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Daily Archive : Wednesday December 25, 2013
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Reeves comes off bogus in 'Ronin'
In Japan, the story of the 47 ronin is so central to the country's national identity that a special word exists for the act of retelling it: Chushingura. But despite this long tradition of flexible reinterpretation, the Hollywood-backed “47 Ronin” takes such liberties with the underlying legend that a different term comes to mind, one better suited to American actor Keanu Reeves'...
Ill. Lottery officials: Double-check old tickets
Illinois Lottery officials are asking people to take another look at those old lottery tickets. There are two unclaimed winning tickets that were purchased in Chicago almost a year ago. One is for the $100,000 Lucky Day Lotto prize and another is a $250,000 Mega Millions prize.
Activists say 2013 dark year for Saudi rights
With global attention focused on upheaval elsewhere in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia quietly intensified its clampdown on dissent in 2013, silencing democracy advocates and human rights defenders with arrests, trials and intimidation in what reformists say was one of the darkest years ever for their efforts in the powerful U.S.-allied Gulf state.
NJ tribe sues makers of film ‘Out of the Furnace’
The movie’s villain, played by Woody Harrelson, has the last name DeGroat, which is common among the Ramapough. Tribal members identify as descendants of the Lenape or Lunaape Nation, with some Dutch and other European ancestry in their heritage. Most of the 17 plaintiffs in the suit have the DeGroat last name.
Beach Park man accused of 3 carjackings, death of 11-year-old
The Beach Park man suspected of three carjackings in the Chicago area and causing the accident that killed an 11-year-old Chicago boy is in Milwaukee County Jail, awaiting extradition to Illinois, authorities said. “We were able to pin his car against the wall with two other cars, to make sure he wouldn’t flee,” said Ed Farrell, supervisory inspector with the U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Regional...
Snowden: Surveillance worse than Orwell’s ‘1984’ envisioned
Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, in a Christmas message on a London television station, called government surveillance worse than anything envisioned by George Orwell in his novel “1984.”
Naperville seniors have a jolly Christmas
“I had nobody for the Christmas holiday, so I decided to come here,” said George Smith, a 46-year resident of Naperville. Smith was one of more than 200 people who took part in the Christmas luncheon for seniors, held Wednesday by the Naperville Park District and the YMCA at the Chicago Marriott Naperville.
Christmas at Lazarus House a Fox Valley tradition
Close to 200 people gathered for Lazarus House's annual community dinner at the Free Methodist Church in St. Charles on Christmas Day. The potluck family-style meal brings people of all backgrounds together to spend the holiday making conversation and new friends.
Woman in North Aurora shooting enters second-chance program
A 22-year-old woman who was arrested on drug charges after two men were shot in a drug-related break-in at a North Aurora apartment in fall 2012 has been admitted to Kane County's Deferred Prosecution Program.
Holiday food and fellowship for Des Plaines seniors
Christmas spirit was in the air as 20 volunteers served a holiday dinner to about 100 seniors at the Frisbie Senior Center in Des Plaines Wednesday. “It means everything,” said Des Plaines City Clerk Gloria Ludwig as she served plates of food with a Santa hat on her head. “We are serving the community, people in need that don’t have anywhere else to go."
Capitol’s historic dome set for 2-year renovation
A world-famous symbol of democracy is going under cover, as workers start a two-year, $60 million renovation of the U.S. Capitol dome. Curved rows of scaffolds, like Saturn’s rings, will encircle it next spring, enabling contractors to strip multiple layers of paint and repair more than 1,000 cracks and broken pieces.
Prospect Hts. police donate to Giving Tree
The Prospect Heights Police Association donated more than $500 in gifts, purchased and wrapped by members of the Prospect Heights Police Department and their families to the 2013 Giving Tree Program which provides Christmas gifts to the children of struggling Prospect Heights families.
Missing Wisconsin woman found in Wheaton
An 82-year-old Wisconsin woman who was missing for more than a day was found safe about 80 miles away after she collapsed in a grocery store in Wheaton. Jean Fox told store employees she thought she was in Racine.
Pastor’s church focused on post-tornado recovery
A pastor whose church was central to cleanup efforts after deadly tornadoes swept through central Illinois last month said it’s time for a new phase of recovery.
Laureate puts own stamp on Illinois poetry
A decade ago this month, Kevin Stein was chosen for a daunting task: following two Pulitzer Prize winners, Gwendolyn Brooks and Carl Sandburg, as the poet laureate of Illinois. Ten years later the Bradley University professor has put his own signature on a position that is unpaid but considered crucial to widening appreciation for the art form.
