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Older News Archivescom0116
NEWS     WEDNESDAY, JUlY 23, 2014     NEWS

Six Top Democrats Who Aren’t So Ready For Hillary
Hillary Clinton has remained coy on her potential presidential candidacy in 2016, but that hasn’t stopped Democrats from endorsing her. The Ready For Hillary Super PAC has been in full swing organizing Clinton supporters, and in January 60 congressmen said they would endorse her if she were to run. Some major Democrats have  spoken out against endorsing Clinton too early, including some who have indicated they may challenge her for the nomination.  Here are six prominent  Dems who aren’t  ready for Hillary. ABC

U.S. Said Poised To Label MetLife Systemically Important
U.S. regulators are poised to label MetLife Inc. (MET) a potential threat to the financial system, subjecting the insurer to oversight by the Federal Reserve, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. A decision by the Financial Stability Oversight Council may come as early as July 31, when the panel is tentatively planning to meet, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process isn’t public. The vote could be delayed briefly because the council hasn’t formally closed its review of the company, the people said. MetLife, the biggest U.S. life insurer, could be subjected to stricter capital, leverage and liquidity requirements as a result of Fed supervision. Bloomberg

FAA Tells US AirlinesThat All Flights To Tel Aviv Airport Prohibited For 24 Hours
The Federal Aviation Administration has told all U.S. airlines that flights to Israel’s Tel Aviv airport are prohibited for 24 hours after a rocket from Gaza landed in the area. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines said earlier Tuesday they are suspending service between the U.S. and Israel indefinitely. US Airways scrapped its Tel Aviv service Tuesday and said it is monitoring the situation in regards to future flights. The FAA said in a statement that the ban on flights is for 24 hours beginning at 12:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday, and that a rocket landed about one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport Tuesday morning. Fox News

Fruit Recall Affects Costco, Trader Joe's, Walmart, Kroger Stores
If you've picked up fruit at Costco, Trader Joe's, Kroger or Walmart stores recently, keep reading. Wawona Packing Co. is voluntarily recalling peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots that were packed at its Cutler, California, warehouses between June 1 and July 12. Wawona believes the products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Costco, Trader Joe's, Kroger and the Walmart Corp. -- which operates Walmart and Sam's Club stores, have all posted notices about the fruit recall on their websites. The recall is nationwide, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. CNN

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'Sure Hope So': Harry Reid Wants To Pass Carbon Tax Bill After Midterms
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was asked Monday if Democrats will move a carbon tax bill after the midterm election. "I sure hope so," he told a "clean energy" conference call. The reporter asked Reid what would change after the midterm to put carbon tax legislation back on the table: "Well, I think what's happening in the world," Reid replied. "I mean we have -- as we speak, we have wildfires raging in five or six different states in the west. I mean raging. CNS News

San Diego-Area Community Expected To Reject Illegal Immigrant Shelter
A Southern California city will put itself at the center of a nationwide debate over illegal immigration on Tuesday evening when officials there are expected to reject a bid by the U.S. government to open a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children. The vote by planning commissioners in Escondido, 20 miles north of San Diego, comes amid a surge in children from Central America caught entering the United States, overwhelming federal processing facilities, threatening to swamp immigration courts and creating a backlash in border-state communities. Reuters

GOP Investigators: Lerner Hard Drive Was Only 'Scratched'
Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee say that their investigators have learned that the hard drive belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner was "scratched" and that data was recoverable, according to a release from the committee. The release says that it's unclear if the scratch was put there deliberately or accidentally. Republicans are now accusing the IRS of not being forthcoming after they said in court filings that the data on Lerner's hard drive was unrecoverable. "It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said in a statement, "The Committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded. MSNBC

No Laughing Matter: Perry’s Texas Jails 203,000 ‘Criminal Aliens’ For 640K Crimes
Numbers are always interesting in the Lone Star State, now on the front lines of its own border crisis. And it’s cost the state plenty in money, time and manpower. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has already spent $500 million trying to maintain order and security in the Rio Grand Valley. He’s ordered Texas Adjutant General John Nichols to deploy up to 1,000 National Guard troops on the borderlands. Washington Times

