First Chlamydia vaccine tested in mice shows potential

Canada – Researchers have designed a prototype Chlamydia vaccine, tested in mice, with the first results suggesting that the virus could be terminated in the next few years.

The research was published in the journal Vaccine, where it shows hat mice given then vaccine are more likely to battle Chlamydia than the ones’ who haven’t received any particular form of treatment.

It is worth adding that no vaccine is approved for human use against Chlamydia, which is the second most common sexually transmitted disease after AIDS.

CDC’s report on Chlamydia states that approximately 2.86 million cases of infections are being reported within U.S. borders every year.

The research took place at McMaster University in Ontario, where researchers gave mice two doses of the prototype vaccine, delivered through the nose.

When the mice were later exposed to Chlamydia, the ones who received the vaccine showed fewer copies of the bacteria replicating in their system, while they also had fewer signs of damage to their reproductive organs.

Dr. David Bulir, a member of the researching team, told local media about the study’s results.

Vaccination would be the best way to way to prevent a chlamydia infection, and this study has identified important new antigens which could be used as part of a vaccine to prevent or eliminate the damaging reproductive consequences of untreated infections.

Professor James Mahony also added, “We will trial the vaccine on other animal models before moving on to human trials. The results are very promising.

Moreover, researchers hope that their vaccine will be effective against Chlamydia infections of the eye, which is a common cause of blindness in developing countries in Africa and Asia.

At the moment, the sole way for one to protect himself from contracting the disease is to use a condom while having sexual coitus.

On a less relevant note, Public Health England in their report urged any individual aged under 25 who is sexually active to be tested for Chlamydia every year and when they shift partners.

Chlamydia is amongst the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the U.K. as well, with 200,000 diagnoses reported in 2015, 129,000 of which had occurred among individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 years.

Via: Medical News Today

Ted Cruz booed over not endorsing Donald Trump during RNC speech

Cleveland, OH – Former Republican presidential candidate’s, Ted Cruz, decision not to endorse nominee Donald Trump, has caused a major backlash, expressed both by party members and voters.

Mr. Cruz told delegates and convention attendees to “vote their conscience” instead of urging them to directly vote for Mr. Trump.

It is worth noting that a number of leading Republican voices have clarified that they will be backing Mr. Trump for the November election, despite the fact that they had opposed his policies in the past.

To those listening, please, don’t stay home in November. If you love our country, and love your children as much as I know you do, stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution,” Mr. Cruz said during the convention.

Mr. Curz mentioned Mr. Trump only once during his speech, just to congratulate him for clinching the nomination.

As it was becoming apparent that Mr. Cruz was not planning to endorse Mr. Trump at that particular speech, the cheers suddenly became boos, while security escorted Mrs. Cruz out of the arena because ““it was volatile and the Trump folks were physically approaching and confrontationally yelling,”, Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told ABC News through text.

“People from my own delegation were physically approaching her while yelling at her. So, I physically moved media out of her way, and got in the way of my own delegation so she could clear by and get out of the arena,” Mr. Cuccinelli further added.

Furthermore, Mr. Cruz not endorsing Donald Trump does not come as much of a surprise, considering the rivalry the two had, especially during the last month of the race.

Days before Mr. Cruz dropped from the race, Mr. Trump negatively commented on Mrs. Cruz looks, while he also alleged that Mr. Cruz’s father could have been an associate to JFK’s murder.

Via: The New York Times

Zika Virus infects 13th Dallas resident that traveled to Latin America

Dallas, TX – Reports coming in from local authorities state that yet another resident of the county has been infected by the Zika virus.

More specifically, that is the thirteenth resident of the area to be tested positive for Zika virus infection. The anonymous 49-year old individual used to be a Mexican resident, which is where it is believed he contracted the virus.

The city of Carrollton warned in a written statement that the patient resides close to Keller Springs Road and Marsh Lane in the 75006 ZIP code.

In response to the alarmingly increasing Zika virus breakout, localized ground spraying will be conducted on Tuesday afternoon and will end when local authorities determine that the threat is under control.

Furthermore, Carrollton has been positively tested for West Nile virus as well, and therefore the entire area will undergo special spraying on Wednesday and Thursday late evenings.

