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Older News Archivescom0116
NEWS     THURSDAY, JUlY 31, 2014     NEWS

Bill Clinton's Speaking Fees May Constitute Bribes To Hillary's State Department
Bill and Hillary Clinton may have used the former first lady's position as secretary of state to accept millions of dollars in bribes couched as speaking fees according to allegations from Judicial Watch and the Washington Examiner. "These documents are a bombshell and show how the Clintons turned the State Department into a racket to line their own pockets," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. After much recent press on how personal wealth gained through book sales, personal appearances, and speaking engagements has distanced Hillary Clinton from the demographic of Americans Experiencing Financial Hardship—a constituency she attempted to identify with when she made the controversial comment she and husband Bill were "dead broke" when they left the White House in 2001—the Clintons are now under fire for allegedly abusing their political connections for personal profit. UPI
VOA VIEW: The duo rip-off artists.

Fast Food Ambitions In China Hurt By Safety Scares
Already China's biggest restaurant operator with 4,600 outlets, KFC is pursuing Chinese consumers so avidly it opens two more every day. That dramatic growth comes with a big catch: KFC's quality control is struggling to keep up. The Louisville, Kentucky-based chain is reeling after a Chinese supplier was accused of selling expired beef and chicken to it, McDonald's and possibly other restaurant chains. Just 18 months earlier, KFC's sales plunged in China after a supplier violated rules on drug use in chickens. Tampa Tribune

First Lady On Homeless Veterans: 58,000 Is A Moral Outrage
First Lady Michelle Obama -- who has made veterans issues a hallmark of her tenure -- will take the administration’s efforts at ending homelessness among veterans to the 2014 National Conference on Ending Homelessness. Obama is scheduled to speak Thursday at the conference, which an estimated 1,600 people will attend.
Obama in June called the nation’s estimated 58,000 homeless veterans a “moral outrage” and announced a new White House effort to find housing for them, working with mayors, governors and county officials. Charlotte Observer

Hezbollah Commander Killed In Iraq
Officials say a commander with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah was killed in Iraq. The Lebanese officials, close to the Shiite Hezbollah, say Ibrahim Mohammed al-Haj was killed during the past week while on a "jihadi mission" without providing further details. It is the first known Hezbollah death in Iraq since Sunni extremists captured large parts of the country north and west of Baghdad in June. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. San Diego Union

State Dept: 'No American Is Proud' Of CIA Tactics
The State Department has endorsed the broad conclusions of a harshly critical Senate report on the CIA's interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks, a report that accuses the agency of brutally treating terror suspects and misleading Congress, according to a White House document. "This report tells a story of which no American is proud," says the four-page White House document, which contains the State Department's preliminary proposed talking points in response to the classified Senate report, a summary of which is expected to be released in the coming weeks. "But it is also part of another story of which we can be proud," adds the document, which was circulating this week among White House officials and which the White House accidentally emailed to an Associated Press reporter. "America's democratic system worked just as it was designed to work in bringing an end to actions inconsistent with our democratic values." Kansas City Star
VOA VIEW: Saying "No" American is proud is not a accurte statement.

U.S. Sanctions North Korean Companies On Cuba Weapons Case
The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday sanctioned two North Korean companies and 18 cargo ships for a shipment of Cuban weapons that violated a U.N. arms embargo on Pyongyang, and barely mentioned Cuba’s role in the case. Ocean Maritime Management Company, Ltd., the Chongchongang Shipping Company and the freighter were put on a list that subjects them to seizures of their bank accounts and forbids U.S. entities from doing business with them. A Treasury statement said the sanctions were sparked by the case of the Chong Chon Gang, a North Korean freighter intercepted in Panama last summer and found to be carrying 240 tons of Cuban weapons to Pyongyang. Miami Herald

California GOP Hopeful Hunkers Down In Israeli Bomb Shelters
Ron Nehring, California's Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, is forgoing the usual campaign swings this week for something far riskier - he's huddling in Israeli bomb shelters, tweeting just miles from the Gaza border. "Last night ... you could hear the Iron Dome intercepting the incoming rockets," he said by phone Wednesday, referring to the Israeli military's air defense system. "There was a loud boom in the background." Nehring, who is challenging Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in the Nov. 4 election, spoke to The Chronicle from the town of Ofakim, not far from the Gaza border. On Tuesday he was in Sderot, about a mile from the border. SF Gate

