Headline News

  • Former Virginia governor’s marriage in spotlight at corruption trial


    RICHMOND Va. (Reuters) – Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife were barely on speaking terms when they accepted $165,000 in gifts and loans from a vitamin company executive, defense attorneys said on Tuesday at the start of the pair’s corruption trial. Federal prosecutors described Robert and Maureen McDonnell as conspiring to take gifts from Jonnie Williams, the chief executive of Star Scientific Inc, in exchange for promoting his products. But her defense attorney said Maureen McDonnell simply had a “crush” on Williams. “At the time of this supposed conspiracy, the McDonnells’ marriage had broken down and they were barely on speaking terms,” defense attorney William Burck said. “(Williams) and Maureen McDonnell had a relationship some would see as inappropriate for people who are not married to each other.” Robert McDonnell, 60, is a Republican who had been mentioned as a possible 2016 presidential candidate before this scandal flared. He left office in January …

    July 29, 2014 7:03 pm
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Politics

  • U.S. Senate panel backs confirmation of new ambassador to Russia


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the new U.S. ambassador to Russia could be on his way to Moscow in days, after U.S. senators put aside partisan differences to hold a quick vote backing his appointment on Tuesday. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held an unscheduled evening meeting to unanimously approve the nomination of John Tefft, a career diplomat and former ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania, to be the new envoy to Moscow. After five months without an American in the position, both Republicans and Democrats said the dire state of U.S. relations with Russia made it imperative to confirm Tefft before Congress leaves on Aug. 1 for a five-week recess. There was no immediate word on when the full Senate might hold that vote. Tefft had painted a dire picture of relations with Moscow as he sailed through his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations panel earlier on Tuesday. …

    July 29, 2014 7:23 pm
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Stocks

  • Twitter zooms 29% higher on strong sales and mobile growth


    Get those thumbs up, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo — the company’s second quarter was worth getting excited about. Things are looking up for Twitter — or at least, for its stock price. Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) shares surged 29% in after-hours trading Tuesday after it posted strong second-quarter sales. Twitter’s better-than-expected quarterly report helped allay fears among investors about the company’s growth. Of particular note was Twitter’s success with mobile users. The number of Twitter users on mobile grew 29% versus last year. Twitter also raised its projection for total 2014 sales to up to $1.3 billion. It has been a rough year for Twitter. Shares have fallen by more than 40% since the start of 2014 as investors have questioned how much more Twitter can grow — and whether it can cash in on its user base. Chief operating officer Ali Rowghani resigned in June, and the company named a new chief financial officer a …

    July 29, 2014 6:02 pm
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Sports

  • QB Matthew Stafford looking to regain form after rough finish to 2013 season


    Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throws during a NFL football training camp in Allen Park, Mich., Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)The Associated Press Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throws during NFL football training camp in Allen Park, Mich., Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)The Associated Press ALLEN PARK, Mich. –  Matthew Stafford became the Detroit Lions’ all-time leading passer last season. But that accomplishment got lost in the closing stretch of a disappointing season. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT He finished last season with 17,457 yards passing to surpass Hall of Famer Bobby Layne’s team record, but he threw five interceptions during a late three-game skid that dropped the Lions out of playoff contention. He’s still looking to regain his form from his only playoff season, when he ended 2011 with 5,038 yards and 41 touchdown passes with just 16 interceptions. He’s thrown more interceptions each season since. The arrival of a new coaching staff …

    July 29, 2014 7:03 pm
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World News

  • WikiLeaks reveals Australian gagging order over political bribery allegations


    A sweeping gagging order issued in Australia to block reporting of any bribery allegations involving several international political leaders in the region has been exposed by WikiLeaks. The prohibition emerged from a criminal case in the Australian courts and applies throughout Australia. It was issued by the criminal division of the supreme court of Victoria in Melbourne “to prevent damage to Australia’s international relations that may be caused by the publication of material that may damage the reputations of specified individuals who are not the subject of charges in these proceedings”. The Australia-wide gagging order is a superinjunction, which means it also contains a clause insisting that the terms of the order itself should remain secret. It was issued on 19 June and states: “subject to further order, there be no disclosure, by publication or otherwise, of any information (whether in electronic or paper form) derived from or prepared for the purposes of these proceedings …

    July 29, 2014 7:03 pm
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Technology

  • OkCupid’s Confessed Hijinks Get Thumbs-Down


    OkCupid has admitted carrying out psychological experiments on its users. Because OkCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing, it needs to experiment to see what works and what doesn’t, cofounder Christian Rudder wrote in a blog post. Every Internet company needs to test different things with users, and website visitors are subjected to “hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work,” he argued. “When this story came out, I almost thought ‘it’s a publicity stunt,’” said Sang Nam, associate professor of communications at Quinnipiac University. “For website optimization, there must be a series of tests. Whether you like it or not, you are part of the test and contribute to improve the site,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Even without your consent, it doesn’t seem to bother you much because ‘you’ are testing ‘the system,’” Nam added. “However, it becomes a serious issue when similar procedures are taken under the name …

