Double-digit California home price drop seen
October 29, 2007 10:23 PM - Peter Henderson, Reuters
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California faces a double-digit fall in housing prices over the next year and a half, a major builder, a lender and the state treasurer said on Monday in a discussion of how long the subprime mortgage crisis would drag on the Golden State.
As attendees at a conference voted on how bad they thought the housing market could get in the most populous U.S. state, panelists Jeffrey Mezger, chief executive of home builder KB Home; Angelo Mozilo, CEO of lender Countrywide Financial; and California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer discussed the question in comments picked up by a microphone and audible in the audience.
U.S. consumer group flags more toys with lead
October 29, 2007 07:23 PM -
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Dishes, toys, jewelry and backpacks that have not yet been recalled all carry "worrisome" levels of lead, the nonprofit Consumers Union said on Monday.
The group's Consumer Reports magazine staff recommended that people immediately stop using some of the products tested.
"Our lab tests detected lead at widely varying levels in samples of dishware, jewelry, glue stick caps, vinyl backpacks, children's ceramic tea sets and other toys and items not on any federal recall list," the group wrote in a magazine report.
Lawyers' group urges death penalty moratorium
October 29, 2007 11:34 AM - James Vicini, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The American Bar Association said on Monday it was renewing its call for a nationwide moratorium on executions, based on a three-year study of death penalty systems in eight states that found unfairness and other flaws.
The lawyers' group said its study identified key problems, such as major racial disparities, incompetent defense services for poor defendants and irregular clemency review processes, making those death penalty systems operate unfairly.
The American Bar Association in 2001 launched its Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project as the next step toward a nationwide moratorium on executions. The study was part of that project.
German carmakers blast motorway speed limit idea
October 29, 2007 11:27 AM -
HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Imposing a standard speed limit of 130 kph (80 mph) on German motorways would have scant impact on the environment and only hurt domestic carmakers, the country's VDA auto industry group said on Monday.
"Such fixed speed limits would be an ecological zero-sum game and would damage the German auto sector," VDA President Matthias Wissmann said in a statement to Reuters.
Germany is unusual in that stretches of its motorways still have no speed limit, and the country's influential car industry has lobbied hard against any national rules.
Spain to demolish illegal coastal homes: report
October 29, 2007 11:21 AM -
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain plans to demolish illegally built homes and hotels along an eighth of its coastline to halt rapid destruction of its Mediterranean and Canary Island beaches, the El Pais newspaper reported on Monday.
The 5-billion-euro ($7-billion) plan aims to reclaim 482 miles of coastline and put an end to illegal urban development that threatens Spain's tourism industry, one of the country's biggest sources of foreign cash, El Pais reported.
The Socialist government will present the plan to regional authorities on Wednesday and promote it as a means to attract wealthy tourists who seek natural beauty rather than concrete resorts, the newspaper said.
Expert: Burma's Junta No Match For Internet
October 29, 2007 10:57 AM - Barry Bergman, UC berkeley
Berkeley, California - Darren Zook, a UC Berkeley political scientist and Southeast Asia scholar, says there is one huge difference between today's protests in Burma and those of nearly two decades ago: the Internet. The military has arrested thousands of dissidents, many of them Buddhist monks, and estimates of the dead range from dozens to hundreds; Suu Kyi, who has spent most of the past 18 years in detention, remains under house arrest. Yet the ability of a relatively few determined activists inside Burma to connect with the outside world has turned the current turmoil into a teachable moment on a global scale.
California Wildfires Destroy Animal Habitats : USFWS
October 29, 2007 10:00 AM - Reuters
Los Angeles - Wildfires that began last week and continue to burn in southern California have destroyed thousands of acres of vegetation and habitat on Hopper Mountain and San Diego National Wildlife Refuges, forced the temporary closure of the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, and spurred deployment of more than 40 Service firefighters to the region.
As of Wednesday, more than 1,500 homes have been destroyed by wildfires in five southern California counties. Property damage is estimated at $1 Billion in San Diego County alone. All Service employees in the affected areas are accounted for and no employees' homes have been damaged by fire.
What's the brain got to do with education?
October 29, 2007 09:17 AM - University of Bristol
Quite a lot - according to teachers in a recent survey commissioned by The Innovation Unit and carried out by researchers at the University of Bristol. Although current teacher training programmes generally omit the science of how we learn, an overwhelming number of the teachers surveyed felt neuroscience could make an important contribution in key educational areas. The research was undertaken to inform a series of seminars between educationalists and neuroscientists organised by the Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
Croc hunter Irwin believed he'd die young: wife
October 29, 2007 07:45 AM - Reuters
Quirky crocodile hunter Steve Irwin had a sixth sense that he would die young, his American-born wife Terri said on Monday.
More than a year after the Khaki-clad naturalist died from a stingray's barb that pierced his heart, Terri Irwin told Australian television she had always tried to deflect her 44-year old husband's darker moments.
California fire victims find long path to recovery
October 29, 2007 07:38 AM - Daisuke Wakabayashi -Reuters
Sifting through the ash-covered rubble where her family's home stood one week ago, Nicole Booth combs the scorched remains of a life left behind in the wildfires that blanketed this Southern California town.
The blaze consumed the family home leaving only the concrete foundation to support the half-chewed appliances and melted metal frames. The trees and grass that once surrounded the home are now gone, replaced by barren brown fields.