Photos of the day - July 25, 2014

King Kalu of Nigeria prepares to lift the weight during the Mens 62kg weightlifting competition at the Commonwealth Games 2014, Pope Francis has lunch at the Vatican workers’ cafeteria and an Israeli soldier aims his weapon at a Palestinian during clashes near the West Bank city of Nablus are some of the photos of the day. (AP/Reuters)

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Childhood drawings recreated

A strange looking fly turned into a three dimensional digital painting. Some people will say that every child’s drawing is a masterpiece, but one artist has revisited some of his earliest illustrations to create a collection of surreal paintings. After discovering a pile of his old childhood doodles.

Dutch-based artist, Telmo Pieper, 25, decided to digitally recreate the sketches into hyper realistic, three-dimensional works of art. Whether its a beaming bear or a curious looking car, the series entitled Kiddie Art gives an amusing and fascinating glimpse into the wild imagination of a 4-year-old boy.

Luckily, its fair to say that Telmos art skills have now far surpassed his former efforts and after tracing the lines of each image into Photoshop, he then set about researching an accurate color palette that would make the illustrations seem as life like as possible. (Caters News)

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Air Algerie crash


Poor weather was the most likely cause of the crash of an Air Algerie flight in the West African state of Mali that killed 118 people on board, French officials said on Friday.

Investigators at the scene of the crash in northern Mali concluded the airliner broke apart when it hit the ground, the officials said, suggesting this meant it was unlikely to have been the victim of an attack.

"French soldiers who are on the ground have started the first investigations. Sadly, there are no survivors," French President Francois Hollande told reporters. (Reuters)

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Congressional shrug on emergency border spending could prove costly

House Speaker John Boehner has said repeatedly that House Republicans will not give President Barack Obama a “blank check” in response to the administration’s $3.7 billion request for emergency funding to deal with an influx of child migrants at the southern border.

But if Congress breaks for August recess without passing any sort of spending measure to deal with the crisis — which it appears increasingly likely to do — it would not just create bad political optics for lawmakers, especially objecting Republicans, heading into a midterm election. It could also end up increasing how much the federal government needs to spend to address the problem.

House Republicans are privately apprehensive about the possibility that members will go home without acting on a spending package, given that agencies have said their funding could run out as soon as mid-August. And the administration is telling Congress in briefings that delaying the funds could end up being more costly in the end, as the financial uncertainty is preventing the government from securing longer-term contracts, such as 12-month leases for shelter, which ultimately would be cheaper than more expensive short-term contracts for emergency spaces. And without additional funding, Customs and Border service won’t be able to hire additional agents or pay overtime, which means that agents who normally would be at the border will have to be diverted to guard duty at the temporary facilities where thousands of migrant children are being housed.

Fast food workers prepare to escalate wage demands

Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

About 1,300 workers will attend sessions Friday and Saturday at an expo center in Villa Park, Illinois, where they’ll be asked to do “whatever it takes” to win $15-an-hour wages and a union, said Kendall Fells, organizing director of the national effort and a representative of the Service Employees International Union.

The union has been providing financial and organizational support to the fast-food protests that began in late 2012 in New York City and have included daylong strikes and a protest outside this year’s McDonald’s Corp. shareholder meeting that resulted in more than 130 arrests.

"We want to talk about building leadership, power and doing whatever it takes depending on what city they’re in and what the moment calls for," said Fells, adding that the ramped-up actions will be "more high profile" and could include everything from civil disobedience to intensified efforts to organize workers.

"I personally think we need to get more workers involved and shut these businesses down until they listen to us," perhaps even by occupying the restaurants, said Cherri Delisline, a 27-year-old single mother from Charleston, South Carolina, who has worked at McDonald’s for 10 years and makes $7.35 an hour.

Little sunlight as Obama raises super PAC dollars

For years President Barack Obama railed against the surge of unlimited spending flowing into American political campaigns, arguing that average voters were being shut out of a secretive system that lets special interests bankroll elections.

Now as Obama enthusiastically raises money for Democratic super PACs, he’s embracing some of the same secretive elements of that system, drawing charges of hypocrisy from good-governance advocates who say the public deserves to know what Obama’s saying and to whom he’s saying it when donors pay for a few minutes with the president.

After initially shunning super PACs, Obama in 2012 allowed his top officials to help raise money for the super PAC working to re-elect him, but his campaign promised to still “lead the way” on campaign transparency and reform. Obama took another major step toward embracing super PACs this year by agreeing to appear personally at fundraisers for Democratic super PACs. He argued that Democrats can’t afford to play by different rules than Republican groups whose donors were flooding the super PAC zone.

Campaign finance reform advocates hoped that even if Obama was helping super PACs, he’d seek to make the process as transparent as possible. After all, Obama has backed legislation known as the DISCLOSE Act that would clamp down on secretive contributions and has said he’s open to amending the Constitution to stem campaign spending.

Meet the new White House Press Sec: Josh Earnest’s guide to softening “hard-bitten” reporters

Josh Earnest stepped up to the podium as the new White House press secretary just weeks ago, but already he’s figured out a few ways to butter up “hard-bitten” White House reporters.

Principle among his methods, the father-to-be revealed to “Power Players,” is to discuss parenthood.

“It’s something that so many people can relate to and hearing the experience of even some hard-bitten White House reporters … talking to them about the birth of their first child, they routinely describe it as the greatest day of their life,” said Earnest, whose wife is due later this summer.

“I think, like all parents who are about to have their first child, we are feeling a lot of trepidation about this experience that we’re preparing for, but also incredibly excited,” he said.

The trepidations of first-time parenthood aside, Earnest admits he’s still getting settled into his new job as press secretary – a role he assumed following Jay Carney’s departure last month.

Bad weather seen as probable cause of fatal Air Algerie crash

Poor weather was the most likely cause of the crash of an Air Algerie flight in the West African state of Mali that killed 118 people on board, French officials said on Friday.

Investigators at the scene of the crash in northern Mali concluded the airliner broke apart when it hit the ground, the officials said, suggesting this meant it was unlikely to have been the victim of an attack.

"French soldiers who are on the ground have started the first investigations. Sadly, there are no survivors," French President Francois Hollande told reporters.

A column of 100 soldiers and 30 vehicles from the French force stationed in the region arrived early on Friday morning to secure the crash site near the northern Mali town of Gossi and to recover bodies, a Defense Ministry official said.

Hollande said one of the black box flight recorders had already been recovered and would be analyzed quickly.

"The plane’s debris is concentrated in a small area, but it is too early to draw conclusions," Hollande said of the wreckage of the plane carrying at least 51 French nationals that crashed near the border with Burkina Faso, from where it had taken off.

West Africa Ebola death toll reaches 660: WHO

The death toll in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak has risen to 660, with the number of cases surpassing 1,000, the World Health Organization said Friday.

WHO spokesman Paul Garwood said that the extent of what is the deadliest outbreak of Ebola on record was still emerging.

"This is a trend, an overall picture. It’s hard to get an exact picture on the scale of the situation at the moment," he told reporters.

The UN health agency said 28 news deaths were recorded between July 18 and July 20. Thirteen were in Sierra Leone, 11 in Liberia and four in Guinea, which had previously borne the brunt.

Forty-five new cases were recorded over the same period, in West Africa’s first-ever Ebola outbreak.