Headline News

  • Embezzled utility payments leave some Oklahomans in the dark

    TULSA, Okla. Some residents of a southern Oklahoma town were without electricity on Tuesday because of an embezzlement scandal that has played havoc with municipal finances and left power bills unpaid. According to an audit released by Oklahoma’s State Auditor and Inspector, the former treasurer of Ryan, Oklahoma, Patricia Laskowski admitted to embezzling an estimated $3,000 to $4,000 per month from residents’ payments of utility bills from April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2015. Shut-off notices went out starting on Friday for those whose bills went unpaid. Between $122,795 and $159,108 in total may have been misappropriated from customer’s utility billing, the report said. Laskowski, who resigned her job in July, was not immediately available for comment. Auditors said that Laskowski also admitted to using the town’s Wal-Mart Community Card as her personal credit card to buy items including groceries, clothes, hunting supplies, cell phones, a digital camera, a high definition Nook reader and two …

    November 24, 2015 5:26 pm


  • Kerry to visit Cyprus, five other European countries

    WASHINGTON U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will go on a six-nation European tour next week, including a visit to Cyprus for talks with Cypriot leaders to encourage progress toward ending the island’s 40-year division, the State Department said on Tuesday. Kerry will travel to Paris on Monday to join President Barack Obama for the opening of international climate talks. He will then go to Brussels to attend NATO meetings, to Kosovo’s capital Pristina and to the Serbian capital Belgrade, where he will take part in a meeting of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, the department said in a statement. On Dec. 3 he will travel to Nicosia, where he will “meet with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders to encourage continued progress in the U.N.-facilitated settlement talks,” it said. Cyprus has been split along ethnic lines since a 1974 Turkish invasion triggered by a Greek-inspired coup. The internationally recognized government of …

    November 24, 2015 6:05 pm


  • Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos: Congrats, but …

    Elon Musk has a funny way of saying congratulations. After Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin had a successful launch Monday, Musk, the CEO of Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX, was quick to say congrats on Twitter. Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket made it successfully into outer space and then landed upright upon its return to Earth. Creating a rocket that can be reused could drastically cut the cost of space travel. That’s also a central goal of SpaceX, which has twice tried to land a rocket vertically that had been to space. But the rocket toppled over both times. A third attempt in June failed when the unmanned rocket exploded on its way to space. Congrats to Jeff Bezos and the BO team for achieving VTOL on their booster — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2015 But Musk couldn’t leave it at that. He let folks know that SpaceX has more ambitious space travel plans …

    November 24, 2015 4:45 pm


  • ECB planning to scrap cricket toss

    The toss would remain in domestic one-day cricket The toss could be scrapped in County Championship Division Two matches next season under proposals being considered by the England and Wales Cricket Board. The ECB’s executive board will discuss the plan on Thursday after it was recommended by its cricket committee. If it is approved a one-year trial will take place in 2016 to try to improve pitches and encourage spin bowlers. The away team would choose whether to bat, bowl or still have a toss if the pitch condition was uncertain. The toss will remain in County Championship Division One and domestic limited-overs cricket. It was mentioned in the first recorded laws of cricket in 1744 when the team winning the flip of the coin would have the choice of which pitch to use as well as whether to bat or bowl first. The ECB believes many matches in Division Two are decided by the …

    November 24, 2015 5:25 pm

World News

  • Hostages freed from gunmen in France

    Image copyright AFP Image caption Police cordoned off the area close to where armed men had taken hostages A hostage situation in the northern French town of Roubaix has ended, with the hostages now safe, local officials say. Up to three armed men took hostages in the town near the border with Belgium, reports said. One of the hostage takers was killed during the police operation, according to local officials. The incident was not related to the security situation in France following the 13 November attacks in Paris. Local authorities said the hostages were now in a “secure place”; at least one suspect had been arrested, according to reports. Local media said the incident took place at around 19:00 local time (18:00 GMT), and an area of the town was cordoned off. It is not clear how many people were held hostage. Gunshots were fired, according to local residents. The armed men had been planning …

    November 24, 2015 5:25 pm


  • Google muddles up Jeremy Corbyn with former Labour leaders

    What happens when you look up “Labour leader” on Google? A flurry of muddled entries on a host of former party chiefs – with wrong pictures to boot – but not much on Jeremy Corbyn. Users discovered little sign of the incumbent leader when they asked the world’s biggest search engine who he was. Google’s results when searching for ‘labour leader’. Instead, there was a confused combination: Google said the leader was Ed Miliband – who stepped down in May – accompanied by an image of the former prime minister Gordon Brown, whose party lost the general election in May 2010. When the Guardian tried to replicate the results, we found the same entries on other browsers including Google Chrome, Safari and Firefox. On social media, users were bemused: — Marie Le Conte (@youngvulgarian) November 24, 2015 Google, mate, you’re a mess. pic.twitter.com/BNLQ1jnUWH Similarly mismatched results caused further confusion: — Asa Bennett (@asabenn) November 24, …

