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Friday, April 29, 2011

Mizzou Had Five Players as NFL First Round Draft Picks Last Three Years

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Mizzou has five first-rounders last three years

 Apr 29, 2011
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By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer


Missouri has become a must stop for NFL scouts with five first-round picks the last three years. It's a point of pride for coach Gary Pinkel, who has put the program on the pro map.
Before Friday night, the Tigers had five top 10 draft picks in school history. Defensive end Aldon Smith was taken seventh overall by the San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Blaine Gabbert went on the 10th pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars, giving the school a pair of top 10 picks in the same draft for the first time.
Missouri has totaled 40 victories the last four years, among the best in the nation. The first-round haul the last three years is second best in the nation, trailing only Alabama's total of seven including four this year.
Pinkel said concerns about running a spread offense have faded the last few years because so many colleges are running it.
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Gas Heading to $ 4 Prices Jump 30 Cents in April 2011

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Gas Prices Jump to $3.91 a Gallon, Heading to $4

April 29, 2011
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The average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. is now within a dime of $4.
Drivers in 22 states are paying more than the national average of $3.91 per gallon. In Alaska, California and Connecticut they're paying $4.20 or more.
With one day left in April, gas prices are up  for the month. On average, the increase has been slightly more than a penny per day. At that rate, the national average for gas would reach $4 on Sunday, May 8. In 2008, when gas hit a record of $4.11 per gallon in July, it didn't cost $4 until June 8.
Analysts predict gas prices will actually start falling toward the end of May, as refineries increase production and more gas becomes available. That remains to be seen: Many analysts failed to predict the prices drivers are paying now, caught off-guard by surging oil prices.
April's rise in gas prices is sobering news for the economy. On Friday, the government said that personal incomes rose in March, but much of the extra money went to pay for gas. Now a 20 gallon fill-up costs on average $6 more than it did on March 31, diverting money from clothing, groceries, take-out food and other spending.
The main reason gas is up is the high price of oil. It rose again Friday, boosted by a weaker dollar. The dollar hit a three-year low against six major currencies. Since oil and other commodities are priced in dollars, they become more attractive to buyers with other currencies and prices rise.
Benchmark crude for June delivery rose $1.07 to settle at $113.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Oil and gasoline futures have risen about 35 percent since mid-February when uprisings broke out in Libya and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Traders have been concerned about disruptions to oil supplies. So far, only Libya's daily production of 1.6 million barrels a day has been lost. Libya supplied less than 2 percent of the world's oil, most of it going to Europe. Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations have covered much of the shortfall.
The latest increase in retail gas — 2 cents overnight — followed the shutdown of seven refineries in Texas, Alabama and Pennsylvania after severe storms this week. The shutdowns aren't expected to last more than a few days, but 750,000 to 1 million barrels a day of production has been interrupted, according to Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service.
The affected refineries mostly ship product to the Southeast, Midwest and Gulf Coast states, Kloza said. Motorists there will like see the biggest increases in pump prices.
Overall, economists say consumers continue to spend. But they know high gas and food prices are having an impact.
"The bad news is that consumer spending adjusted for inflation has lost the momentum it had in the last quarter of 2010," said Paul Dales, an economist with Capital Economics. .
Some economists think lower gas prices could encourage consumer spending in other areas, although the high unemployment rate will keep the economic recovery in low gear this year.
In other futures trading, heating oil rose 2.99 cents to settle at $3.2758 per gallon, gasoline futures gained 2.88 cents to settle at $3.3984 per gallon and natural gas rose 12.8 cents to settle at $4.761 on the Nymex.
In London, Brent crude rose 87 cents to settle at $125.89 on the ICE Futures exchange.

