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Today β€” September 18th 2019Your RSS feeds

Who calls the tunes in space? Brad Pitt asks NASA astronaut

Brad Pitt traded laughs on Monday in a call to the International Space Station with a NASA astronaut, who somersaulted during the zero-gravity interview ahead of this week's release of the actor's new film, the space thriller "Ad Astra."

China Used Twitter To Disrupt Hong Kong Protests, But Efforts Began Years Earlier

By Daniel Wood
Graph showing twitter activity from banned accounts in the last year.

Social media networks banned hundreds of thousands of accounts last month. In NPR's assessment of the data, telling details begin to depict large disinformation campaigns.

(Image credit: Daniel Wood/NPR)

  • September 17th 2019 at 23:48

Gates Foundation's Humanitarian Award To India's Modi Is Sparking Outrage

By Malaka Gharib
In this March 28 photo, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a campaign rally in Meerut. One of his efforts as prime minister has been to construct millions of toilets to reduce open defecation.

The Indian prime minister is cited for the millions of toilets his government has built in rural India. Activists say his human rights record should disqualify him.

(Image credit: Altaf Qadri/AP)

  • September 17th 2019 at 23:08

Call for Israel unity government as election too close to call

A national unity government has been called for in Israel after exit polls provided no clear winner in the country's second general election of 2019.

  • September 17th 2019 at 23:06

Afghan Presidential Rally Targeted In One Of Two Attacks In Afghanistan

NPR's Audie Cornish talks with The Washington Post's Pamela Constable about two blasts in Afghanistan Tuesday, one targeting a rare public appearance of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

  • September 17th 2019 at 22:29

Using AI In Malawi To Save Elephants

By Dina Temple-Raston

Poachers killed almost a third of the African elephant population between 2007 and 2014, a recent census found. Researchers hope artificial intelligence can help stop poachers and other threats, too.

  • September 17th 2019 at 22:29

Understanding The Latest In Iran-Saudi Tensions

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Iran expert Ali Vaez about the view from Tehran on the recent airstrikes in Saudi Arabia that have left the kingdom's oil production crippled. Iran denies involvement.

  • September 17th 2019 at 22:29

Israeli Voters Go To The Polls As Netanyahu Fights To Stay In Office

By Daniel Estrin

Israelis vote on Tuesday in the country's second parliamentary election in less than six months. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to remain in power.

  • September 17th 2019 at 22:29

US government sues Edward Snowden over his new book

The US government is suing Edward Snowden over his new book, saying it "violates non-disclosure agreements".

  • September 17th 2019 at 21:56

China Used Twitter To Disrupt Hong Kong Protests, But Efforts Began Years Earlier

By Daniel Wood
Graph showing twitter activity from banned accounts in the last year.

Social media networks banned hundreds of thousands of accounts last month. In NPR's assessment of the data, telling details begin to depict large disinformation campaigns.

(Image credit: Daniel Wood/NPR)

  • September 17th 2019 at 23:48

China Used Twitter To Disrupt Hong Kong Protests, But Efforts Began Years Earlier

By Daniel Wood
Graph showing twitter activity from banned accounts in the last year.

Social media networks banned hundreds of thousands of accounts last month. In NPR's assessment of the data, telling details begin to depict large disinformation campaigns.

(Image credit: Daniel Wood/NPR)

  • September 17th 2019 at 23:48

New York Fed steps into market to move interest rates

New York Fed steps into market to move interest ratesFor the first time in more than a decade, the New York Federal Reserve Bank announced Tuesday it was pumping billions of dollars into financial markets to keep short-term interest rates in line with the Federal Reserve's target range. The operations -- one early Tuesday and another scheduled for Wednesday morning -- came on the eve of a Fed decision that economists widely expect will result in a lower target range. The target range influences the cost of borrowing across the financial system.


  • September 17th 2019 at 23:39

EPA set to end California's ability to regulate fuel economy

EPA set to end California's ability to regulate fuel economyThe Trump administration is poised to revoke California's authority to set auto mileage standards, asserting that only the federal government has the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy. Conservative and free-market groups have been asked to attend a formal announcement of the rollback set for Wednesday afternoon at Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington. Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said Tuesday that her group was among those invited to the event featuring EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.