As of now, Dallas County Health and Human Services has been able to confirm that the virus’s spread primarily stems from DeSoto, Irving and Dallas residents, that have recently returned from Latin America and the Caribbean.

At the moment, there is no fear of the virus being transmitted from local mosquitos.

When it comes to Zika’s means of being transmitted, in the majority of the cases it is being carried by the Aedes genus of mosquitoes, while local health centers also strongly advise residents to refrain from engaging in a sexual fashion with a patient.

The virus’s symptoms’ lifespan usually varies in between a few days and an entire week, with the most common ones being fever, rash, conjunctivitis and joint pain.

CDC’s latest local report, which was released on June 29th, says that since the beginning of the year, forty-nine cases of travel-related Zika infections have been recorded in Texas.

Building on that report, Dallas County officials added that ten pregnant women could have been infected by Zika, though the scenario of them just going through dengue fever or chikungunya is still quite possible.

Both dengue fever and chikungunya display similar symptoms with the notorious virus, hence they are often confused with the Zika infection.

Furthermore, CDC’s report also highlights that seven infants that were born to Zika-infected mothers in the U.S. are suffering from birth defects, while five mothers had a miscarriage as of June 23.

Source: Dallas County official website

NASA Spacecraft sends first photos of Jupiter after five year trip is completed

Pasadena, CA – NASA has released the first photos sent by its Juno spacecraft, which arrived at Jupiter on Saturday.

The said photos were taken by the spacecraft at its time of arrival at Jupiter, but the space association released them to the public just yesterday.

Furthermore, despite the spacecraft being three million miles away from Jupiter, the planet’s Great Red Spot, which is a centuries-old atmospheric storm, and three of its four largest moons were visible.

Juno managed to enter Jupiter’s orbit last week, dispelling fears of high-speed impact with debris in the planet’s tenuous ring, or potential radiation damage.

The spacecraft shut down its primary engine for thirty-five minutes straight, thus adequately slowing down before entering the planned polar orbit.

NASA did it again! That says it all to me,” Juno’s principal investigator, Scott Bolton, mentioned at a press conference, which took place after the good news came in. “And I am so happy to be part of the team that did that. This team has worked so hard, and we have just such great people. It’s almost like a dream coming true right here. … And now the fun begins. The science!

Furthermore, due to Jupiter’s massive distance from Earth, 540 million miles, NASA’s flight controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were not able to follow the spacecraft’s location and status at real time, as they had to wait forty-five minutes for radio signals to cross the space in between the two planets.

By the time they received the last update, Juno had already entered the designated orbit.

It took the spacecraft five years to reach its destination, while it will be staying on the planet for a twenty-month mission, during which Juno will be studying various aspects of the planet, including its atmosphere, interior and poles.

NASA’s department in charge of the mission stated that close-up photos of Jupiter are expected to come in their hands sometime next month.

Via: Science Daily

Alzheimer’s disease could be detected from a routine eye test

United States – University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design’s latest study suggests that it could be possible to detect Alzheimer’s disease by conducting a routine eye examination.

For those who are not familiar, Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder causing sudden memory loss which gradually deteriorates to severe levels, rendering patients unable to even recall essential information, such as their names or which year we are in.

The study, which was published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, in June, suggests that by conducting an ordinary eye test, it is possible for doctors to detect early stages of the notorious disease.

More specifically, the said test is fundamentally based on examining the retinas, which is the light-sensitive tissue that coats the back of our eyes, through a high-tech camera.

Since the retina bears a striking resemblance with the brain’s reaction to Alzheimer, doctors believe they can make use of it thus determining whether an individual has been affected by the disease or not.

Furthermore, accessing the brain to determine the existence of the disease is a very delicate and risky procedure, whereas examining one’s eyes from the distance appears to be a less complicated solution.

As of now, a definitive diagnosis for Alzheimer does not exist, and it can only be detected through symptoms that the patient displays.

Furthermore, Alzheimer is detectable after it has been formed within the patient’s organism, therefore being able to identify the disease in its early stages will certainly help doctors to terminate it before becoming too severe to be addressed.

The aforementioned test had been conducted in mice’s retinas, though, thanks to the promising results, doctors will test the new method in patients with and without Alzheimer, hoping it is equally effective for our own species as well.

