• Djokovic and Williams take ITF annual honors

    LONDON (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams have been named 2014 World Champions by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The annual award takes in performances on the regular Tour and grand slams. Wimbledon champion...
  • Mumps outbreak hits NHL teams

    Mumps outbreak hits NHL teams

    18 December 2014 Last updated at 13:07 Pittsburgh Penguins stars Beau Bennett, left, and Sidney Crosby have both caught mumps An outbreak of mumps has swept through teams in the National Hockey League (NHL). The...
  • The rock star manager who reinvents himself

    The rock star manager who reinvents himself

    Jeff Vinik, left, as fund manager for Fidelity. Now he owns the Tampa Bay Lightning and is working on a big real estate project. Jeff Vinik is a hard person to describe in one line....
  • Christmas is a bit of a trial for Ecclestone

    LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has revisited his German bribery trial in a mischievous Christmas card depicting himself handing over $100 million to a masked highwayman pointing a pistol at him. “This...
  • Putin seeks to ease economic fears

    Putin seeks to ease economic fears

    18 December 2014 Last updated at 11:24 Mr Putin blamed “outside factors” for the falling rouble President Vladimir Putin has sought to ease fears over Russia’s economy, insisting that the dramatic fall in the rouble...

Headline News

  • Mumps outbreak hits NHL teams


    18 December 2014 Last updated at 13:07 Pittsburgh Penguins stars Beau Bennett, left, and Sidney Crosby have both caught mumps An outbreak of mumps has swept through teams in the National Hockey League (NHL). The first confirmed cases were three players in the Anaheim Ducks, and since then at least four more teams have been affected. Ice hockey’s top player, Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby, has missed three games and is still not cleared to play. The highly contagious disease is usually found in children. The NHL is composed of 30 member teams from both the US and Canada. On Tuesday, Penguins forward Beau Bennett was diagnosed with mumps, bringing the total number of players affected to 15. Meanwhile, Marc-Andre Fleury, Robert Bortuzzo and Olli Maatta were being tested as a precaution, team officials said. “We have been sanitising the rooms and everything here for the last week,” Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford said. Crosby, …

    December 18, 2014 7:14 am
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Politics

  • Fed eyes audit push as key political challenge in 2015


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve is lobbying to stem a rising threat to its independence as the “Audit the Fed” movement, once seen as usual background noise, looks set to gain momentum in 2015 when Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress. Interviews with current and former Fed staff, lawmakers and lobbyists show that the central bank, led by Chair Janet Yellen, is taking the audit threat seriously. Fed officials are making their case for independence across Capitol Hill, reminding politicians of the damage that can come from political interference into economic policy discussions. “They’re sensitive to all of these issues,” said Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Reed said he had met with Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo in recent weeks but would not say what they discussed. The Fed is subject to various audits, including reviews by the Government Accountability Office …

    December 18, 2014 3:33 am
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Stocks

  • The rock star manager who reinvents himself


    Jeff Vinik, left, as fund manager for Fidelity. Now he owns the Tampa Bay Lightning and is working on a big real estate project. Jeff Vinik is a hard person to describe in one line. For much of his 20s and 30s, he was a rock star stock picker who ultimately ran Fidelity’s flagship Magellan fund, the biggest mutual fund in the world in the 1990s. At age 37, he said enough is enough and walked away from his job after a tough year for the fund. But the lure of finance was still too strong and he ended up starting a hedge fund that amassed roughly $6 billion in assets. Then he said enough of that and returned the money to investors. Related: Meet the new ‘bond king’ He and his family left the Northeast for Florida where, at age 51, he bought the Tampa Bay Lightning ice hockey team. “I used to always …

    December 18, 2014 6:34 am
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Sports

  • Djokovic and Williams take ITF annual honors


    LONDON (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams have been named 2014 World Champions by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The annual award takes in performances on the regular Tour and grand slams. Wimbledon champion Djokovic takes the men’s prize for the fourth time having won seven titles this season and the year-end top ranking for the third time in four years. Williams wins the award for the fifth time in a career which has brought her 18 grand slam singles titles — the most recent at this year’s U.S. Open. “I’m so honored to be named ITF World Champion for the fifth time. This was a year of challenges and triumphs, so to win another Grand Slam and retain my year-end No. 1 ranking is an accomplishment I’m very proud of,” she said. “I’m grateful to have the support of the tennis community in every way possible. I can’t wait for 2015.” Americans Bob …

    December 18, 2014 7:15 am
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World News

  • Pakistani school attackers ‘were told to kill soldiers’ after massacre of pupils


    The suicide attackers who assaulted a Pakistani school on Tuesday were reportedly given orders by phone to await the arrival of soldiers after they had initially slaughtered around 100 children in the school’s hall. Telephone intercepts revealed by security officials to Dawn, a leading Pakistani newspaper, show one of the Pakistani Taliban gunmen asked his handlers “what do we do now?” after informing them that “we have killed all the children in the auditorium”. He was told to “wait for the army people, kill them before blowing yourself up,” the report said. The school’s auditorium, where pupils had assembled for a lecture on first aid, was the scene of the worst carnage during the more than seven-hour rampage by at least six attackers. Witnesses said the attackers sprayed the hall indiscriminately with gunfire after bursting in on pupils and staff. The phone calls were probably a key part of the intelligence shared by the Pakistani …

