Ebola Experts Warn of an African 'Apocalypse'

At an emergency hearing in Washington Thursday afternoon, major players in the fight against Ebola in West Africa addressed the outbreak that has stolen the lives of more than 900. Leaders from health agencies and humanitarian efforts addressed the need for increased support as one called the current state of affairs in West Africa “apocalyptic.”-DailyBeast-

The celebrities risking worldwide scorn by supporting Israel

These awesome dudes and dudettes have risked worldwide condemnation by publicly supporting Israel’s right to defend itself from relentless rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists. “If you are anti-Israel, you are anti-America,’’ Stern, 60, declared last month on his Sirius XM show. “It’s the only democracy over there. It’s the only friend we have who’s willing to fight and stand up for what’s right.’’-NY Post-

3-D printers are beginning to make an impression

3-D printers, which can make plastic objects, have long been used in industry but are creeping into the consumer market. You can make so many things with them. People who have businesses buy them for making prototypes. Parents buy them to make toys for their kids. Hobbyists buy them because they like to tinker. 3-D enthusiasts imagine a day when these printers are as ubiquitous as phones and people print out many household goods instead of stopping at a store. Small-business owners are already switching to these printers from more expensive industrial machines. Prices are expected to drop even further after key patents on 3-D printing technology expire next year.-LATimes-

Time to Hard-Delete Carlos Danger

WHEN you puzzle over why the elegant Huma Abedin is propping up the eel-like Anthony Weiner, you must remember one thing: Huma was raised in Saudi Arabia, where women are treated worse by men than anywhere else on the planet. Some sex scandals, like Mark Sanford’s, fall into the realm of flawed human nature, and some, like Weiner’s, fall into the realm of “Seriously, what is wrong with you?”-NYTimes-

Police accuse Spain train crash driver of 'reckless homicide,' minister says

Police in Spain have accused the driver of a train that derailed in northwestern Spain, killing at least 78 people, of "reckless homicide," the country's interior minister said. The crash on the outskirts of the city, which is popular with tourists and Christian pilgrims and was preparing to celebrate a saint's day Thursday, shocked the Galician region and the nation. Fernandez Diaz told reporters earlier Saturday there are "rational indications" that the accident is the fault of the driver. Pressed on what those indications are, he declined to give more details.-CNN-

4 in 5 in USA face near-poverty, no work

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream. Survey data points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend. The findings come as President Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality. As nonwhites approach a numerical majority in the U.S., one question is how public programs to lift the disadvantaged should be best focused — on the affirmative action that historically has tried to eliminate the racial barriers seen as the major impediment to economic equality, or simply on improving socioeconomic status for all, regardless of race.-AP-

The Prelude to Israel-Palestine Peace Talks Begins Monday

After three years of a stalemate — and six middle east trips by Secretary of State John Kerry — Israel and Palestine will try again on Monday to resume peace talks. The Washington-based, direct talks will attempt to "develop a procedural workplan" for full-blown peace talks in the next few months.-Atlantic Wire-

Royal baby: Pregnant Kate taken to hospital in labor

The Duchess of Cambridge has been taken to hospital in the early stages of labour, Kensington Palace has said. She travelled by car from the palace to St Mary's in Paddington, west London, with her husband the Duke of Cambridge. The couple do not know the sex of their first child, who will be third in line to the throne. "Things are progressing as normal", said a spokesman. The next official announcement is likely to be that of the birth.-BBC-

Jenny McCarthy's hiring as 'View' co-host is matter of contention

Less than a week after Elisabeth Hasselbeck said her goodbyes after 10 years on "The View," another divisive blond has joined the daytime talk show.Critics are outraged that Jenny McCarthy, who has led an ongoing campaign against childhood vaccinations, has been hired as a co-host for ABC's 'The View.'-LA Times-

Cory Monteith Cause of Death Revealed

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed Cory Monteith died from a mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol. The post-mortem testing, which included an autopsy and toxicological analysis, seem to confirm this was an accident. Monteith was found deceased in his room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, shortly after noon on July 13. He had checked into the hotel on July 6 and had been expected to check out on the 13th. When he had not done so, hotel staff checked his room and found him deceased.-ET-

After Zimmerman verdict, can nation heal racial rift?

