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Libya Begins Trial of Gaddafi’s Sons

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 07:34

Libyan prosecutors on Monday prepared to begin the trial of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi’s two sons, reports Reuters.

Saadi Gaddafi and Saif al-Islam will be tried alongside more than 30 former officials of the Gaddafi regime in the capital city Tripoli’s Al-Hadba prison. The case’s chief investigator, Sidiq al-Sour, said that Saadi would not be present on Monday due to ongoing investigations, but procedures would carry on against the others. They face charges including war crimes and corruption.

Since the overthrow of Gaddafi, Libya has suffered from weak governance, with armed protesters blocking oil exports and former revolutionary fighters refusing to hand over their weapons. Human rights organizations have also expressed concern over the fairness of the North African state’s justice system.

“So far, there have been problems with legal representation. Many of those on trial did not a have a lawyer from the beginning – the cornerstone of a fair trial,” said Hanan Salah, Libya researcher with Human Rights Watch. “If they don’t get fair trials then it casts doubt over whether the new Libya is not about selective justice.”


Categories: Magazines

Wheel of Fortune Contestant Mispronounces ‘Achilles,’ Misses Chance at Million Dollar Prize

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 07:00

A contestant named Julian kept getting very close to winning big on Friday’s episode of Wheel of Fortune -- but then he just kept messing up big.

First, the University of Indiana freshman lost his chance to play for $1 million when he bungled the answer “Mythological Hero Achilles.” All the letters were turned over, so it seemed like he had this one in the bag. But when he went to solve the puzzle, he pronounced Achilles like “A-chill-us.”

The three seconds of deafening silence that followed were heartbreaking. Eventually Pat let Julian know that they couldn’t accept that, and the next contestant eagerly swooped in.

Unfortunately, Julian makes a few more blunders as the episode rolls on. For example, he guesses “on-the-spot dicespin” (what?) instead of “on-the-spot decision,” again allowing the contestant to his left to swoop in once more.

Looks like we now know what Julian’s Achilles’ heel is.



Categories: Magazines

Even Mindy Kaling Can’t Win the Body-Image Wars

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 06:45

The days of size-0 stars talking about how little they can eat to stay in the business seem to be fading into darkness. Now, it’s Jennifer Lawrence talking pizza and French fries, Mindy Kaling saying she eats like a 6-foot-3 man and Gabourey Sibide throwing shade at cruel Twitter trolls commenting on her weight. MoreWhite House, Congress Should Remember Pope Francis During Budget ProcessThe Rise of Fake PotMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostJack Gleeson of Game of Thrones: 5 Things to Know People

The floodgates of real-body talk have been opened. But it’s not just on social media or alongside Jimmy Fallon. Women like Kaling are scripting their own TV shows, making body image discussion part of the plotlines. It’s become more acceptable to discuss body realism as opposed to idealism, but is all this talk about bodies helping women with self-image issues or eating disorders or does this new focus fuel our obsession with how we look? If anything the conversation is even more focused on appearances than before. Popular Among Subscribers The Rise of Fake Pot Common Core Sparks Parent RevoltChristians and Tyrants

Kaling’s show The Mindy Project, which she stars in and writes, never fails to tease her insecurities or her so-called atypical size. At times the jokes are actually hilarious and very relatable, like a fan favorite that’s often quoted: “I’m not overweight, I fluctuate between chubby and curvy.” But others, while funny, seem unnecessary. On a recent episode, when her character excused herself from work for an appointment, a colleague asked if she was getting lap-band surgery. Later in the episode, when she sat on a man’s lap, the chair crumbled beneath them.

And the conversation continues on social media where Kaling has become known for her frank comments about weight. When she posted a fan’s illustration of herself on Instagram using the hashtag #thickthighs, troves of followers applauded what they thought was hilarious and honest. “It takes a lot of effort to look like a normal-slash-chubby woman!” Kaling told Jimmy Kimmel when explaining the backhanded compliments she receives from fans about her shape.

In a recent Vogue feature, Kaling is referred to as a ‘curvaceous comedienne,’ essentially a fancy term for ‘she’s not skinny.’ The story describes her as a ‘fluctuating size 10’ and highlights the ways she dresses for her shape, which focus mostly on looking as small as possible with a few of her thoughts about fashion sprinkled in. The article quotes Kaling about taking chances with her outfits: “I don’t want my tombstone to say, she hid her imperfections on the red carpet.” Soon after the issue’s release, she was hailed for wearing a crop top to the 2014 Paley Fest. People praised her on the web, but it’s going too far to call someone courageous for that. And Kaling agreed, telling Kimmel she didn’t think it garnered acclaim. Still, it’s wonderful that Vogue chose to feature a woman outside its normal scope of Karlie Kloss-types, but the story could have been more about Kaling herself than about her body.

Joking about the ridiculous standards set by pop culture and celebrities can make women feel better about their bodies, about being ‘normal/chubby’, but it also reinforces the comparison factor that some experts say drives body image issues and an increase in eating disorders among women and men. “The key is an acceptance strategy,” says Dr. Kenneth Weiner, CEO and Founder of the Eating Recovery Center. “We see the prevalence of eating disorders continue to rise in the face of an environment that has a need for women to experience dissatisfaction with their body.” Eating disorder prevalence is hard to track, since there’s no standardized method and so many cases go unreported. Still, Dr. Russell Marx, chief science officer of the National Eating Disorder Association, says they appear to be on the rise in adolescents–with young people suffering from eating disorders at an earlier age than previous generations.

Kaling’s so-called imperfections are also the things that make her so-called normal, so her commentary about them creates a disconnect between the idea of accepting yourself as is and seeing yourself as normal, versus constantly calling out your supposed flaws.