    November 24, 2015 2:23 pm


  • Earth’s magnetic field is not about to flip

    Related images(click to enlarge) The intensity of earth’s magnetic field has been weakening in the last couple of hundred years, leading some scientists to think that its polarity might be about to flip. But the field’s intensity may simply be coming down from an abnormal high rather than approaching a reversal, scientists write in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Humans have lived through dips in the field’s intensity before, and there are debates about whether reversals in the more distant past had any connection to species extinctions. Today, we have something else today that would be affected by weakening of the magnetic field alone: technology. The magnetic field deflects the solar wind and cosmic rays. When the field is weaker, more radiation gets through, which can disrupt power grids and satellite communications. “The field may be decreasing rapidly, but we’re not yet down to the long-term average. In …

    November 24, 2015 5:05 pm


  • FDA panel: BioMarin DMD drug data not persuasive enough

    A panel of outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicated that efficacy data from BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc on its experimental drug for treating a muscle wastage disorder was not persuasive enough. The FDA panel did not officially vote on an approval of the drug. However, 15 out of 17 members were of the opinion that the lack of statistical significance in BioMarin’s late-stage study weakened findings from two earlier studies. The drug, drisapersen, is being developed to treat Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy (DMD) – a disease that affects one in 3,600 newborn boys and causes rapid muscle degeneration. The FDA will decide on the approval of the drug by Dec. 27, after considering the panel’s comments. The vote comes after FDA staff on Friday raised concerns about the drug that included potentially fatal long-term side effects. The panel on Tuesday focused on the data and its interpretation after hearing out 26 speakers, mostly …

    November 24, 2015 5:45 pm


  • Watch ‘DWTS’ Finale Live Online: ABC Live Streams Big Reveal Of Season 21 Mirrorball Trophy Winner

    What time does the Dancing with the Stars season finale start on Tuesday night, and how can you watch it live online? Season 21 comes to a close on November 24, and one of the three finalists — Bindi Irwin, Alek Skarlatos, and Nick Carter — will win the coveted Mirrorball trophy. Find all the details below including the start time and live stream info for what promises to be an exciting night of dancing and entertainment. Follow the official DWTS Twitter account @DancingABC for the latest updates on tonight’s show and see what’s going on backstage on ABC Live All-Access. Go backstage during tonight’s #DWTSFinale with #DWTSAllAccess – thanks to @AppleVacations https://t.co/8dJ1UepXMm pic.twitter.com/HwnwukfsFa — Official DWTS (@DancingABC) November 24, 2015 The two-hour finale starting at 9 p.m. ET on your local ABC TV channel, or via a live stream with the free Watch ABC app on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. The network’s live streaming …

    November 24, 2015 4:45 pm


  • T.D. Jakes: ‘Stick Together’: Thankful for the lessons I learned from my parents

    “Stick together” my mother whispered as she ebbed between life and eternity, uttering the very last words I would ever hear from the matriarch who’d raised me singularly since my father’s passing decades earlier. As she lay cradled in my arms, her last breaths were spent admonishing my siblings and me to continue as the familial unit that our parents patterned for us over our lifetime through an amalgamation of unbridled love, hard work, and true grit. That gentle reproof has always underscored my intuitive understanding of family. As a father of five and grandfather of four, I’ve found that there is nothing more enveloping and soul satisfying than the unconditional love of family served lavishly like a feast set before a king. We do not choose family, but in the seeming serendipity of the hand that holds the cards that we are dealt, something miraculous occurs.  We become who we are in the reflection …

    November 24, 2015 4:24 pm

Odd News

  • UK wife who poisoned husband is foiled by spelling mistake

    LONDON A British woman who tried to kill her husband by poisoning his Christmas drink of sparkling fruit wine with anti-freeze was jailed for 15 years on Monday after being undone by a spelling mistake and a trail of text messages. Following family arguments, Jacqueline Patrick, 55, twice tried to kill her husband Douglas, 70, in October and on Christmas Day 2013, by spiking his cherry Lambrini, a drink favored by teenagers looking to get drunk on a low budget. “Perhaps most shocking of all was the note she gave to the London Ambulance Service purporting to be from her husband, stating that he did not wish to be resuscitated,” said Detective Inspector Tracey Miller, of London’s Metropolitan Police, in a statement. The forged note showed a misspelling of the word dignity as “dignerty”. When police later asked her to write the word, Jacqueline Patrick made the same mistake. The couple’s daughter Katherine, 21, was …

    November 23, 2015 1:18 pm