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 • Headlines: Sunday, May 31, 12:25 PM   (More news)
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  The same dome of heat that resulted in record-breaking temperatures across the West last week will shift eastward, bringing along summerlike conditions just in time for the start of meteorological summer. From the central Rockies eastward to the Mississippi River Valley, temperatures ranging from 5-15 degrees Fahrenheit above average are to be expected through a majority of the week. Although millions of Americans across the nation will experience this June warmth, the core of the heat will target the Plains. During the day on Sunday, temperatures in the 90s will sizzle portions of the High Plains. Amid the heat, there will be a localized threat of severe weather, primarily across Montana and Wyoming. Into the evening hours, remaining storms could track into places like Rapid City and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Throughout the week, rounds of showers and thunderstorms will generally target areas along the fringes of the hot weather. While these localized showers and storms could provide a brief reprieve from the heat, air conditioning units will be working overtime across the center of the country this week. Dodge City, Kan., will be one of many cities scorching across the Plains. The current forecast has afternoon high temperatures topping out above 90 degrees through the entire week. The city's average high through the same time frame is 82-83 degrees, suggesting that the city could experience temperatures 10-15 degrees above average. An extended stretch of above-average temperatures can be expected in places like Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis and even into the Chicago metro area into midweek as the heat slowly shifts eastward. On top of the scorching heat, many cities from the Plains into the Midwest will deal with very humid conditions as moisture is funneled northward out of the Gulf of Mexico. Combining these factors, AccuWeather RealFeel Temperatures will climb even higher than what the mercury actually reads. People spending time outdoors will want to make sure they stay properly hydrated and protected from the sun by wearing hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. If you must work outside, taking frequent breaks in the shade and drinking plenty of water or electrolyte beverages will greatly lower the risk of heat-related illnesses. Amid the heat, remember to never leave children or pets in a sealed vehicle for any length of time. The temperature inside the vehicle can rise to lethal levels in a matter of minutes, even during the early spring months. For portions of the Plains and mid-Mississippi Valley, this stretch of hot weather could extend through the week. Large-scale atmospheric conditions show hints of slightly lower temperatures compared to the midweek highs, but the forecast outlook looks likely that above-average warmth could continue into next week
  A swath of stormy weather will trace the periphery of a heat wave in parts of the U.S. this week. Residents all the way from the northern Plains to the mid-Atlantic and perhaps even the Northeast will have to be on the lookout for the unsettled weather. "A ridge, or 'dome,' of high pressure will set up across the south-central U.S. this week. Underneath the 'dome' hot and sticky, but otherwise relatively tranquil weather will prevail," explained AccuWeather Meteorologist Nicole LoBiondo. "However, near the edges of the ridge, where it's still quite warm and humid, but the influence of high pressure isn't as strong, numerous showers and thunderstorms often develop. Because of this, areas near the edge of the 'heat dome' are said to be in the 'ring of fire.'" Early in the week, some showers and thunderstorms will fire up from the northern Plains into the Great Lakes, but they will remain more isolated in nature. However, by late week, parts of this 'ring of fire' are expected to become particularly active. Forecasters say a swath all the way from the Dakotas to North Carolina will see daily bouts of showers and thunderstorms, and that some of them could turn dangerous. "This pattern is conducive for fast-moving complexes of thunderstorms, which can cause severe weather such as extreme straight-line winds and flash flooding," explained AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio. "Sometimes they can even turn into a derecho, a line of severe thunderstorms that bring widespread damaging winds along a path several hundred miles long, sometimes with wind gusts over 100 mph," Rossio said. "These particular derechos are called 'progressive derechos.' They can also last well into the nighttime hours, when people are asleep, adding to the danger they can pose." Because of the fast-moving nature of these storms, they can catch those outdoors off-guard. With temperatures soaring back to well-above normal after a cool down in parts of the Midwest, many will be enjoying outdoor activities. Hikers, campers and boaters are often at the greatest risk of being caught without shelter in these storms. Where storms are strong enough to knock out power, residents could be forced to deal with the building summer heat without fans or air conditioning. Heat is the most deadly weather related threat, according to statistics from the National Weather Service. One of the most famous and significant events involving derechos is a historic stretch of derechos in July 1995. Four derechos in four days occured from the northern Plains into the Great Lakes and Northeast, killing 14 and injuring nearly 100 more, according the Storm Prediction Center. Many of the casualties were hikers and campers struck by falling trees and limbs. The U.S. Coast Guard responded to hundreds of distress calls across the Great Lakes. "While derechos still occur across the U.S. every year, the power, severity and huge impact of the derechos of 1995 still serve today as reminder of how dangerous and difficult to predict and warn these summertime threats can be," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Isaac Longley. The threat may even continue into the weekend, but will shift its focus farther north and east. "The heat humidity will continue to expand northeastward during the second half of this week, and by the weekend, the 'ring of fire' may shift farther north into the Great Lakes, Northeast and southern Canada," LoBiondo said.
