Headline News

  • University of Texas System regens pick special ops commander as chancellor finalist


    FILE – In this May 17, 2014 file photo Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, an alumnus, does the Longhorns’ Hook ‘em Horns hand signal during his commencement keynote address at the University of Texas in Austin. The University of Texas System regents on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, selected McRaven as the lone finalist for the job of chancellor, overseeing the systems 15 campuses and $14 billion budget. (AP Photo/ The University of Texas at Austin, Marsha Miller, File) AUSTIN, Texas –  University of Texas System regents on Tuesday selected one of the top U.S. military special operations leaders as the lone finalist for the job of chancellor, overseeing the system’s 15 campuses and $14 billion budget. Navy Adm. William McRaven, head of U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, has been credited with spearheading the operation that led to the death of Osama bin Laden in a raid on his compound in Pakistan in 2011. …

    July 29, 2014 9:04 pm
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Politics

  • U.S. Senate panel backs confirmation of new ambassador to Russia


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the new U.S. ambassador to Russia could be on his way to Moscow in days, after U.S. senators put aside partisan differences to hold a quick vote backing his appointment on Tuesday. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held an unscheduled evening meeting to unanimously approve the nomination of John Tefft, a career diplomat and former ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania, to be the new envoy to Moscow. After five months without an American in the position, both Republicans and Democrats said the dire state of U.S. relations with Russia made it imperative to confirm Tefft before Congress leaves on Aug. 1 for a five-week recess. There was no immediate word on when the full Senate might hold that vote. Tefft had painted a dire picture of relations with Moscow as he sailed through his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations panel earlier on Tuesday. …

    July 29, 2014 7:23 pm
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Stocks

  • McDonald’s may be liable for worker lawsuits


    A government ruling could make McDonald’s liable for labor lawsuits. Facing a barrage of lawsuits from fast food worker groups seeking fair treatment and compensation, McDonald’s could be on the verge of losing one of its main protections. The National Labor Relations Board’s top lawyer on Tuesday determined that McDonald’s (MCD) is a “joint employer,” along with thousands of independent franchise owners. The ruling, if upheld, would mean that McDonald’s could be held liable for labor violations at its more than 12,000 franchisee-owned restaurants. “McDonald’s can try to hide behind its franchisees, but today’s determination by the NLRB shows there’s no two ways about it: The Golden Arches is an employer, plain and simple,” said Micah Wissinger in a statement issued by a public relations firm representing fast food workers. Wissinger is an attorney who brought the case on behalf of McDonald’s workers in New York City. In March, McDonald’s workers filed seven class-action lawsuits …

    July 29, 2014 8:03 pm
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Sports

  • Sabella quits as Argentina coach: reports


    BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Alejandro Sabella, who steered Argentina to the World Cup final, has quit as national team coach with Gerardo Martino or Jose Pekerman in line to succeed him, Argentine media reported on Tuesday. The reports said Sabella, whose side lost 1-0 to Germany in the final at Brazil’s Maracana, had told Argentine FA (AFA) President Julio Grondona of his decision not to stay on. If Sabella steps aside, the AFA will have to move quickly to name a successor with Argentina beginning preparations for their next major tournament, the 2015 Copa America in Chile, with a friendly against Germany in Duesseldorf on Sept. 3. Former Paraguay and Barcelona coach Martino, and Pekerman, who steered Argentina to the 2006 quarter-finals and Colombia to the same stage in Brazil, are front runners to take over. Sabella, 59, has called a news conference for Wednesday at AFA headquarters where he is likely to explain his …

    July 29, 2014 9:04 pm
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World News

  • Hamas vows to continue Gaza battle


    29 July 2014 Last updated at 23:43 Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play. Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has seen entire areas of Gaza destroyed, as Ian Pannell reports A reclusive Hamas commander has rejected suggestions the Palestinian militants are ready for a ceasefire with Israel to end violence in Gaza. In an audio recording, Mohammad Deif, commander of Hamas’ military wing, said his soldiers were “eager for death”. His message emerged at the end of a destructive day in Gaza that left the territory’s power plant in flames. Israeli strikes killed more than 100 Palestinians, raising the total killed to more than 1,200, Gaza officials say. Most of those deaths have been civilians, and 6,700 Palestinians have been injured, according to the Gaza health ministry. Israel has seen 53 of its soldiers die since conflict with Hamas began on 8 July. Two civilians and a Thai worker have also died. ‘End the …

    July 29, 2014 9:04 pm
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Technology

