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Why India’s Hypersonic Missile Could Trigger A Nuclear War

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 13:00

India’s test of a hypersonic missile signifies more than the advance of Indian weapons technology.It also is one step closer to triggering a nuclear war with Pakistan.Ironically, the first launch of the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle, or HSTDV, was a failure. The HSTDV, which is shaped almost like a sailing ship, is supposed to be a testbed for developing future hypersonic weapons such as cruise missiles. It is launched atop an Agni 1, an Indian ballistic missile.“The vehicle was test launched using the Agni 1 missile platform that was to take it up to a predetermined altitude where scramjet technology—the ability to fly at speeds in excess of Mach 6 while using atmospheric oxygen as oxidizer—had to be validated with separation of the platform and a short flight at high altitude,” according to India’s Economic Times.“Sources said that while the missile on which the platform was mounted successfully took off from the range, the test could not be completed to demonstrate the vehicle at hypersonic speed as the Agni 1 did not reach the desired altitude for the test. Scientists are looking at the technical reasons behind this and are studying all available data.”

Sentencing scheduled Friday for ex-classmate in murder of Sarah Stern

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 12:46

Liam McAtasney, 21, faces mandatory life in prison with no chance of parole for murdering Sarah Stern and throwing her body -- which has never been recovered -- off a bridge in Belmar.

Cannabis stock plunges on Canopy Growth's disappointing results

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 12:24

Canopy Growth's share price plunged Friday after it released disappointing financial results, despite surging sales of cannabis -- eight months after recreational pot was legalized in Canada. Excluding exceptional items, the quarterly loss was equivalent to Can$0.98 a share, four times higher than analysts had expected. In Canada, Canopy also operates a network of 23 stores under the "Tweed" and "Tokyo Smoke" brands in four provinces.

Photos of the 2020 Peugeot 2008 SUV

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 11:46

Samsung reportedly seeking compensation because Apple isn’t selling enough iPhones

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 11:16

While Samsung keeps comparing its flagship phones to the latest iPhones that Apple makes in the hopes of convincing customers that Galaxy phones are a better option, Samsung is also a huge fan of the iPhone. That's because Samsung is a supplier of iPhone parts, and these Apple deals can be very lucrative. The best example concerns the iPhone's OLED screen, which is very expensive. Samsung Display happens to be the supplier of most iPhone OLED panels, as Samsung makes the best OLED screens for smartphones. But it turns out that Samsung isn't happy with iPhone sales, and wants Apple to pay a hefty penalty for all the iPhone screens that it failed to purchase as a result of the slower than expected iPhone sales.A report from ETNews says that Samsung Display seeks compensation amounting to hundreds of billions of won, which converts to hundreds of millions of dollars. Apple had reportedly agreed to acquire a certain quality of panels from Samsung Display but then failed to meet these numbers. Samsung Display and Apple have been negotiating the matter but have yet to agree on terms.Samsung invested in an A3 display facility that would cater only to Apple, a 6th-generation flexible OLED plant that can produce about 100 million OLED iPhone screens each year. But it's unclear what the minimum supply Apple agreed to buy might've been.Production at the A3 plant fell to under 50% of capacity as demand for iPhone sales remained sluggish, the report notes. Sales for the iPhone XS generation that followed 2017's iPhone X wasn't spectacular either, and Apple was often rumored to have cut OLED panel orders as a result. Samsung Display's operating profit dropped to 2.62 trillion won last year, about half of the 5.7 trillion the company reported in 2017, a figure that perfectly reflects the smartphone sales slump. Galaxy sales have been slower than expected as well, and these devices also pack OLED screens from Samsung Display.Meeting quotas isn't the only problem between the two parties, ETNews says. Apparently, Samsung Display has experienced some manufacturing issues with some of the OLED panels it supplied to Apple, and it may have been charged a "small penalty."ETNews also notes that failing to meet quotas might be a problem for Apple's deals with other panel suppliers, although screen makers rarely seek reimbursements. Instead, Apple may ink additional display deals with those manufacturers that cover other products.Interestingly, the report notes that Apple has offered such options to Samsung Display for OLED panels that would fit tablets and notebooks. So far, but none of the existing iPads or MacBooks feature OLED screens. Earlier rumors have said that Apple is considering OLED panels for other devices, MacBooks included.

