07 30 2016
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The Wake of Vanport
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  • Russian hackers likely responsible for hacking attack on Clinton HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Giddy if exhausted, Hillary Clinton embarked on a post-convention Rust Belt bus tour just hours after becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. The celebratory mood quickly evaporated amid fresh revelations that hackers had breached a program used by her campaign and Republican nominee Donald Trump promised to sharpen his barbs. "Remember this," Trump said during a rally Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy." And for the first time he encouraged his supporters' anti-Clinton chants of "lock her up." "I've been saying let's just beat her on Nov. 8," Trump said, "but you know what? I'm starting to agree with you." About an hour later, Clinton aides acknowledged that a hacking attack that exposed Democratic Party emails also reached into a computer system used by her own campaign. The FBI said it was working to determine the "accuracy, nature and scope" of the cyberattacks. Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said the newly disclosed breach affected a Democratic National Committee data analytics program used by the campaign and other organizations. Outside experts found no evidence that the campaign's "internal systems have been compromised," Merrill said, but he gave no details on the program or nature of the attacks. Partnerships with modern e-commerce companies can allow sophisticated tracking, categorization and identification of website visitors and voters. President Barack Obama and cybersecurity experts have said Russia was almost certainly responsible for the DNC hack. The House Democratic campaign committee reported Friday that its information had been accessed. The developments followed the leaking of DNC emails earlier in the week that pointed to a pro-Clinton bias by party officials during her primary contest against Bernie Sanders. In the furor that followed, party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz resigned just as Democrats launched their convention. Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, will attempt to return attention to their positive economic message on Saturday, with campaign stops through economically struggling areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio. "When we take that oath of office next January, we know we can make life better. We know we can create more good jobs," she told voters gathered at an outside market in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Clinton cited an economic analysis by economist Mark Zandi, a former economic adviser to 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, that found more than 10 million jobs could be created in her first term if her economic proposals were put in place. Zandi's analysis of Trump's plans found they would cost the country 3.5 million jobs and lead to a "lengthy recession." Joined on the bus tour by her husband, Bill Clinton, Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, Clinton stopped at a toy and plastics manufacturer in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, where she and Kaine cast Trump as a con artist out for his own gain. "We don't resent success in America but we do resent people who take advantage of others in order to line their own pockets," Clinton said. Trump is also focusing on Ohio and Pennsylvania, two states where he might make headway with blue-collar white men. That group of voters has eluded Clinton and may be a hard sell after a Democratic convention that heavily celebrated racial and gender diversity. Clinton is playing up economic opportunity, diversity and national security. Democrats hammered home those themes this week with an array of politicians, celebrities, gun-violence victims, law enforcement officers and activists of all races and sexual orientation. Their goal is to turn out the coalition of minority, female and young voters that twice elected Obama while offsetting expected losses among the white men drawn to Trump's message. Democrats continued contrasting their optimistic message with the more troubled vision of the state of the nation presented by Trump and others at the GOP convention a week earlier. Kaine called the "very dark and negative" event a "journey through Donald Trump's mind." "That's a very frightening place," he told thousands of supporters in Philadelphia. Clinton told voters that they faced a "stark choice," calling the coming election the most important one in her lifetime. "This is a moment of reckoning for our country. I don't recognize the country that Donald Trump describes," she said.___Lemire reported from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
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  • SEATTLE (AP) — Genetically modified wheat not approved for sale or commercial production in the United States has been found growing in a field in Washington state, agriculture officials said Friday, posing a possible risk to trade with countries concerned about engineered food. The Food and Drug Administration says genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are safe and little scientific concern exists about the safety of those on the market. But critics say not enough is known about their risks, and they want GMOs labeled so people know what's in their food. Several Asian countries temporarily banned U.S. wheat imports after genetically modified wheat was found unexpectedly in a field on an Oregon farm in 2013. It also popped up in a field at a university research center in Montana in 2014. It wasn't immediately clear how altered wheat cropped up in Washington. But the U.S. Agriculture Department said there is no evidence it has entered the market. If it did, the FDA concluded that "it is unlikely that the wheat would present any safety concerns if present in the food supply," the department said. A farmer discovered 22 plants in an unplanted field, and the wheat was developed to be resistant to the herbicide known as Roundup, created by seed giant Monsanto, the USDA said. An agency spokeswoman did not know where in the state it was found. Federal officials said they were working with the farmer to ensure that none of the modified wheat is sold. Out of caution, the agency said it is holding and testing the farmer's full wheat harvest, but so far it has not found GMOs. The plants are a type of wheat that had been evaluated in limited field trials in the Pacific Northwest from 1998 to 2001 but never commercialized, Monsanto said in a statement. It said the type found in Washington state is similar to the one discovered in Oregon three years ago; it has the same inserted DNA but in a different location. No variety of genetically engineered wheat has been approved for commercial use or production in the U.S. GMOs are plants or animals that have had genes copied from other plants or animals inserted into their DNA. Most genetically engineered crops are corn and soybeans eaten by livestock or made into popular processed food ingredients like cornstarch, soybean oil or high fructose corn syrup. Only a handful of modified fruits and vegetables are available, including Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini and squash and a small percentage of sweet corn. The FDA also has approved for consumption a genetically engineered salmon that would grow faster than traditional salmon, but it's not yet available in grocery stores. South Korea said Friday that it will inspect U.S. wheat imports for genetically modified wheat, the Yonhap News Agency reported. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it has asked the USDA for information on the unapproved wheat and inspection methods. The USDA said it has validated a test that Monsanto developed for the herbicide-resistant wheat, which would be available to trading partners. "Trading partners will get the tests. I believe that once they have those in place, they'll continue buying," said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission, a state agency that represents wheat farmers. "We don't anticipate any major disruptions." The USDA also said it has beefed up oversight of genetically engineered field trials and now requires developers to apply for a permit for those involving GMO wheat starting this year. In 2014, genetically modified wheat plants were found at a university research center in Huntley, Montana, where it was legally tested by Monsanto in the early 2000s. The plants in eastern Oregon were found in a field that had never conducted such tests, and the USDA closed its investigation two years ago unable to determine how the wheat got there. Different strains were found in each state. The Washington Association of Wheat Growers and the Washington State Agriculture Department referred questions to federal authorities.
