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Tech Hewlett-Packard reports earnings in line with analyst estimates

The split is expected to be completed by the end of 2015, when there will be a tax-free distribution of shares to stockholders.Each of the new companies is expected to post annual revenue of about $50 billion."The quarter was right in line with what we expected," HP Chief Financial Officer Catherine Lesjak told USA TODAY.

SAN FRANCISCO ? Hewlett-Packard's decision to separate its printing and PC division from the hardware and services division to improve performance doesn't seem to have affected the company's bottom line. Yet.

The computing pioneer reported $1.06 in earnings per share ? in line with analyst estimates ? on $28.4 billion in fourth-quarter revenue. The financial results were announced after markets closed Tuesday.

Thomson Reuters had consensus estimates of $1.06 in earnings per share on $28.76 billion in revenue.

In the same quarter a year ago, HP reported $1.01 in earnings per share on $29.13 billion in revenue.

The company's first-quarter operating earnings outlook of 89 cents to 93 cents was shy of the 93 cents, on average, expected by analysts.

Shares of HP are down 2%, to $36.70, in after-hours trading.

The results are the first since HP in October announced plans to split into two new publicly traded companies: Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and HP. The split is expected to be completed by the end of 2015, when there will be a tax-free distribution of shares to stockholders.

Each of the new companies is expected to post annual revenue of about $50 billion.

"The quarter was right in line with what we expected," HP Chief Financial Officer Catherine Lesjak told USA TODAY. "Maybe there was a bit of an upside in revenue and cash flow."

USA Today
Today
17 Points
1

More protests in wake of grand jury decision on Ferguson

The group's message: Racial profiling must end regardless of the grand jury decision.In Houston, protesters blocked streets and held up signs, based on images sent out by Twitter users. Tweeting under the handle @UnitedBlackout, the group said, "The time for change is now!"Contributing: Aamer Madhani in Ferguson, Mo., The Associated Press. Michael Gibson.A group called Blackout for Human Rights also used social media to ask people not to shop on Black Friday as a form of protest.

Blocked highways, calls for boycotts and staged "die ins" in which people pretended to be dead on city sidewalks marked a second night of protests since the announcement that a grand jury would not indict a Missouri police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen.

Anger, frustration and sadness colored protests in Seattle, Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn., Asheville and Greeneville, N.C., Cincinnati, Detroit, New York and other places after the panel decided Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson would not face criminal charges in the August death of Michael Brown, 18.

In Ferguson, Mo., itself, where the fatal shooting took place during an altercation, the streets were relatively quiet early Tuesday night.

Only a few protesters stood on a main road in Ferguson and most businesses were closed. About two dozen members of the National Guard stood in front of the police and fire complex.

Elsewhere, people continued to express outrage, anger and sadness at a grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson on criminal charges in the incident involving the 18-year-old.

In Boston, thousands of protesters held up signs in the streets during a protest rally, according to tweets from WBZ TV reporter Christina Hager. One sign visible in a photo that she tweeted read, "Cops kill kids."

In New York, two people were arrested in large but relatively peaceful protests after a man through a jar of fake blood on Police Commissioner William Bratton. Local television during the evening rush hour showed a quiet crowd walking along a street in Midtown.

Protests took vigorously to the streets in the Midwest.

In Cleveland, where some residents also were questioning the shooting death by police of a 12-year-old boy over the weekend, police took a hands off approach as protesters spilled onto the Shoreway as the evening commute began to pick up. More than 250 people who'd marched from downtown's Public Square carried signs and blocked the highway for about 30-45 minutes.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told WKYC that the agency "would let the protest play out."

Cuyahoga County Sheriff Frank Bova echoed the police chief, saying, "We're allowing them their constitutional right to protest."

In Cincinnati, about 10 people were arrested as a group of 85 to 100 protesters blocked I-75. The gathering started peacefully, as Mayor John Cranley and Bishop Bobby Hilton addressed a crowd from the steps of the federal courthouse downtown. But afterward, the crowd marched through downtown and headed into oncoming traffic, eventually scaling barriers and emerging on the highway, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Tensions smoldered in other parts of the country too.

In Seattle, high school students and community members took part in a march organized by the NAACP and a group called United Black Clergy in the city's Central District and continued to a federal courthouse downtown. The high school students joined the march as it made its way toward downtown and Seattle Schools reported that about 1,000 students walked out of classes. Protesters chanted, "Hands up, don't shoot," as they marched through the streets. The group's message: Racial profiling must end regardless of the grand jury decision.

In Houston, protesters blocked streets and held up signs, based on images sent out by Twitter users. In one photo, a young black man held up a sign that reads, "This is not about the alleged stealing of cigars," an apparent reference to allegations that Michael Brown stole cigars before the altercation with Darren Wilson. "This is about the loss of life in a system that habitually criminalizes and kills black people."

But the protests were not limited to large cities.

In Poughkeepsie, N.Y., about 75 miles north of New York City, protesters planned to stage a "die in" in front of the Dutchess County Jail Tuesday night.

According to a statement by Community Voice Heard, the names of 300 "African Americans killed by police and vigilante violence will be read" and a sign held up reading, "Hands Up Don't Shoot," the Poughkeepsie Journal reported.

On social media, people called on black Americans not to shop on Black Friday this Friday in order to express their anger at the grand jury decision. Using the hashtag #BlackOutFriday, social media users pointed out black Americans' spending power and asked black Americans to stay out of stores.

"The Black Community has nearly 1.1 Trillion Dollars in Buying Power," tweeted New York-based social media consultant Mike Street, who began spreading the word on Monday along with media strategist Denitria Lewis and youth advocate L. Michael Gibson.

A group called Blackout for Human Rights also used social media to ask people not to shop on Black Friday as a form of protest. Tweeting under the handle @UnitedBlackout, the group said, "The time for change is now!"

Contributing: Aamer Madhani in Ferguson, Mo., The Associated Press

USA Today
Today
17 Points
1

Man, 20, dies amid Ferguson protests

Blood-soaked shattered glass lay in a pile on the ground beside the car.Family members said Joshua's death is tied to the protests that consumed Ferguson after St. Amid the rubble and ashes of a city convulsed in anger over the death of Michael Brown, a different family stood in shock and grief over the death of another young black man: DeAndre Joshua, 20.At 9 a.m. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch revealed the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson.

