Headline News

  • Freed US journalist returns home


    27 August 2014 Last updated at 11:07 Curtis, seen here in an undated video, is thought to have been kidnapped in Turkey US journalist Peter Theo Curtis, freed two days ago after being held captive for almost two years by al-Nusra militants in Syria, has returned home. He was greeted by his mother in his hometown Boston late on Tuesday. In a statement, Curtis, 45, said he was “moved beyond all words” by the people who welcomed him home. US officials had worked with more than 12 countries to help secure his release, which comes days after a US journalist was beheaded in Syria. On 20 August, the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria released a widely condemned video of the moments before and after the beheading of James Foley, 40, who was seized in 2012. UK secret services are reportedly close to identifying a suspected British jihadist from the footage of that killing. ‘Unspeakable …

    August 27, 2014 5:39 am
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Politics

  • Arizona’s state treasurer claims victory in Republican primary


    PHOENIX (Reuters) – Arizona state treasurer and businessman Doug Ducey claimed victory on Tuesday in the race to be the Republican nominee to replace outgoing Governor Jan Brewer, who has repeatedly clashed with the Obama administration over illegal immigration. With border security issues high on the political agenda, Ducey held a convincing lead of 37 percent with two-thirds of the precincts reporting in the six-way race that included ex-mayor and developer Scott Smith. Smith had 22.4 percent of the vote. Ducey and Smith have been considered the top two candidates in the race by the latest political polls and by observers. Smith conceded the race in a speech surrounded by supporters two hours after the polls closed. The Arizona governor’s race is the highest profile battle among a series of state primary contests being held on Tuesday that also include votes in Florida, Vermont and Oklahoma. The winner in Arizona will face Democrat Fred Duval, …

    August 27, 2014 2:35 am
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Stocks

  • Home prices rising, but slowly


    Year-over-year price gains have slowed. Home prices are still rising, but the pace of increases is definitely slowing. National home prices rose 6.2% this spring, compared to the same three months last year, according to the SP/Case-Shiller national home price index. Prices in the index’s 10 and 20 city measures rose at a slower year-over-year pace in June alone, with every city reporting lower gains — the first time that’s happened in more than six years. Both city indexes rose 8.1% on an annual basis. Related: Best cities for Millennial homebuyers Recent housing market data has sent a mixed message. The number of new homes sold dropped in July for the third straight month. But existing home sales rose in July to an annual rate of 5.15 million units, the highest level in 2014. Housing starts and builder sentiment have also been positive. “Taken together, these point to a more normal housing sector,” said David …

    August 27, 2014 5:39 am
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Sports

  • Manchester United, Van Gaal facing serious questions after humiliating exit in League Cup


    Manchester United Manager Louis van Gaal, centre rear, shows his dejection after their defeat by MK Dons in their League Cup Second Round match at Stadium:mk, Milton Keynes, England, Tuesday Aug. 26, 2014. MK Dons defeated Manchester United 4-0. (AP Photo/PA, Nick Potts) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVEThe Associated Press MK Dons’ Will Grigg jubilates after scoring a second goal against Manchester United during the League Cup Second Round match at Stadium:mk, Milton Keynes, England, Tuesday Aug. 26, 2014. MK Dons defeated Manchester United 4-0. (AP Photo/PA, Nick Potts) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVEThe Associated Press MANCHESTER, England –  Louis van Gaal has always said it could get worse before it gets better at Manchester United. He couldn’t have thought it would get this bad. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Barely two months ago, a jubilant Van Gaal was leaping out of his seat and high-fiving his Netherlands players after masterminding a 5-1 thrashing …

    August 27, 2014 5:39 am
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World News

  • Syria ‘used chlorine gas’


    27 August 2014 Last updated at 11:37 The city of Aleppo has been the scene of fierce fighting in recent months Islamic State militants have committed “mass atrocities” in Syria, including the recruitment of children as fighters, the United Nations says. Investigators have also accused the Syrian government of using chemical agents in eight separate incidents in western Syria this year. Islamic State (IS), which now controls areas of Syria, is one of the groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad. Some 200,000 have died since the conflict began in early 2011. The findings are the result of six months of interviews and evidence collected between January and July this year as part of an inquiry into human rights violations inside Syria. The period covered in the report coincides with the growth of the IS group in Syria, which seeks to create an independent Islamic State in an area that stretches across Syria and Iraq. The group’s …

    August 27, 2014 5:39 am
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Technology

  • Duolingo creator: ‘I wanted to create a way to learn languages for free’