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Ellisville, Missouri Man Sentenced in Forced Labor Human Trafficking Case

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Ellisville Man Sentenced for Racketeering Enterprise that Engage in Forced Labor Human Trafficking Rescue Project

Department of Justice Press Release
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KANSAS CITY, MO—Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Ellisville, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a criminal enterprise involving illegal aliens working in 14 states, including employees at hotels in the Kansas City, Mo., area and in Branson, Mo.
Kristin Dougherty, 51, of Ellisville, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith to five years in federal prison without parole.
On Oct. 28, 2010, Dougherty was found guilty of all three counts contained in a Jan. 7, 2010, superseding indictment. Dougherty was convicted of racketeering, participating in a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) conspiracy, and wire fraud.
The federal RICO indictment alleges an extensive and profitable criminal enterprise in which hundreds of illegal aliens were employed at hotels and other businesses across the country. The criminal enterprise used false information to acquire fraudulent work visas for these foreign nationals. Many of these workers were recruited with false promises related to the terms, conditions, and nature of their employment. Once the enterprise obtained the workers’ presence in the United States, it maintained their labor through threats of deportation and other adverse immigration consequences.
Dougherty, as vice president of sales and marketing for Giant Labor Solutions, LLC, was involved in the recruitment and exploitation of foreign national workers. Dougherty also controlled three businesses that were used to facilitate the scheme: Anchor Building Services; People, Inc.; and Hotel and Resort Services. These businesses employed illegal workers and were used to obtain additional illegal workers.
Nine defendants have pleaded guilty to charges related to this case; three remaining defendants are fugitives.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William L. Meiners, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford and Trial Attorney Jim Felte with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. It was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Kansas Department of Revenue – Criminal Investigations, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – FDNS and the Independence, Mo., Police Department in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.

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FBI Top Ten News Stories for the Week Ending April 29, 2011

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Washington, D.C. April 29, 2011
  • FBI National Press Office
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  1. Denver: Suspect in FBI Manhunt Captured by Boulder Police Department

    The FBI Denver Joint Terrorism Task Force, in conjunction with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, announced the capture of Earl Albert Moore by the Boulder Police Department. Full Story
  2. Kansas City: Ellisville Man Sentenced for Racketeering Enterprise that Engaged in Forced Labor Human Trafficking Rescue Project

    The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Ellisville, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court for his role in a criminal enterprise involving illegal aliens working in 14 states, including employees at hotels in the Kansas City and Branson areas. Full Story

  3. Indianapolis: United States Attorney’s Violent Crime Initiative Yields Results
    Thirteen individuals were indicted for trafficking large amounts of methamphetamine in the Terre Haute community. The indictment charges 13 individuals with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Full Story
  4. Dallas: Lufkin Woman Sentenced for Involvement in Murders

    April Flanagan was sentenced to 180 months in prison after she pled guilty on Nov. 29, 2010, to violent crime in aid of racketeering activity, conspiracy to murder David Mitchamore, and acting as an accessory after the fact in the murder of Christy Rochelle Brown. Full Story
  5. New York: Hedge Fund Manager Pleads Guilty to Insider Trading Charges

    Donald Longueuil pled guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud charges arising from an insider trading scheme in which he obtained and traded on material, nonpublic information. Full Story
  6. Jackson: FBI Arrests Husband and Wife on Katrina-Related Fraud Charges

    Victor Planetta and Eileen Planetta were arrested on charges of embezzling and converting to their own use money belonging to the small business administration, namely, disaster loan proceeds in excess of $250,000. Full Story
  7. Newark: Investment Adviser Pleads Guilty to $13.6 Million Scam

    Ali Sandra Venetis, the owner of Branchburg, New Jersey-based investment adviser Systematic Financial Associates, Inc., admitted to defrauding over 50 investors of more than $7 million. Full Story
  8. Boston: Cape Cod Gambling Group Charged with Illegal Gambling and Obstruction

    Adam Hart, William Neoftistos and Timothy Reardon were charged with operating an illegal gambling business and conspiring to obstruct a Massachusetts State Police investigation into their activities. Full Story
  9. Omaha: Former Mortgage Broker Sentenced for Mortgage Fraud

    Mary Lee Reinking, a former mortgage broker with Crow Valley Mortgage in Bettendorf, Iowa, was sentenced to five years probation, including one-year home confinement, in connection with Reinking's previous guilty plea to one count of wire fraud. Full Story
  10. New Haven: New Haven Man Charged with Orchestrating Arsons and Committing Insurance Fraud

    A jury returned a second superseding indictment charging Angelo Reyes with additional federal offenses related to his alleged participation in the July 2009 arson of the People’s Laundromat in the Fair Haven section of New Haven, and the March 2005 arson of a property he previously owned in Fair Haven. Full Story
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Preliminary Hearing Scheduled June 1, 2011 , 09:00 AM UPDATE: Hermann Woman Charged In Alleged Embezzlement Scheme

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Casenet Docket Entries:
11GA-CR00158 - ST V STACI L KAHLER
This information is provided as a service and is not considered an official court record. 

