Headline News

  • U.S. runs new rule over catfish suppliers, giving Vietnam time to comply

    WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued new rules for catfish suppliers on Wednesday, requiring on-site inspections of farms and processing plants for both domestic and foreign producers, mostly from Vietnam, to ensure they meet the same standards. The long-awaited change puts in place rules similar to decades-old safety requirements for beef, pork and poultry, and shifts responsibility for the inspections to the USDA from the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates all other seafood imports. The rule is expected to become effective in March 2016, and will be phased in over 18 months, giving foreign suppliers time to make changes needed to comply with the USDA’s requirements. U.S. catfish farmers, concentrated in Mississippi and Alabama, have been battered in recent years by fast-growing imports of Vietnamese pangasius catfish, now the sixth most popular seafood in the United States. The U.S. producers had accused the FDA of failing to halt imports of pangasius containing banned …

    November 26, 2015 12:54 pm


  • Obama signs U.S. defense bill into law: White House

    WASHINGTON President Barack Obama signed a sweeping defense policy bill into law on Wednesday, legislation that authorizes $607 billion in defense spending but also includes provisions that make it harder to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The White House had made it clear earlier this month that Obama would sign the bill despite the Guantanamo provisions. Obama has long promised to close the prison, but has faced objections from lawmakers who do not want detainees to be transferred to U.S. prisons. “As I have said before, the continued operation of this facility weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, and emboldening violent extremists. It is imperative that we take responsible steps to reduce the population at this facility to the greatest extent possible and close the facility,” Obama said in a separate White House statement. He noted that the detainee population at Guantanamo had …

    November 26, 2015 10:12 am


  • LA Times buyout offer triggers massive exodus

    More than 80 reporters and editors of the Los Angeles Times have accepted buyouts and will leave this week, according to a source close to the paper. The departures are certain to rock the newspaper already roiled by high level dismissals and conflict with the Times’ parent company, Tribune Publishing (TPUB). The roll call of staffers leaving the paper will — like cuts have at so many struggling newspapers — leave gaps in coverage of significant beats. Nearly every department got hit with departures, including metro, national and international desks, as well as sports, obits, food, education, business beats and the editorial page. Bureaus from Seattle to London lost staff. Related: Los Angeles Times newsroom cuts Among those departing are Sandy Banks, a noted columnist who has spent more than three decades at the Times and is considered to be the voice of the south LA community. “For me, it’s a chance to take a …

    November 26, 2015 12:53 pm


  • Toss to be scrapped in county cricket

    The mandatory coin toss is to be scrapped in the County Championship next season, the England and Wales Cricket Board has confirmed. The change is effective in both divisions and aims to encourage better pitches for four-day cricket. An ECB statement read: “The visiting captain will be offered the opportunity of bowling first. “If he declines, the toss will take place as normal. But if he accepts, there will be no toss.” More to follow.

    November 26, 2015 12:54 pm

World News

  • Saudi Arabia ‘planning mass executions’

    Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Ali al-Nimr – whose case sparked a global outcry – is reportedly among those at risk of execution Amnesty International has expressed alarm at reports that the authorities in Saudi Arabia are planning to execute dozens of people in a single day. The newspaper Okaz said 55 people were awaiting execution for “terrorist crimes”, while a now-deleted report by al-Riyadh said 52 would die soon. They are thought to include Shia who took part in anti-government protests. Amnesty said that given the spike in executions this year, it had no option but to take the reports very seriously. The group believes at least 151 people have been put to death in Saudi Arabia so far this year – the highest recorded figure since 1995. In 2014, the total number of executions carried out was reported to be 90. ‘Unfair trials’ The Saudi newspaper reports said those facing execution in …

    November 26, 2015 12:53 pm


  • US testing an ‘air traffic control system’ for drones

    The Guardian has gained access to the first tests of an experimental air traffic control system for drones that could open the skies to millions of low-flying unmanned aircraft. On an isolated cattle ranch in rural North Carolina – and under the watchful eye of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – drone startup PrecisionHawk is putting experimental drones in the air alongside paragliders. This is the first time that human pilots have officially shared US airspace with commercial drones. Related: Drone regulation is coming in time for Christmas, says FAA taskforce member “Building technology that enables drones to fly reliably and to stay away from airports and other flying objects is stupidly difficult,” says Bob Young, CEO of PrecisionHawk. “But safety is critically important. Without safety, you don’t fly, period.” If only that were true. The FAA is panicking, just a little bit, about the rapid increase in the number and capability of drones now …

