• Pacers’ unity a welcome plus for coach Vogel

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – For Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel, the one shining light in an injury-hit campaign where the Eastern Conference finalists of the past two seasons have resembled a sinking ship has been...
  • UN seeks North Korea ICC charges

    UN seeks North Korea ICC charges

    18 December 2014 Last updated at 18:59 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been accused of numerous human rights violations The UN General Assembly has voted in favour of referring North Korea to the International...
  • White House does not dismiss idea of Castro visit

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House does not dismiss the possibility of an eventual, precedent-shattering visit to Washington by Cuban President Raul Castro as part of President Barack Obama’s plans to normalize relations with Havana....
  • Top Shelf: DeBoer may take fall for Devils

    Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – There are few people who would place the blame for the New Jersey Devils’ lackluster season entirely on Peter DeBoer. But, at this rate, there may be no other solution than...
  • Sony hack is ‘US security issue’

    Sony hack is ‘US security issue’

    18 December 2014 Last updated at 19:09 A cyber attack on Sony Pictures that forced the cancellation of a major film release is being treated as a national security matter, the White House says. Spokesman...

Headline News

  • White House does not dismiss idea of Castro visit


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House does not dismiss the possibility of an eventual, precedent-shattering visit to Washington by Cuban President Raul Castro as part of President Barack Obama’s plans to normalize relations with Havana. “I wouldn’t rule out a visit from President Castro,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Thursday, a day after the two governments announced they would restore ties and open embassies after half a century of hostility. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, who is expected to visit Cuba in January, said renewed relations were not directly tied to progress on human rights in Cuba. “The president has had the leaders of both Burma and China to the United States,” he said. By meeting such leaders, the United States can better influence countries to better respect universal human rights, he said. Republicans and some Democrats vowed to fight Obama’s efforts to expand commercial ties …

    December 18, 2014 2:18 pm
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Politics

  • Democrat lawmakers warn against investment rules in trade pacts


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some Democrat lawmakers have urged the U.S. administration to exclude foreign investment protections from major free trade agreements, warning they might undermine buffers against future financial crises and hurt public support for trade deals. Rules allowing foreign companies to sue host governments for unfair treatment have become contentious after recent high-profile cases, such as tobacco company Phillip Morris’s challenge to Australia’s plain packaging laws for cigarettes. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a staunch advocate for tougher scrutiny of Wall Street, said such rules would expose “critical” U.S. financial regulations to challenge and dissuade policymakers from writing rules that impact foreign banks. Warren and fellow senators Tammy Baldwin and Edward Markey wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Dec. 17 urging him not to include investment protection rules in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). “The consequence would be to strip our regulators of the tools they need to prevent the next crisis,” said the …

    December 18, 2014 11:37 am
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Stocks

  • YouTube CEO: Paid maternity leave is good for business


    Susan Wojcicki was the first Google employee to get paid time off for maternity leave. Paid maternity leave is good for moms, it’s good for families, and it’s good for business. That’s according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who advocated for all American women to get the benefit in an oped she penned for the Wall Street Journal this week. She cites an impressive statistic: The rate at which new moms left Google fell by 50% after it increased paid maternity leave from 12 to 18 weeks in 2007. Offering paid maternity leave at Google (GOOG), YouTube’s parent, has helped the company avoid costly turnover and retain skilled employees. Wojcicki herself was the company’s first employee to take maternity leave. In fact, she left a job at Intel (INTC, Tech30) when she was four months pregnant to join the startup. At the time Google had zero revenue, only 15 other (all male) employees, and was …

    December 18, 2014 2:38 pm
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Sports

  • Pacers’ unity a welcome plus for coach Vogel


    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – For Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel, the one shining light in an injury-hit campaign where the Eastern Conference finalists of the past two seasons have resembled a sinking ship has been the team’s strong unity. Very few teams, if any, in the league could withstand the loss of a standout forward for an entire season and lengthy absences of two other key players but Indiana have refused to adopt a “woe is me” attitude. Though they have stuttered to a dismal 8-18 record while struggling with patched-up lineups and unfamiliar plays, they have strived to compete as a team and Vogel has only praise for Indiana’s collective spirit. “Despite a difficult situation and a lot of losses, everyone has really stayed positive, believing in one another and believing in what we do,” Vogel told Reuters before the Pacers’ 102-100 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. “Even though we’ve had …

    December 18, 2014 2:18 pm
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World News

  • UN seeks North Korea ICC charges


    18 December 2014 Last updated at 18:59 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been accused of numerous human rights violations The UN General Assembly has voted in favour of referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity. The resolution was passed by 116 votes to 20, with more than 50 abstentions. The UN Security Council is expected to discuss the resolution on Monday, but it is likely to face stiff opposition from China and Russia. North Korea said the resolution was “a product of political plot and confrontation”. A UN report released in February revealed ordinary North Koreans faced “unspeakable atrocities”. The report detailed wide-ranging abuses in North Korea after a panel heard evidence of torture, political repression and other abuses. It added that those accused of political crimes were “disappeared” to prison camps, where they were subject to “deliberate starvation, forced labour, executions, torture, rape and the …

