Review Category : Top Stories

Tax Freedom Day: Why You Can Actually Afford Your Tax Bill Now

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Like most people, you probably filed your taxes by April 15 — but Friday is actually the day you’ve earned enough this year to pay your tax bill, according to one think tank.

The Tax Foundation, which describes itself as a non-partisan, non-profit organization that researches tax policies, says April 24 is the day when the country has earned enough money to pay its total tax bill for the year.

“Tax Freedom Day,” which the group attempts to pinpoint each year, is “a significant date for taxpayers and lawmakers because it represents how long Americans as a whole have to work in order to pay the nation’s tax burden,” according to the Tax Foundation.

The group estimates the day by taking all federal, state and local taxes and dividing them by the nation’s income.

“Tax Freedom Day is one day later than last year due mainly to the country’s continued steady economic growth, which is expected to boost tax revenue, especially from the corporate, payroll, and individual income tax,” the organization said in its report.

This year, the Tax Foundation estimates Americans will pay $3.28 trillion in federal taxes and $1.57 trillion in state and local taxes, for a 2014 tax bill of $4.85 trillion, or 31 percent of national income.

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Extremists Sought in Possible Plot Against the Vatican

iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) — Extremists may have plotted an attack against the Vatican in 2010, authorities in Italy said Friday in announcing the arrests of nine suspected Islamist extremists of Afghan and Pakistan origin.

Arrest warrants were issued for others in the sweep, authorities said.

The suspects are all said to be members of an international terrorist organization affiliated with al Qaeda.

Mario Carta, of the antiterrorism police in Sassari, Sardinia, told Italian media authorities had a “strong suspicion” from wiretaps that a plot against the Vatican had been planned. Recorded telephone conversations that took place near the seat of the Roman Catholic Church were said to have mentioned “restricted areas” and used the word “papa,” which is Italian for the pope.

The antiterrorism police subsequently alerted Rome and Vatican authorities. The alleged attackers may have aborted the plan because they knew they were under surveillance, Carta said.

Mauro Mura, an Italian prosecutor, told reporters the Vatican threat was from March 2010, when Benedict XVI was serving as pope.

Those detained included two men reported to be former body guards to Osama bin Laden and who had planned attacks in Pakistan. The group was also accused of plotting to destabilize the government of Pakistan, as well as being involved in the trafficking of refugees entering Italy, sometimes with the group’s financial assistance.

The center of the operation was on the island of Sardinia, authorities said. Italian authorities have been conducting wiretaps of the group for some years now.

Police in Sardinia said they believe some of the suspects participated in the October 2009 bombing of a market in Peshawar, Pakistan, where more than 100 people were killed.

At a news conference, authorities explained the network had access to a vast supply of weapons and included numerous followers who were prepared to carry out terrorist activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Police also stated the group was responsible for assisting illegal immigrants enter into Italy and, in some cases, helped move refugees to other parts of Europe. The group provided fake documents, cellphones, and provided statements to help obtain political asylum, authorities said.

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What You Need to Know About Apple Watch

ABC News(NEW YORK) — It doesn’t seem that long ago that Apple CEO Tim Cook first began talking about the game-changing Apple Watch that was to come.

Seven months later, what Cook calls Apple’s “most personal” device will be on the wrists of the first buyers Friday as some will have the opportunity to pick up the hotly anticipated wearables from Apple stores or receive a special delivery at home.

If you’re curious but haven’t pre-ordered a watch, here’s a breakdown of the basics to get you started.

How to Order

Even though the watches are launching Friday, don’t expect to see extra inventory in stores. Those who aren’t completely sold on the idea yet or don’t know which watch they want can schedule a try-on appointment online and then order a device to be picked up at a later date.

Customers can also play with an Apple Watch display unit that lets them demo the interface. However they won’t be able to try one on without meeting with an Apple employee.

Compatibility

The Apple Watch is compatible with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S.

