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Researchers pinpoint the world's happiest country as Switzerland - report
24 April 2015 - Switzerland has the world's happiest people, according to researchers in a study released on Thursday, 23 April. In the annual World Happiness Report, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, and Canada followed in the rankings that measured happiness and well-being levels in 158 countries. 'This report gives evidence on how to achieve societal well‐being. It's not by money alone, but also by fairness, honesty, trust, and good health.' (more)

US: Hot times at Yellowstone - huge magma chamber found deeply buried
24 April 2015 - Deep beneath Yellowstone National Park, one of the world's most dynamic volcanic systems, lies an enormous, previously unknown reservoir of hot, partly molten rock big enough to fill up the Grand Canyon 11 times, scientists say. Yellowstone straddles the borders of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, and boasts a remarkable array of geothermal features including geysers, mudpots, steam vents, and hot springs. (more)

US: Nasdaq sets closing record (+ Reuters video)
24 April 2015 - The Nasdaq Composite, the U.S. market index most closely associated with technology stocks, closed at an all-time high on Thursday, 23 April, surpassing a 2000 record set just before the dotcom crash. (more)

Hubble Space Telescope marking 25th anniversary in orbit (+ AP video)
23 April 2015 - One of NASA's crowning glories, the Hubble Space Telescope, marks its 25th anniversary this week. With 1 million-plus observations, including those of some of the farthest and oldest galaxies ever beheld by humanity, no man-made satellite has touched as many minds or hearts as Hubble. A look at Hubble's quarter-century in orbit about 350 miles above Earth: (more)

NASA releases picture of starry fireworks for Hubble's 25th
23 April 2015 - What better way to celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope's quarter-century in orbit than with cosmic fireworks? On Thursday -- one day before the 25th anniversary of Hubble's launch -- NASA released an image taken by the space telescope showing a brilliant breeding ground for stars. This stellar nursery is 20,000 light-years from Earth in the Constellation Carina. (more)

Photos: Hubble's turn to smile, marks 25 years in orbit
23 April 2015 - Hubble, it's your turn to smile for the cameras! Friday, 24 April marks the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's launch into orbit. One of NASA's grandest achievements, Hubble has peered into the far recesses of the universe and provided humbling glimpses of stars at the moments of their birth and death. Its images have dazzled and inspired the world, both scientists and ordinary folk. For 23 photos see: (more)

US First Lady: Tech industry to train, hire 90,000 veterans
23 April 2015 - Michelle Obama says the technology industry has committed to hiring or training 90,000 military veterans and spouses over the next five years. The First Lady also says the private sector has far exceeded her husband's goal of hiring 100,000 veterans and military spouses. (more)

US President Obama announces May visit to his 50th state: South Dakota
23 April 2015 - President Barack Obama will complete a rare Presidential run though all 50 states when he delivers the commencement address at a South Dakota community college next month. South Dakota is the only state still waiting for Obama to visit. Obama will travel to Watertown, in the state's northeastern corner, to deliver the commencement address at Lake Area Technical Institute on 8 May. The White House says Lake Area Tech is one of America's top community colleges, recognized for rigorously preparing its students and for having a two-year graduation rate that's more than twice the national average. (more)

US: NY's Cuomo becomes 1st US governor to visit Cuba post-detente
23 April 2015 - New York Governor Cuomo was on the first day of a visit that made him the first U.S. governor to visit Cuba since the recent thaw in relations with the communist nation. He met with Cuba's top officials for U.S. relations along with executives from several New York-based companies. Before a series of meetings between the executives and Cuban officials, Cuomo praised the decision by Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro to re-establish diplomatic relations after a half-century, and move toward a broader normalization expected to include deeper trade ties. (more)

US: NY's Cuomo to be first governor to visit Cuba as ties reopen
23 April 2015 - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is heading to Havana, the first American governor to visit Cuba since the recent thaw in relations with the communist nation. Whether his trade mission generates anything more than headlines, however, remains to be seen. The formal state visit on Monday and Tuesday is meant to foster greater ties between New York and Cuba. Governor Cuomo will be joined by lawmakers and a group of business leaders for what he has called 'a tremendous stepping stone' that will 'help open the door to a new market for New York businesses.' (more)

In North Korea, solar panel boom gives power to the people
22 April 2015 - In a country notorious for a lack of electricity, many North Koreans are taking power into their hands by installing cheap household solar panels to charge mobile phones and light up their homes. (more)

British unemployment rate at multi-year low ahead of election
22 April 2015 - Britain's economy created the largest number of new jobs in nearly a year and unemployment hit its lowest rate since mid-2008, official labour market data showed on Friday, the last such report before a closely fought election on 7 May. The unemployment rate now stands at 5.6 per cent, down from 7.9 per cent at the time of the last election. (more)