Other experts say that the appearance of more diversity in the body shapes of the people on television is a positive development. “In the same way that we don’t know what contributes to disordered thoughts about body image, we don’t know what confers a healthier message,” says Dr. Evelyn Attia, the director at Columbia Center for Eating Disorders. “But it’s nice to have a period of time where people are trying on these messages, where celebs are getting the word out that there are lots of healthy bodies, lots of healthy definitions of beauty,” Attia says. “It’s a bit of a refreshing chapter.”

Attia suggests that the best option is for women to get to “a place of neutrality” when it comes to body image, which means neither extreme satisfaction or dissatisfaction with one’s body but a form of acceptance that size and shape isn’t the end all be all of success and happiness. It’s hard to know whether discussing crop tops and imperfections help women reach a point of neutrality. And it’s worth noting that there are also celebrities who don’t fit the unattainable size-0 standard and choose not to dwell on it all. Take Christina Hendricks, who’s almost always referred to in conjunction with the word voluptuous or curvy. The Mad Men star refuses to discuss her body or body image, which is perhaps closer to the neutrality that Attia recommends.

The fashion industry and some media outlets have been trying to shift the conversation and encourage better body image, but whether it makes a difference is hard to know. In 2012, Seventeen launched a ‘Body Peace Treaty’ campaign, designed to encourage young women to make peace with their bodies, but there’s little evidence it’s made a true impact. And though Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign sheds light on how women define themselves, it only fuels the discussion of unattainable standards. None of these efforts have limited the number of bikini body gossip magazines on stands. In 2005, a campaign spearheaded by researcher Carolyn Becker and a sorority sought out to ban ‘fat talk’ to help prevent eating disorders and negative body image. While commendable, of course, the campaign never really took off the ground.

Though laughter is often good medicine, Weiner suggests that being disparaging and demeaning about your size and weight is far from the ticket to acceptance. “Poking fun at yourself because you’re larger? If anything, I see that as part of the problem.”


Categories: Magazines

Running For Office With a Criminal Case Pending? No Problem, This Is India!

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 06:11

India’s democracy is an impressive thing to behold. In preparation for the national polls now underway, election materials have been ferried by air, sea and elephant to give over 800 million people the chance to have their say in the formation of the next government. Turnout in some of the most remote parts of the nation has already been impressive, reaching figures of over 70 and 80% in parts of the northeast that voted last week.

Less impressive are the backgrounds of some of the lawmakers Indians have to choose from. National Election Watch (NEW) and the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an election watchdog group in India, have determined that 17% of the candidates running for seats in Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of parliament, in the first five phases of the nine-phase vote have declared that they have criminal cases against them. The groups, which analyzed the self-sworn affidavits that candidates submit to India’s election body, found that 557 out of 3305 candidates had declared criminal cases against themselves. Of those, 328 faced were cases related to serious crimes, such as rape and murder.

By major party, that breaks down like this: 23% of Congress Party candidates in the first five phases have declared criminal cases against themselves, 34% of Bharatiya Janata Party candidates, and 16% of Aam Aadmi Party candidates. The states and territories with the highest percentage of candidates with criminal cases are the archipelago of Lakshadweep off India’s southwest coast at 50%, Goa at 32% and Kerala at 74%.

Though candidates’ records in the last four phases have yet to be examined, the numbers seem to be on track for an improvement over the last Lok Sabha elected in 2009, in which some 30% of parliamentarians had declared criminal cases against them. But even with corruption and cleaner governance being focal points this election season, it’s unclear how much attention voters will give their candidates’ records in 2014. “I don’t think its’s an election issue,” says ADR head Anil Verma. “We keep making noises and try to educate the voter of these issues.”

Last month, India’s Supreme Court ordered the lower courts to try lawmakers facing criminal charges within a year of the case being filed. The order is part of a ongoing effort to clean up the ranks of India’s halls of power; in July, the apex court ruled that lawmakers convicted of certain crimes would be immediately disqualified from office. If the judiciary upholds this latest order, Verma says, it could have a big impact on the next house. But he’s not optimistic for a major house cleaning to take place any time soon. “I don’t see it happening,” Verma says. “Let’s see how the judicial system goes.”


Categories: Magazines

Hear an Exclusive Live Track From Led Zeppelin's Deluxe Reissues

RollingStone - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 06:00
Led Zeppelin are gearing up for a massive re-release campaign of their entire catalog kicking off with their first three albums on June 3rd The discs will have remastered sound and tons of previously unreleased bonus material on companion discs   The 40 Greatest Led Zeppelin Songs of All Time "The material...

Categories: Magazines

Oscar Pistorius: ‘Reeva Would Have Been as Scared as I Was’

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 05:46

Oscar Pistorius once again broke down weeping during the fourth day of cross-examination in Pretoria on Monday. He stands trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 28 last year.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel continued to grill the Olympian about details of the night when he shot Steenkamp through the bathroom door of his gated-community home. Pistorius maintains that he mistook the 29-year-old model for an intruder.

Pistorius’ story has come under intense scrutiny from Nel, who argues that the double-amputee athlete — known as “Blade Runner” due to his trademark prosthetic limbs — intended to harm Steenkamp after the couple had quarreled.

Nel focused on the position of duvet and jeans in the bedroom, and Pistorius’s assertion that Steenkamp was in bed when he got up to fetch a fan and heard a noise from the bathroom.

“If Reeva was in bed she would have heard that as well?” asked Nel, accusing the defendant of “tailoring evidence.”

“I say that it’s improbable that you would have not, having heard a window open … asked her if she heard it,” he added.

Pistorius replied that she may not have said anything as “she would have been as scared as I was.”

Also under examination was the position of a duvet and pair of the victim’s jeans in the couple’s bedroom, as were alleged inconsistencies between Pistorius’s bail statement and his witness testimony regarding the noise he heard.

“I’m saying, and it’s the state’s case, Mr Pistorius, that she wanted to leave and that you weren’t sleeping, you were both awake,” said Nel, asking why the jeans were not in her otherwise impeccably packed bag.

