Trump's economic speech: CNN's Reality Check Team vets the claims

Reality Check: Trump on the Obama-Clinton Economy

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney


Donald Trump slammed President Obama and Hillary Clinton on Monday, saying their policies have hurt America economically.

"Home ownership is at its lowest rate in 51 years...58 percent of African-American youth are either outside the labor force or not employed...Meanwhile, American households are earning more than $4,000 less today than they were sixteen years ago," he said in Detroit.

Let's look at these one at a time:

On home ownership at its lowest level in half a century:

Some 62.9% of Americans owned a home in the second quarter of 2016, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. The rate hasn't been that low since the third quarter of 1965. The share of Americans owning homes peaked in the fourth quarter of 2004 at 69,2% and has declined since. We rate this claim as TRUE.

On 58% of young African-Americans being either outside the labor force or unemployed:

Trump has used this line before, often saying 58% of African-American youth have no job. The figure is likely extrapolated from the employment-population ratio, which shows that 42.7% of blacks ages 16 to 24 had a job in July. But that doesn't mean that the rest -- or 57.3% -- were unemployed. To be considered unemployed, one has to be looking for a job. Those in school or not looking for work are not included in the labor force. So Trump's statement is technically true, but it's misleading because many young Americans don't have jobs. Only 49% of all Americans age 16 to 24 are employed. We rate this claim TRUE, BUT MISLEADING.

Related: Are blacks worse off under Obama, like Trump says?

On American households earning $4,000 less today than 16 years ago:

Median household income was $53,657 in 2014, according to the latest Census figures available, which is about $4,000 lower than it was in 2000. But the Census data is out-of-date. Incomes have climbed since then, according to an analysis by Sentier Research. Median household income was $57,206 in June, compared to $ $57,826 in January 2000. We rate this claim as FALSE.

Reality Check: Trump says Hillary Clinton would tax the middle class

By Jeanne Sahadi, CNNMoney

Donald Trump asserted that Hillary Clinton is planning "another massive job-killing $1.3 trillion tax increase."

He went on to say that Clinton herself "accidentally told the truth and said she wanted to raise taxes on the middle class."

Trump's estimate for how much Clinton wants to raise taxes is just a little high -- independent analyses out it between $1.1 trillion and $1.2 trillion. Still, we rate this claim TRUE.

But those tax increases are largely targeted at the highest-income households. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center notes that "Nearly all of the tax increases would fall on the top 1 percent; the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers would see little or no change in their taxes."

For this reason, we rate Trump's claim on Clinton and the middle class as FALSE.

Reality Check: Trump on jobs

By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney

Donald Trump has repeatedly slammed President Obama and Hillary Clinton for hurting American workers.

He ticked off a litany of claims of how employment has suffered under the Obama administration.

"There are now 94.3 million Americans outside of the labor force. It was 80.5 million when President Obama took office. An increase of 14 million people...We have the lowest labor force participation rates in four decades," he said.

It's true that that in 2009 there were 80.5 million people who were not in the labor force -- meaning they did not have a job and haven't looked for one in the past four weeks -- and there are now 94.3 million. But that's not solely because of Obama's policies. While some working-age Americans have just given up looking for work, the aging of the country is also a powerful force. The number of Americans over age 65 grew by more than 11 million people over the same time period. So we rate the claim as TRUE, BUT MISLEADING.

On labor force participation, the rate was 63.4% in July. That's actually up a percentage point from September. And it's above the rate in July 1976, when it was 61.8%. The labor force participation rate, particularly among men, has been declining for decades. There are many reasons for this, including the aging of the country. Also, some people can't find positions that pay decently or don't have the education or skills to land employment. But since the participation rate was lower last year and it's above the level of four decades ago, we rate this claim as FALSE.

Reality check: Trump on Obama's energy legacy

By Matt Egan, CNNMoney

Donald Trump slammed President Obama's energy legacy as one that has been harmful to average Americans.

"The Obama-Clinton Administration has blocked and destroyed millions of jobs through their anti-energy regulations, while raising the price of electricity for both families and businesses," Trump said in a speech on Monday.

The U.S. has in fact lost many energy jobs the past few years. Since mid-2014, nearly 200,000 jobs have gone away as a result of cheap oil alone, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Yet these job cuts have largely been caused by low prices fueled by excess oil production, not regulation.

Coal jobs are also down and major coal producers like Peabody Energy have even filed for bankruptcy. While regulation has helped speed the decline of coal, experts argue that the abundance of cheap natural gas has been coal's biggest downfall.

We rate this claim on America losing energy jobs TRUE, BUT MISLEADING.

Trump also argues the Obama administration is "anti-energy." Obama did place some restrictions on fracking, though he has resisted calls from environmentalists to ban the controversial extraction method altogether.

The White House did place a temporary moratorium on Gulf of Mexico drilling after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. However, oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has rebounded.

Related: America's biggest oil boom came under Obama

And overall U.S. oil production is up dramatically under Obama, hitting a 43-year high in 2015. In fact, Obama has presided over the biggest increase in oil production in American history.

We rate this claim that Obama is "anti-energy" FALSE.

Reality Check: Trump on business tax rate

By Kate Grise, CNN

During a speech to the Detroit Economic Club on Monday, Donald Trump slammed America's business taxes saying, "The United States also has the highest business tax rate among the industrialized nations of 35 percent. It's almost 40 percent when you add in taxes at the state level."

It is true that American businesses face the highest official corporate tax rate. The federal rate stands at 35%, and the average state and local tax rate is about 6%, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

But that's not what many companies actually pay. The Government Accountability Office found that large, profitable U.S. corporations paid an average effective federal tax rate of 12.6% in 2010 thanks to things such as tax credits, exemptions and offshore tax havens. In each year from 2006 to 2012, at least two-thirds of all active corporations had no federal income liability, according to the GAO.

U.S. corporate tax collection totaled 2.6% of GDP in 2014, according to the OECD. That was the 16th highest rate among the 34 nations.

So when it comes to American corporations, we rate Trump's statement as TRUE, BUT MISLEADING. The United States has the highest official corporate tax rate, but that's not what many companies actually pay.

Reality Check: Trump on the average worker's tax burden

By Kate Grise, CNN

During a speech on his economic policies, Donald Trump decried America's high income taxes.

"The average worker today pays 31.5% of their wages to income and payroll taxes," he said. "On top of that, state and local taxes consume another 10%."

Trump cites a report from the Tax Foundation, a conservative think tank, which itself cites 2014 data from the OECD. That data includes a worker's income tax, his payroll tax contributions and the payroll tax contributions that his employer make on his behalf.

On a state and local level, the Tax Foundation says that U.S. average state-local tax burden in 2012 was 9.9% of the state's income.

Trump cited the information accurately. But the data itself may present a skewed picture.

For one, the Tax Foundation's average worker is assumed to be a single worker without children making $50,000. But that's much higher than the median wage for the average worker with no children, which was about $32,000 in 2014, according to Census Bureau data. And the more you make, the more you pay in taxes.

For workers making median wages, their tax burden is likely to be lower, said Len Burman, director of the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. For instance, he noted a family of four with $75,845 in earnings in 2014 paid an average tax rate of 20.64%, including the employer portion of payroll taxes.

As for state and local taxes, the 10% represents the share of all income paid in taxes, not of the average worker's income. Nor do the calculations account for the fact that workers may deduct state and local income taxes on their federal return, thereby lowering their overall tax burden.

For those reasons, we rate Trump's claim as FALSE.

Reality check: Trump on Obamacare and jobs

By Patrick Gillespie, CNNMoney

Donald Trump claims that, as president, he would repeal Obamacare, which would save 2 million American jobs.

"One of my first acts as President will be to repeal and replace disastrous Obamacare, saving another 2 million American jobs," Trump said.

In the speech transcript, Trump's staff links to a December 2015 report by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office that estimated the U.S. would lose 2 million workers by the year 2025 due to Obamacare.

he CBO report argues that workers may opt to work less to retain their eligibility for Medicaid or federal subsidies under Obamacare. Its estimate does not suggest employers will start axing jobs -- just that employees might start cutting back hours to stay under certain income thresholds to qualify for Medicaid and subsidies.

CNN Money found Americans who are already choosing to work less. However, some workers left full-time jobs that provided healthcare so that they could become entrepreneurs and start small businesses. They say Obamacare gives them the flexibility to choose a new career.

It's important to note the CBO's projections vary. For instance, in 2014, the CBO forecasted that Obamacare would reduce the labor force by 2.5 million workers by 2024. Last year that estimate was trimmed to 2 million workers by 2025. The CBO emphasizes that its estimates are "uncertain."

It's unclear if repealing Obamacare would "save" all the jobs since it would be workers choosing to drop out of the work force, not employers firing workers. Still, Trump's claim comes from the CBO report, not his own staff's calculations. We rate this claim on Obamacare reducing the workforce as TRUE, BUT MISLEADING.

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Officials turn themselves in following Duterte's name-and-shame list

(CNN)Almost 50 Filipino officials, including mayors and police officers, have surrendered in response to being called out by the country's president as being connected to illegal drug trade Sunday.

Following the name-and-shame speech by President Rodrigo Duterte, in which over 150 officials were called out by name for alleged links, 18 mayors and 31 police officials have turned themselves in, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Dionard Carlos told CNN.
Duterte had given those named 24 hours to surrender, a deadline which has now expired.
Carlos said more are expected to report in to the police later on Monday.
Duterte, who took office at the end of June, has been aggressively pursuing an anti-crime agenda -- with a special focus on ridding the country of illegal drugs.
CNN affiliate CNN Philippines named Lorna Mupas, a judge, and former mayor Rasmyiah Macabago as among those who have surrendered.

Flimsy basis?

Facing questions from reporters that there was not enough evidence against those accused, PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said it was true that the basis for holding them was flimsy.
"It is true (that there is not enough evidence against them). But what can I do? The president named them and they came to me and surrendered. I can't just turn them away... So now that they're here, we'll process them."
He said the list was the result of a "workshop" by intelligence committees including the PNP, military, and the Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
"(The list) is not based on rumors or gossip. It didn't come from people whispering to the president's ear, 'Sir, this person is a political opponent, this one didn't support you in the election, so include him... the president isn't that shallow."
Former mayor of Cebu City Mike Rama released a short statement on Facebook, protesting his innocence and pledging to help authorities with anti-drug investigations.
"The news that my name was mentioned by President Duterte is saddening," the statement read, calling the accusation "untrue."
"I will fully cooperate with the authorities to immediately clear my name... My unwavering support for President Duterte's campaign will continue."
The outlet also reported that two local mayors, Cipriano "Goto" Violago Jr. and Jed Patrick Mabilog, had made statements saying that they were unconnected with the drug trade and would help Duterte's officials with their investigations.
Mabilog ensured his constituents that he is "credible and clean," saying he wants to keep his honor and integrity intact.

Name and shame

On Sunday, Duterte named over 150 government officials who he says are complicit in the country's drug trade.
Among those named in the speech in the southern city of Davao -- once Duterte's mayoral stomping ground -- were government officials, members of the judiciary, congressmen and police officials.
While some are retired, many on his list were active officers, according to CNN affiliate CNN Philippines.
All active police officers named have been suspended, but the speech did not expand on the allegations Duterte was making against the officials on the list.

Due process?

Duterte insisted those accused Sunday have access to a fair trial, although the same protection has not been afforded to many victims of the country's month-long war on drugs.
"(The accusations) might be true, it might not be true ... They should have due process, presumption of innocence," he said.
Human rights groups have repeatedly criticized the Duterte administration's heavy-handed approach and say that the methods apparently sanctioned by the government have resulted in hundreds of extrajudicial killings.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer's "Kill List," regarded as one of the most accurate records of the killings of suspected drug dealers by police and vigilantes, recorded the deaths of 524 people suspected of drug crimes between June 30, the day Duterte assumed office, and August 4.

Death toll rising in Philippines' war on drugs 02:36
During his speech, Duterte said he knew several people on his list personally, but read them out regardless as duty "compelled him to disclose their names."
Before reading the list of names, he said the accused would be suspended, any firearm permits they held rescinded, and ordered them to surrender to the Philippines National Police (PNP).
"Once you hear your name mentioned here, you are now relieved of your present assignment. Report to the PNP within 24 hours or I will order the entire armed forces and the police to hunt for you," he said. The judges he named were ordered to report to the Supreme Court.

Drug war fallout

On Tuesday, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. surrendered after being accused of links to the illegal drug trade. "(PNP Chief) General Dela Rosa would kill me if I didn't turn myself in", he said at a news conference, CNN Philippines reports.
Espinosa's lawyer, Romeu Sterotoulas, told CNN Philippines that his client has nothing to do with illegal drug operations in his town.
The so-called "Duterte effect" has seen a massive spike in extrajudicial killings of those suspected of involvement in the drug trade.
Duterte and Philippines prosecutors maintain that the shoot-to-kill policies are legal and that many of the suspects died in shootouts with police.
In his speech, Duterte said there were as many as 600,000 people connected to the drug trade in the country, including both dealers and users, and blamed the high number on the complicity of "government personnel" who are "into the (illegal drug trade)."


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Nigeria clamps down on money transfers to the country

(CNN)The Central Bank of Nigeria has suddenly changed its policy toward money transfer operators, effectively blocking many services used by Nigerians to send money to and from the country.

The decision to revoke the licenses of all but three money transfer companies was backed by a warning, issued on Tuesday, that advises Nigerians at home and abroad to "beware of the unwholesome activities of some unlicensed International Money Transfer Operators."
Citing "the greater economic good of Nigeria," the Central Bank stated that it will "not condone any attempt aimed at undermining the country's foreign exchange regime."

'Draconian' rules

The sudden move has created immediate backlash because it affects a large volume of money. Remittances to Nigeria totaled about $20.8 billion in 2015, according to data from Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development.
WorldRemit is an online money transfer service that launched in Nigeria 2011 and one of the companies affected by the edict. It released a statement calling the new rules "draconian" and noted that the new policy would leave only three companies able to function: Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria. Those companies have physical operations on the ground in Nigeria.
"This move is arbitrary, inexplicable and hugely detrimental to the Nigerian diaspora, who rely on hundreds of money transfer companies and banks, providing them with choice, convenience and competitive pricing," said WorldRemit founder and CEO Ismail Ahmed.

No explanation

Ahmed said while Western Union used to control 78% of the transfers to Nigeria, now it controls less than 20%.
Ahmed, whose company says it sends 40,000 money transfers to Nigeria each month, also laments the lack of clarity surrounding the change.
"This is the first time in my 20 years of experience that a regulator is saying if you want to send money to Nigeria, you have to physically come to Nigeria and set up a company," Ahmed said. "On Monday evening, Nigeria simply shut down transfers. The banks told us they couldn't process our transfers. The country was one of the most competitive markets until Monday."
He added, "This is extreme. It's going to be quite explosive among the Nigerian diaspora."
CNN has contacted the Central Bank but has not received a reply.
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Boko Haram's new leader promises to protect Muslims

Boko Haram's new leader promises to protect Muslims

Another girl taken by Boko Haram reappears





Another girl taken by Boko Haram reappears 03:18

(CNN)Boko Haram reportedly has a new leader who has assured an ISIS interviewer the group would not be targeting Muslims.

ISIS' magazine al-Naba announced that Sheikh Abu Musab al-Barnawi is the new leader of Boko Haram, an ISIS affiliate in Nigeria, in an interview with him in its recent issue.
Barnawi didn't promise to quit enslaving girls, nor to quit ambushing relief columns bringing food to 244,000 starving children, nor to quit slaughtering people who will not convert to Islam or fight for Boko Haram, nor to quit using children as bombs.
But in an interview with Naba, he did deny responsibility for attacks on Muslims, saying they were perpetrated by people with other agendas.
"We do not target prayer places or markets for people who belong to Islam," he told Naba.
The group was blamed -- although it did not take credit -- for twin market bombings in the cities of Kano and Yola last November, using children as young as 11 as suicide bombers.
Boko Haram does not consider all Muslims supporters and allies.
There have been suggestions it attacks certain mosques because members have spoken against it and helped federal officials with their crackdown. Its attacks are aimed at striking fear at the heart of the local population to prevent cooperation with the government, analysts say.
It has bombed schools, churches and mosques, kidnapped women and children, and assassinated politicians and religious leaders.
The militant group said its aim is to impose a stricter enforcement of Sharia law across Africa's most populous nation, which is split between a majority Muslim north and a mostly Christian south.
In recent years, Boko Haram attacks have intensified in an apparent show of defiance amid the nation's military onslaught. Its ambitions appear to have expanded to the destruction of the Nigerian government.
Nine months ago, CNN reported that Boko Haram had surpassed its affiliate ISIS in killing, at least in the previous year. In 2014, Boko Haram was responsible for 6,644 deaths, an increase of 317% from the previous year, according to the Global Terrorism Index.
By contrast, ISIS, the terror group to which Boko Haram reportedly pledged allegiance in March 2015, was responsible for 6,073 deaths.
The Barnawi interview left unanswered the fate of Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram's previous leader, who took over in 2009. His insurgency killed an estimated 20,000 people and drove 2.7 million people from homes in Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, according to Amnesty International.
Questions have swirled about Shekau, including whether he's dead. Even his age is unknown; estimates range between 35 and 44.
In recent years, the Nigerian military has touted his death, only to retract its claim after he appeared alive and vibrant in propaganda videos.
He uses the alias Darul Tawheed, and analysts describe him as a ruthless loner and master of disguise. He does not speak directly with members, opting to communicate through a few select confidants.
The United States has put a $7 million bounty on Shekau.
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Heel spurs and stammers: What kept people from military service?

(CNN)On the heels of Donald Trump facing scrutiny over his multiple US military deferments during the Vietnam War, many Americans are questioning what exactly qualifies as a draft exemption -- especially from a medical perspective.

The New York Times reported Monday that the Republican presidential nominee dodged the draft due to four student deferments and a medical deferment after he was diagnosed with heel spurs, calcium deposits that cause bony protrusions on the bottom of the heel.
Classification records shared with CNN by the federal government's Selective Service System confirm that Trump received a student deferment and was later found "disqualified for military service" in 1968 after he underwent a physical exam.