04/11/2011 Docket Entry: Judge Assigned
Docket Entry: Complaint Filed
Filing Party: BREHE-KRUEGER , ADA MAE
Docket Entry: Probable Cause Statement Filed
Filing Party: BREHE-KRUEGER , ADA MAE
 
04/13/2011 Docket Entry: Arraignment Scheduled
Associated Docket Entries: 04/25/2011 - Hearing Continued/Rescheduled

At request of Attorney for Defendant, cause continued to April 27, 2011; 1:00 pm.
Associated Events: 04/27/2011 , 09:00:00 - Arraignment
Docket Entry: Criminal Summons Issued
 
04/25/2011 Docket Entry: Entry of Appearance Filed
Filing Party: HOSKINS , JESSICA H


 
04/25/2011 Docket Entry: Request Filed
Text: Request for Discovery.
Filing Party: HOSKINS , JESSICA H
Docket Entry: Answer Filed
Text: Answer to Discvovery.
Filing Party: HOSKINS , JESSICA H
Docket Entry: Hearing Continued/Rescheduled
Text: At request of Attorney for Defendant, cause continued to April 27, 2011; 1:00 pm.
Associated Docket Entries: 04/27/2011 - Hearing Continued/Rescheduled

Associated Docket Entries: 04/13/2011 - Arraignment Scheduled

Associated Events: 04/27/2011 , 09:00:00 - Arraignment
Docket Entry: Arraignment Scheduled
Associated Docket Entries: 04/27/2011 - Hearing Continued/Rescheduled

Associated Events: 04/27/2011 , 13:00:00 - Arraignment
 
04/27/2011 Docket Entry: Hearing Continued/Rescheduled
Associated Docket Entries: 04/25/2011 - Hearing Continued/Rescheduled

At request of Attorney for Defendant, cause continued to April 27, 2011; 1:00 pm.
Associated Docket Entries: 04/25/2011 - Arraignment Scheduled

Associated Events: 04/27/2011 , 13:00:00 - Arraignment
Docket Entry: Setting - Prelim Hrg Scheduled
Associated Events: 06/01/2011 , 09:00:00 - Setting - Preliminary Hearing
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A Hermann woman was issued felony charges after allegedly embezzling money from a Hermann bank.  Staci Lee Kahler, 26, was charged with Stealing Over $25,000, a class B felony, and Misapplication of Funds Over $1,000, a class C felony, for stealing money from accounts at the First Bank, where she was employed.

Between January 2008 and February of this year, Kahler is accused of siphoning funds from various accounts into her personal account then misapplied funds on occasions to several accounts in an effort to cover the thefts, according to a statement from Hermann Police Chief Frank Tennant.

Kahler has an upcoming arraignment in Gasconade County Circuit Court Scheduled on 04/27/2011 , 09:00:00 AM. 



Missouri CASENET INFO:
11GA-CR00158 - ST V STACI L KAHLER
This information is provided as a service and is not considered an official court record.
Charge/Judgment
Description: Misapplication Of Funds Of Financial Institution - Over $1000 { Felony C RSMo: 570.217 }
Date: 04/08/2008 Code: 1511000
OCN: Y0000175

Arresting Agency: HERMANN PD
Next Charge/Judgment
Description: Theft/Stealing (Value Of Property Or Services Is $25,000 Or More) { Felony B RSMo: 570.030 }
Date: 04/08/2008 Code: 1501800
OCN: Y0000175

Arresting Agency: HERMANN PD


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Puppet Obama’s Birth Certificate Not the Issue: Unelected Bankers and Corporate Special Interests Dictate US Policy

Like it or not, your real government consists of unelected bankers and corporate special interests. The argument that Obama’ birth certificate makes-or-breaks his legitimacy pales in comparison to the realization that the entire office of the president has been usurped for at least 2 decades.
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Obama’s Birth Certificate: Not the Issue

