World News

US retail sales flat in July

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 11:28am

US retail sales were virtually unchanged in July after rising in June, suggesting a key driver of the world's largest economy had reached a plateau by mid-summer. The Commerce Department said Friday that advance estimates put sales at retailers and restaurants for July at $457.7 billion, the same as the previous month but up 2.3 percent year-on-year. Auto and auto parts sales were up 1.1 percent in July, helping to boost the overall figure.

Putin dismisses powerful chief of staff

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 11:28am

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday unexpectedly dismissed his close ally and powerful chief of staff Sergei Ivanov, in the highest-level change inside the Kremlin in several years. Ivanov -- who served with Putin in the Soviet-era KGB spy agency -- was replaced by his deputy Anton Vaino. Many observers had considered Ivanov a leading candidate to take over from Putin as president when his second term ended in 2008.

It’s getting pretty embarrassing to not be Apple and Samsung

Latest Tech News - August 12, 2016 - 11:28am
If your company isn't named Samsung or Apple, the smartphone market is a difficult place to be in the United States. The two companies combine to own more than half of the US smartphone market. More importantly, they pull in just about all of the industry's profit. LG has done the best job in the recent past of competing with Apple and Samsung in the US, but no other company has managed to build market share that even reaches into the double digits. And the saddest story likely continues to be HTC, which briefly sat atop the US smartphone market at one point but has since struggled to stay afloat thanks to competition from Apple and Samsung at the top, and China-based smartphone makers at the bottom. HTC has been struggling for years, but the company's most embarrassing moment wouldn't come until this week. DON'T MISS:  One of Apple’s biggest wholesale partners is already taking iPhone 7 preorders As 9to5Google noted on Thursday night, T-Mobile has stopped selling the HTC 10 flagship smartphone. The discontinuation of a smartphone generally isn't very big news, since handsets are replaced all the time with newer and better models. The issue here, however, is that HTC's latest and greatest handset went on sale just over two months ago. In other words, it took AT&T longer to bail on Amazon's Fire phone flop than it took for T-Mobile to discontinue the HTC 10. HTC is in a tremendously difficult place right now. It makes fantastic smartphones and the HTC 10 can easily compete with any other flagship in the world. As we made clear in our HTC 10 review , it truly is a fantastic flagship smartphone. But in the end, there's really no reason to buy an HTC 10 over a Galaxy S7 or an iPhone 6s, and that's HTC's biggest problem. The company has practically no marketing budget compared to the billions spent by Samsung and Apple each year, and its phones, though terrific, offer no meaningful benefit over similar offerings from market leaders.

Seth Rogen is making a comedy about the singularity for FX

Latest Tech News - August 12, 2016 - 11:20am

Seth Rogen could be leaping from fratty antics to futurism with a pilot he's working on for FX, one that's focused on the impending technological singularity that experts like Ray Kurzweil believe is on the horizon. "We have a pilot for FX that we're gonna shoot that we're working on right now," said Rogen. "We're writing the script right now, we're working on the script... we'll film that sometime in the next year." Rogen wasn't even sure if the project was announced, but that didn't stop him from sharing a few more details.

Blasts hit resort towns in southern Thailand

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 11:19am

By Prapan Chankaew and Andrew R.C. Marshall HUA HIN, Thailand (Reuters) - A series of blasts hit three of the most popular tourist resorts as well as towns in southern Thailand on Thursday and Friday, killing four people and wounding dozens, days after the country voted to accept a military-backed constitution. Other blasts hit the tourist island of Phuket, a resort town in Phang Nga province, and Surat Thani, a city that is the gateway to popular islands such as Koh Samui in Thailand's Gulf. Hua Hin is home to the Klai Kangwon royal palace, which translates as "Far from Worries", where King Bhumibol Adulayadej, the world's longest reigning monarch, and his wife, Queen Sirikit, have lived in recent years.

Sandusky denies at appeals hearing that he molested boys

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 11:18am

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — Jerry Sandusky took the stand Friday to forcefully deny the child molestation charges he was convicted of four years ago and said it wasn't his idea to waive his right to testify during his 2012 trial.

UN to vote on robust South Sudan peace force

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 11:08am
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — United Nations diplomats are expected to approve a new robust peacekeeping mandate and additional troops to help quell the violence in South Sudan, the world's youngest country.

IS abducts around 2,000 civilians in north Syria

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 11:02am

Islamic State group fighters seized around 2,000 civilians to use as "human shields" Friday as they fled their stronghold of Manbij in northern Syria, US-backed forces and a monitor said. The Arab-Kurdish alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) expelled most of the IS fighters from the town last week, but a small number remained. "While withdrawing from a district of Manbij, Daesh (IS) jihadists abducted around 2,000 civilians from Al-Sirb neighbourhood," said Sherfan Darwish, spokesman for the Manbij Military Council, a key component of the SDF.

Trump, former campaign aide settle confidentiality dispute

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 11:00am

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump has settled a $10 million legal dispute with a former political consultant he had accused of violating a nondisclosure agreement. Terms of the settlement, which included a counter lawsuit against Trump, were confidential.

