NEWS   FRIDAY, JULY  4, 2017   NEWS
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Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' Law Ruled Unconstitutional By Judge
A judge in Florida ruled Monday that the state's updated "stand your ground" law, which required prosecutors to disprove a defendant's self-defense case at pretrial hearings, is unconstitutional, setting up a showdown that could make its way to the state's top court. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch ruled that the amendment to the law allowed lawmakers to overstep their authority, adding that it should have been crafted by the Florida Supreme Court in the first place, The Miami Herald reported. “As a matter of constitutional separation of powers, that procedure cannot be legislatively modified,” Hirsch wrote. Fox News
VOA VIEW: The ruling will have to be resolved by the courts.

MSNBC Contributor Says 'Fears Of Brown People' Motivated Trump Voters
The author of “What’s the Matter with White People?” may have found her answer: “fears of brown people.” Joan Walsh, the National Affairs correspondent for The Nation and an MSNBC political analyst, used a weekend spot on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” to say “really good research” had essentially proven voters who cast a ballot for President Trump were simply racists. “The really good research that’s taken place since the election shows that fear of a changing America is the number one factor that you can see drive really the divides, a white Trump voter from a white non-Trump voter, that it’s fears of brown people, fears of losing the majority,” Walsh said. Fox
VOA VIEW: Liberals and the liberal media are unhappy they are finally losing ground.

White House Stays Silent On Anti-Semitic Connection Of Trump's Anti-CNN Video
President Donald Trump's top aides are staying silent about the possible anti-Semitic, racist and anti-Muslim origins of a video the President tweeted Sunday, declining to answer a series of CNN questions about the video and its self-proclaimed originator. A Reddit user who has posted anti-Semitic graphics in the past has taken credit for the video that shows Trump pummeling a man with a CNN logo as his head. The video, which superimposes the CNN logo over WWE's CEO Vince McMahon's face, is titled, "Trump takes down fake news." The Reddit user's previous anti-Semitic posts were published before the video Trump tweeted. A senior White House official, in response to questions about the origins of the video, said Monday that it was not pulled from Reddit, an online message board site. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN is losing and they don't know how to take it.

Paul Ryan's House Challenger Launches Longshot Bid After Viral Video
House Speaker Paul Ryan has a new longshot challenger for the seat he's held onto for nearly 20 years. Randy Bryce -- a Democratic organizer and union iron worker who's never held elected office -- gained national attention with a viral video that debuted last month announcing his congressional bid. The video, which pitches Bryce as a "working man" and focuses on health care, racked up nearly a half-million views in the less than two weeks it's been online and drew attention from left leaning activists and national media. "Let's trade places, Paul Ryan," Bryce said in the ad. "You can come work the iron, and I'll go to DC." Bryce considers the video a success, recently telling CNN it attracted more than $100,000 in donations within 24 hours. "I've just had enough. People are fed up," Bryce said in a phone interview. "It's just a really crooked place in Washington, DC." CNN
VOA VIEW: There are too many fools trying to gain the upper ground.

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‘Politicians Lie,’ Media Deceive, Says Mother Whose Son Was Killed By Illegal Alien
Politicians and media are covering up crimes committed by illegal aliens, so Americans should “come out of the shadows” and tell their stories, the mother of a police officer killed by a previously-deported illegal alien says. Appearing on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Mary Ann Mendoza, said that media are misleading the public by not reporting on illegal alien crimes, such as one that claimed her son Brandon’s life. And, politicians are lying when they accuse her of being anti-immigrant simply because she wants Americans to be safe, she said: “Politicians lie. The mainstream media does not give the correct statistics of what is happening to American citizens in this country. “They lie about the fact that people like myself are anti-immigrant – which is the furthest thing from the truth. I am anti-illegal criminals in our country. I’m tired of our politicians… “I don’t know when the turn happened in our country of when politicians are now protecting illegal criminals in our country more than they’re protecting you and I.” CNS
VOA VIEW: There is a serious conservative and/or  liberal identity crises,

Christie Brushes Off 'Beachgate' Saga During New Jersey Shutdown
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie brushed off criticism on Monday after he was caught on camera taking a break from dealing with a government shutdown to lounge on a state beach that was closed to the public during the July Fourth holiday weekend. When a TV show host said he could understand why people were upset by photos taken by a local newspaper that showed Christie and his family sunbathing on an empty beach, Christie responded: "Well, I'm sorry, they're not the governor," referring to the governor's residence at Island Beach State Park. Reuters

