Headline News

  • Obama’s year-end message to Americans: I’m not a lame duck


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If U.S. President Barack Obama is feeling the pain from a rough year at the office, he did a great job of covering it up on Friday. Before boarding Air Force One for a vacation in Hawaii, the president gave a year-end news conference with a spring in his step, buoyed by a surge in U.S. economic growth and newly confident after having stymied his Republican critics with unilateral actions on immigration and Cuba. Bantering with reporters, granting questions only to women and wishing all the Hawaiian Christmas greeting, “Mele Kalikimaka,” Obama appeared energized and exuded an I’m-not-done-yet attitude. “There is no doubt that we can enter into the new year with renewed confidence that America’s making significant strides where it counts,” he said. The Washington Post declared recently that Obama had “the worst year in Washington,” a grim assessment after the president struggled to respond to a variety of foreign and …

    December 19, 2014 4:29 pm
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Politics

  • Obama: Keystone benefits for U.S. consumers, workers nominal


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast would only nominally benefit American consumers and workers in perhaps his strongest comments on the Canada-to-U.S. pipeline to date. “There is very little impact – nominal impact – on U.S. gas prices, what the average American consumer cares about,” Obama told reporters during an end-of-year press conference. Obama picked apart some of the most common arguments of its proponents: that it would create jobs, lower domestic gasoline prices and bolster the U.S. economy. “There has been this tendency to really hype this thing as some magic formula to what ails the U.S. economy,” Obama said. His comments come as Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said his party’s first act in the new Republican-controlled Senate would be to pass a bill fast-tracking approval of the $8 billion project, …

    December 19, 2014 3:49 pm
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Stocks

  • Chrysler expands recall to 3.3 million vehicles


    Under pressure from regulators, the company will replace airbags in affected vehicles worldwide. Under pressure from federal regulators, Chrysler will expand a recall of cars and trucks equipped with Takata airbags. It will now replace driver’s-side airbags in 3.3 million older-model vehicles worldwide, including 2.9 million in the U.S. Chrysler previously limited its recall to autos in areas with high humidity, including Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the airbags are believed to be more prone to rupturing. Ten automakers, including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU), have recalled cars and trucks with Tataka airbags because of fears the airbags can explode and send shrapnel into drivers and passengers. Chrysler emphasized that it is not aware of any problems with the driver-side airbags in the expanded region — even after conducting 1,000 laboratory tests. But it will nevertheless replace the parts. Related: Takata has struggled with airbag problems since late 1990s On Thursday, …

    December 19, 2014 4:49 pm
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Sports

  • Kenya’s marathon queen Jeptoo fails second doping test


    NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenyan Rita Jeptoo, winner of the Boston and Chicago marathons for the last two years, has tested positive for a banned substance in a B sample taken after she failed an out-of-competition check in September. “The results of the analysis of the B sample which was conducted on 17th to 19th December 2014 at the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency} accredited laboratory of Lausanne confirmed the finding of the A sample,” Athletics Kenya said in a statement on Friday. Jeptoo, provisionally suspended from athletics after the A sample tested positive, had asked for a B check. She told reporters at the time that the accusation was false. Dozens of Kenyan athletes have failed doping tests in the past two years. Government officials have blamed the growing amount of cases on foreign agents and Athletics Kenya’s failure to educate its sportsmen and women properly. The country’s triple world 3,000 meters steeplechase champion Moses Kiptanui has called …

    December 19, 2014 4:29 pm
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World News

  • Turkey issues warrant for Gulen


    19 December 2014 Last updated at 20:17 Fethullah Gulen is now a fierce opponent of Turkey’s leadership, especially President Recep Tayyip Erdogan A Turkish court has issued an arrest warrant for the influential exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen. Mr Gulen, who is based in the US, is accused of establishing and running an “armed terrorist group”. He was once an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but has now been accused of plotting to overthrow the Turkish government – a claim the cleric strongly denies. The US is thought to be unlikely to act on any extradition request. The move comes amid a national crackdown on perceived supporters of the cleric. Over 20 journalists working for media outlets thought to be sympathetic to the Gulen movement were arrested last weekend. Eight of them were freed on Friday on the orders of a court in Istanbul. Those released include Ekrem Dumanli, editor-in-chief of Zaman newspaper. Four …

    December 19, 2014 3:29 pm
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Technology

