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07-01-2015 General
New York prison break: David Sweat says he, Matt practiced escape, official says

(CNN)Recaptured escapee David Sweat has told police that he and Richard Matt conducted a practice run of their prison break the night before they disappeared from Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, a state official says.

Agents with the state Inspector General's office have been trying to figure out how the convicted murderers were able to leave their cells at night to escape, and had been looking into whether guards had fallen asleep, officials have told CNN.

The admission that the inmates actually practiced making their way to freedom was the first of perhaps many shocking details officials hope Sweat gives up so they can understand how security broke down.

Three members of Clinton Correctional Facility's executive team, along with nine security staff employees, have been placed on administrative leave as part of the review of two convicted murderers' escape, according to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Superintendent Steven Racette, Deputy Superintendent Stephen Brown are among the executives on leave, a state official told CNN on Tuesday. The other is First Deputy Superintendent Donald Quinn, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

The official had been briefed on the convicts' elaborate escape from the maximum security lockup. For about three weeks, searchers combed terrain in upstate New York trying to find them. On Friday, Richard Matt was shot and killed. David Sweat was shot and captured Sunday.

The FBI is investigating possible broader corruption at the prison, law enforcement officials briefed on the case said Monday. Agents are looking into whether drug trafficking or other criminal behavior among employees and inmates took place, officials said. Some employees who have been questioned told investigators that there was heroin use among prisoners and an alleged drug trade involving employees. A plan to head to Mexico? Earlier, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the inmates had a plan: A prison worker, Joyce Mitchell, would pick them up after they broke out, kill her husband, and then the three would head to Mexico.

That's what Sweat told investigators from his hospital room in Albany, Cuomo said.

"They would kill (Joyce) Mitchell's husband, and then get in the car and drive to Mexico on the theory that Mitchell was in love with one or both of them," Cuomo told "The Capitol Pressroom" radio program. "And then they would go live happily ever after."

Sweat's condition was upgraded to fair Tuesday, according to a statement on Albany Medical Center's Facebook page. Medical director Dennis P. McKenna says he will remain in the hospital for "at least a few days."

A photo showed him shot in the top of the head, spattered with blood, lying on the ground in a wooded area.

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Source: CNN

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07-01-2015 Politics
Obama says US could 'walk away' from Iran nuclear talks, as deadline extended

President Obama threatened to "walk away" from a nuclear deal with Iran if it fails to keep tabs on the country's compliance, as the negotiations were extended past their original Tuesday deadline amid sharp disagreements.

The president addressed the shaky talks during a joint press conference in Washington, alongside visiting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. He spoke shortly after the State Department confirmed that the Iran talks were being extended another week.

"My hope is they can achieve an agreement," Obama said.

But he added that, "I've said from the start, I will walk away from the negotiations if in fact it's a bad deal."

And he pointed specifically to a persistent disagreement over inspections of nuclear sites. Without those inspections and assurances that a path to a nuclear weapon is closed off, Obama said, "Then we're not going to get a deal."

The so-called P5+1 negotiators are at odds with Iran over inspections of Iranian sites, how quickly the West will roll back sanctions, and what types of research and development Iran will be permitted to conduct on advanced nuclear technology.

Obama said the inspections cannot just consist of "declarations" from Iran and "a few inspectors wandering around every once in a while." He said there has to be a "serious, rigorous verification mechanism" to make sure Iran is complying with the terms of any deal.

Obama suggested that Iran was in fact backtracking from its initial commitments in a framework announced earlier this year. Amid concerns about Iran's latest positions, a senior State Department official said the P5+1 negotiators, along with Iran, have decided to extend the deadline until July 7, "to allow more time for negotiations to reach a long-term solution."

The extension was widely expected, but it fueled concern on Capitol Hill that Iran was trying to "buy time" while resisting inspections in any deal.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement that "any deal with a nuclear pariah and state sponsor of terrorism must require exceptional access for international inspectors."

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., said: "It's no surprise that yet again, President Obama and Iran's negotiators have failed to meet the June 30 deadline for a deal on the future of Iran's nuclear program. Every step of the way, Iran has refused to accept reasonable terms, and instead, is moving dangerously closer to a nuclear weapon."



