VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press

DIPLOMATS HAIL NEW IRANIAN ATTITUDE IN NUKE TALKS

 

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- European diplomats said Thursday they were pleased by a new tone and attitude from Iran in talks aimed at resolving the impasse over its nuclear program and set a new round of negotiations for next month.

 

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the meeting between Iran's top diplomat and foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany were "substantial." She said they had agreed to "go forward with an ambitious timeframe" and that senior negotiators would meet in Geneva on Oct 15-16.

 

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said there had been a "big improvement in the tone and spirit" from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif compared with representatives of the previous Iranian government.

 

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the meeting had taken place in a "completely different tone, atmosphere and spirit" that what the group was used to and that a "window of opportunity has opened" for a peaceful resolution of the situation. He warned, though, that Iran's words would have to be matched by actions.

 

The meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly marked the highest-level direct contact between the United States and Iran in six years as Secretary of State John Kerry came face-to-face with Zarif and sat next to him at a U-shaped table.

 

Neither Kerry nor Zarif had any immediate comment on the meeting.

 

REORT PONDERS: HOW SENSITIVE IS CLIMATE TO CO2?

 

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- Scientists are more confident than ever that pumping carbon dioxide into the air by burning fossil fuels is warming the planet. The question is, by how much?

 

It's something that officials and scientists meeting in Stockholm will try to pin down as precisely possible Friday in a seminal report on global warming.

 

Future global warming levels depend on two major factors. One is how much more carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases are pumped into the air and how quickly.

 

The other is the rate at which those gases cause warming, sort of like a revving car engine. With that rate, called "climate sensitivity," scientists are trying to figure out how much warming would happen with different levels of carbon pollution. The higher the climate sensitivity or rate, the higher the warming per ton of greenhouse gas emitted.

 

The values adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are important because they could affect how hard governments try to rein in CO2 emissions - which are still going up largely due to the rapid expansion of China and other emerging economies.

 

A lower value may reduce the world's sense of urgency in making a costly energy transformation from oil, coal and gas to renewable sources like solar or wind power - or in halting the destruction of the Earth's forests, which capture CO2.

 

The IPCC is expected to say Friday that it's 95 percent certain that more than half the surface warming of the Earth that has been observed since 1951 is due to the CO2 emissions resulting from human activities.

 

GOOGLE'S 'HUMMINGBIRD' HATCHES NEW SEARCH FORMULA

 

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) -- Google has quietly retooled the closely guarded formula running its Internet search engine to give better answers to the increasingly complex questions posed by Web surfers.

 

The overhaul came as part of an update called "Hummingbird" that Google Inc. has gradually rolled out in the past month without disclosing the modifications.

 

The changes could have a major impact on traffic to websites. Hummingbird represents the most dramatic alteration to Google's search engine since it revised the way it indexes websites three years ago as part of a redesign called "Caffeine," according to Amit Singhal, a senior vice president for the company. He estimates that the redesign will affect the analysis of about 90 percent of the search requests that Google gets.

 

Google disclosed the existence of the new search formula Thursday at an event held in the Menlo Park, Calif., garage where CEO Larry Page and fellow co-founder Sergey Brin started the company 15 years ago.

 

Hummingbird is primarily aimed at giving Google's search engine a better grasp at understanding concepts instead of mere words, Singhal said.

 

Besides Hummingbird, Google also announced a few other updates to existing search features aimed at providing information more concisely so people won't need to navigate to another website. These changes are part of Google's effort to adapt to the smaller screens of smartphones that aren't well suited for hopscotching across the Internet.

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