Earlier this month, Standard & Poor's announced that it had downgraded the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+, citing political risks and the nation's rising debt burden. It was the first time in history that the U.S. credit rating was lowered.
The Wall Street Journalhas an exclusive report today that sheds light on just how far the reach of Syria's police state extends: Talking to U.S. officials and Syrian expatriates in the U.S., the paper found that the regime of President Bashar Assad is tracking and intimidating dissidents living abroad.
Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 12:57 pm
Hospitals around the country have started offering deeply discounted CT scans for smokers worried about lung cancer.
Their pitches point to recent findings that screening current or former heavy smokers with CT scans before they show symptoms of lung cancer could modestly reduce their risk of dying from the disease. But some experts question whether the strategy is simply a marketing ploy that could bring more harm than good.
Four tobacco firms filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration arguing that new regulations that require them to put graphic warning labels on cigarette packages violate their constitutional rights.
In a statement, a lawyer who represents Lorillard, Inc., the third largest manufacturer of cigarettes in the U.S., said the regulations "violate the First Amendment."
Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 6:31 am
President Obama will be in Illinois today, where he'll wind up a three-day bus tour of the Midwest that included stops in Iowa and Minnesota — key battleground states in the 2012 election.
As he wraps up that trip, The Associated Press reports that following his upcoming vacation on Martha's Vineyard, the president "will give a major speech in early September to unveil new ideas for speeding up job growth and helping the struggling poor and middle class."
According to the AP, it's been told by a "senior administration official" that:
The 12 lawmakers on the new deficit-cutting supercommittee have their hands full. They're under orders to bring Congress a plan for cutting the deficit by more than a trillion dollars, and to do it before Thanksgiving.
At the same time, they're also raising funds for their next campaigns, and that could be a problem if the supercommittee is under pressure to bite the hand that feeds them money.
Last week, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that concerns about supercommittee members and their fundraising are silly.
A Russian businessman accused of being one of the world's most notorious arms dealers is due in a federal court in New York on Wednesday for an important pretrial hearing.
Law enforcement authorities have been chasing Viktor Bout for decades, tracking how he went from a little-known Soviet military officer in the 1980s to a multimillionaire who allegedly provided assault weapons to brutal regimes in Angola and the Congo in the late 1990s.
Now is the time when The Turk appears –– he being that mythic figure in the NFL camps who materializes one night with those words of doom for the poor player before him: Pick up your playbook and go see the coach.
It is, of course, not the messenger who actually performs the dirty deed. But for decades now, the person who tells the player to report to the boss has been known as The Turk –– presumably because some old player with a vivid imagination envisioned an Ottoman warrior, wielding a scimitar sword that, more dramatically than any other, said cut.
Anyone who's harbored suspicions that only mean people seem to get ahead in the business world may be glad (or perhaps not) to learn that a new study agrees with them.
While such beliefs are often whispered in the office — and declaimed at volume during happy hour — new research quantifies just how much the nasty seem to profit by the (non-) virtue of their nastiness.
The SETI Institute's mothballed Allen Telescope Array — which scans the universe for signs of alien life — will soon be up and running again, thanks to more than $200,000 in donations that came from people including actress Jodie Foster and former astronaut Bill Anders.
The telescope array has been shut down since late April, when the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute said it could no longer afford to keep the telescopes operational.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the bruising budget battles in Washington are "casting a pall" over US diplomacy abroad and may hurt America's ability to influence events at a crucial moment in the Middle East.
Clinton joined Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the National Defense University in Washington on Tuesday to appeal to Congress to come up with a budget deal that doesn't undercut U.S. national security interests.
Two British men have been sentenced to four years in prison for starting separate Facebook pages as a way to organize riots in Chesire, apparently inspired by events in London and other cities. The men were reportedly arrested early in the week of Monday, Aug. 8. The U.K. riots finally began to subside on Wednesday of that week.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has promoted three managers who were involved in the agency's "Fast and Furious" operation, which allowed weapons to be illegally smuggled across the U.S. border into Mexico.
Smoking rates have dropped over the last several years, but they now seem to be stuck at about 20 percent for the nation. And nearly as many women now smoke as men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Busted. That's what we in the news media are in the matter of the presidential campaign of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.
Famous and not so famous critics have pointed out in the past day that journalists for the most part have ignored Paul even when he succeeds at a level other Republican presidential candidates haven't.
As far as many political reporters have been concerned, the congressman might as well be wearing one of those Harry Potter invisibility cloaks. He's there but we apparently can't see him.
A lot of simple things in science turn out to be quite complicated. Take, for example, coffee: you may have noticed that a spilled drop of coffee doesn't dry as a brown blob, but rather as a clear blob with a dark ring around the edge.
It's taken physicists more than a decade to figure out why this effect, known technically as "the coffee ring effect," happens. But now they think they have an answer.
At the Wright–Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, some Ph.D. candidates are working on micro air vehicles, or tiny flying machines that are remotely piloted.
The micro machines are often "bio-inspired" — study a bird or an insect and then build one.
"If you close your eyes and think of a fat pigeon, that's about the biggest size that we want to use." says Leslie Perkins, who worked with the micro program at the Air Force Research Laboratory. She says the smallest would be about the size of a dragonfly.
Former Senator Bill Frist just came back from a fact finding-finding mission to the border of Kenya and Somalia. He and Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, visited the Dadaab camp, which was designed for 90,000 but its population of Somalian refugees has swollen to 430,000.
Only 13 percent of the American public approves of how Congress is doing its job, according to a new Gallup poll. The low-water mark ties the all-time low set this past December, when Americans grew tired of the lame-duck Congress.
Downtown Seattle is one earthquake away from a transportation catastrophe. The city's last big quake in 2001 seriously weakened an elevated highway called the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and engineers say another good shake could bring the double-decker structure down. Although the city has been living with the threat for 10 years, residents and politicians still can't agree what to do about it.
The end of high school and the beginning of college is a momentous time for any teenager — a time of shifting identities and evolving family relationships. Now imagine going through all of that in a country other than your own. Mandy Lu, 19, did just that. Here are her reflections on the two worlds she straddles — as a college student in Greensboro, N.C., and as the daughter of migrant workers from northeastern China.
A couple months ago, I went back to China for the first time since before I started college in the U.S. It was my first trip home in two years.