07 30 2016
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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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CAIRO (AP) -- Shaking off years of political apathy, Egyptians turned out in long lines at voting stations Monday in the first parliamentary elections since Hosni Mubarak's ouster, a giant step toward what they hope will be a democracy after decades of dictatorship.

Some voters brought their children along, saying they wanted them to learn how to exercise their rights in a democracy as they cast ballots in what promises to be the fairest and cleanest election in Egypt in living memory. With fears of violence largely unrealized, the biggest complaint was the hours of standing in long, slow-moving lines.

"If you have waited for 30 years, can't you wait now for another hour?" an army officer yelled at hundreds of restless women at one polling center in Cairo.

After the dramatic, 18-day uprising that ended Mubarak's three decades of authoritarian rule, many had looked forward to this day in expectation of a celebration of freedom. But Mubarak's fall on Feb. 11 was followed by nearly 10 months of military rule, divisions and violence and when election day finally arrived, the mood was markedly different. People were eager to at last cast a free vote, but daunted by all the uncertainty over what happens next.

"I never voted because I was never sure it was for real," said Shahira Ahmed, 45, waiting with her husband and daughter with around 500 other people at a Cairo polling station. "This time, I hope it is, but I am not positive."



Even as they vote, Egyptians are sharply polarized and confused over the nation's direction.

On one level, the election will be a strong indicator of whether Egypt is heading toward Islamism or secularism. The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and best organized group, along with other Islamists are expected to dominate in the vote. Many liberals, leftists, Christians and pious Muslims who oppose mixing religion and politics went expressly to the polls to try to stop them or at least reduce their victory.

The U.S. and its close ally Israel, which has a long-standing peace treaty with Egypt, worry that stronger Brotherhood influence could end Egypt's role as a major moderating influence in Middle East politics.

Also weighing heavily on voters' mind was whether this election can really set Egypt on a path of democracy while it is still under military rule. Only 10 days before the elections, major protests erupted around the country demanding the ruling generals accused of bungling the transition step aside and hand power immediately to a civilian authority.

Another concern is that the parliament that emerges may have little relevance because the military is sharply limiting its powers, and it may only serve for several months.

The Egyptian election is the fruit of the Arab Spring revolts that have swept the region over the past year, toppling several authoritarian regimes. In Tunisia and Morocco, Islamic parties have come out winners in elections the past month, but if the much larger Egypt does the same, it could have an even greater impact.

Even before voting began at 8 a.m., people stood in lines stretching several hundred yards outside many polling stations in Cairo, suggesting a respectable turnout. Under heavy security from police and soldiers, segregated lines of men and women grew, snaking around blocks and prompting authorities to extend voting by two hours.

Many said they were voting for the first time. For decades, few Egyptians bothered to cast ballots because nearly every election was rigged, whether by bribery, ballot box stuffing or intimidation by police at the polls. Turnout was often in the single digits.

"I am voting for freedom. We lived in slavery. Now we want justice in freedom," said 50-year-old Iris Nawar at a polling station in Maadi, a Cairo suburb.

"We are afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood. But we lived for 30 years under Mubarak, we will live with them, too," said Nawar, a first-time voter.

Waiting for hours, people joked, squabbled, and bought sandwiches from delivery men taking advantage of an eager, captive market.

Under a heavy rain in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria, a women's line displayed Egypt's religious spectrum - Christians and Muslims with their hair loose, others in conservative headscarves, still others blanketed in the most radical garb, the black robes that cover a woman's entire body, leaving only the eyes exposed. At a nearby station, one soldier shouted through a megaphone, "Choose freely, choose whomever you want to vote for."

The Brotherhood entered the campaign armed with a powerful network of activists around the country and years of experience in political activity. Even though it was banned under Mubarak's regime, its politicians sat in parliament as independents. Also running is the even more conservative Salafi movement, which advocates a hard-line Saudi Arabian-style interpretation of Islam. While the Brotherhood shows at times a willingness to play politics and compromise in its ideology, many Salafis make no bones about saying democracy must take a back seat to Islamic law.