No 'habitual drunkenness' or 'masturbation' allowed

Regulations determining which diseases and ailments disqualify a registered man from being drafted for military service can be traced to the Civil War, according to a digital copy of an 1863 regulation manual in the National Library of Medicine that spans 100 pages.
Consider just a few of the many medical conditions that could have disqualified someone from military service, if found to be severe or detrimental, in 1863:
  • Insanity or mania
  • Scrofula or constitutional syphilis
  • Cancer
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Acne rosacea
  • Masturbation may result in rejection or discharge of service
  • Minimum stature of 5-foot-3, and possibly maximum height of 6-foot-3
  • A greater weight than 220 pounds, unless accompanied by corresponding height and muscular sufficiency
  • Deafness
  • Hernia and stomach ulcers
  • Contagious skin diseases
  • Club feet, splay feet, flat feet
However, "a national bureaucracy for managing conscription did not emerge until after the passage of the Selective Service Act of 1917 -- although even this relied on the contributions of approximately 4,000 local draft boards, which retained the prerogative of granting exemptions," said John Hall, professor of military history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"In 1940, as European and Asian war clouds darkened America's skies, the United States implemented 'peacetime' conscription for the first time -- but the world was already at war," he said. "The real break from American tradition came in 1948 when the United States for the first time employed the draft as a routine element of defense manpower policy, whether or not the United States was at war."
Around that same time, physical and mental standards for Selective Service registrants were developed.
In 1942, the list of medical conditions that could have disqualified someone from military service, if found to be severe or detrimental, looked a little different. Among dozens of other conditions, it included:
  • Brain tumors
  • Epilepsy
  • Sexual perversions
  • Stammering to such a degree that the registrant is unable to express himself clearly or repeat commands
  • Psychopathic personalities
  • Chronic alcoholism and drug addiction
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cerebrospinal syphilis
"When Richard Nixon took office in 1969, he realized that the draft was undermining rather than sustaining the war effort in Vietnam, so he initiated a transition to an exclusive reliance on volunteers, which culminated in 1973," Hall said. "Partly because of the scarring experience of Vietnam, the United States is very unlikely to resort ever again to the draft."

Modern standards of health

Currently, each branch of the military -- from the Navy to the Air Force -- has its own medical or fitness assessment for applicants.
"They do have guidelines on what is disqualifying and what is qualifying and, in some cases, what can be waived and what cannot be waived," said Jim Dower, who formerly worked in both Selective Service and the military. He retired in 1994 and now resides in Sarasota, Florida.
"You're psychologically screened, you're physically screened in the normal things you would take a physical for, and your history is taken," Dower said. "If there's any questions, they go out and get consultations for whatever is required."
For instance, the standards of medical fitness for the United States Army were last updated in 2011 (PDF), when the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was repealed.
By then, some of the dozens of medical conditions that could disqualify someone from serving in the US Army, if found to be severe or detrimental, included:
  • Cleft lip defects
  • Stomach ulcers and stomach bleeding
  • Heel spur syndrome and hammertoe result in referral to a medical evaluation board
  • Current or history of coronary heart disease
  • Current absence of one or both testicles
  • Plantar flexion of the foot must meet 30 degrees
  • Women below 58 inches or over 80 inches tall do not meet standards
  • Men below 60 inches or over 80 inches tall do not meet standards
"Although there has not been a draft in over 40 years, men 18 [years old] are still required to register with the Selective Service System. It's a law and civic duty," said Matthew Tittmann, a spokesman for the agency.
"At 26, they become too old to register, but failure to register can carry lifelong consequences, and non-registrants risk being disqualified from access to federal college loans and grants, job training programs, all federal jobs and many state and municipal jobs," he added. "All documented and undocumented immigrants must register, as well. Otherwise they risk losing the aforementioned benefits and could delay their citizenship process."
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8 Foods You Should Never Give Your Kids

8 Foods You Should Never Give Your Kids

Every parent knows that getting kids to eat healthy wholesome foods is an uphill struggle.

Adults understand that healthy, satisfying meals usually comprise of ingredients like plain grilled chicken, fish, salads, vegetables, and fresh fruit for dessert. Kids, when confronted with these foods, find them boring, bland, unappealing, or simply disgusting!

Food battles with kids are terribly frustrating, but it’s important to keep issues like fussy eating and the avoidance of fruit and vegetables in balance. Encouraging healthy eating behavior is essential. In later life your kids will be grateful for your persistent focus on good nutrition.

Many foods seem nourishing and delicious. In reality, they actually have very little nutritional value and contain large quantities of hidden fats and sugars.

But, how can you know for certain which foods to avoid?

To help you to decide, we’ve listed eight of the worst foods that you can feed your children for breakfast, lunches, dinners or snacks.

1. Kids’ Breakfast Cereal

Kids’ eating Cereal

Many breakfast cereals specifically target the kids market. Images on the boxes are colorful and exciting, and the blurb has buzzwords, like delicious, healthy and nutritious.
The amount of sugar and processed ingredients per serving completely outweighs the miniscule amount of nutritional value. Search for brands that contain at least 3-grams of fiber per serving and less than 10 grams of sugar. The best morning cereal is whole grain oatmeal; it’s high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and you can always sprinkle on some berries or mix it with yogurt.

2. Granola Bars

Granola Bars

Granola bars marketed to kids lack nutritional value even more than the adult brands. They’re full of sugar and added ingredients like chocolate chips, marshmallows, candy, high fructose syrup, and artificial dyes, Make your own energy bars at home with natural ingredients like almond or peanut butter, raisins, coconut, whole grain cereal, honey, and dried fruit and nuts.

3. Luncheon Meats

Luncheon Meats

Processed meats can be both dangerous and toxic as they frequently contain nitrates. These are preservatives used in food processing that drastically increase the risk of heart disease and cancer. Check out the label to see if the meat contain nitrates; search for products that that are labeled as organic or not containing preservatives.

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4. Snack Cakes

Snack Cakes

Kids love snack cakes like Ho-Hos, Twinkies, or Wagon Wheels. But these snack cakes are full of trans fats, the most unhealthy processed fat possible. For something sweet, try using some mixed berries and grapes, or bake cookies or squares using natural ingredients.

5. French Fries

French Fries

There’s no way to keep French Fries totally out of your kid’s weekly menu.
The problem is giving French Fries at every meal. French fries provide almost no nutritional value—they’re super high in fat and sodium. If you decide you have no choice, restrict them to a few meals per week. Substitute oven-baked chips, or make baked potato wedges instead.

6. Pizza


After a stressful day, the easy option is to order pizza. But shop-bought pizzas are not like you bake in your oven at home. Don’t phone! Just put together a homemade pie with natural, low-fat cheese, shredded chicken, and tons of vegetables..

7. Crackers


Most crackers are made from processed, white flour, preservatives, and unhealthy oils. Exchange them for a brand made with fibrous whole grains. Anyway, they satisfy hunger for longer,

8. Fruit Snacks


Most fruit snacks are actually like candy. Just give real fruit and fiber to your kids in the form of dried whole fruit, like raisins or apricots, or fresh grapes, berries, and sliced apples and pears.

If you follow our suggestions you can be sure your kids will feel all the better for it. You just might have to wait for them to grow up before they tell you!

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Rio 2016 Day 7: Ledecky crushes rivals; Phelps ties for silver

(CNN)As much as the swimming portion of the Olympics has been about saying goodbye to the legendary Michael Phelps, it has also been about introducing Katie Ledecky to non-swimming fans.

The 19-year-old American is building a legend of her own, capping her Rio Olympics with a stunning win in the women's 800-meter freestyle Friday night. Stunning not for the fact that she won, but in how she did it.
Toward the end of the eight-lap race the television cameras had to pull back so viewers could see Ledecky's competitors. Ledecky broke her own world record with a time of 8:04.79 and finished a staggering 11 seconds ahead of second place finisher, Jazmin Carlin from Great Britain.
"I hit all my goals right on the nose this week, and I couldn't be happier with how this week has gone," she said, according to the Washington Post.
Ledecky has five gold medals, having added a quartet this year in addition to a gold in London in the 800 free. And if the IOC let women swim the 1,500 meters like the men do, she'd have one more gold.
She'll leave Rio having set two world records.
One more impressive fact about Ledecky -- she is 14 for 14 in individual events at major international competitions.

Phelps final individual race

It just seemed weird. There was Michael Phelps trailing in his last individual race in the Olympics.
It became apparent with about 25 meters to go he wasn't going to win. Whether he would medal was in doubt. And he almost didn't.
One day after two swimmers tied for gold, three swimmers, including Phelps, tied for silver. One more hundredth of a second and any of them would have been fourth.
Joseph Schooling won the race, earning the first ever gold for Singapore.
Phelps won the 27th medal of his Olympics career, touching with the same time as South Africa's Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary.
He has one more race left, a relay leg on Saturday.
The other two medal races Friday were won by Americans. Anthony Ervin became the oldest Olympic swimming champion with gold in the men's 50-meter freestyle and Maya Dirado earned her first gold of the Rio Games in the women's 200-meter breaststroke.
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NFL Preseason Week 1: Takeaways from Friday's Action

Football is finally here.

Well, sort of.

It's the first week of the preseason, which means a few things. The starters who do play will be on the field for a brief time. Many of the men who play significant snaps are rookies donning an NFL uniform for the first time, so jitters and mistakes are common.

It might not be good football, but it's football nonetheless.

And most importantly, fans across America will pack stadiums and gather around the TV anyway.

Preseason football might not be the truest barometer of regular-season success. But whether it's injured stars making their return, big-name rookies making their NFL debut or a former No. 2 overall pick trying to start over, there's plenty going on—even in games that don't count.

And here are the biggest happenings from Friday night.

Friday's first game featured the Detroit Lions against what's left of the Pittsburgh Steelers—if none of their offensive stars bother to take the field. But just because the Steelers chose to hold back doesn't mean the Lions didn't want to prove a few things.

Offensively, the first performance by the team's passing game sans Calvin Johnson was a mixed bag. They had some success moving the ball, only to turn it over when quarterback Matthew Stafford was strip-sacked by the ageless James Harrison.

Defensively, however, it was a young pass-rusher for Detroit who stood out in the early going.

After posting seven sacks in part-time duty last year, third-year defensive end Devin Taylor will start opposite Ezekiel Ansah in 2016. Taylor recently told Tim Twentyman of the team's website that he had a goal in mind when he took the field for the first time this season.

“For me, just to really perfect when I get into game scenario situations to be successful,” Taylor said.

Well, he didn't waste any time. Taylor had two tackles in the first quarter, including a sack of Landry Jones on the first play of Pittsburgh's second series.

If the Pittsburgh Steelers had a glaring weakness last year, it was a pass defense that ranked 30th in the NFL.

The Steelers spent two of their first three picks in the 2016 draft on the secondary. One of the team's biggest priorities in camp and the preseason is sorting out both who will start at cornerback opposite veteran William Gay and who will be the team's nickelback.

Earlier this week, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote the Steelers were looking at ways to get second-year pro Doran Grant on the field:

You have heard me say a number of times that I liked Doran Grant as a boundary corner who is more fitted to zone coverage. I have been told the Steelers will take a look at him at safety very soon here in camp. Either way, I'm not saying he will be a starter but I think he has a chance to be a solid backup.

Grant made the most of his playing time Friday against the Lions. In addition to the seven tackles he tallied (which led the team), he also snagged a Dan Orlovsky duck from the air and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown in a 30-17 loss.

Friday's matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals featured two playoff teams from last year and two of the NFL's better defenses.

The Bengals looked to be in midseason form, at least up front.

On the Vikings' first offensive series, Teddy Bridgewater took a pair of shots. First he was sacked by defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who reached the quarterback 11 times last year. Then as he released the ball, Bridgewater was whacked by Carlos Dunlap (13.5 sacks in 2015).

It was also no doubt a welcome sign for the Bengals that Atkins split his sack with veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby, who will be counted on to anchor the LB corps while Vontaze Burfict serves a three-game suspension to start the year.

One of the biggest questions facing the Vikings in 2016 is an offensive line that Football Outsiders ranked 29th in the NFL in pass protection last year.

Bridgewater pulling dirt out of his earhole isn't the answer the Vikings were looking for.

Friday's matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals featured two playoff teams from last year and two of the NFL's better defenses.

The Bengals looked to be in midseason form, at least up front.

On the Vikings' first offensive series, Teddy Bridgewater took a pair of shots. First he was sacked by defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who reached the quarterback 11 times last year. Then as he released the ball, Bridgewater was whacked by Carlos Dunlap (13.5 sacks in 2015).

It was also no doubt a welcome sign for the Bengals that Atkins split his sack with veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby, who will be counted on to anchor the LB corps while Vontaze Burfict serves a three-game suspension to start the year.

One of the biggest questions facing the Vikings in 2016 is an offensive line that Football Outsiders ranked 29th in the NFL in pass protection last year.

Bridgewater pulling dirt out of his earhole isn't the answer the Vikings were looking for.

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6 die in Virginia plane crash

(CNN)Six people died Friday when a small private aircraft crashed at Shannon Airport in Fredericksburg, Virginia, according to state police.

The plane was attempting to land, but pulled back up at the end of the runway.
"It attempted to abort the landing and take off again," Sgt. F.L. Tyler of the Virginia State Police told reporters. "It then went off the south end of the runway and then landed in the tree line."
When the plane struck the trees, it immediately caught fire, officials said.
Rescue workers recovered all six bodies from the burned wreckage.
The identities of the victims have not been released, but police said they were all from out of state.
The cause of the crash is under investigation. Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and five rescue and fire crews were on the scene.
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Aleppo's angel: A nurse's devotion to Syria's children

(CNN)Malaika, a 29-year-old head nurse, holds Ali, a 2-day-old infant, as he struggles to take his final breaths. Born in eastern Aleppo, one of the hardest-hit cities in Syria's five-year civil war, Ali was born with chest issues that forced him to rely on an oxygen pump and an incubator in the neonatal unit at Aleppo Children's Hospital.

At 1:20 p.m.on July 23, a government airstrike scored a direct hit to the hospital. Dust and debris filled the room where 11 babies lay in incubators.
Several hours later, early July 24, a second airstrike hit. Staff members scrambled to save the infants and rushed them to a safer location in the basement, but Ali -- already weak -- lost his oxygen supply. Malaika and a doctor tried to perform manual CPR on Ali's fragile body but knew there was nothing they could do. Malaika held him as he died, struggling to breathe.

'It was intentional. It was a war crime.'

Three more babies died from dust inhalation during the attacks. "I was crying. It was very painful," Malaika said through an interpreter.
"It was intentional. It was a war crime."
Malaika no longer has a home to return to at the end of the day.
These were just two horrific days in a life now full of them. Malaika no longer goes home at the end of her workday. Her house was destroyed in one of countless airstrikes, so she sleeps at the hospital. Her entire extended family has fled to Turkey, and she is the only one left.
Her husband divorced her and took their two daughters to Marea, a town north of Aleppo that is inaccessible to those still in the city. He's a supporter of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. He was angry that, as a nurse, she treated an injured rebel fighter.
Malaika is one of only a handful of health care workers still in the besieged city of Aleppo. The eastern part of the city was taken over by rebel groups in 2012.
Only 35 doctors are left to care for the 300,000 residents who remain.

Doctors on the brink

This week, 15 of the country's doctors sent a letter to the White House, pleading for help: "We do not need tears or sympathy or even prayers, we need your action. Prove that you are the friend of Syrians.
"Last month, there were 42 attacks on medical facilities in Syria, 15 of which were hospitals in which we work," they added. "Right now there is an attack on a medical facility every 17 hours. At this rate, our medical services in Aleppo could be completely destroyed in a month, leaving 300,000 people to die."
A senior White House official acknowledged receipt of the letter.
"The US has repeatedly condemned indiscriminate bombing of medical facilities by the Assad regime in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria," the official said.
"These attacks are appalling and must cease," the official continued. "We commend the bravery of medical professionals across Syria who are working every day in perilous circumstances with minimal supplies to save lives."
The official said the US government is working with the United Nations and engaging with Russia to find a diplomatic approach to reducing the violence and allowing humanitarian assistance into the city.

Some reprieve

Saturday, rebels finally broke through Aleppo's siege, beating back regime forces on the ground and breaking through the main blockade.
Rebels broke through a key government line in Aleppo
Malaika joined dozens of people who flooded the streets to celebrate. Then came another airstrike. She was hit by shrapnel as surrounding structures exploded and was taken to the hospital with two others, one of whom was a 6-year-old girl.
Ten people were injured, and two more were killed.
Malaika underwent an operation to remove the shrapnel and returned to work at Aleppo Children's Hospital the next day. The operation was unsuccessful, so two days later, she tried it again. All the while, she continued to work.
Malaika refuses to leave Aleppo despite the constant danger. "The children. I love those children. It's impossible," she said. "I love my country, and I love the children very much."
In Arabic, "Malaika" means "angel."
"I know there is a lot of danger," she said. "And we want to die here. I love my country, and I'm not leaving."
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First Aid for Epilepsy Caregivers

If your loved one suffers from epilepsy, you know how helpless you can feel watching him or her experience a seizure. Or perhaps you haven’t been present for one, but are nervous about how you might handle it. No matter how many seizures you may have witnessed, they can be unpredictable. It’s hard to tell how long they will last or what might happen. But knowing how to respond safely and when to get help is the best way to prepare.

Protect, Care and Comfort

Some people remain fully aware and alert during a seizure; others may seem alert, but really aren’t aware of what’s going on. The main goal during any seizure is to protect the person from harm until his full awareness returns.

For most seizures, these basic first aid steps will help you protect and care for your loved one during the episode, and keep him comfortable once it’s over.

  • Remain calm. Most seizures only last a few seconds or minutes and can be handled with basic care and comfort. Speak calmly and reassure the person that she is safe and you are there to help. If you remain calm, so will others around you.

