Headline News

  • Flight 93 memorial chapel closed after fatal 2-vehicle crash sends car into its wall

    SHANKSVILLE, Pa. –  A car has crashed into a Pennsylvania chapel honoring the Sept. 11 victims of United Airlines Flight 93, temporarily closing it. State police say the car hit a chapel wall after a two-vehicle accident Tuesday. They say the accident killed a Shanksville woman and injured the other driver. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The chapel in Stonycreek Township is a spiritual memorial to the 40 victims of Flight 93, which crashed in a nearby field on Sept. 11, 2001, after being hijacked by terrorists. The chapel is overseen by the Most Rev. Ramzi Musallam. He says an engineer will need to assess the damage before visitors can be allowed back in. He says the force of the crash knocked photos of Flight 93 victims off the wall. The chapel also contains various Sept. 11 mementos.

    November 28, 2014 4:20 am


  • Exclusive: Obama plan to ‘Power Africa’ gets off to a dim start

    JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Barack Obama last year told a cheering crowd in Cape Town that a $7 billion plan to “Power Africa” would double electricity output on the world’s poorest continent and bring “light where currently there is darkness”. A year later, the U.S. president’s flagship project for Africa has already achieved 25 percent of its goal to deliver 10,000 megawatts of electricity and bring light to 20 million households and businesses, according to its annual report. But the five-year plan has not yet delivered the power. Power Africa has not measured its progress by counting actual megawatts added to the grid but promises of additional power made in deals it says it helped negotiate, according to sources inside the project and documents seen by Reuters. Some projects facilitated by Power Africa — a program operated by the U.S. aid agency USAID — were under way years before the scheme’s inception, others are still in …

    November 28, 2014 2:36 am


  • San Francisco passes retail worker ‘bill of rights’

    Many retail and restaurant workers in San Francisco may soon benefit from a new ordinance that would improve their job scheduling and pay security. Retail and chain-restaurant workers in San Francisco may soon benefit from an expansive, first-of-its kind law passed unanimously this week. If signed by Mayor Edwin Lee, the ordinance aimed at improving workers’ job scheduling and pay security would go into effect next summer. If vetoed, the board could vote to override it. The measure would require companies to give workers their schedules at least two weeks in advance. Then if employers make changes with less than 24 hours notice, they would have to cough up an extra two-to-four hours of pay. The law also says that extra hours, when available, have to be offered first to current part-timers. In addition, if a company is sold, people on the job at least six months would be guaranteed work for at least 90 …

    November 28, 2014 3:39 am


  • Hughes to be honored with state memorial

    SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s cricket board will launch an “immediate” review into player safety in the wake of Phillip Hughes’ death, as the global cricket community mourned on Friday and the fate of next week’s first test against India remained in limbo. Flags flew at half-mast at cricket grounds and players left bats outside their doors in tribute to batsman Hughes, whose death in hospital on Thursday at the age of 25 shook the sport to its core and prompted a global outpouring of sympathy. Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland said the board would work with manufacturers and regulators to look into safety standards and seek improvements after Hughes was killed by a ball in a domestic match, despite wearing a helmet. “Statistics say it is clearly a freak incident, but one freak incident is one freak incident too many, so that of course puts us in a position of looking into that,” Sutherland told …

    November 28, 2014 4:39 am

World News

  • Thailand backs surrogacy trade ban

    28 November 2014 Last updated at 10:30 The case of baby Gammy, allegedly abandoned by his Australian parents, shocked Thailand Thailand’s parliament has voted to ban commercial surrogacy after outrage over the largely unregulated trade. The draft bill, which passed its first reading on Friday by 177 votes, says violators could face 10 years in jail. In August international media reported that an Australian couple had allegedly abandoned their surrogate son Gammy because he had Down’s Syndrome. Anger over Thailand’s surrogacy trade increased when a Japanese man was found to have fathered nine surrogate babies. Thailand’s ruling military junta, which seized power in May, promised to end commercial surrogacy. “We want to put an end to this idea in foreigners’ minds that Thailand is a baby factory,” Thai lawmaker Wallop Tungkananurak told AFP news agency. Surrogacy scandals Commercial surrogacy was supposedly banned by Thailand’s Medical Council in 1997. The body explicitly said “no compensation may …

    November 28, 2014 4:39 am


  • YouTube Minecraft channel The Diamond Minecart gets a mobile app

    YouTube channel The Diamond Minecart is one of the most popular Minecraft-focused channels in the world, with 4.3 million subscribers and more than 1.6 billion lifetime views. Now there’s an app for that, released for iPhone and iPad by multi-channel network (MCN) Maker Studios, which has launched similar apps for gaming channels PewDiePie and The Yogscast in 2014. The app, which is free to download, serves up a feed of new and popular videos from the Diamond Minecart channel, which was launched in 2012 by gamer Daniel Middleton as a showcase for his Minecraft play-through videos. Fans can also personalise the app to focus on different shows within the channel, and share videos with friends on social networks. In its structure, it’s very similar to the PewDiePie app that Maker launched in late July. The Diamond Minecart is actually a recent addition to Maker’s roster of YouTube games channels, having joined its network in August. …

