• Are bananas about to go extinct?

    Published: Sun, Dec 6, 2015

    The world’s most popular fruit could go extinct. In the mid 1900s, the most popular banana in the world—a sweet, creamy variety called Gros Michel grown in Latin America—all but disappeared from the planet. At the time, it was the only banana in the world that could be exported. But a fungus, known as Panama Disease, which first appeared in Australia in the late 1800s, changed that after jumping continents. The disease debilitated the plants that bore the fruit. The damage was so great and swift that in a matter of only a few decades the Gros Michel nearly went extinct. Now, half a century later, a new strain of the disease is threatening the existence of the Cavendish, the banana that replaced the Gros Michel as the world's top banana export, representing 99 percent of the market, along with a number of banana varieties produced and eaten locally around the world.

  • Williams Cos. could owe ETE $1.48 billion if merger agreement is terminated

    BY CASEY SMITH, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Dec 3, 2015

    Williams Cos. may be on the hook to Energy Transfer Equity for nearly $1.5 billion if the merger agreement between the two companies falls through, according to a disclosure filing. The document outlining the benefits and risks of the proposed merger agreement between the two energy companies states that if the merger isn’t consummated, Williams may be required to pay ETE a termination fee of $1.48 billion or reimburse the Dallas-based business for up to $100 million of its expenses. Williams would only owe the $1.48 billion penalty to ETE if the merger was terminated under certain circumstances.

  • Wal-Mart worker fired after 18 years for turning in $350 cash found in store parking lot too slowly

    Published: Thu, Dec 3, 2015

    Michael Walsh of Schenectady, a Wal-Mart maintenance worker for 18 years, was fired on Nov. 6, a few days after he turned in $350 in cash he found in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. He was called into a manager's office, interrogated and terminated for "gross misconduct." His offense? He waited about 30 minutes before he turned in the money.

  • Manslaughter charges dropped in BP spill case—nobody from BP will go to prison

    Published: Thu, Dec 3, 2015

    In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon exploded and began spewing oil into the US Gulf Coast. In all, this released some 134 million gallons of crude over a span of almost three months. Eleven workers were killed in the nation's worst offshore oil spill. Today, federal prosecutors moved—and a judge agreed—to drop manslaughter charges against two supervisors aboard the Deepwater Horizon when it exploded. This development, in which prosecutors said they believed they no longer could meet the legal threshold for a conviction, means that nobody will go to prison for the disaster that soiled coastlines from Texas to Florida, killed nearly a dozen people, and was an environmental disaster that perhaps brings with it never-before-seen longterm consequences.

  • Filing shows how Williams Cos. board voted on the ETE deal

    BY CASEY SMITH, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Dec 1, 2015

    On the morning of Sept. 28, the Williams Cos. board of directors voted to approve and recommend to shareholders the adoption of the proposed merger agreement with Dallas-based Energy Transfer Equity. But the decision wasn’t unanimous, according to the nearly 400-page filing Williams Cos. submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week. The document, called an S-4, informs investors about the pros and cons of deals before they cast votes to approve or block a transaction.

  • USGS upgrades early-morning earthquake to 4.7 magnitude; tied for state's largest since 2011

    BY KYLE HINCHEY, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Nov 30, 2015

    The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a 4.7 earthquake in Grant County on Monday morning, the state's largest in a little over a week. The temblor was recorded at 3:49 a.m. about 16 miles west-southwest of Medford with a depth of 3 miles.  The quake could be felt as far as Coweta to the east and central Kansas to the north. The USGS indicates its received numerous reports from residents in the Tulsa area.

  • Energy renaissance: New companies start up during downturn

    BY CASEY SMITH, Tulsa World | Published: Sun, Nov 29, 2015

    The energy industry is approaching the end of a very painful year. This year has been full of personnel cuts, closed offices and suspended drilling, but there have been some bright spots in the form of new ventures. The Tulsa World recently spoke with three energy startups that have begun operations during the past year about what it’s like to open their doors in the midst of an extremely challenging commodity-price environment.