  • Stay with your loved one. Though most seizures are brief, some may last longer. Seizures can also start with minor symptoms but lead to a loss of consciousness, which could result in a fall. Always stay with the epileptic until you are sure the seizure is over or until a medical professional arrives. Make sure the person is fully aware of what is going on before leaving him alone.

  • Check your watch. It’s important to time the seizure so you know how long it lasts. If it goes on for more than five minutes, call for emergency help.

  • Clear the area. Sometimes someone may walk around during a seizure but won’t be in control of what they are doing or where they are going. Be sure to remove any sharp objects or other dangerous obstacles, and don’t let the person wander away.

  • Ease her onto the floor. If you can, try to get her into a comfortable reclining position on the floor or on a flat surface to prevent any falls.

  • Place something soft and flat under her head. And make sure there is nothing tight around her neck that could interfere with breathing.

  • Turn him to one side. Gently position him on one side to keep his airway clear to prevent choking. If he’s seated, try to turn his head to one side so any fluids can drain away from his mouth.

  • Don’t put anything into his mouth. Don't try to open the person’s mouth or give him any fluids or medicine until the seizure is completely over and he is fully alert again. And rest assured, contrary to popular belief, seizures do not cause people to swallow their tongues.

  • Don’t restrain him. It’s important to protect a person from injury during a seizure, but you also don’t want to hold him down or stop any jerking movements. Muscles contract with force during seizures, and restraining him could cause tears in his muscles or even break a bone. As the jerking begins to slow, make sure he’s breathing normally.

  • Comfort. Some people are confused or cranky after a seizure while others may be exhausted. Reassure your loved one with kind, comforting words, and encourage her to take slow, deep breaths or do something relaxing.

When to Get Help

Most seizures end without incident or the need for any medical treatment. But in rare cases, you may need to get emergency help. Be sure to call 911 if any of the following occur:

  • It’s the person’s first seizure.

  • The seizure goes on longer than five minutes.

  • Another seizure starts right after the first one.

  • He has trouble breathing or is choking.

  • He seems hurt or in pain during or after the seizure.

  • The seizure occurs in water.

  • He asks for medical help.

  • He seems confused more than an hour after the seizure or isn’t returning to her normal self.

Seizures can be frightening, but with a little preparation, you can feel confident in your abilities to keep your loved one safe.

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'Ocean's Eight' will have all-female lead cast with Anne Hathaway and Rihanna

Another grand caper is underway, but this time with an all-female crew of thieves.

Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter and rapper Awkwafina are close to deals to join Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett for the Warner Bros. heist film "Ocean's Eight," according to sources close to the production.

The casting of the spinoff, which was first reported by Deadline, follows the studios' successful "Ocean's Eleven" franchise. This time the crew will be all women.

Casting is still going on, and there's been no word on who will fill the role of the eighth member. The film has been under development for some time.

The franchise -- three films so far -- starred George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, followed bank robbers who pulled off extravagant heists in Las Vegas and Europe. The series has made more than $1.1 billion worldwide at the box office.

The latest iteration of the series will be directed by Gary Ross, "The Hunger Games" director. It will be produced by the franchise's original director, Steven Soderbergh, and the script will be written by Ross and Olivia Milch.

The cast features some of the most famous actresses in Hollywood -- and some of the most award winning. Bullock, Blanchett, and Hathaway have all won Academy Awards, while Carter has been nominated twice.

The inclusion of Rihanna is also notable. The singer had roles like 2012's "Battleship" and "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets," which is due out next year.

"Ocean's Eight" is a spinoff of 2001's "Ocean's Eleven," which is itself a reboot/remake of the 1960 film of the same name that starred Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

The film is set to begin production in October in New York. No release date has been announced.


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You won a gold medal. Now here's your tax bill

Michael Phelps may be untouchable in the water, but even he can't out-swim the Tax Man.

America's Olympic medalists must pay state and federal taxes on the prize money they get for winning. The U.S. Olympic Committee awards $25,000 for gold medals, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.


That's not all. Olympians also have to pay tax on the value of the medals themselves.

Gold and silver medals are made mostly of silver, while bronze medals are composed of mostly copper. Rio's medals are among the largest and heaviest ever and contain about 500 grams of either silver or copper.

The value of a gold medal is about $564; silver is worth about $305. Bronze is worth a negligible amount so it's not taxed.

Related: How Michael Phelps changed the business of swimming

Taxes are yet another burden for Olympians -- the majority of whom are already struggling to get by.

The U.S. is one of the only countries that doesn't provide government funding to its Olympians.

A handful of lucky athletes land lucrative endorsement deals. But most of them rely on small stipends from the USOC, support from local businesses or supplemental income from a day job.

lympic medal winners may catch a break though.

Proposed federal legislation would make "the value of any medal or prize money" awarded during the Olympics or Paralympics exempt from income taxes.

The bill was passed by the Senate last month and is being considered by the House. It would apply to earnings from January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2021.

California is reviewing a similar proposal.

Dr. Steven Gill, a tax professor at San Diego State University, isn't convinced an exception for Olympians and Paralympians would change anything.

For one thing, the USOC might be tempted to reduce Olympians' prize money, Gill said.

He added that even tax free, American athletes get a fraction of the financial support that athletes in other countries get.

"When I think about why these prizes exist, it's to compete with state-supported athletes from other countries," he said. "Cutting taxes isn't going to fix the fact that these athletes don't get paid enough -- it's a short-term fix."

Gill also noted that other individuals who win prestigious awards are taxed on their winnings. Such is the case with Nobel prize winners although they receive more prize money -- around $1 million.

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Milwaukee reeling after deadly police shooting

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (CNN)A deadly shooting of an armed man by Milwaukee police has stirred anger, fear and disbelief as authorities restore calm in the city after a night of violent protest.

Protesters burned several stores and threw rocks at police Saturday night on the city's north side, leaving one officer injured and three protesters arrested. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said protesters had been using social media to draw more demonstrators.
Local officials planned to meet with church and community leaders Sunday to discuss ways to move forward.
"I never thought I would see my own city in a state of unrest and a potential riot," a resident told CNN affiliate WDJT.
It all started Saturday afternoon, when a pair of police officers stopped two people driving through the north-side neighborhood, police said. That led to a foot chase between the people in the car and police, which ended when an officer shot one of the two -- a 23-year-old man who was armed with a handgun, authorities said.
The police officer "ordered that individual to drop his gun, the individual did not drop his gun," Barrett said during a news conference later in the day. "He had the gun with him and the officer fired several times."
The man died at the scene. It was unclear Sunday morning whether the second occupant of the car was in police custody. The officer who fired the fatal shots was not injured and will be placed on administrative duty during an investigation.
The officer who fired the deadly shots is 24 years old and has six years of service with the Milwaukee Police Department -- three as an officer. Police provided no further details on the identities of the officer or the occupants of the car.
The officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting, Barrett said.
"This is a neighborhood that has unfortunately been affected by violence in the recent past," Barrett said. The shooting occurred near the same place where a double homicide happened on August 9. In that incident a man was shot dead and another was fatally stabbed, police said.
City Alderman Khalif Rainey said the area has been a "powder keg" for potential violence throughout the summer.
"What happened tonight may not have been right and I am not justifying that but no one can deny the fact that there are problems, racial problems in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that need to be rectified," Rainey said. "This community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has become the worst place to live for African Americans in the entire country."
Rainey said Saturday's violence was a byproduct of inequities, injustice, unemployment and under-education.
"Something has to be done to address these issues," he said. "The black people of Milwaukee are tired, they are tired of living under this oppression, this is their life."

Go home, mayor pleads

As the chaos escalated Saturday, the mayor pleaded with protesters to end their demonstrations.
"If you love your son, if you love your daughter, text them, call them, pull them by the ears and get them home. Get them home right now before more damage is done," the mayor said.
"I know this neighborhood very, very well. And there are a lot of really really good people who live in this area -- in the Sherman Park area, who can't stand this violence."
At 3:20 a.m. Sunday, police tweeted they were restoring order and "reducing deployments."

Police: Suspect had stolen gun

The unidentified suspect was shot twice, in the arm and chest, the mayor said. The handgun he carried had been stolen during a burglary in nearby Waukesha in March, according to police.
"The victim of that burglary reported 500 rounds of ammunition were also stolen with the handgun," police said.
Any evidence from the body camera video will likely become a key part of the investigation, said CNN law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander.
"We're going to see over the next number of hours and the next number of days what information [investigators] feel comfortable releasing to the public, Alexander said. "It think it's going to be essentially important to get out as much of that video, as long as it doesn't jeopardize the integrity of the investigation."
By state law, the Wisconsin Department of Justice will lead the investigation.
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Jubilation in Syria's Manbij as ISIS loses control of key city

(CNN)Manbij residents finally freed from the stranglehold of ISIS occupation celebrated in the streets Saturday, cutting off beards, burning niqabs and smoking cigarettes, things they weren't allowed to do during the terror group's two-year rule over the city.

Jubilation broke out in many neighborhoods after ISIS militants lost control of Manbij to U.S.-backed rebels, and the Pentagon said the center of the city was liberated.
he Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab forces backed by the United States, has battled to take control of Manbij in northern Syria since May and hundreds have been freed in this latest mission, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Many can hardly believe they are finally rid of the Islamist militants' rule. Dozens of women in black niqabs -- the full-body coverings which are similar to burqas but leave the eyes exposed -- were photographed being freed by the armed rebels, many of them carrying babies, overwhelmed and in tears. One woman was seen hugging an armed female Kurdish soldier.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab forces backed by the United States, has battled to take control of Manbij in northern Syria since May and hundreds have been freed in this latest mission, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Many can hardly believe they are finally rid of the Islamist militants' rule. Dozens of women in black niqabs -- the full-body coverings which are similar to burqas but leave the eyes exposed -- were photographed being freed by the armed rebels, many of them carrying babies, overwhelmed and in tears. One woman was seen hugging an armed female Kurdish soldier.


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The solar-powered cart that can charge 80 cell phones at once


It has received numerous energy innovation awards and grants from the likes of Microsoft.
Solar kiosk franchisee, Jeanne Marie Uhiriwe, on the streets of Kigali, Rwanda
"My vision is to create at least 50,000 to 100,000 micro businesses across Africa," Nyakarundi told CNN.
"It's doable. You're looking at a population that's going to double in the next 25 to 30 years."

The idea

Returning to Rwanda or Burundi for holidays, Nyakarundi noticed that while many people had cell phones they often struggled to charge them.
In Rwanda, industry analysis estimates that roughly 70% of the population have a cell phone, yet only 18% have access to electricity, according to the World Bank.
Sketching the first design on a piece of paper, the entrepreneur devised a solar-powered kiosk that can be towed by bicycle and provides simultaneous charging for up to 80 phones.

Business in a box

His company, African Renewable Energy Distributor (ARED), operates under a micro-franchising system that leases the kiosks to agents.
Micro franchisees earn money from mobile charging and selling add-ons such as mobile credit, government certificates and prepaid electricity.

Women and those with disabilities are the most vulnerable group in Africa, especially in business.

"It's a business in a box," said Nyakarundi, who moved back to Rwanda in 2012 once his prototype was ready. "I was looking to do something that would not only solve a problem but also had a social impact by creating micro businesses for people."
There are currently 25 kiosks operating in Rwanda, many in rural areas where the population is dependent on cell phones to communicate and send money.
But after four years of carefully testing his business model, Nyakarundi said he is now ready to seriously scale up. He plans to have between 600 and 800 kiosks in place by the next two years.

Free opportunity

To run them, Nyakarundi says he looks for people who desperately lack employment opportunities.
The agents make just a $100 down payment followed by $200 in installments to lease their kiosk from ARED. From that, the company says existing vendors are making between 30,000 to 85,000 Rwandan francs ($38-$107) a month -- enough to pay rent and feed a family.
But strikingly, for micro franchisees who are women or have disabilities, the opportunity is absolutely free.
Sembemba Jean Pierre
"They are the most vulnerable group in Africa, especially in business," said Nyakarundi. "Women don't have access to funding the way men do, and people with disabilities have even less opportunity."
Sembemba Jean Pierre suffers from a disability. He had to remove his child from school because he wasn't earning enough as a watch repairman. Thanks to the kiosk, his son is back in education and Pierre dreams of owning a house.
"I could go a whole day without getting someone to repair the watch for," Pierre told CNN by email through a translator. "Now I am at least assured of daily income -- my family don't sleep hungry anymore."
Prospective agents must be at least 25 years of age and have two letters of recommendation from leaders in their community -- paperwork that is enough to deter "the bad apples", according to Nyakarundi.

Henri Nyakarundi never wanted a job.

Born to refugee parents from Rwanda, he grew up in Burundi until civil war again forced the family to move on. Relocating to the US, Nyakarundi studied computer science at Georgia State University and by 19 had founded his first start up.
"I was not a job type of guy," laughed the entrepreneur. "I think it's my personality, I've always liked to make my own decisions."
Yet his product -- a solar-powered mobile kiosk that charges cell phones and connects communities -- aims to create thousands of jobs across Africa.

Crucial role

This system means that choosing the right micro franchisees is vital, because they are the gateway to the company's revenue.
"When we offer a free opportunity, it becomes very important to have strong monitoring and evaluation. If they make money, we make money. So we want to make sure that people are not performing get replaced immediately."
A for-profit business, ARED makes a small amount of commission (roughly 1%) from the micro franchisee's sales while the bulk of its revenue comes from advertising on the side of the kiosks.
But a new prototype set to roll out this autumn will create even more revenue opportunities. ARED has developed a "smart kiosk" that will offer wifi, local intranet and data collection from its users.

Smart kiosk

"We're moving from a basic sort of kiosk to more of a technology company," said Nyakarundi.
"A lot of people don't utilize their smart phone because they can't afford internet. Why not build our own intranet -- our own network of content on the kiosk to serve our community?"
Customers will be able to access the intranet for free, while advertisers will pay to submit surveys or collect data. Wifi will be available at a small charge.
"We can monetize this in so many ways now that we have a digital platform," said Nyakarundi. "The goal was to maximize revenue without having to collect it from the micro franchisee. It can be a win-win situation for all of us."
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How to Avoid Your Migraine Triggers While Dining Out A smart order at your favorite restaurant could help you avoid a migraine.

As sufferers know, migraines can strike anywhere. And unfortunately, that includes during nice dinners out, as certain foods can serve as dietary triggers for some. Here are some ways to help navigate the menu and avoid foods that could trigger a migraine.

At the Small Plates Spot: Skip the brie, try the mozzarella.

If you’re going to start or end with a cheese plate, know that aged cheeses such as cheddar, blue, brie, Swiss, parmesan and Roquefort contain a natural compound called tyramine, which may trigger a migraine in some. The National Headache Foundation suggests limiting intake to four ounces for aged cheeses, but if you’d rather not take any chances, go for fresh cheese like mozzarella and ricotta.

At the Burger Joint: Skip the pickles, try raw cucumber.

A few favorite burger toppings can be migraine triggers for some, all thanks to tyramine, so the next time you hit up your fave joint, be wary of a few items like raw onion, cheddar or blue cheese and sauerkraut (for you non-traditionalists). Pickled food can be high in tyramine, too, so you might consider laying off that pile of pickles. It might sound weird, but raw cucumber can give you that same satisfying crunch, so you might ask your server for a swap-out.


At the Pizza Cart: Skip the pepperoni, try a classic.

Aged, dried, fermented or smoked meats are (you guessed it) high in tyramine, so that pepperoni-lover’s pizza could cause a migraine for some. Stick to a classic margarita version (mozzarella cheese is a-ok), or load up your slice with veggies.


At the Salad Bar: Skip snow peas, try …anything else.

You’re all good when sticking to raw, fresh veggies at the salad bar, except for snow peas, which contain tyramine. Broad beans such as favas also contain tyramine, so consider passing them by, as well. And about the dressing: Citrus such as orange, lemon and lime can contain tyramine. But the National Headache Foundation’s low-tyramine diet suggests limiting citrus to half a cup serving per day, so a spritz of lemon on your salad hopefully won’t be an issue.


At the Sushi Spot: Skip the teriyaki, try steamed.

This one might hurt, but it’s true: Fermented soy products, such as miso, soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce are foods that can trigger migraines thanks to their high tyramine levels. So if this compound is a trigger for you, the sushi or teriyaki place around the corner might not be your idea of a nice lunch out. Never fear: Ask for a steamed or grilled entree instead, and learn to love your sushi without dousing it in sauce. The National Headache Foundation suggests limiting these sauces to one ounce per day.

Not sure if tyramine is a trigger for you?  Keeping track of what you do and don’t eat in a migraine diary can help you determine which foods are migraine triggers. And once you have an idea of your triggers, restaurants can become less of a headache landmine — and more of the enjoyable destination they’re meant to be.

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Beware: 5 steps every homebuyer needs to take

Imagine you’ve gotten the keys to your new house and you’ve moved in. You’re on a homebuyer’s high — until you discover a leaking roof or a snake infestation (true story). What do you do?

Here are some ways to avoid a costly post-closing catastrophe.

1. Look at the listing language. Some properties are listed for sale “as is,” but you should clarify if that means the seller is absolutely unwilling to address major safety issues that might come up in an inspection that would make it difficult for them to sell the house to any buyer, says Liane Jameson, a real estate broker in St. Petersburg, Fla. If a seller either can’t afford or doesn’t want to fork out any money for repairs, be prepared to move on, she says.

2. Know your lender’s requirements. Some mortgage lenders require that certain safety issues, such as high radon levels a decayed roof or dangerous structural defects, be addressed before they’ll give you a loan.

3. Check out the property and seller online. If you find a house that’s been renovated recently, check your county’s records to see if the proper building permits were pulled, says Kris Paolini, a real estate agent in Rockville, Md. You want to make sure that major renovations are up to code.