    November 28, 2014 2:37 am


  • Salamanders are a more abundant food source in forest ecosystems than previously thought

    Related images(click to enlarge) In the 1970s, ecologists published results from one of the first whole-forest ecosystem studies ever conducted in Hubbard Brook, New Hampshire. In the paper, scientists reported that salamanders represent one of the largest sources of biomass, or food, of all vertebrates in the forest landscape. Now, using new sampling and statistical techniques not available during the past study, researchers at the University of Missouri have estimated that the population of salamanders in forested regions of the Missouri Ozarks are 2-4 times higher than originally thought, and in other regions of the eastern U.S. may be on average 10 times higher. Scientists believe that acknowledging salamanders as one of the main food sources in forest ecosystems could help drive conservation efforts and forest management. “Our lab works to identify salamanders as an influential part of the forest ecosystem and food chain,” said Ray Semlitsch, Curators Professor of Biological Sciences in the College …

    November 28, 2014 2:59 am


  • ICRC seeks record $1.7 billion for humanitarian work in 2015

    LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) appealed on Thursday for a record 1.6 billion Swiss francs ($1.67 billion) to respond to humanitarian crises next year in Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and other hotspots. The ICRC said its most costly operation in 2015 will be Syria, where more than three years of fighting have uprooted 7.2 million people inside the country and led 3.3 million to flee abroad, mainly to neighboring states like Lebanon and Jordan. The ICRC expects to spend 164 million Swiss francs ($170 million) in Syria alone. “We are witnessing new kinds of crises, in new combinations, often with a regional dimension. We are no longer simply facing traditional internal or international armed conflict,” ICRC President Peter Maurer said in a statement. “Gaining access and proximity to ever greater numbers of people in need while coping with increasingly severe security constraints is a fundamental …

    November 28, 2014 2:36 am


  • Former Teen Mom 2 star Leah Messer’s troubles continue to worsen

    Teen Mom 2 fans, one of your favorite stars has quit the show Messer has been struggling to hold onto her marriage to husband Jeremy Calvert, and according to Radar Online, one of the reasons the reality TV star decided to end her time on the MTV show Teen Mom 2 is because she didn’t want the pressure of the show to worsen her already fragile marital situation. “Things are still rocky for them,” a friend of Messer, whose married name is now Calvert, revealed to the publication. “Leah is doing everything she can to keep her family together, including leaving reality TV. All the attention from the show played a hand in one failed marriage, and she’s not going to let that happen again.” Teen Mom 2‘s Leah Messer and her cryptic tweets have us worried However, if her husband’s cryptic Twitter messages are anything to go by, then divorce could be imminent. Jeremy …

    November 28, 2014 4:19 am


  • Thanksgiving: Cultivate an attitude of gratitude

    NATO soldiers have their Thanksgiving Day meals at the ISAF headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. This is the last Thanksgiving cerebration before the U.S. and NATO combat mission ends on Dec. 31 this year. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) If Thomas Jefferson could be faulted for one thing in composing the Declaration of Independence, it might be his inclusion of the words “the pursuit of happiness” in the text. Happiness is a vapor that cannot be grasped; a temporary feeling based on transitory circumstances akin to the euphoria of a full-on sugar rush. Happiness is good for a time, but it cannot last. Life invariably intervenes. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT So many seem so unthankful about so much these days. Turn on the TV or read a newspaper and you will find complainers. Democrats complain about Republicans and the reverse. The poor complain about the rich and the rich complain that they are being taxed too …

    November 27, 2014 2:19 pm

Odd News

  • French farmers cry wolf over sheep killings

    PARIS (Reuters) – French farmers, who regularly bring livestock into Paris to punctuate their protests, drove some 250 sheep into the shadow of the Eiffel Tower on Thursday to highlight an unusual concern – that a growing wolf population is killing their flocks. Wolves were reintroduced to France in the 1990s under an international convention on wildlife conservation in Europe. There are now an estimated 300 wolves in the country and the number is growing each year. According to the French sheep organization (FNO), the number of animals they kill has risen too – by nearly two thirds since 2011 – and is likely to top 8,000 this year. “We are asking that wolves be removed from sheep breeding regions because they are incompatible with our work,” Michele Boudoin, secretary general of the French sheep organisation (FNO) said. She stressed that France’s “wolf plan”, which compensates farmers for sheep losses and pays for prevention measures …

    November 27, 2014 2:39 pm