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UN Security Council expresses 'grave concerned' for civilians in ISIS ...

Agence France Presse UNITED NATIONS, United States: The U.N. Security Council on Friday expressed deep concern for thousands of civilians trapped in the Syrian city of Palmyra after it was captured by ISIS fighters.The 15-member council called for safe passage for fleeing civilians and stated their "grave concern" for the protection of the ancient city, a World Heritage site.ISIS proclaimed Palmyra's capture online and posted video and several pictures, including of a hospital, a prison and a military airbase.The council in particular expressed concern for women and children, noting that ISIS fighters had established a "pattern of abducting, exploiting, and abusing women and children elsewhere including rape, sexual abuse, forced marriage and forced child recruitment."Known in Syria as "the pearl of the desert," Palmyra is home to colonnaded alleys, elaborately decorated tombs and ancient Greco-Roman ruins.ISIS sparked international outrage this year when it blew up the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud and smashed artefacts in the Mosul museum, both in Iraq. Advertisement ...  

California oil spill a reminder of coastal tourism industry vulnerabilities

Orange County’s majestic beaches generate a tourism and recreation industry worth $1.9 billion a year.But it’s an industry as vulnerable as the coastline it’s built on. As this week’s oil spill near Santa Barbara reminds us, life on the coast can unravel with one burst pipe.“None of us would be here if we didn’t have the beach, right?” said Jerry Wheeler, president and chief executive officer of Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce. “If we don’t have the beaches and we don’t have those beautiful wetlands, certainly we wouldn’t have an economy here.”The conflict between two of the ocean’s gifts – its beauty, and its oil – is a long-running story in California. Even as tourism continues to dominate the coastal economy, oil possesses an outsize ability to muck it up.“We all see the images,” said Peter Alagona, a professor of environmental history at UC Santa Barbara, referring to photographs of sea lions and birds coated in oil. “Every time you see them, it’s heartbreaking.”Though it is one of the nation’s top oil-producing states, California has seen its oil production in decline since the mid-1980s. Oil’s contribution to the state’s economy is smaller than that of other sectors in the “ocean economy,” such as tourism and transportation, according to figures from the National Ocean Economics Progr...  

Electric versions of Asian rickshaw paves their way into U.S. market

DENVER — They're ubiquitous in Asia, swarming the bustling streets of Bangkok, New Delhi and Beijing. Now, a company that manufactures tuk-tuks — the three-wheeled motorized rickshaws that have moved the masses for more than a century and go by many other names in Asia, Africa and Latin America — aims to make inroads in the United States. The Tuk Tuk Factory, based in Amsterdam, has signed a licensing agreement with Denver-based eTuk USA to allow the company to manufacture and sell an electric version of the vehicle. The company's founders hope the eco-friendly vehicles — a far cry from the loud, pollution-spewing versions common in Asia and South America — will become the next hip mode of transportation for urban dwellers and tourists across the country. It's too soon to know whether Americans will embrace tuk-tuks, but Michael Fox, director of sales and marketing for eTuk USA, says the company has been selling the vehicles to individuals, marketing companies and food vendors for $16,950 to $25,000, depending on how they are customized. The three partners' other company, eTuk Denver, started a call-and-demand shuttle service in downtown Denver upon receiving approval from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which regulates for-hire transportation services. The service is the latest to enter an increasingly crowded field of transportation options that includes pedicabs, ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, and golf-cart ta...  

Experts offer safe swimming tips for holiday weekend, vacation season

Updated: Friday, May 22 2015 11:45 PM EDT2015-05-23 03:45:18 GMTDespite a day and age when people can often swim year round at indoor aquatic centers, the kickoff of summer vacation season still brings a lot of people to the swimming hole at once. More >>Despite a day and age when people can often swim year round at indoor aquatic centers, the kickoff of summer vacation season still brings a lot of people to the swimming hole at once. More >>Lower gas prices help spur Memorial Day Weekend travelLower gas prices help spur Memorial Day Weekend travelUpdated: Friday, May 22 2015 11:32 PM EDT2015-05-23 03:32:05 GMTThis Memorial Day Weekend, Alabamians on average, are spending $2.49 for a gallon of gas.More >>This Memorial Day Weekend, Alabamians on average, are spending $2.49 for a gallon of gas.More >>Road to Recovery: Cordova ready to open new city hall, police departmentRoad to Recovery: Cordova ready to open new city hall, police departmentUpdated: Friday, May 22 2015 11:11 PM EDT2015-05-23 03:11:28 GMTThe Road to Recovery from the April 27, 2011 tornado continues in Cordova, which is getting a new city hall and police department. More >>The Road to Recovery from the April 27, 2011 tornado continues in Cordova, which is getting a new city hall and police department. More >>Coosa Riverkeeper debuts Swim Guide to keep an eye on bacteria in the waterCoosa Riverkeeper debuts Swim Guide to keep an eye on bacteria in...  

