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Innovative Navy-Funded Drone Is Master Of The Air And Water
A propeller-driven drone that can fly both in the air and underwater is in development at Rutgers University— a unique vehicle that caught the eye of the U.S. Navy and could be used in search-and-rescue operations and underwater inspections. The amphibious drone can emerge from the water and then fly through the air, and vice versa, meaning that operators could dispatch it from dry land, send it into water to take a look around, and then bring it back. F. Javier Diaz, a Rutgers University professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering, explained that the breakthrough in the project’s development came when they decided to give the drone two sets of propellers, one above the other. That helps with the tricky transition from the water to air and back again. While one set of propellers struggles at the air-surface interface, the other set, either all the way in the air or water, works more effectively. Fox News

Democratic Draft Platform Seks DOJ Probe Of Fossil Fuel Companies
The Democratic Party's draft platform calls for the Justice Department to join several state prosecutors in investigating whether fossil fuel companies misled the public on global warming -- marking an escalation in a controversial campaign that critics liken to censorship. As first reported by Inside Climate News, the committee drafting the party platform inserted the measure last Friday. The measure called on “the Department of Justice to investigate alleged corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies who have reportedly misled shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change," according to the committee website. Fox News

Poll: Clinton And Trump Run Neck-And-Neck
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Trump by just two points, 42% to 40%, a much closer race than other recent surveys have shown. With third-party candidates included, Clinton leads 39% to 37%, with Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson at 8% and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 4%. This Quinnipiac poll is quite different from other recent surveys on the presidential race, showing a much tighter contest than others. Its field period overlaps with those of the Washington Post/ABC News and NBC News /Wall Street Journal polls released Sunday, both of which found Clinton significantly ahead of Trump. CNN

Trump: I Didn't Invite Mike Tyson To Speak At RNC
Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that he didn't invite "Iron" Mike Tyson to speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, dismissing a report that he wanted the former heavyweight champ at the event. Trump tweeted, "Iron Mike Tyson was not asked to speak at the Convention though I'm sure he would do a good job if he was. The media makes everything up!" Trump was responding to a Bloomberg News report that said Trump's team was looking to line up a slate of sports figures to appear at the convention, including Tyson, ex-Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight and NASCAR chief Brian France. The report said the figures' roles at the convention had not been finalized. CNN

Trump: 'Put American Steel And Aluminum Back Into The Backbone Of Our Country'
Speaking at a factory in small-town Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Republican Donald Trump promised to end the nation's "failed trade policies." He blamed globalization and the "financial elite" for moving American jobs overseas, and he outlined a seven-step plan to "bring back our jobs." Making it clear where his focus is, Trump used the words "America" or "American" 66 times in the course of his speech. "A Trump administration will...start using American steel for American infrastructure -- and aluminum. Just like the American steel from Pennsylvania that built the Empire State Building, that's what we're going to do." CNS News

Kerry: US Is Letting Boeing Sell Planes To Terror-Sponsor Iran To Further ‘Transformation’
Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the Obama administration will hold Iran accountable for its sponsorship of terrorism, but at the same time he hopes to use the promotion of trade – like the Boeing deal – to advance “transformation” in the country. “Doing business is one of the best ways to create interests and vested purpose, if you will, in furthering transformation,” he said at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, adding that the administration was trying to “thread a needle” in its dealings with Iran – “a very difficult needle to thread.” Kerry was responding to a question about the U.S. continuing to designate Tehran as a state-sponsor of terrorism, even while encouraging a potentially $25 billion sale of Boeing planes to Iran. The questioner, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, pointed out that Iran has a history of using civilian aircraft to resupply Hezbollah terrorists as well as the Assad regime. CNS News

New rules give protesters more leeway at Republican convention
A federal judge on Wednesday authorized a new plan allowing protesters at next month's Republican National Convention in Cleveland to demonstrate in an area that will be readily visible to convention goers. The new plan, approved by U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster, also cuts in half the size of an "event zone" where demonstrations and mobility will be limited and gives protesters more time to demonstrate. The agreement between the city of Cleveland and the American Civil Liberties Union resolves weeks of wrangling over the rules for what are expected to be lively protests when Donald Trump is due to become the Republican Party's official nominee for president at the July 18-21 convention. Reuters

Obama Concerned Over Longer Term Global Growth After Brexit
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he expects the world economy will be steady in the short run after Britain's decision to leave the European Union but expressed concern about longer term global growth. Obama, appearing at a North American summit with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, said there have been reactions in markets, stock prices and currencies since last Thursday's so-called Brexit vote. Preparations by central banks, finance ministers and the U.S. treasury secretary helped ensure the global economy will hold steady in the short term, he said at a news conference. "I think there are some genuine longer term concerns about global growth if in fact Brexit goes through and that freezes the possibilities of investment in Great Britain or in Europe as a whole," Obama said. "At a time when global growth rates were weak already, this doesn't help." Reuters

