US Air Force Jets Take Off From Guam For Training
Shortly before North Korea revealed that it was considering a plan to fire missiles at Guam, two U.S Air Force B-1B bombers, under the command of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces, joined counterparts from South Korea and Japan in strategic bilateral missions. The roughly ten-hour mission from Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base on Monday marked the first for the crews and aircraft recently deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence missions, Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs stated. Fox
VOA VIEW: We are ready.

Adams: Trump’s North Korea Comments Added ‘Fuel To The Fire’
U.S. Rep. Alma Adams said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s tough words about North Korea “probably added some fuel to the fire.” On Tuesday Trump said North Korea’s nuclear threats would be “met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” “I’m not sure if that was the right thing to say,” Adams said. “I think it probably added some fuel to the fire… I hope this whole thing with North Korea is not an ego thing for him.” Charlotte Observer
VOA VIEW: Past weak comments have failed.

Atlantic May Spawn As Many As 19 Storms As El Nino Odds Fade
The Atlantic hurricane season will probably end with an above-average 14 to 19 named storms that can rattle energy and agriculture markets now that it is almost certain a system-deterring Pacific El Nino won’t arrive. At least 5 to 9 will become hurricanes with 2 to 5 becoming major systems with winds of 111 miles (179 kilometers) per hour or more, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday. Storms are named when their winds reach 39 mph. In May, the agency said 11 to 17 storms would form. Houston Chronicle

Tillerson: Trump Sending North Korea A 'Strong Message'
President Trump's warning of coming "fire and fury" was meant to send "a strong message" to North Korean despot Kim Jong Un, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday. Tillerson said Trump's brawny rhetoric putting the rogue regime on notice was needed, given North Korea's disregard of international alarm over the country's nuke program. "I think what the president was doing was sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un would understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language," Tillerson said while en route to Guam, the U.S. territory specifically threatened by Kim Jong Un on Tuesday. "I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime that the U.S. has an unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies and I think it was important that he deliver that message to avoid any miscalculation on their part." Fox
VOA VIEW: Trump made his message and the will of the US clear.

North Korea Releases Canadian Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim
A Canadian pastor imprisoned in North Korea has been freed after two and a half years in detention. Hyeon Soo Lim, North Korea's longest-held western prisoner in decades, was "released on sick bail" Wednesday by the country's top court for "humanitarian" reasons, state-run news agency KCNA said. Lim's son, James Lim, received word over the weekend that a plane carrying senior Canadian officials, a medical doctor, and a letter to North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un was dispatched to Pyongyang "at the last minute," according to family spokeswoman Lisa Pak. The plane landed in the North Korean capital Monday. CNN

Nancy Pelosi: Trump's North Korea Warning Is "Recklessly Belligerent"
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Trump's promises to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea if it continues to threaten the US "demonstrate a grave lack of appreciation for the severity of the North Korean nuclear situation." "His saber-rattling and provocative, impulsive rhetoric erode our credibility and weaken our ability to reach a peaceful resolution to this crisis, and must immediately end," she said. CNN
VOA VIEW: A real president for a change - good-bye Obama.


AG Sessions: Chicago ‘Proudly’ Violates ‘Rule of Law’ And Protects ‘Criminal Aliens’
In response to Chicago’s lawsuit against the Justice Department regarding federal funds for sanctuary cities, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Chicago follows a policy that protects “criminal aliens who prey” on residents and that the Trump administration will not “give away grant dollars to city governments that proudly violate the rule of law and protect criminal aliens.” Sessions added that Chicago’s policies were “astounding” given the city’s “unprecedented violent crime surge.” In 2016, there were 788 homicides in Chicago and 4,368 shooting victims. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Chicago is losing.

Gohmert Predicts Senate GOP Will Lose Majority If They Don’t Repeal Obamacare
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) told “Fox and Friends” on Tuesday that it is embarrassing that Congress left town without passing a repeal and replacement of Obamacare or a tax reform plan, and he predicted that if the Senate doesn’t repeal Obamacare, Republicans will lose the majority. “It is terribly embarrassing,” Gohmert said. “Ryan, this is something that everybody, most everybody in the Senate that’s a Republican ran on. We’re gonna repeal, and I know people are saying, ‘Well it’s dead. We gotta move on,’ but we’ve got to do tax reform. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Republicans have failed the people.

