U.S. home prices down in May, but consumer confidence strong 11:40am EDT

NEW YORK - U.S. single-family home prices fell unexpectedly in May, declining for the first time in more than two years in the latest signal of the wobbly state of the housing market.

A Palestinian firefighter gestures as he participates in efforts to put out a fire at Gaza's main power plant, which witnesses said was hit in Israeli shelling, in the central Gaza Strip July 29, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Israel knocks out Gaza power plant

GAZA/JERUSALEM - Israel knocked out Gaza's only power plant, flattened the home of its Islamist Hamas political leader and pounded dozens of other high-profile targets in the enclave.  Full Article | Slideshow 

Comedian John Oliver poses for photographers backstage during the 41st International Emmy Awards in New York, November 25, 2013.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Hard truths from John Oliver

John Oliver’s addition to the news-comedy landscape demonstrates the value of a half-American’s perspective on American politics and culture. He's at once an outsider and an insider, a powerful position from which to critique and mock the United States.  Commentary 

Carol Leigh, a long-time sex worker and advocate for decriminalizing prostitution, poses for a photograph in her office in San Francisco, California July 18, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

'A business that will never vanish'

SAN FRANCISCO - Calls by Bay Area sex workers for decriminalizing "consensual" prostitution have been spurred anew following the FBI seizure of a West Coast sex services website.  Full Article 

Reuters TV/Screengrab

A new boot to put a spring in your step

A British biomechanist believes he can help ease the strain on the shins of walkers and soldiers trekking for many miles while wearing heavy loads on their backs with a new type of footwear.  Video 

Then China's Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang reacts as he attends the Hebei delegation discussion sessions at the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing October 16, 2007 file photo.   REUTERS/Jason Lee

China investigates former security chief for graft

BEIJING - China's Communist Party said it had launched a corruption investigation into former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang in a case that has its origins in a party power struggle.  Full Article 

A woman smokes a large joint before The Global Marijuana March in Toronto, May 7, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Counterparties: Weeding out the prisons

Reforming America’s marijuana laws, along with the rest of its war on drugs, seems like the just thing to do. From 1978 and 2009, the U.S. prison population grew by 430 percent.  Full Article