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Author: Ricky Scaparo

RUMORS OF WAR: PLA orders discussion of combat readiness

The People’s Liberation Army’s General Political Department has ordered the army and armed police across the nation to discuss combat readiness and effectiveness, the army’s media outlet PLA Daily reported on Tuesday. The PLA Daily said the across-the-board discussions are aimed at instilling the concept of combat readiness, adding that the discussion will be the army’s prime political task this year. The PLA General Political Department has required military officers to learn about modern military technology and IT systems and to analyze what it takes to win a modern war. The discussions will entail weeding out military practices that run counter to the “combat-readiness standard” and studying the Communist Party of China Central Military Commission chairman Xi Jinping’s remarks on national defense and army building, according to the PLA Daily....

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SIGNS IN THE SUN – Scientists say destructive solar blasts narrowly missed Earth in 2012.

Fierce solar blasts that could have badly damaged electrical grids and disabled satellites in space narrowly missed Earth in 2012, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday. The bursts would have wreaked havoc on the Earth’s magnetic field, matching the severity of the 1859 Carrington event, the largest solar magnetic storm ever reported on the planet. That blast knocked out the telegraph system across the United States, according to University of California, Berkeley research physicist Janet Luhmann. “Had it hit Earth, it probably would have been like the big one in 1859, but the effect today, with our modern technologies, would have been tremendous,” Luhmann said in a statement. A 2013 study estimated that a solar storm like the Carrington Event could take a $2.6 trillion bite out of the current global economy. Massive bursts of solar wind and magnetic fields, shot into space on July 23, 2012, would have been aimed directly at Earth if they had happened nine days earlier, Luhmann said....

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DAYS OF LOT – Two Dozen Chicago High Schools To Offer Free Condoms

 Rahm Emanuel defended a plan to make free condoms available at 24 high schools starting next school year, expanding an effort to reduce teen pregnancy and prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases among youths. “I want everybody to understand that doesn’t mean you’re absolved either as a parent or an adult to talk to an adolescent about responsible behavior, respecting who you’re with, and doing what’s right not what’s convenient,” the mayor said.  WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports the Chicago Public Schools already have condoms available at two high schools, and will work with the Chicago Department of Public Health to identify two dozen schools to get condoms in the fall. Chicago’s teen pregnancy rate is double that in New York City. The expanded condom distribution program will be funded by a five-year, $20 million federal grant. The mayor said he supports the program, but said it would not replace parental guidance. “That doesn’t absolve a parent from talking to their child about responsible behavior and respect,” he said. The mayor said the condom distribution program simply acknowledges reality in an effort to curb teen pregnancy rates and incidents of sexually-transmitted diseases. CBS...

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REHEARSED: WH Press Secretary Gets Questions from Reporters Before Press Briefing

CBS reporter from Arizona reveals that President Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, receives questions from the press in advance of his daily press briefing. In fact, she says, the reporters often receive the answers in advance of the briefing, too. According to the reporter, Jay Carney told her this yesterday at the White House:  “It was a very busy day. We started here shortly after 8 o’clock with a coffee with press secretary Jay Carney inside his office in the West Wing,” says the reporter. “And this was the off-the-record so we were able to ask him all about some of the preparation that he does on a regular basis for talking to the press in his daily press briefings. He showed us a very long list of items that he has to be well versed on every single day. “And then he also mentioned that a lot of times, unless it’s something breaking, the questions that the reporters actually ask — the correspondents — they are provided to him in advance. So then he knows what he’s going to be answering and sometimes those correspondents and reporters also have those answers printed in front of them, because of course it helps when they’re producing their reports for later on. So that was very interesting.”...

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