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iStock/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) — While the Greek elections on Sunday were an ocean away, Americans may feel the ripple effects of the anti-austerity Syriza party’s leadership when it comes to their bank accounts and homes.

By voting for the far-left Syriza leader to be their premier, Greeks essentially voted against the measures imposed by European Union leaders. Though their single euro currency, put in place in 1999, likely won’t go away, many Greeks are fed up with 26 percent unemployment and budget cuts that they face.

Kasi Turpin, founder and director of boutique travel company Greece A La Carte, based in Athens, said she is not bothered as a business owner and resident about the election results.

“I think he’s going to negotiate with Europe,” Turpin said of newly-elected premier Alexis Tsipras. “A lot of what he promised was rhetoric so he could get elected, though a lot of people are expecting him to raise minimum wage today and alleviate taxes.”

Peter Morici, professor at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, said shifting European politics may have a depressing effect on U.S. interest rates. That’s because uncertainty about the euro will cause Europeans to send money to the U.S., and that could push up stock prices and push down interest rates, he said.

“As the Federal Reserve raises rates this summer, the impact on mortgage rates will be more limited because of the uncertainty over the euro,” he said.

Many economists expect the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates, “unless the economy falls apart,” said Morici, who travels to Europe each summer. He added that he doesn’t expect many effects on tourists, except for snagging some discounts.

“Right now, because the euro is weak, it’s a good value,” he said.

Booking in advance can supersede any discounts that you may get from the plunging value of the euro against the dollar.

Turpin, who is of Greek descent and was born in Canada, said demand for Greek tourism has thawed since attracting bad press a few years ago — with images of protesters in Athens against austerity measures.

And now, hotel and tourism service inventory may be harder to get due to the pent-up demand and travelers who want to take advantage of the falling euro.

Turpin advises travelers to look beyond the popular destinations of Santorini and Mykonos, such as Crete and Pylos.

“Greece is a country that is mostly surrounded by water. Even if you’re on the mainland of Greece, you’re not even 20 minutes from the water,” she said.

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Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A federal appeals court granted bond to former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell pending an appeal of his conviction on corruption charges.

McDonnell was convicted in September 2014 on 11 of 13 charges. Prosecutors said that McDonnell, while governor, traded favors in exchange for $177,000 in gifts and loans from a wealthy friend who was trying to promote a business.

A statement from a spokesman for McDonnell’s legal team said that the appeal “will be a strong one, and many such cases have been overturned on the grounds that the nature of the ‘official acts’ weren’t indeed illegal.” The spokesman also said that the appeal will likely take longer than McDonnell’s two-year sentence.

The court found that McDonnell “is not likely to flee or pose a danger to the safety of any other person or community fi released.” Further, the court documents say, “the appeal is not for the purpose of delay.”

Opening briefs in the appeal trial are scheduled for March 2, with oral arguments slated for May 12.

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amana images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Even if you live in a tiny studio apartment, you can still find a way to stay active indoors until the Blizzard of 2015 blows over.

Grace DeSimone of American College of Sports Medicine Spokeswoman explains how:

Take the Stairs

Indoor stairs and steps can be turned into calorie-blasting machines, DeSimone said. Walking up and down stairs burns an average of about 7 calories per minute, according to the Compendium of Physical Activity. Take them at a jog, and you’ll up the calorie burn to 11 per minute.

Though it’s harder to get the recommended 10,000 steps per day when you’re cooped up indoors, it is possible, especially if you wear a fitness tracking device, she said.

Stairs can also guard against binging, DeSimone pointed out.

“Put all the snacks up high out of reach or down in the basement,” she advised. “That way you have to run up and down the stairs every time you feel like having a cookie.”

Use What You’ve Got

Everything you own can be used for exercise, DeSimone said.

For example, squat up and down in a chair to strengthen your butt and thighs. Or do dips on the edge of the couch to strengthen your arms, shoulders and chest.

“If you’ve got weights or bands, great, but if not you can use laundry bottles or cans for strength work,” she said. “If your kids are small enough, even they can be used for bench presses.”

Find an App

There is an app for any possible fitness goal you might have and many of them are free, DeSimone said.

