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Tiger Woods Takes Break from Golf

Tiger Woods, the top-ranked golfer in the world, announced on his Web site Friday that he would be taking an "indefinite break" from professional golf to focus on his family, the New York Times reported.

The announcement came after he crashed his SUV outside of his Florida home on Nov. 27, which led to a wave of reports of marital infidelities with multiple women.

In the announcement, Woods admitted to his infidelity, and said that he was aware of the pain and disappointment he had caused his family and his fans, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to the New York Times, Woods' break from golf will deeply affect the sport of golf, as well his relations with sponsors and businesses, who pay him hundreds of millions of dollars a year to endorse their products and build their brands.

However, many of Woods' major sponsors, like Nike and EA, support Woods' decision and intend to continue business relationships, the Wall Street Journal reported.


NIH Approves New Stem Cell Lines to Research

The National Institutes of Health said Wednesday that it approved 13 human embryonic stem cell lines for use by federally financed researchers, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The approval followed President Barack Obama's decision to lift restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, which President George W. Bush had implemented.

Embryonic stem cells show potential for treating various diseases, because they can develop into many types of tissue. However, actual use of the stem cells has yet to be approved.

Rockefeller University in New York City developed two of the stem cell lines while the Children's Hospital in Boston developed the other 11. The NIH is reviewing 96 lines, some of which may be approved by Friday.

The New York Times reported that opponents of embryonic stem cell research said that researchers should focus on adult cells, which could be reprogrammed to the embryonic state.

Though adult cells induced into the embryonic stage are very similar to actual embryonic stem cells, they are not identical and are riskier to use. The adult cell may turn on its defenses when being forced into the embryonic stage and will be useless to researchers.

Water Found on the Moon

Scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said Friday that they had discovered large amounts of water on the moon, a place which had always seemed too dry and barren to be habitable.

For awhile now experts have suspected that there was water on the moon due to the presence of large amounts of hydrogen at the moon's poles. Confirmation came from data collected by two NASA spacecraft that intentionally collided into a lunar crater.

The crash unleashed at least 25 gallons of water during the impact, but scientists believed that there was more, the New York Times reported.

Water on the moon allows lunar scientists to further research the history of the solar system by exploring the source of the water and its distribution on the moon. Scientists said that possible sources of water included the moon, comets, Earth, or solar wind.

These discoveries make human exploration of the moon even more possible, because the water could be used to generate oxygen, The Wall Street Journal reported. It could also be another source of drinking water, and it could be used to make rocket fuel.



6 Shot and 1 Dead in Orlando Shooting

A former office worker was arrested in Orlando, Fla. Friday when he allegedly fatally shot one person and wounded five others, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The suspect, Jason Rodriguez, 40, was arrested two hours after allegedly opening fire at the offices of Reynolds Smith & Hill, an engineering firm where he had worked for nearly a year before he was fired.

Authorities said that Rodriguez had begun to shoot randomly at his former workplace, killing one person while five others were hospitalized.

When arrested, Rodriguez told reporters that he was "angry" for being fired from his job.

The shooting occurred a day after the massacre at Fort Hood, a military base in Texas, the New York Times reported.

Obama Lifts U.S. Ban on Entry for those with HIV

On Friday President Obama announced the end of a ban on travel to the United States by people infected by the HIV virus.

A rule lifting the ban would be published on Monday and would become effective after a 60-day waiting period, the New York Times reported. 

The United States is one of a dozen countries that restrict entry to travelers based on their HIV status. The ban has been active for 22 years, but will be lifted after the new year, msnbc.com reported.

Former President George W. Bush began the process of lifting the ban last year by signing legislation that repealed the law on which the ban was based. Though it was passed by Congress the ban remained effective.

The ban was enacted in 1987 at a time when society believed that HIV could be transmitted by physical or respiratory contact. It effectively barred thousands of students, tourists and refugees from entering the US.

When the ban is lifted, foreigners will not be required to take a test for AIDS when applying to become residents of the US.


US Proposes Protection of Polar Bear Habitat

The Interior Department of the Obama administration is setting aside 200,000 square miles along the Alaskan northern coast as critical habitat for the shrinking polar bear population.

The Bush administration last year determined that polar bears were likely to become an endangered species caused by massive loss of sea ice due to climate change.

The protected habitat could increase restrictions on future offshore drilling for gas and oil, which prompted Alaska officials to challenge the protections, saying that they threaten the state's oil industry and economy.

Environmental advocates pushed for a protection policy for the animals since they were listed as a threatened species last year, and conservation groups later sued. The new polar bear policy announced Thursday was part of a settlement of the case.

A final critical-habitat rule will be published by June 30, 2010, the New York Times reported.

Smoking Ban Reduces Heart Disease

Smoking bans reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attacks, according to a study by the Institute of Medicine released Thursday.

The report also indicates that breathing second-hand smoke increases nonsmokers' risk for heart problems and that even a small amount of exposure may result in heart attack, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the report extracted data from 11 studies from communities in Canada, Italy, Scotland and the United States.

According to the report, smoking bans could help reduce the incidence of heart attacks by 6%-47%.

However, critics argue that the evidence is not strong enough. None of the 11 studies were optimal in method or in data collection, leaving unanswered questions and a large variance in reduction rates, the New York Times reported.

2 Dead at Arizona Resort Sweat Lodge

Two people died and more than a dozen became ill at a sweat lodge at an Arizona resort on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The two victims were James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee, and Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y. 21 of the 64 people within the sweat lodge received medical care. Four were hospitalized.

The illnesses and deaths occurred during the "Spiritual Warrior" retreat led by self-help expert and writer James Arthur Ray.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the deaths and illnesses, the Wall Street Journal reported. Police also work to determine whether criminal actions played a part in the event.

The sweat lodge is located at the Angel Valley Spiritual Resort, about six and a half miles from West Sedona, Arizona. The resort is popular within the New Age spiritual movement.  

Like a sauna, a sweat lodge is an enclosed space where water is poured over heated rocks, the New York Times reported. They are commonly used in Native American cleansing ceremonies.

China Celebrates 60th Anniversary

China celebrated 60 years of communist rule Thursday in a massive and flawless display of military power.

Floats representing each province and marches were utilized, but it was the show of military bravado that caused some unease for China's global audience.

According to the Pioneer Press, the parade was China's largest display of weaponry, reminiscent of the Soviet Union, while its synchronized performances reminded others of North Korea.

Analysts said that its military weaponry had progressed since its last celebration in 1999.

China did not consider the reactions of its global audience. Rather, it focused on patriotism, the Communist Party's power and its ability to rule, the New York Times reported.

Twitter to Raise $100 million from Investors

Twitter was set to raise close to $100 million from many new investors on Thursday, which would value the company at about $1 billion.

New investor groups included T. Rowe Price, a mutual fund company, and Insight Venture Partners, a venture capital firm, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Such investments did not come as a surprise to many, since Twitter's popularity had been on the rise since its creation almost four years ago.

It impacted Facebook, however, Twitter's main competition.

Though the company does not generate real revenue, Twitter's value and popularity are expected to increase, the New York Times reported.

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