World and National News – June 28, 2017

President Trump signs Tester’s VA bill

President Donald Trump last week signed into law U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s bipartisan legislation to bring more accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Tester authored the bill with Republican Senators Johnny Isakson and Marco Rubio to bring much-needed reforms to the VA by streamlining the process for reviewing and firing bad employees while protecting whistleblowers.

“This law shows what happens when we put politics aside and work to make sure the VA can provide the best possible care and benefits for Montana veterans,” said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “The VA will now have the tools it needs to hold bad employees accountable and protect whistleblowers from the threat of retaliation.”


Daines announces funding for Montana airports

U.S. Senator Steve Daines last week announced $738,430.00 in critical funding for five Montana airports in Terry, Baker, Superior, Ekalaka and Circle.

“These dollars play a critical role in keeping our airports safe and functioning, to continue to connect our state,” Daines stated.

Daines secured the following provisions in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization:

Airport Improvement Program (AIP) dollars which build and maintain Montana’s critical aviation infrastructure such as runways.

Daines has also engaged the FAA to expedite grants to northern states with short construction seasons.

The funding is provided through the U.S. Department of Transportation.


Texas woman arrested after children die in hot car

Cynthia Marie Randolph, 24, of Parker County Texas, was arrested Friday, June 23, 2017, after her two-year-old and 16-month-old children died from heat exposure after being left in a hot car.

According to a press release from the Parker County Sheriff’s Office, Randolph offered several different stories to investigators following the May 26 incident. She is facing two felony charges of causing injury to a child.


Boston flight attendant fighting against sex trafficking

In an effort to counter the rising epidemic of human sex trafficking, flight attendant Sherry Martin Peters has launched a program called “Angels at 30,000 feet.” The program, being taught at Boston’s Logan International Airport, provides training for flight attendants and other air transit professionals in recognizing the signs of human trafficking and how to report it.


Trump slams Obama for not acting to stop Russian election meddling

In a Fox News interview released Friday  President Donald J. Trump said he recently learned the Obama administration knew about possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but did nothing about it.

“Well I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it,” Trump said in the interview . “But nobody wants to talk about that.”

“The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even — before the election,” Trump said. “And I hardly see it. It’s an amazing thing. To me, in other words, the question is, if he had the information, why didn’t he do something about it? He should have done something about it. But you don’t read that. It’s quite sad.”


Coast Guard announces 18-ton cocaine bust

The United States Coast Guard announced a series of 15 waterborne busts in the eastern Pacific Ocean, resulting in the confiscation of 36,000 pounds of cocaine destined for the United States.

The announcement, accompanied by photos, was made via the U.S. Coast Guard’s San Diego sector Facebook page. The cocaine, with an estimated value of half a billion dollars, required large shipping cranes in order to be removed from the vessels.


Kepler mission discovers 10 new earth-sized planets

NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered 219 previously unknown planets, 10 of which could potentially support life.

The 10 planets in question are rocky, roughly the size of earth, and occupy the same orbital zone as the earth, meaning liquid water could exist. Three planets in Earth’s solar system occupy the sun’s theoretical habitable orbit: Earth, Venus, and Mars.

With the addition of this latest release, Kepler has now identified 4,034 planet candidates, and 2,335 of them have been confirmed as exoplanets. The mission has also found 50 candidates similar in size to Earth, with more than 30 of them confirmed.

Researchers find oldest Homo Sapiens fossils

Researchers in Morocco have uncovered what are thought to be fossils from the oldest known species of Homo Sapiens, with archaeological evidence pointing to an age of roughly 300,000 years old.

The fossils were found in the Jebel Irhoud region of Morocco, and are the first discovery of such fossils in North Africa. The fossils predate the previously recorded oldest Home Sapiens by roughly 100,000 years.

The find widens the area of the so-called “Cradle of Life” to include all of the African continent. Previous finds of Homo Sapiens were limited to southern and eastern Africa.