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Source: Fox News

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07-01-2015 Science&Technology
Apple Music Launch: Hands on With Apple's New Streaming Service

Apple is continuing to change the landscape of the music industry with its launch today of Apple Music, a streaming service offering members access to tens of millions of songs in the iTunes collection.

While Apple is late to the music streaming game, it enters the market with one huge advantage: With more than 800 million iTunes accounts, Apple Music has the opportunity to quickly amass a following.

Introducing the service at the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of Beats, which is owned by Apple, emphasized the carefully tailored playlists won't be grouped by genre or beats -- and instead will be curated by a team of music experts. Also launching today is Apple's Beats 1 radio station, a 24/7 broadcast experience where DJ Zane Lowe said the mandate is to "move the needle," pushing incredible music that may not otherwise get as much airtime on traditional radio to the forefront for Beats 1 listeners.

How to Get Apple Music

In order to check out Apple Music, users will need to first upgrade their phones to iOS 8.4, which can be downloaded by going to settings, general and then software update. From there, users will need download the latest operating system, which will allow them to check out Apple Music and listen to Beats 1.

Apple Music will first be available on iOS, watchOS, Mac and Windows, with an Android version coming in the fall.

What to Expect

Your existing iTunes music library will live alongside the tens of millions of songs in Apple's catalog. Apple Music members will be able to add to their collection and save songs for offline listening or quickly share favorite music with friends on social media.

Apple Music users can get a three-month free membership, after which a $9.99 per month subscription fee will apply. There will also be a family plan providing service for up to six family members available for $14.99 per month.

No membership is necessary to listen to Beats 1 radio and the advertising supported stations or to see what artists post in a special Connect section where they can communicate with fans. Play With Siri

Once you're all set up with a trial membership, try asking Siri, Apple's virtual personal assistant, to be your DJ. As her questions such as "play me the best songs from 2000" or "What was the No. 1 song in January 1988?"

What Else Is New in iOS 8.4

Aside from Apple Music, expect iOS 8.4 to also fix that pesky bug making the rounds last month that caused some iPhones to reboot after receiving a specific string of unicode characters. Also expect iBooks improvements and a fix to an issue where some deleted Apple Watch apps could re-install.

Source: ABC News

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07-01-2015 Politics
Chris Christie launches 2016 presidential bid

CNN)Gov. Chris Christie is about to find out whether the tough-talking style that's so popular at home in New Jersey will resonate on the presidential campaign trail.

Christie announced Tuesday he is running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Speaking at his alma mater, Livingston High School, in Livingston, New Jersey, Christie said "he is now ready to fight for the people of the United States of America."

"We must tell each other the truth about the problems we have and the difficulty of the solutions," Christie added.

Christie is the 14th major contender seeking the GOP nomination.

Christie looked to the past while making his debut as presidential candidate, holding his announcement event at the same high school in Livingston where he grew up and served as class president.

"Why here? Because everything started here for me," Christie said, embracing his roots as he took the stage in the school's gymnasium. Just outside the gym, a team photo hangs of Christie and the Livingston "Lancers" baseball team in 1980.

"When I decided to make this announcement, there was no other choice. I had to come home. And Livingston is home for me."

He made clear over the weekend that his up-front style -- he once famously told a heckler to "sit down and shut up" -- will be a central part of the campaign. "I get accused a lot of times of being too blunt or too direct and saying what's on my mind just a little bit too loudly," Christie said in a video released over the weekend as part of his campaign, which uses the motto "Tell It Like It Is."

He joined the race with strong national name recognition and a record in public office that spans more than a decade, having served as New Jersey's governor since 2010 and as a U.S. Attorney for the state from 2002-2010. But despite the notoriety, Christie has struggled to gain traction with voters in the run-up to his campaign.

A national CNN/ORC poll conducted in late May found that just 4% of Republican voters planned to support Christie, a drop from 13% late last year. In New Hampshire, a state where Christie is devoting significant attention, he's tied at just 5% with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leads in the state with 15%.

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Source: CNN

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07-01-2015 Society
Nearly one in three Americans owns a gun

(Reuters Health) - Almost a third of American adults own a gun, but the rate varies widely by state and tops out at almost 62 percent of people in Alaska, new survey data show.