The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is the brand's most powerful car

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 10:12

This week, Ford announced that the 2020 Mustang Shelby will be equipped with the most powerful V8 engine "in the world," making it the company's highest performing street-legal car to date. This week, however, Ford revealed the model's engine specs: the supercharged V8 will be able to produce 760 horsepower and 625 lb.-ft of torque.

Today’s best deals: AirPods 2 sale, $15 Bluetooth earbuds, $13 LED smart bulbs, $6 smart plugs, Philips Hue, more

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 10:01

We've got a terrific roundup of daily deals to close out the week, and it all starts with the first major discount on Apple's AirPods 2 with wireless charging case. Other top deals on Friday include color A19 LED smart bulbs for just $13 a piece, almost $100 off iRobot's best-selling Roomba robot vacuum, the best-selling Bluetooth earbuds on all of Amazon for just $14.99 when you use the coupon code D2MP088R at checkout, the faster version of Amazon's best-selling Wi-Fi smart plug for just $24.99, Alexa and Google ready Wi-Fi smart plugs for $6 a piece when you buy a 4-pack and use the coupon code ESICOO9987 at checkout, a fast wireless charging stand for under $9, the insanely popular $60 Roku Streaming Stick+ for just $49, the equally popular $50 Roku Streaming Stick for $39.99 if you don't need 4K and HDR support, up to $16 off popular Philips Hue LED smart bulbs, BIC ballpoint pens for only 7¢ a piece, and more. See all of today's best bargains below.

US-Iran tensions: Are the sparring partners about to ‘bumble’ into outright conflict in the Gulf?

