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Record $4.5M fine pursued against gas driller

EQT companyPennsylvania environmental regulators are pursuing a record $4.5 million fine against a gas driller over what they describe as a major case of pollution from a leaking waste pit.

The Department of Environmental Protection announced Tuesday it is seeking the penalty against EQT Corp. Acting DEP Secretary Dana Aunkst says EQT has been uncooperative during the investigation and "fails to recognize the ongoing environmental harm" from its leaking impoundment in Duncan Township, Tioga County.

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Hong Kong activists, government agree to talks

Hong Kong protestsHong Kong protest leaders have agreed to hold talks with the pro-Beijing government as their numbers dwindled and they faced growing pressure to end their sit-in.

On Tuesday morning, only a hundred or so protesters remained in the
central business district, significantly down from the tens of thousands that massed over the weekend.

Hong Kong's embattled leader Leung Chun-ying insisted late last week that government offices reopen on Monday so some 3,000 civil servants could return to work or, he warned, the government would "take all necessary actions to restore social order."

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Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From Teacher Fired For Promoting Creationism

creationsimThe Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of an Ohio public school science teacher who was fired for promoting the theory of creationism and refusing to remove religious materials from his classroom.

The justices on Monday let stand an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that found the Mount Vernon school district had grounds to fire John Freshwater in 2011 for insubordination for keeping religious books and a poster of a praying president.

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'Deadly fire' at Iran military explosives facility

Tehran explosionA fire and explosion at a military explosives facility near the Iranian capital Tehran has left at least two people dead, reports say.

The semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (Isna) said the fire was in an "explosive materials production unit".

A pro-opposition website reported a huge blast near the Parchin military site, south-east of the capital, but this was not confirmed.

Parchin has been linked to Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

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Hewlett-Packard to split into two public companies, lay off 5,000

hewlett packardHewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) said it would split into two listed companies, separating its computer and printer businesses from its faster-growing corporate hardware and services operations, and eliminate another 5,000 jobs as part of its turnaround plan.

HP said its shareholders would own a stake in both businesses through a tax-free transaction next year. Each business contributes about half of HP's revenue and profit.

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U.S. criticized by observer groups for Syrian civilian casualties

syrian civilian casualtiesAir strikes conducted by the U.S. late last month against extremist militant positions in Syria killed several civilians, two observer groups said.

Human Rights Watch reported that American strikes on Sept. 23 in the village of Kafr Deryan in northern Idlib killed seven civilians.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which gathers information from sources on the ground in the war-torn country, said that air strikes by the U.S. against an Islamic State logistics hub in Manbij early last week actually hit a grain silo, killing several civilians.

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Missing students' remains possibly found in mass grave in Mexico

Mexican policeA search for 43 missing students in Mexico may have reached a grisly conclusion as investigators examine the remains found in mass graves in a remote area of Guerrero state.

The missing students from Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa were preparing to become teachers when their bus was attacked by gunmen in Iguala on Sept. 26. Three students and three others were killed in the ambush.

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3 win medicine Nobel for discovering brain's GPS

Nobel winnersA U.S.-British scientist and a Norwegian husband-and-wife research team won the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for discovering the brain's navigation system — the inner GPS that helps us find our way in the world — a revelation that could lead to advances in diagnosing Alzheimer's.

The research by John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser represents a "paradigm shift" in neuroscience that could help researchers understand the sometimes severe spatial memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease, the Nobel Assembly said.

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Feds probe power steering in Ford midsize cars

Feds probe Ford power steeringThe U.S. government's auto safety regulator has opened an investigation into complaints that the power-assisted steering can suddenly fail on three Ford Motor Co. midsize car models.

The probe covers 938,000 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ cars from the 2010 through 2012 model years, as well as the 2010 and 2011 Mercury Milan. It includes gas-electric hybrid versions of the cars.

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