This just in
July 17, 2014
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According to the latest Millennium Development Goals report by the U.N., a third of the world's 1.2 billion poorest people live in India.

India only reduced its poverty rate by 9.3 percent between 2005 and 2010, the report notes, with 32.7 percent of the country's population falling below the poverty line in 2010. India also had the highest number of deaths in children under five in 2012.

"We don't have to be proud of what we've done," minority affairs minister Najma Heptulla told The Times Of India. "Poverty is the biggest challenge... I am sure when the next report comes, we will have done much better." Meghan DeMaria

ancient wines
8:19 a.m. ET

Israeli vintners have tapped into their ancient heritage to create wines 1,800 years in the making. Using money from the Jewish National Fund, oenologist Eliyashiv Drori and a group of scientists at Ariel University's research winery have identified 120 grape varieties distinct to Israel, around 20 of which are suitable for making wine, The New York Times reports. Other researchers have used DNA and a three-dimensional scanner to identify around 70 distinct grape varieties from Biblical times; their goal is to pair the ancient seeds with live grapes and, eventually, to genetically engineer and revive the lost varieties.

But enough about history — how does the resulting wine actually taste?

Itay Gleitman, the wine writer for Haaretz, called marawi "this year's most important Israeli wine," for its provenance, if not taste. He said it was "pleasant and easy-to-drink," and "opens slightly in the glass with gentle aromas of apple and peach." And, if expressly cultivated for winemaking, has potential that "piques the imagination."

Next up is dabouki, also white, which the well-known Israeli vintner Avi Feldstein plans to debut along with his new winery in a couple of months. Dabouki might be the oldest of the local varieties, a good candidate for what filled the glass of Jesus (who Mr. Drori believes drank white as well as red). [The New York Times]

Grape specimens are identified as "wine grapes" through extensive field research — say, finding grapes in a destroyed Jewish temple next to clay shards labeled "smooth wine" in an ancient Hebraic language, or picking out 10th century B.C. seeds from donkey droppings in a King Solomon-era copper mine. So far, however, the wine yields have remained relatively low — Recanati Winery produced only 2,480 bottles of the 2014 marawi — due in part to the difficulty obtaining the grapes, which are grown on Palestinian farms where workers face potential backlash for collaborating with Israelis or helping to make alcohol, which is typically forbidden in Islam.

But others dislike politicizing the ancient beverage. "These are not Israeli; they are not Palestinian. They belong to the region — this is something beautiful," vintner Ido Lewinsohn said. Jeva Lange

Pope Francis in Africa
7:49 a.m. ET
Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

On Monday, Pope Francis ended a three-nation African tour with a stop in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, in his first visit to a conflict zone. Before saying mass in a Bangui's sports stadium, the pope visited the besieged, once-vibrant Muslim neighborhood PK5 and met with the imam and 200 other men in the city's main mosque. Christian militias surround PK5, preventing the remnants of Bangui's Muslim population from leaving the neighborhood, and Pope Francis was under heavy guard as he traveled to the mosque in an open-air makeshift "popemobile."

Central African Republic has been split along religious lines since Muslim rebels toppled the Christian president in 2013, and Muslim militias followed, committing atrocities against Christians. Christian militias formed and savaged Muslim civilians starting in 2014, when the Muslim leaders were driven from power. Pope Francis reminded both sides that sectarian violence is something new in the country and that the conflict is really about power, not religion. "Christians and Muslims and members of traditional religions have lived peacefully for many years," the pope said at the mosque. "Together, we say no to hatred, to vengeance and violence, especially that committed in the name of a religion or God."

The chief imam, Tidiani Moussa Naibi, thanked the pope for his visit, calling it "a symbol which we all understand." Before the violence drove most of Central Africa Republic's Muslims away, the country was about 37 percent Catholic, 15, percent Muslim, 13 percent Protestant, and 35 percent practicing indigenous faiths. Pope Francis also preached peace during his visit to Uganda and Kenya, urging an audience of young people in Nairobi to stand up to divisve tribalism. He returns to Rome on Monday. Peter Weber

Paris Climate Summit
6:31 a.m. ET

A global climate change summit opened at a heavily guarded airport convention center outside Paris on Monday, with roughly 151 world leaders gathered to try and hammer out an agreement for 196 countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. "Never before has a responsibility so great been in the hands of so few," said United Nations climate chief Christina Figueres in her opening remarks. "The world is looking to you."

