Female captain makes military history as she takes command of Changing the Guard ceremony

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 7:23 AM

Canadian Captain Megan Couto, right, makes history by becoming the first female Captain of the Queen's Guard as she takes part in the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, June 26, 2017. Couto and her unit, The Second Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI), known as
Canadian Captain Megan Couto, right, makes history by becoming the first female Captain of the Queen's Guard as she takes part in the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, June 26, 2017. Couto and her unit, The Second Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI), known as "The Patricia's", took part in the ceremony Monday to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Canada and the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canadian Confederation. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)(Matt Dunham/AP)

A 24-year-old woman from Canada made history when she took command of the ceremonial Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, CTV News reported.

Capt. Megan Couto is the first woman to be put in charge of the iconic ceremony.

Couto is a member of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. It’s also known as “The Patricia’s.”

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Normally the British Army forms the Queen’s Guard, but Queen Elizabeth II has invited Canadians to take part in honor of the country’s 150th birthday, CTV News reported.

Until July 3, Canadian soldiers are being permitted to take their place as sentries at the royal residences.

This isn’t the first time a woman has led the Queen’s Guard, but Couto is the first female infantry officer to do so. Women were not permitted to serve in frontline combat roles until July 2016, CTV News reported. Women have been allowed to serve in the infantry since the 1980s, The Associated Press reported.

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Great Pacific Garbage Patch 16 times larger than estimates: 87,000 tons of plastic and growing

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 9:37 PM

An example of the plastic trash found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the ocean between California and Hawaii.
The Ocean Cleanup Foundation
An example of the plastic trash found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the ocean between California and Hawaii.(The Ocean Cleanup Foundation)

The giant mass of floating plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, now measures almost 620,000 square miles and is as much as 16 times larger than previous estimates, according to a new study.

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The huge mass of soupy trash between California and Hawaii in what’s known as the Pacific gyre contains 87,000 tons of plastic, researchers reported in the study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, and scientists said with the massive global plastic pollution continuing, it’s still growing.

Data between 1970 and 2015 shows the plastic levels in the garbage patch are increasing at a faster rate than in surrounding waters.

Microplastics and larger chunks of plastic, along with tons of abandoned or lost fishing nets, litter the ocean in an area known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.(The Ocean Cleanup Foundation)

The biggest chunk of garbage in the patch, 46 percent of it, is fishing nets, according to the research. Other types of commercial fishing gear, including eel traps, ropes and oyster spacers account for a majority of the rest of the trash. 

Oceanographer and lead researcher with the Ocean Cleanup Foundation Laurent Lebreton told National Geographic scientists wanted to study the bigger pieces of trash in the patch.

“I knew there would be a lot of fishing gear, but 46 percent was unexpectedly high,” Lebreton said. “Initially, we thought fishing gear would be more in the 20 percent range. That is the accepted number [for marine debris] globally - 20 percent from fishing sources and 80 percent from land.”

A map shows the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) floating in the ocean and the concentration levels of trash in the gyre.(The Ocean Cleanup Foundation)

The fishing nets that litter the world’s oceans entangle whales, turtles and seals, and the plastic in the seas kills or injures 100,000 marine animals every year, National Geographic reported.

Researchers said there are still many unknowns about the garbage patch, including the level of plastic pollution in deeper waters and on the sea floor, and that more study is needed,

The findings are part of a three-year mapping effort involving Ocean Cleanup, an international team of scientists, six universities and an aerial sensor company. 


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Toys R Us closing sales: What you need to know when liquidation begins

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 9:48 AM

Toys ‘R’ Us May Close All U.S. Stores

Shoppers looking for a bargain lined up at Toys R Us stores across the country to cash in on the liquidation sale that was expected to begin Thursday.

However, the sales have been postponed, according to multiple reports.

WYFF reported that a sign on the Greenville location stated that the liquidation sale was postponed until further notice.

The sales are now expected to start Friday, CNN Money reported.

But no matter when the sales start, experts told CNN Money that bargain hunters should be ready to go as soon as the sales begin.

Toys R Us announced last week it was closing or selling all of its stores in the United States, but shoppers need to act fast.

