Final Day Of The DNC: Hillary Clinton Will Accept Her Nomination

Attendees hold up signage in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
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On the final day of the Democratic National Convention, all eyes are on Hillary Clinton.

The former first lady, senator and secretary of state is expected to accept her party’s nomination for president.

Attendees hold up signage in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Here’s what you’ve missed so far and what’s coming up:

— The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia is buzzing. Hours before the primetime program, the floor was crowded and the seats were filled.

— The Clinton campaign is embracing the historic nature of the night: Earlier in the program, twelve women senators came on stage and talked about how Clinton has helped women. She has fought for equal pay and women’s healthcare, they said.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, from Maryland, said it was time to fight for Clinton. Her battle cry? “Women put your lipstick on! Men polish those shoes.”

— Some supporters of Bernie Sanders, about 150 of them on the floor, are wearing bright yellow shirts that say, “Enough is enough.” It’s yet to seen, whether the kind of disruption that has punctuated previous nights will continue tonight.

— Singer songwriter Carole King got the crowd swaying with her song “You’ve Got A Friend.”

At the top of this post, you’ll find live video of the convention. We’ll also this post with the latest news.

Update at 7:27 p.m. ET. ‘America Kept Its Promise’:

Rep. Joaquin Castro, of Texas, countered Donald Trump’s proposals on immigration using a personal story.

“In 1922, the only grandparent that I would ever know came to the United States from Mexico,” Castro said. “She wasn’t a rapist or a murderer. She was a six-year-old orphan. But as a girl, she walked past storefront signs that read ‘No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed.’ Her life wasn’t easy. And she didn’t always feel welcomed. But she never stopped believing in America’s sacred promise that her sacrifices would be rewarded with opportunity for herself and her family. She kept up her part of the promise by working her whole life: babysitting, cooking, and cleaning houses. And the fact that her grandson is standing here on this stage tonight is proof that America kept its promise, too.”

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Eclectic Finnish Composer Einojuhani Rautavaara Dies At 87

Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, photographed in Helsinki in October, 2014.

Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, photographed in Helsinki in October, 2014. Martti Kainulainen/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Martti Kainulainen/AFP/Getty Images

Einojuhani Rautavaara, often hailed as Finland’s finest composer since Jean Sibelius, has died at age 87. The Associated Press reports that Rautavaara died Wednesday in Helsinki after complications from hip surgery.

A prolific artist, Rautavaara produced a wide range of works including nine operas, eight symphonies, numerous concertos, choral works and chamber music.

He was also versatile. In the 1950s, he dabbled in a kind of Stravinskian neoclassical sound. The 1960s brought about experiments in 12-tone techniques, while the following decade found elements of jazz and romanticism entering his music. His 1972 orchestral work Cantus arcticus has become a signature piece, featuring birdcalls he recorded himself in northern Finland. A trilogy of so-called “Angel” works, culminating with the Seventh Symphony (“Angel of Light”), introduced a melodically accessible and mystical final phase of Rautavaara’s music.

Rautavaara was born Oct. 9, 1928 in Helsinki. He started as a pianist and musicology student at the University of Helsinki, receiving a second degree in composition from the Sibelius Academy. In the 1950s, Sibelius, the father figure of Finnish music, called Rautavaara the most promising young composer in Finland and facilitated studies at Juilliard and Tanglewood with Aaron Copland and Roger Sessions.

“Maybe the most important experience was to live in Manhattan,” Rautavaara told NPR in 1998. “It taught much more about life to me than all those teachers about music.” In 2004, Rautavaara paid tribute to his New York days with an orchestral work, Manhattan Trilogy.

Rautavaara became a teacher himself — a lecturer, then a professor at the Sibelius Academy. Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vänskä, who knew Rautavaara and conducts his works, says the composer was not a disciplinarian when it came to playing his music.

“He always listened to the opinions of the performers,” Vänskä said in a telephone conversation Thursday. “He wanted to give very free hands for you to find your way.”

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One of Rautavaara’s first stylistic changes came in the mid-1960s, after the Fourth Symphony. “He was a tighter-minded composer in the 1950s,” Vänskä said. “He felt that he had just done enough with that type of serial music and wanted to open his mind.”

Another shift came in the 1980s, when he found his second wife. “It was obvious the second marriage changed his life,” Vänskä said. “That was a happy time in his life and you can hear that in his music.”

