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8 Late-Night Happy Hour Bars In NYC

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abileneSometimes the work week can be tough and we need a little more pick-me-up than the standard 7pm cut-off happy hour.

We've compiled a list of 8 bars to check out that keep the cheap drinks and parties going late.

Whether you're looking to end the party at midnight or stay out until 3am, these bars offer a wide variety of drink specials for your night out.

Verlaine

The 17-foot ceilings and dim lighting is nothing short of swanky at this bar in the heart of the Lower East Side. They're famous for the exceptionally strong lychee martinis and classic cocktails with a twist.

Besides the great happy hour, they showcase local artist's photography, paintings and poetry once a month, and offer Southeast Asian-inspired tapas. Sip on a martini or sangria with five spice calamari and you're set.

Happy Hour: Sunday - Monday 5pm to 10pm; $4 martinis, sangria, house wine, Vietnamese bloody mary and 2 for 1 bottles of Yuengling.

To see more go HERE.



The Gutter

If you're looking to partake in a fun, late-night activity and reap the benefits of cheap drinks, The Gutter in Williamsburg has vintage-style bowling and a full bar.

It's also 21 and up so you won't be bothered with kids running up and down the lanes. If bowling isn't your thing, you can hop over to the spare room for trivia night every Monday at 7pm. The winner gets free booze and bowling.

Happy Hour: Sunday - Thursday after 1am; $1 off beer and wells, $3 off pitchers and 2 for 1 bowling

To see more go HERE.



Izakaya Ten

Satisfy your late-night food cravings and taste for sake at this Japanese restaurant and bar.

The kitchen serves traditional Japanese food until 2:30am, and the sake special flows until 3am Thursday through Saturday. They also have $20 off bottles of Shochu, a Japanese liquor. They take reservations and cater to private parties.

Happy Hour: Thursday - Saturday after 11pm; 2 for 1 sake and $20 off all Shochu bottles

To see more go HERE.



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FROM ABU DHABI TO ICELAND: 20 Incredible Places Brands Paid To Send Instagrammers

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iceland cole rise influential instagram

Brands have started tapping into talented, popular, Instagram users to help promote their public image to a young, creative audience.

Click here to see the cool places people have been sent>

Instagrammers, who shoot both professionally and as a hobby, have been sent to some of the most exotic  locations and events around the world — all on companies' dime.

Volvo has flown influential Instagram users to Abu Dhabi for an ocean race; Burberry tapped people to come to London for fashion week.

While the select few tend to not get paid for their work as photographers, they are still pretty awesome opportunities to aspire to.

ABU DHABI: Puma flew Brian DiFeo (@bridif, 131K followers) and a few other lucky Instagrammers to Abu Dhabi for the Volvo Ocean Race.



MIAMI: The Volvo race had many different legs around the world. Sam Horine took this shot as the boats went from Miami to Portugal.



INDIA: But Horine, who has 223K people following him at @samhorine, has gone all over the world. Louis XIII sent him to India for its product launch.



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The Bizarre Case Of A Murdered DC Socialite Is Getting A Lot Weirder

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Viola Drath Albrecht Muth

WASHINGTON (AP) — The already-bizarre criminal case of a slain German socialite and journalist has been brought to a virtual standstill by her husband's refusal to eat, which has left the defendant unable to sit or stand on his own and at risk of death.

It's the latest twist in the case against Albrecht Muth, a fellow German expatriate whose behavior has ranged from odd to obstructive since he was charged with the killing. Muth, nearly a half-century younger than his late wife, has argued unsuccessfully for the right to wear what he said was an Iraqi military uniform in court. He fired his public defenders — only to have them reappointed after he was deemed too physically weak to act as his own lawyer. He told the judge he'd follow his own rules and he's name-dropped Jesus, David Petraeus and others in court proceedings.

Muth's fasting prompted a judge to indefinitely postpone the trial, scheduled to start this Monday, after a doctor said Muth was too weak to be brought to court and prosecutors and defense lawyers said it wasn't feasible for him to participate remotely from his hospital bed. Frustrated prosecutors say Muth, 48, is orchestrating his own unavailability and thwarting their efforts to hold him accountable in the August 2011 slaying, and an exasperated judge says the case was in "limbo status" until at least next month.

Muth's behavior has defied an easy solution: His presence in the courtroom could harm his health and disrupt the proceedings, but his absence could set up an appeal on grounds that the trial was improperly held.

The parties are right to proceed cautiously since a trial without the defendant is an option "reserved for the most bizarre, unheard of collection of circumstances that essentially result in a perfect storm," said Bernie Grimm, a Washington criminal defense lawyer not involved in the case.

"When a defendant's not there, it's just a hornet's nest for the judge," he said, adding that a hastily made decision could raise all sorts of bases for an appeal.

Other options have been debated. Prosecutor Glenn Kirschner suggested at one point that he might seek a court order to force-feed the defendant, but he's acknowledged that that Muth — who's been hospitalized for two months — might be too ill for that. Superior Court Judge Russell Canan also considered having Muth appear via video link. But Kirschner argued that Muth could "very well die on camera, on a two-way video feed" before the jury. He said he saw no way for the trial to proceed as scheduled.

"It's not an approach that the government is comfortable risking a trial, a criminal conviction and a possible reversal on," Kirschner said.

