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Nation / World

Americans’ Waistlines Are Still Growing

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Americans may have stopped putting on pounds, but their waistlines are still expanding, according to a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The average waist circumference of U.S. adults has increased by about 3 percent since the end of the last century. In 1999 and 2000, the waists of Americans who were at least 20 years old measured 37.6 inches around. By 2011 and 2012, that …

Wildfire Consumes Calif. Town

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Weed, Calif. — Despite warnings about the dangers of wildfires and drought-parched forests, the inferno that swirled through the California lumber town of Weed caught the entire community off guard. In just a few hours, wind-driven flames destroyed or damaged 100 homes, the saw mill and a church. At times, the fire moved …

NASA Picks Ferry Service Companies

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cape Canaveral, Fla. — NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil. On Tuesday, the space agency picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named the winners of the competition at Kennedy Space Center, next door to where the launches should occur in a …

Death Rate for Children Under 5 Has Plunged

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Geneva — In a break from the recent slate of doom-and-gloom reports of catastrophes, wars and destruction, a United Nations report released Tuesday says the number of children under 5 who die each year fell by 49 percent between 1990 and 2013, from 12.7 million to 6.3 million, …

3,000 U.S. Troops To Fight Ebola

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Geneva — The World Health Organization warned Tuesday that the agency now expects tens of thousands of people will be infected with the Ebola virus before the current epidemic is contained, and it called for nations to commit …

Dempsey: Ground Troops Might Face Islamic State

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Washington — The nation’s top military officer raised the possibility Tuesday that U.S. troops could become involved in ground attacks against the Islamic State, despite repeated pledges to the contrary from President Obama. In testimony before the Senate …

Ukraine Steps Toward Peace

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Activists rejoice outside the Ukrainian parliament after legislators pass a key reform bill in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday. Ukraine passed a landmark deal strengthening its ties to Europe while moving to resolve the bloody crisis unraveling in the …

Thai Police Search for Clues After 2 Brits Slain

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bangkok — Police on a scenic Thai resort island searched hotels and workers’ residences Tuesday looking for clues into the slayings of two British tourists whose nearly naked, battered bodies were found on a beach a day earlier. …

Georgia Man Gets 20 Years for Gun Battle at School

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Decatur, Ga. — A gunman who was persuaded by a bookkeeper to surrender during a 2013 gun battle with police at a school near Atlanta pleaded guilty to multiple charges Tuesday and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Michael Brandon Hill, 21, entered the Ronald E. McNair …

Why Admiring China’s Scores Can Damage U.S. Schools

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I have spent much of my life studying China and the countries near it. Just ask and I’ll show you my master’s degree in East Asian regional studies, and my five years of Washington Post articles from Hong Kong and Beijing. So it’s depressing to realize what I …

NASA Offers Helpful Tips for Finding Alien Life in Space

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NASA recently published some new tips for going about your search the right way and avoiding the trap of false positives. Researchers at NASA’s Astrobiology Institute’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory conducted thousands of simulations of various atmospheres and star types over the course of four years and came up …

Gulf of Alaska Is Warmest It’s Been Since Before 1980s

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Something odd is happening in Northern Pacific waters: They’re heating up. In fact, it hasn’t been this warm in parts of the Gulf of Alaska for this long since researchers began tracking surface water temperatures in the 1980s, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The warming …

Hurricane Odile Slams Mexico

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico — Hurricane Odile blazed a trail of destruction through Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula on Monday that leveled everything from ramshackle homes to luxury hotels and big box stores, leaving entire neighborhoods as disasters zones. …