Iran’s Ahmadinejad is trying to make a comeback

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Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits Imam Ali shrine in Najaf, Iraq, July 19, 2013. REUTERS/Karim Kadim/Pool

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has launched a political campaign ahead of February’s parliamentary elections in what could prove a challenge to the moderates behind a landmark nuclear agreement reached last month.Few expect a rerun of Ahmadinejad’s surprise victory in the 2005 elections, which kicked off an eight-year presidency marked by confrontation with the West, incendiary rhetoric toward Israel and refusal to compromise on the disputed nuclear program. Many former allies have turned on Ahmadinejad, and two of his former vice presidents have been jailed for corruption.But the unapologetic populist is believed to command strong support in the countryside, and could be seen by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a counterbalance to the reformers who have tried to reverse Ahmadinejad’s confrontational legacy since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, two years ago.

Around the world, more people are eating one type of food — and it’s bad news for the planet

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dry canal california drought

People around the world are eating way more red meat.According to the latest Grantham Mayo van Otterloo (GMO) quarterly report, “The increasing middle class of the emerging countries, especially China, is rapidly increasing its meat consumption.”On the one hand, that’s good news, because it means people are eating more protein, an ingredient critical to healthy muscle and tissue development.But for the most part, it’s likely bad news for the world for two main reasons:

A California city is paying would-be murderers not to shoot anybody — and it’s working

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Devone Boggan ONS richmond

If you want to be a fellow for the Office of Neighborhood Safety in Richmond, California, you have to have the right background.These are “the most lethal (or potentially lethal) young men in our city,” says program director Devone Boggan. ”Young men that we believe will be involved as a shooter or a victim of gunfire within a 6-12 month period.” Once these men are identified by Boggan and his team, they’ll start building a rapport. Then, when the relationship is there, Boggan’s team makes a pitch: we’ll pay you to get your life on track – and stay out of gunfire.It’s a simple and radical tactic. And it’s needed. 

This is one of the biggest ways college students are ripped off these days

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College affordability has recently become the preeminent issue in higher education, as student debt figures have hit staggering levels. But most conversations center around the ballooning tuition costs, rather than a less well known source that strains the wallets of college students: college textbooks.Since 1977, the price of college textbooks has more than tripled the rate of inflation, meaning a 1,041% rise, according to NBC News, which cites Bureau of Labour Statistics Data.“They have been able to keep raising prices because students are ‘captive consumers.’ They have to buy whatever books they’re assigned,” Nicole Allen, a spokeswoman for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, told NBC.

An unstoppable problem is making it increasingly difficult for the world to produce enough food

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The possibility of increased food shortages looms in a nearer future than we’d care to believe.Citing the UN’sIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the latest Grantham Mayo van Otterloo (GMO) quarterly report noted, “humanity is risking ‘a breakdown of food systems linked towarming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes.’”Those changes to the climate threaten the way food gets produced around the world, which can drive up the price of foods and lead to a host of other problems.A June report from the Global Sustainability Institute of Anglia Ruskin University found that by 2040, food prices will be four times higher than they were in 2000. Already, they’re already twice as high as they were in 2000, the GMO report notes.

Amy Schumer just made an emotional statement about standing up for what you believe in

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Amy Schumer gun control

Comedian Amy Schumer issued an impassioned call for gun-control legislation alongside her cousin, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), at his office in New York City on Monday.Amy, who said the cause became “extremely personal” for her whentwo people were killed during a showing of her hit movie “Trainwreck” in Louisiana last month, said she isn’t concerned about facing a “backlash” from her gun-control push.”I am expecting a backlash and I’ll handle it the way I’ve handled it the last 10 years,” Schumer said. “I’ve had death threats and a lot of hate directed towards me, but I’m someone who — I want to be proud of the way I’m living and what I stand for.”

Puerto Rico’s ‘death spiral’ has officially begun

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Puerto Rico’s Public Finance Corp. has officially failed to make a payment due August 1.The president of the island’s development bank, Melba Acosta, has said it paid $628,000 of the $58 million due.And according to CNBC, credit rating agency Moody’s considers that a default.This means a bunch of painful events are about to be set in motion.Investors in the PFC will now prepare to negotiate a restructuring plan — they will likely push for the government to take on austerity measures like cutting costs and raising taxes.The discussions will be watched closely by investors holding some of the rest of Puerto Rico’s $72 billion worth of debt, who may end up in the same process as well.

The hits keep on coming at PIMCO

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An undated handout photo of Pimco's headquarters in Newport Beach, California. REUTERS/Pimco/HandoutThomson

The hits keep on coming at PIMCO. PIMCO disclosed on Monday that it has received a “Wells Notice” from the SEC related to its Total Return exchange-traded fund, an actively-traded ETF which seeks to track its flagship Total Return Bond Fund.  A “Wells Notice,” as PIMCO notes in its statement, is neither an allegation of wrongdoing nor a finding that any law was violated. It is a notice, however, which indicates that the SEC’s staff will likely recommend the agency bring some action against a firm. Back in September 2014, reports indicated that the SEC was looking into the Total Return ETF just a few days before the sudden departure of PIMCO founder Bill Gross. Gross was one of the managers of the Total Return fund. 

Scott Walker has tens of thousands of dollars worth of credit card debt

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Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is in some serious debt.National Journal’s Shane Goldmacher is reporting that new federal financial documents show that Walker has credit card debts totaling more than $US20,000 from two separate cards.The financial disclosures also revealed that Walker owes another $US100,000 in student loan debt for his children.One of the debts is via Barclays and is estimated to be between $US10,000 and $US15,000. The interest rate on the debt is 27.24 per cent.The other credit card debt is via Bank of America from 2011. On that debt, Walker also owes between $US10,00 and $US15,000 with an interest rate of 11.99 per cent.

Microsoft lays out its top three priorities — and none of them mention Windows

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during a Microsoft cloud briefing event in San Francisco, California October 20, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

After years of focusing on its Windows operating system, Microsoft’s 2015 financial filing with the SEC  makes it clear that the company is now pursuing a more balanced strategy divided between Windows, its cloud offerings, and its productivity suite.In the document, Microsoft has an entire section entitled “Our vision” that lays out the company’s top three priorities for research & development for the coming year.They are:

  1. Reinvent productivity and business processes.
  2. Build the intelligent cloud platform.
  3. Create more personal computing.