Gun ownership was closely tied to “social gun culture,” wherein family and friends also own guns and think less of non-gun owners, researchers found.

“Considering the presence of deeply rooted gun culture and the estimated number of guns in the U.S. to be 310 million, we (suspected) that social gun culture is associated with gun ownership,” said lead author Dr. Bindu Kalesan of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.

“This association was strong even after removing the effect of other factors such as presence of gun laws and gun deaths,” Kalesan told Reuters Health by email.

The researchers used data from a 2013 online survey of 4,000 people over age 18 from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Participants were selected to be representative of the U.S. population as a whole.

About 29 percent of people nationwide reported owning a gun. Only five percent of people in Delaware and six percent in Rhode Island owned a gun, compared to almost 62 percent in Alaska.

More than half of people reported owning a gun in West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Regionally, gun ownership was least common in the Northeast and most common in the South and West.

About 5 percent of people said they used their gun for hunting, and 10 percent reported attending gun safety classes.

The authors found that 32 percent of gun owners were exposed to “social gun culture” compared to six percent of non-gun owners.

White males over age 55 were most likely to own guns, compared to other demographics, according to a report of the study in Injury Prevention.

In general, gun ownership is on the decline in the U.S., although sales are up, so those who do own them may be buying more than one, Kalesan said.

In comparison with other developed countries, ownership of guns by civilians in the U.S. is extremely high, she said.

Australia, faced with increased gun deaths, made it mandatory to turn in guns in 1996, and since then gun deaths have plummeted, she said.

In the new survey, gun ownership was least common in states with stricter gun control policies, but it is not clear whether those laws change the culture of the state, or if the culture of the state brings the laws about, according to Dr. Michael Siegel of the department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health.



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Source: Reuters

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07-01-2015 Health
Liberia Quarantines an Area Where New Ebola Case Appeared

Liberian authorities on Tuesday quarantined two households after the corpse of a 17-year-old boy was found with Ebola, sparking fears the West African country could face another outbreak of the disease nearly two months after being declared Ebola-free.

"Liberia has got a re-infection of Ebola," Tolbert Nyenswah, deputy health minister and head of Liberia's Ebola response team, told The Associated Press.

The boy died at his home and was buried safely to avoid spread of the disease, Nyenswah said. The Nedowein area where he died is close to Liberia's international airport, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of the capital, Monrovia.

Teams are investigating how the boy became infected, Nyenswah said. The area is not near Liberia's borders with Sierra Leone and Guinea, neighboring countries that still have Ebola cases.

The World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola-free on May 9, after it went 42 days without a new case. Liberia had been hardest hit with more than 4,800 deaths from this outbreak's total of more than 11,100 fatalities.

A single case of Ebola means a country has Ebola, said Dr. Margaret Harris, spokeswoman for WHO in Geneva.

Following the 42-day end of transmission period, there's a 90-day period of heightened alert with a surveillance system in place, Harris said.

"It does show that the system Liberia put into place is functioning well," she said, adding that it must be determined if this new Liberian case is isolated.

Ebola lingers in the body for a long time, said Ben Neuman, a virologist at the University of Reading in the U.K.

"The main concern here is: Did this man infect anybody else before he died?" Neuman said.

This is the only known case in Liberia for now, according to Liberia Ebola response chief Nyenswah.

The boy died on June 28 and was buried that day, said Liberian official Nyenswah, correcting his earlier statement that he died on June 24.

Food is being sent to the quarantined homes, he said.

Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone with the virus. The bodies of people killed by Ebola are also highly infectious.

The West African outbreak of Ebola is the worst ever recorded and the disease is hanging on stubbornly in Sierra Leone and Guinea, where Ebola was first reported in March 2014.

Associated Press writer Maria Cheng in London and Carley Petesch in Dakar, Senegal, contributed to this report.

This story has been corrected to show that the second reference to the surname of the virologist is Neuman, not Nauman.



