Headline News

  • Prosecutors: New DNA testing differentiates between identical twins; some question reliability


    BOSTON –  Prosecutors in Boston were forced to put a rape suspect on trial three times before jurors were willing to convict him a decade ago. It wasn’t due a lack of evidence, but because the suspect was an identical twin. Similar cases have popped up elsewhere, illustrating the challenges of prosecuting a twin. Because identical twins come from a single fertilized egg, standard DNA testing has not been able to differentiate between them. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT But Boston prosecutors who have struggled twice in the last decade with such cases believe they have a new tool to persuade jurors: cutting-edge DNA testing they say can distinguish between identical twins. “The science behind this testing has been used in research, in paternity tests and in a variety of other capacities,” said Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, whose office is now prosecuting Dwayne McNair, a twin who is charged in the rapes …

    September 20, 2014 8:40 am
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Politics

  • More questions than answers on Obama’s policies


    President Barack Obama, center, with Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, and Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, right, Commander of the US Central Command (CentCom), before the start of a briefing at MacDill Air Force Base(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) President Barack Obama’s military campaign against Islamic State group extremists has already crept beyond the narrow parameters he first outlined three months ago. But military experts both inside and outside of the administration argue that even more may be needed for the mission to succeed, including embedding U.S. ground troops with Iraqi security forces who are on the front line of the fight against the violent militants. Taking that step could put Obama dangerously close to violating his pledges to keep Americans out of combat in Iraq. For Obama, re-engaging in combat in Iraq would not only mark a reversal of his promises with regard to the current mission, but also undercut one of the broader …

    September 20, 2014 8:39 am
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Stocks

  • The fight against Ebola is grossly underfunded


    The Ebola virus has already killed thousands in West Africa, an immeasurable loss for many families. As medical workers try to quell its spread, global organizations are calculating the economic impact of the disease. “Their economies are basically being devastated,” said Daniel Epstein, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization. “Economic activity has halted in many areas there. The harvest isn’t going on. People can’t fly in and fly out.” WHO workers even had difficulty flying into the Ebola-stricken nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Epstein said. Related: Ebola patients are buying survivors’ blood from the black market Over 2,600 people have died, according to the latest WHO count. If Ebola is not contained this year, the cost could increase by eight times its current estimate, according to a report published Wednesday by the World Bank Group. Ebola’s toll in Liberia alone could affect almost 5% of the country’s GDP this year, the World …

    September 20, 2014 7:36 am
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Sports

  • Niculescu upsets Cornet to win China final


    Guangzhou, China (SportsNetwork.com) – Monica Niculescu of Romania upset second-seeded Alize Cornet in straight sets on Saturday to win the Guangzhou International Open tennis event. Niculescu improved to 2-2 in her career WTA finals with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Cornet. The 26-year-old veteran won her first title last year in Brazil. Her best previous finish this year was a semifinal appearance in her native Bucharest. “I was so happy to finish in the end because it was very hot and very humid, and I was very, very tired,” said Niculescu. “But to finish so strong was amazing for me. I have many emotions right now, but most of it is joy and confidence. It’s my second WTA title and that’s just an amazing feeling.” Serves plagued Cornet, who fell to 4-5 in finals with the defeat. The 24-year- old had 12 double faults compared to none for Niculescu. Cornet actually held a 4-2 lead …

    September 20, 2014 8:40 am
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World News

  • Mexico ‘leading drug lord’ killed


    19 September 2014 Last updated at 18:52 Mexican soldiers continue to search for the Knights Templar leader, La Tuta Mexican police have found the body of Aquiles Gomez, who was thought to be one of the main leaders of the Knights Templar drug cartel. The body was found with a bullet wound in a house in central Michoacan state. He was believed to be the brother of Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, head of the Knights Templars and one the country’s most-wanted drug suspects. Several of the cartel’s top commanders have been killed recently, but La Tuta remains at large. The Knights Templar controls much of the methamphetamine and marijuana trade in western Mexico. Prosecutors said Aquiles Gomez was one of its main operators, alongside his brothers Flavio and Luis Filipe Gomez. Police found his body on Friday at his home in Lazaro Cardenas, a port city on the Pacific coast and a drug-trafficking hotspot. Vigilantes …

    September 20, 2014 8:40 am
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Technology

