• N. Korea uses racial slur against Obama in Sony hack row

    Updated: 23 min ago

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea blamed its recent Internet outage on the United States on Saturday and hurled racially charged insults at President Barack Obama over the hacking row involving the movie "The Interview." North Korea's powerful National Defense Commission, which is led by Kim Jong Un and is the country's top governing body, said Obama was behind the release of the comedy that depicts Kim's assassination. The commission described the movie as illegal, dishonest and reactionary. "Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest," an unidentified spokesman at the commission's Policy Department said in a statement carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.

  • Legal pot is top Oregon news story of 2014

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    Legalization of recreational marijuana was voted the top Oregon news story of 2014 in the annual Associated Press poll of editors and news directors in the state. Sixteen years after voters approved medical marijuana for people with specific illnesses and conditions, they decided to just say, "Yes!" to letting anyone old enough to drink take a toke, as long as it isn't in public. The troubles with Cover Oregon — the top story of 2013 — was second, as the state decided to ditch its home-grown website for enrolling in health insurance plans and switch to the federal exchange portal. Meanwhile, Oregon and Oracle Corp. sued each other over who was to blame for the debacle. A federal court ruling tossing out Oregon's ban

  • Risks in Using Social Media to Spot Signs of Mental Distress

    Published: Sat, Dec 27, 2014

    The Samaritans, a well-known suicide-prevention group in Britain, recently introduced a free web app that would alert users whenever someone they followed on Twitter posted worrisome phrases like “tired of being alone” or “hate myself.” A week after the app was introduced on its website, more than 4,000 people had activated it, the Samaritans said, and those users were following nearly 1.9 million Twitter accounts, with no notification to those being monitored. But just about as quickly, the group faced an outcry from people who said the app, called Samaritans Radar, could identify and prey on the emotionally vulnerable — the very people the app was created to protect. “A tool that ‘lets you know when your friends need support’ also lets you know when your stalking victim is vulnerable #SamaritansRadar,” a Briton named Sarah Brown posted on Twitter. A week and a half after the app’s introduction, the Samaritans announced it was reconsidering the outreach program and disabled the app.

  • Chattanooga touts transformation into Gig City

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A city once infamous for the smoke-belching foundries that blanketed its buildings and streets with a heavy layer of soot is turning to lightning-fast Internet speeds to try to transform itself into a vibrant tech hub. Through a combination of political will and federal stimulus money, 175-year-old Chattanooga became the first U.S. city to broadly offer a gigabit per second internet speeds — nearly 50 times the national broadband average. Whether that's enough to turn a modest southern city into a mini Silicon Valley remains to be seen, but local leaders are betting they've positioned themselves well for what lies ahead in the global economy.

  • Health insurance company discloses data breach

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia-based health insurance company has disclosed a data breach affecting more than 12,000 customers. Independence Blue Cross says maintenance workers mistakenly threw out four boxes of member records instead of moving them to another office. The Philadelphia Inquirer (http://bit.ly/13Ban2E ) reports the mistake occurred in October but was made public Friday in a legal notice. The paper files contained names, addresses and member ID numbers for customers in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Nearly 9,000 Social Security numbers were included. Blue Cross spokeswoman Liz Williams says there's no indication the information has been misused.

  • Boys use online video to raise money for cancer fight

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (AP) — Five North Central Junior High students say they are fed up with how cancer is hurting people they know. These boys are using an online video to fight cancer and raise funds for two local families affected by the disease. They have a goal of raising $10,000 or more by the end of December. The video, which calls on viewers to help with their efforts to "kill cancer" by donating dollars, depicts the boys sharing concerns about cancers attacking 15-year-old Austin Shroeder, who goes by the nickname "Flash," and 14-month-old Avery Flick, the daughter of a North Central teacher. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports (http://icp-c.com/1A2aPEh ) viewers can donate to the families of Austin and Avery

