Review Category : Top Stories

What to Expect from Amazon’s Fire Phone

Amazon.com, Inc.(NEW YORK) — Amazon’s Fire phone has ignited interest and imaginations since it was announced last month — and starting later this week, consumers will be able to get their hands on the 3-D devices.

The Fire phone is available to customers in the United States through AT&T and starts at around $200 with a contract.

Customers who purchase the phone can also take advantage of a limited time introductory offer, snagging them one free year of Prime, Amazon’s subscription service that gives members free two-day shipping on music, movies and TV shows, among other perks.

Firefly

While the smartphone boasts plenty of features that make it stand out from products from Apple and Samsung, there’s nothing more telling about Amazon’s hopes for the phone than a button that CEO Jeff Bezos introduced as “Firefly.”

The new feature, which is similar to Google Glass, will allow users to identify almost any product — from a book to a game or a container of kosher salt. The Fire phone will then be able to direct users to Amazon to make purchases, making impulse buys even easier.

In a nutshell: Amazon has created a pocket shopping machine that happens to also operate as a phone.

Dynamic Perspective

The Fire phone is also different from its competitors because it offers “dynamic perspective,” a sensor system that recognizes where a user’s head is relative to the Fire phone. This allows the person using the phone to auto-scroll through a book or long webpage without ever having to touch the screen or to take on a character’s viewpoint in a game, creating what Amazon describes as an immersive experience.

Apps and Games

Developers have been creating apps and games at a frenetic pace for the phone since it was announced in June. Submissions have more than doubled since the Fire phone was unveiled, according to Amazon.

For the Fandango app, users can look up movie times, but can easily tilt their phones to scope out movie reviews.

Gamers may like the phone because they can also use their gestures to play. In Magmic’s Rubik’s Cube, players can tilt their device to rotate the Rubik’s Cube and use their head to peek at other sides of the cube.

Photography

Photography fanatics will also be interested in the Fire phone’s high-end camera specs, which include optical image stabilization and tiny motors that can adjust for natural hand tremors as a way to decrease the blurriness of photos.

The Fire phone also boasts front- and rear-facing cameras that can record 1080p high-definition videos.

The phone’s shutter also excels at low-light photography. When Bezos showed off the phone last month, he noted that the lens stays open four times longer to capture more light.

Bezos also described how the team at Amazon “obsessed over outdoor viewing” and created a device that can easily be read, even in bright outdoor light.

Durability

The Fire phone is built with Gorilla Glass 3, aluminum buttons and has a rubberized grip area to bolster its durability.

Previous Amazon device customers may recognize some of the other features it will come equipped with, such as a Mayday button for tech support, X-Ray, which allows users to get more from their media, and ASAP, which predicts what movies and television shows a person will want to watch before they even hit play.

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Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Health Care Law

ABC News (WASHINGTON) — After a brief hiatus, the hot debate over the Affordable Care Act was renewed once again Tuesday because of two opposite verdicts on subsidies.

In the first decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the federal government cannot subsidize policies through federally run insurance exchanges.

Later, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia said that subsidies set up in dozens of states that didn’t set up marketplaces under the ACA are indeed legal.

While the conflicting decisions put the future of the health care law, called “Obamacare” by its detractors, into question, the 4.5 million people who qualified for subsidies are still eligible for benefits while the White House appeals the D.C. court ruling.

More than eight million Americans signed up for the ACA. Those who did so through state exchanges won’t be affected by either ruling.

Meanwhile, the law’s opponents seized on the first court’s decision as proof that the ACA will ultimately fail. House Speaker John Boehner said, “Today’s ruling is also further proof that President Obama’s health care law is completely unworkable. It cannot be fixed.”

However, proponents like Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel of the Constitutional Accountability Center, says the second ruling got it right, adding, “The available tax credits are essential to filling the Affordable Care Act’s primary goals of assuring widespread coverage in the health care market and that Congress was fully aware of this when drafting the bill.”

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Video Could Hold Clues in Brooklyn Bridge White Flag Mystery

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Police are looking for five people seen on surveillance video before bleached-white American flags were added to the poles atop the Brooklyn Bridge.

The group was seen walking on the bridge after 3 a.m. Tuesday. At around 3:30 a.m., the lights that illuminate the U.S. flags on either side of the bridge could be seen flickering and then going out completely. At 5:30 a.m., construction workers noticed that the seemingly-white flags had replaced the American flags, police said.

Officers later made their way up the bridge’s main cables, finding aluminum pans — secured with zip ties — covering the lights. The bleached flags were removed, and the traditional American flags were returned.

