Yacht braces for whale impact

Yacht braces for whale impact

A whale leaps from the sea near Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday, July 18, 2010. It whacked the yacht, but yacht owner Paloma Werner says neither she nor her companion was hurt.

Breaching whale mangles yacht

A breaching whale mangled the Intrepid, a yacht belonging to Paloma Werner. No one was hurt. The incident happened off Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday,July 18, 2010.«

Destructive whale swims into sunset

A whale that mangled a yacht off Cape Town, South Africa, left behind ‘bits of skin and blubber’ but was apparently otherwise none the worse for wear.The incident happened Sunday, July 18, 2010.

Whale-battered yacht back ashore

Yachters on the Intrepid used their engine to get back to Table Bay and dock, according to the London Daily Telegraph. The whale-yacht encounter took placeoff Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday, July 18, 2010.«

Whale-battered yacht back ashore

Yachters on the Intrepid used their engine to get back to Table Bay and dock, according to the London Daily Telegraph. The whale-yacht encounter took placeoff Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday, July 18, 2010.«

Whale-battered yacht returns to shore in South …

Yachters used their engine to get back to Table Bay and dock, according to the London Daily Telegraph. The whale-yacht encounter took place off Cape Town,South Africa, on Sunday, July 18, 2010.«

 (Courtesy of Paloma Werner)

Many thanks and Grateful to Paloma Werner for the Pictures of Great Moment (Yappy – Mannaismayaadventure team)




10 Ways to Ruin Your Retirement

10 Ways to Ruin Your Retirement

Emily Brandon, On Monday August 2, 2010, 11:02 am EDT

There’s much more to retirement planning than accumulating a large next egg. You’ll need to invest and protect your retirement savings, account for health care expenses, and turn your savings into a stream of income. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of room for mistakes that could force you to cut your standard of living in retirement. Here are 10 things that could derail your retirement plans:

Too much debt. Americans are increasingly entering the traditional retirement years with credit card, mortgage, and other forms of debt. But carrying debt into retirement means your savings will have to support past expenditures, plus interest–as well as your current spending. “If you have debt and you are going into retirement, I don’t think you are ready for retirement,” says Gary Gilgen, a certified financial advisor and director of the financial planning department at Rehmann Financial in Troy, Mich.

[See 10 Affordable Mountain Towns for Retirees.]

Underestimate how long you will live. The average man who is currently 65 can expect to live until age 83, and a 65-year-old woman can expect to live until 85, according to Social Security Administration data. There is about a 1 in 10 chance that current 65-year-olds will live past age 95, according to SSA. “Some people die right after retirement and some people live many years beyond their life expectancy,” says Scott Peterson, a chartered financial consultant for Peterson Wealth Advisors in Orem, Utah, and author of Maximize Your Retirement Income: Powerful Financial Strategies for a Successful Retirement. He recommends a cautious strategy–planning as if you will live until age 100.

Retire too young. Perhaps the biggest retirement decision you will make is when. Sometimes retirement is foisted upon you unexpectedly because of a buyout or layoff, or it is necessitated by a health problem or caregiving responsibilities. Retiring young means more years of retirement that you’ll need to finance with savings. Monthly Social Security benefits are reduced for early claiming. “Many people are retiring too early and taking Social Security at the earliest possible time, and that’s a mistake,” says Peterson. “If you simply wait from age 62 to age 66, you will increase your monthly Social Security payment for the rest of your life.” Someone born in 1950 who would have been eligible for a $1,000 monthly check at age 66 will receive 25 percent less–just $750 each month–if he or she signs up at age 62.

Don’t purchase enough insurance. Americans age 65 and older are eligible for Medicare coverage. But you will still need to pay premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance unless you purchase supplemental insurance. There are also a variety of common services that traditional Medicare doesn’t cover, including eye glasses, hearing aids, and long-term nursing home care stays of more than 100 days. Families with significant assets to protect may want to consider long-term care insurance. Prescription drug costs vary depending on which Medicare Part D plan you choose. Shop around annually for the most affordable plan in your area that meets your prescription drug needs.

