Headline News

  • Western U.S. drought seen raising food prices: Reuters/Ipsos poll


    LOS ANGELES An overwhelming majority of U.S. residents think the drought that has hit agriculture in the West will lead to increased food prices, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday. The poll, conducted May 18 to 22, also found strong support for certain water conservation efforts that might be aimed at the general public in drought-stricken states. California is enduring its worst drought on record. The governor of Washington state has declared a drought emergency even as Nevada, parts of Oregon and other western states also deal with a lack of water. The survey results suggest many people nationwide see the drought in the West as affecting them in some way, either now or in the future. Eighty-four percent of those polled said they strongly agree or somewhat agree the drought is going to cause food prices to increase significantly. Survey respondent Jackie Morenzoni, 39, a mother of two who lives in the …

    May 27, 2015 6:04 am
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Politics

  • Veteran Democratic Consultants Launch New Media Firm


    By Emily Cahn Posted at 5 a.m. today 0 Tweet Ken Morley and Philip de Vellis, two longtime Democratic political operatives, have joined forces to launch Beacon Media — a Democratic media consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. “We formed Beacon Media to provide Democratic candidates and issue advocacy groups with advertising that combines groundbreaking creative with a solid strategic foundation that leverages the latest delivery technology to reach voters in today’s fractured media landscape,” de Vellis said in a news release, provided to CQ Roll Call. Morley and de Vellis have spent decades in Washington, D.C., working for a who’s who of Democratic candidates. De Vellis is a former partner at Putnam Partners, Mark Putnam’s top Democratic advertising firm, where he advised top-tier clients including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and House Majority PAC, a super PAC that boosts House Democrats. De Vellis also created ads for President Barack Obama’s two …

    May 27, 2015 5:03 am
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Stocks

  • Marlboro’s brand still one of world’s best


    Marlboro has been forced to change its packaging in many countries to abide by new anti-smoking rules. Holy smokes! The Marlboro brand is holding its own even as more countries ban or limit tobacco marketing. For the 10th year in a row, Marlboro has made the annual ranking of the world’s most valuable brands published by BrandZ, and compiled by consultancy Millward Brown. In the latest survey, released Tuesday, the Marlboro brand was valued at $80 billion, or 19% more than a year ago. That’s No. 10 in the world and more than Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Amazon (AMZN, Tech30). The crackdown on cigarette marketing may actually help Marlboro by making it harder for other companies, with less well known brands, to break through. “[The advertising bans and marketing limits] puts a very effective barrier for other brands to increase awareness among the smoking population,” said BrandZ’s global valuation director Elspeth Cheung. “Marlboro [is] a …

    May 27, 2015 6:03 am
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Sports

  • Stosur blazes through to third round in Paris


    PARIS Former runner-up Samantha Stosur raced into the third round of the French Open with a 6-0 6-1 victory over France’s Amandine Hesse on Wednesday. The 26th-seeded Australian, who reached the Roland Garros final in 2010 and the last four on two other occasions, had way too much power and pace for the 22-year-old wild card. Hesse, the world number 272, was heading for a ‘double bagel’ at 6-0 5-0 but a crosscourt volley saved her from utter humiliation on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Stosur, who next faces either defending champion Maria Sharapova or her Russian compatriot Vitalia Diatchenko, wrapped up the contest in the following game with a forehand winner. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by John O’Brien)

    May 27, 2015 6:04 am
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World News

  • WW2 bomb prompts Cologne evacuation


    Cologne was a regular target for Allied bombers during WW2 Some 20,000 people in the German city of Cologne have been forced to leave their homes as authorities defuse a one-tonne bomb from World War Two. Schools and kindergartens – as well as the zoo – remained closed during the city’s largest post-war evacuation. About 1,100 residents of a retirement and disability centre in the Riehl area were among those taken to safety. It is not unusual for unexploded bombs to be discovered in Germany. Allied bombers targeted Cologne in WW2. The deactivation of the one-ton device, which was found near Muelheim bridge crossing the Rhine river, was planned for Wednesday afternoon. City officials said in a statement that during this time the river would be closed for shipping and the airspace would also be closed. The bomb was found on Friday during preparations for the construction of a pipeline, according to local media. It …

    May 27, 2015 6:03 am
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Technology

  • Watch Bilbo the owl deliver wedding rings a la ‘Harry Potter’


    In the world of Harry Potter, Hedwig the owl was a trusty companion who delivered messages and generally helped the young wizard thrive. In the world of a man named Shaun Palmer, Bilbo the owl was a trusty friend who helped the young newlywed get married by delivering his wedding rings down the aisle. Palmer wanted to surprise his bride Adele by incorporating something strikingly unusual into his wedding ceremony. “Originally I wanted our little West Highland Terrier to bring our rings down as a surprise, but he’s too unpredictable sometimes and thought it’s maybe not the best idea,” he told CNET’s Crave blog. “Then I remembered seeing a stand at a wedding fair about two years before the wedding. I rang around a few falconry places, and one I came across had Bilbo (he is a barn owl if I remember correctly) who has been trained to fly to an outstretched arm.” The wedding …

