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Older News Archivescom0116
NEWS     WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2014     NEWS

Obama Keeps Distance From Ferguson As Risking More Harm
President Barack Obama is calling for calm and understanding in Ferguson, Missouri -- from a distance. While the White House hasn’t ruled out an eventual trip to Ferguson, visiting now would divert law-enforcement resources to provide presidential security instead of keeping the peace, said aides, who asked for anonymity to discuss their planning. Obama also doesn’t want to be seen as taking sides: Asked yesterday whether he might go to the St. Louis suburb, the president said he didn’t want to suggest that he has judged the situation before investigations are complete. “I’ve got to make sure that I don’t look like I’m putting my thumb on the scales one way or the other,” Obama told reporters at the White House. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: A real American President would back law and order - not call for understanding of the illegal actions of demonic forces.

Peace Remains Elusive In Ferguson
They’ve lined the streets with police in riot gear, brought in a new black commander with an empathetic manner, imposed a curfew, lifted it and deployed the National Guard — and still the violence erupts nightly in the town of Ferguson, Missouri. After more than a week of unrest following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, law enforcement and political leaders are left struggling for answers to a frustrating question: What can we do to restore peace to the community? Detroit News
VOA VIEW: The solution is simple - enforce law and order.

Holder Promises Ferguson 'Fair And Thorough' Investigation
In advance of his trip to restive Ferguson, Mo., Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday promised a "fair and thorough'' investigation into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. "Since the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, the nation and the world have witnessed the unrest that has gripped Ferguson, Mo.,'' Holder wrote in an op-ed for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "At the core of these demonstrations is a demand for answers about the circumstances of this young man's death and a broader concern about the state of our criminal justice system.'' Holder said he was traveling to the city to be briefed on the federal civil rights inquiry, which is running parallel to the local shooting investigation headed by St. Louis County. USA Today
VOA VIEW: No white person believes there will be a fair inquiry - the police officer will be unfairly persecuted.

Christie: Too Soon To Draw Conclusions On Ferguson
Republican Gov. Chris Christie said it's too soon to draw conclusions about the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent unrest there and criticized other politicians who have weighed in. Christie was asked at a town hall event Tuesday whether the protests in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, gave him pause about the militarization of police in New Jersey. Christie, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, cautioned against drawing conclusions or generalizations about the Aug. 9 shooting of the black 18-year-old by a white police officer or what has happened in the days since until all the facts are known. SF Gate

Howard Dean: I Hope Hillary Clinton Becomes President
One year ago, Howard Dean, the former Democratic presidential contender and avatar of progressive sentiment, sat in a hotel lobby at the annual Netroots Nation conference in San Jose and held forth on Hillary Clinton's White House chances in 2016. Dean made news. Clinton "will not get a pass" in the 2016 Democratic primaries if she decides to run again, Dean said, an early warning shot from the left against the party establishment's anointed front-runner. Dean said he might make a repeat White House bid of his own, promising to agitate "other politicians" in the race on issues precious to liberals. CNN

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Corps: Mississippi River Waterways Need Improving
An Army Corps of Engineers official says higher-capacity ports, expanded locks and other infrastructure improvements are needed in the Mississippi River Watershed to respond to increased shipping demands and changing climate conditions. Brig. Gen. Peter A. DeLuca is commander of the corps' Mississippi Valley Division. He spoke at a public hearing Tuesday that was held on a corps vessel on the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tennessee. DeLuca said more farming and manufacturing in the Mississippi Valley, plus a national rise in natural gas and oil production, are creating a higher demand for shipping along the nation's inland waterways. He also said there have been an increase in storm intensities and a rise in annual precipitation in the watershed, necessitating changes in water management plans. ABC

S&P 500 Approaches Record On Signs Fed To Keep Rates Low
U.S. stocks are closing in on record highs, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rebounding at the fastest pace since February, as concerns over global crises give way to optimism that central banks will continue to accommodate a recovering economy. More than $710 billion has been restored to American equities in the past month and the S&P 500 is within 0.3 percent of an all-time high amid bets that the Federal Reserve will leave interest rates near zero for longer even as economic growth shows signs of accelerating. The U.S. equity benchmark added 0.5 percent to 1,981.60 at 4 p.m. in New York today. Bloomberg

White House Meddling In Records Requests
A government watchdog group has sued 12 federal agencies for allegedly withholding emails and other documents, in the latest episode in which the Obama administration is being challenged over its transparency. The conservative-leaning Cause of Action wants the documents in order to see whether agencies are being forced to channel basic public-information requests through the White House, so that politically sensitive material can be screened. The group filed the suit Monday in a District of Columbia federal court. Fox News
VOA VIEW: You can bet Obama is interfering and withholding information.

