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Photo: Shaking hands with a hero

President Barack Obama shakes the prosthetic hand of U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Leroy Arthur Petry of Santa Fe, N.M., who received the Medal of Honor for his valor in Afghanistan in a ceremony at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2011. Petry lost his right hand as he tossed aside a live grenade during a 2008 firefight in Afghanistan, sparing the lives of his fellow Army Rangers. Photo: AP/Charles Dharapak

Bridging Detroit’s divide

The Bridging 8 Mile team. Photo: R. Kamaria

Immortalized in the 2002 Eminem film “8 Mile,” Eight Mile Road remains the dividing line between the city of Detroit, which is mostly black, and the suburb of Warren, which is mostly white.

How can a region reverse race and class segregation when they’ve persisted for so long? The Bridging 8 Mile initiative has a three-year plan to bring together people from both sides of the divide.

The initiative, said member Rasheda Williams, is made up of “everyday people” who are working to transform the way residents relate to one another.

Williams, who grew up on the east side of Detroit, can remember the first time she was made aware of the area’s history of segregation and its lingering effects.

She and her mother were walking in the affluent suburb of Grosse Point, which bordered their neighborhood, when her mother asked, “Do you think it’s okay for us to be walking through here? I don’t want anyone messing with us or telling us we don’t belong here.”
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Photo: Terror strikes Mumbai

AP Photo/Pravin Jain

A total of three bombs exploded in Mumbai during the evening rush hour today, killing 20 people and injuring 113, with officials expecting the numbers to rise. The explosions occurred in three busy areas of the city’s diamond district: Opera House, Dadar and Zaveri Bazaar (pictured above). This marks the second terror attack to rock the city of Mumbai in the past two-and-a-half years. Back in November 2008, Pakistani gunmen launched a dramatic terror attack that killed 164 people, including six American citizens.

Massey Energy cooked the books says government investigators

Scene at Massey Energy. Photo: Flickr/TV19 - DD Meighen

In late June, federal investigators from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) held a public briefing to deliver updates on their ongoing 15-month probe into the Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster which killed 29 miners last year.

MSHA officials stressed that the explosion at the mine, owned by Massey Energy and operated until the time of the blast by its subsidiary Performance Coal Company, was avoidable. The report read: “This explosion could and should have been prevented by the mine operator.”

Investigators said that the company failed to disclose hazards at the mine in reports provided to government inspectors. “We found there to be two sets of books,” said Kevin Stricklin, the coal administrator for MSHA.

According to MSHA, Massey’s subsidiary Performance Coal kept two sets of records at their mine. The “official” book was shown to government inspectors while the production book, which detailed production and safety concerns, was not. According to the report, “hazards recorded in production and maintenance reports” were “not listed in required examination books.”

Stricklin said that testimony from some of the 266 witnesses MSHA interviewed “indicated that management pressured examiners to not record hazards in the books.”

In June, Massey Energy was sold to rival coal company, Alpha Natural Resources.

Murdoch capitulates BSkyB bid

In the wake of the News of the World cellphone hacking scandal, which has claimed new victims on an almost daily basis and has since included other News International papers in the firestorm, News Corporation announced Wednesday its withdrawal from the $12 billion bid to assume full control of British Sky Broadcasting, reported The New York Times.

Chase Carey, the deputy chairman, president, and chief operating officer of News Corporation, said in a press statement issued today that the acquisition would benefit both News Corporation and BSkyB.

“But it has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate,” he said.
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‘Conservative feminist’? Not Michele Bachmann

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., addresses the crowd during a welcome home event in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa Sunday, June 26, 2011. Photo: AP/Charlie Riedel

Last year, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin famously declared herself to be part of a “conservative feminist” movement. Her remarks, made over the course of her public campaign to support “Mama Grizzly” female candidates for the 2010 midterm elections, highlighted an antagonistic rift between the conservative female politicians she helped support and progressive feminist factions who declared “conservative feminist” to be oxymoronic.

But this year, presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann hasn’t followed suit in her own campaign to win the Republican nomination, telling The Daily Beast in an interview that she defines herself as simply “pro-woman and pro-man.”
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Photo: Happy anniversary, Neptune

Neptune looking rather blue for its one-year (or 165-year) anniverary. Photo: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope

The farthest true planet in our solar system is celebrating its big day today — one Neptunian year since it was discovered by astronomers — 165 years to Earthlings. NASA’s soon-to-be-retired Hubble Space Telescope took these photos to commemorate the day. Unfortunately, the weather report is going to be pretty cloudy for the next 40 years or so, until its seasons next change.

At least the gas-giant planet will have some company on this anniversary, since it’s always tagging along with Uranus and it has 13 known moons, four of them inside its rings.

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News International hacked former PM Gordon Brown

Photo: Flickr/gwydionwilliams

In an update to the ongoing coverage of the News of the World hacking scandal, The Guardian reported Monday that journalists from other News International papers — The Sun and The Sunday Times — targeted former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Beyond attempts to hack his voicemail, reporters accessed information about his bank account his legal file, and details about his children’s medical conditions. The evidence comes from notebooks taken from private investigator Glenn Mulcaire by police investigating cellphone hacking allegations. It shows that Brown was targeted by hackers for more than 10 years, during his time as chancellor of the exchequer and as the prime minister.

Photo: Hoofing it in Pamplona

Bulls run the streets of Pamplona, Spain, to help ring in the San Fermin festival. Photo: AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos

The San Fermin festival kicked off in Pamplona, Spain, this week to honor Saint Fermin — co-patron saint of the northern Navarra province of which Pamplona is the capital city. Besides street parties and religious ceremonies, the Running of the Bulls forms part of the celebrations. Known as the “encierro,” or enclosure, this week-long bull run also serves a practical purpose: getting the bulls from their corral into the bullring for an evening “corrida,” or bullfight. The bulls run behind thrill-seeking forerunners, but sometimes they can fall while turning corners. The final encierro of the festival will take place on the morning of July 14.