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Detained student's mother: China police want "ransom"BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The mother of an American college student arrested in central China following an altercation with a taxi driver five weeks earlier said police are demanding the equivalent of a $7,400 "ransom" for his release.


'No more woe is me': Senator McCain vows quick return to WashingtonBy Richard Cowan and David Schwartz WASHINGTON/PHOENIX, Ariz. (Reuters) - U.S. Senator John McCain promised on Thursday he would return rapidly to Washington despite his newly diagnosed brain cancer, flashing the fighting spirit that has defined him since he was held in captivity as a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War. McCain, a veteran senator and former Republican presidential candidate known as a strong and sometimes fiercely independent voice on defense and security issues, was found to have an aggressive form of brain tumor, glioblastoma, after surgery last week for a blood clot above his left eye. The news, issued by his office late on Wednesday, drew a wave of support from across the political spectrum, and raised questions about how long McCain would be absent from the Senate, where Republicans have a narrow majority and are eager to notch up some legislative successes for President Donald Trump.


New York Couple Pleads Guilty to Enslaving Korean Children for 6 YearsThe children have been reunited with their parents


Illinois man charged with Chinese scholar kidnapping pleads not guiltyAn Illinois man charged with kidnapping a female Chinese scholar who has been missing for more than a month pleaded not guilty during an appearance in a U.S. court on Thursday. Brendt Christensen, 28, is accused of abducting Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old visiting scholar at the University of Illinois from southeastern China, who disappeared on June 9. Zhang, who had been studying photosynthesis and crop productivity, was last seen when a security camera recorded her getting into a black car that authorities linked to Christensen, according to court records.


O.J. Simpson granted parole after serving 9 years in prisonThe Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners unanimously voted to grant parole to O.J. Simpson. Simpson has served almost nine years in prison after being convicted of armed robbery in 2008. He will be released from Lovelock Correctional Facility in October.


For Trump to Fire Mueller, Sessions Has to GoRachel Maddow looks at some of the background of former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort that is being looked at in the Trump Russia investigation and notes that if Trump is afraid the investigation is getting to close.


Doctors Say a Third of Dementia Cases Could be PreventedSome effective ways of preventing dementia don’t involve high-tech or expensive strategies


India ready for talks with China on border standoffIndia said Thursday it is ready to hold talks with China if both sides pull back their forces to end a standoff along a disputed territory high in the Himalayan mountains.


After Trump rebuke, Sessions shows up for work, will stay ‘as long as that is appropriate’Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein dodged questions about their future with the Department of Justice following criticisms from President Trump. In an interview with the New York Times published Wednesday evening, Trump said that he would not have appointed Sessions as attorney general if he knew Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation. “We in the Department of Justice will continue every single day to work hard, to serve the national interest, and we wholeheartedly join in the priorities of President Trump,” said Sessions when asked if he had considered resignation.


O.J. Simpson Granted Parole in Vegas Robbery CaseThe Nevada Parole Board voted to grant O.J. Simpson parole Thursday.


The not-so-radical Trump presidencyTrumpism is turning out to be a mostly cautious brand of conservatism that, to the president’s credit, pulls up short of upending the established order.


Man with DEVAST8 face tattoo finally accepts job offer  A New Zealand teenager who complained his large DEVAST8 face tattoo was hampering his employment prospects has finally landed a job. Mark Cropp’s photo was shared around the world after he admitted on social media the tattoo was a drunken mistake from his time in prison and he was devastated with the results. However, the former prison inmate made more headlines after revealing he had turned down 45 job offers, saying he was “waiting for the right one”. The amateur inking covers his cheeks, mouth and chin Credit: Caters  Now the 19-year-old father is ready to start work after accepting a job offer near his home in Auckland. “Mark has accepted a local scaffolding job,” his girlfriend, Taneia Ruki, told Daily Mail Australia. “He could be starting as early as Monday. We are all still locking in the starting day.” On rejecting dozens of job offers, she added: “Most of those were outside New Zealand, so they weren’t on the cards.” Mark Cropp with his girlfriend Taneia Ruki  Credit: Caters  Meanwhile, tattoo laser removal company Sacred Laser has offered to remove the DEVAST8 lettering from his face for free. It will take between eight and 12 sessions to completely remove the facial inking, the New Zealand Herald reports.  Bad celebrity tattoos Mr Cropp posted a job appeal on Facebook earlier this month after being turned away by several recruitment agencies over his appearance.   “I’m keen as to work but have one thing that is stopping me and that’s my tattoo on my face,” he wrote. “I don’t have a CV as of yet but have worked at NZ brick distributors before, also a scrap metal yard … Keen as on job or work place that will take me on.” This man’s Hebrew tattoo doesn’t say what he thinks it does Surprising celebrity tattoos


