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Older News Archivescom0116
NEWS     FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 2014     NEWS

EARLY EDITION

Clinton On Sept. 10, 2001: I Could Have Killed Bin Laden But 'I Didn't'
Former President Bill Clinton, mere hours before the 9/11 terror attack, openly acknowledged that he turned down a chance to kill Usama bin Laden, according to a newly released recording. The former president can be heard admitting this in a speech to Australian business leaders on Sept. 10, 2001. Until now, Clinton's eerie words had not been made public. But a businessman who had access to the nearly 13-year-old recording handed it over to Sky News Australia, which broadcast it in a report Monday. "I'm just saying, you know, if I were Usama bin Laden -- he's a very smart guy, I've spent a lot of time thinking about him -- and I nearly got him once," Clinton said on the recording. Fox News

Pelosi: House GOP ‘Anti-Governance, Anti-Science And Anti-Barack Obama’
 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says the House GOP “is anti-governance, anti-science and anti-Barack Obama.” Pelosi made the comment during her press conference on Thursday, “This is a tactic. It's always been a tactic of those who are anti-governance. Here we have a majority in the House - I speak to the House - that is anti-governance, anti-science and anti-Barack Obama.” The House Minority Leader says a goal of the Republicans' "anti-governance" stance is to decrease voter turnout. “If you’re anti-governance, what you want people to do is not participate in the electoral process.” CNS News
VOA VIEW: The latter is true.

U.S. Wage Growth Picking Up As Labor Market Tightens
U.S. labor costs recorded their biggest gain in more than 5-1/2 years in the second quarter and a gauge of trends in the jobs market fell to an eight-year low last week, bolstering the economy's outlook. Though economists cautioned against reading too much into the rise in the employment cost index, they said a tightening jobs market suggested wage growth would soon accelerate significantly. "If the unemployment rate keeps declining, compensation pressures simply have to increase. Most members of the Federal Reserve appear to believe it will be a lot later and not very rapidly but I am not that sure," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economics Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. Reuters

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Drug Driving? Congress Debates Dangers Of Driving Stoned
As states continue to relax marijuana laws, Congress on Thursday turned its attention to the tricky question of how to handle “drug driving.” At a hearing titled “Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Operating While Stoned,” members of the House Oversight Committee debated how to best regulate drivers who hit the road after getting “high.” Unlike alcohol, it is impossible to quickly test drivers to determine if they are too impaired to drive. “There is no hard and fast way to determine whether an individual is driving under the influence and there has yet to be established a uniformed amount of marijuana which constitutes drug driving,” said Rep. John Fleming, R- La. MSNBC

Poverty Growing Fastest In The Suburbs Following Recession
Poverty is growing the fastest in the suburbs, a new research report has found, representing a major shift from when urban areas had the highest number of poor residents. Between 2000 and 2012, the number of distressed neighborhoods grew by almost three-quarters, and the suburban poor population living in those neighborhoods ballooned by 140 percent, according to a research brief from the Brookings Institution. Distressed neighborhoods are Census tracts where poverty rates stand at 40 percent and above. While cities continue to have many more residents living in concentrated poverty, the urban poor population only grew by roughly 50 percent in distressed neighborhoods from 2000 to 2008-2012. MSNBC

Democrats In Peril After Overplaying ‘War On Women’ Strategy In Key Swing State
The Democrats’ “war on women” strategy may resonate with liberals, but it’s losing ground with crucial female swing voters in Colorado, said a poll released this week. A whopping 77 percent of women voters surveyed agree that they “clearly see through the so-called Democrat ‘War on Women’ messaging strategy,” according to Magellan Strategies in Louisville, Colo. The poll also found that 67 percent of those surveyed “do not fear a government bureaucrat taking birth control away from them, but what they fear are politicians using the issue of ‘access to birth control’ as a political tactic to scare them into voting a certain way.’” Washington Times

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U.S. Troops Told Not To Eat, Drink In Front Of Muslims During Ramadan
Military personnel at a government-run health science university in Maryland were reportedly instructed not to eat or drink in front of Muslims during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The brigade commander at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda sent an email last month to military personnel instructing them to show respect toward their Muslim colleagues during Ramadan fasting, which ended July 28, Fox News reported. “This is a period of great personal restraint and commitment in addition to renewed focus on worship,” Col. Kevin Glasz reportedly wrote in the email. “I’d like to encourage you to learn just a little more about this religion, but more importantly, I’m asking you to be considerate and do not consume food or drink in front of our Muslim colleagues; it is a simple, yet respectful action.” Washington Times