Before the summit opened, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met and emphasized the important role their countries need to play in curbing climate change. "Nowhere has our coordination been more necessary and more fruitful", Obama said. "As the two largest carbon emitters, we have both determined that it is our responsibility to take action." You can watch Obama and Xi arrive at the summit below.

About 180 nations have already submitted their own plans to curb or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but some big disagreements remain. The biggest, The Associated Press says, is over how much developing nations will be expected to participate in cutting carbon emissions, and how to determine which countries are still "developing" — India, China, and Qatar (the world's richest nation, per capita) were classified as developing in the 1997 Kyoto climate change agreement. The U.S. and Europe insist that all nations pull their weight this time around, while India is pushing another two-tier system. Fights are also expected over how much aid poorer countries will receive to adopt clean energy sources, and what compensation, if any, small island nations will get if their land disappears due to rising sea levels. Peter Weber

5:21 a.m. ET

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots started Sunday night's game in Denver with an undefeated 10-0 record for the season. After the Patriots blew a 14-point lead and Broncos' running back C.J. Anderson ran 48 yards for a touchdown in overtime, New England walked away with a 30-24 loss on a wild, blustery, snowy night of pro football. The Pats played some great ball — forcing overtime, for example, by pushing down the field with 1:09 left in the fourth quarter to set up a 47-yard field goal by Stephen Gostowski. But Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler and Denver's running game carried the game, boosting their record to 9-2. Watch the final drive here, or in the video below. Peter Weber

History Lesson
4:17 a.m. ET

There's a growing bipartisan push to reform America's "War on Drugs" and the harsh prison sentences that came with it. When proponents of criminal justice reform want to highlight the problems with the mass incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders, they often focus on people caught selling marijuana. But Retro Report points out that the War on Drugs — declared by President Richard Nixon and given its punitive jail terms by New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (R) — was spurred by a less socially acceptable drug, heroin.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, heroin addiction and the accompanying rash of thefts was widely seen as a problem of inner-city black and Latino men, and the short version of the 14-minute Retro Report video might go something like this: Now that a new spike in heroin addictions is recognized as primarily afflicting young white people in the suburbs, lawmakers are focusing more on treatment and less on locking the problem away. The video is much more nuanced, of course: We learn that Nixon's plan initially called for treating addicts, for example, and that Hollywood played a big role in drumming up fear of heroin users and burying Washington, D.C.'s successful methadone treatment experiment. People learn from past mistakes.

If you watch the video, you'll meet John Dunne, an original sponsor of Rockefeller's harsh drug laws who has since become a leading critic; Kurt Schmoke, the former Baltimore mayor who introduced needle exchanges; and Rebecca Hogamier, an official at the Washington County, Maryland, health department who started a program to treat jailed heroin users with a drug called Vivitrol. You won't really hear from anyone who thinks the War on Drugs has succeeded, but you'll probably get a better understanding of how the U.S. got here, and why this new heroin epidemic may be handled more humanely. Peter Weber

Climate change
2:37 a.m. ET

You may have heard that China is the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, the gas blamed for much of the human contribution to climate change. India is not far behind. If you are not in China or India and this makes you feel a bit smug, The Economist wants you to get a better grasp of the situation, especially if you live in the U.S. or Europe. The first issue is that China and India have much larger populations than the U.S. and Europe — so per capita carbon consumption is still much higher in the West — but that's only the tip of the (melting) iceberg.

In a series of charts, The Economist explains why understanding these issues matters, and why world leaders are feeling the urgency to act as they gather in Paris this week to try and forge a new global climate change pact. If India and China reach the European level of carbon consumption, "the Earth is in trouble," The Economist says. "If they get anywhere near the American level, the planet is toast." Watch the show video below. Peter Weber

2:15 a.m. ET

More than 30 college students headed back to school after Thanksgiving weekend were injured Sunday night when the charter bus they were on overturned on a Virginia highway.

In a statement, Virginia State Police said there were 50 passengers and the driver on board the bus when the crash took place, and 33 were taken to area hospitals; one person had life-threatening injuries, ABC News reports. The students were picked up at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and were headed to the first stop at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; the passengers were all returning to the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Radford University.

Police say the bus driver "lost control" on a highway ramp, and has been charged with reckless driving. Investigators are gathering evidence from the scene, and the bus operator, Abbott Trailways, says it is "working with police to determine what happened." Catherine Garcia

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