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Rev:050105

Older News Archivescom0116
NEWS   FRIDAY, MAY 29, 2015   NEWS

Rash Of Homicides In West Baltimore Have Residents Asking: Where Are Police?
Antoinette Perrine has barricaded her front door since her brother was killed three weeks ago on a basketball court near her home in the Harlem Park neighborhood of West Baltimore. She already has iron bars outside her windows and added metal slabs on the inside to deflect the gunfire. "I'm afraid to go outside," said Perrine, 47. "It's so bad, people are afraid to let their kids outside. People wake up with shots through their windows. Police used to sit on every corner, on the top of the block. These days? They're nowhere." Perrine's brother is one of 36 people killed in Baltimore so far this month, already the highest homicide count for May since 1999. But while homicides are spiking, arrests have plunged more than 50 percent compared to last year. CBS
VOA VIEW: Police are defending against wrongful insults, abuse and lack of support - work slowdown.

Pataki Announces 2016 Bid, Says He Would Back 'Boots On The Ground' To Fight ISIS
Former New York Gov. George Pataki, announcing Thursday that he'll seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016, told Fox News that he would authorize American "boots on the ground" to go after Islamic State targets in Iraq. The former Republican governor weighed in on a debate that has divided the party. Pataki insisted he does not want to see a "trillion-dollar, decade-long war," but said the U.S. cannot allow ISIS to have "recruiting" and "training" centers. "If necessary, we will send in American boots on the ground to destroy those training centers, destroy those planning centers and then get out," he said. The U.S. has more than 3,000 troops in Iraq to train and equip Iraqi forces, but they are not technically in a combat role. Fox News

Foundation Adviser’s Double-Duty Counseling Hillary On Benghazi
Hillary Rodham Clinton associate Sidney Blumenthal was drawing a $10,000 monthly salary from the Clinton Foundation while he was penning e-mails to her at the State Department about Benghazi, it was revealed Thursday. Blumenthal is a longtime Clinton adviser, but her efforts to bring him to the State Department in 2009 were thwarted by the Obama administration. After Clinton lost the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Blumenthal was placed on the foundation’s payroll at the request of Bill Clinton, Politico reported. NY Post
VOA VIEW: The Clinton foundation served a political and personal slush fund - a fraud.

Indictment Says Ex-U.S. House Speaker Hastert Paid Hush Money
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep a person from the town where he was a longtime high school teacher silent about “prior misconduct” by the Illinois Republican who once was second in line to the U.S. presidency, according to a federal grand jury indictment handed down Thursday. The indictment, which doesn’t describe the alleged misconduct by Hastert, charges the 73-year-old with one count of evading bank regulations by withdrawing $952,000 in increments of less than $10,000 to skirt reporting requirements. He also is charged with one count of lying to the FBI about the reason for the unusual withdrawals. Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Seatle Times

FIFA's 'Few' Corrupt Officials Must Be 'Discovered, Punished'
Amid calls for his dismissal Thursday, FIFA President Sepp Blatter blamed allegations of widespread corruption within soccer's governing body on "a few" and called for those involved to be punished as FIFA works to rebuild its reputation. Blatter spoke at the opening of a FIFA World Congress that's expected to be like no other. Swiss authorities are investigating the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids, while a U.S. investigation has led to the arrest of some of FIFA's leading officials on corruption charges, casting a shadow over the Congress' 65th edition in Zurich, Switzerland, and a planned presidential election Friday. "Let this be a turning point," Blatter said. "More needs to be done to make sure everyone in football acts responsibly and ethically." He vowed to cooperate with authorities to ensure those involved in wrongdoing are "discovered and punished." CNN

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Abortionists Have Killed More Americans Than Lived In U.S. In 1880
The number of American babies who have been aborted in the years since the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision has already exceeded the entire population of the United States as recorded in the 1880 Census. This is according to numbers published by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Guttmacher Institute. In 1880, according to the Census Bureau, there were 50,189,209 people in the United States. These included, the Census Bureau notes, Mark Twain, who had not yet written The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Thomas Edison, who would start his electrical company two years later; and Booker T. Washington, who would open the Tuskegee Institute the next year. CNS News