Choices, Choices, Choices

The watch comes in three models: the Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and the high-end Apple Watch Edition. Each packs as much as 18 hours of battery life, ensuring the device can stay helpful to its user day and night.

The Apple Watch Sport, which is made of aluminum, starts at $349. The Apple Watch starts at $549 for the smaller version and goes as high as $1,049 depending on the watch band. The larger version starts at $599.

The Apple Watch Edition will begin at $10,000 and will be available in limited quantities, making it the ultimate techie status symbol.

Apps

Ever since the Apple Watch was announced last September, developers have been working to transform their app experiences for the wrist.

The results can be found in the Apple Watch app store launched Thursday with thousands of apps encompassing everything from news, retail, travel health and entertainment.

While you likely won’t book a European getaway on the Watch, the small screen is ideal for offering alerts and access to quick information, such as your itinerary or the check-out time at a hotel.

What Makes It Different

Much of the interaction on the watch is driven by notifications. Expect the Apple Watch to keep you on track for your appointments, advise you when you may need an umbrella or show you a text message from a friend.

The wrist is “a very interesting place” because users can glance at it while “you can’t glance at a lot of other places on your body,” Cook told ABC News’ David Muir in an exclusive interview after the watch was announced last year.

“You can measure a lot of things from there and you can just get, honestly, a tidbit today of what all it can do,” Cook said. “But I think it’s huge.”

Navigation

While other wearables focus on a touch screen, Apple is making navigation on the watch head easier by letting users move the digital crown to toggle between apps. (You can of course still use the touch screen on the watch.)

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Candidate Profile: Christina Muryn for Findlay City Council’s Sixth Ward

04/24/15     5:30 a.m.

As we approach election day, today we share our interview with political newcomer Christina Muryn, who is running for Findlay’s sixth ward city council seat. Muryn said her focus will be on residential needs.

Audio: Christina Muryn

Additionally, Muryn said she’d like to look into other services Findlay may be able to provide its residents by researching best practices from other cities.

Some of the other issues she is looking to tackle are use of land and property clean-up.

Audio: Christina Muryn

Muryn is running against incumbent Jim Niemeyer, who was appointed to council when sixth ward representative Andy Douglas took a job elsewhere in the state.

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Kawhi Leonard Wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO) — Kawhi Leonard joins the company of a pair of Hall of Famers.

The San Antonio forward was selected NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday, joining Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win the award and the NBA Finals MVP.

“It feels great,” the 23-year-old Leonard said. “Growing up as a kid, you’re watching these players and you want to become who they are or get the accolades that they have. It just shows that hard work pays off.”

Leonard has become the Spurs’ primary individual defender and led the league in steals at 2.3 per game.

Leonard received 37 first-place votes and 333 points from a panel of 129 writers and broadcasters. Golden State forward Draymond Green had 45 first-place votes, but appeared on fewer ballots and had 317 points. Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan finished third, receiving 32 first-place votes and 261 points.

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Iranian Convoy Tracked by US Near Yemen Has Turned Around, Official Says

The U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, seen here in a file photo from 1993, has been patrolling the waters near Yemen. DERRICK CEYRAC/AFP/Getty Images(SANA’A, Yemen) — An Iranian convoy that some U.S. officials were concerned might be carrying weapons for the Houthi rebels in Yemen has turned around and is no longer bound for Yemen.

A U.S. defense official says that there was never visual contact between the Iranian ships and U.S. ships in the region, but that U.S. surveillance planes had flown in the area keeping an eye on the convoy. The U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, an American aircraft carrier, will remain in the Arabian Sea, Pentagon spokesperson Col. Steve Warren said.

The Iranian convoy had consisted of nine ships, Warren said, including some small military vessels.

A senior Navy official says that the ships haven’t moved very far, meaning they could still change direction again.

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Thirty Years After Ill-Fated ‘New Coke’ Debut, Coke Thriving

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Thursday was the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the ill-fate “New Coke.”

