Headline News

  • Arizona murderer gasps for more than 1 1/2 hours in death chamber before dying


    Arizona Republic justice reporter Michael Kiefer describes what he saw as a witness to the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood, which took more than an hour and a half at the state prison on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in Florence, Ariz. Wood was convicted in the 1989 shooting deaths of Debbie Dietz, 29, and Gene Dietz, 55, at an auto repair shop in Tucson. (AP Photo)The Associated Press John Zemblidge, right, of Phoenix, leads a group of about a dozen death penalty opponents in prayer as they protest the possible execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood at the state prison in Florence, Ariz. on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Arizona’s highest court on Wednesday temporarily halted the execution of the condemned inmate so it could consider a last-minute appeal. The Arizona Supreme Court said it would consider whether he received inadequate legal representation at his sentencing. The appeal also challenges the secrecy of the lethal injection process …

    July 24, 2014 3:21 am
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Politics

  • Republican lawmaker to grill U.S. SEC over Ackman tactics


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. lawmaker will pressure the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday to consider a raft of reforms, after William Ackman’s aggressive efforts to take over Allergan Inc raised concerns about loose rules governing disclosure and shareholder voting. Republican Representative Edward Royce of California plans to grill SEC Corporation Finance Director Keith Higgins at a House Financial Services hearing. Among his top concerns is a rule that lets investors such as Ackman delay publicly reporting when they have amassed a large stake in a company for days. “I am especially interested in the SEC’s process when looking at novel or creative deals like the announced joint-bid by Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Pershing Square for Allergan,” Royce said in a statement. “Mr. Higgins’ appearance before the committee is an opportunity to make sure that the Commission is making robust reviews of these sorts of deals to ensure strong investor protections and market transparency.” …

    July 24, 2014 1:40 am
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Stocks

  • China’s factories power ahead to 18-month high


    A key gauge of manufacturing activity in China is at an 18-month high as the country’s factories roar to life after a dismal start to the year. Global bank HSBC said its “flash” index of purchasing managers’ sentiment rose to 52.0 in July from June’s final reading of 50.7. Any reading above 50 signals expansion in the manufacturing sector. The report, fueled by strong output and new orders, was much stronger than economists had anticipated. Employment and price indicators also improved. “Economic activity continues to improve in July, suggesting that the cumulative impact of mini-stimulus measures introduced earlier is still filtering through,” said HSBC economist Hongbin Qu. “We expect policy makers to maintain their accommodative stance over the next few months to consolidate the recovery,” Qu said.   The strength of manufacturing in China is considered a barometer of the global economy because of the nation’s role as a powerhouse exporter. This year, the sector …

    July 24, 2014 2:20 am
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Sports

  • Swarzak spot-on as Twins down Tribe


    Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) – Anthony Swarzak’s first start since 2012 was just what the Twins needed. Swarzak (2-0) allowed just one run on two hits over five innings, and the Minnesota bullpen stymied the Cleveland bats in a 3-1 win Wednesday afternoon at Target Field. Swarzak, whose last start came in Oct. 2012, struck out three and walked one, while the bullpen allowed just three hits over the final four frames, helping the Twins win two of three from Cleveland. The right-hander was making a spot start in place of the injured Kyle Gibson, who is suffering from tightness in his lower back. Oswaldo Arcia added a solo homer and Danny Santana went 3-for-3 with two runs scored for Minnesota, which won for just the second time in six games since the All-Star break. “Arcia had a big day,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He had a big home run for us.” Jose Ramirez had …

    July 24, 2014 3:21 am
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World News

  • Deadly ambush on Iraq prison convoy


    24 July 2014 Last updated at 08:59 Suicide attackers have mounted a bomb and gun attack on a prison convoy in Iraq, killing 51 prisoners and nine police officers, security sources say. Roadside bombs exploded as the convoy was taking the prisoners from the town of Taji to the capital Baghdad 24km (15 miles) away, justice ministry and medical sources told Reuters. Gunmen opened fire and a battle ensued with security forces, AFP reports. It is thought the prisoners were being evacuated at the time. The prisoners, who were suspected militants, were put in a convoy after mortar rounds hit military bases in Taji at dawn on Thursday, Iraqi officials told AP, speaking on condition of anonymity. As the convoy travelled through a remote area, roadside bombs went off and the militants opened fire. There were no immediate figures for casualties among the attackers. The attack comes almost a year to the day since gunmen …

    July 24, 2014 3:21 am
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Technology

  • Boot up: New Foursquare, new Shield, new Lumia and new wearables


    A quick burst of 8 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team This MP Wants People Who Steal World Of Warcraft Weapons To Be Punished Like Real-Life Thieves Buzzfeed Mike Weatherley, who is also David Cameron’s chief advisor on intellectual property, asked ministers to consider new laws so that “people who steal online items in video games with a real-world monetary value receive the same sentences as criminals who steal real-world items of the same monetary value”. The Conservative MP, who himself plays the fantasy role-playing game Warcraft, told BuzzFeed that players sometimes spend large amounts of real world money on in-game items. The far more pertinent question for most, of course, would be whether conventional property rights can be extended to digital downloads from sites such as iTunes or Amazon. That would obviously affect criminals who steal accounts – but it would also pose thorny questions for the companies …