Franklin, Likely To Be Hurricane, Aims At Mexico Gulf Coast
A strengthening Tropical Storm Franklin took aim at Mexico's central Gulf coast after a relatively mild run across the Yucatan Peninsula, with forecasts saying it would grow into a hurricane before making its second landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Franklin began gaining strength after getting over open water again, with its maximum sustained winds quickly rising to 70 mph (110 kph) by Wednesday morning, early Wednesday. The storm was expected to gain more power as it moved across the lower reaches of the southern Gulf of Mexico. Franklin's center was 195 miles (315 kilometers) east-northeast of Veracruz and it was heading west at 13 mph (20 kph). ABC News

Special Counsel Mueller Discloses Finances, Law Firm Clients
Special counsel Robert Mueller is disclosing his assets and income, including nearly $3.5 million he earned at a Washington law firm and speaking engagements worth more than $240,000. A financial disclosure released by the Justice Department and made public by Politico also shows that Mueller's former law firm, WilmerHale, represented some big-name companies, including Facebook, Intel and Apple. Mueller's finances are public record because of his appointment as special counsel. ABC


What Damage Could North Korea Do Even Without Nuclear Weapons?
Any use of its nuclear capability would be catastrophic - especially so for North Korea itself. The regime would not survive the ensuing conflict. But this awful prospect is not necessarily the immediate worry. It is the threat of the escalating war of words between Washington and Pyongyang moving from rhetoric to reality. North Korea is a country that has episodically resorted to the use of force in the past and could do so again. In March 2010 it is believed to have sunk a small South Korean warship. In the same year its artillery shelled a South Korean island and if this current crisis does go hot, it is likely to be South Korea that is on the receiving end of the North's anger. BBC

FBI Sting 'Unmasks' US Cyber-Extortionist Targeting Girls
The FBI has charged an American man officers believe to be behind an online extortion campaign to make young girls share explicit pictures of themselves. Facebook messages in the name of "Brian Kil" were sent to the girls, using the Tor anonymising network, from 2012. They threatened to kill them and their families or blow up their schools if they did not share explicit images. The FBI says it tricked "Brian Kil" into viewing a video bearing virus-like code that logged his real net address. Pipe bombs Buster Hernandez has been charged with several counts of sexual exploitation of a child, threatening to use explosives and threatening to injure. BBC

Why Is North Korea Threatening Guam?
Following a warning Tuesday by President Donald Trump to stop threatening the United States, North Korean officials said early Wednesday they were considering using intermediate-range ballistic missiles near Guam, home to strategic U.S. military installations. North Korea’s military officials said they were “carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12,” according to a statement read by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Why did the North Koreans say they would target Guam, a small island in the South Pacific?
In part, because on Monday night two US B-1 bombers flew from Guam over the Korean peninsula in joint exercises with Japan and South Korea, angering North Korean leaders. Atlanta Journal
VOA VIEW: NK is getting close to have the a.. kicked.

Feds: Indy Club Manager Sold Drugs For Bitcoin Through The Dark Web
A former manager of an Indianapolis night club was also a drug kingpin of an operation that traded in bitcoin and sold cocaine and heroin via the Dark Web, federal authorities said Wednesday.... Indy Star

Trump Reportedly Gets A Folder Full Of 'Admiring Tweets' And Pictures Of Him 'Looking Powerful' Twice A Day
President Donald Trump has a folder delivered to him twice a day that's full of positive headlines, tweets, interviews, and sometimes photographs of him on TV "looking powerful," VICE News reported on Tuesday. The folder, dubbed "the Propaganda Document" by some in the White House, is prepared by the communications team. The only feedback the White House press shop has ever gotten about the folder, VICE said, was that "it needs to be more f------ positive." San Francisco Gate
VOA VIEW: Liberal media propaganda.

The Latest: Prosecutor Says Cop Vowed To Kill Driver
The Latest on the St. Louis murder trial of a former officer (all times local): 1:15 p.m. A prosecutor says dashcam video captured a former St. Louis police officer promising to kill a black motorist during a chase less than a minute before he fatally shot the man. Prosecutor Robert Steele said during closing arguments in Jason Stockley's murder trial that Stockley's threat showed he intended to kill 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. Stockley's attorney, Neil Bruntrager, dismissed the comment as "human emotion" and said Shockley shot Smith in self-defense. Stockley testified Tuesday that he saw Smith holding a gun before the chase. Prosecutors allege that Stockley planted a gun in Smith's car after shooting him. Judge Timothy Wilson gave the two sides until Aug. 18 to submit post-trial briefs. He will rule sometime after that. Tampa Bay Tribune

