Headline News

  • U.S. begins auction for 50,000 bitcoins tied to criminal website


    NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Marshals Service on Thursday started auctioning off 50,000 bitcoins following the conviction of Ross Ulbricht for running Silk Road, the underground website where authorities said drugs and other illegal goods could be bought using the virtual currency. The six-hour online auction of roughly $13.5 million worth of bitcoins at current prices began at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT). The 50,000 bitcoins were being offered in 20 blocks: 10 blocks of 2,000 bitcoins and 10 blocks of 3,000 bitcoins. The winning bidders will be notified on Friday. The Marshals Service conducted auctions in June and December for nearly 80,000 bitcoins seized during the Silk Road raid in 2013. Ulbricht, 30, was found guilty on Feb. 4 of conspiracies to commit money laundering, computer hacking and drug trafficking. Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper, winner of the past two auctions, has not submitted a bid. But he noted that the bitcoins on …

    March 5, 2015 4:20 pm
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Politics

  • McConnell postpones Iran debate in U.S. Senate, after Democratic objections


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday postponed plans to debate and vote next week on a bill that would require President Barack Obama to submit any nuclear agreement with Iran for Congress’ approval. Many Democrats – including co-sponsors of the bill – had objected to McConnell’s plan to push forward with the legislation before international negotiators’ late-March deadline for reaching a framework agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, who introduced the measure last week with Republican Senator Bob Corker, was among several Democrats who had said they would not vote for it until after March 24. Obama, a Democrat, has said he will veto the bill if it passes, which would mean it would need the support of two-thirds of both the Senate and House of Representatives to become law. Corker said he was pleased with McConnell’s decision. “I greatly appreciate the Majority Leader’s commitment …

    March 5, 2015 2:40 pm
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Stocks

  • ABC’s ‘American Crime:’ powerful, but will it be popular?


    “This new ABC drama is the most nuanced, intelligent take on race relations we’ve seen in years.” That’s the review Slate’s TV critic Willa Paskin gave to the new ABC drama “American Crime,” and Paskin isn’t alone in her acclaim. Ahead of its premiere on Thursday night, “American Crime” currently has a perfect score on the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, right up there with the new AMC series “Better Call Saul.” “Crime” has garnered rave reviews from The New York Times, Variety, and The Los Angeles Times. “This is America as we seldom see it — presented in a way we’ve never seen,” USA Today’s Robert Bianco wrote. A racially-charged murder at the beginning of the 11-episode series triggers questions about race, the judicial system and social injustice among a diverse cast of characters. Timothy Hutton and Felicity Huffman are two of the stars; John Ridley, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “12 Years a Slave,” …

    March 5, 2015 3:00 pm
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Sports

  • Prosthetic leg stolen from California blade-runner


    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A leading U.S. amputee athlete seeking to compete in next year’s Paralympic Games in Brazil has been sidelined from training after his $30,000 prosthetic running leg was stolen from his car in San Francisco, he said on Thursday. The prosthesis, consisting of a carbon fiber blade and titanium, hydraulic-operated knee socket, had been specially designed to allow Ranjit Steiner to bend his right leg with human-like mechanics when he runs, he said. Steiner said he had been driving to work on Tuesday, his 24th birthday, when he realized that a rear window of his car had been smashed – apparently while parked on the street overnight in the Mission District – and he discovered that his laptop computer and prosthesis had been stolen. “There’s no value to anybody who can’t use this thing,” he said of the artificial leg. “I’m the only one who can really use it. It’s customized to …

    March 5, 2015 4:20 pm
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World News

  • Boston victim ‘spotted bomber’


    5 March 2015 Last updated at 18:01 Jeff Bauman was severely injured during the Boston Marathon bombings A man who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombings has testified that he locked eyes with one of the bombers just before the attack. In the second day of the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Jeff Bauman said he met the gaze of the bomber’s older brother, who was not watching the race. Mr Tsarnaev is on trial for the April 2013 attack and could face the death penalty. The elder brother, Tamerlan, died in a shootout with police. “He was alone. He wasn’t watching the race,” Mr Bauman, who now has to use prosthetic legs, said. “I looked at him, and he just kind of looked down at me. I just thought it was odd.” The testimony comes on the second day of the trial of the younger brother, which opened Tuesday with the surprise admission …

    March 5, 2015 4:21 pm
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Technology

  • Testing out Meerkat: the app that brings live streaming to Twitter


    Meerkat, a live-streaming phone app, became the latest fascination for many Twitter users on Wednesday, less than a week after its launch. The app, named after the small, carnivorous member of the mongoose family, is built to allow users to live-stream video straight to the web. It relies on Twitter to alert people to Meerkat broadcasts. It was launched on Friday 27 February by Life On Air, a live-stream startup team of just 10 people. Meerkat had originally been conceived as a side project but by Tuesday, Ben Rubin, the company’s CEO, had decided to focus the whole team on Meerkat. Using Meerkat is simple. You download the app. You open the app. You sync it up with Twitter. There is a box saying “Write what’s happening …” After writing what is happening, there is a “stream” button to click on. Your phone’s video screen appears, a tweet is sent out, and you are live-streaming. …