Trump Considering Lawyer For White House Russia Role
President Donald Trump is considering adding a veteran Washington lawyer to the White House counsel's office to deal with Russia-related issues, people familiar with the matter said. Ty Cobb, a white-collar defense lawyer with the firm of Hogan Lovells and a former federal prosecutor, met with Trump about a week ago, another person said. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said the administration had "no announcement at this time." Reuters

Actor Jeff Bridges In Trump: ‘I’m Rooting For Him’
Actor Jeff Bridges, a Hillary Clinton supporter, said he’s “rooting” for President Donald Trump to do well for the country. “I’m rooting for him to do well by our country,” Bridges told the Associated Press last week after taking part in a panel on child hunger at a meeting of the Western Governors Association in Whitefish, Mont.
Fox News reports that Bridges said he is “rooting” for Trump “as a human being to do the cool thing.” Bridges is the ambassador for “No Kid Hungry” campaign, a nationwide effort “to address food insecurity among struggling families.” “Some people will be blatantly out there talking about their disappointments and ridiculing the way President Trump is acting,” Bridges said. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Good for Bridges.

Iraqi Commander Says ISI in 'fight To The Death' In Mosul
An Iraqi commander says Islamic State militants are in a "fight to the death" as Iraqi forces close in on their last foothold in the northern city of Mosul. Gen. Abdel Ghani al-Asadi, the head of Iraq's special forces, said Tuesday that Iraqi forces are just 250 meters (yards) from the Tigris River after retaking the city's main hospital compound the day before. He says the militants are increasingly resorting to suicide bombings, and he expects the fighting to get even heavier as they are pushed closer to the river. Atlanta Journal

Christie Ends Shutdown, But Beach Pctures Left An Imprint
Gov. Chris Christie, by his own admission, entered lame-duck territory on Tuesday, signing his final budget after a bruising three-day state government shutdown that included a viral photo of him lounging on a state beach that was closed to the public because of a budget impasse. The two-term Republican governor signed the $34.7 billion budget early Tuesday and sounded an unapologetic tone over the aerial photos snapped by NJ.com that showed him at the state governor's residence at Island Beach State Park. The pictures sparked a global reaction: countless memes featuring a Photoshopped cutout of Christie in a beach chair, headlines on international news sites and a full-scale media blitz from Christie's spokesman. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Liberal madness.

VW Returns To Iran After 17-Year Absence
Volkswagen says its flagship brand is returning to Iran after a 17-year absence. The Wolfsburg-based carmaker said in a statement Tuesday it will start selling Tiguan SUVs and Passat sedans through importer Mammut Khodro. Mammut Khodro is already selling trucks made by Volkswagen Group's Scania division. Volkswagen began selling vehicles including the classic Beetle in Iran in the 1950s but withdrew in 2000. Volkswagen said in a statement that restarting exports offers the company a chance to get to know local market conditions and re-establish the "Volkswagen" brand. It cited Iranian government estimates of a car market with 3 million new vehicle sales per year. Charlotte Observer

Popular Stomach Acid Blockers Linked To Higher Death Rates
A higher risk of death is associated with long-term use of popular stomach acid reducers known as proton pump inhibitors, according to a new study of the drugs. These medications are sold under brand names such as Prilosec, Nexium, Protonix, Zegerid, Aciphex and Dexilant, along with generic versions such as omeprazole, lansoprazole and pantoprazole. Originally available only by prescription, they are increasingly offered over the counter. The study looked at prescription use only. San Diego Union

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Ivanka Works For Free, But Trump White House Can Pay Well
More than 40 percent of White House staffers earn in excess of $100,000 a year, according to new salary details released Friday. And some of the wealthiest aides to President Donald Trump aren't paid at all. A White House staff salary document shows that 22 of Trump's aides, including some of the best-known to the public, are earning $179,700. They include chief strategist Steve Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus, press secretary Sean Spicer and senior counselor Kellyanne Conway. Also making $179,000: Omarosa Manigault, the former "Apprentice" contestant who serves as director of communications for White House office of public liaison; and social media director Dan Scavino. MSNBC

China Raises ‘Negative’ Factors In U.S. Relations After Xi’s Call With Trump
Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Trump in a phone call that some “negative factors” have affected China’s relations with the U.S., China said Monday after the two leaders discussed the nuclear threat of North Korea. In the call late Sunday night, Mr. Xi stressed that he and Mr. Trump have achieved “important results” since their initial meeting in February. But the Chinese government’s statement about the phone call also indicated that tensions are growing between Beijing and Washington. “Bilateral relations have also been affected by some negative factors, for which the China side has expressed its position to the U.S. side,” reported Chinese state media outlet CCTV. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: The Chinese are hurting themselves and this president will not be used.