“Download one, use it, delete it and try another one,” she said, adding that many take into account tight spaces and lack of equipment.

If you’re not into apps, search the Internet for streaming, downloadable or written workouts. Your gym’s website can be a good resource, she said. Equinox Gyms, for example, offers a free “Do Anywhere” workout complete with demo videos.

Make It a Game

One way to get the whole family up and moving is with a rousing game of balloon volleyball, DeSimone said.

“Trying to keep the balloon from hitting the floor is a lot harder than it looks. It burns calories and wears everyone out,” she said.

Break Out the Shovel

You may not be looking forward to shoveling your sidewalk or driveway once the storm is over, but DeSimone said you should be if you’re interested in getting a great workout. Besides burning up to 640 calories an hour, cleaning your walk works virtually every muscle in your body.

“Just be sure to switch sides every few minutes so you don’t get a backache,” she said.

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Vernon Wiley/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — You can now have a one-of-a-kind name for your baby, but it’ll cost you.

For $35,000 a Swiss company called erfolgswelle will create a 100 percent, globally-unique name for your child.

“We calculated that the entire process takes around 100 hours,” says Marc Hauser, owner and CEO of erfolgswelle. “We have 12 translators that speak the most common languages around the world among 5.5 billion people.”

Along with translators, Hauser’s creative team assembles a list of 15 to 25 unique names by using a combination of different words.

Those names are then presented to the customer for review.

After the family chooses their favorites, a team of professional historians will check for any existence of the names used in markets, or in previous history.

“If there are any interruptions with past history of anyone having the name before, then we kill it,” Hauser told ABC News.

“Some of the copyrights on our team are parents as well,” he said. “So it’s not just about the name. It’s very important to us to give a name that fits within the family’s culture and and background.”

For a nationally unique name, erfolswelle charges $20,000 U.S. dollars. The procedure and prices remain the same for the agency to find exclusive names for products and businesses.

The company currently has a few naming requests since their launch this month. Hauser says the families have requested their identities remain private.

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ABC/Rick Rowell(LOS ANGELES) — Harry Potter star Emma Watson is going to be Belle.

The 24-year-old actress posted the message on Facebook Monday, writing, “I’m finally able to tell you…that I will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast!”

She continued, “It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our Guest’ and sing ‘Something There’. My six year old self is on the ceiling — heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can’t wait for you to see it. Emma xx.”

The movie is set to start filming later this year, but has no release date from the studio.

The animated version of Beauty and the Beast, released in 1991, grossed more than $145 million in the U.S.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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lisa comb/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As the blizzard of 2015 gets ready to wallop the Northeast, the last place you want to spend the storm is in the emergency room.

Here’s what lands many people in the ER during snowstorms and how to avoid becoming one of them:

Heart Attacks

Cold weather alone puts people at greater risk of having a heart attack because it constricts the blood vessels, said Dr. Lawrence Phillips, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Add in the demanding physical activity of shoveling, and that risk is even higher, he said.

“Every year at NYU Langone, I see several patients over the course of the winter who have brought out heart disease symptoms,” Phillips said. “It’s real. It’s not something we speak about in a hypothetical way, and it can be very dangerous.”

Many people who shovel snow don’t exercise regularly and try to shovel more snow than they can handle without warming up first, he said. He suggested shoveling slowly and taking frequent breaks. If you have any chest pain or breathing changes, stop.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

As the temperature starts to drop, people start to use devices they haven’t used before to keep warm, such as space heaters and other fuel-burning devices, said Dr. Corey Slovis, who chairs emergency medicine at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. But those devices don’t always work properly, and incomplete combustion can mean potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning, which happens when carbon monoxide prevents the body from absorbing oxygen.

“Anyone is at risk of this colorless, odorless, tasteless gas,” Slovis said. “You need to have a carbon monoxide detector on every level of the house.”

Turning on ovens to keep warm or sitting in cars without properly maintained exhaust pipes can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, said Dr. Aaron Lareau, who practices emergency medicine at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland. Sometimes, it’s best to just get to a warm shelter.


Hypothermia, when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it, is a “subtle” killer, Slovis said.