  Two astronauts aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule neared a historic rendezvous with the International Space Station on Sunday morning. Controllers said the capsule actually was ahead of schedule and could dock earlier than the planned time, which was planned for at 10:29 a.m. EDT. SpaceX's Demo 2 mission lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday afternoon -- the first crewed launch from U.S. soil in nine years. The flawless launch began a 19-hour journey to the space station, and also made Elon Musk's SpaceX the first private company to send astronauts into orbit. The mission marked the first time since the final space shuttle mission that NASA astronauts didn't have to rely on Russia to get into space. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley performed a manual flight test in orbit on Saturday, using the capsule's touchscreen controls. They were then to sleep for about eight hours before the approach to the space station. The astronauts awoke at 4:45 a.m. EDT, and have engaged in monitoring conferences with ground controllers at SpaceX in Hawthorne, Calif. No issues with the spacecraft have been reported -- described a SpaceX commentator as "pretty boring for the astronauts, but that's what we wanted." SpaceX had confirmed the capsule, which the astronauts named Endeavour, successfully reached orbit and separated from the second stage booster. The first-stage rocket booster landed successfully on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean. "America is leading again in space," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said after the launch. "It was incredible. Appreciate all the hard work and thanks for the great ride into space," Behnken said over the communication link to ground crews. NASA and SpaceX defied iffy weather forecasts to begin the mission. Storms in the east-central Florida area created "no go" conditions about two hours before launch. But the weather cleared as the countdown neared liftoff time. Storms also had forced a postponement of the launch Wednesday afternoon. SpaceX secured a contract to provide ferry service to the space station for a fixed cost in 2014, and developed the rocket and capsule with NASA's cooperation. The Falcon 9 rocket had already been proven as a reliable workhorse for carrying supplies to the space station 250 miles above Earth in 20 flights. The space station travels at over 17,000 mph, so the capsule performed several orbits to match its speed and altitude. Crew Dragon will inch closer and dock slowly. The capsule is to dock autonomously, but Hurley plans to fly it manually one more time in a brief test before docking. "We will inspire the world as the nation leads humanity in space," Vice President Mike Pence said after the launch. After docking, Hurley and Behnken are to remain in the capsule for almost two hours as it is locked in place and checks are made on its systems. Once the hatch opens, astronaut Chris Cassidy -- already on board the space station -- is to greet the new arrivals. He and Russians Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner arrived in April and are to stay there until October. Behnken and Hurley don't know how long they will be on the space station. NASA has said it could be as little as six weeks and as much as 16 weeks, depending on how quickly the crew completes necessary maintenance on the space station and how favorable weather conditions are for spacecraft splashdown. Behnken is scheduled to make several spacewalks with Cassidy, as Hurley monitors and controls instruments inside the station. "We've longed to be a part of a test mission, a test spaceflight," Behnken said during a brief press conference in the days before the launch. "It's something we dreamed about, flying something other than the space shuttle" to carry people into space. If the mission ultimately is successful, NASA plans to launch another SpaceX capsule to the space station Aug. 30, Bridenstine said. Crew members for that mission are to be NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The return to Earth for the Demo 2 mission would mark the first splashdown of a U.S. space capsule carrying astronauts since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Over the past decade, NASA astronauts only used Russian Soyuz rockets and capsules to reach the space station, at a cost of more than $70 million per seat. Behnken, 49, and Hurley, 53, have been astronauts since their selection in 2000. They worked closely with SpaceX to develop the new spacecraft systems. The two men share similar life experiences. Both are married to female astronauts who have traveled into space, and both have one child. Both were military test pilots and hold the rank of colonel -- Behnken with the U.S.Air Force and Hurley with the U.S. Marine Corps. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is the first orbital launch vehicle to be fully reusable, although the rocket for this launch was new.
  Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include: -- Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongol Empire, in 1162 -- Poet Walt Whitman in 1819 -- Surgeon William Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic, in 1819 -- Pope Pius XI in 1857 -- Radio humorist Fred Allen in 1894 -- Clergyman/author Norman Vincent Peale in 1898 -- Actor Don Ameche in 1908 -- Actor Denholm Elliott in 1922 -- Artist Ellsworth Kelly in 1923 -- Prince Ranier of Monaco in 1923 -- Actor/director Clint Eastwood in 1930 (age 90) -- Folk singer Peter Yarrow in 1938 (age 82) -- Country singer Johnny Paycheck in 1938 -- British human rights activist Terry Waite in 1939 (age 81) -- Actor Sharon Gless in 1943 (age 77) -- Football Hall of Fame member Joe Namath in 1943 (age 77) -- British rock musician John Bonham in 1948 -- Actor Tom Berenger in 1949 (age 71) -- Actor Gregory Harrison in 1950 (age 70) -- Comedian/actor/writer Chris Elliott in 1960 (age 60) -- Actor Lea Thompson in 1961 (age 59) -- Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbn in 1963 (age 57) -- Actor/model Brooke Shields in 1965 (age 55) -- Actor Archie Panjabi in 1972 (age 48) -- Actor Colin Farrell in 1976 (age 44) -- Actor Eric Christian Olsen in 1977 (age 43) -- Actor Yael Grobglas in 1984 (age 36) -- Rapper Waka Flocka Flame, born Juaquin James Malphurs, in 1986 (age 34) -- Rapper Azealia Banks in 1991 (age 29) -- Singer Normani Hamilton in 1996 (age 24)
  Today is Sunday, May 31, the 152nd day of 2020 with 214 to follow.The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Jupiter, Mars, Neptune, Saturn and Uranus. Evening stars are Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn. Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongol Empire, in 1162; poet Walt Whitman in 1819; surgeon William Mayo, founder of the Mayo Clinic, in 1819; Pope Pius XI in 1857; radio humorist Fred Allen in 1894; actor Don Ameche in 1908; artist Ellsworth Kelly in 1923; Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1923; actor/director Clint Eastwood in 1930 (age 90); folk singer Peter Yarrow in 1938 (age 82); country singer Johnny Paycheck in 1938; British human rights activist Terry Waite in 1939 (age 81); actor Sharon Gless in 1943 (age 77); football Hall of Fame member Joe Namath in 1943 (age 77); British rock musician John Bonham in 1948; actor Tom Berenger in 1949 (age 71); actor Gregory Harrison in 1950 (age 70); comedian/actor/writer Chris Elliott in 1960 (age 60); actor Lea Thompson in 1961 (age 59); Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbn in 1963 (age 57); actor/model Brooke Shields in 1965 (age 55); actor Archie Panjabi in 1972 (age 48); actor Colin Farrell in 1976 (age 44); actor Eric Christian Olsen in 1977 (age 43); actor Yael Grobglas in 1984 (age 36); rapper Waka Flocka Flame, born Juaquin James Malphurs, in 1986 (age 34); rapper Azealia Banks in 1991 (age 29); singer Normani Hamilton in 1996 (age 24).On this date in history:In 1790, President George Washington signed a bill creating the first U.S. copyright law. In 1859, construction concluded and bells rang out for the first time from London's Big Ben clock tower. In 1889, a flood in Johnstown, Pa., left more than 2,200 people dead. In 1902, Britain and South Africa signed a peace treaty ending the Boer War. In 1916, the Battle of Verdun passed the 100-day mark. It would continue for another 200 days, amassing a casualty list of an estimated 800,000 soldiers dead, injured or missing. In 1940, a thick fog hanging over the English Channel prevented the German Luftwaffe from flying missions against evacuating Allied troops from Dunkirk. In 1985, seven federally insured banks in Arkansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and Oregon were closed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. It was a single-day record for closings since the FDIC was founded in 1934. In 1996, Israeli voters elected opposition Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister. In 2003, Eric Robert Rudolph, the long-sought fugitive in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing and attacks on abortion clinics and a gay nightclub, was arrested while rummaging through a dumpster in North Carolina. Rudolph, whose bombings killed two people and injured many others, was sentenced to four life terms in prison. In 2005, Mark Felt admitted that, while No. 2 man in the FBI, he was "Deep Throat," the shadowy contact whose help to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the 1972 Watergate break-in led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation. In 2012, John Edwards of North Carolina, former U.S. senator and presidential candidate, was acquitted on a charge of taking illegal campaign contributions, and a judge declared a mistrial on five other charges against him. In 2014, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 28, captured in Afghanistan nearly five years earlier, was released by the Taliban in exchange for five detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. In March 2015, the Army announced that Bergdahl had been charged with desertion. In 2019, a shooting a a Virginia Beach, Va., municipal center left 12 victims and the shooter -- a disgruntled former employee -- dead. A thought for the day: "Narratives can make us understand. Photographs do something else; they haunt us." American writer/activist Susan Sontag