Although Rautavaara’s music routinely took on a serious tone, he cultivated a sense of humor.

The “Angel of Light” symphony was about angels, but Vänskä recalled the composer explaining, “We have to remember that there are not only white angels but there are black angels too,” and tacking on an evil little cackle. The symphony was commissioned by the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra and premiered in 1995. Four years later Rautavaara fulfilled another American commission, composing his Eighth Symphony for the centenary of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

With an assortment of styles over many decades where does someone new to Rautavaara’s music start? Vänskä has some ideas. From the earlier works, Vänskä recommends A Requiem in Our Time, a piece for brass ensemble that won the Thor Johnson Contest in 1954 and brought the composer some international acclaim. “It’s a piece I’ve conducted many times,” Vänskä says. “It has this kind of drama, but it’s always speaking to the audience.”

Vänskä’s favorite remains the Cantus arcticus: “It’s such a revolutionary idea, to go and record the birds and make them perform with an orchestra in a concert hall.”

In 2004, Rautavaara nearly died from a torn aorta, spending months in a hospital. He eventually rebounded, saying his commissions were keeping him alive. Along with many commissions, Rautavaara had strong support from the Finnish government, which named him an arts professor and paid him not to teach but only to compose.

In 2000, sitting in his garden outside Helsinki, Rautavaara told NPR that what really fueled his music was passion. “To be a composer, you have to be a fanatic,” he said. “You have to feel that composing is your mode of existence.”

Rautavaara was working on a new opera when he died. He is survived by his wife, soprano Sinikka Rautaavara, and three children.

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DNC Night 4 Schedule: Hillary Clinton Accepts The Democratic Nomination

Virgin Islands delegate Edgar Phillips arrives at Wells Fargo Arena before the start of the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Virgin Islands delegate Edgar Phillips arrives at Wells Fargo Arena before the start of the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday. John Locher/AP hide caption

toggle caption John Locher/AP

The final night of the Democratic National Convention belongs to Hillary Clinton, who will formally accept her party’s nomination for president this evening.

She’s the first woman to ever be nominated for the White House by a major political party, and she’ll be introduced by her daughter, Chelsea, to make her historic acceptance speech.

Many Senate Democratic women will also speak ahead of Clinton’s speech.

Singers Carole King, Katy Perry and Sheila E. will also perform.

Here is a partial evening schedule, as provided by the DNC:

6-7 p.m. ET

Carole King performs

House Asst. Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski

Washington Sen. Patty Murray

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin

Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono

California Sen. Barbara Boxer

7-9 p.m. ET

Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro

Sheila E. performs

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf

Former Michigan Gov. Jen Granholm

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

9-10 p.m. ET

Actress Chloe Grace Moretz

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown

California Rep. Xavier Beccera

Katy Perry performs

10-11 p.m. ET

Chelsea Clinton

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton

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Latin Roots: 'Quiero Creedence'

Los Lobos is one of the bands featured on Quiero Creedence.

Los Lobos is one of the bands featured on Quiero Creedence. David Alan Kogut/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption David Alan Kogut/Courtesy of the artist

  • Los Lonely Boys, “Born On The Bayou”
  • Juan Gabriel, “Have You Ever Seen The Rain”
  • Billy Gibbons & La Marisoul, “Green River”

Like the recently released collection of Morrissey songs sung by Latin artists on the Mexrrissey compilation, Quiero Creedence explores another English-speaking artist beloved by Latin audiences. Josh Norek, co-host of the radio show The Latin Alternative, explains that middle-class Mexicans, among others, really embrace the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival. In this segment, Norek plays a few of the songs from this extremely fun collection, including covers by Los Lonely Boys and Juan Gabriel.

Hear the complete album for a limited time on NPR Music’s First Listen.

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A Look Back AT Hillary Clinton's Past Democratic National Convention Speeches

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night after President Obama speaks.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night after President Obama speaks. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group hide caption

toggle caption Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group

Hillary Clinton is no stranger to speaking at political conventions — she’s done it four times before.

But nothing will compare to the pressure and sky-high expectations Clinton will face tonight as she accept the Democratic nomination for president, becoming the first woman of a major political ever to do so.

