Headline News

  • ‘Life-threatening’ blizzard shuts down much of U.S. Northeast


    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A life-threatening blizzard barreled into the U.S. Northeast, affecting up to 20 percent of Americans as it kept workers and students housebound, halted thousands of flights and prompted New York to ban cars from roads and shut down subway trains. With memories still fresh of Sandy, a superstorm that ravaged the East Coast in 2012, the governors of six East Coast states declared emergencies. The storm could affect up to 60 million people in nearly a dozen states. The National Weather Service warned of a “life-threatening blizzard” that could dump as much as 30 inches (76 cm) of snow on parts of the region at rates up to four inches an hour. Winds might gust up to 55 mph (80 kph) around New York City. The National Weather Service in New York said roughly 5.5 inches of snow had fallen in the Manhattan’s Central Park by early Tuesday and nearly nine …

    January 27, 2015 1:45 am
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Politics

  • In parting shot, Obama prods India on religious freedom


    NEW DELHI (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama weighed in on one of India’s most sensitive topics as he wound up a visit on Tuesday, making a plea for freedom of religion to be upheld in a country where relations between Hindus and minorities have come under strain. Obama made no direct reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose rise to power last year has emboldened some Hindu groups to assert themselves in a country with a history of religious strife. “Your Article 25 (of the constitution) says that all people are ‘equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion’,” Obama told a townhall address to mostly young Indians in New Delhi. “In both our countries, in all countries, upholding this fundamental freedom is the responsibility of government, but it’s also the responsibility of every person.” Modi’s rise to power has …

    January 27, 2015 1:25 am
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Stocks

  • Boomerang home buyers are coming back


    Potential home buyers talk with a loan officer in Florida. Millions of Americans who lost their homes during the foreclosure crisis are now poised to become homeowners again. That’s according to a new report from RealtyTrac, which estimates that 7.3 million so-called “boomerang buyers” will return to the U.S. housing market over the next eight years. Foreclosures and short sales skyrocketed after 2007 during the darkest years of the financial crisis and Great Recession. But with the economy gaining momentum and hiring picking up, many foreclosed on homeowners are in a position to buy again. Related: Old foreclosure debt coming back to haunt former homeowners Half a million home buyers: Homeowners can recover from foreclosure in as little as three years, but seven years is the “conservative” amount of time it takes to rebuild a credit score, according to RealtyTrac. That means many homeowners who lost their homes in 2007 should be able qualify for …

    January 27, 2015 1:45 am
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Sports

  • Nadal disappointed but bows out content with comeback


    MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A fourth-round thrashing of big-serving South African Kevin Anderson had given Rafa Nadal hope he might be back to his best, but the Spaniard’s limited preparations came back to haunt him against Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open on Tuesday. The rangy Czech played majestically to reach his second semi-final at Melbourne Park, upsetting Nadal 6-2 6-0 7-6(5) to snap a record 17-match losing streak against the 14-times grand slam champion. Nadal battled hard to keep in touch in the third set and nervelessly saved two match-points to take the decider into a tiebreak. But the horse had well and truly bolted when Berdych wrapped up the first two sets in a breath-taking hour of clean hitting. “The third was the right set, the right game that I have to play. But it is obvious that before I didn’t play with the right confidence, with the right intensity, losing court, playing very …

    January 27, 2015 2:05 am
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World News

  • Facebook suffers widespread outage


    27 January 2015 Last updated at 07:26 Social networking site Facebook suffered from a widespread outage on Tuesday, before coming back online. Millions of users were unable to access their accounts. Users in some countries also had difficulties accessing photo-sharing app Instagram. An Instagram spokesman posted on Twitter: “We’re aware of an outage affecting Instagram and are working on a fix. Thank you for your patience.”

    January 27, 2015 1:46 am
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Technology

  • Facebook’s Oculus VR sets up Story Studio to make virtual reality films


    Facebook-owned virtual reality firm Oculus VR is getting into filmmaking with a new division called Story Studio, staffed by a team of veterans from the likes of Pixar and Industrial Light Magic. The studio is showing off its first VR movie – an animated short film called Lost – at the Sundance Film Festival, with plans to make several more in the year ahead in the run-up to the commercial release of the Oculus Rift headset. Story Studio is a sign of Oculus’ ambitions to move beyond games, the entertainment genre that persuaded Facebook to buy the company for $2bn in 2014. Oculus hopes that the new division will stimulate other animators and filmmakers to start making VR films. “Right now the focus is to support and inspire the community—share with them everything we’re doing, opening it all up,” chief executive Brendan Iribe told Road to VR. “Over the next two months, we’re hoping to …