Tony Cartalucci
Infowars.com
April 29, 2011
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Of course, a candidate must meet legal requirements before running for public office. This is a universally agreed upon concept which has been enumerated in laws in every nation, since the beginning of human civilization. However, for those who deeply examine the United States and how it has drifted from a constitutional republic to the corporate-financier oligarchy it is today, they might realize the futility of arguing over “President” Obama’s qualifications for an office that has long been ceremonial, if not entirely theatrical.
The corporate-financier agenda transcends presidencies. From Reagan to Obama, US foreign and domestic policy has moved in a continuously linear direction toward increasing corporate-financial monopolies and eroding the role and sovereignty of the US Constitution and the people who are supposed to execute it. In 1991, “Neo-Conservative” war monger Paul Wolfowitz stated that the Middle East would be turned upside down and reordered in America’s favor – ironically, this operation which has been piecemeal planned and executed year-by-year since then, is finally unfolding in its entirety under the supposedly “liberal” Obama administration.
Likewise, the seemingly “liberal” free-trade agreements pushed by Clinton, were expanded into the beginnings of the supernational Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America under the supposedly “conservative” Bush administration. Of course, theblueprints for the SPP or the geopolitical reordering of the Middle East weren’t drawn up by presidential administrations nor committees amongst America’s elected representatives, but rather by unelected corporate-funded think-tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations or the Brookings Institute. These think-tanks represent the collective interests of the largest corporations and financial institutions on earth and are the real, often obscure architects of both American and European foreign and domestic policy.

The only difference one can delineate then, is the brand of propaganda used during each supposedly ideologically differentiated political administration to sell this unipolar, unilateral, continuous agenda to the public as it creeps forward. But even upon examining each presidential administration, we are struck with names and affiliations of members who directly represent these corporate interests. To illustrate how entirely ineffectual and meaningless “Obama” is as a president, let’s examine some key members of his administration and what their affiliations are.
Timothy Geithner (Secretary of the Treasury): Group of 30Council on Foreign Relations, private Federal Reserve
Eric Holder (Attorney General): Covington & Burling lobbying for Merck and representingChiquita International Brands in lawsuits brought by relatives of people killed by Colombian terrorists.
Eric Shinseki (Secretary of Veteran Affairs): US Army, Council on Foreign Relations,Honeywell director (military contractor), Ducommun director (military contractor).
Rahm Emanuel (former Chief of Staff): Freddie Mac
William Daley (Chief of Staff): JP Morgan executive committee member
Susan Rice (UN Ambassador): McKinsey and Company, Brookings Institute, Council on Foreign Relations
Peter Orszag, (former Budget Director): Citi Group, Council on Foreign Relations
Paul Volcker: Council on Foreign Relations, private Federal Reserve, Group of 30
Ronald Kirk (US Trade Representative): lobbyist, part of Goldman Sachs, Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts, and Texas Pacific Group partnership to buyout Energy Future Holdings.
Lawrence Summers (National Economic Council Director): World Bank, Council on Foreign Relations
Who amongst Obama’s administration can we honestly presume has the people’s, or even America’s best interests at heart? Goldman Sachs bankers? JP Morgan bankers? Corporate lobbyists? Indeed, these are the same banking, corporate, and political interests that guided the agenda under Bush, Clinton, Bush Sr., Regan and so on. While there is some debate over which US president was in fact the last “real” president who exercised an agenda it genuinely could claim ownership over, there is no doubt that over the last two decades the same corporate interests have been entirely steering America’s people and their destiny with but the veneer of “democracy.”
Had John McCain won the elections in 2008, you could rest assured he would have taken US policy in the exact same direction Obama is going today. In fact, McCain is one of the key players who has helped fund and organize the current unrest sweeping the Middle East, along with a myriad of other “Republicans” and “Neo-Conservatives.” The “Arab Spring” itself was planned and being staged before Obama even took office.
Ideologically, President Obama’s qualifications are important and many are right to question them. Realistically, they are a red herring, as is his entire presidency. He is in charge of exactly nothing, most likely not even the tie he puts on in the morning and surely not the words that come out of his mouth. His entire function is to perpetuate the facade that America is still run by an elected government and not an illegitimate oligarchy of corporations and financial institutions. Arguing over his birth certificate engenders him with legitimacy in and of itself – suggesting that if he had proper qualifications he would be a “legitimate” president. But he, like his predecessor Bush, are both entirely illegitimate, as is the system they purportedly preside over.
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Recognizing this grave reality, and instead concentrating on the corporate-financier interests that have hijacked American politics is essential to restoring a true constitutional republic. For it is not whose hands we think hold the power, it is in whose hands that really hold the power that shapes US policy. Definitively, US policy does not favor the people, definitively the power is not in the people’s hands. As long as we grasp to the illusion that through the futile exercise of elections we are somehow “in control,” it will remain this way perpetually. The fact that our president is in charge of absolutely nothing and that his duties have long been shifted to an unelected corporate-financier oligarchy is the issue, not his dubious qualifications.
Tony Cartalucci is the writer and editor at Land Destroyer Report where this post first appeared.