His starvation, which he claims is for religious reasons, has been the biggest roadblock yet in the strange case that's included his claims that he was a general in the Iraqi army and that the killing was an Iranian hit job. Muth began fasting after he was ruled competent to stand trial in December.

The investigation began after Muth reported finding 91-year-old Viola Drath's beaten and stabbed body in the bathroom of the couple's row home in chic Georgetown, where for years they hosted dinner parties for notable Washingtonians. Police arrested Muth, who has maintained his innocence, after finding no signs of forced entry to the home and observing scratches on his body that suggested a physical struggle. He also aroused suspicion when he presented a document — which prosecutors say was forged — stating that he was entitled to a portion of her estate upon her death. In truth, he had been removed from her will, authorities say.

Drath, who contributed columns to The Washington Times and wrote on German affairs, wed Muth in 1990. The couple's tumultuous relationship included his prior conviction for beating her, and prosecutors say he leeched onto Drath's social connections to pass them off as his own. He walked the neighborhood smoking cigars and sporting a military-style uniform that prosecutors say was actually made for him in South Carolina. He showed off a military certificate that came from a Maryland print shop.

Despite his grandiose claims, he lived off a monthly allowance from Drath, had no connection to the Iraqi army or any income of his own, prosecutors say.

Though defendants are entitled to attend every step of their trial, courts in recent years have grappled with where to draw the line on intentionally disruptive behavior.

In 2011, a judge in Washington state temporarily barred a man charged with raping and killing a lesbian couple from his own trial. The trial began with Isaiah Kalebu, who cursed his lawyers and knocked over chairs during pretrial hearings, watching the proceedings from another room in the courthouse while chained in a restraint chair. He later testified and was convicted.

That same year, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled that a judge was justified in barring two defendants from a gang crimes trial after their tirades disrupted pretrial hearings. The judge permitted them to follow the trial on a jail video feed and told them they could return once they committed to behave. After they were convicted in absentia, they unsuccessfully appealed the judge's decision to hold the trial without them.

"These are difficult cases. The courts seem to be willing to override defendants' fundamental rights for the sake of having neat and tidy trials," said John Beal, a Chicago attorney who represented one of the men and who argued that his client should have been given a chance to attend the trial before being barred.

In Muth's case, a judge has scheduled a hearing for April. It's not clear whether anything will be different.

Muth has dropped about 30 pounds in the hospital since his fast began and his organs are failing, said Dr. Russom Ghebrai. He did eat and drink last weekend — and has consumed food intermittently in the last few weeks — but then chastised himself for disobeying the orders of the archangel Gabriel and pledged to begin his fast anew.

He's shown no signs he intends to permanently resume eating, telling Canan last week that if forced to choose between a jury of "secular-ites" and his own religious convictions, it was an easy decision: "I opt for God."

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Why The Rich Don't Give To Charity

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champagne glass

When Mort Zuckerman, the New York City real-estate and media mogul, lavished $200 million on Columbia University in December to endow the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, he did so with fanfare suitable to the occasion: the press conference was attended by two Nobel laureates, the president of the university, the mayor, and journalists from some of New York’s major media outlets.

Many of the 12 other individual charitable gifts that topped $100 million in the U.S. last year were showered with similar attention: $150 million from Carl Icahn to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, $125 million from Phil Knight to the Oregon Health & Science University, and $300 million from Paul Allen to the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, among them. If you scanned the press releases, or drove past the many university buildings, symphony halls, institutes, and stadiums named for their benefactors, or for that matter read the histories of grand giving by the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Stanfords, and Dukes, you would be forgiven for thinking that the story of charity in this country is a story of epic generosity on the part of the American rich.

It is not. One of the most surprising, and perhaps confounding, facts of charity in America is that the people who can least afford to give are the ones who donate the greatest percentage of their income. In 2011, the wealthiest Americans—those with earnings in the top 20 percent—contributed on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity. By comparison, Americans at the base of the income pyramid—those in the bottom 20 percent—donated 3.2 percent of their income. The relative generosity of lower-income Americans is accentuated by the fact that, unlike middle-class and wealthy donors, most of them cannot take advantage of the charitable tax deduction, because they do not itemize deductions on their income-tax returns.

But why? Lower-income Americans are presumably no more intrinsically generous (or “prosocial,” as the sociologists say) than anyone else. However, some experts have speculated that the wealthy may be less generous—that the personal drive to accumulate wealth may be inconsistent with the idea of communal support. Last year, Paul Piff, a psychologist at UC Berkeley, published research that correlated wealth with an increase in unethical behavior: “While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything,” Piff later told New York magazine, “the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people.” They are, he continued, “more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.” Colorful statements aside, Piff’s research on the giving habits of different social classes—while not directly refuting the asshole theory—suggests that other, more complex factors are at work. In a series of controlled experiments, lower-income people and people who identified themselves as being on a relatively low social rung were consistently more generous with limited goods than upper-class participants were. Notably, though, when both groups were exposed to a sympathy-eliciting video on child poverty, the compassion of the wealthier group began to rise, and the groups’ willingness to help others became almost identical.

