lunes, 31 de diciembre de 2012

10 Great New Year's Eve Apps - PC Magazine

Happy New Year! 2013 is on the way, and on behalf of everyone in the world with small children, I'm really hoping you'll ring it in with a wild party (because we can't). Your smartphone, of course, will be a continual companion on this night of happy endings and new beginnings, so as PCMag's lead analyst for mobile, I've picked out 10 great apps to load up so you can make sure you have the best plans - and make sure everything goes as planned.

In looking for New Year's apps I found that iOS and Android had a lot of apps in common, but Windows Phone, as usual, danced to the beat of its own drummer. I focused on Android and iOS apps, but I enocurage Windows Phone owners to search for apps in similar categories. For instance, there's a third-party Eventbrite client and several breathlyzer apps on the platform.

And there's one category of apps I'm not putting on here, with a wink: social photo-sharing apps. Yesterday, I wrote Get Naked In Person, Not On Facebook, and that made me think: you can certainly take photos in the midst of New Year's Eve festivities, but maybe you should wait until the clear light of New Year's Day to post 'em. Some things done in 2012 should probably stay in 2012.

I'd also suggest putting your phone in a nice case before you go off partying on any day of the year. You never know what kind of puddle it can land in, and you don't want to be phone-less out on the street at 2 a.m. Mobile Internet access will be just as important in the early hours of 2013 as in the late moments of 2012. If you'd prefer to look back than look forward, we've been churning through tech year-in-review stories here at You can take a look at what Microsoft, Samsung, Google and Apple did this year, the top 10 overall tech news stories of 2012, the year's biggest tech failures or the worst tech PR disasters this year.

So which apps will best help you celebrate 2013? In alphabetical order, here are my 10 picks.

Indian New Year Somber After Gang Rape Victim's Death - Voice of America

Many across India canceled festive New Year's Eve celebrations Monday out of respect for the young woman who died days earlier from injuries suffered during a brutal gang rape.

The unidentified victim, a 23-year-old student, died Saturday from severe internal injuries that her assailants caused with a metal rod during the attack on a bus two weeks ago. Six men have been arrested and charged with murder in the December 16 attack in New Delhi. They could face the death penalty if convicted.

Reflecting the country's somber mood, hotels, clubs, India's military and even the head of the ruling Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, called off their parties to greet the new year. Many have joined candlelight vigils in the capital and other major cities. Others have chosen to protest peacefully, in contrast to the violent demonstrations that erupted in New Delhi a week ago.

Debate sparked

The woman's death has set off a debate about what India needs to do to protect women. Issues such as rape, dowry-related deaths and female infanticide rarely enter mainstream political discourse in India.

Protesters and politicians have called for tougher rape laws, major police reforms and a transformation in the way the nation treats women.

BJP, the main opposition party, has called for a special session of parliament to discuss the issues and to amend legislation.

However, BJP lawmaker Banwari Lal Singhal has called for a ban on skirts as part of school uniforms. He said he wants the girls to wear pants because a new dress code would keep girls "away from the lustful gazes of men."

Mamata Sharma, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, slammed the legislator for his remarks, saying instead of changing the dress code of the girls, he should ask men to change their attitudes and treat both sexes equally.

Action demanded

Human Rights Watch said the gang rape "should spur decisive action" by the Indian government.  

Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW's South Asia director, said the Indian government needs to act immediately to prevent sexual assault and ensure the dignified treatment of survivors.

The outcry over the attack caught the Indian government off guard. It took a week for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to make a statement on the case, infuriating many protesters.

The woman is reported to have accepted a ride with a male companion on a charter bus in New Delhi where the six men on board beat them both with an iron rod. The woman was raped repeatedly. Reports say the rod was used in the rape. The woman and her friend were then thrown from the moving vehicle. The male friend survived the attack.


Man fights for life after Christmas trolley ram at UK shopping centre -

A UK man is fighting for his life after he was allegedly rammed by a woman pushing a shopping trolley in the run up to Christmas. Source: The Advertiser

AN ELDERLY man is in a critical condition after he was allegedly rammed by a shopper before Christmas.

The 60-year-old man suffered a broken hip and wrist after being knocked to the ground by a woman pushing a trolley in a Marks & Spencer supermarket and is now in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Kent, The Bromley Times reports.

Police were called to the supermarket at The Glades shopping centre in Bromley on December 22, according to the London Evening Standard.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Police were called to a store in The Glades shopping centre, in Bromley, at 1pm on December 22, following reports of a man injured during an altercation.

"It is understood that the man, aged 60, was struck with a trolley being pushed by a woman. He fell to the ground and sustained injuries including a broken hip and wrist, and was taken to a Kent hospital for treatment."

A 30-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm on Boxing Day and bailed to return on January 29.

Her arrest came after police were informed that the man's condition had taken a turn for the worse.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "On Wednesday, 26 December, officers were informed that the man had suffered further health complications and that he was now in a critical condition.

"Officers subsequently arrested a 30-year-old woman on suspicion of GBH."

A spokesperson for Marks & Spencer confirmed the incident to the London Evening


. "We can confirm that an incident took place at our Bromley store on Saturday 22nd December," the spokesperson said.

"We are assisting the police with their investigation and therefore it would not be appropriate for us to comment any further."

Police are appealing for witnesses to contact Bromley police station or Crimestoppers in the UK. 

Pardew blasts Ba's advisors as star eyes move - Bangkok Post

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has accused Demba Ba's agents of giving bad advice to their client as the Senegal striker continues to be linked with a move away from St James' Park.

Newcastle's French-born Senegalese striker Demba Ba celebrates scoring against Reading at The Madejski Stadium, in Reading, England on September 29, 2012. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has accused Ba's agents of giving bad advice to their client as the Senegal striker continues to be linked with a move away from St James' Park.

Ba, who has scored 13 goals this season, has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave Newcastle if a club bids pound sterling7 million and the former West Ham star has been linked with a host of teams ahead of the January transfer window.

Chelsea were the latest side to express interest in Ba, with representatives of the 27-year-old reportedly holding talks with the Blues on Sunday.

Those discussions were later described as unproductive, but Pardew is aware that it won't be the last time Ba is involved in transfer talk during the window as agents seek to cash in on a potential big-money move.

