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Older News Archivescom0116
NEWS     THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2014     NEWS

Natural Gas Boom Boost Companies From Coast-To-Coast
There are no drilling rigs in Holland, Mich., but the local economy is still feeling the effects of America’s natural gas drilling boom. The same is true in Newton, N.C., which is hundreds of miles from the rich natural gas deposits being tapped in North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas. In those places and many others, the massive supply chain for the natural gas industry is breathing new life into all facets of the country’s manufacturing sector, thanks to demand for pipes, equipment and technology. Fox News

Enterovirus D68 In 17 States, Canada
Enterovirus D68 is likely coming -- if it hasn't already -- to a state near you. Since mid-August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had confirmed 140 cases of respiratory illness caused by Enterovirus D68 in 16 states: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia. New Jersey also has confirmed a case of EV-D68, according to Donna Leusner, director of communications for the New Jersey Department of Health. And "in the upcoming weeks, more states will have confirmed cases of EV-D68 infection," the CDC said in a statement Wednesday. CNN

Humana CEO: New Competition Curbs Obamacare Plan Prices
New competition between health insurers offering so-called Obamacare plans in 2015 is having an impact on the pricing of such coverage, based on a first look at proposed insurance premiums, the head of Humana Inc said on Wednesday. The state insurance exchanges offering coverage under the Affordable Care Act. President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law will begin enrolling customers for 2015 benefits in mid-November. Now in its second year, Obamacare is attracting health insurers to offer plans in more states after over 8 million people enrolled for coverage in 2014. Reuters

Protest Group Interrupts Kerry Senate Testimony On ISIS
Secretary of State John Kerry testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, flanked by anti-war protesters from the group Code Pink. This marked the second instance during the ISIS hearings in which members of Code Pink waved signs with slogans opposing military action. Kerry engaged with the protestors, citing his own opposition to the Vietnam War. "That’s how I first testified in front of this country in 1971. I spent two years protesting a policy, so I respect the right of CodePink to protest and use that right." The protestors remained seated holding their signs for the remainder of the hearing. MSNBC

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Obama Administration Forcing New Gun Buyers To Declare Race, Ethnicity
The Obama administration quietly has been forcing new gun buyers to declare their race and ethnicity, a policy change that critics say provides little law enforcement value while creating the risk of privacy intrusions and racial profiling. With little fanfare, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2012 amended its Form 4473 — the transactional record the government requires gun purchasers and sellers to fill out when buying a firearm — to identify buyers as either Hispanic, Latino or not. Then a buyer must check his or her race: Indian, Asian, black, Pacific Islander or white. Washington Times

Almost Half Of Americans In Big Cities Are Strapped
Although Americans are flocking to big cities to find career opportunities and for a taste of the urban high life, for many metropolitan living can also turn into a financial dead-end. Almost half of households in the largest American cities are financially insecure, with almost no savings to rely on. If a major life challenge hits, such a job loss or major illness, 45 percent lack the savings to cover basic expenses at the federal poverty level for even three months, according to a new report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development. CBS

How Salt Therapy May Be The Next Big Thing In Pampering Yourself
The health conscious are embracing the latest trend in pampering -- salt spas. Rather than ingesting salt, spa patrons relax in rooms made of it, breathing in misty salty vapors in hopes of clearing their lungs and purifying their skin. It's a treatment known as halotherapy after the Greek word halo, meaning salt. Besides the thousands of years of use throughout Europe and the Middle East, there's some science to back up these claims. A New England Journal of Medicine study in 2006 found that inhaling salt-infused vapor improved breathing for 24 patients with the chronic endocrine and lung condition, cystic fibrosis. In another small 2006 study, in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, subjects with asthma reported breathing easier after several weeks of regular halotherapy treatments. ABC