    December 18, 2014 2:18 pm
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Technology

  • Minecraft maker plans spin-off game


    18 December 2014 Last updated at 17:49 The spin-off is being made by Telltale Games which has worked on titles with more adult themes than those seen in Minecraft Minecraft maker Mojang is planning a spin-off game based on its hugely popular block-building title. Called Minecraft: Story Mode, it will be an episodic game set in the familiar Minecraft world but will introduce some new characters into the setting. The game is being made by Telltale Games which has produced several other episodic titles. The first episode is due to be released in 2015 on consoles, PCs, Macs and Android devices. So far, little information about what it will be like have been released. Mojang has produced a short browser-based game called Info Quest II to explain what it might be like. In a blogpost, Mojang said the game would be developed with the help of the Minecraft community. It sought to reassure players that …

    December 18, 2014 11:57 am
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Science

  • NASA, SpaceX Update Launch of Fifth SpaceX Resupply Mission to Space Station


    NASA and SpaceX announced today the launch of SpaceX’s fifth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station now will occur no earlier than Tuesday, Jan. 6. The new launch date will provide SpaceX engineers time to investigate further issues that arose from a static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket on Dec. 16 and will avoid beta angle constraints for berthing the Dragon cargo ship to the station that exist through the end of the year. A beta angle is the position of the sun relative to mechanical structures on the space station. During the time of high beta angles, which run from Dec. 28 through Jan. 7, thermal and operational constraints prohibit Dragon from berthing to the station. Space station managers will meet Monday, Jan. 5, for a readiness review in advance of the launch attempt Jan. 6. The launch postponement has no impact on the station’s crew or its complement …

    December 18, 2014 11:58 am
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Health

  • Heart experts warn of air pollution dangers


    (Reuters Health) – Air pollution should be one of the avoidable heart risk factors – just like smoking and excess fat – that doctors warn patients to steer clear of, according to a new statement from 20 heart experts. Citing pollution’s heavy toll on cardiovascular health, the panel urges people to take steps to protect themselves from breathing heavy traffic fumes or industrial air pollution whenever possible, and public officials to pass laws to reduce air pollution. “Cardiovascular disease is a huge global problem, causing immense suffering and premature death, as well as placing severe strain on national healthcare budgets and/or family finances,” said Dr. Robert Storey, a professor of cardiology at the University of Sheffield in the UK and senior author of the new position paper. Air pollution causes more than 3 million deaths worldwide each year and causes 3.1 percent of all cases of disability, Storey and his coauthors write in the European …

    December 18, 2014 11:57 am
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Entertainment

  • Kim Kardashian And Kanye West Enjoy An Early Morning Couples Workout


    Posted on Thu Dec 18th, 2014 10:40am PDT       By X17 Staff The pair that sweats together, stays together! Kim Kardashian and Kanye West woke up bright and early to get some exercise in at Barry’s Bootcamp in L.A., and all people gossiping about marriage trouble between these two are just plain wrong! The pair must be trying to keep their bodies fit before feasting on holiday goodies. We wonder if Kimye and Nori will do their own Christmas, or if they will open presents with Kris Jenner? There are reports the rapper wants to be in Paris, but Kimmy K wants to be with her famous family in L.A. One thing’s for sure – Yeezy is going to shower the reality star with pricey gifts!   SEE THE GALLERY Kim Kardashian And Kanye West Head To A Workout Stories from around the Web

    December 18, 2014 1:37 pm
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Editorial

  • CIA Report, Funding the Government: How can Obama, Congress defy the Constitution?


    When the government is waving at us with its right hand, so to speak, it is the government’s left hand that we should be watching. Just as a magician draws your attention to what he wants you to see so you will not observe how his trick is performed, last week presented a textbook example of public disputes masking hidden deceptions. Here is what happened. Last week was dominated by two huge news stories. One was the revelation by the Senate Intelligence Committee of torture committed by CIA agents and contractors on 119 detainees in the post-9/11 era — 26 of whom were tortured for months by mistake. In that revelation of anguish and error were the conclusions by CIA agents themselves that their torture had not produced helpful information. President Obama acknowledged that the CIA had tortured, yet he directed the Department of Justice not to prosecute those who tortured and those who authorized …

    December 18, 2014 7:55 am
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Odd News

  • NY City council votes to ban sale of bunnies by pet shops


    NEW YORK (Reuters) – What do bunny rabbits have in common with hyenas, wolverines and polar bears? The adorable little creatures are about to join a menagerie of wildlife prohibited for sale by New York City pet shops. The New York City Council voted on Wednesday to outlaw the bunny trade to help curb a glut of unwanted rabbits at city shelters by people who had second thoughts about caring for the cuddly creatures. “Rabbits are sometimes disappointing especially when you buy them for your child,” said Margo DeMello, president of the House Rabbit Society, in Richmond, California, which she described as the world’s largest rabbit shelter. “They’re ground-dwelling and they do not want to be held and carried around by a kid.” Elizabeth S. Crowley, the New York councilwoman who is lead co-sponsor of the bill, said she expected Mayor Bill de Blasio to sign the legislation into law because of the strong support …

    December 17, 2014 11:51 pm
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