• EU hits out at ‘Russian aggression’

    EU hits out at ‘Russian aggression’

    30 August 2014 Last updated at 12:31 Mr Poroshenko met senior EU officials, including European Council President Herman Van Rompuy European Union foreign ministers have expressed “deep concern” at Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine”, as the...
  • Slow Comcast speeds were costing Netflix customers

    Slow Comcast speeds were costing Netflix customers

    Netflix told the FCC that calls made to its customer support center about slow-loading videos on Comcast’s network more than quadrupled late last year. Why did Netflix pay Comcast to stream its videos faster? Because...
  • China warns of Hong Kong ‘meddling’

    China warns of Hong Kong ‘meddling’

    30 August 2014 Last updated at 11:35 China’s central government is seeking a stronger role in Hong Kong China has warned foreign countries against “meddling” in Hong Kong’s politics ahead of a crucial announcement on...

Headline News

  • Florida schools make play for scholastic chess curriculum


    FORT LAUDERDALE Fla. (Reuters) – Leaning over chess boards in the middle of classes, seven- and eight-year-olds in one of Florida’s largest school districts furrow their brows as they plot moves toward a checkmate. It isn’t just play. The chess games are part of a weekly lesson given to all 34,000 second- and third-graders in Broward County Public Schools, the sixth-biggest district in the nation, in one of the largest such curriculum experiments in the country. “Chess is the means to an end,” said Mark Strauss, Broward’s director of school performance and accountability, explaining that it teaches analytical skills disguised as a game. “To a child, learning is not work,” he added. “The act of sitting and filling in a bubble sheet is work.” The initiative builds on growing numbers of school-age children playing chess in the United States. Along with Florida, thousands of students in New York City and Chicago are learning chess in …

    August 30, 2014 7:06 am
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Politics

  • California passes plastic bag ban, would be first such law in U.S


    SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) – The California state legislature enacted a ban on plastic grocery bags on Friday near the end of its two-year session, a measure that if signed into law would become the first of its kind in America. A number of cities and counties in California and other U.S. states, including Hawaii’s Maui County, have made it illegal for grocery stores to pack purchases in plastic. But at the state level, opposition from plastic bag makers has usually prevailed. The California Senate voted 22-15 for the bill, which must be signed into law by Sept. 30 by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who has not signaled a position on the measure. “Single-use plastic bags not only litter our beaches, but also our mountains, our deserts, and our rivers, streams and lakes,” said state Senator Alex Padilla, who sponsored the bill. Padilla backed a similar measure last year but it failed by three votes. The fate of this …

    August 30, 2014 3:41 am
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Stocks

  • Slow Comcast speeds were costing Netflix customers


    Netflix told the FCC that calls made to its customer support center about slow-loading videos on Comcast’s network more than quadrupled late last year. Why did Netflix pay Comcast to stream its videos faster? Because Netflix was losing customers. That’s according to a petition Netflix filed to the Federal Communications Commission this week in opposition to Comcast’s (CMCSA) proposed mega-merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC). In February, Netflix reluctantly agreed to pay Comcast to directly connect to its network. Prior to the direct connect, Netflix delivered its videos to Comcast customers via third parties, including Cogent Communications (CCOI). But Comcast customers experienced abysmal Netflix speeds — among the worst in the country. Netflix speeds became so slow in December 2013 and January 2014 that customers grew irate, Netflix said in its petition. Calls made to Netflix’s customer support center about slow-loading videos more than quadrupled during those months. “For many subscribers, the bit rate was …

    August 30, 2014 6:44 am
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Sports

  • No headgear can help Thai boxers to two golds in Incheon


    BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand are optimistic of collecting at least two Asian Games boxing gold medals next month and believe the decision by the sport’s governing body to ditch headguards will give them an edge in South Korea. The International Amateur Boxing Association opted to remove headgear in men’s bouts last year with many fighters getting their first chance to box without them at the Sept 19-Oct. 4 Games in Incehon. Thailand Boxing Association head Pichai Chunhavajira said the move will aid his team of seven male fighters in South Korea, with all having grown up practicing other combat sports, like Muay Thai, without using headgear. “The lack of headguards gives us the edge,” Pichai told the Nation newspaper on Saturday. A change in scoring will also favor the Thais, Pichai said, adding he thought bouts would be more exciting. “In the past we have rarely seen knockouts but with the new rules there will …

    August 30, 2014 7:06 am
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World News

  • EU hits out at ‘Russian aggression’


    30 August 2014 Last updated at 12:31 Mr Poroshenko met senior EU officials, including European Council President Herman Van Rompuy European Union foreign ministers have expressed “deep concern” at Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine”, as the bloc’s leaders prepare to consider new sanctions on the Moscow government. Speaking after the ministerial meeting in Milan, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Aston urged Russia to “withdraw its forces from Ukraine”. EU leaders are to meet in Brussels to consider their response to the crisis. Russia denies that its forces are backing rebels in eastern Ukraine. But Ms Ashton said there was “deep concern” over “direct aggression by Russian forces”. She called on Russia to stop the flow of arms, equipment and personnel into Ukraine. In Brussels European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned Russia that the EU was ready to “stand by its principles” and called for a political solution before the crisis reached a “point of no …

