Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Oval Office Chat: Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany

The President spoke today by phone with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to express his condolences on behalf of the American people for the victims of recent terrorist and other violent attacks in southern Germany.  The President offered Germany the U.S. Government’s full support as the investigations into the attacks proceed.  The leaders reaffirmed the necessity of close U.S.-German counterterrorism and broader security cooperation.  The President and Chancellor also discussed the situation in Ukraine and reiterated the urgent importance of durably ending the violence in eastern Ukraine and of full and rapid implementation of the Minsk agreements. 

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Charges Dropped Against Remaining Officers In Freddie Gray Case

Source: CBS News

State Department Briefing

Spokesman John Kirby fields questions from reporters during his daily briefing at the State Department on a range of issues, including Donald Trumps call on Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s emails. 

Click here for video.

Source: C-SPAN

New York Delegation Holds Breakfast in Philadelphia

Senator Charles Schumer, California Democratic Senate candidates Kamala Harris, and Marc Morial, with the National Urban League, address a New York delegation breakfast ahead of day three of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. 

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Source: C-SPAN

Trailblazers in Black History: John Baxter Taylor Jr.

John Baxter Taylor Jr. was an American track and field athlete, notable as the first African American to win an Olympic gold medal. 

He was born in Washington, D.C. to former slaves. The family settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he attended public schools and graduated from Central High School in 1902. He spent a year at Brown Preparatory School, also in Philadelphia, where he was the fastest high school quarter-miler in the country. 

Additional information is available here

Source: Wikipedia

Can Donald Trump Win? 'Anything is Possible,' Obama Tells Savannah Guthrie

By Eun Kyung Kim

Just six months after telling Matt Lauer he couldn't imagine Donald Trump giving a State of the Union address — except in a "Saturday Night Live" skit — President Barack Obama now says "anything is possible" in November.

"It is the nature of democracy that until those votes are cast and the American people have their say, we don't know," Obama explained in an exclusive interview with TODAY's Savannah Guthrie. 

Click here for video.

Source: NBC News/TODAY

Democrats Fear Cyber 'October Surprise' That Could Sink Clinton

Now that U.S. authorities are confident Russian intelligence agencies are behind the hack of Democratic Party emails, political operatives and cybersecurity experts tell NBC News they are bracing for an "October Surprise" -- a release of even more potentially damaging information timed to influence the outcome of the presidential election and the course of the next administration.

The big question isn't whether more information will be disclosed, they say, but how destructive it might be to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and to broader U.S. foreign policy efforts.

Democratic Party and Clinton campaign officials are now doing an urgent "damage assessment" to determine what kind of information might have been stolen and the impact its release might have on a tight presidential race. 

Click here for the full article.

Trump Calls on Russia to 'Find' Missing Clinton Emails

DORAL, Fla. — Donald Trump asked Russia to help "find" the missing emails from Hillary Clinton's private server during a Wednesday press conference here at his Florida resort.

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump proposed from a podium at his Doral Resort. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

Trump faced questions about if he endorses foreign governments meddling in America's election and domestic affairs, an allegation that he balked at despite issuing the above challenge just moments later. "What do I have to do with Putin?" Trump retorted when asked if he'd tell Putin to stay out of the election. "I'm not going to tell Putin what to do." 

Click here for the full article.

FDA Strengthens Warning on Powerful Antibiotics

The Food and Drug Administration strengthened the warnings about one type of antibiotic Tuesday, saying they're too strong to be used for sinus infections, bronchitis and simple urinary tract infections.

The drugs are in a class called fluoroquinolones and include levofloxacin (as known as Levaquin) and ciprofloxacin (Cipro). They can cause serious and sometimes permanent side-effects.

"While these drugs are effective in treating serious bacterial infections, an FDA safety review found that both oral and injectable fluoroquinolones are associated with disabling side effects involving tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system," the agency said in a statement. 

Click here for the full article.

TauRx Alzheimer's Drug LMTX Fails in Large Study Although Some Benefit Seen

CHICAGO — TauRx Pharmaceuticals' experimental Alzheimer's drug LMTX failed to improve cognitive and functional skills in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, a large, late-stage study showed.