If Piff’s research suggests that exposure to need drives generous behavior, could it be that the isolation of wealthy Americans from those in need is a cause of their relative stinginess? Patrick Rooney, the associate dean at the Indiana University School of Philanthropy, told me that greater exposure to and identification with the challenges of meeting basic needs may create “higher empathy” among lower-income donors. His view is supported by a recent study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, in which researchers analyzed giving habits across all American ZIP codes. Consistent with previous studies, they found that less affluent ZIP codes gave relatively more. Around Washington, D.C., for instance, middle- and lower-income neighborhoods, such as Suitland and Capitol Heights in Prince George’s County, Maryland, gave proportionally more than the tony neighborhoods of Bethesda, Maryland, and McLean, Virginia. But the researchers also found something else: differences in behavior among wealthy households, depending on the type of neighborhood they lived in. Wealthy people who lived in homogeneously affluent areas—areas where more than 40 percent of households earned at least $200,000 a year—were less generous than comparably wealthy people who lived in more socioeconomically diverse surroundings. It seems that insulation from people in need may dampen the charitable impulse.

Wealth affects not only how much money is given but to whom it is given. The poor tend to give to religious organizations and social-service charities, while the wealthy prefer to support colleges and universities, arts organizations, and museums. Of the 50 largest individual gifts to public charities in 2012, 34 went to educational institutions, the vast majority of them colleges and universities, like Harvard, Columbia, and Berkeley, that cater to the nation’s and the world’s elite. Museums and arts organizations such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art received nine of these major gifts, with the remaining donations spread among medical facilities and fashionable charities like the Central Park Conservancy. Not a single one of them went to a social-service organization or to a charity that principally serves the poor and the dispossessed. More gifts in this group went to elite prep schools (one, to the Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York) than to any of our nation’s largest social-service organizations, including United Way, the Salvation Army, and Feeding America (which got, among them, zero).

Underlying our charity system—and our tax code—is the premise that individuals will make better decisions regarding social investments than will our representative government. Other developed countries have a very different arrangement, with significantly higher individual tax rates and stronger social safety nets, and significantly lower charitable-contribution rates. We have always made a virtue of individual philanthropy, and Americans tend to see our large, independent charitable sector as crucial to our country’s public spirit. There is much to admire in our approach to charity, such as the social capital that is built by individual participation and volunteerism. But our charity system is also fundamentally regressive, and works in favor of the institutions of the elite. The pity is, most people still likely believe that, as Michael Bloomberg once said, “there’s a connection between being generous and being successful.” There is a connection, but probably not the one we have supposed.

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The Billionaire Who Is Building A Titanic Replica Almost Sank His Own Yacht

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Clive Palmer Titanic

A luxury super-yacht belonging to Clive Palmer — the Australian billionaire building an exact replica of the Titanic— almost sank Wednesday night off Queensland's Gold Coast.

The $5.3 million "Maximus" lost power and came close to colliding with a rock wall, according to the Daily Telegraph. A flare was fired, the passengers put on life jackets, and the yacht was towed to a nearby marina.

Palmer was reportedly entertaining business associates onboard.

The 58-year-old billionaire unveiled images of the Titanic II, the nearly exact replica of the famous doomed ocean liner, last month in New York. Construction should begin next year.

According to Gold Coast News, Palmer has had trouble on the water before; he ran a similar-sized boat aground a few years ago.

Hopefully for potential Titanic II passengers, this marks the end of his bad luck.

SEE ALSO: Take A Tour Of Clive Palmer's "Titanic II"

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Photobombing Dog Makes For Amazing Craigslist Apartment Ad

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craigslist photobombing dog

This photobombing dog — found by BuzzFeed — who has infiltrated an apartment ad is the shining light of the endless pit of soul-crushing despair that is house-hunting on Craigslist.

Usually the Craigslist process is a nightmare: "steps away from the city center" translates to 13 miles, potential roommates will offer free utilities in exchange for foot massages (or other weird deals), and owners are often "on a mission" in some exotic location and require the wiring of a hefty sum before you get the key— maybe throw in your social security number, too.

But this photobombing dog, who magically pops up in every single photo of a seemingly normal Chicago apartment for rent, almost makes Craigslisting worth it.

Apartment hunting can be painful on Craigslist. And this ad starts out like countless others: description, map, innocuous photo of pet-friendly living room.



But wait, what's this? There's something lurking in the kitchen.



The photo gallery has become an elaborate game of "I Spy."



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The Absolute Best Architecture In Shanghai [PHOTOS]

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Apple Store Shanghai

With the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Shanghai.

Shanghai is noted for having more Art Deco buildings than any other city, including László Hudec’s Park Hotel, which is not on our list but will be added in a future guide.

Like many cities in China, Shanghai’s rapid growth has meant a boon in contemporary architecture styles.

We put together a list of 12 modern/contemporary buildings that we feel provides a good starting point. It is far from complete. There are dozens of other great buildings that are not our list, and we are looking to add to the list in the near future. 

The Shanghai Oriental Sports Center: The SOSC celebrated its opening for the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships in July 2011. It consists of a hall stadium for several sports and cultural events, a natatorium (swimming hall), an outdoor swimming pool and a media centre.



Shanghai Museum of Glass: Located in Shanghai’s Baoshan District, this former glass manufacturing site covers a total area of 29,612sqm including thirty existing buildings varying in age and scale.



Shanghai Houtan Park: Built on a brownfield of a former industrial site, Houtan Park is a regenerative living landscape on Shanghai’s Huangpu riverfront.



