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Science!
July 22, 2014
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We've all heard that healthy adults should get eight to nine hours of sleep each night to prevent obesity and retain cognitive functions. But an array of new studies suggests those figures might be an hour or two off.

A 2013 poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that people needed seven hours and 13 minutes of sleep to be at their best. (However, 69 percent of people reported getting less sleep than they claimed to need, so take it with a grain of salt.) Other recent studies have found that shooting for around 7 hours of sleep a night might be the healthiest goal — and that going too far under or over that amount can actually contribute to health risks, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

A recent study at the University of California San Diego, for example, tracked the sleep habits of 1.1 million people over six years. They found that people who slept between 6.5 and 7.4 hours a night had lower mortality rates than those with less — or more — sleep. Another study, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, found that after seven hours, "increasing sleep was not any more beneficial," Murali Doraiswamy, co-author of the study, told The Wall Street Journal.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is currently developing new sleep recommendations, which it hopes to publish by 2015, according to the WSJ. However, a number of doctors caution against changing your sleep habits because of the recent crop of studies, saying that more information is needed. Meghan DeMaria

Really?
9:56 a.m. ET

It's conventional wisdom that if a police officer pulls you over late at night, you can proceed slowly to a well-lit, public area to make sure the stop is safe and legitimate. But when DaJuawn Wallace, a graduate student at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, attempted to put this rule into practice, he found himself arrested and slapped with a felony charge for "fleeing and eluding" police.

The stop took place at 2 a.m., while Wallace was out purchasing medicine for his girlfriend. When he saw police lights behind him, he slowly drove to a nearby Sam's Club, waving for the officer to follow him. "I live in Detroit, and I know some people who were robbed by fake police officers," Wallace explained. "I was not speeding up, turning off my lights or trying to get away." He was only pulled over because the cop thought his car resembled one he'd seen driving on a sidewalk earlier that day.

Wallace has been offered a plea deal to reduce his charge to a felony, but taking it would cause him to lose his job and any financial aid opportunities for his master's program. He is pushing for a complete dismissal of charges because, he says, "I feel like I didn't do anything wrong." Bonnie Kristian

afghanistan war
9:51 a.m. ET
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After years of refusing to meet face-to-face, Taliban leadership has agreed to talks with at least one senior Afghan official in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, The New York Times reports. The Afghan government has expressed hopes that the negotiations could be the beginning of an end to the Afghanistan War.

Taliban leaders dismissed meetings earlier this year in Qatar, Norway, and China as being unofficial talks between individuals and the Afghan government. While it remains to be seen how the Taliban will respond after talks today, Pakistan's role as a go-between is significant, as the nation is believed to be a neutral party by both the Taliban and Afghan leadership.

There is also speculation that the threat of ISIS has made the Taliban especially eager to seek peace with the Afghan government, The New York Times reports. Jeva Lange

The Clintons
9:46 a.m. ET
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That's the major insinuation of a new New York Times profile on Roger Clinton, the younger brother to the former president. The article says that Bill may have helped Roger buy an $857,000 house at a time when Roger owed over $100,000 in back taxes.

While public records do not make Bill's purchase of the house "readily apparent," The Times reports that the property was bought by Calle Mayor L.L.C., a company that shares a postal box with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Further confirming the suspicion that Bill did indeed buy a house for Roger is the fact that Hillary reportedly listed an "unidentified parcel of California real estate owned by her husband," when she gave her financial disclosure while secretary of state. According to Roger, he shares ownership of the house "50-50 with Big Brother," his nickname for Bill.

Considering Roger's hefty tax debts, purchasing a house of that value "could have been problematic," tax lawyers told The Times. At the time that Calle Mayor bought the house in 2009, the Internal Revenue Service reportedly had a lien on Roger's assets because of his outstanding tax debt. If the house was purchased under the guise of concealed ownership in the hopes of not paying tax debt, a tax lawyer told The New York Times that it "could be considered tax evasion." However, if the property were openly purchased by a debtor in a repayment plan, or if someone simply bought the home and then let the debtor live in it, that would be "no problem at all." That makes Roger's claim that he "put 50 percent of the money" into the house all the more critical.

The former president and his representatives declined to comment for the article. Becca Stanek

This just in
9:15 a.m. ET
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State and federal law enforcement officials raided the Zionsville, Indiana, home of Subway spokesman Jared Fogle Tuesday morning as part of a child pornography investigation.

In April, Russell Taylor, the former director of Fogle's Jared Foundation, was arrested and accused of possessing and producing child pornography. Investigators says they discovered more than 500 videos at Taylor's home.

Reporting from the scene, local news source WTHR says that members of the task force are removing electronics from the Fogle household and analyzing them in a mobile forensics van. Fogle has been detained, but is not under arrest, and his wife and children have left the scene.

Fogle shot to fame in 2000 as the face of the "Subway diet." He lost a total of 245 pounds on a diet plan that consisted of two Subway sandwiches per day and plenty of walking exercise. Scott Meslow

nukes
9:04 a.m. ET
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The United States and five other world powers have agreed to extend their talks with Iran in hopes of reaching a nuclear deal, despite Tuesday's deadline, Reuters reports. "We are continuing to negotiate for the next couple days," European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters. The U.S. has said talks will continue through July 10, and that they have made "substantial progress" during negotiations.

The July 7 deadline followed an earlier extension, from June 30, after more than a year of talks. The deal, which hasn't yet been officially signed, is expected to relieve some international economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbing their nuclear program over the next decade. Jeva Lange

study says
8:35 a.m. ET
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Ninety-five percent of the 2,437 elected state and local prosecutors in the United States in 2014 were white, a study by the Women Donors Network has discovered. And, while only 31 percent of the U.S. population are white males, 79 percent of elected prosecutors were men — a mere 16 percent were women, and just 1 percent were minority women.

The New York Times, which reported on the study, adds that in the wake of the national debates over racism and racial imbalances in the criminal justice system, "the racial makeup of police forces across the country has been carefully documented" while "the diversity of prosecutors, who many law enforcement experts say exercise more influence over the legal system, has received little scrutiny." Indeed, it is in the prosecutor's hands to decide whether to bring criminal charges, or if and for how long to negotiate a prison sentence.

The Women Donors Network also found that a shocking 66 percent of states that elect prosecutors have no black people in their offices and 15 states elected entirely white prosecutors.

"They have to see someone that looks like them," the president of the National Black Prosecutors Association, Melba V. Pearson, told The New York Times, referring to minority groups' long-held mistrust of the legal system. "When you walk into a courtroom and no one looks like you, do you think you are going to get a fair shake?" Jeva Lange

meanwhile in israel
8:22 a.m. ET
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A gaining global boycott against Israel has many world leaders worried — including presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

The movement, called BDS or "boycotts, divestment, and sanctions" against Israel, was begun by a group of Palestinian activists in 2005, as inspired by peaceful anti-apartheid movements in South Africa. The group has since gained an enormous global following, to the point that Israel has now identified it as a threat akin to Palestinian militant groups or the Iranian nuclear program, The Associated Press reports.

“Israel is a vibrant democracy in a region dominated by autocracy, and it faces existential threats to its survival,” Hillary Clinton recently wrote to donor Haim Saban and other leaders in a letter dated July 2. “Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world — especially in Europe — we need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people.” She called on both Democrats and Republicans to "make countering B.D.S. a priority."

However, organizers and supporters of BDS deny accusations of anti-Semitism; rather, their goals include ending Israel's occupation of territories captured in 1967, ending discrimination against Arabs, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees by returning family properties lost in the war of 1948.  Jeva Lange

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