Headline News

  • Who is burning black churches? Twitter activists think they know

    People pray near the burnt ruins of the Mt Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina. Mt Zion was the seventh black church to burn in the southern US in less than two weeks A small group of activists pushed the burning of black churches in the American south onto the news agenda, although it’s unclear whether the incidents are linked or what the motivation is behind them. It’s a mystery – or rather, mysteries – spread across a huge region. At least seven African-American churches have been burnt in the southern US over the last two weeks. Arson has been implicated in at least three of the blazes, but officials say there’s not yet any evidence that the fires are linked. But coming as they did after a mass shooting in Charleston in South Carolina, and a resulting backlash against the Confederate flag, activists behind the protests in Ferguson, Baltimore and elsewhere had no …

    July 3, 2015 2:37 am


  • Former Democratic Senator Webb announces White House campaign

    WASHINGTON Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb launched a long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, promising to fight the political influence of big-money interests and bring a new approach to solving problems. Webb, 69, who represented Virginia in the U.S. Senate from 2007 to 2012, is the fifth Democrat to seek the White House in 2016. He faces a formidable challenge in overcoming front-runner Hillary Clinton. “I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money,” Webb said in a message on his website. “Our country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us,” he said. Webb, a decorated war hero who served in the Vietnam War and as Secretary of the Navy under Republican President Ronald Reagan, is known for his outspoken critiques of U.S. foreign policy and military strategy, and …

    July 3, 2015 1:16 am


  • U.S. Navy triples paid maternity leave to 18 weeks

    Good news for women serving in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.: They’re now allowed to take 18 weeks of paid leave within one year of the birth of a child. The change triples the amount of paid leave that female sailors and Marines were allowed to take before. The reason for the increase is a desire to retain talented women who also want to have a family, said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who announced the change Thursday. “Meaningful maternity leave when it matters most is one of the best ways that we can support the women who serve our country,” Mabus said. “This flexibility is an investment in our people and our services, and a safeguard against losing skilled service members.” Related: Vodafone offers 16 weeks of paid maternity leave The new leave policy combines 6 weeks of paid maternity leave with 12 weeks of paid convalescent leave. The leave doesn’t have to be …

    July 3, 2015 2:17 am


  • Japan returns to the Women’s World Cup title match after emotional championship in 2011

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia –  Four years ago when Japan’s players hoisted the Women’s World Cup trophy, a nation rejoiced. Leading up to the victory in Germany, Japan had been deeply scarred by the deadly earthquake and tsunami. The national team gave the country reason to cheer, and the players were welcomed home as heroes. Japan had won the nation’s first-ever title in soccer’s premier tournament by taking down the mighty Americans on penalty kicks after a 2-all draw. Now the Japanese will again face the United States in the Women’s World Cup final, this time at Vancouver’s BC Place on Sunday. The crowd figures to be largely on the side of the Americans, with Vancouver only a short distance from the U.S. border. “In 2011, both teams had a wonderful game in the final,” said Norio Sasaki, who has coached the women’s national team since late 2007. “And for the women’s football in the world, …

    July 3, 2015 2:37 am

World News

  • CO2 emissions threaten ocean crisis

    Scientists have warned that marine life will be irreversibly changed unless CO2 emissions are drastically cut. Writing in Science, experts say the oceans are heating, losing oxygen and becoming more acidic because of CO2. They warn that the 2C maximum temperature rise for climate change agreed by governments will not prevent dramatic impacts on ocean systems. And they say the range of options is dwindling as the cost of those options is skyrocketing. Twenty-two world-leading marine scientists have collaborated in the synthesis report in a special section of Science journal. They say the oceans are at parlous risk from the combination of threats related to CO2. They believe politicians trying to solve climate change have paid far too little attention to the impacts of climate change on the oceans. It is clear, they say, that CO2 from burning fossil fuels is changing the chemistry of the seas faster than at any time since a cataclysmic …

    July 3, 2015 2:38 am


  • AMAgeddon: Parts of Reddit go dark over dismissal of key admin

    Reddit users are facing online walls after a number of subreddits were made private. Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET Entire sections of Reddit are going dark as key subreddits are being made private in protest of the alleged firing of Victoria Taylor, one of the social news site’s high-profile administrators. Reddit users are reporting Taylor, the site’s Director of Talent and key administrator (known by the user handle /u/chooter), was fired without notice, leaving one of the site’s most popular subreddits in turmoil. Reddit itself is underpinned by these subreddits — sections of the site labelled for discussion of particular interests and topics, such as /r/art and /r/movies. Taylor oversaw the administration of the Ask Me Anything subreddit (/r/IAmA), a section that allows Reddit users to engage in a real-time QA with famous personalities such as Bill Gates, President Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Taylor’s reported departure, which has been dubbed AMAgeddon, led other moderators of the …