Euro zone economy now on sustainable recovery path, say forecasters
22 April 2015 - The euro zone economy is on a sustainable recovery path, according to all but a handful of forecasters polled by Reuters. Economists are more optimistic about a turnaround in the region compared with a month ago, which should provide some cheer given that for years a faltering euro zone has been one of the top risks to global growth. (more)

Italy: Turin Egyptian Museum gets overhaul of pharaonic proportions
22 April 2015 - For the earliest Egyptologists, a trip to the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy was considered indispensable. The museum's new director is seeking to return the almost 200-year-old museum to its one-time prominence, boosted by an overhaul of the collection and exhibit space of near-pharaonic proportions. The museum, founded in 1824, is filled with treasures and contains the world's second-largest collection of Egyptian artifacts after Cairo. (more)

US: Art Institute of Chicago gets its largest gift ever
22 April 2015 - A major private contemporary art collection with a value estimated at $400 million is being donated to the Art Institute of Chicago by local philanthropists Stefan Edlis and his wife, Gael Neeson, in what the museum is calling the largest gift of art in its history and a coup for the institution and the city. Numbering 42 pieces, stocked with iconic works by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and many other instantly recognizable names and spanning a time period from 1953 to 2011, experts called it one of the most significant collections of its kind in the world. (more)

US: Home sales vault to 18-month high as supply improves
22 April 2015 - US home resales surged to their highest level in 18 months in March as more homes came on the market, a sign of strength in housing ahead of the spring selling season. The fairly upbeat report from the National Association of Realtors on Wednesday implied the economy was regaining some momentum. (more)

In Cuba, New York Governor Cuomo seeks to open doors to trade
21 April 2015 - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo met senior Cuban officials in Havana on Monday as the head of a high-powered business delegation looking to take advantage of President Barack Obama's easing of restrictions with the Communist-led island. Governor Cuomo is the first governor to visit Cuba since a December announcement by Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro that they would restore diplomatic relations and work to normalize trade and travel ties after more than a half century of hostility and confrontation. (more)

The Shoe That Grows: The clever shoes that grow five sizes and last five years to help children in poverty
21 April 2015 - Most parents will be familiar with the rate of growth of children's feet and the constant need for new shoes, but a clever new shoe invention is hoping to solve this for the billions of children living in extreme poverty around the world, who go to school barefoot and are infected with soil-transmitted diseases. (more)

Chamomile tea tied to lower thyroid cancer risk
20 April 2015 - Consumption of chamomile tea was linked with a lower risk of thyroid cancer in a small Greek study. After accounting for age, gender, and body mass index, the researchers found that as consumption of chamomile tea increased, the odds of developing any type of thyroid malignancy significantly declined. (more)

Pulitzer Prizes set to be awarded honouring journalism, arts
20 April 2015 - The prestigious Pulitzer Prizes were set to be awarded on Monday, honouring top work in U.S. journalism, literature, drama, and other arts. The celebrated prizes, awarded annually by Columbia University, can bring badly needed attention and recognition to newspapers and websites suffering from economic pressures and budget constraints. (more)

Survey: US businesses expect sales rebound, more hiring
20 April 2015 - U.S. businesses expect their sales will rebound in the next three months after a sluggish first quarter, and they also plan to boost hiring and pay, according to a survey released Monday. Nearly three-quarters of companies forecast higher sales over the next three months, up from 68 percent in January and just 54 percent in October. (more)

US: Kraft macaroni and cheese shedding the dyes
20 April 2015 - In January (2016), Kraft says its macaroni and cheese will be colored using paprika, annatto, and turmeric. There has been a huge shift away from processed foods in the U.S. and larger food producers are trying to follow their customers in that direction. Already the company is selling a version in the U.S. which has no artificial flavors, preservatives, or synthetic colors. (more)

US: Kraft removing synthetic colors from iconic macaroni and cheese
20 April 2015 - Kraft Foods on Monday said it is revamping its family-friendly macaroni and cheese meal, removing synthetic colors and preservatives from the popular boxed dinner. The move comes at a time when Kraft is battling sluggish demand as consumers shift to brands that are perceived as healthier, including foods that are organic or less processed. The director of an advocacy organization for health and environmental issues applauded Kraft's move and said it should be an example for other companies. (more)

World's oldest living person: 'Everything comes from above'
20 April 2015 - Jeralean Talley, the world's oldest-known living person, will celebrate her 116th birthday in Detroit next month thanking God for her longevity. 'Everything comes from above. Everything just comes from above,' Talley told Reuters, surrounded by her family, at her one-storey home in the Detroit suburb of Inkster. (more)

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