Headline News

  • California school orders non-vaccinated kids home after possible measles case


    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California high school barred dozens of non-vaccinated students from school on Wednesday over concern that a classmate may have contracted measles in a rare outbreak of the highly contagious disease that began at a Disneyland resort last month. The order, which affects 66 students at Palm Desert High School near the resort community of Palm Springs, marks at least the second time a California school has prohibited non-vaccinated students from classes since the outbreak began. Earlier this month, a school in the Los Angeles suburb of Huntington Beach ordered non-vaccinated children to stay home until this Thursday. And in nearby Arizona, officials in Maricopa County asked non-vaccinated students who were potentially exposed to the disease to stay home. “We are simply responding, being very careful and making sure we’re taking the best care of students and staff,” said Mary Perry, a spokeswoman for the Desert Sands Unified School District, which …

    January 28, 2015 9:36 pm
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Politics

  • Pentagon official urges NATO to focus on innovative weapons


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work on Wednesday urged NATO allies to develop and make more innovative weapons, and said bold action was needed to stay ahead of rapid weapons development by China, Russia and other countries. Work said the Pentagon has a new plan called “Defense Innovation Initiative” and a separate effort targeting longer-term projects to ensure that the United States continues to have a decisive competitive advantage against potential foes. “We must coordinate and collaborate, avoid duplication, leverage niche capabilities, and push our establishments to innovate in technology, concepts, experimentation, and wargaming,” Work told a conference hosted by the Center for a New American Security. NATO members needed to make good their vows last year to spend 2 percent of national output on defense, he said. Work said it was critical to increase collaboration with allies in NATO, Asia and other areas, ranging from mission planning to investments in new …

    January 28, 2015 9:56 pm
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Stocks

  • What did the Northeast snowstorm cost?


      The economic hit taken by the Northeast this week is kind of like the storm itself: not as bad as it could have been. Estimates from experts vary between $500 million and a little over $1 billion. Analyst Evan Gold of Planalytics echoed the sentiment of his peers: it “wasn’t a big deal.” The firm estimated the economy is out $500 million, mostly from lost productivity and economic activity — sales — that will never take place. “If you go out and buy lunch on a Tuesday afternoon, you didn’t do that. When you’re back at work (Wednesday), you won’t buy two lunches,” Gold said. Other estimates were higher. IHS Global Insights estimated a $1 billion hit across the Northeast, including a $265 million loss in Massachusetts, where residents on the Eastern side of the state were digging themselves out of approximately three feet of snow. Moody’s Analytics, which issued a preliminary estimate of …

    January 28, 2015 8:14 pm
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Sports

  • Sixers snap skid with win over Pistons


    Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – Robert Covington made four 3-pointers en route to 19 points for the Philadelphia 76ers, who snapped a six-game losing streak with an 89-69 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. Michael Carter-Williams returned from a one-game absence to finish with 14 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the Sixers, who improved to 4-18 at home this season. JaKarr Sampson added 13 points and eight boards for Philadelphia. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute tallied 12 points and Henry Sims and K.J. McDaniels each scored 10 points. Greg Monroe ended with 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who have lost four in a row. Jodie Meeks had 19 points on 4-of-16 shooting against his former team. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT

    January 28, 2015 9:36 pm
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World News

  • Inquest hears of Sydney siege deaths


    29 January 2015 Last updated at 02:33 Katrina Dawson was having coffee in the cafe with a friend when the gunman entered The start of an inquest into the Sydney cafe siege has heard that hostage Katrina Dawson was killed by fragments from a police bullet or bullets. The inquest heard that another hostage, Tori Johnson, was killed by a bullet to the head from gunman Man Haron Monis. That sparked the police raid on the Lindt Chocolat Cafe last month in which Ms Dawson and Monis died. The inquest is seeking to establish exactly how the three died and whether their deaths could have been avoided. Monis took 18 people hostage at the cafe in Martin Place in central Sydney on 16 December, holding them for more than 17 hours. It led to a shutdown of a large part of the city centre and the biggest anti-terrorism operation in Australia’s history. Man Haron Monis …

    January 28, 2015 9:36 pm
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Technology

  • Samsung’s smartphone woes continue with Q4 profit drop


    Samsung’s new devices, including the Galaxy Note Edge, haven’t helped it bounce back yet. Sarah Tew/CNET It’s tough to be Samsung right now. The South Korean electronics giant on Wednesday reported a 36 percent drop in companywide operating profit from a year earlier, to 5.3 trillion won ($4.9 billion). The fifth consecutive quarterly decline in operating profit year-over-year underscores the continued pressures facing the smartphone king. Samsung has been struggling to compete against Apple in the high-end phone market and against newcomers such as Xiaomi at the low end. Apple in particular has become a bigger threat with its larger screen devices, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Simply wanting a bigger display is no longer a reason to buy Samsung’s devices, and its smartphones can’t reach the low prices of those from Chinese and Indian vendors. Samsung has been attempting to reinvigorate its mobile business by introducing new phone designs …