Otters make major comeback in Illinois
Illinois’ largest member of the weasel family has made one of the biggest comebacks in the state’s endangered species history. Their ranks have gone from only 100 in pockets of extreme southern and western Illinois in the late 1970s to 15,000-plus statewide today.
7 hurt on amusement park ride in Utica
Seven people were treated and released from a northern Illinois hospital after receiving minor injuries when an indoor amusement park ride malfunctioned at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Utica.
Quinn has Christmas lunch with sailors
The governor’s office said Wednesday that the Chicago Democrat had Christmas lunch in Berwyn with more than 100 service members from Naval Station Great Lakes.
Decapitated body found in Chicago apartment
Chicago police are investigating after finding the decapitated body of a 41-year-old man inside an apartment on the city’s Northwest Side. Charges are pending against an 18-year-old man.
Study finds confusion over health insurance vocabulary
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have spent the days leading up to Christmas trying to navigate the HealthCare.gov website — with varying degrees of success. But even for those who successfully enrolled for insurance coverage, that’s only one big hurdle behind them. The next is understanding how their plan works.
Gay marriage’s latest frontier: state courts
Advocates on both sides of the gay marriage debate predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned part of a federal ban on gay marriage would create a pathway for states to act. They were right.
Egypt names Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group
Egypt’s military-backed interim government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization Wednesday, intensifying its campaign of arrests and prosecutions targeting its members and tightening the noose on the group’s network of charities and businesses.
Pope’s Christmas wish: hope for a better world
Pope Francis offered Christmas wishes Wednesday for a better world, praying for protection for Christians under attack, battered women and trafficked children, peace in the Middle East and Africa, and dignity for refugees fleeing misery and conflict around the globe.
Peoria Co. may get drunken driving memorial signs
The families of drunken driving victims might soon be able to put up roadside memorial signs in Peoria County.
Rev. Jackson making Christmas visit to county jail
The Rev. Jesse Jackson and other clergy members from Chicago will visit inmates at Cook County Jail this Christmas Day.
Cardinal George celebrating Christmas Mass at jail
Francis Cardinal George plans to celebrate Christmas with a Mass at the Cook County Jail and by visiting hospitalized children.
Nevada gunman told patients to flee before killing
Newly released 911 tapes paint a scene of panic and terror inside a Reno medical building where dozens of callers hid in bathrooms and exam rooms from a suicidal gunman who killed one doctor and shot another at a urology clinic where he said he’d had a vasectomy that ruined his life.
Las Vegas cab driver finds $300K in back seat
Las Vegas cab driver Gerardo Gamboa thought someone left a bag of chocolates in the back seat. But this stash turned out to be cold hard cash.
U.S. Embassy in Kabul attacked on Christmas Day
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul was hit by indirect fire before dawn on Christmas Day but no Americans were hurt, as attacks elsewhere in Afghanistan killed at least six people Wednesday, officials said.
Worshippers rejoice in Jesus’ Bethlehem birthplace
Pilgrims are celebrating Christmas Day in the ancient Bethlehem church where tradition holds Jesus was born. Worshippers filled the fourth-century Church of the Nativity complex Wednesday with candles illuminating the sacred site and the sounds of joyous prayer filling its halls.
Text of pope’s Christmas message
The Vatican’s official English-language translation of Pope Francis’ Christmas message, delivered on Wednesday in Italian from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Images: Tom Lynch Christmas Day paintings
For several years, Aurora artist Tom Lynch's holiday paintings have graced the the front page of the Daily Herald's Christmas Day edition. Here's a look back at many of the paintings.
Our Tom Lynch Christmas card to you: Joy and peace
Our traditional Tom Lynch Christmas card to you evokes feelings of family and home.The acclaimed watercolorist from Naperville has painted our Christmas Day art each year for decades.
IDOT work must go on, despite weather
It was a bitterly cold day Tuesday, but the work continued at the Illinois Department of Transportation maintenance facility in Arlington Heights.
‘Healing tree’ helps Elburn family deal with mom’s cancer
After the holidays, the Christmas tree at the Beith home in Elburn won't come down anytime soon. "Becky's Healing Tree" has been up since December 2012 and symbolizes how much three Huntley girls want their mom to recover from cancer.
Dawn Patrol: Payday store robbed; baby-sitter charged with hurting infant
Volunteerism abounds in suburbs on Christmas Eve; firefighter charged with punching woman works for West Dundee, Carpentersville departments; baby-sitter accued of harming infant; Des Plaines payday loan store robbed; Bulls kick off Christmas action for NBA.
