NEWS   FRIDAY, JUNE  30, 2017   NEWS

Scaramucci Calls Russia Story 'Nonsense,' Warns Media 'Integrity' At Risk After CNN Retraction
Anthony Scaramucci, the former Trump adviser at the heart of a now-retracted CNN story, warned Thursday that media organizations everywhere need to “tighten up editorial standards” or risk their “integrity” – while calling the Russia collusion controversy “a bunch of nonsense.” “Once you start to lose your integrity and your reputation as a news organization, people start to get tone deaf,” he told “Fox & Friends.” Scaramucci was the subject of a story that tried to draw a link between him and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, citing a January meeting with an official from the fund. The report cited a source claiming Scaramucci discussed the prospect of lifting U.S. sanctions. Fox
VOA VIEW: Scaramucci has the last laugh.

Trump Signs VA Reform Bill, Following Through On Campaign Promise
President Trump on Friday signed Veterans Affairs reform legislation meant to protect whistleblowers while making it easier to fire problematic employees at the department. The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act passed by Congress earlier this month streamlines the process to remove, demote, or suspend VA employees for poor performance or misconduct. In addition, it authorizes the VA secretary to recoup any bonuses awarded to employees who have acted improperly. Fox

Susan Rice Agree To Testify Before House Intelligence Panel
The House intelligence committee plans to interview Susan Rice next month as part of its investigation into Russia meddling in the US election last year, a high-profile target for Republicans who accuse President Barack Obama's former national security adviser of improperly handling classified intelligence reports, according to sources familiar with the private talks. President Donald Trump and Republicans have focused on allegations that Rice revealed the names of Trump's transition aides in intelligence reports -- called "unmasking" -- saying that Obama officials were seeking to divulge damaging information about the Trump campaign. CNN
VOA VIEW: Will Rice tell the truth - don't count on it.

House Panel Votes To Repeal War Authorization For Fight Against ISIS And Al Qaeda
Blindsiding leaders in both parties, a House committee on Thursday approved a repeal of the war authorization that the US military relies on to fight the war on terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and around the globe. The House Appropriations Committee approved by voice vote an amendment from Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California that would repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force eight months after the appropriations bill was signed into law. The amendment is intended is to force Congress to debate and pass a new war authorization for the war against ISIS and al Qaeda. Critics like Lee argue the 2001 war authorization is overly broad and gives the president "the authority to wage war in perpetuity." CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN likes to embellish.


Criticism Of Trump Shifts From ‘Collusion’ To ‘Inaction’: ‘Dereliction’ Of His Duty To Defend The Country
Ambassador Nicholas Burns, who held various diplomatic posts in the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, told Congress on Wednesday that President Obama, in hindsight, “should have acted more resolutely, quickly” to tell the American people about Russian attempts to interfere with the U.S. election. But at least Obama eventually did take action, imposing sanctions on Russia, Burns noted. “And what disturbed me about President Trump is that he's not investigating, has taken no action.” CNS
VOA VIEW: Obama was anti America.

Ambassador Haley: Russian Interference In U.S. Election ‘Has Never Come Up Once’ At U.N.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told Congress on Wednesday that she has not talked to President Donald Trump about Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. “I have not talked to the president about that,” Haley told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “It's not something that's on my radar,” she said. “I don't get asked about any of those things at the United Nations. So I am very focused on my work in New York, and that has never come up once.” CNS

U.S. Travel Ban Bars Grandparents, Fiancés From Six Muslim Countries
Grandparents, grandchildren and fiancés of people in the United States will be barred from getting U.S. visas under President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban against citizens of six Muslim-majority countries taking effect on Thursday, U.S. officials said. The administration also narrowly interpreted which refugees will be allowed into the country, saying that links with refugee resettlement agencies would not be enough to win them admittance, likely sharply limiting the number of refugees allowed entry in coming months. The Trump administration's temporary travel ban will go into effect at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT Friday), but in a scaled-back form that still allows in some travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, following a Supreme Court order on Monday. Reuters

Greta Van Susteren Out As MSNBC Host
Greta Van Susteren’s stop at a third cable news network proved to be short. MSNBC said Thursday that she’s out after less than six months at the network, to be replaced by Ari Melber. Van Susteren began hosting a Washington-based 6 p.m. weeknight show at MSNBC on Jan. 9, joining the network after her 14-year run at Fox News Channel ended last summer following a financial disagreement. Before joining Fox, she had her own show at CNN. But with the Fox and MSNBC audiences usually diametrically opposed, it proved a poor fit. MSNBC has had its best ratings in network history in 2017, but Van Susteren hasn’t shared in the riches. It was the least-watched show on MSNBC between 5 p.m. and midnight both Monday and Tuesday of this week, according to the Nielsen company. USA Today
VOA VIEW: MSNBC is liberal and losing audience.

