Scientists have a new idea for how Earth got its oxygen: It’s because the planet slowed down and days got longer. A study published Monday proposes and puts to the test the theory that longer, continuous daylight kick-started weird bacteria into producing lots of oxygen, making most of life as we know it possible. They dredged up gooey purple bacteria from a sinkhole in Lake Huron and tinkered with how much light it got. The more continuous light the smelly microbes got, the more oxygen they produced. Just how Earth's great oxygenation event started has long been a scientific mystery.
A German federal court has ruled that the golden shade of the foil wrap on a popular chocolate Easter bunny enjoys protected status. The Federal Court of Justice delivered its verdict Thursday in a case involving Lindt & Spruengli's Gold Bunny and a German company which also marketed a chocolate bunny in a gold foil wrap. Switzerland's Lindt argued that it had a trademark on the color and that Germany's Heilemann should be prevented from selling its product. A state court in Munich ruled against Lindt last year. But the federal court agreed the Swiss company had proven that its bunny's gold shade had acquired trademark status by reputation.
A woman who secretly swapped seven pebbles for 4.2 million pounds ($5.7 million) worth of diamonds has been sent to prison for her role in the audacious heist at a luxury jewelry store in London. The 60-year-old Lulu Lakatos was sentenced Wednesday to 5 1/2 years in prison after a jury at a London court found her guilty of conspiracy to steal. Lakatos was part of an international gang that fled to France after stealing the diamonds from Boodles on New Bond Street on March 10, 2016. The gems haven’t been recovered.
Lottery officials say a woman in Germany carried a winning ticket in her purse for weeks without realizing it was worth about 33 million euros ($39 million). Lotto Bayern said Wednesday that the 45-year-old woman was the sole winner of a draw on June 9, having correctly guessed seven fields on a German lottery ticket. It quoted the woman, who wasn’t named, saying “I still get dizzy at the thought that I carelessly carried almost 33 million euros around in my purse for several weeks.” The mother of one had picked random numbers on the 1.20-euro lottery ticket. She said she plans to use her windfall to live a healthy life and do more for the environment.
An escaped bull has eluded capture for several days on Long Island despite attempts to lure the roaming animal with grain and a cow in heat. Police began responding to calls about the 1,500-pound bull running loose Tuesday morning after it broke through the fence of a local farm. Residents have spotted the dark-coated bull nicknamed Barney walking across fields, roads and suburban front yards. And it briefly shut down a portion of Sunrise Highway. Teams have searched the area about 50 miles east of New York City on foot and on horseback.
Sulfur-crested cockatoos in Sydney have learned to open trash bins — and the technique is catching on like a hot dance move. Researchers documented the technique in three suburbs of the city in early 2018, but it had spread to 44 suburbs by late 2019. Scientists analyzed videos of 160 wily birds lifting lids as well as the geographic spread of the skill to conclude that most birds learned by watching others. Cockatoos' knack for social learning may be one of the traits that allow them to thrive in unpredictable or human-dominated environments. The research was published Thursday in the journal Science.
An Indonesian man with the coronavirus has boarded a domestic flight disguised as his wife, wearing a niqab covering his face and carrying fake IDs and a negative PCR test result. But the cover didn’t last long. Police say a flight attendant aboard a Citilink plane traveling from Jakarta to Ternate in North Maluku province on Sunday noticed the man change the clothes in the lavatory. He was arrested upon landing and tested positive for COVID-19. The man is currently self-isolating at home and police say the investigation will continue. Indonesia is in the grip of the worse coronavirus surge in Asia with 33,772 new confirmed cases and 1,383 deaths. Restrictions on travel include a mandatory negative coronavirus test.
The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency says a New York man and a Maine woman tried to disguise cocaine as a cake. Acting on a tip, police stopped the car on I-295 in Gardiner on Tuesday, and a drug-sniffing dog found 4 pounds (2 kilograms) of cocaine worth $200,000. Half of the cocaine was disguised as a marble cake that was actually made of cocaine with coffee grounds used to cover up the scent. The two were arrested on drug charges. It's unknown if they have an attorney.
