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Investigators scour ashes of Napa fires to determine origin

For California’s 160 full-time fire investigators, many of whom have been sent to the suspected points of origin of 17 fires in Northern California, the stakes have never been higher. Determining the causes of the recent devastating fires could have huge financial implications in deciding who ultimately pays for the extensive damage. Read More

New York’s influential First Lady redefines position

After nearly one full term, Chirlane McCray, wife of Mayor Bill de Blasio, has fully wrapped herself in the role of political spouse, a job especially steeped with symbolism for her. As the African-American wife of a white mayor in a moment of renewed racial strife across America, McCray has emerged as most likely the most influential, if not consequential, first lady in the city’s history. Read More

Big test of police body cams defies expectations

Confounding expectations, the largest study yet conducted found that police officers wearing body cameras used force and faced civilian complaints at about the same rates as officers without cameras. Read More

U.S. visa standoff with Turkey disrupts business, tourism

Americans planning an impromptu visit to Istanbul have been turned back. Board members of one school have had to postpone meetings. A Turkish entrepreneur, after spending two years setting up a business in New York, finds herself in limbo, her visa appointment canceled. The cases, though apparently relatively few, signal the potential for deeper disruptions in a tit-for-tat dispute over Turkey’s detention of U.S. consular employees. Read More

Would you like my car to make you some water?

The drinking-water idea points to a wider change rippling through the global auto industry: As cars gain more computing power and adopt new technologies, engineers are finding ways to make cars do much more than take us from Point A to Point B. Read More

‘Me Too’ movement inevitably spills into sports

There were more names. Of course there were. In gymnastics and in so many other sports — swimming and judo and hockey and basketball — there are always more girls, more women, more names. Read More

Using DNA to sketch what victims look like

Updated on  October 19, 2017 at 5:02 pm
When a public appeal for help failed to generate leads, the Police Department turned to a forensic technique called phenotyping, which uses DNA from the biological matter people leave behind, like skin and blood, to predict their appearance. Read More

Latest hacking target might be your car

As computer technology increasingly controls critical vehicle safety features and more cars are connected to the internet, the danger of a hacker taking control of vehicles is becoming less like a Hollywood movie plot and more like something that can actually happen. Read More

Research shows link between childbirth, depression in dads

Updated on  October 19, 2017 at 12:52 pm
A growing body of research has given rise to the idea that you don’t have to give birth to develop postpartum depression. Studies suggest the phenomenon may occur in 7% to 10% of new fathers, and that depressed dads were more likely to spank their children and less likely to read to them. Now, a University of Southern California study has found a link between depression and sagging testosterone levels in new dads, adding physiological weight to the argument that postpartum depression isn’t just for women anymore. Read More

Lulu the Labrador didn’t want to join the CIA

Lulu, the black Labrador retriever and free spirit who bucked expectations and flunked out of the CIA’s explosive detection “puppy class,” was ultimately adopted by her handler. Read More

Canada struggles with backlog of 40k asylum seekers

A wave of asylum seekers entering Canada this year has exacerbated a backlog of refugee claims that the government is struggling to manage, leaving tens of thousands of people stuck in bureaucratic limbo even as they try tobuild new lives. Read More

With loss of caliphate, ISIS may return to guerrilla roots

Its de facto capital is falling. Its territory has shriveled from the size of Portugal to a handful of outposts. Its surviving leaders are on the run. But rather than declare the Islamic State and its virulent ideology conquered, many Western and Arab counterterrorism officials are bracing for a new, lethal incarnation of the jihadi group. Read More

Obama returns to campaign trail to rally black voters

President Barack Obama will hit the campaign trail this week for the first time since leaving office, trying to rally black voters behind candidates for governor in Virginia and New Jersey amid warnings that they may not come out in force on an Election Day that is just three weeks away. Read More

Hate crime or PTSD: Marine’s attack raises questions

Damien Rodriguez was a decorated Marine sergeant major who was forced to retire after walking into a Portland restaurant and attacking an employee at the establishment owned by Iraqi refugees. As his court case unfolded over the summer, it raised questions about what constitutes a hate crime and how effectively the legal system treats combat veterans who suffer from PTSD. Read More

U.S. ambassador to U.N. escalates confrontation with Iran

The Trump administration escalated a bitter confrontation with Iran on Wednesday, demanding that the U.N. Security Council punish the Iranian government for what the U.S. ambassador called its “outlaw behavior” across the Middle East. Read More

Iraqi forces retake disputed oil fields as Kurds retreat

Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq have surrendered all disputed oil fields to Iraq’s military, retreating in the face of overwhelming force that appeared to halt, at least for now, their independence hopes from a referendum held less than a month ago. Read More

Will pumpkin spice destroy us all?

There are villains out there of infinitely greater consequence, but surely we still have the levity, and the taste buds, to look past the White House and beyond Hollywood and tremble before a lesser boogeyman. Lock the refrigerator, bolt the cupboards and barricade the pantry — pumpkin spice is here. Read More

As party gathers, Xi displays firm grip on power

President Xi Jinping of China will open another Communist Party congress this week, but this time as the nation’s most powerful leader in decades who is all but certain to receive a second five-year term. And after spending his first term tightening control on society, he is expected to enshrine his authoritarian vision for revitalizing the party — and perhaps position himself as indispensable to its survival. Read More

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