"In some respects, I feel a little bit sorry for Demba as well because I think people who are representing him are not actually representing him," Pardew said on Thursday.

"There are people out there who are saying this who are not actually involved or want to be involved, and that's the sort of world we are in.

"The contract is what it is, we are all aware of that, and for me as the manager I need it resolved as quickly as possible. That's the best situation for our fans and for the club."

Newcastle have spent recent months attempting to negotiate a new contract with Ba which would remove the clause and that remains on the table, but Pardew insisted it would not do so indefinitely.

"The situation with that is that it's getting close to the point where we say 'no more', but the offer is still there," Pardew added.

FactCheck: is Britain a tax credit haven? - Channel 4 News (blog)

Iain Duncan Smith has had a long hard go at Labour for their welfare spending.

Not for the first time, he says hard working taxpayers are paying for the big-spending ways of the last government.

This time, he's got the tax credits system in his sights.

The current – though not for much longer – system was introduced by Labour as a way of bringing down child poverty.

Instead, the work and pensions secretary wrote in the Daily Telegraph today: "It tells a sorry story of dependency, wasted taxpayers' money and fraud."

The claim

"Tax credit payments rose by some 58 per cent ahead of the 2005 general election, and in the two years prior to the 2010 election, spending increased by about 20 per cent."


The verdict

We asked the Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which administers work and child tax credits, how much has been paid out since the current system started under Labour in 2003 (before that it was the Working Families Tax Credit).

It said that in 2003-04, £16.4bn was paid, and the following year – the one that included the general election to which Mr Duncan Smith refers – £17.7bn.

That's an increase of 8 per cent, not 58.

And in 2008-9, the HMRC said, some £25.1bn was paid in tax credits. In the following year, it was £27.3bn. Which means that in the two years prior to the 2010 general election, spending on tax credits increased by 8.8 per cent, not 20.

We put that to the department for work and pensions. "It's calculated on the basis of tax credits deflated by earnings. I can assure you it's correct," a spokeswoman said.

We've asked for the source of that information, and a detailed breakdown, but haven't received it yet.

Whatever it is, must be a pretty fat adjustment, from eight to 58 per cent.

Out of fairness, we'll leave it in the middle of the FactCheckometer just now.


The claim

"Between 2003 and 2010, Labour spent a staggering £171 billion on tax credits, contributing to a 60 per cent rise in the welfare bill. Far too much of that money was wasted, with fraud and error under Labour costing over £10 billion."


The verdict

Mr Duncan Smith's got his sums wrong on this one.

The total amount spent on tax credits, from 2003-04 to 2010-11, was £175.636bn, according to HMRC.

But because that includes the first year of the coalition government, we took the last year – 2010-11 – off, during which £28.542bn was spent.

That meant that under Labour, from when the scheme started to their last year in government, £147bn was spent, not £171bn.

We also asked HMRC how much had been lost through fraud and error in the tax credits system under Labour. It was actually £11.16bn, not £10bn, so Mr Duncan Smith's only £1.16bn out there – which is better than his previous effort.

It's also worth pointing out that of the £11.16bn lost to fraud and error under Labour, just £1.27bn of that was actually down to fraud. Or 0.7 per cent of the total amount spent on tax credits.


The claim

"It will come as no surprise therefore that fraudsters from around the world targeted this benefit for personal gain. "


The verdict

Actually this did come as a surprise. Fraudsters from around the world coming to the UK exploit the tax credit system? Sounds serious.

But when we asked HMRC how many non-UK nationals were responsible for tax credit fraud, it said: "The tax credit system doesn't record nationalities of claimants, so we don't have those figures."

Facebook drops flawed special New Year feature - Business Standard

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Nearly a week after Facebook launched its New Year's messaging feature, the social networking site was today forced to drop the app following a flaw that allowed anyone to see and even delete personal messages intended for others.

The popular website had last week launched its Midnight Message Delivery feature to allow users to send New Year's messages to friends that automatically arrive on the stroke of midnight tonight.

However, one student blogger noticed that a simple tweak of the URL at the top of the page allows users to access messages written by total strangers — and even delete them, the Daily Mail reported.

Jack Jenkins, a Aberystwyth University student, found the privacy flaw on Facebook's Midnight Message Delivery features on his blog early this morning. "Facebook have not been very security conscious when setting this up," he wrote.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed that it is aware of the issue and working on a fix. "We are working on a fix for this issue now," she said. "In the interim we have disabled this app on the Facebook Stories site to ensure that no messages can be accessed," she added.

By experimenting with the flaw, Jenkins said he was even able to see pictures sent by people.

"By simple manipulation of the ID at the end of the URL of a sent message on the FacebookStories site, you are able to view other peoples Happy New Year messages.

"It is you may say a pretty harmless flaw, as they tend to be generic messages and you can't see who sent them (it shows your profile pic next to the message, as if you've sent it)," he said. "However you can see the names of the recipients of the message," he said.

How Neil Armstrong practiced that 'One Small Step' line for the moon - (blog)


See images from the career of astronaut and American hero Neil Armstrong.

The brother of first moonwalker Neil Armstrong says in a new BBC documentary that the phrase accompanying humanity's first footprint on the moon — "that's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind" — was not a spur-of-the-moment improvisation but a speech that was written out and practiced in advance.

In a rare interview, Dean Armstrong recalled that his brother slipped him the words — including the long-disputed reference to "a man" — on a piece of paper as they played a game of Risk, months before the Apollo 11 launch in July 1969.

"He says, 'What do you think about that?' I said 'fabulous.' He said 'I thought you might like that, but I wanted you to read it,'" Dean Armstrong is quoted as saying in a Telegraph report on the documentary, titled "Neil Armstrong: First Man on the Moon." The show premiered tonight on BBC Two.

The genesis of one of history's most famous phrases has long been shrouded in mystery: In his definitive history of the Apollo moon effort, "A Man on the Moon," Andrew Chaikin noted that as the mission neared, Neil Armstrong was inundated with suggestions for his speech, including passages from the Bible and from Shakespeare.

