GOP applauds bipartisan opioids bill – By Evelyn Rupert July 30, 2016, 06:05 am

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman touted the recently passed bill to fight the opioid epidemic, which he said has struck hard in his home state.

“I have heard too many of these heartbreaking stories from grieving moms and dads all across Ohio. This epidemic is at crisis levels and it knows no ZIP code or walk of life. It’s everywhere. Fighting it is going to require all of us to work together,” Portman said in the weekly Republican address.

Portman lauded the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which was easily passed by Congress earlier this month.

The legislation will put $181 million a year into federal opioids programs, expand treatment options and bolster education program and availability of an overdose drug.

“It is not a Republican or Democratic approach,” Portman said.

“It’s an example of how, by working together to find common ground, we can address the big issues that face our country.”

How China’s state media covers the problems with American democracy — Vice News Published on Jul 27, 2016

Wang Guan is the chief political correspondent for the American division of China Central Television, China’s main state-run TV network. At the Democratic National Convention, VICE News correspondent Isobel Yeung spoke with Wang about state censorship, the Chinese disdain for Hillary Clinton and their take on Donald Trump.

Flint’s mayor will bring the water crisis to prime time at the DNC –

Fact-checking Hillary Clinton’s acceptance of the Democratic nomination – By Allison Graves, Neelesh Moorthy on Thursday, July 28th, 2016 at 8:47 p.m.

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The Democratic Party has a new presidential nominee, and for the first time for either major political party, she is a woman.

Hillary Clinton — a former secretary of state, senator and first lady — accepted her party’s nomination on July 28, 2016, the final night of the Democratic National Convention. After being introduced by her daughter Chelsea, Clinton challenged the campaign message of Republican nominee Donald Trump as being all about himself.

“That’s why ‘Stronger Together’ is not just a lesson from our history,” Clinton told the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa. “It’s not just a slogan for our campaign. It’s a guiding principle for the country we’ve always been and the future we’re going to build.”

The night also saw speeches by Republicans who decided this election to vote for Clinton over Trump, as well as the families of fallen police officers. Several service members rallied on Clinton’s behalf, and singer Katy Perry sang her songs “Roar” and “Rise.”

Clinton’s address was the night’s biggest moment. Let’s see how accurate it was.

(See our wrap-ups from night onetwo and three of the Democratic convention.)

Attacking Donald Trump

Clinton critiqued Trump’s address at the Republican National Convention a week earlier, saying “he spoke for 70-odd minutes – and I do mean odd,” and should not be trusted.

“And most of all, don’t believe anyone who says: ‘I alone can fix it.,’ ” Clinton said. “Those were actually Donald Trump’s words in Cleveland.”

We looked back at his speech, and Trump really did say this.

“Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it,” Trump said.

However, Trump did allude to working with others in different parts of his speech. He said he would work with law enforcement and added this tidbit about working with allied countries..

“We must work with all of our allies who share our goal of destroying ISIS and stamping out Islamic terror,” he said. “This includes working with our greatest ally in the region, the State of Israel.”

With that extra context, we rated Clinton’s claim Mostly True.

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The cameras pointed at the tidy and tasteful set, and the host donned a mic. The ‘On Air’ sign glowed, and the studio lay silent, save for the sound of Kristen Bell. But the Veronica Mars and Frozen star wasn’t there to promote her next movie. Instead, she expounded on the importance of going to the polls in November.

“If you’re not voting and paying attention, you don’t get a right to complain,” Bell said.

Headset-wearing producers ushered more high-profile guests—Jesse Jackson, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro—from the green room to the studio. Meanwhile, on the upper balconies inside the Wells Fargo Center, two hosts waited for the director downstairs to kick it to them for a live shot of the Democratic National Convention.

The scene in many ways exactly mirrored what was happening at that same moment on the sound stages of MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, all spread throughout the arena. But while those news networks at least purport to be impartial, the producers and guests here proclaimed their allegiance openly via pins and other campaign paraphernalia: “I’m With Her.”

And they were. Welcome to Studio 2016, the content shop jointly run by the Democratic National Convention Committee and the Hillary for America campaign. For one hour every night this week, Studio 2016 has put on its own livestreamed pre-show, with guests ranging from civil rights leader and Georgia representative John Lewis to actress America Ferrara.