Doctors concluded the study by mentioning that,

Timely diagnosis of AD is paramount for proper treatment and evaluation of the latter’s efficacy. We expect this technology to prove suitable for translation into a human diagnostic tool. Such developmental efforts are underway.

On a less relevant note, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America latest data reports that approximately 5.1 million U.S. citizens could be suffering from the disease in 2016.

Via: The New York Observer

Bernie Sanders endorses Hillary Clinton for President of the United States

New Hampshire, US – Former Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, announced at a press event that he is endorsing presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, for president of the United States.

Mrs. Clinton, who joined Mr. Sanders during the announcement of his endorsement, thanked Senator Sanders for his support, which is vital at this point of the campaign.

Being here with him in New Hampshire, I can’t help but reflect how much more enjoyable this election is going to be now that we’re on the same side,” she said. “Now, with your help, we are joining forces to defeat Donald Trump, win in November and together build a future we can all believe in.

During his New Hampshire speech, Senator Sanders primarily focused on attacking the Republican party’s presidential nominee, real estate mogul and billionaire, Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Sanders characterized Mr. Trump’s economic policy as ‘reckless‘, while claiming that his foreign policy will cause division within the nation, especially amongst Latino and Muslim Americans.

The Senator from Vermont also condemned Mr. Trump’s controversial anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim comments, such as his proposal to build a wall at the Mexican border and temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States.

In these stressful times for our country, this election must be about bringing our people together, not dividing us up,” Mr. Sanders commented. “While Donald Trump is busy insulting Mexicans, Muslims, women, African Americans and veterans, Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Yes. We become stronger when black and white, Latino, Asian American, Native American – all of us – stand together. Yes. We become stronger when men and women, young and old, gay and straight, native born and immigrant fight to rid this country of all forms of bigotry.

Furthermore, Senator Sanders’ decision to endorse Secretary Clinton comes as a result of a two-month negotiation period between the two candidates’ campaign managers.

More specifically, Mrs. Clinton had to include new fundamental points in her campaign, such as increasing the minimum wage, establishing tuition-free colleges and investing in universal health care, in order to secure Mr. Sanders’ endorsement.

Via: CNN

Concussion Rates Among America’s Youth have Doubled in the last five years

U.S. – According to a research conducted by nonprofit organization FAIR Health, concussions amongst children and young adults in America have been alarmingly increasing over the last five years.

More specifically, the rate in which concussions occur has been increased to 500 percent from 2010 to 2014.

For those who are not familiar with the matter, concussions constitute a type of traumatic brain injury that causes the head and brain to move back and forth at an unnatural pace, consequently leading to potential chemical changes and cell damage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, an estimated 175,000 children have to go through emergency room treatment every year due to accidents from sports and outdoor activities.

FAIR Health’s infographic claims that for individuals aged under 22, the September-October period is the one with the highest incidence of concussions, which could be attributed to the fact that football season commences during these two months.

Furthermore, the research also found out that concussions occur to male individuals more often than the female ones, with the biggest gap taking place between ages of 5 and 10 —males at 68 percent, females at 32 percent.

Though, tables switch sides at older ages, as the study shows that female individuals aged between 19 and 22 had more concussions than their male counterparts — females at 56 percent, males 44 percent.

The results also pointed out that concussion rates are significantly higher among high school students than middle school or college students.

It is worth noting that concussions should be addressed in a very delicate manner, in order to achieve a proper recovery.

Studies have proven that when kids return injured from school, they can experience dizziness, headaches, audible and visual vulnerabilities, memory and concentration disorders, as well as unnatural sleeping patterns.

Sports and exercise are definitely beneficial for kids. We want them to be active,” Dr. Alan Zhang, of the University of California, San Francisco, who has been studying concussions amongst children for the past few years, told

Source: PR Newswire

UK PM David Cameron resigns on Wednesday, to be replaced by Theresa May

London, UK – Prime minister and leader of the Conservative party, David Cameron, has just announced that he will be relinquishing his position for the new PM to steer the nation through the negotiations that will ensue.