Obama Visits Miami Shrine In Nod To Cuban Americans
President Barack Obama toured a Catholic shrine beloved by Cuban Americans on Thursday, a nod to his pledge to end more than 50 years of hostilities with Cuba and restore diplomatic relations and commercial ties. The Cuban exile community in south Florida has been split on Obama's move to normalize relations with Cuba - a deal that Pope Francis and other Catholic officials helped broker. "The president is visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity in Miami to pay his respects to the Cuban-American diaspora that worship there," said Bernadette Meehan, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, in a statement. Reuters

'Itchy, Scaly' Tattoo Ink Allergies More Common Than Thought
A surprising number of people who get tattooed say they develop severe itching and swelling lasting for months or even years, a new survey suggests. After interviewing 300 randomly selected people with tattoos in New York City's Central Park, researchers found that 4 percent had experienced a short duration rash right after getting "inked," while an additional 6 percent reported skin problems that lasted longer than four months, according to the study published Wednesday in Contact Dermatitis. "I've taken care of patients who have had problems with their tattoos and was curious about how common this was," said the study coauthor Dr. Marie Leger a dermatologist and assistant professor at the New York University. "I was surprised at the results. Surprising number of people who get tattooed say they develop severe itching and swelling lasting for months or even years, a new survey suggests. MSNBC

US Says China Has Artillery Vehicles On Artificial Island
U.S. officials say that two large artillery vehicles have been detected on one of the artificial islands that China is creating in the South China Sea. The discovery, made at least several weeks ago by the United States, underscores ongoing concerns that China will try to use the land reclamation projects for military purposes. Pentagon spokesman Brent Colburn says the U.S. was aware of the artillery, but he declined to provide other details, saying it is an intelligence matter. The revelation comes as Defense Secretary Ash Carter visits several Asia Pacific nations. Another defense official described the weapons as self-propelled artillery vehicles. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity. Tampa Tribune

INVESTIGATION REVEALS HUNDREDS OF ACCIDENTS,
Vials of bioterror bacteria have gone missing. Lab mice infected with deadly viruses have escaped, and wild rodents have been found making nests with research waste. Cattle infected in a university's vaccine experiments were repeatedly sent to slaughter and their meat sold for human consumption. Gear meant to protect lab workers from lethal viruses such as Ebola and bird flu has failed, repeatedly. A USA TODAY Network investigation reveals that hundreds of lab mistakes, safety violations and near-miss incidents have occurred in biological laboratories coast to coast in recent years, putting scientists, their colleagues and sometimes even the public at risk. USA Today

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Renters Getting Priced Out Of America's Big Cities
Renters across America's biggest cities are finding it more expensive to keep a roof over their heads. From 2006 to 2013, the population of renters grew in all 11 of the largest U.S. cities, and the median rent grew faster than inflation in almost all of them, according to a new study by the NYU Furman Center and Capital One (see chart at bottom). "While renters constituted a majority of the population of just five of these cities in 2006, by 2013 that number had increased to nine cities," the report states. CBS

Secret Service Testing New Spikes For White House Fence
The Secret Service is testing out new spikes to reinforce the White House fence and deter against future would-be fence jumpers. ABC News first learned last month that White House would be adding these so-called “no-climb” spikes as a temporary fix to the current fence, but today was the first time that we actually got to see how the spikes will be installed on the fence. In video captured by ABC News, the Secret Service can be seen working with government contractors on a test installation of the new spike features. At one point, a Secret Service officer grabs onto the top of the fence with the new spikes installed and pulls himself up, presumably to demonstrate that he could still climb the fence if he wanted to even with the new spikes in place. ABC

Allstate Mulls Selling Driver Data
Allstate Corp. said improved technology will eventually give the auto insurer a chance to boost revenue by selling customer driving data, much as Google Inc. profits by collecting information on those who use its search engine. “There are lots of people who are monetizing data today,” Allstate Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Wilson said Thursday at a conference in New York held by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. “You get on Google, and it seems like it’s free. It’s not free. You’re giving them information, they sell your information.” Bloomberg

