Headline News

  • Environmentalists, conservatives battle over whether manatees are ‘endangered’ or ‘threatened’

    In this photo taken Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, manatees Juliet, left, and Phoenix, right, swim at the Miami Seaquarium in Key Biscayne, Fla. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing whether the manatee should be reclassified as a “threatened” species, which would allow some flexibility for federal officials as the species recovers while maintaining most of the protections afforded to animals listed as endangered. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)The Associated Press

    August 29, 2014 4:35 am


  • Obama says does not yet have military strategy for Islamic State

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Thursday the United States has not yet developed a strategy for confronting Islamic State in Syria, an acknowledgement that a decision had not been made on whether to launch air strikes against the militant group. Obama’s comment during a White House news conference before a meeting of national security advisers about how to proceed against Islamic State drew criticism from Republicans and a clarification from White House spokesman Josh Earnest. Representative Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, said on Twitter: “President says “we don’t have a strategy yet” to deal with #ISIS. That’s obvious and increasingly unacceptable.” Earnest said Obama was referring to military options and that Obama has a comprehensive strategy for confronting the group through diplomatic means. Obama’s decision to begin U.S. surveillance flights over Syria this week prompted speculation that he was on the brink of expanding the fight against Islamic State from Iraq into …

    August 29, 2014 3:15 am


  • Malaysia Airlines slashes 6,000 jobs in major restructuring

    Malaysia Airlines has cut 6,000 jobs as part of a wide-ranging overhaul that follows the loss of two aircraft earlier this year. State investor Khazanah, which owns nearly 70% of the carrier, revealed the 30% workforce reduction on Friday. Khazanah also announced the creation of a new corporation that will absorb the majority of the carrier’s assets. Khazanah plans to buy out minority shareholders and de-list the current Malaysia Airlines. Assets will then be shifted to the new company, which the fund said could be ready to go public in three to five years. Azman Mokhtar, the managing director of Khazanah, said that the changes were necessary to help the airline compete in the rough-and-tumble airline industry. “The combination of measures announced today will enable our national airline to be revived,” Mokhtar said. “While funds have been made available, they come with strict conditions, so as to ensure that Malaysia Airlines truly resets its business …

    August 29, 2014 4:15 am


  • ‘A matter of integrity’: At Miami, notion of lifetime scholarships has been in play for years

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. –  University of Miami President Donna Shalala would prefer Hurricane athletes get their degrees before leaving school, taking advantage of the scholarships they’ve been afforded. And she knows that won’t always be the case, of course. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT So very quietly, and for several years now, Miami has offered the next best thing. Lifetime scholarships, as some call it, are a hot topic around the NCAA right now, with a handful of schools and conferences in recent months saying they would encourage athletes who left early a chance to return and finish their degrees. For most schools, it’s a new concept. At Miami, it’s been an option for nearly a decade.

    August 29, 2014 4:36 am

World News

  • Malaysia Airlines to cut 6,000 staff

    29 August 2014 Last updated at 10:11 The airline will become completely government owned, and a new chief executive will be put in place Malaysia Airlines is to cut 6,000 staff as part of recovery plan after being hit by two disasters this year. The reduction in staff numbers represents around 30% of its workforce of 20,000. The airline will become completely state owned, and a new chief executive will be put in place. Investigators continue to hunt for flight MH370, the Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight which went missing in March. The MH17 air crash in eastern Ukraine in July is also under investigation. The recovery plan will cost about 6 billion Malaysian ringgit (£1.1bn, $1.9bn). Khazanah Nasional, the state investment company that owns a 69% stake in the troubled firm, will take 100% ownership. “The combination of measures announced today will enable our national airline to be revived,” said Khazanah’s managing director Azman …

    August 29, 2014 4:36 am


  • Persian paranoia: Americas fear of Iranian cyber power

    When Israel stepped up Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in July, a crew of hackers going under the name of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters readied their attack tools to show support for their Palestinian brothers. They attempted to flood a core piece of Israel’s internet infrastructure, the Domain Name System that acts as the web’s phone book for the country. They also tried to take down websites for the national stock exchange and Mossad, the intelligence and special operations body. Thanks to Israel’s capable cyber defence systems, the attacks caused little trouble, though security firm iSight Partners says the websites were briefly out of action. Their attacks previously knocked out the websites of top US banks, under the moniker Operation Ababil, but the Cyber Fighters’ gaze has shifted to events closer to home in recent months. What makes them especially fascinating to the West, however, is that they are almost certainly sponsored by …

