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French First Lady in hospital after alleged Hollande affair

French First Lady Valerie Trierweiler has been admitted to hospital after media reports of an alleged affair involving President Francois Hollande.
She entered hospital on Friday "for rest and some tests", her office said, after Closer magazine published images linking him to actress Julie Gayet.
Mr Hollande did not deny the report but protested at invasion of his privacy.
Conservative opposition leader Jean-Francois Cope has suggested the drama has damaged France's image abroad.
Ms Trierweiler is expected to leave hospital on Monday, her office told AFP news agency.
A presidential news conference scheduled for Tuesday on plans to boost the flagging economy now looks like being overshadowed by Mr Hollande's private life, correspondents say.
Iran nuclear deal to enter into force on 20 January

Let's hope the Repubs and those Dems that love sanctions don't screw this up.

An interim agreement to freeze Iran's nuclear programme will enter into force on 20 January, it has been announced.
The deal, agreed in talks with world powers in November, envisages easing of some international sanctions on Tehran.
US President Barack Obama welcomed the news but said more work was needed to strike a long-term deal. He threatened new sanctions if there was a breach.
The West accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, but Tehran has consistently denied that.
Black rhino hunt permit auctioned in US
A permit to hunt and kill an endangered Black Rhino in Namibia has been sold at a US auction for $350,000 (£212,000).
The Dallas Safari Club in Texas says the hunt will help protect the species by removing an old aggressive rhino, and funding future conservation.
However, the auction has been fiercely criticised by conservationists, and has even drawn death threats.
Namibia is home to about a third of the world's 5,000 black rhinos, and issues just three hunting permits a year.
It is the first time a permit has been auctioned outside the southern African nation.
'A sad joke'
The auction was held amid tight security at a Dallas convention centre, where dozens of protesters had gathered.
The winning bidder - who has not been named - will hunt an old, non-breeding male rhino.

BP loses bid over Gulf oil payouts

BP has lost an appeal to cancel the terms of its multi-billion-dollar settlement with businesses over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

A US federal appeals court on Saturday upheld the terms of the original 2012 settlement.
The UK oil giant has supported compensation for businesses harmed by the disaster.
But it argued that the terms of the existing deal meant that some huge sums were being paid for false claims.
In 2012, BP agreed to make payments to those who suffered economic losses as a result of the disaster aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which triggered the worst offshore oil spill in US history.
The blast killed 11 workers and released an estimated four million barrels of oil into the gulf.
However, BP complained that the payout formula worked out by court-appointed claims administrator Patrick Juneau was too generous and meant that people and businesses were being paid huge sums for false claims.

L A Times
Santa Anas could bring record highs, increased fire danger  
Santa Ana winds are expected to bring summer-like temperatures over the next few days, with the possibility of record-breaking highs on Wednesday.
But the weather that will elicit pangs of jealousy from those living in cold climates also will bring potential danger. The high winds, low humidity, built-up stores of dry fuel and lack of rain led the National Weather Service on Saturday to call a red-flag warning for portions of Southern California, meaning critical fire weather is expected.
The red-flag warning starts Monday at 3 a.m. and will run until 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Although normal seasonal rainfall for this time of year is 5.45 inches in downtown Los Angeles, the  city has received less than an inch, said weather specialist Stuart Seto.
Temperatures are expected to increase as the week wears on. Downtown highs should hit 74 Sunday, 77 Monday, 80 on Tuesday and 84 Wednesday, which would threaten the record of 85 degrees for Jan. 15 that was set in 2009.
L A Times
Golden Globes 2014: 'Breaking Bad' wins best TV drama.
AMC’s “Breaking Bad” won the Golden Globe for best TV drama on Sunday night.
Created by Vince Gilligan, the series follows the downward spiral of a cancer-stricken high school chemistry teacher turned crystal meth kingpin, played by Bryan Cranston. The final eight episodes of “Breaking Bad” aired on AMC last year to record ratings, and the show picked up its first Emmy for drama series in September.
Though “Breaking Bad” is one of the most critically acclaimed dramas of the past decade, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. had been somewhat slow to recognize its merits, nominating it in the drama category for the first time just last year.

