Headline News

  • St. Louis-area mall closes on Black Friday as Ferguson protests spread


    FERGUSON, Mo. (Reuters) – Demonstrators shut down a shopping mall near Ferguson, Missouri, at the start of the holiday shopping season on Friday as protests over the killing of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer turned on some retailers around the country. After a quiet Thanksgiving Day, protesters were out in force again to vent their anger at Monday’s decision by a grand jury not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb. Activists around the country said they were encouraging a boycott of Black Friday sales to highlight the purchasing power of black Americans, and to draw links between economic and racial inequality. “You have to disrupt business as usual for this to happen and that’s the only thing that’s ever made change,” said Sergio Uzurin, a protester in front of Macy’s flagship store in New York. The killing …

    November 29, 2014 1:28 am
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Politics

  • Black Friday was underway on Thursday


    By The Associated Press November 28, 2014 Cashier Ryan Gray helps customers during a Thanksgiving day sale at a Best Buy store in Broomfield, Colo., on Thursday(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) Black Friday was already well underway before many awoke this morning. The traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season has become a two-day affair, with more stores opening before people put down their turkey legs on Thanksgiving. There’s good reason for the creep; businesses know shoppers will only spend so much, and they want the first crack at those holiday budgets. Still, millions of Americans are expected to head out in search of steep discounts today. The National Retail Federation forecasts holiday sales will grow 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion — the biggest jump since 2011. It’s a make-or-break time for many retailers, which can get as much as 20 percent of their annual sales during the holiday shopping season. Already, retailers have resorted to steep …

    November 28, 2014 11:03 pm
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Stocks

  • Jon Stewart’s ‘Rosewater’ underwhelms at box office


    Jon Stewart took time off from hosting “The Daily Show” to direct the film. Earlier this month it was hard to turn on a TV without seeing “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart promoting his directorial debut “Rosewater.” Did all the media attention help the film at the box office? Doesn’t seem that way. The film — which had a limited release on November 14 — has underwhelmed at the box office so far, banking just $2.2 million after two weeks. The film opened in a relatively small number of theaters — 371 — and is expected to expand into more theaters in December. But the early results aren’t encouraging, especially considering that Stewart received widespread press attention. This is a list of some of the places that “The Daily Show” host promoted his film: NBC’s “Today,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “The Colbert Report,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” three shows on CNN, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, The …

    November 29, 2014 2:09 am
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Sports

  • Spieth shares lead after McIlroy blows up in Sydney


    SYDNEY (Reuters) – American Jordan Spieth shot a two-under-par 69 for a share of a one-stroke lead with locals Greg Chalmers and Brett Rumford after blustery conditions caused chaos in the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday. Firm greens and difficult pin positions but most of all the gusting wind left Spieth, Chalmers (71) and Rumford (69) on five-under — a leading score unchanged from Friday — with only five other players below par for the tournament. While Adam Scott was among them in a share of fourth with fellow Australian Rod Pampling after both shot 69s, Rory McIlroy suffered a spectacular mid-round collapse that saw the world number one drop five shots in two holes and finish with a 76. “The course is on a razor’s edge as they are trying to create a golf course that’s as unplayable as they can get it without it being so and it’s right on …

    November 29, 2014 1:28 am
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World News

  • IS ‘not weakened by air strikes’


    29 November 2014 Last updated at 05:50 Islamic State militants control large swathes of both Syria and neighbouring Iraq Two months of US-led air strikes have failed to weaken Islamic State (IS) militants, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem has said. Mr Moualem told Lebanese TV the only way to tackle IS was to force Turkey to tighten border controls and stop foreign fighters crossing into Syria. He also said Turkey’s plan for a no-fly zone over northern Syria would a de facto partition of Syria. IS controls large swathes of both Syria and neighbouring Iraq. Losing ground “All the indications say that (IS) today, after two months of coalition air strikes, is not weaker,” Mr Moulame told al-Mayadeen TV on Friday. “If the (UN) Security Council and Washington do not force Turkey to control its borders then all of this action will not eliminate IS,” the minister added. Turkey has a 900km (560 miles) border …

    November 29, 2014 1:28 am
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Technology

  • Beyond Batman: how Adam West built a new career by just being himself


    Adam West – if not the original Batman, surely one of the superhero’s most memorable incarnations – is now 86. But, just so you know, a fine 86. Calling from his home in Palm Springs, California, he is evidently in a good mood. “Let me go look at this full-length mirror for just a moment,” he jokes. “I look great!” In the four decades since he starred in the 1960s television series, West has seen the Batman baton passed on to Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, Christian Bale and now Ben Affleck – without ever quite leaving the shadows of Gotham city. And he has reprised the role several times himself during his career, most recently providing his voice to the new Lego game Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. “I decided early on to embrace the character,” says West, who hasn’t suffered from typecasting, so much as owned it. “I mean how many actors are lucky enough …

