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How You Can Help: Syrian Refugee Children

How You Can Help: Syrian Refugee Children

Christine Romo/ABC News(NEW YORK) — According to the International Labour Organization, there are an estimated 180,000 to 300,000 child workers in Lebanon, many of them Syrian refugees.

Child labor is illegal in Lebanon but Syrian refugee children can be found everywhere, from agricultural fields to urban streets, selling everything from chewing gum to flowers and tissues.

These children, some as young as 7, and their families fled the conflict in Syria.

Many of the children are from middle class families and were in school in Syria but now they are the ones supporting their families. They wake up at 6 a.m., board a truck and head to the fields to spend hours doing back-breaking work.

UNICEF and Beyond Association work together to give the kids some schooling after their fieldwork and before they return to tents and their families.

Below is information on how to help:

To donate on the web:
To donate by text: Text SYRIA to 864233 to donate $10.
$15 can buy pencils and notebooks for an entire classroom.
$4 can buy a text book for a child.
$4 can buy a story book for a child.

Beyond Association:

Save the Children:


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Threat of Foreign ISIS Fighters on NATO Summit Agenda, Says WH Official

Threat of Foreign ISIS Fighters on NATO Summit Agenda, Says WH Official

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — President Obama will likely discuss the threat of foreign fighters—and their travel in and out of country—with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the upcoming NATO summit in Wales, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday.
“I would anticipate that these kinds of discussions will be on the agenda,” he said.
Later this month, the president is expected to convene a UN Security Council meeting when the General Assembly gathers for a meeting in New York, and will “lead a discussion” about “the threat that’s posed by foreign fighters,” Earnest said.
After Cameron announced emergency powers to seize passports and bar-reentry of U.K. citizens suspected of fighting (or going to fight) for ISIS, Earnest would not say whether Obama is contemplating  changes to U.S. visa-waiver policies, which allow residents of some countries to enter the U.S. and stay for months without a visa, in light of ISIS’s heavy recruitment of foreign fighters.
Earnest referenced the occasional “tweaking [of] those policies and procedures in ways that sometimes aren’t visible to the traveling public” and said, “There are professionals on the front lines making these kinds of decisions on a regular basis” to ensure that policies already in place are being used to protect the American public.
The threat of foreign fighters has been on the White House’s radar for “months,” Earnest said.
“Over the last several months, this is an issue that the White House has been very focused on,” Earnest said.

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Teen Diagnosed with Cancer Looks for Cure as Researcher

Teen Diagnosed with Cancer Looks for Cure as Researcher

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — After being diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at age 14, Lauren Bedesky has been fighting the disease as a patient for most of her teen years. It wasn’t until this summer that Bedesky got to fight cancer on an entirely new front — by working in a cancer research lab.

As an intern at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, Bedesky was able to run experiments and explore potential new cancer treatments.

Under the direction of cancer researcher Dr. Dean Lee, Bedesky, she was able to research the same kind of tumor — a type of brain cancer called neuroblastoma, she was diagnosed with in 2012.

“I thought it was really cool, we actually drew my own blood,” Bedesky told ABC News of her experiments. “We grew cells and could see how well my own cells were able to kill the tumor.”

Bedesky said she wanted to work in a cancer research lab after seeing firsthand how many pediatric patients had received treatments made for adults patients.

“In the last 20 years there’s only two drugs designed specifically for pediatric patients,” said Bedesky. “A lot of kids have adult types of toxic [cancer] treatments.”

Lee invited Bedesky to the lab after seeing her work as an ambassador for the St. Baldricks Foundation, which raises money for pediatric cancer research and treatments.

“She’s accomplished enough in the four weeks she’s been here that we have important pieces of data from the experiments she did,” Lee told ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston.

Bedesky was already a bit of an expert in cancer treatments after undergoing multiple rigorous chemotherapy treatments, stem cell transplants and radiation treatments after her diagnosis.

She said even though she was an expert in cancer treatments as a patient, it was a different experience to see the cancer fight from a researcher perspective.

“I thought it would get redundant,” said Bedesky of working in a lab. “But every day…it was really interesting because all the data [was new.] I didn’t realize how much research and work goes into one new medicine.”

Last October, after years of treatments Bedesky was declared to show “no evidence of disease” meaning there is no sign of the deadly cancer in Bedesky’s system. However, Bedesky’s cancer has a high chance of reoccurrence, so as the teen plans for the future she also remains committed to finding a cure and new treatments for her cancer.

