.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post mistakenly said a Walmart employee had stated that "all black people must leave the store" over the PA.