George Zimmerman is a relieved man in hiding. Those convinced of his guilt in the death of Trayvon Martin continue to protest his acquittal and other perceived injustices. Now that the trial is over, some people are counseling that it's time to heal and move on. But protests were being held across the country Sunday by people who say they can't move on while they feel that the case and the bigger issues of race and justice that it represents are unresolved.-USA Today-

Jason Patric Bill May Boost Sperm Donor Rights

Inspired by actor Jason Patric‘s child custody battle, the California state legislature is debating a bill that would allow sperm donors to argue for their rights to become legal fathers. Currently, sperm donors are not legally considered the “natural father” of their children unless both parents sign a document prior to conception, according to the proposed bill. This applies to anonymous sperm bank donors and sperm donors participating in in-vitro fertilization with women other than their wives.-ABC-

Asiana Airlines considers legal action against TV station, NTSB

Asiana Airlines is considering legal action against an Oakland television station and the National Transportation Safety Board after an intern at the agency mistakenly confirmed "inaccurate and offensive" names as those of the pilots of ill-fated Flight 214.-CNN-

Venezuela Offers Asylum to Snowden

President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela said Friday that he would offer asylum to the fugitive intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden, who has been stranded in a Moscow airport searching for a safe haven.-NYTimes-

Statue Of Liberty Reopens On Independence Day

It's an even more notable July 4th this year on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, where the Statue of Liberty is open for the first time since Superstorm Sandy pummeled the Mid-Atlantic region last fall. Thursday, the first ferry to the island left Manhattan at 8:30 a.m. ET. As you would expect, tickets and reservations are said to be sold out for today.-NPR-

An interactive breakdown of the major Supreme Court decisions of the 2012-13 term:

The Supreme Court ended its term dramatically last week with rulings on same-sex marriage. But there were other important decisions this term with far-reaching effects. Among key rulings (first justice pictured is author of the decision):-USA Today-

Jury Hears Zimmerman’s Recorded Account of Night of Fatal Shooting

For the first time, the jury in the trial of George Zimmerman on Monday heard the defendant, in taped policeinterviews, give his version of events the night he fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, in a townhouse complex here 16 months ago.-NYTimes/CBS/DB-

76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck

Roughly three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings, according to a survey released Monday. Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to the survey of 1,000 adults. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all.-CNN-

Edward Snowden has nowhere to go

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, believed to be in legal limbo in the Moscow airport, expanded his requests for asylum to 21 countries, including China and 13 European nations, according to WikiLeaks, but his options seemed to be narrowing on Tuesday.-CBS-

American Way of Birth, Costliest in the World

Pregnant women are getting sticker shock in the United States, where charges for delivery have about tripled since 1996, according to an analysis done for The New York Times. Childbirth in the United States is uniquely expensive, and maternity and newborn care constitute the single biggest category of hospital payouts for most commercial insurers and state Medicaid programs. The cumulative costs of approximately four million annual births is well over $50 billion. And though maternity care costs far less in other developed countries than it does in the United States, studies show that their citizens do not have less access to care or to high-tech care during pregnancy than Americans.-NYTimes-

Cirque Du Soleil Artist Dies After Fall In Vegas

A Paris-born performer in Cirque du Soleil's "Ka" died after a fall during a show in Las Vegas. Sarah Guyard-Guillot was pronounced dead late Saturday night at a hospital after falling about 50 feet from the show's stage. Witnesses told the Las Vegas Sun that the accident occurred near the end of the production Saturday night at the MGM Grand.-NPR-

Nineteen Firefighters Perish as Blaze Sweeps Central Arizona

Gusty, hot winds blew an Arizona blaze out of control Sunday in a forest northwest of Phoenix, overtaking and killing 19 members of an elite fire crew in the deadliest wildfire involving firefighters in the U.S. for at least 30 years. The "hotshot" firefighters were forced to deploy their emergency fire shelters — tent-like structures meant to shield firefighters from flames and heat — when they were caught near the central Arizona town of Yarnell. The fire also destroyed an estimated 200 homes. Dry grass near the communities of Yarnell and Glen Isla fed the fast-moving blaze, which was whipped up by wind and raced through the homes, state forestry spokesman Art Morrison told The Associated Press.

