Headline News

  • Major U.S. airlines end trophy hunter shipments after Cecil outcry

    NEW YORK Three U.S. airlines have banned the transport of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino or buffalo killed by trophy hunters, in the latest fallout from the killing of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the lion last month. American Airlines said on Tuesday it would join Delta Airlines and United Airlines in banning the transport of animals known in Africa as the “big five”, coined by hunters because they are the hardest to kill on foot. There has been an international outcry against trophy hunting among animal lovers since it emerged that American dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil, a rare black-maned lion that was a familiar sight at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Delta Air Lines Inc, the only American airline to fly directly between the United States and Johannesburg, will also review policies on accepting other hunting trophies with government agencies and other organizations that support legal shipments, it said. Even before the killing of Cecil the lion, campaigners …

    August 4, 2015 5:57 am


  • Kerry: good progress made on Pacific trade deal despite talks failure

    SINGAPORE Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday “good progress” was made toward a 12-nation Trans-Pacific trade deal last week, even though negotiators failed to reach an accord in marathon talks in Hawaii. “As with any complex negotiation … there remain details to be hashed out,” Kerry said in a speech during a stop in Singapore on his way to meetings of the 10 nation Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Malaysia on Wednesday. “Last week in Hawaii, we made good progress in our negotiations,” he said adding that countries negotiating the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were “pressing on to work through tough negotiations on even the most sensitive issues.” On Friday, Pacific Rim trade ministers failed to clinch a deal on the TPP – the key economic arm of President Barack Obama’s rebalance to Asia in the face of China’s growing influence in the region. The talks on …

    August 4, 2015 4:16 am


  • China is blaming short sellers for its stock market crash

    Chinese brokerages have stopped executing short sales after officials tightened trading rules in a new attempt to shore up the country’s stock market. Short sellers borrow and then sell shares, betting they can buy them back later at a cheaper price — and pocket the difference. Only approved brokers are allowed to engage in short selling in China. Citic Securities, the country’s largest broker, said Tuesday that short selling had been halted so its system can “adjust” to new regulations that require investors who borrowed shares to wait one day to repay the loans. Previously, the shares could be repaid on the same day. Officials hope the measure will force investors to think twice about betting that markets will fall. Other brokers, including Huatai Securities, Guosen Securities, Great Wall Securities and Qilu Securities, also suspended short sales. Resumption of service will “be announced in due course,” they said. The new regulations were issued after the …

    August 4, 2015 5:17 am


  • UEFA dismisses Fenerbahce protest over Shakhtar doping case

    NYON, Switzerland (AP) UEFA says it dismissed Fenerbahce’s protest against Shakhtar Donetsk fielding a player in a Champions League qualifying match who previously tested positive for doping at the Copa America. The 0-0 result stands for the teams’ third qualifying round, first-leg match in Turkey last week ahead of the return match on Wednesday in Lviv, Ukraine. UEFA says Shakhtar’s Brazil midfielder Fred had not been suspended by South American confederation CONMEBOL when the first leg was played. Still, Fred is unlikely to play on Wednesday because of the doping case. Fred tested positive for a banned diuretic with Brazil at the Copa America in Chile in June. The substance, hydrochlorothiazide, can hide the presence of other drugs. Shakhtar acknowledged selecting Fred to face Fenerbahce in Istanbul against UEFA advice.

    August 4, 2015 5:57 am

World News

  • Malema corruption case thrown out

    Mr Malema is a staunch critic of the government A court in South Africa has thrown out fraud and corruption charges against left-wing opposition leader Julius Malema. The case should be “struck off” because of lengthy delays in bringing him to trial, a judge ruled. Mr Malema was charged in 2012 with money laundering, racketeering and corruption related to a government contract worth $4m (£2.5m). He denied the charges, and said they were politically motivated. Mr Malema formed the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party in 2013 following his expulsion from the governing African National Congress (ANC). He is a fierce critic of President Jacob Zuma, and has campaigned against corruption. ‘Messed up case’ Correspondents say the ruling is a big boost for Mr Malema’s career, and will fuel perceptions that he is the victim of an abuse of power. There was a heavy police presence outside court Judge George Mothle said the case had dragged …

    August 4, 2015 6:37 am


  • What you need to know about artificial intelligence, and the imminent robot future

    AI of the future will defy our old-fashioned expectations. Ann Hermes, Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images Do androids dream of electric sheep? That’s unclear, but I know for sure that every kid dreams of intelligent, thinking robots — certainly every kid who goes on to work at CNET, in any case. Today, my sci-fi-fuelled childhood fantasies of a bot with a “brain the size of a planet” are closer than ever to being realised. Artificial intelligence, or AI, the practice of making a machine behave in a smart way, is already changing our world and is, by my reckoning, the most fascinating field of technology right now. But, as one professor I spoke to for this story put it, the “audacity of the attempt to build an intelligent machine” comes with a responsibility to know what we’re meddling with. For everyone who ever thumbed through a copy of “I, Robot”, mouth agape, here’s what you need …