4. Get a home inspection. When you buy a house, even new construction, always hire your own inspector to do a thorough home inspection, which typically costs $300 to $500, Paolini says. While an inspector might not catch everything, particularly if a seller is hiding something intentionally, you shouldn’t skip this step — problems that pop up later could cost you big bucks.

5. Review the seller’s disclosures. Laws vary from state to state, but generally sellers are supposed to reveal any “latent defects” — problems with their property that a standard inspection can’t reasonably be expected to reveal, says Maryland real estate attorney Robert Moses. Homebuyers should always ask for repair or renovation documentation. Also, be wary of sellers who disclaim knowledge of the home’s condition; that’s a red flag, Moses says.

If you’ve moved into a home and find major problems that weren’t disclosed, you typically have two options: arbitration — mandatory or voluntary, depending on your state — or a lawsuit, Moses says. In arbitration, all parties will sit down to discuss the issue and try to come to a resolution. If that doesn’t work, suing the seller, and possibly the seller’s agent, would be your next move. Litigation, however, isn’t a silver bullet; it can cost thousands of dollars and take months to resolve, Moses says.


If you’re selling your home, you have a legal and ethical responsibility to disclose any non-visible defects before you put your home on the market. These might include:


  • Damaged roof, subfloor or walls.
  • Outdated electrical or plumbing systems.
  • Structural damage from flood, fire, wind, expansive soils or water.
  • Broken appliances.
  • Problems with major home systems (HVAC, furnace, water heater).
  • Structural or foundation cracks from settling.


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Helping a dad get to Rio: 5 brilliant stories this week

NEWSER) – An unexpected trip to Rio and a daughter's walk down the aisle were among the favorite stories of the week:


  • Woman Raises Cash for Uber Driver to Watch Son in Rio: Ellis Hill's son is competing in shot put in the Olympics next week—and thanks to one of Hill's Uber passengers, Hill will be there to watch him. Hill was driving Liz Willock from the Philadelphia airport when Hill mentioned his son's spot on Team USA. But when Willock asked whether he'd be traveling to Brazil to watch, the Uber driver said he couldn't afford the trip. One online campaign later, that changed.
  • Bride Walked Down the Aisle by Man With Her Dad's Heart: Jeni Stepien's father was murdered a decade ago in a mugging, but she still found a way for him to play a role in her wedding. Her dad's heart had gone to a stranger in New Jersey — and that led to a moving walk down the aisle.
  • Judge Lets Inmate Meet His Baby for First Time in Court: James Roeder has been in jail, charged with burglary and under orders from a judge not to see his wife, Ashley—who is charged in the same burglary. That means that when Roeder appeared in court for a hearing Friday, he had not yet met his baby son, born just 30 days prior. When the judge realized this, and saw the baby in the courtroom, she made an unusual exception.
  • Couple Married 63 Years Die 20 Minutes Apart: Henry and Jeanette De Lange lived together as husband and wife for 63 years, so perhaps it's only fitting that they died together, too. The South Dakota couple were in the same room in a nursing home when Jeanette, 87, suffering from Alzheimer's, died peacefully at 5:10 p.m. At that point, family members told her 86-year-old husband, who was battling prostate cancer, that he could follow his wife. He did, at 5:30 p.m.
  • Police Checking Up on Elderly Couple Cook Them Pasta: Someone called Rome police last week after hearing crying and yelling coming from an apartment. But when officers arrived, they found no crime taking place — just an elderly couple lonely and upset by news they were watching on TV. Police did the only thing they could: cooked a pasta dinner.


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Kevin Hart Marries Longtime Love Eniko Parrish Tie the Knot

Kevin Hart has tied the knot!

Hart, 37, married longtime girlfriend Eniko Parrish, 31, in a wedding in California, surrounded by friends and family.

The bride wore a custom Vera Wang lace mermaid gown which featured hand-embroidered French Chantilly lace appliqués, luxurious French tulle skirt and silk covered bridal button accents. Parrish then changed into another custom lace Vera Wang gown for their reception, this one featuring hand-placed French Chantilly lace appliqué. The couple shared shots of their nuptials on Instagram, which included photos of Hart's two children.

Parrish shared a glimpse from the reception on Snapchat, taking a short video with Hart smiling at the camera and chatting with friends. It appeared that the party included a lit-up ferris wheel and a merry-go-round

The couple got engaged almost two years ago, when Hart proposed to Parrish on her 30th birthday.

Kevin Hart Marries Longtime Love Eniko Parrish – See the Photos

Kevin Hart Married Eniko Parris
Kevin Hart and Eniko Parrish
Kevin Hart/Instagram

By Maya Anderman

08/14/2016 AT 12:00 AM EDT

Kevin Hart has tied the knot!

Hart, 37, married longtime girlfriend Eniko Parrish, 31, in a wedding in California, surrounded by friends and family.

The bride wore a custom Vera Wang lace mermaid gown which featured hand-embroidered French Chantilly lace appliqués, luxurious French tulle skirt and silk covered bridal button accents. Parrish then changed into another custom lace Vera Wang gown for their reception, this one featuring hand-placed French Chantilly lace appliqué. The couple shared shots of their nuptials on Instagram, which included photos of Hart's two children.

Parrish shared a glimpse from the reception on Snapchat, taking a short video with Hart smiling at the camera and chatting with friends. It appeared that the party included a lit-up ferris wheel and a merry-go-round.



Kevin Hart Marries Longtime Love Eniko Parrish – See the Photos| Kevin Hart

Kevin and Hendrix Hart

Kevin Hart / Snapchat

The couple got engaged almost two years ago, when Hart proposed to Parrish on her 30th birthday.

In a video of the proposal shared on Instagram, the comedian gushed about his wife-to-be.

"On this perfect day I chose to make the most perfect decision," he said before getting down on one knee.

"I said YES!!!!! To the most amazing man in the world," Parrish wrote on Instagram.

The two lovebirds have never been shy about showing their affection for one another, frequently posting sweet pics of each other on social media.

On Saturday, Hart shared a Snapchat video of himself with Parrish walking around a California beachside resort, gushin

Kevin Hart Marries Longtime Love Eniko Parrish – See the Photos

Kevin Hart Married Eniko Parris
Kevin Hart and Eniko Parrish
Kevin Hart/Instagram

By Maya Anderman

08/14/2016 AT 12:00 AM EDT

Kevin Hart has tied the knot!

Hart, 37, married longtime girlfriend Eniko Parrish, 31, in a wedding in California, surrounded by friends and family.

The bride wore a custom Vera Wang lace mermaid gown which featured hand-embroidered French Chantilly lace appliqués, luxurious French tulle skirt and silk covered bridal button accents. Parrish then changed into another custom lace Vera Wang gown for their reception, this one featuring hand-placed French Chantilly lace appliqué. The couple shared shots of their nuptials on Instagram, which included photos of Hart's two children.

Parrish shared a glimpse from the reception on Snapchat, taking a short video with Hart smiling at the camera and chatting with friends. It appeared that the party included a lit-up ferris wheel and a merry-go-round.



Kevin Hart Marries Longtime Love Eniko Parrish – See the Photos| Kevin Hart

Kevin and Hendrix Hart

Kevin Hart / Snapchat

The couple got engaged almost two years ago, when Hart proposed to Parrish on her 30th birthday.

In a video of the proposal shared on Instagram, the comedian gushed about his wife-to-be.

"On this perfect day I chose to make the most perfect decision," he said before getting down on one knee.

"I said YES!!!!! To the most amazing man in the world," Parrish wrote on Instagram.

The two lovebirds have never been shy about showing their affection for one another, frequently posting sweet pics of each other on social media.

On Saturday, Hart shared a Snapchat video of himself with Parrish walking around a California beachside resort, gushing about his bride to be.


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Tyra Banks is going to teach at Stanford University

(CNN)Tyra Banks is going from "America's Next Top Model" to possibly the next top professor.

The supermodel/mogul is set to lecture and co-teach a class on creating and protecting brands at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, the Wall Street Journal reports.
About 25 graduate students will have the opportunity to enroll in the course and learn from Banks for two weeks next May.
While the former talk show host is no stranger to the classroom, (she was enrolled in an executive education program at Harvard in 2011) it will be her first time teaching.
On Monday, Banks tweeted about the course "Project You: Building and Extending your Personal Brand."
"I'm beyond excited to teach," she wrote. "It's in my blood and I can't wait to meet my students."

Tyra Banks is going to teach at Stanford University

Tyra Bankswill be lecturing and co-teaching at Stanford Business School next year.

Story highlights

  • Banks will co-teach a course next May
  • About 25 graduate students will be able to enroll in her course

(CNN)Tyra Banks is going from "America's Next Top Model" to possibly the next top professor.

The supermodel/mogul is set to lecture and co-teach a class on creating and protecting brands at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, the Wall Street Journal reports.
About 25 graduate students will have the opportunity to enroll in the course and learn from Banks for two weeks next May.
While the former talk show host is no stranger to the classroom, (she was enrolled in an executive education program at Harvard in 2011) it will be her first time teaching.
On Monday, Banks tweeted about the course "Project You: Building and Extending your Personal Brand."
"I'm beyond excited to teach," she wrote. "It's in my blood and I can't wait to meet my students."
And for all those students hoping to learn a little modeling 101, Banks tweeted "And there will be no Smizing course. Sorry to disappoint."
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Frank Ocean releases 'Endless' visual album

(CNN)Finally we know what that video in the workshop was all about.

Frank Ocean released a "visual album" late Thursday. Titled "Endless," it was streamed on his site and Apple Music.
The 12 songs and interludes, including an earlier released version of Aaliyah's cover of the Isley Brothers' "At Your Best (You Are Love)," runs for 45 minutes over a black-and-white film shot by Francisco Soriano. In it, three versions of Ocean work on a building project in a warehouse.
Ocean has a few collaborations on the album, including with R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan, Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood and British artist James Blake.
Fans have been eagerly awaiting a sophomore album from Ocean for the past four years.
But the expectation for new music heated up in recent weeks after Ocean's brother posted a photo on Instagram with the title 'Boys Don't Cry."
Rolling Stone reported that the "Boys Don't Cry" album is still happening -- just not under that name.
"That album, set for release by Apple this weekend, was previously called Boys Don't Cry, but Rolling Stone has learned that the singer has scrapped that title in favor of an alternate title," according to the publication.
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Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys make great harmony on 'The Voice'

Los Angeles (CNN)As The Olympics comes to a close on NBC, the network will tease the start of another great competition: "The Voice" Season 11.

Judging by a sneak peek at the new season, which features first-time coaches Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys, it's going to be eventful.
CNN was given an early look at a half-hour season preview of "The Voice" set to air after the Olympic closing ceremony on Sunday, and here's what you should know.

Cyrus and Keys come out swinging

The newest additions to the spinning chairs waste no time making themselves at home. It's clear from the start that Cyrus and Keys are on a quest to build the strongest teams they can -- even if it means they go toe-to-toe with veteran coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.
In the sneak peek, each of the new coaches take different approaches to wooing potential team members, and at times, Levine and Shelton find it hard to compete.
Cyrus plays up her off-beat, youthful energy. At one point, she tells a contestant who wore her grandmother's vintage vest to the audition that they share "grandma power."
Keys, meanwhile, goes for a warm, personal approach that none of the other three could possibly duplicate.

Keys might be the one to beat

Speaking of Keys, early indicators are she's going to be the most calculated and deliberate coach during auditions this season. She doesn't seem like the type who will be turning chair around for just any good singer.
Her strategy appears to be seeking out singers who she feels a connection to. One person who ends up on her team calls Keys "honest and real," and that sums up what Keys' approach to mentoring will probably be as well.
As an artist that puts a lot of stock in authenticity, Keys seems to be on the lookout for artists with strong points of view that she can take to a new level.
In other words, the other coaches should be on high alert for this savvy coach.

Levine and Shelton have fun picking on Cyrus -- but she fights back

Even though the bromance of Levine and Shelton is out in full force once again this season, Cyrus' addition promises to only add more fuel to the fire.
Like when she guested as a mentor on the show last season, Shelton has a lot of fun poking fun at the younger singer's eccentric style and her gift for gabbing. ("When do you breathe?" he joked at one point.) But she doesn't take it lying down.
At one point, Cyrus pointed out to a contestant that unlike her fellow coaches, the "internet actually existed" when she was coming up in the music world. (Levine laughed the comment off, saying, "We weren't born in the '30s.")

Most importantly, there's perfect harmony

New dynamics are tough to test out, but the first look at the new season feels less like a timid step into the future and more like a leap into a new era for "The Voice."
Cyrus and Keys make sure their musicianship shines brighter than everything else. (They even do an impromptu duet with a contestant and have a fun performance with Shelton and Levine.) And that could make for a pretty harmonious season.
Season 11 of "The Voice" premieres September 19.
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Misery in Louisiana as flood waters linger

LAFAYETTE, La. — Joseph Pickney took one, long look into Lafayette’s Derby Heights subdivision Monday morning and sighed.

It’s been more than a week since he’s slept in his bed in his Chadwick Drive home of 16 years. It may take much longer until he does.

Pickney is one of dozens of homeowners off Carmel Drive whose homes are unreachable because of floodwater from the Aug. 11-13 storms in south central Louisiana. Perhaps 40,000 homes have been affected by flooding that resulted from rainfall of 20-25 inches in many places between McComb, Mississippi and Jennings, Louisiana.

This week, Pickney and his neighbors were among the smaller group of residents yet unable to reach their property. Water into Derby Heights remained waist deep, he said; on Monday, he had no access to a boat to make his way through the flooded subdivision streets.

The National Weather Service reported Monday morning that the swollen Vermilion River near Derby Heights was recorded at 16.5 feet Monday morning — still above major flood stage and just a foot below last week’s crest. It’s not expected to descend to moderate flood stage until Wednesday morning and may not leave Derby Heights until at least the weekend.

“It’s a situation where the water has to go down in the Vermilion,” said State Rep. Terry Landry, D-Lafayette, who represents Derby Heights in the Louisiana Legislature.  “It’s not a matter of drainage but of capacity to drain.”

That’s true, said Donald Jones, National Weather Service forecaster in the Lake Charles office.

“The simple answer is there is just so much water,” Jones said. “It’s a physics matter. The river can only fit so much water and all of the water must drain from all of the neighborhoods.”

Landry, formerly the head of Louisiana State Police, said state and federal officials have responded as nimbly and efficiently as he can remember in his long public safety career. But the issue is not drainage, it’s river capacity. The river can only handle so much water.

Flood waters remain high along Carmel Dr. August 22,

Pickney said he has applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid, but it may take awhile for that. Meanwhile, he said, he’s sleeping where he can.

He travels back to the Carmel Drive every day, he says, to look into the subdivision and see if it's reachable. No such luck, not on Monday.

Debra Living, who lives across Carmel Drive, has been out of her home for more than a week. She said she applied for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency; FEMA officials told her she is eligible for help to stay at hotels, but the hotels say she is not eligible, she said. So she sleeps where friends and family can accommodate her.

Her home is not flooded but her property is; she cannot get to the home, located deep on a flooded lot. She owns property next door, too: a trailer where her daughter lives and had to abandon and a trailer for rent, which is unoccupied. Neither is reachable.

Patricia Arceneaux was also at the water’s edge Monday, staring from Carmel Drive toward her Armenia Avenue address. The water was hardly moving, she said, but her home, perhaps a hundred yards away, was that far beyond her access.

Flood waters remain high along Carmel Dr. August 22,

Flood waters remain high along Carmel Dr. August 22, 2016. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE/THE ADVERTISER)


The flooding occurred so quickly she lost her car and some pets, she said. She said she’ll seek a FEMA voucher for a hotel; she hasn’t gotten it yet.

People tell her she’s lucky to be alive, she said, that all she has lost is material possessions. But Arceneaux, who is on disability, said if you’ve lost what you’ve owned, it hurts.

Standing along the road, she pointed to her exposed feet, marked by countless ant bites. She’s concerned about what damage might have occurred to her home, including insect infestation, as a result of the extended exposure to floodwater.

She’s right to be concerned, said Joseph Flowers, a manager at Home Depot in Lafayette. If the homes are getting no airflow, then bacteria will be enclosed and can spread all the way to the attic. That requires a lot of repair, or even rebuilding, he said.

Claudette Hanks Reichel, a housing specialist for the Louisiana State University AgCenter, said some homes can be recovered even after prolonged exposure to floodwater, but recovery becomes more problematic as days slip by. Sometimes, the cost of recovery is too dear; if affordable, it may be better to rebuild.

If the foundation is OK and construction is of solid lumber, homes are usually cleanable, she said. But if you cannot afford an expert to deal with mold remediation, it may take more time and cost than is reasonable.

“Bricks can dry. Everything porous other than solid wood needs to go. You need to gut walls, and you must go above the wicking line,” she said.

But for now neighbors must wait for nature and the water to take their course.

Source:USA Today


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In America's prisons, ramen more precious than cigarettes

(NEWSER) – So long, tobacco: There's a new most-prized currency in America's prisons, at least according to a University of Arizona PhD candidate in sociology: ramen. Michael Gibson-Light's new study is the culmination of a year's worth of interviews with about 60 inmates at an unnamed "male state prison in the US Sunbelt," per a press release. The upshot: Where cigarettes were once king, "soup is money in here," as one convict says. But the reason behind the shift is essentially hunger. Gibson-Light explains that in the early 2000s, a new vendor began supplying the food to the prison he studied in a bid to cut costs. He was told the price per meal was slashed from $2 to $1.25 as a result—and both quality and quantity took a hit. Specifically, three hot meals a day were no more.

Weekday lunches are now cold, and on the weekends only two meals are served; all portion sizes were shrunk. With inmates working and exercising throughout the day, calories—and edible ones at that—became precious. The Guardian reports an ominous anecdote from Gibson-Light: Corrections officers suggested he not eat the prison food, so as to avoid any potential food poisoning. The most popular forms of currency don't change "unless there’s some drastic change to the value in people using it," says Gibson-Light, which signals to him how much food services has degraded. In terms of value, at the prison studied, ramen cost 59 cents a pack but was worth a lot more. One telling example: Five hand-rolled cigarettes, worth $2, can be bought for just one package of ramen. (The Justice Department, meanwhile, is phasing out privately run prisons.)

