National News

First Lt. Patrick Romanofski, center, and 2nd Lt. Andrew Beckner (right) practice the launch of nuclear weapons. Promotions are now more strongly influenced by hands-on performance in this simulator.

To Stop Cheating, Nuclear Officers Ditch The Grades

The young officers at F.E. Warren Air Force Base have an enormous job: to keep 150 nuclear-tipped missiles ready to launch at a moment's notice.

Understandably, they're expected to know exactly what they're doing.

Three times a month, they're tested on the weapons and the codes used to launch them. Anything less than 90 percent is a fail.

The human Y chromosome, left, holds the code for "maleness;" that's the X on the right.

With Men's Y Chromosome, Size Really May Not Matter

Basic biology has it that girls are girls because they have two X chromosomes — the things inside cells that carry our genes. Boys are boys because they have one X and one Y. Recently, though, there's been a lot of debate in scientific circles about the fate of that Y chromosome — the genetic basis of maleness.

Where The Birds Are Is Not Where You'd Think

This is a trick question. Where would you expect to find the greatest variety of birds?

Downtown, in a city?

Or far, far from downtown — in the fields, forests, mountains, where people are scarce?

Or in the suburbs? In backyards, lawns, parking lots and playing fields?

Not the city, right?

Court Orders Russia To Pay Former Yukos Shareholders $50B

In 2003, Russia arrested the country's richest man, seized his main asset, Yukos Oil, broke it up and sold it. More than a decade later, a three-judge arbitration panel in The Hague ordered Moscow to pay the shareholders of the now defunct oil giant more than $50 billion.

People shop outside of a Family Dollar discount store in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Dollar Tree To Buy Family Dollar In $8.5 Billion Deal

With Dollar Tree's agreement to purchase Family Dollar on Monday, two of the United States' biggest discount stores are coming together in a deal estimated at $8.5 billion in cash and stock.

The New York Times reports:

Members of a Palestinian family break their fast with the "Iftar" meal during the holy month of Ramadan at a United Nations school, where hundreds of families have sought refuge after fleeing their homes following fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas.

For Muslims In Gaza, End Of Ramadan Marred By Fighting

Um Ahmed Ahmed almost ignored Eid this year.

The Muslim holiday, which began Monday, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. This year, it also marks three weeks since the current war in Gaza started.

"My plans were to have no plans for Eid," Ahmed says, pausing in the Firaz market area on a main street in Gaza City. "But my son kept bugging me, 'Mom, aren't you going to buy me something for Eid?'"

A child grabs sleep after a long day of labor in a struggling West African fishery.

How Protecting Wildlife Helps Stop Child Labor And Slavery

When scientists talk about the destruction of rain forests or the acidification of oceans, we often hear about the tragic loss of plants and animals.

But ecologists at the University of California, Berkeley, say there's also a human tragedy that frequently goes unnoticed: As fish and fauna are wiped out, more children around the world are forced to work. And more people are forced into indentured servitude, scientists wrote Thursday in the journal Science.

Smoke from shelling rises over a residential apartment house in Shakhtarsk, which is in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, on Monday.

Team Investigating Downing Of MH17 Turns Back Due To Heavy Fighting

For a second day in a row, Dutch and Australian experts were unable to reach the debris field left by downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine.

CNN reports that team members were attempting to make their way to the area when they heard explosions and were told there was heavy fighting, so they turned back. The network adds:

House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, a Republican from Florida.

Lawmakers Reach Deal Intended To Fix VA System In Crisis

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have reached a deal to overhaul the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs, multiple news organizations are reporting.

Palestinian Saeb Afana, 12, stands on the edge of a large crater from an Israeli missile strike that destroyed several graves, as he carries flowers at a cemetery in Gaza City on Monday.

Conflict In Gaza: Here's What You Need To Know Today

In a resolution overnight, the United Nations Security Council called for an "immediate and unconditional" cease-fire in Gaza.

As USA Today reports, the Security Council called on both Israel and Hamas "to accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond."

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