Next year Bedesky said she hopes to go back to Lee’s lab and spent another two months working on new experiments.

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Another American Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in West Africa

Another American Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in West Africa

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Another American doctor working for the missionary group SIM has tested positive for Ebola in Liberia.

The doctor was treating pregnant women at ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, according to SIM. But he was not treating Ebola patients in the hospital’s separate Ebola isolation facility, the group said, adding that it was unclear how he contracted the virus.

“My heart was deeply saddened, but my faith was not shaken, when I learned another of our missionary doctors contracted Ebola,” SIM president Bruce Johnson said in a statement.

The doctor “immediately isolated himself” and has since been transferred to the ELWA Ebola ward where he is “doing well and is in good spirits,” according to SIM.

SIM is the same missionary group that Nancy Writebol had been working for when she contracted Ebola in July. Writebol and fellow American Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly, who worked for the aid group Samaritan’s Purse, were evacuated from Liberia to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment and declared virus-free. Writebol was discharged on Aug. 19 and Brantly went home two days later.

Since March, the deadly virus has killed 1,552 people and sickened 1,517 others, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

The virus has also sickened at least 240 health workers, half of whom have died, according to WHO.

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How Hackers Targeted Celebrities’ Apple Accounts

How Hackers Targeted Celebrities’ Apple Accounts

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(CUPERTINO, Calif.) — Hackers gained access to leaked nude photos purporting to be of dozens of A-list celebrities by an “all too common” tactic, according to Apple.

“After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet,” Apple said in a statement Tuesday.

The targeted celebrities included Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, and their purported photos were leaked online late Sunday.

The investigation found that none of the leaked photos were the result of any breach of Apple’s systems, including iCloud and Find My iPhone, the company noted in its statement.

Apple said it is “continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved.”

The FBI said on Monday it is “aware” that someone has leaked nude photos purporting to be pictures of a dozen Hollywood starlets.

Apple immediately released a statement saying it takes any breach of user privacy seriously and would actively investigate the report.

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Hackers Who Leaked Celeb Photos Could Face Jail Time

Hackers Who Leaked Celeb Photos Could Face Jail Time

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The hackers who leaked explicit photos of celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton will likely face jail time, if previous cases are any indication.

The FBI said it is actively investigating the case, after dozens of private, risqué photos of stars appeared online late Sunday, and the U.S. Justice Department has a history of taking a hard stance against hackers who target celebrities –- though prison sentences have varied.

In December 2012, Christopher Chaney was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to hacking into the personal email accounts of stars including Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and Christina Aguilera.

Chaney, from Jacksonville, Florida, pleaded guilty in federal court in Los Angeles to counts that included wiretapping and unauthorized access to a computer.

In March, Jared Abrahams, a computer science student from southern California, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to hacking into the personal computers of several women, including Cassidy Wolf, a former Miss Teen USA. He demanded they send nude photos and videos, or else risk their explicit photos being leaked online.

Abrahams, 19, pleaded guilty to extortion and unauthorized access to a computer.

Months earlier, Karen “Gary” Kazaryan of Glendale, California, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to hacking into hundreds of online accounts and using extortion to coerce women into sending naked photos.

In the most recent case, the photos were hacked by targeting the celebrities’ user names and passwords, according to Apple, rather than breaching Apple’s iCloud system as a whole. Hacking is a computer crime, and at least one of the affected actresses, Jennifer Lawrence, has been clear about wanting to prosecute, through a statement by her attorney.

The Department of Justice declined to comment on this specific case or speculate on any specific charges.

The photos have sparked concerns about cyber safety, and the security of storing photos and videos on the cloud.

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Low-Carb May Be Better Than Low-Fat in Diet Debate

Low-Carb May Be Better Than Low-Fat in Diet Debate

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new medical study found that low-carb diets may be more effective for losing weight than low-fat diets.

Researchers at Tulane University, funded by the National Institutes of Health, compared 73 individuals who embarked on a low-fat diet and 75 who took on a low-carbohydrate diet and studied their daily food intake for one year. Each participant also received individual and group diet counseling sessions.

According to the study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, those who cut out the carbs saw significant benefits in weight loss, decrease of fat mass, decrease in waist circumference, lower triglycerides and increase good cholesterol when compared to those on a low-fat diet.

On average, those in the carb-cutting diet lost about eight pounds more.