This story originally appeared on Newser:

Source:USA Today

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No 'ridiculous' self-driving car for guitarist and hot rodder Jeff Beck

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Sitting in the air-conditioned comfort of a luxurious tour bus, Jeff Beck, 72, is contemplating a future filled with self-driving cars.

The prospect leaves the guitar legend and lifelong hot rod aficionado steaming mad.

“There’s driverless cars all over the place right now, with drivers in them,” says Beck, cooling off before sound check on the latest stop of a tour he’s co-headlining with his blues idol, 80-year-young Buddy Guy (next stops are today at Maryhill Winery in Goldendale, Wash., and Aug. 21 at the Woodland Park Zoo Amphitheater in Seattle).

“Really, (autonomous cars are) the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. It’s the removal of the very reason for driving, for some computer. I can’t imagine wanting to buy one and those involved in building this should be locked up,” says Beck, who is just getting revved up on the heels of news this week that Ford and Uber are both pushing aggressively to deliver self-driving vehicles.

“I don’t understand taking away the general satisfaction of being in control, where the joy of driving is removed for some crikey circuitry,” he says. “And how does it know what’s going on? They already had a crash where a white van came in front of the car and it couldn’t see it. I don’t want to sit in one of those things.”

Beck’s referring to the May crash of a Tesla in which the car’s driver was killed. The car was operating on Autopilot and did not recognize the white truck that passed in front of the sedan as being a solid object and did not slow down. Regulators are investigating.

Jeff Beck hard at work on a hot rod part in his home-garage

Jeff Beck hard at work on a hot rod part in his home-garage in England. The legendary guitarist has had a love affair with American iron since his youth and owns around a dozen vintage rods. (Photo: Steve Coonan)


"Cruise control is bad enough,” says Beck, closing the matter. “If you can’t pay attention for long, you should not be driving.”

Self-driving car advocates argue that technologically advanced transportation will drastically reduce the country's 33,000 annual traffic fatalities.

Regardless, Beck would indeed rather be at the wheel of any one of a dozen hot rods he keeps at home in England. He’s personally worked on at least half of them, ignoring pleas from friends and insurance adjusters alike that doing so could damage his Grammy-winning fingers.

“If I worried about my fingers I’d never pick up a pair of pliers,” he says with a cackle.

Although this weekend thousands of car aficionados are descending on the Monterey Peninsula for the annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance - essentially Paris Fashion Week for vintage automobiles that often cost tens of millions - Beck won't be among them.

Jeff Beck, shown in concert recently in Santa Rosa,

Jeff Beck, shown in concert recently in Santa Rosa, Calif., has a passion for guitars (and blues) that is equaled only by his love of American hot rods. (Photo: Marco della Cava, USA TODAY)


The guitarist's car interests skew toward an era when cars were seen as mere starting points for imaginative garage tinkers who were interested in creating their own visions of automotive bliss, with a bit of whimsy and lots of horsepower thrown in. He recently chronicled that passion in a photo-laden coffee table book, Beck01.

The vast majority of Beck’s fleet consists of 1932 Ford coupes and sedans, the fabled Deuce machines that inspired plenty of ‘50s rock song. Beck became enamored early on with both American music and street racers, which today extends to a prized 2007 Chevrolet Corvette he uses to tear across the rutted country roads near his English home.

Buddy Guy, 80, is the last surviving representative

Buddy Guy, 80, is the last surviving representative of a generation of blues musicians who defined the genre and inspired legions of British musicians to dive into the blues, including Guy's friend and mentee, guitarist Jeff Beck. (Photo: Manuel Lopez, EPA)


For the proverbial record, Beck also owns two Land Rovers, one “outfitted like a police vehicle, so it’s great fun because people get out of the way,” and the other a “posh modern one for the missus, who also drives a PT Cruiser sometimes.”

But when the weather isn’t stormy, you’ll find Beck either in a hot rod or that Vette. “It’s like a hurricane on wheels,” he says with an evil squint. “It’s ridiculous.”

Beck likes to tell the story of when fellow guitar ace and country squire Eric Clapton harassed him years back for his love of a ‘30s Ford.

“He was mocking me, and said, ‘Do you want to see some real cars?’ So I went round his place, he opened a garage and there were two Ferraris, and I said, ‘Where are they?’” Big laugh.

“But then Eric goes to Brizio and gets a ‘32 Ford made, so there,” he says with a smile.

Brizio is Roy Brizio, a revered builder of hot rods in the San Francisco area who has built custom machines for all manner of business and celebrity titans. Brizio was on hand the other night in Los Angeles for a lavish celebration of Beck’s 50 years of musicianship at the Hollywood Bowl, where the guests included Steven Tyler and Billy Gibbons.

Looking back on his life, Beck is pleased not only with his accomplishments, but also to be on the road and making fresh music. His latest effort is the politically tinged Loud Hailer, with tunes that speak to everything from the ravages of 9/11 (The Ballad of the Jersey Wives) to a general concern for future generations (Scared for the Children).

Beck practices his Fender Stratocaster every day, even on vacation. He can’t help himself. Even though sometimes he is a bit surprised that he's still at it.

A classic 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe hot rod stands in striking

A classic 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe hot rod stands in striking contrast to the rural English scenery on Jeff Beck's property. The guitarist keeps a dozen hot rods in his garages, and works on them himself. (Photo: Steve Coonan)


“When I was 22, and I read it was John Lennon’s birthday at 29, I thought, ‘Knock it off pal, time to fold the tent.’ But here we are, it’s incredible,” he says. “That hit me at the Bowl. The fans are still there.”

The fans here await, as does Guy, whose “manic attack and wonderful humor” impress Beck every bit as much today as when he first got ahold of a Muddy Waters record as a teen-ager, which featured the playing of a smooth Guy.

“When I first heard about Muddy and Buddy, it’s the same as when other people say they remember first hearing Jimi (Hendrix),” he says. “Now, being on same stage with Buddy and with me on top of the bill, that seems wrong somehow.”

Maybe. But not as wrong to Beck as a self-driving car.

Source:USA Today

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Why Did No One Tell Drivers with No Tickets in 3 Years About This New Rule?

Texas – Recent studies indicate that drivers are paying too much for car insurance.

Are you aware that you could receive a large discount just for not having a ticket or accident in the past 3 years? In addition, if you are currently insured and live in a qualified ZIP code you may get an extremely high discount.

For a long time, there was no easy way to compare quotes from all of these huge car insurance companies. You had to check one site, then jump to another and enter all of your information all over again. Drivers were stuck doing all the work to save money. Now, all that has changed. Thanks to Provide Savings™, the information you need to save can be found in one place. Just like Expedia or Orbitz saves you money on travel and flights, Provide Savings™ saves you money on car insurance.

What exactly do you need to do? Here is one easy rule to follow.

You have to compare quotes. Don’t even consider buying car insurance without doing this first. After all the results we came across, we just couldn’t believe how many drivers have been overpaying. And with free services like Provide Savings™, comparing quotes today so that you aren’t accidentally costing yourself money is a breeze.


Drivers don’t always realize that car insurance agents make money from your premiums. So, the higher your rate, the more money the agent receives. This system makes it difficult to determine if you are getting a fair price. Fortunately, a lot of smart drivers out there figured out just how to cut down their insurance bill by using free internet tools to get honest and fair quotes.

It’s really no wonder that with so many drivers saving money, services like these are gaining momentum. Provide Savings is an efficient source that tries to give consumers the lowest rates with tools you can trust.

Provide Savings helps provide an easy-to-use and free service to give drivers across the United States a convenient way to save money. Just imagine what you could do with the money you save!


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USA TODAY Sports investigation raises questions about Rio cops, Lochte incident

RIO DE JANEIRO – Seven days after an incident that will in part define the Rio Olympics, details are becoming clearer about what happened during a gas station encounter between four U.S. swimmers and security guards, and not everyone has concluded Ryan Lochte and his teammates are entirely in the wrong or that the account offered by Rio authorities is entirely accurate.

Lochte has admitted he exaggerated his initial description of how the four men were stopped in their taxi and robbed by men who flashed badges, as well as his sensational allegation of a gun being held to his forehead.

But a narrative of the night’s events – constructed by USA TODAY Sports from witness statements, official investigations, surveillance videos and media reports – supports Lochte’s later account in which he said he thought the swimmers were being robbed when they were approached at a gas station by armed men who flashed badges, pointed guns at them and demanded money.

A Brazilian judge says police might have been hasty in determining the security guards, by how they dealt with the swimmers, did not commit a robbery. A lawyer who has practiced in Brazil for 25 years says she does not think the actions of Lochte and teammate Jimmy Feigen constitute the filing of a false police report as defined under Brazilian law.

An extensive review of surveillance footage by a USA TODAY Sports videographer who also visited the gas station supports swimmer Gunnar Bentz’s claim that he did not see anyone vandalize the restroom, an allegation that in particular heightened media portrayals of the four as obnoxious Americans behaving recklessly in a foreign country. Meanwhile, Rio authorities have declined to identify the guards or offer any details beyond confirming they are members of law enforcement who were working a private security detail.

As the Rio Games closing ceremony was held Sunday night, all four swimmers had left Brazil. Two of them, Bentz and Jack Conger, face no charges. Feigen paid a settlement to avoid charges and returned home.

The case against Lochte, who has been pilloried around the world for his embellished initial account and blamed for offending an entire country as it proudly hosted the Summer Olympics, has yet to proceed.

It is clear from all accounts that a Portuguese-English language barrier played a major role in the incident and that a bilingual Brazilian witness who stepped forward at the scene was critical in preventing a tense situation from escalating.

The witness, Fernando Deluz, says he got involved after one of the guards pulled a gun on the men.

"As soon as they drew their weapon, that's when I got worried,” Deluz, a disc jockey, told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday.

“It was also so fast, and what I wanted was to resolve the situation,” says Deluz, who days later talked to police. “If it hadn't been for wanting to resolve that, if I hadn't involved myself, I thought – the police chief told me, ‘Man, if you hadn't gone there in that moment, a tragedy could have occurred.’ ”

Lochte was contrite about his erroneous original account in an interview that aired Saturday on NBC.

“That’s why I’m taking full responsibility for it, because I overexaggerated that story,” Lochte told Matt Lauer. “And if I’d never done that, we wouldn’t be in this mess. … None of this would have happened, and it was my immature behavior.’’

In a statement released Friday, Bentz confirmed police accounts that indicated Lochte damaged a sign during the incident and got into a “heated exchange” with the guards. But Bentz, who said authorities viewed him as a witness and never a suspect in the case, offered a narrative that closely matches Lochte’s revised account that he gave to Lauer three days after the incident. Bentz said his recollection was that money was demanded from the Americans by armed men in order for the swimmers to be allowed to leave.

While bystander Deluz and the police said the amount paid was for property vandalized, it is unclear whether the swimmers understood the situation.

Bentz, 20, is emphatic that his account is accurate: “I never made a false statement to anyone at any time,” he said.

A sign in Portuguese announcing the restroom is out

A sign in Portuguese announcing the restroom is out of order is taped to the door of a restroom at a Shell gasoline station where US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte claimed to have been robbed. (Photo: Glenn Andrews, USA TODAY Sports)



The swimmers, who were returning to the Olympic Village from a party and stopped at the gas station to use the restroom, acknowledge they had been drinking. Using a Portuguese word that broadly refers to someone under the influence of a substance, Deluz describes them as “very altered. I can't tell you if it was drinking or drugs.” He describes Lochte as “the very blond one. He was the one who was most altered."

The statement from Bentz and the narrative offered by Brazilian authorities agree that the swimmers entered a narrow walkway and urinated behind the gas station. The accounts also agree that, at some point, Lochte pulled what Bentz described as a “loosely attached” advertising sign from a wall. Deluz described it as a framed canvas that was torn as Lochte pulled it to the ground.

At a news conference Thursday, Rio police chief Fernando Veloso characterized the athletes' actions at the gas station as vandalism. He said they also had broken a soap dispenser and mirror inside the restroom. Reports quickly grew that the Americans had trashed the restroom.

A USA TODAY Sports videographer who visited the bathroom Thursday found no damage to soap dispensers and mirrors and said none of those items appeared to be new. Some media accounts suggested the men had broken down a door, which USA TODAY Sports also did not observe.

Bentz said in his statement that he believes there are surveillance videos shot from different angles that have not been released. He also said he did not see anyone damage the bathroom or even enter it.

Of the videos available, including footage from a camera trained on the restroom doors, a review by USA TODAY Sports does not find any showing the swimmers going near the bathrooms. They are not seen entering or coming out of them on those recordings.

Deluz said it never came up that night: In the negotiations he brokered between the swimmers and the guards, the only damage mentioned was the sign Lochte tore down.

There is no indication in the videos released to date or in the statements that the other three swimmers did anything beyond urinate behind the building.


Deluz said the main point of contention was the swimmers trying to "flee" after Lochte damaged the sign.

"What happened really – it's not even the issue of knocking down and breaking the sign," Deluz said. "It was the attitude of the guys of messing up the place and then wanting to leave without a satisfactory resolution." He said if the men had even said they had no money to pay for the damages but had apologized, he thinks all parties involved would have been understanding.

That does not match the account of Bentz, who said the swimmers were held at gunpoint until they paid.

“I gave them what I had in my wallet, which was a $20 bill, and Jimmy gave them 100 reais, which is about $50 in total. They lowered the guns, and I used hand gestures to ask if it was OK to leave, and they said yes,” he said in his statement.

In the NBC interview that aired Saturday, Lochte said, “It’s how you want to make it look like. Whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion or us just paying for the damages. Like, we don’t know. All we know is there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money.’’

Some local observers following the drama have begun to question the police's quick characterization of the story as a false police report lodged by the swimmers to cover up acts of vandalism or possibly calm a female romantic interest who would be angry about their night of partying.

João Batista Damasceno, a Rio judge, does not discard the possibility that the guards' actions could be rightly interpreted as a robbery.

A general view of a restroom door at a Shell gasoline

A general view of a restroom door at a Shell gasoline station where US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte claimed to have been robbed. Rio de Janeiro police say that Lochte and three other swimmers lied about the incident and instead vandalized this restroom. (Photo: Glenn Andrews, USA TODAY Sports)


"If they only asked for the amount of the damage, it may not be a robbery," Damasceno said in a message to USA TODAY Sports. "But if the amount taken is higher than the value of the damages, with the use of a weapon by the 'security,' this is robbery."

Damasceno added that even if someone has the right to receive compensation, that does not mean they can determine the amount on their own and take actions such as drawing guns to collect. Brazilian law rarely allows for a person to obtain such a payment through the use of their own force – such disputes should be mediated by the state, he said.

Deluz said a station employee had established the cost of the damage at 100 reais, but the swimmers paid about 160 reais,  – 100 reais plus a $20 bill.

Jeffrey Ostrow, Lochte’s attorney, steadfastly maintains the men were robbed.

“That part of the story will never change,'' Ostrow told USA TODAY Sports in a telephone interview. "We stand behind that."

Lochte initially claimed that he was robbed of $400 and has yet to say if that was another embellishment.

Deluz thinks the men understood they were detained because of the damaged sign, as the broken advertisement was shown to them. An athlete even asked him how much he needed to pay, Deluz says. The disc jockey said he conferred with an employee and responded, "One hundred money." When one swimmer finally opened his wallet, it had plenty of cash in it beyond that amount. Had the armed men been robbers, Deluz reasoned, they would have taken all the money.

Conger, in his statement, acknowledged Deluz tied the payment to the damaged poster.

"Eventually, a man appeared who was able to translate for us, helping to defuse the situation," Conger said. "We paid some money to compensate them for the torn poster, and returned to the Village in a different taxi."

After the payment was made, Deluz said, everyone calmed down and understood the meaning of the transaction. Deluz said to the athletes, according to his signed testimony to police, “Bye bye friends! That’s OK?” and they responded to him, “Thank you!”


Lochte has asserted that one of the guards flashed a police badge at the swimmers. In the surveillance videos, the swimmers initially attempt to leave after they relieved themselves, but a man approaches and stops the cabbie. He appeared to have something in his hand as he briefly reached inside the cab.

Deluz said he thought one of the guards did flash a badge when he “first approached them.”

Lochte is correct that the men, who were working a private security detail, are members of law enforcement.  Veloso admitted during a Thursday news conference the men are state agents – it is common for Brazilian law enforcement to carry out private security on their off hours, though in some instances it is illegal.

Veloso declined to identify the guards or give more details, saying they feared retaliation for their role in the incident. Local news outlets that claim to have spoken with the security guards have identified them as prison guards from the neighboring state of Minas Gerais.

Police have not accounted for why the guards allegedly showed their law enforcement badges while they were working private security. But Veloso defended the guards drawing their weapons.

"Right now we have the testimony of the security guards about the extreme action of four young men with strong physiques and an attitude that is, at least, inappropriate," Veloso said.

Video also supports Lochte’s contention that one of the guards prevented the cabbie from driving off.

What happened next could be attributed to cultural and linguistic clumsiness or to the swimmers allegedly being inebriated.

"Two men, whom I believe to have been security guards, then instructed us to exit the vehicle. No guns were drawn during this exchange, but we did see a gun tucked into one of the guard's waistband,” Bentz said. “As Jimmy (Feigen) and Jack (Conger) were walking away from the vehicle, the first security guard held up a badge to me and drew his handgun. I yelled to them to come back toward us, and they complied. Then the second guard drew his weapon and both guards pointed their guns at us and yelled at us to sit on a nearby sidewalk.”

Bystander Deluz described the drawing of the weapons by the two guards as a reaction to the athletes' attempt to leave the scene.


When approached on Tuesday by a USA TODAY Sports reporter who asked to see witness testimony  related to the incident, the Rio de Janeiro civil police declined to give any information, saying the investigation was confidential.