    July 29, 2014 7:23 pm
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Science

  • Microscopic rowing — without a cox


    Related images(click to enlarge) Many different types of cell, including sperm, bacteria and algae, propel themselves using whip-like appendages known as flagella. These protrusions, about one-hundredth of a millimetre long, function like tiny oars, helping cells move through fluid. Similar, shorter structures called cilia are found on the surfaces of many cells, where they perform roles such as moving liquids over the cell. Flagella and cilia are remarkably versatile: they transport mucus and expel pathogens from our airways, they establish the left-right asymmetry in developing vertebrate embryos, and transport human eggs through the Fallopian tube. Each cilium or flagellum beats to its own characteristic rhythm, but wherever large groups of these biological paddles are found, they tend to row in sync, as though led by a cox. Exactly what causes these microscopic rowers to move together is something of a mystery. Experiments in the 1940s demonstrated that the flagella of bull sperm tend to synchronise …

    July 29, 2014 7:44 pm
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Health

  • 23andMe lands $1.4 million grant from NIH to detect genetic roots for disease


    WASHINGTON D.C. (Reuters) – Home genetics startup 23andMe has secured a $1.4 million two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to build survey tools and expand its gene database. With these funds from NIH, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the company intends to use its stores of genetic data for various research projects. External researchers will be able to access information on thousands of diseases and traits for more than 400,000 people. The grant “enables researchers from around the world to make genetic discoveries,” Anne Wojcicki, chief executive officer of 23andMe, said in a statement. 23andMe, which is backed by Google Inc , has not always played well with the federal government. Late last year, it hit a major regulatory snag when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expressed concerns about the “public health consequences of inaccurate results” from 23andMe’s $99 DNA test. The agency took issue …

    July 29, 2014 7:23 pm
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Entertainment

  • Kim Kardashian Spends The Entire Day Getting Pampered


    Posted on Tue Jul 29th, 2014 3:45pm PDT Kim Kardashian may bust that big ol’ booty of hers when it comes to shoots and promotional duties, but even the reality TV queen needs a day to herself! Then again, most of what she probably had done was for on-camera prep… On Tuesday afternoon Kim went to the Lancer Dermatology office in Beverly Hills, and after spending over three hours at the top notch skin care clinic, she went to Meche Salon to get her tresses tended to. Kim came and went in her gym clothes, which always has us wondering whether she showers before going to the salon. I mean, if she’s getting a quality blow out and she’s all sticky from the gym, she’s going to want to rinse off again, right? And we all know shower caps aren’t 100% effective when it comes to keeping your hair frizz-free… Someday we’ll get the answer …

    July 29, 2014 6:02 pm
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Editorial

  • Shame of the GOP on border


    In this July 11, 2014, photo, people are rafted to the Mexican shore, across the Suchiate river that separates Tecun Uman, Guatemala and Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, on a makeshift raft. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)AP2014 Even on Capitol Hill, there is a God. Last week, the nation’s religious leaders stood up to ask their elected officials to look past politics and see that children — not theoretical abstractions but real, young individuals — are suffering because of inaction by Congress. ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT The children who have come north, fleeing violence in Central America, “are not ‘issues.’ These are … children made in the image of God and we ought to respond to them with compassion, not fear,” Russell Moore, a leader of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention told The New York Times. The GOP seems content to let it happen and stoke the crisis so long as they can blame Obama. The pope, the President of Catholic …

    July 29, 2014 7:23 pm
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Odd News

  • More mysterious craters found in Russia’s remote Siberia region


    MOSCOW (Reuters) – Two more craters of unknown origin have been spotted in Russia’s Siberia region, weeks after a similar-looking hole was found in the isolated northernmost area, a local paper reported. The Siberian Times, an English-language newspaper, published pictures of two new giant holes discovered by reindeer herders, one located in the Yamal and the other in the Taymyr peninsula, both above the Arctic circle. The paper said that theories of their origin range from meteorites or stray missiles to aliens or an underground gas explosion. The report could not be confirmed independently. Russian state TV reported earlier this month that a giant hole had appeared in the gas-rich Yamal peninsula where temperatures plummet below -50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit) and the sun barely rises in winter. A Russian scientific expedition arrived at the site to inspect the first crater, nicknamed the “Yamal black hole”, earlier this month, according to a recent report …

    July 29, 2014 3:39 pm
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