    July 24, 2014 1:40 am
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Science

  • Spinach could lead to alternative energy more powerful than Popeye


    Related images(click to enlarge) Spinach gave Popeye super strength, but it also holds the promise of a different power for a group of scientists: the ability to convert sunlight into a clean, efficient alternative fuel. Purdue University physicists are part of an international group using spinach to study the proteins involved in photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert the sun’s energy into carbohydrates used to power cellular processes. “The proteins we study are part of the most efficient system ever built, capable of converting the energy from the sun into chemical energy with an unrivaled 60 percent efficiency,” said Yulia Pushkar, a Purdue assistant professor of physics involved in the research. “Understanding this system is indispensible for alternative energy research aiming to create artificial photosynthesis.” During photosynthesis plants use solar energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into hydrogen-storing carbohydrates and oxygen. Artificial photosynthesis could allow for the conversion of solar energy into renewable, …

    July 24, 2014 2:00 am
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Health

  • India’s Ipca halts shipments to U.S. from local plant after FDA concerns


    MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s Ipca Laboratories Ltd said on Thursday it has voluntarily suspended shipments to the United States from one of its drug ingredient manufacturing plants after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressed concerns regarding the unit. Ipca, a mid-sized generic drugs and ingredients maker, said the FDA issued a so-called “Form 483″, a letter in which the agency typically outlines violations of its guidelines observed during inspections of manufacturing plants. Ipca did not give details about the contents of the Form 483 that it had received. Over the past year, large Indian drugmakers such as Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and Wockhardt Ltd have been hit by a spate of regulatory sanctions due to concerns about production processes at their local plants. The sanctions have hurt India’s reputation as a supplier of safe, affordable drugs. The shipment halt from Ipca’s Ratlam plant in central India will also impact its U.S. drug exports from …

    July 24, 2014 1:40 am
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Entertainment

  • FAF7 helped Vin Diesel heal after Paul Walker’s death


    Tyrese and Vin Diesel celebrate bittersweet wrap of Fast Furious 7 After co-star Paul Walker had died suddenly, the cast of the franchise was left in shock and grieving the death of their friend. “It was, needless to say, the hardest movie I’ve ever done,” Diesel told Access Hollywood. “I remember when the tragedy happened, my mother said to me, ‘It’s not fair that you have to mourn in front of the world.’” While the cast had a hard time completing the film without Walker, Diesel said that having to do it also gave them a form of closure they may not have gotten otherwise. “It’s very, very weird,” he said. “The good thing is, because we took all the time, the movie is a true testament to everyone coming together and wanting to honor both the saga and our brother, and there’s something very beautiful about that.” Michelle Rodriguez pays tribute to Paul Walker  …

    July 24, 2014 2:20 am
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Editorial

  • Why I’m sorry for judging a convenience store clerk


    Jason F. Wright and Cheri RomickCourtesy of the author There was just something about her. The woman behind the Handy Mart counter had worried eyes and a tired smile. I suspected the reason her smile was exhausted had nothing to do with using it all the time. It was just tired of lying. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT It was 6:40 a.m. in the quiet convenience store and I’d planned to buy a newspaper and enjoy a donut and juice before heading to my office. And, because I’m a serial talker, I’d hoped to chat with whoever might be working or simply passing through the combination gas station and Dunkin Donuts. I paid for my breakfast and decided to try to pry a smile with a joke that was outrageously funny in my head, but in the real world? Not so much. The clerk, Cheri Romick, grinned anyway, wished me a good day and returned to her routine. …

    July 24, 2014 1:40 am
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Odd News

  • Giant ketchup bottle up for sale in southern Illinois


    CHICAGO (Reuters) – Want a giant historic order of fries with that? A water tower shaped like a 170-foot-tall ketchup bottle is for sale in southern Illinois, along with an adjacent warehouse, an owner said on Wednesday. Fans fear the 65-year-old landmark, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, might be in peril if a sympathetic buyer isn’t found. Bethel-Eckert Enterprises used the Collinsville warehouse for a food distribution business but is now selling the property along Route 159 for $500,000, said co-owner Larry Eckert. The red-and-white tower was built in 1949 for the bottlers of Brooks ketchup, according to catsupbottle.com, the website of the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle fan club. The red-and-white tower was restored in 1995 with funds from volunteers, Eckert said. Eckert, who has not had any offers yet, hopes a buyer will preserve the bottle. But not every Illinois historic landmark has been saved, said Mike Gassmann, who calls …

    July 23, 2014 5:56 pm
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