Headline News

  • Most Alaskans to receive nearly $1,900 for 2014 dividends from state’s oil savings account


    ANCHORAGE, Alaska –  Most Alaskans will receive nearly $1,900 for this year’s share of the state’s oil wealth that’s distributed annually to residents just for living here. Gov. Sean Parnell announced the amount of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend on Wednesday. The payout set for Oct. 2 is more than double the amount of last year’s $900 checks, but short of the record payout of $2,069 in 2008. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The amount of each person’s check is based on a five-year rolling average of worldwide markets, which included the recession years that were more widely felt outside Alaska. Last year’s average included 2009, a recession year that dropped off from the 2014 equation. Dividends have been distributed since 1982.

    September 17, 2014 2:34 pm
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Politics

  • Top U.S. general urges Congress to think again on defense cuts


    WIESBADEN Germany (Reuters) – Congress should look hard at whether to continue automatic budget cuts that weaken the U.S. military at a time when security around the world is deteriorating, a top U.S. general said on Wednesday. The rapid advance of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria and Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region has fueled calls by current and former military chiefs and the U.S. defense industry for a rethink of the hundreds of billions of dollars in automatic cuts, known as “sequestration”. “With a deteriorating security situation around the world, I think it’s time to … really take a hard look at whether we should continue with sequestration,” Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno told a small group of reporters at the Conference of European Armies in Wiesbaden, Germany. “I think that is a debate that it is absolutely essential to have over the next year,” he said. “If sequestration occurs …

    September 17, 2014 11:12 am
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Stocks

  • Thank Janet Yellen: stocks hit new record


      Wall Street is smiling. Although the economy is getting better, the Federal Reserve is probably not going to raise interest rates until the summer of 2015 at the earliest. The Fed said Wednesday that it continues to believe rates should remain low for a “reasonable time” after its bond buying program is complete — which should happen following its next meeting. Investors were pleased. They sent the Dow to an intraday trading record, crossing 17,200 for the first time ever as stock broadly moved higher. The Fed also gave more details about its “exit strategy” to end the stimulus efforts it has had in place since the 2008 credit crisis and return interest rates to more normal levels. Related: What the Fed language matters so much As expected, the Fed said it is reducing, or “tapering,” its asset purchases by $10 billion a month to just $15 billion. So it is widely expected to …

    September 17, 2014 2:14 pm
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Sports

  • Timberwolves sign 2nd-round draft pick Glenn Robinson III


    MINNEAPOLIS –  The Minnesota Timberwolves have signed second-round draft pick Glenn Robinson III. The Wolves announced the signing on Wednesday, less than two weeks ahead of the start of training camp. Robinson was the 40th overall pick in the June draft, but wasn’t assured of a roster spot as the Timberwolves went through a massive overhaul while trading Kevin Love to Cleveland. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Signing Robinson gives the Timberwolves 16 contracts on the roster, which is one more than the league allows. That means veteran point guard J.J. Barea, who is entering the final year of his contract, could be on his way out. The Timberwolves have been trying to trade Barea for most of the summer, but have yet to find any takers. They could also negotiate a buyout.

    September 17, 2014 2:34 pm
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World News

  • Nigeria college attacked by gunmen


    17 September 2014 Last updated at 18:20 A polytechnic college in the city was subjected to a similar attack in July Gunmen have attacked a teacher training college in the Nigerian city of Kano, with officials saying at least 13 people have been killed. Students were seen fleeing from the city’s Federal College of Education and at least one explosion was heard. Another 34 people were injured. It is not clear who was responsible, although suspicion will fall on militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which has been waging an insurgency in Nigeria since 2009. One student told the BBC by phone that he had seen 17 dead bodies at the scene. In July the city suffered a spate of five attacks in four days, one of which also targeted a college and killed six people. In May 2013, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan imposed a state of emergency in the northern states of Borno, Yobe and …

    September 17, 2014 2:34 pm
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Technology

  • IBM’s Watson rolled out to business


    17 September 2014 Last updated at 15:59 The supercomputer aims to help solve business problems IBM’s supercomputer Watson is being made available to businesses to answer tricky questions such as: “Which deals are most likely to close?” The cognitive platform can understand questions posed in natural language and crunch vast amounts of data. Watson Analytics is the latest step in IBM’s $1bn (£610m) investment in the platform, which is already available for medical research. But one expert questioned whether it could live up to past successes. Watson is a computer system capable of artificial intelligence. In 2011 it was tailored to answer questions on the quiz show Jeopardy and won. It had access to 200 million pages of content but was not connected to the internet. Since then IBM has worked to find more practical uses for the machine, such as helping to make decisions about cancer treatment at a US hospital. This latest move …

