Tag Archives: North American

April 2012 Revisited – The Game That Cost Manchester United The Title; Dortmund Repeat; Dempsey Keeps Scoring

By Bobby McMahon, ContributorManchester City comes very close to losing at the Etihad Stadium for the first time in 15 months but fight back from 3-1 down with only minutes left to draw 3-3 with Sunderland. Los Angeles Galaxy’s horrible start to the new North American season continues as they lose their third home […]
Source: Forbes Latest

Report: North American production of foreign marques to jump in 2014

By Zach Bowman

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Wards Auto has released its North American Light Vehicle Production Forecast for 2014, and the report predicts foreign manufacturers will increase production on the continent some 3.9 percent by 2014. If accurate, that should see 123,000 additional cars, trucks and vans produced in North America, swelling the total number of units produced both by domestic and foreign manufacturers to 16.9 million light vehicles from a projected 15.6 million in 2013. Much of the increase can be attributed to the fact that Toyota intends to produce another car at its Blue Springs, MS plant as well as a new Lexus model at its Georgetown, KY facility in a year’s time.

Likewise, Volkswagen intends to move production of a currently imported model to its plant in Puebla, Mexico. Daimler, Honda, Nissan and Mazda also plan to build additional models on North American soil for the first time. Around two-thirds of the new North American manufacturing will take place in Mexico, helping the country soak up a full 20 percent of the content’s automotive production for the first time. You can head over to the Wards Auto site for the full report.

North American production of foreign marques to jump in 2014 originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 23 Dec 2012 15:06:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: Autoblog

The Hobbit Remains Box Office Champ

As expected, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey remained the No. 1 movie at the North American box office this weekend, easily fending off newcomers Jack Reacher, This is 40, The Guilt Trip, and Monsters Inc. 3D.

However, The Hobbit did suffer the biggest second weekend drop (57%) of any movie based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth series. Weep not for The Hobbit just yet, though, as it has so far earned $288 million worldwide (although Les Miserables had a bigger debut in Japan than The Hobbit did).

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Source: IGN Movies

Report: Insider trading ahead of Hyundai-Kia MPG debacle suspected

By Seyth Miersma

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Reuters is reporting that large-scale insider trading may be at the heart of some particularly fishy stock-selling behavior, just prior to the original announcement about the Hyundai-Kia fuel economy ratings debacle.

On November 1st, HyundaiKia shares traded roughly 2.2 million times (the single highest-volume day of the year), and the stock price fell by about four percent. For reference, a standard daily trading volume for the stock in 2012 saw about 600k shares trading hands. On November 2nd, the company made public the bad news about the dropping fuel economy ratings for many of its models. In other words: No one outside of the company (and only a smallish group inside the company, we’d imagine) should have known anything about the impending bad news as of the first day of November. After the announcement, the stock price tanked, as you’d expect, and trading volume was way down as well.

Experts seem fully aware that the whole thing reeks of leaked information and subsequent insider trading. If chicanery on this sort of scale seems wacky to you, you’d be inline with the experts who report to Reuters that the level of trading is absolutely suspicious.

The problem is, it seems, that this kind of market reaction is far from uncommon in Asia, especially. Research points out that 26 percent of price-sensitive announcements in the Asia Pacific region showed some hint of information leakage, just in the first quarter of this year. That figure is roughly double what is expected in North American markets; due in some significant part to much less stringent enforcement of insider trading regulations in Asia, as well as an established culture that doesn’t necessarily see the behavior as criminal.

Insider trading ahead of Hyundai-Kia MPG debacle suspected originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Dec 2012 17:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: Autoblog

Mexico's Maya heartland welcomes dawn of new era

Ceremonial fires burned and conches sounded off as dawn broke over the steps of the main pyramid at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza Friday, making what many believe is the conclusion of a vast, 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar.

Some have interpreted the prophetic moment as the end of the world. The hundreds gathered in the ancient Mayan city, however, said they believed it marked the birth of a new and better age.

Genaro Hernandez stood with his arms outstretched to the morning light, all clad in white, facing the pyramids’ grey stone, to welcome the new era.

“This world is being reborn as a better world,” said Hernandez, a 55-year old accountant who wore an expression of bliss.

No one was quite sure at what time the Mayas’ 13th Baktun would officially end on this Dec. 21. Some think it already ended at midnight. Others looked to Friday’s dawn here in the Maya heartland. Some had later times in mind. One thing became clear to many on the site by Friday morning: The world had not ended.

