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Updated: 2 hours 49 min ago

After more reports of mass killings, Iraq on high alert for IS attacks

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 06:56

Iraq boosted security Monday amid fears of the Islamic State group launching major attacks on Shiite pilgrims flocking to the shrine city of Karbala as further reports emerged of mass killings. The pilgrims are prime targets for the IS jihadists, who have carried out a series of mass executions in recent days, killing scores of members of a tribe in Iraq's western Anbar province. A police officer and an official gave figures of more than 200 to 258 people killed, while Iraq's human rights ministry put the toll at 322 and a tribal leader said 381 were executed. The mass killings appear aimed at discouraging resistance from powerful local tribes in Anbar, where IS overran large areas in June as pro-government forces suffered a string of setbacks.

Record snow in Maine, and power outages

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 06:40

By Dave Sherwood BRUNSWICK Maine (Reuters) - A rare early season snowstorm brought 50-miles-per-hour (80-kph) winds and record-breaking snowfall to parts of Maine overnight, leaving more than 140,000 homes and businesses without power on Monday. Governor Paul LePage declared a limited state of emergency as slippery driving conditions, downed trees and white-out conditions led to a spike in accidents and shut down many local roads. ...

23 feared dead in suicide bombing in N. Nigeria

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 06:24

By Joe Hemba YOBE Nigeria (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed at least 23 people in a procession of Shi'ite Muslims marking the ritual of Ashoura in northeast Nigeria's Yobe state on Monday, witnesses said. In a separate incident overnight in central Kogi state, gunmen using explosives blew their way into a prison in the city of Lokoja, killing one person and freeing 144 inmates, Adams Omale, prisons coordinator for the state, told Reuters. ...

U.S. top court does not act yet on Obamacare subsidies challenge

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 06:04

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday took no action on a closely watched case that challenges a key part of the Obamacare healthcare law and could limit the availability of federal health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans. The legal fight concerns whether the subsidies vital to the implantation of the 2010 Affordable Care Act should be available in all 50 states or only in some. The case was brought by conservative challengers to the law who were appealing a July ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld the subsidies. ...

Branson fights back on safety warnings claim

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 05:50

Following spacecraft crash, Virgin Galactic boss takes issue with "self-proclaimed experts" after scientist said company ignored safety warnings.

Gun-toting security guard who rode elevator with Obama says firing unjust

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 05:37

Kenneth Tate, who was fired after accompanying President Obama in an elevator at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta while carrying a gun, says his firing was "unjust."

Virgin Galactic spaceship insured for $40-50 million

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 04:34

By Carolyn Cohn and Richa Naidu LONDON (Reuters) - The Virgin Galactic spaceship which crashed on Friday was insured against losses totaling around $40-50 million and the lead underwriter was AIG, insurance sources said on Monday. AIG declined to comment. British insurance and brokerage services provider Jardine Lloyd Thompson confirmed that it was the broker on the deal. "We act on behalf of Virgin Galactic and are providing every assistance, as is appropriate in these tragic circumstances," JLT said in a statement. ...

Thieves steal 'Arbeit Macht Frei' gate from Dachau death camp

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 04:18

Thieves have stolen the iron gate to Dachau concentration camp bearing the Nazi slogan "Arbeit macht frei" (work sets you free), the director of the memorial site in southern Germany and local police said on Monday. "It is the central symbol of the prisoners' suffering at Dachau concentration camp and therefore has hit the memorial at its heart," said Gabriele Hammermann, director of the memorial. The Nazis set up the camp in Dachau, near Munich, in 1933, only weeks after Adolf Hitler took power. Initially meant to detain political rivals, it became the prototype for a network of concentration camps where 6 million Jews were murdered, as well as Roma, Russians, Poles and homosexuals.

Political ad blizzard traumatizes Arkansas

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 04:11

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — No, dear voter, it wasn't a dream. If you were watching television this weekend in Arkansas, you really did see that many political ads.

Seven rescued, 24 drown as migrant boat capsizes off Istanbul

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 04:09

At least 24 migrants, including children, drowned on Monday when a boat taking them towards European Union waters sank in the Black Sea just off Istanbul, Turkish officials said. Seven people were rescued from the stricken boat, which had set off earlier from Istanbul and had travelled through the Bosphorus Strait on its way to Romania, the coastguard said in a statement. They had set off earlier from Bakirkoy, an Istanbul suburb on the Sea of Marmara side of the Bosphorus. The official Anatolia news agency said that rescuers, who had been alerted to the accident by fishermen, found the vessel was already semi-submerged on arrival.

