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Inside Daily Brief (Nov 13th, 2017)

An earthquake has killed at least 400 people in Iran and Iraq. The epicenter of the 7.3 magnitude tremor was located 20 miles from the Iraqi city of Halabja, which is near the border with Iran, but most of the deaths occurred in the Iranian province of Kermanshah. According to state-run media, around 400 people were killed by the quake in Iran and 6,700 were injured. Some 70,000 people are in need of shelter, an Iranian aid agency said. The Iranian town of Sarpol-e-Zahab sustained widespread damage. The quake destroyed apartment buildings there, trapping people inside, and knocked out water and power infrastructure. The town’s hospitals were damaged, and there are reports of rescue teams pulling people out of the rubble. Meanwhile, the quake killed eight Iraqis and injured around 500 more, the country's government said. – AP

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Bill Gates will donate $100 million for Alzheimer’s disease research. The billionaire philanthropist will contribute $50 million to the Dementia Discovery Fund, a group that provides funding for dementia research, and another $50 million for start-up ventures working on Alzheimer’s research. Despite decades of research, a cure for Alzheimer’s disease has eluded scientists. Current treatments help patients with the symptoms of the disease, but cannot slow down its progress. "It’s a huge problem, a growing problem, and the scale of the tragedy – even for the people who stay alive – is very high," Gates told Reuters in an interview. "I hope that in the next 10 years that we have some powerful drugs, but it’s possible that won’t be achieved." – REUTERS

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Though the White House claims that President Trump discussed human rights issues with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, a statement from Duterte's office says the topic was not mentioned. Duterte's fight against the drug trade has led to the deaths of thousands of people, many of whom have died in extrajudicial killings. However, the leaders only talked about human rights "briefly," according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. The conversation between them centered on ISIS, illegal drugs, and bilateral trade, Sanders said. A Duterte spokesman said the presidents did not discuss human rights at all. "There was no mention of human rights. There was no mention of extralegal killings. There was only a rather lengthy discussion of the Philippine war on drugs with President Duterte doing most of the explaining," he said. Trump was in Manila on Monday to attend the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). – CNN

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General Electric will cut its quarterly dividend by half as it embarks on a thorough corporate restructuring. From now on, GE will focus on healthcare, aviation and energy, according to a presentation released on Monday. The company is expected to exit businesses such as lighting and locomotives. "This is the opportunity really of a lifetime to reinvent an iconic company," CEO John Flannery said. He described the decision to cut the company’s dividend to 12 cents a share as "extremely painful," but said the move would allow GE to create more value for its shareholders in the future. The company’s shares were down 2.7 percent in early morning trade. – CNBC

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An agreement between Uber board members will ease the way for an investment of up to $10 billion in the ride hailing company. The investors, led by Softbank and Dragoneer Investment Group, will first inject between $1 billion and $1.25 billion into Uber. They will later buy a stake of up to 17 percent in Uber from other investors and employees. "We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber’s long-term potential," an Uber spokesman said. To pave the way for the deal, venture capital firm Benchmark, which has a seat on Uber’s board, will drop a suit against former CEO Travis Kalanick, sources told Reuters. In turn, Kalanick has agreed to seek board approval if he ever decides to appoint other people to any of the three board seats that he controls, a source said. – REUTERS

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On Sunday, the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, held a memorial service for the 25 people who were killed there last week. "Victory has a price … You cannot be victorious in battle without being wounded in battle," said Pastor Frank Pomeroy, whose 14-year-old daughter was killed when Devin Kelley opened fire on the congregation on Nov. 5. Talking in a makeshift sanctuary outside the church, Pomeroy said: "We have the power to choose, and, rather than choose darkness, like that young man did that day, I say we choose life." The church where the massacre occurred was turned into a memorial over the weekend, but religious services will return to the building next weekend. – CNN

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About 60,000 far-right demonstrators took to the streets of Warsaw on Sunday as Poland celebrated its independence day. Radical organizations with an anti-semitic history were among the groups that organized the rally, which was attended by right-wing leaders from other European countries. Richard Spencer, a U.S. white supremacist, was scheduled to attend the event, but the Polish government said he was not welcome. Some of the young men in the crowd had their faces covered, while others were holding banners with far-right symbols. The rally was also attended by families and older people. The state broadcaster, which is controlled by the government, described the event as “a great march of patriots.” "We are proud that so many Poles have decided to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday," Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said. Groups that have fascist and anti-immigrant views are growing rapidly in some Eastern European countries. – NBC

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A U.S. Army Green Beret who died in Mali in June might have been killed during an altercation with two Navy SEALs, the Daily Beast reports, citing five members of the special operations community. The Navy had previously confirmed that it was investigating two officers over the death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar. His death has been ruled a homicide. According to the Daily Beast, Melgar discovered that the SEALs had taken money from a fund to pay informants. Unnamed sources claim that this discovery led to an altercation in which Melgar lost his life. – DAILYBEAST

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North Korean guards shot and injured a fellow soldier as he attempted to run across the border and defect to the South. A UN helicopter took the soldier to a hospital, where he is receiving treatment for gunshots to his shoulder and elbow. "Since it was an area exposed to the North, we had to crawl towards there to get him out," a South Korean government official said. Military defections through the heavily guarded Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas are very rare, in part because North Korean border guards are chosen for their loyalty to the regime. There are more than a million landmines in the DMZ and parts of the border are covered with razor-wire fences. – GUARDIAN

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A very rare dinosaur-era shark has been captured by Portuguese fishermen in the Atlantic ocean. Frilled sharks (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) have roamed the oceans for 80 million years and feed mainly on deep-sea creatures, including squids and octopus. These snake-like "living fossils" have 300 teeth arranged in 25 rows. The one caught off the Algarve coast in southern Portugal was 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) long. They were first discovered in the 19th century, but have not been studied in detail because they are rarely caught. – NEWSWEEK

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MONDAY PICK-ME-UP

Just a bright spot in the news to help your Monday go smoothly...

The loud noises and discomfort that come with CT, MRI and PET scans can be off-putting to adults, so it’s no wonder that they’re troublesome for children.

“Imagine being a 6-year-old child about to be fed into the bore of a large, noisy machine and then being told not to move for 10 minutes, 30 minutes or longer,” writes Guy Boulton of the Journal Sentinel. “That's what computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography — commonly known as CT, MRI and PET scans — entail.”

In many cases, children need to be sedated in order to quell their fears and go through with these types of scans. As a result, hospitals are able to conduct fewer scans per day, spending more time on preparation than necessary. Now, the designers at GE Healthcare are stepping in to help.

In combination with the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, designers have created what is known as the Adventure Series. Now when children are brought in for an MRI, they are offered a simulated “space voyage” instead. When loud noises are created, they are told their spaceship is about to go into hyper-drive.

"We used the children's imagination to our advantage," Kathleen Kapsin, radiology director of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, told the Journal Sentinel. "Instead going to the CT scanner, you are going to Pirate Island. And when you go in, we have a monkey on a swing, so they can play with the monkey."

And the simulations vary depending on the type of scan, its length, and the hospital. For example, a children’s hospital in San Francisco has a theme centered around cable cars. Kids are given goggles within the machine, which allow them to watch a DVD tied to the theme, transporting them to a whole new world.

[read more]

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