Saturday, July 7, 2012

President Obama Signs HR 4348

President Obama signs legislation that will keep thousands of construction workers on the job rebuilding American infrastructure and stop interest rates on federal loans from doubling this year for more than seven million students. 

Marriage Equality Act Upheld by NYS Appellate Court


Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo

"On July 6 the New York State Appellate Court, Fourth Department, upheld New York's Marriage Equality Act, which ensures that marriage is available to all New York couples regardless of sexual orientation. This law was passed by both houses of the legislature and signed into law in June 2011. The court’s decision affirms that in our state, there is marriage equality for all, and with this decision New York continues to stand as a progressive leader for the nation."

Information on the Appellate Court ruling available here: 
Marriage Equality Act Upheld

Top Newsy Headlines: U.S. Names Afghanistan Major Ally


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By Nathan Byrne

Anchor: Nathan Byrne
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Researchers Build 'Biologically Correct' Walking Robot Legs


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By Steven Sparkman

Anchor: Carissa Loethen
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Weak Jobs Report Sparks Political Reaction


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By Matthew Picht

Anchor: Ana Compain-Romero
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Palestinians from Syria Flee to Jordan


Human Rights Watch has criticized Jordan for discriminating against Palestinian refugees who have escaped from Syria. Syrian refugees are allowed to rent homes and work, but Palestinians arriving in Jordan are held at a heavily guarded compound in Ramtha. Almost half of Jordan's population is of Palestinian origin, enjoying Jordanian nationality. The country now fears the that with the refugee influx Palestinians could outnumber citizens of Jordanian origin. Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports from the northern Jordanian city of Ramtha.

Russia Reels from "Deluge of Rainfall"


Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull reports from Moscow on flooding in the Krasnodar region that has killed at least 87 people and left another 13,000 impacted.

Impact of Foreign Aid on Afghanistan's Poorest Province


In the last 10 years Afghanistan has received $60bn in foreign aid, but Bamiyan, the nation's poorest province once known to tourists for its beauty, stands as an example of the Central Asian nation's reliance on foreign aid. Though electricity has been brought to the province with the help of the Norwegian government and the Aga Khan Foundation, a nongovernmental organisation, the relative peacefulness of Bamiyan means it has received less infrastructure attention than its more dangerous neighbours. Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith reports from Bamiyan.

Rescue Efforts to Save Trapped Chinese Workers


Authorities in China are trying to reach three men trapped underground when the rail tunnel they were working on collapsed. Despite being cut off for over a week they've been in touch with their rescuers. Hundreds of people are involved in the operation. Al Jazeera's Dominic Kane reports.

Chicago Struggles With Street Violence


The city of Chicago in the US is struggling with street violence - the murder rate has increased there by almost 40 per cent in a year. It has not improved in recent weeks, either; gun violence has killed dozens, including a child. John Hendren has more.

Burkina Faso Children Toil in Gold Mines


Burkina Faso is enjoying something akin to a gold rush. The precious metal generates a huge amount of money for the government, but there is a downside to the boom. Of the thousands taking up work in illegal gold mines, many are children, often opting out of school to enjoy the meagre gains earned at mine pits. Al Jazeera's Laura Kyle reports from Essakane in northern Burkina Faso.

Libyan Polling Stations Prepare for Historic Day


It's an historic day in Libya as nearly three million people go to the polls, in the first democratic elections for nearly half a century. Turnout is expected to be high, with around 80% registered to vote. Although the shooting down of a helicopter carrying election materials near Benghazi on Friday has cast a dark shadow on the eve of the ballot, the election organisers say they are ready to make it work. Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan reports from Tripoli.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Krueger: 'Employment is Growing, But it is Not Growing Fast Enough'


Statement by 
Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger on the Employment Situation in June

While the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, much more remains to be done to repair the damage from the financial crisis and deep recession that followed. It is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class and makes us stronger and more secure as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession. 

There are no quick fixes to the problems we face that were more than a decade in the making. President Obama has proposals to create jobs by ending tax breaks for companies to ship jobs overseas and supporting State and local governments to prevent layoffs and rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers.

Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private establishments added 84,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 80,000. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 28 straight months, for a total of 4.4 million payroll jobs during that period. Employment is growing, but it is not growing fast enough given the jobs deficit caused by the deep recession.