    January 27, 2015 1:25 am
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Science

  • Ads effective even in the midst of multitasking, studies find


    Related images(click to enlarge) Those video ads playing in the corner of your computer screen, in the midst of your multitasking, may have more impact than you realize. They may be as effective as the ads you’re really watching, such as those during the Super Bowl, says a University of Illinois researcher. It depends on how you perceive and process media content — whether your processing “style” is to focus more on one thing or to take it all in, according to Brittany Duff, a professor in Illinois’ Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising. It also may depend on your mood. Duff led two different studies on multitasking and ad recognition, each with a different group of undergraduates at a different Midwestern university. The results were recently published online in a paper for the Journal of Advertising. As part of each study, participants were evaluated and categorized as being more “analytic” or “holistic” in their …

    January 27, 2015 1:26 am
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Health

  • Does rotten egg gas flow through the fountain of youth?


    Sulfur baths were celebrated for their health benefits in Roman times, but hydrogen sulfide was later deemed toxic. New research resurrects the medical benefits of the gas.Credit: Image by © Rykoff Collection/CORBIS Calorie-restricted diets have long been known to extend lifespan and delay the diseases of ageing, but nobody has known why. Could the link be found in the gas hydrogen sulfide – the many health benefits of which medical researchers are now discovering? A report by a team of scientists led by James Mitchell at the Harvard School of Public Health published in Cell this month suggests it might be. Perhaps those Romans, with their penchant for sulfur baths, were on to something. While the research is in its early days, Michael Fossel at Grand Valley State University, Michigan, an expert in anti-ageing medicine, welcomes the findings: “This work has taken us through one more door in the maze.” In recent years hydrogen sulfide …

    January 27, 2015 1:25 am
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Entertainment

  • 4 Times Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o have been caught flirting


    1. The 2014 Independent Spirit Awards Leto publicly revealed his crush on Nyong’o for the first time in his acceptance speech. “I want to thank all the women I’ve been with and all the women who think they’ve been with me,” he said. “And also my future ex-wife, I’m talking to you, Lupita Nyong’o!” Hope she gets a prenup! 2. The 2014 MTV Movie Awards In an attempt to play up the obvious chemistry between the pair, MTV had Nyong’o present Leto with his award for Best On-Screen Transformation. “That’s an award in itself to get that from her,” he said. Ooh la la. More: Jared Leto announced his Oscar date on Instagram 3. Paris Fashion Week Spring 2014 The pair was spotted together at the Miu Miu show and Nyong’o later posted a selfie collage of the two on Instagram. #selfies @jaredleto. Done. A photo posted by Lupita Nyong’o (@lupitanyongo) on Mar 10, 2014 …

    January 27, 2015 1:45 am
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Editorial

  • Christian ex-fire chief fires back at Atlanta mayor, files discrimination complaint


    Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran (Fox 5 Atlanta) Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran says he was fired because he wrote a book expressing his Christian faith, according to a discrimination complaint filed Jan. 19 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “I believe that I have been discriminated against because of my religion,” Cochran wrote in the complaint. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT His attorney, Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith, said the ADA wants to vindicate the former fire chief following his “unjust termination.” The mayor may have the LGBT activists, the union and The New York Times on his side – but Chief Cochran has some much bigger firepower – the nation’s evangelical community. “Americans are guaranteed the freedom to live without fear of losing their jobs because of their beliefs and thoughts,” Tedesco said. Atlanta Mayor Kasim …

    January 27, 2015 1:25 am
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Odd News

  • San Francisco Zoo offers spurned lovers cockroach, scorpion adoptions


    (Reuters) – The San Francisco Zoo is giving the spurned and broken-hearted a new reason to mark Valentine’s Day – the chance to adopt a giant scorpion or hissing cockroach named after a heart-trampling ex. “When you think about the detritus of your love life this Valentine’s Day, consider adopting a Madagascar hissing cockroach for your ex,” the San Francisco Zoo said on its donation page of Monday’s promotion. For those suffering the sting of rejection, the zoo recommends the giant hairy scorpion. “Just like you-know-who, when a suitable victim wanders by, the scorpion grabs the doomed creature with its pinchers and stings the prey,” the zoo said. For those feeling especially wronged, the zoo also gives the option of having a notification sent to the person behind the heartbreak. Naming rights start at $25, and the spite money goes to a good cause, the zoo said. In both cases, the donations will be used …

    January 27, 2015 1:26 am
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