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NEWS   TUESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2015   NEWS

More Than Two-Thirds Of Obamacare Enrollees Unsatisfied With Coverage
Less than a third of Obamacare exchange customers are satisfied with their plans, according to a survey released Monday that finds enrollees in the signature heath overhaul are less happy than those covered through government programs or their jobs. Researchers at Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, a research arm of the consulting firm, said cost is a key driver in their findings, which say 30 percent of exchange customers are satisfied with their plans, compared to nearly half of those on the Medicaid program for the poor, 58 percent on Medicare for seniors and the disabled and 42 percent with coverage from their jobs. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Obamacare is an expensive failure.

Chuck Schumer: I Won't Let 'Pressure, Party' Decide My Vote On Iran Deal
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said Monday that he is "very seriously" studying the Iran nuclear deal brokered last month before deciding whether to endorse or oppose it -- and he says the D next to his name won't affect his decision. "This is such an important decision that I will not let pressure, politics or party influence," said Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat who is poised to take over as Senate Democratic leader in 2016 and is considered one of the most critical votes on the Iran deal. "I have learned over the years that when you have a tough decision like this: study it, come to what you believe is the right decision and go forward with it. And that's what I intend to do." CNN

Obama Approves Using US Air Power To Defend Pentagon-Trained Syria Rebel Forces
President Obama has approved using American air power to defend U.S-backed rebels in Syria from attacks by President Bashar al-Assad's forces or Islamist groups, increasing the chances of direct conflict between Washington and Damascus. Under new rules of engagement proposed by the Pentagon and approved by the White House last week, forces trained and equipped by the Pentagon would receive cover from U.S. aircraft. Only about 60 rebels have graduated from the U.S-led training program. The new rules were first reported Sunday by the Wall Street Journal. The Pentagon has downplayed the possibility of conflict between U.S. aircraft and Syrian government forces, saying that the Pentagon-backed fighters were committed to fighting the Islamic State terror group (ISIS), not the Assad regime. Fox News
VOA VIEW: The training was an very expensive failure.

State Department Watered Down Human Trafficking Report
In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba. And in China, they found, things had grown worse. The State Department’s senior political staff saw it differently — and they prevailed. A Reuters examination, based on interviews with more than a dozen sources in Washington and foreign capitals, shows that the government office set up to independently grade global efforts to fight human trafficking was repeatedly overruled by senior American diplomats and pressured into inflating assessments of 14 strategically important countries in this year’s Trafficking in Persons report. Reuters
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Drones Came Dangerously Close To 2 Passengers Jets Landing At JFK
Two airplanes flying near John F. Kennedy International Airport came within 100 feet of drones as they landed at the busy airport on Friday, according to audio from the flights’ radio calls. Neither flight had to take evasive action, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is investigating the incidents, reported USA Today. JetBlue Flight 1843, from Haiti, reported spotting a drone at 2:24 p.m. on Friday while approaching JFK, the FAA told cable network CNN. In the audio recording, obtained by CNN, the pilot says the drone passed “just below the planes nose when the jet was flying at an altitude of about 800 to 900 feet.” CNS

Rick Perry: 'I’m Not Going To Be Quiet...When Donald Trump Shoots A Bullet Through John McCain And Hits Veterans'
GOP presidential candidate and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry told “Fox News Sunday” that GOP presidential front runner Donald Trump shot “a bullet” through Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and hit veterans, “particularly those that have been captured” with his comment about prisoners of war. “This is an individual who has extraordinary celebrity, but I’m not going to be quiet, Chris, when Donald Trump shoots a bullet through John McCain and hits veterans, particularly those that have been captured,” said Perry. Perry was referring to comments Trump made during a visit to Iowa last month. Trump said McCain was “not a war hero." CNS News
VOA VIEW: Perry is hurting any slim chance he has.

Vitamin D May Not Benefit Postmenopausal Bone Health
High doses of vitamin D may not help strengthen bones in postmenopausal women, a study suggests. Vitamin D helps the body use calcium, and calcium in turn helps support bone health. After a year on high-dose vitamin D supplements, women were absorbing slightly more calcium from their intestines into their blood compared to women who took low doses of vitamin D or a dummy pill. But that didn’t seem to matter, because all three regimens produced similar results in terms of bone mineral density, muscle mass and the women’s risk for falling. “We conclude that there is no reason to take more than the recommended daily allowance for vitamin D,” lead author Dr. Karen Hansen of the University of Wisconsin in Madison said by email. Reuters

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White House Mulling Intervention In Massive Judgment Against Palestinians In Terror Case
The Obama administration has signaled it may intervene next week in a civil lawsuit in which 11 American families won a potential billion-dollar judgment from the Palestinian leadership over a series of bombings and shootings that killed or wounded dozens of U.S. citizens, a move that critics say would find the government siding with terrorists over its own citizens. The families won a $218.5 million judgment in February after a seven-week trial in Manhattan Federal Court in which a jury found the Palestine Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority were responsible for a string of attacks from 2001 to 2004 that killed 33 and injured hundreds. Fox