    August 30, 2014 7:06 am
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Technology

  • The scientific A-Team saving the world from killer viruses, rogue AI and the paperclip apocalypse


    Cambridge, some time after the end of term. Demob-happy undergraduates, dressed for punting and swigging wine from the bottle, seem not so much to be enjoying themselves as determinedly following rites of passage on the way to a privileged future. I am heading towards the biggest, richest and arguably most beautiful college: Trinity. Of the 90 Nobel prizes won by members of Cambridge University in the 20th century, 32 were won by members of Trinity. Its alumni include Isaac Newton, Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell and six prime ministers. The porter’s lodge is like an airlock, apparently sealed from the tribulations of everyday life. But inside the college, pacing the flagstones of what is called – all modesty aside – Great Court, are four men who do not take it for granted that those undergraduates actually have a future. They are the four founders of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), and they are in the …

    August 30, 2014 3:42 am
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Science

  • New technique uses fraction of measurements to efficiently find quantum wave functions


    The result of every possible measurement on a quantum system is coded in its wave function, which until recently could be found only by taking many different measurements of a system and estimating a wave function that best fit all those measurements. Just two years ago, with the advent of a technique called direct measurement, scientists discovered they could reliably determine a system’s wave function by “weakly” measuring one of its variables (e.g. position) and “strongly” measuring a complementary variable (momentum). Researchers at the University of Rochester have now taken this method one step forward by combining direct measurement with an efficient computational technique. The new method, called compressive direct measurement, allowed the team to reconstruct a quantum state at 90 percent fidelity (a measure of accuracy) using only a quarter of the measurements required by previous methods. “We have, for the first time, combined weak measurement and compressive sensing to demonstrate a revolutionary, fast …

    August 30, 2014 4:02 am
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Health

  • African-Americans may be getting inferior breastfeeding advice


    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Mothers who give birth in areas with higher concentrations of African-Americans are less likely to get breastfeeding support on maternity wards than mothers in other communities, a new study shows. Breastfeeding provides well-documented health benefits to infants and their mothers. But African-American women are about 16 percent less likely to nurse their newborns than white women, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study of 2,727 American hospitals and birth centers sought to uncover the reasons for the racial disparities. “What this study suggests is that hospital practices, not just women’s choices, beliefs or values, contribute to the observed racial disparities in infant feeding,” sociologist Elizabeth Armstrong told Reuters Health in an email. “Where a woman lives – and consequently gives birth – affects how her infant is nourished. Black babies and their mothers are less likely to start off in environments that support …

    August 30, 2014 3:41 am
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Entertainment

  • Rosamund Pike had a hard time letting go after Gone Girl


    Gone Girl trailer: Is Ben Affleck a killer? Gone Girl is based on the 2012 book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, about a woman who disappears and the following investigation. Pike plays Amy Dunne, the title character, and said when she accepted the part, she hadn’t realized what an effect the role would have on her. “She reveals a lot about the female experience, both positive and negative,” Pike told People. “It’s why people are shocked by her, seduced by her. She reads you better than you read yourself. That can be incredibly powerful and incredibly alluring.” Gone Girl filmed over several months, and the intense scenes left Pike feeling herself too far into the story to remove herself easily. “It took a while to fully come back to myself,” Pike said. “I went on holiday, but it wasn’t really until after that that I felt I was divesting myself of Amy.” Intense …

    August 30, 2014 5:23 am
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Editorial

  • David Cameron stands up to Islamists: A lesson for Barack Obama


      The contrast between Friday’s press conference in London by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Thursday’s White House remarks by President Obama could not have been starker. Mr. Cameron delivered a robust assessment of the scale of the Islamist threat to Great Britain and to the free world.  ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT He told journalists assembled at Downing Street that “what we are facing in Iraq now with ISIL (Islamic State) is a greater threat to our security than we have seen before.”  While David Cameron appeared self-assured and determined in his approach, Barack Obama came across as a deer in the headlights, unable to outline a coherent U.S. response to a rapidly growing crisis in the Middle East. He made it clear that ISIS must not be allowed to establish an Islamist caliphate in Iraq. If they succeeded, “we would be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO …

    August 30, 2014 3:41 am
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Odd News

  • Arizona man arrested for burning, urinating on Bible


    PHOENIX (Reuters) – A 22-year-old Arizona man calling himself “Dark Lord” has been arrested for allegedly burning a Bible and urinating on it outside a Christian-oriented homeless shelter in northern Arizona, police said on Friday. Eric Minerault was booked into the Yavapai County Detention Center late on Thursday on suspicion of one count of unlawful symbol burning stemming from the incident at the Gospel Rescue Mission, Prescott police spokesman Lieutenant Ken Morley said in a written statement. Police were called to the scene at about 9 p.m. by a mission representative reporting that someone was burning something on the mission’s front steps, Morley said. Officers found Minerault standing on the steps, with a burned and wet Bible on the ground near him. He quickly admitted to the act.  He told officers the mission was selected because he believed it was a place of Christian worship and he was “cursing the Christians,” police said. Asked why, …

    August 29, 2014 7:53 pm
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