  • Gadget Ogling: Amazon on Fire, Virtual Reality, True Nature and Energy Relief


    Welcome to a weekly look at the latest gadget offerings scrabbling for our hard-earned money in Gadget Dreams and Nightmares. On the docket this week are six new tablets and e-readers from Amazon, a pair of intriguing Kickstarter projects, and a smart thermostat. As ever, the ratings reflect only how much I care about trying out each item. These are not reviews. Amazon Fire HD and New Kindles Apple might be the flavor of the minute as new iPhones hit the market, but Amazon isn’t ready to let its rival hog all the limelight. Without a flashy presentation, it unveiled a half-dozen new Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers. There’s a 6-inch Fire HD tablet priced at US$99 (pictured above) and a 7-inch version that comes in at $139. The Fire tablets are reliably solid machines, and those are fantastically enticing prices for entry-level tablets that still have access to all the apps a customer might …

    September 20, 2014 8:40 am
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Science

  • Penn research helps uncover mechanism behind solid-solid phase transitions


    Related images(click to enlarge) Two solids made of the same elements but with different geometric arrangements of the atoms, or crystal phases, can produce materials with different properties. Coal and diamond offer a spectacular example of this effect. While it is well known that one crystal phase can transform into another under the right circumstances, the mechanisms that facilitate solid-to-solid transitions are still not well understood. Atoms can rearrange themselves to transform from a “parent” phase into a “daughter” phase by two major routes, but it is difficult to predict which route a material will take or why it took one route versus the other. To this end, researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, Soochow University in Suzhou, China, and Solvay, have studied colloidal solid-solid transitions with single-particle resolution, and they have discovered a surprising mechanism that facilitates one of these routes. They found that some crystals …

    September 20, 2014 4:52 am
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Health

  • Get a Flu Shot During Checkup, Doctor Says


    SATURDAY, Sept. 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) — As flu season approaches, the best way to stay healthy and avoid infection is to get a flu shot and a checkup, according to an infectious disease specialist. A primary care doctor can vaccinate people against the flu, and also address other health concerns or issues patients may have. Retail stores may provide flu shots for their customers, but they can’t dole out medical advice, said Dr. Jorge Parada, medical director of infection prevention and control for the Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill. “At the doctor’s office, the focus is on you and what is going on with your health. This is your time to talk about concerns to improve your well-being beyond the flu season,” Parada said in a Loyola news release. “You trust your store employee to help you locate items you want to buy, not to diagnose what’s causing a persistent symptom, schedule …

    September 20, 2014 8:39 am
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Entertainment

  • Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal remember Robin Williams


    That was more than evident on Friday, when Billy Crystal appeared on The View and discussed the late, great comedian, who was also his dear friend. Why Robin Williams was a significant part of my life  View co-host Whoopi Goldberg, who was also close to Williams, joined Crystal in remembering, nodding her head in agreement as Crystal spoke about his passing. In fact, Goldberg even became emotional as Crystal recounted all of the wonderful qualities Williams possessed. “He was such a great, dear friend of ours and such a joyous spirit, so when it all happened, it was so breathtaking,” Crystal recounted. Goldberg agreed, especially when Crystal spoke of the tweet he wrote when he discovered Williams had died, which read only, “No words.” Celebs celebrate and remember Robin Williams  “‘Cause I didn’t have any,” Crystal explained. “I just had pain.” Goldberg and Crystal sat together on stage in a more intimate setting, despite the …

    September 20, 2014 8:18 am
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Editorial

  • Scotland votes ‘No’: Good news for Britain and the US


    Today, on Friday, September 19, Great Britain can breathe a huge sigh of relief. The people of Scotland voted Thursday to remain a part of the United Kingdom. This is great news not only for Britain, but also for the United States.   The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is America’s closest ally on the world stage.  ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The Anglo-American “Special Relationship” is the engine of the free world, the most robust and enduring partnership of modern times. Anything that weakens that relationship is a negative for America. As the “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher, liked to say, America “needs friends in the lonely task of world leadership,” and Americans have no better friends than their British allies across the Atlantic. Had Scotland opted for independence, Britain would have been thrown into turmoil. At a stroke, its population would have shrunk (following an 18 month transition period) by 5 million people and …

    September 20, 2014 8:39 am
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Odd News

  • Armed with banana, man robs Philadelphia store, slips away on bike


    PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – A man armed with a banana robbed a convenience store in Philadelphia and rode away on a bicycle with cash and cigarettes, a security surveillance tape showed. The suspect strolled into Tejada Grocery and got in line behind another customer at the counter, where individual bananas were available for sale, according to the tape of Tuesday’s robbery, which was released by police on Wednesday. As his turn at the cash register approached, the man stuffed a banana into the pocket of his hoodie and used it to simulate a gun. Police said the man demanded cash and cigarettes. The robber rode then away on a bicycle, surveillance video showed. Authorities, who did not say how much cash was taken, said the suspect was still being sought on Thursday. (Editing by Barbara Goldberg)

    September 20, 2014 12:46 am
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