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Wary U.S. Lawmakers Weigh Iran Nuclear-Talks Extension

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 1:44pm
The failure of Iran and Western powers to reach a nuclear agreement by Monday’s deadline reignited calls from Capitol Hill for additional sanctions against Tehran, though a number of top lawmakers cautioned against disrupting the sensitive negotiations.

Drone Flights Face FAA Hit

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 1:03pm
Highly anticipated federal rules on commercial drones are expected to require operators to have a license and limit flights to daylight hours, below 400 feet and within sight of the person at the controls.

Simple Steals: Black Friday shopping tips

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 11:30am

Welcome to Simple Steals!

Do you already know what you’re buying this Black Friday? Do you need some helpful advice on what to buy and when to buy it? Regina Novickis from slickdeals.net has some great shopping tips on the do's and don’ts during this holiday season. Here’s what she says to do:

Tip #1: When to buy? Do your research before you go out shopping. So many merchants are opening this season on Thanksgiving Day. Some of them have offers the day before Thanksgiving. Go online and make sure the things you want to buy are available when you’re planning to go out to the stores.

Tip #2: It’s a great time to buy small kitchen appliances.

Tip #3: Tablet deals - Traditionally, Apple products don’t get discounted on Black Friday but this year, there are special incentives that can help you offset some of those costs. Target will have the iPad Air 2 at $499 but you’ll get a $140 gift card to use later on for your purchases. You’re getting some money in your pocket as long as you plan on shopping at Target for the rest of the holiday season.

Tip #4: Gift cards - Some gift card resale sites will offer an additional 3% off at sites like Card Cash. Target is also offering 10% off on their gift cards on Black Friday morning. That way, you can go in, buy those and use them as your currency to buy gifts later on.

Tip #5: Games & DVDs - Video games and new movie releases are great to buy this season. You’ll see great deals on those at places like Walmart - starting at about $8 for those new releases and about 50% off normally what you’d see on any other given day.

Tip #6: Toys - Even though you’ll see some Black Friday deals on them, they’re not typically something you’ll want to buy. Black Friday is really more for electronics and those home soft goods. So wait until after Black Friday for deals on toys. You’ll see them the first week of December. Amazon had their best discounts during the first week of December last year.

Tip #7: Laptops are not a product you’ll want to buy on Black Friday. What you’ll see with those door buster deals is that very basic models will be discounted, but those laptops are not for the very savvy computer user. Higher models will be discounted more after the first of the year.

For more information on these Black Friday deals, check out slickdeals.net.

Want more steals? Do you know about a deal we should know about? Join our conversation on Facebook.

PETA ad urges people to not eat turkey this week

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 11:13am

Meat-shaming has been taken to a new level.

This month, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are launching a new billboard campaign in several major American cities that aims to make you rethink making turkey a part of your Thanksgiving dinner.

The billboard features an animated baby bird crying, saying, “Mommy! Mommy!,” while looking at a roasted turkey. Above the illustration are the words, “Let everyone be with their family.”

“Thanksgiving is really a time for family, of course, so this billboard is meant to remind people that family isn’t only for people,” said Lindsay Rajt, associate director of campaigns for PETA. “A lot of people are surprised to find out that mother turkeys are very attached and protective of their young.”

Rajt, herself a vegan, said this new poultry-centered campaign is “near and dear” to her heart.

“As a child, when I found out that the chicken I ate had been a real living thing, I was horrified,” she said, recalling growing up in a “meat and potatoes family” in Michigan. “I think a lot of kids have that reaction,” said Rajt.

PETA's newest billboard campaign, for Thanksgiving 2014. (Illustration: PETA)

As a country, the U.S. leads the world in turkey consumption by a wide margin. In 2012, Americans ate 16.5 pounds per capita, according to the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association (USPoultry). Canada, the next-leading nation, consumed 9.4 pounds per capita in the same year. Overall, 240 million turkeys were produced in the U.S. in 2013.

Rajt likened the treatment of those birds at the hands of factory farmers to “horrific cruelty.”

Poultry industry professionals obviously disagree with PETA’s anti-turkey stance. When told about its new campaign, National Turkey Federation spokesperson Kimmon Williams said, “the industry takes pride in how well the birds are treated.”

“The industry got together to show what a turkey farm and processing plant are like,” Williams said. What resulted was a video tour of a typical turkey farm and processing plant, hosted by renowned animal welfare expert Temple Grandin, who has a doctorate in animal science.

“I’m really pleased that the industry wanted the public to see this process,” Grandin said of the 2013 project, co-sponsored by the American Meat Institute. There’s a lot of good work going on in animal agriculture and I’m glad we’re telling our story openly and honestly.”

Turkey production dropped from 7.56 billion pounds of meat 2012 to 7.28 billion pounds in 2013 — a difference of 13 million birds — according to USPoultry.

