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25 Everyday Things Made Obsolete This Century

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25 Everyday Things Made Obsolete This Century

25 Everyday Things Made Obsolete This Century

25 Everyday Things Made Obsolete This Century

The last 100 years have brought about a slew of new devices and gadgets. 
That means we've also said goodbye to some items that were once staples in many people's lives.
Let's take a look at some of the items that have gone obsolete in the last century.  

Mesothelioma Law Firm


Mesothelioma Law Firm

For decades, mesothelioma, a life-threatening disease that can affect the lungs, abdomen, and several other major organs, has been linked to prolonged exposure to asbestos.Typically, mesothelioma victims were exposed to asbestos while working at a job site that used asbestos-related products (ACMs). In many cases, the manufacturers of asbestos and ACMs knew of the hidden dangers and risks of asbestos, yet failed to inform the public since asbestos was an extremely profitable mineral. Because of the hinderance of information, workers who developed health issues from asbestos exposure may be eligible for financial compensation to cover expenses such as lost wages, medical bills, emotional suffering, physical pain, and more.
If you or a loved one is a victim of an asbestos disease, such as mesothelioma or asbestosis, fill out our form today to find out the amount of money you and your family are owed. Over $30 billion is available in mesothelioma and asbestos trust funds and we’ll fight to ensure that you have a successful shot in getting what you’re entitled to.

What Does a Mesothelioma Law Firm Do?

Mesothelioma law firms are different from any other type of law firm. Whereas other law firms may specialize in specific areas such as car accidents or nursing home abuse, mesothelioma law firms focus only on mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. It’s not recommended to retain legal representation from a general practice law firm or even a personal injury law firm that specializes in a wide array of injury cases. You’ll need an attorney who specifically specializes in mesothelioma cases as these types of lawsuits are extremely intricate and require vast, in-depth understanding of asbestos exposure and diseases.

Attorneys in a mesothelioma law firm have the knowledge and experience regarding federal and state laws concerning asbestos use and its history in the workforce. They also have sharp investigative skills and are able to dig deep to uncover when and where companies and/or other entities exposed workers to asbestos. Additionally, mesothelioma law firms are comprised of educated attorneys who understand the legal process involving courts, trials, settlements, and appeals.

Moreover, an experienced malignant mesothelioma law firm understands that the victim is already suffering enough because of the medical and financial problems associated with asbestos-related diseases. As a result, the law firm will handle most everything regarding the lawsuit, including fighting for the legal rights of the client, interviewing witnesses, obtaining medical history, litigations, and more.

A dedicated mesothelioma law firm also understands the severe emotional impact that living with mesothelioma brings, not only to victims, but to family members and loved ones as well. An experienced mesothelioma law firm takes this into account and helps ease the minds of victims and their loved ones throughout this enduring process.

What to Look for When Hiring a Mesothelioma Law Firm

Unfortunately, not all mesothelioma law firms are the same. While some may have several years of experience, other law firms are relatively new to the area of mesothelioma. In addition, some law firms may concentrate on other areas of law besides mesothelioma while another law firm may solely focus on asbestos cases.

Aside from using your good judgement when determining which law firm you should use, there are several factors you should consider:

  • The law firm should have experience in dealing with mesothelioma cases.
  • Your case should never be transferred to another law firm to handle.
  • The law firm should be extremely knowledgeable in asbestos laws and prior cases.
  • Look for a law firm that focuses solely on asbestos-related cases.
  • Look for law firms with a stellar reputation in handling asbestos cases.
  • The law firm should not only understand asbestos laws, but should also have extensive knowledge of medical problems associated with its diseases.
  • The law firm should always keep you updated on what’s going on in your case. Although attorneys are busy people, they should be accessible.
  • You should always get an initial consultation at no charge before deciding on a mesothelioma law firm.

Keep in mind that it’s not recommended to retain a mesothelioma law firm that promises you that you will win your case no matter what. Although statistics show that the majority mesothelioma victims do go on to win their lawsuits, there are a variety of factors involved, and no case is guaranteed. An experienced mesothelioma law firm will help to understand your chances and what is involved, but will never assure that your case is 100% guaranteed.

Making Things Easier

Although leading mesothelioma law firms do the majority of work for your case, it’s always a good idea to be prepared and make things easier so that the process gets rolling faster.