TX Gov. Perry Says Cheese!
Gov. Rick Perry was defiant yesterday as he was booked on abuse-of-power charges, telling dozens of cheering supporters outside a Texas courthouse that he would "fight this injustice with every fiber of my being." Showing no hint of worry on his face, Perry flashed a thin, confident grin beneath perfect hair in his mug shot - then headed to a nearby Austin eatery for ice cream. The Republican was indicted after carrying out a threat to veto funding for state public corruption prosecutors. Philadelphia Inquirer

Savages! Islamic State Executes American Journalist
Bloodthirsty militants in Iraq released a horrific video on Tuesday that shows the beheading of American photojournalist James Wright Foley — with the execution aimed at forcing President Obama to end US airstrikes. Foley, 40, who was kidnapped in Syria nearly two years ago, was forced to recite anti-American hatred before a masked ISIS killer put the knife to his neck. The video — posted on YouTube before being yanked — shows Foley dressed in prisoner orange and on his knees in the desert. His head is shaved. Behind him is his knife-wielding killer, covered head to toe in black. It’s title is “A Message to America.” NY Post

Peanut, Almond Butter Recalled For Salmonella Risk
A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination. The company said Tuesday that there have been reports of four illnesses that may be related to the nut butters. They were sold under the brand names Arrowhead Mills peanut butters and MaraNatha almond butters and peanut butters. Also being recalled were some lots of private label almond butter from grocers Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Safeway. A total of 45 production lots are affected. They were sold in Canada, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates as well as the U.S. Seattle Times

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US Rejects International Criticism Of Ferguson Police
A State Department spokeswoman pushed back against countries like Egypt, Iran and China that have chided U.S. law enforcement for its handling of protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, over the police shooting death of unarmed Michael Brown. Marie Harf said such countries, which, at best, have mixed records on human rights and free speech, should avoid comparing themselves to the United States. “We here in the United States will put our record for confronting our problems transparently and honestly and openly up against any other countries in the world,” Harf said. “When we have problems and issues in this country, we deal with them openly and honestly. We think that’s important, and I would encourage the countries you named particularly to do the same thing.” ABC

New Report Warns Of Anti Aircraft Weapons In Syria
Armed groups in Syria have an estimated several hundred portable anti-aircraft missiles that could easily be diverted to extremists and used to destroy low-flying commercial planes, according to a new report by a respected international research group. It cites the risk that the missiles could be smuggled out of Syria by terrorists.
The report was released just hours after the Federal Aviation Administration issued a notice Monday to U.S. airlines banning all flights in Syrian airspace. The agency said armed extremists in Syria are "known to be equipped with a variety of anti-aircraft weapons which have the capability to threaten civilian aircraft." The agency had previously warned against flights over Syria, but had not prohibited them. Las Vegas Sun

Many Communities Still Mistrust Police
For one night, all was well in Ferguson, Missouri. After a change in police command, violent protests decrying the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of white police officer Darren Wilson suddenly gave way to peaceful demonstrations. A day later, Ferguson police, under pressure to disclose Wilson's name, also revealed that Brown was suspected of stealing cigars from a local store before his deadly encounter with Wilson. That announcement was met with disbelief and anger by several residents, who said police were trying to smear Brown's name to justify his shooting. And the streets of Ferguson exploded anew. Las Vegas Sun

Mitt Romney: Obama Worse Than Even I Expected
Mitt Romney said Tuesday that the problems inflicted by President Obama’s policies are even worse than he predicted during the 2012 presidential campaign. “It’s been a good deal worse than even I expected,” Mr. Romney told reporters after headlining a rally here for Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. “I was not a big fan of the president’s policies, as you know, either domestically or internationally,” he said. “But the results of his mistakes and errors, in my opinion, have been more severe than even I would have predicted.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Not worse - more like pitiful.

