Genetic Advances Hold New Promise For Sunflowers’ Profitable Future

Plant breeder Jessica Barb is on a mission to improve how sunflowers self-pollinate, a trait that'll be increasingly important to farmers are wild bee populations diminish. Her research tool of choice: a paper towel.

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Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

A group of Colorado lawmakers are working to lower health insurance premiums for residents on the individual market created in the wake of the Affordable Care Act. Rates are predicted to rise 34 percent on average next year. There are concerns that healthy people will opt out of coverage and that could cause rates to rise even higher as the insurance risk pool thins out.

Bob Collins, a small business owner and the father of three in Thornton, said the rise will cost him $18,000 to cover his family next year. That’s a significant increase to what he pays now.

The ongoing wildfires in Northern California have reminded many Americans of the courage — the heroism — of the men and women who fight fires in forests and wilderness.

A new film called Only The Brave is based on the true story of the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots who battled, and ultimately lost their lives, in Arizona's Yarnell Hill Fire during late June of 2013. Hotshots are the elite crews that attack and try to contain wildfires with chainsaws, shovels and flames of their own (to create firebreaks).

At the end of every summer, scientist Li Zhongqin takes his seasonal hike near the top of a glacier in the Tianshan mountains in China's far northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Li scrambles over a frozen ridge and heads toward a lone pole wedged in the ice. Clouds emerge from a peak above and quickly blow past. He stops to catch his breath. He is at 14,000 feet. The snow is thick. The air is thin.

The charity World Vision International is a major provider of disaster relief across the globe. So when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the group's office in the United States revved up its fundraising big-time.

"We've raised just under $4 million in cash donations," says Drew Clark, senior director of emergencies at World Vision's U.S. office.

Two weeks later Hurricane Irma roared through the Caribbean and Florida. This time World Vision brought in $900,000.

The last time most of us saw Beck, he was onstage at the Grammy awards accepting the Album of the Year honor for his 2014 work Morning Phase and almost being interrupted by Kanye West.

Urinary tract infections cause painful urination and are unfortunately widespread. Scientists estimate that somewhere between 40 percent to more than 50 percent of women will get a UTI in their lifetime, and one in four will get a repeat infection. Left untreated, they can lead to kidney problems.

When U.S. troops were ambushed in Niger on Oct. 4, the widespread reaction was surprise. The U.S. has military forces in Niger? What are they doing there?

Yet in many ways, the Niger operation typifies U.S. military missions underway in roughly 20 African countries, mostly in the northern third of the continent. They tend to be small, they are carried out largely below the radar, and most are focused on a specific aim: rolling back Islamist extremism.

Kim Gordon’s memoir “Girl in a Band” starts with the end. A concert in Brazil that would mark the end of her 30-year career as the bassist and singer for the experimental rock band Sonic Youth. And the end of her 27-year marriage to band mate Thurston Moore.

“Maybe that was the part (of the story) that was most in people’s mind so it was kind of good to get it over with,” said Gordon, 64, from her home in Los Angeles. “I guess I usually plunge into things that make me nervous, you know, kind of without thinking. It’s just easier if you just do it. And in the same way, when I’m on stage sometimes I feel most relaxed. I don’t know, it’s a weird thing.”

Japanese voters have just days left to decide who they will support in a snap general election set for Sunday.

Japanese politics are usually tame. But this time around, the charismatic governor of Tokyo is adding unexpected elements to the race.

Magnolia Pictures

Lucky starts out looking like one of those tedious clichés about how the West is lonely, barren and abandoned, and our story is just oh-so-masculine sensitive. But within a few minutes the film is far more than that. Lucky himself is played by Harry Dean Stanton. He’s a quirky actor who has 199 movie credits. He’s something of an eccentric legend with a bit of a cult following, but when Stanton is in the right kind of picture with a good director, he’s simply radiant. Look at Wim Wenders’s Paris, Texas or any of the films Stanton has made with David Lynch. He does so little, yet manages to find a depth that is always a surprise.

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