First, make sure to gather your medical documents, including when and where you were diagnosed, and bring this information to your initial meeting. This will allow the law firm to determine if your case can be taken on.

Next, be prepared to provide the law firm with your work history and information including the full company name, address, phone number, your job role, and how long you worked there.

Finally, start keeping track of all expenses used pertaining to your disease. For example, always keep a copy of medical bills, hospital visits, mileage used to get to appointments, medical supplies, and anything other expense you paid out due to your illness.

How a Mesothelioma Law Firm Can Personally Help You

When first getting started, victims usually have a plethora of unanswered questions regarding asbestos and their rights. A mesothelioma law firm should be able to provide you with following information:

  • Evidence Related to Your Exposure: Once you provide the law firm with your work information, they should be able to investigate and determine how asbestos was used at your workplace. In some cases, they may already have the information available.
  • If you Truly Have an Asbestos Claim: Mesothelioma law firms understand what’s needed in order to have a true asbestos claim. With this knowledge, they are able to determine how strong your case is and what the estimated chances are that you’ll win. Most attorneys make sure they’re confident in your case before taking it on. Be wary of any attorney who promises to take your case without knowing any of the details or an attorney who claims they can get you an exact amount of compensation before reviewing your case.
  • Your Case Worth: If the law firm decides you have an asbestos case, they will then be able to come up with an average figure of how much your case is worth. This is including past expenses, daily expenses, medical bills, lost wages, emotional trauma, physical suffering, future expenses, and much more. Keep in mind, however, that there is no set formula as to how much your award amount may be. The aforementioned factors, along with other factors, such as if your former company has a trust fund set up or not, will also come into play.
  • Who Exactly is Responsible: It can be difficult for the average person to determine who exactly is responsible for exposing victims to asbestos. For example, companies can move, go out of business, hide, suppress relevant information, and change ownerships. In some cases your former company is responsible, the manufacturer of the asbestos products may be responsible, or supervisors and/or owners may be responsible. In other instances, there may be just one sole responsible entity yet in a different case, there may be several. Remember that part of an experienced mesothelioma law firm’s job is to research, seek out, and determine the entity or responsible parties that are liable for your exposure to asbestos.

Mesothelioma Law Firm Fees

Mesothelioma law firms may have different fees as well as different payment options. However, an experienced and caring law firm understands that victims of asbestos-related diseases more than likely have enough financial burden in dealing with their illness and are unable to afford up-front fees for legal representation. As a result, many law firms work on what’s known as a contingency fee basis, meaning that the law firm only gets paid when you get paid. If the law firm doesn’t win your case, they don’t receive compensation either in most ways. The good news, however, is that a law firm has to be confident enough in your case to take it on, meaning there is a good chance that if your case is picked up, it will be successful.
Law firm fees are percentages taken out of your total settlement or verdict amount, and again, the percentage amount will vary depending upon the law firm. Make sure you understand how the fees and percentages work with your law firm beforehand so that there will be no confusion later on.
If a law firm doesn’t provide a contingency fee basis, there is a good chance that they don’t have to financial resources to successfully prove your case. Keep in mind that you’ll want a law firm that has the financial resources and backup in order to take on your case on a contingency fee basis. Attorneys without the resources to handle your case usually can’t provide you with the best representation. An ideal rule of thumb is to ask up-front about how the fees work so that there are no surprises later on. Attorneys with your best interest in mind will have no problems answering any questions you have regarding fees and prices.

Additional Tips to Remember

  • When searching for a mesothelioma law firm, you shouldn’t narrow your search down to your local community only. There’s a chance that your case may be filed out of state.
  • An experienced mesothelioma lawyer should have no problems flying to your city to meet with you, given that they are out of state.
  • Although the law firm should be able to give you an average figure that you may receive, giving an exact amount is impossible. Any mesothelioma law firm that guarantees you an exact amount should be considered untrustworthy.
  • A mesothelioma should be able to handle not only mesothelioma cases for survivors, but wrongful death cases involving asbestos exposure.