If you are considering a meat-free Thanksgiving, how does PETA suggest you replace the turkey? The group offers several vegetarian and vegan recipes on its website and promoted the use of mock-turkey roasts, including Tofurky, Quorn Turk’y Roast and the Gardein Stuffed Turk’y.

PETA is currently in negotiations with advertising companies in Atlanta, Indianapolis, Phoenix and Salt Lake City to run the billboard.



Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.

Hagel: I will continue to support Obama

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 11:02am

Chuck Hagel has resigned after serving nearly two years as U.S. defense secretary.

President Obama spoke about Hagel's resignation this morning and said he'll continue to guide troops until a successor is named.

The New York Times reports he is leaving his post under pressure. Hagel is the only Republican on Obama’s national security team.

He had been brought on to the team to oversee military withdrawal in Afghanistan and management of the Pentagon's budget.

During today's news conference, the President thanked Hagel on a personal level.

"You've always given it to me straight," and for that he is grateful, Obama said to him.

In Hagel's response, he thanked President Obama for the opportunity and said he'll continue to support him.

"I want to thank the entire leadership team at the Pentagon," Hagel also said. "It's a team; it's all these tremendous men and women ... that make this happen."

"We have prepared ourselves, as the President has noted, our allies, and Afhgan national security forces for successful transition in Afghanistan," he said. "We bolstered alliances."


Kohl's and others announce Black Friday deals

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 10:27am

Kohl's is one of several retailers to begin offering Black Friday deals online ahead of the biggest shopping day of the year. Its circulars ad was recently released.

More than 500 deals are offered online, according to the Kohl's website. The retailer will open store doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Lowe's has also released its advertisement for Black Friday, which says deals are valid from Thursday through Dec. 3.

Amazon.com has announced early deals for those who are Amazon Prime members. Prime members get free two-day shipping and may see deals 30 minutes ahead of their public release.

Walmart's Pre-Black Friday Sale is happening online right now.

The website Credit.com has published advice for protecting credit cards that may be used for holiday shopping. During the holiday shopping season in 2013, as many as 70 million Target shoppers had information from their credit cards stolen in a massive data breach.

'Serial' podcast re-examines teen's 1999 murder

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 10:24am

Having been streamed millions of times, "Serial" has become a Thursday morning staple to many.

"Serial" is one story told only by audio in a series of weekly podcasts. There have been nine episodes so far, each released weekly and re-examining the 1999 murder of Maryland teenager Hae Min Lee.

As Serial brings flaws in the investigation to light, WMAR in Baltimore searched its archives for video that may be worth revisiting.

Check this link (http://goo.gl/fGDYNl) for updates as the WMAR staff continues to search its archives over the course of the next several days.

The podcast is taking an in-depth look at the final days of Lee's life and the investigation into her death. 

The first episode, "The Alibi," has newscaster Sarah Keonig trying to figure out the alibi of Lee's ex-boyfriend, who at 17 years old was convicted in the popular high school senior's death.

Serial is revisiting the case in what  many are describing as an “addictive” storytelling style.

According to a report by Time, the work of Serial has spawned a review of the case by The Innocence Project – a national litigation public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system.

Lee disappeared on Jan. 13, 1999. Prosecutors argue she was killed in a Best Buy parking lot and her body was dumped in Leakin Park where it was found on Feb. 9, 1999. 

Crews put out small blaze in Somis

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 9:32am

Firefighters Monday morning put out a small vegetation blaze in Somis, officials said.

The fire was reported about 8:55 a.m. in the 4200 block of Blackberry Lane.

Initial reports indicated that a building was on fire, but crews on scene later clarified that only surrounding brush was on fire and units on scene could handle the situation.

ArtsBeat: A 19th-Century-Style ‘Christmas Carol’ on the Upper East Side

NY Times Books - November 24, 2014 - 8:52am
A new performance of the Dickens Christmas classic recreates a 19th-century-style salon performance.

Best ways to carve out Thanksgiving calories

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 8:30am

Gobbling up turkey and goodies does not have to mean ruined diets or fitness routines.

At least that’s what CoachUp CEO Jordan Fliegel says.

Fliegel founded the private coaching company that focuses on training athletes. He said there are ways people may avoid the food hangover often caused by too much pumpkin pie and stuffing without sacrificing taste.

“There’s a way to eat what you want to eat, be with your family, have a great time, but also make it kind of productive from a health standpoint,” Fliegel said.

To overcome Thanksgiving belly aches, people need to start preparing before the meal even begins, Fliegel said. 

“I think it’s definitely important to work out before because you may not be feeling up to it afterwards,” he said.

Fliegel recommends people do some sort of cardio work either the night before or the morning of Thanksgiving to help make the body need some of the additional calories they might eat on Thanksgiving.

Lifting weights is a great way to prepare the body for a bigger meal, Fliegel said.

