Headline News

  • Habitat restoration hailed as a success in saving shorebirds after Sandy wrecked beaches

    MIDDLE TOWNSHIP, N.J. –  A crash program to restore New Jersey bay and ocean beaches wrecked by Superstorm Sandy appears to have succeeded in saving tens of thousands of shorebirds that otherwise might have died after the 2012 storm wiped out their feeding grounds. It’s a rare feel-good story in which scientists, volunteers and layers of government worked together to restore habitat, particularly along the Delaware Bay, that was ravaged by Sandy. With the birds now returning en masse for a third spring after the storm, those involved feel they can finally say the urgent efforts have worked. Just months after Sandy hit, huge earth movers were dumping tons of sand on eroded beaches and bulldozers were spreading it out in a race against time before the next wave of migratory shore birds arrived in the spring. The birds stop at the Delaware Bay beaches in the middle of their annual 10,000-mile journey from South …

    May 24, 2015 11:32 am


  • Senate passes two-month transportation spending patch

    WASHINGTON The U.S. Senate early on Saturday passed a two-month spending extension for federal transportation projects that puts off a decision on long-term funding for road, bridge and rail transit projects until the height of the summer construction season. The unanimous voice vote sends the measure to President Barack Obama for signing into law before current transportation spending authority expires on May 31. The White House said Obama would sign the short-term fix if work continues towards a long-term bill. Obama has requested a six-year, $478 billion transportation bill, and last week said he was in talks with congressional leaders and willing to look at all revenue sources to fund it. “I don’t have much progress to report, unfortunately, at this point,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said of the talks about a long-term plan. The two-month extension resulted from lawmakers’ inability to agree on funding for either a six-year bill, or even a much …

    May 24, 2015 4:29 am


  • Smart money is buying energy stocks. Should you?

    Forget politics and religion. One of the biggest debates on Wall Street these days is whether oil and energy stocks are toxic or terrific. Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) put out a note last week telling clients now is the time to buy. Hedge funds have already pounced. The 50 largest hedge funds bought a lot of energy stocks (e.g. Williams Partners (WPZ), Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and Kinder Morgan (KMI)) in the first quarter, according to their latest stock disclosures. In some ways, it looks like a smart move. Oil plunged below $45 a barrel in January. Back then, people couldn’t seem to sell energy stocks fast enough. In recent weeks, oil has staged a mini-rally. Now it’s trading around $60 a barrel. That’s still far from the glory days of over $100 a barrel that the industry saw as recently as last summer, but for drillers, it’s a lot easier to make …

    May 24, 2015 9:31 am


  • Colorful Federer’s mood darkened despite easy win

    PARIS Roger Federer enlivened a routine day at the office with a violet and pink outfit and a several dabs of brilliance to launch another French Open quest but his mood darkened after a security breach on Sunday. The evergreen Swiss was in full control against Colombia’s Alejandro Falla, marking the start of his 62nd consecutive appearance at a grand slam tournament with a 6-3 6-3 6-4 victory on court Philippe Chatrier. When he walked off, however, a fan sauntered on and began trying to snap a selfie with a mobile phone before he was belatedly removed by a security guard. “I’m not happy about it. Obviously not one second I’m happy about it. It happened yesterday in the practice, too,” a ruffled Federer told reporters, adding that organizers had apologized. The 17-times major winner, champion at Roland Garros in 2009, was the star turn on a low-key opening day in a sunny French capital, …

    May 24, 2015 11:32 am

World News

  • Polish voters decide on president

    Mr Duda (right) edged Mr Komorowski in the first round of voting Poles are going to the polls to choose its new president in a run-off vote. In the first round on 10 May, neither Conservative challenger Andrzej Duda nor incumbent Bronislaw Komorowski gained the 50% needed to win outright. Mr Duda edged Mr Komorowski, who had been the favourite and is looking for a second term, by 34.7% to 33.7%. The president has limited powers, but is head of the armed forces and can veto new laws. ‘Serious warning’ Mr Komorowski, 62, took office five years ago after his predecessor, Lech Kaczynski, died in a plane crash. Analysis: BBC’s Adam Easton in Warsaw The choice is between two conservatives albeit with some differences. President Komorowski says he is the stable candidate who can steer Poland safely through troubled times caused by the conflict in neighbouring Ukraine. A firm supporter of the EU he is …

