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Carolina Church Fire Started By Natural Causes
A fire that destroyed a Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal church in Greeleyville, South Carolina, on Tuesday was from natural causes and not linked to a spate of fires at similar churches across the South, state police said. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the fires and has so far determined that one was an electrical fire and two others were from natural causes. The fires were being investigated against the backdrop of the June 17 shooting of nine black churchgoers at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. The man arrested after the shootings is 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who had posed with the Civil War-era Confederate battle flag in photos posted on a website that also displayed a racist manifesto attributed to him. Reuters
VOA VIEW: The evidence is faltering against white racism.
Activated Charcoal Good For Your Health?
Charcoal might look dirty, but a new trend claims it's a great cleanser for the body, inside and out. Activated charcoal has been popular in face masks and other skin cleansers for the past few years. The buzz about how well it works to remove toxins from the skin had the juice world wondering what it could do for a person's insides. On that hunch, companies like Juice Generation and some of its competitors have been using activated charcoal as an ingredient in their fruit and vegetable juices that claim to help with detox. "They are extremely popular," Emily Parr, a spokesperson for Juice Generation told CBS News. "The activated charcoal line is our strongest launch in Juice Generation history." CBS
Warns GOP Will Repeal Obamacare
Hillary Rodham Clinton warned New Hampshire voters Friday that if the country elects a Republican president, the next administration would repeal President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and undermine policies helping large numbers of Americans. The Democratic presidential front-runner presented herself as a candidate of continuity from Obama and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, praising the Supreme Court's recent ruling upholding health care subsidies under the overhaul. She said past Republican administrations had left incoming Democrats with economic headaches. ABC
VOA VIEW: Hopefully, Hillary is right - for a change.
Christie To Bunk At Mitt Romney's New Hampshire B&B
This may be the political junkie's sleepover of the year: Two rival candidates for the Republican presidential nomination will be bunking tonight with Mitt Romney at his vacation home in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Florida Senator Marco Rubio will be the guests of Romney, the Republican party's 2012 nominee. Both candidates are scheduled to march in Wolfeboro's July Fourth parade. Speaking to reporters today in Derry, New Hampshire, Christie told reporters that he, his wife, Mary Pat Christie, and two of the couple's children, will be guests of Romney and his wife, Ann. A source close to Romney confirmed that Rubio will also be an overnight guest. Bloomberg
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Inches Back Onto France’s Political Scene
Two polls and four twitter messages are raising the speculation of a political comeback by Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The former head of the International Monetary Fund, whose putative French presidential bid ended in a Manhattan hotel room, has scored well in polls that asked the French who they want in the 2017 presidential elections. DSK, as he is known in France, has also seen his Twitter account amassing more than 50,000 followers in 10 days. So far, the 66-year-old hasn’t indicated if he’ll seek a return to politics. His friends say he won’t. But with polls showing that most French don’t want a rematch of 2012’s election between Socialist President Francois Hollande and former President Nicolas Sarkozy, political commentators have pounced on the possibility of alternative candidates. Bloomberg
Senator Pushes Amendment To Shift Power Back To States
U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi has introduced a constitutional amendment to redistribute power from the federal government to the states. The resolution by the Wyoming Republican would give states the authority to repeal any federal regulation or law, which would provide states with the ability to act in the best interest of their citizens.
Enzi says states and businesses face thousands of rules, regulations and unfunded mandates from the federal government every year. He says they have few options other than a backlogged court system to fight the rules and regulations. Enzi's proposal would allow federal laws and regulations to be repealed if two-thirds of states pass a resolution to do so. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: States' rights are a constitutional design.
