Headline News

  • Florida’s Cuban Americans rejoice at U.S. policy overhaul

    MIAMI (Reuters) – Some Cuban exiles rejoiced at the prospect of easier access to their relatives. Some swelled with guarded optimism over the prospect of thawing relations between the United States and the communist island. And some were simply “ecstatic.” News on Wednesday that the United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half century rippled through the 1.5-million-strong exile community in the United States, many of them lifelong opponents of communist rule. “It’s amazing,” said Hugo Cancio, who came to Miami in the 1980 Mariel boatlift and runs a magazine with offices in Miami and Havana. “This is a new beginning, a dream come true for the 11.2 million Cubans in Cuba, and I think it will provoke a change of mentality here too in this community.” “I’m ecstatic,” he added, “I’ve been working for this moment for 25 …

    December 17, 2014 1:05 pm


  • U.S., Cuba to restore diplomatic relations after 50 years

    HAVANA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is planning to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba more than 50 years after they were severed, a major policy shift after decades of hostile ties with the communist-ruled island. President Barack Obama was set to announce the changes in an announcement at 12 noon on Wednesday. Previewing his announcement, U.S. officials said the United States and Cuba would move to open embassies in each other’s capitals. Obama spoke on Tuesday to Cuban President Raul Castro to discuss the changes in a call that lasted nearly an hour. Castro was due to speak in Cuba at the same time as Obama. The shift will mean a relaxation in the flow of commerce and transportation by the United States to Cuba, the officials said. Travel restrictions that currently make it hard for most Americans to visit will be eased, but the door will not yet be open for broad U.S. tourism …

    December 17, 2014 11:24 am


  • Russia crisis: Don’t panic like it’s 1998

      The financial chaos in Russia is giving investors flashbacks to the summer of 1998. That was the year Russia defaulted on its debt and devalued the ruble, creating huge losses for investors. And it didn’t stop there: the “Moscow meltdown” infected emerging markets around the globe and even caused America’s SP 500 index to plunge about 20% between July and October of 1998. Conditions today look a lot like they did back then: the Russian ruble is collapsing under the weight of plunging oil prices, forcing the central bank to dramatically hike interest rates. Despite the eerie similarities, Russia’s financial troubles are unlikely to crash global markets this time around. One major difference between 1998 and today is that tough sanctions on Moscow have somewhat insulated Western investors from what’s ailing Russia. Related: Who loses if Russia implodes? The sanctions regime has “reduced the risk for financial contagion considerably. This is not 1998. You …

    December 17, 2014 12:25 pm


  • Kurt Busch called to testify at hearing on alleged assault

    DOVER, Del. –  The attorney for Kurt Busch’s ex-girlfriend has called the NASCAR driver to the witness stand to testify Wednesday in a hearing in which the woman is seeking a court order directing him to stay away from her. Patricia Driscoll’s attorney called Busch to testify just before a lunch break in Wednesday’s hearing. It was not immediately clear whether Busch would testify or cite his Fifth Amendment right to keep his silence. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Driscoll, 36, testified Tuesday that Busch choked her and smashed her head into a wall inside his motorhome at Dover International Speedway in September, and that she still fears for her safety. “I don’t know what he’s capable of doing,” she said. Busch’s attorneys have denied the allegations, which are the subject of a separate criminal investigation by Dover police. They say a no-contact order is not needed. Driscoll testified that she became concerned about Busch after the couple …

    December 17, 2014 1:06 pm

World News

  • ‘New chapter’ in US-Cuba ties

    17 December 2014 Last updated at 18:58 Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play. President Obama: “Today America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past” US President Barack Obama has hailed a “new chapter” in US relations with Cuba, announcing moves to normalise diplomatic and economic ties. Mr Obama said the US’ current approach was “outdated” and the changes were the “most significant” in US policy towards Cuba in 50 years. Cuban President Raul Castro said he welcomed the shift in a TV address. The move includes the release of US contractor Alan Gross and three Cubans held in the US. Wednesday’s announcement follows more than a year of secret talks in Canada and at the Vatican, directly involving the Pope. Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play. Raul Castro: “We have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations” Mr Gross, facing the camera in a blue shirt, flew back from …