Nel then asked Pistorius if he recalls what he screamed at the intruder in the bathroom.

“I screamed, I said ‘get the f— out of my house,” says Pistorius, his voice wavering with emotion. “Get the f— out of my house.”

“If there’s somebody in your house in the middle of the night, I’m sure anybody would want to chase them out,” he added, breaking down to the point that Judge Thokozile Masipa ordered a recess.

Pistorius stands accused of murder, first-degree murder and culpable homicide. He denies all charges.

The case continues.

Categories: Magazines

Boston Will Commemorate Tragedy Before Running Another Race

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 05:45

BOSTON—While survivors and others gather for a solemn ceremony to mark the anniversary of the bombings at last year’s Boston Marathon, runners from around the world will be arriving in brightly-colored running gear just outside to prepare for this year’s competition. MoreMan Who Lost Legs In Boston Bombing Will Be A FatherBoston Bomb Squad Blows Up Pressure CookerMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostJack Gleeson of Game of Thrones: 5 Things to Know People

It’s a disconnect that exemplifies a rare, if not singular, challenge: the need to commemorate a tragedy that coincides with an iconic annual event. And it means planners have to balance grieving about the past with staging an athletic spectacle that’s all about positive emotion.

“It really is a huge pendulum sweep,” says Dusty Rhodes, who is in charge of the tribute.

A unusual calendar quirk will help: The Boston Marathon is always run on the third Monday in April. Last year’s marathon was on April 15, the earliest possible date, while this year’s will be on April 21, the latest. That gives organizers six days between the anniversary of last year’s bombings and the runners’ gathering at the starting line.

“What we really want to have happen on Tuesday is the appropriate focus on the victims and the community and the enormity of the impact and the sadness and the challenge, and then move forward,” says Rhodes. “Come Wednesday morning after the tribute, let’s go and have the world’s best marathon that we can have.”

The commemoration will recognize the three people killed by two bombs placed on Boylston Street during last year’s marathon, an MIT police officer fatally shot by the alleged bombers three days later, the 264 who were hurt in the blasts, many of them gravely, and the firefighters, police, hospital employees and others who responded to the emergency.

Participants will file out of a local convention hall behind an honor guard and place a wreath at the freshly painted blue-and-yellow finish line. They will observe a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m., the exact moment when the first of the bombs exploded.

Church bells will ring citywide at 2:50 p.m. along with the horns of boats in the city’s famous harbor. The finish-line flag familiar from the photographs of last year’s chaos will be raised, and church bells will play Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

“By the time we get to the end of the tribute program, it’s about hope,” Rhodes says. “We’ve done well, we’re a team, we’ve been a strong team, and we will be a strong team. And that’s the tone we close with. It’s a microcosm of what the whole week will be.”

For all of that, officials say they can’t predict, and don’t presume to dictate, how people will remember the events of last year while also watching this year’s race unfold.

“That’s not for us to reconcile,” said Tom Grilk, executive director of marathon parent the Boston Athletic Association. “It’s for us to provide people with an opportunity to do what they do and to remember and react the way they wish.”

As for the marathon itself, Grilk hopes it “will be what it has always been, an international athletic event and a day of celebration and joy for the runners and spectators along the way and volunteers,” he says. “What we have heard from people is that we along with them have to move forward, have to display that determination, colored by that history that happened before.”

Categories: Magazines

Here’s How to Avoid Annoying Absolutely Everyone Around You at Work

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 05:45

Corporate America is whistling while it works: According to digital music service Spotify, 61% of people stream music during the workday with 36% saying they use music to get them through the day. One person’s motivational music can be another’s nails-down-a-chalkboard irritation, so all of this music-streaming almost certainly means there are a lot of annoyed colleagues sick of listening to their co-workers’ music, tired of raising their voice to be heard over headphones and the like. MoreMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostJack Gleeson of Game of Thrones: 5 Things to Know PeopleWatson's Masters win has its roots in his wild style of golf Sports Illustrated'Game of Thrones' recap: 'The Lion and the Rose' Entertainment Weekly

We’re not saying you need to work in silence, but there are some good music etiquette practices you should observe that will help keep you in harmony with your fellow workers.

Some companies don’t let workers wear headphones. The experts are unanimous: If you’re allowed to, you probably should. But that doesn’t let you off the hook from good music etiquette.

“Don’t wear headphones 24/7,” says Harvard Business Review writer Anne Kreamer, who wrote about office music in a 2012 blog post. “You’ll isolate yourself.”

“Never wear your ear phones away from your desk – anywhere,” says business etiquette consultant Ellen Reddick. It doesn’t matter if you’re just going to the bathroom, down the hall to the copy machine, down to the lobby for a snack — if you’re leaving your desk, take them off.

“Don’t hum along or tap your foot or desk,” Reddick says. It kind of defeats the point of headphones if your co-workers have to listen along anyway.

On that note, Kreamer says it’s important to make sure you’re the only one who can hear that music coming from your headset. “Be sensitive to your co-workers and ensure they can’t hear bass sounds leaking out.”

If you’re not using a headset, you need to have a conversation with the other people who work within earshot.

“Trying to attain group consensus is also a smart idea,” says Vicky Oliver, consultant and author of several business books, including, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions. “Do yourself a favor and ask those who are sitting nearby if they mind if you listen to music while you work, and, assuming they don’t, what type of music they’d prefer to hear.”

If you’re listening without headphones in shared space, you might want to stick to mainstream tunes: Spotify says 10% of survey respondents admitted to judging a co-worker based on their choice of music.

And keep it down, Oliver advises. “Always turn the volume to low if you work in an open space without walls,” she says.