Romney-Sized IRAs Scrutinized As Government Studies Taxes
About 9,000 U.S. taxpayers have each accumulated at least $5 million in individual retirement accounts, said the Government Accountability Office, raising questions about some investors’ tax-advantaged returns. The preliminary report attaches data to an issue that drew attention during the 2012 presidential campaign, when Republican nominee Mitt Romney reported an IRA worth $20 million to $102 million. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said many of these “massive” accounts come from deals available only to executives who can quickly turn “dirt cheap” stocks into gold. Bloomberg

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Prosecutors Unite Nationwide To Fight Gun Violence
Top prosecutors in the nation's two largest cities are rallying their colleagues across the country in a unique coalition to curb gun violence. Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced the formation of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence on Wednesday. They have already enlisted 23 prosecutors from major jurisdictions nationwide to join the non-partisan coalition. Feuer says the first step will be convening a summit on gun violence prevention in Atlanta next month. Prosecutors will share strategies that have worked in their individual districts. He says they will address guns and domestic violence, illegal gun trafficking, gangs and guns and mental illness and gun violence. In addition to devising new policies and practices, he said they hope to inspire legislators to act. Las Vegas Sun

Obama To Appear At Oct. 16 Fundraiser In Garden City
President Barack Obama will appear for the first time at a fundraiser on Long Island on Oct. 16 to help raise money for the midterm elections, but two top Democrats running for Congress said they won't be able to make the event. Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs, who will host the event at the Garden City Hotel with his wife, Mindy, and the Democratic National Committee, said he expects 400 to 500 donors to attend. "I've been trying to get the president to come here for almost as long as he's been president and he's finally coming," said Jacobs.... Newsday

Al-Qaida Attack On Pakistani Frigate Foiled
- l-Qaida attempted to hijack a Pakistani naval vessel and use it to attack U.S. Navy vessels, Pakistani security officials said. The attack on the frigate PNS Zulfiqar was attempted Sept. 6 in part by Pakistani Navy personnel recruited by al-Qaida. In a suicide bombing and an exchange of fire, 10 militants and one naval officer were killed. The incident raised fears about terrorist infiltration of Pakistan's military force. News of the incident, which may have been timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, was concealed until information was recently leaked. UPI

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Obama: 'We Have To Act Fast. We Can't Dawdle' -- On Ebola
President Obama said on Tuesday he is wasting no time in addressing a "global threat" that demands a "truly global response." He was talking about disease, not terrorism. Although the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is "spiraling out of control," the world knows how to stop it from spreading, Obama said in remarks at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "But we have to act fast. We can't dawdle on this one. We have to move with force and make sure that we are catching this as best we can, given that it has already broken out in ways that we had not seen before." CNS News

U.S. $1.4 Trillion Money Machine Set To Process Alibaba
Alibaba Group Holding Inc.’s initial public offering, poised to be the biggest in U.S. history, is just a blip in a bull market where companies have raised $1.4 trillion over the past five years. China’s largest e-commerce company is planning to go public in a market that has absorbed almost twice as much stock as the advance that ended in 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Alibaba said it will raise as much as $21.8 billion when it prices the offering tomorrow. While Mohamed El-Erian warned that the IPO is so big it could trigger a selloff, other investors view the ability to raise so much money as a sign of market health. Majd Kitmitto, a senior investment analyst at Aston Hill Financial Inc. in Toronto, said in a rally driven by liquidity such as this one, enough demand exists to handle Alibaba. Bloomberg

New Islamic State Video Threatens U.S. With 'Flames Of War'
The Islamic State (IS) released a video threatening U.S. President Barack Obama and the U.S. with impending war. The 52-second clip -- the latest in a series of well-edited propaganda videos -- shows explosions in slow motion and attacks on U.S. troops. It added clips of Obama speaking from the White House as flames engulfed U.S. soldiers. The video then bears the scrawl, "Flames of War: Fighting Has Just Begun" before flashing "Coming Soon." "It appears to be officially declaring war on the U.S.," Laith Alkhouri, a senior analyst at New York-based intelligence consulting firm Flashpoint Global Partners told NBC News. UPI