FERGUSON, Mo. ? Amid the rubble and ashes of a city convulsed in anger over the death of Michael Brown, a different family stood in shock and grief over the death of another young black man: DeAndre Joshua, 20.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, a resident of an apartment complex spotted Joshua's body inside a parked car, a white Pontiac Grand Prix, near Canfield Green Apartments, the same complex where Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown on Aug. 9. Blood-soaked shattered glass lay in a pile on the ground beside the car.

Family members said Joshua's death is tied to the protests that consumed Ferguson after St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch revealed the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson. But family members said they did not know specifically how he died.

"I'm still stunned because he never had any problems. He was a good kid," relative Brian Joshua, 45 said, as other family members sobbed. "It's like somebody just hit us with a brick."

DeAndre Joshua graduated from high school and worked at Walmart, he said.

Walmart said Joshua had worked at Walmart as a stocker for more than a year.

"We are deeply saddened to learn the news that one of our Walmart family members tragically lost his life," Dacona Smith, senior vice president for operations at Walmart, said.

As police towed Joshua's car, his grandmother Renita Towns said she had little hope that police would investigate and learn the cause of her grandson's death.

"Police don't care ? he's black," Towns said.

Contributing: KSDK

USA Today
Today
15 Points
1

Travel Twin Cities rail link makes St. Paul a much closer sibling

Some siblings come across as rivals who seem disconnected, and that's the way Minnesota's Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. When it doesn't, skyways that link key buildings in dozens of downtown blocks help keep pedestrians dry and warm.St. Paul's newly renovated Union Depot (where Amtrak and Megabus depart) and Target Field (in downtown Minneapolis). He shows up as a life-size sculpture in Rice Park downtown, and the third-floor alcove of St.

Some siblings come across as rivals who seem disconnected, and that's the way Minnesota's Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul used to appear.

Now, as of this year, light rail connects these sisters ? which means there is no reason to stay with one and ignore the other, especially if relying on public transportation.

The ride is 48 minutes between Green Line end points: St. Paul's newly renovated Union Depot (where Amtrak and Megabus depart) and Target Field (in downtown Minneapolis). In between are 21 quick stops.

Minneapolis, the bigger sib at a population of 382,600, historically has drawn more attention from travelers because of its pro and Big Ten sports venues, deep love of the arts and pedestrian-only Nicollet Mall shopping.

The addition of light rail gives St. Paul, population 285,100, a chance to shine brighter. For lovers of walking, history and architecture, this is a prime destination, especially when weather cooperates. When it doesn't, skyways that link key buildings in dozens of downtown blocks help keep pedestrians dry and warm.

St. Paul's literary heritage is rich. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald was born here: Look for a modest apartment building at 481 Laurel Ave., a National Literary Landmark and part of the Historic Hill preservation district, home to one gorgeous mansion after another.

Fitzgerald would return to this neighborhood repeatedly and wrote "This Side of Paradise" at 599 Summit Ave. He shows up as a life-size sculpture in Rice Park downtown, and the third-floor alcove of St. Paul Central Public Library is a collection of hundreds of works by or about him. (651-266-7000, sppl.org)

Also on Summit is the James J. Hill House, a 36,500-square-foot mansion of red sandstone constructed for a railroad magnate's family in 1888-91. It was then Minnesota's most expensive house. In the 42 rooms are 22 fireplaces, 16 chandeliers and original furnishings. (651-297-2555, mnhs.org/hillhouse)

A neighbor is the Cathedral of St. Paul, designated a national shrine by the Vatican. Guided tours begin at 1 p.m. on weekdays. (651-228-1766, cathedralsaintpaul.org)

Within view of the cathedral is the city's other grand domed structure, the State Capitol, which is undergoing major (as in $273 million) restoration work. That means only part is accessible to the public, but it's still worth seeing the dignified House and Senate chambers, on your own or a guided tour. (651-201-2555, mn.gov [see "citizen services"])

Half a mile north of the Capitol is Hmongtown Marketplace, where a sprawling array of crafts, clothing, food and other items are sold indoors and outside (when weather permits). It's not the prettiest walk there but worth the trek, and vendors are friendly. (651-487-3700, hmongtownmarketplace.com )

Expect to see busy cooks and women sewing at this former lumberyard, where more than 200 booths are staffed. St. Paul has the nation's largest per capita Hmong population (about 10 percent of the city's residents), a people who originated in Southeast Asia, and a major annual celebration is Minnesota Hmong New Year, Nov. 28-30.

When riding light rail, the Capitol/Rice Street stop is closest to Hmongtown, a 50-cent ride because it is (barely) within St. Paul's downtown district.

Closer to central downtown are:

The Landmark Center, a former Federal Building that was restored as a venue for often-free public programs. This is where to learn about St. Paul's gangster history, on your own or during building tours. Several walking tours also begin here. (651-292-4375, landmarkcenter.org)

The building also is home to the Schubert Club Museum's interactive (and free) exhibits for music lovers. (651-292-3267, schubert.org)

Open less often is the Gallery of Wood Art, part of the American Association of Woodturners. (651-484-9094, galleryofwoodart.org )

Science Museum of Minnesota, where butterflies rule until at least Jan. 8 because of butterfly house with 20-plus species and "Flight of the Butterflies," an ode to monarchs, on the Omnitheater screen. (651-221-9444, smm.org )

Fitzgerald Theater, home to Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" radio broadcasts. (651-290-1200, fitzgeraldtheater.publicradio.org )

Mickey's Diner, a 1937 art deco railroad car, surrounded by high-rise buildings. Grub is good and relatively cheap at this historic blip in the city's dining scene, but the wait could be long. Open 24/7. (651-698-0259, mickeysdiningcar.com)

The 1910 St. Paul Hotel is the classiest and most historic place to stay downtown. (800-292-9292, saintpaulhotel.com) Midweek rates in mid-December start at $189.

If you go

?For more about travel options in St. Paul, consult 651-265-4900, visitsaintpaul.com

?To see which St. Paul buildings are linked by indoor passageways, go to stpaul.gov and search for "skyway map."

?Minnesota Historical Society offers occasional guided walking tours of F. Scott Fitzgerald and James J. Hill sites. The group also operates the Minnesota History Center, whose major exhibits include "Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s," up until Jan. 4. 651-259-3015, mnhs.org

?For more about the St. Paul Almanac Literary Festival, contact 651-785-6268, saintpaulalmanac.org

?For more about the Twin Cities light rail system, which also extends to Bloomington's Mall of America and the Minneapolis airport, call 612-373-3333 or visit metrotransit.org

Chicago Tribune
Today
17 Points
1

Money Mortgage giants' stance against principal reduction may be softening

Watt, appointed by President Obama a year ago to head the FHFA, is moving toward loosening the restrictions on principal reduction.The ban on principal reduction outrages critics such as Sen. by using a neighborhood stabilization program to transfer mortgage debts to third parties, which then reduce the principal.Watt said he expects to hammer out a policy on reducing loan balances in less than a year, but Sen. "But now I'm content."[email protected]: @ScottReckard.