The study also indicated that a low-carb diet may be linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

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Cleveland Browns Linebacker Shrinks About 6 Feet in “Madden NFL” Video Game

Cleveland Browns Linebacker Shrinks About 6 Feet in “Madden NFL” Video Game

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Christian Kirksey, linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, stands at 6-feet-2 but in the recently released Madden NFL 15 video game, he barely reaches the shins of his opponents.

Madden NFL 15 was launched on Microsoft’s Xbox One on Aug. 26, and Kirksey is the biggest topic in social media commentary about the game. In the new video game, Kirksey is not only wearing a Tennessee Titans uniform, he is only a few inches tall.

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Electronic Arts did not respond to a request by ABC News for comment. A version of Madden NFL 15 is also available for the Xbox 360 console and the PlayStation 3 system.

At least Kirksey, who weighs 235 pounds, can laugh at his tiny avatar. He tweeted with his reaction just after celebrating his birthday on Sunday. The former University of Iowa Hawkeye turned 22 years old on Sunday.


No matter how small you are, have big dreams, and live big! #madden #glitch #1’2 #reallyLOL #goodmessagetho

— Christian Kirksey (@chriskirksey20) September 2, 2014



This glitch of me on madden is hilarious might I say! #lol #laughitsgood

— Christian Kirksey (@chriskirksey20) September 2, 2014



Why they got me a 1’2 in the Madden glitch lol why ha

— Christian Kirksey (@chriskirksey20) September 1, 2014


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How to Measure and Reduce Your Digital Footprint

How to Measure and Reduce Your Digital Footprint

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Mopping up your digital footprint may be nearly impossible, but there is a way to take charge of it.The naked photos purported to be of Hollywood starlets — some said to have been taken years ago — that were leaked in a…

Ancient Cookbook Reveals Hangover Cure from 1,000 Years Ago

Ancient Cookbook Reveals Hangover Cure from 1,000 Years Ago

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When you’re hungover, you’ll do anything to make it stop: anti-inflammatory meds, greasy food, even more alcohol.

Here’s one you probably haven’t tried, though — eating an ancient Iraqi stew.

That’s what Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq claimed as the ultimate hangover cure in his 10th century Baghdadi cookbook, helpfully translated by Iraqi scholar Nawal Nasrallah in her book, Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens.

“There were things you take before, things you take while you are drinking, and of course after when you wake up in the morning,” Nasrallah told ABC News of the advice in the ancient cookbook. “For example, cabbage before drinking will slow down intoxication. They also encouraged having mezze [appetizers] and alternating between having them and drinking. Take a sip and have, for example, roasted nuts.”

Al-Warraq was especially specific in his post-drinking advice.

“You need to know that drinking cold water first thing in the morning is recommended only for people suffering from…hangovers,” he wrote. “However, they should avoid drinking it in one big gulp. Rather, they need to have it in several small doses and breathe deeply between one dose and the other.”

So, start by taking deep breaths and sips of cold water, and then follow it up with kishkiyya, a meat and chickpea stew, which al-Warraq included as the best hangover food, citing an even older poem about the dish as evidence.

“The nourishing dish to have when in the gripes of a hangover one craves some food. …Having eaten it intoxicated one will be all anew and the hangover will itself renew,” the poem stated.

“They used to think it was easy to digest and alleviated the symptoms of the hangover,” Nasrallah explained. “It’s a simple dish. They cook the meat with onions, some vegetables, some spices like coriander and cumin and they let it boil. Then they add kishk [pictured above], which the dish gets its name from, which are clumps of dried yogurt and bulgur.”

To make kishkiyya for your next wild night, click here for the recipe.

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Uzi Was ‘Too Much,’ Girl Said After Fatal Gun Range Accident

Uzi Was ‘Too Much,’ Girl Said After Fatal Gun Range Accident

iStock/Thinkstock(KINGMAN, Ariz.) — The 9-year-old girl who accidentally shot her gun instructor when she lost control of a powerful Uzi submachine gun dropped the weapon and complained that it was “too much” for her to handle, according to a police report of the incident released Tuesday.

The girl’s parents huddled around her as she gripped her shoulder that she said was injured by the gun’s powerful recoil after she fired the automatic weapon at Bullets and Burgers gun range in Arizona. The girl’s parents comforted their injured daughter, not realizing at that point that she had fatally shot her instructor, Charles Vacca.