Police admitted they don’t know who committed the security breach or how they accomplished it.

“I’m not particularly happy about the event,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Tuesday.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller, who also oversees intelligence and counter terrorism, said tests were being conducted on the two flags.

“At this time, there is no sign of any particular nexus to terrorism or even politics,” Miller said. “It could be someone’s art project or a statement, but it’s not clear what that statement is.”

The perpetrators may have had some experience climbing in construction or bridgework, or have previously been up to the bridge’s flag platforms, Miller said.

Either way, authorities said, whoever pulled off the breach was able to scale 276 feet, somehow making it past the locked gates that sit atop the bridge’s steel cables.

Eric Adams, Brooklyn’s borough president, is offering $5,000 for information leading to an arrest.

“This is the Brooklyn Bridge, and the only person who should surrender at this time is the person responsible for the desecration of this flag,” Adams said.

The famed bridge, one of the country’s oldest suspension bridges, was completed in 1883 and connects Brooklyn and Manhattan over the East River.

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Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen Steps Down Due to Alzheimer’s Disease

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen announced on Wednesday that he has stepped down from his post as he is battling Alzheimer’s disease.

“In recent years, Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has taken a reduced role with his team while courageously and privately battling Alzheimer’s disease,” the team said in a statement.

“The Broncos are very saddened that Mr. Bowlen is no longer able to be part of the team’s daily operations due to his condition. We continue to offer our full support, compassion and respect to ‘Mr. B,’ who has faced Alzheimer’s disease with such dignity and strength.”

Bowlen has been the owner of the team since 1984 and has seen his team go to six Super Bowls, winning back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998. The Broncos have a .604 win percentage under Bowlen’s tenure and are worth $1.1-billion according to Forbes.

Team president Joe Ellis will take over control of the Broncos.

“This is a sad day for the NFL,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement to The Denver Post. “Pat Bowlen’s leadership has been critical to the success of the Broncos and the entire NFL. From building a championship team that is a pillar of the community to his important work for the league on television and labor matters, Pat’s love of the game drove him and we have all benefited from his passion and wisdom. But the time has come for Pat to focus on his health and we fully support him. Joe Ellis has been a trusted executive for Pat for many years after working with us at the league office. Joe’s deep experience ensures that the Broncos will continue to have strong leadership.”

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The Slow, Sad Journey Home for Victims of Malaysia Airlines Tragedy

(EINDHOVEN, The Netherlands) — The bodies of victims from last week’s Malaysia Airlines crash are headed home, being flown to the Netherlands as the Dutch government declared a day of national mourning.

Meanwhile, the black boxes from MH17 were delivered to the U.K.’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) headquarters at Farnborough, a spokesman told ABC News. Investigators expect to be able to download the info from the recorders within 24 hours. There is no significant damage to them.

Ukraine prepared a departure ceremony at the airport in Kharkiv for the passengers and crew of Flight17, which was shot down Thursday with 298 people on board, most of them Dutch citizens.

Sixteen bodies left aboard a Dutch C130, with an Australian C130 carrying an additional 24 bodies, authorities said.

The people of the Netherlands await the arrival of the bodies at Eindhoven Airport, the second-largest airport in the Netherlands. Church bells will ring across the country, five minutes before the two military planes touch down. Then a trumpet will sound, signaling the arrival of the planes. There to meet the planes will be the relatives of the victims and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as well as King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

Following the arrival of the victims’ remains will be a minute of silence. A motorcade will carry the bodies to a military facility where authorities will work to identify the bodies, a process that could take months to complete.

Transport of the remains will continue for at least three days.

Wreckage from the aircraft fell on territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists who have been battling the Kiev government since April.

Senior U.S. intelligence officials presented evidence Tuesday that they say shows the plane was shot down by a Russian-made SA-11 missile, and that Russia “created the conditions” behind the shoot-down.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton, in Australia for the International AIDS Conference, said that the people who shot the plane down are just as responsible even if they didn’t intend to shoot down a civilian flight.

“The people who did it and the people who made it possible for them to do it by giving them this weaponry, which could only have been used in an illegal way, do not in any way diminish their responsibility because the people they killed were different from the people they thought they were killing,” Clinton said.

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Tulowitzki Placed on 15-Day DL

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(DENVER) — Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Colorado Rockies Tuesday with a left hip flexor strain.

The move is retroactive to July 20, when he left the team’s game against Pittsburgh after running out a grounder.

The 29-year-old Tulowitzki has not played over 150 games in a season since 2009.

Before the injury, Tulowitzki was putting up fantastic numbers leading baseball in batting average (.340) and on-base percentage (.432) while scoring 71 runs, hitting 21 homers and knocking in 52 runs.