Federal Reserve: These states are stealing from the poor
A team of researchers at the Federal Reserve are pointing fingers at more than a handful of states they say are actively undermining the government's attempts to curb income inequality. According to a new paper, the federal tax code works to compress income inequality across the U.S., a problem that has been growing since 1980. The general idea is that high earners should be taxed at higher rates, allowing a good portion of that revenue to go into programs that help lower-income people. In contrast, some states have instituted "regressive" tax policies that offset federal taxes and widen the growing gap between the haves and have-nots. Houston Chronicle

UN Nuke Agency Reports That Iran Probe Stalled
Amid accelerated international efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, the U.N. atomic agency on Friday reported that work on a key element — an assessment of allegations that Tehran worked on atomic arms — remains essentially stalled. After years of deadlock, Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency agreed in November 2013 on a new attempt to probe the accusations. The U.S. and its allies also included the investigation into a to-do list for talks with Iran meant to curb its nuclear programs in exchange for sanctions relief. Washington continues to insist that full lifting of sanctions depends on the IAEA's ability to thoroughly probe the accusations and deliver an assessment on its findings. Atlanta Journal

Bank Of America Ranks 2nd For Most Overdraft Charges
Bank of America charged the second-largest amount of overdraft fees in the first three months of this year among the nation’s largest banks, new disclosures required by regulators show. The Charlotte-based bank, the second-largest U.S. lender by assets, charged consumers $371 million in overdraft fees. Regulators began requiring banks with more than $1 billion in assets to start breaking out the figures this year. New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank by assets, charged the most in overdraft fees, $415 million, according to an analysis of the data by SNL Financial. Charlotte Observer

Assembly OKs Turf Protection In HOAs
A bill that would allow Californians who live in homeowner associations to replace their lawns with artificial turf, without fear of fines, was resoundingly approved by the state Assembly on Thursday. The 72-2 vote marks a major milestone for the legislation, which is authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, and sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority. To become law, it must gain approvals from the state Senate and Gov. Jerry Brown. Thursday’s vote by the Assembly comes amid the state’s fourth year of drought, and not long after Gov. Jerry Brown ordered mandatory water cuts statewide. San Diego Union

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Kidnapped Nigerian Girls Likely Being Used By Boko Haram As Suicide Bombers
Fears are mounting in Nigeria that the so-called "Chibok girls" kidnapped by Boko Haram more than a year ago are being used in the Islamist terror group's stepped-up campaign of suicide bombings. The terrorist organization, which has aligned itself with ISIS and operates out of the African nation's northeastern sector, has been blamed for 27 suicide bombings so far this year, more than it carried out all of last year, according to a recent UNICEF report. The agency found Nigeria has endured an especially “alarming spike” in suicide bombings carried out by girls and women. The surge, combined with the mystery surrounding more than 200 young females unaccounted for more than a year after the mass kidnapping, has experts and citizens of Africa's most populous nation fearing the worst. Fox News

Bill Clinton: 'I'm Officially Ebola-Free'
Former President Bill Clinton said at a United Nations event Thursday that he underwent Ebola screening from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after a recent visit to Liberia, but that he was never exposed to the deadly virus. "This morning, I'm officially Ebola-free," Clinton told the United Nations' Economic and Social Council Partnership Forum during a speech that focused on using partnerships to combat global issues like Ebola, poverty and education. Through his family's foundation, Clinton and a delegation of Clinton Foundation donors traveled to Tanzania, Kenya, Liberia and Morocco during a nine-day Africa trip earlier this month.
After returning to the United States, Clinton told the American Institute of Architects during a keynote address that he was taking his temperature everyday, as required by the CDC. CNN

Hillary Clinton: 'Democratic Presidents...Inherit A Mess Of Problems'
"We have come through some really tough economic times," Democrat presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton told a gathering in South Carolina on Wednesday. American families have made a lot of sacrifices," she continued, noting that people lost jobs and homes and delayed college and retirement when the recession hit in 2008. "And I will say that there does seem to be a pattern. Democratic presidents -- and there's two in particular I'm thinking about -- over the last 35 years seem to inherit a mess of problems. Have you noticed that? CNS News