  • Ebay joins Google and others in dumping Alec over climate stance


    Ebay announced on Thursday it’s severing ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council because of the lobbying group’s views on climate change. The online marketplace is the latest technology firm to part ways with the right-wing organization over environmental concerns. “After our annual review of eBay Inc’s memberships in trade associations and third-party organizations, we’ve decided not to renew our membership with Alec,” an eBay spokesperson said. In September, Eric Schmidt announced Google would be leaving Alec because “they’re just literally lying” about climate change. This prompted a wave of departures from other tech companies, including Facebook and Yelp, over similar concerns. Microsoft had previously left Alec in July. The current mass exodus from Alec marks a change from a previous round of departures, in which companies left Alec over concerns about its stance on “stand your ground” legislation. Environmental activists welcomed eBay’s move. “This is a major victory for those of us who have …

    December 19, 2014 12:07 pm
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Science

  • A clear, molecular view of how human color vision evolved


    Many genetic mutations in visual pigments, spread over millions of years, were required for humans to evolve from a primitive mammal with a dim, shadowy view of the world into a greater ape able to see all the colors in a rainbow. Now, after more than two decades of painstaking research, scientists have finished a detailed and complete picture of the evolution of human color vision. PLOS Genetics published the final pieces of this picture: The process for how humans switched from ultraviolet (UV) vision to violet vision, or the ability to see blue light. “We have now traced all of the evolutionary pathways, going back 90 million years, that led to human color vision,” says lead author Shozo Yokoyama, a biologist at Emory University. “We’ve clarified these molecular pathways at the chemical level, the genetic level and the functional level.” Co-authors of the PLOS Genetics paper include Emory biologists Jinyi Xing, Yang Liu and …

    December 19, 2014 4:10 pm
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Health

  • Cigarette smoking costs weigh heavily on the healthcare system


    (Reuters) – Of every $10 spent on healthcare in the U.S., almost 90 cents is due to smoking, a new analysis says. Using recent health and medical spending surveys, researchers calculated that 8.7 percent of all healthcare spending, or $170 billion a year, is for illness caused by tobacco smoke, and public programs like Medicare and Medicaid paid for most of these costs. “Fifty years after the first Surgeon General’s report, tobacco use remains the nation’s leading preventable cause of death and disease, despite declines in adult cigarette smoking prevalence,” said Xin Xu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who led the study. Over 18 percent of U.S. adults smoke cigarettes and about one in five deaths are caused by smoking, according to the CDC. Xu and colleagues linked data on healthcare use and costs from the 2006-2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to the 2004-2009 National Health Interview Survey for a nationally-representative …

    December 19, 2014 4:09 pm
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Entertainment

  • Patrick Schwarzenegger Is Soaked After A Champagne Shower At The Club


    Posted on Fri Dec 19th, 2014 1:05pm PDT       By X17 Staff At least it looks like he bathed in bubbly, because his shirt is mighty wet! Patrick Schwarzenegger had a wild night at 1OAK nightclub in Hollywood last night, and the USC student was flying solo without girlfriend Miley Cyrus by his side. The songstress is known for her crazy antics, but it almost seems like she’s the good influence between these two. Arnold and Maria’s son attempted to hide under his jacket as he waited for his ride to arrive, and part of us thinks he didn’t want to be photographed in fear of upsetting his lady love. The twerking queen has gotta know that when the cat’s away, the mice will play… or go clubbing and make a complete scene!   Stories from around the Web

    December 19, 2014 3:49 pm
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Editorial

  • Immigration: Fight against Obama’s lawlessness just beginning


    When it comes to confronting President Obama’s lawless immigration actions, we’ve only just begun to fight. Earlier this month, I testified before the House Judiciary Committee, spelling out exactly how President Obama’s immigration actions violated the Constitution. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Public testimony plays a critical role in educating members of Congress and educating the public, but testimony alone can’t stop President Obama. Stopping the president requires legal and legislative action. Let’s reform our immigration system, but let’s do it according to a constitutional process. President Obama claims he’s acting because Congress has “failed” to act. But what he really means is that he’s acting because Congress has failed to give him exactly what he wants. That’s why my colleagues and I at the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) Tuesday joined with 27 members of Congress and more than 60,000 Americans to file an amicus brief in the leading lawsuit against President Obama’s immigration actions. …

    December 19, 2014 12:07 pm
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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
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