Both Tulowitzki and Rockies skipper Walt Weiss don’t think the injury is too serious.

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Why OJ Is Getting Squeezed From Breakfast Tables

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For generations orange juice has been the staple of a nutritious breakfast, but recently, it has been feeling the squeeze.

In June, Americans bought less orange juice than they ever have since the Florida Department of Citrus started keeping track in 2002.

Orange juice consumption in the United States is down 38% over the last decade. It’s also facing competition from supermarket aisles of exotic juices.

At the same time, orange juice is nearly $6.50 a gallon, a record high this month, and up nearly 4% for the year.

Farmers placed the blame largely on a devastating bacteria that has been killing Florida’s citrus crops and said with less fruit, they could not make as much fruit juice.

And while advertisements from the 1970s said natural orange juice was rich in vitamin C, new studies have shown that it’s also rich in calories and sugar — nearly the same amount as in cola drinks.

The Florida Department of Citrus is trying to win back consumers with a new ad campaign launched in June. It’s also getting help from Marvel Comics to redesign a spokes-character, Captain Citrus.

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Why OJ Is Getting Squeezed From Breakfast Tables

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For generations orange juice has been the staple of a nutritious breakfast, but recently, it has been feeling the squeeze.

In June, Americans bought less orange juice than they ever have since the Florida Department of Citrus started keeping track in 2002.

Orange juice consumption in the United States is down 38% over the last decade. It’s also facing competition from supermarket aisles of exotic juices.

At the same time, orange juice is nearly $6.50 a gallon, a record high this month, and up nearly 4% for the year.

Farmers placed the blame largely on a devastating bacteria that has been killing Florida’s citrus crops and said with less fruit, they could not make as much fruit juice.

And while advertisements from the 1970s said natural orange juice was rich in vitamin C, new studies have shown that it’s also rich in calories and sugar — nearly the same amount as in cola drinks.

The Florida Department of Citrus is trying to win back consumers with a new ad campaign launched in June. It’s also getting help from Marvel Comics to redesign a spokes-character, Captain Citrus.

ABC News | More ABC News Videos

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Official: Gun Shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Played Greater Role in Bombing and Aftermath

FBI(BOSTON) — The handgun used by one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers in a violent firefight with police and to allegedly murder an MIT police officer was given to the Tsarnaev brothers by a local alleged heroin dealer who was taken into custody late Tuesday, several law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Stephen Silva, a Cambridge Rindge and Latin classmate of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, appeared in federal court Tuesday on drug and gun possession charges.

In addition to charges related to alleged heroin dealing, the Eritrea native, “knowingly received and possessed a firearm…a Ruger model P95 9mm pistol, which had the importer’s and manufacturer’s serial number removed, obliterated, and altered,” according to court documents obtained by ABC News. Silva is alleged to have had the gun in Feb. 2013, just months before the marathon blasts.

Law enforcement sources said that gun was the same as the Ruger P95 described in other court documents as used by Tamerlan Tsarneav, Dzhokhar’s older brother, in a gun battle with police three days after the marathon bombing in April 2013. Tamerlan emptied the gun when firing at police and then threw the empty weapon at the officers before he was killed, the documents say. Dzhokhar was injured, but survived the firefight and would be apprehended hours later. He has pleaded not guilty to a litany of charges related to the marathon bombing.

Hours before the police engaged the brothers, the same gun was also allegedly used in the murder of MIT security officer Sean Collier.

Defense attorneys for Dzhokhar have filed papers and have said in open court that Tamerlan was the architect of the marathon attacks that left three dead, 260 wounded, and that Dzhokhar came under the “stronger influence of his older brother.”

However, a high-ranking law enforcement official said that while Tamerlan may have used the Ruger last, it was Dzhokhar who was friends with Silva and in the end, “it was Dzhokhar’s gun.”

“The defense is trying to paint Tamerlan as the mastermind [of the Boston attacks], but they were working in concert and we have evidence that Dzhokhar secured the weapon,” the official said.

Though the serial number was damaged, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was able to use what was left to track it to a gun to a store in Maine where it had been purchased legally, law enforcement sources said.

The original buyer told investigators he gave it to a Portland, Maine drug dealing gang. The alleged leader of that gang has been identified in federal court records as Biniam “Icy” Tsegai, also from Eritrea. Tsegai and others were indicted by federal prosecutors in Maine last year and in recent weeks several of those charged with drug-related crimes have pleaded guilty or been sentenced, according to FBI releases and court records.