Hillary Clinton Receives Standing Ovation At Broadway’s ‘Oslo’: ‘We Love You!’
A Broadway audience erupted into applause Sunday night as former President Bill and Hillary Clinton took their seats for J.T. Rogers’ “Oslo.” Video obtained by The Hill showed the Clintons walking down the aisle at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center while the audience gave a standing ovation. “I love you, Hillary!” one audience member shouted. Others chanted “Hillary, Hillary.” Mrs. Clinton, the former Democratic presidential nominee, has seen multiple Broadway shows following her November loss to President Trump — receiving standing ovations and applause from audiences at “In Transit,” “The Humans” and “The Color Purple.” Washington Times

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To Welcome Trump, Poland Taps Old Communist Party Playbook
Back when Poland was part of the Soviet bloc, the Communist Party would bus people into Warsaw from the provinces to ensure there was a compliant crowd to welcome high-level visitors from Moscow. Now with President Donald Trump heading to Poland this week for a day-long state visit, the country's right-wing government is tapping the old playbook. "Every deputy from PiS [the Law and Justice Party] is allowed to invite 50 people to Trump's Thursday appearance in Warsaw and the party will pay for the bus," Joachim Brudzinski, vice-marshal of the Polish parliament, said in a message to party members. MSNBC

U.S. Nuclear Inspection Results Now Concealed
The Pentagon has thrown a cloak of secrecy over assessments of the safety and security of its nuclear weapons operations, a part of the military with a history of periodic inspection failures and bouts of low morale. Overall results of routine inspections at nuclear weapons bases, such as a "pass-fail" grade, had previously been publicly available. They are now off-limits. The change goes beyond the standard practice of withholding detailed information on the inspections. CBS
VOA VIEW: It is about time that the world does not see and know about all our secrets.

Source Of Fraud Allegation Vs. Bernie Sanders’ Wife Says Info Was Hearsay
A Republican lawyer who reported Democratic U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife to federal officials was passing on information he heard from a GOP lawmaker who said he didn't have direct knowledge of the allegations. The lawyer, Brady Toensing, sent letters to the U.S. attorney for Vermont and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. alleging that Sen. Sanders pressured a bank to approve a loan to a now-closed college run by Sanders' wife. The source of that information was Republican State Rep. Don Turner, the minority leader of the Vermont House. CBS

Trump Goes After Kim Jong Un After Latest Missile Launch
President Donald Trump criticized North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday after that country’s latest missile launch, asking, “Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” Trump wrote on Twitter that it’s “Hard to believe that South Korea … and Japan will put up with this much longer.” And he urged North Korea’s biggest ally, China, to “put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!” South Korean officials said early Tuesday that North Korea had launched another ballistic missile toward Japan, part of a string of recent test-firings as the North works to build a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the United States. The Defense Department said U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked the launch of a land-based, intermediate range ballistic missile from North Korea’s Panghyon Airfield. The missile was tracked for 37 minutes and landed in the Sea of Japan. NY Post
VOA VIEW: North Korea leaderships must be neutralized.

Microsoft Announces Global Sales-Force, Marketing Reorganization
The reorganization memo released Monday didn’t mention any workforce reductions. But the changes will mean thousands of job cuts in areas such as field sales, said a person familiar with the restructuring. Microsoft reorganized its sales and marketing operations in a bid to woo more customers in areas like artificial intelligence and the cloud by providing sales staff with greater technical and industry-specific expertise. The company unveiled the steps in an email to staff Monday that was obtained by Bloomberg. The memo didn’t mention any workforce reductions. But the changes will mean thousands of job cuts in areas such as field sales, said a person familiar with the restructuring who asked not to be named because the workforce reductions aren’t public. The company had 121,567 employees as of March 31. Seattle Times