  • Black Friday sales fall 10% from last year

    Published: Sat, Nov 28, 2015

    Total sales in the US on Black Friday fell 10% to $10.4bn this year, down from $11.6bn in 2014, according to research firm ShopperTrak. The decline in sales on the traditional busiest shopping day of the year has been blamed on shops opening the day before. But this year, sales on Thanksgiving also dropped, and by the same percentage, to $1.8bn. A big reason for the decline is increased online shopping, as Americans hunt down deals on their smartphones, tablets and computers. Many retailers are also offering bargains long before Thanksgiving, limiting the impact of Black Friday specials.

  • Get ready for Li-Fi, a technology 100 times faster than Wi-Fi

    Published: Sat, Nov 28, 2015

    The world might eventually have to shift its reliance on Wi-Fi to Li-Fi, an alternative technology that scientists say can reach speeds of 1 Gbps in real-world use — 100 times faster than average Wi-Fi speeds. At those speeds, you could download a high-definition movie in just a few seconds. A company called Velmenni told the IBTimes UK that it took the technology out of the labs and into real-world offices and industrial environments in Estonia, where it was able to achieve those speeds.

  • Swedish court: 'We cannot ban Pirate Bay'

    Published: Fri, Nov 27, 2015

    In a landmark decision, a Swedish court on Friday ruled that the country's internet service providers cannot be forced to block controversial Swedish file-sharing site Pirate Bay. After considering the case for almost a month, the District Court of Stockholm ruled that copyright holders could not make Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget block Pirate Bay. The court found that Bredbandsbolaget's operations do not amount to participation in the copyright infringement offences carried out by some of its 'pirate' subscribers.

  • Nutella rejects personalised jar for five-year-old girl named Isis

    Published: Fri, Nov 27, 2015

    Illawarra mother Heather Taylor is becoming accustomed to the odd looks, gasps and uncomfortable silences that accompany the mention of her daughter's name. Now she has suffered perhaps the ultimate indignity - being denied a personalised jar of Nutella. Ms Taylor's sister tried to buy five personalised jars - which are labelled with the recipient's name - for her nephew Odhinn and her niece Isis from a Myer department store in Shellharbour. Ms Taylor said, both names were initially flagged as problematic by a computer. After some negotiation, Odhinn was deemed acceptable - but the store manager drew the line at Isis, an acronym commonly used to denote Islamic State.

  • Proposed Bill Would Require Large Stores To Pay Employees Double for Thanksgiving

    Published: Fri, Nov 27, 2015

    SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A California Assemblywoman is pushing legislation that protects workers on Thanksgiving. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez says more retailers are choosing profits over people on Thanksgiving. She says the legislature should get involved to help workers making the sacrifice. The Double Pay On The Holiday Act failed last year, but she says her new proposed bill requires only big retailers—those with more than 500 employees—to pay double time only on Thanksgiving.

  • Most hated man on the internet has done it again

    Published: Fri, Nov 27, 2015

    A young pharmaceutical company CEO who bought the rights to a lifesaving HIV-treating drug and increased its price from $18.70 to $1040 per pill has reneged on his pledge to cut it again. Turing Pharmaceuticals chief executive Martin Shkreli, who was dubbed “the most hated on the internet”, has maintained the 5,000 per cent inflated price of parasitic infection treatment Daraprim despite international outcry and a subsequent pledge to lower it. Shkreli shot to infamy — and was labelled a “morally bankrupt sociopath” — after Turing pharmaceuticals first jacked up the price. Compounding the apparent greediness, and the global outrage it caused, was Shkreli’s obliviousness, at one point even “giving the finger” to his critics.

  • Army Colonel says he was retaliated against for blowing whistle on $43 million gas station

    Published: Tue, Nov 24, 2015

    An Army Colonel who blew the whistle on a task force that was responsible for building a $43 million gas station in Afghanistan says he is being retaliated against, according to a prominent U.S. senator. Army Col. John Hope was the director of operations for the $800 million task force when he questioned its lack of accountability, and then said he had “been singled out for retaliation and retribution” for “speaking truth,” according to a letter Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last week. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction recently released a scathing report on one of the task force’s programs — the $43 million compressed natural gas station, which the IG said should have cost closer to $500,000.