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Economy Grows Faster Under Democratic Presidents Than Republicans
The U.S. economy has grown far more rapidly under Democratic presidents than under Republican presidents since World War II -- but why? A paper released Tuesday by the National Bureau of Economic Research seeks to answer that question. The analysis arrived at a timely moment, given Wednesday's report that the American economy grew at a rate of 4.0 percent between April and June this year, beating forecasts and putting a pep in the step of Democratic officeholders. CBS

HealthCare.Gov Has Already Cost $840 Million
HealthCare.gov, the federal health-exchange website plagued with glitches at its launch, has already cost $840 million to build, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of two task orders and one contract related to building the system. The cost overruns were incurred through a combination of inconsistent oversight and constantly changing requirements, according to testimony prepared by GAO's Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management, William Woods, who is scheduled to testify before a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee Thursday. CBS

Senators Cross Aisle On Bill To Curb College Sexual Assault
In a rare show of bipartisanship, a group of Republican and Democratic senators today introduced a bill to curb sexual assaults on college campuses. “If you are a young woman and you attend school, the odds jump that you will be sexually assaulted at school, probably by someone you know from your class, from a team, from a party,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said. “The price of a college education should not be that one in five women will be sexually assaulted.” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said, “We are telling our young people every day that in order to get ahead they have to go to school. Let’s make sure that when they do that they’re safe.” ABC

Senators Push For Military Aid To Ukraine
Senators are renewing calls for U.S. military aid to Ukraine after receiving a closed-doors briefing from senior Obama administration officials. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham reports the administration seeing Russia prepared to fight in Ukraine to prevent separatists from being overrun. In contrast, he says, the U.S. doesn't have a strategy. Graham says sanctions against Russia thus far haven't changed President Vladimir Putin's calculus. Graham wants measures targeting Putin personally. And he says lethal aid should be provided to help Ukraine's military. Republican Kelly Ayotte and Democrat Bill Nelson agree on military assistance. Las Vegas Sun

Survey Shows Partisan Divide In Attitudes Toward Arabs, Muslims
A survey released Tuesday suggests there is a deep partisan divide in attitudes toward Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans. The Zogby Analytics online survey for the Arab American Institute asked 1,110 likely U.S. voters about their views of Arabs and Muslims. "When we first started doing this polling we used to comment that there was a partisan divide," said James Zogby of the Arab American Institute. "What's clear is that the partisan divide only masks a generational divide and a racial divide." UPI
VOA VIEW: A true survey cannot be obtained, as many will be criticized if they tell their true feelings.

Panasonic, Tesla To Build Big US Battery Plant
American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs. The companies announced the deal Thursday, but they did not say where in the U.S. the so-called “gigafactory,” or large-scale plant, will be built. The plant will produce cells, modules and packs for Tesla’s electric vehicles and for the stationary energy storage market, employing 6,500 people by 2020.
Under the agreement, Tesla, based in Palo Alto, California, will prepare, provide and manage the land and buildings, while Osaka-based Panasonic will manufacture and supply the lithium-ion battery cells and invest in equipment for manufacturing. The project will cut costs to better meet mass production needs for electric vehicle batteries. Washington Post

GOP's Baker To Unveil Plan To Fight Drug Addiction
Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker is unveiling what he’s calling a comprehensive approach to tackling the drug addiction crisis in Massachusetts. Baker said he would require hospitals and first responders to report overdoses directly to the Department of Public Health and mandate doctors consult the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program before writing or renewing a prescription on an annual basis. Baker said the state should work with schools to develop age-appropriate programs to help children understand the physical, social and economic consequences of addiction. He said the state should also ensure there are suitable in-patient facilities for teenagers and young adults fighting addiction. Baker said he would also push for alternatives to incarceration, including treatment for non-violent offenders. Boston Globe