Spotify says pop music is the most popular, with rock a close second. But if you work with a huge fan of Gregorian chants or the Three Tenors and your music is shared, Oliver suggests trading days: Pink today, Puccini tomorrow.

And finally, don’t make your music a higher priority than your colleagues. “If someone come to your desk, remove your ear phones — both of them,” Reddick says. “Do not just remove one to talk with another person.” It sends them a not-so-subtle signal that you’re only half-listening to them.

Categories: Magazines

9 Most Ripped-Off Products in America

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 05:45

Counterfeit products may cost the global economy up to $250 billion a year, according to estimates from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Millions of those shipments enter the United States. MoreMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostJack Gleeson of Game of Thrones: 5 Things to Know PeopleWatson's Masters win has its roots in his wild style of golf Sports Illustrated'Game of Thrones' recap: 'The Lion and the Rose' Entertainment Weekly

While government agencies do their best to crack down on counterfeit goods, they only manage to catch a fraction of the fake products that enter the United States. Still, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) values that seized fraction at staggering amounts. The value of counterfeit goods seized rose by 38.1% in 2013, from $1.2 billion in 2012 to $1.7 billion last year. Popular Among Subscribers The Rise of Fake Pot Common Core Sparks Parent RevoltChristians and Tyrants

Based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the genuine versions of the counterfeit goods, some of the most valuable imitations were of handbags and wallets, watches and jewelry, and consumer electronics. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the nine most counterfeit items seized in 2013, based on their retail value.

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The value and number of seizures changes considerably from year to year, depending on what items were being counterfeited, as well as law enforcement activity. Therese Randazzo, director of CBP policy and programs on intellectual property rights, explained that, in some cases, increases in seizures are the result of such activity. In other cases, such as footwear, decreases in seizures can also reflect the success of prior campaigns by CBP and other agencies, she added.

In some cases, changes in the number and value of goods seized did not move in tandem. For instance, while the number of watches and jewelry seized remained roughly the same between 2012 and 2013, the value of those seizures rose by 169%. According to Randazzo, fluctuations will occur with luxury goods like handbags, watches and other types of jewelry in particular, because there is such a large range of values with these products.

Luxury items tend to be the most counterfeited products because they are more valuable, according to Randazzo. And with better counterfeiting methods, there is a greater challenge of detection as well as potential for even higher profits, she explained. Consumers can no longer take for granted obvious signs of imitation such as poor stitching or bad zippers. “Now, the quality [of fake products] has improved so dramatically that [criminals] have been able to charge at prices closer to the price of the genuine article.”

China’s role as manufacturer for a broad range of authentic products, as well as its intellectual property rights framework, may contribute to the country’s high levels of counterfeiting. About $1.2 billion of the $1.7 billion worth of imitations picked up by U.S. law enforcement agencies originated in mainland China. More than $400 million worth of seized goods came from Hong Kong, which CBP classified separately.

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The process and methods of detecting these counterfeiting operations is constantly evolving. The increased number of seizures in 2013, according to Randazzo, can be explained in part by new collaborative efforts between CBP and various partners, including China Customs, the customs agency for the People’s Republic of China. The success of such operations has resulted in a measurable increase in the number and value of seizures and the ability to target and intercept shipments of knock-off products, she added.

Based on information provided by the CBP, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the nine most counterfeited items seized by officials based on the MSRP of the genuine article. We looked at the number of shipments of each product type confiscated in both 2013 and 2012. We also reviewed CBP data by country to identify the value of counterfeit goods produced in specific countries.

These are the nine most counterfeited products in America.

4. Wearing Apparel/Accessories
> MSRP of seized goods: $116.2 million
> Pct. of total seized goods: 7%

Last year, the United States seized almost 10,000 shipments of counterfeit apparel and accessories, by far the most of any commodity and up 26.8% from the year before. In all, more than $116 million worth of such items were seized. Like with other goods, exactly what type of product is being counterfeited matters, Randazzo noted, with haute couture knockoffs assigned a higher MSRP than blue jeans, for example. Last year, the CBP, in conjunction with other federal and local agencies, conducted “Operation Red Zone,” which seized $17.3 million worth of fake sporting apparel — jerseys and ball caps — and other collectibles coinciding with the 2013 Super Bowl.

3. Consumer Electronics/Parts
> MSRP of seized goods: $145.9 million
> Pct. of total seized goods: 8%

The dollar amount of counterfeit consumer electronics products seized rose by 40% in 2013, to $145.9 million from $104.4 million in 2012. Further, consumer electronics comprised 8% of the total value of items seized last year, making it the third most frequently seized fake product. The number of seizures of counterfeit electronic products grew in conjunction with their total value. There were 5,656 such seizures in 2013, a 44% increase from the 3,928 seizures in 2012. According to a report by the CBP, one particularly big seizure in 2013 was by a joint CBP and China Customs operation. The two-month long operation resulted in 1,735 electronics shipments being seized, removing more than 243,000 counterfeit consumer electronic products from the market.

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2. Watches/Jewelry
> MSRP of seized goods: $502.8 million
> Pct. of total seized goods: 29%

The value of seized imitation watches and jewelry grew by 168.9% between 2012 and 2013, considerably more than that of any other commodity. In total, the value of watches seized was more than half a billion dollars in 2013. Last year, there were 1,729 seizures, 21% less than there were in 2012. Randazzo noted that the different trends in value and seizures may be a product “of what’s targeted and seized in a given year.” For example, fake versions of high-end watches, which retail for thousands of dollars, can boost the values of counterfeits seized. The Federation of Swiss Watch Industry estimated that some 120,000 imitation watches were seized worldwide in 2013.

