Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Snapshot: The Happiest People in The World

RankCountries Amount
# 1 Iceland:94%
= 2 Sweden:91%
= 2 Denmark:91%
= 2 Netherlands:91%
# 5 Australia:90%
= 6 Ireland:89%
= 6 Switzerland:89%
# 8 Norway:88%
= 9 United Kingdom:87%
= 9 Venezuela:87%
# 11 Belgium:86%
# 12 Philippines:85%
= 13 United States:84%
= 13 France:84%
# 15 Finland:83%
# 16 Austria:81%
# 17 Canada:75%
# 18 Poland:74%
# 19 Japan:72%
# 20 Turkey:71%
# 21 Bangladesh:70%
# 22 Spain:68%
# 23 Italy:64%
# 24 Uruguay:60%
= 25 Brazil:59%
= 25 Argentina:59%
# 27 Azerbaijan:56%
# 28 Chile:52%
# 29 China:49%
= 30 Mexico:48%
= 30 Portugal:48%
# 32 Dominican Republic:47%
= 33 Hungary:46%
= 33 Nigeria:46%
# 35 Ghana:43%
# 36 India:40%
# 37 Slovenia:32%
# 38 Croatia:31%
= 39 Georgia:27%
= 39 Latvia:27%
# 41 Estonia:26%
# 42 Romania:23%
# 43 Armenia:14%
# 44 Lithuania:10%
# 45 Slovakia:4%
# 46 Russia:2%
# 47 Ukraine:-4%
# 48 Belarus:-8%
# 49 Moldova:-12%
# 50 Bulgaria:-24%
World average:53.9%

Taking a few days off to make some tech changes in the blog before we move 360 Degrees.

Survey Master; 360 Degrees Surveys.

Armed Robbery Reported At Metro-Area Hotel

The Winder Police Department said it is investigating an armed robbery that occurred Tuesday morning at a hotel.

Police said an armed man entered the lobby of the Best Western located at 177 West Athens Street. The man approached the front desk and demanded the clerk gave him the register drawer containing an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect left the area driving a gold-colored Ford Taurus, police said.

Investigators are in the process of reviewing the surveillance footage from the hotel and the surrounding areas. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Gregg Teatino. at 678-425-6873.

Cobb Woman Shot During Attempted ATM Robbery

A 38-year-old woman was shot Monday after a masked man tried to rob her while she was making a deposit at a bank, Cobb police said.

According to the police report, a masked man approached a woman making a deposit at the Bank Of America on South Cobb Drive at about 3:45 p.m. When the victim hit the horn, to alert people nearby, the masked man shot her in the arm, police said.

The masked man then fled the scene. The victim was able to drive herself to Emory Hospital where she was treated and released.

2 Sentenced For Armed Robberies In Stone Mountain

One man and one woman have been sentenced to prison for a series of armed robberies and aggravated assaults that occurred at three separate apartment complexes in Stone Mountain, the DeKalb County District Attorney Office said.

There were four victims in the crimes that happened on Dec. 1, 2008.

The motive for the robberies was money and the defendants used a .357-caliber Magnum to pistol whip the victims, the DeKalb County District Attorney Office said.

Cedric Wilkerson was sentenced to four life sentences and Whitney McGlasker has been sentenced to 30 years, but only has to serve 20 behind bars. The remaining 10 years of McGlasker's sentence will be served on probation, the DeKalb County District Attorney office said.

Officials: 21 Month Old Child Dead, Was Left Inside Parked Van

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a 21-month-old child.

A preliminary investigation indicates Joseph Chatmon was left inside a parked vehicle at Samuel E. Hubbard Elementary School in Forsyth, officials said.

Investigators said the child, restrained in a child safety seat, was left inside the vehicle from the time his mother, 23-year-old India Chatmon, arrived at work Friday morning, until she left work late that afternoon.

Chatmon is an employee at the school. Officials said as soon as Chatom discovered her son in the van, she immediately drove to the Monroe County Emergency Room with the child where he died.

The body was transported to the GBI Crime Lab in Decatur for an autopsy, officials said. This incident is still under investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Swastikas, Obscenities Spray-Painted In Neighborhood

Sandy Springs police are investigating a possible hate crime involving graffiti.

Someone spray-painted swastikas and obscene words on about 14 signs, mailboxes and cars in a neighborhood near Dalrymple Road on Saturday.

"I've been here 27 years, and this is the first time I've seen this happen," said Shabah Shalabi, a resident of the neighborhood.

"The comments were unsettling," said Marjorie Kassel, a resident in the neighborhood. Investigators said they were taking pictures and conducting interviews on Monday.

Some neighbors told Channel 2's Sbarge that they suspect the graffiti was part of a teen prank.

