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 • Headlines: Tuesday, June 18, 3:30 PM   (More news)
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  Corals can help scientists track ancient climate patterns, but new research suggests that traditional analysis methods for analyzing coral's ancient growth aren't as accurate as previously thought.Luckily, scientists have developed an improved method, a combination of high-resolution microscopic analysis and geochemical modeling. Researchers described the new technique this week in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.Deciphering the climate records coded in coral skeletons is similar to deciphering tree rings. As coral grows, new layers of calcium are deposited. Each layer traps geochemical signatures that can provide clues to the climatic conditions.By measuring the amount of strontium and the lighter isotope of oxygen trapped in different calcium layers, scientists can estimate ancient sea surface temperatures. However, the technique isn't perfect.Researchers compared coral-based sea-surface temperature records against temperature probe measurements."Remarkably, the coral records are accurate most of the time, but there are instances where measurements have been off by as much as nine degrees Celsius, and this needs to be rectified," Bruce Fouke, a professor of geology and microbiology at the University of Illinois, said in a news release.As they grow, coral polyps deposit aragonite, a crystallized form of calcium carbonate. Unfortunately for climate scientists, seawater can also deposit aragonite crystals as it passes through the coral skeleton. Through a process called diagenesis, these seawater-derived crystals can alter the skeleton's chemistry."It is difficult to tell the diagenetic aragonite from the original coral skeleton without using high-powered microscopes," said Kyle Fouke, an undergraduate student at Bucknell University. "It is also challenging to know exactly when the diagenetic alteration took place -- days or decades after the skeletons were formed. Unless you are using the newest microscopy techniques to help select your samples, you could be collecting and measuring a mix of the two very different temperature records."To better understand the effects of diagenetic aragonite, scientists surveyed Porites coral skeletons growing on the Great Barrier Reef."Based on our analyses, we see that the older portions of the coral heads growing in deeper seawater contain a higher concentration of diagenetic aragonite," Fouke said.The team of scientists was able to differentiate between the coral and diagenetic aragonite using a combination of light, electron and X-ray microscopy techniques. The high-definition imaging techniques also revealed an array of different aragonite crystallization patterns. Scientists suggest some patterns represent seasonal variations in skeletal growth, while other smaller-scale patterns likely code geochemical changes on a daily cycle.Researchers used their findings to develop a correction factor that can be applied to previous coral surveys and other climate studies that relied on aragonite analysis."Because this has been achieved using the carbonate mineral aragonite, which is ubiquitous among marine life, this same correction factor can be used with other sea creatures that secrete carbonate skeletons and shells," Fouke said.
  Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts introduced a new universal child care bill Tuesday with freshman Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico.The bill would provide low-income families of four making 200 percent of the poverty line with free "high-quality, affordable" child care. The bill is similar to the one she proposed earlier in the year when she planned to use a new tax on those making more than $50 million annually to pay for it.Fellow senator and presidential opponent Cory Booker, D-N.J., signed on the bill as a co-sponsor."As the wealthiest country in the world, access to affordable and high-quality childcare and early education should be a right for all families rather than a privilege for only the rich," Warren said in a statement."Our legislation would guarantee all parents affordable access to safe and nurturing childcare and early learning opportunities for their kids," she continued.Warren currently trails former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the latest Democratic presidential primary polls as the first debate between the candidates comes next week in Miami.The bill seeks to ensure universal access to child care, guarantee affordability, give child-care workers quality pay and provide developmental services, along with pre-kindergarten."If we're going to get serious about ending the cycle of poverty in New Mexico and the entire country, we need to invest in universal child care and early learning," said Haaland, the first-term Congressman who was ushered in during the wave of new Democratic women legislator in 2018."The bill Senator Warren and I are introducing today is a bold and comprehensive proposal to remove barriers so moms and dads can take those extra classes at the university or community college, or work to get that promotion without the burden of childcare on their shoulders while ensuring children have the care they need early in life," she added in her statement.
