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NEWS   SATURDAY, JULY 4, 2015   NEWS
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA

South 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.

Is 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

Clinton 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.

Rubio, 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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Strauss-Kahn 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

US 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.

Menendez 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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Digital 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

Chicago 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

The ‘New’ Type Of War That Finally Has The Pentagon’s Attention
The Pentagon is increasingly concerned about how to combat “hybrid warfare,” the combination of stealth invasion, local proxy forces and international propaganda that Russia used to annex Crimea and destabilize eastern Ukraine, U.S. officials said. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Thursday released the 2015 National Military Strategy, in which he cited Russia’s actions in Ukraine and said “hybrid conflicts” will persist well into the future. This kind of warfare transcends traditional notions of one military confronting another by incorporating conventional and unconventional forces, information warfare such as propaganda, as well as economic measures to undermine an enemy, according to Frank Hoffman, a professor at the National Defense University. Washington Post

Tentative Agreement On Iran Sanctions Relief
World powers and Iran have reached tentative agreement on sanctions relief for the Islamic Republic, among the most contentious issues in a long-term nuclear agreement that negotiators hope to clinch over the next several days, diplomats told The Associated Press on Saturday. The annex, one of five meant to accompany the agreement, outlines which U.S. and international sanctions will be lifted and how quickly. Diplomats said senior officials of the seven-nation talks, which include U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, still had to sign off on the package. Still, the word of significant progress indicated the sides were moving closer to a comprehensive accord that would set a decade of restrictions on Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for tens of billions of dollars' in economic benefits for the Iranians. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Iran will gain billions of dollars to use to further nuclear ability.

Jindal Poses With Gun At Campaign Stop, Met With Online Mockery
Republican presidential candidate and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal posted a photo of himself holding and admiring a weapon while at a campaign stop in Iowa Friday.
Jindal’s photo caption reads: “My kind of campaign stop; Capital Armament in Sibley.” According to the company’s Facebook page, CapArms is a veteran-owned company that manufactures ammunition, firearms and smokeless gunpowder. Jindal has proven to be a strong supporter of gun ownership rights during his tenure as governor, signing several pro-gun rights bills into law in the state of Louisiana. Still, not everyone is buying Jindal’s affection for weapons, especially on social media. The photo received some mocking comments on Twitter, saying he was pandering to constituents and calling him a poser. One commenter called it Jindal’s Dukakis moment, referencing the 1988 campaign photo of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis riding in a tank. Politico refers to that image as one of the “worst campaign backfires in history.” Atlanta Journal

The 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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Insurance Companies Seek Big Rate Increases For 2016
Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back. Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives. The Oregon insurance commissioner, Laura N. Cali, has just approved 2016 rate increases for companies that cover more than 220,000 people. NY Times

Obama Plans Broader Use Of Clemency To Free Nonviolent Drug Offenders
Sometime in the next few weeks, aides expect President Obama to issue orders freeing dozens of federal prisoners locked up on nonviolent drug offenses. With the stroke of his pen, he will probably commute more sentences at one time than any president has in nearly half a century. The expansive use of his clemency power is part of a broader effort by Mr. Obama to correct what he sees as the excesses of the past, when politicians eager to be tough on crime threw away the key even for minor criminals. With many Republicans and Democrats now agreeing that the nation went too far, Mr. Obama holds the power to unlock that prison door, especially for young African-American and Hispanic men disproportionately affected. NY Times

Iran 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.