The drama edged out fellow nominees “Masters of Sex” (Showtime), “House of Cards” (Netflix), “Downton Abbey” (PBS) and “The Good Wife” (CBS). Somewhat unusually, last year’s Golden Globe winner for TV drama, “Homeland” (Showtime), failed to receive a series nomination this time around.

Aljazeera America
White House taps Accenture to run health care website
The government's much-maligned health insurance website is getting a new outside contractor to steer the revamped portal through the remainder of open enrollment season.
The Obama administration and lead website contractor CGI Federal said Friday they had mutually agreed to part ways on HealthCare.gov. The site's launch Oct. 1 embarrassed President Barack Obama and prompted a frantic reconstruction campaign. It largely works well now.
Government officials had little to say.
CGI's current contract will not be renewed after February, a person familiar with the situation said Friday. The person requested anonymity because of federal rules regarding the privacy of contractors.
Instead, the administration intends to hire Accenture, a major technology consulting company, to run the federal website serving 36 states.
Aljazeera America
System overload slows Hawaii’s  solar energy boom
For more than four decades, sunny Hawaii has led the way in clean, renewable energy.
Today 10 percent of households in the Aloha State have rooftop solar systems to generate electricity, compared with no more than 3 percent in California. But now Hawaii is facing a problem: the increase of privately installed solar panels has overloaded the power grid.
“When you have all this power flowing around with nowhere to go, so to speak, it can cause reliability problems,” says Peter Rosegg, a spokesman for Hawaiian Electric Co. The utility has seen such an increase in private solar panels, prompted in part by federal and state tax incentives, that it stopped connecting them this fall.
Now in the process of studying the grid, the company expects to have a short-term solution for customers in the spring.

But for customers like William Walker, who was affected by Hawaiian Electric’s change in policy, the wait is frustrating. He and his wife installed a solar-panel system on their house, hoping to reduce their electricity costs, only to learn of the freeze on new connections

Cheesy problem: Kraft warns of possible Velveeta shortage
(Reuters) - Kraft Foods is warning it may run short of its Velveeta cheese product, right at a time of high seasonal U.S. demand for the orangey-yellow foodstuff.
"It is possible consumers may not be able to find some Velveeta products on store shelves over the next couple of weeks," Kraft spokeswoman Jody Moore said in an email on Tuesday. "This is really a short-term issue that's more noticeable right now, given the increased seasonal demand. We have not heard many complaints from consumers so far."
The processed cheese product is popular this time of year for dips and other recipes calling for melted cheese to make snacks often consumed while watching football on television. The National Football League playoffs began last weekend, and college football held its championship game on Monday night.
"The driver is really the increased demand related to the football post-season. This is something that would likely have gone unnoticed at any other time of year," Moore said. "This is not a marketing/advertising campaign."
Raw Story
Your electricity may someday be generated by micro-windmills smaller than rice
Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington announced the development of experimental micro-windmills a tenth the size of a grain of rice, which might someday power electronics like cell phones with a wave of the hand.
Hundreds of the windmills could be embedded in a sleeve for a cell phone, the university noted in a release touting the innovation.
The project developed out of work by Smitha Rao and J.C. Chiao as a way to make maximum advantage of an advanced fabrication technique used by a WinMEMS, a Taiwanese semiconductor firm. The micro-windmills can be made in an array using batch processes, reducing the fabrication cost because making one device costs about as much as making hundreds or thousands on a single wafer
Raw Story      Easy come, easy go.

Baltimore Museum of Art awarded stolen Renoir found at flea market for $7

A Renoir painting that was allegedly picked up at a flea market for $7 was stolen from a museum more than 60 years ago and must be returned, a United States federal judge ruled.
Eastern District of Virginia Judge Leonie Brinkema awarded ownership of the disputed 1879 oil painting on linen to the museum in Baltimore, ruling it had been stolen from there in November 1951.
“The Baltimore Museum of Art is pleased that the US District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia has awarded ownership of the stolen Renoir painting, ‘On the Shore of the Seine,’ to the museum,” it said in a statement following Friday’s ruling.
“We look forward to celebrating the painting’s homecoming with a special installation in the galleries in late March.”

The judge rejected the ownership claims of Marcia “Martha” Fuqua, said court documents which put the market value of the postcard-sized painting at $22,000.
Fuqua said she bought the painting at a West Virginia flea market for $7 in 2009

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