Obama Unveils Major Climate Change Proposal
The Obama administration unveiled a major climate change plan on Sunday aimed at a large reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the nation's coal-burning power plants. On Monday, President Barack Obama started selling it to the public at a White House event. "Today after working with states and cities and power companies, the EPA is setting the first ever nationwide standards to end the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from power plants," Obama said Monday from the White House, adding shortly thereafter "Washington is starting to catch up with the vision of the rest of the country. " CNN

American Public Divided On Iran Nuclear Deal
The American public is divided on the Iran nuclear deal, with 35 percent supporting it and 33 percent against it, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Another 32 percent say they don't know enough to have an opinion. Opposition to the deal has doubled since June - when 36 percent said they supported the deal and 17 percent opposed it. Current attitudes about the agreement - reached between Iran and six world powers (including the United States) in an attempt to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon - are largely split among partisan lines. Democrats support the deal by a 58 percent-to-8 percent margin, while Republicans oppose it, 60 percent to 15 percent. MSNBC

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Amy Schumer Joins Chuck Schumer To Call For Tighter Gun Background Check System
Amy Schumer, calling herself "heartbroken" after a gunman killed two people watching her movie in Louisiana, joined her senator cousin on Monday to call for a stronger background-check system for gun buyers. "These shootings have got to stop," she said. "I don't know how else to say it." The comedian and Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat who is her second cousin once removed, announced a bill to reward states that submit records on felons, spousal abusers and the mentally ill to the federal background check system. It would penalize states that don't. They also want the Justice Department to survey states and find out which have the best standards for involuntary commitment to mental health facilities, and they want Congress to restore proposed cuts to mental health programs. MSNBC

Jeb Bush Calls For Sanctuary Crackdown, Local Enforcement Of Immigration Laws
GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush announced a six-point plan to improve border security Monday, calling for a series of basic steps that draw general agreement — and a controversial crackdown on sanctuary cities. Mr. Bush, a former two-term Florida governor, said he was a “trailblazer” in working to enlist his state police to help enforce federal immigration laws, and said those cities and counties that refuse to cooperate should have federal law enforcement grants withheld. His six-point plan, released to WMUR, a television station in New Hampshire, where the GOP candidates are gathered for a forum later Monday, calls for a more flexible Border Patrol strategy and more technology — both already part of President Obama’s strategy — but does not specifically call for more agents. Washington Times

Ready-To-Drink Meal Could Put Food On Chopping Block
A company called Soylent has started selling what it calls complete meals, ready to drink in a bottle, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy. When Willy Wonka created a three-course meal chewing gum, it did not turn out so well, but Soylent said it has found the formula to food as we know it. It may be different, but Soylent CEO Rob Rhinehart says he's got nothing against food. "Quite the opposite; I love food," he said. "I love pizza, I love burritos, barbecue." The 27-year-old engineer realized that while working long hours, he was also eating a lot of bad food and wasting a lot of time and money on it. He now drinks 80 percent of his daily calories. CBS

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Some Kraft Singles American Cheese Slices Recalled Over Choking Hazard
Kraft has issued a warning about some Kraft Singles cheese slices that could put consumers at risk of choking. The company announced a voluntary recall affecting 36,000 cases of American cheese slices sold in 3-lb. and 4-lb. boxes. The problem is that a thin strip of the clear plastic packaging film could adhere to the cheese even after you remove the wrapper. The company said it has received at least ten complaints, including three reports of people choking. The recall applies only to 3-lb. and 4-lb. sizes of Kraft Singles American and White American pasteurized prepared cheese product, stamped with a "Best When Used By" date of 29 DEC 15 through 04 JAN 16, followed by the Manufacturing Code S54 or S55. CBS

The Note: Could 2016 Be The Hillary And Joe Show?
Vice President Joe Biden's political operation has entered a more active phase in recent days, with several moves being contemplated to clear the way for him to run for president should he choose to do so, two longtime Biden advisers tell ABC's RICK KLEIN. The vice president himself has not authorized any specific moves, but nor has he objected, a signal Biden confidantes take as suggesting he's serious about potentially challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. "He's not saying no," one adviser said. "This is his time to figure it out." Among the potential moves are efforts to restart a moribund fundraising operation, launch a new political action committee, and find a way to channel the energies of a "Draft Biden" movement that's now not being led by Biden insiders. One adviser said the new actions would roll out over the next 30 to 45 days. ABC
VOA VIEW: Biden can beat Hillary, and has a better chance against a Republican.