The girl’s mother told police that she saw her daughter drop the gun before turning towards her parents and telling them “the gun was too much for her and it hurt her shoulder.”

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office has released their incident report, which includes descriptions of the shooting from both of the girl’s parents.

“[The girl's mother] said no one knew Vacca was shot until the other instructor ran over,” the report reads.

Vacca was identified in the report as a range master at the facility and he had been working with the New Jersey family while they were on vacation in Las Vegas.

One of Vacca’s colleagues, a range instructor, told police that he was standing by when the shooting happened and he saw the girl, whose name was redacted from the police report because of her age, shoot the mini 9 mm Uzi.

The instructor “saw the girl start to shoot the weapon and due to the recoil, the weapon went straight up in the air and crossed the path where Charles had his head,” the report states.

The instructor rushed to Vacca’s side after he collapsed and began applying pressure to the head wound. The girl’s father said that their first indication that something was wrong only came when the instructor ran over to Vacca.

The incident was filmed by the girl’s parents as they stood behind both she and Vacca and recorded her on their iPhone. The girl’s mother shared that video with police as soon as they spoke with her at the gun range’s restaurant.

No charges have been filed in the case and responding officers noted that they believed it was an accidental shooting. The range allows anyone above the age of 8 to shoot automatic weapons if the instructor believes they are suitable.

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Parents Arrested for Trying to Override Doctor’s Cancer Treatment for Son

Parents Arrested for Trying to Override Doctor’s Cancer Treatment for Son

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A British family’s arrest following a flight to Spain to get their cancer-stricken son an experimental therapy highlights the delicate balance between when parents should advocate for their children and when doctor knows best.

The King family was arrested for taking their 5-year-old son out of the country for proton beam therapy, which they said their hospital refused to offer. Ashya King had already undergone surgery to remove the tumor, but was not on any medication at the time his family removed him, they said.

“The line usually is when there’s a proven treatment that a parent is withholding, the state steps in to protect the child,” said New York University bioethicist Arthur Caplan. “This family is on the other end of spectrum. They’re saying not that they’re trying to withhold anything that works, but that ‘we want to chase something that might work.’”

Ashya was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor located in the cerebellum, a part of the brain that controls motor functions. Ashya had a 70 percent to 80 percent chance of surviving five years, according to a statement from University Hospital Southampton, where Ashya was being treated.

After surgery to remove the tumor, the boy’s father, Brett King, said he wasn’t satisfied with hospital’s treatment plan, which he called “trial and error.” So he researched treatments on the Internet and came up with what he thought was a better approach: proton beam therapy, a type of focused radiation therapy that uses protons rather than X-rays.

“Proton beam is so much better in children with brain cancer,” he said in a YouTube video, holding a nearly motionless Ashya in his arms. “It zones in on the area whereby normal radiation passes right through his head and comes out the other side, destroys everything in his head.”

Though King said he pleaded with his doctors to help him get the therapy for Ashya, they told him Ashya wouldn’t benefit from it because of the kind of tumor he had. But King said his research told him the opposite.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute considers proton beam therapy “under investigation” for tumors like Ashya’s.

King said when he questioned the doctors’ plans, they threatened to take Ashya away from him via a protection order.

“We couldn’t take it anymore, not knowing and not being able to question anything,” King said. “We couldn’t be under that system anymore.”

So on Friday, they took Ashya to Spain, where King intended to sell his property to pay for the proton beam therapy himself. They planned to take Ashya to the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic.

The family stayed in a hotel room as police searched for them.

“We’ve decided to try and sort it out ourselves, but now we’re refugees,” King said. “We’re not neglecting him. He has everything that he had in the hospital.”

He said he bought syringes, intravenous nutrition and other hospital equipment online.

“Call off this ridiculous chase,” he said. “We just want to be left in peace. … I’m not coming back to England if I cannot give him the treatment that I want.”

The video was shot minutes before King and his wife were arrested, their son Naveed said in a follow-up YouTube video. They faced extradition back to England, but British prosecutors withdrew their arrest warrant Tuesday.

Caplan said there isn’t much evidence proton beam therapy would work, but if the family found a legitimate hospital willing to treat Ashya, they have the right to take him there.

“As long as it’s a legitimate place, I think they should be able to do that without being chased all over the globe,” Caplan said.

According to Southampton University Hospital, Ashya “went missing” on Friday, prompting hospital officials to involve police, the hospital’s medical director Dr. Michael Marsh said in a statement.