  • September 17th 2019 at 23:36

Binance adds privacy coins to its lending platform

Binance adds privacy coins to its lending platformBinance has introduced the ability to earn interest by lending the exchange either Monero, Zcash or Dash.


  • September 17th 2019 at 23:35

Thanks to Michigan’s New Vaping Rules, It Looks Like I’m Going to Prison

Thanks to Michigan’s New Vaping Rules, It Looks Like I’m Going to PrisonAccording to a leaked draft of Michigan’s potential “emergency” anti-vaping rules, it looks like I very well may be going to prison the next time I travel to my home state.According to a piece in the Detroit News -- co-written by Jesse Kelley, a criminal-defense attorney and the government-affairs manager for criminal justice at the right-leaning R Street Institute; and Carrie Wade, the director of harm-reduction policy at the same organization -- the new rules may very well mean serious trouble for adults who choose to vape. Not only do they completely ban all flavored electronic tobacco products, but they also lay out some pretty stiff penalties for those who fail to comply. Specifically, they declare anyone possessing four or more flavored vape products to be “presumed to possess said items with the intent to sell,” an offense that is punishable by a fine and six months of imprisonment per item.In other words: Simply because I happen to enjoy mango-flavored things, the typical contents of my purse could easily result in me being locked up in the slammer.See, as Kelley and Wade note, many e-cigarette systems’ pods -- including the popular Juul pods, which I happen to use myself -- are sold in packs of four. So, basically, having ownership of even a single pack of the pods would be considered license to imprison me for half of a year.Now, it’s not clear exactly what the rules mean when they state “per item.” It’s not clear whether or not you’d be punished for slightly longer than six months if you had, say, five pods on you but not eight, or if the punishments would only be doled out in six-month increments per four pods.In any case, Wade maintains that the rules represent either a lack of knowledge about how pods are sold -- or a well-informed, purposeful plan to allow imprisoning people for the possession of a single pack.“It seems like the people who wrote these rules don’t actually know anything about Juul and how they’re sold,” Wade told me in a phone interview on Tuesday. “Or they do, and picking that number was deliberate.”These rules -- which, no doubt, were drafted under the guise of “public health” -- could quite easily end up having a detrimental effect on the well-being of Michiganders. How? Well, they could lead to people choosing to smoke traditional, combustible cigarettes instead. This isn’t just my personal prediction either. It’s actually also the view of San Francisco’s top economist, who predicted that the city’s vaping ban would have exactly that result for its residents.This is dangerous because e-cigarettes (although not probably not completely harmless) are widely accepted to be safer than combustible ones, with a Harvard study declaring that they are “almost certainly less lethal than conventional cigarettes.” In fact, Wade told me that, according to her research, they are approximately 95 percent less harmful -- citing, specifically, a Public Health England study.Despite these facts, however, many public officials -- including even the president -- have been scrambling to limit the availability of vaping products, often citing that it’s become a crisis among young people. Furthermore, the fight against these items seems to be gaining more support as the media reports more instances of them causing a mysterious lung illness, which has resulted in a reported seven deaths.The truth is, however, the war against flavored nicotine pods in response to these illnesses is rooted more in media hysteria than in actual reality. See, when media report on these illnesses or deaths, they often state in the headlines that they were due to, simply, “vaping” -- without making any mention of what drug the person had been vaping, or how he had obtained the pod or juice. This has resulted in many people being misled to believe that the problems are coming from vaping legal nicotine products, despite the fact that the vast majority of them have come from people vaping black-market THC products containing Vitamin E. Wade took it a step further, telling me that, in her professional opinion, all of the illnesses are almost certainly due to THC.“It would surprise me if any of this was nicotine,” she said.Wade explained her reasoning to me, saying that people may be simply “hesitant to admit” to the CDC that they had been using a marijuana product, especially if they are minors. She added that, due to the differences in chemical properties between nicotine and THC, she doesn’t “see a need for [the problematic] type of chemical to be in a nicotine product” period.Basically, it seems as though most of the issues are clearly due to prohibition -- and yet, the ever-wise government has decided to respond with . . . more prohibition? Honestly, I can’t even begin to try and wrap my head around how stupid that is.In any case, when it comes to Michigan specifically, there may still be some hope. As Kelley and Wade note, the new, draconian rules have yet to be finalized -- and hopefully, they never will be. Hopefully, government officials in the state will remember the importance of things like “personal freedom” and “harm reduction,” and reject things like “regulation in response to media hysteria.” Hopefully, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer (who claims to be doing this for the sake of keeping “kids safe”) will remember that in her state, 17-year-olds are tried as adults, and realize that, in most cases, a kid is going to be less safe in prison than he’d be at home with a Juul pod.If not? Well, then I guess I hope all of you will come visit me when I wind up behind bars.