The production studio aims to compete with the social media and cable news spin rooms to accomplish one task and one task only: persuade people watching at home to support Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president. Tonight, as Clinton prepares to take the stage at the convention, “it’s going to be all Hillary, all the time,” says Studio 2016 director Liz Hart.

‘Our whole strategy is about reaching folks who aren’t here.’

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Invisibilia: No One Thought This All-Woman’s Debate Team Could Crush It – Gregory Warner – July 29, 20163:00 AM ET

Akilah debate team members (from left) Phylis Kabano, Sonia Rugwiro and Mireille Umutoni Sekamana prepare to compete in a debate tournament.

Akilah debate team members (from left) Phylis Kabano, Sonia Rugwiro and Mireille Umutoni Sekamana prepare to compete in a debate tournament. — Michael May/NPR

Editor’s note: This post is an adaptation of the latest episode of the Invisibilia podcast and program, which is broadcast on participating public radio stations. 

In high school, Mireille Umutoni Sekamana aspired to be a club president rather than just secretary. And why not? She lives in a country where women seem to face no barriers, no discrimination.

In the Parliament, for example, women hold more than half the seats. No country has a better record than that.

And in a ranking of countries by how they had narrowed the gender gap, Mireille’s homeland came in sixth in the world. The U.S. was No. 28.

There’s just one problem: Mireille lives in Rwanda. And even though Rwanda is arguably the most pro-woman country in the world, feminism is not seen as a good thing. In fact, it’s something of a dirty word.

In high school, Mireille found that teachers and students took for granted that the head of a club should be a boy. When she would stand up in front of her class and ask, “Why can’t the head be a girl?” they would tell her, “That’s for Americans. You’re trying to be an American.”

Being “American” was shorthand for being too aggressive, too liberated, too selfish. The message was clear: You’re doing this for yourself, not for the good of your country. “They’d say, ‘You don’t belong in Rwanda,’ ” Mireille recalls. ” ‘You don’t even belong in Africa!’ ”

And when she did finally become head of a club — the debating club in her all-women’s college — she faced another struggle: Could she and her team members succeed in the male-dominated world of collegiate debate?

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The Unraveling of Harvard’s Star Trading Desk – Michael McDonald Sabrina Willmer July 28, 2016

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Across the Charles River from Harvard Yard, the stewards of the university’s vast fortune were about to embark on an ambitious plan: they wanted to recreate a Wall Street-style hedge fund to trade stocks.

QuickTake University Endowments

After years of missteps, controversy and even crisis, Harvard Management Corp., which oversees the university’s $37.6 billion endowment, began assembling a new corps of equity traders and analysts in 2014, in hopes of recapturing a part of the investment magic that had once made the fund the envy of the world.

Only now, just two years later, that plan has collapsed. Stephen Blyth, 48, the former bond trader behind that effort, stepped down as HMC’s chief executive Wednesday for personal reasons after just 18 months on the job. His resignation follows the departure in June of Michael Ryan and Robert Howard, the two former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partners he had brought in to guide the new equity strategy.

Pulled Plug

While Blyth’s exit was said to be unrelated to those of his star hires, the talk inside HMC’s offices at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston centered on why management had pulled the plug on the team so quickly amid a volatile equities market.

According to people familiar with the matter, some traders in Ryan’s group posted losses in 2015 significant enough to trigger internal temporary stop-loss orders. Ryan also lost money in a portfolio he managed. The extent of the losses is unclear, however, and came at a time when most hedge funds were struggling to beat market indexes.

But now, Harvard is once again confronting the same, uncomfortable question that has dogged it for years: why can’t the world’s richest university, for all its brains, make smarter investments?

Harvard decided to dismantle the in-house equities team after concluding that it would lean more on outside money managers “who have the resources, skill and experience,” Paul Finnegan, chairman of HMC’s board, said in a statement Wednesday.

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US military says it may have killed more civilians in latest airstrike in Syria – Spencer Ackerman in New York Thursday 28 July 2016 22.20 EDT

Another airstrike around the city on Manbij, scene of the worst civilian casualty incident in the campaign against Isis, may have killed several dozen people

 The Syrian Observation for Human Rights pegged the civilian death toll from the latest coalition airstrike near Manbij at at least 28 people.

