Local Governments Slashing Retiree Health Benefits

As cash-strapped U.S. cities and states struggle to address gaping budget holes, a long-honored benefit for public-sector workers has come into the cross-hairs of budget cutters: retiree health insurance. A growing number of states and cities are eliminating or reducing health coverage for retirees, a benefit that has long fallen by the wayside for most […]

Connecticut Man Arrested In Thanksgiving Murder Of His Mother

A 48-year-old man has been accused of murdering his 74-year-old mother and two others on Thanksgiving Day 2010, police in East Hartford, Connecticut said on Monday. Brett Bednarz was charged with three counts of murder as well as violation of a protective order and burglary in the slaying of his mother, Beverly Thierren, and two […]

FDA: More Drugs May Be Linked To Meningitis Outbreak

Two other drugs made by the Massachusetts pharmacy at the center of a deadly meningitis outbreak may be linked to the disease, U.S. health regulators said on Monday, potentially widening the scope of the health crisis. The Food and Drug Administration said it was looking into reports of a patient with possible meningitis who received […]

Romney Hits Obama On China Policies

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Saturday accused President Barack Obama of failing to “stand up to China” after the U.S. Treasury put off releasing a politically sensitive report on the currency policies of major U.S. trading partners. “Four years after promising to take China ‘to the mat’ for its manipulative currency practices, President Obama […]

Supreme Court To Decide Arizona Voter Registration Case

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to consider whether Arizona can demand that voters show proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote in federal elections. The high court will not hear the case before the November 6 U.S. election, ensuring that the disputed registration requirement in Arizona will not be in effect. The legal […]

NASA’s Mars Rover Finds Rock With Earth-Like Chemistry

When scientists selected a rock to test the Mars rover Curiosity‘s laser, they expected it to contain the same minerals as rocks found elsewhere on the Red Planet, but learned instead it was more similar to a rock found on Earth. The rock was chemically more akin to an unusual type of rock found on […]

Moon Rocks, Chunks Of Mars Auctioned In New York

Meteorites from Mars and the biggest piece of the Moon ever offered for sale went on the block on Sunday in New York in what organizers billed as history’s largest meteorite auction, which brought in over $1 million. More than 125 meteorites were offered in the private sale, from gray pockmarked lumps of iron to […]

Scientists Discover Planet Made Out Of Diamond

Forget the diamond as big as the Ritz. This one’s bigger than planet Earth. Orbiting a star that is visible to the naked eye, astronomers have discovered a planet twice the size of our own made largely out of diamond. The rocky planet, called ’55 Cancri e’, orbits a sun-like star in the constellation of […]

Lithuanians Send Nuclear Plant Back To Drawing Board

Lithuanians rejected a plan to build a nuclear plant to cut dependence on imports of Russian energy, in a non-binding referendum that does not kill off the project but leaves a question mark over its future. Support for the plant in Lithuania, one of the European Union states most dependent on imported energy, waned after […]

Indonesia’s ‘Frankentrees’ Turn Cocoa Dream Into Nightmare

Nurhaedah, a vivacious Indonesian cocoa trader, shakes her head in disappointment as she sifts through a pile of blackened, shriveled beans. Yet another crop from “Frankentrees”: weak, misshapen cocoa trees toppling under their own weight. A $350-million campaign to boost cocoa yields in Indonesia, the world’s third largest producer of the commodity, is turning sour […]

OIC: West’s Free Speech Stand Bars Blasphemy Ban

Western opposition has made it impossible for Muslim states to obtain a ban on blasphemy, including anti-Islamic videos and cartoons that have touched off deadly riots, the Islamic world’s top diplomat said. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said his 57-nation body would not try again for United Nations support […]

Pussy Riot Members Lose Appeal To Stay In Moscow Prison

Two members of punk band Pussy Riot lost their appeal to stay in a Moscow pre-trial detention center on Monday, their lawyer said, and will now serve the remainder of their terms in a remote penal colony where conditions are much tougher. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Maria Alyokhina, 24, had their two-year sentence imposed over […]

Cardinal Causes Uproar With “Muslim Scare” Video At Vatican

A Roman Catholic cardinal has caused an uproar at the Vatican by screening a spurious YouTube video that makes alarmist predictions about the growth of Islam in Europe. The seven-minute clip, called “Muslim Demographics,” was the talk of an international gathering of bishops on Monday, two days after Cardinal Peter Turkson screened it during a […]

Scotland Seals Terms Of Historic Independence Vote

Scotland set up a historic independence referendum on Monday after its leader and Britain’s prime minister finalized arrangements for a vote that could lead to the demise of its three-centuries-old union with England. Scotland’s drive for sovereignty, led by its nationalist leader Alex Salmond, echoes separatist moves by other European regions such as Catalonia and […]

U.K. Doctors: Shot Pakistani Girl Can Recover

A Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban has every chance of making a “good recovery”, British doctors said on Monday as 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai arrived at a hospital in central England for treatment of her severe wounds. Yousufzai, who was shot for advocating education for girls, was flown from Pakistan to receive […]

Jeb Bush: Party Elder Statesman or 2016 Candidate?

