Headline News

  • California man vanishes owing FTC $113 million over get-rich-quick scam

    California police are investigating the disappearance of a businessman facing a $113 million judgment in a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit that accused him of bilking consumers in a get-rich-quick infomercial scheme. John Nelson Beck, 73, vanished Tuesday on his way to a morning appointment in downtown Oakland, Alameda police said. Beck never made it to the appointment after his wife dropped him off. The Costa Contra Times reported Friday that his family believes he may have been last seen boarding a BART train in Oakland. According to the paper, Beck ran infomercials peddling a real estate system that promised purchasers easy money buying foreclosed homes at government auctions and flipping them or putting them up for rent. “John Beck’s Free Clear Real Estate System” cost $39.95, plus shipping and handling, and came with written materials, CDs and DVDs, the Times reported. As part of a crackdown on get-rich-quick scams, the FTC accused Beck and several …

    February 13, 2016 11:04 pm


  • Sudden Supreme Court vacancy seizes U.S. campaign spotlight

    WASHINGTON The future of the U.S. Supreme Court grabbed center stage in the country’s presidential campaign with the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia, setting up an election-year battle over who should succeed him on a nine-member bench that interprets U.S. law over such hot-button issues as abortion, gay marriage, healthcare and immigration. The death of the 79-year-old conservative justice, announced by Chief Justice John Roberts, promises to provoke a major confrontation between President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled Senate over who will replace Scalia later this year. The prospect of such a battle drew swift and furious comment from candidates vying to be elected president in November. The U.S. president has the job of nominating justices, and the Senate has the job of confirming. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose Republicans control the Senate, issued a statement saying the vacancy should not be filled until Obama’s successor takes office next January so …

    February 13, 2016 9:04 pm


  • Senate passes bill to ban slavery imports

    The Senate passed a bill that would ban slavery-produced imports, like shrimp harvested by slaves on Thai “ghost ships.” A bill to ban to imports from slave labor has passed the Senate and is headed to President Obama’s desk. The bill, known as H.R. 644, would block imports “made with convict labor, forced labor, or indentured labor” if signed into law by the president. H.R. 644 would eliminate the “consumptive demand” exception from the Tariff Act of 1930 that allows forced labor goods into the country if they are in short demand in the U.S. The Senate approved the bill 75-20 on Thursday. The House had previously passed the bill. The legislation stemmed from an AP investigation that much of the shrimp imported in the U.S. and sold at Walmart (WMT), Whole Foods (WFM) and Red Lobster was harvested by slaves confined to fishing boats in Asia. The AP says that 2,000 enslaved fishermen have …

    February 13, 2016 11:45 pm


  • Guidolin has ‘no fear’ for Swansea

    Media playback is not supported on this device Swans did not deserve to win – Guidolin Swansea City head coach Francesco Guidolin says he has “no fear” despite seeing his side slip closer to the Premier League relegation zone. Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Southampton left the Swans three points above the bottom three. But Guidolin, who succeeded Garry Monk in January, believes Swansea are in a stronger position than when he first arrived. “If it wasn’t difficult at Swansea, I would not be here,” he said. “I am here and I am happy to be here. I hope to help my team and my club, our fans. “In a season when there is one manager go out, there is a bad period. So another manager is a sign of difficulty. “I have no fear because I know this situation.” The loss to Southampton was Guidolin’s first since taking charge at the Liberty Stadium, having won …

    February 13, 2016 11:25 pm

World News

  • Cement study seeks nuclear waste solution

    Media captionClaire Corkhill: “We want to know how the mineral phases will behave over time” UK scientists say they have produced a new mix of cement that should be much more effective at containing nuclear waste in a deep repository. The material develops mineral phases that readily trap radioactive isotopes trying to pass through it. Investigations at the atomic scale indicate the cement ought to retain this ability for at least 2,000 years. The Sheffield University team believes the new mix is up to 50% better than previously proposed barrier solutions. At some point the government will choose the location of an underground store for the hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of waste built up over more than 60 years of nuclear operations. A lot of this material will be immobilised and backfilled using cement. This cement will need to block the passage of radioisotopes far into the future. The Sheffield experiments have been …

    February 13, 2016 11:25 pm


  • Andrew Marr: the loss of the Independent means the loss of a community

    What happened to the Independent this week is a footnote in a huge story – the wave of creative destruction overturning all traditional media – and a very important local political and cultural story. The big story is well understood. Digital is much cheaper than analogue, or Gutenberg technology. The cumbersome is collapsing, outpaced by the nimble. That allows new voices into an old debate-cartel. But it’s not all genteel and attractive. Related: Independent aims to keep stars and boost quality in digital shift A lot of the capital cost is actually passed to the consumer. Under the old model, large industrial corporations used capital-heavy technology to make and then distribute information to individuals. In the new model we – you and me – purchase the computers, Wi-Fi accounts, apps, mobile phones and sometimes subscriptions, which allow corporations to pass the information to us more cheaply. For media companies, it’s a great gig. If you …

