Headline News

  • Kansas, Missouri students co-champs of National Spelling bee

    OXON HILL, Md. Eighth-graders Gokul Venkatachalam of Chesterfield, Missouri, and Vanya Shivashankar of Olathe, Kansas, were declared co-winners of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday. Gokul ended a tense standoff by correctly spelling “nunatak,” an Inuit word for an exposed ridge in a glacier. (Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Ken Wills)

    May 28, 2015 9:40 pm


  • Former U.S. House Speaker Hastert indicted on federal charges

    CHICAGO Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted on Thursday on federal charges, including for lying to the FBI, relating to an alleged effort to hide $3.5 million in payments he was making to a person to conceal past misconduct. The Illinois Republican, who left Congress in 2007, was charged with structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000, and lying to the FBI about his withdrawals, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago said. Each count of the two-count indictment carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Hastert, 73, resigned on Thursday from the Dickstein Shapiro law firm in Washington where he was listed as a senior adviser and from the board of the exchange operator CME Group Inc, representatives of the law firm and CME said. Hastert could not be reached immediately to comment on …

    May 28, 2015 9:19 pm


  • Why hasn’t ’19 Kids and Counting’ been canceled? It’s complicated

    ’19 Kids and Counting’ awaiting to hear fate of the show. The scandal-scarred show “19 Kids and Counting” is in limbo, and one person connected to the show’s production says bluntly that the reality is simple: “The show’s over.” TLC’s executives, however, are apparently unwilling to decide that — and clearly unwilling to announce it. The official word is that no decision has been made. The reasoning is complicated. While there is an Internet clamor for TLC to pull the plug, the channel’s executives are considering the business ramifications, the channel’s longstanding relationship with the famous Duggar family, and the feelings of its audience. One factor some critics are forgetting is that the show is not currently in production, meaning there are no camera crews following around any of the Duggars right now. This takes away some of the urgency from TLC’s internal deliberations. “Cancelling” the show would really mean “deciding not to resume production …

    May 28, 2015 10:20 pm


  • Power fires course-record 61 in North Carolina

    Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) – Seamus Power fired a course-record, 10-under 61 Thursday and grabbed a 2-stroke lead after the opening round at the Rex Hospital Open. Power’s 61 broke the TPC Wakefield Plantation record of 62. Rob Bradley first set that mark in 2003 and was later tied by Scott Brown in 2010 and Andrew Putnam in 2013. Power is coming off a tie for 10th at the BMW Charity Pro-Am. That was his first top-20 finish of the season on the Web.com Tour. Two-time winner Kyle Thompson is alone in second place at minus-8. Dominic Bozzelli is alone in third at 7-under 64. Garth Mulroy, Dawie van der Walt, Travis Bertoni, David Vanegas and Oliver Goss share fourth place at minus-6. Scott Gutschewski, the 2008 champion, is one of 12 players tied for ninth at 5-under 66. Power played the back nine first on Thursday and got off to a quick start with birdies …

    May 28, 2015 9:40 pm

World News

  • North Korean hackers ‘could kill’

    Prof Kim says around 10-20% of Kim Jong-un’s military budget is being spent on cyber-attack capabilities North Korean hackers are capable of attacks that could destroy critical infrastructure and even kill people, a high-profile defector has warned. Speaking exclusively to BBC Click, Prof Kim Heung-Kwang said the country had around 6,000 trained military hackers. The warning follows last year’s Sony Pictures hack – an attack attributed to North Korea. Korean technology expert Martyn Williams stressed the threat was only “theoretical”. Prof Kim has called for international organisations to step in to prevent North Korea launching more severe attacks. Military attack For 20 years Prof Kim taught computer science at Hamheung Computer Technology University, before escaping the country in 2004. While Prof Kim did not teach hacking techniques, his former students have gone on to form North Korea’s notorious hacking unit Bureau 121. The bureau, which is widely believed to operate out of China, has been …

    May 28, 2015 9:40 pm


  • Researchers invent tiny sonic screwdriver

    Microparticles in an acoustic vortex. The top layer shows experimental observations of 0.5-micron particles, and the bottom layer shows the predicted acoustic energy distribution. University of Bristol Maybe it won’t be unlocking doors any time soon, but a sonic technique can grip and manipulate tiny particles suspended in water. And there’s probably a “Doctor Who” fan or two on the team, as it’s affectionately referred to by its inventors as a “sonic screwdriver.” Researchers at the University of Bristol’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Northwestern Polytechnical University in China have demonstrated in a paper published May 29 in the journal Physical Review Letters that acoustic vortices act as a sort of sonic tornado, causing particles to rotate and collect at the core of the vortex. The concept of an acoustic vortex having an effect on particles has been demonstrated previously. In 2001, a team of researchers determined that acoustic vortices could be used to trap …

