Friday, February 27, 2015

Congress Pursues Stopgap Funding for Homeland Security

(Reuters) - The U.S. Congress on Friday appeared to be headed toward approving a three-week-long stopgap funding bill for the domestic security agency that postpones the threat of a partial shutdown, but moves lawmakers no closer to a permanent solution.

With only hours remaining before Department of Homeland Security funding expires at midnight, the House of Representatives was pursuing a short-term funding extension. It would give Republicans more time to agree on a way to keep the agency open over the long term, while still fighting Democratic President Barack Obama over his immigration order lifting the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented residents.

The House voted 240-183 along strict party lines to approve a procedural rule that will allow a vote on the short-term extension later in the day. The measure would then go to the Senate for expected approval on Friday afternoon.

Read Full Article - Reuters

Actor Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83

Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.

His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Nimoy announced last year that he had the disease, which he attributed to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.

Read Full Article - The New York Times

Net Neutrality: What Does It Mean For You?

On Thursday, the FCC approved new rules that -- depending on which side you believe -- either ensure a fair internet or smother it with unfair regulations.

The FCC's vote allows it to assert extra authority over the Internet to establish net neutrality. It's like equal opportunity for Internet speeds and access to websites. No unfair fast/slow lanes. No blocking of legal services on your phone, computer or tablet.

But hold off on celebrating or gasping in despair.

In reality, the world won't look any different on Friday -- or anytime soon. The biggest hopes and fears about regulators won't materialize. Netflix won't suddenly stream any faster for you. AT&T (T,Tech30) and Comcast (CMCSA) won't abruptly stop laying down high-speed fiber cables and investing in their networks as retaliation. And Netflix can still cut deals with broadband companies for faster access to a network.

Read Full Article - CNN Money

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Islamic State militant 'Jihadi John' identified

LONDON — The Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John," who has been seen in videos of hostages' beheadings, was identified Thursday by the BBC and The Washington Post.

Mohammed Emwazi, who is in his mid-20s, is believed to be a Kuwaiti-born British man from west London. The BBC said he was known to British security services, who chose not to disclose his name for operational reasons.

"Jihadi John" has appeared in videos showing the killings of U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, U.S. medic Abdul-Rahman Kassig and Britons David Haines and Alan Henning. 

Read Full Article - USA Today

Read More @ The Washington Post

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Video: President Obama Makes Statement on IS Fight

Obama Sends Congress Request For Military Force Against IS

Washington (AP) - President Barack Obama asked Congress on Wednesday to authorize military force to "degrade and defeat" Islamic State forces in the Middle East without sustained, large-scale U.S. ground combat operations, setting lawmakers on a path toward their first war powers vote in 13 years.

The initial reaction was bipartisan skepticism. Republicans expressed unhappiness that Obama chose to exclude any long-term commitment of ground forces, while some Democrats voiced dismay that he had opened the door to deployment at all.

In a letter accompanying draft legislation, Obama said approval of his request would "show the world we are united in our resolve to counter the threat" posed by fighters seeking establishment of an Islamic State.

Read Full Article - The Associated Press

3 Muslim Students Killed in North Carolina

An ongoing dispute over an apartment parking space may have led to the shooting deaths of three Muslim college students in North Carolina, but investigators are trying to determine if the killings could also have been hate-motivated, police said Wednesday.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, who turned himself in to the Chatham County Sheriff's Office, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the fatal shootings Tuesday afternoon at an apartment building in Chapel Hill.

Hicks, wearing a jail jumpsuit, made a brief appearance in Durham County District Court Wednesday morning where he asked for a public defender. He was denied bail and informed that the next hearing would be held March 4, reports.

Read Full Article - USA Today

Jon Stewart Announces He’s Leaving 'The Daily Show'

Jon Stewart, the comedian-turned-faux newsman who transformedThe Daily Show into a cultural powerhouse over the course of 16 years at the anchor desk, is leaving the show later this year.

Stewart announced his coming departure during the taping of Tuesday night’s show, and Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless confirmed it in a statement. It wasn’t immediately clear what Stewart’s next move will be, nor was it clear who would replace him or whether the show will continue.

“For the better part of the last two decades, I have had the incredible honor and privilege of working with Jon Stewart,” Ganeless said. “His comedic brilliance is second to none....

Read Full Article - Time

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Spider-Man To Join Marvel

Spider-Man is coming home. As announced via press release late Monday, Sony and Disney-owned Marvel Studios will produce the next iteration of Spider-Man on the big screen. The beloved character -- who has lived at Sony since Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" in 2002 -- will appear in an upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe feature for Disney, before getting his own Sony movie on July 28, 2017. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and outgoing Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal will produce the new film. According to BuzzFeed, current Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield will not return.

"Spider-Man is one of Marvel's great characters, beloved around the world. We're thrilled to work with Sony Pictures to bring the iconic web-slinger into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which opens up fantastic new opportunities for storytelling and franchise building," Bob Iger, Disney chairman and CEO, said in a release.

Read Full Article - Huffington Post

Monday, February 9, 2015

Israeli PM Netanyahu considering changes to Congress speech

(Reuters) - Israeli officials are considering amending the format of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned address to the U.S. Congress next month to try to calm some of the partisan furore the Iran-focused speech has provoked.