Chaikin implied that Armstrong was undecided about what he'd say until after Apollo 11's Eagle lunar lander had set down on Tranquility Base: "Now, on the moon, Armstrong knew he could delay no longer. As he thought about the first step he would take from Eagle's footpad he pondered the inherent paradox — a small step, yet a significant one — and he knew what he would say."

Dean Armstrong's recollection confirms that his astronaut brother, who died in August at the age of 82, scripted the words early on but held them close to the vest. The BBC documentary's director, Christopher Riley, speculated that Armstrong let people think the words came to him spontaneously to head off any outside tinkering in advance, or any second-guessing in retrospect.

The interview also confirms that Neil Armstrong meant to say "one small step for a man" — even though the "a" wasn't audible in the transmission from the moon. That's an important stylistic point, because the "a" draws a contrast between the physical length of a human's footstep and Apollo 11's "giant leap" for human exploration.

After the flight, Armstrong insisted that he intended to say "a man." Some experts say that the "a" was dropped because of a glitch in the radio signal, but most assume that Armstrong just left out the word. As the years went on, Armstrong's comments on the mystery took on an air of ambiguity. "We'll never know," Neil Armstrong told an interviewer in 1971.

If he did leave out the word, it's a natural slip to make: Dean Armstrong omitted the "a" himself the first time he quoted the phrase, and had to correct himself a moment later. "It was 'that is one small step for A man,'" he said.

Update for 5:30 p.m. ET: A commenter points out that Dean's recollection runs counter to what his brother Neil told James Hansen about the speech for his authorized biography, "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong," published in 2005:

"Once on the surface and realizing that the moment was at hand, fortunately I had some hours to think about it after getting there. My own view was that it was a very simplistic statement: what can you say when you step off of something? Well, something about a step. It just sort of evolved during the period that I was doing the procedures of the practice takeoff and the EVA prep and all the other activities that were on our flight schedule at the time. I didn't think it was particularly important, but other people obviously did. Even so, I have never thought that I picked a particularly enlightening statement. It was a very simple statement."

So maybe the controversy over those first words from the lunar surface will continue after all. ...

More about the first moonwalker:

Alan Boyle is's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.

US Secretary of State Clinton hospitalised with blood clot - Firstpost

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital on Sunday with a blood clot linked to a concussion she suffered earlier this month, the State Department said in an announcement that looked sure to fuel speculation over the health of one of America's best-known political figures.

Clinton, 65, has been out of the public spotlight since mid-December, when officials said she suffered a concussion after fainting due to a stomach virus contracted during a trip to Europe.

"In the course of a follow-up exam today, Secretary Clinton's doctors discovered a blood clot had formed, stemming from the concussion she sustained several weeks ago," State Department spokesman Philippe Reines said in a statement.

"She is being treated with anti-coagulants and is at New York-Presbyterian Hospital so that they can monitor the medication over the next 48 hours," Reines said. "They will determine if any further action is required."

U.S. officials said on December 15 that Clinton, who canceled an overseas trip because of the stomach virus, suffered a concussion after fainting due to dehydration.

They have since described her condition as improving and played down suggestions that it was more serious. She had been expected to return to work this week.

Clinton's illness, already the subject of widespread political speculation, forced her to cancel planned testimony to Congress on December 20 in connection with a report on the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

The attack became the subject of heated political debate in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election in November, and Republican lawmakers have repeatedly demanded that Clinton appear to answer questions directly.

Clinton's two top deputies testified in her place on the September 11 attack in Benghazi, which killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans and raised questions about security at far-flung diplomatic posts.

Some Republican commentators have implied that Clinton was seeking to avoid questioning on the subject, suggestions that have been strongly rebutted by State Department officials.

Clinton has stressed that she remains ready to testify and was expected to appear before lawmakers this month before she steps down, as planned, around the time of Obama's inauguration for his second term in late January.

After narrowly losing the Democratic presidential nomination to Obama in 2008, Clinton has been consistently rated as the most popular member of his Cabinet and is often mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2016.

Any serious medical concern could throw a fresh question mark over her future plans, although she has frequently alluded to her general good health.


Dr. Edward Ellerbeck, a professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, said clots are more common in people who are sedentary, genetically predisposed, or on certain types of medicines such as the contraceptive pill or Estrogen replacements.

Ellerbeck, who is not treating Clinton, said clots are usually treated with blood thinners, typically for three to six months, and generally carry a low risk of further complications

Clinton is not known to have any of the risk factors that increase the risk of abnormal clotting, such as atherosclerosis or autoimmune disorders.

Head injuries such as the one she sustained earlier this month are associated more with bleeding than with clotting.

In one well-known case of bleeding following a head injury, actress Natasha Richardson hit her head skiing in 2009 and seemed fine, but died two days later of a hematoma, or bleeding between the outer membrane of the brain and the skull.

Clinton has said she wants to take a break from public life and has laughed off suggestions that she may mount another bid to become the first woman president of the United States – a goal she came close to reaching in 2008.

Her stint as secretary of state has further burnished the credentials she earned as a political partner to her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and later as a Democratic senator from New York.

In the four years since she became Obama's surprise choice as the top U.S. diplomat, Clinton has broken travel records as she dealt with immediate crises, including Libya and Syria, and sought to manage longer-term challenges, including U.S. relations with China and Russia.

She has maintained a punishing travel schedule, and was diagnosed with the virus after a December trip that took her to the Czech Republic, NATO headquarters in Brussels, Dublin and Belfast – where she had her last public appearance on December 7.

Officials announced on December 9 that she was ill with the stomach virus, forcing her to cancel a trip to North Africa and the Gulf that was to include a stop in Morocco for a meeting on the Syria crisis.


Clinton has repeatedly said that she only intended to serve one term, and aides said she was on track to leave office within the next few weeks, once a successor is confirmed by the Senate.

Her last months in office have been overshadowed by the Benghazi attack, the first to kill a U.S. ambassador in the line of duty since 1979, which brought sharp criticism of the State Department.

An independent inquiry this month found widespread failures in both security planning and internal management in the department.

It did not find Clinton personally responsible for any security failures, although she publicly took overall responsibility for Benghazi and the safety and security of U.S. diplomats overseas.

The State Department's top security officer resigned from his post under pressure and three other mid-level employees were relieved of their duties after the inquiry released its report.

