Monday, January 24, 2011

The U.S. government said it recovered a record $4 billion in fines and fraudulent health- care payments last year

The U.S. government said it recovered a record $4 billion in fines and fraudulent health- care payments last year .
The results for fiscal year 2010 fraud-fighting result from a crackdown by the Obama administration that enforcement officials plan to expand this year with tools created in the 2010 health law, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said today.

“We want to make it possible to cut off the flow of funds to suspected criminals before they can take the money and run,” said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the agency, at a press conference.

The crackdown started two years ago, Sebelius said, with the creation of a joint program with the U.S. Justice Department. The agencies increased the number of local fraud task forces to seven from two, including areas such as Brooklyn, New York; Tampa, Florida; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Cases included Allergan Inc., the Irvine, California, maker of the drug Botox, which was fined $600 million for improperly marketing the wrinkle-reducing drug; and London-based AstraZeneca LP, the recipient of a $520 million fine for improper marketing of antipsychotic drug Seroquel, the department said.

Expanding Efforts

The health law signed by U.S. President Barack Obama in March 2010 expands the government’s health-care fraud fighting efforts, Sebelius said.

The law lets the government withhold Medicare and Medicaid payments to health-care service providers that are under investigation, which the government couldn’t do previously, Sebelius said.

Medicare is the U.S. government insurance program for the elderly and disabled, while Medicaid serves the poor. The law can stop the addition of health providers to Medicare and Medicaid in places or service types where fraud has become prevalent.

The government will use screening software similar to the type used by credit card companies to spot fraudulent charges, according to a government summary of the rules.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

'Hannah Montana' brings Disney high ratings

After nearly five years and more than 100 new episodes on Disney Channel, Hannah Montana wrapped up with a bang.

ABC says that Sunday's series finale of the show that made Miley Cyrus a household name delivered 6.2 million viewers, outperforming its record-setting fourth-season average by 9 percent.

The finale was cable's No. 1 telecast in the 7 p.m. hour among kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14, and posted Disney Channel's highest ratings ever in the hour in total viewers and among kids 6-11.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Paul Cézanne

19 January 1839 – 22 October 1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavor to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. The line attributed to both Matisse and Picasso that Cézanne "is the father of us all" cannot be easily dismissed.

Cézanne's work demonstrates a mastery of design, colour, tone, composition and draftsmanship. His often repetitive, sensitive and exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields, at once both a direct expression of the sensations of the observing eye and an abstraction from observed nature. The paintings convey Cézanne's intense study of his subjects, a searching gaze and a dogged struggle to deal with the complexity of human visual perception.
One of the most influential artists in the history of twentieth-century painting, Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) has inspired generations of modern artists. Generally categorized as a Post-Impressionist, his unique method of building form with color and his analytical approach to nature influenced the art of Cubists, Fauvists, and successive generations of avant-garde artists. Beginning to paint in 1860 in his birthplace of Aix-en-Provence and subsequently studying in Paris, Cézanne's early pictures of romantic and classical themes are imbued with dark colors and executed with an expressive brushwork in the tradition of Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863). Dramatic tonal contrasts and thick layers of pigment (often applied with a palette knife) exemplify the vigor in which Cézanne painted during the 1860s, especially apparent in the portrait series of his uncle Dominique Aubert, variously costumed as a lawyer, an artist, and a monk (53.140.1; 1993.400.1). This kind of costume piece is reminiscent of Édouard Manet's Spanish paintings of the 1860s.

Monday, January 17, 2011

2010 Golden Globes Fashion Trends

While the legacy of MLK Day doesn’t exactly call to mind red carpets and designer gowns, the show goes on, as they say. Last night’s 68th Golden Globe Awards was a subtle nod to simpler times, with cleaner silhouettes and a strong presence of black that gave the evening a back to basics feel.

Still, there was plenty of glam, and since we usually don’t get as much value per wear for our Marchesa sequined ball gowns as we’d like (they tend to distract at staff meetings), we’ve taken note of some of spring’s trends reflected in red carpet looks last night, and translated them to our lifestyle.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

10 best places for travel bargains in 2011

Even if your budget is stretched, 2011 can still be a year of travel. It's just a matter of choosing the right place.


Although drug-related violence has been concentrated near the U.S. border, many travelers have avoided the entire country. That means incredible bargains in Cancun, Cabo San Lucas and other resort areas, Leffel says. "There are so many rooms they are trying to fill, so every week there are unbelievable deals." Bargains are even more eye-opening in interior cities. "You pay what the Mexicans pay," says Leffel, who is spending the year living in the colonial city of Guanajuato.


You don't have to be a mountain climber to experience the home of Mount Everest. Visitors can take fascinating cultural tours out of Kathmandu, while fully outfitted whitewater rafting trips are available at less than $50 a day, a fraction of the cost in North America. Recent political problems mean that tourists are staying away, and bargains are even greater than usual, Leffel says.


