Headline News

  • Space is latest destination for Maine man’s ashes that have been scattered all over the world


    AUBURN, Maine –  The ashes of a Maine man that have been scattered all over the world by strangers who connected with his mother on social media are now being launched into space. Using her Facebook page, Auburn resident Hallie Twomey has mailed hundreds of packets of her son C.J.’s ashes to people willing to scatter them on beaches, mountains and other places he didn’t get to visit before he died four years ago. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT On Thursday morning, a vial of C.J.’s ashes will take a new journey when it is launched in a rocket from the New Mexico desert. The rocket will spend a few minutes in space before landing in the White Sands Missile Range. The roughly $1,000 memorial spaceflight is being paid for by Celestis, the company that arranged the launch.

    October 23, 2014 7:20 am
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Politics

  • What Counts As a GOP Wave in 2014?


    By Stuart Rothenberg Posted at 5 a.m. Oct. 23 0 Tweet Will Roberts hold on in Kansas? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo) Most neutral observers expect Republicans to take the Senate and make at least small gains in the House, but talk about a possible GOP political wave has all but disappeared. However, ten days to go until Election Day, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a “wave” election just yet. I know of no formal, widely accepted definition of the term “wave.” On the other hand, as United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said when referring to obscenity, “I know it when I see it.” Clearly, a wave requires one party to make sizable net gains in the House and/or the Senate. In the past, I’ve often used a net change of 20 House seats as the minimum for a wave, but that number is arbitrary and not set in …

    October 23, 2014 4:17 am
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Stocks

  • Customers up, profit up at Comcast


      As it awaits approval of its merger with Time Warner Cable, Comcast continues to show solid growth, both in profit and in the number of new customers. That’s significant because Comcast (CCV) is the biggest cable provider and one of the biggest entertainment producers in the United States. Its earnings are a reflection of the industry’s stability — or lack thereof. In the third quarter, Comcast posted a 12% uptick in earnings, to 73 cents per share, once one-time tax adjustments and merger-related costs were excluded. Overall revenue increased 4% to $16.8 billion for the quarter. On the distribution side, revenue was up 5.2% to $11 billion; on the production side, NBCUniversal, revenue climbed 1.2% to $5.9 billion. NBC’s broadcast division was the standout in the quarter, gaining ground faster than the division that includes cable channels such as USA, E! and MSNBC. Tellingly, the cable division saw revenue from cable subscriber fees grow …

    October 23, 2014 7:20 am
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Sports

  • Wozniacki close to semis after Radwanska victory


    SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki all but booked her place in the semi-finals of the WTA Finals with an impressive 7-5 6-3 win over Agnieszka Radwanska on Thursday. Showing no signs of fatigue after her exhausting three-set win over Maria Sharapova two days earlier, Wozniacki rebounded from a slow start to overrun Radwanska with an ominous display. Wozniacki was down an early service break in the opening set but quickly got back on terms and proved too strong for Radwanska, running the Pole ragged on Singapore’s purple hardcourts. “I just kept fighting for every point. There was some ridiculous shot making there at times,” said Wozniacki. “I just had to keep going and keep trying to stay close to the baseline really. “I’ve been pleased with the way I’ve been running a lot of balls down, been serving well, just taking advantage of the important points.” With one group match still to go against …

    October 23, 2014 7:20 am
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World News

  • US-led Syria strikes ‘kill 553′


    23 October 2014 Last updated at 12:01 Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play. The BBC’s Kasra Naji reports from the Turkey-Syria border US-led air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria have killed 553 people since September, UK-based activists say. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 464 IS fighters, 57 other militants and 32 civilians have died. Meanwhile, fierce fighting resumed in the town of Kobane, where militants and Kurdish forces battling for control. Kurdish sources told BBC Arabic that IS had retaken a strategically important hilltop 4km west of the town. Kurdish forces fighting IS in Kobane took Tal Shair nine days ago. Reports also suggest IS fighters have been shelling Kurdish positions and attacking the town centre. Syrian Kurdish sources told the BBC that IS fighters launched intensive attacks on Wednesday night from the southern and eastern parts of the town, in an apparent attempt to get access …

    October 23, 2014 8:02 am
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Technology

  • Mark Zuckerberg speaks Mandarin during Q&A session in China


    Facebook is blocked in China, but its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg appears determined to win over hearts and minds in Beijing – surprising a hall full of students by conducting a QA session in Mandarin. Zuckerberg charmed his audience comprising Chinese and international students when he kicked off the half-hour session at the elite Tsinghua University with the words “Hello, everyone” in heavily accented Chinese. The 30-year-old head of the US-based networking site elicited cheers and applause from the shocked crowd in a video of the event he posted on Thursday. Zuckerberg discussed topics including his philosophy on founding a company and his view of Chinese innovation, as well as more personal matters such as his favourite colour, favourite Chinese dish and the Chinese-American family of his wife, Priscilla Chan. “I want to study Chinese culture,” he said. “Studying the language helps me study the culture. So I’m trying to learn the language. Also, I like …