  Circus Maximus and Arizona gave the Irish raiders a double on the first day of Royal Ascot 2019 on Tuesday while Lord Glitters earned a Breeders' Cup berth with an upset win and Sheik Mohammed's Godolphin got on the board as Blue Point got the better of old rival Battaash in the featured sprint.The rains came to the races but only after Her Majesty the Queen, wearing a cornflower blue ensemble, was delivered by the lead carriage to the royal enclosure. She has attended faithfully since 1945, when she was Princess Elizabeth.The five-day meeting was off to a surprising start with the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes as 14-1 chance Lord Glitters surged between horses a furlong out and won a head-bob finish over 20-1 shot Beat the Bank. One Master, also dispatched at 20-1 odds, finished third while the favorite, Barney Roy, was never involved, finishing eighth, and last year's winner, Accidental Agent, refused to leave the starting gate.Lord Glitters, a 6-year-old gelding by Whipper, finished second in last year's Queen Anne. He hardly ran a lick in his last race before the Royal meeting, finishing 13th in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury May 18. Before that, however, he was third behind Japanese sensation Almond Eye in the Group 1 Dubai Turf on World Cup night at Meydan."He's better than that," jockey Daniel Tudhope said of the Lockinge result, "and was second in this last year. He deserves to land a big one and is a super horse on his day. When things go right for him he's very good."He may have a chance to prove that in the autumn as the Queen Anne is a "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Mile. For now, trainer David O'Meara said, "We will follow a pretty similar path with him to last year and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood is probably next up."It was all favorites in the day's second event, the Group 2 Coventry Stakes for 2-year-olds. Arizona, racing for the Irish Coolmore combine, idled at mid-pack in the 17-horse field through the first two-thirds of the race, then kicked into gear for jockey Ryan Moore just in time to defeat Threat by 1/2 length. Guildsman was third.Arizona is a son of No Nay Never, winner of the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at the 2013 Royal Ascot. He came to the race after a 9-lengths victory in a maiden race at the Curragh and clearly is still learning what's expected of him by trainer Aidan O'Brien, who scored his 66th Royal Ascot triumph."He's impressed on all of his starts and has a super attitude," said Moore, who won his 54th Royal Ascot race. "He's not fully switched on yet and the penny hasn't dropped to get into gear. But he'll probably benefit when he goes up in trip.""You'd imagine he will be a miler next year," O'Brien agreed. "He's probably quicker than he lets on, because he's still a baby, but you'd always think he'd have no problem getting seven (furlongs)."The punters had it right, too, in the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes -- the first of two top-level sprints at the meeting -- as Blue Point held off Battaash in the final furlong to win by 1 1/4 lengths. The result was a reprise of last year's King's Stand and the two went to the post as the solid favorites in a field of 12 for the 5-furlongs dash.James Doyle had the ride on Blue Point, a 5-year-old son of Shamardal, subbing for William Buick, who is recovering from injury. "All I was worried about was the rain coming down," Doyle said. "And actually it just stayed off."Blue Point, trained by Charlie Appleby for Sheik Mohammed's Godolphin Racing, came to England after three straight wins during the Dubai season, capped with a handy score in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint.Sheik Mohammed, accepting the winner's trophy from Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, said Blue Point's effort "has given me a lot of pleasure. When you win a Group One, you are very happy ... It is very good to get a winner at Royal Ascot. Everybody wants a horse that is able to run at Royal Ascot."Circus Maximus was supplemented to the day's third Group 1, the St James's Palace Stakes for 3-year-olds, after finishing sixth in the Investec Derby. With blinkers added and cutting back by 1/2 mile, the Galileo colt was right in the mix from the start, dueled with the favorite, Too Darn Hot, in the final furlong and then held off a hot late run by King of Comedy to win by a neck over that one.It was the 67th Royal Ascot win for O'Brien and 55th for Moore, who said with a smile he felt the pressure after the Coolmore "lads" supplemented Circus Maximus to the race."They supplement him, you have to win," Moore said as he brought Circus Maximus, a 10-1 wager, to the winner's enclosure. "He ran a good race in the Derby. He just didn't stay."Circus Maximus was produced by Duntle, a Danehill Dancer mare who won the Sandringham Handicap at 2012 Royal Ascot but finished seventh in the following year's Grade I Beverly D. at Arlington Park.As the rain intensified into a downpour, the first day of the meeting finished with The Grand Visir, a son of Frankel, holding off late-running Buildmeupbuttercup in the 2 1/2-miles Ascot Stakes and Addeybb kicked away in the final furlong to an easy victory in the Wolferton Stakes at 9 furlongs. Magic Wand, another from Coolmore, got second in a three-way photo.
  Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar on Tuesday released a list of more than 100 actions she plans to take -- including executive orders -- within her first 100 days as president, should she win the 2020 election.The U.S. senator from Minnesota published the detailed listed on the online publishing platform Medium."After four years of Donald Trump, a new president can't wait for a bunch of congressional hearings to act," Sen. Klobuchar, D-Minn., wrote. "The urgent problems our country is facing require immediate action."That's why in my first 100 days as President I will enact an ambitious, optimistic agenda to improve our health care, combat climate change, pursue economic justice and shared prosperity, and build a stronger democracy and safer world," she added.Klobuchar, who touted her Midwestern background and values during her February campaign announcement, said that among her 100 actions, she'd propose "landmark legislation" to improve the economy by eliminating monopolies, protecting consumer and health data privacy, investing in childcare, raising the minimum wage, providing paid family leave, supporting small business owners and establishing retirement savings. The legislation also would allow student loan borrowers to refinance at lower interest rates, offer free community college and technical certifications, and expand Pell Grant eligibility.On healthcare, she said she'd direct Veterans Affairs to expand coverage for the care of newborn babies of veterans, allow Americans to import safe and cheaper prescription drugs from countries like Canada, and suspend efforts to eliminate the Affordable Care Act's protections for people with pre-existing conditions.Other actions include:-- Re-joining the Paris Agreement on climate change-- Nominating a "full slate" of judges on Day 1-- Issuing an executive order to strengthen cybersecurity for elections and U.S. infrastructure-- Strengthening antitrust laws-- Raising the federal minimum wage to $15-- Jumpstarting immigration reform-- Introducing gun violence legislation and closing the so-called "boyfriend loophole"(function(d, s, id) if (d.getElementById(id)) return;var js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;js.src = '//cdn4.wibbitz.com/static.js';d.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].appendChild(js);(document, 'script', 'wibbitz-static-embed'));
  The United Nations human rights office called for an independent investigation Tuesday into the death of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a day after he died inside a Cairo courtroom.Morsi died Monday after collapsing inside a cage in the courtroom during trial. The former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's first democratically-elected president, 67, was being tried on espionage charges nearly six years after a military coup expelled him from power. He was buried Tuesday during a private funeral.The Egyptian Prosecutor General's Office said Morsi died of a heart attack, but the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling for an independent review.OHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville cited concerns about Morsi's detention for several years, and said the investigation should examine whether those conditions factored in his death."As former President Mohammed Morsi was in the custody of the Egyptian authorities at the time of his death, the state is responsible for ensuring he was treated humanely and that his right to life and health were respected," Colville said in a statement. "Any sudden death in custody must be followed by a prompt, impartial, thorough and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body to clarify the cause of death."Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said the U.N. Human Rights Council should investigate "ongoing" human rights violations in Egypt."At the very least, the Egyptian government committed grave abuses [against him]," she said.Morsi was at one time sentenced to death on murder charges, but that was overturned due to lack of evidence. At the time of his death, he still faced other charges that included inciting violence and orchestrating prison escapes.
  A Maryland man who collected a $25,000 lottery prize several years ago won double that amount with a scratch-off ticket.James Blanchette, 74, of Westminster, visited Maryland Lottery headquarters to collect a $50,000 top prize from a $50,000 Diamonds scratch-off ticket he bought from Jiffy Mart in Westminster while picking up a newspaper for his wife.Blanchette said his wife noticed his ticket and asked if it was a winner."I told her, well if I read this right, it's worth $50,000," he said. "Right away, she had dollar signs in her eyes."Blanchette is no stranger to the winner's circle -- he previously visited lottery headquarters several years ago to collect a $25,000 prize from a Pick 4 drawing.The winner said he plans to use his latest winnings to pay off his debt, and the rest will go into savings."A few dollars will go in my pocket," he said.
  A woman described as a onetime campaign aide and "good friend" to former Arkansas lawmaker Linda Collins-Smith has been charged with capital murder in her death, authorities said.Rebecca O'Donnell was arrested last weekend and made her initial appearance Monday at the Randolph County Courthouse, where authorities formally charged her. Other counts include abuse of a corpse and hindering physical evidence.O'Donnell is scheduled to return July 30 to enter a plea. Until then, she's being held without bail.Collins-Smith was found dead outside her home on June 4, but authorities haven't specified how she died. Prosecutor Henry Boyce said it took investigators two days to identify her using dental records due to the body's advanced state of decomposition.Collins-Smith served in the Arkansas House from 2011 to 2013 and the Senate from 2014 to January, after losing a bid for re-election. Ken Yang, a former spokesman, said O'Donnell was a campaign aide and a friend. He said he wasn't aware of any falling out between the two.