He’s the non-candidate they never stop talking about. Ever since Jeb Bush left the Florida governor’s mansion in 2007 with favorable ratings after two terms, speculation has swirled about his political future. The chatter has only gotten louder this year amid the Republican Party’s “veepstakes” – despite Bush’s repeated insistence that he is not in […]

Romney Closing Gap In Ohio As Poll Numbers, Crowds Rise

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is recovering ground in the critical swing state of Ohio as he rises in the polls and crowd numbers swell after his strong debate performance last week against President Barack Obama. Despite pundits and pollsters dismissing Romney’s chances in the state in late September, the Republican is now either tied […]

Republicans Hammer Obama Over Libya Attacks

Republicans on Sunday kept the heat on President Barack Obama over the September 11 killing of four Americans in Libya, with a senior senator saying the attack supported the Romney campaign’s claim that Obama’s foreign policy is “unraveling.” Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney has seized on the Obama administration’s handling of the deadly attack on […]

In Second Debate, Obama Faces Challenges On Key Issues

Losing ground to Republican Mitt Romney on a host of issues, President Barack Obama faces a serious challenge to put his re-election bid back on track when the two men face off on Tuesday in their second debate. Obama’s passive performance in their first debate two weeks ago and Romney’s subsequent surge have raised expectations […]

Sources: Government Moving Closer To Google Antitrust Suit

The majority of top decision-makers at the Federal Trade Commission believe that an antitrust case should be brought against Google Inc, meaning the search giant could soon be headed into tough negotiations, three people familiar with the matter said. Four of the FTC commissioners have become convinced after more than a year of investigation that […]

Flame Authors Linked To New Spying Program

The security company that has discovered some of the most sophisticated spying software unearthed to date says it found a related program, dubbed “miniFlame,” which can carry out more precise attacks on targets in the Middle East. While the original Flame virus swept in data from perhaps 5,000 computers, largely in Iran and Sudan, the […]

Microsoft To Take On Apple With Xbox Music

Microsoft Corp on Monday announced that Xbox Music, a digital music service to vie with Apple Inc’s iTunes and Amazon.com Inc’s Cloud Player, will be available for its Xbox game consoles on Tuesday. The service will be expanded to Windows software-based computers and tablets, including the upcoming Surface tablet, from October 26, when Microsoft launches […]

EU Data Chiefs Find Legal Flaws In Google Privacy Policy

European Union data protection authorities have found legal problems with Google’s new privacy policy and asked the company to make changes, a letter from a majority of the bloc’s national regulators seen by Reuters said. The letter, which stopped short of declaring Google‘s approach to collecting user data illegal, comes after a nine-month investigation led […]

U.S. Exports To Iran Rise Nearly One-Third Despite Sanctions

U.S. exports to Iran rose by nearly a third this year, chiefly because of grain sales, according to U.S. data released last week, despite the tightening of U.S. financial sanctions. The jump to $199.5 million in the first eight months of 2012 from $150.8 million a year earlier, according to Census Bureau data, is surprising […]

U.S. Economists Win Nobel Prize For Applying Match-Making

Life-saving kidney exchange programs and ways for schools to select students are just two practical applications of the market-matching theories for which U.S. economists Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley won the Nobel prize for economics on Monday. Pairing up employers with job seekers – for instance doctors and lawyers taking up their first appointments – […]

Retail Sales Point To Stronger Economic Growth

Retail sales rose in September as Americans bought more of everything from cars to electronics, a sign consumers are driving faster economic growth despite icy winds from the cooling global economy. Other data on Monday showed manufacturing activity in New York state shrank in October, though the pace of contraction eased. Retail sales, however, increased […]

Japan’s Softbank Snaps Up Sprint In $20 Billion Deal

Japanese mobile operator Softbank Corp said it will buy about 70 percent of Sprint Nextel Corp, the third-largest U.S. carrier, for $20.1 billion – the most a Japanese firm has spent on an overseas acquisition. The deal, announced by Softbank’s billionaire founder and chief Masayoshi Son and Sprint Chief Executive Dan Hesse at a packed […]

Panetta: U.S. May Act Preemptively To Prevent Cyber Threat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military could act pre-emptively if it detects an imminent threat of cyber attack, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday, urging stronger action to bolster America’s defenses against such plots. In what was described by U.S. officials as the first major policy speech on cyber security by a defense […]