  • Two dozen Disney IT workers prepare to sue over foreign replacements

    Published: Tue, Nov 24, 2015

    At least 23 former Disney IT workers have filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the loss of their jobs to foreign replacements. This federal filing is a first step to filing a lawsuit alleging discrimination.   What you need to know about Windows 10's new upgrade The latest upgrade to Windows 10, codenamed Threshold 2, adds a variety of fixes and tweaks. But there READ NOW These employees are arguing that they are victims of national origin discrimination, a complaint increasingly raised by U.S. workers who have lost their jobs to foreign workers on H-1B and other temporary visas. Sara Blackwell, the Florida attorney representing the workers, says the deadline for Disney employees terminated on Jan. 30 for filing EEOC actions is Thursday.

  • 4.4, 3.0 magnitude Oklahoma earthquakes recorded Monday near site of Thursday's 4.7

    BY ALTHEA PETERSON, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Nov 23, 2015

    The U.S. Geological Survey recorded two more Oklahoma earthquakes earlier today. First, a 3.0 magnitude temblor recorded 12:31 p.m. about 9 miles south-southwest of Cherokee in Alfalfa County. The epicenter was a few miles south of Thursday's 4.7 magnitude quake, which was the state's largest recorded since 2011.

  • USGS: Oklahoma has 'unheard of' seismicity that might produce 6.0 quake, but Cushing efforts indicate problem is manageable

    BY COREY JONES, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Nov 23, 2015

    Oklahoma’s surge in seismic activity has cultivated a swath of land with earthquake sequences “unheard of” in any other comparably sized area of the globe and may also produce a 6.0 temblor, according to a U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist. But some efforts to mitigate quakes that rattled Cushing a year ago — through more stringent wastewater disposal regulations — have yielded positive empirical results, and it’s a clear indicator that  the issue of induced seismicity  is manageable. That’s according to Daniel McNamara, a USGS research geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center. Oklahomans remain shaken up as the state blasts through its earthquake record from only a year ago . In August Oklahoma surpassed 2014’s banner year of 584 earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater. In 2015, Oklahoma Geological Survey data show a staggering 802 quakes of those magnitudes through Sunday afternoon.

  • Tulsa entrepreneurship makes strides, but work remains for business creation

    By ROBERT EVATT, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Nov 20, 2015

    Things have been going well for Two Guys Bow Ties — the Tulsa clothing accessory company has been featured on “Shark Tank” and  uncrate.com , its products have been worn by celebrities seen at the MTV Music Awards and the NBA playoffs, and it’s grown to 12 employees. But for all the company’s accomplishments and endorsements, Tim Paslay, co-founder of the company along with Adam Teague, said the 3-year-old company has received invaluable help from within Tulsa. “The Tulsa community’s been very supportive to us,” he said.

  • New TCC Aviation Center at Jones Riverside Airport nearing completion

    By CASEY SMITH, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Nov 20, 2015

    Tulsa Community College celebrated a milestone Thursday on the $3.7 million renovation of the new TCC Aviation Center at Jones Riverside Airport when Flintco construction workers installed a large TCC logo on the exterior of the nearly complete facility. Work on the 55,000-square-foot building is expected to be finished by mid-December, and TCC Aviation Sciences students are scheduled to start taking classes in the building when the spring 2016 semester begins Jan. 11. Esteban Aldarondo, TCC’s assistant chief flight instructor, said that he thinks the new building will help raise awareness of the program.

  • Receiver takes control of Apothecary Shoppe after loan default

    By SAMUEL HARDIMAN, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Nov 20, 2015

    The Apothecary Shoppe — a compounding pharmacy believed by some to involved in compounding phenobarbital for lethal injections — is now in court-ordered receivership. Fifth Third Bank, its main creditor, sued for control of the 20-year-old Tulsa pharmacy’s holding company on Nov. 3. The bank claims that company defaulted on its loans when its board of directors resigned in late October, after restructuring the company’s $13 million debt for a third time. C. David Rhoades was appointed receiver this week, according to court documents.