She’s expected to make hit her Donald Trump but also lay out her own vision for America — likely a more positive take on the country than her GOP rival, and more in the style of President Obama’s speech last night.

She also has the difficult task of trying to , a daunting task for someone who has been in the national public eye for more than two decades.

Here are her previous DNC speeches:

1996, Chicago

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Hillary Clinton didn’t speak in 1992 when her husband was first nominated as a presidential candidate. But four years later, the first lady did take the stage to defend both herself and Bill Clinton.

“With a feathery touch but clear political intent, Hillary Rodham Clinton responded today to the critics of her four-year stint as First Lady by drawing on the imagery of strong women from an earlier era who battled withering criticism in their day,” the New York Times wrote.

There were initial questions of whether it was even a good idea for Clinton to speak. She was a polarizing figure even then, wielding unprecedented influence in her husband’s administration and was embroiled in the Whitewater controversy.

She spoke about family and children, coming just off the publication of her book, “It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us.”

“It takes a president who believes not only in the potential of his own child, but of all children; who believes not only in the strength of his own family, but of the American family,” the first lady said. “It takes Bill Clinton.”

2000, Los Angeles

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This was the first time she addressed the DNC as a political candidate, with the outgoing first lady running for an open New York Senate seat that fall.

She focused much of her speech on extolling the nominee that year, Vice President Al Gore, praising him as “Bill’s trusted partner.”

But she also looked back at her family’s last eight years and what the future held.

“Bill and I are closing one chapter of our lives-and soon, we’ll be starting a new one. For me, it will be up to the people of New York to decide whether I’ll have the privilege of serving them in the United States Senate,” Clinton said. “I will always be profoundly grateful to all of you and to the American people for the last eight years.”

2004, Boston

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Four years later, Clinton was the junior senator from New York and already being mentioned as a possible future presidential candidate. Initially, she wasn’t supposed to speak on her own, reportedly amid worries she might upstage the ticket that year of John Edwards and John Kerry. But that quickly changed and she was given a prominent role introducing her husband.

“Twelve years ago, when our country needed new leadership, Americans selected a Democrat who gave us eight years of peace, prosperity and promise. Tonight, I have the pleasure of introducing the last great Democratic president,” she said, before talking about Kerry, who she predicted would be “the next great Democratic president.”

She also spoke of how the country had changed since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, telling the crowd, “we meet at a moment of great peril, but also of great promise for the country we love.”

“Together we can once again widen the circle of opportunity for all Americans, we can once again transcend our differences and divisions, we can once again give our children a safer and more secure future,” Clinton continued.

But at that convention, she was upstaged by a young Illinois Senate candidate — a premonition of what was to come four years later.

2008, Denver

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Clinton was not accepting the Democratic nomination at this convention, as she had hoped to do. Instead, after a bitter primary battle with Barack Obama, she put aside their past differences.

“Hillary Clinton delivered an impassioned plea for party unity in a forceful address to the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, declaring, ‘Barack Obama is my candidate and he must be our president,'” NPR’s Mara Liasson reported.

“My friends, it is time to take back the country we love,” Clinton began. “Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines. This is a fight for the future. And it’s a fight we must win.”

Clinton didn’t speak before the 2012 Democratic convention because she was on an overseas trip as the secretary of state at the time.

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Regulators Draw Up New Rules To Stop Abusive Practices By Debt Collectors

Richard Cordray, shown here at a March 2015 hearing, directs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has proposed new rules to overhaul the multi-billion dollar debt collection industry.)

Richard Cordray, shown here at a March 2015 hearing, directs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has proposed new rules to overhaul the multi-billion dollar debt collection industry.) Steve Helber/AP hide caption

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is drawing up new rules that would curb abusive debt collection practices, which it says generated some 85,000 consumer complaints last year alone.

The rules would limit the number of times debt collectors can contact borrowers to collect debts, and require them to substantiate that they have the right person before doing so. They would also have to make it easier for borrowers to dispute debts.

“Both consumers and responsible businesses stand to benefit by improved standards for debt collection. Consumers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and businesses should be able to operate fairly and reasonably to collect the debts they’re legitimately owed,” said Richard Cordray, the bureau’s director, at a field event in California.

The bureau says it receives more complaints about the $13.7 billion debt collection industry than any other issue. Many consumers report being harassed repeatedly to pay debts they don’t owe, or have already paid, the bureau says.

