Headline News

  • Wind, weather add fuel to weeks-old Northern California wildfires sparked by lightning

    HAPPY CAMP, Calif. –  The U.S. Forest Service says a pair of wildfires sparked by lightning nearly three weeks ago continues to grow while threatening as many as 250 homes in far Northern California. Forest Service spokesman Marc Peebles said low humidity and warm weather helped the fires burning in the Klamath National Forest near the gold mining and logging town of Happy Camp to sweep across desiccated trees and steep terrain overnight. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The two fires are the largest among about 20 that broke out in the forest when a thunderstorm moved through the area on Aug. 11. Originally located a few miles apart, they had merged by Saturday morning and together charred more than 90 square miles, about 21 square miles more than a day earlier. Peebles says nearly 2,000 firefighters are assigned to the blazes, but that winds forecast for the afternoon and evening could hamper their efforts to contain them.

    August 31, 2014 4:47 am


  • U.S. to push for coalition to fight ‘cancer’ of Islamic State: Kerry

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States will use a NATO summit next week to push for a coalition of countries to beat back incursions in Syria and Iraq by Islamic State militants who are destabilizing the region and beyond. “With a united response led by the United States and the broadest possible coalition of nations, the cancer of ISIS will not be allowed to spread to other countries,” Kerry wrote in an opinion piece published in The New York Times on Saturday. Public anger over the beheading of American journalist James Foley has led President Barack Obama to consider military strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria. So far, the United States has limited its actions to the group’s forces in Iraq. The militant group, also referred to as both ISIS and ISIL, has seized about a third of each country and declared a caliphate, a reference to …

    August 31, 2014 4:06 am


  • Struggling Angry Birds maker dumping CEO

    The maker of the Angry Birds video game is replacing its CEO. The maker of the Angry Birds mobile video game is dumping its CEO as the company struggles with increased competition and difficulties in changing its business model. Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish video game maker, announced that CEO Mikael Hed will “pass the hoodie” in January to former Nokia (NOK) executive Pekka Rantala, a reference to the typical clothing worn in the company’s offices. The company is shifting its business from a pay-to-play, in which players buy the video game, to a free-to-play model. It now gets about half its revenue from licensing Angry Birds images for toys, clothing and other novelty items. But while revenue has held up, profit in 2013 fell by more than 50%. Rovio has had trouble with its plans to charge users for purchases made in the games. Competitors such as King Digital Entertainment (KING), maker of the Candy …

    August 30, 2014 8:49 am


  • Josh Hamilton, Bryce Harper in spotlight as baseball heads to final month of season

    CHICAGO –  Two sluggers with lingering questions. A catcher returning from injury. A pitcher headed for a big payday, and baseball’s most famous panda. The final month of the season offers a chance for redemption for Josh Hamilton of the Angels and Bryce Harper of the Nationals. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is back from a right thumb injury, and Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer is putting together a fitting encore to his Cy Young Award season from a year ago. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT And then there is third baseman Pablo Sandoval, trying to power the Giants back to the playoffs. With September in the on-deck circle, here are a couple players to watch in the final weeks of the season and beyond: ANGEL IN THE OUTFIELD: This has been one strange season for Hamilton, who agreed to a $125 million, five-year contract with the Angels in December 2012. The 2010 AL MVP was working on a nice …

    August 31, 2014 4:48 am

World News

  • Egypt Brotherhood death sentence cut

    30 August 2014 Last updated at 15:34 The Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie still faces another death sentence A death sentence against the head of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has been commuted to life in prison. However, Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, still faces the death penalty for an earlier case relating to rioting in 2013. Egyptian authorities have cracked down harshly on Islamists since the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi last year. Human rights groups have criticised the harsh sentences given to Brotherhood supporters, often in mass trials. In the latest ruling, the Giza Criminal Court said it decided to downgrade the penalty for Mr Badie and seven others after consulting with Egypt’s Grand Mufti. He was charged with killing at least nine people and inciting violence that injured 21 others in Giza in 2013. In the same ruling, the judge also sentenced six others to death in absentia. Several other Brotherhood leaders, …

    August 31, 2014 4:47 am


  • Emoji: the first truly global language?