Western U.S. Heat Wave Turns Deadly

Record-breaking temperatures in the western U.S. contributed to the death of at least one Nevada resident and sent scores more to hospitals for heat-related illnesses. Parts of California, Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Texas saw temperatures rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. An elderly man in Las Vegas, where temperatures on Saturday reached an all-time high of 118 degrees, was found dead in his apartment, which had no air-conditioning. Near the border of Arizona, at least three people who had been trying to cross the border were found dead, likely because of the heat.-DB/Chicago Tribune-

Summer school: Should more kids go?

One of the most troubling explanations of summer learning loss comes from a 2007 study from Johns Hopkins University, "Lasting Consequences of the Summer Learning Gap." The study revealed that students from different income brackets progress at about the same rate during the school year, but only low-income student backslide during the summer. By ninth grade, the summer regression is responsible for about two-thirds of the achievement gap between low income students and their wealthier peers. The study was a "wake-up call" for many educators, who had never seen the importance of summer quantified. It spurred many school districts, especially those with high levels of poverty, to refocus on summer.-USA Today-

A Case for Regulating Sugar Like Alcohol

Substances like alcohol are regulated according to four criteria. For a government to take that big step on behalf of its citizens, a substance must:
1. Be ubiquitous
2. Be toxic
3. Be addictive
4. Have a negative impact on society
There is a substance that fits the bill times four -- save for the fact that it is not currently regulated. And that is sugar.-Atlantic-

Swan Song for Cicadas, but Many Missed the Show

If you are still waiting for Swarmageddon to break out in your backyard, it is time to stop. The great cicada invasion is winding down for 2013, and it will not be back for another 17 years. After dwelling in the ground since 1996, the insects began to emerge in May from North Carolina to the Hudson River Valley. In yards, forests and fields up and down the coast, they trilled by the billions, mated, laid their eggs in branches and left exoskeletons on bushes and walkways. Now their song is fading.-NYTimes-

Egypt: Protesters Storm Muslim Brotherhood’s Headquarters

rotesters stormed and ransacked the Cairo headquarters of President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group early Monday, in an attack that could spark more violence as demonstrators gear up for a second day of mass rallies aimed at forcing the Islamist leader from power. Footage on local TV networks showed smashed windows, blackened walls and smoke billowing out of the fortified villa. A fire was still raging on one floor hours after the building was stormed. One protester tore down the Muslim Brotherhood sign from the building’s front wall, while another hoisted Egypt’s red, black and white flag out an upper-story window and waved it in the air in triumph.-TIME-

15 Federal Benefits Same-Sex Couples Can Now Look Forward To

Wednesday's decision by the Supreme Court ruling Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional has wide-ranging implications. Now that the Court has struct down the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman," possibly one of the the biggest changes is that gay couples married in states that currently allow same-sex marriages will now be granted federal benefits -- the same benefits granted to married heterosexual couples. But what does that mean in plain English?-PBS-

Daredevil Wallenda walks gorge near Grand Canyon

Daredevil Nik Wallenda, the seventh-generation high-wire artist, on Sunday successfully walked a two-inch thick cable across the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon. He completed the walk in just under 23 minutes. His tightrope was stretched 1,500 feet above the gorge floor, and he made the 1,400-foot long televised walk without a net or safety harness.-USAToday-

Facebook Friends With Your Kids: Every Parent Should Read This

Your son or daughter has finally accepted your friend request. Now what? Here are eight tips to make the most of the relationship -- without irritating your offspring.-HuffPost-

Hong Kong says Snowden has left the country

The Hong Kong government said that a former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the U.S. for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs left Sunday "on his own accord for a third country." The U.S. government had contacted authorities in Hong Kong to seek the extradition of Edward Snowden, the former government contractor accused of espionage for leaking classified information about two secret surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency.-USA Today-

Parents Really Do Want To Live Through Their Kids, Research Confirms

New research finds that, consistent with what kids may believe, parents really do hope to live out unfulfilled ambitions through their children. Parents are more likely to hope that their child fulfills their own broken dreams when they see their kid as part of themselves, according to the study.-HuffPost-