    February 13, 2016 9:24 pm


  • Memory replay prioritizes high-reward memories

    Related images(click to enlarge) Why do we remember some events, places and things, but not others? Our brains prioritize rewarding memories over others, and reinforce them by replaying them when we are at rest, according to new research from the University of California, Davis, Center for Neuroscience, published Feb. 11 in the journal Neuron. “Rewards help you remember things, because you want future rewards,” said Professor Charan Ranganath, a UC Davis neuroscientist and senior author on the paper. “The brain prioritizes memories that are going to be useful for future decisions.” It’s estimated that we only retain detailed memories for a small proportion of the events of each day, Ranganath said. People with very detailed memories become overwhelmed with information. So if the brain is going to filter information and decide what to remember, it makes sense to save those memories that might be most important for obtaining rewards in the future. Ranganath and postdoctoral …

    February 13, 2016 8:04 pm


  • Guillain-Barre on rise in five Latam countries, no proven link to Zika

    GENEVA A neurological disorder suspected of links to the mosquito-borne Zika virus is on the rise in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Suriname and Venezuela, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday. The rare Guillain-Barre syndrome, in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system, causes gradual weakness in the legs, arms and upper body and sometimes leads to total paralysis. “In the context of the Zika virus outbreak, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Suriname and Venezuela have reported an increase of GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome),” the WHO said in a weekly report on Zika virus now circulating in 34 countries, including 26 in the Americas. “The cause of the increase in GBS incidence observed in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador and Suriname remains unknown, especially as dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus have all been circulating simultaneously in the Americas,” it added. Investigations continue to determine the cause, WHO said, noting that there was no …

    February 13, 2016 8:44 pm


  • Winning Powerball Numbers February 13: $176 Million Jackpot Up For Grabs — Best Valentine’s Gift Ever?

    Hoping to win the $176 million Powerball jackpot on February 13? If your ticket has all six winning numbers drawn on Saturday night, you will be the lottery’s newest multi-millionaire. Scroll down to find out if your ticket is a winner — that would be a sweet pre-Valentine’s Day gift, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t you rather be here? Tonight’s $176 MILLION #Powerball jackpot could help get you there. Are you playing? pic.twitter.com/HmIbxA2yCX — California Lottery (@calottery) February 13, 2016 It’s been a month since the record-breaking $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot was split between three lucky ticket holders. If no one wins tonight, the grand prize increases to close to $200 million for the next drawing on February 17. The Powerball numbers for February 13 are: 07, 15, 18, 19, 36 PB 20 Power Play 02 Didn’t win tonight’s $176 million jackpot? Double check your ticket — you may have won a non-jackpot prize that ranges from a …

    February 13, 2016 11:44 pm


  • Why Scalia’s death could turn the the 2016 election upside down

    Things can change fast in American politics. When the sun rose this morning, most any conservation about Supreme Court vacancies would have centered around President Obama replacing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – the eldest of the court’s nine justices and a two-time cancer survivor who will turn 83 next month. And then on Saturday afternoon came the news that Justice Antonin Scalia had passed away while on a Texas hunting trip. With his death, the nation’s highest court went from potential sleeper issue in the president election to front and center, kicking and screaming. This is the first time since 1968 that an opening on the Supreme Court coincides with the final year of a Democratic presidency. It’s a story worth retelling, as we could be headed down the same road. In 1968 the drama began when then-Chief Justice Earl Warren announced his retirement. Warren didn’t want a potential Nixon White House choosing his successor, …

    February 13, 2016 11:24 pm

Odd News

  • Racy night with handcuffs lands Arkansas man in handcuffs, again

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. An Arkansas couple’s evening of “kinky” entertainment ended with one pair of handcuffs used for fun being replaced by another used for real in an arrest, police said on Friday. Dustin Taylor, 21, summoned police this week to his home in Fort Smith to remove a pair of handcuffs he told officers he and his wife had been using the previous night while “doing some ‘kinky’ things,” the official report stated. The couple had lost the key, Taylor explained. The responding patrolman removed the handcuffs and did a routine search of Taylor’s name in a police database. When the computer reported an outstanding warrant for Taylor on criminal mischief, handcuffs went back on. But this time they belonged to the officer. Sergeant Daniel Grubbs, spokesman for the Fort Smith police, expressed a measure of sympathy for Taylor. “I sort of wish the guy had invested in an extra handcuff key,” Grubbs said. …

    February 12, 2016 8:20 pm