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Ameren Ordered to Refund $ 17 Million to Customers

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PSC orders Ameren to refund $17 million to customers

BY JEFFREY TOMICH
post-dispatch.com 
April 29, 2011
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Missouri regulators have ordered Ameren to refund customers more than $17 million from power sales to other utilities over the past two years.
The Public Service Commission, which announced the decision Thursday, hasn't yet calculated the proportion to be credited to residential customers as opposed to businesses. And whatever the amount is, it probably won't be obvious on bills because it will be offset against future fuel costs.
The commission voted 3-2 to order the refund sought by consumer groups who claimed the utility wrongly excluded revenue from two power contracts that should have been credited to customers.
St. Louis-based Ameren is "extremely disappointed" by the order and is considering its legal options, spokeswoman Rita Holmes-Bobo said.
The PSC staff sought a refund last summer following an audit of Ameren's fuel costs. The audit was required under a new fuel surcharge approved by the commission in January 2009.
The controversial surcharge allowed Ameren to recover fuel costs more quickly than it had been allowed to in the past. In exchange, the utility was required to credit customers with 95 percent of profit from sales of excess power, known as off-system sales.
A day after the PSC approved the surcharge, a crippling ice storm struck southeast Missouri, knocking down transmission lines to Noranda Aluminum's sprawling plant in New Madrid.
The sudden loss of electricity severely damaged the plant, knocking out two thirds of its productive capacity for a year, and leaving Ameren with plenty more excess generation to sell.
The aluminum smelter is easily the utility's largest customer, consuming as much power as the city of Springfield, Mo. The loss of demand from most of the plant sitting idle for a year represented $90 million in lost electricity sales.
Ameren sought to make up the loss in part by entering into a 100-megawatt, 15-month contract with American Electric Power Service Corp. and a 150-megawatt, 18-month contract with Wabash Valley Power Association Inc. The agreements ran through May through November 2010, respectively.
Ameren contended the contracts didn't qualify as off-system sales under provisions of the 2009 fuel surcharge. The PSC disagreed.

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Tax Refund Scam Missouri Department of Revenue Issues Warning

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Missouri warns of tax refund scam

ASSOCIATED PRESS 
April 29, 2011
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. • The Missouri Department of Revenue says taxpayers should beware of anyone asking for their credit card or debit card number to give them a tax refund. The agency says a citizen recently reported getting a call from someone claiming to be a state official. The caller requested a credit card number and expiration date, saying he needed them to pay what he called an income tax "rebate."
Missouri Revenue Director Alana Barragán-Scott says the agency never asks for a credit card number to process a tax refund.
Taxpayers with questions about refunds can call the Department of Revenue at 573-751-3505.


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Investors Flee Dollar, Silver Hits All-time high, Gold Sets New Record

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Silver and gold near lifetime highs

