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Citibank fears Argentina will leave if it follows court order

Written By kom nampuldu on Jumat, 19 September 2014 | 18.18

Argentina has a gun to Citibank's head, and it's going to go off at the end of September.

That's what will happen if Citi follows a federal court order and doesn't make a $5 million payment on its $8.4 billion domestic Argentine bonds, Citi lawyer Karen Wagner told a three-judge appeals panel Thursday.

"It will be a total disaster," she said.

The legal dust-up over a small interest payment on Argentine law bonds is not just about whether Citibank will get kicked out of the South American country, as has already happened to another US bank.

The issue is whether Citi will be the "weakest link" in a chain of payments that could enable Argentina's recently enacted debt swap to work, lawyers for Paul Singer and his hedge fund cohorts said Thursday.

Last week, Argentina passed a law to swap its debt into local law bonds so that it can avoid the US court injunction that would force it to pay the Singer group $1.6 billion it owes them.

The hedge funds, unlike most investors, apparently think the swap could work. That's why they want to make sure US courts also take aim at Argentine law bonds.

In late July, the funds convinced Manhattan federal judge Thomas Grisea to change his ruling on whether the bonds held by Citibank, based in Argentine law, would fall under his sweeping injunction.

"Argentina wants Argentine law bonds not to be covered by this injunction," the hedgies' lawyer Ray Englert said.

Citi is worried about losing its vast Argentine retail banking business. But Englert said Citi should simply leave of its own accord.


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Roger Goodell, Ray Rice react in similar manners

The crisis over domestic violence by NFL players and Commissioner Roger Goodell's admitted mishandling of the Ray Rice matter has the football executive reacting in a manner very similar to the former Ravens running back.

As recently as Thursday, Goodell was forced to deal with angry corporate partners and try to convince them his missteps will not be repeated, that he has taken steps to improve his understanding of the matter and that it won't happen again.

"The league is saying things like, 'We're sorry. We'll get it right next time. Let's overlook this,' " says David Johnson, a crisis-communications expert at Strategic Vision.

"And you can hear Rice saying the same thing about himself while apologizing to his wife."

Rice was seen in a video made public earlier this month punching his wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator in July and then dragging her limp body pout into the hall.

The video sparked a national debate on domestic violence among NFL players — and Goodell's handling of the situation.

Goodell gave Rice just a two-game suspension — which many thought was too light. It wasn't until the video surfaced that the commish got tough.

After the video came out, Rice was fired by his team.

It didn't help Goodell's position when other players were hit with similar charges.

"Every infraction is going to get warped into a bigger and bigger public-relations crisis," Johnson says.

Had the NFL given the player an indefinite suspension then — rather than wait until a horrific second video surfaced — it would have some credibility.

"It could have said we dealt with it," Johnson says.

That may have kept Goodell from having to resort to after the fact Rice-like actions — trying to convince NFL team owners, and the nation, that has learned from his mistakes and that it will never happen again.


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Representatives are blind to the Census Bureau case

It took only a year, but Congress finally found the tip. Now if it tries a little harder, it may actually find the iceberg.

But don't count on it.

These guys are steering the Titanic and they aren't going anywhere near that block of ice.

Republicans and Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform want you to know a couple of things — they found no evidence that anyone manipulated the employment data before the last presidential election and they saw no indication that there was widespread data falsification.

Those are allegations made in this column during the past year.

"This is a happy occasion because the situation is not as bad as we thought," committee Chairman Blake Farenthold (R-TX) gushed at a hearing here on Thursday. The lawmaker was clearly not prepared.

"This gives freedom of the press a bad name," said Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) of the column that started all this last November. That was one of many knocks on The Post and me at the hearing, which lasted about as long as a lopsided first-round tennis match at the US Open.

There was plenty of bluster like that but no one brought up the 96-page report. I doubt Lynch or any of the Democrats on the committee even read it.

Here are other problems with the conclusions expressed at Thursday's hearing.

l First, the tone and content differs greatly from the conclusions of the report on the issue published Thursday by the same committee.