The controversy also cost U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice her chance to succeed Clinton as secretary of state.

Rice drew heavy Republican criticism for comments on several television talk shows in which she said the attack appeared to be the result of a spontaneous demonstration rather than a planned assault. She ultimately withdrew her name for consideration for the top diplomatic job.

Obama on December 21 nominated Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to fill the position of secretary of state.

(Additional reporting by Jilian Mincer and Sharon Begley.; Editing by Eric Walsh and Christopher Wilson)

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness quits as an MP after refusing to take up his seat ... - Daily Mail

By Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor


Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has quit as an MP

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has quit as an MP

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has resigned as an MP.

The move comes 15 years after winning the Mid-Ulster seat in Westminster which he never took up.

He said his resignation was in line with his party's commitment to end 'double jobbing' where politicians held seats in Westminster and the Stormont assembly.

Mr McGuinness said he planned to concentrate on his job as Stormont MLA and deputy First Minister.

Francie Molloy will run for the seat in his place.

Mr McGuinness said: 'I am resigning as MP but I have no intention of leaving Mid-Ulster. South Derry and East Tyrone have suffered immensely as a result of the conflict.

'I will always be grateful to the people of this area for trusting me to represent them and their interests.

'I will of course continue to represent the Mid-Ulster constituency in the Assembly. I am honoured to do so both as an MLA and as deputy First Minister in equal partnership with Peter Robinson.'

He announced that he would quit as an MP in June.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

If only ALL the hypocritical and self-serving MPs are also refusing to take their seats!

Your comments:Good riddance. 2013, only 45 minutes old, is already better.

The cowardice of our MPs at westminster sometimes makes me ashamed to be British. If McGuinness refused to take his seat for 15 years, then he should have been kicked out and his party de-selected from the electoral process entirely. Meanwhile, Gerry Adams certainly had no qualms about accepting money from the British taxpayers

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has resigned as an MP. So what! It was a scandal that he became an MP anyway.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has resigned as an MP. So what! It was a scandal that he became an MP anyway.

Your comments: Good,

Francie Molloy is a more intelligent and moderate person, he has always taken a great interest in the environment.

I hope he didn't draw any pay for 15 years as he failed to turn up for work, and if he did take the money he should be taken to court for obtaining it by false pretences.

Has he claimed expenses while NOT taking up his seat and if so will he be paying them back......vile man.

Good riddance to bad rubbish. Why we pandered to this man of violence in the first place is anyone's guess. I have a feeling we will be hearing a lot more of the truth of his actions and intentions in the years to come...

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

Budget Compromise Takes Shape - Wall Street Journal

The White House and Senate Republicans are closing in on a budget compromise that would raise tax rates on couples making more than $450,000 a year, increase taxes on large inheritances and extend unemployment benefits for a year.

However, with the New Year's deadline approaching, negotiators were hung up on how, if at all, to postpone the $110 billion in spending cuts due to take effect Jan. 2.

The emerging deal, which was developed during all-night negotiations between Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden, hasn't been embraced by senior Senate Democrats, and came under fire from liberals in the president's own party.

Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), shown on Monday, was working with Vice President Joe Biden on a compromise to avert the fiscal cliff.

"The direction they are heading in is absolutely the wrong direction for our country," said Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa).

The emerging compromise, described by people familiar with the talks, would permanently raise tax rates on households making more than $450,000 a year. It would also raise rates on capital gains and dividends for those households, from 15% now to Clinton-era levels of roughly 20%.

That represents a concession by President Barack Obama, who has long argued the income threshold for tax increases should be $250,000. He had offered a $400,000 threshold in earlier unsuccessful talks with House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio)

Make Your Own Deficit-Reduction Plan

Try your hand at balancing the budget and share the results.

Looking Over the Fiscal Cliff

The federal government faces a rolling series of deadlines over the next few months in its continuing budget battle. Take a look ahead.

Falling Over the Fiscal Cliff

See some scenarios for how different groups of people may be affected by the tax changes that will take place if the fiscal cliff isn't resolved by the Jan. 1., 2013, deadline.

Another component of the emerging deal would limit the number of personal exemptions as well as the value of itemized deductions, two restrictions that would kick in at $250,000 for individuals and $300,000 for couples. Those limits were abolished as part of the 2001 Bush tax revamp.

President Obama, in a statement from the White House, said negotiators had made "progress" over the last few days toward a deal.

"It appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year's tax hike is within sight, but it's not done," Mr. Obama said. "There are still issues left to resolve but we're hopeful Congress can get it done."

The president said negotiators on "the potential agreement" are still struggling to agree on a way to tackle the automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, that are set to take effect in coming days.

He said the emerging compromise, which is far smaller than policy makers had hoped to achieve, would keep taxes from increasing on the middle class and lay a foundation for larger deficit reduction in the future.

"If Republicans think I will finish he job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone... then they've got another thing coming," Mr. Obama said. "That's not how it's going to work. We've got to do this in a balanced and responsible way."

Negotiators have crafted a compromise that would set the estate tax at 40% on inheritances over $5 million, up from the 35% that applies now to estates over $5.12 million. That's not as high as the 45% rate Mr. Obama sought with a $3.5 million exemption.

The potential deal calls for a permanent fix to the alternative minimum tax, a one-year extension of unemployment insurance benefits, and a five-year extension of other tax breaks. It also would block a scheduled cut in Medicare payments to doctors for one year.

The sticking point in negotiations is how to handle automatic spending cuts set to take effect in the New Year. The White House wants a one-year delay that is offset by spending cuts and revenue raised through tax increases. Republicans want either no delay in the so-called sequester or for it to be offset entirely by spending cuts.

What happens Monday could go some way to determining the short-term fate of the U.S. economy and the reputation of the government, both of which have been tarnished by the spectacle of endless seemingly circular negotiations. In the past two weeks, at least three different sets of negotiation teams have sought a way out.

In a sign of opposition that could mount to any deal from liberal Democrats, Sen. Harkin took to the Senate floor to criticize reports that the compromise was taking shape in negotiations between Messrs. McConnell and Biden.

Still, some remained hopeful that elements of a deal were on the table and could be brought into alignment at the last minute.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) urged colleagues not to "prejudge'' the outcome before the negotiations are complete.