Mexico‘s National Institute of Anthropology and History even suggested that historical calculations to synchronize the Mayan and Western calendars might be off a few days. It said the Mayan Long Count calendar cycle might not really end until Sunday.

Whatever the details, the chance to mark epochal change seemed to be the main concern among celebrants drawn to the Yucatan peninsula.

Hundreds of people were scattered around the vast central plaza of Chichen Itza, some kneeling in attitudes of prayer, some seated with arms outstretched in positions of meditation, all facing El Castillo, the massive main pyramid.

Ivan Gutierrez, a 37-year-old artist who lives in the nearby village, stood before the pyramid and blew a low, sonorous blast on a conch horn. “It has already arrived, we are already in it,” he said of the new era. “We are in a frequency of love, we are in a new vibration.”

But it was unclear how long the love would last: A security guard quickly came over and asked him to stop blowing his conch shell, enforcing the ruin site’s ban on holding ceremonies without previous permits.

What nobody was calling the moment was the end of the world, as some people in recent years have interpreted the meaning of the end of the 13th Baktun — despite the insistence of archeologists and the Maya themselves it meant no such thing.

“We’ll still have to pay taxes next year,” said Gabriel Romero, a Los Angeles-based spiritualist who uses crystal skulls in his ceremonies.

If the chanting and dancing of a crystal skull ceremony held Thursday weren’t enough to end fears of an apocalypse, scientists chimed in, too.

Bill Leith, the U.S. Geological Survey’s senior science adviser for earthquake and geologic hazards, said that by late Thursday, absolutely nothing out of the ordinary had been detected in seismic activities, solar flares, volcanos or the Earth’s geomagnetic field.

“It’s a fairly unremarkable day on planet Earth today, and in the last few days,” Leith said. “There are no major eruptions going on.”

There had been about 120 small earthquakes and a moderate temblor in Japan, he said. “That’s very much a normal day.”

Still, there were some who wouldn’t truly feel safe until the sun sets Friday over the pyramids in Yucatan peninsula, the heartland of the Maya.

Mexico‘s best-known seer, Antonio Vazquez Alba, known as “El Brujo Mayor,” said he had received emails containing rumors that a mass suicide might be planned in Argentina.

End-of-the-world paranoia, in fact, has spread around the world.

Dozens of schools in Michigan canceled classes for thousands of students this week amid rumors of violence tied to the prophetic date. In France, people expecting doomsday were looking expectantly to a mountain in the Pyrenees where they believe a hidden spaceship was waiting to spirit them away. And in China, government authorities were cracking down on a fringe Christian group spreading rumors about the world’s end, while preaching that Jesus had reappeared as a woman in central China.

Vazquez said he was sure that human nature represented the only threat Friday. “Nature isn’t going to do us any harm, but we can do damage to ourselves,” he said.

Authorities worried about overcrowding and possible stampedes during celebrations Friday at Mayan ruin sites like Chichen Itza and Uxmal, both about 1 1/2 hours from Merida, the Yucatan state capital. Special police and guard details were assigned to the pyramids.

As Friday’s dawn began sweeping around the globe, there was no sign of an apocalypse.

Indeed, the social network Imgur posted photos of clocks turning midnight in the Asia-Pacific region with messages such as: “The world has not ended. Sincerely, New Zealand.”

Average residents of the Yucatan, where the Mayas invented the 394-year calendar cycles known as baktuns, the 13th of which ends Friday, were pretty upbeat about the day.

Yucatan Gov. Rolando Zapata said he felt growing good vibes.

“We believe that the beginning of a new baktun means the beginning of a new era, and we’re receiving it with great optimism,” Zapata said.

Even before the baktun’s end, hundreds of spiritualists from Asian, North American, South American and European shamanistic traditions mingled amiably with the Mexican hosts at a convention center in Merida on Thursday.

Dozens of booths offered people the chance to have their auras photographed with “Chi” light, get a shamanic cleansing or buy sandals, herbs and whole-grain baked goods.

“This is the beginning of a change in priorities and perceptions. We are all one,” said Esther Romo, a Mexico City businesswoman who works in art promotion and galleries. “No limits, no boundaries, no nationalities, just fusion.”

