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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AZIZ KHAN GHARI, Pakistan (AP) -- Less than four months ago the world was cheered to learn that India had gone a full year with no new cases of polio -- a landmark that left only Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria on the World Health Organization's list of countries where the disease is endemic.

But the battle is far from over, judging by the WHO's latest expressions of alarm. It says that in both Nigeria and Afghanistan the number is creeping up, while budget shortfalls are jeopardizing the effort to hold polio at bay in 24 other high-risk countries.

Right now the numbers of new infections are small. But Nigeria's total has jumped to 38 in the first five months of 2012 from just 10 in the same period of last year. Afghanistan's went from three to seven. Only Pakistan's number fell back, from 43 to 18.

The polio virus, which usually infects children in unsanitary conditions, attacks the nerves and can kill or paralyze. It can spread widely and unnoticed before it starts crippling children. On average about one in 200 cases will result in paralysis.

In Pakistan's poor northwest one of the newest victims, 13-month old Fariha, cried out as her 6-year-old sister Sana struggled to place her on the floor, mindful of her tiny legs wrapped in plastic braces.

A laborer's daughter, Fariha was infected six months after birth. She has to be carried everywhere. Twice a day her mother exercises her legs, medicines are provided free and a health worker visits occasionally. The braces were donated by a German clinic.

There are no guarantees that Fariha will fully recover. Most of the new polio cases in Pakistan are in the northwest, where an insurgency rages, making it difficult for health workers to reach tens of thousands of children.

Elsewhere in the world, a growing number of cases are being discovered and traced back to Pakistan and Nigeria. While the numbers are low today, WHO spokesman Oliver Rosenbauer warned that the disease can quickly regain strength. ``If a polio-free country becomes re-infected, and the virus gets into an area with low population immunity levels, we have seen time and again that it can take off like wildfire,'' he told The Associated Press.

Both money and manpower is in short supply and if either runs out before the disease can be eradicated in the three holdouts, an epidemic will follow, says Rosenbauer.

``Polio eradication is at a tipping point between success and failure,'' he said.

``We have the emergency plans in place through end-2013, and full implementation and financing of the plans could well result in a polio-free world by that time,'' he said.

Or there could be a worldwide resurgence ``and within 10 years we could again see 200,000 cases occur each and every year.''

Rosenbauer said WHO's polio eradication campaign needs $2 billion over the next 18 months. So far it is short $940 million, forcing it to cut back programs in 24 high-risk countries.

Every Pakistani and Afghan child under age 5 must be vaccinated several times a year by health workers whose work is often hampered by ignorance, religious extremism, natural disasters and war.

Then there is international travel. ``We have seen time and again that polio can spread from these areas to re-infect faraway countries,'' said Rosenbauer. Between 2009 and 2011, about half of the 3,506 cases worldwide were in previously polio-free countries, he said. Polio was imported into Indonesia for the first time in a decade in 2005 and traced back to Nigeria, and last year, an outbreak in western China originated with a virus from Pakistan.

One problem is Muslim militants who try to block inoculation campaigns by portraying them as a conspiracy to sterilize and reduce the world's Muslim population.

But in Pakistan and Afghanistan clerics and tribal elders have been recruited to support polio vaccinations, opening up areas of the two countries previously inaccessible to health workers.

Shah Mohammed, a WHO worker overseeing vaccinations at a children's hospital in Peshawar, northwest Pakistan, said that of the parents who reject vaccination for their kids, surprisingly few cite religion or the Taliban. Instead they are driven by distrust of their government or of the West's counterinsurgency campaign.

``Many just say: We have no gas, no food, and you come to us with this and nothing else. Why should we bother?'' said Mohammed. Or they say ``On the one hand the Americans hit us with these drones and on the other hand the Americans are giving us these vaccines. We don't need them.''

A temporary setback was caused by revelations of the CIA ruse to pinpoint Osama bin Laden's whereabouts by collecting DNA from his household under the guise of performing vaccinations.

``The very next (vaccination) campaign there were a lot of refusals,'' said Dr. Pervez Yousaf, a WHO officer in Islamabad. But it was temporary and restricted to areas around Abbottabad, where bin Laden was killed, he said.

An alliance of U.S.-based NGOs wrote to CIA chief Gen. David Petraeus, warning him against using humanitarian work as a cover for covert operations.

For polio victims in Pakistan and Afghanistan, getting artificial limbs, braces and physiotherapy can be almost impossible, say doctors and health care workers in both countries.

Fifteen-year-old Musa lives in a village in Afghanistan's eastern Paktika province. War rages around it and access for vaccinators is sporadic and difficult. He caught polio at age 3 and went untreated for years.

But he says his five brothers and three sisters have all been vaccinated since. He still needs crutches, but is practicing new ways to move.

And in little Fariha's village of Aziz Khan Garhi, where polio had been unheard of before she was diagnosed, health care workers have vaccinated the entire village and Fariha's grandfather, Yousuf Khan, has led the drive.

``After this all our children have been vaccinated,'' he said.

 

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