Trump Aides Copy Bush ‘Red Team’ Strategy In Tax Fight
The White House is reaching back to the Bush administration for a strategy to get a tax code overhaul passed, as President Donald Trump’s advisers try to avoid the missteps that doomed the effort to repeal Obamacare. To take on a task that hasn’t been accomplished in Washington in three decades, senior aides are adopting a tightly orchestrated process and walking away from the improvisational approach that’s been the Trump administration’s hallmark. The centerpiece is a weekly, all-hands-on-deck meeting to coordinate the campaign by the president and his allies to win passage of sweeping changes to individual and corporate tax laws, according to four White House officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal plans. Bloomberg

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What's Really Driving The Trump Bump
With the stock market at highs and amid positive economic news, the so-called Trump bump is salient. The left credits Obama administration policies, which Republicans are screwing up. Right-leaning commentators treat the bump as optimism about the Republican agenda, which Democrats and party infighting are undermining. Of course, boosting the stock market isn't the primary job of a president, and the president isn't the primary driver of stocks. Nonetheless, the 80 percent of the American populace that makes up the political center likes a vibrant economy. But that means real 1   earnings growth, not high asset prices. Earnings drive business expansion, hence wage and job growth, hence tax revenues. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: The liberal media are trying to take credit that is Trumps'.

Sen. Lindsey Graham On Two Scenarios That Would Trigger War With North Korea
After President Trump issued his latest threat to North Korea amid news that the regime passed yet another milestone in developing their nuclear capabilities, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, says the U.S. is "headed" toward military action and that the president would go to war to prevent North Korea from striking America. "President Trump has basically drawn a red line saying he'll never allow North Korea to have an ICBM missile that can hit America with a nuclear weapon on top, he's not going to let that happen, he's not going to contain the threat, he's going to stop the threat," Graham told "CBS This Morning" on Thursday. CBS

War With North Korea Not Imminent, Officials Say, But U.S. Would Still Win
A day after President Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury,” his top diplomat and defense chief sent a more nuanced message on Wednesday, reinforcing the capacity of the United States to win any war while reassuring Americans that they did not think it would come to that. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, returning from a trip to Asia, said he saw no reason to believe that war was imminent despite the heated exchange of warnings between Mr. Trump and Pyongyang, emphasizing instead the possibility of a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea’s efforts to build long-range nuclear weapons. NY Times
VOA VIEW: Tillerson is weak.

Trump, Mattis Warnings To North Korea Backed By Aging But Potent Nukes
The U.S. nuclear arsenal of 6,800 warheads is plenty strong, to be sure. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, on Wednesday, underlined that, saying President Trump was informed of the growing threat from North Korea last December and has since stressed the need to enhance U.S. readiness. Mattis warned North Korea, which he referred to by its initials, that it would lose a nuclear showdown with the United States and its allies badly. USA Today

West Wing To Be Renovated While Trump Is In New Jersey
It should be noted that the renovations have nothing to do with Mr. Trump's reported opinion that the White House is a "dump" (the president tweeted that the report was "TOTALLY UNTRUE").  The president will spend 17 days at his residence at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, while renovations are underway. "All of us in lower press will miss seeing you guys every day but we're definitely looking forward to the much-needed renovations in the HVAC system, as well as throughout the rest of the West Wing," White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters told members of the media during a gaggle on Air Force One. CBS


'I Can Have You Killed': Afghan Woman Fears Husband After US Denies Asylum
When Shakila Zareen learned that her husband planned to kill her, she fled to her mother’s house. A few hours later, she was alone in the living room when her husband and two other men scaled the compound walls. As they came through the door, Zareen turned to see her husband aim a hunting gun at her and pull the trigger. The war America can't win: how the Taliban are regaining control in Afghanistan. She woke up in a hospital the next morning after miraculously surviving the shooting and a gruelling seven-hour drive to Kabul. She traced her fingers over her bandaged face and realized that half of it was missing. Someone told her she had miscarried; she hadn’t even known she was pregnant. She was 16 years old. The Guardian

Mexican Drug Lord 'El Chapo' Hires Gotti Lawyer In US Case
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the captured leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, has hired a New York lawyer best known for successfully defending the son of the convicted mafia boss John Gotti to represent him in his US criminal case. The lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, said Guzman had hired him along with three others – Marc Fernich, who has also represented Gotti’s son, John Gotti, Jr; William Purpura, who represented a Baltimore drug kingpin, Richard Wilford; and Eduardo Balarezo, who represented Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, the head of another Mexican drug cartel. Wilford and Beltrán Leyva were convicted and received long prison sentences.
Guzman, 60, is charged with running a transnational cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine smuggling operation, playing a key role in Mexico’s decade-long drug war that has killed more than 100,000 people. He was captured in Mexico in January 2016, six months after escaping from a high-security prison in central Mexico through a tunnel. The Guardian

