Headline News

  • Crews battling Yosemite wildfire lift evacuation orders for hundreds of homes


    July 29, 2014: A plane drops fire retardant as firefighters battle a blaze in El Portal, Calif., near Yosemite National Park. Firefighters in the state are also battling another wildfire in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento. (AP Photo/Al Golub) SHINGLE SPRINGS, Calif. –  Fire crews gained ground Tuesday on two of the largest wildfires in California, lifting evacuation orders for about half the homes in the path of a blaze in Yosemite National Park and redeploying firefighters battling another fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento. The fire in the foothills, which forced the evacuation of more than 400 homes, was 85 percent contained after burning 6 1/2 square miles. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Crews discovered six more homes destroyed by the fire, bringing the total to 19, state fire Battalion Chief Scott McLean said. The fire, which began Friday, also has claimed 48 outbuildings. Some firefighters were released Monday and more were …

    July 30, 2014 1:14 am
    0 Comments

Politics

  • U.S. lawmaker takes soda tax battle to Capitol Hill


    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Connecticut lawmaker on Wednesday will launch the first national effort in years to tax soda drinks, the latest bid by regulators and politicians to stem rising obesity and diabetes rates by curbing the consumption of sugary drinks. While former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial effort to limit cola size was struck down by a court earlier this year, other cities such as San Francisco have taken up the cause, emboldening critics and causing growing concern among beverage makers. Democratic Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut is under no illusion about the chances that her Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act will become law. She does not even expect the measure to come to a vote. But she wants to bring the debate to Washington for the first time in years, hoping it might help galvanize local efforts to levy taxes on sweetened beverages. “We have a serious health problem. It is …

    July 29, 2014 11:32 pm
    0 Comments

Stocks

  • Chevy Volt is insurance group’s Top Safety Pick


    What’s the safest car on the road? It’s the one that can avoid getting into a crash all together. That’s why General Motors’ (GM) Chevy Volt won top marks for safety in small cars. The Volt was named “Top Safety Pick Plus” Wednesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, because besides earning an “acceptable” rating in an actual crash test, the hybrid electric vehicle also has an optional forward collision warning system. It was the only car out of the 12 models tested to have the crash prevention technology. IIHS submitted twelve small vehicles through a tough crash test called the “small overlap front test.” In the test, 25 percent of the vehicle’s front end on the driver’s side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 miles per hour. It simulates a common head-on collision, when only part of the bumper connects with another car, telephone pole, or tree. Purely measuring crash performance and potential …

    July 30, 2014 12:12 am
    0 Comments

Sports

  • Thai Kiradech eager to be big hit at PGA Championship again


    (Reuters) – Kiradech Aphibarnrat still remembers the cheers each time he reached for his driver at last year’s PGA Championship and the big-hitting Thai has no plans to curb his aggressive style after earning a return invitation for the year’s final major. Aphibarnrat will join Anirban Lahiri of India, compatriot Thongchai Jaidee as well as South Koreans K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang and Noh Seung-yul of Korea in the Asian contingent at the Aug. 7-10 tournament at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky. The burly Thai, the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, finished tied for 25th place last year in his PGA Championship debut. “It was fun. I remember the fans cheering me on at the tee boxes and they liked to see me use my driver,” the 25-year-old told the Asian Tour website (www.asiantour.com). Fans at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York really took to the Thai last year, with some holding …

    July 30, 2014 1:13 am
    0 Comments

World News

  • Khmer Rouge duo begin genocide trial


    30 July 2014 Last updated at 05:14 Former Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan (left) and Nuon Chea are accused of genocide The last two surviving leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime are to begin their second trial in Phnom Penh. Khieu Samphan, the former head of state, and Nuon Chea, Pol Pot’s deputy, are already on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The second trial includes a charge of genocide related to killings of Vietnamese and Cham Muslim minorities. The cases are being tried separately to accelerate proceedings, because the defendants are elderly. A verdict in the first case, meanwhile, is expected on 7 August. Prosecutors are seeking life sentences for the two former leaders. The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia for four years, from 1975 to 1979. Up to two million people are thought to have died of starvation, overwork or by execution under the brutal Maoist regime. Leader Pol Pot died in …

    July 30, 2014 1:13 am
    0 Comments

Technology

  • Adaptive Material Could Cut the Cost of Solar in Half


    Sun tracker: Small lenses focus sunlight onto an adaptive material that helps track the movement of the sun. A material with optical properties that change to help it capture more incoming sunlight could cut the cost of solar power in half, according to Glint Photonics, a startup recently funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). Glint’s adaptive material greatly reduces the cost of a tracking system used in some types of solar power. It changes its reflectivity in response to heat from concentrated sunlight in a way that makes it possible capture light coming in at different angles throughout the day. It’s well known that focusing sunlight makes it possible to use smaller, cheaper solar cells. But this is usually done with lenses or mirrors, which must be moved precisely as the sun advances across the sky to ensure that concentrated sunlight remains focused on the cells. The equipment required for that and …