"This is a compromise. We don't have a parliamentary system of government here,'' said Ms. Boxer, who like other Democrats from high-cost states, welcomes a compromise that raises the threshold on income-tax increases because $250,000 doesn't go as far in California as it does in other regions.

"I am hopeful that we will get something done,'' Ms. Boxer said. "If we do, and it is fair—fair enough—we should get our country off this cliff.''

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said earlier Monday on the Senate floor that discussions continue, but warned "we really are running out of time," adding "There are a number of issues on which the two sides are still apart."

In the absence of a bipartisan deal, Mr. Reid is preparing for a Monday vote on a bill to carry out Mr. Obama's backup proposal, which tackles only a few items on the legislative agenda, including extending current tax rates for income up to $250,000 for couples filing jointly. Democrats are confident they could pass the bill through the Senate. A key question is whether the House, which returned Sunday evening, would approve it if it doesn't enjoy broad bipartisan support in the Senate.

The fate of the spending cuts has been a lingering issue for days in the negotiations.

Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said Sunday it remained a problem that Democrats wanted to spend the new tax revenue that would be raised by increasing the top rates. "All the money is being spent—it's not being used for any kind of deficit reduction," he said.

To address that concern, Republicans, in negotiations with Mr. Reid, resurrected a proposal to cut spending by slowing the growth of Social Security's cost-of-living adjustments. Mr. Obama, rare among Democrats, has shown some willingness to accept the idea, but only as part of a broader budget deal, not the kind of stopgap measure being devised in the Senate.

Mr. Reid was sharply opposed, and the proposal, which is known as "chained CPI," nearly brought the talks to a halt until Republicans withdrew the idea.

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) said "we're closer than one would think" to a deal, but "we cannot win a PR battle where we are holding fast on tax breaks for the wealthiest people versus the chained CPI. It's not a winning hand."

Write to Janet Hook at and Carol E. Lee at

Sayonara, netbooks: Asus (and the rest) won't make any more in 2013 - The Guardian

Sayonara, netbooks. The end of 2012 marks the end of the manufacture of the diddy machines that were - for a time - the Great White Hope of the PC market.

If you believed ABI Research in 2009, then next year netbooks (initially defined as machines with Intel Atom processors and screens less than 10in diagonally - though the definition became fuzzier over time) will sell 139m. (The original ABI press release with the forecast, linked from the Wikipedia page on netbooks, and still there until May 2011, has disappeared. But you can get a flavour of its optimism from the URL of the press release (which contains the phrase "an era begins") and the research paper it was offering in late 2010 which had forecasts for netbook sales through to 2015 and the names of 23 vendors (including - quiz question - Nokia.)

Still, there's an eWeek article from July in which ABI says that "consumer interest in netbooks shows no sign of waning, and the attraction remains the same: value rather than raw performance."

Actually, the number sold in 2013 will be very much closer to zero than to 139m. The Taiwanese tech site Digitimes points out that Asus, which kicked off the modern netbook category with its Eee PC in 2007, has announced that it won't make its Eee PC product after today, and that Acer doesn't plan to make any more; which means that "the netbook market will officially end after the two vendors finish digesting their remaining inventories."

Asustek and Acer were the only two companies still making netbooks, with everyone else who had made them (including Samsung, HP and Dell) having shifted to tablets. Asustek and Acer were principally aiming at southeast Asia and South America - but of course those are now targets for smartphones and cheap Android tablets.

That's something of a turnround for Acer, which in September was still insisting that it would "continue to make netbooks", even though Lenovo, Dell and Asustek had all withdrawn.

Intel, which made its Atom processor with the intent of aiming at lower-cost, lower-power, longer-battery-life PCs, is still going to keep making the Atom; those will be pushed into the embedded market for point-of-sale applications.

What killed the netbook?

There are four candidates: the rest of the PC market (including the arrival of ultrabooks); the economy; the economics of netbooks; and the iPad plus the attendant rise of tablets.

The rest of the PC market

Looking at the rest of the PC market first: the writing has been on the wall for a while. Even in May 2009, when netbooks were just two years old (and the iPad wasn't even a rumour), Jack Schofield was asking whether netbooks were losing their shine, pointing out that

US-based DisplaySearch indicates that while first quarter netbook sales were up by 556% compared with the same quarter last year, they were down by 26% sequentially, compared with the fourth quarter of 2008. Notebook sales declined 24% sequentially, so netbook shipments are no longer growing against the market trend.

As he also pointed out then, a key factor in that slowdown was that Linux didn't work well as an OS for users who were expecting to run PC software - which meant that Windows XP had to be pressed into the task. But that meant cleaving to Microsoft's demands:

"the increase in specifications that has pushed up netbook prices. The classic netbook was cheaper than a notebook because it had a 7-inch screen, a small Flash drive, an Intel Atom processor, and used Linux instead of Microsoft's Windows Vista. Today's netbooks have 10- or 12-inch screens, 160MB hard drives, and run Windows XP. It is still cheaper to make a netbook than a notebook, but the gap has narrowed."

The promise of the netbook was that it would be more portable, have longer battery life, and run all the software you needed. With the overall PC market shifting towards more and more replacements, the netbook arrived at the right time to create a "first-time" market - of people buying a machine purely for its portability and/or battery life.

There wasn't anything to compete directly with netbooks on price. But other lower-end notebooks could offer bigger screens and more storage. The price delta became thinner and thinner, and as battery life improved on cheaper notebooks, it became harder to justify scrimping and just buying a netbook.

So the availability of laptops that cost less than previously was certainly a factor.

The suggestion that ultrabooks - very thin, light laptops - killed the netbook doesn't make sense, since ultrabooks have barely made any impact on the laptop market, let alone the wider PC market. But Apple's introduction of an 11in MacBook Air in late 2010 (no optical drive, solid-state storage) at $999 showed the PC industry that there was definitely money to be made at the higher end. That's what kicked off the ultrabook scheme, even though it hasn't yet repaid the investment. The MacBook Air probably didn't take any sales away from netbooks - the price difference would see to that - but it did point out to PC manufacturers struggling to make a margin that cheaper wasn't actually the way to go.