The average work week for private sector workers rose by 0.1 hour in June.  Aggregate private sector work hours posted their largest gain since February, rising by 0.4 percent.  The stronger increase in work hours than in payroll employment suggests that many businesses chose to expand on the intensive margin as opposed to the extensive margin in June. 

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent in June, according to the BLS household survey.  The unemployment rate is 0.9 percentage point below its level a year ago. 

Manufacturing employment continues to expand and manufacturers added 11,000 jobs in June. After losing millions of manufacturing jobs in the years before and during the recession, the economy has added 504,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2010--the strongest growth for any 29-month period since April 1995.  To continue the revival in manufacturing jobs and output, the President has proposed tax incentives for manufacturers, enhanced training for the workforce, and measures to create manufacturing hubs and discourage sending jobs overseas.

Other sectors with net job increases included temporary help services (+25,200), leisure and hospitality (+13,000), and wholesale trade (+8,800). Retail trade lost 5,400 jobs, government lost 4,000 jobs, and motion pictures and sound recording lost 4,200 jobs.  Local governments shed 14,000 education jobs. 

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available. 

West Wing Week: 07/06/12

Christian Group Defends Right to Hold 'Whites Only' Conference

WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Top Newsy Headlines: Obama Continues Bus Tour


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By Nathan Byrne

Anchor: Logan Tittle
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Murdoch Criticism Suggests Rift with Romney


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By Zach Toombs

Anchor: Lauren Zima
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Major Central Banks Move to Boost Growth


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By Ferdous Al-Faruque

Anchor: Lauren Zima
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Romney 'Confused' on Individual Mandate Tax Label: WSJ


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By Ferdous Al-Faruque

Anchor: Christina Hartman
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Aljazeera's Top News Stories

Fears of 'Morality Vigilantism' in Suez


Egyptian police say they have arrested three suspects after the stabbing of a university student, who was sitting in a Suez park with his fiance. Authorities say the assailants acted individually. But the attack has sparked concerns over the presence of self-proclaimed morality vigilantes. Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh reports from Suez.

Rise in Singletons Cause of Concern in South Korea


By the end of this year, single person-households will be the most common living arrangement in South Korea. They will make up 25 per cent of all households, a ratio that's doubled in the last twenty years. Companies are responding to this trend by for example making ready-to-eat or easy-to-cook food, in smaller serving sizes. But the rapid growth in single-person households also worries the government. A lower marriage rate, in conservative South Korea means a low-birth rate, that equals fewer workers to support an aging population. Al Jazeera's Florence Looi reports from Seoul.

Former Argentine President Convicted of Kidnapping Children


The families of victims of Argentina's "dirty war" are celebrating the conviction and sentencing of the country's former military leader, Jorge Videla. A Buenos Aires court found him guilty of overseeing the kidnapping of children, whose mothers his government had killed. From the Argentinian capital, Teresa Bo reports.

Residents of Benghazi to Boycott Elections


Benghazi is a city which seems to be taken by pre-election fever, with 358 candidates competing for the 26 seats reserved for it in the General National Congress. Their seats, however, are four less than those for Tripoli, which is enough to deepen old suspicions between Barqa, or eastern Libya, and the west of the country. Most of the people in the east agree that a central government based in Tripoli, hundreds of kilometers away from Benghazi, cannot be trusted. Some have already made their choice, by casting their ballots in a mock vote calling for the boycott of the elections. Others have used alternative means, such as attacking the building of the electorial commission. Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel Hamid reports from Benghazi.

UN Steps Up Its Duties in the DRC


The UN has been here for over a decade, often accused of being more worried about defending themselves, than the civilians they're supposed to be protecting. But since the rebellion began, the UN has interpreted its mandate, much more aggressively than ever before. Like so many of the battles here, civilians are right on the front. As the battle moves down the valley terrified villagers scoop up their belongings. In the past the UN have left the fight to the thinly stretched Congolese. Now, they've ordered their troops into positions that radically narrow the distinction between civilian protection and military engagement. Al Jazeera's Peter Greste reports from Eastern Congo.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Private Sector Unemployment Improves


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By Jim Flink

Anchor: Candice Aviles
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Illinois Rep. Criticizes Opponent's Military Record


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By Hank Koebler

Anchor: Christina Hartman
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Aljazeera's Top News Stories

Kirk: 'American Auto Workers and Manufacturers Deserve a Level Playing Field'

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk

Obama Administration Challenges China’s Unfair Imposition of Duties on American-Made Automobiles

Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced today that the United States is challenging China’s imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on more than $3 billion in exports of American-produced automobiles. 