“The basic principles of the proposals we’re considering are grounded in common sense. Companies should not collect debt that is not owed. They should have more reliable information about the debt before they try to collect,” Cordray said.

One problem is that many companies purchase debt from creditors for pennies on the dollar, with the intention of aggressively trying to collect it, but don’t necessarily have correct information about the borrower or even whether the debt has been paid, he said.

The proposals would limit the number of times a company could contact a borrower and prevent the company from using certain channels of communication, such as a work phone, if the borrower requested it.

Debt collection is already governed by the 1977 Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The bureau was given the authority to issue new regulations under the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill of 2010.

Bureau officials say the 1977 act needs to be updated in numerous ways.

For instance, the act gave consumers the right to dispute a debt or ask for more information, but few consumers understand they may do so, Cordray said.

Under the proposed rules, companies would be obligated to confirm their information about debts if consumers requested it.

The proposed rules are being released to the public for comment and will be rewritten in greater detail, after industry and consumer groups weigh in.

“The law should protect and promote ethical debt collection, which safeguards the rights of consumers and provides clear and effective rules of the road for collectors,” said James Mastriani, president of Velocity Recoveries, a debt collection firm.

But, he added, “The law should not be misused to enable borrowers to turn legitimate loans into de facto gifts. In the long run, this will reduce the availability of credit for all consumers and make credit more expensive.”

Graciela Aponte-Davis, director of California policy at the Center for Responsible Lending, said the proposals “endorse the common-sense idea that people should not be harassed for debts they do not owe.”

But she expressed concern that some parts of the proposals don’t protect consumers from unwarranted collection attempts.

“Specifically the proposal does not go far enough to require that debt collectors adequately document that they are pursuing the right person for the right debt,” she said.

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Ameera, 6-Year-Old Afghan, Prepares To Walk Out Of U.S. Military Hospital

Ameera, 6, walks with assistance at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. She is recovering from a gunshot wound when she was caught in a firefight between American and Afghan soldiers and Taliban insurgents.

Ameera, 6, walks with assistance at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. She is recovering from a gunshot wound when she was caught in a firefight between American and Afghan soldiers and Taliban insurgents. Senior Airman Robert Dantzler/U.S. Air Force hide caption

toggle caption Senior Airman Robert Dantzler/U.S. Air Force

Earlier this year, a six-year-old girl was shot and badly wounded during a firefight between U.S. and Afghan forces and the Taliban. Her father, a Taliban fighter, her mother and some siblings were all killed in the gun battle.

Dr. Chance Henderson, a Texas-born orthopedic surgeon, was there when the girl, who NPR is calling Ameera, was brought to the hospital at the Bagram Airfield outside Kabul.

“I remember her quite vividly there on that stretcher, and how tiny she looked,” he says.

Back in May, NPR reported that it was unclear whether Henderson — who has a daughter close to Ameera’s age — and his medical team would be able to save Ameera’s severely wounded left leg.

The stakes were high, Henderson explained at the time, because the girl’s “outlook on a life as a single amputee that does not have a family is much different than it would be for us in the States. Her future would be grim, and probably her lifespan would be short.”

This week, there’s good news. Henderson says he succeeded in saving Ameera’s leg via a procedure called a cross-leg flap. It involved temporarily attaching her two legs and directing blood flow from the healthy right leg to the left.

“We just take the skin from one leg, the other leg and flap it down kind of all the way to the muscle, and use that muscle and subcutaneous fat to sew to the other leg, to cover that defect, and allow the bone to get her blood supply to it, take away infection and let it heal,” Henderson explains. “The nurses were calling it a mermaid flap.”

Ameera’s legs were stabilized with a bar “so she didn’t pull them apart as she was waking up or in normal day-to-day life,” Henderson says. “And so she was sewn together, as well as bars and pins holding her legs together.”

The flap was divided after four weeks, the operation a success. Since then, the team has worked with Ameera to strengthen her legs, with the help of a custom-made walker.

“She’s a little stiff and we have a therapist here that’s been working with her to help her walk,” Henderson says. “But she’s doing quite well.”