McCain Hits Back At Trump On Waterboarding
Republican Sen. John McCain is hitting back at Donald Trump's renewed calls for torture in the aftermath of the deadly terror attack at the Istanbul airport in Turkey.
"It's not the United States of America. It's not what we are all about. It's not what we are," the Arizona lawmaker and former prisoner of war in North Vietnam said to applause at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington on Wednesday. At a rally Tuesday in Ohio, Trump reiterated his praise for using waterboarding -- banned by the Bush administration -- as an effective tool to fight terror just hours after the attack that left dozens of people dead. "I like it a lot. I don't think it's tough enough," said Trump, adding that the tactic was "peanuts compared to many alternatives." MSNBC

RNC Scrambling To Throw A Trump-Style Party
Donald Trump wants to put the "party" in July's Republican Party Convention. But with less than three weeks to go before the convention, there's more known about who won't be in Cleveland than who will be. A slew of Republicans and corporate sponsors have bowed out of the event, declining to join in the celebrations for the controversial candidate. Some conservative celebrities — like Ted Nugent — have already said they won't be showing up, according to The Washington Post. The presumptive nominee has made it clear that the three-day convention in Cleveland next month will be full of the Trump-style showmanship he has honed from years of starring in a reality television show and appearing in the tabloids — not the usual politician-heavy gathering the nominee has described as "boring." MSNBC

Democrats Force Clinton’s Hand On Prosecution Of Climate Skeptics
The debate over prosecuting climate change “fraud” has landed squarely in the lap of Hillary Clinton, who must now decide whether the Democratic Party platform will include a resolution urging the Justice Department to pursue climate dissent. So far it doesn’t look good for climate skeptics. The 15-member Democratic Platform Drafting Committee approved Friday a statement calling for a Justice Department investigation into “alleged corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies who have reportedly misled shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change.” The proposal won the unanimous support of panelists chosen by both Mrs. Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, but whether the language makes it onto the Democratic Party platform ultimately rests with the Clinton campaign. Washington Times

NRA’s First TV Ad Of Presidential Cycle Features Benghazi Security Contractor
The National Rifle Association’s political action committee launched its first television ad of the presidential election cycle Wednesday — an ad that features Mark “Oz” Geist, a security contractor who was in Benghazi, Libya, the night of the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack. “A lot of people say they’re not gonna vote this November because their candidate didn’t win. Well, I know some other people who won’t be voting this year either,” Mr. Geist says in the 30-second ad. “Hillary as president? No thanks,” he says. “I served in Benghazi. My friends didn’t make it. They did their part. Do yours.” Words onscreen toward the end of the ad read: “Stop. Hillary. Now.” Washington Times

Obama Goes On Rant About Populism And Donald Trump
President Obama went off on his own rant Wednesday at a trilateral press conference in which he disputed the idea that Donald Trump is a populist and that the presumptive GOP nominee instead promotes "nativism" or "xenophobia." After reporters asked a series of questions of Mr. Obama, Mexican President Enrique Peńa Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mr. Obama decided he had something else to say in Ottawa -- he addressed the common theme of populism raised during the event. "I'm not prepared to concede the notion that some of the rhetoric that's been popping up is populist," Mr. Obama said, referring to Trump. CBS

Why parents in the U.S. have the biggest "happiness gap"
Parents in the United States are not quite as happy as their childless peers, a new report reveals. The analysis of 22 industrialized countries found that the largest "happiness gap" between those who have kids and those who don't can be found in America. That's thanks to the dearth of workplace policies enabling employees of U.S. companies to have a more flexible schedule or take paid time off for illness, vacations or the birth of a child, the researchers said. "The United States, without any standard paid leave available to mothers or parents -- or any standard vacation or sick leave to support raising a dependent child -- falls strikingly behind all the other countries we examined in terms of providing for parents' happiness and overall well-being," said researcher Matthew Andersson. He is an assistant professor of sociology at Baylor University, in Waco, Texas. CBS

Biden Threatens Funding Cut If Cancer Trials Conceal Results
Vice President Joe Biden threatened Wednesday to pull federal funding for cancer studies that fail to publicly disclose their results, putting pressure on researchers, clinicians and drug companies to speed up progress toward cancer cures. Hosting a cancer summit in Washington, Biden said the culture in the cancer research world is stifling progress, and he said was "committed to doing everything in my power" to change that culture. He cited concerns that prominent medical institutions that receive millions in taxpayer dollars are flouting a federal rule that says they must submit their results to a publicly accessible database within a year. ABC