Malaysian Prime Minister: Stop Fighting In Ukraine
Malaysia's prime minister on Thursday called on Ukrainian and pro-Russian separatists to agree to a cease-fire in the area surrounding the site where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down. Two weeks after the plane's destruction on July 17, the remains and personal possessions of many of the victims haven't been recovered — to the anguish of their relatives and friends. "The conflict in eastern Ukraine may not be easily resolved, but the people on board that plane had no part in it," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said shortly before investigators succeeded in reaching the crash site. Houston Chronicle

Inequality — Depends On What You Measure, Fed Says
Not all inequalities are equal. Inequality, it’s true, has been a flashpoint of debate recently – and when people argue about it (it’s good, it’s bad, it’s a figment of some French economist’s imagination) they usually don’t make a distinction between the two kinds of economic inequality. Wealth. Income. That is, it’s nice to have a carload of cash in the bank, and it’s nice to have a paycheck with lots of zeroes, but they are not the same thing. And the numbers seem to show – whatever you think about the issue – that one kind of inequality is much more pronounced than the other, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Atlanta Journal

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Republican Report Alleges ‘Billionaire’s Club’ Funding Environmental Causes Through ‘Shady’ Network
An “elite” group of liberal “millionaires and billionaires” is pumping money into an elaborate network of environmental groups to influence EPA policies, even using “shady” donations from a foreign company to fund their efforts, according to a lengthy report by Senate Republicans. The 92-page report was released Wednesday by Republicans on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The study endeavors to expose an alleged “far-left environmental machine” that Republicans say exerts “tremendous sway” over policies that hurt the economy. Fox News

GOP-Led House Ready To OK Lawsuit Against Obama
Republicans are ready to muscle legislation through the House authorizing an election-year lawsuit against President Barack Obama that accuses him of exceeding his powers in enforcing his health care law. A party-line vote -- and plenty of sharp partisan rhetoric -- was expected when the GOP-led chamber considers the measure Wednesday. Democrats dismiss the proposal as a legally groundless exercise that could end up costing taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees and other expenses.
They've branded the effort a political charade aimed at stirring up Republican voters for the fall congressional elections. They say it's also an effort by top Republicans to mollify conservatives who want Obama to be impeached -- something House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Tuesday he has no plans to do. Fox News

Domestic Violence: The Next Front In Gun-Control Fight
The scene is intense: A man is ferociously knocking on a door while a woman inside the house calls 911, saying that her ex is trying to break in. A child sits on the couch. The man bursts in and grabs the child, and the woman yells not to take the toddler. The man pulls out a gun. A shot rings out, and the screen goes black. A child cries out. The violent domestic scenario is only a television ad from a gun control group, but it attempts to portray what some women face. It also depicts the next front in the gun control debate. CNN

Peace Corps Evacuates West Africa Volunteers Due To Ebola Threat
Humanitarian agencies working in west Africa are stepping up precautions against the deadly Ebola virus as local and international health officials struggle to bring the outbreak under control. The Peace Corps announced Wednesday it was removing hundreds of its volunteers from the region. The Peace Corps said 340 workers would temporarily leave Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three countries primarily affected by the outbreak. Two volunteers on the continent were isolated after coming in contact with someone who later died of the virus, a spokeswoman told CNN. They are not exhibiting Ebola symptoms, and will return to the United States when they receive medical clearance, she said. CNN

Lois Lerner Referred To Conservatives As '***Holes' And 'Terrorists'
A newly discovered email exchange from Lois Lerner's official IRS email account "directly demonstrates Ms. Lerner's deep animus towards conservatives, which she refers to as '---holes,'" House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday. In that Nov. 9, 2012 email, Lerner further suggests that conservatives will ruin the country: "So we don't  need to worry about alien teRrorists (sic). It's our own crazies that will take us down," she wrote. Camp (R-Mich.) told Holder the email "shows that Ms. Lerner's mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives." CNS News

Sessions: 'We Cannot Allow Executive Orders To...Eradicate Plain Law'
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) took to the Senate floor Wednesday to blast the president’s reported plan to use his executive authority to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants by scaling back deportations and granting them work permits, saying Congress must not allow the president use executive actions that eradicate “plain law.”
“This Congress needs to speak. We cannot allow executive orders to be issued by a president that eradicates plain law. To do so is wrong. The American people are watching this. They are not going to be happy that this Congress didn’t take action, and expressions of concerns among senators really are not enough,” said Sessions. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Obama feels he is above the law.

