VAN NUYS – Nearly a dozen San Fernando Valley law enforcement officers and firefighters were honored at a banquet Thursday for their exceptional service to the city of Los Angeles. About 300 people gathered at the Airtel Plaza Hotel for the 28th annual Police Officers, Firefighters and Paramedics Recognition Luncheon. The honorees put their lives on the line every day, but were selected not so much for heroic deeds as for their persistent “way of giving back to the city of Los Angeles more than they’re asked to in their daily jobs,” said City Councilman Greig Smith, the host. Before handing out plaques,Los Angeles Fire Department Deputy Chief Mario Rueda said the performance and character of the firefighters who received them Thursday reflect the LAFD more than news reports and editorials in which the department has been criticized for hazing and on racial and sexist issues. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas City“Day in and day out, my folks perform miracles in the streets, making sure the Valley doesn’t burn down,” Rueda said. “These are the men and women of the Fire Department; not what you read in the papers.” LAFD Capt. Mark Gozawa of Station 104 in Winnetka received the Tom Taylor Award of Excellence. Sharing the Firefighter of the Year award were Capt. Gerald C. Horwedel of Station 96 in Chatsworth; Engineer Oscar Gutierrez from Station 90 in Van Nuys and Apparatus Operator David Carl Thomas of Station 75 in Mission Hills. James R. Goldsworthy of Station 114 in Van Nuys received the Firefighter/Paramedic of the Year award. With a large contingent of his officers at the luncheon, William Bratton, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, said he’s looking ahead to his second term. “Thank you for the privilege and honor to represent you,” Bratton told the LAPD honorees. The chief came under fire from the rank and file for his criticism of officers after the May Day immigration rally in which dozens of civilians, reporters and police officers were injured. But Bratton commended his force Thursday for lower crime rates before proudly shaking the hands of the award recipients. LAPD officers sharing the Police Officer of the Year award were Van Nuys Division Officer Dax Martin; West Valley Division Officer James Jester; Valley Traffic Division Officer Douglas P. Larkin and Devonshire Division Sgt. James R. Leiphardt. Devonshire Department Detective John Doerbecker was the recipient of the Dan Danko Award of Excellence. West Valley California Highway Patrol Officer James Oberlander received the Outstanding CHP Officer of the Year award. After the ceremony, Councilman Smith paid homage to “unsung heroes,” asking members of the law enforcement officers’ and firefighters’ families to stand. “They stay home, fearing for their (loved ones’) lives and safety, never sure that they’re coming home,” Smith said. email@example.com (818) 713-3329160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Yallop told the team he was leaving Sunday night after a charity exhibition match at the Home Depot Center in a 30-minute meeting in the locker room, then exited the building through a back entrance away from reporters. A call to his cell phone was not returned. “He was very emotional about it. He was very heartfelt,” said rookie defender Mike Randolph. “He just expressed his deepest regrets. He doesn’t want to leave the team. He’s grown very attached to this team. “But he has to do what he had to do. He took the best job that was available to him.” Added Beckham: “We’re disappointed we’ve lost him. “We felt he’s the right man. He’s a good manager and strong character with the team. So it was disappointing to lose him at this stage.” By Billy Witz Staff Writer The thud that accompanied David Beckham’s arrival with the Galaxy this season, which ended with an oft-injured superstar and an absence from the playoffs, claimed its first casualty: Coach Frank Yallop. Yallop, who was under contract with the team through next season, resigned to accept the head coaching job with the expansion franchise in San Jose, where he won two MLS Cup titles for the Earthquakes before they moved to Houston. Beckham was asked if Jurgen Klinsmann, who coached Germany in the 2006 World Cup and has served as a consultant to the team in the past, would be the next coach. “I don’t know,” he said. Yallop, who told the team in a meeting 13 days ago that he felt uncomfortable with the way he was being treated by management, didn’t get into details of why he was leaving. But several players think he was pushed out. “It’s like you break up with your girlfriend and you tell everyone it’s a mutual thing,” said Galaxy captain Landon Donovan. “But obviously someone didn’t want to be with someone.” The move was made before the Galaxy depart today on a two-game exhibition swing to Vancouver on Wednesday and Minneapolis on Sunday. Galaxy president and general manager Alexi Lalas, who had declined several interview requests to address Yallop’s status since the season ended, would not answer any questions about the coaching position Sunday night. However, in comments about the season, it wasn’t too hard to read between the lines whom he held responsible. “For the Galaxy, it’s not acceptable not to make the playoffs,” Lalas said. “Making the playoffs is not a cause for celebration, it’s an expectation for the