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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The first Vietnam veteran to be U.S. defense secretary is spending his first overseas trip on the job thanking soldiers and Marines.

At about 11 a.m. ET Friday, Hagel touched down in Kabul, Afghanistan.

On the plane taking him there, he told reporters that the main reason for going was to thank the troops.

"I think it's always important when new leadership comes in to any office in our national security organization, that we recognize the people who make it all possible and who are the ones on the front lines securing this country," he said.

A one-page letter from him will be handed out to troops.

On the plane, the defense secretary also said he "needs a better understanding (of) what is going on there ... to get a good sense from our commanders on the ground."

He said he wants to "make my own assessment" about the situation, including "where the Afghans are in their capabilities."

He's known Afghan President Hamid Karzai for 11 years, he said, and he expects to talk with him about many topics, including Karzai's recent restrictions on U.S. Special Operations Forces.

"We're still at war in Afghanistan," he said, although it was never the United States' intention to stay indefinitely.

Many in Congress, including several high-ranking members of his Republican Party, opposed Hagel's nomination; the final vote in the Senate was 58-41.

Besides not liking his past comments about Israel and Iran, they bristled at his comments over the years about Iraq and Afghanistan, some of which came after Hagel went with Barack Obama, then an Illinois senator, to Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait in 2008.

In 2009, Hagel opposed Obama's decision as president to send another 30,000 troops into Afghanistan.

"I think we're marking time as we slaughter more young people," he told the National Journal. "I'm not sure we know what the hell we are doing in Afghanistan."

But at a confirmation hearing, Hagel took on his critics and embraced Obama's policies.

It wasn't the first time Hagel has tried to offer context and nuance to his past statements about both wars, hoping that he might be better understood.

In 2011, he explained to the Financial Times what he meant.

"I disagreed with President Obama, his decision to surge in Afghanistan, as I did with President Bush on the surge in Iraq.

"It wasn't a matter of could we win at that moment. Of course, no force in the world can stand the sophisticated power of American military."

The Obama administration now plans to pull combat troops out of Afghanistan by 2014, replacing them with a training mission to advise Afghan forces, steps Hagel will oversee if confirmed.

The Financial Times interview gave insight into how Hagel, 66, might approach his new job.

There will always be dictators and hostilities in certain regions, he said, but the United States must continue "working with our partners, working with other countries, with other regional powers, working through the United Nations.

"That's the way to approach these great imponderables -- difficult, complicated situations," he told the magazine, "because then you ask yourself, well, what are my options?"

In January, Obama and Karzai agreed that this spring, Afghan forces will take primary control of the country.

U.S. officials have said anywhere between zero to 9,000 U.S. forces could remain in Afghanistan past 2014.

During a hearing on Hagel's nomination in January, he spoke about Afghanistan.

"As to what kind of a force structure should eventually be in place by the Afghans, I don't know enough about the specifics to give you a good answer other than to say that I think that has to be a decision that is made certainly with the president of Afghanistan," he said.

Talking with Karzai will inform "what we can do to continue to support and train and protect our interests within the scope of our ability to do that," he said. "Obviously the immunity for our troops is an issue, which was an issue with Iraq. All those considerations will be important and will be made."

Hagel also said during that hearing that going to war in Iraq took the U.S. focus off Afghanistan.

The defense secretary knows from personal experience that good strategy must consider the human toll of war.

Before he became a two-term senator from Nebraska, a Georgetown professor or the head of a D.C. think tank, Hagel volunteered to join the Army and go to Vietnam.

As a sergeant, he was twice wounded and fought alongside his younger brother Tom.

Chuck Hagel earned two Purple Hearts. His brother patched up his wounds when he took shrapnel in the chest while on patrol, and Chuck Hagel saved his brother's life after Tom Hagel was wounded.

"I will do all I can to prevent war," he later told his biographer.

But don't misunderstand, Hagel has said.

"Not that I'm a pacifist -- I'm a hard-edged realist, I understand the world as it is -- but war is a terrible thing," he is quoted in the 2006 biography, "Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward."

"There's no glory," he said of war, "only suffering."

CNN's Chris Lawrence reported from Afghanistan. Ashley Fantz wrote this story in Atlanta.

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