    Luis von Ahn is a man of many titles: computer science professor, entrepreneur, crowdsourcing pioneer to name but a few. He sold two companies to Google while still in his 20s and his latest creation, Duolingo, is well on the way to revolutionising language learning across the world. “What I wanted to do was create a way to learn languages for free,” says von Ahn. “If you look at language learning in the world, there are 1.2 billion people learning a foreign language and two thirds of those people are learning English so they can get a better job and earn more. The problem is that they don’t have equity and most language courses cost a lot of money.” Duolingo launched in 2012 and the app now has 40 million registered users, making it one of the most popular ways to learn languages in the world. Put another way, in America there are more people …

    August 27, 2014 2:35 am
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Science

  • Introducing the multi-tasking nanoparticle


    Kit Lam and colleagues from UC Davis and other institutions have created dynamic nanoparticles (NPs) that could provide an arsenal of applications to diagnose and treat cancer. Built on an easy-to-make polymer, these particles can be used as contrast agents to light up tumors for MRI and PET scans or deliver chemo and other therapies to destroy tumors. In addition, the particles are biocompatible and have shown no toxicity. The study was published online today in Nature Communications. “These are amazingly useful particles,” noted co-first author Yuanpei Li, a research faculty member in the Lam laboratory. “As a contrast agent, they make tumors easier to see on MRI and other scans. We can also use them as vehicles to deliver chemotherapy directly to tumors; apply light to make the nanoparticles release singlet oxygen (photodynamic therapy) or use a laser to heat them (photothermal therapy) — all proven ways to destroy tumors.” Jessica Tucker, program director …

    August 27, 2014 2:55 am
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Health

  • Travel with medications, medical devices can be daunting


    (This August 20th story has been refiled to correct gender of Dr. Bauer in paras 15, 16 and 18, and changes “county” to “country” in para 16.) NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – For international travelers who need to carry medical devices and medications with them, it’s not easy to find out the travel requirements at their destinations, and embassies in general aren’t much help, according to a new study. “The problem is known to exist but has not previously been published as we have,” said lead author Moses Mutie of the Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra in Bruce, Australia. “Most embassies focus on trade and tourism,” Mutie told Reuters Health by email. “Health issues are not often a priority.” The Australian researchers considered the situation of a traveler from their own country going to one of 25 other countries popular with Australian tourists, including destinations in Africa, the Americas, Europe, Southeast Asia …

    August 26, 2014 10:29 pm
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Entertainment

  • Miley Cyrus stands by her troubled VMAs date


    Frosty Miley Cyrus is still holding a grudge against Ed Sheeran  After the media exploded on Tuesday with the news that Helt, who accepted the award for Video of the Year on the songstress’ behalf, is a wanted man, Cyrus stood steadfast in her choice to have the homeless youth accompany her to the star-studded event and issued a call to action to end youth homelessness. In a series of tweets, Cyrus defended Helt’s past, expressed hope that the sensationalism of his story could spark a conversation about homelessness and showed her disappointment in the media for their treatment of Helt. Cyrus doesn’t say whether she knew about Helt’s arrest record before taking him to the VMAs, but she did make it clear that she doesn’t care and, instead, expressed empathy. “People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included,” she tweeted. People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included. …

    August 27, 2014 4:15 am
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Editorial

  • The debt we owe to those who stand between us and our enemies


      I was only 5-years-old, but I remember well the cold, dreary Sunday,  December 7 in 1941, when our family gathered around my Granddaddy’s big floor model radio to listen to the news that the Japanese Imperial Air Force had attacked the United States naval facilities in Pearl Harbor. That’s the day the world changed for me, never to be the same in my life. The Second World War become very real to those of us in coastal North Carolina, where ships leaving my seaport hometown of Wilmington were sunk by German U-boats just miles off our coast, prompting a very real fear that the Nazis would try to bring the war on shore. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT I learned very early in my life that only two things protect our nation: the grace of Almighty God and the United States military.  I learned very early in my life that only two things protect our nation: the …

    August 27, 2014 2:35 am
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Odd News

  • Shaun the sheep, when shorn, may turn out to be world’s woolliest


    SYDNEY (Reuters) – Two Australian farmers say that they may have found the world’s woolliest sheep, whose estimated 25 kg (55 lb) coat, if confirmed, could shatter the world record currently held by neighboring New Zealand. Shaun the sheep was found on Sunday wandering in a country area near the town of Oatlands, 84 km (52 miles) from Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, the largely rural island state off Australia’s southeastern coast. “He couldn’t see very well because of the wool over his face, so I snuck up behind him and grabbed ahold of him,” farmer Peter Hazell told reporters. The six-year-old merino sheep had likely never been shorn in his life, the farmers said, but he was due to have a date with the clippers in the next few days. The Australian farmers say they anticipate Shaun will overtake the current world record, held by a New Zealand sheep called Shrek. (Reporting by Samantha …

    August 27, 2014 2:55 am
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