Unilever first half profits soar 22.4 percentFood and consumer products giant Unilever said on Thursday profits soared in the first half of 2017, raking in 3.3 billion euros after the Anglo-Dutch firm spurned a takeover bid by US rival Kraft Heinz. The 22.4 percent hike in the first six months compared to the same period last year showed "a substantial step-up in profitability despite the persisting volatile global trading environment," chief executive Paul Polman said. "The transformation of Unilever into a more resilient, more competitive and more profitable business is accelerating," he added in a statement.


Canada's Governor General touches Queen in breach of royal protocol 'to ensure she didn't slip'It is simply not the done thing. Or to put it another way, you can look but you can’t touch. So much so that Canada’s Governor General has felt the need to explained why he decided to breach royal protocol and touch the Queen, saying that he wanted to make sure she did not slip during an official engagement. David Johnston was spotted supporting the 91-year-old by gently touching her elbow as she climbed the steps at Canada House in Trafalgar Square, on Wednesday. The Queen, accompanied by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (C-L) attended a function at Canada House Credit: EPA/WILL OLIVER He did the same thing as she left the building, which she visited with the Duke of Edinburgh in honour of the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Speaking afterwards he told Canadian broadcaster CBC News: "Well I'm certainly conscious of the protocol. I just was anxious to be sure that there was no stumbling on the steps.” Mr Johnston, who as a student inspired a character in the bestselling 1970 novel Love Story, added: “It's a little bit awkward, that descent from Canada House to Trafalgar Square, and there was a carpet that was a little slippy, and so I thought perhaps it was appropriate to breach protocol just to be sure that there was no stumble." Queen Elizabeth is welcomed to Canada House by Canada Governor General David Johnston Credit: REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool In its advice on how to greet a member of the Royal family Buckingham Palace’s website reminds people that there are "no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting the Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms". While touching the Monarch, beyond a handshake, is not explicitly mentioned it is generally accepted that members of the public do not do so. Not that Mr Johnson is the first to beach royal etiquette with displays of friendship. In 2009 Michelle Obama took the unusual step of putting her arm round the Queen, in response to the Monarch placing her hand on her back, while she attended a glittering reception at Buckingham Palace with her husband, ahead of the G20 summit. Buckingham Palace described it at the time as a “mutual and spontaneous display of affection and appreciation”. Queen given tour of Canada House to mark country's 150th birthday 01:31 In 1992 the then Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating placed his arm around the Queen while introducing her to subjects during her visit in 1992, earning himself the nickname ‘The Lizard of Oz’. And in 2014 the basketball star LeBron James put his arm around the Duchess of Cambridge while presenting her with a jersey after a game in New York. Buckingham Palace said it had no concern over the Governor's General decision to lend the Queen his hand in support. An aide said: "There's no issue here. It was a simple human gesture"


MH370 search reveals hidden undersea worldThe painstaking search for missing flight MH370 has uncovered a previously unknown undersea world of volcanoes, deep valleys and soaring ridges, according to detailed maps released by Australia. Although no trace of the Malaysia Airlines plane was found during the search in the southern Indian Ocean -- the most expensive ever of its kind -- large volumes of data showing a detailed picture of the sea floor had to be collected to guide the probe. "It is estimated that only 10 to 15 percent of the world's oceans have been surveyed with the kind of technology used in the search for MH370," Geoscience Australia's environmental geoscience chief Stuart Minchin said late Wednesday.


Army general among Thais convicted of human traffickingBANGKOK (AP) — A Thai army general was one of dozens of people convicted in a major human trafficking trial that included 103 defendants accused of involvement in a modern-day slavery trade.


News of John McCain’s illness broke during meeting to save GOP health care planRepublican senators attempting to save their stalled effort to repeal and replace Obamacare in a late-night meeting Wednesday were interrupted with news of Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., told reporters that the senators learned of McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis during the meeting and asked Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., to say a prayer for McCain. “It was very emotional, almost kind of stunned disbelief for a minute, then we asked James Lankford to lead us in prayer,” Hoeven said.


Remains found likely is 10th victim of Arizona flash floodPHOENIX (AP) — Remains found Wednesday in a water- and debris-filled canyon in central Arizona are believed to be those of a missing 27-year-old man who's the 10th and final victim of last weekend's flash flood, authorities said.