The economy

The global economy cratered just as netbooks were beginning to take off. Remember the credit crunch of 2008, and how the banks nearly failed? From Q4 2008, the PC market saw three quarters in which shipments shrank. But those were followed from Q4 2009 by three quarters of growth above 20% (because the comparison with shrinking growth always looks good). And PC sales were, in the past, tied to the economy; when it grew, they grew, roughly in line.

Even so, netbook shipments grew strongly from 2008 to 2009. The slowdown hit in 2010: early that year, sales "took a nosedive", IDC's David Daoud told PCWorld, falling from over 2m in Q1 2010 to only just over 1.5m by the end of the year. By the fourth quarter of 2011, US netbook sales had fallen to about 750,000.

Netbook sales in US US netbook sales Q1 2010 - Q4 2011. Source: IDC

A similar trend was reflected worldwide, with Q1 2010 shipments of 9m dropping to about 6.2m by Q4 2011. But that's the quarter in which overall PC sales rose by more than 20%. Clearly, the economy didn't do it.

The economics of netbooks

This is a different matter to the world economy, though. What's the key thing about netbooks? That they are (or were) cheap - the Eee PC started (in its Linux incarnation) as a $199 product.

The trouble with that sort of pricing, though, is that it leaves very little margin. Especially once netbooks all began running Windows XP, where the licence could cost anything from $30 upwards per unit, and more like $50 per unit for Windows 7, there just wasn't much room left for the manufacturer to make a profit.

And besides that, just as pundits thought netbooks were looking forward to a grand time, other things happened. PC manufacturers needed better margins (because of the Windows 7 pricing squeeze, and a market that was slowing and shifting further to laptops). And then Apple announced the iPad.

The iPad and all the tablets

In January 2010, Apple announced the iPad. In April 2010, it went on sale. By mid-2010, a host of other companies were announcing their own tablets (running Android). Suddenly tablets were the hot thing in the computing market, and the netbook looked a bit like, well, last year's thing.

It's notable that the first area where netbook sales began falling was the US market, where the iPad first had its big success. The irony is that the iPad cost more than a netbook, and arguably does less: you can't run Office on it, nor your favourite Windows app. But it did have better portability than a netbook, and much better battery life (some netbooks on sale in 2009 were only getting three hours - no different from pricier laptops). And like the netbook it had no optical drive, and limited storage, meaning that cloud services were key.

By February this year, it was clear that the netbook was done. And here is the killer stat: shipments of tablets in 2011 overtook those of netbooks - 63m against 29.4m. (The year before it had been the other way around, at 23m v 39.4m; but that was the first year of "modern" tablets.)

And for 2012, tablet shipments are forecast to hit 122.3m (according to IDC's latest forecast, made in December). Netbooks, meanwhile, don't seem to have troubled the forecasters this year. And for 2013? IDC reckons tablet shipments will hit 172m. And we know what the figure will be for netbooks - zero (apart from inventories being cleared).


Netbooks had a short but interesting life - going from the one-time saviour of the PC industry, to just another mispriced attempt to push some low-powered Intel chips and garner more money for Microsoft.

But the squeeze on pricing, plus the fact that Windows licences aren't free, meant that they got pushed into a tiny niche: worse specifications than slightly pricier laptops, no margin for the manufacturers, and worse battery life and portability than the burgeoning number of tablets with custom apps.

The questions that do remain is what's going to happen to the various government contracts in countries such as Greece and Malaysia to equip schools with netbooks - or whether those contracts have finished, or been discontinued.

What, too, about the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project? Essentially, it's trying to get netbook-like devices to classrooms in developing countries. There hasn't been much news of huge wins this year, though, going by its end-of-year blogpost. Perhaps it will function independently of the death of consumer netbooks.

So farewell, netbooks. It was nice knowing you, but ultimately, you were just another PC.

Want to be a doctor in Britain? Brace for tougher examinations - Times of India

LONDON: Indian doctors wanting to work in Britain will face a more rigorous assessment in future. This was decided by the United Kingdom's health authorities after figures showed a high proportion of doctors who lose their registration in UK are from abroad.

Almost 36% of all doctors practicing in the UK are from abroad, with the largest segment coming from India. Without them the National Health Service (NHS) would collapse. But in the last five years it was found that 63% of overseas doctors either struck off from the register or suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC) are qualified for the profession outside UK.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, British Medical Association (BMA) director of professional activities, said, "It is clear that doctors qualified overseas are more likely to be subject to disciplinary action. However, more research is needed to understand why this is the case. The UK is still short of doctors and so we must ensure that those coming from overseas are given adequate support to be able to practice medicine in the UK."

The GMC's new reforms included an induction programme , better checks and a review of the present testing system. Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the GMC, said, "We absolutely acknowledge that when it comes to the serious end of the scale, those from overseas are more likely to appear, and we have set about a series of reforms to address this."

A pilot scheme of the new induction programme for all arriving doctors is scheduled to be launched in early 2013. This will combine online training in British medical practices with a one-day course covering some of the issues facing new entrants.

The Performance and Linguistic Assessments Board test for applying doctors will be made more difficult then present. The doctors will have to demonstrate their clinical skills and competence before they are accepted for practice in the UK.

Francis Maude: Tories must modernise or face 'oblivion' -

"Today the Conservative Party today is closer to being a genuinely contemporary party," he wrote.

"But we have to stay abreast of evolving social norms. We can't look like we want to turn the clock back to an imagined golden era.

"We should not assume that society will be willing to conform to our own expectations if they're out of kilter with the mainstream," he said.

"And we can't drive policy looking back through a rose-tinted rear-view mirror. There's a simple truth that if our social attitudes are seen as backward looking, we will be unelectable."

Mr Maude, a former Tory chairman, said the programme to modernise the party would "never" completed. He said he remained true to core Tory values and was still "realistically eurosceptic" and "an economic liberal".

But he had had changed his views on social questions over the years. "I've become more socially liberal. That's where the party has changed the most as well – but it's where British society has changed even more," he said.

The next decade in politics "will demand even more" reforms, he said.

"As British society continues to evolve so must the Conservative Party, if we are not to face electoral oblivion.

"If we fail to keep pace – fail to understand and influence the spirit of the age – we will be rightly punished by the electorate."

