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Killings Soar To A Level Unseen In 43 Years
Baltimore reached a grim milestone on Friday, three months after riots erupted in response to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody: With 43 homicides in July, the city has seen more bloodshed in a single month than it has in 43 years. The 43rd recorded homicide was Jermaine Miller, 18, who took a bullet to his head just before noon Thursday and was in grave condition. Police reported Friday that he had died, bringing this year's total to 187, far outpacing the 119 killings by July's end in 2014. Non-fatal shootings have soared to 366, compared to 200 by the same date last year. July's total was the worst since the city recorded 45 killings in August 1972, according to The Baltimore Sun. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: The DOJ and Baltimore officials are the blame for the loss of rule of law.
Health Care Statement: Which Medications Is Hillary Taking?
On Friday, Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign released a health care statement revealing that the former Secretary of State has hypothyroidism as well as allergies, and is taking Armour Thyroid. It also stated that the 67-year-old Democratic candidate has allergies and is taking antihistamines, vitamin B12 and Coumadin. Amour Thyroid is the brand name for a hormone used for treating an underactive thyroid. It’s also used to prevent certain types of enlarged thyroid glands and to manage thyroid cancer, according to EveryDay Health. The medication works by replacing the thyroid hormone when the body does not make enough on its own. It’s a natural product made from animal thyroid glands. Fox News
And Bill Clinton Paid $43 Million In Federal Taxes
Hillary and former President Bill Clinton paid $43.9 million in federal taxes from 2007 through 2014, suggesting that they made well over $100 million in that period, according to a summary of tax returns they are releasing Friday. The Clintons reported paying a federal tax rate of 35.7 percent in 2014 and donating 10.8 percent of their income to charity. Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, made the release on an unusually busy late summer Friday when the State Department released some of her e-mails, her campaign released her health report, and the Federal Election Commission released super PAC donation records. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Hillary is not as average income earner, as she claims.
Talks Hometown, ‘Criminal’ Putin As Las Vegas Visit Continues
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio called Russian President Vladimir Putin a criminal on Saturday in a presidential campaign speech less focused on foreign and domestic policy than recounting his parents' immigrant experience to voters in his childhood hometown. "He is a dangerous person," Rubio said of Putin, "and we should never be under any illusions as long as he runs that country." When GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump visited Las Vegas on Saturday, he said he could be pals with Putin and that "I think we would get along very, very well." Rubio's immigrant parents, who came to the U.S. from Cuba, found jobs in the casino industry in Las Vegas. The Florida Republican would visit Henderson, about a half-hour drive from Las Vegas, as a child. Las Vegas Sun
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Palin Stands With Donald Trump, Comes Out Swinging
Days after Donald Trump talked up the idea of putting Sarah Palin in his administration, the former Republican vice presidential candidate and tea party favorite is showing she's got Trump's back. Palin wrote Friday on the conservative Breitbart news site that Trump's candidacy will continue to appeal to "ordinary Americans" despite what she described as a bludgeon of attacks from GOP elites, pundits and the media. Calling Trump's candidacy "a shot in the arm for ordinary Americans fed up with the predictable poll-tested blather of squishy milquetoast career politicians," Palin argued that Trump's style and message is appealing to voters and that he is tapping into "major populist grievances." CNN
Rents To Haircuts, Americans Start To Feel Price Hikes
The price increases remain modest. And in many cases, they're canceled out by price declines for other items that are keeping overall inflation historically low. Yet the stepped-up price tags for a range of consumer items are the largest since the Great Recession ended six years ago. They actually reflect a healthier economy. Many businesses have finally grown confident enough to pass their own higher costs on to consumers without fear of losing customers. Inflation as measured by the consumer price index has barely risen in the past 12 months, mostly because cheaper gas has held down the index. But prices are rising. If you exclude food and energy, which tend to fluctuate sharply, "core" inflation has risen 2.3 percent at an annual rate in the past three months. Charlotte Observer
Power Company Gave $1 Million To Pro-Bush Super PAC
The largest Florida corporate donor to a super political action committee backing former Gov. Jeb Bush's presidential run is NextEra Energy Inc., the company that owns electric utility giant Florida Power & Light. Bush, a leading Republican contender, knows the company well. In 2009, more than two years after leaving office, he penned an opinion piece in the state capital's newspaper urging regulators to approve the utility's proposed rate increase for Florida customers. "With power, the cash registers open and close," Bush wrote in the op-ed, published in the Tallahassee Democrat. FP&L is the state's largest electric utility, and NextEra operates in 26 other states and Canada. Charlotte Observer
Trump Promises Mexico Will Pay For Wall
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump stood by his comments Friday that he would build a wall along the Mexican border and that Mexico would pay for it. But he gave a slightly better idea why that would happen: his stellar negotiating skills. "I will build the wall and Mexico's going to pay for it and they will be happy to for it. Because Mexico is making so much money from the United States that that's going to be peanuts," Trump, who's polling at the front of the GOP primary pack, told CNN on Friday. "And all these other characters say, 'Oh, they won't pay, they won't pay.' They don't know the first thing about how to negotiate. Trust me, Mexico will pay." CNN
VOA VIEW: Another notch for Trump.
