Headline News

  • US consumer spending up 0.2 percent in June, weakest gain in 4 months; income rises

    WASHINGTON –  Consumer spending in June rose by the smallest amount in four months as shoppers cut back on purchases of cars and other big-ticket items. The Commerce Department says consumer spending edged up 0.2 percent in June, the poorest showing since a similar increase in February. The modest advance followed a sharp 0.7 percent rise in spending in May. The increase had been driven by heavy spending on autos. But in June, auto sales slowed. Overall purchases of durable goods, the category that covers autos, fell 1.3 percent in June. Personal income rose 0.4 percent for a third straight month, reflecting strong employment gains. Economists believe steady employment gains will boost consumer spending and drive faster economic growth in the second half of this year.

    August 3, 2015 8:11 am


  • Winners and losers in Obama’s power plant limits

    Power transformer. President Barack Obama is mandating even steeper greenhouse gas cuts from U.S. power plants than previously expected, while granting states more time and broader options to comply. The tweaks to Obama’s unprecedented emissions limits on power plants, to be unveiled at the White House on Monday, aim to address a bevy of concerns raised by both environmentalist and the energy industry. The Environmental Protection Agency received more than 4 million public comments after Obama announced the proposed version last year, and opponents of the plan attempted unsuccessfully to stop it in Congress and in the courts. Some of the changes Obama is making in the final version of the plan go even further in cutting the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming. Other changes delay implementation and eliminate certain options that states could use to show they’re cutting emissions, making it harder to comply. All states are eagerly awaiting word of changes to …

    August 3, 2015 8:10 am


  • Why a 175-year-old candle maker is vital to this Ohio town

    Candle-Lite Company has been making candles in Ohio for 175 years. There’s a town in central Ohio where candles are a pretty big deal. Leesburg, Ohio, is a rural farming community of just 1,300 people. In its midst is the Candle-Lite Company’s 900,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, warehouse and distribution center. Candle-Lite makes 250 million candles in Leesburg every year. It supplies them to over 40 national retailers, including Wal-Mart (WMT), Kroger (KR)and Walgreens (WBA). More importantly, the 175-year-old business employs 600 people. “Many of our employees have spent their entire careers at Candle-Lite,” said CEO Calvin Johnston. “[Some] employees have second or third generation family members working by their side.” Related: Doing business 100 feet underground Many of its workers have stayed for over two decades, which gives Candle-Lite a unique advantage, said Don Kauffold, Candle-Lite’s vice president. “We have people who really understand the candle-making process,” said Kauffold. “This has allowed us to keep innovating …

    August 3, 2015 8:51 am


  • Ronaldo, Benzema to miss preseason tournament

    MADRID (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema will miss two preseason matches with Real Madrid after picking up injuries during training. Madrid says Ronaldo hurt his back during training on Monday, while Benzema pulled a muscle in his right thigh. Madrid left both stars off its squad for the Audi Cup, a small preseason soccer tournament played in Munich on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Audi Cup also includes host Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Tottenham. Madrid opens the Spanish league season on Aug. 23 at promoted club Sporting Gijon.

    August 3, 2015 9:51 am

World News

  • Brazil: Ex-Lula aide Dirceu held

    Jose Dirceu (left) was already under house arrest after being found guilty in another corruption scheme Police in Brazil say they have arrested Jose Dirceu, who served as chief-of-staff under then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from 2003 to 2005. He is the most senior member of the governing Workers’ Party to be arrested as part of an investigation into alleged corruption at state-owned oil giant Petrobras. Dirceu was already under house arrest. He was sentenced in 2012 for his role in another corruption scandal known as the Mensalao. He was found guilty of using public funds to pay opposition parties for support in Congress and sentenced to 10 years and 11 months. After spending 18 months in prison, he was allowed to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest. ‘Kickbacks’ Federal police officers arrested Dirceu, who is 69, at his home in the capital, Brasilia, on Monday morning, and took him into …

    August 3, 2015 8:51 am


  • Brain-training game helps ‘minimise impact of schizophrenia on life’

    A “brain training” game improves the cognitive function of people with schizophrenia and facilitates everyday tasks, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge. Wizard, which will now be available on iOS (Apple’s operating system) as part of the Peak app, was tested for four weeks by 22 participants with a schizophrenia diagnosis. Schizophrenia is a long-term mental health condition which can contribute to behavioural changes, confused thinking, apathy and, in some cases, delusions or hallucinations. People with schizophrenia may experience cognitive impairments, including poor episodic memory, which affects remembering things such as times and dates, and understanding context. Wizard aims to improve the cognitive functionality and episodic memory of people with schizophrenia, with in-game tasks including users moving through rooms and identifying items in boxes and character locations. Professor Barbara Sahakian, who developed the game alongside Tom Piercy at Cambridge, said: “We need a way of treating the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia, such as …

