(ABC News) -Wildfire Sweeps Across California Freeway, Burns 20 Cars

A fast-moving wildfire swept across a freeway in a Southern California, July 17, 2015.

A fast-moving wildfire swept across a freeway Friday in a Southern California mountain pass, torching at least a half-dozen cars and a tractor trailer as motorists abandoned their vehicles and ran to safety. There were no confirmed injuries, authorities said.

The fire fanned by hot desert winds burned on both sides of Interstate 15. The main highway between Southern California and Las Vegas was crowded with weekend travelers.

Dozens of vehicles were abandoned and hundreds of others turned onto side roads to get away from the flames as water-dropping helicopters flew over the Cajon Pass area about 55 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Motorists stuck on the road described a harrowing scene.

“It’s crazy, you’re watching black clouds and white clouds of smoke, there’s a ridgeline off to my right … and it looks like any second flames will come over the ridgeline,” Chris Patterson, 43, said from his vehicle.

It’s not uncommon for wildfires to reach freeways in California. It was unclear, however, why dozens of cars were caught along Interstate 15, forcing frightened people to flee on foot along the side of the road.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Uriah Hernandez said no injuries had been confirmed.

The agency said the fire had burned at least 2,000 acres and was threatening the rural desert community of Baldy Mesa. Some areas were evacuated.

Melissa Atalla said she could see the flames from her gas station in Baldy Mesa.

“People are spectating from our parking lot, running around getting water and beer. It’s chaos,” Atalla said. “One man came in and said, ‘Oh my, my house is getting burned.'”

The fire led authorities to shut several freeway lanes, causing traffic to back up for miles.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Steve Carapia said 50 to 75 vehicles were left abandoned on the freeway.

Raquel Martinez, 34, was traveling to Las Vegas with her husband for the weekend when they got stuck in northbound traffic on the I-15 for about an hour.

The sky darkened to black. As they drove by, cars were covered in “pink powder” — or fire retardant. Cars meanwhile were being redirected up narrow twisty emergency lanes from the southbound side headed north.

“I haven’t seen a fire that big and so close to us. It really was huge,” Martinez said.

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(hamptonroads.com) – Centuries-old shipwreck discovered off N.C. coast

Marine scientists discovered a centuries-old shipwreck off the North Carolina coast on July 12, 2015. (Duke University)

By Katherine Hafner
The Virginian-Pilot
© July 17, 2015

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown centuries-old shipwreck off the North Carolina Coast.

Marine researchers from Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of Oregon found the wreck while on a research expedition July 12.

Artifacts onboard suggest the ship could be as old as the American Revolution, according to Duke University.

Such artifacts include an iron chain, red bricks possibly from the cook’s hearth, glass bottles, a metal compass, a pile of wooden ship timbers and a navigational instrument.

“This is an exciting find, and a vivid reminder that even with major advances in our ability to access and explore the ocean, the deep sea holds its secrets close,” expedition leader Cindy Van Dover said on Duke’s website.

The ship was found more than a mile deep off the coast.

The wreck has been handed off to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to date and identify.

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(irishexaminer.com) – Cannabis could help heal fractured bones

The plants which supply the medical marijuana in Minnesota (Glen Stubbe/AP)

Cannabis in its various forms is still a sworn-by medicine in many societies around the world, but since its prohibition those possible medical advantages haven’t been seen in much of the Western world.
Cannabis could help heal fractured bones

But researchers using the non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) component of the plant found that it significantly helps fractured bones.

The same researchers from Tel Aviv University had previously discovered that cannabinoid receptors within our bodies stimulated bone formation and inhibited bone loss. They believe it has undeniable clinical potential to help fight osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases.

They conducted the study on rats with mid-femoral fractures and found that CBD, even when isolated from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major psychoactive component of cannabis, enhanced the healing process of the femora after just eight weeks.

“We found that CBD alone makes bones stronger during healing, enhancing the maturation of the collagenous matrix, which provides the basis for new mineralisation of bone tissue,” said Dr Yankel Gabet of the Bone Research Laboratory at the Department of Anatomy and Anthropology. “After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future.”

The researchers, lead by Dr Gabet, injected one group of rats with CBD alone and another group with both CBD and THC. They found CBD alone provided the necessary therapy.

“We found CBD alone to be sufficiently effective in enhancing fracture healing,” said Dr Gabet. “Other studies have also shown CBD to be a safe agent, which leads us to believe we should continue this line of study in clinical trials to assess its usefulness in improving human fracture healing.”
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(space.com) – Asteroid Mining Company’s 1st Satellite Launches from Space Station

The Arkyd 6 satellite will launch later this year to test control, power, communication and avionics systems for asteroid mining.
Credit: Planetary Resources

A private spaceflight company took one small step for asteroid mining this week with the launch of its first spacecraft to test technology that may one day help tap into the riches of the solar system.

The Arkyd 3 Reflight spacecraft, a small satellite built by the space-mining company Planetary Resources, launched from the International Space Station on Thursday (July 16), beginning a 90-day mission to test the avionics, control systems and software needed to make asteroid mining possible.

