Headline News

  • Verizon workers in U.S. East could strike on Sunday, union says

    Thousands of Verizon Communications Inc workers on the U.S. East Coast could strike on Sunday with no sign of an agreement as contract negotiations with unions went to the wire, a union spokeswoman said on Saturday. The largest U.S. wireless service provider has been locked in negotiations centering on healthcare costs and other issues, ahead of Saturday’s expiry of contracts covering almost 40,000 wireline service workers in nine eastern states and Washington, D.C. Candice Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Communications Workers of America (CWA), said the workers could go on strike on Sunday. The strike, however, does not kick in automatically when the contract expires at midnight EDT on Saturday and a date has yet to be set, she said. Verizon spokesman Rich Young said: “At this point, we remain committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith with our unions.” The company said on Friday there had been little progress in the talks, and …

    August 1, 2015 8:23 pm


  • Biden, aides talking with supporters about possible presidential run: NYT

    WASHINGTON Vice President Joe Biden, inspired in part by his late son, has been holding meetings at his Washington home to discuss challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, the New York Times reported on Saturday. Biden has said publicly he would make a decision at the end of the summer but the Times said the vice president and his associates were actively exploring getting in the race. The Times, citing several people who have spoken with him and his advisers, said the Biden camp was contacting Democratic leaders and donors who have not firmly committed to Clinton, the clear leader among the five Democrats who have entered the race, or might be concerned about her prospects. Times columnist Maureen Dowd also said Biden, 72, has been “having meetings at his Washington residence to explore the idea of taking on Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire.” The paper said Steve Ricchetti, Biden’s chief of …

    August 1, 2015 8:02 pm


  • Russia cuts rates again to prevent deeper slump

    President Vladimir Putin has put on a brave face as the Russian economy has hit the skids. The double-whammy that slammed Russia last year is back: Oil prices are tumbling again and Western sanctions have just been extended. That’s wreaking more havoc on the economy, which is heavily dependent on oil and gas exports. The ruble is on the skids — plunging 12% against the U.S. dollar in a month — and inflation is soaring. It hit 15.8% in July, according to central bank estimates. Russians are already feeling the pain. The recession is deepening, unemployment is rising — albeit it from a low base — and millions more find themselves in poverty due to a sharp fall in wages. Related: Vladimir Putin fired 110,000 officials Against that background, the Bank of Russia decided Friday it had to cut interest rates, taking them down by 0.5% to 11%. It figured it had to act to …

    August 1, 2015 8:23 pm


  • Lucchino stepping down from position with Red Sox

    BOSTON (AP) Larry Lucchino is stepping down this year at the Boston Red Sox’s president and CEO. Team spokesman Kevin Gregg says in an email that Lucchino hopes to remain with the club in some capacity. Gregg also says Sam Kennedy, the executive vice president and COO of the Red Sox, is Lucchino’s choice to take over as president. The Boston Herald first reported the move. Lucchino, who turns 70 next year, was part of the ownership group that purchased the Red Sox in 2002. He has helped Boston to three World Series titles in his time with the team. But the Red Sox finished last in the AL East last year, and began play Saturday in the same spot.

    August 1, 2015 8:42 pm

World News

  • UK and France seek EU help over Calais

    Migrants in Calais are making nightly bids to cross the Channel The UK and France have urged other EU nations to help address the root causes of the Calais migrants crisis. In the Sunday Telegraph, Home Secretary Theresa May and her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve said the situation was a “global migration crisis”. Migrants in Calais are making nightly bids to cross the Channel. The appeal comes as more details emerge of bolstered security measures agreed between the UK and France, including extra private security guards. The measures planned for around the French end of the Channel Tunnel, which also include more CCTV surveillance, French police reinforcements and extra fencing, were agreed in a phone call between Prime Minister David Cameron and President Francois Hollande on Friday. ‘Tougher action’ Mrs May and Mr Cazeneuve wrote: “This situation cannot be seen as an issue just for our two countries. “It is a priority at both a …

    August 1, 2015 8:43 pm


  • Gadget Ogling: Useful Smartwatches, Orbital Cameras, and an Un-Procrastinator

    Bonjour and bienvenue to another edition of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that searches for the best of the week’s gadget announcements while most certainly not skipping out on language classes. On our á la carte menu this week are a smartwatch for the blind, a virtual reality camera, a button to cancel distractions on your computer, and a pet-monitoring camera that dispenses treats. Regular readers will know that these are not reviews. Nor should the ratings be read as anything other than an indicator of how much I’d like to actually test each — perhaps as yet another distraction from my French lessons. Raising Points Dot (pictured above) is a smartwatch that may have life-changing implications. Rather than trying to convey information through tiny text on a small screen, Dot intends to provide visually impaired wearers with notifications through Braille. Four sets of the six dots that signify characters in the Braille system …

