Headline News

  • Who is shooting at whom in Syria?

    The US is still seeking a long-term strategy in the fight against IS As journalists quizzed US state department spokesman John Kirby earlier this week about the fight against the so-called Islamic State, one simply asked, “Who is shooting at whom?” It is actually a good question and a major problem as the United States tries to convert significant tactical effort on multiple fronts into a workable long-term strategy. As we approach the one year anniversary of the US-led international effort to “degrade and ultimately destroy” IS, just how effective the coalition has been remains unclear. Former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin, during the recent Aspen Security Forum, compared the current situation in the Middle East to Europe’s Thirty Years War, a series of conflicts that devolved into a broader, devastating war that greatly altered the structure of Europe. There are major conflicts going on in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, said McLaughlin, involving Sunni, …

    July 28, 2015 7:20 pm


  • Trump adviser apologizes for ‘inarticulate’ comments on marital rape

    WASHINGTON A top adviser to Donald Trump apologized on Tuesday for making “inarticulate” comments on the subject of marital rape that have ignited the latest in a series of political controversies involving the Republican presidential candidate. The comments by Michael Cohen, special counsel to the Trump Organization, were included in a Daily Beast report that said Trump’s ex-wife Ivana once used the word “rape” to describe a 1989 encounter with him. Cohen responded to the report by saying “by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse,” the Daily Beast said. Marital rape is illegal in every U.S. state. Cohen also threatened legal action against the news outlet, saying “I will take you for every penny you still don’t have.” On Tuesday, Cohen said in a statement he was incensed by the story and made comments he did not believe. “As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing …

    July 28, 2015 3:39 pm


  • Health care spending expected to grow faster

    After years of historically slow growth, health care spending is once again on the rise — and it’s expected to continue to accelerate over the next decade. Thanks in large part to the expansion of coverage under Obamacare, health care spending in the U.S. is projected to have hit $3.1 trillion, or $9,695 per person, last year. That’s an increase of 5.5%, according to federal estimates released Tuesday. It’s the first time the rate would exceed 5% since 2007. Some 8.4 million Americans are thought to have obtained insurance through the Obamacare exchanges and from the expansion of Medicaid. Also, prescription drug spending surged to 12.6% last year, its highest rate of growth since 2002. The government cited the debut of high-cost prescription drugs for hepatitis C, such as Sovaldi, as the primary reason behind that jump. This year, spending growth is expected to slow slightly to 5.3% as these trends moderate. But it will …

    July 28, 2015 6:39 pm


  • Brady’s future actions could lead to Patriots limbo

    This isn’t over. Not by a long shot. Roger Goodell’s decision to uphold Tom Brady’s four-game suspension is not likely the end of the deflated footballs saga. Brady appears headed to court seeking to overturn the suspension, and at the same time would place his New England Patriots in a damaging quarterback limbo. Brady wants his name cleared, particularly after the damaging information released Tuesday in Goodell’s decision on Brady’s appeal, so he and the players’ union will seek an injunction stopping the suspension until the case is heard and ruled upon, whenever that might be. Suppose Brady loses in court, too. In late November or early December. New England could be without its four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the stretch drive, when it is trying to make the playoffs – usually a foregone conclusion for the Patriots. Cynics will point out that Brady and the Patriots got to a Super Bowl, which they won, …

    July 28, 2015 7:20 pm

World News

  • The last Catholic priest in Antarctica

    Father Dan Doyle said he was “just an ordinary fellow” when he took up the job to serve the Chapel of the Snows Every southern summer for the past 57 years, Catholic priests from New Zealand have packed their warmest clothes and travelled some 4,000km (2,500 miles) south, to the frozen wastelands of the Antarctic. New Zealand’s Catholic Church has had an annual invitation from the US National Science Foundation to spend their summer months at the Chapel of the Snows at the remote US McMurdo Station on Ross Island, serving the spiritual needs of the scientists and researchers based there. But a combination of cost-cutting and a fall in demand means that, this year, the Americans have decided the last Kiwi priest has said Mass on the ice. “We’re really sad,” says one of those priests, Father Dan Doyle, from his home in Christchurch. “After 60 years of ministry at the end of the …

