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At just under $30,000 base retail price, the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV is the most affordable all-electric car in the U.S. market. The little five door with very little hood in the front also has an eye-popping, 126 miles-per-gallon-equivalent rating from the federal government in city driving. That's higher than the 106 mpg-e city rating of the 2012 Nissan Leaf electric car but less than the 132 mpg-e of the upcoming Honda Fit EV. An added bonus: The rear-wheel drive i-MiEV has a plucky personality and speed-sensitive steering that, while electrically delivered, feels and responds more like a regular car's steering than does that of some gasoline-electric hybrid cars. The same compliment goes for the iMiEV's electric brakes and their firm, realistic pedal feel. Still, i-MiEV drivers have to keep a close eye on mileage range, because like all solely electric cars, this little hatchback can't go far on a full charge. Indeed the U.S. government estimates the i-MiEV range at 62 miles on a full charge. Typical time to fully recharge: Seven to 22 hours, depending on the charger. Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $29,975 for an i-MiEV ES Germany Euro 2012 Jersey model with 66-horsepower electric motor, a 16-kilowatt lithium-ion storage battery and a one-speed, direct drive transmission. In comparison, the most popular all-electric car in the United States — the front-wheel drive Nissan Leaf — has a starting retail price, including destination charge, of $36,050 for a base, 2012 SV with 107-horsepower electric motor, 24 kilowatt lithium-ion battery and a single-speed reducer tranny. The federal government estimates a 73-mile range for the Leaf on a full charge. The front-wheel drive, 2012 Chevrolet Volt, which has a plug-in electric motor plus a gasoline engine on board for short, around-town, all-electric trips plus long-range, gas-engine travel, has a starting retail price of $39,995. The Volt's electric-only range is just over 30 miles, but the federal government estimates a 397-mile travel range when both electric motor and gasoline engine are used. All these vehicles are eligible for a one-time federal income tax credit of $7,500. But buyers must wait for this credit until they file their tax documents for the calendar year in which they made their vehicle purchase. Some states and cities provide incentives, too. Mitsubishi started offering the i-MiEV on the West Coast late last year and is beginning to expand sales across the nation this summer. The test i-MiEV was the upper SE model, which included optional 40-gigabyte hard drive for music storage and navigation system, rearview camera, a battery warming system for use in cold weather and a quick charge port. Many typical car amenities were in this Mitsubishi, including six air bags, traction and stability control, air conditioner with micron filter, keyless entry and power windows and door locks and a 360-watt audio system. The SE tester also came with a nifty remote control that can remotely check the status of the battery. This remote worked fine in a home with an attached garage. But at a downtown parking garage, the remote only saved the driver from climbing three stories of steps to get to the car on the third level. The remote wouldn't work until it was physically at the parking garage — not across the street or in a nearby office.The remote, when in range of the car, also can be used to turn on the air conditioning to cool the interior while the car is plugged in, thus reducing the drain on electric power when the vehicle is started up and no longer plugged in. More energy savings comes from utilitarian, small-looking, 15-inch, low-rolling-resistance tires. The drawback is these tires are hard and don't have as much grip and grab on pavement as other tires. The lasting impression of the i-MiEV is how small (about the size of a Mini Cooper) and quirky it is. Four seats sit well above the pavement, providing rather upright seat positions. They Spain 12/13 Xavi 8 Away Jersey are supportive but not plush. Rear seats fold down mostly flat for a maximum 50.4 cubic feet of cargo space. The interior is plain but functional, with nifty cupholders that pull outward from beneath vents at each side of the dashboard. These cupholders are high enough for easy use and are handy spots for coins, tokens and other items. No cubby but the glovebox provides covered storage in this car. There are only three round, digital gauges, with mostly minimal but necessary information — speed, range, battery condition and gear selection. The snub of a hood, accentuated by a bright blue color that contrasted with the white car body on the tester, contributed to bad parking jobs that left a gulf of space between the front bumper and the parking curb in parking lots. Otherwise, driving the i-MiEV was a surprisingly pleasant experience. At 2,550 pounds, the tester didn't feel wimpy like a golf cart. It handled curves well and there was more stability than expected. Weight felt evenly distributed, thanks to the arrangement of the heavy battery pack under the car floor.

