Archive | October, 2013

Italian company proposes theme park for Venice

31 Oct

VENICE, Italy (AP) — An Italian company that built Coney Island’s latest attractions and an amusement park in a never-activated nuclear plant in Germany has unveiled plans to invest 80 million euros ($110 million) for a theme park in Venice.

Alberto Zamperla, one of the main investors, said Wednesday the theme park is planned for an abandoned island that once housed an incinerator, bringing economic and environmental benefits by cleaning up a toxic site and creating 500 jobs.

The project envisions a 55-meter (yard)-tall Ferris wheel, a roller coaster and other rides, alongside installations illustrating the Venetian lagoon’s fragile ecology and the city’s history.

Zamperla is loath to call it an amusement park — an easy target for detractors in Venice — and the plan still faces a series of approvals.

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World’s Tallest Man Marries His Bride, One and a Half Feet Up

30 Oct

TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2010, AT 6:19 PM
Tornado Kills at Least Five in Oklahoma

FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2011, AT 3:07 PM
Obama Gets Firsthand Look at a Tornado Damage

TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2010, AT 6:19 PM
Tornado Kills at Least Five in Oklahoma. Very long title. Long long long. Tornado Kills at Least Five in Oklahoma. Very long title. Long long long.

TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2010, AT 6:19 PM
Tornado Kills at Least Five in Oklahoma. Very long title. Long long long. Tornado Kills at Least Five in Oklahoma. Very long title. Long long long.

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Yelp Ekes Out A Win In Q3 As Revenue Jumps 68% To $61M, EPS Losses Grow To $0.04

30 Oct

Yelp, the local online business and restaurant guide that has become the web’s go-to resource for reviews of local businesses since launching in 2004, announced its 2013 third quarter earnings after the market closed this afternoon. For the second straight quarter, the company beat expectations, with revenue coming in at $61.2 million in the third quarter and a per-share loss of $0.04.

Considering Yelp posted a greater-than-expected loss of $2.3 million, it wasn’t a categorical victory, but it was a win nonetheless, with revenue increasing 80 percent from the same period in 2012, while cumulative reviews grew 42 percent year-over-year to over 47.3 million, average unique visitors grew 41 percent year-over-year and local business accounts grew 61 percent to 57,000.

Wall Street expected Yelp to announce a loss of $0.01 per share on revenue of $59.40 million for the quarter. Yelp passed muster in revenues, but saw an uptick in its net losses in the third quarter of $2.3 million, or $0.04 per share, compared to a net loss of $2.0 million in the third quarter of 2012.

Thanks to a fairly consistent performance in recent quarters and solid progress from its local ads business, Yelp’s stock price has bounced back significantly over the last six months — 180 percent in all. This is a strong signal that investor confidence has returned for Yelp, even if many analysts believe that the market is a little too bullish on the company at the moment.

The company’s stock price had been hovering around $68 per share on Tuesday, but is currently down 6 percent in after-hours trading on the higher-than-expected loss, though it continues to vacillate.

Reflecting on his company’s third-quarter performance, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman highlighted the company’s renewed focus on its mobile experience as a continuing source of growth and opportunity. The CEO also expects its new “Yelp Platform,” which launched in July and allows local businesses to interact directly with customers via its portal, to provide additional value for businesses while increasing engagement among consumers. The company also saw continuing growth in its unique user base over the last quarter, which now stands at 117 million.

In its earnings statement today, the Yelp CEO continued:

We saw another quarter of strong momentum thanks to the high-quality, authentic content contributed by Yelpers around the world … and our focus on connecting consumers with great local businesses continues to drive our success. In the third quarter, we improved the user experience by adding the ability to write and post reviews from mobile and launched new features such as the customer activity feed for business owners. Looking to the rest of the year and beyond, we are well positioned to capture the large local opportunity ahead of us through our innovation around mobile, geographic expansion and closing the loop with local businesses.


| Infographics

Other than that, after adjustments, Yelp’s EBTIDA came in at $8.1 million for the third quarter, compared to $2.2 million for same quarter in 2012. The company showed 46 percent of its advertisements on mobile devices in Q3, which represented a 6 percent increase from the prior quarter. However, Yelp’s performance here will need to be stronger going forward, considering companies in its class, like Facebook, have been able to drive significant increases in revenue by way of mobile advertising.

Again, the 46 percent figure is only a 6 percent improvement from last quarter, which takes on a greater significance considering the company doesn’t break out mobile revenue as many other companies do, instead limiting its report to mobile advertising share.

Nonetheless, overall, Yelp’s mobile ad business has continued to grow steadily over the last year, and the optimization of its mobile platform has become one of its chief priorities. For example, last month, Yelp finally gave users the ability to post reviews from their mobile devices — key functionality that has long been missing from its mobile experience.

Yelp’s cash position grew slightly over the last three months, increasing by about $5 million to $101 million at the end of the third quarter. Its acquisition of SeatMe in early July for $12.7 million was announced at the time, but recorded as part of this quarter’s financial statements.

The company also said today that it has finally integrated Qype’s French and U.K. portals after acquiring the European startup last year. The total cost of restructuring and integrations in Q3 was $2.8 million, compared to $1.8 million in Q3 2012.