    November 26, 2015 10:32 am


  • Progesterone supplements do not improve outcomes for recurrent miscarriages

    New research from the University of Birmingham has shown that progesterone supplements in the first trimester of pregnancy do not improve outcomes in women with a history of unexplained recurrent miscarriages. The findings, published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, mark the end of a five year trial and provide a definitive answer to 60 years of uncertainty on the use of progesterone treatment for women with unexplained recurrent losses. The study of 826 women with previously unexplained recurrent miscarriage showed that those who received progesterone treatment in early pregnancy were no less likely to miscarry than those who received a placebo. This was true whatever their age, ethnicity, medical history and pregnancy history. Nearly two thirds of the women in the trial had their baby, whether they had progesterone or the placebo. The live birth rate was 65.8% in the treatment group, and 63.3% in the placebo group. Though the results of …

    November 26, 2015 1:13 pm


  • WHO records highest-ever number of new HIV cases in its European Region

    STOCKHOLM The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that in 2014 it had recorded the highest number of new HIV cases in its European Region, which also includes Central Asia, since the start of reporting in the 1980s. WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a statement that more than 142,000 people in WHO’s European Region were diagnosed with HIV last year with the increase coming from its eastern sector which comprises 15 countries including Russia, Ukraine and Central Asia. The statement followed publication on Tuesday of findings by the United Nations AIDS program which showed that new HIV infections overall had fallen by 35 percent since the peak of the three-decade-old pandemic in 2000. “Heterosexual transmission is responsible for the increase in eastern Europe, and transmission through drug injection remains substantial,” the joint statement by the WHO and ECDC said. ECDC spokeswoman Caroline Daamen said “eastern Europe” …

    November 26, 2015 9:52 am


  • ‘The Bold And The Beautiful’ Spoilers: Fire Breaks Out At Forrester Creations, Thomas Makes Confession

    New spoilers for “The Bold and the Beautiful” have been released for the week of Nov. 30 that will literally stir up some heat. While a preview video shows more conversation than action taking place, another “BB” spoiler reveals that a fire will spark at Forrester Creations due to an electrical glitch. This is the perfect formula for some juicy, hot storylines. We know Thomas already saved Ivy once when a light almost fell on her at a Halloween party, will he do it again when the design house catches on fire? According to Celebrity Dirty Laundry, the future holds some action scenes for viewers of “The Bold and the Beautiful” to behold. Ivy is always the damsel in distress on the show. Will she find herself trapped and unable to get out without being rescued? If that happens, you can be it’ll be Thomas instead of Wyatt being there to help her. Thomas is …

    November 26, 2015 12:53 pm


  • Grateful for the risks my Grandpa Alex took and the gift he gave me (by jumping from a ship)

    Two pictures sit side by side on a wall in my study at the synagogue. One is a painting of the ship the Vaterland. The others is a photograph of the ship the Leviathan. The Vaterland was the ship my grandfather took from Europe in the early 1900s. According to family lore, my grandfather, searching for the freedom and opportunity afforded by the United States, jumped from the Vaterland while it was docked in New York Harbor. The Leviathan was a troop ship that brought US soldiers to Europe to fight in World War One. The Vaterland and the Leviathan were the same ship. Yes, the ship that brought my grandfather to America was seized by the US government and used as part of the fight to restore world order during WWI. I look at the painting my grandfather did of the Vaterland in 1923 and I am reminded of the sacrifices he made so …

    November 26, 2015 12:33 pm

Odd News

  • Mao’s Little Red Book makes surprise appearance in UK parliament chamber

    LONDON Chairman Mao’s “Little Red Book” made a surprise appearance in Britain’s parliament on Wednesday when the opposition Labour Party finance spokesman brandished a copy as he mocked the government’s reliance on Chinese investment. A debate on Britain’s economy and the Conservative government’s plan for the next five years broke down into howls of laughter when John McDonnell, Labour’s finance spokesman, read out some “advice” from the book, a pocket-sized collection of Mao Zedong’s quotations first published in the 1960s. McDonnell criticized finance minister George Osborne for allowing what he called the nationalization of British industry by other states such as China and offered “to assist comrade Osborne in his dealings with new found comrades”. “I think you will find this invaluable … Let’s quote from Mao, rarely done in this chamber,” McDonnell said laughing as he read out a quote urging people not to pretend “to know what we do not know” – a …

    November 26, 2015 5:31 am