Stockton ruling seen key to U.S. cities’ bankruptcy options

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A federal judge on Monday is expected to rule on whether the city of Stockton, California is eligible for bankruptcy protection, a key milestone in a case likely to set critical precedents for cash-strapped U.S. cities, their employees and their bondholders.

Keystone XL plan attacked after thousands of barrels of Canadian crude spills from Exxon pipeline

Exxon Mobil on Sunday continued cleanup of a pipeline spill that loosed thousands of barrels of heavy Canadian crude in Arkansas as opponents of oil sands development latched on to the incident to attack plans to build the Keystone XL line.

Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline, which can carry more than 90,000 barrels per day of crude from Pakota, Illinois to Nederland, Texas, was shut after the leak was discovered late Friday afternoon in a subdivision near the town of Mayflower. The leak forced the evacuation of 22 homes.

The company did not have an estimate for the restarting of the pipeline, which was carrying Canadian Wabasca Heavy crude at the time of the leak. An oil spill of more than 1,000 barrels into a Wisconsin field from an Enbridge pipeline last summer kept that line shuttered for around 11 days.

The Arkansas spill drew fast reaction from opponents of the 800,000 bpd Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry heavy crude from Canada’s tar sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast refining center.

Environmentalists have expressed concerns about the impact of developing the oil sands and say the crude is more corrosive to pipelines than conventional oil. On Wednesday, a train carrying Canadian crude derailed in Minnesota, spilling 15,000 gallons of oil.

“Whether it’s the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, or … [the] mess in Arkansas, Americans are realizing that transporting large amounts of this corrosive and polluting fuel is a bad deal for American taxpayers and for our environment,” said Representative Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat.

Supporters of Keystone XL and oil sands development say the vast Canadian reserves can help drive down fuel costs in the United States. A report from the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, put together by oil and gas consultancy Penspen, argued diluted bitumen is no more corrosive than other heavy crude.

Exxon said that by 3 a.m. Saturday there was no additional oil spilling from the pipeline and that trucks had been brought in to assist with the cleanup. Images from local media showed crude oil snaking along a suburban street.

Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration were deployed to the scene.

“Cleanup efforts are progressing 24 hours a day,” said Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers, who added the oil had not leaked into nearby Lake Conway.

“We were very fortunate that the local responders made sure the oil did not enter the water.”

Senate group resolves key issues on immigration reform: lawmakers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With U.S. business and labor now in agreement, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators has resolved all major issues in a pending deal to overhaul the U.S. immigration system and aims to unveil it after Congress reconvenes in the second week of April, key lawmakers said on Sunday.

Google says to shut down YouTube in early April Fools’ gag

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc, getting a headstart on the annual tradition of April Fools’ pranks, released a YouTube clip on Sunday declaring that the world’s most popular video website will shut down at the stroke of midnight.

Youth flock to mobile messaging apps, may be threat to Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Create personal profiles. Build networks of friends. Share photos, videos and music.

Youth flock to mobile messaging apps, may be threat to Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Create personal profiles. Build networks of friends. Share photos, videos and music.

Tomb Raider interview: The apocalyptic art of Lara Croft

When Tomb Raider—the reboot of the game franchise with which it shares a name—came out earlier in March, many a column inch was devoted to Lara Croft’s evolution from archaeological adventurer to concerningly capable killer. Rather fewer were given over to the use of apocalyptic artwork, invisible cameramen, birth metaphors, and emotional color palettes. To redress the balance, Wired.co.uk quizzed Brian Horton, Senior Art Director at Crystal Dynamics, on all of the above and then a little bit more.

The Tomb Raider games are iconic—how do you even get started reworking a game with such a strong visual legacy?

As a fan of the classic games, I played Tomb Raider 1 and 2 again to remember why I loved them so much. Lara Croft was a confident and totally capable anti-hero, but she didn’t have much room to grow in ability or characterization.

Read 27 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Apple’s Rumored iWatch And Why It Matters

There is widespread speculation that Apple will introduce its own watch this year.   The implications are substantial in terms of what the watch could be and what it could mean for Apple’s financials and stock price.  The company has not announced anything regarding a new product; therefore, at this point, all discussions about the iWatch and its features are pure speculation.  However, in the past, speculation regarding new Apple products has been more accurate than inaccurate so it warrants reviewing and assessing the implications.