Parenthood President Made 39 Visits To Obama’s White House Since 2009
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, head of the taxpayer-subsidized abortion giant currently facing a firestorm for allegedly selling body parts harvested from aborted babies, has made personal visits to the White House 39 times since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, White House records show. According to online records on the White House website, Richards first visited the White House on Jan. 20, 2009 -- the same day Obama first took office. Since then, Richards has met with Obama alone at least three times and First Lady Michelle Obama at least twice. She also met with president and his wife together another four times. Richards also met four times with David Plouffe, Obama’s senior adviser from 2011 to 2013. Following Plouffe’s resignation in 2013, Richards met with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett five times between mid-2012 and the beginning of 2014. CNS News
Chargers Recalled; Door Slam Can Make Air Bags Inflate
Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 322,000 sedans worldwide because side air bags can inflate if doors are slammed too hard. The recall covers certain Dodge Chargers from the 2011 to 2014 model years, mainly in the U.S. and Canada. Earlier this month, more than 843,000 Dodge Ram pickup trucks were recalled for the same problem. The company says the Charger recall came from an internal investigation launched because of the truck recall. Fiat Chrysler says the air bag control modules may be too sensitive and need to be recalibrated. The company says it knows of three minor injuries from the problem. Owners will be notified when they can bring cars in for repairs. In the meantime, the company says people should use caution when closing doors. Kansas City Star
Rebels Fighting ISIS Are Failing Miserably
Has anyone seen the US-trained rebels who were dispatched from Turkey to battle ISIS in northern Syria? The Obama administration certainly hasn’t — though it spent $4 million apiece to get these men battle-ready. In fact, the administration was the last to learn that an al Qaeda affiliate had captured the group’s leader and several of his soldiers right after they entered Syria. Nadeem al-Hassan is the leader of Division 30, a unit of rebels recruited under Washington’s Train and Equip Program to battle ISIS in Syria. The Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, ambushed him and six of his soldiers Thursday. NY Post
VOA VIEW: The US commannder-in-chief is a loser.