Specifically, the United States has requested dispute settlement consultations with China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in an attempt to eliminate these unfair duties, which appear to represent yet another abuse of trade remedies by China.  

“As we have made clear, the Obama Administration will continue to fight to ensure that China does not misuse its trade laws and violate its international trade commitments to block exports of American-made products,” Ambassador Kirk said. 

“American auto workers and manufacturers deserve a level playing field and we are taking every step necessary to stand up for them.  This is the third time that the Obama Administration has challenged China’s misuse of trade remedies.” 

Through this case, the United States is addressing its concerns that China’s duties on imports of American-made vehicles appear to be inconsistent with WTO rules.  Consultations are the first step in a WTO dispute. 

Under WTO rules, if parties do not resolve a matter through consultations within 60 days, complainants may request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel. 

This is the latest in a series of enforcement steps the Administration has recently taken to continue to hold China accountable for its WTO commitments. 

In two earlier WTO cases, the United States challenged duties that China had imposed to restrict imports of certain steel products and chicken products from the United States. 

The United States has also brought actions against China’s export restraints on several industrial raw materials, including rare earths, China’s restrictions on electronic payment services and subsidies to China’s wind power equipment sector. 

In each of these matters, the key principle at stake is that China must play by the rules to which it agreed when it joined the WTO.  Those commitments include maintaining open markets on a non-discriminatory basis, and following internationally-agreed procedures in a transparent way. 

In addition, the United States previously invoked a China-specific safeguard to address rapidly increasing imports of Chinese passenger and light truck tires. 

Shortly after President Obama decided in September 2009 to impose a safeguard measure against Chinese tire imports, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced that it would initiate antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of imports of American-made cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). 

Then, in May 2011, China’s Ministry of Commerce issued final determinations in which it found that imports of American-made automobiles had been sold at less than fair value (i.e., “dumped”) into the Chinese market and had also benefited from subsidies. 

WTO rules permit imposition of duties on imports of merchandise that are found to be dumped or subsidized, if those imports cause injury to the domestic industry.  However, at that time, China suspended the imposition of duties. 

Subsequently, in December 2011, China began imposing both antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of American-produced automobiles.  The antidumping duties range from 2.0 percent to 8.9 percent, with an “all others” rate of 21.5 percent, and the countervailing duties range from 6.2 percent to 12.9 percent, with an “all others” rate of 12.9 percent. 

The specific products affected by the duties are American-produced cars and SUVs with an engine capacity of 2.5 liters or larger.  Last year, the United States exported more than $3 billion of these automobiles to China.

The United States believes that China initiated the investigations without sufficient evidence; failed to objectively examine the evidence; and made unsupported findings of injury to China’s domestic industry. 

In addition, China failed to disclose “essential facts” underlying its conclusions; failed to provide an adequate explanation of its conclusions; improperly used investigative procedures; and failed to require non-confidential summaries of Chinese company submissions.

Love Eyes History as the First Black Republican Congresswoman


Top Newsy Headlines: Eastern U.S. Deals with Outages, Heat


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By Nathan Byrne

Anchor: Logan Tittle
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

'Blade Runner' Pistorius to Make Olympic History


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By Nathan Byrne

Anchor: Nathan Byrne
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Abbas Calls for Arafat Death Investigation


The Palestinian Authority has agreed to exhume Yasser Arafat's body at his widow's request. An Al Jazeera investigation has revealed he may have been killed by radioactive poisoning. But scientists say they can't be sure without further tests. Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from Ramallah.

Barclays Just the First of Many: Finance Expert


Bartlett Naylor, a financial expert and the former chief of investigations for the US senate banking committee. He says Barclays may be just the first big bank to be caught in the latest scandal.