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Billionaire Oil Baron Could Be Headed For The Most Expensive Divorce Ever

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harold hamm and wife divorce

ATLANTA/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Continental Resources chief executive Harold Hamm, one of America's wealthiest and most influential businessmen, is embroiled in a contentious divorce that could lead to a record financial settlement and threaten his control of America's fastest-growing oil company.

Sue Ann Hamm, Harold Hamm's second wife and a former executive at Continental, filed for divorce on May 19, 2012, Oklahoma court records show.

Documents in the case are sealed. But in a March 7, 2013 filing obtained by Reuters, Sue Ann Hamm alleges that Harold "was having an affair" that she discovered in 2010, prompting her to later file for divorce.

Harold Hamm, 67, is a leading force behind the U.S. oil boom and served as the senior energy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign. Time magazine named him one of the most influential people in the world, and Forbes listed him last year among the 50 richest Americans. Ranked No. 35, Hamm is worth $11.3 billion, the magazine estimated.

His estranged wife, Sue Ann Hamm, 56, has held key posts at Continental. She has led oil-industry trade groups in Oklahoma, testified to Congress on behalf of Continental and created Continental's oil and gas marketing units. She is no longer with the company, her lawyer said.

The Hamms were married in April 1988 and have two adult children, Jane and Hilary. Harold Hamm has three children from a prior marriage that ended in divorce in 1987.

Whether the Hamms signed a prenuptial agreement is unclear. Legal analysts who reviewed court filings said that without one, the case could lead to a record-breaking financial settlement - one that could exceed the $1.7 billion paid by News Corp. founder and chairman Rupert Murdoch to ex-wife Anna in 1999. One outcome could be a split of "marital property" that may include dividing Harold Hamm's controlling 68 percent stake in Continental, currently worth $11.2 billion.

"I don't know of anything that's ever been this big," said Barbara Atwood, professor emeritus of family law at the University of Arizona. "There's just so much money involved."

Continental was subpoenaed in the case last summer, and it was ordered by the Oklahoma court to hand over documents late last year. Four other companies controlled by Hamm also were subpoenaed.

A review of Continental's Securities and Exchange Commission filings and company statements shows no mention of the divorce proceedings. Although corporate governance scholars said Continental had no legal obligation to disclose the Hamms' divorce proceedings to shareholders, "It's a lawsuit that involves a potential impact on the controlling shareholder," said Charles Elson, director of The Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. "Certainly, it would be relevant to an investor if there is going to be or could be a shift in control."

After receiving inquiries from Reuters, Continental put out a news release acknowledging the divorce case. The fight, the company said, "is not anticipated to have any impact or effect on the company's business or operations."

Hamm couldn't be reached for comment. An attorney for Sue Ann Hamm declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement governing the case.

After the pending divorce was confirmed by Hamm on Thursday, Continental shares fell by 2.9 percent to $86.17 in afternoon trading.

Hamm, the 13th child of Oklahoma sharecroppers, started his career at age 20, scrubbing scum out of oil barrels. A few years later, he drilled a 75-barrel-a-day gusher in his home state, helping pay for university classes in geology. He founded Continental in 1967, two decades before he and the former Sue Ann Arnall were married. She is an economist and a lawyer.

Hamm's biggest breakthrough came in the 1990s, when he helped discover the Bakken field of North Dakota, the largest new U.S. oil prospect since the 1960s. The discovery helped Continental lead a resurgence in U.S. oil production, using the controversial drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The technique pumps water laden with sand and chemicals underground to release previously unreachable oil reserves.

Today, the Bakken yields nearly 700,000 barrels a day, roughly 10 percent of American output. Continental controls more than 1 million acres in the formation, which stretches from North Dakota to Montana. The firm also owns oil and gas rights in several other states, including Oklahoma.

Continental has said the entire Bakken field - being developed by several companies - may contain 24 billion barrels of oil. That would be enough to meet U.S. oil demand for more than three years. Drilling by Continental alone added 649 million barrels to the company's proved oil reserves between 2008 and 2012.

The firm says it controls drilling leases to more oil-rich Bakken acres than any other company, helping to make Hamm the largest oil baron in the United States.

Hamm directly controls 126.3 million shares, or 68 percent, of Oklahoma City-based Continental and more through family trusts. Those shares alone are worth at least $11.2 billion.

But his stake in Continental could change significantly as a result of a divorce settlement. The firm's massive growth occurred during the marriage. Its share price has surged nearly 500 percent in the five years since an initial public offering in 2007.

Under Oklahoma family law, wealth accrued through the efforts of either spouse during a marriage would typically be subject to "equitable distribution" between the parties.

"A court in Oklahoma may look closely at what each party has contributed," said legal specialist Atwood. "But it sounds to me like both spouses here were working hard in the business."

"Where there are concerns about company control in a settlement, a spouse would usually get paid the value of the shares," she said. "This is going to be really interesting."

Court records show that Sue Ann Hamm petitioned for divorce in May 2012. But earlier Oklahoma court records suggest the Hamms' relationship has been rocky.

In 1998, Harold Hamm filed for divorce and demanded that Sue Ann undergo a psychological evaluation. He later withdrew the divorce petition and the case file was ordered destroyed this year, on February 13, according to Oklahoma court records. What prompted the destruction of the file is unclear. In 2005, Sue Ann Hamm subsequently filed for divorce; that case also was dropped.