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 09:46

The planes were already in the air and warships in position, preparing to carry out strikes on targets when, at the last moment, Donald Trump pulled back from starting a conflict with Iran with potentially devastating consequences.These are the startling facts which have emerged as the tensions continue to ratchet up between Washington and Tehran, with the Trump administration’s continuing campaign to destroy the Iran nuclear deal, more attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf and an American drone being shot down by an Iranian missile.The accusations and recriminations have been rising in tempo for some time, with attempts at mediation seemingly undermined and charges of agent provocateurs attempting to engineer clashes. There is now genuine apprehension that the war of words may spill into something much more serious with highly damaging ramifications for the region and beyond.What happened, reported first in the American media and then confirmed by officials in Washington and finally Mr Trump, reveals divisions and confusion in how decisions on peace and war are made in the Trump administration, one of the most dysfunctional in recent American history.The president claimed on Friday afternoon that he called off the strikes because he was told there would likely be the loss of lives: “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die” he tweeted.“150 people sir, was the answer from a General, 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it”. Such a death toll, he continued was “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”The account was undermined by officials who had said that the raids had been planned for very early Friday morning to insure minimal casualties, and also claimed there were other factors behind the mission being called off.The shooting down of the $130 million RQ-4A Global Hawk High-Altitude, Long Endurance Unmanned Aircraft System (HALE) had come after two sets of attacks on tankers in waterways key to transporting the world’s oil.The US, Saudi Arabia and, latterly, the UK claimed that Iran was responsible. The UAE, which said it had carried out an investigation into the attacks, blamed a ‘state actor ‘without naming the state. Germany, France and Japan, where one of the tankers was registered, wanted to see more evidence before apportioning blame.The US produced photographs purporting to show sailors from the maritime arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) removing an unexploded mine, and announced the dispatch of 1,000 more troops to the region.Tehran vehemently denied any involvement and charged that malignant neighbourhood rivals, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel, abetted by hawks in the Trump administration led by national security advisor, John Bolton, were trying to drag the US into a war with Iran.There was no dispute over the shooting down of the drone. The US and Iran concurred that this had been done by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, a Khordad-3 medium range air defence model, said the Defence Ministry in Tehran.What is fiercely disputed, and a key point of contention, is the location of the HALE when it was brought down. Tehran insisted that it was in Iranian airspace: Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted “at 00:14 US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian airspace. It was targeted at 04: 05 at the coordinates (25 59’43” N 57 02’25”E) near Kouh-e-Mobarak.”The Americans produced their own coordinates, maintaining that the drone had been flying in international airspace, around nine nautical miles southwest of the location given by the Iranians.Mr Trump told the media before a meeting with Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau in the White House on Thursday afternoon “this drone was international waters (sic) clearly. We have it all documented. It’s documented scientifically, not just words.”Asked what would unfold next, the president responded “let’s see what happens.”What happened next, according to reports, was that senior White House officials like Mr Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both hardliners on Iran, and Gina Haspel, the CIA director, who is not known to be so, favoured a military response.But others in the Pentagon warned that the strikes might lead to a chain reaction which would be difficult to contain, and make targets of American forces in neighbouring countries. Congressional Democrat leaders, like Nancy Pelosi, briefed on the mission, strongly urged caution.In the end, Mr Trump decided to call off the mission. This may reinforce the view that he is not a ‘war president’ and his natural inclination is isolationist rather than interventionist.The president’s previous foray into ordering combat, the launch of missiles following a chemical attack by the Assad regime on the town of Khan Shaykhun, had been carefully choreographed, with the targeted airbase evacuated by the Syrian military after the Russians were told of the attack in advance.There are reports that Mr Trump had warned the Iranians that he would order an attack. But the Iranian ambassador to the UK, Hamid Baeidinejad, one of the country’s most senior diplomats, speaking to journalists on Thursday seemed unaware of imminent danger, saying that he took on board Mr Trump’s repeated assurances that he did not want a war.But both sides in the current crisis are projecting toughness. Major General Hossein Salami, the head of the IRGC, declared that “the only way for our enemies to be safe is to respect our sovereignty, national security and national interest of the great Iranian nation.”Mr Trump’s statements and actions after the shooting down of the drone had, not unusually for him, been contradictory.After warning that Iran had “made a very big mistake,” the president said it could have been down to human error, saying “I find it hard to believe it was intentional”. He subsequently ordered air strikes and then later aborted them.To the hardliners in Iran, who are not averse to a confrontation, this may well look like uncertainty, a lack of any plan and lack of resolve in Washington, and it may tempt them to further brinkmanship. This in turn strengthens the hand of Mr Bolton and other hawks in the White House, giving them scope to press for another military operation.Observing what is taking place, the senior Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, commented “the president may not intend to go to war here, but we’re worried that he and the administration may bumble into a war.”This is far from a fanciful scenario. The ever present precursor to conflict, the law of unintended consequences, is very present in this escalating crisis.

Surveillance drone may have tracked Japanese tanker: experts

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 09:32

A "flying object" which flew over a Japanese tanker before it was rocked by a blast in strategic Gulf waters last week could have been a reconnaissance drone, experts have told AFP. The owner of the Kokuka Courageous said the tanker's Japanese and Filipino crew saw a "flying object", just before a blast that caused a fire on board the vessel, sparking a crisis between Washington and Iran. "The crew members are saying that they were hit by a flying object.

Lori Loughlin digs in – and 7 more surprises and takeaways in college admissions scandal

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 09:30

What we've learned in the historic case against wealthy parents accused of paying bribes to get their children into college.

