Martha Stewart denied visa to travel to Britain | Entertainment | Industry | Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart has been denied entry to Britain because of her 2004 U.S. conviction for lying about a stock sale.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc, the company founded by Stewart, said the 66-year-old businesswoman had been planning to travel to Britain for business meetings.
"She has engagements with English companies and business leaders and hopes this can be resolved so that she will be able to visit soon," Charles Koppelman, chairman of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, said in a statement.
A spokesman for Britain's Home Office, which runs the UK Border Agency, said it does not comment on individual cases.
"We continue to oppose the entry to the UK of individuals where we believe their presence in the United Kingdom is not conducive to the public good or where they have been found guilty of serious criminal offenses abroad," he said.
Stewart was found guilty of conspiracy, making false statements and obstruction of agency proceedings -- all stemming from her sale of stock in biotech company ImClone Systems Inc. on December 27, 2001. She was sentenced to five months in prison and five months of house arrest.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, editing by Philip Barbara)
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Saturday, June 21, 2008
Lander Finds Ice on Mars, Scientists Say - washingtonpost.com
Scientists with the Phoenix Mars mission yesterday declared for certain that there is ice on the Red Planet, putting them an essential step closer to answering the question that has driven three decades of Mars exploration and centuries of Earth-bound speculation: Could there have been life there?
Pictures beamed 170 million miles to Earth from the Phoenix lander atop Mars's northern polar plain erased any doubt about the presence of ice, they said.
But the evidence came in a roundabout way. Last Sunday, several dice-size solids were observed at the bottom of a trench that had been dug by Phoenix's robotic arm. On Thursday, they were gone.
The only reasonable explanation, the scientists said, is that the objects were pieces of ice that evaporated into the dry Martian atmosphere through a process called sublimation. And the presence of ice means that Mars might once have had liquid water, which is essential for life -- at least as it is known on Earth.
It is too soon to know whether the entire astrophysical community will accept the disappearing objects reported yesterday as proof, but the Phoenix researchers said they do not need any more convincing.
The rocket thrusters that slowed Phoenix to a soft landing revealed a white, hard substance in the ground beneath it -- and tantalizingly out of reach -- when the lander touched down on May 25. Similar white material was visible when the robotic arm began to dig below the top few inches of Martian soil.
One possibility was that it was salt of some sort. But ice was always the more likely explanation.
"Salt does not behave like that," said Mark Lemmon, a scientist at Texas A&M University who is in charge of Phoenix's stereo surface imager. "We found what we were looking for. This tells us we have water ice within reach of the arm."
Although Mars is much too cold now to have liquid water on its surface, scientists believe that may not have always been the case. Images from as far back as the Viking missions in the 1970s revealed channels and gullies that appear to have been carved by flowing liquid at some point in the planet's history.
The Mars Odyssey orbiter, using a device called a gamma ray spectrometer, proved in 2002 that huge quantities of hydrogen existed under the Martian topsoil. Although many compounds are high in hydrogen (including petroleum), the scientists believe the only one that could be there in such quantity is water ice, which consists of two hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom.
"I don't know how you could have so much hydrogen under the surface, and something that disappears at just the temperature of ice, and have it not be ice," said Peter Smith, a physicist at the University of Arizona who is the principal investigator for the Phoenix mission.
The researchers chose Mars's northern polar plain as the craft's landing site specifically because they believed it would give them the best chance of finding ice. They now believe their hunch was correct.
LAKEVILLE, Minnesota (AP) -- A Lakeville man says he feels violated after two police officers woke him up at 3 a.m. to tell him his door was unlocked.
Their surprise visit was part of a public service campaign to remind residents to secure their homes to prevent thefts. Usually, officers just leave notices on doors.
But they went further in Troy Molde's case on Thursday. Police entered the house where four children under 7 were having a sleepover, and then went upstairs to Molde's bedroom.
The officers told Molde his garage door was open, the TV was on, the keys to his truck were left in the ignition and the door to his house was ajar.
A police spokesman says the intrusion was justified because the officers' initial door knocks went unanswered, and they wanted to make sure nothing was wrong.He says the kids inside -- Molde's two sons and two nephews -- were afraid to wake their dad, so the officers went upstairs
(CNN) -- School administrators in Ohio voted Friday to begin the process of firing a middle school teacher accused of burning a cross into a student's arm and refusing to keep his religious beliefs out of the classroom.
A middle school student in Ohio says his teacher branded a cross on his arm.
