• Syrian forces close in on rebel town

    Syrian forces close in on rebel town

    The Syrian government says the rebels suffered heavy casualties Syrian forces with their Lebanese Hezbollah allies are carrying out a major offensive against rebels holding the strategically important town of Zabadani, state TV says. Zabadani,...
  • Boom to start Tour despite low cortisol levels

    UTRECHT, Netherlands Dutchman Lars Boom will start Saturday’s first stage of the Tour de France despite showing low levels of cortisol in a test on the eve of the race, his Astana team manager said....
  • The Hulk Hogan versus Gawker sex tape trial delayed

    The Hulk Hogan versus Gawker sex tape trial delayed

    The much-anticipated legal showdown between Hulk Hogan and Gawker will have to wait. Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that the trial centered around Gawker Media’s publication of a sex tape featuring Hogan...
  • Varoufakis attacks Greece creditors

    Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has accused Athens’ creditors of “terrorism”, the day before a referendum on an international bailout. Speaking to Spain’s El Mundo newspaper, he said the country’s lenders wanted to “instil fear...
  • Pedal power rules the roads in Utrecht

    UTRECHT, Netherlands Rush hour has a distinctive soundtrack in Utrecht. Not the cacophony of growling engines and tooting car horns common in most sizeable European cities, instead the ting-ting of hundreds of bells and the...
  • US TV show car to lose rebel flag

    US TV show car to lose rebel flag

    The 1969 Dodge Charger, nicknamed the General Lee, appeared in the US TV show The Dukes of Hazzard US golfer Bubba Watson is to paint over the Confederate flag on the car from the Dukes...

Headline News

  • U.S. marks July Fourth amid worries over security, sharks, wildfires


    NEW YORK Millions of Americans readied on Saturday for Independence Day parades and firework shows amid worries over possible security threats, a spike in shark attacks on East Coast beaches and the danger of wildfires in the West. The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have issued an alert asking local authorities and the public to remain vigilant for possible threats following recent calls for violence by Islamic State leaders. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered increased monitoring statewide for the holiday weekend under the direction of the New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. In New York City, the nation’s biggest police force assigned about 7,000 officers and nearly all its counterterrorism personnel to handle security around Independence Day events. “We’re constantly seeking to be creative, to be proactive and not just be preparing to respond if something happens,” New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said this week. “The …

    July 4, 2015 6:44 am
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Politics

  • In Supreme Court term, Obama wins big and loses small


    WASHINGTON President Barack Obama’s administration was unexpectedly on the winning side in nearly all the close, politically significant Supreme Court cases decided in the term that ended this week, including blockbuster rulings on Obamacare and gay marriage. The run of victories ran counter to the administration’s recent mixed record. It lost major cases at the hands of the conservative-leaning court in the two previous terms. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, the Democratic administration’s top Supreme Court advocate, and his team of Justice Department lawyers successfully defended Obama’s signature healthcare law from a conservative legal challenge and argued on the winning side of the court’s ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide. They also successfully represented a Muslim woman who said she was denied a clothing retail sales job on religious grounds, and prevailed in a potentially fraught foreign policy question concerning the status of Jerusalem. The Obama administration had 28 wins and 20 losses out of 66 cases …

    July 4, 2015 1:24 am
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Stocks

  • The Hulk Hogan versus Gawker sex tape trial delayed


    The much-anticipated legal showdown between Hulk Hogan and Gawker will have to wait. Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that the trial centered around Gawker Media’s publication of a sex tape featuring Hogan will not begin on July 6 because of a legal technicality. The judge had not allowed sufficient time between the last motion filed and the start of the trial. In the opinion filed Thursday, the appeal court wrote that Florida law “prescribes a minimum interval of fifty days between service of the last pleading and commencement of trial.” By the time the trial date was set on June 19, “the window for doing so had been closed for weeks,” according to the court. A new start date has not been set. Gawker Media had asked for the delay. Heather Dietrick, the company’s president and general counsel, said in a statement that the postponement of the trial “provides us the important …

    July 4, 2015 6:43 am
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Sports

  • Boom to start Tour despite low cortisol levels


    UTRECHT, Netherlands Dutchman Lars Boom will start Saturday’s first stage of the Tour de France despite showing low levels of cortisol in a test on the eve of the race, his Astana team manager said. Low levels of the hormone can be explained by the use of corticoids, anti-inflammatory drugs that are allowed out of competition but forbidden while racing unless a rider is granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). “Boom will take the start,” Alexander Vinokourov told reporters. Astana, the team of defending Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali, are members of the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) that applies stricter rules than the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Under MPCC rules, Boom should be rested for eight days, meaning he should not start Saturday’s 13.8-km time trial. UCI rules, however, do not forbid Boom from racing. Astana’s bid to replace Boom with Italian Alessandro Vanotti was denied by the UCI, …

    July 4, 2015 6:44 am
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World News

  • Syrian forces close in on rebel town


    The Syrian government says the rebels suffered heavy casualties Syrian forces with their Lebanese Hezbollah allies are carrying out a major offensive against rebels holding the strategically important town of Zabadani, state TV says. Zabadani, north-west of the capital, Damascus, is the last significant town held by Sunni Muslim rebels in an area close to the Lebanese border. Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV showed large clouds of smoke from explosions caused by artillery and air strikes. Reports say civilians have fled. The rebels remaining in the town are thought to have been reinforced by hundreds of fighters who fled hills on the nearby Lebanese border. They were ejected from the hills by Hezbollah, a Shia Muslim force. Attempts to negotiate a peaceful outcome to the conflict in Zabadani failed, al-Manar reported. The battle for the town had been looming for some days, the BBC’s Jim Muir reports from Lebanon. Zabadani is strategically placed near the main highway …