Meet The Mega-Donor Who Funded Fight Against Georgia ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill
Rolling Stone has a fascinating piece on Tim Gill, the mega-donor who pumped more than $422 million of his fortune into the cause of equal rights for the gay community. One of his main goals was to block “religious liberty” bills in state legislatures across the nation that critics saw as thinly-veiled attempts to legalize discrimination against same-sex couples. And one of the group’s biggest battlegrounds was Georgia, where Republican lawmakers had pushed for years to adopt a version of the measure – and in 2016 aimed to finish the job. Atlanta Journal

U.S. Plans To Sell Taiwan About $1.42 Billion In Arms
The United States plans to sell Taiwan $1.42 billion in arms, the first such sale under the administration of Donald Trump and a move sure to anger China, whose help the president has been seeking to rein in North Korea. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters the administration had told Congress of the seven proposed sales on Thursday. The United States plans to sell Taiwan $1.42 billion in arms, the first such sale under the administration of Donald Trump and a move sure to anger China, whose help the president has been seeking to rein in North Korea. The State Department said the package included technical support for early warning radar, high Speed anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and missile components. Nauert said the sales showed U.S. "support for Taiwan's ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability," but there was no change to the United States' long-standing "one China" policy. Reuters


White House Defends Trump’s ‘Face-Lift’ Tweet: ‘Fighting Fire With Fire’
White House principal deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said show co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski have “attacked mercilessly” the president, including accusing him of having a mental disorder. “I think he’s been very clear that when he gets attacked, he is going to hit back,” she told reporters at the White House. “I think the American people elected somebody who’s tough, who’s smart and who’s a fighter — and that’s Donald Trump.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Not nice, but scrappy - don't attack Trump if you can't take what he dishes out - he has made his position clear.

Is Your Medication Helping Or Hurting? DNA Tests May Be A Guide
Eight years ago, Karen Daggett nearly died while on a Valentine’s date with her husband when her prescription medications built up to a toxic level in her body. She felt dizzy and almost blacked out. Daggett, now 71, was taking several prescriptions for an irregular heartbeat, but neither she nor her doctors realized the pills weren't helping her — and were actually causing her harm. Daggett is now on a safer heart medication, which was prescribed to her after undergoing genetic testing at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Her family members also went through testing and found that they, too, had the same genetic variant that caused her heart medications not to work. MSNBC

Needle-Free Flu Vaccine Patch Works As Well As A Shot
A press-on patch that delivers flu vaccine painlessly worked as well as an old-fashioned flu shot with no serious side effects, researchers reported Tuesday. People who tried out the patch said it was not difficult or painful to use, and tests of their blood suggested the vaccine it delivers created about the same immune response as a regular flu shot, the team reported in the Lancet medical journal. The hope is the vaccine will be cheaper, easier to give and more acceptable than a regular flu vaccine.
“It was really simple. It’s kind of like a band-aid almost,” said Daisy Bourassa, a college instructor who tested the new vaccine for the study. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Great!

Trump Promises New Petroleum Pipeline To Mexico: ‘It’ll Go Right Under The Wall’
President Trump on Thursday said he’s approved a new petroleum pipeline to Mexico as part of a broader plan to export American energy around the world. “It’ll go right under the wall,” Mr. Trump said of the new pipeline during a speech at the Department of Energy. His address coincides with the White House’s “Energy Week,” and the president used Thursday’s event to announce several new initiatives that he says are key to economic growth and kick-starting a “golden era of American energy.” Mr. Trump ordered a wholesale review of U.S. nuclear energy policy, and directed the Treasury to review possible financing of overseas power-generation plants that run on American coal. Washington Times

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Scientist Says EPA Staff Pressured Her To Change Testimony To Congress
A Minnesota scientist who leads an Environmental Protection Agency scientific advisory board says she was pressured by the agency's chief of staff to change her testimony before Congress to downplay the Trump administration's decision not to reappoint half of the board's members. Emails show that EPA Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson asked Deborah Swackhamer, an environmental chemist who recently retired from the University of Minnesota, to stick to the agency's stance that the decision on appointments had not yet been made. CBS
VOA VIEW: Liberal control has been exposed.

