Headline News

  • Woman shot at amusement park; police say bullet may have come from 4th of July celebration


    WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. –  Police say a woman was shot while inside an amusement park in suburban Pittsburgh, and they’re investigating whether the bullet came from someone nearby celebrating the Fourth of July. Allegheny County Police say the 26-year-old woman was in stable condition following the shooting just after 10 p.m. Saturday at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin. She was struck in the upper chest near her shoulder. Police believe the gunshot came from outside the park, possibly from someone firing a gun to celebrate the holiday. They say they interviewed numerous witnesses, and none said they heard the shot or saw anyone fire a gun. Police don’t believe the woman or anyone near her at the time were targeted. Investigators are viewing surveillance video from parking lots and surrounding businesses.

    July 5, 2015 7:16 am
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Politics

  • Walker, GOP back down on open record limits


    Scott Walker: A falling GOP star? In a sudden reversal amid a stinging backlash, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and GOP legislative leaders said they agreed Saturday to completely remove a part of the proposed state budget that would severely roll back open records laws. Walker announced the decision in a joint statement Saturday with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and the co-chairs of the joint budget committee. They said that they’re committed to open and accountable government. “After substantive discussion over the last day, we have agreed that the provisions relating to any changes in the state’s open records law will be removed from the budget in its entirety,” the statement said. “… The intended policy goal of these changes was to provide a reasonable solution to protect constituents’ privacy and to encourage a deliberative process between elected officials and their staff in developing policy. It was never intended to inhibit …

    July 5, 2015 5:56 am
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Stocks

  • China spends billions to prevent stock market crash


    China’s stock market is in trouble. It’s down over 20% since mid-June. But Chinese stock brokers are trying to tell scared investors: Stop selling. Help is on the way. On Saturday, China’s 21 largest brokerage firms said they would spend a whopping 120 billion yuan (about $19.3 billion) to try to stabilize the market, according to Chinese state media. The firms will actually buy stock funds themselves. The goal is to show regular mom and pop investors that the big players still think buying stocks is a good idea. It’s a similar strategy to companies buying back their stock when they think it’s undervalued. Related: Why China’s stock market is getting scary Big stock slide: The Shanghai Composite — the world’s third largest stock exchange if you add up the value of its companies — has lost 24% since June 12, putting it officially in bear market territory. The bears are growling even louder on …

    July 4, 2015 6:49 pm
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Sports

  • Upsets unlikely as big guns set for Wimbledon last 16


    LONDON Rafa Nadal may have left the stage but the smooth progress into Wimbledon’s second week of the remaining members of tennis’s established powerbase suggests further upsets are unlikely in the men’s last 16 on Monday. The ‘Big Four’ have been whittled down to a top three, but for Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, who were largely untroubled in their opening matches, there seems no end on the horizon to their dominance at the All England Club. The trio, along with Nadal, have had a monopoly on the Wimbledon title after Lleyton Hewitt beat David Nalbandian to lift the Challenge Cup trophy in 2002. On the evidence of the first week, only Stan Wawrinka, winner of two of the last six majors including last month’s French Open, looks capable of stealing a march on the top three. The hard work of maintaining promising starts, however, is likely to begin with more testing encounters …

    July 5, 2015 7:17 am
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World News

  • Air strikes on Syria IS stronghold


    Raqqa is the city in eastern Syria where Islamic State declared a so-called “caliphate” in June last year The US-led coalition against the Islamic State group says it has carried out a series of air strikes in Syria on its main stronghold, Raqqa. The city is seen by the militants as the capital of the “caliphate” they declared in Syria and Iraq in 2014. The US military described the 16 strikes as one of the largest assaults carried out in Syria so far. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 23 IS members were killed in the attack. The London-based monitoring group also said a US drone strike on a Raqqa school on Saturday killed six civilians, including a child. US military spokesman Lt Col Thomas Gilleran said: “The significant air strikes tonight were executed to deny Daesh [IS] the ability to move military capabilities throughout Syria and into Iraq.” The raids follow …

    July 5, 2015 7:17 am
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Technology

  • Minecon 2015: day two of the annual Minecraft conference


    “Telltale looked back to the 1980s for inspiration. “We wanted a story that evoked the classic film stories that we were passionate about,” said Stauffer. “The movies we grew up with, the two tentpoles we called out were Goonies and Ghostbusters… movies that they just don’t make any more, not like that,” he said, before admitting that a more recent film, The Incredibles, has also been an influence. “Roleplaying is pretty key. In a Telltale game where you’re driving the story, it’s literally roleplaying. You’re going to be able to play Jesse however you want to play him,” said Stauffer. “You might have to decide which friends you want to be with the most, and which ones you’re going to have to leave behind. It’s about driving the story, role-playing as a character, and there’s a lot of tough decisions.”