After the result of the June 23rd EU referendum came out, where the ‘leave’ side won the majority of the votes, Mr. Cameron clarified that he will be stepping down as the Prime Minister of Britain in October, where the party’s convention would take place to elect the new leader.

Though, circumstances have changed, since out of the two individuals competing for the position, the one has just dropped out.

That is Minister of Energy Andrea Leadsom, who received controversy from the public and from within the Conservative party for allegedly calling herself a more suitable candidate because, unlike her contestant, she is a mother.

Mrs. Leadsom issued an apology to her rival, Home Secretary Theresa May, who not only accepted it but also had never felt offended by the particular remark.

Despite the dispute being resolved peacefully, Mrs. Leadsom decided that with her current parliamentary support, it wouldn’t be wise to take over the party and subsequently become prime minister.

That ultimately left Mrs. May the sole contestant for the Conservative party’s leadership, leading to PM Cameron’s decision to expedite the period of transition.

Obviously, with these changes, we now don’t need to have a prolonged period of transition. And so tomorrow I will chair my last cabinet meeting. On Wednesday I will attend the House of Commons for prime minister’s questions. And then after that I expect to go to the palace and offer my resignation. So we will have a new prime minister in that building behind me by Wednesday evening,”  Mr. Cameron told the media outside 10 Downing Street on Monday.

Had Mrs. Leadsom hadn’t dropped out of the race, as aforementioned, the vote between the two contestants would be determined at the party’s convention in October, where 150,000 registered members would be eligible to cast their vote.

Via: Reuters

U.K. Government rejects petition calling for second EU Referendum

The UK government issued an official response to the widely popular petition asking for a rerun of the EU referendum, where it rules out any possibility of such an event taking place in the foreseeable future.

The Prime Minister and Government have been clear that this was a once in a generation vote and, as the Prime Minister has said, the decision must be respected,” the document highlights.

On the other end, the petition’s primary argument lies on the demand that the winning side of referendums of such a nature, should accumulate a percentage larger than the standard 51% majority.

More specifically, the petition mentions in its online page, “We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum.

In response, the government stated that the legislation which oversaw the referendum’s rules had “received overwhelming support from Parliament.“, while it further adds, “The Act did not set a threshold for the result or for minimum turnout.

The government’s official response concludes by naming the entire procedure as “one of the biggest democratic exercises in British history with over 33 million people having their say.“, while it urges the nation to “prepare for the process to exit the EU and the Government is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for the British people in the negotiations.

When it comes to the petition’s background, its founder was revealed to be a former pro-leave activist, at the time when the ‘remain’ side was prevailing in the polls.

According to the government’s website, where the petition had been hosted, a staggering four million people signed for it, in an effort to persuade Prime Minister Cameron to announce a rerun.

Furthermore, various British news outlets’ sources suggest that thousands of the petition’s signatures are not genuine and therefore should not be considered as actual support of the movement.

It is worth adding that the leave side’s win in the referendum has provoked a storm of protest from the younger population, as it is a fact that 74% of the 18-24 age demographic had voted for Britain to remain in the European Union.

Via: Forbes

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account hacked by OurMine group

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey is the latest victim of a string of attacks against renowned names in the technology industry, claimed by OurMine hacking group.

The incident took place early Saturday morning, when the team of hackers posted a series of clips on the social network’s Vine video sharing platform, mocking Twitter for its various security issues.

OurMine, once they gained access to Mr. Dorsey’s account, posted a tweet on his profile mentioning, “Hey, its OurMine,we are testing your security”.

Twitter managed to resolve the issue within a forty-five-minute time frame, while it also erased all the tweets and clips that the group shared on the two platforms. Though, a few news outlets did manage to take screenshots of the now deleted content.

OurMine is known for conducting hackings of this particular nature, as in the recent past they had also hijacked former Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO’s Mark Zuckerberg Twitter profiles.

Furthermore, it was confirmed by Twitter itself that both Mr. Zuckerberg’s and Mr. Costolo’s profiles were hacked via a third-party app connected to their accounts, or through recycled and old passwords.

Reports coming in now regarding Saturday’s hacking, claim that that is what happened with Mr. Dorsey’s account as well, most likely via Vine.

If that turns out to be true, then the social networking giant’s authority will certainly be questioned, since Twitter itself in a press release stated that its servers were not compromised during the attacks, and therefore various data breaches from third party apps should be the culprit.

