Headline News

  • F-16s dispatched for unresponsive pilot of small plane near D.C.


    (Reuters) – Two F-16 fighter jets were dispatched to check on a small plane that entered restricted airspace around Washington, D.C., on Saturday, and the fighter pilots observed the person at the controls to be unconscious before the plane ran out of fuel and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, officials said. The pilot of the Cirrus SR22 propeller plane took off from Waukesha County Airport in Wisconsin and had been destined for Manassas Regional Airport in Virginia, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. But the pilot failed to land as scheduled and remained at an altitude of about 13,000 feet as the plane crossed into restricted airspace around Washington, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement. The pilot had stopped responding to radio calls. The North American Aerospace Defense Command dispatched two F-16 fighter jets, a spokeswoman for the agency said. Their pilots got alongside the small plane and saw that the …

    August 30, 2014 8:36 pm
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Politics

  • Captives held by Islamic State prove tough quandary for Obama


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After Islamic State’s beheading of journalist James Foley, President Barack Obama’s administration is making little headway in efforts to secure the release of three other Americans held by the insurgent group in Syria, officials said. Journalist Steven Sotloff and two others whom Reuters is not naming are among fewer than 10 Westerners that Islamic State (IS) is holding in kidnappings that until recently were aimed at simply raising ransoms, they said. The U.S. government has said it does not pay ransoms or negotiate with IS. Washington has contacted about two dozen countries for help in freeing the three, but no foreign government appears to have influence over or even significant contact with IS, which has declared an Islamic caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria. “What we’ve found is that ISIS isn’t responsive” to outreach, said a senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity and using an alternate acronym for the …

    August 30, 2014 7:55 pm
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Stocks

  • Struggling Angry Birds maker dumping CEO


    The maker of the Angry Birds video game is replacing its CEO. The maker of the Angry Birds mobile video game is dumping its CEO as the company struggles with increased competition and difficulties in changing its business model. Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish video game maker, announced that CEO Mikael Hed will “pass the hoodie” in January to former Nokia (NOK) executive Pekka Rantala, a reference to the typical clothing worn in the company’s offices. The company is shifting its business from a pay-to-play, in which players buy the video game, to a free-to-play model. It now gets about half its revenue from licensing Angry Birds images for toys, clothing and other novelty items. But while revenue has held up, profit in 2013 fell by more than 50%. Rovio has had trouble with its plans to charge users for purchases made in the games. Competitors such as King Digital Entertainment (KING), maker of the Candy …

    August 30, 2014 8:49 am
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Sports

  • Sweden’s tough 75km island race born of barroom banter


    STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – On Monday at dawn over 200 athletes will line up on an island in Sweden for an endurance race that, having started as a friendly challenge after a few too many drinks, has become one of the toughest races in the world.The “ÖTILLÖ” (“Island to Island”) swimrun race takes place in teams of two across 75 kilometers of Stockholm’s fabled archipelago, featuring 10 kilometers of open-water swimming and 65 kilometers of grueling trail running.”It is a massive race,” organizer Michael Lemmel told Reuters in an interview as he made the final preparations to stage the race.”You run in your wetsuit and swim in your shoes, and with the race going over and between 26 islands, that means getting in and out of the water a total of 50 times. “And as we start at dawn the racers are chased by the light all day. The last swimmers need to be out of …

    August 30, 2014 8:36 pm
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World News

  • Philippine troops in Syria rescued


    31 August 2014 Last updated at 02:32 There has been heavy fighting in the Quneitra area of the Syrian Golan Heights in recent days Thirty-two Philippine peacekeepers trapped by rebels in the Syrian Golan Heights have been rescued, the UN says. A UN spokesperson said the “situation on the ground is calm but tense”, without providing further details. Another group of 40 peacekeepers escaped a seven-hour siege by rebels after returning fire in self-defence, said the head of the Philippines army. The rebels – said to be from the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front – have taken 44 Fijian peacekeepers hostage. They have also seized a crossing point into the Israeli-occupied Golan. Worsening security “Everyone is in a safe position. We left our (old) position but we brought all our arms,” said Philippine Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala. The head of the Philippine armed forces, General Gregorio Pio Catapang, speaking Manila, said: “We may call it the greatest …

    August 30, 2014 8:36 pm
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Technology

  • Forget Orwell and Huxley Dave Eggers has seen the future


    Fifteen months have passed since Edward Snowden began to explain to us how our networked world works. During that time there has been much outrage, shock, horror, etc expressed by the media and the tech industry. So far, so predictable. What is much more puzzling is how relatively relaxed the general public appears to be about all this. In Britain, for example, opinion polling suggests that nearly two thirds of the population think that the kind of surveillance revealed by Snowden is basically OK. To some extent, the level of public complacency/concern is culturally determined. Citizens of Germany, for example, appear to be significantly more concerned about the Snowden revelations – and were so even before it was discovered that the NSA was bugging Angela Merkel’s mobile phone. Germany was the European country where Google’s Streetview project ran into most opposition, for example. But German wariness about comprehensive surveillance is easy to understand: after all, …

