Review Category : Top Stories

ESPN: Northern Iowa Inks Jacobson to New 10-Year Deal

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Northern Iowa showed their appreciation to head men’s basketball coach Ben Jacobson by signing him to a new 10-year deal, according to ESPN.com.

Jacobson led the Panthers to a 31-4 record and a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season. Northern Iowa won their first round matchup versus Wyoming before being eliminated in the round of 32 by Louisville.

This is the second time Jacobson has received a 10-year deal. In 2010, he signed a decade-long deal after leading Northern Iowa to an upset of top-ranked Kansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Jacobson has coached at Northern Iowa since the 2006-07 season. During that time, he’s compiled a 197-105 record and taken the Panthers to the NCAA Tournament three times.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Says Nuclear Talks ‘Accomplished Quite a Bit’

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(LAUSANNE, Switzerland) — The foreign minister of Iran said Tuesday night negotiators “accomplished quite a bit” and he hopes that the process of drafting an agreement can begin Wednesday.

“We’ve accomplished quite a bit, but people needed to get some rest and start over early in the morning,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said. “And I hope we can finalize the work on Wednesday — and hopefully begin the process of drafting tomorrow.”

Zarif has previously stumped for compromise between Iran and the P5+1 nations.

In negotiations, both sides must show flexibility.We have, and are ready to make a good deal for all.We await our counterparts’ readiness.

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 28, 2015

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Corporations Continue to Speak Out Against ‘Religious Freedom’ Laws

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks about the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act at a press conference on March 31, 2015. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Corporations continue to speak out against the recently passed Indiana “religious freedom” law and others like it being considered around the country, calling them “bad for business” and discriminatory.

In a statement posted on the website for the Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday, companies including American Airlines, Apple, Levi Strauss, Microsoft, Orbitz, Symantec and Wells Fargo decried the law, and others like it around the country. Also on Tuesday, Arkansas’ state legislature passed a similar bill.

“These state laws set a dangerous precedent that stifles investment and economic growth by jeopardizing a state’s status as a welcoming place for employees to live and thrive, undermining the success of a business at large,” the statement reads.

“While these bills won’t alter our commitment to equality in the workplace, this legislation sends the wrong message about the states in which we operate and threatens our core corporate commitment to respect all individuals.”

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Joni Mitchell, 71, Hospitalized in Unknown Condition

Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage(NEW YORK) — Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was hospitalized on Tuesday night in unknown condition.

News of her hospitalization comes from a verified Twitter account. Mitchell, 71, is best known for her hit song “Big Yellow Taxi,” covered by the Counting Crows in 2002.

Joni has been hospitalized. We are awaiting official word on her condition and will post it here as soon as we know.

— JoniMitchell.com (@JoniMitchellcom) April 1, 2015

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WHO, Iraq Ministry of Health Deny Report of Ebola in Iraq

Marcio Silva/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) — The World Health Organization and the Iraqi Ministry of Health on Monday denied reports of an Ebola case in Iraq.

“The World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health of Iraq did not verify the information appeared in BASNews on 28 March alluding to the appearance of an Ebola case in Abu Gharib,” a WHO press release read. After investigating, the WHO and the MOH Iraq “denied the presence of Ebola in Iraq.”

The release further denies the report from BASNews, saying that no laboratory in Iraq has the technical capacity to confirm Ebola, the release reads.

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IRS Commissioner: Agency Has Corrected Backlog in Tax Exemption Applications

marcnorman/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Tuesday that the agency has corrected a backlog in processing tax-exemption requests after Tea Party groups claimed in 2013 that they had been singled out for tougher treatment.

“In the tax exempt area we acted on all of the inspectors general’s recommendations to fix the management problems they identified nearly two years ago,” Koskinen said in front of the National Press Club. “These problems should not have happened and we continue to work to make improvements to ensure that they never happen again.”

Koskinen credited a new form, the 1023EZ, with helping to clear the backlog. The form allows smaller non-profit groups to file and has led to the current status, which Koskinen describes as being “current.”

“Fifteen months ago we had a backlog of applications from groups seeking status as private non-profit organizations. Those applications came in at the rate of 70,000 a year,” Koskinen noted. At one point, the backlog was greater than 60,000 forms.

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IRS: Tax-Related Phone Scams Are ‘No April Fool’s Joke’

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — IRS-related phone scams are no joke, the agency’s Commissioner John Koskinen said Tuesday.