UN States Set Goal To End Poverty, Hunger In Next 15 Years
The 193 member states of the United Nations have reached agreement on a new development agenda for the next 15 years that calls for eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving gender equality, improving living standards and taking urgent action to combat climate change. The draft agreement reached Sunday evening outlines 17 goals with 169 specific targets on issues ranging from ending poverty "in all its forms everywhere" to ensuring quality education and affordable and reliable energy, and protecting the environment. "We can be the first generation that ends global poverty, and the last generation to prevent the worst impacts of global warming before it is too late," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters Monday. ABC

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Puerto Rico Agency Misses Full Bond Payment In First Default
A Puerto Rico agency defaulted on bonds for the first time Monday, initiating a clash with creditors as the struggling commonwealth seeks to renegotiate its $72 billion debt load. The Caribbean island paid just $628,000 of what was due on securities sold by its Public Finance Corp. because the legislature didn’t provide enough money, Melba Acosta, the president of its Government Development Bank, said in a statement. About $58 million of interest and principal was due. “This was a decision that reflects the serious concerns about the commonwealth’s liquidity in combination with the balance of obligations to our creditors and the equally important obligations to the people of Puerto Rico to ensure the essential services they deserve are maintained,” Acosta said in a statement. Bloomberg

Oil’s Drop Below $50 May Be Just The Start As Demand Swoons
Oil has fallen to a six-month low, and hopes of a quick rebound are fading as demand heads into an autumn swoon. Brent crude tumbled below $50 on Monday for the first time since January. Gasoline fell the most in almost three years. The slump may have further to go. U.S. refineries, which turned a record amount of crude into gasoline during July, typically slow down from August through October for maintenance. Bloomberg

Guillermo Downgraded To Tropical storm as it heads to Hawaii
Hurricane Guillermo was downgraded to a tropical storm as it continued its course toward the Hawaiian Islands. According to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, Guillermo was about 620 miles away from Hilo, Hawaii, on Monday morning. Its track is expected to take it near or over the islands on Wednesday and Thursday. The storm is expected to continue to weaken. The exact track of the storm will dictate which islands are impacted most. Dangerous surf, significant rainfall and high winds are expected, and forecasters warn of the chance of coastal and flash flooding. The storm currently has maximum sustained winds near 70 mph. There are no warnings or watches currently in effect, but forecasters say advisories may be issued for certain portions of the state later Monday. Las Vegas Sun

US Begins Armed Drone Flights From Turkey
The Pentagon says the military for the first time conducted armed drone missions out of Turkey last weekend, and is planning to conduct manned aircraft flights from Incirlik Air Base. Capt. Jeff Davis says so far none of the drones launched airstrikes. He says the U.S. also will likely fly search and rescue missions from the base.
The use of the Incirlik base comes as the U.S. expanded its combat in Syria, launching airstrikes Friday to defend rebels under attack by the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's branch in Syria. Davis says this is the first time the U.S. conducted defensive strikes against anyone other than Islamic State militants in Syria. Under current rules, the U.S. can conduct offensive strikes against the Islamic State, not Assad regime forces or others. Las Vegas Sun

Kathleen Rice: Iran Deal 'A Risk I Cannot Support.'
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice outside the Nassau County Court in Mineola on June 6, 2014. Rep. Kathleen Rice announced Monday that she will oppose the Iran deal, calling it "a risk I cannot support." Rice, a first-term congresswoman from Garden City, is the second New York Democrat to come out against the agreement between six countries led by the United States and Iran to limit its nuclear development while easing sanctions against Tehran. Newsday

Yo-yo Dieting Not Linked To Cancer
 Despite longtime concerns that yo-yo dieting -- cycles of losing and gaining weight -- can cause certain types of cancer, a large study has shown no connection. Previous studies in animals and humans had shown that weight cycling could disrupt bodily processes causing factors such as inflammation or increase in immune cell accumulation, known to increase the chances of developing various cancers. "For the millions of Americans struggling to lose weight, the last thing they need to worry about is that if it comes back, they might raise their risk of cancer," said Dr. Victoria Stevens, strategic director for laboratory services at the American Cancer Society, in a press release. "This study, to our knowledge the largest and most comprehensive to date on the issue, should be reassuring." UPI News

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China: Kim Jong Un Seeking Improved Relations With Beijing
Kim Jong Un's unusual tribute to China's fallen soldiers is attracting Beijing's attention, and China has suggested Beijing is open to improved relations and a visit from the North Korean leader in September. An editorial published on state-controlled website China Internet Information Center stated Kim had praised China's war heroes and that "such friendly gestures can be seen as a way of delivering a message to China," South Korean news network SBS reported. Beijing said Kim's message could indicate the North Korean leader has hopes of attending the 70th anniversary of China's Victory over Japan, to be held on Sept. 3 – which would mark Kim's first official state visit since he fully assumed power in 2012. UPI News