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U.S. Anti-Legalization Group Urges More Access To Marijuana Research
A group opposed to pot legalization is unveiling proposals on Thursday for the U.S. government to ease restrictions on scientific research into marijuana's potential as medicine, in a first step for an organization of its kind. The plan from Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which is co-founded by former U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy, comes after three U.S. Senators this year introduced a bill that would require the federal government to recognize pot's medical value and allow states to set their own medical cannabis policies. Kennedy will present his group's plan on Thursday to officials in Washington, said Kevin Sabet, the group's president and chief executive. Reuters

Census: No. Of Americans On Assistance May Be Leveling Off
The increasing number of Americans getting some kind of public assistance from the U.S. government may be slowing down, according to new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. Government officials say 52.2 million Americans — or 21.3 percent — participated in one or more of six poverty assistance programs on average each month in 2012. Census officials say that number was not a statistically significant change from the 20.9 percent found in 2011. The number of people participating in assistance programs had increased from 18.6 percent in 2009 to 20.2 percent in 2010 to the 20.9 percent in 2011. The programs tracked were Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Housing Assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and General Assistance. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: False premise.

New Eye Test On Smartphone Is As Accurate As Paper Test
A smartphone app was used to perform vision tests as accurately as paper tests and illuminated vision boxes during a study in rural Kenya. Tests carried out in patients' homes using the Portable Eye Examination Kit, or Peek, were shown to be more than 90 percent accurate when compared to the results of traditional tests done in doctor's offices, according to a field test study. "In this study we aimed to develop and validate a smartphone-based visual acuity test for eyesight which would work in challenging circumstances, such as rural Africa, but also provide reliable enough results to use in routine clinical practice in well-established healthcare systems," said Dr. Andrew Bastawrous, Lecturer in International Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, in a press release. UPI

Increasing Dietary Fiber Can Help Reduce Risk Of Diabetes
Increasing dietary fiber may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, in addition to reducing BMI and helping to keep weight down, according to a new study. The data also showed that cereal fiber, the most consumed dietary fibers in the world, reduced the chances of developing type 2 diabetes more than fiber from fruits and vegetables. "We are not certain why this might be, but potential mechanisms could include feeling physically full for longer, prolonged release of hormonal signals, slowed down nutrient absorption, or altered fermentation in the large intestine," said Dagfinn Aune, a PhD student affiliated with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Imperial College London who analyzed data for the study, in a press release. UPI

China Confirms First Case Of MERS, A South Korean Man
China on Friday confirmed its first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in a South Korean businessman who ignored instructions to stay home after his father was diagnosed with the disease. China's National Heath and Family Planning Commission said the 44-year-old man was under quarantine in a hospital in the southern city of Huizhou and was confirmed to have MERS, which has killed hundreds of people in the Middle East. The man is the son of a person in South Korea who has the disease, and traveled Tuesday to China despite being told by doctors to cancel the trip, the South Korean Health Ministry said in a statement. At least nine people in South Korea have contracted the disease, the first one after visiting Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Kansas City Star

Obama Drops By Our Lady Of Charity, Becoming First U.S. President To Visit Miami Shrine To Cuban Saint
President Barack Obama extended a symbolic olive branch Thursday to Miami’s Cuban Americans by paying his respects to the shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre in Coconut Grove. Earlier in the day, Obama visited the National Hurricane Center and met privately with the Pinecrest family of Steven Sotloff, the journalist slain last year by the Islamic State, to offer condolences. The surprise afternoon stop at the shrine by the sea, better known by its Spanish name, La Ermita de la Caridad, comes at a time when many Cuban exiles remain miffed by the president’s decision last December to restore diplomatic relations with the communist island, especially since Obama made no effort to reach out to Miami leaders prior to his announcement. Miami Herald

Authorities Eye Reopening Of Goo-Struck California Beaches
Crews scouring 7 miles of Southern California beaches had scooped up truckloads of mysterious oily goo Thursday and the area might be clean enough to reopen for the weekend, authorities said. Workers scooped up about 30 cubic yards of tarry balls and patties that began washing ashore Wednesday. "There appears to be no new tar balls or anything additional to the amount that we have recovered thus far," U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Charlene Downey said.  The stretch of coast from Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach that was closed to swimmers, surfers and beachgoers could reopen early Friday morning if the sand and sea are given an all-clear, Downey said. SF Gate