    May 27, 2015 4:23 am
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Science

  • New Mathematics Could Neutralize Pathogens That Resist Antibiotics


    Bacteria that make us sick are bad enough, but many of them also continually evolve in ways that help them develop resistance to common antibiotic drugs, making our medications less effective or even moot. Doctors try to reduce the evolution by cycling through various drugs over time, hoping that as resistance develops to one, the increased use of a new drug or the widespread reuse of an old drug will catch some of the bugs off guard. The plans for cycling drugs are not that scientific, however, and don’t always work efficiently, allowing bacteria to continue to develop resistance. Now a new algorithm that deciphers how bacteria genes create resistance in the first place could greatly improve such a plan. The “time machine” software, developed by biologists and mathematicians, could help reverse resistant mutations and render the bacteria vulnerable to drugs again. Miriam Barlow, a biologist from the University of California, Merced, first hit on the …

    May 27, 2015 4:44 am
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Health

  • Novartis digs into health tech with bet on ‘robotic pill’


    LONDON Swiss drugmaker Novartis is raising its bet on smart technology by collaborating with U.S. start-up Rani Therapeutics on a “robotic pill” for complex biotech drugs that would normally have to be given by injection. Rani said it would run feasibility studies over the next 18-24 months to evaluate how selected Novartis biologic medicines can be delivered into the bloodstream using its unique device. The Rani capsule, which is swallowed like a conventional pill, contains tiny needles made of sugar that are pushed into the wall of the intestine to deliver the drug. The U.S. company, whose backers include Google’s venture capital unit, believes its early-stage technology could be used with insulin and a range of other injected medicines, including treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis. Delivering large-molecule biologic drugs by mouth has long been a dream for the pharmaceutical industry, since it would increase convenience dramatically. But so far scientists have struggled …

    May 27, 2015 5:03 am
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Entertainment

  • Kim Richards allegedly caused a huge scene at her daughter’s wedding


    TMZ reports that the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star had such a big meltdown during the ceremony that her sober coach quit. More: Real Housewives‘ Kim Richards’ arrest details are seriously embarrassing It’s unclear at this time whether Richards used drugs, alcohol or both, but guests report she was definitely on something. To make matters worse, Richards was apparently saying some pretty nasty things to her daughter, Brooke Brinson, who was the bride. And she even went so far as to throw insults at the groom’s family, too. Her words were so hurtful that Brooke has vowed not to speak to her mother again. Richards had been getting help from a rehab facility which gave her a pass to attend the Mexico destination wedding, but gave her a deadline to return Monday, which Richards hasn’t met. TMZ’s sources say the reality star has gone silent and is still in Cabo somewhere. More: Real Housewives‘ Kim Richards …

    May 27, 2015 5:23 am
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Editorial

  • Marine court-martialed for refusing to remove Bible verse


    A United States Marine was convicted at a court-martial for refusing to remove a Bible verse on her computer – a verse of Scripture the military determined “could easily be seen as contrary to good order and discipline.” The plight of Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling seems unbelievable – a member of the Armed Forces criminally prosecuted for displaying a slightly altered passage of Scripture from the Old Testament: “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” Sterling, who represented herself at trial, was convicted February 1, 2014 in a court-martial at Camp Lejune, North Carolina after she refused to obey orders from a staff sergeant to remove the Bible verses from her desk. She was found guilty of failing to go to her appointed place of duty, disrespect toward a superior commissioned officer, and four specifications of disobeying the lawful order of a noncommissioned officer. As it now stands – Sterling is unemployed and looking for …

    May 26, 2015 9:21 pm
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Odd News

  • Townsend lets cat out of the bag, why hotels are best


    PARIS American player Taylor Townsend, when deciding whether to stay in a cramped Parisian hotel or rent a private apartment during Roland Garros, opted for the former. Past experience helped make up her mind. Recalling last year’s U.S. Open, the 19-year-old described how she was forced to share a toilet with a cat. “You guys are going to laugh at this,” Townsend, beaten 6-3 6-4 by Czech Tereza Smitkova in the first round on Tuesday, told reporters. “Lord have mercy. We were in New York, and the guy walked outside and he greeted us and he had no shoes on. “Then he told us when we were in the elevator ‘I hope you like cats’. We’re like, yeah, cats are fine. He was like ‘but you can’t let down the toilet seat because the cat uses the toilet.’ “After that, I think hotels are safer!” (Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ian Chadband)

    May 27, 2015 12:42 am
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