By Thursday, after police had pulled Bentz and Conger off their U.S.-bound flight and detained them for questioning, police welcomed dozens of camera crews that squeezed into the station to film the men as they were escorted by cops into the office. Immediately after their interviews, police called a news conference – in a nearby theater – to announce the official version of events.

Shortly afterward the police released their reports of testimony given by Conger and Bentz that included statements casting doubt on Lochte's version of events. However, that testimony was missing a portion of the men's story – their interactions with armed security guards.

Rio's civil police declined to provide the testimony in its entirety when requested by USA TODAY Sports. By late Friday, even the partial testimony had been removed from the police's social media site.

Police accused Lochte and Feigen of filing a false police report, a crime punishable by a fine and up to six months in prison. Feigen paid $11,000 to be  donated to a charity in order to not face charges.

Deborah Srour, an attorney who has practiced in Brazil for 25 years, said the two swimmers’ actions do not constitute a crime based on a strict reading of the Brazilian penal code.

“This crime only happens when you go to the police and you make a report, you file a report,’’ said Srour, who added that she has represented Americans arrested in Brazil. “This did not happen.’’

She said any case against Lochte could very well be dismissed with the help of a local attorney. But she also said Brazilian courts are notorious for pursuing cases such as Lochte’s if charges are filed and that authorities could use Interpol and other international organizations to complicate his overseas travel.

“I’m not saying his travel is going to be hindered right now or anything,’’ she said. “But it’s just going to be a nuisance for him. So he should just apologize and pay the fine and that’s it.’’


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Carmelo Anthony’s latest gold medal means more this time around

RIO DE JANEIRO – When it comes to the always-divided discussion about Carmelo Anthony, Jerry Colangelo is quite the weather vane.

Every few years, as his Team USA men’s basketball program ramps up and starts building a roster worthy of Olympic gold, he reconnects with the New York Knicks star who has been analyzed from every angle for so many years. Anthony has put on the USA jersey an unprecedented for times for the Games, and he helped the Americans win gold three times.

But this one, which culminated with a 96-66 win over Serbia in the Rio finale and tears afterward for the 32-year-old who made this go-round bigger than basketball, was unlike any that came before.

“I think this was a coming-out party in terms of leadership for him,” Colangelo, Team USA's managing director, said. “I think that’s going to bode well for the Knicks, and for Carmelo going forward, and I want to just thank him for his great service to USA Basketball.”

So what was different?

“More mature,” Colangelo said. “I mean he was just – ‘Melo was a different kind of a guy. He had been around the track a few times. He wasn’t sure he was going to do it, and I think in retrospect he’s happy he did.”

No matter what happens with Anthony next, no one can take away what he did these past few months. He spoke up when there were sensitive racial issues to be discussed. It started with a passionate post on Instagram in the wake of the Dallas shootings in early July and continued with a townhall meeting in Los Angeles where he made it clear that action – not just words – were needed to try and spark change. He saw the ripple effect from there, with other NBA stars following suit in a productive, meaningful way.

But the basketball part of it all mattered, too. As Anthony explained in his NBC interview afterward, that’s why this gold medal meant so much. Silly as it might sound in the grand scheme of things, this was no time for some of the Americans’ most high-profile athletes to stumble on the worldwide stage. And with his contemporaries such as LeBron James, Chris Paul, and so many others having bowed out of these Games, it fell on Anthony to help see that part through, too.

“Despite everything that’s going on right now in our country, we’ve got to be united,” Anthony said on the telecast. “I’m glad I did what I did. I stepped up to the challenge. But this is what it’s about, representing our country on the biggest stage that you can be on.

“America will be great again. I believe that. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s one step at a time, and I’m glad we represented in the fashion that we did.”

It didn’t hurt that the old man in the group played pretty well, too.

Anthony, whose gold medals mean as much to him as the NBA title he will keep chasing, saved the day in a 98-88 win over Australia in group play. The Aussies were the first of many teams to push this 2016 version of Team USA, but Anthony’s 31 points (including nine three-pointers) ensured their winning streak (now at 53 games in FIBA play) would continue. Considering he scored a combined 36 points in subsequent wins over Serbia, France, Argentina and Spain, the Australia performance was his one shining moment on the floor.

But his value went beyond the box score. He was the only one who had been there when the Americans took bronze in the 2004 Athens Games, a result that still haunts them . He was the only one there when they took bronze again at the 2006 FIBA World Championships in Japan, too, the final failure before it all turned around under Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski. On this team that was lacking continuity, with only him and Kevin Durant part of the 2012 Olympics among the roster of 12, Anthony was a crucial aberration. And, as Colangelo sees it, a changed man.

“He has given a lot of service to USA Basketball,” Colangelo said. “Think about it. Four times? And to be able to win three times? It just says a lot about his character, and the fact that he had the success that he had with our program makes it even that much better… He’s been terrific. I can’t say enough about what he’s done for USA Basketball.”

Source:USA Today

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Uncertain future for baby born in US with Zika-related complications

(CNN)Throughout her pregnancy, Maria Mendoza, who currently lives in Miami, anguished about her baby's health.

Would little Micaela be OK even though Maria had contracted the Zika virus when she was three months pregnant?
Her ultrasounds looked fine and Maria and her husband, Omar, were relieved when Micaela appeared healthy at birth, just like their three older children.
But then the day before she was to be discharged, doctors told the Mendozas that Micaela would have to stay in the hospital because an MRI had found calcifications in her brain.
They were stunned.
"I cried a lot," Maria said. "It was terrible."
The calcifications were the scarring left when Zika had infected Micaela's brain and destroyed tissue while she was still in the womb.
"Doctors wouldn't say a lot because they were doing a bunch of tests," Maria said. "It was terrible, and the fear is still there."

The sinister nature of Zika

Micaela is among the first babies to be born in the United States with Zika-related complications.
Doctors are learning that some problems, such as having microcephaly, or a very small head, are relatively easy to spot during pregnancy or shortly after birth. But other, more subtle problems such as brain calcifications can be more difficult to catch.
And it's hard to know what these more subtle complications will mean for a child later in life.
"There's a lot we don't know about Zika," said Dr. Marcelo Laufer, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami who has evaluated Micaela. "We have more questions than answers."
When Zika attacks a fetus' brain, it can cause intellectual disabilities as well as vision and hearing problems, he said.
Micaela has abnormalities in her retinas because of the virus, but her mother says doctors told her it shouldn't cause any vision problems.
There's more uncertainty about what the brain calcifications will mean for her future.
While other viruses, such as herpes and cytomegalovirus, can also affect a fetus' brain, it's hard to draw parallels to Zika, according to Dr. Gary Clark, chief of neurology at Texas Children's Hospital.
"Different viruses have different patterns of brain calcification -- it's a response of the brain to that particular pathogen," Clark said.
"This is a whole new ballgame, and we're going to have to see what happens with Zika," he added. "But you do have to be worried."

Micaela's story

When Maria developed a fever and rash in December in her native Venezuela, Zika wasn't the first thing doctors thought of, considering the virus had appeared just months before in Latin America.
Maria Mendoza pregnant in Miami.
When they determined later that it was Zika, they told the Mendozas not to worry, as it wouldn't affect her unborn child.
But then the Mendozas saw a story on CNN about the link between Zika and microcephaly, and she urged her physicians to monitor her baby.
They did, and everything looked fine, but her doctors told her she could choose to terminate the pregnancy given the uncertainties about Zika.
"It was my decision to have her or not," she said. "It was a matter of waiting and asking God and the Virgin (Mary) that everything would be OK. And that's what we did."
But it wasn't easy.
"It was a very stressful situation, a lot of anguish, weeks of waiting without knowing if she was going to develop as a baby the way she was supposed to normally," she added.
Maria said she often travels with her husband for his business, and joined him in Miami while seven months pregnant.
Ultrasounds there showed the baby was fine.
She said that made it all the more difficult to learn of the brain calcifications when Micaela was a few days old.
Maria Mendoza massages her daughter Micaela's hands during a session of occupational therapy.
Micaela is now starting physical and occupational therapy several times a week, and Maria does therapy for her at home, doing exercises to encourage her baby to develop good head control and relaxed muscles.
She said she felt relieved when doctors told her that with the therapy and constant monitoring, they expect Micaela will be okay.
"The future is uncertain," she said. "But we stay positive."
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Getting Rid Of Spider Veins Without Surgery?

BEVERLY HILLS (HH) - A recent discovery is leaving beauty insiders speechless—while giving women new hope in the fight against an all-too-common sign of aging.

Earlier this month, renowned plastic surgeons, Drs. John Layke and Payman Danielpour, announced they would soon be revealing a breakthrough, that would allow people to remove the look of embarrassing dark veins—without surgery or lasers.

Traditionally, spider veins (the red, blue, or purple lines that show up on our legs, face, and other areas, as we get older) could only be treated with assistance from a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist.

But Dr. Layke stated that their new technique would produce the same results, without the pain of surgery or high cost of laser treatments—yet was so simple, people could use it in the privacy of their own home.

At first, the announcement was understandably met with skepticism from industry experts. Drs. Layke and Danielpour have been leaders in anti-aging innovation for years, but a breakthrough of this magnitude had never been achieved before.

Not to mention, visible veins are one of the biggest concerns for women over 35, so it seemed unusual for plastic surgeons to invest in a solution that would potentially cause them to lose a large portion of their in-office clients.

But disbelief quickly turned into astonishment, after Dr. Layke finally revealed their breakthrough ‘do-it-yourself’ solution to the public late last week. The vein-banishing technique is detailed in a free online video (which went viral within 24 hours of its release).

In the report, Dr. Layke presents the science behind this game-changing discovery. And more importantly, he actually shows viewers how they can use it to quickly achieve a vein-free appearance on their own.

With the evidence laid out, even former skeptics now find it hard to question Dr. Layke’s unusual new approach, or the results it delivers.

Monica Brennan, a beauty consultant based in Hollywood, CA, not only watched the video—she tried using the technique herself.

“I saw a difference almost immediately. I used to have very prominent spider veins on my cheeks, and even darker ones on my legs,” Brennan recalls.

“But (Dr. Layke’s method) worked better than anything I’ve ever tried. I couldn’t believe it at first, but now I’m recommending it to all of my clients.”

The question of why Drs. Layke and Danielpour decided to let the world in on something most plastic surgeons would want to remain a secret, has been answered as well. When we reached out to Dr. Layke for comment, he explained that doctors should never keep important findings from the public.

“When I know there is an effective solution to a problem that affects so many people, I feel compelled to report it. I don’t worry about the bottom line.” Dr. Layke said.

The video has been up for less than a week, so despite its initial success, some skincare experts, like Michael Ortega, still urge viewers to maintain reasonable expectations.

“We don’t know if these results will be permanent or if they’ll require routine maintenance. It’s a simple technique, but may need to be used on a regular basis. We also don’t know if it’s going to work for 100% of people who try it,” says Ortega.

“But if does, it’s going to save a lot of people from the embarrassment of dark veins— which is what really matters. It’ll also save people a whole lot of money…and that doesn’t hurt either.”

If you’ve ever struggled with the appearance of ‘unsightly’ dark veins, you can watch Dr. Layke’s presentation below, to determine if his unusual at-home technique will work for you.

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Doctors remove 40 knives from man's stomach in India

New Delhi (CNN)A man in India spent two months swallowing knives and had 40 of them surgically removed from his stomach, according to the doctor who led the operation.

"He had a wild urge to consume metal. Even for us, the experienced surgeons, it was frightening," Dr. Jatinder Malhotra told CNN.
"We were so nervous... a small mistake could have taken the patient's life. In my 20 years of practice, I have never seen anything like it."
Malhotra said it took his team about two days to form a diagnosis and surgery plan.
The five-hour operation took place Friday in the northern Indian city of Amritsar, a Sikh holy city in the state of Punjab.
Malhotra said they found foldable knives, which when fully extended were about seven inches long.
"He [the patient] says he swallowed some knives folded, and some unfolded. When we took out the knives -- some were found folded, some were open, and some had even started rusting and were broken," Malhotra said.
The patient, a 42-year-old father of two, told CNN he's feeling much better.
"I'm sorry I let my family down. I'll be forever thankful to doctors and hospital staff for saving my life," he said.
Malhotra says the patient is now "out of danger" and is set to be discharged in a couple of days.
He won't be discharged until he's cleared by psychiatrists, which is set to happen in a couple of days, two doctors at the hospital told CNN.

'Try spinach'

But the big question remains -- why did he start eating knives?
"I don't know why I used to swallow knives," the patient told CNN. "I just enjoyed its taste and I was addicted ... how people get addicted to alcohol and other things, my situation was similar."
Malhotra believes the patient has a very rare mental disorder that most likely has not been published in any international medical journal.
The patient is currently under the continuous supervision of the hospital's in-house psychiatric team and will soon be visited by independent mental health experts, doctors said.
The patient told doctors that he has no idea why he started eating knives but that he "developed a taste for metal" and "loved the way blades tasted."
The patient even managed to keep his habit secret from his family, according to Malhotra.
Now, Malhotra says, the patient claims he won't even touch a knife anymore.
"I will never do such acts ever again," the patient said. "I'm a new person now."
If the urge does strike, Malhotra and his team gave him some advice -- "we told him if you ever feel like you need more iron in your body, try spinach."
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Doctors face medical marijuana knowledge gap

Medical marijuana has been legal in Maine for almost 20 years. But Farmington physician Jean Antonucci says she continues to feel unprepared when counseling sick patients about whether the drug could benefit them.

Will it help my glaucoma? Or my chronic pain? My chemotherapy's making me nauseous, and nothing's helped. Is cannabis the solution? Patients hope Antonucci, 62, can answer those questions. But she said she is still "completely in the dark."
Antonucci doesn't know whether marijuana is the right way to treat an ailment, what amount is an appropriate dose, or whether a patient should smoke it, eat it, rub it through an oil or vaporize it. Like most doctors, she was never trained to have these discussions. And, because the topic still is not usually covered in medical school, seasoned doctors, as well as younger ones, often consider themselves ill-equipped.
Even though she tries to keep up with the scientific literature, Antonucci said, "it's very difficult to support patients but not know what you're saying."
As the number of states allowing medical marijuana grows -- the total has reached 25 plus the District of Columbia -- some are working to address this knowledge gap with physician training programs. States are beginning to require doctors to take continuing medical education courses that detail how marijuana interacts with the nervous system and other medications, as well as its side effects.
Though laws vary, they have common themes. They usually set up a process by which states establish marijuana dispensaries, where patients with qualifying medical conditions can obtain the drug. The conditions are specified on a state-approved list. And the role of doctors is often to certify that patients have one of those ailments. But many say that, without knowing cannabis' health effects, even writing a certification makes them uncomfortable.
"We just don't know what we don't know. And that's a concern," said Wanda Filer, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a practicing doctor in Pennsylvania.
This medical uncertainty is complicated by confusion over how to navigate often contradictory laws. While states generally involve physicians in the process by which patients obtain marijuana, national drug policies have traditionally had a chilling effect on these conversations.
The Federation of State Medical Boards has tried to add clarity. In an Aug. 9 JAMA editorial, leaders noted that federal law technically prohibits prescribing marijuana, and tasks states that allow it for medical use to "implement strong and effective ... enforcement systems to address any threat those laws could pose to public safety, public health, and other interests." If state regulation is deemed insufficient, the federal government can step in.
That's why many doctors say they feel caught in the middle, not completely sure of where the line is now drawn between legal medical practice and what could get them in trouble.
In New York (PDF), which legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes in 2014, the state health department rolled out a certification program last October. (The state's medical marijuana program itself launched in January 2016.) The course, which lasts about four hours and costs $249, is part of a larger physician registration process. So far, the state estimates 656 physicians have completed the required steps. Other states have contacted New York's Department of Health to learn how the training works.
Pennsylvania and Ohio are also developing similar programs. Meanwhile in Massachusetts, doctors who wish to participate in the state medical marijuana program are required to take courses approved by the American Medical Association. Maryland doesn't require training but encourages it through its Medical Cannabis Commission website, a policy also followed in some other states.
Physicians appear to welcome such direction. A 2013 study in Colorado (PDF), for instance, found more than 80 percent of family doctors thought physicians needed medical training before recommending marijuana.
But some advocates worry that doctors may find these requirements onerous and opt out, which would in turn thwart patients' access to the now-legal therapy, said Ellen Smith, a board member of the U.S. Pain Foundation, which favors expanded access to medical cannabis.
Education is essential, given the complexity of how marijuana interacts with the body and how little physicians know, said Stephen Corn, an associate professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Harvard Medical School. Corn also co-founded The Answer Page, a medical information website that provides educational content to the New York program, as well as a similar Florida initiative. The company, one of a few groups to offer teachings on medical marijuana, is also bidding to supply information for the Pennsylvania program, Corn said.
"You need a multi-hour course to learn where the medical cannabis works within the body," Corn said. "As a patient, would you want a doctor blindly recommending something without knowing how it's going to interact with your other medications? What to expect from it? What not to expect?"
But many say the science is too weak to answer these questions.
One reason: the federal Drug Enforcement Agency classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug, the same level as heroin. This classification makes it more difficult for researchers to gain access to the drug and to gain approval for human subjects to participate in studies. The White House rejected a petition this past week to reclassify the drug in a less strict category, though federal authorities say they will start letting more facilities grow marijuana for the purpose of research. (Currently, only the University of Mississippi can produce it, which advocates say limits study.)
From a medical standpoint, the lack of information is troubling, Filer said.
"Typically, when we're going to prescribe something, you've got data that shows safety and efficacy," she said. With marijuana, the body of research doesn't match what many doctors are used to for prescription drugs.
Still, Corn said, doctors appear pleased with the state training sessions. More than 80 percent of New York doctors who have taken his course said they changed their practice in response to what they learned.
But even now, whenever Corn speaks with doctors about medical marijuana, people ask him how they can learn more about the drug's medical properties and about legal risks. Those two concerns, he said, likely reduce the number of doctors comfortable with and willing to discuss marijuana's place in medicine, even if it's allowed in their states.
Though others say this circumstance is starting to ease, doctors like Jean Antonucci in Maine continue to struggle to figure out how marijuana can fit into safe and compassionate medicine. "You just try and be careful — and learn as much as you can about a patient, and try to do no harm," she said.
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Scallops recalled after hundreds of people contract hepatitis A

(CNN)Sea Port Products Corp is voluntarily recalling a batch of its scallops after at least 206 people became sick with hepatitis A, prompting an investigation by the US Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease control and Prevention.

