National News

Artificial Christmas tree.

Begun The Christmas Tree War Has

When it comes to Christmas trees, which kind of symbol do you prefer — real or artificial? In recent stat-studded news stories, Americans seem to be conflicted, but leaning toward artificiality.

An Israeli soldier pushes Palestinian Cabinet member Ziad Abu Ain (left) during a protest in the village of Turmus Aya near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Wednesday. Abu Ain died shortly after the protest in which witnesses said Israeli troops fired tear gas at him and dozens of Palestinians marchers. Witnesses also said Abu Ain was beaten by an Israeli soldier.

Palestinian Minister Dies In West Bank Protest Against Israel

A Palestinian minister died today following a protest against land confiscations in the West Bank. But it's unclear what caused Ziad Abu Ain's death. Palestinian medics say he died from exposure to tear gas. Some witnesses say he was hit and shoved by Israeli soldiers; others said he was hit in the chest by a tear gas canister.

Linda Gradstein, reporting on the story for NPR's Newscast Unit, says, "There had been clashes in the area for several hours between Palestinians and Jewish settlers. Abu Ain collapsed and was taken to a nearby Palestinian hospital, where he died."

Supporters of the website The Pirate Bay, one of the world's top illegal file-sharing websites, demonstrate in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2009.

After Raid On Its Servers In Sweden, Pirate Bay Goes Offline

Pirate Bay, one of the world's most popular and largest file-sharing sites, is offline today, after police in Sweden raided their servers.

TorrentFreak, which reports on file-sharing sites, says that while Pirate Bay has been targeted by authorities in the past, this is the first time the peer-to-peer network disappeared from the Internet.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Mathematician Phillip Adkins (left) and Drew Abbot, a software engineer at AiLive. They were members of the winning team.

A Crowd Of Scientists Finds A Better Way To Predict Seizures

An online contest for data scientists has produced a great leap forward in efforts to predict when someone with epilepsy is going to have a seizure. The winning team used data on electrical activity in the brain to develop an algorithm that predicted seizures 82 percent of the time.

A weather map showing a rain forecast for the next seven days.

'Pineapple Express' Forecast To Drench The Parched West Coast

Weather Underground says a storm moving up the West Coast of the United States is the wettest to hit the region since 2009.

The good news, writes Weather Underground's Jeff Masters, is that the region has been hurt by a historic drought:

"Rainfall amounts of 3 - 8 inches are expected over most of Northern California, with snowfall amounts of 1 - 3 feet predicted in the Sierra Mountains.

Pro-democracy activists tents are seen Tuesday on the road outside Hong Kong's Government Complex.

Officials Set To Dismantle Final 'Occupy' Camp In Hong Kong

After two-months' worth of pro-democracy demonstrations that at times paralyzed Hong Kong, authorities are warning that they will clear protesters from a campsite blocking a main road near government headquarters on Thursday.

The Admiralty protest site is the last bastion of a protest movement that has come to be known as the Umbrella Revolution.

Reuters reports:

Representatives Laud A Departing Dean, 59-Year Veteran John Dingell

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State Department Feared Torture Report Would Spark Fury. Where Is It?

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When the wrong cells take over, scientists' experiments can be derailed.

Scientists Often Skip A Simple Test That Could Verify Their Work

There's a simple test that scientists could use to make sure the cells they're studying in the lab are what they think they are. But most of the time, academic scientists don't bother.

That omission is a problem. One study found that between 18 percent and 36 percent of all cell lines have been misidentified. And this kind of mistaken identity is one reason that many results from experiments run in scientific labs can't be reproduced elsewhere.

'The Interview,' The Hack, And The Movie Studio Dealing With The Fallout

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