As far as the reason behind these coordinated attacks is concerned, OurMine’s motivations do not appear to be linked with any sort of hacktivism movements, such as Anonymous and alike.

Sources close to the matter suggest that this type of hacks could be regarded as pure vandalism.

Via: Engadget


Militants kill two, wound nine on Bangladesh Eid prayer gathering

BANGLADESH, ASIA – Local authorities have announced the death of two police officers and nine wounded, during a grenade attack on a security point in a town hosting the country’s most prominent celebrations for the end of the Ramadan fasting month.

District administrator Zillur Rahman told the press that the security point where the assault had taken place, is located near an area where an estimated 200,000 people had gathered for a prayer service in Kishoreganj. The town is approximately 140km northeast of the capital, Dhaka.

The precise number of people that were behind the attack is still unknown, while two of them were killed during the shoot-out that ensued. Local authorities did not manage to apprehend any of the gunmen.

One of the senior district officials, Mohammad Azimuddin Sheikh, claimed that, after the grenades were exploded, militants used “sharp weapons” to attack local police. The type of the said weaponry has not been specified yet.

We are still checking for other miscreants but after this incident prayers were held peacefully and we have asked everyone to go home,” Rahaman mentioned during a press conference.

The district administrator assured local residents that the attack had been brought under control for the time being.

It is worth adding that this attack comes in the wake of last week’s fatal tragedy, where alleged ISIS soldiers killed twenty people, primarily foreigners, in a cafe in the capital claimed by the Islamic State Islamists militant group.

According to data from past attacks of a similar nature, last week’s assault featured the largest number of casualties in Bangladesh’s history, causing fear amongst citizens and visitors of the country.

After the attack in the cafe, ISIS announced in an online video that the violence will be maintained until Islamic law is established worldwide, and that the particular assault was just a pre-taste of what there is yet to come.

Via: CNN

Minnesota man killed in police shooting during traffic stop

MINNEAPOLIS, US –  Philando Castile, a 32-year old man from Minnesota, has died during an officer-involved shooting whilst being pulled over for a routine traffic stop, local authorities have announced.

The incident took place in St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights, where the local police have confirmed the man’s death. Castile’s mother told news outlets that her son left his final breath in Hennepin County Medical Center.

Being in charge of police services for the neighboring cities of Falcon Heights and Lauderdale, the St. Anthony Police Department official press release on the matter states that officers asked for a vehicle to pull over at around 9 p.m.

While the procedure was being executed, “shots were fired” and a handgun was recovered at the scene, the department mentioned in it statement.

Three passengers were sitting in the car; Castile himself, who was the driver, his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds at the front passengers’ seat and her young daughter at the rear one.

Reynolds provided local media and the police department with what she had witnessed at the scene, which is substantiated by the video she recorded on her cellphone.

The video, which Reynolds uploaded to Facebook, illustrates the aftermath of the shooting, showing Castile reaching for his wallet, while informing officers that he had a registered firearm in his possession, with a conceal-and-carry permit, which was currently located in the car.

Castile’s girlfriend then suggested that the police officer shot Castile four times. In the video, it seems that the particular officer was severely emotionally overcharged, as he can be seen saying, “I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand out.

Reynolds then responded in a composed manner, “You told him to get his I.D., sir, his driver’s license.

The phone’s camera is turned over to Castile, who was covered in blood.

Oh my God, please don’t tell me he’s dead. Please don’t tell me my boyfriend just went like that,” Reynold says.

The officer behind the shooting, who maintained pointing his gun into the open passenger side front window, tells Reynolds to “keep your hands where they are.

Yes I will, sir, I’ll keep my hands where they are,” Reynolds replies.

Reynolds is then told to exit the vehicle. The video then shows several officers at the scene with guns drawn towards the car, while one of them is holding Reynolds’ daughter.

Via: Los Angeles Times

President Obama and VP Biden won’t visit colleges that mishandle sexual assaults

President Obama and other high-ranking officials of the administration announced that they won’t be visiting colleges whose leaders they consider “insufficiently serious” when it comes to sexual assault on campus.

