Tag Archive: New York City


Docu on Arnel Pineda to premiere in Tribeca

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/03/11/12/docu-arnel-pineda-premiere-tribeca

Daniel Radcliffe, Girlfriendhttp://www.eonline.com/news/five_things_weve_learned_about_daniel/259055

After photos of Daniel Radcliffe and his new lady in strolling the streets in New York  City hit the Internet, all we wanted to know was who is she?!

And now we have some answers!

So if you’re dying to know who this pretty brunette (who can pull off wearing  leggings with flip-flops quite well) in lavender is…here you go:

MORE: Daniel Radcliffe Debuts Mystery Girlfriend in  NYC

1. She Has a Name: We can finally identify the 22-year-old  by something other than her hair color or wardrobe. She is Rosanne  Coker, but friends call her Rose.

2. Potter Love: It would be weird if Radcliffe  dated a girl that wasn’t into Harry Potter (well, we think it would  be), but that isn’t an issue here. The duo met on the set of Harry Potter  and the Half-Blood Prince in 2007 when Coker worked as a production’s  assistant. And that was just the beginning. Radcliffe and Coker also worked on  the last two H.P. films together and his latest project, The Woman in Black.

3. Creative Genes: Rose’s father is the owner of a painting  and decorating business, while her mother designs birthday cards. And the apple  doesn’t fall from the tree, because Miss Coker is a painter herself!

4. Travel Bug: Since the beginning of their relationship a  year ago, the actor’s love interest has been splitting her time between his NYC  apartment and her family’s close-to $660,000 home in Surrey, England.

5. Daddy Approves: Danny boy has already met the family, but  don’t rush off thinking there’s a wedding in store. However, if there was, he’d  get Mr. Coker’s blessing. “I have met Daniel and he is a lovely guy. I’m just  really happy for Rosanne and as long as she is happy that is all that matters to  me,” he tells the Daily Mail. “No other parent would ask any more. I  know it’s not a normal life they live. But they have a lot of fun together and  at their age, what more could you ask? Who knows where it is going to lead?”

Read more: http://www.eonline.com/news/five_things_weve_learned_about_daniel/259055#ixzz1VVhw4b3f

Is Three Cups of Tea Writer Greg Mortenson a Fraud?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/dailybeast/20110418/ts_dailybeast/13572_isthreecupsofteawritergregmortensonafraud

NEW YORK –A bombshell 60 Minutes report has left the writer’s Three Cups of Tea memoir—which earned him millions and made him a humanitarian folk hero—in tatters. Lloyd Grove and Mike Giglio report on the fallout. Plus, Mortenson’s Pakistani host Mansur Khan Mahsud exposes his lies.

When 60 Minutes was finished with superstar philanthropist and U.S. military adviser Greg Mortenson on Sunday night, the author of Three Cups of Tea—a 2006 bestselling memoir of adventures and good works in Afghanistan and Pakistan—was in a million little pieces.

Correspondent Steve Kroft reported that key anecdotes in Mortenson’s inspirational narrative—which launched him as a humanitarian folk hero, attracted $60 million in donations to his nonprofit Central Asia Institute, and personally earned him millions of dollars in book royalties and lecture fees—appear to have been fabricated.

“Another hero bites the dust,” MTV founder Tom Freston, a frequent visitor to Afghanistan, told The Daily Beast. Freston lived in Kabul in the late 1970s, traveling the hardscrabble country as a garment exporter. “And it’s especially bad in this case, as there are so few heroes in that troubled part of the world.”

Afghan media mogul Saad Mohseni, whose Moby Group runs the nation’s dominant television and radio outlets, reacted with sorrow at the report.

“If the allegations are true,” Mohseni told The Daily Beast, “then it is a tremendous blow to humanitarian and education related nongovernment work in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as many in the West will shy away from helping similar projects in the future.” Mohseni added: “Mr. Mortenson was not that well known in Afghanistan and his fame in the U.S. surprised many of us in Kabul… However, the man needs to be given an opportunity to defend himself.”

“Greg has flown around on Black Hawk helicopters, and Petraeus has opened schools with him,” said Isobel Coleman. “There’s been some commingling there.”

Notably false, Kroft reported, were Mortenson’s heartwarming tale of how the simple mountain villagers in Korphe, Pakistan, saved his life after he got lost during a perilous descent of K2, the world’s second highest peak; how he repaid their kindness by returning to build them a school; and how he was subsequently kidnapped for eight days by the Taliban.

“It’s a beautiful story, and it’s a lie,” best-selling author Jon Krakauer, a former friend and financial supporter of Mortenson’s, told 60 Minutes, which offered strong evidence that Mortenson was never lost or separated from fellow mountain climbers during his 1993 descent, that he never visited or even heard of Korphe until a year afterward, and that the men he identified as Taliban kidnappers were actually his tour guides.

