Headline News

  • Big Rail’s little cousins find boon in U.S. oil-by-rail bust

    OLEAN, New York Amid the rolling mountains surrounding this quiet town in southwest New York state, tucked away on miles-long stretches of underused rail tracks, hundreds of idle oil tank cars attest to the extent of fallout from oil’s rout. The oil tank cars – a year ago sought-after to haul crude from North Dakota to New Jersey – now stand idle as a result of two converging trends: the reversal in U.S. shale oil production and the completion of new pipelines. They show how the pain from the slump in the oil-by-rail industry has spread far and wide. Big rail lines, such as Berkshire Hathaway-owned BNSF Railways or Union Pacific are losing what used to be their fastest-growing source of new traffic; refiners such as PBF Energy are left with millions of dollars worth of unused rolling stock; and leasing firms such as Trinity Industries and Greenbrier Companies Inc have seen monthly rates fall …

    September 1, 2015 12:43 am


  • School protests hijack Chicago mayor’s budget forum

    CHICAGO Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a rare public forum on Monday, seeking support for painful belt tightening to solve the city’s fiscal crisis, at a meeting dominated by protests over the closing of a high school in an African-American neighborhood. Chants and boos greeted Emanuel, who was forced to agree to meet for the first time with 12 protesters who are in the 15th day of a hunger strike to pressure the city to reopen shuttered Dyett High School in South Chicago. “Hunger strike,” “Rahm don’t care,” and “die for Dyett,” chanted the crowd. The school board says it has closed Dyett and 50 other schools in minority neighborhoods due to a shrinking population, but many people in Chicago see school closures as part of a plan to privatize education. City officials are weighing the city’s first-ever garbage collection fees, higher property taxes and fees related to e-cigarettes to try to plug an estimated …

    August 31, 2015 11:03 pm


  • China’s factory sector is running out of steam

    China’s all-important manufacturing industry is running out of steam. An important gauge of factory activity fell to a three-year low of 49.7 in August, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Any number below 50 indicates a deceleration in the manufacturing sector. A separate survey conducted by Chinese media group Caixin and Markit Economics showed manufacturing PMI dropped to 47.3 in August, marking the sixth month the index has fallen below 50. “We suspect the latest bout of weakness mostly reflects temporary disruptions to factory output due to restrictions on polluting activities,” ahead of a public holiday and military parade in Beijing, said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics about the government data. “The Tianjin warehouse explosion will also have negatively impacted industrial activity.” The official government manufacturing gauge is heavily weighted toward large enterprises, while the Caixin survey taps a smaller sample size and places greater emphasis on smaller firms. Stocks in Shanghai fell by …

    September 1, 2015 12:03 am


  • Ross shuts down Rangers, hits RBI single in 7-0 Padres win

    SAN DIEGO (AP) Tyson Ross held Texas to three hits in seven innings and hit an RBI single, and the San Diego Padres won 7-0 on Monday night, handing the Rangers just their third loss in 10 games. The Rangers dropped four games behind first-place Houston in the AL West and remained in the second AL wild-card spot. The dominating performance by Ross (10-9) allowed him to reach double digits in victories for the second straight season. He struck out seven and walked two in his second victory over Texas this season, the other one coming on July 12. It was his fourth win in five decisions. With two runs already in during the sixth, the Rangers intentionally walked rookie catcher Austin Hedges to get to Ross, who was batting eighth. Ross hit a sharp single to center to bring in Cory Spangenberg, aboard on an RBI double, and chase Lewis. Jedd Gyorko hit a …

    September 1, 2015 12:44 am

World News

  • NZ unveils flag contest final four

    The four finalists in New Zealand’s public competition to design what could be the country’s new national flag have been revealed. But it’s fair to say the response has been muted, with many dismissing them as too conservative, even boring. All but one of the designs – which could end up replacing the existing Union Jack-emblazoned flag, uses the national silver fern symbol. The fourth shows the curving koru Maori symbol. Two are by the same designer. This is what each of the designers had to say about their offering: Image caption Silver Fern (black white and blue) described by designer Kyle Lockwood as “a New Zealand icon for over 160 years, worn proudly by many generations”. Image caption Kyle Lockwood’s second offering – Silver Fern (Red, White and Blue). “To the right of the fern there are four stars in the formation of the Southern Cross constellation.” Image caption “As our flag unfurls, so …

    September 1, 2015 12:43 am


  • US federal agent investigating Silk Road admits $800,000 bitcoin

    A former US secret service agent has pleaded guilty to stealing over $800,000 worth of bitcoin during an investigation into online drug marketplace Silk Road. Related: Silk Road: undercover DEA agent turned bitcoin thief pleads guilty Shaun Bridges, 33, appeared in federal court in San Francisco and admitted to money laundering and obstruction of justice. Silk Road operated for more than two years until it was shut down in October 2013 having generated more than $214m in sales of drugs and other illicit goods using bitcoin, prosecutors said. Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road’s creator, who authorities say used the alias Dread Pirate Roberts, was sentenced to life in prison after a federal jury in Manhattan found him guilty of charges that included distributing drugs via online sales. Bridges belonged to a Baltimore-based federal task force that investigated Silk Road. Another member of that unit, former US Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Force, has admitted extortion, money …

