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How White Cane Day Makes A Difference

Oct 16, 2017

On an early Sunday morning, before the sun has even risen, Zaw Lin Htun walks down the middle of what is usually one of the busiest roads in downtown Yangon, the capital of Myanmar.

He strolls past a golden pagoda. He taps his white cane back and forth on the pavement, making sure to avoid the potholes, loose electrical wires and debris that fill the street and sidewalks.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of eight hours of sleep per night for adults, but sleep scientist Matthew Walker says that too many people are falling short of the mark.

"Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain," Walker says. "Many people walk through their lives in an underslept state, not realizing it."

This archipelago in the Gulf of Alaska is home to one of the busiest commercial fishing ports in the country. Inside the Ocean Beauty seafood plant in Kodiak, where a maze of conveyer belts carry gutted salmon past workers in hairnets and gloves, manager James Turner ticks off everything that contributes to his monthly electricity bill: canning machines, pressure cookers, freezers lights.

"We use a lot of power here," he says.

Brain imaging studies have a diversity problem.

That's what researchers concluded after they re-analyzed data from a large study that used MRI to measure brain development in children from 3 to 18.

Like most brain imaging studies of children, this one included a disproportionate number of kids who have highly educated parents with relatively high household incomes, the team reported Thursday in the journal Nature Communications.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

Not much of significance has gotten through this Congress, despite the House, Senate and White House all being controlled by the same party — Republicans.

President Trump says, don't blame him.

"We're not getting the job done. And I'm not going to blame myself, I'll be honest," Trump said during short remarks in a Cabinet meeting.

He then shifted away from "we" to "they."

"They're not getting the job done," the president said of Congress.

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

The remnants of post-tropical cyclone Ophelia slammed parts of Ireland with wind gusts of more than 90 miles per hour, reportedly causing the deaths of at least three people and bringing strange red skies to the U.K.

A federal jury has convicted Ahmad Khan Rahimi of all counts related to last fall's bombing in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood and two related plots. One device injured 30 people in Chelsea; another failed to explode in Manhattan — but a third went off at a Marine Corps charity race at the Jersey Shore.

Rahimi "now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison," says acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim, who said the bomber had "attacked our country and our way of life" after being inspired by ISIS and al-Qaida.

They had me at "parmesan pepper bread." There are plenty of cookbooks that delight the eyes with beautiful photography, but the new self-titled cookbook from Zingerman's Bakehouse (and the first proper cookbook from the lauded Zingerman's 10 businesses) in Ann Arbor, Mich., is not a coffee table book.

Written by bakery co-owners Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo, the book does have some mouthwatering images, but its real appeal lies in the no-nonsense recipes that seem like they're just an oven-preheat away from appearing warm and fresh in your kitchen.

537,000: That's the number of Rohingya who have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh in the past seven weeks, according to the U.N.

It's the largest migration of people in Asia in decades. The Rohingya are fleeing a campaign of terror by the Myanmar military and Buddhist vigilantes, something the U.N. has called the world's "fastest developing refugee emergency" and a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held by the Taliban after leaving his base in Afghanistan in 2009, has pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Bergdahl was freed in 2014 in exchange for five Taliban detainees.

Bergdahl, a native of Idaho, pleaded guilty before the military judge in the case, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance, at a hearing at Fort Bragg, N.C., on Monday, according to The Associated Press.

For the first time, scientists have caught two neutron stars in the act of colliding, revealing that these strange smashups are the source of heavy elements such as gold and platinum.

Updated at 2:30 a.m. ET Tuesday

Iraqi forces took over key positions in the Kurdish city of Kirkuk and nearby oil-rich areas on Monday, after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he ordered troops sent in because Iraq is in danger of "partition," citing the Kurdish independence movement.

Abadi also ordered the Kurdish flag to be taken down and the Iraqi flag to be raised in disputed areas — and that's what happened at the governor's office and in other official buildings.

While maneuvering in Rhode Island's Newport Harbor, the tall ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry lost power late Sunday, colliding with nearby boats before running aground.

Coast Guard officials say the three-masted, 200-foot civilian training vessel, "was leaving Bowen's Wharf Seafood Festival with 12 crew members aboard when it lost power and began to drift."

The Perry "hit multiple other boats before grounding near Perrotti Park," the Coast Guard said.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Fire crews were starting to gain the upper hand on numerous blazes in Northern California that have killed at least 41 people and destroyed thousands of homes, but officials warned that the deadliest wildfires in the state's history were far from extinguished.

The death toll rose Monday after "a private water tender driver assigned to the Nuns Fire tragically died in a vehicle rollover on Oakville Grande in Napa County," according to Cal Fire. The driver has not yet been publicly identified.

