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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crime scene tapeTwenty-first Ward Alderman Howard Brookins recently proposed a $20 million fund be created for victims of Chicago police brutality and questioned if a three-year mandatory sentence for illegal gun offenses is necessary. Brookins' proposed ordinance also would specifically address issues suffered by victims of former Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge. The ordinance would provide free tuition at the City Colleges of Chicago; a commission to administer financial compensation to victims with no other financial redress; establish a South Side center that would have medical, psychological and vocational counseling; and require the Chicago Public Schools to teach a history lesson about Burge.

"We have paid out millions in Burge case settlements already," Brookins said. "We need to close this unfortunate chapter in our history and give reparations to those who were victims. This ordinance addresses many of the issues Burge's victims are still facing today." Brookins' ordinance got support from fellow alderman Joe Moreno (1st). Moreno said most of Burge's victims were poor people who did not have a political voice to fight back. One of Burge's victims, Anthony Holmes, spent 30 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Holmes said the fund would help people like him who have been out of the job market so long, many people consider them unemployable. Holmes added the money would give those released time to build their work skills while still being able to live on their own and get used to society again.

"It's a terrible thing to be released from prison but still live in fear, because you have become institutionalized," Holmes said. "It's why so many guys end up right back inside."

Attorneys representing many of Burge's victims also think the proposed ordinance would give them something they have been asking from the city for years that has nothing to do with money. "This ordinance serves as a formal apology for the Chicago police torture cases," said Jeffrey Mogul, an attorney with the People's Law Office, which represents many Burge victims.

As Emanuel continues to face criticism regarding Chicago's crime rate and murder statistics, he and police Supt. Garry McCarthy have been pushing for a mandatory three-year sentence and a requirement that 85 per- cent of the sentence be served for illegal possession of a weapon conviction. The issue could come up this week in Springfield during the fall veto session. But Emanuel is getting pushback from home as several Black aldermen are questioning if that law would only increase the incarceration rate of African Americans while doing little to reduce crime. The Black aldermen are in line with a group they have been fighting with the National Rifle Association and other groups that have come out and opposed the measure.

"We have had tougher sentences shoved down our throat in the past to no avail. It only seems to increase our residents mistrust of the police and the system itself, which is incarcerating Black men at a high rate," said Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), who said he believes poor Hispanics will be targeted by a tougher law as well.

Ald. Walter Burnett, whose ward boundary cuts across all racial lines, said he believes locking up people for longer periods of time is not the answer. He said he believes the behavior must be changed and said that starts with making employment available where people can be paid wages to raise a family on. He also said more discretion needs to be used before using the approach Emanuel wants. He said many senior citizens carry weapons because it is the only possible way they can defend themselves. He questioned the ethical value and the "spirit" of a proposed law that would sentence people to three years right from the start.

"They are afraid because they don't feel like they are being protected by the police," said Burnett to a group of reporters last week at City Hall. "It's wrong to feel like you have to have a gun. It's wrong to have an illegal gun. But also, it's wrong for us if we mandatorily give a person who made the wrong decision three years who may not have ever done anything to anyone." Brookins, who is emerging a strong political foe to Emanuel and is being talked about privately in some political circles as a potential challenger to the Mayor in the next election said mandatory sentences in the past have failed miserably in the war on drugs. He is afraid the same would happen on gun crimes. Brookins said engaging with unemployed and uneducated citizens and providing them services to improve their lot in life is perhaps a better solution to gun crimes.

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