    May 28, 2015 8:39 pm


  • How racial stereotypes impact the way we communicate

    Racial stereotypes and expectations can impact the way we communicate and understand others, according to UBC research. The new study, published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, highlights how non-verbal “social cues” – such as photographs of Chinese Canadians – can affect how we comprehend speech. “This research brings to light our internal biases, and the role of experience and stereotypes, in how we listen to and hear each other,” says Molly Babel, the paper’s lead author and an assistant professor with UBC’s Department of Linguistics. One of the study’s tasks involved participants from the UBC community transcribing pre-recorded sentences amid background static. The sentences were recorded by 12 native speakers of Canadian English. Half of the speakers self-identified as White, and the other half self-identified as Chinese. All speakers were born and raised in Richmond, B.C., which is south of Vancouver. The pre-recorded sentences were accompanied by either black and white …

    May 28, 2015 9:00 pm


  • South Korea’s tally of MERS cases at 7; one suspected patient heads to China

    SEOUL South Korea’s tally of patients of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) rose to seven on Thursday, with authorities saying one suspected victim skipped out of voluntary home quarantine to take a trip to China. A rise in MERS cases has stirred alarm in South Korea, with health authorities being criticized for not moving quickly and effectively enough to quarantine suspected patients. Two new victims are believed to have caught the virus from the first case confirmed last week, a 68-year-old man who had traveled to Bahrain in April and May, and returned to South Korea via Qatar. The Health Ministry said the son of the second confirmed victim in the outbreak, who was himself being observed for possible infection, broke voluntary home quarantine and left South Korea on Tuesday for China. “We should have checked more actively and broadly on family related issues. We are deeply sorry about that,” Yang Byung-kook, director of the …

    May 28, 2015 9:20 pm


  • Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride are fuming over sexist comments

    The two country ladies took to social media to call out Keith Hill, a man who oversees 300 country music radio stations, after he said country radio need to “take females out” in order to boost ratings, during an interview with Country Aircheck magazine. More: Miranda Lambert’s body gets more headlines than her career, and it’s not OK Say what?! I kid you not. “Trust me, I play great female records and we’ve got some right now; they’re just not the lettuce in our salad,” Hill added in the interview. “The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.” I am so shocked and appalled that someone that high up on the food chain could be so close-minded my brain hurts. And it seems McBride agrees, “Wow… just wow,” the singer wrote on Facebook. “Just read this from a major country radio …

    May 28, 2015 9:40 pm


  • How to beat ISIS in Iraq despite Obama’s feckless foreign policy

    There have been a lot of compelling arguments made since the disastrous fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to ISIS last weekend that it is time for the President Obama to adopt a coherent strategy to defeat ISIS that includes sending ground troops to fight alongside the Iraqi army. Kimberly and Fred Kagan, the smartest people I know on this issue, said in a Washington Post article last week that President Obama has no Iraq strategy and called on him to send “a few thousand additional combat troops, backed by helicopters, armored vehicles and forward air controllers able to embed with Iraqi units at the battalion level, as well as additional Special Forces troops able to move about the countryside.” While I mostly agree with the Kagans, they are not acknowledging two realities about President Obama’s approach to ISIS and the crisis in Iraq and Syria. First, Mr. Obama does have an Iraq strategy.  …

    May 28, 2015 9:39 pm

Odd News

  • Branded golf balls were a mistake, Ireland’s former bank regulator says

    DUBLIN Ireland’s financial regulator, whose “timid” supervision was criticized for not halting the country’s banking crash, produced branded golf balls to promote itself before the office was overhauled, a parliamentary inquiry heard on Thursday. Promotions such as golf balls or umbrellas bearing the logos of banks were commonplace in Ireland during their rapid growth a decade ago. That growth ended in the most expensive bank bailout in the euro zone when a property bubble spectacularly burst. Patrick Neary, who was head of financial regulation from 2006 to 2009, was asked on Thursday what the regulators were thinking when they handed out the golf balls. “Your job was the micro-prudential supervision of the banks. What was going on?” inquiry member Susan O’Keefe asked Neary, in the most anticipated hearing since lawmakers began to question bank executives, regulators and politicians. “It must have been a package of things that were delivered, I really don’t know much about …

    May 28, 2015 8:58 am