Floating Away Your Anxiety And Stress

Oct 16, 2017

When I mentioned to a friend that my baseline neurosis has evolved from daily stress into anxiety, her response was – "Go for a float!"

A float?

Yes — spend an hour in a dark, soundproof room floating in a body-temperature warm pool. "The heavy salt concentration does the work for you," my friend told me. "You just lie there and meditate."

As a doctor wary of overprescribing medications, I was intrigued by the idea that floating can combat stress and anxiety, but I wanted to know if there's any science to back up this claim.

Officials in Tucson, Ariz., uprooted a 21-foot-tall saguaro cactus and tried to have it delivered to Amazon's Seattle headquarters. Birmingham constructed giant Amazon boxes and placed them around the Alabama city. In Missouri, Kansas City's mayor bought a thousand items online from Amazon and posted reviews of each one.

From fires and hurricanes, to confrontational politics — with all that's been going on, it's no wonder the American Psychological Association found an increase in Americans' stress levels over the last year.

Our constant checking of smartphones — with the bombardment of news and social media — can amp up our anxiety. So, why not use your device to help you disconnect?

In her quarter-century in the U.S. Senate representing California, Dianne Feinstein has built a reputation as a bipartisan bridge builder, a collegial member of a legislative body that values seniority and, at least until recently, civility.

But in the Trump era, a reputation like that may be a weakness, especially in California, home of the anti-Trump resistance where Hillary Clinton drew more than 60 percent of the vote last November.

President Trump has recently taken a series of what appear to be bold executive actions to reverse Obama-era policies: declining to re-certify the Iran nuclear deal, halting subsidy payments to insurance companies and setting an expiration date for the DACA immigration program. But, in so doing, he's dumping thorny problems on a GOP-controlled Congress already struggling to rack up significant legislative accomplishments.

Candidates in Venezuela aligned with the movement founded by the late President Hugo Chavez have claimed most of the country's governorships, despite projections that the opposition would win. The results were likely to result in fresh unrest in the troubled nation.

Reporting from Caracas, NPR's Philip Reeves says: "Polls said Venezuela's opposition were going to be big winners in these elections. Instead, the ruling socialist party are now celebrating what Maduro calls 'a decisive victory,' after taking 17 of the country's 23 state governorships."

Free-agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance against the NFL and team owners alleging that they colluded to keep him out of the league following his pregame protests during the National Anthem.

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before games last season to protest police treatment of blacks, alleges that the NFL and team owners violated anti-collusion provisions in the league's collective bargaining agreement with its players.

Updated at 5:25 a.m. ET

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, in a letter on Monday to Spain's prime minister, called for more dialogue over the status of the semi-autonomous region, but he failed to meet a demand from Madrid to clarify a declaration of independence or face direct rule.

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed a deadline last week for Puigdemont to give a yes or no answer on the question of independence, saying a yes or ambiguous answer would force Madrid to suspend Catalonia's autonomy and impose direct rule.

In the early 1980s, the BBC approached novelist Kazuo Ishiguro — this year's Nobel laureate for literature – and asked if he would write a television screenplay. He agreed, quit his day job, and wrote The Gourmetan absurdist, gothic satire about hunger in its many dimensions: physical, spiritual and sensual. His exploration of what food means to different sections of society — bread for the poor, a circus for the rich — is as strikingly relevant today as it was 30 years ago.

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

Hurricane season isn't through with us yet.

It was a north versus south battle of the vice presidents.

Vice President Mike Pence and former Vice President Joe Biden hit the campaign trail Saturday on behalf of their respective party's candidates in the heated gubernatorial contest in Virginia.

Updated 6:20 a.m. ET Monday

In the Somali capital of Mogadishu, funerals have begun for those killed in Saturday's truck bombing. Officials have cautioned that the death would continue to rise from the nation's worst-ever attack.

The government's latest figures show more than 300 people were killed and another 300 others wounded in the explosion. The Associated Press reports that overwhelmed hospitals in Mogadishu are struggling to assist other badly wounded victims, many burned beyond recognition.

President Trump made his view of the North American Free Trade Agreement very clear during the presidential election. He called NAFTA "the worst trade deal in ... the history of this country." And Trump blamed NAFTA for the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

His administration is in the midst of renegotiating the free trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and that is making many U.S. farmers and ranchers nervous.

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The Pakistani army rescued a Canadian-American family last week who had been held by a Taliban-affiliated group in Afghanistan for five years.

Canadian Joshua Boyle and his American wife Caitlan Coleman had been held captive by the Haqqani network since 2012. The couple's three children were all born in captivity. The family is now recovering in Ontario.

In a brief statement during a press conference in Toronto, Boyle said his wife had been raped and their infant daughter killed while they were in captivity.

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