  • Insurers dogged by claims of slanted Sandy reports

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, flood insurance companies working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency dispatched an army of structural engineers to do some detective work. Their assignment: Find out how much damage to policyholders' homes was caused by surging seawater and how much predated the storm. Now, two years later, lawyers representing about 1,500 homeowners are trying to prove that some engineering firms hired to inspect the damage issued bogus reports to give skeptical insurers ammunition to deny claims. Broken foundations, the lawyers say, were falsely blamed on poor construction or long-term settling of the soil. Cracked and warped walls were written off as being due to ol

  • Interests grows in Connecticut DMV mobile app

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles says a growing number of people are using the agency's new mobile app to learn about real-time waits at DMV offices, get information about DMV services and conduct practice tests. First introduced in mid-September, the agency said about 2,165 users downloaded the app in the first month. Over the last month, about 11,930 downloads were logged. The app is available for iPhones, iPads and Adroid devices. Links to the app can be found at www.ct.gov/dmv/apps . App users can find practice knowledge test questions and answers, as well as a parent quiz on teen driver safety. DMV is adding a Spanish translation of the practice test and quiz.

  • NC Highway Patrol steps up enforcement campaign

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State Highway Patrol master trooper Chris Knox says he's seen too many accidents caused by distracted drivers — mostly teenagers and young adults texting or emailing. So Knox and other troopers in the Highway Patrol's Greensboro district recently went undercover to enforce the state's ban on texting and driving. For a week in early December, troopers in plainclothes drove yellow state transportation department pickup trucks, looking for drivers who were texting behind the wheel. Knox says the campaign was about finding creative ways to get drivers to comply with the law — a move that will ultimately save lives. North Carolina lawmakers in 2009 banned texting and driving.

  • Rio Rancho students win robotics contest in Dallas

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    Cheers erupted, hugging commenced and even a few tears started to fall when the Rio Rancho Robo Runners learned they were the champs. The group of mostly home-schooled students from Rio Rancho had just bested 54 other teams from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to win the Boosting Engineering Science and Technology (B.E.S.T.) regional robotics competition held in Dallas on Nov. 14 and 15. In addition to building and learning to operate a robot, teams must create a fictitious company that designs and markets the robot. Home-school senior Tyler Mayer, president of engineering for the company, joined the team last year. Although the teams excelled at certain elements, 18-year-old Mayer said they never expected to win the enti

  • Metro Beat: City, county consider raises for officials

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    Serving in elected office may soon pay a bit better. Bernalillo County commissioners are scheduled to meet next week to consider adopting 15 percent pay raises for county officials. The state Legislature authorized the raises for officials throughout New Mexico, but each county must approve them before they go into effect. The County Commission plans to meet at 2 p.m. Monday. Commissioners would see their salaries increase to $34,000 a year; the assessor, clerk and treasurer to $75,000; the sheriff to $79,000; and probate judge to $33,000. Albuquerque’s mayor and city councilors could get raises, too. The independent commission that sets those salaries will issue a report in February. A public hearing is schedul

  • UCF fails in bid for 10-win season with bowl loss

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Central Florida's rally fell well short in a bid for a 10-win season. Jacoby Brissett threw for 262 yards and one touchdown and Matt Dayes scored on runs of 24 and 15 yards to help North Carolina State beat UCF 34-27 in the Bitcoin Bowl on Friday night at Tropicana Field. UCF's Justin Holman threw for 291 yards, including TD passes of 6, 14 and 2 yards to Josh Reese, who had six receptions for 75 yards. Reese's second touchdown cut it to 34-20 with 11 minutes remaining. "It's a bittersweet feeling," Reese said. "We wanted to have a 10-win season." The Knights (9-4) got the ball back three more times, but couldn't get any closer until Holman threw his 2-yarder to Reese with 1:44 left.