    March 5, 2015 2:20 pm
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Science

  • Road De-Icing Fluids May Contain Unhealthy Chemicals


    During this seemingly endless winter road crews have been in a continual battle to keep streets and highways safe. Their chief weapon: saltwater. It adheres to the pavement better than bouncing rock salt and keeps ice from forming on top of it. But on some roads this salty solution may contain other potentially harmful substances.   Most state transportation departments mix this brine themselves, using either simple salt and water or natural brine extracted from underground deposits. But in states with conventional natural gas and oil drilling wells, spreading the well wastewater on roads can be a cost-saving way to de-ice. This fluid is called produced brine. Because it circulates among deep rocks and contacts various forms of petroleum, the brine can contain radium, lead or other substances that can be harmful at certain levels of exposure. State regulations of produced brine for de-icing purposes vary greatly, and some experts are calling for more rigorous …

    March 5, 2015 2:40 pm
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Health

  • San Francisco hospital begins rare six-way kidney transplant chain


    (Reuters) – Doctors at a San Francisco hospital began an unusual series of kidney transplants on Thursday with six living donors providing organs to six patients in a chain that began with a woman described as an altruistic donor unrelated to any of the recipients. The first donor and recipient went into surgery at California Pacific Medical Center at 7:30 a.m., with two more donor-recipient pairs on the schedule for Thursday, then the remaining three pairs on Friday, hospital spokesman Dean Fryer said. The chain of donations began when Zully Broussard, 55, of Sacramento, whose son and husband both died of cancer, offered to donate a kidney to a friend, but the friend ultimately had to use another donor, according to hospital officials. Still willing to donate, even to a stranger, Broussard was matched with a man from Benicia, California, triggering a domino effect. That man’s sister-in-law, who was not a match for him, agreed …

    March 5, 2015 2:40 pm
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Entertainment

  • Paris Jackson Looks Carefree As She Shows Off New Hair Color In Los Angeles


    Posted on Thu Mar 5th, 2015 12:18pm PDT       By X17 Staff Paris Jackson looks like one happy teen — and we are glad to see it! Michael Jackson’s 16-year-old daughter looked carefree as she grabbed some grub in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The usually brunette teen showed off her lighter hair color shade during her afternoon of activities. For the food stop, Paris donned a psychedelic Woodstock shirt, black leggings and comfy Ugg boots. We also noticed a temporary tattoo of two cherries with a single star. The teen has had a troubled journey since her father’s passing in 2009. In June 2013, media outlets reported Paris had attempted suicide at the Jackson family ranch. Paris received treatment at UCLA and then moved to a therapeutic private school in Utah for teenagers, which deals with depression and grief management. The pricey school reportedly costs $14,000 a month. Our photogs caught her chatting on her phone yesterday …

    March 5, 2015 3:00 pm
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Editorial

  • Taylor Swift’s big mistake


    FILE – Feb. 15, 2015: Singer Taylor Swift attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special in New York. Swift has donated $50,000 to the New York City public schools. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) Pop star Taylor Swift has donated $50,000 to the New York City public school system. Swift, who was named the world’s sixth most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine, has commendably performed numerous acts of charity since moving into her $20 million Tribeca residence last year, including visits with sick children at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The age and cultural divide notwithstanding (she’s 25, I’m not, and Elvis was my adolescent icon), I like Taylor Swift, but her money would have been better invested with much higher returns somewhere other than the dreadful New York City public schools, whose problems are not the result of insufficient funding. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT If Taylor Swift is looking for a return on her investment in the currency of …

    March 5, 2015 3:00 pm
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Odd News

  • Remains of two fetuses found in ceiling of Indiana funeral home


    GARY, Ind. (Reuters) – Gary, Indiana, authorities on Thursday were investigating the origin of two fetuses that were briefly hidden in the rafters of a funeral home morgue. One of the fetuses bore a tag from Methodist Hospital that identified it as male, the funeral home said. The gender of the other fetus, which was in the 24th to 26th week of gestation, is unknown, Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey said. The fetuses had been stored in the home’s morgue since the late 1990s and were placed in the ceiling of the morgue in September by an employee who was later dismissed, said Sean Howard, a spokesman for the Smith, Bizzell Warner Funeral Home in Gary, in northwest Indiana. The funeral home, which has been around for 90 years, was purchased by its current owner in 2005. Coronor’s office investigator Scott Sefton said a pathologist would examine the fetuses on Thursday. “The bottom line is …

    March 5, 2015 2:40 pm
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