Cambodian Children Dying from Mysterious Illness


Doctors in Cambodia are investigating a mysterious illness that has now killed more than 60 children, all under the age of seven. It's prompted the World Health Organisation to issue an alarm in a country already stretched thin by epidemics of other diseases. Al Jazeera's Steve Chao reports from Phnom Penh.

Lucia Newman Speaks to Enrique Pena Nieto


Mexico's electoral officials are recounting the votes from more than half of the polling places in Sunday's presidential election after allegations of fraud from runner up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Amid those claims, Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman spoke with the man who appears to have won the contest - Enrique Pena Nieto.

South African HIV Program Saves Lives


An HIV treatment programme in South Africa is saving the lives of 70,000 babies every year. The programme started 10 years ago, after health campaigners won a court battle with the government. Since that time, the anti-retroviral drug Nevirapine has been given to pregnant women free of charge. Al Jazeera's Tania Page reports from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Rwanda Denies Supporting Rebels in the DRC


Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has told Al Jazeera his country isn't responsible for a mutiny in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A UN report accused Rwanda of organising and funding the rebels led by Bosco Ntaganda. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

President Obama Speaks at a Naturalization Ceremony


President Obama delivers remarks at a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members. July 4, 2012.

'I Wish All New Yorkers a Happy and Safe Holiday."


Governor Andrew Cuomo's July 4th Message

"On the Fourth of July, we come together as New Yorkers, and as Americans, to celebrate our nation's independence and the birth of our nation's freedom. Today we also must honor the men and women of our Armed Forces who courageously serve our nation throughout the world. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I thank them, as well as the military families here at home, for their commitment and sacrifice. I wish all New Yorkers a happy and safe holiday."

Happy Birthday, America!


From The G-Man wishes you a very happy and safe July 4th.

Graphic courtesy of http://bestanimations.com.

Olympian Running to Save Others


With the Olympic games approaching, athletes all over the world are training hard and dreaming of gold, silver or bronze. Many of the athletes have overcome great adversity to get to the pinnacle of their sport. But few have travelled as far, and gone through greater hardship, than one young man who is training to represent the US in the London games. Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds reports from Beaverton, Oregon, on South Sudanese runner Lopez Lomong, who went from running to save his own life to running to save others.

Italy Threatens Ban on Apple Products


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By Logan Tittle

Anchor: Logan Tittle
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

FDA Approves Take Home HIV Test


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By Ferdous Al-Faruque

Anchor: Lauren Zima
Video courtesy of  Newsy.com

Pakistan Reopens NATO Supply Routes To Afghanistan


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By John O'Connor

Anchor: Christina Hartman
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Arafat's Death: Palestinian Negotiator Calls for International Investigation


Al Jazeera continues its investigation into Yasser Arafat's death. Research revealed that Arafat may have been killed by ingesting one microgram of radioactive polonium-210, around eight years ago. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who was Arafat's chief negotiator, calls for an international investigation committee to further investigate the matter.

Tests Hint at Possible Arafat Poisoning


A nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera has discovered rare, radioactive polonium on ex-Palestinian leader's final belongings. Most of it was "unsupported" polonium, an artificial type produced in nuclear reactors, according to forensic pathologists who studied his belongings. Polonium is the same chemical used to kill Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

Arafat's Widow Calls to Exhume His Body


An Al Jazeera investigation has revealed that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat may have been killed by radioactive poison. Now his widow, Suha Arafat wants to have his body exhumed to try and discover what killed him.

Portuguese Microchip Could Help Fight Heart Disease


A group of scientists in Portugal believe they've created a device that could help the fight against a rare and often fatal heart condition. They've developed a system that uses a microchip to examine a person's genes for potential heart defects. The medical community has given the microchip idea a cautious welcome, but stressed it's not a cure. Sudden cardiac death is particularly common among young sportsmen and women. Al Jazeera's Dominic Kane reports from Portugal

Severe Floods in India's Assam State


In the Indian state of Assam, floods have killed 81 people and left many districts underwater. The authorities say more than 4,000 people have been rescued from their homes. But as Al Jazeera's Prena Suri reports, the government's relief effort is slow to reach those in need.