The Prime Minister's outspoken support for legalising same-sex marriages, including in churches and other religious settings, has dismayed many traditional Tories.

More than 100 Tory MPs and peers are opposed to the plans, while grassroots Conservatives have warned that the policy is driving activists away from the party.

Yesterday, Grant Shapps, the Conservative chairman, insisted that MPs would be given a free vote on the "equal marriage" Bill, which is expected to be introduced next year.

The plan has boosted Mr Cameron's popularity among gay voters.

A recent poll by Pink News, a leading online publication for gay people, found six out of 10 of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people questioned liked the Conservatives more as a result of the policy.

Francis Maude: Tories must modernise or face 'oblivion' -

"Today the Conservative Party today is closer to being a genuinely contemporary party," he wrote.

"But we have to stay abreast of evolving social norms. We can't look like we want to turn the clock back to an imagined golden era.

"We should not assume that society will be willing to conform to our own expectations if they're out of kilter with the mainstream," he said.

"And we can't drive policy looking back through a rose-tinted rear-view mirror. There's a simple truth that if our social attitudes are seen as backward looking, we will be unelectable."

Mr Maude, a former Tory chairman, said the programme to modernise the party would "never" completed. He said he remained true to core Tory values and was still "realistically eurosceptic" and "an economic liberal".

But he had had changed his views on social questions over the years. "I've become more socially liberal. That's where the party has changed the most as well – but it's where British society has changed even more," he said.

The next decade in politics "will demand even more" reforms, he said.

"As British society continues to evolve so must the Conservative Party, if we are not to face electoral oblivion.

"If we fail to keep pace – fail to understand and influence the spirit of the age – we will be rightly punished by the electorate."

The Prime Minister's outspoken support for legalising same-sex marriages, including in churches and other religious settings, has dismayed many traditional Tories.

More than 100 Tory MPs and peers are opposed to the plans, while grassroots Conservatives have warned that the policy is driving activists away from the party.

Yesterday, Grant Shapps, the Conservative chairman, insisted that MPs would be given a free vote on the "equal marriage" Bill, which is expected to be introduced next year.

The plan has boosted Mr Cameron's popularity among gay voters.

A recent poll by Pink News, a leading online publication for gay people, found six out of 10 of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people questioned liked the Conservatives more as a result of the policy.

Commission sales are abolished on financial policies - BBC News

Financial advisers and sales staff can no longer be paid commissions by the firms whose policies they are selling.

New rules, aimed at eradicating the long-standing practice, are being imposed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) from 31 December.

The aim is to stop policies being mis-sold by sales staff, motivated by the lure of lucrative commission payments.

Instead, customers must be quoted up-front fees, and be told about the charges in advance.

Sales staff or financial advisers will also have to state if they are really independent, or restricted to just selling the policies of particular financial groups.

The reforms form part of a series of changes in the financial services industry called the Retail Distribution Review, and which were first proposed by the FSA back in early 2010.

Linda Woodall at the FSA said: "The changes will improve customer confidence - we want people to feel that they are getting a service from their financial adviser that is relevant to their circumstances and in their best interests.

"These changes are about making the cost of advice clearer, where else would you buy something without knowing in advance how much it costs?

"Customers will now know how much advice is costing them, the service that they are receiving and be reassured that their adviser is qualified," she added.

Mis-selling scandals

The changes should ensure that independent financial advisers no longer receive payment for their advice by taking a regular cut of their clients funds via commission payments, something the clients may not be aware of at all.

The new policy will apply to the sale of investments such as pensions, annuities and unit trusts, but not to mortgages and insurance policies.

Commission-driven sales are thought to have been at the heart of the huge mis-selling scandals of the past few decades, affecting the sale of endowment policies, personal pensions and most recently payment protection insurance (PPI).

Even apart from those scandals, the FSA estimated in 2010 that mis-selling in general was costing UK financial consumers about half a billion pounds a year.

A recent survey for the FSA found that 17% of adults currently take advice from a professional financial adviser and another 32% would consider doing so.

But a third of the respondents thought, wrongly, that the advice was free and that they did not have to pay a charge.

The new policies will also stop, from the end of 2013, the practice of businesses such as fund supermarkets or online discount stockbrokers accepting payments from some of the investment funds whose policies they are selling.

This is also thought to lead to biased sales, which may not be in the best interests of private investors.

Part of these payments has sometimes found its way back to the personal investor in the form of a cash rebate, but they are also used to cross-subsidise the provision of other services, such as stock and shares Isas.

Its official! Heels really do make women look good - Indian Express

Women wearing heels are rated as more attractive than when wearing flat shoes, even when the people who are making the judgement are unable to see their faces or bodies, researchers have revealed.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth say that heels change the way the entire body moves, including the pelvis, hips, legs, knees, feet and even the shoulders, to emphasise femininity, the Independent reported.

The researchers suggest that evolution could partly explain the continuing popularity of high heels as an article of the female wardrobe.

The women who took part in the study had an average of around 10 pairs of heels, and wore them at least once a week.

They were filmed walking for four minutes wearing identical flat shoes and 6cm heels.

To avoid the rating of attractiveness being influenced by anything other than high heels, the researchers used a process known as point-light display, in which lit markers are placed on key parts of the body and the raters or judges see only the patterns of these lights as the woman walks.

Men and women watched 30-second video clips of the point-light displays of the walkers in high heels and flat shoes moving towards them. They then made judgements for femininity and attractiveness. All the women were rated as more attractive when wearing heels and women, judges rated them as more attractive than did the men.

The study has been published in the scientific journal Evolution and Human Behavior

Tags: women look good heels, heels make women good, lifestyle news

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Britain heading in right direction: Cameron - Business Recorder (blog)

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday Britain was heading in the right direction on all its major issues and could look forward to 2013 with realism and optimism. In a New Year video message, Cameron said the country had made progress on cutting its budget deficit, reforming welfare and improving school standards.

Deficit reduction and preserving Britain's credit rating have been goals for the coalition of Cameron's Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, which came to power in June 2010 just after the budget deficit peaked at 11.2 percent of GDP.