One of the cornerstones of the Mets’ surprising first half was their stellar starting pitching, led by Johan Santana and his no-hitter and R. A. Dickey’s dancing knuckleball and backed up by essentially solid contributions from Jon Niese, Chris Young and Dillon Gee. But now the Mets must grapple with the sudden loss of Gee, who had a blood clot removed from his pitching shoulder after tests Monday revealed the clot. He has been put on the disabled list. Gee, a 26-year-old right-hander, had one of his best outings of the season Saturday, giving up cheap black glitter one run in eight innings in a 3-1 victory against the Chicago Cubs. But after complaining of numbness in his fingers Sunday, he was sent for tests that determined he had a clot. The clot was removed with a catheter at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where he is expected to remain for a day or two of observation. While the clot is unlikely to be career threatening — David Cone, Ian Kennedy and other pitchers have had clots and returned to playing — it puts the rest of Gee’s season in question. Clots in arms and shoulders are less common than in legs and it can take time to determine their cause. Some people have clotting disorders, but clots can also result from previous surgery, or from an injury or trauma that causes inflammation of veins or the areas of the body around them. Gee missed more than 100 games in 2009 because of a torn labrum in his throwing arm. When clots are broken up, small pieces of the coagulated blood could flow to the lungs, a particular danger. Gee could be put on blood thinners, which carry their own risk because people who take them are more prone to bleeding if they get cut or bruised. Patients who have had clots are also more susceptible to getting them again, said Dr. Jack Flyer, a cardiologist who teaches medicine at George Washington University Hospital. “Whatever caused this initially could still be there,” said Flyer, who has no direct involvement with Gee’s case. “Even if you have to take a blood thinner the rest of your life, you have to be more vigilant when it comes to symptoms.” Gee’s injury complicates the issues addressing the Mets as they try to figure out what moves they might be capable of making to stay in contention in the second half. It was expected that the Mets would, in particular, look for help for their shaky bullpen, try to find a right-handed backup catcher more capable as a hitter than Mike Nickeas and, perhaps most boldly, seek an everyday outfielder who could provide more consistent play than the mix-and-match group that Manager Terry Collins is employing. But Gee’s injury means that General Manager Sandy Alderson might have to make starting pitching his priority as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. When Mike Pelfrey had season-ending elbow surgery this spring, the Mets were forced to improvise with Miguel Batista, Chris Schwinden and Jeremy Hefner, to no particular effect. Fortunately for the Mets, Chris Young returned from shoulder surgery and immediately became a competitive performer in the starting rotation. Now the Mets will need to find a way to fill the void left by Gee, who is 6-7 with a 4.10 earned run average. One obvious option would be to call up one of the team’s top two pitching prospects — Matt Harvey or Zach Wheeler. Harvey, who was drafted in the first round in 2010, is 7-4 with a 3.39 E.R.A. with the Buffalo Bisons, the Mets’ Class AAA Toms Shoes Sale affiliate. Wheeler, who is 22, a year younger than Harvey, was acquired last season from the Giants for Carlos Beltran. He is 8-4 with a 2.62 E.R.A. for Class AA Binghamton. Until now, the Mets have appeared reluctant to rush either player, particularly when they have managed to remain in contention without them. The Mets are a half-game behind the Braves for the National League’s second wild-card spot. At 46-40, the Cardinals and the Giants have identical records as the Mets. If the Mets do not call up Harvey or Wheeler, they could trade one or more of their other prospects for a starting pitcher. It is unclear, given the team’s strained finances, how much the Mets are willing to increase their payroll. Alderson did not return a call for comment. Collins, who was in Kansas City, Mo., for the All-Star Game, said he had not talked to Alderson to find out the results of the surgery, but he was worried about how much time Gee would be out. “I’m really nervous for him, really scared for him,” Collins said. “I just know that in the past, guys’ careers could be over if their arm doesn’t respond to the treatment.” Dickey, who is also in Kansas City, said that Gee came to him in the dugout Toms Classics Sunday and asked him to feel his hand. Dickey said it “seemed pretty cool” and he suggested that Gee speak with Ray Ramirez, the team trainer. “He said that he had some arm fatigue that he had never really experienced,” Dickey said. “In the middle of the night, he said he got up and it felt funny. Not hurt, just fatigue. So they checked it out and they found it.” David Wright, who is also on the All-Star team, said that on Monday night he called Gee, who “was upbeat under the circumstances.” “I know he’s disappointed he’s gonna have to miss some time,” Wright said. “But in the big picture it could have been a lot worse.” Gee was scheduled to start the first game of the second half of the season in Atlanta on Friday. Collins said Young would take his place, followed by Dickey on Saturday. Miguel Batista would be used as a fifth starter if another replacement is not found. A relief pitcher would be called up to take Gee’s spot on roster, Collins added.