Phillippine Illegal Arms Trade Rampant


Police in the southern Philippines are fighting a losing battle against the proliferation of guns. Ordinary people are being caught in the crossfire between authorities, gangs and fighters trying to secure autonomy. The government estimates that there are over 100,000 loose, unregistered firearms in the country - most of that is believed to be circulating in the southern Philippines, where even government security forces have been accused of participating in the illegal arms trade. Al Jazeera's Marga Ortigas reports from Maguindanao in the southern Philippines.

Yemen to Receive US Food Aid


It is one of the poorest countries in the Arab World - where nearly half the population are without food.   But now Yemen is due to get a boost from the US government - to the tune of 170 million dollars.   Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan met with the head of US AID to discuss the country's strategic importance.

Sudan Government Detains Anti-Regime Activists


Anti-government protesters in Sudan say their voice is being stiffled by the heavy handed response of the authorities. Activists say hundreds of people are being detained in a crackdown against demonstrations. While the state says the majority of the Sudanese people support the government, journalists complain the authorities have enforced censorship to silence critical voices involved in the protest movement Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reports.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Celebrating 'America the Beautiful' on the Eve of the Nation's Birthday


Despite our political affiliation, race, religion or sexual orientation......we are all Americans. If we can keep that in mind as we head into the November elections, and in the midst of all the turmoil and upheaval in the world, we will remain the United States of America. 

Pray for our President.....and this great nation. 

The G-Man

Perkins, VNSNY CHOICE Help Harlem Seniors

Dr. Eileen Bach, VNSNY’s Director of Rehabilitation Quality Assurance and Education Services, and New York State Senator Bill Perkins at the “Preventing Falls Among Seniors” seminar presented by VNSNY CHOICE in Harlem on June 28th. (Photos by Janet Charles) Click on photos to enlarge. 

New York State Senator and Organization Provide Vital Tips and Techniques for Preventing Falls

Harlem, NY – Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for seniors, and Senator Bill Perkins, representing the 30th senate district which includes East Harlem, Harlem, Morningside Heights, Washington Heights, West Harlem and parts of the Upper Westside, recently took part in an event designed to help elderly constituents stay strong on their feet.

On Thursday, June 28th, Senator Perkins and experts from VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans, a nurse-led health plan for Medicaid and/or Medicare eligible New Yorkers by the not-for-profit Visiting Nurse Service of New York, presented a Falls Prevention workshop at the Taino Towers in East Harlem.

More than 200 Harlem seniors, their family members, and caregivers attended the workshop to hear Senator Bill Perkins and Dr. Eileen Bach, VNSNY’s Director of Rehabilitation Quality Assurance and Education Services, speak about how to stay safe and confident in their home and environment.

At the beginning and end of the seminar, Senator Perkins and Dr. Bach performed stretching exercises with seniors in attendance.

Additionally, they provided Harlem seniors with tips and techniques for avoiding falls, such as how to assess a home environment for potential fall hazards, how to choose footwear and walking aids that offer increased stability, and how to find local resources that can help seniors build strength and increase stamina.

“The fact is that many of our seniors are prone to falls – the CDC estimates that every hour there are two deaths and more than 250 emergency room visits for falls-related injuries among older people,” said the senator.

“Our work with the renowned health experts at VNSNY CHOICE helped boost the confidence and sense of well-being of the seniors by providing them with life-saving information.”


New York State Senator Bill Perkins (left) and Dr. Eileen Bach (right), VNSNY’s Director of Rehabilitation Quality Assurance and Education Services, conduct warm up exercises with more than 200 seniors at a Preventing Falls workshop.
 
“Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injury in older adults and research states that one in two adults 85 and older fall – with 70% of falls occurring in the home,” added Dr. Bach.

“Senator Perkins has a strong connection with the elderly population in the Harlem community, and we truly enjoyed teaming up with him to share tips and techniques for seniors and their loved ones.”

VNSNY CHOICE is an affiliate of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and shares its mission to care for the most vulnerable New Yorkers: the poor, the chronically ill and the elderly, many suffering with multiple chronic conditions.

With more than 20,000 members, CHOICE offers an array of health plans for New Yorkers eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or both, all designed to help those with complex health needs live safely and independently at home for as long as possible.
 
CHOICE’s Medicaid Managed Long Term Care plan (MLTC) is the largest program of its kind in New York State, serving more than 10,500 members.

