Review Category : Top Stories

US Economy Grew 2.3% in Second Quarter; Jobless Claims Jump to 267K

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The American economy grew 2.3 percent in the second quarter of this year, the Commerce Department revealed on Thursday.

In another good sign, first quarter growth was revised to show a slight rise of 0.6 percent.

Economists are looking for better growth in the second half of this year.

In other economic news, jobless claims jumped to 267,000 for the week ending July 25, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. That’s an increase of 12,000 from the previous week.

The four-week average, meanwhile, decreased by 3,750 to 274,750.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Plagues of Locusts Darken Skies, Threaten Crops in Southern Russia

moodboard/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) — Plagues of locusts are swarming large areas of southern Russia, threatening thousands of acres of crops and in some places darkening the skies.

A video shot by a local man in Achikulak, a village in the Stavropol region, shows thousands of the bugs swarming towards a church. Other videos, screened by local TV channels, showed clouds of locusts flying overhead.

“It was very frightening,” Lubov Timusi, a local woman who lives in Achikulak, told ABC News. “Some were as big as your finger! They came like a clouds.”

The waves of locusts began around July 20, according to Stavropol’s regional agricultural ministry. Vasilii Yegorov, a deputy agricultural minister, told ABC News that locusts appear in the region every year but normally they are able to exterminate them before they hatch.

This year though, Yegorov said, locusts had migrated from neighboring Russian regions, meaning authorities were unable to halt them easily, threatening what is one of Russia’s major farming areas.

Swarms have been reported across many other southern regions, particularly in Chechnya. Because of the locusts, a state of emergency has been declared in three regions near Stavropol, according to local media. In Stavropol alone, efforts to kill the insects have stretched across more than 350 miles, according to officials.

Yegorov said Stavropol authorities currently had the infestation under control and were spraying pesticide every day.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Plagues of Locusts Darken Skies, Threaten Crops in Southern Russia

moodboard/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) — Plagues of locusts are swarming large areas of southern Russia, threatening thousands of acres of crops and in some places darkening the skies.

A video shot by a local man in Achikulak, a village in the Stavropol region, shows thousands of the bugs swarming towards a church. Other videos, screened by local TV channels, showed clouds of locusts flying overhead.

“It was very frightening,” Lubov Timusi, a local woman who lives in Achikulak, told ABC News. “Some were as big as your finger! They came like a clouds.”

The waves of locusts began around July 20, according to Stavropol’s regional agricultural ministry. Vasilii Yegorov, a deputy agricultural minister, told ABC News that locusts appear in the region every year but normally they are able to exterminate them before they hatch.

This year though, Yegorov said, locusts had migrated from neighboring Russian regions, meaning authorities were unable to halt them easily, threatening what is one of Russia’s major farming areas.

Swarms have been reported across many other southern regions, particularly in Chechnya. Because of the locusts, a state of emergency has been declared in three regions near Stavropol, according to local media. In Stavropol alone, efforts to kill the insects have stretched across more than 350 miles, according to officials.

Yegorov said Stavropol authorities currently had the infestation under control and were spraying pesticide every day.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Bestseller Teaches How to De-Clutter Your Life and Only Keep What Brings You Joy

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Organization expert Marie Kondo has been dubbed Japan’s queen of clean — and she’s the driving force behind a new movement that’s aimed at helping people declutter their homes and lives for good.

In her New York Times best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Kondo gives a step-by-step guide to her patented KonMari method that’s gaining momentum worldwide.

In the self-help tome, Kondo encourages readers to examine their belongings and only surround themselves with things that “spark joy.”

That philosophy can transform, said Wendy Goodman, New York Magazine’s design editor.

“Think of this as a celebration,” Goodman told ABC News. “You say, ‘Does this bring me joy?,’ if not, it goes out.”

“She’s very much about having a relationship, in a very direct way, with objects and coming to terms with the things that you actually need,” Goodmain said of Kondo.