Joe Biden Comes Out Swinging At Vice-Presidential Debate

DANVILLE, Kentucky (Reuters) – Vice President Joe Biden and rival Republican Paul Ryan battled fiercely over foreign policy and the economy in a lively debate on Thursday, with Biden aggressively defending the administration’s policies and dismissing Ryan’s criticism. Seeking to win back the momentum for the Democrats’ campaign after a poor debate performance by President […]

Key Quotes From The Vice-Presidential Debate

DANVILLE, Kentucky (Reuters) – Key quotes from Thursday’s debate between Democratic Vice President Joe Biden and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee for vice president: * On the fatal assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens: BIDEN: “I can make absolutely two commitments to you and all […]

Lance Armstrong Doesn’t Care About Doping Scandal

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Unrepentant and seemingly unconcerned, Lance Armstrong was going about his business as usual on Thursday as the cycling world was left reeling by the revelations about his alleged role as a doping ringleader. Five of his former team mates who confessed to using performance enhancing drugs were formally banned by USA […]

Man Pleads Not Guilty To Trying To Bomb Downtown Chicago Bar

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A 19-year-old man described by his attorney as “incredibly naive” pleaded not guilty Thursday to attempting to detonate what he thought was a car bomb outside a Chicago bar. Adel Daoud appeared in federal court dressed in orange prison clothing with shackled legs, smiling and waving to his distraught-looking parents, who were […]

Yankees Manager, Joe Girardi, Lost His Father On Saturday

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The father of New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi died on Saturday and Girardi kept the news from the team until Thursday to avoid distracting them from their playoff series with the Baltimore Orioles. Jerry Girardi, 81, died at a healthcare residence in Metamora, Illinois, the Yankees said in a statement. […]

EBay Tests Deals On Services, Takes On Groupon

(Reuters) – EBay Inc has been quietly testing an online marketplace for deals on local services, expanding into a multibillion- dollar market currently led by Groupon Inc. EBay is also re-designing its website, adding Facebook-like features it hopes will spur more sales. Called eBay Lifestyle Deals, the offers are being run in a limited number […]

Romney Extends Lead Over Obama: Reuters/Ipsos poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican challenger Mitt Romney has extended his lead over President Barack Obama to 3 percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll released on Thursday, ahead of a high-stakes debate between the two candidates’ running mates. Romney now leads the Democrat by 47 percent to 44 percent among likely voters in the […]

Samsung Wins Key Appeal In War With Apple

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court overturned a pretrial sales ban against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone, dealing a setback to Apple Inc in its battle against Google Inc’s increasingly popular mobile software. Apple is waging war on several fronts against Google, whose Android software powers many of Samsung’s devices. The […]

Hezbollah Confirms It Sent UAV Into Israel

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged on Thursday sending a drone aircraft that was shot down last weekend after flying some 25 miles into Israel. Nasrallah said in a televised speech that the drone’s parts were manufactured in Iran and it was assembled by members of the Shi’ite Muslim militant movement […]

Gunmen Muder Head of Security At U.S. Embassy In Yemen

SANAA (Reuters) – Masked gunmen shot dead a Yemeni man who worked in the security office of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa on Thursday, in an attack a Yemeni security source said appeared to be the work of al Qaeda. The incident was the latest of a wave of attacks on officials in the impoverished […]

Supreme Court Jumps Right Into Racial Quota System At The University Of Texas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Supreme Court justices on Wednesday vigorously challenged a University of Texas admissions program that favors some African-American and Hispanic applicants in a case that could determine how universities use affirmative action at campuses nationwide. The legal battle is the most closely watched case of the court’s current term, striking at the heart […]

Turkey Forces Down Syrian Plane, Tensions Mounting

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey scrambled fighters and briefly detained a Syrian passenger plane on Wednesday, suspecting it of carrying military equipment from Moscow, while Turkey’s military chief warned of a more forceful response if shelling continued to spill over the border. Military jets escorted the Damascus-bound Airbus A-320, carrying around 30 passengers, into the airport […]

S&P Gives Spain A Double Downgrade, Country Now A BBB-minus

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Standard & Poor’s on Wednesday cut Spain’s sovereign credit rating to BBB-minus, just above junk territory, citing a deepening economic recession that is limiting the government’s policy options to arrest the slide. The S&P downgrade comes with a negative outlook reflecting the credit ratings agency’s view that there are significant risks […]

Turkey Warns Syria Against Cross-Border Shelling

HACIPASA, Turkey – Turkey’s military chief of staff said on Wednesday his troops would respond with greater force if bombardments from Syria keep hitting Turkish territory. Several mortar bombs landed outside the Syrian border town of Azmarin and heavy machinegun fire could be heard from the Turkish side as clashes between the Syrian army and […]

Obama Nominates Top Marine As Afghan Commander

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated General Joseph Dunford, the No. 2 Marine officer, to lead the war effort in Afghanistan and oversee plans to withdraw most of America’s combat forces from the country by the end of 2014. Dunford appeared in a press conference with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to announce […]