Mortenson’s book agent, Elizabeth Kaplan, declined to comment on the 60 Minutes report, writing in an email to The Daily Beast: “I’m on a runway at Newark airport heading for Prague.” His co-author, Portland, Oregon, journalist David Oliver Relin, could not be reached. The public relations executive at Viking-Penguin, Paul Slovak, didn’t respond to our email, and Viking-Penguin refused to answer 60 Minutes’ questions or speak to Kroft, who, in a classic ambush scene, tried to grill his quarry at a book signing, only to be led away by security.

But the embattled author did try to defend himself to his hometown newspaper, the Bozeman, Montana, Daily Chronicle. “I hope these allegations and attacks, the people doing these things, know this could be devastating for tens of thousands of girls, for the sake of Nielsen ratings and Emmys,” Mortenson told the paper in a phone interview on Friday, after 60 Minutes began publicizing its exclusive. In a later statement, he conceded that his account of his descent from K2 was “a compressed version of events that took place in the fall of 1993.”

Kroft’s revelations are much more serious than a publishing scandal akin to the exposure of James Frey’s largely fantasized 2003 autobiography, A Million Little Pieces. Until Sunday night, the 53-year-old Mortenson was so respected an authority on the exotic region that Washington think tanks such as the Aspen Institute regularly invited him to speak. Top American generals such as David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal ardently sought Mortenson’s advice and depended on him to set up meetings between he U.S. military and village elders.

“[Mortenson] has associated himself and his schools with the U.S. military,” said Isobel Coleman, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who has chronicled the region’s education crisis. “General Petraeus himself has become a fan, recommends the book to everybody, makes public appearances with Greg. Greg has flown around on Black Hawk helicopters, and Petraeus has opened schools with him. There’s been some commingling there.”

The New York Times reported Sunday nightthat top Pentagon officials declined to comment on the accusations, but offered a defense of Mortenson’s work in the region. “We continue to believe in the logic of what Greg is trying to accomplish in Afghanistan and Pakistan because we know the powerful effects that education can have on eroding the root causes of extremism,” an unnamed military official told the Times.

Even President Obama was so smitten with Mortenson that he donated $100,000 of his Nobel Peace Prize money to the Bozeman, Montana-based Central Asia Institute, which claimed to have built more than 140 schools, mostly for girls—yet another exaggeration, reported Kroft, who said 30 schools claimed by the institute were visited or checked by 60 Minutes, and “roughly half were empty, built by somebody else, or not receiving support at all.” White House press secretary Jay Carney didn’t answer an email asking the president’s reaction to the 60 Minutesscoop.

Kroft reported that half a dozen staffers and board members have left Mortenson’s nonprofit in recent years over concerns about how its money was budgeted. The charity has filed only one public IRS return in its 14 years of existence, last year’s, and reported spending $1.7 million for Mortenson’s book promotion travels, including on private jets. Krakauer, who stopped supporting the institute nine years ago after donating $75,000, said he was told by a staffer that “Greg uses Central Asia Institute as his private ATM machine—that there’s no accounting. He has no receipts.”

It turns out that Mortenson’s allegedly questionable practices were an open secret in the charity and nonprofit world, but few were willing to discuss them with outsiders. One concern was that Mortenson is larger than life and intimidating, said an executive at a nongovernmental organization with extensive experience in education issues in Central Asia. “That’s someone you don’t want to cross,” said the executive, who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity. “He’s very controlling. Very protective.”

Another concern was that nobody would believe the charges.

“Who’s going to believe any of this that came out today? Because it is like taking down a giant,” the executive told The Daily Beast. “He’s a national hero. Anyone who would have spoken out would have been shot down on any number of things…You can’t just bring up the truth, necessarily, against that façade. It takes a 60 Minutes. It takes a Jon Krakauer.”

Like Saad Mohseni, the NGO executive expressed deep worry about the impact of the revelations about Mortenson. “There’s already so much bad news coming out of the region. Americans want the United States to get out of there. Greg was a shining beacon,” the executive said. “I think it will have a direct effect on any organization working in this region.”

Lloyd Grove is editor at large for The Daily Beast. He is also a frequent contributor to New York magazine and was a contributing editor for Condé Nast Portfolio. He wrote a gossip column for the New York Daily News from 2003 to 2006. Prior to that, he wrote the Reliable Source column for the Washington Post, where he spent 23 years covering politics, the media, and other subjects.

Mike Giglio is a reporter at Newsweek.

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For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at editorial@thedailybeast.com.

3 online poker houses face fraud charges in NYC

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110415/ap_on_re_us/us_poker_prosecution

By LARRY NEUMEISTER and OSKAR GARCIA, Associated Press Larry Neumeister And Oskar Garcia, Associated Press 2 hrs 14 mins ago

NEW YORK – The multi-billion-dollar business of the three biggest Internet poker companies became a target of federal authorities before an indictment was unsealed Friday, charging 11 people with bank fraud and illegal gambling.