By Stooping To N. Korea’s Level, Trump Proves He’s A Risk To The World
Just hours after the release of a CBS News poll showing that 56 percent of Americans lack confidence in President Donald Trump’s ability to handle North Korea, Trump provided alarming evidence today that their concerns were well-founded. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. … They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., where he’s taking a working vacation. Trump’s comment came after a report that North Korea had succeeded in miniaturizing a nuclear warhead to fit into its missiles, and followed a threat by North Korea that it would take “physical action” in response to new UN sanctions. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Liberal media propaganda.

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Israel Strikes Hamas Positions In Gaza After Rocket Attack
 The Israeli military says it has carried out airstrikes against two Hamas positions in Gaza in response to a rocket fired toward Israel. Ayman Sahbani, an emergency director at Gaza's Shifa hospital, says three Palestinians were wounded in Wednesday's strike, one seriously. Israel has seen occasional rocket fire from the Gaza Strip in the three years since its last war with Gaza's militant Hamas rulers. Most have been claimed by Salafist groups in the territory. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all fire out of the strip — even rockets launched by any of the various militant groups challenging it. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group took control of Gaza a decade ago, most recently in 2014. A cease-fire has largely held since then. Las Vegas Sun

White House Aide Blasts McConnell Over Trump Comments
Republican finger-pointing over the party’s failure to keep its campaign promises continued apace on Wednesday, with a White House aide firing back at the Senate majority leader’s criticism of Team Trump. “More excuses,” White House social media director Dan Scavino tweeted Wednesday morning in response to flak from Sen. Mitch McConnell that the administration set “unrealistic timelines” for the Senate to accomplish what it told voters it would do. “@SenateMajLdr must have needed another 4 years – in addition to the 7 years – to repeal and replace Obamacare…” he added, referring to pledges by the GOP — and Trump — to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, an effort that crashed and burned in the Senate. NY Post
VOA VIEW: Democrats made McConnell look bad.

Evangelical Adviser Says Trump Has God’s Authority To Take Out Kim Jong Un
An evangelical adviser to President Trump said the commander-in-chief has God’s authority to take out North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil. In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un,” Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress said in a statement. NY Post

Guam: Tiny Island Thrust Into The Center Of North Korea Dispute
The North Korean army's announcement that it is examining operational plans for attacking Guam after rising tensions with President Donald Trump has brought more global attention to the tiny U.S. territory in the Pacific than it has had in decades. Here is a rundown on the island and it strategic importance. The strip of land in the western Pacific Ocean is roughly the size of Chicago, and just 4 miles wide at its narrowest point. It is about 2,200 miles southeast of North Korea, much closer than it is to any of the United States. Hawaii is about 4,000 miles to the east. Its proximity to China, Japan, the Philippines and the Korean Peninsula has long made the island an essential possession of the U.S. military. MSNBC

FBI Conducted Predawn Raid Of Former Trump Campaign Chairman Manafort's Home
FBI agents raided the Alexandria, Va., home of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman late last month, using a search warrant to seize documents and other materials, according to people familiar with the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Federal agents appeared at Paul Manafort's home without warning in the predawn hours of July 26, the day after he met voluntarily with the staff for the Senate Intelligence Committee. The search warrant was wide-ranging and FBI agents working with special counsel Robert Mueller departed the home with various records. Kansas City Star

He Lacked Experience, Left The Application Mostly Blank But Got A $110,000 State Job
Before Gov. Rick Scott named Taylor Teepell to be the finance director of the New Republican Super PAC, the governor gave him a $110,000 job in Florida government for which he had no experience. For 14 months, the Louisiana native served in a top position in the Department of Economic Opportunity — as head of growth management oversight in Florida. When he left in May, he had been given a raise — to $116,561— nearly three times the average state worker salary. Teepell, 34, had spent a decade working as a Republican political operative and was campaign manager for former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s campaign for president. He had worked in the executive offices of Jindal and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and worked campaigns in Louisiana and Mississippi. Miami Herald
VOA VIEW: Teepell was a good con artist.