    July 5, 2015 5:35 am
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Science

  • New method can make cheaper solar energy storage


    Related images(click to enlarge) Storing solar energy as hydrogen is a promising way for developing comprehensive renewable energy systems. To accomplish this, traditional solar panels can be used to generate an electrical current that splits water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter being considered a form of solar fuel. However, the cost of producing efficient solar panels makes water-splitting technologies too expensive to commercialize. EPFL scientists have now developed a simple, unconventional method to fabricate high-quality, efficient solar panels for direct solar hydrogen production with low cost. The work is published in Nature Communications. Many different materials have been considered for use in direct solar-to-hydrogen conversion technologies but “2-D materials” have recently been identified as promising candidates. In general these materials–which famously include graphene–have extraordinary electronic properties. However, harvesting usable amounts of solar energy requires large areas of solar panels, and it is notoriously difficult and expensive to fabricate thin films of 2-D materials …

    July 5, 2015 5:37 am
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Health

  • Health insurer Centene adds muscle with $6.3 billion Health Net deal


    U.S. health insurer Centene Corp will buy smaller rival Health Net Inc for $6.3 billion, underscoring the healthcare industry’s rush to bulk up to negotiate better prices with suppliers and hospitals, and attract new customers. Health Net’s shares touched a record high of $76.67 on Thursday, but stayed shy of Centene’s offer of $78.57, which is at a 21 percent premium. Centene shares were down 3 percent at $78.42. The deal comes a week after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld subsidies for individuals under President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, keeping a large chunk of patients intact under the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Insurers have said subsidies are key to bringing in new customers and the ruling has removed uncertainty for insurers looking for acquisitions. It could also spur more deal making in the health insurance sector, which has already seen a blitz of merger activity this year. Aetna Inc, the third largest insurer is …

    July 5, 2015 5:56 am
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Entertainment

  • Report claims Ben Affleck was too close to his ex for his wife’s liking


    Fans are still reeling over the fact that their favorite power couple has called it quits, but according to multiple reports about their marriage, it looks as though this was a long time coming. And now, a new report claims that Affleck’s relationship with his former fiancée Jennifer Lopez may have been the final nail in the coffin, so to speak, of his marriage. According to The Sun, since the Argo actor and Lopez reconnected at the Oscars this year, they have been in regular contact. A source close to the actor apparently told the publication, “Everyone is talking about JLo and Ben and saying it’s inevitable they will get together again at some point.” More: Jennifer Garner deserves congratulations more than pity “We call them the Richard Burton and Liz Taylor of Hollywood,” the source continued. “They were pretty flirty at the Oscars and have stayed in touch over email. Jennifer Garner never liked …

    July 5, 2015 7:16 am
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Editorial

  • Time for the Obama administration to respond to Syrian chemical attacks


    The Obama Administration puts a lot of stock into negotiating with hostile regimes.  Consider its seemingly endless negotiations with Iran over that nation’s illicit nuclear weapons program. But even as those negotiations drag on, Iran’s ally Syria has systematically violated the 2013 agreement it negotiated with the administration. In that agreement, codified in a U.N. Security Council resolution, Syria promised to give up its chemical weapons. Yet last Friday, Reuters reported that international inspectors have found traces of sarin and VX nerve agent at Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Agency, a government facility that western intelligence agencies assess was involved in developing chemical and biological weapons. The inspectors, from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, also are investigating numerous reports of the use of chlorine gas in “barrel bombs” delivered by the Assad regime’s helicopters.  Damascus has denied all the charges. It also continues to block inspectors from accessing some of the attacked …

    July 4, 2015 9:51 pm
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Odd News

  • Mexican firm sorry for royally selling president short


    MEXICO CITY It could have been the height of diplomatic embarrassment for Mexico’s president. When Enrique Pena Nieto hosted towering King Felipe of Spain this week, it was a tongue-in-cheek paint ad ridiculing his 10- inch height deficit that grabbed the headlines. On Wednesday, Mexican paint company Comex posted on Twitter a digitally-altered photograph of the president standing on one of its paint pots, giving him a leg up over the monarch under the banner “una pintura de altura,” or “a paint of stature.” Comex apologized on Thursday for the photograph, deleting the post after it had been heavily retweeted. It said the Tweet was published “without the appropriate approvals”. (Reporting by Max de Haldevang; Editing by Dave Graham and Simon Gardner)

    July 2, 2015 8:54 pm
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