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Source: MedleyStory

NYC cabbie accused of sneaking past bridge toll 3,000 times

A New York City cab driver is facing criminal charges after prosecutors say he snuck past toll booths on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge more than 3,000 times.

The Queens District Attorney’s office alleges Rodolfo Sanchez tailgated other, paying drivers as they entered the bridge so he could pass the toll plaza before the gates dropped.

According to WCBS, Sanchez snuck onto the bridge from August 2012 to April 2014. He ducked a total of more than $28,240 in toll payments. (Via YouTube / WC Westwood)

“Sanchez says he did it to save money for his family. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.” (Via WABC)

The New York Times explains investigators discovered Sanchez thanks to an expired E-ZPass transmitter in his cab.

Authorities matched the tracking data from the transmitter to video footage of taxi cabs ducking tolls and to cab company records of when Sanchez was driving.

“He is charged with grand larceny, theft of services and criminal possession of stolen property.”(Via MSNBC)

Sanchez was arraigned Thursday and released on bond. His next court date is May 22.

Published: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 09:08:16 -0400

Gwen Stefani to replace Christina Aguilera on 'The Voice?'

‚ÄčIn with one blonde singer and out with another. If the rumors are true, everyone’s favorite Hollaback Girl could be headed to “The Voice.”

Several news outlets are reporting Gwen Stefani will replace veteran judge Christina Aguilera on Season 7 of the hit show. (Via Hollywood LifePerez HiltonThe Wrap

The timing makes sense — Aguilera announced she was pregnant with her second child in February, meaning she’d be eight or nine months along by the time the new season kicks off in June. (Via NBC / "The Voice")

‚ÄčAs for Stefani, she too has been busy with her family. In February, she gave birth to her third child with hubby Gavin Rossdale. (Via CoolNews.TV

And assuming the rumors are true, she won’t be the only new addition to “The Voice.” It's rumored Pharrell Williams has been tapped to replace CeeLo Green. (Via Columbia Records / Pharrell Williams)

It would be something of a reunion for the duo. They collaborated on Stefani’s hit single “Hollaback Girl” back in 2004. (Via Interscope Records / Gwen Stefani)

The No Doubt singer will also join coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton — both of whom are expected to return. (Via YouTube / Celebified)

According to TMZ, Stefani is reportedly only signed on for one season. Aguilera will be back for Season 8.

There's still no official confirmation from NBC — even though many outlets say Stefani’s contract is a done deal. A rep for the network told Us Weekly "We haven't made any decisions at this point."

Published: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 09:06:50 -0400

Man claims he found Loch Ness Monster with... Apple Maps?

‚ÄčA Loch Ness Monster enthusiast claimed Friday that he found proof of the monster’s existence in the one place nobody thought to look: Apple Maps.

So, yeah. That’s it. The mighty Nessie — the famed, majestic sea monster! Or just the wake from a speed boat. 

After monster hunter Andy Dixon told the Daily Mail of his discovery, it was soon confirmed with an "objective" analysis by Gary Campbell of the Official Loch Ness Monster Club.

Campbell added, "Unless there have been secret submarine trials going on in the loch, the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie."

And Dixon told the Mail he was excited to collect further proof. "I was a believer in Nessie even before this but I had never been. Now I am so excited, I can't wait to get up north and pay a visit - with a camera of course."

And you can count Google in on the Loch Ness conspiracy as Nessie does not appear on Google Maps satellite images. But some are citing the fact that Dixon found the image on Apple Maps as proof that… there is no proof.

The inconsistent app endured a famously tortured rollout in 2012, leading drivers in all the wrong directions and featuring some hilarious visual gaffes. The reaction was so bad that Apple CEO Tim Cook issued an apology to customers. (Via Fox NewsTumblr)

But… maybe this is Maps’ turning point? As BGR says, "While you may curse at Apple Maps for giving you the wrong directions to your local pizza joint, you’ll find that it’s all worthwhile once it helps you find Bigfoot or the lost city of Atlantis."

Dixon’s Nessie sighting breaks up a drought for fans of the mythical beast — last year, for the first time in 90 years, there were zero viable sightings of the monster. And Dixon, who also records sightings, tells the BBC that the monster has been “seen” over 1,000 times in the last 1,500 years.

But in 2013, the three most prominent Nessie reports were dismissed as a wave, a photo not actually taken at Loch Ness and a duck.

