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Tuesday
Jul142015

Iran Nuclear Agreement Reached

Iran and six world powers reached an agreement Tuesday to reign in Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting international economic sanctions.

While full details of the agreement have not yet been disclosed, it reportedly allows United Nations inspectors extensive but not automatic access to nuclear sites within Iran. The work to form an agreement between the world powers -- the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, Germany -- and Iran has been ongoing for some 12 years and possibly marks a new era in relations between the Middle East and the west.

Iran's foreign ministers called the agreement "historic" and said it opens a "new chapter of hope." But Israeli officials said the agreement is flawed, saying Iran can not be trusted. On Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Iran's increasing aggression is more dangerous than that of ISIS, and the true goal of this aggression in the end is to take over the world."


"Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said before a meeting in Jerusalem. "Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and in the world. This is a bad mistake of historic proportions."

A formal announcement is expected at a press conference midday in Vienna after a final meeting. Later today, President Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, will make statements.

Tuesday
Jul142015

S.C. Readies for Dangerous Canine Flu

Veterinarians say it's just a matter of time before the latest strain of canine flu makes its way to South Carolina. The H3N2, originally found in Asia, has already killed dogs in Chicago, and there are 200 cases reported in Atlanta.

What makes the H3N2 strain particularly dangerous for pets is there is currently not a vaccine. The H3N2 strain is thought to have come into the U.S. in March, and has quickly spread from the Midwest to the Southeast.

"Just being right here on our back door, it's just a matter of when this will happen, not 'will it happen,'" said Doctor Jason Doukas with the Veterinary Medical Center in Fort Mill.

With 200 confirmed cases of the bug already confirmed in Atlanta, Doctor Doukas believes cases will likely pop up in South Carolina and the Upstate.

"Definitely in some of the shelters. A lot of animals get moved from Atlanta to the Rock Hill and Fort Mill areas, especially through rescue groups," said Doukas.

Experts say to prevent the flu from affecting you pet, keep puppies or immune-compromised dogs away from other dogs. If you see signs of coughing, runny nose, or high fever, consult your vet as soon as possible. H3N2 is most contagious in the first four days of being infected. Humans can't catch the canine flu, but people are able to spread the virus.

"This new strain, the H3N2, we don't have protection against that. It's kind of the same thing with the human flu. They make up a new vaccine every year or every other year. We don't have a vaccine as of yet, but I think that's something in the works," Doukas said.

Doukas says be especially vigilant if you plan to board your dog or to go to crowded parks. Vets say most cases will clear up in about a week, but if untreated, it can lead to more serious complications.

So far, there are reports of a case in the Charleston area.

Tuesday
Jul142015

S.C. Emergency Groups Prepare for Hurricane Season

State and county officials are trying to make sure South Carolina residents are prepared in case a hurricane hits this summer.

Officials from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division and county-level agency directors are holding a workshop Tuesday at the Santee Conference Center.

Organizers say they're focusing on how better to help people return to their communities after they evacuate to escape a storm.

Representatives of local, state and federal agencies will attend, as well as volunteer and private sector organizations that help respond to emergencies.

Monday
Jul132015

Judge Halts Release of Info in Charleston Shooting

A judge has ordered the temporary halt of information in the case of a man charged in the shooting deaths of nine black church parishioners.

Circuit J.C. Nicholson ruled Friday that Dylann Storm Roof's right to a fair trial "could be in jeopardy" because of all the publicity of his case.

The order prevents information such as 911 calls, coroner reports, witness statements and mental health records from being released until a hearing on the matter can be held Thursday.

Roof himself is not expected in court until October. He faces nine counts of murder in the shooting deaths of nine people on June 17 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

Monday
Jul132015

AP: Clerical Error Allowed Shooting Suspect to Buy Gun

An employee at the Lexington County jail entered the wrong information into a database of South Carolina arrests, allowing the man charged with killing nine people at a Charleston church to buy the gun authorities say was used in the attack.

Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon told The Associated Press on Monday the wrong information about which agency arrested Dylann Roof on a drug charge was corrected two days after his Feb. 28 arrest. That correction wasn't sent to the State Law Enforcement Division, which maintains the records that the FBI checks.

When the FBI did its check in April, an examiner called Lexington County deputies, who said the arrest took place in Columbia. Before the examiner could find the report, the waiting period expired and the gun was sold.