Her 2005 divorce filing is now a key issue in the Hamms' divorce battle, according to a court document reviewed by Reuters. Indeed, it could play a pivotal role in determining how property - including interest in Continental - will be divided, legal analysts said.

According to Harold Hamm, the couple "actually separated in the fall of 2005 and have lived separate lives ever since," the court document says.

But Sue Ann Hamm's attorneys counter that the Hamms "continued to reside together (although they do own four homes), travel together, attend public functions together, raise their children together, file joint tax returns, and work together."

In May 2012, for instance, Harold and Sue Ann Hamm jointly hosted a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Romney at their $3 million mansion in Nichols Hills, Oklahoma, according to photos and media reports. The event raised more than $2 million for the Romney campaign.

Last September, Reuters reported that Harold Hamm had made political contributions that exceeded federal legal limits by as much as 41 percent during the 2011-2012 election period. Continental said at the time that the donations were made from an account held jointly by Harold and Sue Ann Hamm and were intended to be split between Hamm and his wife, which would have kept the donations within legal limits.

In 2011, Harold and Sue Ann Hamm also jointly gave $20 million to a diabetes center at the University of Oklahoma named for Harold Hamm, who has Type II diabetes. The same year, the couple signed up for Warren Buffett and Bill Gates' Giving Pledge initiative, indicating their intention to dedicate most of their wealth to philanthropy.

In a court filing two weeks ago, Sue Ann Hamm's attorneys say the Hamms agreed "to engage in marriage counseling sessions in an effort to save their marriage" in November 2010, after Sue Ann Hamm concluded that her husband had been unfaithful.

Whether the Hamms separated in 2005 or more recently is crucial as the court determines how Harold Hamm's assets will be divided, legal analysts said. Under Oklahoma family law, the increase in the value of an asset during marriage is considered part of the total pool of "marital property."

"In general, if you own property prior to the marriage and you bring it to the marriage, it is separate," said Marianne Blair, a professor of family law at the University of Tulsa. "But that separate property can increase in value. To the extent the increase was due to marital efforts or marital funds," it can be divided by the court.

Hamm divorced his first wife, Judith Ann, in 1987, according to Oklahoma court records. A document filed by Sue Ann Hamm's attorneys in the current case shows they received access to marital records in the prior divorce in March.

Attorneys for both Hamms will present evidence about when the couple separated and the resulting "date of valuation of (the) business" on May 20, according to the court docket.

What's decided could help determine whether their divorce settlement rivals the largest reported divorce settlement to date - the $1.7 billion paid by Murdoch to his ex-wife Anna in 1999. That settlement, in California, directly affected shareholders of News Corp. because it awarded Murdoch's three eldest children stakes in the voting shares of the company. Reports of the Murdoch divorce sent News Corp. shares lower.

Daniel Jaffe, a family law attorney in Beverly Hills, California who represented Anna Murdoch, declined to discuss the Murdoch case. But after reviewing the court docket and document obtained by Reuters in the Hamm case, he said Sue Ann Hamm's decades of work for Continental was unique compared with most divorce cases.

"She has a leg up because she worked for the company and she can claim that a portion of her efforts went into making the company what it is today," Jaffe said. "She was married to him when the value of the company went up. She has got to be looking for a couple of billion dollars."

(Reporting by Brian Grow in Atlanta and Joshua Schneyer in New York; additional reporting by Jeanine Prezioso; editing by Blake Morrison and Michael Williams.)

SEE ALSO: The 15 Most Expensive Divorces Ever

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I Just Finished A 72-Hour Cleanse, And Now I Can't Stand The Thought Of Eating A Vegetable

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sam ro steak

I've always liked vegetables.

But I've also always loved junk food.

And while my blood pressure is normal and my cholesterol levels are optimal, I am overweight.

So, in an effort to kickstart a life-change, I went on a short cleanse diet. Specifically, I signed up for Organic Avenue's 3-day beginner's cleanse, a regimen of vegan juices and raw food.

Yes, it was a brief.

But three days off of coffee was painful, and it immediately hurt my performance at work.

And while most of the cleanse was very tasty — actually, the food was phenomenal— I spent much of the time struggling with what Organic Avenue calls "digestive disturbances." (Use your imagination)

I did lose around eight pounds in those three days. But it came at a severe cost: I now hate vegetables.

In the same way too many Tanqueray and tonics in college ruined me for gin, three days of non-stop kale, carrots, and collard greens now have me gagging at the thought of my next salad.

I asked Reese Blaisdell of Organic Avenue about my post-cleanse experience, and she said this was the first she heard of a person walking away with more of an aversion to vegetables.

This is likely the "effects of detoxing," speculated Reese. She explained that this could be the effects of a "body shock" as toxins were being dumped into my bloodstream.

I have faith that she's right and that my newfound distaste for greens will fade. But for now, the memory of my 3-day cleanse will haunt me.

Each morning at around 6am, Organic Avenue would deliver my food for the day.



The friendly orange sack came with a slip with the day's menu.



Each day's rations came in an insulated box with an ice pack. Everything was labeled with numbers.



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50 Mouthwatering Pictures Of Street Food In Singapore

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chili crab in Singapore

Singaporeans take their food very seriously.

Bad restaurants don't survive here for long, and good ones have long queues and are impossible to get into.

While Singapore has plenty of five-star fine dining options, most people opt to eat street food in the hawker centers, which are open-air food courts where vendors prepare everything from Malaysian curries to Indian roti and Chinese noodle soups.