1. Handbags/Wallets
> MSRP of seized goods: $700.2 million
> Pct. of total seized goods: 40%

Handbags and wallets were again the most seized counterfeited product, by MSRP, in 2013. The roughly 2,200 shipments seized had a total MSRP of more than $700 million, accounting for 40% of the total value of all goods seized. Because these products are valued so highly, a drop in total handbag and wallet seizures between 2012 and 2013 did not correspond with a drop in the market value of the items seized. In fact, while seizures fell by 17% in that time, the value of goods seized rose 37%, or by nearly $189 million. Randazzo explained that the retail value of the genuine goods can increase the value of the seized counterfeits considerably. While a fake Coach bag is often valued in the hundreds of dollars, “if we seize a counterfeit Hermes bag, the value …of some of those bags is thousands of dollars.” Most such counterfeits originate in mainland China, which alone accounted for more than half a billion dollars in fake purses last year, according to the CBP.

Click here to read the rest of the list.

Read more from 24/7 Wall Street:
Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2014
Five Unusual Alternatives to Investing in Gold
America’s Least Healthy States

Categories: Magazines

5 Small Changes You Can Make to Be Way More Productive

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 05:45

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources, and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at MoreMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostJack Gleeson of Game of Thrones: 5 Things to Know PeopleWatson's Masters win has its roots in his wild style of golf Sports Illustrated'Game of Thrones' recap: 'The Lion and the Rose' Entertainment Weekly

Regular readers know I definitely believe in the power of hard work. As Jimmy Spithill, skipper of Team Oracle USA, says, “Rarely have I seen a situation where doing less than the other guy is a good strategy.” Popular Among Subscribers The Rise of Fake Pot Common Core Sparks Parent RevoltChristians and Tyrants

But we can all work smarter, too. And clearly we all want to, as evidenced by the popularity of this recent post, 5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder.

The tips were provided by Belle Beth Cooper, content crafter at Buffer, the maker of a social-media management tool that lets you schedule, automate, and analyze social-media updates. (Cooper is also the co-founder of Exist.)

That post was so popular I asked Cooper for more ways anyone can make a workday more productive without putting in extra hours. Here are five:

1. Rework your to-do list. I’ve written about the history of the to-do list before, and how to write a great one.

One of the most counterintuitive but effective methods I’ve found for increasing my productivity is to limit how many items I add to my to-do list.

One way to do this is by choosing one to three most important tasks, or MITs. These are the big, tough tasks for your day that you really need to get done; the ones that will keep you in the office past the time you planned to leave, or working after dinner if you don’t get through them.

Leo Babauta advocates doing these before you move on to other tasks:

“Do your MITs first thing in the morning, either at home or when you first get to work. If you put them off to later, you will get busy and run out of time to do them. Get them out of the way, and the rest of the day is gravy!”

The rest of your to-do list can be filled up with minor tasks that you would do as long as you complete your MITs. Make sure you work on those before you move on to less critical tasks and you’ll find you feel a whole lot more productive at the end of the day.

Another to-do list tip that can reduce work anxiety is to write your to-do list the night before. I often end up in bed not only thinking about what I need to do the next day but also planning the day; obviously, that makes it difficult to sleep. Writing my to-do list before I go to bed helps me relax and sleep better.

And rather than wasting time in the morning because I don’t know what to work on first, I can jump straight into my first MIT the next day.

One more to-do list tip: Focus only on today.

My most recent and favorite change to my to-do list has been to separate my “today” list from the master list of everything I need to get done.

I often feel anxious about all the things I know I need to do at some point. I need to write them down somewhere so I don’t forget them, otherwise I worry about when or if they will get done. But I don’t want those items cluttering up my list for today; that will just make today seem even busier than it already is.

My solution is to make a big list of everything I need to do. Then, every night, I move a few things to my to-do list for the next day. (I use one big list with priority markers so that anything “high” priority moves to the top and becomes part of my “today” list.)

That lets me focus on what I must do today, but it also gives me a place to dump every little task I think of that someday must get done.

Take it from David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done: “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” Park your ideas on your to-do list, but make sure you create a “today” list and a “someday” list. That way you won’t waste energy trying to remember important ideas and you’ll ensure today won’t feel overwhelming.

2. Measure your results, not your time. The whole idea of working smarter rather than harder stems from the fact that many of us put in more and more hours only to findwe don’t get more done. That’s why we want to find methods to be more productive in less time.

One way to do this is to adjust the way you measure productivity. If you evaluate yourself by what you actually get done rather than the time it takes to get something done, you’ll start to notice a difference in how you work.

For example, if you have a big project to complete, try breaking it down into “completable” sections. For instance, I like to break down my blog posts into sections and small tasks like adding images. With a set of smaller tasks making up a big project, I can check off what I get done each day, even if it takes me many days to finish the whole project. I get a nice little rush every time I check off a task within a blog post, even if it was just a 200-word section. It helps me maintain momentum and keep going until the whole post is done.

Another way to measure what you get done each day is to keep a “done list,” a running log of everything you complete in a day. I scoffed at done lists for a long time until I joined Buffer, where we all share what we’ve done each day using iDoneThis.

If you start keeping a list of everything you get done in a day, you might be surprised how much more motivated you are to do work that matters and stay focused so you get even more done.

Focus on measuring by results, not by time on task, and you’ll definitely get more done.

3. Build habits to help you start working. If I don’t have a plan for what to work on first, I tend to procrastinate and waste time in the mornings. You might have a differentdanger time for procrastination, but getting started seems to be a hurdle for most of us.

One way to overcome this problem is building a routine that tells your brain and body it’s time to work.

Your routine could be something as simple as your daily commute or grabbing a coffee on the way to work. I usually sit at my desk with my coffee and check up on my favorite sites to see if there’s any news. Once my coffee is finished, that’s my cut-off point: It’s my trigger to start working.

Other ways to get into a working mindset can include sitting down at your desk or workspace, turning off your phone or putting it away, exercising, stretching, or eating breakfast. You could even have an album or playlist that gets you in the mood to work and listen to that as part of your routine.