'Saltwater' From Fracking Spill Much Different From Ocean Water
In early July, a million gallons of salty drilling waste spilled from a pipeline onto a steep hillside in western North Dakota's Fort Berthold Reservation. The waste - a byproduct of oil and gas production - has now reached a tributary of Lake Sakakawea, which provides drinking water to the reservation. The oil industry called the accident a "saltwater" spill. But the liquid that entered the lake bears little resemblance to what's found in the ocean. The industry's wastewater is five to eight times saltier than seawater, said Bill Kappel, a hydrogeologist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey. It's salty enough to sting the human tongue, and contains heavy metals in concentrations that might not meet drinking water standards. The briny mix can also include radioactive material. Heavy metals and radioactive materials are toxic at certain concentrations. Kansas City Star

Dueling Court Decisions Cloud Obamacare In Indiana
Federal tax credits intended to make health insurance affordable for Hoosiers and residents in more than 30 other states hang in the balance as two federal courts issued conflicting opinions Tuesday on whether the credits are legal. The decisions covered challenges to the Affordable Care Act brought in Virginia and the District of Columbia that are similar to those pending in Indiana and Oklahoma. Challengers argue that the subsidies should be available only in states that run their own exchanges, which are regulated marketplaces for people who aren't insured through a government program or through an employer. Most states, including Indiana, deferred to the federal government. Indy Star

Oil Stays Above $102 Amid Gaza Peace Efforts
The price of oil inched further above $102 a barrel Wednesday amid a new push for a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine and after Europe imposed additional sanctions on Russia that fell short of a heavy hit. By early afternoon in Europe, the benchmark U.S. oil contract for September delivery was up 20 cents to $102.59 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, the contract slipped 47 cents. Brent crude for September delivery, a benchmark for international oils, was up 43 cents to $107.76 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Miami Herald

Women Business Owners Face Gender Gap
Women who own small business are still far behind their male counterparts when it comes to getting loans and government contracts, a congressional report said Wednesday. The report by Democratic staffers of the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee found that while businesses owned by women account for 30 percent of small companies, they receive only 4.4 percent of the total dollars in conventional small-business loans. That amounts to $1 for every $23 loaned. SF Gate

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‘NSA In Da House’: State Dept. Doesn’t Object
German artist Oliver Bienkowski probably wasn’t seeking the U.S. government’s approval when he projected onto the U.S. embassy in Berlin, early last Saturday, the words “NSA in da House” beside a peace sign and an image of President Obama wearing a backwards baseball cap. But the U.S. State Department, while it disagrees with the message, says it’s okay with the act. “Well, I strongly disagree with the message in it, but support the ability of people to freely express that message,” State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters at Tuesday’s daily press briefing. They were the first substantive comments the State Dept. had offered on the act. ABC

As More Workers Quit, You Could Get A Raise: EcoPulse
If someone at your workplace recently quit, you may be poised for a raise. With more Americans voluntarily leaving their jobs and confidence about business conditions improving, wages could increase amid this labor-market turnover. More than 2.5 million U.S. workers resigned in May, a 15 percent increase from a year earlier, based on seasonally adjusted data from the Labor Department. These employees represent about 56 percent of total separations, the highest since November. Bloomberg

Military Suicides Up A Bit In 2014
Preliminary Pentagon data shows that suicides among active duty military increased a bit this year compared to the same period last year, but officials say that more service members are seeking help through hotlines and other aid programs. Pentagon documents show there were 161 confirmed or suspected suicides as of July 14, compared to 154 during the same time frame in 2013. The uptick was among soldiers and Marines, while the Air Force and Navy suicides went down. The documents were obtained by The Associated Press. The Defense Department is also releasing final totals for 2013, showing that active duty suicides dropped by nearly 19 percent compared to 2012. Suicides among National Guard and Reserve members increased by about 8 percent. Las Vegas Sun

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High-Fat Diet May Affect Sense Of Smell
We already know that eating foods high in fat is unhealthy, but now it turns out that it can also kill a sense of smell, at least in mice. In a new study, published today in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers fed a group of mice with a high-fat diet every day for six months. The investigators also taught the mice to associate a particular smell with a reward: water. The mice that were fed with a high-fat diet took longer to learn the association between a particular odor and water than the mice that were fed a control diet of rodent chow. CBS

US To Present Intelligence Data On Plane Crash
The United States says it's preparing to present data from the U.S. intelligence community laying out what's known about the Malaysian Airlines plane that was shot down in Ukraine. White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the intelligence community will have some additional data to present Tuesday. No additional details about what would be released were available. Earnest said the U.S. welcomes the news that most of the remains of the 298 killed have been handed over to authorities and the black boxes were transferred to Dutch and Malaysian authorities. Las Vegas Sun