Trump-Iran news: President claims he called off airstrikes on Tehran after general told him '150 people would die'

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 09:30

Donald Trump approved military strikes against Iran before abruptly pulling back at the last minute, sparking controversy and outcry.“On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” the president explained in a series of tweets.Having responded to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ decision to shoot down the costly US Navy surveillance drone with a surface-to-air missile, the president said Tehran had made “a very big mistake” but ultimately refrained from going through with an operation that would have targetted radars and missile batteries in the Gulf.The president said on Friday the US was “cocked and loaded” to retaliate against Iran for downing the unmanned American surveillance drone but he cancelled the strikes minutes before they were to be launched after being told 150 people could die.Mr Trump’s tweeted statement raised important questions, including why he learned about possible deaths only at the last minute.His stance was the latest example of the president showing some reluctance to escalate tensions with Iran into open military conflict. He did not rule out a future strike but said in a TV interview that the likelihood of casualties from the Thursday night plan to attack three sites in Iran did not seem like the correct response to shooting down an unmanned drone earlier in the day in the Strait of Hormuz.“I didn’t think it was proportionate,” he said in an interview with NBC News’ Meet the Press.The aborted attack was the closest the US has come to a direct military strike on Iran in the year since the administration pulled out of the 2015 international agreement intended to curb the Iranian nuclear program and launched a campaign of increasing economic pressure against the Islamic Republic.Mr Trump told NBC News that he never gave a final order to launch the strikes — planes were not yet in the air but would have been “pretty soon.”Additional reporting by AP. Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load

Strait of Hormuz: key waterway under pressure

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 09:10

The Strait of Hormuz, located in the area where Iran shot down a US military drone, is a strategically important waterway for the world's oil transits, which lies at the heart of regional tensions. Iran warned on Friday it would "decisively defend its territory" against eventual US retaliation, while the airlines KLM, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas and Singapore Airlines said they were suspending flights over the strait. The Strait of Hormuz links the Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and is situated between Iran and Oman.

Car and Driver Contributor Davey G. Johnson Found in Northern California

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 08:49

C/D contributor David Gordon Johnson's body has been found after he went missing on a motorcycle trip through Calaveras County on June 5. We have updated this story with the latest information.

NRA sues ex-president Oliver North, saying he harmed the NRA

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 08:19

The National Rifle Association has sued its former president, Oliver North, for what it called "conduct harmful to the NRA" as turmoil that was exposed publicly when North resigned two months ago continued Thursday when the organization also turned against its longtime chief lobbyist. The lawsuit filed Wednesday in New York sought a judge's declaration that the NRA isn't required to pay North's legal bills. North stepped down from the post in April after serving for a year.

Huawei says European smart phones sales up 'in past few days'

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 06:41

Huawei smartphone sales in Western Europe have risen "in the past few days" as customers grow more confident the Chinese company will weather U.S. sanctions imposed last month, an executive for the Chinese firm said on Friday. Walter Ji, Western Europe consumer business group president for Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, also said it was still unclear how new Huawei phones would be affected by the ban that bars U.S. firms from doing business with the Chinese company. Ji told a news conference in Zurich that sales had risen "in the past few days" in Western Europe but he did not give figures or more details.

