Headline News

  • Classroom sex abuse case to cost more than $100 million


    Nov. 21, 2014: Plaintiffs’ attorney John Manly, right, with co-counsel Luis Carrillo, left, talks to reporters outside Los Angeles Superior Court (AP) LOS ANGELES –  Once lawyers began digging into Mark Berndt’s past, they discovered a three-decade pattern of odd behavior and complaints about the teacher that school administrators either missed or ignored. Both students and teachers had complained about the popular elementary school teacher who was eventually convicted of committing numerous lewd acts on his students. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT On Friday, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced it agreed to pay nearly $140 million to put an end to litigation involving the teacher, who had been accused of blindfolding students and feeding them his semen on spoons and cookies. The settlement involving 81 students is believed to be the largest ever for a school sex abuse case, according to victims’ lawyers, and increases the public price of the scandal to $170 million when combined with …

    November 22, 2014 3:18 am
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Politics

  • Obama signs order expanding U.S. Afghanistan role: NYT


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing a broader military mission in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, the New York Times reported on Saturday. The decision ensures a direct role for American troops in fighting in Afghanistan for at least another year, it said, adding Obama’s decision was made during a White House meeting with national security advisers in recent weeks. In May, Obama said the American military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year. Missions for the remaining 9,800 troops would be limited to training Afghan forces and to hunting the “remnants of al Qaeda”, he said. Obama’s new order lets American forces execute missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening U.S. troops or the Afghan government. The new authorization also allows U.S. air strikes to support Afghan forces on combat missions and U.S. troops occasionally to accompany Afghan troops on operations against the Taliban. The Times …

    November 22, 2014 12:15 am
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Stocks

  • Stocks rise. Investors are thankful…. for central bankers


    Thanksgiving arrived a week early on Wall Street. Stocks climbed higher on Friday in response to a surprise rate cut by China’s central bank and hints of more emergency action by the European Central Bank. “Both the ECB and PBoC got out the bazookas overnight and fired them resolutely,” Michael Block, chief strategist at Rhino Trading Partners, wrote in a note to clients. An early burst of buying carried the Dow 175 points higher and above the 17,800 level for the first time ever. It lost some momentum, but still closed 91 points in the green and at another all-time closing high. The SP 500 advanced 0.5% and notched its 45th record close of 2014, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.2%. The party started overnight in China, which unleashed its first rate cut in more than two years. The move is aimed at energizing the world’s second-largest economy, which has slowed decidedly after years of …

    November 22, 2014 3:18 am
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Sports

  • Rating the Nation: Minnesota dominates when it comes to college football’s best trophies


    FILE – In this Nov. 23, 2013, file photo, Wisconsin linebacker Conor O’Neill, center, carries Paul Bunyan’s Axe after Wisconsin beat Minnesota 20-7 in an NCAA college football game in Minneapolis. Ahead of the college football season, The Associated Press asked its panel of voters in the Top 25 poll to weigh in on the best traveling trophies in college football. Three that the Gophers play for grabbed the tops spots, starting with Paul Bunyan’s Axe, which Wisconsin and Minnesota will play for on Thanksgiving weekend. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt, File) (The Associated Press) FILE – In this Oct. 9, 1999, file photo, Wisconsin’s Mark Neuser (98) carries Paul Bunyan’s Axe as he and his Badger teammates circle the field after beating Minnesota in overtime 20-17 in Minneapolis. Ahead of the college football season, The Associated Press asked its panel of voters in the Top 25 poll to weigh in on the best traveling trophies in college …

    November 22, 2014 3:18 am
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World News

  • Madagascar plague outbreak kills 40


    21 November 2014 Last updated at 22:38 The authorities can use insecticide to try to halt outbreaks of the plague. An outbreak of plague in Madagascar has killed 40 people and infected almost 80 others, the World Health Organization has said. The WHO warned of the danger of a “rapid spread” of the disease in the capital, Antananarivo. The situation is worsened by high levels of resistance among fleas to a leading insecticide, the WHO added. Humans usually develop the bubonic form of the plague after being bitten by an infected flea carried by rodents. If diagnosed early, bubonic plague can be treated with antibiotics. But 2% of the cases in Madagascar are the more dangerous pneumonic form of the disease, which can be spread person-to-person by coughing. The first known case in the outbreak was a man in Soamahatamana village in the district of Tsiroanomandidy, about 200km west of Antananarivo, at the end of …

    November 22, 2014 3:18 am
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Technology

  • This week’s games news


    Games just released include Watch Dogs (Wii U), Ubisoft’s open-world hack-and-shoot-‘em up, which is now available for Nintendo’s console; Sonic Boom: Rise Of Lyric (Wii U) continues Sonic’s tradition of mediocrity, its boring combat and uneven difficulty conspiring to turn ordinary into godawful; Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (3DS) proves just as inadequate; Minecraft: PS Vita Edition (Vita) brings the game which has been rightly touted as the 21st century’s answer to Lego to Sony’s high-powered handheld; the competent and dramatically inclined Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor (Xbox 360, PS3) makes its way to last-generation consoles; and Escape Dead Island (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) is a cut-price spinoff from the inexplicably popular Dead Island series, dropping the silly weapons and co-op gameplay in favour of stealth, evasion and retro cel-shaded graphics.