    January 28, 2015 9:56 pm
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Science

  • Missing link in metal physics explains Earth’s magnetic field


    Related images(click to enlarge) Earth’s magnetic field is crucial for our existence, as it shields the life on our planet’s surface from deadly cosmic rays. It is generated by turbulent motions of liquid iron in Earth’s core. Iron is a metal, which means it can easily conduct a flow of electrons that makes up an electric current. New findings from a team including Carnegie’s Ronald Cohen and Peng Zhang shows that a missing piece of the traditional theory explaining why metals become less conductive when they are heated was needed to complete the puzzle that explains this field-generating process. Their work is published in Nature. The center of the Earth is very hot, and the flow of heat from the planet’s center towards the surface is thought to drive most of the dynamics of the Earth, ranging from volcanoes to plate tectonics. It has long been thought that heat flow drives what is called thermal …

    January 28, 2015 9:57 pm
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Health

  • UnitedHealth backs Gilead’s Harvoni as preferred hepatitis C treatment


    (Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc, the largest U.S. health insurer, on Wednesday backed Gilead Sciences Inc’s Harvoni as the preferred hepatitis C treatment on its 2015 commercial drug coverage list, another victory for Gilead over competitor AbbVie Inc. Gilead and AbbVie have been battling for hepatitis C market share since the approval in December for an AbbVie drug that challenges Gilead’s blockbusters. Insurers and pharmacy benefit managers have been striking deals for preferred or exclusive status in exchange for discounts for 2015. UnitedHealth’s drug coverage list, which is effective Feb. 1, applies to all of the company’s commercial, fully insured customers who use its Optum RX pharmacy benefit manager and self-insured customers such as large employers who follow the drug list. The update to the formulary, available on the company’s website, also applies to its Medicaid, Medicare and military contracts. “We are constantly working to deliver value and manage costs for customers and consumers throughout …

    January 28, 2015 9:56 pm
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Fortune

Entertainment

  • John Travolta is reportedly being blackmailed by Scientology


    Or so the Church of Scientology would like to believe. More: John Travolta talks Oscars name blunder — “Let it go!” According to the most controversial documentary at Sundance this year, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Beliefs, Travolta was a troubled man when he first came to Scientology in the mid-’70s. As reported by People, former Church of Scientology member, Sylvia “Spanky” Taylor, was assigned as Travolta’s liaison. Taylor speaks out in the documentary about her time with Travolta and her own horrific experiences within the Church of Scientology. According to Taylor, once Travolta began to find success in his career, he was conditioned to believe, “If I leave, it will all go down the tubes.” Though Travolta is now, reportedly, dedicated to Scientology, he had shown signs of doubt in the past, which made Scientology leader, David Miscavige, wary. The documentary alleges that the Church of Scientology has members go through auditing sessions, which …

    January 28, 2015 8:14 pm
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Editorial

  • Memo to 114th Congress: First, repudiate Washington’s ruling class


    FILE — Jan. 6, 2015: Members of the House of Representatives stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at the opening session of the 114th Congress, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Sub-freezing temperatures continue in on Capitol Hill in Washington early Friday morning, Jan. 9, 2015. With the end of the first week of the GOP controlled 114th Congress, House Republicans are on track to easily pass legislation to authorize the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, moving the GOP-led Congress closer to a clash with President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) The majority of newly elected members of Congress are men and women who ran and won in direct opposition to President Obama’s policies. But there is more to their victory than a triumph over liberal policies. The 2014 election also represents a repudiation of an attitude and style of governance that has become entrenched in Washington’s political culture:  an …

    January 28, 2015 9:56 pm
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Odd News

  • Unions turn lights off on French prime minister


    PARIS (Reuters) – An inquiry was under way on Wednesday after French trade unionists turned the lights off on a keynote speech by Prime Minister Manuel Valls in protest at planned energy reforms. Valls was starting a speech to about 700 people in support of his Socialist party’s candidate for a by-election on Tuesday night when the lights went out and his microphone turned silent. The electricity stayed off for about an hour, not just at the venue, but in the whole neighbourhood in Audincourt, eastern France. Valls resumed his speech once the power had come back on. The mines and energy federation of France’s militant CGT union said in a statement it supported the action. “When we are not listened to, we must make our point differently, so we cut the power, voila,” regional CGT head Marc Pautot said on radio France Info. Electricity distribution group ERDF, part of state-controlled utility EDF, said it …

    January 28, 2015 5:53 pm
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