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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Deryl Paul Dedmon

Deryl Paul Dedmon, the driver of the pickup truck, pleaded guilty to state charges involving James Craig Anderson's death and was sentenced to two life terms. Photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/The Clarion-Ledger, Joe Ellis)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Three young white men who admitted they were out hunting black people to attack when they beat, ran over and killed a 47-year-old car plant worker in Mississippi's capital city were sentenced Tuesday to federal prison following a hate crimes investigation.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves sentenced Deryl Paul Dedmon to 50 years; John Aaron Rice to 18 ½ years; and Dylan Wade Butler to seven years on the most serious of the counts against them, commission of a hate crime. Dedmon, 22, Rice, 21, and Butler, 23, are all from Brandon, Mississippi.

Dedmon also faces two life sentences in a Mississippi prison. He pleaded guilty in a state court in 2012 to capital murder and hate crime.

"What these people did was ugly, painful and sad and criminal," Reeves said.

They were charged in the June 2011 death of James Craig Anderson.

All three, wearing red prison jumpsuits and shackled at the waist and ankles, took to a podium to apologize to members of Anderson's family for their actions.

"I want to tell the Anderson family how truly sorry I am," Dedmon said.

The apologies came after an impassioned condemnation of their actions from Anderson's sister.

Barbara Anderson Young said her brother's death came "at the hands of these strangers with eyes full of hatred."

She said her brother "helplessly fought to stay alive" as he was attacked by people he did not know.

"My God have mercy on your sinful souls," Young said.

Prosecutors said the youths harassed or assaulted black people who they thought were homeless or intoxicated. Victims were chosen because they thought they would not tell police, authorities said. The harassment began in April 2011, culminating in the death of Anderson.

The three pleaded guilty in March 2012 to one count of conspiracy and one count of committing a hate crime. Each was sentenced to five years on the conspiracy count to run concurrent with the other.

In Dedmon's case, Reeves said the federal sentenced would run concurrent with his state sentence.

Dedmon was at the wheel of a truck that ran over Anderson in the parking lot of a Jackson hotel. The scene was caught on a security camera at the hotel.

The surveillance video, obtained by The Associated Press and other media, shows a white Jeep Cherokee in which Rice was allegedly a passenger leaving a hotel parking lot at 5:05 a.m. Less than 20 seconds later, a Ford truck backs up and then lunges forward. Anderson's shirt is illuminated in the headlights before he disappears under the vehicle next to the curb.

Before sentencing the three, Reeves told the courtroom that the Anderson's death reflected the "inhumanity of racism" with which Mississippi has dealt throughout its history.

"The sad thing is these ... hunts were instigated by our children, these kids," said Reeves, who is black. "The victims were targeted because of their race. These three defendants and others made a joint decision to act on racial hatred."

Reeves said a later hearing would be held to discuss restitution.

Seven others are awaiting sentencing.

Reeves will sentence Joseph Paul Dominick, William Kirk Montgomery and Jonathan Kyle Gaskamp on Feb. 25. Dominick pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2013 and faces five years in prison. Montgomery, who pleaded guilty in 2012, faces life in prison on a hate crime charge and five years on conspiracy. Gaskamp, who wasn't present the night Anderson died, pleaded guilty in 2012. He faces five years in prison for conspiracy and 10 years on a hate crime charge.

U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate will sentence four people:

— Sarah Adelia Graves, who pleaded guilty in December, faces five years in prison on a conspiracy charge at sentencing April 9.

— Shelbie Brooke Richards, who pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy and concealing the crime by lying to police, faces eight years in prison at sentencing April 16.

— John Louis Blalack, who pleaded guilty Jan. 7 to two hate crimes charges, faces 20 years in prison at sentencing April 23.

— Robert Henry Rice, who pleaded guilty Jan. 7 to one hate crime charge, faces 10 years in prison at sentencing April 30.

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