Heroin Overdose Deaths Have Tripled In 5 Years, DEA Says
The Drug Enforcement Administration is out with a new report on heroin use in the United States and the news is grim. Deaths from heroin overdoses have spiked in recent years, tripling between 2010 to 2014, according to the DEA National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary, released this week. In 2014, the most recent year of the study, 10,574 people died, compared to 3,036 four years earlier. The increased demand is being driven by greater availability, as well as prescription drug abusers switching to heroin for the cheaper price tag, according to the DEA. ABC

Women in America's Blue-Collar Communities Face the Biggest Pay Gap
A focus on vocational education in working-class towns helps men find good paying local jobs as manual laborers and machinists. For women in those same blue-collar milieus, it often means lower pay or no work at all, according to new Cornell University research. In schools that emphasized work training versus college-prep courses such as advanced math, men were more likely than women to take the vocational classes, and thus, more likely to find higher-paying blue-collar jobs when they graduated, according to the study, which will appear in the August print issue of the American Sociological Review. Bloomberg

Yes, Trump's Flip-Flops Are Taking a Toll
Many in the media seem to be having some difficulties comprehending just how badly Donald Trump is doing, and how unusual it is for the Republican Party to be so resistant to their own presidential nominee. Alan Rappeport and Maggie Haberman have a perfectly fine piece in the New York Times today listing the many issues on which Trump has flip-flopped. But the preface is bizarre: They compare Trump to Secretary of State John Kerry in his 2004 run for president, and claim Kerry was destroyed by charges of flip-flopping while Trump “has so far avoided much harm” from switching positions on core issues of public policy. Bloomberg

FDA Has A Few Questions For Makers Of Hand Sanitizer
Federal health officials want to know whether hand sanitizers used by millions of Americans work as well as manufacturers claim — and whether there are any health risks to their growing use. The Food and Drug Administration is asking for new studies on how the antiseptic gels and rubs fight germs and get absorbed into the body, with a particular focus on children and pregnant women. The proposal unveiled Wednesday is part of an ongoing government effort to review decades-old chemicals that have never had a comprehensive federal review. Agency officials stressed that the review "does not mean the FDA believes these products are ineffective or unsafe." Las Vegas Sun

Puerto Rico Financial Rescue Package Wins Senate Test Vote
A rescue package for debt-stricken Puerto Rico has survived a test vote in the Senate, just two days before the island is expected to default on a $2 billion debt payment. The White House-backed measure would create a control board that would oversee the U.S. territory's finances and could supervise some debt restructuring. Senators voted 68-32 to advance the bill to a final vote. Leaders of both parties urged their colleagues to support the legislation, saying that Congress needs to step in to prevent financial and humanitarian chaos on the island. Final passage is expected Wednesday or Thursday. Las Vegas Sun

Sufficient Sleep May Help Protect Men Against Diabetes: Study
Too much or too little sleep may raise the risk of diabetes in men, but not women, a study by European researchers suggests. "Even when you are healthy, sleeping too much or too little can have detrimental effects on your health. This research shows how important sleep is to a key aspect of health -- glucose [sugar] metabolism," said senior study author Femke Rutters. She's with the VU Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The study involved nearly 800 healthy adults in 14 European countries. Compared to men who slept about seven hours a night, the men who slept the most or the least were more likely to have an impaired ability to break down sugar and to have higher blood sugar levels, the research found. This put them at increased risk for diabetes, the investigators said. UPI News

Man-Made Structures Affecting Coastal Wetlands In Louisiana, Study Says
Disruptions to the tidal inundation process along coastal Louisiana are having a tangible effect on wetlands, but scientists think they have identified the biggest causes and hope to find ways to mitigate their effects. Man-made canals and levees are at fault for nearly two-thirds of the interruptions to tidal inundations essential to maintaining ecosystems the state depends on for commercial and recreational fishing, tourism and the oil and gas industry, according to the study. In addition to the economic concerns, the wetlands also provide storm protection, flood control and habitats for wildlife. However sea level rise, land subsidence and infrastructure development, in addition to the canals and levees, have increased loss of wetlands along the coast. UPI News

Russia Agrees To Talks With NATO After Warsaw Summit
Moscow has agreed to a Russia-NATO council after the alliance's summit in Warsaw next month, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Wednesday, as both sides seek to defuse military tensions exacerbated by the Ukraine crisis. NATO held its first formal meeting with Russia's envoy to the alliance in almost two years in April, but the talks did little to ease tensions triggered by the Ukraine crisis. France and others have called for another meeting to try to help rebuild trust between the two sides as NATO prepares for a summit next month. Jerusalem Post