Philadelphia DA Pleads Guilty, Quits And Is Sent Immediately To Jail
In a surprise development, the city's top prosecutor pleaded guilty Thursday to a corruption charge, resigned from office and was sent immediately to jail by a judge who said he couldn't be trusted. Two weeks into his federal trial, District Attorney Seth Williams pleaded guilty to the first count in a 29-count indictment of corruption, bribery and fraud charges, CBS Philadelphia reports. The rest of the charges were dismissed. "I'm very sorry," Williams told the court, choking up as he acknowledged he would resign. U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond said he was not inclined to trust Williams' assurances about appearing for sentencing set for Oct. 24, so ordered him immediately jailed. He was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. Diamond said he was appalled by the evidence he heard during the jury trial, and had concluded Williams "sold" his office. CBS

More Court Challenges Expected For Trump's New Travel Ban
A scaled-back version of President Donald Trump's travel is now in force, stripped of provisions that brought protests and chaos at airports worldwide in January yet still likely to generate a new round of court fights. The new rules, the product of months of legal wrangling, aren't so much an outright ban as a tightening of already-tough visa policies affecting citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. Refugees are covered, too. Administration officials promised that implementation this time, which started at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT), would be orderly. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Dan Hetlage said his agency expected "business as usual at our ports of entry," with all valid visa holders still being able to travel. USA Today
VOA VIEW: The court lost.

Trump Nominates Indiana Doctor For Surgeon General
Indiana's top doctor could soon become the nation's surgeon general. President Trump on Thursday nominated Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams to serve as the next surgeon general. Adams was appointed to his current position 2½ years ago by Vice President Mike Pence, at the time Indiana's governor. While Adams declined interviews through a Health and Human Services spokesman, he tweeted Thursday  that he was grateful for the opportunity. During his time in office, Adams presided over a major health crisis — an HIV outbreak in Scott County associated with intravenous drug use that eventually stretched to more than 200 cases. Although Pence had first expressed reservations about needle exchange programs, the state's response eventually included such a program among other measures. USA Today

Governor Declares State Of Emergency For NYC Transit System
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that he has declared a state of emergency over New York City's troubled public transit system and has asked its new leader to complete a series of urgent reviews of the agency's management and aging infrastructure. The Democratic governor said the state of emergency declaration will help cut red tape and speed up improvements. The city's subways and commuter trains have been plagued by rising delays and unreliable service. Dozens of people were injured when a subway derailed Tuesday. ABC


Trump Trashes Media, Cheers Wins At $10 Million Fundraiser
Republican donors paid $35,000 apiece to hear familiar a message from President Donald Trump: The media, particularly CNN, keep trying to take him down, and yet Republicans just keep on winning elections. He noted with pride that his party had won four special elections this year. The president was whisked a few blocks from the White House to the Trump International Hotel, his name-branded Washington venue, for an evening of hobnobbing behind closed doors Wednesday with major party financiers, including Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn. ABC
VOA VIEW: A win for Trump.

Trump Vows To Unleash The ‘Vast Energy Wealth’ Of The U.S.
President Donald Trump said he is lifting an Obama-era policy that curtailed the financing of coal-fired power plants overseas, as he seeks to he seeks to reorient the U.S. government away from fighting climate change and toward American "energy dominance." "We are now on the cusp of a true energy revolution," Trump told a crowd of executives, lobbyists and laborers at the Energy Department on Thursday. "We are a top producer of petroleum and the No. 1 producer of natural gas. We have so much more than we ever thought possible. We are really in the driver’s seat." Trump is celebrating growing U.S. energy exports he says are leading to "millions and millions of jobs" and acting as a force for peace around the world. After decades of dependence on foreign oil, the U.S. is on the verge of becoming a net exporter of energy resources. Bloomberg

Joe And Mika Delay Vacation Plans To Respond To Trump On Air
The hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” delayed their vacation plans so they can return to the air Friday morning and fire back at President Trump’s Twitter attack. “Joe and Mika were supposed to start their July 4th weekend early by taking Friday off — but following Trump’s tweet, they postponed their trip by day so they can be back on air Friday morning to sling some ‘bad blood’ back at Trump,” an MSNBC source told The Post. Trump called the couple “Crazy Mika” Brzezinski and “Psycho Joe” Scarborough and suggested she had a “face-lift.” NY Post
VOA VIEW: MSNBC and "Morning Joe" are liberal and they are losing.