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Chance Henderson, an orthopedic surgeon, stands in the operating theater of the military hospital at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Henderson has saved the leg of a 6-year-old Afghan girl who was shot during a firefight between U.S. and Afghan forces and the Taliban.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Chance Henderson, an orthopedic surgeon, stands in the operating theater of the military hospital at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Henderson has saved the leg of a 6-year-old Afghan girl who was shot during a firefight between U.S. and Afghan forces and the Taliban. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

toggle caption David Gilkey/NPR

Ameera is doing so well that she is getting ready to go home soon. It’s a bittersweet transition for Henderson and his team.

“She has been here from the first week of this deployment, when we first got here in early April, and so I don’t think there’s a person at the hospital that hasn’t spent hours with her,” he says.

Nurses, therapists and physicians have all gotten to know the girl. They’ve played with her and done what they could to make her feel more comfortable.

“And so she’s very near and dear to all of our hearts,” says Henderson.

So much so, in fact, that in the beginning, several of them had thought they might adopt her.

“The first night we met her, we all thought, that’s it, you know, we’ve got to save this little girl,” Henderson says. “Immediately when we heard that she had lost her family, of course that’s what everybody’s thinking. We were excited to find she did have other family members, but I think there’s a law, a federal law, against military members adopting. And we asked the question and were told no. And I think some of us asked twice and were told no twice, which is a strong no in the military.”

Henderson expects Ameera to be discharged “very soon.” She’ll go into the care of her family, though it’s unclear which relatives will look after her. To protect her security, the location where she’ll be living isn’t being made public. Henderson worries that her time in a U.S. hospital may elicit threats.

The most important thing from Henderson’s perspective is for her to lead as normal a life from now on as possible.

“I really want her to be able to run and walk and do all of the normal things that a kid can do almost when she leaves here, just purely because I think follow-up will be difficult, given that she may be far away from here,” he says. “I want her to be 100 percent.”

When Ameera leaves, he says, “It’s going to be a tough day.” In the time she’s spent at the hospital, she’s picked up a little English: “She says ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ and ‘thank you’ — and she’s certainly learned how to say ‘no’ quite clearly,” says Henderson.

For him and his team, “bye” will be the hardest thing to hear. But Ameera, he knows, “will smile, she’ll be excited.”

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Sea Slug? Disco Ball? Beautiful Deep-Sea Purple Blob Puzzles Scientists

Scientists from the Nautilus exploration vessel found this bright purple orb near California's Channel Islands.

Scientists from the Nautilus exploration vessel found this bright purple orb near California’s Channel Islands. E/V Nautilus/Screen shot by NPR hide caption

toggle caption E/V Nautilus/Screen shot by NPR

Researchers have found a curious purple orb near California’s Channel Islands – and it’s left them stumped.

To our untrained eye, it looks a little like a really dazzling Christmas ornament. Alternatively, Smithsonian compared it to an unhatched Pokemon.

During the recent expedition, unnamed scientists from the Nautilus exploration vessel are recording and chatting about what they’re seeing when they come across the mysterious, beautiful blob. Watch their video here:

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“What is that?” “‘I’m stumped. I have no idea. I can’t even hazard a guess to phylum,” the team says.

“What if it’s an egg sac of some sort?” “It looks like a disco ball right now.”

The team was able to suction up the 5 cm-wide orb, after a close encounter with a meddling crab. It was found in an underwater canyon 5,301 feet deep, spokesperson Susan Poulton from the E/V Nautilus told The Two-Way in an email.

After a closer look, the team says it is most likely a pleurobranch – a type of sea slug. That’s a nudibranch relative – and as Smithsonian explains: “Known for their brilliant hues, nudibranchs are a type of sea slug that inhabit a range of environments.”

National Geographic adds that these mollusks “live in warm and cold water, on a variety of ocean surfaces. Most of them are about the size of a finger or hand.”

However – the brilliant purple color raises some questions. “Currently none of the known species of California deep-sea pleurobranchs are purple, so this could be a new discovery,” the Nautilus team says. “Pleurobranchs have rhinophores (ear-like structures) in a particular location and a gill under the mantle on the right side, but we are still determining if this is present on this sample,” Poulton adds.

And, the creature put on a bit of a show once it was suctioned onboard the exploration vessel. “After sampling, it began to unfold to reveal two distinct lobes,” the team says. The change is dramatic:

The mysterious blob unfolded once it was on board the exploration vessel.