Published: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 08:29:09 -0400

Indian man ate gold to get through customs

‚ÄčFor a couple of days, an Indian businessman was sitting on gold, albeit a little unusually and painfully. 

The 63-year-old businessman swallowed 12 small gold bars, weighing nearly 1 pound, in an attempt to smuggle the precious metal past Indian customs. The Guardian reports the man checked himself into a hospital after a few days of vomiting and trouble defecating, according to his doctor. After a three-hour surgery doctors called "tedious," the nearly $16,000 worth of gold was safely removed from the man's stomach and promptly confiscated by the police. (Via The Guardian)

The man's doctor at Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital says it was one of his strangest operations. "I remember having taken out a bladder stone weighing 1kg from a patient. But finding gold in a patient's stomach was something unbelievable." (Via BBC)

Believe it or not, gobbling gold isn't unheard of in south Asia. Because India imports the most gold in the world, its 15 percent import tax on the metal is one of the highest and spurs many to go "bottoms up" with their bars. (Via YouTube / Periodic Videos)

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The hike has caused gold imports to plummet nearly 90 percent in the past year. But the element remains popular for Indians of all areas and classes, according to the BBC.

"Shops sell it from north to south India. The rich buy it more, but even those people who generally struggle to meet their basic day-to-day needs don't hesitate to buy it whenever they possibly can."

And smuggling is on the rise, due to the tax increase. In September, two Sri Lankan men were caught with several kilograms of gold biscuits concealed in their rectums before a flight to India. It was the most gold Sri Lankan officials had ever found in a human body, according to source.

The Air Intelligence Unit at a Mumbai airport says concealing gold bars inside the body can lead to infections, pain and rashes.

Published: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:51:13 -0400

NBA Playoffs will start without Craig Sager

The NBA playoffs start Saturday, but one of the flashiest people in and around the NBA will be notably absent from the coverage. 

NBA on TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager is reportedly battling leukemia and began treatment Friday. (Via YouTube / Foot Locker)

Sager's son, Craig Sager, Jr., broke the news on Twitter saying his father will undergo three to four weeks of acute leukemia treatment. 

A writer for Deadspin notes if the timeline of Sager's treatment and the younger Sager's follow-up tweets are any indication, the questionably dressed veteran sports reporter will miss the NBA playoffs this season. 

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Sager is probably best known to sports fans and athletic novices alike as the man with the eclectic wardrobe. And over the years, he's taken some serious flack for his sartorial selections. (Via Bleacher Report)

But Sager's resume is long and storied — he's worked for CNN and TBS, worked the 1990 World Cup and several Olympic Games. (Via Flickr / Keith Allison)

On his show Thursday night, Keith Olbermann said it's all of that hard work — not the outfits — that makes Sager such an powerful presence. 

"Craig Sager has worked, has worked from any angle and worked hard all the damn time. Leukemia picked the wrong opponent." (Via ESPN / "Olbermann")

Sager's son responded to the deluge of messages of support on his Twitter feed, saying he and his father will be watching basketball together during the playoffs while brainstorming some new outfits. 

Published: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 01:14:27 -0400

NC fugitive on the run for 40 years believed to be in custody

A North Carolina fugitive on the run for more than 40 years is believed to have been captured in Iowa.
Ronald Carnes was serving a 20-year sentence for armed robbery at the Mecklenburg Correctional Center in Huntersville when he escaped in 1973.
Carnes had been on the run ever since until a possible breakthrough out of Iowa earlier this week.
Authorities said facial-recognition software led them to where Carnes was living in Waterloo, Iowa after his driver's license picture matched an already existing template in the state's system. 
Federal and state officials searched his home and Carnes was taken into custody.
“This technology stores every photo taken for ID cards and passports," said Chris Swecker, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director who currently lives in Charlotte. "It allows authorities to compare different facial features, biometric features to a flat photograph. Officials can compare photographs with others photographs and make matches."
Swecker said 37 states in the United States are using the technology and the majority of those states allow access to law enforcement.
"People who are concerned with privacy shouldn't worry," said Swecker. "They are only running photos of people who have committed or suspected of committing crimes."
Investigators are waiting on fingerprints to confirm Carne's identity.
Carnes can be extradited to North Carolina once he resolves charges he is facing in Iowa.