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House Approves First Part Of Obama War Plan To Train Syrian Rebels
The House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to back President Obama’s request for permission to train and money to arm the more reliable forces among Syrian rebels, giving the first congressional approval to the White House’s still-developing war plans. But underlying the 273-156 vote were deep divisions, and it seemed that the limited assistance to Syrian rebels is about the only part of the conflict on which there is any agreement. Washington Times

China's Military Cyberattacked Defense Contractors Several Times, Report Claims
China's military hacked into computer networks of civilian transportation companies hired by the Pentagon at least nine times, breaking into computers aboard a commercial ship, targeting logistics companies and uploading malicious software onto an airline's computers, Senate investigators said Wednesday. A yearlong investigation announced by the Senate Armed Services Committee identified at least 20 break-ins or other unspecified cyber events targeting companies, including nine successful break-ins of contractor networks. It blamed China's government for all the most sophisticated intrusions, although it did not provide any detailed evidence. The Senate report did not identify which transportation companies were victimized. CBS

Most New Cancer Drugs Target DNA, Report Finds
One American dies of cancer every minute, according to the latest Cancer Progress Report from the American Association for Cancer Research. The report, unveiled Tuesday, highlights major advancements this past year in cancer research, diagnosis and treatment. Among its key findings and predictions: More than 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2014. The number of people who die from cancer worldwide is projected to rise to 14.6 million by 2034. hile cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death in U.S. children, more than 50 percent of cancers are diagnosed in those older than 65. ABC

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FBI Director: Cyber Threat An ‘Evil Layer Cake’ Of States, Terrorists, Pedophiles
FBI Director James Comey in his opening statement at the House Homeland Security Committee’s hearing on the worldwide threats against the homeland said Wednesday that the terrorist threat has evolved since he worked in government about 10 years ago, because terrorists can plot attacks “in their pajamas in their basement.” When Comey was asked to explain where some of the cyber threats come from, he described it as “an evil layer cake with nation states at the top, terrorist groups, international criminal syndicates, hactivists and thugs and criminals and child abusers and pedophiles.” CNS News

U.S. House Passes Bill To Avert Government Shutdown, Extend Export-Import Bank
The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a stop-gap spending measure that averts an Oct. 1 government shutdown and extends the U.S. Export-Import Bank's ability to operate for another nine months. The measure, passed with bipartisan support, also contains a separately approved authorization for the Defense Department to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State militants. The bill, which now moves to the Senate for consideration on Thursday, extends current funding levels for discretionary government programs and agencies through Dec. 16. This will allow lawmakers time to sort out a longer-term spending measure when they return to Washington after the Nov. 4 mid-term elections. Reuters

Obama Stands Firm: U.S. Will Not Fight Another Ground War In Iraq
The U.S. will not send armed forces to fight a ground war in Iraq, President Barack Obama reiterated Wednesday, a day after his top military adviser said he could envision recommending that the president deploy ground troops there. "It is more effective to use our unique capabilities in support of our partners on the ground so they can secure their own countries' futures," Obama told service members at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida. "That is the only solution that will succeed over the long term." Gen. Martin Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that if airstrikes did not end up being effective enough against Islamic extremist group ISIS, he would recommend putting troops in Iraq. Obama has said previously that he would not send in U.S. combat forces. MSNBC

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Iran Slams 'Ridiculous' US Coalition As Congress Funds Arms Against ISIS
Without committing ground troops to the cause, a coalition led by the United States against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria is a "ridiculous" enterprise, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday. Rouhani made the damning comments to NBC News the same day senior Iranian and US officials met privately in New York over its nuclear program, and as US President Barack Obama, in Florida, recommitted to a campaign against Islamic State exclusively using air force alone. "I want to be clear," Obama said from MacDill Air Force Base. "The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission." Jerusalem Post

Netanyahu: Hamas Arrested Those Responsible For Gaza Fire And Made Clear They Are Committed To Truce
Hamas knows full well Israel will not tolerate a a “drizzle” of rocket and mortar fire from Gaza, and for that reason announced it had arrested those responsible for Tuesday night's mortar attack, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday. Netanyahu, speaking during a visit to a Military Intelligence base, said that Hamas also made clear it was committed to the cease-fire that went into effect on August 26. During the visit Netanyahu was briefed by Military Intelligence head Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and, according to a statement put out by his office, thanked him and his soldiers for their contributions during Operation Protective Edge. Jerusalem Post