Source: Fox World News

Official: Lotus Evora 'Sports Racer' is oddly named and fully loaded

By Seyth Miersma

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<img alt="2013 Lotus Evora 'Sports Racer‘ – red – profile view” src=”http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2012/12/lotus-evora-s-sports-racer-628.jpg” style=”margin-top: 4px;margin-bottom: 4px;width: 628px;height: 308px” />

Lotus has just announced a new EvoraSports Racer‘ model that is, well, frankly not much more sporty or racy than the standard Evora or Evora S. Instead, the British company calls the Sports Racer a “visually enhanced and optimized version” of both the Evora and supercharged Evora S. To unpack that a little: The new trim will get a new set of unique exterior colors and a revised interior treatment, and it’s fully decked out with options.

The ‘Sports Racer‘ will be available in the buyer’s choice of Carbon Grey, Nightfall Blue and the Ardent Red that you see in the image above (the only image we’ve seen of the car so far). Gloss black accents set the model apart and can be seen on the roof, forged wheels, mirrors and rear badges. Inside, one may choose between black-leather sports seats with red piping and stitching, or a Venom Red leather interior with black piping and stitching. How naughty.

In terms of tech, the ‘Sports Racer‘ gets Lotus’ Sports Pack and its remapped throttle response, higher redline, more powerful cross-drilled brakes and a more aggressively programmed Dynamic Performance Management system. The stereo system is also upgraded from the basic Evora, with a DVD player and seven-inch touchscreen display thrown in for good measure.

The whole shebang will run European and British customers 57,900 pounds ($94,145 at today’s exchange rates) for the Evora, and 65,900 pounds ($107,153) for the Evora S. At least for the moment, it appears this ‘Sports Racer‘ package will be a UK– and Europe-only spec, which, at least saves North American buyers from having to use this Lotus’ awkward single-quote trim name. See the full press release below.

Continue reading Lotus Evora ‘Sports Racer’ is oddly named and fully loaded

Lotus Evora ‘Sports Racer’ is oddly named and fully loaded originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Dec 2012 10:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: Autoblog

In Mexico, New Agers hope Dec. 21 brings new era

The celebration of the cosmic dawn began with a fumbling of the sacred fire meant to honor Friday’s end of the Mayan long count calendar.

Gabriel Lemus, the white-haired guardian of the flame, burned his finger on the kindling and later somebody knocked a burning log out of the ceremonial brazier onto the wooden stage, before he quickly scooped it up.

Still, the white-clad Lemus, like about 1,000 other shamans, seers, stargazers, crystal enthusiasts, yogis, sufis and swamis in a Merida convention center about an hour and a half from the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, was convinced that it was a good start to the coming “New Era” supposed to begin around 5:00 a.m. on Friday.

“It is a cosmic dawn,” said Lemus. “We will recover the ability to communicate telepathically and levitate objects … like our ancestors did.”

These are not people who believe the world will end on Friday; the summit is scheduled to run through Dec. 23. Instead, participants say, they are here to celebrate the birth of a new age.

A Mexican Indian seer who calls himself Ac Tah, and who has traveled around Mexico erecting small pyramids he calls “neurological circuits,” said he holds high hopes for Dec. 21.

“We are preparing ourselves to receive a huge magnetic field straight from the center of the galaxy,” he said.

Terry Kvasnik, 32, a stunt man and acrobat from Manchester, England, said it’s the beginning of a new era, and his motto for the day is “Be in love, don’t be in fear.” While he didn’t know exactly which ceremony he’ll attend on Friday, he guaranteed with a smile, “I’m going to be in the happiest place I can.”

The summit is the kind of place where you can see people wearing T-shirts that read “Shiva Rules,” or get your aura photographed with “chi” light. In the exhibition hall you can chose from a number of crystal vendors and faith healers.

You can learn the art of healing drumming with a Mexican Otomi Indian master who calls himself Dabadi Thaayroyadi. He said that his slender, hand-held, plate-sized drums are made with prayers embedded into them and emit “an intelligent energy” that can heal emotional, physical and social ailments.

During the opening ceremony participants held up their arms and chanted mantras to the blazing Yucatan sun, which quickly burned the fair-skinned crowd.

Violeta Simarro, a secretary from Perpignan, France, took shelter under a nearby awning and noted that the new age won’t necessarily be all peaches and cream.

“It will be a little difficult at first, because the world will need a complete ‘nettoyage’ (cleaning), because there are so many bad things,” she said.