Snowden says his mission accomplished
MOSCOW — The familiar voice on the hotel room phone did not waste words.“What time does your clock say, exactly?” he asked.He checked the reply against his watch and described a place to meet.“I’ll see you there,” he said.
U.N.sending more troops to South Sudan
The Security Council voted to temporarily increase the number of U.N. military personnel in South Sudan from 7,000 to 12,500, and the U.N.’s international police contingent from 900 to 1,323.To reach the new levels, the resolution authorizes the temporary transfer of troops, police and equipment from the U.N. missions in Congo, Darfur, Abyei, Ivory Coast and Liberia.
Rockets knock off Spurs 111-98
James Harden scored 28 points and Dwight Howard had 15 points and 20 rebounds, leading the balanced Houston Rockets to a 111-98 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
Defensemen huge reason Hawks are scoring in bunches
Forget Patrick Kane’s flashy moves and Jonathan Toews’ steady play. Same for the rest of the talented forwards on the Blackhawks. Instead, check out the players who line up right behind the team’s biggest stars. The Hawks’ athletic defensemen play a prominent role in the NHL’s most potent offense.
Time to shine spotlight on offensive line
It hasn't gotten as much credit as the skill-position players, but the Bears' offensive line has paved the way for much of the unit's success this season. The same five guys have started up front for the Bears in all 15 games — left tackle Jermon Bushrod, left guard Matt Slauson, center Roberto Garza, right guard Kyle Long and right tackle Jordan Mills.
Battling barracuda in Keys an angler’s delight
It was the only time to sneak away for a few days of sun and scrumptious Florida stone crabs.It was a perfect time to recharge our batteries. So, to the Flordia Keys we drove from Boca Raton, full of anticipation and hopes that the puffy, white clouds wouldn’t obstruct some of the sun’s rays.
Miami beats Lakers 101-95 for 6th straight victory
Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade had 23 points apiece, and LeBron James added 19 points in the Heat’s sixth straight win. Bosh grabbed 11 rebounds and Ray Allen made four 3-pointers for 12 points, helping Miami improve to 5-0 against the Lakers on the holiday.
Orton appears set to start for Cowboys
Kyle Orton will make his first start at quarterback in his two seasons with the Cowboys on Sunday night, unless Tony Romo can recover from a herniated disc. Dallas will be playing a winner-take-all game at home against the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East title and a playoff berth.
Foles still hears about 1 bad game
QB Nick Foles has given fans of the Philadelphia Eagles plenty of gifts this year. But for all of his accomplishments, Foles is constantly reminded about his first game against the Cowboys.
Honeymoon over for Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg Jets tickets, once hard to come by, are now readily available. Those who do attend have booed their 16-18-5 team for inconsistent play that has the club sitting near the bottom of its new, tough Central Division.
No Kobe on Christmas
Kobe Bryant wasn’t happy about spending Christmas Day on the sideline, unable to help the struggling Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant leads the NBA with a record 15 appearances on Christmas Day, but he’s out an expected four to six weeks with a fracture in his left knee.
Durant, Thunder roll over Knicks
Kevin Durant scored 29 points, Russell Westbrook had a triple-double by the middle of the third quarter, and the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled to a 123-94 victory Wednesday over the New York Knicks, who played without Carmelo Anthony.
Matthews out for Bears game
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews will miss Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears for the NFC North title after aggravating a right thumb injury.
Stafford takes heavy blame for Lions’ fall
There’s plenty of blame to go around for the Detroit Lions’ fall from the NFC North driver’s seat to a Week 17 game with no playoff implications. It’s particularly hard to ignore the performance of quarterback Matthew Stafford during the team’s late-season slide.
NIU’s Lynch could make history in Poinsettia Bowl
Jordan Lynch will make a run at history Thursday night when he suits up for the final time for No. 24 Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl against Utah State. Lynch already owns the major college record for yards rushing for a quarterback with 1,881. With 119 yards, he can become the first player to rush for 2,000 yards and throw for 2,000. “I’m just really proud of him and wish I had him for about 10 more years, but we don’t,” NIU coach Rod Carey said.
Healthier Bulls win in their PJs, beating Brooklyn 95-78
Taj Gibson had a big game in his hometown of Brooklyn, leading six players in double figures as the Bulls rolled past the Nets 95-78. While Gibson scored 20 points, the Bulls took advantage of a healthier lineup. “It’s good to get guys back,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Our starters were very solid and our bench guys did a great job. Taj was super.”
Bulls could mess up one of best opportunities in sports history
Judging by their Christmas game at Brooklyn, the Bulls are in danger of missing a great opportunity. They simply might not be pathetic enough to qualify for the NBA draft lottery out of the even more pathetic NBA East.