Brown Declares State Of Emergency As Fires Burn Statewide
Nearly 20 major wildfires raged across California on Friday, forcing thousands to evacuate under smoke-darkened summer skies as firefighters struggled with an ominous drought-fueled fire season. The fires prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency, which will free up additional firefighters and disaster response resources to combat the growing crisis. “California’s severe drought and extreme weather have turned much of the state into a tinderbox,” Brown said. “Our courageous firefighters are on the front lines, and we’ll do everything we can to help them.” SF Gate
Trump's Firing Of Racist Adviser Suggests He Is Now Taking The Presidential
Campaign More Seriously
Business Insider's senior politics correspondent, Hunter Walker, revealed that a senior adviser to GOP front-runner Donald Trump published many racist and otherwise offensive Facebook posts. Specifically, the adviser, Sam Nunberg, called President Barack Obama a "Socialist Marxist Islamo Fascist Nazi Appeaser" and "Farrakahn's Messiah." He referred to Al Sharpton's daughter as "N---!" And so on. Given Mr. Trump's history of controversial and offensive remarks, including those about Mexican immigrants, this discovery did not seem altogether surprising. What was surprising, at least to this Trump campaign observer, was the campaign's response to this revelation. SF Gate
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For Pacific Trade Deal Stumble
Trade negotiators from the United States and 11 other Pacific nations failed to reach final agreement on Friday, with difficult talks on the largest regional trade agreement ever deadlocking over protections for drug companies and access to agriculture markets on both sides of the Pacific. Trade ministers, in a joint statement, said late Friday they had made “significant progress” and will return to their home countries to obtain high-level signoffs for a small number of final sticking points on the agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with bilateral talks reconvening soon. “There are an enormous number of issues that one works through at these talks, narrowing differences, finding landing zones,” said Michael B. Froman, the United States trade representative. “I am very impressed with the work that has been done. I am gratified by the progress that has been made.” NY Times
PACs’ Spent Millions Before Candidates Announced, Filings Show
Acting as shadow campaigns, the political committees backing the major presidential candidates supported them with tens of millions of dollars in chartered planes, luxury hotel suites, opposition research, high-priced lawyers and more, spending reports showed Friday. Campaign disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission underscored just how far the candidates — particularly Jeb Bush — went in outsourcing many of their traditional campaign operations to “super PACs,” which face much looser regulation. The super PACs, which have dominated the fund-raising landscape so far in the 2016 campaign, reported that they had raised a total of at least $245 million so far this year, with individual donations of a million dollars or more to Mr. Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and others. NY Times
Technology Is Changing Georgia's $70 Billion Farming Industry
One-hundred-and-twenty-five miles southeast of Atlanta, Jimmy Brewer shows off silos in Laurens County holding 15,000 bushels each of sesame seed that he and other farmers hope become Georgia’s next big cash crop. Meanwhile, in Tifton, University of Georgia researchers are working to develop new varieties of lettuce and kale that could help the state’s farmers meet growing national demand for crops devastated by drought in California. While movies, cars and technology have benefited from much of the economic hoopla in recent years, farming remains Georgia’s oldest and biggest industry, with a $70 billion impact. State agricultural leaders say this year might be be the biggest yet. And they believe Georgia could be on the cusp of even greater growth, fueled by sweat and dirt and a willingness to experiment and change. Atlanta Journal
Tells Congress, Iran Deal May 'Neuter U.S. Ability' To Sanction Iran For
Its Support Of Terrorism
A provision in the Iran nuclear agreement that commits the U.S. to refrain from jeopardizing the “normalization of trade economic relations” with Tehran may impede future efforts to restrain and respond to the regime’s bad behavior, lawmakers were told Thursday. Iran sanctions expert Juan Zarate said in written testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the U.S., in making such a commitment, “appears to have bound itself to restrict the type of effective tools it will use to affect Iranian behavior” such as support for terrorism, propping up the Assad regime in Syria, and human rights abuses. CNS News
VOA VIEW: The Iran deal is bad all way around.
Louis Justice System Biased Against Black Children, U.S. Probe Finds
The family court system in St. Louis, Missouri, has racially discriminated against black juveniles, denying children their constitutional rights as they navigate court proceedings, a nearly two-year-long federal investigation has found. The U.S. Justice Department issued a scathing report Friday, saying the Family Court of St. Louis County has failed to ensure the youth have adequate legal representation, failed to make sure there is probable cause that the children committed offenses they were accused of, and failed to ensure that guilty pleas by black children are entered voluntarily. "The findings we issue today are serious and compelling," Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. Reuters
Not A Candidate? Super PAC's Spending Reveals Otherwise
The first report of Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s Super PAC, made public Friday, reveals for the first time, election lawyers say, just how much the group, Right to Rise, functioned as a kind of shadow campaign for Bush. The group shelled out $5.4 million from January through June for all the workaday line items, from travel to catering to political consulting, that have traditionally been paid for by candidates' campaign committees. The Super PAC's filing also reveals the gilded roster of Bush's top donors, a formidable collection of some of the world's most powerful and influential billionaires and GOP grandees, such as Coral Gables resident and private equity king Miguel Fernandez, who, with $3 million, was Bush's top donor. San Franciscans William Oberndorf and Helen Schwab each gave about $1.5 million and 20 other people gave at least $1 million apiece. Reuters
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Change Could Be Culprit With Legionnaires' Disease On The Rise
The number of reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease is on the rise in the United States and researchers say the increase could be partly a result of climate change.