Jaime Coronel's pick and shovel sat idle when the recession made landscaping jobs scarce, and the home where he and his wife, Juana, raised four children fell into foreclosure. Mortgage giant Fannie Mae gave permission in 2010 for the Coronels to stay on in the Azusa house as renters.

"That was the best deal that we could get at the time," said Peter Kuhns, a Los Angeles organizer of an activist group that took up the Coronels' cause, disrupting banks and invading Fannie Mae's Pasadena offices, a 20-minute drive from the couple's working-class neighborhood. Religious and community leaders and state legislators joined in, lobbying on their behalf.

On Friday, the Coronels, now living on Social Security and Jaime's pension as a union laborer, will throw a party to celebrate another Fannie Mae concession that lets them buy back their home for $280,000, far less than the $400,000-plus debt that had gone into default. The effect of the deal was to reduce the principal owed by the Mexican immigrants, enabling them to qualify for a new mortgage.

The go-ahead for the indirect reduction appears to mark a shift for Fannie Mae, which with its brother mortgage company, Freddie Mac, required a federal bailout in 2008.

Shrinking the mortgage amount that a homeowner owes has been done often in recent years to help underwater borrowers with loans not backed by Fannie and Freddie, in cases where foreclosing would be more costly for the lender or investors in the loan.

But in the six years since Congress created the Federal Housing Finance Agency to oversee Fannie and Freddie, the agency has never included mortgage principal reduction on its list of approved techniques to help homeowners in distress.

Now, the stance against principal reduction may be softening. The mortgage companies' top federal regulator testified Wednesday that the concession was being accomplished by using another indirect strategy: transferring Fannie and Freddie loans to third parties, which then reduce the principal amount owed.

The housing industry will be watching closely, trying to discern if the Coronels' deal is a one-time response to a lobbying campaign for sympathetic victims or a sign that Melvin L. Watt, appointed by President Obama a year ago to head the FHFA, is moving toward loosening the restrictions on principal reduction.

The ban on principal reduction outrages critics such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). She and others point to Treasury Department and congressional studies concluding that Fannie and Freddie would save themselves billions of dollars in foreclosure costs by reducing the balances on loans they guarantee.

The issue erupted Wednesday at a Senate Banking Committee hearing during which Warren berated Watt, who had been widely expected to lift the ban on principal reduction.

"Five million families lost their homes during the financial crisis. According to the latest data from CoreLogic, a leading housing market research firm, another 5.3 million homeowners remain underwater on their homes," owing more than the homes would bring if sold, Warren said.

"I've asked about this repeatedly and you've said you'd look into allowing Fannie and Freddie to engage in principal reduction," Warren said. "So I want to know why this has not been a priority for you. The data are all there!"

Watt testified that he had retained the restriction because sorting out which reductions would result in a "win-win" for the government and homeowners "has been perhaps the most difficult issue I have faced as director of the agency."

He also told Warren that he already was allowing principal reductions in another indirect way ? by using a neighborhood stabilization program to transfer mortgage debts to third parties, which then reduce the principal.

Watt said he expects to hammer out a policy on reducing loan balances in less than a year, but Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of a subcommittee on housing, pressed him to act more rapidly, saying "time is of the essence."

Meantime, the Coronels, who have spent four years as renters in the home they owned for two decades, were ecstatic.

With help from advocates for low-income areas, the couple were able to qualify for a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration based on their Social Security earnings, his payments from a pension plan and contributions from two other people living in the house.

The Coronels, who became U.S. citizens eight years ago, completed the repurchase of their 60-year-old, 1,268-square-foot home Oct. 23. They said through a translator that they were looking forward to working with Kuhns' advocacy group, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, to help other immigrants in similar circumstances.

But first, said 63-year-old Jaime Coronel, they will have to finish unpacking clothing, photos and other belongings they had boxed up in case they were forced to move on.

Juana Coronel, 64, said she never considered moving from the small house, which is near the homes of her children and grandchildren and is filled with religious posters and a lifetime of family photos.

"I want to die in my house. It's cost me many tears and a great deal of depression," she said. "But now I'm content."

[email protected]

Twitter: @ScottReckard

Chicago Tribune
Today
17 Points
1

Arts 'Birdman' tops Spirit Awards nominations

Executive producers are not awarded.)"Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"Producers: Alejandro G. Fox Searchlight's "Birdman" led the way in nominations with six for the 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards followed by five each for "Boyhood," "Nightcrawler" and "Selma.""Birdman" received noms for best feature, actor for Michael Keaton, director Alejandro G. Producers are nominated for the best feature award are Inarritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan and James W.

Fox Searchlight's "Birdman" led the way in nominations with six for the 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards followed by five each for "Boyhood," "Nightcrawler" and "Selma."

"Birdman" received noms for best feature, actor for Michael Keaton, director Alejandro G. Inarritu, supporting actress Emma Stone, supporting actor Edward Norton and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Producers are nominated for the best feature award are Inarritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan and James W. Skotchdopole.

Besides "Birdman," the other best feature nominations went to "Boyhood," "Love Is Strange," "Selma" and "Whiplash."

The noms were announced by Rosario Dawson and Diego Luna at the W Hotel in Hollywood. The winners will be announced Feb. 21 -- the day before the Oscars -- in ceremonies at the usual location in a white tent on Santa Monica Beach.

2015 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS

BEST FEATURE

(Award given to the producer. Executive producers are not awarded.)

"Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"

Producers: Alejandro G. Inarritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole

"Boyhood"

Producers: Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland

"Love Is Strange"

Producers: Lucas Joaquin, Lars Knudsen, Ira Sachs, Jayne Baron Sherman, Jay Van Hoy

"Selma"

Producers: Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey

"Whiplash"

Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michael Litvak

DIRECTOR

Damien Chazelle

"Whiplash"

Ava DuVernay

"Selma"

Alejandro G. Inarritu

"Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"

Richard Linklater

"Boyhood"

David Zellner

"Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter"

SCREENPLAY

Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski

"Big Eyes"

J.C. Chandor

"A Most Violent Year"

Dan Gilroy

"Nightcrawler"

Jim Jarmusch

"Only Lovers Left Alive"

Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias

"Love Is Strange"

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)

"A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night"

Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

Producers: Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah

"Dear White People"

Director-producer: Justin Simien

Producers: Effie T. Brown, Ann Le, Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, Lena Waithe

"Nightcrawler"

Director: Dan Gilroy

Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

"Obvious Child"

Director: Gillian Robespierre

Producer: Elisabeth Holm

"She's Lost Control"

Director-producer: Anja Marquardt

Producers: Mollye Asher, Kiara C. Jones

FIRST SCREENPLAY

Desiree Akhavan

"Appropriate Behavior"

Sara Colangelo

"Little Accidents"

Justin Lader

"The One I Love"

Anja Marquardt

"She's Lost Control"

Justin Simien

"Dear White People"

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD - Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive producers are not awarded.

"Blue Ruin"

Writer-director: Jeremy Saulnier

Producers: Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani

"It Felt Like Love"

Writer-director-producer: Eliza Hittman

Producers: Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner

"Land Ho!"

Writers-directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens

Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy

"Man From Reno"

Writer-director: Dave Boyle

Writers: Joel Clark, Michael Lerman

Producer: Ko Mori

"Test"

Writer-director-producer: Chris Mason Johnson

Producer: Chris Martin

FEMALE LEAD

Marion Cotillard

"The Immigrant"

Rinko Kikuchi

"Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter"

Julianne Moore

"Still Alice"

Jenny Slate

"Obvious Child"

Tilda Swinton

"Only Lovers Left Alive"

MALE LEAD

Andre Benjamin

"Jimi: All Is by My Side"

Jake Gyllenhaal

"Nightcrawler"

Michael Keaton

"Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"

John Lithgow

"Love Is Strange"

David Oyelowo

"Selma"

SUPPORTING FEMALE

Patricia Arquette

"Boyhood"

CIO, CTO & Developer Resources

Jessica Chastain

"A Most Violent Year"

Carmen Ejogo

"Selma"

Andrea Suarez Paz

"Stand Clear of the Closing Doors"

Emma Stone

"Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"

SUPPORTING MALE

Riz Ahmed

"Nightcrawler"

Ethan Hawke

Boyhood

Alfred Molina

Love is Strange

Edward Norton

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

J.K. Simmons

Whiplash

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Darius Khondji

The Immigrant

Emmanuel Lubezki

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Sean Porter

It Felt Like Love

Lyle Vincent

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Bradford Young

Selma

BEST EDITING

Sandra Adair

Boyhood

Tom Cross

Whiplash

John Gilroy

Nightcrawler

Ron Patane

A Most Violent Year

Adam Wingard

The Guest

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

20,000 Days on Earth

Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard

Producers: Dan Bowen, James Wilson

CITIZENFOUR

Director/Producer: Laura Poitras

Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky

Stray Dog

Director: Debra Granik

Producer: Anne Rosellini

The Salt of the Earth

Directors: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders

Producer: David Rosier

Virunga

Director/Producer: Orlando von Einsiedel

Producer: Joanna Natasegara

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award givel Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

Chad Burris

Elisabeth Holm

Chris Ohlson

21st ANNUAL KIEHL'S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD - The 21st annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl's Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl's Since 1851.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

H.

Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia

The Retrieval

Director: Chris Eska

20th ANNUAL LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD - The 20th annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters.

Approaching the Elephant

Director: Amanda Rose Wilder

Evolution of a Criminal

Director: Darius Clark Monroe

The Kill Team

Director: Dan Krauss

The Last Season

Director: Sara Dosa

Chicago Tribune
Today
17 Points
1 2 3

Money Apple (AAPL) Becomes The First $700 Billion Company

(NASDAQ:AAPL) stock increased 0.85% to $119.59 today, increasing Apple’s valuation to $701 billion. The launch of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has forced rival Samsung Elect Ltd(F) (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) to back out from competing against Apple over premium big-screen phones. Apple expects revenue of $63.5-66.5 billion for the current quarter, compared to last year’s forecast for the same period of $57.6 billion.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock increased 0.85% to $119.59 today, increasing Apple’s valuation to $701 billion. In comparison, the world’s second-largest company, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) has a market cap of $405 billion, after it lost $43 billion due to the 32% oil price decline this year.

Apple stock has rallied 48% year-to-date. In a recent article published in The Economist, renowned investor Carl Icahn stated that he believes the tech company is still undervalued, and has already communicated this to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Investor confidence has been strong as Apple has continued its mind-blowing innovations this year. The launch of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has forced rival Samsung Elect Ltd(F) (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) to back out from competing against Apple over premium big-screen phones. Other Apple products, such as the new iPad Air with its sleek design and faster performance, have also been a hit.

Moreover, the Apple Pay service has taken the market by a storm, and is fast gaining traction with retailers, banking partners, app developers, and customers. As the market for wearables is quickly expanding, Apple’s new smartwatch, slated to launch early next year, is expected to bolster the company's financials.

Apple has all the reasons to be optimistic about its future, owing to the storm of innovations, expanding footprint in China through partnerships with UnionPay, and an impending deal with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA). With the upcoming holiday season, the tech giant is expected to report greater sales, especially in its iPhone segment. Apple expects revenue of $63.5-66.5 billion for the current quarter, compared to last year’s forecast for the same period of $57.6 billion. Right now, the question on everybody’s minds is: will Apple become the first $1 trillion company?

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Bidness Etc
Today
17 Points
1

More troops deployed in Ferguson to guard against fresh riots

Police were also investigating as suspicious a body found in a car in Ferguson, and couldn't rule out a link between the death and the rioting.Meanwhile, Ferguson's mayor James Knowles told a news conference the National Guard "was not deployed in enough time to save all of our businesses.""The decision to delay the deployment of the National Guard is deeply concerning," Knowles said. Missouri's governor ordered hundreds more National Guard troops on Tuesday to a St.

Missouri's governor ordered hundreds more National Guard troops on Tuesday to a St. Louis suburb rocked by rioting and looting after a grand jury declined to indict a white policeman in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Attorneys for the family of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old shot to death in Ferguson by officerDarren Wilson in August, condemned as biased the St. Louis County grand jury process that led to Monday's decision not to bring charges.

The killing in Ferguson, a predominantly black city with a white-dominated power structure, underscores the occasionally tense nature of U.S. race relations and sometimes strained ties between African-American communities and the police.

