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Older News Archivescom0116

Benghazi Night Call Between Clinton And Obama Withheld, Documents Show
New documents released by a federal court show President Obama called then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the night of the 2012 Benghazi attack -- but the contents are being withheld by the State Department. It had previously been disclosed that Clinton and Obama spoke the night of the terror attacks. But the documents offer additional information about the timing of the call -- after the initial attack on the U.S. consulate, but before the second wave where mortars hit the nearby CIA annex and killed former Navy SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty. The contents of the call, however, are being withheld, not because the information is classified but because the administration claims they represent internal deliberations about the 2012 terror assault. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Obama and Hillary should be indicted for treason.

Solar Plane Faces Most Dangerous Part Of Around-The-World Flight
This is pretty much it: the most dangerous part of a historic solar-powered adventure playing out thousands of feet above the Earth. For folks who haven't been following the around-the-world flight of the experimental Solar Impulse 2 since it began last March, this is probably the part where you'll want to start paying attention.
Because what's going on now is simply amazing. After weeks of weather delays, a lone pilot named Andre Borschberg is now strapped into a tiny cockpit while flying a fragile plane more than 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) from Japan to Hawaii. The journey is expected to last about five days and nights. CNN

NYC Mayor De Blasio Moves To Stop Smokers From Lighting Up In Homes
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is butting in to what city residents do in their homes, by pressing landlords and developers to ban smoking inside apartments, according to a report. The mayor's administration is planning to pay four health-advocacy groups $9,000 apiece to press landlords and developers to prohibit lighting up in their apartment complexes so neighboring tenants don’t breathe in secondhand smoke, according to the New York Post. The city has already banned smoking in bars and restaurants, workplaces, sports venues and parks, but has not moved against smokers who practice their habit in the privacy of their own homes. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Blasio has gone mad.

Supreme Court To Rehear Major Affirmative Action Case Next Term
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear next term a major affirmative action case concerning a program at a public university that takes race into consideration as one factor for admissions. The decision marks the second time the Court has agreed to hear a challenge from a Texas woman, Abigail Fisher, targeting the admissions policies at the University of Texas. Justice Elena Kagan took no part in the consideration of the case, presumably because she dealt with it in her former job as Solicitor General. "I am very grateful that the Supreme Court will once again hear my case. I hope the justices will rule that UT is not allowed to treat undergraduate applicants differently because of their race or ethnicity," Fisher said in a statement out shortly after the decision to rehear her case was announced. CNN

Human Rights Campaign Calls For ‘Full And Comprehensive Nondiscrimination Protections’ For LGBT
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the next step for the LGBT community is to bring “full and comprehensive nondiscrimination protections” nationwide. “As you look at the battles ahead, we have got to bring full and comprehensive nondiscrimination protections to everyone living in every state in this country, and that's the next battle in Congress,” said Griffin. “Chad, this was a big win for gays in America, for supporters of same-sex marriage. So, is the work done?” host John Dickerson asked. “[There’s] no question the work is not done,” said Griffin, “and while this was a monumental leap forward in this country, we still have a long ways to go. CNS News

Supreme Court Upholds Lethal Injections, Blocks Pollution Rule
The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a setback to opponents of the death penalty, endorsing Oklahoma's method of lethal injection, and objected to a key Obama administration air pollution regulation as the justices on Monday ended their annual term with acrimony. The court also upheld a voter-approved plan that stripped Arizona state lawmakers of their role in drawing congressional districts and accepted an important case for its next term, plunging into a another fight over the contentious issue of affirmative action in college admissions. Monday marked the conclusion of the court's 2014-2015 term. In two big rulings last week, the justices made gay marriage legal nationwide and rejected a conservative challenge to a key element of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law. Reuters


ISIS Anniversary: The Year Since Caliphate Was Declared
One year after a caliphate was declared spanning Syria and Iraq, there is little to celebrate — unless you're ISIS. Despite a massive international campaign to defeat the the brutal militants, ISIS has not only managed to hold onto the territory but has expanded its reach beyond those borders over the last 12 months. "It's been a great year for ISIS," according to Matthew Henman, head of IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center. "This would be close to a best-case scenario for them." Majeed Al-Hamadani, a 43-year-old high-school teacher in Baghdad, agreed. "Nothing was changed during the past year," he told NBC News. "ISIS lost some territories but they were able to take over other areas. The Iraqi soldiers do not have the will to fight." MNSBC