The federal agencies are assisting the Hawaii Department of Health, which reported the cases on August 17.
The cases are linked to raw scallops. Of those who contracted hepatitis A, 51 were hospitalized. All the cases involve adults.
Hepatitis A is a liver disease that can cause severe stomach pains, dark jaundice and fatigue. If someone has a weak immune system it can also cause liver failure and death.
People typically get hepatitis A after eating food that has been contaminated with fecal matter from a person who has the infection. Symptoms can show up in 15 to 50 days.
The scallops were not for sale in stores. They were supplied to restaurants and other commercial groups by Sea Port Products Corp. The company voluntarily recalled the scallops that were distributed to Hawaii, Nevada and California. The FDA is working with the company to make sure the products are pulled off shelves, according to the FDA website.
The scallops were produced on November 23 and 24, 2015.
On August 17 the federal agencies and the Hawaiian Department of Health told Sea Port Products that tests confirmed their product was positive for hepatitis A and that they were the likely source of the outbreak.
The FDA suggests customers who would like to eat scallops in the states where the recall is in effect should ask the restaurant where the scallops come from.
As with any question about food safety, the FDA has an information line: 1-888-SAFEFOOD. It's open Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET.
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5 Ways to Cook Cauliflower

Rice it, mash it, roast it, blend it… the opportunities are endless! Learn how to cook cauliflower with these five kitchen techniques. 

how to cook cauliflower-steaks-HelloFresh

Cauliflower is the unsung hero of the vegetable world, often overshadowed by its colorful and more commonly known counterpart: broccoli. However, over the past year or so, this humble vegetable has made a triumphant comeback and asserted its rightful spot in the cabbage family. (And not to brag or anything, but we totally called it back in 2014 when predicting it would become the next kale.)

With a sweet and slightly bitter flavor, cauliflower (aka “cabbage flower”) boasts impressive anticancer, antioxidant, antibiotic, and antiviral characteristics. But its real claim to fame? Versatility.

We put this creamy white vegetable to the test by blending, chopping, mashing, roasting, baking, and grilling it. The results may just surprise you.

How to cook cauliflower:

1. Cauliflower Rice

how to cook cauliflower-rice-HelloFresh

You know those healthy takes on traditional dishes that end up tasting like cardboard and leaving you begging for the original? Well, cauliflower rice is not one of those.

It’s a surprisingly delicious and easy way to sneak more veggies into your diet without sacrificing rice’s beloved texture and consistency.

All you have to do is place cauliflower chunks in a food processor and pulse until broken down into rice-sized grains. Drizzle some oil or butter in a large skillet, stir in the “rice,” and season with salt and pepper. Cover and let cook for six to eight minutes before fluffing with a fork. We love to toss in fresh herbs for a pop of color, but feel free to dress it up however you want – or leave it as is, that works too!

2. Cauliflower Soup

how to cook cauliflower-soup-HelloFresh

Cauliflower combines well with other ingredients, which means it’s the perfect addition to chilled or warm soups.

Although we may be getting ahead of ourselves here with fall flavors, the combination of nutty roasted cauliflower, creamy coconut milk, a touch of coriander, and a kick of cilantro is too good to ignore. And it’s easy, too! Get the recipe for our deliciously earthy soup.

3. Cauliflower Steak

how to cook cauliflower-steak-HelloFresh

Let cauliflower take center stage at your next dinner by whipping up this veggie-centric dish. With a hearty texture, golden sear, and guiltless bite, it gives meat a run for its money.

Cut a whole cauliflower vertically into four steaks. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on a baking sheet. Roast in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, flipping once, until tender and golden brown on the edges.

For a burst of flavor, serve the “steak” on a bed of herbed bulgur, top it with creamy Tzatziki, and sprinkle on some crunchy pepitas.

4. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

how to cook cauliflower-mac-and-cheese-HelloFresh

We know what you’re thinking… comfort food with veggies? Is that even possible?

It absolutely is. Cut cauliflower into bite-sized florets and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and tender. Then, toss into a baking dish with pasta, creamy cheese sauce, scallions, and even a bit of pancetta if you’re feeling fancy. The vegetable lends a great flavor to this American classic while contributing a mighty nutritional boost.

5. Cauliflower Mash

how to cook cauliflower-mash-HelloFresh

Cauliflower mash has the same comforting and creamy (read: dreamy) allure as starchy mashed potatoes. The only difference? It won’t sabotage your waistline. In fact, cauliflower is three times less carb-heavy and caloric as potatoes.

To create this winning side dish, bring a large pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets before adding them to the water. Cook until tender (about 8-10 minutes), drain, and return to the pot. Using a potato masher or a fork, mash the cauliflower in the pot until it’s as smooth as possible. Place over low heat and add butter, milk, and herbs.

We’ve got a feeling you’re going to love pairing cauliflower mash with pork sausage and onion gravy.

You know what cauliflower pairs well with no matter how it’s prepared? Turmeric. Get all the details about this super spice and start cooking!

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Wells Fargo to pay $4 million for illegal student loan fees

Wells Fargo will pay $4 million after the government found it charged some of its student loan borrowers illegal late fees.

The bank agreed to pay a penalty of $3.6 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, according to the settlement agreement.


It also must set aside $410,000 to refund customers who were hit with illegal fees, which occurred between 2010 and 2013.

Wells Fargo (WFC) is one of the biggest private student loan lenders in the country and currently has about 1.3 million student loan customers.

Families typically turn to private lenders after a student has maxed out on federal government loans and still needs help footing the college bill. Federal loans typically carry lower interest rates than private loans, offer more consumer protections, and are available to all students regardless of their family's financial situation.

he bank charged illegal late fees to certain customers who made payments on the last day of their grace period, the CFPB said. Borrowers typically get a six-month grace period after leaving school before they have to start repaying their loans.

The agency also found that for some borrowers with multiple loans, Wells Fargo processed payments in a way that maximized late fees.

Illegally charged fees, the agency said, were sometimes never refunded and the incorrect information sent to credit reporting agencies was never updated.

Wells Fargo said it has already stopped those practices. And some fees were charged due to a "system coding error" that has been corrected, it told the agency.

"Today's consent order with the CFPB resolves three areas of concern cited by the Bureau (CFPB) related to legacy payment procedures that were retired or improved many years ago, and addresses the impact to a small number of customers," the company said.

Wells Fargo isn't the first student loan lender to be slapped with a penalty by the CFPB. A year ago, Discover had to pay a $2.5 million penalty and refund $16 million to customers for illegal student loan practices.

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Bill Gates is now worth $90 billion

Next stop $100 billion?

Bill Gates' net worth has crossed the $90 billion threshold, according to a real-time rankings from Bloomberg's Billionaire Index.


Gates' net worth climbed not because of any stock rise at Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30), but because of jumps in the shares of Canadian National Railway (CNI) Company and Ecolab (ECL), two smaller companies in which he has holdings.

He's well ahead of Amancio Ortega, the Spanish retailer who is the world's second richest man. Ortega's fortune is $76 billion.

Forbes, which also tracks billionaires' wealth, estimates Gates' net worth at a more modest $78.7 billion. Forbes also says that Gates' net worth briefly topped $100 billion back in 1999, back before the federal antitrust case decision against Microsoft that year and the bursting of the tech bubble in early 2000.

According to Bloomberg, Gates' net worth is up $6.2 billion so far this year, but that's only the fourth biggest gain among billionaires on the index.

Related: Jeff Bezo passes Warren Buffett to become third richest person

Facebook (FB, Tech30) founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has enjoyed an $8.9 billion jump in his net worth, while Harold Hamm, CEO of shale oil producer Continental Resources (CLR), has seen his net worth more than double. Hamm's fortune gained $7 billion, lifting his net worth to $13 billion.

Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) CEO Jeff Bezos' net worth rose $6.5 billion this year. He is now virtually tied with Warren Buffett for third place on the ranking of world's richest men.


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Kobe Bryant reveals his $100 million venture capital fund

Kobe Bryant has revealed that while he was dominating play on the basketball court, he was also quietly building a $100 million venture capital firm.

Bryant's Wall Street secret went public Monday when the former Los Angeles Laker rang the New York Stock Exchange bell and told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" about his three-year-old venture.


Bryant, who retired from the NBA this year, said that investing is one of his passions. "This is where it's at for me," he said.

The $100 million venture-capital fund was co-founded in 2013 by Jeff Stibel, a serial entrepreneur, scientist and author. Stibel currently serves as the vice chairman of Dun & Bradstreet, and was previously the president and CEO of, Inc.

The lag time allowed the fund to stand on its own merit, rather than on the celebrity of its founders. "We wanted our body of work, and the entrepreneurs and companies, to stand for themselves," Stibel told CNNMoney. "We wanted to prove that this was something that had substance and depth."

Bryant Stibel has already invested in 15 companies and been involved in 50 transactions. The group's current portfolio includes Derek Jeter's media company The Player's Tribune, home juicing firm Juicero, and the Chinese online retailer Alibaba.

Bryant and Stibel are listed as general partners, and Stibel says they are mostly responsible for that $100 million fund. Bryant Stibel's core team, made up of a small group of individual investors Stibel has worked with previously, contributed the rest.

Bryant's role in the fund was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The future Hall of Famer's interest in business has been well documented. Speaking on an episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast that was published in April, "Shark Tank" star and venture capitalist Chris Sacca discussed Bryant's entrepreneurial ambitions.

Sacca said that Bryant reached out to him a few years ago to learn more about the industry. Sacca recommended Bryant learn about investing through Ted Talks, other videos and articles -- and was surprised when he did. "He was bringing the same obsessive work ethic to learning about startups that he does to training... This is a very unique personality type that I only kind of see in some of our very best entrepreneurs," Sacca said.

On "Squawk on the Street," Bryant said he hopes his legacy will be for investing, rather than basketball.

"Playing basketball, the focus is always on winning -- winning championships, winning championships, winning championships," Bryant said. "Now, championships come and go... But if you really want to create something that lasts generations, you have to help inspire the next generation... That's when you create something forever. And that's what's most beautiful."

Of Bryant, Stibel told CNNMoney, "We are very much equal partners." He specified, however, that their roles differ. "Kobe focuses on leadership, inspiration, storytelling," while Stibel primarily handles "operations, strategic directions for companies," and growth.

According to its website, Bryant Stibel aims to invest in technology, media and data companies with a focus on those in the sports and wellness fields.

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Experts: New Clinton State Dept. emails show donor ‘access,’ not ‘favors’

Although a conservative group investigating Hillary Clinton’s relationship with donors to the Clinton Foundation maintains that newly released emails prove she granted special “access” and “favors,” during her State Department tenure, nonpartisan experts say that Judicial Watch is right about the former but has not yet proven the latter.

Their insights are important as the Clinton Foundation, the family’s charity, becomes a crucial flash point in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Clinton's Republican challenger, Donald Trump, is accusing the Democratic Party's nominee of “pay to play.” It's a narrative sure to continue after Trump hired a Republican operative, Steve Bannon, who wrote a documentary alleging the Clintons got rich from their connections with big business and foreign governments.

Judicial Watch, which obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request, released 725 pages of documents Monday, including 20 exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department. It alleges Clinton’s former top aide, Huma Abedin, provided “special expedited access to the secretary of State” for donors who had contributed from $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. Many of the exchanges involve former top Foundation executive Doug Band.

“These new emails confirm that Hillary Clinton abused her office by selling favors to Clinton Foundation donors,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.

According to experts, the emails confirm donors were gaining access to Clinton, yet there is no evidence she granted them special favors, an important distinction that may determine how damaging the controversy is to Clinton’s campaign.

“These emails show that there was a long line of Clinton Foundation friends who had no qualms about asking the Clinton State Department for meetings, favors, and special treatment,” said Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, or POGO. “Not shocking, but it is disappointing that there were such blurred lines between State Department officials and outsiders. I see little action on these latest requests, but I think further investigation is needed.”

“It’s not clear from these emails what actually happened after most of this stuff,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan government oversight group. “That’s the missing piece of this puzzle.”

Here are the emails at issue, and the Clinton campaign’s response to them:

-- When Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain requested a 2009 meeting with Clinton, he was forced to go through the Clinton Foundation for an appointment until Band intervened. According to the Clinton Foundation website, Salman helped establish a scholarship program for CGI, and by 2010, it had contributed $32 million to the Clinton Global Initiative. According to the campaign, meeting with foreign leaders is, by definition, the role of the secretary of State and the meeting was arranged through official channels.

-- A 2009 exchange in which Band urged Abedin to get the agency to intervene in order to obtain a visa for members of a British football club, one of whose members was having difficulty because of a “criminal charge.” The campaign says the emails show no action was taken.

-- A 2009 meeting with SlimFast executive S. Daniel Abraham, who’d given between $5 million and $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. The campaign notes that Abraham was also head of the Center for Middle East Peace at the time and that the meeting had nothing to do with the foundation.

Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin said "Once again this right-wing organization that has been going after the Clintons since the 1990s is distorting facts to make utterly false attacks."

“No matter how this group tries to mischaracterize these documents, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton never took action as Secretary of State because of donations to the Clinton Foundation,” he said.

Judicial Watch’s charge that Clinton abused her office is also complicated by U.S. law, as determined by the Supreme Court in a 2014 case titled McCutcheon v FEC.  The court determined that placing aggregate limits on campaign contributions is not valid and does not prevent corruption. “Ingratiation and access are not corruption,” the court found.

In the case of the emails, “This is classic access and influence buying,” said McGehee, yet, according to the court, it’s not corruption. “They say this is just the way the system works,” she said. “They‘re saying spending large sums of money doesn’t give rise to quid pro-quo favors.” Instead, the court said the risk of corruption is cured by disclosure requirements, “which tells you how screwed up it is,” she said.

The emails also show that certain donors were frustrated by their inability to quickly pull strings. In June 2009, Joyce Aboussie, a St. Louis-based foundation contributor, seemed frustrated in her attempts to arrange a meeting between Clinton and an energy executive. “We need this meeting with Secretary Clinton, who has been there now for nearly six months,” she wrote.

The emails highlight a trend in which donors are increasingly attempting to influence government not through specific campaign contributions but through affiliated groups, said McGehee. Aboussie and Abraham are also among Clinton's campaign bundlers who've raised at least $100,000.

“Hopefully, this situation tips the scales in favor openness and accountability to ensure that our government isn't captured by those with money or access,” Amey said.

Source:USA Today

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Nigeria claims it killed Boko Haram leaders

The Nigerian military said Tuesday it had killed a number of senior leaders of the ruthless Boko Haram terrorist group and possibly the group's notorious commander.

The announcement came the same day U.S. Secretary to State John Kerry arrived in Nigeria for talks on how to combat militants in the West African nation, Africa's most populous.

"Their leader, so-called Abubakar Shekau, is believed to be fatally wounded on his shoulders," Nigerian military spokesman Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman said in a statement.

Usman also said three Boko Haram commanders — Abubakar Mubi, Malam Nuhu and Malam Hamman — were killed and several others wounded in airstrikes in the Sambisa Forest near the Cameroon border, Al Jazeera reported.

The military has made similar claims before, only to backtrack.

Boko Haram is based in the northeastern state of Borno, where it has conducted a series of violent terror attacks in its effort to establish strict islamic law. The group made international headlines two years ago when it kidnapped more than 200 girls from a school in Chibok. Earlier this month, the group claimed some of the girls had been injured in government airstrikes and that others had married Boko Haram fighters.

Shekau has led Boko Haram since 2009, although his grip was recently loosened after Islamic State leaders named an alternative leader for a Boko Haram splinter group. Shekau has denied losing any authority over the militants.

Kerry, visiting the cities of Sokoto and Abuja, is meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss counterterrorism efforts, the Nigerian economy, the fight against corruption and human rights issues.

In Sokoto, Kerry will deliver a speech on the importance of resilient communities and religious tolerance in countering violent extremism. In Abuja, the Secretary will meet with a group of adolescent girls working to change community perceptions that devalue the role of girls in society. Kerry also will meet with northern governors and religious leaders.

Nigeria's 184 million population is almost evenly split between Muslims, who are dominant in the north, and Christians who represent a majority in the south.

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Judge in Texas blocks Obama transgender bathroom rules

WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Texas has sided with school districts opposing the Obama administration's directive on transgender bathrooms, temporarily blocking the directive just before on the first day of school in Texas Monday. 

The ruling prevents the U.S. Department of Education from implementing guidance that required school districts to allow transgender students to choose which restroom and locker facilities to use.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor's 38-page order said federal agencies exceeded their authority under the 1972 law banning sex discrimination in schools. The injunction applies nationwide, and follows a number of other recent court rulings against transgender students and employees.

The Texas ruling, issued late Sunday, turned on the congressional intent behind Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which requires that "facilities provided for students of one sex shall be comparable to such facilities provided for students of the other sex."

"It cannot be disputed that the plain meaning of the term sex" in that law "meant the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth," the judge wrote. "Without question, permitting educational institutions to provide separate housing to male and female students, and separate educational instruction concerning human sexuality, was to protect students’ personal privacy, or discussion of their personal privacy, while in the presence of members of the opposite biological sex."

The judge also ruled that the guidance failed to follow the law requiring that it get input from the public before drafting new regulations, and suggested that the federal guidance could be implemented if the Department of Education conducts a more formal rule-making process.

And he emphasized that nothing in the law prohibits other states from requiring transgender facilities on their own. “Those states who do not want to be covered by this injunction can easily avoid doing so by state law,” he said. Other lawsuits by transgender students can also go forward, he said.