What Ebola has taught us about handling Mars soil samples

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 03:48

Measures taken in the current Ebola outbreak may hold some clues for how to handle samples brought back to Earth from Mars, a place that could potentially host extraterrestrial microbes. Based on a novel by Michael Crichton, the film depicts the spread of an alien germ brought back to Earth by a satellite. NASA officials have wanted to build and launch a robotic lander that scoops up some Martian samples and returns them to Earth. Hauling back Martian samples means potentially dealing with biological "hot property," as well as public concern about creepy crawlers from Mars eating away at Earth's biosphere.

'Death with dignity' advocate ends her life

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 01:46

Terminally ill Brittany Maynard, 29, took advantage of Oregon's assisted suicide law.

Oregon woman, advocate for terminally ill patients, ends her life

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 01:09
By Victoria Cavaliere (Reuters) - A 29-year-old woman suffering from brain cancer who became an advocate for terminally ill patients who want to end their own lives has died using Oregon's doctor-assisted suicide law, an advocacy group said Sunday. Brittany Maynard "passed peacefully in her bed surrounded by close family and loved ones," according to a statement posted on Facebook by the group Compassion & Choices, an Oregon-based nonprofit that assisted the young woman through her end of life. ...

With Senate at stake, candidates clash over Obama

Sun, 11/02/2014 - 23:02

WASHINGTON (AP) — On the eve of an election that will decide the Senate majority, it's time for closing arguments and an all-out effort to motivate people to vote.

U.S. student debt burden falling more on top earners, easing bubble fears

Sun, 11/02/2014 - 21:11

By Jason Lange WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Young Americans with big college debts are often portrayed as struggling to pay their bills. The reality is somewhat different - those owing super-sized student loans tend to be higher paid. A Reuters analysis of Federal Reserve data shows that over the past two decades the young with higher incomes have gone from owing less of the debt than the average household to owing considerably more. U.S. student loan balances have quadrupled since 2004 to $1.1 trillion (688. ...

Wallenda completes Chicago skyscraper wire walks

Sun, 11/02/2014 - 19:46
CHICAGO (AP) — Daredevil Nik Wallenda wowed Chicago and the world Sunday with two hair-raising skyscraper crossings on high wires without a safety net or a harness, and performing one blindfolded.

Terminally ill woman who planned suicide dies

Sun, 11/02/2014 - 19:09

Brittany Maynard, 29, took advantage of Oregon’s physician-assisted suicide law.

Virgin Galactic CEO sees new spacecraft ready next year

Sun, 11/02/2014 - 16:18

By Irene Klotz MOJAVE Calif. (Reuters) - Virgin Galactic could have a new spacecraft ready to fly by next year, the chief executive of Richard Branson's space tourism company said in an interview published on Sunday, reacting to concerns about the safety of technology used in the Virgin craft that crashed last week George Whitesides, the head of the company dedicated to Branson's vision of bringing everyday passengers into space, told the Financial Times the new fuel system used in Virgin's SpaceShipTwo during Friday's test flight in the Mojave Desert was rigorously tested. ...

Obama swaps planes on trip after Air Force One flap problem

Sun, 11/02/2014 - 16:17
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and his entourage were switching to a different plane for his return trip to Washington on Sunday because of a minor flap issue with the aircraft, dubbed Air Force One, that flew them earlier in the day, a spokesman said. "While in Philadelphia, we have transferred to a backup airplane due to a minor mechanical problem with one of the aircraft's flaps," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. "This switch to a backup C-32 will not affect our schedule." Any plane that carries the president maintains the name Air Force One. ...

Obama makes final campaign push, hoping to avert electoral rout

Sun, 11/02/2014 - 16:03

By Jeff Mason BRIDGEPORT Conn. (Reuters) - President Barack Obama made a final push on Sunday to help struggling Democrats before this week's midterm elections, making campaign stops in Connecticut and Pennsylvania to try to avert a "shellacking" at the polls like the one in 2010. After a 2014 political season spent mostly behind the scenes at high-dollar fundraisers, Obama spent the past several days on the road, making appearances in states where his low popularity ratings are seen as less of an albatross to Democrats running for office than in other close races across the country. ...