Michelle Obama Says The 'Blood Of Africa' Runs Through Her Veins
First lady Michelle Obama embraced her family’s African roots in a speech on Wednesday, telling a group of young Africans that the “blood of Africa” runs through her veins as she urged changing traditional beliefs on the worth of educating women. Her husband had shied away from discussing his African heritage in his own remarks to the 500 Africans finishing a six-week Washington leadership fellowship on Monday, referencing his Kenyan father only once and in the question-and-answer session. But Michelle Obama said as an African American woman, her discussion with the African youth was “deeply personal.” Reuters

House Passes VA Reform Compromise
he House overwhelmingly passed Wednesday a reform bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs, sending the compromise plan to the Senate in an effort to finish the bill before leaving on a month-long vacation at the end of the week. Lawmakers approved the plan to cut down on wait times 420-5, signaling that the eagerness to care for veterans outweighed the almost $17 billion price tag — $10 billion of which would be tacked onto the deficit, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate. Washington Times

General Motors Sued On Behalf Of Hundreds Of Plaintiffs
A Texas lawyer has filed a lawsuit against General Motors (GM) on behalf of 658 people who were injured or killed in crashes allegedly caused by faulty ignition switches. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in New York City names 29 people who were killed in crashes and 629 who were hurt. All the crashes occurred after GM emerged from bankruptcy protection in July of 2009. That makes them exempt from GM's efforts to shield itself from claims due to crashes that occurred before the bankruptcy, attorney Robert Hilliard said in a statement. Hilliard also said he will ask judges for permission to file another 248 cases from before the bankruptcy, including 21 deaths. Washington Times

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Satanists Use Hobby Lobby Decision To Play Devil's Advocate
A group of Satanists are using the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision to promote their own political initiatives -- which are the polar opposite of the Christian craft store giant. The Supreme Court ruling allows Hobby Lobby to opt out of providing contraceptives to employees on the basis of their religious beliefs. Now, The Satanic Temple plans to cite the verdict as justification for the protection of their own beliefs. The Satanic Temple, a religious group based in New York but with followers across the country, is using the ruling to fight informed consent laws which mandate that women considering abortions must be given state-approved literature about the procedure. ABC

Bank Of America’s Countrywide Ordered To Pay $1.3 Billion
Bank of America Corp.’s Countrywide unit was ordered to pay $1.3 billion in penalties for defective mortgage loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, a little more than half of what the federal government had requested. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan issued the civil penalty against the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank today in the first mortgage-fraud case brought by the federal government to go to trial. Countrywide and Rebecca Mairone, a former executive with the mortgage lender, were found liable by a jury in Manhattan federal court in October for selling thousands of bad loans to the two government-sponsored enterprises. Mairone was ordered to pay $1 million. Bloomberg

Fed Sees Labor-Market Slack Even After Unemployment Rate Dropped
The Federal Reserve said the labor market still has plenty of room for improvement, even after a surprising drop in unemployment, bolstering the case for keeping interest rates low. “A range of labor-market indicators suggests that there remains significant underutilization of labor resources,” the Federal Open Market Committee said today in a statement in Washington, dropping language that unemployment is “elevated.” The Fed also said inflation has risen closer to its goal. The statement highlights broader measures of the labor market, such as weak wage growth and underemployment, that Fed Chair Janet Yellen has emphasized as reasons for maintaining more than five years of near-zero rates. Bloomberg

Obama Takes Tougher Line Against Gaza Casualties
The Obama administration condemned the deadly shelling of a United Nations school in Gaza Wednesday, using tough, yet carefully worded language that reflects growing White House irritation with Israel and the mounting civilian casualties stemming from its ground and air war against Hamas. The U.S. frustrations were compounded by a flurry of Israeli media reports this week that appeared aimed at discrediting President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who spent days trying to negotiate an unsuccessful cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. In unusually blunt language, a State Department spokeswoman on Wednesday repeatedly described one of the reports as "complete crap." Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Obama's actions are exacerbating the situation.