That report said there are "a number of flaws in the current quality assurance process for the Census Bureau data collection efforts nationwide." The report added, "It is imperative that the Census Bureau take swift corrective action to ensure data integrity."

The report also said it couldn't prove that economic data were being falsified in a widespread manner. But it also said it couldn't disprove it because the Commerce Department, which oversees Census, obstructed its investigation.

That's a whole lot different from not finding anything. In fact, it shows a desperation at Commerce that something might be found. Why else wouldn't it cooperate?

No one at the Oversight hearing even mentioned Julius Buckmon, who was caught falsifying data in the Philadelphia Census region and was eased out of his job. Buckmon alleged that supervisors told him to fill out bogus Census forms. A full investigation of Buckmon was done only after The Post brought him to their attention. And Buckmon wasn't invited to testify at the hearing.

Also not mentioned was the fact that more than 120 laptops were suddenly missing from the Philadelphia Census office right before the last presidential election. How do we know? The Post went through the trouble of getting e-mails from supervisors in that office.

And supervisors in that office, in those e-mails, seemed panicked that the computers were gone. They had no explanation for the loss.

Democratic Committee members and the two Census witnesses — John Thompson, the boss, and Inspector General Todd Zinser — made a point that it would take a widespread conspiracy beyond the possible to change the nation's jobless rate.

I hope they were playing politics with this issue because that statement is ludicrous. Buckmon alone falsified enough interviews each month to change the results, statistically speaking, for 50,000 households. Another one or two cheaters would have done the job.

The missing computers, in addition, could have been used to change untold numbers of people from being unemployed to employed.

And survey takers and supervisors in two other Census regions (so that's three out of six, including Philadelphia) have told me that data were being falsified in their areas as well. Several of these other Census employees offered to talk with investigators but their calls were never returned.

Census has already made a number of changes to its collection process because of the investigation I caused. For instance, supervisors can no longer check their own underling's work. The work now has to be verified by independent supervisors.

That change gives free press, including The Post, a good name.

Perhaps the poor showing by Farenthold and his committee isn' the last word.

A source told me in confidence that the House isn't close to being finished with this matter.

That is good. What happened at the hearing on Thursday did nothing but further sully Congress's reputation.

If that's even possible.


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J.Lo, Iggy Azalea release ‘Booty’-licious new video

She was once the queen of booty but in her latest video, J Lo's curvy crown looks like it's being passed on to a new generation.

On Thursday night, the Bronx diva finally dropped her new collaboration with Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea in the shape of a remixed version of "Booty." The track originally appeared as a duet with Pitbull on J Lo's "A.K.A." album, released in the summer.

In the scorching Hype Williams-directed video for the new version, J Lo and Azalea go cheek-to-cheek and show their respective money-makers off for the world to see. "The last time the world seen a booty this good, it was on Jenny from the block," boasts Azalea during her guest rap, before giving J Lo's behind a friendly pat down.

Consider it a changing of the (rear) guard.


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France launches first airstrikes on ISIS

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French President Francois Hollande waits for questions during a press conference at the Elysee Palace, Thursday, Sept.18, 2014. Hollande said he agreed to Iraq's request for air support at a meeting of his top defense and security advisers earlier Thursday Photo: AP

PARIS — Iraq's military spokesman says four French airstrikes killed dozens of fighters from the Islamic State group in a contested area of northern Iraq.

French President Francois Hollande announced the first airstrikes Friday morning, saying Rafale fighter jets struck a logistics depot in northeastern Iraq, and the target was "entirely destroyed." The U.S. has also carried out airstrikes against the extremist group.

Qassim al-Moussawi, spokesman for the Iraqi military, said four French airstrikes hit the town of Zumar, killing dozens of extremist fighters. Zumar and surrounding towns have remained heavily contested by Islamic State fighters, even though Iraqi and Kurdish security forces have managed to make headway in nearby regions with the support of US airstrikes.