    May 24, 2015 11:32 am


  • Jet Reaction: UK’s modest bike with a huge engine seeking land speed record

    Coming from a man preparing to clamber into the cockpit of a sleek machine called Jet Reaction, designed to travel at 400mph, it was a surprising admission. “I don’t really like going fast. It’s scary and bloody uncomfortable. Frankly, driving it is a pain in the arse.” Still, if all goes to plan, Richard Brown will behind the controls of Jet Reaction later this year at the Bonneville salt flats in Utah, US, when he tries to break the two-wheeled land speed record. “No, it’s not about the thrill of speed at all,” says Brown, 50, an engineer from Oxfordshire, who makes his living buying and selling machine parts. “I’m prepared to drive it because it’s necessary but I don’t like it.” Members of the Jet Reaction team polish the bike – most are volunteer enthusiasts. Photograph: Dimitris Legakis/Athena Picture Agency What it is about for Brown is the engineering challenge of building a machine …

    May 24, 2015 11:52 am


  • Mosquito sex-determining gene could help fight dengue fever

    Related images(click to enlarge) Males aren’t relevant — at least when it comes to disease transmission by mosquitoes. Researchers with the Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech have identified a gene responsible for sex determination in mosquitoes that can transmit yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya viruses. Only female mosquitoes bite because they need blood for developing eggs, and researchers believe that a higher ratio of males could reduce disease transmission. In a study published in the Science Express today (2 p.m. Thursday, May 21), the scientists identify a genetic switch called Nix in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that underlies the difference between males and females. These master switches often reside in genomic black holes, which is why none had been found in mosquitoes or other insects before. “Nix provides us with exciting opportunities to harness mosquito sex in the fight against infectious diseases because maleness is the ultimate disease-refractory trait,” said Zhijian Jake Tu, a …

    May 24, 2015 8:11 am


  • Do You Need a Doctor for Bug Bites and Bee Stings?

    SUNDAY, May 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Summer is fast approaching, along with its usual bonanza of bugs. Fortunately, most of those inevitable bites and stings aren’t serious. But, experts from the American Academy of Dermatology advise going to the emergency room right away if you notice any of the following symptoms soon after a bug bite or sting: Difficulty breathing, The feeling that your throat is closing, Swelling of lips, tongue or face, Chest pain, A racing heartbeat for more than a few minutes, Dizziness or headache, Vomiting. Also beware of a red rash that looks like a donut or bullseye target after a tick bite, or a fever with a spreading red or black spotty rash. These can be signs of serious tick-related illness. “Although most bug bites and stings do not turn into a severe or even fatal illness like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, it’s important to pay attention to your symptoms,” …

    May 24, 2015 8:31 am


  • Emma Stone And Andrew Garfield Reunite Amid Breakup Rumors

    Posted on Sun May 24th, 2015 8:00am PDT       By X17 Staff Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield are giving it another go! Amid reports the couple had split after three years of dating, it appears they’re back together and were enjoying domestic bliss at a Beverly Hills supermarket, on Saturday. Stocking up for the Memorial Day weekend, one would assume they’re shacking up if they’re grocery shopping together. People magazine reported Andrew, 31 and Emma, 26, are back on, according to their source: “Emma and Andrew are a great couple who have been apart for work. They are still seeing each other. Nothing major happened between them while he was away other than a long and forced separation. Andrew has been incredibly busy and so has Emma. But the sparks are still there.” The source says the pair are living at Stone’s Hollywood Hills home.   SEE THE GALLERY Emma Stone And Andrew Garfield Reunite Stories from …

    May 24, 2015 10:52 am


  • Visiting the troops with Aaron Tippin in Iraq: My proudest moment as an American military veteran

    Like all veterans, my memories are filled this Memorial Day with endless instances of pride at being able to serve this great country of ours – pride at being an American and even more pride at having been able to wear the uniform. Of my many memories, over 60 years’ worth, none is more striking than that of a dusty afternoon in 2008 in a bombed out building in Sadr City, Baghdad.  It wasn’t about my own service.  It was about someone else’s. I was accompanying my friend Aaron Tippin, a country music legend, as he visited and entertained troops during the Thanksgiving season.  It was an annual event for him during the war and I was often fortunate enough to accompany him.  On this particular afternoon, at one of many stops, we were at a Forward Operating Base with a battalion of the storied 82nd Airborne Division. The scene was literally out of a …

    May 23, 2015 4:46 pm

Odd News

  • German grandmother gives birth to quadruplets at age 65

    BERLIN A 65-year-old German grandmother gave birth to quadruplets at a Berlin hospital this week, with the three boys and a girl born prematurely at 26 weeks being in good health and having a good chance of survival, German TV network RTL reported on Saturday. The network, which had covered the pregnancy, said Annegret Raunigk already had 13 children and seven grandchildren. The announcement of her pregnancy last month had sparked a public debate in Germany about its merits. Raunigk, an English and Russian teacher in Berlin, had received fertility treatment in Ukraine and is the oldest woman in the world to have had quadruplets, RTL said, although other women of her age and older have given birth. The four babies, born by Caesarean section on May 19, weighed between 655 grams an 960 grams. (Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by David Holmes)

    May 23, 2015 12:03 pm