New 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

Former 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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A Political Pope Brings The Gospel To South America
Ever since Mario Jose Bergoglio became Pope Francis in 2013, the region’s political elite have beaten a path to the Vatican. Cuba’s Raúl Castro, Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos and Brazil’s Dilma Roussef have all been granted audiences. Argentina’s Cristina Fernández has become a regular at the Holy See, visiting her countryman and one-time foe five times. In the process, Latin America’s first pope has earned a reputation as an effective deal-maker. He’s credited with brokering the U.S.-Cuba rapprochement, given his blessing to peace talks in Colombia, and has been urged to intercede on behalf of political prisoners in Venezuela. Starting Sunday, however, it will be Francis the 78-year-old spiritual leader who will be present in South America. Miami Herald

As Death Penalty Debate Reignites, Florida Carves Its Own Path
For nearly six months, the death chamber at Florida State Prison has remained empty. No prisoners have been executed, not since Jan. 15, when Johnny Kormondy — convicted of fatally shooting a Pensacola banker in 1993 and raping his wife — was given a series of three injections and breathed his last breaths. A Supreme Court ruling last week means that unusual respite for convicted killers should end, with Florida resuming what has been an accelerated pace of executions ordered by Gov. Rick Scott. Just don’t expect the rest of the country to follow its lead. With the exception of a few states like Florida, use of the death penalty has waned amid legal challenges in state and federal courts and shifting public opinion. Last week, two Supreme Court justices suggested the death penalty itself is not constitutional, writing that it’s time for a robust debate and for the high court to act. Miami Herald

California Gun Ownership Rates Below National Average
California may be the home of the Western movie, but it's not one of the top states for gun ownership. Rural states with low population density have the highest gun ownership rates, according to a paper published in the medical journal Injury Prevention. The study also linked a strong gun culture with ownership, but couldn't say which came first (a "chicken or the egg" situation as one says). A significant portion of gun owners were over the age of 55. Urban areas, which tend to have weaker gun cultures, perhaps explains California's ownership rate of 35.7 percent. The national average is 29.1 percent. Gun ownership rates are notoriously difficult to survey, but other studies in past years also put the national average in the same place: About one out of every three Americans owns a gun. The lowest rates of gun ownership appeared in the Northeast. Delaware and Rhode Island both have gun ownership rates below 6 percent. Only two states in the Northeast (Pennsylvania and Vermont) even had gun ownership greater than 25 percent. SF Gate

Republicans 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.

Ford 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

Some Race Fans Still Fly Confederate Flag At Track
NASCAR fan Alex Lee says that if the Confederate flag he’s displaying this weekend at Daytona International Speedway was to be banned by the track, he’d come anyway. But it’s not prohibited, so the flag remained draped at his infield campsite Friday as Lee and roommate Zeca Gama awaited Saturday’s Subway 200 Xfinity Series race and Sunday’s Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400. “I don’t fly (the flag) out of disrespect to anybody or to offend anybody,” said Lee, “or to make anybody think I’m a certain way. I am who I am. But I was brought up down here in the South. Southern hospitality: You’ve got to give it to get it. It’s not what these simple-minded people are, using it as an excuse to stir up whatever.” Charlotte Observer

Egypt's President Visits Troops In Embattled North Sinai
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi donned battle dress for the first time in over a year to inspect troops in the troubled northern part of the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, after Islamic State-linked militants struck a deadly blow against the military this week in a coordinated assault. Wearing his old uniform, which he said he had hung up for good when he ran for president, the general-turned politician met members of the army and police, an official from his office said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information otherwise. The army said 17 soldiers and over 100 militants were killed in Wednesday's brazen attack in Sinai, although before the release of its official statement, several senior security officials from multiple branches of Egypt's forces in the area had said that scores more troops also died in the fighting. San Diego Union

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Fatal Fire On Japan's Airtight Bullet Train Exposes Lapses
A fatal fire on Japan's bullet train, started by a man who self-immolated this week, has revealed blind spots in a system renowned for its speed, punctuality and safety record. Riding the Shinkansen feels like being in an airplane: it goes so fast in an out of tunnels that it must be airtight. Windows cannot be opened, and doors open only when the train fully stops, which takes several minutes. Yet, in a country with strict gun control and low crime rate, security is lax - no identification or baggage checks required. On Tuesday, Haruo Hayashizaki, a 71-year-old retiree, poured a flammable liquid over himself and lit it while riding a bullet train heading to Osaka from Tokyo. He died on the spot, and smoke filled the coach, choking a female passenger to death. Philadelphia Inquirer