Monday
Jul132015

New Compound May Ease Depression with Few Effects

Researchers identified a compound that appears to reverse symptoms of depression in rats by strengthening communication in certain regions of the brain in less than 24 hours, as opposed to the weeks it now takes for antidepressant drugs to make a difference for patients.

The most commonly used antidepressant drugs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are only effective for about a third of depression patients, and even when they are, it typically takes three to eight weeks for the drugs to take full effect.

Brain activity is determined by a balance of excitatory and inhibitory communication between brain cells. The researchers focused on inhibitory messages sent by a compound called GABA, searching for ways to limit these messages and artificially increase excitatory messages, a deficiency of which may cause depression.

"These compounds produced the most dramatic effects in animal studies that we could have hoped for," said Scott Thompson, Ph.D., chair of the department of physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in a press release. "It will now be tremendously exciting to find out whether they produce similar effects in depressed patients. If these compounds can quickly provide relief of the symptoms of human depression, such as suicidal thinking, it could revolutionize the way patients are treated."

After exposing the rats to mild chronic stress and inducing the animals into exhibiting depression-like behaviors, they were given GABA-NAM, compounds which reduce GABA messaging in the brain. Within about 24 hours, researchers said they could see signs of depression reverse in the rats.

Researchers also examined the rats brains after the experiments, finding no effects from GABA-NAM in rats that had not been stressed, leading researchers to believe the compounds will have no adverse effects on humans.

Monday
Jul132015

Dollar Tree to Bring $104 M Center, 400 Jobs to Upstate

Dollar Tree Inc. is investing $104 million in a new distribution center in upstate South Carolina and expects to create 400 new jobs during the next five years. The company announced Monday that the center will be built at the Upstate Corporate Park off Interstate 85 in Cherokee and Spartanburg counties.

Dollar Tree operates more than 13,600 stores in the United States and five Canadian provinces under the Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree Canada and Deals brands.

The company has more than 100 stores in South Carolina. Construction on the distribution center begins this month. Hiring for the new jobs will begin early next year.

Monday
Jul132015

Harper Lee's Lawyer Says There May be Third Novel

Harper Lee’s lawyer Tonja Carter, the woman at the centre of the mysteries surrounding Go Set a Watchman’s publication this week, has broken her silence. In a lengthy piece in the Wall Street Journal, she intimates that there may be a third novel by Lee residing in a safe-deposit box in her home town of Monroeville, Alabama.

Carter discovered the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman in the autumn of 2014, according to the initial announcement about the novel’s publication. It was, said Lee’s publishers, “considered to have been lost until … Carter discovered it in a secure location where it had been affixed to an original typescript of To Kill a Mockingbird”. She passed it on to Lee’s agent Andrew Nurnberg, and has also been the conduit for public statements from the 89-year-old author. Nurnberg told the Guardian last week that she had been “pilloried” over her role, particularly in the wake of a New York Times story which suggested she could have been present at a meeting in 2011 where the manuscript was uncovered by an expert from Sotheby’s.

Carter has said little to clarify matters until this point, but in a 1,500-word piece published on Monday by the Wall Street Journal, which shares a parent company with Lee’s American publisher HarperCollins, she laid out in detail for the first time how she discovered the manuscript, describing herself as an “otherwise unknown” person placed by chance at the centre of public attention.

Much, she writes, has been said since February about “how [Watchman] was found, who found it, who knew of its existence, and when it was first found”, and “as Nelle’s estate trustee, lawyer and friend, I would like to tell the full story, fill in any blanks that may be in people’s minds, and provide a historical context for those interested in how this book went from lost to being found”.

Full Story Here

Monday
Jul132015

Publix Facebook Coupon Scam Making the Rounds

There is a coupon for $100 off your Publix grocery store purchase going around on Facebook, but before you go filling up your cart with goodies you should know it's a scam. According to representatives with Publix, the coupon offer is a scam. The Publix corporate office fraud department has been notified of the scam and is looking to determine its origin. 

If you see one of your friends sharing this post on Facebook, you may want to reach out and share this message.

Monday
Jul132015

Study: Education Linked to Life Expectancy

Results from a joint study between 3 U.S. universities suggests a strong link between higher education and lower death rates.

Researchers from the University of Colorado, New York University and the University of North Carolina found going back to finish high school or equivalency could avert as many deaths as could be averted by all smokers quitting.

