Recently in National Category

On Sunday a NASA spacecraft called Curiosity will be ready to land on Mars, after traveling over 350 million miles, according to the Washington Post.

NASA officials say it is going to be a very risky landing however, and the spacecraft will have a relatively small safe area to land in.

The mission has cost $2.5 million, and the features of Curiosity are much more advanced than previous technologies, but are also more complicated creating more room for error.

According to the New York Times, failure of this mission would mean starting over for NASA.

U.S. Bank is Defendant in Fraud Suit

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According to the Star Tribune, Peregrine Financial Group Inc. sued U.S. Bank and the company's founder Russell Wasendorf Sr. for mishandling over $200 million in consumer funds.

The National Futures Association announced there was only $5 million depostied at U.S. Bank, and subsequently froze Peregrine's account. Wasendorf attempted to comitt suicide July 9, and admitted in a confession to altering bank statements to conceal the fraud.

Peregrine has filed four complaints since its collapse, but this is the first to list U.S. Bank as a defendant. Wasendorf is in custody, and has been charged with lying to federal regulators.

Wasendorf's son Russell Wasendorf Jr. and other company executives have also been listed as defenants in the complaints.

According to C-Span, Gary Gensler said the financial system did not adequately protect consumers of the Financial Group.

Ozone Layer Threatened by Storms

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Researchers said Thursday there is reason to believe there is a link between climate change and damage to the ozone layer in populated areas, according to the New York Times.

Storms that send water vapor into the upper stratosphere could interact with chemicals from CFC gasses, which are now banned, and have ozone destroying effects. The stratosphere is usually dry, but with increased storms, these reactions are depleting the ozone layer.

Previously, scientists have studied ozone loss and climate change as separate concepts, but recent findings show they are very connected. Scientists said if global warming continues to lead to an increased number of storms, these risks will continue to intensify.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, damage to the ozone layer can lead to dangerous exposure to ultraviolet radiation on Earth's surface.

Ondre Johnson, a New York Police Detective was suspended after a kidnap victim was found constrained in his Queens garage, according to the New York Times. The victim was being held for ransom, and was found by tracing a ransom demand made from a phone at Johnson's residence.

The detective told authorities he has no knowledge of the abduction, and was not personally using the garage the victim was found in.
Johnson said his cousin lives in the other apartment of his two-story house.

A safe was also found in the second apartment containing plastic cards and printing presses that could be used to make fake credit cards. Johnson has worked for the New York Police Department for 17 years in a Brooklyn gang investigation unit. Authorities decided not to arrest Johnson, because they lacked sufficient evidence tying him to the incident.

According to Russia Today, three other men including Johnson's cousin were arrested and charged with attempt to collect ransom, possession of a weapon, and kidnapping.

Hyundai Recalls Vehicles

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According to CNN, Hyundai is going to recall over 200 thousand SUVs and Sonata sedans due to potential problems with the air bags.

The SUVs were manufactured in Santa Fe between 2007 and 2009. There may be a problem accurately gauging the size of the passenger in order to determine whether the front airbags should be deployed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the classification system may be changed to include smaller sized adults.

Sedans made from 2012 to 2013 are being recalled due to an error that causes the curtain airbags to inflate when not necessary.

According to USA Today, Hyundai received complaints stating that the airbags of adults under 130 pounds did not deploy. No injuries have been reported, and the censors will be re-programmed free of charge.

Black Bear Enters Pennsylvania Department Store

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According to BBC, a female black bear entered the Pittsburg Mills shopping center through automatic doors. The shopping center was evacuated, and Pennsylvania wildlife officials eventually sedated the animal with a tranqulizer.

Customers in the immediate area fled as the bear growled before getting stuck between store doors. The young bear was a cub and weighed about 125 pounds. Experts said this was a very rare incident. Circumstances enabling the bear to enter the shopping center are being investigated.

The bear was first spotted early morning in the parking lot, and was scared by various cars, according to the Huffington Post.

Egyptian TV Station Managed by Veiled Women

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According to ZeeNews, a satalite news channel called Maria TV has launched in Egypt, and features only women who are fully veiled.

The station is based in a working class district of Cairo, and will broadcast six hours daily on an a channel run by orthodox Muslims. There are no men allowed on staff.

According to Russia Today, Islamists have been gaining support and advocacy for their rights since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. While in power Mubarak banned the niqab from Egyptian television, but his fall has allowed Muslim women to more easily stand up for their rights.

The channel's owner said the project will provide a workplace free from discrimination for veiled women, and is meant to give them a professional voice and face in Egyptian society.

HIV Prevention Drug Approved by FDA

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The HIV prevention drug Truvada has been approved in the U.S., according to BBC. The drug can be used by people at risk for contracting HIV, and may reduce risk of infection by up to 73 percent.

The approval faced some opposition by groups and health workers who think that the drug may lead those with access to engage in more risky behavior and unprotected sex.

A representative of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS said the drug can be useful for those who have an HIV positive partner, but in these situations it is most important to focus on treating the infected partner with regular anti retro-viral drugs.

According to Fox News, Truvada has already been on the market to treat patients already infected with HIV. Doctors said additional preventative measures and contraceptives should still be used by users of the drug.

According to CNN, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will allow Florida election officials access to a database that contains alien registration numbers in order to prevent non-citizens from voting.

Numerous other states have been looking to implement stricter identification legislation, but have faced obstacles by the federal government.

Requests for access to the database had been denied repeatedly by the Obama administration, and the recent ruling was a victory for Republicans, according to Fox News.

Single Sex Classrooms in Public Schools

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Dozens of public schools throughout the U.S. are being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union for their single sex education programs, according to an article in Minnesota Public Radio.

Following research indicating that boys on average have lower test scores and graduation rates than girls, many schools across the country began separating classes by gender. Close to 500 public schools now offer some form of single sex education.

However, critics such as the ACLU have stated that this method of education promotes gender stereotypes, prevents access to equal education opportunities, and may be unconstitutional.

Proponents have asserted that these methods are also aimed at breaking down gender stereotypes rather than emphasizing them, according to the Huffington Post.

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