Headline News

  • Exclusive: Creditor to oppose San Bernardino bankruptcy plan favoring Calpers

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A major capital markets creditor of bankrupt San Bernardino, California, will oppose any exit plan that is more favorable to Calpers, California’s public pension fund, a source familiar with the creditor’s strategy said on Thursday. The creditor intends to pursue a new approach when hearings resume next year, in light of a deal the city reached with Calpers in November that will see the pension fund paid in full under a bankruptcy plan. The city has been ordered to produce a plan by May. “We will strongly resist a plan that treats its pension claims substantially better than our claim,” the source involved in the creditor’s San Bernardino strategy said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because negotiations with San Bernardino are subject to a judicial gag order. The move is significant because all the capital market creditors have so far supported the bankruptcy and it signals a change in …

    December 18, 2014 7:20 pm


  • Not known yet if Cuba deal might bring some U.S. fugitives home

    CHICAGO (Reuters) – When he heard that United States and Cuba plan to restore diplomatic ties, retired New York City police detective Tom Nerney says he was struck with hope that a convicted killer he helped bring to justice but who escaped to the Caribbean island would finally be brought home after more than 30 years. “It’s a ray of sunshine for us,” he told Reuters. Nerney and other law enforcement officials say they want the Obama administration to push Cuba to extradite the nearly 80 fugitives from the U.S. justice system who the FBI says have sought and found asylum there. “It’s a haven for fugitives,” Nerney says of Cuba. “Hopefully [the U.S. State Department] will work something out so we can get these fugitives back.” Cuba has regularly returned U.S. fugitives since 2006, but U.S. authorities say dozens remain. In a major policy shift, President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that the United …

    December 18, 2014 7:40 pm


  • Uber agrees to temporarily suspend service in Portland

      Uber is standing down for the next three months in Portland, just one of the cities where it has run into trouble. The company said it would stop picking up customers there for three months after the city sued, asking a judge to order Uber to stop operating until it is in compliance with safety, health and consumer protection rules. But Uber fully expects to be back. In fact, this could be good news for Uber fans in the long-run. The city has agreed to update its laws, creating a new regulatory framework for companies like Uber that tend to fall somewhere between a taxi and a ridesharing service. People use it by requesting a driver with a smartphone app. Related: Uber’s global ambitions hit roadblocks Uber, which operates in 60 cities across 21 countries, has run into problems because its drivers do not always meet the city’s regulations for taxi and car services. …

    December 18, 2014 6:39 pm


  • Pens’ Crosby in starting lineup after mumps diagnosis

    (Reuters) – Sidney Crosby returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ lineup on Thursday after missing three games when he became one of the latest National Hockey League players to be sidelined with the mumps in the past month. The league’s reigning Most Valuable Player was on the ice for the opening faceoff against the visiting Colorado Avalanche and skating on a line with Nick Spaling and Patric Hornqvist. Crosby had returned to the ice on Wednesday for the first time since being diagnosed last weekend and skated on his own before the Penguins practised. The mumps virus has been sweeping through the NHL since early November and 15 players have officially been diagnosed, the most recent being Crosby’s team mate Beau Bennett. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

    December 18, 2014 7:20 pm

World News

  • Israel brands peace plan ‘gimmick’

    18 December 2014 Last updated at 23:14 Palestinians want an end to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem Israel says a Palestinian effort to set a three-year deadline for it to end its occupation of Palestinian territories is a “gimmick”. A draft resolution, submitted by Jordan to the UN Security Council, also calls for a peace accord within a year. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that without Israel’s consent, nothing would change. Jordan has indicated it will not seek a quick vote, opening the way for further discussion. The US – which has vetoed previous resolutions it considers hostile to its ally Israel – said on Thursday it would not support the move. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said they would not support any action that would prejudge the outcome of negotiations. “We have seen the draft, it is not something we would support and we think others feel the …

    December 18, 2014 7:20 pm


  • Google accuses Hollywood of ‘trying to censor the Internet’

    Protesters gathered to protest Internet censorship in 2012. Google attacked Hollywood and a state attorney general for attempting to achieve the goals of years-old Internet censorship law. The search giant said the Motion Picture Association of America, Hollywood’s primary lobbying arm, secretly conspired with the attorney general of Mississippi to force changes to the trade of information on the Internet without enacting new laws. “The MPAA pointed its guns at Google,” the company’s General Counsel Kent Walker said in a blog post Thursday. He cited emails reported to have come from Sony’s top executives by The Verge, detailing an effort to block websites alleged to publish copyrighted material. Walker also said that a letter sent by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood accusing Google of numerous misdeeds was drafted by the MPAA’s longtime law firm. Hood said he had worked with the MPAA, but disagreed with Google’s assertions. He said he’s worked on a wide range …