    July 4, 2015 6:44 am
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Technology

  • Minecon 2015 day one


    “It’s all my friends. People on the street might not know who they are, but if you ask a fan of YouTube or Minecraft, these are superstars!” says Garrett, who says he relishes the fact that this group of creators have managed to become big stars for their viewers while remaining under the radar in the wider media world. “It’s fun being in that position of not being completely mainstream. I can come up with an idea for a video, and I don’t need to pitch it to anyone or get approval. If I’m tweeting or replying to someone, it’s me: there’s no PR company talking about what I should say,” says Garrett. “Mainstream approval is something I’m not interested in.”

    July 4, 2015 5:22 am
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Science

  • A tale of 2 (soil) cities


    Related images(click to enlarge) As we walk along a forest path, the soil beneath our feet seems like a uniform substance. However, it is an intricate network of soil particles, pores, minerals, soil microbes, and more. It is awash in variety. Soil is a living, dynamic substance, and the microbial life within it is crucial to providing plant life with the food they need to grow. The microbes can be bacteria or fungi, but both need space–the pores–for a good living environment. Soil particles that clump together are aggregates. These are the architectural building blocks of soil. Their presence has a major effect on the behavior of the soil as a community. Multiple processes form the aggregates: cycles of wetting-drying, thawing-freezing, earthworm activity, actions by fungi, and interaction with plant roots. No matter what formed the aggregates, the pores are affected. So are the microbes living in them. Sasha Kravchenko, a soil scientist and professor …

    July 4, 2015 5:24 am
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Health

  • Screening teens for obesity may not help them lose weight


    (Reuters Health) – Weight screenings in high school were not enough to get overweight and obese kids on track toward a healthier weight, a recent U.S. study found. With obesity rates soaring among Arkansas teenagers, the state implemented a screening program in schools in 2003, with alerts sent to parents of kids with weight problems. But kids screened by the program in early high school and again in their junior and senior years did not seem to benefit compared to kids exempt from screening, the study found. While the screening and reporting measures in Arkansas have been both popular and controversial, there is no evidence to support their use, said study author Kevin Gee of the University of California, Davis School of Education, in email to Reuters Health. Rates of teenage obesity have more than quadrupled in the last 30 years and now more than one in five teens is obese, according to the U.S. …

    July 4, 2015 5:43 am
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Entertainment

  • Bethenny Frankel’s crazy yoga pose has fans freaking out (PHOTO)


    More: Bethenny Frankel blames Andy Cohen for her failed marriage — but why? On Thursday evening, Frankel took to Instagram to share a picture of herself in a tiny pink bikini as she partook in some Jeep gymnastics. “How’s my ride? #ridindirty,” she captioned the pic. But fans have a lot more to say about her yoga skills than her cool car. How’s my ride? #ridindirty A photo posted by Bethenny Frankel (@bethennyfrankel) on Jul 2, 2015 at 11:17am PDT More: RHONY‘s Kristen Taekman on her feelings about the Bethenny Frankel drama One fan wrote, “That looks scary to get into that position! [heart] my tricked out Jeep too!” Others are just confused over how Frankel even got up there, with comments including, “That’s great but how did you get up…” and “How do u get out of that position?” One commenter simply wrote, “Ouch!” There are even those who now have a total girl …

    July 4, 2015 5:03 am
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Editorial

  • A nation of underdogs: The will to win and overcome is in America’s DNA


    The will to overcome adversity is an American tradition. For more than 200 years, the notion that anything is possible, by anyone, has emboldened people at every strata of society to pursue a dream and fight for what they believe in. From equal rights activists to entrepreneurs, our nation’s history is rife with stories of people who believed the impossible was possible. Indeed, a notion that an underdog can win—whatever his definition of winning may be—is part of our country’s DNA. It’s a truism I know firsthand. While America’s challenges are very real, and the mountains we all have to climb are in many ways taller and steeper, I refuse to tolerate cynics who declare the American Dream is dead or inaccessible. To them I say there’s has never been a more important time to dream, or a more opportune time to make dreams come true. I grew up in the working class neighborhoods of …

    July 4, 2015 5:43 am
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Odd News

  • Mexican firm sorry for royally selling president short


    MEXICO CITY It could have been the height of diplomatic embarrassment for Mexico’s president. When Enrique Pena Nieto hosted towering King Felipe of Spain this week, it was a tongue-in-cheek paint ad ridiculing his 10- inch height deficit that grabbed the headlines. On Wednesday, Mexican paint company Comex posted on Twitter a digitally-altered photograph of the president standing on one of its paint pots, giving him a leg up over the monarch under the banner “una pintura de altura,” or “a paint of stature.” Comex apologized on Thursday for the photograph, deleting the post after it had been heavily retweeted. It said the Tweet was published “without the appropriate approvals”. (Reporting by Max de Haldevang; Editing by Dave Graham and Simon Gardner)

    July 2, 2015 8:54 pm
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