The grand jury's decision sparked racially charged protests that were more intense than unrest that erupted in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, but still much smaller than those that followed the acquittal of police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King in Los Angeles two decades ago.

"Last night the rioters did some things to our community we all couldn't have woke up this morning imagining," Captain Ron Johnson of Missouri Highway Patrol told reporters.

In Ferguson, about a dozen buildings, including a pizza shop and a beauty parlor, burned overnight as protesters took to the streets in anger. Police said protesters fired guns at them, lit patrol cars on fire and hurled bricks into their lines.

Police fired tear gas and flash-bang canisters at demonstrators, and 61 people were arrested. Police were also investigating as suspicious a body found in a car in Ferguson, and couldn't rule out a link between the death and the rioting.

Meanwhile, Ferguson's mayor James Knowles told a news conference the National Guard "was not deployed in enough time to save all of our businesses."

"The decision to delay the deployment of the National Guard is deeply concerning," Knowles said. "We are asking that the governor make available and deploy all necessary resources to prevent the further destruction of property and the preservation of life in the city of Ferguson."

Governor Jay Nixon said about 700 guard troops were deployed on Monday and hundreds more would be out on Tuesday night to protect homes and businesses.

"This community deserves to have peace," Nixon said, adding that more than 2,200 guardsmen are now in the region. "We must do better and we will."

The unrest came despite calls by President Barack Obama and others for police and protesters to exercise restraint. Police had been preparing for months but admitted they were overtaken by the violent events that unfolded.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters he was disappointed by the violent protesters he saw in Ferguson and has asked for a review to identify and isolate "criminal elements" from peaceful protesters.

BROKEN PROCESS

The grand jury decision shifted the legal spotlight to an ongoing U.S. Justice Departmentinvestigation into whether Wilson violated Brown's civil rights by intentionally using excessive force and whether Ferguson police systematically violate rights by using excessive force or discrimination.

Holder said he had been briefed by Justice Department officials overseeing federal probes surrounding Brown's death, but did not say when investigators might complete their work.

Obama asked Americans on Tuesday to be "constructive" by engaging in debate about racial tensions and law enforcement, and said demonstrators who engage in criminal acts should be prosecuted.

Brown family lawyer Benjamin Crump said the grand jury proceedings were unfair because the prosecutor in the case had a conflict of interest and Wilson was not properly cross-examined.

"The process should be indicted," Crump said, adding that the family wants police to be equipped with body video cameras to provide an indisputable account of their actions.

Schools in Ferguson and its surrounding cities were closed on Tuesday and city offices inFerguson were also shut.

"This is going to happen again," said Ferguson area resident James Hall, 56, as he walked past a smoldering building. "If they had charged him with something, this would not have happened toFerguson."

In the city of St. Louis, where windows were broken and traffic was briefly stopped on a major highway overnight, Police Chief Sam Dotson vowed a stronger response on Tuesday night.

About 1,000 demonstrators gathered outside a federal courthouse in St. Louis blocking a road and chanting, "This is what democracy looks like."

Protests were also held on Tuesday in other major U.S. cities, from New York to Los Angeles,Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Washington.

Wilson, who could have faced charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to first-degree murder, thanked supporters in a letter attributed to him on a Facebook page for those who have rallied to his side, saying "your dedication is amazing."

Later, Wilson told ABC News in an interview that was aired in part on Tuesday that there was nothing he could have done differently in his confrontation with Brown that would have prevented the teenager's death.

"The reason I have a clean conscience is because I know I did my job right," he told ABC News, adding that he would have acted no differently had Brown been white.

Documents released by prosecutors said that Wilson, who was placed on administrative leave after the shooting, told the grand jury Brown had tried to grab his gun, and that the officer felt his life was in danger when he fired.

"I said, 'Get back or I'm going to shoot you,'" Wilson said, according to the documents. "He immediately grabs my gun and says, 'You are too much of a pussy to shoot me.'" 

 

Chicago Tribune
Today
17 Points

New Zealand's 1902 'corpse ship' find with cargo of dead miners upsets Chinese

Chong, the New Zealand Chinese Association official, said she and about 100 other Chinese representatives, including Sew Hoy family members, traveled last year to the area to formally bless the souls lost on the Ventnor, to ensure they were at rest. "Everything I have done was done above-board and legally, and with the best intent." The story of the Ventnor has its roots in the 1860s, when thousands of Chinese miners came to New Zealand seeking their fortunes.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- The S.S. Ventnor sank 112 years ago off the northern New Zealand coast, bearing unusual cargo: the exhumed bodies of 499 Chinese miners, some in wooden coffins and others in sealed zinc caskets.

They had tried their luck in New Zealand's gold rush, and had paid in advance to ensure their bodies would go back to China, no matter what. A wreck believed to be the ship was discovered in 2012, raising the possibility that someday, the remains might go home.

Now the question is: Should they?

The wreck was found by a team led by John Albert, an amateur New Zealand filmmaker. He says he was drawn to the Ventnor's story after standing at a bluff overlooking the Hokianga Harbour -- near its final resting place -- and feeling a chill, like a spirit had entered him.

But his work, including a news conference publicly announcing the wreck's discovery last week, has upset some members of New Zealand's Chinese community, who say he removed artifacts from the wreck without consulting them and against their wishes.

"I went to the media conference and had no idea what was going on. I was shocked and disappointed that we hadn't been consulted and hadn't been informed beforehand," said Virginia Chong, the previous president of the New Zealand Chinese Association. "The bodies and bones on that ship are our ancestors, our people."

Albert said he did speak to a number of people in the Chinese community, but couldn't consult with everyone. He plans to make a documentary about the Ventnor, but said he never intended to profit from his activities, as some have assumed.

"I'm hurt," he said. "Everything I have done was done above-board and legally, and with the best intent."

The story of the Ventnor has its roots in the 1860s, when thousands of Chinese miners came to New Zealand seeking their fortunes. Most left their families behind, hoping to return to China as wealthy men. Many ended up dying in poverty.

Many of the miners took a type of insurance policy to have their remains returned to China should they die in New Zealand. They paid money into a charity run by Choie Sew Hoy, a successful merchant who sold supplies to the miners and owned mining ventures.

Sew Hoy in 1883 organized the repatriation of 230 bodies to China and planned an even bigger shipment for 1902.

Miners who had been buried for up to 20 years were disinterred. The North Otago Times wrote in 1902 that the bones were washed by a Chinese man "who calmly smoked a cigarette the while, and scrubbed away all the adhering matter with a scrubbing brush."