China Strongly protests US Arms Sales To Taiwan
China on Friday strongly protested a U.S. plan to sell $1.4 billion worth of arms to Taiwan and demanded that the deal be canceled. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the sale would severely damage China's sovereignty and security interests and run counter to Washington's commitment to a "one-China" policy. He asked the U.S. to immediately stop the sale to avoid harming relations with Beijing. Tampa Tribune

U.S. Can Fund Government Through Early To Mid-October,
The U.S. Treasury can fund the government through early to mid-October under the current borrowing limit, the Congressional Budget Office said, giving lawmakers leeway to wait until after their summer recess to increase the debt cap despite pressure from the Trump administration to act sooner. “However, the timing and magnitude of revenues and outlays over the next few months could vary noticeably from CBO’s projections, so those measures could be exhausted and the Treasury could run out of cash earlier or later than CBO projects,” the Washington-based organization said Thursday in a report. Bloomberg

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Trump Nominates Former Texas Senator As NATO Ambassador
President Donald Trump says he has nominated Kay Bailey Hutchison, a former Republican senator from Texas, to be the U.S. ambassador to NATO. Trump has had a rocky relationship with the 28-nation military alliance. As a candidate, he called NATO "obsolete." The president has criticized several members of the post-World War II organization for not spending adequately on defense. At a May meeting in Brussels with NATO members, Trump complained that his allies had shortchanged "the people and taxpayers of the United States," creating additional strains for the organization. Hutchison, who is 73, won a runoff special election to fill a vacant Senate seat in 1993 and served three full terms. Las Vegas Sun

House Passes Bill Targeting ‘Sanctuary Cities’
The House has approved a bill to strip federal dollars from "sanctuary" cities that shield residents from federal immigration authorities. The bill is one of two immigration measures the House was considering Thursday as it moves to crack down on illegal immigration, a key priority for President Donald Trump. A separate measure would stiffen punishments for people who re-enter the U.S. illegally. Trump often railed against illegal immigration during his presidential campaign, and his support for tougher immigration policies is crucial to his voting base. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: A good start.

Trump, Moon Summit Faces 'No Good Options' On North Korea
North Korea is a small country, but the Kim Jong Un regime is expected to loom large at the first summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Trump and Moon, who will meet for the first time Thursday, face the same challenge: a belligerent Pyongyang that has refused, for the most part, to comply with international calls for denuclearization. The two leaders have also been the targets of North Korea bluster. Pyongyang recently claimed Trump's immigration policy is a U.S. version of Nazism, and accused Moon of following an "imperialist" ally. UPI

Buy Your Medical Cannabis Here; Pa. Announces Dispensary Sites
The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Thursday announced the names of 27 companies that will be permitted to sell medical marijuana across the state next year, reaching another milestone in a program that could lead to cannabis being available by 2018. The announcement also set off another round of consternation about whether the cannabis dispensaries were being distributed fairly and put in places where they would serve the most patients. In suburban Philadelphia, six are to open in Montgomery County, three in Bucks County, and two each in Chester and Delaware Counties. In Philadelphia. the state approved four locations, three across the northernmost tier of the city, with one in East Mount Airy and two in Northeast Philadelphia. The fourth is in Fishtown near the SugarHouse Casino. Philadelphia Inquirer

Germany Legalizes Gay Marriage
Germany’s parliament voted by a wide margin on Friday to legalize same-sex marriage after Chancellor Angela Merkel did an about-face that freed members of her ruling conservative bloc to follow their personal conscience rather than the party line. Merkel, who will seek a fourth term in a national election on Sept. 24, told reporters after the landmark decision that she had voted against the measure because she believed that marriage as defined under German law was between a man and a woman. But she said her decision was a personal one, adding that she had become convinced in recent years that same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Expected!

72% Believe Immigrants Take Jobs Americans Don't Want
A Gallup poll found 72 percent of U.S. adults believe immigrants take jobs Americans don't want and 49 percent said immigrants help the economy. Gallup asked 1,009 Americans from June 7-11 whether they think immigrants mostly help the economy by providing low-cost labor or mostly hurt the economy by driving wages down for many Americans. In response, 49 percent of Americans said immigrants mostly help the U.S. economy, while 40 percent said they mostly hurt. In 2005, the last time Gallup posed this question, 42 percent said immigrants mostly help, while 49 percent said they mostly hurt. The poll has a 4 percent margin of error. UPI