The Mount Vernon School Board passed a resolution to terminate the employment of John Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher for the past 21 years.
Freshwater, according to an independent report, used an electrostatic device to mark a cross on the arm of one of his students, causing pain to the student the night of the incident and leaving a mark that lasted for approximately three weeks.
According to the Ohio Department of Education, the student's family has filed a lawsuit.
Freshwater was also reprimanded several times for refusing to move his Bible from his classroom desk and teaching creationism alongside evolution, according to the 15-page independent report. The report also cites evidence that Mr. Freshwater told his students that "science is wrong because the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin and so anyone who is gay chooses to be gay and is therefore a sinner."
The Board of Education of the Mount Vernon City School District met in special session Friday to address the case.Freshwater has the option to contest the process by requesting a formal hearing before the Board of Education. Neither Freshwater nor his attorney could be reached by CNN for comment.
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (CNN) -- Oil prices are hitting record highs because production has not kept pace with increasing demands, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman told reporters Saturday.
Saudi Arabia will host a meeting of oil-producing and -consuming nations Sunday in Jeddah.
"All nations must be better at conservation, and the U.S. is at the top of that list," said Bodman, who is attending a international meeting of oil producing and consuming nations focusing on high oil prices in Saudi Arabia Sunday.
While some have blamed speculators for driving up oil prices, Bodman said he did not believe they are the cause.
Since 2003, he said, global demand for oil has increased because of industry in China, India and the Middle East. But from 2005 to 2007, there was very little increase in supply.
Nations need an additional supply of energy to market, whether that energy is nuclear, coal, fossil fuels, solar or wind power, Bodman said.
But, "we spent 30 years digging ourselves into this hole," he said. "It won't be solved soon."
He said so far at the meeting, he has not seen a "magic bullet" to solve the problem of high oil prices. But Bodman said what he'd like to see is an increase in the oil inventory, saying more inventory and capacity is needed.
A key adviser to Saudi Arabia's oil minister told CNN in an exclusive interview on Friday that a number of factors, including speculators and currency fluctuations, are to blame for rising oil prices.
"We need stability," said Dr. Ibrahim al Muhanna, adding that Saudi Arabia would like to see producers, consumers and distributors cooperate.
Saudi Arabia has agreed to increase its oil output by 200,000 barrels a day, officials said.
Bodman said President Bush is concerned about the price of oil, saying he brings up the subject with the Department of Energy nearly every day. He said he meets several times a week with Bush, and the two discuss the issue as well.
On Wednesday, Bush asked Congress to permit drilling for oil in deep water off the U.S. coast to combat rising oil prices. He also renewed his demand that Congress allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, clear the way for more refineries and encourage efforts to recover oil from shale in areas like the Green River Basin, which encompasses parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming."In the short run, the American economy will continue to rely largely on oil, and that means we need to increase supply here at home," Bush said in a Rose Garden statement
(CNN) -- The flood damage to Iowa crops could reach $3 billion, according to the state's agriculture secretary.
Three pigs stand stranded on the roof of a building Friday in Oakville, Iowa.
"Right now, we have about 10 percent of our corn that has either been flooded out or not planted and about 20 percent of our (soy)beans," Bill Northey said Friday on "Iowa Press," a public television show.
"We're seeing some beans go back in the ground, and if we were to lose that, if we weren't able to replant, that would be $2.5 billion, $3 billion -- a significant amount of damage," he said.
He added that some of the remaining crops would likely have smaller yields.
Flooding in several Midwestern states has killed two dozen people and injured 148, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and 35,000 to 40,000 people in several states have been displaced. Watch an iReporter's chronicle of the floods »
"I think some of this was absolutely uncontrollable," Northey said. "If you are ready for every potential event that could happen once out of every hundred years or 500 years, you're probably not going to be able to be in business and make it on a normal year. So, some of this is just flat-out unpredictable," he said.
In Iowa, where several rivers jumped their banks about a week ago, water covered city blocks, ruined homes, and poured over acres of farmland. This week, residents are returning to homes and officials are assessing damage as the floodwater moves downstream to add to the Mississippi River's flow.
Despite the acres of flooded farmland in Iowa, "There certainly are folks out there with good crops," Northey said. "There's areas with good crops and within all areas there's folks with good crops and poor crops," he said.
Flooding of some of the food processing facilities in Iowa also has a "very significant" impact on Iowa's agriculture, Northey said.
"We're just starting to hear some of those things, just starting to figure out. Those change markets, and in many cases those losses, if they are by flooding, in some cases those are not covered by insurance," he said.