Israel Vows To Destroy Hamas Tunnels
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel will destroy the Hamas tunnel network in the Gaza Strip “with or without a cease-fire,” as the military called up another 16,000 reservists to pursue its campaign in the densely-populated territory. Netanyahu’s vow came as international efforts to end the 23-day-old conflict seemed to sputter despite concern over the mounting death toll, with more than 1,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and more than 50 Israelis, almost all of them soldiers, killed since July 8. Detroit News

J&J Pulls From Market Hysterectomy Device Tied To Cancer Spread
Johnson & Johnson is pulling from the global market a device used during hysterectomies and other uterine procedures after reports that it may spread and accelerate the growth of undetected cancer inside women. The move builds on J&J's decision in April to suspend use of the devices after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned doctors that the widely used surgical tool may disperse malignant cells. The equipment, known as a power morcellator, shaves tissue or growths into tiny pieces they can be extracted without open surgery. J&J's Ethicon unit, the largest maker of the devices, is withdrawing them from the market because the risks and benefits for women undergoing hysterectomies or surgery to remove fibroids remain uncertain, Matthew Johnson, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail. Philadelphia Inquirer

Wall Street Sweet On Scandal-Scarred Barclays
Barclays gets a pass from Wall Street. Stock in the British bank, which has been beset by one scandal after another, rose 4.2 percent Wednesday after the company reported that Chief Executive Officer Antony Jenkins’ downsizing plans are already starting to pay off. The bank’s net income rose to 161 million pounds, or about $272 million, up from a loss of nearly that much a year ago as Barclay’s shed jobs globally and transferred risky assets to a “bad bank.” In May, Jenkins announced the company would cut 19,000 jobs, with about a third of them in investment banking. NY Post

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Investigators Finally Reach Ukraine Crash Site
The Office of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) security and rights organization said its monitors, accompanied by Dutch and Australian experts, reached the crash site of a Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, two weeks after the plane came down. "OSCE... monitors reach MH17 crash site for first time in almost week, accompanied by four Dutch, Australian experts. Used new route to access," the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said on Twitter.
Ukraine said on Thursday it had suspended offensive operations in its military campaign in east Ukraine to help international experts reach the downed Malaysian airliner's crash site but separatists were continuing to attack its positions. Sun Sentinel

Fiat 500L Crossover Recalled For Faulty Air Bags
Chrysler is recalling just under 30,000 Fiat 500L small crossovers in the U.S. and Canada to fix a problem with air bags that protect knees in a crash. The company says in a statement Wednesday that the bags may not inflate in the proper position if the driver isn't wearing a seat belt. Chrysler says it doesn't know of any injuries from the problem. The recall covers 500Ls from the 2014 and 2015 model years including 25,500 in the U.S. and another 4,000 in Canada. Dealers will replace the driver's side knee air bags at no cost to owners. Chrysler says it will notify owners when parts are available. In the meantime, they should wear seat belts so the bags work properly. USA Today

Tea Party Opposition Puts Fate Of House Republican Border Bill Up In The Air
The fate of a Republican proposal to address a brewing immigration crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border was cast into doubt Wednesday after a tea party senator lobbied against it to House members. The effort by Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), who made his pitch to a group of House Republicans in a closed-door evening meeting, marked another direct shot at attempts by Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to deal with the influx of illegal immigrants arriving from Central America. House members are preparing to vote Thursday on border legislation that would provide considerably less money than President Obama is seeking, while the Senate is moving forward with a larger Democratic proposal. With two competing border measures and little agreement between House and Senate leaders, figuring out how to pay for the unexpected surge is unlikely to be resolved before Congress’s summer recess begins Friday. Washington Post