Greta Van Susteren Out As MSNBC Host
Greta Van Susteren’s stop at a third cable news network proved to be short. MSNBC said Thursday that she’s out after less than six months at the network, to be replaced by Ari Melber. Van Susteren began hosting a Washington-based 6 p.m. weeknight show at MSNBC on Jan. 9, joining the network after her 14-year run at Fox News Channel ended last summer following a financial disagreement. Before joining Fox, she had her own show at CNN. But with the Fox and MSNBC audiences usually diametrically opposed, it proved a poor fit. MSNBC has had its best ratings in network history in 2017, but Van Susteren hasn’t shared in the riches. It was the least-watched show on MSNBC between 5 p.m. and midnight both Monday and Tuesday of this week, according to the Nielsen company. USA Today
VOA VIEW: MSNBC is liberal and losing audience.

Meet The Mega-Donor Who Funded Fight Against Georgia ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill
Rolling Stone has a fascinating piece on Tim Gill, the mega-donor who pumped more than $422 million of his fortune into the cause of equal rights for the gay community. One of his main goals was to block “religious liberty” bills in state legislatures across the nation that critics saw as thinly-veiled attempts to legalize discrimination against same-sex couples. And one of the group’s biggest battlegrounds was Georgia, where Republican lawmakers had pushed for years to adopt a version of the measure – and in 2016 aimed to finish the job. Atlanta Journal

Feds Confirm ISIS Investigations Underway In NC
Shortly after Justin Sullivan was sentenced to life in prison for planning to commit mass murder in support of the Islamic State, U.S. Attorney Jill Rose of Charlotte confirmed that investigations of other suspected ISIS sympathizers continue in North Carolina. A domestic-terrorism expert told the Observer this week that the North Carolina probes are among some 1,000 active FBI investigations into ISIS-related threats encompassing all 50 states. Keri Farley, the FBI’s assistant special agent in charge of North Carolina, said Sullivan’s arrest saved lives. But she added that “homegrown violent extremists” are becoming harder to stop. Charlotte Observer

Why You Should Make Sure At Least One Person In Your Marriage Gets Enough Sleep
“Don’t go to bed angry” is fairly common marriage advice, but new research makes the case that maybe you should go to bed angry – and then have your conflict when you’re well-rested. A new study by The Ohio State University performed tests on 43 couples and discovered how fighting while sleep-deprived affects our health. The couple came in for two visits, and each time they would say how much sleep they had gotten in the past two nights and provide a blood sample. Then researchers told them to try to “resolve a topic that sparks conflict in their marriage.” Blood samples were taken again after the discussion. Researchers found that not only did lack of sleep tend to make the conflict worse, it also had serious effects on each person’s physical health. Kansas City Star

Immigration Courts, Lacking Judges, Are Sinking Under A Massive Backlog Of Cases
When Miami immigration attorney Tammy Fox-Isicoff takes on new clients, the first thing she tells them — no matter how simple the case, no matter how open-and-shut — is, “This is going to take, at an absolute minimum, one year to resolve.” And she’s probably low-balling it. The average time for a case to wend its way through South Florida’s hopelessly backlogged federal immigration courts is 551 days — closer to two years. Even if those courts stopped taking new cases tomorrow, it would take about four years to work the backlog down to zero. “The backlog in these courts is terrible, and it’s getting worse every day,” Fox-Isicoff said. “It’s not a new problem — it’s been growing for years, and everybody in the system knows it.” Miami Herald

Russian Hackers Spoke About Clinton Emails, Flynn
Russian hackers discussed during the 2016 presidential campaign whether they could obtain emails pilfered from Hillary Clinton and ultimately get them to an adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump, according to a report published Thursday by The Wall Street Journal. The Journal said investigators probing Russian meddling in the election have examined intelligence agency reports about how hackers wanted to get emails from Clinton's server to an intermediary and then to Mike Flynn, a retired lieutenant general and senior adviser to Trump who went on to serve briefly as his national security adviser. The newspaper also references a Republican operative who was convinced emails missing from Clinton's server were in the hands of Russian hackers, and who implied in conversations that he was working with Flynn. SF Gate

Trump Urges 'Energy Dominance' As He Promotes Exports, Jobs
The Trump administration said Thursday it is taking steps to expand oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans as President Donald Trump continues to push for U.S. "energy dominance" in the global market. The Interior Department is rewriting a five-year drilling plan established by the Obama administration, with an eye toward opening areas in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans that now are off-limits to drilling. It's one of six initiatives that the president unveiled Thursday in hopes of generating more energy exports and jobs. "The golden era of American energy is now underway," Trump said in a Thursday speech at the Energy Department. "And I'll go a step further: The golden era of America is now underway, believe me. And you're all going to be a part of it in creating this exciting new future." SF Gate