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Lady Gaga channels ‘Birth of Venus’ painting in Greece

Written By kom nampuldu on Kamis, 18 September 2014 | 20.49

Lady GagaPhoto: ZUMA

Lady Gaga put on a show while leaving the airport in Athens, Greece on Wednesday.

The "Applause" singer, 28, sashayed her way through the airport wearing a blonde wig, a see-through skirt with a thong and a seashell bra as she channeled Sandro Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" painting.

Gaga and a crew of her dancers put on a small show for waiting fans and paparazzi outside the airport to catch a glimpse of the star—who didn't disappoint wearing sky-high sparkly heels.

The Greek media went crazy over her arrival—airing it on television that night.

She later posted an Instagram to share her excitement, "Thank you for the beautiful warm welcome Athens. We come in the spirit of love, music and to celebrate your beautiful history. Where classical art began. We belong together. #ARTPOP #artraveAthens."

Gaga, who says she is staying at "The Royal Suite," posted several pictures from the lavish marble bathroom and mentioned in one picture she's "feeling frisky." She set to perform at the Olympic Stadium on Friday.


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Gomez & Morticia Addams Have The Greatest Romance Of All Time

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Fifty years ago, The Addams Family made its debut on ABC. The black & white show starring John Astin as the eccentric Gomez Addams and Carolyn Jones as his gorgeous goth wife, Morticia, was inspired by a collection of characters that cartoonist Charles Addams started drawing for The New Yorker in 1938. These illustrations depicted a strange family with a love of all things macabre. Over the last 76 years, those characters have evolved from amusing scribbles to sitcom archetypes to big screen characters of mythic proportions. And do you know what? I would give anything to be exactly like Gomez and Morticia Addams. Not only are they two of the greatest characters ever, but they also have the most enviable romance of all time.

Yes, it's true. Gomez and Morticia Addams are everything that I want to be in life. They are open-minded, have a loving relationship, and adore their children. Gomez tears through life with an almost childlike enthusiasm for adventure, and Morticia is a confident and intelligent woman with her own unique sense of style. They are strong individuals who manage to be totally and utterly themselves without putting anyone else down. The Addamses are absolutely wonderful.

While Gomez and Morticia Addams always had a loving marriage, Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston injected a shock of sexuality into their relationship in The Addams Family film. Both the scripts for The Addams Family and its sequel, Addams Family Values, are full of double entendres that refer to rough sex that maybe shouldn't necessarily be in a family film. But they are. And it's glorious. Here are two healthy adults in a monogamous relationship openly expressing desire for each other. It's the closest thing I've ever seen to what really happens during "Happily Ever After."

If there's anything disturbing about Gomez and Morticia's relationship shouldn't be their obsession with death, nor their implied interest in kink. Rather it's what their relationship says about "normal" romances. If The Addams Family is supposed to be a photo negative of our own cultural mores, then what does it mean that Gomez and Morticia have a healthy, loving, and robustly sexual marriage? These are two people who worry about each other's moods. Morticia gets upset in The Addams Family when Gomez becomes visibly depressed. Gomez asks Morticia how she is handling the added stress of a new baby in Addams Family Values. They share dreams. They reminisce about the past. They support each other completely. They are equal partners in their relationship.

Again, we have to ask ourselves if The Addams Family's humor is supposed to be derived by the juxtaposition between what they consider normal and what we do, then does that mean that "normal" marriages are loveless and full of inequity?

Obviously, I don't think that modern romance is all that depressing, but what does it mean that Gomez and Morticia's happy marriage is supposed to be weird? Does it mean that we not loving enough? That we are not enthusiastic enough? Finally, are we not having enough hot and kinky sex? (I'm just asking…)

Our great romances usually tell the stories of teenagers and twenty-somethings who are torn apart by disaster or who self-destruct in the name of love? Should the likes of Romeo and Juliet or Jack and Rose really be our touchstones for what true love should be? Do we want to aspire to pain, heartbreak, and death? Or do we want to be like Gomez and Morticia? Do we want to aspire to be two successful, happy, fully-grown weirdoes who are madly in love?