The hawker center vendors are strictly monitored by the government for health and hygiene, meaning that it's nearly impossible to get sick from the food here.

We recently ate our way through Singapore, trying everything from hawker centers to fine restaurants. Here are the best things we ate.

Disclosure: Our trip to Singapore, including travel and lodging expenses, was sponsored by the Singapore Tourism Board.

Chicken rice is Singapore's unofficial national dish. First, chicken is boiled in a flavorful broth. Then the rice is cooked in that same broth. The result is a fragrant, flavorful, succulent rice that pairs perfectly with the juicy chicken.



Chili crab is another one of Singapore's national dishes. The crab is doused in a spicy chili-tomato gravy. Eating it is a messy affair — the best way to eat it is to crack the shell with your hands and slurp out the meat. Then mop up the gravy with doughy buns.



Choy sum is a Chinese vegetable that's a thinner version of bok choy. It's prepared with garlic as a side dish that complements chili crab.



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The World's Scariest Racetrack Is On Sale For $165 Million

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nurburgring race track germany september 2012

Built around the medieval castle of Nurburg, in western Germany's Eifel Forest, the Nurburgring motorsports complex fell into bankruptcy last summer and is now on the market.

The facility includes a Grand Prix track and arena, a museum, and a defunct roller coaster.

But the real attraction is the North Loop, better known by its German name, the Nordschleife.

Built from 1925-1927 as a project to alleviate unemployment, it is still one of the longest and most challenging racetracks on the planet.

Blind hills, narrow straights, and trees on either side earned it the nickname, the "Green Hell."

The estimate of driver deaths on the track varies, according to Car and Driver, from 2 to 12 per year.

And now it can be yours, for just $165 million, according to Autoblog.

Here's a view of the complex from the air.



And a panoramic shot of the complex entrance.



The Formula One-themed 'ring°racer' roller coaster has not opened yet, after a history of delays and accidents.



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The 17 Most Expensive Divorces Of All Time

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tiger woods elin nordegren

Today we learned that Harold Hamm, the billionaire oil tycoon behind Continental Resources, could be headed for the most expensive divorce ever.

Hamm is splitting with his second wife, Sue Ann Hamm, after he allegedly had an affair.

If the couple doesn't have a prenup  and it's not known if they do  she could wind up with half of his 68 percent stake in the company, currently worth $11.2 billion, according to Reuters.

That could put Hamm ahead of Rupert Murdoch, who paid a record $1.7 billion in his divorce settlement with ex-wife Anna.

They aren't the only uber-wealthy figures who have paid out massive divorce settlements.

#17 Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving

Settlement:$100 million

A California judge refused to recognize the couples prenuptial agreement scrawled on a napkin and awarded Irving $100 million after the four years of marriage in 1989, according to Forbes.

Spielberg and Irving dated from 1976 to 1979 when she broke up with him to date Willie Nelson. The two got back together and married in 1985.




#16 Greg Norman and Laura Andrassy

Settlement:$103 Million 

Norman and Andrassy married in 1981 and were divorced in 2006 after 26 years, costing Norman $103 million, according to the AP.

In September 2007 Norman married tennis star Christine Evert and divorced 18 months later. In 2010 Norman married interior designer Kirsten Kutner.



#15 Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

Settlement: reported $110 million 

From the moment Woods crashed his Escalade into the tree outside his Florida home in 2009, it was impossible to ignore the events leading up to his divorce after the couple's six years of marriage.

She received reported $110 million in the settlement, according to the New York Daily News.



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23 Examples Of Sleep In A Combat Zone

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I'd be lying if I said I never snuggled with a dude.

When Marines initially invaded Iraq in 2003, there were no bases or bunks or nice places to sleep. It was the ground, with stars for a blanket.

The desert gets cold at night, I assure you.

In the following slides, we'll show you that troops are willing to grab a bit of shut-eye in just about any position, at any time.

A U.S. soldier of 2-12 Infantry 4BCT-4ID Task Force Mountain Warrior takes a break during a night mission near Honaker Miracle camp at the Pesh valley of Kunar Province August 12, 2009.



U.S. Marines of the 15th Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Fox Company "Raiders" sleep wearing respirators during a gas attack alert in an undisclosed location in the Iraqi desert on March 28, 2003.



A Palestinian youth sleeps on the street as his house was destroyed at Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza May 13, 2004.



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Step Up Your Grilling Game With A Cedar Plank

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These are the Cedar Cooking Planks from Nature's Gourmet.

Why We Love It: If you've never grilled before or just want to switch it up, consider these cedar planks.

They'll hold moisture and add a cedar-smoked flavor to your meat. You can soak the planks for longer for even more moisture and less cedar flavor, or play with soaking the planks in wine, apple juice, or beer.

cedar cooking plank

 

cedar cooking plank

Where To Buy: Available through the Nature's Gourmet website.

Cost: $60 for a pack of three.

Want to nominate a cool product for Stuff We Love? Send an email to Megan Willett at mwillett@businessinsider.com with "Stuff We Love" in the subject line.

SEE ALSO: This Water-Repellent Waxed Jacket Is A Must-Have For Spring

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Why Melbourne, Australia Is The World's Best Place To Live

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melbourne australia

In a recent ranking of the world's "most livable" cities, Melbourne, Australia took the number one spot.