Grand Jury To Investigate Death Of New York Man In Police Chokehold
A special grand jury will begin investigating the death of a man in an apparent chokehold by a New York City police officer, a prosecutor said Tuesday. Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan said a court granted his request Monday to impanel the grand jury. Donovan said it will begin work next month. Eric Garner, 43, died in mid-July as police arrested him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on the street. A video from a cellphone shows an officer, identified as Daniel Pantaleo, holding Garner in a chokehold -- something New York police have been banned from using for years. UPI

Tech Job Growth Fuels Office Space Demand
Metro Atlanta ranked 11th in the nation in creating new tech jobs over the last two years, and the growth is fueling the need for more office space, according to a report released this week. The report by CBRE, a commercial real estate services firm, said there has been a notable increase in the number of tech companies coming to the area or expanding existing operations. Between 2011 and 2013, companies added about 6,200 tech services jobs, an 11 percent increase, CBRE said. Metro Atlanta, the nation’s 9th biggest metro area, currently employs about 64,000 tech workers, but more are needed. Companies have openings for about 3,000 information technology workers across the state, according the Technology Association of Georgia. The biggest demand is for systems engineers, architects and consultants, management and software developers. Demand for workers can also be found in healthcare, communication services, logistics and data services. Atlanta Journal

More Turbulence From Illegal Pot Shops
Community leaders in Mira Mesa added new turbulence this week to the already controversial approval process facing San Diego’s first legal medical marijuana dispensaries. Frustrated that the city hasn’t been able to shut down several illegal dispensaries operating in the community, Mira Mesa Community Planning Group members made their approval of new, legal dispensaries contingent on the city shutting down all the illegal ones first. “I can’t support any of these new dispensaries while we have illegal dispensaries in our community,” said planning group member Bruce Brown. “We’ve got anywhere between five and 10 in our community right now, and the city doesn’t have the resources to close them. We’re just going to let those stand and approve four more?” San Diego Union

North Korea Insults John Kerry Over His Looks
In its latest personal attack on a prominent official from a rival country, North Korea on Wednesday called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a wolf with a "hideous lantern jaw." North Korea has unleashed a slew of crude insults against leaders in Washington and Seoul this year, calling President Barack Obama a monkey and South Korean President Park Geun-hye a prostitute. Wednesday's slur against Kerry appeared only in a Korean-language dispatch, suggesting it was meant to rally anti-U.S. sentiment and burnish the leadership's image domestically at a time when Washington and Seoul are conducting annual military drills that Pyongyang calls an invasion rehearsal. Miami Herald

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Advocates Planning One More Big Push For Deportation Relief
Immigration advocates plan to make one more big push for big relief for immigrant families from the president. A coalition of immigration advocates who operate under the banner of Fair Immigration Reform Movement, FIRM, said they are organizing at least 15 events around the country for Aug. 28 to mark what they are calling National Day to Fight For Families. The lead event is a march and rally in Washington, D.C. from Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters. They hope to draw 2,000 protesters and are planning for 200 people to stage a demonstration in front of the White House, which could lead to their arrests. MSNBC

Chris Christie Is lone GOP Presidential Prospect To Expand Medicaid
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare puts him alone among Republican governors vying for the 2016 presidential nomination, and could come back to haunt him among primary voters. Some of his potential rivals who are also governors have sought ways to leverage federal money, and others have spurned the Medicaid expansion altogether. Mr. Christie, however, embraced President Obama’s vision of expanding the federal-state health care program for the poor to those with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level. Washington Times

When Parents Need Care, Daughters Carry The Burden
It's no secret that daughters seem to bear the brunt of caregiving duties for elderly parents, but a new study suggests that conscientious daughters often fill the gaps left by sons. "Sons provide a lower relative share of total parent care if they have a sister, whereas daughters provide a larger relative share if they have a brother," said study author Angelina Grigoryeva, a graduate student with the department of sociology at Princeton University. "This finding suggests sons may pass on parent-care responsibilities to their sisters." CBS

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Texas Gov. Perry To Turn Himself In Tuesday, On Heels Of Indictment
Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to turn himself in to authorities Tuesday evening at a local Texas jail on the heels of his indictment for alleged abuse of power, a member of the governor's legal team told Fox News. The governor is expected to be processed quickly and to leave. He is not subject to an arrest warrant. However, Fox News has learned Perry will have his mugshot and fingerprints taken during the booking. He plans to arrive at the Travis County justice complex in Austin at about 6 p.m. ET.
This comes after Perry began assembling a high-powered legal team to defend him in the case, which Perry and his allies argue is politically motivated. Fox News