Kremlin: Putin-Trump Meeting To Be Friday In Germany
The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin's first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump will take place Friday in Germany. Russian news agencies say Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Tuesday that the two leaders will meet on the sidelines of the G-20 summit being held in Hamburg. He wouldn't give any further details. Ushakov has previously said the two would likely discuss the fight against terrorism, the war in Syria and the crisis in Ukraine. Tampa Tribune

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Trump Offers Help To A Terminally Ill Baby
President Donald Trump offered to help a terminally ill British baby on Monday, saying on Twitter that "if we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so." Charlie Gard suffers from a rare genetic condition and is unable to breathe unaided. Last week, his parents lost a legal battle to take him to the U.S. for trial therapy. His parents and a London children's hospital said Friday that the 10-month-old boy will be given "more time" before life support is withdrawn. ABC

Fourth Of July Brings Mixed Feelings For Some Minorities
As many in the United States celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, some minorities have mixed feelings about the revelry of fireworks and parades in an atmosphere of tension on several fronts. How do you celebrate during what some people of color consider troubling times? Blacks, Latinos and immigrant rights advocates say the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, recent non-convictions of police officers charged in the shootings of black men, and the stepped-up detentions of immigrants and refugees for deportation have them questioning equality and the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the United States. ABC
VOA VIEW: This country is fare to all.

Oil Extends Longest Rally This Year As U.S. Drilling Slows
Oil extended the longest run of gains this year, closing above $47 a barrel, as U.S. drilling slowed after a record expansion. West Texas Intermediate futures rose as much as 2.3 percent in New York, adding to an 8.3 percent gain the previous seven sessions. Meanwhile, Brent, the global benchmark, is posting the longest rally since 2012. The increases come as U.S. drillers targeting crude cut the number of active rigs for the first time in 24 weeks. Before that, the count had climbed to the highest level since April 2015, according to Baker Hughes Inc. data on Friday. "A surprise fall in U.S. production in April and oil rigs last week may ease concerns that U.S. crude production is ramping up too aggressively," Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS Group AG, wrote in a research note. "OPEC compliance and lower U.S. oil inventories could prompt higher oil prices in the coming weeks." Bloomberg

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Why A Natural Gas Company Is Shaking The Islamic Finance World
Every week, hosts Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway take you on a not-so-random walk through hot topics in markets, finance and economics. Earlier this month, Dana Gas, a UAE-based company, rocked the world of Islamic finance by announcing that one of its Shariah-compliant bonds was, well, no longer Shariah-compliant. The move sent shivers down the spine of the Islamic finance industry, now estimated to be worth some $2 trillion in assets. On this week's episode of the Odd Lots podcast, we speak to veteran Dubai-based journalist and columnist Frank Kane about the rise of Islamic finance -- what it is, how it works and why it's grown so fast -- and why the Dana Gas announcement is such a big deal. Bloomberg

North Korea Claims It Tested First Intercontinental Missile
North Korea on Tuesday claimed it successfully test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile, a potential game-changing development in what may be the world's most dangerous nuclear standoff and, if true, a direct rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump's earlier declaration that such a test "won't happen!" The launch appeared to be North Korea's most successful missile test yet. A U.S. scientist examining the height and distance said the missile could potentially be powerful enough to reach Alaska. In typically heated rhetoric, North Korea's Academy of Defense Science said the test of an ICBM - the Hwasong-14 - marked the "final step" in creating a "confident and powerful nuclear state that can strike anywhere on Earth." Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: North Korea is a danger to the world.

Heroin Has Infiltrated The Hasidic Community
A 20-year-old Hasidic woman died of a heroin overdose in Brooklyn last month — showing how even an ultra-insular religious community isn’t immune to the nation’s opioid epidemic. Malky Klein’s mother discovered her daughter slumped over in bed and frothing at the mouth on June 24 at around 7:15 p.m. in their Borough Park home, according to police. The Jewish volunteer ambulance service Hatzolah was called and medics tried to revive the young woman before taking her to Maimonides Hospital. But by 8:22 p.m., doctors at Maimonides had pronounced her dead. Malky’s overdose death is not an isolated incident, according to community members. NY Post

Federal Court Blocks Trump EPA On Rolling Back Obama Air-Pollution Rule
An appeals court Monday struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s 90-day suspension of new emission standards on oil and gas wells, a decision that could set back the Trump administration’s broad legal strategy for rolling back Obama-era rules. In a 2-to-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that the EPA had the right to reconsider a 2016 rule limiting methane and smog-forming pollutants emitted by oil and gas wells but could not delay the effective date while it sought to rewrite the regulation. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: Two individuals can stop the president.