Prosecutors Seek Hearing On Evidence
Prosecutors in the corruption case against Sen. Bob Menendez have asked a judge to hold a hearing to determine whether some evidence should be withheld or restricted due to possible national security concerns. The Justice Department filed the notice Thursday with U.S. District Judge William Walls in Newark. The judge could take the step of restricting access to some evidence by Menendez's attorneys, or deny it altogether. Menendez was charged in April with crimes including conspiracy and bribery for allegedly accepting gifts from a Florida ophthalmologist in return for political favors. He has pleaded not guilty. A trial is tentatively scheduled for October in Newark. Menendez's attorneys are due to file pretrial motions later this month requesting that the charges be dismissed, which could delay the start of a trial. Las Vegas Sun
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Dodge: Some Greeks Using Bitcoin To Evade Currency Controls
There is at least one legal way to get your euros out of Greece these days, to guard against the prospect that they might be devalued into drachmas: convert them into bitcoin. Although absolute figures are hard to come by, Greek interest has surged in the online "cryptocurrency", which is out of the reach of monetary authorities and can be transferred at the touch of a smartphone screen. New customers depositing at least 50 euros with BTCGreece, the only Greece-based bitcoin exchange, open only to Greeks, rose by 400 percent between May and June, according to its founder Thanos Marinos, who put the number at "a few thousand." The average deposit quadrupled to around 700 euros. MSNBC
Imposes ‘Cloud Tax’: Officials Aim To Collect $12M From Digital Services
Digital media companies and Chicagoans will now be slapped with a 9 percent “cloud tax” on streaming services, the Chicago Sun Times reported Wednesday. City officials aim to generate $12 million from the new tax. Collections will begin Sept. 1. “In an environment in which technologies and emerging industries evolve quickly, the city periodically issues rulings that clarify the application of existing laws to these technologies and industries,” mayoral spokeswoman Elizabeth Langsdorf said in a statement, the newspaper reported. Washington Times
Internet Has Run Out Of IP Addresses (Sort Of)
Behind every laptop or tablet that goes online, behind every web address, behind every stack of servers, there's an IP address. These strings of numbers and dots act as unique identifiers for the devices and domains on the Internet and allow them to communicate with each other and send information back and forth. And we're running out of them. "What happened this week is for the first time, organizations qualified for block sizes (of addresses) we don't have," Richard Jimmerson, chief information officer of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), which registers and doles out IP addresses, told CBS News. "We are weeks away from having zero left." CBS
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Talks Checklist: Is The U.S. Negotiating A Bad Deal?
President Barack Obama has repeatedly pledged that he will not sign a "bad deal" with Iran. Republicans are warning that he's about to do just that. As the U.S. and five world powers negotiate a final agreement with Iran before Tuesday's deadline, one thing is clear: The U.S. and Iran have come a long way since the West first demanded that Iran cease its nuclear activity more than a decade ago. At that point, American and Iranian negotiators weren't even sitting in the same room. Instead, the U.S. was pushing for repeated U.N. resolutions requiring Iran to halt its uranium enrichment and imposing sanctions when it didn't, and Iran was pursuing its nuclear ambitions undeterred. CNN
VOA VIEW: Obama is selling the US short.
York Governor Orders More July Fourth Security After Alert
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday ordered heightened security measures across the state over the U.S. July Fourth holiday weekend in response to a call for vigilance by the federal government. "We are keenly aware that New York State remains a top target for terrorists," Cuomo said in a statement. The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have issued an alert calling for local authorities and the public to remain vigilant for possible threats following recent calls for violence by Islamic State militants. Reuters
FBI Agent Matthew Lowry Details Path To Addiction And Arrest
Matthew Lowry always wanted to be in law enforcement. As a boy he dressed in a police uniform and was delighted when his father, a police officer, ran the lights of his police car outside their home in rural Prince George's County in Maryland. Lowry eventually became an FBI agent and began working major drug cases. Next week, Lowry will learn how long he will spend in prison. The 33-year-old pleaded guilty in March to 64 criminal counts that he stole nearly 2 kilograms of heroin from evidence seized in drug cases, dipped into the bags to feed an addiction that began with prescribed painkillers, and then cut the drugs with protein powder and laxatives to cover up the crime. MSNBC
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look To Deliver Blow Against ObamaCare Tax
Despite the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding ObamaCare subsidies, opponents of the law remain poised to strike a key blow against another component of the health care overhaul in a matter of months. Republicans, with help from Democrats, have gained momentum in their long-running effort to repeal the law's controversial 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices. The House voted 280-140 to nix the tax, which went into effect in 2013, in June; the debate heads next to the Senate. While Republicans have tried dozens of times to unravel all or parts of the law through repeal legislation, this bill has bipartisan backing -- and, with a potential veto showdown on the horizon, supporters may even have a veto-proof majority. Fox News
VOA VIEW: The fight against Obamacare should continue.
