David J. Downs

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Israeli military announces end to Gaza truce

The Israeli military says a Gaza ceasefire that went into effect earlier on Friday is now over and military operations are in progress on the ground.<p>Asked during a media conference call if the ceasefire was over, Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said: "Yes. We are continuing …

Sharknado 2 a runaway ratings hit

The Syfy channel's first "Sharknado" movie last July generated buzz through social media chatter.<p>The second movie, appropriately titled "Sharknado 2: The Second One," used a different tactic -- getting attention through ample news coverage in the run-up to air. And it earned much higher ratings as …

New malware can live inside any USB device undetected

It turns out that the stalwart USB thumbstick, or any universal serial bus device, isn't as trustworthy as once thought. A pair of security researchers has found we need to worry about more than just malware-infected files that are stored portable drives, and now need to guard against hacks built …

Banking For The Poor: Will This Be Bill Gates' Greatest Philanthropic Achievement?

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates has given away more than $28 billion, comfortably making him the world’s greatest living philanthropist.<p>Yet, providing access to financial services to the one-third of the world’s people who are currently unbanked might just be on there, too.<p>Banks are hardly the most …

Flying axe narrowly misses car passenger on US motorway

An axe fell from a landscaper's dump truck and through the windscreen of a car in Massachusetts<p>A motorist and passenger had a narrow escape when an axe flew through the windscreen of a car.<p>The male driver, who has not been identified by police, was on a busy motorway in Massachusetts when the tool …

Activists Send Choco Pies Floating Into North Korea

A year after North Korea cracked down on Choco Pies — marshmallow-filled chocolate cakes originating in South Korea — activists in South Korea sent …

European court orders Russia to pay damages to opposition politician

The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday ordered Russia to pay damages for civil rights violations against a prominent opposition politician who was arrested at a street protest in Moscow in 2010 and subsequently detained.<p>In the second of two rulings against Russia on Thursday, the …

Judge won't free Russian accused of hacking in US

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A federal judge in the U.S. territory of Guam denied a motion Thursday to release a Russian lawmaker's son accused of hacking …

Thai musician jailed for 15 years for insulting royals

28-year-old found guilty posting insulting messages about the monarchy on Facebook between 2010 and 2011<p>A Thai musician has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for royal defamation, a court official said, in the latest conviction under a controversial lese majeste law.<p>The 28-year-old was found …

California bullet-train plan scores legal win

A state appellate court on Thursday overturned two lower court rulings that had stalled funding for California's $68 billion bullet train, handing a big win to the project and allowing the state to resume selling bonds to pay for it.<p>SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A state appellate court on Thursday …

Bulgaria signs nuclear deal with Westinghouse

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria, one of five EU states that depend totally on Russia for nuclear fuel, and Westinghouse Electric Company signed a shareholder agreement on Friday paving the way for construction of a new nuclear reactor estimated to cost $5 billion.<p>The deal, which still requires the …

Underground gas explosions kill 24 in Taiwanese port

At least 24 people were killed and 271 injured when several underground gas explosions ripped through Taiwan's second-largest city, hurling concrete and cars through the air and blasting trenches in the streets, authorities said Friday, as a search for the cause began.<p>The series of explosions about …

Sierra Leone declares emergency as Ebola death toll hits 729

FREETOWN (Reuters) - Sierra Leone has declared a state of emergency and called in troops to quarantine Ebola victims, joining neighboring Liberia in imposing controls as the death toll from the outbreak of the virus hit 729 in West Africa.<p>The World Health Organisation said it would launch a $100 …

More gray hairs for Obama

No matter how much you love your children, if you were a parent in Honduras, you might be tempted to ship them to the United States.<p>According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world. In 2012, Honduras had 90.4 homicides per 100,000 …

Female Yahoo Exec Sued for Sexual Harassment

A female Yahoo executive has been sued for sexual harassment and wrongful termination by another female employee.<p>Nan Shi, a principal software …

Kurdish minister: 'Iraq is a failed state'

Iraq's new parliament is due to reconvene on Tuesday in another attempt to agree on a unity government.<p>Kurdish MPs withdrew from Iraq's central government last week after Prime Minister Nouri Maliki accused the Kurds of harbouring extremists.<p>Speaking to the BBC, the foreign minister of Iraq's …

Middle East

Billionaire's breakup plan would chop California into six states

San Francisco (Reuters) - A long-shot effort to break California into six separate states got a boost on Monday, when the billionaire venture capitalist behind the proposal said he had gathered enough signatures to place it on the ballot in two years.<p>Timothy Draper, Founder and Managing Director of …

China pushes for developing world's rights as BRICS summit opens

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will dedicate itself to “perfecting” the role developing countries play in international affairs to give them better representation and a greater say, President Xi Jinping said ahead of a summit of BRICS nations in Brazil.<p>China's President Xi Jinping addresses the Joint …

Putin's Latin America trip aims to show Russia is more than just regional power

Russian President Vladimir Putin's trip to Latin America is aimed to demonstrate several things:<p>Russia is a global, not a regional power, as US President Barack Obama recently described it. Conferring with leaders in the US's own backyard is a sure way to send that message.<br>• Russia's exclusion from …

Israel says Iron Dome defence system is saving Israeli lives

Israeli authorities say many Israeli lives have been saved as a result of the Iron Dome system which has been built to intercept rockets launched by Hamas.<p>In Tel Aviv, IDF spokesman lieutenant colonel Peter Lerner said: “the Iron Dome missile defence system has been a huge success in saving Israeli …

Suspect in Benghazi attack found dead

<b>Tripoli, Libya (CNN) —</b> A man once detained by Libyan officials and interviewed by the FBI over suspected links to the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, has turned up dead.<p>Faraj al-Shibli, whose name is also spelled Chalabi, was last seen in the custody of a …

IRS Surrenders, Won't Check Whether Political Nonprofits Are Breaking The Law

The Internal Revenue Service has decided to award most nonprofit groups tax exemption status without being screened, Time reported Sunday.<p>IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told Time that about 80 percent of charitable groups seeking tax exemption will go through a simplified application process. …

Google, Facebook, Netflix Make Their Official Case for Net Neutrality

FCC Chair­man Tom Wheel­er put for­ward a pro­pos­al in May that promp­ted a massive pub­lic back­lash be­cause it would al­low broad­band pro­viders …

Net Neutrality

Egypt launches initiative to halt Israel-Palestinian conflict

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Egypt launched an initiative on Monday to halt fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants, proposing a ceasefire to be followed by talks in Cairo on settling the conflict in which Gaza authorities say more than 170 people have died.<p>Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin …

Costa Concordia: Wrecked cruise ship floating again, but victim still missing

The last time anyone saw Russel Rebello alive, he was near the stern of the Costa Concordia, helping passengers into rescue boats.<p>But the 33-year-old waiter from India never escaped the doomed cruise ship. And he's the only victim of the 2012 shipwreck whose remains haven't been found.<p>Investigators …

LeBron James to rejoin Cleveland Cavaliers after leaving Miami Heat

Basketball's biggest star announces he will return to his first NBA team to see if he can finally deliver on his promise of winning a title there<p>LeBron James is going back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.<p>James told <i>Sports Illustrated</i> onFriday that he's decided to go home. It's a move that would have …