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Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 22:33:27 -0400

Weather partially to blame for uprooted trees

Charlotte is known for the abundance of trees but for some homeowners, they’ve become a hazard. The weather is partially to blame for more trees uprooting, hitting homes and even people.
“All of a sudden you hear the crash of a huge limb realizing that could have been someone's child,” Christopher Dennis, president of the Lockwood Home Owners’ Association, said.
Dennis told Eyewitness News he loves trees, but he also knows they can be dangerous. He saw that firsthand just a few weeks ago.
“A tree fell over and hit somebody's car,” Dennis said.
The Lockwood neighborhood isn’t unique in that aspect.
Last week, a tree fell and killed a man in his backyard in Matthews. The weather and the way trees are planted are partially to blame for the number of fallen trees we see.
“Charlotte has really been noted for its trees, but they'll plant the huge trees between the street and the sidewalk,” Don Blankenberg, with Pine Lake Nursery & Landscaping, said. “So it just doesn’t give them much area to grow in.”
Blankenberg told Channel 9 that homeowners need to look out for tree tops that don’t have many leaves and shallow roots.
“They just can't take that wind and that pulls them right out of the ground,” Blankenberg said.
He said the moist winter and spring can also lead to root problems. 
“The tree that actually fell a few weeks ago, it wasn't a very heavy wind but you could tell from looking at the tree, that the roots were shallow and the tree was dead,” Dennis said.
Dennis told Channel 9 he’s looking into grants to help homeowners pay for tree removal.

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 21:54:37 -0400

Injured Green Beret gets service dog

A local group is helping make life a little easier for a soldier injured in Afghanistan.
Billy Costello is a U.S. Army Green Beret who lost one of his legs when a roadside bomb exploded while he was on patrol.
He got the dog when it was just 10 weeks old hoping it would be his service dog.
The Charlotte organization The Dog Knowledge has trained the dog to help Costello live a better life.

 “He's been trained to do everything from retrieving my prosthetic leg to opening cabinets, shutting doors, retrieving keys and turning off lights,” Costello said.

Costello took the dog home Friday night to Fort Bragg.

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Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 21:40:37 -0400

Unemployment rates fall in 21 US states, including NC

(AP) — More than two-thirds of the states reported job gains in March, as hiring has improved for much of the country during what has been a sluggish but sustained 4 1/2-year recovery.

The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates dropped in 21 states, rose in 17 and were unchanged in the remaining 12. Meanwhile, hiring increased in 34 states and fell in 16.

North Carolina reported the second largest year-over-year drop in the unemployment rate: a 2.2 percentage point decrease to 6.3 percent. Part of that decline came from the loss unemployment benefits for jobless workers. Because those workers needed to look for jobs in order to receive benefits, the loss of the jobless aid likely caused them to give up their hunts and no longer be counted as unemployed.

The unemployment rate varies from as low as 2.6 percent in North Dakota to as much as 8.7 percent in Rhode Island. South Carolina has experienced the sharpest rate decline over 12 months to 5.5 percent from 8 percent.

The rate nationwide stayed at 6.7 percent in March for the second straight month. That national rate stayed flat because someone was hired for almost every person who entered the job market last month.

Employers added 192,000 jobs nationwide in March, close to the average monthly gains of the past two years.

Ohio experienced the largest month-to-month drop in its unemployment rate: 0.4 percentage points to 6.1 percent. That steep drop occurred because the state added 12,000 jobs last month, while the total number of people in its job market fell 11,200 to 5.75 million.

Unemployment rates can fall when people leave the job market, as well as when employers hire.

Several states continue to lag the gains made across the country. Unemployment remains elevated in Nevada (8.5 percent), Illinois (8.4 percent), California (8.1 percent) and Kentucky (7.9 percent).

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 21:21:34 -0400

Police believe string of break-ins related

Investigators in Iredell County believe the same person broke into a golf shop three separate times.
Police said someone broke through a window at the Twin Oaks Golf Club shop on Twin Oaks Road on April 8, on Saturday and on Thursday.
A similar break-in was reported at the Mallard Head Country Club in Mooresville.
Police said the crooks got away with a TV, money and a computer.

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Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:05:33 -0400

Police: Catawba Co. man arrested for having child porn

A man in Catawba County was arrested after being accused of having child pornography, according to authorities.
David Pinkham was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor and indecent liberties with a child.

Deputies said they found porn on his computer.

He remains in jail on $100,000 bond.