Emanuel names members of grocery task force
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced the members of a task force to assess the impact of the closure of dozens of Dominick’s grocery stores. Parent company Safeway Inc. said in October it would stop operating 72 Dominick’s stores in the Chicago area by the end of the year. Only a few of the stores have been bought by competitors.
Santa’s sleigh delayed after snags at UPS, FedEx
Santa’s sleigh didn’t make it in time for Christmas for some this year due to shipping problems at UPS and FedEx. The delays were blamed on poor weather earlier this week in parts of the country as well as overloaded systems.
Health insurance coverage: What’s next?
The deadline has passed, and so too the surprise grace period, for signing up for health insurance as part of the nation’s health care law. Now what? For those who were able to navigate the glitch-prone and often overwhelmed HealthCare.gov website, there’s still work to be done to make sure success online leads to actual coverage come the new year.
Health insurance guide: 3 next steps for enrollees
The Christmas Eve deadline to enroll via HeatlhCare.gov for health care insurance that starts Jan. 1 has passed. Here are some tips for those who met the deadline and those who didn’t.
NYC taxi drivers see green as new cabs cruise outside Manhattan
The greening of the New York taxi — a symbol of the city akin to the Brooklyn Bridge or Empire State Building — is lowering the bar of entry for owner-drivers like Valdez who had been priced out a market where a yellow-cab permit is valued at more than $1 million. It’s also ushering in a new era of transportation for the 6.7 million New Yorkers, or about 80 percent of the population, who live in neighborhoods where hailing a yellow cab is virtually impossible.
HealthCare.gov site builder mishandled previous projects
CGI Federal, the company responsible for building the problem-plagued website for the Affordable Care Act, won the job because of what federal officials deemed a “technically superior” proposal, according to government documents and people familiar with the decision. Not considered in the 2011 selection process was the history of numerous executives at CGI Federal, who had come from another company that had mishandled at least 20 other government information technology projects more than a decade ago.
Obama pushes more oil production to clean up coal
America’s newest, most expensive coal-fired power plant is hailed as one of the cleanest on the planet, thanks to government-backed technology that removes carbon dioxide and keeps it out of the atmosphere. But once the carbon is stripped away, it will be used to do something that is not so green at all. It will extract oil.
FBI probe shows risks of local stadium boom
From 1993 to 2003, at least 86 minor-league baseball stadiums collectively costing almost $1.5 billion opened in the U.S. and Canada with at least partial public funding, according to public documents and local news reports. It was the biggest boom in the more than 100-year history of minor-league baseball, almost 60 percent more than the number that opened in the 1930s, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt used ballpark construction to create jobs during the Great Depression.
Fixed rates are latest in college tuition plans
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators says about 320 colleges and universities offered guarantees during the 2012-13 school year. The programs aren’t discounts. Students sometimes pay more than standard tuition in their first two years to offset lower rates in the last two.But students say the programs help control costs by allowing them to budget wisely and borrow less.
Stock market resolutions for 2014
2013 was a great year for the average investor, but few market strategists believe that 2014 will be anywhere near as good. The simple strategy of buying U.S. stocks, selling bonds and staying out of international markets isn’t going to work as well as it has, they say. Some of Wall Street’s biggest money managers have come up with a few resolutions to help your retirement portfolio have a good year.
Predictions from market experts for 2014
It is an understatement to say stock market investors had a good year in 2013. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index soared 28 percent, its best year since 1997. Including dividends, it gained 30 percent. What lies ahead after this historic year? The AP asked leading market analysts and investment managers where they see the Standard & Poor’s 500 index winding up by the end of 2014 and why.
Tribes’ battle with U.S. shakes up the world of federal contracting
When the federal government reneged on its agreement to fully compensate the Shoshone-Paiute tribes for running a hospital on the Duck Valley reservation, the Washington contracting world barely noticed.
Initiative pays people money to leave trees standing
Trees act as “carbon sinks,” each one a great big straw that sucks carbon dioxide out of the air and into the tree and its root system. In a voluntary carbon market, companies that pollute or use lots of power, especially in the health care industry, seek to offset their carbon emissions by buying up the carbon-absorbing capacity of farms like Paul Nys'. Through a system established by the initiative, the carbon would be bundled and sold to health care companies, and Nys will pocket dollars based on the 20-year carbon-absorbing capacity of his trees.
Life & Entertainment
Older women sit most of their day as researchers question harm
Older women spend two-thirds of their day not moving around, generally getting up every half-hour for periods of movement, according to a study designed to help researchers understand patterns of sedentary behavior.