It's already been a tough summer for the Devils. First assistant coach Adam Oates left to become head coach of the Washington Capitals. Then Zach Parise signed with the Minnesota Wild. Now Larry Robinson has left to become an associate coach with the San Jose Sharks. He said retirement was "a possibility" but he would not have returned as an assistant coach with the Devils because it was hard on his wife. “I don’t think that was an option," he said of the job as Pete DeBoer's assistant coach. "It wasn’t so much for me. I enjoyed working with Peter and the staff there. And, of course, I have a tremendous respect for Lou. But I just found it very difficult for my wife. She spent a lot of days by herself. I didn’t want that burden on her again. She missed the kids and being around her grandkids. That’s what made this move that much easier for us.” Robinson said he considered taking his old job with the Devils as a roving special assignment coach but preferred to stay in the NHL. "We had entertained the thought that if nothing else came I would still work in Spain 11/12 SILVA Home Jersey some way with the organization as far as a consultant or whatever," he said. "When this job came around and the fact I was going to be moving to a place I felt comfortable with and also my wife was going to be close to our family on the West Coast it made it a lot easier.” “It wasn’t so much I decided not to go back to New Jersey as much as we wanted as a family to try to move a little closer to our family. For me it’s not that difficult. I go to the rink and I’m there most of the day. But my wife didn’t have any contact with family. It was always over the phone, so I found her days were very long.“I wanted to move to a place where not only I would be comfortable but she would be, too. The biggest thing was for me to come here and see if we both felt comfortable with the area and we both fell in love with the area. I’m kind of a first impression guy.” The 61-year-old Hall of Famer said the Devils' finances were not an issue. "Not at all. I don't make enough money to impact them financially," he said. Retirement was possible. “That was a possibility," Robinson admitted. "Everybody kept telling me the same thing, I was too young to retire. I took that into consideration. The thing about retirement is, retirement is forever. Having gone so far in the playoffs last year, I’d like to do it again." He stressed he was not a candidate to take head coach Todd McLellan's job if the Sharks struggled. "I can address that right now. That was the first thing I said when I came into the room. I do not want to be a head coach. I'm not here to take Todd's job. I'm here to help in any way I can," Robinson said. "I wouldn't want to be a head coach knowing there is somebody with a gun behind me waiting to shoot me whenever something went wrong. You've got the best head coach here in the best position possible. I don't foresee any problems at all." Robinson, who spoke to the media today, spent 15 seasons (and 19 years) with the Devils as a head coach, assistant coach and special assignment coach. He was the team's head coach Mar. 23, 2000 to Jan. 28, 2002, and again July 14-Dec. 19, 2005. After this past season, Robinson told general manager Lou Lamoriello he was considering other options. Joining the Montreal Canadiens was one possibility. Canadiens' GM Marc Bergevin contacted Lamoriello and requested permission to speak with Robinson. That was granted. “Marc approached Lou Lamoriello and asked if he could get permission to speak to me," Robinson recalled. "I returned the call to Marc that day. Then we had another talk later on because I was going through a move from Jersey. I spoke to Michel Therrien and Marc on another occasion. Then the only conversation I had with Marc was after they made the decision to hire J.J. (Daugneault).“I wasn’t ecstatic or disappointed. I wasn’t anything. I didn’t have time to think about it that much. We’d just gotten finished with 2 ½ months of playoff hockey. We were in the middle of a move and in the middle of a tropical storm, so I wasn’t thinking too much about hockey at the time. No I wasn’t disappointed. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me in that organization, but that’s just part of the hockey business.” Sharks GM Doug Wilson waited until after Robinson became free on July 1 and no permission was needed to speak with him. Robinson's daughter and his grandchildren live in Redondo Beach, Calif., which made the offer from the Sharks so tempting. “Doug (Wilson) waited until all the channels were open and then we spoke," Robinson said. Robinson also inquired about a position with the Tampa Bay Lightning, which would have been reasonably close to his home in Florida. “I thought about it. If I didn’t feel comfortable here and my wife wasn’t comfortable, it was an option," he said of Tampa Bay. "My house will be there in the future but I like the decision I made.” Devils head coach Pete DeBoer now is left with only Dave Barr from his coaching staff after one season with the club. Lamoriello said he will name two new assistant coaches soon. "We could go outside the organization or stay within," he said. "We're certainly looking into all situations. We'll have that solved shortly. Pete and I have been talking." He spoke of losing Robinson, who had been with the organization since 1993. “I knew what Larry was thinking at the end. He didn’t know if he wanted to retire, coach or cone back and do what he did (with the Devils) for a period of time,” Lamoriello said. “Teams contacted him because he was undecided, which was no problem.“With his daughter being in L.A., it would be a chance for his wife. I support that Spain Euro 2012 Jersey and respect it 100 percent. There is certainly no issue whatsoever.” * * * Forward Patrik Elias underwent groin surgery in Philadelphia, according to the Devils. Lamoriello said it wasn't related to the groin problem that required surgery in the summer of 2009 and forced Elias to miss the first 13 games of the 2009-10 season. "They did exploratory surgery before he went back to Czech and there was a little bit of a tear on the opposite side," Lamoriello said. "He'll be ready to play in three weeks. "He went to the same doctor that did the other side. The surgery was done in Philly." * * * Lamoriello said he is still talking contract with restricted free agent Mark Fayne, who filed for salary arbitration. "We hope to get it settled," Lamoriello said.

