Headline News

  • Kidnapping trial focuses on whether teenage girl chose to leave home

    A prosecutor said on Thursday that a California man was eying his girlfriend’s 15-year-old daughter before he helped bring the girl up from Mexico, raped her, abducted her from the family’s home and forced her to live with him under a false name for a decade. But a lawyer for now-42-year-old Isidro Garcia told jurors that his client was a hard-working janitor and machine operator who adored the girl he later made his wife and the mother of his child, and that she left her family’s troubled Orange County home willingly with him as a teen. Jurors heard two radically different accounts of the same sequence of events in opening statements of Garcia’s trial on charges of rape, kidnapping and lewd acts on a child dating back to 2004. With the kidnapping charge carrying a potential life sentence, the lawyers focused largely on whether the girl was snatched or ran away with Garcia. At times, …

    February 12, 2016 9:19 am


  • From a river town in Slovenia to Trump Tower, and the White House?

    SEVNICA, Slovenia If Melania Trump succeeds Michelle Obama as First Lady, she may trace her road to the White House back to 1987 and a chance encounter in the capital of her native Slovenia. “I was leaving a fashion show in Ljubljana and saw her in front of the building. She was probably waiting for a friend,” said Slovenian photographer Stane Jerko. “She was tall and slim so she caught my eye and I approached her and suggested that she come in for a trial photo shoot.” Jerko says the resulting black-and-white pictures of the 17-year-old known then as Melanija Knavs – round face, bare feet, hair in a ponytail – launched a career that would take her to Milan and the United States, where she met Donald Trump at a party in New York in 1998. Though not quite a tale of rags to riches, the lifestyle she leads as the third wife of …

    February 12, 2016 8:58 am


  • Visa buys 10% of Jack Dorsey’s Square

    Square. Everywhere you want to be? Visa, the credit card processing giant famous for that marketing slogan, disclosed in a SEC filing late Thursday that it now owns a 9.99% stake in Square, the mobile payments startup founded by Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) CEO Jack Dorsey. Shares of Square (SQ) surged nearly 10% in early trading on the news. Visa (V) already had an investment in Square. It bought a stake in the company back in April 2011. But terms of that investment were never disclosed … and the stake must have been relatively small since it was not disclosed in Square’s IPO filing last year. But Visa is now Square’s fourth-largest shareholder — trailing only Dorsey, venture capital firm Khosla Ventures and mutual fund giant Capital Research Management. The investment could be viewed as major validation for Square, whose stock has slumped since its market debut last November. And that’s despite the fact that Square …

    February 12, 2016 9:38 am


  • Man Utd silence does not worry Van Gaal

    Louis van Gaal guided United to fourth place in his first season in charge Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says he has no problem with the club’s failure to back him publicly. United made no comment after club officials held talks with ex-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho’s representatives, although no agreement was reached. United are out of the Champions League and face a fight to make the top four. “I don’t agree,” he said, when asked if United’s silence was unsettling. “You don’t have to answer invented stories. I agree with this policy of the club.” United are currently fifth in the Premier League table, six points adrift of Manchester City in fourth. They face second-from-bottom Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday lunchtime.

    February 12, 2016 9:19 am

World News

  • Facebook loses in French nudity case

    Image copyright EPA Image caption Facebook has its global base in Menlo Park, California The Paris appeal court has upheld a ruling that Facebook can be sued under French – not Californian – law. A French teacher won in the Paris high court last year, arguing that Facebook should not have suspended his account because of an erotic image on his page. Facebook appealed against that ruling – but the appeal court has now upheld the criticism of Facebook’s user terms. US-based Facebook says users can only sue in California. It removed a close-up of a nude woman, painted by Courbet. The teacher, Frederic Durand-Baissas, argued that he had a right to post a link on Facebook with the image of the famous Gustave Courbet painting. The original 19th-Century work hangs in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. The teacher accused Facebook of censorship and said the social network should reinstate his account and pay him …

    February 12, 2016 9:19 am


  • Women write ‘better’ code, study finds

    Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The researchers used data taken from the Github program-sharing platform Computer code written by women has a higher approval rating than that written by men – but only if their gender is not identifiable, new research suggests. The US researchers analysed nearly 1.4 million users of the open source program-sharing service Github. They found that pull requests – or suggested code changes – made on the service by women were more likely to be accepted than those by men. The paper is awaiting peer review. This means the results have yet to be critically appraised by other experts. The researchers, from the computer science departments at Caly Poly and North Carolina State University, looked at around four million people who logged on to Github on a single day – 1 April 2015. Github is an enormous developer community which does not request gender information from its 12 million users. …