But in a perplexing twist, the drug did show a significant benefit in about 15 percent of patients in the trial who were not taking other standard Alzheimer's drugs, according to the findings released on Wednesday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Toronto. 

Claude Wischik, co-founder of Singapore-based TauRx and a professor of geriatric psychiatry at Aberdeen University, said in that so-called "monotherapy" group, the drug reduced the rate of decline in cognitive and functional skills by 85 percent.

Dr. Laurie Ryan, chief of the Dementia of Aging Branch at the National Institute on Aging, called the finding "intriguing," but said "it doesn't tell us a lot yet at this point." 

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Covered-up Memo Reveals de Blasio Officials Weighed Pros and Cons of Selling Rivington House for Condos


The Department of Investigation released evidence Tuesday that the de Blasio administration deliberately covered up crucial information regarding the city's handling of a deed restriction on a Lower East Side nursing home.

Behind the scenes on Thursday DOI notified Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter by letter it would sue him to gain access to the mayor’s computer and thousands of pages of documents it had requested that Carter censored.

Late Friday Carter agreed to turn over the requested documents unredacted, and on Tuesday he reversed course and granted DOI access to the computer that serves the mayor and several of his top aides.

In the back-and-forth with Carter, DOI spelled out for the first time some of the important information Carter withheld that was clearly relevant to DOI’s investigation.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The New York Daily News and the Empire Report New York

State Prosecutors Reject U.S. Lawmakers' Subpoena on Exxon Probe

Fighting Hate Through SWC's Digital Hate and Terrorism Project


The following was submitted today by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. 

The surge of anti-Semitism, the rants of Jew-hating bigots, the verbal and physical assaults on pro-Israel students and professors tainting university campuses, the terrorist attacks striking the US, Turkey, Istanbul, France, Israel, Belgium and across the Middle East ...

So much of this hate and terror is supercharged by social media, which is used to incite, propagandize and recruit young people to violence, hate and terrorism. 

The Center’s Digital Terrorism and Hate project, has been a trailblazer in identifying this phenomenon and fighting against this dangerous abuse of technology for 21 years. We brief officials on every continent, train law enforcement in the Americas and have presented on the issue at NATO headquarters, the EU, in Paris, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Singapore, New Delhi and across North America, sharing our unique expertise as global leaders in battling sophisticated high tech bigotry.

Center officials monitor, grade and directly lobby the social media companies in the Silicon Valley including Facebook (pictured), Google/YouTube and others to push them to do more to degrade the marketing capabilities of ISIS and al Qaeda to remove hate, including anti-Semitism from their platforms. Our direct interaction with Twitter executives helped push the social media giant to begin to remove more than 125,000 accounts that promoted terrorism. 

The Center’s annual Digital Terrorism and Hate project also:

Has been reviewed by U.S. Congress and other elected officials in the Americas, Europe and Asia and helps train law enforcement, intelligence, and community activists globally.

Launched a password-sensitive smartphone app for law enforcement that enables instant access to our expert researchers. 

Releases an annual report card reflecting the commitment (or lack thereof) of social media giants to curb online terror and hate.

Gives young people an easy way to report anti-Semitism and hate through two apps: CombatHate for high school students and CombatHateU for university students. 

Works on five continents at the forefront of this issue, regularly holding high-level training around the U.S., helping law enforcement officials, Homeland Security officials, religious leaders, community leaders and the media to understand the challenges we face online.

To be effective we must expand our Internet capabilities, monitoring, including social media, in tracking the abuse of emerging technologies by haters and extremists, raising the alarm and building out new coalitions to defeat the evildoers.

French Senator on Church Attack: 'The System Failed'

French senator Nathalie Goulet talks to Christiane Amanpour about the intelligence the state had on one of the attackers behind the Normandy church attack.
Source: CNN

Bodies Pile Up at Caracas Morgue as Crime Soars

One of the world's highest murder rates has left bodies, some of which are unrefrigerated, stacked in one of Caracas Venezuela's morgues. CNN's Paula Newton reports. 

Source: CNN

Mozambique or Bust

An unusual weapon the the war against modern-day slavery, donated bras help sex trafficking survivors make a living in the clothing markets of Mozambique.
Source: CNN