A.J. Allmendinger hasn't won a Sprint Cup race in 169 starts, and now he will need the biggest upset win of his career after failing a drug test.As Allmendinger awaits results of a "B" sample test that owner Roger Penske said would be requested, his future in NASCAR's premier series is uncertain at best. And the odds seem stacked against a scenario putting Allmendinger back in the No. 22 Dodge this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Spencer Lueders, a lawyer who formerly worked for NASCAR and helped write the Toms Shoes Wholesale substance-abuse policy cited by NASCAR vice president Steve O'Donnell in announcing Allmendinger's temporary suspension, said Sunday that a "B" sample is almost certain to agree with a positive "A" sample. STORY: Hornish Jr. ready to step in "The reason is the science is so strong behind it," Lueders told USA TODAY Sports. "When something like this gets looked at, it's thoroughly reviewed. NASCAR sent a strong message in that they reacted very swiftly." Allmendinger could become the second Sprint Cup driver to be suspended indefinitely for violating NASCAR's substance-abuse policy since it was revamped with random testing in 2008. That the Penske Racing driver already has become the first to be temporarily suspended, however, could be telling. After Jeremy Mayfield's positive test for methamphetamine and suspension in May 2009 led to a protracted legal battle, NASCAR strengthened the methods for ensuring a positive test of an "A" sample. Allmendinger's "A" sample from a test at Kentucky Speedway last week was positive, resulting in NASCAR holding him out of Saturday's Coke Zero 400. If Allmendinger's "B" sample does return negative, he would gain immediate reinstatement (though it could take up to five days for the "B" sample's result, and Allmendinger has until Tuesday afternoon to request it). But based on NASCAR's reaction Saturday, it doesn't seem likely that series Toms Classic Shoes officials think he tested positive for something that could have been confused easily with a prescription or over-the-counter drug. The list of banned substances ranges widely from hard drugs (such as heroin) to sleep aids to performance enhancers, and some include ingredients that could be found over the counter. NASCAR has declined to reveal the substance for which Allmendinger tested positive. When NASCAR members test positive for an "A" sample, they are notified by NASCAR medical review officer Dr. Douglas Aukerman and have 72 hours to explain the test and request a "B" sample. The medical review officer can choose to inform only the driver or crew member who failed the test. Drivers with positive "A" samples in the past have resolved them by providing evidence such as medical prescriptions, and positive tests can be cleared without NASCAR or a team learning about it. In the case of Allmendinger's positive, NASCAR took the extraordinary step of temporarily suspending the driver from Saturday night's race in the midst of the process. It marks the first time a driver has been suspended temporarily suspended while waiting on the "B" sample. That means Aukerman also informed NASCAR of the test because he was concerned about the safety and integrity of competition. NASCAR then can choose to suspend a driver temporarily because of "exigent circumstances" — in this case, the concern of someone possibly being imparied while driving a stock car at 200 mph. If Allmendinger's "B" sample also doesn't pass, his suspension will become indefinite, and his return to NASCAR will be in the hands of others who will set conditions for being considered for reinstatement. NASCAR substance-abuse program administrator Dr. David Black would coordinate with a substance-abuse professional on a creating a plan that might include counseling, treatment or rehabilitation. Since adopting random testing with a more stringent substance-abuse policy introduced in late 2008, NASCAR has suspended several crew members for tests. For those who are reinstated, it generally took at least a month to return. But there are no assurances for Allmendinger even if he were reinstated. He joined Penske this season on a one-year contract to replace Kurt Busch, who left the team after several altercations with the news media last year that were condemned by his