According to the study, published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, those who attain higher education -- namely a high school diploma or college degree -- have lower mortality rates due to associated factors such as higher income, social status, enhanced cognitive development, healthier behavior and psychological wellbeing.

"In public health policy, we often focus on changing health behaviors such as diet, smoking, and drinking," said Virginia Chang, associate professor of public health at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, in a statement. "Education -- which is a more fundamental, upstream driver of health behaviors and disparities -- should also be a key element of U.S. health policy."

Researchers took advantage of the CDC's National Health Interview Survey and others to study data from 1 million people between the years 1986 and 2006. Focusing on those born in 1925, 1935 and 1945, they saw that over 145,000 deaths could have been postponed had the people without high school diplomas acquired at least a GED.

The study also suggests that about 110,000 deaths could have been avoided if those adults with some college had successfully earned their bachelor's degree.

A notable education disparity between 1925 and 1945 was also observed. Death related to having less than a high school diploma is "proportionally similar" among women and men and among non-Hispanic blacks and whites, according to the study. Cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death among the study participants, with cancer as close second.

Sunday
Jul122015

AnMed Named Among Nation's "Most Wired" Hospitals

AnMed Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s "Most Wired™ hospitals" and health systems for the sixth consecutive year, according to the 2015 Most Wired Survey. The American Hospital Association Health Forum and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) released the survey results in July.
 
The Most Wired hospitals are better positioned to improve patient care and safety, according to Frank Nydam, senior director of healthcare at VMware, which sponsors the Most Wired survey and benchmarking study.
 
“With the rising number of patient data breaches and cyber security attacks threatening the health care industry, protecting patient health information is a top priority for hospital customers,” Nydam said. “Coupled with the incredible technology innovation taking place today, health care organizations need to have security as a foundational component of their mobility, cloud and networking strategy and incorporated into the very fabric of the organization.”

AnMed Health has enhanced and integrated its suite of business and clinical systems ever since patient medical records transitioned to electronic records in 2000.
 
AnMed Health patients have secure online access to their hospital-based inpatient and outpatient health information through My.AnMedHealth, a portal for hospital patients that allows them to view laboratory, radiology and cardiology test results. This portal also allows patients to view and update their medication and allergy lists.

Sunday
Jul122015

Graham: Trump "Wrecking Ball" for GOP

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham says rival Donald Trump is a "wrecking ball" for the future of the GOP with Hispanic voters. Graham is calling on the party to push back.

Graham was critical of Trump's recent derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants and calls the issue a "defining moment" for Republicans. He says on CNN's "State of the Union" that if the GOP doesn't reject Trump's views, "we will have lost our way."

In a weekend appearance in Phoenix that drew thousands, Trump repeated his assertions that Mexico was sending violent offenders to the U.S. to harm Americans.

Trump's words are worrisome to Republicans, who fear the outspoken businessman is hurting the party's standing with the nation's surging Latino population before voting begins in the 2016 presidential primaries.

Sunday
Jul122015

Flag a Launching Pad Haley's Political Future 

South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley stared down hate and history this summer, turning an impassioned debate over the Confederate flag into a political launching pad.

Other state figures had faltered when confronting the legacy of the Confederate flag and pushing for its removal. But Haley's quick call for it to be taken off the capitol grounds in the wake of the Charleston church shooting -- a call that culminated in Friday's ceremony in which hundreds of locals cheered its relocation to a museum -- has allowed her to bask in glowing reviews.

"Now there's more reason to come to this state," Haley said in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon. "I am proud to say that it's a new day in South Carolina."

And also a new day for Governor Haley.

"She saw an opportunity and saw a spotlight on South Carolina and saw that there were going to be real significant problems for the state and the Republicans if they couldn't bring it down," said Katie Packer Gage, a Republican consultant. "She stepped up and it didn't take her weeks or months, even though she could have punted. She is a smart politician."

Haley: Confederate flag 'should never have been there'

The once-rising star, whose shine had faded after her 2010 gubernatorial victory, has emerged from the flag battle as the face of the "new South." By leading the efforts to take down a flag embraced by alleged killer Dylann Roof, Haley helped her party and her own profile. Even Democrats offered praise.

"Had it not been for the governor saying she was supportive of this, I don't think we would have been at the ceremony we were at today," said Jaime Harrison, who chairs the state's Democratic Party. "I know people say it was political, but she did what was right and for that I can't be mad at her. I'm very appreciative of her."