U.S., U.N. Question Proportionality Of Gaza Conflict
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke at a joint press conference on Tuesday in Cairo regarding the situation in Gaza. The two leaders are in Egypt, Kerry said, to "meet and discuss ways in which we might be able to bring about or encourage the parties to embrace a ceasefire under the right circumstances." Israel and Hamas have been engaged in a deadly exchange of airstrikes for more than two weeks. Since Israel announced a ground operation last week, the Health Ministry in Gaza reported 583 Palestinian deaths, and the Israeli military reported 27 soldiers killed and two civilians. UPI News

Flight Bans Show Skittishness Over Trouble Spots
When U.S. and European airlines quickly canceled flights to Israel Tuesday, they showed both a skittishness and a new sense of urgency in dealing with global trouble spots following last week’s downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine. Delta Air Lines turned around one of its jets midflight and indefinitely canceled all future flights between the U.S. and Israel after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport. Other U.S. airlines quickly took similar action, and counterparts in Europe and Canada followed within hours, despite protests from the Israeli government. Israeli airline El Al maintained its regular flight schedule. Detroit News

Study Finds Teens Abusing Human Growth Hormone
Experimentation with human growth hormones by America's teens more than doubled in the last year, as more young people looked to drugs to boost their athletic performance and improve their looks, according to a new, large-scale national survey. In a confidential 2013 survey of 3,705 high school students, being released Wednesday by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 11 percent reported using synthetic HGH at least once - up from about 5 percent in the four preceding annual surveys. Teen use of steroids increased from 5 percent to 7 percent over the same period. Philadlephia Inquirer

Kerry Flies To Israel Despite FAA’s Flight Ban
The top U.S. diplomat flew into Israel’s main airport Wednesday despite a Federal Aviation Administration ban in an apparent sign of his determination to achieve a cease-fire agreement in the warring Gaza Strip despite little evidence of progress in ongoing negotiations. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry planned to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during what appeared to be a crucial day in the flailing talks. U.S. officials have downplayed expectations for an immediate, lasting truce between Israel and the Hamas militant group that controls Gaza. At the least, Kerry’s mission Wednesday sought to define the limits of what each side would accept in a potential cease-fire. NY Post

Losing A Parent In Childhood May Increase Early Death Risk
People who experienced the death of a parent in childhood appear to be more likely to die prematurely themselves, new research shows. A study that tracked more than 7 million people for up to 42 years found that people who lost a parent before they turned 18 were 50 percent more likely to die during the course of the study than people who made it to adulthood with both parents still alive. The link was seen for both boys and girls who lost either mothers or fathers. It was also seen for people who lost a parent when they were only 6 months old, when they were on the verge of becoming adults, and for all ages in between. “Parental death in childhood was associated with a long-lasting increased mortality risk from both external causes and diseases, regardless of age and sex of the child and the deceased parent,” researchers reported Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine. Seattle Times

Gaza Families Plead For Evacuation Amid Battle
Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as dozens of Palestinian families trapped by the fighting scrambled to flee the area. The U.S. secretary of state meanwhile presses ahead with top-gear efforts to end the conflict that has killed at least 650 Palestinians and 31 Israelis. John Kerry, who is on a Mideast trip to push for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, landed in Tel Aviv despite a Federal Aviation Administration ban following a Hamas rocket near the airport the day before. Tampa Tribune

Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen Steps Down To Deal With Alzheimer's Disease
Pat Bowlen, the Denver Broncos owner who won two Super Bowls and oversaw one of the NFL's most consistently competitive franchises, is giving up control of the team after acknowledging to The Denver Post that he has Alzheimer's disease. "As many in the Denver community and around the National Football League have speculated, my husband, Pat, has very bravely and quietly battled Alzheimer's disease for the last few years," Annabel Bowlen said in a statement to the Post. "He has elected to keep his condition private because he has strongly believed, and often said, 'It's not about me.' "Pat has always wanted the focus to be solely on the Denver Broncos and the great fans who have supported this team with such passion during his 30 years as owner. My family is deeply saddened that Pat's health no longer allows him to oversee the Broncos, which has led to this public acknowledgment of such a personal health condition." USA Today

Seeking Redemption In 2016, Rick Perry Finds Power In Immigration Standoff
Three years ago, the Texas governor blazed a trail across Iowa to become the instant Republican presidential front-runner. Perry had a solid record and signature bravado. (At the Iowa State Fair, he blew a kiss to the cameras and mockingly said of rival Mitt Romney, “Give him my love.”) But after humiliating fumbles, Perry’s 2012 campaign became a death march: He finished fifth in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses and dropped out soon after. This summer, Perry, 64, is back in the game. What he lacks in sizzle from 2011 he’s making up for with newfound substance on issues such as the economy and turmoil in the Middle East. And with tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant children streaming into Texas, the border crisis gives Perry an animating issue placing him at the forefront of Republican politics. Washington Post