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Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:42:16 -0400

Gaston Co. schools request millions in funding for improvements

Gaston County commissioners are considering whether to release millions of dollars in bonds to repair schools that some say are falling apart.
Since last year Eyewitness News has followed parent complaints about mold and other problems at several schools in Gaston County.
When students complained about mold and broken lockers at Stanley Middle School last year, some parents went to Commissioner Chad Brown.
 "I do know the schools do need money," said Brown.
The school board sent a letter to commissioners Thursday proposing a way to pay for school improvements.
They want to use $8.5 million in left over bond funds to repair and renovations.
They also want to appropriate $15-25 million in bonds to pay for new schools to enlarge, reconstruct and renovate school buildings.
Brown wanted to know what that money will pay for and which schools will get it.
"Does one school get something before another school should?” Brown said. “I would like to see our money go to what is the biggest priority."
He also said voters should decide if those bonds set aside for new schools should go toward repairs.
 "I think the voters voted for that money to go to new schools and I think the votes should also have the chance to say where that money goes now,” Brown said. “This is their tax dollars at work."

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:04:58 -0400

Police impersonators attempt to enter man’s home

The Chester County Sheriff's Office is trying to track down two men claiming to be police who knocked on a man's door in the middle of the day.
The men weren't wearing uniforms or driving a police cruiser.
The victim lives in a very rural area on Wylies Mill Road and told Eyewitness News anchor Eric Philips that may have been why he was targeted.

Mark Wilson said the men who knocked on his door may not have been expecting anyone to be at home because it was the middle of the day, but he was home when he heard the loud knock.
“We're out in the thickets,” Wilson said. 
He said the men knocked on his door loudly Wednesday afternoon and someone yelled “police.”

“Right when I was getting ready to open it, he hollered ‘police’ again,” Wilson said. “’We have a warrant, let us in.’ So I opened the door. I was going to let them in. I had nothing to hide.”
The men, who drove an unmarked pickup truck, appeared to be armed.
One man had his hand under his shirt, and the other had his coat pulled back and Wilson said he could see the weapon.
Wilson asked to see identification and one of the men flashed something that did not look official, so he slammed his door, grabbed his gun and called 911. 
But the men did not stop.
“And they were hollering that they were going to ram it down... I said I had my pistol then so I just hollered and told them to come on in.”
He thinks the men heard him on the phone with the 911 operator so they jumped in their truck and left.  
Wilson said what baffles him most is what made the men choose his house, which is in a remote area.
Now he carries his gun just about everywhere.

“I'm working in the garden with a pistol at my side -- that's pretty bad,” Wilson said.
Wilson said the men were driving a silver Ford F-150 with a green hood.
Authorities said they're investigating this as an isolated incident but Wilson worries that if he was their first victim he won't be their last.

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Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:06:07 -0400

Driver charged with felony DUI resulting in death

Authorities in Tega Cay, S.C., arrested Anthony Ogden Thursday and charged him with felony DUI resulting in death following a Jan. 31 car crash on Highway 21 near Fort Mill.  Three days after the January crash, 74-year-old Alva Terrell died after being hit from behind in a chain-reaction crash.  Ogden initially was charged with DUI.  It took authorities a while to determine Terrell died from injuries suffered in the crash, which resulted in Ogden’s charges being upgraded from DUI to felony DUI.

The victim’s daughter, Tracy Church, told Eyewitness News she was happy to learn charges against Ogden had been upgraded.
“I don't care if you drink, drink at home,” Church said. “Walk. It's not your right to take somebody else's life.”

Ogden has not been convicted of felony DUI, but Church said guests at her father’s funeral made contributions to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“They support people not drinking and driving and the more we can get the word out, the less people have to die from something stupid like this,” Church said. 

Terrell is remembered as someone who could not sit still.  He spent his free time on the courts at the Old Providence Racquet Club in Charlotte. 

“If you were here, you know Alva,” Brenda Culbertson, the general manager at the club said. “If you ever knew Alva's laugh, it was so infectious, you had to smile.”

Culbertson showed Eyewitness News pictures of Terrell in the club’s tennis brochures from the 1980s. She said he death came as a shock.

“It's always shock first and then grief,” Culbertson said. “He was a very dear friend to many of us.”

Church says Terrell leaves behind five children, the youngest of whom is a sophomore in college. 

A judge denied bond for Ogden. He’s behind bars at the York County jail. His next court date is July 29.