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Men More Likely Than Women To Die In Car Crashes
After years of decline, highway fatalities have jumped in recent months, and that could be bad news for men. Male motorists are twice as likely to be killed behind the wheel as women, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. In the recent report, federal researchers focused on crash data from 2012, a year in which 33,541 Americans were killed on the nation's roadways. That broke down to 23,808 men and 9,733 women. The NHTSA study pointed to factors that could lie behind this gender gap, including: MSNBC

John Kerry Sued Over Clinton Emails; ‘Coverup’ Alleged
A watchdog group sued Thursday to try to force the State Department to collect all of former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails from her time in government, saying the Obama administration broke the law by letting her keep them. Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest legal organization, asked a federal court to order Mrs. Clinton’s successor, Secretary John F. Kerry, to go get the emails from her. “Secretary Kerry is in coverup mode for Hillary Clinton,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. Washington Times

U.S. Stocks Decline Before GDP Growth Data Amid Greece Concerns
U.S. stocks slipped, with benchmark indexes trimming their best monthly gains since February, before data Friday that may show the economy contracted in the first quarter while investors watch for progress on Greek debt talks. Railroads led a drop among transportation companies, and Caterpillar Inc. fell 2.2 percent to lead industrials lower. McDonald’s Corp. lost 1.4 percent to pace a slide in consumer shares. Gains in Eli Lilly & Co. and Actavis Plc. helped lift health-care shares. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. soared 13 percent amid signs of improvement at its Hollister chain. Bloomberg

Past Gripes Don’t Stop GOP Hit On Wealth
Hypocrisy runs rampant in Congress and campaigns, and this week it's the Republicans' turn to engage in a practice they've often denounced: class warfare. The Republican National Committee produced interactive charts highlighting the wealth of Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton. "Here is how the Clintons' $30 million income stacks up against everyday Americans in each state," the report says. In Florida, for instance, it would take 417 average household incomes to match the Clintons', the RNC says. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Liberal bias media unfair comparison.

Former White House Aides Now On Team Hillary Bash Obama’s ISIS Strategy
A think tank with ties to Hillary Clinton issued strong criticisms of President Obama’s counter-ISIL strategy on Thursday, with analysts writing that the U.S. is “failing” and needs to change course. Two former Obama national security aides break with the president by urging the deployment of American ground troops to directly help the disheveled Iraqi Army. One used the word “failing” to describe how the administration is arming the Baghdad regime. Mrs. Clinton helped launched the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) with a key note speech in 2007. The center is directed by Michele Flournoy, the under secretary of defense for policy for Mr. Obama who is viewed as a candidate to be the defense secretary in a Hillary Clinton administration. Washington Times

TX, OK Storms A Reminder To Prepare For Disasters
President Barack Obama said Thursday that deadly flooding in Texas and Oklahoma is a reminder that the U.S. needs to toughen its response to the effects of natural disasters. He said climate change is affecting both the pace and intensity of storms. Making his first visit as president to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Obama said that, while the nation is more prepared than ever for today's storms, "the best scientists in the world are telling us that extreme weather events, like hurricanes, are likely to become more powerful." "When you combine stronger storms with rising seas, that's a recipe for more devastating floods," he said. Philadelphia Inquirer

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Israel, US Discussing New Security Aid Package Unrelated To Iran Deal
Israel is in early discussions with the US about a new 10-year defense assistance program, but this is not “compensation” for the possible signing of a possible nuclear deal with Iran, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday. Netanyahu, during a briefing with Israel's diplomatic correspondents, did not say how much Israel was requesting. With the current 10-year, $30 billion US defense assistance agreement set to expire in 2017, the two sides are negotiating the terms of a new 10 year-deal that according to a recent report in Defense News could be worth up to $45 billion. Jerusalem Post

