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    China has been increasingly using civilian ships including hundreds of fishing trawlers to back up its vast territorial claims and project military power. China’s navy is already the world’s largest by ship count and has been rapidly building new warships. It launched its first domestically designed and built aircraft carrier in June and at least five new destroyers are on the way soon. Experts say civilian vessels such as fishing boats that are anchored for months at a time in the disputed South China Sea do more than just augment the raw numbers of ships. They perform tasks that would be difficult for the military to carry out such as slowly displacing other vessels without involving armed conflict and complicating the rules of engagement.

      General Motors says it will spend $760 million to renovate its transmission factory in Toledo, Ohio, so it can build drive lines for electric vehicles. It’s the first GM engine or transmission plant to begin the long transition from internal combustion engines to EVs. GM has a goal of making only electric passenger vehicles by 2035. The investment will keep the jobs of about 1,500 hourly and salaried workers at the Toledo plant, which now makes four transmissions used in pickup trucks and many other GM internal combustion vehicles. It’s good news for workers in Toledo, who have been worried about the future of their plant.

        Officials say building construction has begun at the future site of a factory where Ford and a South Korean company have joined forces to build electric trucks and batteries in rural west Tennessee. Ford Motor Co. said it has broken ground on the construction of steel structures in Stanton, Tennessee, located about 50 miles northeast of Memphis. Last year, Ford announced a $5.6 billion project to build electric F-Series pickups at the 3,600-acre parcel of land known as the Memphis Regional Megasite. The project, called BlueOval City, is a joint venture with SK Innovation, which will build battery factories at the Tennessee site and in Glendale, Kentucky.

          The Treasury Department says it will allow American tech firms to expand their business in Iran to boost internet access for the Iranian people. The Iranian government cut most internet access for its 80 million citizens during a crackdown on demonstrators protesting the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police. The morality police detained Amini last week, saying she didn’t properly cover her hair with the Islamic headscarf, which is mandatory for Iranian women. She collapsed at a police station and died three days later.

            U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock is urging the U.S. Treasury secretary to use “flexibility” in defining how automakers and consumers qualify for a revised tax credit for Americans buying electric vehicles. The Democratic senator from Georgia sent a letter Friday to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen raising concerns that the tax credit President Joe Biden signed into law last month could place some automakers at a competitive disadvantage. They include Hyundai, whose EVs would no longer qualify for the credits of up to $7,500 until the company opens its first U.S. electric vehicle plant in Georgia. That's not expected until 2025. Congress revised the credit so that it only applies to electric vehicles assembled in North America.

              A data privacy watchdog's lawsuit says a Northern California utility routinely fed customers’ power use information to police so they could target illicit marijuana grows, without requiring a warrant or suspicion of wrongdoing. It says customers of Asian descent were targeted by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Sacramento police. A SMUD spokeswoman said Thursday that the utility shares information on specific properties to stop what it believes to be power theft. A police spokesman couldn't comment on a pending lawsuit. Extraordinary use of electricity has long been a telltale sign of illegal grow houses producing thousands of marijuana plants hidden in seemingly ordinary homes.

                Actions by Facebook and its parent Meta during last year’s Gaza war violated the rights of Palestinian users to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, political participation and non-discrimination. That's according to a new report commissioned by the social media company. The report confirms long-standing criticisms of Meta’s policies and their uneven enforcement as it relates to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Written by the independent consulting firm Business for Social Responsibility, the report found that Meta over-enforced rules when it came to Arabic content and under-enforced content in Hebrew. But the report did not find intentional bias at Meta, either by the company as a whole or among individual employees.

                Why is iron so crucial to our bodies? “We need adequate iron to produce hemoglobin and myoglobin, an essential part of red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body,” says Julie Stefanski, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

                Make no mistake, weeknight cooking challenges everyone. To reduce stress, and the temptation for take-out burgers and fries, I stock ground beef and turkey in the freezer, onions and garlic on the counter, and rice noodles, interesting sauces and marinades in the pantry. The fridge usually boasts a member of the cabbage family, a bag of carrots and fresh limes.

                To take advantage of the space beneath a second-floor deck, consider installing an underdeck. As a ceiling to the underside of the deck it also protects the area from rain and snow. The vinyl material acts as a ceiling drainage system and creates a ground level outdoor room or useful found space for storing bicycles and gardening equipment.

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                Content by Brand Ave. Studios. The annual Amazon Prime Day is coming July 12 and 13, and per usual will offer discounts on many of your favorite things.

                Lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep can result in a whole host of mental and physical issues. This is why many experts have put forward innovative ideas to help the public sleep better.

                Top U.S. insurance companies and associations say California is risking a crisis in the nation’s largest automobile insurance market by refusing to approve rate increases since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The companies already are cutting back and say they can’t continue operating at a loss while Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara delays rate cases filed by companies representing three-quarters of the California market. It's part of a battle over Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s effort to compensate consumers he says were overcharged during the pandemic’s early months when traffic all but disappeared. He's refused to consider applications to boost rates for more than two years.

                You may assume that having more money in retirement will make you happier. And you’d probably be right. But finances aren’t the only factor that contributes to a joyful post-employment period. Your health, relationships and sense of purpose play a significant role, too. Plus, research has found that a little bit of optimism can go a long way. If you want to enjoy a happier retirement, start by looking at the things you can control — your outlook on the world, your attitude about aging and your willingness to learn new things.

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