Besides the President and the First Lady, the decision to boycott educational institutions that fail to address campus-based sexual assaults has been joined by Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, as well as a number of prominent Cabinet members.

This information comes from Washington Post’s Sunday report, which cites officials close to both the President and the VP.

According to the Post, Mr. Biden urged the federal government to “take away their money“ from colleges that do not reform their insufficient policy regarding incidents involving sexual assaults against male, female and transgender students.

In addition to that announcement by the VP, Mr. Biden told the Washington Post that the matter of campus sexual assaults has been under his consideration since his first term in the White House, back in 2008.

More specifically, the VP stated that he asked President Obama to raise awareness about the issue and requested a staff that would study gun violence against women.

The Vice President talked about Mr. Obama’s response to the idea. “He said,Okay.He knew how strongly I felt about it. He always thought it was an awful abuse of power. But as his daughters grew, he became more explicitly focused on it,

Mr. Biden further added that over time the President had significantly shifted his focus and efforts on minimizing the issue at hand.

Furthermore, this joint-decision comes in the wake of the Stanford campus sexual assault scandal, where a male student engaged in illegal sexual contact with an unconscious female student.

Controversy about the matter sparked due to the judge’s six-month sentence verdict, despite the perpetrator being convicted of three counts of sexual assault.

Vice President Biden mentioned in an open letter to the Stanford victim. “It must have been wrenching — to relive what he did to you all over again. But you did it anyway, in the hope that your strength might prevent this crime from happening to someone else. Your bravery is breathtaking.

Via: The Washington Times

Pasta is Good for your Health, new study claims

A new study has emerged, suggesting that moderate consumption of pasta is good for people’s health, as it is associated with lower chances of obesity, according to data coming from thousands of Italians that participated.

Pasta is part of the substantially studied Mediterranean diet, which is a way of eating, primarily based on fruits, vegetables, peas and olive oil, accompanied by poultry and fish, indisputably proven to be healthy for the heart.

Despite the Mediterranean diet’s popularity, pasta’s impact on human health was relatively unknown, until George Pounis, author of the paper, and his colleagues at IRCCS Neuromed in Pozzilli made some remarkable findings regarding the world’s favorite food.

Our data show that enjoying pasta according to individuals’ needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio,” Pounis mentioned in a statement.

He further added, “We have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, rather the opposite,

The final results were based on two larger studies, where more than 23,000 Italians had taken place. The Moli-sani Project involved residents of the Molise region, south Italy, while the second one, dubbed Italian Nutrition and Health Survey, covered the entire country’s eating habits.

Moreover, the study does not specify the portion of pasta that one should not exceed on a daily basis, though inconsiderate consumption can result in additional weight.

The obese population was older and at lower socioeconomic status, had higher waist and hip circumferences and waist-to-hip ratio, and consumed more pasta [grams per day] than normal or overweight participants,” stated lead author Licia Iacoviello and colleagues, according to CNN’s respective report.

Iacoviello, who is head of the molecular and nutritional epidemiology laboratory at Neuromed Institute, claimed that individuals in the process of losing weight should not rule out pasta as an option for their daily diet.

She concluded by suggesting that the Meditteranean diet, in conjunction with moderate consumption of pasta, “is good for your health.

Via: News18

Iraqi authorities revamp security in Baghdad to prevent terrorist bombings

Following a car bombing that left 15 dead and 42 wounded, the Iraqi government is overhauling security operations in the capital city of Baghdad to stop the incessant bombing activities from ISIS terrorists.

Militants from the Islamic State have incessantly pounded the Baghdad with car bombings in recent times in a way that beats the imagination of the local and federal police agents, and in a manner that is starting to frustrate the government.

The Islamic State militants have targeted the district of Gorayaat, a Shiite neighborhood on a bend in the Tigris River, for months with barrages of gunfire, car bombings, suicide attacks, rocket and mortar fires, as well as direct assaults.
The manner and success with which the attacks are being carried out is starting to show the security incompetence of the central government to protect the people of Gorayaat and Baghdad as a whole.

After any particular car bombing, police and soldiers swarm the streets of Gorayaat to secure the district, and they check people’s id’s and make non-residents to account for their presence. They also secure checkpoints in a flurry of activities that wear off after a day or two, and then they go back to their normal beats.