    August 4, 2015 4:37 am


  • Earliest evidence of reproduction in a complex organism

    Related images(click to enlarge) Researchers led by the University of Cambridge have found the earliest example of reproduction in a complex organism. Their new study has found that some organisms known as rangeomorphs, which lived 565 million years ago, reproduced by taking a joint approach: they first sent out an ‘advance party’ to settle in a new area, followed by rapid colonisation of the new neighbourhood. The results, reported today in the journal Nature, could aid in revealing the origins of our modern marine environment. Using statistical techniques to assess the distribution of populations of a type of rangeomorph called Fractofusus, the researchers observed that larger ‘grandparent’ rangeomorphs were randomly distributed in their environment, and were surrounded by distinct patterns of smaller ‘parents’ and ‘children’. These patterns strongly resemble the biological clustering observed in modern plants, and suggest a dual mode of reproduction: the ‘grandparents’ being the product of ejected waterborne propagules, while the ‘parents’ …

    August 4, 2015 3:36 am


  • New analysis underscores improving pharma R&D productivity

    LONDON Drug industry productivity is continuing to improve, with a bumper haul of new products being launched and companies proving more successful in the final stages of clinical testing, according to a new analysis. Data from Thomson Reuters published on Tuesday showed the number of innovative medicines, or new molecular entities, launched globally in 2014 hit a 17-year high of 46, up from 29 in 2013. Last year’s entrants included two cancer drugs that help the body’s own immune cells fight tumors as oncology remained the top area for drug research, attracting nearly one third of all RD spending. Merck’s Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo are the first in a coming wave of expensive immunotherapies. As well as launching a lot more new medicines, the industry has also been enjoying higher success rates in the costly final stage of clinical development, with the number of projects failing in Phase III falling markedly over the last …

    August 4, 2015 3:57 am


  • Eminem Admits He Weighed 230 Pounds When He Overdosed On Prescription Drugs

    Posted on Mon Aug 3rd, 2015 9:45am PDT       By X17 Staff Eminem got candid for a new interview with Men’s Journal, in which he revealed that in the peak of his drug addiction back in 2007 — he weighed 230 pounds — and it wasn’t 230 pounds of muscle! The “Stan” singer admitted to the mag that in 2007 his addiction to pills caused him to overdose on Vicodin and Valium — and also to eat poorly. “In 2007, I overdosed on pills, and I went into the hospital. I was close to 230 pounds. I’m not sure how I got so big, but I have ideas. The coating on the Vicodin and the Valium I’d been taking for years leaves a hole in your stomach, so to avoid a stomachache, I was constantly eating — and eating badly,” said Marshall Mathers. The Grammy winner also admitted that he got into a workout frenzy after putting …

    August 3, 2015 9:14 pm


  • The folly of Obama’s Clean Power Plan

    Before any rational discussion of the economic or scientific merits of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan can begin (it will be announced Monday), it is necessary to take his rhetoric about its benefits off the table.  The president stated Sunday that his plan is “protecting the world we leave to our children.”  To be generous to the president, that is a gross exaggeration.   By the Environmental Protection Agency’s own calculations, the plan will reduce U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide by about 10% from what they are now projected to be in 2030. Since by that time the U.S. will be producing less than 20 percent of global CO2 emissions, the result is at most 2 percent less growth in global emissions. Based on the calculations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that will make less than one-tenth of a degree of difference in global temperatures. Contrary to the president’s claims about saving lives …

    August 4, 2015 2:56 am

Odd News

  • Lame Massachusetts chicken to get 3-D printer prosthetic leg

    BOSTON One Massachusetts chicken is about to get a costly leg up on life – a $2,500 prosthetic limb made on a 3-D printer. The chicken, named Cicely, is headed into surgery on Wednesday for the start of a first-of-its-kind procedure to fit her with an artificial limb, her owner, Andrea Martin of Black Thistle Farm, said on Monday. Cicely, 3 months old, was born with a torn tendon in her right leg that limits her mobility. When Martin took her to Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine to be examined last week she was given two choices — a prosthetic or euthanasia. “It was a no-brainer,” Martin said in a phone interview. “She needs to be able to live a normal life.” Martin’s farm, located in Clinton, about 45 miles (72 km) west of Boston, specializes in chicken rehabilitation and this isn’t the first time she has splurged on surgery. One of her …

    August 4, 2015 3:56 am