  On this date in history: In 1790, President George Washington signed a bill creating the first U.S. copyright law. In 1859, construction concluded and bells rang out for the first time from London's Big Ben clock tower. In 1889, a flood in Johnstown, Pa., left more than 2,200 people dead. In 1902, Britain and South Africa signed a peace treaty ending the Boer War. In 1916, the Battle of Verdun passed the 100-day mark. It would continue for another 200 days, amassing a casualty list of an estimated 800,000 soldiers dead, injured or missing. In 1940, a thick fog hanging over the English Channel prevented the German Luftwaffe from flying missions against evacuating Allied troops from Dunkirk. In 1985, seven federally insured banks in Arkansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and Oregon were closed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. It was a single-day record for closings since the FDIC was founded in 1934. In 1996, Israeli voters elected opposition Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister. In 2003, Eric Robert Rudolph, the long-sought fugitive in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing and attacks on abortion clinics and a gay nightclub, was arrested while rummaging through a dumpster in North Carolina. Rudolph, whose bombings killed two people and injured many others, was sentenced to four life terms in prison. In 2005, Mark Felt admitted that, while No. 2 man in the FBI, he was "Deep Throat," the shadowy contact whose help to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the 1972 Watergate break-in led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation. In 2012, John Edwards of North Carolina, former U.S. senator and presidential candidate, was acquitted on a charge of taking illegal campaign contributions, and a judge declared a mistrial on five other charges against him. In 2014, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 28, captured in Afghanistan nearly five years earlier, was released by the Taliban in exchange for five detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. In March 2015, the Army announced that Bergdahl had been charged with desertion. In 2019, a shooting a a Virginia Beach, Va., municipal center left 12 victims and the shooter -- a disgruntled former employee -- dead.
  Since mid-April, most Americans have said they believe the country is in a recession or depression, a new poll shows. Seven out of 10 U.S. adults surveyed for the Gallup Poll released Friday said they believe the U.S. economy is in a depression or recession. At or above 70 percent of U.S. adults have said the same since mid-April. In the latest poll, 41 percent said the economy is in a recession and 30 percent said it is in a depression. The figure has risen from March, when 37 percent said the U.S. economy was in a recession and 20 percent said it was in a depression. Democrats were much more likely than Republicans to say the U.S. economy was in a depression or a recession. Only 48 percent of Republicans say the country is in a depression or recession compared to 87 percent of Democrats. Still, both parties are 12 to 18 percentage points more likely now to say the country is in a depression or recession than they were in late March, polls show. The poll comes amid businesses across the country reopening in recent months after stay-at-home to reduce the spread of COVID-19 were lifted. Results were based on web surveys, May 18-24, of a random sample of 3,892 adults with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
  President Donald Trump said Saturday that military police could deploy to Minneapolis to respond to protests in the wake of George Floyd's death this week. "We have our military ready, willing and able, if they ever want to call our military. We can have troops on the ground very quickly," Trump told reporters as he left the White House to travel to Florida for the SpaceX launch Saturday. "They're using their National Guard right now, as you know." Protests broke out in dozens of American cities Friday night calling for justice in the death of George Floyd Monday. Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer seen on video standing on Floyd's neck as Floyd gasped for air, was charged with third-degree murder Friday in connection with his death. Friday's protests began peacefully, but many -- including demonstrations in Minneapolis -- took a turn toward looting and vandalism as the night progressed. Earlier this week demonstrators burned a police precinct building in Minneapolis. Trump added that Minnesota government officials, who have already activated the state's National Guard, have "got to be tough" and that protesters need to be "taught" that they "can't do this." The military is prohibited from acting as domestic law enforcement, but under the Insurrection Act of 1807, state officials have the ability to call for military assistance.