Marijuana Sales Exceed Expectations; Customers Line Up Again
Recreational marijuana sales have exceeded the expectations of Las Vegas area store owners. Eager pot customers on Monday again lined up before dispensaries opened their doors. That's after thousands swarmed the pot stores over the weekend. Nevada on Saturday became the fifth state with shops selling pot to the public, jumpstarting a market that is expected to be fueled by the tens of millions of visitors that Sin City welcomes each year. Jim Ferrence is the marketing coordinator for Euphoria Wellness dispensary, which had about 50 customers in line Monday morning. He says budtenders helped at least 1,000 customers during the first two days of legal recreational pot sales. Las Vegas Sun

State To Force Agencies To Unveil U.S. Reviews
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval plans to require state agencies to disclose all U.S. reviews after he learned from The Associated Press about problems at rural public health clinics that have cost the state hundreds of thousands of federal dollars over the past two years. Sandoval's office told the AP that he and state finance officials will rescind the discretion of high-ranking state employees to either tell their bosses about unflattering reports or to stick them in a drawer indefinitely — a change that could lead to the unveiling of hundreds of U.S. reviews done to maintain federal funding. The state lacks requirements for officials to disclose possible problems in hundreds of grants and programs, because in most cases, they are not forced to share federal or internal reviews outside their office. Las Vegas Sun

70% Say Political Civility Down Since Trump Elected
Seven in 10 Americans believe the political tone has become less civil since Donald Trump became president in January, according to a PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll. In the poll conducted among 1,205 adults from June 21-25, 20 percent said the overall tone and level of civility in Washington between Republicans and Democrats has stayed the same and 6 percent said it has improved. In a July 2009 poll, taken the same amount of time after Barack Obama left office, 35 percent said it had gotten worse, 42 percent stayed the same and 21 percent improved. That poll was conducted by the Gallup Organization for USA Today. UPI
VOA VIEW: Civility is down because there is a man who fights back - Trump.

Kremlin Warns U.S. Against Dragging Out Property Stalemate
The Russian government said Monday it is losing patience with U.S. officials over the property confiscated in the closures of Kremlin diplomatic compounds in the last few months. Former President Barack Obama imposed sanctions against Russian diplomats in December as punishment for Moscow's reputed interfering in the presidential election. As a result, Russian officials were not allowed access to their property. Monday, a representative of President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin is running out of patience. "As a rule, we have spoken about the principle of reciprocity. As for Russia's patience on that matter, it is running out," spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "That has also been mentioned at various levels." UPI

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HALEY ASKS UN NOT TO INSCRIBE HEBRON ON WORLD HERITAGE LIST
The United Nations should opposed the Palestinian Authority request to inscribe Hebron’s old city and the Tomb of the Patriarchs on the World Heritage in Danger list, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Monday in advance of Friday’s vote on the matter in Krakow, Poland. “The Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is sacred to three faiths, is under no immediate threat. Such a designation risks undermining the seriousness such an assessment by UNESCO should have,” Haley said. Jerusalem Post

US AIRCRAFT CARRIER OFF ISRAEL'S COAST SYMBOL OF FREEDOM, NETANYAHU SAYS
It leads the United States’ war against ISIS and with 75 aircraft on its deck has the ability to carry out numerous combat sorties a day. On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the USS George H. W. Bush docked opposite the Haifa Port and became the first sitting head of state to visit America’s largest and most lethal floating war machine. The docking of the ship on Saturday marked the first time an aircraft carrier visited Israel in 17 years. “The visit of the USS George H.W. Bush speaks to the enduring commitment to our shared interests and a commitment to fight against our common enemies,” Commanding Officer Capt. Will Pennington told reporters during a visit to the ship. According to a statement by the US European Command, the ship’s visit is meant  “to enhance US-Israel relations as the two nations reaffirm their continued commitment to the collective security of the European and Middle East Regions.” Jerusalem Post