Bird lovers are traveling to a stream in southeastern Michigan to see a rare creature with pink feathers and a long bill. The roseate spoonbill was found in Saline in the Koch Warner Drain. Experts say it's a first for Michigan. The bird typically lives in the Gulf Coast region. Saline police say it escaped from a zoo or is “very confused.” Word has spread about the bird, and Sally Most and her husband traveled roughly 200 miles from Fairmount, Indiana. Most says she took more than 300 pictures. She says, “We’re going home happy campers.”
Moderating a Facebook gardening group in western New York is not without challenges. There are complaints of wooly bugs, inclement weather and the novice members who insist on using dish detergent on their plants. And then there’s the word “hoe.” Facebook’s algorithms sometimes flag this particular word as “violating community standards,” apparently referring to a different word, one without an “e” at the end that is nonetheless often misspelled as the garden tool. Elizabeth Licata, one of the group’s moderators, said it has been futile trying to reach Facebook to correct the mistake.
US and World News
The White House is moving to pressure state and local governments to swiftly adopt policies to protect renters after an eviction moratorium expired over the weekend. That could potentially push millions of Americans out of their homes. In a statement on Monday, the White House emphasized that the federal government has provided $46.5 billion to keep renters in their homes. But it accused states and cities of being “too slow to act,” preventing that aid from making its way to tenants whose livelihoods have been upended by the pandemic. The focus on states comes as President Joe Biden faces stinging criticism, including from some in his own party, that he was was slow to address the end of the moratorium. Read more
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is looking to speed up consideration of a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan national infrastructure package. He promised on Monday that fellow Democrats would work with Republicans on amendments for the Senate’s consideration. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act clocks in now at some 2,700 pages. Republican leader Mitch McConnell is praising those who crafted the bill, but says that senators need a chance to put their states' imprints on the bill. The spending is broadly popular among lawmakers, bringing big-ticket items that cities and states can rarely afford on their own. Read more
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says losing Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC could slice the value of the league's next television deal by 50 percent. Bowlsby testified at a hearing of Texas state lawmakers on the impact of conference realignment. Officials from Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech were invited to testify. Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades says the impact is real. He says there are concerns Baylor will sell fewer tickets, less merchandise and that it will be harder to raise money from sponsors and donors. Oklahoma and Texas are expected to leave the Big 12 in 2025. Read more
Point guards were the immediate focus when the NBA’s free agency window opened Monday night, with Kyle Lowry headed to the Miami Heat, Lonzo Ball on his way to the Chicago Bulls while Chris Paul and Mike Conley landed lucrative deals to remain with their current teams. Lowry and the agency that represents him, Priority Sports, said he was headed to the Heat. A person with knowledge of the deal says he will be signing a three-year contract worth nearly $30 million annually in what will become a sign-and-trade that sends Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa from Miami to Toronto. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because nothing had yet been approved by the league. Read more
Oregon officials believe a $90 million settlement with the parent company of Victoria’s Secret guarantees an end to its culture of harassment and fear. Under the settlement, Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, owned by L Brands Inc., committed to each invest $45 million to protect employees from harassment and discrimination and require accountability from executives when misconduct occurs. The settlement is on behalf of the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund and other shareholders. They alleged L Brands’ board failed to investigate former CEO and Chairman Emeritus Leslie Wexner’s ties with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and ignored a company culture of sexual harassment. Read more
Sen. Lindsey Graham has tested positive for the coronavirus. The South Carolina Republican is the first senator to disclose a breakthrough infection after being vaccinated. He says he is “very glad” he received the vaccine, without which his current symptoms would be “far worse.” The news has prompted several other lawmakers to get quick COVID-19 tests and report their status. A handful of Senate colleagues spent part of the weekend working and socializing with Graham, who attended a gathering on Sen. Joe Manchin’s houseboat the evening that he first developed symptoms. Read more