New Implants Allow Thoughts to Control Robotic Limb

Downey, CA - "I wanted to jump around and high five and hug everybody because we knew that it worked." Erik Sorto was paralyzed from the neck down after being shot 13 years ago. He can now think about a movement in his mind then make it happen effortlessly. Neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Liu performed brain surgery on Sorto two years ago at Keck Hospital of USC. He implanted a pair of electrodes in the region of the brain where the initial intent to make a movement is formed. "Since it had never been done before there was a bit of a leap of faith in terms of just seeing if these were in fact the right areas." Two chips in Sorto's brain are connected to wires and a series of computers, which decode his intentions and move the prosthetic arm. Until now technologies have only produced jerky, delayed movements. But scientists say this new approach makes them much more natural. Caltech Neuroscience professor Richard Anderson says, "You don't really think about moving the muscles or the joints, you really think about – I want to pick up that glass of water.” Sorto is the first in the world to have this new neural prosthetic device. The 34–year–old was even able to pick up and drink a beer on his own. "I want to be able to brush my own teeth.  Yeah. That's the next goal." Two other patients have joined the clinical trial, which is a collaboration between CalTech, Keck Medicine of USC, and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.--- KEYC News 12 ...  

5A baseball: Pleasant Grove lights the 'G' after beating Bingham

"We had a lot of tears," said Pleasant Grove coach Darrin Henry. "I said, 'If I told you three months ago we had a chance to win a state championship in the second game, would you take it?' All of a sudden, they started getting motivated and ready to go." It marked the culmination of an entire year fueled by heartbreak after Pleasant Grove (27-3) fell short of the title in the second game of the championship series against Jordan last year. Billed as the preseason favorite after bringing back numerous contributors, the program climbed to unprecedented heights — reaching as high as No. 6 in national polls. "We accepted it, and we embraced it," Henry said. Bingham forced the second game with an 8-7 victory for its sixth consecutive elimination-game win. The Miners established a six-run lead in the fourth inning, with contributions from Kade Cloward (two RBI doubles), Aaron Marsh (two RBI singles), Cody Kitchen and Tyler Zupon, while four Pleasant Grove errors aided the effort. It marked the first loss for Pleasant Grove ace Easton Walker (8-1) in two years, breaking his 17-game streak. It was the third time in his career he allowed double-digit hits (10). "We tried to do a little bit of something we're not capable of — tried to go a little bit too hard," Walker said. "Second game, we started to get back under ourselves, started to refocus. [We] played our game." The Miners (29-5) struck first in the second game, scoring on a wild pitch and an RBI groundout ...  

NC State knocks off Miami in 12, will play for ACC baseball title

N.C. State can win a late-night marathon game in the ACC tournament after all.Two years after losing an 18-inning epic to North Carolina at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, N.C. State knocked off Miami 5-4 in 12 innings to advance to the ACC tournament championship game."Seems like we have a knack for playing these kind of games over here," N.C. State coach Elliott Avent said. "I'm sure everybody is sitting out there saying what time they're going to get home tonight."It wasn't too late, right around 11:08 p.m., and this time the N.C. State fans who made up most of the crowd of 6,806 got to go home happy.Unlike the 2-1 loss to UNC in 2013, the Wolfpack found a way to outlast the Hurricanes on Friday at the DBAP. Every time Miami knocked N.C. State down, the Wolfpack had the answer and sophomore first baseman Preston Palmeiro provided the final one.Palmeiro doubled to lead off the bottom half of the 12th inning for the Wolfpack, hitting a liner off the leftfield wall. When Miami's Carl Chester's air-mailed the throw over the second baseman's head, and into foul territory down the first base line, Palmeiro never stopped running."That was a Little League home run," Palmeiro joked. "I kept telling everybody I was going to end it. I guess that does the job, so I'll take it."With Palmeiro's unconventional walk-off double with a two-base throwing error, N.C. State (33-20) will play for its first ACC title since 1992 against the winner of Saturday's game between Louisville and Florid...  