The same technique works on weekends, too. Although you might be tempted to let go of your routine entirely on your days off, our CEO has found that maintaining a weekend routine that doesn’t differ too much from his weekdays works well: The more he let go of his routine on the weekends, the longer it took him to pick it up again during the week.

Routines aren’t a sign of boring, regimented people. Routines are a sign of people who have goals and have found the best way–for them–to actually accomplish their goals.

4. Track where you waste time. If you’re struggling to be productive, it’s tempting to change your routine or try new solutions before you uncover the real problem. (I’ve done this in the past and found it never leads to a long-term solution.)

The first step in becoming more productive is to identify your regular time-sucks. Start by tracking what you do every morning to get ready for work. You might find you’re spending time on things such as choosing your clothes, something you could do the night before. (Or like our co-founder, you could just wear jeans and a white t-shirt every day.)

Then, keep going: Track how you spend your time during the day and look for patterns. A tool like RescueTime can help. Maybe you’ll find you’re getting caught up on Facebook too often. Or that what should have been a two-minute work conversation regularly turns into a 10-minute chat session.

Once you know what takes up your time or leads you to procrastinate, start making specific changes around those habits.

I used to waste a lot of time in the mornings checking out my favorite sites for news or updates. Now I factor it into my routine; as I mentioned, I do it while I drink my coffee, and when the coffee is gone, it’s time to start working.

5. Build habits to help you stop working. This one might seem a bit strange, but it really works. Some of us struggle to stop working, rather than (or as well as) start working.

It’s easy to just keep going for another hour, or to get your computer out after dinner and work until well after bedtime. The worst thing about these habits is that they encourage us to put off our MITs; we figure we’ll be working long enough to be sure to get them done. (But, of course, we don’t.)

Here are a few ways to switch on at-home time and leave work behind:

Quit while you’re ahead. Take it from Hemingway: “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day…you will never be stuck.”

His advice can apply to all kinds of work. Stopping in the middle of a project can work well: You know what you’ve done, you know exactly what you’ll do next, and you’ll be excited to get started again.

Set a firm cut-off time. Sean Ogle wrote a great post about this. Most days he has a (pretty extreme) strict cut-off time of noon. You could make this work with an evening cut-off time to get you out of work by, say, 5 p.m.

Ogle gets up early, so he has five to six hours of work time before his midday cut-off point. But because he’s strict about stopping work at noon, he still needs to be ruthless in prioritizing his tasks.

Another benefit of a strict cut-off time is you’ll be a lot more motivated to complete your MITs first; the pressure of a looming deadline will help keep you focused.

Another way to limit your work time is to unplug your laptop power cord. Then you can only work as long as your battery lasts. It’s great motivation to get important things done more quickly.

Plan something cool for after work. Another tip from Ogle is to plan an activity or event for after work. In Ogle’s case, he plans to catch up with friends or attend events around 12:30 or 1 p.m., which helps reinforce his noon cut-off time.

If you want to get out of the office around 5 p.m., you could set up a dinner date, a quick after-work drink with a friend, or a family visit. External forces and peer pressure can give you motivation to get things done within the time you have.

Create a wind-down routine. Having a routine to help you wind down from work can be helpful if you often struggle to switch off. Light exercise works well for me, so I like to walk home from the office or take a walk after work. Our CEO goes for an evening walk as part of his going-to-bed routine because it’s such a good winding-down activity.

Journaling can be really relaxing, as can talking through your day with a partner or friend. Something Benjamin Franklin used to do was ask himself every night, “What good have I done today?” Writing about your day can be a good way to reflect and keep a log of what you’ve done, as well as to transition out of your work mode. If you’re getting into the habit of planning your day the night before, this can be a good way to cap off your workday: Pick out your MITs for tomorrow and create a task list, so you can relax once you leave work.

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Feds Will Probe Passenger Safety After California Bus Crash

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 04:36

Federal transportation authorities have launched an investigation into how to increase safety on buses in response to Thursday’s horrific crash in Northern California.

The bus, transporting 44 high school students to Humboldt State University for a familiarization visit, collided with a FedEx truck, killing 10 people—five students, the three adults accompanying them, and both drivers—and injuring dozens.

The investigation will look into the use of seatbelts, emergency exits and fire safety rules on buses.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will provide an initial report within 30 days but the investigation could take up to 12 months. The NTSB has long advocated increased safety for bus passengers but other federal agencies have been slow to respond.

“The worst thing for the NTSB is to show up, know that we’ve issued recommendations from a previous accident where lives have been lost … and find out (that) if those recommendations had been closed and enacted, lives could have been saved,” NTSB member Mark Rosekind told AP on Friday.


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Woman Arrested After 7 Dead Babies Found in Utah Home

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 04:04

A woman was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of killing seven babies found dead in her former home, south of Salt Lake City.

The grisly discovery was made in the former abode of Megan Huntsman, 39. It is believed they are the bodies of children she gave birth to from 1996 to 2006.

Her husband, believed to be the father of the infants, who were all found in individual cardboard boxes, apparently alerted police after stumbling across one. The six other corpses were discovered once officers arrived at the scene.

So far, police have not commented on either a motive or Huntsman’s reaction to her arrest. Police Captain Michael Roberts has said the husband, whose name has not yet been released, is not suspected of any involvement.

Huntsman’s three daughters, aged around 13 to 20, are still understood to live with their father at the house.

The bodies are currently at the state medical examiner’s office in Salt Lake City, where they are undergoing tests to reveal the cause of death and the parentage of the deceased.


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Pistorius Cross-Examination Into 4th Day

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 04:04

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius is being cross-examined at his murder trial for the fourth day by chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Pistorius is into his second week of testimony Monday as he attempts to convince a South African judge that he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day last year.

Pistorius’ story has come under intense scrutiny from Nel, who argues that the double-amputee Olympian’s version of the shooting on Feb. 14, 2013 is a lie.