On Thursday, President Bush toured the flood-ravaged state by air.
"Obviously, to the extent that we can help immediately we want to help, and then plan for recovery," the president said at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
"You're exhausted, I understand that," he said. "The good news is the people in Iowa are tough-minded people. You'll come back better," he said.Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, who toured the area with Bush, said, "We will rebuild this state and this city, and it will be even better and even stronger as a result."
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Misha Di Bono zips around town in her Infiniti sport-utility vehicle, breezy and unconcerned about the price of gas.
Misha Di Bono says people used to make fun of her rolling billboard. She gets $500 a month and free gas.
That's because she gets $500 a month -- plus free gas -- for turning her car into a rolling billboard for Jobing.com, the online recruiting company she works for.
"People used to tease me about the 'Jobing' mobile, and now they're like, 'Oh, we'll get Misha to drive,' " she said, standing next to her decal-covered car.
Jobing.com might be the most extreme example of how companies are helping employees during the current gas crunch. But with gas averaging more than $4 a gallon, more and more companies are trying to figure out incentives to help ease the pain at the pump for their employees. Watch a rolling billboard for your company »
"There's no question companies are feeling the pinch," said John Challenger, the chief executive officer of global outplacement company Challenger, Gray and Christmas. "It's an important issue because no company wants to lose its people."
His firm recently surveyed about 100 human resources executives at white-collar and blue-collar companies. The survey found that 57 percent of the companies offer programs to help ease commutes.
The most popular option was reducing the work week from five eight-hour days to four 10-hour days. Twenty-three percent of the companies polled have such an option, Challenger said. Calculator: How much do you need to work to pay your gas? »
"We're at a watershed time of how people go to work," he said. "Maybe the gas crisis will be the real trigger."
Other incentives: Twenty percent of the companies offer carpools, and 18 percent pay for the cost of public transportation. Only 14 percent of the companies offer telecommuting options, the poll found.
The survey reports that companies had seen a recent jump in carpooling of 43 percent and a 23 percent increase in the use of public transportation. Still, 31 percent of the companies saw no increase in their employees' commuting behaviors. See gas prices around the country »
Some of the companies have had the incentives for years, but it's taken the soaring gas prices for employees to look more closely at the programs.
"It's something that is much more important than two years ago," Challenger said. "It's hard to get away from, because you're constantly going back to the gas station."
He added, "It's hitting people's radar screens now."
One company offering generous commuting benefits is online giant Yahoo, which rewards employees who organize carpools, ride bikes to work and take company shuttles to and from offices. Yahoo rewards these green-conscious commuters with free movie tickets, lunches, massages and other benefits. iReport: How is your company helping you
The company recently hired an "employee transportation coordinator" to help devise even more incentives.
"We've really been listening to our employees to make sure we help them find ways to make the cost of the commute a little less excessive," said Barbary Brunner, a Yahoo vice president.
But it is the Jobing.com vehicle that is most eye-popping. Company spokesman Joe Cockrell says the company started the rolling billboard cars in 2001, but only three executives took part in it.
But now, 60 percent of its 270 employees nationwide drive the cars. Watch a shift from marketing ploy to employee benefit »
"This year, for the first time, we've had a long waiting list for our wrap," Cockrell says. "It's basically a huge sticker that goes on your car and should last in theory about three to four years."
It costs the company about $3,000 to $4,000 to turn the cars into rolling billboards.
They do have rules: The car can't be older than three years, and employees must take a driving safety course and have clean driving records.
Once the cars are wrapped, employees shouldn't flip the bird at other drivers. The company did have to "unwrap" one employee's car because he got too many speeding tickets.
Cockrell says the program has proved to be a huge win-win. "These are mobile billboards, and wherever our employees go, so does that billboard."
Di Bono, who works in community relations, says she loves it, too. She says the cost of filling her tank has doubled in recent years. Now, her company pays her to drive her car.
"They pay for everything," she said. "They pay for me to go to all my appointments and anything I want to do on my own time."
She added, "You'd be a fool not to take advantage of it."
Although many people across the nation are seeking help from their offices, an iReporter in West Virginia recently stopped using his company car and began using his old clunker again.
Maurice Alouf's company paid for his V-8 Chrysler sedan, but he says it guzzled gas on his 80-mile round-trip commute. The company didn't offer a gas allowance, and it was costing him more than $60 a week to fill up.
