News You Should Read Today – December 18 – 2015

California shooters' friend arrested ( shooters’ friend arrested

Federal prosecutors have arrested the friend and former neighbor of the alleged San Bernardino shooters on criminal charges in connection with the December 2 massacre that left 14 dead.

Enrique Marquez, 24, was charged with multiple terrorism-related charges, including conspiring to conduct attacks in 2011 and 2012 against students at Riverside Community College and commuters driving on State Route 91 during rush hour. Marquez reportedly told investigators that he purchased two assault rifles used in the attack in 2012, so suspected shooter Syed Rizwan Farook wouldn’t have to complete a background check or be on record. The Los Angeles Times



New Orleans to remove Confederate monuments ( Orleans to remove Confederate monuments

The New Orleans City Council voted Thursday 6-1 to remove four monuments to the Confederacy — an obelisk dedicated to the Battle of Liberty Place and statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate president Jefferson Davis, and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the City Council made a “courageous decision to turn a page in our divisive past,” and the monuments “do not now, nor have they ever reflected the history, the strength, the richness, the diversity, or the soul of who we are as a people and a city.” The mayor’s office said it will cost an estimated $170,000 to take the monuments down, using private money. With the exception of the Battle of Liberty Place obelisk, which is under a federal court order, the monuments are expected to come down within the next few days. Washington Post



News you should read todayMother Teresa to become a saint

Pope Francis has recognized a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, paving her way to sainthood.

On Thursday, he ratified a miracle attributed to her after her death, the Italian Catholic Bishops’ association’s official newspaper Avvenire reported.

To qualify a person for sainthood, an attributed miracle must occur after his or her death. In this case, a Brazilian man with multiple brain tumors was healed after loved ones prayed to Mother Teresa to heal him, Avvenire reported.

Holy See spokesman Thomas Rosica said in a tweet that Mother Teresa should be canonized, or pronounced a saint, in September. CNN



Environment and lifestyle may play a large role in cancer ( and lifestyle may play a large role in cancer

The greater majority of cancer may be influenced by environment and lifestyle factors. That’s what the authors of a new study in the journal Nature argue. External factors such as exposure to toxins and radiation are a major risk factor in developing cancer, the new study says.

“Environmental factors play important roles in cancer incidence and they are modifiable through lifestyle changes and/or vaccination” the authors write. Looking at the increasing incidences of various types of cancers, including lung cancer, the authors concluded that “large risk proportions for cancer are attributable to changing environments” such as smoking and air pollutants. Exposure to the sun and poor diet play a role.

This has been widely known among scientists, and might sound like the advice you hear from your doctor. But what this study does is build upon a conversation about how cancer starts and why there is some variability in the kinds of cancers.

Bottom line: If you smoke or are overweight or use a tanning bed, you worsen your odds of getting cancer. You can do a lot to reduce your cancer risk, and you can’t just blame “bad luck” for getting sick, but keep in mind “bad luck” at a cellular level can play a role too. CNN



Beijing Issues Another Red Alert for Smog (AP)Beijing Issues another red alert for smog

Warning of a dangerous wave of incoming smog, Chinese authorities on Friday issued their second ever red alert for pollution in the capital, Beijing. Forecasters expect the cloud of smog to hover over much of northern China from Saturday until Tuesday, and say pollution levels reach more than 20 times the safe limit.

Under a red alert, schools and some factories are closed, and half of all private cars will be pulled from the street. All outdoor construction will also be halted. Beijing issued its first-ever red alert earlier this month as part of efforts to stem public criticism over its inability to control a rampant pollution problem.

China is one of the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses, due to numerous coal-fired plants that have fueled its rise as a global economic superpower. The Chinese government has vowed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and was supportive of the recently global climate change deal reached in Paris. VOA

World Powers Meet in New York to Discuss Proposed Syrian Transition (AP)World Powers Meet in New York to Discuss Proposed Syrian Transition

World powers gather in New York Friday for the third round of talks on a proposed Syrian political transition, weeks before a plan to launch U.N.-mediated talks between the Syrian government and opposition.

The U.S. State Department said countries invited for the talks are similar to those who participated in previous rounds in Vienna, including Russia and Iran, who are allies of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The goal there is to continue to try to better define what we think the political transition and the process itself should look like; to try to put more fidelity on the notion of a cease-fire,” said State Department spokesperson John Kirby.

Earlier in Moscow, kerry indicated that gaps between the U.S. and Russia have narrowed, saying, “We did reach some common ground today and agreement with respect to the complexity of this issue of terrorist groups.” VOA

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