US Committed To Maintaining Israel's 'Military Edge' In Light Of Iran Deal
The US will defend Israel as it does with its NATO allies, a senior US defense official said Monday. The official, speaking to a delegation of Israeli diplomatic reporters visiting Washington,  said that the US commitment to Israel’s security is something US defense officials “live on a daily basis.” “We have an ally relationship with Israel,” the official said.  “The word ally means something to us. It means that if you are attacked, we defend you. This is what an ally relationship means. That is what it means for our NATO allies. We use that term sparingly.” The official said that the US was “appalled” by Iranian calls to destroy Israel, “but that doesn’t mean that we should sign a deal that decreases the likelihood they will be a nuclear state.” Jerusalem Post

US, Allies Stage 29 Air Strikes Against Islamic State
The US-led coalition fighting Islamic State conducted 29 air strikes against the militant group in Iraq and Syria on Sunday, the task force leading the operation said in a statement. In Iraq, 21 strikes hit areas near Mosul, Tal Afar, Ramadi, al Huwayja and other cities, hitting units of Islamic State fighters as well as militants' vehicles, bunkers, fighting positions and other targets. Eight strikes targeted the group near al Hasaka and two other Syrian cities, according to the statement released on Monday. Jerusalem Post

Gulf Allies 'Back Iran Nuclear Deal' After US Security Guarantees
Iran nuclear agreement: A good deal, for now? US allies in the Gulf have backed the nuclear deal with Iran, after the US promised them better intelligence-sharing and faster arms transfers. Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiya said the Iran deal represented the best option for regional stability. He was speaking after talks with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is trying to win support for the deal in the Sunni-dominated Gulf. Gulf states accuse Shia Iran of stoking unrest in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. They fear the nuclear deal will encourage the Tehran government to boost support for proxies who are fighting Sunni forces across the region. The US has argued that the deal, aimed at preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief, will make the region safer. BBC

Israel Jewish Militants 'Face Harsh Interrogation Methods'
Israel says it could use harsh interrogation methods to tackle violent Jewish extremism, after the death of an Palestinian infant in an arson attack. Interior Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Israel Radio that suspected Jewish extremists may be shaken violently in custody - a controversial treatment used on Palestinian suspects.
Israel earlier said Jewish extremists may also be detained without trial. Palestinian officials have blamed Israeli policy for the child's death. Eighteen-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha was killed when his home in the West Bank village of Duma was fire-bombed last week. BBC

Nato Reports Surge In Jet Interceptions As Russia Tensions Increase
World powers are reporting surges in airspace violations and instances where aircraft are scrambled to intercept foreign jets, amid a sharp rise in geopolitical tensions in Europe and Asia. Nato member aircraft were forced to conduct more than 500 scrambles over Europe in 2014 – a fourfold increase on the previous year. Nearly 85% of these were to intercept Russian aircraft. This year, there have already been more than 300 scrambles, according to data provided by Nato to the Guardian. These are some of the highest numbers since the end of the cold war. Russia alleges that Nato sorties near its borders doubled last year. Nato called the claim “deliberately vague”. Guardian

Greek Shares Nosedive As Manufacturing Data Reveals Economy In Shock
The full extent of the damage caused by the Greek crisis was laid bare when the first day of stock market trading after five weeks of economic paralysis saw shares lose a sixth of their value. Bank stocks bore the brunt of a wave of pent-up selling that eclipsed anything seen in the past three decades on the Athens stock market, with three of the leading Greek financial institutions losing the maximum 30% permitted in a single day’s trading. The plunge in the stock market came as the first snapshot of the economy during the period when Greece teetered on the brink of leaving the single currency showed the manufacturing sector coming to a virtual halt last month. Guardian

UN Chief Welcomes Climate Change Plan Unveiled By President Obama
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the Clean Power Plan formally unveiled today by President Barack Obama, saying it shows the determination of the United States to address global warming while also saving money and growing the economy. The Plan reportedly assigns each state a target for reducing its carbon pollution from power plants. States will be allowed to create their own plans to meet the requirements and will have to submit initial versions of their plans by 2016 and final versions by 2018. It aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from US power stations by nearly a third within 15 years, and emphasizes wind and solar power and other renewable energy sources. UN News

UN Marks World Breastfeeding Week With Call For Stronger Workplace Policies For Nursing Mothers
United Nations officials are marking the annual World Breastfeeding Week by highlighting the vital importance of a practice that gives children the healthiest start in life and the need to strengthen policies to promote nursing with stronger workplace policies. The theme for this year’s observance, held from 1 to 7 August, is “Women and work – Let’s make it work,” which emphasizes the need for better support systems and policies to enable working mothers to breastfeed. UN News

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