"This case presents the difficult issue of balancing the protection of students’ rights and that of personal privacy when using school bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other intimate facilities, while ensuring that no student is unnecessarily marginalized while attending school," wrote O'Connor, who was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2007 and sits in Fort Worth, Texas. "The sensitivity to this matter is heightened because defendants’ actions apply to the youngest child attending school and continues for every year throughout each child’s educational career."

The decision is at least the third legal setback for transgender rights in federal court this month. The U.S. Supreme Court blocked a lower court ruling requiring a Virginia school district to allow a biologically female transgender student to use the boy's restroom on Aug. 3. And last Thursday, a federal judge in Detroit upheld the firing of a transgender funeral home employee, ruling that "neither transgender status nor gender identity are protected classes" under anti-discrimination laws.

The Texas case was brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, who led a group of plaintiffs that included 12 other states and two school districts.

The plaintiffs argued that the Obama administration guidance came with the implicit threat that federal education funds could be withheld if school districts refused to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their chosen gender identity. The guidance also had implications for federal student privacy laws, threatening education officials with sanctions if they fail to address students by their preferred gender pronouns.

In a statement, Paxton praised the ruling as correcting "illegal federal overreach" by the Obama administration.

"This president is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people, and is threating to take away federal funding from schools to force them to conform," Paxton said. "That cannot be allowed to continue, which is why we took action to protect states and school districts, who are charged under state law to establish a safe and disciplined environment conducive to student learning.”

The Texas judge’s ruling came the day before the first day of classes for most Texas public schools.

Paul Castillo, a Dallas attorney for the gay rights group Lambda Legal, called the injunction a “bump in the road” and said the case will likely proceed to the federal district court in New Orleans and the U.S. Supreme Court, where it ultimately be resolved.

“Transgender students are already at high risk of harassment and being targeted for discrimination,” he said. “This decision is certainly indicative of the harm to transgender students who are simply seeking to be treated equally in all aspects of their education.”

U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said the Obama administration was disappointed in the decision and that "we are reviewing our options.”


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U.S. servicemember killed in Afghan fighting, Pentagon says

WASHINGTON — An American service member was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan, the first combat casualty there since January, the military announced.

The attack on a patrol with a roadside bomb occurred in Helmand province where Taliban forces have been gaining ground against Afghan government security forces. The U.S.-led NATO coalition bolstering Afghan troops have scrambled in recent days to keep them from losing Helmand province, the restive area home to many Taliban members.

Another U.S. service member and six Afghan troops were also wounded in the attack.

About 100 U.S. special operations forces were sent there Monday to train and advise Afghan forces who were struggling to control the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters Monday that Gen. John Nicholson, the top commander in Afghanistan, sent U.S. troops to Helmand on a temporary basis.

"Part of that effort will be again to reinforce them in areas, particularly in Afghanistan, where they have seen some setbacks, and Helmand’s one of them," Cook said.

Tuesday's attack remains under investigation, according to the military command in Afghanistan.

"On behalf of all of U.S. Forces – Afghanistan, as well as Resolute Support, our deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of those involved," Nicholson said in a statement.


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Texas teacher implements no-homework policy, the Internet rejoices

A second grade teacher's no-homework policy has gone viral, thanks to a student's mother posting about it on Facebook.

Last week, mom Samantha Gallagher posted a note on Facebook from her daughter's teacher reading: "After much research this summer, I'm trying something new. Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year."

Godley Elementary School teacher Brandy Young told parents research doesn't prove homework improves performance. So, she said, time after school is best spent eating dinner as a family, reading together, playing outside and getting children to bed early.

Gallagher said her daughter is "loving her new teacher already!" The post has more than 67,400 shares on Facebook and started a healthy conversation on Reddit: I wish this was the homework policy when I was in school.

The response has been overwhelmingly "supportive and positive," Gallagher said. "Many who have responded are educators themselves wanting info from Mrs. Young on how to go about implementing the policy themselves."

Hosburgh said her daughter had about an hour of homework each night in first grade.

“We plan on spending more time as a family unwinding and catching up in the evenings,” she said. “Also Brooke is interested in gymnastics and this will allow more time for that.”

The National PTA and the National Education Association recommends the maximum amount of homework (all subjects combined) should be 10 minutes or less per grade level per night. So, second grade students should have 20 minutes of homework per night.

Duke University Professor Harris M. Cooper, author of The Battle over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents, said short and simple homework assignments are necessary.

"A creative and thoughtful teacher can make reading with parents the homework assignment or go out and play, keep track of your batting average," Cooper said.

No homework is a "bad idea," he said, because homework creates good study habits and self-discipline. He said it also allows parents to monitor their children's progress.

"Homework is a lot like medication," he said. "If you’re taking too much, it can kill you. If you take too little, it has no effect."

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Obama to tour Louisiana amid criticism that he's late

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama will touch down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tuesday to tour the flood-ravaged city that quickly became a political football.

Obama is set to see firsthand the damage in the state's capital that has caused more than 106,000 residents and households to register for assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency. More than 60,000 homes were damaged, officials said, and 13 people were killed.
Given the financial and human cost that has already taken its toll, the President's visit is too late for some Republicans -- and some Louisianans.
The city's newspaper "The Advocate" originally criticized the President for not ending his vacation in Martha's Vineyard immediately to visit the region.
His reluctance to do so made for offensive optics in the eyes of some Republicans: Obama enjoying rounds of golf with comedians like Larry David and basketball stars like Alonzo Mourning, while a state thousands of miles away faced devastation.
But the editorial board praised his decision to arrive Tuesday.
"We welcome news of President Barack Obama's planned visit to Louisiana today to survey flood damage, which should help to advance relief and recovery in the disaster area as a national priority," the editorial board wrote.
"Beyond the powerful symbolism of a presidential visit, much substantive work remains to be done after Obama leaves town, and the scale of the catastrophe argues for a sustained federal role in making the region whole."
However Trump, who visited the state shortly after the floods, called Obama's visit "too late."
"Tuesday's too late," Donald Trump, told Fox News this weekend. "Hop into the plane and go down and go to Louisiana and see what's going on, because it's a mess."
That's exactly what Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, did late last week as part of a visit meant to fill what they saw as a leadership vacuum. The Republican ticket toured the flood damage, met with church groups, and distributed supplies at a nearby high school. The visit was well-received by local officials, and for a moment it gave Trump a chance to reveal a presidential timber that he insists he has.
"Because it helped to shine a spotlight on Louisiana and on the dire situation that we have here, it was helpful," said John Bel Edwards, the state's Democratic governor.
Edwards had previously said that he hoped Obama would wait a few weeks before making his visit to the state, given the entourage and Secret Service personnel that comes with presidential trips that would have strained resources while officials were coping with the floods.
Baton Rouge's city newspaper last week had called on Obama to cut his vacation short.
"A disaster this big begs for the personal presence of the President at ground zero," read a editorial in The Advocate on Thursday, a day before the Obama trip was announced. "The President's presence is already late to the crisis, but it's better latter than never."
Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic opponent, said Monday that she too plans a trip to the flood site -- but used similar reasoning to delay her trip. Her campaign said in a statement that she would come to the state at an unspecified time in the future.
"This month's floods in Louisiana are a crisis that demand a national response," she said. "I am committed to visiting communities affected by these floods, at a time when the presence of a political campaign will not disrupt the response, to discuss how we can and will rebuild together."
Obama's vacation ended Sunday, and the White House has maintained that he has been regularly briefed by senior staff on the situation on the ground and top administration officials also were sent to the Louisiana. Yet his response has earned some comparisons to how George W. Bush handled another natural catastrophe in a Louisiana city, New Orleans, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Obama has traveled to disaster sites in recent years, touring communities in Oklahoma and Arkansas destroyed by tornadoes along with New Jersey towns hit by Hurricane Sandy.
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Japan eyes fiercer fighter jets to counter China

TOKYO -- Japan's Defense Ministry is likely to request a budgetary allocation so the country's air force, which is responding more frequently to Chinese provocations, can load more missiles on its F-15 fighter jets, sources said.

The ministry wants to double the number of air-to-air missiles to be loaded on the mainstay jets, operated by the Air Self-Defense Force. It also plans to lengthen the jets' lifespans.


The ministry would like the money to be allocated in the budget for the fiscal year beginning in April.

There has been a surge in the number of Chinese warplanes as well as increased Chinese provocations in waters around the Senkaku Islands, in the southernmost Japanese prefecture of Okinawa. China also claims the islands, calling them the Diaoyu.

The ministry appears to want to counter China's moves by both souping up existing jets and introducing next-generation fighters.

The ASDF owns 200 F-15s, fourth-generation fighter jets made by Boeing, the U.S. aerospace and defense company.

The ministry plans to double the number of missiles each jet can carry to 16. It also plans to repair damaged wings and other parts to extend operating life.

The ASDF has been scrambling jets more often in response to Chinese maneuvers. It did so 199 times from April through June, a 75% increase from the same period last year.

Recently, Chinese jets have been flying further south, near the contested islands. "As the cruising range of Chinese military aircraft has gotten longer, they are coming ever closer to our territories," a Japanese Defense Ministry official said.

In January, the ASDF transferred its squadron at the Tsuiki air base in Fukuoka Prefecture, southern Japan, to a base in Naha, Okinawa, nearly doubling the number of F-15s there to 40. Were China to send a big squadron into Japanese airspace, Tokyo would need to respond with both quality and quantity.

Japan eyes fiercer fighter jets to counter China

At the end of fiscal 2017, the ASDF is to deploy fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighters that are hard to detect by radar. But the first F-35s will be deployed at the Misawa base in Aomori Prefecture, at the northern tip of Japan's main island. The U.S. Air Force shares the base, and the ASDF plans to first work on joint pilot training and maintenance cooperation with the U.S. before putting the jets in operation in tenser areas.

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Trump: No legal status for undocumented immigrants

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump ruled out Thursday a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants in the United States, walking back comments he made earlier this week in which he appeared open to the idea.

But the Republican nominee declined in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper to clarify whether he would still forcibly deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US -- a major tenet of his immigration platform -- after he suggested this week he was "softening" on the idea.
"There's no path to legalization unless they leave the country," Trump said after an event in Manchester, New Hampshire. "When they come back in, then they can start paying taxes, but there is no path to legalization unless they leave the country and then come back."
Trump said that on his first day in office, he would authorize law enforcement to actively deport "bad dudes," such as those who have committed crimes, which he said numbered "probably millions." But he declined to flatly say whether he would round up other undocumented immigrants, stressing that once the initial deportations occur, "then we can talk."
"There is a very good chance the answer could be yes," Trump said when asked if he would deport those who have lived here peacefully but without papers. "We're going to see what happens."
Trump's comments are the latest turn in a now-daily recalibration of his position on immigration, which Trump said he would crystallize in a speech next week. During the primary, Trump advocated unequivocally for deporting undocumented immigrants, and the shifts he has hinted at would be a highly-scrutinized flip on a trademark issue.
Trump had said earlier this week that he would be open to a "softening" on immigration, and made a series of comments that indicated a path to legalization was likely as long as they paid taxes accumulated from their time living here illegally. Yet Trump now seems to be reverting to his original plan -- one derided as a "touchback" policy in which those without proper papers must return home before re-entering the country.
Yet it was now unclear to what length Trump would go to execute those deportations.
"It's a process. You can't take 11 at one time and just say 'boom, you're gone,'" he told Cooper, floating the idea that as many as 30 million people could be living here illegally, a projection well beyond most analysts' figures. "I don't think it's a softening. I've had people say it's a hardening, actually."
On Wednesday, Trump suggested he would allow exceptions to let some undocumented immigrants to stay in the US, vowing he wouldn't grant them citizenship but telling Fox News, "there's no amnesty, but we work with them."
Trump continued: "No citizenship. Let me go a step further -- they'll pay back-taxes, they have to pay taxes, there's no amnesty, as such, there's no amnesty, but we work with them," Trump told Sean Hannity when asked if he would allow for exceptions to his long-held position.
At the same event with Hannity, Trump, who over the weekend met with Hispanic advisers, said about his immigration policies: "There could certainly be a softening because we're not looking to hurt people."
Clinton's campaign called Trump's plan "dangerous" in a statement Thursday night.
"He may try to disguise his plans by throwing in words like "humane" or " fair," but the reality remains that Trump's agenda echoes the extreme right's will -- one that is fueling a dangerous movement of hatred across the country," Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said.

Calls Clinton a 'bigot'

Trump also defended calling Clinton a "bigot," arguing that her policies are a personal reflection because she knows they are destined to fail minority communities.
Trump and Clinton are each portraying the other as discriminatory toward African-Americans, with Trump charging on Wednesday evening that the candidate herself was hateful. Pushed by Cooper if Trump meant to make a personal argument about Clinton as opposed to a policy argument, Trump doubled down.
"She is a bigot," he said. "She is selling them down the tubes because she's not doing anything for those communities. She talks a good game. But she doesn't do anything."
Asked if he believed Clinton personally hated black people, Trump claimed: "Her policies are bigoted because she knows they're not going to work."

Says he's not familiar with the 'alt-right'

As Clinton tarred him with representing the "alt-right" at a speech in Reno, Nevada, Trump offered his own pushbacks, saying he was not acquainted with the fringe world that Clinton said had essentially merged with his campaign.
"There's no 'alt-right' or 'alt-left.' All I'm embracing is common sense," Trump said. "We're bringing love."
Asked about his controversial new campaign chief, Steve Bannon, who had praised the movement when at Breitbart News, Trump drew some distance: "I don't know what Steve said. All I can tell you: I can only speak for myself."

Plans to visit several African-American churches

And as Trump makes his most overt pitch to African-Americans, Trump said he himself plans to visit several black churches in the next two weeks, including one trip to Detroit.
"I can fix the inner cities," Trump said. "(Clinton) can't."
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FARC-Colombia peace deal finalized

Havana, Cuba (CNN)Negotiators seeking to end the five-decades-old bloody insurgency in Colombia said Wednesday they had reached a final peace deal in one of the world's longest-running conflicts.

For nearly four years, representatives from the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group have struggled to reach a deal that would not only end the fighting but also address issues of land reform, curtailment of the drug trade, repatriation of victims' families and trials for those suspected of human rights abuses.
A majority of Colombians must still approve the landmark deal in a referendum set for October 2.
Provisions that allow FARC leaders who confess their crimes to avoid prison may make the deal a bitter pill to swallow for many Colombians who think the rebels are escaping justice for decades of murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking.
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama called Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to congratulate him on the deal and pledge continued support to his government. The United States has given Colombia billions of dollars in aid to combat drug trafficking and terrorism, which helped kill top FARC commanders and led to scores of foot soldiers abandoning the group.
Negotiations in Cuba broke down several times and at points exposed the hatred festering between the government and rebels.
A ceasefire agreement was signed in June.
"The best way to end the war is sitting down to discuss the peace," said Colombia's chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle. "The war is over."
FARC commander Luciano Marín Arango, who is known by his alias Iván Márquez, said, "I think we have won the most beautiful battle: the peace of Colombia."
Inspired by the Cuban revolution, the Marxist guerrilla force FARC, the Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, had originally sought to redistribute wealth at the point of a gun in the South American country.
But in recent years critics allege the FARC's estimated 7,000 soldiers had become a narco-terrorist force, reaping millions of dollars from cocaine shipments to the United States.
The war between the group and Colombian government has left an estimated 220,000 dead. About 5 million people have been displaced, according to some estimates.
Under the agreement, FARC rank-and-file soldiers will lay down their heavy weapons, leave jungle camps and slowly reincorporate into Colombian society with the help of government training programs.
The leaders of FARC have said they now intend to enter politics. The Colombian President said Wednesday that as part of the peace plan FARC will be given 10 seats in Colombia's Congress until 2026.
A FARC tweet sent Wednesday apparently showed the first effort to begin to redefine the rebel group. A FARC account posted a photo of a guerrilla couple chatting as the armed male fighter touches the female's leg flirtatiously.
"You... Me... Fighting foreign domination and creating the New Colombia... Think about it," the tweet read.
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Desmond Tutu hospitalized for infection

(CNN)Archbishop Desmond Tutu admitted himself to a Cape Town hospital on Wednesday "for treatment to a recurring infection," according to a statement from his family.

The 84-year-old archbishop will remain in the hospital for one or two weeks, according to his family's statement. They noted that Tutu went through a similar treatment last year.
He also underwent hospital tests for a persistent infection in 2013. A year later, he canceled travel plans because of a long-running battle with prostate cancer.
Tutu, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his efforts to end apartheid in his native South Africa, has remained active with the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation and other organizations.
He played a key role in that nation's transition from the apartheid era, including serving as chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at the direction of then-President Nelson Mandela.
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Uber bleeds more than $1 billion in six months

Uber may be the most valuable privately held company in the world, but that doesn't mean it's making money.

The company lost at least $1.27 billion in the first half of this year, according to Bloomberg News. Uber declined to comment on the report, but Bloomberg reported that Uber's head of finance Gautam Gupta shared the losses during a call with shareholders on Friday.

Uber is said to have lost $520 million in the first quarter, and $750 million in the second quarter of 2016.

The vast majority of its second quarter losses were a result of subsidies in China, according to a source familiar with the matter. But those won't continue to show up on Uber's income statement.'

Earlier this month, Uber sold its China operations to rival Didi Chuxing. Uber got nearly an 18% stake in Didi as a result of the deal, becoming its largest shareholder.

Uber launched in China in 2013 and expanded its operations to roughly 60 cities. But while the market was a top priority, it was also an incredibly costly one. In February, CEO Travis Kalanick said that Uber was losing $1 billion a year in China.

"Uber and Didi Chuxing are investing billions of dollars in China and both companies have yet to turn a profit there," Kalanick wrote in an announcement about the Didi deal.

While Uber said it was profitable in the U.S. during the first quarter of this year, Bloomberg reported that it lost roughly $100 million in the U.S. during the second quarter.

That comes as Uber battles its biggest U.S. competitor, Lyft, for market share, each using compelling promotions and deals to persuade customers to ride with them.

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