Not all seers endorse the celebration.

Mexico‘s self-styled “brujo mayor,” or chief soothsayer, Antonio Vazquez Alba, warned followers to stay away from all gatherings on Dec. 21, saying, “We have to beware of mass psychosis” that could lead to stampedes or “mass suicides, of the kind we’ve seen before.”

“If you get 1,000 people in one spot and somebody yells ‘fire,’ watch out,” Vazquez Alba said. “The best thing is to stay at home, at work, in school, and at some point do a relaxation exercise.”

Others see the summit as a sort of model for the coming age.

Participants from Asian, North American, South American and European shamanistic traditions amiably mingled with the Mexican hosts.

“This is the beginning of a change in priorities and perceptions. We are all one,” said Esther Romo, a Mexico City businesswoman who works in art promotion and galleries. “No limits, no boundaries, no nationalities, just fusion.”

Still, organizers of Yucatan’s broader Mayan Culture Festival saw the need to answer some of the now-debunked idea that the Mayas, who invented an amazingly accurate calendar almost 2,000 years ago, had somehow predicted the end of the world. The Mayas measured time in 394-year periods known as Baktuns. The 13th Baktun ends around Dec. 21, and 13 is considered a sacred number for the Maya. But archaeologists have uncovered Mayan glyphs that refer to dates far, far in the future, long beyond Dec. 21.

The Yucatan state government invited in a scientist to talk about the work of Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, to debunk the idea it could produce world-ending rogue particles, a concept popularized by author Steve Alten in his recent book “Phobos, Mayan Fear.”

Alten suggests the rogue particles — “tiny black holes” — could unleash earthquakes that might cause a huge tsunami, but acknowledges that linking such events to Dec. 21 “is author’s license.”

“It’s science fiction theory, I’m a science fiction writer,” he said.

Even as the clock ticks down on the latest doomsday rumor, the European Organization for Nuclear Research has listed a number of odd subatomic phenomena — “magnetic monopoles,” ”Vacuum bubbles” and “strangelets” — that could play a role in the next apocalypse scare.

All of it had Mexico City tourist Deyanira de Alvarez amused as she snapped a photo of the countdown clock mounted in the Merida international airport showing just over two days left to “the galactic alignment.”

“My grandmother says that people have been talking about this (the world ending) ever since she was a little girl,” De Alvarez said, “and look, Grandma is still here.”

Source: Fox World News

Report: Reuss says GM "fundamentally" behind diesel in US, promises more models

By Chris Tutor

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GM President Mark Reuss

General Motors is sometimes faulted for poisoning demand for diesel engines in the US. But 30 years later, The General is warming to the idea of consumer-targeted oil burners again. GM President Mark Reuss tells TheDetroitBureau.com that if he has a say, his company will again sell a bunch of diesel-powered passenger cars in the US.

“There is, fundamentally, a place for diesel here,” Reuss told TDB after Thursday’s Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra intros. When asked directly about a diesel future for GM, Reuss answered, “more to come.”

Reuss went on to say new technologies are making cleaner-burning diesels that should make meeting US emissions requirements easier, though he cautions they could push prices up beyond what buyers would be willing to pay. An anonymous GM exec says in the story that consumers have shown an interest in diesel and were willing to pay extra for the greater fuel economy – but not enough to cover actual costs of the technology.

GM‘s heavy-duty pickups currently offer a diesel engine, but the future of diesel-powered, light-duty cars from GM will likely depend heavily on the market performance of the upcoming diesel Chevrolet Cruze. If it can hit the mythical 50 mpg mark, it could be a hot enough seller that it triggers new conversations in GM‘s boardroom about developing other oil-burners for North American consumption. Could the future include diesel versions of GM‘s light-duty pickups? It would appear that the notion has at least one very powerful champion in Reuss.

Reuss says GM “fundamentally” behind diesel in US, promises more models originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 14 Dec 2012 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: Autoblog

Spectra to Buy Kinder Morgan’s Express-Platte Stake for $380 Million, All of Pipeline for $1.25 Billion

Spectra Energy Corp. (SE) has agreed to buy Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P.’s (KMP) one-third stake in the Express-Platte pipeline system for about $380 million pre-tax as part of a larger deal whereby the operator of natural-gas pipelines and storage facilities is buying 100% of Express-Platte for about $1.25 billion in cash in a push to participate in the growing North American crude oil pipeline market.
Source: Fox Business Headlines

Cuba accuses US of lying about jailed American Alan Gross’ health

Cuba is accusing Washington of lying about the health and confinement conditions of a U.S. government subcontractor imprisoned on the island.

