Headline News

  • US household wealth rises to record level of $81.5 trillion on stock and home price gains


    WASHINGTON –  Strong stock market gains and higher home prices boosted Americans’ net worth in the April-June period to a record high, a trend that could encourage more spending. U.S. households also took on the most new debt in five years, driven mostly by student and auto loans. More borrowing can be a sign of confidence, although greater student debt can pose a burden for younger households. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The Federal Reserve said Thursday that household wealth rose 1.7 percent in the second quarter to $81.5 trillion. Americans’ stock and mutual fund portfolios gained $1 trillion. The value of their homes increased $230 billion. The Fed’s figures aren’t adjusted for population growth or inflation. Household wealth, or net worth, reflects the value of homes, stocks, and other assets minus mortgages, credit cards and other debts. U.S. net worth has rebounded dramatically since the depths of the Great Recession. During the first quarter of 2009, as …

    September 18, 2014 12:24 pm
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Politics

  • U.S. wasted $6.5 million on Afghan broadcast towers: inquiry


    LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Six communications towers built in Afghanistan were never used and were a waste of more than $6.5 million in U.S. taxpayer funds, an inquiry into U.S. State Department spending on Afghan reconstruction said on Thursday. The inquiry by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) tried to find out whether officials responsible for the project ignored a number of apparent warning signals before building the towers. “We have seen this problem time and time again, the red flags are ignored and the money is pushed out the door without proper planning and oversight,” John F. Sopko of SIGAR told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. State Department records provided to SIGAR showed that both senior State Department officials and flag officers from the Defense Department had expressed concern about the viability of the project. The aim of the scheme, when it was proposed in 2010, was to give Afghan civilians expanded …

    September 18, 2014 11:43 am
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Stocks

  • NFL’s biggest sponsor backs Roger Goodell


    PepsiCo is the NFL’s biggest sponsor, and its female CEO just gave embattled league Commissioner Roger Goodell a vote of confidence PepsiCo is the NFL’s biggest sponsor, and its female CEO just gave its embattled Commissioner Roger Goodell a vote of confidence. CEO Indra Nooy decried the domestic violence crisis enveloping the league in a statement released late Wednesday. “I am deeply disturbed that the repugnant behavior of a few players, and the NFL’s acknowledged mishandling of these issues, is casting a cloud over the integrity of the league,” she wrote. But she also said she knows Goodell to be “a man of integrity” and that she is confident he’ll respond to the crisis appropriately. “Over the past several days, it is increasingly apparent that the NFL is starting to treat these issues with the seriousness they deserve,” she said. PepsiCo (PEP) has sponsorship agreements with the league and its teams worth an estimated $100 …

    September 18, 2014 10:42 am
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Sports

  • NFL player Dwyer out of Arizona jail after domestic violence arrest


    PHOENIX (Reuters) – Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer posted bond and was released from a county jail on Thursday, a day after he was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault in the latest domestic violence case involving a National Football League player. Dwyer was taken into custody on Wednesday hours after two other NFL teams placed players embroiled in domestic violence cases on leaves of absence amid intensifying criticism from corporate sponsors and politicians of America’s top sports league.     The 25-year-old Dwyer stepped out of the Fourth Avenue Jail in downtown Phoenix into a throng of reporters and television cameras after posting a $25,000 cash-only bond following his initial appearance in Maricopa County Superior Court. Asked by journalists about the allegations involving a 27-year-old woman and their 18-month-old child, which include an accusation that he threw a shoe at the boy, Dwyer said, “I’d never hurt my son.” The Cardinals said on Wednesday they …

    September 18, 2014 12:24 pm
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World News

  • France to launch air strikes in Iraq


    18 September 2014 Last updated at 18:04 French Rafale fighter jets have been carrying out reconnaissance flights from the UAE France’s president says he has agreed to the Iraqi government’s request for air support for forces fighting the jihadist group, Islamic State (IS). Francois Hollande told reporters that French air strikes would only target the jihadist group’s positions in Iraq, and not neighbouring Syria. He also insisted that he would not send ground troops. France is already carrying out reconnaissance flights over Iraq and providing weapons to Kurdish fighters. US fighter jets and drones have undertaken more than 170 air strikes on IS in Iraq since mid-August, in an effort to protect US personnel and displaced Iraqis, and secure key infrastructure. The air campaign has enabled Iraqi and Kurdish forces to retake the important Mosul Dam, along with several small towns. However, the jihadists remain in control of dozens of cities and towns in Iraq …

    September 18, 2014 12:24 pm
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Technology