    July 28, 2015 7:20 pm


  • Heavy-metal band captchas will rock your face off

    Are you tough enough to handle Metal Captcha? Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET Everybody hates captchas. They’re weird little security devices that frustrate innocent Web surfers who spend precious minutes trying to unscramble garbled text and numbers just to be able to submit a form and confirm their identity as actual human beings. Not all captchas have to be annoying little monsters. They can be entertaining. All you need is the Metal Captcha service from HeavyGifts, a self-described “metal and rock fanatic creative design factory.” Real people will love it while bots will be turned away. The heavy-metal version of a captcha is sometimes even more challenging than a regular one. Metal-band logos are notoriously cryptic, the fonts are jagged and ragged and sometimes you just get a symbol. It will take a pretty knowledgeable metalhead to successfully conquer all of the Metal Captcha offerings. I’ve been sitting here running captchas for several minutes and I’m …

    July 28, 2015 3:59 pm


  • Catholic Spies in the New World? Relics Pose New Puzzle About Early American Colony

    In the ground beneath the first Protestant church built in English America, in a settlement partly founded to secure the New World for a new religion in the early 1600s, archaeologists have unearthed a relic that seems to belong to the wrong house of worship. Jamestown, Virginia, begun in bitter rivalry with Catholicism, has yielded a body entombed with ritual symbols that, in the Old World at that time, were common to Catholic burials. “There could have been a group of secret Catholics at Jamestown,” says James Horn, president of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation, the group supervising the dig. “They may have been spies for the King of Spain, who wanted the New World for the Pope. Or was this a holdover Catholic item that was being repurposed for the new Church of England religion? These are tantalizing possibilities.” On Tuesday, researchers announced the find, part of four graves uncovered at the site. The four …

    July 28, 2015 6:59 pm


  • Iowa extends bird flu disaster proclamation through August

    Iowa Governor Terry Branstad on Tuesday extended the state’s bird flu disaster proclamation by a month until Aug. 30, keeping in place a raft of state resources for poultry farms recovering from an outbreak of the disease, country’s worst-ever. Without the extension, the disaster proclamation would have expired on July 31 even though a cleanup had not yet been completed, the governor’s office said in a release. More than 48 million birds, mostly chickens and turkeys, have died from highly pathogenic avian influenza or been culled to control its spread since late last year. Iowa, the country’s top egg-producing state, was the hardest hit with more than 31.7 million birds killed, although the outbreak has stalled with the warmer summer weather. The state has not had a confirmed case since mid-June. The State of Disaster Emergency proclamation authorizes the deployment of state resources to deal with the outbreak, including setting up quarantine zones, culling birds …

    July 28, 2015 7:19 pm

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  • Tom Cruise Totally Kills It In Lip Sync Battle With Jimmy Fallon

    Posted on Tue Jul 28th, 2015 8:40am PDT       By X17 Staff He should show this side of himself more often! Tom Cruise appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon yesterday and totally murdered a lip sync battle with the late night host! The A-list actor kicked off the competition with The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” and treated the audience to some sweet dance moves while standing at the mic. Not to be upstaged, Fallon did his best Mick Jagger to the Rolling Stone classic “Undercover of the Night.” The pair then teamed up for the grand finale of a rendition of “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” by the Righteous Brothers! You have to watch the full clip!   Stories from around the Web

    July 28, 2015 6:39 pm


  • The GOP’s judicial logjam

    As the hot Washington summer approaches August, the Senate’s Republican majority is already on vacation from the work of confirming judges. At the current torpid pace, they will put the lowest number of judges on the federal bench in any year since 1969. Do you think this crashed system for filling the federal bench has anything to do with the GOP Senate majority’s distaste for the liberal in the White House — even if he was chosen by the American people twice as their president and given the constitutional authority to nominate judges? Yes, this involves a heavy dose of simple obstruction by the GOP. Keep in mind that if it were not for Republican judges blocking President Obama’s executive order on immigration, the GOP would have already lost that fight. So in a politically polarized nation, Republicans have reason to keep an eye on the partisan make-up of the courts. That is just one …

    July 28, 2015 6:19 pm

Odd News

  • Fugitive-turned-actor arrested after U.S. Marshals read film write-up

    SEATTLE A fugitive bank-robber-turned-actor has been arrested in Washington state after U.S. agents spotted his picture in a newspaper article about a low-budget horror film in which he plays an evil doctor, an official said on Monday. Officers on a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force saw Jason Stange’s picture in the Olympian newspaper’s feature last week on horror movie “Marla Mae,” said Jack Williams, chief deputy for the agency’s western district of Washington state. The officers, who had been tracking his disappearance for several months, identified him by the photo and a unique forearm tattoo, Williams said. Marshals tracked him from a filming location to a store in Olympia, where he was arrested without incident on Friday, he said. Stange was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison and five years supervised release in 2006 after pleading guilty to armed bank robbery, Williams said. He was freed on supervised release in 2014, but had …

    July 27, 2015 7:10 pm