California wildfire explodes in size as blazes scorch U.S. WestBy Stephen Lam MARIPOSA, Calif. (Reuters) - A wildfire that has forced thousands of Californians to flee their homes exploded in size on Wednesday, threatening a picturesque gold rush town outside Yosemite National Park as dozens of blazes scorched the U.S. West. More than 2,000 firefighters have contained just 7 percent of the Detwiler Fire, which is approaching the town of Mariposa and tiny communities in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the Cal Fire state agency said on its website. The blaze has mushroomed to 46,000 acres (18,000 hectares), an increase of about 20,000 acres (8,094 hectares) compared with the day before, and is threatening some 1,500 structures.


Minneapolis police officer has yet to talk to investigatorsMINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Four days after a Minneapolis police officer fatally shot a woman who had called 911 to report a possible rape, the officer has yet to talk with investigators, and his attorney has given no indication he ever will.


Al Gore: There's Still Time To Solve Climate Change CrisisVice President Al Gore thinks there's still time to stop some of the catastrophes climate change might cause.


State Department Cyber Office To Be Shut Down In ReorganizationSecretary of State Rex Tillerson is closing the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues as part of a reorganization effort at the U.S. State Department.


Elon Musk reveals what his tunnel under LA has to do with MarsThere’s been a significant amount of mystery and speculation around Elon Musk’s Boring Company—his effort to bore tunnels under LA to bypass traffic—and its possible connection to SpaceX.  On Wednesday, Musk removed some of that mystery. SEE ALSO: What mysterious plan does Elon Musk have for X.com? Appearing as a guest at the International Space Station Research and Development (ISSR&D) Conference in Washington, D.C., Musk spent most of his time talking about the most recent SpaceX missions and his thoughts about international space travel efforts.  But during the Q&A session, one audience member asked what we've all been wondering: Is the Boring Company really just practice for building tunnels on Mars?  "I do think getting good at digging tunnels could be really helpful for Mars," said Musk. "It would be a different optimization for a Mars boring machine versus an Earth boring machine. For sure there's going to be a lot of icing mining on Mars, and mining in general to get raw materials." Yes, of course, we'd need to use boring machines to help us find resources and mine ice. Sounds reasonable. But enough of the coy, self-effacing routine, what about those amazing cities on the covers of the science fiction novels we all know you read as a child?  "And then, along the way, building underground habitats where you could get radiation shielding… you could build an entire city underground if you wanted to," said Musk. "People are still going to want to go to the surface from time to time, but you can build a tremendous amount underground with the right boring technology on Mars. So I do think there is some overlap in that technology development arena."   Musk wouldn't go as far as saying that the primary ( secret?) intent of the Boring Company was to test Mars colony-building techniques, rather than merely defeating Earth traffic, but with these statements, he came pretty close.  Along those lines, another attendee asked Musk about the oft-mentioned potential risks to the human body related to space travel on the way to Mars (radiation damage, etc.).  To his credit, in answering, he remained upfront about the risks associated with his dream of putting humans on Mars.  "Going to Mars is not for the faint of heart," said Musk. "It's risky, dangerous, uncomfortable, and you might die. Now, do you wont to go? For some the answer will be: Hell no. For some, it will be: Hell yes."  That answer drew laughter from the audience, but it's a real concern that he's not attempting to diminish. However, looking decades forward, Musk doesn't think the issue of radiation will stop humans from traveling into space on a routine basis.  "I don't think you'll get irradiated to death," said Musk. "With some moderate shielding we can cut down on a large percent of incremental radiation, so the marginal risk of cancer isn't something that's going to be a show stopper." That said, Musk warned, again, "If safety is your top goal, I wouldn't go to Mars."  WATCH: Elon Musk's vision for traffic-skipping underground tunnels looks pretty incredible WATCH: Elon Musk's vision for traffic-skipping underground tunnels looks pretty incredible


Israel's Netanyahu confident German submarines deal will be signedBy Ori Lewis JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said he believed that a $2 billion submarine deal with Germany will be signed after a police investigation into corruption allegations in the affair is completed. The German Defence Ministry and Israeli Foreign Ministry have declined to comment. "Matters will be cleared up and I believe the deal will go ahead," Netanyahu said in Budapest in a briefing to Israeli reporters traveling with him on an Eastern European visit.


Cosmo DiNardo Was Banned From 2 Schools Before Murders Of 4 Pennsylvania Men"The behavior was enough for us to be concerned."