Qatar Is Given A Further 48 Hours To Meet Gulf Demands
Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states have given Qatar an extra two days to accept a list of demands or face further sanctions. They accuse Qatar of destabilising the region by supporting extremism and terrorism - which it denies. They also want Qatar to shut the Al Jazeera TV network, close a Turkish military base and scale down Iran ties. Qatar has responded formally but no details have been released. It has said the demands break international law. The initial deadline for Qatar to agree to the group's 13 demands expired on Sunday. BBC

Etihad Flights To And From US Avoid Laptop Ban
Passengers on Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi to the US will be able to use larger gadgets, such as laptops, during their journey. Regulations requiring passengers to put laptops and other gadgets in baggage in the hold were introduced in March. The airline said its plan to conduct "enhanced inspections" of passengers had convinced the US to lift its restrictions. The airline runs 45 flights per week from Abu Dhabi to six US airports. BBC

Facebook Can Track Your Browsing Even After You've Logged Out, Judge Says
A judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Facebook of tracking users’ web browsing activity even after they logged out of the social networking site. The plaintiffs alleged that Facebook used the “like” buttons found on other websites to track which sites they visited, meaning that the Menlo Park, California-headquartered company could build up detailed records of their browsing history. The plaintiffs argued that this violated federal and state privacy and wiretapping laws. BBC

Fox Sports President Leaves Amid Sexual Harassment Investigation, Say Reports
A week after pushing through a policy that saw a number Fox Sports journalists lose their jobs, the broadcaster’s president of national networks, Jamie Horowitz, is leaving the company. The news, first reported by the Sports Business Journal, came on the same day that the Los Angeles Times said Fox Sports had been investigating sexual harassment. The Times reported that several women at Fox had been interviewed about Horowitz’s conduct. Guardian

US Nuclear Base Inspection Results Made Secret To Conceal Failures, Critics Claim
The Pentagon has thrown a cloak of secrecy over assessments of the safety and security of its nuclear weapons operations, a part of the military with a history of periodic inspection failures and bouts of low morale. Overall results of routine inspections at nuclear weapons bases, such as a “pass-fail” grade, had previously been publicly available. They are now off-limits. The change goes beyond the standard practice of withholding detailed information on the inspections. Guardian

Donald Trump In Europe: What To Expect From The President's First Meeting With Vladimir Putin, G20 Summit And Bastille Day Celebrations
Donald Trump sets off for his second, multi-country, foreign trip on Wednesday, in a four-day visit taking in Poland and Germany. The US president will be attending the G20 summit in Hamburg, where he will meet Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, for the first time. He will then fly back to Europe the following week to attend the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris alongside President Emmanuel Macron. Telegraph

Pentagon Considers Scrapping Programme That Recruits Highly Skilled Immigrants To US Armed Forces
The Pentagon is considering ending a programme that allows immigrants with sought-after skills to join the American armed forces in return for an accelerated path to US citizenship, according to several reports. The programme was set up in 2009 to try to find additional numbers of recruits with language and medical skills, particularly Arabic speakers and surgeons. However, concerns were first raised last year when it emerged that some recruits had falsified university degrees prompting the Pentagon to order fresh security checks. Telegraph

Turning National Pledges Into Action Crucial In Fight Against Hunger, Stresses Head Of UN Agency
Highlighting that the number of people going hungry across the world has increased since 2015, threatening to undo years of progress, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today called for translating commitments into action at the national level. “Hunger will only be defeated if countries translate their pledges into action, especially at national and local levels,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said at the opening of the agency’s biennial conference in Rome. Concerted effort is required in countries affected by conflict and climate change – which collectively house nearly 60 per cent of the world’s population suffering from hunger – he underscored. UN News

UN, Partners Seek $25 Million To Stabilize Gaza's Worsening Humanitarian Conditions
United Nations relief agencies and their partners in the occupied Palestinian territory are calling on the international community to provide $25 million in new funding to stabilize the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, including the effects of deep power cuts and lack of fuel for generators for hospitals. “The situation in Gaza has become increasingly precarious over recent months. No one is untouched by the energy crisis,” said Robert Piper, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, in a press release. “The coping capacities of Gaza's families to deal with these types of shocks are seriously depleted as the cumulative impact of 10 years of isolation, division and insecurity take their toll,” he added. UN News

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