Australia: All Ukraine Victims May Not Be Found
The remains of some victims of the Malaysian airliner crash may never be recovered unless there is a secure and thorough search of the area in rebel-controlled east Ukraine where it was shot down, Australia’s prime minister said Wednesday. Prime Minister Tony Abbott is discussing with government leaders options for securing the 50-square kilometer (20-square mile) crash site, including his preferred option of a multinational security force mounted by countries such as Australia, Netherlands and Malaysia that lost citizens in the disaster. Boston Globe

First Amendment Fight Won't Stop Arizona Execution
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for Arizona to carry out its third execution in the past year Wednesday following a closely watched First Amendment fight over the secrecy surrounding lethal injection drugs. Joseph Rudolph Wood, 55, was scheduled to be put to death at the state prison in Florence amid new scrutiny nationwide over lethal injections after several controversial executions. Wood's lawyers used a new legal tactic in which defense attorneys claim their clients' First Amendment rights are being violated by the government's refusal to reveal details about lethal injection drugs. Wood's lawyers were seeking information about the two-drug combination that will be used to kill him, including the makers of the drugs. Houston Chronicle

Residents Of Chinese Town Face Quarantine After Man Dies Of Bubonic Plague
A town in China with a population of 30,000 has been sealed off after a man died of bubonic plague last week, state media reported Tuesday. No one can enter or leave the city of Yumen, in northwest Gansu province, and 151 residents are facing quarantine after exposure to the 38-year-old victim. The man recently picked up a dead marmot, a large animal related to the squirrel, which he planned to feed to his dog, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) says. He chopped up the marmot and developed a fever the same day. His condition worsened and he died in a hospital on Wednesday. Atlanta Journal

Cuomo’s Office Hobbled State Ethics Inquiries
With Albany rocked by a seemingly endless barrage of scandals and arrests, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo set up a high-powered commission last summer to root out corruption in state politics. It was barely two months old when its investigators, hunting for violations of campaign-finance laws, issued a subpoena to a media-buying firm that had placed millions of dollars’ worth of advertisements for the New York State Democratic Party. The investigators did not realize that the firm, Buying Time, also counted Mr. Cuomo among its clients, having bought the airtime for his campaign when he ran for governor in 2010. NY Times

Biden Among Urban League Meeting Speakers In Ohio
National Urban League leaders will focus on jobs and pay in U.S. cities during a conference this week that will draw some top Democratic and Republican politicians courting minority support. Vice President Joe Biden's scheduled speech Thursday headlines the lineup of participants at the conference Wednesday through Sunday in downtown Cincinnati. Republican Sen. Rand Paul, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky and the heads of the national GOP and Democratic Party also will take part. Urban League president Marc Morial said the mayors and other urban leaders at the conference, which has the theme "One Nation Underemployed," will discuss ways to increase employment, education and pay opportunities. Charlotte Observer

House, Senate Chart Separate Courses On Border
Senate Democrats and House Republicans are moving separately to slash President Barack Obama's $3.7 billion emergency spending request for the border, but they're unlikely to end up with a deal that could pass both chambers. Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski planned to unveil legislation Wednesday allocating $2.7 billion for more immigration judges, detention facilities and other resources on the South Texas border, where tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have been arriving from Central America. San Diego Union

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Federal Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings On Legality Of ObamaCare Subsidies
Two federal appeals court rulings put the issue of ObamaCare subsidies in limbo Tuesday, with one court invalidating some of them and the other upholding all of them. The first decision came Tuesday morning from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The panel, in a major blow to the law, ruled 2-1 that the IRS went too far in extending subsidies to those who buy insurance through the federally run exchange, known as HealthCare.gov. A separate federal appeals court -- the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals -- hours later issued its own ruling on a similar case that upheld the subsidies in their entirety. Fox News

MERS May Be Airborne, Scientists Say
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, better known as MERS, may be an airborne virus, according to an observation paper published Tuesday in the journal mBio. There have been 836 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS infection since its first appearance in 2012, according to the latest numbers provided by the World Health Organization. At least 288 related deaths have officially been reported to the WHO. Scientists are still trying to figure out how the deadly virus is transmitted. CNN

