SPOTLIGHT BRIEFS

BlackBerry outages spread to North America

Posted Oct. 12, 2011, at 10:24 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 13, 2011, at 8:05 a.m.

NEW YORK — BlackBerry users across the world were exasperated Wednesday as an outage of email, messaging and Internet services on the phones spread to the U.S. and Canada and stretched into the third day for Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

It was the biggest outage in years for BlackBerry users, and strained their relationship with an already tarnished brand. It came on the eve of the launch of a mighty competitor — a new iPhone model.

Research In Motion Ltd., the Canadian company that makes the phones, said a crucial link in its European infrastructure failed Monday, and a backup didn’t work either. The underlying problem has been fixed, but a backlog of emails and messages has built up that the company has yet to work down.

One in four millionaires pays less in taxes than some in middle class

WASHINGTON — A quarter of millionaires in the United States pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than many middle-class families, according to a new congressional analysis that offers fresh support for President Obama’s push to raise taxes on the nation’s wealthiest households.

The report, by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, found that when all federal taxes are taken into account, including taxes on wages, investment income and corporate profits, households earning more than $1 million face an average tax rate of about 30 percent, significantly higher than the roughly 19 percent rate paid by households earning less than $100,000.

However, the average obscures a great deal of variation within income categories, the report says, with some millionaires paying rates as high as 35 percent and others paying rates as low as 24 percent. Using 2006 IRS data, the CRS found that about 94,500 households making more than $1 million a year paid a lower rate than the most heavily taxed households earning less than $100,000 year . About 10.4 million moderate-income families paid more than 26.5 percent of their earnings in federal taxes.

The prime culprit, according to the report by Thomas Hungerford, a CRS specialist in public finance, is low tax rates on investment income, such as capital gains and dividends. Although ordinary earnings are subject to payroll taxes as well as income tax rates of as much as 35 percent, investment income, which constitutes the bulk of earnings for many very wealthy households,— is taxed a t no more than 15 percent.

This disparity has been brought to public attention by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, a former Washington Post board member, who complained that he pays a lower tax rate than any of the 20 employees in his office, who earn much less than he does.

Buffett disclosed in a letter he wrote this week to Rep. Tim Huelskamp that he made $62,855,038 last year, with a taxable income of $39,814,784.

Colo. mom accused of letting 9-year-old girl drive

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — A Grand Junction woman was cited after witnesses reported seeing her 9-year-old daughter driving her across town at least twice last week with the mother and her 10-month-old child as passengers.

Police say Lori Ann Rogers, 36, faces multiple counts of allowing a minor to drive, child abuse, reckless endangerment and operating an uninsured vehicle.

Police said they began searching for the car after they received reports on Saturday of a driver tailgating, slamming on the brakes, cutting off other motorists, and weaving in traffic.

Police spokeswoman Kate Porras said an officer found the car stopped after going through a McDonald’s drive-through.

Porras said the woman was in the driver’s seat at the time, but a McDonald’s employee told police the woman and child changed seats.

8 killed in Southern California salon shooting

SEAL BEACH, Calif. — A gunman opened fire Wednesday in a busy hair salon, killing eight people and critically wounding another while leaving bodies scattered throughout the business in a normally sedate Southern California beach community.

The gunman got into a car and drove away from Salon Meritage after opening fire about 1:30 p.m. He was stopped by officers about a half-mile away and surrendered without incident while saying he had multiple weapons with him, police Sgt. Steve Bowles said.

His name and those of the victims were not immediately released.

Police were struggling to determine what prompted the shootings.

No verdict in Conn. home invasion trial on day 1

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A jury began deliberations Wednesday in the trial of a man cast by prosecutors as the mastermind of a brutal attack on a family inside their suburban home following weeks of grisly testimony that left some jurors fighting back tears.

Joshua Komisarjevsky, a paroled burglar, could join his co-defendant on Connecticut’s death row if convicted in the attack, in which family members were tied up and left to die in a house fire. While Komisarjevsky has blamed his co-defendant for killing the family, prosecutors said Komisarjevsky was the leader.

Jurors deliberated for about four hours and will resume on Thursday.

Authorities say Komisarjevsky and Hayes broke into a home in Cheshire, Conn., in 2007, beat Dr. William Petit with a bat, tied him and his family up and forced his wife to withdraw money from a bank. The house was doused in gas and set on fire, leading to the girls’ deaths from smoke inhalation.

Hayes was convicted last year of raping and strangling Jennifer Hawke-Petit and killing her daughters. In his case, jurors deliberated for about five hours over two days before finding him guilty. He is on death row.

DNA being used to ID unknown Gacy victims

CHICAGO — More than 30 years after John Wayne Gacy became a household name as one of the nation’s most notorious serial killers, and nearly two decades after he was executed for his crimes, Cook County sheriff’s officials are making fresh efforts to put names to the eight Gacy victims who were never identified.

Most of Gacy’s 33 victims — boys and young men, all but one of them strangled — were identified using dental records and X-rays, which represented the state of the art in the 1970s. Officials on Wednesday said a team of investigators and scientists have unearthed skeletal remains of the eight unidentified victims and are using a tool that did not exist back then: DNA.

The secret effort to identify the eight bodies began early this year, spurred by what Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said was a broader review of the sheriff’s department’s cold cases.

— from wire service reports

SEE COMMENTS →

ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business
ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business

Similar Articles

More in Nation