sponsor, Shell Pennzoil. With the car ranked 24th in points and virtually no title hopes, Penske Racing might not have enough invested in Allmendinger to justify keeping him and dealing with the hassle of the accompanying negative public image. Allmendinger already has had to rebound from the black mark of a drunken driving charge almost three years ago. "You know it's a disappointment at this particular time, but we're going to wait and see what the second test results are before we make any comment or decisions," Penske said before Sunday's Izod IndyCar Series race in Toronto. "I don't think it's fair to him." "I think as you look at sports, things happen like this. It's unfortunate, but I don't really want to make a statement pro or con right now. I'm counting on another test being proper for him within 72 hours, and at that point we'll make a decision." Sam Hornish Jr., who was rushed to Daytona International Speedway as Allmendinger's stand-in for Saturday's Coke Zero 400, probably would remain as the driver of the No. 22 if Allmendinger can't return. Now in the Nationwide Series, Hornish drove full time in Cup from 2008 to 2010. "I've said all along that I'd love to be back in the Cup Series," Hornish told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday. "Obviously we have a contractual commitment to the Nationwide Series, and some of their races aren't at the same site as Cup races, so that will be an issue." If he were removed at Penske, Allmendinger's prospects for finding another first-tier ride would seem dim. A former winner in Champ Car, the Los Gatos, Calif., native struggled mightily in his first two seasons with Red Bull Racing before latching on at Richard Petty Motorsports for three years. Allmendinger made enough strides in the team's iconic No. 43 to convince Penske of a look this year, and he was confident of eventually matching the success of teammate Brad Keselowski, who has six victories since last season and made the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Despite only three top-10s with Penske, Allmendinger has led 99 laps (more than any cheap University Rope Sole Toms season except 2010), finished a career-best second at Martinsville Speedway and earned his second career pole in April at Kansas Speedway. His team, like Keselowski's, has been plagued by parts failures. "I'm way more competitive than I've ever been," Allmendinger said in May. "It's just the finishes aren't there. What's really good is in the past when I've had a lot of people on me about, 'You need to have more finishes,' Roger is the one telling me, 'Just be patient. It's our fault we're letting you down.' " Those roles could be reversed significantly depending on how Allmendinger's case unfolds.

Shares of Sequenom Inc. fell Friday after a California court refused to block a product that could Germany Euro 2012 Jersey compete with Sequenom's MaterniT21 Down syndrome test.THE SPARK: The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied Sequenom's request for an injunction against sales of Ariosa Diagnostics' Harmony prenatal test. Sequenom says the Harmony test infringes on a patent covering the MaternityT21 test. In February it asked the court to block Ariosa from offering or marketing the test, but the court refused to do so.Ariosa, of San Jose, Calif., said it was "vindicated" by the decision. Sequenom, which is based in San Diego, said it is disappointed with the decision but will continue litigation against Ariosa.THE BIG PICTURE: MaterniT21 is a blood test intended for women who are at high risk of carrying a fetus with Down syndrome. Sequenom says the test can detect the chromosomal anomaly that causes Down syndrome as early as 10 weeks into pregnancy. It is intended to be less invasive than other forms of testing. The test XAVI Home Jersey also looks for two other chromosomal disorders. All three are caused by an extra copy of a chromosomeHarmony is intended to detect the same disorders.SHARE ACTION: Shares of Sequenom lost 7 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $4 in afternoon trading Friday after falling as low as $3.84 earlier in the session. The stock is down about 14 percent since May 17, when Sequenom announced that health insurer Coventry Health Care Inc. no longer planned to cover the MaterniT21 test.