Work-From-Home Remote Access Software Vulnerable To Hackers
Online tools that help millions of Americans work from home may be exposing both workers and businesses to cybersecurity risks, a new report from the Department of Homeland Security has found. Newly discovered malware, dubbed "Backoff," was found to have infiltrated computer networks through commonly used remote desktop software such as Microsoft's Remote Desktop, Apple Remote Desktop and Chrome Remote Desktop, says the report. "Backoff" was used for a number of attacks on retailers, analysts found, and it was almost never detected by standard anti-virus software. CBS

Obama Signs Executive Order Protecting Federal Contractors' Employees
President Obama signed an executive order on Thursday designed to protect employees of federal contractors. The order will require contractors to disclose any violations of labor law within the last three years before receiving new federal contracts, and it will adjust procurement procedures to protect contractors with no record of violating the law. "We expect our tax dollars to be spent wisely on these contracts," the president said. "Our tax dollars shouldn't go to companies that violate workplace laws, they shouldn't go to companies that violate workers' rights." The president acknowledged that the "vast majority" of contractors comply fully with labor laws. "But some don't," he added, "and I don't want those who don't to be getting a competitive advantage over the folks who are doing the right thing." CBS

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Michelle Obama: Veteran Homelessness ‘Should Horrify Us’
As Congress works on a long-term plan to reform the Veterans Administration, first lady Michelle Obama used her platform to speak out on ending veterans’ homelessness. Obama called the more than 58,000 homeless American veterans a “stain on the soul of this nation.” “As Americans, the idea that anyone who has worn our country’s uniform is sleeping on the ground should horrify us,” Obama told an estimated 1,600 federal and local officials and homeless advocates in Washington, D.C., at the 2014 National Conference on Ending Homelessness. ABC

State Department Using Facebook For Visa Delay Damage Control
International students and others looking to travel to the United States this fall are concerned about whether glitches in the State Department’s visa processing system will prevent them from getting their travel documents on time – and have taken to social media to vent. The system for processing and printing visas has been at least partially down since July 20, and a steady backlog of visa cases means frustrated travelers are looking for answers. For many, the first place they turn is Facebook and, perhaps to their surprise, the State Department is responding. ABC

Mortgage-Bond Price Tumble Signals New Risks In Markets
Prices of a new type of U.S. mortgage bonds are plunging this month, teaching investors a lesson on the risks to markets wrought by the growing constraints on Wall Street banks. The $8.2 billion of risk-sharing securities sold in the last year by government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can shift their losses from homeowner defaults to bond buyers. One slice of a deal issued in May traded at 95.7 cents on the dollar yesterday, down from 99.7 cents at the end of last month, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Bloomberg

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Dow Erases 2014 Gain Amid Global Selloff As Exxon Tumbles
U.S. stocks joined a global selloff, erasing the year’s gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as Exxon Mobil Corp. to Micron Technology Inc. tumbled amid weaker corporate results. Exxon and Murphy Oil Corp. dropped amid concern over output. Micron slid 6.1 percent after earnings from Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s biggest smartphone maker, trailed estimates. Nike Inc. declined 3.1 percent as its European rival Adidas AG slashed its full-year forecast. Sprint Corp. tumbled 5.3 percent, leading losses among phone stocks as France’s Iliad SA offered to buy a stake in T-Mobile US Inc. The Dow fell 317.06 points, or 1.9 percent, to 16,563.30 at 4 p.m. in New York, for the largest one-day retreat since Feb. 3. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 2 percent, the most since April 10, to 1,930.67. The gauge dropped 1.5 percent in July, its first monthly decline since January. Bloomberg

US Warns Against Traveling To Ebola-Hit Countries
U.S. health officials on Thursday warned Americans not to travel to the three African countries hit by an outbreak of Ebola. The travel advisory applies to non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The outbreak in those West Africa countries has killed more than 700 people this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the risk of the deadly disease coming to the United States remains small. The last time the federal agency issued such a travel warning was in 2003 because of a SARS outbreak in Asia. Las Vegas Sun

Eric Cantor Steps Down As House Majority Leader
Rep. Eric Cantor has used his farewell as House majority leader to lament what he calls a diminished U.S. role in a world that he says is rife with instability and terror. The Virginia Republican spoke on the House floor Friday. It was his final day as No. 2 House GOP leader. Cantor was unexpectedly defeated by an underfunded, tea party backed opponent in his Republican primary in June. He immediately announced he would step down as majority leader at the end of July. On Friday, Cantor said he's worried about the future if the U.S. doesn't steel its resolve and stand with its allies. Cantor also says improving educational opportunity for low-income children is this era's civil rights issue. Las Vegas Sun