Help With Finding an Experienced Mesothelioma Law Firm

If you’ve been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, not only do you need to understand your medical options and mesothelioma treatment choices, but you should seek legal representation and fully take advantage of your legal rights. If your illness is due to the negligence and careless acts of another party, our experienced mesothelioma law firm will be able to assist you through the process and help you fully understand what you may be entitled to. We strongly advise anyone suffering from an asbestos related disease–or a loved one of an asbestos victim–to contact us right away for a free legal consultation. We will fight to help you get all the compensation you’re owed. We also offer contingency-based fees should we take on your case.

For additional information, fill out our form for your free Mesothelioma and Asbestos Guide. Our informational packet is filled with invaluable information regarding your legal rights, up-to-date medical information, treatment options, top physicians, mesothelioma litigation, and much more.

Donate car to charity in California

Donate car to charity in California
Donate car to charity in California
Donate car to charity in California

The act of donating a car to charity is one of the most rewarding things you can do. When you donate your car, you do more than just support a charity. You actually help to improve someone's life. To help a needy person, please donate a car to one of these respected charities inCalifornia.
Established in 1946 in Davis, California, Freedom From Hunger has been fighting chronic hunger and poverty in the world through innovative programs designed to help families achieve long term food security. Their programs are serving over 18 million people in some of the poorest countries in the world. They are both nongovernmental and nonsectarian and they have been given an A- rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy.
Teach for America works to ensure that children in low income areas get an excellent education. Less than half of the children in California are on grade level for reading and math, and it ranks 48th in academic performance. In the Bay Area, Teach for America has been providing great education for over 10 years. In Los Angeles, they have operating since 1990. Teach for America works to recruit leaders who work to expand educational opportunities in low income areas and then teach for two years in those areas.
The Guthy Jackson Charitable Foundation is dedicated to the treatment and a cure for neuromyelitis optica. NMO is a very rare disease that can affect the optic nerve and spinal cord. People with this horrible disease can develop vision loss, or weakness, numbness, and sometimes paralysis of the arms and legs along with sensory disturbances and loss bladder and bowel control. Although there are some treatments available a lot more research is needed to find better ones and a cure.
A Home Away From Homelessness is dedicated to supporting and nurturing the needs of homeless and formerly homeless children and families in San Francisco and Marin. Their homes provide a physical, emotional and spiritual break for children along with educational, social and recreational opportunities.
Family Builders believes that every child has the right to grow up in a permanent, nurturing family regardless of the child's age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or medical, physical or emotional condition. Family Builders educates the community about the needs of waiting children, advocates on their behalf and places the children with permanent, secure families through adoption.
The car donation process is easy and the pickup is free. You can donate your car even it no longer runs or is in poor shape. You just need to have a title for your car and it needs to be where the tow truck can easily get to it. In return for your car donation, you will get a valuable tax deduction and a sense of pride knowing you have done a really good thing. For complete details on how to donate car, please call 1-866-4483487.

Structured Annuity Settlement

Structured Annuity Settlement
Structured Annuity Settlement
Structured Annuity Settlement

