• Christmas is a bit of a trial for Ecclestone

    LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has revisited his German bribery trial in a mischievous Christmas card depicting himself handing over $100 million to a masked highwayman pointing a pistol at him. “This...
  • Putin seeks to ease economic fears

    Putin seeks to ease economic fears

    18 December 2014 Last updated at 11:24 Mr Putin blamed “outside factors” for the falling rouble President Vladimir Putin has sought to ease fears over Russia’s economy, insisting that the dramatic fall in the rouble...
  • Today’s Toons 12/18/14

    Today’s Toons 12/18/14

    Click below for related story: Click for related video: Click for related video: Click below for Tony’s toons: This Thread Brought To You By The Letters C & P: In Case You Missed It Dept.:...
  • US boy’s 1944 conviction overturned

    US boy’s 1944 conviction overturned

    18 December 2014 Last updated at 10:13 Newspaper reports at the time said the 95lb (43kg) George Stinney could not fit into the straps in the electric chair A judge has overturned the conviction of...
  • 10 things you need to know about Russia

    10 things you need to know about Russia

      President Vladimir Putin has used his end of year news conference to blame the oil price collapse and Western sanctions for Russia’s financial crisis. Here are 10 things you need to know about the...
  • Griffin, Clippers edge Pacers

    Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) – Blake Griffin had 31 points and 16 rebounds in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 102-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. Chris Paul added 20 points and nine assists for...

Headline News

  • Three killed, several injured in crash outside California church


    (Reuters) – One person was killed and about a dozen injured when a driver plowed into a row of pedestrians before smashing into another car in a southern California beach city on Wednesday night, police said. The crash occurred around 8 p.m. local time in the city of Redondo Beach, just outside of Los Angeles, and left several people in critical condition, local police said in a statement. Exact tallies of the injured and their conditions were not immediately provided by police. The driver was taken into custody, police said. Local media reported that the crowd was leaving a Christmas performance at a nearby church before the fatal crash. The investigation is ongoing. Further details were not immediately available. (Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Larry King)

    December 18, 2014 6:14 am
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Politics

  • Fed eyes audit push as key political challenge in 2015


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve is lobbying to stem a rising threat to its independence as the “Audit the Fed” movement, once seen as usual background noise, looks set to gain momentum in 2015 when Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress. Interviews with current and former Fed staff, lawmakers and lobbyists show that the central bank, led by Chair Janet Yellen, is taking the audit threat seriously. Fed officials are making their case for independence across Capitol Hill, reminding politicians of the damage that can come from political interference into economic policy discussions. “They’re sensitive to all of these issues,” said Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Reed said he had met with Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo in recent weeks but would not say what they discussed. The Fed is subject to various audits, including reviews by the Government Accountability Office …

    December 18, 2014 3:33 am
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Stocks

  • 10 things you need to know about Russia


      President Vladimir Putin has used his end of year news conference to blame the oil price collapse and Western sanctions for Russia’s financial crisis. Here are 10 things you need to know about the Russian economy: Ruble The Russian ruble has lost about 45% of its value against the dollar so far this year, and at one point fell to a record low of 80 to the dollar. According to Bloomberg, the ruble is the worst performing of 170 world currencies in 2014. Inflation The central bank’s original inflation target this year was 5%. The reality: 9.4% and rising. Food prices have been soaring even more, and climbed 12.6% in November. This is partly due to a food import ban Russia imposed in retaliation for Western sanctions. Russian media say food prices could rise by as much as 25% this year. Interest rates Russia’s central bank raised its key interest rates from 10.5% to …

    December 18, 2014 4:34 am
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Sports

  • Christmas is a bit of a trial for Ecclestone


    LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has revisited his German bribery trial in a mischievous Christmas card depicting himself handing over $100 million to a masked highwayman pointing a pistol at him. “This is not a robbery. I am collecting for the Bavarian state,” says the cartoon figure on horseback as Ecclestone holds the sack of money. In a further greeting inside the card sent to Reuters, Ecclestone adds another tongue-in-cheek comment: “Maybe now we can have a Formula One race in the really nice city of Munich, Germany.” Ecclestone paid $100 million in August under the terms of a settlement agreement with prosecutors to end the bribery trial in Munich. The agreement meant Ecclestone, now 84, preserved his innocence and was spared the prospect of a lengthy trial. He had one week to pay the money — $99 million to the state and $1 million to a children’s charity — and did …

    December 18, 2014 6:14 am
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World News