Prosecutors in Manhattan said they’ve issued restraining orders against more than 75 bank accounts used by the poker companies, interrupting the illegal flow of billions of dollars.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the defendants “concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits.”

The companies, all based overseas, were identified as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker. The indictment sought $3 billion in money laundering penalties and forfeiture from the defendants.

The indictment said the companies ran afoul of the law after the U.S. in October 2006 enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which makes it a crime for gambling businesses to knowingly accept most forms of payment in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling.

Authorities said Absolute Poker responded by saying in a release after the new law was enacted that it would continue its U.S. operations because “the U.S. Congress has no control over” the company’s payment transactions.

Efforts to reach the companies for reaction were not immediately successful. Phone calls either went unanswered or messages were not immediately returned. An attempt to look at the website for PokerStars.com was met with a message from the FBI saying the domain name had been seized as part of a criminal probe.

The indictment said the defendants turned to fraudulent methods to trick financial institutions into processing payments on their behalf after the law was passed.

It said they sometimes arranged for money from U.S. gamblers to be disguised as payments to hundreds of non-existent online merchants purporting to sell merchandise such as jewelry and golf balls.

Prosecutors said about a third or more of the billions of dollars in payment transactions that the poker companies tricked U.S. banks into processing went directly to the poker companies as revenue. They said the money represented the “rake” charged to players on almost every poker hand played online.

Arrests occurred in Las Vegas and Utah.

Frank Fahrenkopf, chief executive of the American Gaming Association, the commercial casino industry’s main trade group, said the prosecution shows a “clear need to strengthen laws to address illegal online gambling in the U.S.”

He added: “Tough law enforcement is the key to making such a system work, and the AGA supports strong enforcement against illegal online gambling activity in this country. But illegal activity — and the risk of consumer fraud, money laundering and underage gambling — will continue until the U.S. passes laws ensuring that only licensed, taxed and highly regulated companies can operate in the U.S. market.”

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said the allegations made by federal prosecutors against the three companies were of “grave concern.” But he added that he remained committed to the possibility that federal legislation will eventually permit Internet gambling in a way that matches the same rigorous standards that apply to traditional gaming institutions.

___

Garcia reported from Las Vegas.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110329/ts_yblog_thelookout/until-uprising-gadhafis-son-was-on-u-s-internship

When unrest exploded in Libya last month, Khamis Gadhafi–the youngest son of the country’s embattled leader Muammar Gadhafi–wasn’t around. He was on an internship program in the United States.

Khamis, who runs Libya’s special forces, quickly returned to his home country, where he has led a military unit that has brutally suppressed rebel forces.

The internship, which lasted a month, was sponsored by AECOM, a Los Angeles-based global engineering and design company that has been working with the Libyan regime to modernize the country’s infrastructure. Khadis made stops in San Francisco, Colorado, Houston, Washington, and New York City, meeting with high-tech companies (including Google, Apple, and Intel), universities, and defense contractors like Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. While in the Big Apple, Khamis even took in the Broadway show “Mamma Mia.”

News of Khamis’s internship, which was approved by the State Department, was first reported by ABC News.

Since coming home, Khamis appears to have played a key role in helping his father’s regime in its violent campaign to quell the uprising. He has led the elite 32nd Reinforced Brigade, known at the Khamis Brigade, which reportedly has been involved in brutally suppressing rebel forces.

Vice Adm. William Gortney of the Joint Chiefs of Staff described the Khamis Brigade, whose headquarters were the target of U.S. Tomahawk missiles, as “one of the most active in terms of attacking innocent people.”

On Monday night, Libyan television showed Khamis dressed in his military uniform and greeting people at his father’s Tripoli compound.

A spokesman for AECOM told CNN that the company was “shocked and outraged” to learn of Khamis’ military role.

AECOM added in a statement: “The educational internship, which consisted of publicly available information, was aligned with our efforts to improve quality of life, specifically in Libya, where we were advancing public infrastructure such as access to clean water; quality housing; safe and efficient roads and bridges; reliable and affordable energy; and related projects that create jobs and opportunity.”

This isn’t the first time that Gadhafi’s sons–and their ties to the west — have hit the headlines. As we’ve written, the regime was embarrassed after Wikileaks cables shed light on the lavish New Year’s parties that another son, Muatassim, has held on the Caribbean island of St. Barts, at which Mariah Carey, Usher, and Beyonce have all been paid to perform. And the current crisis also has spotlighted the Libyan leader’s own personal eccentricities.

(Soldiers and dozens of tanks from the Libyan military’s elite Khamis Brigade, led by Khamis Gadhafi. take positions and check vehicles in Harshan, Libya, Feb. 28, 2011.: Ben Curtis/AP)

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