    December 18, 2014 7:14 am
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Technology

  • Mobile deal to reduce ‘not-spots’


    18 December 2014 Last updated at 08:47 An agreement has been reached between the government and the country’s biggest mobile networks to improve mobile coverage across the UK. EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have agreed to invest £5bn and guarantee coverage across 90% of the UK by 2017. The move should reduce the number of “not-spots”, areas of patchy coverage. The firms had rejected the government’s preferred option of a system allowing customers of one network to use another if their supplier wasn’t available. “I am pleased to have secured a legally binding deal with the four mobile networks,” said Culture Secretary Sajid Javid. “Too many parts of the UK regularly suffer from poor mobile coverage leaving them unable to make calls or send texts,” he said. The agreement should reduce total “not-spots”, where there is no mobile coverage, by two-thirds, the government said. ‘Great result’ Partial “not-spots”, areas where there is some coverage but …

    December 18, 2014 3:54 am
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Science

  • Big data may be fashion industry’s next must-have accessory


    Big data may be the next new thing to hit the fashion industry’s runways, according to a team of researchers. By analyzing relevant words and phrases from fashion reviews, researchers were able to identify a network of influence among major designers and track how those style trends moved through the industry, said Heng Xu, associate professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State. “Data analytics, which is the idea that large amounts of data are becoming more available for finding patterns, establishing correlations and identifying emerging trends, is very hot these days and it is being applied to many industries and fields — from health care to politics — but what we wanted to see is if data analytics could be used in the fashion industry,” said Xu. “We were drawn to the question of whether or not we could really trace a hidden network of influence in fashion design.” The researchers, who presented their …

    December 18, 2014 3:54 am
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Health

  • EU’s top court opens door to some stem cell patents


    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – An organism incapable of developing into a human being is not a human embryo and may be patented, the European Union’s top court said on Thursday, opening the door to certain stem cell patents in the European Union. The court made this judgment following a case brought by U.S. company International Stem Cell Corporation in Britain over whether it could patent processes covering the use of human egg cells. “The mere fact that a parthenogenetically-activated human ovum commences a process of development is not sufficient for it to be regarded as a ‘human embryo’,” the European Court of Justice said. The court said it left it to British judges to determine whether the organisms used by ISCO met these criteria. (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Adrian Croft)

    December 18, 2014 3:53 am
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Entertainment

  • 8 Pics of young Ian McKellen that will definitely captivate you


    The final installment of The Hobbit series, The Battle of the Five Armies, hits theaters today and no one can argue that McKellen doesn’t masterfully take on the role he’s played now since The Lord of the Rings trilogy began back in 2001. More: Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are the cutest BFFs ever! This time around, his lead character, Gandalf, isn’t just ruling the screen, he’s organizing the whole plot, according to McKellen himself who spoke with USA Today. “He’s the stage manager and the producer and the director and everything else.” And though he is probably most well known for his role as Gandalf and for his X-Men character, Magneto, McKellen has been acting in film and television since the ’60s. For most of his early years, McKellen established himself as a notable stage actor and didn’t become widely recognized until the 1990s with several blockbuster roles, including Six Degrees of Separation, Richard …

    December 18, 2014 5:34 am
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Editorial

  • Obama hands Cuba’s Castros a major victory, but Congress can still stop it


    Establishing ties with Cuba has been on President Obama’s bucket list for some time. Health care — done. Amnesty for illegal immigrants — done. Cuba — next. This last one also has the added bonus point that it puts him right with the international left, which lionizes Castro. And the president will go on picking off the next items on the bucket list for the next two years of his term unless Congress decides to stop him. Should they work up the gumption, lawmakers will find they can do many things to stand up for the prerogatives of the legislative branch. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Obviously, the release of the 65-year-old American hostage Alan Gross should be welcome. His “crime” was to bring computers to Jews on the island. For the last five years, he has been a victim of Cuba’s state terrorism, just as 11 million Cubans have been held hostage by their government for the …

    December 18, 2014 3:54 am
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Odd News

  • NY City council votes to ban sale of bunnies by pet shops


    NEW YORK (Reuters) – What do bunny rabbits have in common with hyenas, wolverines and polar bears? The adorable little creatures are about to join a menagerie of wildlife prohibited for sale by New York City pet shops. The New York City Council voted on Wednesday to outlaw the bunny trade to help curb a glut of unwanted rabbits at city shelters by people who had second thoughts about caring for the cuddly creatures. “Rabbits are sometimes disappointing especially when you buy them for your child,” said Margo DeMello, president of the House Rabbit Society, in Richmond, California, which she described as the world’s largest rabbit shelter. “They’re ground-dwelling and they do not want to be held and carried around by a kid.” Elizabeth S. Crowley, the New York councilwoman who is lead co-sponsor of the bill, said she expected Mayor Bill de Blasio to sign the legislation into law because of the strong support …

    December 17, 2014 11:51 pm
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