So he dusted off his 50-mile-per-gallon Geo Metro."It's not fun," he said. "I'd like to keep driving [the Chrysler], but I can't."
With thousands of eBay’s most active sellers converging on its eBay Live convention in Chicago, the embattled online flea market is trying to give both sellers and buyers a little more to win back their loyalty.
The key problem with eBay is that the value of what it offers has not kept up with the price it charges sellers. Between the fees to list items on eBay — essentially advertising — and the PayPal transaction fees, eBay often charges about 13 percent of each transaction.
Sellers can pay a tad more, about 15 percent, to sell items through Amazon.com’s Marketplace service, where they get a little more protection against fraud and a site that arguably offers a better experience for their buyers. Or they can set up their own Web site and buy advertising and transaction services a la carte — an ever-more-effective option as people increasingly shop through search engines.
EBay has already cut some fees to try to address sellers’ frustrations.
At the conference, eBay made a series of announcements that get at other issues of value, for both sellers and buyers.
For sellers, it is addressing one of the most obnoxious issues: chargebacks. That’s when a buyer tells a credit card company that the goods never arrived or were not as specified. Credit card companies generally side with the buyers in those situations and reverse the payment made to the seller. EBay said it will absorb those chargebacks in cases when there was fraud — such as a credit card used without authorization — or if a shipment was not received, even on many international shipments. Until now, sellers were protected against chargebacks only in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and they were limited to $5,000 a year in chargeback protection.
For consumers, eBay is also promising to refund the money to any buyer who doesn’t receive the item purchased as described. The new protections for both buyers and sellers only apply if the purchase is made using PayPal. The previous version of eBay’s buyer protection plan offered coverage of up to $200 for most items and up to $2,000 for items purchased from eBay’s most established merchants. The company says it has enough experience with fraud control systems to make the cost of these changes manageable.
These days, many consumers associate eBay with fraud and scams as much as they did with unique items and bargains a few years ago. So I suspect the ability to advertise a no-strings-attached guarantee may be very helpful.
In another move that could make both buyers and sellers happier, the company said it would cut fees for any PowerSeller — the most active sellers — with a customer feedback rating of 4.9 on a 5 point scale. Right now that amounts to 16 percent of all PowerSellers, and it offers an incentive for more of them to improve their customer service. (It also should help reduce shipping fees, which are among the biggest consumer complaints about shopping on eBay.)
EBay is continuing to move away from its tradition of offering a level playing field for both big and small sellers. It said it is open to negotiating fees with companies that sell more than $500,000 a month on its site and who have excellent feedback scores from customers. Smaller sellers not surprisingly complained.
Are these price cuts for the top sellers and improved benefits for all enough to get eBay’s groove back? They do start to address some of the benefits that Amazon has offered. But there are signs that eBay isn’t done trying to improve the perceived value of its site. Ina Steiner, editor of AuctionBytes, reports that eBay is sending signals that it will cut fees for all sellers before the big holiday selling season this year. Stephanie Tilenius, the manager of ebay’s North American marketplace, told Ms. Steiner, “We want to be the most price competitive marketplace on the Web.”
California's unemployment rate jumped to 6.8 percent in May and the state lost 10,900 more payroll jobs than it generated during the month, state officials said Friday.
The unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in April and 5.3 percent in May 2007, the Employment Development Department said.
California's unemployment rate hasn't been at this level since November 2003, at the tail end of the state's recovery from the economic woes wrought by the end of the tech boom, noted Stephen Levy, senior economist for the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.
"There is no question that the state economy is in a slowdown and that the slowdown will probably last for at least another year continuing the pressure on state and local government budgets into 2009 and 2010," Levy wrote Friday.
The construction sector, hit hard by the housing bust, accounted for the most job cuts over the past 12 months, shedding 88,400 positions, a 9.8 percent annual drop.
The latest job figures followed a revised loss of 9,100 payroll jobs in April.
May's job and unemployment data echo the situation across the U.S., where employers cut 49,000 jobs during the month. The national unemployment rate jumped to 5.5 percent, the sharpest monthly increase since 1986.
The U.S. economy has been slowing for several months under the strain of the housing slump and rising energy costs.
About 1.3 million Californians were looking for work in May, up by 115,000 since April and up 300,000 since May last year, the state said.
Some 467,300 were laid off, while 107,600 chose to leave their job. The rest were either temporarily employed or new job seekers.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seized on the grim unemployment figures to tout his administration's efforts to push for an economic stimulus package aimed at adding 12,500 jobs and retrain displaced construction workers.