Thanksgiving meals also don’t have to involve overindulging. Patience is a virtue when it comes to eating, Fliegel said.

“The best thing from a food standpoint is to eat a modest meal at Thanksgiving itself because there are certainly going to be leftovers, and you can have them later that evening or the following morning for breakfast,” he said.

Those steps can help keep prevent people from a bloated feeling after a huge meal, Fliegel said.

“If you’re going to do this by the book, get a real lift in with weights before the meal, eat a modest meal and then have lots of leftovers in subsequent meals.” 

What Big Economies Got Right, Wrong After Crisis

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 8:00am
Divergent policy paths taken by the world’s advanced economies provide lessons for global leaders.

Gang member arrested in Oxnard

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 7:50am

A gang member was arrested Sunday night in connection with being in possession of a firearm and a violation of a gang injunction, officials said.

Police were working gang enforcement in the downtown Oxnard when they conducted a traffic stop near Third and B streets about 10:10 p.m.

The passenger, later identified as Alvaro Cervantes, 30, of Oxnard, was found to be currently on probation and on the Colonia gang injunction, officials said. Police searched the vehicle and found a loaded semi-automatic handgun.

Cervantes was arrested on suspicion of violating the gang injunction and several firearm-related charges, officials said.

Farmers Urge Congress to Legalize Agriculture Workers

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 7:47am
Farmers hope that Obama’s decision to temporarily legalize millions of immigrants will propel Congress to achieve a legislative solution that addresses agriculture workforce needs.

Franchisees Buck Minimum-Wage Push

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 7:43am
Owners of fast-food restaurants and other franchises are mobilizing to counter the spread of union-backed worker strikes and protests seeking higher wages.

‘Embattled Rebel,’ by James M. McPherson

NY Times Books - November 24, 2014 - 7:36am
James M. McPherson reconsiders Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president and military commander.

Ferguson Grand Jury Set to Reconvene

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 7:06am
Nightly protests continued here through the weekend as residents, police and demonstrators brace for a decision from a grand jury set to reconvene Monday.

Going It Alone Has Its Risks for Obama

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 24, 2014 - 6:37am
With time ticking down on his second term, President Barack Obama has escalated his efforts to accomplish his policy goals without winning approval from Congress, a strategy that may produce results quickly but with the risk that they may be undone by lawmakers or a future president.

Fatal California bus crash

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 24, 2014 - 6:35am
REDDING, Calif. (AP) — A tour bus drifted off a Northern California interstate and crashed onto its roof, killing a 33-year-old man and injuring 30 others in the vehicle's second collision in a day, authorities said.   The same bus struck a Denny's restaurant earlier Sunday in Red Bluff, about 50 miles south, but no one was hurt, California Highway Patrol Officer Jeff Borgen said.   The bus was en route from Los Angeles to Pasco, Washington, when it went off Interstate 5 around 7:30 a.m. about 100 miles south of the Oregon border, Borgen said. It rolled over and came to rest upside-down on a frontage road.   Police said the man who died was from the Fresno-area city of Parlier, but his name was being withheld until relatives could be notified.   Three patients were in critical condition, including one who was flown by helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in Mount Shasta with severe head injuries, hospital spokeswoman Joyce Zwanziger told the Sacramento Bee.   Three people were in serious condition at the same hospital's Redding location, where most of the patients were taken, spokeswoman Heather Nichols said.   "We drill for this kind of thing," Nichols told the Redding Record-Searchlight.   The two dozen others who were treated at hospitals had mostly minor injuries and were released.   Jose Victor Garcilazo, 67, of Los Angeles, drove the bus, a 1996 Vanhool. Investigators said evidence at both crash sites show that driver fatigue may have been a factor. They did not say whether drugs or alcohol may have been involved or whether any citations or charges were planned.   It wasn't clear how much damage was done in the initial crash or why the bus continued on its trip. Red Bluff police, who investigated the first crash, had no additional information Sunday night.   The bus operator, Yellow Arrow LLC, is based in Othello, Washington. It has a current license and had no reported accidents in the past two years before Sunday, according to federal records.   No one answered several calls from The Associated Press to a telephone number for the company that was listed in the records.   The hospital was working with the Salvation Army and the Red Cross to assist patients who had been released, many of whom were staying at a hospitality house run by the medical center.   "We're just keeping them safe and comfortable," Nichols said.   The crash was on the same freeway and about 90 miles away from a wreck in April involving another charter bus from Southern California, which collided with a FedEx tractor-trailer and killed 10 people. That bus was carrying high school students on a visit to Humboldt State University.

Gabriel García Márquez’s Archive Goes to University of Texas

NY Times Books - November 23, 2014 - 11:00pm
Gabriel García Márquez’s archive has been acquired by the University of Texas and includes manuscripts, correspondence, photos and personal artifacts related to his important books.

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