The mysterious blob unfolded once it was on board the exploration vessel. Ocean Exploration Trust hide caption

toggle caption Ocean Exploration Trust

Marine scientist Jeff Goddard of the University of California, Santa Barbara offered a few other guesses about what the blob could be to Smithsonian:

” ‘Anytime you see a round structure like that you have to consider the possibility it’s an embryo,’ he tells Smithsonian.com. Even so, ‘the purple orb would be an unusual egg mass, especially if it contained a single large egg/embryo,’ Goddard says. An embryo of what, he’s not sure. But he also says it’s possible that it’s a fibrous sponge. Another option is a sea squirt predator. The video shows that it’s the only purple orb in an area full of gray tunicates, so it could be munching on the critters.”

Poulton says the team has “sent the samples to the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology and consulted with scientists there about a potential identification.”

Expedition leader Robert Ballard has a history of fascinating discoveries — he’s the explorer who found the wreckage of the Titanic.

The Two-Way has a love of deep-sea stories — let’s call this one the latest in our ongoing series, “Mysteries of the Deep.”

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Fearing Zika, FDA Asks 2 Florida Counties To Halt Blood Donations

Blood donations in the U.S. aren't routinely screened for the Zika virus.

Blood donations in the U.S. aren’t routinely screened for the Zika virus. Chris O’Meara/AP hide caption

toggle caption Chris O’Meara/AP

There’s been a looming fear that mosquitoes would start spreading the Zika virus in the U.S. Now that possibility seems increasingly real.

On Thursday, senior officials at the Food and Drug Administration said they have asked blood donation centers in two Florida counties, Miami-Dade and Broward, to stop collecting blood for the time being.

The move came after investigators ruled out travel as the cause of four cases of Zika virus in those counties. Florida health officials announced the cases last week. The people hadn’t traveled to places where Zika is endemic and don’t appear to have contracted it through sex, leaving a possibility that they got the virus from being bitten by infected mosquitoes in the U.S.

If they did acquire the virus from domestic mosquitoes, it could mean that others in the area also may have acquired Zika virus locally, and may have donated blood without knowing it was infected.

In an effort to “help ensure the safety of the nation’s blood supply,” Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation Research, said in a statement that blood collections shouldn’t resume in the area until the centers can test each incoming blood donation for Zika virus.

The agency suggested that neighboring counties do the same, and that at-risk counties across the U.S. screen donors before collecting blood.

“These may be the first cases of local Zika virus transmission by mosquitoes in the continental United States,” said the statement. The Florida department of health has yet to confirm how the people acquired the virus.

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Prosecutors Move To Drop Murder Charges Against Man Accused Of Killing Chandra Levy

Ingmar Guandique is escorted from the Violent Crimes Unit by police in Washington, D.C., in 2009.

Ingmar Guandique is escorted from the Violent Crimes Unit by police in Washington, D.C., in 2009. Jacquelyn Martin/AP hide caption

toggle caption Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Prosecutors have moved to drop murder charges against Ingmar Guandique, who is accused of killing 24-year-old Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy in 2001.

The Levy case “made headlines across the nation because of the victim’s romantic involvement when then-Rep. Gary Condit,” as The Two-Way has reported.

Guandique was convicted of Levy’s murder in 2010 but had been awaiting a new trial after his attorneys argued that a former cellmate had given misleading testimony. That trial was set to start in October.

Prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. said in court documents filed Thursday that they dropped the charges because of “new information that the government received within the past week.” They added: “After investigating this information and reviewing all of the evidence in this case, the government now believes it is in the interests of justice for the Court to dismiss the case without prejudice.”

In a statement, prosecutors said that “pending action by the Court , Mr. Guandique will then be released to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where he faces removal proceedings.”

Here’s some background on the long-running legal case from The Two-Way:

“Guandique was found guilty in November 2010 of Levy’s 2001 murder and sentenced to 60 years in prison. The illegal immigrant from El Salvador had been serving time for other attacks on women in Washington’s Rock Creek Park. He was charged with Levy’s murder in 2009.

“The case drew headlines across the nation because of 23-year-old Levy’s affair with then-Congressman Gary Condit, a California Democrat. Police questioned Condit multiple times in connection with her disappearance. Levy’s body was found in Rock Creek Park in 2002.

“Condit subsequently lost the Democratic primary and left Congress in 2003.”

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