    February 12, 2016 9:18 am


  • How your cells build tiny ‘train tracks’ could shed light on human disease

    Related images(click to enlarge) Researchers from the University of Warwick have discovered how cells in the human body build their own ‘railway networks’, throwing light on how diseases such as bowel cancer work. The results have just been published in Nature Scientific Reports. Professor Rob Cross, Professor of Mechanochemical Cell Biology at Warwick Medical School, said: “Every cell in our bodies contains a railway network, a system of tiny tracks called microtubules that run between important destinations inside the cell and allow cargo to be carried from one place to another. The tracks of this cellular railway are almost unimaginably small — just 25 nanometers across (a nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter). The railway is just as crucial to a well-run cell as a full-size railway is to a well-run country.” The microtubule tracks are vital for functions such as cell division and are a key target for key cancer drugs. The Cross …

    February 12, 2016 7:58 am


  • Researchers Probe Colombia’s Claim of No Birth Defects Linked to Zika

    FRIDAY, Feb. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) — At first glance, it seems like a small ray of hope in the ongoing Zika epidemic hitting Latin America. Colombia’s president said the other day that there were no signs of brain birth defects involving nearly 3,200 pregnant women in that country who were infected with the mosquito-borne virus. This, of course, would be good news, given that unborn babies are assumed to bear the primary risk from Zika. The virus has been linked in Brazil to hundreds of cases of microcephaly, a birth defect in which the head and brain are unusually small. But major public health institutions — including the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the March of Dimes — say it’s too soon to tell whether the Colombia reports are accurate. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos stated last Saturday that there’s no evidence Zika has caused any cases …

    February 12, 2016 8:38 am


  • Chaz Bono To Play A Minister In ‘The Bold And The Beautiful’

    Transgender actor Chaz Bono has landed a role on the daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful.” He will play a minister in episodes airing on March 31 and April 1. The reality TV star and activist told People in a statement, “I’m very excited to have been cast. I’m grateful that they are willing to pay me to do something I love, which is to act.” Bono teased the news that he had something big on the horizon on Twitter on Wednesday. On my way to work for an actual paying acting job. Very exciting. Can’t say more now. pic.twitter.com/KLMSXQbqd2 — Chaz Bono (@ChazBono) February 10, 2016 Cher and Sonny Bono are his parents. He was born female as Chastity Sun Bono in 1969. Bono came out as a lesbian in 1995 and then officially underwent gender reassignment in 2010. Bono competed on “Dancing With The Stars” and has appeared in the documentary “Becoming Chaz.”

    February 12, 2016 8:58 am


  • Holy Cow! Pastor offers free prayers at coffee houses

    Coffee is not exactly Thomas Rusert’s cup of tea. Nevertheless, every Thursday morning Pastor Thomas indulges himself in a steaming cup of java at local coffee houses. “I’m a tea drinker all the other days of the week,” said Thomas, the associate pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. “I’m a weirdly patterned person.” Click here to join Todd’s American Dispatch – a must-read for conservatives! It does seem a bit unusual – akin to a vegetarian ordering tofu at a barbecue joint. But it turns the pastor’s weekly coffee klatch is all about prayer. Yes, prayer. Every Thursday morning, Pastor Thomas puts on a clergy collar and sets up shop in a local coffee house. He sets out a little sign that reads, “Free Prayer,” and then waits to see who God sends his way. “I’m humbled all the time by the way that the Spirit works,” the pastor told me. “God …

    February 12, 2016 7:18 am

Odd News

  • Indian scientists express doubt over meteorite death attribution

    NEW DELHI Indian scientists have expressed doubt that a man in Tamil Nadu was the first person to have been confirmed killed by a meteorite strike, as the state’s top official has declared. The experts said the small crater, the absence of a sonic boom before impact, a lack of debris and the green and blue colour of rock recovered from the scene suggest some other cause. “It is highly improbable, but we will only be absolutely sure after a chemical analysis,” said V. Adimurthy, a senior scientist at India’s space agency. The mysterious event has triggered an international debate about whether a meteorite, space debris, leftover explosives or even frozen waste from a plane passing overhead may have killed the man. The meteorite attribution was announced this week by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram, a former film star who is known for her authoritarian style. A bus driver was killed by the meteorite at an engineering …

    February 10, 2016 8:04 am