Kondo’s method is simple. It says that in order to properly de-clutter a house, people should start with the easiest item — clothing, and then move on to books, papers, and finally, miscellaneous items. These items, considered the hardest to tackle, include things such as phone chargers and keys.

“You do not go room by room, you go category by category,” Goodman said. “Everything has its own space and its own life.”

Depending on the size of the residence, the entire decluttering process can take about six months. Someone following Kondo’s method can discard or donate between 20 and 30 45-liter bags of stuff. For a family of three, that number can approach 70 bags of unnecessary things.

Goodman, who had a consultation with Kondo in her home, is slowly implementing the method.

“This process is about putting yourself in the present to go forward,” she said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Trevor Noah Talks Taking Over for Jon Stewart as “Daily Show” Host

Comedy Central(LOS ANGELES) — Upcoming Daily Show host Trevor Noah faced TV critics Wednesday in Beverly Hills, and talked about the pressure of taking over for Jon Stewart.

Noah made one thing clear when asked about his transition from comedian to host of the Comedy Central program: “I’m not in the news business. I’m still in the comedy business, and that’s the most important thing Jon Stewart left with me.”

The show won’t change, but he says the perspective can’t help but change.

The South African comedian explained, “If you look at the issues in America right now, let’s say just around racial inequality, Jon and I come from totally different points of view. Jon would have to empathize. I, myself, come from a different place.”

He does feel the weight of taking over the franchise, commenting, “There’s an immense pressure for me personally to live up to that legacy to keep that flagship going.”

Stewart’s last show as Daily Show host is next Thursday. Noah’s first is September 28.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Yahoo Unveils New LiveText Texting App

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — You used to just send a text message. Not anymore.

Mobile users are flocking to amped-up messaging services like Snapchat, Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime. The options are myriad and Yahoo is jumping into the fray with an innovation of its own: Streaming video plus chat, but no audio at all. It’s typing, reading and watching, all silently.

Called Livetext, it transmits video between users then overlays their typed text messages on the video. The big differentiator is that no sound is transmitted. While silent video seems counterintuitive, the Sunnyvale, California Internet giant says it’s great is for reactions, show and tell, and situations when talking wouldn’t be acceptable.

Adam Cahan, Yahoo’s senior vice president of video, design and emerging products, says the best part of the app is that users can accept a live text “in any context whatsoever.”

“I’ve done it in meetings, on a plane, actually, it worked, or in any kind of public space because without the audio, you’re actually really engaging in a private discussion … what we found was if we remove that audio that actually people were connecting as if they were texting but receiving the expressiveness of the person they were communicating with,” he said.

While video chatting services like Skype, FaceTime and Viber have flourished, there’s an element of formality to video chatting and some complain it’s awkward; that they don’t know where to look or that it seems rude to multitask while talking.

But text messaging is on a tear. According to research from The Economist published in March of this year, mobile messaging is big and getting bigger. They say 20 billion people a day send SMS messages, while WhatsApp is used to send 30 billion messages daily. The Snapchat website says two billion videos are watched daily on its messaging service and that they have 100 million active users. Emoji use is growing and Facebook says its messenger service has 600 million active users.

So Yahoo’s entry into a growing and diversifying messaging environment makes sense, especially as CEO Marissa Mayer pushes to make all of Yahoo’s products and properties “a daily habit.”

Added Cahan: “We definitely find that our early adopters are closer to the millennials and some of the teens in the sense that those tend to be the folks that are the early communicators and frequent communicators … We view live text as really the emotional connection and reaction from video with the simplicity and ease of texting and we combined those two to form a new form of communication.”

The app can be downloaded free from iTunes and the Google Play store starting Thursday.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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WBGU Meeting Held In Findlay

7/30/15 – 4:47 A.M.

Dozens of people argued against Bowling Green State University taking WBGU-TV off the air during a meeting in Findlay Wednesday night. The Courier reports the controversial subject was a topic of a meeting held on the Owens Community College campus. Of the roughly 70 people in attendance, most lobbied BGSU officials to keep the local PBS station running.