Recalls 432,000 North American Vehicles Over Software Bug
Ford Motor Company on Thursday announced the recall of more than 430,000 vehicles in North America due to a bug in a software module that, in some cases, can prevent the cars' engines from turning off. In a news release, the automaker said the recall affects more than 432,000 2015 model Focus, C-MAX and Escape vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The company said the body control module needs an update. "In these vehicles, it could be possible for the engine to continue to run after turning the ignition key to the 'off' position and removing the key, or after pressing the Engine Start/Stop button," Ford said in a statement on its website. UPI
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And Gas Officials Scramble After Feds Weigh New Species Protections
Oil and gas producers in one of the most active drilling areas in the country have had to make concessions to not disturb species such as the lesser prairie chicken and the dunes sagebrush lizard. Now industry officials in parts of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico may have four other species to contend with: make way for the Cascade Caverns salamander, the Arizona toad, the alligator snapping turtle and the Rio Grande cooter. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday it is giving what it calls "status reviews" to the four amphibians and reptiles found in the Southwest as part of 21 species the agency said are worth considering after looking over requests from the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity. Fox News
Obama Gets His Groove Back
Barack Obama is hanging as loose as the pinky and thumb salute of his native Hawaii. With his White House on a roll and his place in history solidifying by the day after a series of important policy victories, he's letting Americans see more of the man within. He's lit the White House in the rainbow colors of the gay rights movement, dropped the 'N' word to discuss race, crooned the Davy Crockett theme to a man with that name and held forth on the recipe for guacamole. CNN
VOA VIEW: Foolish liberal media false bantering.
Nixon Biographer: Hillary Clinton Has 'Nixonian Attributes'
It’s become almost cliché in American politics to call a politician Nixonian or “like Nixon” -- and it’s rarely a positive to compare an officeholder or candidate to the only U.S. president to resign from office. Yet to Evan Thomas, the author of a new Nixon biography who also covered the Clinton White House, comparing Hillary Clinton to Nixon works -- to an extent. “Mrs. Clinton does have some Nixonian attributes. She can be guarded and defensive, a little bit too tough on her enemies,” Thomas said in ABC News' “Power Players” series. “I saw this firsthand. She needs to watch that.” “She’s not involved in anything like Watergate. She's not Nixon,” he continued. “If you think you can manipulate the press and stonewall forever, [when] you're running for president and you're president, I don't think that works.” ABC
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Korean Biochemical Weapons Researcher Defects To Europe
A North Korean biochemical weapons researcher has defected to Europe, a South Korea-based human rights group said on Friday, carrying with him a flash drive containing 15 gigabytes of data. The defector was identified as a 47-year-old with the surname Lee, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported. Lee fled on June 6, escaping first to the Philippines then seeking asylum in Finland. The rights group that made the announcement told Yonhap Lee left North Korea because he no longer had faith in the research he was conducting at North Korea's Jagangdo Kanggye Bacteria Research Institute. UPI News
Affiliate In Egypt Claims Rocket Fire Toward Israel
Islamic State's Egypt affiliate, Sinai Province, said on Friday in a statement posted on Twitter by supporters that it had launched three Grad rockets towards "occupied Palestine." Israeli police said earlier they had found rocket remnants in an open area. No damage or casualties resulted. An IDF source said the missile was launched from the Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel and Gaza. In statement made earlier Friday, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu also asserted that the day's rocket attack had emanated from the Sinai region. Jerusalem Post
Blasts UNHRC For ratifying Gaza War Report As Projectile From Sinai Hits
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the UN Human Rights Council on Friday after it ratified a Palestinian-presented resolution on last summer's war in Gaza, saying the body was unnecessarily harsh on Israel and "is not really interested in facts and human rights." The premier issued his fiery statement shortly after a projectile launched at Israel exploded in the southern Eshkol Regional Council. Despite previous uncertainty over the rocket's origins, according to Netanyahu, the projectile was launched from the Sinai Peninsula where Islamic State-linked fighters recently carried out a series of deadly strikes on Egyptian military posts. Jerusalem Post
Crisis: Tsipras Urges 'No' To 'Blackmail'
In a TV address, he insisted Greece's EU membership was not at stake. He later told cheering supporters to vote "No" to "live with dignity in Europe".