Galaxy. We need to do whatever we need to do in order to make sure in 2008 we play consistently at a higher level.” Asked if the spate of injuries and the heavily back-loaded schedule, which included three coast-to-coast flights in a two-week period, and the spectacle of Beckham’s arrival handicapped the team, Lalas said pointedly: “No. There were opportunities for us to play better. Certainly the injuries and the schedule played a part. But we also don’t want to use it as an excuse. That’s something the Galaxy is not about.” Note: On a night when the Galaxy and Hollywood United, a local club filled with ex-players and actors, put on a match to raise money for victims of the recent wildfires, there was no charity from Beckham. For him, the night was all business. Beckham blasted in a pair of goals past actor Anthony Lapaglia, had four assists and in between took off on a full 70-yard sprint past half the wheezing pub leaguers. The reason for such enthusiasm was seated in the stands at the Home Depot Center: England manager Steve McClaren. McClaren flew to Los Angeles last week, arriving to watch Beckham practice Friday and was in attendance Sunday, according to a Galaxy spokesman, trying to determine the state of Beckham’s recovery from knee and ankle injuries that hobbled him this summer.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Starting next week, lottery players will have the chance to win not only cash but a taste of tinsel town. One player of the new scratch-off ticket game, “Mad Money,” will win a cameo role in one of Overture Films’ future flicks. “When people think of California, they think of Hollywood, which is why the California Lottery is thrilled to enter into a new partnership with friends in the movie industry, Overture Films,” said Lottery Director Joan Borucki. “Mad Money is a great tie-in for our products.” The cross-promotion – an Overture Films movie titled “Mad Money” that opens nationwide Jan. 18 – marks the first time in the lottery’s 22-year history that it has a Hollywood partner. And it comes at a time when both the lottery and Hollywood are trying to boost lagging sales. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsIt also comes at a time when action-star-turned-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is pitching a proposal to lease the lottery to a private entity. The tie with “Mad Money” – starring Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes – gives the movie unique advertising, while the lottery saves cash since the studio will supply a host of secondary gifts, including two trips to Overture premieres in Los Angeles, a visit to a set, “Mad Money” DVDs, autographed “Mad Money” posters and subscriptions to Starz cable movie network. The Scratchers will still cost $1 but offer better odds than other games for winning smaller prizes. Overall odds of winning something are 1 in about 5. Chances of winning money climb to 1 one in about 12. Political analysts said the strategy seems clever on the surface and involves the kind of public-private partnerships favored by Schwarzenegger. But it might not be successful and it also raises a concern. “This is a disturbing move by the state to tie the state lottery to the movie industry,” said Melissa Michelson, a political science professor at Cal State East Bay. “What’s next, renaming the state Capitol, maybe, the Google Government Building? “Selling off naming or advertising rights blurs the distinction between public and private entities, and suggests the government is for sale. Private industry should do their own advertising, and government officials should stick to the business of selling lottery tickets for the benefit of our schools, not for the benefit of movie stars and executives.” Lottery spokeswoman Olga Gallardo said there are fun parallels between the movie’s plot and the lottery. Both are about sudden riches. The Scratchers show three gleeful women digging into a bag of money. That’s where the comparison ends. The lottery is about luck; the movie is about three Federal Reserve employees plotting to steal money about to be destroyed. The promotional scheme will “bomb,” predicted David McCuan, a political science professor at Cal State Sonoma. “Linking Scratchers to movie promotions, when fewer and fewer folks go to the movies, means another half-hearted attempt to pump up sales when we know that the end game here is to lease the lottery to large out-of-state entities.” If the movie bombs, it may all be a moot point. But if the promotion works, the pressure might be on to find a lottery sequel – and that could raise further questions: What’s an appropriate topic for a movie linked to the lottery? Would the state be comfortable with themes of violence or an R rating? Will the state fall into promoting particular studios or stars? Stay tuned.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