Scammers continue to use tricks to take advantage of American taxpayers, an IRS release says, including the use of fake names, bogus IRS badge numbers and altered caller ID numbers. “This is no April Fool’s joke,” Koskinen said. “Everyone should be on the lookout for threatening calls from people faking IRS phone numbers and demands for immediate payment.”

Any such call, he noted, is a scam. The IRS reiterates its warning to taxpayers that it will never call to demand immediate payment, will not call without having first mailed a bill, will always offer the opportunity to question or appeal taxes they say you owe, and will never require use of specific payment for taxes.

Anyone who believes they have been targeted by such a phone scam is advised to call the Federal Trade Commission and/or the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

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Brooklyn DA Charges 23 with Enterprise Corruption in $7 Million Medicaid Fraud Case

iStock/Thinkstock(BROOKLYN, N.Y.) — Twenty-three defendants, including nine doctors, were charged with enterprise corruption on Tuesday in connection with a $7 million Medicaid fraud indictment handed down by Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson Tuesday.

The defendants allegedly lured individuals from low-income neighborhoods, homeless shelters and welfare offices into corrupt medical clinics for unnecessary tests with the promise of free footwear. “These defendants allegedly exploited the most vulnerable members of our society and raked in millions of dollars by doing so,” Thompson said in a statement. “That so many doctors allegedly participated in this elaborate scheme to defraud a health care system designed to help the poor is truly disgraceful.”

Among the charges leveled against the defendants were corruption, money laundering, health care fraud, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing, grand larceny, conspiracy and petit larceny. Some of the defendants face up to 25 years in prison on the most serious charges.

The investigation into the case begain in July 2012, a release from Thompson’s office says. The initial tip came from a Brooklyn resident who told the D.A.’s Action Center that “she was approached by recruiters and taken to one of the clinics, where she met with a podiatrist and was given a knee brace and sneakers.” The woman said she did not need the knee brace, but “was told she had to take it to get the sneakers.”

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1,000-Year-Old Eye Infection Salve May Kill MRSA Super Bug, Study Shows

University of Nottingham(NEW YORK) — A relatively new super bug may have met its match in a 1,000-year-old eye treatment, according to researchers from the University of Nottingham.

The recipe to cure eye infections comes from Bald’s Leechbook, an old English leather-bound tome that was buried deep within the British Library in London. When scientists painstakingly followed a step-by-step recipe to recreate the old-world salve, they found it killed over 90 percent of a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus — also known as the MRSA bacteria — that was grown in a petri dish of mouse cells.

The tenth-century concoction contained two species of allium (garlic, plus either onion or leek), wine from a vineyard that has existed since the ninth century and oxgall, the bile from a cow’s stomach. A very specific set of instructions included brewing the solution in a brass vessel, straining it through a cloth and then letting the mixture sit for nine days before use.

The researchers concluded it wasn’t one particular ingredient that did the trick but rather the entire recipe.

“We thought that Bald’s eye salve might show a small amount of antibiotic activity, because each of the ingredients has been shown by other researchers to have some effect on bacteria in the lab,” Freya Harrison, one of the lead Nottingham researchers, said in a statement. “But we were absolutely blown away by just how effective the combination of ingredients was.”

Each year, 90,000 Americans suffer from invasive MRSA infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has become one of the most antibiotic-resistant bugs known, costing billions of dollars in health care spending and killing about 20,000 yearly. The CDC says MRSA is a particular threat in hospital settings, though in recent years infections from the deadly virus have declined by over 50 percent.

While the results of the experiment are intriguing, the team is looking for more funding to see if the treatment has any practical application in the real world. The preliminary results done using the simple mouse cells were presented at the annual conference of the Society for General Microbiology in Birmingham earlier this week.

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QB Matt Schaub Inks 1-Year Deal with Ravens

NFL(OWINGS MILLS, Md.) — The Baltimore Ravens and free agent quarterback Matt Schaub agreed to a one-year contract on Tuesday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 33-year-old Schaub spent last season with the Oakland Raiders, serving as the backup quarterback to Derek Carr. He finished the 2014 campaign 5-of-10 for 57 passing yards and two interceptions.

Schaub was originally selected by the Falcons out of Virginia in the third round of the 2004 NFL draft. He spent three seasons in Atlanta before finding success with the Houston Texans. In seven seasons in the Lone Star State, the two-time Pro Bowler was 1,951 of 3,020 (64.6 passing percentage) for 23,221 yards with 124 touchdowns and 78 interceptions.

With the Ravens, Schaub will replace backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who left as a free agent for the Buffalo Bills.

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