Kim and Kanye name their baby North West

Previous reports said the couple would be giving their child a moniker that begins with a "K," just like mommy, daddy, grandma Kris and aunties Kourtney and Khloe have. Here at the Ministry, we've always been fans of Kid. As in Kid Kardashian. But why not Knorth? That would have made both camps happy. A previous report also said that the couple had named the child "Kaidence Donda West," which has just about all the Kardashian-West trademarks in it: a K, a musical inclination, unique spelling and a nod to West's late mother, Dr. Donda West. Other suggestions included Kai Georgia Dona and Klementine Star.-LATimes-

Edward Snowden Charged With Espionage Over NSA Leaks

The United States has filed espionage charges against Edward Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who admitted revealing secret surveillance programs to media outlets, according to a court document made public on Friday. Snowden, who is believed to be in hiding in Hong Kong, was charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person, said the criminal complaint, which was dated June 14. The latter two offenses fall under the U.S. Espionage Act and carry penalties of fines and up to 10 years in prison.-Reuters-

8 Foods We Eat In The U.S. That Are Banned In Other Countries

This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “food poisoning.”-BuzzFeed-

Do you like your job? America's Workforce is Checking Out

Among the 100 million people in this country who hold full-time jobs, about 70 percent of them either hate going to work or have mentally checked out to the point of costing their companies money — “roaming the halls spreading discontent,” as Gallup reported. Only 30 percent of workers are “engaged and inspired” at work. Even in an improving economy, people are adrift at work, complaining about a lack of praise, with no sense of mission, and feeling little loyalty to their employer.-NYTimes-

Home Economics: The Link Between Work-Life Balance and Income Equality

The central conflict of domestic life right now is not men versus women, mothers versus fathers. It is family versus money.
Men’s absence from the conversation about work and life is strange, because decisions about who works and who takes care of the children, and who makes the money and how the money is spent, are not decided by women alone or by some vague and impersonal force called society. Decisions in heterosexual relationships are made by women and men together. When men aren’t part of the discussion about balancing work and life, outdated assumptions about fatherhood are allowed to go unchallenged and, far more important, key realities about the relationship between work and family are elided. -The Atlantic-

Stuff You Might Have Missed In The Paula Deen Brouhaha

The butter has hit the pan again for Food Network star and cookbook author Paula Deen. The National Enquirer was the first to report that Deen admitted to having used the N-word in a deposition for a lawsuit brought against her by a former employee. The entire deposition was filed into the court record as part of the lawsuit.-NPR-

1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence

One in three women experience sexual or physical violence -- most likely from their intimate partner, according to a report from the World Health Organization. The report, called the first of its kind, estimates the global toll of such violence on women at 35.6%. In a statement, Dr. Margaret Chan, the director-general of WHO, described it as a "global health problem of epidemic proportions."

New implant helps boy hear for first time

The surprise on 3-year-old Grayson Clamp's face in the video is priceless. His mouth opens wide as he points to the person in front of him speaking. It was the first time Grayson had heard sound. He was born without a cochlear nerve, which connects the brain stem to audio waves in the outside world. His parents had him fitted for a cochlear implant at a young age, but the device didn't help. Last month, Grayson became the first child in the United States to receive an auditory brain stem implant.-CNN-

Now You Have to Worry About Thirdhand Smoke, Too

A study led by researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found for the first time that thirdhand smoke -- the noxious residue that clings to virtually all surfaces long after the secondhand smoke from a cigarette has cleared out -- causes significant genetic damage in human cells. Furthermore, the study also found that chronic exposure is worse than acute exposure, with the chemical compounds in samples exposed to chronic thirdhand smoke existing in higher concentrations and causing more DNA damage than samples exposed to acute thirdhand smoke, suggesting that the residue becomes more harmful over time.-ScienceDaily-

Bada Bye-Remembering James Gandolfini

James Gandolfini (1961–2013): As a Made Man, He Made TV Great. With his forceful yet subtle performance as a suburban mobster, he wrote the blueprint for the modern, complicated TV antihero.-TIME-