3 Reasons Stocks Are Still Charging Ahead
Forget Christmas in July. For the stock market, it's looking like the holidays came in August. The Dow is on track for its best month since February. It's already up over 1.5% in August. And it's not just "blue chip" American stocks in the Dow that are doing well. The Nasdaq, which is loaded with tech and biotech companies, hit a 14-year high Monday, and the S&P 500 is up even more than the Dow. Few would have guessed this performance surge was coming. August got off to a rough start. Some were even warning that a correction -- when the market drops 10% -- might be near. CNN

Average Price Of Ground Beef Hits All-Time High
The average price for all types of ground beef per pound hit its all-time high -- $3.884 per pound -- in the United States in July, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That was up from $3.880 per pound in June. A year ago, in July 2013, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $3.459 per pound. Since then, the average price for a pound of ground beef has gone up 42.1 cents--or about 12 percent. Five years ago, in July 2009, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $2.147, according to the BLS. In those five years, the average price has climbed by $1.737 per pound--or almost 81 percent. CNS News

US Home Construction Jumps 15.7 Percent In July
U.S. home construction rebounded in July, rising to an eight-month high and offering hope that housing has regained momentum after two months of declines. Construction increased 15.7 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million homes, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That was the fastest pace since November and followed declines of 4 percent in June and 7.4 percent in May. Applications for building permits, considered a good sign of future activity, also showed strength in July, advancing 8.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.05 million, after declines of 3.1 percent in June and 5.1 percent in May. CNS News

Obama: Time To Review Local Police Militarization
Calling for a sharp separation between the nation's armed forces and local police, President Barack Obama on Monday urged a re-examination of programs that have equipped civilian law enforcement departments with military gear from the Pentagon. The transfers have come under public scrutiny after the forceful police response to racially charged unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Amid video images of well-armed police confronting protesters with combat weapons and other surplus military equipment, Obama said it would be useful to review how local law enforcement agencies have used federal grants that permit them to obtain heavier armaments. CNS
VOA VIEW: Obama is pro maniacal forces and anti police.

Navy To Test Lockheed Martin's FORTIS Exoskeleton
Exoskeltons from Lockheed Martin that boost a person's strength and endurance are to be tested and evaluated for industrial use by the U.S. Navy. The contract was issued for the Navy through the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, or NCMS, but its details were not disclosed. Lockheed said its FORTIS exoskeleton is an ergonomically designed, wearable and unpowered device that transfers the weight of heavy loads from a user's body directly to the ground. It's lightweight and flexible.
The Navy aims to mature and transition exoskeleton technology to the Department of Defense industrial base and use the system for hand-tool applications at Navy shipyards. UPI

Japan Trade Deficit Widens; Exports Up slightly
Japan's trade deficit rose in July from the month before to a wider than expected 964 billion yen ($9.4 billion), though exports were higher for the first time in three months. It was the 25th straight month of deficits for the world's third-largest economy, due mainly to an increase in imports of oil and gas to compensate for idled nuclear reactors following meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant in 2011. Exports rose 3.9 percent from a year earlier to 6.19 trillion yen ($60.2 billion), slightly outpacing a 2.3 percent increase in imports, to 7.15 trillion yen ($69.5 billion). Japan recorded an 822 billion yen deficit in June. Tampa Tribune

Did Cocaine Abuse Give Robin Williams Parkinson's?
For years, Williams had openly discussed his battle with depression and also with substance abuse. Board-certified neurologist Dr. Russell Blaylock believes that Williams' substance abuse — specifically his use of cocaine — was at the root of his Parkinson's disease. In fact, a major study has found that cocaine users are at much higher risk for the brain illness. "Robin said in interviews that he used a lot of cocaine in his youth and for many years," Dr. Blaylock tells Newsmax Health. "Cocaine triggers excitotoxicity in the area of the brain pathological for Parkinson's disease (PD)." Excitotoxicity is the process by which nerve cells in the brain are damaged and killed by the excessive release of certain neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, that cause brain cells to become overexcited and die. Sun Sentinel

Water Boil Mandate In Fair Haven, Vt. After E. Coli Found
Residents of Fair Haven, Vt., have been advised to boil tap water before consuming it after the town’s water supply tested positive for E. coli, according to WPTZ.
Fair Haven Town Manager Herb Durfee issued a statement with instructions: “Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.” The statement also said that E. coli are a bacteria that “indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes.” E. coli can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms, according to the release. The good news for Fair Haven residents is that town officials “anticipate resolving the problem within 24-48 hours.” Boston Globe