    I sent one this morning. My pal texted to say that she was in that most invidious of contemporary social tangles: someone was offering her a Kate Bush spare but she had already committed herself elsewhere. Me, I was busy thinking about emoji. I didn’t have time to deal with someone else’s heartache or their moral scruples vis-a-vis ditching an apparently iron-clad prior engagement. I scanned quickly through the available faces: there was one, all scrunched up in dismay about something or other. I decided it would do to convey a mixture of can-you-believe-it crossness and wrenching disappointment, selected it, added zilch and pressed send. Obviously, I could have replied simply: “AAAARGH!!!”. That would have been quick and done the job. But being a wordy sort of person and also much given to fruitless rumination, I would have been more likely to spend 20 minutes and several paras (yes: even in a txt msg) trying …

    August 31, 2014 4:07 am


  • Factor in naked mole rat’s cells enhances protein integrity

    Related images(click to enlarge) Scientists at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, part of the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, have found another secret of longevity in the tissues of the longest-lived rodent, the naked mole rat. They reported that a factor in the cells of naked mole rats protects and alters the activity of the proteasome, a garbage disposer for damaged and obsolete proteins. The factor also protects proteasome function in human, mouse and yeast cells when challenged with various proteasome poisons, studies showed. These proteasomes usually rapidly stop functioning, leading to the accumulation of damaged proteins that further impair cell function, contributing to the vicious cycle that leads to cell death. “I think this factor is part of an overall process or mechanism by which naked mole rats maintain their protein quality,” study first author Karl Rodriguez, Ph.D., said. Generally, as an organism ages, …

    August 31, 2014 4:27 am


  • Early data suggest Sanofi, Regeneron drug may halve heart risk

    BARCELONA (Reuters) – An experimental cholesterol-lowering drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals roughly halved the number of heart attacks and strokes in a clinical trial, researchers reported on Sunday. The result is not conclusive, because the analysis was done retrospectively, but it provides the first evidence that targeting a protein known as PCSK9 could slash cardiovascular risks for millions of patients. The injectable drug, alirocumab, is from a new class of medicines, which are also being developed by Amgen and Pfizer. They lower “bad” LDL cholesterol in a new way and are widely expected to reap multibillion-dollar sales. The finding is likely to spur enthusiasm about the drugs, which could reach the market next year, although experts said it still needed to be confirmed in a much larger trial. Sanofi and Regeneron said in July that nine big studies showed consistent LDL reductions with alirocumab, but details from four of these trials have only now …

    August 31, 2014 4:07 am


  • Harry Styles makes a big statement with Michael Sam jersey

    The Michael Sam kiss: Why a gay football player is news  But Styles took his love of football and made a statement with it at a recent concert. The St. Louis Rams recently drafted the first openly gay NFL player, Michael Sam, making football history. According to MTV, as One Direction took the stage in St. Louis, Styles came out in a Sam jersey. Styles isn’t alone in his fashion choices or his support for the Rams. Sam’s jersey is the top-selling jersey among all other rookies this year — and you can guarantee that plenty of One Directioners will be buying it from here on out. Sam showed his thanks for the honor from Styles in a tweet on Wednesday. @Harry_Styles thank you for your support!!! #RamNation — Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 28, 2014 Styles has shown his support for the LGBT community in the past, and his new fashion statement may be making …

    August 31, 2014 3:47 am


  • David Cameron stands up to Islamists: A lesson for Barack Obama

      The contrast between Friday’s press conference in London by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Thursday’s White House remarks by President Obama could not have been starker. Mr. Cameron delivered a robust assessment of the scale of the Islamist threat to Great Britain and to the free world.  ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT He told journalists assembled at Downing Street that “what we are facing in Iraq now with ISIL (Islamic State) is a greater threat to our security than we have seen before.”  While David Cameron appeared self-assured and determined in his approach, Barack Obama came across as a deer in the headlights, unable to outline a coherent U.S. response to a rapidly growing crisis in the Middle East. He made it clear that ISIS must not be allowed to establish an Islamist caliphate in Iraq. If they succeeded, “we would be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO …

    August 30, 2014 3:41 am

Odd News

  • Arizona man arrested for burning, urinating on Bible

    PHOENIX (Reuters) – A 22-year-old Arizona man calling himself “Dark Lord” has been arrested for allegedly burning a Bible and urinating on it outside a Christian-oriented homeless shelter in northern Arizona, police said on Friday. Eric Minerault was booked into the Yavapai County Detention Center late on Thursday on suspicion of one count of unlawful symbol burning stemming from the incident at the Gospel Rescue Mission, Prescott police spokesman Lieutenant Ken Morley said in a written statement. Police were called to the scene at about 9 p.m. by a mission representative reporting that someone was burning something on the mission’s front steps, Morley said. Officers found Minerault standing on the steps, with a burned and wet Bible on the ground near him. He quickly admitted to the act.  He told officers the mission was selected because he believed it was a place of Christian worship and he was “cursing the Christians,” police said. Asked why, …

    August 29, 2014 7:53 pm