    August 3, 2015 8:30 am


  • Light-emitting diode sole-source lighting effective in bedding plant seedling production

    Related images(click to enlarge) In northern latitudes, producers of bedding plants depend on supplemental lighting during the late winter and early spring growing seasons. Unfortunately, these peak times for young plant production are also the darkest. Researchers have determined that a minimum amount of photosynthetic light (daily light integral; DLI) is necessary to produce high-quality young plants in greenhouses. In northern latitudes, though, the average greenhouse photosynthetic DLI can fall far short of optimal levels, resulting in delayed production and poor quality plants. Roberto Lopez and Wesley Randall, researchers at the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue University, published a study in the May 2015 issue of HortScience in which they compared the quality of bedding plant seedlings grown under sole-source LEDs and supplemental lighting from LEDs and high-pressure sodium lamps. “Due to their small size, wavelength specificity, high light output, and relatively low heat output, LEDs have been used in environmental chambers …

    August 3, 2015 7:31 am


  • Brain training app could help people with schizophrenia

    LONDON A “brain training” iPad game developed in Britain may improve the memory of patients with schizophrenia, helping them in their daily lives at home and at work, researchers said on Monday. Scientists at Cambridge University said tests on a small number of patients who played the game over four weeks found they had improvements in memory and learning. The game, “Wizard”, is designed to help so-called episodic memory — the type of memory needed to remember where you left your keys several hours ago, or to remember a few hours later where you parked your car in a multi-storey car park. Schizophrenia is a long-term mental health condition that causes a range of psychological symptoms, ranging from changes in behavior through to hallucinations and delusions. While some psychotic symptoms can be reasonably well treated with medication, patients often still have debilitating problems with memory and cognitive function, meaning they struggle to get back to work …

    August 3, 2015 7:50 am


  • Kim And Kourtney Kardashian Bond With Their Kids At The Jungle Gym

    Posted on Mon Aug 3rd, 2015 6:30am PDT       By X17 Staff On Sunday Kim and Kourtney Kardashian went to My Gym in Calabasas, and from Nori to Mason to Reign, a number of Kardashian kiddos were present for the day of activities. Kim and Kourt have spent quite a bit of time together since Kourt split from baby daddy Scott Disick, but lately the reality star seems to want her man back! On Friday she posted a smiley snapshot with little sister Kendall Jenner, and rumor has it she’s dying to have LD come crawling back to her. Interestingly enough, around the same time Scott attended close friend JJ Corsini’s wedding and posted a shot of his invitation which read, “When u realize the grass isn’t always greener.” Seems like Kourt is majorly missing her man…and vice versa. On top of that, Lord Disick has been spending quite a bit of time with son Mason lately, …

    August 3, 2015 9:11 am


  • Did the atomic bomb save my father’s life?

    The upcoming 70th anniversary of V-J Day, August 14, brings to mind the challenge my father, Lt. Col. Wilber E. Bradt, faced in the days preceding that date in 1945. He was the acting commander — and later the commander — of the 172nd Infantry Regiment, a Vermont National Guard unit. The unit had just finished five months of combat subduing the Japanese on Luzon, in the Philippines. On July 28, the 43rd Infantry Division, of which the 172nd Infantry was a part, received alert plans for the invasion of Kyushu, the southernmost island of the Japanese homeland. The landings would take place on November 1, a scant three months away. An intense period of planning, training, re-equipping, and personnel transfers began. The 43rd Division was to land with two other divisions in Shibushi Bay on the southeastern coast of Kyushu. The 43rd would land on the southern end of the beach, which was overlooked by …

    July 31, 2015 6:38 pm

Odd News

  • China investigating liquor suppliers for Viagra in alcohol

    BEIJING Chinese police are investigating if two distillers in the southwestern region of Guangxi added impotence treatment drug Viagra to their liquor in the latest food-safety scare in China. The Liuzhou Food and Drug Administration said that it found the Guikun Alcohol Plant and the Deshun Alcohol Plant in Guangxi’s Liuzhou city were putting Sildenafil, more commonly known as Viagra, into three of their baijiu products. Baijiu is a fiery grain liquor that commands high prices in China. Law enforcement officers have confiscated 5,357 bottles of the suspect products, 1,124 kg of raw alcohol and a batch of white powder labeled Sildenafil, in a case worth more than 700,000 yuan ($112,726), according to a statement posted by the Liuzhou Food and Drug Administration on its website on Saturday. The case has been transferred to the police, the statement said. The products were all marketed as having health-preserving qualities, it said. Food safety is a chronic …

    August 2, 2015 7:45 am