Pistorius testified last week that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder about to attack him when he fired four shots through a closed toilet door in his bathroom. The prosecution says the couple argued and Steenkamp fled to the toilet cubicle screaming before the athlete shot her intentionally.

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At Least 20 Dead After Blasts Rock Nigerian Capital

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 04:01

At least two explosions rocked a bus station near the Nigerian capital of Abuja during rush hour on Monday, killing many commuters at the crowded transport hub, according to Reuters.

A cameraman working for the agency counted 20 dead bodies at the bus station, while witnesses at the scene said that more than a dozen bodies had already been moved.

“I was waiting to get on a bus when I heard a deafening explosion then smoke. People were running around in panic,” eyewitness Mimi Daniels told Reuters.

There has been no confirmation on what may have caused the blasts.


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Bubba Watson Delighted to Win His Second Masters in Three Years

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 03:40

Bubba Watson was clearly chuffed to bits after triumphing again at the Masters Sunday, beating 20-year-old Jordan Spieth to the fabled green jacket at Augusta, Ga.

“I really don’t know [how I won] … I don’t remember the last few holes,” Watson said. “I just remember hanging on and all I thought about was ‘make par, make par.’”

The 35-year-old posted a 3-under par 69 for the final round to finish 8-under with 280 total for the tournament.

Spieth’s dreams of becoming the youngest Masters winner ever, youngest major champion since 1931 and the first rookie to win in Augusta since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, were dashed by a poor final day, despite showing remarkable pluck for such a young player.

Back-to-back bogeys for Spieth on the eighth and ninth as Watson made birdies turned the tournament on its head. Watson last won the Masters in 2012.





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Ukraine Prepares to Fight

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 03:35
MoreUkrainian President Promises ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’ After Shoot-Out in East

Kiev has mobilized its armed forces in the eastern part of the country and announced a full-scale counterinsurgency mission to weed out what it calls “armed terrorists” — pro-Russian groups that continue to occupy a number of Ukrainian government buildings in defiance of ultimatums to surrender. MoreUkraine Gets Energy Help Amid Threats From RussiaPutin Warns Europe To Expect Gas Shortages If Ukraine Doesn’t Pay DebtsMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostMad Men: What's Happened to Don Draper? People

Separatists launched synchronized attacks across eastern Ukraine on Sunday, seizing government buildings and arms in several towns. At least one Ukrainian security officer was killed on Sunday in a seemingly unsuccessful attempt by the government to retake the police station in the city of Slovyansk.

The emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on Sunday over the escalating crisis in Ukraine saw a fiery exchange of condemnations and accusations.

“This instability was written and choreographed in and by Russia,” said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, echoing a statement released by the State Department.

The State Department claimed that the operations bore “many similarities to those that were carried out in Crimea in late February” and went on to highlight evidence of Russian participation, such as the highly organized manner of the attacks and the unmarked Russian military equipment being used.

Moscow has denied involvement in the attacks, and Russia’s Ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin went on the offensive at the Security Council meeting, claiming that Kiev’s “self-proclaimed government” included neo-Nazis. He called on it to stop attacking its “own people.”

Russia reportedly has 40,000 combat-ready troops positioned along the Ukrainian border and has warned Ukraine on several occasions not to attack the separatist groups dug in at government buildings. The U.S., for its part, has cautioned Russia not to invade Ukraine.

The Prime Minister of neighboring Poland, Donald Tusk, told reporters that Ukraine no longer had any choice but to respond militarily.

“The moment comes when Ukraine has to act and show that they do not accept these actions,” he told reporters. “The brutal truth is that Putin will not stop where he wants, but where Ukraine lets him.”

On Sunday, over 10,000 anti-Kremlin protesters took to the streets of Moscow to protest against Russian state television’s news coverage of the conflict in Ukraine. Power reiterated their sentiments, stating: “The lives of innocent civilians are at risk, yet we are being bombarded by Russian disinformation and propaganda, while the Ukrainians are being confronted by incitement and violence.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that evidence and eyewitness testimonies of Russia’s involvement in the “separatist insurgency” will be presented to the international community on April 17 in Geneva. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Ukraine on April 22 to underscore American support and discuss security issues.

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A Submarine Has Taken Over the Missing-Jet Hunt

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 03:05
MoreMissing Plane’s Black-Box Batteries May Have DiedWith No New Signals, Abbott Sees Long Jet SearchCloudy Outlook for Pings Detected in Jet Search

The hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 moved underwater Monday, as investigators halted the use of towed pinger locators to find the doomed Boeing 777’s black boxes, and instead deployed an unmanned submarine in a bid to find wreckage on the ocean floor far off Australia’s west coast. MoreOfficial Says Sub Will Be Used in Search for JetCloudy Outlook for Pings Detected in Jet SearchMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostMad Men: What's Happened to Don Draper? People

“We haven’t had a single detection in six days so I guess it’s time to go underwater,” Angus Houston, who is in charge of joint search efforts, told reporters in Perth. “I emphasize this will be a slow and painstaking process.”

MH370 vanished soon after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing early March 8, and subsequent data transmissions indicate it may have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean with all 239 passengers and crew members presumed lost.

Four pings, possibly from the 11-year-old jetliner’s flight recorders, have been detected in a 10-by-24-km (6 by 15 miles) triangle some 1,500 km (1,000 miles) northwest of Perth. But the devices’ batteries only have a typical life span of 30 days, and as Monday marked Day 38 since the plane disappeared, investigators believe it is now futile to hope for additional signals.

From Monday evening, a Bluefin-21 unmanned underwater vehicle will snake backward and forward on the ocean floor using side-scan sonar to search for wreckage. The submarine will operate on a 24-hour continuous cycle — taking two hours to reach the ocean floor, 16 hours to comb 40 sq km (15 sq. mi.), two hours to return to the surface and then four hours to download and analyze collected data.