US Training Of Syria Rebel Fighters Expands To Turkey
The US military has started training Syrian opposition fighters in Turkey to combat Islamic State, expanding a program that first launched in Jordan weeks ago, a US official told Reuters on Thursday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not offer details on the size of the first group of recruits undergoing training in Turkey or the specific start date. The Pentagon declined comment. Jerusalem Post

'Buy Button' To Be Added To Google Search Results
Google has confirmed that it is to introduce a "buy button" to its search results imminently. The button would give Google Search users the option to purchase without needing to visit a separate website. The company's chief business officer, Omid Kordestani, said he wanted to reduce "friction" for users so they buy more things online. Google faces significant competition from Amazon, where many people now begin their search to buy products. BBC

Fiat Chrysler, Honda And BMW Expand Airbag Recall
The move from Fiat Chrysler, Honda and BMW comes after Takata Corp, the Japanese airbag maker last week said the number of vehicles affected was 53 million globally. Of that figure, 34 million are in the US, making it the country's largest ever recall of cars. The faulty airbags, when exposed to too much moisture, can explode.
Regulators have linked the problem to six deaths worldwide, all in Honda vehicles. Honda has called back about 690,000 cars in the US and Japan. BBC

Vladimir Putin Declares All Russian Military Deaths State Secrets
Vladimir Putin has declared that all military deaths will be classified as state secrets not just in times of war but also in peace – a move that activists worry might further discourage the reporting of Russian soldiers’ deaths in Ukraine. The Russian president has amended a decree to extend the list of state secrets to include information on casualties during special operations when war has not been declared, among other changes. Previously, the list had only forbidden (pdf) “revealing personnel losses in wartime”. He has repeatedly denied any involvement of Russian troops in a pro-Russian rebellion in Ukraine. Guardian

US To Russia: Fifa Corruption Inquiry Has Nothing To Do With You
The US embassy to Russia and the State Department have fended off criticism from Vladimir Putin about corruption charges against officials of Fifa, saying “this investigation has nothing to do with Russia”. Putin accused the US of “meddling” abroad and an “illegal overreach” of its powers after the US attorney general announced fraud charges against nine senior current or former Fifa officials on Wednesday. Guardian

Top Republican Presidential Contender Calls For Mandatory Ultrasounds Before Abortion
A top contender for the Republican presidential nomination has called for mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions. Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor who currently sits second in most polls behind Jeb Bush, said in an interview on Wednesday that ultrasounds were "just a cool thing out there".  Mr Walker said that while some dismissed requiring ultrasounds as "a crazy idea", he was proud to have implemented the policy in Wisconsin. Telegraph

Cuba And US Expected To Announce Embassy Openings Next Week
After 54 years Cuba and the United States are expected to confirm the reopening of embassies in Washington and Havana. ABC news has reported an announcement on the exchange of ambassadors could be made as early as next week. Diplomatic relations were severed in 1961. At the time Fidel Castro called the US embassy a “nest of spies”. Since the late 1970s both countries operated interest sections in the Swiss embassies. Telegraph

Addressing Main UN Economic And Social Body, Former US President Clinton Urges Partnerships To Boost Health
As the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) met to discuss the role of partnerships in achieving the Post-2015 development agenda, the focus fell on the recent response to the Ebola crisis in west Africa and the need to work together to boost capacity in healthcare systems. Martin Sajdik, President of the Council, opened the meeting by stressing the importance of partnerships, especially in the context of the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the post-2015 development agenda and he introduced a keynote speaker, in Bill Clinton, the former President of the United States, who he said was “truly outstanding” and who would discuss health partnerships, especially for strengthening health systems. UN News

UN Agriculture Agency Teams Up With Global Wholesale Markets Union To Boost Urban Food Security
Recognizing the growing challenge of feeding city dwellers, who will become the world’s majority by 2050, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Union of Wholesale Markets today signed a partnership aimed at reaching the urban poor and reducing food waste estimated at 1.3 billion tonnes every year. “More efficient wholesale markets, and overall urban market outlets, can result in more affordable means to reach the city poor with healthy food,” Eugenia Serova, head of FAO’s Agro-Industry Division said in a press release issued today in Budapest, Hungary, where the partnership agreement was being signed. UN News

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