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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FARNBOROUGH, England (CNN) -- They are now a familiar presence in war zones, but if manufacturers have their way, skies over civilians heads will soon be busy with unmanned vehicles.

Drones are currently a growth industry in the aviation sector, with scores of new companies competing for a slice of the market.

And if they can clear hurdles that currently limit their deployment in friendly air space, pilotless planes of all shapes will be taking to the air on missions to watch over us.

Some of the aircraft -- from devices barely bigger than a paper plane to formidable missile-sized systems operated by five-man ground crews -- were on display this week at the UK's Farnborough Airshow.

Although the event, held on alternate years, is one of Europe's biggest market places for traditional aircraft, a "drone zone" occupies a substantial slice of the exhibition space.

"There now are hundreds of companies competing for the market," said Konstantins Popkis, chief technology officer for the UAV Factory, which produces a 3.3-meter wingspan drone known as Penguin B.

"But not all of them are producing reliable systems," he added.

Reliability is likely to be a key issue for drones aimed at civilian use as the industry lobbies aviation regulators to gain access to skies that for the most part remain off-limits. Another issue is privacy.

Most drones are built with surveillance in mind. Top-of-the-range systems bristle with radar and infra-red cameras that can produce detail of the ground from great distances, even in poor weather.

UAV Factory's $50,000-plus Penguin B is built for more modest operations, but Popkis says many of his customers are civilians looking for monitoring capabilities.

He says he has taken orders for his catapult-launched craft from military researchers, but also from scientists and commercial ventures. He says environmental campaign group Greenpeace has also acquired two for monitoring the Arctic.

Penguin B, which Popkis claims has clocked a record-breaking 54-and-a-half hours of continuous flying, is competing at Farnborough with several other systems designed for similar use.

Among these is the Alpi Aviation Sixton-A, which uses three helicopter-style rotors to lift a lightweight drone roughly the same diameter as a trash can lid.

According to Massimo Petrusa, Alpi's sales and marketing executive, the Sixton-A is already in use by the Italian military, but civilian use is now the target market.

"I believe the future for these things is civilian," he said. "Instead of hiring 10 night guards to patrol somewhere, you can use two helicopters piloted by a computer -- it's much cheaper."

He said his company's drones had also been recently deployed to survey areas affected by the earthquake that hit Italy in May.

Other drones on sale or display include the iStart, a new ultra-light drone that can be carried in backpack and launched by hand, and the S-25, one of a range made by Austrian firm Aerie, which take off vertically, but fly like conventional planes.

Such is the growth of the drone market that it has created a secondary industry, offering training, advice and support. The Association for Unmanned Systems International holds an annual show in Las Vegas and lobbies governments for greater access to civilian skies.

Andrew Duggan, managing director of Insitu Pacific, is among those hoping to expand the non-military use of his unmanned aerial vehicles. His latest system, the Integrator, succeeds an earlier aircraft that has clocked up tens of thousands of military service hours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It has also seen service monitoring marine mammals off the coast of Australia and in firefighting situations.

But he says, resistance from bodies such as the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority, which earlier this year agreed to roll back some limitations on lighter drones, has curbed significant use elsewhere.

"There is no aviation authority in the world that will allow you access for 24 hours," Duggan said.

He puts this partly down to the considerable bad press armed drones have attracted flying U.S. military missions over Pakistan and Afghanistan. Last week a suspected U.S. drone strike killed 20 people in northern Pakistan.

"A lot of it is down to the stigma around the term 'drone' because of incidents (in) Pakistan and Afghanistan," Duggan said. "People are hung up over privacy, but it's a lot of unnecessary drama. They are no different from having a police helicopter over your head, or a security camera pointed at you."

But there was caution at the top end of the market in Farnborough.

Matt Moore, head of unmanned aerial systems tactical planning at European defense contractor Thales, also hopes his company's new Watchkeeper system -- a large and sophisticated aircraft developed for the UK military -- will have a civilian life.

But, he says, the only reason Watchkeeper currently enjoys limited clearance over UK civilian airspace is because some of the $1,100 million invested in its development has gone to ensure it exceeds safety requirements.

This, he says, is not something that some lower-cost drone manufacturers can claim.

"Unlike many of these unmanned aircraft now hitting the market, the Watchkeeper is built to a standard that is better than a manned aircraft. Its computer system does not fail. It can't go wrong or fail and you won't get the computer blue screen of death."

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