Morning News Briefs and Thursday's Forecast

Posted: October 24, 2013

Winchester-Area Forecast: Expect the coldest day of the season today with a high of 46 under partly cloudy skies. A freeze watch is in effect from late tonight through Friday morning with lows down to 30. Partly cloudy and 50 on Friday, the low near 30. Clear and 54 on Saturday and partly cloudy and 55 on Sunday.

Morning News Briefs for Thursday, October 24, 2013

US ambassador summoned by Germany over NSA spying
BERLIN (AP) — The German Foreign Ministry says it has summoned the U.S. ambassador in the wake of allegations that American intelligence may have targeted Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. The ministry said Ambassador John B. Emerson is expected to meet Thursday afternoon with Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who will "spell out the position of the German government."

Website contractors blame Obama administration
WASHINGTON (AP) — The principal contractors responsible for the federal government's trouble-plagued health insurance website say the Obama administration shares responsibility for the snags that have crippled the system. Executives of CGI Federal, which built the federal HealthCare.gov website serving 36 states, and QSSI, which designed the part that verifies applicants' income and other personal details, are testifying Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

More victims of online abuse reach out to parents
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sarah Ball was a 15-year-old high school sophomore at Hernando High School in Brooksville, Fla., when a friend posted on Facebook: "I hate Sarah Ball, and I don't care who knows." Then there was the Facebook group "Hernando Haters" asking to rate her attractiveness, plus an anonymous email calling her a "waste of space." And this text arrived on her 16th birthday: "Wow, you're still alive? Impressive. Well happy birthday anyway."

Study: Gold star nutrition ratings appears to work
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A nutritional rating system using gold stars affixed to price labels on grocery store shelves appears to have shifted buying habits, potentially providing another tool to educate consumers on how to eat healthier, according to a new study. The independent study examining a proprietary gold star system used in Maine-based Hannaford Supermarkets suggested it steered shoppers away from items with no stars toward healthier foods that merited gold stars.

Syria releases 61 women detainees, activists say
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian authorities have released a total of 61 women detainees, an activist group said Thursday, the latest in a three-way prisoner exchange that was one of the more ambitious negotiated deals in the country's civil war in which rival factions remain largely opposed to any bartered peace. Meanwhile, electricity returned to parts of Damascus, hours after a power cut plunged the capital and other parts of the country into darkness.

Bad guy blues: Myanmar villains struggle to get by
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — In a dimly lit alley on a cramped side street of a teeming Southeast Asian city, the bad guys cluster together, plotting their next move. There is A Yaing Min, the "King of Cruelty," who twirls his mustache as he talks and cultivates a pointy beard with a pointed message: Mess with me, and I will end you. There is Myint Kyi, who has been dispatching enemies — typically with spears — since 1958. There is Phone Naing, muscular and sinewy in tight military pants, who talks only in a low snarl.

Boeing's 747 is an icon, but future is in doubt
For decades, the Boeing 747 was the Queen of the Skies. But the glamorous double-decker jumbo jet that revolutionized air travel and shrunk the globe could be nearing the end of the line. Boeing has cut its production target twice in six months. Just 18 will be produced in each of the next two years. Counting cancellations, it hasn't sold a single 747 this year. Some brand-new 747s go into storage as soon as they leave the plant.

Despite billions in aid, Afghans can't find work
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Hundreds of men, some on crutches, all wearing tattered clothing, gather shortly before dawn at major intersections throughout Kabul and other Afghan cities. Displaying primitive tools such as a level or a trowel, they seek labor that is often backbreaking, always temporary and will earn just a few dollars for a day's work. Employers circle the intersections, eyeing the crowds. Usually they are looking for one or two workers for minor construction tasks. Before they even stop, dozens of men swarm their vehicle, fighting with each other to get one of perhaps five or six jobs available that morning.

FDA can't find cause of pet poison, seeks help
LOS ANGELES (AP) — All that's left of Doodles are his ashes, a clay impression of his paw and a whole lot of questions owner Patricia Cassidy has about his mysterious death. Doodles is believed to be one of 580 dogs in the U.S. that have died in the past six years from eating pet jerky from China. Baffled by the cause and seeing another surge in illnesses, the Food and Drug Administration reached out to owners and veterinarians Tuesday to help it find the poison behind the sickening of at least 3,600 dogs and 10 cats since 2007.

Reversed call boosts Boston to 8-1 opening win
BOSTON (AP) — Nearly a decade ago, the Boston Red Sox reversed The Curse. Now they're even getting key calls turned around in the World Series, leaving them on the verge of an opening Fenway Park sweep for the third time in 10 seasons.