The official opening of the Castle Adventure Open Farm, at Wardtown Castle, Ballyshannon took place on Friday last with Máire Áine Gardiner from Failte Ireland declaring the fabulous new facility officially open.The latest tourism attraction in South Donegal is situated 3 miles from Ballyshannon on the Rossnowlagh road, in the picturesque town land of Wardtown. The open farm was developed in the original farm yard of Wardtown Castle which was built in the 17th century and although in disrepair it is still an impressive building to this day.The Open Farm hosts lots of fun activities with plenty of activities to enjoy under cover in the barns, including Bunny cuddling, Lamb Bottle-feeding etc.There is loads of indoor fun and play in the huge indoor activity centre, sandpit, and of course trips on our barrel amazing train.You can also drive a real digger and discover the huge outdoor Adventure Playground. You may pay a visit to the coach house coffee shop to sample our mouth-watering homebaking or simply daze at the amazing craftsmanship that was involved in the old Castle buildings construction.These are just some of the features at this very unique Adventure Open Farm.Speaking at the opening, Chairman of Donegal Local Development Company (DLDC), Mr Jim Slevin representing the funders of the project stated that “LEADER is one of the core funding programmes administered by DLDC and it has played a major role in revitalising rural communities and the rural economy of Donegal.The Castle Adventure Open Farm is a testament to the success of LEADER and indeed the entire Tourism sector within Donegal”.He went on to congratulate the Patton family and acknowledge their commitment and input and who’s idea and vision had taking us here today.Also speaking at the opening Máire Áine Gardiner, Failte Ireland said “”Failte Ireland are delighted to see the realization of the Farm Diversification project under the Rural Development Programme at Castle Adventure Open Farm. “Visitors are increasing looking for quality rural tourism experiences of a high standard where the whole family can enjoy our spectacular environment but also have some wet weather options as well.“We congratulate the Patton family on taking this initiative and look forward to promoting this new attraction for many years to come.”Hugh John Patton on behalf of the Patton family “We would like to take this opportunity to thank DLDC and their Board for their commitment and support during this project as without their support this project would not be possible.“We would like to give a special word of thanks to Frank Kelly and his team in DLDC for all their hard work and input into this project. “We are overwhelmed with the amount of support and well wishes we have received from our neighbour and the local community.“We have waited over 3 years for this day and are delighted now that our dream has now become reality. With the foundations that DLDC helped us to establish we hope to grow this business further in the coming years.“The overall cost of the new project was close to €400K but as you can see from the high standard this project was finished to, it was money well spent.FAILTE IRELAND OFFICIALLY OPEN NEW FARM ADVENTURE CENTRE IN DONEGAL was last modified: May 18th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BusinessFeaturesnews
Arsenal hero Ray Parlour admits a modern footballer ‘has to be boring’, after pictures of Jack Wilshere with the police outside a London nightclub made the back pages.Various newspapers published photographs, as well as video footage online, of the England midfielder speaking to police officers outside West End club Cafe de Paris, and being shielded from onlookers by a group of friends.Reports of the incident on Saturday varied from Wilshere being at the centre of a brawl which began inside of the popular celebrity haunt, to the Gunners star simply arriving late in the night to check up on his girlfriend and drive her home.It is understood Wilshere had no involvement in any ruckus and didn’t even consume any alcohol.And Parlour, who admitted he made ‘lots of mistakes’ early in his career and had to have seven stitches in his head after a night out with Frank Lampard at the SAME CLUB, has sympathy for Wilshere.The Gunners legend insists the story was blown way out of proportion, adding that the increased media spotlight on celebrities means the modern footballer has to sacrifice a social life to keep his public image intact.He told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “You’ve got to be quite boring really. That’s what you’ve got to sacrifice if you want to be a football now.“When I got into the first team it was totally different. Everyone went out, there was more socialising and we could enjoy ourselves. In the early 90s I made lots of mistakes, but there weren’t any camera phones, so you could fall over in a bar and no one says anything. It certainly wouldn’t be on the front page of the papers.“Those days you could get away with it a little bit more, but times have changed.“It’s a shame because you want to live a normal life as much as you can but you just can’t now because of the public eye.“It’s also a shame because he’s worked so hard to get himself back fit and he’s looking to be a part of the Euros squad, so someone takes a picture of a fracas and it’s going to be front and back pages news, because Jack is a big name.“Arsene Wenger will have pulled him over afterwards, but he wouldn’t have gone to town on him.“The boss isn’t stupid. He will hear Jack’s side of the story and see in training that he is working hard to get himself fit again. He’s not going to jeopardise that on a night out.”Listen to Ray Parlour’s take on the Jack Wilshere story, plus his candid account of what happened on a night out with Frank Lampard at Cafe de Paris, in the audio clip above!
