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Herman Cain Pulls Upset, Wins Florida GOP Straw Poll

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Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer –

Businessman Herman Cain won the Florida straw poll Saturday, making for a major upset and creating more problems for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Cain led with 37 percent of the vote while Perry garnered just 15 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney received 14 percent; former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, 11 percent; Texas Rep. Ron Paul, 10 percent and former House speaker Newt Gingrich had 9 percent. Also, having received 2 percent each of the votes, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann trailed far behind.

Voting in the straw poll in Orlando was limited to about 3,500 delegates, each of whom paid $175 to attend Presidency 5, hosted by the Florida GOP.

However, because of Perry's failure to win, some of his supports have become concerned about whether he can continue to rise in the polls.

Denzel Washington, Ron Howard, Ashanti, LeBron James Launch PSA for Boys and Girls Clubs of America

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Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers –

Celebrity alumni of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America flocked to Washington, D.C. to launch a new PSA campaign, which targets childhood obesity, dropout rates and youth violence.

Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington, the club’s national spokesman and a Boys and Girls Clubs of America alum, led the debut of the organization’s campaign film, “Great Futures Start Here,” directed by Academy Award winner Ron Howard.

“We are very fortunate indeed to have Ron Howard on our Boys and Girls Club team,” Washington said at the event.

The video features 21 alumni of the organization, including co-spokesperson Jennifer Lopez, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Shaquille O’Neal, Kerry Washington, Cuba Gooding Jr. and more.

According to the website, 4.1 million young people are Boys and Girls Clubs of America members. There are nearly 4,000 chartered locations with a staff of 50,000 nationwide. The organization states that 64 percent of participants come from minority families.

Although Howard was not a member of the organization, he said he was honored to be called on by Washington to direct the PSA.

“I don’t have Boys and Girls club in my personal history,” he said. “When Denzel told me about doing this PSA, it was kind of a great moment…I do believe in what the Boys and Girls Club offers.”

Beyonce’s single “I Was Here” from her album “A” was selected as music for the video.

South Africans Eye Louisiana for New Gas to Liquid Plant

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Southwest Louisiana may be on its way to becoming the home for a state of the art gas-to-liquid (GTL) plant built by the South African petrochemicals giant Sasol.

Sasol will launch a feasibility study of the GTL venture in Calcasieu Parish during the next 18 months. The GTL complex, if built, would be funded by a capital investment of $8- to $10-billion and could create up to 850 permanent positions and up to approximately 5,500 jobs during peak construction periods.

Construction could start as early as 2013.

Speaking at a recent press conference with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Sasol spokesman said: "We believe Sasol's proprietary GTL technology can help unlock the potential of Louisiana's clean and abundant natural gas resources and contribute to an affordable, reliable and high quality fuel supply for the United States.”

Calcasieu, a predominantly African-American parish whose name comes from the Atakapan word, "quelqueshue", meaning "crying eagle," is already the home of 53 industrial facilities, mostly petrochemical plants.

Residents have three times the national average of dioxin in their bodies although the federal agency for toxic substances does not consider it a health risk. It was the subject of a report called “Breathing Poison” by a coalition of green activist groups and a documentary “Blue Vinyl” in 2002.

Students Rally for Niagara University Professor, Prime Minister of Somalia

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By Amanda Galster, Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Dr. Abdiweli Ali, head of the Somali government and an associate professor of Economics at Niagara University in Buffalo, New York, was welcomed back to campus recently where he will promote awareness of the evolving situation in Somalia.

Dr. Brian Murphy, Chair of the Communications Studies Department said: “It’s not every day that a university has a Prime Minister of a nation.”

Dr. Ali’s number one challenge will be to improve the security of the nation. Through political outreach, he hopes to bring back law and order and reconcile the community. Another challenge is the humanitarian crisis. Six states have been declared famine states, making up half of the population of Somalia - four million people.

“We cannot take this journey alone,” he told the students. Meanwhile, with the rainy season just around the corner, the United Nations refugee agency has scaled up its presence in Mogadishu and Somalia’s border regions, providing food and medical assistance.

Dr. Ali holds a master of public administration from Harvard University, a certificate of Taxation from Harvard Law School, and a master of economics from Vanderbilt University. He completed his Ph.D. in Economics at George Mason University and, in 1998 and 1999, was a Joel Leff Fellow of Political Economy at Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University.

How Will Consumer Confidence Affect Year-end Spending?

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By Charlene Crowell, NNPA Columnist –

As September draws to a close, the holiday season will soon be upon us. It is also the traditional time when consumer spending surges make the annual difference between retailers reaching profits or red ink. But according to a recent consumer study conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates on behalf of BankRate.com, many consumers have already begun tightening household budgets.

“Forty percent of Americans say they have cut back on spending over the past 60 days due to the roller-coaster stock market or concerns about the economy”, says Greg McBride, Bankrate’s senior financial analyst. “This type of widespread cutback in consumer spending, if sustained for any length of time, is how recessions are born.”

Beyond consumer spending, the study also compared consumer comfort levels today against those of 12 months ago in four other measures: debt, savings, job security and net worth.

If you’re feeling as if your total assets are fewer than you’d prefer, there are many others holding that same opinion. Across all education levels, consumers said their net worth is lower today than a year ago.

Older Americans ages 50-64 are feeling the most financial stress. Half on this age group are less comfortable today with their savings than last year. They have also the most likely to have already cut back on spending.

Although consumers earning $75,000 or more were found more comfortable with their savings levels, they too are spending less.

When consumers considered their personal debts, over half surveyed– 51 cent – found they were about the same as last year. This finding suggests that while consumer may manage debts, becoming debt-free for half of Americans is long-term goal, not a short one.

Job security was perhaps the worst measure. More than half – 60 percent – job security is as elusive now as it was last year. Conversely, only 16 percent felt their jobs were safer today.

David Denslow, Jr., a distinguished service professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Florida and a research economist for the Bureau of Economic and Business Research offered his interpretation on lingering job insecurity.

“This increased concern ranges from dropouts to college graduates, from the less-skilled to higher earners, from the young to those approaching retirement. And it is remarkable for the beginning of the third year after the official end of a recession. The third years of the previous two recoveries saw rapid job gains. This time may be different.”

In the face of questionable job security, lingering debts, meager savings and lower net worth – the usual merry tone of the holidays may offer less cheer. The economy has taken the form of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Charlene Crowell is a communications manager with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at: Charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

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BVN National News Wire