SNAP Overpaid $2B in Benefits; Program Dollars Up 115.6% Under Obama
The nation's food stamp program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provided a record $74.6 billion in benefits to needy Americans in Fiscal Year 2012 -- paying out $2 billion too much, according to the annual quality control report for FY 2012, the most recent year for which data is available. And only in Washington could that $2 billion in overpayments be viewed as a good thing. Combining the $2,069,402,427 in overpayments with the $484,885,314 in underpayments for fiscal 2012 yields a "payment error rate" of 3.42 percent. "This remains the lowest national payment error rate in the history of SNAP," the report noted. (The 3.42 percent payment error rate is the sum of the FY 2012 overpayment rate -- 2.77 percent -- and the underpayment rate --0.65 percent.) CNS News

Obama Visits Dutch Embassy To Mourn Malaysia Airlines Victims
President Obama made an unscheduled stop at the Embassy of the Netherlands Tuesday morning to pay his condolences to the Dutch people in honor of those killed aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 17 last week. Obama dropped in at the embassy in Northwest D.C. shortly before noon, where he was greeted by the Deputy Chief of Mission Peter Mollema. He signed a condolence book laid out in the entrance hall of the embassy, and in response to a question from a reporter, said he wanted to "express our solidarity with the people of the Netherlands" and "extend on behalf of the American people our deepest condolences." UPI News

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U.S. Housing Turning The Corner, Inflation Creeping Up
U.S. home resales hit an eight month-high in June, suggesting the housing market was gradually regaining momentum and would help the economy to stay on a higher growth path this year. The third straight month of home sales gains, reported by the National Association of Realtors on Tuesday, added to employment and retail sales data that have indicated economic growth ended the second quarter on a firmer note. A separate report showed inflation moving slightly higher. "The economy is normalizing from whatever went wrong in the first quarter. Growth is up and running," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in New York. Reuters

Chrysler Recalls Jeep SUVs For Ignition Switches
Chrysler is recalling up to 792,300 older Jeep SUVs worldwide because the ignition switches could cause engine stalling. Tuesday's recall covers 2005-2007 Grand Cherokees and 2006-2007 Commanders. Chrysler says it's not sure exactly how many will be recalled. The company says an outside force such as a driver's knee can knock switches out of the "run" position, shutting off the engine. This disables power-assisted steering and braking and the front air bags might not inflate. Engineers are working on a fix. Chrysler says it knows of no injuries and only one accident. The company says only a few complaints have been filed. Owners should keep clearance between their knees and keys until repairs are made. The recall comes as U.S. safety regulators investigate ignition switch problems across the auto industry. MSNCB

Putin One-Ups Obama, Calls For Cease-Fire And ‘Transparent’ Probe Of Ukraine Tragedy
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Tuesday for Ukraine to observe a cease-fire while investigators probe the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in rebel-held territory. As European Union foreign ministers in Brussels debate sterner sanctions against Russia, Mr. Putin asserted that Ukrainian troops attacked separatist units near Donetsk almost at the same time the pro-Russia forces were handing over the black boxes from the MH17 crash to international investigators. Washington Times

VA Nominee Robert McDonald Pledges To "Transform" Embattled Agency
President Barack Obama's choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs pledged Tuesday to transform the beleaguered agency, saying that "systematic failures" must be addressed. Robert McDonald cited problems with patient access to health care, transparency, accountability and integrity, among other issues. "The seriousness of the moment demands urgent action," McDonald told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. "There is a lot of work to do to transform the department and it will not be easy, but it is essential and can be achieved." CBS

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Yesh Atid MK: Balad Should Be Disqualified From Knesset
Coalition lawmakers called for there to be consequences for Arab MKs’ statements and actions in opposition of the military operation.  MK Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid) wrote a letter to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein on Tuesday, calling to disqualify the Balad Party from the Knesset and remove its MKs’ parliamentary immunity.  Kariv said there must be an investigation of Balad’s funding from abroad and of any connection former Balad MK Azmi Bishara may have with Israelis. Jerusalem Post

EU Calls On Hamas To Disarm, Condemns Use Of Civilians As Shields
Israel received a strong back-wind from an unlikely source on Tuesday, when the EU issued a statement strongly denouncing Hamas and condemning their use of civilians as human shields. The EU's foreign ministers, following a monthly meeting in Brussels, issued a statement on the Middle East condemning “the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and militant groups in the Gaza Strip, directly harming civilians. These are criminal and unjustifiable acts.” The statement also called on Hamas to immediately put an end to its rocket attacks, and to renounce violence. “All terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm. The EU strongly condemns calls on the civilian population of Gaza to provide themselves as human shields. Jerusalem Post

