Headline News

  • Verizon workers in U.S. East could strike on Sunday: media

    Thousands of Verizon Communications Inc workers on the U.S. East Coast were poised to strike on Sunday after the company failed to reach agreement with unions as contract negotiations went to the wire, U.S. media reported on Saturday. The largest U.S. wireless service provider said on Friday there was little progress in negotiations ahead of Saturday’s expiry of contracts covering almost 40,000 wireline service workers in nine eastern states and Washington, D.C. The negotiations are continuing, Verizon spokesman Richard Young said on Saturday, according to Bloomberg. Employees of the wireline business represented by trade unions Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) last week voted to go on strike, if needed. Verizon said on Friday it is ready in the event of a work stoppage. The company’s wireline business includes FiOS Internet, telephone and TV services. Verizon’s plans to cut costs by controlling healthcare and pension-related benefits over a three-year …

    August 1, 2015 10:43 pm


  • Biden, aides talking with supporters about possible presidential run: NYT

    WASHINGTON Vice President Joe Biden, inspired in part by his late son, has been holding meetings at his Washington home to discuss challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, the New York Times reported on Saturday. Biden has said publicly he would make a decision at the end of the summer but the Times said the vice president and his associates were actively exploring getting in the race. The Times, citing several people who have spoken with him and his advisers, said the Biden camp was contacting Democratic leaders and donors who have not firmly committed to Clinton, the clear leader among the five Democrats who have entered the race, or might be concerned about her prospects. Times columnist Maureen Dowd also said Biden, 72, has been “having meetings at his Washington residence to explore the idea of taking on Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire.” The paper said Steve Ricchetti, Biden’s chief of …

    August 1, 2015 8:02 pm


  • Lufthansa crash families outraged by compensation offer

    Mourners gathered in March to remember the victims of the Germanwings plane crash. Many of the victims were high school kids. Relatives of people who died when a Lufthansa plane crashed in March have expressed their outrage at the airline’s offer of compensation. Germanwings Flight 9525 was flown into a mountainside in France by its pilot, killing all 150 people on board. Some relatives may receive as little as 95,000 euros ($104,000) per victim in compensation, while others could receive millions, according to lawyers representing the families. Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, said it was still negotiating with the victims’ families but confirmed some may receive that minimum payout. The airline paid an initial sum of 50,000 euros per victim to help with immediate costs, and is offering at least 45,000 euros on top to families of the 72 German victims. So far, none has accepted Lufthansa’s offer, and the discussions could drag on for months. …

    August 1, 2015 10:23 pm


  • Reds beat Cole for 3rd time this season, top Pirates 4-3

    CINCINNATI (AP) Eugenio Suarez had a sacrifice fly and an RBI double off 14-game winner Gerrit Cole, and the Cincinnati Reds extended their home-field success over the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 4-3 victory on Saturday night. The Reds have won five of six against their Ohio River rival at Great American Ball Park this season. They are 9-3 against Pittsburgh overall. Cole (14-5) leads the majors in wins, but three of his five losses have come against the Reds, a team he has never beaten. Jay Bruce added a run-scoring double as Cole fell to 0-4 in six career starts against the Reds. Suarez got his third RBI of the night with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning off newcomer Joe Blanton for a 4-2 lead. Raisel Iglesias (2-3) gave up four hits, including Jung Ho Kang’s homer, in 6 2-3 innings to get his first victory since May 13. Iglesias is part of …

    August 1, 2015 10:43 pm

World News

  • How many people have gone to Syria to fight?

    It’s been reported that thousands of foreign fighters have made their way to the Middle East to join Islamist militant groups – so-called Islamic State, and others. But how reliable are the figures and how many of the people who went are still there now? The decision to go to war in a country far from home is not a new phenomenon – in the 1930s about 30,000 foreigners fought in the Spanish Civil War, and the early 19th Century the British poet, Lord Byron, fought for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire. In recent times many went to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen or Somalia. But the numbers travelling to Syria now represent “the largest foreign fighter mobilisation of Islamist foreign fighters in history” says Thomas Hegghammer, a director of terrorism research at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. There are several reasons for this, he suggests. Syria is easier to get to than previous conflicts …

    August 1, 2015 10:43 pm


  • Gadget Ogling: Useful Smartwatches, Orbital Cameras, and an Un-Procrastinator

    Bonjour and bienvenue to another edition of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that searches for the best of the week’s gadget announcements while most certainly not skipping out on language classes. On our á la carte menu this week are a smartwatch for the blind, a virtual reality camera, a button to cancel distractions on your computer, and a pet-monitoring camera that dispenses treats. Regular readers will know that these are not reviews. Nor should the ratings be read as anything other than an indicator of how much I’d like to actually test each — perhaps as yet another distraction from my French lessons. Raising Points Dot (pictured above) is a smartwatch that may have life-changing implications. Rather than trying to convey information through tiny text on a small screen, Dot intends to provide visually impaired wearers with notifications through Braille. Four sets of the six dots that signify characters in the Braille system …

