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As Red Cross Arrives In Guantanamo, Hunger Strike Grows

By Eyder Peralta

The number of detainees on hunger strike at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has grown and Red Cross has moved up a visit to the prison to assess the situation.
The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg, who covers Guantanamo for the paper permanently, reports the government now says 31 out of 166 captives "meet the minimum criteria to be considered hunger strikers."
Rosenberg adds:
"Eleven of them were being fed nutritional supplements mostly fed through tubes snaked up a captive's nose and into his stomach.
"Of the 11, three were hospitalized, receiving both intravenous drips for rehydration as well as the tube feedings, Navy Capt. Robert Durand said Monday from Guantanamo."
Carlos Warner, a public defender representing 11 Guantanamo detainees, spoke to CNN's Christiane Amanpour today. He described the condition of the prison as "dire."

U.S. law to restrict government purchases of Chinese IT equipment

By Alina Selyukh and Doug Palmer

Congress quietly tucked in a new cyber-espionage review process for U.S. government technology purchases into the funding law signed this week by President Barack Obama, reflecting growing U.S. concern over Chinese cyber attacks.
The law prevents NASA, and the Justice and Commerce Departments from buying information technology systems unless federal law enforcement officials give their OK.

A provision in the 240-page spending law requires the agencies to make a formal assessment of "cyber-espionage or sabotage" risk in consultation with law enforcement authorities when considering buying information technology systems.

Boston College professors group condemns university's stance on condoms

By Katherine Landergan

The Boston College chapter of the American Association of University Professors issued a statement today condemning BC for threatening to take disciplinary measures against students who are distributing contraceptives out of their dorm rooms.
“While it is the university’s right to distribute or not distribute contraceptives through the student health center, we believe that taking disciplinary action against students for lawful actions undertaken in the privacy of their dorm rooms constitutes an infringement of their rights,” the chapter said in a statement. “The issues regarding sexual health raised by BCSSH are important to the welfare of our students who come from a variety of faith traditions; taking disciplinary action against them on such matters of individual conscience sends the wrong message to the campus community, alumni, and prospective students.”
Boston College officials sent a letter to students on March 15 demanding an end to student-run “Safe Sites,” a network of dorm rooms and other locations where free contraceptives and safe sex information are available.
- See more at: http://www.boston.com/...

FAU apologizes for "Jesus" stomping exercise

Rachel Leigh

State education officials will be taking a closer look at Florida Atlantic University Wednesday after Gov. Rick Scott responded to a controversial classroom exercise. 
A class, taught by Vice Chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party Deandre Poole, was reportedly following an exercise in the instructor's manual that had students write the name "Jesus" in large letters on a piece of paper, put the paper on the floor, face up, and after a brief period, tell them to step on the paper.
The exercise was part of a chapter dealing with the power of certain words. One student, a junior named Ryan Rotelas, said he refused to participate. 

In Chicago, thousands march to protest proposed school closings

By Renita Young and James B. Kelleher

Thousands of demonstrators rallied in downtown Chicago on Wednesday to protest the city's plan to close 54 public schools, primarily in Hispanic and African-American neighborhoods.
The closings, which the school board plans to vote on in May, would be the biggest one-time shutdown ever by a U.S. city. Wednesday's demonstration, organized by the teacher's union, drew parents, students and other critics of the plan.

Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, encouraged parents of the roughly 30,000 children whose schools will be closed later in 2013 to simply ignore the city's action at the end of summer vacation.
"On the first day of school, you show up at your real school," Lewis said at the rally in Daley Plaza.

EPA: More than half of U.S. rivers unsuitable for aquatic life

By Ian Simpson

Fifty-five percent of U.S. river and stream lengths were in poor condition for aquatic life, largely under threat from runoff contaminated by fertilizers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday.
High levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, runoff from urban areas, shrinking ground cover and pollution from mercury and bacteria were putting the 1.2 million miles of streams and rivers surveyed under stress, the EPA said.
"This new science shows that America's streams and rivers are under significant pressure," Nancy Stone, acting administrator of the EPA's Office of Water, said in a statement.

Agricultural gains in Africa crippled by funding crisis

By Tom Murphy

African countries are making promising agricultural gains, but the progress remains in the balance due to a $4.4 billion funding shortfall, warns a new report by the ONE Campaign. That is in addition to $11 billion in agriculture funding pledged by G8 nations that has yet to be disbursed.
African countries are making promising agricultural gains, but the progress remains in the balance due to a $4.4 billion funding shortfall, warns a new report by the ONE Campaign. That is in addition to $11 billion in agriculture funding pledged by G8 nations that has yet to be disbursed.

A rare look reveals how Earth's crust forms

By Becky Oskin

One of the Earth's best-ever baby pictures reveals how crust forms at the biggest volcanic feature on the planet.
The detailed look at molten magma beneath a mid-ocean ridge, one of the giant undersea cracks that ring the globe like seams on a baseball, sheds light on the driving forces behind plate tectonics. The results of the study were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Most of the Earth (70 percent) is covered by oceanic crust, mainly basalt, formed from lava that burbles out of mid-ocean ridges. The ridges run across some 40,000 miles (65,000 kilometers) of the seafloor. They mark where crust pulls apart, leaving space for hotter mantle rock underneath to rise up and melt.

'Sponge' Drug Shows Promise For Treating Hepatitis C

By Michaeleen Doucleff

With an estimated 2 million baby boomers infected with hepatitis C, the disease has reached epidemic levels among Americans age 48 to 68.
Doctors can now cure about 70 percent of hepatitis C cases, but the drugs' side effects can be severe. And many Americans are still left with a disease that can cause liver failure and cancer.
So doctors have been desperate for better treatment options.
One of the drugs in the pipeline, called miravirsen, may be able to stop the virus with little side effects, doctors from University Health Network in Toronto, Canada, reported Wednesday.
Their findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, are preliminary — the doctors gave the drug to just 27 patients for about a month. (Another 9 patients in the study were given a placebo.) But the study is still drawing attention because it offers proof-of-concept for a whole new class of drugs, called RNA interference drugs.

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