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:04:28 -0400

Former soldier from Charlotte to receive Medal of Honor

President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to former Army Sgt. Kyle J. White, who put his own life at risk in an hours-long effort to save fellow service members during a 2007 ambush in Afghanistan.
White, who lives in Charlotte, joined the Army in 2006 and now works as an investment analyst, but it was his courageous actions while in uniform that prompted Obama to recognize White.

He was the radio-telephone operator for his platoon on patrol in Afghanistan.

They were ambushed while on foot. White recounted that night and the gunfire that changed everything.

“The first shots rang out,” White said. “I returned fire through my first magazine which is 30 rounds of ammunition.”
But the gunfire and the rocket-propelled grenade attack were too much.
White was knocked unconscious but woke up and was able to help move fellow soldiers to safety.
He used his belt to help a Marine who was hit but gunfire and was bleeding badly.

“I told him, ‘Hey man, this is going to hurt.’ He's like, ‘Just do it.’ I put my foot on his leg and pulled the belt as hard as I could until the bleeding stopped," White said.
Six Americans died during the attack but White was able to radio for help.
White waited to be flown out of the battlefield after the wounded were safe.

“You're so focused on what you're doing, you don't think about what you're doing,” White said. “You just do it.”

White will receive the Medal of Honor May 13 at the White House.

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Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:58:01 -0400

Charlotte man determined to run in 2nd year in Boston marathon

A Charlotte man told Channel 9 he still gets goosebumps when he thinks back to the days bombs erupted at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last year.

Mike Mitchell had just returned to his hotel after completing the marathon when he heard the explosions.

Mitchell has been a long-distance runner for 17 years.

He has never been as determined to run as he is now.

He will return to run the Boston Marathon on Monday.

"There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to come back,” Mitchell said.

Last year, the Charlotte insurance adjuster completed a lifelong dream when he ran in the marathon.

He planned to celebrate in Boston with friends, but two hours after he crossed the finish line, two bombs exploded.

"There were so many different emotions running through your mind.  It was kind of hard to celebrate,” Mitchell said.

He was in his hotel when the city was shut down to search for the bombers and he later learned the stories of those killed and the ones who just escaped.

"I get goosebumps any time I hear victim speak or a family member speak.  It just tugs at your heart,” he said.

Mitchell had only planned to run the marathon once as a personal goal. Saturday, he will fly back to Boston to run with a greater purpose.

"(It will) really show that the United States, the whole running community can prevail and move on and show that we are stronger than others might have thought we were,” he said.

He knows there will be a point Monday during the 26-mile run when it will be hard to continue.

"When I'm feeling sorry for myself, feeling like I can't go another step, (I will) just remember the family and the victims that were affected by last year's events and I think it will be pretty easy for me to move past,” he said.

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:11:12 -0400

FBI interviews city employees in connection with Cannon investigation

Federal investigators have already asked city leaders for documents, records and other information related to former Mayor Pat Cannon.  Now they're also talking to city employees in connection to the corruption case.
The city of Charlotte confirms that FBI agents have interviewed city staff members, but isn't saying which ones.  City Manager Ron Carlee has said he talked with investigators shortly after Cannon was arrested March 26. 
City departments have been under scrutiny because of information contained in the affidavit filed by undercover agents involved in the Cannon case. 
They claim Cannon bragged about being able to use his influence with key city departments like Police, Fire and Planning.  Legal experts say it's likely that federal investigators are now trying to figure out if Cannon was being truthful or exaggerating his influence. 
"The FBI would be looking to identify and investigate any and all types of corruption that either Cannon may have been involved with or others may have (been involved with).  They'll want to interview assistant city managers and anyone in a position of power who could have facilitated any corruption that Cannon may have initiated," said Charlotte attorney James Wyatt.  "If Cannon is cooperating, then they would be looking to corroborate what he's saying.  If he's not cooperating then they may be looking for additional evidence."
Sources confirm the FBI has also talked to county leaders, including County Manager Dena Diorio, but that no subpoenas have been served on the county yet.
A federal grand jury met in Charlotte this week, but so far no indictment has been returned against Cannon.

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:00:21 -0400

'Holy Grail' of weight loss? New find could be it

Most people desire to have as little body fat as possible, but researchers have found there may be one type of fat you want a little more of. 

