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Saturday, Aug 01st

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WTO members reach deal to eliminate tariffs on $1.3T in technology

Robrto AcevedoMember countries of the World Trade Organization on Friday reached a tentative agreement to reduce tariffs on more than $1 trillion worth of technology products each year, the organization said.

Representatives from 54 WTO member countries met Friday in Geneva to hash out the deal with the hopes of officially putting in place the plans in time for the organization's 10th Ministerial Conference in December.

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Fracking Linked to Heart Conditions and Neurological Illness

Fracking linked to heart and nerve illnessPeople who live in fracking zones appear to suffer a higher rate of heart conditions and neurological illnesses, according to new research.

Although the U.S. study was unable to determine a specific reason, it suggests there may be a link between drilling and ill health, scientists said.

Residents in high-density areas of fracking made 27 per cent more hospital visits for treatment for heart conditions than those from locations where no fracking took place, according to a new study of drilling in Pennsylvania between 2007 and 2011.

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California communities mount protests against fracking, oil drilling

Californians protest against frackingMore than 100 children, parents and community organizers in fluorescent yellowish-green shirts and orange shoe covers marched through a South Los Angeles neighborhood earlier this week chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, this drilling site has got to go!”

The canaries-in-a-coal-mine color-scheme of the protesters was intentional. There was even a giant cage in front of an oil drilling site on West Jefferson Boulevard that neighborhood children, most of them African American or Latino, crammed into, holding up signs asking to “Set these canaries free.”

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A Palestinian village braces for Israeli demolition

Palestinians brace for demolitionResidents of this dusty village are bracing for Israeli bulldozers to come and knock down their makeshift homes of tarp, wood and wire any day now.

But as they wait for the military order to be carried out, villagers are rallying support from Western governments. Israeli authorities say Susiya's structures are unlicensed and must come down. Residents and their supporters say Israel refuses to grant building permits to Palestinians, even while allowing Israeli settlements to thrive next door.

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Man described as a drifter kills 2, himself in Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater

Louisiana shootingAs moviegoers settled in for the comedy "Trainwreck," John Russell Houser stood up and unloaded at least 13 shots. Then, as people rushed from the theater, the 59-year-old man joined them and headed outside, apparently toward his blue 1995 Lincoln Continental.

Then Houser noticed the sirens from police converging on the Lafayette, Louisiana, theater. So he went back inside and took his own life.

By that point Thursday night, 21-year-old Mayci Breaux of Franklin, Louisiana, was dead. Ten others were wounded, including 33-year-old Lafayette resident Jillian Johnson, who would die at a nearby hospital.

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Alex Baer: Going to Oz in a Handbasket

Flying monkeyIt's Home Schizophrenia Day, apparently -- I guess -- and I find one of my personalities has started writing this note from the front... doing so, over my own numerous and very strong personal protests to me.

(This is not turning out very well, I said to myself.  I know that, I replied.)

See:  This is about politics and Trump and the aspirations of all the blown-out GOP nut cases and billionaire blowhards to become King of America for a while -- a chance for these marching-band rejects and assorted lame specters to practice their bumbling baton-twirling with our symbolic scepter of state.

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Western wildfires threatening homes and disrupting tourism

Glacier national par fireFirefighters braced Thursday for a fresh run by a wildfire that sent tourists fleeing from hotels and campgrounds in Montana's Glacier National Park, while a blaze threatening hundreds of homes in Northern California shot flames 100 feet in the air.

Both states are ravaged by drought, and rising temperatures and strengthening winds greeted newly arrived crews taking aim at the blaze in the Northern Rocky Mountains. It has burned more than 6 square miles along the eastern side of the Montana park during prime tourist season, when lodges and inns have been booked for months.

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CT scans cause measurable damage to cells, say researchers

CT ScansResearchers have found links between computed tomography (CT) scanning and cell damage in the body, linking repeated scans to the potential for cancer.

While the researchers note the scans haven't been determined to cause cancer, the doses of radiation emitted by CT machines have a detectable effect on patients, according to a new study.

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NASA's Kepler spacecraft spots planet 'somebody else might call home'

Kepler spavecraft finds earth twinScientists have spotted a planet much the same size as our Earth orbiting a star that closely resembles our sun, making this new world the most likely known place outside our solar system to harbor life.

The newfound planet, referred to as Kepler-452b, “is the closest thing we have to another place that somebody else might call home,” Jon Jenkins of NASA’s Ames Research Center told reporters Thursday. The planet has been at just the right temperature to boast liquid water for some 6 billion years, “a considerable time and opportunity for life to arise somewhere on its surface or in its oceans,” assuming the place has all the necessary ingredients for life, Jenkins said.

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