Internal documents just leaked every big change coming to the iPhone 7

Latest Tech News - August 12, 2016 - 10:59am
The iPhone 7 is already being mass-produced ahead of its release next month, and a brand new leak offers an inside look into the kind of documentation some of Apple’s suppliers receive. The following images show schematics that seem to confirm nearly everything we know about the upcoming iPhone design and it includes text explaining the changes. DON’T MISS: New leaked photos show the iPhone 7 Plus in Space Black Discovered by NowhereElse , a consistent source of iPhone leaks, the images indicate the iPhone 7 will maintain the same general design of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. However, certain design changes can be easily spotted, including single antenna lines on the back of the phone, a redesigned camera and the absence of the headphone jack, which is replaced by what appears to be a second speaker. In other words, this seems to be the iPhone 7 you’re expecting, so no surprises here. A recent Bloomberg report  rehashed more details about the iPhone 7’s design, and some of its signature features, including a capacitive home button and a brand new camera experience for the iPhone 7 Plus. On that note, the iPhone 7 Plus is not detailed in the following sketches. Also interesting in one of the following leaked documents is a note that offers precise guidance and instructions regarding the manufacturing process of the iPhone. From the looks of it, someone went through a lot of trouble to sneak these particular papers out of his or her office, although it’s not clear where they came from. All of the leaked documents can be seen below.

Congressional leaders were briefed a year ago on hacking of Democrats -sources

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 10:57am

By Mark Hosenball and John Walcott WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence officials told top congressional leaders a year ago that Russian hackers were attacking the Democratic Party, three sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday, but the lawmakers were unable to tell the targets about the hacking because the information was so secret. The disclosure of the Top Secret information would have revealed that U.S. intelligence agencies were continuing to monitor the hacking, as well as the sensitive intelligence sources and the methods they were using to do it. The material was marked with additional restrictions and assigned a unique codeword, limiting access to a small number of officials who needed to know that U.S. spy agencies had concluded that two Russian intelligence agencies or their proxies were targeting the Democratic National Committee, the central organizing body of the Democratic Party.

Weak retail sales, inflation data dim prospect of Fed rate hike

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 10:54am

By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. retail sales were unexpectedly flat in July as Americans cut back on purchases of clothing and other goods, pointing to a moderation in consumer spending that could temper expectations of an acceleration in economic growth in the third quarter. Cooling consumer spending and tame inflation suggest the Federal Reserve will probably not raise interest rates anytime soon despite a robust labor market. "The Fed has a consumer demand-centric view of economic activity and this report is one more hurdle to a rate hike in September," said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.

Heavy rain, street flooding causes rescues, school closings

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 10:53am
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Heavy rain and street flooding in southeast Louisiana prompted the rescue of residents from their homes and the cancellation of classes in five school districts, authorities said Friday.

The Latest: Sandusky forcefully denies sexual abuse of boys

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 10:52am

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — The latest on an appeals hearing for former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky (all times local):

Takeover: A second robot-run hotel to open in Japan

Latest Tech News - August 12, 2016 - 10:52am

The first automated, "weird' hotel opened in Nagasaki last year. This second one, in Tokyo, will rely even less on humans.

The Latest: Trump, ex-aide settle lawsuit

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 10:50am
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. presidential race (all times local):

David Rudisha cruises, keeps silent on disgraced coach

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 10:48am

David Rudisha cruised into the semi-finals of the men's 800m on Friday but kept mum on the Kenyan coach sent home in disgrace after having tried to impersonate an athlete for a doping test. Sprint coach John Anzrah offered a urine sample in place of 800m medal hope Ferguson Rotich, who finished fourth in last year's world championships in Beijing. Anzrah was immediately sent home by the Kenyan Olympic Committee, but with no action having yet been taken against Rotich, the 800m runner competed in Friday's heats and duly qualified for Saturday's semi-finals.

Ukraine sees no significant uptick in Donbass fighting as of now

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 10:43am
Ukraine has not seen any significant increase in fighting in the eastern Donbass region in the last few days, a Ukrainian military spokesman said on Friday, despite escalating tensions between Kiev and Moscow. There are heightened worries in Ukraine that Russia may be planning to ramp up fighting in the war between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine after Moscow accused Kiev this week of trying to provoke a conflict over Crimea. "In the last few days we do not see any significant increase in fighting," Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told a televised briefing.

Jessica Ennis-Hill off the mark in Olympic heptathlon

Top News Stories - August 12, 2016 - 10:39am

British heptathlon star Jessica Ennis-Hill made a smooth start to the defence of her Olympic crown Friday, landing an early psychological blow on rival Brianne Theisen-Eaton with an impressive 100m hurdles victory. In blustery, overcast conditions, Ennis-Hill produced a blemish-free performance to win her race in 12.84sec at the near-empty Rio Olympic Stadium. The 30-year-old darling of British track and field, who became a mother last year, is bidding to become only the third woman to retain an Olympic athletics title after giving birth.

What is the meme of the summer?

Latest Tech News - August 12, 2016 - 10:33am

This was the summer of Suicide Squad, and that play about grown-up Harry Potter, and a seemingly endless string of horrific world events, and record high temperatures, and La Croix-themed birthday cakes, and Trump.