Netanyahu is due to address a joint session of Congress about Iran's nuclear programme on March 3, just two weeks before Israeli elections, following an invitation from John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the house.

Boehner's invitation has caused consternation in both Israel and the United States, largely because it is seen as Netanyahu, a hawk on Iran, working with the Republicans to thumb their noses at President Barack Obama's policy on Iran.

Read Full Article - Reuters

Merkel and Obama Seek Common Ground on Ukraine

(CNN) - As the deadly violence in Ukraine ramps up, so does the international scramble to find a solution.

President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met to discuss the crisis Monday in Washington, while in Brussels, Belgium, the European Union agreed on new sanctions against pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine and their supporters.

In a joint news conference with Merkel, Obama said Russia has "violated just about every commitment" it made in the September Minsk agreement meant to help end the fighting in Ukraine.

Read Full Article - CNN News

Obama, Merkel Hint At Disagreements On Ukraine

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What to Expect From Tonight's Grammy Awards Show

The Grammy telecast this evening will be all about those "Grammy Moments" -- musical mash-ups featuring odd collections of artists that you won't see anywhere else.

The show's executive producer, Ken Ehrlich, says there are so many of these this year, he really can't pinpoint which one people will be talking about on Monday morning.

"This year, that might be the hardest question," Ehrlich told ABC News. "I mean, this show runs the gamut ... you've got AC/DC, Madonna, classic artists like that, and then it's Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran ... and these combinations this year, I think, are remarkable, all the way from Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine to Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney."

Not only that, but Ehrlich says a real thrill for him this year is that so many artists who'll be performing have never before graced the Grammy stage.

Read Full Article - ABC News

UPDATE: Click here for complete winners list and videos

Sick of Cold Weather? Winter's Coldest Yet to Come for Northeast

Have you had enough of the snow and cold in the Northeast? There's bad news for you in the forecast. A strong push of arctic air will move into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic late next week, and it looks likely that many locations will see their coldest weather of the winter. In fact, some could see the lowest temperatures in many years.

Chilly conditions have been in place for much of the Northeast since start of the year, except for a few brief breaks in January. Low temperatures have typically dropped into the single digits and teens for many in New England, with occasionally even colder readings. Boston saw below-average temperatures for 26 of the first 38 days of this year, with 16 of those days being at least 8 degrees below average.

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be much relief in the near future. Temperatures will rebound closer to average into the beginning of this week for the Northeast but will still be slightly below average.

Read Full Article - The Weather Channel

No winner of Powerball jackpot, lifting top prize to $450 million

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Powerball's jackpot climbed on Sunday to $450 million, one of the richest ever offered by the multi-state lottery, after the previous evening's drawing failed to produce any grand prize winners.

The winning numbers in Saturday's drawing were 5, 10, 21 34 and 58, lottery officials said, and the Powerball number was 33.

While no players qualified for the jackpot by picking all the numbers, ticketholders won about $30 million in lesser prizes, according the Powerball website.

Read Full Article - Yahoo News

5 Dead in Suburban Atlanta Mass Shooting

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. — A man shot six people, including his ex-wife, before turning the gun on himself, authorities said Saturday.

In all five people are dead, including three children. Two other children are injured, said Lt. Glenn Daniel of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.

"It tears at your heart. It doesn't make any sense," he said. "I've been in law enforcement out here 20 years, and this is the worst I've ever seen."

Horrified neighbors called 911 and tended to the severely injured victims in this suburb about 20 miles west of Atlanta as best they could before rescuers arrived.

Read Full Article - USA Today

Saturday, February 7, 2015

New Questions About Saudi Arabia And 9/11

After departing Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, President George W. Bush confers with Vice President Dick Cheney from Air Force One during his flight to Andrews Air Force Base Sept. 11, 2001.
Photo: Eric Draper
WASHINGTON (AP) — For years, some current and former American officials have been urging President Barack Obama to release secret files they say document links between the government of Saudi Arabia and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Other officials, including the executive director of the Sept. 11 commission, have said the classified documents do not prove that the Saudi government knew about or financed the 2001 terrorist attacks, and that making the material public would serve no purpose.

Now, unsubstantiated court testimony by Zacharias Moussaoui, a former al-Qaida member serving life in federal prison, has renewed the push by those who want a closer look into whether there was official Saudi involvement with al-Qaida and the Sept. 11 hijackers. 

Read Full Article - Huffington Post

Chocolate Snorting a New Way to a Cocoa High

(Reuters) - When Belgian chocolatier Dominique Persoone created a chocolate-sniffing device for a Rolling Stones party in 2007, he never imagined demand would stretch much beyond the rock 'n' roll scene. But, seven years later, he has sold 25,000 of them.

Inspired by a device his grandfather used to propel tobacco snuff up his nose, Persoone created a 'Chocolate Shooter' to deliver a hit of Dominican Republic or Peruvian cocoa powder, mixed with mint and either ginger or raspberry.

"The mint and the ginger really tinkle your nose," the 46-year-old said in his chocolate factory in the medieval city of Bruges. "Then the mint flavor goes down and the chocolate stays in your brain."

Read Full Article - Reuters