All in all, Yelp booked a mixed performance in the third quarter, just beating revenue expectations, while keeping firm hold of its cash and growing traffic. However, the company’s loss widened in the third quarter, thanks in large part to the cost of acquisitions and integrations mentioned above.

During the third quarter, Yelp took its first steps into Latin America, for example, beginning with Brazil. Yelp will likely look to Brazil to act as a gateway to the region, helping it to secure a foothold in Latin America. Looking forward, the company will likely continue to accelerate its international expansion and, while this could be a drain on profits in the short-term, Yelp could see significant gains in local ad revenues in the long run as it launches in new markets.

As a result, the company expects revenue between $66 million and $67 million in the fourth quarter, slightly above analysts’ forecasts, which tentatively pegged the company’s sales at $64.9 million.

Finally, the company separately announced a $250 million follow-on share offering, with an over-allotment of $37.5 million, which Yelp will reportedly use for “general corporate purposes.”

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‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Start Date Pushed to Dec. 2 (Exclusive)

29 Oct

Getty Images; Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan

Due to the last-minute scramble to replace the lead role, Fifty Shades of Grey‘s production start date has been pushed about a month.

The production, which was scheduled to begin shooting in early November, will now begin filming on Dec. 2, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The delay raises the question of whether or not the film can be ready in less than eight months to meet its current release date of Aug. 1, 2014. If not, the film would likely be jettisoned out of the summer frame.

PHOTOS: Stars Misaligned: Charlie Hunnam Quits ‘Fifty Shades’ and 15 Other Casting Near-Misses 

Sam Taylor-Johnson is directing from a screenplay by Kelly Marcel. Dakota Johnson is starring as Anastasia Steele, while Jamie Dornan was recently announced as the new Christian Grey.

Dornan was cast in the role after the original choice, Charlie Hunnam, abruptly dropped out a few weeks ago, claiming that his Sons of Anarchy schedule was stopping him from focusing on preparing for the role in the adaptation of EL James‘ racy novel. This forced the producers to scramble to find a new star in hopes of keeping on track for the August 2014 release.

STORY: ‘Fifty Shades’: EL James Welcomes Jamie Dornan to Cast

Dornan tested Friday, Oct. 18, opposite female lead Johnson for director Taylor-Johnson, author James and producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti.

On Friday, it was announced that True Blood actor Luke Grimes will play Elliot Grey, the brother to Christian Grey.

Twitter: @Beccamford

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SmackDown Results: Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Goldust & Big E. Langston triumphed in a prelude to “Hell”

28 Oct

BIRMINGHAM, Al – On the final SmackDown before WWE Hell in a Cell, an epic 8-Man Tag Team Match blew the roof off the blue brand. Plus, The Miz suffered the wrath of The Wyatt Family, Paul Heyman & Ryback left “CM Skunk” in anguish and an international pay-per-view contest was established.

In an exclusive SmackDown interview with Michael Cole, WWE COO Triple H explained that the actions of fired Superstar Big Show on Raw Monday led to six WWE employees getting fired by Stephanie McMahon. However, because the giant is currently suing The Authority, The Game said he had been advised not to say anything further on the matter – other than referring to The World’s Largest Athlete as being “irrelevant.”

Photos: Bearded defiance | Watch first part of the interview, exclusively on

Instead, Triple H discussed two of Sunday’s pay-per-view showdowns: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio against a returning John Cena, and Daniel Bryan against Randy Orton for the vacant WWE Title inside Hell in a Cell. In the latter contest, in spite of recent turbulence, he expressed with certainty that special guest referee Shawn Michaels would do the right thing when all was said and done. 

However, Bryan himself would interrupt, defiantly stating he would prove Triple H wrong and walk out of WWE Hell in a Cell with the WWE Title and become the new Face of WWE in the process.

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Somali journalist dies in hospital after attack

27 Oct

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A Somali journalist says a colleague attacked by gunmen on Tuesday has died of his wounds.

Ahmed Nor Mohamed said Sunday that journalist Mohamed Mohamud died in hospital Saturday night.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said Mohamud, who also was known as Tima’ade, had undergone surgery after being shot six times.

According to the journalists’ group, Mohamud, 26, reported for the private U.K.-based Universal TV, which covers news for the Somali diaspora.

Somalia is one of the most dangerous places for media workers. Mohamud’s death brings to seven the number of Somali journalists murdered this year; at least 18 were killed last year.

It’s not entirely clear who has been targeting journalists. But militants, criminals, and even state agents all could have reasons to want journalists killed in Somalia.

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Lady Gaga’s Frilly LAX Arrival

26 Oct

Dressed in her idea of appropriate travel clothing, Lady Gaga arrived at LAX airport on Tuesday (October 22).

The “Applause” singer wore a very short, sheer off-the-shoulder dress with poofy sleeves, and black platform boots as she stepped outside.

Sharing her plans with her Twitter followers, the 27-year-old songstress tweeted, “Off to Berlin! Kleine monsters ready for the ARTPOP listening party at my favorite nightclub? #AmpyaExclusive #20DaysTillARTPOP.”

Recently, YouTube announced that Gaga is among the nominees for the first annual YouTube Music Awards, taking place on November 3rd.

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