Headline News

  • Exclusive: Creditor to oppose San Bernardino bankruptcy plan favoring Calpers

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A major capital markets creditor of bankrupt San Bernardino, California, will oppose any exit plan that is more favorable to Calpers, California’s public pension fund, a source familiar with the creditor’s strategy said on Thursday. The creditor intends to pursue a new approach when hearings resume next year, in light of a deal the city reached with Calpers in November that will see the pension fund paid in full under a bankruptcy plan. The city has been ordered to produce a plan by May. “We will strongly resist a plan that treats its pension claims substantially better than our claim,” the source involved in the creditor’s San Bernardino strategy said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because negotiations with San Bernardino are subject to a judicial gag order. The move is significant because all the capital market creditors have so far supported the bankruptcy and it signals a change in …

    December 18, 2014 7:20 pm


  • U.S. Secret Service too insular, needs outside leader, more agents: review

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Secret Service is in dire need of an overhaul that requires an outside leader, an infusion of agents and more training – not to mention a better fence – to protect the White House, an independent review concluded on Thursday. An executive summary of the highly classified review revealed deep problems at the top of the Secret Service, which is charged with guarding the U.S. president and other senior government officials. “Some of the changes address isolated problems, with well-defined options to solve them, while others will require far more study by, we hope, a dynamic, new management team that will lead the Service into the future,” the summary said. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson appointed the four-member review panel in October after a Sept. 19 intrusion by an Iraq war veteran with a knife who scaled the White House fence, sprinted across the lawn and got deep inside the …

    December 18, 2014 3:38 pm


  • Uber agrees to temporarily suspend service in Portland

      Uber is standing down for the next three months in Portland, just one of the cities where it has run into trouble. The company said it would stop picking up customers there for three months after the city sued, asking a judge to order Uber to stop operating until it is in compliance with safety, health and consumer protection rules. But Uber fully expects to be back. In fact, this could be good news for Uber fans in the long-run. The city has agreed to update its laws, creating a new regulatory framework for companies like Uber that tend to fall somewhere between a taxi and a ridesharing service. People use it by requesting a driver with a smartphone app. Related: Uber’s global ambitions hit roadblocks Uber, which operates in 60 cities across 21 countries, has run into problems because its drivers do not always meet the city’s regulations for taxi and car services. …

    December 18, 2014 6:39 pm


  • Pens’ Crosby in starting lineup after mumps diagnosis

    (Reuters) – Sidney Crosby returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ lineup on Thursday after missing three games when he became one of the latest National Hockey League players to be sidelined with the mumps in the past month. The league’s reigning Most Valuable Player was on the ice for the opening faceoff against the visiting Colorado Avalanche and skating on a line with Nick Spaling and Patric Hornqvist. Crosby had returned to the ice on Wednesday for the first time since being diagnosed last weekend and skated on his own before the Penguins practised. The mumps virus has been sweeping through the NHL since early November and 15 players have officially been diagnosed, the most recent being Crosby’s team mate Beau Bennett. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

    December 18, 2014 7:20 pm

World News

  • Israel brands peace plan ‘gimmick’

    18 December 2014 Last updated at 23:14 Palestinians want an end to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem Israel says a Palestinian effort to set a three-year deadline for it to end its occupation of Palestinian territories is a “gimmick”. A draft resolution, submitted by Jordan to the UN Security Council, also calls for a peace accord within a year. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that without Israel’s consent, nothing would change. Jordan has indicated it will not seek a quick vote, opening the way for further discussion. The US – which has vetoed previous resolutions it considers hostile to its ally Israel – said on Thursday it would not support the move. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said they would not support any action that would prejudge the outcome of negotiations. “We have seen the draft, it is not something we would support and we think others feel the …

    December 18, 2014 7:20 pm


  • What VR needs next

    Sarah Tew/CNET Virtual reality is finally here, but it’s still not ready for the mass market. VR has been lurking for years: for decades it was a pop-culture theme and shopping mall novelty. The more recent wave of products — Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus — remain just outside of consumers’ hands, announced but not yet available. The arrival of Samsung Gear VR and (to a lesser extent) Google Cardboard are changing the equation — to a point. Both are goggle add-ons that turn existing phones into virtual-reality headsets. But while you can buy them now, they have limitations. Cardboard is basically more of a geeky DIY proof of concept. Gear VR, meanwhile, is only available in the US, and its apps are limited. Indeed, Samsung’s naming it the “Innovator Edition” is basically code for “early-adopter edition.” These are early days for virtual worlds. VR is an impressive experience, and often awe-inspiring. It also needs …