The Asian country has been a bargain destination for a decade, and there's no reason that will change in 2011, Leffel says. Resort islands like Bali are easy to reach, and although the country is popular with Australians, most Americans don't realize how much Indonesia has to offer. "It's a whole chain of islands and it's got everything: beaches, diving, mountains and culture,"
With first-class diving and Mayan ruins, Honduras has long been a bargain vacation spot. But tourists have stayed away since a political power struggle in 2009. Despite higher prices on Roatan, a popular cruise ship stopover, "they like to bill it as the Caribbean without the Caribbean prices, and it's less than half the price for hotels and diving. You can pay $30 to $40 a dive."
Whether you're a backpacker looking for $5-a-night flophouse, or a high-end visitor seeking a luxury hotel, you'll find bargains here. Vietnam is one of the few Asian countries where the dollar gained value in 2010, up about 5.5% for the year. "It's a wonderful country to visit and it's easy there. You can set up tours at hotels, and the food is great,"
This Mediterranean country has been attracting tourists for millennia, and despite its recent debt crisis, that's not going to change. But the protests and strikes, compounded with the recession that has cut the number of European visitors, means there's excess capacity now. "They're hurting for business and rolling out the discounts," Leffel says. Look for bargain tours, cruises and island vacations.
It's likely the Emerald Isle's financial crisis will bring travel discounts this year, Leffel says. The country added scores of hotels during its recent economic boom, and now hoteliers are reporting trouble filling rooms. "Anytime a place is on CNN— that sticks in peoples' heads longer than it should,"

Not only does this African nation have incredible ruins and scenery, but its currency dropped more than almost any other — nearly 30% against the dollar in 2010. Ethiopia suffers from its location next to troubled Somalia. Leffel suggests traveling with a tour group to reduce the hassle out of exploring the undeveloped country. "There's a lot to see and do here, but it's for the heartier tourist,"


This Eastern European nation has all the charm of its western neighbors at lower costs. The country hasn't yet adopted the euro, and its currency fell more than 10% against the dollar in 2010, making it a greater bargain. Leffel recommends avoiding pricey Budapest and heading to the wine country.
Few people realize what a travel bargain they have at home. Look for deals in places that depend on conventions, such as Las Vegas and Orlando. If you stay away from holiday and peak travel periods, you can find great deals,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Shakira Becomes Children's Book Writer

Shakira is one ambitious lady, and she's adding author to her long list of accomplishments.

The Colombian beauty has penned a children's book entitled World School Day Adventure, a Dora the Explorer Series that follows the Nickelodeon character and her friend Boots as they take school supplies to needy kids.

Proceeds from the book are going to benefit Shakira's foundation Pies Descalzos which pretty much does the same as Dora in the book, provide an education for children who need it most in Shaki's native Colombia'

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Cricket World Cup Schedule

India will host 29 matches at 8 venues, while Sri Lanka is hosting 12 matches in 3 venues and Bangladesh will host 8 matches. The final of the tournament will be played in Mumbai and 14 teams will fight for the prestigious cup.

THE 2011 Cricket World Cup Schedule has been unveiled. India will play Bangladesh in the opening match in Dhaka on February 19, while Australia, the world champion will take on Zimbabwe on February 21. The World Cup 2011 will comprise of 49 matches and will be a 43-day mega show.

India will host 29 matches at 8 venues, while Sri Lanka is hosting 12 matches in 3 venues and Bangladesh will host 8 matches. The final of the tournament will be played in Mumbai and 14 teams will fight for the prestigious cup.

The teams have been divided in two groups.

Group A: Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada, Kenya.

Group B: Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland South Africa, West Indies, Netherlands.

2011 World Cup schedule

Huge sale of Cricket World Cup tickets in Bangladesh

Huge chaos hit World Cup ticket sales Sunday as thousands of Bangladeshis long queued in capital Dhaka for a first chance to buy them over the counters.

Many waited for even more than 20 hours and camped overnight for a ticket, boosting hopes for the organizers that the fans will pack stadium during all the eight matches of the ICC World Cup Cricket- 2011 to be held in the South Asian country.

Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka will co-host the 2011 World Cup Cricket in which 14 countries and regions are expected to participate.

In line with the decision of the International Cricket Council's decision, Bangladesh will host eight matches including the inaugural one on Feb. 19 and two quarterfinals of the 2011 World Cup.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has started selling of tickets through two local designated banks -- The City Bank (OOTC:CTBK) Ltd. and Agrani Bank Ltd.

The first day of the ticket sales for the World Cup Cricket-2011 has resulted in chaos, with long queues, some more than one kilometer. Thousands of cricket-loving people started lining up since Saturday, the wait came to an end lastly at 10:00 a.m. local time Sunday.

Several outlets in different area of the city also saw clashes between the police and the cricket fans in which one photographer of a local Bengali daily was reportedly injured.

Hundreds of cricket-lovers thronged some 80 ticket outlets in the city from Saturday morning to secure tickets for the World Cup 2011.

But in all practicality, no more than 480 tickets can be sold on a day from a single booth, a City Bank official said.

Md. Shohel, a varsity student who is very keen to a have a ticket and lined up since Saturday, said, "If needed I will stay another 10 days here but I will not return in vacant hand."

Faria Ethar, pilot of a local private airlines who also queued up, said, "I need at least two tickets -- one for me and another for my boy friend. I don't like to miss the opportunity of enjoying at least one match of the World Cup to be held in our country for the first time."

Though many of the cricket fans in the queues at the end of the day were seen in very much dejected mood having failed to secure ticket but some of them who obtained tickets laughed heartily.

"I'm very happy getting two tickets for two matches thanks God. I would be more happy if I could secure tickets for other matches," said one Imran Ahmed.

A total of 15,127 tickets out of 25,000 for each match will be available for Bangladeshi general people but it was not clear from where the tickets for the dignitaries will come from.

BCB's media committee Chairman, Jalal Yunus, told Xinhua," We have the arrangement for providing tickets to the government and non-government dignataries."

"Cricket is now number one game in Bangladesh. So such a mad rush of fans for ticket is not something unexpected."

Of total 49 matches of the tournament, India will host 29 matches in its eight venues while Sri Lanka will host 12 games in three venues.