Such remains were dried, tied in calico bags and placed in small wooden coffins. Intact bodies, on the other hand, were placed in zinc caskets that were immediately sealed, the newspaper said.

Sew Hoy died before the Ventnor left, and joined the other corpses aboard.

After leaving New Zealand's capital, Wellington, bound for Hong Kong, the Ventnor struck rocks off the Taranaki coast and limped to near the Hokianga Harbour before sinking in about 150 meters (500 feet) of water.

The captain and 12 crew members died, while other crew members made it ashore in lifeboats. Some body parts drifted ashore and were buried by indigenous Maori.

The manifest of the corpses went down with the ship. That meant for more than a century, Sew Hoy was the only person whose corpse was known to be aboard.

Chong said Chinese researchers in recent months have been able to get preliminary identification of most of the miners from exhumation records. She said the researchers are still working to identify their descendants.

Albert said that with his own money and, later, backing from a New Zealand Chinese businessman, he began chartering a boat and divers to search for the ship.

He said they found a wreck in 2012, but weren't certain it was the Ventnor. He said he went to China and met with officials, including those from a museum in Guangzhou, who wanted to see physical proof.

He said that among the objects the divers took were a porthole, a lamp, a small bell and an engine order telegraph, used to deliver instructions on the ship's speed from the bridge. None provide slam-dunk proof that the wreck is the Ventnor, though Albert and authorities are convinced it is because of its size and location.

Peter Sew Hoy, the great-great grandson of Choie Sew Hoy, said that while his family gave Albert their blessing to send down a remotely operated underwater vehicle to film the wreck, he had never mentioned taking artifacts.

"It's a gravesite. It's a spiritual site," Peter Sew Hoy said. "From a moral point of view, it would have been nice to have been contacted."

The Sew Hoy family and others in the Chinese community successfully petitioned to have the site protected in May. The heritage protection order prevents the wreck from being further touched but allows divers to observe it.

Chong, the New Zealand Chinese Association official, said she and about 100 other Chinese representatives, including Sew Hoy family members, traveled last year to the area to formally bless the souls lost on the Ventnor, to ensure they were at rest.

But it turned out that wasn't the final chapter. Albert's news conference last week prompted excitement and distress and raised thorny questions about what should happen next.

Albert said the search has cost about 300,000 New Zealand dollars ($236,000) so far. He said that while it will be up to officials, local Maori and Chinese family members to decide the fate of any remains, he thinks the bodies should go to China because that is what the miners had wanted.

Chong, however, said it would likely be impractical to identify individual remains after so many years at sea, and they should probably be left alone.

How New Zealand's government will respond remains unclear. One lawmaker's suggestion that the site could have tourism potential earned a swift rebuke Monday from the nation's race relations commissioner, who said Chinese families needed to be consulted.

Peter Sew Hoy said he's not sure what should happen.

"The thing is, my family needs to be happy, and other Chinese groups also need to be happy," he said. "We can't agree to anything at this stage. We need to talk."

He added that he's certain of one thing: His great-great-grandfather should remain with the other bodies, whether in their watery grave or in the ground in China. He said his ancestor was a leader among the deceased men and would never have wanted to leave them.

AP-WF-11-25-14 1559GMT

San Jose Mercury News
Today
15 Points

Money Wevorce sells divorce without the lawyers' fees and custody battles

Wevorce keeps 60 percent of the fee, and the mediator keeps the rest.Andrew Olson and Elisabeth Teskie of Wisconsin divorced in August using Wevorce. None of the 300 couples who used Wevorce to split this year ended up in court. Crosby, a former attorney, has galvanized support for Wevorce from her fellow lawyers. On Wednesday, Wevorce will announce a sweeping expansion in Northern California, offering its services in cities from Monterey to Sacramento, including Oakland and Berkeley.

SAN MATEO -- Divorce is often a heart-wrenching saga of lawyers' fees and angry spats in court -- but one Silicon Valley startup says uncoupling doesn't have to be so ugly.

Wevorce, a nearly 2-year-old startup based in San Mateo, is aiming to bring a little peace to the often roiled process by moving divorce from the courts to the Web and replacing litigation with new technology. Take away the combative lawyers and the courtroom custody battles, says Wevorce, and splitting spouses can save time, money and heartache as they divide their assets and lives.

"The law can't litigate emotion for you," said Michelle Crosby, Wevorce co-founder and chief executive. "It just ends up just sucking up your dollars. It is really barbaric, the existing system, and we are creating a change that families can do in a way that is kids-focused, that is respectable and that is affordable."

Since launching in January 2013 after completing tech accelerator Y Combinator in Mountain View, Wevorce has facilitated the divorce of hundreds of couples, including several in the Bay Area, saving their bank accounts from hefty lawyers' bills. None of the 300 couples who used Wevorce to split this year ended up in court.

Such an amicable parting isn't possible for everyone. Wevorce said couples who are too bitterly divided, or where one spouse has been deeply betrayed, won't make it through the program because it requires that couples work together and agree on the terms of their divorce. But with the divorce rate in the United States hovering near 50 percent, family law experts say the demand for a gentler, more sensible divorce option is on the rise. On Wednesday, Wevorce will announce a sweeping expansion in Northern California, offering its services in cities from Monterey to Sacramento, including Oakland and Berkeley. Wevorce will also be launching in 20 states over the next three months, Crosby said.

Previously, the company had operated only in San Francisco and San Mateo, as well as cities in Colorado, Washington, Idaho and Oregon. The startup has raised $2.5 million from investors.

Wevorce combines software, video conferencing and other online tools with family law attorneys who mediate -- not litigate -- to end a marriage. The attorneys help splitting couples plan their future through in-person meetings or video chats, creating a plan for child custody, splitting assets, and dealing with finances and other family matters such as who pays the dog's vet bills. While there are other websites that facilitate divorces, many only process the paperwork, and mediators say Wevorce may be the only online company that offers such robust and therapeutic guidance for the whole family.

The couple pays a flat fee that is decided up front, a price based partly on how complicated their assets are to divide. Wevorce keeps 60 percent of the fee, and the mediator keeps the rest.

Andrew Olson and Elisabeth Teskie of Wisconsin divorced in August using Wevorce. They had been married for six years and have three daughters, and didn't want to fight with each other.

"We didn't want to be litigious," said Olson, 41. "We had seen a lot of people go through bitter divorces. We both agreed we didn't want it to be like that."