MORE: Toys R Us store locator

Industry experts say shelves will clear out quickly and the sale may only last about 30 days.

Inventory on the most popular toys are already slim, and whatever is left will be the first to go.

People with Toys R Us gift cards and Endless Earnings Gift Cards should use those first.

Toys R Us will not accept them after April 20.

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Starting Thursday, stores will not be accepting coupons or rewards.

If you have a return, Toys R Us will accept items for the next 30 days, but anything purchased during the liquidation sale is final and cannot be returned.

Amazon, one of Toys R Us’ most fierce competitors, is apparently considering buying up some of the empty store fronts once Toys R Us officially closes.

Bloomberg is reporting that Amazon would like to expand its brick-and-mortar presence by acquiring some of those locations.

MORE: What happens to Toys R Us employees, gift cards?

The Seattle-based company recently bought Whole Foods and opened its own line of bookstores and convenience stores.

Toys R Us is closing 735 locations, and will lay off about 31,000 employees.

Before you shop, check your location. Some local stores were part of the initial closing announcement and have been liquidating for weeks.

EMERYVILLE, CA - MARCH 15: Customers enter a Toys R Us store on March 15, 2018 in Emeryville, California. Toys R Us filed for liquidation in a U.S. Bankruptcy court and plans to close 735 stores leaving 33,000 workers without employment. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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Toys R Us founder Charles Lazarus dies at 94

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 4:42 PM

Toys ‘R’ Us May Close All U.S. Stores

Charles Lazarus, who founded what would become Toys R Us in 1948, has died, company officials confirmed Thursday. He was 94.

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The news came just days after officials with the toy store chain announced it would be closing its U.S. stores.

“There have been many sad moments for Toys R Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus,” Toys R Us officials wrote Thursday in a tweet. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved ones.”

Michael Goldstein, a friend of Lazarus’ who formerly served as chairman of Toys R Us, told Bloomberg News that Lazarus died Thursday in Manhattan.

"He was the father of the toy business," Goldstein told CNN Money. "He knew the toys and loved the toys and loved the kids who would shop in the stores. His face lit up when he watched kids playing with toys."

>> Related: Toys R Us closings: What happens to 31,000 employees, your gift cards?

In a 1986 article, The Atlantic magazine credited Lazarus as “the person most responsible for loosening Santa’s grip” on the toy industry, expanding sales from a holiday-only to a year-round business.

Lazarus served as a cryptographer during World War II and took over his family’s bicycle shop in Washington D.C. after he returned to the U.S. in 1923, according to The Atlantic. He started to sell baby furniture, The Atlantic reported, but he noticed that he rarely got return customers because of the sturdiness of his stock.

>> Related: Amazon looking to buy abandoned Toys R Us storefronts

"Toys are a great kind of thing to sell, because they don't last that long," he told the magazine in 1986.

Lazarus served as head of Toys R Us through the company’s sale in 1966 to Interstate Department Stores Inc., and through Interstate’s bankruptcy in 1974, according to Bloomberg.

Toys R Us dominated the toy store business in the 1980s and early '90s, when it was one of the first of the category killers -- big stores that are so totally devoted to one thing and have such impressive selection that they drive smaller competitors out of business. Lazarus, who remained at the helm until 1994, stacked the merchandise high to give shoppers the feeling it had an infinite number of toys.

>> Related: Toys R Us closing sales: What you need to know when liquidation begins

He stepped down as chairman of the company in 1998, Bloomberg reported.

Officials with Toys R Us announced last week that the company planned to close or sell its 735 stores nationwide, including its Babies R Us stores. The superstore chain could no longer bear the weight of its heavy debt load and relentless trends that hurt its business, namely competition from the likes of Amazon, discounters like Walmart, and mobile games.

Toys "R" Us - Fast Facts
The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster out; former U.S. ambassador John Bolton in

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 6:37 PM

Who Is H.R. McMaster, Trump’s National Security Adviser

National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster is resigning from the Trump administration and will be replaced by former U.S. ambassador John Bolton, according to a tweet Thursday afternoon from President Donald Trump.

>> Read more trending newsWho is H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security advisor

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster attends a meeting between President Donald Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office at the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C.(Pool/Getty Images)

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