Source: ABC News

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07-01-2015 Science&Technology
Cause of SpaceX Falcon 9 failure still unknown

CAPE CANAVERAL — Air Force safety officers sent commands to destroy SpaceX's failing Falcon 9 rocket after its launch from Cape Canaveral on Sunday morning, but long after a malfunction had already caused the rocket to break apart, officials confirmed Monday.

That action was not responsible for the explosion that ended the company's attempt to launch more than 5,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station for NASA, more than two minutes after a 10:21 a.m. liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Destruct signals sent about 70 seconds after an apparent failure by the rocket's upper stage followed safety procedures, and might have helped burn up toxic fuel that could mingle with debris in the Atlantic Ocean.

"Following the breakup of the Falcon 9 vehicle, 45th Space Wing Mission Flight Control Officers sent command destruct functions in accordance with Air Force policy and procedures to ensure public safety," the Air Force said in a statement. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk reported Monday that engineers had found no quick answer to what caused the 208-foot rocket to explode, its first failure in 19 flights.

"Cause still unknown after several thousand engineering-hours of review," Musk said on Twitter. "Now parsing data with a hex editor to recover final milliseconds."

Musk said immediately after the launch that too much pressure built up in the Falcon 9's upper stage oxidizer tank, but it was not clear why. Teams were studying more than 3,000 channels of data recovered from the rocket and its Dragon capsule, which separated from the rocket and continued to transmit telemetry for a period of time after the rocket disintegrated.

There was no indication, however, that the Dragon or its contents might have survived a fall from at least 28 miles up, when the rocket was flying faster than 3,000 mph.

NASA considers it a loss.

The Dragon is equipped with parachutes for its return to Earth, when it typically splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, but it was unclear whether they could be deployed during a launch.

Earlier this year at Cape Canaveral, SpaceX successfully tested an abort system designed to save astronauts in a Dragon from a launch pad emergency, part of preparations to fly NASA crews to the space station as soon as 2017. A future test is planned to test the same escape system during a launch. If it worked as planned, astronauts would have survived the type of explosion seen Sunday, or a more powerful one.

"The launch escape system would have been enormously helpful here for the astronauts," SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in a news conference Sunday.

Assisted by the Coast Guard, SpaceX teams on Monday continued to search the ocean for rocket debris.

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Source: USA Today

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07-01-2015 Politics
U.S. and Brazil Agree on Climate Change Actions

WASHINGTON — President Obama and President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil announced a series of agreements on Tuesday to address climate change, as Mr. Obama continued to push other countries to enact policies to cut planet-warming emissions before negotiations in December to complete a global climate change accord.

The two leaders pledged to increase the use of wind and solar power sources to 20 percent of each nation’s electricity production by 2030, which would triple power generation from renewable sources in the United States and double it in Brazil. Brazil also pledged that it would restore 12 million hectares — nearly 30 million acres — of Amazon rain forest, an area about the size of Pennsylvania. The United States and Brazil also established a joint climate change working group in which high-level officials will look for ways to reach new deals on emissions. The working group is modeled after a similar one between the United States and China, which led to the announcement in November that the two countries, the largest greenhouse gas polluters, would commit to new reduction targets. The United States has also established a working group with India, the third largest greenhouse gas polluter.

“It’s a big deal,” said David B. Sandalow, a fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and a former top Energy Department official in the Obama administration. “That’s a big step forward. It’s going to make a difference.”

Brazil is one of the world’s top 10 greenhouse gas emitters, although most of its emissions come not from burning fossil fuels for electricity but from the mass deforestation of the Amazon. Deforestation is a major source of pollution because when trees are cut down, they release the carbon dioxide they are storing.

The Brazilian government has historically resisted pressure from other governments to reduce its emissions, saying that much of its population is still in poverty and that deforestation of the Amazon for farming and other activities is necessary for economic growth.

Brazil did not announce any overall targets for pollution reduction along the lines of Mr. Obama’s pledge in November that the United States would cut emissions up to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025, and President Xi Jinping’s pledge that China’s emissions would decline after 2030.

Brazil appears to be months away from submitting a formal plan to the United Nations detailing how it will cut its emissions. At a summit meeting in December, countries agreed to submit such plans to the United Nations by June of this year, well in advance of the December gathering in Paris.

