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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fifteen children -- ages 6 to 15 -- regularly use a rattan and vine ladder to scale a 2,620-foot cliff on their way to boarding school (and back home) every two weeks in China's Liangshan Yi prefecture in Sichuan. The 72 families that live in Atuler village use the same ladder to buy necessities and sell agricultural products. There are no safety measures, and a villager in his 40s recently died in a fall. The villagers often have to sell their crop at discount rates because of the climb. "The buyers know we are from the mountaintop village and that we do not want to carry the pepper or walnuts back, so they offer a much lower price -- we have no choice," said village head Er Dijiang.


Donald Trump has reached the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican Party's presidential nomination, the Associated Press reported on Thursday, citing its own delegate count. A small number of unbound delegates said they would support Trump at the party's July convention, the AP reported, pushing the billionaire businessman over the 1,237-delegate threshold he needed to avoid a contested convention ahead of the Nov. 8 election. read more


The U.S. nuclear weapons force still uses a 1970s-era computer system and eight-inch floppy disks, a government report has revealed. The Government Accountability Office said the Pentagon was one of several departments where "legacy systems" urgently needed to be replaced. Systems that co-ordinate intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers and tanker support aircraft "run on an IBM Series-1 Computer -- a 1970s computing system -- and use eight-inch floppy disks." read more


In the documentary Under the Gun Katie Couric asks members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, "If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?" The gun rights members are then shown sitting silently for nine awkward seconds. But audio published by the Washington Free Beacon has the gun activists members immediately providing answers to Couric's questions. The cable channel, EPIX, which is airing the documentary stated that it "stands behind Katie Couric, director Stephanie Soechtig, and their creative and editorial judgment." read more


After Donald Trump said on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night ABC show that he'd debate Bernie Sanders, the Democratic candidate responded on Twitter, "Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary." Sanders has almost no chance of catching Hillary Clinton in pledged delegates, so it would be unprecedented for a Democratic candidate in his position to debate the presumptive Republican nominee. But after Sanders accepted the offer, CBS News reported, "Trump was kidding about debating Sanders and it will never happen." read more


The first in a four-part Roots remake will air May 30 simultaneously on the History, Lifetime and A&E channels. The remake's executive producer, LeVar Burton, was 19 when he starred as Kunta Kinte in the original 1977 miniseries that told the story of a slave family over several generations. The new version includes actors Forest Whitaker and Anna Paquin. ABC aired the 1977 version over eight consecutive nights at the end January to get it off air before February sweeps because then network chief Fred Silverman was convinced it would be a flop. More than half of the U.S. population watched at least some part of it and the final episode was seen by more than 100 million -- one of the largest TV audiences ever to this day. read more


Donald Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks accidentally sent an email to Politico reporter Marc Caputo instead of Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo. Wednesday morning Michael Caputo emailed a Republican National Committee researcher asking him to "work up information on HRC/Whitewater as soon as possible. This is for immediate use and for the afternoon talking points process." Whitewater refers to the Clintons' 1970s failed real estate venture Whitewater Development Corporation. Michael Caputo had copied Hicks who then responded to the wrong Caputo. Hicks replied to the email because she felt that making requests of the RNC researcher may not be appropriate. "He is still an employee of the RNC and we need to be sensitive to that until he comes over to our team full time," Hicks accidentally sent to the Politico reporter. Minutes later Hicks realized her error and sent a separate email. "Wrong email, obviously!" she wrote to the reporter. "Apologies."


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The U.S. Senate voted 56-41 Tuesday to overturn the Labor Department's fiduciary rule, which requires financial advisers to act in the best interest of retirement savers. A similar measure passed the House last month. President Barack Obama has said he will veto the resolution. The resolution changes the role of paid financial advisers from someone who gives advice in the sole interest of the retiree to someone who acts "in a wider array of advice relationships."


Two teenage Muslim students will have to shake their female teacher's hand at the beginning and end of lessons or their parents could face a fine, a regional authority ruled. The teens said touching a female to whom they are not related is against their religion. The ritual of a pupil and teacher shaking hands as a sign of respect is a longstanding tradition in Switzerland. The middle school where the two brothers, ages 14 and 15, attend had developed a compromise where the boys would shake no teachers' hands. On Wednesday the officials decided that "the public interest concerning gender equality as well as integration of foreigners far outweighs that concerning the freedom of belief of students". read more


Police are moving to stave off violence outside the Donald Trump rally at Anaheim Convention Center in southern California. About 1:45 p.m., shortly after pro- and anti-Trump forces engaged in non-violent shouting matches, police officials declared the area to be an unlawful assembly, shutting down foot traffic on part of Katella Avenue and arresting some protesters. The gathering outside the convention center grew more heated just as Trump's speech ended, shortly after 1 p.m. Trump's speech touched on gun control, his proposal for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, the candidate's satisfaction with his role as a "great messenger." read more


Reason.Com: You might have heard that Americans overwhelmingly favor mandatory labeling for foods containing genetically modified ingredients. That's true, according to a new study: 84 percent of respondents said they support the labels. But a nearly identical percentage -- 80 percent -- in the same survey said they'd also like to see labels on food containing DNA. The study, published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal last week, also found that 33 percent of respondents thought that non-GM tomatoes "did not contain genes" and 32 percent thought that "vegetables did not have DNA." So there's that. read more


From 2002 to 2014, more than 1,600 people went to the emergency room because of injuries from wire-bristle grill brushes. Loose bristles can fall off the brush during cleaning and end up in the grilled food, which, if eaten, can lead to injuries in the mouth, throat, and tonsils. "One little bristle unrecognized could get lodged in various areas of the body, whether in the throat, tonsil, or neck region," said David Chang, an associate professor of otolaryngology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. "If the bristle passes through those regions without lodging itself, it could get stuck further downstream in places like the esophagus, stomach, or the intestine." read more


Hillary Clinton, seeking to dampen Donald Trump's growing appeal with working-class voters, on Tuesday accused him of having cheered on the 2008 housing market crash. Clinton's campaign released an ad with audio that the presumptive Republican nominee recorded in 2006 for his now-defunct Trump University venture. Trump, a billionaire real estate developer, in remarks on a "bubble burst," said: "I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy" property and "make a lot of money." read more


Many Americans say they attend church because it helps them stay grounded and gives them spiritual guidance. A new study suggests that regular attendance may also help increase their lifespan. Researchers looked at data on nearly 75,000 middle-age female nurses in the United States as part of the Nurses' Health Study. The participants answered questions about whether they attended religious services regularly every four years between 1992 and 2012 ... The researchers found that women who went to church more than once a week had a 33% lower risk of dying during the study period compared with those who said they never went. read more


The FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission are scrutinizing Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker's personal finances, including stock transactions involving one of the nation's top developers of shopping centers and malls, according to multiple sources familiar with the probe. Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and a potential vice presidential pick, failed to report millions of dollars in assets and income on his annual financial disclosure until The Wall Street Journal revealed the discrepancy last fall. In the wake of that report, Corker was forced to revise years' worth of disclosure reports.


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