Planetary Resources first tried to launch a version of the satellite into orbit last October, but that spacecraft was lost when the commercial Antares rocket carrying it and supplies for the space station exploded shortly after liftoff. But a new incarnation, Arkyd 3 Reflight, made it up to the station earlier this year and is now set to begin testing the technology that will be needed on mining spacecraft. [Asteroid Mining: Planetary Resources’ Plan in Pictures]

Arkyd 3 Reflight, or A3R as its builders call it, was delivered to the space station in April on a commercial Dragon spacecraft launched by SpaceX. It is the first in a chain of test satellites Planetary Resources plans to send skyward.

“Our philosophy is to test often, and if possible, to test in space,” Chris Lewicki, president and chief engineer at Planetary Resources, said in a statement. “The A3R is the most sophisticated, yet cost-effective, test-demonstration spacecraft ever built. We are innovating on every level from design to launch.”

The spacecraft is small, but mighty: At just 12 by 4 by 4 inches (30 by 10 by 10 centimeters), it will test key systems and control schemes that will allow later craft to land on asteroids to extract water and minerals. Eric Anderson, co-founder and co-chairman of Planetary Resources, said in the statement that the mining technologies could also help monitor and manage Earth’s valuable resources.
Arkyd 6 Satellite
[Pin It] The Arkyd 6 satellite will launch later this year to test control, power, communication and avionics systems for asteroid mining.
Credit: Planetary Resources
View full size image

Later this year, once the satellite completes its 90-day mission, Planetary Resources will send up another satellite: the Arkyd-6, which will be twice as large and will test even more systems needed for the asteroid-mining process, representatives said.

The new satellite will bring along an infrared imaging system to measure temperatures and help identify and measure water and water-bearing minerals. Researchers will test the system out by measuring areas on Earth to see how it would perform analyzing an asteroid. Eventually, it could be a key step to finding water-rich asteroids. Water extracted from the asteroids could potentially be manufactured into propellant on the fly, because the key components of rocket fuel are hydrogen and oxygen.

“The successful deployment of the A3R is a significant milestone for Planetary Resources as we forge a path toward prospecting resource-rich asteroids,” Peter Diamandis, Planetary Resources’ other co-founder and co-chairman, said in the statement. “Our team is developing the technology that will enable humanity to create an off-planet economy that will fundamentally change the way we live on Earth.”

Email Sarah Lewin at slewin@space.com or follow her @SarahExplains. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

(huffington post) – Muslims Around The World Share What Eid al-Fitr Means To Them

Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, a holy day that comes at the end of Ramadan. Eid al-Fitr is a day of merriment and thanksgiving marked by gatherings with friends and family, preparing sweet delicacies, wearing new clothes, exchanging gifts and putting up lights.

Huffington Post editors around the world asked what Eid means to Muslims and non-Muslims alike using the hashtag #MyEid2015. Scroll below to read readers’ responses.

sanaana_23 hours ago
Ramadan seems to have passed as quickly as it came by. That sense of peace that washes over one’s self is so precious, and this blessed month is a glimpse of who we can be and what we can do. May we be blessed to see Ramadan next year and to bask in His mercy, glory and Light again, not only during this blessed month, but every day. #ramadandiaries #ramadan2015 #myeid2015

“It’s a time for reflection and starting fresh. Its a time to rejoice with family and friends. But also remembering those who dont have enough. Its a time to count our blessings while also giving charity to those who dont only fast for the month, but they must fast for the whole year not by choice but bcoz they r not as blessed as others. Fasting teaches us empathy for those.” – Umm Maria, Facebook

“It gives us the opportunity to get closer to God in various recent works of charity to the poor and by doing prayers imposed and enacted.” -Yasser EdenPark, Facebook

“A moment of happiness and joy shared with family and friends, Muslim or not.” – Yahya Mohamed Sidi, Facebook

“It means a celebration with family and friends after one month fasting, trying to be a better person in all aspects (health, spiritual, manner).” — mai_michan, Instagram

“It’s bittersweet! The end of Ramadaan is heartbreaking and anyone who follows this religion and experienced the beauty of the month will attest, but because it’s a faith based on balance I understand that there is a time for all experiences bestowed upon Muslims and I welcome the closing of one day and the opening of another in the form of Eid-dul-Fitr.” – lamz_gram, Instagram

“It is ime to tell Muslims we love and respect their peaceful religion, essential these days.” – Leo Chabot, Facebook

“Sharing and solidarity. No distinctions between rich and poor. The reason we fast for 29 days is to feel the hunger that the poor are feeling every day. We invite non-Muslim friends and offer our mutton and chicken. We distribute gifts and sweets to children”. – Couro Diop, Facebook

Eid means protection of every single Muslim from evil things. Financial stability, acceptance of genuine dua by Allah. – @AdvocateReevnat, Twitter

When I worked in the East End it meant days of special food and lots of fun & happy people! – Lena Leitrim, Facebook