    September 17, 2014 11:12 am
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Science

  • Wanted by NASA: Space Telescope Director with Spy Credentials


    Conspiracy theorists may wonder, why does NASA’s next major telescope director need top secret clearance? The space agency recently posted a want ad for a person to lead its James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) program, and in addition to aerospace engineering credentials and management experience, the candidate must have the highest possible level of security credentials.   NASA says the requirement is standard, although the ad raised some eyebrows in the security community. “It seems quite unusual,” says former CIA analyst Allen Thomson, who speculates that the clearance might allow the JWST director to coordinate using NASA telescope technology for National Reconnaissance Office satellites. Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy noted the requirement on his Secrecy News blog. “My first reaction was surprise that this was among the key requirements for the position,” Aftergood says. “And it’s a sign of just how closely the civilian space program is intertwined …

    September 17, 2014 7:27 am
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Health

  • Major U.S. Food Makers Cut 6.4 Trillion Calories From Products: Report


    WEDNESDAY, Sept. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Sixteen major food and beverage companies have made good on their pledge to cut calories in their U.S. products, a new report finds. The companies, acting together through the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, pledged to remove 1 trillion calories from the market between 2007 and 2012 and 1.5 trillion by 2015. They’ve actually reduced far more: 6.4 trillion calories. “The 16 companies collectively met their pledge and exceeded their pledge,” said lead researcher Shu Wen Ng, an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The reduction translated to about 78 fewer calories per person daily, she said. Together, these 16 businesses represent about one-third of all calories in the U.S. food supply, the study showed. Calorie counts are in the spotlight because more than one-third of adults in the United States are obese, putting them at risk for serious health conditions. The …

    September 17, 2014 11:12 am
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Entertainment

  • Jessica Alba Is A Doting Mom To Her Grumpy Girl


    Posted on Wed Sep 17th, 2014 10:26am PDT       By X17 Staff Looks like someone didn’t have a good flight! Jessica Alba touched down at LAX last night with her sleepy looking lil’ lady, Haven. And that three-year-old is not having any fun! d For the flight, Jessica donned a gray tank, pink bra, ripped jeans, and platform slip-ons. Her hubby, Cash Warren, opted for a grey Pair of Thieves shirt and grey pants for the cross-country flight from NYC. The fab family were in the Big Apple for a week for the wedding of a close friend. During their trip, the 35-year-old actress and her 38-year-old husband posted several snaps on Instagram of six-year-old Honor and three-year-old Haven.   SEE THE GALLERY Jessica Alba Touches Down At LAX With Sleepy Family Stories from around the Web

    September 17, 2014 12:52 pm
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Editorial

  • Independence for Scotland? It’s my heart vs. my head


    I admit it. I’m not a Scot, but like so many Americans, I’ve had a lifelong love affair with Scotland. My husband is Scottish-American, two of our children went to Scottish universities and we take annual vacations in Scotland.  My husband collects Scotch whisky, we wear McFarland tartan kilts and we celebrate Hogmanay. Even the golf course we play on was copied from one in Scotland. So, while I can’t vote in this week’s referendum, I feel entitled to an opinion on Scottish independence. In fact, I have two opinions: one from my heart, and one from my head. My heart dreams of an independent Scotland with all the values that once made the Scots great: hard work, integrity, thriftiness and personal accountability.  ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT I can almost smell the peat fires and warming single malt. But then my head takes over. Much that I find best about America came from Scotland.  Our Founding Fathers …

    September 17, 2014 11:12 am
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Odd News

  • Swiss keeper shocked after fans urinate in his water bottle


    (Reuters) – A Swiss goalkeeper has threatened legal action after fans of a rival lower league team urinated in his water bottle and then taunted him when, unawares, he took a sip during a match at the weekend. FC Muri goalkeeper Reto Felder said he had felt sick after tasting the warm contents of the bottle, which he had left near the goalpost during the 1. Liga (third tier) game at FC Baden near Zurich. “The idea of drinking piss is simply intolerable,” the Aargauer Zeitung website (www.aargauerzeitung.ch) quoted the 34-year-old player as saying, adding that he was waiting for an analysis of video evidence before further action. “What if next time it is something that knocks you out?,” added Felder. Swiss tabloid Blick reported that the unidentified fans had persuaded a ball boy behind the goal to pass them the bottle during the second half of the match. The paper said the fans shouted …

    September 16, 2014 7:17 pm
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