It is unclear what connection “Icy” or his associates may have had with Silva or the Tsarnaevs. But Silva was described by investigators as a longtime friend of the younger Tsarnaev – who today turned 21 in jail where he is awaiting trial. Silva told U.S. Magistrate Court Justice Marianne Bowler Monday that he attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin, the same school as Dzohokhar, and graduated in the same year, 2011.

Silva’s attorney, Jonathon Shapiro, did not respond to requests for comment. Silva will return to federal court next month for a bail hearing.

The FBI has doggedly built cases against four other Tsarnaev friends.

Another Cambridge Rindge and Latin classmate, Robel Phillipos, will go on trial this fall for lying to federal agents.

On Monday, Azmat Tazhayakov, who was with Tsarnaev every day after the bombings, according to court testimony in his trial, was found guilty of obstruction charges and faces twenty years in prison.

The FBI dug through a dump for ten days to recover a backpack with spent fireworks that Tazhayakov and roomate Dias Kadrybayev are accused of disposing of the night of Collier’s murder.

Kadrybayev was also charged with obstruction and is slated for trial this fall. He has pleaded not guilty.

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Official: Gun Shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Played Greater Role in Bombing and Aftermath

FBI(BOSTON) — The handgun used by one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers in a violent firefight with police and to allegedly murder an MIT police officer was given to the Tsarnaev brothers by a local alleged heroin dealer who was taken into custody late Tuesday, several law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Stephen Silva, a Cambridge Rindge and Latin classmate of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, appeared in federal court Tuesday on drug and gun possession charges.

In addition to charges related to alleged heroin dealing, the Eritrea native, “knowingly received and possessed a firearm…a Ruger model P95 9mm pistol, which had the importer’s and manufacturer’s serial number removed, obliterated, and altered,” according to court documents obtained by ABC News. Silva is alleged to have had the gun in Feb. 2013, just months before the marathon blasts.

Law enforcement sources said that gun was the same as the Ruger P95 described in other court documents as used by Tamerlan Tsarneav, Dzhokhar’s older brother, in a gun battle with police three days after the marathon bombing in April 2013. Tamerlan emptied the gun when firing at police and then threw the empty weapon at the officers before he was killed, the documents say. Dzhokhar was injured, but survived the firefight and would be apprehended hours later. He has pleaded not guilty to a litany of charges related to the marathon bombing.

Hours before the police engaged the brothers, the same gun was also allegedly used in the murder of MIT security officer Sean Collier.

Defense attorneys for Dzhokhar have filed papers and have said in open court that Tamerlan was the architect of the marathon attacks that left three dead, 260 wounded, and that Dzhokhar came under the “stronger influence of his older brother.”

However, a high-ranking law enforcement official said that while Tamerlan may have used the Ruger last, it was Dzhokhar who was friends with Silva and in the end, “it was Dzhokhar’s gun.”

“The defense is trying to paint Tamerlan as the mastermind [of the Boston attacks], but they were working in concert and we have evidence that Dzhokhar secured the weapon,” the official said.

Though the serial number was damaged, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was able to use what was left to track it to a gun to a store in Maine where it had been purchased legally, law enforcement sources said.

The original buyer told investigators he gave it to a Portland, Maine drug dealing gang. The alleged leader of that gang has been identified in federal court records as Biniam “Icy” Tsegai, also from Eritrea. Tsegai and others were indicted by federal prosecutors in Maine last year and in recent weeks several of those charged with drug-related crimes have pleaded guilty or been sentenced, according to FBI releases and court records.

It is unclear what connection “Icy” or his associates may have had with Silva or the Tsarnaevs. But Silva was described by investigators as a longtime friend of the younger Tsarnaev – who today turned 21 in jail where he is awaiting trial. Silva told U.S. Magistrate Court Justice Marianne Bowler Monday that he attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin, the same school as Dzohokhar, and graduated in the same year, 2011.

Silva’s attorney, Jonathon Shapiro, did not respond to requests for comment. Silva will return to federal court next month for a bail hearing.

The FBI has doggedly built cases against four other Tsarnaev friends.

Another Cambridge Rindge and Latin classmate, Robel Phillipos, will go on trial this fall for lying to federal agents.

On Monday, Azmat Tazhayakov, who was with Tsarnaev every day after the bombings, according to court testimony in his trial, was found guilty of obstruction charges and faces twenty years in prison.

The FBI dug through a dump for ten days to recover a backpack with spent fireworks that Tazhayakov and roomate Dias Kadrybayev are accused of disposing of the night of Collier’s murder.

Kadrybayev was also charged with obstruction and is slated for trial this fall. He has pleaded not guilty.

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