A day after announcing a formal inquiry into what watchdogs call the United States’ worst civilian casualty incident in its war against the Islamic State militant group, the US military said that more civilians may have been killed in another airstrike around the same Syrian city.

Manbij, the scene of intense fighting for over two months between Isis and US-backed militant groups, has now experienced another airstrike that “may have resulted in civilian casualties”, the US Central Command (Centcom) disclosed late on Thursday.

“We can confirm the coalition conducted airstrikes in the area in the last 24 hours,” Centcom said in a statement.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a major source of information on the plight of noncombatants caught in Syria’s devastating civil war, said it put the death toll in the latest lethal Manbij incident at 28 civilians, including, once again, women and children.

“They were killed when the warplanes of the international coalition committed a massacre in the town of al-Ghandour in the northwestern countryside of Manbij city east of Aleppo province, where the warplanes targeted areas in the town of al-Ghandour, which is more than 23 kilometers away from Manbij city, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation,” the Observatory said on its English-language website on Thursday.

The Observatory said 13 others were killed in the airstrike. It is not known if those 13 are civilians or members of Isis, which has been fending off ground and air attacks for more than two months from the US and its Syrian allies.

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Fallen Muslim American soldier’s father scolds Trump: ‘have you even read the constitution?’ – Play VideoPlay Current Time 0:00 / Duration Time 1:39 Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% FullscreenMute Father of Muslim American soldier: ‘Donald Trump, you have sacrificed nothing’ – by Paul Owen in Philadelphia – Friday 29 July 2016 02.23 EDT

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The father of an American Muslim killed in the US military in Iraq stunned the Democratic convention on Thursday night with a powerful challenge to Donald Trump, who he said had “sacrificed nothing and no one”.

Appearing on stage in Philadelphia alongside his wife, Ghazala, Khizr Khan paid tribute to his late son, Cpt Humayun Khan, describing his family as “patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country”.

Of his son, killed in 2004 by a car bomb after protecting his soldiers by ordering them to drop to the ground while he took 10 steps forward, Khan said: “If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America.

“Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.”

The Republican candidate has repeatedly suggested a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US as a way to combat the threat of Islamist terrorism.

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Cookie Dough Blues: How E. Coli Is Sneaking Into Our Forbidden Snack – DAN CHARLES July 28, 20161:45 PM ET

Cookie dough clings to the beaters of a standing mixer. The Food and Drug Administration is warning people not to eat raw dough due to an ongoing outbreak of illnesses linked to flour tainted with E. coli.

Cookie dough clings to the beaters of a standing mixer. The Food and Drug Administration is warning people not to eat raw dough due to an ongoing outbreak of illnesses linked to flour tainted with E. coli. Larry Crowe/AP

Flour seems innocuous. We’ve long been warned to wash our hands after handling chicken, and to cook our hamburgers well. We wash lettuce that came straight from the field. But really, flour?

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminded everyone that flour is, in fact, a raw, uncooked food, just like those fresh greens. Yes, it can make you sick.

The agency announced that 46 people, so far, have been sickened by E. coli that apparently contaminated flour sold by General Mills. The first case was reported seven months ago, and the outbreak continues. Tests haven’t actually detected disease-causing E. coli in the company’s products, but General Mills has recalled the batches of flour that included packages sold to people who got sick.

But how does flour become contaminated in the first place?

A researcher at AIB International inserts thermometers into cookie dough to monitor the baking temperature. The goal is to make sure the dough reaches the temperature needed to kill any bacteria inside.

A researcher at AIB International inserts thermometers into cookie dough to monitor the baking temperature. The goal is to make sure the dough reaches the temperature needed to kill any bacteria inside.

Courtesy of AIB International

Charlene Wolf-Hall, a food microbiologist who is currently vice provost at North Dakota State University, says it could happen almost anywhere from wheat field to flour mill. The prime suspects are wild creatures that carry E. coli or salmonella. “It could be bugs, it could be birds, it could be rodents, it could be people with their hands — you just don’t really know what the source is,” she says.

Scientists have found that the wind can carry disease-causing bacteria from cattle feedlots to fields nearby.

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