    December 17, 2014 1:05 pm


  • 30,000 people bought crap on Black Friday – literally

    Some might say spending money on crap is what Black Friday is all about – but few would expect 30,000 people to literally do that. That’s what happened this year though where, in a (somewhat dirty) protest against consumerism, Cards Against Humanity managed to sell 30,000 boxes of actual bull’s poop for just $6 a time to willing customers. — David Zumini (@davidzumini) December 12, 2014 When @CAH says they’re going to send you bullshit, they’re going to send you bullshit! #noregrets pic.twitter.com/kNptlisgFP For those of you unfamiliar with Cards Against Humanity, it’s a cult card game manufacturer which has built an ardent following based on allowing people to be as taboo or as politically incorrect as they like in order to win the game. The concept is simple: choose the funniest/most offensive answer to a question or to fill a blank space and you win. According to an interview the game’s creators gave to …

    December 17, 2014 11:44 am


  • Congress Snuck Science into the $1.1 Trillion Omnibus Bill

      It is not all about dollars. Congress also loaded the bill with special instructions, called policy riders, which dictate how government funds must be spent. Because the bill was rushed through just before the government ran out of money, and Congressional leaders did not want another government shutdown if the bill did not pass, lawmakers seized the opportunity to tack on controversial riders that might otherwise have been debated.  A lot of those 11th-hour mandates will affect science and environmental policy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for example, got $8.1 billion. That’s $60 million less than last year and the agency now has to operate at its smallest budget since 1989. But even that money comes with conditions. Although agriculture is a major source of atmospheric methane, Congress forbade the EPA from using its funds to require farmers to report greenhouse gas emissions from “manure management systems.” And the agency is no longer permitted …

    December 17, 2014 7:43 am


  • Stent Treatment May Lower Stroke Disability

    WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Using a stent to capture and remove a stroke-causing blood clot is safe and improves recovery, Dutch researchers report. About one-third of patients who had the procedure — called intraarterial treatment — recovered from their stroke with only slight disability and were able to care for themselves, compared with just 19 percent of patients given regular care, the researchers found. “We knew already that we can open up blocked vessels with the treatment, but now we have proof that patients have better outcomes, they actually benefit by being less disabled and less handicapped,” said lead researcher Dr. Diederik Dippel, a neurologist at Erasmus M.C. University Medical Center in Rotterdam. Dippel stressed that to be effective this treatment must be done in the first six hours after stroke symptoms start. And, the sooner the better. Unlike stents used to open blocked heart arteries, which are left in place to …

    December 17, 2014 11:44 am


  • Topless Rihanna Gets Frisky With Friends Backstage At The Diamond Ball

    Posted on Wed Dec 17th, 2014 11:10am PDT       By X17 Staff It wouldn’t be a Rihanna Instagram pic if she had her top on! The topless star got frisky with her entourage backstage at her inaugural Diamond Ball that was held last week. Wearing a voluminous Midnight Blue Duchesse and Taffeta Strapless Ball Gown from the Zac Posen Resort 2015 collection, the 26-year-old is pictured seating in the middle of her posse, smoking a cigar and being the bad gal we all know and love! The first annual Diamond Ball was a charity event, raising money for Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation, which was founded in 2012 in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. A photo posted by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on Dec 12, 2014 at 8:21am PST   Stories from around the Web

    December 17, 2014 1:25 pm


  • Taxation and Income Inequality: How Ferris Bueller’s pals grew up to run the government

    Dec. 9, 2014: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP) “Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone… anyone? Anyone seen this before?” In the classic teen film, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the dorky economics teacher played exquisitely by Ben Stein answers his own question posed to his comatose high school class. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT “The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point.” You hear the excruciating screech of chalk on the blackboard, but never actually see the bell curve being drawn. Instead, the camera focuses on a passed out kid drooling all over his desk. Too bad. Apparently, those somnolent slackers — “pals” of Ferris– grew up to run the government. The Tax Curve According to legend, 40 years ago economist Arthur Laffer sketched out …

    December 17, 2014 11:44 am

Odd News

  • Over 20,000 bras recalled in Japan due to injury fears

    TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese lingerie maker is recalling more than 20,000 brassieres after complaints that underwires suddenly poked out, sometimes while women were wearing them. The Japanese division of lingerie maker Triumph International, which has made a name for itself with concept lingerie such as a solar-powered bra and an “Abenomics” bra that honored Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic revival plan, said they took the move due to fears of injury. “We are sorry for the bother, but we ask customers to stop using the bras immediately,” the company said in a statement, adding that it deeply apologized and would take steps to prevent a recurrence. The recall applies to roughly 22,000 bras ranging in cost from 5,600 to 6,200 yen($48 to $53)and sold only in Japan, a company spokeswoman said. There have been no reports of injuries from the defect, which caused the tips of the underwires to protrude from holes in the …

    December 16, 2014 11:38 pm