Apple Earnings Boosted By Strong iPhone Sales
Apple has reported quarterly profits of $7.75bn (£4.5bn) - up 12% on the same period last year. The company sold 35.2 million iPhones from March to June, an increase of 13% from the same time in 2013. The company is seeing strong growth in BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa, and especially China where iPhone sales rose by 48%. However, sales of its iPad tablet computer fell for the second quarter in a row, down 9% to 13.3 million. In a statement, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said he was "incredibly excited" about new operating systems for iPhones and computers as well as "new products and services that we can't wait to introduce". BBC

MH17 Plane Crash: EU To Widen Russia Sanctions
The EU will widen its sanctions against Russia to include more individuals and consider targeting the defence sector, the Dutch foreign minister says. Frans Timmermans said "unanimous" and "forceful" decisions had been taken on enhanced sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict. The UK has pushed for the Russian arms sector to be targeted. Western leaders accuse Russia of arming rebels in eastern Ukraine, and believe they shot down an airliner there. There is widespread anger over the Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine, in which 298 people died. The sanctions are aimed at forcing Russia to help defuse the Ukraine conflict and put pressure on the rebels to disarm. BBC

US Citizens In Yemen Accuse American Embassy Of Confiscating Passports
In late 2012, Khaled boarded a plane in America, bound for Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. Since coming to the US at the age of 19, Khaled had worked continuously, except for a few months here and there, in various jobs, hoping to one day own his own business. Every few years, when Khaled felt he had saved enough money, he would return to Yemen for a weeks or months to visit family. He did not know that this time he would be spending the next year stranded in Yemen without a passport, unable to return to his home in the US. Guardian

Google In-App Purchases Lawsuit Can Go Ahead
Google must face a class action lawsuit filed by a US woman whose son had bought online video game items without her consent, a federal judge ruled late on Monday as he turned down the company's request to dismiss the action. The case, which accuses Google of breaking various laws regarding fair dealing with consumers, can go forward, Judge Ronald Whyte ruled late on Monday in the US district court in San Jose. He denied Google's motion to dismiss portions of the case that alleged its advertisements were "unfair, deceptive or misleading." He also denied motions to dismiss allegations that Google breached the "duty of good faith and fair dealing." Guardian

Israel's Offensive In Gaza Has 'Killed More Children Than Fighters'
More children than Palestinian fighters are being killed in the offensive on Gaza, according to the latest United Nations statistics, despite Israel's claims to be waging a targeted military campaign. Gaza's health ministry said that 580 Palestinians had been killed, including 155 children. The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said that, as of Tuesday morning, 149 children had been killed, compared with 87 confirmed members of armed groups. Even including unconfirmed combatant deaths, more children would still have died. Telegraph

Al-Qaeda Snubs Caliphate By Renewing Allegiance To Taliban
Al-Qaeda has renewed its pledge of allegiance to Mullah Omar and the Taliban, in a move that will be viewed as a snub to the Islamic State and its Caliphate. The statement, issued in a new online magazine, is the movement’s first official response to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his blitzkrieg advance through Syria and Iraq. It suggests al-Qaeda will not easily relinquish its place as the assumed leader of the global jihad. “The first edition begins by renewing the pledge of allegiance to Emir of the Believers Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid, may Allah preserve him, and confirming that al-Qaeda and its branches everywhere are soldiers among his soldiers,” according to a translation published by the Site Intelligence Group. Telegraph

Urgent Action Needed To Protect Children Against Polio In Syria, Iraq And Region
Having just completed the first phase of the biggest polio vaccination campaign ever undertaken in the Middle East, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) today warned that unless children in hard-to-reach areas are also vaccinated, the number of those infected will continue to rise.
“Polio has forced its way back to Syria, adding to what was already a humanitarian disaster,” said Chris Maher, WHO Manager for Polio Eradication and Emergency Support. He said in a news release that a recent polio outbreak in Syria has already paralyzed 36 children, most of them in contested and conflict-ridden regions. UN News

On Visit To Israel And West Bank, Ban Calls For End To Current Fighting, Return To Dialogue
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on Israelis and Palestinians to stop the fighting that has been raging for the past two weeks and return to dialogue with the aim of addressing the underlying causes of the cycles of violence that continue to plague them. “My message to Israelis and Palestinians is the same: Stop fighting. Start talking. And take on the root causes of the conflict, so we are not back to the same situation in another six months or a year,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to the press with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv. UN News

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