LeBron Leads Heat to 2nd Straight Title

It was a fitting end to a tense back-and-forth series that saw several unlikely players taking key roles. But ultimately, it came down to the top basketball player in the league. LeBron James. He brought his talents to South Beach three years ago. On Thursday night, he silenced his critics -- at least until October -- by leading the Miami Heat to its second consecutive NBA title with a 95-88 win over the San Antonio Spurs.-CNN-

George Zimmerman trial: All-female jury seated in Trayvon Martin shooting case

Six Watch volunteer George Zimmerman murdered 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a case that sparked widespread outrage and prompted civil rights marches. They will begin their work — listening to testimony and evaluating evidence Monday morning. On Thursday, attorneys who had individually questioned nearly 100 prospective jurors, went one-by-one, picking the six plus four alternates.-OrlandoSentinel-

Now Obesity is Officially a Disease

The American Medical Association officially designated obesity as a disease on Tuesday – a disease that requires medical treatment and prevention. The organization doesn’t have any kind of official say in the matter, but it’s influential nonetheless, and the vote of the AMA’s policy-making House of Delegates is one more step in the evolution of social attitudes towards obesity. Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans.-NBC News-

NPR Shows Off New Facility

NPR recently moved from Chinatown into its new 400,000 square-foot home on North Capitol, and they’re excited about it. Eager to show off the new facility, the organization offered a tour to members of the media Tuesday morning, starting with breakfast from their in-house chefs, along with some talking points from CEO Gary Knell, who outlined some impressive features of the space.-MediaBistro-

After Slow Start, Obama Administration Finds its Voice on Surveillance

After a week of mostly ad hoc, often cryptic and generally ineffectual responses to leaked details about its anti-terror surveillance programs, the Obama administration has finally begun articulating a clearer defense of those programs. It amounts to a two pronged-message: The snooping isn’t as bad as it sounds, and your civil liberties are scrupulously protected.-TIME-

Cutting Food Stamps Will Cost Everyone

Millions of food stamp recipients may soon see their monthly benefits trimmed and their nutrition compromised. These changes may occur regardless of changes in their personal income. That's because in two weeks the full House floor is slated to vote on the GOP-controlled Agriculture Committee's omnibus farm bill, which includes unprecedented cuts to the food stamp program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Agriculture Committee's reductions to SNAP would total $20.5 billion over 10 years. Such draconian cuts to SNAP may exacerbate the obesity epidemic and ultimately raise health care costs associated with treating obesity and related conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, particularly among low-income Americans.-TheAtlantic-

Serena Williams places blame on girl in Steubenville, Ohio teen rape case

TENNIS STAR Serena Williams put her size-10 foot in her mouth by blaming the 16-year-old victim of the notorious Steubenville, Ohio, rape case for putting “herself in that position.” Williams made the foul claim, according to an upcoming Rolling Stone magazine profile, when she saw a TV report about the two Ohio football players being tossed in jail for the brutal sexual assault. “Do you think it was fair, what they got?” Williams asked shaking her head. “They did something stupid, but I don’t know.”Then Williams dug herself in further. “I’m not blaming the girl,” she said, “but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember?” Williams, 31 and currently the top-ranked female tennis player in the world, went on to say that what happened to the girl “could have been much worse.”-DailyNews-

House passes far-reaching 'Fetal Pain' bill to limit abortions

The Republican-led House of Representatives approved a far-reaching bill to ban a woman's ability to seek an abortion after 20 weeks on a mostly party-line 228-196 vote Tuesday. It stands no chance of becoming law under the Obama administration. The White House issued a veto threat Monday, calling the bill an "assault on a woman's right to choose." The Democratic Senate also has not scheduled a vote on the legislation.-USA Today-

Journalist Michael Hastings Dead at 33

Michael Hastings, most recently of Buzzfeed but well-known and respected for his fearless reporting in Rolling Stone, Newsweek, and elsewhere, has died at the age of 33. According to Buzzfeed, he was killed in a car accident early this morning in Los Angeles. According to the LA Times, Hastings was living in LA and reporting on national security and the entertainment industry at the time of his death.-Atlantic Wire-

