Group that opposes nuclear weapons wins Nobel Peace Prize

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 5:29 AM

The headquarters of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
The headquarters of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is located in Geneva, Switzerland.(Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)


The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to an advocacy group behind the first treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, The New York Times reported. 

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The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition of disarmament activists, was honored for its work to advance the negotiations that led to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was ratified in July at the United Nations. 
Berit Reiss-Andersen, the Norwegian Nobel committee chairwoman, said the prize was awarded to the group because of its “groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty prohibition” on nuclear weapons,” the BBC reported.
“We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time,” she said.
 
The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored the Geneva-based group "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons,” NBC News reported.
ICAN is a coalition of non-governmental organizations from around 100 different countries around the globe. The committee said ICAN has given the movement toward the world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigor.

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Delta latest company ending discounts, benefits for NRA members

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 10:40 AM
Updated: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 11:24 AM

Delta Air Lines will be ending discounts for NRA members.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Delta Air Lines will be ending discounts for NRA members.(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines announced Saturday it is ending a discount for National Rifle Association members.

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The move comes as some other businesses broke ties with the NRA amid debate over gun control in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in Florida earlier this month.

“We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from its website,” Delta said in a written statement.

>> 3 car rental companies cancel discounts for NRA members 

The move comes as some other businesses break ties with the NRA amid debate over gun control in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in Florida earlier this month

Following is a list of some of the companies that have cut ties or distanced themselves from the NRA:

  • United Airlines -- United tweeted Saturday, "United is notifying the NRA that we will no longer offer a discounted rate to their annual meeting and we are asking that the NRA remove our information from their website." 

  • Delta Air Lines -- Delta issued the following statement Saturday: "Delta is reaching out to the National Rifle Association to let it know we will be ending its contract for discounted rates through our group travel program. We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from its website." 

  • First National Bank of Omaha -- The bank announced that it would not renew a co-branded Visa credit-card with the NRA.

  • The Hertz Corp. -- The rental car company ended its discount program for NRA members.

  • MetLife Inc. -- The insurer terminated discounts that had been offered to NRA members on the NRA website

  • Enterprise Holdings Inc. -- The car rental company that also owns Alamo and National cut off discounts for NRA members.

  • Symantec Corp. -- The software company that makes Norton Antivirus technology ended its discount program with the NRA.

  • Chubb Ltd. -- The insurer announced it was ending participation in the NRA's gun-owner insurance program, though it provided notice three months ago.

  • Best Western -- The hotel chain told multiple social media users that it was no longer affiliated with the NRA, though it did not say when that decision was made.

  • Wyndham Hotels -- The hotel chain told social media users it is no longer affiliated with the NRA without specifying when that decision was made.

    The NRA has released the following statement:

    "The more than five million law-abiding members of the National Rifle Association have enjoyed discounts and cost-saving programs from many American corporations that have partnered with the NRA to expand member benefits.

    "Since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, a number of companies have decided to sever their relationship with the NRA, in an effort to punish our members who are doctors, farmers, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, nurses, shop owners and school teachers that live in every American community. We are men and women who represent every American ethnic group, every one of the world’s religions and every form of political commitment.

    "The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement.

    "Despite that, some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice. In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve.

    "Let it be absolutely clear. The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world."

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    House releases Democrats’ rebuttal to GOP memo on alleged government surveillance abuses

    Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 4:23 PM

     House Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks at the Council On Foreign Relations .
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
     House Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks at the Council On Foreign Relations .(Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

    The House Intelligence Committee Saturday released the Democrats’ rebuttal to the Republican memo alleging the FBI and Department of Justice engaged in questionable tactics in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia. 

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    Schiff Memo by National Content Desk on Scribd

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    The 10-page memo, released two weeks after President Donald Trump blocked it and after wrangling between Democrats and DOJ officials, was authored by ranking Intelligence Committee Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) in response to one by House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), and disputes allegations that illegal tactics were used to get warrants to surveil a former Trump campaign aide.

    “The Democratic response memo released today should put to rest any concerns that the American people might have as to the conduct of the FBI, the Justice Department and the FISC. Our extensive review of the initial FISA application and three subsequent renewals failed to uncover any evidence of illegal, unethical, or unprofessional behavior by law enforcement and instead revealed that both the FBI and DOJ made extensive showings to justify all four requests,” Schiff said in a statement Saturday after the release of the memo.

    Trump released the Nunes memo last month, which contained information purporting to show that the FBI and DOJ did not provide complete information when requesting a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant to watch one-time Trump campaign member and foreign policy advisor Carter Page.

    >> Related: Trump sends Democrats’ Nunes rebuttal memo back to House committee

    The release came over the objections of investigators in the intelligence communities.