“Rather than getting more anxious, you get less anxious, and sleepy,” he said, explaining that people stop shivering when hypothermia sets in. “Your body begins to slow down, your mind begins to slow down, and you stop feeling cold.”

He said if you’re having trouble thinking or moving normally, you need to get somewhere warm and go to the hospital, Slovis said.


Like hypothermia, frostbite becomes serious when it stops bothering you, Slovis said. It starts off feeling like a burn and eventually stops feeling painful or cold, he said.

Frostbite usually happens to a person’s extremities, which can turn white or grey as the nerve damage sets in, Slovis said.

If this happens, put the affected body part in warm — not hot — water, and don’t rub it. If you suspect frostbite, go to the emergency room, he said.

Slips, Falls and Car Accidents

Lareau said people often arrive at the emergency room because they’ve gotten into a car accident in the snow or have slipped and fallen on ice in their driveways.

“I think people still try and go about their daily rout as much as possible,” he said. “I think that the biggest thing is to use common sense, stay indoors and be prepared If you do have to go out.”

He suggested wearing extra layers, bringing a cellphone and packing a blanket in the car.

“If you don’t have to go out, just stay inside,” he said.

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Oleg_Ermak/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A snowboarder is “happy to be alive” after she spent three days missing in the Whistler, British Columbia, backcountry, a Canadian news outlet reported.

Julie Abrahamsen told Global News in Canada that the “hardest part was the nights” because it was so cold.

“I didn’t have too much clothes,” she said. “Some were wet, so I tried to make the best solution and get some sleep, but it was hard.”

Abrahamsen was spotted Saturday “in the backcountry” by searchers in a helicopter, the Whistler Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a written statement.

Abrahamsen told Global News that when she saw the helicopter searchers, she thought, “‘Are they coming for me?’ I was really excited, and tried to run as fast as I could to the river.”

She was “in cold, but good, condition,” police said, and she was taken for medical treatment.

Abrahamsen told Global News she thinks she was “lucky with the weather.”

“It wasn’t as cold as it normally is,” she said, according to Global News. “It was pretty mild.”

Abrahamsen had last been seen Wednesday morning on Blackcomb Mountain, according to police, and then was reported missing on Friday, igniting a police and ski patrol search.

“Searchers followed the trail and, at approximately 1:30 p.m. located the missing snowboarder in cold, but good, condition,” Whistler RCMP Sgt. Rob Knapton said in a statement Saturday.

Global News reported that Abrahamsen lives in Norway and was in British Columbia on vacation. ABC News’ efforts to locate Abrahamsen for comment were not immediately successful.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — At a time when many potential 2016 presidential contenders appear to be starting the ignition of their campaigns, Hillary Clinton has pressed the brake pedal.

Or so it seems.

Clinton’s calendar, which was jam-packed throughout most of last year with paid speeches, award ceremonies, fundraisers, book tour stops, campaign appearances and official Clinton Foundation business, is now virtually empty.

Over the past six weeks, the likely Democratic presidential candidate has made just two public appearances — both on the same day, and both in Canada. She doesn’t have another event scheduled until late next month.

Although Clinton still insists she hasn’t decided whether she’ll run, it is widely believed that she will, and an announcement is expected this spring.

Until then, Clinton appears to be lying low and staying out of the public eye. Meanwhile, much of the focus has turned toward potential Republican candidates like Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Rand Paul. A dozen others tested out their possible stump speeches at a summit in Iowa last weekend.

A Clinton spokesman declined to comment on reasons for her light public schedule. But, according to Democratic strategists and Clinton insiders, this is exactly how it should be.

Here’s why:

Playing It Safe

After a rocky book rollout last summer and a few flubs on the midterm campaign trail, some see Clinton as politically rusty. Keeping out of the spotlight now lowers the chances of making mistakes that could come back to haunt her later.

“Why take the risk?” said one prominent Democrat with ties to Clinton, who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly about Clinton’s vulnerabilities. “The more you’re out there — I don’t care how prepared you are or how experienced you are — she’s going to slip up.”

But, the source added, it’s about the optics, too. And her high-dollar speaking fees aren’t a good look for a potential presidential candidate.