  • Yo! may be a source of ridicule but theres a reason it has millions of users


    At first they ridicule you. Then they start using your app for certain things. Then you raise VC funding. That’s the cycle of birth for new communication apps like Yo! and Snapchat and new content formats like emoji and internet memes. I remember when people would make fun of Snapchat as a “sexting app”. I did too, before I understood it. Before that, people made fun of Facebook. Before that, SMS. But as we’ve seen over and over again, dismissing new communication platforms comes with an opportunity cost for brands, businesses, and consumers. What used to be a simpler world of emails, phone calls, and SMS has led to dozens of new ways to communicate with each other. The iPhone and iPad have kicked off a Cambrian explosion of communication methods that divide and sub-divide the human need to express ourselves in ever more nuanced ways. So what can be said in an emoji that …

    September 18, 2014 11:43 am
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Science

  • “I Will Listen”: How Social Media Can Diminish the Stigma of Mental Illness


    One in four people will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lifetimes, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Yet often these individuals conceal their difficulties from friends, co-workers, family health professionals and others who could offer help.   When the New York City chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI–NYC) decided to investigate this phenomenon, they found that fear of being stigmatized—resulting in part from beliefs that individuals with mental illness are unpredictable or dangerous—was keeping many people silent. Teaming up with marketing company JWT New York, they designed the “I Will Listen” campaign in an effort to help break through these misconceptions.   The idea is simple: people pledge on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Vimeo to listen to and support individuals struggling with mental illness. “This can let people know ahead of time that you are there for them,” says NAMI–NYC development and communications director Colleen Kane. …

    September 18, 2014 12:04 pm
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Health

  • One Dose of Antidepressant Changes Brain Connections, Study Says


    THURSDAY, Sept. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Just a single dose of a common antidepressant can quickly alter the way brain cells communicate with one another, early research suggests. The findings, reported online Sept. 18 in Current Biology, are a step toward better understanding the brain’s response to widely prescribed antidepressants. Experts said the hope is to eventually be able to predict which people with depression are likely to benefit from a drug — and which people would fare better with a different option. In a small study of healthy volunteers, researchers found that a single dose of the antidepressant escitalopram (Lexapro) seemed to temporarily reduce “connectivity” among clusters of brain cells in most regions of the brain. The exceptions were two brain areas — the cerebellum and thalamus — where the drug boosted connectivity. In simple terms, connectivity refers to how brain cells “talk” to one another. The cerebellum coordinates the body’s voluntary movement, …

    September 18, 2014 11:43 am
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Entertainment

  • Kate Middleton Forced To Cancel First Solo Tour Of Malta Due To Morning Sickness


    Posted on Thu Sep 18th, 2014 9:00am PDT       By X17 Staff Unfortunately, pregnant princess Kate Middleton has had to drop out of her first royal tour to Malta due to morning sickness, says Kensington Palace. The royal, who is three months pregnant, was scheduled to tour the southern European island country on Sept. 20th for a two-day trip, but her morning sickness is preventing the trip. Prince William is set to step in instead. “The Duchess of Cambridge will no longer visit Malta this weekend,” the Palace revealed. “The Duke of Cambridge will undertake the visit instead. Her Royal Highness continues to suffer from the effects of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. The decision not to visit was taken by the Duke and Duchess on the advice of the Duchess’s doctors.” “The Duke is honored to represent Her Majesty The Queen on the visit, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of Malta’s independence. The visit itinerary remains unchanged.” During her …

    September 18, 2014 11:23 am
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Editorial

  • On Constitution Day, a reminder that political, economic chaos are a good thing


    “I’m not a Constitutional scholar, I just play one on television.” That might be a fitting disclaimer for recent article by David Wheeler, an Asbury University journalism professor, calling on the United States to rejoin the United Kingdom, were Scotland to go its own way.     ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Wheeler begins: “In the past few years, as America has degenerated into political and economic chaos, it has become increasingly clear that we would be far better off if we apologized for our revolt against the Crown and requested to rejoin the United Kingdom.”  Yes, my jaw also hit the floor.    It’s Constitution Day. Let me unswervingly uphold the ideal of political and economic chaos, because it’s enshrined in that noble document.   Yet, Wheeler has his reasons: The Brits live longer, enjoy a better health care system, experience less inequality, and exude better manners and a “higher” culture. I don’t even know where to start. …

    September 18, 2014 11:43 am
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Odd News

  • Factory gives model fighter jet to head of Russian Orthodox Church


    (This version of the story has been corrected to make clear gift was a model jet) MOSCOW (Reuters) – Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, was presented with an unlikely gift for a religious leader this week as he toured a factory in Russia’s far-east – a model of a single-seater fighter jet SU-35. Kirill was presented with the model after giving workers at the civilian and military aircraft plant icons blessed by himself, the church said in a statement on its official website on Tuesday. The patriarch, with whom President Vladimir Putin has fostered increasingly close ties in recent years, addressed the workers on the importance of protecting Russia. “Russia cannot be a vassal. Because Russia is not only a country, it is a whole civilization, it is a thousand-year story, a cultural melting-pot, of enormous power,” RIA news agency quoted him as saying. “In order for us to be able …

    September 18, 2014 12:04 pm
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