The United States, the European Union, Canada, Russia and Mexico are among the countries that have submitted plans, and Chinese officials announced Tuesday that they would submit theirs immediately.

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Source: The New York Times

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06-30-2015 Politics
Supreme Court upholds lethal injection procedure

The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on Monday to uphold a procedure used by states to carry out executions by lethal injection.

The justices were considering a challenge brought by death-row inmates in Oklahoma, who allege that the use of a sedative called midazolam has resulted in troubling executions that violate the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Problematic executions in Oklahoma and elsewhere have captured national headlines since early last year.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority that included Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. Alito said the prisoners failed to identify a “known and available alternative method of execution that entails a lesser risk of pain,” which he said was required under the court’s previous ruling upholding lethal injection. And he said plaintiffs had failed to establish that a massive dose of midazolam “entails a substantial risk of severe pain.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a dissent, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Elena Kagan.

Sotomayor said the majority’s determination that midazolam does not cause an intolerable risk of severe pain “is factually wrong.”

In addition, she wrote: “The court’s conclusion that petitioners’ challenge also fails because they identified no available alternative means by which the state may kill them is legally indefensible.” The court’s announcement of the decision highlighted the tension among the justices on the death penalty. As usual, the author of the majority opinion, Alito, read a summary.

But Sotomayor read part of her dissent from the bench, a signal of how strongly she disagreed, and Breyer took the occasion to say he and Ginsburg had doubts about whether the death penalty could be carried out in a way that doesn’t violate the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

“I believe it highly likely that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment,” Breyer wrote. “At the very least, the court should call for full briefing on the basic question.”

Then Scalia read a response to Breyer. He said sarcastically that five justices last week took the issue of same-sex marriage away from the democratic process, and now two wanted to do the same with capital punishment.

Dale Baich, one of the attorneys for the death row prisoners, said in a statement: “Because the court declined to require that states follow scientific guidelines in determining their lethal injection procedures, states will be allowed to conduct additional human experimentation when they carry out executions by lethal injection.”



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Source: Washington Post

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06-30-2015 Science&Technology
Google Earth gets two new features for its 10th birthday

Can you believe that Google Earth has been around for a full decade now? To celebrate this milestone, Google unveiled a pair of striking new (and expanded) features to the planet virtualization system on Monday. The first is Voyager, which available on the desktop edition. It's designed to help you pick out and explore the coolest and newest imagery from around the world. These are organized into five categories: Street View, Earth View, 3D cities, Satellite imagery updates, and Highlight tour. Additionally, the Earth View image collection (albeit not technically a new feature) is also getting a sizable update. Google announced that it will expand the library to include more than 1,500 stunning landscapes from every continent. What's more, you'll be able to access all of these images from either the Chrome extension or a web gallery.

Source: Engadget

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06-30-2015 General
Recaptured killer: Escapees were headed to Mexico

ALBANY, N.Y. — Recaptured killer David Sweat told authorities that he and Richard Matt had planned to flee to Mexico in the hours after their spectacular escape from prison three weeks ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

plan apparently went awry when Joyce Mitchell, the 51-year-old manager of the prison tailor shop, abandoned a plan to drive off with them, Cuomo told The Capitol Pressroom, a local radio show here.

"They would kill Mitchell's husband, then get in the car and drive to Mexico on the theory that Mitchell was in love with one or both of them," Cuomo told the Pressroom. "Then they would go live happily after after, which is a fairy tale that I wasn't read as a child.

"But we all believe what we want to believe."

Sweat's condition was upgraded to serious from critical Monday, one day after being shot and captured near the tiny town of Constable, less two miles from the Canadian border. Matt was fatally shot by U.S. Border Patrol officers Friday.

Sweat told investigators the men decided to head for Canada when Mitchell did not show. Cuomo said Sweat told authorities the two escapees split up about five days ago.

"Sweat felt that Matt was slowing him down, as a matter of fact," Cuomo told Pressroom.

State Trooper Jay Cook spotted Sweat on Sunday, chased him on foot and finally shot Sweat as he approached a tree line, authorities say. Cuomo has dubbed Cook a "hero," saying Sweat could have disappeared into the woods and then into Canada if Cook had not acted. Sweat was rushed to Albany Medical Center, about 200 miles away.