Google Challenges Government Gag Order On National Security Requests

The fallout from the NSA material leaked by Edward Snowden just keeps on coming. Tech companies highlighted in a PowerPoint about PRISM have put pressure on the government to let them talk about the number of secret national security requests they get to try to prove that they aren’t handing over massive amounts of intel on their users.-Forbes-

Autism Linked with Air-Pollution Exposure During Pregnancy

Pregnant women who are exposed to high levels of air pollution may be more likely to give birth to children with autism, according to a new study. The researchers found that the pregnant women in the study who lived in the most-polluted areas were up to two times more likely to have a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), compared with those who lived in the least-polluted areas.-LiveScience-

The Minimum Wage Is Worth $2 Less Today Than It Was In 1968

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 is worth $2 less today than it was in 1968 when adjusted for inflation. Today, the minimum wage, which hasn't increased since 2009, falls short of a living wage. According to the EPI study, a full-time worker would need to earn $11.06 an hour to keep a family of four out of poverty.-HuffPost-

What do you expect when you ask a terrible question in a ridiculous setting? In Slight Defense Of Miss Utah USA.

Look, Miss Utah USA, Marissa Powell, gave a pretty unimpressive answer to a question about income inequality at the Miss USA pageant. Let's all agree on that. But what, exactly, did the circumstances call for? She was asked — by NeNe Leakes, who first became famous on The Real Housewives Of Atlanta before warring with Star Jones on The Celebrity Apprentice and is therefore exactly the person to whom we would entrust interrogations on major policy issues — the following question: "A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?" Not to put too fine a point on it, what kind of a simultaneously (1) dumb and (2) impossible to answer question is that?-NPR-

Biggest protests in 20 years sweep Brazil

As many as 200,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Brazil's biggest cities on Monday in a swelling wave of protest tapping into widespread anger at poor public services, police violence and government corruption.-Reuters-

Is Edward Snowden China's Useful Idiot?

The NSA leaker wanted to expose American surveillance and state secrecy. But by fleeing to Hong Kong, he's unintentionally helped a country whose record on both is far worse.In the week since he publicly identified himself as the source of classified information regarding NSA cyber-snooping programs, Edward Snowden has framed his flight to Hong Kong as an act of patriotism. When asked earlier whether he was a hero or a traitor, Snowden insisted he was neither: "I am an American,this country is worth dying for."-TheAtlantic-

Woman sues McDonald's store owners over prepaid debit card used for wages

She asked for paper - but all they offered was plastic. A Pennsylvania woman is now suing the McDonald's franchise that refused to pay her by check and instead insisted on employees using payroll debit cards. Natalie Gunshannon, 27, worked less than a month at the Shavertown McDonald's location when she learned that the franchise required employees to accept payment on a J.P. Morgan Chase payroll card. But the card, she contends, imposes fees on virtually every transaction, creating a monetary and physical barrier to her hard-earned cash. Among the costs, according to her lawsuit: $1.50 for an ATM withdrawal, $5 for over-the-counter cash withdrawals and $1 to check the balance. There's even a charge to pay a bill online or if the card is lost or stolen.-Daily News-

'Day of honor': Afghans take over national security from US-led forces

U.S.-led international troops handed control of Afghanistan’s national security to local forces Tuesday -- a historic day marred by a suicide attack in another part of Kabul. The formal transfer of responsibility is a significant step in the process of withdrawal from the country, 12 years after the NATO-led mission began its mission to end Taliban rule.-NBC-

Who is Iranian President-Elect Hassan Rowhani?

When Iranians elected moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani their new president by a landslide on Friday, they surprised Washington and the world. The process of figuring out what his election means has only just begun. Moderate as applied to Iranian mullah politicians is a relative term – even the reformists tip the far conservative end of the political spectrum — but Rowhani’s win represents an opportunity for easing relations between Iran and the West. The country is still led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but the Supreme Leader indicated that he would allow Rowhani to engage in direct talks with the U.S., should he so wish.-TIME-

Doctors To Vote On Whether Cheerleading Is A Sport

Cheerleading has become a competitive activity in its own right, and there's a considerable risk of serious injury, including concussion, spinal damage and broken bones. So it ought to get the same attention to health consequences as other sports, including the training of coaches to minimize injury risks for cheerleaders, proponents say.-NPR-

The culture of secrecy in Washington has become absurd.

