Headline News

  • US-China civilian nuclear agreement passes congressional review

    WASHINGTON –  An agreement allowing American involvement in China’s civilian atomic industry is set to be renewed for 30 years despite some stiff criticism from lawmakers over the Asian nation’s record on nuclear proliferation. A 90-day congressional review period expired on Friday without legislative action or a joint resolution to block or alter the agreement. The State Department said Monday that the U.S. and China will decide “a suitable time in the near future” when the agreement will enter into force. The current 30-year agreement expires at the end of the year. The Obama administration had warned that ending U.S.-China nuclear cooperation would be devastating to the U.S. nuclear industry and would hurt bilateral relations and diminish American leverage on non-proliferation and nuclear safety. China has the world’s fastest-growing atomic industry. Four American-designed reactors worth $8 billion are under construction in China, and dozens more are planned or proposed that, industry advocates say, could support …

    August 3, 2015 4:13 pm


  • Special Report: State Department watered down human trafficking report

    WASHINGTON In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba. And in China, they found, things had grown worse. The State Department’s senior political staff saw it differently — and they prevailed. A Reuters examination, based on interviews with more than a dozen sources in Washington and foreign capitals, shows that the government office set up to independently grade global efforts to fight human trafficking was repeatedly overruled by senior American diplomats and pressured into inflating assessments of 14 strategically important countries in this year’s Trafficking in Persons report. In all, analysts in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons – or J/TIP, as it’s known within the U.S. government — disagreed with U.S. diplomatic bureaus on ratings for 17 countries, the sources said. …

    August 3, 2015 4:12 pm


  • Republican debates begin Monday without Donald Trump

    The proverbial elephant of the GOP primary season, Donald Trump, won’t be in the room on Monday night as most of his rivals answer questions at a Republican presidential forum in New Hampshire. Trump’s absence is the result of his annoyance with the sponsor and could make the New Hampshire event significantly different from the GOP debate being sponsored by Fox News later this week where Trump will be center stage. At a forum, candidates are questioned one at a time. At a debate, they can challenge each other. Joe McQuaid, the publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper that is co-sponsoring the forum, says Trump’s no-show is the result of a critical column in the paper. “His staff is saying that he was upset with an editorial that appeared in our paper… questioning his courage versus that of John McCain,” McQuaid told CNN. The editorial followed Trump’s controversial comments in July ridiculing McCain’s …

    August 3, 2015 2:53 pm


  • Brazilian universities to help with cleanup of city’s sewage-filled Olympic waters

    RIO DE JANEIRO –  Rio de Janeiro Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao has signed a deal with several Brazilian universities and research institutes to develop a plan for cleaning up the polluted waters of the city’s sewage-strewn Guanabara Bay, where Olympic sailing events will be held. Pezao on Monday hailed the deal as a “very important step” toward the long-promised cleanup, which has dragged on for more than 20 years with little progress. As part of Brazil’s Olympic project, authorities pledged to drastically cut the amount of raw human sewage in the bay before the 2016 games. But an Associated Press investigation published last week revealed high counts of disease-causing viruses directly linked to human sewage in Olympic waters. Seven universities, as well as several research institutes will develop the new cleanup plan.

    August 3, 2015 4:13 pm

World News

  • Ethiopia jails ‘terror’ Muslims

    Some Muslims in Ethiopia have staged demonstrations against the government A court in Ethiopia has sentenced 18 Muslims, including clerics and a journalist, to up to 22 years in prison under controversial anti-terrorism legislation. The 18 were convicted last month on charges including terrorism and conspiracy to create an Islamic state. They were arrested three years ago over protests against alleged government interference in religious affairs. Ethiopia’s government has often been accused of stifling dissent. It denies the allegation. BBC Africa Live: News updates Some rights groups criticised US President Barack Obama for visiting the country last month, warning that it could lend credibility to a government accused of jailing journalists and critics. Mr Obama called on the government to improve it record on human rights, while praising it as an “outstanding partner” in the fight against militant Islamists in neighbouring Somalia. Barack Obama was the first sitting US president to visit Ethiopia Ethiopia’s privately …

    August 3, 2015 4:13 pm


  • Sony unveils smartphones with 13-megapixel front camera for selfies

    Sony is trying to lure in selfie-takers with its Xperia M5 (left) and Xperia C5 Ultra (right). Sony Sony is trying to woo selfie-taking consumers with its latest two smartphones. Unveiled on Monday, the Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5 both include 13-megapixel cameras on the front and back. That’s a change of pace since typically smartphone makers reserve the better cameras for the rear since since people traditionally take pictures of what’s around them. But the selfie craze of taking pictures of yourself apparently convinced Sony to adopt a hefty camera on the front as well. Sony dubs the Xperia C5 Ultra a new “PROselfie” smartphone with its dual 13-megapixel cameras and a full-HD 6-inch display with a resolution of 1,920×1,080 pixels. Powered by a 1.7 gigahertz octa-core processor, the phone includes 2 gigabytes of RAM, 4G network connectivity, an aluminum frame and a battery that Sony says can run for two days on …