  • Putin seeks to ease economic fears


    18 December 2014 Last updated at 11:24 Mr Putin blamed “outside factors” for the falling rouble President Vladimir Putin has sought to ease fears over Russia’s economy, insisting that the dramatic fall in the rouble will stabilise. He is currently holding his annual end-of-year news conference. Mr Putin blamed “outside factors” for the falling rouble, which hit an all-time low this week, but admitted the central bank could have acted sooner. Russia is on the verge of recession due to falling oil prices and sanctions over its role in the Ukraine crisis. ‘Growth inevitable’ Mr Putin accepted Russia had failed to diversify its economy for the past two decades and relied too heavily on its oil and gas exports. But he insisted the nation’s currency reserves were sufficient to keep the economy stable, saying the central bank should not “burn” its $419bn reserves. Continue reading the main story “I don’t believe you can call it …

    December 18, 2014 6:14 am
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Technology

  • Mobile deal to reduce ‘not-spots’


    18 December 2014 Last updated at 08:47 An agreement has been reached between the government and the country’s biggest mobile networks to improve mobile coverage across the UK. EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have agreed to invest £5bn and guarantee coverage across 90% of the UK by 2017. The move should reduce the number of “not-spots”, areas of patchy coverage. The firms had rejected the government’s preferred option of a system allowing customers of one network to use another if their supplier wasn’t available. “I am pleased to have secured a legally binding deal with the four mobile networks,” said Culture Secretary Sajid Javid. “Too many parts of the UK regularly suffer from poor mobile coverage leaving them unable to make calls or send texts,” he said. The agreement should reduce total “not-spots”, where there is no mobile coverage, by two-thirds, the government said. ‘Great result’ Partial “not-spots”, areas where there is some coverage but …

    December 18, 2014 3:54 am
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Science

  • Big data may be fashion industry’s next must-have accessory


    Big data may be the next new thing to hit the fashion industry’s runways, according to a team of researchers. By analyzing relevant words and phrases from fashion reviews, researchers were able to identify a network of influence among major designers and track how those style trends moved through the industry, said Heng Xu, associate professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State. “Data analytics, which is the idea that large amounts of data are becoming more available for finding patterns, establishing correlations and identifying emerging trends, is very hot these days and it is being applied to many industries and fields — from health care to politics — but what we wanted to see is if data analytics could be used in the fashion industry,” said Xu. “We were drawn to the question of whether or not we could really trace a hidden network of influence in fashion design.” The researchers, who presented their …

    December 18, 2014 3:54 am
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Health

  • EU’s top court opens door to some stem cell patents


    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – An organism incapable of developing into a human being is not a human embryo and may be patented, the European Union’s top court said on Thursday, opening the door to certain stem cell patents in the European Union. The court made this judgment following a case brought by U.S. company International Stem Cell Corporation in Britain over whether it could patent processes covering the use of human egg cells. “The mere fact that a parthenogenetically-activated human ovum commences a process of development is not sufficient for it to be regarded as a ‘human embryo’,” the European Court of Justice said. The court said it left it to British judges to determine whether the organisms used by ISCO met these criteria. (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Adrian Croft)

    December 18, 2014 3:53 am
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Entertainment

  • 8 Pics of young Ian McKellen that will definitely captivate you


    The final installment of The Hobbit series, The Battle of the Five Armies, hits theaters today and no one can argue that McKellen doesn’t masterfully take on the role he’s played now since The Lord of the Rings trilogy began back in 2001. More: Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are the cutest BFFs ever! This time around, his lead character, Gandalf, isn’t just ruling the screen, he’s organizing the whole plot, according to McKellen himself who spoke with USA Today. “He’s the stage manager and the producer and the director and everything else.” And though he is probably most well known for his role as Gandalf and for his X-Men character, Magneto, McKellen has been acting in film and television since the ’60s. For most of his early years, McKellen established himself as a notable stage actor and didn’t become widely recognized until the 1990s with several blockbuster roles, including Six Degrees of Separation, Richard …

    December 18, 2014 5:34 am
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Editorial

  • Obama hands Cuba’s Castros a major victory, but Congress can still stop it


    Establishing ties with Cuba has been on President Obama’s bucket list for some time. Health care — done. Amnesty for illegal immigrants — done. Cuba — next. This last one also has the added bonus point that it puts him right with the international left, which lionizes Castro. And the president will go on picking off the next items on the bucket list for the next two years of his term unless Congress decides to stop him. Should they work up the gumption, lawmakers will find they can do many things to stand up for the prerogatives of the legislative branch. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Obviously, the release of the 65-year-old American hostage Alan Gross should be welcome. His “crime” was to bring computers to Jews on the island. For the last five years, he has been a victim of Cuba’s state terrorism, just as 11 million Cubans have been held hostage by their government for the …

    December 18, 2014 3:54 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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