Bachmann: Obama Wants To Use Child Immigrants For Medical Experiments
Michele Bachmann has spotted nefarious purposes in the government's care of migrant children coming from Central America. Rep. Bachmann, R-Minn., accused the Obama administration of placing those children, who are often fleeing extreme violence and poverty in their home countries, in foster care in order to conduct medical research on them. The conservative lawmaker, who is retiring from Congress at the end of this term, is promoting legislation that she introduced to ban federal funding for treatment or research that has "greater than minimal risk" on children who are wards of the state. UPI

Twitter's Transparency Report Shows Increased Government Requests
Twitter's latest transparency report shows that the number of requests for user information, with the most requests coming from the U.S. government. The micro-blogging site released its fifth transparency report that shows a 46 percent increase in requests for user data or content removal in the first two quarters of this year, as compared to the last six months of 2013. There were 2,058 total requests, typically connected with criminal investigations. A large portion of the account information requests -- 1,257 -- were made by the U.S. government. Japan followed with 192 requests and Saudi Arabia had 189. UPI

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CIA Director Apologizes To Lawmakers For Search Of Senate Files
The director of the CIA, in a rare apology, has acknowledged an internal probe's findings that CIA employees in the Executive Branch improperly spied on the Legislative Branch by searching Senate computers earlier this year. According to an agency spokesman, Director John Brennan apologized to the leaders of the Senate intelligence committee over the incident. Brennan also has convened an accountability board that will investigate the conduct of the CIA officers and discipline them, if need be. But the admission already has led to fierce recriminations from Senate lawmakers. Fox News

The U.S. Is Ready For Ebola
It's not the type of plane Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol likely planned to take home. But if health officials decide to evacuate the two American aid workers infected with Ebola in west Africa, it may be the plane they take. U.S. government officials are in ongoing talks to bring Writebol and Brantly back from Liberia, an administration official and a State Department source said on Thursday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outfitted a Gulfstream jet with an isolation pod designed and built by the U.S. Defense Department, the CDC and a private company. The pod, officially called an Aeromedical Biological Containment System, is a portable, tentlike device that ensures the flight crew and others on the flight remain safe from an infectious disease. CNN

House GOP Calls Off Vote On Immigration Bill
On the last day before summer recess, dysfunction reigned in Congress. House Republicans called off a vote on their $659 million emergency response to the border influx from Central America overwhelming immigration resources, unable to agree among themselves about what to do. After first saying the bill was pulled, the GOP leaders called a caucus meeting for later Thursday and said more votes could take place. The confusion showed the deep divisions between conservative and more moderate House Republicans that has caused similar episodes in the past on other spending matters. CNN

House Authorizes Boehner To Sue Obama For Taking Actions Boehner Plans To Fund
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted 225-201 on Wednesday evening to authorize Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) to sue President Barack Obama and other administration officials for taking actions implementing the Affordable Care Act that do not follow the language of the law but that the Republican-led House nonetheless has not previously voted to defund and now intends to continue funding. Rather than take action under its own constitutional authority to curb what it believes are unconstitutional acts by the president, the Republican majority will now ask federal judges to curb the president. CNS News

Smartphone Management Flaws Puts Users At Risk
Security researchers have revealed two separate threats this week they say could put up to 90 percent of the world's 2 billion plus smartphones at risk of password theft, stolen data and in some cases let hackers take full control of devices. One vulnerability involves flaws in the way scores of manufacturers of Apple, Google Android and Blackberry devices, among others, have implemented an obscure industry standard that controls how everything from network connections to user identities are managed. The threat could enable attackers to remotely wipe devices, install malicious software, access data and run applications on smartphones, Mathew Solnik, a mobile researcher with Denver-based cyber security firm Accuvant, said in a phone interview. Reuters

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House To Consider Condemnation Of Erdogan For Anti-Semitism
Troubled by the tone of protests against Israel across Europe, members of the House of Representatives introduced a resolution today warning against anti-Semitism as a manifestation of political disapproval with Israeli government policies. The bipartisan resolution, proposed by Congressmen Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Peter Roskam (R-Ill), singles out Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as personally inciting against the Jewish state, after "stating that Israel's defense against Hamas rocket fire is 'barbarism that surpasses Hitler.'" Erdogan's statement, the resolution asserts, "sparks unwarranted anger towards Jews and endangers the Turkish Jewish community and Jews around the world." Jerusalem Post

By April, IDF Knew Hamas Was Preparing For 'Summer War'
Several months ago, the IDF became aware of Hamas’s intention to launch a war in the summer, a senior military source said on Thursday. In April, Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz alerted the military that a clash with Hamas might likely start in July. Hamas’s scheme involved simultaneous terrorist attacks against Israeli communities, IDF bases and army border patrols. In recent months, the IDF has added large forces to the Gaza Division in preparation. Most of the scenarios the army discussed in April have come true in the current war. Jerusalem Post