    August 31, 2015 11:23 pm


  • Plastic in 99 percent of seabirds by 2050

    Related images(click to enlarge) Researchers from CSIRO and Imperial College London have assessed how widespread the threat of plastic is for the world’s seabirds, including albatrosses, shearwaters and penguins, and found the majority of seabird species have plastic in their gut. The study, led by Dr Chris Wilcox with co-authors Dr Denise Hardesty and Dr Erik van Sebille and published today in the journal PNAS, found that nearly 60 per cent of all seabird species have plastic in their gut. Based on analysis of published studies since the early 1960s, the researchers found that plastic is increasingly common in seabird’s stomachs. In 1960, plastic was found in the stomach of less than 5 per cent of individual seabirds, rising to 80 per cent by 2010. The researchers predict that plastic ingestion will affect 99 per cent of the world’s seabird species by 2050, based on current trends. The scientists estimate that 90 per cent of …

    August 31, 2015 10:22 pm


  • Chipotle sued over GMO-free menu claims

    Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc’s new GMO-free menu claims have lured diners and boosted the burrito chain’s stock price, but it has some consumers crying foul. A California woman has accused the popular chain in a lawsuit of false advertising after it trumpeted on April 27 that it was the first national restaurant company to use only ingredients that are free of controversial genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. In her lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in San Francisco, the plaintiff Colleen Gallagher also alleged that Chipotle violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act because its food labeling is false and misleading, and deceived diners into paying more for their food. “As Chipotle told consumers it was ‘G-M-Over it,’ the opposite was true,” the Piedmont, California resident said. “In fact, Chipotle’s menu as never been at any time free of GMOs.” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold declined to discuss the allegations, but said “we do plan to …

    August 31, 2015 10:43 pm


  • The Weeknd, Hailee Steinfeld, Nick Jonas, And More Go Wild For MTV VMAs After Parties

    Posted on Mon Aug 31st, 2015 9:35am PDT       By X17 Staff Music’s sexiest stars were out in full effect after the MTV VMAs last night! Rita Ora, Nick Jonas, Joe Jonas and more were looking on fleek as they entered a VMA after party in West Hollywood. The celebs really went for some vastly different outfits for the fun-filled music bash — which is why we love the high-octane awards show so much. For the star-studded soiree, the coolest dude in music, The Weeknd, turned up to the Republic Records party in a blue bomber jacket and black jeans. Umm is that wine spritzer in his hand?! “Bad Blood” video vixen Hailee Steinfeld, who just signed a music deal with Republic, looked fun and frisky in a Louis Vuitton top, leather mini and leather booties.m Rita Ora, who wore a voluminous Vera Wang gown to the actual show, changed it up for the after party and …

    September 1, 2015 12:03 am


  • Good vs. evil: Why it’s time to rethink your definition of ‘good’

    Good and evil. We all know the difference, don’t we? Aren’t we born with an inherent knowledge of what is right and wrong? Speaking from a spiritual perspective, the terms good and God seem synonymous these days. We believe what’s generally accepted as good must be in line with God’s will. Generosity, humility, justice—good. Selfishness, arrogance, cruelty—bad. The distinction seems pretty straightforward. And anything good must be on the side of God, right? If we look at what the Bible says, we find we have to go deeper. Scripture teaches that we need discernment to recognize what’s right. The book of Hebrews, as one example, speaks of those who “have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14 NKJV). If we need discernment to tell the difference between good and evil, the two aren’t always apparent on the surface level. There may be things that seem good that actually aren’t. Elsewhere in Scripture, we’re told, “There is a way …

    August 31, 2015 9:42 pm

Odd News

  • Bartender finds $20 bill, wins $1 million California lottery with it

    A Bay Area man who found a $20 bill on a street outside San Francisco International Airport used it to play the California lottery and won $1 million, a lottery spokesman said on Monday. Hubert Tang used the lucky bill to buy two scratcher tickets at a store near the airport on Wednesday and won the top prize with one of them, lottery spokesman Greg Parashak said. “I scratched the ticket outside of the store. I told my friend who I was with that I didn’t know if it was real but, ‘I think I just won a million dollars,’” Tang said, according to Parashak. Tang, a bartender at the airport, had not played the lottery in about a decade before using the found money to buy two tickets, Parashak said. Tang said he did not yet have plans for the money, but joked that he might use it to place $20 bills in random …

    August 31, 2015 2:41 pm