Kidnapped Students: 'Could Not Get Through To 911'

Two men are in custody after police said they carjacked four college students at gunpoint and forced two of them into the trunk of the car, Atlanta police said.

One victim told WSB-TV he tried numerous times to call 911 for help, but was not able to get a hold of anyone. He eventually was able to reach a Morehouse dispatcher who helped save the students. This area is in the jurisdiction of the city of Atlanta 911 Center.

The victims told Channel 2 they were near Peeples Street in southwest Atlanta Sunday evening when three men with guns approached their car and demanded the students give up everything they had.

The students gave up their wallets, jewelry and ATM cards, investigators said. The victims attend both Morehouse and Clark Atlanta University.

One victim said that one of the suspects said, "We have no problem killing you if you don't do what we want."

Police said the armed men then decided to take the four students to a Wachovia ATM on Lee Street, but one of the students locked in the trunk still had his cell phone in his pocket. That student called Morehouse dispatch from the trunk and gave police a description of the Buick Lacrosse.

Police said they arrested two of the suspects. The victims told Channel 2 that there were four suspects and one was on the loose.

One of the suspects refused to answer questions from Channel 2 Action News reporter Ryan Young.

Jevontay Fleetwood, 17, faces four counts of armed robbery, kidnapping and hijacking, among other charges. He appeared in court at 11 a.m. Monday and is in jail. The second suspect in custody is a juvenile.

Gwinnett Officer Charged With DUI

A Gwinnett County officer cleared of wrongdoing in a deadly shooting now faces a DUI charge.

A state trooper arrested Officer Lyndsey Perry in Hall County Saturday, Georgia State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said.

Wright said she was pulled over by a GSP trooper at 2:19 a.m. for speeding on Ga. 13 at Friendship Road. Perry was driving her personal vehicle. During the traffic stop, the trooper detected the smell of alcohol. Perry was asked to take a breathalyzer test, but refused, Wright said. Under Georgia law, refusing to take a breathalyzer test results in the suspension of one's driver's license.

On July 21, Officer Perry responded to a Duluth home after a woman, Barbara Baker, reported her daughter, Penny Schwartz, was threatening suicide.

The investigation showed Schwartz pointed a gun at Perry who then fired, killing both Schwartz and Baker. Perry was cleared of wrongdoing in this incident.

Police: Fleeing DUI Suspect Leads Officers To Marijuana Operation

Authorities in Gwinnett County said a fleeing DUI suspect led police to a marijuana grow house.

Police said it began Saturday night when a DUI task force officer tried to stop a car. But Gwinnett County police spokesman Brian Kelly said the driver, 23-year-old Charles Byrd of Sugar Hill, jumped from the car and ran to a nearby home.

More police were called to the scene and after Byrd emerged from the home, police noticed the smell of marijuana. Kelly said they also found another man, 25-year-old Timothy Donahue of Sugar Hill, hiding in the house.

After getting a search warrant, police found and seized 69 marijuana plants, 1,490 grams of processed pot and marijuana-cultivating equipment. The value of the processed marijuana and Marijuana plants seized is in excess of $327,000, officials said.

Both men were arrested and are in the Gwinnett County Jail in lieu of bond, officials said.

Georgia Senate OKs Teen Cell Phone Ban While Driving

The Senate has approved a bill that would ban texting and talking on a cell phone while driving for teens. Under the bill approved 47-0, the driver's license of any teen who causes an accident while using a cell phone to talk or text would be suspended for 90 days or until the offender turns 18 for a first offense.

The offender would also be fined $150, which would be doubled if a traffic accident occurs.

The House on Tuesday adopted a separate measure aimed at banning text messaging while driving by a 131-19 vote. The chambers will have to hash out their differences.

Colorado, Louisiana, New York, Virginia and Washington are among the states that ban text messages for all drivers. Nine states ban text messaging for teen drivers.

Another UGA Player Arrested, Suspended

A UGA football player was arrested and charged with making a fake ID and underage possession of alcohol, Channel 2 Action News confirmed.

According to the Athens-Clark County Jail website, Joshua Parrish was booked into the jail Monday at 4:15 p.m. and later released on a cash bond at 5:35 p.m.

Parrish, an offensive lineman, has since been suspended indefinitely from the team. Coach Mark Richt has released several other players from the team this month following conduct-related issues.

UGA Quarterback May Transfer From Program

Quarterback Logan Gray has met with coaches at the University of Georgia and is considering transferring from the program.

"Gray's current status with the team has not changed, however, he is weighing options for the remainder of his playing career," said Associate Athletic Director Claude Felton.