Israeli Iron Dome Firms 'Infiltrated By Chinese Hackers'
The BBC has seen evidence that appears to confirm hackers stole several secret military documents from two government-owned Israeli companies that developed the Iron Dome missile defence system. The breaches were first publicised by security blogger Brian Krebs on Monday. The companies denied their classified networks had been infiltrated. However, the team that discovered the incidents has given the BBC access to an intelligence report, which indicates hundreds of files were indeed copied. BBC

New Gaza Humanitarian Truce 'Agreed By Israel And Hamas'Breaking News
Israel and Hamas have agreed to an unconditional 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza from 08:00 (05:00 GMT) on Friday, the US and UN say. Since Israel began its offensive in Gaza on 8 July, 1,422 Palestinians have been killed, most of them civilians, according to Gaza's health ministry. Fifty-six Israeli soldiers and two civilians have also died. Israel says its operation in Gaza is designed to defend its population from attacks by Palestinian militants. "During this time the forces on the ground will remain in place," US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a joint statement. "We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire," the statement added. BBC

Nato Unprepared For Potential Threats From Russia, Say MPs
Nato is ill-prepared to confront new threats posed by Russia, and members of the western military alliance may not have the collective political will to take concerted action to deter an attack, a cross-party group of MPs warn on Thursday. Nato's command and control structures, the alliance's ability to predict and give adequate warning of a potential attack and the state of its forces are all seriously deficient, the Commons defence committee says. The committee's findings come at a time of exceptionally fraught and volatile relations between Russia and the west. Intense gun battles are raging between Ukrainian military forces and pro-Russian rebels around the crash site of Malaysia Airlines MH17 preventing international investigators from approaching the scene. Guardian

Argentina's Government Blames 'Conspiracy' For Defaulting On Debt
Argentina's government was in a defiant mood on Thursday after defaulting on its debt for the second time in 13 years. Economy minister Axel Kicillof, speaking after 11th hour talks with bondholders in New York failed to avert a default, played down the impact it would have on Argentinians. "We're not going to sign an agreement that jeopardises the future of all Argentinians," he told a press conference in New York. "Argentinians can remain calm because tomorrow will just be another day and the world will keep on spinning." Markets appeared to disagree, with Argentina's Merval share index falling almost 7% on Thursday and the peso down more than 4% against the dollar. Guardian

Gaza Conflict: David Cameron Says Genuine Peace Deal Becoming 'Impossible'
Israel's conflict with Hamas is making it "impossible" to agree a "genuine peace deal", David Cameron has said in what is the UK's most trenchant intervention yet in three-and-a-half weeks of fighting. The Prime Minister remarks came as international concerns mounted over the soaring civilian casualty rates – more than 1,422 Palestinians and 59 Israelis have been killed since the start of Israel's military offensive. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, on Thursday ruled out accepting any ceasefire in Gaza until the goal of destroying all Hamas-built tunnels aimed at infiltrating into Israel had been achieved. Telegraph

Elderly And Frail Patients Should Be Allowed To Die, Says Cardiologist
Hospitals resuscitate too many elderly people because society does not see enough death and accept we are mortal, a leading cardiologist has said. Elderly people who are frail and suffering from dementia are routinely given a number of medical interventions in hospitals such as statins, aspirins and flu jabs which are designed to prolong life – but not necessarily improve it. However when it comes to resuscitation in the elderly and frail, particularly those with dementia, James Beattie, a cardiologist said quality of life should be considered and people should be allowed to die. Telegraph

UN, Civil Aviation Partners Set Up Task Force To Reduce Risks Of Flying Over Conflict Zones
In the wake of the recent downing of a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine, the United Nations and its partners have set up a task force to reduce the risks of civilian planes flying over conflict areas and ensure that the “right information reaches the right people at the right time.” The decision came at a special meeting convened earlier this week in Montreal, Canada by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), along with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Council International (ACI) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO). UN News

Iraq: Amid Rising Insecurity, UN Official Urges Unimpeded Access To Desperate Civilians
A senior UN official in Iraq expressed concern today over rising levels of violence and instability across the crisis-torn country and its impact on the lives of civilians.
“Immediate, safe and unhindered access is now needed,” said Jacqueline Badcock, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq. “We urgently need to deliver lifesaving assistance and restore basic services to conflict-affected communities, as well as new and existing IDPs (internally displaced persons) and refugees, irrespective of their religion, ethnicity or affiliation.” UN News

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