The Security Industrial Complex
An odd thing is happening in the world's self-declared pinnacle of democracy. No one -- except a handful of elected officials and an army of contractors -- is allowed to know how America's surveillance leviathan works.-Atlantic-

Miss Connecticut wins Miss USA contest

A 25-year-old contestant from Connecticut won the title of Miss USA in Las Vegas on Sunday night. Erin Brady of South Glastonbury, Conn., won the beauty pageant at the Planet Hollywood hotel-casino after strutting in a white sparkly gown and answering a question about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision upholding widespread DNA tests. Asked if she agreed with the decision, Brady said she did. Brady gets the crown and a New York apartment for one year. She is expected to spend her title reign on a nationwide speaking tour and raising breast and ovarian cancer awareness, the organization's official cause.-Philly.com-

Why Should We Even Care If the Government Is Collecting Our Data?

As people have tried to make sense of the recent revelations about the government's mass data-collection efforts, one classic text is experiencing a spike in popularity: George Orwell's 1984 has seen a 7,000 percent increase in sales over the last 24 hours. But wait! This is the wrong piece of literature for understanding the NSA's programs, Kafka, not Orwell, can help us understand the problems of digitized mass surveillance, argues legal scholar Daniel J. Solove.

Nestlé introduces bottled water for “trendy, high-income” women

Ladies, if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with access to clean drinking water, then you know that the stuff coming straight from your tap is enough to keep you alive in a purely physiological sense. But can you “live your best life” while drinking H2O from the sink? Can you “have it all” while drinking off-brand bottled water you bought at the deli? The answer is no, you can’t. And Nestlé knows that, which is why the company launched “Resource” on Monday, a premium water made specifically for “a woman who is a little more on the trendy side and higher-income side.”-Salon-

Quarter of NYC could be flood zone by 2050s

By the 2050s, more than 800,000 New York City residents could be living in a flood zone that would cover a quarter of the city's land and New Yorkers could sweat out as many 90-degree days as is now normal for Birmingham, Ala., as effects of global warming take hold, a scientists' group convened by the city says. With local waters a foot to 2½ feet higher than they are today, 8 percent of the city's coastline could see flooding just from high tides, the group estimates. And while the average day could be 4 degrees to nearly 7 degrees hotter, a once-in-a-century storm would likely spur a surge 5 or more feet higher than Superstorm Sandy, which sent a record 14-foot storm tide gushing into lower Manhattan.-NBC-

Patriots sign Tim Tebow

The New England Patriots are signing Tebow, who is expected to participate in the team's mandatory minicamp Tuesday, as a quarterback, according to sources. Patriots spokesman Stacey James would not confirm Tebow had already signed when contacted Monday by The Associated Press, saying he did not "anticipate any additional transactions to announce tonight." The move will reunite Tebow with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was the Broncos' head coach when Denver traded into the first round to draft the Heisman Trophy winner in 2010.-ESPN-

Obama Will Allow Morning-After Pill for All Ages

The Obama administration has decided to stop trying to block over-the-counter availability of the best-known morning-after contraceptive pill for all women and girls, a move fraught with political repercussions for President Obama. Advocates for women's rights say the federal government's decision to comply with a New York judge's ruling giving all girls easy access to emergency contraception could be "a move forward for reproductive justice."-NYTimes-

US: No plans to end broad surveillance program

The Obama administration considered whether to charge a government contractor with leaking classified surveillance secrets while it defended the broad U.S. spy program that it says keeps America safe from terrorists. Facing a global uproar over the programs that track phone and Internet messages around the world, the Justice Department continued to investigate whether the disclosures of Edward Snowden, 29, an employee of government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, were criminal.-APNews-

Cory Booker officially enters U.S. Senate race in New Jersey

Newark Mayor Cory Booker officially entered the race for U.S. Senate in New Jersey on Saturday, declaring himself a candidate in the October special election scheduled after the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., passed away this week. Booker had previously said he would run for an open Senate seat in the 2014 midterms, citing a desire to finish his term in Newark, but Lautenberg's passing accelerated his timeline. If he wins the special election, he will have to renege on a pledge to complete his term as mayor.