BG students who work at the station said selling the station’s signal to the government to make way for more wireless communication spectrum would be short sighted. Sarah Sanchez said working at the station helped her and others get jobs and internships because of their experience at an operating TV station. Others added that having WBGU gives the college an advantage in attracting students who want to work in television.

The government estimates BGSU could make around $40 million by selling the TV station’s air signal. Officials at the school say no decisions have been made yet. Another public forum will be held at 7 p.m. Monday in Keese Hall at Rhodes State College in Lima.

MORE: The Courier

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Report: Beyoncé Offered Role in “The Wiz Live!”

Eric McCandless/CBS(NEW YORK) — Earlier this week, Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige were added to the cast of NBC’s upcoming live musical production of The Wiz. Could Beyoncé be far behind?

E! News reports Bey has been offered the role of Glinda the Good Witch. However, it also notes thatOrange Is The New Black‘s Uzo Aduba is also being considered.

NBC announced Tuesday that Latifah will play the Wiz, while Blige will fill the role of the Wicked Witch of the West.

The Wiz Live! will air on NBC Thursday, December 3.

The Wiz initially opened on Broadway in 1975, re-imagining L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in an African-American context. A movie adaptation hit theaters in 1978, starring Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Lena Horne and Richard Pryor. A Broadway revival will debut during the 2016-2017 season.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Cincinnati Officer Indicted in Shooting ‘Felt His Life Was in Jeopardy’

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office(CINCINNATI) — A police officer indicted for murder “felt his life was in jeopardy” when he fatally shot a man during a traffic stop in Cincinnati earlier this month, his attorney told ABC News.

An arraignment was scheduled Thursday morning for Ray Tensing, who was indicted on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Samuel DuBose. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

“He’s been crucified since this thing first happened by the whole community without knowing what the evidence is,” said his attorney, Stewart Matthews.

Matthews described Tensing, 25, as a man who only wanted to be a police officer and who sobbed when he learned he was being indicted.

“This is all he’s ever wanted to do,” he said. “His head just sank to the table. We were sitting around and his family — mother, father and aunt — were there with us and it just devastated all of them.”

Tensing worked for the University of Cincinnati Police Department for the last year and a half, said Matthews. He was fired Wednesday when the indictment was announced.

DuBose, 43, was killed during a traffic stop on July 19 near the University of Cincinnati’s campus, authorities said, noting that he was stopped because his car did not have a license plate in the front.

DuBose apparently refused to provide a driver’s license, produced an open alcohol bottle and a struggle ensued, during which Tensing was knocked to the ground and fired one shot into DuBose’s head, according to police.

Two videos were released by the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office when the indictment was announced Wednesday. The first shows the shooting from Tensing’s body camera. The second video, from the body camera of an arriving officer, shows Tensing lying in the road before he gets up to run toward DuBose’s crashed car.

Neither video shows Tensing being dragged as he has told investigators, according to a police report and his radio call. Matthews said he believed a jury would find that Tensing did not overreact during the traffic stop.

“He felt like his life was in jeopardy and that’s why the shot was fired,” Matthews said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Report: Beyoncé Offered Role in “The Wiz Live!”

Eric McCandless/CBS(NEW YORK) — Earlier this week, Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige were added to the cast of NBC’s upcoming live musical production of The Wiz. Could Beyoncé be far behind?

E! News reports Bey has been offered the role of Glinda the Good Witch. However, it also notes thatOrange Is The New Black‘s Uzo Aduba is also being considered.

NBC announced Tuesday that Latifah will play the Wiz, while Blige will fill the role of the Wicked Witch of the West.

The Wiz Live! will air on NBC Thursday, December 3.

The Wiz initially opened on Broadway in 1975, re-imagining L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in an African-American context. A movie adaptation hit theaters in 1978, starring Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Lena Horne and Richard Pryor. A Broadway revival will debut during the 2016-2017 season.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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