"It was determined by our trauma team that he did not require any surgeries," the center said in a statement Monday. "David Sweat will remain at Albany Medical Center for at least a few days while his condition stabilizes."

Cuomo told CNN that Sweat was not armed, but did have a bag with maps, Pop Tarts, bug repellent and other items. He said an investigation was underway to determine how he obtained the items and who else may have aided the escape.

Cuomo rejected claims that the Clinton Corrections Facility in Dannemora had become a "country club" for inmates. >

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Source: USA Today

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06-30-2015 Cars
Hyundai sees green future in hydrogen-powered cars Read more at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.c

YONGIN (SOUTH KOREA): Hyundai Motor Co said today it believes hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the future for eco-friendly cars despite challenges of limited infrastructure and slow sales.

South Korea's largest automaker has sold or leased 273 Tucson fuel cell SUVs since beginning production in 2013, lower than its 1,000 target, mostly in Europe and California.

Kim Sae Hoon, general manager at Hyundai's fuel cell engineering design team, said fuel cell cars represent a bigger opportunity than electric cars because competition is less fierce. Hydrogen-powered cars also give more flexibility to designers, he said. They can be scaled to big vehicles such as buses as well as small cars.

They can also be refueled as quickly as gasoline cars while traveling more miles than electric vehicles. The Tucson's Europe model, called ix35 Fuel Cell, can travel up to 594 kilometers while its US model travels up to 426 kilometers on one charge. It emits water vapor and no greenhouse gases. High prices and the dearth of fueling stations are barriers to sales of fuel cell vehicles. Hyundai said it will be another 10 years before hydrogen cars start gaining wider acceptance.

In the meantime, sales of eco-friendly cars are dominated by hybrid models such as Toyota's Prius and electric vehicles such as Nissan's Leaf, which are more affordable than fuel cell cars.

Hyundai also produces hybrid cars and electric vehicles. It plans to invest 11.3 trillion won (USD 10 billion) in eco-friendly technology including hybrid cars, electric battery vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells in the four years from 2015.

To boost sales, Hyundai slashed the Tucson fuel cell's price in South Korea in February to 85 million won (USD 76,000) from 150 million won (USD 134,000).

South Korean customers are local government offices as there is no government subsidy for consumers. South Korea's government plans to establish 10 charging stations for fuel cell cars and expects 1,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles will be on the streets in South Korea by 2020.

Japan started production of hydrogen-powered cars later than South Korea but such vehicles are experiencing faster growth in Japan with support from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government.

Toyota started sales of its Mirai fuel cell sedan in December and has decided to increase production to 3,000 vehicles in 2017, which is quadruple production this year. The company said it received 1,500 orders in the first month of sales in Japan.



Source: The Economic Times

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06-25-2015 Science&Technology
Great Scott! Lexus reveals hoverboard, but you can't buy it

You can't be Marty McFly just yet.

Lexus revealed on Tuesday a 30 second teaser that included a real-life functional hoverboard very similar to the one that Marty McFly used in 1989's "Back to the Future Part II." But Lexus has since made clear that it is not planning to make or market a hoverboard.

Lexus unveiled the hoverboard on a promotional ad called "Slide" showing the board seemingly hovering over a skateboard park.

However, before your heart takes flight Lexus pointed out that while the hoverboard in the ad does levitate, you won't be able to buy one anytime soon.

The board uses "magnetic levitation to achieve amazing frictionless movement" along with "liquid nitrogen cooled superconductors and permanent magnets." But since concrete isn't magnetic it's highly unlikely that the board acts as it does in the ad. The company also didn't create the board, but collaborated with "world leading experts in super conductive technology" to showcase "the creativity and innovation of the Lexus brand."

The hoverboard teaser is part of a series of futuristic Lexus ad campaigns. The "Slide" ad took off on Wednesday because of the nostalgia for the 1989 film.

Fans of the series were skeptical Wednesday morning after having been fooled before, thanks to viral hoverboard stunts and hoaxes in the past.

"If this hoverboard is just a promotional stunt, Lexus is going to bring a whole lot of nerd hate down upon it," tweeted Gavin Purcell, executive producer of "The Tonight Show."