Waters are believed to be around 4.5 km (2.8 mile) deep at the search zone, putting them at the limit of Bluefin-21’s operating capacity. Nevertheless, the submarine, operated from the Australian navy vessel Ocean Shield, is the only such asset currently available and, said Houston, “more than adequate to the task.”

“Most of the search area is on the right side of 4,500 m for the operation of the vehicle,” he said. “There are vehicles that can go a lot deeper than that. Those sorts of possibilities are being looked at as we speak.”

Although the ocean floor where Bluefin-21 is operating was described as rolling rather than mountainous, it is apparently covered with a thick layer of silt, which may complicate search efforts. The British navy’s H.M.S. Echo is currently providing high-tech oceanographic assistance to Ocean Shield in the vicinity. “This is an area which is new,” Houston said.

Up to 11 military aircraft, one civil aircraft and 15 ships helped search some 48,000 km (18,500 sq. mi.) of ocean — around twice the size of Vermont — on Monday for floating debris from MH370. But the air and surface operation, which is already the most expensive in aviation history, will be wrapped up in the next three days, near where the aircraft is presumed to have entered the water.

“The chances of any floating material being recovered have greatly diminished, and it would be appropriate to consult with Australia’s partners to decide the way ahead later this week,” said Houston.

On Sunday evening, an oil slick was discovered by Ocean Shield around 5.5 km (3.5 miles) downwind from the pinger-locator detections. A sample will be analyzed for traces of jet fuel once it can be taken ashore, but this may take several days.

“I would not term it a long shot,” said Houston. “I would determine it as a promising lead that needs to be [investigated] until we can either confirm or discount.”

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Gender Issues Could Be a Game Changer in India’s Elections

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 02:49

As India enters its second week of nationwide polls, the issue of female safety from sexual violence is coming second only to corruption in the minds of voters — and politicians, it seems, aren’t taking them seriously. According to a joint survey by Marketing and Development Research Associates and online campaign forum Avaaz, over 90% of Indians want tackling sexual violence treated as a priority, and 75% are not satisfied with the promises made by politicians on the issue so far.

Ever since the brutal gang rape and death of a 23-year-old in Delhi in December 2012, the country has agonized over the problem of sexual violence. But despite the protest marches and nationwide campaigning, many see a dearth of meaningful content in party manifestos when it comes to tackling the problem.

To help redress this, 70 independent civil-society activists have launched the so-called Womanifesto 2014, which sets out positions on female economic empowerment, female access to education and political representation, the faster administration of justice in cases of sexual violence, and better policing.

“Laws and government policies have improved, where voyeurism, stalking harassment are now specific crimes, but we need structured changes across the board,” explains Karuna Nundy, a Supreme Court lawyer who co-authored the six-point document.

According to Nundy, the promises that have been made on women so far are condescending and paternalistic — “as a sister or a daughter you will be protected, but it comes with certain conditions and also punishments when they are not met.”

She says that instead of “promising safety,” political leaders should be “guaranteeing freedoms” without moral conditions attached.

The Womanifesto movement has been knocking on the doors of different party offices with some success. The Aam Admi Party was the first to endorse all six points and Congress is the latest to incorporate the document into its own platform. Given their strong lead, Bharatiya Janata Party is a crucial next target.

“There are a few vague commitments on their manifesto, very thin on the ground and ad hoc,” points out Nundy.

Because women make up 49% of the electorate, the Womanifesto group is also attempting to mobilize female voters at all levels. They contend that if Indian women across the board came together on the issue of gender rights, they would constitute an extremely powerful block — one that could hold politicians to account.

“If this [document] were to become the common minimum program for any government that came to power and for the electorate that holds them accountable, we would have achieved success,” says Nundy.

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Vietnam Releases Dissidents Amid U.S. Trade Talks

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 01:35

(HANOI, Vietnam) — Lawyers and activists say Vietnam has granted early release to two more high profile dissidents.

The unusual moves come as the country is negotiating a free trade deal with the United States.

Washington has said that it would be hard to get the deal past Congress unless Vietnam made some meaningful steps toward improving its human rights record.

According to a lawyer and activists, Vi Duc Hoi and Nguyen Tien Trung were released over the weekend. Both men were serving sentences related to their peaceful pro-democracy activism.

Earlier this month, another prominent activist, Cu Huy Ha Vu, was released from jail and immediately flew to the United States, which has been negotiating for this release.

The Vietnamese government did not immediately give a response to questions about the releases.

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The 49ers’ Aldon Smith Is Arrested at LAX After Talking About a Bomb

Time - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 01:32

The San Francisco 49ers’ star linebacker’s checkered history with law enforcement off the field continued on Sunday, after the 24-year-old Pro Bowler was arrested after suggesting to security officials at the Los Angeles International Airport that he was carrying a bomb.

After being randomly selected for secondary screening, Smith reportedly became “belligerent and uncooperative with the process and with the TSA agent, making a comment indicating that he was in possession of a bomb before proceeding toward the gate area,” Sergeant Karla Ortiz said in a statement.

Smith was later arrested at his gate by airport police officers and taken into custody and booked for felony false report of a bomb threat. He was later released on Sunday evening on $20,000 bail, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“We are disappointed to learn of the incident today involving Aldon Smith,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a press release. “As this is a pending legal matter and we are still gathering the pertinent facts, we will have no further comment.”

Sunday’s incident was the latest in a growing list of ugly incidents involving Smith since he joined the league three years ago. The linebacker sat out five games in the 2013 season in order to receive treatment for substance abuse after being arrested and charged in September on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and possessing marijuana.

In October, Smith was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, which stemmed from an incident that erupted during a party at his home, where he reportedly discharged a weapon in the air and was stabbed during a fight.

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