Premier Mario Draghi’s government has easily won two confidence votes from Italian lawmakers, securing approval in Parliament’s lower chamber for a key justice system reforms. The legislation is part of a package of reforms that Italy must enact to secure generous pandemic recovery funds from the European Union. A last-minute pledge that populist 5-Star Movement lawmakers would back the justice system overhaul helped assure its passage linked to the confidence votes early Tuesday. The Italian Senate is expected to start work on the bill in September. Read more
A federal appeals court has ruled that Indiana University can proceed with its plan to require students and employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Monday's ruling is the highest court decision regarding college immunization mandates. The Chicago-based appeals court upheld a district court judge’s ruling that found that the university was acting reasonably “in pursuing public health and safety for its campus communities.” Both courts rejected a request by eight IU students who sought to block the requirement while they challenge its legality, claiming it would violate their constitutional rights by forcing them to receive unwanted medical treatment. The plaintiffs' lawyer says he will ask the Supreme Court to consider the case. Read more
It's summertime and airports are packed with vacationers again. And combined with bad weather popping up in places, that's causing problems for the airlines. The U.S. set another pandemic-era record for travel on Sunday, with more than 2.2 million people going through airport checkpoints. That's the biggest number in 17 months, although travel is still not quite back to pre-pandemic levels. The big crowds and summer thunderstorms are creating headaches for travelers, because thousands of flights a day are running late, and hundreds more are canceled. There are long lines at Spirit Airlines ticket counters in Orlando, Florida, after the discount airline canceled about one-third of its flights on Monday. Read more
Turkey is seeking international help to fight wildfires, and neighbor Greece is using old power stations to cope with the demand for air conditioning as a heat wave intensifies in southeast Europe. With temperatures reaching 45 C (113 F) in some areas, the extreme weather is fueling wildfires as well storms in Italy and Croatia. A climate expert says the destructive weather conditions are becoming more frequent and deadly. A small tornado in Istria, on Croatia’s northern Adriatic coast, toppled trees that destroyed several cars. Hours later a large wildfire erupted outside the nearby resort of Trogir, threatening homes and the local power supply. Dozens were treated for smoke inhalation in Italy after flames tore through a pine forest. Read more
MINNEAPOLIS — The First Avenue music venue in Minneapolis that was made famous in Prince’s movie “Purple Rain” is requiring that all concertgoers provide proof of vaccination against the coronavirus or show a negative virus test. Read more
Health officials in San Francisco and six other Bay Area counties have announced that they are reinstating a mask mandate for all indoor settings as COVID-19 infections surge. Monday's order applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status, and starts on Tuesday. California last week recommended that people wear masks indoors, but stopped short of issuing a mandate, following guidance from the U.S Centers for Disease Control. Three other California counties have already adopted mandates as COVID rates rise because of the highly contagious delta variant. Read more
Firefighters in Turkey are battling for the sixth straight day to control wildfires that are tearing through forests near some of the country's top beach resorts. Water-dumping planes from the European Union were preparing to join in. Fueled by scorching temperatures and strong winds, the fires that began Wednesday have left eight people dead and forced residents and tourists to flee vacation resorts and villages in small boats or convoys of cars and trucks. Many villagers have lost their homes and farm animals and a thick yellow haze has coated the air. Turkey's interior minister said Monday that 10,000 people have been evacuated in one province alone. Read more
The U.S. finally reached President Joe Biden’s goal of getting at least one COVID-19 shot in the arms of 70% of American adults. But it’s a month late and amid a fierce surge by the delta variant that is swamping hospitals and leading to new mask rules and mandatory vaccinations around the country. Biden set a goal of reaching the 70% threshold by the Fourth of July. But that target was set well before the highly contagious delta variant enabled the virus to come storming back and undermined the assumptions that were used to arrive at that figure. The U.S. still has not hit the administration’s other goal of fully vaccinating 165 million American adults by July 4. It is about 8.5 million short. Read more