    August 3, 2015 12:32 pm


  • Light-emitting diode sole-source lighting effective in bedding plant seedling production

    Related images(click to enlarge) In northern latitudes, producers of bedding plants depend on supplemental lighting during the late winter and early spring growing seasons. Unfortunately, these peak times for young plant production are also the darkest. Researchers have determined that a minimum amount of photosynthetic light (daily light integral; DLI) is necessary to produce high-quality young plants in greenhouses. In northern latitudes, though, the average greenhouse photosynthetic DLI can fall far short of optimal levels, resulting in delayed production and poor quality plants. Roberto Lopez and Wesley Randall, researchers at the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue University, published a study in the May 2015 issue of HortScience in which they compared the quality of bedding plant seedlings grown under sole-source LEDs and supplemental lighting from LEDs and high-pressure sodium lamps. “Due to their small size, wavelength specificity, high light output, and relatively low heat output, LEDs have been used in environmental chambers …

    August 3, 2015 7:31 am


  • Planned Parenthood fight over fetal tissue research hits U.S. Congress

    WASHINGTON Planned Parenthood will be the focus of a partisan showdown in the U.S. Senate on Monday, as abortion foes press forward a political offensive against the women’s healthcare group over its role in fetal tissue research. Congressional Republicans are trying to cut off Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, reinvigorating America’s debate about abortion as the 2016 presidential campaign heats up. The Republican defunding push follows the recent release of hidden-camera videos by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, attacking Planned Parenthood for providing fetal tissue to researchers. Planned Parenthood has hundreds of family planning and reproductive health centers nationwide. It gets up to $500 million per year in Medicaid contributions, and up to $60 million in federal funds for family planning services. U.S. law tightly restricts applying federal funds to abortions. Millions of women, many young and single, rely on Planned Parenthood for healthcare beyond abortions and family planning, including breast and cervical …

    August 3, 2015 3:53 pm


  • Gwyneth Paltrow Says “Conscious Uncoupling” Term Was NOT Her Idea

    Posted on Mon Aug 3rd, 2015 12:04pm PDT       By X17 Staff Gwyneth Paltrow is trying to consciously uncouple from the term “Conscious Uncoupling” — and we ain’t buying it! So what does Gwyneth Paltrow think of the much mocked term “Conscious Uncoupling,” which she coined last year? In an interview with Fast Company, the often skewered star says she thinks the hubbub around the phrase (that she used to announce her split from Chris Martin in a blog post on her lifestyle site GOOP) is pretty great because, despite being endless mocked, it “touched a nerve.” What a Gwyneth Paltrow thing to say! That’s like saying — I like being made fun of because at least people are talking about me! But here’s our favorite part of the interview: Paltrow is also saying she isn’t the one who came up with the now notorious term! The Oscar winner claims that the the blog title was the …

    August 3, 2015 3:12 pm


  • Guardian of Israel? Schumer wrestles with legacy, too, as Iran deal decision looms

    Back in the 1982, the Jewish community of Philadelphia held an Israel Bonds fundraiser at a suburban country club.  After dinner, the master of ceremonies, a local doctor, rose and held up a small book. “I was rummaging through my attic the other day and found this,” he said.  “It’s the Philadelphia Jewish Community yearbook of 1916.  Al Stein, (OR SOME SUCH NAME), where are you?” A middle-aged fellow raised his hand. “Al, 1916, your grandfather, Max Stein, contributed two dollars and eleven cents to the community. Schumer knows perfectly well that the Iran deal poses a threat to the security of the State of Israel. A titter ran through the prosperous audience. “Harry Gottleib?  Where are you?” “Right here.” “Your grandfather Hymie donated ninety seven cents.” “He got off easy,” said Gottleib, eliciting a laugh. The doctor shook his head. “Just think back to how poor our parents and grandparents were. Immigrants with nothing.  …

    August 3, 2015 2:52 pm

Odd News

  • China investigating liquor suppliers for Viagra in alcohol

    BEIJING Chinese police are investigating if two distillers in the southwestern region of Guangxi added impotence treatment drug Viagra to their liquor in the latest food-safety scare in China. The Liuzhou Food and Drug Administration said that it found the Guikun Alcohol Plant and the Deshun Alcohol Plant in Guangxi’s Liuzhou city were putting Sildenafil, more commonly known as Viagra, into three of their baijiu products. Baijiu is a fiery grain liquor that commands high prices in China. Law enforcement officers have confiscated 5,357 bottles of the suspect products, 1,124 kg of raw alcohol and a batch of white powder labeled Sildenafil, in a case worth more than 700,000 yuan ($112,726), according to a statement posted by the Liuzhou Food and Drug Administration on its website on Saturday. The case has been transferred to the police, the statement said. The products were all marketed as having health-preserving qualities, it said. Food safety is a chronic …

    August 2, 2015 7:45 am