Chinese, Russian Media Turn Criticisms Back On US
Chinese and Russian state media have seized on the U.S. police shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old and ensuing protests to fire back at Washington's criticisms of their own governments, portraying the United States as a land of inequality and brutal police tactics. The violence in the St. Louis, Missouri, suburb of Ferguson comes amid tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine, as well as friction between Washington and Beijing over what China sees as a campaign to thwart its rise as a global power. Both countries have chafed under American criticism of their autocratic political systems — China and Russia tightly control protests and jail dissidents and demonstrators — and the events in Ferguson provided a welcome opportunity to dish some back. Houston Chronicle

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Wall St. Extends Rally, Lifted By Apple And Home Depot
U.S. stocks ended higher for the second straight session on Tuesday, as robust housing data and strong earnings from Dow component Home Depot overshadowed lingering concerns about the conflict in Ukraine. With the day's gains, the S&P 500 ended within 10 points of its all-time intraday high of 1,991.39 reached on July 24. The Nasdaq Composite extended Monday's gains and ended on Tuesday at yet another 14-year high. Apple Inc was among the most heavily traded names of the day after the stock hit $100 for the first time since its seven-for-one split in June. The stock climbed 1.4 percent to a new split-adjusted closing high of $100.53. Apple contributed the most to the gains of both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite in Tuesday's session. Reuters

Islamic State Says Beheads U.S. Journalist
Islamic State insurgents released a video on Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago. The video, titled "A Message To America," was posted on social media sites. It was not immediately possible to verify its authenticity. Foley, who has reported in the Middle East for five years, was kidnapped on Nov. 22, 2012, by unidentified gunmen. A Twitter account set up by his family to help find him said early on Wednesday: "We know that many of you are looking for confirmation or answers. Please be patient until we all have more information, and keep the Foleys in your thoughts and prayers." Reuters

GOP's Top 2016 Hopefuls Embroiled In Scandal
Republican governors, once considered among the party’s best hopes for taking back the White House, have suffered significant setbacks in recent months. And their legal and political woes – both large and small – have made the still-developing 2016 presidential race look even more unpredictable. What’s more, it all comes as congressional Republicans battle low-approval numbers and with no clear heir apparent to be the GOP’s next standard bearer. Here’s why some of the party’s shiniest stars no longer look so bright: There's New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose administration was accused of conspiring to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge to punish a Democratic mayor. Both the state legislature and federal prosecutors continue to investigate the matter. MSNBC

Paul Ryan Airs Frustrations With GOP In New Book
As Congress hurtled toward a government shutdown in the fall of 2013, Rep. Paul Ryan looked around at fellow Republicans who were agitating to shutter national parks, federal agencies and Head Start programs. "This can't be the full measure of our party and our movement," Ryan writes of that moment in his new book, released Tuesday. "If it is, we're dead and the country is lost." Such moments of raw frustration pepper Ryan's "The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea," a book as much about his front-row seat as Republicans' favorite budget wonk as it is about his political future. Ryan is considered a contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. CBS

Obama Holds To Afghanistan Withdrawal Deadline
President Obama may have ordered American warplanes back to Iraq, but he has not changed his mind about his other big military withdrawal. Mr. Obama told advisers this week that delaying the pullout of American troops from Afghanistan would make no difference there as long as the country did not overcome its political rifts. The president, a senior administration official said, was rejecting a growing chorus of arguments in Washington that the chaos in Iraq should prompt him to reconsider his timetable for withdrawing the last soldiers from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. “People have said, ‘Doesn’t this show that you should never take the troops out of Afghanistan?’ ” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “He said, ‘No, it actually points to the imperative of having political accommodation. There’s a limit to what we can achieve absent a political process.’ ” NY Times

Israel, Gaza Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail
Strip Palestinian militants launched dozens of rockets and Israel responded with airstrikes on Wednesday after Egyptian efforts to mediate a lasting truce in the monthlong Gaza war collapsed in a hail of fire a day earlier. One of the Israeli airstrikes appeared to have targeted the home of Mohammed Deif, the Islamic militant group's elusive military chief, who has escaped numerous Israeli assassination attempts in the past. It was not immediately clear whether he was there at the time of the attack. The fighting resumed Tuesday when Gaza militants fired rockets at Israeli cities just hours before a temporary cease-fire was set to expire, prompting Israel to withdraw its delegation from Cairo and launch retaliatory airstrikes. Since then at least 16 Palestinians have been killed and 68 wounded, Gaza Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra said. Charlotte Observer