There were scuffles with police as both sides held rallies in Athens. A Greek court has rejected a challenge to the legality of the referendum, in which people will vote on the terms of further international loans. It comes after tough talks with creditors, and EU leaders have warned that a "No" vote could see Greece leave the eurozone. BBC
To Orobe Stock Market Manipulation
China's securities regulator will investigate suspected manipulation of the stock market, state news agency Xinhua reports. The regulator said late on Thursday that it would be looking into whether parties were mis-selling financial products. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index has slumped about 30% since mid-June, wiping out most of this year's gains. Any criminal cases will be transferred to the police, the regulator said. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said it would base its investigation on reports of abnormal market movements from the stock market and futures exchanges. BBC
Clinton To Gay Humans Of New York Teen: 'Your Future Will Be Amazing'
Hillary Clinton took to Facebook on Friday to offer words of encouragement and advice to a gay teen. The leading Democratic presidential candidate posted remarks in response to a photo posted by the page of Humans of New York, a project run by photographer Brandon Stanton. “I’m a homosexual and I’m afraid about what my future will be and that people won’t like me,” Stanton quotes the young New Yorker captured in his photograph as saying. An hour after Stanton posted the photo, the official Clinton campaign account left the following comment: “Prediction from a grown-up: Your future is going to be amazing. You will surprise yourself with what you’re capable of and the incredible things you go on to do. Find the people who love and believe in you – there will be lots of them.” Guardian
Movement Working': Bernie Sanders Gains On The Clinton Machine
What began as a progressive pipe dream – that a rabble-rousing senator from the nation’s second least populous state could wrest the Democratic presidential nomination from one of the most well-known politicians in recent history – is starting to seem plausible. By way of massive rallies, grassroots politicking and a record-setting number small donations, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is winning over progressive voters, convincing them that his underdog campaign has a fighting chance against Hillary Clinton’s well-oiled – and extraordinarily well-funded – political machine. Guardian
Says 'Non' To Wikileaks Founder Assange Asylum Request
France has rejected Julian Assange’s request for asylum, saying the Wikileaks founder who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for three years did not face "immediate danger". Mr Assange had written an open letter to the president, published Friday in Le Monde newspaper, asking to be taken in by France because he was being “pursued and threatened with death by the US authorities because of my professional activities.” "France cannot act on his request," President François Hollande’s office said. "The situation of Mr Assange does not present an immediate danger. Furthermore, he is subject to a European arrest warrant." Telegraph
Obama To Host Head Of Vietnam Communist Party
The head of Vietnam's Communist Party will make a first-ever visit to the White House next week, meeting President Barack Obama on the 40th anniversary of the end of the war between the two nations. Nguyen Phu Trong will become the first general secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party to visit the United States and the White House, diplomats and officials said. They will hold talks at the White House on Tuesday and discuss ways to improve ties that were normalised 20 years ago between the former foes, the White House said on Friday. Telegraph
As Virus Resurfaces In Liberia, UNICEF Teams And Supplies Arrive In Affected
In a speedy response to Liberia's first confirmed cases of Ebola in more than three months, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has begun distributing emergency supplies in the affected communities including tents for isolating those under quarantine, hygiene kits and chlorine and buckets for handwashing stations. In Margibi County, where the body of a child tested positive for the virus on 29 June, UNICEF social mobilization teams are already on the ground conducting door-to-door awareness campaigns on Ebola prevention, to minimize the risk of further infections and to protect and assist those affected. UN News
Is A 'Human Rights Issue,' Ban Declares, Launching Major New UN Report
Ending the AIDS epidemic – in all places and all communities – is essential to realizing the vision of a life of dignity for all, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared today in Barbados at the Caribbean region launch of a major new United Nations report the calls for scaling up an inclusive, rights-based and stigma-free response to wipe out the deadly disease. “A quarter of a million people in this region live with HIV. The governments here struggle to finance their responses,' said Mr. Ban at the launch in the region of study released today by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and renowned medical journal, The Lancet. UN News
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