7 3. William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon) – Long linked with several top European sides, the 23-year-old midfield enforcer may finally leave the club in the summer. But suitors will have to stump up the cash to acquire his services. He was the player of the tournament at the 2015 Under-21 European Championship and could command a fee of around £35m having had his contract renewed earlier this year with that figure as his release clause. 6. Bruno Martins Indi (Porto) – In January reports emerged that the Red Devils had sent a scout to watch the performance of the Dutch defender against Maritimo in a 1-0 victory. Its not the first time Man United have been linked with him either so hes definitely a name to watch out for. A 24-year-old who is versatile enough to play as either a centre back or a left back, Martins Indi could be a useful squad player. 7 7. Ruben Neves (Porto) – In the same scouting mission which saw the Red Devils check out Martins Indi, their men in the stands took a long hard look at midfielder Neves, who became Portos youngest ever player back in August 2014 at the age of 17 years and five months. He also became the youngest player to start as captain for a Champions League side in October 2015, which shows his pedigree. A deep-lying midfielder capable of excellent passing but also able to put in impressive work defensively, he could be a star for years to come. 1. Renato Sanches (Benfica) – Read all about it, below, then click the right arrow above to see more Portugal-based stars linked with Manchester United… – Wonderkid Sanches has burst on to the scene this season in Portugal and is already a main man in the Benfica midfield. Tactically aware with his positioning in front of a back four, he can also drive forward, mainly down the left, and cause havoc too. Its believed Manchester United are keeping a keen eye on him, with their scouts attending several matches to take a closer look. He could cost more than £40m, which would seriously dent United’s transfer budget. 5. Rafa Silva (Braga) – Manchester United and Liverpool are both readying themselves to battle over the 22-year-old winger, who could be signed for £15.5m in the summer. The player was a member of Portugals 2014 World Cup squad but only has six international caps. Hes reportedly been scouted on several occasions by the Red Devils. 7 7 4. Joao Mario (Sporting Lisbon) – A highly-rated midfielder, the Red Devils have been chasing the 23-year-old for a while now but may find it hard to prise him away from Sporting. Able to play centrally or wide on the right, Mario helps bring attacks to life as his team transition from defence to attack. He could certainly liven up Man United pedestrian midfield. A £55m release clause could be prohibitive though. 7 7 2. Nicolas Gaitan (Benfica) – The Argentine star has been linked with an Old Trafford switch for some time now, and could fancy a move away in the summer after six seasons with Benfica. In January there was talk of a 30m bid but nothing has been written of since, although we think that could change soon. 7 As rumours persist Jose Mourinho will replace Louis van Gaal as manager of Manchester United, there are increasing amounts of rumours linking the club with Portuguese stars.The Red Devils are no strangers to shopping for players based in Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Anderson, Bebe and Marcos Rojo all arriving at the club under Sir Alex Ferguson.But now, perhaps due to a Mourinho move to Manchester, they are again being linked with plundering the Primeira Liga.So who are the men we could be seeing at Old Trafford next season? talkSPORT takes a look.Click the right arrow above to see the Primeira Liga players Manchester United are being linked with signing…
Pep Guardiola is preparing for his debut season with Manchester City.The Spaniard will take to the Etihad dugout for the 2016/17 season, but he isn’t the only new face expected on the club’s bench.Ilkay Gundogan was confirmed as Guardiola’s first signing at the beginning of June and there have been plenty of others across Europe linked with following suit since.So who are the latest players reportedly on the incoming manager’s wish list?Check out the latest transfer rumours on Manchester City by viewing the slideshow above. 1. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho to go head to head over £50m John Stones? Read all about this transfer rumour below, then click the arrow above, right, to read more City gossip – Despite failing to lure Stones away from Goodison Park while at Chelsea last summer, Mourinhos interest has firmly resurfaced having been appointed Manchester United manager. The Daily Star, however, claim Guardiola is keen on the England international after top target Aymeric Laporte signed a contract extension with Athletic Bilbao. He is said to be valued at £50m. 2. Nolito in verbal agreement over switch to the Etihad this summer? – City, according to Spanish TV station Tele 5, have agreed a deal for Celta Vigo forward Nolito to move to Manchester after the Euro 2016 finals. Its understood Nolito was initially keen on joining former club Barcelona, but Celta would rather avoid doing business with their La Liga rivals. The 29-year-old is currently on duty with Spain and started in their opening game against Czech Republic. 5 5 4. City join Chelsea and PSG in race to sign ‘priceless’ West Ham playmaker? – Payet left many in awe of his performance for Frances opening game at the Euro 2016 finals, and it seems interest in his signature this summer is now at its highest. Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are understood to be interested, and Spanish newspaper Don Balon claim City are considering a move, too. Guardiola has reportedly informed City chiefs of his admiration for the Hammers playmaker. 5 3. City close to announcing deal for Leroy Sane? – Sane, according to Marca, is close to being announced as a City player. The winger, who is currently on duty with Germany at the Euro 2016 finals, is said to carry a price tag of around 50m, but it is not known how much the Citizens have offered. 5 5 5. Pep Guardiola considering shock swoop for released Victor Valdes? – Valdes, who spent last season on loan at Standard Liege, was confirmed to have been released by United last week, but could be set for a return to Manchester. The Daily Mail report Guardiola is interested in reunion with the goalkeeper he worked with at Barcelona. Its stated the pair are friends from their time together at Camp Nou.
The zoo’s director of animal care and conservation, Robert Jenkins, could not explain how Tatiana escaped. The tiger’s enclosure is surrounded by a 15-foot-wide moat and 20-foot-high walls, and the big cat did not leave through an open door, he said. “There was no way out through the door,” Jenkins said. “The animal appears to have climbed or otherwise leaped out of the enclosure.” Police who had been alerted by a 911 call from a zoo employee responded to the scene just after 5 p.m. A group of four officers came across the body of the first victim The first attack happened right outside the Siberian’s enclosure when they entered the dark zoo grounds, Gittens said. The second victim was about 300 yards away, in front of the Terrace Cafe. The man was sitting on the ground, blood running from gashes in his head and Tatiana sitting next to him. The cat attacked the man again, Mannina said. The officers approached the tiger with their handguns. Tatiana moved in their direction and several of the officers fired, killing the animal. Only then did they see the third victim, who had also been mauled. Although no new visitors were let in after 5 p.m. Tuesday, the grounds had not been not scheduled to close until an hour later, and 20 to 25 people were still in the zoo when the attacks happened, zoo officials said. Employees and visitors were told to take shelter when zoo officials learned of the attacks. “This is a tragic event for San Francisco,” Fire Department spokesman Lt. Ken Smith said. “We pride ourselves in our zoo, and we pride ourselves in tourists coming and looking at our city.” There were five tigers at the zoo – three Sumatrans and two Siberians. Officials initially worried that four tigers had escaped, but soon learned only Tatiana had escaped, Mannina said. On Dec. 22, 2006, Tatiana reached through the bars of her cage and grabbed a keeper, biting and mauling one of the woman’s arms and causing deep lacerations. The zoo’s Lion House was temporarily closed during an investigation. California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health blamed the zoo for the assault and imposed a $18,000 penalty. A medical claim filed against the city by the keeper was denied. Last February, a 140-pound jaguar named Jorge killed a zookeeper at the Denver Zoo before being fatally shot. Zoo officials said later that the zookeeper had violated rules by opening the door to the animal’s cage. After last year’s attack, the zoo added customized steel mesh over the bars, built in a feeding shoot and increased the distance between the public and the cats. Tatiana arrived at the San Francisco Zoo from the Denver Zoo a few years ago, with zoo officials hoping she would mate with a male tiger. Siberian tigers are classified as endangered and there are more than 600 of the animals living in captivity worldwide. — Associated Press writers Louise Chu and Terence Chea in San Francisco and Daisy Nguyen in Los Angeles contributed to this report. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The three men were attacked around closing time Tuesday on the east end of the 125-acre zoo grounds near Ocean Beach, Gittens said. The officers who hunted down and shot the 300-pound animal were alerted through a 911 call placed by a zoo employee. The San Francisco medical examiner had not been able to identify the dead man, investigator Tim Hellman said Wednesday. The man did not have any identification and no one had called asking about him, according to Hellman. The two injured men, ages 19 and 23, were upgraded to stable condition Wednesday at San Francisco General Hospital after undergoing surgery to have their wounds cleaned and closed, said surgeon Rochelle Dicker. They suffered deep bites and claw cuts on their heads, necks, arms and hands. Dicker said they were shaken up emotionally and would remain hospitalized for the day, but that because of their youth they would make a full recovery. “They are in good spirits. They look absolutely fanstastic,” she said. SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Zoo was closed to visitors Wednesday as investigators tried to determine how a Siberian tiger escaped from its enclosure on Christmas Day and attacked three visitors, killing one of the men and mauling two others. A team of police officers returned to the zoo just before 9 a.m. to search for other possible victims. They said they did not expect to find anyone, but wanted to conduct a thorough sweep of the grounds because it was unclear how long the tiger had been loose before she was killed by police. “There’s no better light than daylight,” said Sgt. Neville Gittens, a police spokesman. “The idea was to come back and quaddruple check to make sure nobody out’s there. We just want to know.” The tiger, a female named Tatiana, was the same animal that ripped the flesh off a zookeeper’s arm just before Christmas 2006. An investigation of that incident by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health faulted the zoo, which beefed up the pen where big cats are kept.
ECONOMY: Demand for costly manufactured goods rises only slightly. WASHINGTON – U.S. factories saw orders for costly manufactured goods rise only marginally in November – falling short of expectations for a much bigger gain and underscoring the strains on the economy from housing and credit problems. The Commerce Department reported Thursday that orders for “durable” goods – products expected to last at least three years – increased by just 0.1percent last month. The tiny rise came after durable-goods orders fell by 0.4percent in October. Economists were hoping for a larger rebound – a 2.2percent increase – in new orders placed at the nation’s factories in November. Still, the November rise marked the first increase in durable-goods orders in the past four months. In other economics news, more people signed up for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that the job market is softening as the economy loses speed. Demand for capital goods, excluding aircraft – a category considered a good proxy for business investment – fell by 0.4 percent in November. It was the second month in a row that this category posted a decline. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonThe Labor Department reported that new applications for unemployment insurance rose by a seasonally adjusted 1,000 to 349,000. Economists had expected new filings for jobless benefits to dip to around 340,000 for last week. “Now that business spending is also losing momentum, the risk of recession is mounting,” said Michael Gregory, economist at BMO Capital Markets Economics. Meanwhile, a report from the Conference Board indicated consumers grew slightly more confident in December despite underlying concerns about the country’s economic health. The board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to 88.6 in December, from 87.8 in November. It was the first increase since July. On Wall Street, though, the disappointing increase in durable-goods orders was a factor pulling stocks lower. Orders for machinery, computers and electronic products, communications equipment, defense aircraft and fabricated metal products all posted declines in November. However, those losses were more than offset by gains in demand for electrical equipment and appliances, automobiles, commercial airplanes and primary metals, including steel. That led to the small rise in overall durable-goods orders in November.