On April 23, 1985, Coca-Cola made the decision to replace the formula of its flagship soft drink. The decision was called one of the biggest business blunders of the century, as customers loudly expressed their disappointment and passion for the old recipe.

“The passion for original Coke was something that just flat caught us by surprise,” said then-President and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company Don Keough, in a article posted on the Coca-Cola website in 2013.

Just 79 days after the debut of “New Coke,” the company announced the return of the classic formula.

The blooper may have been embarassing for Coca-Cola, but earlier this week, the company released its first-quarter results — including one-percent growth in net revenues. The company boasts the claim of being the number-one provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, juices and juice drinks.

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Arraignment for Man Accused of Stalking Sandra Bullock Postponed

ABC/Fred Lee(LOS ANGELES) — The arraignment of Joshua James Corbett, the man accused of stalking Sandra Bullock and breaking into the Gravity star’s home, was postponed on Thursday and moved until next month.

The judge approved a bid by the defense team to delay Corbett’s arraignment until May 6. Corbett faces numerous guns and weapons charges, as well as one count of first-degree burglary and one count of stalking.

Corbett did not speak during the hearing.

Bullock was not in attendance on Thursday.

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Inside the New Apple Watch App Store

Alyssa Newcomb/ABC News(NEW YORK) — Apple opened its Apple Watch app store for business Thursday, showing off the thousands of apps that have been developed for the company’s first-ever wearable device.

When displayed on the Apple Watch, the apps are represented by tiny circles and are clustered together, almost like a beehive, as user swipe and twist the digital crown to move through their ecosystem of apps.

The first customers will receive their Apple Watch on Friday. After pairing them with a compatible iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S via the Apple Watch app, it’s incredibly easy to browse the ocean of applications and choose which ones to add.

When designing for the wearable, Apple told developers that the goal of “thoughtful app design should contribute to this experience of hardware and software feeling indistinguishable.”

Seven months after the wearable was announced, the result is more than 3,000 apps spanning everything from entertainment and travel to health and news.

Many popular apps have been adapted for the display (38 mm and 42 mm) afforded by the watches, providing glanceable moments and quick alerts.

For instance, a single 140-character tweet can fill the screen, as opposed to the entire timeline a user may see when opening Twitter on their iPhone or on a desktop.

Target’s app lets users build a shop listing before going to the store and then helps them locate all of the essentials. A section in the storefront called “quick fix games” offers up experiences to kill time with simple games, such as wrist Sudoku.

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Reese Witherspoon to Narrate New Harper Lee Novel

ABC/Image Group LA(NEW YORK) — Reese Witherspoon is set to narrate the audiobook edition of Harper Lee’s much-anticipated new novel, Go Set a Watchman, which is scheduled to come out July 14, the publisher said Thursday.

“The publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is the literary event of the year, and Reese Witherspoon’s extraordinary talent and southern roots make her the perfect narrator,” Sean McManus, senior director of HarperAudio, a division of HarperCollins, said in a statement. “This is an audiobook destined to become a classic, joining the ranks of our award-winning audio edition of To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Fellow Oscar winner Sissy Spacek narrated Lee’s first book, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Witherspoon said in a statement that she was honored to voice characters who inspired her as a child.

“As a Southerner, it is an honor and privilege to give voice to the Southern characters who inspired my childhood love of reading, Scout and Atticus Finch,” the Hot Pursuit star said. “I am eager for readers to be transported to a pivotal time in American history in the manner that only Harper Lee’s gorgeous prose can deliver.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author surprised fans when she announced earlier this year that she had recovered the manuscript for Go Set a Watchman, which she wrote in the 1950s prior to Mockingbird.

In Go Set a Watchman, Scout, the main character in Mockingbird, returns to Maycomb, Alabama, to visit her father, Atticus, and she is “forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood,” Lee said in a statement.

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