Still, some economists have downplayed the potential impact of the plan, concluding that, at best, it would have little impact on California's economy.
In all, more than 15.1 million people in California held payroll jobs last month.
The state saw job gains in the natural resources and mining, information, and educational and health services sectors.
Those gains were offset by losses in construction, manufacturing, financial activities, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and trade, transportation and utilities.
Several employment sectors, including professional and business services and natural resources and mining, added a combined 138,700 jobs in the past year.
The construction, manufacturing, information, financial activities and trade, transportation and utilities sectors lost 157,300 jobs in the same period.
Levy expects that most of the state's housing-related job losses have probably come to pass.
"By next year this time, there will be more jobs related to housing in the California economy because building and sales levels have declined so far that some rebound, however modest, is likely," he said.
About 24,500 retired people and disabled veterans in Hawai'i might be missing out on an economic stimulus check because they didn't fill out the tax returns they needed to qualify.
Hawai'i has the second-highest percentage of retirees and disabled veterans who could claim rebates, but haven't, in the nation.
The IRS said 35 percent of the people in those two groups in Hawai'i have not claimed rebates. Only Alaska, at 37 percent, had a higher rate among the states. (The District of Columbia's rate was 39 percent.)
Nationally, the Internal Revenue Service has received filings from about 74 percent of those who wouldn't normally file returns because their Social Security and veterans benefits aren't taxed.
Now, retiree and veterans groups in Hawai'i are spreading the word that filing out a simple form by Oct. 15 could mean $300 or more from the federal government.
"The big problem is that it's still a confusing issue," said Bankole Idowu, state coordinator for the AARP-Hawai'i tax aid program.
The word he wants to spread is, "If you had Social Security — regular or disability — in excess of $3,000, you are almost surely entitled to that stimulus check. If you did not receive the check, you need to make sure nothing went wrong because you really should be eligible."
Those who received more than $3,000 in veterans benefits also qualify.
Although AARP's tax sites shut down for the year after the April 15 filing deadline, Idowu recently helped someone refile her returns because she hadn't realized that she had to include her Social Security benefits on her return to qualify for the check.
Others may be in a similar boat, he said, in part because about 2,000 retirees filed their returns before information about the stimulus package was available.
"All those people are filtering back in," he said.
Idowu said he can help O'ahu retirees, while the AARP information office can direct neighbor islanders to tax help in other counties.
According to IRS statistics, Honolulu has the largest number of nonfilers — more than 15,400 — followed by the Big Island, almost 4,600; Maui, about 3,000; Kaua'i, 1,400; and Kalawao, less than 10.
World War II veteran Henry Wong said the IRS outreach comes just in time for the American Legion's state convention, when he plans to spread the word to other veterans that they still have time to apply for the stimulus check.
"I can make an announcement during the convention. I can tell them, 'There's a couple bottles of beer waiting for you,' " he said.
Since both Wong and his wife had taxable income this year, he filed his return and already received his stimulus check, which he's using to pay for a hotel room at the convention.
Wong suspected that some veterans might not have filed because they didn't want to attract IRS attention.
"They shouldn't worry about that unless something is wrong, though," Wong said.
Others just might not know they're qualified, he said.
Mark Moses, director of the state's Office of Veterans Affairs, said he's published articles on the stimulus payments in his newsletter, which he thinks reaches about 40 percent of the 120,000 Hawai'i veterans. He's not sure why people haven't filed, but he's certain that they should.
"We strongly urge them to file to receive this benefit," Moses said. "It's an additional benefit everybody entitled should claim."
Veterans, he pointed out, earned all the entitlements they received and should take advantage of the stimulus package, too. "It's basically for all Americans. They deserve it no less than anyone else," he said.
The economic stimulus package Congress approved earlier this year makes most taxpayers eligible for a tax rebate of $600 for an individual or $1,200 for a married couple plus $300 for each dependent child.
The law also contained a provision for retirees whose main source of income is Social Security or a railroad retirement pension and disabled veterans who receive disability payments. The provision provides $300 stimulus payments for individuals and $600 for couples. To be eligible, people must receive benefits totaling at least $3,000 in benefits.
"In these hard economic times, several hundred dollars will make a big difference to those in our community living on fixed incomes," said U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawai'i. "It's not too late — the deadline is Oct. 15. After that, the money will be gone forever, so now is the time to file."
To receive the money, retirees and disabled veterans have to file a 1040A tax return, even if they do not owe any taxes. The return only has to include some basic information — name, address, dependents, amount of income, direct deposit information and signatures.