Religious Conservatives Embrace Pollution Fight
The Rev. Lennox Yearwood punched his fist in the air as he rhythmically boomed into the microphone: “This is a moment for great leadership. This is a moment for our country to stand up. This is our moment.” But Mr. Yearwood’s audience was not a church. It was the Environmental Protection Agency. The E.P.A. on Wednesday ended two days of  public hearings on its proposed regulation to cut carbon pollution from power plants, and mixed in with the coal lobbyists and business executives were conservative religious leaders reasserting their support for President Obama’s environmental policies — at a time when Republican Party orthodoxy continues to question the science of climate change. NY Times

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U.S. Turns Back Central Americans, Welcomes 'Dusty Foot' Cubans
Yasel Lopez's journey to the United States was as harrowing as any endured by the thousands of people rounded up in recent months at the Mexican border - he survived days without food and water and the death of a companion on the three-week trip. But the end of his ordeal was unlike that awaiting most of the migrants, including nearly 60,000 children traveling alone in the past nine months, who face deportation after fleeing violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. That was because Lopez's journey began in Cuba, and those fleeing the communist-run island enjoy privileged U.S. immigration status. Reuters

Pope Francis: Turn Off The TV During Dinner
Pope Francis has come up with 10 tips for a happier life, and one of them is to turn off the TV during dinner. In the interview with Argentine weekly Viva, the pontiff says staying plugged-in during meals stops families from communicating with each other. The pope also says that parents have to make time to play with their children and enjoy art and culture, according to a Catholic News Service translation of the interview. The Roman Catholic leader also says people should treat Sundays like family holidays, avoid criticizing others, steer clear of religious proselytizing, and work for peace. His No. 1 rule for bringing joy: "Live and let live." MSNBC

'Stop Hatin' All The Time' : Obama Slams GOP Lawsuit Vote
President Barack Obama on Wednesday continued to slam Republicans for moving to sue him over his use of executive actions, calling the move a “political stunt” and urging Congress to “stop hatin' all the time.” “They have announced that they are going to sue me for taking executive actions to help people,” he said during an event in Kansas City. “They’re mad because I’m doing my job.” Calling the vote a waste of valuable taxpayer dollars, Obama said Republicans are also taking time away from important legislation they should be addressing. “Stop being mad all the time,” he said of Republicans, chuckling. “Stop just hatin’ all the time. Let’s get some work done.” MSNBC

Obama Vows Veto Of House Border Bill
President Obama threatened Wednesday to veto the House’s border-spending bill, saying it doesn’t give him enough money, cancels key environmental protections and removes key judicial checks for the illegal immigrant children surging into the U.S. The threat, issued in an official statement of policy, puts Mr. Obama at odds with even some Democrats who say changes are needed to a 2008 law granting Central American children a long judicial process before they can be deported. Mr. Obama himself had called for changes to the 2008 law earlier this month, but has since backed away under intense political pressure from immigrant-rights groups. Washington Times

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'Israel Has Ample Evidence That Hamas Is Using UNRWA Schools For Terrorist Purposes'
Irael has ample evidence that Hamas is using UNRWA schools and facilities for terrorist purposes, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzahi Hanegbi said Wednesday. Speaking at a press briefing in Jerusalem, he pointed out that on three separate occasions UNRWA itself has admitted that rockets were hidden in the basement of their facilities. “Who knows how many were not found,” he said, adding that this phenomenon was “totally unacceptable.” Each time that the rockets were found, he said, they were given back to Hamas and have probably already been fired at Israel, “endangering and jeopardizing Israeli lives.” Jerusalem Post

Anti-Semitic Incidents Rise In UKAs Gaza Conflict Rages
Anti-Semitic incidents in Britain have risen to a near record level since the start of an Israeli operation against Hamas in Gaza this month, a Jewish advisory body said on Thursday. The Community Security Trust, which advises Britain's estimated 260,000 Jews on safety, said the surge came as figures showed a significant rise in such incidents for the first six months of the year. While there was no obvious reason for the general increase, it noted that July's rise took place at the same time as the Israeli campaign against Hams terrorists, in which more than 1,200 Palestinian have reportedly been killed. On the Israeli side 53 soldiers and three civilians have been killed. Jerusalem Post