Mandela's 'Long Walk' a long, plodding drama
Justin Chadwick's “Mandela” presents the story of beloved South African leader Nelson Mandela with so much reverent respect, its good intentions nearly choke us. Idris Elba bears little actual resemblance to Mandela. Yet, the movie uses the real Mandela in newsreel footage, photos and on posters. Why constantly thwart the audience's ability to suspend its disbelief?
Stallone, De Niro knocked out by supporting cast in ‘Grudge Match’
Most actors fight being pigeonholed. Sylvester Stallone punched his way into being typecast and isn’t rushing to abandon his perch. In the last 37 years, he’s portrayed, among other macho characters, boxer Rocky Balboa six times, and what does he do in the meantime? He stars in “Grudge Match” as Henry “Razor” Sharp, a former light heavyweight champ. Razor inexplicably fled the sport in his heyday, avoiding a tiebreaking fight with rival Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (played by Robert De Niro).
Reel life: Dann & Raymond celebrate Paul Newman
Dann supplies this week's Reel Life film notes and touts the next Dann & Raymond's Movie Club entry, "The Films of Paul Newman" at the Schaumburg Township District Library on Jan. 2.
Son’s 1959 Chevy Suburban is a lot like Dad’s
Tom Duensing saw firsthand the usefulness of a capable vehicle decades ago while spending miles on the road with his father in Kane County. His dad, Don Duensing, owned a wholesale food business and relied on a mid-1950s Chevrolet panel truck, much like the 1959 Chevy Suburban Tom owns today.
For quick and easy decorating, think washi
Washi tape — adhesive but easily removed and available in hundreds of colors and patterns — is putting a new spin on decorating. The original thin, sheer tape derived from rice paper was imported from Japan and pounced on about eight years ago by scrapbooking fans and other paper crafters. Its popularity has grown as a creative and simple way to add a personal touch to gifts, wrapping or party decorations.
AP music writers’ top 10 albums of the year
From the goovy melodies of Ariana Grande to th electrifying solo project of Dawn Richard, 2013 was a great year for music. Associated Press Music Writers Mesfin Fekadu and Chris Talbott pick their top 10 albums of the year.
To be Meryl Streep, it takes work
“A big chunk of meat” is how Meryl Streep describes the sprawling, combative dinner scene at the core of “August: Osage County.” In a career filled with sublime crescendos, it’s a showstopper: a knockout feast of everything that has made Streep the greatest American actress.
Ancient Stonehenge gets modern-day revamp
After thousands of years, Stonehenge has had a makeover. But visitors may initially feel something is missing: the prehistoric monument itself. Tourists now arrive at a gleaming new timber-and-glass visitor center some 1.5 miles from Stonehenge. The famous stone circle tucked into the rolling green landscape is nowhere to be seen. It’s a teasing introduction to the site, where new facilities and landscaping are designed to “restore the dignity” of Stonehenge, and transform the way more than 1 million visitors a year see it.
Secret bunker under Prague hotel opens to public
One thing was for sure when foreigners stayed at a prestigious Prague hotel during the Cold War era — their telephone conversations were carefully monitored by secret police in a hidden underground bunker some 66 feet under the building. The Jalta hotel at Wencaslas Square in the heart of the Czech capital was built in 1958. It was used as a center for surveillance operations that targeted western visitors staying at one of the several international hotels in Prague at the time. To mark its 55th anniversary, the bunker has been turned into a museum. It opened to the public recently.
Scorsese’s ‘Wolf’ a Wall Street comedy with dramatic chops
“The Wolf of Wall Street” is an operatic ode to greed, gluttony, and selfishness. Nobody gets killed, making this about the closest thing to a Christmastime Martin Scorsese movie since “Hugo” — uh, except for the eyeball-popping graphic nudity and kinky sex stuff.
Editorial: Remember, it is also blessed to receive
A Daily Herald editorial urges us to graciously receive the gifts of service given us.
Observing advent with the homeless boys
Columnist Terry Mattingly: Then came this crucial detail, the moment when Mary “brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” All of this was familiar territory for the two Cone sons, but not for the two foster children living with the family.
Losing today for the unknown
Columnist Donna Brazile: We are losing the present, overlooking things happening right where we live, eat, pray and work.
Find common ground in different scriptures
A Plainfield letter to the editor: As an Ahmadi Muslim, I revere and love Jesus just as my Christian brothers and sisters do. This is because the Quran states, “Oh Mary, God gives thee glad tidings of a word from him; his name shall be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, honored in this world and in the next and of those who are granted nearness to God (3:46).