Landlords and tenants are rushing back to court and advocates are bracing for a wave of evictions following the end of the federal moratorium over the weekend. Most advocates expect evictions to build slowly over the coming weeks and months as the bureaucracy of removing people from their homes restarts Monday. The Biden administration announced Thursday it would allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium to expire. It argued that its hands were tied after the Supreme Court signaled the measure needed to come to an end. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for the moratorium to be extended. Read more
A judge has denied a convicted man’s request for a new trial in the 2018 killing of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts. Judge Joel Yates issued his ruling Monday, clearing the way for sentencing to proceed Aug. 30 in the trial of Cristhian Bahena Rivera. The farmhand who came to the U.S. illegally as a teenager was convicted in May of first-degree murder in the killing of Tibbetts, who disappeared while out for a run near her Iowa hometown. Bahena Rivera was to be sentenced to life in prison last month, but Yates postponed sentencing to allow defense attorneys to present a new theory about who killed Tibbetts based on information two witnesses gave police. Read more
Firefighters have gotten more control over a Hawaii wildfire that forced thousands of people to evacuate over the weekend and destroyed at least two homes on the Big Island. But officials warned strong winds on Monday could raise the danger again. Authorities lifted evacuation orders Sunday night but warned they could be reinstated at any time. Big Island officials said the more than 62-square-mile blaze was the largest wildfire ever recorded there. Fires in Hawaii are unlike many of those burning in the U.S. West. They tend to break out in large grasslands on the dry sides of the islands and are generally much smaller than mainland fires. Read more
Nick Chubb has signed a three-year, $36.6 million contract extension with the Cleveland Browns. The deal is an indication of the team's regard for his skills as an elite running back and his quiet leadership. The Browns made sure they locked him up early in training camp leading into what they hope will be a special season. He had one year left on his rookie contract. Chubb completed the deal with his signature before Monday’s practice. Read more
The Treasury Department has unveiled plans to borrow $673 billion in the current quarter while employing emergency measures to keep the government from an unprecedented default on the national debt. The department said Monday that its plans for borrowing in the July-September period assume Congress will pass either a suspension of the current debt limit or an increase in the limit. The debt limit had been suspended for two years but has gone back into effect at the level where the debt stood on Sunday — $28.4 trillion. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced a new round of measures to keep the government under the newly established debt limit. Those involve halting investments in some pension funds for government workers. Read more
Stocks closed mixed on Wall Street Monday after a day of choppy trading. Investors were balancing unease about the spread of a more contagious coronavirus variant against another round of encouraging company earnings. The S&P 500 lost 0.2% It was slightly higher for much of the day before turning lower in the last half-hour of trading. Roughly 150 members of the index will report their results this week, and the July jobs report comes out on Friday. Square rose 10.2% after saying it would acquire the “buy now, pay later” company Afterpay for $29 billion. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.17%. Read more
Rapper DaBaby has apologized a second time for crude and homophobic remarks at a recent Miami-area music festival. The Grammy-nominated performer says he was misinformed for his comments about HIV/AIDS in his post on social media Monday. His post comes a day after the rapper was cut from Lollapalooza’s lineup in Chicago on Sunday. New York City’s Governors Ball and Day N Vegas in Las Vegas each announced Monday that DaBaby would be dropped from their lineups. The rapper, who real name is Jonathan Kirk, apologized to the LGBTQ+ community for his “hurtful and triggering” comments. DaBaby's “Rockstar” was one of the biggest hits last year. Read more
Artem Dolgopyat fulfilled a lifelong dream of winning a gold medal for Israel, but trading gold wedding bands in Israel seems to be an impossible dream. While he has been hailed as a national hero after winning a gold medal in artistic gymnastics in Tokyo on Sunday, his personal life has put the spotlight once again on Israel’s lack of civil marriage. Dolgopyat’s mother’s remarks renewed the public debate over the issue of civil marriage in Israel. News outlets published a raft of op-eds for and against the issue, and politicians weighed in. Israel's foreign minister pledged to bring about reform that would allow Israelis, including Dolgopyat, to have a civil marriage. Read more