  • OkCupid’s Confessed Hijinks Get Thumbs-Down


    OkCupid has admitted carrying out psychological experiments on its users. Because OkCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing, it needs to experiment to see what works and what doesn’t, cofounder Christian Rudder wrote in a blog post. Every Internet company needs to test different things with users, and website visitors are subjected to “hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work,” he argued. “When this story came out, I almost thought ‘it’s a publicity stunt,’” said Sang Nam, associate professor of communications at Quinnipiac University. “For website optimization, there must be a series of tests. Whether you like it or not, you are part of the test and contribute to improve the site,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Even without your consent, it doesn’t seem to bother you much because ‘you’ are testing ‘the system,’” Nam added. “However, it becomes a serious issue when similar procedures are taken under the name …

    July 29, 2014 7:23 pm
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Science

  • Microscopic rowing — without a cox


    Related images(click to enlarge) Many different types of cell, including sperm, bacteria and algae, propel themselves using whip-like appendages known as flagella. These protrusions, about one-hundredth of a millimetre long, function like tiny oars, helping cells move through fluid. Similar, shorter structures called cilia are found on the surfaces of many cells, where they perform roles such as moving liquids over the cell. Flagella and cilia are remarkably versatile: they transport mucus and expel pathogens from our airways, they establish the left-right asymmetry in developing vertebrate embryos, and transport human eggs through the Fallopian tube. Each cilium or flagellum beats to its own characteristic rhythm, but wherever large groups of these biological paddles are found, they tend to row in sync, as though led by a cox. Exactly what causes these microscopic rowers to move together is something of a mystery. Experiments in the 1940s demonstrated that the flagella of bull sperm tend to synchronise …

    July 29, 2014 7:44 pm
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Health

  • 23andMe lands $1.4 million grant from NIH to detect genetic roots for disease


    WASHINGTON D.C. (Reuters) – Home genetics startup 23andMe has secured a $1.4 million two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to build survey tools and expand its gene database. With these funds from NIH, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the company intends to use its stores of genetic data for various research projects. External researchers will be able to access information on thousands of diseases and traits for more than 400,000 people. The grant “enables researchers from around the world to make genetic discoveries,” Anne Wojcicki, chief executive officer of 23andMe, said in a statement. 23andMe, which is backed by Google Inc , has not always played well with the federal government. Late last year, it hit a major regulatory snag when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expressed concerns about the “public health consequences of inaccurate results” from 23andMe’s $99 DNA test. The agency took issue …

    July 29, 2014 7:23 pm
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Entertainment

  • Elizabeth Banks: Sex-shaming is a disservice to young people


    Celebrity mom cover stories: Gwyneth Paltrow, Adele, Elizabeth Banks, Kim Kardashian  “I didn’t quite believe I was pretty for a long time. I never thought about it,” she explained, adding that her beauty is thanks to her family. “I’m very genetically blessed, I cannot deny it, but I work hard at keeping myself together. Yes, I have nice cheekbones and skinny legs but I can’t take any credit for it.” Although Banks has played all kind of characters — from a CNBC reporter to a doctor to an oversexed bookstore worker — she believes women should gain power from their sexuality, not shame. “It’s a huge disservice to young people to put shame into the equation,” she explained. “That’s what bothers me the most about it and why I speak so openly about sex. I promote safe sex, always, and abstinence until you are madly in love. But at the same time I have no desire …

    July 29, 2014 8:03 pm
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Editorial

  • Shame of the GOP on border


    In this July 11, 2014, photo, people are rafted to the Mexican shore, across the Suchiate river that separates Tecun Uman, Guatemala and Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on a makeshift raft. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)AP2014 Even on Capitol Hill, there is a God. Last week, the nation’s religious leaders stood up to ask their elected officials to look past politics and see that children — not theoretical abstractions but real, young individuals — are suffering because of inaction by Congress. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The children who have come north, fleeing violence in Central America, “are not ‘issues.’ These are … children made in the image of God and we ought to respond to them with compassion, not fear,” Russell Moore, a leader of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention told The New York Times. The GOP seems content to let it happen and stoke the crisis so long as they can blame Obama. The pope, the President of Catholic …

    July 29, 2014 7:23 pm
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Odd News

  • More mysterious craters found in Russia’s remote Siberia region


    MOSCOW (Reuters) – Two more craters of unknown origin have been spotted in Russia’s Siberia region, weeks after a similar-looking hole was found in the isolated northernmost area, a local paper reported. The Siberian Times, an English-language newspaper, published pictures of two new giant holes discovered by reindeer herders, one located in the Yamal and the other in the Taymyr peninsula, both above the Arctic circle. The paper said that theories of their origin range from meteorites or stray missiles to aliens or an underground gas explosion. The report could not be confirmed independently. Russian state TV reported earlier this month that a giant hole had appeared in the gas-rich Yamal peninsula where temperatures plummet below -50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit) and the sun barely rises in winter. A Russian scientific expedition arrived at the site to inspect the first crater, nicknamed the “Yamal black hole”, earlier this month, according to a recent report …

    July 29, 2014 3:39 pm
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