Gray, a 6-foot-2 junior from Columbia, Mo., appeared in 11 games completing 5-of-12 pass attempts for 31 yards and rushing nine times for 35 yards in 2009.

In the annual G-Day game, Gray completed 10 of his 17 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. Head Coach Mark Richt announced last week that red shirt freshman Aaron Murray won the starting quarterback role.

WSB-TV, Georgia Radio Network; Atlanta Journal-Constitution; WAGA-TV.

Goldman Execs Deny Wrongdoing

Blistered by lawmakers for "unbridled greed," Goldman Sachs executives on Tuesday unflinchingly defended their conduct and denied the huge Wall Street investment bank helped cause the near-meltdown of the nation's financial system.

While the famous firm fights for its reputation, senators said the company's behavior leading up to the financial crisis clearly demonstrated a need for stronger regulation, and Democrats hoped to use the daylong hearing to build support for legislation now before the Senate. Republicans have so far succeeded in blocking debate, but more test votes are expected.

The legislation would crack down on the kind of lightly regulated housing market investments that helped set off the crisis in 2007.

Through hours of testimony to a Senate investigative subcommittee, present and former Goldman officials disputed, sometimes testily, the Securities and Exchange Commission's recent fraud allegations against the company.

They strongly denied that the firm cashed in on the housing crash by crafting a strategy to bet against home loan securities while misleading its own investors.

Europe's Debt Sinks Stocks; Dow Below 11,000

U.S. stocks followed European markets sharply lower Tuesday after Standard & Poor's downgraded the debt of Greece and Portugal. The rating agency's move intensified investors' fears that Europe's debt problems are spreading.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 213 points at 10,991.99 on Tuesday afternoon. All the major market indexes were down more than 2 percent.

The ratings downgrades sent the dollar up more than 1.1 percent against the euro, hitting its highest level in about a year. At the same time, gold and Treasury prices also rose as investors sought safer investments. The three often do not trade in the same direction.

Debt-strapped countries would also likely find it harder to spend more to stimulate their economies and help feed the global economic recovery.

Standard &Poor's downgraded Greece's debt to junk status and lowered Portugal's debt two notches to A-minus from A-plus. Greece has already admitted it can't pay debts coming due shortly and it has asked for a bailout from European neighbors and the International Monetary Fund. And there are growing concerns about Portugal's ability to handle its debts.

Investors have been on edge for months about Greece's fiscal crisis even as they've sent stocks higher on signs of an improving U.S. economy. They have also been worried that Portugal could be the next weak European economy to require help. That has undermined confidence in Europe's shared currency, the euro.

Man Claims Explosives, Flight Diverted

An American citizen on a flight from Paris to Atlanta claimed to have a fake passport and said he had explosives in his luggage, forcing federal air marshals to intervene and the plane to land in Maine, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

The officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing, believe the man's passport was authentic.

There were 235 passengers and eight crew aboard Delta Air Lines Flight 273, which landed safely just after at 3:30 p.m. at Bangor International Airport, Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott said. Federal officials met the aircraft at the airport. The Transportation Security Administration said the passenger was being interviewed by law enforcement.

After the man was apprehended, flight attendants moved passengers forward to clear out space in the rear of the plane, a passenger told FOX News.

"We were told there was some danger and some threats made, but beyond that we weren't told anything else," said the passenger, Adithya Sastry. Sastry said a passenger sitting next to him told him that the "young man" who was apprehended was carrying a backpack.

Elliott said late Tuesday afternoon that the Airbus A330 remained on the ground in Bangor but that the airline planned to continue the flight to Atlanta.

All passengers were taken off the plane because it was an international flight and they needed to clear customs, said Rebecca Hupp, a spokeswoman for Bangor International Airport.

The Bangor airport is accustomed to dealing with diverted flights.

It's the first large U.S. airport for incoming European flights, and it's the last U.S. airport for outgoing flights, with uncluttered skies and one of the longest runways on the East Coast. Aircraft use the airport when there are mechanical problems, medical emergencies or unruly passengers.

Top 10 Green Cars For 2010 Offer Variety

If you're looking to go green with a new car these days, there's no shortage of options - a fact reflected in Kelley Blue Book's list of the Top 10 Green Cars for 2010.

The list includes the usual hybrid options - including the Toyota Prius in the No. 1 spot - but also includes hybrid SUVs, clean diesel engines and other fuel-sipping small cars.

"From conventional gasoline-powered fuel sippers to hybrids to diesels, we think car shoppers will be impressed with the variety in vehicle types and sizes, as well as the vast array of various technologies, available on the market for the green-minded consumer today," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's website

Toyota also saw its Highlander Hybrid make the list at No. 9, making it one of three automakers, along with Ford and Honda, to land two vehicles on the list.