The Economist Intelligence Unit gave the city perfect marks for education, healthcare, and infrastructure.

Melbourne's total score was 97.5 out of 100, only losing a few spare points for climate, petty crime, and culture.

Australia had five other cities in the top 10, but Melbourne with its Gothic Laneways, music culture, and gorgeous Yarra River was proclaimed the very best.

Melbourne sits on the gorgeous Yarra River, making it a prime spot for water sports, boating, and scenic views.

Source: Melbourne Water



It has the largest gambling center in the southern hemisphere, Crown Casino, with a license for 500 table games and an hourly fire show.

Source: Crown Limited



The city also hosts Big Day Out, one of the biggest nationwide music festivals where plenty of local and famous international bands come to play.

Source: CNBC



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Brooklyn's Domino Sugar Factory Will Turn Into A Temporary Urban Haven

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Domino SugarTwo Trees Management’s Jed Walentas is temporarily turning over the Domino Sugar development site in Williamsburg for use as an urban farm, yoga studio, reading room and bicycle course, the Brooklyn Paper reported.

The developer will not charge rent for the football field-sized plot, but the operators will need to pay utilities.

On the western side of the parcel, North Brooklyn Farms will operate a farm, and there will be a green space for public events and fitness classes. On the other side, a practice cycling course will cater to beginner and intermediate riders.

The initial agreement for these operators is a one-year deal. But that can change based on the design and approval processes for the mixed-use project. It was not clear when the new facilities will be ready.

“For us, it’s silly to have this site fenced off from the community,” Dave Lombino, Two Trees’ director of special projects, told the paper. “We want to signal to the community that we are creative and ambitious.”

The features came from two separate proposals for use of the site that Two Trees merged together.

The area in question is the Kent Avenue lot located between South 3rd and South 4th streets.

Two Trees solicited proposals for use of this 55,000-square-foot swath in early January, as previously reported.

Walentas has indicated that he wants to break ground on this Kent Street lot first. Lombino told the paper that ground will not break until at least late 2014. 

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Beijing's Frugality Campaign Hits High-End Restaurants

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chinese food china banquet

It’s not just makers of high-priced baijiu — traditional Chinese spirits — that are taking a hit from Beijing’s ongoing frugality campaign and a military ban on extravagant banquets.

High-end restaurants, too, are reporting a battering in the first two months of 2013 as money for government-funded banquets dries up.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the country’s catering industry saw a dip in revenue of 4.9 percent in January and February, growing just 8.4 percent, its lowest level in a decade.

Medium- to high-end dining was the hardest-hit segment, with revenue falling 3.3 percent during the period.

As Bian Jiang of the China Cuisine Association told China Daily this week, weak sales in 2013 only serve to pile additional woes on high-end restaurant owners. According to Bian, revenue for this segment is estimated to have dropped 15 to 20 percent since December, being particularly hard-hit by cutbacks in business banquets in the run-up to Chinese New Year.

Via China Daily:

Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce showed that sales at top hotels in Zhejiang province fell 20 percent year-on-year during Spring Festival.

Spring Festival dinners this year had smaller portions to save costs, and free packaging services were provided by restaurants to encourage customers to take their leftovers home.

The post-Spring Festival period used to be peak time for business banquets when companies celebrated the reopening of their businesses in the New Year, Bian said.

“This year there were hardly any such banquets or gatherings,” he said.

In response to the drop in business diners, some high-priced restaurants — particularly in Beijing — are making stronger overtures to families and individual diners, retooling menus and adjusting prices. As Bian told China Daily, he expects the high-end segment to recover after April, “boosted by people’s rising incomes and the growing number of restaurants shifting focus from business clients to the general public.”

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A Chinese Fashion Label Just Had Its 'Jason Wu' Moment

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chinese first lady fashion

This week, a photo of China’s new first lady, Peng Liyuan stepping out of a jet on a state visit to Russia, wearing a dark trench coat and toting a leather handbag, went viral on Sina Weibo, as users speculated on the brand of Peng’s bag.

Initially, Weibo users speculated that the bag was by Italian luxury brand Tod’s, but others were quick to identify the brand of the purse — as well as Peng’s jacket — as Guangzhou’s Exception (Exception de Mixmind).

After being confirmed by an Exception PR rep, the discovery immediately set off a firestorm of interest in the brand on Sina Weibo.

While it’s too early to say whether Peng Liyuan’s endorsement of Exception is the brand’s “Jason Wu moment,” it’s certainly a big moment for the company, which already has its fair share of high-profile admirers. As CKGSB Knowledge wrote of the label last December:

Exception has built a significant presence of over 100 stores in the Eastern cities of Beijing and Shanghai as well as their home base, the growing metropolis of Guangzhou. Exception is touted as the Chinese fashion industry success story and has an estimated annual turnover of more than RMB 900 million a year. [Founder Mao Jihong] claims that he’s the biggest in the market. Industry observers such as fashion media mogul Hung Huang have put the brand at the top of their watchlist for homegrown brands with the potential to make it big abroad.

The more interesting long-term implications of Peng Liyuan’s domestic-label style are that home-grown Chinese designers and brands could ultimately play a part in the central government’s ongoing frugality campaign in Beijing. While it’s unlikely that high-ranking bureaucrats will ditch their Audis for Red Flags anytime soon — and we’ve already predicted that luxury sales will be better in 2013 than in 2012 — the most visible government officials are already leaving their Swiss watches and Hermès belts at home for fear of netizen scrutiny.