  • NC State wins Bitcoin Bowl to cap turnaround year

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A turnaround season got a little sweeter for North Carolina State in the Bitcoin Bowl. The Wolfpack took another step forward under second-year coach Dave Doeren on Friday night with a 34-27 victory over Central Florida that wasn't as close as the final score. NC State (8-5) dominated for three quarters before Justin Holman threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to help UCF pull within seven. "This is just the beginning," Doeren told cheering Wolfpack fans listening to a postgame interview over the public address system at Tropicana Field. "Go Pack!" Jacoby Brissett threw for 262 yards and one touchdown and Matt Dayes scored on runs of 24 and 15 yards for NC State, which won

  • Mike Bianchi: Even after Bitcoin Bowl loss, UCF better than Gators and ’Canes

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Why the long faces, Knights fans? All is not lost. I am here to cheer you up after Friday night’s 34-27 loss to North Carolina State in something known as the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. There is at least some solace remaining for UCF. The Knights may not have been as good as the Wolfpack on Friday night, but at least they can take comfort in knowing they were better than the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes for the rest of the season. Although Friday night’s loss to NC State was an ultra-disappointing season finale for UCF, there is no shame in winning a third conference title in five years and being the second-best team in Florida for the second-straight season.

  • Several shoppers disappointed in day-after-Christmas sales

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    The day after Christmas found Jerry McMillen and his niece, Krystal Harris, exchanging gifts in the parking lot of a Target store in west Wichita. They’re from such a large extended family that gifts sometimes slip through the cracks at the family Christmas celebrations. But they weren’t worried about the missed gift connections, because they figured they’d cross paths at some store during the after-Christmas sales. It happens every year. Perhaps because Christmas weekend was spread over four days this year, the post-holiday traffic at local stores Friday appeared lighter than normal. Business was brisk compared to an ordinary Friday but hardly overwhelming – although some shoppers weren’t taking chances and s

  • N. Korea calls Obama 'monkey' in hacking row

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea called President Barack Obama "a monkey" and blamed the U.S. on Saturday for shutting down its Internet amid the hacking row over the comedy "The Interview." North Korea has denied involvement in a crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures but has expressed fury over the comedy depicting an assassination of its leader Kim Jong Un. Sony Pictures initially called off the release citing threats of terror attacks against U.S. movie theaters. Obama criticized Sony's decision, and the movie has opened this week. On Saturday, the North's powerful National Defense Commission, the country's top governing body led by Kim, said that Obama was behind the release of "The Interview." It described the mo

  • Blue Valley students build chairs that snuggle children with autism into calm

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    Stuart Jackson was on a mission. For years, the Overland Park father had searched for a way to help his son find relief from the stress and anxiety often experienced by children with autism. Like many of those children, Joshua could be soothed through deep touch pressure — the kind of feeling one might get by being tightly hugged or squeezed. Jackson came across a few potential solutions on the market, but they tended to be clunky, noisy or ineffective. And way too expensive. So he took it to CAPS — the Center for Advanced Professional Studies in the Blue Valley School District. And the engineering students rose to the challenge.

  • PlayStation, Xbox outages spark debate over hacker claims

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sony's PlayStation network remained offline Friday on the second day of an outage that began roiling the online world just as eager video game players were unwrapping new consoles on Christmas morning. Microsoft's Xbox Live service, which also went down Thursday, was back online Friday although the company reported reported problems with some functions in the afternoon. Credit for the disruptions was claimed on Twitter by a group of self-proclaimed hackers called Lizard Squad — or someone purporting to speak for the group. But many video game enthusiasts and some other hacker groups quickly condemned their actions.

  • Putnam City West graduate talks about learning from failure

    By Matt Patterson, Staff Writer | Updated: 14 hr ago

    Putnam City West graduate, Misfit Wearables CEO Sonny Vu spoke at Francis Tuttle Technology Center on a visit to his home state.

  • In Fort Worth, startups turn to Cowtown Angels, not 'Shark Tank'

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    ’Tis the season for angels. But in the Fort Worth business community, angel investors are making year-round appearances. For the past two years, a group of local investors called the Cowtown Angels has been meeting regularly, hearing pitches from up-and-coming entrepreneurs in need of seed money for their fledgling ventures. Think of it as Fort Worth’s version of Shark Tank, the popular ABC show starring Mark Cuban, but with less conflict and self importance, and more collaboration.