updated 5/8/2010 3:08:49 PM ET 2010-05-08T19:08:49

1 - The rare spirits that went under the gavel at a recent online auction in New Zealand weren't aged brandies or hard-to-find liqueurs. [Regular return]

2 - Instead, two glass vials purportedly containing the ghosts of two dead people sold for [soft return]
$1,983 at an auction that ended Monday night.

3 - The "ghosts" were put up for bidding by Ashley Wells. He said they were captured in the msnbc.com newsroom and stored in glass vials with stoppers and dipped in holy water, which he says "dulls the spirits' energy."

4 - He said they were the spirits of a developer who:

  • succumbed to exhaustion working on a months-long project at msnbc.com
  • a powerful, disruptive designer who turned up after a fine tequila-drinking session with co-workers in the building.

Since an exorcism at the office in February led to their capture, there has been no further bugs in the msnbc.com project, he said.

5 - The auction attracted more than:

  1. 214,000 page views
  2. dozens of questions

before the winning bid, Trademe auction site spokesman Paul Ford said Tuesday. The name of the winning bidder was not released.

6 - Wells said that once an "exorcist's fee" has been deducted, the proceeds of the spirit sale will go to the web development welfare group the Society for the Prevention of XSL.

7 - The rare spirits that went under the gavel at a recent online auction in New Zealand weren't aged brandies or hard-to-find liqueurs.

8 - Instead, two glass vials purportedly containing the ghosts of two dead people sold for $1,983 at an auction that ended Monday night.

9 - The "ghosts" were put up for bidding by Ashley Wells. He said they were captured in the msnbc.com newsroom and stored in glass vials with stoppers and dipped in holy water, which he says "dulls the spirits' energy." External hyperlink to site, story , slideshow and video not on this page. Hyperlinks to slices on this page: primary slideshow (on this page) , secondary slideshow (on this page) , primary video (on this page) , secondary video (on this page) . Bookmark to '#endOfText'.

10 - (red text starts) He said they were the spirits of a developer (red text ends) who succumbed to exhaustion working on a months-long project at msnbc.com, and a powerful, disruptive designer who turned up after a fine tequila-drinking session with co-workers in the building. Since an exorcism at the office in February led to their capture, there has been no further bugs in the msnbc.com project, he said. (Table inserted below)

11 - The auction attracted more than 214,000 page views and dozens of questions before the winning bid, Trademe auction site spokesman Paul Ford said Tuesday. The name of the winning bidder was not released. “”‘’—€£àáãäç (12 special characters total)

12 - (start font face to Times)Wells said that once(end font face to Times) an "exorcist's fee" has been deducted, (start font size to 4)the proceeds of the spirit sale(end font size to 4) will go to the web development welfare group the Society for the Prevention of XSL.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Video: Geithner: Debt will ‘have to come down’

  1. Transcript of: Geithner: Debt will ‘have to come down’

    GREGORY: Let me talk about the deficit and the debt. These are alarming numbers, you said they are. Let's look at the deficit since Inauguration Day : $1.2 trillion, now $1.4 trillion; it's up 17 percent. The overall debt, Inauguration Day : $10.6 trillion, now $11.9 trillion. What's it going to be a year from now?

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: Well, it's going to have to come down. Now it's too high, and I think everybody understands this. You know, we've got these two central imperatives: restore growth , create jobs. But make sure people understand we're going to have to bring those fiscal deficits down as growth recovers. First growth , though. Without growth , you can't fix those long-term fiscal problems. But you're not going to have a recovery that's going to be strong enough unless people are confident we're going to have the will to go back to live within our means.

    GREGORY: How do you bring it down, though? Do taxes have to go up?

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: Well, we're going to have to do -- we're going to have to make some hard choices. The -- but we're not really at the point yet, David , we're going to know what's going to be the best path forward. The president's very committed to bring down these deficits, and he's very committed to doing so in a way that's not going to add to the burden on people, people making less than $250,000 a year.

    GREGORY: But wait a minute, though, what are hard -- I mean, I think a lot of people, it's fair to say, what are hard choices? I mean, what hard choices have been made so far? Are you going to raise taxes ?

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: We're going to have to bring our resources and our expenditures more into balance.

    GREGORY: So it's possible.

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: Well, again, the president's committed to make sure we get this economy back on track. We're bringing down this deficit over time . And to do so...

    GREGORY: Mr. Secretary, you talked about hard choices, so why can't you give a straight answer to whether taxes have to come up...

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: Because...

    GREGORY: ...when you have a deficit this big?

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: Because, David , right now we're focused on getting growth back on track, OK, and we're not at the point yet we have to decide exactly what it's going to take. And I just want to say this very clearly. He was committed in the campaign to make -- he said in the campaign and he is committed to make sure we do this in a way that is not going to add to the burden on people making less than $250,000 a year. Now, it's going to be hard to do that, but he's committed to doing that and we can do that.

    GREGORY: You can do it, but it's still a chance that you'd have to raise taxes and go back on that if you've got a debt this big.

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: We're going to have to do it in a way that's going to help to meet that test, meet that commitment, the commitment he made, to do it in a way that's fair to Americans and make sure we do it in a way that's going to allow -- provide for growth and recovery going forward. But we can do this. You know, this is not beyond our capacity as a country to do.

    GREGORY: But...

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: But first things first.

    GREGORY: Right.

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: And unless we have a recovery, our long-term debts are going to be worse. Now, you didn't raise health care yet, but what's happening on health care now is very encouraging. Because if you look at what independent analysts say now, if you look at these bills moving their way through the Congress , they will make a substantial difference in reducing the rate of growth in healthcare costs over the long term and they will help bring down those long- term deficits.

    GREGORY: But there is going to be a heavy burden on the middle-class through, through health care by taxes going up, by premiums going up. It will affect the middle-class.

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: You know, I, I, I don't think that's the way to look at it. The -- our tax -- our healthcare system today imposes enormous burdens not just on businesses, but on families. There are very high hidden costs to our current system. And the best way to add to our long-term deficits, and the best way to add to those burdens is not reform health care today.

    GREGORY: But it doesn't answer the question about premiums going up with an individual mandate and taxes going up on so-called Cadillac plans and other parts of this bill as they're moving their way through the process that would increase taxes .

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: Right. Again, I don't think that's the right way to think about it . I think you have to look at the entire system today and the cost that presents. And if you look at those...

    GREGORY: Well, why isn't that the right way to look at it if that's the reality of what the legislation would do?

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: No.

    GREGORY: How else should it be looked at?

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: Well...

    GREGORY: Yes, there are, there are ballooning costs with the existing system, but the remedy still includes tax cuts -- tax hikes, does it not?

    SEC'Y GEITHNER: No. What the, what the bills moving through Congress do, and these are very important, they expand coverage, they will make care more affordable and they will reduce the rate of growth in healthcare costs. And in that sense they're going to provide a more fair system, so families are not going to live with the fear that if they lose their job they're going to lose health care , they're going to be denied healthcare coverage and they're going to be able to afford a basic package of care that's going to make sure they can provide for their families.

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