“We very much regret that the communication and relationship with the King family had broken down in this way and that for whatever reason they have lost confidence in us,” Marsh said, adding the hospital discussed proton beam therapy with the family and concluded there wasn’t evidence to suggest it would work.

But Tuesday, after the Prague center said it would take on Ashya as a patient, Southampton University Hospital said it was “willing to support the family’s transfer” and was “of course open to discussing this.” But now those decisions are up to a judge.

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Obama Urges West Africans Not to Touch Bodies of Ebola Victims in Video

Obama Urges West Africans Not to Touch Bodies of Ebola Victims in Video

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — In a video released by the U.S. State Department and posted to YouTube, President Obama urged West Africans not to touch the bodies of family members who have died from Ebola.

“When burying someone who has died from this terrible disease,” Obama said, “it’s important to not directly touch their body. You can respect your traditions and honor your loved ones without risking the lives of the living.”

The World Health Organization has noted that burial practices involving physical contact with corpses may play a role in the transmission of Ebola. The disease has spread to at least four countries in West Africa and threatens to infect even more people if action isn’t taken to halt it.

Obama addressed the video to “you, the people of West Africa,” and reassured West Africans that the U.S. and other nations will continue to work with the West African governments to fight the Ebola outbreak.

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Lost in America: Visa Program Struggles to Track Missing Foreign Students

Lost in America: Visa Program Struggles to Track Missing Foreign Students

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Homeland Security has lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals who entered the United States on student visas, overstayed their welcome, and essentially vanished — exploiting a security gap that was supposed to be fixed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

“My greatest concern is that they could be doing anything,” said Peter Edge, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official who oversees investigations into visa violators. “Some of them could be here to do us harm.”

Homeland Security officials disclosed the breadth of the student visa problem in response to ABC News questions submitted as part of an investigation into persistent complaints about the nation’s entry program for students.

ABC News found that immigration officials have struggled to keep track of the rapidly increasing numbers of foreign students coming to the U.S. — now in excess of one million each year. The immigration agency’s own figures show that 58,000 students overstayed their visas in the past year. Of those, 6,000 were referred to agents for follow-up because they were determined to be of heightened concern.

“They just disappear,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. “They get the visas and they disappear.”

Coburn said since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, 26 student visa holders have been arrested in the U.S. on terror-related charges.

Tightening up the student visa program was one of the major recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, after it was determined that the hijacker who flew Flight 77 into the Pentagon, Hani Hanjour, had entered the U.S. on a student visa but never showed up for school.

Edge said ICE agents are trying to locate every one of the 6,000 missing students, but acknowledged that “we really have a lot more work to do” to tighten up the student visa program.

Despite repeated concerns raised by Congress, federal immigration officials have also continued to grant schools certification to accept overseas applicants even if the schools lack accreditation, state certification, or any obvious measure of academic rigor.

There are now more than 9,000 schools on the government approved list. The list includes such top flight American colleges as Harvard and Yale, but it also includes 86 beauty schools, 36 massage schools and nine schools that teach horseshoeing. Foreign students can enter the U.S. on a visa to study acupuncture, hair braiding, or join academies that focus on tennis and golf.

Once the student arrives in the U.S., it is up to the schools to keep track of the visa-holder’s whereabouts — and report to the government if they repeatedly miss class.

That is a serious concern, Coburn said, because a number of for-profit schools appear to have been operating with a primary goal of selling visas, not educating students.

“We know we have a lot of non-accredited universities that are using this system to bring people in, collect money, and not educate them at all,” said Coburn, who is part of a bi-partisan group of senators that has been trying to tighten controls on student visas. “To me, it’s a mess.”

One school on the approved list, MicroPower Career Institute, licensed by the state of New York, continues to have four campuses on the approved list, even though five of the school’s top officials — including its president — were indicted on charges of visa fraud in May. According to the indictment, 80 percent of the foreign students enrolled MicroPower had delinquent attendance, putting them out of compliance with their visas. But the school did not report them, the indictment says. All five school officials have pleaded not guilty in the case.

ABC News visited MicroPower’s small fifth floor campus in a Manhattan office suite, but the school declined to make anyone available to comment.

Edge, who is Executive Associate Director at for ICE Homeland Security Investigations, said his agency had no choice but to continue to allow MicroPower to facilitate student visas.

“I can only say that this is the United States of America and everyone has due process,” Edge said.