As interest rates remain low, investors - especially retirees - struggle to find yield wherever they can. Unfortunately, though, the necessity of earning a required return to fund financial goals becomes the mother of invention for a wide range of investment strategies, both legitimate and fraudulent. A recent offering of rising popularity is structured settlement annuity investing, often offering "no risk" rates of return in the 4% to 7% range. In general, the opportunity for "high yield" (at least relative to today's interest rates) and "no risk" is a red flag warning. But the reality is that with structured settlement annuity investing, the higher returns are legitimately low risk; the appealing return relative to other low-risk fixed income investments is not due to increased risk, but instead due to very poor liquidity. Which means such investment offerings can potentially be a way to generate higher returns, not through a risk premium, but a liquidity premium. But the caveat, however, is that the investments are so illiquid and the cash flows so irregular, they probably should at best only ever be considered for a very small portion of a client's portfolio anyway.
The inspiration for today's blog post has been a series of inquiries I've received from other planners over the past month, whose clients are being solicited to invest in structured settlement annuities, but have been understandably wary of the purported "high fixed return with low risk" offering. After all, most returns that seem "too good to be true" for their risk are in fact too good to be true, and entail higher risk than what is first apparent. Yet due to the unique way that structured settlement annuities work, the reality is that higher yields are not actually a high risk premium, but a low-risk low liquidity premium.
To understand why, it may be helpful to review exactly what a structured settlement is. A structured settlement arises most commonly when a plaintiff wins a lawsuit - for instance, due to injury as a result of medical malpractice - and the payment for damages is awarded as a series of payments over a period of time. This is often done to coincide with certain key ages - for instance, the structured settlement for an injured child might be timed to have the bulk of the payments made after the child turns 21, while the structured settlement of an injured 45-year-old adult might include annual payments for the next 20 years and then a lump sum at age 65. Each situation is unique. However, to avoid the financial risks involved by having the plaintiff waiting on the defendent to make payments over the span of many years or decades, the defendent (or the defendent's professional liability insurance company) often purchases an annuity from a quality insurance company to make the obligatory payments to the plaintiff, allowing the defendent to resolve his/her end of the settlement with a single lump sum payment.
So where does structured settlement investing come into play? The opportunity arises when the plaintiff who is receiving the structured settlement annuity payments finds a want or need for more liquidity. Or as the infamous J.G. Wentworth (a company that buys structured settlements) commercials put it, "If you have a structured settlement but need cash now, call J.G. Wentworth, 877-CASH-NOW"! So the individual receiving payments contacts the company to explore selling the structured settlement income stream.
In practice, though, most such companies that buy structured settlements do not keep them in their own investment portfolio; they then re-sell the structured settlement annuity payments to an investor, pocket a small slice or charge a markup as a commission, and seek out another structured settlement annuity to buy and repeat the process. Which means ultimately, the company needs to find both an ongoing stream of people who have structured settlement annuities to sell (not surprisingly, easier to find in these difficult economic times), and investors who are willing to buy the seller's unique annuity stream of payments.
So what does this look like from the investor's perspective? Because each structured settlement was arranged for the winning plaintiff's particular circumstances, no two structured settlement annuity investment options are the same. One might offer $2,000/month for the next 18 years; another might provide for a single lump sum payment of $200,000 in 10 years and another $100,000 5 years after that, with no intervening payments; another might provide for a series of $1,000/month payments for 10 years, then a $100,000 lump sum at the end of 10 years.
How does the return work with such irregular payments? From the investor's perspective, this is similar to buying an original issue discount bond that matures at par value. For instance, if the structured settlement provides $200,000 in 10 years and another $100,000 payment 5 years thereafter, then the lump sum required for the investor might be $170,884; if you do the math (it's a standard IRR/NPV calculation for any financial calculator or spreadsheet), "investing" $170,884 today for $200,000 received in 10 years and another $100,000 received in 15 years equates to a 5% internal rate of return. However, it's important to note that you don't receive any kind of ongoing 5%/year payments (unless that happens to be what the annuity offers); your 5% return is solely attributable to the fact that that's how much money would have grown for the future value the investor gets from the annuity payments to equal the lump sum the investor paid today to get them. So the return is legitimate, but it's not comparable at all to the ongoing cash flows from a 5% coupon bond.
So why are the returns as high as they are? It's not due to risk; as noted earlier, the annuity payments are generally backed by highly rated insurance companies that are anticipated to have virtually no risk of outright annuity payment default (after all, that's what the original structured settlement payment recipient was counting on for those payments in the first place, and the court wouldn't have approved it if the annuity provider wasn't sound!). And the payments are generally guaranteed and fixed to the dates that are assigned; unlike lifetime annuitization that planners may be more familiar with, the payments from structured settlements generally are not life contingent (i.e., the payments will continue, even if the original annuity dies). Instead, the returns are due to sheer illiquidity. After all, how many people out there really want to buy an arbitrary structured settlement payment of $200,000 in 10 years and another $100,000 to arrive 5 years later, with no intervening cash flows? The answer is, not many. Yet in many cases, the structured settlement recipient really needs the liquidity for some reason, and can't wait long. The end result: the structured settlement recipient becomes willing to give up a healthy discount rate to get that lump sum of cash now.
So where does this fit for the financial planning client? The internal rate of return on many structured settlement payments are pretty appealing in today's marketplace; rates of 4%+ are pretty common (although notably, that's not a huge spread relative to the yield on comparable long term bonds). But most clients are unlikely to find a structured settlement that actually provides cash flows that line up with exactly when the client may need them, and there are only so many to choose from at any given time (for instance, here's a sample rate sheet from one provider) - which means at best, this should only be done with a small enough portion of the portfolio that it won't create a liquidity problem for the client investor. Otherwise, the client could themselves become the seller, and be forced to go through the same discounting process - bearing in mind that the structured settlement broker needs a cut too, so if the "cost" to generate a 5% return is $170,884 in the earlier example, the seller is going to get something less than that amount. This means that a buyer who becomes a seller will likely experience a loss of their own, as they essentially absorb both sides of what is a very wide bid-ask spread. Which means to say the least, this is for "long-term money" only! And of course, basic due diligence on the broker arranging the structured settlement and affirming the rating on the underlying insurance company is important, as always.
It's worth noting as well that structured settlement annuity investing is not just something that clients are being solicited for. Some of the structured settlement brokers involved are now reaching out to work with financial advisors directly as well (as a way to get access to more investment dollars), and in some cases advisors can actually be compensated and share in the commissions for helping to arrange such investments (not unlike how registered representatives are paid for many forms of annuity investing). However, this requires the broker/dealer to review and approve the offering (so that the registered representative doesn't get in trouble for selling away). And in practice, it seems that broker/dealers themselves are mixed on these offerings. At least one company I know of doesn't want to allow their representatives to do structured settlement annuity business not because they're unsound or risky, but because the broker/dealer is afraid that if more investor dollars flow into this space, it will encourage structured settlement annuity firms to be more aggressive and potentially even predatory in trying to persuade structured settlement recipients to part with their guaranteed payments in exchange for quick and easy cash now (as typical structured settlement annuity recipients are unlikely to "do the math" on the internal rate of return being used to discount their payments!). On the other hand, part of the reason for the high returns in structured settlement annuity investing is because there are so few investors involved that the market is highly illiquid and inefficient; in theory, if there were multiple companies competing for a structured settlement recipient's payments, there would be more competition, resulting in a higher price that both delivers more money to the seller and provides lower ("more competitive"?) yields for the investor.
In the end, structured settlement annuity investing can only go so far. There are just only so many structured settlement annuitants receiving payments out there, although in recent years this "industry" has expanded to also buy the annuity payments from lottery winners, and even some annuity payments from individuals who simply bought a commercial immediate annuity product and now want to liquidate it. Nonetheless, there is clearly some capacity constraint in how much this particular investment strategy can grow. But for the time being, the yields would suggest that the seller demand exceeds the buyer interest, which creates an opportunity for the client investor who can tolerate the illiquidity and has otherwise done the due diligence.
So what do you think? Have your clients been approached regarding structured settlement annuity investing? Did you counsel them to invest, or not? Have you considered getting involved with the brokers that offer such investments? Would you consider it to be a good right for the right client situation?
(Editor's Note: This post was included in SenseToSave's Carnival of Personal Finance #352.)