Pentagon warns of risks after Turkey discloses US forces in SyriaThe United States reacted angrily Wednesday after Turkey's state news agency disclosed the locations of American military posts in northern Syria, a move the Pentagon warned could put lives at risk. The Anadolu Agency (AA) published a report Monday detailing the 10 US military facilities' whereabouts and, in some instances, the number of special operations forces working there.


Trump turns up the heat on Senate to repeal and replacePresident Donald Trump scolded GOP senators for their inaction on health care reform Wednesday, saying they should not leave for the August recess without repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.


Israel weighs removal of metal detectors at heart of religious rowPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is debating whether to remove new metal detectors at the centre of a dispute with Palestinians over access to a religious site in annexed east Jerusalem, Israeli media said Wednesday. The reports came as thousands of Muslim worshippers prayed for a fourth night in a row outside the Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, rather than enter through the metal detectors. After the prayers, the Palestinians staged a protest against the enhanced security measures, chanting they were ready "to sacrifice ourselves for Al-Aqsa (mosque) with our soul and our blood", as Israeli border guards looked on.


Swimming Robot Captures Underwater Images of Damaged Fukushima Nuclear ReactorThe reactor was destroyed by a massive March 2011 earthquake and tsunami


Iran's president says his country will 'stand up to' USTEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's president said Wednesday that it will stand up to the United States and reciprocate for any new sanctions that Washington imposes on the Islamic republic.


You Might Be Able to Outrun a T. RexNew research suggests the fearsome predator couldn't run much faster than an average human.


U.S. Justice Department expected to drop $3 million Harley-Davidson emissions penalty: sourcesBy David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is expected to announce this week it is dropping a requirement that Harley-Davidson Inc spend $3 million to reduce air pollution as part of a settlement the Obama administration announced in August, sources briefed on the matter said. Last year, the Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker agreed to pay a $12 million civil fine and stop selling illegal after-market devices that cause its vehicles to emit too much pollution as part of a federal court consent decree. It also agreed to spend about $3 million and enter into an agreement with the American Lung Association of the Northeast to retrofit or replace wood-burning appliances with cleaner stoves.


The Latest: British American Tobacco buying Reynolds OKdRALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on London-based British American Tobacco's purchase of Reynolds American Inc., the second-largest U.S. cigarette company (all times local):


Police body cam footage 'shows officer planting drugs'Video from Baltimore Police Department body cameras shows an officer tampering with evidence in a case that sent a man to jail for more than five months, reports have claimed. The Baltimore Sun’s Justin Fenton recently shared a 90-second video showing what appears to be three Baltimore Police officers standing on a street corner. Baltimore Police Department body cameras record and preserve footage from the last 30 seconds before they are activated, according to the department's body-worn camera policy.


India's ageing trains get green makeover with solar panelsIndia has added solar panels to the roof of a train in a national first as it tries to reduce its massive carbon footprint and modernise its vast colonial-era rail network. The lighting, fans and information displays inside the train -- once powered by diesel -- will run off the sun's energy after the panels were fitted to the carriage. The train has begun journeys around the capital New Delhi, helping move just some of the 23 million passengers who use India's rail network every day.


This Private Jet Has the Equivalent of a MoonroofThe aircraft—which is expected to be worth $100 million—might feature the most over-the-top amenity in aviation history


Saudi woman in miniskirt video arrested after public outcryA Saudi woman has been arrested for defying the kingdom's strict dress code by walking around in a miniskirt and crop top in a video that sparked public outrage.


Fox News reporter walks out of off-camera press briefing and throws parting shot at White HouseFox News reporter John Roberts has thrown some shade at Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump’s spokeswoman, for the White House’s refusal to hold daily on-camera press briefings. In recent weeks, the White House has begun to hold off-camera briefings almost daily – a departure from previous administrations when daily on-camera briefings were the norm. Mr Trump's press staff have said the change is meant to draw more attention to the President's remarks, but some reporters have asserted that the White House “should have the backbone” to answer questions during on-camera proceedings.


Tomb Of King Tutankhamun’s Wife’s Likely Discovered, Archaeologists SayArchaeologists say that the tomb of King Tutankhamun’s wife, Ankhesenamun, is likely to have been finally discovered in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.