More than three times as many cases of legionellosis, of which Legionnaires’ disease is one form, were reported in 2009 than 2000 — 3,522 up from 1,110, according to a 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York City, where an outbreak in Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx has killed two people and sickened 46 since July 10, has seen a similar rise. The incidence of cases increased 230 percent from 2002 to 2009, with the greatest number in high-poverty neighborhoods, according to an October study in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. MSNBC
A Setback For Obama, Negotiators Fail To Wrap Up Pacific Trade Pact
High-level talks to forge a 12-nation trade deal spanning the Pacific broke up Friday without resolving contentious disputes over Canadian dairy tariffs, the protection of cutting-edge drugs known as “biologics” and Japanese access to the North American automobile market. Negotiators said they would continue to seek agreement over the coming months, but the failure to wrap up the accord, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was a setback for President Obama, who hopes that the completion of a deal will be one of his signature achievements. Further talks could still produce an accord before the end of the year, but earlier, U.S. officials had been hopeful that the four days of negotiations, which took place this week in beachside hotels on the Hawaiian island of Maui, could produce a final agreement. Washington Post
In Sandra Bland Arrest Once Warned For Conduct
The Texas trooper who arrested Sandra Bland after a confrontation that began with a traffic stop was once cautioned about "unprofessional conduct" in a 2014 incident while he was still a probationary trooper, according to his personnel file. Bland, a 28-year-old Chicago-area woman, was found dead in her Waller County jail cell in Hempstead, about 200 miles south of Dallas, on July 13, three days after her arrest. Officials say she used a plastic bag to hang herself, a finding her family has questioned. Bland's family and others also have criticized Trooper Brian Encinia, who stopped Bland for failing to signal a lane change. The Associated Press obtained Encinia's personnel file Friday from the Texas Department of Public Safety through a Freedom of Information Act request. Encinia had been with the department for a little over a year. For the most part, his file was unremarkable. He received "competent" ratings in all of the evaluations that were released. Houston Chronicle
Heavily Redacts Latest Batch Of Hillary Clinton’s Emails
The Obama administration slapped a secret designation Friday on a number of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails from her time as secretary of state, raising more questions about whether her controversial email arrangement led to classified information being left unsecured. A new tranche of Clinton emails, released by the State Department under a court order to impose transparency on the Obama administration, contains dozens of documents with information redacted and labeled either “confidential” or “sensitive.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Hillary and Obama are coconspirators.
Sues Celebrity Chef For $10 Million Breach Of Contract After Immigration
Donald Trump sued Jose Andres‘ organization Friday for breach of contract after the celebrity chef canceled his plans to open a restaurant in a massive building the Trump group is renovating in Washington in the wake of the billionaire businessman’s immigration comments. Mr. Trump’s lawyers said Mr. Andres shouldn’t have been surprised by his statements, saying his “publicly shared views on immigration have remained consistent for many years, and Mr. Trump’s willingness to frankly share his opinions is widely known.” Washington Times
Are Staring At A Trillion-Dollar Pension Hole
While the Greek and Puerto Rican debt meltdowns command world attention, most American states are grappling with how to cover between $1 trillion to $4 trillion in unfunded pension and health care liabilities, according to experts. The range of the unfunded liability number can be explained by variables like the assumed rate of return on pension investments and variations in economic forecasts. Yet even at "just" a trillion, that's still a very big number. This month a report from the Pew Charitable Trust estimated that the nation's state-run pension systems face close to a trillion-dollar shortfall, with at least 27 states confronting at least a $10 billion gap. "If we add in the unfunded health care commitments for public workers, there's another $600 billion out there in unfunded liabilities," said Greg Mennis, with the Pew Charitable Trust. CBS
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We Really Have A Retirement Crisis?