In what could be a major breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists in the United Kingdom have used an MRI scan to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the very first time. (Via CBS)

What's brown fat? One of the study's authors tells Fox News:

“What most of us imagine is ‘fat’ is actually white fat, which stores [excess] energy and increases in size, [leading to] obesity. But there is another type of fat: brown fat ... what it does is the complete opposite. Instead of storing energy, it actually burns off energy, and in that process, it releases heat.”

If you look at the image in the video, which shows the upper chest of a person as if viewed from the feet, you'll see that the green areas represent places of potential brown fat. Previophously, it had only been found in the shoulders of newborns. (Via The Huffington Post)

The finding is significant for the development of future weight-loss methods. 

This is because it's currently believed a sugar-cube size of brown fat, if activated properly, could burn about six to nine pounds of white fat in a year. You know, the bad stuff you spend hours in the gym trying to work off.  (Via ABC

There are currently no existing weight loss therapies focusing on brown fat, but one the study's author says if a treatment could be developed, it might be the, "holy grail" of weight loss. Basically, you'd be able to burn bad fat without exercising.

The New York Times explains there are some issues though — leaner people likely have more brown fat, while obese people have less. Younger people also have more than older people, and women have more than men. 

Scientists say the key will be figuring out how to maximize these stores of fat.

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:11:26 -0400

Saudi tower enters race for world's tallest building

Move over, Dubai. If Saudi Arabia's newest construction project goes as planned, the Burj Khalifa could be dethroned as the world's tallest tower.

The planned tower has had delays since it was first proposed in 2011, but now construction for the skyscraper dubbed Kingdom Tower is reportedly set to begin next week along the Red Sea. (ViaVisualhouse)

According to the Saudi Gazette, the building, which is designed by the same architects who designed the Burj Khalifa, is designed to have 200 floors, standing at more than than 3,200 feet — passing the Burj by more than 560 feet.

But the exact size of the building is not yet set in the stone. According to Arabian Business, the developer has not yet decided on the final height — only that it will definitely surpass the Burj Khalifa.

The tower's construction will likely not be a smooth process. Aside from its location near salt water, which could damage the building, erecting such a tall structure is no easy feat.

According to Businessweek, there is only so much change in height a person's inner ear can tolerate, and the weight of elevator cables might become a problem considering the Burj is already "near the maximum height a single elevator can travel without being insupportable."

And then of course, there's the threat of wind. CNN reports to counter this, the building will change shape every few floors — making the wind load less harsh than it would be if it were a solid structure.

If successful, the complex will house a mix of residential and commercial units, as well as the world's tallest terrace. (Via Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture)

It's estimated the $1.2 billion project will be completed sometime in 2018.

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:11:15 -0400

Michaels hack compromises about 3 million credit cards

‚ÄčArts and crafts retailer Michaels is now confirming about three million credit card numbers were compromised by a hack.

The company warned customers of a possible cyberattack back in January. Turns out, the breach happened over an eight-month period from May 2013 to January of this year. (Via Newsy)

After months of investigation into the issue, the company said it only affected about 7 percent of cards used during that period. The hack took credit and debit card numbers and expiration dates. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Anthony92931)

But Michaels' CEO writes, "There is no evidence that other customer personal information, such as name, address or PIN, was at risk in connection with this issue."

The hack also hit Michaels' partner store, Aaron Brothers, but to a lesser degree. About 400,000 cards were affected between June 2013 and February 2014. 

‚ÄčThe CEO continues: "We are truly sorry and deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause. Our customers are always our number one priority and we are committed to retaining your trust and loyalty." (Via Michaels)

In a move similar to Target's after its big hack last holiday season, Michaels is offering identity protection, credit card monitoring services and fraud protection assistance to affected customers for 12 months — and at no cost. (Via WTNH)

A nice gesture, sure. But Krebs On Security says, “Incidentally, credit monitoring services will do nothing to protect consumers from fraud on existing financial accounts — such as credit and debit cards — and they're not great at stopping new account fraud committed in your name."

Although it looks similar, BGR says it's not clear if this attack is in any way related to the much larger breach on Target's system.

This is the second credit card attack on Michaels' customers in the past few years. In 2011, The Verge reports, the company "had their payment systems tampered to collect data which helped the crooks create counterfeit cards." (Via Wikimedia Commons / Michael Rivera)

You can find a list of affected stores on both Michaels and Aaron Brothers' websites.

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:56:42 -0400