  Israeli police fatally shot an unarmed Palestinian man headed to school for people with disabilities in East Jerusalem on Saturday. Israeli police identified the man as Iyad Khairi Hallak, 32, a resident of the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood in East Jerusalem Officers shot Hallak after spotting him holding what they described as a "suspicious object," near Jerusalem's Lion's Gate. They said they instructed Hallak to stop but he fled the scene, at which border police were called. The border police helped chase Hallak on foot before shooting him. Afterward, the officers were unable to locate a "suspicious object." Jerusalem police closed the gates to the Old City amid fear of protests following the fatal shooting. Temple Mount has been scheduled to reopen Sunday. Investigators said two border police officers, who have not been identified, opened fire on Hallak, one of whom missed Authorities are investigating both border officers under suspicion of causing death by negligence. "This is a murder, and this is not the first time this has happened," prosecutor Gad Kadmani said. "The case needs to be thoroughly investigated. Eight bullets were fired at him -- there are cameras that recorded everything." The border police have blamed the Jerusalem police officers, who they said told them Hallak was a terrorist. The more senior officer shot in the air while the victim tried to hide behind a dumpster, Haaretz reported. The officer who shot Hallak said he suspected him of being a terrorist because he wore gloves. "This morning's case was transferred to the Department of Police Investigations to be examined and investigated," Israeli police wrote in a statement. "It is appropriate to wait for the results of the investigation's findings before drawing any conclusions, and to avoid the ugliness and wrongful outbursts of commentary on those who put protecting the citizens of Israel in front of their own lives." One of the officers has been released under restrictive conditions and the other has been placed on house arrest. Hallak's family said he had autism and "wasn't capable of harming anyone." Lawyers for one of the officers said "a tragedy occurred."
  New York Gov. Cuomo said Saturday he signed a bill giving death benefits to families of frontline workers who died while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. "It is the least we can do to say thank you, and we honor you, and we remember you. You gave your lives for us. We will be there to support your families going forward," Cuomo told reporters Saturday. Cuomo said the number of hospitalizations and intubations associated with coronavirus, and the number of deaths Friday -- 67 -- was the same as the day before. New York is the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, with more than 370,000 confirmed cases and nearly 30,000 deaths, according to The New York Times. Across the country, there have been more than 1.7 million cases and some 103,000 deaths. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also cautioned Saturday that large gatherings are "inherently dangerous" and urged New Yorkers to avoid large public demonstrations -- like those that have erupted in New York, Minneapolis and other cities this week in response to the death of George Floyd. De Blasio urged people to take precautions if they decide to join demonstrations. "I would still wish that everyone would realize that when people gather it's inherently dangerous in the context of this pandemic and I'm going to keep urging people not to use that approach and if they do they focus on social distancing and wearing face coverings," he said. Also on Saturday, President Donald Trump was criticized by both domestic and international leaders for his Friday announcement that the United States is cutting ties with the World Health Organization. "Global cooperation and solidarity through multilateral efforts are the only effective and viable avenues to win this battle the world is facing," said a joint statement by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell, released by the EU Saturday. Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., also criticized the move, with Alexander saying "there needs to be a good, hard look at mistakes the World Health Organization might have made in connection with coronavirus, but the time to do that is after the crisis has been dealt with, not in the middle of it." Warren tweeted that the decision "alienates our allies, undermines our global leadership, and threatens the health of the American people."

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