    December 18, 2014 3:58 pm


  • The world of physics in 2015

    The science story of 2014, which Physics World picked as its Breakthrough of the Year, simply had to be the successful landing of a man-made probe onto a comet, for the first time. Philae dropped on to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in November after a 10-year journey aboard the Rosetta craft – triggering scenes of wild jubilation among scientists and engineers at the European Space Agency (ESA), who had lived through a nail-biting final hour as they waited for radio signals to travel the 511 million kilometres from the comet to Earth after its scheduled landing time. Data from the mission are likely to keep astronomers busy for years to come, including signs that water on Earth came not from comets, as was previously thought, but from asteroids. In fact, 2014 was quite a year for space science, with India putting its Mangalyaan craft in orbit around Mars for the first time and Japan launching the country’s second …

    December 18, 2014 3:59 pm


  • Sierra Leone’s leading doctor dies of Ebola

    FREETOWN (Reuters) – Sierra Leone’s leading doctor died of Ebola on Thursday, hours after the arrival in the country of an experimental drug that could have been used to treat him, the government’s chief medical officer said. Victor Willoughby was diagnosed with Ebola last week after he treated a man with organ-related problems. The patient, a senior banker, was later diagnosed with Ebola and has since died. The drug, ZMab, was transported in frozen form on a Brussels Airlines flight that arrived overnight. Before it could thaw, Willoughby’s condition deteriorated, said chief medical officer Brima Kargbo. His death brings to 12 the number of Sierra Leone doctors to have contracted the virus. Eleven have died. In all, 142 health workers have been infected with the disease in the West African country and 109 have died, according to World Health Organization figures. Sierra Leone, neighboring Guinea and Liberia are at the heart of the world’s worst …

    December 18, 2014 3:58 pm

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  • This Dude Spent $150,000 To Look Like Kim Kardashian, But It Didn’t Work

    Posted on Thu Dec 18th, 2014 3:10pm PDT       By X17 Staff Is this the scariest face on the Internet? We think so. A 23-year-old British man, Jordan James Parke, has spent over $150,000 and had over 50 cosmetic procedures to “look” like Kim Kardashian. So far, the garish guy has gotten his eyebrows tattooed (yep, those babies are permanent), fillers, dental work, Botox, and in true Kardashian form — laser hair removal. If you think Jordan is deterred by the haters — think again. He’s ALL ABOUT the haters. Jordan said, “My look is all about the shock factor. I love all the attention and the stares I get in the street. I welcome the hate — it just means more attention. And if anything, it just spurs me on to get more work done.” Umm … that seems like a healthy mentality to have … The thing we are most perplexed by is that he …

    December 18, 2014 5:39 pm


  • CIA Report, Funding the Government: How can Obama, Congress defy the Constitution?

    When the government is waving at us with its right hand, so to speak, it is the government’s left hand that we should be watching. Just as a magician draws your attention to what he wants you to see so you will not observe how his trick is performed, last week presented a textbook example of public disputes masking hidden deceptions. Here is what happened. Last week was dominated by two huge news stories. One was the revelation by the Senate Intelligence Committee of torture committed by CIA agents and contractors on 119 detainees in the post-9/11 era — 26 of whom were tortured for months by mistake. In that revelation of anguish and error were the conclusions by CIA agents themselves that their torture had not produced helpful information. President Obama acknowledged that the CIA had tortured, yet he directed the Department of Justice not to prosecute those who tortured and those who authorized …

    December 18, 2014 7:55 am

Odd News

  • Canadian driver jailed for deaths caused by stopping for ducks

    OTTAWA (Reuters) – A Canadian woman was sentenced to 90 days in jail on Thursday for causing two deaths in 2010 when she stopped her car on a Quebec highway to help a group of ducklings crossing the road. Emma Czornobaj had been convicted in June of two counts each of criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing death. According to media reports on Thursday, Czornobaj stopped her car abruptly in the passing lane of a highway south of Montreal when she saw the ducklings. The motorcycle behind Czornobaj’s car then crashed into her vehicle, killing the 50-year-old man driving the motorcycle and his 16-year-old daughter. “I just wanted to pick all these ducklings up and put them in my car,” Czornobaj had testified during her trial. “I know it was a mistake.” The jail time will be served on the weekends. Czornobaj was also sentenced to 240 hours of community service, probation and banned from …

    December 18, 2014 3:58 pm