Hamas Official: Turkey Already Mediating Prisoner Swap Between Israel And Hamas
Shortly after the Security Cabinet on Wednesday approved the reconciliation deal with Turkey, a senior Hamas official claimed that Turkey is currently mediating a prisoner swap between the Palestinian terror organization and Israel. The reconciliation accord was met with a massive clamor of objection by the families of Hamas prisoners held in Israel. In an interview with the Saudi news site al-Khaleej Online on Wednesday, an anonymous Hamas official said that his organization and Israel have started negotiating on a prisoner swap regarding the return of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, the two Israeli soldiers whose bodies were held by the terrorist group after they were killed during the 2014 Gaza war. Jerusalem Post

EgyptAir Crash: Flight MS804 Black Box 'Confirms Smoke'
A black box recording from crashed EgyptAir flight MS804 confirms smoke on board, Egyptian investigators say. The flight from Paris to Cairo plunged into the Mediterranean Sea on 19 May, killing all 66 people on board. Automated electronic messages sent by the plane had shown that smoke detectors went off in a toilet and in the avionics area below the cockpit, minutes before the plane disappeared. The recorded data are consistent with those messages, investigators said. The voice and flight data recorders, known as black boxes, were recovered from a depth of about 3,000m (9,800ft) in the Mediterranean. The second black box, the cockpit recorder, is still being repaired in Paris. The Egyptian investigation committee also said that part of the front section of the aircraft's wreckage "showed sign of high temperature damage" and soot. BBC

'Bath Daily' Advice For Eczema Children
If your child has eczema it is fine to give them a dunk in the bath every day, as long as you apply lots of moisturising emollient cream to their skin afterwards, say US researchers. Some experts have said infrequent washing might be better because too much washing can dry out the skin. To try to settle the debate, allergy doctors in Maine looked at the available medical evidence. They say while it is best to avoid too much soap, a daily soak is fine. UK experts agree, although they point out that there hasn't been a great deal of research in this area and more studies would be helpful. BBC

Hillary Clinton Has 81% Chance Of Defeating Trump, Nate Silver Predicts
Hillary Clinton has an 81% chance of winning the election to Donald Trump’s 19%, polling analyst Nate Silver said on Wednesday in his first model of the 2016 presidential election. Silver’s calculations are based on a model that processes polling data exclusively. A second model produced by Silver’s FiveThirtyEight web site, taking in economics statistics and historical data, portrayed a slightly tighter race, at 74%-26% for Clinton. Silver gained international fame for his perfect, 50-for-50 performance at predicting state outcomes in advance of the 2012 presidential election. Where many pundits saw a tight race between Republican nominee Mitt Romney and incumbent president Barack Obama, Silver correctly foresaw a 332-206 electoral college blowout. Guardian

High Lead Levels Force Workers In Congress Building To Drink Bottled Water
Concerns about dangerous lead in drinking water have reached Congress – quite literally. It’s been discovered that a key congressional office building has high lead levels in its water supply, with workers being provided with bottled water to consume instead. A recent routine test found the elevated lead levels in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington DC, according to an email sent out by William Weidemeyer, the House office buildings superintendent. According to Politico, Weidemeyer’s memo to lawmakers and their staff states that the lead levels are “slightly above the EPA standard”. Guardian

Syria: UN Envoy Urges ‘Well Prepared’ Peace Talks For Concrete Political Transition
The United Nations envoy mediating a resolution to the crisis in Syria today said that the next round of the intra-Syrian talks must be well prepared to ensure the possibility of moving forward with the decisive outcome of a political transition in August. “Bottom line, I’m still aiming – we are aiming at – within July, but not at any cost and not without guarantees,” Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, told the press at the conclusion of closed consultations with the Security Council in New York. Mr. de Mistura continued that he was “aiming at August as the period where we should be seeing something concrete. So that in September we take stock.” UN News

Situation In Ukraine Remains ‘Volatile,’ WarnsSenior UN Human Rights Official
Unless urgent action is taken in Ukraine to separate sides and remove heavy weaponry, wide spread hostilities in the country could re-escalate, a senior United Nations human rights official today warned. Addressing the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ivan Šimonovi?, the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, appealed to the leaders of the warring sides to respect a ceasefire agreement and said he was people he had met on both sides of the front lines. “I have heard them loud and clear: they want peace, human rights and the rule of law,” he said. The conflict has claimed the lives of nearly 9,500 people since fighting erupted two years ago – more than one in four civilians – and left nearly 22,000 people injured. UN News