    What You Need To Know About Carter Page

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    FDA approves blood test that can detect concussions 

    Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 10:58 PM

    Maxime Chanot #4 of New York City FC holds his head after a clash of heads form a corner kick during the New York City FC Vs San Jose Earthquakes regular season MLS game at Yankee Stadium on April 1, 2017 in New York City. 
Tim Clayton - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
    Maxime Chanot #4 of New York City FC holds his head after a clash of heads form a corner kick during the New York City FC Vs San Jose Earthquakes regular season MLS game at Yankee Stadium on April 1, 2017 in New York City. (Tim Clayton - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

    The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a breakthrough blood test that can help detect concussions in adults.

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    The blood test, also known as the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator Test, works by measuring UCH-L1 and GFAP, both proteins released from the brain into the blood, within 12 hours of a head injury.

    It can be administered as soon as 15 minutes after the injury, but results take a few hours to produce.

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    According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury is a “serious public health problem in the United States.” In 2013 alone, there were about 2.8 million visits to emergency rooms for traumatic brain injury-related conditions. Of these, nearly 50,000 people died.

    TBI is typically caused by a blow or bump to the head, or a by a head injury that disrupts the brain’s normal functioning. It can range from mild to severe. About 75 percent of TBIs that occur each year are assessed as mild TBIs or concussions. 

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    Most patients with traumatic brain injury undergo a neurological exam, followed by a CT scan.

    For their research, the FDA evaluated data on 1,947 individual blood samples from adults with suspected mild TBI or concussion and reviewed the product’s performance by comparing blood test results with CT scan results.

    They found the blood test was 97.5 percent as effective in detecting concussion and 99.6 perfect as effective in ruling out the injury.

    The test also costs as little as one-tenth as much as a CT scan.

    » RELATED: Which high school sports have the most concussions? 

    "A blood test that accurately, reliably and consistently detects the presence of brain proteins that appear in the blood after a brain injury is a major advance," Dr. David Dodick, a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology who specializes in sports medicine and neurology, told CNN. Dodick was not involved in the study.

    One of the challenges of diagnosing concussions is that the injury’s symptoms can occur at various times. For some, they appear instantly. Others may not experience symptoms for hours or even days.

    » RELATED: Football players under 12 at high risk of brain injury, study finds

    Symptoms also vary from person to person. Some may experience light or noise sensitivity, or may lose balance.

    “This is something that has been a long time coming,” Col. Dallas Hack, who was director of the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program from 2008 to 2014 and is now retired, told the New York Times. 

    “The concept originally was that we would have something that medical personnel in the field would be able to use to assess whether somebody who had received a head injury needed a higher level of care,” Hack said.

    » RELATED: Youth football called ‘child abuse’

    But Dodick told CNN that researchers still need to better understand when brains have fully healed from trauma and how the protein biomarkers may actually affect prognosis. Additionally, it’s unclear whether or not the new test can determine subconcussive blows, hits to the head that don’t always cause symptoms but do cause brain injury. 

    Subconcussive or repeat blows are believed to lead to the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Over time, that damage may lead to personality changes, mood disorders and other behavioral issues.

    "These occur much more often than actual concussions, especially in certain collision and contact sports,” Dodick told CNN.

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    Britney Spear’s ex K-Fed wants child support increase amid star’s Vegas success

    Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 9:11 PM

    Britney Spears’ Ex-Husband K-Fed Wants an Increase in Child Support

    After seeing how successful her four-year Las Vegas residency has been, Britney Spears’ ex-husband Kevin Federline is asking for an increase in child support.

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    Federline’s attorney reportedly sent the pop singer a letter recently indicating that he would like to renegotiate the $20,000 monthly payment he currently receives from her for their two sons, Preston, 12, and Jayden, 11. 

    Married from 2004 to 2007, the former couple decided on that amount after Spears lost sole physical and legal custody over the children and was placed in a still-ongoing conservatorship under the care of her father during their highly-publicized 2008 divorce. However, now that her residency has grossed over $137 million in four short years, Federline is looking to cash in, believing the success of her show was “in part because the boys have been in her life.”

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    “Kevin has always been supportive of Britney’s recovery and has always recognized what a great mother she has been,” a source familiar with the situation told US Weekly. “Britney’s entire world are the boys, period. She just lights up when she is with them.”

    However, Federline additionally feels he’s entitled to an increase in child support in order to “recognize the sacrifices he has made because he has gone above and beyond what most people would do in this situation.”

    Both Spears and Federline are reportedly hoping to reach an agreement outside of court, with the insider adding, “Britney won’t be involved with any of the legal discussions regarding the increase request. She will let her dad, Jamie, and the lawyers hash it out. However, Jamie isn’t just going to fork over what he would consider an outrageous demand.”

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