CHOICE also offers Medicare Advantage plans, including a Special Needs Plan for Dual Eligibles. 

Additionally, CHOICE has a Medicaid Advantage Plus option, an integrated plan that combines a Medicaid plan with the benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan.

Visit www.VNSNYCHOICE.org or call 1-855-AT-CHOICE (1-855-282-4642) for more information.

As the largest not-for-profit home health care agency in the nation, VNSNY has more than 30,000 patients in its care on any given day.

VNSNY has the capabilities and resources to deliver a full range of home health care services and provides care throughout the five boroughs of New York City -- as well as in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties.

Services include short and long-term home care, including skilled nursing, rehabilitation therapy, home health aide and companionship services, behavioral health, nutritional guidance and infusion care; services for children and families; end of life services; community mental health services; paraprofessional services, and private care services.

Visit http://www.vnsny.org for additional information. 

Dr. Drew Allegedly Paid To Hawk More Than Just Advice


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By Mary McGuire

Anchor: Logan Tittle
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Romney, Obama Agree Individual Mandate is Penalty, Not Tax


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By Ferdous Al-Faruque

Anchor: Logan Tittle
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Andy Griffith Is Dead at 86


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By Evan Bush

Anchor: Carissa Loethen
Video courtesy of Newsy.com

Dozens Killed in Iraq Car Bomb Attack


There are reports of another car bombing in Iraq. It happened near a Sunni mosque in northern Baghdad - killing one person. More than 30 people died in bomb blasts elsewhere in the country.   One area was full of Shia pilgrims preparing for the start of a major festival. Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf has the details.

'A Performer of Extraordinary Talent'


Statement by the President on the Passing of Andy Griffith

Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Andy Griffith this morning.  A performer of extraordinary talent, Andy was beloved by generations of fans and revered by entertainers who followed in his footsteps. He brought us characters from Sheriff Andy Taylor to Ben Matlock, and in the process, warmed the hearts of Americans everywhere.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy’s family.

Commissioner Alerts Growers of Presence of Late Blight


Confirmation in Suffolk County: Growers Urged to be on the Lookout for Disease

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine today alerted home gardeners and commercial growers of the potential introduction of late blight this growing season, as it has been confirmed in Suffolk County. 

Late blight is a plant disease that spreads rapidly from plant to plant in wet, cool weather that causes tomato and potato plants, primarily, to wilt and die.

“To help protect the State’s potato and tomato crops, the Department has once again initiated a concerted strategy to enhance the State’s detection and eradication efforts for late blight this growing season,” the Commissioner said. 

“While the recent hot and dry weather patterns should reduce the spread of this plant disease, commercial growers and gardeners should always be on the lookout and take the recommended precautions to protect their plants.” 

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has trained horticultural inspectors that are currently surveying plants, in particular transplant tomatoes, at the retail level and in commercial greenhouses. 

Collectively, they have inspected more than 1,600,000 tomato plants and seen no signs of late blight detected in tomatoes. 

In addition, the Department continues to work with Cornell Cooperative Extension to conduct outreach and follow up in the field with both growers and gardeners. 

As a result of those efforts, three cases of late blight in field potatoes have been confirmed in Suffolk County. 

Late blight is a plant disease that mainly attacks potatoes and tomatoes, although it can sometimes be found on other crops, weeds and ornamentals, such as petunias, nightshades, and tomatillos. 

Late blight was a factor in the Irish potato famine in the 1840’s, during which millions of people in Ireland starved or were forced to emigrate. 

Late blight is caused by an oomycete pathogen that can produce millions of spores from infected plants, spreading readily with wet weather and high humidity. 

Spores travel through the air, land on plants, and if the weather is sufficiently wet, cause new infections. Once infected, plants may wilt and die within three days.
               
New York has battled strains of late blight in 2009 and 2011 that were particularly devastating to tomatoes.  Presence of the disease, combined with wet weather those years led to a quick and devastating spread of the disease. 

Organic growers struggled with the disease as they have few approved control measures to use, and commercial tomato growers were challenged to apply crop fungicides in time to prevent the outbreak. 

Visit http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/factsheets/Potato_LateBlt.htm for more information about identifying late blight and how to control it.

Image courtesy of http://free-extras.com.