An ugly first week for Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) new financial year, probably its most important to date, has done little to inspire confidence that the software giant can jumpstart a stubbornly stagnant share price. The world's largest software company, whose stock remains Toms mired around $30, had prepared a multi-pronged assault to try and break into the crucial mobile computing space this year and take Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Google Inc (GOOG.O) down a peg. But on Monday, it announced a $6.2 billion writedown of a 2007 Internet-advertising acquisition - a reminder that Microsoft has a patchy track record when it ventures outside of its Windows and Office comfort zone. Days later, Vanity Fair blamed Steve Ballmer's "astonishingly foolish" leadership for a "lost decade", in one of the most scathing articles ever written about the CEO. It was not the news agenda Microsoft had in mind as it prepared to unveil fourth-quarter results on July 19. The writeoff is expected to hand the company its first quarterly loss - on paper - since going public in 1986. "This kind of massive write-off is a stark reminder that Microsoft's capital allocation policies in the past have not been ideal at times," said Highmark Capital fund manager Todd Lowenstein. Microsoft is placing several major bets over the next 12 months: its new Windows 8 operating system; its first tablets; a new version of Office; and revamped phone software. Wall Street thinks Microsoft still stands a chance of reclaiming its former glory and investors, including Lowenstein, cite a promising pipeline for 2013. But they will want hard reasons to pay more than $30 for a stock that hasn't traded above that for any extended period of time since 2000. "The jury is still out, but I see the potential for a renaissance here with a new platform," said Rick Sherlund, an analyst at Nomura Securities International, who has followed the company for three decades. "This is not a winner takes all, Apple kills Microsoft, death-spiral situation. There's room for a lot of innovation that allows Microsoft to grow again." BIG CHARGE Microsoft got off on the wrong foot with the announcement that it was writing off $6.2 Toms Glitter Shoes billion in goodwill, chiefly for its 2007 acquisition of digital advertising firm aQuantive. That purchase was supposed to accelerate Microsoft's entry into an online ad market dominated by Google, but it never took hold and its money-losing Bing search engine has barely dented Google's market share in the three years since launch. The write-off was a painful admission that Microsoft has failed to make a profitable business from online ads despite growing traffic. A sale of the online unit, perhaps to Facebook Inc (FB.O), would make sense now, some on Wall Street suggest. The huge charge was not a shock to investors - Microsoft shares rose slightly in the next trading session - but it underscored how the company misjudged the Internet's commercial possibilities and lost its way in mobile computing. Ballmer has become a lightning rod for this failure of innovation. Vanity Fair quotes one former manager saying Microsoft had turned itself into "technology's answer to Sears". Ballmer has had critics since taking the top job in January 2000. But the widely cited thumbs-down still resonates. "I would question how much longer he (Ballmer) will be there. That's something Wall Street is always speculating about," said a Wall Street analyst who asked not to be named. "You need someone who can manage creative talent better than Steve's done." Some point out that Microsoft's $6.2 billion charge for an ill-conceived Internet-centric acquisition is actually better than they deserve. Ballmer offered to pay $47.5 billion for fading Internet giant Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) in 2008. That company's market value is now less than half that. WINDOWS 8 The central gambit for 2013 is that its touch-friendly Windows 8 software - due out around October - will fire consumers' imaginations and take root among Microsoft's core business audience. For the first time, it will make "Surface" devices of its own to run Windows 8: a tablet based on power-efficient ARM Holdings (ARM.L) chips to challenge Apple's iPad and an Intel Corp (INTC.O) processor to attack the lightweight laptop market. Analysts are skeptical Microsoft can produce a device cheaply enough to seriously threaten the iPad, but recognize that Microsoft is challenging PC makers such as Acer (2353.TW) and Samsung (005930.KS) to come up with better machines. Microsoft has generated interest, but not exactly excitement about the new system, which is sure to confuse many longtime Windows users [ID:nL1E8HD00C]. But even if Windows 8 is not an instant hit, Microsoft's long-term agreements with corporations, which are paying for the latest version of Windows even if they don't use it, mean that the core Windows business will not crumble. "Windows is not only not going to disappear, but rather become the No. 2 tablet operating system and No. 1 operating system for" tablet-notebook devices, said Mark Moerdler, a technology analyst at Bernstein Research. "In contrast to the bear case, that Windows revenue will go off a cliff." In phone software, Microsoft has no such cushion. Despite a tie-up with handset maker Nokia (NOK1V.HE), the company still has only 4 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, according to the latest figures from tech research firm Comscore. Microsoft announced a new version of its phone software two weeks ago, called Windows Phone 8, but there are concerns that financially-squeezed Nokia may not last until its release in autumn without help. Its shares have fallen 80 percent since former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop became CEO in 2010. "If Nokia goes away, then Windows Phone is done," said Michael Yoshikami, CEO of fund manager Destination Wealth Management, who does not own Microsoft shares. "Microsoft