‘I’m Worried About This One,’ Former Top Spy Warns Of July 4 Terror Alert
Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell said Monday that the federal alert about a possible terror attack in the U.S. during the Fourth of July weekend was “nothing routine.” “These kind of warnings go out routinely but there is nothing routine about this particular one to me. This one really resonates with me,” Mr. Morell said on “CBS This Morning.” “I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re sitting here a week from today talking about an attack over the weekend in the United States,” he said. “That’s how serious this is.” Washington Times

GOP Opens Fire On Iran Nuclear Agreement Ahead Of Deadline
With a prospective nuclear agreement with Iran just days away, Senate Republicans are pushing the administration to drive a harder bargain - or walk away from a "bad deal." Under the terms of an interim framework secured in April, the U.S. and five other nations agreed to lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on Iran's nuclear activities and international inspections to ensure Iran isn't building a nuclear bomb. Negotiators are now working toward a final agreement by early July, a few days beyond the original June 30 deadline. CBS


White House To Puerto Rico: No Federal Bailout
The White House said Monday that President Obama won’t bail out Puerto Rico, which is facing default on its municipal bonds. “There’s no one in the administration that’s contemplating a federal bailout of Puerto Rico,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest, who added that Treasury officials and others in the administration are working with officials in the U.S. territory to “get access” to available federal resources. Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Monday that the territory will be unable in the coming days to repay $72 billion in debt. He said the government’s efforts to cut spending and restructure its debt have failed. Washington Times

Desperate Measures As Greece Stares Down Default
Greece's festering debt crisis has put the country on the brink of default on its international loans, and possibly an unprecedented exit from the eurozone. Here's a rundown of the latest developments, along with a look at their potential impact on Europe and on the global economy. The Greek government on Sunday announced that the country's banks would stay closed for six business days, while limits were placed on cash withdrawals and on fund transfers overseas. The Athens Stock Market will also remain shut, according to The Associated Press. The closures are an effort to halt the flow of capital out of Greek banks and otherwise contain the kind of banking panic that could cripple Greece's already wounded economy. CBS

How Obama Will Welcome A President He Spied On
When Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff learned in 2013 that the National Security Agency was listening in on her phone calls and reading her emails, she was none too pleased. She canceled a long-planned state visit to the United States and used an address at the United Nations General Assembly to blast the United States for what she called a “totally unacceptable” violation of her country’s sovereignty and accused the United States of breaking international law. But tonight, over two years later, Rousseff will be wined and dined by President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden during a private “working dinner” at the White House. It’s part of a two-day fence-mending trip and an opportunity for the two presidents to move beyond what the White House acknowledges as a “turbulent patch” between the Western hemisphere’s two largest economies. The two leaders will participate Tuesday in a series of formal meetings and also hold a joint news conference. ABC

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NBC Cuts Business Ties With Donald Trump Over Immigration Remarks
NBC is ending its business relationship with Donald Trump over his recent comments about Mexican immigrants. "At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values," NBC said in a statement. "Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump." The network will no longer air the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants that were part of a joint venture with Trump, the statement added. Its relationship with "Celebrity Apprentice" will continue, as Trump ceased his involvement with the reality show during his presidential bid. The real estate mogul and 2016 presidential candidate has faced criticism for comments he made during his announcement speech earlier this month. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: NBC has gone against the First Amendment.

In Wake Of Hack, OPM Shutters System For Federal Background Checks
Three weeks after U.S. authorities determined foreign hackers may have stolen sensitive government records tied to tens of millions of people, the Office of Personnel Management has now shut down a system tied to the breach, essentially bringing to a halt background checks for new federal employees, contractors and others. According to an "alert" posted on OPM's website today, the Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing system -- or “e-QIP” -- "will be down for an extended period of time for security enhancements.” In a subsequent news release, OPM called it a "temporary suspension" that "will ensure our network is as secure as possible for the sensitive data with which OPM is entrusted.” ABC

Pending Sales Of U.S. Existing Homes Climb To Nine-Year High
Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes rose in May to a nine-year high, indicating recent strength in the real-estate industry will be sustained. The pending home sales index increased 0.9 percent to 112.6, the highest since April 2006, after a revised 2.7 percent advance in the previous month, the National Association of Realtors said Monday in Washington. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for the gauge to climb 1 percent. Employment growth, a pickup in incomes and relatively low borrowing costs are helping lure buyers, including those making their first foray into the market. Progress in residential real estate and more construction will further fuel the economy after a weak start to the year.  Bloomberg