You can keep your balcony scenes and sinking ships. I want moonlight in the graveyard.

Stream The Addams Family series [Amazon Instant Video], The Addams Family [GoWatchIt], and Addams Family Values [GoWatchIt]

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Photo: The Everett Collection


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Sharon Osbourne slit wrist to prove love for Ozzy

Sharon Osbourne shocked the audience of "The Talk" on Wednesday when she admitted to once slitting her wrist to prove her love to a then-married Ozzy Osbourne.

"I've never discussed it out of embarrassment of how stupid I was at the time to do such a thing to myself," said the 61-year-old. "I was 27, I was going out with Ozzy at the time … and when we first got together, we would drink a lot. We had a session of partying … and it's about four in the morning and he says to me, 'How much do you really love me?'And I'm saying, 'I'd do anything for you, anything, I absolutely adore you … I'd give my life for you.'"

In a dramatic move to prove her point, Sharon grabbed a nearby steak knife in the couple's hotel room and slashed her wrists several times.

Sharon Osbourne's cut wrist.Photo: YouTube

She injured herself so badly she needed medical attention, which resulted in doctors becoming suspicious of her behavior. They believed it was an attempted suicide and placed her on lockdown.

When asked about her scars now, she lies and says she was attacked by a dog.

"It's sad, pathetic on a 61-year-old … please let it go away already," she said. "It's a reminder to us all."


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Mel B: Spice Girls fought like ‘cats and dogs’

Drama between the Spice Girls reached a fever pitch when Geri Halliwell left the group without notice in 1998.

Mel B, who's real name is Melanie Brown, told Larry King on September 10 that the group "fought like cats and dogs" during their height of their fame.

"When Geri left the group it was bad," said the 39-year-old judge on "America's Got Talent." "She left on my birthday and didn't tell anybody. She didn't show up. We had the American part of the tour to continue."

Despite Halliwell's unplanned exit, the group had a longterm plan. "We had a five year plan that got shortened after three years—that we were all eventually going to go our own ways away," she said.

"We always knew that Victoria was going to go into fashion, Mel C was always going to do music, Emma wanted to do radio, I kind of wanted to do a bit of everything," she continued. "We had that understanding."

But Mel B says Halliwell left for numerous personal reasons. "She talks about it to this day that she had a lot of bad eating disorder pressure problems," she said. "[Geri] felt the pressure too much, so she decided to take a break."

Despite Halliwell's unplanned exit on her birthday, Mel B has forgiven her.


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Lost dog found 3,000 miles away in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Jack Russell terrier that went missing from its Pennsylvania home has turned up at an animal shelter nearly 3,000 miles away.

A good Samaritan this month spotted the 7-year-old dog named Gidget wandering in the Portland suburb of Tualatin, and brought her to the Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter, said Deborah Wood, manager of Washington County Animal Services.

Wood said Wednesday that a microchip implanted in Gidget revealed that the owner lived near Philadelphia. Contacted by the shelter, the owner said her dog has been missing since April 22, two days after Easter.

It's a mystery how the dog arrived in Oregon.

"She's never lived here; there is nothing that would bring her here," Wood said. "So a human somehow brought her here, but we don't know who or how."

Wood says Gidget was a little thin, but otherwise in good shape. She has regained some of the estimated five pounds she lost during her 4 1/2 months away from home.

"Her eyes are shiny and she's energetic and her fur looks great," Wood said.

The shelter and the owner are trying to figure out how to get the dog back to Pennsylvania. The owner doesn't have the money to fly out, Wood said, and the shelter doesn't provide transportation. Wood said perhaps someone traveling from Portland to Philadelphia would be willing to bring the dog with them.

"I kind of see this as a Disney story," Wood said. "And we are very committed to the happy ending that we'll figure out how to get her back to her home."

Wood said she wants to get the owner's permission before giving her name to reporters.


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