Speek Makes Conference Calls Better

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Earlier this week I was scheduled to be on a conference call. I dialed in, entered in my pin, and was told by an automated voice that I was the first person on the call. After five minutes of elevator music, I hung up and dialed in again. Once again, the system told me that I was the only person on the call. Sensing a glitch in the system, I sent out a few emails to the other individuals on the call. Apparently, they had successfully dialed into the call and I had used a wrong number. It was yet another chapter in my seemingly endless array of unfortunate conference call experiences.

If you have ever been part of a conference call, I recommend watching the video embedded at the top of this post. It's a wonderfully humorous and honest sketch about what most of us have endured during a conference call. However, there is hope for those of us who frequently make conference calls. Next time a conference call needs to happen, I'm going to recommend that we try using Speek.

Speek simplifies the conference call experience by eliminating some of the complicated elements of the genre. Instead of using a unique phone number or pin, users are directed to an easy to remember URL (e.g. Additionally, the web-based interface allows you to see who is talking at any given time. It's like a visual walkie talkie. Anything that eliminates that awful aspect of talking over someone on a conference call is a huge victory in my book. The free version of Speek has a 5 caller limit. However, let's be honest, do we really need more than 5 people on a conference call? You also get a dedicated conference bridge, the aforementioned visual interface, call history/analytics, message/file sharing, and the option for Speek to call you after you enter your phone number into their website.