The MicroPower case is one of several that touch on broader questions long raised about the student visa program.

Thomas Kean 9/11 Commission Co-Chair said the government has yet to address the security gaps the program has created. He said was stunned the federal government continues to lose track of so many foreign nationals who had entered the country with student visas. He noted that, even before the 9/11 terror attacks, federal officials had been aware of the gaps in the student visa program. The man who drove the van containing explosives into the World Trade Center garage in 1993 was also a student visa holder who was a no-show at school.

“It’s been pointed out over and over and over again and the fact that nothing has been done about it yet…it’s a very dangerous thing for all of us,” Kean said. “The fact that there’s been no action on this is very bothersome.”

Janice Kephart, who was counsel to the 9/11 Commission and co-author of a separate report looking at how the hijackers entered the U.S., said the credibility of schools certified by ICE is another significant concern.

“When schools are not legitimate that enables terrorists to come here under a fraudulent basis and disappear into the fabric of society without anybody knowing that they are here for illegitimate reason,” Kephart said, “because the system itself will say they’re here legitimately when in fact they’re not.”

ICE has taken steps to address the issue, especially in the aftermath of a damning report by the Government Accountability Office in 2012, which found the agency had failed to adequately police for visa fraud. ICE officials told ABC News, for instance, that it has undertaken a new program to deploy field representatives around the country to personally inspect schools that had been approved to accept foreign students. So far, 15 field representatives have been hired, with a plan to ultimately employ 60 around the country, according to spokesperson Carissa Cutrell.

The agency has also launched a program — so far installed at one airport, but planned for others — that will immediately alert a customs inspector if a student is attempting to re-enter the country after their status has been flagged by a school official.

“We’re continually making improvements,” Cutrell said.

Edge said part of the blame for the continued trouble with the student visa program stems from a Congress that has been unwilling to impose tighter limits on schools — many of which profit from tuition paid by foreign students.

Coburn, as well as Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Chuck Schumer, D-NY, were among those pushing for limiting ICE certification to accredited schools in 2012. But that effort stalled in the House of Representatives.

Rachel Banks, the director of public policy for NAFSA, the association of international educators, said her group has been working to promote opportunities for foreign study in the U.S. She said the group understands the need to monitor the arrival and departure of foreign nationals, but it should not come at the expense of legitimate applicants seeking to study in America.

“Students should not be scapegoated,” Banks said. “Foreign students are an asset and not a threat.”

The effort to expand options for foreign study appear to be prevailing. According to figures gathered by congressional investigators, the number of foreign nationals obtaining visas to study in the U.S. has grown from 662,966 in 2003 to more than 1.2 million in 2012.

Edge said his agency has accepted that those numbers represent a continued challenge for the Department of Homeland Security.

“Our work has only begun,” he said. “We have a lot more work to do in this space.”

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Robin Williams’ Daughter, Zelda, Returns to Twitter

Robin Williams’ Daughter, Zelda, Returns to Twitter

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Three weeks after Zelda Williams quit Twitter and said she was “deleting this from my devices for a good long time,” the only daughter of the late Robin Williams is back.

She tweeted Monday for the first time since Aug. 13 with a message of “Thank you,” which came with a link to her Tumblr.

The Tumblr post has a quote from actor Harvey Fierstein, “Never be bullied into silence.”

It continued, “Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”

This return comes weeks after Williams left Twitter upon seeing some crude remarks from other members on social media regarding her father’s suicide.

Those so-called Twitter trolls were suspended.

Zelda, 25, released a statement after Williams was found dead at 63 in an apparent suicide Aug. 11.

“To those he touched who are sending kind words, know that one of his favorite things in the world was to make you all laugh. As for those who are sending negativity, know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you’ve had it washed,” she said via a statement.


Thank you.

— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) September 1, 2014


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Ashlee Simpson Marries “Hunger Games: Mockingjay’s” Evan Ross

Ashlee Simpson Marries “Hunger Games: Mockingjay’s” Evan Ross

Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage(NEW YORK) — Ashlee Simpson and Hunger Games: Mockingjay actor Evan Ross tied the knot this past Sunday at the Greenwich, Connecticut, estate of his famous mother, Diana Ross, according to Us Weekly.

The tabloid says the former Supremes singer planned the star-studded event and performed as well.