Choose your future Greenland, Earthlings

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 06:00

Like Beyonce, Greenland is constantly making news. And for good reason. The Arctic landmass holds an ice sheet that's two and a half times the size of sprawling Texas -- and it's melting at rates that are unprecedented in at least centuries, if not thousands of years. "I can tell you the retreat is eye-popping," said Twila Moon, an Arctic researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center who has traveled along the vastly diminished ice. For humanity, the particularly salient question now is how quickly these massive stores of ice will melt into the sea.Greenland's future, of course, depends on the most uncertain, chaotic, and emotionally volatile portion of the climate science equation: humans, specifically how much heat-trapping carbon we decide to pump into the atmosphere. "The biggest uncertainty in climate science is human behavior," NASA scientist Kate Marvel told Mashable after the Trump administration recently said they will no longer consider many climate projections beyond 20 years from now. But regardless of the federal government's self-imposed limitations, new research, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, lays out three clear, potential futures for Greenland: 1. Really bad: A future wherein carbon emissions continue rising as they are now, called the "business as usual" scenario (known as RCP 8.5).2. Pretty bad: A future wherein emissions moderately rise until around 2050, and then drop substantially -- but not completely -- by century's end (known as RCP 4.5).3. Not as bad: A future wherein humanity rapidly and immediately slashes carbon emissions today, bringing emissions to zero well before 2100 (known as RCP 2.5). * This last ambitious future, in line with the historic Paris climate agreement, is now nearly impossible to achieve. As you might suspect, the new research -- enhanced by NASA's recent aircraft observations of Greenland -- found that the melting land mass (in a rapidly melting Arctic realm) is expected to incur profound ice losses this century and beyond, should carbon emissions continue to saturate the skies (options 1 and 2). For reference, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are currently increasing at rates that are unprecedented in both the historic and geologic record. Yet, humanity has an immediate say in the matter."We can actually choose how it's going to look," said Andy Aschwanden, the study's lead author and researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Geophysical Institute. "The next couple decades are quite important to the future.""It's going to be worse if we burn more fossil fuels," added NASA's Josh Willis, an oceanographer who leads the science agency's Oceans Melting Greenland mission. "This has been clear for decades," said Willis, who had no role in the research. "The more CO2 you put into the atmosphere, the more you change the climate." The choiceIf emissions continue as they are, by century's end Greenland alone will lose enough ice to boost sea levels by between 5.5 and 13 inches, the research found. But matters get substantially worse as the centuries progress, adding as much as 12.5 feet by 2300. Eventually, all the ice would disappear. "We found that the Greenland ice sheet could melt within 1,000 years if we keep adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere," said Aschwanden. That would raise sea levels by some 23 feet.> Drastically reducing emissions could limit ice loss to under a quarter of the ice sheet. That scenario would produce up to 6 feet of sea level rise by 3000.> > -- NASA Earth (@NASAEarth) June 19, 2019Even if unprecedented steps are taken to curb Earth's warming this century (option 3), Greenland will still experience some melting (adding between 2 and 7 inches of sea level rise this century). That's because there's already substantial warming baked into the absorbent oceans, and the elevated carbon levels already saturating the skies will take hundreds to thousands of years to naturally get soaked into the seas."A lot of ice loss has already been baked into the system because of human actions in the past," said Moon. But that's still a future humanity can adapt to, more so than runaway glacial melting, anyway. "All the effects are worse if we do nothing," noted Willis. "And they're all better if we avoid burning so much fossil fuel."This study's projections were enhanced by new observational data from NASA's IceBridge missions, which involves swooping over the Greenland ice sheet to capture detailed measurements of the ice. The airborne NASA mission proved particularly valuable in measuring the conditions of Greenland's exit glaciers -- the rivers of ice that pour into the ocean -- said Aschwanden. With this new information, the research team could simulate how much ice was likely to drain into the sea as glaciers experience an accelerating rise in air temperatures. "This is really nice work," said Moon, noting that the new incorporation of ice loss around Greenland's edges produced a quality, advanced simulation.> From Tuesday's IceBridge flight, a close-up of a supraglacial lake above Eqip Sermia, with a thin skin of refrozen ice floating on top> > -- NASA ICE (@NASA_ICE) May 15, 2019For all the grim observations from this study, it's crucial to note that things could actually be significantly worse. Yes, worse. That's because these projections may underestimate the powerful influence the warming oceans have on glaciers."The oceans have the potential to make this more extreme," said NASA's Willis. "There's still room for [the projections] to get worse."Arctic waters meet Greenland's colossal exit glaciers, some which are walls of submarine ice around 2,600 feet tall. And recent research, performed by NASA, found these glaciers are extremely sensitive to ocean temperatures. The ocean has the power to accelerate melt, or even stoke the glaciers to start growing again during cooler shifts in ocean circulation.SEE ALSO: The Green New Deal: Historians weigh in on the immense scale required to pull it offAs airborne scientists, on-the-ground ice-gathering researchers, and satellites scouring from space continue to probe the region, Greenland's future will grow increasingly clear. "The work is ongoing," said Willis.But the bigger picture is already evident. There are distinct futures ahead for Greenland. Which one will our descendants experience, even beyond this century?"Two-hundred or 300 years really aren't many human generations," noted Moon. "It will be here in a blink of an eye."* * *P.S. A succinct note to those contending, incredibly, that Greenland is not experiencing drastic melt: One big glacier (Jakobshavn) recently stopped shrinking, but that doesn't mean the entire landmass is miraculously on an epic rebound. "Just because Jakobshavn stopped growing does not mean there's no global warming and we're not changing the planet -- we are radically changing the planet," explained NASA oceanographer Josh Willis, who annually flies over Greenland. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?