Now, I realize that Google Plus Hangouts are often a preferred method of group communication/collaboration. And, I am a fan of G+ for group conversations. However, sometimes a conference call is a more comfortable option for folks on a call. If you have to participate in a conference call, check out Speek and let me know what you think.

Thanks to John Dennett for introducing me to Speek. I don't like to conference call...but when I do, I use Speek.

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US fans react with mixed emotions after World Cup defeat


American soccer fans decked out in red, white and blue flocked to Freedom Plaza and The National Portrait Gallery atrium in Washington DC to see their team knocked out of the World Cup by Belgium in a heart-breaking game. Strong performances by the U.S. team in Brazil had ignited passions in a country not known for its love of soccer, and free viewing parties were held from coast to coast while fans crammed into sports bars and restaurants. The Belgians scored twice in extra time and looked to have the game put away when the Americans scored a late goal. But time ran out and the U.S. squad lost 2-1. Tuesday's winners Belgium now advance to face Argentina in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

Chile court: US had role in 'Missing' killings


SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A Chilean court said U.S. military intelligence services played a key role that led to the 1973 killings of two Americans in Chile in a case that inspired the Oscar-winning film "Missing."
A court ruling released late Monday said former U.S. Navy Capt. Ray E. Davis gave information to Chilean officials about journalist Charles Horman and student Frank Teruggi that led to their arrest and execution just days after the 1973 coup that brought Gen. Augusto Pinochet to power.
"The military intelligence services of the United States had a fundamental role in the creation of the murders of the two American citizens in 1973, providing Chilean military officers with the information that led to their deaths," the ruling by Judge Jorge Zepeda said.
Zepeda also upheld the decision to charge retired Chilean army Col. Pedro Espinoza with the murders, and Rafael Gonzalez, a former civilian counterintelligence agent, as an accomplice in Horman's murder. The two Chileans and Davis had been indicted in 2011.
Davis commanded the U.S. Military Mission in Chile at the time of the Sept. 11, 1973, American-backed coup that ousted the democratically elected government of leftist President Salvador Allende. Davis was investigating Americans in Chile as part of a series of covert intelligence operations run out of the U.S. Embassy targeting those considered to be subversives or radicals, according to the judge's investigation. Officials at the embassy in Santiago had no immediate comment.
Believing he was living in Florida, Chile's Supreme Court approved an extradition request after Davis was indicted in November 2011. But Davis was secretly living in Chile, and he died in a Santiago nursing home last year.
Horman, 31, a freelance journalist and filmmaker, was arrested Sept. 17, 1973. A national truth commission formed after the Pinochet dictatorship ended said Horman was executed the next day while in the custody of Chilean state security agents. The commission said Teruggi, a 24-year-old university student, was executed Sept. 22.
The search for Horman by his wife and father was the topic of the 1982 movie "Missing," directed by Costa-Gavras, starred Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemmon. The film won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay and was also nominated for best picture, actor and actress.
The film suggested U.S. complicity in Horman's death and at the time drew strong objections from U.S. State Department officials.
The case remained practically ignored in Chile until 2000, when Horman's widow, Joyce, came and filed a lawsuit against Pinochet.
"More than 40 years after my husband was killed, and almost 14 years since I initiated judicial proceedings in Chile, I am delighted that the cases of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi are moving forward in the Chilean courts. At the same time, I remain outraged that, through death and delay, a key indicted U.S. official, Captain Ray Davis, has escaped this prosecutorial process," Joyce Horman said after the judge's ruling was released.
"Judge Zepeda's ruling both implicates and incriminates U.S. intelligence personnel as playing a dark role in the murder of my husband," she said. "My hope is that the record of evidence compiled by the court sheds further light on how and why Charles was targeted, who actually ordered his murder, and what kind of information on one of its own citizens the U.S. government passed to the Chilean military who committed this heinous crime."
Chile's government estimates 3,095 people were killed during Pinochet's dictatorship, including about 1,200 who were forcibly disappeared.
"The judge's ruling brings the Horman and Teruggi families one step closer to a courtroom verdict, as well as a verdict of history on the role of the U.S. government and the Chilean military in these atrocities," said Peter Kornbluh, author of "The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability."
Associated Press writer Eva Vergara contributed to this report.

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