    November 22, 2014 12:16 am
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Science

  • Modelling the magnetic fields of exoplanets


    Magnetic models: Pinning down the magnetosphere of a hot Jupiter A European team of astronomers has used a brand new technique to uncover evidence of a magnetic field surrounding the exoplanet HD 209458b. It is hoped the method can be applied to many of the other exoplanetary systems found to date, adding another dimension to our understanding of these distant, alien worlds. Discovered in 1999, HD 209458b is 30% larger than Jupiter. However, unlike Jupiter, it completes one orbit in just 3.5 days, as the planet sits very close to its parent star – more than 50 times closer than the Earth is to the Sun. Being at such close quarters, its gaseous atmosphere is puffed up by the intense heat that it has to endure. Such planets are known as “hot Jupiters”. Researchers led by Kristina Kislyakova of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Graz have now confirmed this picture by observing the planet with the Hubble Space …

    November 22, 2014 12:36 am
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Health

  • Plague in Madagascar has killed 40 people out of 119 cases: WHO


    GENEVA (Reuters) – An outbreak of the plague has killed 40 people out of 119 confirmed cases in Madagascar since late August and there is a risk of the disease spreading rapidly in the capital, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. So far two cases and one death have been recorded in the capital Antananarivo but those figures could climb quickly due to “the city’s high population density and the weakness of the healthcare system”, the WHO warned. “The situation is further complicated by the high level of resistance to deltamethrin (an insecticide used to control fleas) that has been observed in the country,” it added. Plague, a bacterial disease, is mainly spread from one rodent to another by fleas. Humans bitten by an infected flea usually develop a bubonic form of plague, which swells the lymph node and can be treated with antibiotics, the WHO said. If the bacteria reach the lungs, …

    November 22, 2014 12:15 am
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Entertainment

  • Ryan Reynolds’ brothers have always had his back


    Who’s hotter, daddy edition: Ryan Gosling vs. Ryan Reynolds Reynolds is kicking off Thanksgiving early with an essay he penned for Time magazine’s Time for Thanks series. In it, he tells a story about a time he was especially thankful for his brothers and how they’ve always had his back. “Actions speak louder than words,” Reynolds writes. “And for one particular memory I have, the action was deafening.” Reynolds is the youngest of the four boys, so he took a fair amount of torture from his brothers, he writes. And when 13-year-old Reynolds decided to “test the waters of questionable fashion and independence” by piercing his ear, his brothers’ reactions were pretty much what one would expect them to be. Ryan Reynolds’ baby name ideas are completely ridiculous “My brothers were characteristically detailed with their feelings on the matter,” Reynolds writes. “My oldest brother told me I was going to die tonight. Like, DIE. ‘Do …

    November 22, 2014 3:59 am
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Editorial

  • Teacher to student: If you don’t support gay marriage, drop my class


    Students who oppose gay marriage are homophobic, according to an audio recording of a Marquette University instructor who went on to say that gay right issues cannot be discussed in class because it might offend homosexuals. I reached out to the 20-year-old student at the center of this outrageous episode and the story he tells should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks religious schools are safe havens for open discourse. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The story was first reported on a blog run by a Marquette University professor and was picked up by the good folks over at The College Fix.  The young man, who asked not to be identified, explained what happened when his ethics instructor, Cheryl Abbate, led a conversation in “Theory of Ethics” class about applying philosophical theories to modern political controversies. There were a list of issues on the board – gay rights, gun rights, and the death penalty. “We had …

    November 22, 2014 12:16 am
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Odd News

  • Lost kitten from New Mexico turns up in duffel bag in Maine


    ALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) – An Albuquerque cat owner can sleep easier now that the kitten that went missing last month will be home for the holidays, despite a mysterious 2,300-mile side trip to Maine. Patsy Murphy, who runs an animal refuge center in Westbrook, Maine, said the kitten, named Spice, was brought to her shelter on Nov. 11 by a man who found the feline in a duffel bag while unloading furniture at a local Catholic charity. “This is a very odd story, we wish she could tell us what happened,” Murphy said of the kitten, which was found inside the bag with food and kitty litter. Murphy said Maine resident Bob Watterson brought the kitten home on Nov. 5, and cared for it for six days before he turned it over to the animal refuge, which found a microchip in the cat that could identify it. Murphy was shocked when the cat was traced …

    November 21, 2014 8:31 pm
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