    August 1, 2015 8:22 pm


  • New therapy delivers long-term relief for chronic back, leg pain, study finds

    Chronic back and leg pain sufferers in search of better pain relief options may have a new choice. According to a study published in the Online First edition of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists® (ASA®), patients who received a novel high frequency form of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) therapy experienced significantly greater, long-term relief for both chronic back and leg pain, when compared to a traditional low frequency form of SCS therapy. “This is the first long-term study to compare the safety and effectiveness of high frequency and traditional SCS therapy for back and leg pain,” said Leonardo Kapural, M.D., lead study author and professor of anesthesiology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and clinical director at Carolinas Pain Institute at Brookstown in Winston-Salem, N.C. “Chronic back and leg pain have long been considered difficult to treat and current pain relief options such as opioids have limited effectiveness …

    August 1, 2015 7:23 pm


  • Four dead, 65 sick in New York City Legionnaires’ disease outbreak

    NEW YORK A deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, a severe type of pneumonia, has now killed four people and sickened 65 in the Bronx section of New York City since July 10, New York City health officials said on Saturday. This wave of Legionnaires’, which officials have called unusual, is now more than five times the number of cases recorded in the last outbreak, in which 12 people in the Bronx fell ill in December 2014. The disease is caused by Legionella, a bacteria found in certain plumbing systems, including hot tubs, humidifiers, cooling towers and hot water tanks. It is spread by breathing in mist from water, and cannot be spread from person to person. The illness is most common in the summer and early fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include fever, cough, headaches and muscle aches. In response to the outbreak, the city’s health department has inspected …

    August 1, 2015 7:43 pm


  • Justin Bieber Ducks For Cover After A Messy Lunch Meeting

    Posted on Sat Aug 1st, 2015 9:15am PDT       By X17 Staff Pulling a Leonardo DiCaprio, are we? And are those stains on his white tee? Someone get this boy a Tide pen! On Friday Justin Bieber went to a lunch meeting in Beverly Hills, and though he wasn’t in the mood to be photographed, we still got a peek at his tatted guns. Loves it! Earlier this week the pop star announced that his new single, “What Do You Mean,” would be released later this month, and he explained the meaning behind it to pal Ryan Seacrest. “Well, girls are often just flip-floppy,” Justin said. “They say something and they mean something else. So … what do you mean? I don’t really know, that’s why I’m asking.” “I’ve been working a lot in the studio, just trying to have a consistent sound, a cohesive sound,” the pop superstar continued. “I get in my head a lot …

    August 1, 2015 9:02 pm


  • Did the atomic bomb save my father’s life?

    The upcoming 70th anniversary of V-J Day, August 14, brings to mind the challenge my father, Lt. Col. Wilber E. Bradt, faced in the days preceding that date in 1945. He was the acting commander — and later the commander — of the 172nd Infantry Regiment, a Vermont National Guard unit. The unit had just finished five months of combat subduing the Japanese on Luzon, in the Philippines. On July 28, the 43rd Infantry Division, of which the 172nd Infantry was a part, received alert plans for the invasion of Kyushu, the southernmost island of the Japanese homeland. The landings would take place on November 1, a scant three months away. An intense period of planning, training, re-equipping, and personnel transfers began. The 43rd Division was to land with two other divisions in Shibushi Bay on the southeastern coast of Kyushu. The 43rd would land on the southern end of the beach, which was overlooked by …

    July 31, 2015 6:38 pm

Odd News

  • Texas man shoots armadillo, gets hit in face by bullet ricochet

    DALLAS An East Texas man was wounded after he fired a gun at an armadillo in his yard and the bullet ricocheted back to hit him in his face, the county sheriff said on Friday. Cass County Sheriff Larry Rowe said the man, who was not identified, went outside his home in Marietta, southwest of Texarkana, at around 3 a.m. on Thursday morning. He spotted the armadillo on his property and opened fire. “His wife was in the house. He went outside and took his .38 revolver and shot three times at the armadillo,” Rowe said. The animal’s hard shell deflected at least one of three bullets, which then struck the man’s jaw, he said. The man was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where his jaw was wired shut, according to Rowe. The status of the animal is unknown. “We didn’t find the armadillo,” the sheriff said. (Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Sandra Maler)

    July 31, 2015 7:38 pm