is either going to own or have a share of Nokia." EARNINGS WIPE OUT Microsoft's $6.2 billion aQuantive charge is expected to wipe out any profit for Microsoft's fourth fiscal quarter. Wall Street analysts are now predicting a quarterly net loss of $366 million when the company reports earnings on July 19, rather than its previous estimate of $5.25 billion net profit. But the one-time charge will not affect fiscal 2013. Analysts are calling for a sales increase of about 10 percent for fiscal 2013, and profit growth of about 13 percent if the charge is discounted. Bernstein's Moerdler thinks the share price is based on "an unrealistically bad scenario of no-to-negative perpetual growth, billions of dollars of annual cash drain from search and mobile into perpetuity, and tens of billions of dollars of additional value destruction through ill-fated acquisitions and investments." But that is exactly what some fear. Destination Wealth Management's Yoshikami paints a cheap University Rope Sole Toms worst-case scenario. "Nokia collapses, they don't step in. They have no other significant manufacturer willing to take a chance on Windows 8, they decide they are going to take a chance on Surface tablet and that comes out at $800. Then their stock is at $28 forever." (Reporting By Bill Rigby; Editing by Bernard Orr) ((bill.rigby@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 206 418 9236)(Reuters Messaging: bill.rigby.reuters.com@reuters.net)) Keywords: MICROSOFT RESULTS/PREVIEW (C) Reuters 2012. All rights reserved. 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President Vladimir Putin submitted a bill Wednesday that would change how the upper house of the Russian parliament is formed, a move he said would make it more democratic but which critics said wouldn't change the body's role as an obedient tool of the Kremlin. Under the current system, the Federation Council is made up Spain Euro 2012 Jersey of randomly chosen former officials or rich businessmen with government links, with two representatives for each of Russia's 87 regions. Putin's bill will have candidates for provincial governors publicly name their choice for an upper house member from the region ahead of local elections. The second candidate for each province should be a member of its legislature, Putin said. The bill requires approval from the lower house of parliament as well as the Federation Council itself. Given both bodies' genuflection to Putin, it is all but certain to quickly pass. Putin won a third presidential term in March's election despite a wave of massive protests in Moscow against his rule. He has approved a series of political reforms supposedly 2012 EURO Spain Casillas 1 Home Goalkeeper Jersey aimed at making Russia's tightly controlled political system more democratic. The opposition has dismissed the changes as window dressing that wouldn't weaken Putin's steely grip on power. Alexander Kynev, an independent political expert, was quoted by the online Gazeta.ru as saying that the upper house's makeup would continue to depend on political manipulations and not the people's will. "As before, the house will be formed not by the voters but through some strange procedures," he said.

The California condor's return from near extinction is threatened by persistent exposure to lead-based bullets, despite intensive efforts to treat and care for poisoned birds each year, scientists say. Lead poisoning in the condors is now "of epidemic proportions," said Myra Finkelstein, a research toxicologist at UC Santa Cruz and the principal author of a report on the condor problem in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The condors' feeding habits seem Greece Soccer Jerseys to be a large contributor to the problem. The likelihood is 85 to 98 percent that a condor will feed on a carcass contaminated with lead during its lifetime, Finkelstein's colleagues calculated. "We will never have a self-sustaining wild condor population if we don't solve this problem," Finkelstein said. The huge black birds with their 10-foot wingspans once soared by the thousands over the mountains and deserts of California and the Southwest, but their numbers declined rapidly when hunters and trappers killed them off as the West was settled. They were listed on the federal endangered species list in 1967, and only 22 remained 30 years ago. Today, recovery efforts by determined conservationists have returned the condor population to more than 400. Captive breeding programs, hatcheries for eggs gathered from abandoned nests in the wild and many other conservation efforts have been hailed as great successes in saving the condor from extinction. But the analysis by Finkelstein and her team shows that nearly half the California free-flying condors have suffered from chronic lead poisoning in the past 10 years - many of them poisoned repeatedly during that time. Blood tests show that 20 percent are exposed to lead each year, but few die. The apparent recovery of the birds in their range in the Los Padres National Forest, the Big Sur coast and the Pinnacles National Monument is "deceptive," Finkelstein said. Carrion - wild animals shot by poachers inside the range or Wholesale Soccer Jerseys by licensed hunters near the range boundaries - has often been killed by lead-based bullets, and the bullets or traces of lead are swallowed by the condors. Each year the free-flying California condors are captured, held briefly and tested. When blood tests show lead poisoning, the birds are treated at the Los Angeles Zoo with chelation therapy - the same treatment used for children with lead poisoning, Finkelstein said. Finkelstein and her colleagues have made a population study of California's remaining wild condors and found that without continued treatment for lead poisoning, the population will never increase, and probably even decline. She noted that her analysis of lead-poisoned condors covered only birds within the state and did not include the condor population in Baja California or Arizona.

