Headline News

  • Passenger killed when plane crashes in San Diego parking lot


    SAN DIEGO –  A small plane crashed in a San Diego shopping center parking lot Wednesday, killing an 80-year-old woman who was the lone passenger and injuring the pilot, authorities said. The single-engine 1988 Mooney M-20L went down around 5:30 p.m. in a parking lot that serves a Costco and a Target store in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The plane bounced while landing at nearby Montgomerey Field, continued westbound and went down, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. However, helicopter pilot Vince Carter said he had taken off from the field when he heard the pilot, in apparently her last radio transmission, tell the control tower that she had lost power on takeoff. “She said she lost power and she was going down and that was it,” he told KFMB-TV. There was no immediate way to resolve the two reports. The plane clipped the top of the Target store …

    July 30, 2014 11:42 pm
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Politics

  • Businessman says helped ex-Virginia governor, wife as part of ‘business relationship’


    RICHMOND Va (Reuters) – The businessman at the heart of a corruption trial involving former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, testified on Wednesday he helped them out with gifts and loans strictly for the benefit of his dietary supplement company. “This was a business relationship,” Jonnie Williams, a key prosecution witness told a packed federal courtroom in Richmond, Virginia. Williams said he took Maureen McDonnell on a $20,000 New York shopping spree, lent the couple large amounts of money, and paid for the wedding reception of one of their daughters in exchange for the couple using their personal and political prestige to advance his company. Under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Dry, Williams, who was granted immunity in return for his testimony, said the governor and his wife fully understood the arrangement they were in. McDonnell, 60, and his wife have pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of corruption and bribery …

    July 31, 2014 12:01 am
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Stocks

  • BofA hit with $1.3 billion mortgage penalty


    Thousands of bad loans made years ago by Countrywide are Bank of America’s problem now. Bank of America (BAC) has been ordered to pay a nearly $1.3 billion penalty for mortgage fraud committed by Countrywide. The fraud happened years before BofA bought the struggling lender amid the financial crisis, saving it from collapsing under the weight of risky mortgages it had made. The loans were made through a lending program it called the “High Speed Swim Lane.” Some inside the company called it “The Hustle.” It involved little, if any, income verification. Countrywide then sold the mortgages to the government-backed lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A lawsuit brought by the government claimed the program was “intentionally designed to process loans at high speed and without quality checkpoints, and generated thousands of fraudulent and otherwise defective residential mortgage loans.” A jury last fall found Countrywide and former executive Rebecca Mairone liable. Mairone has been ordered …

    July 30, 2014 10:41 pm
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Sports

  • Serena Williams wins first match in return, beating Karolina Pliskova in Bank of the West


    Serena Williams reacts after scoring a point during the second set of her match against Karolina Pliskova in the Bank of the West Classic, Wednesday, July 30, 2014, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach)The Associated Press Serena Williams, of the United States, waves after defeating Karolina Pliskova, of the Czech Republic, 7-5, 6-2 in the Bank of the West Classic tennis tournament, Wednesday, July 30, 2014, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach)The Associated Press Serena Williams returns the ball during the first set of her match against Karolina Pliskova in the Bank of the West Classic, Wednesday, July 30, 2014, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach)The Associated Press Karolina Pliskova reacts after giving up a point during the first set of her match against Serena Williams in the Bank of the West Classic, Wednesday, July 30, 2014, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Beck Diefenbach)The Associated Press Karolina Pliskova returns the ball during the first set of …

    July 30, 2014 11:42 pm
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World News

  • Israel ‘to probe’ UN school shelling


    31 July 2014 Last updated at 04:43 Wednesday’s attack on the UN school killed at least 16 people Israel says it will investigate the shelling of a school housing displaced civilians in Gaza, and apologise if Israeli fire was responsible. A government spokesman told the BBC: “We have a policy – we don’t target civilians”. The US and UN condemned the attack, which killed at least 16. Israel said its military responded to mortar rounds launched from near the school. More than 100 Palestinians were killed on Wednesday, Gaza officials said. The shelling of a market near Gaza City killed 17, while booby traps claimed the lives of three Israeli soldiers. At least 1,360 Palestinians have been killed since the current conflict began on 8 July. Most have been civilians. Some 58 Israelis have been killed, 56 soldiers and two civilians. A Thai worker in Israel has also died. ‘Hostile fire’ The attack on the …

    July 30, 2014 11:42 pm
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Technology

  • Chinese GMO Research Outpaces Approvals


    Growing future: China is the world’s largest producer of wheat; here a farmer harvests from fields in Jiangsu province. Despite recent research advances, such as a new strain of wheat that resists destructive mildew (see “Chinese Researchers Stop Wheat Disease with Gene Editing”), commercial planting of genetically modified food crops has stalled in China, the world’s most populous nation and one with a fast-tightening food supply. In 2009, the nation’s Ministry of Agriculture issued a so-called safety certificate to two strains of insect-resistant rice, known as Bt rice, pioneered by Qifa Zhang, a scientist at Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan. The ministry also approved a type of corn that helps livestock digest phosphates. Prior to that, a few minor crop varieties were approved for commercial planting. But to date only nonfood crops, an insect-resistant cotton and a virus-resistant papaya, have been commercially planted on a large scale in China. The rice approval seemed to have …