To be considered for the list, each vehicle was required to offer fuel economy and CO2 emissions superior to the bulk of vehicles in its class, and at the same time provide all the safety, creature comforts and driving enjoyment that would make it pleasant to own.

While this year's list includes several from last year's collection, it also includes newcomers like the Volkswagen Golf TDI, one of the newest "clean diesels" offering hybrid-like fuel efficiency, and the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, which combines SUV features with a hybrid powertrain.

See the entire Top 10 Green Cars for 2010 list

Wife Of Soldier In Paralysis Scam Jailed

The former wife of an Army veteran who bilked the U.S. government by faking paralysis to get disability benefits and avoid deployment to Iraq is headed to federal prison.

A judge in East St. Louis, Ill. sentenced 25-year-old Amy Rush of Glen Carbon on Monday to two years behind bars for her role in the scam. Her ex-husband, Jeffrey Rush, was ordered Friday to spend six and a half years in prison and to repay more than $300,000. Amy Rush must make $241,000 in restitution.

Authorities said the pair stuck to the story that Jeffrey Rush had lost use of his legs after a 2004 rollover crash just weeks before his Army company shipped off to Iraq.

Both pleaded guilty to fraud charges.

Classes Ordered For Dog That Destroyed Police Car

A pit bull mix in Tennessee has been sentenced to obedience training after his dogged attack on a local police car.

Winston didn't bite anybody, but he mauled a Chattanooga police car in what might have been a confused attempt to take a bite out of crime. The persistent pooch managed to tear off a section of the front bumper and damage the tires on March 14th and the incident was caught on tape.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that Judge Sherry Paty ruled that Winston had been a very bad dog. He was sentenced to obedience and canine good citizen classes, and he'll have to wear a tag that says he is "potentially dangerous."

Charges against his owner will be dismissed if the classes are completed successfully. Owner Nancy Emerling said Winston got out of a fenced-in area at a welding shop.

Wall Street Journal; AP; FOX News; Kelly Blue Book; Stars & Stripes; Chattanooga Times Free Press; WBZ-TV 38, Chattanooga, TN.

Good Samaritan Left To Die On NYC Sidewalk

The homeless man lay face down, unmoving, on the sidewalk outside an apartment building, blood from knife wounds pooling underneath his body.

One person passed by in the early morning. Then another, and another.

Video footage from a surveillance camera shows at least seven people going by, some turning their heads to look, others stopping to gawk. One even lifted the homeless man's body, exposing what appeared to be blood on the sidewalk underneath him, before walking away.

It wasn't until after the 31-year-old Guatemalan immigrant had been lying there for nearly an hour that emergency workers arrived, and by then, it was too late.

Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax - who police said was stabbed while intervening to help a woman being attacked - had died.

"I think it's horrific," said Marla Cohan, who teaches at P.S. 82, a school across the street from where Tale-Yax died. "I think people are just afraid to step in; they don't want to get involved; who knows what their reasons are?"

Tale-Yax was walking behind a man and a woman on 144th Street in the Jamaica section of Queens around 6 a.m. April 18 when the couple got into a fight that became physical, according to police, who pieced together what happened from surveillance footage and interviews with area residents.

Tale-Yax was stabbed several times when he intervened to help the woman, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. She and the other man fled in different directions, and Tale-Yax pursued the man before collapsing. Authorities are searching for the man and woman.

A 911 call of a woman screaming came in around 6 a.m., but when officers responded to the address that was given, no one was there, police said. Another call came in around 7 a.m., saying a man was lying on the street, but gave the wrong address.

Finally, around 7:20 a.m., someone called 911 to report a man had possibly been stabbed at 144th Street and 88th Road.

Police and firefighters arrived a few minutes later to find Tale-Yax dead. Officials say they're not sure whether the man was still alive when passers-by opted not to help him.

Residents who regularly pass by the same stretch of sidewalk, in a working-class neighborhood of low-rise apartment buildings and fast food restaurants near a busy boulevard, were unnerved by the way Tale-Yax died.

"Is anybody human anymore?" asked Raechelle Groce, visiting her grandmother at a nearby building on Monday. "What's wrong with humanity?"

In the urban environment, it's not unusual to see people on the street, sleeping or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

But even assuming the person they've just passed is drunk, instead of injured, is no reason not to notify authorities, said Seth Herman, another teacher at the school. He remembered calling an ambulance when seeing a man who appeared to be homeless on the street, with a beer bottle near by.

He called 911, he said, because "I felt it wasn't my job to figure out if the person was drunk or actually hurt."

Groce agreed.

"I just think that's horrible, whether you're homeless or not," she said. "He's a human being; he needs help."

AP; Reuters; UPI; New York Daily News; writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.