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Morning Media Summary

Tech: E-Mail Gets an Instant Makeover: “Signs you’re an old fogey: You still watch movies on a VCR, listen to vinyl records and shoot photos on film. And you enjoy using e-mail.” Avatar is ‘most pirated film of 2010’: “James Cameron's blockbuster was downloaded 16.6m times on one file-sharing site alone, TorrentFreak said.” Global Warming / Environment / Energy: Ding-Ding-Ding! Electric Cars Likely To Be Made Noisier By Law: “In one particularly hilarious scene in the TV show Weeds, Mary-Louise Parker’s soccer mom/drug dealer character inspires a scary drug lord to buy several Toyota Priuses after he successfully carries out a drive-by shooting while riding in hers. ” There’s a mini ice age coming says man who beats weather experts: “Well, folks, it's tea-time on Sunday and for anyone involved in keeping people moving it has been a hell of a weekend. Thousands have had their journeys wrecked, tens of thousands have been delayed getting away for Christmas; and for those Londoners who feel aggrieved by the performance of any part of our transport services, I can only say that we are doing our level best.” Insurance / Gambling: Options for gambling regulation published: “A discussion paper on the future regulation of gambling has been approved by the Government.” Health / Safety: Put it in writing for workers with children: “Is Canada becoming a nanny state? A recent decision by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal dramatically expanded employers' obligations to staff with children, and the impact could be far-reaching. ” Economics: Seven States To Raise Minimum Wage For 2011: “Approximately 647,000 minimum wage workers across the country will be ringing in this new year with a modest pay raise, as Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington are set to increase their minimum wages by nine to twelve cents on January 1. All seven of these states will have minimum wages above the federal level, which is currently $7.25 an hour, but Washington will have the highest at $8.67.” Government liabilities rose $2 Trillion in FY 2010: Treasury: “The Financial Report of the United States, which applies corporate-style accrual accounting methods to Washington, showed the government's liabilities exceeded assets by $13.473 trillion. That compared with a $11.456 trillion gap a year earlier.” Census shows slowing US growth, brings GOP gains: “Republican-leaning states will gain at least a half dozen House seats thanks to the 2010 census, which found the nation's population growing more slowly than in past decades but still shifting to the South and West.” Budget Cuts To Darken SoCal City Street Lights: “To trim $9 million from their budget, Vista officials say they will shut off half of the city’s residential street lights in March unless property owners agree to pay higher lighting fees.” Unemployed get another jobless benefit _ free yoga: “A light breeze, like a mother blowing on a baby's boo-boo, falls from ceiling fans and tickles their backs. The room is dark, silent, until they crawl out of child's pose and chant, "Omm."” Prisons get education funds: “An analysis by the Press-Register in Mobile revealed that the state Department of Corrections has received $118 million of Alabama’s $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funds for education since 2009. Officials said the money covered health care costs for 26,000 inmates and salaries and benefits for about 4,200 corrections officers and other employees for 3½ months.” Legal: Data Breach Could Test Massachusetts Law: “The Massachusetts Attorney General has been notified that financial data on 1,800 residents was exposed in a database breach linked to the CitySights NY sightseeing firm. Could this be the test case for enforcement of the State's nine month-old data privacy law?The leak of financial information on more than 100,000 customers of the CitySights sightseeing tour company could prove to be an early test of the nation's strongest data privacy law.” Use Tobacco Settlement Money To Save Lives: “How many more statistics do we need to see? How many times do Connecticut legislators need to hear that tobacco-related illnesses result in astronomical costs in both human lives and in costs to society? As pointed out by Dr. Andrew Salner [Opinion, Dec. 19, "For Anti-Tobacco Investment, A Huge Payoff"], Connecticut has a poor record of funding tobacco prevention and cessation programs despite receiving more than $140 million from the tobacco settlement since 2000 and having one of the highest cigarette taxes in the nation.” Labor: Labor department fails to release union corruption tracking report: “The Office of Labor Management Statistics (OLMS) was supposed to release an annual report tracking labor unions and evidence of corruption in union leadership in January 2010 but still hasn’t released the document.” SEIU aims to organize cafeteria workers: “The union that helped organize the workers who clean scores of buildings in Pittsburgh is now working to achieve the same sort of parity for people working in university cafeterias in the area.” Transportation/ Land Use: High-Speed Rail Uses Federal Funds to Extend South: “At Monday morning's board meeting, California High-Speed Rail Authority officials decided to apply federal funds to additional tracks 66 miles south to Bakersfield, rather than northward. They said the $616 million-plus initial funds from the project could pay for the entire extension in the Central Valley.”