[See 10 Things Retirees are Doing Without.]

Ignore inflation. Over time, inflation will slowly decrease the spending power of your savings unless you take steps to protect it. Social Security payments and some annuities and pensions are adjusted for inflation each year. One type of government bond, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (Other OTC: TIPS.PKNews), promises a rate of return above inflation. Other common hedges against inflation include exposure to the stock market, commodities, or real estate.

Neglect your social life. Once you retire, there are no more work obligations and no one will be counting on you to finish a project or meet a deadline. It’s easy to feel isolated. “A lot of people have been totally immersed in their work and have not taken time to develop outside interests, and when they retire they are just totally lost,” says Robert Christenson, a certified financial planner for Net Worth Advisory Group in Midvale, Utah. “It’s important to prepare for retirement by developing a hobby or interest outside of the workplace and planning what you are going to do in the retirement years.” Consider which friends you will spend time with and what activities you will take up. Try to coordinate retirement with your spouse and discuss how your routines will change.

Rely on a single source of retirement income. While most working Americans get their income from a single source, retirees shouldn’t count on any one income stream. “You should have between four and six sources of retirement income, and don’t count on any one of them,” says Gilgen. Guaranteed sources of retirement income include Social Security payments, pensions, and annuity payments. Other common retirement income sources include 401(k)’s, IRAs, personal investment accounts, cash investments such as savings accounts and CDs, and rental or royalty income. Diversifying income sources ensures that if any one of them loses value, you will still have some money coming in.

[See the 100 Best Mutual Funds For the Long Term.]

Don’t save enough. There are many reasons why it’s difficult to save for retirement. A home purchase, college costs, and even everyday expenses often compete with your retirement savings. A few easy ways to grow your nest egg include setting up a direct deposit into a retirement account, saving enough in a 401(k) account to receive an employer match, and remaining in a job long enough to be vested or eligible to keep the match. If you haven’t saved throughout your lifetime, you generally can’t make up for it by investing in high-risk and potentially high-reward funds close to retirement. “It’s hard to make up for a lack of saving in a couple of years,” says Christenson. “It’s taking a huge risk and it usually works against people.”

Fail to protect your savings. As you approach retirement, you should shift your focus from growing your nest egg to protecting it. “When you get within five or 10 years of retirement, you need to start reducing your risk,” says Christenson. Consider shifting some of your assets into more conservative investments. Avoid loans and early withdrawals from retirement accounts, the latter of which come with a 10 percent tax penalty and regular income tax on the amount withdrawn. Also, try to minimize the fees and taxes deducted from your retirement savings. Shop around for low-cost investments, contribute as much as possible to tax-advantaged traditional and Roth retirement accounts, and develop a retirement account withdrawal strategy that minimizes the income taxes you pay as you take money out.

Neglect to support a surviving spouse. One spouse often lives considerably longer than the other. “You don’t want the unhealthy spouse to use up all your assets and leave the healthy spouse destitute,” cautions Joe Luby, a certified financial planner and president of Financial Solutions Inc., in Las Vegas. Find out what your survivor’s payments will be from Social Security and any pension or annuity plans you have. If that won’t be enough support for the surviving spouse, you may want to purchase life or long-term care insurance. Your retirement savings needs to last throughout both of your lifetimes.

UAE: Japanese tanker attacked in Persian Gulf

UAE: Japanese tanker attacked in Persian Gulf


Top of Form

AP – This framegrab image provided by the SITE Intelligence group shows Ayyub al-Taishan who the Brigades …


By MICHAEL CASEY, Associated Press Writer Michael Casey, Associated Press Writer – Fri Aug 6, 4:04 pm ET

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The United Arab Emirates said Friday that a Japanese oil tanker was hit by an explosives-laden dinghy in the Persian Gulf in what would be the first attack in the strategic waterway where millions of barrels of oil are transported each day.

The report — which came days after an al-Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility for attacking the vessel — raised fears about the vulnerability of the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane for many petroleum exporting countries.