    October 23, 2014 4:17 am
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Science

  • Children who drink non-cow’s milk are twice as likely to have low vitamin D


    Children who drink non-cow’s milk such as rice, almond, soy or goat’s milk, have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood than those who drink cow’s milk, according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Non-cow’s milk is becoming increasingly popular because of perceived health benefits, milk allergies or lactose intolerance. “Children drinking only non-cow’s milk were more than twice as likely to be vitamin D deficient as children drinking only cow’s milk,” said Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician and researcher with St. Michael’s Hospital. “Among children who drank non-cow’s milk, every additional cup of non-cow’s milk was associated with a five per cent drop in vitamin D levels per month.” Vitamin D is an essential nutrient produced through sun exposure or found in fortified cow’s milk, fish and other foods. It plays an important role in the development and strengthening of bones. In children, low levels of vitamin D …

    October 23, 2014 4:37 am
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Health

  • Drugmakers may need indemnity for fast-tracked Ebola vaccines


    LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) – Drugmakers are looking for some kind of indemnity from governments or multilateral agencies for the widespread emergency use of new Ebola vaccines in Africa. While the issue will not delay the industry’s ongoing work to accelerate production and clinical testing of three experimental vaccines, it is likely to be discussed at a high-level meeting in Geneva on Thursday. World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan will chair the meeting, which includes industry executives, representatives from countries including those affected by Ebola, drug regulators and funders. GlaxoSmithKline Chief Executive Andrew Witty said a system of indemnity made sense given the unique situation in which companies are being urged by the WHO to fast-track the supply of novel vaccines in a matter of months rather than years. There is currently no proven vaccine against Ebola and drug companies have been wary in the past of investing in the area, since the commercial opportunity is …

    October 23, 2014 4:17 am
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Entertainment

  • Beverly Johnson on how Down syndrome affects children of color differently


    On the “Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show” On Saturday, the supermodel will lead the catwalk at Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s 6th Annual “Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show” in Denver. The largest single fund-raiser for Down syndrome in the nation, the show has raised nearly $8 million for life-changing research and medical care for those living with the genetic condition. The national spokesperson for Global Down Syndrome Foundation, Johnson tirelessly advocates for the cause — one that is very personal to her. Her first cousin, with whom she is very close, has Down syndrome, as does her niece, Natalie Fuller. It didn’t take much convincing to get Johnson on board as the national spokesperson, she admits. “I’ve always been very supportive, particularly with my sister in her journey to get the best for Natalie, and I was like, ‘This is my time to actively participate in bringing awareness to people that have Down syndrome,’” she …

    October 23, 2014 8:02 am
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Editorial

  • Safe Schools Week: Three things we can do right now to better secure our schools


    Members of the Newton community mourn those lost in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. (AP Photo) It has been almost two years since 20 children and six adult staff members lost their lives in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.  The tragedy wounded the nation and made parents everywhere ask themselves: Are my children safe at school?  Unfortunately, the answer is no in too many cases.  ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Today’s school leaders face unprecedented safety and security challenges, whether from intruders or natural disasters.  Such risks make it essential for schools to stay current on the latest advances in construction, technological tools and safety protocols.  Yet, many of our nation’s K-12 buildings are antiquated, and access to funding for upgrades is often difficult to prioritize against other capital requirements.   Every school can use the resources and knowledge at its disposal now to enact measures that protect children and make them feel …

    October 23, 2014 4:17 am
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Odd News

  • Woman who gouged her eyes in California sues over viral photo


    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A nurse at a Los Angeles hospital took a photo of a woman who gouged out her own eyes with pencils, and the patient sued the hospital and its administrators after the picture went viral on the Internet, her attorney said on Wednesday. The plaintiff, who is not named in the lawsuit, was treated at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in 2012 after she tried to commit suicide by jamming the pencils through her eyes at another facility and was rushed to the hospital, her lawyer, Douglas Johnson, said. The injury left the woman blind, according to the lawsuit, filed on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court. The as-yet unidentified nurse took the photograph of the patient with the “intact pencils sticking out of her eyes,” then shared the unauthorized picture with another person, who passed the image to Joshua Shivers, the lawsuit said. Shivers, in turn, used his mother’s computer …

    October 22, 2014 8:26 pm
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