In contrast, the secular and liberal youth groups that ousted Mubarak failed to capitalize on their astonishing triumph to effectively contest the election. They largely had to create all-new parties from scratch, most of which are not widely known among the public and were plagued by divisions through the past months.

"The Muslim Brotherhood are the people who have stood by us when times were difficult," said Ragya el-Said, a 47-year-old lawyer in Alexandria, a stronghold for the Brotherhood. "We have a lot of confidence in them."

But the Brotherhood faces still opposition. Even some who favor more religion in public life are suspicious of their motives, and the large Christian minority - about 10 percent of the population of around 85 million - deeply fear rising Islamism.

"I'm a Muslim but won't vote for any Islamist party because their views are too narrow," said Eman el-Khoury, 53, as she looked disapprovingly at Brotherhood activists handing out campaign leaflets near an Alexandria polling station, a violation of election rules. "How can we change this country when at an opportunity for change, we make the same dirty mistakes."

For many of those who did not want to vote for the Brotherhood or other Islamists, the alternative was not clear.

"I don't know any of the parties or who I'm voting for," Teresa Sobhi, a Christian voter in the southern city of Assiut, said. "I'll vote for the first names I see I guess."

The election is a long and unwieldy process. It will be held in stages divided up by provinces. Voting for 498-seat People's Assembly, parliament's lower chamber, will last until January, then elections for the 390-member upper house will drag on until March.

Each round lasts two days. Some voters said they feared vote rigging or ballot stuffing because the ballot boxes would be left at polling stations overnight.

Monday and Tuesday's vote will take place in nine provinces whose residents account for 24 million of Egypt's estimated 85 million people.

The ballots are a confusing mix of party lists that will gain seats according to proportions of votes and individual candidates - who will have to enter run-off votes after each round if no one gets 50 percent of the first-round vote. Mixed in are candidates labeled as "farmer" or "worker" who must gain a certain number of seats, a holdover for socialist days that Mubarak's regime manipulated to get in cronies.

Moreover, there are significant questions over how relevant the new parliament will even be. The ruling military council of generals, led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, insists it will maintain considerable powers after the election. It will put together the government and is trying to keep extensive control over the creation of an assembly to write a new constitution, a task that originally was seen as mainly in the parliament's hands.

The protesters who took to Cairo's Tahrir Square and other cities since Nov. 19 in rallies recalling the uprising that ousted Mubarak on Feb. 11 demand the generals surrender power immediately to a civilian government.

Some hoped their vote would help eventually push the generals out.

"We are fed up with the military," said Salah Radwan, waiting outside a polling center in Cairo's middle-class Abdeen neighborhood. "They should go to protect our borders and leave us to rule ourselves. Even if we don't get it right this time, we will get it right next time."

On Monday morning in Tahrir, a relatively small crowd of a few thousand kept the round-the-clock protests going. Clashes during the protests left more than 40 dead and had heightened fears of violence at polling stations.

Turnout among the estimated 50 million voters will play a key role. A higher turnout could water down the showing of the Brotherhood, because its core of supporters are the most likely to vote.

If there are heavy numbers of voters, that could also give legitimacy to a vote that the military insisted go ahead despite the recent turmoil.

A referendum on constitutional amendments in March had a turnout of 40 percent - anything lower than that could be a sign that skepticism over the process is high.

The Brotherhood, which used to run its candidates as independents because of the official ban on the group, made its strongest showing in elections in 2005, when it won 20 percent of parliament's seats. Its leaders have predicted that in this vote it could win up to 40 or 50 percent.

---

AP correspondents Maggie Michael in Cairo, Hadeel al-Shalchi in Alexandria, Egypt, and Aya Batrawy in Assiut, Egypt contributed to this report.

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