They went through about four months of mediation together, meeting with an attorney through video conferencing. Couples on average complete a divorce in less than three months on Wevorce; the national average is more than a year.

"Every step of the way, we were together, and it worked beautifully," said Teskie, 35. "By the time we were done, I was emotionally exhausted, but we had a plan in place. I was surprised by the amount of healing that took place."

The pair said they paid about $3,000; the national average cost of divorce is about $27,000.

Crosby, a former attorney, has galvanized support for Wevorce from her fellow lawyers. She said about 25 attorneys have joined Wevorce as certified mediators, with another 30 lined up to join the company in January; about 900 more are waiting to go through the certification process.

Stewart Levine, a longtime attorney in Alameda, joined Wevorce this fall because "it was so congruent with everything I believed." Levine has been a mediator for nearly three decades and runs a practice in Oakland.

"It's tragic when people spend huge amounts of money that they don't have and families end up in worse shape when they (go) though a divorce, and often with kids involved," Levine said. "With Wevorce, you're able to avoid spending a huge amount of money on lawyers. You're able to take control and create an agreement you want to create rather than an agreement the judge hoists upon you."

But some family law experts have raised concerns that Wevorce users could be taken advantage of by their spouse, since they don't have a lawyer on their side to look out for their best interest.

"What you often see is you have one savvy person in the couple and one person who is vulnerable -- a person who is undocumented, uneducated or financially dependent," Christina Angell, a family law attorney with offices in San Francisco. "They can be easily tricked into agreeing with things because no one is advocating for them."

Contact Heather Somerville at 510-208-6413. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.

San Jose Mercury News
Today
15 Points
1

Travel Travel deals include cabins near Jackson Hole

If they subsequently buy a Wheelhaus, the company will reimburse the total cost of the stay at Fireside. The 400-square-foot cabins at Fireside Resort, which have nightly rates ranging from $225 to $375, are all Wheelhaus units. The Fireside Resort, 10 minutes from the Jackson Hole, Wyo., ski area or Grand Teton National Park, is offering a chance to "test drive" a Wheelhaus cabin. Through April 15, guests staying at Fireside can use promo code TBYB to get 20 percent off their stay.

The Fireside Resort, 10 minutes from the Jackson Hole, Wyo., ski area or Grand Teton National Park, is offering a chance to "test drive" a Wheelhaus cabin. Wheelhaus sells small cabins, similar to an upscale mobile home, that are aimed at people looking for a relatively inexpensive vacation home. The 400-square-foot cabins at Fireside Resort, which have nightly rates ranging from $225 to $375, are all Wheelhaus units. Through April 15, guests staying at Fireside can use promo code TBYB to get 20 percent off their stay. If they subsequently buy a Wheelhaus, the company will reimburse the total cost of the stay at Fireside. Blackout dates for the reduced price are Dec. 23-Jan. 4 and Feb. 12-16. Info: tinyurl.com/kux2j3s

For the bowl-bound

If you're the kind of college football fan whose idea of heaven is to wrap up the year by trekking off to bowl games, you need to head over to the Sports Travel and Tours website. It has a number of packages put together for the major bowls ? think National Championship, Sugar, Rose, Fiesta, Cotton or Orange ? or it can put together a custom package for any of the more than 30 bowl games. Among the Rose Bowl packages, there's a three-day/two-night one that includes two nights' lodging, reserved seating for the Tournament of Roses Parade and upper level end zone seats for the game, as well as transportation to the various events. It's priced from $1,270 per person double occupancy. The Cotton Bowl Silver Package is as low as $499 per person double occupancy and includes two nights' lodging, upper-level seats for the game and transfers. Check out all of the packages at tinyurl.com/pdu4lnz or call 800-662-4424.

Family travel gifts

For folks looking for gift ideas for families who like to travel, FamilyVacationCritic.com has put together a list of a dozen items that might make your holiday shopping easier. The VTech KidiZoom Camera could be a possibility for the young ones who don't already have their own cellphone camera. And the 2GoTablet iPad Holder attaches to front-seat headrests and makes it easier for the kids in the back to fight over who controls the iPad. Or the Crayola Window Crayons will write on car windows and are washable. Those are fun until the kids learn to write backward and start telling other drivers, "I'm being kidnapped. Call 911." Info: tinyurl.com/nagyhs7

Chicago Tribune
Today
15 Points
1

Money How to be a smart donor

Also, even the most conscientious of us is unlikely to keep a record of such incidental donations. I would often put things off till the last minute, I didn't have as much time to research good causes and the donations would drain my bank account. However, we don't always have the best information about which organizations are effective. Organizations such as Guidestar and Charity Navigator offer ratings of the financial health, accountability and transparency of thousands of organizations.

It's that time of year when lots of charities are on the corner ringing their bells and asking you to open your wallet. As our nation climbs slowly out of recession, 2014 is expected by some observers to set new records for charitable donations.

The poor and the middle class are giving even more of their incomes, on a percentage basis, than they did seven years ago, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Being generous is proven to make people happy. It can make you feel better about your financial situation as well. But just as you should be shrewd when shopping for yourself, it's important to take a reasoned approach to charity. That way both you and the good causes can get the most for your money.

Here are several strategies for effective giving.

--Listen within. In the age of social media we're constantly being bombarded to give to this or that cause by friends, colleagues or even strangers. But the deepest satisfaction will come from choosing causes that align with your values, hopes and perhaps wishes for the new year.

--Do your research. Check national databases. Organizations such as Guidestar and Charity Navigator offer ratings of the financial health, accountability and transparency of thousands of organizations. You may choose not to give to an organization that routinely runs a deficit or whose CEO is pulling down half a million dollars a year.

--Support a mix of organizations. Research shows that most small donors support small organizations that they feel a personal affinity with, and often stick with the same groups year after year. However, we don't always have the best information about which organizations are effective. And the effectiveness of organizations can change over time. So it may make sense to spread your money around a bit more. I split my giving between local direct service groups, big international aid organizations and advocacy-based nonprofits. And I change the list each year based on causes that are in the news.

--Give deliberately. A coworker is doing a "fun run" for some group you've never heard of. There's a donation bucket at the checkout line. Or, hardest of all, someone is panhandling in the street. What do all of these occasions have in common? You don't know much about where your money is really going to go. Also, even the most conscientious of us is unlikely to keep a record of such incidental donations. That's why it's better to do research and make an affirmative decision about where and how much to give.