Venture Bank's big bet on small-business lending pays off

Three years ago, Shirley Wikner was at wits’ end with her bank. Her family-owned Aviation Charter and Executive Aviation aircraft services, at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, had cut back during the Great Recession. But Wikner was current on her building mortgage. Demand had returned, and she needed working capital to expand and invest in a business that flies businesspeople as well as medical teams and organs. Moreover, Wikner’s husband and business partner died in 2012, increasing the legal and emotional uncertainty. But her lender, the former M&I Bank, was in trouble with federal regulators, weakened by huge commercial real estate losses, and in the process of being acquired by BMO Harris Bank, the Chicago-based subsidiary of one of Canada’s largest financial institutions. And Wikner couldn’t get anybody to call her back. “No one ever told me I was in ‘workout,’ ” Wikner recalled last week. “We were paying back $500,000 in principal yearly. Never late on a payment. And profitable. “But we hadn’t really grown our business for about three years. We were holding from about 2008 through 2011.” According to Wikner and her current bank, Venture Bank, M&I had tossed her loan in the purgatory known as workout. She would repay her loans and be discharged. But she’d get no more credit and less service as M&I was devoured by BMO. This is not unusual, particularly durin...  

Fox Chapel, Ambridge capture WPIAL volleyball titles

Emotions ran high at the Baldwin High School gym, the site of the WPIAL boys volleyball championships, as Fox Chapel topped Section 3 rival Seneca Valley, 3-1, to win its first WPIAL championship since 2006. Even coach Phil O'Keeffe had to admit that beating his team's most bitter rival only made the victory taste sweeter. “Sure, that was the rubber match. We were preseason No. 1, we played Seneca at their place and they came back and beat us in five sets,” O'Keeffe said. “They were our toughest opponent all year. So yes, it definitely makes this sweet.” Out of the gates, the O'Keeffe's team came out determined to keep Seneca Valley on its heels as the Foxes (16-1) took the first set 25-13 and the second 25-11. “They came out with a purpose, they were positioned well, their touches were good, they were staying aggressive and they blocked phenomenally,” O'Keeffe said. “We never let them get momentum for those first two games.” The Raiders (13-2) rallied to win the third set 25-20, but the Foxes were relentless at the net and stood tall to win the fourth set 25-21. Outside hitter Andrew Tublin led Fox Chapel with 11 kills, and Jack Reese was second on the team with 10. Reese also tallied eight blocks, while teammate Max DePellegrini recorded 36 assists. Class AA In Class AA, Ambridge capitalized on key miscues by Obama Academy, and rallied at key moments late in the first and second sets to secure its fourth straight ...  

Cancer doctors sound alarm over crushing costs of new drugs

The year's biggest cancer research conference kicks off May 29 in Chicago, and physicians will learn about the latest advances in treatment. The gathering of the American Society of Clinical Oncology also will address another big issue in cancer care: affordability. "One of things we are seeing is clear price inflation for new cancer drugs that are the backbone of treatment for many patients with selected cancers," said Rena Conti, a health economist at the University of Chicago. Conti planned a two-day seminar at the conference, called ASCO for short, on the economics of cancer care. Economists, health insurance executives, drug companies and politicians often do the most talking about the expense of treatment, but Conti says doctors also have a responsibility to control costs. The United States is famous for break-the-bank cancer drugs, but health insurance companies, cancer doctors and others are sounding alarms about the unsustainability of increasing costs. The U.S. spent 20.7 percent more on cancer medications in 2014 than it did the year before, according to Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefits manager. This is on top of a 24 percent increase in 2013.Spending on oncology drugs is being fueled by several factors. Early diagnosis and better drugs have increased survival rates. In addition, some cancers are being treated as chronic illnesses that can be controlled with ongoing medication.Increased spending also is being driven by the staggering costs of some drugs. Some ...  


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