Obama Signs Trade Bills Into Law, Says Tough Battle Still Ahead
President Barack Obama signed into law on Monday legislation that gives him "fast-track" power to negotiate trade deals and speed them through Congress, but he said he still has a battle ahead to finalize the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. "We still have some tough negotiations that are going to be taking place," Obama said at a signing ceremony for the legislation, surrounded by some of the lawmakers who helped him pass it after a six-week congressional fight. Reuters

Citigroup Overtakes JPMorgan As Biggest U.S. Derivatives Dealer
Citigroup Inc. overtook JPMorgan Chase & Co. to become the largest derivatives dealer in the U.S. The firm’s derivative contracts as measured on a notional basis rose to $56.6 trillion at the end of first quarter, according to data compiled by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and released Monday. JPMorgan ranked second with $56.2 trillion and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. third with $52 trillion. Citigroup has been expanding in derivatives as it rebuilds trading businesses that suffered after the financial crisis led the firm to take a government bailout. The U.S. lender has amassed the largest stockpile of interest-rate swaps, a type of derivative that can swing in value when central banks raise rates. Bloomberg

Rand Paul Embarking On Statewide Campaign Tour
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul is making several stops throughout Nevada. The Kentucky senator will make stops at casino resorts in Reno, Elko, Mesquite and Las Vegas throughout Monday. The events are part of his "Stand with Rand" tour and are being hosted by local activists and supporters. Paul has visited Nevada several times since announcing his presidential bid, including an April rally in Las Vegas. His father, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, had strong support from Nevada's libertarian Republican Party faithful during his presidential bids in 2008 and 2012. Las Vegas Sun

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FLASHBACK: Obama Says ‘I Am Not A Supporter Of Gay Marriage’
During his U.S. Senate campaign in 2004, Barack Obama was asked by a local Illinois reporter about his stand on same-sex marriage. Candidate Obama said he did not support it and that the institution of marriage has “religious roots” and “strong tradition” and as such is important to Americans. “I have been very clear on this,” Obama told a television reporter at a Springfield, Ill., campaign event. “I have said I am not a supporter of gay marriage. “I think the term marriage itself has strong religious roots and a strong tradition that means something special to people in this country,” Obama said. Obama went on to say he believed that homosexuals should be allowed to form “civil unions.” CNS News

House Speaker Visits Lithuania, Commits To Countering Russia
House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'nuhr) of Ohio has returned from a visit to Lithuania where he affirmed Congress' commitment to offering military assistance to the region to counter Russian aggression. The Republican led a bipartisan delegation of House members marking the 25th anniversary of Lithuania's independence. Their visit came as the U.S. and NATO allies have criticized Russia for its increasingly aggressive actions, including backing separatist troops on Ukraine's eastern border. The U.S. has announced plans to offer tanks and other equipment to six former Soviet bloc nations including Lithuania to help counter the threat. Boehner says Congress is working to ensure that Lithuania and other countries in the region get the tangible assistance they need. He said Congress also is working to expedite natural gas exports to Europe. Las Vegas Sun

Umbilical Cord 'Milking' Improves Blood Flow In Preterm Infants
Increasing the flow of blood into a prematurely born infants' circulatory system from the umbilical cord has been shown in a study to improve blood pressure and red blood cell levels, and can prevent bleeding in the brain. The study showed that "cord milking," using the thumb and forefinger to gently squeeze the umbilical cord and slowly push blood toward the child's abdomen, was beneficial specifically for pre-term infants born by Caesarean section. Typically, doctors will wait between 30 and 60 seconds after delivering a baby to cut the cord, which is thought to be a sufficient time for blood to fill blood vessels in the lungs and allow blood pressure to increase to normal levels and prevent a brain hemorrhage. UPI

Most Plastic Surgeons Now Use Fat Grafting As Part Of Facelift Surgery
More than 85 percent of plastic surgeons use fat grafting during face lifts because it allows them a greater degree of aesthetic control when correcting the effects of aging, according to a study of surgical practices. The goal of researchers was to learn more about the specific techniques employed by practitioners in the procedure which more than 70 percent of the surgeons who responded said they'd begun to use during the last decade and just under half said they'd started using fat grafts in the last five years. "The results of our survey demonstrate most surgeons currently believe that facial fat repositioning in combination with volume addition increases the ability to utilize these two complementary techniques to restore the volumetric highlights noted in youth, thereby enhancing facial shape," researchers wrote. UPI