April 28, 2011
By Lewa Pardomuan

reuters 
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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Silver and gold were within sight of historic highs on Friday and could resume an uptrend as the U.S. dollar held near three-year lows against a basket of currencies on hopes U.S. monetary policy would stay ultra loose, keeping inflationary price pressures high.
A fresh batch of U.S. economic data in the form of rising claims for jobless benefits failed to rescue the dollar, which had dropped to its weakest level since July 2008 against other currencies before recovering slightly.
Silver barely moved, standing at 48.32 an ounce by 0234 GMT (10:34 p.m. ET on Thursday), having rallied to a record at $49.51 an ounce on Thursday. Gold lost $1.10 to $1,533.85 an ounce after hitting a lifetime high around $1,538 an ounce in the previous session.
"If the dollar continues to weaken, then it's only likely to boost gold as well as silver as the inverse relationship between the two assets persists. I would say that for gold I am still looking for it to hit $1,600 this year," said Ong Yi Ling, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
"In the long term, I think if we see silver prices at such a high level, then it could hurt the industrial demand."
But dealers said strong investment demand for silver would keep the metal at record levels, while a lack of scrap sales in the physical market suggested that investors expected more gains. Year to date, silver was up almost 60 percent, sharply above gold's 8 percent gain.
A bullish target at $1,549 per ounce is still intact for spot gold, based on its wave pattern and a Fibonacci projection analysis, according to Wan Tao, who is a Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals.
"There's some selling but I would say it's very light," said a dealer in Singapore, who trades gold and silver. "It had been a very busy week, and I am glad today is Friday. It's all quiet, finally."
The CME Group Inc, parent of the Chicago Board of Trade, said on Thursday it would raise maintenance margins for COMEX 5000 Silver futures by 13.2 percent, making it more expensive for silver speculators to trade in.
Soaring prices hurt the bottom line of certain manufacturers, including photography company Eastman Kodak, which said on Thursday a hike in raw material costs, particularly silver, led to a decrease in its film business revenue.
Trading was subdued in Asia, with Japanese financial markets shut for a public holiday. UK markets will be closed for the royal wedding. Premiums for gold bars were steady in Hong Kong and Singapore.
The dollar index, which tracks the currency's performance against a basket of major currencies, stood at 73.065 on Friday, having plumbed a three-year low of 72.871 on Thursday.
Sentiment for the dollar took a hit this week after the Federal Reserve said it was in no hurry to tighten its ultra-loose monetary policy, a move that gave investors the green light to keep using the dollar as a funding currency to buy higher-yielding assets.
"It all depends on the U.S. dollar, but I would say we only see a small amount of selling in the physical market," said a dealer in Hong Kong.
In the energy market, U.S. crude futures were steady in early trade on Friday, after rising to a 31-month high settlement in the previous session, as a weak dollar helped stem a slide in prices from slower economic growth in the United States in the first quarter.
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2 Billion Watch Royal Wedding on Television VIDEO TAPE CAUGHT ON FILM




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Prince William marries Kate Middleton, wearing dress designed by Sarah Burton, in front of television audience of two billion. 
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Royal wedding: open-topped carriage so crowds can see newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton

Britain celebrates monarchy as Kate, William wed

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By GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) – With a smile that lit up TV screens around the world, Kate Middleton swept down the aisle at Westminster Abbey to marry Prince William in a union expected to revitalize the British monarchy. Hundreds of thousands cheered as the future king and queen of England rode an open carriage to Buckingham Palace.
With an estimated 2 billion people watching around the world, the couple managed to appear at times in their own private world. William whispered to Kate, who radiated contentment and joy, as they pledged their lives to one another with the simple words "I will."
The biggest secret of the day — Middleton's wedding gown — prompted swoons of admiration as she stepped out of a Rolls-Royce with her father. Against all odds, the sun broke through steely gray skies at that exact moment.
The ivory and white satin gown — with its low neckline, high lace collar, long lacy sleeves and a train over 2-meters (yards) long — was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. Middleton's hair was half-up, half-down and decorated with dramatic veil and a tiara on loan from Queen Elizabeth II.
Jennie Bond, a leading British monarchy expert and royal wedding consultant for The Associated Press, called it a "fairy tale."
"It's a dream," she said. "It is a beautiful laced soft look which is extremely elegant. She looked stunning."
William wore the scarlet tunic of an Irish Guards officer, sending a strong signal of support for the armed forces and reinforcing his new image as a dedicated military man. The couple's first royal wedding present came from the queen: the titles duke and duchess of Cambridge.
Floods of well-wishers — as well as some protesters — packed central London, around Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and other landmarks beginning at dawn, despite cool temperatures and the threat of rain. Cheers erupted as huge television screens began broadcasting at Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park.
"Will, it's not too late!" read one sign held aloft by an admirer dressed as a bride.
Maid of honor Pippa Middleton wore a simple column dress and naturally styled hair, while best man Prince Harry was dressed in formal military attire. The flower girls, in cream dresses with full skirts and flowers in their hair, walked down hand-in-hand with Pippa.
The iconic abbey was airy and calm, the long aisle leading to the altar lined with maple and hornbeam trees as light streamed in through the high arched windows. The soft green trees framed the couple against the red carpet as they walked down the aisle, having recited their vows without stumbling before Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
The royal-couple smiled broadly as they were driven to Buckingham Palace in the open-topped State Laundau, a carriage built in 1902, escorted by four white horses and followed by scarlet-clad troops on horseback. The palace was holding two parties, one hosted by the queen for 650 guests, and an evening dinner dance for 300 close friends.
The queen and her husband have promised to go away for the evening, leaving the younger royals free to party the night away_ and Harry to make his best man's speech away from his octogenarian grandparents' ears.
Plumage of Amazonian variety filled the cavernous abbey as some 1,900 guests filed in, the vast majority of women in hats, some a full two feet (half a meter) across or high. Some looked like dinner plates, and one woman wore a bright red fascinator that resembled a flame licking her cheek. A BBC commentator noted there were some "very odd choices" walking through the abbey door.
Most men, however, looked elegant and suave in long tails, some highlighted by formal plaid pants and vests. Others wore military uniforms.
The queen, of course, wore a soft yellow hat and coat dress, just like the bookies had predicted.
All the details — the wedding dress, her hair, their titles, the romantic kiss on the balcony, the honeymoon — were finally being answered. But the biggest question won't be resolved for years: Will this royal couple live happily ever after?
Will their union endure like that of William's grandparents — Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, now in its 64th year — or crumble in a spectacular and mortifying fashion like that of his own parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana?
Recent history augurs badly: The first marriages of three of the queen's four children ended in divorce. But William and Kate seem to glow with happiness in each other's company, and unlike Charles and Diana they've had eight years to figure out that they want to be together.
Still, the fate of their marriage depends on private matters impossible for the public to gauge, since any wedding is fundamentally about two people. Will their lives together, starting with such high hopes, be blessed by good fortune, children, good health, productive work?
Much will depend on whether 28-year-old William and 29-year-old Kate can summon the things every couple needs: patience, love, wit and wisdom. But they face the twin burdens of fame and scrutiny. Money, power, beauty — it can all go wrong if not carefully nurtured.
These are the thorny issues upon which the fate of the monarchy rests, as the remarkable queen, now 85, inevitably ages and declines.
Hundreds of street parties were under way as Britons celebrated the heritage that makes them unique — and overseas visitors come to witness traditions they've admired from afar.
Brenda Hunt-Stevenson, a 56-year-old retired teacher from Newfoundland, Canada, said there was only one thing on her mind. "I want to see that kiss on that balcony. That's going to clinch it for me. I don't care what Kate wears. She is beautiful anyway."
The celebration was British to the core, from the freshly polished horse-drawn carriages to the sausages and lager served at street parties. Some pubs opened early, offering beer and English breakfasts — sausages, beans, toast, fried eggs and bacon.
The festivities reflected Britons' continuing fascination with the royal family, which despite its foibles remains a powerful symbol of unity and pride.
"It's very exciting," Prime Minister David Cameron said before he entered the church. "I went on to the mall last night and met some people sleeping on the streets. There's a sense of excitement that you can't really put a word to ... It's a chance to celebrate."
A number of famous people were left off the guest list, including President Barack Obama and Britain's last two prime ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of the Labour Party, which is not as strong a backer of the monarchy as the ruling Conservatives. That snub might resonate for years among Labour voters.
The royals fervently hope that a joyous union for the second-in-line to the British throne will rub out the squalid memories of his parents embarrassing each other and the nation with confessions of adultery as their marriage tumbled toward divorce.
And there is no small irony in the sight of Americans waking up before dawn (on the East Coast) or staying up all night (West Coast) after their fellow countrymen fought so fiercely centuries ago to throw off the yoke of the British monarchy and proclaim a country in which all men are created equal.
Brenda Mordic, 61, from Columbus, Georgia, clutched a Union Jack with her friend Annette Adams, 66.
"We came for the excitement of everything," Mordic said. "We watched William grow up. I came for Prince Charles' wedding to Diana and I came for Princess Diana's funeral. We love royalty England and London."


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