How the B-2 Bomber Could Destroy Iran In a War

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 04:59

The need to penetrate advanced air-defense networks in the post–Cold War era led to B-2s acquiring a conventional strike capability. The bomber can carry up to sixteen Joint Directed Attack Munition (JDAM) satellite-guided 2,000 pound bombs. In the past it has also carried CBU-87 Combined Effects Munitions and CBU-90 Gator mine dispensers, but submunition-dispensing munitions are being phased out in U.S. inventories. The bomber also carries the AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon, a glide bomb with a range of up to fifty miles and a GPS-based guidance system. For standoff attacks, the Spirit can carry the AGM-158 Joint Air Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and the new, longer-range JASSM-ER (extended range). Finally, the B-2 can carry two 30,000 pound twenty foot long Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bombs for attacking hardened targets, one per weapons bay.The B-2 Spirit is one of three strategic heavy bombers in U.S. Air Force service. Originally conceived to infiltrate the Soviet air-defense network and attack targets with nuclear weapons, over the decades its mission has grown to include conventional precision attack. The B-2 is the most advanced bomber in U.S. service, and the only one of three types that still carries nuclear gravity bombs.(This first appeared in 2017.)

U.S. cannot unilaterally remove Turkey from F-35 program: Turkish defense official

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 04:15

The United States cannot unilaterally remove Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program as the partnership agreement does not allow it, Turkey's head of Defense Industries Directorate said on Friday. "No single country can say they don't want you and then remove you from the program," Ismail Demir told reporters. Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads for months over Turkey's planned purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense system.

Poll finds Americans are worried about asteroids, don’t care about the Moon

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 03:23

As we creep closer to the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, NASA is doing its best to drum up support for a return mission that would see its astronauts once again roaming the lunar surface. With such an exciting mission on the horizon, you'd think that public interest in a Moon return would be pretty high. It isn't.In fact, a new poll by the Associated Press in partnership with the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research suggests that Americans are much more interested in things that could possibly kill them -- like asteroids or comets -- than another crewed visit to the Moon.The poll reveals that a full 68 percent of respondents see the monitoring of asteroids, comets, and "other events in space that could impact Earth" as being either "very important" or "extremely important." This stands in stark contrast to the mere 23 percent of people who believe heading back to the Moon is highly important.This public opinion data is interesting for a number of reasons, not least of which is that the current administration has made a return to the Moon a top priority. That sentiment, it would seem, is not shared by the vast majority of the general public.Being lukewarm over a return mission to the Moon is understandable, but what might be even more surprising is that many people have little or no interest in seeing a crewed mission to Mars become a top priority either:> Thirty-seven percent say sending astronauts to Mars should take precedence over going back to the moon, while 18% would rather have NASA send more astronauts to the moon. But 43% do not think either action should be a priority for the country.Well, like it or not, NASA is indeed headed back to the Moon either in 2024 (maybe) or a bit later, and a mission to Mars is almost certainly going to be a top priority for the space administration once all of the supporting technology has reached maturity. But don't worry, NASA is still watching for asteroids in the meantime.