The top Cuban diplomat for North American affairs says it’s unrealistic to expect Cuba to free Maryland resident Alan Gross “unilaterally.”

Diplomat Josefina Vidal said Wednesday that Cuba has repeatedly made clear to U.S. officials it’s willing to discuss a solution that takes into account the fate of five Cuban intelligence agents who are imprisoned in Florida.

Vidal also dismisses Gross’ complaint before a United Nations body that he is being held arbitrarily.

Gross is three years into a 15-year sentence for crimes against the Cuban state in a case that has chilled already frosty relations between the two nations.
Source: Fox World News

Fire Emblem: Awakening Gets Release Date

We finally have a North American release date for Fire Emblem: Awakening. Better late than never, right? The tactical RPG will be arriving on store shelves on February 4 (and sometime in April in Europe), and features a brand new story for players to brave their way through. The story centers around Lord Chrom and his band of soldiers, called the Shepherds, who are facing off against an army of undead baddies plaguing the land.
The game will feature 3D, animated cutscenes and, similar to past Emblem games, will allow players to position their soldiers together on the battlefied to increase their bond. This will yield new conversations, revelations and even new side quests, depending on how the player goes about it.
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Source: IGN Video Games

Pokémon Championship Adding Wi-Fi Tournaments

It was announced today that the Pokémon Championship’s 2013 season will be incorporating Wi-Fi tournaments, finally allowing players who can’t travel to one of the scheduled events to participate.Starting with the Winter Battle, taking place December 13 through December 17, Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2 players will be able to duke it out with top North American players in the Pokémon Global Link’s Global Battle Union. Players who participate will be competing to earn Championship Points – racking up enough of which could lead to getting an invitation to the 2013 Pokémon World Championship.
Registration for the Winter Battle starts today at 4:00pm PST at the Global Battle Union, and ends at the same time on December 13.
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Source: IGN Video Games

League of Legends’ Pro Player Permabanned

Riot Games has issued a lifetime ban to a member of renowned e-Sports group Team Dignitas following his ninth trial by League of Legends’ Tribunal.
A post in the game’s forums explains that Digitas member IWillDominate has had all his known accounts permabanned after his harassment score rose by more than 30% since August, placing him among the worst 0.7% of all North American players for negative behaviour.
To give the story a little bit of context, League of Legends is predominantly moderated through the Tribunal system, which democratically allows the game’s community to decide whether players reported for negative behaviour should be pardoned or punished. If a player has been consistently reported by the community, then a case is built against them consisting of reasons, comments, chat logs and more, which is then forwarded on to those who dole out judgement. If enough players vote to punish then low-level solutions such as email warnings are automatically sent out, while more severe issues are forwarded to Riot’s Player Support who make the final call on what punishment should be dealt.
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Source: IGN Video Games

UPDATED: Nintendo Direct Incoming

UPDATE: Nintendo has now announced corresponding Nintendo Direct broadcasts for both Japan and Europe. The Japanese version will be airing at 3:00am PST, and the European one will run at 9:00am PST (the same time as the North American broadcast). So much for our Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem release date theory…but fingers crossed those still happen tomorrow.
ORIGINAL STORY: Nintendo has announced that a new Nintendo Direct will be taking place tomorrow morning for North America. It will provide information on upcoming Wii U and 3DS games, and will start at 9:00am PST. We’ll be covering the broadcast as it happens, so tune in to IGN early tomorrow for all the details.
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Source: IGN Video Games

New Terminator Films (Finally) Coming

It’s taken a year and a half of negotiating, but Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison has closed a deal with Pacificor to acquire the rights to The Terminator series. The plan is to make a new group of movies, with Ellison’s brother David now set to co-produce the films through his Skydance Productions. The rights also include potential TV projects, home entertainment, merchandise and video games, according to The Wrap.
Deadline notes that “the big numbers in place 18 months ago have been adjusted downward” — referring to the over $20 million that Megan Ellison pledged for the rights 18 months ago. This is because new copyright laws mean that the North American rights to The Terminator could revert back to creator James Cameron in 2019 (35 years after Terminator’s 1984 release). The final amount paid by Ellison’s company has not been disclosed.
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Source: IGN Movies