    August 30, 2014 7:56 pm
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Science

  • Prions can trigger ‘stuck’ wine fermentations, researchers find


    A chronic problem in winemaking is “stuck fermentation,” when yeast that should be busily converting grape sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide prematurely shuts down, leaving the remaining sugar to instead be consumed by bacteria that can spoil the wine. A team of researchers including UC Davis yeast geneticist Linda Bisson has discovered a biochemical communication system behind this problem. Working through a prion — an abnormally shaped protein that can reproduce itself — the system enables bacteria in fermenting wine to switch yeast from sugar to other food sources without altering the yeast’s DNA. “The discovery of this process really gives us a clue to how stuck fermentations can be avoided,” said Bisson, a professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology. “Our goal now is to find yeast strains that essentially ignore the signal initiated by the bacteria and do not form the prion, but instead power on through the fermentation.” She suggests …

    August 30, 2014 8:16 pm
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Health

  • New Novartis drug may upend heart failure treatment


    BARCELONA (Reuters) – A new medicine from Novartis could replace drugs that have been central to treating heart failure for a quarter of century, after proving remarkably effective in reducing deaths in a keenly awaited study. The experimental treatment, known at LCZ696, cut the risk of both cardiovascular death and admissions to hospital by a fifth, boosting hopes for a product seen as a multibillion-dollar seller – thanks, in part, to its expected premium price. “Given the survival advantage of LCZ696 over currently available drugs, once this drug becomes available, it would be difficult to understand why physicians would continue to use traditional (drugs) … for the treatment of heart failure,” said Milton Packer of the University of Texas. Packer was joint-principal investigator on the study with John McMurray of the University of Glasgow, who called the result “astonishing”. There has been little progress for more than a decade in treating chronic heart failure, in …

    August 30, 2014 7:55 pm
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Entertainment

  • Nina Dobrev uses Starbucks lingo to describe her perfect man


    Nina Dobrev laughs off multiple-boyfriend dating rumors Though the rumors have been rampant about Dobrev’s dating life following her split from Somerhalder earlier this year (including Hunger Games hunks Alexander Ludwig and Liam Hemsworth), it seems the actress is currently single. The Vampire Diaries star posted a cheeky text exchange between herself and a friend. The friend had been planning a coffee run and texted Dobrev to see if she wanted anything to drink. Dobrev, in fact, did have something in mind. “Yes, in desperate need of a Tall whipped and ripped mocha boyfriend, sweetened with sugar not Splenda. Extra hot please,” the witty actress wrote back. We like her style. Exes Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder are still BFFs  Her friend, though laughing, didn’t appreciate the order as much at least initially, “I actually started reading that out loud..to the Barista!!!!!!!” the friend replied with a host of sad laughing faces. Awesome. As if …

    August 30, 2014 7:35 pm
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Editorial

  • David Cameron stands up to Islamists: A lesson for Barack Obama


      The contrast between Friday’s press conference in London by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Thursday’s White House remarks by President Obama could not have been starker. Mr. Cameron delivered a robust assessment of the scale of the Islamist threat to Great Britain and to the free world.  ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT He told journalists assembled at Downing Street that “what we are facing in Iraq now with ISIL (Islamic State) is a greater threat to our security than we have seen before.”  While David Cameron appeared self-assured and determined in his approach, Barack Obama came across as a deer in the headlights, unable to outline a coherent U.S. response to a rapidly growing crisis in the Middle East. He made it clear that ISIS must not be allowed to establish an Islamist caliphate in Iraq. If they succeeded, “we would be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO …

    August 30, 2014 3:41 am
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Odd News

  • Arizona man arrested for burning, urinating on Bible


    PHOENIX (Reuters) – A 22-year-old Arizona man calling himself “Dark Lord” has been arrested for allegedly burning a Bible and urinating on it outside a Christian-oriented homeless shelter in northern Arizona, police said on Friday. Eric Minerault was booked into the Yavapai County Detention Center late on Thursday on suspicion of one count of unlawful symbol burning stemming from the incident at the Gospel Rescue Mission, Prescott police spokesman Lieutenant Ken Morley said in a written statement. Police were called to the scene at about 9 p.m. by a mission representative reporting that someone was burning something on the mission’s front steps, Morley said. Officers found Minerault standing on the steps, with a burned and wet Bible on the ground near him. He quickly admitted to the act.  He told officers the mission was selected because he believed it was a place of Christian worship and he was “cursing the Christians,” police said. Asked why, …

    August 29, 2014 7:53 pm
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