A resident, Idris Jawad, says “that goes on for one or two days, then it’s back to normal and we wait for the next bombing.”

In the face of these car bombings and suicide attacks, the government is now resolved to revamp its security measures to respond appropriately to these attacks as well as nab the operators overseeing the dozens of terrorists’ cells within Baghdad.
The government is planning on moving away from reliance on concrete blast walls and police checkpoints to beefing up security intelligence networks for the police and other security agencies. Police intelligence units have been understaffed and underfunded since the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003, and intelligence and officials of the Interior Ministry think it is high time they overhauled the unit.

The government is considering many ways to boost internal intelligence networks for the police, and part of these might be recruiting informers from local residents to report on suspicious behavior and activities in the neighborhood.

Climate change: US Republicans alarm China over talks

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama agreed to help China stop her greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in order to combat climate change and global warming, but Republicans in the US Senate rose up against Obama’s pledge toward China quitting gas emissions at the said date.
And so in view of talks coming up in Lima, Peru next week, Chinese climate change negotiators are afraid that the US Republicans attitude could disrupt the purpose of the deal.

Xie Zhenhua, vice director of the national planning agency and the chief negotiator on climate change said that “Because of internal politics in the US the Kyoto protocol was not ratified, so we are worried that we might face the same problem in the 2015 pact.” The Lima meeting is supposed to pave a way for another meeting in Paris next year where international climate agreements will be sealed.

And Frederic Mion, who is helping organise the Paris summit states that “There is a feeling that the announcement by Xi Jinping and Mr Obama changed the picture, The Chinese are now much more willing, less obstructive than we could have believed six months ago.”

Meanwhile, since the Chinese appear to be targeting 2030 to cut carbon emissions, Mr. Xie is of the view that “In 16 years there is lot of uncertainty, and trying to pin down a very accurate time or number down to two decimal places is actually not scientific.”

The Chinese government appears careful not to ally themselves with any global climate accord for now, most especially since the former premier Wen Jiabao’s negotiations of 2009 in Copenhagen was regarded as undermining Chinese diplomacy. He couldn’t commit on behalf of a Chinese political system that was torn by strong interest groups.

Protesters disappointed as grand jury frees officer in Ferguson shooting

Following the disappointing announcement that Darren Wilson, the police officer that shot and killed 18-year old unarmed Michael Brown would be let off the hook by the grand jury, hundreds of protesters broke loose and fired over 150 gunshots, razed down police cars, burned several buildings, and looted stores.

Anti-riot policemen arrested 29 persons, and a .45mm automatic handgun was seized by the police from the rioting crowd after series of pepper sprays, and smoke canisters had been fired to disperse the protesters.

According to Job Belmar, the St. Louis police department chief, “We have no loss of life, but I am disappointed the night turned out this way. What I’ve seen tonight is probably worse than the worst night we had in August.”

But after Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney announced the decision of the grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson, Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, who was sitting atop a vehicle burst into tears and began screaming before she was whisked away by sympathizers.

But the Brown’ family immediately issued a statement, “We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions. While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.”

And within one hour of the Ferguson’s grand jury’s announcement, President Obama asked people to remain calm and law-abiding, saying “I join Michael’s parents to ask anyone who protests this decision to do so peacefully. Let me repeat Michael’s father’s words: ‘Hurting others and destroying property is not answer. I do not want my son’s death to be in vain.'”

Comprised of 9 whites and 3 blacks, the grand jury met for a total 70 hours and cross-examined 60 witnesses – the panel had been meeting since August 20 for every week to examine evidence and witnesses before finally reaching a decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown.

FDA mandates over 200,000 restaurants to display calorie details on food

Whether they like it or not, all movie theaters and amusement parks and convenience stores as well as restaurants with over 20 branch chains in the US will now be mandated to list out full details of calorie counts in the food they serve to customers during their normal business hours.

As part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will now request that all businesses that serve food and drinks to its customers display the calorie constituents of the food on its label – so long the business has up to 20 network branches or locations.

Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the commissioner for FDA states that “While no single action can fix the obesity problem, a step we’re taking today is an important one for public health.”