    November 28, 2014 11:03 pm
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Science

  • Social media data contain pitfalls for understanding human behavior


    A growing number of academic researchers are mining social media data to learn about both online and offline human behavior. In recent years, studies have claimed the ability to predict everything from summer blockbusters to fluctuations in the stock market. But mounting evidence of flaws in many of these studies points to a need for researchers to be wary of serious pitfalls that arise when working with huge social media data sets, according to computer scientists at McGill University in Montreal and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Such erroneous results can have huge implications: thousands of research papers each year are now based on data gleaned from social media. “Many of these papers are used to inform and justify decisions and investments among the public and in industry and government,” says Derek Ruths, an assistant professor in McGill’s School of Computer Science. In an article published in the Nov. 28 issue of the journal Science, …

    November 28, 2014 11:23 pm
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Health

  • China reports new human case of H7N9 bird flu


    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China confirmed a new human infection of the deadly H7N9 avian influenza virus, state news agency Xinhua said, the first case this winter in the southern province of Guangdong. A 31-year-old woman surnamed Deng, from the provincial city of Dongguan, was confirmed on Friday to have been infected with the virus, Guangdong’s health and family commission said in a statement on its website. The patient, in critical condition, is being treated in the provincial capital of Guangzhou, it added. The H7N9 bird flu first infected three people in China in March 2013. Since then, it has since infected more than 450 people, killing 175 of them. In March, police in southwestern China detained three people for spreading rumors about the bird flu strain. (Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

    November 28, 2014 11:03 pm
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Entertainment

  • 25 Things Shia LaBeouf does that the rest of us could never pull off


    1. Totally piss off Harrison Ford and rip on a classic film franchise in the same breath. 2. Hide in Selena Gomez’s dressing room and surprise the hell out of her. Others have tried, and they have failed. And by failed we definitely mean gotten slapped with a restraining order. GIF credit: Giphy.com 3. Watch movies in a dimly lit West Hollywood apartment above a liquor store with a pink-kimono-clad Marilyn Manson. 4. Get in bar brawl outside of a Vancouver dive on Saturday, then enjoy a lovely, sunny bike ride through the city on Sunday. 5. Badmouth the very movies that made him famous for allowing “no room for being a visionary,” yet continue to land roles in said movies. 6. See also: Call himself a visionary. Inferred or otherwise. 7. Partake of a little holiday Starbucks with someone after sharing explicit sex scenes with them. No, no, we’re not blushing — the chai …

    November 29, 2014 12:47 am
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Editorial

  • Six tips for holiday shopping without breaking the bank


    FILE – In this Nov. 28, 2013 file photo, customers shop at a Target store in Colma, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File) “Have a holly, jolly Christmas; It’s the best time of the year…” — Burl Ives The malls have already begun to fill with crowds eager to find the perfect gift for their loved ones and ringing in our ears is that familiar sound of Burl Ives entreating us to have a “holly, jolly Christmas.” And certainly for most, it is “the best time of the year,” but millions of Americans make plans to celebrate arguably the most holy of holidays with such voluminous spending that people may be praying for help once the credit card bills come due. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Christmas and the winter holidays of Kwanza and Hanukah last year accounted for nearly 20 percent of total annual retail sales for retailers, as people spent an average of $730 on gifts, food and …

    November 28, 2014 11:03 pm
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Odd News

  • With monkey on the lam, Florida neighborhood goes bananas


    TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) – Florida authorities vowed on Friday to capture a monkey last seen running through a Tampa neighborhood that they described as “three-foot tall, brown and fast.” A resident initially reported seeing a fleet-footed monkey running through a yard in the middle of a sunny Thanksgiving Day afternoon, Tampa police said. An hour later, another caller spotted a monkey about a dozen blocks away, near a bridge on a road that is several miles (km) from downtown Tampa. “There is no probable cause for this monkey’s arrest, however, we will work tirelessly to apprehend him,” Tampa police said in a Facebook post. Both sightings occurred near Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, whose officials told police that its monkeys were all accounted for. With some on social media questioning whether the primate was a monkey or a chimpanzee, Tampa police clarified that the exact species was unknown, but that the sightings appeared to be credible. …

    November 28, 2014 7:19 pm
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