    July 3, 2015 12:56 am


  • Tough tail of a seahorse may provide robotic solutions

    Related images(click to enlarge) One of the ocean’s oddest little creatures, the seahorse, is providing inspiration for robotics researchers as they learn from nature how to build robots that have capabilities sometimes at odds with one another — flexible, but also tough and strong. Their findings, published today in the journal Science, outline the virtues of the seahorse’s unusual skeletal structure, including a tail in which a vertebral column is surrounded by square bony plates. These systems may soon help create technology that offers new approaches to surgery, search and rescue missions or industrial applications. Although technically a fish, the seahorse has a tail that through millions of years of evolution has largely lost the ability to assist the animal in swimming. Instead, it provides a strong, energy-efficient grasping mechanism to cling to things such as seaweed or coral reefs, waiting for food to float by that it can suck into its mouth. At the …

    July 3, 2015 12:57 am


  • Treat ‘whole person’ by bringing behavioral health into primary care: docs

    (Reuters Health) – In a new position paper, the American College of Physicians (ACP) lays out six strategies for bringing mental health and substance abuse care into primary care to better treat each patient as “a whole person.” Mental and behavioral health issues like inappropriate eating behaviors, sedentary lifestyle, and patterns of social isolation, are common, and have been linked to increased physical illness, higher mortality rates, poorer treatment outcomes and higher healthcare costs, the ACP committee writes in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “The literature shows that most people with behavioral health needs access the health care system through their primary care physician or other health care professional,” said lead author of the statement Ryan A. Crowley, senior health policy analyst for the ACP. “Patients who exhibit physical ailments – such as chronic diseases like diabetes – often have behavioral health problems that may affect their physical care needs,” Crowley told Reuters Health by …

    July 3, 2015 1:16 am


  • Teresa Giudice writes all about the violence she encountered in prison

    In new journal entries obtained by Us Weekly, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star talks about the violence she sees behind bars every day, how much she misses her family and one surprising detail about the food. “I called the girls after school today. I miss them so much. They are all I think about all day long, and I pray that God helps me to go back home to be with my daughters and my husband. Please God, help me,” she wrote in one entry. In another, she described some of the daily violence she sees. “There is a lady in here, she hit her roommate,” Giudice wrote. “The officers are up here now to evaluate the situation. She is a crazy lady who fights with everyone.” More: Teresa Giudice allegedly in danger due to feud with prison inmates While we’re not surprised that she misses her family or that there is violence …

    July 3, 2015 2:37 am


  • The real reason America is exceptional

    As the first rays of morning light wash over the eastern seaboard — a flag is unfurled with broad stripes and bright stars. A soldier stands guard over sleeping heroes – known only to their Maker.   A resting place for the Common Man. A farmer in the heartland gathers his crop as golden wheat shimmers in the breeze. A rancher gallops along the Texas Hill Country — herding his cattle to the stockyards. A river boat captain pilots his boat down the muddy waters of the Mississippi. We are an uncommon nation established by common men. A job for the Common Man In a Tennessee church house a candle flickers — a preacher prays on bended knee — asking God to bless our land — to shed his grace on thee. A prayer for the Common Man. When the floodwaters rise and the storm clouds billow — we stand ready to help — feeding …

    July 3, 2015 1:17 am

Odd News

  • Mexican firm sorry for royally selling president short

    MEXICO CITY It could have been the height of diplomatic embarrassment for Mexico’s president. When Enrique Pena Nieto hosted towering King Felipe of Spain this week, it was a tongue-in-cheek paint ad ridiculing his 10- inch height deficit that grabbed the headlines. On Wednesday, Mexican paint company Comex posted on Twitter a digitally-altered photograph of the president standing on one of its paint pots, giving him a leg up over the monarch under the banner “una pintura de altura,” or “a paint of stature.” Comex apologized on Thursday for the photograph, deleting the post after it had been heavily retweeted. It said the Tweet was published “without the appropriate approvals”. (Reporting by Max de Haldevang; Editing by Dave Graham and Simon Gardner)

    July 2, 2015 8:54 pm