It was the latest in what has been a series of conflicting accounts of what happened to the M. Star supertanker, which was damaged as it entered the Strait of Hormuz, a transit point for about 40 percent of oil shipped by tankers worldwide.

Al-Qaida has carried out attacks on oil infrastructure on land in nearby Saudi Arabia, as well as a 2002 suicide bombing of the Limburg off the coast of Yemen and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden.

But if the UAE report is confirmed, the July 28 incident would be the first militant attack in the strait, a narrow chokepoint between Oman and Iran. For years, fears have been high that the waterway could be the site of conflict between the United States and Iran, but the reported attack underscored concerns that militant groups could target civilian vessels to foment economic instability.

AFP/Emirati News Agency

While the ship’s owner, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, initially said it suspected an attack, others said it was hit by a large wave or was involved in a collision with another vessel. A crew member was injured and the tanker sustained a square-shaped dent on the rear side of the hull.

“The attack is not a major attack in terms of its target. But the geography is really worrying,” said Mustafa Alani, director of national security and terrorism studies for the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center. “Now, they are able to attack outside the Strait of Hormuz where 17 million barrels of oil a day are transported. The fact that they are able to do this is a wake up call.”

The Emirati state news agency WAM said Friday that a boat piled with explosives struck the tanker — the first official word that the incident was an attack.

WAM, quoting an unnamed government official, said traces of homemade explosives were found on the hull of the tanker. Investigators believe a small boat with explosives had approached the tanker, indicating the vessel had been “subjected to a terror attack,” the news agency said.

On Wednesday, a group known as the Abdullah Azzam Brigades said it had carried out a suicide attack against the tanker to avenge the plunder of Muslim wealth and to destabilize international markets. The statement was issued by al-Qaida’s communications wing, the al-Fajr Media Center and posted on militant websites.

It included a photo of the purported suicide bomber pointing to a photograph of a tanker on a laptop. It said it had delayed the announcement until several group members involved in the operation “returned safely to base.”

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades has in the past claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the August 2005 firing of Katyusha rockets that narrowly missed a U.S. amphibious assault ship docked at Jordan’s Aqaba Red Sea resort but killed a Jordanian soldier.

The group also has claimed it was behind the July and October 2004 bombings at Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik and two other resorts that killed a total of 98 people.

Abdullah Azzam Brigades operates under the al-Qaida umbrella but consists of different cells that are not directly controlled by the terror network, according to Evan Kohlmann, a terrorism analyst with New York-based security consultancy Flashpoint Global Partners. He said the network has long talked of attacking “the economic lifelines and infrastructure in this region.”

“They have gone from rocket attacks in Lebanon and now moved into a suicide, boat bombings attack on an oil tanker,” Kohlmann said. “It’s an escalation. It may not be the most sophisticated attack we have ever seen. But it is an escalation.”

He said the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has called for attacks in the Persian Gulf at least four times in the past six months, including mentions in its magazine as well as in .

Kamran Bokhari, an analyst with STRATFOR, a private security think tank in Austin, Texas, said he remained unconvinced that it was a terrorist attack, in part because of the cautious Japanese response. “It’s not clear at all this is an attack and thus far it is a mysterious event,” he said.

Japan’s Transport Minister Seiji Maehara said Friday he has instructed diplomatic channels to confirm WAM’s report with Emirati officials. Japan’s official in charge of maritime safety, Hiroaki Sakashita, said the ministry has collected evidence and samples, including residue left on affected parts of the tanker for its own independent investigation.

“First we will analyze everything we obtained before making any judgment,” Sakashita said.

Lt. John Fage, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, said Friday that a team of Navy divers had examined the ship. But he had no further information on the UAE claims.

The ship, loaded with 270,000 tons of oil, was heading from the petroleum port of Das Island in the United Arab Emirates to the Japanese port of Chiba outside Tokyo. WAM reported that the vessel left the Emirati port of Fujairah on Friday after damages to the hull were repaired.


Associated Press Writers Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo and Sarah El Deeb in Cairo contributed to this report