— “Sharing joy.” Kakoli Tahmina, Facebook

“Celebration of victory, forgiveness with people surrounding, glorious food, happiness and a beautiful time to look and feel great.” — rc55, Instagram

A moment of sharing with my Muslim friends and neighbors! Enjoy your celebration, and thanks for your help and generosity throughout the year. I love living among you! – Claire Andco, Facebook

“It’s the day of acceptance and self realization to tolerence – putting all differences aside and hugging each other with open hearts and broad mind, a day to realization and being thankful” — Muzammil Amer, Facebook

“Eid means reflecting on how to make myself a tad bit better for the ppl around me.” @dasghar, Twitter

— arifwidodo, Instagram

“It’s tradition to hug each other and saying “Eid Mubark,” and when we return home, everyone is excited to eat special Eid food with family. Then th whole day guests, friends and family get together, and this makes this event beautiful.” – Abram Jacob, Facebook

“A feast to end the fasting month and a lovely time of love with the family.” – bobbyanwar, Instagram

“The beauty of Eid, its smiles, its beautiful faces, abundant food, abundant drinks, the gifts, the happiness. Eid is love all around, but it also reminds me that the sun has set on Ramadan, a bittersweet feeling between joy and melancholy….” – Sabrun Jameel, Facebook

“Eid means finally making it to the end of the hardest month of the year with a smile on one’s face.” – Asad Dhunna, Twitter

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(radio free europe) – Kerry Says Issue Of Captive Americans Brought Up At Nuclear Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the topic of detained U.S. citizens in Iran was raised at every meeting he held with the Iranian negotiating team during the final weeks of nuclear negotiations. “We remain very, very hopeful that Iran will make the decision to do the right thing and to return those citizens to the United States,” Kerry said in a July 17 interview with MSNBC.Kerry also said he raised the issue during his last meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before the announcement of the Iran nuclear deal on July 14.The three Americans held in Iran are Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, and former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati.Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

Source: Kerry Says Issue Of Captive Americans Brought Up At Nuclear Talks

(Fox News) – Obama makes 1st visit by sitting president to federal prison | Fox News

From the White House to the big house, President Obama made an unprecedented presidential visit to a federal prison Thursday as part of his push for changes to the criminal justice system. The president, after issuing dozens of commutations and tackling the subject during an NAACP address earlier this week, toured the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, a medium-security prison for male offenders near Oklahoma City. He met separately Thursday with law enforcement officials and nonviolent drug offenders doing time there. In a brief statement to the media, Obama lamented the “huge surge” in incarceration since 1980, and said a primary driver of that is America’s drug laws. “We have to consider whether this is the smartest way for us to control crime,” Obama said. Obama has expressed hope that Congress will send him legislation to address the issue before he leaves office in 18 months, given the level of interest in the issue among Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a 2016 presidential contender, is pushing to restore voting rights to nonviolent felons who have served their sentences. According to the White House, Obama is the first sitting president to see the inside of a federal prison. Despite potential security concerns, Danny Spriggs, a former deputy director of the U.S. Secret Service, told the Associated Press the controlled environment of a prison is better than many public venues where presidents normally appear. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said “unique steps” were being taken to protect Obama during the visit. He did not elaborate. Meanwhile, the focus Thursday was on proposed changes to the criminal justice system. From shortening the prison sentences of nearly four-dozen non-violent drug offenders to advocating the reduction, or outright elimination, of severe mandatory minimum sentences, Obama has argued forcefully this week for an alternative to the continued lengthy incarceration of people convicted of crimes he said did not fit the punishment. Fourteen of the convicts whose sentences he commuted this week had been serving life in prison. “If you’re a low-level drug dealer, or you violate your parole, you owe some debt to society. You have to be held accountable and make amends,” Obama said in a speech at the NAACP’s annual convention this week. “But you don’t owe 20 years. You don’t owe a life sentence. That’s disproportionate to the price that should be paid.” Obama wasn’t the only one talking criminal justice reform Thursday. In New Jersey, GOP presidential candidate and Gov. Chris Christie called in a policy speech for giving nonviolent offenders with drug problems a better shot at rebuilding their lives. He pressed the need to treat drug addiction as a disease, calling for mandatory drug courts across the country, including in all 94 federal districts. Under a program he championed in New Jersey, nonviolent drug-addicted offenders can be sentenced to mandatory participation in drug treatment programs instead of jail time. Obama has said taxpayers are the ones left to pay the $80 billion annual cost of locking up people who otherwise could be in rehabilitative programs for less than the cost of incarceration. Or they could be workers paying taxes, or be more involved in their children’s lives, or be role models and leaders in their communities. Overly harsh prison sentences, particularly for nonviolent drug crimes, are to blame for doubling the prison population in the past two decades, Obama said. Half a million people were behind bars in 1980, a figured that has since quadrupled to its current total of more than 2.2 million inmates. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Obama makes 1st visit by sitting president to federal prison | Fox News

(whitehouse.gov) – Press Briefings

Source: Press Briefings | whitehouse.gov

 

Press Briefings