The 29-year-old Simpson wore a pearl-studded, long-sleeved wedding dress with $750 thousand-worth of rubies and diamonds and a tiara. The groom, 26, wore a black velvet tux with white silk trim.

Simpson was escorted down the aisle by her five-year-old son Bronx, from her first marriage to Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz.

Ashlee’s sister, Jessica, 34, was the matron of honor. Her two two-year-old daughter Maxwell and 14-month old son Ace served as flower girl and ring bearer, respectively.

Evan’s half-sister, actress Tracee Ellis Ross, served as the evening’s MC.

Simpson and Ross got engaged this past January after a year of dating.  This is his first trip down the aisle.

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Reds Shut Down Homer Bailey for the Rest of the Season

Reds Shut Down Homer Bailey for the Rest of the Season

Jason Wise/MLB Photos via Getty Image(CINCINNATI) — Following a disappointing season coming off signing a mega-contract extension, the Cincinnati Reds have decided to shut down starting pitcher Homer Bailey for the rest of the season with an elbow injury.

Bailey had been on the shelf since being put on the DL back on August 16 with a flexor mass strain in his right elbow. Despite the injury, the team was hoping to get him back this month as the Reds fight for a playoff spot in the National League.

According to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds are mulling whether or not surgery could be the best option for the 28-year-old Bailey.

Now in his eighth season with the Reds, the team signed Bailey during the offseason to a six-year extension worth $105 million.

In 23 starts this season, Bailey went 9-5 with a 3.71 ERA along with a 1.23 WHIP. Despite the lucrative contract, Bailey has a career record of 58-50 with a 4.17 ERA.

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Amnesty International Accuses ISIS of Ethnic Cleansing

Amnesty International Accuses ISIS of Ethnic Cleansing

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Amnesty International is accusing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria of “a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing” in Iraq.

According to a briefing published on Tuesday, dozens of men and boys were rounded up and massacred on the outskirts of villages, and “hundreds, possibly thousands” of women and children have been abducted since ISIS militants took control of northern Iraq.

Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser Donatella Rovera said that ISIS’ actions “provide harrowing new evidence that a wave of ethnic cleansing against minorities is sweeping across northern Iraq.”

During August, Amnesty International says it found evidence of “several” mass killings. These killings, along with numerous abductions “have succeeded in terrorizing the entire population…leading thousands to flee in fear for their lives,” said the Amnesty International post.

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Action Flicks May Fuel Mindless Munching, Study Finds

Action Flicks May Fuel Mindless Munching, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(ITHACA, N.Y.) — We’ve all been there before. You hunker down by the TV with a bag of chips, a tub of ice cream or perhaps your very own pizza pie, and before you know it, the credits are rolling, and the food is gone.

Were those pepperoni slices extraordinarily tasty? Or did the title of that Hunger Games movie have a subliminal effect on your appetite? Something made it much easier to eat while you were on that couch, but what exactly?

A new study from the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University asks that very question. What it finds is that it’s not TV itself that makes the cheesy puffs go “poof,” but certain shows or movies may stop you from realizing just how much you’re consuming, until it’s too late.

The study, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, was led by Aner Tal, a Ph.D. in consumer behavior at Cornell. Tal hypothesized that distracting, action-packed programming was a key factor.

“If I go to the cinema and I’m really engrossed in the movie, I find myself with an empty bucket of popcorn 10 minutes later,” Tal said. “In a previous study, people would even eat stale popcorn if they weren’t paying attention.”

Accordingly, he chose a 20-minute segment from a film that was bound to capture attention: Michael Bay’s action movie The Island. For a less distracting option, he chose an excerpt from the interview program Charlie Rose.

Tal and his colleagues then recruited three groups of about 30 college students each. One group watched the clip from The Island, while another group watched the same clip without sound. The third group watched the Charlie Rose segment. Meanwhile, these students were supplied with as many M&M’s, cookies, carrots and grapes as they liked.

The results? The students who watched the action movie ate nearly twice as much of all the snacks than those watching the comparison show, which had far fewer camera cuts and fluctuations in sound. Even the students who watched the soundless version of the action movie ate more than the control group.

This, Tal said, was a surprise.

“We expected the action movie to get people to eat more than the laid-back talk show,” he said. “What had never been shown before is that even without sound, you could still get higher levels of engagement, which is relevant if you think about contexts where TV is on in the background, like at bars and restaurants.”