--Spread giving out over the year. I used to bunch all my donations into the months of November and December. I would often put things off till the last minute, I didn't have as much time to research good causes and the donations would drain my bank account. Consider monthly donations. They help charities plan. This year I also tried giving on my birthday as well as at the end of the year.

--Give as a gift. Want to get your holiday gift-buying over in half an hour? Make a series of donations. Bonus if you have a creative way to let them know. One year my mother donated on behalf of the extended family to Heifer International, a community development organization that provides productive livestock to people in villages around the world. The aunts, uncles and cousins got a small stuffed sheep or goat in honor of the contribution.

--Take your tax benefit. If you're investing all the time and effort to help the less fortunate, it's silly to leave money on the table. In order to get the tax write-off for charitable giving, it'll be necessary to itemize your deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040. You must keep written records (the phone bill works in the case of a text donation). And don't forget to keep records of in-kind donations and volunteer hours as well.

(Anya Kamenetz' next book is "The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing, but You Don't Have to Be." She welcomes your questions at [email protected])

(c) 2014 ANYA KAMENETZ. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Chicago Tribune
Today
15 Points
1

Sports Brad Biggs' NFL power rankings

Ravens 7-4 (11): Emergence of Justin Forsett as productive back one of better stories in NFL this season.11. Chiefs 7-4 (7): Looked to be in the driver's seat in AFC West up until the point they went to Oakland and lost.13. AFC South and only 3-4 against the rest of the league but Redskins should offer solace.10. Bengals 7-3-1 (14): No room for error in AFC North where all four teams have seven victories.15. They simply are not [email protected] @BradBiggs.

Last week in parentheses.

1. Patriots 9-2 (1): They have scored 170 points in their last four games during their seven-game winning streak.

2. Packers 8-3 (3): Nine weeks before Super Bowl XLIX, will we see a preview Sunday as the Patriots visit Lambeau Field?

3. Broncos 8-3 (4): With two running backs down, Broncos turned to C.J. Anderson and he ran for 167 yards vs. stout Dolphins defense to avoid upset.

4. Cowboys 8-3 (6): Host the Eagles Thursday night in first of two meetings between NFC East leaders in three-week span.

5. Cardinals 9-2 (2): Lead in NFC West at two games but Bruce Arians must rekindle the magic with Drew Stanton after loss at Seattle.

6. Eagles 8-3 (8): Turnovers piling up for Mark Sanchez and he now he faces opportunistic Dallas defense.

7. Steelers 7-4 (9): Front office made tactical error in cutting RB LeGarrette Blount, and he scored score two touchdowns for the Patriots five days later.

8. Seahawks 7-4 (13): We will find out if convincing victory over Cardinals is sign champs are back. They visit the 49ers Thursday night.

9. Colts 7-4 (10): 4-0 record vs. AFC South and only 3-4 against the rest of the league but Redskins should offer solace.

10. Ravens 7-4 (11): Emergence of Justin Forsett as productive back one of better stories in NFL this season.

11. Lions 7-4 (5): Golden Tate called offense "embarrassing" after failing to score a touchdown in consecutive games.

12. Chiefs 7-4 (7): Looked to be in the driver's seat in AFC West up until the point they went to Oakland and lost.

13. 49ers 7-4 (12): Not sure many buy in to Jim Harbaugh's assessment Colin Kaepernick is "great" but chance to prove it in showdown with Seahawks.

14. Bengals 7-3-1 (14): No room for error in AFC North where all four teams have seven victories.

15. Browns 7-4 (15): All Brian Hoyer does is find ways to win close games.

16. Chargers 7-4 (17): Schedule down the stretch is very challenging; might be challenge for them to finish above .500.

17. Dolphins 6-5 (16): Couldn't maintain high-scoring pace with Broncos and now nine teams in AFC have a better record.

18. Bills 6-5 (21): Would travel gladly to Ford Field to play home games every week if they could schedule Jets every time.

19. Saints 4-7 (19): More disappointing offense this season: Sean Payton's or Marc Trestman's? Discuss.

20. Texans 5-6 (18): If loss of Ryan Mallett to pectoral injury doesn't send Bill O' Brien back to drawing board in search of a quarterback, what will?

21. Rams 4-7 (20): Had a chance to rally for victory at San Diego until Shaun Hill threw terrible interception in end zone. Jeff Fisher needs a quarterback.

22. Bears 5-6 (23): The Bears' six-game scoring drought in first quarter even longer than Robbie Gould's five-game span without a field goal.

23. Falcons 4-7 (22): Mike Smith's clock mismanagement doomed them in come-from-ahead loss to Browns.

24. Vikings 4-7 (25): Hung in there with Packers but clearly not quite there.

25. Giants 3-8 (26): Odell Beckham Jr. the real deal. Now to find a young defensive player with comparable star power.

26. Panthers 3-7-1 (24): Have not won since defeating the Bears on Oct. 5.

27. Bucs 2-9 (27): Not characteristic for a Lovie Smith team to lead the NFL in penalties. Discipline not there yet.

28. Redskins 3-8 (28): Jay Gruden/Robert Griffin III plot thickens as they travel to face the quarterback drafted one slot ahead ? Andrew Luck.

29. Raiders 1-10 (32): Derek Carr showed a little moxie in leading game-winning drive against Kansas City.

30. Titans 2-9 (30): All the investments made on offensive line, just isn't paying off.

31. Jets 2-9 (29): Were booed rou8ndly Monday night at Ford Field. Who knew Gang Green fans traveled so well.

32. Jaguars 1-10 (31): Seven losses by 14 points or more. They simply are not competing.

[email protected]

Twitter @BradBiggs

Chicago Tribune
Today
15 Points
1

Arts Chicago Gourmet to sell discounted tickets Friday

In what has become an annual event, discounted tickets to Chicago's signature food and wine fest (Sept. 26 and 27 in Millennium Park) will go on sale, online only, at midnight Thursday (that's to say, the first few moments of Friday).) One- and two-day admission tickets will be available for $125 and $225, respectively, plus tax and fees (both prices represent a $50 discount).

In what has become an annual event, discounted tickets to Chicago's signature food and wine fest (Sept. 26 and 27 in Millennium Park) will go on sale, online only, at midnight Thursday (that's to say, the first few moments of Friday).) One- and two-day admission tickets will be available for $125 and $225, respectively, plus tax and fees (both prices represent a $50 discount). Available through Dec. 25 or while supplies last (hint: the supply won't last nearly that long). Order at chicagogourmet.

--Phil Vettel

Chicago Tribune
Today
15 Points
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