Several House Democrats have called on House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to apologize to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or resign after audio surfaced of him saying at a fundraiser over the weekend that it would be “hard not to hit her” with a gavel if he’s sworn in as speaker after the 2022 midterm elections. The comment is emblematic of the rising tension between the two leaders since the Jan. 6 insurrection, in which a violent mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters broke into the Capitol and some hunted for Pelosi by name. Read more
Twitter has signed deals with The Associated Press and Reuters to help elevate accurate information on its platform. Twitter said Monday that the program will expand its existing work to help explain why certain subjects are trending on the site, to show information and news from trusted resources and to debunk misinformation. Twitter said the news agencies will help ensure that credible information is available in real time around key conversations as they come up in real time, especially "where facts are in dispute" or when the company's internal team doesn’t have the necessary expertise or access to enough reputable reporting. Read more
The Biden administration is expanding efforts to help Afghan citizens flee increasing Taliban violence as the U.S. military pullout looms at the end of the month. The State Department says it's widening the scope of Afghans eligible for refugee status in United States to include current and former employees of U.S.-based news organizations and U.S.-funded aid and development agencies. Current and former employees of the U.S. government who don't meet strict criteria for a special immigrant visa are also covered by the expansion. But the move comes with a major caveat: Applicants must leave Afghanistan to begin the process that may take 12-14 months in a third country. Read more
Sorry, Cormac McCarthy fans. That blue-checked account for the famous, and famously media-shy author is fake. The McCarthy account, @CormacMcCrthy, had more than 48,000 followers as of midday Monday, among them Stephen King. It was established in September 2018, but was only recently given a blue check for verification. The 88-year-old McCarthy rarely speaks to the press and has no known presence on social media. His novels include “All the Pretty Horses,” “No Country for Old Men” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Road.” Some of the tweets on the parody account make light of his unfamiliarity with technology. Read more
Zoom has agreed to pay $85 million to settle a lawsuit alleging allegations its videoconferencing service’s weak privacy controls opened too many peepholes into its users’ personal information and made it too easy to disrupt their meetings during the early stages of the pandemic. The proposed deal disclosed in federal court documents filed Saturday still requires a judge's approval. Millions of people in the U.S. could get a slice of the settlement. The payment amounts are expected to average $34 or $35 for those who subscribed to Zoom's paid version and $11 or $12 for the overwhelming majority who used the free version. Read more
NFL Alumni Health announced Monday that in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it is kicking off an outreach and education initiative to help build COVID-19 vaccination confidence. The campaign features some 40 current and retired NFL players who will encourage the public to make the decision to protect themselves, their families and their communities by getting vaccinated. Marshall Faulk says his message is for those hesitant to get the vaccine to seek their doctor's advice and ignore all the chatter on social media. Rod Woodson says education will lead to more jabs in the arm. Read more
Employers are increasingly losing patience with unvaccinated workers. A growing number of businesses are requiring their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, alarmed by the rise of the more contagious delta variant and frustrated that vaccination rates in the U.S. have plateaued. Others are stopping short of a mandate while taking steps to make it more onerous for workers to remain unvaccinated, requiring them to take regular COVID tests or denying them certain privileges reserved only for the vaccinated. Read more
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz is expected to miss 5 to 12 weeks because a broken left foot. Coach Frank Reich made the announcement following his return to the practice field after missing all of last week's workouts because of a positive COVID-19 test. Reich says Wentz will have surgery to remove a piece of bone Monday afternoon. Reich says doctors found Wentz had broken the foot years ago, probably in high school, and that a piece of bone came loose when he hurt the foot last Thursday. For now, Indy plans to use Jacob Eason as the starter. Eason was a fourth-round draft pick in 2020 and has not appeared in an NFL game — regular season or preseason. Read more