"Some retirees and others who normally do not file a tax return may be eligible and not know it," said IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman. "If you know of a retiree or a disabled veterans who might qualify, please pass along the information to them."
The IRS estimates that about 5.2 million senior citizens and disabled veterans who may be eligible for payments have not submitted the necessary form.
Filed under: Another Week in ...
Shiren the Wanderer 3 managed to remain in the top ten despite the Metal Gear bullying, but everything else was as we expected. Just click past the break if you want to check out the software rankings and sales numbers.
01. [PS3] Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots --- 465,000 (New)
02. [WII] Mario Kart Wii --- 38,000 (1,444,000)
03. [WII] Wii Fit --- 37,000 (2,227,000)
04. [PSP] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball Portable 3 --- 27,000 (187,000)
05. [PSP] Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G --- 26,000 (2,203,000)
06. [NDS] Hisshou Pachinko Vol. 2 Evangelion --- 22,000 (New)
07. [PS3] Dragon Ball Z Burst Limit --- 18,000 (111,000)
08. [NDS] Beautiful Letter Training --- 17,000 (285,000)
09. [NDS] DS Yamamura Misa Suspense: Kyoto Murder Files --- 17,000 (56,000)
10. [WII] Mysterious Dungeon: Fuurai no Shiren 3 --- 14,000 (73,000)
11. [WII] Wii Sports
12. [NDS] Taiko no Tatsujin Adventure of 7 Islands
13. [NDS] Let's Make a Pro Baseball Team!
14. [WII] Family Trainer
15. [PSP] Valhalla Knights 2
16. [WII] Wii Play
17. [NDS] Mario Kart DS
18. [NDS] We're Fossil Diggers
19. [NDS] Pokemon Ranger Batonnage
20. [NDS] Hirameki Training
21. [NDS] Majin Tantei Nougame Neuro: Neuro to Miko no Bishoku Sanmai
22. [WII] Link's Crossbow Training
23. [NDS] More TOEIC TEST DS Training
24. [WII] Super Smash Bros. Brawl
25. [NDS] Infinite Frontier: Super Robot Wars OG Saga
26. [NDS] Tottado! Yowiko's Deserted Island Life
27. [NDS] New Super Mario Bros.
28. [NDS] More Brain Age
29. [WII] Battalion Wars 2
30. [NDS] Pokémon Diamond
Filed under: News
No surprise here -- the behemoth that is Metal Gear Solid 4 has obliterated the competition in the Japanese charts. It managed to sell over 12 times the amount of the runner-up, Mario Kart Wii. But wait, there's more! MGS4 alone outsold every other game on the chart combined by more than 2 to 1. An impressive feat, no doubt. Last week's winner, Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit on the PS3, dropped down to 7th place with 18,000 copies sold. With two (!) PS3 games in the top 10 and two PSP games as well, Sony must be rather pleased by their sales in Japan.
1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns off the Patriots (PS3) - 465,000
2. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) - 38,000
3. Wii Fit (Wii) - 37,000
4. Powerful Pro Portable Baseball 3 (PSP) - 27,000
5. Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G (PSP) - 26,000
6. Hisshou Pachinko Kouryaku (DS) - 22,000
7. Dragon Ball Z Burst Limit (PS3) - 18,000
8. DS Calligraphy Training (DS) - 17,000
9. DS Misa Yamamura Suspense (DS) - 17,000
10. Furai No Syren 3 (Wii) - 14,000
"The next five years are going to be turbulent. But I think it is going to be the most exciting period that we have ever seen in the past ten years of videogames," he added. With a recent big exclusive just released and many more on the way, we're not surprised by Mr. Reeves' confidence. However, that confidence isn't cockiness, "We welcome all competition. Whatever happens, we are all going to do well. We should celebrate the growth of the industry." We're happy to see such optimism and goodwill, and we'd like to see Mr. Reeves' predictions come true. We still think, however, the PS3 has a long way to go in proving itself to its older brother the PS2.
1. PlayStation 3: 75,311
2. PlayStation Portable: 64,675
3. Nintendo Wii: 45,564
4. Nintendo DS: 39,201
5. PlayStation 2: 7,297
6. Xbox 360: 2,163
The PS3 was the one to finally knock the PSP out of the prime position. The PSP has had success for the past several months, continuously taking the number one spot and crushing everything else. The question now is: Can the PS3 keep the momentum up and keep things going? Or, will the PSP return to its rule over Japan?