Last year, it was down to 8 percent of GDP but the government's own budget watchdog forecasts it will take until 2017 before it falls below 3 percent and the government manages to run a surplus on cyclically adjusted non-investment spending. Finance minister George Osborne had originally planned to meet this goal by the next election in 2015, but slow growth over the last two years now makes that look impossible.

Cameron said his administration was "a government in a hurry" which would not give in to pressure to slow the pace of deficit reduction or rein in reforms to welfare and education.

"We can look to the future with realism and optimism. Realism, because you can't cure problems that were decades in the making overnight. There are no quick fixes and I wouldn't claim otherwise.

"But we can be optimistic too because we are making tangible progress.

Cameron said Britain was heading in the right direction. The budget deficit was forecast to be a quarter smaller at the New Year than it was in 2010 and that almost half a million more people were in work since then.

"Britain is in a global race to succeed today. It is a race with countries like China, India and Indonesia: a race for the jobs and opportunities of the future.

"So when people say we can slow down on cutting our debts, we are saying 'no.' We can't win in this world with a great millstone of debt round our necks.

He made no mention of Britain's place in the European Union, an issue which many analysts believe will be high on the political agenda in 2013 and on which he is due to make a long-delayed keynote speech in the New Year.

Trailing in opinion polls and under pressure from an anti-EU group within his Conservative party, Cameron wants to take advantage of the euro zone crisis to renegotiate Britain's relationship with Brussels and win more opt-outs from its rules.

Copyright Reuters, 2012

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'Fiscal cliff' at hand - talks continue - San Francisco Chronicle

Washington --

A Capitol Hill deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" proved elusive Sunday as a deadline to avert tax hikes on virtually every American worker and block sweeping spending cuts that are set to strike the Pentagon and other federal agencies grew perilously near.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell remained at odds on such key issues as the income threshold for higher tax rates and how to deal with inheritance taxes, among other issues.

McConnell complained that Reid had failed to respond to a GOP offer made Saturday evening. The Kentucky Republican reached out to Vice President Joe Biden, a longtime friend, in hopes of breaking the impasse. Biden assumed the lead role for Democrats, and a McConnell spokesman said the two were expected to negotiate by telephone into the night.

Rank-and-file lawmakers left the Capitol on Sunday night with hopes that their leaders would give them something to vote on when they return Monday.

One sign of progress came as Republicans withdrew a long-discussed proposal to slow future cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients as part of a compromise to avoid the cliff. Democrats said earlier Sunday that the proposal had put a damper on the talks, and Republican senators emerging from a meeting said it is no longer part of the equation.

At stake are sweeping tax hikes and across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect at the turn of the year. Taken together, they've been dubbed the fiscal cliff, and economists warn that the one-two punch - which leaders in both parties have said they want to avoid - could send the still-fragile economy back into recession. Tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 expire at midnight Monday, and $109 billion in across-the-board cuts in federal spending this year would also begin this week.

Workers could see more taxes withheld from their paychecks, and federal agencies are likely to soon receive warning of possible furloughs if lawmakers fail to reach a deal.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the two sides remained at odds over the income threshold for higher tax rates and tax levels on large estates. Republicans said Democratic demands for new money to prevent a cut in Medicare payments to doctors and renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed should be financed with cuts elsewhere in the budget. Republicans also balked at a Democratic proposal to use new tax revenues to shut off the across-the-board spending cuts, known as a sequester in Washington-speak.

President Obama, in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," blamed Republicans for putting the nation's shaky economy at risk.

McConnell and Reid were hoping for a deal that would prevent higher taxes for most Americans while letting rates rise at higher income levels, although the precise point at which that would occur was a sticking point.

Obama had wanted to raise the top tax rate on individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families making more than $250,000 from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. In talks with Republican House Speaker John Boehner, he offered to raise that threshold to $400,000.

Hillary Clinton hospitalised with blood clot -

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is under observation at a New York hospital after being treated for a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month.

Clinton's doctors discovered the clot Sunday while performing a follow-up exam, her spokesman, Philippe Reines, said.

He would not elaborate on the location of the clot but said Clinton was being treated with anti-coagulants and would remain at New York-Presbyterian Hospital for at least the next 48 hours so doctors can monitor the medication.

"Her doctors will continue to assess her condition, including other issues associated with her concussion," Reines said in a statement. "They will determine if any further action is required."

Clinton, 65, fell and suffered a concussion while at home alone in mid-December as she recovered from a stomach virus that left her severely dehydrated. The concussion was diagnosed December 13 and Clinton was forced to cancel a trip to North Africa and the Middle East that had been planned for the next week.

The seriousness of a blood clot "depends on where it is," said Dr. Gholam Motamedi, a neurologist at Georgetown University Medical Center who was not involved in Clinton's care.

Clots in the legs are a common risk after someone has been bedridden, as Clinton may have been for a time after her concussion. Those are "no big deal" and are treated with six months of blood thinners to allow them to dissolve on their own and to prevent further clots from forming, he said.

A clot in a lung or the brain is more serious. Lung clots, called pulmonary embolisms, can be deadly, and a clot in the brain can cause a stroke, Motamedi said.

Keeping Clinton in the hospital for a couple of days could allow doctors to perform more tests to determine why the clot formed, and to rule out a heart problem or other condition that may have led to it, he said.

Dr. Larry Goldstein, a neurologist who is director of Duke University's stroke center, said blood can pool on the surface of the brain or in other areas of the brain after a concussion, but those would not be treated with blood thinners, as Clinton's aide described.

Clinton was forced to cancel Dec. 20 testimony before Congress about a scathing report into the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The report found that serious failures of leadership and management in two State Department bureaus were to blame for insufficient security at the facility. Clinton took responsibility for the incident before the report was released, but she was not blamed.

Some conservative commentators suggested Clinton was faking the seriousness of her illness and concussion to avoid testifying, although State Department officials vehemently denied that was the case.

Lawmakers at the hearings - including Democratic Sen. John Kerry, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed Clinton - offered her their best wishes.

Last Thursday, before the discovery of the blood clot, Reines said Clinton was expected to return to work this week.

The former first lady and senator, who had always planned to step down as America's top diplomat in January, is known for her grueling travel schedule. She is the most traveled secretary of state in history, having visited 112 countries while in the job.

Clinton is considered a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, although she has not announced plans to run.

- AP