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US Says Absurd To Suggest That It Will Cave In Iran Talks
A senior US official on Monday dismissed suggestions from critics that the United States would cave in to Iran to reach an agreement on curbing Iran's nuclear programme. Negotiators still hope for success in the current round of negotiations in Vienna and no one is talking about a long-term extension to the talks, the official said, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity. But he added that he did not know if an agreement could be reached. The official said that if the United States had wanted to make huge concessions to reach a deal it could have done so long ago and that such criticism was "absurd". Jerusalem Post

US Intel Community Concerned About Last Resort Chemical Attack By Syria's Assad
The intelligence community in the United States is concerned that the Syrian government led by President Bashar Assad may deploy a large-scale chemical weapons attack as a last resort effort to protect regime strongholds from rebels in the embattled country, The Wall Street Journal on quoted US officials as saying on Sunday.
According to the report, US intelligence agencies believe the possibility could materialize if the Damascus regime felt it had no options left to defend key territories and installations from Islamist insurgents and opposition forces in Syria's more than four-year civil war. Jerusalem Post

US Gay Marriage: Texas Pushes Back Against Ruling
Texas' top law officer has called the US Supreme Court decision legalising gay marriage in all 50 states a "lawless ruling" and vowed to support state workers who refuse to marry couples on religious grounds. The court ruled on Friday that marriage for all is a constitutional right. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said clerks could be fined if they refuse to issue marriage licences. However, he said that his office would defend them in court free of charge. Despite the landmark ruling, opponents of gay marriage are preparing for more legal challenges. Many want to protect the interests of people with religious objections to the unions. "This newly minted federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage can and should peaceably coexist with longstanding constitutional and statutory rights, including the rights to free exercise of religion and freedom of speech," Mr Paxton wrote in a memo to state employees. BBC

UK Manufacturers Plan Increase In Investment
UK manufacturers intend to invest more money over the next two years, according to a survey from manufacturers' lobby group the EEF. It said the move came as businesses sought to improve productivity. The survey of 750 firms, said a third believed the UK was a more competitive place to invest than two years ago.
But the organisation warned the economic health of European partners was one of the biggest external risks to future investment. The EEF survey said the industrial policies of the previous government had helped to improve conditions in manufacturing, which represents about 10% of the UK economy. BBC

US Now Has More Spanish Speakers Than Spain – Only Mexico Has More
The United States is now the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico, according to a new study published by the prestigious Instituto Cervantes.
The report says there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the US plus a further 11.6 million who are bilingual, mainly the children of Spanish-speaking immigrants. This puts the US ahead of Colombia (48 million) and Spain (46 million) and second only to Mexico (121 million). Among the sources cited in the report is the US Census Office which estimates that the US will have 138 million Spanish speakers by 2050, making it the biggest Spanish-speaking nation on Earth, with Spanish the mother tongue of almost a third of its citizens. Guardian

Obama Triumphant? President Turns Gaze To Progress On Guns, Race And Votes
When Barack Obama hosts military heroes at the White House on Saturday at the traditional Fourth of July barbecue and fireworks display on the South Lawn, he will be marking more than the annual celebration of the Declaration of Independence. This year, he will also be extolling the cementing of his presidential legacy. In the past 10 days, through the intervention of America’s top judges combined with public revulsion towards the murderous actions of a white supremacist, Obama has seen the national mood shift sharply in his direction. His signature healthcare reform, Obamacare, has been secured at least for now; gay marriage has been elevated into a constitutional right; and the Confederate flag has been torn down across the deep south. Guardian

Senior UN Official Urges Global Action To End Years-Long Plight Of 2.6 Million Afghan Refugees
Expressing concern over the plight of millions of Afghan refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has called on the international community to boost its engagement, employ innovative solutions and pro-active joint advocacy to end the world’s largest prolonged humanitarian crisis. "It is critical that the international community steps up to support the Afghan government in their efforts to create adequate conditions for Afghans to return home and restart their lives in safety and dignity," António Guterres said Friday at a press conference, wrapping up his three-day visit to the Pakistan. UN News

ICC Prosecutor Says Determination To Bring Justice To People Of Sudan Remains ‘Unshaken’
Over six years since the issuance of the first warrant of arrest against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today said that her Office's determination to bring “independent and impartial justice” to the people of Sudan remains “unshaken”. “The question we need to ask of ourselves today is whether the people of Darfur, who continue to endure the suffering widely recognized by, amongst others, the African Union (AU), will ever receive the justice they deserve? Will their plight be finally answered through independent and impartial justice, or will their cries continue to face silent inaction?” UN News

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