    August 1, 2015 8:22 pm


  • New therapy delivers long-term relief for chronic back, leg pain, study finds

    Chronic back and leg pain sufferers in search of better pain relief options may have a new choice. According to a study published in the Online First edition of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists® (ASA®), patients who received a novel high frequency form of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) therapy experienced significantly greater, long-term relief for both chronic back and leg pain, when compared to a traditional low frequency form of SCS therapy. “This is the first long-term study to compare the safety and effectiveness of high frequency and traditional SCS therapy for back and leg pain,” said Leonardo Kapural, M.D., lead study author and professor of anesthesiology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and clinical director at Carolinas Pain Institute at Brookstown in Winston-Salem, N.C. “Chronic back and leg pain have long been considered difficult to treat and current pain relief options such as opioids have limited effectiveness …

    August 1, 2015 7:23 pm


  • Four dead, 65 sick in New York City Legionnaires’ disease outbreak

    NEW YORK A deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, a severe type of pneumonia, has now killed four people and sickened 65 in the Bronx section of New York City since July 10, New York City health officials said on Saturday. This wave of Legionnaires’, which officials have called unusual, is now more than five times the number of cases recorded in the last outbreak, in which 12 people in the Bronx fell ill in December 2014. The disease is caused by Legionella, a bacteria found in certain plumbing systems, including hot tubs, humidifiers, cooling towers and hot water tanks. It is spread by breathing in mist from water, and cannot be spread from person to person. The illness is most common in the summer and early fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include fever, cough, headaches and muscle aches. In response to the outbreak, the city’s health department has inspected …

    August 1, 2015 7:43 pm


  • Justin Bieber Ducks For Cover After A Messy Lunch Meeting

    Posted on Sat Aug 1st, 2015 9:15am PDT       By X17 Staff Pulling a Leonardo DiCaprio, are we? And are those stains on his white tee? Someone get this boy a Tide pen! On Friday Justin Bieber went to a lunch meeting in Beverly Hills, and though he wasn’t in the mood to be photographed, we still got a peek at his tatted guns. Loves it! Earlier this week the pop star announced that his new single, “What Do You Mean,” would be released later this month, and he explained the meaning behind it to pal Ryan Seacrest. “Well, girls are often just flip-floppy,” Justin said. “They say something and they mean something else. So … what do you mean? I don’t really know, that’s why I’m asking.” “I’ve been working a lot in the studio, just trying to have a consistent sound, a cohesive sound,” the pop superstar continued. “I get in my head a lot …

    August 1, 2015 9:02 pm


  • Did the atomic bomb save my father’s life?

    The upcoming 70th anniversary of V-J Day, August 14, brings to mind the challenge my father, Lt. Col. Wilber E. Bradt, faced in the days preceding that date in 1945. He was the acting commander — and later the commander — of the 172nd Infantry Regiment, a Vermont National Guard unit. The unit had just finished five months of combat subduing the Japanese on Luzon, in the Philippines. On July 28, the 43rd Infantry Division, of which the 172nd Infantry was a part, received alert plans for the invasion of Kyushu, the southernmost island of the Japanese homeland. The landings would take place on November 1, a scant three months away. An intense period of planning, training, re-equipping, and personnel transfers began. The 43rd Division was to land with two other divisions in Shibushi Bay on the southeastern coast of Kyushu. The 43rd would land on the southern end of the beach, which was overlooked by …

    July 31, 2015 6:38 pm

Odd News

  • Texas man shoots armadillo, gets hit in face by bullet ricochet

    DALLAS An East Texas man was wounded after he fired a gun at an armadillo in his yard and the bullet ricocheted back to hit him in his face, the county sheriff said on Friday. Cass County Sheriff Larry Rowe said the man, who was not identified, went outside his home in Marietta, southwest of Texarkana, at around 3 a.m. on Thursday morning. He spotted the armadillo on his property and opened fire. “His wife was in the house. He went outside and took his .38 revolver and shot three times at the armadillo,” Rowe said. The animal’s hard shell deflected at least one of three bullets, which then struck the man’s jaw, he said. The man was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where his jaw was wired shut, according to Rowe. The status of the animal is unknown. “We didn’t find the armadillo,” the sheriff said. (Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Sandra Maler)

    July 31, 2015 7:38 pm