A new set of Senate polls from Democratic-aligned firm Public Policy Polling shows close races for three closely watched Democratic-held seats.
In Colorado, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall has 44 percent support, against Republican Rep. Cory Gardner with 43 percent, within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent. The poll was conducted from July 17-20. The pollster's analysis describes the political mood in Colorado: "The Democratic incumbents aren't very popular, but their Republican challengers aren’t exactly setting the world on fire either."
In North Carolina, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan leads Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis, 41 percent to 34 percent, plus another 8 percent support for Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh. The survey was also conducted from July 17-20, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. The pollster's analysis attributes Hagan's lead to the unpopularity of the state legislature: "The big question though is whether she’ll be able to sustain this bigger lead once they’ve gone home," or if the race will tighten up again.
And in Montana, Republican Rep. Steve Daines leads Democratic Sen. John Walsh — who was appointed to the seat earlier this year — at 46 percent to 39 percent. This survey was conducted July 17 and 18, with a margin of error at plus or minus 4.1 percent. In a somewhat interesting twist, the last time PPP checked in on this race was way back in November of last year — and previously had Daines leading Walsh by an even wider margin of 52 percent to 35 percent, showing that Walsh might be starting to at least close the gap a little.
A former ISIS fighter says that the man known as "Jihadi John" is a "cold loner" who was eager to appear in propaganda videos.
The defector, who calls himself Abu Ayman, told the BBC that he met Jihadi John, identified publicly last week as Mohammed Emwazi, in the northern Syrian town of Atmeh. "He didn't talk much," he said. "He wouldn't join us in prayer. He'd only pray with his friends. ...the other Brutish brothers prayed with us, but he was strange." Emwazi would refuse to say hello and turn his face away, Abu Ayman said, and wouldn't spend time with his fellow fighters from Britain.
Abu Ayman said Emwazi became Jihadi John because "ISIS have professional psychologists. They know who to choose from the fighters and how to make them famous. Still, there was nothing special about Jihadi John...anyone could have become like him." Abu Ayman said he left after being told to kill a woman and children, but many others are flooding into Syria after seeing the brutal videos of Emwazi released by ISIS. "He's a celebrity to attract our Muslim brothers in Europe," he said.
The World Health Organization has a warning: 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to listening to their music too loud and spending too much time in noisy venues.
WHO analyzed data from studies in "middle- and high-income countries" and found that almost 50 percent of people between 12-35 are exposed to unsafe sound on their personal audio devices, and 40 percent are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at bars, nightclubs, sporting events, and other entertainment venues. "As they go about their daily lives doing what they enjoy, more and more young people are placing themselves at risk of hearing loss," Dr. Etienne Krug, WHO director for the Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, said in a statement. "They should be aware that once you lose your hearing, it won't come back. Taking simple preventative actions will allow people to continue to enjoy themselves without putting their hearing at risk."
WHO recommends that the highest permissible level of noise exposure in the workplace is 85 decibels up to a maximum of eight hours per day, and 100 decibels for no more than 15 minutes in venues like bars and clubs. Young people are also advised to wear earplugs in noisy establishments.
Moscow police detained Alexei Goncharenko, a member of Ukraine's parliament, as he marched with demonstrators on Sunday in honor of slain Russian politician Boris Nemtsov, The Associated Press reports.
Russian officials said Goncharenko was being questioned about his alleged involvement in a fire that broke out in Odessa last year. The fire in Goncharenko's home city killed dozens, including some Russian citizens, amid demonstrations by pro-Ukraine and pro-Russia protesters.
Ukraine's parliament denounced the detention and said Goncharenko has diplomatic immunity and should be released immediately.
Take out "Apple" in "Apple Pay," add in "Samsung," and you have the new mobile-payment system announced by the Korean firm on Sunday, The Guardian reports.
Samsung is teaming up with MasterCard to offer Samsung users a way to pay with their mobile phone for in-store transactions. Only Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphones will support the service for now.
Samsung previously collaborated with PayPal and Google Wallet on similar mobile payment initiatives, but The Guardian notes that Apple Pay revitalized interest in the technology, spurring competitors to revamp their own offerings.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday downplayed tension caused by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming speech to Congress, The Washington Post reports.
"The prime minister is welcome in the United States at any time,” Kerry said on ABC'sThis Week. "We have an unparalleled close security relationship with Israel, and we will continue to. We don't want to see this turned into some great political football."
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) invited Netanyahu to address Congress without consulting the Obama administration, a perceived slight, especially considering Netanyahu plans to talk about his concerns over the U.S. role in ongoing Iranian nuclear talks. Kerry did admit that the situation was "odd, if not unique,” but added that "the administration is not seeking to politicize this.”
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, appearing on CNN, on Sunday raised questions about Hillary Clinton's ethical judgment. Reports last week showed that the Clinton Foundation accepted donations from seven foreign governments — at least one of which reportedly violated an ethics agreement between the Obama administration and Clinton while she was secretary of state, The Washington Post notes.
"Are you going to trust an individual who has taken that much money from a foreign source?" Perry asked. "Where's your loyalty? I'm really concerned, not just going forward, but what has been received at the Clinton Foundation over the course of years and how that affects this individual's judgement."
Watch Perry's full response in the video, below. —Sarah Eberspacher
U.S. Ebola survivor Nina Pham to sue Texas Health Resources, says she is 'a symbol of corporate neglect'
Texas nurse Nina Pham survived her encounter with the Ebola virus, but the 26-year-old told The Dallas Morning News in an exclusive interview that she still suffers nightmares, body aches, and insomnia following her fight against the disease.
Pham contracted Ebola while caring for patient Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. Now, she is suing the hospital's parent company, Texas Health Resources, for what she says was inadequate training and protection for hospital workers. Pham is asking for unspecified damages for turning her into "a symbol of corporate neglect," she said.
"I wanted to believe that they would have my back and take care of me, but they just haven't risen to the occasion," Pham said.
Read the full interview over at The Dallas Morning News.
A poll conducted by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found that 48 percent of American voters believe congressional Republicans should not have invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, without first consulting President Barack Obama. Thirty percent said the invitation was fine, and 22 percent had no opinion.
The issue was overwhelmingly a partisan one; 66 percent of Democrats disagreed with the decision, while just 28 percent of Republicans were against the upcoming speech.
Netanyahu will address Congress on Tuesday, calling himself an "emissary" of the Jewish people. The Israeli prime minister is expected to voice his disagreement with a potential deal on Iran's nuclear program. While both Israel and the U.S. oppose Iran's building of a nuclear bomb, Israel wants the country to shutter all nuclear activity, while President Barack Obama has seemed more willing to allow Iran to continue some parts of its program, with implemented safeguards.
Dakota Johnson can be seen right now in Fifty Shades of Grey, but her most controversial moment of the weekend may have come in a pre-recorded sketch for Saturday Night Live.
In it, the host of this weekend's episode says goodbye to her dad, played by Taran Killam, in what appears to be a typical father-daughter moment before leaving for college. The reveal is that Johnson is not headed off to university for four years, but rather to join ISIS.
The reaction on social media found the skit to be in poor taste — decide for yourself and check it out, below. —Sarah Eberspacher
Samuel Sam-Sumana, vice president of Sierra Leone, announced on Saturday that he would "lead by example," and spend 21 days in voluntary quarantine, following the death of his bodyguard from Ebola last week, the BBC reports.
While the number of reported cases in Sierra Leone had been on the decline, a recent uptick is cause for concern, according to government officials. More than 23,500 Ebola cases have been reported in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea since the outbreak began in December 2013; nearly 10,000 people have died from the disease.