"Have we got a crisis, or merely a series of hard problems?" This question was posed at a recent panel discussion at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) during a discussion of retirement readiness in the U.S. During the past few years, a number of analysts and research institutions have published reports describing a looming retirement crisis. One review of several studies showed that between 29 percent and 70 percent of the U.S. population can't count on a secure retirement, depending on how that's measured. Another review cited 26 percent to 82 percent of the population at risk, again depending on the measure used. CBS
Showdown Over Planned Parenthood Possible
Could a debate over Planned Parenthood funding shut down the government? According to conservative Republicans in Congress, the answer is yes. Many have been warning that they will hold up measures to fund the government past October if the legislation contains any taxpayer dollars for Planned Parenthood, which became the center of debate again after videos surfaced allegedly showing employees of the group discussing prices for fetal tissue and body parts. “We can not and will not support any funding resolution ... that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood, including mandatory funding streams,” wrote 18 Republican House members to House leadership Wednesday. This would present a major hurdle for Sene Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has repeatedly pledged that the government would not shut down under GOP congressional stewardship. ABC
Drug Pump Can Be Hacked Through Network
A pump used to infuse drugs at a patient’s bedside can be hacked through hospital networks, causing an over- or under-dose, U.S. regulators said. Health-care providers should stop use of the pumps, which were manufactured by Hospira Inc. and called Symbiq, the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement Friday. While Hospira has quit making the devices, they are still in use by hospitals, nursing homes and other health-care facilities to administer drugs intravenously, according to the agency. The FDA “strongly encourages health-care facilities to begin transitioning to alternative infusion systems as soon as possible,” the agency said. The FDA warned about similar vulnerabilities to other Hospira pumps in May. Bloomberg
Trump's Companies Have Sought Visas To Import At Least 1,100 Workers
Donald Trump is staking his run for U.S. president in part on a vow to protect American jobs. But this month, one of his companies, the elite Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Florida, applied to import 70 foreign workers to serve as cooks, wait staff and cleaners. A Reuters analysis of U.S. government data reveals that this is business as usual in the New York property magnate's empire. Trump owns companies that have sought to import at least 1,100 foreign workers on temporary visas since 2000, according to U.S. Department of Labor data reviewed by Reuters. Most of the applications were approved, the data show. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: Trump has been against illegal workers.
Data Scrubbed From E-Mails
While she was secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton sent and received e-mails through her private server containing sensitive U.S. and foreign government information on a range of issues - from an American detained in Myanmar and Iran's nuclear program to the Afghanistan war - that State Department reviewers have now classified. The correspondence, which dates to Clinton's first months in office in 2009, raises fresh questions about her handling of sensitive national security material as she seeks the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, providing new political ammunition for the Republican hopefuls she leads in the polls. Philadelphia Inquirer
Official Says Bin Ladens Killed In England Plane Crash
Family members of the late al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden were among four people killed in a private jet crash in southern England, a Saudi ambassador said, but did not further identify the dead. Prince Mohammed Bin Nawaf Bin Abdel-Aziz, the Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom, offered his condolences to the wealthy bin Laden family, which owns a major construction company in Saudi Arabia. "The embassy will follow up on the incident and its circumstances with the concerned British authorities and work on speeding up the handover of the bodies of the victims to the kingdom for prayer and burial," the ambassador said in a statement tweeted by the embassy late Friday. Tampa Tribune
Russian, US And Saudi Diplomats To Meet In Qatar
Russia's foreign minister has scheduled a trilateral meeting in Qatar with his U.S. and Saudi counterparts. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Sergey Lavrov will confer with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir during his two-day trip to Doha starting Sunday. Kerry earlier has said he plans to meet separately in Doha with Lavrov to discuss Syria, Iran and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The ministry said that during his visit to Qatar, Lavrov will discuss the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen, international efforts to combat the Islamic State group and Iran's role in regional affairs after last month's signing of Iran's nuclear deal. Despite Russia-U.S. tensions over Ukraine, President Barack Obama has thanked Moscow for helping reach the agreement. Tampa Tribune