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Rockets Target Tel Av In Wake Of Truce Breakdown
Hours after rockets shattered the cease-fire and hit Gaza frontier communities, three loud explosions were heard over Tel Aviv, shortly before 11 p.m., for the first time in over a week. In total, the IDF said that 50 rockets were fired at Israel since 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday until around midnight. Six rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome rocket defense system.  A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday rejected Palestinian charges that Israel was to blame for a breakdown in ceasefire talks in Cairo, saying rocket fire from Gaza "made continuation of talks impossible." Jerusalem Post

Hamas: Israel Is Escalating The Situation To Influence Cairo Truce Talks
Hamas denied firing rockets at Israel on Tuesday afternoon in violation of a cease-fire that was supposed to have remained in place until midnight. The IDF stated that three rockets were fired from the Strip despite the truce - two landing in the Beersheba area and one landing in Netivot. The attacks, the first rocket strikes on Israel in some six days, prompted the IDF to respond with attacks on the Gaza Strip. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which the military said caused no casualties or damage. Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, said it had no knowledge of any rockets being fired. Jerusalem Post

Iraq Crisis: UN Launches New Aid Effort In North Iraq
The United Nations agency for refugees is launching a major aid operation to reach more than half-a-million people displaced by fighting in northern Iraq. Tents and other goods will be sent to the Kurdish city of Irbil via air, road and sea, the UNHCR said. Meanwhile a BBC correspondent at the strategically important Mosul Dam says Kurdish and Iraqi forces have retaken it from Islamic State (IS) militants. IS forces have captured large parts of northern Iraq in recent weeks. "UNHCR is this week launching one of its largest aid pushes," the agency's spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters. BBC

Brain Stimulation 'Helps In Stroke'
Studies showed firing beams of light into the brains of mice led to the animals moving further and faster than those without the therapy. The research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, could help explain how the brain recovers and lead to new treatments. The Stroke Association said the findings were interesting. Strokes can affect memory, movement and the ability to communicate. Brain cells die when their supply of oxygen and sugars is cut off by a blood clot. BBC

World Leaders 'Failing To Help' Over Ebola Outbreak In Africa
The international community has made "almost zero" response to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, with western leaders more interested in protecting their own countries than helping contain the crisis that has now claimed more than 1,200 lives, a senior international aid worker said on Tuesday. Brice de la Vigne, the operations director of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said politicians in industrialised countries urgently needed to take action, or risk the outbreak spreading much further. "Globally, the response of the international community is almost zero," he told the Guardian. "Leaders in the west are talking about their own safety and doing things like closing airlines – and not helping anyone else." Guardain

Pope Francis Says He Expects To Live Two Or Three More Years, And May Retire
Pope Francis has publicly broached the prospect of his own death for the first time, light-heartedly giving himself "two or three years" but not ruling out retirement before then. Talking to reporters on a flight back to the Vatican from South Korea, the 77-year-old pontiff, who seemed in good spirits, was asked about his global popularity, which was evident again during his five-day visit. "I see it as the generosity of the people of God. I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud. Because I know it will last only a short time. Two or three years and then I'll be off to the Father's house," he replied. Guardian

World Humanitarian Day: UN Honours Sacrifices, Celebrates Spirit Of Aid Workers
The United Nations is marking World Humanitarian Day today by paying tribute to aid workers who carry out life-saving activities around the world, often in dangerous and difficult circumstances, while celebrating the spirit of humanitarian work worldwide. “On World Humanitarian Day, we honour the heroic aid workers who rush bravely to help people in need. We remember their sacrifices, and we recognize the millions of people who count on humanitarian workers for their very survival,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day. UN News

As South Sudan Crisis Grows, Ethiopia Becomes Africa’s Largest Refugee Host
Ethiopia has surpassed Kenya in hosting the most refugees in Africa, sheltering 629,000 refugees as of the end of July, the United Nations refugee agency announced on Tuesday. “The main factor in the change in the situation is the increased numbers of refugees fleeing the conflict in South Sudan,” Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told journalists in Geneva today. UN News

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