Washington’s Top News — Thursday, August 28, 2014

Here’s a look at some of the day’s top stories from WTOP:

Tripping seniors on purpose to stop future falls

Researchers are tripping seniors on purpose, and it’s not some kind of warped practical joke. The goal is to prevent falls, which are the leading cause of injury in older adults and cost $30 billion yearly to treat.

Conventional efforts include strengthening exercises. But University of Illinois in Chicago researchers are testing a different approach. They started with a lab-built walkway that causes people to trip, as if stepping on a banana peel. Their research suggests that helped build seniors’ subconscious memory, teaching them how not to fall.

US checking report of 2nd American killed in Syria

The U.S. is checking reports that a second American was killed in Syria while fighting alongside the militant group Islamic State.

NBC cites an anonymous member of the opposition Free Syrian Army as saying two Americans were killed in a battle last week with Islamic State fighters.

The U.S. already has confirmed that American Douglas McAuthur McCain was killed while fighting with militants.

FBI investigating reports of attacks on US banks

The FBI says it’s working with the Secret Service to determine the scope of recently reported cyberattacks against several U.S. financial institutions.

Bloomberg.com says Russian hackers attacked the U.S financial system this month in possible retaliation against U.S. government-sponsored sanctions aimed at Russia. The New York Times says account information and other data were stolen this month from JPMorgan Chase and at least four other firms.

Survey: Americans’ pessimism on economy has grown

Despite many signs of a business recovery including improved hiring, Americans are more worried about the economy than they were right after the Great Recession.

A survey released by researchers at Rutgers University says that this pessimism exists despite record Wall Street gains and a host of upbeat economic indicators. Seventy-one percent of Americans surveyed say the recession put a permanent drag on the economy. In contrast, Rutgers researchers found in a similar survey in November 2009 that only 49 percent thought the downturn would have lasting damage.

And when the 2009 survey was undertaken, national joblessness was at 9.9 percent of the labor force, compared to the current 6.2 percent.

Deal reached to sell supermarket chain to ex-CEO

A New England supermarket chain that has been in turmoil for weeks over a workers’ revolt and customer boycott has announced that the former CEO will buy a majority stake in the business.

Market Basket says popular CEO Arthur T. Demoulas (deh-MOO’-lahs) will be returning and taking over day-to-day operations. He was ousted in June by a board of directors controlled by his cousin. Hundreds of warehouse workers and drivers refused to deliver food to the chain’s stores, leading to empty shelves and millions in lost revenue.

Market Basket, known for its low prices, has 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

Amazon buys Twitch, the ESPN of video games

You may not have heard of the online network Twitch before this week, when Amazon announced a deal to buy it for nearly $1 billion. That may sound like a lot for a service that lets users watch live and recorded footage of other people playing video games, but it’s for real: It has 55 million monthly users and gets more traffic in the U.S. than HBO Go. On WTOP’s Tech page, find out the appeal, the numbers behind the success — and the danger the deal poses.

Local chefs preserve summer memories with smoke

As summer winds down, you may be getting frantic for ways to keep the feeling of the season alive. And several area chefs figure that the smell of smoke is one of the strongest sense memories of the summer. On WTOP’s Living page, Rachel Nania talks to cooks who are smoking main dishes, sauces — even yogurt — to evoke the tastes and smells of long twilights in the backyard.

You can learn a lot from a flying nanny

The movie version of “Mary Poppins” turns 50, and Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and the Banks family have a lot to teach people even now. On WTOP’s Entertainment page, see clips from the movie that explain some of the most important lessons the immortal story, and especially its title character, can teach. She is, after all, practically perfect in every way.

College football set for its first weekend

The new college football season begins this weekend, and on the national scene the new playoff system, which will create a new Final Four, will determine this year’s champion. On WTOP’s Sports page, find out WTOP’s predictions for the title matchups, and read Noah Frank’s and Dave Preston’s assessments of the area teams’ chances. They’re not betting on any of the locals to make the playoffs, but one team could be poised for something special.

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