UN Brokers Agreement To Rebuild In Gaza Strip
A deal has been agreed by Israeli and Palestinian officials to allow building materials into the Gaza Strip for reconstruction, a top UN official says. Robert Serry, special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process, said the Palestinian Authority would play a lead role in the reconstruction effort. He said it was a step towards the aim of lifting all restrictions on Gaza. More than 100,000 people were left homeless by the recent 50-day conflict between Israel and militants in Gaza. The UN says that 2,133 Palestinians were also killed in the fighting, including 1,489 believed to have been civilians. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and seven civilians were killed. BBC

US Consumer Prices Fall In August
The Consumer Price Index declined 0.2% last month, following an increase of 0.1% in July. Petrol prices fell 4.1% in August, more than offsetting a 0.2% increase in food prices driven by the continuing effects of a drought in California. Despite August's decrease, consumer prices are now 1.7% higher than they were a year ago. In July, the annual rate of inflation was 2%. Declines in the prices of air fares, home furnishings, used cars and clothes all helped to drive the index down, but new vehicles and alcoholic drinks were more expensive. BBC

Biden Makes Unconventional Iowa Stop To Boost Nuns On The Bus Outreach Tour
Air Force Two flew over Des Moines just as sister Simone Campbell, a Catholic nun, was addressing a small crowd gathered on the steps of Iowa’s capitol building.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “The vice-president is coming to our little tiny event!” She was not the only observer surprised that Joe Biden had taken time out of more conventional vice presidential duties to fly 893 miles to shake hands, rail against economic inequality and pose for pictures with eleven nuns about to embark on a road trip. Biden’s trip to Iowa comes just three days after Hillary Clinton visited the state, which holds the crucial first caucus in the Democratic nomination process, fuelling speculation about their potential future bids for the presidency. Guardian

High School Students Care More About Free Speech Than Adults, Poll Finds
American high school students are more concerned about freedom of speech and the first amendment than adults, including their teachers, a new poll has found. The national study of 10,463 high school students and 588 teachers was released Wednesday to coincide with the celebration of Constitution Day and was funded by the John S and James L Knight Foundation. This was the first time in the poll’s history that students were more in favour of the first amendment than adults. Ten years ago when the poll began 35% of students said the amendment went too far compared with 30% of adults. Guardian

Middle-School Dropout Codes Clever Chat Program That Foils NSA Spying
The National Security Agency has some of the brightest minds working on its sophisticated surveillance programs, including its metadata collection efforts. But a new chat program designed by a middle-school dropout in his spare time may turn out to be one of the best solutions to thwart those efforts. Prompted by Edward Snowden’s revelations about the government’s intrusive surveillance activities, loosely knit citizen militias of technologists and security professionals have cropped up around the world to develop systems to protect us from government agencies out to identify us online and grab our communications. Wired

Voices Of Indigenous Peoples Must Be Heard On Issues Affecting Them, UN Rights Body Told
The voices of indigenous peoples must be effectively heard and they must be consulted on issues that affect them, including rights to land and resources, the United Nations Human Rights Council heard today. “Although there is, at both the international and domestic levels, a strong legal and policy foundation upon which to move forward with the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights, there are still numerous obstacles preventing indigenous peoples from fully enjoying their human rights,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. UN News

Ban Welcomes US Support In Ebola Response Ahead Of Security Council Emergency Session On Outbreak
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, together with the head of the United Nations health agency, will outline the international action plan to contain Ebola tomorrow when the Security Council convenes an emergency meeting on the outbreak. The United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO), in statements issued late Tuesday, both welcomed United States Government plans to ramp up its support to the global response to Ebola, saying the commitment exemplifies the kind of international effort required to intensify response activities. UN News

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