Now, led by Peng Liyuan, we just might see the wives of top officials doing the same with their Birkin bags and Burberry trenches.

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The New Pope Is Incredibly Popular

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Pope Francis

A week after his selection, the new Pope seems to be a huge hit.

Only two percent of U.S. adults are unhappy with Pope Francis, according to Pew Research.

While there does appear to be some controversy over his actions during Argentina's "dirty war" and previous comments about gay adoption, these issues do not seem to have dented his overall image.

One of the keys to his popularity may be Pope Francis' humble demeanor. He is well-known in his home diocese of Buenos Aires for taking the bus, rather than the limo he was entitled to use as Archbishop. For a church frequently seen as out-of-touch, this could be important.

This attitude may be a result of the pope's personal and religious background as the son of a railway worker immigrant and a member of the Jesuits.

During Francis' installation mass he emphasized this factor, calling on the church to serve the "the poorest, the weakest, the least important."

His actions have been humble too, from his call to an Argentinian newspaper kiosk to cancel his newspaper subscription to his breaking of tradition to hold the first papal Holy Thursday service at a jail for teenagers. Before the installation mass, he even lingered to bless a disabled pilgrim:

This humbleness may be a factor behind what appears to be Francis' sly sense of humor. He has previously joked that journalists "risk becoming ill from coprophilia," and he was apparently cracking jokes when he first met the press after his election.

Whether Francis is ultimately viewed as a success will depend on whether he can find a balance between the twin demands of reform and conservation, and whether he can handle the internal divisions within the Vatican.

To those seeking reform, the very announcement of a Pope Francis may represent a symbolic and positive shift: The first Latin American pope leads a church that is currently 40 percent Latin American. That resonates in the U.S. too, as a a third of the all American Catholics are Hispanic.

Even those with more specific reforms in mind are seeing signs of hope. Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Dish writes today about positive signs he sees in Francis. "Where Benedict was a withdrawn absolutist, Francis is an engaged pragmatist," Sullivan begins, before outlining what he sees as bright sparks in Francis' discussion of priestly celibacy and gay relations.

"Sometimes you need straight Pope to deal w/gay issues," Sullivan tweeted; a reference to his own belief that Pope Benedict XVI is gay.

Of course, almost all of this is based on first impressions. In 2005, people were very excited about Joseph Ratzinger when he became Pope Benedict. However, despite high hopes for reform, Benedict ended up mired in scandals, namely sexual abuse scandals and the internal power struggles exposed by "VatiLeaks."

As described in the "Vatican Diaries," a recent book from John Thavis, Benedict was an intellectual at heart, and didn't have the ability to stand up to the Vatican's complicated internal divisions and powerful bureaucracy. Even if Francis has good intentions, some Catholic experts have already expressed doubts over his ability to lead such a fractured community.

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Geneticist Predicts What The Royal Baby Will Look Like At 25

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royal baby projection

These are images of what the Royal Baby — the offspring of Prince William and Princess Kate — could look like at 25. The baby is due in July.

Marketing specialist, freelance researcher, and content creator Nickolay Lamm worked with geneticist Jenny Chen to make these images, originally posted to MyVoucherCodes.co.uk.

Chen is a graduate student from the Broad Institute of Harvard-MIT, which is dedicated to genetics/genomics research.

Kate Middleton"According to her, nothing definitive can be made about the future appearance of the daughter and son," Lamm told Business Insider in an email. "However, some traits are more likely to appear than others ..."

Based on what we know about the genetics of facial features, he was able to make some guesses about what they would look like. These are the features he used to make the images:

  • The child has a 50 percent chance of having green eyes (like Kate) and 50 percent chance of having blue eyes (like Will). So, in the illustrations, the daughter has blue eyes and the son has blue eyes.
  • Almond-shaped eyes tend to be dominant over round eyes. Kate has almond eyes, so it's a good bet that her children will have almond eyes.
  • Kate's olive skin color is dominant over the lighter skin of Price William, so there's a strong chance the child will have Kate's skin type.
  • Kate's dark hair is dominant over William's light hair, so the children will likely have dark brown hair like Kate.
  • William and Kate do not have widow's peaks, so their child will not have this trait.Prince William
  • Kate has dimples, which is a dominant trait. So it's likely that her dimples will be passed down to her children.
  • Kate and Will have free earlobes, which is a dominant trait. So it's likely their kids will have this trait.
  • Because broad lips are dominant over thin lips, and because broad lips seem to have a history in the Royal Family, it's likely that the children will have broad lips.
  • Because both Will and Kate have oval faces, and because oval faces are dominant over square-shaped faces, it's likely that their kids will have oval-shaped faces.
  • Heart-shaped faces tend to be a characteristic of female faces, so Kate's daughters will probably take after her heart-shaped face while her sons will have jawlines more similar to Will.
  • If you look at Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry, you will notice that they all have a very distinct nose shape that is flat at the bridge and a bit hook-shaped. This would suggest that this nose shape is very dominant and that Will's kids are likely to have this nose shape also.

Here are some less scientific mock ups of the Royal Offspring as a baby, from MorphThing. The boy is on the right and girl baby on the left:royal baby morphthing

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