Call For 'Radical Action' On Drug-Resistant Malaria
Drug-resistant malaria is spreading in South East Asia, and has now reached the Cambodia-Thailand border, according to a study. "Radical action" is needed to prevent further spread of malaria parasites resistant to key drugs, say scientists. The spread could undermine recent gains in malaria control, they report in the New England Journal of Medicine. No evidence was found of resistance in three African sites - Kenya, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The study analysed blood samples from more than 1,000 malaria patients in 10 countries across Asia and Africa. BBC

Middle-Aged Drinking 'Impairs Memory'
Problem drinking in middle age doubles the risk of memory loss in later life, research suggests. A US study found men and women in their 50s and 60s with a history of alcohol abuse were more likely to have memory problems up to two decades later. The study, in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, adds to growing evidence that excessive drinking can impair mental processing later. Researchers say it is a public health issue that needs to be addressed. Scientists questioned 6,500 US middle-aged adults about their past alcohol consumption. BBC

Iran Urged To Release Detained Washington Post Journalist
Iran is facing mounting pressure to release the Washington Post's correspondent in Tehran, who was arrested more than a week ago in what was seen as the latest move against press freedom in the country. Jason Rezaian, who has dual Iranian and American citizenship, was detained on 22 July along with his Iranian wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who is also a journalist. Iranian security forces raided their home and confiscated laptops and documents. An American couple, at least one of whom is believed to be a photojournalist, were arrested with them. "Since [their arrest], their families and the Post have not heard from them, though an Iranian judicial official confirmed Friday that they were in government custody," said an article written by the Post's editorial board. Guardian

Argentina Heads For Second Default As Talks With Bondholders Break Down
Argentina was heading for its second debt default in 13 years on Wednesday night after negotiations with bondholders broke down in New York. Axel Kicillof, Argentina’s economy minister, said US hedge funds rejected the country’s latest offer. Kicillof has been locked in intense negotiations with holdout creditors demanding to be paid the full value for bonds they own on which Argentina defaulted. The talks have been overseen by a mediator appointed by a US judge who ordered Argentina to pay the creditors. Guardian

Barack Obama Matches Tough EU Sanctions On Russia But Denies 'New Cold War'
President Barack Obama escalated US economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday for its aggression against Ukraine but dismissed suggestions the growing chill in US-Russian relations marked the start of a new Cold War. The United States and the European Union, in a carefully coordinated action, announced targeted new sanctions against Russian banks, energy and defense firms. It was the West's most serious response yet to what it calls Russian instigation of and continuing support for the separatist uprising in the east and the shootdown of a Malaysian passenger jet on July 17 over eastern Ukraine. Telegraph

Britain Will Not Start World War Three Over Ukraine, David Cameron Says
Britain is not going to start World War Three over Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, David Cameron has said. The Prime Minister compared Russia’s behaviour in Ukraine to Germany’s before both break out of the First and Second world wars. Mr Cameron said then that Britain was “not about to launch a European war, we are not about to send the fleet to the Black Sea”. But Mr Cameron said the West had to draw a line or Russia would start to put similar pressure on European Union countries on the eastern fringes of the Continent like Romania. Telegaph

‘Flagrant’ Violations Of International Law Continue In Syria
‘Flagrant’ violations of international law continue in Syria, Top UN relief official warns With the United Nations and its partners in Syria begin to ramp up aid deliveries across battle lines, the Organization’s Emergency Relief Coordinator warned today that attacks on civilians by all parties to the conflict and human rights abuses continue “in flagrant violation of the most basic principles of…international law.” Valerie Amos, who is also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, delivered that warning and reiterated her appeal for action in a briefing to the Security Council on the situation of the millions of Syrians in desperate need of aid and protection, and on progress in implementing resolutions 2139 and 2165 on humanitarian access in Syria. UN News

On fFrst Official Visit, Ban Hails Costa Rica As ‘Model’ For Development, Peace
On his first official visit, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon lauded Costa Rica as a “model country” in sustainable development and protecting human rights. Speaking to reporters ahead of his address to Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Mr. Ban said that Costa Rica led by example on many international issues including environmental sustainability, and highlighted its clean air and preserved forests. The Central American nation is also a trail blazer in peace and security due to its disarmament policy, he said.  UN News

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