Oil 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

Hillary Reached Out To AEG Head During Aquedect Bidding In 2009
An old friend of Bill Clinton’s whose company was desperately trying to win a bid to run a slots casino at Aqueduct reached out to then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during his time of need, new government documents reveal. Aqueduct Entertainment Group was awarded the lucrative Aqueduct franchise in 2010.
But the shady deal ultimately collapsed amid charges of bid rigging and favoritism after it was disclosed that AEG won the competition despite making a bid that was suspiciously $100 million below rival bidders. Richard Mays, a former Arkansas judge who headed AEG, contacted Clinton in 2009, when the deal to bring video slots to the track was on the line. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Dishonest and illegal political influence use.

Senator McCain: US Must Reassess Afghan Troop Withdrawal
U.S. Senator John McCain says the ongoing Taliban offensive in Afghanistan demands a reassessment of the Obama administration's current plan to drawdown U.S. forces. McCain told reporters on Saturday that the Afghan national forces are fighting bravely, but suffering heavy losses in the field. American and international troops have already stopped playing a combat role, remaining as trainers for local forces. The international numbers will be reduced further at the end of 2016. But McCain says any reduction should be based on conditions on the ground, not an arbitrary calendar date. Tampa Tribune

Government Faces Buden In Proving Airlines Worked Together
As the Justice Department launches an investigation into possible collusion in the airline industry, experts say the government faces the burden of proving that carriers were deliberately signaling business decisions to each other. Airlines routinely increase flights based on demand. A particularly cold winter in the Northeast, for instance, might merit more flights to the Caribbean. And sometimes, routes are cut because there isn't enough demand. Nothing is illegal about that. Any company can limit the supply of its own products, whether airline tickets, sneakers or smartphones. But it would be illegal for airlines to work together to limit flights in order to drive up fares. Tampa Tribune

Donald Trump Again Lambastes Border Security After A California Woman Is Slain
Real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has come under fire for referring to some Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and "killers," again blasted border security in the wake of the slaying of a California woman and the news that the suspect was deported five times. Trump did not directly refer to the comments that have cost him valuable business sponsorships and prompted denunciations from Latino groups. Instead, he focused on border security. Other GOP contenders, after largely sidestepping the issue, are now blasting Trump's immigration remarks, with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida the latest to do so. Sun Sentinel
VOA VIEW: Attacks against Trump will raise his ratings and GOP hopefulls who go against him on the immigration issue will drop.

Plan To Curtail Public Records Laws Sparks Uproar
A vote by Wisconsin's budget committee to dismantle the state's open records laws has caused an uproar across the Badger State. Under these measures, lawmakers would be able to draft bills in secret and hide their communications from the public. The changes would also apply to local government officials, including school board members. No other state in the country would have similar statutes, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau, a nonpartisan agency that helps legislators draft laws. The Joint Finance Committee passed it 12-4 on a party line vote. Republicans refused to say who initiated the measures and the reasoning for it. Before becoming law, both houses of the state Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker must approve the measures. USA Today

Fourth Of July One Of Most Hazardous Times For Lightning
Fourth of July weekend, and the entire month in general, is the one of the most hazardous times for lightning strikes as people head outdoors to enjoy the summer fun and festivities. Globally, there are three million lightning strikes per day. In the United States, that amounts to about 22 million hits per year. And few places on Earth experience more thunderstorms and lightning than Florida. Central Florida gets hit with the greatest number of strikes because the state receives two sea breezes — one from its east coast and the other from its west — that converge frequently into storms. USA Today

Barack 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.

Richard 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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North 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

ISIS 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

Netanyahu Blasts UNHRC For ratifying Gaza War Report As Projectile From Sinai Hits Israel
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

Greece Debt 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

China 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

Hillary 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

'Grassroots 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

France 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

Barack 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

Ebola: As Virus Resurfaces In Liberia, UNICEF Teams And Supplies Arrive In Affected Areas
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

AIDS Is A 'Human Rights Issue,' Ban Declares, Launching Major New UN Report In Barbados
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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