Some affected businesses protest their inclusion in the labeling requirement, stating that food service was only incidental to their main businesses, but Hamburg replies that “We tried to be flexible and realistic,” most especially as it relates to the inclusion of some businesses and not others.

For instance, food trucks, ice-cream trucks, and airlines that serve food on flights would not be required to display the calorie levels of their foods on labels; but takeout pizza, popcorn sold at a movie theater, hot dogs from a convenience store, and food items from salad bars will have their calorie counts displayed on their labels.

To support their plea that they should be excluded from the rule, grocery stores through the Food Marketing Institute stated that it would cost them about $1 billion to satisfy this calorie labeling injunction within the first year while they would have to be spending millions of dollars every year to do this – simply because their prepared food change very often and it is not possible to test all food items and create specialized labels.

Robert Rosado, the trade group’s director of government affairs states that “This is going to take away from anything that’s freshly made in the store because the costs involved will be so high. You’re going to lose fresh choices.”

The FDA defended its position by saying that consumers have a right to know the nutritional components of what they eat, and since one-third of Americans eat out, they must be helped to make informed choices over what they eat when they eat out.

President Erdogan of Turkey says women aren’t equal to men

At the recently concluded Women and Justice Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spared no words or even economized with the truth when he stated that women are not equal to men and should be treated differently.

“You cannot put women and men on an equal footing. It is against nature.” President Erdogan also condemned feminists or career-minded women for rejecting motherhood and scorning their position in the home. He tasked women to appreciate the blessing of being a woman and to embrace the roles and duties that come with the gender.

He also cautions men to be careful in how they treat their women at home, as well as superiors on how they deal with subordinate pregnant women in workplaces. “In the workplace, you cannot treat a man and a pregnant woman in the same way,” and this according to the Turkish leader is because women have “delicate nature” that makes it impossible to do the same tasking jobs as men.

“Their nature is different. Their constitution is different. Some people can understand this, while others can’t.” The president therefore asks that while women may not be treated as equal to men, an equivalent form of treatment can be given to them in a way that shows deep respects for them.

He asked that men everywhere learn to respect their wives and female counterparts and deal with them based on their delicate nature, or as the Bible would put it, as “weaker vessels”.

Obama’s defense secretary bows out in unclear circumstances

Just less than two years in office as Defense secretary for President Obama, 68-year old Chuck Hagel bows out of the administration in very unclear circumstances. And this view is made more strong by Obama who while announcing Hagel’s resignation states that “If there’s one thing I know about Chuck, it’s that he does not make this or any other decision lightly.”

With about two dozen senior officials and cabinet secretaries in the State Dining Room of the White House, President Obama with Hagel standing next to him announced the departing Defense secretary had been an asset to his administration in spite of minor differences they experienced along the way. “We come from different parties, but in accepting this position, you sent a powerful message, especially to those in this city, that when it comes to our national security and our military families, our country always comes first.”

Being the first enlisted combat veteran to work as Defense secretary, Obama greatly commended Hagel for his service to the nation most especially as it relates to the US military in foreign missions. “He’s been in the dirt. He’s been in the mud. And that has established a special bond. He sees himself in them. They see themselves in him.” Obama said. “He volunteered for Vietnam and still has the scars and shrapnel from the battled he has fought.”

Joining Obama’s administration in February 2013, Hagel was up against militancy issues facing the US government on all sides. He led the fight against the ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and also confronted Ebola epidemics from West Africa. Having known Hagel since his days in the US senate, Obama single-handedly nominated him for the defense post even though Hagel is a Republican.

And though his Senate confirmation hearings were not without its own problems, even from party men, Sen. John McCain of Arizona states that “Secretary Chuck Hagel and I have had our differences over many years, but I have always considered him a friend, a patriot, and a dedicated public servant who has always put our country first and the needs of our men and women in uniform above his own.”

It is not clear why Hagel is leaving at this time, but White House officials made it clear that Hagel is not being forced down in any way, even though it appears he is not too cool with US’s foreign policies and some other similar things. It also came to the fore that the White House had cancelled a trip he was planning for Asia, with a stopover in Vietnam – and this cancellation seems to have gone wrong with Hagel – although he doesn’t appear to be laying it to heart in any way.