    July 31, 2014 12:02 am
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Science

  • Mother Octopus Sets Longest Egg-Tending Record: More Than 4 Years on Baby Watch


    One dedicated deep-sea octopus is now the world record holder for the most outlandishly long egg development. A female Graneledone boreopacifica off the California coast was observed guarding her eggs continuously for nearly four and a half years.   This eclipses the previous record holder for prenatal guardianship, the alpine salamander, which keeps its offspring internally for up to four years. Most animals that lay eggs watch them for a much shorter period of time. The record-holding fish, the Magellan plunderfish (Harpagifer bispinis), stays over its eggs for four to five months. And before these new observations about the California cephalopod, the longest confirmed octopus egg guarding was 14 months—a female Bathypolypus arcticus observed in a lab. “We were sure surprised,” says Bruce Robison, a senior biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and co-author of the report, which was published July 30 in PLoS ONE. “The results we measured substantially exceeded everyone’s expectations.” …

    July 30, 2014 8:19 pm
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Health

  • Liberia shuts schools as Ebola spreads, Peace Corps leaves three countries


    DAKAR (Reuters) – Liberia will close schools and consider quarantining some communities, it said on Wednesday, rolling out the toughest measures yet imposed by a West African government to halt the worst outbreak on record of the deadly Ebola virus. “This is a major public health emergency. It’s fierce, deadly and many of our countrymen are dying and we need to act to stop the spread,” Lewis Brown, Liberia’s information minister, told Reuters. “We need the support of the international community now more than ever. We desperately need all the help we can get.” Security forces in Liberia were ordered to enforce the action plan, which includes placing all non-essential government workers on 30-day compulsory leave. Highly infectious Ebola has been blamed for 672 deaths in the West Africa nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization. Liberia accounted for just under one-fifth of those deaths. The first cases of …

    July 31, 2014 12:02 am
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Entertainment

  • Nick Viall reveals why he dropped bombshell about Andi Dorfman


    Bachelorette Andi Dorfman “devastated” over loss of Eric Hill  On the reunion show, The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose, earlier this week, Dorfman and the audience alike were dumbfounded when Season 10 first runner-up, Nick Viall, revealed that he had been intimate with Dorfman during the taping of the season. “If you weren’t in love with me, I’m just not sure why you made love with me,” he said. Now, Viall is admitting that he was just as shocked as everyone else by his revelation. “I was surprised as anyone that it came out of my mouth, I suppose,” Viall told Billy Bush on Access Hollywood in his first TV interview since After the Final Rose. “You know, if I had anticipated it, I maybe could have been a little more delicate or wish I was, but that was something that was weighing on my mind.” Andi Dorfman tells Juan Pablo to put a ring …

    July 30, 2014 10:41 pm
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Editorial

  • Who will put an end to the Christian killing fields?


    Iraqi Christians pray during Sunday Mass at the Church of Virgin Mary in Baghdad, Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) ”Please, the world needs to know: We are captives, we don’t have water or electricity here in Aleppo but it is nothing compared to the fear we have toward the Islamists. Why is no one doing anything to save us?” A young Assyrian Christian woman in Aleppo, Syria, spoke these words to me during a phone call a few days ago. She is stuck in the country with her three small children.  ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT In wake of the ISIS invasion of Iraq, reports (long overdue) are emerging about the persecution of Christians and other minorities in the country. Yet ISIS is committing the same atrocities against non-Muslims in Syria, too. Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, has been emptied of almost all Christians. Ten days ago, ISIS – who now call themselves the Islamic State (IS) …

    July 31, 2014 12:02 am
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Odd News

  • Family finds 300-year-old sunken treasure off Florida’s east coast


    ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) – A Florida family scavenging for sunken treasure on a shipwreck has found the missing piece of a 300-year-old gold filigree necklace sacred to Spanish priests, officials said on Tuesday. Eric Schmitt, a professional salvager, was scavenging with his parents when he found the crumpled, square-shaped ornament on a leisure trip to hunt for artifacts in the wreckage of a convoy of 11 ships that sank in 1715 during a hurricane off central Florida’s east coast. After the discovery last month, a team of Spanish historians realized the piece fit together with another artifact recovered 25 years ago. It formed an accessory called a pyx, worn on a chain around a high priest’s neck to carry the communion host. The dollar value is uncertain. “It’s priceless, unique, one of a kind,” said Brent Brisben, operations manager for 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, which owns rights to the wreckage, located in 15-foot (4.5-meter) …

    July 30, 2014 12:06 pm
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