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  • Six current or former state employees were charged Friday with misconduct and other crimes in the Flint water crisis 
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  • Hillary Clinton cast herself as a unifier for divided times, an experienced leader steeled for a volatile world 
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LAGOS, Nigeria -- The top opposition candidate called Sunday for Nigeria's presidential vote to be annulled, branding the election as the worst ever conducted in Africa's most-populous nation and top oil producer.
While the government acknowledged there were widespread problems with Saturday's vote, it defended the election as free and fair. "The election has been largely successful: We've broken the jinx," said Electoral Commission Chairman Maurice Iwu.
Associated Press reporters, however, witnessed ballot-paper shortages in opposition strongholds and open rigging favoring the ruling party of outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo. Local media reported intimidation by thugs with knives and guns.
Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who fell out with Obasanjo last year and ran as an opposition candidate, said no free and fair election could be arranged by the current electoral commission, which he accuses of partisanship toward the ruling party and Obasanjo.
"I have already rejected the election. They have no alternative than to cancel the election all together," he said. "What we have seen clearly prove our fears that it is the worst election that we ever seen."
The Transition Monitoring Group, an independent election monitoring group claiming 50,000 Nigerian observers, also called for the election to be annulled, saying voting hadn't been held in many of the country's 36 states and had started very late in many others.
"That's why we're calling for the cancellation of the entire exercise," said Innocent Chukwuma, the chairman of the body.
The other main opposition party of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari didn't immediately say it rejected the vote, but described it in disparaging terms. "Some voting has taken place, but there was no election," said Abba Kyari, a spokesman for the party.
International election observers have not yet commented on the conduct of the vote. Germany, which holds the rotating European Union presidency this month, said in a statement, however, that it was worried about the reports of irregularities and use of violence in some regions.
"These incidents have given rise to concerns that not all Nigerians entitled to vote really were able to do so freely and without fear," the statement said. Germany added it would carefully examine the final report from EU election observers, calling on the Nigerian government "to ensure that there are no doubts abut the credibility of the election results."
Obasanjo on Saturday hailed the vote as a major step forward for democracy in Nigeria. Iwu rejected the opposition's challenges to the vote's credibility.
"Anyone who says (the vote) was not free and fair wants to mess this country up," he said. "There's no question of legitimacy."
The presidential winner must gain the most votes nationwide and at least a quarter of ballots cast in 24 of Nigeria's 36 states. If not, a runoff election would be held within one month. A new government will take power May 29.
Electoral officials said they hoped to release results by late Monday.
Competition for government revenues flowing from the oil industry means Nigerian political seats are hotly -- and often violently -- contested. Despite the fact there were few reports of widespread violence Saturday, Abubakar's outright rejection of the election could undermine any ruling party win, pitting large segments of the population against the other.
Many voting centers opened well after the official start, if at all, and those that did were plagued by delays and what the opposition described as irregularities.
Local media described ruling party thugs running off with ballot boxes or driving away voters with guns and knives.
At one polling center in southern Nigeria, electoral workers could be heard shouting for the ballots to be hidden as an AP reporter approached. A week earlier, in the same area, workers could be seen affixing their own thumbprints on stacks of ballots and stuffing them into the boxes.
Presidential ballots distributed Saturday in many parts of the country lacked serial numbers that would guard against fraud by allowing officials to track the papers from ballot boxes through collation centers.
Iwu said there was no time to print serialized ballots as Abubakar's name was only added to the ballots during the week after a Supreme Court ruling clearing his participation in the vote.
In the main city of Lagos, some polling centers in opposition strongholds had only a fraction of the ballot papers needed, sparking accusations that the vote was being suppressed. Electoral workers freely reached hands inside ballot boxes.
Obasanjo, a former military ruler, won a 1999 election that ended 15 years of near-constant military rule. His 2003 re-election was marked by allegations of massive vote rigging. He was prevented from running again by constitutional term limits.
This campaign, as in 2003, has been troubled. The opposition rejected as fraudulent elections a week earlier for state offices largely won by Obasanjo's ruling party.

--The Associated Press

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