Mormon Church Official James J. Hamula Excommunicated
A Mormon church leader was removed from his post and kicked out of the religion Tuesday for the first time in nearly three decades. James J. Hamula was released from a mid-level leadership council based on disciplinary action by the religion's highest leaders, said Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hawkins didn't say why Hamula was ousted, but the Utah-based church said it was not for apostasy, which refers to teaching inaccurate doctrine or publicly defying guidance from church leaders. MSNBC

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FBI Searched Ex-Trump Campaign Chief Paul Manafort's Home
A spokesman for President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, says that FBI agents served a search warrant at one of his homes. Spokesman Jason Maloni says that Manafort cooperated with the agents as he has "consistently" done. Manafort has been a subject of a longstanding FBI investigation into his dealings in Ukraine and work for the country's former president, Viktor Yanukovych. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is also investigating Manafort as part of his probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with Trump associates. Newsday

China Urges Calm Over North Korea
China urged calm on Wednesday after North Korea said it was considering plans for a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam and President Donald Trump told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury". China calls on all parties to avoid any words or actions that might escalate the situation and make even greater efforts to resolve the issue via talks, the ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters. Reuters
VOA VIEW: China did nothing to stop this present madness - NK has gone too far.

UK Says EU Offers Restricted Post-Brexit Residency Rights To Britons
The European Union has proposed that Britons living in the bloc after Brexit will only have the right to stay in the country where they are resident when Britain leaves, Brexit minister David Davis said in a letter on Wednesday. The future rights of UK nationals living in the EU and EU nationals living in Britain is one of the issues the EU wants to settle in the first stage negotiations. Only then will it move on to talks over the future trading relationship. Reuters

Paris Attack: Man Shot In Hunt For BMW Driver Who Mowed Down Six French Soldiers
French police shot and arrested a suspect in a dramatic motorway chase Wednesday after a car smashed into soldiers outside a barracks in a Paris suburb, injuring six. The suspected terror attack is the latest in a string of assaults that have hit France since January 2015, claiming more than 230 lives. The servicemen were hit by a BMW which drove down a quiet street in the upmarket western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret at around 6am GMT. Telegraph

Police Paid Convicted Child Rapist £10,000 To Spy On Asian Grooming Gang
police force paid almost £10,000 to a convicted child rapist to act as an undercover informant during a major sex abuse investigation, it can be revealed. Northumbria Police paid the man to infiltrate parties where they suspected young girls were being drugged and abused by an Asian grooming gang. The man - known only as Mr XY - was recruited by the force even though he was convicted in 2002 of drugging and raping a teenage schoolgirl and inviting another man to rape her. Telegraph

PA Arrests Five PAL. Journalists For "Leaking" Sensitive Information
Five Palestinian journalists have been arrested in the West Bank by Palestinian Authority security forces in what a human rights monitoring group has termed a "serious blow to freedom of opinion and expression." All five were arrested at or near their houses Tuesday night by the General Intelligence service, according to Shireen al-Khatib, monitoring and documentation associate at the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom (Mada). A senior security source quoted by the official Wafa news agency said four journalists were being held on suspicion of "leaking sensitive information to hostile authorities." Jerusalum Post

Facing Palestinian Criticism, White House Says Closeness To Israel Is An Asset
Before a shooting on the Temple Mount last month threw the region into a harrowing, if temporary crisis, talk of a US-led peace process between Israelis and Palestinians was light, vague and full of promise, with neither side willing to criticize the new and ambitious administration over its lofty pursuit of peace. Those days are over. Two weeks of crisis management were an early test of US President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace envoys, and to players on the ground, revealed their true colors. Since the Temple Mount dispute was settled with an Israeli concession on its security arrangements at the holy site, Palestinian officials have been more vocal with their criticisms of the US team, questioning its ability to serve as fair broker in the negotiations to come. Jerusalum Post

Trump Puts The World On Notice: U.S. Nuclear Arsenal ‘More Powerful Than Ever Before’
President Trump in a tweet Wednesday said the U.S. has modernized its nuclear arsenal and will always be the “most powerful nation in the world,” though he expressed a desire not to be forced to use the weapons. “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before….,” he tweeted,continuing, “…Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”. Washington Times

Federal Scientists Leak Sweeping Climate Change Draft In Clash With Trump Administration
Environmental resistance inside the Trump administration hit new heights this week as a group of federal scientists leaked a draft of a sweeping climate change report to the press, pushing the study out into the bloodstream before their superiors had the chance to alter or approve it. The incident marks the latest in a series of clashes between top administration officials and scientists within the government, some of whom contend that the White House is actively trying to bury science related to global warming. The latest study was written by scientists from 13 federal agencies and has not been made public, though The New York Times obtained a draft on Monday evening. Washington Times