The closer Clinton gets to an announcement, “the more she really needs to pay attention to the arguments that she’s going to make about the economy, and other issues. And doing speeches for $250,000 a pop will detract from that,” the source said.

Above the Fray

By lowering her profile, Clinton has avoided what Democratic strategist and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile described as “day-to-day, flash and burn politics.”

“There’s no reason Hillary Clinton should be involved in what I call partisan, insular, inside-the-beltway politics,” Brazile explained. “She doesn’t need to be a part of what happens in Obama’s White House and the Republican Congress. Her campaign is not predicated on what budget decision they make now, or what compromise they forge.”

This also gives Clinton the ability to cherry pick when she wants to weigh in. Recently, for instance, Clinton sent out unsolicited tweets criticizing Republicans attempts to roll back financial reform laws in Congress and supporting President Obama following the State of the Union.

Clinton can swing this because she is technically still a private citizen.

Party Timing

At this point in 2007, Clinton had already announced her candidacy, but the playing field was different: There was a Republican president and Democrats were the opposition.

There is no upside, some strategists say, to coming out early when your own party occupies the White House.

“If Clinton were out there right now, they’d say, ‘What is she doing?’” Brazile said. “What advantage does she have in this battle?”

This time around, Republicans have more of a reason to be out there early.

Gearing Up, Getting Ready

Another likely reason Clinton is limiting her public events: To focus on her behind-the-scenes operation.

In recent weeks, Clinton has begun staffing up, hiring longtime strategists and former Obama advisers to be part of her senior leadership team. She’s been digging into her 2007 polling numbers. And, as the Washington Post reported, she has been holding daily strategy meetings in her Chappaqua, New York, home.

“She’s hunkered down, preparing, and making a decision,” said one Clinton insider with knowledge of the situation. “The idea that she’s off the radar, laying low, precludes the fact that she’s working really hard and being very much the Hillary Clinton that everyone knows.”

Because She Can

A break from the public, strategists say, is a luxury Clinton can afford at the moment.

Unlike lesser known candidates, Clinton doesn’t have to make a name for herself. Plus, Clinton has outside groups — like Ready for Hillary and Correct the Record — doing some of the early organizing work for her. This allows her to focus on other things like spending time with her family and preparing for what’s to come.

Because, as one top Clinton donor noted, “The day she announces, she’ll be ready to go” — and squarely in the spotlight.

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General Motors(NEW YORK) — At least 50 deaths have been linked to General Motors’ faulty ignition switches.

Ken Feinberg, the attorney GM hired to pour through death claims from families whose loved ones died in accidents they believe were caused by the problem, updated the total on Monday.

GM intially estimated that at least 13 deaths resulted from its defective ignition switches.

So far, Feinberg has received 3,068 claims — 338 for deaths and 2,730 for injuries.

The deadline to file a claim is Jan. 31.

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Irina Igumnova/Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With winter storm watches, warnings and advisories in effect from the mid-Atlantic to New England on Monday, residents from New York City to Boston can expect perhaps 2 feet or more of snow.

The storm, which began as a clipper system that brought snow and slick roads to the Midwest on Sunday, is expected to hit the East Coast hardest Monday evening through Tuesday.

Here are some tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to keep in mind Monday before the worst of the storm hits:

  1. Be mindful of carbon monoxide poisoning by using power sources appropriately indoors during power outages. (Never use a generator, grill or other gasoline or propane devices inside your home).
  2. Keep an emergency kit in your car, stocked with tools including: extra batteries, windshield scraper, shovel, matches, first aid kit and blankets.
  3. When you’re outside, cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from the cold air. Put on dry clothes as soon as you come inside.
  4. Pay attention to emergency messages called Wireless Emergency Alerts that are sent by the government through your mobile carrier.
  5. Remember to bring your pets inside.

Airlines canceled 2,061 flights for Monday as of 7:30 a.m. An additional 1,904 flights had been cancelled for Tuesday and the number is expected to rise, according to FlightAware.com.

President Obama was briefed on the storm and White House officials have been in touch with state and local officials on the eastern seaboard, according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest. FEMA also has assets in the region ready to assist, Earnest said.

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