Before Anderson Silva began his unbelievable run into “Greatest Ever” territory, perhaps the greatest champion inUFC middleweight history was Rich Franklin. Franklin constantly put on entertaining scraps, possessed knockout Soccer Jerseys power and a versatile ground game, all while having the sellable back story of being a high school teacher in his previous professional life. Combining the above elements made Franklin a bona fide UFC superstar. Then along came Anderson “The Spider” Silva who washed Franklin out, causing many fans to forget that Franklin was supposed to be the “new breed” of mixed martial artist, a complete fighter, not your everyday one-dimensional fighter commonly seen in the UFC’s early days. Franklin defeated Wanderlei Silva via unanimous decision Saturday night in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, as the main event for the barely salvageable UFC 147. Franklin faced a scary moment in the second round, when Silva connected with a thunderous right hand directly to Franklin’s chin, but Silva was unable to finish the former UFC middleweight champion. After allowing Franklin to survive, an obviously gassed Silva mounted little offense during the remainder of the fight. Beyond one 30 second flurry of violence that threatened to mess up Franklin’s Lloyd Christmas impersonation, Franklin was much quicker, too elusive and far more technical than the former Pride middleweight champion. The victory over Silva also gave Franklin the unofficial UFC Franklinweight title. The fictitious “franklinweight” is a weight class located somewhere between the 205 pound light heavyweight division and the 185 pound middleweight division, where Franklin has thrived since losing his UFC middleweight title rematch Anderson Silva in 2007. Franklinweight also consists of over-the-hill fighters that still pack name value and fight cards in need of saving. To date, Franklin has defeated Wanderlei Silva—twice, Chuck Liddell, and lost to Vitor Belfort all while fighting in catchweight bouts headlining cards that were in dire need of someone to put on a show. Franklin helped transition Belfort from the light heavyweight ranks into a middleweight contender, subbed in for Tito Ortiz against Chuck Liddell after Ortiz pulled out of a major summer card on short notice, and twice went into a foreign country to take on Wanderlei Silva, the second time in Silva’s home country of Marseille Jersey Brazil, putting on fight of the night performances in both those outings. Forever stuck in purgatory because of his inability to sustain success against the bigger fighters at 205, and the personal roadblock created by fan disinterest in seeing a third Silva-Franklin bout at 185, Franklin has remained a consummate professional whenever the UFC has needed him, fighting hard in sometimes meaningless bouts, yet performing like a title shot was on the line every time out. Franklin’s Saturday night fight with Wanderlei Silva proved many things but mostly it proved that Franklin is, has been and always will be one of the most important fighters the UFC has ever employed. Franklin will probably never fight for an actual UFC title again. However, it’s worth remembering all Franklin has accomplished in his UFC career, easy as it is to overlook the unassuming future hall of famer.

OMAHA – With all the runs Arizona has scored in the NCAA tournament, it's sometimes easy to forget the Wildcats can pitch a little as well.Konner Wade (11-3) threw a complete-game six-hitter Sunday night and Robert Refsnyder homered, helping to give the Wildcats a 5-1 victory against two-time defending champion South Carolina in the first game of the championship series in the College World Series. Game 2 in the best-of-three series is today (8, ET, ESPN2), and the Wildcats can win their first national title Buy Cheap Jerseys since 1986 with a victory. Game 3 if necessary would be Tuesday. The Wildcats (47-17), who entered the contest averaging nearly 10 runs a game in the NCAA tournament, have won 10 games in a row. Refsnyder continued his torrid tournament hitting when he drove a 2-2 pitch from Gamecocks starter Forrest Koumas into the South Carolina bullpen in right field to give the Wildcats a 2-0 first-inning lead. The homer scored Johnny Field, who had singled. With USC's rotation taxed because the Gamecocks (49-19) had to play two elimination games Thursday and one Friday to reach the title series, coach Ray Tanner called on right-hander Koumas (2-3) to start Game 1. Koumas had made 17 appearances this season but only three starts. In 25⅔ innings, he had allowed 27 hits with 28 strikeouts and 16 walks. Koumas started the first game of the championship series last year against Florida, going 5⅔ innings and giving up only one run on three hits. But he missed more than a month this season with a stress fracture in his elbow and had not pitched in the NCAA tournament. He pitched 1⅓ innings May 25 in the Southeastern Conference tournament against Florida, allowing one hit and one walk. He ran into trouble again in the third, starting when shortstop Joey Pankake committed an error on a leadoff NBA Jerseys Sale grounder by Arizona's Trent Gilbert. Joey Rickard and Alex Mejia then singled to account for one run. Refsnyder was intentionally walked, loading the bases. Koumas was then pulled in favor of right-hander Evan Beal. He induced a double-play grounder from Seth Mejias-Brean, limiting the damage. The Wildcats got another unearned run to make it 4-0 in the fifth. Johnny Field drew a one-out walk, took second on a wild pitch and continued to third on an errant throw by catcher Grayson Greiner. He scored on a single by Mejias-Brean. South Carolina broke through against Wade in the sixth on a leadoff double by Greiner and a two-out RBI-single by Evan Marzilli. But Arizona made it 5-1 in the seventh when Refsnyder reached on an infield single and later scored on a single by Bobby Brown.

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