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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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Thousands of people, more than half of them children, died needlessly and millions of dollars were wasted because the international community did not respond to early warnings of an impending famine in East Africa, aid agencies said Wednesday, even as they warned of a new hunger crisis in West Africa.

Most rich donor nations waited until East Africa's crisis was in full swing before donating a substantial amount of money, said a report by Oxfam and Save the Children. A food shortage was predicted as early as August 2010, but most donors did not respond until famine was declared in parts of Somalia in July 2011.

The report, written by two prominent aid groups, even blamed aid agencies, saying they were too slow to scale up their response.

"We all bear responsibility for this dangerous delay that cost lives in East Africa and need to learn the lessons of the late response," said Oxfam head Barbara Stocking.

One Kenyan economist, though, said it would have been difficult to prevent the famine in south-central Somalia, which is mostly controlled by militants from al-Shabab, an insurgent group that has greatly limited the work that aid agencies can do in the region.

"I don't think the solution to famine is just sending money in good time," said economist James Shikwati. "It also needs policy changes. Look at Somalia. (Even) if you have all the money in your pocket and all the grain in your store, unless al-Shabab allows you to access their areas then people there are still going to starve."

Kenya and Ethiopia also suffered from the drought, but the famine hit hardest in areas of Somalia suffering from a toxic mixture of drought, war and high taxes levied by armed groups.

The aid agencies in the report said many donors wanted to first see proof that there was a humanitarian catastrophe. That caused a funding shortfall that delayed a large-scale response to the crisis by around six months.

Now, there are clear signs that there is an impending hunger crisis in West Africa, said Save the Children's head Justin Forsyth. The report said that a food crisis in the West African region known as the Sahel is being driven by drought and high food prices. The report says agencies should put into practice there what has been learned in the Somalia crisis.

A recent Save the Children assessment in Niger shows families in the worst-hit areas are already struggling with around one-third less food, money and fuel than is necessary to survive.

The report says the delays in East Africa caused thousands of deaths and increased costs for aid agencies. The British government estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 people have died from the famine, mostly Somalis. Ethiopia and Kenya were also affected but aid agencies were able to work more easily there than in war-ravaged Somalia.

More than half of those who died are believed to be children. The U.N. says 250,000 Somalis are still at risk of starvation and more than 13 million people need aid.

"The earlier you respond, the more you get for your money," said Oxfam's regional spokesman Alun McDonald.

"We've done a lot of water trucking. It's the last resort," he said. "It's a very expensive and inefficient way of delivering water."

Friday will mark six months since the U.N. declared famine in Somalia.

"It's much more cost-effective to invest early on," he said, in things like dams, reservoirs, and boreholes.

Trucking just over a gallon (5 liters) of water per day per person to 80,000 people in Ethiopia costs more than $3 million for five months, the report said, compared to $900,000 to prepare water sources in the same area for an oncoming drought.

The report also said it costs three times as much to restock a herd in northern Kenya than to keep it alive through supplementary feeding.

"The world knows an emergency is coming but ignores it until confronted with TV pictures of desperately malnourished children," said Forsyth.

The World Food Program says that even though the worst of the crisis appears to be over, hundreds of thousands of people will still need food aid in coming months to survive, because their livestock have died and crops have not yet grown.

Earlier this week, food donated by Cargill, the Minnesota-based producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products, was delivered to communities in need in Kenya. Cargill donated 10,000 metric tons of rice to World Food Program USA to be distributed in the Horn of Africa.

The group said the donation - the largest ever food donation to WFP USA - would feed nearly 1 million people for a month.

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