The Lookout

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  • Today in History

    Today is Saturday, July 12, the 193rd day of 2014. There are 172 days left in the year.

  • Billionaire trio unite for US immigration reform
    Billionaire trio unite for US immigration reform

    Three of the world's richest men -- Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson -- put aside their political differences to unite in scathing condemnation of US lawmakers' failure to implement immigration reform. In an opinion column in Friday's New York Times, the trio, who have a net worth of about $160 billion between them, said that a Congress paralyzed by partisanship is failing US citizens by refusing to make the compromises necessary to overhaul a system that Democrats, Republicans and President Barack Obama all say is broken. "Americans deserve better than this," the men wrote, adding that despite their political differences they would be able to draft a bill acceptable to each of them. They took particular aim at the Republican-led House of Representatives, which has stonewalled several attempts to craft legislation.

  • Bono's daughter Eve Hewson simplifies billing
    Bono's daughter Eve Hewson simplifies billing

    BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Those unusual, and sometimes wacky, names given by celebrities to their offspring don't always work in the real world.

  • The New Space Race, and Why Nothing Else Matters
    The New Space Race, and Why Nothing Else Matters

    Forty-five years ago this July 20th, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to set foot on the moon.  Their mission represented an emphatic American victory in the first space race, which began in earnest in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched a notably unattractive satellite, Sputnik, into orbit. Since then, however, America’s national space program has essentially foundered.  It improved space travel by building and then scrapping the Space Shuttle, without ever accomplishing – or attempting – a mission as bold or impactful as the one in 1969.  It’s time for a new one.  To win the next space race, the US should announce its support for private property rights in space, and NASA should take a back seat. To be fair, NASA’s not really at fault here: its business model is just wrong.  In the national consciousness, NASA seems like a luxury, in the same low-priority bucket as the F-22A fighter and development aid for Bosnia.  And unlike those other items, it’s not really clear what the last thirty years of NASA funding has given us.  As America’s government-run space monopoly, NASA is a money hole, no more viable over the long run than is Amtrak. 

  • Russians swear up a storm as Kremlin bans obscenities
    Russians swear up a storm as Kremlin bans obscenities

    This month's law against swearing in films, theatre and the media has propelled the controversial subject to the forefront of public debate and brought together critics and loyalists of President Vladimir Putin. At the heart of the discourse is Russia's hugely potent lexicon of obscenities known as "mat," which is centred on four taboo words and an infinite number of their variations. The measure comes amid the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church as well as government calls to protect the Russian language in conflict-torn Ukraine. Contemporary novelist Viktor Yerofeyev ridiculed an attempt to impose a "moral monopoly" on words, saying the ban has breathed new life into Russian mat.

  • Child Immigration Crisis
    Child Immigration Crisis

    Immigration has always been a contentious issue in the United States. But the current crisis reached a boiling point last week in Murrieta, California, when angry protesters successfully turned away three buses of illegal immigrants being taken to a border patrol post there.

  • North Korea condemns visit by US aircraft carrier
    North Korea condemns visit by US aircraft carrier

    North Korea on Saturday condemned a port visit by a US aircraft carrier to the South as a "reckless" act of provocation following proposals by Pyongyang to ease cross-border tensions. The USS George Washington arrived in the southern port of Busan on Friday for joint military exercises starting next week. A spokesman of the Policy Department of the North's National Defence Commission (NDC) said the visit was "little short of its 'gunboat diplomacy' in the last century" and "in defiance" of the North's overtures. "The US should properly understand that the more persistently it resorts to reckless nuclear blackmail and threat, the further the DPRK (North Korea) will bolster up its cutting edge nuclear force for self-defence", the spokesman was quoted as saying by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

  • Minor tsunami hits northeastern Japan after strong quake
    Minor tsunami hits northeastern Japan after strong quake

    A minor tsunami hit Miyagi prefecture in Japan early Saturday after a strong 6.8-magnitude quake jolted the country's northeastern Pacific coast, prompting advisories for regions including around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. A tsunami of 20 centimetres was observed at 5.12 am (2012 GMT Friday) in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The agency had issued a tsunami advisory for Miyagi as well as neighbouring Fukushima and Iwate prefectures, warning that a wave of up to one metre (3.3 feet) could impact their Pacific coastlines after the quake. Large areas of the coastline covered by the advisory are still recovering from the 2011 quake and tsunami disaster that killed more than 18,000 people and triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

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