    December 18, 2014 8:01 pm


  • The world of physics in 2015

    The science story of 2014, which Physics World picked as its Breakthrough of the Year, simply had to be the successful landing of a man-made probe onto a comet, for the first time. Philae dropped on to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in November after a 10-year journey aboard the Rosetta craft – triggering scenes of wild jubilation among scientists and engineers at the European Space Agency (ESA), who had lived through a nail-biting final hour as they waited for radio signals to travel the 511 million kilometres from the comet to Earth after its scheduled landing time. Data from the mission are likely to keep astronomers busy for years to come, including signs that water on Earth came not from comets, as was previously thought, but from asteroids. In fact, 2014 was quite a year for space science, with India putting its Mangalyaan craft in orbit around Mars for the first time and Japan launching the country’s second …

    December 18, 2014 3:59 pm


  • Teen contraband cigarette use linked to other drugs

    Reuters Health – Compared to those who don’t smoke illicit tobacco, kids who do are more likely to try other illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin and amphetamines, according to a recent Canadian study. The researchers used survey data from one point in time, so they can’t say that smoking illegal cigarettes leads to drug use, only that the two often coincide and that’s enough to warrant stronger tobacco control policies. “The concern for us is that contraband tobacco may be a gateway to other drugs, but we cannot infer causality,” said coauthor Mesbah F. Sharaf of the economics department at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. In Canada, unmarked and untaxed contraband cigarettes are either illegally manufactured domestically or illegally imported across the U.S. border, often from Native American reservations, the authors write in The Journal of Primary Prevention. They cite a national survey from 2007 that found 18 percent of all cigarettes used by …

    December 18, 2014 8:01 pm

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  • 15 Celebrity divorce stories that totally break our hearts

    1. Amy Poehler and Will Arnett When famously funny couple, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, announced their split in September 2012 after 10 years of marriage, we didn’t want to believe it could be true. Poehler admitted “getting a divorce really sucks,” but also expressed how proud she is of how they have adapted to coparenting. “I am beyond grateful he is their father, and I don’t think a 10-year marriage constitutes failure.” More: Why Kris Jenner is wrong about a Kim Kardashian/Kanye West divorce 2. Jewel and Ty Murray Image: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN Considering Jewel and Ty Murray dated for a decade before tying the knot in the Bahamas in 2008, we thought for sure the singer and her rodeo cowboy husband would last forever. Alas, she announced earlier this year that she and Ty were splitting but would remain committed to their friendship and to their son, Kase. 3. Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel …

    December 18, 2014 7:41 pm


  • Pilgrimages: The future of religion in one easy step

    Author, “Sacred Journeys” host Bruce Feiler (Khishnendu Bose) By any measure, organized religion is challenged these days. Attendance is down, membership is down, even the number of people who identify as religious is down. But in the midst of this downward trend, one expression of religious intensity is up. And not just up, but way up. What’s this mystery activity that more and more people are participating in? ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Pilgrimage.  In September, the United Nations held the first ever International Congress on Tourism and Pilgrimages. At the event, held in Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the organizers released a study that said a third of all tourists worldwide annually are pilgrims.  Pilgrimages are never easy. They’re tough physically, they’re tough mentally. And yet when you arrive at the destination, often with a group you’ve bonded with along the way, a pilgrimage can be magical like few gatherings on earth. The U.N. puts the total number …

    December 18, 2014 8:01 pm

Odd News

  • Canadian driver jailed for deaths caused by stopping for ducks

    OTTAWA (Reuters) – A Canadian woman was sentenced to 90 days in jail on Thursday for causing two deaths in 2010 when she stopped her car on a Quebec highway to help a group of ducklings crossing the road. Emma Czornobaj had been convicted in June of two counts each of criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing death. According to media reports on Thursday, Czornobaj stopped her car abruptly in the passing lane of a highway south of Montreal when she saw the ducklings. The motorcycle behind Czornobaj’s car then crashed into her vehicle, killing the 50-year-old man driving the motorcycle and his 16-year-old daughter. “I just wanted to pick all these ducklings up and put them in my car,” Czornobaj had testified during her trial. “I know it was a mistake.” The jail time will be served on the weekends. Czornobaj was also sentenced to 240 hours of community service, probation and banned from …

    December 18, 2014 3:58 pm