The study’s findings also suggested that the flashy film with jarring camerawork had a bigger impact on male subjects than female subjects. Regardless, the students consumed all snacks in increased amounts in the action film group, suggesting that eating was indiscriminate and based on what was close at hand.

Tal clarified, however, that the findings of the study do not necessarily mean that television is inherently harmful.

“It has been associated with increased BMI and sedentary lifestyle, but ‘everything in moderation’ applies to TV as well as food,” he said. “We’re also interested in how online content influences consumption. In theory, it should work the same way.”

More studies might be needed to confirm these findings, however. Dr. Kelly Pritchett, spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said this study, while interesting, was not conclusive.

“It’s hard to infer what this means for the general population,” said Pritchett, who was not involved with the study. “It’s just one group. We don’t know how this would apply to middle-aged Americans. We also don’t know anything about these students, about their families or socioeconomic status.”

Doctor’s Take

A growing body of evidence suggests that the factors that lead to obesity and unhealthy eating habits have to do with much more than simply what is on our plates. This study is the latest to demonstrate how distractions in our environment can affect our behavior when it comes to food.

“We’re trying to help people avoid mindless eating traps,” Tal said. “More distracting content is more dangerous.”

So what can you do to counter this tendency? Tal says the solutions are simple.

“If you have to snack, you can pour out a reasonable portion and put the rest in the kitchen,” he said. “Getting up for more would require conscious engagement. If you have to have endless snacks, instead of chips or candy, you can have baby carrots.”

As for those who prefer to settle in for a quiet evening with Charlie Rose, Tal said he did not intend the study to diminish the importance of in-depth talk shows.

“I was constantly thinking about that when I wrote the paper,” he said. “If he found out about it, I would have to say, ‘nothing personal.’”

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Breastfeeding May Influence Kids’ Eating Habits at Age 6

Breastfeeding May Influence Kids’ Eating Habits at Age 6

Polka Dot/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — What you feed your child in his or her first year of life could very well predict their health habits at age 6, according to a new report from researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings provide a lens to understanding childhood obesity rates, which have more than doubled in the past 30 years.

The researchers surveyed more than 1,500 mothers and concluded that children who were breastfed for longer periods as infants tended to eat more healthily at age 6 — drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, and indulging in fewer sugar-sweetened beverages.

Moreover, the children whose parents introduced them earlier to healthful foods between 6 months and a year of age tended to continue to enjoy a healthier diet later on. For example, when mothers fed their children sugar-sweetened beverages or juice during the first year of life, their children were twice as likely to drink sugar-sweetened beverages at age 6.

The study was published Tuesday in a special supplement of the journal Pediatrics.

“Seeing these relationships between early feeding and later health really emphasizes the importance of following the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics,” said Kelly Scanlon, one of the CDC researchers who authored the study.

These recommendations urge exclusive breastfeeding for six months, followed by continued breastfeeding until the infant is a least 1 year old. They also suggest that parents introduce complimentary foods starting at six months that are healthy and nutrient rich.

The findings underscore a simple fact that is gaining traction in the field of childhood nutrition: preference for flavor in a child begins early. And it can even begin in the womb, some research suggests.

Scanlon said that breast milk, too, exposes infants to a variety of flavors, which studies have shown makes them more accepting than formula-fed infants of various flavors.

Childhood nutrition experts not involved with the study said the findings provide additional weight to the importance of shaping a child’s diet early. Dr. David Katz, editor-in-chief of the journal Childhood Obesity and director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, said the findings serve to underscore the long-established relationship between breastfeeding and health in mothers and children.

“The question we need to be asking is not ‘Why should mothers breastfeed?’ but, ‘Why shouldn’t they?’” Katz said. “For all mammals, our first food is breast milk.”

The study also points to other benefits of breast feeding. Kids who breast fed for longer in infancy tended to have a lower risk of ear, throat and sinus infections at age 6. The study also noted that mothers may have much to gain — or lose, in this case — as obese mothers who adhered to breastfeeding recommendations retained about 18 pounds less than obese women who did not breastfeed once their children reached the age of 6.

Doctor’s Take

This new study is only the latest in a growing body of research that suggests that there are things that mothers (and fathers) can do when their children are still very young to set them on the right path to healthy behaviors later. For women, this means breastfeeding your child if possible according to AAP guidelines. And for both parents, it means introducing your child early to the nutritious foods that will benefit their health both now and later on in life — while avoiding the ones that are likely to lead to obesity and other health problems.

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