League Town Hall Panelists Stress Listening To Youths, Holding One Another
The Friday evening town hall titled "Saving Our Sons and Daughters: All Lives Matter" was part of the 2015 Urban League National Conference at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. An eight-person panel stressed the importance of mentoring youths in minority communities, actively listening to them, ensuring they graduate from college and creating a community support system in which all members hold one another accountable. Sun Sentinel
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Drought Cook Fish Alive In Pacific Northwest
Freakishly hot, dry weather in the Pacific Northwest is killing millions of fish in the overheated waters of the region's rivers and streams. “We’ve lost about 1.5 million juvenile fish this year due to drought conditions at our hatcheries,” Ron Warren of Washington State's Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement. “This is unlike anything we’ve seen for some time." Sockeye salmon losses in the Columbia River due to the heat are in the hundreds of thousands, said Jeff Fryer, senior fishery scientist with the river's Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. The fish were returning from the ocean to spawn when the "unprecedented" warm water killed them, he said. USA Today
See Chance To Win Over Black Voters In 2016
Following President Obama’s reelection in 2012 — a win powered in part by historic black voter turnout — Republicans launched an aggressive outreach effort aimed at African American voters. Never again, they vowed, would they concede that sort of overwhelming demographic advantage to Democrats. Now, heading into an election without Obama at the top of the ticket, many Republicans say they are positioned to make inroads with black voters. That sense of opportunity was clear Friday when the party establishment’s favorite, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, addressed the annual meeting of the National Urban League in his home state. He spoke to the predominantly African American crowd about his record of helping blacks and his plans to do more. He touched on his removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds, his gubernatorial record on diversity and how his education reforms helped black students. Washington Post
Calls For Lifting Cuba Embargo, Says GOP Critics Have 'It Backwards'
Drawing a sharp distinction with her main Republican rivals in Florida, Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday called on the GOP-run Congress to end the trade embargo the U.S. has imposed on Cuba since 1962. The Democratic presidential favorite said an open economic relationship would do more to bring "dignity and democracy" to the island nation than continuing the hardline isolationism that lasted through five decades of Republican and Democratic administrations, including her husband's two terms. President Barack Obama has normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba and has called for Congress to lift the economic embargo, as well. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Hillary is a socialist - she will fit well with Castro.
Bush And Clinton At Same Event, Clinton Blasts Potential Rival
Hillary Clinton used her speech at the National Urban League in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Friday to accomplish two of her political goals: bashing her potential opponent next year, ex-Florida governor Jeb Bush, and connecting with the "Black Lives Matter" civil rights movement. With Bush and Clinton appearing at the same event for one of the first times during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Democratic front-runner repeatedly blasted Bush, even though she did not use his name. MSNBC
Trees Can Help Cognitive Skills
Physical activities such as climbing a tree, running barefoot and navigating obstacles, even for a few minutes a day, can improve cognitive abilities, researchers found in a new study. The aim of the study was to see the effect of proprioceptive activities, which involve the awareness of body positioning and orientation, on potential gains in working memory. "Improving working memory can have a beneficial effect on so many areas in our life, and it's exciting to see that proprioceptive activities can enhance it in such a short period of time," said Tracy Alloway, an associate professor at the University of North Florida, in a press release. UPI
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Jong Un Honored As 'Global Statesman' By Indonesia Center
Kim Jong Un has been recognized as a "global statesman" in Indonesia, an award previously given to Mahatma Gandhi and Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi. The award from the Bali-based Sukarno Center is usuallly given to world leaders working toward peace and development, Jakarta Globe reported. Under Kim, North Koreans continue to be arbitrarily detained, tortured and purged, according to Human Rights Watch. Kim Jong Un also has strengthened a rule of terror formed under grandfather Kim Il Sung's time, according to HRW deputy director Phil Robertson. UPI News
hasn't done enough to combat Jewish terrorism, Rivlin says
President Reuven Rivlin arrived at Tel Hashomer shortly after Netanyahu’s departure and declared as he had done earlier in the day that it was not enough to talk about the need to fight terror, but to actually do something about it. The government and the nation must declare that we will no longer tolerate terror, he said. As painful as the arson attack in Duma was, he said, it was also shameful. Early on Friday morning, Rivlin took the unusual step of issuing a statement in both Arabic and Hebrew in which he urged that terrorism not be allowed to triumph. Jerusalem Post