Fishermen find an 18-foot-long sea giant in their nets and, no, we're not freaking outLightning struck twice for the crew of the trawler ship Cú na Mara. On Tuesday, they caught their second rare giant squid in the waters off the Dingle coast in Ireland, two months after their first. SEE ALSO: Researchers found the body of a 25-foot-long shark, and it's grim but strangely beautiful The Cú na Mara had been trawling the area where they had found their first giant squid when they landed their surprise second. The sea monster was 18 feet from top to longest tentacle— 2 feet shorter than the first squid the crew caught in May.  "When we opened the net we couldn't believe it, that it was another one," said the captain of the Cú na Mara, Patrick Flannery, in an interview with RTE. "The lads were very excited. What are the chances of two in the one year?" Another Giant Squid landed in Dingle. Only 7th recorded in Ireland in 350 years. Amazingly 4 have been caught by Flannery family! @rtenews pic.twitter.com/1gWBYZr045 — Seán Mac an tSíthigh (@Buailtin) July 18, 2017 The crew's giant squid landing in May was the first in Dingle in 22 years. "Only seven have been recorded [in Dingle] since records began almost 350 years ago," said Marine Biologist Dr. Kevin Flannery. "The very first giant squid recorded in Ireland was also landed in Dingle, when fishermen brought one ashore in 1673." Legends told of a sea creature that sunk ships and drowned fishermen.Image: wikimedia commons/Mary Evans Picture Library/AlamyThe elusive giant squid has been the subject of sea lore throughout history. The ancient Norse legend of a sea monster called the Kraken told of a tentacled beast with the power to capsize ships and drag fishermen to their water graves. It's now widely accepted that the tales originated from sightings of humongous giant squids. Like many myths, the gory details of these accounts are likely to be untrue. However, it's difficult to know how these giant sea monsters live and behave. Sightings of this deep-ocean dwelling animal are extremely rare. The largest giant squid on record was 59 feet in length and weighed almost a ton.  The Cú na Mara's latest catch is an exciting achievement as each giant squid landing presents a scientists with the opportunity to learn more about this mysterious creature of the deep. WATCH: Algae emitting eerie blue glow makes this beach look otherworldy


Sold by IS in Raqa, Yazidi female fighters back for revengeShe was trafficked into Raqa as a sex slave by the Islamic State group but managed to escape. Now Yazidi fighter Heza is back to avenge the horrors she and thousands of others suffered. "When I started fighting, I lifted some of the worries from my heart," she says, surrounded by fellow Yazidi militia women in Raqa's eastern Al-Meshleb district.


All You Need To Know About USS Gerald FordThe supercarrier is set to be commissioned by President Donald Trump on July 22, 2017.


Royal Navy scrambles to shadow Chinese warships in English Channel as they head to Baltics for first war games with Russia The Royal Navy scrambled a warship to shadow a Chinese flotilla as it steamed through the English Channel en route to meet Russian vessels for manoeuvres in the Baltic Sea. The trio of Chinese warships passed through the Strait of Dover under the watch of the HMS Richmond, a Type 23 frigate, at the weekend. They then headed across the North Sea, where they were spotted being escorted by Dutch vessels earlier this week ahead of manoeuvres with Vladimir Putin’s navy which begin on Friday. China’s state-run Global Times newspaper said on Tuesday that the 052D, the country’s “most advanced guided-missile destroyer”, was taking part in the week-long joint drills. The Chinese warships later headed through Dutch waters on their way to the Baltic Credit:  Rob Verkerk  The ship “is equipped with phased array radar and a vertical launching system”, the newspaper said. Russian media say ten ships will take part in the first phase of the exercise, joined by more than 10 aircraft and helicopters. Route of Chinese warships The drills mark the first occasion that Chinese warships have ever carried out manoeuvres in the strategically important Baltic Sea.  The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy had just completed exercises in the Mediterranean, another show of strength from Beijing as it rapidly expands its military reach across the globe. The drills with Russia mark the first occasion that Chinese warships have ever carried out manoeuvres in the strategically important Baltic Sea Credit: Rob Verkerk  Professor Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based military expert, told The Telegraph the Baltic Sea drills were aimed at Nato, but were being carried out in response to drills that were recently staged by the US, India and Japan in the Indian Ocean, which were directed towards China. “China and Russia have pledged to enhance their strategic relationship by regularly staging military drills,” said Prof Ni, director of the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law’s Sea Power and Defence Policy Research Institute. “China also has its own plans,” he added. “Which is to show the world that it is a major naval power.” A Chinese naval fleet held a military exercise with the Russian navy in St Petersburg and Kaliningrad last month. The two countries have held joint drills every year since 2012, and military officials in China said this year’s manoeuvres will focus on “joint rescue efforts and protecting cargo vessels”. China and Russia both have veto powers on the UN Security Council, and regularly vote together on major issues such as the crisis in Syria. This position often puts them at odds with the United States and Western Europe.