    August 29, 2014 3:15 am


  • NASA’s Spitzer Telescope Witnesses Asteroid Smashup

    [image-36][image-51] NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the formation of planets. Scientists had been regularly tracking the star, called NGC 2547-ID8, when it surged with a huge amount of fresh dust between August 2012 and January 2013. “We think two big asteroids crashed into each other, creating a huge cloud of grains the size of very fine sand, which are now smashing themselves into smithereens and slowly leaking away from the star,” said lead author and graduate student Huan Meng of the University of Arizona, Tucson. While dusty aftermaths of suspected asteroid collisions have been observed by Spitzer before, this is the first time scientists have collected data before and after a planetary system smashup. The viewing offers a glimpse into the violent process of making rocky planets like ours. …

    August 28, 2014 11:31 pm


  • U.S. startups get OK for smartphone-based heart tracking

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – For a growing U.S. aging population, tracking heart health via a smartphone can mean the difference between life and death. This week, two Silicon Valley startups received a green-light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for mobile applications that monitor patients from home, a step forward for a nascent digital health industry that has pressed for more clarity from the agency on regulations. AliveCor said it received the FDA’s approval to detect serious heart conditions in electrocardiogram (ECG) readings taken from a mobile device. The company says its newly-approved algorithm can detect atrial fibrillation, a form of cardiac arrhythmia that affects about one in four adults over the age of 40. If its smartphone-compatible heart-monitor device detects an abnormality, a physician could intervene before the patient experiences a stroke or other life-threatening event. The device fits most smartphones and rests on a patient’s finger or chest to record an ECG. …

    August 28, 2014 7:08 pm


  • Britney Spears Confirms Split With David Lucado

    Posted on Thu Aug 28th, 2014 9:00pm PDT       By X17 Staff Guess it was true after all! After we had previously reported , Britney Spears and David Lucado have called it quits and the pop star confirmed recent events with a simple tweet! “Ahhhh the single life!” the 32-year-old singer posted to her Twitter account earlier today to further cement all speculation. The two have been together since around March of last year, shortly after calling off her engagement to Jason Trawick. “I’m in love,” Spears told Entertainment Tonight around that time. “I like the fact that he’s very stubborn and he’s stuck in his ways. He’s just a simple man. I adore him.” There have been rumors of Lucado cheating on Brit which helped make her decision easier, although nothing has been brought to light besides the fact that she’s enjoying being free with her family!   Stories from around the Web

    August 29, 2014 4:55 am


  • "Mary Poppins" 50th anniversary: Why "Mary" is my favorite movie

    Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins and Dick Van Dyke as Bert in a scene from Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins.’ The film has been selected for preservation at the Library of CongressAP Photo A couple of interesting things happened 50 years ago this month. On Aug. 7, 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Then, 20 days later, Walt Disney Studios released “Mary Poppins.” The resolution, by allowing the Vietnam War to begin in earnest, fueled the growth of a counterculture of protest that characterized The Sixties. The movie, by celebrating those who challenge the traditions and rules of the established order, provided an early parable in support of that emerging counterculture. The “Mary Poppins” books by P.L. Travers are about a magical English nanny and the little scamps in her charge. This is true of the movie, as well, but the movie is more about how this nanny and these kids subtly convince the kids’ …

    August 29, 2014 3:15 am

Odd News

  • Singaporeans go barking mad over bid to silence dogs

    SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A suggestion by Singapore’s public housing authority that owners of noisy dogs consider “debarking” their pets to avoid inconveniencing neighbors, has raised animal lovers’ hackles in the city-state and prompted much ridicule on social media. The authority, the Housing and Development Board (HDB), recommended in a notice posted in a residential block that one option for dogs that will not keep quiet is to “debark” them. Debarking involves removing a section of a dog’s vocal cord to reduce the volume of its bark and is recommended as a solution of “last resort” to control noisy pets, according to Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority’s website. Animal welfare groups say the practice is cruel and unfair. “A dog also barks when it is in a stressed or anxious mode, and not hearing the dog does not mean the dog is in a stable state of mind,” said Action for Singapore Dogs in a Facebook …

    August 28, 2014 7:18 am