Harrison was one of the handful of leaders Haley met with in the hours before she announced days after the shooting in June that she wanted the flag to come down. He was expecting yet another compromise, but Haley had made up her mind.

'No one should feel pain'

In her interview with Lemon, Haley said Friday that "the biggest reason I asked for that flag to come down was I couldn't look my children in the face and justify it staying there."

She also said that the flag should never have been displayed prominently on Capitol grounds.

"These grounds are a place that everybody should feel a part of," she said. "What I realized now more than ever is people were driving by and felt hurt and pain. No one should feel pain."

She suggested that her experience as a path-breaking Indian-American woman uniquely positions her to lead her state past its difficulties with race and exclusion.

Haley recounted the day when her father wanted to buy produce at a fruit stand and two police officers were called to keep their eyes on him. The officers stood at the register until Haley's father made his purchase.

"I remember how bad that felt. And my dad went to the register, shook their hands, said 'thank you,' paid for his things and not a word was said going home. I knew what had just happened," Haley said. "That produce stand is still there and every time I drive by it, I still feel that pain. I realized that that Confederate flag was the same pain that so many people were feeling."

In the past, Haley has often told the story of growing up in Bamberg, South Carolina, and not qualifying to be the black or white Homecoming queen because of her ethnic background, making her the best example of the state's new South image.

But she has not always embraced removing the Confederate flag, a controversial idea that has tripped up many national and state politicians.

In October of 2014, when her Democratic opponent for governor, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, said the flag should be taken down to repair the state's image, Haley rebuffed the idea even as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Collegiate Athletic Association boycotted the state.

"What I can tell you is over the last three and a half years, I spent a lot of my days on the phones with CEOs and recruiting jobs to this state," she said during an October 2014 debate. "I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag."

One of her predecessors, Republican Gov. David Beasley, proposed moving the flag from the Captiol dome, but that was rejected by state lawmakers in 1997. He subsequently lost his reelection bid.

In 2000 state lawmakers reached a compromise, moving the flag near a Civil War memorial and adding a monument to African-Americans on the statehouse grounds. But even with that compromise, the flag remained a wedge issue.

Mitt Romney faced a barrage of attacks when he came out against the flag in 2008 and 2012. Newt Gingrich ran to Romney's right, embracing a state's rights argument in defense of the flag. Gingrich went on to win the state's primary.

But, in some of her most high-profile speeches, Haley has insisted that South Carolina is the state that has changed the most in the last 50 years. And that her election and that of Sen. Tim Scott, an African-American Republican, has been the proof.

And like South Carolina, Haley has changed.

She was lauded by Sarah Palin in her 2010 run and her come-from-behind victory landed her on the cover of Newsweek. But her national profile didn't win her any new friends in the state legislature, where she took on powerful members of her party as a member of the House before she became governor.

Once seen as an outsider and a tea party upstart, with approval ratings in the 30s, her relentless focus on jobs has allowed her to promote herself with the business wing of the GOP.

"She very very successfully branded herself as the jobs governor," said Scott Huffmon, a political science professor at Winthrop University. "But she kept her conservative credentials by railing against Obamacare and toeing the line on things that conservatives care about. She has been able to keep a foot in both worlds for a while. And now she is breaking away from being simply a Southern to becoming a national Republican."

She has also added to her portfolio. Last month she signed a bill requiring law enforcement to wear body cameras, a move she touted as an example of her state being in the vanguard on a national issue.

Though she has been at odds with the Republican-dominated state legislature, frequently calling them out in speeches and on her Facebook page for their failure to back her agenda on a transportation bill and on ethics reform, she enjoys high marks among Republicans. She won reelection in a landslide and a Winthrop University poll from April showed her with 79% approval rating among likely South Carolina Republicans primary voters.

Packer Gage said her soaring ratings and new prominence, which coincides with the beginning of the 2016 presidential race, might open up opportunities for her at the White House.

"She would make a strong vice presidential candidate, and the fact that she is a woman is icing on the cake," Packer Gage said. "But maybe she should run for president."

Yet given how contentious the flag debate has been, her popularity could fall in the state even as her national profile rises.

"The glow of this will dissipate. The question is, are you building a record of moving people forward and taking people from poverty to the working middle class?" Harrison, a Democrat, said. "You can't just hang your hat on one good deed."