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Intruder at supermodel’s California mansion charged

An Australian man who jumped the fence at supermodel Miranda Kerr's Malibu home and allegedly stabbed her security guard was charged Tuesday with attempted murder, prosecutors said. Shaun Haywood, 29, faces further felony counts of aggravated mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. Haywood allegedly broke into the Australian model's ranch on October 14 in an effort to deliver a letter. When confronted by a security guard, the defendant is said to have grabbed the guard's knife and slashed his face, prosecutors said. The guard then shot Haywood. Both the intruder and the security guard were flown to hospital and were left with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Haywood denied all three charges at an arraignment hearing on Tuesday, where bail was set at $1.1 million pending …

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Antarctic glacier thinning more rapidly than thought: study

A large glacier in West Antarctica lost up to half a kilometer in thickness in seven years, thinning more quickly than scientists thought possible, according to a study released Tuesday. The Smith Glacier, spilling into the Amundsen Sea, shed up to 70 meters (230 feet) per year between 2002 and 2009, according to the study, based on NASA data collected during aerial flyovers. "If I had been using data from only one instrument, I wouldn't have believed what I was looking at because the thinning was so large," said lead author Ala Khazendar, a researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Ice-penetrating radar and laser altimetry both yielded the same results, he reported in Nature Communications. After 2009, Smith continued to shed mass, though at a slightly slower pace, Khazendar told AFP. Earlier studies using less …

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Autism study shows lasting benefits of early interaction

  A year-long training program to help parents communicate with their very young autistic children reduced symptoms of the disorder up to six years later, according to a follow-up analysis released Wednesday. Children were less impaired in their ability to communicate, and less likely to show repetitive behavior, one of the telltale signs of the disorder. They did not, however, show improvements in language skills or reduced anxiety, researchers reported in The Lancet, a leading medical journal. Autism is a complex disorder of brain development characterized, to varying degrees, by troubled social interactions, difficulty in communicating and repetitive actions or speech. It affects about one in 100 people. The findings -- praised by outside experts as a "remarkably positive" and a "major contribution" to autism research -- came as something of a surprise because the …

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Apple spins services with iPhone sales slumping

Apple's quarterly profit slumped on a widely expected drop in iPhone sales, but gains in services offered some optimism on the company's efforts to curb dependence on its smartphone. The company said Tuesday that profit fell 19 percent to $9 billion in the fiscal quarter ending September 24. Revenue fell nine percent to $46.9 billion from $51.5 billion a year earlier. The results were largely in line with market forecasts and showed sales of the iPhone -- Apple's biggest revenue and profit driver -- down five percent from a year ago to 45.5 million units. The quarterly update only provided limited information on the reception of the newest iPhone models, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which were released in early September, and was likely to benefit from the woes of rival Samsung, …

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Kerry: US, Vietnam committed to rule of law in South China Sea

WASHINGTON  — Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. and Vietnam share a commitment to rule of law in the disputed South China Sea. Kerry was speaking ahead of talks Tuesday with a top figure in Vietnam's ruling communist party, Executive Secretary Dinh The Huynh (din tay hwin). Vietnam is among governments claiming territory in the South China Sea, where China's assertive behavior and land reclamation has stirred tension. The meeting comes five months after President Barack Obama visited Vietnam and lifted restrictions on arms sales to the former U.S. enemy. It also takes place as longstanding U.S. ally in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, is strengthening its ties with China. Kerry said he and Huynh will also discuss human rights — still a sore point in U.S.-Vietnam relations.

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Former WWII comfort women ask Duterte to raise their plight with Japan’s Abe

By Xinhua MANILA -- Filipino "comfort women" urged President Rodrigo Duterte to raise their plight in his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "At least mention the comfort women," said Rechilda Extremadura, executive director of Lila Pilipina, an organization of World War II comfort women. She lamented that the previous Philippine administrations have ignored the plight of the Filipino women who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II in talks with Japanese government. "Our previous leaders have failed us because they are all afraid of rumpling feathers of diplomacy with Japan. With President Duterte, who we believe is no pushover, we are hopeful that finally the issue will be placed in the agenda, at the very least," she said in a statement. Extremadura said Duterte, who is pursuing an …

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Spinal muscles in astronauts shrink after months in space — study

WASHINGTON -- Astronauts on long space missions experience a weakening of the muscles supporting the spine, and they don't return to normal even after several weeks back on Earth, US researchers said Tuesday. The study, funded by the US space agency NASA and published in the research journal Spine, provided new insights into the elevated rates of back pain and spinal disc disease associated with prolonged spaceflight. Back pain is common during prolonged missions, with more than half of crew members reporting spinal pain. Astronauts are also at increased risk of spinal disc herniation in the months after returning from spaceflight -- about four times higher than in matched controls. Back issues in astronauts are accompanied by a roughly five-centimeter increase in body height, thought to result from spinal unloading and other body …

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Air pollution may damage blood vessels even in healthy young adults: study

WASHINGTON -- Air pollution may cause blood vessel damage and inflammation, even in healthy young adults, a U. S. study said Tuesday. Air pollution is known to contribute to cardiovascular disease and related deaths, but it remained unclear how air pollution actually affects the blood vessels to increase the risk of disease. For this study, investigators analyzed the component of air pollution known as fine particulate matter (PM2.5) -- the tiny pieces of solid or liquid pollution emitted from motor vehicles, factories, power plants, fires, and smoking. Study participants included 72 healthy, nonsmoking, adults in Provo, Utah, where the unique weather and geographical features periodically result in air pollution. During the winters of 2013, 2014, and 2015, these young adults, with an average age of 23, provided blood samples, which researchers then tested for …

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Google Fiber halts expansion plans as chief steps down

SAN FRANCISCO  — Google's parent company is halting operations and laying off staff in a number of cities where it once hoped to bring high-speed internet access by installing new fiber-optic networks. The company also announced that Craig Barratt, a veteran tech executive who led the ambitious — and expensive — Google Fiber program, is stepping down as CEO of Access, the division of Google corporate parent, Alphabet Inc., that operates the 5-year-old program.   In a statement, Barratt said Google Fiber will continue to provide service in a handful of cities where it's already operating, including Atlanta; Austin, Texas; and Charlotte, North Carolina. But it will put further plans on hold in at least eight more metropolitan areas where it's been holding exploratory talks with local officials. Those include Dallas; Tampa and Jacksonville, …

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Vatican tells Catholics not to scatter ashes of the dead

The Vatican on Tuesday urged Catholics not to scatter the ashes of the dead after cremation and instead to store them in places approved by the Church. The new guidelines published by the Church also say that the ashes of the dead should not be kept at home but should instead be kept at a cemetery or other sacred place. Doing so reduces "the risk of shielding the dead from prayers for them and the memory of their family and the Christian community", German cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, the prefect of the doctrinal watchdog, told journalists. "We also avoid eventually forgetting (them) and the lack of respect which can happen, especially after the passing of the first generation," he said. "Conserving ashes in a home is not authorised," Mueller said. The Vatican first gave permission …

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