    July 29, 2014 11:32 pm
    0 Comments

Science

  • Self-assembly and plasmonics could join forces to boost solar energy


    Tiny points of light: self-assembly joins forces with plasmonics Researchers in the US have used a self-assembly method based on viruses and DNA to position almost 200 fluorescent molecules to within a few nanometres of a tiny gold nanoparticle. This accurate positioning of the molecules boosts their fluorescence output and the method could have applications in information processing, sensing and energy technologies. Electrons in a metallic nanoparticle undergo collective oscillations known as a surface plasmon resonance when exposed to certain frequencies of light. The nanoparticle then behaves as a tiny antenna, concentrating light within a few nanometres of the nanoparticle surface. If a fluorescent molecule – or fluorophore – is placed within this region, the amount of light captured by the molecule can be boosted significantly. “This provides a means of creating an intense electromagnetic field near a light-absorbing centre, thus allowing us to greatly increase the capture of light,” explains James De Yoreo of the …

    July 29, 2014 11:52 pm
    0 Comments

Health

  • FDA Oks expanded use of Regeneron’s eye drug


    (Reuters) – Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the expanded use of its eye drug Eylea for the treatment of diabetic macular edema. The condition causes swelling of an oval spot within the retina in the eyes of patients with diabetes, and can lead to severe vision loss or blindness. Eylea is already approved in the United States to treat wet age-related macular edema — the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, and for treatment of macular edema following central retinal vein occlusion. The injectable drug has been steadily grabbing market share from Roche AG’s Lucentis since its launch in late 2011. (Reporting by Shailesh Kuber; Editing by Bernard Orr)

    July 29, 2014 11:32 pm
    0 Comments

Entertainment

  • Auction extended after highest bid for James Franco is only $50


    James Franco leaks Dave Franco and Zac Efron’s coupledom  The actor was to be auctioned off as a date to benefit the Art of Elysium, an organization that “is dedicated to enriching the lives of artists and critically ill children.” The auction promised the highest bidder would be able to “meet James Franco with two VIP tickets to a preview screening of Child of God on July 31st, in NYC.” Although the auction says the value of the prize is $2,500, the clock began counting down with only dollars donated. When the countdown had only a few minutes left, people began bidding furiously — but only a cent at a time. By the time the auction period was over, the bid was barely $50. So, what did the auctioneers do? They kept going. Every time the clock got below 30 seconds, it wound back up. Hours after the auction had promised to end, it continues …

    July 30, 2014 12:12 am
    0 Comments

Editorial

  • False claims may allow illegal immigrants to stay in the US


      Why are tens of thousands of unaccompanied children traveling thousands of miles to the U.S.? Is it to avoid violence? Or is it for a chance to live in a much wealthier country? The answer will likely determine whether they can stay. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Last week, Fox News’ Catherine Herridge cited a government report showing that 219 of 230 illegal immigrants who were interviewed said they came to the U.S. because they thought they could get a free pass to American citizenship.  Another study, by the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security, acknowledged that many “are probably seeking economic opportunities in the U.S.” But it also noted that others “come from extremely violent regions where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to remaining at home.” Those who claim violence is driving children to the U.S. ignore that the violence isn’t new. . . Yet, despite the reverence the …

    July 29, 2014 11:32 pm
    0 Comments

Odd News

  • Sniffer dog warning sends Australian jet passengers on a rush to flush


    SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian budget airline Jetstar apologized on Wednesday after a crew member told passengers on a flight from the Gold Coast tourist strip, including some returning from a popular music festival, to flush away “anything you shouldn’t have”. The warning from the flight attendant that sniffer dogs and quarantine officers were on standby in Sydney prompted a rush to the plane’s toilets, News Ltd reported. Jetstar, owned by Qantas Airways Ltd, said it discussed the matter with the crew member involved, who made the announcement over the plane’s PA system. The airline said the flight attendant had taken a routine announcement about Australia’s strict quarantine regulations, which prevent some plant and fruit materials being transported between states, too far. “Our procedures allow cabin crew to deliver the quarantine message through a public announcement and on this occasion the crew member elected to do so,” Jetstar said. “The crew member’s words were poorly chosen …

    July 29, 2014 11:52 pm
    0 Comments