  • September 17th 2019 at 23:33

Corey LewandowskiΒ promotes potential Senate run during impeachment hearing

Corey Lewandowski promotes potential Senate run during impeachment hearingCorey Lewandowski launched the campaign-style website in a recess he requested during the chaotic hearing with the House Judiciary Committee.


  • September 17th 2019 at 23:33

Virtual Reality Video Games That Double as Exercise

By Signe Brewster

Virtual reality is still niche, but a growing crop of VR games with a fitness element may inspire people to pick up a headset. Here’s what to know before you get started.

Most parents say their kids have ridden with a risky teen driver

Most parents say their kids have ridden with a risky teen driverNearly two-thirds of parents worry that their children have been in unsafe situations as passengers traveling with a teen driver, a new survey finds. "Parents are rightfully concerned about teens as passengers with teen drivers," said Dr. Gary Freed, a co-director of the poll and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan and the Mott Children's Hospital.


  • September 17th 2019 at 23:29

Adobe Projects Slower Sales Growth for Marketing Products

Adobe Projects Slower Sales Growth for Marketing Products(Bloomberg) -- Adobe Inc. gave a revenue forecast for the current period that fell short of Wall Street estimates, signaling slower sales growth for its newer marketing products.Revenue will be about $2.97 billion in the period ending in November, the San Jose, California-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Analysts projected $3.02 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Chief Executive Officer Shantanu Narayen has made several acquisitions in the past two years for marketing and e-commerce products to boost revenue, which has climbed at least 20% each quarter since 2015. While the company has put more emphasis on corporate applications to compete with rivals Salesforce.com Inc. and Oracle Corp., it also recently unveiled new augmented reality and 3D-imaging technology to maintain its advantage as the leader in creative software such as its flagship product, Photoshop.Sales from Adobe’s experience cloud division, which includes marketing, analytics and e-commerce tools, are projected to increase 23% in the current period after climbing 34% in the fiscal third quarter. Executives said products gained from its 2018 acquisition of Marketo aren’t growing as fast as anticipated. Adobe plans to invest more money to boost sales in the unit, according to prepared remarks from Chief Financial Officer John Murphy.Murphy said Adobe also has had challenges generating bookings for its Analytics Cloud, which sits atop a new Experience Platform meant to connect clients’ data. The company believes the ongoing global introduction of the software platform will lift revenue, he said.Adobe’s shares declined about 3% in extended trading after closing at $284.69 in New York. The stock has climbed 26% this year after a 29% gain in 2018.Profit, excluding some items, will be $2.25 per share in current quarter, the company said. Analysts estimated $2.30 a share.In the period ended Aug. 30, sales jumped 24% to $2.83 billion from a year earlier. Adjusted profit was $2.05 a share. Analysts projected profit of $1.97 a share on revenue of $2.82 billion.Sales in the creative cloud division, which includes Photoshop, jumped 22% to $1.96 billion in the quarter and are projected to increase 20% in the current period.(Updates with additional details on experience cloud’s slower growth in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • September 17th 2019 at 23:28
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