Venezuela: UN Urges Government And Opposition To Relaunch Political Talks
Concerned that recent developments in Venezuela could lead to further escalation of tensions and hamper a peaceful solution to the crisis, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres again today urged the Government and the opposition to relaunch negotiations for the benefit of the Venezuelan people. A statement from Mr. Guterres' spokesman said the UN chief is closely following events in the country and is convinced the crisis cannot be solved through the imposition of unilateral measures, but requires a political solution based on dialogue and compromise. “At this critical time,” the Secretary-General urged the Venezuelan Government and the opposition to relaunch negotiations for the benefit of the country's people, said the statement, adding that Mr. Guterres is strongly supporting the ongoing efforts of the international facilitators and regional actors who are seeking to contribute to this end. UN News

Recovery In Iraq's War-Battered Mosul Is A 'Tale Of Two Cities,' UN Country Coordinator Says
Even as schools and markets begin to re-open in war-torn eastern Mosul, whole neighbourhoods of the western part of the Iraqi city have been destroyed and nearly a quarter of a million people have nowhere to return “anytime soon,” a senior United Nations official said today. Speaking to the press in Geneva, Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said the contrast between the east and the west of the city could not be clearer. Indeed: “Everyone's gone home to eastern Mosul except for 20,000 people.” “Mosul's really a tale of two cities. Eastern Mosul is a city that's recovering, people are home, schools are open, businesses are open, markets are open. Conditions aren't great but it's a city on the mend,” she said. UN News

South Koreans Say War With North Korea Unlikely
A verbal warning from U.S. President Donald Trump threatening "fire and fury" against North Korea, and subsequent remarks from Pyongyang to create an "enveloping fire" around the U.S. territory of Guam is raising concerns in South Korea. But South Koreans who spoke to UPI on Wednesday said war on the Korean peninsula is highly unlikely, pointing to past experience with similar or even higher levels of tension with their belligerent neighbor to the north. UPI

Scientists Find Four Earth-Like Exoplanets Orbiting Closest Sun-Like Star
Scientists have found four Earth-like exoplanets orbiting a star system just 12 light-years away.
The four planets are the closest Earth-like worlds yet discovered. And at just 1.7 Earth masses, they're also the smallest nearby Earth-like planets. Astronomers detected the presence of the four exoplanets by analyzing slight wobbles in the movement of tau Ceti, the closest known sun-like star. Tau Ceti's wobbles are incredibly subtle, and required instruments capable of measuring deviations as small as 30 centimeters per second. "We are now finally crossing a threshold where, through very sophisticated modeling of large combined data sets from multiple independent observers, we can disentangle the noise due to stellar surface activity from the very tiny signals generated by the gravitational tugs from Earth-sized orbiting planets," Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said in a news release. UPI

How Peter Thiel's Secretive Data Company Pushed Into Policing
When Sergeant Lee DeBrabander marked a case confidential in the Long Beach drug squad’s Palantir data analysis system in November 2014, he expected key details to remain hidden from unauthorized users’ eyes. In police work, this can be crucial—a matter of life and death, even. It often involves protecting vulnerable witnesses, keeping upcoming operations hush hush, or protecting a fellow police officer who’s working undercover. Yet not long after, someone working in the gang crimes division ran a car license plate mentioned in his case and was able to read the entire file. “Can you please look at this?” DeBrabander wrote to a Palantir engineer in an email, which was obtained by Backchannel in response to public records requests. Wired

Foursquare May Have Grown Up, But The Check-In Still Matters
A large monitor on a wall at Foursquare's headquarters in New York displays graphs representing foot traffic to nearby bars, restaurants, and offices. The info, which rises in colorful hills like a topographic map, comes from check-ins and radio signals gathered from the company's two apps, Swarm and Foursquare City Guide. Cofounder and executive chairman Dennis Crowley calls this real-time location data “the secret sauce that makes us special.” Foursquare’s business directives have changed over time, but check-ins are still a key part of its DNA. Your clicking the check-in button is still important, but for different reasons. The company has evolved beyond being a social media app broadcasting your friends' favorite sandwich shop to become a bonafide location data firm that sells its rich dataset to anyone seeking fine-grained information about how people spend their time and money. Wired

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