The "Back to the Future" trilogy is a popular film series beloved by fans that has totaled nearly $1 billion at the box office.

In the 1989 Universal sequel, Marty and his time traveling companion Doc Brown travel to a 2015 version of the fictional California town, Hill Valley.

Related: It's 2015: Where's Nike's self-lacing shoes?

In this future, there are hoverboards, self-lacing shoes, and even the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.

The 26-year-old film did get a lot of things wrong about the future (pay phones in 2015? Not so much), but in many ways predicted wearable tech and news drones. Nike (NKE) even patented self-lacing shoes in 2008.

Plus, hey, the Cubs are currently in playoff contention so maybe it'll get that right too.

Source: CNN

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06-23-2015 Politics
Reports: Graham to call for removal of Confederate flag

Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator who has defended the presence of the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of his state’s capitol building, will call for its removal on Monday, according to news reports. CNN reports that Graham will join South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at a 4 p.m. news conference to announce a proposal to remove the Confederate flag from State House grounds and put it in a museum. The Associated Press also reported Graham’s decision to call for the flag’s removal.

“Graham has been quietly urging his fellow elected representatives inside South Carolina over the past few days to make this move,” according to CNN.

The plan comes less than a week after a white supremacist gunned down nine worshipers at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C.

Graham is considered a long-shot in the GOP presidential race, but his home state of South Carolina is holding one of the early primaries.

Other Republican candidates — including Jeb Bush and John Kasich — have suggested that South Carolina remove the flag, but that local residents should make the decision.

In recent days, Graham has more or less defended the Confederate flag, saying it is part of the state’s heritage and had nothing to do with the killer’s actions.

“It’s him,” Graham told CNN recently. “Not the flag”

Source: USA Today

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06-22-2015 Science&Technology
Sony Hack: WikiLeaks Releases New Batch of 270,000 Documents

Whistleblower website WikiLeaks has released a new batch of Sony Corp. documents, disclosing 276,394 private files, emails and financial data onto its servers.

Sony declined to comment about the new document cache, first revealed via Twitter on Thursday.

The new documents include travel calendars, contact lists, and event planning and expense reports. WikiLeaks made no public statement, but later asserted on Twitter that the docs contain information about an alleged bribery investigation.

In April, WikiLeaks disclosed 30,287 documents from Sony Pictures Entertainment as well as 173,132 emails, with messages sent between more than 2,200 SPE email addresses.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange said in an April 16 statement that if information was newsworthy, “It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there.”

The hack was reportedly initiated by North Korea in response to the studio’s decision to release the comedy “The Interview,” centering on an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. As a result, embarrassing correspondence between top executives and producers became public, leading to the ousting of studio chief Amy Pascal. She was later replaced by TriStar chief Tom Rothman.

Sony Pictures strongly opposed the release of the material in an April 16 statement.

“We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks’ assertion that this material belongs in the public domain and will continue to fight for the safety, security and privacy of our company and its more than 6,000 employees,” the statement read.

Source: Variety

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06-22-2015 General
Yoga will spread peace in world: Kiran Bedi

Former IPS officer and BJP leader Kiran Bedi on Sunday said that yoga is an ancient Indian education that will spread the message of peace in the world. “Yoga is that ancient education of India that has been practiced by anyone who wanted their own good and the environment to be pure…those who want to keep themselves calm have been practicing yoga from years,” Bedi told ANI. “This is the ancient value of India that had been waiting to be spread itself around the world and the credit for doing so goes 100 percent to our Prime Minister, who gave the right message, at the right time through the United Nations General Assembly session…this will spread peace in the world,” she added. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived at Rajpath to kick-start the International Yoga Day celebrations in Delhi. The Prime Minster will shortly give an introductory speech, before participating in the 35-minute demonstration of yogic postures. It is expected that over 40,000 people are expected to participate. Besides, about two billion people across the globe are expected to participate in the inaugural day of the event. The yoga celebrations are being organised after the United Nations had in December last year declared June 21 as International Yoga Day, with 177 countries voting in favour. The proposal was mentioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to the UN General Assembly last year.

Source: Financial Express

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