17, Killed By IDF Gunfire Near Gaza Border Fence
Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian teenager near the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, Palestinian medical officials said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said several suspects approached the fence at two different points and did not heed calls by soldiers to stop. She said one group threw stones at the security fence and that soldiers fired warning shots in the air before firing at the "suspects' lower extremities." Gaza hospital officials identified the teenager as Mohammed al-Masri, 17. Israel enforces a 300-meter-(1,000-foot)-deep, security no-go zone on the Gaza side of the fence. The frontier has been largely quiet since a 2014 war between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in which more than 2,100 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed. Jerusalem Post
Agrees Plan To Strengthen Iraqi Army
Nato members have agreed measures to strengthen Iraq's security forces, which have suffered near-collapse in the face of an Islamic State offensive. The alliance said the measures would focus on seven key areas including military training, cyber defence, and reforming the security sector. The training will take place in Turkey and Jordan, Nato said in a statement. Iraq has seen a surge in violence in the past year, with the highest monthly death toll in January for six years. Jens Stoltenberg, Nato Secretary General, said the assistance program had been developed at Iraq's request and in close consultation with Iraqi authorities. BBC
US 'Spied On Japan Government And Companies'
The US has been spying on Japanese cabinet officials, banks and companies, including the Mitsubishi conglomerate, whistleblowing website Wikileaks says. Documents released by Wikileaks list 35 telephone numbers targeted for interception by the US National Security Agency (NSA). The surveillance extends back at least eight years, Wikileaks said. Wikileaks has previously released files showing the US spied on Germany, France and Brazil - like Japan, all allies. There has been no comment from Japan on the latest claims. BBC
And Bush Take Competing Views On Race Inequality To Florida Conference
Presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush offered a rare preview of a potential 2016 general election matchup on Friday, taking their competing visions to tackle racial inequality before one of the oldest and largest civil rights organizations in the nation. Despite the longstanding connection between two of America’s most well-known political families, Clinton did not shy away from confronting her Republican opponent in his home state of Florida. Speaking before the National Urban League conference in Fort Lauderdale, Clinton used the platform to serve up one of her sharpest criticisms of Bush, who served as Florida governor from 1999 to 2007. Guardian
Bush Grabs Cash From Iran And Cuba Emigrés While Opposing Obama
Émigrés from Iran and Cuba are at the top of Jeb Bush’s record-breaking presidential fundraising haul, according to campaign finance disclosures that paint the former Florida governor’s opposition to Barack Obama’s twin foreign policy priorities in stark new light. Mike Fernandez, a Florida-based private equity billionaire who moved from Cuba in the 1960s, appears to be the largest single donor – giving just over $3m in three contributions to the Bush-supporting Right to Rise group since March. Hushang Ansary, Iran’s ambassador to the US before the revolution who is now based in Texas, is joint second on the list – contributing $2m together with his wife, Shahla Ansary. Guardian
UN Emergency Response Mission Winds Down As WHO Announces Possible ‘Game
Having achieved its “core objective” of scaling up global action to tackle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response will officially wind down today, transferring its role to the World Health Organization (WHO), which just announced that an experimental vaccine being tested in Guinea appears to be highly effective and could be a “game changer.” In WHO’s announcement and in results it published today in the medical journal, The Lancet, the UN health agency said the results from an interim analysis of trials in Guinea show that the VSV-EBOV vaccine is highly effective against Ebola, which has killed more than 11,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, as well as Guinea, in an epidemic that has proved devastating for the region. UN News
ISIL-Controlled Territory, 8 Million Civilians Living In ‘State Of Fear’
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has engaged in widespread and systematic human rights violations of the most serious kinds in Syria and Iraq, brutally forcing some 8 million people to “assimilate, flee or face death,” according to a United Nations expert. “These violations may amount to genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and widespread attacks on the civilian population,” according to Ben Emmerson, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. An estimated 8 million people live under ISIL territory in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic. UN News
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