  Rhys Hoskins saw nearly 3,000 pitches last season with the Philadelphia Phillies, more than any player in Major League Baseball. Hoskins also leads the league in that category in 2019.Most everyday MLB stars see pitches by the thousands each season. Each of those tosses prompts a decision.Many of baseball's best bats believe their best approach is studying before settling in against opposing pitchers. But there is still much that needs to happen to turn the milliseconds it takes a pitch to get to home plate into a slow-motion scanning of the ball whizzing in at up to 105 mph.What happens to pitches in that 60-foot, six-inch zone isn't an exact science. Approaches differ from player to player.Pittsburgh Pirates star Josh Bell, Cleveland Indians slugger Francisco Lindor, New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso and Miami Marlins veteran Curtis Granderson spoke to UPI about how they succeed in a game that considers failing 70 percent of the time a triumph.Some sluggers have confidence when it comes to using their strength against that of aces like Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber or Clayton Kershaw, while others take a more cautious approach.Know your strengthsYou might expect a macho approach from some of baseball's loudest bats, but veterans like Curtis Granderson have seen every type of pitch from every type of pitcher. He knows his strengths. He knows the strengths of opposing pitchers.It's easy to get lost in the math, with nearly 750,000 pitches thrown to hitters last season. But somehow Granderson manages to pick out MLB's active pitch leader when asked about his approach. The Marlins outfielder was teammates with CC Sabathia for four seasons with the New York Yankees.The 16-year veteran points to the pitcher in his 19th season when it comes to exemplifying a match-up."He has a really good change-up," Granderson said. "He throws it at anytime to anybody and that's what makes him good, in addition to the other stuff. You can have a guy that loves hitting change-ups or doesn't love it, he's still going to throw you a change-up and that's what makes him so effective."Granderson said every pitcher has "great stuff" when it comes to arm talent, but the best pitchers maintain confidence regardless of the situation. He also said the best pitchers evaluate their mistakes, translating if those pitches can be hit when they miss a spot in the zone.The three-time All-Star also studies the frequency with which pitchers throw certain pitches."I don't want to know if it's a good or bad [pitch]," Granderson said. "If it's good it's going to be good. If it's bad, it's going to be bad. Knowing that isn't going to change my approach."Even if it's a really good pitch, I'm not going to hit it anyway. So why do I need to know if it's good? If it's bad, and he makes a mistake with it, then I have a chance to hit it."This guy throws this pitch, let's call it a devastating curveball. If it's really good you aren't going to hit it anyway. When they make a mistake with it, that's when you are going to hit it. It doesn't matter if the guy throws it a million times, a few times, a good one or a bad one."Staying smallerGranderson has the benefit of experience not yet afforded to Pete Alonso. The New York Mets rookie has a football player stature, making the bat look miniature when he mashes homers at Citi Field. But while the big flies might be gargantuan, Alonso has to remind himself to shrink down at times in the batter's box."If I try and get too big I'm not going to be as successful as if I am calm and collected and swing at what I want," Alonso said. "That's the main thing for being successful. Swinging at good pitches and not swinging at the bad ones."Alonso is hitting .263 and is a top candidate for National League Rookie of the Year. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound first baseman leads all rookies with 23 home runs. He is on pace to break the franchise record for home runs in a season and could smash Aaron Judge's rookie home run record of 52.He is also on the same page with Granderson when it comes to the unhittable pitch."I know if they are throwing their best stuff and I'm not going to hit it if it's well located," Alonso said. "But if it's over the heart of the plate, then I'll have a much better chance. To me, I just want to stay the same and be able to capitalize on pitches that are in the zone."Hardest pitchesMax Scherzer's full arsenal, Chris Sale's slider, Blake Snell's curveball, Jacot deGrom's four-seam heater.MLB hitters voted those pitches from those pitchers as some of the nastiest offerings in the game. Cleveland Indians star Francisco Lindor has seen his share of sizzling strikes from those aces. He also led the American League in plate appearances and at-bats in 2017 and 2018. That -- and three All-Star appearances -- gives him the credibility to name the hardest pitch to hit.But you might be surprised by his answer: "Fastball, right down the middle.""Because you don't know what to do with it," Lindor said. "Every pitcher has that."Lindor's .289 career batting average proves that he knows what to do with offerings nearly 30 percent of the time. While other sluggers study pitchers before games and go into at-bats knowing that they won't be able to hit the most-executed offerings from baseball's best arms, Lindor leans on his strengths to surface."A lot of hitters make the mistake that they vary a lot pitch after pitch in the at-bats. I try to stay within myself and my approach and make the adjustments. But also understand what I do works," Lindor said."If his strength is my strength, I'm going to stick to my strength. At the end of the day, if the pitches were perfect, we wouldn't hit. The pitches are not perfect and neither are we."Lindor said what separates Cy Young award-winning pitchers from others is their ability to make adjustments quicker."It's just a matter of taking advantage of as many mistakes they make so we can be successful," Lindor said.'I gotta sell out'Josh Bell isn't a rookie. He has been on the MLB scene since the 2016 season, but he really arrived in 2019. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Pittsburgh Pirates star is hitting .321 and leads baseball with 27 doubles and 65 RBIs this season. He also has 19 home runs in 70 games this year. This after hitting .260 with 41 homers through his first three seasons.Bell credits an approach change for his breakout campaign."Early on in my career, I was kinda thinking about my stance and where I was in that space in time rather than kinda selling out to what I was doing and finding an approach," Bell said.His approach depends on the starting pitcher he is facing. If he is going against a guy who likes to throw change-ups down and away, Bell likes to "sell out" for that pitch and see if the pitcher makes a mistake."You have to make adjustments based off their best pitch, but I feel like if things are going well, you aren't missing that mistake," Bell said. "In a bigger scenario, with runners in scoring position, you can kind of sell out to that pitch and try to do damage on it. But for the most part, if they are successful with something, it's for a reason. It's deceptive, it's probably low at the bottom of the strike zone and not a strike. So you have to be careful with hunting their best pitch."Bell said the hardest pitch to hit for him is a good split fastball underneath the zone, an offering that starts as a strike then bottoms out when it arrives. He also doesn't fear those fastballs down the middle."That's not it for me," Bell said, cracking a smile.
  South Korean girl group GFriend is sharing details about its new EP.The K-pop stars released a track list for the mini album, Fever Season, Tuesday on Twitter.Fever Season features eight songs, including the single "Fever" and the "Fever" instrumental. The EP also features "Mr. Blue," "Smile," "Wish," "Paradise," "Hope" and the Korean version of "Flower.""#GFRIEND The 7th Mini Album #FEVERSEASON <Track List> (#FEVER) 2019.07.01. PM 6:00 (KST)," the post reads.# #GFRIENDThe 7th Mini Album #FEVERSEASON<Track List># (#FEVER)2019. 07. 01. PM 6:00 (KST) pic.twitter.com/A3TSWlV27Z— GFRIEND (@GFRDofficial) June 18, 2019GFriend will release Fever Season and the "Fever" music video July 1. The group promoted the EP with a moving teaser Monday.# #GFRIENDThe 7th Mini Album#FEVERSEASON<MOVING TEASER># (#FEVER)2019. 07. 01. PM 6:00 (KST) pic.twitter.com/e3084BkInL— GFRIEND (@GFRDofficial) June 17, 2019GFriend is known for the singles "Me Gustas Tu," "Rough" and "Navillera," and released its second studio album, Time for Us, in January. The group released a music video for the song "Oh Difficult" with J-pop group Sonar Pocket this month.
  Chris Lane is engaged to former Bachelor contestant Lauren Bushnell.The 34-year-old country singer told People he proposed to Bushnell at her family's home in Oregon Sunday on Father's Day."I decided doing it at the family cookout would be the most laid-back setting and that she'd appreciate the simplicity of me proposing to her in her parents' backyard," Lane said.Lane wrote and recorded the song "Big Big Plans" for the proposal. Bushnell said she "lost it" when she heard the lyrics to the song and realized Lane was about to pop the question."It was the happiest moment of my life!" she said.Lane shared a video of his proposal featuring "Big Big Plans" on Tuesday. Bushnell gushed about the moment in a post on Instagram."I can't stop smiling," the star wrote. "I feel so incredibly blessed that every misstep, mistake and heartache has led me to you. I couldn't be happier to call you mine, forever. The journey was well worth it.""Thank you Christopher Eric Lane for softening my heart and making it whole," she said. "Never going to stop telling you how much I love you and I will hold onto you forever and ever!"Bushnell got engaged to Ben Higgins during The Bachelor Season 20 but split from Higgins in 2017.Lane is known for the singles Fix, For Her and Take Back Home Girl. He last released the album Laps Around the Sun in July 2018.

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