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Did Flint, Michigan, Just Lead Poison Its Children? Doctors Think So.

Flint. Michigan water dangerousAccording to researchers in Flint, Michigan, blood tests have revealed a distressing conclusion—the tap water residents are drinking is causing elevated lead levels in the city’s children.

A new study headed by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a researcher and director of the pediatric residency program at Hurley Medical Center, compared blood tests taken over a span of months in 2013 with samples taken over a similar span this year. During the time between, the city of Flint changed the source of its drinking water from Lake Huron to treated water from the Flint River.


Pope beseeches world leaders to protect the environment

Pope BenedictPope Francis declared Friday that there is a "right of the environment" and that mankind has no authority to abuse it, telling more than 100 world leaders and diplomats at the United Nations that urgent action is needed to halt the destruction of God's creation.

Hoping to spur concrete commitments at upcoming climate change negotiations in Paris, Francis accused the world's powerful countries of indulging a "selfish and boundless thirst" for money by ravaging the planet's natural resources and impoverishing the weak and disadvantaged in the process.


BMW stock tumbles after report of high emissions

BMW stock tumblesA sudden wave of scrutiny over emissions threatened to engulf BMW after a German magazine reported Thursday that one of the luxury automaker's diesel vehicles emitted 11 times the amount of nitrogen oxides acceptable in Europe.

The German automaker's shares tumbled 7% as of 8:24 a.m. ET following Auto Bild magazine's report that the International Council on Clean Transportation had discovered curiously high emissions on the BMW X3 crossover vehicle.


President Obama declares major disaster in California

California wildfiresPresident Barack Obama made federal funding available for wildfire relief after declaring a major disaster in California's Lake County.

The so-called Valley Fire -- one of the largest wildfires in the state -- has burned more than 76,000 acres. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, said the blaze was 69 percent contained.

It has killed at least three people, injured four firefighters and destroyed 1,050 structures.


The pope at White House: Climate change action can't wait

Pope Francis at White HouseJumping into the issues of the day, Pope Francis opened his visit to the United States with a strong call Wednesday for action to combat climate change, calling it a problem that "can no longer be left to a future generation." President Barack Obama, in turn, hailed the pontiff as a moral force who is "shaking us out of our complacency" with reminders to care for the poor and the planet.

The White House mustered all the pageantry it had to offer as the pope arrived at the White House before an adoring crowd of thousands and a nation that seemingly cannot get enough of the humble pontiff who is rejuvenating American Catholicism while giving heartburn to some of its conservatives.


In clash with pope's climate call, U.S. Church leases drilling rights

Catholic church sells drilling rightsCasting the fight against climate change as an urgent moral duty, Pope Francis in June urged the world to phase out highly-polluting fossil fuels.

Yet in the heart of U.S. oil country several dioceses and other Catholic institutions are leasing out drilling rights to oil and gas companies to bolster their finances, Reuters has found.

And in one archdiocese -- Oklahoma City -- Church officials have signed three new oil and gas leases since Francis's missive on the environment, leasing documents show.


California drought and impending El Niño raise fears of levee breaks

Levees at risk in CaliforniaCalifornia’s historic drought is in its fourth year and gloom-and-doom scenarios of its impact on everything from killing the state’s vegetation and triggering bug infestation to destroying farming jobs have been trickling in daily.

Now, there is another fear: The prolonged drought may have weakened California’s more than 13,000 miles of levees, which could result in floods and affect the quality of water for millions of Californians.


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