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is telling leaders of US Jewry angered by Sunday’s government vote on the Western Wall prayer space and on the conversion issue that he faced a choice of either supporting the moves or losing his government, The Jerusalem Post has learned. That was also the message he relayed on Thursday to a high-level delegation from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, whose members flew in for the day to discuss their concerns with Netanyahu and what they are hearing from their constituents. Jerusalem Post

Israel and Diaspora Jewry need to renew discussions about the egalitarian section of the Western Wall, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said in Moscow on Thursday.
“I’m very worried by the fact that it’s been a tense week and that there is no dialogue,” he said.” I think that we all have to calm down and get back to the table and restart the discussions.” Edelstein said Israel “can’t afford” a situation in which Diaspora leadership won’t speak to Israeli leaders, and vice-versa and that there must be a “technical, political” solution to the matter. Jerusalem Post

SyriaWar: US-Backed Forces 'Surround IS In Raqqa'
US-backed forces say they have fully encircled Islamic State fighters in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the group's self-proclaimed caliphate. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, say they have now sealed off escape routes to the south. IS seized Raqqa in early 2014 and established its headquarters there. The SDF have been gradually advancing on the city since November and launched an offensive to take it on 6 June. BBC

Ehud Olmert, Israel's Jailed Ex-PM, To Be Released Early
A parole board cut his term by a third, his lawyer Shani Illouz said. Olmert, jailed in February 2016, will go free on Sunday, she told Israeli radio. Olmert is the first former Israeli head of government to be sent to prison. He became prime minister in 2006 but resigned three years later when police recommended charges against him.
The 71-year-old is currently being investigated by the state attorney's office over suspicions he smuggled a chapter of a book he is writing out of prison, raising fears that it might compromise national security. BBC

Republican Healthcare Bill Limps Into Recess With No Vote In Sight
As senators started to leave Washington for the Fourth of July recess on Thursday, a compromise over the beleaguered GOP healthcare bill that would attract enough votes to pass seemed distant. Days after the Senate Republican leadership faced a revolt from both wings of their caucus over a draft bill to repeal and replace Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), lawmakers were considering whether to reach out to moderates by keeping the former president’s tax increase on wealthier people’s investments and retreating on cuts for subsidies to the poor and elderly. Guardian

Trump's Russia Lawyer Faces Conflict-Of-Interest Questions Over $296m Kushner Deal
The lawyer privately advising Donald Trump on the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election is head of a law firm that was involved in the sale of a prestigious piece of New York real estate to Jared Kushner, the US president’s son-in-law, in a deal that could fall under the spotlight of the same inquiry. Marc Kasowitz, a member of the New York bar who has represented Trump in his business dealings for 15 years, was brought on board by the president last month to provide personal legal advice relating to the Russian inquiry now being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. The appointment has placed Kasowitz at the center of the legal maelstrom over the investigation into potential collusion between Russia and elements of Trump’s presidential campaign. Guardian

Donald Trump To Meet Vladimir Putin At G20 Summit In Germany
President Donald Trump will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next week at the G20 summit in Germany. Senior White House officials declined to say whether Mr Trump would address Russian interference in the 2016 US election. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, said the agenda for the high stakes meeting had not been finalised. He said the US relationship with Russia "really isn't different" from that with other countries. Telegraph

Delays In Access In Syria ‘Will Mean Further Death,’ Warns Top UN Relief Official
 Citing attacks against aid workers in Syria, the removal of live-saving supplies from convoys and bureaucratic impediments restricting access, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator has called for ensuring immediate and safe humanitarian access to save lives that are dependent on assistance. Briefing the Security Council today, Stephen O’Brien, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, also underlined the need for a sustained reduction in fighting to ease the burden on civilians and create an environment conducive for assistance. “Now is the time. Any delay will mean further death. The clock is ticking,” he warned. UN News

Security Council Updated On Status Of Resolution On Iran’s Nuclear Programme
Briefing the Security Council today, the United Nations political chief called on the participants of the plan of action on Iran’s nuclear programme as well as the wider international community to continue to support the full and effective implementation of the agreement. “The Secretary-General believes that the comprehensive and sustained implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will guarantee that Iran’s nuclear programme remains exclusively peaceful, while allowing for transparency, monitoring and verification,” said Jeffery Feltman, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. UN News

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